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Hannah Teich | Crime Story Daily Editor

Kary Antholis | Editor/Publisher

Paul Butler | Consulting Editor

CRIME STORY DAILY

Crime Story Daily Highlights – Week 91

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

On the criminal justice policy front: A piece from the Atlantic centers on Larry Krasner and the race for Philadelphia DA. In 2017, Democrats in Philadelphia gave the national movement for criminal-justice reform “one of its biggest victories” by electing Krasner, a longtime civil-rights attorney who campaigned on policies that would reduce mass incarceration. He quickly moved to deliver on his promises, firing more than 30 veteran prosecutors, scrapping bail for a host of minor crimes, and all but ending the prosecution of juveniles as adults. By the start of the pandemic last year, the city’s jail population had dropped by more than 30%, to its lowest level since 1985. But now, Krasner is running for reelection at a very different political moment. In early 2017, gun violence and homicides were relatively stable. The year before Krasner took office, 315 murders occurred in Philadelphia; last year, there were 499 – the most in over three decades. Krasner’s challenger is one of the prosecutors he fired, Carlos Vega, a Democrat backed by the city’s police union who is “accusing the DA of sacrificing public safety in his pursuit of reform.” The primary, on May 18, will “test the durability of progressive prosecution in a city that until recently has chosen leaders who have championed a punitive approach to combatting crime.” And the Appeal reports from California, where, last month, Rob Bonta was confirmed as state attorney general, becoming the second Asian-American (after Kamala Harris) to occupy the role. Bonta’s record – since 2012, he has served as a state legislator representing a district in the East Bay – has earned him a reputation as a “champion of criminal justice reform.” Over the past nine years, he has authored or sponsored bills to ban private prisons, end felony murder prosecutions, and mandate that DAs recuse themselves from investigations into police misconduct if they have accepted money from police officers’ unions. But “meaningfully advancing the legacy and promise of activism from the vantage point of the attorney general’s office will be a far greater challenge”:  the state DOJ will “almost certainly be recalcitrant to change, and Bonta could fall prey to the same forces that stayed his predecessors’ hands from the bold action required to end mass incarceration and transform current systems of policing in California.” Ultimately, Rob Bonta’s career has “hinged on the idea that the law can be used to engender social justice”; his elevation to California’s “top cop” position, where he will become responsible for the vast bureaucracy of the state’s criminal legal system, “will be a crucible for that belief.”

In muckraker/watchdog reporting: The Washington Post reports from Elizabeth City, NC, where the fatal police shooting of Andrew Brown Jr. last month has “aggravated racial tensions simmering below the surface.” Until April 21, many Elizabeth City residents – most of whom, along with the city’s mayor, manager, and police chief, are Black – thought of police violence as something that happened elsewhere. But Brown’s death, and the decision not to release the full body-camera footage of the incident, have “awakened a deep sense of suspicion and mistrust in a community that had thought it might be insulated.” In the wake of Brown’s killing, a piece from the New York Times surveys the ongoing debate over police body cameras. As body-worn cameras have become more commonplace, and as public pressure on officials to take police accountability more seriously has mounted, so too have demands to quickly release the footage of violent or fatal encounters between law enforcement officers and civilians. When “a video can mean the difference between drawing attention or dying in obscurity,” the question of timing has become an “important and unsettled new frontier of policymaking.” The Los Angeles Times reports from California, where, despite weeks of street protests over the killing of George Floyd and the state’s reputation for progressive politics, police reform legislation is struggling – including a plan common in other states to oust bad cops. Across the nation, 46 states have rules preventing abusive officers from “jumping jobs”: furthering their careers by switching agencies even after they’ve committed serious misconduct or been fired. California is not one of them – but a proposed law to change that is now facing unexpectedly fierce opposition at the Capitol. And a piece from Vox outlines “how 70 years of cop shows taught us to valorize the police.” Today, the “heroic police officer” is one of our culture’s “default protagonists”; our screens are filled with depictions of heroic cop after heroic cop. This wasn’t always the case: in 1910, the International Association of Chiefs of Police was moved to adopt a resolution condemning the movie business for its depictions of police. The movies, the IACP complained, made crime look “fun and glamorous,” while the police were “sometimes made to appear ridiculous.” Indeed, throughout the first half of the 20th century, popular culture treated police officers as punchlines, “inept buffoons to be mocked, and, well, ridiculed.” The piece traces the rise of the “hero cop” trope over the subsequent decades, exploring the origins of the modern police procedural as a vast pro-law-enforcement propaganda machine.

In complex crime storytelling: A piece from Atavist Magazine centers on Adolfo Davis, the “invisible kid.” In 1993, at the age of 16, Davis was convicted in adult court in Illinois as an accomplice to a double murder. He claimed that he was there when the killings happened, but that he didn’t pull the trigger; nonetheless, he was given a mandatory sentence of life without parole. For decades, Davis fought a lonely battle behind bars for his freedom, and was finally released last year under a plea deal enabled by changes in juvenile sentencing laws. Now, after nearly 30 years in prison, Davis is back home, struggling to find his footing in a dangerous and almost unrecognizably different world. A piece from Smithsonian Magazine looks back to 1722, when the murder of a Native hunter shook colonial America and spurred some of the country’s earliest experiments with alternative visions of justice. When a Susquehannock hunter was killed by a pair of traders in colonial Pennsylvania, colonial officials promised to extract “the full measure of English justice”; they set about apprehending the perpetrators, organizing for a trial and ultimately for punishment, “imagining this to be the height of respect and proper procedure.” But this English-style process was not what Indigenous communities wanted or expected: rather, they advocated for, and ultimately won, “a process of acknowledgment, restitution and then reconciliation.” And a piece from GQ recounts the “made-for-Hollywood” story of the House of Gucci. In the early ‘80s, Maurizio Gucci – grandson of the brand’s flamboyantly named founder, Guccio Gucci – inherited his father’s majority stake in the company and launched an all-out legal war against his own uncle for full control. Maurizio had plans to make Gucci “the most modern luxury business in the world”; instead, his plotting ended with him losing the whole company. Then, in 1995, Maurizio was assassinated, gunned down in broad daylight as he entered his post-Gucci office in Milan. And it appeared that his ex-wife, Patrizia Reggiani – a “beautiful if ostentatious Elizabeth Taylor lookalike” – had ordered the hit. “I think this was a story where life is stranger than fiction,” says Sara Gay Forden, whose 2001 book about the case, The House of Gucci, is set for a buzzy big-screen adaptation starring Lady Gaga as Patrizia.  

In culture/true crime: The New Yorker reviews On Mother’s Day, a short documentary by Chinese-American filmmaker Ellie Wen. In 2018, as an MFA student, Wen learned of Mama’s Day Bail Out, an annual campaign organized by the National Bail Out Collective, which focuses on pretrial-detention reform. The collective connected Wen with Anita Williams, an Oakland-based activist whose son, Carey, is serving a 66-year prison sentence. Their relationship, and Anita’s decades-long fight to free her son, became the focus of On Mother’s Day, an intimate window onto the enduring bond between parent and child and the ties that persist through the separation of incarceration. The New York Times Magazine highlights photographer Deana Lawson. Lawson, the first photographer to win the Guggenheim Museum’s prestigious Hugo Boss Prize, is at the forefront of a larger movement of Black artists who are “putting together new ways of seeing and presenting Black people.” In her searingly intimate, nostalgia-tinged portraits of strangers, their families, and the domestic spaces they inhabit, Lawson finds “glamour in the quotidian, establishing it as already beautiful, already enough.” Her “regal, loving, unburdened photographs imagine a world in which Black people are free from the distortions of history,” free to be simply as they are. And Variety reviews The Crime of the Century, a new HBO documentary from director Alex Gibney. The film centers on America’s opioid epidemic, exploring the “origins, extent, and fallout of one of the most devastating public health tragedies of our time.” Through interviews, leaked documents, and access to behind-the-scenes investigations, Gibney makes the case that “the opioid crisis is more than a human tragedy that has claimed half a million lives… It’s part of what America has become.”

Friday May 7, 2021

PM Stories

They Are Terminally Ill. States Want To Execute Them Anyway. Maurice Chammah and Keri Blakinger, The Marshall Project

SC Death Row Prisoners Will Soon Have to Choose Between Firing Squad or Electrocution Peter Wade, Rolling Stone

4 Years After an Execution, a Different Man’s DNA Is Found on the Murder Weapon Heather Murphy, New York Times

Granted Parole or Awaiting Trial, Inmates Died of COVID-19 Behind Bars Rebecca Griesbach and Libby Seline, New York Times

COVID-19 concerns sent thousands of inmates home. Give clemency to those who deserve it. Alice Marie Johnson and Ja’Ron Smith, USA Today

Biden administration needs to walk the walk on second chances for prisoners Erica Zunkel and James Ziegler, USA Today

Criminal Disenfranchisement Laws Across the United States Brennan Center for Justice

New bill could open doors of employment for people with criminal records Abigail Jones, WGNO

Philadelphia’s District Attorney Must Continue the Work to End Mass Supervision Nikki Trautman Baszynski, The Appeal

Cuomo signs law to restore voting rights to parolees immediately after prison release Adam Brewster, CBS News

‘Justice Was Not Done’ Says Suffolk County Judge, Erasing Sean Ellis’ Criminal Convictions Phillip Martin, WGBH

Wrongly Convicted Of Murder, Juan Rivera Uses Settlement Money To Open Barber College With His Former Prison Guard In Rogers Park Joe Ward, Block Club Chicago

A Marriage That Started With a Search for Justice Jenny Block, New York Times

The Made-for-Hollywood Story Behind Lady Gaga’s Gucci Movie Rachel Tashjian, GQ

AM Stories

President Biden’s promises on policing reform: What the administration has accomplished Chelsey Cox, USA Today

Pattern-or-Practice Investigations and Police Reform Jacob Schulz and Tia Sewell, Lawfare

After the death of George Floyd, lawmakers in Md., Va. and DC set out to hold police more accountable. Here are some key measures. Ovetta Wiggins, Peter Hermann, and Tom Jackman, Washington Post

Impelled By Tragedy, Police Reform Advocates Make Meaningful, If Uneven, Progress Across Region Robyn Vincent, Wyoming Public Media

New Mexico has the second-highest fatal police shooting rate in US – is it ready to change? John Acosta, The Guardian

Failure To Disclose Darwin BondGraham and Ali Winston, The Appeal

Fired Atlanta police officer who shot Rayshard Brooks reinstated Christian Boone, Atlanta Journal-Constitution

‘We’re terrorized’: LA sheriffs frequently harass families of people they kill, says report Sam Levin, The Guardian

The Greatest Threat To Defunding The Police? State Pre-emption. John Pfaff, The Appeal

George Floyd protests trigger wave of GOP ‘anti-riot’ laws Devin Dwyer, ABC News

Many states are pushing through more permissive gun laws The Economist

These ‘Gun Sanctuary States’ Want to Destroy Biden’s Gun Control Plans Tess Owen, Vice

Startling surge in LA bloodshed as COVID-19 fades: ‘Too many guns in too many hands’ Kevin Rector, Los Angeles Times

Trolled James D. Walsh, New York Magazine

Thursday May 6, 2021

PM Stories

Biden Administration Set to Tackle Clemency Backlog Andrea Cipriano, The Crime Report

As virus cases fall, Maryland tries to dig out of backlogged jury trials Dan Morse, Washington Post

Order On The Dance Floor: Mass. Courts Bring Jury Trials To Ballrooms Due To COVID Deborah Becker, WBUR

How Should COVID Affect A Prisoner’s Release Or Sentence? In Mass., Courts To Weigh In Joe Mathieu and Daniel Medwed, WGBH

Federal prisoners on home confinement due to COVID-19 may be sent back behind bars NBC News

‘People Evolve’: Why DA Gascón Reversed Decades of Parole Policy To Support Release In Most Cases Frank Stoltze, LAist

National bail fund to expand in the Deep South Aaron Morrison, AP News

Jail incarceration rates vary widely, but inexplicably, across US cities Tiana Herring, Prison Policy Initiative

Supreme Court skeptical of applying Trump-era criminal justice law retroactively for small drug offenses John Fritze, USA Today

Four years after a man’s execution, lawyers say DNA from the murder weapon points to someone else Hannah Knowles, Washington Post

Lawyers say Philly cops coerced a man to confess to murder. He’s cleared after 10 years. Samantha Melamed, Philadelphia Inquirer

DA’s Conviction Integrity Unit gains exoneration in 2010 murder case Peter Crimmins, WHYY

“The Sons of Sam,” Reviewed: A Netflix Docuseries Confronts a True-Crime Legend Richard Brody, The New Yorker

‘The Crime of the Century’ Review: Alex Gibney’s Shattering HBO Documentary Drills Deep into the Opioid Crisis Owen Gleiberman, Variety

AM Stories

‘Here We Are Again’: Police Killings Loom Over Andrew Brown Funeral Will Wright, New York Times

Family Members And Civil Rights Leaders Mourned Andrew Brown And Called For Justice At His Funeral Julia Reinstein, BuzzFeed News

Families Of Those Killed By Wisconsin Police Officers Hope Body Camera Footage Brings Justice Corrinne Hess, Wisconsin Public Radio

Americans want police to release body-cam footage. But there’s a bigger worry. Daniel E. Bromberg and Étienne Charbonneau, Washington Post

Truth, Lies and Police Lineups Stephen Handelman, The Crime Report

22 NYPD Officers Were Convicted Of Dishonesty, Corruption, And Other Misconduct. Should Convictions They Helped Secure Stand? George Joseph, Gothamist

Limiting police officers’ qualified immunity isn’t the only change needed to achieve real police reform Christy E. Lopez, Washington Post

How Mayors Can End The Cycle Of Police Violence Anand Subramanian, The Appeal

The Feds Are Investigating Local Police Departments Again. Here’s What to Expect. Matt Vasilogambros, Stateline

Justice for Bijan Ghaisar has been delayed – but not yet denied Editorial Board, Washington Post

How 70 years of cop shows taught us to valorize the police Constance Grady, Vox

The Artist Upending Photography’s Brutal Racial Legacy Jenna Wortham, New York Times Magazine

‘Pass Over,’ About Black Men Trapped by Dread, Heads to Broadway Michael Paulson, New York Times

Wednesday May 5, 2021

PM Stories

Biden Falls Short On Criminal Justice Reform In First 100 Days Sarah Martinson, Law360

Biden Hedges on His Promise To Free Pot Prisoners Jacob Sullum, Reason

Biden administration needs to walk the walk on second chances for prisoners Erica Zunkel and James Ziegler, USA Today

The Case For Moving Beyond Probation, And How To Do It Fiona Doherty, The Appeal

Examining the Math and Ethics of COVID-19 in Prisons Dashiell Young-Saver, New York Times

Inmates sent home during COVID-19 got jobs, started school. Now, they face possible return to prison Kristine Phillips, USA Today

A Year of Disaster at Old Colony: Suicide Attempts, Self-Harm, and COVID Jean Trounstine, DigBoston

After More Than A Year Of 23-Hour Lockdown, DC Jail Shortens Confinement To 22 Hours A Day Colleen Grablick and Ally Schweitzer, DCist

76,000 California prison inmates could be released earlier with good behavior Don Thompson, Los Angeles Times

Brutalized in prison and freed by Bryan Stevenson, a survivor writes his story Stuart Miller, Los Angeles Times

A Son’s Note from Prison: “Your Love Is a Verb” Sumit Poudyal, The New Yorker

New monument in N. Philly honors women helping others survive long Pa. prison sentences Ximena Conde, WHYY

An Artist Who Built His Audience by the Side of the Road Hilarie M. Sheets, New York Times

AM Stories

A majority of voters see an urgent need for police reform following the Chauvin verdict Li Zhou, Vox

‘Treated with particular cruelty’: Minnesota attorney general requests severe sentence for Derek Chauvin in George Floyd killing Michael James, USA Today

Can Compromise on Qualified Immunity Overcome Hurdles on George Floyd Act? The Crime Report

Minnesota Legislature struggles for compromise on policing Steve Karnowski and Mohamed Ibrahim, Washington Post

Use-of-force cases prompt state debates over officer records Colleen Slevin, AP News

Police fired 24 shots at a handcuffed man. Why didn’t they turn on their body cameras? David Paredes, Vicky Nguyen, and Rich Schapiro, NBC News

How NYPD’s Vice Unit Got Prostitution Policing All Wrong Stephen Engelberg, ProPublica

‘The Fight Has To Change’: Why Ferguson Activists Ditched Police Reform Rebecca Rivas, St. Louis Public Radio

LeBron James doesn’t need coffee with the LAPD. Police need to stop killing people. Dave Zirin, MSNBC

On gun control, police shootings and living out ‘Groundhog Day’ Frances Coleman, AL.com

How the ATF, Key to Biden’s Gun Plan, Became an NRA ‘Whipping Boy’ Glenn Thrush, Danny Hakim, and Mike McIntire, New York Times

Barrett and Gorsuch Have to Choose Between Originalism and Expanding Gun Rights Saul Cornell, Slate

‘Trauma makes its way back to you’: Four US journalists on covering mass shootings Lucy Westcott, Committee to Protect Journalists

Tuesday May 4, 2021

PM Stories

COVID Was Supposed to Cut Jail Time. Not for Those Awaiting Trial. Camille Squires, Bloomberg CityLab

Many So-Called “Alternatives” to Mass Incarceration Are 21st-Century Shackles Vincent Schiraldi, James Kilgore, and Victoria Law, Truthout

New York Parole System Called ‘Reincarceration Machine’ The Crime Report

Minnesota’s criminal justice fees often fall hardest on poor Jessie Van Berkel, Minneapolis Star Tribune

Youth Justice System Punishes Poverty: Study Andrea Cipriano, The Crime Report

Invisible Kid Maddy Crowell, Atavist Magazine

North Carolina courts sentence some juveniles to life behind bars. Should that change? Some legislators think so. Hannah Critchfield, North Carolina Health News

What a Colorado bill to change policing and lower jail populations really says Alex Burness, Denver Post

California’s New Attorney General Has A Reputation As A Criminal Justice Reformer. But His Biggest Test Is Yet To Come Piper French, The Appeal

Can Baltimore end the War on Drugs? With move to decriminalize, Marilyn Mosby leads way while going out on a limb Justin Fenton, Baltimore Sun

Marijuana social equity: Seeds planted but will they grow? Thomas Peipert and Michael R. Blood, AP News

Aiming for equity, DC may reserve some medical cannabis licenses for ex-inmates with drug convictions Michael Brice-Saddler, Washington Post

To Solve 3 Cold Cases, This Small County Got a DNA Crash Course Virginia Hughes, New York Times

Crime, the Myth Emile DeWeaver, Brennan Center for Justice

AM Stories

Black residents of Elizabeth City, NC, thought police violence happened in other places. Then it came to their town. Gregory S. Schneider, Washington Post

Andrew Brown Jr.’s relative disputes official account of the fatal police shooting Mallika Kallingal, Jason Carroll, and Laura Dolan, CNN

Body-camera footage of NC deputies fatally shooting Black man will not be released to the public, judge rules Timothy Bella and Meryl Kornfield, Washington Post

As Body Cameras Become Commonplace, a Debate Over When to Release the Footage Richard Fausset and Giulia McDonnell Nieto del Rio, New York Times

Why Body Cameras Can Still Fail to Hold Police Accountable Nathalie Baptiste, Mother Jones

There’s no national use-of-force policy, and that’s trouble for police reform, experts say Del Quentin Wilber and Kevin Rector, Los Angeles Times

Most states have a system for ousting bad cops. In California, legislation is struggling Anita Chabria, Los Angeles Times

‘She doesn’t want the drama’: anger as Chicago mayor comes up short on police reform Gloria Oladipo, The Guardian

Tim Scott ‘hopeful’ deal can be reached with Democrats on US policing reform Richard Luscombe, The Guardian

Justice Dept. probes of local police prompt hopes for reform, fears of delays David Nakamura, Washington Post

In Minneapolis, healing after Chauvin conviction, ‘I hope that the world is watching us’ Suzette Hackney, USA Today

The most important trial of police officers for killing a Black man has not yet happened Paul Butler, Washington Post

How An Ex Convict Became Involved With Police Reform NPR

An Artist on How He Survived the Chain Gang Winfred Rembert, The New Yorker

Monday May 3, 2021

PM Stories

We Still Don’t Know Who the Coronavirus’s Victims Were Ibram X. Kendi, The Atlantic

The Biden Administration Should Not Send Thousands of People Back to Prison Nikki Trautman Baszynski, The Appeal

Biden administration needs to walk the walk on second chances for prisoners Erica Zunkel and James Zeigler, USA Today

My Child Is Incarcerated. One Second in This Unjust System Is Too Much. Esther Hernández, Truthout

76,000 California inmates now eligible for earlier releases Don Thompson, ABC News

How Pittsburgh Activists Are Seizing a Rare Chance To Reshape Courts Sam Mellins, The Appeal

Why Larry Krasner’s Defeat Would be ‘Disastrous’ for Criminal-Justice Reform Russell Berman, The Atlantic

Probe of DC crime lab could ‘blow up’ criminal justice system Jack Moore, WTOP

Suffolk DA kicks off effort to drop tens of thousands of convictions tied to tainted state drug lab Maggie Mulvihill, Boston Globe

He wasn’t old enough to vote but got a life sentence for murder; Baltimore prosecutors and judge decided it’s time to set him free Tim Prudente, Baltimore Sun

A 1722 Murder Spurred Native Americans’ Pleas for Justice in Early America Karin Wulf, Smithsonian Magazine

Flipping the script in true-crime series ‘The Staircase’ Matthew Gilbert, Boston Globe

Netflix’s ‘The Sons of Sam’ Depicts the Dangers of Our True Crime Obsession Brenna Ehrlich, Rolling Stone

AM Stories

George Floyd’s killer has been convicted, but police brutality goes on Editorial Board, Washington Post

What Good Is a Posthumous Pardon for George Floyd? Michael Hall, Texas Monthly

‘Floyd was my man. But George Floyd is a movement’ Robert Samuels, Washington Post

I’m Angry That I’m Grateful That My Brother Survived a Traffic Stop Shana L. Redmond, Mother Jones

North Carolina sheriff identifies deputies involved in Andrew Brown Jr. shooting, returns 4 to duty David K. Li, NBC News

Police are fueling outrage over Andrew Brown Jr.’s death by withholding information, experts say Joel Shannon, USA Today

Video shows Chicago police killing Anthony Alvarez as he runs away: ‘Why are you shooting me?’ Hannah Knowles, Washington Post

Video of fatal shooting of Anthony Alvarez by Chicago police is released; department leaders promise new foot-chase policy Jeremy Gorner, Annie Sweeney, Megan Crepeau, and Gregory Pratt, Chicago Tribune

Cincinnati’s Upcoming Mayoral Race is ‘Make or Break’ for Policing and Housing Elizabeth Weill-Greenberg, The Appeal

Face of GOP’s ‘future’ steps up police reform talks with Dems Nicholas Wu, Sarah Ferris, and Laura Barrón-López, Politico

‘One Slip of the Tongue Could Ruin Things’: Bipartisan Talks on Police Reform Advance – Delicately Abby Vesoulis, Time

President Biden is listening to communities on violence prevention. Congress should, too. Fatimah Loren Dreier and David Muhammad, Washington Post

Why gun control efforts should go beyond mass shootings, advocates say Marlene Lenthang, ABC News

The gun-control effort that almost stopped our addiction to ‘weapons of war’ Andrew C. McKevitt, Washington Post

Crime Story Daily Highlights – Week 90

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

On the criminal justice policy front: The New York Times reports that last week, in a 6-3 ruling, the Supreme Court rejected limits on life-in-prison terms for youth, reversing more than a decade of progress towards leniency for juvenile offenders. Over the past 16 years, the court, often led by Justice Anthony Kennedy, “methodically limited the availability of the harshest penalties for crimes committed by juveniles, first by striking down the juvenile death penalty and then by restricting sentences of life without the possibility of parole.” But Justice Kennedy retired in 2018, and the court, now dominated by six conservative members, “does not seem to have enthusiasm for continuing his project.” The ruling drew a caustic dissent from Justice Sonia Sotomayor, who accused the majority of “gutting” major precedents. But the Marshall Project reports that the reality may be more complicated: life without parole sentences for youth are concentrated in a minority of states and counties, and most states will likely continue to restrict them. But in states where judges do sentence teens to life without parole, experts predict that last week’s ruling will only widen existing disparities of race and geography. Judges who wanted to issue life without parole sentences were “waiting for permission to do what they want to do anyway,” said Ashley Nellis, a research analyst with the nonprofit Sentencing Project. “And now they have it.” And Mic interviews Tahanie Aboushi, one of eight candidates for Manhattan DA. Decarceration is central to Aboushi’s campaign: in a recent statement, she announced that under her administration, “the Manhattan DA’s Office will decline as many cases as possible, including charges resulting from poverty, mental illness, or substance use.” Aboushi’s aim to transform the DA office comes from her own experiences. Born into a Palestinian immigrant family, Aboushi says she “lived through the damage and destruction that this system can cause”: when Aboushi was 14, her father was sentenced to 22 years in prison, leaving her mother a single parent to their 10 kids. "I have dedicated my career to balancing the scales of justice," Aboushi says, "because it's personal to me."

