Hannah Teich | Crime Story Daily Editor

Kary Antholis | Editor/Publisher

Paul Butler | Consulting Editor


Crime Story Daily Highlights – Week 81

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

On the criminal justice policy front: The Washington Post reports that this week, two bills to abolish the death penalty in Virginia won final approval in the state General Assembly. Gov. Ralph Northam is expected to sign both bills, making Virginia – historically one of the nation’s most prolific death penalty states – the first in the South to abandon capital punishment. The New York Times reports from Illinois, which, earlier this week, became the first state in the country to eliminate cash bail. The change is part of a sweeping criminal justice reform law signed Monday by Gov. JB Pritzker, which he said would “would transform the state’s legal system and increase accountability measures for police officers, such as requiring the use of body-worn cameras by police departments statewide.” On the national level, CNN reports that this week, House Democrats reintroduced policing legislation named in honor of George Floyd, whose death in police custody last year sparked nationwide calls to address police misconduct and racial injustice. The bill – titled the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act of 2021 – includes provisions to overhaul qualified immunity for law enforcement, prohibitions on racial profiling, and a federal ban on chokeholds. The House is expected to vote on this proposal as soon as next week. And a piece from GQ focuses on Ithaca, New York, and perhaps the “most ambitious effort yet” to reform law enforcement. This week, Ithaca’s mayor, Svante Myrick, announced a plan to abolish its police department as currently constructed and replace it with a reimagined city agency. The new department would include both armed “public safety workers” and unarmed “community solution workers,” all of whom will report to a civilian director of public safety instead of a police chief. If approved, the plan would constitute “the most radical reimagining of policing in the post-George Floyd era so far.”

In muckraker/watchdog reporting: A piece from The Atlantic focuses on immigration reform. Since taking office, President Biden has moved to dismantle some of Trump’s nastiest immigration policies, lifting the so-called Muslim ban, halting construction of a wasteful border wall, and launching a task force to reunite separated migrant families. This week, he proposed reform legislation that, if enacted, would give undocumented immigrants now in the US a route to becoming citizens. But now, as the Mexico-US border comes under renewed stress, the new administration faces an uphill battle in fixing the mess Trump left behind. A piece from the New York Review of Books goes inside “America’s hidden gulag.” In recent years, numerous counties across the US – mostly in rural areas or smaller regional cities – have expanded or rebuilt their local jails. This “jail boom,” fueled in part by federal policies, has benefitted federal agencies like ICE and the US Marshals Service, which use space in county jails to detain immigrants, people seeking asylum, and those in pre-trial federal custody. The piece explores this relationship between federal agencies and county jails, which, over the last four decades, has driven both mass incarceration and anti-immigrant policy across the rural US.

Other pieces this week focus on Texas, where a once-in-a-generation snowstorm, combined with a major failure of the state’s electrical grid, have worsened already-dire conditions within prisons and jails. The Marshall Project reports that as temperatures dipped into the single-digits, prisoners across the state were left without power, heat, or running water, in conditions they described as increasingly inhumane. And a piece from Mother Jones goes inside downtown Houston’s Harris County Jail, where incarcerated people and their loved ones are reporting brutal cold, scarce drinking water, backed-up toilets, and inedible food. In a facility already devastated by COVID-19, inmates say the crises keep piling up: “We were thinking, ‘it can’t get any worse.’ But clearly, it could get worse and it has.”

In complex crime storytelling: A piece from the New Republic tracks “the rise and fall of the L. Brent Bozells.” In the 1950s and ‘60s, L. Brent Bozell, Jr., the son of a prominent Nebraska businessman, helped launch the National Review brand of reactionary movement conservatism, with the admonition to stand “athwart history, yelling stop.” Half a century later, his grandson, L. Brent Bozell IV, would take part in an attempted insurrection at the US Capitol. The piece traces four generations of one American family as a “synecdoche of the decline of the conservative movement.” A piece from the Atlantic goes “inside the strange world of the police.” In 1994, in the wake of the Rodney King riots, a journalist and a photographer were invited to embed with the LAPD. Three decades later, they reflect on lessons learned from their time with the department – and on how little policing has changed. And a piece from ProPublica revisits the unsolved 1963 killing of a prominent Black politician and “the murder Chicago didn’t want to solve.” In February 1963, Ben Lewis’s star was on the rise. The first Black elected official from Chicago’s West Side, Lewis had just won what was set to be his second full term on the City Council. Rumor had it that his next stop would be Congress, a move that would have made him one of the highest-profile Black politicians in the country. Then Lewis was found shot to death in his ward office. Clues suggested the murder was a professional hit, fueling speculation that police may have been involved. But the investigation soon went cold, and nearly six decades later, no one has been brought to justice for Lewis’s death.

In culture/true crime: A piece from IndieWire highlights two new true-crime-adjacent documentaries: HBO’s Allen v. Farrow and The New York Times Presents: Framing Britney Spears. The first is an in-depth look at the sexual assault accusations made against Woody Allen by his daughter, Dylan Farrow; while the second chronicles Britney Spears’ rise to fame as a teen pop star, her sudden fall and much-publicized setbacks, including an ongoing legal battle over the conservatorship Spears has been under since 2008. Both films revisit and bring to light decades-old cases of abuse, in which the legal system failed to protect the vulnerable young victims of powerful older men. In this way, both projects – part of a recent surge of post-#MeToo documentaries – attempt to right the wrongs of the not-so-distant past, offering “cultural justice” where the criminal justice system has fallen short. NPR reviews Two Truths and a Lie, the new true-crime book by journalist Ellen McGarrahan. In 1990, McGarrahan, then a young beat reporter for the Miami Herald, witnessed a botched execution. At the time, she reported on the case and the executed man – a convicted murderer – by relying on, as she says, “the state’s version of events as the truth.” Two Truths and a Lie delves deep into McGarrahan’s more than two-decade-long odyssey to rectify that mistake. And a piece from Slate focuses on Netflix’s true crime boom and the new docuseries Crime Scene. Over the past decade, true crime has exploded into the cultural mainstream, from podcasts and YouTube to traditional print media; and Netflix has unleashed a seemingly endless stream of true crime shows to meet that nearly bottomless demand. But in feeding, and stoking, that appetite, “Netflix’s true crime tsunami risks sweeping away the frameworks that true crime authors and fans have spent decades building, and stripping away a layer of respectability that the long-disreputable genre has only recently acquired.”

Friday February 26, 2021

PM Stories

They’re Going Back to Prison. But They Didn’t Commit New Crimes. Beth Schwartzapfel, The Marshall Project

‘A living hell’: Inside US prisons during the COVID-19 pandemic Daniel Moritz-Rabson, Al Jazeera

Why is COVID Spreading in Connecticut Prisons? Chandra Bozelko, The Crime Report

California Prison Authorities Have Yet to Learn Lessons From Major COVID-19 Outbreaks, Advocates Warn Kerry Klein, KQED

Sacramento County begins vaccinating jail inmates after major COVID-19 outbreak Michael Finch II, Sacramento Bee

40% of inmates in California’s corrections system have been vaccinated for COVID-19 Leila Miller, Los Angeles Times

COVID-19 Lawsuit: State agrees to release 3,500 prison inmates (North Carolina) WITN

What Happened When Life Sentences Got Out of Control Sonny Mazzone, Reason

Tennessee Supreme Court Considering Whether To End Strict Life Sentences For Juveniles Samantha Max, WKMS

Virginia Bans Mental Health Evidence in Trials. Lawmakers Could Soon Change This Elizabeth Weill-Greenberg, The Appeal

He wants to kick Jim Crow out of the California Constitution Maria L. La Ganga, Los Angeles Times

Bobby Shmurda’s First Day Out Frazier Tharpe, GQ

AM Stories

What Will Merrick Garland Do About the Capitol Attack? Jeremy Stahl, Slate

Democratic leader says AG may look at Trump in Capitol riot probe Meg Cunningham, ABC News

The Legal Fallout Trump Still Faces From the Capitol Riots David Yaffe-Bellany, Bloomberg

The Law that Can Bring Down the Capitol Attackers Garrett Epps, Washington Monthly

The Justice Department is facing a tougher climb trying to keep Capitol rioters locked up Katelyn Polantz and Hannah Rabinowitz, CNN

Domestic Terror Still Thorny Issue for Lawmakers After Capitol Attack Brandi Buchman, Courthouse News

Dems clash over Biden-era police bill after ‘defund’ attacks Heather Caygle and Sarah Ferris, Politico

How Are Activists Managing Dissension Within the ‘Defund the Police’ Movement? Josiah Bates, Time

House Democrats reintroduce police reform bill named in honor of George Floyd Paul LeBlanc, CNN

Supreme Court Weighs Limits of ‘Hot Pursuit’ by Police Adam Liptak, New York Times

Reports: Justice Department ramps up George Floyd investigation into former officer Derek Chauvin N’dea Yancey-Bragg, USA Today

‘System is broken’: Black community expresses anger, fatigue after officers cleared in Daniel Prude’s death Tracy Schuhmacher, Robert Bell, and Jay Cannon, USA Today

A New Report Shows Elijah McClain Was Killed by a Cascade of Constitutional Violations Jacob Sullum, Reason

More Than Two Years After Viral Chokehold Video, NYPD Officer Has Faced No Discipline Alice Speri, The Intercept

The Hanau Protocols: Aftermath of a Deadly Racist Attack  Özlem Gezer and Timofey Neshitov, Der Spiegel

Saidu Tejan-Thomas Jr. and the Voices of ‘Resistance’ Reggie Ugwu, New York Times

Thursday February 25, 2021

PM Stories

Joe Biden’s Immigration Acid Test Osita Nwanevu, New Republic

Deportation as Usual as Biden Struggles to Reshape Immigration Policy Marcia Brown, American Prospect

Deported to Death David Mora and Emily Green, Vice News

After an Insider investigation, ICE reverses its claim that it asked states to vaccinate detained immigrants Nicole Einbinder, Angela Wang, and Daniel A. Gross, Insider

‘They Didn’t Listen to Us’: ICE Detainee Who Waged Hunger Strikes for COVID-19 Protections Gets Virus Farida Jhabvala Romero, KQED

More Than Half of All Inmates in Wisconsin Prisons Have Tested Positive for COVID Arvind Dilawar, The Nation

County jails move to vaccinate inmates and ICE detainees, but shortages persist Monsy Alvarado, NorthJersey.com

Whistleblowers: Software Bug Keeping Hundreds Of Inmates In Arizona Prisons Beyond Release Dates Jimmy Jenkins, KJZZ

Oklahoma County promised to fix its jail more than 10 years ago, but deaths and staffing issues continue Brianna Bailey, The Frontier

Judge Finds Missouri Public Defender Waiting List Unconstitutional Joe Harris, Courthouse News

Lawyers who were ineligible to handle serious criminal charges were given thousands of these cases anyway Samantha Hogan and Agnel Philip, ProPublica/Maine Monitor

Should Public Defenders Be Tweeting? Janet Manley, Vice

The Murder Chicago Didn’t Want to Solve Mick Dumke, ProPublica

A Botched Execution Leads To A Search For Answers In ‘Two Truths And A Lie’ Maureen Corrigan, NPR

This Year’s Biggest True Crime Podcast Falls Victim to the Wondery Approach Jody Rosen, Slate

AM Stories

‘Most Heinous Attack’: Merrick Garland Pledges to Take on Domestic Terrorism as Attorney General WJ Hennigan and Vera Bergengruen, Time

In return to Justice Department, Garland brings background in domestic terror to a nation in crisis Alexander Mallin and Luke Barr, ABC News

Merrick Garland’s Worrying Record on Criminal Justice Reform Damon Root, Reason

Merrick Garland says the Capitol riot means we can’t ‘defund the police.’ That makes no sense. Hayes Brown, MSNBC

Biden Faces Competing Pressures on Police Reform Chris Simkins, Voice of America

Biden Plans to “Reinvigorate” a Community Policing Office That Has a Dark History Aaron Stagoff-Belfort, Slate

No charges against officers involved in Daniel Prude’s death Michael Hill and Carolyn Thompson, AP News

Ahmaud Arbery killing remembered one year on: ‘Keep his name alive’ Kenya Evelyn, The Guardian

Ahmaud Arbery’s death sparked some policy change, but one year later his family still awaits justice Nicquel Terry Ellis, Martin Savidge, and Angela Barajas, CNN

With New Grand Jury, Justice Department Revives Investigation Into Death of George Floyd Tim Arango and Katie Benner, New York Times

Update On A Movement: How ‘Defunding Police’ Is Playing Out In Austin, Texas NPR

Berkeley to consider sweeping police reforms including taking cops off routine traffic stops Sarah Ravani, San Francisco Chronicle

NYC to test no-police mental crisis response in Harlem Jennifer Peltz, ABC News

Police Commission reinstates one of LAPD’s first Black officers, undoing 120-year-old injustice Kevin Rector, Los Angeles Times

Wednesday February 24, 2021

PM Stories

Illinois Becomes First State to Eliminate Cash Bail Maria Cramer, New York Times

Virginia lawmakers vote to abolish the death penalty Denise LaVoie and Sarah Rankin, AP News

Merrick Garland says he has ‘great’ concern about federal use of the death penalty, which surged under Trump Kevin Johnson, USA Today

The Government Has Not Explained How These 13 People Were Selected to Die Elizabeth Bruenig, New York Times

Donald Trump Executioners May Have Misled Courts, Sparking Calls for Investigation Khaleda Rahman, Newsweek

Judge delays death-penalty trial amid pandemic concerns Bill Rankin, Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Lessons From California Prison Where COVID ‘Spread Like Wildfire’ Kerry Klein, California Healthline

Incarcerated Artist, Orlando Smith, Illustrates Life at San Quentin During Pandemic Aparna Komarla, Davis Vanguard

The Case for Prioritizing COVID-19 Vaccines in Prisons and Jails Emily A. Wang, Lauren Brinkley-Rubinstein, and Lisa B. Puglisi, The Appeal

40% of inmates in California’s corrections system have been vaccinated for COVID-19 Leila Miller, Los Angeles Times

Prisoners in Massachusetts are getting their COVID-19 vaccines – and reduced sentences Maria Morava and Saba Hamedy, CNN

The Presumption of Freedom Alison Siegler and Kate M. Harris, New York Times

Bobby Shmurda Is Coming Home. What Happens Next? Rodney Carmichael and Sidney Madden, NPR

“Test Pattern,” Reviewed: A Brilliant Debut Examines the Aftermath of Sexual Assault Richard Brody, The New Yorker

How The Hosts Of My Favorite Murder Built A True Crime Empire On Empathy Emma Dibdin, Elle

The Awful Intimacy of Allen v. Farrow Sophie Gilbert, The Atlantic

Netflix’s True Crime Boom Is at a Dangerous Crossroads Jessica Cullen, Slate

AM Stories

What’s the Justice Department Actually For? David A. Graham, The Atlantic

At stake in Senate hearing Tuesday: The story of the Capitol riot, and who is responsible Mike DeBonis and Karoun Demirjian, Washington Post

Garland, at Confirmation Hearing, Vows to Fight Domestic Extremism Katie Benner and Charlie Savage, New York Times

How the Oklahoma City bombing case prepared Merrick Garland to take on domestic terrorism Matt Zapotosky and Ann E. Marimow, Washington Post

The 150-Year Prosecution of White Supremacy Melissa Gira Grant, New Republic

How the Federal Government Investigates and Prosecutes Domestic Terrorism Eric Halliday and Rachael Hanna, Lawfare

Jail Won’t Solve White Supremacist Violence. Here’s How to Truly Confront It. Kay Whitlock, Truthout

No, we do not need a new law against domestic terrorism Cynthia M. Deitle and Wade Henderson, Washington Post

Republicans Push Anti-Protest laws in 25 States, Protect Drivers Who Hit Demonstrators Benjamin Fearnow, Newsweek

Ahmaud Arbery’s Killers Want to Ban the Word Victim at Their Trial Caroline E. Light and Janae E. Thomas, Slate

Independent review faults Aurora police for stop preceding Elijah McClain’s death, subsequent investigation Jesse Paul and Lucy Haggard, Colorado Sun

Abuse Of Force: How Mt. Vernon’s Narcotics Squad Fell Apart, Thanks To A Whistleblower Cop George Joseph, Gothamist

Los Angeles Slashes Number of School Police Amid National Debate CJ Ciaramella, Reason

The Most Ambitious Effort Yet to Reform Policing May Be Happening in Ithaca, New York Wesley Lowery, GQ

Tuesday February 23, 2021

PM Stories

The Border Mess That Trump Left Behind Juliette Kayyem, The Atlantic

At the border, confusion, anxiety and hope as US unveils new process for asylum seekers Patrick J. McDonnell and Gabriela Minjares, Los Angeles Times

Immigration detention centers showcase California’s vaccine chaos Ana B. Ibarra, CalMatters

Officials Remain Mum On COVID-19 Vaccines For Immigrant Detainees In Illinois María Inés Zamudio, WBEZ

Judge Was Right to Protect ICE Detainees From COVID-19 ‘Tinderbox,’ Court Rules Tyche Hendricks, KQED

Coronavirus outbreak inside Maryland detention facility sparks class-action lawsuit Antonio Olivo, Washington Post

Missouri has too many older, low-risk prisoners behind bars. This GOP bill would help Editorial Board, Kansas City Star

New Criminal Justice Bill Could Save Oklahoma $134 Million Over Next Decade Quinton Chandler, KOSU

Poverty and Mass Incarceration in New York: An Agenda for Change Ames Grawert, Cameron Kimble, and Jackie Fielding, Brennan Center for Justice

Gov. JB Pritzker signs sweeping Illinois criminal justice overhaul, which will end cash bail starting in 2023 Dan Petrella, Chicago Tribune

Lawmakers vote to make Virginia first Southern state to abolish death penalty Laura Vozzella and Gregory S. Schneider, Washington Post

Mariame Kaba wants us to imagine a future without prisons Char Adams, NBC News

True Crime Gets Its Close-Up Kate Tuttle, New York Times

AM Stories

A Small Group of Militants’ Outsize Role in the Capitol Attack Jennifer Valentino-DeVries, Denise Lu, Eleanor Lutz, and Alex Leeds Matthews, New York Times

More Oath Keeper Suspects Charged in Capitol Riot Plot Alan Feuer and Katie Benner, New York Times

Feds Charge Pa. Cop For Rioting During Capitol Insurrection: ‘I May Need A Job’ Ryan J. Reilly, HuffPost

The Rise and Fall of the L. Brent Bozells Timothy Noah, New Republic

Feds now say right-wing extremists responsible for majority of deadly terrorist attacks last year Jana Winter, Yahoo! News

What Drove the Historically Large Murder Spike in 2020? Rob Arthur and Jeff Asher, The Intercept

Collision in Oakland: Move to defund police meets homicide spike Rachel Swan, San Francisco Chronicle

GOP bill would ban defunding police in wave of reaction to 2020 protests Ross Williams, Georgia Recorder

Maryland police reform would repeal officer job protections Brian Witte, ABC News

9 more convictions tossed in infamous Chicago police scandal Don Babwin, AP News

New Orleans police ‘a changed agency,’ but reforms lag, federal monitors find Ramon Antonio Vargas, NOLA.com

Police Misconduct Costs Cities Millions Every Year. But That’s Where The Accountability Ends. Amelia Thomson-Devaux, Laura Bronner, and Damini Sharma, The Marshall Project/FiveThirtyEight

What I Didn’t Learn at Police Academy Rosa Brooks, Washington Monthly

Inside the Strange World of the Police Richard Rayner, The Atlantic

Monday February 22, 2021

PM Stories

America’s Hidden Gulag Jacob Kang-Brown and Jack Norton, New York Review of Books

“It’s Terrifying, It’s Almost Crippling”: Texas Jails and Prisons Are Freezing Over Madison Pauly, Mother Jones

Inside Frigid Texas Prisons: Broken Toilets, Disgusting Food, Few Blankets Keri Blakinger, The Marshall Project

Unprepared for COVID, Texas Women’s Prison Was Equally Unprepared for Uri Victoria Law, Truthout

Judge Denies Injunction, Won’t Force Mass. To Release Prisoners Due To Pandemic Deborah Becker, WBUR

Bail reform reduced jail populations, but racial disparities worsened Kay Dervishi, City & State New York

DPIC Special Report: The Innocence Epidemic Death Penalty Information Center

Kansas Man Dies Just Months After Exoneration of Murder Arya Hodjat, Daily Beast

The scars of solitary: Albert Woodfox on freedom after 44 years in a concrete cell Ed Pilkington, The Guardian

He’s looking forward to ‘a better everything’ Karen Heller, Washington Post

DA dropping death penalty in Whittier cop killing case Ruby Gonzales, Whittier Daily News

Whose Fault is Michael Christopher Mejia? (2018) Abbie VanSickle and Richard Winton, The Marshall Project

‘Allen v. Farrow’ and ‘Framing Britney Spears’ Offer Cultural Justice in Lieu of Criminal Justice Libby Hill, IndieWire

AM Stories

Justice Dept. Confronts Increasingly Complex Capitol Riot Inquiry Katie Benner, New York Times

US alleges wider Oath Keepers conspiracy, adds more defendants in Jan. 6 Capitol riot Spencer S. Hsu and Rachel Weiner, Washington Post

After Oath Keepers charges, could feds accuse Capitol attackers of conspiring to overthrow US government? Kevin McCoy and Kevin Johnson, USA Today

6 Capitol Police officers suspended, 29 others being investigated for alleged roles in riot Whitney Wild and Paul LeBlanc, CNN

Pennsylvania Police Officer Charged for Involvement in Capitol Riot: “No Regrets” Daniel Politi, Slate

The link from MAGA riot to white supremacy in US policing MSNBC

How George Floyd’s Death Is Pushing Minneapolis to Rethink Public Safety Joshua Vaughn, The Appeal

Chicago police showed ‘confusion and lack of coordination’ that endangered protesters, officers last May, city watchdog concludes in scathing report Dan Hinkel, Annie Sweeney, and Jeremy Gorner, Chicago Tribune

Watchdog report: Some Chicago cops didn’t report use of force or wear body cameras during summer protests, unrest Grace Hauck, USA Today

Steps toward police reform, but a misstep on disciplinary actions Editorial Board, Seattle Times

Push and pull over Los Angeles policing hits roadways and transit Kevin Rector, Los Angeles Times

More than a decade after shootings of Black suspects, feds end oversight of Miami police Charles Rabin and Joey Flechas, Miami Herald

Civilian Oversight as a Police Accountability Mechanism Brett Raffish, Lawfare

Crime Story Daily Highlights – Week 80

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

On the criminal justice policy front: A piece from NBC News surveys the state of criminal justice and police reform. The death of George Floyd in police custody last May has galvanized lawmakers across the country along partisan lines: while Democrats in many states have proposed measures to reform police use-of-force and disciplinary policies, Republicans have focused on cracking down on demonstrators. The disparate approaches “seemingly point to a deeper impasse playing out in American politics”: as lawmakers from both sides of the aisle hold tight to their party line, finding common ground becomes increasingly impossible. A piece from Mother Jones focuses on gun control under a Biden administration. Last week, top White House officials held virtual meetings with leaders of some of the nation’s largest gun violence prevention groups – a welcome sign of progress for gun control advocates, who had begun to worry that amid a pandemic, impeachment trial, and the ongoing recession, their issue might have slipped off the administration’s to-do list. But to some, the meetings seemed tone-deaf: “none of the White House’s early invites were extended to the leaders of Black-led gun violence prevention groups who focus on addressing everyday gun violence — even as an alarming spike in shooting deaths has devastated communities of color.” And the Los Angeles Times reports from California, where, 80 years after the state created separate incarceration facilities to spare teenagers from being locked up alongside adults, Gov. Gavin Newsom has pledged to begin the shutdown of its long-troubled and frequently violent youth prisons. The planned dismantling of the Division of Juvenile Justice, or DJJ, comes after “years of scandal and mistreatment of young offenders, which spurred multiple reform efforts and more than a decade of state court oversight that ended in 2016.” The shutdown mirrors larger changes taking place across the country: “embracing rehabilitation over punishment and confinement close to home, rather than in isolated state facilities.” Longtime critics of the youth prisons have called their pending closure – which comes just two decades after California voters passed Proposition 21, intended to get tough on juvenile offenders by sending them to adult prisons and jails – a “transformational event.”

