When cops commit crimes

VICE, 12 SEPTEMBER 2017, FEAT. PROF. SETH STOUGHTON:

Twelve years ago, a criminal justice master’s student named Philip Stinson got into an argument with his grad school classmates about how often police officers committed crimes. His peers, many of whom were cops themselves, thought police crime was rare, but Stinson, himself a former cop and attorney, thought the problem was bigger than anyone knew. He bet a pint of ale that he could prove it.

 

On Tuesday, Stinson made good on his bet with an extensive police crime database offering the most comprehensive look ever at how often American cops are arrested, as well as some early insights into the consequences they face for breaking the laws they’re supposed to enforce.

The data set includes 8,006 arrest incidents resulting in 13,623 charges involving 6,596 police officers from 2005 through 2012,with more years of data to come. Nearly half these incidents, Stinson and his research team concluded, were violent.

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Feds vow to clear road for self-driving car makers

SF GATE (SAN FRANCISCO), 12 SEPTEMBER 2017, FEAT. PROF. BRYANT WALKER SMITH:

The Trump administration has a message for the scores of companies racing to develop self-driving cars: We want to make your life easier.

U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao unveiled revised federal guidelines Tuesday for testing and deploying autonomous cars that she said aim to be nimble and supportive of innovation, while aligning with legislation pending in Congress. While industry praised the guidelines, consumer advocates said they were too lax and could compromise safety.

The voluntary guidelines also encourage states to play a limited regulatory role to avoid a messy patchwork of conflicting rules.

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Not guilty verdict delivered in AL prison abuse case caught on camera

FOX 10 (ALABAMA), 14 SEPTEMBER 2017, FEAT. PROF. SETH STOUGHTON:

ELMORE CO., AL (WSFA) – An Elmore County Jury found Juanice Cole not guilty of assaulting a handcuffed prisoner at Elmore County Correctional Facility in 2015. 

The trial began Wednesday. The defendant took the stand and admitted to striking the prisoner Nedrick Boyd, who is serving a life sentence for attempted murder. Cole told jurors she took physical action against Boyd because he reportedly put his bodily fluids on her during a shift at Elmore County Correctional Facility. 

During closing arguments Thursday, Cole’s defense attorney Kenny James told jurors Cole ‘probably’ reacted poorly to the situation, but justified her use of physical force.

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U.S. updates self-driving car guidelines as more hit the road

LAS VEGAS SUN, 12 SEPTEMBER 2017, FEAT. PROF. BRYANT WALKER-SMITH:

ANN ARBOR, Mich. — The Trump administration on Tuesday unveiled updated safety guidelines for self-driving cars aimed at clearing barriers for automakers and tech companies wanting to get test vehicles on the road.

The new voluntary guidelines announced by U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao update policies issued last fall by the Obama administration, which were also largely voluntary.

Chao emphasized that the guidelines aren’t meant to force automakers to use certain technology or meet stringent requirements. Instead, they’re designed to clarify what vehicle developers and states should consider as more test cars reach public roads.

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When Escaping a Hurricane Means Risking Jail

THE ATLANTIC, 07 SEPTEMBER 2017, FEAT. PROF. SETH STOUGHTON

The Polk County Sheriff’s Department in Florida sent out a stark warning to residents this week as Hurricane Irma churns toward the peninsula: Some of those seeking aid at local shelters could face jail instead—or be barred altogether.

“If you go to a shelter for #Irma and you have a warrant, we’ll gladly escort you to the safe and secure shelter called the Polk County Jail,” the department wrote on Twitter Wednesday. Minutes earlier, the account had warned that officers would be stationed at every shelter and that “sex offenders/predators” would not be allowed in.

It was a striking message for a law-enforcement agency to deliver as a potentially cataclysmic disaster nears: that whether a person can seek refuge in an evacuation shelter depends on his or her criminal status. Not only could the department’s policy put residents’ safety in severe jeopardy—if they avoid shelters as a result, or are turned away—but the tweets effectively divide the community into those who are worth saving and those who aren’t.

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Local professor talks employee rights this Labor Day

WACH FOX, 04 SEPTEMBER 2017, FEAT. PROF. JOE SEINER

COLUMBIA, SC (WACH)- It’s Labor Day and Americans across the country are celebrating the unofficial end of summer.

But the real reason for the national holiday is to honor the labor movement and American workers.

Michelle Macaluso reports from Washington that last month, the U.S. economy added 156,000 jobs fewer than economists expected but with big gains in manufacturing (36,000 more positions) according to the labor department.

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In City’s School Discrimination Lawsuit, Burden Of Proof Is ‘Did They Mean To?’

PUBLIC RADIO FROM UA LITTLE ROCK, 06 SEPTEMBER 2017, FEAT. PROF. DEREK BLACK

It’s been 60 years since Central High School was forced to desegregate, but a federal lawsuit now claims the Little Rock School District is racially biased when it comes to investing in facilities and programs.

Proving that’s true in fact won’t be enough to win the case, though. The suit’s authors will have to prove district officials set out to discriminate.

The lawsuit, scheduled for trial next week, is brought by state representative and local civil rights attorney John Walker, claims the school district provides worse buildings and fewer academic opportunities in its majority-black schools.

At issue in the case is the alleged disrepair of some majority black schools and the recent construction of a new middle school in West Little Rock, a part of town that is overwhelmingly white.

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Courts Have Eroded Workers’ Rights, Says USC Professor

THE FREE TIMES, 06 SEPTEMBER 2017, FEAT. PROF. JOE SEINER

When Joseph Seiner first began attending the Washington and Lee School of Law in the mid-1990s, he was fully intent on becoming a corporate lawyer. An internship at a labor law firm in Atlanta changed his mind. 

“I immediately just loved it,” he says. “I loved the human element of it. When you talk about someone’s job, that’s something that’s really core to how they view themselves. You see every human emotion when you’re in this area. I’ve had clients, when I was an attorney, screaming at me. I’ve had clients crying.”

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Do York County police officers work off-duty, private security jobs?

THE EVENING SUN, 26 AUGUST 2017, FEAT. PROF. SETH STOUGHTON

In 2014, three York City Police officers met with Zhen Ting Li, the owner of the restaurant Li’s Kitchen, to address recent neighborhood complaints.

Police had made drug arrests at and near the WeCo district restaurant. A man was stabbed there. Officers cited people for public drunkenness.

At that meeting, Li later testified during a hearing to revoke his liquor license, the matter of hiring security came up.

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Houston Loves Big Business. How Much Should Big Business Now Love It Back?

NEW YORK TIMES, 30 AUGUST 2017, FEAT. PROF. BEN MEANS

Even before the damage from Hurricane Harvey is tallied, big corporations are breaking out their checkbooks.

Chevron, an energy giant with several offices in the Houston area, pledged $1 million to post-Harvey disaster relief efforts. So did Exxon Mobil and Dow Chemical, two companies with facilities hit by the storm. Companies in less regional industries also donated: Amazon offered to match $1 million in donations to the American Red Cross, while Verizon promised $10 million. Walmart, which took a front-line role in the clean-up after Hurricane Katrina, sent truckloads of emergency supplies to the affected area.

In all, corporations have pledged more than $65 million to help clean up the wreckage from Harvey, according to a Wednesday morning estimate by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

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