Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Correctional Officer Beaten to Death by Inmate

 We are all well aware of the dangers to police officers.  Corrections and correctional officers get much  less media attention.  However the dangers are real.
"A corrections officer escorting an inmate to his cell was beaten to death Wednesday at a far northeast Texas prison, Department of Criminal Justice officials said.
The officer was escorting the inmate from a dayroom at the Telford Unit when he was attacked with an object, prison agency spokesman Jason Clark said. Officials did not immediately identify the weapon.
"It's still under investigation," Clark said.
The officer, Timothy Davison, 47, was taken to a hospital in Texarkana, about 20 miles east of the prison, where he died, Clark said. Davison, who lived near the prison, had been with the agency since December."  RIP

Corruption in Chicago investigations of Pd use of force reviews

In Chicago, one of America's most corrupt cities, an "investigator with seven years on Chicago’s Independent Police Review Authority — who previously served 23 years as a cop, detective and commander — was fired because he refused to reverse his conclusions into several police shootings of civilians, reports WBEZ after a review of agency records." It's  no wonder that many supposed remedies do not work.  You can't let the foxes and their sympathizers control the hen house.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Supreme Court criticism & reform and Ox-Goring

Almost all critique of the Supreme Court and calls for 'reform' come from someone who just took a major hit in America's culture wars.  The left-leaning New York Times is one of the worst examples.  Disappointament in the result is cloaked in meritless 'legalistic' arguments.  The Left screamed bloody murder when the Court held that individuals not connected to a militia had a Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms.  The Right has a major melt-down when the Court upheld Obamacare twice and supported legal gay marriage.  Personally,  I don't go apoplectic when I disagree on the big cases.  Yes, the Court oversteps when it makes policy decisions in the guise of judging.  But let's apply that critique even when we win.  Whether it's politics or jurisprudence, every side takes its lumps occasionally.   I try to avoid the sour grapes and get over it.  The Court changes and you can't win them all.  Hang in there to fight another day!  As Jonathan Zimmerman wrote:

"So let’s suppose that the Supreme Court had struck down Obamacare and same-sex marriage last month instead of upholding both. Would Texas Sen. and presidential aspirant Ted Cruz be demanding a constitutional amendment requiring the Court’s justices to stand for election in order to keep their jobs? And would liberals be rallying to the defense of the Court, and condemning any effort to alter its supposedly august traditions?
Of course not. Throughout our political history, the team that loses in the Supreme Court has tried to alter the court’s power and influence. This battle isn’t about deep judicial principles or timeless heritage; it’s about whose ox gets gored."

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Grand juror bias in Waco biker killings case

The grand jury for the Waco mass-murder biker shoot-out includes an active-duty Waco detective with 26 years experience.  The "judge" doesn't see any problems  The judge thinks stated ''Who is better qualified in criminal law than someone who practices it all the time." Where to they find these judges? In murder cases, even the appearance of impropriety is unacceptable.

More public corruption in South Texas

Corruption is rampant in South Texas.   In this incident, a judge and prosecutor were convicted of helping a convicted murderer flee.  The defendant was later recaptured.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Ex-Deputy faces trial in OK shooting

"A former Oklahoma volunteer sheriff's deputy who fatally shot an unarmed man faces arraigned on a second-degree manslaughter charge.
Former Tulsa County Sheriff's Office reserve deputy Robert Bates is scheduled to appear Monday in Tulsa district court.
Bates has pleaded not guilty in the April 2 shooting death of Eric Harris, saying he confused his stun gun and handgun.
After the shooting and a leaked memo from 2009 that raised concerns about Bates' training, a judge ordered a grand jury to investigate whether reserve deputies who gave donations to the sheriff have been given special treatment. Thousands of residents signed a petition to empanel the grand jury, which convenes July 20.
Bates donated thousands of dollars in cash and equipment to the agency and was the sheriff's campaign manager."
Two promising developments which will hopefully illuminate the truth regarding this travesty.

