WBEZ | Criminal Justice http://www.wbez.org/news/criminal-justice Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en New law limits bail profits Cook County can take from poor http://www.wbez.org/news/new-law-limits-bail-profits-cook-county-can-take-poor-112725 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/cook county jail.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>A new Illinois law is going to cost Cook County $5 million in revenue each year. That&rsquo;s according to Circuit Court Clerk Dorothy Brown&rsquo;s office. But the local politician who pushed the law says those profits were being taken out of the pockets of the poorest residents in the county.</p><p>The law caps processing fees for posting bond at $100.</p><p>Here&rsquo;s how it works: After someone is arrested a judge will often set bail. If the defendant puts up a certain amount of money they can be released from jail until trial. Currently Cook County charges a 10 percent processing fee for this service, so if someone has to post a $5,000 bond, the county keeps $500 dollars of that whether the defendant was found guilty or not.</p><blockquote><p><strong>Related:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wbez.org/story/innocent-defendants-still-have-pay-court-fees-cook-county-97311">Innocent defendants still have to pay court fees to Cook County</a></strong></p></blockquote><p>&ldquo;The county should not be using bond being posted by non-convicted individuals as a revenue source. It&rsquo;s a tax on poor black and brown people primarily,&rdquo; said Cook County Commissioner John Fritchey.</p><p>Fritchey pushed the $100 cap through the state legislature, which creates the statutes that control Circuit Court Clerk offices statewide.</p><p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s one thing to talk about reforming the criminal justice system,&rdquo; Fritchey said. &ldquo;This was a substantive step towards doing that. Now granted there are a lot more to go, but one step at a time.&rsquo;</p><p>He says he&rsquo;d like to push a future law that would refund 100 percent of the bond posted by people who are found not guilty or whose cases are dropped or dismissed.</p><p>Fritchey says he&rsquo;s also not convinced it&rsquo;s going to cost the county the $5 million estimated by Circuit Court Clerk Dorothy Brown.</p><p>&ldquo;I think it&rsquo;s very realistic that it will cost the county a couple of million dollars a year,<br />but to the extent that that is the price of doing things the morally and economically smart way, that&rsquo;s fine by me,&rdquo; he said.</p></p> Tue, 25 Aug 2015 17:14:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/new-law-limits-bail-profits-cook-county-can-take-poor-112725 Predicting police misconduct before it happens http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-08-21/predicting-police-misconduct-it-happens-112704 <p><p>Every day there are thousands of interactions between police officers and citizens across the country. While most are uneventful, a small number leave a member of the public disrespected, unprotected, harassed or &mdash; in all too many cases seen recently &mdash; hurt or even killed.</p><p>This summer, fellows with <a href="http://dssg.io/">Data Science for Social Good</a> &mdash; a program at the University of Chicago that connects data scientists with governments and nonprofits &mdash; are working to predict when officers are at risk of misconduct, the goal being to prevent problems before they happen.</p><p>The effort&rsquo;s part of the <a href="https://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2015/05/18/launching-police-data-initiative">White House Police Data Initiative</a>, which aims to increase transparency and community trust, while decreasing inappropriate uses of force. (That DSSG was approached by the White House wasn&rsquo;t surprising; its program director, Rayid Ghani, was the Chief Data Scientist for Obama for America in 2012.)</p><p>Police departments around the country &mdash; 21 in all &mdash; are participating in the national effort. (Chicago police were not one of the departments picked to participate.) The White House matched DSSG with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department. Like many agencies, CMPD has early intervention systems. The challenge for DSSG was to find ways to improve them and avoid misconduct.</p><p>&ldquo;So we&rsquo;re trying to identify these opportunities to give them the information and training they need to avoid these negative interactions,&rdquo; said Joe Walsh, a mentor with DSSG overseeing the project.</p><p>CMPD currently looks at measures such as use of force, accidents and injuries, and sets a number of incidents that should trigger a response from the department. Officers who are flagged by the system will meet with a supervisor to review an incident, receive counseling or additional training.</p><p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s not the most effective system,&rdquo; said CMPD Capt. Stella Patterson. &ldquo;We realize there&rsquo;s some enhancements that need to be made to it.