In muckraker/watchdog reporting: A piece from the New York Times looks at American policing in the aftermath of the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol. At least 30 police and other law enforcement officers from around the country attended the “stop the steal” rally in Washington, DC, that preceded the riot. Thus far, three have been arrested on federal charges related to breaching the Capitol, while many more now face internal investigations. Their involvement has “brought to a boil questions that have been simmering for years: How many law enforcement officers nationwide subscribe to extreme or anti-government beliefs, and how, precisely, can agencies weed them out?” A piece from ProPublica goes inside the failures of Capitol Police. In interviews with ProPublica, 19 current or former officers describe how failures of leadership and communication leading up to Jan. 6 allowed rioters to get dangerously close to members of Congress and put hundreds of Capitol cops’ lives at risk. And a piece from the New Yorker goes inside the Washington, DC police force with Georgetown Law professor Rosa Brooks. Five years ago, Brooks, who has spent much of her career observing the relationship between violence and law enforcement, decided to train as a reserve police officer. She participated in training courses, and, from 2016 to 2020, patrolled the District of Columbia for twenty-four hours each month. In a new book, she documents her time as a reserve officer and presents a larger critique of contemporary policing, starting with the ways cops are trained to anticipate violence: “What do you have to believe,” she writes, “to make the level of police violence in this country make sense if you’re a cop? The answer is you have to believe that it’s shoot or be shot, and that is what many cops believe.”

In complex crime storytelling: A piece from the Atlantic unwinds the long, complex history of “felony murder” laws. In 2005, 36-year-old Anissa Jordan was involved in a botched robbery that left one person dead. Although she wasn’t at the crime scene, and hadn’t directly participated in the robbery attempt, Jordan was charged with first-degree murder and given a sentence of to 27 years to life. She was convicted under California’s “felony murder” rule, a legal doctrine widely applied in the US but dimly understood outside the legal profession. In many states, felony murder allows prosecutors to charge a defendant with first-degree murder “even if that person had no intent to kill — and even if that person is not alleged to have struck the fatal blow.” And a piece from the Intercept explores the recent controversy over Poetry magazine. For its February 2021 issue, “The Practice of Freedom,” Poetry featured work by people who are or have been incarcerated, their families, and others working in or around the carceral system. Included in the magazine was a poem by Kirk Nesset, a former English professor who spent more than six years in federal prison for possessing and distributing child porn. The debate over Nesset’s inclusion – when the issue was released, a Change.org petition demanding that the magazine remove Nesset’s poem and “apologize to [his] voiceless victims” gained thousands of signatures – speaks to “the moral tension at the heart of prison abolitionism”: how do we balance mercy with accountability? And what happens when our capacity for mercy is strained?

In culture/true crime: A piece from the New Yorker, from 2016, focuses on James Ridgeway, the hard-hitting investigative journalist and justice reform advocate who died this week at 84. In his six-decade career as a reporter, Ridgeway exposed and drew attention to all kinds of corruption and malfeasance in American public life. But his longest and most fervent crusade was his last: a decade-long effort, in what might otherwise have been his retirement years, against solitary confinement. Since founding the website Solitary Watch in 2010, Ridgeway exchanged thousands of letters with inmates held in solitary across the United States. In recent years, he could often be seen pushing a walker to his local post office in Washington, DC, to collect letters from prisoners. The New York Times reviews the Netflix docuseries Crime Scene: The Vanishing at the Cecil Hotel. In 2013, 21-year-old Elisa Lam mysteriously disappeared from downtown LA’s infamous Cecil Hotel. Although Elisa was eventually found and her death ruled an accident, her story continues to fascinate amateur “web sleuths,” who pore over elevator surveillance footage and obsessively rehash the details of the case. In Crime Scene, these sleuths – and the questions they raise about the nature of truth and mass speculation and, more generally, the ethics of true crime – play a central role. And Texas Monthly highlights the Vox podcast “Chicano Squad,” which recounts the fascinating story of the county’s first all-Latino homicide squad. Created in Houston in 1979, the Chicano Squad’s mission was twofold: to help the department close a growing number of unsolved crimes in Houston’s barrios; and to mend its broken relationships with the city’s communities of color. With limited resources and no prior detective training, the Chicano Squad faced scrutiny from all sides. But by the end of 1979, the group had cleared forty homicides; slowly, they began to earn back the community’s trust. Drawing parallels to present-day discrimination against Latinos and the ongoing Black Lives Matter protests, “Chicano Squad” offers a fascinating window onto the generations-long struggle for police reform.   

Friday February 19, 2021

PM Stories

Hope and Chaos on the Border Elaine Shannon, Washington Monthly

Biden takes swing at immigration reform with bill on citizenship path for 11 million Molly O’Toole, Los Angeles Times

Immigration Enforcement and the Afterlife of the Slave Ship Ryan Fontanilla, Boston Review

Migrants speak of ‘inhumane’ conditions at ICE detention centers during COVID The Guardian

Ninth Circuit Grapples With Handling of COVID Risk at ICE Detention Centers Nicholas Iovino, Courthouse News

Coronavirus outbreak hits immigration detainees before vaccine eligibility opens for jails in Illinois Elvia Malagón, Chicago Sun-Times

He Got COVID In Prison. The Government Said He Was ‘Recovered.’ Then He Died. Melissa Jeltsen, HuffPost

Prisons Are Skimming Big Chunks of CARES Act Stimulus Checks Asher Stockler and Daniel Moritz-Rabson, The Intercept

NYS lawmakers, prison inmate advocates call for solitary confinement reform, improved COVID response Mikhaela Singleton, News10

Number of prison inmates serving life sentences continues to rise in Virginia and nationally, report finds Frank Green, Richmond Times-Dispatch

No End In Sight: America’s Enduring Reliance on Life Imprisonment Ashley Nellis, The Sentencing Project

Push For Greater Arizona Prison Oversight Led By Formerly Incarcerated People, Families Jimmy Jenkins, KJZZ

States make it easier to clear up criminal records Jennifer A. Kingson, Axios

California bill would decriminalize psychedelics, paving the way for medical treatment Vivian Ho, The Guardian

Short Documentary Offers Gripping Look At Racial Targeting And Cannabis Iris Dorbian, Forbes

What an Abolitionist Exhibition Looks Like in a Carceral World Catherine Damman, Frieze

AM Stories

Far-right extremists went mainstream under Trump. The Capitol attack cements his legacy. Elizabeth Neumann, USA Today

Pizzagate’s violent legacy Michael E. Miller, Washington Post

The 150-year-old Ku Klux Klan Act being used against Trump in Capitol attack Erick Trickey, Washington Post

The Librarian War Against QAnon Barbara Fisher, The Atlantic

Senate to hold first hearing on Capitol riot security failures Ursula Perano, Axios

After Capitol Riot, Local Law Enforcement Grapple With Extremists In Their Backyards Allison Sherry, Colorado Public Radio

Law enforcement confronts an old threat: far-right extremism in the ranks Kevin Rector and Richard Winton, Los Angeles Times

Op-Ed: What Biden can do about bad policing Barry Friedman and Rachel Harmon, Los Angeles Times

The ‘Culture of Violence’ Inside Austin’s Police Academy Michael Barajas, Texas Observer

Police Violence Puts the Heat on Rochester Mayor as She Seeks a Third Term Meg O’Connor, The Appeal

Appeals Court Rules Against New York Police Unions, Says Misconduct Records Can Be Released CJ Ciaramella, Reason

Protesters Urged Defunding the Police. Schools in Big Cities Are Doing It. Jill Cowan, Shawn Hubler, and Kate Taylor, New York Times

Los Angeles School District Eliminates One-Third of Its Police Officers Shawn Hubler and Kate Taylor, New York Times

California Bill That Promotes Alternatives to Policing Is Back Despite Governor’s Veto Piper French, The Appeal

How the Country’s First Latino Homicide Squad Transformed Houston Policing – At Least for a While Cat Cardenas, Texas Monthly

Thursday February 18, 2021

PM Stories

Abolish the Federal Death Penalty Elizabeth Bruenig, New York Times

Executioners sanitized accounts of death in federal cases Michael Tarm, AP News

They Covered Trump’s Executions Despite The Risk Of COVID-19. Then They Got Sick. Melissa Jeltsen and Jessica Schulberg, HuffPost

Ionia prison fights nation’s largest cluster of contagious UK COVID-19 variant Detroit News

More Than Half of All Inmates in Wisconsin Prisons Have Tested Positive for COVID Arvind Dilawar, The Nation

People In Texas Jails Are ‘Freezing,’ Without Hot Food Or Running Water Sarah Ruiz-Grossman, HuffPost

Power cuts off heat at Fort Worth juvenile detention center, where 105 children are held Nichole Manna, Fort Worth Star-Telegram

Report calls on Michigan prison system to sharply reduce its use of solitary confinement Paul Egan, Detroit Free Press

Missouri Repealed its Harshest Drug Law. Hundreds Were Left Behind Danny Wicentowski, Riverfront Times

Reviewing Measure 11: Advocates seek reform, prosecutors argue it works fine Virginia Barreda, Salem Statesman Journal

Los Angeles DA George Gascón Leaves California’s Powerful DA Association Jerry Iannelli, The Appeal

Oakland prosecutor takes steps to resentence ‘juvenile lifers’ Bill Laitner, Detroit Free Press

‘I thought I was going to die in prison’: Colorado juvenile lifer walks free after 24 years Dacia Johnson and Matt Jablow, 9News

AM Stories

Can Police Agencies Weed Out Far-Right Extremists? The Crime Report

Police Forces Have Long Tried to Weed Out Extremists in the Ranks. Then Came the Capitol Riot. Neil MacFarquhar, New York Times

Biden DHS plans to expand grants for studying, preventing domestic violent extremism Julia Ainsley, NBC News

A Domestic Terrorism Law Is Debated Anew After Capitol Riot Rachael Levy, Wall Street Journal

Joe Biden’s Evolution on Gun Policy Chip Brownlee, The Trace

Biden’s White House Is Ready to Tackle Gun Violence. Black-Led Groups Hope They Won’t Be Excluded. Samantha Michaels and Kara Voght, Mother Jones

Reparations bill tests Biden and Harris on racial justice Maya King, Politico

Trump left behind a clemency mess. The clock’s ticking for Biden to solve it. Anita Kumar, Politico

A Million-Dollar Pardon Offer at the Trump Hotel Peter Stone, The Atlantic

Make police reform a top priority of Biden DOJ Editorial Board, Seattle Times

Los Angeles DA and George Floyd’s family add voices to LAPD mock-valentine photo outrage Kim Christensen and Kevin Rector, Los Angeles Times

Maryland bill would make it easier to sue police officers for brutality in state court Ovetta Wiggins, Washington Post

Police Unions Lose Bid to Keep Disciplinary Records a Secret Benjamin Weiser, New York Times

New Massachusetts Law Paves the Way for Police-Free Schools Rachel M. Cohen, The Appeal

The Law Professor Who Trained with the DC Police Isaac Chotiner, The New Yorker

Wednesday February 17, 2021

PM Stories

Though virus has torn through correctional facilities, most prison workers are declining vaccines Laura Crimaldi, Boston Globe

COVID-19 is rampant in ICE detention facilities. Where’s the vaccine? Bill Ong Hing and Hamid Yazdan Panah, Los Angeles Times

Polis must enact a COVID-19 vaccination plan for Colorado’s hard-hit prisons David Maxted, Colorado Sun

Michigan Prison Reports 90 Cases of Fast-Spreading British Coronavirus Variant Arya Hodjat, Daily Beast

Women, some sick with COVID-19, left ‘freezing’ without heat at Fort Worth medical prison Kaley Johnson, Fort Worth Star-Telegram

Despite federal and state guidance to reduce jail populations, few inmates convicted of nonviolent crimes have been released early Nausheen Husain, Chicago Tribune

Gov. Greg Abbott prioritized changing how bail is set. He isn’t addressing people stuck behind bars because they can’t afford to pay. Jolie McCullough, Texas Tribune

The New Debt Prisons Gene B. Sperling, New York Times

One state looks to be the first to end cash bonds – and the wealth-based system of freedom it creates Safia Samee Ali, Yahoo!

Sentencing Reform Advocates Urge State To Prioritize Incarceration Alternatives Derek Cantú, NPR Illinois

Illinois Set to End Money Bail, Draft New Pretrial Guidelines The Crime Report

Archiving the Age of Mass Incarceration Black Voice News

‘The Prison Within’ takes an in-depth look at incarceration and restorative justice Chicago Crusader

In ‘Allen v. Farrow,’ looking for the last word on a notoriously unresolved story Ann Hornaday, Washington Post

AM Stories

Anatomy of an Insurrection Garrett Epps, Washington Monthly

First They Guarded Roger Stone. Then They Joined the Capitol Attack. Christiaan Triebert, Ben Decker, Derek Watkins, Arielle Ray, and Stella Cooper, New York Times

Proud Boys splintering after Capitol riot, revelations about leader. Will more radical factions emerge? Will Carless, USA Today

Pelosi says 9/11-style commission to investigate Capitol riots is ‘next step’ after Trump impeachment trial Ledyard King, USA Today

The agency founded because of 9/11 is shifting to face the threat of domestic terrorism Nick Miroff, Washington Post

Georgia lawmakers eye citizen’s arrest changes, no-knock warrants ban Beau Evans, Moultrie Observer

Inside One City’s Attempt To Defund The Police Audrey McGlinchy, NPR

Attacks in Oakland’s Chinatown spark concern, battle over police budget cuts Jennifer Lu, Los Angeles Times

LA’s deal with the police union would guarantee $245 million in overtime pay David Zahniser and Kevin Rector, Los Angeles Times

LAPD Sought Ring Home Security Video Related to Black Lives Matter Protests Sam Biddle, The Intercept

The Troubling New Practice of Police Livestreaming Protests Tyler Valeska, Slate

Predictive policing is still racist – whatever data it uses Will Douglas Heaven, MIT Technology Review

Police don’t all act ‘the same way’: White officers use force more often, Chicago police study finds N’dea Yancey-Bragg and Grace Hauck, USA Today

‘I am a child!’: Pepper spray reflects policing of Black kids Deepti Hajela and Lindsay Whitehurst, AP News

Tuesday February 16, 2021

PM Stories

Religion and the death penalty collide at the Supreme Court Jessica Gresko, Washington Post

Supreme Court Rebuffs Alabama’s Effort to Bar Pastor From Execution Chamber Adam Liptak, New York Times

NJ Supreme Court denies wide-ranging release of county inmates with COVID-stalled trials Tom Nobile, NorthJersey.com

Solitary Confinement May Worsen COVID-19 Transmission in Prisons Robin Blades, Undark

Andrew Cuomo’s Refusal to Vaccinate Inmates Is Indefensible Eric Lach, The New Yorker

Falling inmate numbers inspire push for more NYS prison closures Joe Mahoney, North Country Public Radio

As California preps to ‘transform’ its youth prisons, can counties take up the slack? James Rainey, Los Angeles Times

New Orleans DA Jason Williams begins course change from Leon Cannizzaro era on ‘juvenile lifers’ Matt Sledge, NOLA.com

Did Illinois get bail reform right? Criminal justice advocates are optimistic Safia Samee Ali, NBC News

Why we need a law to stop private profiteers who thrive on mass incarceration Liz Granderson, Los Angeles Times

The Cost of Calling My Mom From Prison John J. Lennon, New York Times

COVID-19 Has Made Reentry and Life After Prison Even Harder Terry-Ann Craigie and Ames Grawert, Brennan Center for Justice

Lawmakers pursue limiting public access to mug shots Sophia Eppolito, Washington Post

In Furor Over Poet With Child Porn Conviction, Prison Abolitionists Debate the Limits of Mercy Judith Levine, The Intercept

James Ridgeway’s Solitary Reporting Jennifer Gonnerman, The New Yorker

How a Wrongful Conviction of Murder Birthed Raphael Rowe’s Investigative Journalism Career Trilby Beresford, Hollywood Reporter

Anissa Jordan Took Part in a Robbery. She Went to Prison for Murder. Lara Bazelon, The Atlantic

AM Stories

History Will Find Trump Guilty David Remnick, The New Yorker

As Impeachment Ends, Federal Inquiry Looms as Reminder of Trump’s Role in Riot Alan Feuer and Nicole Hong, New York Times

Most Capitol Riot Suspects Have No Far-Right Group Ties, a Challenge in Fight Against Extremism Joe Palazzolo, Erin Ailworth, and Rebecca Davis O’Brien, Wall Street Journal

The Problem Isn’t Just One Insurrection. It’s Mass Radicalization Zack Stanton, Politico.

