Friday July 10, 2020

PM Stories

Inside The Prison Where 8 In 10 Of The Incarcerated Have Gotten Coronavirus (Ohio) Jessica Schulberg, Huffington Post

Freed From Prison, Dead from COVID-19, Not Even Counted Joseph Neff and Dan Kane, The Marshall Project

They’ve been granted parole. So why can it take years for them to get out of prison? Jenifer B. McKim, Boston Globe

As COVID-19 flares behind bars, now’s not the time for more Terre Haute executions Nina T. Harawa, Indianapolis Star

With ‘judges judging judges,’ rogues on the bench have little to fear Michael Berens and John Shiffman, Reuters

Want to Reform the Criminal Justice System? Focus on Prosecutors Joyce White Vance, Time

New Initiative to Focus on Prosecutors and Race The Crime Report

What the ‘black-on-black crime’ fallacy misses about race and gun deaths Shirley Carswell, Washington Post

How ICE Exported the Coronavirus Emily Kassie and Barbara Marcolini, The Marshall Project

It’s Time to Create a Right to an Immigration Attorney Bill Ong Hing, Slate

Landmark Supreme Court Ruling Affirms Native American Rights in Oklahoma Jack Healy and Adam Liptak, New York Times

Neil Gorsuch Affirms That Treaties With Tribal Nations Are the Law Nick Martin, New Republic

Who Owns Oklahoma? (2018) Garrett Epps, The Atlantic

‘Million Book Project’ to bring literature to 1,000 US prisons Sarah Calams, CorrectionsOne

Incarcerated Artists Are Making Some of Today’s Most Important Art. A Powerful New Book Explains Why. Alex Greenberger, ARTnews

Q&A: Oakland Architect Deanna Van Buren Is Building a World Without Prisons Violet Rawlings, Ms. Magazine

AM Stories

New Transcripts Detail Last Moments for George Floyd Richard A. Oppel Jr. and Kim Barker, New York Times

Trump has tried to claim Democrats want to eliminate police. Americans aren’t buying it. Philip Bump, Washington Post

The Deep Roots – and New Offshoots – of ‘Abolish the Police’ Ruairí Arrieta-Kenna, Politico Magazine

Abolition Isn’t Only About Police Rosie Gillies, Boston Review

Can Forgiveness Play a Role in Criminal Justice? (2013) Paul Tullis, New York Times Magazine

Reform vs. Rebuild: Defunding Law Enforcement in Texas Michael Barajas, Texas Observer

Clout of Minneapolis Police Union Boss Reflects National Trend Douglas Belkin, Kris Maher, and Deanna Paul, Wall Street Journal

De Blasio holds off approving police reform legislation following outrage from NYPD brass Shant Shahrigian, New York Daily News

State Attorney General Calls for Stripping NYPD Control From Mayor Ali Watkins, New York Times 

Ending police violence begins with cutting Pentagon money, militarization program Wayne McElrath and Mandy Smithberger, USA Today

Rifles, mine-resistant vehicles, robots: How Colorado police have used a federal program to stockpile military gear John Ingold, Colorado Sun

Only Policing Probe Launched By Trump DOJ Finds ‘Routine’ Excessive Force, Lying Ryan J. Reilly, Huffington Post

Don’t overlook one of the most brutal and unnecessary parts of policing: Police dogs Christy E. Lopez, Washington Post

Study Finds ‘Persistent’ Racial Bias in Police Traffic Stops and Searches Michael Gelb, The Crime Report

The Nation’s First Reparations Package to Survivors of Police Torture Included a Public Memorial. Survivors Are Still Waiting. Logan Jaffe, ProPublica

Thursday July 9, 2020

PM Stories

COVID-19 Cases and Deaths in Federal and State Prisons Brendan Saloner, Kalind Parish, and Julie A. Ward, Journal of the American Medical Association

New research: Adjusted for age and sex, the COVID-19 death rate in prisons is 3 times higher than in the general population Emily Widra, Prison Policy Initiative

Coronavirus inside prisons doesn’t just affect inmates. It affects communities of color Patrice Gaines, NBC News

Releasing People From Prison Is Easier Said Than Done Barbara Bradley Hagerty, The Atlantic

A look at how COVID-19 kills Florida prisoners Samantha J. Gross, Tampa Bay Times

Texas Rejects Early Prison Releases During Pandemic The Crime Report

Prisoners Fight Pennsylvania for Denying Chance at Parole Alexandra Jones, Courthouse News

Prisoners Face ‘Undue Punishment’ as the IRS Claws Back Their Stimulus Checks Jordan Michael Smith, Type Investigations

Texas executes Billy Wardlow, who was 18 when he killed a man. Experts argued that’s too young for a death sentence. Jolie McCullough, Texas Tribune

First Federal Execution Since 2003 Is Set for Monday Sadie Gurman, Wall Street Journal

Re-opening federal death chamber: Victim opposition, pandemic threaten first execution in 17 years Kevin Johnson, USA Today

Remembering Reginald Moore, the Activist Who Uncovered Sugar Land’s Dark Past Michael Hardy, Texas Monthly

‘Outcry’ Offers a Nuanced Look at a Wrongful Conviction in Central Texas Rose Cahalan, Texas Monthly

“The Burning Bed” Recalls the Case That Changed How Law Enforcement Treats Domestic Violence Anna Boots, The New Yorker

How does it feel to make police shows in 2020? Lila Shapiro, New York Magazine

AM Stories

Yes, Activists Are Serious About Defunding the Police Bridget Read, New York Magazine

Movement for Black Lives unveils sweeping police reform proposal Haley Byrd and Devan Cole, CNN

The BREATHE Act: Summary Movement for Black Lives

How to Defund the Police Alexis Okeowo, The New Yorker

Amid outcry, these police agencies banned chokeholds. But critics say more reforms needed Shirsho Dasgupta, Miami Herald

Police reform won’t work unless it involves federal and state governments Sarah A. Seo and Daniel Richman, Washington Post

Qualified Immunity Is a Test for Conservatives Jacob Sullum, Reason

How Police Became the Go-to Response to Domestic Violence Aya Gruber, Slate

Unbundling the Police in Venice Beach, California Conor Friedersdorf, The Atlantic

The “Camden Model” Is Not a Model. It’s an Obstacle to Real Change. Brendan McQuade, Jacobin Magazine

A Summer in Camden (2014) Lisa Iaboni, The Marshall Project

Militarization Of Police Means US Protesters Face Weapons Designed For War Terry Gross, NPR

Want to Reform the Criminal Justice System? Focus on Prosecutors Joyce White Vance, Time

How the Law Killed Ahmaud Arbery Joseph Margulies, Boston Review

Breonna Taylor was killed by police in March. The officers involved have not been arrested. Anna North and Fabiola Cineas, Vox

The Memeification of Breonna Taylor’s Death Zeba Blay, Huffington Post

Wednesday July 8, 2020

PM Stories

Exhausted cities face another challenge: a surge in violence Tom Hays and Colleen Long, Washington Post

It’s Been ‘Such a Weird Year.’ That’s Also Reflected in Crime Statistics. Jeff Asher and Ben Horwitz, New York Times

‘It’s Got to Stop’: Atlanta’s Mayor Decries a Surge of Violence as a Girl Is Killed Rick Rojas, New York Times

64 Shot, 10 Dead: Spike in Gun Violence Alarms an On-Edge NYC Ashley Southall, New York Times

Is Gun Violence Spike Tied to Rise in Firearm Purchases During Pandemic? Andrea Cipriano, The Crime Report

How Virginia plans to let people ban themselves from buying guns Graham Moomaw, Virginia Mercury

San Quentin Prison’s COVID-19 Deaths Highlight Officials’ Inept Pandemic Response Scott Shackford, Reason

California’s Carelessness Spurred a New COVID Outbreak Mary Harris, Slate

San Quentin coronavirus outbreak underscores California’s cruel treatment of prisoners Otis R. Taylor Jr., San Francisco Chronicle

“It’s Like a Horror Movie”: Trapped Inside San Quentin During an Explosion of COVID-19 Madison Pauly, Mother Jones

“California Is Ripe for a Revolution” Meagan Day, Jacobin Magazine

Cities and states emptied jails to prevent infection. They should stay empty. Joe Nudell, Alex Chohlas-Wood, and Sharad Goel, Washington Post

LA County Looks for Ways to Close Downtown Men’s Central Jail in 12 Months Elizabeth Marcellino, City News Service

The ‘Surreal’ Moment After Release From Prison Jamie Meltzer and Chris Filippone, New York Times

Ottessa Moshfegh’s Riveting Meta-Mysteries Stephanie Hayes, The Atlantic

HBO’s ‘I May Destroy You’ Reconsiders Sexual Assault Sangeeta Singh-Kurtz, New York Magazine

AM Stories

Listen: Would Defunding the Police Make Us Safer? The Atlantic

Angela Davis: ‘We knew that the role of the police was to protect white supremacy’ Lanre Bakare, The Guardian

What the police really believe Zack Beauchamp, Vox

How I Became a Police Abolitionist Derecka Purnell, The Atlantic

Pulling Down ‘the Wall of No’ on Police Reform in Minneapolis Krithika Varagur, New York Review of Books

You Can Get Kicked Out of a Jury Pool For Supporting Black Lives Matter Abbie VanSickle, The Marshall Project

To Defund the Police, We Have to Dethrone the Law Enforcement Lobby Joshua Page, Heather Schoenfeld, and Michael Campbell, Jacobin Magazine

The duty and burden of the black police officer Dan Zak and Ellen McCarthy, Washington Post

Policing the Police (2016) Frontline PBS

Colorado’s 2015 law changing how officer-involved shootings are reviewed still lets police agencies investigate themselves Jesse Paul, Colorado Sun

Independent police oversight could be coming to Philly, but funding is still a question Laura McCrystal, Philadelphia Inquirer

Breonna Taylor warrant connected to Louisville gentrification plan, lawyers say Phillip M. Bailey and Tessa Duvall, Louisville Courier Journal

Sheriff Enlists Crime Victims in Budget Battle (California) City News Service

Venice tried to oust the LAPD 50 years ago. Today we’re talking about the same issues Jon Wiener, Los Angeles Times

The Los Angeles Paper That Documented Police Brutality in the 1960s and ‘70s Billy Anania, Hyperallergic

Amy Cooper Faces Charges After Calling Police on Black Bird Watcher Jan Ransom, New York Times

Amy Cooper Faces Charges For Her False Police Call. Abolitionists Argue This Is Not The Solution. Elly Belle, Refinery29

Tuesday July 7, 2020

PM Stories

How US Prisons Became Ground Zero for Covid-19 Taylor Miller Thomas, Politico

COVID-19 Pulls Back the Mask on America’s Prison System CJ Ciaramella, Reason

The View From Inside San Quentin State Prison Adamu Chan, Slate

Top medical officer for California prisons ousted amid worsening coronavirus outbreak Richard Winton and Kim Christensen, Los Angeles Times

Gov. Newsom: Sick Inmates ‘Should Not Have Been Transferred’ To San Quentin; Six Inmates Die Of COVID-19 Since Friday KPIX

Inmates Hunger Strike In Protest Of Coronavirus Measures (California) City News Service

Many Deaths at New York State Prisons Are Preventable, Review Finds Reuven Blau and Carson Kessler, The City

He was supposed to be in prison less than a year. Instead, he died after catching the coronavirus. Jolie McCullough, Texas Tribune

New commission in three major cities targets past misconduct within criminal justice systems Taylor Romine and Lauren del Valle, CNN

The False Choice Between ‘Progressive’ and ‘Old-Fashioned’ Prosecutors Marc A. Levin, The Crime Report

Long imprisoned, man wins early release amid pandemic, but efforts to clear his name continue Christy Gutowski, Chicago Tribune

“I Hope Our Daughters Will Not Be Punished” Justine van der Leun, Dissent Magazine

Uncivil Commitment Judith Levine and Erica Meiners, n+1 Magazine

True Crime and the Trash Balance (2019) Soraya Roberts, Longreads

AM Stories

Have Americans Warmed to Calls to ‘Defund the Police’? Giovanni Russonello, New York Times

A Knee on All Americans Tim Lynch, Jurist

Policing Doesn’t Protect Women Isabel Cristo, New Republic

Do police union contracts inhibit reform? Stephanie Francis Ward, ABA Journal

Yes, the last large-scale review of our criminal justice system was in 1965 Taylor Goldenstein, Houston Chronicle

Amid moment of reckoning, some police chiefs leave the job to someone else Milton J. Valencia, Boston Globe

LAPD responds to a million 911 calls a year, but relatively few for violent crimes Joel Rubin and Ben Poston, Los Angeles Times

LA County’s new $0 bail rule permits police to crack down on protesters, legal advocates say Alex Wigglesworth, Los Angeles Times

Police Agencies in New York and Los Angeles Drag Their Feet over Body Camera Footage and Misconduct Records Scott Shackford, Reason

Memo: NYPD Oversight Investigators’ Job Has Become “Untenable” Because Of Body Cam Backlog Sydney Pereira, Gothamist

NYPD’s Culture of Impunity Sees an Officer Repeatedly Accused of Physical and Sexual Abuse Rising Through the Ranks Tana Ganeva, The Intercept

After he shot and killed an unarmed teen driver, a Kansas police officer was paid a $70,000 severance Tom Jackman, Washington Post

Monday June 6, 2020

PM Stories

US Prison Inmate Coronavirus Cases Soar Past 50,000 Andrew Welsh-Huggins, Time

‘Historic health screw-up’: what you need to know about the Covid-19 crisis in California prisons Abené Clayton, The Guardian

Fifth CA Death Row Inmate Dies of COVID-19 The Crime Report

California severely short on firefighting crews after COVID-19 lockdown at prison camps Ryan Sabalow and Jason Pohl, Sacramento Bee

Thousands Of Inmates Quarantined In Eastern Oregon Prison In COVID-19 Outbreak Conrad Wilson, Oregon Public Broadcasting

The Supreme Court Still Refuses to Acknowledge Systemic Racism Mark Kende and Dahlia Lithwick, Slate

How AI makes policing more racist Vox

The Mug Shot, a Crime Story Staple, Is Dropped by Some Newsrooms and Police Maria Cramer, New York Times

Newsrooms Rethink a Crime Reporting Staple: The Mugshot Keri Blakinger, The Marshall Project

The Challenge of Freeing the Wrongfully Convicted Lifer Spencer C. Satin, The Crime Report

AM Stories

The Problem Isn’t Just Police – It’s Politics Alex Vitale and Scott Casleton, Boston Review

Stop Unnecessary Arrests to Slow Coronavirus Spread Eric Reinhart, New York Times

Anger Mounts Inside and Outside San Quentin as COVID Outbreak Grows More Dire Michael Bott, NBC Bay Area

Federal Judge Urges California to Release Vulnerable Inmates Maria Dinzeo, Courthouse News

Jails a COVID-19 ‘tinderbox,’ Sacramento defenders tell high court in plea for early releases Darrell Smith, Sacramento Bee

San Francisco DA Chesa Boudin Joins Push For South Africa-Style Truth, Reconciliation Commission KPIX

Krasner launches truth and reconciliation panel inspired by post-apartheid South Africa’s efforts Ximena Conde, Philadelphia Tribune

A new law was supposed to make Florida’s criminal justice data radically transparent. It failed. Andrew Pantazi, Tallahassee Democrat

Defund Facial Recognition Malkia Devich-Cyril, The Atlantic

No ID, No Job: How Coronavirus Left Parolees in Excruciating Limbo After Leaving Prison Natasha Lennard, The Intercept

Why Is the Public Corruption Unit Prosecuting Ghislaine Maxwell? Barbara McQuade, Daily Beast

‘Unsolved Mysteries’: The OG of True Crime Returns With Gritty Netflix Reboot Daniel Kreps, Rolling Stone

Soledad O’Brien Explores Race, Class and Injustice In New True Crime Podcast Murder on the Towpath Jay Connor, The Root

Crime Story Daily Highlights – Week 47

This is a curated selection of highlights from Crime Story Daily this week.

On the criminal justice policy front: Politico reports that more than a month after protests against police brutality and systemic racism in law enforcement erupted nationwide, and with federal policing legislation held up on Capitol Hill, reforms at the state level have also stalled. Although state legislators around the country have introduced scores of police reform proposals, very few have actually become law as legislatures begin to adjourn for the year. In Minnesota, where the protests began, legislators introduced dozens of police-related bills, but thanks to partisan bickering, not one of them passed before lawmakers adjourned their legislative session. Just five governors have signed any of the new reforms into law, and activists say those measures – in New York, Utah, Colorado, Iowa, and Oregon – don’t go nearly far enough. A piece from the Washington Post highlights one of the most significant barriers to reform: police union officials and veteran cops who loudly refuse to help or permit changes to the “culture” of policing. The Guardian focuses on police union contracts, which protect bad officers and obstruct efforts at reform. And a piece from The Atlantic examines the “blue wall of silence” and the insular police culture that prioritizes loyalty to one’s peers over their sworn duties. Even as bad cops evade punishment for wrongdoing, those who stand up to corruption, report negligence or abuse, or decline to comply with bad orders are frequently marginalized, demoted, or fired outright.

With policing reform at the state and federal levels stalled, many activists have turned their attention to city lawmakers, flooding city council meetings with calls to “defund the police.” The Los Angeles Times reported that on Wednesday, the Los Angeles City Council voted to cut hiring at the LAPD, pushing the number of sworn officers well below 10,000 and “abandoning a budget priority once seen as untouchable by city leaders.” Overall, the council’s decision delivered a $150-million hit to the LAPD, much of it coming from funds earmarked for police overtime pay. Two-thirds of the savings will ultimately be funneled into services for Black, Latino, and disenfranchised communities, such as hiring programs and summer youth jobs. And the New York Times reported that this week, city officials in New York agreed to a “grim” coronavirus-era budget that will shift roughly $1 billion from the NYPD’s $6 billion operating budget. The budget has been widely criticized from all sides: activists say the cuts are nothing more than an “accounting gimmick” and do not reflect a “fundamental shift in the nature of policing,” while others contend that police funding should not be reduced at all with gun violence and other crime on the rise. With activists calling for transformative systemic change, while police departments and unions remain stubbornly resistant to reform, the prolonged and messy battle over relatively modest cuts in one of the most progressive cities in the country reflects the difficulty of finding a middle ground.

