Tucker Carlson’s credibility sunk to new lows after several reports surfaced about the deceptive practices used by the host on his prime-time Fox News show.
On February 21, The Washington Post reported on a segment from Carlson’s show about the “incredible surge of refugee violence” in Sweden. During the segment, Carlson showed an interview between filmmaker Ami Horowitz with two Swedish police officers about the supposed surge in refugee violence in the country. The interview used by Carlson was even referenced by President Donald Trump during a Florida rally, but as the Post reported, the officers were “shocked” by the deceptive editing of the interview and claimed they were not asked about migration or immigration at all:
The two Swedish officers whose interview provided the basis for the report spoke out Monday and claimed that their testimony had been taken out of context. One of them, Anders Göranzon, said that the interview was about areas with high crime rates and that “there wasn’t any focus on migration or immigration.”
“We don’t stand behind it. It shocked us. He has edited the answers,” Göranzon said, “We were answering completely different questions in the interview. This is bad journalism.”
Horowitz defended his work to the Guardian newspaper, saying he was “pretty sure” that he told the officers what the segment was going to be about and implying that the officers' disavowal was made under pressure from their superiors.
Carlson invited Horowitz again to his Fox News show on Monday to rebut the officers’ claims, saying instead that they were pressured by their bosses to disavow the interview because they were scared of being labeled racists.
Later in the same show, Carlson hosted Shane Saunders who was identified as a “Not My President’s Day Protestor” by Carlson and by the Tucker Carlson Tonight chyron. But, as The Daily Beast reported, Saunders was not affiliated in any way with the rallies, but is “a Los Angeles-based actor and casting agent.”
Fox News’ Tucker Carlson had a hard time booking Olga Lexell, the creator and co-organizer of the nationwide Not My President’s Day protests on Monday.
So, after repeated refusals, Carlson’s show instead booked Shane Saunders, a Los Angeles-based actor and casting agent, who Lexell said, “was not affiliated in any way with our rallies and was not an organizer.”
In the five-minute segment, Saunders was referred to as an “organizer” by an on-screen graphic and Carlson himself, who also asked Saunders about why “your protest is going to make a difference.”
Following the interview, Olga Lexell, the creator and co-organizer of the nationwide Not My President’s Day protests emailed the producers of the show, saying, “that guy who you got on the show isn’t affiliated with our even and didn’t even attend any of the protests.”
An executive producer of Tucker Carlson Tonight responded to The Daily Beast report, admitting that “the program incorrectly identified a Los Angeles based protest participant as a ‘protest organizer’ in a graphic during Monday night’s telecast. While he was correctly identified in the introduction to the segment, we regret the graphic didn’t accurately reflect his role throughout the entire segment.”
[refinement of white supremacy] South Africans Protest Unequal Land Distribution [Apartheid Was Just a Form of White Supremacy]
Pretoria, South Africa — A small but noisy group of South African activists gathered Friday Feb. 18, in the nation’s capital to bring attention to an issue that is gaining momentum at the highest levels of government: How to resolve longstanding issues that leave Black South Africans economically worse off than their white counterparts more than two decades after the end of the racist apartheid system.
Some 200 Black First Land First activists gathered in a soggy Pretoria park named after a long-dead colonial-era president who helped the British empire claim vast tracts of South African land. On this rainy day, protesters wearing “LAND or DEATH” T-shirts sang protest songs seeking restitution for apartheid-era profits from a major South African bank.
As its name indicates, this pressure group has its sights set on something far bigger. Members want land to be given to Black South Africans as compensation for colonial-era land seizures.
This debate has reached the top echelons of government. Just kilometers from the park, President Jacob Zuma, from his office, referred a bill back to parliament that seeks to redress racial imbalances in land ownership.
‘Right to defend ourselves’
Activists say the government’s efforts are insufficient. The far-left group objects to the current policy that allows landowners to hold out until the selling price is acceptable. Lindsay Maasdorp, national spokesman for Black First Land First, says Zuma’s constitutionally based approach is also not enough, and that change needs to come sooner — and that it may not be pretty.
“Black people must stand up and literally take back the land,” he told VOA. “We will not wait for a constitution that is anti-Black and enshrines land theft to determine when we take back land. … We’re saying Black people should not be buying back stolen land. We agree that we should not. White people didn’t come here and just start speaking to us and say, ‘Let me just take it.’ It was a violent process and it continues to be a violent process. … When we confront violence, we will do so with violence, too. Sometimes, it will be with words, sometimes, it will be through dialogue. But other times, it will be physical as well. Why? Because we have the right to defend ourselves against those who have taken our land from us.”
