California Has a High Rate of Police Shootings. Could a New Open-Records Law Change That? – The New York Times

By Tim Arango
Feb. 12, 2019

“LOS ANGELES — After her son, Eric, was killed by the police in Los Angeles two years ago when officers mistook a water pistol he was holding for a real gun, Valerie Rivera channeled her grief into activism. She joined Black Lives Matter and lobbied the state legislature to open to the public California’s records on police shootings, which have long been hidden.

She wanted, she recently wrote in a court filing, to “understand what really happened, and to advocate for change so that officers do not kill civilians, and are held accountable when they do, so that other families do not have to suffer as mine has.”

Her efforts paid off. Under a new state law, Ms. Rivera and other members of the public can now request to see the investigative records, prying open for the first time California’s strict secrecy laws regarding police shootings and serious misconduct by officers.

But, just as activists and state lawmakers have sought to bring decades-old investigative records to light, police unions have tried to jam the door shut. While police departments have said they would comply, police unions up and down the state, including in Los Angeles, have filed lawsuits challenging the law, arguing that it shouldn’t be applied retroactively. The union lawsuits have succeeded in some jurisdictions in getting temporary stays from the court.”

The Mystery of the Crime Decline – David Leonhardt – NYT – Stop and Frisk Failed.

Stop and Frisk failed.

“As you probably know by now, I’m a fan of journalistic self-criticism, and Smith has engaged in some of it this week. His piece for National Review is called simply, “We Were Wrong About Stop-and-Frisk.” He notes that crime has continued to decline under de Blasio. “To compare today’s crime rate to even that of ten years ago is to observe a breathtaking decline,” Smith adds.”

Baltimore Drops Dozens of Cases After Video Casts Doubt on Officers – The New York Times

“State attorneys are dismissing dozens of cases in Baltimore after reviewing a video that appears to show a police officer planting evidence at a crime scene while two other officers look on.Over a hundred cases that would have relied on testimony from those three officers are now under review. As of Tuesday night, 41 had been dropped or were set to be dropped.

“The credibility of those officers has now been directly called into question,” Marilyn J. Mosby, the state’s attorney for Baltimore, said at a news conference on Friday.The video, released last month and recorded in January, shows an officer who appears to place a bag of white capsules in an alleyway before walking toward the street, as the two other officers watch. He then appears to turn on his body camera and returns to the alley to retrieve the capsules.”

The Death of Deborah Danner – The New York Times

“Remember the name: Deborah Danner.She was killed by a New York police sergeant on Tuesday in her Bronx apartment. Neighbors had called 911, saying she was acting erratically. A team of officers arrived and, according to the police account, found an agitated Ms. Danner brandishing first a pair of scissors, and then a baseball bat. She took a swing at the sergeant, who shot her twice.The investigation has just begun, but the case looks bad for the department. Police Commissioner James O’Neill almost immediately placed the sergeant, Hugh Barry, on modified duty, stripped of his badge and gun. Mayor Bill de Blasio said at a news conference that the sergeant had not followed training or protocols for dealing with those with mental illness, and for some reason had neither used his Taser nor waited for specialized officers trained to deal with such situations. Mr. O’Neill said: “We failed.”

Ms. Danner, 66, now joins a tragic group of people whose mental illness leads them into a dangerous, often fatal, collision with the police. She would have been another cipher, another mental-health casualty, her inner struggles known only to her family and friends, but for a remarkable essay she wrote four years ago, “Living With Schizophrenia,” which her lawyer shared with The Times.”

Source: The Death of Deborah Danner – The New York Times

There was no comments section, so I sent in the following message to re: The Death of Deborah Danner,By THE EDITORIAL BOARD OCT. 20, 2016

Thank you Editorial Board for an excellent, though disturbing story, The Death of Deborah Danner. Your points are well taken. I want to announce that I am aware of a training solution to these unnecessary shootings. I advocate as a serious student of the martial arts, that the NY PD look at the Japanese martial art of Aikido, as an extraordinary tool to help officers to control an armed assailant. A famous Japanese martial artist named Ueshiba, invented Aikido about 100 years ago, an amalgam of many other arts, to provide techniques to disarm an attacker without maiming or killing the attacker. At the core of the art, is a great deal of Judo and Ju Jitsu, the art of using the attacker’s force or energy to put them off balance, so you can safely disarm and control them. I recommend that anyone wanting more information, just go to Youtube, and ask to see Federation style Japanese Aikido, to see the main school that still answers to the descendants of Ueshiba.