In muckraker/watchdog reporting: Pieces from the New York Times and The Appeal focus on San Quentin, California’s oldest and most widely-known prison and now home to one of its worst coronavirus outbreaks. Just a few weeks ago, San Quentin had no known cases of the virus. But at the end of May, state corrections officials transferred 121 inmates to San Quentin from a heavily impacted men’s prison in Chino, in an effort to reduce overcrowding there. The transferred inmates were not properly tested, and within days the virus had begun to spread. Now, more than 1,100 of San Quentin’s 3,700 inmates have been infected, at least one has died, and officials are struggling to contain a rapidly spreading outbreak at a prison that managed to hold off the virus for months. Amid widespread calls to “defund the police,” pieces from USA Today and the Vera Institute of Justice examine just how much policing actually costs. In 35 of the 50 largest cities in the country, police department appropriations account for the largest share of the budget; in some cities, as much as two-thirds of the overall budget is allocated to police. And a New York Times investigation finds that George Floyd and Eric Garner, whose deaths in police custody in Minneapolis and New York have sparked national outrage over the use of deadly police restraints, are not alone: over the past decade, at least 70 people have died in law enforcement custody after saying the same words: “I can’t breathe.” The majority had been stopped or held over nonviolent infractions, 911 calls about suspicious behavior, or concerns about their mental health. More than half of them were black.

In complex crime storytelling: A piece from Politico Magazine focuses on the San Quentin News, a newspaper written and published by inmates at northern California’s San Quentin State Prison. In recent years, prison newsrooms and incarcerated journalists have emerged as powerful voices of reform, shaping the way Americans -- and policymakers -- on the outside see both prisoners and prisons themselves. A piece from The Atlantic highlights the FBI’s Art Theft Program, a team of federal agents trained in art history and cultural anthropology who work to recover and repatriate stolen art. And a piece from The New Yorker focuses on the case of Billy Joe Wardlow. Wardlow, who is scheduled for execution next week, has spent more than 25 years on Texas’s death row for a crime he committed at the age of 18.

And in culture/true crime: New York Magazine reviews I’ll Be Gone in the Dark, a six-part documentary from HBO. The series, adapted from the 2018 book of the same name, recounts true-crime writer Michelle McNamara’s increasingly obsessive investigation of the serial predator known as the Golden State Killer. And the New York Times profiles Liz Garbus, director-producer of I’ll Be Gone. Garbus discusses the difficulty of telling McNamara’s story – she died suddenly in 2016, two years before genetic genealogists would unmask the Golden State Killer’s true identity – and of keeping her voice and her work alive in the film.   

Friday July 3, 2020

PM Stories

As Congress leaves town, hopes for police reforms fade Jennifer Haberkorn and Elliot Wailoo, Los Angeles Times

Getting Judges on the Side of Abolition Matthew Clair, Boston Review

How Mandatory Minimums Are Weaponized Sandeep Dhaliwal, New York Times

Texas’ police use-of-force tactics scrutinized after George Floyd protests Todd Wiseman, Jeremiah Rhodes, and Jolie McCullough, Texas Tribune

Boston police once resembled the community. But force has grown whiter as city becomes more diverse Vernal Coleman, Boston Globe

He Says a Union Fired Him Over His Push for Police Reform Noam Scheiber, New York Times

We Know How George Floyd Died. It Wasn’t From Drugs. Carl L. Hart, New York Times

Is Ketamine the New Police Weapon Against Black Lives? Angelina Chapin, New York Magazine

The Fight to Stop Federal Executions Isn’t Over Jeremy Stahl, Slate

As debates over police reform rage, it’s time to end solitary confinement Amy Fettig and David Fathi, Philadelphia Inquirer

A death row inmate who was found dead had coronavirus. Nearly half the cases in California prisons are in the same facility Nicole Chavez, CNN

Prison Officials in Kansas Ignored the Pandemic. Then People Started Dying. Alice Speri, The Intercept

Behind Bars, but Still Posting on TikTok Louise Matsakis, Wired

AM Stories

On policing, state leaders struggle to respond to demands for fundamental change Nolan D. McCaskill, Politico

‘It makes it very difficult to fire them’: police union contracts protect bad officers, critics warn Tom Perkins, The Guardian

Police chiefs: Mounting pressure to alter operations, persistent Covid threat prompts unease Kevin Johnson, USA Today

How Police Abuse the Charge of Resisting Arrest Lisa Cacho and Jodi Melamed, Boston Review

We Can’t Just Replace Cops With Social Workers Jonathan Foiles, Slate

How to Make a Police Force More Diverse Jennifer Doleac, Bloomberg

Protests over police brutality and criminal justice reform intensify race for LA district attorney James Queally, Los Angeles Times

Los Angeles cuts LAPD spending, taking police staffing to its lowest level in 12 years David Zahniser, Dakota Smith, and Emily Alpert Reyes, Los Angeles Times  

Nearly $1 Billion Is Shifted From Police in Budget That Pleases No One (New York) Dana Rubinstein and Jeffery C. Mays, New York Times

NYC passes $88B budget with significant changes to NYPD Shant Shahrigian, New York Daily News

Can the NYPD Handle a $1 Billion Cut? Yes Mara Gay, New York Times

How New York Protesters Are Handling a Stinging Defeat Aymann Ismail, Slate

The Scars of Being Policed While Black Laurence Ralph, New York Times

How Black Lives Matter fits into the long history of American radicalism Sean Illing, Vox

Thursday July 2, 2020

PM Stories

A rural Northern California county had few COVID-19 cases, until an inmate transfer led to a large prison outbreak Hailey Branson-Potts, Los Angeles Times

San Quentin Prisoners Go On Hunger Strike Amid Massive COVID-19 Outbreak Kira Lerner, The Appeal

Local lawmakers blast California officials for San Quentin COVID-19 Outbreak Don Thompson, Santa Rosa Press Democrat

COVID-19 No Excuse for Ignoring Rights of the Incarcerated: Paper Andrea Cipriano, The Crime Report

These Women Received a Death Sentence for Being Sick In Prison CJ Ciaramella, Reason

Should Billy Joe Wardlow Be Executed For a Crime Committed When He Was Eighteen? Lincoln Caplan, The New Yorker

What Prison Abolition Actually Looks Like Barry Lam, Slate

Want to Reform the Criminal Justice System? End the Drug War. John Stossel, Reason

Marijuana Laws ‘Central’ to Justice Reform, Advocates Say The Crime Report

Prosecutors in three cities launch commissions for victims of unjust policing and prosecution Tom Jackman, Washington Post

‘Dramatic’ Reforms to Pretrial Practice Triggered by Pandemic: Survey Michael Gelb, The Crime Report

In the ‘Blackest city in America,’ a fight to end facial recognition Alfred Ng, CNET 

San Francisco police to stop releasing suspect mug shots in effort to prevent racial bias Alejandro Serrano and Bob Egelko, San Francisco Chronicle

Virtual Criminal Justice May Make the System More Equitable Lucy Lang, Wired

Liz Garbus Is Taking Back the Voices Stolen by the Golden State Killer Elisabeth Vincentelli, New York Times

AM Stories

Why Statistics Don’t Capture The Full Extent Of The Systemic Bias In Policing Laura Bronner, FiveThirtyEight

Police Punish the ‘Good Apples’ Musa al-Gharbi, The Atlantic

Defund the Sheriffs, Too Melissa Batchelor Warnke, New Republic

Standing Their Ground in Well-Manicured Yards Adam Weinstein, The New Republic

A tale of two men protecting their families with guns. Meet the one behind bars. Tony Messenger, St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Those gun-toting homeowners in St. Louis are what gun ownership in America looks like Philip Bump, Washington Post

In LA, Black activists debate the value of dialogue with police in reform efforts Leila Miller, Los Angeles Times

As social unrest swept LA a curious trend emerged: Calls for police plunged Matt Stiles, Los Angeles Times

Los Angeles City Council Poised to Cut $150 Million from Police Budget City News Service

Judge in Floyd Murder Case Warns of Tainted Jury Pool Andy Monserud, Courthouse News

Journalists are reexamining their reliance on a longtime source: The police Paul Farhi and Elahe Izadi, Washington Post

Did “Live PD” Let Police Censor Footage? Cary Aspinwall and Sachi McClendon, The Marshall Project

Jacklean Davis Was The First Black Woman To Serve As a Homicide Detective in New Orleans. Did A Now Disbarred Prosecutor Bring About Her Fall? Ethan Brown, The Appeal

Wednesday July 1, 2020

PM Stories

San Quentin Prison Was Free of the Virus. One Decision Fueled an Outbreak. Timothy Williams and Rebecca Griesbach, New York Times

‘Incarceration Should Not Mean a Death Sentence’: Advocates Want a Plan to Stop COVID-19 Spread in San Quentin Lakshmi Sarah, Sara Hossaini, and Kate Wolffe, KQED

UC health experts: San Quentin coronavirus outbreak could pose threat to entire Bay Area Jason Fagone and Megan Cassidy, San Francisco Chronicle

What Ohio’s COVID-19 Outbreaks Can Teach California Prisons Heather Harris, Prison Policy Institute of California

Federal Executions to Resume Amid a Pandemic and Protests Hailey Fuchs, New York Times

Thousands of US judges who broke laws or oaths remained on the bench Michael Berens and John Shiffman, Reuters

Budget Cuts May Keep Rikers Open Past 2027 Deadline Jonathan Ben-Menachem, The Appeal

Their Unlikely Alliance Began at Whataburger. Can They Reform a Texas Jail? Maurice Chammah, The Marshall Project

Why Is The DOJ Trying To Send The Mack Brothers Back To Prison? Kevin Ring, Above the Law

The FBI Agents Who Return Stolen Cultural Artifacts Amber Dance, The Atlantic

Tie a Tourniquet on Your Heart Diana Moskovitz, Popula

AM Stories

Protests Prompt Policing Changes, But Skeptics Doubt They Will Be Enough Lindsay Van Ness, PEW

Addressing Misconduct Will Require A Change in Police Culture. Is Police Leadership Up To The Challenge? Karen Collins Rice and Seth Stoughton, Talking Points Memo

What Policing Costs Vera Institute of Justice

Why the $6 Billion NYPD Is Now a Target of ‘Defund the Police’ Michael Schwirtz and Ali Watkins, New York Times

New York City mayor seeks $1 billion police cut amid City Hall protest PBS

De Blasio Vows to End Solitary Confinement in New York City Jails Deanna Paul, Wall Street Journal

I’ve Reported on How Chicago’s Ticketing System Has Hurt Black Residents. Now, the Conversation About Reform Is Changing. Melissa Sanchez, ProPublica

Blacks are only 7% of the Bay Area, but 27% of those killed by police Thomas Peele, David Debolt, Robert Salonga, and Nate Gartrell, San Jose Mercury News

She hasn’t charged a cop for a fatal shooting in 27 years. Amid protests, election nears. (Florida) David Ovalle and David Smiley, Miami Herald

There Are 93 US Attorneys. Seven Are Women And Only Two Are Black. Zoe Tillman, BuzzFeed News

The FBI has a history of targeting black activists. That’s still true today Mike German, The Guardian

Tuesday June 30, 2020

PM Stories

Supreme Court clears way for federal executions to resume Richard Wolf, USA Today

Supreme Court won’t hear challenge to new federal death penalty procedure Robert Barnes and Mark Berman, Washington Post

Golden State Killer pleads guilty to murders and other crimes that terrorized California Paige St. John and Luke Money, Los Angeles Times

A prison sentence of life without parole isn’t called the death penalty. But it should be. Peter Irons, NBC News

San Quentin: Covid-19 cases at California prison surge to 1,000 Abené Clayton and Mario Koran, The Guardian

San Quentin State Prison is ‘deep area of focus and concern’ in California: Nearly one-third of inmates have coronavirus Jordan Culver, USA Today

507 inmates test positive for COVID-19 in Fresno Jail, 25 officers as well (California) Jim Guy, Fresno Bee

Lockdown In Lockup: A Prisoner At Sing Sing On Life During The COVID-19 Crisis Mohammed Monsuri and Daniel A. Gross, NPR

San Quentin’s Breakthrough Prison Newsroom Emily Nonko, Politico Magazine

Pandemic Paves Way for Decarceration Daniel Munczek Edelman, The Progressive

Keeping Released Prisoners Safe and Sane Mark Kanning, The New Yorker

How Dollar Stores Became Magnets for Crime and Killing Alec MacGillis, ProPublica

A DNA Mix-Up Involving a Washing Machine Kept a Man in Jail for 3 Years Heather Murphy, New York Times

AM Stories

Three Words. 70 Cases. The Tragic History of ‘I Can’t Breathe.’ Mike Baker, Jennifer Valentino-DeVries, Manny Fernandez, and Michael LaForgia, New York Times

Police chiefs and mayors push for reform. Then they run into veteran officers, unions and ‘how culture is created.’ Kimberly Kindy and Mark Berman, Washington Post

‘Which Officers Should Be Laid Off First?’ Zack Stanton, Politico Magazine

Minneapolis City Council Advances Plan to Abolish Police Department Joe Barrett, Wall Street Journal

The Black Officer Who Detained George Floyd Had Pledged to Fix the Police Kim Barker, New York Times

Major Cities Wrestle With Proposals to End School Policing CJ Ciaramella, Reason

After Ahmaud Arbery’s Killing, Georgia Governor Signs Hate Crimes Legislation Jason Slotkin, NPR

With a signature, Ga. no longer 1 of 4 states without hate-crimes law Maya T. Prabhu, Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Policing the World Andrew Lanham, Boston Review

What Law Did We Break? Ryan Devereaux, The Intercept

America Has a Secret Police Problem Matt Ford, New Republic

Monday June 29, 2020

PM Stories

Hoping for Justice, Killed by COVID-19 Justin Fenton, The Crime Report

San Quentin prison coronavirus outbreak ‘tragic, predictable and unacceptable’ Rong-Gong Lin II and Sean Greene, Los Angeles Times

California governor grants clemency to 21 prisoners as thousands infected with Covid-19 Sam Levin, The Guardian

How Cash Bail Disenfranchises People Of Color And Makes Our Criminal Justice System Inherently Unjust Maggie Germano, Forbes

How a Group of Lifers Cracked the Code of Prison Reform Anna Clark, Politico Magazine

17 Rikers Guards Will Be Disciplined in Death of Transgender Woman Jan Ransom and Ed Shanahan, New York Times

A Dangerous Man Brant Bingamon, Austin Chronicle

He spent 22 years in prison for a murder he didn’t commit. His lawsuit says Philly police detectives knew his case was flawed. Chris Palmer, Philadelphia Inquirer

Saying Goodbye to Law & Order Jordan Calhoun, The Atlantic

Review: A Killer, a Writer, and the Questions Both Left Behind Mike Hale, New York Times

I’ll Be Gone in the Dark Sheds Light on a Remarkable True-Crime Crusader Matt Zoller Seitz, New York Magazine

AM Stories

What We Know About the Killing of Elijah McClain Claire Lampen, New York Magazine

Elijah McClain Died After He Was Detained. Now He’s Being Remembered. Richard Fausset and Shaila Dewan, New York Times

Amid national crisis on police brutality and racism, Congress flails John Bresnahan, Sarah Ferris, Heather Caygle, and Marianne Levine, Politico

Here’s how much money goes to police departments in largest cities across the US Carl Sullivan and Carla Baranauckas, USA Today

‘Defund Police’ Advocates Say Their Ideas are Neither New Nor Radical Tayler Green, The Crime Report

We Can End Qualified Immunity Tomorrow Alex Reinert, Boston Review 

What Are Cops Really Thinking When Routine Arrests Turn Violent? Simone Weichselbaum and Jamiles Lartey, The Marshall Project

‘The avatar of cop violence in Boston’: Police captain routinely crosses line, activists say Dugan Arnett, Adam Vaccaro, and Steve Annear, Boston Globe

How the DC Police Department, DOJ, and DC Attorney General’s Office Shield Cops’ Bad Acts Mitch Ryals, Washington City Paper

‘I Humbly Apologize’: Philadelphia Officials Announce Changes After Protest Response Nilo Tabrizy, Christoph Koettl, Muyi Xiao, Natalie Reneau, and Drew Jordan, New York Times

Nationwide Calls For Police Reform Put New Pressure On Atlanta To Close Its City Jail Victoria Law, The Appeal

Reformers want California police to stop using a gang database seen as racially biased Anita Chabria and Leila Miller, Los Angeles Times

Boston Bans Use Of Facial Recognition Technology. It’s The 2nd-Largest City To Do So. Ally Jarmanning, WBUR

Crime Story Daily Highlights – Week 46

This is a curated selection of highlights from Crime Story Daily this week.

On the criminal justice policy front: A piece from the New York Review of Books examines how “defunding” and “disbanding” police – radical ideas rooted in decades of prison abolitionist organizing – became the demands of the mass protest movement. As calls to defund gain unprecedented traction, NBC News focuses on what they might mean in practice, while a piece from USA Today highlights the handful of communities that have already started, diverting funding away from police budgets and into mental health resources and response teams. A piece from The Appeal emphasizes the culpability of judges in upholding mass criminalization and incarceration, while the Boston Review focuses on the role of prosecutors. A piece from the New York Times explains why federal police reform legislation stalls in Congress: law enforcement lobbies and unions, which have donated generously to members of both political parties, dictate the terms of the debate, prodding lawmakers to resist the strictest reforms. A piece from the Washington Post focuses on competing reform bills recently introduced in the House (by Democrats) and the Senate (by Republicans), explaining why both ultimately fall short. Finally, Politico Magazine highlights ten down-ballot races and initiatives that could fundamentally change the way cities and states around the country approach policing and criminal justice, from a measure to dissolve the local police department in a conservative Georgia county to Los Angeles’ upcoming prosecutor election, the “single most important DA race in the country.”