In muckraker/watchdog reporting: A piece from Slate centers on the fatal police shooting of Andrew Brown Jr. in North Carolina last week. Last Wednesday, Brown, an unarmed 42-year-old Black man, was shot and killed while apparently driving away from sheriff’s deputies who were trying to execute a drug-related search and arrest warrant. Now, law enforcement and elected officials in the town of Elizabeth City, NC, are following a familiar playbook for police departments that face calls for reform following high-profile killings of civilians: “close ranks, delay information, and then, when the release of damaging information is imminent, preemptively attempt to shut down community protests.” A piece from NBC News asks, “How many people can a police officer kill before they’re held accountable?”. Research has shown that most police officers never fire their weapons; but in other cases, officers have killed multiple civilians before facing consequences. In a review of records from eight law enforcement agencies across the US with higher-than-average rates of police killings, NBC identified more than 150 officers who fired weapons in two or more intentional shootings. The data show that in three cities – Mesa, AZ; Stockton, CA; and Spokane, WA – these officers were linked to more than half of police shootings between 2008 and 2018. Very rarely did these shootings result in criminal charges for the officers involved. A piece from the Washington Post highlights the challenge of “asking civilians to check police powers.” Across the US, more than 160 counties and municipalities have implemented some form of civilian oversight through review boards, inspectors general, and independent monitors. The issue has gained new traction as part of a push to overhaul policing in the United States following the killings of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd last year. Those high-profile deaths, however, also reveal the limits of civilian oversight: In Louisville, the civilian board had no standing to investigate Taylor’s death; and in Minneapolis, civilian oversight entities had fielded 12 complaints of alleged misconduct about former officer Derek Chauvin before he killed George Floyd. A Post examination of civilian review boards shows how even “well-meaning reform attempts often end in failure and frustration”: across the country, civilian oversight has often been limited by design or even banned, with police executives and union officials fighting such efforts at every turn. The New Yorker reports from NYC, where, for generations, mayors have pledged to promote a “healthier partnership” between the city’s police and communities of color. And for decades, those partnerships have mostly failed – usually because the NYPD doesn’t hold up its end of the bargain. The problem, according to high-level officials, is that they “chose the wrong people for the right job.” And the New Republic reports from Florida, where, earlier this week, Republican state legislators enacted a sweeping “anti-riot” law. Among the many provisions contained in the so-called “Combatting Public Disorder Bill,” one in particular has received a fair amount of national attention, as it “seems to give Floridians permission to attack protesters with their cars.” While the law doesn’t exactly make it legal to run someone over, it does shield drivers from civil liability if they injure or kill protesters on Florida roads. Five other states have introduced similar bills this year, granting some form of immunity to people running into demonstrators. The piece outlines the twisted evolution of “the right to crash cars into people”: how the car “(or police cruiser, or truck, or SUV) has been enshrined into law as an instrument of state-sanctioned violence.”

In complex crime storytelling: A piece from the New York Times Magazine centers on “the tragedy of Harry Uzoka.” By 2018, 25-year-old Nigerian-British fashion model Harry Uzoka had become a “shining star.” “One of Britain’s most adored male models,” he had walked in London Fashion Week, appeared in magazines and on billboards around the world, paving his own path to success in an industry from which Black men like him had long been excluded. But Uzoka’s rise to stardom met an abrupt and tragic end: on a clear winter night in 2018, Uzoka was killed during a violent confrontation with another rising Black male model. In the wake of Uzoka’s death, his family, friends, and much of the fashion industry have been left shocked and devastated, questioning the motives behind this senseless crime – and whether Uzoka’s murder might have been prevented. A piece from GQ goes behind the bars of the Réau penitentiary, a notorious maximum-security prison on the outskirts of Paris, with master criminal Rédoine Faïd, “the world’s greatest jailbreak artist.” Faïd first rose to prominence in the 1990s, as the architect of a “flurry of dazzling heists and blockbuster robberies” that targeted banks, jewelry stores, and armored cars. He became more infamous still in 2013, when he used smuggled explosives to blast out of the prison where he’d been serving time. An obsessive cinephile, Faïd “envisioned himself from a young age as the protagonist of his own movie”; his greatest crimes were laced with tributes: to Point Break, Heat, and Reservoir Dogs. Even now, from Réau's isolation ward, Faïd “sees no reason why he can't escape the truth of his past by authoring a different kind of movie for his future.” And a piece from Outside Magazine tackles the case of Paul Fugate, the “ranger who was lost and never found.” Around 2 PM on the afternoon of January 13, 1980, Paul – a naturalist at southeastern Arizona’s Chiricahua National Monument – left the visitor center where he worked, announcing that he was “going to do a trail.” He was never seen again. More than four decades later, Paul remains the only Park Service ranger ever to go missing and never be accounted for; his unsolved disappearance has “haunted everyone it’s touched,” from his wife, Dody, to the investigators still holding out hope he might be found.

In culture/true crime: The New York Times highlights a slate of new crime fiction, from Amy Suiter Clarke’s Girl, 11 – a “propulsive” debut novel about a true-crime podcast host and a “cold case turned deadly” – to Jonathan Ames’ A Man Named Doll, the first in a dark new private detective series and a “tightly coiled double helix of offbeat humor and unflinching violence.” i-D reviews The Sons of Sam: A Descent Into Darkness, a new true-crime series from Netflix about the “Wikipedia serial killer rabbit hole that is the notorious Sons of Sam case.” The four-part series delves deep into the crimes of infamous serial killer David Berkowitz, AKA the “Son of Sam,” questioning whether, more than four decades later, “the case is truly solved.” And The Nation interviews acclaimed novelist and essayist John Edgar Wideman, “one of the greatest living Black writers of the 20th and 21st centuries.” Wideman’s writing “pairs a close attention to the life of the mind with an unflinching eye to the horrors of racism and poverty”; blending speculative fiction with elements of memoir, he has captured the 1985 MOVE bombing, the lynching of Emmett Till, and the incarceration of his own brother and son. Speaking with The Nation, Wideman discusses his new short-story collection, You Made Me Love You; the long arc of his career; and his thoughts on prisons, abolition, and reform.

Friday April 30, 2021

PM Stories

Supreme Court Conservatives Just Made It Easier to Sentence Kids to Life in Prison Beth Schwartzapfel, The Marshall Project

Juvenile lifer who set precedent sentenced to life again Kim Chandler, ABC News

Was Evan Miller ‘The Rare Juvenile’ Who Deserved Life Without Parole? (2017) Beth Schwartzapfel, The Marshall Project

A Sharp Divide at the Supreme Court Over a One-Letter Word Adam Liptak, New York Times

A new Mass. women's prison may have disastrous consequences for poor and Black communities for decades, advocates say Zoe Greenberg, Boston Globe

Court backlog leaves hundreds of people in Cook County Jail for more than a year Carlos Ballesteros, Injustice Watch

Colorado courts could soon be forced to hold bond hearings within 48 hours of someone’s arrest Thy Vo, Colorado Sun

A better path forward for criminal justice: Reimagining pretrial and sentencing Pamela K. Lattimore, Cassia Spohn, and Matthew DeMichele, Brookings

Drug Decriminalization in Oregon: How’s It Going So Far? Morgan Godvin, Filter Magazine

Is There a Case for Legalizing Heroin? Benjamin Wallace-Wells, The New Yorker

He Fought for Decades to Make Marijuana Legal. Now What? Colin Moynihan, New York Times

Getting true-crime podcasts right Mark Shanahan, Boston Globe

Please Stop With the Cheesy Documentary Re-Enactments Margaret Lyons, New York Times

AM Stories

Police and the License to Kill Matthew D. Lassiter, Boston Review

Andrew Brown Jr.’s shooting exposes ‘enduring flaws’ in policing, experts say Erik Ortiz, NBC News

North Carolina judge rules bodycam video of Andrew Brown Jr.’s death won’t be public, for now. What’s next? Ryan W. Miller, Rachel Berry, and Dean-Paul Stephens, USA Today

FBI Opens Probe Into Shooting Death of Andrew Brown in North Carolina Valerie Bauerlein, Wall Street Journal

After Ma’Khia Bryant shooting, Columbus mayor requests federal probe of police NBC News

After Another Deadly Cop Shooting, Aldermen Blast Lightfoot, CPD Leaders For ‘Standing In The Way’ Of Police Reform Alex V. Hernandez, Block Club Chicago

Lori Lightfoot’s Record Shows the Limits of ‘Police Reform’ Jerry Iannelli, The Appeal

‘Our opportunity to make some real progress’: Biden urges Congress to pass police reform by the anniversary of George Floyd’s death Chelsey Cox, USA Today

Poll: Voters Support Broad Reforms to Scope of Police Work and Accountability After Chauvin Verdict Dawn Milam and Sean McElwee, The Appeal

In wake of Chauvin verdict, a look at policy changes that will curb police behavior Art Acevedo, Michael Nutter, and Nancy La Vigne, USA Today

Social workers, EMS – not NYPD – to respond to non-violent mental health calls citywide Lauren Cook and Nicole Johnson, PIX11

San Antonio voters to decide whether police protect problem officers too much Suzanne Gamboa, NBC News

US indicts 3 on hate crime charges in death of Ahmaud Arbery Michael Balsamo and Russ Bynum, AP News

Thursday April 29, 2021

PM Stories

Governors Should Prioritize the COVID-19 Vaccine for Everyone in Jail Lauren-Brooke Eisen and Ram Subramanian, Brennan Center for Justice

Some LA County jail inmates seek vaccinations – to get early transfer to state prison Bernard J. Wolfson, Los Angeles Times

As virus cases fall, Maryland tries to dig out of backlogged jury trials Dan Morse, Washington Post

COVID-19 concerns raised at St. Louis death penalty trial Jim Salter, AP News

Biden vowed to end the death penalty. Activists are demanding action as he nears the 100-day mark Christina Carrega, CNN

Activists Wait For Biden To Take Bold Action On Criminal Justice Reform Carrie Johnson, NPR

Joe Biden fought this destructive law. 25 years later, he can help repeal it. Radley Balko, Washington Post

Poll: Use Clemency Power to Fight Mass Incarceration Molly Greene and Seth McElwee, The Appeal

Senate Begins Considering Diverse Slate of Biden Judicial Nominees Carl Hulse, New York Times

A Biden Judge Would Be the First-Ever Muslim on the Federal Bench. Some Muslims Are Furious. Aymann Ismail, Slate

Lawmakers, advocates to call for “clean slate” bill Nick Reisman, Spectrum News

Some Manhattan DA Candidates Draw A Line Against Life in Prison Sentences Sam Mellins, The Appeal

Colorado is changing how it sentences people found guilty of felony murder Alex Burness, Denver Post

Podcast: What Makes a Murderer? The Atlantic

The Secrets of the World’s Greatest Jailbreak Artist Adam Leith Gollner, GQ

AM Stories

Police Reform Doesn’t Work Michael Brenes, Boston Review

“Why Are You Shooting Me?” The Family of Anthony Alvarez Is Waiting for Answers Jamie Kalven and Madison Muller, The Intercept

In North Carolina, a Familiar Pattern After the Police Killing of Andrew Brown, Jr. Belle Boggs, Slate

Private Autopsy Shows Deputies Shot Andrew Brown Jr. 5 Times Richard Fausset, New York Times

Andrew Brown Jr.’s shooting exposes ‘enduring flaws’ in policing, experts say Erik Ortiz, NBC News

Policing Is Not Broken, It’s ‘Literally Designed to Work in This Way’ New York Times

What Was Different This Time Sonali Chakravarti, The Atlantic

With Slow Progress On Federal Level, Police Reform Remains Patchwork Across US Becky Sullivan, WNYC

Civil Rights Group Calls On Justice Dept. To Suspend Local Police Grants Carrie Johnson, NPR

With dozens of reforms already in place, NJ presses for policing changes Colleen O’Dea, NJ Spotlight

Defunding Or Police Accountability? What San Antonio’s Prop B Could Do To Police Collective Bargaining Joey Palacios, Texas Public Radio

Bridging the Divide Between the Police and the Policed Saki Knafo, The New Yorker

The Media Is Finally Addressing Its Police Report Problem Julia Craven, Slate

Police Convictions Are Not the Goal. Abolitionists Have Bigger Dreams. Kelly Hayes, Truthout

 

Wednesday April 28, 2021

PM Stories

How The Prison Litigation Reform Act Has Failed For 25 Years Easha Anand, Emily Clark, and Daniel Greenfield, The Appeal

Slamming the Courthouse Door: 25 years of evidence for repealing the Prison Litigation Reform Act Andrea Fenster and Margo Schlanger, Prison Policy Initiative

Another assault at Philly jail leaves a man on life support and staff and prisoners warning of a crisis Samantha Melamed, Philadelphia Inquirer

Prolonged solitary confinement is torture. It’s time for all states to ban it. Tammie Gregg and Donna Lieberman, Washington Post

Biden vowed to end the death penalty. Activists are demanding action as he nears the 100-day mark Christina Carrega, CNN

Will Nevada Abolish The Death Penalty? Joe Schoenmann, Nevada Public Radio

Bill passes to stop executions of intellectually disabled Jonathan Mattise, AP News

Tennessee legislature: Courts allowed to reconsider death sentences over intellectual disability appeal Yue Stella Yu, Nashville Tennessean

Evan Miller, youngest person ever sentenced to life without parole in Alabama, must remain in prison Kent Faulk, AL.com

I was sentenced to 30 years to life at 16. I shouldn’t have been sent into the adult system. Robert Barton, Washington Post

Exonerated after 12 years, but still paying a price Lisa Roberts, Oregon Live

Race, crime, Trump loom in Manhattan DA race Reuters

Philadelphia’s District Attorney On Criminal Justice Reform WAMU

Review: In ‘Philly DA,’ a Reformer Prosecutes the System James Poniewozik, New York Times

Netflix’s new true crime series investigates the heart of the satanic panic Roisin Lanigan, i-D

The Fort Bragg Murders Seth Harp, Rolling Stone

AM Stories

Police oversight languished under Trump. Biden’s DOJ is bringing federal inquiries back Kevin Johnson and Kristine Phillips, USA Today

Justice Dept. to investigate Louisville police practices after Breonna Taylor’s fatal shooting David Nakamura, Washington Post

US lawmakers ‘making progress’ on police reform – but it’s still early stages Daniel Strauss, The Guardian

Police reform bill gets new urgency in Congress, but the obstacles are the same Sarah D. Wire, Los Angeles Times

When communities try to hold police accountable, law enforcement fights back Nicole Dungca and Jenn Abelson, Washington Post

Outrage in Kenosha as Cop Who Shot Jacob Blake Returns to Work Amy Goodman, Truthout

‘Militarization’ Distorts US Policing: Paper Nancy Bilyeau, The Crime Report

American Police Are Inadequately Trained Olga Khazan, The Atlantic

Have We Really Come That Far Since Rodney King? Erin Aubry Kaplan, Politico Magazine

Split-Second Decisions: How a Supreme Court Case Shaped Modern Policing David D. Kirkpatrick, New York Times

The Killing of Adam Toledo and the Colliding Cycles of Violence in Chicago Alex Kotlowitz, The New Yorker

We can’t reimagine safety without being clear-eyed about America’s gun problem Patrick Sharkey, Washington Post

The Supreme Court will hear a major Second Amendment case that could gut US gun laws Ian Millhiser, Vox

Will the Supreme Court Let Americans Carry Guns for Any Reason? Matt Ford, New Republic

Eric Adams’s Pro-Police Bet David Freedlander, New York Magazine

Tuesday April 27, 2021

PM Stories

Supreme Court Rejects Limits on Life Terms for Youth Adam Liptak, New York Times

The Supreme Court is wrong. Even children who kill don’t deserve life without parole. Austin Sarat, Detroit Free Press

States Should Abolish Juvenile Life Without Parole Nikki Trautman Baszynski, The Appeal

How a ‘Time-Limited’ Approach Can Transform Juvenile Probation Andrea Cipriano, The Crime Report

DA George Gascón pushes for bill to eliminate juvenile ‘strikes’ in adult sentencing Steven Rosenberg, Los Angeles Daily News

He was elected to rethink criminal justice. Three months later, LA wants its DA out. Alicia Victoria Lozano, Yahoo! News

DA George Gascón, Survivors Of Violent Crime, And The Meaning Of Justice Trino Jimenez, Witness LA

As calls for criminal justice reform mount, Norfolk will get a new chief prosecutor. Meet the 3 people who want the job. Jonathan Edwards, Virginian-Pilot

Courting The Left in Manhattan DA’s Race Theodore Hamm, The Indypendent

Tahanie Aboushi’s campaign for Manhattan DA is all about *not* prosecuting Vanessa Taylor, Mic

A Better Green Boom Rachel Sugar, New York Magazine

CSI Houston: How a Texas lab has remade the science of forensics Henry Gass, Christian Science Monitor

‘Mare of Easttown’: Kate Winslet Takes a Bite Out of Crime Alan Sepinwall, Rolling Stone

John Wayne Gacy: Inside Peacock’s New True-Crime Docuseries Elisabeth Garber-Paul, Rolling Stone

The Craft of John Edgar Wideman Elias Rodriques, The Nation

AM Stories

The Most Powerful Weapon for Police Reform Is Back James D. Walsh, New York Magazine

Garland Commits to Police Department Probes With Their Voices at the Table Sadie Gurman, Wall Street Journal

Feds fund mental health crisis teams to stand in for police Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar, AP News

‘Gentle Steering of the Ship’: How Keith Ellison Led the Prosecution of Chauvin Tim Arango, New York Times

The Chauvin Verdict Is a Reminder That We Still Need To Abolish Qualified Immunity Billy Binion, Reason

Most officers never fire their guns. But some kill multiple people – and are still on the job. Tim Stelloh, NBC News

7 Deputies Placed on Leave After Fatal Shooting of Black Man in North Carolina Michael Levenson, New York Times

Virginia deputy mistook cordless house phone for gun in shooting of Black man, attorney says Elinor Aspegren, USA Today

After a Black man’s death, a DC street agonizes over the future of policing Justin Jouvenal, Peter Hermann, and Emily Davies, Washington Post

Police Have Killed at Least Five Children in the Past Month Alone Kristin Henning, Slate

One High School, Five Students Fatally Shot Rick Rojas, New York Times

Why Gun Control Is Now a Matter of National Security Steven Simon and Jonathan Stevenson, Politico

GOP Bills Target Protesters (and Absolve Motorists Who Hit Them) Reid J. Epstein and Patricia Mazzei, New York Times

The Right to Crash Cars Into People Alex Pareene, New Republic

The Power of the Myths Many White People Believe About Policing – and America Nathalie Baptiste, Mother Jones

Monday April 26, 2021

PM Stories

With the majority of corrections officers declining the COVID-19 vaccine, incarcerated people are still at serious risk Wanda Bertram and Wendy Sawyer, Prison Policy Initiative

Dozens of inmates at a prison in Iowa are recovering after receiving overdose amounts of the Pfizer vaccine Ann Hinga Klein, New York Times

DC officials ignore growing pressure to end 23-hour COVID lockdown at jail Peter Jamison, Washington Post

Pandemic makes separation scarier for people with family in prison Alexander Testa and Chantal Fahmy, Houston Chronicle

These Mississippi teens escaped life without parole. But they will still die in prison. Jimmie E. Gates, Mississippi Center for Investigative Reporting

Blame Anthony Kennedy for the Supreme Court’s Mangled Ruling on Juvenile Life Without Parole Matt Ford, New Republic

The Florida Supreme Court Won’t Let Voters Legalize Recreational Marijuana Mark Joseph Stern, Slate

Sex Work Prosecution Changes in New York Are a Welcome Step – but Not Enough Natasha Lennard, The Intercept

Baltimore state’s attorney: A year ago, I stopped prosecuting low level offenses. Here’s why – and what happened Marilyn J. Mosby, Baltimore Sun

Reimagining Criminal Justice in ‘Philly DA’ Thom Powers, WNYC

Three Things Victoria Law Wishes You Knew About Mass Incarceration Madison Feller, Elle Magazine

