WBEZ | police shootings http://www.wbez.org/tags/police-shootings Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Could Hospital ERs Provide Missing Data On Police Shootings? http://www.wbez.org/news/could-hospital-ers-provide-missing-data-police-shootings-114759 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/istockER.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>For the past two years, Joseph Richardson has been trying to figure out how to keep young black men with knife and gunshot wounds from turning up again with similar injuries at Prince George&#39;s Hospital Trauma Center outside Washington, D.C.</p><p>Richardson is director of the Violence Intervention Research Project at the trauma center. When these men are admitted, he shows up at their rooms to ask them to take part in his ongoing study on risk factors for repeat violent injuries. Sometimes he finds them handcuffed to a hospital bed, guarded by a police officer or two. Richardson has to walk away. The patients are under arrest and off-limits to him.</p><p><a href="http://aasd.umd.edu/facultyprofile/Richardson,%20Jr./Joseph">Richardson</a>&nbsp;is also a criminologist and associate professor at the University of Maryland. And recently, in the context of a national discussion about police violence, he got to thinking about the lack of access that kept him from asking these men what happened. How many of those handcuffed shooting victims had taken a bullet from a cop, he wondered?</p><p>With&nbsp;<a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-nation/wp/2014/09/08/how-many-police-shootings-a-year-no-one-knows/">scant data</a>&nbsp;on how many people are shot by police across the country every year, Richardson sees potential in hospital emergency departments. As a researcher he might not have direct access to patients under arrest, but the doctors and nurses certainly do. He&#39;s proposing that emergency departments step in and capitalize on that unique access to compile an alternative data source.</p><p><strong>Doctors And Nurses Could Ask: &#39;Who Shot You?&#39;</strong></p><p>Richardson views police violence as a public health issue and believes health care providers have a role to play in addressing it. The concept seems simple: At some point during a patient&#39;s visit, emergency department staffers ask patients who shot them, record their answers and report the information to state health departments and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.</p><p>He&#39;s not suggesting doctors and nurses investigate their patients&#39; claims, or that this self-reported data would even be completely accurate. After all, in quite a few cases it could be impossible to know who shot you.</p><p>Even so, Richardson says that some data are better than none. Hospital-reported numbers along with those recorded by police and media outlets could help define the true scope of police shootings.</p><p>In December, around the time Richardson floated his idea in the<em>&nbsp;Journal of Urban Health</em>,&nbsp;<a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/fbi-to-sharply-expand-system-for-tracking-fatal-police-shootings/2015/12/08/a60fbc16-9dd4-11e5-bce4-708fe33e3288_story.html">the FBI announced plans</a>&nbsp;to expand its database on violent police encounters. For the first time, the agency will collect information on serious injuries, not just fatalities. But it will continue to lean on voluntary reports by local police departments.</p><p>Richardson is skeptical that the federal government can solve the data problem. &quot;There has to be a more pioneering, innovative approach to doing it,&quot; he says. That&#39;s what he&#39;s trying to figure out. He notes that information about people who survive police shootings is especially elusive. &quot;The only way we would know that is either the police would have to report that or the hospitals would have to,&quot; he says. &quot;Up to this point, neither entity has done it.&quot;</p><p>Richardson points to a&nbsp;<a href="http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19104090">2009 survey of academic emergency physicians</a>&nbsp;that found that almost all of them believed they&#39;d seen cases of excessive use of force by police but had largely failed to report them.</p><p>In interviews with the emergency department staff at Prince George&#39;s, he found that the overwhelming majority said the hospital has an ethical responsibility to record and report police-involved shootings. But doctors and nurses raised concerns about the logistics and consequences.</p><p>Some said it would be difficult to put into practice a standardized approach to collecting the information. Others felt patients weren&#39;t likely to open up to trauma staff &mdash; especially given the presence of police anytime a victim is under arrest. Still others worried they&#39;d be dragged into court to testify if they implicated the police.</p><p><strong>Can Hospitals Balance Care And Reporting On Shootings?</strong></p><p>Logistics aside, what looms over Richardson&#39;s proposal is a philosophical divide over the <a href="http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2016-02-02/working-shift-ask-er-doctor-114674">role of the hospital and its staff.</a></p><p>As American College of Emergency Physicians board member James Augustine sees it, muddling a hospital&#39;s mission is bad for patients. &quot;The hospital is not a good place for legal and law enforcement activities to infringe on people&#39;s rights for health care,&quot; says the veteran emergency medicine doctor. &quot;In the emergency setting, this is not a priority.&quot;</p><p>But he doesn&#39;t dismiss the idea outright. The health care system plays a vital role in amassing data, he says. In fact, many trauma centers already collect reams of information and submit it to the National Trauma Data Bank. Stripped of names, it&#39;s used to track everything from auto accidents to clothing-related burns. It might be feasible to add information about violent police encounters to those data collection efforts, Augustine says.</p><p>David Livingston, chief of trauma at University Hospital in Newark, agrees that when it comes to collecting information, hospitals could help. &quot;Emergency departments are the canary in the coal mine of health in our communities,&quot; he says. &quot;They&#39;re a unique public health resource to gather data.&quot;</p><p>But there are serious limitations. Two years ago, Livingston and his colleagues analyzed more than 6,000 gunshot wounds treated at his hospital and found that his own trauma unit&#39;s database didn&#39;t account for nearly 20 percent of them. It turned out the emergency department, not trauma, had handled these relatively minor injuries and Livingston and his co-workers only discovered them when they scoured that department&#39;s billing records.</p><p>As for Richardson&#39;s proposal, Livingston says it could work in theory. &quot;Is it economically and logistically feasible?&quot; he asks. &quot;We&#39;d like to think it is, but I have my doubts.&quot; Getting detailed information would probably require dedicated staff, he says, and that&#39;s expensive. But he&#39;s quick to point out that similar data on cancer, heart disease, smoking, obesity and other conditions has been collected, with the National Institutes of Health or the National Science Foundation footing the bill. &quot;In that respect,&quot; he says, &quot;Dr. Richardson&#39;s contention to put this on trauma centers is shirking the government&#39;s responsibility.&quot;</p><p>Still, Richardson suggests a place to start:&nbsp;<a href="http://nnhvip.org/">hospital-based violence intervention programs</a>. Only about 30 hospitals in the U.S. have these special programs aimed at curbing readmission for violent crimes, but Richardson sees them as prime candidates for pilot projects.</p><p>For University of California, San Francisco trauma surgeon Rochelle Dicker, who heads up the&nbsp;<a href="http://violenceprevention.surgery.ucsf.edu/">violence intervention program</a>&nbsp;at San Francisco General Hospital, keeping tabs on police violence seems like a natural extension of the work her team already does. &quot;Part of our responsibility as physicians is to not just to do the traditional &#39;treat and street,&#39; but to really get to the issues at hand and address violence in a more comprehensive way.&quot; In order to do that, she says, accurate information is key.</p><p>&quot;The work is provocative,&quot; she says of Richardson&#39;s proposal, and it will get people talking. &quot;I applaud the author for taking that first step and opening the door.&quot;</p><p>&mdash; <a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2016/02/04/465568899/could-hospital-ers-provide-missing-data-on-police-shootings?ft=nprml&amp;f=465568899" target="_blank"><em>via NPR</em></a></p></p> Mon, 08 Feb 2016 13:26:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/could-hospital-ers-provide-missing-data-police-shootings-114759 Durbin Says Chicago's Violent Troubles Pre-dated Emanuel http://www.wbez.org/news/durbin-says-chicagos-violent-troubles-pre-dated-emanuel-114391 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/DURBINRAHM.jpg" alt="" /><p><div>Illinois U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin was in town Tuesday, talking about gun violence and the measures President Barack Obama has proposed to curb it.