More on the Roof gun purchase fiasco

"A jail clerk made a mistake when entering information about the location of a drug arrest for church shooting suspect Dylann Storm Roof, the first in a series of missteps that allowed Roof to purchase a gun he shouldn’t have been able to buy two months before the attack, authorities said." See also post on this topic below.

Pres. Obama commutes 46 non-violent drug offenders

Pres. Obama "on Monday commuted the sentences of 46 drug offenders, more than double the number of commutations he granted earlier this year, as part of his effort to reform the criminal justice system."

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Gun Sale to Roof Should Not have been approved

" The gunman charged in the Charleston, S.C., church massacre should not have been allowed to purchase the weapon used in the attack, FBI Director James Comey said Friday as he outlined a series of "heartbreaking" missed opportunities and background check flaws that allowed the transaction to take place. . . .Sen. Chuck Grassley, the Republican chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, condemned the errors.
"It's disastrous that this bureaucratic mistake prevented existing laws from working and blocking an illegal gun sale," Grassley said. "The facts undercut attempts to use the tragedy to enact unnecessary gun laws." . . .
Loopholes have been discovered before in the FBI’s background check system, called the National Instant Criminal Background Check System. One allowed thousands of prohibited buyers to legally purchase firearms over the past decade — and some of those weapons were ultimately used in crimes, according to court records and government documents.
After a 2007 shooting in which 33 people died at Virginia Tech University, investigators discovered that the gunman, Seung-Hui Cho, also should not have been able to buy a gun because a court had declared him to be a danger to himself. The shooting led to legislation aimed at improving the system."

We do not need new gun control laws.  They will not reduce crime and will only interfere with legitimate users Second Amendment and self-defense rights.  We need competent, conscientious enforcement of existing laws to see if they work before we even start thinking about new ones.
Politicians like to appear to have answers and solutions.  They pass laws and then do not make sure they are administered competently.  Rather than adequately funding enforcement of old laws or taking steps to see that they work, new laws are touted. Of course  authoritarian gun control advocates don't care about anything other than new gun laws.   "Experimentation" cannot be justified when fundamental constitutional and natural law rights are threatened.

Friday, July 10, 2015

S.C. and Rand Paul approve banning Confederate Battle flag.

As most everyone knows now, the state of SC has approved removal of the Confederate Battle flag from state capital grounds to a museum.  The folks at the cradle of the Confederacy were finally able to overcome the white supremacist delusions which had afflicted much of the white leadership for over 150 years. 

Most of the announced candidates, including many Republicans. agreed that the flag should be banned.  For instance
"Sen. Rand Paul, R-Kentucky, weighed in on the issue for the first time Tuesday morning, announcing his support for removing the flag in an interview with ABC radio affiliate WRKO.

“For every African American in the country it’s a symbol of slavery for them and now it’s a symbol of murder -- it’s time to put it in a museum," Paul said."

"Many declared and potential 2016 candidates wouldn’t give a clear answer on whether the flag should be removed. Republican candidates including Ted Cruz, Carly Fiorina, Mike Huckabee, Bobby Jindal, Rick Perry, Marco Rubio, and Rick Santorum have argued the decision should be made by the people of South Carolina." Yes, the decision should be made by South Carolinians but that should not preclude someone running for President from being honest and not dancing around the issue.  Shame on these four.

Rand just reinforced my faith in libertarians.

I would add that the flag is a symbol or secession and the war which was started by S. Carolinians who fired on the ship "Star of the West' and Fort Sumter.  The primary motive for secession was fear of abolition and legal equality for blacks (obviously threatened white supremacy). The 'rights' involved were the right of whites to own blacks and right of states to authorize and enforce whites owning blacks.  Some also hoped to be able to reopen the slave trade prohibited by the Constitution and federal law.These are the rights secessionists fought for.  This is a heritage to be 'proud' of?   Over the years thousands of blacks were murdered, massacred and lynched.  Dissenters were often murdered or forced to leave.  Jim Crow laws flourished and denied blacks their basic rights.  When the Supreme Court ordered public schools desegregated, a few places closed down their public schools and many openly defied the Equal Protection clause of the 14th Amendment.  It was during this time that the Confederate Battle flag became a symbol of resistance to challenges to white supremacy.  Gov. George Wallace declared 'segregation' forever.  There is much to be proud of, but too much negative historical baggage. Although many open and closet white segregationists still spout their delusions, the south has made much progress on all fronts and has much to be proud of.  Let's find a symbol of something of which to be proud.