In recent years, anger over land inequality has been accompanied by violence against owners of farms and small holdings. South African police typically report about 500 incidents each year. Unemployed protester Simon Kgofelo, 45, says his lack of land affects him deeply.
The US Supreme Court [official website] granted certiorari [docket] on Tuesday to determine whether a guilty plea waives a defendant's right to challenge the constitutionality of the statute under which he was convicted. The case, Class v. US [docket; cert. petition, PDF], concerns a guilty plea made by Rodney Class to possession of a firearmt. Class lacked counsel at the time of his plea at his own request. The appeals court ruled [opinion, PDF] that because the defendant signed the plea agreement, which included an explicit waiver of appeal rights as to his conviction and sentencing, he has no standing to any appeal of this matter.
Talk is from 2015
A senior adviser to Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson was suddenly fired Wednesday, apparently because the White House discovered he had criticized President Donald Trump.
Shermichael Singleton, 26, had worked on Carson’s own presidential bid in 2016 before joining the administration. In the closing weeks of the election, Singleton wrote an op-ed critical of Trump in which he blasted the then-nominee’s rhetoric toward black voters as “a coded message from an era in our history that should stay in the past.”
Singleton had already “answered a number of questions regarding the article and expressed remorse for the piece and support for Mr. Trump” prior to assuming his HUD position in January, the New York Times reports. But administration staff hadn’t finished his background check and “this week, Mr. Trump’s advisers turned up” the op-ed and some related tweets, according to the Times.
Singleton, who the Huffington Post notes is “one of the few black Republicans in the Trump administration,” told the Times he could not discuss the circumstances of his abrupt firing.
Security guards reportedly escorted Carson’s aide out of the HUD building Wednesday.
The decision reinforces President Trump’s long-standing image as a thin-skinned manager for whom personal loyalty is at least as important as a person’s qualifications for a job. A week earlier, Trump made a similar call in rescinding plans to appoint pardoned war criminal Elliott Abrams to a senior State Department post after the president discovered Abrams had criticized him online last year.
Singleton’s case is more likely to do damage. Carson is a neurosurgeon just beginning a job managing a large suite of housing policy programs. Trump’s team has deprived him of a trusted staffer, apparently in order to preserve the president’s ego. [MORE]
RANA FOROOHAR: Yeah, it is interesting I actually wrote about the Dreamliner in my book "Makers and Takers." And this is an example of one of the most complex global supply chains certainly ever known in aviation. Over 100 different countries were involved in the supply chain. Different parts coming in and out of various countries. In fact, it's funny because the first iteration of this airplane couldn't even take off, it was so heavy because all of these countries and suppliers were working sort of siloed from each other. So it is ironic that this is being used as a made in America example here. But I want to say one other thing, which is Donald Trump is being very, very politically savvy about riding a trend of a resurgence in U.S. manufacturing that was already happening since 2010. There has been a bit of a shift, not replacing all the jobs that we saw lost for the last several decades. But there has been a significant shift of localization back to the U.S., and that is for a variety of reasons: political risk, the fact that consumers want products faster, made closer to them. There are a lot of trends driving this. But he is being very politically savvy about exploiting something that was already out there in the economy.
NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON: We saw the thing with the jobs, the Intel jobs in Arizona. Those jobs were sort of in the pipeline for a while. They had made that announcement. And listen, he's lucky. He's lucky to come after Obama. In the sense that 4.7 percent unemployment rate and the trends that Rana is talking about. in terms of manufacturing.
BRIANA KEILAR (HOST): He is talking about, "we're going to get rid of job-crushing regulations that send jobs to other countries." And yet, we know that most of these manufacturing jobs that have been lost in the U.S. have been lost because of automation.
HENDERSON: 87 percent.
DAVID CHALIAN: Which he doesn't talk about at all. It is an amazing thing because there is a piece of this where you feel like he has this golden opportunity as president now to really prepare the nation for the next generation of jobs. Automation is not going away, obviously. And he just does not address that when he deals with this jobs issue.
Rep. Emanuel Cleaver Calls Out Trump’s Racially Charged Interaction With American Urban Radio Network’s April Ryan
EMANUEL CLEAVER (D-MO): This man is clueless.
BRUCE: Congressman Emanuel Cleaver in disbelief that the president would ask that reporter, April Ryan, of the American Urban Radio Networks, to set up the meeting.
