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How often do police officers in American cities use deadly force against black men?  When killings are justified, what’s the official reason?  We look for the answers to those and other questions raised by recent police killings that have sparked widespread outrage against racism in the justice system.  Also, officials warn that torture report could endanger US lives, and the elite attorneys who get their cases heard by the US Supreme Court.

Photo: A police officer pushes back a protester during a demonstration over the grand jury verdict in the shooting death of Michael Brown, in Webster Grove, Missouri, December 2, 2014. (Jim Young/Reuters)

Officials Warn that Torture Report Could Endanger US Lives 6 MIN, 14 SEC

The US Senate Intelligence Committee is about to release a scathing report on the CIA's so-called "black torture" sites during the Bush Administration. Secretary of State John Kerry reportedly has warned that the information could endanger American hostages overseas. But today, White House Press Secretary Josh Ernst gave it a thumbs up. Josh Gerstein is senior White House reporter for Politico.

Josh Gerstein, Politico (@joshgerstein)

Fear and Bias from the Streets to the Courtroom 35 MIN, 9 SEC

Since white police officers recently killed unarmed black men and boys in New York, Cleveland and Ferguson, Missouri, street protests have continued around the country and put America’s justice system on trial.  There’s unequal treatment not just in the use of force but also the power of prosecutors to racially profile criminal suspects. Overt racism may be on the decline, but fear, unconscious bias and stereotyping are harder to recognize and overcome. Will sharing experiences on social media help close the gaps?  Will training programs lead to reforms?

Ryan Gabrielson, ProPublica (@ryangabrielson )
Lorie Fridell, University of South Florida
Angela J. Davis, American University (@angelaJdavis)
Jamilah Lemieux, Ebony.com (@JamilahLemieux)

FBI Supplementary Homicide Report
WSJ/NBC Poll on racial gap in view of police
Gabrielson on the killings by police, outsize risk for young black males
Fair and Impartial Policing Program

Arbitrary Justice

Angela J. Davis

Supreme Court Docket Dominated by Elite Lawyers 8 MIN, 3 SEC

In the past nine years some 17,000 lawyers have petitioned the US Supreme Court, but some had a much better chance of getting their cases heard than others. A recent study shows just 66 got 43% of the cases the justices chose to hear. While the Court is more diverse in some ways than it's ever been -- three of nine justices are women and two are minorities -- those 66 elite lawyers are strikingly homogeneous. Sixty-three are white, just eight are women. That's according to a lengthy study by the Reuters News Service, compiled in part by Joan Biskupic. She's author of Breaking In: The Rise of Sonia Sotomayor and the Politics of Justice.

Joan Biskupic, Reuters (@JoanBiskupic)

Breaking In

Joan Biskupic

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