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Member since: Fri Nov 12, 2004, 07:39 AM
Number of posts: 44,385

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What I've Learned from Two Years Collecting Data on Police Killings

I've been lied to and delayed by state, county and local law enforcement agencies—almost every time. They've blatantly broken public records laws, and then thumbed their authoritarian noses at the temerity of a citizen asking for information that might embarrass the agency.


What I've Learned from Two Years Collecting Data on Police Killings


D. Brian Burghart
8/22/14 1:25pm

A few days ago, Deadspin's Kyle Wagner began to compile a list of all police-involved shootings in the U.S. He's not the only one to undertake such a project: D. Brian Burghart, editor of the Reno News & Review, has been attempting a crowdsourced national database of deadly police violence. We asked Brian to write about what he's learned from his project.

It began simply enough. Commuting home from my work at Reno's alt-weekly newspaper, the News & Review, on May 18, 2012, I drove past the aftermath of a police shooting—in this case, that of a man named Jace Herndon. It was a chaotic scene, and I couldn't help but wonder how often it happened.

I went home and grabbed my laptop and a glass of wine and tried to find out. I found nothing—a failure I simply chalked up to incompetent local media.

- snip -

I started to search in earnest. Nowhere could I find out how many people died during interactions with police in the United States. Try as I might, I just couldn't wrap my head around that idea. How was it that, in the 21st century, this data wasn't being tracked, compiled, and made available to the public? How could journalists know if police were killing too many people in their town if they didn't have a way to compare to other cities? Hell, how could citizens or police? How could cops possibly know "best practices" for dealing with any fluid situation? They couldn't.

- snip -

Database & Last Name Check
Read more fatalencounters.​org
The biggest thing I've taken away from this project is something I'll never be able to prove, but I'm convinced to my core: The lack of such a database is intentional. No government—not the federal government, and not the thousands of municipalities that give their police forces license to use deadly force—wants you to know how many people it kills and why.

It's the only conclusion that can be drawn from the evidence. What evidence? In attempting to collect this information, I was lied to and delayed by the FBI, even when I was only trying to find out the addresses of police departments to make public records requests. The government collects millions of bits of data annually about law enforcement in its Uniform Crime Report, but it doesn't collect information about the most consequential act a law enforcer can do.

I've been lied to and delayed by state, county and local law enforcement agencies—almost every time. They've blatantly broken public records laws, and then thumbed their authoritarian noses at the temerity of a citizen asking for information that might embarrass the agency. And these are the people in charge of enforcing the law.

The second biggest thing I learned is that bad journalism colludes with police to hide this information. The primary reason for this is that police will cut off information to reporters who tell tales. And a reporter can't work if he or she can't talk to sources. It happened to me on almost every level as I advanced this year-long Fatal Encounters series through the News & Review. First they talk; then they stop, then they roadblock.


Breaking: Durham NC Protesters Shut Down Durham Freeway

Source: WRAL-TV


Updated 1 min ago
DURHAM (WTVD) -- Protesters upset by recent grand jury decisions in New York and Ferguson are blocking some streets and highways in Durham.

First, protesters blocked Mangum Street in downtown Durham.

The group then marched toward and onto the Durham Freeway, which prompted police to close the highway in both directions for about an hour.

Protesters are also blocking intersections of Duke and Chapel Hill Streets, and, at last report, were in front of the Durham Performing Arts Center.

Read more: http://abc11.com/news/protesters-block-some-downtown-durham-streets/424487/

Ukrainian PM Reports Accident at Nuclear Power Plant

Source: Reuters

Ukrainian PM reports accident at nuclear power plant

Wed Dec 3, 2014 5:59am EST

KIEV (Reuters) - Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseny Yatseniuk said on Wednesday an accident had occurred at the Zaporizhye nuclear power plant (NPP) in south-east Ukraine and called on the energy minister to hold a news conference.

"I know that an accident has occurred at the Zaporizhye NPP," Yatseniuk said, asking new energy minister Volodymyr Demchyshyn to make clear when the problem would be resolved and what steps would be taken to restore normal power supply across Ukraine.

News agency Interfax Ukraine said the problem had occurred at bloc No 3 - a 1,000-megawatt reactor - and the resulting lack of output had worsened the power crisis in the country. Interfax added that the bloc was expected to come back on stream on Dec. 5.