&rdquo;</p><p>Working through the partnership was sometimes intense. The Charlotte City Council had to <a href="http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2015/06/21/white-house-police-data-initiative-privacy-concerns/28952215/">approve an ordinance to share the data with DSSG</a> (fellowship staff traveled to the city to make that happen), and some officers &mdash; including Patterson &mdash; were anxious sharing so much information with people outside the department. Still she feels that the project will help in the long run.</p><p>&ldquo;As a police officer, I&rsquo;m going to tell you personally, it was a little uncomfortable, because now you&rsquo;re exposing yourself really to the world,&rdquo; Patterson said. &ldquo;People will look at this project as a model for the rest of law enforcement. But the benefit we&rsquo;re going to get from it is going to be great. While some of us may feel like we&rsquo;re opening up ourselves, I feel like law enforcement today and moving forward is going to require that.&rdquo;</p><p>To find common patterns, the DSSG team analyzed incidents and anonymized data of the officers involved. They considered things like: when and where an arrest or traffic stop occurred; had the officer worked extra shifts; how long had they been on the force; even what the weather was like at the time.</p><p>&ldquo;Because it&rsquo;s sort of a new problem, we spent a lot of time trying to grasp what was important and what wasn&rsquo;t, and that&rsquo;s something we&rsquo;re still working on,&rdquo; said fellow Kenny Joseph, a computer science student at Carnegie Mellon.</p><p>That explains why the group of data analysts got face-time with CMPD, meeting department top brass and even going on ride-alongs with officers.</p><p>&ldquo;We would not be able to do a good job had we not gone down,&rdquo; said fellow Ayesha Mahmud, a demography student at Princeton University. &ldquo;None of us had any idea coming in what the everyday life of a police officer was like.&rdquo;</p><p>Mahmud said she was struck by how much time a police officer spends during each shift just speaking with residents to gather information and diffuse problems.</p><p>&ldquo;I think we all came to the realization that the data can only capture a very small part of that story,&rdquo; she said. &ldquo;I think that really helped us think about this problem.&rdquo;</p><p>With the fellowship finishing up next week, DSSG has identified a few indicators they hope can identify possible problem officers &mdash; such as previous uses of force, working extra shifts, or responding to other stressful calls &mdash; all before they create problems.</p><p>Still, each fellow was careful to point out they haven&rsquo;t tested and refined the model enough to draw any causal conclusions just yet.</p><p>&ldquo;There&rsquo;s just so much that could be at play here and we only have three months,&rdquo; Walsh said. &ldquo;So while we may be able to improve the system that they have, there&rsquo;s still a long way to go.&rdquo;</p><p>Patterson said CMPD plans to review the proposed model before they update their current system, but is open adding the findings to their discussions.</p><p>&ldquo;We may realize, looking at all the data and the research, that the thresholds we have now are inadequate,&rdquo; Patterson said. &ldquo;That piece of it is still to be determined, and we are certainly going to work with University of Chicago as well as our other partners, other agencies, to see what the best practices are.&rdquo;</p><p>While they remain cautious, the fellows believe the model they&rsquo;ve created can help the department do a better job identifying problems before they happen.</p><p>&ldquo;It can&rsquo;t solve everything, but I do think our data can help CMPD do a better job targeting their interventions,&rdquo; Mahmud said. &ldquo;Even if we can help prevent 25 more adverse events in a year, that&rsquo;s better than their current system.&rdquo;</p><p>Walsh said that DSSG plans to continue the project next year, and he&rsquo;s hopeful they can get data from more police departments. The next up is Knoxville, Tennessee.</p><p><em>Chris Hagan is a web producer and data reporter with WBEZ. Follow him at </em><a href="https://twitter.com/chrishagan"><em>@chrishagan</em></a><em>.</em></p></p> Fri, 21 Aug 2015 12:36:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-08-21/predicting-police-misconduct-it-happens-112704 Rauner signs police guidelines for body cameras http://www.wbez.org/news/rauner-signs-police-guidelines-body-cameras-112641 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/body-cameras_0.png" alt="" /><p><p>Illinois has become one of the first states nationwide to establish wide-ranging law enforcement rules for body cameras, bias-free policing and more data collection on arrests under a measure signed into law Wednesday by Gov. Bruce Rauner.