Tag Archives: Police

The police killings no one’s talking about

download-1Read this In These Times report about police and Native Americans. From the report:

Mike Males, senior researcher at the Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice, looked at data the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) collected from medical examiners in 47 states between 1999 and 2011. When compared to their percentage of the U.S. population, Natives were more likely to be killed by police than any other group, including African Americans. By age, Natives 20-24, 25-34 and 35–44 were three of the five groups most likely to be killed by police. (The other two groups were African Americans 20-24 and 25-34.) Males’ analysis of CDC data from 1999 to 2014 shows that Native Americans are 3.1 times more likely to be killed by police than white Americans.

And thanks, Leftover, for the link. Seriously, I probably owe you a coffee.


Here’s the report on the Baltimore police department.

A protestor on a bicycle thrusts his fist in the air next to a line of police, in front of a burning CVS drug store, during clashes in BaltimoreYou can read it here.

From the Baltimore Sun: The police department “routinely” violated civil rights.

No more charges on the murder of Freddie Gray


All remaining charges have been dropped in the death of Freddie Gray, the 25-year old African American who died in the hands of police in April 2015.

He was picked up healthy. He was removed from the van with a broken neck.

What more is there to say about this? That no one is responsible for the death of this man? That stuff happens? Oopsie? Jaysus. Even with the whole world watching, this is the best our courts can do?








Deadly force and poor people

Police Shooting-MissouriSince June 2015, the British newspaper, The Guardian, is keeping The Counted, a sad running list of people who’ve been killed by police officers. From FiveThirtyEight, the police are killing people at roughly the same rate as before Ferguson, when teenager Michael Brown was shot in the street in August 2014.

But go back to The Guardian, which is a damn comprehensive approach to charting these deaths. Is there a uniform reporting form, or a clearing house here in the U.S. that (officially) collects such information? I’m not finding one. But The Guardian’s one works pretty well.

These awful numbers should make us ask a lot of questions, and not just about the race/ethnicity of the victims. How many of the people who were killed were poor? According to AlterNet, 95 percent of them were living in neghborhoods where the median income was less than $100.000, though hard numbers are difficult to come by. That means, according to AlterNet’s Zaid Jilani,

that incomes below this number are overrepresented by four times compared to the income distribution in how often they are killed by police.

Whatever their race or ethnicity, how many of the victims were living on the edge, financially?

I take some exception to this Salon article, “Criminalizing the Hustle,” but it raises an interesting point, including this one:

“Over the past few decades cities have turned to policing to fulfill two functions: to surveil and discipline black populations hardest hit by economic shifts and to collect revenue in the form of fines,” emails Lester Spence, a professor of political science at John Hopkins University and the author of “Knocking the Hustle: Against the Neoliberal Turn in Black Politics.” “The black men most likely to be left out of the formal economy — who have to engage in various illegal hustles to make ends meet — are far more likely to suffer from police violence than other black men.”

I just finished “The Poverty Industry: The Exploitation of America’s Most Vulnerable Citizens.” That book was infuriating and I highly recommend it.

And thanks, Leftover, for the links.

Philando Castile had a conceal carry gun permit

Philando Castile 4_1467884033134_1519460_ver1.0_640_360But that doesn’t apply to black people, I guess.

Here’s the kind of man Philando Castile was. But you know what? Even if he had prior arrests, he did not deserve to die this way.

Do that one thing. Do that one thing that interrupts violence or privilege.

Do that one thing

imagesYou’re hurt. You’re hurt because you’re black/brown and yet another black/brown man/woman has been shot and killed by the police.

You’re hurt. You’re hurt because you’re white and yet another black/brown man/woman has been shot and killed by the police and YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT TO DO.

And then the news breaks that there are five dead police officers in Dallas, and multiple people wounded. This happened while protesters were marching and chanting — literally — “Don’t shoot,” when things were so peaceful that police officers, prior to the gunfire, were posing for photos with protesters.

It feels like the wheels have fallen off the cart. That’s yet more lives lost, and we, the white people who are paying attention, keep asking ourselves, what can I do?

This is so corny and lame that I almost didn’t suggest it, but here’s what I’m doing, until I change the world, or until I decide this is stupid: Every day, I am going to do one thing to counter violence, or to counter (white) privilege. I have not made a list. I trust this will be organic, and I trust I’ll be creative enough to see opportunities to act on this, every single day.

For starters, I’m going to take the time to listen to people who don’t live on my privileged perch. Someone somewhere is going to start talking to me about something that makes me uncomfortable, and rather than change the subject or walk away, I’m going to stay and listen.

I’m going to tell someone I don’t know very well who doesn’t look or sound like me that I love him/her, because if I did know that someone, I probably would love her/him.

I’m going to write and study more about privilege.

I’m going to send money to charities I think are making a difference.

I probably will return to this in subsequent blog posts, but if you have ideas for me, I’m all ears.

Why the British police don’t carry guns

1927Getty_2665876cIn light of the shooting deaths by police of Alton Sterling and others, read this, from the BBC.And thanks, Tim, for the link.