Most of Europe and much of South and Central America had already abolished slavery.  Even the hated Mexicans beat us to abolition.

If you are unsure or disagree, do some serious research of  original sources and credible historians and you will also come to this conclusion.  DiLorenzo  is not a credible source.  See the reviews of many of his books.  Reviews written by more respected historians. Let me suggest the short paperback 'Apostles of Disunion' by historian Charles B. Dew.  This book won the 2001 Fletcher Pratt award from the Civil War Roundtable of NY.  Check out his  background, he is a self-described 'son of the south' who was taught that secession and the war were really not about slavery and white supremacy.'  He changed his mind after consulting original sources. Check out the original documents reproduced in the book.
One of these reviewers is a TCU Prof.

It's time to forgive, forget and move on.

Monday, June 29, 2015

More on the Confederate Flag Flap

Banning the Confederate flag and battle flag battle continues to heat up.  Some argue that secession and the Civil War were about state’s rights and individual liberty.  , “’Most mainstream historians now agree that slavery was the leading reason driving the conflict. From, among other sites, the Christian Science Monitor:
First; “Slavery is the major cause of the Civil War,” said James I. Robertson, a Civil War historian at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, in Blacksburg. “There are people ... who will argue to the sky that slavery was just a byproduct, but without slavery, there was no cause for the North and the South to start killing each other.’” Robertson was born, raised and educated in the South.

See also Confederate VP Alexander Stephens’ “Cornerstone Speech.”

What was the ‘state right’ involved?  The right of states to authorize and protect slavery.  White supremacy and the Bible were the the main theories used to justify the practice. What was the individual liberty involved?  The right of white people to own black people. 

Supreme Court to rehear university uses of race in admissions

"Raising new doubts about state universities and colleges’ use of race in choosing their entering classes, the Supreme Court on Monday assigned itself once more the task of judging the constitutionality of the admissions plan at Texas’s flagship university.  The grant of review of Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin — the Court’s second look at that case — signaled uncertainty and maybe discontent with the way a federal appeals court had carried out a new review of that plan.
At this point, the Fisher case does not appear to pose a direct threat to the Court’s most recent ruling allowing some use of race in higher education admissions — the 2003 decision in Grutter v. Bollinger.  But that precedent may be at least reinterpreted, and possibly narrowed."

S.Ct. Stays lower court ruling on TX abortion clinics

According to;
"The U.S. Supreme Court voted 5-4 on Monday to stay a recent lower court ruling that would have shuttered all but nine abortion clinics in Texas.
The high court will allow the clinics to remain open while it decides whether to hear an appeal over a Texas law that requires all abortions to take place in ambulatory surgical centers -- essentially, mini-hospitals. Justice Anthony Kennedy joined with his four liberal colleagues -- Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan -- to keep the clinics afloat. Chief Justice John Roberts and fellow conservatives Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito opposed the stay."

PD's focus on verbal techniques and confllict avoidance/resolution

After every major crisis involving excessive force by police agencies decide to get serious about conflict avoidance/resolution and verbal techniques.  The current scenario is being repeated.  A number of issues are raised. First is the debate between those who argue for 'community-oriented' policing and those who favor more aggressive 'broken windows' or 'quality of life' polcing  Among the other issues are officer safety, officer role and officer discretion.
Some officers are afraid that too much emphasis on conflict avoidance, etc. will compromise officer safety.  Some officer don't see this as their role. They see themselves as 'crime fighters' and not 'social workers.'  Finally, is the discretion issue.  Officers and some experts assert that officers need discretion on how to handle situations, not one-shoe fits all.  Police critics and some administrators are wary of such discretion.  The want uniformity in the handling of all cases.

