At this point, it's hard to be surprised by the extreme punitiveness of America's criminal justice system. One thing that can still shock, though, is how police manhandle actual children. Not only is treatment of children severe (police in Arizona recently mulled over the possibility of charging an 8-year-old as an adult), but our system is undiscerning; we can, and do, arrest kids for virtually anything, including completely normal childhood misbehavior. In fact, many youth, particularly people of color from low-income households, come into contact with their first handcuffs in school. Here are some of the stranger examples of this depressingly American practice.
State Puts Innocent Man on Death Row for 30 Years, Admits Error, Then Refuses to Pay a Cent in Compensation
Hours after Shreveport, Louisiana prosecutor Marty Stroud persuaded a jury to sentence Glenn Ford to death in 1984, he went out to celebrate, toasting his success with other revelers from his office. Ford, meanwhile, was about to be shipped off to prison for the next 30 years, many of them spent in solitary confinement. Three decades later, Ford was released following a 2003 DNA test confirming his innocence. But with only a few months to live because of lung cancer he developed in prison (which went undiagnosed until his release), Ford may as well have been sent to the gallows.
The drug trade is a great place to make tons of money fast. In 2003, the UN estimated the total worth of the global drug trade at $320 billion, a figure that has certainly grown in the last 12 years.
On Saturday, about 30,000 people poured into the streets of Manhattan to protest unaccountable, racist police violence. The march was organized by a group called Millions March. Prominent figures like the rapper Nas, and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, showed up to a rally organized by grassroots activists, making it the scrappy counterpart to a glossier march happening the same day in Washington, DC, which was organized by Al Sharpton's National Action Network.
Last night at about 1am, at the intersection of 57 East and Madison Avenue in Manhattan—a populated area about four blocks from Columbus Circle—the NYPD used a Long Range Acoustic Device (LRAD) to disperse about 100 protesters who were on the streets.
As we wait for the grand jury verdict on whether to indict Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson for the killing of Michael Brown, schools in Ferguson are preparing to close, the police are stocked up on riot weapons and white supremacists are pledging to kill. A sand-colored, mine-resistant military vehicle was seen parked in front a local Dairy Queen. Protesters are organized and eschewing violence for clever forms of civil disobedience, but know they will likely face violence: Missouri Governor Jay Nixon has already declared a state of emergency in Ferguson.
Seven years after Wall Street’s near total collapse, housing markets in the world’s major cities are surging once again, driven by megadevelopers and superrich individuals flush with cash. Financial Times reports that investors spent $1.2 trillion on “high-end commercial properties in 2013,” an 80 percent increase from 2010. The seeds of the buying boom was planted in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, when the Federal Reserve cut interest rates and pumped commercial banks with cash in exchange for toxic assets (known as quantitative easing), relieving affluent buyers of risk in global property markets.
I Went to Summons Court and Saw "Broken-Windows" at Work: How Cops Racially Profile for Trivial Arrests
On the same day I bought a new bike off Craigslist, the NYPD wrote me a summons for riding said bike on a sidewalk in my neighborhood. I was on the sidewalk for less than 10 seconds before a cruiser let out a single burst of its siren and accelerated onto the sidewalk behind me.
We’ve come to know the horror of the Israeli government’s campaign in Gaza through digital media over traditional news. Digital exchange also allows us to bypass the PR spin of law enforcement and bear witness to the brutality of American policing.
Every few weeks, a newspaper somewhere in America reports on a million-dollar settlement paid out in a case of police abuse. Sometimes the figures are jarring. In 2012, Chicago gave Christina Eilman $22.5 million after police released the bipolar woman into a violent neighborhood, where she was beaten and raped. Earlier this year, the NYPD agreed to pay out $18 million to various defendants roughed up at the RNC convention in 2004.