In muckraker/watchdog reporting: ProPublica goes inside the Louisiana State Penitentiary in Angola, the largest maximum-security prison in the country and home to one of its worst coronavirus outbreaks. As the virus spread, inmates described widespread illness, dysfunctional or nonexistent medical care, and rampant neglect; meanwhile, on the outside, corrections officials made rosy pronouncements about containing the virus, declaring their response a “success.” A piece from the New Republic highlights the “vast, hidden inequities of the civil legal system”: while the Constitution guarantees a universal “right to counsel” in criminal cases, Americans with civil legal needs are not afforded the same protections. For poor people, access to civil legal representation depends almost entirely on geography and luck: although 73% of low-income Americans experience at least one civil legal problem per year, 86% of them receive either minimal or no legal help to deal with it, leaving them to represent themselves in court or administrative procedures they are often woefully unprepared to navigate. And a piece from The Atlantic explores the “hidden constitutional costs of the carceral system.” Over the past 50 years, courts have repeatedly narrowed the scope of constitutional protections afforded by the Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Amendments, which govern our criminal justice and carceral systems. Many of these decisions have resulted from cases where a broader interpretation of the law might interfere with the machinery of policing and mass incarceration. The result is that courts have “allowed the carceral system to expand unchecked while over-policed and over-incarcerated communities incur extraordinary constitutional costs.”

In complex crime storytelling: A piece from the New York Times focuses on the story of Robert Williams. In the first known case of its kind, Williams was wrongfully arrested based on a flawed match from a facial recognition algorithm. The case raises troubling questions about police use of facial recognition and highlights another, more subtle manifestation of systemic racism in law enforcement: bias in the systems used to surveil communities and identify people for prosecution. And an essay from n+1 Magazine follows the spread of COVID-19 through New York’s prison system, contrasting snippets from Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s daily coronavirus briefings with letters and emails from inmates incarcerated across the state. In his speeches, Cuomo invokes the language of social responsibility and collective care, emphasizing the need to “prioritize vulnerable populations”; but the governor’s inaction to address the outbreak in prisons and jails, and his failure to release all but a few of New York state’s thousands of prisoners, tell a different story, reflected in the increasingly frantic, panicked dispatches from inmates on the inside.

And in culture/true crime: A piece from The New Yorker highlights the art of anti-racist activism. While images of black protest undoubtedly belong to American political history, the work of Black Panther Party Minister of Culture Emory Douglas and other “angry black artists” of the twentieth century has largely been excluded from the art-history canon. The piece highlights the cultural and political significance of black protest art, calling for a broad reimagining of American art history that creates space for Douglas and his contemporaries: “art history is… a keeper of popular memory, a version of how we see our past. American art history needs to acknowledge the art made by angry black artists — as art. As American art.” And a piece from Mother Jones focuses on the problematic politics of true crime. For their mostly female listeners, true crime podcasts offer a kind of catharsis: they speak to and validate the fear that many women already carry through our everyday lives. But true crime’s escapist appeal relies on an uncritical view of law enforcement and the criminal legal system and a punitive, carceral vision of justice; in the world of true crime, the system almost always does its job, and “justice” is almost always served, usually in the form of a long prison sentence. The failings of true crime podcasts, the piece argues, do not lie in their basic premise – that women are harmed by men – because that is undoubtedly true. The problem is in their assumption that increased surveillance, policing, and incarceration are the remedies: “True crime plays into women’s fear and anger at existing in a world where they are disproportionately subjected to violence. But denuded of their political content, their radical potential, fear and anger can become advertisements for the carceral state.”

Friday June 26, 2020

PM Stories

House passes broad police reform legislation in wake of George Floyd’s killing Felicia Sonmez, Paul Kane, and Rhonda Colvin, Washington Post

Police Groups Wield Strong Influence in Congress, Resisting the Strictest Reforms Luke Broadwater and Catie Edmondson, New York Times

Defund-the-police calls aren’t going away. But what do they mean practically? Tracey Meares, Phillip Atiba Goff, and Tom R. Tyler, NBC News

Both parties’ police reform bills are underwhelming. Here’s why. Radley Balko, Washington Post

The Coronavirus Crisis Inside Prisons Won’t Stay Behind Bars Editorial Board, New York Times

Failing Grades: States’ Responses to COVID-19 in Jails & Prisons Emily Widra and Dylan Hayre, Prison Policy Initiative

10 Races that Could Totally Change Courts, Cops and Drug Law in 2020 Ruairí Arrieta-Kenna, Politico Magazine

Washington Sheriff Faces Recall Efforts for Endangering Public Health Jessica Pishko, The Appeal

The People Arrested for Protesting Police Are In Danger Philip V. McHarris, Slate

Periods Are a Source of Abuse for Protesters in Police Custody Jennifer Weiss-Wolf, Newsweek

Where Bail Funds Go From Here Jia Tolentino, The New Yorker

Bail Funds, Flush With Cash, Learn to ‘Grind Through This Horrible Process’ Nicholas Kulish, New York Times

AM Stories

House to vote on sweeping police reform package that would ban chokeholds, end qualified immunity after George Floyd death Christal Hayes, USA Today

Qualified Immunity Protection for Police Emerges as Flash Point Amid Protests Hailey Fuchs, New York Times

My Family Saw a Police Car Hit a Kid on Halloween. Then I Learned How NYPD Immunity Works. Eric Umansky, ProPublica

Revealed: police unions spend millions to influence policy in biggest US cities Tom Perkins, The Guardian

‘No Cop Money’ Pledge Should Extend to Consultants and Law Enforcement Super PACs Adam Eichen and Andrew Perez, The Appeal

Abusive Cops Keep Their Jobs Through Arbitration Courthouse News

9 Departments and Multiple Infractions for One New Jersey Police Officer Rukmini Callimachi, New York Times

DC’s Bad Cops List Is Shrouded in Secrecy – and Could Be Impacting Criminal Cases Anna Merlan, Vice

Fired Philadelphia cop’s legal fate remains in limbo 2½ years after he fatally shot an unarmed black man Mensah M. Dean, Philadelphia Inquirer

A Minneapolis Neighborhood Vowed to Check Its Privilege. It’s Already Being Tested. Caitlin Dickerson, New York Times

LA County Board Considers Reallocating Jail Funding, New 911 System Elizabeth Marcellino, City News Service

“In One Day, We Became the Worst Things in the Country” Christina Cauterucci, Slate

What is kettling? Here’s a look into the usage and history of the controversial police tactic Wyatte Grantham-Philips, Tyler J. Davis, and Nick Coltrain, USA Today

De Blasio’s Fireworks Crackdown Is the Same Violent “Quality of Life” Policing That Got Us Here in the First Place Natasha Lennard, The Intercept

What would defunding the police really look like? These artists have a vision Eddie Kim, Mel Magazine

Thursday June 25, 2020

PM Stories

How the Federal Government Lost Track of Deaths in Custody Ethan Corey, The Appeal

Inside the US’s Largest Maximum-Security Prison, COVID-19 Raged. Outside, Officials Called Their Fight a Success. (Louisiana) Anat Rubin, Tim Golden, and Richard A. Webster, ProPublica

Committee approves controversial former Angola warden to lead Mississippi’s prison system Luke Ramseth, Mississippi Clarion Ledger

Suspects in Ahmaud Arbery’s Killing Are Indicted on Murder Charges Richard Fausset, New York Times

US inmates got virus relief checks, and IRS wants them back Rebecca Boone, AP News

Georgia Budget Cuts Threaten Prisoners’ Ability To Challenge Convictions Elizabeth Weill-Greenberg, The Appeal

We Need More Trials By Jury Dan Adams, The Bulwark

51 Years in Prison for a Car Crash Meg O’Connor, The Appeal

‘I’ll Be Gone in the Dark’ isn’t just another true-crime docuseries. It’s a brilliant look at how the genre pulls us in. Hank Stuever, Washington Post

AM Stories

The Police Are Still Rioting Zak Cheney-Rice, New York Magazine

The Reckoning Is About More Than Police Violence Delilah Friedler, Mother Jones

Now Do Lincoln Nick Martin, New Republic

The Bumpy Road to Police Abolition Ted Alcorn, The Appeal

Louisville Police Fire Brett Hankison, Officer in Breonna Taylor Shooting Will Wright, New York Times

A Florida Cop Killed Tony McDade. Now He’s Hiding Behind a Law Meant to Protect Victims. Laura Thompson, Mother Jones

Democrats Threaten To Block ‘Woefully Inadequate’ GOP Police Reform Bill Igor Bobic, Huffington Post

Hawaii’s Highest Court Is Pushing Back On How Police Interrogate Suspects Stewart Yerton, Honolulu Civil Beat

Pittsburgh suspends policing program that used algorithms to predict crime ‘hot spots’ Ashley Murray and Kate Giammarise, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

“Police and DAs Work Hand in Hand”: How Black Lives Matter is Shaping New York’s DA Elections Daniel Nichanian, The Appeal

Trump Didn’t ‘Send In the Troops.’ They Were Already There. CJ Chivers, New York Times Magazine

The Pentagon Finally Details its Weapons-for-Cops Giveaway (2014) Shawn Musgrave, Tom Meagher, and Gabriel Dance, The Marshall Project

Protest Arrests Led To Surge Of Bail Fund Donations: Impact Could Be Long Lasting Camila Domonoske, NPR

Nextdoor Removes App’s ‘Forward to Police’ Feature Allyson Waller, New York Times

Wednesday June 24, 2020

PM Stories

Paraphrase Sarah Resnick, n+1 Magazine

COVID-19 Spurs Call to Reform Prison Health Care Michael Gelb, The Crime Report

In the Middle of a Pandemic, Prisoners at San Quentin Are Punished for Being Sick Juan Moreno Haines, The Appeal

‘SOS COVID-19’: Immigrants fear for their lives in Houston detention facilities plagued by virus Olivia P. Tallet, Houston Chronicle

No Money For Bail Left 1 Man To Ride Out COVID-19 In Jail Conrad Wilson, Oregon Public Broadcasting

Lawyers can’t visit clients in prison, so quit monitoring their emails Catherine Crump and Ken White, Los Angeles Times

Wrongfully Accused by an Algorithm Kashmir Hill, New York Times

He Spent 25 Years in Prison for Murder, but Was Innocent All Along Jan Ransom, New York Times

Turn Rikers Island Into a Solar Farm Kate Aronoff, New Republic

Bill Cosby appeal will test scope of #MeToo prosecutions Maryclaire Dale, AP News

Tiger King’ to ‘Murder in the Bayou’: How True Crime Docuseries Shine a Light on Larger Cultural Issues Shannon L. Bowen, Hollywood Reporter

HBO's I'll Be Gone in the Dark Celebrates an Author's Legacy by Humanizing the True Crime Genre Judy Berman, Time

AM Stories

An American Spring of Reckoning Jelani Cobb, The New Yorker

Cops and the Culture War Sarah Jones, New York Magazine

When Will Black Women See Justice? Gabrielle Bellot, New York Magazine

Why police often single out trans people for violence Katelyn Burns, Vox

Behind ‘Defund the Police’ and ‘Abolish ICE’ is a shared hope: That more dads make it home Theresa Vargas, Washington Post

The NYPD Spends $6 Billion a Year. Proposals to Defund It Want to Cut $1 Billion. Ella Koeze and Denise Lu, New York Times

The Case for Abolishing Police Unions John Stossel, Reason

Police unions see their clout crater amid protests, but for how long? Anita Chabria, Los Angeles Times

Philly’s police union spent decades amassing power. Reforms could cut its clout David Gambacorta, Juliana Feliciano Reyes, William Bender, and Sean Collins Walsh, Philadelphia Inquirer

Apply Broken-Windows Theory to the Police Conor Friedersdorf, The Atlantic

Federal Policing Needs Reform Too JD Tuccille, Reason

Police reform efforts in Minnesota, where George Floyd was killed, stall amid partisan disputes Holly Bailey, Washington Post

LA County Commission Recommends Significant Changes to Policing City News Service

Activists Call For End To Los Angeles Unified School Police City News Service

True Crime Is Cathartic for Women. It’s Also Cop Propaganda. PE Moskowitz, Mother Jones

Tuesday June 23, 2020

PM Stories

The Hidden Constitutional Costs of the Carceral System Tahir Duckett, The Atlantic

Rural Communities of Color Left Behind by Justice Reforms: Paper The Crime Report

Hold Prosecutors Accountable, Too Kate Levine and Joanna Schwartz, Boston Review

California DA threatens whistleblower complaint against public defender over protest blog posts Radley Balko, Washington Post

NY’s Legal Limbo: Pandemic Creates Backlog of 39,200 Criminal Cases Alan Feuer, Nicole Hong, Benjamin Weiser, and Jan Ransom, New York Times

COVID-19 cases are skyrocketing in San Quentin, Corcoran prisons (California) Nate Gartrell, San Jose Mercury News

These Political Candidates Are Embracing Their Criminal Records Christie Thompson, The Marshall Project

How the ‘Collateral Consequences’ of Conviction Can Last a Lifetime Cynthia A. Golembeski, The Crime Report

Death row inmates have constitutional rights, too Editorial Board, Los Angeles Times

Our First Authoritarian Crackdown Brenda Wineapple, New York Review of Books

A Racist Attack Was Caught on Camera. Nearly 45 Years Later, It Still Stings. Whitney Hurst, Christiaan Triebert, Jonah M. Kessel, and Jeff Bernier, New York Times

AM Stories

How Defund and Disband Became the Demands Amna A. Akbar, New York Review of Books

Defund police? Some cities have already started, investing in mental health instead Lindsay Schnell, USA Today

“The Plight of the Fight”: A View from Atlanta After the Killing of Rayshard Brooks Charles Bethea, The New Yorker

Police Decisions Are Scrutinized After Rayshard Brooks’s Fatal Encounter Richard Fausset and Shaila Dewan, New York Times

Killing of George Floyd shows that years of police reform fall far short Andy Mannix, Minneapolis Star Tribune

How Do the Police Actually Spend Their Time? Jeff Asher and Ben Horwitz, New York Times

Why Was a Grim Report on Police-Involved Deaths Never Released? Mara Gay, New York Times

The NYPD Paid $4.5 Million for a Bias Trainer. She Says She’s Not the Solution. Jeremy Stahl, Slate

Black Lives Matter’s Years of Pressure Paved Way for Sudden Police Overhaul Arian Campo-Flores and Joshua Jamerson, Wall Street Journal

Colorado passes sweeping police reform bill Li Cohen, CBS News

Memphis police department to stop using no-knock warrants Adrian Sainz, AP News

A Labor Council Has Expelled Seattle’s Police Union. Good. Billy Binion, Reason

Officer Brett Hankison being fired from Louisville police after Breonna Taylor shooting Darcy Costello and Tessa Duvall, Louisville Courier Journal

America’s Criminal Justice System and Me Ishmael Reed, New York Times

Seeing Police Brutality Then and Now Nell Painter, The New Yorker

Monday June 22, 2020

PM Stories

Trump Fires US Attorney in New York Who Investigated His Inner Circle Alan Feuer, Katie Benner, Ben Protess, Maggie Haberman, William K. Rashbaum, Nicole Hong, and Benjamin Weiser, New York Times

In the crisis at Justice, impartial rule of law is on the line Stuart M. Gerson, Washington Post

Why Bill Barr Got Rid of Geoffrey Berman Paul Rosenzweig, The Atlantic

Incarcerated Women: Forgotten Victims of COVID-19 Krystin Roehl and Jesse Kelley, The Crime Report

Coronavirus Cases Skyrocket at Bay Area Prison After Inmate Transfers Madison Pauly, Mother Jones

As Use of Solitary Confinement Surges, Advocates Call for Releasing Prisoners Joshua Manson, The Appeal

No Money, No Lawyer, No Justice Kathryn Joyce, New Republic

States Are Putting Teenagers in Debt and Destroying Their Families Matthew Shaer, Slate

College Programs in Prisons Go Remote Lilah Burke, Inside Higher Ed

True Crime Thriller ‘Eugene’ Tackles Trans Issues in Black and White Ben Croll, Variety

Ottessa Moshfegh’s Latest Is a Murder Mystery, but Where’s the Body? Dwight Garner, New York Times

AM Stories

Defunding police and prisons: a primer Stephen F. Ostertag, The Lens

Judges Must Also Be Centered in Demands to Defund and Divest From Mass Criminalization Gina Clayton-Johnson, The Appeal

Philly budget deal cancels $19 million increase in police funding, moves another $14 million elsewhere Laura McCrystal, Philadelphia Inquirer

Portland City Council Votes to Cut $15 Million From Police Budget Jay Willis, The Appeal

Illinois Supreme Court rules older Chicago police misconduct records should remain available to public Jeremy Gorner, John Byrne, and Dan Hinkel, Chicago Tribune

Prosecutors charge police, push reforms amid Floyd protests Alanna Durkin Richer and Michael Tarm, AP News

I Was Mayor of Minneapolis. I Know Why Police Reforms Fail. RT Rybak, The Atlantic

Congress Is Going to Have to Repeal Qualified Immunity Eric Schnurer, The Atlantic

The Police Can’t Shake Their Persecution Complex Libby Watson, New Republic

The ‘Warrior Cop’ Is a Toxic Mentality. And a Lucrative Industry. Alain Stephens, The Trace

In Minneapolis, Looking for Police Recruits Who Can Resist Warrior Culture John Eligon and Dan Levin, New York Times

One reason for police violence? Too many men with badges. Rosa Brooks, Washington Post

Rayshard Brooks Wanted the Criminal Justice System to Change Before He Was Fatally Shot by Police Jewel Wicker, Teen Vogue

Not Just “Cops”: It’s Time to End the Entertainment Industry’s Anti-Black, Pro-Police Programming Rich Benjamin, The Intercept

Crime Story Daily Highlights – Week 45

This is a curated selection of highlights from Crime Story Daily this week.

