NYT: Jury Sees Deadly Shooting Footage from Body Camera

In the prosecution of a police officer, the New York Times displayed a graphic, twelve second, video showing the shooting of a suspect in a crime, reporting that

Prosecutors showed the video, taken by the officer’s body camera, in court on Thursday for the first time.

The trial of the officer, Dominique Heaggan-Brown, is being closely watched in Milwaukee, where the killing of Mr. Smith, 23, last August set off a few days of protests, arson and rioting.

Prosecutors argued that Mr. Smith was unarmed and on the ground when Mr. Heaggan-Brown fired the final shot, but the former officer’s lawyers said Mr. Heaggan-Brown was doing what he had been trained to do when pursuing a suspect who was carrying a gun. The episode — beginning with the moment Mr. Heaggan-Brown and his partner confronted Mr. Smith during a traffic stop — unfolded in only about 12 seconds.

What is Solitary Confinement…

The Atlantic:

The Torment of Solitary Confinement

Jun 22, 2016 | 428 videos

Video by Cali Bondad and Gabrielle Canon

Inmates in Pelican Bay State Prison’s Security Housing Unit (SHU) spend 22.5 hours of the day in a windowless cell—it is one of the most notorious supermax prisons in the United States. In this short documentary, Our Voices Are Rarely Heard, the filmmakers Cali Bondad and Gabrielle Canon recorded inmates’ experiences in the facility. The film aims to provide “a cinematic glimpse of the personal anguish and monotony described by inmates living in long-term isolation,” Bondad wrote in an email. You can read the article that accompanies the film on Medium. Our Voices Are Rarely Heard was produced by the production company Sister.

http://www.theatlantic.com/video/iframe/487970/

SunSentinal: Judge upholds sentence in DUI manslaughter wrong-way triple death

The ABAjournal picked up on this story, stating that “a judge gave Jenkins nearly 33 years at his 2011 sentencing, unfavorably influenced by a private investigator’s videotape that showed the defendant playing beer pong within weeks of the sentencing, the Palm Beach Post reported at the time. A cousin of one of the victims who died in the 2008 wrong-way crash hired the PI after hearing that Jenkins was still partying after the accident.”

The Sunsentinal reported that:

Jenkins testified Feb. 16 that he had wanted to accept blame, but continued to trust his lawyers Jack Goldberger and Michael E. Dutko.

Markus said the delay in not resolving the case until 2011 led to the disastrous circumstance of Jenkins, while still out on bail, getting caught on video playing beer pong at a bar.

A private investigator hired by a cousin of Rutman had shot the video and turned it over to the court.

While sentencing Jenkins, Circuit Judge Richard Oftedal said Jenkins’ participation “in a drinking game on the eve of sentencing is a slap in the fact and an affront to the victims and their survivors and friends.”

State guidelines then called for a minimum of 32 years, 10 1/2 months in prison; the maximum possible was a life term. Oftedal could have justified going below the minimum but declined.

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Washington Post: Boy shot in back by stray bullet after pleading in video for end to Chicago violence

The Washington Post Reports:

on Friday, in a tragic twist, Trotter, became one of its latest victims.

Trotter, now 13, was struck by a stray bullet Friday night while walking home after playing basketball, according to the Chicago Tribune. He was shot in the back, close to his spine, and remains in critical condition. No one else was injured, and there have been no arrests so far.

The teenager was one of more than a dozen people injured in shootings across Chicago on Friday, according to the Tribune. The city has had a spike in shootings so far this year, with shootings nearly double what they were at this point last year and homicides up 84 percent, according to the New York Times.

So far this year, the city is averaging more than seven shootings and one homicide per day.

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WP: Why Black Lives Matter activists are siding with Apple in its fight with the FBI

The Washington Post reported on some of the more nuanced problems with the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Apple Dilemma. Putting aside the fact that the FBI claims it cannot hack an iPhone, the privacy concerns are paramount, especially among dissenters and protesters:

Black Lives Matter activists are siding with Apple in the company’s legal showdown with the FBI over a phone used by one of the San Bernardino, Calif., shooters.

“We urge you to consider the dire implications for free speech and civil liberties if the FBI is permitted to force Apple to create technology to serve its investigatory purposes,” a coalition of activists and civil rights organizations wrote in letter to a California court Thursday supporting the tech company. “The FBI’s historically questionable surveillance procedures do not bode well for setting a precedent that allows the agency universal access to private smartphone data.”

Privacy — especially from the spying eyes of the government — is personal for the civil rights community at least in part because of the movement’s history with the FBI.

In the 1950s, the bureau ran an initiative called COINTELPRO. At first, it was aimed at disrupting communist activities, but the program was later expanded to target other domestic groups including the Black Panther Party, and the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.

The FBI started spying directly on the civil rights leader in 1963, not long after the March on Washington, according to historian Beverly Gage: It placed wiretaps on the phones in his home and offices, as well as bugging devices in his hotel rooms. That surveillance uncovered evidence of King’s extramarital affairs, which the bureau (unsuccessfully) pitched to the news media.

Perhaps frustrated by the lack of interest in the press, FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover in November 1964 publicly denounced the civil rights leader as “the most notorious liar in the country” during a news conference. A few days later, one of Hoover’s subordinates sent King a disturbing letter: It was designed to look like it was from a disenchanted supporter, but referenced audio recordings as evidence of King’s infidelity and urged the civil rights leader to kill himself.

The FBI itself now acknowledges the violations of COINTELPRO, noting on its website that the program was “later rightfully criticized by Congress and the American people for abridging first amendment rights and for other reasons.”

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VICE: It Took a FOIA Lawsuit to Uncover How the Obama Administration Killed FOIA Reform

The Freedom of Information Act/Law has to do with the public’s right to know.  While the government has said one thing, it appears that they are doing another:

he Obama administration has long called itself the most transparent administration in history. But newly released Department of Justice (DOJ) documents show that the White House has actually worked aggressively behind the scenes to scuttle congressional reforms designed to give the public better access to information possessed by the federal government.

The documents were obtained by the Freedom of the Press Foundation, a nonprofit organization that supports journalism in the public interest, which in turn shared them exclusively with VICE News. They were obtained using the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) — the same law Congress was attempting to reform. The group sued the DOJ last December after its FOIA requests went unanswered for more than a year.

The documents confirm longstanding suspicions about the administration’s meddling, and lay bare for the first time how it worked to undermine FOIA reform bills that received overwhelming bipartisan support and were unanimously passed by both the House and Senate in 2014 — yet were never put up for a final vote.

Moreover, a separate set of documents obtained by VICE News in response to a nearly two-year-old FOIA request provides new insight into how the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) also tried to disrupt Congress’s FOIA reform efforts, which would have required those agencies to be far more transparent when responding to records requests…..

In one email VICE News obtained, the SEC’s chief FOIA officer, John Livornese, remarked to a colleague after the Senate memorialized its position in a report, “Just when you thought exemption 8 couldn’t get any stronger,” meaning the SEC could continue to withhold information under that exemption.

Chaffetz, who co-sponsored the latest FOIA reform bill passed by the House in January, told VICE News in a statement that the Obama administration’s promises of transparency have never materialized.

“President Obama promised the ‘most transparent’ administration in history. I see no evidence to support that statement,” Chaffetz said. “Time and time again this administration has aggressively thwarted efforts for a more open and transparent government.”