The Fortune Society News Of The Week — the week of December 8, 2014

Monday, December 8, 2014

A wide-ranging collection of news and opinion from the previous week focusing on criminal justice policy, advocacy, and reform.


Eric Garner’s Widow Denies Race Was Chokehold Motive

The chokehold death of Eric Garner wasn’t “a black-and-white thing,” his widow said — a stunning admission that breaks sharply from lawmakers and protesters who have seized on the racial aspect of the case. She said she believes ….

http://nypost.com/2014/12/08/eric-garners-widow-denies-race-was-chokehold-motive/

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Man Who filmed Eric Garner In Chokehold Says Grand Jury Was Rigged

Ramsey Orta — who recorded the incident in which Officer Daniel Pantaleo put Eric Garner in a chokehold shortly before he died on his cellphone — said the grand jury “wasn’t fair from the start,” and claims his testimony only …

http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/eric-garner-grand-jury-rigged-man-filmed-chokehold-article-1.2033257

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Councilman: Chokehold Bill “Picking Up Steam”

The sponsor of a City Council bill that would outlaw the use of chokeholds by law enforcement officers said there is increasing interest in the bill after a grand jury’s
decision not to indict an officer in the chokehold death of …

http://www.capitalnewyork.com/article/city-hall/2014/12/8557932/councilman-chokehold-bill-picking-steam

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Body Cameras Worn By Police Are No “Safeguard Of Truth,” Experts Say

President Obama said he would request $75 million in federal funds to distribute 50,000 body cameras to police nationwide, saying they would improve relations with the public. But questions remain about how much they can actually prevent …

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/07/nyregion/body-cameras-worn-by-police-officers-are-no-safeguard-of-truth-experts-say.html?smid=nytcore-ipad-share&smprod=nytcore-ipad

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A Criminal Civil Rights Case May Be Difficult To Prove

The Justice Dept.’s announcement that it would open a civil rights investigation into
the chokehold death of Eric Garner has raised hopes among many that the federal
government will succeed where Staten Island prosecutors failed. But …

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/05/nyregion/federal-investigation-into-eric-garners-death-may-be-difficult-to-prove-legal-experts-say.html?smid=nytcore-ipad-share&smprod=nytcore-ipad

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Some Conservatives Say Deadly Force Used To Subdue Garner Didn’t Fit The Crime

The death of a black man from a police chokehold scrambled the politics of race and law enforcement as some conservatives who stood by the police in Ferguson, MO, condemned them on Staten Island. Even as Hillary Clinton spoke …

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/05/us/politics/anger-at-chokehold-death-crosses-political-lines.html?smid=nytcore-ipad-share&smprod=nytcore-ipad

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Unequal Treatment Of 2 Protesters In Garner Case, One White And One Black

Two protesters — both grad students at the Union Theological Seminary — took part in demonstrations, both briefly blockading the FDR Drive. Both were arrested. But one, a white man, and the other, a black man, say what happened …

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/10/nyregion/unequal-treatment-of-2-protesters-in-eric-garner-case-one-white-and-one-black.html?smid=nytcore-ipad-share&smprod=nytcore-ipad

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Sizing Up A Prosecutor’s Performance

Elected  officials, legal experts and police officers differed on Staten Island DA Dan Donovan ’s handling of the grand jury that declined to indict the officer involved in Eric Garner ’s death. He promised a fair and thorough investigation when …

http://online.wsj.com/articles/officer-to-new-york-grand-jury-no-chokehold-used-on-eric-garner-1417731535

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NYC Prosecutors Oppose State Attorney General’s Request To Investigate When Cops Kill Unarmed Civilians

Eric Schneiderman sent a letter Gov. Cuomo asking for the standing power to usurp local DAs, a measure Schneiderman said is needed to address “the current crisis of confidence in our state’s criminal justice system” in the wake of …

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/n-y-ag-asks-investigate-cases-cops-kill-civilians-article-1.2037498

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NYC Mayor Draws Praise, Criticism For Response In Garner Case

