This is partially why residents balked at Orleans Parish Sheriff Marlin Gusman’s proposal in 2010 to build an even larger jail to house 5,832 inmates. Not only could Gusman’s staff not control the population they had, but the city’s increasing incarceration rate was not correlating with a decline in crime. Crime had, in fact, been increasing.
Gusman’s proposal was squashed by a coalition of community organizations that mobilized residents and convinced the city that it could not financially afford to keep, as one city council representative put it, jailing its way to becoming a safer city. The city ended up approving a new jail in 2011 that was just a quarter of the size the sheriff wanted: 1,485 beds, though the city was holding twice as many inmates as that at the time. This meant the city had to rethink and revamp its incarceration practices moving forward.
The F.B.I. director, James B. Comey, delivered an unusually candid speech on Thursday about the difficult relationship between the police and African-Americans, saying that officers who work in neighborhoods where blacks commit crimes at a high rate develop a cynicism that shades their attitudes about race.
Citing the song â€œEveryoneâ€™s a Little Bit Racistâ€ from the Broadway show â€œAvenue Q,â€ he said police officers of all races viewed black and white men differently. In an address to students at Georgetown University, Mr. Comey said that some officers scrutinize African-Americans more closely using a mental shortcut that â€œbecomes almost irresistible and maybe even rational by some lightsâ€ because black men are arrested at much higher rates than white men.
In speaking about racial issues at such length, Mr. Comey used his office in a way that none of his predecessors had. His remarks also went beyond what President Obama and Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. have said since an unarmed black teenager, Michael Brown, was killed by a white police officer in Ferguson, Mo., in August.
Mr. Comey said that his speech, which was well received by law enforcement officials, was motivated by his belief that the country had not â€œhad a healthy dialogueâ€ since the protests began in Ferguson and that he did not â€œwant to see those important issues drift away.â€
Previous F.B.I. directors had limited their public comments about race to civil rights investigations, like murders committed by the Ku Klux Klan and the bureauâ€™s wiretapping of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Â But Mr. Comey tried to dissect the issue layer by layer.
He started by acknowledging that law enforcement had a troubled legacy when it came to race.
â€œAll of us in law enforcement must be honest enough to acknowledge that much of our history is not pretty,â€ he said. â€œAt many points in American history, law enforcement enforced the status quo, a status quo that was often brutally unfair to disfavored groups.â€
Mr. Comey said there was significant research showing that all people have unconscious racial biases. Law enforcement officers, he said, need â€œto design systems and processes to overcome that very human part of us all.â€
The FBI in Seattle created a fake news story on a bogus Seattle Times web page to plant software in the computer of a suspect in a series of bomb threats to Laceyâ€™s Timberline High School in 2007, according to documents obtained by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) in San Francisco.
The deception was publicized Monday when Christopher Soghoian, the principal technologist for the American Civil Liberties Union in Washington, D.C., revealed it on Twitter.
In an interview, Soghoian called the incident â€œoutrageousâ€ and said the practice could result in â€œsignificant collateral damage to the public trustâ€ if law enforcement begins co-opting the media for its purposes.
The EFF documents reveal that the FBI dummied up a story with an Associated Press byline about the Thurston County bomb threats with an email link â€œin the style of The Seattle Times,â€ including details about subscriber and advertiser information.
The link was sent to the suspectâ€™s MySpace account. When the suspect clicked on the link, the hidden FBI software sent his location and Internet Protocol information to the agents. A juvenile suspect was identified and arrested June 14.
The revelation brought a sharp response from the newspaper.
â€œWe are outraged that the FBI, with the apparent assistance of the U.S. Attorneyâ€™s Office, misappropriated the name of The Seattle Times to secretly install spyware on the computer of a crime suspect,â€ said Seattle Times Editor Kathy Best.
â€œNot only does that cross a line, it erases it,â€ she said.