</p><p>The plan beefs up reporting guidelines for officers making pedestrian stops and arrests, largely prohibits chokeholds and adds guidelines for training to help officers become aware of bias and cultural competency. The new law doesn&#39;t mandate body cameras, but does specify how they should be worn, when they have to be turned on and how long recorded videos should be kept. Illinois would help departments pay for the cameras and training for officers with grants funded by a $5 increase in traffic tickets.</p><p>&quot;We are taking steps to strengthen the relationship between our law enforcement officers and the public they protect,&quot; Rauner, who signed the bill in private, said in a statement. &quot;It will have a lasting and positive impact on the people of Illinois.&quot;</p><p>Dozens of U.S. states have passed police reform measures in the wake of two fatal police encounters last year: the shooting death of an unarmed black 18-year-old by a white officer in Ferguson, Missouri, and the death of a black man in New York who died after being placed in a white officer&#39;s chokehold.</p><p>But only three states &mdash; Illinois, Colorado and Connecticut &mdash; have approved comprehensive plans, according to a recent Associated Press analysis. Supporters said the Illinois law could be a model for other states as police practices come under heightened scrutiny.</p><p>The Illinois measure had strong bipartisan support as well as backing from police unions, the American Civil Liberties Union and the NAACP. Members of those groups attended a closed-to-reporters bill signing at Rauner&#39;s state Capitol office. The legislation takes recommendations offered by President Barack Obama&#39;s police task force.</p><p>State Sen. Kwame Raoul, a Chicago Democrat, was one of the bill sponsors.</p><p>&quot;Illinois has set the standard, set the standard nationally,&quot; he said at a news conference in Springfield.</p><p>The law, which fully takes effect in January 2016, also calls for independent reviews of all police-involved deaths and creates a database to help track officers dismissed for misconduct. Effective immediately is the forming of a commission that will review training requirements and other issues and report to legislators and the governor by the end of January.</p></p> Thu, 13 Aug 2015 08:43:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/rauner-signs-police-guidelines-body-cameras-112641 Fired investigator: Policy change could help cover up police misconduct http://www.wbez.org/news/fired-investigator-policy-change-could-help-cover-police-misconduct-112614 <p><p>I spent months trying to reach Lorenzo Davis, an investigator at the Independent Police Review Authority, the Chicago agency that looks into shootings by officers and police-brutality complaints. I had heard that Davis, a former police commander for the city, was clashing with his bosses, the folks in charge of the agency.<br /><br />When Davis finally called me back last month, IPRA had fired him. He had something big to tell me, and there was written evidence.<br /><br />The bosses, according to his final performance evaluation, had ordered him to change findings in at least a dozen cases, all shootings or alleged excessive-force incidents.</p><p>His findings were that the officers had violated laws or police department rules, he said. The bosses included Scott M. Ando, promoted to be chief administrator by Mayor Rahm Emanuel last year.<br /><br />Davis also wanted to tell me about IPRA&rsquo;s internal procedure for handling disagreements, between the investigator and superiors, about a case&rsquo;s findings.<br /><br />For years, the procedure was for the investigator to attend a meeting with the higher-ups. &ldquo;You would discuss the case and come to some sort of consensus,&rdquo; Davis said. &ldquo;But if you did not agree or refused to change your findings, there would be what we call an internal non-concurrence.&rdquo;<br /><br />The &ldquo;non-concurrence&rdquo; meant a boss was overturning the findings with a written explanation. That memo &mdash; an actual sheet of paper &mdash; would go on top of the case file. And the investigator&rsquo;s findings would stay in the file for all to see.<br /><br />&ldquo;This year,&rdquo; Davis said, &ldquo;Ando decided that he did not want to write a non-concurrence.&rdquo;<br /><br />The new policy, disseminated by Ando in March, says investigators &ldquo;do not have the right to refuse to make changes as directed by a superior. Anyone who refuses . . . will be considered insubordinate and may be subject to discipline.&rdquo;</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Screen%20Shot%202015-08-10%20at%2011.51.32%20PM.png" style="height: 309px; width: 620px;" title="Screencap of an email informing IPRA staff of the March policy change." /></div><p><br />The policy&rsquo;s purpose was to eliminate certain paper trails, Davis said. &ldquo;There would not be a record of what the findings were, initially, before they were changed.