A number of years ago, I taught 'verbal judo' in a police academy.  Some of you may remember that verbal technique system.

Supreme Court uphold OK use of controversial lethal injection drug

In a 5-4 decision, with the Court's 4 liberals dissenting, the Court upheld Oklahoma's controversial use of  a lethal injection drug.  As usual, J. Kennedy, was the swing-vote.  This is a little surprising as he has not otherwise been supportive of the death penalty.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Supreme Court legalizes gay marriage nationwide

This morning the Supreme Court released its long-awaited decision on legal gay marriage.  The Court ruled in favor of the gay plaintiffs. "The justices found that under the 14th Amendment, states must issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples and recognize same-sex unions that were legally performed in other states. Justice Anthony Kennedy delivered the majority opinion and was joined by Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Elena Kagan, Stephen G. Breyer and Sonia Sotomayor. "   The decision rested on both the due process and equal protection clauses. This decision is consistent with recent precedents and appears to  be the correct result. I applaud the Court! The decision is also consistent with public opinion and the statewide trend in new laws.  There will be widespread celebrating across the nation. 

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Supreme Court Saves Obamacare

In a 6-3 decision with CJ Roberts and swing-vote Kennedy joining the liberals, the Supreme Court rejected a challenge to Obamacare. Although I had my reservations about Obamacare on a number of grounds, we have spent too much on it already and millions are relying on it.  The Supreme Court did the right thing.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Victims Survivors forgive black church massacre suspect

As you  may already know, a young white male apparently murdered 9 parishioners at a black church in SC.  It was erroneously reported that his parents have him the handgun.   Later reports are that he used money they gave him to purchase it. Survivors' of the victims have expressed forgiveness.  The alleged murderer's mugging with the Confederate flag and damaging the national flag has renewed calls for removing the flag from state grounds and buildings. (see post below).

Review of U.S. Supreme Court's First Amendment cases this term.

From See links in article to the 3 separate decisions. The Texas license case plate is in the 3rd  post directly below.

Confederate Flag Flap--Editorial

Symbols mean different things to different people, so regulating them can be a complicated mess. Obviously for the alleged black church mass murder, it symbolized white supremacy and hatred of blacks.  Unfortunately, white supremacy is an idea accepted by many Americans.  Some, such as the KKK will admit it.  Once, during a visit to Louisiana I saw a Confederate flag flying over a sign that said "5th Generation Klan, and proud of it.' Others quietly harbor the ideology.  Apparently, some think the flag symbolizes the acceptability of white supremacy and violence against blacks.  It appears to them to say such ideas and behavior are accepted by the people of that state.   It's time to move the flag to museums, and out off government property. We need to start pulling together in this country and governments need to stop flaunting things which divide us. Hopefully those who view it as a more benign symbol will not loner need government endorsement and place the national interest above their own ideology.  Further, a myopic focus on 'heritage' ignores the huge dark-side of history. Millions of human beings treated like property.  Many were sexually and physically abused.  A poisonous heritage the passed on white supremacy?  Would you support German government  flying the Nazi flag if they only talked about how Hitler saved Germany from the Communists?  See this column by a Dallas woman whose great-great grandfather was a Confederate soldier.  Some excerpts follow.