â€œOur reputation and our ability to do our job as a government watchdog are based on trust. Nothing is more fundamental to that trust than our independence â€” from law enforcement, from government, from corporations and from all other special interests,â€ Best said. â€œThe FBIâ€™s actions, taken without our knowledge, traded on our reputation and put it at peril.â€
An AP spokesman also criticized the tactic.
â€œWe are extremely concerned and find it unacceptable that the FBI misappropriated the name of The Associated Press and published a false story attributed to AP,â€ Paul Colford, director of AP media relations. â€œThis ploy violated APâ€™s name and undermined APâ€™s credibility.â€
Before we jump all over the FBI, it happens more than you think and has similar things happened recently in Saskatoon with false news stories planted in the media. Â That and the Seattle Times got itâ€™s outrage wrong. Â You donâ€™t need spyware to get an I.P. address.
Long before the killing of Michael Brown and the subsequent protests in Ferguson, Missouri, which have brought with them countless images of heavily armored local authorities pointing guns at and firing tear gas and other nonlethal weapons at unarmed protesters, some were disturbed by what Washington Post journalist Radley Balko calls â€œthe rise of the warrior copâ€ â€” that is, the increasing tendency of some local police forces to rely on military-style gear and tactics, even in situations that appear devoid of any real threat to officersâ€™ safety.
The story of how this happened and the oftentimes tragic results have been well-told by Balko, the American Civil Liberties Union, and others. In short, thereâ€™s been a flood of drug-war and post-9/11 money that has helped outfit police departments, even towns where a single murder is an incredibly rare event, with gear that could help repel seasoned paramilitaries.
Whatâ€™s less clear is how this gear changes the psychological dynamics of policing and crowd control. Is it true, as many people are arguing online, that â€œWhen you have a hammer, everything looks like a nailâ€ â€” that is, that simply having military gear will make police more likely to act in an aggressive manner toward civilians? How does this change the relationship between police and civilians?
At the most specific level, these questions havenâ€™t been studied empirically. But a great deal of social-psychological research, as well as important anecdotal evidence from law-enforcement specialists themselves, suggests that militarized policing can greatly inflame situations that might otherwise end peacefully.
The so-called â€œweapons effectâ€ can partly explain whatâ€™s going on in Ferguson and elsewhere. The mere presence of weapons, in short, appears to prime more aggressive behavior. This has been shown in a variety of experiments in different lab and real-world settings.
â€œTheory underlying the weapons effect or similar kinds of phenomena would suggest that the more you fill the environment with stimuli that are associated with violence, the more likely violence is to occur,â€ said Bruce Bartholow, a University of Missouri social psychologist who has studied the weapons effect. Brad Bushman, a psychologist at Ohio State, agreed. â€œI would expect a bigger effect if you see military weapons than if you see normal weapons,â€ he said.
This isnâ€™t just about a link between visual stimuli like guns and violence, however. It also has to do with the roles people adopt, with how they respond to the presence of others who may â€” or may not â€” mean them harm. To a certain extent, if you dress and treat people like soldiers facing a deadly enemy, theyâ€™ll act like it.
â€œThis process isn’t necessarily good or bad, but depends on the extent to which the more militaristic role fits the situation,â€ said Craig Anderson, a psychologist at Iowa State, in an email. â€œWhen it doesn’t fit well, it is likely to lead to more judgment and behavior errors.â€ Maria Haberfeld, a professor at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice who has studied how police departments outfit themselves, said the dynamic could be particularly dangerous in the context of nonviolent protests like Ferguson (there was rioting and looting earlier this week, but there have also been widespread reports of nonviolent protests being broken up by police aggression).