&rdquo;<br /><br />IPRA&rsquo;s chief administrator, of course, has always made final decisions about the agency&rsquo;s findings.</p><p>But Davis pointed out that some of these cases end up in court, which can be problematic. &ldquo;Often times, investigators and supervisors are called to do either depositions or actually appear in court to testify about a finding that they were forced to make [and] did not initially make and that they do not believe in.&rdquo;<br /><br />Davis said his bosses ordered him to change findings in six shooting cases, three of them fatal.<br /><br />Those are among nearly 400 shootings by officers that IPRA has investigated since its 2007 creation. The agency has found that just one, an off-duty incident, was unjustified.<br /><br />We asked IPRA to explain how it handles internal disagreements but did not get answers. We kept asking for the information and went ahead with our story, which broke the news of Davis&rsquo;s termination and led to a protest at the agency&rsquo;s headquarters three days later.<br /><br />&ldquo;The firing of Lorenzo Davis is yet another example of how IPRA continues to cover up crimes by officers of the Chicago Police Department,&rdquo; a protest leader said.</p><div class="image-insert-image">Later that day, IPRA delivered a written statement from Ando that said some of Davis&rsquo;s findings left out important evidence. The statement also included this line: &ldquo;No one at IPRA has ever been asked to change their findings.&rdquo;</div><p>That left us scratching our heads. We had already reported about Davis&rsquo;s final performance evaluation, which focused on his resistance to &ldquo;management directing him to change improper findings.&rdquo; We had seen the policy Ando had sent out, which threatened discipline for any investigator who refused to change a finding.<br /><br />Why would an agency&rsquo;s chief ban something he says never happens?<br /><br />We did everything we could to get an answer from the city. We called IPRA and Mayor Emanuel&rsquo;s office. We sent written questions to both. We asked to interview Ando.<br /><br />Almost a week later, IPRA sent us what it called a &ldquo;revised&rdquo; statement from Ando. It was the same as the other one &mdash; except it was missing the part about the agency never ordering investigators to change their findings.<br /><br />That left us wondering whether IPRA ought to be changing an investigator&rsquo;s findings in the first place.<br />&nbsp;</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Ando8cropsmall.jpg" style="float: left; margin-left: 5px; margin-right: 5px;" title="Scott M. Ando, IPRA’s chief administrator. (WBEZ/Chip Mitchell)" />Ando reports directly to Emanuel so we took the question to one of the mayor&rsquo;s press conferences.<br /><br />Emanuel listened to the question but did not specifically answer it. Instead he referred to a study he had commissioned. He called the study, completed last December, &ldquo;a total review of both IPRA, the Police Board, any kind of the oversight of police actions and misconduct.&rdquo;<br /><br />So we went to the study&rsquo;s main author, Ron Safer, a former top official of the U.S. attorney&rsquo;s office in Chicago.<br /><br />We asked again whether IPRA should be directing investigators to change their findings or whether it should stick to the practice in which a boss who disagrees with an investigator writes up an explanation for overturning the findings and leaves them in the file.</p><p>Safer pointed out that his study did not look at these questions. But he shared what he called his &ldquo;uninformed&rdquo; view: &ldquo;Often these are investigations where there are shades of gray and, always, where there are two sides to the story. The ultimate conclusion can be a matter of honest disagreement.&rdquo;<br /><br />&ldquo;It&rsquo;s a good idea to have the investigators&rsquo; original thoughts &mdash; at least factual findings &mdash; in the record because the investigator is the closest person to the facts,&rdquo; he said.<br /><br />Safer, again, is the expert the mayor led us to.<br /><br />And he is not the only one with that view. We found police-accountability agencies in other big cities that handle their internal disagreements that way. The Chicago Police Department&rsquo;s Internal Affairs Division does too.<br /><br />At IPRA, nevertheless, an investigator&rsquo;s findings will not stay in the record unless the agency&rsquo;s leaders want them to.<br /><br />That brings us back to Lorenzo Davis, the investigator IPRA fired after he did not go along with the bosses. &ldquo;Usually what they want said is [a finding] that the officer had a reasonable fear for his life and, therefore, the officer used deadly force,&rdquo; he said.<br /><br />In some of his shooting cases, Davis insists, deadly force was not necessary.</p><p>What worries him now is not just that those findings will be overturned but that they will be erased &mdash; that there will be no sign they ever existed.