Eroding trust, spreading fear: The historical ties between pandemics and extremism Marc Fisher, Washington Post

“I Don’t Trust the People Above Me”: Riot Squad Cops Open Up About Disastrous Response to Capitol Insurrection Joaquin Sapien and Joshua Kaplan, ProPublica

Two officers who helped fight the Capitol mob died by suicide. Many more are hurting. Peter Hermann, Washington Post

Blue Lives Matter Is Over Charles M. Blow, New York Times

More Surveillance Won’t Solve Right-Wing Extremism Cathy O’Neil, Bloomberg

Law enforcement diversity may improve policing, study shows Christine Fernando and Marion Renault, Los Angeles Times

After shooting, unrest, Wyoming gets its first Black sheriff Mead Gruver, Washington Post

Florida lawmakers introduce several bills to address fair policing Giulia Heyward, Politico

LA County DA Gascón seeking to hire former Rodney King prosecutor to oversee police misconduct cases James Queally, Los Angeles Times

3 Detectives Obtained a False Murder Confession. Was It One of Dozens? Jan Ransom, New York Times

Monday February 15, 2021

PM Stories

COVID-19 Killed My Husband in Jail. So Did Democrats’ Indifference. Cassandra Greer-Lee, Current Affairs

Prisons contribute to racial imbalance in COVID-19 impact in NC Jordan Wilkie, Carolina Public Press

NC claims fewer prisoners died of COVID than documents show. Why does that matter? Hannah Critchfield, North Carolina Health News

COVID-19 infects half of Wisconsin inmates, five times the overall state rate Vanessa Swales, Cap Times

Mental health crisis feared in Colorado jails and prisons due to COVID-19 lockdowns Moe Clark, Colorado Newsline

When The Prison Banned Board Games, We Played Chess In Our Minds Harlin Pierce, The Marshall Project

The nation’s oldest juvenile lifer, Joe Ligon, left a Pa. prison after 68 years Samantha Melamed, Philadelphia Inquirer

‘They don’t deserve to die in prison’: Gov. Wolf grants clemency to 13 lifers Samantha Melamed, Philadelphia Inquirer

Broad coalition recommends emergency detention improvements Scott Bauer, Journal Times

Major Criminal Justice Overhaul Proposed By DC Task Force Mark Hand, Patch

How did the changing architecture of jails reflect prison reform in St. Louis? Chris Naffziger, St. Louis Magazine

A photographer and a prisoner ruminate on life’s limitations in ‘The Parameters of Our Cage’ Kenneth Dickerman, Washington Post

 In ‘Crime Scene,’ Joe Berlinger Investigates True-Crime Obsession Chris Vognar, New York Times

Netflix’s “Crime Scene” Elisa Lam Doc Takes On Internet Sleuths Alessa Dominguez, BuzzFeed News

AM Stories

Trumpism Is Violence David Frum, The Atlantic

When Trump started his speech before the Capitol riot, talk on Parler turned to civil war Aleszu Bajak, Jessica Guynn, and Mitchell Thorson, USA Today

Oath Keepers Plotting Before Capitol Riot Awaited ‘Direction’ From Trump, Prosecutors Say Alan Feuer, New York Times

More Proud Boys Arrested on Capitol-Riot Conspiracy Charges Khadeeja Safdar and Aruna Viswanatha, Wall Street Journal

Former FBI official, a Navy veteran, is ‘key figure’ in Jan. 6 riot, prosecutors allege Rachel Weiner and Spencer S. Hsu, Washington Post

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin Signs Military ‘Stand Down’ Memo To Address Extremism Jason Slotkin, NPR

Legislatures divided over response to calls for social justice and police reform Deon J. Hampton, NBC News

Policing by the Numbers Council on Criminal Justice

Percentage of Government Spending on Police Unchanged in 40 Years: Study Isidoro Rodriguez, The Crime Report

No indictment for two Buffalo police officers charged for pushing 75-year-old protester Maki Becker, Patrick Lakamp, and Harold McNeil, Buffalo News

Summer of Violent Policing Means More Federal Review for Portland Police Karina Brown, Courthouse News

The City Where Police Unleash Dogs On Black Teens Bryn Stole and Grace Toohey, The Marshall Project

US Marshals Act Like Local Police With More Violence and Less Accountability Simone Weichselbaum, Sachi McClendon, and Uriel J. Garcia, The Marshall Project/USA Today

Crime Story Daily Highlights – Week 79

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

On the criminal justice policy front: A piece from Slate focuses on Virginia, where lawmakers recently passed a landmark piece of bipartisan legislation to abolish the death penalty. Gov. Ralph Northam has promised to sign the bill, which will make Virginia the 23rd state in the country with no death penalty law on the books. The Commonwealth of Virginia has carried out 1,390 executions since 1608 – the most of any other state in US history. The move comes as part of a larger legislative push towards racial and criminal justice. Last week, Democrats in the House of Delegates also passed a bill to make Virginia the first southern state to legalize marijuana. In the coming months, they will take up legislation to restore voting rights to people convicted of felonies, and consider a proposal to automatically expunge the criminal records of non-violent offenders in the state. In fact, Virginia has become “a test lab of sorts for bold progressive social justice reforms,” which could serve as a model for the rest of the country as demographic shifts alter the political landscape in once-reliably red southern states. The Washington Post reports from Maryland, where, since 1973, the “Law Enforcement Officers Bill of Rights” – the first law in the country to codify workplace protections for officers accused of misconduct – has shielded police from accountability. Now, months after George Floyd’s death sparked a national demand to overhaul policing, Maryland lawmakers have launched a historic effort to get rid of police protections such as the bill of rights, which became a blueprint for at least 15 other states. And The Appeal reports from Louisville, Kentucky, where, nearly a year later, the fallout from Breonna Taylor’s death Is still reshaping local politics. The city has instituted a ban on “no-knock” search warrants of the kind used to justify entering Taylor’s home. Louisville police are now required to intervene if they witness another officer committing misconduct on the job. Most notably, Taylor’s death, and the months of protest that followed, have invigorated Louisville’s 2022 mayoral race. Last month, activist Shameka Parrish-Wright, a newcomer to local politics, announced her candidacy, laying out a platform that will prioritize public health, cleaning up the city’s park space, and, of course, revamping the police department. If elected, Parrish-Wright would be the first Black mayor in the city’s history, and would join a “new class of politicians who rose to prominence in the wake of 2020’s international protest movement for civil rights.”

In muckraker/watchdog reporting: Over the last five years, the Marshall Project has tracked every execution in America, creating a historical record of each story and each death. Those years saw 120 executions carried out across 12 states – a small fraction of the nearly 2,600 Americans currently on death row. Taken together, these stories paint a grim picture of the criminal justice system, and the erratic, sometimes arbitrary ways it metes out punishment. An analysis of all 120 cases shows that even as capital punishment waned overall in the US, enough states pursued it that, on average, someone has been executed every two and a half weeks since the summer of 2015. In a piece for The Nation, anti-death penalty activist Sister Helen Prejean calls on President Biden to end federal executions: “Our capricious, racist, broken death penalty system,” she writes, “has caused and is perpetuating unspeakable suffering.” This week, an AP review found that the Trump administration’s lame-duck execution spree likely acted as a COVID “superspreader event.” In the final weeks of Trump’s presidency, 33 of the 47 people on federal death row tested positive for COVID-19, along with at least a dozen other people connected to the executions – including execution team members, media witnesses, and a spiritual adviser – meeting the criteria of a superspreader event. Because prison officials refused testing and declined to participate in contact-tracing efforts, it’s impossible to know precisely who introduced the infections and how they started to spread. But experts say it’s likely that executioners and support staff, many of whom travelled from prisons in other states with their own virus outbreaks, triggered or contributed both inside the Terre Haute penitentiary and beyond the prison walls. And a piece from the New Republic by Melissa Gira Grant focuses on St. Louis, where, last weekend, 117 inmates at the St. Louis City Justice Center staged an uprising, jimmying the locks on the cells, overpowering and injuring a guard, smashing windows and setting fires on an upper floor of the jail. It was part of a wave of demonstrations that have taken place at the Justice Center since the end of 2020 – a protest, participants said, against unsafe and inhumane conditions during the pandemic. The uprising came after letter-writing campaigns and earlier, more peaceful protests were repeatedly ignored. Saturday’s demonstration, Grant writes, was a rare moment in which “incarcerated people’s own story got outside to counter the jail officials’ story… that the demonstrators had no demands around COVID-19 and their health.” As outbreaks continue to spread across US prisons and jails, with vaccine delays heightening tensions on the inside, the protest in St. Louis exposed and called attention to “the deadly risks incarcerated people in the US have faced for [the last] year.”

In complex crime storytelling: A piece from the New York Times explores the strange phenomenon of “new Menendez defenders.” In 1990, brothers Lyle and Erik Menendez were arrested and charged with the murder of their parents. Their trial, in 1993, was among the first high-profile cases to be broadcast on Court TV, and helped fuel the modern era of true crime. Prosecutors claimed the brothers were motivated by their inheritance – a theory “bolstered by their Beverly Hills upbringing and a lavish spending spree in the months before their arrest” — while the defense argued that they were victims of sexual abuse. Ultimately, both Menendez brothers were sentenced to life in prison. Now, those debates have been revived on social media, most visibly TikTok and Instagram, where the Menendez brothers have become the subjects of hundreds of fan accounts. Many of them are run by people born years after the case closed, who, in learning its details, have become some of the brothers’ most vocal defenders. And a piece from the Texas Observer highlights an ongoing “cold case crisis” in the United States. For years, residents of Tradition-Prestonwood, an upscale Dallas senior home, were frightened and disturbed by a string of unexpected deaths. By 2017, a total of nine elderly women had been found dead and apparently robbed at the same complex. Six had lived on the same floor. But Dallas police closed each case without identifying a culprit or recognizing a pattern in the robberies and deaths; grieving relatives were repeatedly told that elders often die unexpectedly and misplace their valuables. By the time an arrest was finally made, in March of 2018, many of those cases – previously undetected homicides – had already gone cold. But the deaths at Tradition-Prestonwood represent barely a drop in the bucket of more than 250,000 unsolved murder cases across the United States – a number that increases by about 6,000 every year. This enormous backlog represents what the National Institute of Justice has called a “cold case crisis”: police departments, including in Dallas, are solving a lower percentage of homicide cases than ever before; “as more and more homicide cases go unsolved, the backlog grows, allowing an estimated 2,000 serial killers nationwide to remain free to kill again.”

In culture/true crime: In a piece for The Atlantic, Leslie Jamison reviews “Marking Time: Art in the Age of Mass Incarceration,” an exhibition at New York City’s MoMA PS1. “A particular set of constraints confronts incarcerated artists in their work,” Jamison writes: “very little space, very few materials, but almost endless time.” “Marking Time” presents an archive of art that “responds to the painful conditions of its own making in a breathtaking variety of ways,” from sculptures crafted out of cigarette-pack foil to a mural composed of found images from the New York Times, elaborately collaged onto 39 prison bedsheets using hair gel and a spoon. With their limited materials, these works testify to some of the many freedoms their makers were denied; but their ingenuity, Jamison writes, “testifies to freedoms that can never be fully taken: to imagine, to create, to reconstitute, to survive.” WBUR reviews Down a Dark Stairwell, a new documentary about accountability, identity, and race in the aftermath of a fatal police shooting. The film centers on the 2014 death of Akai Gurley, an unarmed Black man who was shot and killed by Chinese-American NYPD officer Peter Liang in the darkened stairwell of his Brooklyn public housing complex. Filmed over the course of several years, it tracks the seemingly divergent protests that emerged as Peter Liang faced criminal charges. One group, led by Gurley’s friends and loved ones, sought justice for his unwarranted death, calling for the officer involved to be held accountable. At the same time, more than 100,000 supporters of Liang rallied on his behalf, protesting that he – himself a person of color – had been unfairly targeted. A sensitive, nuanced exploration of oppression and identity, Down a Dark Stairwell offers new and different perspective on the larger story of racism in policing. And Texas Monthly highlights At the Ready, a new documentary about the “school-to-cop” pipeline in a Texas border town. At Horizon High School in El Paso, fourteen miles from the US-Mexico border, students have the option to join a “law enforcement” vocational track. The film follows one group of such students through a year in their lives; we watch them learn to execute search warrants, collect evidence, and carry out active shooter drills, armed with fake guns and dressed in tactical gear. In El Paso, where the poverty rate is about 40% higher than the rest of the state, law enforcement jobs – especially Border Patrol – offer a rare path to financial security. But for the members of Horizon’s criminal justice club, many of whom are themselves children of Mexican immigrants, it’s complicated. At the Ready explores “what it’s like to live between two worlds,” probing the complex intersection of adolescence, law enforcement, politics, and race.

Friday February 12, 2021

PM Stories

In Biden’s early days, signs of Trump-era problems at border Nomaan Merchant, AP News

Biden admin to name refugee advocate director of task force to reunite separated families, say sources Julia Ainsley, Jacob Soboroff, and Geoff Bennett, NBC News

These Young People Were Told They Could Stay in the US. They Might Get Deported Anyway. Andrew R. Calderón, The Marshall Project

ICE Threatened to Expose Asylum-Seekers to COVID-19 if They Did Not Accept Deportation John Washington, The Intercept

“They Want to Do Me In”: The Prisoner Who Fought COVID Overcrowding Kevin Sawyer, Filter Magazine

New York City Has People on Parole In Jails At Rates Not Seen Since The Early Pandemic Elizabeth Weill-Greenberg, The Appeal

Why won’t corrections officers wear masks? Tess Riski, Willamette Week

Half of California prison employees are reluctant to get COVID vaccine, officials say Andrew Sheeler, Sacramento Bee

NJ now offers COVID vaccine in all prisons. Will vaccine skepticism allow the virus to spread? Stacey Barchenger, NorthJersey.com

“Alarming” cover-up allegation brings fresh scrutiny to Colorado’s largely secret judicial discipline Shelly Bradbury, Denver Post

Adam Schiff’s Tough-On-Crime Background Complicates His Push to Be California AG Akela Lacy, The Intercept

The Half-Legal Cannabis Trap Amanda Chicago Lewis, Politico

A New True Crime Podcast About the Origin of Chippendales Goes Beyond the Bowties Siran Babayan, Los Angeles Magazine

Review: Netflix makes rare true-crime misstep with salacious series on LA’s Cecil Hotel Lorraine Ali, Los Angeles Times

AM Stories

Impeachment Video Reveals a True American Horror Story James Poniewozik, New York Times

New video helping investigators in search for suspects in US Capitol police officer’s death Evan Perez, David Shortell, and Caroline Kelly, CNN

More than 200 people now charged in connection with Capitol riot Paul P. Murphy, Katelyn Polantz, and Marshall Cohen, CNN

After Capitol riot, desperate families turn to groups that ‘deprogram’ extremists Paulina Villegas and Hannah Knowles, Washington Post

Biden admin plans to overhaul government’s approach to violent domestic extremism Ken Dilanian, NBC News

What Should Joe Biden Do About Policing? Alex S. Vitale and Andrew Keen, Literary Hub

The Killing of George Floyd Tore Minneapolis Apart. Now Comes the Trial. Tim Arango, New York Times

Jail’s ‘segregation order’ allowed only white officers to guard Derek Chauvin after George Floyd’s death, lawsuit alleges Holly Bailey, Washington Post

Minnesota Police Want a Pipeline Company to Pay for Weapons Claimed as PPE Alleen Brown, The Intercept

A sheriff’s deputy bilked $11 million from investors. They don’t know where the money went. Brittany Shammas, Washington Post

Undetected Lise Olsen, Texas Observer

Washington Football Team star Chase Young backs Maryland police reform effort Ovetta Wiggins, Washington Post

LAPD Launches Program For Mental Health Clinician To Respond To Some Calls City News Service

Thursday February 11, 2021

PM Stories

Why It’s So Significant That Virginia Looks Set To Abolish the Death Penalty Madeleine Carlisle, Time

Alabama prepares to execute another Black man, under laws going back to slavery Liz Granderson, Los Angeles Times

Alabama moving ahead with first execution in COVID-19 pandemic Melissa Brown, Montgomery Advertiser

‘No way of stopping it’: How COVID-19 invaded Sacramento jail, triggering major outbreak Michael Finch II and Jason Pohl, Sacramento Bee

Los Angeles voters support releasing people as jail population rises amid COVID surge Rebecca Buckwalter-Poza and Sean McElwee, The Appeal

‘You just want to… have a chance’: Ex-offenders struggle to find jobs amid COVID-19 Charisse Jones, USA Today

Tennessee says most former felons can vote. They disagree Adam Friedman, Jackson Sun

California panel calls for overhaul of sentencing laws Don Thompson, Los Angeles Times

Advocates push Illinois to reclassify drug charges, establish prison diversion programs William Clark, Daily Northwestern

Does Mass. need a new plan for a women’s prison – or a better plan to decarcerate them? Marcela García, Boston Globe

New $2.2 million grant will help Philly continue criminal justice reforms Michael Tanenbaum, Philly Voice

The Problems With Public Defense Are Big, But They’re Fixable David Anderson, Current Affairs

For 25 Years, Jimmy Dennis Was a Death-Row Convict. Then One Day, He Wasn’t. Queen Muse, Philly Magazine

Review: Fathers, but Not Yet Men, in the Prison Drama ‘Shook’ Jesse Green, New York Times

AM Stories

5 Takeaways From Day One of Trump’s Second Impeachment Trial Eileen Sullivan, New York Times

Trump’s Lawyers Say Pro-Trump Rioters Had Nothing To Do With Trump Arthur Delaney and Ryan J. Reilly, HuffPost

‘Because President Trump said to’: Over a dozen Capitol rioters say they were following Trump’s guidance Olivia Rubin, Alexander Mallin, and Alex Hosenball, ABC News

The feds say he’s an extremist leader who directed rioters. He also had top-secret clearance and worked for the FBI, attorney says. Katie Shepherd, Washington Post

Capitol Riot Prompts A Reckoning Over Extremism In The Ranks Tom Bowman, NPR

The Pentagon Finally Admits It Has an Extremism Problem in the Ranks. But Fixing It Won’t Be Easy. Dan Spinelli, Mother Jones

How to deprogram America’s extremists Kyle Daly, Axios

Hold Them All Accountable Sarah Longwell, The Bulwark

US Will Examine Giving FBI More Resources to Counter Domestic Extremism Julian E. Barnes and Zolan Kanno-Youngs, New York Times

California Voters Demand Police Accountability from Next State Attorney General Kyle C. Barry and Sean McElwee, The Appeal

Full investigation of Manuel Ellis’ death casts new doubts on Tacoma officers’ stories Patrick Malone, Seattle Times

Philly police contract fight is on: FOP seeks 5% ‘accountability’ bonus for body cam use Samantha Melamed, Philadelphia Inquirer

How the Police Bank Millions Through Their Union Contracts Andrew Ford, Agnes Chang, Jeff Kao, and Agnel Philip, ProPublica/Asbury Park Press

Frank Serpico: Police See Themselves as ‘Judge, Jury, and Executioner’ Tana Ganeva, Rolling Stone

Wednesday February 10, 2021

PM Stories

The death penalty is in the death throes David Von Drehle, Washington Post

What 120 Executions Tell Us About Criminal Justice in America Tom Meagher, The Marshall Project

Did Tennessee Execute an Innocent Man? Emily Bazelon, New York Times

Alabama prepares to execute another Black man, under laws going back to slavery Liz Granderson, Los Angeles Times

Putting Smith to death puts others at risk: Stop Alabama executions during COVID-19 pandemic Stephen Cooper, Montgomery Advertiser

I’m A Public Defender. My Clients Keep Getting COVID-19 While Incarcerated. Liz Oyer, BuzzFeed News

North Carolina Claims Prisoners Who Died of COVID Didn’t Die of COVID Hannah Critchfield and Arabella Saunders, Vice News

A COVID Uprising in America’s Jails Melissa Gira Grant, New Republic

Activists say uprising at city jail facility was a protest of ‘inhumane’ conditions Rachel Rice, St. Louis Post-Dispatch

California panel calls for overhaul of sentencing laws Don Thompson, Los Angeles Times

Jason Williams has vowed never to use the habitual offender statute. What does that mean for criminal justice in New Orleans? Nicholas Chrastil, The Lens

The New Menendez Defenders Ezra Marcus, New York Times

Five Hundred Faces of Mass Incarceration (2018) Maurice Chammah, Paris Review

A Dead White Girl, a Black Suspect and Justice on the Jersey Shore Patricia Miller, New York Times

A Parable and Parody of Restorative Justice Judith Levine, Boston Review

Investigating Our Obsession With True Crime Podcasts NPR

AM Stories

America Saw a Historic Rise in Murders in 2020. Why? Jesse Singal, New York Magazine

“Perfect storm” drove major surge in 2020 homicides, report says Erin Donaghue, CBS News

Murder and Extremism in the United States in 2020 Anti-Defamation League

‘Its Own Domestic Army’: How the GOP Allied Itself With Militants David D. Kirkpatrick and Mike McIntire, New York Times

Seditionaries: FBI net closes on MAGA mob that stormed the Capitol Ed Pilkington, The Guardian

They Stormed the Capitol. Their Apps Tracked Them. Charlie Warzel and Stuart A. Thompson, New York Times

Feds charge over 200 in Capitol riot. We’ve learned a lot about why it happened. Pete Williams, NBC News

Will Capitol Police fully investigate its own? Chris Marquette, Roll Call

The Police Departments With The Biggest Racial Disparities In Arrests And Killings Samuel Sinyangwe, FiveThirtyEight

How the Killing of Breonna Taylor Is Reshaping Louisville Politics Jerry Iannelli, The Appeal

Chicago Police ramp up reform efforts under federal mandate, watchdog monitor Stephanie Pagones, Fox News

Maryland was first state with a law protecting police accused of misconduct. It may be the first to repeal it. Ovetta Wiggins, Washington Post

Austin Leads the Way in Cutting Police Funding and Using the Money for Housing Candice Bernd, Truthout

What ‘defund the police’ really means Simon Balto, Washington Post

‘Women in Blue,’ and Redefining What It Means to Protect and Serve Pierre-Antoine Louis, New York Times

Tuesday February 9, 2021

PM Stories

‘A death sentence’: US prisons could receive COVID vaccines last despite being hotspots Kiran Misra, The Guardian

Inmates at St. Louis jail set fires, break windows over coronavirus restrictions, concerns Heather Hollingsworth, USA Today

After St. Louis jail unrest, inmates’ advocates allege desperate conditions while officials defend pandemic response Eric Berger and Mark Berman, Washington Post

Death row inmate convicted in Harris County case dies after battling COVID, other health issues Rebecca Hennes, Houston Chronicle

Advocates Call For Reform As ‘People Are Needlessly Dying In Prison’ During The Pandemic Allison Sherry, Colorado Public Radio

The Biden Administration Can Act on Criminal Justice Reform Now Lisa Freeland and David Patton, Newsweek

Big challenge: Biden is pressed to end federal death penalty Michael Tarm, AP News

Virginia Poised To Become 23rd State To End Death Penalty Scott Shackford, Reason

Arizona lawmakers seek to reverse four decades of tough-on-crime policies Howard Fischer, Tucson.com

How progressive district attorneys are leading the charge to fix our broken justice system Katrina van den Heuvel, Washington Post

Archaic ‘tough-on-crime’ holdouts are refusing to let George Gascón do his job Editorial Board, Los Angeles Times

Judge tells LA District Attorney Gascón he can’t limit three-strikes charges Bob Egelko, San Francisco Chronicle

‘Philly DA’ docuseries delves into Larry Krasner’s battle for progressive criminal justice reform Allie Miller, Philly Voice

The Investigation review – Kim Wall drama offers a new kind of true crime Rebecca Nicholson, The Guardian

Papers rethink past crime reporting: Fresh start or a cover-up? Stephen Humphries, Christian Science Monitor

AM Stories

Arrested in Capitol Riot: Organized Militants and a Horde of Radicals Jennifer Valentino-DeVries, Grace Ashford, Denise Lu, Eleanor Lutz, Alex Leeds Matthews, and Karen Yourish, New York Times

At the Capitol on Jan. 6, Veterans Fought on Both Sides of an American Battle Jennifer Steinhauer, New York Times

How the Military Turns Troops Into Extremists Jasper Craven, New Republic

Pentagon orders pause across military to address extremism in its ranks Dan De Luce and Mosheh Gains, NBC News

Shell-shocked and angry: Inside the Capitol Police force a month after the deadly attack Peter Nickeas, Whitney Wild, and Zachary Cohen, CNN

