Welcome, Susan Hawk; Dallas DA’s expectations

January 28, 2015 § Leave a comment

Michael Ainsworth/DMN Staff Photographer

If you are a student of the legal/criminal justice system like myself or became a legal expert after high profile grand jury cases involving police shooting black men, then this may be of interest.

The new DA for Dallas is Susan Hawk and she announced some cool things published in Dallas Morning News. The full article is in the link but here are key points I took away.

  • She is inviting every police chief in Dallas County to her office on Jan. 29 to talk as a group about how “we can improve communications and all work together for the good of every community.”
  • Work with lawmakers to create laws that more clearly define the proper use of forfeiture funds, and to require the use of these funds to be published for public access on a quarterly basis. Her office will begin publishing this information within the next few months.
  • Addressing core issues that cause crime, such as mental illness and drug abuse, and addressing significant challenges to the criminal justice system, such as race relations.
  • “Our mission should not just be to prosecute criminals. Our mission must be to contribute to making our communities safer and stronger. That means prosecuting our most violent offenders and habitual offenders, but also using the justice system to help those who cannot help themselves.”
  • “Sometimes doing what’s best for a community means saying “no” to the easy plea bargain and instead taking on the harder job of helping someone get back on track. Sometimes doing what’s best for a community means keeping someone out of prison instead of growing the population of ex-convicts simply because it’s the easier path.”
  • Quarterly town hall meetings, starting in southern Dallas within the next 90 days.
  • “Over the coming months, I look forward to building upon some of the ideas introduced by Mr. Watkins, such as the Conviction Integrity Unit (CIU), the Animal Cruelty Division and the Civil Rights Unit, and continuing to make progress on issues such as diversity, accessibility and equality.”

My associates and I are strongly looking forward to the town hall meetings, and I commend her for building upon former DA Watkins Conviction Integrity Unity, a unit focused on post-conviction DNA exonerations, Watkins greatest feat as DA in my opinion.

I will follow her, and as a reader you can expect to stay in tune with the office’s actions.

5 things to know about Texas’ police body camera bill

January 5, 2015 § Leave a comment

In case you were wondering where the State of Texas stood on requiring law enforcement to wear body cameras, TXSB 158 was introduced on November 11, a week before Missouri governor announced a state of emergency in anticipation of grand jury decision.

The bill text can be found here.

1. Sen. Royce West sponsored the bill.

2. An officer is entitled to access any recording of an incident involving the officer before making a statement about the incident.

3. An officer equipped with a body worn camera may choose to discontinue a recording currently in progress for any non confrontational encounter with a person, including an interview of a witness or victim.

5. An officer equipped with a  body worn camera may choose not to activate a camera.

If the last point confuses you or you are unsure on what defines “non confrontational”,  rest assured you aren’t the only one.

Below is a flyer for tonight’s event on isues in the 84th legislative session.

image

Where is the Texas legislature on police body cameras?

December 17, 2014 § Leave a comment

In case you were wondering where the State of Texas stood on requiring law enforcement to wear body cameras, TXSB 158 sponsored by Sen. West was introduced on November 11, a week before Missouri governor announced a state of emergency in anticipation of grand jury decision.

The bill text can be found here.

Here are the important pieces:

« Read the rest of this entry »

Blacks should take notes from Jews

December 11, 2014 § Leave a comment

By putting their own first

Texas junior Senator Ted Cruz made his position clear on the primacy of Israel and the Jewish community. I can’t for the life of me find the speech he made in New York City to the Zionist Organization of America but Dallas Morning News has some lines. « Read the rest of this entry »

Proper reaction to Eric Garner–hint: don’t be sad

December 4, 2014 § Leave a comment

The police who killed Eric Garner was not indicted yesterday. I’ve expressed my thoughts about grand juries, blue privelege and white privelege previously so I won’t go into that.

This will be a short post. « Read the rest of this entry »

update: No indictment for Eric Garner’s chokehold death; Dallas DA-elect Susan Hawk, police body cameras and oversight

November 29, 2014 § Leave a comment

Update: No indictment for Eric Garner’s chokehold death

Eric-Garner-being-choked

Last image of the threatening Garner before he was killed.

Dallas DA-elect Susan Hawk proposed to use the “office’s forfeiture funds” to pay for police body cameras. I am not sure what exactly is defined as “office forfeiture funds” (personally, I think asset forfeiture is a racket thanks to the Drug War) but some have joked that former DA Craig Watkins spent it all. For anyone who follows local government, this isn’t news but for those (the overwhelming majority of citizens) who don’t, and may be thinking,  “Who is this new white lady? And what is she going to do for Dallas?”, there you have it. « Read the rest of this entry »

Generational difference in Ferguson response

November 26, 2014 § 1 Comment

I observed a generational difference in the response to Ferguson and other similar white police-black victim shootings. In my experience, the response was generally uniform for anyone within a 10-15 year range (I am 23) and in conflict with individuals beyond this range. « Read the rest of this entry »

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