</p><p><em>WBEZ&rsquo;s Lauren Chooljian contributed. <a href="http://www.wbez.org/users/cmitchell-0">Chip Mitchell</a> is WBEZ&rsquo;s West Side bureau reporter. Follow him on Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/ChipMitchell1">@ChipMitchell1</a> and <a href="https://twitter.com/WBEZoutloud">@WBEZoutloud</a>, and connect with him through <a href="https://www.facebook.com/chipmitchell1">Facebook</a>, <a href="https://plus.google.com/111079509307132701769" rel="me">Google+</a> and <a href="http://www.linkedin.com/in/ChipMitchell1">LinkedIn</a>.</em></p></p> Mon, 10 Aug 2015 23:41:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/fired-investigator-policy-change-could-help-cover-police-misconduct-112614 Gunfire erupts in Ferguson, Mo., on anniversary of Michael Brown shooting http://www.wbez.org/news/gunfire-erupts-ferguson-mo-anniversary-michael-brown-shooting-112605 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/ferguson-shooting_wide-39fb0c1d2e6e9195e94bcd91fb40712eebdb1c8c-s800-c85.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>As events marking the anniversary of the shooting death of Michael Brown were winding down Sunday night, gunfire erupted in Ferguson, Mo., leaving a gunman in the hospital. Police say the suspect was not part of the weekend&#39;s rallies, which have been peaceful.</p><p>The shooting, in which dozens of rounds were reportedly fired, began near the intersection of Ferguson Avenue and West Florissant Avenue, the epicenter of last summer&#39;s standoffs between protesters and police.</p><p>Police say that the initial outburst of gunfire seemed to be between two groups, with as many as six people firing. Photos from the scene show two unmarked police cars with bullet holes.</p><p>St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar said in a news conference that plainclothes officers pursued one of the suspects, who then fired upon them. Other officers were on the street, wearing riot gear.</p><p>The plainclothes officers returned fire, striking the suspect, Belmar said.</p><p>Belmar said the suspect is in surgery in &quot;critical ... unstable condition.&quot;</p><p>The four officers have been placed on administrative leave.</p><p>The shooting began around 11:10 p.m. local time, says&nbsp;<a href="http://news.stlpublicradio.org/post/shots-fired-west-florissant-near-protest-one-year-after-michael-browns-death">St. Louis Public Radio</a>. The station reports, &quot;Protesters and police both ran toward Ferguson Avenue, away from West Florissant, after the shots rang out, leaving the streets mostly clear by 11:30.&quot;</p><p>Demonstrator Roberta Lynch, who held a cane as she ran from the shooting, told St. Louis Public Radio, &quot;We need to stop, too much has been going on, too many people getting murdered already. This is senseless.&quot;</p><p>Belmar described the individuals involved in the incident as &quot;criminals&quot; and distinguished them from protesters who are calling for positive changes in the community.</p><p>The shooting disrupted a march that was one of several events this weekend to mark the anniversary of the death of Michael Brown, an 18-year-old black Ferguson resident who was unarmed when he was shot and killed by (now former) police officer Darren Wilson, who is white.</p><p>St. Louis Public Radio reports that another shooting &mdash; a drive-by attack &mdash; took place at a nearby apartment building several hours after the violence at West Florissant Avenue. That shooting left two young men injured.</p><p><u><em>&mdash; via <a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2015/08/10/431135030/gunfire-erupts-in-ferguson-mo-following-anniversary-of-michael-brown-shooting">NPR&#39;s The Two-Way</a></em></u></p></p> Mon, 10 Aug 2015 09:42:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/gunfire-erupts-ferguson-mo-anniversary-michael-brown-shooting-112605 Whether History Or Hype, 'Hands Up, Don't Shoot' Endures http://www.wbez.org/news/whether-history-or-hype-hands-dont-shoot-endures-112603 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/gettyimages-453549732_wide-e8e7fa49d8f416119052d05d0f429dfc4cdff0d0-s800-c85.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>No one is certain exactly how the protest chant &quot;hands up, don&#39;t shoot&quot; got started, though Tory Russell says he has a good idea. Russell is co-founder of Hands Up United, an activist group which formed after the death of Michael Brown, the 18-year-old black man who was fatally shot by a white police officer in Ferguson, Mo., last August.</p><p>&quot;It came after Dorian Johnson, the guy that was with Mike Brown, and others said that Mike Brown had his hands up,&quot; Russell says.</p><p>As residents gathered where Brown&#39;s body lay for hours in the street, Russell says, a local activist, Brother Anthony Shahid, was on the scene. Russell recalls that as more police came, with dogs and weapons, Shahid said, &quot;My hands are up; don&#39;t shoot me.&quot; He and others began to chant.