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Soares asks for Schneiderman oversight in April death

Posted on Aug 24 , 2015 in News

Sources: Soares asks for Schneiderman oversight in April death, Politico New York, Josefa Velasquez, August 21, 2015.

Excerpt: “Albany County District Attorney David Soares asked Gov. Andrew Cuomo this week to appoint Attorney General Eric Schneiderman to oversee the investigation into a mentally ill Albany man’s death during a police interaction, two sources tell POLITICO New York. The request came weeks after Soares had first written to Cuomo’s office asking for clarity on his executive order giving Schneiderman special prosecutor powers to oversee cases of police-involved civilian deaths — an order Soares had vocally criticized in the past. Soares wants Schneiderman to oversee the investigation into the death of Donald “Dontay” Ivy, 39, who died after being tasered and chased by police in April, according to two people familiar with the request Soares sent this week.” Continue>> 

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Activists Rally Outside D.A.’s Office

Posted on Aug 14 , 2015 in News

Activists Rally Outside D.A.’s Office, WAMC, Dave Lucas, August 13, 2015.

Excerpt: “Coinciding with the one year anniversary of Michael Brown’s death in Ferguson at the hands of police, activists and members of various faith and community organizations rallied outside Albany County District Attorney David Soares’ downtown Albany office on Monday. They were there to launch the “Release Marquis Coalition” in support of Marquis Dixon, a 16-year-old who was sentenced to nine years in an adult, maximum security prison for stealing a pair of sneakers, and to call for indictments for the three Albany Police officers involved in the stungun-related death of Donald “Dontay” Ivy more than four months ago.” Continue>>

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Do Police Need a Warrant to See Where a Phone Is?

Posted on Aug 14 , 2015 in News

Do Police Need a Warrant to See Where a Phone Is?, The Atlantic, Robinson Meyer, August 8, 2015.

Excerpt: “Right now, many Americans generate a detailed database of their whereabouts over time—as they move throughout the day from their workplace to their doctor, from their own house to their partner’s—that they do not see or control. It’s called “cell-site location information,” or CSLI, and it can be accessed by local, state, or federal law enforcement without a warrant. In other words, if the government wants to know your every location for the past year, they never need to prove they have probable cause to suspect you of a crime to a judge. Does this practice violate the Constitution? Right now, no. But in the past two weeks, its critics have scored some of their first major victories in court.” Continue>>

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Federal Monitor Offers New Roadmap Police Stops

Posted on Aug 12 , 2015 in News

Federal Monitor Offers New Roadmap Police Stops, Politico New York, Azi Paybarah, August 7, 2015.

Excerpt: “In a five-page letter to District Court Judge Analisa Torres, the monitor, Peter Zimroth, said the new patrol guide language will explain “the level of knowledge required for each type of encounter,” and will include “a definition of racial profiling,” which states “race ethnicity or national origin” may only be used “as part of a specific and reliable suspect description.” “Clarity is important because officers should have confidence that they understand when it is permissible to stop, question and frisk people and when it is not,” he wrote. The recommendations are meant to replace the sections of the NYPD patrol guide which critics said offered vague instructions to officers about when to conduct street stops, and how specifically to conduct those encounters.” Continue>>

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35 Years Served Without Conviction, Man Gets New Trial

Posted on Aug 12 , 2015 in News

35 Years Served Without Conviction, Man Gets New Trial, The New York Times, The Associated Press, August 9, 2015.

Excerpt: “For more than 35 years, a Texas man has been in a prison even though an appeals court threw out his conviction on a 1976 murder charge that initially had him on death row. On Monday, 59-year-old Jerry Hartfield will return to court for a retrial, facing a life sentence if convicted of killing a woman who sold tickets at a Bay City bus station. Prosecutors and defense lawyers have haggled over who’s to blame for decades of inaction and whether Hartfield’s right to a speedy trial have been violated. But the trial judge has refused to dismiss Hartfield’s indictment and prosecutors recently took the death penalty off the table, citing a 2002 U.S. Supreme Court ruling barring execution of mentally impaired people.” Continue>>

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The Fairfax police officer who killed an unarmed man is finally fired

Posted on Aug 12 , 2015 in News

The Fairfax police officer who killed an unarmed man is finally fired, The Washington Post, The Editorial Board, August 7, 2015.