CLEAVER: Because there was a black woman in the room, the assumption was that some way, somehow, in spite of the fact that she was a reporter, she had some kind of unique contact with the Congressional Black Caucus.
BRUCE: You don't think he would have asked another reporter to set up a meeting like that?
CLEAVER: Well, I don't think he would have asked you to set up the meeting with the Congressional Black Caucus.
A growing number of immigrants who initially sought refuge in the United States are now fleeing to Canada — and, in many cases, are risking frostbite to make it across the northern border on foot.
Immigrant advocates say desperate people are being driven away from the U.S. thanks to the fear and uncertainty sparked by President Donald Trump’s policies — including, recently, an executive order that temporarily halts refugee resettlement from Syria and bars people from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States.
Nine asylum-seekers from Sudan, including four children, barely made it across the Canadian border on Friday in an exchange that was captured by a photographer from Reuters. After a cab dropped off the group near the border line in Champlain, New York, they dodged a U.S. border patrol officer trying to examine their passports, climbed over snowbanks, and rushed toward the Royal Canadian Mounted Police on the other side.
The family had been living in Delaware for two years before deciding to leave for Canada. “Nobody cares about us,” one of the men told reporters.
And according to a CBC News reporter, a Somali man identified only as Mohamed walked 21 hours in below-freezing temperatures this week to cross the U.S.-Canadian border into Manitoba. The man told the reporter he was fleeing to Canada because the United States is a “problem” now.
By the time the reporter found him, Mohamed had been wandering around in the dark for hours and wasn’t sure where he was. He was eventually intercepted by Canadian police, who helped him get medical attention.
The journey can be dangerous, particularly during the harsh winter. One Ghanian refugee who walked across the border to Manitoba on Christmas Eve suffered severe frostbite and had to have all his fingers amputated. He said it was worth it for the chance to live in Canada.
Altogether, refugee claims at the U.S.-Canada border have doubled over the past two years.
“There’s no question what’s driving them,” Paul Caulford, a doctor at the Canadian Centre for Refugee and Immigrant Healthcare who has seen a significant uptick in the number of people seeking medical help at his clinic, told Public Radio International in an interview this week.
A privately run federal prison in Kansas recorded video of hundreds of meetings between inmates and their attorneys, a court-led investigation has found after defense lawyers first raised concerns months ago about possible violations of client privilege.
The detention center in Leavenworth, operated by Corrections Corporation of America, possessed video recordings of all attorney-inmate meetings reviewed by the court investigator, who examined 30 randomly chosen visits that took place in spring 2016 and concluded hundreds were recorded. The extent of the recordings hasn’t been previously disclosed.
Leavenworth CCA and the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Kansas have been at the heart of a monthslong drama in the region’s legal community over recordings of attorney-inmate meetings at the prison, as well as recordings of attorney-inmate phone calls. The ability of lawyers to meet with clients privately is a bedrock principle of the American legal system, and this fall, a federal judge named a special master to investigate.
Defense attorneys first raised concerns last summer over video recording of meetings with their clients. The U.S. Attorney’s Office is prosecuting a handful of inmates, accusing them of engaging in an elaborate smuggling ring within the prison.
The inmates’ attorneys put forward evidence that meetings had been recorded and have since provided evidence that inmate phone calls with attorneys also were recorded, even when attorneys had requested their numbers be blocked from recordings.
The special master, David Cohen, told Judge Julie Robinson last month that while reviewing all of the video from all rooms where attorney meetings took place would prove prohibitive, he reviewed a smaller sample of meetings to determine that every meeting that took place in a room with a camera was recorded.
The attorney visitor logs for the 12-week period last year where recordings occurred showed more than 700 attorney visits to rooms equipped with cameras, Cohen wrote in a filing.
“It appears all of these attorney-inmate meetings were recorded,” Cohen said. “Of course, this analysis does not address whether any person ever viewed these recordings.”
The U.S. Attorney’s Office obtained the video and, while acknowledging missteps, has denied suggestions of impropriety. The U.S. Attorney’s Office has said “no employee of the United States Attorney’s Office or law enforcement officer” has viewed any recording provided by CCA.
“I made a very serious mistake … but I want the court to know I did not intend to gain that footage,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Erin Tomasic said in September.
Parallel to the video recordings, Cohen also has been investigating the extent of attorney-inmate phone recordings at the Leavenworth facility. In December, Cohen reported he had analyzed 48,333 telephone audio files from the facility and that a little more than 200 of those calls were made to a known attorney number.
In a follow-up report, Cohen said the more than 48,000 recorded phone calls came from about 1,400 numbers involving 58 inmates.