</p><p>&quot;So it&#39;s very organic, but it comes actually out of the story of the life and the death of Mike Brown Jr.,&quot; he says.</p><p>The idea of Brown being shot while his hands were raised in surrender would spread like wildfire on social media, and became a rallying cry and a mantra that inspired demonstrations across the country &mdash; even as the debate about the accuracy of the phrase continues.</p><p>The chant was used at a rally last August near the courthouse in Clayton, Mo., where civil rights activist Al Sharpton spoke to demonstrators.</p><p>&quot;And if you&#39;re angry, throw your arms up,&quot; Sharpton said. &quot;If you want justice, throw your arms up. If you want answers, throw your arms up, because that&#39;s the sign Michael was using.&quot;</p><div id="res430418543"><div>But Jeff Roorda, a spokesman for the St. Louis Police Officers&#39; Association, says that&#39;s not true.</div></div><p>&quot;Folks that want to cling to this &#39;hands up, don&#39;t shoot&#39; myth, it&#39;s just silly,&quot; Roorda says.</p><p>Roorda says he knows that the grand jury investigation, which concluded that Officer Darren Wilson should not be charged, included different sets of eyewitness accounts of the encounter between Wilson and Brown.</p><p>&quot;But the one set of accounts, including Darren&#39;s version of what happened out there, completely squares up with the physical evidence, with the ballistic evidence, with the forensic evidence, with the autopsy, and the other version just doesn&#39;t,&quot; he says.</p><p>Following its investigation, the Justice Department issued a scathing report about police practices and the court system in Ferguson, but it also cleared Darren Wilson of any civil rights violations in Brown&#39;s shooting death.</p><p>Then-Attorney General Eric Holder threw cold water on the hands-up scenario. But, Holder added, &quot;It remains not only valid but essential to question how such a strong alternative version of events was able to take hold so swiftly and to be accepted so readily.&quot;</p><p>Montague Simmons, head of the Organization for Black Struggle, a long-time activist group in St. Louis, says there&#39;s a reason why the hands-up chant continues to resonate. Simmons says frustration still lingers after George Zimmerman, the Florida neighborhood watch volunteer who shot and killed 17-year-old Trayvon in February 2012,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/codeswitch/2013/07/27/206023607/justice-for-trayvon-movement-struggles-to-find-focus">was acquitted</a>&nbsp;in July 2013.</p><p>&quot;I think it keyed into something that everybody&#39;s been feeling for a very long time,&quot; he says. &quot;I remember after Trayvon, and after the verdict, people just felt helpless.&quot;</p><p>Ferguson Mayor James Knowles says people are stuck in their positions about the hands-up issue &mdash; but the focus needs to be elsewhere.</p><p>&quot;At the end of the day, we want to make sure that our police officers and our community are safe,&quot; Knowles says, &quot;that our police officers engage the community in a way that&#39;s productive and respectful; that we can avoid incidents [like the one] that happened, if at all possible.&quot;</p><p>Roorda says a widespread acceptance of the hands-up narrative has caused problems.</p><p>&quot;Suddenly we have kids that are emboldened, and more than ever are non-compliant with the police and turning violent against the police, and that just means we&#39;re going to have more Michael Browns, not fewer,&quot; he says. &quot;That is the real tragedy here. Let &#39;hands up, don&#39;t shoot&#39; mean something positive. Let it mean, &#39;Hey, obey cops; comply with traffic stops.&#39; &quot;</p><p>Simmons has a much different take.</p><p>&quot;Just because I&#39;m black and male, and you may have thoughts that I am criminal or I am a threat, doesn&#39;t make it so, and doesn&#39;t give you an excuse to kill or injure me,&quot; he says. &quot;So I think that the slogan is still valid.&quot;</p></p> Sun, 09 Aug 2015 22:26:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/whether-history-or-hype-hands-dont-shoot-endures-112603 Chicago police to allow independent stop-and-frisk evaluations http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-police-allow-independent-stop-and-frisk-evaluations-112587 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/chicago_police_ap.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>The Chicago Police Department will allow independent evaluations of its stop-and-frisk procedures that critics say target blacks under an agreement with the American Civil Liberties Union announced Friday, as police nationwide face scrutiny about how they treat minorities.</p><p>The agreement that calls for increased public disclosure and more officer training follows a scathing March 2015 report from the ACLU of Illinois that found Chicago officers disproportionately targeted blacks and other racial minorities in hundreds of thousands of stop, question and frisk encounters.