Mayor Bill de Blasio, who has pledged to heal relations between police and minority
communities, is getting mixed reviews for how he has responded to the Eric Garner case. Former Mayor Rudy Giuliani said his remarks were racist because …

http://online.wsj.com/articles/new-york-city-mayor-bill-de-blasio-draws-praise-criticism-for-handling-of-eric-garner-case-1417724701

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Cuomo Pledges Legislative Change After Garner Grand Jury Decision

NY  lawmakers, particularly Democrats, pitched a variety of changes to police training, DA procedures, and the grand jury process after a grand jury decided not to indict the officer in Eric Garner ’s case. Gov. Cuomo pledged to …

http://online.wsj.com/articles/gov-andrew-cuomo-pledges-legislative-change-after-garner-grand-jury-decision-1417721085

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In 179 Fatalities Involving On-Duty NYPD Cops In 15 Years, Only 3 Cases Led To Indictments — And Just 1 Conviction

An analysis of NYPD-involved deaths starts with the 1999 slaying of unarmed Amadou Diallo in a hail of bullets in the Bronx and ends with last month’s shooting death of Akai Gurley in a Brooklyn stairwell. Where race was known, 86% were …

http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/nyc-crime/179-nypd-involved-deaths-3-indicted-exclusive-article-1.2037357

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Police Violence Seems To Result In No Punishment

When a grand jury declined to indict Officer Daniel Pantaleo in the killing of Eric Garner, some critics blamed Staten Island itself. But grand juries, so willing to issue indictments in so many instances, rarely do so in cases involving …

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/07/nyregion/police-violence-seems-to-result-in-no-punishment.html?smid=nytcore-ipad-share&smprod=nytcore-ipad

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Opinion: Applying “Broken Windows” To The Police

In poorer neighborhoods, overly aggressive officers too often contribute to disorder. But we have yet to apply “broken windows” to police. “If tolerating broken windows leads to escalating crime, what impact does tolerating police misconduct have …

http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2014/12/applying-broken-windows-to-the-police/383490/

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In NYC Chokehold Case, Teachers Struggle To Help Students Understand

After a grand jury declined to indict a police officer in the death of an unarmed African-American man, an English teacher in the Bronx taught a lesson on Mayor  de Blasio ’s speech urging calm, while a Manhattan social-studies teacher took …

http://online.wsj.com/articles/in-nyc-chokehold-case-and-protests-teachers-struggle-to-help-students-understand-1417719011

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Rookie Officer Who Shot Gurley In Stairwell Was Texting Union Rep As Victim Lay Dying

In the six and a half minutes after Peter Liang discharged a single bullet that struck Akai Gurley, he and his partner couldn’t be reached. And instead of calling for help for the dying man, Liang was texting his union rep. What’s more …

http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/brooklyn/exclusive-texted-union-rep-akai-gurley-lay-dying-article-1.2034219

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Officer At Rikers Island Is Charged With Lying In Inmate’s Death

A correction officer, who was on duty when a homeless veteran died in an overheated cell at Rikers, was charged with lying on jail records, falsely claiming she had checked on the inmate that night. So far, she is the only person to …

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/09/nyregion/correction-officer-is-charged-in-case-of-inmates-death-in-a-hot-rikers-cell.html?smid=nytcore-ipad-share&smprod=nytcore-ipad

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Ex-Rikers Guard Who Saw Mentally Ill Inmate Suffer Slow Death Claims Boss Advocated Off-The-Books Revenge

Former Rikers Correction Officer Raymond Castro says Capt. Terrence Pendergrass ordered him not to call medics as inmate Jason Echevarria suffered after ingesting a ball of detergent. Pendergrass’ attorney questioned …

http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/rikers-guard-inmate-suffer-boss-cleared-revenge-article-1.2041497

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Opinion: We Must Stop Police Abuse Of Black Men

I can recall it as if it were yesterday — looking into the toilet and seeing blood instead of urine. That was the aftermath of my first police encounter. As a 15-year-old, living in Jamaica, Queens, I was arrested on a trespass charge after …