&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>This led reporters to ask Durbin &nbsp;about some of Chicago&rsquo;s most recent gun violence issues &mdash; police shootings &mdash; and how Mayor Rahm Emanuel has handled them. &nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&ldquo;He&rsquo;s had his share of incidents and issues to face that occurred on his watch,&rdquo; Durbin said. &ldquo;But the overall problems &mdash; the police department, race and the administration of justice &mdash; these have been with us a long, long time.&rdquo;&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Durbin didn&rsquo;t talk directly about Emanuel&rsquo;s handling of the LaQuan McDonald case, but said he&rsquo;s been in touch with the mayor over the course of the recent controversy.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&ldquo;I&rsquo;m not going to stand in judgement of any single incident that the mayor was involved in, but I will say this: My conversations with him in the last several weeks tell me he&rsquo;s focused on making the changes that will bring this city back together again,&rdquo; Durbin said. &ldquo;And I believe he has the competence, energy and determination to do that. And I&rsquo;ll do anything I can to help.&rdquo;&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><em>Monica Eng is a WBEZ reporter. Follow her at<a href="https://twitter.com/monicaeng" target="_blank">&nbsp;@monicaeng</a>&nbsp;or write to her at<a href="mailto:E: Durbin Says Chicago's Violent Troubles Pre-dated Emanuel "> meng@wbez.org</a><a href="mailto:meng@wbez.org?subject=RE%3A%20Durbin%20Says%20Chicago's%20Violent%20Troubles%20Pre-dated%20Emanuel%20">.</a></em></div></p> Wed, 06 Jan 2016 08:17:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/durbin-says-chicagos-violent-troubles-pre-dated-emanuel-114391 Agency That Probes Police Shootings Reaches Out to Fired Investigator http://www.wbez.org/news/agency-probes-police-shootings-reaches-out-fired-investigator-114382 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/AP_376282653221.jpg" title="Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel hired Sharon Fairley last month to head the Independent Police Review Authority. Fairley says she wants to talk with Lorenzo Davis, who was terminated in July after refusing orders to change findings that officers were at fault in several cases. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)" /></div><p>The new chief of the agency that looks into shootings by Chicago police officers says she wants to hear out an investigator who was fired by her predecessor last July after refusing orders to change findings that the cops were at fault in several cases.</p><p>Sharon Fairley, acting chief administrator of the Independent Police Review Authority, last month reached out to the investigator, Lorenzo Davis, a former Chicago police commander.</p><p>&ldquo;I&rsquo;d like to hear about his side of what happened,&rdquo; Fairley said at a news conference Monday afternoon. &ldquo;I look forward to that conversation and I think that that will be happening soon.&rdquo;</p><p>Davis&rsquo;s lawyer, Torreya Hamilton, said an attorney with the city&rsquo;s Law Department called two weeks ago to set up the meeting. Hamilton said Davis, <a href="https://soundcloud.com/wbez/fired-chicago-investigator-hopes-justice-department-will-look-into-claims">who is suing the city for wrongful termination</a>, is eager to meet with Fairley. The sides have not yet set a time and place.</p><p>Fairley, a former federal prosecutor appointed a month ago by Mayor Rahm Emanuel, said she also wants to examine the work that got Davis fired.</p><p>&ldquo;I&rsquo;ve blocked out my entire afternoons for the month of January to do deep dives into these cases,&rdquo; Fairley said. &ldquo;That&rsquo;s part of my job &mdash; to go back and look historically at these cases &mdash; to understand what policies and procedures need to be put in place to prevent issues from happening in the future.&rdquo;</p><p>WBEZ revealed <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/city-fires-investigator-who-found-cops-fault-shootings-112423">Davis&rsquo;s termination and his resistance to orders by IPRA superiors</a> that he change findings about at least a dozen incidents, all shootings or alleged excessive-force cases.</p><p>Davis said Monday evening he would welcome Fairley&rsquo;s review of his findings. &ldquo;I&rsquo;d like to be present when she does it,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s better to review a report with the person who wrote it.&rdquo;</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Lorenzo%20Davis%201%20crop.jpg" style="height: 262px; width: 310px; margin-left: 10px; margin-right: 10px; float: right;" title="Davis, the fired investigator, says he would be glad to meet with Fairley and would welcome her review of his findings. (WBEZ/Chip Mitchell)" /></p><p>Davis, who joined IPRA in 2008 and was promoted to supervise a team of investigators, said he is also eager to provide Fairley his appraisal of the agency. &ldquo;There is a culture of viewing all cases in the light most favorable to the police officers,&rdquo; he said.</p><p>Fairley said talking with Davis and reviewing his cases will be among &ldquo;steps to rebuild Chicagoans&rsquo; trust in IPRA and its findings.&rdquo;</p><p>Another step, Fairley said, is restructuring the agency&rsquo;s 90-member staff. The shakeup will involve new hires, including chief of staff Annette Moore, former associate director of admissions at the University of Chicago Law School, and chief investigator Jay Westensee, who is leaving a similar job with the city&rsquo;s Office of Inspector General.</p><p>Fairley&rsquo;s predecessor, <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-police-review-board-leader-resigns-114064" target="_blank">Scott M. Ando, was forced out as IPRA&rsquo;s chief administrator</a> after heading the agency since 2013. Ando, a former U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agent, filled several key IPRA posts with <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/who-polices-police-chicago-its-increasingly-ex-cops-111194" target="_blank">former sworn law-enforcement officers</a>, including two other former DEA agents, a WBEZ investigation found.</p><p>Fairley did not directly criticize Ando&rsquo;s hiring but said the agency needs &ldquo;stronger independence.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;I was a prosecutor for eight years, where my job was to collect evidence and then make the call,&rdquo; said Fairley, who worked at the U.S. Attorney&rsquo;s Office in Chicago. &ldquo;That&rsquo;s what I&rsquo;m planning on doing here.&rdquo;</p><p>Fairley also insisted she is independent from Emanuel despite a <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-releases-thousands-emails-fatal-police-shooting-114334" target="_blank">pile of email messages</a> that<a href="https://www.google.com/url?q=http://www.wbez.org/programs/here-and-now/2016-01-04/emails-show-chicago-mayor%25E2%2580%2599s-office-police-and-investigators&amp;sa=U&amp;ved=0ahUKEwjpjpaeqpPKAhVG7SYKHV0jAZ8QFggFMAA&amp;client=internal-uds-cse&amp;usg=AFQjCNFEnDPq3XM6hXIMIWLl7yfJeiyDTg" target="_blank"> show coordination</a> between his aides and IPRA in recent years.</p><p>&ldquo;Yes, I&rsquo;m in communication with the mayor&rsquo;s office,&rdquo; Fairley said. &ldquo;They&rsquo;ve been very helpful in helping me get situated here but they have not tried to direct my activities or tell me what to do. I don&rsquo;t have any pressure on me from the mayor to conduct an investigation any particular way.&rdquo;</p><p>Fairley said she is also overhauling IPRA&rsquo;s legal team and searching for a general counsel. Eric M. Muellenbach resigned from that post last week after more than six years at the agency.</p><p>She said IPRA has not received any budget increase for the staff changes but needs more resources and would be requesting a funding increase.</p><p>Fairley also promised more transparency. &ldquo;I&rsquo;m not going to jeopardize an investigation just because you&rsquo;re hungry for information but I will release it if it&rsquo;s appropriate,&rdquo; she told the reporters. &ldquo;The difference is we are no longer going to be standing by a hard-and-fast rule that we will never discuss the details of an investigation until it&rsquo;s complete. I think that that position is now untenable in the world that we&rsquo;re in.&rdquo;</p><p>To help make that point, Fairley turned to IPRA&rsquo;s latest shooting investigation. She described 911 recordings about a December 26 domestic disturbance that led to an officer&rsquo;s fatal shooting of Quintonio LeGrier and Bettie Ruth Jones on Chicago&rsquo;s West Side.</p><p>That investigation could face intense scrutiny. Relatives of LeGrier and Jones have filed wrongful-death lawsuits against the city.</p><p>Cook County State&rsquo;s Attorney Anita Alvarez last Thursday seemed to imply that IPRA could not handle the probe without federal help. &ldquo;This is a deeply disturbing incident that demands a very deliberate and meticulous independent investigation,&rdquo; Alvarez said in a written statement. &ldquo;At this stage, the investigation is being conducted by IPRA, but my office has also contacted the FBI to request their involvement as well.