A Kentucky deputy went to Trump’s DC rally. Now he’s under investigation at home. Jon Schuppe, NBC News

Of Course the Police Didn’t Keep the Capitol ‘Safe.’ That’s Not Their Job Katie Way, Vice

Kyle Rittenhouse’s Lawyers: Cops Told Us to Lie About Where He’s Living Paul Blest, Vice News

Kyle Rittenhouse’s ‘disappearance’ exposes the absurdity of cash bail Editorial Board, Los Angeles Times

Republicans Respond to Black Lives Matter with Anti-Protest Bills Sophie Quinton, PEW Stateline

Politically Charged: Officials create ‘fictional gang’ to punish phoenix protesters Dave Biscobing, ABC15

Rochester mayor offers police reform proposals after a 9-year-old girl is handcuffed and pepper-sprayed Mirna Alsharif, CNN

In the first six months of health care professionals replacing police officers, no one they encountered was arrested David Sachs, Denverite

Protest art covered shuttered businesses for months at Black Lives Matter Plaza. Now it has a new home. Marissa J. Lang, Washington Post

Monday February 8, 2021

PM Stories

Trump’s Execution Spree Laid Bare the Death Penalty’s Fundamental Flaws Sister Helen Prejean, The Nation

After Trump’s Execution Spree, Lingering Trauma and a Push for Abolition Liliana Segura, The Intercept

Federal executions likely a COVID superspreader Michael Tarm, Michael Balsamo, and Michael R. Sisak, AP News

‘Deep indifference to human suffering’ at Harris County Jail, lawyers say Gabrielle Banks and Samantha Ketterer, Houston Chronicle

Trapped in the Dungeon Adamu Chan, Slate

Medical parole not always compassionate Sarah Betancourt, Commonwealth Magazine

A Last-Minute Trump Move Threatens to Send Released Prisoners Back to Prison After the Pandemic Madison Pauly, Mother Jones

New York Under Fire for Vaccinating Prison Staff, Not Inmates Nina Pullano, Courthouse News

Alabama legislators begin tackling prison reform but won’t repeal ‘three-strikes’ sentencing law Brian Lyman, Montgomery Advertiser

Too many prosecutors are only doing half the job Derick D. Daily, Newark Star-Ledger

‘It’s a showdown’: California district attorneys battle over criminal justice reforms Anita Chabria and James Queally, Los Angeles Times

John Legend, tech tycoons and aggrieved cops: Who’s funding the Philly DA race Ryan Briggs and Max Marin, WHYY

Life Without Parole For ‘Felony Murder’: Pa. Case Targets Sentencing Law Carrie Johnson, NPR

With Death Penalty Abolition, Virginia Is Becoming a Test Lab for Progressive Reform Jeremy Stahl, Slate

The Breathtaking Ingenuity of Incarcerated Artists Leslie Jamison, The Atlantic

Filmmaker Garrett Bradley on Time in the Criminal Justice System Rebecca McCray, ACLU

AM Stories

Feds Drop The Hammer On The Capitol Insurrectionists Ryan J. Reilly, HuffPost

Facing ‘significant influx’ of Capitol siege cases, DOJ issues ‘urgent’ internal plea for help to offices across country Mike Levine, ABC News

Bipartisan support emerges for domestic-terror bills as experts warn threat may last ’10 to 20 years’ Karoun Demirjian, Washington Post

Prosecuting Every Participant in the Capitol Riot Is a Mistake Ben Burgis, The Nation

Police have enough power. The Capitol riots shouldn’t give them more. Talia Lavin, MSNBC

It will take more than the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act to fix our broken system John Rappaport and Ben Grunwald, Washington Post

Grand jury charges Columbus officer with felony murder in shooting of Andre Hill Jerusalem Demsas, Vox

Prosecutors Seek to Reinstate Third-Degree Murder Charge in George Floyd Case Andy Monserud, Courthouse News

LAPD’s handling of summer protests criticized as independent review nears completion Kevin Rector, Los Angeles Times

Defund or reform UC campus police? Sharp disagreement surfaces Teresa Watanabe, Los Angeles Times

In El Paso, Joining Border Patrol Offers a Rare Path to Financial Security. But for Some Immigrant Kids, It’s Complicated Roberto José Andrade Franco, Texas Monthly

‘At the Ready’ Review: This Riveting High School Doc Illuminates America’s Culture of Policing Christian Blauvelt, IndieWire

Documentary ‘Down A Dark Stairwell’ Examines Divergent Responses To Racism In Policing Erin Trahan, WBUR

Crime Story Daily Highlights – Week 78

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

On the criminal justice policy front: The New York Times reports on new developments in the Capitol riot investigation. This week, the DOJ unveiled new, more serious charges – including conspiracy – against several people who had initially been charged with lesser crimes after the attack, including leaders of the far-right group the Proud Boys. CNN reports that new charges represent an effort on the part of federal prosecutors to move away from so-called “low-hanging fruit arrests” and to start building more complicated cases, with a focus on extremist groups that participated in the attack. As the investigation moves into a new, more complicated phase, a piece from Politico centers on the “Civil Obedience Act.” A 1968 law born of backlash to the Civil Rights movement, the Civil Obedience Act prohibits “interference with police or firefighters during group violence.” Over the past year, the government has leaned on the Civil Obedience Act to charge people involved in violence first at Black Lives Matter rallies and then at the Capitol last month. But defense attorneys for those charged over their involvement in racial justice protests now say the law is unconstitutional. Their arguments are strong enough to complicate – at least momentarily – both those prosecutions and potentially the ones related to the Capitol riot. The pushback has created “the oddest of dynamics: violent MAGA agitators potentially benefiting from efforts to expunge the legal system of racist statutes.” And the Washington Post reports from New Port Richey, Florida, where, last summer, Black Lives Matter activists organized to march for racial justice. Within a few days, Proud Boys and other counter-protesters showed up, encircling the demonstrators while yelling threats, obscenities, and support for the police. Amid fears that the confrontations could escalate, police started to enforce the town’s rarely-used noise ordinance; but only the Black Lives Matter protesters were cited. After months of public outrage, police eventually dropped the citations; but not before New Port Richey became “another front in the national debate over whether authorities treat left-wing protesters too harshly while cozying up to far-right extremists.” Now, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and other GOP leaders are pushing for a sweeping state bill to crack down on disruptive protests, creating new classes of crimes that carry penalties of up to 15 years in jail.

In muckraker/watchdog reporting: A piece from the New York Review of Books goes inside the Trump administration’s unprecedented execution spree. In just six months, the administration put to death a total of 13 people – more than three times as many as the federal government had executed in the previous six decades combined. In its rush to execute, the government trampled over an array of legal and practical barriers, relying on false or incomplete justifications for killings carried out in the middle of the night; it also, as Time reported earlier this week, knowingly withheld information on positive COVID tests. At least two journalists tested positive for COVID-19 after witnessing the Trump administration’s final three federal executions; but the federal BOP withheld their diagnoses from other media witnesses and did not perform any contact tracing. The revelation again raises concerns about the BOP’s handling of the pandemic, as the number of COVID cases within the federal prison system continues to explode. This week, a scathing report by California’s Office of the Inspector General skewered the state corrections department, the CDCR, for its role in creating a deadly COVID-19 outbreak at San Quentin. The LA Times reports that according to the OIG, corrections officials repeatedly ignored the warnings of front-line health workers and pressured them to hastily transfer 189 potentially infected inmates from a Chino men’s prison last May, triggering the outbreak at San Quentin. A time lapse created by the OIG shows just how rapidly the virus spread within the San Quentin complex: by the end of August, more than 2,000 inmates and nearly 300 staff members had been infected; 28 prisoners and one staffer ultimately died. And a piece from Vox centers on the new, more contagious coronavirus variants that have already begun spreading across the US. With jail populations once again on the rise, and with COVID vaccinations not yet begun in most of the country’s detention facilities, advocates worry that prisons and jails will be even harder hit when more contagious strains breach their walls. Early research has indicated that people infected with the new strain may carry higher viral loads, meaning that “engaging in the same conduct — spending extended periods of time indoors without distancing — poses an even greater risk of spreading the virus than it did previously. For prisoners, that means that the worst outbreaks may be yet to come.”

In complex crime storytelling: A piece from The Atlantic focuses on Jeffrey Young, AKA “the Rock Doc,” the “hard-partying, rock-obsessed nurse at the center of a massive opioid bust.” As a nurse practitioner in Jackson, Tennessee, Young created a reputation for himself as a “rock-and-roll renegade.” At the private practice where he offered discounts to people who otherwise couldn’t afford care, he also blasted heavy metal and hosted alcohol-fueled Botox parties. “A medical provider who acted like everyone’s best friend,” Young amassed a “small fiefdom” of followers on social media. But the way in which he gained some of these fans has now become the focus of a federal court case. In April 2019, Young was indicted on federal drug-trafficking charges, one among dozens of doctors, nurses, and pharmacists arrested across seven states in the nation’s largest takedown of medical providers related to prescription opioids. Prosecutors say Young used his “rebellious persona” to “take advantage of patients, distributing highly addictive painkillers on demand and in large quantities for profit — and, often, his own sexual gratification.” Wired recounts the wild true story of “the lion, the polygamist, and the biodiesel scam.” Jacob Kingston and his business partner, Lev Dermen, made an unlikely pair. In 2012, Jacob, a member of a breakaway Mormon polygamist sect, was living with his three wives in an unheated cabin in Brigham City, Utah, when he met Lev, a hard-partying, Lamborghini-driving Southern California gas station tycoon. Over the next five years, the two would embark on a byzantine series of business ventures that would involve “barges of recycled grease, real estate from Texas to Turkey, forged paperwork, phantom truck trips—and swindling the federal government out of hundreds of millions of dollars.” And a piece from the New York Times centers on the case of Kevin Cooper. In June 1983, Doug and Peggy Ryen and their two children were brutally murdered in their Chino Hills, California home. The sole survivor of the attack said three white men had committed the crime. Then a woman came forward to tell the police that her boyfriend, a white convicted murderer, was probably involved, and gave deputies the bloody coveralls he had been wearing the night of the Ryens’ death. But the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Office, facing enormous public pressure to quickly solve the crime, had already found their suspect: Kevin Cooper, a young Black man with a long criminal record who had been near the area at precisely the wrong time. Instead of testing the coveralls for the Ryens’ blood, the deputies threw them away – and pursued Cooper, who was ultimately convicted of the murders and sentenced to death. Nearly four decades later, Cooper – who is almost surely innocent – remains on California’s death row. 

In culture/true crime: Hyperallergic reviews the documentary All Light, Everywhere, which recently premiered at Sundance. The film starts with the issue of body cameras. Supposedly a tool for fostering more accountability and transparency in law enforcement, the implementation of police body cameras has instead produced mixed results. In his attempts to parse out why that may be, director Theo Anthony examines not just the history of the body camera but of the moving image itself, tracing the interconnected relationship between film, surveillance, and policing back to the very first motion picture. Vox reviews The Ripper, a new docuseries from Netflix about the notorious “Yorkshire Ripper” case. Peter Sutcliffe, the serial killer dubbed the Yorkshire Ripper, was the subject of the largest, most expensive, and most notoriously botched manhunt in British history. Over the course of the five-year investigation, Sutcliffe was questioned by police nine separate times, but was never considered a chief suspect. Between those chats with investigators, he murdered at least 13 women and attacked at least eight more. Throughout its four episodes, The Ripper returns again and again to Sutcliffe’s victims, and to the women of Britain who were impacted both by the culture of fear his crimes established and by the blatant sexism of the criminal investigation and the public’s reaction to it. Misogyny is a well-known facet of the Yorkshire Ripper case; but in The Ripper, “it frames the narrative, and the result is striking.” And NPR highlights the new book Halfway Home: Race, Punishment, and the Afterlife of Mass Incarceration. Its author, Reuben Miller, is a sociologist, criminologist, social worker, and former chaplain at Chicago’s Cook County Jail, who spent 15 years interviewing nearly 250 people caught up in the prison-industrial complex. Rather than the immediate experience of incarceration, Halfway Home explores its “afterlife”: the “permanent specter” of imprisonment that haunts the formerly incarcerated even after their release. The nearly 20 million Americans with felony convictions make up what Reuben terms “supervised society”; subjected to some 45,000 federal and state laws regulating where they can work, where they can live, and whether or not they can vote, they reside, Reuben writes, in a “hidden social world and an alternate legal reality.” In a country that incarcerates it citizens at the highest rate of any in the world, even those who leave the prison system, Reuben argues, are never truly free.

Friday February 5, 2021

PM Stories

Virginia, Shifting Left Fast, Moves to Abolish Death Penalty Trip Gabriel, New York Times

Virginia may abolish the death penalty. There’s a racist history behind why a few jurisdictions use it most. Frank R. Baumgartner and Christian Caron, Washington Post

He’s Too Mentally Ill to Execute. Why Is He Still on Death Row After 45 Years? Keri Blakinger and Maurice Chammah, The Marshall Project

I Got COVID at Rikers. I’m Still Suffering. Michele Evans, New York Times

Plan called off to shorten sentences of Massachusetts prisoners who get COVID vaccine Bill Hutchinson, ABC News

Workers in LA’s courts are dying of COVID-19 as in-person hearings, trials continue Matt Hamilton, Los Angeles Times

California issues largest COVID-19 penalty to San Quentin State Prison after deadly outbreak Andrew Sheeler, Sacramento Bee

Letting People Out of Prison to Avoid COVID Isn’t That Controversial Madison Pauly, Mother Jones

State Lawmakers Must Pass Bail Reform Now Lindsey Carlson McLendon, The Appeal

ACLU pressing Biden to stick to promise of decarceration with new ad buy Marty Johnson, The Hill

They took Donald Trump to task. Now they’re ready to reshape the justice department Sam Levine, The Guardian

The Trump DOJ Snuck In One Last Effort to Push Junk Science in Court Maneka Sinha, Slate

Freed after 26 years, victim of faulty testimony feels ‘amazing’ Oralandar Brand-Williams, Detroit News

AM Stories

Justice Department Unveils Further Charges in Capitol Riot Katie Benner and Alan Feuer, New York Times

Federal prosecutors top 180 Capitol riot cases, with man seen in ‘American Supremacist’ sweatshirt among the latest Katelyn Polantz, Paul P. Murphy, and Kay Jones, CNN

The Selfie Cops: Obstructing an Official Proceeding Emptywheel

US mulls using law designed to prosecute Mafia against Capitol rioters Mark Hosenball and Sarah N. Lynch, Reuters

Activists wary of broader law enforcement after Capitol riot Noreen Nasir and Eric Tucker, AP News

Facial recognition may help find Capitol rioters – but it could harm many others, experts say Johana Bhuiyan, Los Angeles Times

Proud Boys and Black Lives Matter activists clashed in a Florida suburb. Only one side was charged. Tim Craig, Washington Post

They Were Accused of Messing With Local Officers. Should the Feds Intervene? Christie Thompson, The Marshall Project

Protests In Rochester As Lawmakers Move To Ban Use of Chemical Irritants On Minors Brakkton Booker, NPR

National Police Foundation To Review LAPD’s Response to George Floyd Protests City News Service

Former Columbus Police Officer Is Charged With Murder Will Wright, New York Times

NYPD Anti-Harassment Official Fired Over Racist Online Rants William K. Rashbaum and Ashley Southall, New York Times

The Courts Beat Jaeah Lee, Columbia Journalism Review

Thursday February 4, 2021

PM Stories

COVID-19 is Spreading Faster Than Ever. Jail Populations are Surging, Too Jerry Iannelli, The Appeal

New Surge of COVID Is Spreading “Like Wildfire” in Illinois Prisons Brian Dolinar, Truthout

State Rescinds ‘Good Time’ For Vaccine Offer To Prisoners After Baker Intervenes Deborah Becker, WBUR

Parole boards approved fewer releases in 2020 than in 2019, despite the raging pandemic Tiana Herring, Prison Policy Initiative

What the Pandemic Revealed About ‘Progressive’ Prosecutors Malik Neal, New York Times

The Next Step in Reform: Defund Prosecutors? Andrea Cipriano, The Crime Report

Inside One Prosecutor’s Revolt Against DA Gascón’s Criminal Justice Agenda Frank Stoltze, LAist

What two California recall efforts say about criminal justice reform Patrisse Cullors, Los Angeles Times

Delays in Garland hearing, and in replacing US attorneys, put justice reform in jeopardy Shay Bilchik and Miriam Krinsky, USA Today

Trump Turned the Justice System Into a Black Box. Biden Could Fix It Ethan Corey, The Appeal

A GOP Governor and BLM Activists Agreed on Restoring Voting Rights to Felons. Will It Last? Kaila Philo, Politico

Nearly 20 Million Americans Have a Felony Record. What Happens After They’ve Served Their Time? Jennifer Szalai, New York Times

The Lion, the Polygamist, and the Biofuel Scam Vince Beiser, Wired

‘Philly DA’ Is A Fascinating Profile Of Progressive Politics In Action Kevin Jagernauth, The Playlist

The Ripper is a refreshing reframing of the notorious Yorkshire Ripper case Aja Romano, Vox

The Best Documentaries of 2021 Challenge Our Memory of the Past Brady Langmann, Esquire

AM Stories

What Experts on Extremism Want From the Biden Administration James D. Walsh, New York Magazine

‘A Long Time Coming’: Given DHS Warning, A Look At US Domestic Extremism Threats Steve Inskeep, NPR

The Rich Mothers of the Insurrection Nina Burleigh, New Republic

People Died at the Capitol. Can Rioters Be Held Accountable? Shaila Dewan, New York Times

Charged With Murder Without Killing Anyone (2015) Christie Thompson, The Marshall Project

He Threatened Pelosi. Agents Didn’t Wait to See if He Really Meant It. Nicole Hong, New York Times

DOJ Touts ‘Mind-Blowing’ Scale Of Criminal Investigation Into Capitol Attack Andrew Solender, Forbes

Law used to prosecute Capitol riot, Black Lives Matter violence under fire as racist Josh Gerstein, Politico

Report Calls for Screening, Removal of ‘Racist’ Cops Andrea Cipriano, The Crime Report

State Lawmakers Are Pushing New Bills To Reduce Reliance On Police Meg O’Connor, The Appeal

New York City Council Proposes Sweeping NYPD Reforms Eric Umansky and Joaquin Sapien, ProPublica

They Supported ‘Defund the Police.’ Then the Mayoral Campaign Began. Jeffery C. mays and Emma G. Fitzsimmons, New York Times

The Entanglements Between Policing, Surveillance, and Moving Images Dan Schindel, Hyperallergic

Wednesday February 3, 2021

PM Stories

Trump’s Death Penalty Zeal May Pave the Way for Its Demise Maurice Chammah, Daily Beast

Since 1608, Virginia has executed more people than any other state. It may now abolish the death penalty. Peter Dujardin, Virginian-Pilot

Victims’ Families Want Virginia to End The Death Penalty Elizabeth Weill-Greenberg, The Appeal

Is an Innocent Man Still Languishing on Death Row? Nicholas Kristof, New York Times

He was freed with the help of the judge who sentenced him. Now he’s fighting for prison reform Wesley Bruer and Dianne Gallagher, CNN

Biden’s Private Prison Executive Order Doesn’t Undo Mass Incarceration Lydia Pelot-Hobbs, Truthout

Private prisons aren’t uniquely heinous. All prisons are abusive. John Pfaff, Washington Post

California Corrections Dept. Caused Deadly COVID-19 Outbreak At San Quentin: Report Sarah Ruiz-Grossman, HuffPost

With 13,000 infected, 100 dead of COVID-19 in Pa. prisons, advocates urge faster releases Samantha Melamed, Philadelphia Inquirer

Texas prisons have doled out thousands of COVID-19 vaccines – but none have gone to prisoners who get the virus at high rates Jolie McCullough, Texas Tribune

Judge orders Oregon to offer prison inmates COVID-19 vaccines immediately Conrad Wilson, Oregon Public Broadcasting

Judge Mulls DA Union Request to Stop Top Prosecutor From Enforcing Directives Bill Hetherman, (Los Angeles) City News Service

The California District Attorneys Association Is Failing Californians Sydney Kamlager, The Appeal

AM Stories

The Boogaloo Bois Have Guns, Criminal Records and Military Training. Now They Want to Overthrow the Government. AC Thompson, Lila Hassan, and Karim Hajj, ProPublica/Frontline

100 days of warning: inside the Boogaloo killings of US security personnel Lois Beckett, The Guardian

Rioters Followed a Long Conspiratorial Road to the Capitol Elizabeth Williamson, New York Times

The Capitol Rioters Aren’t Like Other Extremists Robert A. Pape and Keven Ruby, The Atlantic

A Pennsylvania Mother’s Path to Insurrection Ronan Farrow, The New Yorker

‘He Invited Us’: Accused Capitol Rioters Blame Trump In Novel Legal Defense Jan Wolfe, HuffPost

Inquiry Has Not Found Evidence to Charge Officer in Rioter’s Death at Capitol Katie Benner, New York Times

See No Evil, Hear No Evil, Police No Evil Jennifer Earl and David Cunningham, Lawfare

“That Could Have Been Me”: The People Derek Chauvin Choked Before George Floyd Jamiles Lartey and Abbie VanSickle, The Marshall Project

Rochester police handcuffed and pepper-sprayed a 9-year-old girl, body-cam footage shows Jaclyn Peiser, Washington Post

‘She Could Have Been Hurt Worse’: Police Union Defends Officer Who Pepper-Sprayed 9-Year-Old Girl Billy Binion, Reason

Let Civilians Run for Sheriff Again, New California Bill Proposes Katie Jane Fernelius, The Appeal

Austin Experiments With Moving Police Dollars to Homeless Housing Alissa Walker, New York Magazine