When a Cold Case Turns Deadly Sarah Weinman, New York Times

The Search for a Ranger Who Was Lost and Never Found Brendan Borrell, Outside Magazine

The Tragedy of Harry Uzoka Alexis Okeowo, New York Times Magazine

AM Stories

The American Addiction to Violence Sasha Abramsky, The Nation

‘A Horrendous Tragedy’: The Chaotic Moments Before a Police Shooting in Columbus Kevin Williams, Jack Healy, and Will Wright, New York Times

We Are Fighting for a World Where Ma’Khia Bryant Would Have Lived Amna A. Akbar and Treva B. Lindsey, Truthout

Columbus Grapples With Police Shootings That Have Taken Black Lives Will Wright, Lucia Walinchus, and Kevin Williams, New York Times

Report Sheds Light On The Pattern Of Over-Policing That Led Cops To Pull Over Daunte Wright Samantha Schuyler, The Appeal

How Police Gained Control of America’s Roadways Ann Givens, The Trace

Get police out of the business of traffic stops TJ Grayson and James Forman Jr., Washington Post

Collective Bargaining Rights for Police Linked to Increase in Non-White Civilian Deaths Michael Gelb, The Crime Report

We must end ‘qualified immunity’ for police. It might save the next George Floyd Killer Mike, The Guardian

This is what it took for Derek Chauvin to be convicted Radley Balko, Washington Post

Derek Chauvin’s Trial Was an Experiment in Pandemic Justice Laura Kusisto and Deena Winter, Wall Street Journal

21 Experts on What the Verdict Means – and Where to Go From Here Politico Magazine

Buoyed by Floyd Verdict, Congress Eyes New Bid to Overhaul Policing Catie Edmondson and Nicholas Fandos, New York Times

Police chiefs hail Chauvin verdict as a key step to healing Michael R. Sisak and Jake Bleiberg, AP News

The Moment Minneapolis Heard Justice Tarkor Zehn and Justin Miller, New York Magazine

Crime Story Daily Highlights – Week 89

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

On the criminal justice policy front: On Tuesday, a Hennepin County, Minnesota jury found former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin guilty on charges of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter in the death of George Floyd last May. In an interview with editor David Remnick, New Yorker staff writer Jelani Cobb discusses the trial’s outcome, the significance of the verdict against Derek Chauvin, and the work still to be done. A piece from the Washington Post takes a deeper dive into the Chauvin trial, outlining how prosecutors overcame long odds to secure the extremely rare conviction of a police officer who killed while on duty. In the wake of the Chauvin verdict, and nearly a year since the killing of George Floyd, a piece from the New York Times surveys the state of police reform. In recent months, lawmakers across the country have seized on a push for reform prompted by outrage over Floyd’s death, passing legislation that has stripped the police of some hard-fought protections won over the past half-century. Since May, over 30 states have passed more than 140 new police oversight and reform laws. But activists say the changes do not go far enough: “The focus has been so heavily on what do we do after harm has already been committed — after the police have already engaged in misconduct — and far less focused on how do we stop this from the beginning.” The Baltimore Sun reports from Maryland, where, last week, lawmakers voted to override the governor’s veto of a landmark accountability bill that would make it easier to discipline police officers accused of misconduct. The bill, which goes into effect later this year, will open police complaints and internal reviews to the public, impose criminal penalties for officers who use excessive force, and limit the use of “no-knock” warrants. Now, the challenge lies in figuring out how to implement those hard-won changes. And a piece from the New Republic asks, “Can Merrick Garland save the Minneapolis Police Department?”. On Wednesday, less than 24 hours after the verdict against Derek Chauvin was read, Attorney General Merrick Garland announced that the Justice Department would open a sweeping investigation into the Minneapolis Police Department itself. The investigation, “the most substantive move yet by federal officials to hold the police department to account for Floyd’s death,” marks “the return of a potent federal tool for reforming local law enforcement agencies that fell out of use during the Trump years. And it poses an early test for whether Garland can reenergize his department’s efforts to rein in local police abuses across the country.”

In muckraker/watchdog reporting: A piece from the Atlantic centers on the Derek Chauvin conviction, “the exception that proves the rule.” The former Minneapolis police officer was found guilty on all three counts he faced – “a victory for justice and a relief to people, politicians, and police in Minnesota and beyond.” But the trial also demonstrates “why the courts will remain a challenging venue to reform law enforcement in the United States.” A piece from the New York Times drives home the urgency of continued efforts at police reform. On March 29, just seven hours before prosecutors in Minneapolis opened their case against Derek Chauvin, a Chicago police officer chased down 13-year-old Adam Toledo in a West Side alley and fatally shot him as he turned with his hands up. On April 11, 20-year-old Daunte Wright was shot and killed by a Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, police officer during a routine traffic stop. The shooting occurred less than ten miles from the courthouse where Chauvin’s trial was taking place. Then, on the afternoon of April 20, minutes after the verdicts against Chauvin were read, police in Columbus, Ohio, shot and killed a 16-year-old Black girl named Ma’Khia Bryant. In fact, since testimony began in Chauvin’s trial less than a month ago, at least 64 people have died at the hands of law enforcement nationwide, with Black and Latino people representing more than half of the victims. As of this week, the average was more than three killings a day. The deaths testify to the very real and present danger people of color continue to face at the hands of law enforcement – and underscore, nearly a year since the death of George Floyd, the extent to which police culture across much of the country has remained resistant to change. And a piece from the New Republic by Melissa Gira Grant explores points of connection between Republicans’ criminalization of protest and the crackdown on journalists by police.

In complex crime storytelling: A piece from the Atlantic, from 2018, takes a deep dive into the story of con man Derek Alldred, “the perfect man who wasn’t.” In the spring of 2016, Missi Brandt, a newly divorced flight attendant and mother of preteen girls, made a profile on OurTime.com, a dating site for “people in middle age.” Among all the duds, a 45-year-old man named Richie Peterson stood out. He was a career naval officer, an Afghanistan veteran with a political science PhD. The two soon met in person and immediately hit it off: Richie was tall and charming, a “good talker and a good listener who seemed eager for a relationship.” The longer they kept dating, though, the more problems cropped up; Richie liked to say he didn’t “do drama,” but drama seemed to follow him nonetheless. One day, Missi, fed up with the excuses and missed dates, took a peek at her boyfriend’s wallet and discovered the awful truth: the man she knew as “Richie” was really Derek Alldred, a “career con man” with a “long history of deception.” For years, Derek had trolled OurTime.com, using fake identities to charm women out of hundreds of thousands of dollars. Then his victims, led by Missi, banded together to take Derek down. And a piece from Capital Daily recounts the story of Timothy Durkin, “the man who stole a hotel.” Sooke Harbour House stands on the southwestern tip of Vancouver Island, looking out over the Juan de Fuca Strait. For more than three decades, Frederique and Sinclair Philip had presided over the hotel, growing the business from a small waterfront bed-and-breakfast to an international destination spot. But business took a hit during the 2008 recession, and running the hotel was hard work; by 2014, the couple, then in their mid-60s and almost three million dollars in debt, had decided to sell. Timothy Durkin appeared to offer a lifeline. Arriving on the heels of two previous offers falling through, he presented himself as a wealthy entrepreneur with diverse experience, impressive connections, and a solid business plan. But the Philips were “wholly unprepared for what they were wading into”: what a judge would later call a “six-year odyssey of lies, excuses, threats, intimidation and bullying” – an odyssey that would destroy their beloved business, damage their reputations, and rob them of their life savings. It swept up and spit out others too — including “a Chinese immigrant, an Oak Bay widow, and a Kamloops octogenarian” – all reeled in by the magic of Sooke Harbour House, its possibilities, and the vision that Tim Durkin had sold.

In culture/true crime: New York Magazine highlights Philly DA, a new PBS docuseries about Philadelphia district attorney Larry Krasner. A long shot elected in a landslide, Krasner came to the job in 2018 after three decades as a defense attorney. His agenda includes minimizing cash bail, declining to prosecute low-level offenses, and reducing the length of sentences and probation. The series follows this project across a citywide web of interlocking problems and attempted solutions, drawing both a portrait of Krasner himself and a map of the system he’s up against; “the tension between those two things is the series’ primary fuel.” Ultimately, Philly DA is a “beautiful, sprawling story that does justice to both the giant organizations and the many individuals caught inside.” In an interview with Esquire, filmmaker Garrett Bradley discusses her Oscar-nominated documentary, Time, about one woman’s fight to free her husband from a decades-long prison sentence. Shown through a mix of home videos and contemporary footage, the film offers a “radical look at the personal experience of the prison-industrial complex from a Black feminist, abolitionist, and family point of view.” Time is nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature; if the film wins, Bradley will become the first Black female director ever to win an Academy Award. Speaking with Esquire, Bradley discusses the Oscars, building trust with her subjects, forgiveness, and “capturing love through film.” And the Independent reviews Confronting a Serial Killer, a new documentary from Starz about the crimes of Samuel Little, the “most prolific” known serial killer in US history, and the “criminal justice system that failed to stop him.” The film is told through the experiences of Jillian Lauren, a journalist and writer who built a rapport with Little starting in 2018, and who wound up on the receiving end of his many convoluted admissions. Their back-and-forth “exemplifies the difference between empathy and sympathy: it is possible, and necessary even, to try to understand why and how someone did what they did, without liking or forgiving them in return.” This is the project of Confronting a Serial Killer: “Only by publicizing [Little’s] crimes can we now hope to put names to the people he killed. Only by telling his story can we hope for answers.”

Friday April 23, 2021

PM Stories

How We Survived COVID-19 in Prison Nicole Lewis, The Marshall Project

NY Quietly Stopped Vaccinating People In State Prisons – But Promised To Resume After Questioning Caroline Lewis and Gwynne Hogan, WNYC

NJ lawmakers urge more prisoner vaccinations at facility devastated by COVID Joe Atmonavage, NJ Advance Media

Colorado’s courts grapple with COVID-19 trial backlog that could take years to clear Shelly Bradbury, Denver Post

Jury Duty Is Back, and It Looks Very Different Benjamin Weiser, New York Times

Supreme Court Rules For Worshippers And Against California COVID Restrictions Nina Totenberg, NPR

Supreme Court Rejects Limits on Life Terms for Youths Adam Liptak, New York Times

Court upholds life-without-parole sentence for Mississippi man convicted as juvenile Amy Howe, SCOTUSblog

Brett Kavanaugh’s Opinion Restoring Juvenile Life Without Parole Is Dishonest and Barbaric Mark Joseph Stern, Slate

LA DA Gascón Says It’s Time to Remove Youth Offenders From Career Criminal Law Don Thompson, NBC Los Angeles

A Media Savvy Deputy DA Is Leading a Noisy Crusade Against George Gascón Jason McGahan, Los Angeles Magazine

Left-wing prosecutors hit fierce resistance Holly Otterbein, Politico

‘It’s Not Enough to Be Progressive. You Have to Have Been There.’ Sarah Jones, New York Magazine

After decades in solitary confinement, Brian Nelson got out, became an advocate for prisoners Frank Main, Chicago Sun-Times

How a Leader in Criminal Justice Reform Spends Her Sundays Tammy La Gorce, New York Times

Accused of Murdering Our Son: The Steven Clark Story review – a bizarre yet gripping mystery Ellen E. Jones, The Guardian

The man who stole a hotel Tori Marlan, Capital Daily

AM Stories

COVID in Prison: A Perfect Storm of Cynicism, Distrust, and Neglect Davis Vanguard

In Vermont, Isolating Inmates Kept COVID at Bay, but at a Price Danya Issawi and Derek M. Norman, New York Times

Workers in Pa. prisons, COVID-19 hot spots, aren’t getting vaccinated. Here’s why that’s dangerous. Joseph Darius Jaafari, Philadelphia Inquirer

Inmates sent home amid pandemic may have to return under Trump-era policy Justin Wm. Moyer and Neena Satija, Washington Post

To End Mass Incarceration, We Need to Bust the Myths That Prop It Up James Kilgore, Truthout

Why “Decriminalizing” Weed Isn’t Good Enough Jordan Weissmann, Slate

Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin Celebrated 4/20 by Sending 15,000 Marijuana Convictions Up in Smoke Michael Harriot, The Root

Manhattan Is Moving to Decriminalize Sex Work. Kind Of. Carter Sherman, Vice

Manhattan to Stop Prosecuting Prostitution, Part of Nationwide Shift Jonah E. Bromwich, New York Times

In Nation’s Incarceration Capital, a New DA Is Freeing People From Prison Katie Jane Fernelius, The Appeal

Larry Krasner and His Progressive Reforms Face Old-School Challenge in DA Election Brian X. McCrone, NBC Philadelphia

Larry Krasner let a documentary crew into the DA’s Office. Here are its takeaways. Samantha Melamed, Philadelphia Inquirer

What HBO’s New Crime Show Gets Exactly Right Sophie Gilbert, The Atlantic

“People Who Do Harmful Things Are Reacting to Harmful Things”: A Conversation with Marlon Peterson Greg Berman, Guggenheim Foundation

Weed culture. True crime. Bigfoot lore. ‘Sasquatch’ has something for everyone Lorraine Ali, Los Angeles Times

Thursday April 22, 2021

PM Stories

This Is Not Justice. It’s Self-Preservation. Zak Cheney-Rice, New York Magazine

The Sorrow and Relief in Minneapolis Emily Witt, New Yorker

The Derek Chauvin Verdict Is Haunted by the Ghosts of Those Who Found No Justice Eddie S. Glaude Jr., Time

As Chauvin Verdict Was Read, Police Killed Black Ohio Teen Ma’Khia Bryant Chris Walker, Truthout

Fatal police shooting of Black teenager in Columbus sparks new outcry Randy Ludlow, Derek Hawkins, Paulina Firozi, and Toluse Olorunnipa, Washington Post

There Will Be More Derek Chauvins Adam Serwer, The Atlantic

Derek Chauvin’s conviction shouldn’t obscure how broken our criminal justice system is Jerusalem Demsas, Vox

Chauvin Trial Takeaway: We Have to Get Better at Trying Police Kimberly Wehle, The Bulwark

The Vital Role of Bystanders in Convicting Derek Chauvin Jeannie Suk Gersen, New Yorker

Black Americans are buoyed by Chauvin conviction, but they worry it will blunt pace of reform Arelis R. Hernández and Cleve R. Wootson Jr., Washington Post

Justice Department to probe whether Minneapolis police have ‘pattern and practice’ of misconduct Andy Mannix, Minneapolis Star Tribune

Can Merrick Garland Save the Minneapolis Police Department? Matt Ford, New Republic

In a roiled Minneapolis, schools are testing new model for safety Chelsea Sheasley, Christian Science Monitor

What Are Police Thinking? Mary Harris, Slate

How the GOP Is Creating Harsher Penalties for Protesters Reid J. Epstein and Patricia Mazzei, New York Times

AM Stories

‘They dig in like ticks’: A new doc shows the vexing work of criminal justice reform Robert Lloyd, Los Angeles Times

Philly DA Is the Second Coming of The Wire, in Docuseries Form Kathryn VanArendonk, New York Magazine

Larry Krasner let a documentary crew into the DA’s Office. Here are its takeaways. Samantha Melamed, Philadelphia Inquirer

How Philly, the nation’s most supervised big city, cut its probation numbers by a third Samantha Melamed, Philadelphia Inquirer

Opinion: Ease expungement of past crimes and help people gain second chances Mike Schmidt and Carl Macpherson, Oregon Live

NJ to allow reduced prison sentences for non-violent drug crimes. What to know about the change Terrence T. McDonald, NorthJersey.com

All Federal Inmates To Be Offered Vaccine By Mid-May, BOP Director Says Becky Sullivan, NPR

Oregon prison COVID-19 lawsuit ruling hailed as a landmark for prisoners’ rights Liliana Frankel, Oregon Live

NJ man who spent decades in prison sues Donald Trump over ‘criminal’ handling of COVID outbreak Anthony G. Attrino, NJ Advance Media

NY Women’s Prison, Housing Mothers and Newborns, Hit By COVID-19 Outbreak Caroline Lewis, Gothamist

Glaring Racial Disparities Persist in NYC Jails: Study Emily Riley, The Crime Report

What I learned from reporting on the Allegheny County Jail Juliette Rihl, Public Source

Meet the scientists building a prison-to-STEM pipeline Christina Couch, PBS

She lost her father as a teen. Now, she’s written a book with the man wrongly convicted of killing him. Emily Burnham, Bangor Daily News

Wednesday April 21, 2021

PM Stories

The Significance of the Derek Chauvin Verdict David Remnick and Jelani Cobb, The New Yorker

Derek Chauvin, convicted of murdering George Floyd in Minneapolis, is led away in handcuffs Chao Xiong and Paul Walsh, Minneapolis Star Tribune

How Derek Chauvin became the rare police officer convicted of murder Mark Berman, Washington Post

Derek Chauvin Verdict Brings a Rare Rebuke of Police Conduct John Eligon, Tim Arango, Shaila Dewan, and Nicholas Bogel-Burroughs, New York Times

Chauvin’s Conviction Is the Exception That Proves the Rule David A. Graham, The Atlantic

Derek Chauvin Was Not an Aberration Melissa Gira Grant, New Republic

‘Still much work to be done’: artists and US museums react to Derek Chauvin conviction in George Floyd murder trial Gareth Harris and Anny Shaw, Art Newspaper

“One Guilty Verdict Doesn’t Satisfy That Appetite for Actual Change”: Why Derek Chauvin’s Trial Is Not the End of the Fight Molly Schwartz, Mother Jones

Whatever happened to police reform legislation? Sarah D. Wire, Los Angeles Times

What Police Impunity Looks Like: “There Was No Discipline as No Wrongdoing Was Found” Eric Umansky, ProPublica

As Frustrations Toward Chicago Police Mount, Another Attempt At Reform Stalls At City Hall: ‘We’re Out Of Runway’ Justin Laurence, Block Club Chicago

Oakland Takes First Steps Toward Directing Some 911 Calls To Community Responders Eliyahu Kamisher, The Appeal

Putting More People in Jail Won’t Reduce Crime in Dallas. Will Violence Interrupters? Alex Macon, D Magazine

AM Stories

Compliance Will Not Save Me Ibram X. Kendi, The Atlantic

Few Charges, Fewer Convictions: The Chauvin Trial and the History of Police Violence Aidan Gardiner and Rebecca Halleck, New York Times

‘God Knows What’s Going to Happen’: Minneapolis Braces for Verdict in Floyd’s Death Tim Arango, New York Times

Assault or ‘reasonable’ policing? Takeaways from Derek Chauvin trial’s closing arguments as jury begins deliberations Tami Abdollah, USA Today

Derek Chauvin’s trial is a teachable moment. Here’s how classrooms are discussing it. Alia Wong, USA Today

Watching the Derek Chauvin Trial With Families Affected by Police Violence Nilo Tabrizy and Débora Souza Silva, New York Times

Police have fatally shot 22 children under age 16 since 2015 Philip Bump, Washington Post

Murder of Adam Toledo Is Latest in Long History of Anti-Latinx Police Killings Amy Goodman, Truthout

With Mayor Lightfoot and Chicago officials placing blame on everyone except police, how does Little Village heal after Adam Toledo’s shooting? Kelly Garcia, The Tribe

As New Police Reform Laws Sweep Across the US, Some Ask: Are They Enough? Steve Eder, Michael H. Keller, and Blacki Migliozzi, New York Times

Anti-riot laws vs. police reform as the US waits for Chauvin verdict Zachary B. Wolf, CNN

Florida Adopts Nation’s Toughest Restrictions On Protests Greg Allen, NPR

Florida GOP says a new law will stop riots. Critics say it’s an ‘outrageous’ ploy to end protests. Teo Armus, Washington Post

Republicans’ Criminalization of Protest and Cops’ Crackdown on Journalists Go Hand in Hand Melissa Gira Grant, New Republic

Jelani Cobb on the killing of Daunte Wright, the Derek Chauvin trial, and how to tell the whole story Amanda Darrach, Columbia Journalism Review

Tuesday April 20, 2021

PM Stories

State cannabis reform is putting social justice front and center Sabina Morris, John Hudak, and Christine Stenglein, Brookings

New Mexico Legalizes Recreational Marijuana, Erases Some Drug-Related Criminal Records Gina Heeb, Forbes

Young Black Women Are Calling For The Decriminalization Of Cannabis – Here’s Why Jessica Morgan, Refinery29

Time for the Next Step in Federal Justice Reform: Rethinking Drug Laws Brendan Belair, The Crime Report

Congress Is Closer Than Ever to Ending the Federal War on Weed CJ Ciaramella, Reason

The Return of Reefer Madness in the GOP Billy Binion, Reason

Philadelphia DA Race Could Ramp Up the War on Drugs Maura Ewing, The Appeal

Big changes from Pima’s prosecutor: no death penalty; focus on fraud cases, jail alternatives Caitlin Schmidt, Arizona Daily Star

Manhattan District Attorney to Dismiss Convictions Tied to Former NYPD Detective Ben Chapman, Wall Street Journal

This Public Defender Has Fought the Manhattan DA’s Office. Now She Wants To Lead It Daniel Nichanian, The Appeal

PBS’s Fascinating Philly DA Poses a Crucial, Timely Question: Can Our Broken Criminal Justice System Really Be Fixed? Judy Berman, Time

‘The Black Family Archive Is a Form of Resistance’: Garrett Bradley on Her Oscar-Nominated Doc, Time Anna Grace Lee, Esquire

America’s deadliest serial killer preyed on the ‘less dead’ for decades – a new documentary seeks answers Clémence Michallon, Independent

Hulu true crime doc ‘Sasquatch’ investigates whether Bigfoot murdered three NorCal cannabis farmers Dan Gentile, SFGate

AM Stories

Rage Is the Only Language I Have Left Charles M. Blow, New York Times

Throughout Trial Over George Floyd’s Death, Killings by Police Mount John Eligon and Shawn Hubler, New York Times

The Myth of the Dangerous Traffic Stop Is Killing Black Men in America Mark Joseph Stern, Slate

Why Do Tasers Look Like Guns Anyway? James D. Walsh, New York Magazine

The Supreme Court Is Also to Blame for Daunte Wright’s Death Marjorie Cohn, Truthout

A Distinctly American Problem Needs Systematic Investigation Conor Friedersdorf, The Atlantic

Chicago police ‘reform’ failed Adam Toledo. New thinking is essential. Sheila Bedi, Washington Post

Police Violence And Reform: The Inequality In Restorative Justice Opportunities NPR

As protests continue over police killings, lawmakers try to add to the list of crimes protesters could face Tami Abdollah, USA Today

