challenged the L.A.
Times’ apparent conclusion that race and ethnicity drove officer decision-making practices during
LAPD’s stop-and-frisk campaign. Let’s explore who got stopped and who got searched in greater
Who got stopped?
L.A. City is twenty-eight percent white. Yet as the Times noted, only eighteen
percent of the 549,488 persons stopped during a ten-month period were white. On the other hand, Blacks, who
comprise a mere nine percent of the city’s total population, figured in twenty-seven percent of stops.
Proof positive of bias, right?
Not so fast. L.A.’s communities are far from integrated. We coded a
random sample of stops for location and identified 52 distinct neighborhoods. Armed with demographics, we
compared again. Once location is factored in, the racial/ethnic makeup of those
who were stopped closely corresponds with the demographics of the place where they were stopped. That’s
what one would expect.
Still, that doesn’t prove that bias didn’t play a role in
targeting. For more insight about officer decisionmaking we focused on two data fields pertinent to the
“why’s” of a stop: “traffic violation CJIS offense code” and “suspicion
CJIS offense code.” (For a list of these Federally-standardized codes click here.
) Seventy-two percent of those stopped (n=396,032) were detained in connection with a traffic violation.
Overall, the racial/ethnic distribution of this subset was virtually identical to that of the target area. We
collapsed the ten most frequent violations into five categories. This graphic displays shares for each
Democratic and Republican lawmakers joined with Attorney General William Barr and British and Australian officials to
demand that Internet portals build in “backdoors” that allow law enforcement agencies to intercept
encrypted communications. But Facebook, which is planning end-to-end encryption, complained that doing so would make
its system vulnerable and be “a gift to criminals, hackers and repressive regimes”. Related posts
12/12/19 A years
-long investigation by the Justice Department I.G. revealed that FBI agents knowingly submitted deeply flawed
information to gain court approval for a F.I.S.A. wiretap of Carter Page, a former C.I.A. source who was suspected
of passing anti-Clinton materials from Russian intelligence to the Trump campaign.
On December 4 Gabriel Romero, a sailor standing guard at Pearl Harbor, opened fire with his issued weapons, killing
two and himself. Two days later, Saudi military student Mohammed Alshamrania used a pistol to kill three and wound
eight at a Florida base. He was shot and killed by police. Romero was in trouble with the Navy and getting counseling. Alshamrania had reportedly
posted hateful tweets and recently gathered friends to watch mass shooting videos. Related posts
1 2 3
income New York City neighborhoods have seen a rise in gang shootings. One Queens neighborhood has suffered thirty-two
shot and twelve killed to date, twice last year’s toll. Special police teams patrol hot spots, and “
neighborhood coordination officers” are contacting youth to prevent what violence they can. But guns are cheap
and plentiful, and the warfare continues. Related posts
Usman Khan, 26, served eight years in a British prison for participating in a terrorist cell that planned to carry out
attacks across England. During his term he supposedly reformed and, on release, became a role model for others.
Considered thoroughly rehabilitated, he traveled unsupervised to a prison conference in London. That’s when he
suddenly pulled a knife and began slashing, killing two and injuring three before he was shot dead by police.
12/4/19 Thirty-six years after their imprisonment, Alfred Chestnut, Ransom Watkins and Andrew Stewart walked
out of prison, once again free men. That’s how long it took before the Baltimore D.A. acknowledged that police
and prosecutorial misconduct, including hiding exculpatory evidence and coercing young witnesses, led to their wrongful
conviction in the murder of another teen. Authorities think they know who the real killer was, but he died years ago.
Related posts 1 2
12/4/19 Oregon’s Supreme Court banned officers from going off-topic during routine traffic stops and questioning
occupants about unrelated matters. In this case an officer who pulled over a car for failure to signal a turn asked for
and received consent to search the vehicle, in which he found drugs. Decision Related post
12/4/19: Four years after the police killing of Laquan McDonald, an unarmed Black youth, led then
-Mayor Rahm Emanuel to fire Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy, Chicago’s new Mayor, Lori Lightfoot fired the
replacement Chief, Eddie Johnson, over “a series of ethical lapses.” Chief Johnson, who was found passed
out in his car, had announced his retirement. Related posts
12/4/19: During the last four decades wage growth in major cities, including New York and Los Angeles, has
stagnated for the lower classes while, thanks to the new technologies, zoomed upwards for the better-off. That,
according to New York’s Federal Reserve Bank, has made New York City one of the “top 10 most unequal
metropolitan areas in the country.” Related posts
1 2 3 4 5
12/3/19: Alabama jurors
convicted former Montgomery police officer Aaron Smith of manslaughter for shooting and killing a pedestrian who fled
from a stop-and-frisk encounter. During the chase Officer Smith repeatedly tased Greg Gunn, a 58-year old Black man,
then repeatedly fired his gun because Gunn supposedly tried to hit him with a pole. Officer Smith had been charged with
murder. Related posts
11/19/19 Social media posts including
“kill all women” and “prowling the Seattle streets for women to assault” were enough for
police to get a Red Flag order. But two weeks later a judge ordered the guns returned without a mental health check.