Read more: http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSKCN0JH0ZV20141203

TOM TOMORROW: Black and White

DAILY KOS LINK: http://www.dailykos.com/story/2014/12/01/1348341/-Cartoon-Black-and-white


For fu*k's sake... They weren't FORMAL enough??! For a turkey pardoning?

What in hell is wrong with right-wingers' brains?

I don't know how much more stupidity I can take before my brain overloads and melts into a pool of cholesterol mush.

Novelist PD James Dies Aged 94 ('Children of Men')

Source: Associated Press

Novelist PD James dies aged 94

NOV. 27, 2014 8:40 AM EST

LONDON (AP) — Publisher Faber and Faber says mystery writer P.D. James, who brought realistic modern characters to the classical British detective story, has died. She was 94.

- snip -

But James' books were strong on character, avoided stereotype and touched on distinctly modern problems including drugs, child abuse and nuclear contamination.

- snip -

In 1980, with the publication of her eighth book, "Innocent Blood," her small but loyal following exploded into mass, international popularity.

"Monday, I was ticking along as usual, and by Friday I was a millionaire," she once said.

- snip -

Her work was not confined to the mystery genre. Her 1992 science fiction novel "The Children of Men," about a dystopian future in which humanity has become infertile, was turned into a critically praised 2006 movie by Alfonso Cuaron. In 2013 she published "Death Comes to Pemberley," introducing a murder mystery into the lives of Jane Austen's "Pride and Prejudice."

Read more: http://bigstory.ap.org/article/b50e94bb025345868543cb787cf75148/novelist-pd-james-dies-aged-94

Ferguson Prosecutor's Idiot Speech Blames Everyone But Darren Wilson


Ferguson Prosecutor's Idiot Speech Blames Everyone But Darren Wilson


Gabrielle Bluestone

Ferguson prosecutor Robert McCulloch delivered a long-winded, smirking speech blaming social media, the media, journalists, neighborhood residents, and everyone else who isn't Darren Wilson, for Darren Wilson shooting and killing 18-year-old Michael Brown.

It took McCulloch 10 minutes of hectoring before he revealed the panel had found no probable cause to indict Wilson, and the rest of the 45-minute speech, in which McCulloch seemed to be presenting evidence in Wilson's favor, felt a lot more like defense attorney's argument than a prosecutors. The very length of McCulloch's rambling statement, really, and the amount of evidence he felt compelled to argue against, was an argument that the case should have gone to trial.

But before he got to any of that, McCulloch explained all the ways the case could have been quietly shelved, had those meddling witnesses stayed off Twitter.

On August 9, Michael Brown was shot and killed by a police officer, Darren Wilson. Within minutes, various accounts of the incident began appearing on social media, accounts filled with speculation and little if any solid, accurate information. Almost immediately, neighbors began gathering and anger began growing because of the various descriptions of what had happened and because of the underlying tension between the police department and a significant part of the neighborhood.

Fully aware of the unfounded but growing concern in some parts of our community that the investigation and review of this tragic death might not be full and fair, I decided immediately that all of the physical evidence gathered, all people claiming to have witnessed any part or all of the shooting and any or all other related matters would be presented to the grand jury.

Our investigation and presentation of the evidence to the grand jury in St. Louis county has been completed. The most significant challenge encountered in this investigation has been the 24-hour news cycle and its insatiable appetite for something, for anything to talk about. Following closely behind were the nonstop rumors on social media.

I recognize, of course, that the lack of accurate detail surrounding the shooting frustrates the media and the general public and helps breed suspicion among those already distrustful of the system. Yet those closely guarded details—especially about the physical evidence—give law enforcement a yard stick for measuring the truthfulness of witnesses.

McCulloch offered Brown's gunshot wounds as an example, claiming that witnesses changed their stories after private autopsy results went public. McCulloch also appeared to suggest that the grand jurors watched TV to determine witness credibility.

"There is no question of course that Darren Wilson caused the death of Michael Brown by shooting him," McCulloch said, in an extraordinary linguistic backbend. "But the inquiry doesn't end there."


Reminder: Cops Who Shot Black Man Carrying Toy Gun in Ohio Walmart Will Not Be Indicted


Cops Who Shot Black Man Carrying Toy Gun in Ohio Walmart Will Not Be Indicted (Video)

Posted by: John Prager in Crime, Police Brutality, Racism in America September 24, 2014

Not only was John Crawford III not holding the pellet gun when he was gunned down “on sight” by police officers in an Ohio Walmart, but he certainly was not “pointing” it at people or in any way acting in a threatening manner. Now that a grand jury has irresponsibly chosen not to indict Sergeant David Darkow and Officer Sean Williams on criminal charges, the surveillance video of the shooting has been released — and police certainly do not look heroic in this incident.