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/05/opinion/we-must-stop-police-abuse-of-black-men.html?smid=nytcore-ipad-share&smprod=nytcore-ipad

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NYC Poverty Tracker Fall Report

To fight poverty effectively, we need an accurate picture of what it means to be poor in New York. Current surveys don’t tell a complete story. To correct this, Robin Hood launched the Poverty Tracker, a survey of 2,300 NYC residents …

http://povertytracker.robinhood.org/

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Police Face A Long, Complex Task To Mend Distrust Deepened By Killings

As the St. Louis region tries to recover from the death of  Michael Brown, which laid bare racial tensions and set off months of sometimes violent protests, one of the biggest unresolved problems in Ferguson is the deep suspicion, anger, and …

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/08/us/police-face-a-long-and-complex-task-to-mend-distrust-deepened-by-killings.html?smid=nytcore-ipad-share&smprod=nytcore-ipad

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Police Move To Revamp Tactics

Police departments are racing to develop new training rules on the use of force, a response that has gained urgency amid scrutiny from the U.S. Justice Dept. and an emerging consensus that law-enforcement practices need to be …

http://online.wsj.com/articles/police-move-to-revamp-tactics-after-brown-garner-incidents-1417739303

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Opinion: The Cop Mind

Like a lot of people in journalism, I began my career as a police reporter. Early on, I learned that there is an amazing variety of police officers, even compared to other professions. Most cops are conscientious, and some are …

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/09/opinion/the-cop-mind.html?smid=nytcore-ipad-share&smprod=nytcore-ipad

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Feds Release New Profiling Restrictions

The Justice Department announced new restrictions on racial profiling by federal law enforcement agencies that will expand its prohibited application currently based on race and ethnicity to include profiling bans related to gender, religion …

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2014/12/08/racial-profiling-feds/20074329/

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Named For Chuck Colson, Federal Panel Looks To Reform Prisons

The bipartisan Charles Colson Task Force on Federal Corrections kicked off its work at the Capitol with former Rep. J.C. Watts Jr., its chairman, declaring it is charged with making the federal prison system safer, less costly, and more …

http://www.religionnews.com/2014/12/09/named-chuck-colson-federal-panel-looks-reform-prisons/

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Hidden Costs Of Youth Incarceration Nationwide Estimated To Run Between $8 Billion And $21 Billion Each Year

33 states and jurisdictions spend $100,000 or more annually to incarcerate a young person, and generate outcomes that result in even greater costs, according to a new report. The long-term consequences could cost taxpayers …

http://www.virtualpressoffice.com/publicsiteContentFileAccess?fileContentId=1834766&fromOtherPageToDisableHistory=Y&menuName=News&sId=&sInfo=

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Opinion: Oregon Sentencing Reform Pays Dividends

Some were skeptical when Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber appointed a Public Safety Commission to explore ways to reduce prison costs through sentencing reform. Now the results of the first year are in, and the savings appear to be …

http://www.mailtribune.com/article/20141211/OPINION/141219931/101084/OPINION

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California’s Prison Reform Making Things Worse At County Jails

Pushed by the courts to thin out CA state prisons, Gov. Jerry Brown has imposed a cascade of burdens on the county jails required to receive waves of inmates. The latest of these has caused extra heartburn for county sheriffs — a sharp uptick in …

http://www.citywatchla.com/8box-left/8023-california-s-prison-reform-making-things-worse-at-county-jails

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Solitary Confinement: Wisconsin Prison System Revamps Disciplinary Rules

The Wisconsin Dept. of Corrections is quietly preparing to make significant changes to its rules governing inmate discipline, amid heightened discomfort over the state’s use of solitary confinement. “The disciplinary process should be used …

http://wisconsinwatch.org/2014/12/wisconsin-prison-system-revamps-disciplinary-rules/

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Why Texas Is Shutting Prison Doors

Texas isn’t exactly known as a bastion of progressivism. The state goes consistently red in elections and has mounted an escalating war on choice and women’s rights. Yet, something remarkable is …

http://www.care2.com/causes/why-texas-is-shutting-prison-doors.html

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Opinion: A Model For Prison Treatment System