To a trained Aikidoist, a crazed person with a baseball bat is dangerous, but completely manageable, and a great opportunity for practicing one’s art. The beauty of my suggestion, is that it would make even the taser unnecessary. The CD seller in Brooklyn would never have been choked to death, if those officers had been trained in Aikido and used it.:

Not One New York Police Officer Has a Body Camera – The New York Times

“The New York Police Department once seemed poised to be an early adopter of body cameras. A federal judge thought the technology could curb unwarranted stops and searches of black and Hispanic men. So in 2013, after finding the department’s stop-and-frisk practices unconstitutional, the judge ordered that a pilot program be established in at least five precincts.Three years later, not one of the department’s approximately 35,800 officers is wearing a body camera, even as the devices have become a staple for officers elsewhere.

The Police Department says it is committed to outfitting officers with body cameras, and on Monday said that a company had been chosen to supply up to 5,000 over the next five years. But a contract has yet to be signed, and a rollout of the cameras would not begin for months.The halting pace of its effort is striking for an agency that has pledged to make itself a model of technology-driven policing and a leader in improving police-community relations.”

Source: Not One New York Police Officer Has a Body Camera – The New York Times

David Lindsay NYT Comment

I realize that good policing is hard, and a complex subject. I wish to propose that NYPD, and all police departments, consider training in the Japanese based art of self-defense called Aikido, which I studied for over 10 years.

This idea was reinforced by the video of the police officers who killed the large man in NYC who was selling CD’s. He was unprofessionally wrestled to the ground with a joke hold, and then accidentally? joked to death.

Aikido was invented by a famous samurai, Ueshiba, a master of ju-jitisu, karate and weapons, who wanted to come up with techniques for an unarmed warrior to disarm an armed warrior and not maim or kill him. He developed a complex series of dance or blending moves to use the attackers momentum to remove his balance, take him to the ground, and then use ancient wrist and arm techniques to stabilize the attacker without causing any serious harm. Leverage looks like magic.

One of my favorite Aikido teachers once said that the greatest form of Aikido was purely mental. You were the greatest Aikidoist, when you could talk an engraged assailant into quitting an attack, by changing his mind about it. This technique is more for the mentally disturbed, but it teaches Aikidoists to consider changing the channel of the attackers mind, much the way good parents try to change the focus of a child having a tantrum.

Aikido is good exercise, that involves tumbling and judo throws and falls. It is terrific exercise and practice.

Why Don’t You Just Call the Cops? – The New York Times

“SINCE the year began, police officers have killed 804 people, roughly three a day. In recent weeks, police officers fatally shot Terence Crutcher in Tulsa and Alfred Olango in a San Diego suburb. Both men were black and unarmed.When the police beat or kill an unarmed black man, what impact does it have on a city and on its black community in particular? Until recently, we have been unable to answer this question with solid data, even as the national debate about this issue has grown more contentious.”


“In the six months after Mr. Jude’s story was published, homicides in Milwaukee jumped 32 percent. Our research suggests that this happened not because the police “got fetal” but because many members of the black community stopped calling 911, their trust in the justice system in tatters. Research shows that urban neighborhoods with higher levels of legal cynicism also have higher rates of violent crime: When citizens lose faith in the police, they are more apt to take the law into their own hands.

Our findings confirm what the people of Ferguson, Mo., Baltimore and other cities have been saying all along: that police violence rips apart the social contract between the criminal justice system and the citizenry, suppressing one of the most basic forms of civic engagement, calling 911 for help. The promotion of public safety requires both effective policing and an engaged community. We cannot have one without the other.

No act of police violence is an isolated incident and it should not be treated as such. Each new tragedy contributes to and reawakens the collective trauma of black communities, which have been subjected to state-sanctioned assaults — from slave whippings and lynching campaigns to Jim Crow enforcement and mass incarceration — for generations. If acts of excessive police force result in community-level consequences, then cities should implement community-level interventions in the aftermath of such acts.”

Source: Why Don’t You Just Call the Cops? – The New York Times

Many good comments, such as:


nyc 6 hours ago

“I’m white, come from what’s called an economically upper-middle class background, educated at good schools, and have a law degree. A few years ago while sitting outside of my apartment, a neighbor I was feuding with called the NYPD and told them I was a peeping tom: When the police showed up I went to greet them, not knowing what she’d told them. About 6 or 7 NYPD thugs slammed me to the ground and cuffed me – inside of my own apartment building. No questions, didn’t ask for ID, didn’t tell me what was going on. When they found out I lived there, they called the rubber room ambulance and intended to cover their mistake by having me carted away to crazy land. I was saved only by EMTs who closely and carefully questioned me, and let me tell you, when they found out what the cops had pulled with regards to the EMTs, they were very, very agitated. (Turns out, EMTs don’t like being pulled away from real emergencies to cover for the errors of a rampaging NYPD).

In those moments I realized (finally, many would say) that the NYPD are thugs and bullies and are not on my side. As a white person I would call them only as a last resort. The photos I have of the abuse I received while getting slammed to the floor and forcibly cuffed are yet some of thousands of examples — cops are out of control.”