A Guardian series examines Kern County, California, where police have killed more people per capita than anywhere else in the US this year
Bill Maher and “The Hateful Eight” filmmaker Quentin Tarantino discuss his recent efforts to call attention to those killed in police shootings in this clip from November 6, 2015.
Atlanta Hawks wingman Thabo Sefolosha made news on April 18 when he was arrested along with his teammate Pero Antic at 1 Oak, a nightclub in New York, and charged with resisting arrest, disorderly conduct, and obstruction of governmental administration.
From afar, it’s a wild story: Milwaukee Bucks forward Chris Copeland was there separately that night, and got stabbed shortly as the club let out around 4:00 a.m. It sparked a series events that ended with Sefolosha getting arrested, breaking his leg, and missing the playoffs altogether. The first-seed Atlanta Hawks, without Sefolosha, went on to get swept in the Eastern Conference finals by the Cleveland Cavaliers.
On Oct. 9, Sefolosha was exonerated of all three charges by a jury in New York. A week ago, he sued the NYPD for $50 million. We didn’t know a whole lot else about the incident until today, when our friends over at GQ dropped a piece in which Sefolosha explains in his own words what transpired over the last six months.
New Jersey governor and Republican candidate says movement is creating an environment that puts officers at risk
The Republican presidential candidate Chris Christie said on Sunday the Black Lives Matter protest movement was creating an environment that could put police officers at risk.
Speaking on CBS, he said: “I don’t believe that movement should be justified when they are calling for the murder of police officers.”
He also accused President Obama of supporting the movement and encouraging “lawlessness” while not backing up law enforcement.
Protests under the Black Lives Matter banner have coalesced around a number of deaths of African American people, most often unarmed, at the hands of police officers.
The movement first organized after the 2012 shooting of Trayvon Martin, an unarmed teen, by George Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch leader who was later acquitted of charges regarding Martin’s death.
Other high-profile deaths have included those of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri and Eric Garner in Staten Island, in New York City. No officer was charged over the deaths of Brown and Garner, leading to protests and – in Ferguson – extensive civil unrest.
In September, Black Lives Matter said in a statement that conservatives were trying to turn the movement into a danger to officers.
“We’re targeting the brutal system of policing, not individual police,” the movement said on its Facebook page. “The Black Lives Matter Network seeks to end the system of policing that allows for unchecked violence against black people.”
Christie, the governor of New Jersey and a former US attorney, presents himself as a tough voice on law and order issues. He is nonetheless well down in polls regarding the 15-strong Republican presidential field.
On Sunday he said Black Lives Matter was “creating” an environment, as, he said, some of its supporters had chanted for the death of police.
Obama last week defended Black Lives Matter, urging the nation to take police treatment of black Americans seriously.
“We, as a society, particularly given our history, have to take this seriously,” Obama said.
The video also demonstrates another fact some Americans might not be aware of: In many cases, police actually know that the test doesn’t really detect if a suspect is lying — but use it anyway to trick suspects into (sometimes false) confessions.
“If the examiner does the theater well, and tricks the subject into believing that his or her lies can be detected, they might confess,” Leonard Saxe, a psychologist at Brandeis University who’s conducted research into polygraphs, previously toldVox.
So how accurate are polygraphs? The American Polygraph Association claims that the tests are around 90 percent accurate, but this group doesn’t exactly have an interest in being honest about the tests if they are terribly inaccurate, since it advocates for the use of the polygraph.
“There is no evidence that any pattern of physiological reactions is unique to deception”
Other experts and research are much more skeptical of the polygraph’s validity, since the test really measures physiological indicators of anxiety, not honesty. As the American Psychological Association notes, “There is no evidence that any pattern of physiological reactions is unique to deception. An honest person may be nervous when answering truthfully and a dishonest person may be non-anxious. Also, there are few good studies that validate the ability of polygraph procedures to detect deception.”
In the criminal justice system, the goal is to see if a suspect is guilty beyond reasonable doubt. But since there’s a very good possibility that someone was simply nervous when the test deemed him a liar or abnormally calm when the test deemed him honest, and there’s no scientific evidence that the tests are valid, there’s a very strong case for reasonably doubting any polygraph results. Polygraphs are, in other words, not very useful at actually doing what they seek to do.
The good news is you’re never required to actually take a polygraph during a criminal investigation. So if police ask you to take the test, or even try to trick you into thinking it’s mandatory, it might be a good idea to refuse — to avoid self-incriminating yourself. (But don’t take my word for it — consult a lawyer on this.)
Still, polygraphs continue being used not just in criminal justice settings, but also by some government employers. About 70,000 people a year undergo such tests while seeking security clearances and jobs with the federal government, even though a 1988 law bans private employers from putting their job applicants through the same process. Maybe it’s time to just dump these machines.
Watch: The psychology of police sketches
Activists opposed to permanent appointment of Baltimore’s interim police commissioner left early Thursday
Activists opposed to the permanent appointment of Baltimore’s interim police commissioner occupied City Hall on Wednesday night and told police they wouldn’t leave until the commissioner and mayor agreed to a list of their demands, including changes to police tactics and significant investment in education and social services.
Police officers have converged on Baltimore’s City Hall early Thursday morning, and least six protesters could be seen being led away to vans and vehicles.
At least 25 officers lined up outside City Hall and more police stood out back as protesters were led iff, several with hands behind their backs. Protest sympathizers outside chanted: “It is our duty to fight for our freedom, we have nothing to lose but our shame!”
One of the organizers of protesters occupying Baltimore City Hall, Kwame Rose, left the building about 3:30 a.m. on Thursday before the police arrived. He was in tears, saying several police officers had arrived and that activists still remaining inside were now facing a threat of possible arrest. It is unclear if anyone was arrested.
On Wednesday night, members of the Baltimore Uprising coalition, which includes both high school and community activists, had begun shouting from the upper gallery of City Council chambers as a Council subcommittee prepared to vote for Kevin Davis as permanent commissioner. The full council will vote on the appointment Monday.
“All night, all day, we will fight for Freddie Gray!” the activists chanted amid calls to postpone the vote. “No justice, no peace!”
Freddie Gray, a black man, died in April from injuries received while in police custody. His death sparked unrest and rioting in the city. The first trial in the case against six Baltimore police officers charged in Grey’s arrest and death is scheduled to be held Nov. 30.