Did “defund the police” lead to an increase in murder? Almost certainly not Igor Derysh, Salon

KJ Brooks Went Viral For Lambasting A Police Board. She’s Just Getting Started. Kyna Doles, HuffPost

Tuesday February 2, 2021

PM Stories

Local Spending on Jails Tops $25 Billion in Latest Nationwide Data PEW

‘Much More Work To Be Done’: Advocates Call for More Action Against Private Prisons After Biden’s ‘First Step’ Executive Order Madeleine Carlisle, Time

Local Jail Populations in the US on the Rise Again, State Prison Population Declines Level Off, as COVID Spreads Throughout the Prison System Vera Institute of Justice

Inspector General: California prison transfers during coronavirus caused public health disaster at San Quentin Lisa Fernandez, KTVU

Prison officials ignored warnings before inmate transfer that led to virus outbreak, watchdog says Kim Christensen, Richard Winton, and Anita Chabria, Los Angeles Times

Watch How Quickly a COVID Outbreak Exploded Through a California Prison Madison Pauly, Mother Jones

Thousands of people infected as overcrowded KY jails create ‘reservoirs for COVID’ John Cheves, Lexington Herald-Leader

In lawsuit, Oregon inmates ask for immediate access to COVID-19 vaccine Conrad Wilson, Oregon Public Broadcasting

Oregon law to decriminalize all drugs goes into effect, offering addicts rehab instead of prison Lindsay Schnell, USA Today

Kentucky Weighs Bill Restoring Felon Voting Rights The Crime Report

More Than 1,000 Open Prostitution Cases In Brooklyn Are Going To Be Wiped From The Files Otillia Steadman, BuzzFeed News

The Hard-Partying, Rock-Obsessed Nurse at the Center of a Massive Opioid Bust Olga Khazan, The Atlantic

The Gilded Age Scott Eden, The Atavist

The Investigation Will Frustrate You (on Purpose) Kathryn VanArendonk, New York Magazine

‘Halfway Home’ Makes Case That The Formerly Incarcerated Are Never Truly Free Ericka Taylor, NPR

AM Stories

QAnon and the Cultification of the American Right Melissa Gira Grant, New Republic

How Trump’s Focus on Antifa Distracted Attention From the Far-Right Threat Adam Goldman, Katie Benner, and Zolan Kanno-Youngs, New York Times

‘Be ready to fight’: FBI probe of US Capitol riot finds evidence detailing coordination of an assault Devlin Barrett, Spencer S. Hsu, and Aaron C. Davis, Washington Post

Tracking the Oath Keepers Who Attacked the Capitol Stella Cooper, Ben Decker, Anjali Singhvi, and Christiaan Triebert, New York Times

2 Proud Boys face federal conspiracy charges in Capitol riot Politico

Most Capitol Insurrectionists Got To Go Home. Prosecutors Are Now Fighting To Keep Some Behind Bars. Zoe Tillman and Ema O’Connor, BuzzFeed News

US Military and Police Won’t Say If They’re Investigating Claims of Militia Members in Their Ranks Matt Cohen, Piper McDaniel, and Dan Spinelli, Mother Jones

Houston Police Chief Tries To Blame Encryption for Failure To Uncover Far-Right Cops Scott Shackford, Reason

How the LAPD and Palantir Use Data to Justify Racist Policing Mara Hvistendahl, The Intercept

They Called for Help. They’d Always Regret It. Sarah Shourd, The Atlantic

City Council Aims To “Reduce The NYPD’s Footprint” With Sweeping New Police Reforms Christopher Robbins and Yasmeen Khan, Gothamist

Virginia police task force drops use of controversial gang database Justin Jouvenal, Washington Post

Monday February 1, 2021

PM Stories

Democrats Have No Excuse Not to Reform the Criminal Justice System Veronique de Rugy, Reason

DOJ Pulls Trump Administration’s Harsh Charging And Sentencing Policy Ryan J. Reilly, HuffPost

Justice Department Rescinds Trump-Era Memo Ordering Prosecutors To Seek Harshest Sentences CJ Ciaramella, Reason

After Trump, Democrats set out on a mission to ‘repair the courts’ Sahil Kapur, NBC News

Biden Is The First President To Openly Oppose The Death Penalty. He Can Help End It. Jessica Schulberg, HuffPost

A Rush to Execute David Cole, New York Review of Books

Report: Bureau of Prisons Withheld Information on Positive COVID-19 Tests Among Federal Execution Witnesses Michael Balsamo and Michael Tarm, Time

Our Reporters Who’ve Been Covering The Federal Executions Now Have COVID George Hale, Indiana Public Media

Commutation in sight, Pa. lifer Bruce Norris died of COVID-19 awaiting governor’s approval Samantha Melamed, Philadelphia Inquirer

As Prisons And Jails In California Battle COVID-19, Some Inmate Deaths Go Uncounted Mary Plummer and Sofía Mejías-Pascoe, KPBS

Prisons have already failed to contain COVID-19. What happens when the new variants arrive? Aviva Stahl, Vox

NC to offer inmates incentives to get COVID shots. Will new plan stem deadly tide? Ames Alexander, Charlotte Observer

Prisoners over 70 in state-run facilities receive first round of COVID-19 vaccine (Louisiana) Nicholas Chrastil, The Lens

Dallas prosecutors say false testimony led to man’s conviction in 1987 robbery, paving his path to freedom Dana Branham, Dallas Morning News

‘An Awful Mistake’ Might Soon Be Fixed -- Finally Barbara Bradley Hagerty, The Atlantic

After Eighteen Years Behind Bars for a Crime She Didn’t Commit, Rosa Jimenez Is Finally Free Michael Hall, Texas Monthly

AM Stories

A DHS warning about domestic extremism points to unexpected challenges Greg Sargent, Washington Post

“This Is War”: Inside the Secret Chat Where Far-Right Extremists Devised Their Post-Capitol Plans Logan Jaffe and Jack Gillum, ProPublica

How The NRA Helped Foment An Armed Insurrection At The Capitol Christopher Mathias, HuffPost

Investigation into US Capitol riot moves into more complicated phase Evan Perez and David Shortell, CNN

3 People From Extremist ‘Oath Keepers’ Indicted On Capitol Riot Conspiracy Charges Dustin Jones, NPR

Tennessee man with zip ties at Capitol could face charges of sedition, other felonies after riot, prosecutors say Spencer S. Hsu, Washington Post

Meet The Woman Facing Some Of The Most Serious Capitol Riot Charges Jessica Garrison and Ken Bensinger, BuzzFeed News

Did Trump and His Supporters Commit Treason? Jeannie Suk Gersen, The New Yorker

31 police officers are under investigation over their suspected involvement in the Capitol riot, as departments face pressure to weed out white nationalists Tom Porter, Business Insider

What the Capitol insurgency reveals about white supremacy and law enforcement Rashawn Ray, Brookings Institution

We took a look inside the Capitol Police budget after the deadly riot Erin Mansfield and Carlie Procell, USA Today

Better policing begins with accountability and an end to qualified immunity Ben Cohen, USA Today

It’s Time for Police to Stop Lying to Suspects Saul Kassin, New York Times

Seattle Cut Its Police Budget. Now the Public Will Decide How To Spend the Money. Manjeet Kaur, The Appeal

How reform gave way to ‘Defund the Police’ in Seattle Crosscut

Crime Story Daily Highlights – Week 77

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

On the criminal justice policy front: Mother Jones reports that this week, President Joe Biden signed an executive order instructing the DOJ to end its contracts with for-profit prison companies. The decision will affect a dozen private prisons across the country that currently incarcerate about 14,000 people, or roughly 9% of the federal prison population. A piece from Time asks, “What happens to the federal death penalty in a Biden administration?”. Biden is the first president in US history to openly campaign on abolishing the death penalty – and win. Now that he’s in the White House, pressure is already mounting from lawmakers and activists for him to make good on that promise. In another blow for the death penalty, the Washington Post reports that this week, state lawmakers in Virginia moved forward on a bill to abolish capital punishment – a “seismic shift” for a state that has executed more prisoners than any other in the country. If passed, the former capital of the Confederacy would become the first Southern state to abolish capital punishment. And a piece from the Los Angeles Times centers on the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act. Written by the House Congressional Black Caucus under the leadership of Rep. Karen Bass, the bill aimed to address decades of racial inequality in policing, with provisions to prohibit “no-knock warrants,” ban chokeholds, and establish a federal registry to track police discipline and misconduct complaints. First introduced last June, the bill passed the House but stalled in the Senate, where partisan and presidential-election politics derailed any effort at reform. Now, with Democratic majorities in both chambers and a Democrat in the White House, the piece calls on Congress to revisit the Justice in Policing Act.

In muckraker/watchdog reporting: A piece from the New York Times outlines the history of modern white supremacy. Forty years ago, Louis Beam, a former Grand Dragon of the Texas KKK, had the idea of using his Commodore 64 – one of the earliest personal computers – to drive a broader movement by connecting disparate white supremacist cells. His contemporaries were skeptical; but today, the strategies that Beam set in motion, and his vision for white nationalism in the US, remain disturbingly prevalent. A piece from The Intercept focuses on the fallout from the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection: an “unprecedented” push on anti-protest bills. In the past three weeks, at least nine states have introduced 14 such bills, which serve to criminalize participation in “disruptive” protests. The measures range from “barring demonstrators from public benefits or government jobs” to “offering legal protections to those who shoot or run over protesters.” Though these proposals have been framed as a response to the violence at the Capitol, they are part of a larger pattern: anti-protest bills have proliferated across the country since Donald Trump became president in 2017, picking up speed after this summer’s uprisings in response to the police killing of George Floyd. And a piece from the New Republic asks, “How do you deradicalize a cop?”. Last week, the Washington Post reported that more than a dozen off-duty law enforcement officers took part in the Capitol riot; and at least a dozen Capitol Police officers are under investigation for assisting or encouraging the mob. As law enforcement agencies search their ranks for extremists, “deeper questions have emerged about the racist, conspiratorial thinking embedded in those institutions.” “How do you begin to dismantle the paranoia,” writes Melissa Gira Grant, “the conspiracy theories, the willingness to do violence off the clock — when it is their job? Dismantling all that involves reaching further back than the Trump years. It could take dismantling those agencies entirely.”

In complex crime storytelling: In an excerpt from his new book, Let the Lord Sort Them, The Marshall Project staff writer Maurice Chammah revisits “the case that made Texas [America’s] death penalty capital.” In 1973, Jerry Jurek, a west-Texas cotton mill worker, was convicted of killing a 10-year-old girl. Prosecutors decided to seek the death penalty. But what might have amounted to a straightforward small-town murder case was complicated by the fact that one year earlier, the Supreme Court had struck down every death penalty law in the country. State legislators across the US raced to write new laws, and by May 1973, Texas had one on the books. As one of the first death sentences under this new law, Jurek’s would become a test case, playing a key role in both the nationwide rise of the death penalty and Texas’s place at the center. And a piece from The Atlantic focuses on “the victims left behind by genetic genealogy.” In recent years, police around the country have embraced genetic genealogy – which uses online consumer DNA databases to identify suspects through family connections – as a powerful new tool for criminal investigation. But so far, this new technique has been applied primarily to cases with white victims, reflecting biases both within the criminal justice system and in society at large: “Black communities are often over-policed, a deep-set problem that 2020’s protests against police killings put in stark relief. But they are also under-policed, and it is this second problem that has distorted the use of genetic genealogy.”

In culture/true crime: Slate reviews The Investigation, HBO’s forthcoming miniseries about the 2017 murder of journalist Kim Wall. At the time, the so-called “submarine case” – Wall was murdered by her interview subject, the Danish entrepreneur Peter Madsen, aboard his homemade submarine – drew international headlines, but most media coverage focused narrowly on Madsen and the gory details of Kim’s death. Throughout The Investigation, Madsen is purposefully never mentioned by name, and though violent acts are often discussed, they’re never shown on screen. By avoiding the sensationalism and exploitation that can make true-crime difficult to watch, The Investigation returns Kim Wall to the center of her story, treating both crime and victim with compassion, sensitivity, and care. New York Magazine reviews We Know the Truth, the first post-prison album by LA rapper Drakeo the Ruler. Drakeo was released this November after serving nearly three years on a convoluted gang conspiracy charge; his case became “one of the more high-profile examples of how the justice system sees Black rappers with targets on their backs.” Written from his cell, We Know the Truth aims its critique at the criminal justice system, “[emphasizing] clear calls for justice with some of his most intimidating bars ever.” And, in a piece for the New York Review of Books, Joyce Carol Oates reviews We Keep the Dead Close, journalist Becky Cooper’s true-crime account of an unsolved 1969 murder at Harvard. We Keep the Dead Close blurs the boundaries of its genre, mixing elements of the procedural with memoir and speculative fiction. The revelation of the murderer is not the conclusion or even the most important feature of the book; instead, Oates writes, “the journey to non-revelation — 'the absence of mystery, of narrative echo, of symmetry or rhyme or sense’ — becomes the memoirist’s subject.”

Friday January 29, 2021

PM Stories

US Incarcerated Population Dropped Below 2 Million Last Year For First Time Since 2003 CJ Ciaramella, Reason

California Lawmakers Up Ante Against Money Bail With Pair of Bills Maria Dinzeo, Courthouse News

Jason Williams says office won’t oppose parole bids as new DA launches reform agenda John Simerman, NOLA.com

Queens Prosecutors Long Overlooked Misconduct. Can a New DA Do Better? Troy Closson, New York Times

As prison COVID-19 deaths rise rapidly, inmates’ relatives, advocates sound alarm Conrad Wilson, Oregon Public Broadcasting

Limited Testing in Mississippi Prisons May Be Obscuring Virus’s Toll Rebecca Griesbach and Maura Turcotte, New York Times

Justice delayed: Philly courts backlog leaves many jailed for months without a hearing Samantha Melamed and Chris Palmer, Philadelphia Inquirer

The first bail fund in the Philly suburbs raised $100K. But that was the easy part. Samantha Melamed, Philadelphia Inquirer

'Background Checks and Blocked Opportunities’: A Guide to Navigating Reentry Andrea Cipriano, The Crime Report

Biden’s executive orders on criminal justice should extend to inmates sent home by COVID Jeremy Travis, Kevin Ring, and Inimai Chettiar, USA Today

Biden must not miss the urgency of the moment on criminal justice reform Editorial Board, Boston Globe

As Biden Dumps For Profit Prisons With New Exec Order, 100 Criminal Justice Leaders – Including LA DA George Gascón & A List Of Other Prosecutors – Urge POTUS To End Death Penalty Celeste Fremon, WitnessLA

20th anniversary of Earl Washington’s freedom nears as abolition of Va. death penalty is considered Frank Green, Richmond Times-Dispatch

Rosa Jimenez, Convicted on ‘Junk Science,’ Set for Release After More Than 15 Years in Prison Elizabeth Weill-Greenberg, The Appeal

How the head of Marvel Entertainment and a headstrong lawyer quietly convinced Donald Trump to free a West Baltimore man Justin Fenton, Baltimore Sun

Netflix’s New True-Crime Series Checks Into LA’s Deadliest Hotel Dan Jackson, Thrillist

AM Stories

The Persistence of Hate In American Politics Aryeh Neier, New Republic

Homeland Security worries extremists ‘emboldened’ by Capitol riots may cause more violence Kevin Johnson, USA Today

What it will take to fight the threat of violent right-wing militias Mary B. McCord, Los Angeles Times

FBI Capitol Riot Investigation Shifts Gears Rebecca Davis O’Brien, Aruna Viswanatha, and Erin Ailworth, Wall Street Journal

Proud Boys Under Growing Scrutiny in Capitol Riot Investigation Alan Feuer and Frances Robles, New York Times

Meet the police chief turned yoga instructor prodding wealthy suburbanites to civil war Radley Balko, Washington Post

Police Departments Search For Political Extremism In Ranks Following Capitol Riot Martin Kaste, NPR

State Capitols Reckon With Racism in Policing Matt Vasilogambros, PEW Stateline

Breonna Taylor Is One of a Shocking Number of Black People to See Armed Police Barge Into Their Homes Samantha Michaels, Mother Jones

The Houston Cop Charged With Murdering Dennis Tuttle During a Disastrous Drug Raid Portrays His Victim As the Aggressor Jacob Sullum, Reason

Policing Task Force Calls for Chokehold Ban, Curbs on No-Knock Warrants Andrea Cipriano, The Crime Report

A Road Map for Getting Rid of Racist Cops Samantha Michaels, Mother Jones

How Dallas police are reducing shootings of unarmed citizens John Shjarback, Michael White, and Stephen Bishopp, Dallas Morning News

A podcast about defunding the police and rethinking public safety Sara Bernard and David Kroman, Crosscut

Thursday January 28, 2021

PM Stories

Biden’s Private Prison Executive Order Doesn’t Undo Mass Incarceration Lydia Pelot-Hobbs, Truthout

Biden’s order terminates federal private prison contracts. Here’s what that means. Char Adams, NBC News

Why The Biden Administration’s Choice To Lead The Bureau of Prisons Matters Elizabeth Weill-Greenberg, The Appeal

Federal Judges Are Retiring Now That Joe Biden Will Pick Their Replacements Jennifer Bendery, HuffPost

Judges with criminal defense or civil rights backgrounds are rare in federal court. We need more. Nadia L. Farjood, San Diego Union-Tribune

Why We Need Public Financing for Prosecutor Election Campaigns Rory Fleming, Filter Magazine

The Prosecutors’ Union That’s Suing George Gascón Has A History Of Zealous Opposition To Reform Piper French, The Appeal

Stop the attempt to derail DA George Gascón’s criminal justice reforms Erwin Chemerinsky and Miriam Aroni Krinsky, Los Angeles Times

Virginia is on the verge of abolishing the death penalty. Other states should follow suit. Editorial Board, Washington Post

Bipartisan Group of Former, Current Attorneys General Joins Call to End Federal Death Penalty Meghan Roos, Newsweek

Feds withheld info on virus cases following executions Michael Balsamo and Michael Tarm, AP News

With a stalled court system, some Texas jails are dangerously overcrowded in the pandemic Jolie McCullough, Texas Tribune

The High-Risk Group Left Out of New York’s Vaccine Rollout Troy Closson, New York Times

Left in the Dark to Die Keith Osmun, The Bulwark

AM Stories

How to Defeat America’s Homegrown Insurgency Robert Grenier, New York Times

We’ve Had a White Supremacist Coup Before. History Buried It. Edwin Rios, Mother Jones

A 2009 warning about right-wing extremism was engulfed by politics. There are signs it’s happening again. Brett Murphy, Will Carless, Marisa Kwiatkowski, and Tricia L. Nadolny, USA Today

Probe of Capitol riot swells further Josh Gerstein, Politico

US prosecutors eye 400 potential suspects, expect sedition charges ‘very soon’ in Jan. 6 Capitol breach Spencer S. Hsu, Rachel Weiner, and Devlin Barrett, Washington Post

Zip Tie Guy Might Be Prime Candidate for Exceedingly Rare Sedition Charge, Prosecutors Reveal Adam Klasfeld, Law & Crime

Fears grow that efforts to combat US domestic terrorism can hurt minorities Noa Yachot, The Guardian

We Should Be Very Worried About Joe Biden’s “Domestic Terrorism” Bill Luke Savage, Jacobin

Can Abolition Work in an Age of Right-Wing Extremism? Neil Gong and Heath Pearson, The Atlantic

Do Black lives matter to Congress? The fate of the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act will tell us Editorial Board, Los Angeles Times

9 Houston officers charged, including 1 with murder, in probe of deadly 2019 raid Tim Stelloh, NBC News

Legal observers sue Philly police, alleging brutality at Walter Wallace Jr. protests Samantha Melamed, Philadelphia Inquirer

Minneapolis settles first lawsuit against police stemming from Floyd protests Randy Furst, Minneapolis Star-Tribune

Austin May Use Money Cut From Police Budget To Buy Permanent Supportive Housing Meg O’Connor, The Appeal

Wednesday January 27, 2021

PM Stories

Biden Will End the Justice Department’s Use of Private Prisons Madison Pauly, Mother Jones

What Happens to the Federal Death Penalty in a Biden Administration? Madeleine Carlisle, Time

After Trump’s Execution Spree, Criminal Justice Leaders Urge Biden To End Death Penalty Melissa Jeltsen, HuffPost

Committee advances bill to end death penalty to Virginia Senate floor Tyler Arnold, Inside NoVA

Defense lawyers raise COVID-19 fears in Georgia death penalty case Bill Rankin, Atlanta Journal-Constitution

‘No Beds Left’: Houston’s Jail is a COVID-19 Superspreader Jerry Iannelli, The Appeal

State Prison Inmate’s Diary Details The Ordeal Of Battling COVID-19 Behind Bars Gwynne Hogan and Jake Dobkin, Gothamist

Missouri Prison Staff Offered COVID Vaccine Soon, But Most Inmates Have To Wait Shahla Farzan, KBIA

Mass. Working To Educate Prisoners About Getting The Coronavirus Vaccine Deborah Becker, WBUR

Meek Mill, Jay-Z and other big names in sports fight for criminal justice reform Mike Freeman, USA Today

Los Angeles’ new DA redefines what ‘people’s lawyer’ does Martin Kuz, Christian Science Monitor

A Tech Investor Is Raising Funds to Investigate San Francisco Prosecutor’s Decarceral Approach Akela Lacy, The Intercept

The Victims Left Behind by Genetic Genealogy Jacob Stern and Sarah Zhang, The Atlantic

What Really Happens Inside a Crime Lab? Kathy Reichs, New York Times

‘If I Disappear’ Is a New Thriller for True Crime Fanatics Brenna Ehrlich, Rolling Stone