CCA uses the prison technology company Securus to operate its phone system. Securus has said Leavenworth CCA was responsible for designating attorney numbers as private, nonrecorded numbers. The company acknowledged allegations have been made in other places in the past regarding recording but said it rechecks its system each time and has always found it works properly.
Melody Brannon, the federal public defender for Kansas, said Cohen’s findings exposed unanswered questions. She urges Robinson to expand the special master’s authority.
“Specifically, the defense asks the special master to determine the policy and practice of the Kansas (U.S. Attorney’s Office) in obtaining, reviewing and disseminating attorney-client communications, regardless of whether the USAO classified the communication as privileged or not,” Brannon said in a January court filing.
She added the special master should also identify cases where the material was used and “mark the possible constitutional, statutory and ethical implications.”
The U.S. Attorney’s Office is fighting the public defender’s request for additional power for the special master. Assistant U.S. Attorney Debra Barnett argues Brannon hasn’t offered any evidence warranting an expanded investigation.
Barnett has said prosecutors didn’t anticipate receiving recorded attorney-client calls from the facility during their investigations. Prosecutors had “no intent or desire” to obtain attorney-client calls, she has said, adding they weren’t used by prosecutors.
“When discoveries of these calls occurred, appropriate steps were taken by the United States,” Barnett said in a January filing. “Despite everything that has occurred in this case, the United States has not sought to hide the discovery of these calls, and would not do so.”
Prosecutors also argue the phone recordings aren’t privileged because the facility warned inmates their calls may be recorded. By continuing their calls and not taking steps to have calls with attorneys exempt from surveillance, the inmates waived their right to keep the conversations from being monitored, they argue.
Depending on how far Robinson allows Cohen to go, the outcome of his investigation holds potentially significant consequences in ongoing cases. Only a handful of people have been charged in the Leavenworth smuggling investigation, but prosecutors indicate they believe upwards of 90 inmates may be involved, as well as a number of workers.
The current controversy is also drawing attention to Securus, which has faced scrutiny in other places over attorney-client recordings.
A Kansas and Missouri attorney filed a federal lawsuit against CCA and Securus in January. They argue Securus and CCA record confidential attorney-client communications, despite no legitimate reason to record.
Attorneys have sued Securus before. The company settled a 2014 lawsuit in Texas, agreeing to provide additional safeguards.
The settlement required implementation of a system to allow attorneys to register their phone numbers on a “do not record” list for calls with clients.
Shira A. Scheindlin, a former federal judge in the Southern District of New York, is a mediator and arbitrator with JAMS and a lawyer at Stroock, Stroock & Lavan. Peter Dubrowski, an associate at the law firm of Morvillo Abramowitz Grand Iason & Anello, assisted in the preparation of this essay.
In the fall of 2007, Steven Fabre appeared in my courtroom. He was a 29-year-old New York native there to plead guilty to a single count of possession with intent to distribute crack. Fabre was a typical street dealer who found business by approaching cars or pedestrians. He used the proceeds from his sales to feed his own addiction; he’d been using drugs since he was 14. Fabre had a number of convictions for very minor offenses, plus one for selling a small quantity of a controlled substance, for which he received five years of probation when he was 18. He never graduated from high school and had worked only for a short time, stocking his parents’ small grocery store.
Fabre’s life was troubled, but he was not a leader, a manager or an organizer of drug sales. Nor was he the source of any of the drugs he peddled — in fact, he didn’t even know how his supplier got them. This time, though, he’d sold more than five grams of crack, which meant he faced a mandatory five-year sentence. With no choice in the matter, that is the sentence I imposed. Prison destroyed his relationship with his girlfriend and separated him from his infant daughter. It exposed him to far more sophisticated criminals than he knew on the street. Most important, it is doubtful that prison provided much in the way of treating his drug addiction, which I viewed as the real source of his problems. I would never have imposed that sentence if I hadn’t been forced to. Our laws failed Steven Fabre.
In my nearly 22 years as a U.S. district judge in New York, I sentenced roughly 1,000 defendants. Thankfully, not all were subject to “mandatory minimum” sentences — in which Congress has imposed a required statutory punishment for a particular crime. But many were; 145 federal crimes still require a minimum sentence, including distribution of narcotics, immigration violations and identity theft, just to name a few.