As protests against police violence surge, Florida passes a bill to combat ‘public disorder’ Michael Levenson, New York Times

Alabama woman’s case becomes test of federal anti-riot law Josh Gerstein, Politico

US police and public officials donated to Kyle Rittenhouse, data breach reveals Jason Wilson, The Guardian

Who Wants to Watch Black Pain? Hannah Giorgis, The Atlantic

How “A Love Song for Latasha” disrupts and decolonizes documentary filmmaking about Black trauma Gary M. Kramer, Salon

How Filmmakers Transformed a Powerful ACLU Speech Into Doc ‘Who We Are: A Chronicle of Racism in America’ Jazz Tangcay, Variety

Raoul Peck’s Exterminate All the Brutes Insists on Telling What Really Happened Jo Livingstone, New Republic

Monday April 19, 2021

PM Stories

Federal Prisons Flunked the Pandemic, Senators Say Kaila Philo, Courthouse News

Prisons postpone vaccinations with Johnson & Johnson shots paused Erin Schumaker, ABC News

How Many Coronavirus Cases in Ky. Jails? We Don’t Know, And State Won’t Say Jared Bennett, Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting

An ‘insane’ COVID lockdown two miles from the Capitol, with no end in sight Peter Jamison, Washington Post

‘He Left His Legacy’: Losing a Brother to COVID in San Quentin Hank Warner, KQED

He’s 84 and battled COVID. Should NJ inmate convicted in trooper’s killing get out of prison? Dustin Racioppi, NorthJersey.com

Two men seek exoneration in unusual case arising from 1998 slaying of Waverly police officer Frank Green, Richmond Times-Dispatch

Texas’ highest criminal court tosses death sentence of Raymond Riles, state’s longest-serving death row inmate Jolie McCullough, Texas Tribune

Can the ‘Wisdom of a Second Look’ Curb America’s Appetite for Harsh Sentences? Karl A. Racine, Miriam Aroni Krinsky, and Kevin Ring, The Crime Report

From incarceration to the Washington Legislature, Rep. Tarra Simmons hits her stride in first term in Olympia Maya Leshikar, Seattle Times

From Wrongful Arrest to Anti-Prison Activist: Bryonn Bain’s Road to ‘Lyrics From Lockdown’ Kambi Gathesha, Columbia Spectator

Kate Winslet’s Mare of Easttown Is the Rare Crime Drama That Cares About Its Characters Judy Berman, Time

Netflix’s ‘Why Did You Kill Me?’ Documentary Follows an Unsettling Online Quest Dan Jackson, Thrillist

‘Confronting a Serial Killer’ Director Aims to Expose ‘Dark Forces’ With True Crime Stories Danielle Turchiano, Variety

The Perfect Man Who Wasn’t (2018) Rachel Monroe, The Atlantic

AM Stories

This Will Keep Happening Zak Cheney-Rice, New York Magazine

Video Shows a Chicago 13-Year-Old Had His Hands Up. An Officer Shot and Killed Him. Abigail Weinberg, Mother Jones

‘We failed Adam’: Body camera videos show 13-year-old Adam Toledo put hands up before fatal police shooting in Chicago Christine Fernando, Grace Hauck, and Jessica Koscielniak, USA Today

With George Floyd, a Raging Debate Over Bias in the Science of Death Shaila Dewan, New York Times

George Floyd’s Autopsy and the Structural Gaslighting of America Ann Crawford-Roberts et al., Scientific American

Chauvin defense rests its case without his testimony Chao Xiong, Paul Walsh, and Rochelle Olson, Minneapolis Star Tribune

We’re making progress on the ‘what’ of reimagining safety. But what about the ‘how’? Phillip Atiba Goff, Washington Post

Maryland lawmakers passed sweeping police reform. Now, how to implement it? Jessica Anderson and Tim Prudente, Baltimore Sun

St. Louis’s first Black female mayor hopes to overhaul policing. It’s ‘not going to be easy.’ Rachel Hatzipanagos, Washington Post

The Long And Bumpy Road To Police Reform In Boston Tiziana Dearing and Walter Wuthmann, WBUR

Philadelphia Police Aren’t Solving Crimes. It’s Time to Divert Their Funding Kendra Brooks, The Appeal

No badges. No guns. Can violence interrupters help Minneapolis? Martin Kuz, Christian Science Monitor

Inspecting the NYPD “Puzzle Palace” Topher Sanders, ProPublica

Such Things Have Done Harm Blair McClendon, n+1

Crime Story Daily Highlights – Week 88

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

On the criminal justice policy front: Mother Jones and New York Magazine report from Maryland, where, earlier this week, state legislators overrode the veto of Republican Gov. Larry Hogan to pass a sweeping package of police reforms. Measures in the bill include the mandatory use of body cameras, the establishment of a civilian role in police discipline, and a restriction on the use of no-knock warrants. One of its most important aspects involves an increased standard for use of force, requiring officers to first use de-escalation tactics. The Maryland legislation is the second landmark policing bill making its way into law this week inspired by the nationwide reckoning over police violence after George Floyd’s death last May. The Wall Street Journal reports that on Wednesday, New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, a Democrat, signed a law banning qualified immunity for government employees in the state, making it easier to sue police for civil rights violations. The move comes amid a national push to curb legal protections for police in the aftermath of Floyd’s death. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, the US Congress and at least two dozen other states are currently considering limiting or eliminating qualified immunity. A piece from The Trace examines the future of police reform in Newark, NJ. When the clock struck midnight on January 1, 2021, Newark reached a policing milestone: for the first time since 2015, the city’s police had gone an entire calendar year without firing a shot at a civilian. But the new year also brought Newark’s streak to an abrupt end: at 12:03 AM on January 1, a plainclothes cop shot and killed 39-year-old father Carl Dorsey. Dorsey’s killing occurred at a crossroads for policing in Newark, as residents and officials hash out decisions that will shape public safety for years to come. After decades of activism and federal supervision finally brought change to Newark, the most immediate question is, “Can the reforms hold?”. And, in a piece for the New Yorker, Jelani Cobb reflects on “the shooting of Daunte Wright and the meaning of George Floyd’s death.” In the eleven months since Floyd’s agonizing death, he writes, “we have seen changes ranging from mercenary corporate endorsements of the phrase ‘Black Lives Matter’ to personal reckonings with the role of race in American society as well as substantial legislative and policy changes regarding policing.” The biggest question surrounding this raft of changes has been “whether it will translate into a decreased likelihood of Black people dying during routine interactions with law enforcement.” In Minneapolis, a city already on edge with the trial of Derek Chauvin now in its third week, and where protests have again broken out in response to the shooting death of 20-year-old Daunte Wright during a routine traffic stop last Sunday, “the answer to that question… is no.”

In muckraker/watchdog reporting: More than a year into the pandemic, a piece from the New York Times tracks the spread of COVID-19 through the US prison system. Worldwide, about 2 in 100 people are known to have had COVID-19. In the United States, which has among the worst infection rates globally, that number is 9 in 100. And inside US prisons, jails, and detention centers, the rate is 34 in 100 – more than three times as high. The Guardian reports from St. Louis, where, earlier this month, inmates at the ironically named City Justice Center – many of whom are in pre-trial detention and have been sitting in jail since the pandemic began – staged an uprising, chanting, lighting fires, and hanging signs reading “HELP US” in the windows of the jail. The demonstrations marked the fourth major disturbance at the jail within the last year – one of many such protests around the country, with inmates calling for humane treatment and increased protections against COVID-19. “The uprising at the St. Louis City Justice Center,” the piece argues, “was necessary and justified. It was a wake-up call and reminder that there is a hidden pandemic in the United States: our addiction to incarceration, which has led the supposed land of the free to become the home of the largest prison system on the planet. That sickness far predates COVID-19.” The LA Times reports from California, where the emergency suspension of federal jury trials during the pandemic has upended the state’s criminal justice system. While many of those charged with crimes have been free on bail as they await trial, others have remained behind bars, enduring long stretches of solitude as detainees are kept apart to minimize the spread of COVID-19. An increasing number of defendants are alleging violations of their speedy trial rights, casting uncertainty over their cases as the pandemic subsides and federal courts prepare to reopen. And a piece from The Atlantic goes inside the strange new world of “Zoom court.” Last spring, as COVID‑19 infections surged for the first time, many American courts curtailed their operations. As case backlogs swelled, courts moved online, “at a speed that has amazed —and sometimes alarmed — judges, prosecutors, and defense attorneys.” In the past year alone, US courts have conducted millions of hearings, depositions, arraignments, settlement conferences, and even trials over Zoom. Now, as a “post-pandemic future glimmers,” it remains unclear how much of that experimentation will survive after the crisis abates – and, given the stakes involved in the justice system, how much of it should.

In complex crime storytelling: A piece from Rolling Stone centers on the so-called “Grindr Murder.” A little after 5PM on Christmas Eve, 2019, 25-year-old Kevin Bacon left his home in suburban Swartz Creek, Michigan, to meet a guy from Grindr, the dating and hookup app for predominantly gay men. He never came back. The assailant was his date, Mark Latunski, who, as it turned out, had attacked two other men within the past three months. Both victims had placed frantic 911 calls from Latunski’s basement, where, they told police, they had awoken in chains after being drugged and kidnapped. In the aftermath of Kevin’s death, his friends and family have been left wondering why more wasn’t done – and whether Kevin’s murder might have been prevented. A piece from The Atlantic recounts “the forgotten story of a diplomat who disappeared.” In 1974, John Patterson, a junior diplomat at the American consulate in Hermosillo, Mexico, was abducted by the People’s Liberation Army of Mexico – a group no one had ever heard of. The kidnappers demanded $500,000, insisting that Patterson’s wife Andra hand-deliver the ransom. But as Andra scrambled to scrounge up the money, gaps in the Pattersons’ story, and strange inconsistencies in the kidnappers’ MO, began to raise red flags for the FBI investigators looking into John’s disappearance. And a piece from ProPublica centers on Steven Carrillo, the “active duty airman [who] tried to start a civil war.” On June 6, 2020, Carrillo – a 32-year-old Air Force sergeant who belonged to the anti-government Boogaloo Bois movement, and who, a week earlier, had shot and killed a security officer guarding Oakland’s federal courthouse – was on the run in the tiny mountain town of Ben Lomond, CA. As Santa Cruz County deputy sheriffs closed in, Carrillo opened fire, killing one officer and severely injuring two more. When he was finally subdued, cellphone footage captured Carrillo shouting at deputies as they led him away: “This is what I came to fight — I’m sick of these goddamn police.” For Carrillo, that “final frenzied expression of rage marked the culmination of a long slide into extremism,” a journey that had begun more than a decade earlier. Carrillo’s arrest was also an omen of something larger and even more ominous: the rise of an increasingly extreme, aggressive, and violent insurrection movement across the United States.

In culture/true crime: New York Magazine reviews Mare of Easttown, a new crime drama from HBO. The series follows a “traumatized police detective” (Kate Winslet) in her attempts to solve the murder of a young woman and the possibly related disappearances of two others from their small Pennsylvania town. At first, Mare of Easttown looks familiar – this plot has “played out on television more times than can be counted” – but the series distinguishes itself with strong characters and thorough attention to detail, drawing “even its most flawed Easttowners with a sense of humanity and complexity.” CNN highlights The Serpent, a new true-crime miniseries from Netflix and BBC One. The series captures a time in the early 1970s when “hippie backpackers” jaunted around southeast Asia, “often in need of a friendly face and sympathetic ear as they quested for spiritual enlightenment.” Their openness made them easy prey for the suave Charles Sobhraj, who befriended them, poisoned and eventually killed many of them, using their passports and cash to fuel his schemes. Even taking “acknowledged creative liberties, the true story at the core of The Serpent sinks its teeth into you, chronicling a murder spree by a slick con man, and the unlikely diplomat whose determined efforts helped apprehend him.” And a piece from People Magazine centers on the murder of Kristin Smart and the true-crime podcast that helped crack the case. This week, police officials in San Luis Obispo, CA, announced that two men had been arrested in connection with the 1996 death of 19-year-old Cal Poly student Kristin Smart. In a press conference Tuesday, San Luis Obispo County Sheriff Ian Parkinson credited the popular eight-part podcast series Your Own Backyard for helping authorities solve the case. The podcast, created by SLO native Chris Lambert, led police to interview several new witnesses whose testimony proved instrumental in making the arrests. "I feel good about the case at this point," Lambert told the SLO Tribune. “I've been waiting for a long, long time to come to some sort of resolution."

Friday April 16, 2021

PM Stories

Trump’s Killing Spree Continues Elizabeth Bruenig, New York Times

Prosecutors Should Stop Seeking the Death Penalty Nikki Trautman Baszynski, The Appeal

Abolishing the death penalty must be part of reimagining safety Johanna Wald and David J. Harris, Washington Post

Court Throws Out Death Sentence for Raymond Riles, Texas’s Longest-Serving Death Row Prisoner Democracy Now!

Manhattan DA Candidates Maintains ‘We Can Choose Both’ Public Safety and Decarceration Davis Vanguard

Fix parole to fix criminal justice Errol Louis, New York Daily News

‘It Tears Families Apart’: Lawmakers Nationwide Are Moving to End Mandatory Sentencing Elizabeth Weill-Greenberg, The Appeal

Colorado tested more prisoners for COVID-19 than most states – but it’s not clear if that prevented deaths Meg Wingerter, Denver Post

Oklahoma prisons ahead in vaccinations but advocates say earlier access could have saved lives Quinton Chandler, State Impact Oklahoma

State agrees to provide vaccines, cleaner conditions for inmates at Baltimore jail to end COVID-19 lawsuit Phil Davis, Baltimore Sun

Colorado may expand early prison release program for people who committed serious crimes before age 21 Thy Vo, Colorado Sun

Addressing Mass Incarceration From Within the System Daniel Hautzinger, WTTW

Men Arrested in 1996 Kristin Smart Case Investigated by True Crime Podcast Seren Morris, Newsweek

Netflix’s Latest True-Crime Hit Involves MySpace, Voodoo Dolls, and Mass Murder Marissa Martinelli, Slate

AM Stories

Police keep creating Black corpses. We are being crushed under the weight. Hayes Brown, MSNBC

The Shooting of Daunte Wright and the Meaning of George Floyd’s Death Jelani Cobb, The New Yorker

Officer charged with second-degree manslaughter in killing of Daunte Wright Matt McKinney, Minneapolis Star Tribune

Daunte Wright’s family, attorneys reject police explanation of fatal Taser ‘mistake’: ‘Don’t tell us it’s an accident’ David K. Li, NBC News

After Daunte Wright’s Death, Advocates Press Leaders to Get Police Out of Traffic Enforcement Joshua Vaughn, The Appeal

Taser vs. gun mix-ups draw fresh scrutiny in wake of Minnesota killing Tim Reid and Alexandra Ulmer, Reuters

At Least 15 Officers Mistook Guns for Tasers. Three Were Convicted. Alan Feuer and Mihir Zaveri, New York Times

Prosecutors: No charges for officer in Capitol riot shooting Eric Tucker and Michael Balsamo, AP News

How the Capitol Riot Suspects Are Challenging the Charges Alan Feuer, New York Times

Leniency for defendants in Portland clashes could affect Capitol riot cases Josh Gerstein, Politico

Watchdog lays bare Capitol Police’s riot security failures Mary Clare Jalonick, AP News

Capitol Police Told to Hold Back on Riot Response on Jan. 6, Report Finds Luke Broadwater, New York Times

Even After Jan. 6, GOP Senators Still Think They Can Claim the Mantle of Law and Order Dahlia Lithwick, Slate

How Views On Black Lives Matter Have Changed – And Why That Makes Police Reform So Hard Alex Samuels and Elena Mejía, FiveThirtyEight

What Next, After Protest?: An Interview with Ephraim Asili Devika Girish, New York Review of Books

Thursday April 15, 2021

PM Stories

COVID is ravaging American jails and prisons – and inmates are rightly rising up Akin Olla, The Guardian

Vaccine Delays Keep COVID Deaths High in Alabama Prisons Eddie Burkhalter, Alabama Political Reporter

Will COVID-19 vaccinations mean more prison overcrowding deaths? Rahsaan “New York” Thomas, High Country News

Cement Head’s last fight: He was denied parole six times – until he was about to become a COVID-19 statistic Eric Boodman, Stat News

Federal detainees want judge to order COVID-19 measures at downtown jail Jon Seidel, Chicago Sun-Times

Can Michigan Point the Way to Nationwide Jail Reform? The Crime Report

Can The Death Penalty Be Fixed? These Republicans Think So Keri Blakinger and Maurice Chammah, The Marshall Project

America’s ‘Era of Punitive Excess’ Must End, say Leading Criminologists The Crime Report

The Forgotten Story of a Diplomat Who Disappeared Brendan I. Koerner, The Atlantic

Kristin Smart Case: A Timeline of Searches and Arrests Christine Hauser, New York Times

How a Podcast Helped Cops Arrest Paul Flores on Accusations He Murdered Kristin Smart Christine Pelisek, People Magazine

‘Why Did You Kill Me?’ Review: To Catfish a Killer Calum Marsh, New York Times

Producers Of Oscar-Nominated Documentary ‘Time’ On Putting “Good Medicine Into The World” Matthew Carey, Deadline

AM Stories

The rise of domestic extremism in America Robert O’Harrow Jr., Andrew Ba Tran, and Derek Hawkins, Washington Post

“I Felt Hate More Than Anything”: How an Active Duty Airman Tried to Start a Civil War Gisela Pérez de Acha, Kathryn Hurd, and Ellie Lightfoot, ProPublica

The NYPD’s Method Of Counting Anti-Asian Attacks Underestimates Severity Of Crisis, Critics Say Max Jaeger, Gothamist

Homicide rates are up. To bring them down, empower homegrown peacekeepers Paul Carrillo, Los Angeles Times

Members of Little Earth Protectors Patrol Their Community Robert Klemko, Washington Post

Law Stretched Sideways: The Politics of Police Misconduct Isidoro Rodriguez, The Crime Report

After Another Police Shooting, Biden Urges Calm. Activists Want Answers. Katie Rogers and Zolan Kanno-Youngs, New York Times

How Could an Officer Mistake a Gun for a Taser? Shawn Hubler and Jeremy White, New York Times

We Have Trainings to Stop Cops From Mistaking Their Guns for a Taser. Few Departments Use Them. Samantha Michaels, Mother Jones

Once Again, Police Rally Around Their Death-Dealing Power Melissa Gira Grant, New Republic

Kenosha officer who shot Jacob Blake won’t face discipline, police chief says Doha Madani, NBC News

Will Derek Chauvin take the stand? Shaila Dewan, New York Times

One Trial Can’t Change American Policing Nathalie Baptiste, Mother Jones

Wednesday April 14, 2021

PM Stories

The Long Shadow of Virginia’s Death Penalty Liliana Segura, The Intercept

Arizona’s attorney general wants to finish his term with a rush of executions Editorial Board, Los Angeles Times

Revealed: Republican-led states secretly spending huge sums on execution drugs Ed Pilkington, The Guardian

Punitive Excess Brennan Center for Justice

Biden Poised to Break a Promise on Mandatory Minimum Sentencing Mike Ludwig, Truthout

NYC Jail Officers Lash Out at Inmates With Few Consequences, Discipline Records Show George Joseph and Reuven Blau, The City

NYC must truly end solitary confinement Melania Brown, New York Daily News

States Should Follow New York’s Lead on Restricting Solitary Confinement Nikki Trautman Baszynski, The Appeal

Maryland Bans Sentencing Children to Life Without Parole Elizabeth Weill-Greenberg, The Appeal

Washington state prisoners released after drug law is voided Gene Johnson, Washington Post

Harm Reduction at Sea: Tight-Knit Fishing Communities Navigate Drugs Kristin Doneski, Filter Magazine

College student Kristin Smart vanished nearly 25 years ago. A classmate was just arrested. Meryl Kornfield and Brittany Shammas, Washington Post

Two Men Are Arrested in 1996 Disappearance of Kristin Smart Johnny Diaz, New York Times

Undanced Dances During a Pandemic Suchi Branfman, The Nation

Reaching for Answers with Reginald Dwayne Betts The Stacks

AM Stories

Black man’s death in Minnesota traffic stop sparks unrest Mohamed Ibrahim, ABC News

Police fire tear gas at protesters in a second night of demonstrations after Minnesota officer fatally shoots Black man Adrienne Broaddus, Keith Allen, and Hollie Silverman, CNN

Minnesota Officer Who Shot Daunte Wright Meant to Fire Taser, Chief Says Nicholas Bogel-Burroughs, Julie Bosman, and Shawn Hubler, New York Times

Retailers urged to re-think police calls for low-level crimes after George Floyd’s death Nicole Norfleet, Minneapolis Star Tribune

George Floyd’s death was ‘absolutely preventable,’ a cardiologist testifies. Christine Hauser, New York Times

Expert: Chauvin did not take actions of ‘reasonable officer’ Amy Forliti, Steve Karnowski, and Tammy Webber, ABC News

Is Derek Chauvin’s Defense Flailing? Mary Harris, Slate

Why a Guilty Verdict Against Derek Chauvin Would be a ‘Terrible Place to Stop’ James Doyle, The Crime Report

Breonna Taylor died more than a year ago. But US policing has barely changed Akin Olla, The Guardian

Are States Really Abolishing Qualified Immunity for Cops? Not Exactly. Matt Ford, New Republic

Biden White House puts its police oversight commission on ice Laura Barrón-López, Politico

They wanted police reform. But the push for new laws turned out to be much harder in Florida. Andrew Boryga, South Florida Sun Sentinel

‘Anti-riot’ bill heading to Florida Senate floor Ana Ceballos, Tampa Bay Times

He was arrested at a Black Lives Matter protest. Now, he’s warning others about Florida’s anti-riot proposal. Tim Craig, Washington Post

Tuesday April 13, 2021

PM Stories

COVID-19: Infections Among US Prisoners Have Been Triple Those of Other Americans New York Times

1 in 3 state prisoners tested positive for COVID-19, report says Luke Barr, ABC News

State prisons struggle with COVID safety, vaccination reluctance Ethan Hunt, The Appalachian

El Paso County’s Jail Justified $15M In Improvements On COVID. It Didn’t Prevent A Massive Outbreak Allison Sherry, Colorado Public Radio

Two Utah cases highlight pandemic’s grip on the criminal justice system Annie Knox, Deseret News

Clobbered by COVID-19, Connecticut courts are ramping back up to speed with new virtual hearing technology Zach Murdock, Hartford Courant