â€œMilitary equipment is used against an enemy,â€ said Haberfeld. â€œSo if you give the same equipment to local police, by default you create an environment in which the public is perceived as an enemy.â€ On the other side of these confrontations, this could have a negative effect on protesters. â€œWe live in a democratic country, and we believe that this is our right to go out and exercise the right to [free speech],â€ she said. â€œAnd when you go out there and exercise that right and suddenly you are faced with soldiers â€” even though these are not soldiers, but police officers looking like soldiers â€” then something is triggered, definitely.â€
Bushman said that meeting nonviolent protests with a militarized response is â€œreally a bad idea. I canâ€™t believe theyâ€™re doing it.â€ â€œItâ€™s just really bad for the officers because they feel more powerful, more invincible, more militaristic, ready to attack,â€ he said. â€œAnd also, I think it elicits a response from the observers that, hey, this is war, and people become defensive and they have a fight/flight response.â€ The adoption of masks themselves in a militarized setting, on the part of police or protesters, can also contribute to violence by triggering senses of anonymity and what psychologists call deindividuation. “There’s all kinds of evidence in social psychology that that will lead people to do things that they wouldn’t do if they could be identified,” said Bartholow.
All this militarization, said Bartholow, can be contrasted â€œagainst the old kind of beat-cop model where people in the neighborhood know the police officersâ€™ name and heâ€™s kind of everybodyâ€™s buddy in a sense.â€
In prison Angel thought that it wouldnâ€™t be too hard to find a job once he got out. He believed he had come a long way. At eighteen he hadnâ€™t been able to read or write. He wet his bed and suffered from uncontrollable outbursts of anger. At forty-seven he had studied at the college level. He told me he had read several thousand books. He earned numerous certificates while incarceratedâ€”aVocational Appliance Repair Certificate, a Certificate of Proficiency of Computer Operator, a Certificate in Library Training, an IPA (Inmate Program Assistant) II Training Certificate, and several welding certificationsâ€”but in the outside world these credentials counted for little.
“Irrelevant,” Angel said. â€œThey might as well be toilet paper.”
Residential schools engaged in “cultural genocide,” former prime minister Paul Martin said Friday at the hearings of the federal Truth And Reconciliation Commission, adding that aboriginal Canadians must now be offered the best educational system.
“Let us understand that what happened at the residential schools was the use of education for cultural genocide, and that the fact of the matter is â€” yes it was. Call a spade a spade,” Martin said to cheers from the audience at the Montreal hearings.
“And what that really means is that we’ve got to offer aboriginal Canadians, without any shadow of a doubt, the best education system that is possible to have.”
The residential school system existed from the 1870s until the 1990s and saw about 150,000 native youth taken from their families and sent to church-run schools under a deliberate policy of “civilizing” First Nations.
Many students were physically, mentally and sexually abused. Some committed suicide or died fleeing their schools. Mortality rates reached 50 per cent at some schools.
In the 1990s, thousands of victims sued the Canadian government as well as churches that ran the schools. The $1.9-billion settlement of that suit in 2007 prompted an apology from Prime Minister Stephen Harper and the creation of the commission.
But the government has clashed with the commission and recently had to be ordered by an Ontario court to find and turn over documents from Library and Archives Canada.
“Every document is relevant,” Martin said. “We have hid this for 50 years. It’s existed for 150. Surely to God, Canadians are entitled … aboriginal Canadians and non-aboriginal Canadians, to know the truth. And so let the documents be released.”
After the panel, Saganash took to the main stage at Montrealâ€™s Queen Elizabeth Hotel and officially gave his statement to the TRC about his time at the La Tuque residential school in the late 1970s.
He tearfully spoke about his brother Johnny who died under mysterious circumstances when he was just 6 years old. Johnny was buried in an unmarked grave near the residential school in Moose Factory, Ont. There was no explanation given to his parents, no death certificate, no physical record that the little Cree boy had ever existed under the care of the federal government.
It took 40 years for the Saganash family to find Johnnyâ€™s grave and they did so not with the help of authorities but rather through the work of Saganashâ€™s journalist sister Emma. When his mother finally saw footage of the burial site, Saganash said she wept like he had never seen her weep before.