Every first-year law student learns that sentencing has four goals: retribution, incapacitation, deterrence and rehabilitation. Yet thanks mostly to the Sentencing Reform Act of 1984 and the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1986, I was often prohibited from assessing a defendant’s history, personal characteristics or role in the offense. In sentencing, where judgment should matter most, I could not exercise my judgment. I felt more like a computer than a judge. And I was not alone. Over the years, many of my colleagues on the federal bench felt the same frustrations.
This problem upset me as soon as I was appointed in 1994. Mandatory minimums were almost always excessive, and they made me feel unethical, even dirty. After seven years, my patience had run thin and my conscience was troubled; I began to consider resigning. I sought the advice of a revered mentor, a federal judge with more than 30 years of experience. He pointed out that quitting would serve nobody, as another judge would be required to impose identical sentences anyway. He also said that if I left, the bench would lose a judge who could advocate for criminal justice reform through her decisions. So I remained. But to this day, I am pained by many of the sentences I was required by law to impose. While I bore the title “Honorable Judge,” I felt less than honorable and more like a complicit tool of an unjust system.
Beginning in the 1970s, ostensibly to fight the war on drugs, Congress and many states passed legislation (like New York’s infamous Rockefeller laws, adopted in 1973) requiring judges to impose harsh minimum sentences for drug offenses. While there were once three co-equal branches of government, there were now two, with the judiciary becoming the less equal branch: The legislative branch had eliminated judicial discretion in sentencing, and prosecutors in the executive branch decided when to charge a crime that carried a strict minimum punishment. This regime resulted in a steady rise in the prison population from 338,000 in 1970 to 2.2 million in 2010.
Mandatory minimums were not the only limit on a judge’s discretion. Before 2005, federal judges were required to follow guidelines developed by the U.S. Sentencing Commission. These rules were intended to eliminate disparities in sentencing that often resulted from the unconscious biases of judges. As early as the 1970s, federal trial judges — including Marvin Frankel, the intellectual father of the Sentencing Commission — noted that judges tended to impose lighter sentences on defendants who looked like them and harsher sentences on those who did not: minorities, undocumented immigrants and drug addicts who appeared in court looking poor and ragged. Unfortunately, the new rules codified some of these disparities: At one time, defendants received five years in prison for possessing five grams of crack, while it took 500 grams of powder cocaine to warrant the same sentence. This 100-to-1 asymmetry was reduced to 20-to-1 in 2010.
The guidelines assign every crime a place on a grid, with one axis for the seriousness of the crime and the other axis for the number and nature of any prior convictions of the defendant. The guidelines permit some adjustments, such as an increase in offense level when the victim of the crime is especially vulnerable, or a decrease in offense level when the defendant accepts responsibility. The grid produces a range of months in prison that a judge previously was, almost without exception, required to impose. Thankfully, in 2005, two decades after the guidelines took effect, the Supreme Court found them unconstitutional; they could be only advisory. This returned discretion to judges — except with respect to mandatory minimum statutes, courtesy of Congress, which are still very much alive.
Judicial discretion in sentencing matters. Many judges, including me, routinely sentence below the guidelines, particularly for first-time, nonviolent drug offenders. Indeed, in 2015 only 36.5 percent of all drug offenses nationwide resulted in a guideline-compliant sentences. Between 2005 and May 2016, when I retired from the bench, I sentenced more than 200 defendants convicted of narcotics offenses and imposed a lighter-than-advised sentence more than 80 percent of the time. Had I sentenced at the top of the guidelines’ range, these defendants would have served more than a millennium of additional prison time.
After I left the bench, Peter Dubrowski — my last law clerk — and I decided that we would review the sentencing protocols for each of those 200 defendants. As I expected, we found strikingly similar storylines. The overwhelming majority of the defendants were indigent. Seventy-two percent had children to support, and many of the defendants were under the age of 25 — barely adults themselves. More than half had not graduated from high school, most had not obtained a GED, and barely 5 percent had attended college. A majority battled alcohol addiction, drug addiction or both, and had begun abusing substances by age 14. Most were unemployed. Most came from single-parent homes, and most had at least one parent who was, or had been, incarcerated.
These common characteristics suggested that the defendants needed a brand of justice that would allow them to get their lives back on track, rather than deprive them of future jobs, roles supporting their families and chances to become productive in their communities. The right punishments would have given them a chance to achieve those goals. But many of the defendants in my courtroom were charged with crimes requiring a mandatory minimum sentence. As with Fabre, there was nothing I could do other than impose the required term. [MORE]
The number of electronic device searches conducted by border officers surged some 500 percent in 2016, as the agency said a changing threat environment caused more people to trip their radars.