If Nebraska officials are leery about the benefits of building a treatment system for prison inmates instead of constructing new prisons, they ought to take a look at Texas. Texas was in a situation similar to the one that exists now in …

http://journalstar.com/news/opinion/editorial/editorial-a-model-for-prison-treatment-system/article_e255c306-8677-55d7-8df3-a7322107f626.html

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Report Lists Ways Nebraska Can Cut Prison Population, Costs

A prison reform study recommends that Nebraska increase probation for nonviolent offenders and bulk up supervision of inmates after release. The report says Nebraska could reduce its prison population by 10% and avoid $261 million in …

http://www.omaha.com/news/metro/report-lists-ways-nebraska-can-cut-prison-population-costs/article_dbe216eb-d673-5e57-a92c-2a28320c6a09.html

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State Prison Reform Task Force To Discuss Prison System

Alabama’s Prison Reform Task Force was scheduled to begin discussing the state’s troubled and overcrowded prison system.  Shelby County Sen. Cam Ward, who chairs the panel, said the discussion will center on proposals that would …

http://wvasfm.org/post/state-prison-reform-task-force-discuss-prison-system-0

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New Chief Of Florida’s Troubled Prison System Praised As No-Nonsense Reformer 

Florida Gov. Rick Scott chose career law enforcement officer Julie Jones to take over the Dept. of Corrections, making her the fourth boss in four years at an agency grappling with massive problems, including suspicious inmate deaths, physical …

http://www.tampabay.com/news/politics/stateroundup/new-chief-of-floridas-troubled-prison-system-praised-as-no-nonsense/2209782

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Mumia Silenced In Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania legislators are trying to stop prisoners from speaking about their  ideas and experiences. In October, PA Representative Mike Vereb introduced a bill which would allow victims, DAs, and the Attorney General to sue people who …

http://www.opednews.com/articles/Mumia-Silenced-in-Pennsylv-by-John-Jonik-Mumia-Abu-jamal_Pennsylvania-Governor-Tom-Corbett-141211-675.html

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Schools’ Discipline For Girls Differs By Race And Hue

It was a surprise when Mikia Hutchings, 12, and a friend got into trouble for writing graffiti on the gym bathroom’s walls. Even more of a surprise was her penalty — and the fact that her friend, who is white, was let go …

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/11/us/school-discipline-to-girls-differs-between-and-within-races.html?smid=nytcore-ipad-share&smprod=nytcore-ipad

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South Portland Program Offers Incarcerated Juveniles Therapy Through Theater

Zack Gregoire spent three years inside the Long Creek Youth Development Facility where he went through all the routine counseling required. However, Gregoire, now 18, also found a different kind of therapy that helped him get through …

http://bangordailynews.com/2014/12/09/living/south-portland-program-offers-incarcerated-juveniles-therapy-through-theater/?ref=LivingBox

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The Restaurant That Serves A Second Chance To Kids Who Need It Most

A hot, new restaurant is coming to downtown Dallas. But Café Momentum does more than just serve food. The nonprofit restaurant will be staffed by boys and young men who have served time at the Dallas County juvenile detention center …

http://nationswell.com/cafe-momentum-employs-former-juvenile-offenders-at-restaurant/

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Dollree Mapp, Who Defied Police Search In Landmark Case, Is Dead

On May 23, 1957, three police officers arrived at a house in Cleveland and demanded to enter. They wanted to question a man about a bombing and believed he was hiding inside. A woman who lived there, Dollree Mapp, refused to …

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/10/us/dollree-mapp-who-defied-police-search-in-landmark-case-is-dead.html?_r=1

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NYC Youth Organizations Welcome Duke And Duchess Of Cambridge

Two of NYC’s leading youth organizations — The Door and The CityKids Foundation — welcomed Their Royal Highnesses, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, for a tour and youth performance during their first official visit to …

http://www.universitysettlement.org/us/news/News/partner_organization_welcomes_du/

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