The NDP MP has also struggled with the legacy of pain from his stolen childhood. The struggle caused Saganash to seek treatment for his alcoholism last December after he was kicked off an Air Canada flight for being heavily intoxicated.
But Saganash spent little time focusing on the past, choosing rather to divert the attention to the private members bill he tabled before the House of Commons in January. The bill would force the federal government to ensure all its laws are consistent with the UNâ€™s declaration of indigenous rights â€” a document the Cree politician helped draft before being elected to public office.
He concluded his emotional address on a hopeful note, quoting a passage from a speech South African leader Nelson Mandela gave after his 27-year stint as a political prisoner.
â€œIt was during those long and lonely years that the hunger for freedom of my own people became a hunger for the freedom of all people â€” white and black. I knew, as I knew anything, that the oppressor must be liberated just as surely as the oppressed. For all have been robbed of their humanity.
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada paid a visit to the Boyle Street Community Services in Edmonton on Saturday.
As Nicole Weisberg reports, the commission has been gathering stories about the impact of residential schools on Aboriginal Peoples across Canada â€” but this is the first time it has visited Edmontonâ€™s inner city.
Dr. Gabor Mate on addictions & corrections
According to CSC, 80% of offenders are substance abusers.
Great public awareness campaign and website from the Government of Alberta on the dangers of texting and driving. Â I am amazed that despite the Saskatoon Police Service cracking down on it and the large fines that come along with it, many people I know text and use their phone while driving. Â It’s not that hard to put your phone on vibrate, put it face down and ignore it when in the car.
No doubt it is a certain crazy that brings a person as loved as Aaron was loved (and he was surrounded in NY by people who loved him) to do what Aaron did. It angers me that he did what he did. But if weâ€™re going to learn from this, we canâ€™t let slide what brought him here.
First, of course, Aaron brought Aaron here. As I said when I wrote about the case (when obligations required I say something publicly), if what the government alleged was true â€” and I say â€œifâ€ because I am not revealing what Aaron said to me then â€” then what he did was wrong. And if not legally wrong, then at least morally wrong. The causes that Aaron fought for are my causes too. But as much as I respect those who disagree with me about this, these means are not mine.
But all this shows is that if the government proved its case, some punishment was appropriate. So what was that appropriate punishment? Was Aaron a terrorist? Or a cracker trying to profit from stolen goods? Or was this something completely different?
Early on, and to its great credit, JSTOR figured â€œappropriateâ€ out: They declined to pursue their own action against Aaron, and they asked the government to drop its. MIT, to its great shame, was not as clear, and so the prosecutor had the excuse he needed to continue his war against the â€œcriminalâ€ who we who loved him knew as Aaron.
Here is where we need a better sense of justice, and shame. For the outrageousness in this story is not just Aaron. It is also the absurdity of the prosecutorâ€™s behavior. From the beginning, the government worked as hard as it could to characterize what Aaron did in the most extreme and absurd way. The â€œpropertyâ€ Aaron had â€œstolen,â€ we were told, was worth â€œmillions of dollarsâ€ â€” with the hint, and then the suggestion, that his aim must have been to profit from his crime. But anyone who says that there is money to be made in a stash of ACADEMIC ARTICLES is either an idiot or a liar. It was clear what this was not, yet our government continued to push as if it had caught the 9/11 terrorists red-handed.
Some are taking the law into their own hands.
Which is crazy but you kind of understand it when you think of the violence that happens in those border communities because of the drugs and gangs that are flooding across the border. Either way, after looking at the infographic you kind of get the idea that Stephen Harper was right when he said that the War on Drugs has failed.
The two girls, ages nine and 12, reported being followed by a man driving a white extended-cab truck as they walked in the area of 33rd Street and Avenue P around 11:39 p.m., police said in a news release.
â€œAt one point the suspicious male got out of the truck but when the girls confronted him he drove off. They sought assistance at a nearby residence and called police,â€ the release said.
The girls described the man as in his 30s and wearing a baseball cap. No further description was available.