"So I claim to have a stake in this argument because it’s my heritage as much as anybody’s. And I vote we remove it from every courthouse and license plate and state capitol where it still exists, because it also represents hate.
It has been used by too many Klansmen and skinheads and violence-besotted killers to pretend otherwise. If nothing else, it would be a gesture of common decency for those who have heritage ties to that flag to willingly part with something that, for so many other Americans, represents barbarism and cruelty.
In its modern incarnation, the Confederate flag is used to promote a lie — one that is unfortunately given fresh currency with every generation.
The lie is that the Civil War was about something — anything — other than slavery. . .
But their documented insistence, shared with too many otherwise rational people, that the Civil War was fought about “tariffs” or “state’s rights” or “principles” — anything other than the legal ability of a person with white pigmentation to own as property a person of African descent — is a ludicrous falsehood.
“The Confederacy was a nation dedicated to the proposition that all men are not created equal, and that the government’s job is to preserve and ensure that inequality,” said South Carolina historian Gordon Rhea in a speech to the Charleston Library Society in 2011. “It is time for Southerners to squarely face this era in our history so that we can finally understand it for what it was and move on.”
The massacre, he said, may finally have made it plain to many in the “heritage” camp that, for many people, “the Confederate flag is hateful, causes tremendous pain, and has been a symbol for white segregation and racism.”

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Texas wins rebel flag license plate case

The Court held that the plates were government speech and not a public forum.  Much of First Amendment jurisprudence involves trying to place cases in categories.  Here there was a choice of two catregories, government or private/personal speech and whether or not the state had created a pulic forum.  It's a close case, but I agree with the 5-4 decision.  Interestingly, J. Thomas, the Court's most conservative Justice voted with the Court's 4 liberties.  The syllabus is below."

Texas offers automobile owners a choice between general-issue and specialty license plates. Those who want the State to issue a particular specialty plate may propose a plate design, comprising a slogan, a graphic, or both. If the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles Board approves the design, the State will make it available for display on vehicles registered in Texas. Here, the Texas Division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans and its officers (collectively SCV) filed suit against the Chairman and members of the Board (collectively Board), arguing that the Board’s rejection of SCV’s proposal for a specialty plate design featuring a Confederate battle flag violated the Free Speech Clause. The District Court entered judgment for the Board, but the Fifth Circuit reversed, holding that Texas’s specialty license plate designs are private speech and that the Board engaged in constitutionally forbidden viewpoint discrimination when it refused to approve SCV’s design.
Held: Texas’s specialty license plate designs constitute government speech, and thus Texas was entitled to refuse to issue plates featuring SCV’s proposed design. Pp. 5–18.
(a) When government speaks, it is not barred by the Free Speech Clause from determining the content of what it says. Pleasant Grove City v. Summum, 555 U. S. 460, 467–468. A government is generally entitled to promote a program, espouse a policy, or take a position. Were the Free Speech Clause interpreted otherwise, "it is not easy to imagine how government would function." Id., at 468. That is not to 2 WALKER v. TEXAS DIV., SONS OF CONFEDERATE VETERANS, INC.


say that a government’s ability to express itself is without restriction. Constitutional and statutory provisions outside of the Free Speech Clause may limit government speech, and the Free Speech Clause itself may constrain the government’s speech if, for example, the government seeks to compel private persons to convey the government’s speech. Pp. 5–6.

(b) This Court’s precedents regarding government speech provide the appropriate framework through which to approach the case. Pp. 6–17.
(1) The same analysis the Court used in Summum—to conclude that a city "accepting a privately donated monument and placing it on city property" was engaging in government speech, 555 U. S., at464—leads to the conclusion that government speech is at issue here. First, history shows that States, including Texas, have long used license plates to convey government speech, e.g., slogans urging action, promoting tourism, and touting local industries. Cf. id., at 470. Second, Texas license plate designs "are often closely identified in the public mind with the [State]." Id., at 472. Each plate is a government article serving the governmental purposes of vehicle registration and identification. The governmental nature of the plates is clear from their faces: the State places the name "TEXAS" in large letters across the top of every plate. Texas also requires Texas vehicle owners to display license plates, issues every Texas plate, andowns all of the designs on its plates. The plates are, essentially, government IDs, and ID issuers "typically do not permit" their IDs to contain "message[s] with which they do not wish to be associated," id., at 471. Third, Texas maintains direct control over the messages conveyed on its specialty plates, by giving the Board final approval over each design. Like the city government in Summum, Texas "has effectively controlled the messages [conveyed] by exercising final approval authority over their selection." Id., at 473. These considerations, taken together, show that Texas’s specialty plates are similar enough to the monuments in Summum to call for the same result. Pp. 7–12.