Zoom Court Is Changing How Justice Is Served Eric Scigliano, The Atlantic

The Pandemic Prompted Marilyn Mosby to Stop Prosecuting Low-Level Crimes. Will Other DAs Follow? Joshua Vaughn, The Appeal

Philly DA Larry Krasner and challenger Carlos Vega enter election homestretch as gun violence surges Chris Brennan, Philadelphia Inquirer

Philadelphia DA Race Could Ramp Up the War on Drugs Maura Ewing, The Appeal

Bills on local, national levels address drug sentencing reform Chloe Teboe, News Center Maine

How ‘Free Tony Lewis’ became both a son’s plea and a call on Biden to create a national clemency program Theresa Vargas, Washington Post

‘Suddenly I’m breathing’: hope as Haaland takes on crisis of missing and murdered Native Americans Hallie Golden, The Guardian

Grindr Murder: Could Kevin Bacon’s Death Have Been Prevented? Joseph Jaafari, Rolling Stone

The killer question: are true-crime podcasts exploitative? Hannah Verdier, The Guardian

AM Stories

The Simple Facts of Derek Chauvin’s Trial Jeannie Suk Gersen, The New Yorker

What the Derek Chauvin Trial Tells Us About Police Use of Force Nathalie Baptiste, Mother Jones

As Derek Chauvin’s former bosses line up to condemn him, ‘policing in America is on trial’ Mark Berman, Washington Post

Violence flares after Brooklyn Center police fatally shoot man, 20, inflaming tensions during the Derek Chauvin trial Mara Klecker and Kim Hyatt, Minneapolis Star Tribune

Police Say an Antifa Activist Likely Shot at Officers. His Gun Suggests Otherwise. Mike Baker and Evan Hill, New York Times

National Poll: Shift Law Enforcement Funds to Non-Police Emergency Response Molly Bernstein and Sean McElwee, The Appeal

Maryland Legislators Override a Veto to Usher in Sweeping Police Reform Madison Pauly, Mother Jones

Maryland Becomes First State to Repeal Its Police Bill of Rights Matt Stieb, New York Magazine

Federal Supervision and Decades of Activism Changed Policing in Newark. Can the Reforms Hold? J. Brian Charles, The Trace

When typical middle school antics mean suspensions, handcuffs or jail The Hechinger Report

More Than Two-Thirds of Students Want Police Out of Schools Mike Ludwig, Truthout

What the Cops Off Campus Movement Looks Like Across the Country StudentNation

Breonna Taylor Show Points Art Museums to a Faster Track Holland Cotter, New York Times

“Exterminate All the Brutes,” Reviewed: A Vast, Agonizing History of White Supremacy Richard Brody, The New Yorker

Monday April 12, 2021

PM Stories

Incarcerated and Infected: How the Virus Tore Through the US Prison System New York Times

Biden’s COVID vaccine plan still forgets incarcerated population Talia Lavin, MSNBC

Just 7% of Wisconsin prisoners have received COVID-19 vaccine, despite outcry over inmates being prioritized Mary Spicuzza, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

55 prisoners who contracted COVID died. Activists say it was preventable. Katelyn Newberg, Las Vegas Review-Journal

Justice delayed: COVID-19’s staggering criminal-case backlog Jim Rogers, Seattle Times

Coronavirus shutdown of jury trials upends California’s federal courts Michael Finnegan and Maura Dolan, Los Angeles Times

Thousands of low-level US inmates released in pandemic could be headed back to prison Sarah N. Lynch, Reuters

States Should Abolish Technical Violations of Probation and Parole Nikki Trautman Baszynski, The Appeal

You’ve Heard About Gerrymandering. What Happens When It Involves Prisons? Editorial Board, New York Times

Let New York inmates vote Lucy Lang, New York Daily News

Lawmaker seeks to end Louisiana’s ‘slavery exception’ clause AP News

After 20 years in prison for stealing two shirts, a Louisiana man is free Teo Armus, Washington Post

Lee Horton Reflects On Coming Home After Years In Prison Sally Herships, NPR

‘The Serpent’ sinks its teeth in with a true-crime tale set in the 1970s Brian Lowry, CNN

Mare of Easttown Is More Than It Appears to Be Jen Chaney, New York Magazine

The Language Project The Marshall Project

AM Stories

What qualifies as a hate crime and why are they so difficult to prove? Rachel Hatzipanagos, Washington Post

“Nobody Wants to Be Identified as a Victim” Carl Chan with Michelle Pitcher, The Marshall Project

As Asian Americans Seek Safety From A Rise In Attacks, Some Look To Guns John Ruwitch, NPR

We need to start thinking bigger on our gun problem Paul Waldman, Washington Post

Biden Takes Initial Steps to Address Gun Violence Annie Karni, New York Times

Biden Targets ‘Ghost Guns’ in New Measures to Curb Firearm Violence The Crime Report

New York Becomes First State to Declare Gun Violence a Public Health Crisis Anna Bradley-Smith, BK Reader

Maryland General Assembly passes landmark policing legislation, sends package to Gov. Hogan Bryn Stole and Pamela Wood, Baltimore Sun

New Mexico Makes It Easier to Sue Police Zusha Elinson and Dan Frosch, Wall Street Journal

NJ releases data showing every time cops hit, tackled or shot suspects on groundbreaking new website Blake Nelson, SP Sullivan, and Nick Devlin, NJ Advance Media

Six months after Walter Wallace Jr.’s death, what have we learned about policing? Michael Nutter and Cynthia Lum, Philadelphia Inquirer

Prosecutor, medical examiner discussions underscore complexity of Derek Chauvin case Libor Jany and Chao Xiong, Minneapolis Star Tribune

Expert Witness Pinpoints Floyd’s Final Breath and Dismisses Talk of Overdose Shaila Dewan, New York Times

A true-crime app scraps plans to turn George Floyd’s killing into ‘an experience’ Christi Carras, Los Angeles Times

Nine, Two, Nine Graham Vyse, The Signal

Crime Story Daily Highlights – Week 87

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

On the criminal justice policy front: A piece from The Appeal outlines “14 steps Biden’s DOJ can take now to reform America’s criminal legal system,” from forensic science reform to abolishing the death penalty. A piece from Slate asks, “What can progressives learn from California eliminating cash bail?”. On March 25, the California Supreme Court issued a “blockbuster decision” invalidating the state’s cash bail system as unconstitutional. Cash bail has come under fire in the past decade, with courts invalidating cash bail systems in cities like Houston and Dallas, and other states largely doing away with the practice on their own. But California’s elimination of cash bail, the piece argues, is “a change of an entirely different order.” Slate traces this development back over a decade, following the arc of Associate Justice Leondra Kruger’s legal career from lawyer to California’s highest court – a powerful lesson about the value of judicial nominations, and a kind of case study in “why the primary architects and advocates of major civil rights reforms are such important additions to the bench.” The New York Times reports from Albany, New York, where Gov. Andrew Cuomo recently signed a long-awaited bill to legalize recreational marijuana. Advocates have hailed marijuana legalization efforts as an important step towards making amends for the war on drugs. While white people and Black people use marijuana at roughly equal rates, Black people are more than three times as likely to be arrested on low-level possession charges. The disparity is even worse in New York City, where Black and Hispanic people accounted for 94% of marijuana-related arrests in 2020, even though white New Yorkers report using marijuana at higher rates. Under the state’s new law, people convicted of marijuana-related offenses that are no longer criminalized will have their records automatically expunged; additionally, 40% of the tax revenue generated by legal marijuana sales will be reinvested in communities hurt most by drug arrests. As Kassandra Frederique, director of the Drug Policy Alliance, told the Times this week: New York is “showing the rest of the country what comprehensive marijuana reform — centered in equity, justice and reinvestment — looks like.” And a piece from the Washington Post highlights a “natural experiment” in criminal-justice policy reform. The piece centers on a new study by the National Bureau of Economic Research, which examined “the effects of prosecuting nonviolent misdemeanors on defendants’ future criminal legal involvement.” The study found that across the board, being more lenient on defendants – that is, erring toward non-prosecution – has big benefits: “People who are not prosecuted for misdemeanors are much less likely to find themselves in a courtroom again within two years.” These findings have critical implications, as “communities across the country are reconsidering how they handle nonviolent misdemeanors such as disorderly conduct, disturbing the peace and possession of small amounts of illicit drugs.” In many cities — including Philadelphia, Baltimore, and LA — reform-minded DAs have been elected after promising to scale back the prosecution of such offenses. But they “face pushback from police and community members who worry that not punishing people for low-level infractions will simply encourage more crime.” The study shows that on the contrary, prosecuting low-level crimes actually makes us less safe: “Entanglement with the legal system itself seems to be a risk factor for future criminal prosecution.”

In muckraker/watchdog reporting: A piece from the Marshall Project tackles rising crime and the 2020 “murder spike.” Last year, four people were killed within a half-square-mile tract of south Los Angeles, where Black and Hispanic residents make up over 95% of the population. In 2019, the same area saw only a single murder. Across the country, other cities followed a similar pattern last year: a spike in murders, concentrated in predominantly Black and Hispanic neighborhoods. Experts say a strained social safety net, rising tensions, physical proximity and mistrust between police and communities of color all played important roles in driving the increase. “The multiple crises have exposed the public health gaps and the public safety gaps that have existed for generations,” said Fernando Rejón, who heads the Urban Peace Institute. “2020 was a tinderbox.” A piece from the Columbia Journalism Review focuses on media coverage of mass shootings and the gun-control debate. The last month has brought “new rounds of horror” in America, with three highly-publicized mass shootings – in Atlanta; Boulder, Colorado; and Orange County, California – claiming 22 lives. Some media outlets portrayed the carnage as a departure from a gun-violence calm brought about by COVID lockdowns. But in reality, 2020 was the deadliest year for gun violence in two decades, with nearly 20,000 Americans killed – the vast majority people of color. If it seemed like gun violence had ebbed during the pandemic, the piece argues, “it is only because the press lost interest.” A piece from Rolling Stone also centers on mainstream media coverage of mass shootings and the victims left behind. On March 16, shootings at three greater-Atlanta-area spas claimed the lives of eight victims, including four women of Korean descent. But perhaps just as shocking as the incident itself, Rolling Stone reports, were the stark differences between Korean-language and English-language media coverage. Both Atlanta-based Korean newspapers and South Korea’s top news outlets immediately labeled the massacre as a racially-motivated hate crime, with multiple news sources reporting that the shooter was heard saying, “I’m going to kill all Asians,” as he gunned people down. By contrast, however, English-language media outlets “seemed content to take the killer at his word that his motive was a ‘sex addiction’ and that race did not play a role in his crime.” And while English-language media quickly published detailed profiles of the shooter, its coverage of the victims remained vague and often inaccurate, butchering the Asian victims’ names and even mixing up their faces. Aside from the horror of the shooting itself, these stark differences in coverage show how the othering and dehumanization that Asian Americans face is both reflected in and perpetuated by mainstream US media. And a piece from NBC News also centers on the post-mass-shooting gun-control debate. The piece focuses specifically on Boulder and Atlanta, highlighting a “stark contrast” between the two attacks in terms of both political response and news media coverage. After the shooting in Boulder, on March 22, President Biden called on Congress to ban assault weapons and close background check loopholes, while lawmakers jumped in with official statements and media appearances denouncing gun violence. But the week before, after the Atlanta-area shootings on March 16, there were “critical discussions on hate crimes, racism and misogyny – and almost none on guns and gun control.” Gun control advocates point out that racial disparities between the two shootings – all of the Boulder victims were white – likely played a role. As Amber Goodwin, founder of the Community Justice Action Fund, told NBC, the response to the Atlanta shootings – specifically, the lack of policy response – is typical for when communities of color are targeted by gun violence: “When there is a mass tragedy, there is always a policy response. When there's violence that happens in our communities, the response is, ‘What did those people do, why were they there?’”.

In complex crime storytelling: A piece from Vanity Fair goes deep into the case of London’s “elusive, acrobatic rare-book thieves.” In the spring of 2017, more than a dozen warehouses around London were burglarized by a team of daring thieves nicknamed the “Mission: Impossible gang.” Scaling buildings in the dead of night, cutting through fiberglass skylights, and descending on wires through the holes, the thieves made off with millions of dollars in irreplaceable rare books, including early versions of some of the most significant printed works of European history. It would take more than three years; detectives from four different countries; and an international sting operation targeting some of Europe’s most notorious criminal gangs to bring the so-called Mission: Impossible thieves to justice. A piece from the Atlantic, from 2018, recounts the wild true tale of Jimmy Galante, “the mobster who bought his son a hockey team.” Galante’s story has been described as “right out of ‘The Sopranos’”: born and raised in the Bronx, New York, he got his start driving a garbage truck. In the mid-to-late 1970s, Galante relocated to Danbury, Connecticut, and started his own company; by 2004, he’d built it into a “trash-collection empire” valued at about $100 million. Though he had long been suspected of mob ties, Galante was smart, and “the G-men could never quite nail him.” His one weakness, though, was his penchant for elaborate, attention-getting gestures. In 2004, Galante purchased a minor-league-hockey franchise, installed it at the local youth rink, and appointed his hockey-obsessed teenage son, AJ, the team’s general manager. The story of the Danbury Trashers – “The Sopranos” meets “Slap Shot” – would end in an FBI raid and subsequent indictment that landed Galante in federal prison on more than 70 counts of racketeering, witness tampering, and extortion. And, in a piece for the New York Times Magazine, incarcerated writer John J. Lennon details his own “COVID lockdown story.” Thirteen months after inmates at the Sullivan Correctional Facility in upstate New York began to test positive for COVID-19, Lennon writes, there is still little or no social distancing, few masks, and plenty of misinformation about the virus and vaccines. But there are also small acts of grace and empathy among those incarcerated, moments of human compassion that break through the stagnancy of prison life: “As COVID-19 swept through Sullivan,” Lennon writes, “it was this, not some distant prospect of mercy from the state, that gave this murderer hope.”

In culture/true crime: The New York Times highlights three new books about the shortfalls of America’s criminal justice system. In Halfway Home: Race, Punishment, and the Afterlife of Mass Incarceration,sociologist Reuben Miller explores the “inescapability of prison” and the challenges of navigating life as a returning citizen. How Rights Went Wrong: Why Our Obsession With Rights Is Tearing America Apart, by constitutional law scholar Jamal Greene, tackles “rights absolutism” and the deterioration of American political debate. And, in a collection of essays titled Why the Innocent Plead Guilty and the Guilty Go Free, federal judge Jed S. Rakoff “patiently but relentlessly details the shortcomings of the criminal justice system.” WBUR reviews “This Is a Robbery,” a new Netflix docuseries about the “world’s biggest art heist.” In the early hours of March 18, 1990, two men dressed as police officers broke into Boston’s Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum and left, more than an hour later, with 13 pieces of art valued at over $500 million. More than three decades later, the crime remains unsolved; the stolen artworks, including Rembrandt’s only seascape and a prized Vermeer, have never been recovered. “This Is a Robbery” offers a primer on this remarkable event, introducing a new generation of viewers to the “seemingly infinite number of outlandish characters and rabbit-hole theories" that have made the mystery of the Gardner Museum heist so enduring – and so intoxicating. Jacobin interviews Nico Walker, the Iraq War veteran turned convicted bank robber turned critically-acclaimed novelist behind 2018’s bestselling Cherry. Cherry, written while Walker was incarcerated, is a semi-fictionalized account of his adult life before prison: after serving as an army medic in Iraq, Walker returned home to Ohio and developed a crippling opioid addiction, which he funded by robbing banks. Walker pulled off 11 robberies before he was arrested in 2011. He was still in prison in 2018, when Cherry was released to near-universal praise. Now, with a major-motion-picture adaption in theaters, Walker spoke to Jacobin about his time in Iraq, reading Dostoevsky, and “why robbing a bank is easier than it looks.” And the Atlantic reviews “Gangs of London,” an “ornately violent” new crime drama from AMC. The show takes place in a version of modern-day London where a consortium of gangs, uneasily brought together by the Irish mobster Finn Wallace, is responsible for virtually all crime. When Finn is murdered in the first episode, his death “leaves a void the rival factions begin battling to fill,” while Finn’s son vows, with “Hamlet-esque perma-gloom and furious consonants,” to avenge his father’s death. “Not your grandmother’s murder mystery,” “Gangs of London” isn’t for the squeamish, but its “baroquely complex universe can be a thrilling one to visit.”

Friday April 9, 2021

PM Stories

Prisons Are COVID Hotspots. But Vaccine Access Remains Patchy. Michael Schulson, Undark Magazine

Advocates: Prisons need better vaccine education for inmates Dave Collins, ABC News

Governors Should Prioritize the COVID-19 Vaccine for Everyone in Jail Lauren-Brooke Eisen and Ram Subramanian, Brennan Center for Justice

Georgia, Mississippi Prisons Offer Inmates Cookies, Commissary Credit as COVID Vaccine Incentive Matthew Impelli, Newsweek

‘A turning point’: Thousands in Pa. prisons will be offered COVID-19 vaccine Joseph Darius Jaafari, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

COVID raged in Michigan prisons. Life outside isn’t easy either for parolees. Jonathan Oosting, Bridge Michigan

Advancing Gender Equity for Justice-Impacted Women in the Aftermath of COVID-19 Akua Amaning, Center for American Progress

Crystal Mason Was Sentenced to Five Years Behind Bars Because She Voted Jesse Wegman, New York Times

Washington governor signs bill restoring voting rights after prison release Dianne Gallagher, Rebekah Riess, and Paul LeBlanc, CNN

She Lost Her Right to Vote Over A Felony. Now This Lawmaker Has Helped Enfranchise Thousands. Daniel Nichanian, The Appeal

How two formerly incarcerated women are keeping courts accountable – with help from students, retirees and Fiona Apple Katie Mettler, Washington Post

Hundreds sit in solitary confinement in Colorado’s jails. Lawmakers want to restrict the practice Elise Schmelzer, Denver Pos

A Prison Abolitionist’s Plea: We Need a Better Solution for ‘Egregious Harm’ Greg Berman, The Crime Report

AM Stories

The Violent Embrace Jessie Kindig, Boston Review

Murders Rose Last Year. Black and Hispanic Neighborhoods Were Hit Hardest. Weihua Li and Beth Schwartzapfel, The Marshall Project

Why aren’t Chicago’s mass shootings included in the outcry over recent violence in Atlanta, Colorado and California? Heidi Stevens, Chicago Tribune

It’s time to rethink how journalism covers guns and mass shootings Kyle Pope, Columbia Journalism Review

Biden to take a flurry of actions on gun control Seung Min Kim and Tyler Pager, Washington Post

Biden to unveil long-awaited executive action on guns Anita Kumar, Politico

Minneapolis vowed to dismantle its police department. Is change finally coming? Sean Collins, Vox

How Derek Chauvin’s trial is bringing down the blue wall Janelle Griffith, NBC News

The power of televising Derek Chauvin’s trial Alissa Wilkinson, Vox

How Teachers Are Exploring the Derek Chauvin Trial With Students Dan Levin, New York Times

The Chauvin trial underscores two very different approaches to policing Radley Balko, Washington Post

Pro-Cop PAC Tried to Fundraise by Blaming George Floyd for His Own Death Akela Lacy, The Intercept

How right-wing media keeps smearing George Floyd with the racist ‘no angel’ narrative Margaret Sullivan, Washington Post

Arradondo Condemned Him, but All Cops Are Derek Chauvin Alyssa Oursler and Anna DalCortivo, The Nation

‘Awful but Lawful’ Charles M. Blow, New York Times

Thursday April 8, 2021

PM Stories

1 in 3 state prisoners tested positive for COVID-19, report says Luke Barr, ABC News

As states expand vaccines, prisoners still lack access Katie Park, Ariel Goodman, and Kimberlee Kruesi, AP News

As supply increases, are South Florida jail inmates getting COVID-19 vaccines? Skyler Swisher, South Florida Sun Sentinel

‘A turning point’: Thousands in Pa. prisons will be offered COVID-19 vaccine Joseph Darius Jaafari, Philadelphia Inquirer

Leaving Prison During the COVID-19 Pandemic Michelle Griego, KPIX

Out of jail, desperate for a home Jennifer Jones Austin, New York Daily News

The US spends billions to lock people up, but very little to help them once they’re released Casey Kuhn, PBS

Voting Rights Restoration A Good Step But New York Must End Blanket Disenfranchisement Jarret Berg, Gotham Gazette

Virginia Gov. Northam restores voting rights to 69,000 former felons with new policy Fredreka Schouten, CNN

Why This Group Wants Every DA Office In Mass. To Have A ‘Conviction Integrity Unit’ Deborah Becker, WBUR

A Detective Was Accused of Lying. Now 90 Convictions May Be Erased. Troy Closson, New York Times

Florida man freed from death row after 30 years in prison Joe Mario Pedersen, Orlando Sentinel

‘Turning Pain into Power’: How Three Women Fought for Justice Janos Martin, The Crime Report

Mary Kathryn Nagle Changes the Story, in Court and Onstage Daniel Pollack-Pelzner, The New Yorker

A Conversation With The Director Of Oscar-Nominated Documentary ‘Time’ NPR

Garrett Bradley Reminds Us That Black Joy Always Existed Roberta Smith, New York Times

AM Stories

America’s Next Insurgency Daniel Block, Washington Monthly

What an analysis of 377 Americans arrested or charged in the Capitol insurrection tells us Robert A. Pape, Washington Post

Capitol Rioters Face the Consequences of Their Selfie Sabotage Elizabeth Williamson, New York Times

Surveillance Nation Ryan Mac, Caroline Haskins, Brianna Sacks, and Logan McDonald, BuzzFeed News

Our ‘Normal’ Responses to Mental Health Crises Are Not Working Mary Grace Ruden, Current Affairs

Amid outcry, states push mental health training for police Farnoush Amiri, AP News

Mayor Lightfoot calls for immediate creation of new police foot-pursuit policy in wake of 13-year-old’s shooting by officer Jeremy Gorner and Gregory Pratt, Chicago Tribune

Rochester Police Department Has ‘Pervasive Problem of Racism,’ Suit Says Rebecca Davis O’Brien, Wall Street Journal

Police keep using force against Black citizens in Rochester. And the demands for change keep growing. Griff Witte, Washington Post

Police Chief Refutes Derek Chauvin’s Claim That He Did What He Was Trained to Do Jacob Sullum, Reason

The Blue Wall of Silence Is Crumbling Around Derek Chauvin Elie Mystal, The Nation

Derek Chauvin Trial Breaks ‘Blue Wall Of Silence,’ But Will It Transform Policing? Steve Inskeep, NPR