</p><p>Under the agreement, former U.S. Magistrate Judge Arlander Keys will provide public reports twice a year on Chicago police investigatory stops and pat downs, looking at whether the city is meeting its legal requirements. It goes into effect immediately.</p><p>&quot;It&#39;s not going to be a change in the actual way that we stop people, it&#39;s going to be a change in the way that we record the stop,&quot; Superintendent Garry McCarthy said at a Friday news conference. And he suggested that the evaluations will bear out his belief that the stops have been constitutional.</p><p>McCarthy also said he was pleased that his department was not compelled to take action by a court order, and that he hopes the agreement will &quot;set the standard&quot; for other police departments.</p><p>The president of the Major Cities Chiefs Association said other departments would be &quot;wise&quot; to follow Chicago&#39;s lead.</p><p>&quot;If we can address the community concerns without having to go to court, without ... a lawsuit, I think that&#39;s obviously a better way and certainly better for the relationship between the police and the community,&quot; said Tom Manger, chief of police in Montgomery County, Maryland, who was in Chicago to meet with McCarthy and other police chiefs.</p><p>The only concern McCarthy said he had is that the extra paperwork might take officers off the streets for too long.</p><p>In its report, the ACLU of Illinois identified more than 250,000 Chicago stop-and-frisk encounters in which there were no arrests from May through August 2014. African-Americans accounted for nearly three-quarters of those stopped, even though they make up about a third of the city&#39;s population.</p><p>The agreement comes after months of negotiations between the city, the department and the ACLU that aimed to avoid expensive and time-consuming litigation, the parties said in a news release.</p><p>The police department still faces a federal class-action lawsuit with 53 African-American plaintiffs claiming the street stops have led to constitutional abuses, including unlawful searches and seizures as well as excessive force.</p><p>&quot;I certainly think that it does add a lot of credibility to the lawsuit,&quot; said Antonio Romanucci, an attorney handling the lawsuit.</p><p>The city and department have agreed to collect additional data about investigatory stops. That includes officers&#39; names and badge numbers, the race, ethnicity and gender of the person stopped, the reason for the stop, whether they were frisked and other details.</p><p>That information will be given to the ACLU and Keys, who will oversee the agreement&#39;s implementation.</p><p>McCarthy has been a proponent of stop-and-frisk and worked at two police departments that came under fire for their use of the tactic &mdash; the New York City Police Department and Newark, New Jersey, which he headed before coming to Chicago.</p><p>In New York, a monitor is overseeing changes to the stop-and-frisk policy after a federal judge ruled that the tactic sometimes discriminated against minorities. Last August, the city dropped appeals after its new mayor took over who was elected, in part, on an anti-stop-and-frisk campaign.</p><p>And the Newark department was placed under a federal monitor after the U.S. Department of Justice found that when McCarthy ran it, 75 percent of pedestrian stops were made without constitutionally adequate reasons.</p></p> Fri, 07 Aug 2015 09:02:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-police-allow-independent-stop-and-frisk-evaluations-112587 A cop's view of Chicago's tangled neighborhood boundaries http://www.wbez.org/news/cops-view-chicagos-tangled-neighborhood-boundaries-112563 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/tumblr_inline_nsm71epdSP1qcf9jk_500.jpg" alt="" /><p></p> Wed, 05 Aug 2015 10:49:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/cops-view-chicagos-tangled-neighborhood-boundaries-112563 Pell grants for prisoners: An old argument revisited http://www.wbez.org/news/pell-grants-prisoners-old-argument-revisited-112533 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/19407321_h38274460_slide-f233a67d0018562a34b055551e5caa2a8c778feb-s800-c85.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>It&#39;s an old and controversial question: Should federal Pell grants be used to help prisoners pay for college?</p><p>Tomorrow, at a prison in Jessup, Md., Education Secretary Arne Duncan and Attorney General Loretta Lynch are expected to unveil a program to do just that. The new plan would create a limited pilot program allowing some students in prison to use Pell grants to pay for college classes.</p><p>The key word there is &quot;limited&quot; &mdash; because there&#39;s only so much the administration can do. To understand why, we have to go back to November 1993.</p><p><span style="font-size:24px;"><strong>The Crime Bill</strong></span></p><p>The era of Three Strikes had begun, and lawmakers in Washington were in a bipartisan race to prove they were tough on crime.