(2) Forum analysis, which applies to government restrictions on purely private speech occurring on government property, Cornelius v. NAACP Legal Defense & Ed. Fund, Inc., 473 U. S. 788, 800, is not appropriate when the State is speaking on its own behalf. The parties agree that Texas’s specialty license plates are not a traditional public forum. Further, Texas’s policies and the nature of its license plates indicate that the State did not intend its specialty plates toserve as either a designated public forum—where "government property . . . not traditionally . . . a public forum is intentionally opened

3 Cite as: 576 U. S. ____ (2015)

up for that purpose," Summum, supra, at 469—or a limited public forum—where a government "reserv[es a forum] for certain groups orfor the discussion of certain topics," Rosenberger v. Rector and Visitors of Univ. of Va., 515 U. S. 819, 829. The State exercises final authority o ver the messages that may be conveyed by its specialty plates, it takes ownership of each specialty plate design, and it has traditionally used its plates for government speech. These features of Texas specialty plates militate against a determination that Texas has created a public forum. Finally, the plates are not a nonpublic forum, where the "government is . . . a proprietor, managing its internal operations." International Soc. for Krishna Consciousness, Inc.
v. Lee, 505 U. S. 672, 678–679. The fact that private parties take part in the design and propagation of a message does not extinguish the governmental nature of the message or transform the government’s role into that of a mere forum provider. See Summum, supra, at 470–471. Nor does Texas’s requirement that vehicle owners pay annual fees for specialty plates mean that the plates are a forum for private speech. And this case does not resemble other nonpublic forum cases. Perry Ed. Assn. v. Perry Local Educators’ Assn., 460 U. S. 37, 48–49; Lehman v. Shaker Heights, 418 U. S. 298; and Cornelius, supra, at 804–806, distinguished. Pp. 13–17.
(c) The determination that Texas’s specialty license plate designsare government speech does not mean that the designs do not also implicate the free speech rights of private persons. The Court has acknowledged that drivers who display a State’s selected licenseplate designs convey the messages communicated through those designs. See Wooley v. Maynard, 430 U. S. 705, 717, n. 15. The Court has also recognized that the First Amendment stringently limits a State’s authority to compel a private party to express a view withwhich the private party disagrees. Just as Texas cannot require SCVto convey "the State’s ideological message," id., at 715, SCV cannot force Texas to include a Confederate battle flag on its specialty license plates. Pp. 17–18.

759 F. 3d 388, reversed.
BREYER, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which THOMAS, GINSBURG, SOTOMAYOR, and KAGAN, JJ., joined. ALITO, J., filed a dissenting opinion, in which ROBERTS, C. J., and SCALIA and KENNEDY, JJ., joined. _________________ _________________ 1 Cite as: 576 U. S. ____ (2015)


Border Patrol reviews shooting

64 agents cleared.  Three agents still under investigation.  Recent reforms should improve process. One change offers insight into the BP leadership mentality "Last month, Customs and Border Protection made it possible for people to file written complaints against officers in Spanish for the first time. The move came after pressure from activists who said the Border Patrol deliberately made it difficult to file complaints." The prior rule shows you how seriously the BP was interested in hearing complaints.  No integrity!

Monday, June 15, 2015

Dallas PD HQ attacked

In case you missed it, or want more details see this coverage from the Dallas Morning News.  It was a miracle that no one was hit by the attackers spray of bullets fired from an armored van.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Liberal Bias in American Universities

I frequently complain about the left-wing bias against Second Amendment and religious rights that dominates higher education.  There is lots of empirical support for this bias. See this book, for example.