&rdquo;</p><p>IPRA has come under increasing fire since the city&rsquo;s November 24 release of a police dashboard-camera video showing a white officer shooting to death Laquan McDonald, 17, in 2014. A national outcry about that video led Emanuel to fire the city&rsquo;s police superintendent and replace Ando with Fairley. The U.S. Justice Department, meanwhile, began a civil-rights investigation of the police department, its use of deadly force, and measures to hold officers accountable.</p><p>Of more than 400 civilian shootings by police that IPRA has investigated over the last eight years, the agency has found the officers at fault in only two incidents, both off-duty, according to IPRA figures. The agency has never concluded that an on-duty shooting was unjustified.</p><p>Fairley has turned over IPRA&rsquo;s investigation of the McDonald case to the Inspector General&rsquo;s office and reopened a probe into the treatment of Philip Coleman, 38, who died after Chicago officers repeatedly used a Taser on him in a police lockup and dragged him out of his cell by handcuffs in 2012 &mdash; another incident caught on videotape. IPRA found that the officers&rsquo; actions were justified.</p><p>If Fairley pushes IPRA to be tougher on abusive officers, she could face resistance within the agency, which was part of the police department until 2007. Besides Ando&rsquo;s hires, some investigators have close ties to law enforcement, including family relationships with Chicago officers. And, since at least 2012, the only<a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/city-sends-ipra-investigators-trainer-accused-pro-cop-bias-113077" target="_blank"> training IPRA has provided for investigating shootings</a> has been led by a controversial psychologist who often testifies in support of officers, WBEZ revealed.</p><p>Some critics say IPRA is beyond repair and should be replaced by an elected council.</p><p><em><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> Tue, 05 Jan 2016 12:09:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/agency-probes-police-shootings-reaches-out-fired-investigator-114382 Chicago Releases Thousands of Emails in Fatal Police Shooting http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-releases-thousands-emails-fatal-police-shooting-114334 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/lmemails.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel&rsquo;s administration released thousands of emails Thursday morning that show how the mayor&rsquo;s top staff, the Chicago Police Department and Independent Police Review Authority handled requests about the Laquan McDonald shooting. Media outlets have been pressing the mayor&rsquo;s office to release the documents for months.</p><p>The emails (viewable below) begin in October 2014, when the black teenager was shot 16 times by white police officer Jason Van Dyke. The emails continue through December 2015. The emails include legal documents, details about McDonald and his family, and repeated denials from the police department to reporters asking for information about McDonald&rsquo;s case.</p><p>The mayor&rsquo;s press office and police department denied Freedom of Information Act requests and refused to answer emailed questions in the immediate months after the shooting. In messages to reporters and others, CPD officials said &ldquo;the release of any of these records or evidence related to this pending investigation would create a substantial likelihood of irreparable harm affecting the integrity of the investigation.&rdquo;</p><p>Emanuel has faced heavy criticism for delaying the release of a dashcam video that showed McDonald&rsquo;s death. He has since said that the city&rsquo;s policy on releasing dashcam videos should be reviewed. The city ended up releasing the video under court order over a year after the incident occurred. Officer Van Dyke has since been charged with first-degree murder. <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/officer-charged-fatal-shooting-laquan-mcdonald-pleads-not-guilty-114306">He recently pleaded not guilty</a>.</p><p>The emails shed light onto the<a href="http://www.wbez.org/programs/here-and-now/2016-01-04/emails-show-chicago-mayor%E2%80%99s-office-police-and-investigators"> inner workings of the mayor&rsquo;s press office</a>: How they attempt to predict the &ldquo;path&rdquo; of next-day stories, and how they divide responsibilities. It also shows that the Chicago Police Department spokesman and mayor&rsquo;s press office work very closely.</p><p>The released emails also suggest Emanuel&rsquo;s office regularly communicated with the Independent Police Review Authority, which is charged with investigating police shootings. Emails include some sent to and from former IPRA chief Scott Ando, <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-police-review-board-leader-resigns-114064">who was ousted in early December 2015</a>.</p><p>These emails were apparently transmitted even as officials claimed such communication didn&rsquo;t happen.</p><p><a href="https://www.scribd.com/doc/294369591/Part-1-Oct-2014-Through-April#page=247">In one email</a>, Ando writes mayoral office city spokesman Adam Colllins: &ldquo;Adam - I saw you called earlier but I was in a meeting.&rdquo; Ando says Collins should feel free to call back.</p><p>In September WBEZ was investigating <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/ipra-fails-pursue-potential-crime-cops-caught-video-113018">a different case of police misconduct </a>and couldn&rsquo;t get information from IPRA or the mayor&rsquo;s office. Ando declined to be interviewed by WBEZ. The mayor did not weigh in, either.</p><p>Collins had said it would set a dangerous precedent if &ldquo;politicians were to insert themselves into either the investigative or disciplinary processes.&rdquo;</p><p>The city released the email cache a day after Mayor Emanuel and Interim Police Superintendent John Escalante said they would be revamping the city&rsquo;s policies on use of lethal force. Emanuel said the city needs to &ldquo;inject humanity&rdquo; into the work of the Chicago Police Department. Escalante said the department would double the number of Tasers, making sure every beat car had one by June of 2016. The press conference was the mayor&rsquo;s first public appearance since a shooting on Saturday, where police killed two people, one accidentally. Thursday, Cook County State&rsquo;s Attorney Anita Alvarez said she asked the FBI for help investigating those deaths.</p><p dir="ltr" style="line-height:1.5999999999999999;margin-top:21pt;margin-bottom:24pt;margin-right: 15pt;"><a href="https://www.scribd.com/doc/294369591/Part-1-Oct-2014-Through-April" style="font-family: Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: normal;" title="View Part 1 -- Oct 2014 Through April on Scribd">Part 1 -- Oct 2014 Through April</a><span style="font-family: Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: normal;"> by </span><a href="https://www.scribd.com/user/158286203/Chicago-Public-Media" style="font-family: Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: normal;" title="View Chicago Public Media's profile on Scribd">Chicago Public Media</a></p><p><iframe class="scribd_iframe_embed" data-aspect-ratio="0.7729220222793488" data-auto-height="false" frameborder="0" height="600" id="doc_69175" scrolling="no" src="https://www.scribd.com/embeds/294369591/content?start_page=1&amp;view_mode=scroll&amp;access_key=key-Bcf4ea4gdsNWhFipxVjA&amp;show_recommendations=true" width="100%"></iframe></p><p style=" margin: 12px auto 6px auto; font-family: Helvetica,Arial,Sans-serif; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; font-size: 14px; line-height: normal; font-size-adjust: none; font-stretch: normal; -x-system-font: none; display: block;"><a href="https://www.scribd.com/doc/294369593/Part-2-May-Through-October" style="text-decoration: underline;" title="View Part 2 -- May Through October on Scribd">Part 2 -- May Through October</a> by <a href="https://www.scribd.com/user/158286203/Chicago-Public-Media" style="text-decoration: underline;" title="View Chicago Public Media's profile on Scribd">Chicago Public Media</a></p><p><iframe class="scribd_iframe_embed" data-aspect-ratio="0.7729220222793488" data-auto-height="false" frameborder="0" height="600" id="doc_33086" scrolling="no" src="https://www.scribd.com/embeds/294369593/content?start_page=1&amp;view_mode=scroll&amp;access_key=key-ZHXR7NSDPmtJgRaP8ri0&amp;show_recommendations=true" width="100%"></iframe></p><p style=" margin: 12px auto 6px auto; font-family: Helvetica,Arial,Sans-serif; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; font-size: 14px; line-height: normal; font-size-adjust: none; font-stretch: normal; -x-system-font: none; display: block;"><a href="https://www.scribd.com/doc/294369587/Part-3-November-1-to-20" style="text-decoration: underline;" title="View Part 3 -- November 1 to 20 on Scribd">Part 3 -- November 1 to 20</a> by <a href="https://www.scribd.com/user/158286203/Chicago-Public-Media" style="text-decoration: underline;" title="View Chicago Public Media's profile on