On the criminal justice policy front: This week, amid ongoing protests, lawmakers around the country continued to implement police reforms. In Minnesota, the governor endorsed a package of sweeping changes, including proposals to revamp oversight and disciplinary procedures and fund community groups that could act as alternatives to police. Reform legislation in Washington, DC will expand civilian oversight, make it easier to fire officers, and tweak rules governing the use of deadly force. Boston Mayor Martin Walsh declared racism a “public health crisis,” announcing plans to reroute $12 million in police overtime spending – 20% of the department’s overtime budget – towards social programs and services. In New York, the NYPD will disband its infamous “anti-crime” units, plainclothes teams that target violent crime and have been involved in some of the city’s most notorious police shootings. San Francisco DA Chesa Boudin moved to ban prosecutions based solely on the testimony of police officers with a history of “serious misconduct.” And on Tuesday, President Trump announced an executive action on policing, unveiling steps to incentivize local police to bolster training and to create a national database for tracking misconduct.

Trump’s plan was swiftly panned by Democrats and liberal groups as falling far short of the sweeping changes needed to address an ingrained culture of systemic racism and brutality. The New York Times Magazine presents a discussion between activists and policy researchers on different pathways to reform. A Los Angeles Times editorial highlights the movement to “defund the police.” In a piece for the New York Times, activist and organizer Mariame Kaba reiterates the call to “abolish the police”; and a piece from New York Magazine outlines why police abolition is a useful framework for conceptualizing reform. And finally, a piece from High Country News focuses on Eugene, Oregon, where a long-running program offers a successful model for nonviolent, community-based alternatives to police. The CAHOOTS program – Crisis Assistance Helping Out On The Streets – employs trauma-informed mental health professionals, trained in harm reduction and de-escalation techniques, as first responders to crises involving substance abuse or mental health, taking police out of the equation entirely in situations that can often lead to violence.

In muckraker/watchdog reporting: The New York Times reported this week that even as coronavirus cases have plateaued nationwide, new cases in prisons and jails across the country have soared in recent weeks. Over the past month, the number of prison inmates known to be infected has doubled to more than 68,000. Prison deaths tied to the coronavirus have also risen, by 73% since mid-May. A piece from The Marshall Project outlines how the Bureau of Prisons’ slow and incomplete pandemic response turned federal prisons into “death traps." Reason reports that the number of inmates held in solitary confinement in prisons and jails across the US has skyrocketed over the last few months, increasing by nearly 500% over pre-pandemic levels. Prior to COVID-19, the number sat at around 60,000; since the pandemic reached American shores, at least 300,000 people have been put in solitary confinement. And a piece from the New Yorker focuses on Cummins Unit, a state penitentiary in rural southeastern Arkansas and home to one of the largest coronavirus outbreaks in the country.

In complex crime storytelling: A piece from the New Yorker focuses on the controversial “felony murder” charge, wherein “a person who unintentionally causes a death while perpetrating a crime may be punished as harshly as one who intentionally commits murder.” Felony murder charges are most often brought in robberies that accidentally result in death – and have long been criticized by criminal-law reformers and critics of mass incarceration. The conversation around felony murder was complicated last week by the announcement of upgraded charges – including a second-degree felony murder charge – against Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer implicated in George Floyd’s death. The piece outlines the long and troubled history of the “felony murder” charge, attempting to make sense of the charges against Chauvin from a criminal justice reformer’s point of view. And a piece from the New York Times focuses on Marty Goddard. In the 1970s, Goddard led a campaign to treat sexual assault as a crime that could be investigated, rather than a “feminine delusion.” She began a revolution in forensics by envisioning the first standardized rape kit, containing items like swabs and combs to gather evidence, and envelopes to seal it in. The rape kit is one of the most powerful tools ever invented to bring criminals to justice; Goddard’s work revolutionized the way law enforcement and the criminal justice system treat sexual assault. Yet her name, and her story, are still mostly unknown. In many ways, Goddard and her invention shared the same fate: both were “enormously important, and consistently overlooked.”

And in culture/true crime: A piece from The Marshall Project highlights “The Writing on the Wall,” a traveling art installation that projects writings by currently or formerly incarcerated people onto buildings and landscapes. The exhibition seeks to amplify the voices and perspectives of incarcerated people and to share their stories with those on the outside. A piece from The Atlantic focuses on Gordon Parks, Life magazine’s first black photographer. Cinematic, intense, and exquisitely composed, paired with prescient and incisive commentary, Parks’ pictures revolutionized what a “crime photo” could look like. But they also exposed and spoke to issues that remain as relevant today as they were in 1957: “the trip-wire tension between race and law enforcement, the relationship between poverty and mass incarceration, the gulf between what we see and what we think we see.” And another piece from The Atlantic focuses on Cops, which was recently cancelled after 32 seasons on the air. Cops billed itself as reality TV, but in many ways the show was propaganda: the longest-running prime-time show in the US, it was filmed in partnership with local police forces and edited to portray a skewed, amped-up version of law enforcement from a “cop’s-eye” point of view. Cops has long faced accusations of racism and classism in its portrayal of policing, but what finally damned the show – along with mainstream America’s prevailing image of the “hero cop” – was actual documentary video: “If Cops is a simulacrum of American police work, polished and cut and spliced into a hollow replica, the videos of police officers killing Alton Sterling, Philando Castile… Eric Garner, George Floyd, and too, too many others are indubitably real.”

Friday June 19, 2020

PM Stories

Trump Can’t Immediately End DACA, Supreme Court Rules Adam Liptak and Michael D. Shear, New York Times

For ‘dreamers,’ elation and relief after Supreme Court decision extending DACA Maria Sacchetti and Nick Miroff, Washington Post

A State-by-State Look at Coronavirus in Prisons The Marshall Project

The Prison Was Built to Hold 1,500 Inmates. It Had Over 2,000 Coronavirus Cases. (Ohio) Dara Lind, ProPublica

Thousands are serving life sentences in Louisiana. A new case could give them the chance to appeal. Richard A. Webster, Washington Post

The Double Jeopardy Loophole Barry Lam, Slate

Which States Are Taking on Police Reform After George Floyd? Charlie Neibergall, The Marshall Project

The Plight of the Police Whistleblower Isidoro Rodriguez, The Crime Report

AM Stories

Ex-Atlanta Police officer who killed Rayshard Brooks charged with felony murder Ryan Young, Eric Levenson, Steve Almasy, and Christina Maxouris, CNN

Rayshard Brooks was kicked, denied medical care: The stunning allegations against ex-Atlanta police officer Garrett Rolfe Joel Shannon, USA Today

GOP unveils police reform bill as Democrats move to advance theirs Sarah D. Wire, Los Angeles Times

Republicans’ Police Reform Bill Reads as Though This Is a Brand-New Issue Jim Newell, Slate

What the Federal Government Can Do to Help Fix Policing in America Lauren-Brooke Eisen and Spencer P. Boyer, Brennan Center for Justice

Turn police reform ideas into law and officers into guardians: 62 Obama-era US attorneys Barbara McQuade, Joyce White Vance, Steven M. Dettelbach, Paul J. Fishman, and Ronald C. Machen Jr., USA Today

‘We Are Part of the Problem They Protest’ Jesse Wegman, New York Times

Police union contracts shield bad cops from punishment. Here’s how to rein them in Roger Lowenstein, Los Angeles Times

NYC to publish police disciplinary records online Erin Durkin, Politico

How the Phoenix Police Department Spends its $745 Million Budget Meg O’Connor, The Appeal

Unarmed specialists, not LAPD, would handle mental health, substance abuse calls under proposal Dakota Smith, Los Angeles Times

Abolish These Police Departments Alex Pareene, New Republic

The History of the “Riot” Report Jill Lepore, The New Yorker

What TV’s rogue cops reveal about the American self-image – and American selfishness Robert Lloyd, Los Angeles Times

Thursday June 18, 2020

PM Stories

“I Begged Them To Let Me Die”: How Federal Prisons Became Coronavirus Death Traps Keri Blakinger and Keegan Hamilton, The Marshall Project

Incarcerated, Infected, and Ignored: Inside an Arkansas Prison Outbreak Molly Minta, The Nation

Black inmates make up a disproportionate share of Covid-19 cases in prison Alan J. Keays, VT Digger

COVID-19 cases double in Alabama prisons over past two weeks Kelley Smith, WHNT

Coronavirus Testing Ramps Up in New York – But Not in State Prisons Rosa Goldensohn, The City

Texas prisons will accept county jail inmates again, three months after the coronavirus halted intake Jolie McCullough, Texas Tribune

GEO Group’s Blundering Response to the Pandemic Helped Spread Coronavirus in Halfway Houses Liliana Segura, The Intercept

Two days before a hearing that could have set him free, the courthouse shut down. Now inmates like LaRon Warren wait, as they try to dodge coronavirus. Ray Long, Chicago Tribune

Iowa Governor Will Restore Voting Rights to Paroled Felons Trip Gabriel, New York Times

Tennessee’s Voter Restoration Gauntlet (2019) Nicole Lewis, The Marshall Project

When Crime Photography Started to See Color Bill Shapiro, The Atlantic

AM Stories

Trump signs order on policing, but Democrats and activists say it falls far short of what is needed David Nakamura, Felicia Sonmez, and Mike DeBonis, Washington Post

How Minneapolis is trying to reimagine the future of policing Fred de Sam Lazaro, PBS

How the Charges Against Derek Chauvin Fit Into a Vision of Criminal-Justice Reform Jeannie Suk Gersen, The New Yorker

Why Police Abolition Is a Useful Framework – Even for Skeptics Zak Cheney-Rice, New York Magazine

These 911 Emergency Dispatchers Are Ready to Defund the Police Katie MacBride, Daily Beast

Atlanta’s Reforms Won’t Save the Next Rayshard Brooks Zak Cheney-Rice, New York Magazine

Boudin bans prosecutions based on sole testimony of untrustworthy police officers Matt Kawahara, San Francisco Chronicle

Take the lid off probes of officers tied to wrongful convictions Editorial Board, Chicago Sun-Times

It’s not just police brutality. George Floyd’s death also must prompt prison reform. Adam Eichen and Evelyn Li, USA Today

LA sheriff touts reform despite a record of fighting transparency, civilian oversight Alene Tchekmedyian, Los Angeles Times

How New York City’s Largest Police Union Became So Powerful Nick Pinto and Katherine Fung, WNYC

The NYPD ‘Cancelled’ Police Court Appearances, Leaving People to Sit in Jail Chris Gelardi, The Appeal

Want to Reform the Police? Look to Social Work for Lessons Jon B. Gould and James Herbert Williams, The Crime Report

Wednesday June 17, 2020

PM Stories

After 17 Years, Bureau of Prisons Set to Resume Federal Executions Lauren Gill, The Appeal

US Supreme Court halts Texas execution of Ruben Gutierrez during legal fight over religious advisers’ access to death chamber Jolie McCullough, Texas Tribune

The Rape Kit’s Secret History Pagan Kennedy, New York Times

‘Troubling Tableau’ in 11th Circuit’s Prisoner Cases, Sotomayor Says Adam Liptak, New York Times

Texas COVID-19 Massacre Marie Gottschalk, In These Times

‘It’s Not Easy Doing Time in Here’: Michael Thompson Shouldn’t Die in Jail for Pot Crimes Tana Ganeva, Reason

ACLU sues to stop SBA from denying PPP loans to people with criminal records Jessica Smith, Yahoo! Finance

Family of Slain Barnard Student Criticizes Sentence for 14-Year-Old Sean Piccoli, New York Times

Four Years Embedded With the Alt-Right Daniel Lombroso, The Atlantic

AM Stories

Fallout from shooting intensifies call for new approach to policing (Georgia) Christian Boone, Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Police Killings Prompt Reassessment of Laws Allowing Deadly Force Rick Rojas and Richard Fausset, New York Times

Protests against police put $454 million in military gear under spotlight Nick Penzenstadler and Daphne Chen, USA Today/Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

NYPD Disbands Plainclothes Units Involved in Many Shootings Ali Watkins, New York Times

After Rift Over Protests, NYPD Pulls Out of Prosecutors’ Offices Jan Ransom, New York Times

Gov. Lamont imposes reforms on Connecticut state police, including chokehold ban, body camera mandate, restriction on military equipment, more Alex Putterman, Hartford Courant

New Jersey Attorney General Orders Police to Release Names of Officers With Violations Joseph De Avila, Wall Street Journal

LA Committee Moves Forward Proposal To Cut LAPD Budget Up To $150 Million Eric Heinz, City News Service

Trump to Sign Executive Order on Policing Alex Leary, Wall Street Journal

Why do we need the police? Patrick Sharkey, Washington Post

Five things ‘Defund the police’ is not Editorial Board, Los Angeles Times

Prosecute the Police Kristy Parker, The Atlantic

I used to be a police chief. This is why it’s so hard to fire bad cops. Daniel Oates, Washington Post

Video has changed police accountability. Now citizen filmmakers are getting organized. Samantha Melamed, Philadelphia Inquirer

Eric Garner’s Family is Still Grieving Brianna Milord, The New Yorker

Tuesday June 16, 2020

PM Stories

Supreme Court won’t consider limiting police immunity from civil lawsuits Richard Wolf, USA Today

‘A Shocking Dereliction Of Duty’: Supreme Court Brushes Off Police Immunity Cases Ryan J. Reilly, Huffington Post

Golden State Killer suspect DeAngelo could plead guilty, avoid death penalty, on June 29 Sam Stanton and Darrell Smith, Sacramento Bee

Justice Department Reschedules Federal Executions Sadie Gurman, Wall Street Journal

California prosecutors routinely strike Black and Latino people from juries, report says Maura Dolan, Los Angeles Times

Coronavirus Cases Rise Sharply in Prisons Even as They Plateau Nationwide Timothy Williams, Libby Seline, and Rebecca Griesbach, New York Times

Report: Solitary Confinement in US Prisons Spiked by 500 Percent When Coronavirus Hit CJ Ciaramella, Reason

As COVID-19 Spreads In Prisons, Lockdowns Spark Fear Of More Solitary Confinement Joseph Shapiro, NPR

COVID-19 Exposed Flaws of the Justice System: Paper Andrea Cipriano, The Crime Report

Grim Stories From Inside An Arkansas Prison Capture The Toll Of COVID-19 Lauren Gill, The Appeal

“Don’t Give Up”: A Woman’s Fight to Save Her Brother From a COVID-Plagued ICE Jail (Louisiana) Noah Lanard, Mother Jones

There’s No Reason for an Architect to Design a Death Chamber Michael Kimmelman, New York Times

The Protests Come for ‘Paw Patrol’ Amanda Hess, New York Times

The Unreality of Cops Sophie Gilbert, The Atlantic

AM Stories

Police Reform Is Necessary. But How Do We Do It? New York Times

George Floyd is not alone. ‘I can’t breathe’ uttered by dozens in fatal police holds across US Katie Wedell, Cara Kelly, Camille McManus, and Christine Fernando, USA Today

Police ‘woefully undertrained’ on using force, experts say Martha Bellisle, AP News

‘Implicit Bias’ Trainings Don’t Actually Change Police Behavior Michael Hobbes, Huffington Post

Yes, We Mean Literally Abolish the Police Mariame Kaba, New York Times

Twilight of the Cop Consensus David Roth, New Republic

Amid Calls to ‘Defund,’ How to Rethink Policing Barry Friedman, Wall Street Journal

There’s already an alternative to calling the police (Oregon) Anna V. Smith, High Country News

The City that Really Did Abolish the Police Katherine Landergan, Politico

DC police reform measures make it easier to fire officers for misconduct, expand civilian review over force Peter Hermann, Washington Post

Colorado’s historic police reform bill one step away from being signed into law Saja Hindi, Denver Post

New York passes a police reform bill package that Gov. Andrew Cuomo is expected to sign into law Lauren del Valle, CNN

Mayor Walsh declares racism a public health crisis in Boston, will seek to transfer 20% of police overtime budget to social services Dasia Moore and Milton J. Valencia, Boston Globe

Maryland laws that have long protected police face scrutiny as public demands more accountability Jessica Anderson, Baltimore Sun

Republican senators outline GOP’s police reform bill Karoun Demirjian, Washington Post

Monday June 15, 2020

PM Stories

Punishment by Pandemic (Arkansas) Rachel Aviv, The New Yorker

Birmingham District Attorney Says Alabama Man Who Has Spent Over Two Decades on Death Row Should Get New Trial Lauren Gill, The Appeal

Why did the US Supreme Court let Missouri execute Walter Barton? It’s a mystery Dylan Hosmer-Quint, Kansas City Star

Second Tennessee execution stayed over coronavirus concerns; Byron Black’s date set for April 2021 Mariah Timms, Nashville Tennessean

Florida grand juries are still suspended, stalling murder cases, police shooting probes David Ovalle, Miami Herald

Minnesota grants state’s first posthumous pardon to black man in 1920 case that led to lynchings CBS News

Law Professor On Misdemeanor Offenses And Racism In The Criminal System Christianna Silva, NPR

Shining a Light on Life Behind Bars Adria Watson, The Marshall Project

Jails, Justice and Mental Health Dane Stallone, The Crime Report

AM Stories

When It Works to ‘Defund the Police’ Nicholas Kristof, New York Times

Calls to Defund Police Gain Traction Across US Michael Gelb, The Crime Report

Cities May Have No Choice But to Defund the Police Peter Beinart, The Atlantic

The Police’s “Sheepdog” Problem Jasper Craven, New Republic

Do Police Officers Make Schools Safer or More Dangerous? Dana Goldstein, New York Times

Minnesota governor endorses package of sweeping police changes Reis Thebault, Washington Post

Louisville passes ban on no-knock warrants after Breonna Taylor’s death Justin Carissimo and Audrey McNamara, CBS News

Free Food, Free Speech and Free of Police: Inside Seattle’s ‘Autonomous Zone’ Mike Baker, New York Times

Freeing Protest From the Language Police John Patrick Leary, New Republic

Unbundle the Police Derek Thompson, The Atlantic

How to Change Lethal Force Rules for Police Austin Sarat, The Bulwark

Crime Story Daily Highlights – Week 44

This is a curated selection of highlights from Crime Story Daily this week.

