In the past 13 years, black NFL players have arrested nearly 10 times as often as white players, reports USA Today. Of 687 NFL player arrests since January 2000, 294 came as a result of a traffic stop. The paper said 88 percent of the traffic-stop arrests were of black players. About two-thirds of all NFL players are black.
Sociologists attribute the disproportionate to several social factors in the black population at large, including a disproportionate rate of poverty and single-parent backgrounds. Those factors also include profiling, civil rights experts and NFL players say. "We get looked at a lot more than the average Joe Blow because of what kind of car we drive or how we look," said Washington Redskins wide receiver Santana Moss, who was not one of the arrestees. "You see a young, black kid in a nice ride, and chances are he's an athlete. Sometimes you get labeled."
The Kansas City Star reports that the KC Police Department’s new Victim Assistance Unit goes well beyond the traditional law enforcement outreach to crime victims. Specialists now call every victim of a robbery or aggravated assault, usually the day after the crime, many times even before a detective has been assigned the case. They also send a follow-up letter detailing victims’ rights and different free services that could be available to victims, including grief and trauma counseling.
Police Chief Darryl Forté began remaking victim advocacy soon after he was hired in 2011. Forté said the idea gained importance after The Star published a two-day series called Many Bullets, Little Blame last year that highlighted shooting victims’ reluctance to cooperate with police. Many victims told The Star they were too afraid and didn’t trust police. Taking care of victims and building positive relationships will boost cooperation and prosecution, Forté said.
The Hells Angels Motorcycle Club fights hard in court to protect its brand, reports the New York Times. Just in the past seven years, the Hells Angels have brought more than a dozen cases in federal court, alleging infringement on apparel, jewelry, posters and yo-yos. The group has also challenged Internet domain names and a Hollywood movie — all for borrowing the motorcycle club’s name and insignias.
The defendants have been large, well-known corporations like Toys “R” Us, Alexander McQueen, Amazon, Saks, Zappos, Walt Disney and Marvel Comics. And they have included a rapper’s clothing company, Dillard’s and a teenage girl who was selling embroidered patches on eBay with a design resembling the group’s “Death Head” logo. Over the years, the group made a leap from image to brand, becoming a recognizable marque and promoting itself on items as varied as T-shirts, coffee mugs and women’s yoga pants.
An inmate occupational training program launched by successful tech entrepreneurs at California's San Quentin State Prison has expanded, and a new session began this month in the Twin Towers Correctional Facility in Los Angeles, reports the Associated Press. Graduates released from the penal system are landing jobs at dot-coms. The rigorous, six-month training teaches carefully selected inmates about designing and launching technology firms, using local experts as volunteer instructors.
The program was founded by Beverly Parenti and her husband, Chris Redlitz, who were Silicon Valley pioneers in the 1990s. They tap high-level connections to help with the prison program. Redlitz said they started the program after he was invited into San Quentin in 2011 for a guest lecture and was overwhelmed by the inmates' desire to learn. The program is small, with just 12 graduates in its first two years and a few dozen in classes in San Quentin and Twin Towers. But the five graduates released so far are working in the tech sector.
A Connecticut judge has ordered the release of the 911 calls made from Sandy Hook Elementary School to Newtown police...
Connecticut investigators found no manifesto to explain why Adam Lanza would embark on the deadliest school shooting since the Virginia Tech massacre in 2007. Of all the odd and dark surprises in the Lanza home, at least one finding that caught investigators' attention was a familiar one: Lanza was fascinated by the 1999 Columbine High School massacre, says the Los Angeles Times. And not just fascinated -- Columbine marked the center of his "obsession" with mass shootings, investigators said.
Lanza had "hundreds of documents, images, videos pertaining to the Columbine H.S. massacre including what appears to be a complete copy of the investigation," said the Newtown report released Monday. Lanza had downloaded videos about the killers, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, who shot to death 12 fellow students and a teacher before shooting themselves. This likely adds another chapter to a grim thesis held by some researchers: that 14 years later, the Columbine massacre still serves as a master script of nihilistic, spectacular violence for other shooters to follow. In an analysis of school rampages between 1999 and 2007, Prof. Ralph Larkin of John Jay College of Criminal Justice found that eight out of 12 shooters "directly referred to Columbine."
Boston mayor-elect Martin Walsh is pushing to bypass a controversial federal mandate that requires police to share with immigration officials fingerprints of anyone arrested — a move one sheriff and longtime defender of the policy says could backfire, reports the Boston Herald. “I can’t believe any elected official who is in charge of keeping neighborhoods safe would not want law enforcement to have every available tool to get these criminal illegal aliens off our streets and out of our country,” said Bristol County Sheriff Thomas Hodgson, who battled Gov. Deval Patrick over the
Secure Communities program before it was enacted statewide last year.
Walsh said yesterday at the Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy’s Thanksgiving lunch he supported the group’s opposition to the program, which immigration advocates say has caused legal and illegal immigrants to fear police. “If we can get around it, I won’t (implement it),” Walsh said. He favors the Trust Act, a bill before the legislature that would weaken the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement program by limiting the information police can give to federal authorities about illegal immigrants. Boston police began participating in a Secure Communities pilot program in 2006 before its official launch. Former Police Commissioner Edward Davis defended it as a “commonsense” approach. A year later, he delivered a letter from Mayor Thomas Menino to U.S. Department of Homeland Security officials in which the mayor said the program needed to be dramatically changed or “scrapped” because it was “diminishing trust” between the immigrant community and police.
As millions descend on shopping malls for holiday shopping, few may notice new security measures intended to prevent...
A Philadelphia demolition contractor was held without bail last night on six counts of third-degree murder for six deaths after a building collapsed, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports. Griffin Campbell, 49, asked the judge, "Was anybody in the city charged?" The judge replied that no city officials had been charged.
District Attorney Seth Williams alleged that Campbell was "motivated by greed," leading to the unsafe demolition June 5 of a four-story building and the collapse of an unsupported wall onto the adjacent Salvation Army thrift store. If Campbell is convicted on more than one count, he faces a mandatory prison sentence of life without parole. William Hobson, Campbell's attorney, said Williams was pursuing third-degree murder charges "for political reasons" and was "clearly overreaching."
Alison Gerber, editor of the Chattanooga, Tn., Times Free Press, defends her publishing mug shots on the front page Nov. 17 of 32 black men called the "worst of the worst" Chattanooga criminals by Police Chief Bobby Dodd. Gerber said the paper was "barraged with feedback" accusing editors of being "irresponsible, distasteful, racist."
Gerber agrees that it was "an in-your-face presentation," but adds, "At least people are now talking about this issue. And people are not just talking about the arrests, but about the societal conditions that push people to choose crime -- poor education, lack of jobs, criminal records that, even if they want to go straight, make it difficult to find work once they get out of jail." She concludes: "Our coverage of this story has only just begun."