</p><p>U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, a Texas Republican, introduced an amendment that would ultimately ban prisoners from receiving Pell grants. Her argument then: &quot;Because prisoners have zero income, they have been able to step to the front of the line and push law-abiding citizens out of the way,&quot; she said on the Senate floor (though Pell grants go to any and all who apply and meet the criteria).</p><p>Letting prisoners use federal dollars to pay for college, Hutchison insisted, just isn&#39;t fair. &quot;It is not fair to taxpayers. It is not fair to law-abiding citizens. It is not fair to the victims of crime.&quot;</p><p>Two decades later, Hutchison wants to be clear: She&#39;s not opposed to prison education. She just doesn&#39;t think federal Pell grants should pay for it.</p><p>&quot;I think it should be a state priority and a state initiative,&quot; she says.</p><p><span style="font-size:24px;"><strong>&#39;Guys Were Having Study Groups&#39;</strong></span></p><p>Tyrone Werts says he watched lawmakers debate the crime bill on TV from his prison cell.</p><p>Werts had been convicted of second-degree murder for his role in a deadly robbery. At the age of 23, he arrived at Graterford Prison in Pennsylvania.</p><p>&quot;My reading scores was like second grade. My math skills was second, third grade,&quot; he says.</p><p>Behind bars, Werts studied. He earned his GED, then his bachelor&#39;s through a prison education program with Villanova University. It was paid for with Pell grants.</p><p>&quot;Graterford, when we had Pell grants, was actually like a college or university,&quot; he says. &quot;The arts flourished. Guys were having study groups. They were at the table, writing papers.&quot;</p><p>But Werts says that stopped when the money dried up.</p><p>After nearly 37 years in prison, Werts&#39; sentence was commuted. Now, he works for Temple University&#39;s Inside-Out Prison Exchange Program and helps released prisoners re-enter society.</p><p>&quot;I see a marked difference between those guys who went to college in prison and those guys who didn&#39;t go to school,&quot; he says. &quot;They think totally different.&quot;</p><p><a href="http://www.rand.org/pubs/research_reports/RR266.html">A 2013 study by the RAND Corp. </a>found that education behind bars greatly reduces the likelihood of a former prisoner committing another crime.</p><p>But federal law still prohibits Pell grants for prisoners. Only Congress can roll back the law.</p><p>That said, the Education Department does have one option: It can waive certain rules for <a href="https://experimentalsites.ed.gov/exp/index.html">research purposes</a> and, thus, extend Pell grants to a small number of prisoners.</p><p>Think of it as an exception to the rule &mdash; not rewriting the rule itself.</p><p><em>&mdash; <a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/ed/2015/07/30/427450422/pell-grants-for-prisoners-an-old-argument-revisited?ft=nprml&amp;f=427450422">via NPR</a></em></p></p> Fri, 31 Jul 2015 11:54:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/pell-grants-prisoners-old-argument-revisited-112533 Texas authorities release more jailhouse video relating to Sandra Bland case http://www.wbez.org/news/texas-authorities-release-more-jailhouse-video-relating-sandra-bland-case-112499 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/ap_289055858439_custom-67d2a3d4d7df15c2ff5653f490a27ed5c0fa14e6-s800-c85.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Officials in Waller County, Texas, have released more jailhouse video that they say dispels some of the conspiracy theories surrounding the case of Sandra Bland, who was found hanged in her cell two weeks ago.</p><p>Her death was ruled a suicide by a medical examiner but her family says she was not suicidal.</p><p>NPR&#39;s Martin Kaste filed this report for our Newscast unit:</p><blockquote><p>&quot;Judge Trey Duhon says his county has come under cyberattack by people who suspect Bland was killed in custody. Some say she even looks dead in her mugshot.</p><p>Judge Duhon says that&#39;s why the county is now releasing hours worth of video of Bland alive and well in jail.</p><p>&quot;&#39;We&#39;re hoping that by providing these videos that will dispel a lot of these rumors and mistruths that have been perpetuated,&#39; Duhon said. &#39;I hope that people can understand that when it comes to correct information, social media cannot be relied upon.&#39;<br />&quot;In the time-stamped videos, Bland is seen being processed, arraigned, and making phone calls. Her death is still under investigation.&quot;</p></blockquote><p>We&#39;ll leave you with Reuters&#39; three-minute edit of the video:</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/LUKs9iV7zRU" width="560"></iframe></p></p> Wed, 29 Jul 2015 09:16:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/texas-authorities-release-more-jailhouse-video-relating-sandra-bland-case-112499