FROM Wesley Lowery
Where the new civil rights movement goes from here Reporter Wesley Lowery talks about being on the endless police shootings beat and his new book, “They Can’t Kill Us All: Ferguson, Baltimore, and a New Era in America’s Racial Justice Movement.”
Does Black Lives Matter have staying power? "Black Lives Matter" was a phrase used on Facebook after the killing of Trayvon Martin in 2012. Then it became a hashtag that's become a nationwide network using social media, making race an unavoidable topic of conversation in the last days of the Obama Administration. Protesters show up on TV news: denouncing police shootings, interrupting speakers, and blocking streets and highways. There's still no particular leader, but now the network is one of 60 black-led organizations formally demanding specific changes in public policy. Some claim it's indirectly responsible for the killings of police. Others call it the latest phase in the civil rights movement.
Cleveland to Pay $6 Million to Tamir Rice's Family Prosecutors in Cleveland refused to press charges against the police officer who shot and killed 12-year old Tamir Rice two years ago. But today, the city settled a lawsuit filed by Rice's family for six million dollars -- and it's not the first such case of its kind, as we hear from Wesley Lowery, national reporter for the Washington Post .
The Tamir Rice Case: Why Is It So Hard to Prosecute Cops? Yesterday's decision by a Cleveland grand jury not to bring charges in the death of 12-year-old Tamir Rice has drawn attention to the high hurdles to pursuing criminal charges when police kill a suspect even a child. Activists and Rice's family are weighing their options. Wesley Lowery is the national reporter for the Washington Post .
Drug Offenders Released From Prison Six thousand drug offenders are being released from federal custody today and Monday . Nearly a third will be turned over to immigration and likely deported. Most of the rest are already out of prison, in halfway houses or home confinement, and will now be released to a probation officer. This particular release stems from a decision by the U.S. Sentencing Commission two years ago to cut sentences for drug offenders by two years on average. What does the future hold for those released under it and what does this mean for the efforts to reduce our prison populations?
Getting Less Tough on Crime without Going Soft During the crime wave of the 1990's, Congress imposed mandatory minimum sentences for many crimes — on the grounds that locking up inmates and throwing away the key would make America safer. Now, both Republicans and Democrats agree that unintended consequences have created a mandate for change. In a rare display of bipartisanship last week, leading Senators of both parties announced a reform proposal. Supporters on both sides say it doesn't go far enough — but it might have a chance of passing.
Public Trust and Police Accountability Intensive policing gets credit for reducing crime, but it's also getting the blame for excessive force on the streets of American cities. Deadly incidents involving black suspects have sparked massive protest in Missouri, Ohio, South Carolina and New York City. In Baltimore, when six officers were charged with crimes, including manslaughter, in the death of the young, black suspect, Freddy Gray, 65% of Americans approved. There, and elsewhere, there are moves for reform opposed by local police unions. Do they still have political clout, or is the climate finally right for civilian oversight?
Ferguson and Los Angeles A federal report released yesterday paints a detailed and disturbing picture of institutional racism inside the criminal justice system in Ferguson, MO. According to the Department of Justice, blacks made up 67% of Ferguson’s population between 2012 and 2014, but represented 93% of arrests and 85% of traffic stops; and that’s just one of many examples of civil rights abuses in the report. But what are the stories behind those numbers? We take an in-depth look, and then turn to our own history of racism in policing here in Los Angeles. How are the two cities similar, and different?
Unrest in Ferguson, Missouri Since police killed an unarmed black man on Saturday, there’s been racial tension in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri. Last night, there was another shooting — this time of another black man, accused of pointing a gun at police officers. Wesley Lowery is reporting from Ferguson for the Washington Post.
The Debate Over Group Housing in LA Neighborhoods After 5 years of wrangling, the LA City Council is scheduled to vote soon on a proposed crack down against overcrowded group homes in single-family neighborhoods. In December, four people were murdered in a Northridge home where almost 20 had been living in squalid conditions. That’s given new life to a much-debated LA City Council proposal to crack down on unsafe, overcrowded group homes in residential neighborhoods. More than 40 homeowner groups and associations are supportive… but opponents say it will throw needy people into the street. Last month’s quadruple murder in Northridge may put it over the top. But critics call that a smokescreen for NIMBY homeowner groups that will close down legitimate, well-run facilities for the old, sick and disabled as well as parolees and recovering addicts.
Ex-FBI Director Comey tells his side of the story Today, former FBI Director James Comey came close to calling the President who fired him a liar. The White House denied the claim and called it insulting, but Republican Senators did not challenge Comey’s truthfulness. Many questions remain: did the President try to obstruct a federal investigation? Later, we’ll go behind the “velvet rope” for a look at 5-Star health care for the richest Americans.
Is the threat from Russia missing from the Russia meddling probe? There's much being made about the Trump administration's possible ties with Russia. But the bottom line is Russia's effort to influence American democracy. Do the President and his aides care enough to take action before voters go back to the polls?
The longest US war: Will Trump send more troops to Afghanistan? The Trump White House is divided over the Pentagon's request for more troops in Afghanistan—where the US has been fighting for the past 16 years. Is there a formula -- either for "victory" or a political settlement? Is there an end in sight for America's longest war?
Who's to blame for the opioid crisis? Some of the lawyers who took on Big Tobacco are now going after Big Pharma. It’s all about the deadly epidemic of opioid use. Are the drug companies to blame? What about the users? Later, on today’s Talking Point: making sense of Britain’s upset election.