“This case is a tragedy for the family and for the police officers who were justified to take a life,” said Special Prosecutor John Piepmeier. He said that officers were trained to “neutralize the threat” immediately — which, in this case, means murdering an innocent man whose only “crime” was being engaged in a phone conversation.

After the grand jury decided that police shooting an African-American man carrying a pellet gun he picked up in the store and planned to buy based on a phone call from a habitual liar who changed his story after realizing that video cameras exist was justified, the Attorney General released the following statement indicating that the Department of Justice would take over from here:

- snip -

The City of Beavercreek issued a statement saying that, despite the video clearly showing that Crawford made no indication he realized officers were there, officers followed “accepted law enforcement protocol” in gunning down a man who had not committed a crime.

“The events of August 5th were tragic and we wish the outcome of that evening had been different. However, based on the information the responding officers had and Mr. Crawford’s failure to comply with the responding officers orders, the officers did what they were trained to do to protect the public. The officers followed accepted law enforcement training protocol in their response to the report of an active threat in the Wal-Mart store. The grand jury review of the evidence and subsequent no bill decision indicates the officers’ actions were not of a criminal nature and justified under Ohio law.

Although the state review process has been concluded, in keeping with the Beavercreek Police Department’s Organizational Values and our desire to uphold the public trust, City Manager, Michael A. Cornell and Police Chief Dennis Evers are requesting the Federal Bureau of Investigation conduct a separate review of the Beavercreek Police Department’s actions in this case to determine if there were any civil rights violations. The Beavercreek Police Department will cooperate fully with the FBI during this process. Until the conclusion of the review of the FBI’s recommendations by the Department of Justice, Officer Sean Williams will be assigned administrative desk duty within the police department. The City will have no further comment pending the Department of Justice review.”

Crawford attorney Michael Wright told 2 NEWS that,

“It is absolutely incomprehensible that Beavercreek police officer Sean Williams was not indicted for the unlawful killing of John H. Crawford, lll. It makes absolutely no sense that an unarmed 22-year-old man would be killed doing what any American citizen does every day: shopping at a Walmart store. The Crawford family is extremely disappointed, disgusted and confused. They are heartbroken that justice was not done in the tragic death of their only son.”



DAILY KOS LINK: http://www.dailykos.com/story/2014/11/24/1346577/-Cartoon-The-future-it-s-UBER-IFFIC

MORE ON UBER'S 'RIDES OF GLORY' LIST: http://www.oregonlive.com/today/index.ssf/2014/11/sex_the_single_girl_and_ubers.html

MORE ON UBER EXEC SUGGESTING SMEARING OF JOURNALIST: http://www.buzzfeed.com/bensmith/uber-executive-suggests-digging-up-dirt-on-journalists

Breaking: WH Officials Say President Obama Has Asked Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel to Step Down

Source: New York Times

@BreakingNews: Senior White House officials say President Obama has asked Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel to step down - @nytimes http://t.co/pXYCQYs6TR/s/TYM0

Hagel Said to Be Stepping Down as Defense Chief Under Pressure

NOVEMBER 24, 2014

WASHINGTON — Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is stepping down under pressure, the first cabinet-level casualty of the collapse of President Obama’s Democratic majority in the Senate and a beleaguered national security team that has struggled to stay ahead of an onslaught of global crises.

The president, who is expected to announce Mr. Hagel’s resignation in a Rose Garden appearance on Monday, made the decision to ask his defense secretary — the sole Republican on his national security team — to step down last Friday after a series of meetings over the past two weeks, senior administration officials said.

The officials described Mr. Obama’s decision to remove Mr. Hagel, 68, as a recognition that the threat from the Islamic State would require a different kind of skills than those that Mr. Hagel was brought on to employ. A Republican with military experience who was skeptical about the Iraq war, Mr. Hagel came in to manage the Afghanistan combat withdrawal and the shrinking Pentagon budget in the era of budget sequestration.

But now “the next couple of years will demand a different kind of focus,” one administration official said, speaking on the condition of anonymity. He insisted that Mr. Hagel was not fired, saying that he initiated discussions about his future two weeks ago with the president, and that the two men mutually agreed that it was time for him to leave.

Read more: Link to source
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