Satisfied that these were just bad jokes for the man’s friends, he explained that the law did not let him “
give the benefit of the doubt” to police. Related posts
“The way it was used is racist.” Presidential contender Michael Bloomberg announced profound regrets for
promoting NYPD’s stop-and-frisk campaign while he was the city’s mayor. Bloomberg says only a sliver of
those stopped had guns and that the practice - which he claims to have wound down - led to estrangement from the Black
and Latino communities.
Related posts 1 2
11/15/19 Attorney General William Barr rolled
out “Project Guardian,” an initiative that would enhance Federal-local efforts to tighten up gun background
checks, target armed criminals and ensure that serious felons who get caught with guns are considered for Federal
11/15/19 A proposed Federal law would require Federal agents to get a warrant to use facial technology
recognition to track a suspect for more than three days. It would not limit its typical current use, which is to make
matches after-the-fact. Civil libertarians are demanding that this latter practice, which is now commonplace, face
11/14/19 Two teens were killed and three others were wounded after a 16-
year old student pulled a .45 caliber pistol from his backpack and opened fire at a suburban Los Angeles-area high school.
Police later apprehended the gunman, who reportedly shot himself in the head.
11/12/19 A military judge
ruled that prosecutors misled defense attorneys for a Qaeda suspect awaiting trial in the bombing of the U.S.S. Cole.
Their failure to provide accurate information about the man’s torture while in C.I.A. custody may threaten the
admissibility of what the defendant later told FBI agents at Guantanamo.
New York Times investigation revealed that alcohol breath tests are under challenge across the U.S.
Misconduct by operators, faulty technology and ill-maintained, uncalibrated devices are blamed for chronic
inaccuracies. In New Jersey, 13,000 drivers were convicted with machines “that hadn’t been properly set up.
” Tens of thousands of like cases are pending elsewhere. Related posts
1 2 3
11/5/19 Chicago is reeling from yet more shootings in its supposedly improving “Little Village
” area, where a seven-year old trick-or-treater dolled up as Minnie Mouse was critically wounded on Halloween night
by a 15-year old gang member who opened fire on rivals. An adult was also struck.
Ex-Georgia cop Robert Olsen was sentenced to twelve years imprisonment on charges of aggravated assault and
perjury for shooting and killing a mentally disturbed black vet who had stripped naked and was lying on the
ground. Jurors found that Olsen, who is white, lied when he said that the victim ran at him and refused to
stop. But they acquitted him of murder. Related posts
10/31/19 In Chicago, the International Association of Chiefs of Police assembled
police leaders and family members to address police suicides. So far this year 188 officers committed suicide, a toll
twice that of line-of-duty deaths. “Removing the stigma,” it was said, is key to solving the problem.
Dick’s Sporting Goods sells guns. But it no longer sells assault-style weapons or high capacity magazines and
requires all gun buyers to be at least 21. That decision was made by C.E.O. Ed Stack after the 2018 Parkland, Fla. high
school massacre. He concedes these steps won’t eliminate all mass shootings. “But there will be less loss of
life if an assault-style rifle isn’t used. And if we do all those things and we save one life, in my mind it’s
all worth it.” Related posts
1 2 3
10/25/19 Undercover California state agents regularly watch California residents acquire California-illegal assault rifles at
gun shows in Arizona and Nevada. Buyers are tailed when they return to California, where they are stopped. “The...
problem is that California has a 608-mile border with Nevada...and Nevada’s gun regulations are less stringent,”
a prosecutor said. Related posts
1 2 3
10/24/19 At the urging of Attorney General William Barr, in December 2019 the FBI will host a national training
session for preventing mass shootings. Local and state agencies will be exposed to “proven models” drawn from
the war against terror; for example, identifying dangerous, “extremely challenging individuals” and compelling
to undergo mental health treatment before they strike. Related posts
1 2 3 4
Two years ago Jackson Co. (MO) deputy Lauren Michael was awarded a Medal of Valor after shooting and killing an
ex-con shoplifter who allegedly Tasered her during an arrest. This past August she shot and wounded a traffic violator who
ran off after - again - allegedly Tasering the deputy. This time Deputy Michael was charged with “felony assault and
armed criminal action.” Related posts
10/14/19 Summoned by a
neighbor who reported an open front door, two Fort Worth officers arrived at a residence during the early morning hours.
One officer saw a woman standing inside. He yelled for her to show her hands, then fired a single shot, killing the woman,
the home’s lawful resident. She was reportedly playing video games and came to the window because of the
commotion. Related posts 1 2 3
10/13/19 A 66-year old man with “anger management issues” shot and
killed five other residents of the condo complex where he had long resided. According to police most of the other
tenants “have had problems with him,” from being accused of “making too much noise to exchanging dirty
looks to bumping into each other in the stairwell.”