Scribd">Chicago Public Media</a></p><p><iframe class="scribd_iframe_embed" data-aspect-ratio="0.7729220222793488" data-auto-height="false" frameborder="0" height="600" id="doc_77270" scrolling="no" src="https://www.scribd.com/embeds/294369587/content?start_page=1&amp;view_mode=scroll&amp;access_key=key-zlJnYgKPx1JIVtBFDUpe&amp;show_recommendations=true" width="100%"></iframe></p><p style=" margin: 12px auto 6px auto; font-family: Helvetica,Arial,Sans-serif; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; font-size: 14px; line-height: normal; font-size-adjust: none; font-stretch: normal; -x-system-font: none; display: block;"><a href="https://www.scribd.com/doc/294369590/Part-4-November-20-to-24" style="text-decoration: underline;" title="View Part 4 -- November 20 to 24 on Scribd">Part 4 -- November 20 to 24</a> by <a href="https://www.scribd.com/user/158286203/Chicago-Public-Media" style="text-decoration: underline;" title="View Chicago Public Media's profile on Scribd">Chicago Public Media</a></p><p><iframe class="scribd_iframe_embed" data-aspect-ratio="0.7729220222793488" data-auto-height="false" frameborder="0" height="600" id="doc_1767" scrolling="no" src="https://www.scribd.com/embeds/294369590/content?start_page=1&amp;view_mode=scroll&amp;access_key=key-WRwkoKc9likYBdMhpUcy&amp;show_recommendations=true" width="100%"></iframe></p><p style=" margin: 12px auto 6px auto; font-family: Helvetica,Arial,Sans-serif; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; font-size: 14px; line-height: normal; font-size-adjust: none; font-stretch: normal; -x-system-font: none; display: block;"><a href="https://www.scribd.com/doc/294369588/Part-5-November-24-and-25" style="text-decoration: underline;" title="View Part 5 -- November 24 and 25 on Scribd">Part 5 -- November 24 and 25</a> by <a href="https://www.scribd.com/user/158286203/Chicago-Public-Media" style="text-decoration: underline;" title="View Chicago Public Media's profile on Scribd">Chicago Public Media</a></p><p><iframe class="scribd_iframe_embed" data-aspect-ratio="0.7729220222793488" data-auto-height="false" frameborder="0" height="600" id="doc_30432" scrolling="no" src="https://www.scribd.com/embeds/294369588/content?start_page=1&amp;view_mode=scroll&amp;access_key=key-YS1he5WdLF7L8n6EZO34&amp;show_recommendations=true" width="100%"></iframe></p><p style=" margin: 12px auto 6px auto; font-family: Helvetica,Arial,Sans-serif; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; font-size: 14px; line-height: normal; font-size-adjust: none; font-stretch: normal; -x-system-font: none; display: block;"><a href="https://www.scribd.com/doc/294369589/Part-6-November-26-Through-30" style="text-decoration: underline;" title="View Part 6 -- November 26 Through 30 on Scribd">Part 6 -- November 26 Through 30</a> by <a href="https://www.scribd.com/user/158286203/Chicago-Public-Media" style="text-decoration: underline;" title="View Chicago Public Media's profile on Scribd">Chicago Public Media</a></p><p><iframe class="scribd_iframe_embed" data-aspect-ratio="0.7729220222793488" data-auto-height="false" frameborder="0" height="600" id="doc_75915" scrolling="no" src="https://www.scribd.com/embeds/294369589/content?start_page=1&amp;view_mode=scroll&amp;access_key=key-Plkhr3Xr29rhkHZSZ9q2&amp;show_recommendations=true" width="100%"></iframe></p><p style=" margin: 12px auto 6px auto; font-family: Helvetica,Arial,Sans-serif; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; font-size: 14px; line-height: normal; font-size-adjust: none; font-stretch: normal; -x-system-font: none; display: block;">&nbsp;</p><p style=" margin: 12px auto 6px auto; font-family: Helvetica,Arial,Sans-serif; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; font-size: 14px; line-height: normal; font-size-adjust: none; font-stretch: normal; -x-system-font: none; display: block;"><a href="https://www.scribd.com/doc/294369592/Part-7-December" style="text-decoration: underline;" title="View Part 7 -- December on Scribd">Part 7 -- December</a> by <a href="https://www.scribd.com/user/158286203/Chicago-Public-Media" style="text-decoration: underline;" title="View Chicago Public Media's profile on Scribd">Chicago Public Media</a></p><p><iframe class="scribd_iframe_embed" data-aspect-ratio="0.7729220222793488" data-auto-height="false" frameborder="0" height="600" id="doc_50050" scrolling="no" src="https://www.scribd.com/embeds/294369592/content?start_page=1&amp;view_mode=scroll&amp;access_key=key-yLhUyGf7DBppMAw13zyg&amp;show_recommendations=true" width="100%"></iframe></p><p><em>Lauren Chooljian covers Chicago politics for WBEZ. Follow her <a href="https://twitter.com/laurenchooljian?ref_src=twsrc%5Egoogle%7Ctwcamp%5Eserp%7Ctwgr%5Eauthor">@laurenchooljian</a>. The Associated Press contributed to this report. </em></p></p> Thu, 31 Dec 2015 12:07:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-releases-thousands-emails-fatal-police-shooting-114334 Officer Charged in Fatal Shooting of Laquan McDonald Pleads Not Guilty http://www.wbez.org/news/officer-charged-fatal-shooting-laquan-mcdonald-pleads-not-guilty-114306 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/vandyke.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>A white Chicago police officer charged with murder in the 2014 fatal shooting of black teenager Laquan McDonald pleaded not guilty Tuesday.</p><p>Jason Van Dyke is &quot;hanging in there&quot; and wants to tell his side of what happened so he&#39;s not seen &quot;as this cold-blooded killer,&quot; defense attorney Dan Herbert said after the court hearing. Herbert added that they haven&#39;t ruled out asking for a change of venue. The case is in Cook County Criminal Court in Chicago where demonstrators have staged marches protesting the shooting and how it&#39;s been handled.</p><p>Van Dyke, 37, faces six counts of first-degree murder and one of official misconduct in the death of 17-year-old McDonald. The officer, wearing a dark suit and blue striped tie, appeared in court Tuesday as his lawyer entered the plea on his behalf.</p><p>Judge Vincent Gaughan set the next hearing for Jan. 29.</p><p>Cook County prosecutors were not available for comment after the arraignment.</p><p>Public outcry has been furious since a dashcam video was released last month showing the veteran officer shooting McDonald 16 times. The teenager, armed with a knife, was veering away from officers when Van Dyke opened fire.</p><p>The footage sparked days of street demonstrations, the forced resignation of Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy and a broad federal civil rights investigation of the Police Department&#39;s practices and how allegations of officer misconduct are handled.</p><p>Over the weekend, Chicago police killed two other people, a 55-year-old woman who was shot accidentally and a 19-year-old man police described as &quot;combative&quot; before he was shot. Both were black. Police have not released the race of the officer or officers involved and will not say how many officers fired their weapons or what the man and woman were doing before they were shot.</p><p>Mayor Rahm Emanuel, under pressure from community activists to resign since the McDonald video was released, was due to return Tuesday afternoon from a family vacation in Cuba.</p><p>Herbert, the lawyer for Van Dyke, said policy changes in the Chicago Police Department, which Emanuel&#39;s office has hinted at and may include more training, would be beneficial.</p><p>Van Dyke, who has been free since paying the $150,000 required of his $1.5 million bail, was suspended from the police force without pay after he was charged.</p><p>Following Tuesday&#39;s hearing, the Rev. Marvin Hunter, McDonald&#39;s great-uncle, called for gavel-to-gavel televised coverage of the trial. He said it would be &quot;in the best interest of fairness and justice in this case.&quot;</p><p>Hunter added that he and others think there is a culture within the Cook County criminal justice system and the Chicago Police Department &quot;where police feel comfortable with murdering African-American people.&quot;</p></p> Tue, 29 Dec 2015 08:26:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/officer-charged-fatal-shooting-laquan-mcdonald-pleads-not-guilty-114306 Morning Shift: November 30, 2015 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-11-30/morning-shift-november-30-2015-113988 <p><p>What&#39;s easier: living in the here and now or five, 10 or even 20 into the future? We often consider our <a href="http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-11-30/what-you-can-learn-your-future-self-113984">future selves </a>when we put away money for retirement or save for a big vacation. But how much we think about our future self impacts the way we make decisions. We explore this idea.</p><p>We also take a look at how Chicago&rsquo;s present and future is being shaped by the continued <a href="http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-11-30/more-big-name-companies-are-moving-their-headquarters-chicago">relocation of companies to the downtown business district.