The number of searches was still small. More than 1 million people entered the U.S. per day, while Customs and Border Protection searched 65 electronic devices on the average day, a senior agency official said Friday.
Those searches included both U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents returning to their homes, as well as visitors and new immigrants arriving.
The senior official said searches netted everything from child pornography to evidence of terrorism ties — though the official couldn’t say how many of the 23,877 device searches conducted in 2016 did lead expose criminal behavior.
A year earlier, CBP reported just 4,764 device searches, or just 13 a day.
“That’s a big jump,” said Nathan Wessler, staff attorney at the American Civil Liberties Union’s speech privacy and technology project. “They shouldn’t be able to do that on a hunch, or just because they feel like it. It should be based on actual suspicion of criminal wrongdoing based on fact.” [MORE]
Former national security adviser Susan Rice has called President Trump’s response to a question posed by a black journalist during Thursday’s dizzying press conference “notably offensive.”
During the conference, April Ryan, White House correspondent for American Urban Radio Networks, asked President Trump whether he was planning on including the Congressional Black Caucus—which she initially referred to by its acronym ‘CBC’—and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus in his conversations on ‘inner cities’ and his broader urban agenda.
A visibly flummoxed Trump retorted: “Am I going to include who?”
After Ryan repeated her question, Trump aggressively suggested she should go and set up the meeting herself, despite her insisting that although she knew some of its members, she was “just a reporter,” and as such had no affiliation with the organization.
“Are they friends of yours?” he asked “Let’s go. Set up a meeting. I would love to meet with the Black Caucus. I think it’s great, the Congressional Black Caucus. I think it’s great.”
Susan Rice, who served as national security adviser in the Obama administration and was also the first black woman to serve as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, retweeted a post from Vox editor Ezra Klein pointing to a piece criticizing Trump’s monolithic treatment of all people of color.
“This is a cogent summary of why @realDonaldTrump’s answer to April Ryan was so notably offensive” she wrote on Thursday evening.
The article in question highlighted Trump’s repeated use of the determiner “the” when talking about ethnic minorities—”the blacks,” “the Latinos,” “the African Americans” —as if all of them formed an uniform and dangerous cabal.
Following the second presidential debate in October, during which the then candidate had said that Hillary Clinton had “done a terrible job for the African-Americans” the hashtag #TheAfricanAmericans began trending on Twitter, with many sarcastic takes on Trump’s use of words.
At the time, educator and activist Kelly Wickham Hurst wrote: “Wondering if #TheAfricanAmericans are meeting up tomorrow somewhere in the inner city. Let a sister know where to be. I’ll keep the minutes.”
In his Thursday tweet, Ezra Klein called Trump’s comments on race “the lowest moment” of his press conference.
This sentiment was widely echoed elsewhere, including by Democratic Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland:
“I don’t think he [Trump] knew what the CBC was” the Democratic lawmaker told MSNBC’s Chris Hayes on Thursday evening in response to Trump’s remarks.
“A lot of people assume that all black people know all black people” he added “But the idea that the president would ask somebody in the press pool to set up a meeting with the Congressional Black Caucus… he’s the President of the United States of America. He can make that phone call himself.”
Black drivers in San Jose are almost three times as likely to be curb-sat than white drivers and nine times more likely to be interviewed after a vehicle stop, according to a study released Friday by the Center for Law and Human Behavior at the University of Texas at El Paso.
The Police Department responded positively to the study, saying in a statement that the analysis showed “fewer racial disparities than expected.”
Hispanics were shown to be over three times more likely than whites to be interviewed after a vehicle stop and about twice as likely to be stopped compared to their overall representation.
Blacks and Hispanics were about twice as likely as whites to be searched during a vehicle stop and more than twice as likely to receive a criminal citation, despite that Hispanics, like Asians, were less likely than whites to be found carrying contraband.
Hispanics were more than twice as likely than whites to be handcuffed during a pedestrian stop, and more likely than white pedestrians to be stopped at all.
Black and Asian pedestrians were both stopped less frequently than whites, and less often than would be expected given their representation among violent crime suspects reported to police.
Michael Smith, a UTEP criminologist and former police officer, led the study of vehicle and pedestrian stop data recorded between September 2013 and March 2016 after San Jose police contracted with UTEP to conduct the study last year.
In the study, Smith recommends that police identify racially disparate stop patterns by individual officers and address them early, explaining that racial profiling is often driven by the practice of a relatively small number of officers in the department.
Researchers on the study also recommend that the department adopt evidence-based training for improving police-citizen interactions and disseminate better information about crime patterns as they intersect with
race in the city.