Excerpt: “It’s been nearly two years since a Fairfax police officer shot and killed John Geer, who was standing unarmed, in broad daylight, at the threshold of his Springfield home. Now, we have learned, the police department has dismissed the officer who fired the shot, Adam D. Torres — the first serious step toward accountability in the senseless killing of a civilian who posed no threat and had committed no crime on the day he died. Mr. Torres was fired, we are told, after the recommendation of a review board that included his peers on the police force. It remains to be seen whether Mr. Torres will be indicted in Geer’s death. Raymond F. Morrogh, the chief prosecutor in Fairfax, has been presenting evidence in recent weeks to a grand jury convened to examine the case.” Continue>>

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Emergency Declared in Ferguson After Shooting

Posted on Aug 12 , 2015 in News

Emergency Declared in Ferguson After Shooting,The New York Times, John Eligon and Mitch Smith, August 10, 2015.

Excerpt: “The St. Louis County executive declared a state of emergency here on Monday as officials and activists sought to regain control of the volatile streets after plainclothes police officers shot and critically wounded an 18-year-old black man who they said was firing on them late the night before. The police said the man, Tyrone Harris Jr., was among two groups of young people who exchanged gunfire near peaceful protests late Sunday on the first anniversary of the death of Michael Brown, an unarmed teenager who was killed by a white police officer in Ferguson. Prosecutors on Monday charged Mr. Harris, of the St. Louis suburb Northwoods, with 10 counts, including four of felony assault on a law enforcement officer.” Continue>> 

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In a first, California agrees to pay for transgender inmate’s sex reassignment

Posted on Aug 12 , 2015 in News

In a first, California agrees to pay for transgender inmate’s sex reassignment, LA Times, Paige St. John, August 10, 2015.

Excerpt: “California is first in the nation to agree to pay for a transgender inmate’s sex reassignment operation, but the state’s settlement of a recent court case sidesteps the question of whether such surgery is a constitutional right. The state concedes that Shiloh Quine, who entered the California prison system in 1980 as Rodney, suffers severe gender dysphoria that can be treated only by physically conforming her body to her psychological gender. The agreement to settle Quine’s federal lawsuit seeking the surgery was announced late Friday, with a brief statement from the corrections department that “every medical doctor and mental health clinician who has reviewed this case, including two independent mental health experts, determined that this surgery is medically necessary for Quine.”” Continue>> 

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Chicago police and ACLU agree to stop-and-frisk safeguards

Posted on Aug 12 , 2015 in News

Chicago police and ACLU agree to stop-and-frisk safeguards, USA Today, Aamer Madhani, August 7, 2015.

Excerpt: “The Chicago Police Department and American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois announced Friday that they’ve come to an agreement on monitoring how officers go about conducting street stops of citizens in the nation’s third-largest city. The deal follows fierce criticism of Chicago police disproportionately targeting minorities for questioning and searches under the controversial “stop and frisk” practice. Under the agreement, police will track all street stops and protective pat-downs — not just those that don’t result in an arrest, as they have in the past” Continue>>

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Lawmakers push public access to police camera footage

Posted on Aug 10 , 2015 in News

Lawmakers push public access to police camera footage, Politico New York, Azi Paybarah, August 6, 2015.

Excerpt: “As New York City plans a dramatic expansion of the use of body cameras among police officers here, two state lawmakers are introducing legislation they say will make sure that video is available to the public. Currently, police officers’ “personnel” files—which include substantiated complaints and other records—are not subject to Freedom of Information Law requests. The two lawmakers, Assemblyman Dan Quart of Manhattan and State Senator Dan Squadron of Brooklyn, both Democrats, said that a broad interpretation of that exemption could block body camera footage from being released. Their bill would ensure footage can’t be blocked because of that “personnel” reason.” Continue>>