The Forgotten History of the Western Klan Kevin Waite, The Atlantic

Wednesday April 7, 2021

PM Stories

14 Steps Biden’s DOJ Can Take Now to Reform America’s Criminal Legal System Rachel Barkow and Mark Osler, The Appeal

The Biden administration should join the fight against overcriminalization Joe Luppino-Esposito and Daniel Ortner, The Hill

Unless Biden Acts, Thousands Could Go Back to Federal Prison Elizabeth Weill-Greenberg, The Appeal

State parole board, clemency process need reform Editorial Board, Boston Globe

Michigan’s courts evolved during the pandemic. But some defendants were left behind Oralandar Brand-Williams, Detroit News

St. Louis inmates protest again over long trial wait times, COVID-19 fears Kiara Alfonseca, ABC News

Jury trials still haven’t resumed in Rhode Island, and there’s no clear answer why not Amanda Milkovits, Boston Globe

Drug Smugglers Are Being Sentenced to Death via Zoom Max Daly, Vice

Arizona attorney general files notice for execution of 2 death row inmates Lauren Castle, Arizona Republic

New Eyes On Alabama Death Row Case After Integrity Review Raises Questions Debbie Elliott, NPR

Reformers Say US Mass Incarceration Spares None, Including White Americans Bianca Martin, WBEZ

To End Mass Incarceration, We Need to Bust the Myths That Prop It Up James Kilgore, Truthout

Inside stories Taylor Moore, Columbia Journalism Review

The Crime Drama That Will Enthrall and Repel You Sophie Gilbert, The Atlantic

AM Stories

How Do We Stop the Parade of Gun Deaths? Nicholas Kristof, New York Times

Local Officials Need to Invest in Violence Interruption Programs Molly Greene, The Appeal

Can ‘Bystander Intervention Training’ Stop Hate Crimes? Stacey Anderson, New York Magazine

Criminal Justice Advocates Criticize Biden Appointee Over Federal Gun Prosecutions Chip Brownlee, The Trace

DC crackdown on gun crime targeted Black wards, was not enforced citywide as announced Spencer S. Hsu and Keith L. Alexander, Washington Post

The pandemic crime surge is a policing problem Ryan Cooper, The Week

When police kill people, they are rarely prosecuted and hard to convict Mark Berman, Washington Post

In Rare Testimony, Chief Says Chauvin ‘Should Have Stopped’ Pinning Floyd Nicholas Bogel-Burroughs, Shaila Dewan, and John Eligon, New York Times

Chauvin Defense Witness Faces Lawsuit of His Own Over Death of Black Teenager in Police Custody Samantha Hendrickson and JD Duggan, The Intercept

Chicago Police Rolled Out a Cover-Up After Killing a 13-Year-Old Latino Boy Samantha Michaels, Mother Jones

Video of 13-year-old Adam Toledo’s fatal shooting by Chicago police to be released as his family pleads for answers Annie Sweeney and Jeremy Gorner, Chicago Tribune

St. Louis Police Investigate Officers’ Shootings – And Never Reveal Results to Oversight Board Champe Barton, Riverfront Times/The Trace

Police in Virginia can no longer keep all their reports secret forever, thanks to a new law Jonathan Edwards, Virginian-Pilot

A commission makes a good start at reimagining policing in DC Editorial Board, Washington Post

A Trump-Nominated Judge’s Courageous Campaign for Police Accountability Mark Joseph Stern, Slate

Tuesday April 6, 2021

PM Stories

As States Expand Vaccine Eligibility, Many People in Prison Still Wait for Shots Katie Park, Ariel Goodman, and Kimberlee Kruesi, The Marshall Project

When the Pandemic Came to Sullivan Prison John J. Lennon, New York Times Magazine

Inmates stage uprising at St. Louis jail that’s been dogged by unrest USA Today

California prisons grapple with hundreds of transgender inmates requesting new housing Leila Miller, Los Angeles Times

One year after first Rikers COVID death, advocates push parole reform law David Brand, Queens Daily Eagle

Two long-sought bills that would change parole for inmates advance in Maryland Ovetta Wiggins, Washington Post

One Man Fights For Missourians With Felonies To Regain Voting Rights When Released Andrea Y. Henderson, St. Louis Public Radio

DAs Are Asking Biden to End the Death Penalty. But Some Are Still Wielding It Themselves Elizabeth Weill-Greenberg, The Appeal

How the Criminal Justice System Deploys Mass Surveillance on Innocent People Sarah Lageson, Juan Sandoval, and Elizabeth Webster, Vice

Prosecuting low-level crimes makes us less safe Amanda Agan, Jennifer Doleac, and Anna Harvey, Washington Post

Cracking the Case of London’s Elusive, Acrobatic Rare-Book Thieves Marc Wortman, Vanity Fair

Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum Art Heist Gets Another Retelling In New Netflix Docuseries Erin Trahan, WBUR

Novelist Nico Walker on Robbing Banks, Reading Dostoevsky, and Getting Brainwashed by the Army Alex N. Press, Jacobin

The Hazards of American Justice Michael O’Donnell, New York Times

AM Stories

The Political Perception and Reality of the Gun Rights Issue Walter Shapiro, Brennan Center for Justice

Atlanta Spa Shootings: What Korean-Language Media Told Us That the Mainstream Media Didn’t Regina Kim, Rolling Stone

Anti-Asian attacks prompt call for updated hate crimes law NBC News

What is a hate crime? The narrow legal definition makes it hard to charge and convict Jeannine Bell, The Conversation

Death Penalty for Mass Shooters? Depends On Where They Strike. Maurice Chammah and Keri Blakinger, The Marshall Project

How America’s surveillance networks helped the FBI catch the Capitol mob Drew Harwell and Craig Timberg, Washington Post

After Capitol riot, Congress eyes bipartisan reform of its own protectors Andrew Desiderio and Kyle Cheney, Politico

Ex-Salt Lake City police officer arrested for storming the US Capitol Sara Tabin and Scott D. Pierce, Salt Lake Tribune

‘It’s not anything new’: Capitol riots shine light on extremism in law enforcement Kristen Schneider, WJLA

NAACP president says ‘criminal justice system is on trial’ over George Floyd’s killing Anagha Srikanth, The Hill

A question at the heart of the Derek Chauvin trial: Whose fear matters? Monica Hesse, Washington Post

Cause of death at issue in Chauvin trial as prosecution questions medical examiner’s findings Chao Xiong, Minneapolis Star Tribune

When to ignore race in the Derek Chauvin trial Paul Butler, Washington Post

Calling Chauvin a “Bad Apple” Denies Systemic Nature of Racist Police Violence Marjorie Cohn, Truthout

‘They need to be watched’: How livestreaming the Derek Chauvin trial lets people of color monitor the justice system Tami Abdollah, USA Today

A Black Army Rises to Fight the Racist Right Graeme Wood, The Atlantic

Monday April 5, 2021

PM Stories

Can Procedural Justice Strategies Cut Recidivism? Emily Riley, The Crime Report

If we truly believe in redemption and second chances, parole should be celebrated Reginald Dwayne Betts, Washington Post

Criminal Justice Reform Advocates Say They’re Anxious To See More Action From Biden Carrie Johnson, NPR

What Progressives Can Learn From California Eliminating Cash Bail Lindsay Harrison and Dahlia Lithwick, Slate

California’s next attorney general will enter office with a full plate of major challenges Patrick McGreevy, Los Angeles Times

Cook County replaced its public defender. But she’s not done fighting yet. Jonah Newman and Michael Korsh, Injustice Watch

Cuomo Signs Off on Two Big Wins for Criminal Justice Reform Veronica Riccobene, The Appeal

Cuomo Signs Bill Banning Long-Term Solitary Confinement In NY Christopher Robbins, Gothamist

Can New York’s Marijuana Legalization Light Up a New Path? Spencer Bokat-Lindell, New York Times

“We’ve Already Been F—ing Smoking Weed the Whole Time” Aymann Ismail, Slate

For many with criminal convictions in their past, the ‘Clean Slate’ bill would open doors long closed Kelan Lyons, Connecticut Mirror

The true story behind Netflix’s newest crime drama was too bizarre for TV Emily Zemler, Los Angeles Times

Review: The Return of Elliot Stabler Mike Hale, New York Times

Organized Crime Is Not What We Need From Law & Order Kathryn VanArendonk, New York Magazine

The Mobster Who Bought His Son a Hockey Team (2018) Rich Cohen, The Atlantic

AM Stories

At least 20 mass shootings have taken place in the two weeks since the metro Atlanta spa attacks left 8 dead Madeline Holcombe, CNN

US saw estimated 4,000 extra murders in 2020 amid surge in daily gun violence Lois Beckett and Abené Clayton, The Guardian

After three deadly gun rampages, survivors and experts fear what comes next Kimberly Kindy, Washington Post

Critics cite lack of gun-control debate after Atlanta shootings, say it’s about who is ‘relatable’ Deepa Shivaram, NBC News

$5 Billion For Violence Prevention Is Tucked Into Biden Infrastructure Plan Juana Summers, NPR

Biden Jobs Bill Would Send $5 Billion to Community Gun Violence Prevention Jennifer Mascia, The Trace

To a Man With a Hammer, Every Criminal Justice Problem Looks Like a Nail Clark Neily and Shon Hopwood, Cato Institute

Police are often first responders to mental health crises, but tragedies are prompting change Julianne Hill, ABA Journal

A year after Breonna Taylor’s death, Kentucky lawmakers limit, but don’t ban, use of no-knock warrants Taylor Romine, CNN

Derek Chauvin Trial Puts the COVID-19-Altered Courtroom on Worldwide Display Jason Grant, Law.com

A week of compelling and potentially devastating testimony at Derek Chauvin’s murder trial Ray Sanchez, CNN

Derek Chauvin trial: police chief to testify against former officer in ‘remarkable move’ Oliver Laughland, The Guardian

Derek Chauvin used force against suspects before George Floyd. The jury won’t hear about 6 of those incidents. Tami Abdollah, USA Today

Crime Story Daily Highlights – Week 86

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

On the criminal justice policy front: A piece from the New Yorker centers on “the return of mass shootings” in America. For all the horrors of this pandemic year, many found some small relief in the momentary absence, with schools and businesses closed, of the “gun massacre.” Now, as the country begins to “open up,” mass shootings, too, have returned with a vengeance: seven in the past seven days, with eight people killed in three shootings in Atlanta, ten in a grocery store in Boulder, and four in an Orange County office building earlier this week. In the wake of all this too-familiar violence, pieces from Washington Monthly and the New York Times focus on the gun-control debate. Though the “outrage cycle” following mass shootings has become numbingly predictable, some things are different this time: for one, Democrats are in power, and have “never been more unified” behind new restrictions. For another, the NRA – long the “bête noir of the gun control movement” – is on the ropes, with a New York State lawsuit charging fraud and seeking the group’s dissolution. On the other hand, political stalemate, polarization, and our fleeting national attention span mean that passing a bipartisan background check bill, let alone more comprehensive action on gun violence, will be an uphill battle. And a piece from Slate, in collaboration with The Trace, also focuses on these recent shootings, challenging the media’s framing of the reappearance of mass violence in America as a “return to normal.” Mass shootings, the piece argues, never went away: they only slowed under a commonly-used but restrictive definition that excludes most mass-casualty incidents. In fact, when defined as incidents in which “four or more people were shot in a public or private space,” 2020 saw more mass shootings in America than any previous year. These shootings disproportionately occurred in majority-Black neighborhoods and affected primarily Black victims, but even the highest-casualty incidents received limited national media attention. Using such a narrow definition of “mass shooting,” the piece argues, enforces a “harmful hierarchy of gun violence that winds up ranking shootings with Black victims as least newsworthy.” As Greg Jackson, director of the nonprofit Community Justice Action Fund, told The Trace: “I think the media has written off our communities… The fear that a lot of Americans are struggling with and facing right now is the fear that people in our neighborhoods have been living with and navigating for decades.”

In muckraker/watchdog reporting: A piece from the Marshall Project asks, “Why is it so hard to prosecute white extremists?”. Especially in the wake of the Capitol insurrection, federal law enforcement officials have been criticized for not aggressively prosecuting cases against right-wing extremists. One explanation is simple: the First Amendment protects abhorrent racist speech, and in some cases, even threats. Another is a bit more complicated: Prosecutors typically choose to pursue only the strongest and most winnable charges, usually involving guns and drugs – even if it means downplaying white supremacy.

Other stories this week focus on the murder trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin. A piece from USA Today centers on Chauvin’s defense team. For those watching from home, Chauvin’s trial might look like a match of a “lone defense attorney battling a stacked prosecution by the Minnesota Attorney General’s Office.” But despite appearances, Chauvin’s attorney, Eric Nelson, is hardly working alone: the Minneapolis Police and Peace Officers Association, the largest law enforcement union in the state, is backing him up with a dozen other lawyers and over $1 million in aid. A piece from Mother Jones also focuses on Chauvin’s defense strategy and “the myth of the supernegro.” In his opening statement Monday, Nelson portrayed the events of May 25, 2020, as “a struggle between a powerful brute and a law enforcement official trying to do his job.” He cited George Floyd’s height and weight, arguing, essentially, that “this Black man was so large, so powerful, and so dangerous that the only thing the tiny white cop could do to stop him was to kill him.” The piece explores the long-running “myth of the supernegro” – the idea that Black people are inherently “stronger, faster, and more dangerous” than other races – a dangerous and often fatal lie dating back to the days of slavery. And a piece from the Columbia Journalism Review centers on “the trial of Derek Chauvin and the debate about cameras in court.” Chauvin’s trial is the first ever to be broadcast live and in-full from a Minnesota Courtroom – a development that hasn’t come without controversy. The piece surveys the history of cameras in the courtroom, a national debate that dates back to at least the 1930s, when newsreel editors distributed dramatic witness testimony in the Lindbergh-baby case in violation of their agreement with the judge. While this debate has taken different forms around still and moving images, federal and state courts, and civil and criminal cases, its general points of contention stay the same: advocates argue that broadcasting court proceedings facilitates transparency and scrutiny of the legal system; while opponents say live TV coverage disadvantages defendants and can change the dynamics of a trial in “undesirable ways” – without actually addressing the justice system’s many flaws. Indeed, the piece argues, “the presence of cameras will not, in and of itself, fix the systemic biases of the justice system… but these problems are, ultimately, not the fault of TV cameras; it’s the job of the people on either side of the camera to do the fixing, including, in the case of the news media, by using transparency to sharpen scrutiny, rather than sell cheap hype.”

In complex crime storytelling: A piece from the Intercept centers on the case of Rayford Burke. In 1993, Burke, a Black man, was convicted of murder by an all-white jury in Statesville, North Carolina, and sentenced to death. Although no physical evidence tied Burke to the crime, and though witnesses offered conflicting and sometimes contradictory testimony at his trial, it took less than two hours for jurors to agree that Burke deserved to die. Of the 137 people currently on North Carolina’s death row, 73 are Black men, and, like Burke, more than half were sent there between 1990 and 2000, a decade when the state’s criminal justice system was rife with racial bias. Now, as North Carolina attempts to reckon with its racist past, it remains to be seen whether efforts to make amends will be enough. And a piece from Medium recounts “the meteoric rise and dramatic fall” of Steve Carroll, the “high-flying corporate executive who wanted it all.” One morning in August 2018, a tall man in a polo shirt walked into the US Bank branch in Rolling Meadows, Illinois. After making small talk with the teller, the man pulled out a small pistol and informed her this was a robbery. She complied, handed over $2,000 in cash, and the man ran out the door. Soon, surveillance camera footage of the robber, who hadn’t worn a mask or even a baseball cap, appeared in local papers and online. As the photos circulated, friends and business associates were shocked to recognize the man as Steve Carroll, a high-powered, high-rolling corporate “dynamo” with a long resume as an executive at some of America’s biggest and best-known companies. For those who knew Steve as the “successful friend in any group he was a part of,” the “guy who always picked up the check,” the images were baffling. But the Rolling Meadows robbery was only the latest in a series of “unbelievable turns that started in the executive offices of some of America’s best-known corporations and would end in a manhunt and a burning question: What on earth happened to Steve Carroll?”.

In culture/true crime: A piece from the Guardian goes inside the world of amateur true-crime detectives. The article centers on Websleuth.com, an online forum where hundreds of thousands of members – true-crime fanatics from all over the world – “band together to investigate unsolved crimes.” Over the years, Websleuths members have picked over a multitude of cold cases – and recorded considerable success investigating murders, missing people, and unidentified-persons cases. These sleuths’ collective influence, however, “can also be their downfall: innocent people have had lives ruined after being wrongly targeted, while victims’ families remain in limbo as they are given false hope.” Slate reviews the new Peacock docuseries John Wayne Gacy: Devil in Disguise. One of the few things that many people know about serial killer John Wayne Gacy, beyond the “26 bodies discovered in the crawlspace of his Chicago ranch home in 1978,” is that he sometimes performed as a clown. After his capture, creepy, grainy photos of Gacy in clown makeup became “instantly iconic, the stuff of punk rock album covers and the urban legends kids use to freak each other out.” But Devil in Disguise avoids the “killer clown” trope, focusing instead on Gacy’s seeming “normalness,” from his successful small business to his connections in local politics, and the pervasive climate of “pretended virtue” in late-‘70s Middle America that allowed him to run free. And, in an interview with Teen Vogue, abolitionist and author Mariame Kaba discusses We Do This ‘Til We Free Us, a new collection of her writings on abolition, gender, and racial and transformative justice.

Friday April 2, 2021

PM Stories

Stop the Executions, President Biden Editorial Board, New York Times

Living With Survivor’s Guilt on Federal Death Row Billie J. Allen, The Marshall Project

COVID Infections Soared in Prisons Where Testing Was ‘Limited’: Report Nancy Bilyeau, The Crime Report

Colorado’s COVID-19 outbreaks drop overall, but rise in prisons Meg Wingerter, Denver Post

Kentucky’s Prison Coronavirus Defense Is Failing Jared Bennett, WFPL

Inmates’ Distrust Of Prison Health Care Fuels Distrust Of COVID Vaccines Eric Berger, St. Louis Public Radio

As COVID-19 continues to impact Philly’s criminal courts, some lawyers say a lack of vaccines is ‘life-threatening’ Chris Palmer, Philadelphia Inquirer

Waiting for Justice Robert Lewis, CalMatters

Black Women Lament Disenfranchisement After Leaving Prison Erica Johnson, Washington Informer

States Should Not Deprive People in Prison of the Right to Vote Molly Greene, The Appeal

Mass Incarceration Draws Its Own Maps and Creates a Country in Its Image Kiran Misra, New Republic

Advocates Look To End Prison Gerrymandering In Connecticut Davis Dunavin, Connecticut Public Radio

Can New Prison Design Help America’s Mass Incarceration Problem? Eva Fedderly, Architectural Digest

Mariame Kaba, Abolitionist and Author, on We Do This Til We Free UsKandist Mallett, Teen Vogue

How Elizabeth Loftus Changed the Meaning of Memory Rachel Aviv, The New Yorker

The Nine Lives of ‘Law & Order’ Alan Sepinwall, Rolling Stone

AM Stories

Why Is It So Hard To Prosecute White Extremists? Simone Weichselbaum and Joseph Neff, The Marshall Project

What’s Wrong With Our Hate Crime Laws? New York Times

US Attorney General launches review on hate crimes prosecutions, data collection Sarah N. Lynch, Reuters

6 Bold Ideas for Gun Reform That Could Actually Happen Matt Valentine, Politico

‘A Historic Investment’ to Fight Community Violence Tom Kutsch, The Trace

Inside the Community Patrols in San Francisco’s Chinatown Samantha Michaels, Mother Jones

The Atlanta shooting put a spotlight on the vulnerability of spa workers. Many are still routinely arrested across Georgia. Cara Kelly, Erin Mansfield, and Brenna Smith, USA Today

“The System of Policing Is on Trial”: Derek Chauvin Murder Case Is About More Than Just George Floyd Democracy Now!