The Investigation Is the Next Evolution of True Crime Karen Han, Slate

AM Stories

A New Era of Far-Right Violence Colin P. Clarke, New York Times

Biden’s Vital but Fraught Battle Against Domestic Terrorism David Rohde, The New Yorker

Lone Wolves Connected Online: A History of Modern White Supremacy Laura Smith, New York Times

The insurrection and the press Kyle Pope, Columbia Journalism Review

Oath Keepers Face First Conspiracy Charges Over Capitol Riot David Yaffe-Bellany, Bloomberg

The FBI charged some people with conspiracy in the Capitol riot, but proving it won’t be easy Alan Feuer and Nicole Hong, New York Times

US police weigh officer discipline after rally, Capitol riot Martha Bellisle and Jake Bleiberg, AP News

How Do You Deradicalize a Cop? Melissa Gira Grant, New Republic

Defining policing is essential to reform it Jorge X. Camacho, The Hill

Fatal Police Shootings Of Unarmed Black People Reveal Troubling Patterns Cheryl W. Thompson, NPR

Protesters swarm Tacoma streets over police run-over incident Chase Hutchinson and Stacia Glenn, News Tribune

Every attack on new Illinois police reform legislation is predictable – and wrong State Rep. Justin Slaughter, Chicago Sun-Times

The killing of two Black Panthers, the secrets of the FBI – and our nation’s long fight for police reform Editorial Board, Chicago Sun-Times

Tuesday January 26, 2021

PM Stories

The Case That Made Texas the Death Penalty Capital Maurice Chammah, The Marshall Project

Maurice Chammah Charts The History Of The Death Penalty In ‘Let The Lord Sort Them’ NPR

Virginia moves toward banning capital punishment, in a shift for prolific death penalty state Laura Vozzella and Gregory S. Schneider, Washington Post

‘Progressive prosecutors’ want Virginia to end the death penalty, cash bail and mandatory minimums Margaret Matray, Virginian-Pilot

Oregon Bill Would Enable People to Vote from Prison Kira Lerner, The Appeal

An old arrest can follow you forever online. Some newspapers want to fix that. Elahe Izadi, Washington Post

The Ambitious Plan to Turn a Massive Jail Island Into a Green Oasis Drew Costley, Future Human

This Scientist Helped Free the Innocent Using DNA. Now Biden Wants Him in the Cabinet. Eli Hager, The Marshall Project

The Prison Abolitionist Redefining What It Means to Win Claire Lampen, New York Magazine

How a Compton artist’s lost prison painting found its way to the Hammer Museum Deborah Vankin, Los Angeles Times

Drakeo the Ruler’s First Post-Prison Album Deservingly Flexes on the Justice System Justin Curto, New York Magazine

The Chilling, Mysterious Death Of Elisa Lam Is The Focus Of A New Netflix Documentary Diandra Malivindi, Marie Claire

Chronicle of a Death Ignored Joyce Carol Oates, New York Review of Books

AM Stories

The War Comes Home: The Evolution of Domestic Terrorism in the United States Center for Strategic & International Studies

How the NRA weaponized the far right Shannon Watts and John Feinblatt, New York Daily News

Global Right-Wing Extremism Networks Are Growing. The US Is Just Now Catching Up. Sebastian Rotella, ProPublica

Military and Police Investigate Members Charged in Capitol Riot Deepa Seetharaman, Zusha Elinson, and Ben Kesling, Wall Street Journal

After Capitol riot, police chiefs work to root out officers with ties to extremist groups Kimberly Kindy, Mark Berman, and Kim Bellware, Washington Post

At Least Four LA Area Law Enforcement Officers Attended DC Insurrection City News Service

The First Capitol Riot Arrests Were Easy. The Next Ones Will Be Tougher. Alan Feuer and Nicole Hong, New York Times

Capitol attack will spur broad crackdown on domestic extremists Matt Zapotosky and Shane Harris, Washington Post

After Capitol riot, Biden backs domestic terror law. It’s a predictably misguided response. Hina Shamsi and Manar Waheed, NBC News

A Federal Domestic Terrorism Law Could Threaten Civil Rights Groups Like BLM Caroline Haskins, BuzzFeed News

California attorney general launches civil rights probe of LA County Sheriff’s Department Alene Tchekmedyian, Los Angeles Times

‘Captain Taser’ Brian Krans, The Appeal

Breonna Taylor grand jurors file petition to impeach Attorney General Daniel Cameron Joe Sonka, Louisville Courier Journal

Tamir Rice deserves justice. The Biden administration could finally deliver it. Zoe Salzman and Billy Joe Mills, Washington Post

Monday January 25, 2021

PM Stories

How Not to Manage a COVID-19 Outbreak in Prison Tomas Keen, The Crime Report

Coronavirus death counts exceed one per day in Pa. prisons. Gov. Wolf needs to use all the tools he has. Editorial Board, Philadelphia Inquirer 

7 prisoners file restraining order, ask federal judge to compel Oregon to vaccinate them against COVID-19 Andrew Theen, The Oregonian

‘I’m just grateful’: COVID vaccinations start for inmates at Worcester County Jail Melissa Hanson, MassLive

Prisoners are 5 times more likely to get COVID-19 than the overall population. A 69-year-old prisoner is trying to change that one livestream at a time. Jamie Roth, Dylan Bank, and Adam Miller, Business Insider

On surviving – and leaving – prison during a pandemic Sarah Scoles, Popular Science

The Trauma of the Death Penalty in Texas Michael Barajas, The Nation

Members of Congress Call on Biden to Commute Everyone on Federal Death Row Meg O’Connor, The Appeal

If Biden Wants to End Death Penalty, He Must Also End Death by Incarceration Asha Ralph and Brian Pitman, Truthout

One of Joe Biden’s first steps should be to fix Donald Trump’s broken criminal justice reform Chandra Bozelko and Ryan Lo, NBC News

Could 2021 Be The Year Of Civil Justice Reform? Cara Bayles, Law360

From prison to a Trump pardon, the story of a New Orleans woman’s path to criminal justice advocacy Matt Sledge, NOLA.com

The Investigation review: Tobias Lindholm’s drama is a radical take on the true-crime genre Ed Cumming, The Independent

On the Trail of The Serpent: the story behind the true crime classic Julie Clarke, The Guardian

Does Netflix’s Night Stalker Go Too Far? Some Say Yes Christopher Rosa, Glamour

AM Stories

When Extremists Stormed the Capitol and Got Convicted of Seditious Conspiracy Jacob Schulz, Lawfare

Motley crew of far-right Californians accused of joining Capitol siege Michael Finnegan and Richard Winton, Los Angeles Times

Nearly 1 In 5 Defendants In Capitol Riot Cases Served In The Military Tom Dreisbach and Meg Anderson, NPR

Sheriff: Deputy charged with threats after US Capitol attack ABC News

State Legislatures Make “Unprecedented” Push on Anti-Protest Bills Alleen Brown and Akela Lacy, The Intercept

Still Can’t Breathe Topher Sanders and Yoav Gonen, The City/ProPublica

Feds used toxic smoke grenades during summer protests in Portland, researcher finds Kale Williams, The Oregonian

New report: Austin police training videos reinforce racial stereotypes, bias Ryan Autullo, Austin American-Statesman

‘Treat all homicides the same’: Philly police under scrutiny after quick arrest of suspect in Temple grad killing Ximena Conde, WHYY

Kentucky to study warrant process after Taylor shooting Dylan Lovan, AP News

The ‘warrior model’ of policing is over; Baltimore police must show community that reform efforts are real, federal judge says Phillip Jackson, Baltimore Sun

Crime Story Daily Highlights – Week 76

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

On the criminal justice policy front: In his inaugural address on Wednesday, President Joe Biden declared the “rise of political extremism [and] white supremacy” a looming and urgent threat, vowing to “confront” and “defeat” domestic terrorism. A piece from Politico outlines several possible paths of action for the Biden administration in its fight against homegrown extremism. The Intercept reports that as of this week, at least 170 people are under investigation in connection to the January 6 assault on the US Capitol. Officials say they expect that number to “grow to the hundreds in the next coming weeks” – a criminal probe that the top federal prosecutor in Washington, DC, has described as “unprecedented, not only in FBI history, but probably DOJ history.” The Wall Street Journal reports that this week, the first conspiracy charges were filed in connection with the Capitol siege, while a piece from Lawfare focuses on the controversial “felony murder” charge.

In other news, The Appeal reports from Illinois, where state lawmakers passed a sweeping omnibus criminal justice reform bill in the waning hours of their lame-duck session earlier this week. WBEZ outlines some key provisions included in the bill: as well as abolishing cash bail in Illinois, the new legislation would end prison gerrymandering, increase transparency and accountability in the state prison system, ban chokeholds, and place other limits on the use of deadly force.

In muckraker/watchdog reporting: Several pieces this week centered on the ongoing coronavirus crisis in America’s prisons and jails. NBC reports that during the pandemic, corrections officials in some jurisdictions have deployed technology to fill the gaps left by COVID-19, delivering services in ways that might have seemed unthinkable even a year ago. From outdoor vocational programs to art classes taught over Zoom, these changes have been a lifeline for incarcerated people craving opportunities for self-improvement and contact with loved ones on the outside. But they come with a risk: families of prisoners fear that corrections officials will use the technology to replace in-person interactions even after the pandemic ends. And The Marshall Project reports that even as prisons and jails have proved hotspots of COVID-19, the pandemic is also posing new challenges for people who leave them – and their communities on the outside. While some states have accelerated the release of prisoners to stem the virus’ spread, relatively few are systematically testing or quarantining people before they are released. In turn, reentry facilities and probation and parole systems across the country are scrambling, often with few resources or safety protocols, to prevent further spread.

Other pieces focus on the fallout from the Capitol insurrection. Many have noted a remarkable contrast between the excessive policing of last summer’s Black Lives Matter demonstrations – which saw peaceful protests met with batons, rubber bullets, and tear gas – and law enforcement’s seeming absence from the January 6 siege. A trend suggested in photos is now supported by data: a Guardian analysis found that police were three times more likely to use force against left-wing protesters than right-wing ones – regardless of whether or not the protests remained peaceful. A piece from Slate highlights the role of local sheriffs. Some 90% of American sheriffs are white men, and in recent years they have become strongly affiliated with white supremacist groups. Sheriffs have also played a key role in nurturing extrajudicial militia movements, joined by a shared interest in gun rights and “masculine grievance.” And finally, a piece from The Nation explores the long history of alliance between right-wing vigilante groups and American law enforcement.

In complex crime storytelling: A piece from The Atlantic goes deep into the world of the “boogaloo bois.” Half far-right extremist faction, half “absurdist internet meme,” the boogaloos are hard to characterize – and hard to take seriously. Some are likely just joking when they “shit-post” about shooting cops or killing government officials. But others seem serious. Boogaloo bois have shown up heavily armed (and in their trademark Hawaiian shirts) at protests and state capitols. They’ve allegedly killed law-enforcement officers, talked about throwing Molotov cocktails at cops, and plotted to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. Like so much else about the Trump era, the boogaloo “movement” is simultaneously ridiculous and terrifying – and it’s hard to know how seriously to take the boogaloo threat. Wired explores the sprawling “tactical shooting” industry teaching American civilians how to fight like Special Ops. Once the purview of law enforcement officers and military operators, these kinds of tactical skills are increasingly being passed down to ordinary, armed Americans by a vast and diffuse industry of gun ranges and private facilities. But by “preparing” civilians for violence at home, they may be calling it into being: “training for combat implies an enemy, and… militarized civilians, like militarized law enforcement, increasingly identify that enemy among their fellow Americans.” And a piece from GQ follows “the epic hunt for one of the world’s most wanted men.” Félicien Kabuga, a multimillionaire Rwandan businessman, helped unleash the 1994 genocide that left nearly a million people dead. Then he vanished. Kabuga would remain hidden for more than two decades – until recently, when United Nations war crimes detectives picked up his trail and started closing in.

In culture/true crime: The Atlantic highlights “MLK/FBI,” a new documentary about the Bureau’s surveillance of Martin Luther King. With the aid of declassified documents, director Sam Pollard chronicles J. Edgar Hoover’s attempts to stifle the burgeoning civil-rights movement through a coordinated effort to spy on and discredit King – “part of a long-running effort to keep Black Americans from acquiring institutional power.” The University of Denver’s Prison Arts Initiative presents A/LIVE INSIDE, a “virtual showcase of artists and their stories from Colorado’s prisons.” In a series of short videos, incarcerated artists share their own stories as well as theatrical performance, song and dance, visual art, and music. And a piece from the Hollywood Reporter puts Garrett Bradley, director of the Sundance-winning documentary “Time,” in conversation with Tommy Oliver, the filmmaker behind HBO’s “40 Years a Prisoner.” The two discuss their creative processes, the importance of telling stories about mass incarceration, and the challenges of documenting life on the inside.

Friday January 22, 2021

PM Stories

How to Decode Biden’s Immigration Blitz Julia Preston, The Marshall Project

The ‘Muslim Ban’ Is Gone. Now What? Harsha Panduranga, Brennan Center for Justice

Biden Is the First President to Openly Oppose the Death Penalty Austin Sarat, Slate

Trump’s criminal justice commission produced some helpful results. Biden should build on them. Editorial Board, Washington Post

Will Bringing Science Back to the White House Reinvigorate Forensics Reform? Jordan Smith, The Intercept

Illinois poised to become first state to end wealth-based pre-trial detention Kiran Misra, The Guardian

“Science has thrown us a lifeline”: North Carolina prisons give COVID-19 vaccine to inmates and staff Zoe Christen Jones, CBS News

COVID-19 vaccination for state prison inmates encouraged with ‘incentive packs’ Frank Green, Richmond Times-Dispatch

COVID-19 spread fast in Michigan prisons. Advocates say they should be prioritized for vaccine Kara Berg and Carol Thompson, Lansing State Journal

How Do You Social Distance In Prison? You Don’t. You Get COVID. Melissa Segura, BuzzFeed News

COVID-19 Extends Sentences for Some Incarcerated People Lindsey Van Ness, PEW Stateline

LA County Jails Are Locking People Up For Longer During the Pandemic Amy Munro, The Appeal

A Letter From a Florida Inmate Asked for Help. It Arrived Too Late. CJ Ciaramella, Reason

Maurice Chammah: The Rise and Fall of the Death Penalty Ann Neumann, Guernica Magazine

Carole Baskin Is Thrilled Joe Exotic Didn’t Get A Trump Pardon David Mack, BuzzFeed News

AM Stories

What Biden’s Win Means for the Future of Criminal Justice (2020) The Marshall Project

Five ways Biden can jumpstart criminal justice reform immediately (2020) Nick Turner, The Hill

Biden Can Reshape the Federal Death Penalty in America (2020) Andrew Cohen, Brennan Center for Justice

Boston Marathon Bomber Appeal Is Early Biden Test on Death Penalty Jordan Rubin, Bloomberg

Austin’s Unreliable Crime Lab Could Lead to Another Wrongful Execution Jerry Iannelli, The Appeal

As Feds Change Rules For Reporting Jail Deaths, Sheriffs Face Less Accountability Beth Healy, WBUR

Deaths in ICE Custody Skyrocketed During the COVID-19 Pandemic Lise Olsen, Texas Observer

Five Inmates at One Oregon Prison Died of COVID-19 Within a Span of Five Days Tess Riski, Willamette Week

Federal Prison Took Nine Months to Investigate Reality Winner’s Abuse Claim Taylor Barnes, The Intercept

My Life Sewing T-Shirts for 26 Cents an Hour Wesley Williams, The New Republic

Many oppose criminal justice reform bill. To what extent have they been misled? Ted Slowik, Chicago Tribune

Freeing People Who Don’t Belong in Prison Is Praiseworthy, No Matter Trump’s Motives Jacob Sullum, Reason

Two Texans serving long prison sentences for drug crimes are among those whose terms Trump commuted Charles Scudder, Dallas Morning News

Trump Pardons Lil Wayne, Kodak Black in Last-Minute Spree Jon Blistein, Rolling Stone

Black San Quentin Artist Inmates’ Brush With Justice Woody Weingarten, Pacific Sun

Thursday January 21, 2021

PM Stories

The Biden Administration’s Opportunity for Change Brennan Center for Justice

Biden administration expects early focus on domestic extremism threat Jim Sciutto, CNN

Biden vowed to defeat domestic terrorism. The how is the hard part. Laura Barrón-López and Natasha Bertrand, Politico

Biden Launches Effort To Undo Trump’s Damage On Immigration Rowaida Abdelaziz, HuffPost

Decades of Federal Policies Turned Local Police On Immigrant Communities. Here’s How Biden Can Stop That. Alina Das, The Appeal

Relatives of Jacob Blake Jr. and Breonna Taylor hope to push Biden on police reform John Eligon, New York Times

Hours After Biden Inauguration, Federal Agents Use Tear Gas in Portland Mike Baker and Hallie Golden, New York Times

Years After Freddie Gray’s Death, Baltimore Police Misconduct Persists Brandon Soderberg, The Appeal

How race plays out in claims against Baltimore police: ACLU crunches data, names officers with most complaints Phil Davis, Baltimore Sun

NYPD Fights to Keep Eyes Off Discipline Records Nina Pullano, Courthouse News

Police watchdog group says Minneapolis uses loophole to keep police misconduct from the public Andy Mannix, Herald-Mail Media

Troubled north Minneapolis corner poses potential test of new public safety approach Libor Jany, Minneapolis Star Tribune

In South LA, Gang Intervention Workers Are Trying To Slow A Dramatic Spike In Gun Violence – And They’re Asking For Help Libby Denkmann, LAist

America on edge: COVID lockdowns, protests and election strife led to record gun sales Marc Fisher, Mark Berman, Christine Spolar, Lori Rozsa, and Andrew Ba Tran, Washington Post

I Am Not a Soldier, but I Have Been Trained to Kill Rachel Monroe, Wired

The timely story of an FBI snitch and a slain 1960s Black Panther leader Craigh Barboza, Los Angeles Times

AM Stories

Mistakes worsened deadly COVID-19 outbreak at LA federal prison, investigation finds Richard Winton, Los Angeles Times

‘Tinderbox waiting for the spark’: WFAA investigation shows how COVID-19 spread through Texas prisons Keri Blakinger and Tanya Eiserer, WFAA

COVID-19 deaths spike in Oregon prisons Conrad Wilson, Oregon Public Broadcasting

Phil Spector, the imprisoned music legend, spent his last days suffering with COVID Matt Richtel, New York Times

After killing his cousin, Clyde Meikle found purpose in prison through service. Now he’s asking to go home. Kelan Lyons, Connecticut Mirror

As sheriff struggles with jail crowding, suspects facing ‘third strike’ walk free Christopher Damien, Palm Springs Desert Sun

Missouri law raises age for adult charges, but some prosecutors say they won’t follow Katie Moore, Kansas City Star

A Michigan prosecutor says no thanks to cash bail. Will others follow? Ted Roelofs, Bridge Michigan

6 Key Reforms In The Massive Criminal Justice Bill Illinois Lawmakers Passed Last Week Patrick Smith, WBEZ

Va. attorney general launches Conviction Integrity Unit to identify wrongful convictions Tom Jackman, Washington Post

Pervis Payne death penalty case: DNA of unknown male discovered, lawyer says Katherine Burgess and Daniel Connolly, Memphis Commercial Appeal

The Epic Hunt for One of the World’s Most Wanted Men Joshua Hammer, GQ

Alive Inside: A Virtual Showcase of Artists and Their Stories from CO Prisons University of Denver Prison Arts Initiative

Wednesday January 20, 2021

PM Stories

‘American Carnage’ Is Donald Trump’s Legacy Amanda Terkel, HuffPost

Trump grants clemency to 143 people in late-night pardon blast Rosalind S. Helderman, Josh Dawsey, and Beth Reinhard, Washington Post

Trump’s final wave of pardons includes names pushed by criminal justice reform advocates Annie Karni, New York Times

Trump’s Pardons Show The Process Has Always Been Broken Nicole Lewis, Justin George, and Eli Hager, The Marshall Project

Trump’s ‘Law and Order’: One More Deceptive Tactic Is Exposed Elaina Plott, New York Times

Republicans Rethink “Law and Order” Once They Become Its Target Nick Martin, New Republic

Conspiracy Charges Filed Over Capitol Riot Aruna Viswanatha, Wall Street Journal

Members Of Right-Wing Militias, Extremist Groups Are Latest Charged In Capitol Siege Jaclyn Diaz, NPR

Twelve National Guard members are removed from inaugural protection, two for possible links to extremist groups Eric Schmitt, Jennifer Steinhauer, and Helene Cooper, New York Times

Among the Guardsmen Elaine Godfrey, The Atlantic

How US police failed to stop the rise of the far right and the Capitol attack Jason Wilson, The Guardian

“Sense of Entitlement”: Rioters Faced Few Consequences Invading State Capitols. No Wonder They Turned to the US Capitol Next. Jeremy Kohler, ProPublica

This is white supremacist domestic terrorism. We’ve been here before. Jonathan Capehart, Washington Post

Republican Lawmakers Are Using the Capitol Riot to Fuel Anti-BLM Backlash Meg O’Connor, The Appeal

Living in the Age of the White Mob Victor Luckerson, The New Yorker

Donald Trump Is Out. Are We Ready to Talk About How He Got In? Ta-Nehisi Coates, The Atlantic

AM Stories

Among the Insurrectionists Luke Mogelson, The New Yorker

‘I Let You Down’: Klete Keller’s Path From Olympics to Capitol Riot Karen Crouse, New York Times

42 People Now Face Federal Charges for the Capitol Riot Elizabeth Nolan Brown, Reason

Army reservist with secret-level security clearance among the latest charged in connection with Capitol riot David Shortell and Paul P. Murphy, CNN

Nearly a dozen ex-military members among those arrested in connection with Capitol riot Olivia Rubin and Soo Rin Kim, ABC News

