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When it comes to police training, is it the biased leading the biased?
The Chicago Police Department has become known as one of the most troubled law enforcement agencies in the country.
Its officers regularly used excessive violence and frequently targeted minorities, according to an investigation by the Obama administration. The Justice Department recommended that the Chicago PD undergo changes via consent decree. And even after the former top cop in the Trump administration, Jeff Sessions, rolled back decree requirements nationwide, former Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan sued in federal court to ensure oversight of department changes. Just last week, the decree was finalized.
Seems like progress.
But it turns out that some of the Chicago cops who have been leading sessions meant to stop officers from using implicit bias have racked up an overwhelming number of abuses themselves, according to a report released by “The Intercept” on Sunday.
The program began in 2017, and all but one of the 17 officers who have provided training have received more than 100 misconduct complaints combined, including excessive use of force “often against people color,” according to the report. Of more than 10 civil rights lawsuits lodged against some of those officers, more than 50 percent have ended with a payoff to the plaintiff.
Prison rehab program called into question
The bi-partisan effort behind the FIRST STEP act rode to success, in part, by touting the power of rehabilitation and training programs to put inmates on the right path as they re-enter society.
But California’s rehab efforts show the pitfalls of programs whose implementation may be flawed.
According to a report released on Thursday, the state’s recidivism rate remains at 50 percent, despite the system’s use of rehabilitation programs (including, among other things, drug treatment and job skills training). In addition, the inmates who went through cognitive rehabilitation therapy recidivated at about the same rate as those who did not receive treatment.
One potential problem — assessments that determine who should receive what kind of treatment may not be properly implemented, according to Elaine Howle, the California state auditor. Inmates also may not be participating in programs that have been proven effective, and some rehab efforts may be understaffed.
The state spent nearly $300 million on rehabilitation programs and training last year.
Do you have the right to record cops from your front porch?
The answer to that question may depend on who you ask.
A Vallejo, California, resident was handcuffed and placed in a squad car for doing just that. Adrian Burrell was filming a traffic stop that involved his cousin and Vallejo officer David McLaughlin, when the officer confronted the man for filming (stating that he was interfering with the stop) and accused him of resisting arrest. McLaughlin, who has been involved in two shootings while on duty, released Burrell after learning that the man was a Marine Corps veteran.
Burrell’s cousin was sitting on a motorcycle in Burrell’s driveway with his hands in the air when McLaughlin told the veteran to step back. Burrell says he suffered from a concussion after McLaughlin slammed his head against a railing on his front porch during the arrest.
Video of the confrontation went viral on Facebook. Burrell plans to sue the Vallejo police department and McLaughlin citing excessive use of force and violation of his First Amendment rights.
Want more? Check out the Policing the USA site for information on police, policing and the justice system across the country.
Want to talk about police, race and the justice system in America? Reach out to Policing the USA editor Eileen Rivers on Twitter @msdc14 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.