Why Do Police Keep Shooting the Mentally Ill?

Jason Parham · 03/17/15 01:05PM

The last tweet Anthony Hill sent read, “Never say never.” Two hours later, around 2 p.m. on March 9, he was shot dead. Reports and video footage, captured moments before his death, spotlight Hill’s erratic behavior: the 26-year-old Air Force veteran had been wandering The Heights apartment complex naked, crawling on the ground, knocking on doors, and hanging from a balcony. When approached by Dekalb County police officer Robert Olsen, Hill charged the officer despite Olsen’s pleas for him to stop. Though Olsen, who is a seven-year veteran of the police force, was equipped with a taser, he fatally shot an unarmed Hill twice.

Are You Smarter Than a Cop?

Donovan X. Ramsey · 03/10/15 01:52PM

Matt Darisse, a sergeant in the Surry County Sheriff's Department, was sitting in his patrol car on the morning of April 29, 2009. Darisse was monitoring northbound traffic on a stretch of Interstate 77 near Dobson, North Carolina. He says that just around 8:00 a.m. he saw a Ford Escort pass his car. According to Darisse, the driver looked nervous, staring forward and gripping the steering wheel, so he decided to pull onto the road and follow the car. After a few miles, Darisse says the Escort approached some traffic and braked. That's when he noticed that one of the car's brake lights, the right one, was out. It was all the reason he needed, he thought, to initiate a stop.

Jason Parham · 03/09/15 01:22PM

Today, in response to the Friday night killing of unarmed black teen Tony Robinson by Wisconsin police, nearly 1,000 high school students marched the streets of Madison in protest, and stormed the state capitol demanding justice. "This is what democracy looks like," they shouted.

Hamilton Nolan · 02/19/15 11:47AM

"Rikers Island is filled with thousands of poor people accused of petty crimes...Their poverty alone imprisons them." The Brooklyn Bail Fund provides bail money to poor defendants. If you're interested in the difference between how rich and poor people experience our legal system, their site has a good explainer.

Police Reform Is Impossible in America

Donovan X. Ramsey · 02/03/15 11:50AM

In recent weeks, the White House has reaffirmed its commitment to strengthening "community policing" around the country. The U.S. Conference of Mayors has coalesced around the same theme, releasing a report days ago with recommendations for community policing measures to be adopted nationally. The suggestions for building better "relationships" and boosting "trust" are comprehensive but, for a national crisis brought on by the killing of unarmed black people, there's one thing conspicuously absent from the public policy solutions: the acknowledgement of racism.

Made Fairly Is Better Than "Made in the USA" 

Hamilton Nolan · 01/14/15 11:46AM

For a while, it was very en vogue for American retailers and corporations to tout that their products (or some of them) were Made in America. That trend is reportedly coming back into fashion. But "buying American" is not the best way to be a good global citizen.

Hamilton Nolan · 01/13/15 09:11AM

A day after New York City agreed to a $17 million settlement with three wrongfully convicted brothers, Dewey Bozella, who spent 26 years in prison after being wrongfully convicted of murder, has reached a (likely multimillion-dollar) settlement with a New York county. Investing in stronger safeguards to prevent this makes good economic sense, considering how many more victims fester in prison today.