Wisconsin police fatally shot 24 people in 2017, nearly three times more than Minnesota officers

POST CRESCENT, 28 DECEMBER 2017, FEAT. PROF. SETH STOUGHTON:

Wisconsin police shot and killed nearly three times more people in 2017 than their law enforcement peers in Minnesota, but it’s a mystery why one state’s deaths rose while the other’s fell.

As of Dec. 28, officers in Wisconsin had fatally shot 24 people and those in Minnesota had killed nine, according to records reviewed by USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin.

As the number of fatal shootings in Wisconsin has ticked up — more than double from two years ago — advocates for safer policing have turned the conversation toward trying to better understand the reasons for these shootings and how to reverse the trend.

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Judge gives Grand Strand police departments 30 days to improve procedures for managing evidence

MY HORRY NEWS, 26 DECEMBER 2017, FEAT. PROF. SETH STOUGHTON:

A circuit court judge gave Grand Strand police agencies until next month to develop a set of procedures for collecting and transferring high-tech evidence such as officer body camera videos and cell phone data after defense attorneys raised concerns about access to those records during recent criminal trials, authorities said.

Earlier this month, Judge Steven John called together law enforcement leaders from Horry and Georgetown counties and told them they had 30 days to craft a plan for addressing evidence-related problems that have arisen in recent cases, said 15th Circuit Solicitor Jimmy Richardson, who expects the plan to be finished by the second week of January.

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Hearing set for Jesse Osborne, teen accused in Townville Elementary School shooting

ANDERSON INDEPENDENT MAIL, 5 JAN. 2018, FEAT. PROF. JOSH GUPTA-KAGAN:

A judge has scheduled a hearing date for Jesse Osborne, the teen accused in the deadly Townville Elementary School shooting, to determine whether the boy will be tried as an adult.

The 10th Judicial Circuit Solicitor’s Office, which is prosecuting the case, issued a statement late Friday indicating that Osborne’s hearing has been set for the week of February 12 at the Anderson County Courthouse.

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Videos showing violent arrest of a black motorist renew concern about Pasadena police tactics

LA TIMES, 23 DECEMBER 2017, FEAT. PROF. SETH STOUGHTON:

It should have been the most minor of traffic stops.

But an encounter between two Pasadena police officers and a black motorist last month has reignited the nation’s heated debate over how police use force and sparked outrage in a city with long-simmering complaints about how law enforcement treats African American men.

Videos captured by the police and a bystander show one officer repeatedly hitting the unarmed motorist with a baton during the Nov. 9 incident at an Altadena gas station. Another officer screams at the struggling man to give up his hands and punches him at least five times before slamming his face into the asphalt. Finally, the officers manage to handcuff him behind his back.

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The constitutional right to education is long overdue

THE CONVERSATION, 4 DEC. 2017, FEAT. PROF. DEREK BLACK:

Public school funding has shrunk over the past decade. School discipline rates reached historic highs. Large achievement gaps persist. And the overall performance of our nation’s students falls well below our international peers.

These bleak numbers beg the question: Don’t students have a constitutional right to something better? Many Americans assume that federal law protects the right to education. Why wouldn’t it? All 50 state constitutions provide for education. The same is true in 170 other countries. Yet, the word “education” does not appear in the United States Constitution, and federal courts have rejected the idea that education is important enough that it should be protected anyway.

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Teens making online threats; Experts say they don’t realize the serious consequences

WACH FOX, 5 DEC. 2017, FEAT. MARGARET BODMAN:

Over the last few weeks, several local teens have been arrested after being accused of making threats online. The punishment can be serious, and experts say young people don’t seem to realize it. The wrong message in Facebook posts, Tweets and Snapchats could lead to jail time.

In just the past month, Richland County deputies have arrested a 14-year old accused of creating a fake internet profile to harass other students. A 16-year-old is charged with threatening to blow up Columbia High School in a Facebook post. Finally, a 17-year-old was arrested after deputies say he used Facebook to say he would shoot up Lower Richland High School.

Attorney Margaret Bodman with the Children’s Law Center in Columbia says simple words online can lead to an array of consequences.

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Research Shows Police Body-Worn Cameras Reduce Misconduct and Cost for Las Vegas

GOVERNMENT TECHNOLOGY, 8 DECEMBER 2017, FEAT. PROF. SETH STOUGHTON:

A study on the effects of body-worn cameras shows a significant reduction in complaints of police misconduct and use of force, as well as some cost savings.

The study, conducted by Virginia-based CNA Corporation, in cooperation with the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department (LVMPD) and the University of Las Vegas’ Center for Crime and Justice Policy, found a 37 percent reduction in the number of officers involved in use-of-force incidents and a 30 percent decrease in the number of officers with at least one complaint filed against them. Among the control group, officers not equipped with a camera, use-of-force increased 4 percent.

Researchers assigned 400 LVMPD officers body cams, while another 400 served as a control group.

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Can former police officer Michael Slager’s 20-year sentence deter other killings?

POST AND COURIER, 10 DECEMBER, 2017, FEAT. PROF. SETH STOUGHTON:

While Michael Slager’s 20-year sentence has been viewed as a warning to other police officers faced with using their firearms in the line of duty, some observers doubt the lasting influence of a particularly stark example of excessive force like Walter Scott’s death.

Scott was shot as he ran from a confrontation with the North Charleston policeman in 2015, when South Carolina saw its highest annual level of officer-involved shootings on record. After a dip last year as authorities focused on accountability measures like body-worn cameras, that number has spiked again to at least 47 so far this year — one shy of the record.

While such a trend can be difficult to explain, experts said the concept of a single criminal case influencing it is troublesome.

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The constitutional right to education is long overdue

THE CONVERSATION, 4 DEC. 2017, FEAT: PROF DEREK BLACK:

Public school funding has shrunk over the past decade. School discipline rates reached historic highs. Large achievement gaps persist. And the overall performance of our nation’s students falls well below our international peers.

These bleak numbers beg the question: Don’t students have a constitutional right to something better? Many Americans assume that federal law protects the right to education. Why wouldn’t it? All 50 state constitutions provide for education. The same is true in 170 other countries. Yet, the word “education” does not appear in the United States Constitution, and federal courts have rejected the idea that education is important enough that it should be protected anyway.

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Why Police Body Cams Aren’t What They Seem to Be

THE CRIME REPORT, 29 NOV. 2017, FEAT: PROF. SETH STOUGHTON:

“Everyone is coming to the body camera question with a totally different take on what these tools are going to be used for,” Prof. Seth Stoughton of the University of South Carolina Law School, who specializes in the regulation of policing, told us.

“The community thinks, ‘Hey, you got this for officer-accountability reasons, but all you’re using it for is to prosecute people.’ I think that has the potential to be taken as a failure, a betrayal.”

If that’s a failure, how do you even measure success?

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