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Police Departments Find Legal Hurdles To Increasing Diversity Of Forces

In many cities, well-intentioned policies that were not meant to discriminate have become obstacles to hiring a diverse police force, reports the New York Times. In Inkster, Mi., Police Chief William Riley found a significant problem was something that seemed mundane: how training is paid for. Other cities face rigid hiring processes that were intended to prevent elected leaders from handing out police jobs as patronage, but that make it harder to shape the force to mirror the population. “Local […]

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Cost of Criminal Justice Higher for Young Black Men

Black men face greater obstacles and harsher penalties than other offenders as they move through the criminal justice system, from higher bond amounts to more severe prison sentences, according to a study published recently in the American Society of Criminology journal Criminology & Public Policy. The research examined the cases of 3,459 defendants indicted on felony charges in an urban U.S. jurisdiction and found that young black men face “cumulative disadvantages” throughout the criminal justice process. The authors found that […]

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Chicago Black Leaders Seek McCarthy Ouster Over Personnel, Murder Rise

Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy is expected to testify before aldermen today, after most of the board's Black Caucus called on Mayor Rahm Emanuel to fire his top cop, reports the Chicago Tribune. The request came the same day McCarthy announced a command shakeup in which the department's highest-ranking African American retired and was replaced by a Hispanic. McCarthy, a brash New Yorker, has angered aldermen virtually since his arrival in 2011, and there have been rumors about his impending […]

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DOJ Slams St. Louis County Cops on Community Relations

A federal assessment of the St. Louis County Police Department prompted by the police killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson in August 2014 found that the department “lacks the training, leadership, and culture necessary to truly engender community policing and to build and sustain trusting relationships with the community.” That was a major conclusion of a report issued today by the U.S. Justice Department’s Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) after a lengthy review by the Police Foundation, a […]

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Latino Officer’s Plea: “Cop Brains” Shouldn’t Be “Occupying Force”

Kansas City police officer Octavio “Chato” Villalobos wanted to become an officer to stop the racial profiling he experienced and his children continued to experience. His plan quickly changed after basic training. “I went in with a good heart and came out with a cop brain,” he said in Memphis yesterday in a workshop aimed at strengthening relationships between Latinos and law enforcement, reports the Memphis Commercial Appeal. “I used my Spanish to arrest people, because that’s how I’m going […]

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Lynching: An American Tragedy That Won’t Go Away

Last February, the Equal Justice Initiative produced a report detailing almost 4,000 lynchings of blacks in 12 southern states between 1877 and 1950, and spurring the Initiative’s current effort to place memorial markers at those lynching sites.

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The Troubling Link Between Ferguson and Charleston

Since August 2014, when an unarmed black teenager named Michael Brown was shot dead by Police Officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson, MO, the use of force by police—particularly against minorities—has become the focus of national attention. Similar incidents in places ranging from Cleveland, Ohio to New York City—and last month's church shootings in Charleston SC—have reinforced a national movement, #blacklivesmatter, as well as a spurred a debate that has drawn in every sector of American life. But Ferguson continues to […]

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Minority Numbers In Policing Nearly Double Over 20 Years

Racial or ethnic minorities accounted for 27 percent of local U.S. police officers in 2013, a slight increase from 25 percent in 2007 and up from about 15 percent in 1987, the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics said today. About 130,000 minority local police officers were employed in 2013, an increase of about 13,000 since 2007 and 78,000 since 1987. Hispanics or Latinos accounted for 60 percent of the increase since 2007. An estimated 12 percent of officers were Hispanic […]

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Voters To Decide Ferguson’s Future In City Council Elections Today

Much has changed in in the majority black city of Ferguson, Mo., since a Justice Department report last month detailed racism and “unconstitutional policing” among the mostly white police force, says the Los Angeles Times The white police chief resigned. So did the white city manager who hired him. So did the white municipal judge whose fines on predominantly poor residents enriched the city budget. Today, voters will decide Ferguson’s future when they choose three new City Council members in […]