</a></p><p>Then, the author of the book <em>Six Word Memoirs on Love and Heartbreak</em>&nbsp;is back with a collection of wisdom dispensed in a half dozen words, called <a href="http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-11-30/larry-smith-compiled-best-advice-six-words-113983"><em>The Best Advice in Six Words. </em></a></p><p>And we look at<a href="http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-11-30/inconsistent-narratives-police-police-involved-shootings-113987"> uneven police narratives</a> regarding civilian shootings.</p></p> Mon, 30 Nov 2015 12:18:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-11-30/morning-shift-november-30-2015-113988 Since Ferguson, A Rise In Charges Against Police Officers http://www.wbez.org/news/ferguson-rise-charges-against-police-officers-113953 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/gettyimages-498665158_custom-9c648367ac84089a77935afb947a597730c6d83b-s700-c85.jpg" alt="" /><p><div id="res457423605" previewtitle="Demonstrators march through downtown Chicago on Tuesday following the release of a video showing Jason Van Dyke, a police officer, shooting and killing Laquan McDonald. Van Dyke is charged with first-degree murder for the October 2014 shooting in which McDonald was hit with 16 bullets. So far this year, 15 officers have been charged with murder or manslaughter resulting from an on-duty shooting."><div data-crop-type=""><img alt="Demonstrators march through downtown Chicago on Tuesday following the release of a video showing Jason Van Dyke, a police officer, shooting and killing Laquan McDonald. Van Dyke is charged with first-degree murder for the October 2014 shooting in which McDonald was hit with 16 bullets. So far this year, 15 officers have been charged with murder or manslaughter resulting from an on-duty shooting." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2015/11/25/gettyimages-498665158_custom-9c648367ac84089a77935afb947a597730c6d83b-s700-c85.jpg" style="height: 413px; width: 620px;" title="Demonstrators march through downtown Chicago on Tuesday following the release of a video showing Jason Van Dyke, a police officer, shooting and killing Laquan McDonald. Van Dyke is charged with first-degree murder for the October 2014 shooting in which McDonald was hit with 16 bullets. So far this year, 15 officers have been charged with murder or manslaughter resulting from an on-duty shooting. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)" /></div><div><div><p>A question some in Chicago are asking after<a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2015/11/24/457233148/first-degree-murder-charge-for-chicago-police-officer-who-shot-teen">&nbsp;the release of a video that shows a police officer fatally shooting a black teen</a>: <em>Did prosecutors charge the officer who killed Laquan McDonald only because they had to &mdash; because the video was about to come out?</em></p></div></div></div><p>Cook County State&#39;s Attorney Anita Alvarez rejected that notion Tuesday.</p><p>&quot;Pressure? This is no pressure! Why &mdash; I would never be pressured into making any kind of decision, quickly,&quot; she said.</p><p>But across the country, prosecutors do seem to be under more pressure to charge police &mdash; especially in the year since police killed Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo.</p><p>Homicide charges against police are pretty rare; they average about five cases a year. That number comes from Phil Stinson, a former-cop-turned-academic who collects statistics like this at Bowling Green State University in Ohio.</p><p>Stinson says the average is actually slightly less than five cases a year &mdash; but that&#39;s the average for the past decade. This year is looking a little different.</p><p>&quot;As of today, we now have 15 officers who&#39;ve been charged with murder or manslaughter resulting from an on-duty shooting where they&#39;ve shot and killed somebody,&quot; he says.</p><div id="con457426068" previewtitle="Related Stories"><div id="res457425882"><div><div>&nbsp;</div></div></div><div id="res457426024">It&#39;s an interesting jump &mdash; but Stinson&#39;s not ready to draw any conclusions yet.</div></div><p>&quot;It&#39;s hard to say if we&#39;re seeing a pattern, a change in prosecutorial behavior, anything like that, because we&#39;re dealing with such small numbers,&quot; Stinson says. &quot;We&#39;re dealing with outliers.&quot;</p><p>Statistics aside, though, he does think the justice system is giving police less benefit of the doubt than it did when he was a young cop.</p><p>&quot;That&#39;s being chipped away,&quot; he says. &quot;I think that now we&#39;re not taking officers at their word, and that people are looking a little bit closer. And I think that goes for prosecutors as well.&quot;</p><p>Still, there&#39;s a lot of skepticism about whether prosecutors can be objective about the police, whom they work with every day.</p><p>That skepticism grows when the decision to charge them seems to drag out, as it did in McDonald&#39;s case in Chicago, until the video came out &mdash; or in Cleveland, where it&#39;s been<a href="http://www.npr.org/2015/11/20/456626171/for-family-of-tamir-rice-an-inauspicious-anniversary">a year since a police officer shot 12-year-old Tamir Rice</a>.</p><p>Jonathan Abady is one of the lawyers representing Rice&#39;s mother; he believes prosecutors there have been using that time to weaken their own case against the officer.</p><p>&quot;It seems to us that it&#39;s taking a year because this prosecutor is more interested in protecting the police, and what they&#39;ve been doing for that year is searching for people who would be willing to call what is clearly in our view an unreasonable police shooting justified,&quot; Abady says.</p><p>The prosecutor in Cleveland calls that theory &quot;baseless,&quot; and in fact, legal experts say it really isn&#39;t fair to assume that the fix is in, just because a charging decision is taking a long time.</p><p>&quot;It&#39;s not a race,&quot; says Laurie Levenson, a law professor at Loyola Law School and a former federal prosecutor in Los Angeles.</p><p>&quot;There are good strategic reasons for a prosecutor actually not to bring the charges just because they can bring the charges so quickly,&quot; she says.</p><p>Once you&#39;ve file charges, Levenson says, it gets harder to collect evidence against an officer.</p><p>And people don&#39;t realize how hard it is to make a case against cops; they usually have great lawyers, and they still get more sympathy from juries than the average murder defendant. Prosecutors have their work cut out for them, she says, even when there is a video.</p><p>&mdash;<a href="http://www.npr.org/2015/11/25/457415588/since-ferguson-a-rise-in-charges-against-police-officers?ft=nprml&amp;f=457415588" target="_blank"><em> via NPR</em></a></p></p> Wed, 25 Nov 2015 17:05:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/ferguson-rise-charges-against-police-officers-113953 Morning Shift: November 24, 2015 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-11-24/morning-shift-november-24-2015-113920 <p><p>One challenge facing the city is how to reduce the number of people, including kids, who are homeless in Chicago. It&rsquo;s a challenge <a href="http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-11-24/head-chicago-coalition-homeless-retires-113917">Ed Shurna</a> has been tackling for nearly two decades while working at the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless. On the eve of his retirement, he talks about the changes he&rsquo;s seen over the years.</p><p>Another challenge is determining how to <a href="http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-11-24/archdiocese-chicago-building-priest-recruitment-efforts-113916">increase the number of new priests</a> in the Catholic Church. The man in charge of recruitment for the Archdiocese of Chicago explains how the church here is taking on that task.</p><p>Plus we share another installment of the series <a href="http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-11-24/my-life-three-songs-rabbi-jonathan-sacks-113915">My Life in Three Songs with Rabbi Jonathan Sacks</a> sharing his picks.</p><p>And we enjoy live music from Chicago&#39;s eclectic indie band <a href="http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-11-24/marrow-releases-album-eclectic-goodness-113913">Marrow</a>.</p><p>Plus we check in with two WBEZ Bureau Reporters about the latest in the cases of two <a href="http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-11-24/updates-two-police-involved-shooting-deaths-113919">police-involved shootings</a> in Chicago.</p></p> Tue, 24 Nov 2015 12:37:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-11-24/morning-shift-november-24-2015-113920 Officer Accused in Teen's Death Turns Himself In, Expected to Be Charged http://www.wbez.org/news/officer-accused-teens-death-turns-himself-expected-be-charged-113910 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/Chicago Police_Flickr_Isador Ruyter Harcourt_3.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>CHICAGO&nbsp;(AP) &mdash; The latest on the shooting of a black teenager by a white&nbsp;Chicago&nbsp;police officer. (All times local):</p><p><strong>9:15 a.m.</strong></p><p>A white&nbsp;Chicago&nbsp;police officer who shot a black teenager 16 times has turned himself in at the Cook County courthouse where he&#39;s expected to face a murder charge.</p><p>Trailed by reporters and photographers, Officer Jason Van Dyke walked into the courthouse Tuesday morning.