Former Texas DA disbarred for misconduct in capital murder case

A former Texas D.A. who withheld evidence and used false testimony to get a capital murder conviction has been disbarred.  The defendant had bee exonerated and freed.  Prosecutorial misconduct is a major factor in convicting the innocent.  More disbarments are needed to help deal with this problem.

Supreme Court refuses to hear Second Amendment case

The Supreme Court refused to review a 9th Circuit decision upholding a San Francisco gun law.  Only 2 Justices voted to hear the case.  A refusal to hear a case is not a legal affirmation of the lower court decision.  The Court needs to clarify the scope of Second Amendment rights. The last U.S. Supreme Court case on the amendment was in 2010 in McDonald v. Chicago, where the Court held that the Second Amendment applies to the states.

Tuesday, June 09, 2015

Editorial: Most Waco biker gang shootout arrestees still in custody.

The high bonds and lack of progress in processing their cases have threatened the Fourth Amendment and Due Process rights of the roughly 120 arrestees still in custody following the Waco biker shootout.   Given the chaos, large numbers of people involved and 9 deaths the original mass arrests can perhaps be justified.  However, once arrestees are fingerprinted, photographed, basic information, etc. is obtained, the system should move more rapidly to separate those who still need to be detained and those who can be released on reasonable bail or just released. See the Dallas Morning News' take on this issue (excerpts below):

"Three weeks have passed since the biker gang shootout in Waco that left nine dead and 18 wounded. Yet surprisingly little information has emerged to justify the incarceration of about 120 people, many of whom appear guilty only of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. . . .To gain freedom pending trial, they must each either produce a $1 million bond (of which bail bondsmen require a 10 percent payment) or persuade a judge to reduce bail to an affordable amount. In about 70 cases, attorneys have negotiated lower bonds, but only about 53 have paid and gained release. . . .If they’re not able to come forth with facts, sift nonparticipants from shooters and administer swift justice, it might be time for McLennan County to ask Gov. Greg Abbott or federal authorities for help."

SC officer indicted for murder in killing of traffic stop suspect who fled

A S.C. officer was indicted for murder for the April slaying of Walter Scott who was apparently unarmed and shot in the back while fleeing from a traffic stop.  This is perhaps the most egregious and disturbing incident of police use of deadly force ever/yet  caught on video.  For an officer to be indicted for murder of a suspect is nearly as rare as hen's teeth.  According to the New York Times;

Under South Carolina law, there is only a single murder charge, which Ms. Wilson described as being an “unlawful killing with malice aforethought” — with the premeditation required to exist for only a few seconds before a killing in order to gain a conviction.
Mr. Slager was indicted by a grand jury on a murder charge on Monday in connection with an April 4 shooting. Credit Charleston County Detention Center
“As long as malice is proven in the heart and mind, the state has proven its case,” she said.
The case was presented to the grand jury on Monday morning, and the panel returned the indictment within a few hours."
However, the judge or jury may ultimately find him guilty of some lesser-included offense such as some form of manslaughter or reckless homicide.

McKinney, TX use of force case

As you probably know by now, the small north Texas town of McKinney (N of Dallas) made national headlines and got national TV coverage because of a use of a police use of force case.  A few years ago, without video this would not have been deemed newsworthy.  The publicity generated shows how much interest and concern there is about police use of force. Remember, no deadly force was used, no one was seriously injured, and it some respects the incident was arguably fairly routine for police when it gets hot and teenagers are involved. Yet, this case got great coverage.  There hasn't been this much attention to a police use of force case that didn't result in a death since the release of the videotape of the Rodney King beating in L.A. on Mar. 3, 1991
Increased media and public interest and transparency are positive signs that these long-standing issues may finally be addressed in an effective manner.  Keep your fingers crossed. 

You may be interested in today's coverage of this incident by the Dallas Morning News:
"Duelling Views:" and
"Officer was no rookie:"

Although people have a right to be upset and to want appropriate punishment for officers, ultimately, things are not going to change if we obsess about the individual officers.  Real solutions require looking at organizational, legal, systemic and subcultural factors.