On the criminal justice policy front: Policing continued to dominate the news this week as calls for change gained traction. Reason reports that in New York, state legislators voted to repeal a notorious police secrecy law that has hidden misconduct records from the public for decades. The Houston Chronicle reports that Texas police officers will now be required to receive implicit bias training. And on Monday, Democrats in Congress unveiled sweeping legislation aimed at combatting excessive use of force and racial discrimination by police and making it easier to identify, track, and prosecute misconduct. The New York Times reports that the Justice in Policing Act would curtail protections that shield police officers accused of misconduct from being prosecuted and impose new restrictions on law enforcement officers to prevent them from using deadly force except as a last resort. Vox explains the specific policy interventions outlined in the bill.

But some say the proposed reforms do not go far enough. Many activists and organizers are calling on state and local governments to “defund” or dismantle police departments and adopt a nonviolent, community-oriented approach to public safety. A piece from The Atlantic highlights the need to rethink our criminal justice system as a whole. The New Republic focuses on the “rush to redefine ‘defund the police,’” a radical slogan rooted in the theory of prison and police abolition that has risen to mainstream prominence. A piece from Time focuses on divisions within Black Lives Matter: while some activists are pushing for reform, others are calling for broader and more structural change. And the Philadelphia Inquirer offers a successful model for “defunding the police” in the city of Camden, New Jersey, which in 2013 dismantled the city police in favor of a county-run force.

In muckraker/watchdog reporting: Slate examines the “toxic, co-dependent relationship” between prosecutors and police. More than just institutional allies in law enforcement, police and prosecutors are often partners in the police’s crimes. Police exert significant control over prosecutors in both formal and informal ways, from prosecutors relying on police testimony to win trials to police unions funding election campaigns. DAs, in turn, often decline to charge or prosecute cases of police misconduct. And the New York Times focuses on police unions. Over the past five years, as calls for reform have mounted, police unions have emerged as one of the most significant roadblocks to change. The greater the political pressure for reform, the more defiant the unions are in resisting it – with few city officials, including liberal leaders, able to overcome their opposition.

In complex crime storytelling:A piece from New York Magazine explores the origins of the “police riot.” Most recently, the term has been used in reference to police violence against protesters. Over the last two weeks, rioting police have driven vehicles into crowds, attacked elderly bystanders, and pepper-sprayed cooperative protesters – actions that not only don’t promote order, but that turn the concept of “peace officers” upside down. Some have found historical precedent in the violence surrounding the 1968 Democratic National Convention, where antiwar protesters were brutalized by Chicago police, inspiring the first generally-known use of the term. An essay from n+1 Magazine offers a first-person account of police violence and arrest from a protester in New York. And a piece from the Boston Review recounts the long history of calls to abolish the police. In recent weeks, calls for police and prison abolition have gained unprecedented traction. Though these ideas still seem radical, the premise and theory of abolition are not new. The movements to abolish prisons and abolish police have always been intertwined, and have played a prominent role in black freedom movements since the era of Jim Crow. Understanding the long history of abolitionist thought can help us to contextualize today’s calls for abolition, and to view both prisons and police as part of an interconnected, racialized system of punishment.

And in culture/true crime: Over the last two weeks, widespread protests against police brutality have fed a broader national debate over the role and scope of American law enforcement. One aspect of this debate is TV crime shows, which influence and inform many Americans’ views of law enforcement and which invariably depict police officers in a flattering, uncritical light. This week, the New York Times reported that “Cops” – the long-running reality series that followed police officers and sheriff’s deputies as they responded to calls – was canceled after 32 seasons on the air. A piece from The Marshall Project, from 2018, focuses on “Cops” as “the country’s most durable portrayal of American law enforcement,” from its rise to prominence as a pioneer of reality TV to the allegations of racism and classism that persistently plagued later seasons. A piece from the Los Angeles Times outlines the data on policing on TV. A recent study by the civil rights advocacy group Color of Change found that crime shows are overwhelming created and written by white people and rarely discuss or portray racism. These shows also serve to normalize misconduct and abuse: out of 453 wrongful actions committed by police and criminal justice professionals across 353 episodes of 26 different shows, only 13 – less than 4% – were shown as being investigated. Only one police officer was shown as being fired, convicted, or facing legal consequences. And a piece from the Washington Post focuses on more true-to-life portrayals of policing. While police officers are often glorified in movies and on TV, some shows have taken a more nuanced approach, challenging pop culture’s prevailing image of the hero cop.

Friday June 12, 2020

PM Stories

Our False Promise of Justice Rylee Sommers-Flanagan, Democracy Journal

There’s overwhelming evidence that the criminal-justice system is racist. Here’s the proof. Radley Balko, Washington Post

The People Who Undermine Progressive Prosecutors Rashad Robinson, New York Times

The Case for Federal Criminal Courts – and Sentencing Reform The Crime Report

COVID-19 Has Delayed Programs That Texas Prisoners Need to Get Out Michael Barajas, Texas Observer

‘I’m scared every day’: Correctional officers, inmates say Texas prisons botched COVID-19 response Tanya Eiserer and Jason Trahan, WFAA

Families Hold Vigil For Inmates Inside Colorado’s Largest Prison, Home To The State’s Biggest Coronavirus Outbreak Sam Brasch, Colorado Public Radio

The First Year Out Stephanie Clifford, Marie Claire

After controversy, man convicted of killing officer paroled (Virginia) Sarah Rankin, AP News

AM Stories

Why Minneapolis Was the Breaking Point Wesley Lowery, The Atlantic

Minnesota’s Decades-Long Failure to Confront Police Abuse Ricardo Lopez, The New Yorker

The Trump administration abandoned a proven way to reduce police violence Chiraag Bains and Dana Mulhauser, Washington Post

Police unions and police misconduct: What the research says about the connection Christopher Ingraham, Washington Post

Minneapolis Police Department is withdrawing from union contract negotiations, chief says CBS News

LA police union spent big in local elections. Some politicians now shun the money Emily Alpert Reyes, Los Angeles Times

Police have killed 866 people in LA County since 2000 Los Angeles Times

Los Angeles Activists Call On Police To End Use of ‘Less-Lethal’ Force City News Service

Call to ‘defund’ police in Baltimore and elsewhere raises the question: What would that look like? Justin Fenton, Baltimore Sun

Camden disbanded its police department and built a new one. Can others learn from it? Allison Steele and Sean Collins Walsh, Philadelphia Inquirer

Chicago has nearly tripled per capita police spending since 1964, data show Carlos Ballesteros, Injustice Watch

The Struggle to Abolish the Police Is Not New Garrett Felber, Boston Review

The Origins of the ‘Police Riot’ Ed Kilgore, New York Magazine

Everything Could Be Free Greg Afinogenov, n+1 Magazine

‘Cops’ Is Off the Air. But Will We Ever Get It Out of Our Heads? James Poniewozik, New York Times

‘Live PD’ reality show shutting down after police protests, Javier Ambler death Austin American-Statesman

Thursday June 11, 2020

PM Stories

Floyd death propels police reformers in key prosecutor races Jeremy B. White, Politico

Some of the Charges Stemming From George Floyd’s Death Should Trouble Criminal Justice Reformers Jacob Sullum, Reason

New Hope for People Who Claim Racism Tainted Their Death Sentence Joseph Neff and Beth Schwartzapfel, The Marshall Project

Judge Declares Courthouse Immigration Arrests Illegal in New York Adam Klasfeld, Courthouse News

Judge to ICE: Don’t Ambush Immigrants at New York Courthouses Benjamin Weiser, New York Times

200 Chino inmates transferred to San Quentin, Corcoran. Why weren’t they tested first? (California) Megan Cassidy and Jason Fagone, San Francisco Chronicle

Coronavirus detected in San Quentin prison transfers Richard Halstead, Marin Independent Journal

Release During COVID-19 ‘Almost Like Being Incarcerated Again’ Michael Gelb, The Crime Report

Liman Center Presses for Health and Safety in Prisons During Pandemic Yale Law School

In-person social visits at Cook County Jail resume amid ‘continuing trend of low COVID-19 cases’ ABC 7 Chicago

AM Stories

New York Legislature Repeals Notorious Police Secrecy Law CJ Ciaramella, Reason

Good Riddance to One of America’s Strongest Police Secrecy Laws Mara Gay, New York Times

Texas to require all police officers receive implicit bias training, in first George Floyd-inspired reform Taylor Goldenstein, Houston Chronicle

Power over Policing Jocelyn Simonson, Boston Review

2 views on the future of American policing PBS News Hour

The Rush to Redefine “Defund the Police” Melissa Gira Grant, New Republic

What Could ‘Defund the Police’ Mean in Practice? Benjamin Hart, Ed Kilgore, and Ezekiel Kweku, New York Magazine

What Does It Mean to Be a “Good Cop”? Alec Karakatsanis, Slate

Stop Training Police Like They’re Joining the Military Rosa Brooks, The Atlantic

Ending ‘Qualified Immunity’ Won’t Make Cops More Accountable: Study The Crime Report

How Racial Bias Affects Police Use of Deadly Force The Crime Report

A Major Obstacle to Police Reform: The Whiteness of Their Union Bosses Eli Hager and Weihua Li, The Marshall Project

‘Cops’ canceled amid nationwide protests against police brutality Tracy Brown, Los Angeles Times

Bad Boys: How “Cops” became the most polarizing reality TV show in America (2018) Tim Stelloh, The Marshall Project

Police officers are often glorified on TV shows. Here’s what it looks like when they aren’t. Bethonie Butler, Washington Post

Wednesday June 10, 2020

PM Stories

Prosecutorial Discretion: The Prosecutor’s Role in Curbing Infections in Prisons Alvin Bragg and Cynthia Godsoe, Route Fifty

Appeals court nixes order to shrink prison rolls because of virus (Ohio) Josh Gerstein, Politico

Nearly 1 in 6 Coronavirus Cases in Illinois Could Be Tied to Cook County Jail Madison Pauly, Mother Jones

Formerly Incarcerated People Talk About Life In Coronavirus-Stricken Prisons Ja’han Jones, Huffington Post

How Defendants End Up Pleading Guilty to Nonexistent Crimes Barry Lam, Slate

Scaled-Back NY Bail Reforms Still Boost ‘Culture’ of Pre-Trial Release: Panel Michael Gelb, The Crime Report

‘Florida is Hell Bent on Killing Me’ Krishna Maharaj, The Crime Report

7 Exonerees Tell Us Why They Love the Ocean on World Oceans Day The Innocence Project

AM Stories

What the George Floyd Protests Have Already Changed Jeremy Stahl, Slate

Democrats Unveil Sweeping Bill Targeting Police Misconduct and Racial Bias Catie Edmondson, New York Times

Democrats’ sweeping new police reform bill, explained Ella Nilsen and Li Zhou, Vox

After Protests, Politicians Reconsider Police Budgets and Discipline Dionne Searcey, John Eligon, and Farah Stockman, New York Times

Defying Police Unions, New York Lawmakers Ban Chokeholds Luis Ferré-Sadurní, Jeffery C. Mays, and Ashley Southall, New York Times

New York poised to lift veil on police disciplinary files Marina Villeneuve, Washington Post

On 11th day of George Floyd protests, Denver police announce major use-of-force policy changes Colorado Sun

Portland officials vow ‘bold,’ ‘meaningful’ police reforms after protests of George Floyd’s killing Everton Bailey Jr., The Oregonian

Protests spread over police shootings. Police promised reforms. Every year, they still shoot and kill nearly 1,000 people. Mark Berman, John Sullivan, Julie Tate, and Jennifer Jenkins, Washington Post

The First Step Is Figuring Out What Police Are For Tracey L. Meares and Tom R. Tyler, The Atlantic

Democratic leaders clash with Black Lives Matter activists over ‘defund the police’ Sahil Kapur, NBC News

Support For Defunding The Police Department Is Growing. Here’s Why It’s Not A Silver Bullet. Simone Weichselbaum and Nicole Lewis, The Marshall Project

Minneapolis Is Not the First City to Disband Its Police Department – the Lessons Learned From Camden, New Jersey Khaleda Rahman, Newsweek

The Floyd protests have changed public opinion about race and policing. Here’s the data. Michael Tesler, Washington Post

The Films That Understand Why People Riot Samantha N. Sheppard, The Atlantic

“It Changes Who Has the Power”: How Bail Funds Are Responding to Protests Alyssa Bereznak, The Ringer

Tuesday June 9, 2020

PM Stories

Cut the Carceral System Now Jack Norton, New York Review of Books

The Law Isn’t Neutral Dahlia Lithwick, Slate

Nearly 1,000 infected at Chuckawalla Valley State Prison in worst coronavirus outbreak to hit prison system Matthew Ormseth, Los Angeles Times

Federal Inmate COVID-19 Releases ‘Cloaked in Secrecy’ The Crime Report

Thousands were freed from Kentucky jails to avoid COVID-19. Few have re-offended. John Cheves, Lexington Herald-Leader

Probation Conditions Relaxed During the Pandemic. Some Say They Should Stay That Way. Lauren Lee White, The Appeal

Bernie Sanders endorses former San Francisco prosecutor George Gascón for Los Angeles DA James Queally, Los Angeles Times

‘Recognizably a Courtroom’: US Judiciary to Get a Virus-Minded Makeover Adam Klasfeld, Courthouse News

Have COVID-19? Cops May Have Your Neighborhood on a “Heat Map” Simone Weichselbaum, The Marshall Project

Bobby Moore’s Supreme Court case changed how Texas defines intellectual disabilities. After 40 years in prison, he’s just been granted parole. Jolie McCullough, Texas Tribune

AM Stories

Minneapolis Will Dismantle Its Police Force, Council Members Pledge Dionne Searcey and John Eligon, New York Times

Minneapolis City Council Pledges to Disband Police Department as de Blasio Vows NYPD Funding Cut Daniel Politi, Slate

Defund the Police Annie Lowrey, The Atlantic

There’s a growing call to defund the police. Here’s what it means Scottie Andrew, CNN

‘Defund the police’ gains traction as cities seek to respond to demands for a major law enforcement shift Derek Hawkins, Katie Mettler, and Perry Stein, Washington Post

Black activists push for criminal justice system overhaul Kat Stafford, AP News

Why Prosecutors Keep Letting Police Get Away With Murder Nicole Gonzalez van Cleve and Somil Trivedi, Slate

Prosecutors: Please Stand Up to the Police Marilyn Mosby, New York Times

How Police Unions Became Such Powerful Opponents to Reform Efforts Noam Scheiber, Farah Stockman, and J. David Goodman, New York Times

After George Floyd’s Killing, Police Departments Change How They Discipline Officers Kris Maher and Deanna Paul, Wall Street Journal

Americans Are More Troubled by Police Actions in Killing of George Floyd Than by Violence at Protests, Poll Finds Michael C. Bender, Wall Street Journal

The Militarization of the American Hometown Matt Farwell, New Republic

Police Attacks on Protesters Are Rooted in a Violent Ideology of Reactionary Grievance Ryan Devereaux, The Intercept

In violent protest incidents, a theme emerges: Videos contradict police accounts Alex Horton, Washington Post

Police Protests: No Prosecution Planned Against Protesters (Los Angeles, CA) City News Service

Monday June 8, 2020

PM Stories

Ahmaud Arbery Case: Judge Gives Green Light to Try Three White Men Sabrina Siddiqui, Wall Street Journal

North Carolina Supreme Court Grants Death Row Inmates a Second Chance Jeremy Stahl, Slate

Death row defendants can argue racism infected their cases, NC Supreme Court rules Josh Shaffer and Will Doran, Charlotte Observer

Jury Trials Called Unsafe Until COVID-19 Under Control The Crime Report

Inmates report dangerous practices inside the Texas prison with the most coronavirus deaths Jolie McCullough, Texas Tribune

Amid One of the Nation’s Worst Coronavirus Outbreaks, a Shortage of Ankle Monitors Kept Some People in Jail (Chicago, IL) Kira Lerner, The Appeal

DOC to suspend prisoner release program as state enters phase two of reopening (Louisiana) Nicholas Chrastil, The Lens

Miami judge rips ICE handling of detainees, limits transfers to curb spread of coronavirus David Ovalle, Miami Herald

Inmates at Portland Prison Accuse Staff of Retaliation for COVID-19 Lawsuit Alex Zielinski, Portland Mercury

He spent 23 years on death row for a Philly murder he said he didn’t commit. On Friday, a judge overturned his conviction. Chris Palmer, Philadelphia Inquirer

Catching a band of wildlife killers Bryan Schatz, High Country News

AM Stories

Cities Ask if It’s Time to Defund Police and ‘Reimagine’ Public Safety Farah Stockman and John Eligon, New York Times

Black Lives Matter Activists Want to End Police Violence. But They Disagree on How to Do It Charlotte Alter, Time Magazine

“There Are No Checks and Balances”: Two Texas Criminal Justice Experts on the Fight for Police Reform Amal Ahmed, Texas Monthly

18 state attorneys general request authority to investigate local police J. Edward Moreno, The Hill

Minneapolis Bans Police Chokeholds in First Step of Reforms Andy Monserud, Courthouse News

Dallas’ Chief Hall implements ‘duty to intervene’ policy after calls for greater police accountability Hayat Norimine, Dallas Morning News

The Police Are Rioting. We Need to Talk About It. Jamelle Bouie, New York Times

A Crisis That Began With an Image of Police Violence Keeps Providing More Shawn Hubler and Julie Bosman, New York Times

NYPD faces 633 complaints after a week of protests. This man says police clubbed his face. Shayna Jacobs, Washington Post

Brooklyn Man Was Arrested for Curfew Violation. The FBI Interrogated Him About His Political Beliefs. Ryan Devereaux, The Intercept

Amid George Floyd protests, is it time for cop TV shows to be canceled for good? Kelly Lawler, USA Today

Want to talk about policing on TV? Here are some damning stats you should know Ashley Lee, Los Angeles Times

Crime Story Daily Highlights – Week 43

This is a curated selection of highlights from Crime Story Daily this week.