</p><p>An official close to the investigation told The Associated Press&#39; Don Babwin that county prosecutors are expected to charge him with murder on Tuesday.</p><p>The official spoke on condition of anonymity so as not to pre-empt the expected charges.</p><p>The Oct. 20, 2014, shooting of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald was captured on a squad car&#39;s dashcam, and a judge has given the city until the end of Wednesday to release it publicly.</p><p>Several people who have seen the video say it shows McDonald armed with a small knife and walking away from several officers. An autopsy report says he was shot at least twice in his back.</p><p>As reported earlier:</p><p>A white Chicago police officer who shot a black teenager 16 times was expected to be charged with murder Tuesday, just a day ahead of a deadline for the city to release a squad-car video of the shooting.</p><p>Veteran officer Jason Van Dyke is expected to be indicted in the killing of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald, an official close to the investigation told The Associated Press. The official spoke on condition of anonymity so as not to pre-empt an announcement of the charge.</p><p>City officials and community leaders have been bracing for the release of the video, fearing an outbreak of unrest and demonstrations similar to those that occurred in Baltimore, Ferguson, Missouri and other cities after young black men were slain by police or died in police custody. The judge ordered the dash-cam recording to be released by Wednesday after city officials had argued for months it couldn&#39;t be made public until the conclusion of several investigations.</p><p>Several people who have seen the video say it shows the teenager armed with a small knife and walking away from several officers on Oct. 20, 2014. They say Van Dyke opened fire from about 15 feet and kept shooting after the teen fell to the ground. An autopsy report says McDonald was shot at least twice in his back. It also said PCP, a hallucinogenic drug, was found in the teen&#39;s system.</p><p>An attorney for Van Dyke did not respond to messages from the AP seeking comment.</p><p>Chicago police also moved late Monday to discipline a second officer who had shot and killed an unarmed black woman in 2012 in another incident causing tensions between the department and minority communities. Superintendent Garry McCarthy recommended firing Officer Dante Servin for the shooting of 22-year-old Rekia Boyd, saying Servin showed &quot;incredibly poor judgment.&quot; A jury had acquitted Servin of involuntary manslaughter and other charges last April.</p><p>Mayor Rahm Emanuel called together a number of community leaders Monday to appeal for help calming the emotions that have built up over the McDonald shooting. Some attendees said city officials waited too long to ask for their involvement.</p><p>&quot;You had this tape for a year and you are only talking to us now because you need our help keeping things calm,&quot; one of the ministers, Corey Brooks, said after the meeting.</p><p>Ira Acree, who described the meeting with Emanuel as &quot;very tense, very contentious,&quot; said the mayor expressed concerns about the prospect of any demonstrations getting out of control.</p><p>Another minister who attended, Jedidiah Brown, said emotions were running so high that there would be no stopping major protests once the video is released.</p><p>The fears of unrest stem from longstanding tensions between the Chicago police and minority communities, partly due to the department&#39;s dogged reputation for brutality, particularly involving blacks. Dozens of men, mostly African American, said they were subjected to torture at the hands of a Chicago police squad headed by former commander Jon Burge during the 1970s, &#39;80s and early &#39;90s, and many spent years in prison. Burge was eventually convicted of lying about the torture and served 4&frac12; years in prison.</p><p>The two ministers said blacks in the city are upset because the officer, though stripped of his police powers, has been assigned to desk duty and not fired.</p><p>&quot;They had the opportunity to be a good example and a model across the country on how to improve police and community relations and they missed it,&quot; Acree said.</p><p>The Police Department said placing an officer on desk duty after a shooting is standard procedure and that it is prohibited from doing anything more during the investigations.</p></p> Tue, 24 Nov 2015 08:28:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/officer-accused-teens-death-turns-himself-expected-be-charged-113910 Henry Dumas wrote about black people killed by cops. Then he was killed by a cop. http://www.wbez.org/news/henry-dumas-wrote-about-black-people-killed-cops-then-he-was-killed-cop-113143 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/HenryDumas.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>&quot;A young black man, Henry Dumas, went through a turnstile at a New York City subway station,&quot; reads an invitation by Toni Morrison for a posthumous book-launch party she threw for Dumas in 1974, six years after he died. &quot;A transit cop&quot; &mdash; who was white &mdash; &quot;shot him in the chest and killed him. Circumstances surrounding his death remain unclear. Before that happened, however, he had written some of the most beautiful, moving and profound poetry and fiction that I have ever in my life read.&quot;</p><p>In the nearly 50 years since Henry Dumas was killed, not much more has come to light about what happened on the night of his death. No witnesses came forward to testify. Police records were lost in a bureaucratic shuffle. Harlem, where Dumas moved as a young man after growing up in rural Arkansas, had&nbsp;<a href="https://www.baruch.cuny.edu/nycdata/disasters/riots-harlem_1964.html">erupted</a>&nbsp;in large-scale protests over the police killings of black and brown men several times before the writer was killed. But Dumas&#39; death hardly made the news. With so little information to draw from, it&#39;s as if the last pages of his life were torn out.</p><p>Dumas&#39; final scene echoed a theme he turned to again and again in his writing: violent confrontations between white men and black men. The work he left behind &mdash; short stories that range from hard realism to science fiction, an almost finished novel, volumes of poetry, and even a few accompaniments to the work of the mystical jazz legend Sun Ra &mdash; contains bitingly sharp depictions of racial tension in America that, in an almost unbelievably eerie way, speak to his own fate.</p><p>It is, of course, a fate that many black men and women had and would suffer under dubious circumstances &mdash; from&nbsp;<a href="http://www.nydailynews.com/news/crime/harlem-riots-1943-echo-today-article-1.2216788">Robert Bandy</a>&nbsp;in 1935,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.vice.com/read/race-riots-then-and-now-501">James Powell</a>&nbsp;in 1964, 10-year-old&nbsp;<a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/17/nyregion/fired-at-queens-boy-fatal-1973-police-shot-still-reverberates.html">Clifford Glover</a>&nbsp;in 1973, and&nbsp;<a href="http://articles.chicagotribune.com/1999-09-12/news/9909120226_1_officers-lawyer-chicago-police-supt-joseph-roddy">LaTanya Haggerty</a>&nbsp;in 1999 to the more recent deaths of Michael Brown,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.charlotteobserver.com/news/local/crime/article15728675.html">Janisha Fonville</a>, Eric Garner,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.cleveland.com/metro/index.ssf/2015/01/tanisha_anderson_was_restraine.html">Tanisha Anderson</a>&nbsp;and Freddie Gray, to name only a few.</p><p>&quot;His work and, in fact, his death, investigated and illustrated the ways in which black lives were at best peripheral to most white people &mdash; especially those running and policing the country,&quot; says James Smethurst, a University of Massachusetts, Amherst professor who has written extensively about 1960s and &#39;70s black writers.</p><p>Much of Dumas&#39; writing is considered to be a part of the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.english.illinois.edu/maps/blackarts/historical.htm">Black Arts Movement</a>&nbsp;&mdash; the artistic manifestation of the Black Power struggle of the 1960s &mdash; an effort that Smethurst believes has a lot of resonance with the Black Lives Matter movement. While interest in Dumas has increased somewhat in recent years, he says, &quot;We still have a long way to go before he gets the sort of attention he deserves.&quot;</p><p><strong>&#39;The People Get Tired Of Dying&#39;</strong></p><p>One of the only known accounts of the night Dumas was killed comes from an obituary in&nbsp;<em>The Amsterdam News</em>,&nbsp;a black-owned newspaper in New York City that was founded in 1909. &quot;Police said Dumas and an unidentified man were scuffling in the subway when the officer walked up to them and attempted to stop the fracas,&quot; the obit reads. &quot;Police said Dumas, resentful at the interference, slashed the officer who shot and killed him.