The Myth of the Supernegro Comes to Derek Chauvin’s Defense Nathalie Baptiste, Mother Jones

Young witnesses in Chauvin trial a reminder of the role of youth activists in protesting police violence Eugene Scott, Washington Post

Derek Chauvin trial brings Court TV to a new generation Stephen Battaglio, Los Angeles Times

Rochester City Council approves police reform plan to end union contract, reduce budget Will Cleveland, Rochester Democrat and Chronicle

NYC to End Qualified Immunity for Police Officers – To an Extent Daniel Moritz-Rabson, Filter Magazine

In former Klan country, one Black woman decides she’s had enough Rebecca Tan, Washington Post

Thursday April 1, 2021

PM Stories

Here’s some hope for supporters of criminal justice reform Charles Lane, Washington Post

The Biden Administration Takes a Step Toward Undoing the Damage of the War on Drugs Julia Craven, Slate

“We’re Reversing 90 Years Of Prohibition”: New York State Legalizes Marijuana Christopher Robbins, Gothamist

New York to Expunge Convictions With Marijuana Legalization Keshia Clukey, Bloomberg

Marilyn Mosby declares war on drugs over, formalizes policy to dismiss all possession charges in Baltimore Tim Prudente, Baltimore Sun

What Marijuana Legalization Means For Those Who Have Been Hurt By The War On Drugs Brian Mann, NPR

Maryland House passes bill to end life without parole for juvenile offenders, allow re-sentencings Bennett Leckrone and Danielle E. Gaines, WTOP

New York Will End Long-Term Solitary Confinement in Prisons and Jails Troy Closson, New York Times

Former prisoner taking on Michigan laws to create change in criminal justice system Scott Wolchek and Annmarie Kent, WNEM

A mother’s pursuit for justice overturns wrongful conviction, catches the true killer Boaz Halaban, Marc Dorian, Sandy Evans, Carrie Cook, and Haley Yamada, ABC News

Death of a (Really Good) Salesman Jeff Gottlieb, Medium

How Midwestern Politeness Let a Serial Killer Run Free Laura Miller, Slate

AM Stories

Minneapolis Braces for the Trial of Derek Chauvin Aymann Ismail, Slate

‘Believe Your Eyes,’ Prosecutor Tells Jury on First Day of Derek Chauvin Trial John Eligon, Tim Arango, Shaila Dewan, and Nicholas Bogel-Burroughs, New York Times

Who Are the Jurors in the Derek Chauvin Trial? Shaila Dewan and Tim Arango, New York Times

The trial of Derek Chauvin, and the debate about cameras in court Jon Allsop, Columbia Journalism Review

Derek Chauvin's Lawyers Are Falsely Implying That Drugs Killed George Floyd Mike Ludwig, Truthout

Eric Nelson isn’t working alone to defend Derek Chauvin: A police legal fund is backing him up with a dozen lawyers and $1 million Eric Ferkenhoff, USA Today

Insurrection fundraiser: Capitol riot extremists, Trump supporters raise money for lawyer bills online Brenna Smith, Jessica Guynn, and Will Carless, USA Today

Most Capitol rioters unlikely to serve jail time Josh Gerstein and Kyle Cheney, Politico

A Black Lives Matter activist exposed the role two local police officers played in the Capitol insurrection. Their small town rapidly took sides. Kimberly Kindy, Washington Post

No ‘Guilty’ Verdicts in Trial of White Cops Accused of Beating Black Undercover Officer Joe Harris, Courthouse News

Cities Need a Fresh Approach to Public Safety: Report The Crime Report

This Election Could Transform Policing in Omaha Anoa Changa, The Appeal

Police Unions Won Power Using His Playbook. Now He’s Negotiating the Backlash. Michael H. Keller and Kim Barker, New York Times

 

Wednesday March 31, 2021

PM Stories

Can prosecutors truly be progressive? Iman Freeman and Matt Zernhelt, Baltimore Sun

The Progressive Prosecutor KALW

“VC Lives Matter”: Silicon Valley Investors Want to Oust San Francisco’s Reformist DA Samantha Michaels and Lil Kalish, Mother Jones

Mass. AG Pays Law Firms $1M To Defend Ex-Prosecutors In Drug Lab Scandal Deborah Becker, WBUR

How private prisons turned criminal justice into big business Vanessa Taylor, Mic

The economic costs of pretrial detention Will Dobbie and Crystal S. Yang, Brookings

Too Many People Are Locked Up for Small Thefts Editorial Board, New York Times

Texas Gov. Abbott Says Bail Reform Is A Legislative Priority, But How To ‘Fix’ The System Is Still In Dispute Texas Public Radio

Convictions by non-unanimous juries were banned in 2020. What happens to those imprisoned by them? Tom Casciato, PBS

They Served Their Sentences. Now They Want To Know When They Can Go Home. JD Tuccille, Reason

For inmates released during COVID, online-everything makes coming home a digital headache Maria Burnett, USA Today

Poet Ra Avis Wants You To Understand That Formerly Incarcerated People Are Just Like Everyone Else Kara Jillian Brown, Well + Good

Review/Preview: Ethical True Crime Podcasts WNYC

‘After the Murder of Albert Lima’ Review: Justice His Own Way Robert Daniels, New York Times

AM Stories

The Return of Mass Shootings Adam Gopnik, The New Yorker

What the Media Has Learned Since Columbine Michael M. Grynbaum and John Koblin, New York Times

Can New Gun Violence Research Find a Path Around the Political Stalemate? Sheryl Gay Stolberg, New York Times

Senate Republicans Argue Black Lives Matter and Defund the Police Are to Blame for Gun Violence Matt Cohen, Mother Jones

The Way We Think About “Mass Shootings” Ignores Many Black Victims Champe Barton, Slate

Fighting America’s Gun Plague Ian Frazier, The New Yorker

Inside the Community Patrols in San Francisco’s Chinatown Samantha Michaels, Mother Jones

Sheila Nezhad Says Police Are Not the Path to Public Safety in Minneapolis Joshua Vaughn, The Appeal

The world saw George Floyd’s final minutes. Now it will see whether he gets justice. Eugene Robinson, Washington Post

Heavy burden for jurors in case of George Floyd’s death Politico

Amid Chauvin Trial, Advocates See Hope for Jury Diversity Mike Moen, Public News Service

The Chauvin Trial Matters, But Real Victory Would Mean Divestment From Policing Amy Goodman, Truthout

The County Where Cops Call the Shots Farah Stockman, New York Times

Tuesday March 30, 2021

PM Stories

The death penalty ended sooner than expected in Virginia – and not soon enough Theresa Vargas, Washington Post

Why has it been so easy to send innocent people to Florida’s death row? Editorial Board, South Florida Sun Sentinel

Is this the year Nevada ends the death penalty? April Corbin Girnus, Nevada Current

Bill would further limit solitary confinement, require transparency about how often practice is used Michelle Rindels, Nevada Independent

Lawmakers propose sentencing reforms as state prisons near crisis. Will any pass? Grace Toohey, Orlando Sentinel

New York Must Offer Vaccine to All Prisoners Immediately, Judge Rules Troy Closson, New York Times

As Crime Rises, NY Prosecutor Candidates Vow to Rein In Office Patricia Hurtado, Bloomberg

Orleans DA Williams fights mass incarceration while being tough on violent crime WGNO

Study Shows No-Prosecution Policies for Misdemeanors Lead to Less Crime The Crime Report

Time for the Next Step in Federal Justice Reform: Rethinking Drug Laws Brendan Belair, The Crime Report

New York lawmakers reach agreement to legalize recreational marijuana The Guardian

‘Kinder, Gentler Cages Are Still Cages’: How Prison Abolitionists Are Working Towards a Less Carceral Future Jessica Moulite, The Root

Mariame Kaba’s Vision of Abolition Elias Rodriques, The Nation

Nicole Jones’ documentary ‘The Third Strike’ brings humanity to the dehumanizing criminal justice system Emma Danon, Columbia Spectator

AM Stories

Murder trial of Derek Chauvin, officer charged in George Floyd’s death, gets underway Holly Bailey and Kim Bellware, Washington Post

Why Minneapolis Was the Breaking Point Wesley Lowery, The Atlantic

Derek Chauvin trial represents a defining moment in America’s racial history Reid Forgrave and Maya Rao, Minneapolis Star-Tribune

What Derek Chauvin’s trial in the death of George Floyd means for America Holly Bailey, Washington Post

A Jury Expert Defends the Derek Chauvin Trial Jury Aymann Ismail, Slate

Derek Chauvin trial: Why role of TV cameras could come into focus Joshua Nevett, BBC News

Minnosota police reform debate plays out in legislators’ Zoom backgrounds Briana Bierschbach, Minneapolis Star-Tribune

Ten Months After George Floyd’s Death, Minneapolis Residents Are at War Over Policing John Eligon and Tim Arango, New York Times

NYPD officers are no longer protected from civil lawsuits after city council passes police reform legislation Taylor Romine, CNN

New York City Council Approves Package Of Police Reform Bills After Voting To End Qualified Immunity For Officers Andrea Grymes, CBS New York

City Council’s Police Reforms Fail To Reduce NYPD’s Footprint, Critics Say Christopher Robbins and Jake Offenhartz, Gothamist

A Police Union Contract Puts Taxpayers on the Hook to Defend Officers When the City Won’t Jake Pearson, ProPublica

This US city was working to cut its police budget in half – then violent crime started to rise Abené Clayton, The Guardian

Who will keep us safe in a world without police? We will Hari Ziyad, Salon

Monday March 29, 2021

PM Stories

America’s Rural-Jail-Death Problem Katie Rose Quandt, The Atlantic

Why Did a St. Louis Man Die in a Federal Prison Coronavirus Hotspot? Mike Fitzgerald, Riverfront Times

As Prisons See Drop In Cases, Another Man Imprisoned In Mass. Has Died Of COVID-19 Deborah Becker, WBUR

Hundreds of Texas prisoners are getting vaccinated – months after many became eligible Neelam Bohra, Texas Tribune

Preparing Prisons for Passover in a Plague Year Kenneth R. Rosen, The New Yorker

US bail-bond insurers spend big to keep defendants paying Alwyn Scott and Suzanne Barlyn, Reuters

Could Eliminating Cash Bail Save the US Billions? Nancy Bilyeau, The Crime Report

California Supreme Court Rules It’s Unconstitutional To Imprison People Just Because They Can’t Afford Bail Scott Shackford, Reason

Baltimore will no longer prosecute drug possession, prostitution, low-level crimes Jon Schuppe, NBC News

Rapper Mac Phipps, Imprisoned 21 Years, Fights For Exoneration After Change In Racist Law Josephine Harvey, HuffPost

An All-White Jury Sent Rayford Burke to Death Row. Will North Carolina’s Efforts to Make Amends Be Enough? Jacob Biba, The Intercept

A conversation with Alvin Bragg, candidate for Manhattan District Attorney The Appeal

True-crime fanatics on the hunt: inside the world of amateur detectives Ellie Abraham, The Guardian

True crime shows spotlight women as victims – but don’t help improve women’s safety Brigittine French, Salon

Netflix’s Serial Killer Drama The Serpent Is Nihilistic Murder Porn in Prestige True-Crime Packaging Judy Berman, Time

AM Stories

After the Boulder Shooting, Are We Any Closer to Gun Control? Bill Scher, Washington Monthly

White House Weighs Executive Orders on Gun Control Annie Karni, New York Times

‘This is a wake-up call’: Georgia’s Asian communities turn tragedy into political power Maya King, Politico

Activists Counter Anti-Asian Racism Through Community Safety Initiatives Victoria Law, Truthout

The Supreme Court Closes a Police Shooting Loophole Mark Joseph Stern, Slate

The Obscure Supreme Court Case That Could Radically Redefine Police Powers Matt Ford, New Republic

It May Soon Be Easier to Sue the NYPD for Misconduct Jeffery C. Mays and Ashley Southall, New York Times

Texas lawmakers consider major criminal justice changes in George Floyd’s name Eva Ruth Moravec, Washington Post

Minneapolis Activists Could Put Police Reform Directly on the Ballot Joshua Vaughn, The Appeal

Under the shadow of the Chauvin trial, Minneapolis resumes its bid to reimagine public safety Jared Goyette, Washington Post

How COVID will make Derek Chauvin’s trial in George Floyd’s death look like no other Bill Hutchinson, ABC News

Hundreds arrested in Philly uprisings may avoid prosecution through restorative justice Samantha Melamed, Philadelphia Inquirer

The elite Baltimore cops who became criminals Michael A. Fletcher, Washington Post

Crime Story Daily Highlights – Week 85

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

On the criminal justice policy front: In light of the recent mass shootings in Atlanta and Boulder, Colorado, a piece from the Atlantic asks, “Is America’s great crime decline over?”. After decades of decline, violence is once again on the rise in the US. In 2020, in the midst of the pandemic, gun deaths reached their highest point in US history. In an interview with the Atlantic, sociologist Patrick Sharkey illuminates this recent increase in violence, the relationship between poverty and crime, and the importance of embracing nuance and complexity over easy solutions. A piece from the New York Times centers on the fight for gun control, while a piece from the Washington Post focuses on the Atlanta spa shootings and Georgia’s new hate-crimes law. Last week, the shooting deaths of eight people – six of them Asian-American women – at three Atlanta massage parlors triggered vigorous national debate over whether or not the mass killing amounted to a hate crime. This fraught conversation, taking place amid a national surge in anti-Asian violence, has potentially significant implications for the prosecution of the 21-year-old suspect. Until last year, Georgia was one of a small handful of states that lacked its own hate-crimes law. That changed after the killing of Ahmaud Arbery, a “Black man shot dead after three White men pursued him while he was jogging.” The uproar prompted the state legislature to act, and the spa shootings give prosecutors the first high-profile chance to put the new law into action. And a piece from the New Republic by Melissa Gira Grant focuses on race, sex work, and policing in the wake of the Atlanta shootings. According to the Cherokee County Sheriff’s office, the shooter described his targets as “an outlet,” telling officers he “blames the massage parlors for providing an outlet for his addiction to sex.” “This,” Grant writes, “is the uncomfortable truth yet to be faced after the shootings: Massage businesses have long been subject to eliminationist sentiments, which manifest in community vigilantism, in police raids, and in airless policy debates disconnected from the reality of the women who do massage work. The extraordinary violence of last week… is continuous with that status quo, one that would rather eradicate massage businesses than regard the workers there as worthy of rights, of dignity, of belonging.”

In muckraker/watchdog reporting: A piece from USA Today focuses on race, extremism, and policing in the wake of the Capitol riot. Out of 324 arrests made in connection with the riot, 43 are military veterans or current or former first responders. At least four police officers and three former officers face federal charges; two have been fired, one resigned, and one was suspended without pay. The charges have reignited concern among lawmakers and law enforcement officials about the extent of extremists’ infiltration. As Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) told USA Today, “A street alliance among right-wing paramilitary forces, law enforcement and demagogic politicians has been a hallmark of fascism for a century… Off-duty cops beating up on-duty cops to overthrow an election is a nightmare scenario for America." A piece from Just Security takes a deeper dive into the failure of American law enforcement to police white nationalism. In the wake of the Capitol insurrection, the acting chief of the Capitol Police testified before Congress about her agency’s response, acknowledging that law enforcement agencies tasked with protecting the Capitol had been aware that armed “militia groups and white supremacists organizations would be attending” and that there was a “strong potential for violence.” Nevertheless, the Department rejected requests for additional support; as a result of this deliberate under-response, Capitol Police officers were “no match for the tens of thousands of insurrectionists (many armed) attacking the Capitol.” But while this candid admission of failure might have been a “refreshing change from a system allergic to accountability and truth,” it would be a mistake, the piece argues, to frame these failures as an aberration in policing practices: “Rather, the underpolicing of white racial violence and white supremacy is a foundational component of policing in the United States” – a feature, not a bug. And a piece from Esquire focuses on a policing scandal in Mount Vernon, New York. The city of Mount Vernon, on the northern edge of the Bronx, was once the proud center of Black culture in very white, very affluent Westchester County. But the city fell on hard times, and its law-enforcement officers responded with increasingly aggressive policing, or worse. For years, Mount Vernon’s narcotics unit, a specialized team of the detective division, reigned with impunity, fabricating crimes, planting evidence, and using excessive force, including strip and cavity searches that violated the department’s own protocols. Then one of the unit’s own officers, disgusted by what he had seen and fearful for his safety, started covertly documenting the abuse.

In complex crime storytelling: A piece from Guernica Magazine takes a deep dive into the world of illegal finch smuggling. The chestnut-bellied seed finch – in its native Guyana, the towa-towa – is at the center of a highly profitable underground trade that culminates in Queens, New York, with a series of elaborate, secretive competitions known as “birdsport.” In recent years, federal authorities, alarmed by the threat of avian disease as well as the links between finch trafficking and other forms of crime, have clamped down on the trade, jailing smugglers and investigating the networks that support them – but, with champion finches selling for as much as nine thousand dollars, their efforts have only driven this lucrative industry further underground. A piece from the Marshall Project recounts a story of wrongful conviction and one woman’s obsessive quest for justice. The saga began in 2015, when bestselling author Sara Gruen received a letter from California’s Pleasant Valley State Prison. The sender, a man named Chuck Murdoch, praised Gruen’s work, detailing his personal connection to her novel Water for Elephants and how much the book had meant to him. As Gruen learned more about Murdoch’s “twisted legal saga” – sentenced to life without parole for first-degree murder, Murdoch’s trial had been marred by “mercurial witnesses, the suppression of crucial evidence, and a judge who seemed motivated to secure Murdoch’s conviction” – she became increasingly invested in his case. Over the next six years, Gruen’s casual investigation would bloom into a “frenzied obsession,” costing Gruen her health, her relationships, and almost all of her money. Now, Murdoch’s fate – and, in many ways, Gruen’s – rests with the Los Angeles County Conviction Review Unit. And a piece from New York Magazine examines policing and extremism after the Capitol riot in one small New England town. David Ellis, age 60, began the morning of January 6 in the southwestern New Hampshire town of Troy, where he is chief of police. From there, he drove nearly two hours to Boston, then boarded a bus bound for Washington, DC. After listening to his president speak, Ellis wandered down Pennsylvania Avenue, taking in the scene. It was there, standing outside the Capitol building as his fellow Trump supporters scaled the walls, that Ellis met, and spoke to, a reporter from New York. His words would soon upend the little town he has looked after for three decades, snowball into the statehouse, and roil New Hampshire politics. A clash over one unexpected question — “what to do about the lawman who was closer than he should have been to an insurrection?” — has “raised others about the viciousness of our politics and how much the Trump years have warped us.”

In culture/true crime: BuzzFeed reviews the Netflix documentary “Operation Varsity Blues.” When news of the college admissions scandal broke in the spring of 2019, most of the public’s initial fascination was predictably fueled by the biggest celebrity names. But “Operation Varsity Blues” aims its critique higher than these celebrities, exposing the larger college admissions industry – a system already rigged in favor of the most privileged – as a kind of scam unto itself. The New York Times reviews “Luz,” a new film about “love in and out of lockup.” The film follows a relationship between two men from the minimum-security prison where they first meet as bunkmates to their lives on the outside, as they navigate the challenges of reentry while struggling to preserve a connection forged in and by confinement. And the New Republic reviews the HBO docuseries “QAnon: Into the Storm.” The film centers on a deceptively simple question: Who is “Q,” the anonymous figure at the heart of QAnon, an “equally ridiculous and frightening movement of people who think that the US government is controlled by a cabal of child-eating pedophiles”? Methodically documenting the rise of disinformation, twenty-first-century conspiracy theories, and the QAnon cult, “Into the Storm” is a “revealing but occasionally grueling encounter with a dark side of American culture that our political class is still struggling to understand.”

Friday March 26, 2021

PM Stories

Why the Media Wants a Crisis at the Border Alex Shephard, New Republic

What’s Actually Happening at the Border Henry Grabar, Slate

CBP Defends Conditions At Border Detention Centers Amid Upsurge In Migrants Scott Neuman, NPR

Private Companies Maneuvering to Cash In on Biden’s Child Migrant Detention John Washington, The Intercept

How private prisons turned criminal justice into big business Vanessa Taylor, Mic

Clearing COVID-19 backlog in Fulton Courts will cost $60M Ben Brasch, Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Pandemic jury trials go from the courtroom to a ballroom Shelley Murphy, Boston Globe

Zoom Court Videos Are Making People’s Darkest Hours Go Viral Gita Jackson, Vice

Losing My Mom Was Hard Enough. Prison Made It Unbearable Julia Ann Poff, The Marshall Project

I Survived 18 Years in Solitary Confinement Ian Manuel, New York Times

Proposal would give Alaska juveniles sentenced to life a possible way out of prison Michelle Theriault Boots, Anchorage Daily News

California’s top court ends cash bail for some defendants who can’t afford it Maura Dolan, Los Angeles Times

Local Leaders Laud CA Supreme Court’s Ruling on Bail in Criminal Cases City News Service

After crime plummeted in 2020, Baltimore will stop drug, sex prosecutions Tom Jackman, Washington Post

Washington State Restores Voting Rights to Those on Probation and Parole The Crime Report

AM Stories

Shootings never stopped during the pandemic: 2020 was the deadliest gun violence year in decades Reis Thebault and Danielle Rindler, Washington Post

Boulder grocery store rampage follows spike in mass shootings during 2020 Jim Sergent, USA Today

The Atlanta Attacks Came After A Year Of Data Showed Anti-Asian Incidents On The Rise Galen Druke, Nate Silver, and Alex Samuels, FiveThirtyEight

‘Locked Down, Lashing Out’: How COVID Spurred Anti-Asian Hate Crimes Andrea Cipriano, The Crime Report

Calling the Atlanta Shootings a Hate Crime Isn’t Nearly Enough Saida Grundy, The Atlantic

Suburban radicals: Inside the resurgence of right-wing extremism in Orange County Paige St. John, Anita Chabria, Hannah Fry, and Michael Finnegan, Los Angeles Times

New evidence suggests ‘alliance’ between Oath Keepers, Proud Boys ahead of Jan. 6 Kyle Cheney, Politico

New Proud Boys Busted for Capitol Riot Have Wild Police Ties Kelly Weill, Daily Beast

The Failure to Police White Nationalism is a Feature, Not a Bug of American Policing Priscilla A. Ocen, Just Security

Former DC police chief: ‘There should be a higher standard for police’ KK Ottesen, Washington Post

Identity crisis: White supremacist, racist American cops must be removed, experts say. It will take resolve. William Ramsey, USA Today

A California City Is Experiencing An Epidemic of Police Shootings – And Many Of The Victims May Have Been Unarmed Brian Krans, The Appeal

Thursday March 25, 2021

PM Stories

Virginia Becomes the First Southern State to Abolish the Death Penalty Elizabeth Weill-Greenberg, The Appeal

‘It is the moral thing to do’: Virginia’s death penalty abolished in historic signing Frank Green, Richmond Times-Dispatch

How Biden Can Reverse Trump’s Death Penalty Expansion Keri Blakinger, The Marshall Project

On Federal Death Row, Inmates Discuss Whether Biden Will Halt Executions Michael Tarm, WBEZ

‘If you say no innocent person has been executed, you are burying your head in the sand’ Editorial Board, South Florida Sun Sentinel

Is coronavirus the new death penalty in America’s prisons? Yvette C. Hammett, Legal Examiner

Denied Vaccines, People Incarcerated in Alabama Prisons Are Dying of COVID Equal Justice Initiative

Why Did a St. Louis Man Die in a Federal Prison Coronavirus Hotspot? Mike Fitzgerald, Riverfront Times

Oregon’s prisons have offered a vaccine to every inmate in custody Conrad Wilson, Oregon Public Broadcasting

More than 1,000 Illinois prisoners to be released under COVID-19 lawsuit settlement Sophie Sherry, Chicago Sun-Times

Wisconsin’s prison population drops to lowest level in more than 20 years during COVID-19 pandemic Patrick Marley, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Reentry and voting: New report shows barriers faced by Mississippians after time in prison Gabriela Szymanowska, Mississippi Clarion Ledger

Connecticut must reduce barriers for rebuilding careers after prison Scott Lewis, Connecticut Mirror

Out Of Prison But Still Trapped: Examining The ‘Afterlife’ Of Incarceration Terry Gross, NPR

AM Stories

Is America’s Great Crime Decline Over? Derek Thompson, The Atlantic

Should We Get Used to Mass Shootings? (2016) Michael Paterniti, GQ

First Atlanta, then Boulder: Two mass shootings in a week. Azi Paybarah and Maria Cramer, New York Times

‘Nothing can fill the void’: Boulder reels from mass shooting as suspect is charged Ari Schneider, Amanda Miller, Mark Berman, and Annie Gowen, Washington Post

Boulder, Like Many US Cities, Passed Its Own Firearm Laws. Gun Groups Got Them Thrown Out. Nick Penzenstadler and Brian Freskos, The Trace

Across States, a Checkerboard of Gun Laws Reflects Partisan Tilt Reid J. Epstein, New York Times

‘We have to act’: Biden calls on Congress to move fast on background checks, assault weapon ban after Boulder shooting Joey Garrison, USA Today

Where Will the Gun Control Debate Go Now (if Anywhere)? Giovanni Russonello, New York Times

Saying Never Again to the Violence in Atlanta Means Saying No to More Policing Melissa Gira Grant, New Republic