On the criminal justice policy front: This week, protests erupted across all 50 states in response to the death of George Floyd, turning a national spotlight on police brutality, systemic racism, and the excesses of American law enforcement. A piece from The Atlantic broadly outlines the policy interventions – at the federal, state, and local levels – needed to reform policing, increase accountability and transparency, and limit brutality and discrimination. A piece from The Nation calls on lawmakers to significantly reduce police budgets and redirect resources into community-based initiatives. A New York Times editorial highlights “qualified immunity,” the obscure legal doctrine that makes it practically impossible to prosecute law enforcement defendants for misconduct or abuse. And a piece from the New Republic emphasizes the role of police labor unions in limiting accountability and obstructing efforts at reform.

As protests continued throughout the week, officials at the national, state, and local levels began to implement some of these reforms. The Washington Post reports that all four officers involved in Floyd’s death are now facing felony murder charges and a possible prison sentence of up to 40 years. The New York Times reports that earlier this week, Democrats and Republicans in Congress began a new push to cut off police access to military-style gear. Their efforts focus on scaling back a ‘90s-era Pentagon program that transfers surplus military equipment and weaponry to local law enforcement departments. Politico reports that on Tuesday, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy announced several initiatives designed to increase trust between police and the communities they serve, including an expansion of the state’s use-of-force database and a proposed licensing program for law enforcement. The Appeal reports that in New York, state legislators have pledged to decline campaign donations from police and corrections officers; and a coalition of current and former prosecutors in California is calling on the state bar association to ban law enforcement unions from funding DA campaigns. City Pages reports from Minneapolis, where city officials are considering even the most radical solutions, including a proposal to disband the police department entirely and “start fresh” with a community-oriented, nonviolent approach to public safety. And finally, the Los Angeles Times reports that on Wednesday, city officials announced plans to cut the LAPD's budget by up to $150 million. The money, along with an additional $100 million in other cuts, will be reinvested into healthcare and education programs for the city’s black community.

In muckraker/watchdog reporting: This week, cities around the country saw repeated violent clashes between protesters and police. In some cases, conflicts were escalated by looting or property destruction; in most, peaceful demonstrations were met with excessive, seemingly unprovoked violence from police. A piece from Slate highlights several particularly egregious examples. And The Atlantic emphasizes the increasing militarization of American law enforcement. In many American cities, police officers are wearing body armor and carrying riot gear, driving heavily armored vehicles, firing rubber bullets and spraying tear gas – a chemical weapon banned in warfare – at protesters, bystanders, and journalists. Militarization is also reflected in fear-based, warrior-style training that primes law enforcement officers to view the people and communities they police as enemy combatants – and to treat them accordingly. When civilian police officers are trained and equipped like soldiers, they inevitably act more like soldiers: agencies that use military equipment kill civilians at much higher rates than those that don’t. One study, from 2017, showed a 129% increase in civilian deaths.

In complex crime storytelling: A piece from The Atlantic examines the “double standard” of the American riot. Since the American Revolution, riots and violent rhetoric have been markers of patriotism, embodied in phrases like "live free or die." But historically, black rebellion has never been coupled with allegiance to American democracy; from the civil rights movement to Black Lives Matter, black protest has been characterized as distinctly unpatriotic, a threat to American liberty rather than an expansion of it. The piece questions this double standard and interrogates the meaning of patriotism in a country where some rights and privileges – including the “privilege” of protest and resistance – are extended to white people but explicitly denied people of color. And New York Magazine explores the long and troubled history of “law-and-order” politics. The piece traces the origins of “law and order” rhetoric back to the Jim Crow era, when maintaining white supremacy – and violently suppressing racial change – was the explicit goal of law enforcement and a mandatory obligation of elected officials. By the end of the 20th century, the phrase “law and order,” long associated with racism and repression, had largely dropped out of the American political lexicon. But law-and-order politics have been revived in the era of President Trump, who, in a speech from the Rose Garden earlier this week, proclaimed himself “your president of law and order."

And in culture/true crime: A piece from New York Magazine focuses on police procedurals. From prestige dramas like The Wire to reality shows like Live PD, law enforcement has become a ubiquitous fixture of the American TV landscape. While these shows differ in subject and scope, all share a fundamental ideology: the cops are the protagonists. For decades, TV procedurals have shaped public perceptions of American law enforcement, training us to frame issues of crime and justice from a “cop’s-eye” point of view while desensitizing us to real-life police violence. And a 2017 piece for The New Yorker by Jelani Cobb centers on the short film Conditioned Response. The film focuses on David Grossman, a former Army Ranger whose wildly popular police-training seminars embrace the “warrior cop” mentality. Rather than training officers for de-escalation, Grossman pushes them to be more comfortable with the use of deadly force, framing law enforcement not as a matter of public safety but as a literal – if asymmetrical – war on crime. The six-minute film juxtaposes footage from one of Grossman’s classes with stark, brutal images of police brutality – including the 2016 shooting of Philando Castile by a Minnesota police officer who attended Grossman's seminars.

Friday June 5, 2020

PM Stories

Trump Is Reviving the Disgraceful Legacy of ‘Law-and-Order’ Politics Ed Kilgore, New York Magazine

The Police Take the Side of White Vigilantes Alex Pareene, New Republic

In urban areas, police are consistently much whiter than the people they serve Dan Keating and Kevin Uhrmacher, Washington Post

Don’t Fall for the ‘Chaos’ Theory of the Protests Megan Garber, The Atlantic

Police keep using force against peaceful protesters, prompting sustained criticism about tactics and training Mark Berman and Emily Wax-Thibodeaux, Washington Post

Democrats prepare sweeping police reform bills after George Floyd’s death NBC News

Minneapolis City Council members consider disbanding the police Hannah Jones, City Pages

New York Senator Makes the Case for Defunding the NYPD Daniel Nichanian, The Appeal

California DAs Call for Ban on Police Union Money and Endorsements in Prosecutorial Elections Eliyahu Kamisher, The Appeal

No more George Floyds: Interactions over minor offenses too often spiral out of control Arthur Rizer and Jonathan Haggerty, USA Today

Washington Wrote a Playbook for Preventing Police Violence. What Happened to it? Zack Stanton, Politico Magazine

Lafayette Park Protesters Aren’t Federal Prisoners, But Prison Riot Teams Are There Anyway (Washington, DC) Matt Shuham, Talking Points Memo

Houston’s police chief wins national praise – but faces local anger over shootings and transparency Mike Hixenbaugh, NBC News

The Hero Myth of Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo Michael Hardy, Texas Monthly

Why Chicago Police Department reform moves slowly despite cries for immediate change Dan Hinkel, Chicago Tribune

Fear, Illness and Death in ICE Detention: How a Protest Grew on the Inside Seth Freed Wessler, New York Times

Will Pandemic Be ‘Tipping Point’ For Justice Reform? Jordan S. Rubin, The Crime Report

Report: 1 in 6 Chicago COVID-19 Cases Can Be Tied to Cook County Jail Matt Masterson, WTTW

DOJ inspector general investigating death of inmate who died after he was pepper sprayed Kristine Phillips, USA Today

AM Stories

Murder charges filed against all 4 officers in George Floyd’s death as protests against biased policing continue Brittany Shammas, Kim Bellware, and Brady Dennis, Washington Post

What is felony murder? Officers in George Floyd case face charge used on gangs, drug dealers MSNBC

Experts say upgraded charge against officer in George Floyd’s death fits Dennis Romero, NBC News

As peaceful protests continue, LAPD budget could be cut by up to $150 million to reinvest in communities of color Brittny Mejia, Dorany Pineda, Alejandra Reyes-Velarde, Julia Wick, Hannah Fry, Richard Winton, Luke Money, and Colleen Shalby, Los Angeles Times

Garcetti Says Los Angeles Will Not Increase Its Police Budget for 2020-2021 Eric Heinz, (LA) City News Service

Minneapolis Public Schools Terminates Contract With Police After George Floyd’s Death CBS Minnesota

 New Jersey announces law enforcement reforms in wake of protests against police brutality Samantha Maldonado, Politico

New York Legislators Pledge to Reject Campaign Donations from Law Enforcement Bryce Covert, The Appeal

200+ New York Mayoral Staffers Demand “Radical Change,” Police Budget Cuts Democracy Now!

Bryan Stevenson on the Frustration Behind the George Floyd Protests Isaac Chotiner, The New Yorker

The Police Report to Me, but I Knew I Couldn’t Protect My Son Keisha Lance Bottoms, New York Times

For Police Officers, Demonstrations Take a Toll and Test Duty Manny Fernandez, New York Times

Gunning for the Last Resort Rebecca Onion, Slate

LAPD tactics get more aggressive as arrests soar James Queally, Kevin Rector, Alejandra Reyes-Velarde, and Richard Winton, Los Angeles Times

A dangerous new factor in an uneasy moment: Unidentified law enforcement officers Philip Bump, Washington Post

Militarizing the Minds of Police Officers (2017) Jelani Cobb, The New Yorker

How Much Do We Need The Police? Leah Donnella, NPR

Thursday June 4, 2020

PM Stories

Federal Bureau of Prisons Locks Down Prisoners and Takes Away Communications Amid Protests Lauren Gill, The Appeal

Jails Are Coronavirus Hotbeds. How Many People Should Be Released To Slow The Spread? Anna Flagg, The Marshall Project

Your right to a jury trial is on hold. Here’s how coronavirus is changing the justice system Mike Carter and Sara Jean Green, Seattle Times

California Sheriff Sued for Keeping People Jailed as COVID-19 Rages Alexander Lekhtman, Filter Magazine

For Children, A Parent in Prison During the Pandemic Heightens Anxiety Amos Barshad, The Appeal

Don’t Bar Ex-Offenders From Coronavirus Aid Funds Cyrus R. Vance Jr., New York Times

San Francisco Justice: How One City Ended the Fines and Fees Trap The Crime Report

Ella Jones Is Elected First Black Mayor of Ferguson Jennifer Medina, New York Times

What We Know About the Developments in the Madeleine McCann Case Megan Specia, New York Times

‘Dirty John: The Betty Broderick Story’ Falls Into a True-Crime Trap Daniel D’Addario, Variety

AM Stories

The Intolerable Tensions Between American Cities and Their Police Forces Benjamin Wallace-Wells, The New Yorker

‘In Every City, There’s a George Floyd’: Portraits of Protest John Branch, New York Times

Masks On, Fists Up: Scenes from New York City’s Protests Against Police Violence Emily Kassie, The Marshall Project

60 minutes of mayhem: How aggressive politics and policing turned a peaceful protest into a violent confrontation Kevin Liptak, Alex Marquardt, Evan Perez, David Shortell, and Jeremy Diamond, CNN

Resist the Urge to Simplify the Story Anne Applebaum, The Atlantic

Tear Gas Doesn’t Deploy Itself Nick Martin, New Republic

What a just Justice Department would do about George Floyd’s death Vanita Gupta, Washington Post

How to Actually Fix America’s Police Seth W. Stoughton, Jeffrey J. Noble, and Geoffrey P. Alpert, The Atlantic

The One Police Reform That Both the Left and the Right Support Spencer Bokat-Lindell, New York Times

There’s One Big Reason Why Police Brutality Is So Common In The US. And That’s The Police Unions. Melissa Segura, BuzzFeed News

Why are cops in Minnesota so rarely charged in officer-involved deaths? Pat Borzi, MinnPost

Minneapolis Police Use Force Against Black People at 7 Times the Rate of Whites Richard A. Oppel Jr. and Lazaro Gamio, New York Times

George Floyd Killing Reignites Calls To Repeal New York’s Police Secrecy Laws CJ Ciaramella, Reason

From Michael Brown to George Floyd: What We’ve Learned About Policing Weihua Li, The Marshall Project

9 movies and shows that explain how America’s justice system got this way Alissa Wilkinson, Vox

Wednesday June 3, 2020

PM Stories

Federal prisons under national lockdown amid George Floyd protests, most severe restrictions in 25 years Kevin Johnson, USA Today

Senators Grill Feds on Inmate Protections During Pandemic Tim Ryan, Courthouse News

Lawmakers question federal prisons’ home confinement rules Michael Balsamo, ABC News

Give Incarcerated ‘Basic Human Rights’ During Pandemic, Say Families The Crime Report

Two-thirds of COVID-19 cases in federal prisons limited to 7 facilities, official says Daniel Uria, United Press International

“Juvenile Lifers” Were Meant to Get a Second Chance. COVID-19 Could Get Them First. Eli Hager, The Marshall Project

Fed Lawyer: COVID-19 at Federal Jail Worse Than Reported (New York) New York Times

First California prison officer dies after contracting coronavirus Luke Money, Los Angeles Times

Arkansas Told Corrections Officers to Keep Working Even If They’re Infected With COVID-19 Samantha Michaels, Mother Jones

Prisons Have Oregon’s Largest COVID Outbreak But Testing, Social Distancing Remain Scarce Lauren Dake and Conrad Wilson, Oregon Public Broadcasting

Judge doesn’t find ‘deliberate indifference’ by Oregon Corrections Department in coronavirus response Maxine Bernstein, The Oregonian

Scott Peterson asks court to overturn murder conviction and death sentence Maura Dolan, Los Angeles Times

AM Stories

8 Minutes and 46 Seconds: How George Floyd Was Killed in Police Custody Evan Hill, Ainara Tiefenthäler, Christiaan Triebert, Drew Jordan, Haley Willis, and Robin Stein, New York Times

George Floyd’s Death Was a Homicide by Asphyxiation, Independent Autopsy Finds Pilar Melendez, Daily Beast

Death Toll Grows In National Protests Over George Floyd Police Killing Huffington Post

‘The norms have broken down’: Shock as journalists are arrested, injured by police while trying to cover the story Paul Farhi and Elahe Izadi, Washington Post

US police have attacked journalists more than 110 times since May 28 Laura Hazard Owen, Nieman Lab

A Justice Dept. Skeptical of Police Abuse Cases Vows to Investigate Floyd Death Katie Benner and Emily Badger, New York Times

George Floyd Probe Echoes William Barr’s Oversight of Rodney King Case Sadie Gurman, Wall Street Journal

Trump Killed Obama’s Police Reforms. Now He’s Getting What He Asked For. Jonathan Chait, New York Magazine

Minneapolis Banned Warrior-Style Police Training. Its Police Union Kept Offering It Anyway. Inae Oh, Mother Jones

“The Charged Vapor”: How the Police Embraced Firing Tear Gas on Protesters Aaron Mak, Slate

How the Supreme Court Lets Cops Get Away With Murder Editorial Board, New York Times

Adopt minimum national police use-of-force standards and train cops for interaction Charles Ramsey and Laurie O. Robinson, USA Today

Lawmakers Begin Bipartisan Push to Cut Off Police Access to Military-Style Gear Catie Edmondson, New York Times

L.A. Police Commission Seeks to Make Policy Reforms Following Days of Protest Eric Heinz, (LA) City News Service

Here’s how to hold police accountable: Don’t let their unions give money to prosecutors Editorial Board, Los Angeles Times

How to Make this Moment the Turning Point for Real Change Barack Obama, Medium

Tuesday June 2, 2020

PM Stories

The Double Standard of the American Riot Kellie Carter Jackson, The Atlantic

The Minneapolis Uprising in Context Elizabeth Hinton, Boston Review

The Police Can Still Choose Nonviolence David A. Graham, The Atlantic

Facing Protests Over Use of Force, Police Respond With More Force Shaila Dewan and Mike Baker, New York Times

Nation’s Cops Seem Determined To Demonstrate Why People Are Protesting Them in the First Place Eric Boehm, Reason

Why So Many Police Are Handling the Protests Wrong Maggie Koerth and Jamiles Lartey, The Marshall Project

The Law-Enforcement Abuses That Don’t Bother Trump Quinta Jurecic and Benjamin Wittes, The Atlantic

Trump threatens military action to quell protests, and the law would let him do it Matt Zapotosky, Washington Post

Protesters Dispersed With Tear Gas So Trump Could Pose at Church Katie Rogers, New York Times

Cops Are Always the Main Characters Kathryn VanArendonk, New York Magazine

Police Arrested Fewer People During Coronavirus Shutdowns – Even Fewer Were White Weihua Li, The Marshall Project

Thousands of immigrants are stuck in ICE centers. Getting out depends on the judge Andrea Castillo, Los Angeles Times

Avenal State Prison now has the largest coronavirus outbreak of any prison in California Marie Edinger, Fox 26 News

Utah State Prison reports first COVID-19 case Ben Winslow, Fox 13 News

Spokane County considers using federal coronavirus relief money to increase jail capacity with temporary structures (Washington) Rebecca White, Spokane Spokesman-Review

AM Stories

An American Uprising David Remnick, The New Yorker

Destructive Power of Despair Charles M. Blow, New York Times

Police turn more aggressive against protesters and bystanders alike, adding to disorder David A. Fahrenthold and Devlin Barrett, Washington Post

When Police View Citizens as Enemies Nick Baumann, The Atlantic

‘Sometimes peaceful is not enough’: LA protesters explain why they hit the streets Dakota Smith, Emily Baumgaertner, and Leila Miller, Los Angeles Times

Symbol of NYC Unrest: A Burning Police Car Azi Paybarah and Nikita Stewart, New York Times

As Police Attack Protesters in Minneapolis, Speculations About “Outsiders” Draw on Fraught History Mara Hvistendahl, The Intercept