Smith is quoted in the police statement as saying that the department has “no apparent cultural issues,” despite the disparities published in his analysis.
Rep. Hakeem Jeffries said Friday that any meeting between the Congressional Black Caucus and President Donald Trump should not include senior adviser Steve Bannon — because he's "a stone cold racist and a white supremacist sympathizer."
"We're looking forward to an open dialogue, but Steve Bannon should not be in the room," Jeffries said on MSNBC Friday afternoon.
Asked why Bannon ought not participate, Jeffries said: "Well listen he's a stone cold racist and a white supremacist sympathizer. It'd be hard for me to participate in any meeting with Steve Bannon that normalizes his presence in the White House."
The former Breitbart News leader's inclusion in the Trump administration has drawn strong opposition from minority groups and Democrats alike, and many have leveled charges of racism against him. [MORE]
Snyder's Civil Rights Commission says ‘Systemic racism’ at root of Flint water crisis [but it doesn't say Snyder is part of the racism]
“Systemic racism” going back decades is at the core of problems that caused a lead-contaminated water crisis in the majority black city of Flint, according to a Michigan Civil Rights Commission report issued Friday.
The report says the commission did not unearth any civil rights law violations and that nobody “intended to poison Flint.” But the 130-page report based on the testimony of more than 100 residents, experts and government and community leaders at public hearings and other meetings last year concludes that decisions would have been different had they concerned the state’s wealthier, predominantly white communities.
“We are not suggesting that those making decisions related to this crisis were racists … (but the) disparate response is the result of systemic racism that was built into the foundation and growth of Flint, its industry and suburban area,” the report says. “Would the Flint water crisis have been allowed to happen in Birmingham, Ann Arbor or East Grand Rapids? We believe the answer is no, and that the vestiges of segregation and discrimination found in Flint made it a unique target. The lack of political clout left the residents with nowhere to turn, no way to have their voices heard.”
To save money while under state control, the impoverished city with a 57 percent black population used water from the Flint River for 18 months without treating it to prevent pipe corrosion. As a result, the water caused lead to leach from old pipes and into homes.
Elevated levels of lead, a neurotoxin, were detected in children, and 12 people died in a Legionnaires’ outbreak that has been linked to the improperly treated water. Flint’s overall lead level no longer exceeds the federal limit but authorities still require residents to use faucet filters provided by the state.
Michigan has allocated roughly $250 million toward resolving the disaster. Thirteen current or former government officials have been criminally charged in the crisis, including two emergency managers who were appointed by Gov. Rick Snyder to run Flint.
The commission’s report notes the local, state and federal action to help Flint that began in late 2015 but criticized the timing, noting that by that time residents “had been reporting heavily discolored and bad tasting water for well over a year.”
“Even after some tests showed there was a problem, decision makers questioned the tests, not the water,” the report said.
The commission’s findings build on a report released last year by a bipartisan task force created by Snyder that determined the crisis was a case of “environmental injustice.” This week, Snyder announced the members of a new Environmental Justice Work Group aimed at improving state guidelines and policy regarding environmental and health hazards.
Snyder spokeswoman Anna Heaton said the governor “takes the reporting of each of these panels very seriously, and appreciates the public input that was shared.”
The commission recommends replacing or amending the state’s emergency manager law to analyze the root causes of a community’s financial problems and allow for more local representation and oversight. The bipartisan task force and others also recommended changes to the law in the wake of the water crisis, but none has been made.
Flint resident Claire McClinton said she’s grateful for the efforts but finds the report “underwhelming.” She said the emergency manager law needs to be abolished, the Army Corps of Engineers should replace the old pipes, and Medicare needs to be made available to “all impacted residents.”
“It didn’t match the severity of the situation we’re in,” said McClinton, who attended the previous public hearings as well as Friday’s meeting where commissioners presented the report. “I think they talked themselves into being timid.”
The commission, created by the Michigan Constitution, is directed to investigate allegations of discrimination. If it finds violations, it can order the violator to stop and take corrective action. That order can be appealed to circuit court. The commission pledges “to be more resolute” in its role in “giving greater voice” to residents to prevent such crises from happening again.
Commission Co-chairman Agustin Arbulu said he seeks stronger civil rights laws that deal with “disparate impacts” on communities like Flint. He encouraged residents to file claims with the commission as well as federal agencies.
The commission first conducted hearings in Flint 50 years ago to investigate problems associated with urban renewal, particularly access to decent housing. The 1966 probe found a “rigidly segregated” city with people living in “squalid conditions.”