‘A conversation that needs to happen’: Democrats agonize over ‘defund the police’ fallout Holly Otterbein, Politico

This Is What Jurors In Derek Chauvin’s Trial Think About Black Lives Matter, Defunding The Police, And The Protests For George Floyd Tasneem Nashrulla, BuzzFeed News

Derek Chauvin and the Myth of the Impartial Juror Sonali Chakravarti, Boston Review

Wednesday March 24, 2021

PM Stories

The Fight To Transform Criminal Justice Ayesha Rascoe, Andrea Gutierrez, Liam McBain, and Jordana Hochman, NPR

Virginia is about to abolish the death penalty. It was a long, surprising road to get there. Gregory S. Schneider, Washington Post

Bills to Set Bail at $0 in California Pass Initial Hurdles Maria Dinzeo, Courthouse News

Utah’s Hard-Won Bail Reforms Are In Jeopardy Rachel M. Cohen, The Appeal

‘Treat them as humans’: Advocates lobby senators for prison reform Christian Boone, Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Dragging state prisons into the 21st century Editorial Board, Boston Globe

Vaccine Hesitancy Among Guards and Inmates Could Threaten State Prisons Keaton Ross, Oklahoma Watch

Dozens killed by COVID-19 in KY prisons. Only half of prison staff seek vaccine. John Cheves, Lexington Herald-Leader

Oregon’s Prison Guards Called COVID-19 the “Plandemic” and Spread Vaccine Myths to Inmates, Lawyers Say Tess Riski, Willamette Week

How Prisoners Feel About Getting Vaccinated Nicole Lewis, Slate

Writing from their prison cells, the incarcerated submit testimony about their time in solitary confinement Kelan Lyons, Connecticut Mirror

How Sara Gruen Lost Her Life Abbott Kahler, New York Magazine

‘John Wayne Gacy: Devil in Disguise’: The killer speaks in the definitive history of a Chicago horror Richard Roeper, Chicago Sun-Times

How Oakland architect Deanna Van Buren’s passion for restorative justice manifests in her work Donna M. Owens, NBC News

AM Stories

A Guide to Understanding Mass Shootings in America The Trace

10 dead in shooting at a grocery store in Colorado – less than a week after the spa killings in Atlanta Madeline Holcombe, CNN

Spa shootings could be first test of Georgia’s new hate crime law Christina Carrega, Priya Krishnakumar, and Peter Nickeas, CNN

Are the Atlanta Killings a Hate Crime? The Suspect Doesn’t Get to Decide. Irin Carmon, New York Magazine

Biden considers regulating ‘ghost guns,’ other executive actions to curb gun violence Anita Kumar and Laura Barrón-López, Politico

Justice Dept. Said to Be Weighing Sedition Charges Against Oath Keepers Katie Benner, New York Times

The rioter next door: How the Dallas suburbs spawned domestic extremists Annie Gowen, Washington Post

When the Capitol Riot Came Home Shawn McCreesh, New York Magazine

Commission to reimagine police in District grapples with effort to defund Peter Hermann, Washington Post

“Master of All Emergencies” Jay Willis, Slate

How a Colorado town is untangling behavioral health care from the criminal justice system Sady Swanson, Fort Collins Coloradoan

Meet Wyoming’s New Black Sheriff, the First in State History Ali Watkins, New York Times

Is This Q? Jacob Silverman, New Republic

Tuesday March 23, 2021

PM Stories

After a Year of COVID-19 Outbreaks, California Prisons Reckon With Mistakes Monica Lam, KQED

After a year of empty courtrooms, Cook County begins first criminal jury trial Megan Crepeau, Chicago Tribune

Justice delayed or justice denied? Some fear spike in plea deals to clear COVID-caused court backlog Noelle Crombie, The Oregonian

What Do Victims Want? New California Justice Reforms Expose Divide Among Crime Survivors Marisa Lagos, KQED

Why Crime Victims Joined the Fight for Parole Justice in New York Victoria Law, The Appeal

The Biden Administration Takes a Step Toward Undoing the Damage of the War on Drugs Julia Craven, Slate

Death row inmates await Biden’s promise to end federal executions The Guardian

Supreme Court to Consider Death Sentence in Boston Marathon Bombing Case Adam Liptak, New York Times

The Teenage Brain of the Boston Bomber (2015) Dana Goldstein, The Marshall Project

Is Temujin Kensu a ‘ninja killer’ or wrongfully convicted man? Hannah Rappleye, NBC News

A mother’s pursuit for justice overturns wrongful conviction, catches the true killer Boaz Halaban, Marc Dorian, Sandy Evans, Carrie Cook, and Haley Yamada, ABC News

Using Formalism to Explore US Systems of Power Calista McRae, Boston Review

AM Stories

The Flattening of the Atlanta Shootings Melissa Jeltsen, New York Magazine

Atlanta spa shooting suspect’s ‘bad day’ defense, and America’s sexualized racism problem Nancy Wang Yuen, NBC News

Atlanta spa killings lead to questions about sex work and exploitation Jessica Contrera, Tracy Jan, and Douglas MacMillan, Washington Post

Massage Parlor Workers Say Policing Isn’t the Answer to the Violence They Face Madison Pauly, Mother Jones

Asian-Americans Are Being Attacked. Why Are Hate Crime Charges So Rare? Nicole Hong and Jonah E. Bromwich, New York Times

Hundreds Of People Who Joined The Capitol Riot May Never Face Charges Zoe Tillman, Ken Bensinger, and Jessica Garrison, BuzzFeed News

Capitol riot cases strain court system Josh Gerstein and Kyle Cheney, Politico

Inside the Prosecution of the Capitol Rioters CBS News

‘A nightmare scenario’: Extremists in police ranks spark growing concern after Capitol riot Bart Jansen, USA Today

Abuse of Force George Joseph, Esquire

In City After City, Police Mishandled Black Lives Matter Protests Kim Barker, Mike Baker, and Ali Watkins, New York Times

What secret files on police officers tell us about law enforcement misconduct Alene Tchekmedyian and Ben Poston, Los Angeles Times

Police Unions Have Enormous War Chests to Defend Officers Like Derek Chauvin Samantha Michaels, Mother Jones

Derek Chauvin trial in George Floyd death compared to Rodney King case 30 years later Javonte Anderson, Deborah Barfield Berry, and Marco della Cava, USA Today

“Stranger Fruit”: Black Mothers and the Fear of Police Brutality Morgan Hornsby, The Marshall Project

Monday March 22, 2021

PM Stories

Joe Biden, Border Cop Billy Binion, Reason

Biden promised change at the border. He’s kept Trump’s Title 42 policy to close it and cut off asylum Molly O’Toole, Los Angeles Times

Images of Confusion, Then Anguish: Migrant Families Deported by Surprise Daniel Berehulak and Maria Abi-Habib, New York Times

America’s Immigration System Is a COVID Superspreader Eli M. Cahan, Scientific American

COVID-19 Has Torn Through Prisons. Advocates Want Biden To Act Now. Ryan Brooks and Kate Lý Johnston, BuzzFeed News

On federal death row, inmates talk about Biden, executions Michael Tarm, AP News

Why Is This Happening?: Watching 13 executions with Liliana Segura NBC News

A Witness to the State’s Power to Kill Alvin Melathe, The Atlantic

They were innocent and on death row. Now, the exonerated want to ensure Biden keeps pledge Christina Carrega, CNN

Jeff Rosen Sought the Death Penalty For An Innocent Man. He Shouldn’t Be California’s Next AG Michael Ogul, The Appeal

Prosecutors and the ‘Moral Imperative’ for Transparency Lucy Lang and Erica Bond, The Crime Report

The Successes and Shortcomings of Larry Krasner’s Trailblazing First Term Joshua Vaughn, The Appeal

Criminal Justice Reform Moves Pretty Fast. Just Ask Harris County DA Kim Ogg. Michael Hardy, Texas Monthly

Bad Birds in Quarantine Kimon de Greef, Guernica Magazine

‘Luz’ Review: Love In and Out of Lockup Teo Bugbee, New York Times

Netflix’s College Admissions Documentary Is A Compelling Anatomy Of A Scam Alessa Dominguez, BuzzFeed News

AM Stories

US Intelligence Agencies Warn Of Heightened Domestic Extremism Threat Jaclyn Diaz, NPR

2020 Saw an Unprecedented Surge in White Supremacist Propaganda WJ Hennigan and Vera Bergengruen, Time

There Have Been At Least 3,795 Hate Incidents Against Asian Americans During The Pandemic, A New Report Shows Julia Reinstein, BuzzFeed News

How Racism and Sexism Intertwine to Torment Asian-American Women Shaila Dewan, New York Times

Suspect in Atlanta Spa Attacks Is Charged With 8 Counts of Murder Richard Fausset, Campbell Robertson, Nicholas Bogel-Burroughs, and Sean Keenan, New York Times

Georgia shootings could test state’s new hate-crimes law as debate rages over suspect’s motive Griff Witte, David Nakamura, Marianna Sotomayor, and Timothy Bella, Washington Post

Georgia’s No-Wait Gun Laws Allowed Robert Aaron Long to Immediately Obtain Firearm Alexandra Hutzler, Newsweek

California attorney general cuts off researchers’ access to gun violence data Lois Beckett, The Guardian

Promising Crime Solutions Are Being Undermined by Flawed Federal Ratings, Researchers Say Champe Barton, The Trace

The US finally has data on how many people die in police custody. NC won’t release it. NC Watchdog Reporting Network

Judge limits evidence, refuses to move trial in Floyd death Steve Karnowski and Amy Forliti, AP News

Just How White Is Chicago’s Union For Cops? Here Are The Numbers. Chip Mitchell, WBEZ

Phoenix Wants To Shift Crisis Response Away From Police – While Also Increasing The Police Budget Meg O’Connor, The Appeal

Crime Story Daily Highlights – Week 84

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

On the criminal justice policy front: A piece from the New York Times focuses on crime reporting. In the midst of a volatile period in crime, with homicide rates up across the country, keeping track of trends has become especially important. But as it happens, this year’s national crime data release will be the last of its kind, as the FBI transitions to a new reporting system. The switch in data collection has been hailed as a “leap forward,” offering more insight into a wider array of crimes at both the national and local levels. But in the short term, the shift could hurt the public’s ability to evaluate key trends, posing a variety of risks at a time when reliable crime reporting may be particularly relevant. A piece from Time Magazine also centers on recent increases in crime – specifically, in racist violence against Asian Americans. Since the start of the pandemic last spring, Asian Americans have faced racially-motivated violence at a much higher rate than previous years. In 2020, the NYPD reported that hate crimes motivated by anti-Asian sentiment jumped nearly 2,000%. But Truthout reports that as Asian Americans fight to protect their communities, some have warned against turning to increased policing – especially in the wake of this summer’s national reckoning with systemic police brutality. The violence that Asian Americans experience, the piece argues, runs deeper than just hateful attitudes: “It is also a story of state violence, including police-perpetrated violence – a truth that has received even less public attention.” As journalist Sam Lew writes, “It is easy to demand convictions and harsh sentences. It is harder to address the root causes of racial violence and to commit to the real day-to-day work of collective healing.” And a piece from NBC News also highlights the tensions between increasing violence and overreliance on police. The piece focuses on Lansing, Michigan, where a recent surge in gun violence has driven homicides to a 30-year high. Last fall, the City Council rejected a proposal to cut Lansing’s police budget in half over five years, and instead endorsed hiring more social workers to accompany officers on calls. But activists have continued to press for budget cuts, arguing that “it isn’t police cutbacks that drive up crime, but neglect of social services and programs that create economic opportunities.” The split in Lansing reflects a divide across Michigan, and the United States, over police reform and whether police budgets should be slashed amidst a nationwide rise in violent crime.

In muckraker/watchdog reporting: A piece from the New York Times highlights the devastating impacts of the pandemic behind bars. A year into the pandemic, coronavirus case rates among incarcerated people are more than four times higher than those on the outside, while the death rate is more than twice as high. The virus has killed more than 2,600 prison and jail inmates and infected more than 515,000 others across the United States. But although many health experts, including the CDC, have recommended prioritizing incarcerated people for vaccination against COVID-19, a state-by-state patchwork of rules and regulations has left inmates with vastly different outlooks depending on where they live. In a piece for Elle Magazine, an inmate at the Central California Women’s Facility describes her experiences of COVID-19. “I know that I engineered my current circumstances by breaking the law,” she writes, “but nobody saw this pandemic coming. Being sentenced to years in prison is different than the very real possibility of death at the hands of neglectful and uncaring correctional institutions.” A piece from Vice News centers on the fight for compassionate release. At least 54 federal prisoners have died from COVID-19 after their compassionate release requests were denied or delayed without a final resolution. New data shows how a deluge of compassionate release requests during the pandemic overwhelmed the court system, leading to vulnerable people dying behind bars – even when they were eligible for freedom. And a piece from Big If True highlights another casualty of COVID-19: criminal court systems, many of which are experiencing pandemic-related case backlogs that prosecutors estimate could take years to overcome. Due to extended courthouse closures and suspended jury trials in many states, incarcerated defendants are spending longer in jail, while already-strained public defender programs are struggling under the added weight. “Right now, it’s like we’re emptying this ocean with a teaspoon,” one public defender said.

In complex crime storytelling: A piece from the Ringer explores the wild life of Nico Walker: war hero turned serial bank robber turned “one of the literary scene’s brightest new stars.” Walker first emerged on that scene in 2018, with the publication of his semi-autobiographical debut novel Cherry. The book, written while Walker was in prison, details a life story “as hard to believe as it is impossible to make up”: while serving in Iraq as a US Army medic, Walker developed a devastating case of PTSD; after returning stateside, he spiraled into heroin addiction, which he eventually funded by robbing banks. He was caught in 2012, sentenced to 11 years in federal prison, and released in the fall of 2019. Now, with a major motion picture adaption of Cherry in theaters and a second novel in the works, Walker is trying to prove that his breakout success wasn’t a fluke – “but first he has to adapt to life outside of a cell.” A piece from the Intercept by critic Matt Gallagher also focuses on “Cherry” and, more generally, Hollywood’s obsession with a certain kind of crime. In the film adaptation, as in the book, Walker is portrayed as a victim: “of society, of circumstance, of America.” Meanwhile, his victims are reduced to a mere afterthought. “For some offenses,” Gallagher writes, “we like to erase the humanity of the perpetrators. For others, we permit ourselves to erase their victims. The story of ‘Cherry,’ from crime to novel to movie, is the story of the money to be made in understanding which crimes are which.” And a piece from the Atlantic centers on the murder of Sarah Everard. On March 3 of this year, Everard was abducted while walking in her south London neighborhood; a week later, her body was found in the Kent woodlands, some 50 miles away. A police officer has been charged with her kidnapping and murder, sparking protests and provoking a national debate over how British society deals with male violence against women. But while this conversation is certainly well worth having, the piece argues, we must also consider “why this one case has attracted so much attention, to the exclusion of many others.”

In culture/true crime: New York Magazine profiles Jim and Tim Clemente, the duo behind Fox’s America’s Most Wanted reboot. Growing up in Queens in the late 1960s, the Clementes idolized the gruff, heroic cops they saw on TV. Both brothers joined the FBI before pivoting to Hollywood, where they founded a production company, XG, that has become “a force in the true-crime industrial complex at a time when viewers can’t seem to get enough of murder.” This week marks the launch of their highest-profile project to date: an arguably ill-timed reboot of Fox’s “fugitive-hunting juggernaut” America’s Most Wanted. A piece from the Marshall Project spotlights “the ingenuity of artists behind bars.” The piece centers on “Marking Time: Art in the Age of Mass Incarceration,” an ongoing exhibition at New York City’s MoMA PS1. Featuring work by the currently and formerly incarcerated, the show “conveys the various ways that artists respond to prison, with its mix of limited materials and endless time.” And the New York Times highlights “Wild: Act 1,” a new dance film by the choreographer Jeremy McQueen. Inspired by the classic children’s book “Where the Wild Things Are,” the 50-minute film centers on a young Black boy in juvenile detention, using movement and his imagination to explore beyond the walls of his cell. An installment in a larger project, “Wild: Act 1” seeks to give voice to the experiences of young men caught in the criminal justice system.

Friday March 19, 2021

PM Stories

Infectious disease expert, former attorney general: Prioritize COVID vaccines for inmates Dr. Tom Inglesby and Alberto Gonzales, USA Today

Prisons are long-term care facilities. So why don’t inmates get priority for COVID-19 vaccination? Chandra Bozelko, Stat News

Vermont officials clash over COVID-19 vaccine priority for incarcerated people Ethan Bakuli, Burlington Free Press

Two Pa. prisons have vaccinated more than 70% of those incarcerated. An incentive program may be making a difference. Joseph Darius Jaafari and Jamie Martines, WHYY

NC prisons settle NAACP case, agree to fast-track release of 3,500 inmates Jordan Wilkie, Carolina Public Press

Now that Washington’s drug possession law has been struck down, swamped legal system faces massive do-over Sara Jean Green, Seattle Times

Washington State Shows How a Truly Progressive Court Changes Everything Mark Joseph Stern, Slate

‘Highly Unusual For A DA’: Gascón Touts His Push To Cut Prison Sentences Frank Stoltze, LAist

How Chesa Boudin Is Pursuing His Promise to Reduce Incarceration Elizabeth Weill-Greenberg, The Appeal

Manhattan district attorney to release years of racial data as part of nationwide accountability push Shayna Jacobs, Washington Post

New York Legislature Passes Bill To Limit Solitary Confinement CJ Ciaramella, Reason

5 Discussions That Shaped the Justice Reform Movement in 2020 Kenny Lo, Sarah Figgatt, Betsy Pearl, and Chelsea Parsons, Center for American Progress

Exhibits convey incarcerated artists’ spirit: ‘No matter what I did… there’s beauty inside me’ Rachel Zarrow, San Francisco Chronicle

Through Cultures of Constraint and Care: The Relentless Art of Aimee Wissman Amber Long, Folklife

Death Row Inmates Are Selling Their Art on Etsy (and It’s Beautiful) Mary Frances Knapp, Vice

AM Stories

The Muddled History of Anti-Asian Violence Hua Hsu, The New Yorker

On the Front Lines of the Surge in Violence Against Asian Americans Matt Stieb, New York Magazine

Anti-Asian hate crimes increased by nearly 150% in 2020, mostly in NY and LA, new report says Kimmy Yam, NBC News

Gunman Who Killed 6 Asian Women Was ‘Having a Bad Day,’ Police Say Erica Schwiegershausen, New York Magazine

Atlanta Shooting Shows How Police Are Failing Asian Women Anya Zoledziowski and Carter Sherman, Vice

Georgia’s Asian American Leaders Call for Community-Centered Response After Six Asian Women Are Murdered James C. Woo, Asian Americans Advancing Justice

Minneapolis leaders promised big changes in policing after George Floyd’s death. Keeping them is taking longer than some hoped. Eric Ferkenhoff, USA Today

Movement for Black Lives opposes George Floyd Justice Act Kat Stafford, AP News

NYC Police Unions Blame Gun Violence on Bail Reform Andrea Cipriano, The Crime Report

Only Two NYPD Officers Face Serious Discipline From a Watchdog’s Investigations Into Abuse of Black Lives Matter Protesters Eric Umansky, ProPublica

Austin officer charged with murder in Michael Ramos’ death as lawmakers file bills making it harder to withhold body camera footage Reese Oxner and Jolie McCullough, Texas Tribune

California Lawmakers Look to Decertify Rogue Cops, End Immunity Nick Cahill, Courthouse News

Oregon Poll: Replace Police With Trained First Responders Rebecca Buckwalter-Poza and Sean McElwee, The Appeal

Thursday March 18, 2021

PM Stories

COVID Outbreaks Devastated Prisons, but State Inmates’ Access to the Vaccine Varies Widely Ann Hinga Klein and Derek M. Norman, New York Times

US prison guards refusing vaccine despite COVID-19 outbreaks Nicole Lewis and Michael R. Sisak, AP News

Feeble Pandemic Protections at Private Texas Prison Leave People Fearing Death Behind Bars Felipe De La Hoz, The Intercept

Prisoners Keep Dying of COVID While ‘Compassionate Releases’ Stall in Court Keegan Hamilton, Samir Ferdowski, and Rob Arthur, Vice

‘It means that justice is delayed’: Courts face major backlogs as pandemic continues Nabil Remadna, KXAN

Judges Juggle Over 2,700 Cases Each as Families Wait for Day in Court Tracey Tully, New York Times

100 years after the Tulsa massacre, prison reform is long overdue in my home state of Oklahoma Mareo D. Johnson, Business Insider

Burl Cain remade Angola prison in his own image. Can he do the same with notorious Parchman? Jerry Mitchell, Mississippi Center for Investigative Reporting

Will Connecticut Be the First State to Make Prison Phone Calls Free? Alexander Lekhtman, Filter Magazine

Lawmakers Advance Bill to End Cash Bail in Hawaii for Low-Level Offenses Ku’uwehi Hiraishi, Hawaii Public Radio

LA County DA Marks 100 Days in Office, Touts Policies Despite Critics City News Service

Virginia Gov. Restores Voting Rights for Persons Formerly Convicted of a Felony Chris Walker, Truthout

Hope is a Discipline: Mariame Kaba on Dismantling the Carceral State The Intercept

‘Operation Varsity Blues’ Review: Failing the Ethics Test Amy Nicholson, New York Times

AM Stories

What We Know About the Atlanta-Area Massage Parlor Shootings Inae Oh, Mother Jones

Asian Americans in Atlanta stunned by shootings as advocates demand action: ‘Everyone has heard enough words’ Andrea Salcedo, Washington Post

There were 3,800 anti-Asian racist incidents, mostly against women, in past year Kimmy Yam, NBC News

More Policing Is Not the Solution to Anti-Asian Violence Jason Wu, Truthout

Women and girls must be at the center of reimagining safety Andrea James, Washington Post

Women’s Safety Movement Sparked by Sarah Everard’s Murder Should Focus More on Cops and the Home Natasha Lennard, The Intercept

6 cities where police reform is shaping the race for mayor Stephanie Murray, Politico

Can Police Reform Work? A Mayor and a Historian Discuss Policing in Newark, NJ Philip Bennett, PBS Frontline

Report Finds NJ State Police History Stained by Racial Prejudice Andrea Cipriano, The Crime Report

Derek Chauvin’s attorneys ask for jury to see evidence from 2019 George Floyd arrest Jordan Williams, The Hill

Chauvin lawyer seeks trial delay in wake of $27m George Floyd family settlement The Guardian

What is the impact of racially diverse juries? Michael Tarm, Los Angeles Times