The Deep Roots Of Louisville’s Rage Over The Police Killing Of Breonna Taylor Travis Waldron, Huffington Post

In Some Cities, Police Officers Joined Protesters Marching Against Brutality Lisette Voytko, Forbes

In George Floyd’s Death, a Police Technique Results in a Too-Familiar Tragedy  Neil MacFarquhar, New York Times

8 minutes, 46 seconds and ‘inherently dangerous’: What’s in the criminal complaint in the George Floyd case Grace Hauck and Jordan Culver, USA Today  

Officer charged in George Floyd’s death used fatal force before and had history of complaints Derek Hawkins, Washington Post

The Police Don’t Change Joel Anderson, Slate

The answer to police violence is not ‘reform.’ It’s defunding. Here’s why Alex S. Vitale, The Guardian

‘Riots,’ ‘violence,’ ‘looting’: Words matter when talking about race and unrest, experts say Alia E. Dastagir, USA Today

Monday June 1, 2020

PM Stories

Prisoners May Hold the Key to Releasing Us from Coronavirus Lockdown Marc M. Howard, New York Times

What COVID-19 Prison Outbreaks Could Teach Us About Herd Immunity Jamiles Lartey, The Marshall Project

Is COVID-19 Falling Harder on Black Prisoners? Officials Won’t Tell Us. Maurice Chammah and Tom Meagher, The Marshall Project

Coronavirus infection rates in some parts of LA County jails are 40% or higher Cindy Chang, Los Angeles Times

California Sheriff Refuses to Release People From Jail as COVID Outbreak Rages Mike Ludwig, Truthout

Less Than Half a Percent of Pennsylvania Prisoners Have Been Granted Emergency Release During the Pandemic Joshua Vaughn, The Appeal

At Angola, Coronavirus Turns Life Without Parole for Selling Weed Into a Potential Death Sentence (Louisiana) Tana Ganeva, Reason

A Public Defender Fights to Save His Two Incarcerated Brothers From COVID-19 Jordan Smith, The Intercept

In Prison, Even Social Distancing Rules Get Weaponized Christopher Blackwell, The Marshall Project

Who Wants to Run the Deadliest Big City in America? Theodoric Meyer, Politico Magazine

Baltimore mayoral candidates zero in on violent crime during debate in campaign’s closing days Talia Richman, Baltimore Sun

Campaign Funds for Judges Warp Criminal Justice, Study Finds Adam Liptak, New York Times

Oregon’s top courts begin reversing nonunanimous convictions Andrew Selsky, AP News

The Evidence Against Her Justine van der Leun, Type Investigations

For years they’ve been seen as quiz show criminals. A new TV series may change that Emily Zemler, Los Angeles Times

AM Stories

After George Floyd, a Nation in Search of Justice Hugh Eakin, New York Review of Books

Police Erupt in Violence Nationwide Matthew Dessem, Slate

Thousands Protest in NYC, Clashing With Police Across All 5 Boroughs Alan Feuer and Azi Paybarah, New York Times

Scenes from a New York City Protest of the Police Killing of George Floyd Marella Gayla, The New Yorker

Newsom declares state of emergency in LA, deploys National Guard Kevin Rector, Dakota Smith, Kevin Baxter, Leila Miller, Emily Baumgaertner, Matthew Ormseth, and Ruben Vives, Los Angeles Times

Legal immunity for police misconduct, under attack from left and right, may get Supreme Court review Richard Wolf, USA Today

The George Floyd Killing in Minneapolis Exposes the Failures of Police Reform Alice Speri, Alleen Brown, and Mara Hvistendahl, The Intercept

George Floyd’s death could have been prevented if we had a police culture of intervention Christy E. Lopez, Washington Post

The Only Solution Is to Defund the Police Alex S. Vitale, The Nation

No More Cop Unions Kim Kelly, New Republic

The Anti-Lockdown Protests Prove Police Know How to Treat Protesters Fairly Aymann Ismail, Slate

Target Has a Long History With the Minneapolis Police Aaron Mak, Slate

In Defense of Looting (2014) Vicky Osterweil, The New Inquiry

Crime Story Daily Highlights – Week 42

On the criminal justice policy front: The New York Times reports that last weekend, a federal judge in Florida delivered a significant win in the state’s ongoing battle over felony disenfranchisement, striking down a controversial law that severely restricted voting rights for people with serious criminal convictions. The law, enacted in 2018 by a Republican-controlled state legislature, required convicted felons to settle their financial obligations to the court before having their voting eligibility restored. With court debts often totaling in the hundreds or thousands of dollars, and with no system in place for paying, this restriction rendered a majority of Florida’s convicted felons completely unable to vote; Slate offers insight into a “chaotic nightmare” of logistical hurdles and bureaucratic red tape. On Sunday, Judge Robert Hinkle of the US District Court in Tallahassee ruled the law unconstitutional, declaring that the requirement amounted to a de facto poll tax and discriminated against those who could not afford to pay. The Miami Herald breaks down five main takeaways from Judge Hinkle’s “game-changing” ruling. And a piece from USA Today focuses on the ongoing coronavirus crisis in America’s prisons and jails as a "lesson in humanity." Historically, the American public – and our justice system – have not held much sympathy for incarcerated people. But during the pandemic, the human costs of mass incarceration have become impossible to ignore, with a spate of recent horror stories amplifying bipartisan calls for decarceration and reform. This moment offers a poignant opportunity to change the terms of the discussion about incarceration – by recognizing and restoring the humanity that incarcerated people are so often denied.

In muckraker/watchdog reporting: A ProPublica investigation reveals that even as the Justice Department publicly announced plans to expedite the release of prisoners to limit the spread of COVID-19, the agency was quietly adopting a policy that made it harder, not easier, for inmates to qualify for release. The result has been that while a handful of well-connected celebrity prisoners are granted home detention, more than 98% of America’s 166,000 federal inmates remain behind bars. And a piece from the Washington Post focuses on Andrea Circle Bear, the first female inmate in the federal system to die of COVID-19. In March, with the pandemic in full swing, the BOP transferred Andrea, then eight months pregnant, from South Dakota to a medical facility in Texas. At some point during the trip, she contracted the virus and became very sick; she was put on a ventilator, had her baby prematurely, and died at the end of April. As Andrea’s condition worsened, her family was left in the dark: the BOP didn’t contact them until after she had died. The piece, written by Andrea’s grandmother, calls on lawmakers to hold the BOP accountable for her granddaughter’s death.

In complex crime storytelling: This week, two separate incidents, twelve hours and twelve hundred miles apart, sparked widespread protests amid a contentious national debate over police brutality, racial injustice, and the criminalization of black Americans. The New York Times reports from Minneapolis, where George Floyd, an unarmed black man, died in police custody on Monday. Graphic video of Floyd’s violent arrest shows a white officer kneeling on his neck, pinning him down as he repeatedly pleas, “I can’t breathe.” The video, captured by a bystander and widely circulated online, triggered protests across the country and launched a federal civil rights investigation into the Minneapolis PD. Meanwhile, Vox covers another disturbing, racially charged altercation – albeit a far less serious one – that also made headlines this week. When Christian Cooper, a black man who was bird-watching in New York City’s Central Park, politely asked a white woman to leash her dog, she responded by threatening to call 911. Cooper, filming on his cellphone, recorded the woman warning, “I’m going to tell them there’s an African-American man threatening my life.” On Monday, Cooper’s video went viral, sparking widespread outrage – especially after news emerged of George Floyd’s death earlier the same day.

A piece from the New York Times highlights the importance of bystander videos, which played a critical role in generating public attention and outcry around both Cooper’s story and George Floyd’s. In a piece for the New Yorker, Jelani Cobb reflects on these two incidents, which have “taken on the appearance of the control and the variable in a grotesque experiment about race in America.” And a piece from New York Magazine examines the state of policing, America’s “most resilient institution,” during the pandemic. With crime rates plummeting as American life retreats indoors, national circumstances would seem to support a vastly diminished role for the police. But the “worst excesses of law enforcement remain ever present in the interactions that still take place,” from social-distance policing that disproportionately targets people of color to George Floyd’s death at the hands of a white officer. The piece questions why, in the midst of a prolonged national crisis that has tested and shaken even our most vital institutions, law enforcement has remained so resilient – and so stubbornly resistant to change.

And in culture/true crime: The Los Angeles Times reviews “All Day and a Night,” a new feature-length drama from Netflix. The film portrays a young black man struggling to break free from the multigenerational cycle of systemic poverty, trauma, and abuse that landed his father in prison. And the New Republic reviews “AKA Jane Roe,” an FX documentary about Norma McCorvey, the plaintiff made famous as “Jane Roe” in the landmark abortion-rights case Roe v. Wade. In the early ‘70s, “Jane” rose to national prominence as an indelible symbol of the movement for reproductive rights. But when courts make general rulings based on individual cases, they “cut a story out of a person’s life, make a law out of it, and then leave the pieces on the floor”; even as “Jane” became a lightning rod for one of the most divisive political issues in recent American history, Norma herself was obscured. “AKA Jane Roe” seeks to give McCorvey the last word in a conversation she was largely shut out of, and to paint a picture of the real, three-dimensional person behind a landmark legal case.

Friday May 29, 2020

PM Stories

National Guard Called as Minneapolis Erupts in Solidarity for George Floyd Matt Furber, John Eligon, and Audra D. S. Burch, New York Times

Why does the Minneapolis police department look like a military unit? Philip V. McHarris, Washington Post

Police chiefs react with disgust to Minneapolis death, try to reassure their own cities Tom Jackman, Washington Post

Police chiefs’ condemnation of George Floyd killing highlights impact of criminal justice reform movements James Queally and Molly Hennessy-Fiske, Los Angeles Times

Before George Floyd’s Death, Minneapolis Police Failed to Adopt Reforms, Remove Bad Officers Jamiles Lartey and Simone Weichselbaum, The Marshall Project

Public outrage, legislation follow calls to police about black people Maria Sacchetti, Shayna Jacobs, and Abigail Hauslohner, Washington Post

There’s Only One Possible Conclusion: White America Likes Its Killer Cops Elie Mystal, The Nation

Evidence of Link Between ‘De-Policing’ and Homicide is Slim: Study The Crime Report

Fulton DA, two challengers commit to not seeking the death penalty (Georgia) Bill Rankin, Atlanta Journal-Constitution

The Florida Supreme Court’s U-turn on the death penalty Editorial Board, Tampa Bay Times

What Does It Mean to Be a Feminist Prosecutor? Barry Lam, Slate

AM Stories

Ten thousand Texas prisoners approved for parole sit behind bars amid coronavirus pandemic Lauren McGaughy, Dallas Morning News

California jail population plummets during pandemic. Could this lead to long-term change? Jason Pohl, Sacramento Bee

‘Powder keg’ at Chuckawalla Valley State Prison with 110 cases of COVID-19 in two weeks (California) Matthew Ormseth, Los Angeles Times

He tested positive for the coronavirus. One day later, a federal prison flew him home to Alaska. Michelle Theriault Boots, Anchorage Daily News

Critics Say Hawaii Prisons Are Failing To Help Released Inmates Yoohyun Jung, Honolulu Civil Beat

Honolulu Police Keep Putting Homeless People in Jail Meg O’Connor, The Appeal

As Coronavirus Spreads in Federal Prisons, Cases in Halfway Houses Are Being Undercounted Liliana Segura, The Intercept

‘This is Madness’: New Yorkers in Jail Despite COVID Pledges Andrea Cipriano, The Crime Report

A Transgender Woman’s Attorneys Fear She Won’t Survive Her 60-Month Sentence Elizabeth Weill-Greenberg, The Appeal

#Say Their Names: Remembering Inmates Who Died Andrea Cipriano, The Crime Report

Florida Judge Exposes the Chaotic Nightmare Facing Felons Who Want to Register to Vote Mark Joseph Stern, Slate

Thursday May 28, 2020

PM Stories

The Death of George Floyd, in Context Jelani Cobb, The New Yorker

Minneapolis Police, Long Accused of Racism, Face Wrath of Wounded City Matt Furber, John Eligon, and Audra D. S. Burch, New York Times

Minneapolis Mayor Calls For Charges In George Floyd Death Sarah Ruiz-Grossman, Huffington Post

The Supreme Court Broke Police Accountability. Now It Has the Chance to Fix It. Mark Joseph Stern, Slate

The Pandemic Is the Right Time to Defund the Police Melissa Gira Grant, New Republic

Can Procedural Justice Training Reduce Officer Misconduct? Andrea Cipriano, The Crime Report

Reclassify All Drug Possession Charges as Misdemeanors: Study The Crime Report

Netflix’s Jeffrey Epstein Series Is a Different Kind of #MeToo Documentary Lili Loofbourow, Slate

‘On the Record’ Review: A Black Woman Says ‘#MeToo’ Devika Girish, New York Times

The Two Lives of Norma McCorvey Josephine Livingstone, New Republic

He started a music program in prison. Now the artists are dropping a mixtape from behind bars. Tyler Kendall, CBS News

AM Stories

Coronavirus in Jails and Prisons Kelly Davis, The Appeal

Prison Reform Matters Now More Than Ever Francis Wilkinson, Bloomberg

Supreme Court won’t stop Ohio order for prisoners to be moved or released because of coronavirus Robert Barnes, Washington Post

How To Hide a COVID-19 Hotspot? Pretend Prisoners Don’t Exist Abbie VanSickle, The Marshall Project

Inside A Federal Prison With A Deadly COVID-19 Outbreak, Compromised Men Beg For Help (North Carolina) Ryan J. Reilly, Huffington Post

Oregon’s maximum-security prison in Salem now the site of state’s biggest single coronavirus outbreak Noelle Crombie, The Oregonian

Do detainee transfers increase COVID-19 cases? Judge orders ICE to disclose data Monique O. Madan, Miami Herald

This Neighborhood Stifled Gangs and Guns. Then a New Killer Moved In. Edgar Sandoval, New York Times

Two of His Sons Are Incarcerated During the Pandemic. A Third Is Fighting to Get Them Out. Chris Gelardi, The Appeal

New York Appealed to Keep an Elderly Prisoner Behind Bars – Then He Got Coronavirus Natasha Lennard, The Intercept

A Pandemic Bright Spot: In Many Places, Less Crime Neil MacFarquhar and Serge F. Kovaleski, New York Times

Task Force Calls for Independent Oversight of Federal Prisons Ted Gest, The Crime Report

Wednesday May 27, 2020

PM Stories

America’s Most Resilient Institution Zak Cheney-Rice, New York Magazine

‘I Can’t Breathe’: 4 Minneapolis Officers Fired After Black Man Dies in Custody Christine Hauser, Derrick Bryson Taylor, and Neil Vigdor, New York Times

Tear gas fired as officers in riot gear clash with Minneapolis protesters over death of George Floyd Dennis Romero, NBC News

Bystander Videos of George Floyd and Others Are Policing the Police Audra D. S. Burch and John Eligon, New York Times

A Black Man Bird-Watching in Central Park Asked a White Woman to Leash Her Dog. She Called the Cops. Elliot Hannon, Slate

Amy Cooper’s 911 call is part of an all-too-familiar pattern Anna North, Vox

No, criminals aren’t rampaging across California because of our zero-dollar bail policy Editorial Board, Los Angeles Times

LA County Starts Planning for Shift in Juvenile Justice System City News Service

San Diego County eliminates juvenile justice fees and debts Charles T. Clark, Los Angeles Times

Fortunate Son Brantley Hargrove, D Magazine

From Angola prison to ‘America’s Got Talent’: Archie Williams gives hope to Louisiana inmates Lea Skene, Baton Rouge Advocate

AM Stories

Bill Barr Promised to Release Prisoners Threatened by Coronavirus – Even as the Feds Secretly Made It Harder for Them to Get Out Ian MacDougall, ProPublica

Bureau of Prisons to start moving 6,800 new federal inmates to its facilities Kristine Phillips, USA Today

California prisons to begin accepting inmates as coronavirus deaths mount in Chino Richard Winton, Los Angeles Times

Federal prison population continues historic drop with BOP now reporting 166,647 total federal inmates Sentencing Law and Policy

Man Serving 18 Years On Marijuana Charges Just Died In Federal Prison COVID-19 Outbreak (Kentucky) Ryan J. Reilly, Huffington Post

Lockdowns, strict measures making life difficult for Maryland prisoners. But are they keeping them alive? Phillip Jackson, Baltimore Sun

Prince George’s jail officials acted with ‘reckless disregard’ to coronavirus outbreak, judge finds (Maryland) Dan Morse, Washington Post

Officials mishandled coronavirus outbreaks at Lompoc and Terminal Island prisons, lawsuits claim Alex Wigglesworth, Los Angeles Times

Stateville prison reopens decrepit ‘F-House’ to hold inmates with COVID-19 (Illinois) Jonah Newman, Injustice Watch

Coronavirus outbreak at Oregon State Penitentiary obscured in ZIP code report released by state Brad Schmidt and Mark Friesen, The Oregonian

Inmates share what life is like inside prison during the coronavirus pandemic CBS News

No Photo ID, No Services: Coronavirus Poses Steep Hurdles After Prison Christie Thompson, The Marshall Project

The Fragile Existence of Sex Workers During the Pandemic Alexis Okeowo, The New Yorker

Whores at the End of the World Sonya Aragon, n+1 Magazine

Tuesday May 26, 2020

PM Stories

‘A game-changer’: Five takeaways from the ruling on Florida felon voting Lawrence Mower, Miami Herald

Conservative Florida Supreme Court reverses itself again on death penalty legal issue David Ovalle, Miami Herald

‘This was supposed to go away’: The battle to shape how the world viewed Ahmaud Arbery’s killing Cleve R. Wootson Jr. and Michael Brice-Saddler, Washington Post

Police Killing of Breonna Taylor Fuels Calls to End No-Knock Warrants Arian Campo-Flores and Sabrina Siddiqui, Wall Street Journal