Its Impossible to Provide Service to People You Have Contempt For: Education Dept. misspells name of NAACP co-founder in tweet
It’s not just the White House that seems to have a problem with spelling. Someone at the U.S. Education Department, now led by Secretary Betsy DeVos, does, too.
At 8:45 on Sunday morning, the department’s official Twitter account misspelled the name of W.E.B. Du Bois, a black sociologist, historian, civil rights activist and co-founder of the NAACP, the oldest civil rights organization in the United States. Du Bois was misspelled as DeBois — an error that might be understandable from a young student, but the U.S. Education Department?
Hours after the tweet was posted — and after the error was lampooned by a number of people on Twitter, it was corrected, with an apology:
Post updated – our deepest apologizes for the earlier typo. — US Dept of Education (@usedgov) February 12, 2017
The department fixed that tweet quickly, changing “apologizes” for “apologies.”
It wasn’t the first embarrassing spelling error of the young Trump administration. A recent White House list of 78 terrorist attacks that it said the media had deliberately “underreported” was riddled with errors, explained by Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank like this:
The list didn’t expose anything new about terrorist attacks, but it did reveal a previously underreported assault by the Trump administration on the conventions of written English.
From [HERE] After a hearing Monday in which the judge was openly skeptical of their case, the American Civil Liberties Union of Washington has lost its first effort to change the way the city and state clear homeless encampments and trash homeless people's belongings in the process.
U.S. District Court Judge Ricardo S. Martinez issued a written ruling today denying the ACLU's request for a temporary restraining order restricting the ability of the City of Seattle and Washington State Department of Transportation to trash people's belongings without a robust process for notifying them and storing these belongings.
The restraining order request was part of an ongoing lawsuit over the city's sweeps of homeless encampments. The ACLU has argued that by not doing a good enough job storing homeless people's personal belongings after sweeps, the city and state are violating their Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment rights.
In his decision today, Martinez wrote that the ACLU failed to prove that allowing the city to continue sweeping homeless encampments as it has been doing would cause irreparable harm. While he emphasized that his decision is "preliminary," the judge also expressed skepticism about the ACLU's claims that the city and WSDOT are violating homeless people's constitutional rights.
"While sympathetic to the circumstances in which these Plaintiffs find themselves," Martinez wrote, "the Court ultimately concludes that on this record Plaintiffs have not satisfied their burden to show a high likelihood of success on the merits of their constitutional claims at this time."
After the hearing Monday, Todd Williams, a lawyer who argued on behalf of the ACLU and the homeless plaintiffs, said the ACLU would continue the lawsuit regardless of the outcome on the restraining order.
In arguments to the court, the city and WSDOT have defended their existing practices for clearing encampments, promising they store people's belongings and offer a way to get those belongings back.
The ACLU and other advocacy groups have disputed those claims, arguing that not only are the city's policies for clearing encampments insufficient but that the city and state often don't follow their own policies in the first place. According to the ACLU, city records show that from January 2015 through early April 2016, the city participated in 733 encampment sweeps but only stored belongings 55 times
"Even if rules were perfectly constitutional," Williams told the court Monday, "it's not clear the city and state will actually follow those rules."
Matthew Segal, a lawyer representing the city, disputed the ACLU's numbers in court Monday.
"The City of Seattle is not a recalcitrant city. The city is not denying… that persons have rights to property," Segal told the judge. "We’re not saying that just because you’re trespassing, you have absolutely no rights. We’re saying we’re trying to balance the important issues the city must undertake and balance every day." (Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes and the mayor's counsel, Ian Warner, were in the courtroom but didn't argue before the judge.)
Judge Martinez was openly friendly to the city's case in court, prefacing one question to the city about its sweeps policies with, "I know you're trying to address the problem and come up with rules and regulations that would make sense for everyone." At another point, he said of people camping near roadways, "When I drive in town... I've seen people doing things that might very well put them in danger and put traveling motorists in danger as well."
During discussion of the ACLU's argument, Martinez questioned how realistic it is to expect city and state workers to be able to differentiate between homeless people's personal belongings and trash. Martinez told Williams that homeless people who are "suffering mental illness [and] drug use" could be "commingling" their personal belongings and trash. "And you want to put that responsibility [for separating trash and important belongings] on the defendants here?" the judge asked.
While today's decision affects only the ACLU's request for a temporary restraining order and the case will continue, it is also a sign of just how difficult this case will be for the ACLU to win. A date has not yet been set for the next hearing in the case.