10/12/19 California Governor Gavin Newsom (Jerry Brown’s successor) signed a bill that adds
“teachers, school administrators, employers and co-workers” to the list of those who can petition courts that
guns be seized. Related post
10/10/19 Wisonsin’s Supreme Court
turned away a lawsuit against Armslist, an online website that puts together
private gun sellers and gun buyers, for facilitating a gun purchase by Daniel Haughton, whom a restraining order had
made ineligible to buy a gun under state law. In 2013 Haughton used a gun he got through the service to murder his wife
and two of her coworkers. Related posts 1 2
10/10/19 MGM, the owner of the hotel that was the site of the October 2017 Las Vegas massacre, has
agreed to pay up to $800 million to settle lawsuits alleging that it negligently failed to keep the shooter,
Stephen Paddock, from stocking his room full of weapons and ammunition.
10/6/19 A thirty-seven year old man flew to Florida from Norway. He banged on a front door, and when it was
answered jumped out from the bushes. Meant as a birthday surprise, his actions startled his father-in-law, who shot
him dead. Related posts 1 2
10/6/19 A Los Angeles Times investigation blames largescale gun smuggling from the U.S. for
“stoking a homicide epidemic in Mexico.” According to ATF, seventy percent of the 132,823 guns recovered
in Mexico between 2009 and 2018 came from the U.S., mainly border states in the southwest. Most smuggled guns - one estimate says more than 750,000
firearms went South in just two years - are reportedly acquired from U.S. gun dealers and at gun shows
by straw buyers. Related posts
Facebook already encrypts WhatsApp. Now it’s planning end-to-end encryption for WhatsApp, Messenger and other
services, placing content out of even Facebook’s reach. These services are being used to exploit children, and
have appeal to criminals and terrorists. Law enforcement is demanding a “back door,” which Facebook and
privacy experts strongly oppose. Related posts 1 2
10/3/19 Jurors convicted former Dallas police officer Amber Guyger of the most
serious charge, murder. Then, after a hearing in which witnesses were called, they sentenced her to ten years.
Returning home after a shift, officer Guyger had mistakenly entered the wrong apartment, then shot and killed its
occupant thinking that he posed a threat. Under Texas law, Officer Guyger, who faced a prison term of five to
ninety-nine years, elected to be sentenced by the jury. Related post
Participants at an NAS symposium on human rights sounded a cautionary note about artificial intelligence, whose misuse
can worsen inequality and bias. For example, San Francisco banned the use of facial recognition technology
because it is “demonstrably biased against minorities.”
NYPD officer Brian Mulkeen was accidentally shot and killed by other officers after he fired at an armed felon whom he
encountered at a crime-ridden housing project in the Bronx. Although overall crime in New York City is down,
the area, patrolled by the 47th. Precinct, had ten shootings to date in 2018 but fifteen so far this year.
Related posts 1 2 3 4
9/29/19 An internal, multi-year
review by State Dept. investigators has determined that more than one-hundred agency officials sent emails containing
classified information to Clinton’s private server. While a former executive calls the inquiry a witch hunt, the
agents insist that their effort is not intended to punish anyone and only took this long because of its massive nature.
9/25/19 Suicide rates
are climbing in the military services. In the Navy, three off-base suicides by members of the same crew in five days
- with two confirmed by gun - raised the number of suicides for their vessel to five in two years. According to the
Defense Department, the annual suicide rate of service members is 20.1/1000,000, considerably higher than the civilian
toll of 14/100,000. Related post
9/23/19 Illinois’ red flag law, which authorizes judges, acting on petitions filed by family members
and police, to order that guns be confiscated for up to six months, has been used 41 times since its enactment
on January 1. According to an Illinois gun-control group the law is a valuable “public health tool.” But
some major cities, including the state capital, Springfield, are yet to use it once.
Related posts 1 2
9/20/19 According to Colt Firearms, “a pretty sharp decline in rifle
sales” and a “significant inventory buildup by our distributors” has led it to suspend production of
civilian versions of the AR-15. Colt will focus on police and military orders, which, it says, are “absorbing
all of Colt’s manufacturing capacity for rifles.”
Related posts 1 2
9/18/19 For more than
two months, the sister of NYPD’s ninth officer to commit suicide this year reportedly pleaded with his
supervisors to take his gun away. NYPD is expanding its anti-suicide efforts, but other agencies such as
LAPD have long fielded mental health
units with suicide prevention as an explicit mission. Overcoming officer reluctance to seek help is always a problem.
9/18/19 At UC Santa Cruz, Dr. Ed
Green, a paleogeneticist, reportedly developed a way to collect an individual’s full nuclear DNA sequence
from a single strand of hair, an accomplishment that previously required having the root. A highly expensive process,
it’s been used for more than a year to develop leads in cold-case murders by submitting profiles to DNA
Related posts 1 2 3
9/17/19 Three Palm-Springs area high school students were arrested for posting terrorist
threats to shoot up their high school. Police seized two handguns and a replica AR-15. “There’s no real
way to tell this is a fake weapon without actually having it in your hands,” said a detective. “This
could have ended in a deadly confrontation.”