Prosecutors to Drop Charges Against Boyfriend of Breonna Taylor Michael Levenson, New York Times

Worse Than a Pardon Quinta Jurecic and Benjamin Wittes, The Atlantic

There Used to Be Justice. Now We Have Bill Barr. Emily Bazelon and Eric Posner, New York Times

US Just Had Its Longest Stretch Without A Death Sentence Since 1973 Kyle Pyatt and Tik Root, Newsy

How Netflix’s ‘All Day and a Night’ dodges stereotypes to tell painful truths Sonaiya Kelley, Los Angeles Times

Netflix’s Jeffrey Epstein docuseries honors his victims and their stories, but the creep still gets away Hank Stuever, Washington Post

The Marshall Project and Sundance Institute Announce Short Film Grantees The Marshall Project

A Soul-Stirring Reminder of Why the Criminal Justice System Must Change Beandrea July, Hyperallergic

AM Stories

Trump administration asks Supreme Court to stop release of inmates at risk for COVID-19 David G. Savage, Los Angeles Times

Early release of Cohen and Manafort shows how unfair prison system is, experts say Joseph Neff and Keri Blakinger, NBC News

Could Zoom jury trials become the norm during the coronavirus pandemic? Matt Reynolds, American Bar Association Journal

Legal Experts See Tough Road for Jury Trials While Pandemic Rages Maria Dinzeo, Courthouse News

When parole doesn’t mean release: The senseless “program requirements” keeping people behind bars during a pandemic Emily Widra and Wendy Sawyer, Prison Policy Initiative

Newsom proposes closing youth prisons as crime drops, coronavirus drains budget Bob Egelko, San Francisco Chronicle

As Pandemic Halts The Military Court At Guantánamo, Critics Call For Its Closure Sacha Pfeiffer, NPR

Ohio prisons chief defends coronavirus response Catherine Candisky, Columbus Dispatch

Oakland County Jail Ordered To Identify Prisoners Who Should Be Released To Protect Them From COVID-19 (Michigan) Dawn R. Wolfe, The Appeal

ICE Detainee Who Died of COVID-19 Suffered Horrifying Neglect Ryan Devereaux, The Intercept

Feds reassign warden at Louisiana prison hit hard by coronavirus Kevin Johnson, USA Today

For people with relatives in prison, coronavirus makes calls more urgent – and harder to afford Kelan Lyons, Connecticut Mirror

Monday May 25, 2020

PM Stories

Florida Law Restricting Felon Voting Is Unconstitutional, Judge Rules Patricia Mazzei, New York Times

Florida’s ‘Pay-to-Vote’ Law Ruled Unconstitutional Jon Parton, Courthouse News

Still in Solitary (California) Joshua Manson, The Appeal

California Fights to Deny Parole Based on Gang Ties Helen Christophi, The Progressive

Florida Supreme Court Destroys Precedent Protecting Mentally Disabled People From Execution Mark Joseph Stern, Slate

The Suffolk County DA’s Attack on Public Defenders Was Misguided Premal Dharia and Jullian Harris-Calvin, The Appeal

New York City and Los Angeles Slash Budgets – But Not for Police Alice Speri, The Intercept

Is There Such a Thing as “Good” Prison Design? (2018) Rachel Slade, Architectural Digest

The Suspects Wore Louboutins (2010) Nancy Jo Sales, Vanity Fair

New Documentary Reveals Silicon Valley’s Role in Notorious Bronx Gang Raid Simon Davis-Cohen, The Appeal

‘Helter Skelter’: Epix’s Manson Family Docuseries to Premiere in June Tyler Hersko, IndieWire

AM Stories

In coronavirus crisis, lessons in humanity toward America’s incarcerated Marc M. Howard, USA Today

The Federal Bureau of Prisons must be held accountable for the death of my granddaughter Clara LeBeau, Washington Post

Michael Cohen and Paul Manafort Got to Leave Federal Prison Due to COVID-19. They’re The Exception. Joseph Neff and Keri Blakinger, The Marshall Project

Fighting Coronavirus in Rural Communities by Protecting Incarcerated People Sunwoo Oh and Kayla Abrams, Brennan Center for Justice

‘People are sick all around me’: inside the coronavirus catastrophe in California prisons Sam Levin, The Guardian

‘I’m pretty sure I should be going home’ (Michigan) Aaron Miguel Cantú, Type Investigations

Maryland’s longest-serving female prisoner had covid-19. Lawmakers push for her release. Ovetta Wiggins, Washington Post

Texas court holds first US jury trial via videoconferencing Jake Bleiberg, ABC News

US Policing After Wave One of COVID-19 Vanda Felbab-Brown, Lawfare

Police Face Backlash Over Virus Rules. Enter ‘Violence Interrupters.’ Ashley Southall, New York Times

Pretrial Detention in the Time of COVID-19 Andrea Cipriano, The Crime Report

One’s an inmate, and one’s a guard. Coronavirus binds their loved ones – in protest against the state. Isaac Stanley-Becker, Washington Post

Crime Story Daily Highlights – Week 41

This is a curated selection of highlights from Crime Story Daily this week.

On the criminal justice policy front: The Huffington Post explains how officials at California’s Terminal Island federal prison successfully contained a deadly coronavirus outbreak. Two weeks ago, Terminal Island had the biggest known outbreak in the federal penal system: more than 700 inmates, nearly 70% of the prison’s population, had tested positive for COVID-19. Now, 567 inmates have fully recovered and new cases are down, thanks to proactive quarantine measures and an aggressive testing strategy. USA Today outlines three much-needed criminal justice reforms: practicing restorative justice, implementing misdemeanor reform, and passing legislation that would eliminate punishment for parole violations. A piece from the Wall Street Journal illustrates the challenges faced by courts around the country as they attempt to resume jury trials. Nationwide lockdowns have brought jury trials, a pillar of the American justice system, to a near-total halt. Now, courts are starting to move forward in a socially-distanced world, holding trials over Zoom, in reconfigured courtrooms, and, in one Montana county, at a repurposed high school gym. And The New Yorker questions the future of mass incarceration in a post-pandemic world. For decades, community groups have pointed out the social costs of mass incarceration; now, coronavirus has exposed its public-health risks as well. Since the beginning of the pandemic, thousands of inmates have been released from prisons and jails – a reduction that would have seemed inconceivable just three months ago. Now, courthouses are beginning to reopen and corrections officials are contemplating a “new normal,” but what exactly that will look like remains unclear.  

In muckraker/watchdog reporting: A Reuters investigation reveals the “hidden toll” of COVID-19 behind bars. Reuters reports that even as the virus continues to spread through America’s prisons and jails, testing remains spotty at best, and many confirmed cases are going unreported. The resulting lack of data has troubling implications not just for incarcerated people and corrections staff, but for their families and communities as well. Slate highlights the disturbing lack of transparency in the criminal justice system – a design feature, not a bug. A piece from The Marshall Project focuses on the plight of mentally ill criminal defendants. Even before the pandemic, criminal defendants in need of “competency restoration” often waited weeks or months in county jails for a hospital bed to open up. Now, the COVID-19 crisis has stalled many cases even further, and some are finding themselves stuck in virus-ridden jails while their mental health deteriorates. And a piece from the Washington Post recounts the “last days of a COVID-19 prisoner.” In January, 52-year-old Charles Hobbs was arrested and charged with an obscure technical violation that neither he nor his family fully understood. In March, as the pandemic began to spread, a judge ordered Hobbs released to house arrest, citing his multiple underlying health conditions and increased risk of infection. But, for reasons that remain unclear, Charles Hobbs was never released; he contracted the virus in jail and died at the beginning of May – a victim of deliberate indifference and bureaucratic incompetence by those sworn to protect him.

In complex crime storytelling: Jacobin Magazine revisits the “stranger danger” panic of the 1980s and its role in the rise of mass incarceration. In the early ‘80s, a supposed epidemic of child kidnappings and murders escalated into mass hysteria. Amid a nationwide moral panic, the Reagan administration cracked down, enacting the tough-on-crime, harsher-penalties policies that would give rise to mass incarceration. A piece from the New Yorker from 1986 goes inside the world of Edna Buchanan, a Pulitzer Prize-winning crime reporter for the Miami Herald during its heyday. And The Appeal recounts the story of Willie Mae Harris, who was convicted of killing her husband and sentenced to life in prison in 1985. Harris testified that her husband’s death was a tragic accident preceded by years of abuse; although evidence could have proved her claims, none of it was presented in court. Since she first started petitioning for executive clemency in 1998, the Arkansas Parole Board has recommended Harris for release five separate times. This week, The Appeal reported that after 34 years in prison, Harris, now 72 and fully blind, was finally granted parole.  

And in culture/true crime: The Atlantic reviews Hightown, a new series from Starz. In typical crime-drama fashion, the show revolves around a “hard-drinking, hard-boiled investigator” and a mysterious death. But Hightown plays with and subverts these stereotypes: set on Cape Cod at the height of Massachusetts’ opioid epidemic, the show features an openly gay female protagonist and grapples with themes of substance abuse, addiction, and recovery. AnOther Magazine interviews the artist Sterling Ruby, whose 2019 video STATE confronts the social and environmental impacts of mass incarceration. Ruby spent years traversing California by helicopter, compiling aerial footage of the 35 institutions that make up the California state prison system. In the video, Ruby’s camera spans pristine deserts and forests before settling on vast, monolithic collections of buildings – the architecture of mass incarceration. The full video of STATE is now viewable online, along with Ruby’s comments on the project and its renewed significance in light of COVID-19. And the Hollywood Reporter reviews American Trial: The Eric Garner Story. Eric Garner’s 2014 death at the hands of NYPD officer Daniel Pantaleo – and his dying words, “I can’t breathe” – became a rallying cry for the Black Lives Matter movement. Pantaleo was fired, but a Staten Island grand jury decided not to indict him, provoking widespread outrage about the lack of accountability in police brutality cases. American Trial is an unscripted courtroom drama that stages Pantaleo’s trial with real prosecutors, defense lawyers, and witnesses. Garner’s real-life widow, Esaw, appears as a witness in the film; she discusses the experience in an interview with the Daily Beast. Somewhere between documentary and fiction, American Trial is an affecting imaginative experiment, an attempt to supply the justice Americans were denied in 2014.

Friday May 22, 2020

PM Stories

The Unmattering of Black Lives Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw, New Republic

Man who filmed Ahmaud Arbery video charged with murder Christian Boone, Atlanta Journal-Constitution

FBI investigating death of Breonna Taylor, killed by police in her Louisville home Doha Madani, NBC News

Lori Loughlin to plead guilty in college admissions scandal, faces 2 months in prison Matthew Ormseth, Los Angeles Times

Federal judge orders new trial for death row inmate in Houston capital murder case Julian Gill, Houston Chronicle

Supreme Court Won’t Block Surgery for Transgender Inmate (Idaho) Adam Liptak, New York Times

Julius Jones Is On Death Row And Seeking Clemency – Can Kim Kardashian Help? Leah Carroll and Britni de la Cretaz, Refinery29

Eric Garner’s Widow Feels Like She’s ‘Being Attacked by the Police’ Cassie Da Costa, The Daily Beast

‘American Trial: The Eric Garner Story’: Film Review John DeFore, Hollywood Reporter

AM Stories

The Cruelty of Trump’s ICE Under COVID-19 Lauren Carasik, Boston Review

A dark milestone: More than 1,000 migrants in ICE custody now have the coronavirus Jeff Gammage, Philadelphia Inquirer

Locked inside Gabrielle Banks and St. John Barned-Smith, Houston Chronicle

Philly will now test everyone in its jails for the coronavirus Max Marin, Billy Penn

Maryland to test all detainees, staff at prisons and juvenile facilities for coronavirus Pamela Wood and Phillip Jackson, Baltimore Sun

She walked out of jail into a pandemic. Now she can’t find the help she needs to get back on her feet. Jolie McCullough, Texas Tribune

Trump’s Ex-Lawyer Michael Cohen Will Be Released to Home Confinement Sadie Gurman, Wall Street Journal

LA sheriff will defy subpoena from oversight commission on jail conditions Cindy Chang, Los Angeles Times

Video Chat Juries and the Future of Criminal Justice Michael Waters, Wired

Progressive Winner in Portland DA Race Expects ‘Shock Waves’ in Oregon’s Punitive System Daniel Nichanian, The Appeal

Review: ‘The Painter and the Thief’ tells a moving story of true crime and redemption Justin Chang, Los Angeles Times

Thursday May 21, 2020

PM Stories

Ahmaud Arbery and the Local Legacy of Lynching Jennifer Rae Taylor and Kayla Vinson, The Marshall Project

Breonna Taylor Is One of a Shocking Number of Black People to See Armed Police Barge Into Their Homes Samantha Michaels, Mother Jones

Arkansas Grants Parole To Willie Mae Harris Three Decades After She Was Convicted For Killing Her Husband Lauren Gill, The Appeal

A Life Sentence in Arkansas. And a Lifetime of Pain. (2019) Lauren Gill, The Appeal

Two Cops Were Given Qualified Immunity After Allegedly Stealing $225,000. SCOTUS Won’t Hear the Case. Billy Binion, Reason

Our plea bargain system can make the innocent admit guilt. Enter Michael Flynn. George F. Will, Washington Post

What Richard Burr Actually Did Mary Harris, Slate

Police must use new eyewitness ID rules to reduce wrongful identifications (Minnesota) Andy Mannix, Minneapolis Star Tribune

AM Stories

The last days of a covid-19 prisoner Radley Balko, Washington Post

Virus Forces Judges Into Life-or-Death Calls on Inmate Releases Madison Alder, Bloomberg Law

While jails drastically cut populations, state prisons have released almost no one Emily Widra and Peter Wagner, Prison Policy Initiative

Inside New York’s notorious Rikers Island jails, ‘the epicenter of the epicenter’ of the coronavirus pandemic Sonia Moghe, CNN

Virus Raged at City Jails, Leaving 1,259 Guards Infected and 6 Dead Jan Ransom, New York Times

Louisiana Women Incarcerated for Defending Themselves Against Abusive Partners Seek Clemency Amid COVID-19 Pandemic Jerry Iannelli, The Appeal

Oakdale federal prison resumes and expands COVID-19 testing (Louisiana) Nicholas Chrastil, The Lens

Nearly 500 Miami jail inmates, a staggering 41 percent tested, have caught the coronavirus David Ovalle and Douglas Hanks, Miami Herald

Pandemic, social distancing restrictions paralyze Alabama’s criminal justice system Jennifer Horton, WTVY

Judge: BOP hasn’t complied with order to address coronavirus at Ohio federal prison Eric Heisig,

California Strips Incarcerated People of Complaints Rights During Pandemic Rory Fleming, Filter Magazine

State to exclude Lompoc Prison cases from Santa Barbara County totals (California) Travis Schlepp, KEYT

US Prison Decline: Insufficient to Undo Mass Incarceration Nazgol Ghandnoosh, Sentencing Project

Clean House: Writing and recovery in Sing Sing John J. Lennon, Plough

Wednesday May 20, 2020

PM Stories

Missouri Just Became the First State to Execute an Inmate During the Pandemic Nathalie Baptiste, Mother Jones

Missouri prosecutors’ unit that tried inmate scheduled to die is linked to wrongful convictions, Innocence Project says Erin Donaghue, CBS News

Capital Punishment and the ‘Culture’ of Revenge Isidoro Rodriguez, The Crime Report

Why We Shouldn’t Reward Fearmongering in Criminal Justice Reporting Zachary A. Siegel and Leo Beletsky, The Appeal

Washington Governor Vetoes Bill That Would Have Automatically Cleared Criminal Records Rachel M. Cohen, The Appeal

10 Ways a Roadside Police Stop Can Go Wrong Jacob Sullum, Reason

How Police Turn Teens Into Informants Barry Lam, Slate

Conviction integrity units working to exonerate the wrongfully convicted (Part 1) and (Part 2) NBC News

How the “Stranger Danger” Panic of the 1980s Helped Give Rise to Mass Incarceration Meagan Day, Jacobin

The Last Ride of Cowboy Bob (2005) Skip Hollandsworth, Texas Monthly

Watch a Film About California’s Prison System by Sterling Ruby Belle Hutton, Another Magazine

Sterling Ruby’s Aerial Portrait of California’s Endless Prison System (2019) Sophie Bew, Another Magazine

AM Stories

Across US, COVID-19 takes a hidden toll behind bars Peter Eisler, Linda So, Ned Parker, and Brad Heath, Reuters

We Have No Idea How Many People in Prison Actually Have COVID-19 Mia Armstrong, Slate

SF federal prosecutor eases rules for sick inmates seeking early release Bob Egelko, San Francisco Chronicle

Isolation, Death, and Grief at a New York Women’s Prison Lyra Walsh Fuchs, The Appeal

A Detainee at Rikers Island Was Cleared for Release Because of the Coronavirus. Six Weeks Later, He’s Still in Jail. Natasha Lennard, The Intercept

Solitary Confinement – Where is the New York Legislature? Anisah Sabur, Norwood News

Despite pandemic, sheriff continues booking suspects on minor, nonviolent offenses Kelly Davis, Lauryn Schroeder, and Jeff McDonald, San Diego Union-Tribune

Wrongfully Convicted Man Hopes For Release As Coronavirus Hits Prisons (Pennsylvania) NBC News/YouTube

State’s Attorney has contested vast majority of bond motions since COVID-19 (Illinois) John Seasly, Injustice Watch

A Coronavirus Turf War in Klickitat County Charles Bethea, The New Yorker

The Deranged Civic Religion of the Lockdown Protestors Libby Watson, New Republic

Is Anywhere Safe for a Jury Trial During the Covid-19 Pandemic? Try a School Gym. Rebecca Davis O’Brien, Wall Street Journal

Amid pandemic, crime dropped in many US cities, but not all Tom Jackman, Washington Post

COVID-19 data sharing with law enforcement sparks concern Kimberlee Kruesi, AP News