&quot;</p><p>Without the benefit of photographic evidence or firsthand witnesses to accompany the official police report, it is impossible to know the full story of what happened that night. It&#39;s also impossible to take in Dumas&#39; story without acknowledging that the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2015/07/samuel-dubose-cops-corroberating-unarmed-black-death">track record of believability</a>, when it comes to official accounts of black deaths at the hands of law enforcement,&nbsp;<a href="http://kxan.com/2014/08/22/family-of-woman-shot-killed-by-bastrop-county-sheriffs-deputy-seeks-damages/">isn&#39;t a clean one</a>.</p><p>Dumas wrote stories that echo cases like that of Tamir Rice, a 12-year-old boy in Cleveland who was killed&nbsp;<a href="http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-30220700">seconds after</a>&nbsp;a police vehicle pulled up to where he was playing. &quot;When a Negro boy is shot and killed by policemen who do not check the situation before pulling their guns, the people get angry. It is a simple law of nature. ... The people get tired of dying,&quot; says one of Dumas&#39; characters in a short story called &quot;Riot or Revolt.&quot;</p><p>Published most recently in a 2003 collection of Dumas&#39; work called&nbsp;<a href="http://www.amazon.com/Echo-Tree-Collected-Fiction-Movement/dp/1566891493">Echo Tree</a>, that story follows a young black man named Harold through the aftermath of violent public protest across Harlem:</p><blockquote><div><p><em>&quot;The police barricades squatted on the sidewalk surrounding each place where mobs had struck.</em></p><p><em>&quot;Harold stood on the ramp in the middle of Seventh Avenue and 125th Street and surveyed the area which the night before had swarmed with police and angry Harlemites. A youth had been slain by the police in Brooklyn.&quot;</em></p></div></blockquote><div id="res437321514"><div data-crop-type="" style="text-align: center;"><img alt="A view of the National Memorial African Bookstore in Harlem circa 1970." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2015/09/03/national-bookstore-getty_custom-263741acaf9cdad5decfc88cff572694dce03c46-s700-c85.jpg" style="height: 397px; width: 600px;" title="A view of the National Memorial African Bookstore in Harlem circa 1970. (Jack Garofalo/Paris Match via Getty Images)" /></div></div><p>Those who have studied Dumas&#39; life and work believe the fictional LeMoor Brothers&#39; Bookstore in that story was modeled on the real National Memorial African Bookstore, which stood a short walk from the 135th Street subway station where Dumas was killed. Owned by Lewis Michaux, a bookseller and black civil rights leader who encouraged his neighbors to read the books he stocked on African history, culture and philosophy even if they couldn&#39;t afford to buy them, the store&nbsp;<a href="https://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/vaunda-micheaux-nelson/no-crystal-stair/">attracted</a>&nbsp;figures like Malcolm X, Langston Hughes and Muhammad Ali.</p><p>Not unlike Dumas&#39; LeMoor, Michaux had a lot to say about black Americans&#39; struggle for power. &quot;We&#39;ve been neglected for three hundred years,&quot; <a href="http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/1966/09/03/the-professor-4">he</a><a href="http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/1966/09/03/the-professor-4">&nbsp;told</a><a href="http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/1966/09/03/the-professor-4">&nbsp;a<em> New Yorker</em>&nbsp;reporter in 1966</a>. &quot;As much as I hate to see what&#39;s going to happen, I believe that when the Negro knocks this time and nobody open the door, he&#39;s just going to knock it right down.&quot;</p><p>In &quot;Riot or Revolt,&quot; city officials stop in to speak to the owners of LeMoor Brothers&#39; Bookstore, which had been left untouched by the looters who ravaged nearly every other store on the street. The officers want to know what made his shop so exceptional, but its owner, Micheval LeMoor, takes issue with the fact that city officials seemed to visit Harlem only when its frustrated residents reached a breaking point:</p><blockquote><div><p><em>&quot;You want to come visit here and get the notions about things being better, while right now some disrespectful guardian of the citizens beats a black man&#39;s head in. It doesn&#39;t matter if he&#39;s guilty or not anymore. Your honor, what you are facing is the full anger of a man who has been under attack for years. Unless you call off the attackers, be they merchants, disrespectful policemen, or the American majority, then the black minority is going to tear your house down.&quot;</em></p></div></blockquote><p>While &quot;Riot or Revolt&quot; may have been closely inspired by actual people if not actual events, other Dumas stories are imaginative forays into allegorical fables and otherworldly realms. Dumas&#39; vast range captivated many of his fellow writers, before and after his death. The poet and civil rights activist&nbsp;<a href="http://www.poetryfoundation.org/bio/haki-madhubuti">Haki R. Madhubati</a>&nbsp;called him &quot;a poet of complex melodies,&quot; and Amiri Baraka called him an &quot;Afro-surreal expressionist&quot; who delivered &quot;a new blackness.&quot;</p><div id="res444198122"><div data-crop-type="" style="text-align: center;"><img alt="Three of the published works of Dumas." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2015/09/28/dumas-books_custom-a24dcbd804e2efd2e6d60adc2472052f719f56b9-s700-c85.jpg" style="height: 289px; width: 600px;" title="Three of the published works of Dumas. (Courtesy of Eugene B. Redmond)" /></div><div><div><p>&quot;I was impressed with his boldness of language and his boldness of breadth,&quot; Maya Angelou said in a 1988 interview published in an issue of the&nbsp;<em>Black American Literature Forum</em>&nbsp;dedicated entirely to Dumas&#39; work. &quot;Dumas continued to set us up for the loneliness, aloneness, and desperation, sometimes even desolation. But he never leaves us there. With him as our guide, we&#39;re always brought through to a better place.&quot;</p></div></div></div><p><strong>&#39;Part Invitation, Part Consolation&#39;</strong></p><p>By the time Dumas died, just a few of his poems and short stories had been published in small literary journals, geared toward a black audience. Writers and critics who knew him say he would have followed the uphill trajectory of his friends &mdash; including Robert Pinsky and Baraka &mdash; had he lived.</p><p>&quot;I think he would&#39;ve been a lot more famous in some respects if he had been able to live and write for 50 more years,&quot; says Smethurst, the University of Massachusetts professor. &quot;What if Toni Morrison had died after she wrote&nbsp;<em>The Bluest Eye&nbsp;</em>and only had a few stories?&quot;</p><p>In fact, Morrison played a role in inspiring what Smethurst calls the &quot;cult&quot; of Dumas. She first encountered Dumas in the form of a slim collection published posthumously by Southern Illinois University, where he taught an experimental program during the last year of his life. Then an editor at Random House and the author of&nbsp;<em>The Bluest Eye</em>&nbsp;and&nbsp;<em>Sula</em>,&nbsp;Morrison was struck by the circumstances of Dumas&#39; death and wanted to publish more of his writing.</p><p><img alt="Dumas, when he was a high school student in New York." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2015/09/03/dumas-teen_custom-90683d6bd20dbed852889b91760df7de33f10263-s200-c85.jpg" style="margin-left: 10px; margin-right: 10px; height: 374px; width: 300px; float: right;" title="Dumas, when he was a high school student in New York. (Courtesy of Eugene B. Redmond)" /></p><p>Random House had recently committed itself to publishing more minority writers. Through her position there, Morrison would shepherd through the work of several of the era&#39;s most notable black writers and activists, from Toni Cade Bambara and Gayle Jones to Angela Davis and Huey P. Newton.</p><div id="res437323230"><div><div><p>But she knew that generating attention for Dumas, a writer who was not only practically unknown but also deceased, would not be easy. To create hype for the collections she wanted to release &mdash; a book of poetry titled&nbsp;<em>Play Ebony Play Ivory</em>&nbsp;and a short story collection called&nbsp;Ark of Bones&nbsp;&mdash; Morrison organized a release event with a glamorous guest list comprising the most renowned black writers of the time.</p></div></div></div><p>&quot;He was thirty-three years old when he was killed,&quot; Morrison wrote in the announcement for the party, a note that was&nbsp;<a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/12/magazine/the-radical-vision-of-toni-morrison.html&amp;assetType=nyt_now?&amp;assetType=nyt_now">described</a>&nbsp;as &quot;part invitation, part consolation&quot; in a recent&nbsp;<em>New York Times</em>&nbsp;profile of Morrison. &quot;But in those thirty-three years he had completed work the quality and quantity of which are almost never achieved in several lifetimes.&quot;</p><p><strong>&#39;Creative Writing Slave&#39;</strong></p><p>In 1934, Dumas was born to Appliance Porter, a 19-year-old housekeeper in Sweet Home, Ark., a small town just outside Little Rock. His father, Henry Dumas Sr., or &quot;Big Henry&quot; as he was called, was largely absent from the life of his son, and his mother worked long hours. With his parents often away, Dumas spent much of his time in the fields where his aunts and uncles picked cotton, milked cows and shared stories.