Police Methods and Policy
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Prisoners Need a New Set of Rights
Like many who are currently incarcerated, I was the victim of a miscarriage of justice — carried out by an untruthful officer, as determined by the Philadelphia District Attorney’s office, and an unfair judge. My crime? Popping a wheelie on a motorcycle in Manhattan. Even though the charge was dismissed in a New York City court, a Philadelphia-based judge still deemed my interaction with the police to be a technical violation of my probation — stemming from a 2007 arrest — and sentenced me to two to four years in prison despite the fact that I didn’t commit a crime. The judge also refused my motion for bail, calling me a “danger to the community” and a “flight risk.” The ordeal cost me my most precious commodity: my freedom. I served five months. With the help of friends and the intervention of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, I was released on bail this past April and was able to resume my life. But I know I’m the exception to the rule — a lucky one. It’s clearer than ever that a disproportionate number of men and women of color are treated unfairly by a broken criminal justice system. The system causes a vicious cycle, feeding upon itself — sons and daughters grow up with their parents in and out of prison, and then become far more likely to become tied up in the arrest-jail-probation cycle. This is bad for families and our society as a whole.
Pathways to Police Reform Community Mobilization
Eric Garner, Sandra Bland, Rekia Boyd, Michael Brown, Freddie Gray, Sam DuBose, Alton Sterling, Philando Castile, . . . . The litany of Black people who have lost their lives at the hands of the police or in police custody seems endless. People are killed and brutalized, but the legal system gives us no relief. Police officer after police officer is either not charged or acquitted. Police who kill are given paid vacation instead of being held accountable. "We must not pretend that the countless people who are routinely targeted by police are “isolated.” They are the canaries in the coal mine whose deaths, civil and literal, warn us that no one can breathe in this atmosphere. … They are the ones who recognize that unlawful police stops corrode all our civil liberties and threaten all our lives. Until their voices matter too, our justice system will continue to be anything but. —Justice Sonia Sotamayor
Racial Targeting by Biscayne Park Police Department
A former police chief of Biscayne Park and two officers were charged with falsely pinning four burglaries on a teenager just to impress village leaders with a perfect crime-solving record. But the accusations revealed in federal court last month left out far uglier details of past policing practices in tranquil Biscayne Park, a leafy wedge of suburbia just north of Miami Shores. Records obtained by the Miami Herald suggest that during the tenure of former chief Raimundo Atesiano, the command staff pressured some officers into targeting random black people to clear cases
Justice for Meek Mill
Against the recommendation of the assistant district attorney AND the probation officer, Judge Genece Brinkley sentenced Meek to two to four years in prison for insignificant probation violations on a case from nearly a DECADE ago. Nothing about Meek is a risk to public safety - in fact, he’s contributed to society through his community service and activism. Meek has been on probation since he was 19 years old. He's now 30 and has been under the strain of the state his entire adult life--and his situation is not uncommon. One out of every three people in Pennsylvania prisons are there because of a probation or parole violation - not new crimes.
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