Police recommend people walk in pairs or groups, stay in well-populated and well-lit areas, be aware of suspicious activity, avoid approaching strange vehicles if someone stops and attempts to talk, and report suspicious activity to parents or police.
In other words according to the release, â€œit isnâ€™t safe for people to out at night on the west sideâ€. Wonderful.
If you have some time, read the debacle that was Ruby Ridge and the Randy Weaver stand off. To put it in the words of Deputy FBI Director Danny Coulson
Something to Consider
1. Charge against Weaver is Bull Shit.
2. No one saw Weaver do any shooting.
3. Vicki has no charges against her.
4. Weaver’s defense. He ran down the hill to see what dog was
barking at. Some guys in camys shot his dog.
Started shooting at him. Killed his son. Harris did the
shooting [of Degan]. He [Weaver] is in pretty strong legal position."
Itâ€™s incredibly messed up. Incompetence at all levels of law enforcement levels culminated in several people dying and being wounded. The weirdest part is that after all was said and done, Randy Weaver was acquitted of all the charges, just as Danny Coulson said. It would be interesting to contrast a similar situation in Canada which didnâ€™t spiral all out of control with the Ruby Ridge siege and see what the differences were.
Diane Tran, an honor student in Texas, was thrown in jail by a Judge Moriarty after she missed too many classes at her high school.
Tran said she works both full-time and part-time jobs, in addition to taking advanced and college level courses. But the judge said Tran’s case was bigger than the individual situation of one student. "If you let one run loose, what are you gonna’ do with the rest of ’em?,"said Judge Lanny Moriarty. "Let them go too? A little stay in the jail for one night is not a death sentence."
But Tran’s classmates said she had a lot more to juggle than the average teen. "She goes from job to job from school. She stays up until 7 a.m. in the morning doing her homework," said Devin Hill, a classmate and co-worker.
On top of that, Tran said her parents spilt up and moved away, leaving her to support her younger sister. The judge admitted that he wanted to make an example of the teen. Tran had to spend 24 hours in jail and had to pay a $100 fine.
Nice to see that there is no more common sense in Texas.
An internal RCMP investigation into a series of sex and drinking escapades in a staff sergeantâ€™s office revealed a pattern of sexual harassment so disturbing that senior Ottawa Mounties say it will take â€œconsiderable effort to rebuild the damaged trust of our organization.â€
The investigation, which has not been made public until now, reviewed seven reports about the misconduct of Staff Sgt. Don Ray, the officer in charge of the polygraph unit at Albertaâ€™s RCMP headquarters in Edmonton.
Internal Affairs investigators discovered Sgt. Ray was hosting after-hours parties in his office and kept a bar fridge stocked with Budweiser and Appleton Jamaica Rum. Sgt. Ray would encourage female subordinates to drink and make sexual advances when alone with them, the investigation found.
In April 2009, close to the end of one work day, Sgt. Ray invited his staff to a private office party at which he invited them to sit down and have a drink.
One of his female subordinates consumed four beers over two hours, and once the others left, Sgt. Ray unzipped his pants, exposed himself and told her to touch his penis, according to RCMP files. She refused.
â€œS/Sgt. Ray then wanted to have sexual intercourse with Ms. A, which she refused. S/Sgt. Ray insisted but Ms. A. maintained her refusal. They then both left the building without further sexual contact,â€ a senior disciplinary officer wrote in his findings in February.
The investigation said Sgt. Ray exhibited a â€œserialâ€ pattern of â€œdisgracefulâ€ conduct.
Sgt. Rayâ€™s behaviour is the latest in a series of complaints of sexual harassment and discrimination levelled against the RCMP across the country.
A high-profile RCMP veteran, Cpl. Catherine Galliford, ignited the controversy last fall by speaking publicly about her internal allegations of sexual harassment and abuse by former male colleagues.
The sad thing is that it gets worse and itâ€™s only one of many negative stories coming out lately of RCMP misconduct.