FBI vetting Guard troops in DC amid fears of insider attack Lolita C. Baldor, AP News

Capitol Police handling of riots shrouded in secrecy Lee Brown, New York Post

Off-Duty Police Officers Investigated, Charged With Participating In Capitol Riot Eric Westervelt, NPR

Police bias explains the Capitol riot Anna North, Vox

Alliance Between Vigilantes and Law Enforcement: A US Tradition RH Lossin, The Nation

There are two justice systems in America. Ask my nephew, Jacob Blake Justin Blake, The Guardian

Andres Guardado inquest ends without testimony from sheriff’s officials or the deputy who killed him Matthew Ormseth, Los Angeles Times

No charges against 2nd officer in 2009 police killing of Oscar Grant NBC News

What Traffic Enforcement Without Police Could Look Like Meg O’Connor, The Appeal

Tuesday January 19, 2021

PM Stories

Federal prisons on lockdown in run-up to Biden inauguration Michael R. Sisak and Michael Balsamo, AP News

Zoom funerals, outdoor classes: Jails are evolving amid COVID, but what happens afterward? Keri Blakinger, NBC News

State Prison COVID-19 Wave Grows as Inmates Wait for Vaccines Rosa Goldensohn, The City

Judge asks for release of nearly 2,000 inmates to avoid ‘killing field’ at Harris County Jail Gabrielle Banks, Houston Chronicle

Families Of Prisoners Hospitalized With COVID Often Cannot Get Critical Details Deborah Becker, WBUR

NJ Senators Concerned Over Racial Disparities In Federal Prison Home Releases Karen Yi, WNYC

Prisons Are Releasing People Without COVID-19 Tests Or Quarantines Nicole Lewis and Beth Schwartzapfel, The Marshall Project

Mississippians saddled with $507 million in criminal justice debts, preventing future opportunity Anna Wolfe, Mississippi Today

Bail Reform and Racial Justice The Crime Report

Bill giving those with felonies the right to vote is introduced in Washington Legislature Maya Leshikar, Seattle Times

More police accountability, criminal justice reform bills to come in Colorado legislative session Elise Schmelzer, Denver Post

Criminal justice reform: Too fast? Ask communities of color if it feels ‘rushed.’ Kimberly A. Lightford, Chicago Tribune

“Building in the Dark”: A Conversation About Documenting Incarceration Between ‘Time’ and ’40 Years a Prisoner’ Directors Mia Galuppo, Hollywood Reporter

True-Crime Podcast Puts Spotlight on Irish Coach Accused of Abuse Ed O’Loughlin, New York Times

‘Night Stalker’ Is Just Another Gory True-Crime Misfire Daniel D’Addario, Variety

AM Stories

The Long Prologue to the Capitol Hill Riot Benjamin Wallace-Wells, The New Yorker

‘Be Ready to Fight’ Mark Danner, New York Review of Books

Treat the Attack on the Capitol as Terrorism Michel Paradis, The Atlantic

DOJ Is Considering Charging Capitol Rioters With Seditious Conspiracy, Felony Murder Alice Speri, The Intercept

The Radicalization of Kevin Greeson Connor Sheets, ProPublica

‘The Internet Is a Crime Scene’ Zack Stanton, Politico Magazine

What Parler Saw During the Attack on the Capitol Lena V. Groeger, Jeff Kao, Al Shaw, Moiz Syed, and Maya Eliahou, ProPublica

On social media, amateur digital sleuths try to help track violent Capitol rioters Sarah Parvini and Melissa Gomez, Los Angeles Times

Off-duty police were part of the Capitol mob. Now police are turning in their own. Kimberly Kindy, Kim Bellware, and Mark Berman, Washington Post

Sheriffs Helped Lead This Insurrection Jessica Pishko, Slate

US Capitol riot: police have long history of aiding neo-Nazis and extremists Sam Levin, The Guardian

The Capitol riot is a reminder of the links between police and white supremacy Anna North, Vox

The Insurrection at the Capitol Has Renewed Democrats’ Calls for Police Reform Kara Voght, Mother Jones

When the FBI Spied on MLK Hannah Giorgis, The Atlantic

A Black Lives Matter Founder on Building Modern Movements Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, The New Yorker

Monday January 18, 2021

PM Stories

Dr. Martin Luther King’s Moral Opposition to the Death Penalty Equal Justice Initiative

‘This is not justice’: Justice Sonia Sotomayor offers fierce dissent in death penalty case Raul A. Reyes, NBC News

‘Expedited Spree of Executions’ Faced Little Supreme Court Scrutiny Adam Liptak, New York Times

Trump Targeted the Mentally Ill With His Lame Duck Execution Spree Austin Sarat, Slate

Biden campaigned on eliminating death penalty – we could soon see how that turns out Bob Egelko, San Francisco Chronicle

Illinois State Lawmakers Vote To Eliminate Cash Bail Elizabeth Weill-Greenberg, The Appeal

Illinois Will End Cash Bail – and Limit Use of High-Tech Incarceration Isaac Scher, The Intercept

Thousands of Illinois Drivers Would Get Their Licenses Back Under a Criminal Justice Reform Bill Melissa Sanchez, ProPublica

Seven of Eight Manhattan District Attorney Candidates Support Parole and Sentencing Reform Samar Khurshid, Gotham Gazette

Man Who Sat on Death Row Is Cleared After Bite-Mark Evidence Is Doubted Jacey Fortin and Allyson Waller, New York Times

Judge approves shorter sentence for convicted murderer turned prison mentor Kelan Lyons, Connecticut Mirror

Lawmakers have another chance to address Mississippi’s prisons before it’s too late Steven Randle and J. Robertson, Jackson Clarion-Ledger

2 inmates die, many more ill in COVID-19 prison outbreak Oregon Public Broadcasting

California urged to move inmates to front of COVID-19 vaccine line Don Thompson, AP News

Denver Broncos players push governor on prison policy: “Football is temporary. Being a Black man in America is permanent.” Alexander Burness, Greeley Tribune

AM Stories

The Boogaloo Bois Prepare for Civil War Michael J. Mooney, The Atlantic

Extremists move to secret online channels to plan for Inauguration Day in DC Anna Schecter, NBC News

Armed ‘militias’ are illegal. Will authorities finally crack down if they show up at state capitals next week? Will Carless, USA Today

Feds edge closer to sedition charge in Capitol riot aftermath Kyle Cheney and Josh Gerstein, Politico

Felony Murder and the Storming of the Capitol Carissa Byrne Hessick, Lawfare

The DOJ’s Promised Probe Into Capitol Riot Raises Alarm About Prosecutorial Overreach Alice Speri, The Intercept

The Last Thing We Need Is Another War on Terror Spencer Ackerman, Daily Beast

The Capitol Police Had One Mission. Now the Force Is in Crisis. Shaila Dewan, Ali Watkins, and John Eligon, New York Times

Lafayette Square, Capitol rallies met starkly different policing response Rachel Chason and Samantha Schmidt, Washington Post

Capitol rioters included highly trained ex-military and cops Michael Biesecker, Jake Bleiberg, and James LaPorta, AP News

US police three times as likely to use force against leftwing protesters, data finds Lois Beckett, The Guardian

NY attorney general sues NYPD over Floyd protest response Michael R. Sisak, AP News

They Took Umbrellas to a Black Lives Matter Protest. The DA Hit Them with Gang Charges Meg O’Connor, The Appeal

An FBI Agent Went Undercover to Study White Supremacists. Now He’s Speaking Out About Racist Police. Samantha Michaels, Mother Jones

“MLK/FBI” Forbids Us to Relax Anthony Lane, The New Yorker

Crime Story Daily Highlights – Week 75

On the criminal justice policy front: A piece from Politico goes inside the investigation into last week’s violence at the Capitol. With the hunt to identify, track down, and arrest the rioters already well underway, it remains to be seen how federal and local prosecutors will go about holding them accountable. Some crimes, like assault or unlawful entry, might be easier to investigate and prosecute; but other potential charges, like incitement and conspiracy, are much more complex. A piece from ProPublica explores some of the legal barriers and loopholes that may hamper the investigation. In recent years, federal authorities have described American extremists as the most urgent terror threat facing the country. But legal limits on investigations of American political groups, as well as the opaque and elusive nature of the threat, have made it difficult to combat. One fundamental problem is that while federal statutes provide a definition of domestic terrorism, there is no specific law outlawing it, making homegrown extremism exceedingly difficult to prosecute.  

In the wake of last week’s violence, some are calling for a new, tougher and more comprehensive domestic terrorism law. But a piece from the New Republic pushes back on this, arguing that lawmakers’ impulse to further enlarge the security state that failed them – rather than examining how and why it did – is a misguided one: “The solution to this American hypocrisy cannot be to fight domestic terror with the same fervor and disregard for human rights with which we fight it internationally.” And a piece from the Marshall Project echoes this sentiment, outlining the ways in which white terrorism – and measures to address it – have historically lead to harsher punishment for people of color. From the 1970 Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, aimed at cracking down on the Mob, to the 1996 Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act, enacted in response to the Oklahoma City bombing, legislation targeted at preventing or punishing white violence has been wielded disproportionately against people of color. 

In muckraker/watchdog reporting: The Indianapolis Star reported that early on Wednesday, Lisa Montgomery was put to death by lethal injection at the federal penitentiary in Terre Haute, becoming the first woman executed by the federal government in nearly 70 years. In the days and hours before her execution, Montgomery’s lawyers had pressed President Trump to spare her life, citing extensive brain damage and severe mental illness exacerbated by years of childhood abuse. An investigation by the Marshall Project found that in this respect, Montgomery was not alone: of the 87 people executed across the country over the last four years, more than a third had suffered a brain injury or had an intellectual disability. Nearly two in five were diagnosed with severe mental illness, and almost two-thirds had experienced extensive childhood trauma. These findings drive home what Robert Dunham, executive director of the Death Penalty Information Center, told the authors of the piece: “The people who are being executed tend not to be the worst of the worst offenders, but the most vulnerable.”

The Wall Street Journal reports that Corey Johnson, sentenced to death in 1993 for his participation in a series of drug-related murders, was executed late on Thursday after a tense legal battle in the final hours of his life. Earlier this week, a District Court judge in Washington, DC suspended the executions of Johnson and Dustin Higgs, both of whom had tested positive for COVID-19, arguing that their infections paired with a lethal injection would amount to cruel and unusual punishment. But on Wednesday, an appellate court overturned that order, allowing both executions to proceed. A piece from the Baltimore Sun goes inside the frantic, last-minute legal battle to save the life of Dustin Higgs. In 1996, Higgs was convicted of murdering three women in Prince George’s County, Maryland, and subsequently sentenced to death, despite the fact that he personally did not kill any of the three. In a piece from GQ, Higgs talks about his case and the randomness of the legal process that brought him to this point: “I ask myself all the time, ‘Where is the justice?’’’. Dustin Higgs was executed late on Friday, bringing the Trump administration’s total to 13 since last July – more federal executions conducted in the final months of Trump’s presidency than in the previous 67 years combined.

In complex crime storytelling: A piece from the New York Times goes inside last week’s riot at the Capitol, documenting in detail how a pro-Trump “Rally to Save America” escalated into a full-fledged angry mob. A piece from New York Magazine focuses on Ashli Babbitt, the Air Force veteran turned fervent Trump supporter and QAnon believer who was fatally shot by police as she attempted to leap through the broken window of a door inside the Capitol. The piece follows Babbitt’s story through a long but undistinguished military career, years of personal travails, and her eventual descent into a world of conspiracy theories and delusion. As of this week, more than 70 people have been charged with crimes connected to the Capitol riot, with prosecutors expecting that number to rise into the hundreds. The FBI has appealed to the public for help in bringing the assailants to justice, offering a $50,000 reward for information that could lead to an arrest. BBC goes inside the hunt to identify and track down the rioters, while a piece from the Washington Post highlights the network of “online sleuths” working to “out” right-wing extremists. And a piece from the Marshall Project, from 2017, centers on the investigation into white nationalist protests in Charlottesville, VA. Then, too, amateur detectives took it upon themselves to find, identify, and name criminal suspects – a benefit to investigators, but a burden as well, especially when the online speculation gets it wrong.

In culture/true crime: ArtNet interviews Rahsaan Thomas, an inmate at San Quentin and co-host of the Pulitzer-nominated podcast “Ear Hustle.” Last year, Thomas made his curatorial debut with the online show “Meet Us Quickly: Painting For Justice From Prison,” on view through January 31 via the Museum of the African Diaspora. He discusses the story behind the exhibition, the process of assembling the show from behind bars, and the empathy-building power of the arts. ProPublica interviews photojournalist Natalie Keyssar, who has spent much of the last six years documenting Black Lives Matter demonstrations. Last week, one of her images – taken in Ferguson, Missouri in 2014, it shows a Black protester being tackled by armor-clad riot police – went viral in the wake of the Capitol riot. Paired with a photo from Wednesday of several white men, one carrying a Confederate battle flag, roaming freely around the Capitol building, the image gave voice to the outrage many felt at the stark difference between what appeared to be the accommodating treatment of rioters by Capitol Police and the brutal crack-down met by peaceful Black Lives Matter demonstrators. Keyssar discusses the original photograph, the power of virality, and her own small role in helping articulate America’s reaction to the riot at the Capitol. And the New Yorker highlights “Ashes to Ashes,” a new documentary about the artist and activist Winfred Rembert. At the age of 19, Rembert, then living in Georgia and participating in the civil-rights movement, survived a lynching by a mob of white men. His work draws from this experience and other painful memories of Black life in the Jim Crow South, grappling with the far-reaching impacts of generational trauma and the living legacy of racist violence in the United States

Friday January 15, 2021

PM Stories

Trump, the death penalty and its links with America’s racist history The Guardian

Trump Is Putting the Machinery of Death Into Overdrive Clint Smith, The Atlantic

DC judges order Maryland man’s federal execution to go forward on Friday, setting up last-minute battle Jean Marbella, Baltimore Sun

What to Know About Dustin Higgs, the Last Man Set to Be Executed by Trump Claire Lampen, New York Magazine

A Horrific, Tragic Story Ends in Execution Bridget Read, New York Magazine

US Executes Inmate Infected With COVID-19 Jess Bravin, Wall Street Journal

Prisons are COVID hot spots. But few countries are prioritizing vaccines for inmates. Miriam Berger, Washington Post

COVID-19 skyrockets by nearly 2,000 cases in NY state prisons over the last six weeks Chelsia Rose Marcius, New York Daily News

This Kentucky prison has 1,507 inmates. Half of them are infected with COVID-19. John Cheves, Lexington Herald Leader

State can’t confirm if 115 Michigan prisoner cases were COVID-19 reinfections Angie Jackson and Joey Horan, Detroit Free Press

Facing prison amid a pandemic, a protester fears for himself and all inmates Ned Barnett, Raleigh News & Observer

Don’t use SF tragedy to justify return to mass incarceration Jonathan Simon, San Francisco Chronicle

Gavin Newsom’s High-Stakes Choice For California Attorney General Jay Willis, The Appeal

If Biden wants to reform criminal justice, he needs public defenders on his team Liz Oyer, Washington Post

AM Stories

How police failures let a violent insurrection into the Capitol Cara Kelly, Daphne Duret, Ramon Padilla, Erin Mansfield, Stephen J. Beard, and Jayme Fraser, USA Today

The Cops at the Capitol Jonathan Ben-Menachem, The Appeal

“No One Took Us Seriously”: Black Cops Warned About Racist Capitol Police Officers for Years Joshua Kaplan and Joaquin Sapien, ProPublica

The Capitol Siege Wasn’t Institutional Failure. It Was Exactly How American Policing Was Meant To Work. Melissa Segura, BuzzFeed News

What ‘Blue Lives Matter’ was always about Ryan Cooper, The Week

In Wake of Capitol Riot, GOP Legislatures “Rebrand” Old Anti-BLM Protest Laws Alleen Brown and Akela Lacy, The Intercept

White Terrorism Often Leads to Harsher Punishments for People of Color Eli Hager, The Marshall Project

There’s A Good Reason Feds Don’t Call White Guys Terrorists, Says DOJ Domestic Terror Chief Ryan J. Reilly, HuffPost

Against a Domestic Terrorism Law Alex Pareene, New Republic

Cities Say They Want to Defund the Police. Their Budgets Say Otherwise. Fola Akinnibi, Sarah Holder, and Christopher Cannon, Bloomberg  

What Public Safety Without Police Looks Like Jerry Iannelli and Joshua Vaughn, The Appeal

Biden, a longtime ally of police, will enter White House pushing for reform Mark Berman and Tom Jackman, Washington Post

Newark cops, with reform, didn’t fire a single shot in 2020 Tom Moran, Newark Star-Ledger

On the Frontlines of Gun Violence Prevention, Lessons Learned From a Harrowing Year Ann Givens, J. Brian Charles, Lakeidra Chavis, and Jennifer Mascia, The Trace

Jaywalking and the Dilemma of ‘Victimless’ Crimes Alan Ehrenhalt, Governing

Life After Lynching in “Ashes to Ashes” Rachel Riederer, The New Yorker

Thursday January 14, 2021

PM Stories

Trump’s Rush to Execute Prisoners Will Be One of His Administration’s Final Outrageous Acts Wesley Lowery, GQ

A $6,300 bus. A $33 last meal. What New Documents Tell Us About Trump’s Execution Spree Keri Blakinger and Maurice Chammah, The Marshall Project

Dustin Higgs, the Last Man to Be Executed in Terre Haute, Maintains His Innocence Liliana Segura, The Intercept

In Lisa Montgomery, formerly incarcerated women see echoes of their own stories: ‘She never had a chance to just live’ Anne Branigin, The Lily

Drug dealer convicted in 7 killings could face federal execution after COVID-19 delay Denise Lavoie, Chicago Tribune

Mistakes worsened deadly COVID-19 outbreak at LA federal prison, investigation finds Richard Winton, Los Angeles Times

Serial killer, respected guard and many others killed by COVID-19 surge in California prisons Richard Winton and Anita Chabria, Los Angeles Times

Why protecting prisons from COVID-19 is everyone’s problem Henry Gass, Christian Science Monitor

NJ prison with worst COVID-19 outbreak in the country set to get vaccine next week Joe Atmonavage, NJ Advance Media

Broncos players join fight to reduce prison population during pandemic Aimee Lewis, KDVR

Progressive Prosecutor Series: Progressive Prosecutor Kim Foxx Takes Action Towards Reform Anika Khubchandani and Danae Snell, Davis Vanguard

Illinois Lawmakers Pass ‘Transformational’ Criminal Justice Legislation In 11th Hour Of Lame Duck Session Patrick Smith, WBEZ

Illinois General Assembly approves sweeping criminal justice overhaul that would end cash bail, require cops to wear body cameras Dan Petrella, Chicago Tribune

Gov. Northam will introduce bill to end death penalty in Virginia Frank Green, Richmond Times-Dispatch

Ohio Will No Longer Sentence Kids to Life Without Parole Daniel Nichanian, The Appeal

AM Stories

Time for Consequences James Fallows, The Atlantic

Compiling the Criminal Charges Following the Capitol Riot Bryce Klehm and Rohini Kurup, Lawfare

Justice Dept. investigating sedition and conspiracy charges and any terror links to violent storming of US Capitol Spencer S. Hsu, Keith L. Alexander, and Shayna Jacobs, Washington Post

‘No Regrets’: A Capitol Rioter Tells His Story From Inside William Turton, Bloomberg

Who Dies for Donald Trump? Miranda Green, New York Magazine

FBI report warned of ‘war’ at Capitol, contradicting claims there was no indication of looming violence Devlin Barrett and Matt Zapotosky, Washington Post

Capitol Police Suspends Cops for Allegedly Siding With Pro-Trump Mob Matt Stieb, New York Magazine

LAPD Working To Identify Any Officers Who Attended DC Trump Rally or Siege City News Service

“We would have been shot”: Texas activists shaken by law enforcement reaction to Capitol siege Jolie McCullough, Texas Tribune

Seven shots. Point-blank range. No charges. Paul Butler, Washington Post

A broken record of injustice: Why no charges in Jacob Blake case just emboldens a police culture of abuse Reggie Jackson, Milwaukee Independent

'Constant breaking of your heart’: How Utah police respond to mental health crises Jessica Miller and Paighten Harkins, Salt Lake Tribune

Report Urges Reforms For LASD, Where ‘Deputy Gangs’ ‘Escalate Uses of Force’ City News Service

She Photographed Police Abuse at a 2014 BLM March Then Watched the Image Go Viral During Capitol Riot Lisa Larson-Walker, ProPublica

A Black Lives Matter mural keeps getting defaced. Its artist always returns Gustavo Arellano, Los Angeles Times

‘Most Black Film Isn’t Allowed to Be Ambiguous’: How Garrett Bradley’s Quiet Documentaries Found a Rapt Audience in the Art World Melissa Smith, ArtNet

Wednesday January 13, 2021

PM Stories

Lisa Montgomery becomes first woman executed by feds in 67 years Elizabeth DePompei, Johnny Magdaleno, and Justin L. Mack, Indianapolis Star

Dispatches From Trump’s Killing Spree Paul Abowd and Liliana Segura, The Intercept

Trump’s last days in office marred by disregard for human life. Death penalty just another example. Donald Ayer, Deborah Gonzalez, and Miriam Aroni Krinsky, USA Today

Trump Administration Says the Inconvenience of Rescheduling Executions Outweighs the “Harm” to Prisoners Set to Die Isaac Arnsdorf, ProPublica

2 Men On Death Row Say Having COVID-19 Will Increase Their Suffering During Execution Jessica Schulberg and Melissa Jeltsen, HuffPost

My Brother Was Condemned to Death – Then He Was Condemned to COVID-19 Yvette Allen, The Nation

Losing a Loved One Twice: First to Prison, Then to COVID Jacey Fortin, New York Times