</p><p>While his cousins were busy playing sports, Dumas&#39; family recalled to Dumas biographer Jeffrey B. Leak, he preferred to spend his time examining insects or developing skits in which he played all the roles. When Dumas was 10, he and his family followed the course taken by thousands of other black families during the first part of the 20th century by&nbsp;<a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/05/books/review/Oshinsky-t.html?pagewanted=all&amp;_r=0">moving north</a>. Dumas brought with him to Harlem an intellectual curiosity that impressed his teachers at his integrated Manhattan high school.</p><div id="res437333283"><div data-crop-type=""><img alt="Dumas and his wife, Loretta Dumas (Ponton), on their wedding day." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2015/09/03/dumas-wedding_custom-4f5433a2c1f2996ce38b97100e8f654f52d11178-s200-c85.jpg" style="margin-left: 10px; margin-right: 10px; float: left; height: 366px; width: 300px;" title="Dumas and his wife, Loretta Dumas Ponton, on their wedding day. (Courtesy of Eugene B. Redmond)" /></div><div><div><p>It may have been there that Dumas&#39; individual struggles became part of a more complex struggle: one in which black people searched for belonging in spaces where they were neither warmly welcomed nor explicitly barred. It&#39;s unclear when he began to take up writing seriously, but his move to a more racially diverse environment may have had something to do with it. Beneath his senior photo in the 1953 High School of Commerce yearbook someone &mdash; perhaps even Dumas himself &mdash; chose to inscribe this description of him: &quot;Creative writing slave.&quot;</p></div></div></div><p>After a brief stint at the City University of New York that ended with what Leak notes might have been &quot;a crisis of confidence,&quot; Dumas joined the U.S. Air Force within a year of his high school graduation. Tours of Saudi Arabia and Mexico deepened his interest in sketching worlds that blurred black-and-white interpretations of race.</p><p>At the age of 21, Dumas returned to the U.S., in 1955, and married Loretta Ponton, a beautiful young secretary he had met by chance on a snowy evening on the street in New York just before enlisting. The daughter of a Baptist deacon, Loretta held strong Christian values and a traditional sense of familial responsibility. While Dumas shared her beliefs during the early years of their marriage, he would veer from them in coming years.</p><p>One of just a few black students at Rutgers University, where Dumas studied from 1958 to 1965 and where the couple&#39;s two sons were born, Dumas&#39; commitment to his writing, curiosities about the Nation of Islam, engagement with the civil rights movement, plus alcohol and drug use began to drive a wedge between him and Loretta.</p><p>He also had several affairs with white women. Lois Wright (nee Silber), with whom he had an affair that lasted three years, recalled in a letter to Dumas&#39; friend and fellow poet Jay Wright (whom she would later marry) that the two could only venture out to select spots in New York; the jazz clubs Dumas frequented weren&#39;t welcoming to Wright, and she resented Dumas&#39; friends for referring to her as &quot;the white chick.&quot;</p><p>&quot;For Dumas, crossing racial divides represented possibility and opportunity for both himself as a black man, but also from an imaginative standpoint,&quot; Leak, whose biography of Dumas,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.amazon.com/Visible-Man-Life-Henry-Dumas/dp/0820328707">Visible Man</a>, came out last year, said in an interview. &quot;I think he thought that if you can cross boundaries in the social realm, then you can cross other boundaries in the literary realm. In both spaces, he found it to be even more complicated than he had anticipated.&quot;</p><p>Dumas explores those complexities in &quot;Will The Circle Be Unbroken?,&quot; a short story in which three white musicians and critics want to enter a black jazz club, arguing they should be let in because they know a lot about the genre. The black patrons finally agree to let them in, but warn that use of an ancient, rare horn may be too intense for their &quot;uninitiated&quot; ears. The music &quot;vibrated the freedom of freedom&quot; for its black listeners, but when the set ends, consternation rises when the three white people are found dead. They had been slain by music that wasn&#39;t meant for them.</p><div id="res443129714"><div data-crop-type="" style="text-align: center;"><img alt="From left: Henry Dumas, William G. Davis and Eugene B. Redmond in 1967, during their tenure as teacher-counselors at the Experiment in Higher Education at Southern Illinois University. (Courtesy of Eugene B. Redmond)" src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2015/09/24/dumas-orange_custom-0e395d04cd38d945d99b93cdc8a25b20aeaee5b9-s700-c85.jpg" style="height: 448px; width: 600px;" title="From left: Henry Dumas, William G. Davis and Eugene B. Redmond in 1967, during their tenure as teacher-counselors at the Experiment in Higher Education at Southern Illinois University. (Courtesy of Eugene B. Redmond)" /></div><div><p>For many, the story offers a look at some of the central questions of the civil rights movement: What did it mean to be black? How could black identity adapt to an integrated world? What racial boundaries should remain unbroken?</p></div></div><p>In an essay on the story for a 1988 issue of the&nbsp;<em>Black American Literary Forum</em>&nbsp;dedicated to Dumas&#39; work, an acquaintance of Dumas&#39; put it this way: &quot;Black people had a feeling of always being on stage for white folks.&quot; Dumas&#39; story on the jazz club held that the work of black artists should be guarded and protected, a notion that still resonates in a world where it&#39;s been said many times that&nbsp;<a href="http://www.buzzfeed.com/emaoconnor/rue-just-perfectly-defined-cultural-appropriation">black cultural products are valued while black lives are not</a>.</p><p>www.newyorker.com/magazine/1966/09/03/the-professor-4On no one, perhaps, has Dumas made a greater impression than Eugene Redmond. An&nbsp;<a href="http://eugenebredmond.com/home/">accomplished poet</a>&nbsp;in his own right, Redmond has spent the past four decades editing and promoting the work of Dumas, even though the two men knew one another for only just under a year. Redmond met Dumas when the older writer came to teach English at an experimental college at the University of Southern Illinois in Redmond&#39;s hometown of East St. Louis in 1967. &quot;We bonded quickly,&quot; Redmond told me in a phone interview from the house of Loretta, Dumas&#39; widow.</p><p>The 77-year-old has served for decades as the literary executor of Dumas&#39; estate and was staying with Loretta for an annual commemoration of Dumas&#39; life and work that he helps organize every year on the anniversary of the shooting. Bringing together Dumas&#39; friends and family over poetry readings and jazz performances, Redmond, a Pushcart Prize recipient and the author of 25 books of poetry, has carried the torch for Dumas alongside his own teaching and writing career.</p><p>&quot;Every time I stepped into a classroom after I met him, I had a turntable,&quot; said Redmond, who said he picked up on Dumas&#39; tradition of playing music 15 minutes before each of his classes began. &quot;Every class that I taught, I published the students in a spiral-bound or saddle-stitched booklet. I got that from him.&quot; Redmond fondly recalls eating raw honey and listening to jazz with Dumas, to whom he attributes his love of some of the era&#39;s greatest musicians, from Miles Davis to John Coltrane. &quot;At the time,&quot; Redmond said, &quot;he seemed to be at the farthest most forward point of what black expression, black culture, and black people were all about.&quot;</p><p>In his day-to-day life, Dumas insisted on making space for himself &mdash; and forcing others to acknowledge his right to exist. &quot;He would even walk around East St. Louis and other places, and ask, &#39;Do you see me? Feel my arm. I&#39;m here, ain&#39;t I?&#39;&quot; said Leak, who conducted many interviews with those close to Dumas for his book. &quot;His point was: We&#39;re not invisible. The idea is a direct corollary to Black Lives Matter, the idea that flesh and blood do matter, and we&#39;re going to insist on being seen and being heard.&quot;</p><p>Redmond hopes the Black Lives Matter movement will help introduce Dumas to a whole new audience and help bolster the foundation that the movement rests upon. &quot;You gotta have someplace to come from before you know where you&#39;re going,&quot; he says.</p><p>&mdash; <a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/codeswitch/2015/10/01/433229181/henry-dumas-wrote-about-black-people-killed-by-cops-then-he-was-killed-by-a-cop"><em>via NPR&#39;s Code Switch</em></a></p></p> Thu, 01 Oct 2015 13:18:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/henry-dumas-wrote-about-black-people-killed-cops-then-he-was-killed-cop-113143