More states need to use their “good time” systems to get people out of prison during COVID-19 Emily Widra and Wanda Bertram, Prison Policy Initiative

Jails and prisons were hit hard by COVID-19 and experts say they need to be prioritized for the vaccines Christina Maxouris, CNN

Kansas inmates will get the COVID-19 vaccine before most of the public. Here’s why Sydney Hoover, Kansas City Star

COVID-19 Vaccines Headed to Rikers Island and Other City Jails Reuven Blau, The City

Second chances: Why providing Pell Grants for prison inmates is a sound investment Gerard Robinson, USA Today

A second look at unjust prison terms Nazgol Ghandnoosh, Los Angeles Daily News

‘We Can Add Value to the World’: San Quentin Inmate Rahsaan Thomas on Why He’s Curating Art Shows Behind Bars Andrew Goldstein, ArtNet

Night Stalker: retracing the hunt for a killer in a disturbing Netflix series Adrian Horton, The Guardian

AM Stories

Experts Predict New Era of Extremist Violence After Assault on Capitol The Crime Report

Armed protests being planned at all 50 state capitols, FBI bulletin says Aaron Katersky and Celia Darrough, ABC News

House Democrats Briefed On 3 Terrifying Plots To Overthrow Government Matt Fuller, HuffPost

Domestic Terrorism: A More Urgent Threat, but Weaker Laws Sebastian Rotella, ProPublica

‘Conspiracy and Sedition… Are Definitely on the Table’ Politico

Justice Dept. Pursues at Least 150 Suspects in Capitol Riot Katie Benner and Adam Goldman, New York Times

Partners in Crime: The Siege on the Capitol, Police, and White Supremacy Jerry Iannelli, The Appeal

Behind the Strategic Failure of the Capitol Police Garrett M. Graff, Politico

2 Capitol Police officers suspended and at least 10 more under investigation for alleged roles in riot Peter Nickeas, Annie Grayer, and Ryan Nobles, CNN

Republican AGs Deny Backing DC Rally That Led to Riot Erik Larson, Bloomberg

‘In the thick of it’: Several GOP state lawmakers observed or joined assault on Capitol. One has been arrested Los Angeles Times

2 Seattle police officers being investigated for involvement in Capitol attack Rosa Sanchez, ABC News

NYPD Investigates Whether Officer Participated in Attack on Capitol Ben Chapman, Wall Street Journal

Why Are Journalists and Surveillance Researchers Helping the FBI to Catch Capitol Rioters? Jacob Silverman, New Republic

A small group of sleuths had been identifying right-wing extremists long before the attack on the Capitol Robert Klemko, Washington Post

Tuesday January 12, 2021

PM Stories

Biden helped usher in an era of mass incarceration. Can he now end it? Justin Jouvenal, Washington Post

Top 5 Criminal Justice Reforms Advocates Want Under Biden Sarah Martinson, Law360

Democrats Unveil Legislation To Abolish The Federal Death Penalty Juana Summers, NPR

A plea to acting Attorney General Rosen: Stop all of this week’s federal executions Jeffrey D. Sachs and Mario Marazziti, CNN

Trump’s Execution Spree Is Not About Him. It’s About Us. Liliana Segura, The Intercept

‘The Most Broken of the Broken’ Jackie Fielding, Brennan Center for Justice

When an IQ Score Is a Death Sentence Elizabeth Bruenig, New York Times

A federal judge has granted a stay of execution for the only woman on federal death row pending a competency hearing Christina Carrega, CNN

‘He Had Lost All Hope’: Inside A COVID Outbreak At A Saskatchewan Prison Samantha Beattie, HuffPost

COVID outbreak explodes at California Men’s Colony – nearly 1 in 3 inmates now has virus Matt Fountain, Sacramento Bee

Death row inmate designs garden installation by instructing university students through letters Gabriella Angeleti, Art Newspaper

Netflix’s ‘Night Stalker’ pays respect to the lives a killer took Richard Roeper, Chicago Sun-Times

Brittany K. Barnett’s ‘A Knock At Midnight’ Details Fighting Mass Incarceration Tess Terrible and Lucy Nalpathanchil, Connecticut Public Radio

The Memory War Katie Heaney, New York Magazine

AM Stories

‘Our President Wants Us Here’: The Mob That Stormed the Capitol Dan Barry, Mike McIntire, and Matthew Rosenberg, New York Times

A Palm Beach Proud Boy at the Putsch Jane Mayer, The New Yorker

Notable Arrests After the Riot at the Capitol Marie Fazio, New York Times

At least 25 people under investigation for terrorism in connection with Capitol riot Tom Vanden Brook, USA Today

Internet detectives are identifying scores of pro-Trump rioters at the Capitol. Some have already been fired. Jaclyn Peiser, Washington Post

The facial-recognition app Clearview sees a spike in use after Capitol attack. Kashmir Hill, New York Times

‘This was really big’: Far-right extremist groups use Capitol attack to recruit new members Will Carless, USA Today

Right-wing extremists vow to return to Washington for Joe Biden’s inauguration Anna Schecter, NBC News

The Gun Rights Rhetoric That Helped Seed the Insurrectionist Mindset Olivia Li, The Trace

Rioters breached the Capitol as they waved pro-police flags. Police support on the right may be eroding, experts warn. Marissa J. Lang and Peter Jamison, Washington Post

How Police Unions Responded to the Assault on the Capitol Samantha Michaels, Mother Jones

How Many Trump Sympathizers Are Lurking in Law Enforcement? Charles P. Pierce, Esquire

35 Times Capitol Police Arrested More Demonstrators Than the 14 Insurgents Arrested Wednesday Noah Lanard, Mother Jones

Arrested by Capitol Police at peaceful protests? You’re not alone. Beth Reinhard, Neena Satija, and Tara Bahrampour, Washington Post

White Entitlement, On Parade Jamil Smith, Rolling Stone

Monday January 11, 2021

PM Stories

Why America Loves the Death Penalty Josephine Livingstone, The New Republic

The Death Penalty and the Misleading Concept of ‘Closure’ Susan A. Bandes, The Crime Report

What Lisa Montgomery Has In Common With Many On Death Row: Extensive Trauma. Maurice Chammah and Keri Blakinger, The Marshall Project

The last time a woman was executed for a federal crime, a kidnapping riveted the nation Samantha Schmidt, Washington Post

This is the Last Man Due to Be Executed by the Trump Administration Kali Holloway, The Daily Beast

Amid pandemic and Trump’s final chaotic days, a Maryland man with COVID-19 fights his upcoming federal execution Jean Marbella, Baltimore Sun

Nine COVID Deaths, 1,000+ Infections In 3 Weeks: Will NY Do More To Stop The Spread In Prisons? Gwynne Hogan, WNYC

New York’s Prison Transfers Increased COVID-19 Risk for Sick, Elderly Men Alice Speri, The Intercept

2 die, nearly 400 inmates sickened after COVID-19 outbreak at Oregon prison Bryce Dole, East Oregonian

FL state prisons scrub key COVID data from website, obscuring magnitude of inmate deaths and infections Laura Cassels, Florida Phoenix

New DA Commits to Fixing Georgia’s ‘Backdoor to Incarceration’ Katie Jane Fernelius, The Appeal

Philly DA Larry Krasner is ready for his close-up, just in time for reelection Chris Brennan, Philadelphia Inquirer

New Night Stalker serial killer documentary on Netflix refocuses story on the cops and survivors Peter Larsen, Los Angeles Daily News

Penny dreadfuls were the true crime podcasts of their time Leslie McMurtry and Adam Fowler, Salon

The Art Angle Podcast: Can Art Help End the Era of Mass Incarceration? ArtNet News

AM Stories

It Was Supposed to Be So Much Worse Elaine Godfrey, The Atlantic

Ahead of Capitol Riot, Police Miscalculated Risk Aruna Viswanatha and Sadie Gurman, Wall Street Journal

‘The storm is here’: Ashli Babbitt’s journey from capital ‘guardian’ to invader Peter Jamison, Hannah Natanson, John Woodrow Cox, and Alex Horton, Washington Post

Police departments across the US open probes into whether their own members took part in the Capitol riot Kim Bellware, Washington Post

Capitol riots: The hunt to identify and arrest the rioters Tara McKelvey, BBC

Crowdsourcing the Charlottesville Investigation (2017) Maurice Chammah and Simone Weichselbaum, The Marshall Project

What Was the Point of Fortress DC? Brian McEntee, Slate

Body Camera Video Shows Fatal Shooting of Unarmed California Man by Police Concepción de León, New York Times

How Lawmakers Failed Jacob Blake Samantha Michaels, Mother Jones

Police chief’s past sows doubts in wake of Taylor’s death Dylan Lovan, AP News

California Board Recommends Routine Checks of Police Cell Phones, Computers and Social Media for Racist Content Zack Linly, The Root

No Excuses: Biden Can Help End Racist Police Violence – From Day 1 Elie Mystal, The Nation

Will Dems’ Senate Win Advance Criminal Justice Reform? The Crime Report

Crime Story Daily Highlights – Week 74

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

On the criminal justice policy front: A piece from the Washington Post highlights political battles across the country over vaccinating inmates against COVID-19. In crafting states’ coronavirus vaccination plans, public health officials have repeatedly emphasized the importance of neutralizing prisons and jails, which disproportionately hold people of color and have reported some of the most virulent outbreaks. In several states, including Washington and New Jersey, vaccinations in prisons and jails have already begun. But elsewhere, like in Colorado – where, last month, Gov. Jared Polis publicly backtracked on his own health department’s vaccination plan, which put incarcerated people in line for immunization ahead of the elderly and those with chronic conditions – the early vaccination of inmates has proved a tough political sell. The episode illustrates “how a system of preferences geared to stop the virus where it is most destructive may clash with other values in a nation that incarcerates more people than does any other.” A piece from the Texas Tribune centers on a “human experiment” in criminal jury trials. After months on hold due to the pandemic, jury trials have recently resumed in some Texas counties, posing serious health risks for those involved even as a backlog of cases continues to pile up that will take the state years to overcome. The Detroit News highlights good news for criminal justice reform in Michigan, where, earlier this week, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed into law a slate of bills lightening penalties for traffic violations and other non-violent offenses and decreasing mandatory time periods for probation and parole. And the Seattle Times reports from Washington, where the state Supreme Court will soon hear a case that could potentially free dozens of three-strikes prisoners. The first state in the nation to adopt such a law, Washington has been slower than many others in revisiting three strikes. Black people, representing about 4% of Washington’s population, account for nearly 40% of three-strikes prisoners sentenced in the state. A central question in the case at hand is whether “evolving standards of decency” warrant a retroactive application of new and less harsh sentencing laws. 

In muckraker/watchdog reporting: The New York Times reports that on Wednesday, the country looked on in shock as a pro-Trump protest in Washington, DC, spiraled into an unprecedented and protracted sacking of the Capitol. Americans watching on TV saw rioters, some armed, some waving Confederate flags, bursting through barricades, pepper-spraying Capitol police, smashing windows, and ransacking offices – without obvious consequence. Surreal images show Capitol Police struggling to contain the violence, cowering from rioters and sometimes simply retreating as the mob descended on the Capitol. Ultimately, it took more than two hours, and reinforcements from other law enforcement agencies, before order was restored. Pieces from the Daily Beast and the Washington Post highlight the failures of Capitol Police to adequately prepare for and effectively respond to the violence, which had been predicted months in advance. Police’s “kid glove treatment” of the white, pro-Trump mob was especially striking in contrast with the “strong-arm tactics" used against Black Lives Matter demonstrations earlier this year, many of which saw peaceful protesters brutalized by batons, rubber bullets, and tear gas. Pieces from Politico and New York Magazine highlight the racial contradictions of Trump’s “law and order” mantra; as Rep. Cori Bush, a veteran of BLM protests in Ferguson, Missouri, told MSNBC, “Had it been people who looked like me… we wouldn’t have made it up those steps.” And, in a piece for the New Republic, Melissa Gira Grant describes the scene at the Capitol not as an insurrection, but an “alliance”: “Again, we were reminded that the designation of a peaceful protest is one made by law enforcement and the state. There’s no question of keeping the peace, really, when there’s only one side.”

In complex crime storytelling: A piece from the New York Times offers an up-close, in-depth view on Wednesday’s riot at the Capitol. The mostly white, pro-Trump mob included infamous white nationalists and noted conspiracy theorists, but also state lawmakers, off-duty police officers, and hard-core supporters of the president, who had journeyed to DC from around the country to protest the certification of Biden’s win. The piece describes a “confused and frenzied energy” as the crowds breached the Capitol, a sense of “bewildered wonder” amplified by the almost complete lack of police presence. At one point, a small group looking for Sen. Chuck Schumer’s office found themselves lost; one man told the Times they “asked a Capitol Police officer, who tried to direct them. But they appeared to have gotten nowhere near the minority’s leader’s office. They ended up smoking a few cigarettes inside the building… and one of his friends, who would not give his name, joked that he had gone to the bathroom and not flushed.” And a piece from Mother Jones explores the strange, dark world of “challenge coins,” the “dirty currency” of the warrior cop. Official challenge coins – collectible, silver dollar-sized medallions, historically presented by military or law enforcement leaders to build camaraderie and morale within their units – tend to be shiny and inoffensive. But unofficial challenge coins often celebrate cops behaving badly, commemorating “blue flu” walkouts, officer-involved shootings, and the riot squads that responded to Black Lives Matter protests earlier this year. These coins embrace the “unpolished side of the ‘warrior cop’ ethos – the violence, racism, and impunity that have sparked our current reckoning with American police culture.”

In culture/true crime: “Scenes From an American Insurrection,” a photo story from The Atlantic, goes inside the chaos at the Capitol. Surreal images – rioters scaling the walls of the Capitol building; a Trump-hatted insurrectionist smiling and waving to the camera as he makes off with a lectern – capture this “American coup attempt, a scene unlike any other witnessed in recent US history.” IndyWeek highlights Decarcerate NC Now: Let Our People Go, a mini-documentary about the fight for decarceration in North Carolina. From Election Day to January 1 – the beginning of Gov. Roy Cooper’s second term – a small group of demonstrators camped out outside the Executive Mansion in Raleigh, standing in rain-or-shine solidarity with the more than 30,000 people, most of them Black, who are incarcerated inside state prisons. On December 17, the governor’s office announced pardons for five men, including Ronnie Long, who spent more than four decades behind bars for a crime he did not commit. The film documents the 58-day vigil, capturing the moments of celebration as Long learns the news: a “moving testament to the tireless fight for decarceration.” CBS News goes inside the story of how Curtis Flowers, a Black man from Mississippi who spent nearly half his life in prison after being tried six times for the same crime by the same prosecutor, was saved from death row. Today, Curtis Flowers is a free man, thanks largely to the investigative reporters behind the podcast “In the Dark.”  

Friday January 8, 2021

PM Stories

These Are the Rioters Who Stormed the Nation’s Capitol Sabrina Tavernise and Matthew Rosenberg, New York Times

Prosecutors ‘looking at all actors,’ including Trump, as charges are filed against Capitol rioters Evan Perez, Jeremy Herb, Katelyn Polantz, Kara Scannell, and Christina Carrega, CNN

Trump’s Role in Capitol Riot May Figure in Criminal Probe David Yaffe-Belany and Chris Dolmetsch, Bloomberg

Here’s How the Capitol Mob Violated Federal Criminal Law Bryce Klehm, Alan Z. Rozenshtein, and Jacob Schulz, Lawfare

Where were the police? Lawmakers vow investigation into preparedness, response after breach of Capitol. Matthew Daly, Chicago Tribune

The Impunity of White Insurrection Kellie Carter Jackson, The Atlantic

A Civilian’s Guide to Insurrection Legalese Eli Hager, Maurice Chammah, and Christie Thompson, The Marshall Project

A War Photographer Embeds With the Capitol Hill Mob Bob Moser, New Republic

After the Capitol Terror, Forget Those “Better Angels” Garrett Epps, Washington Monthly

Biden to name Judge Merrick Garland as attorney general Eric Tucker and Michael Balsamo, AP News

Biden’s Judicial Picks Should Include Lawyers Who Battled the Government in Court Damon Root, Reason

Police Chief Who Resigned After Fatal Shooting Will Lead Louisville Department Will Wright, New York Times

Louisville police officially fire 2 detectives for their roles in fatal shooting of Breonna Taylor Tessa Duvall and Darcy Costello, Louisville Courier Journal

Hidden in Bill Passed Over Trump’s Veto: Limits on Police Militarization Eli Hager and David Eads, The Marshall Project

AM Stories

End the silence about what COVID-19 is doing to America’s prisons Elizabeth Warren, Lauren Brinkley-Rubinstein, and Kathryn Nowotny, CNN

COVID-19 Active in Dozens of New York Prisons, With More Than 800 Active Cases Ryan Tarinelli, New York Law Journal

COVID-19 in New York prisons: ‘Positivity numbers represent a system on fire’ Christopher J. Eberhart, Rockland/Westchester Journal News

‘Absolute chaos and terrifying’: The coronavirus is running rampant through NJ prisons again Joe Atmonavage, NJ Advance Media

Florida’s Vaccination Plan Doesn’t Include Prison Populations Joshua Ceballos, Miami New Times

“Theater of Compliance”: New Report Details How ICE Escapes Detention Center Oversight Ryan Devereaux, The Intercept

One man’s in-custody death on New Year’s Day shines light on chronic problem Uriel J. Garcia, Arizona Republic

Ohio Juvenile Diversion Shows ‘Positive Results’ as Jail Alternative Andrea Cipriano, The Crime Report

2021 Marijuana Reform Must Not Exclude Justice-Involved People Maritza Perez and Deanna Hoskins, Filter Magazine

Legalized Marijuana in New York: This Could Be the Year Luis Ferré-Sadurní and Jesse McKinley, New York Times

Whitmer signs bills to curb license suspensions, dozens of criminal justice reforms Angie Jackson, Detroit Free Press

Progressive Prosecutor Series: Newly-Elected Austin DA José Garza Reimagines Criminal Justice System Tiffany Devlin and Koda Slingluff, Davis Vanguard

How Curtis Flowers, tried six times for the same crime, was saved from death row Sharyn Alfonsi, CBS News

A New Mini-Doc Is a Moving Testament to the Fight for Decarceration in North Carolina Sarah Edwards, IndyWeek

The Jane Doe Murders Review: Compassionate True Crime Doc Provides Closure Tony Sokol, Den of Geek

Thursday January 7, 2021

PM Stories

Mob Rule in the Capitol Evan Osnos, The New Yorker

This Isn’t an Insurrection. It’s an Alliance. Melissa Gira Grant, New Republic

Hundreds of Trump supporters stormed the Capitol – but few have been arrested so far Nicole Narea, Vox

Capitol Breach Draws Sharp Condemnation of Law Enforcement Shaila Dewan, Neil MacFarquhar, and John Eligon, New York Times

‘Piss-Poor Planning’: How Police Bungled the Capitol Riot Justin Rohrlich and Michael Daly, Daily Beast

Kid glove treatment of pro-Trump mob contrasts with strong-arm police tactics against Black Lives Matter, activists say Robert Klemko, Kimberly Kindy, Kim Bellware, and Derek Hawkins, Washington Post

Photos show difference in how police responded to anti-racism protests and the siege at the US Capitol Li Cohen, CBS News

The racial contradictions of Trump’s ‘law and order’ mantra Sabrina Rodriguez, Maya King, and Nolan D. McCaskill, Politico

Where Is the ‘Law and Order’ Now? Claire Lampen, New York Magazine

For Trump, There Is No Policing Without Violence Jay Willis, The Appeal

Scenes From an American Insurrection The Atlantic

Trump supporters clash with counter-protesters and police in LA County as deadly violence erupts in Washington Erin B. Logan, Kevin Rector, James Queally, Faith E. Pinho, Anita Chabria, and Matthew Ormseth, Los Angeles Times

Our Long, Forgotten History of Election-Related Violence Jelani Cobb, The New Yorker

‘Guns are a way to exercise power’: how the idea of overthrowing the government became mainstream Lois Beckett, The Guardian

The Plot To Storm The Capitol Was Brewing For Days In Pro-Trump Online Media Jesselyn Cook, HuffPost

Gun Sales Surged in 2020. So Did Gun Violence. Matt Cohen, Mother Jones

AM Stories

Jacob Blake Shooting: No Charges Against Officer in Kenosha, Wisconsin Robert Chiarito, Julie Bosman, and John Eligon, New York Times

No charges in Jacob Blake shooting; decision ‘further destroys trust in our justice system,’ family attorney says Manny Ramos and Clare Proctor, Chicago Sun-Times

Kyle Rittenhouse pleads not guilty to seven charges stemming from Kenosha killings Bruce Vielmetti, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

“Nobody” Hurt, “Just a Perp,” Say Officers After NYPD Shot and Killed Man in His Own Home Eric Umansky, ProPublica

Police chief “can’t defend” bodycam video showing officers’ delay in aiding Andre Hill after shooting Zoe Christen Jones, CBS News

Orange sheriff to release body cam within months after shootings by deputies Grace Toohey, Orlando Sentinel

There Were 1,000 Fatal Police Shootings in 2020. But the Big Picture on Officer Gun Violence Remains Murky. Tom Kutsch, The Trace

Those Who Did Not Die Patrick Smith, WBEZ

Police reform advocates press Minnesota Legislature to take further action Zoë Jackson, Minneapolis Star Tribune

Police Shouldn’t Tag Students as Potential Criminals Priyam Madhukar, Brennan Center for Justice

California considers requiring police recruits to finish college or setting minimum age of 25 Alexei Koseff, San Francisco Chronicle

Federal appeals court says Massachusetts citizens can secretly make audio recordings of on-duty police in public spaces Nick Stoico and John R. Ellement, Boston Globe

Wyoming’s first Black sheriff takes office in troubled times Joel Funk, WyoFile