— Bob Block Bail Bonds (@Stl_Bail_Bonds) August 30, 2016
Earlier this month a federal court jury decided that two St. Louis police officers must pay $600,000 in connection with an arrest they made in 2013 that involved the use of excessive force. A lawsuit was filed in 2014 by Calvin Fletcher who alleged the two St. Louis officers were part of a group of four involved in the incident. Calvin believes he was targeted because he was black and that the entire incident was a false arrest. He also says he was repeatedly shocked and tasered which resulted in broken bones and a damaged kidney. Calvin also alleged that video cameras in police cruisers were turned off on purpose so the incident would not be recorded. There is no mention if Fletcher needed or had to post bail.
According to an article in stltoday.com
“The officers named in the suit were Joseph Tomlinson, Joseph Carroll, Nicholas Martorano and John Moton. Fletcher won a verdict against Martorano and Moton for $600,000, which included $200,000 in actual damages and $400,000 in punitive damages. No damages were awarded in the case against Carroll or Tomlinson.
All but Moton are white. Tomlinson left the force not long after the incident and moved out of town. He could not be reached for comment. The others remain with the department.
Martorano testified that he used a Taser, and Moton testified he struck Fletcher in the leg.
The lawsuit initially named Corizon, a company that provides health care in the St. Louis Justice Center, and the city of St. Louis as defendants. Fletcher’s lawyer, Phillip Tatlow, said he dropped the case against Corizon and signed a confidentiality agreement about the terms.
He said he separately stopped pursuing a case against the city of St. Louis because he could not prove a pattern of police abuse.”
It is circumstances like this that have many people calling for the abolition of law enforcement. While that it probably not the smartest idea, and not very likely to happen, there are still those that are outspoken critics of the police. One of those people seems to be Jessica Disu. In an article published in the Chicago reader, Disu recently appeared on Fox News’ Megyn Kelly show to talk about the recent killings of several black men and police officers.
According to the article Disu said “I was under the impression that it would be a robust and productive conversation, even though it was Fox News,” says 27-year-old Disu, who identifies herself as a “humanitarian rap artist and peace activist” and is involved with various organizations serving youth on the south side. She prepared her message before going on the show: “It should be against the law for an officer to shoot a civilian,” she says. “That was what my message was supposed to be.”
The story goes on to report “the discussion quickly turned raucous, with panelists shouting over each other as Kelly called on participants to answer polemical questions in quick succession. Disu sat quietly, occasionally rolling her eyes, scoffing, laughing, or nodding in agreement. “A lot of my buttons were triggered and pressed,” she recalls. “This felt so comical to me—it felt like a minstrel show.”
But then people began accusing Black Lives Matter activists of calling for the death of cops, and Disu couldn’t hold her tongue
“This is the reason our young people are hopeless in America,” she began, as other panelists bickered around her. She explained that her activism in Chicago focuses on intracommunity violence. “Here’s a solution,” Disu said firmly. “We need to abolish the police.” Read more at chicagoreader.com
Whether you are pro law enforcement or anti-law enforcement there is no doubt that law enforcement practices are under fire, and are a hotly debated political topic. I believe the vast majority of law enforcement officers are good people with their heart in the right place. As such, I’d like to end this post with a tribute to the Dallas police officers who recently lost their lives in the line of duty. The video above is a great tribute.
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While there may be an increase in violent crimes in some places, is it really a trend? The answer is much more difficult and convoluted than many lawmakers make it sound. The FBI collects and handles crime data from more than 18,000 police agencies from throughout the United States.
Recently, the Marshall Project has obtained data from 61 local agencies for 2015 (directly from them). The FBI has not yet released its numbers yet for 2015.
More specifically, The Marshall project says The Marshall Project collected and analyzed 40 years of FBI data — through 2014 — on the most serious violent crimes in 68 police jurisdictions. We also obtained data directly from 61 local agencies for 2015 — a period for which the FBI has not yet released its numbers. (Our analysis found that violent crime in these jurisdictions rose 4 percent last year. But crime experts caution against making too much of year-over-year statistics.)
In the process, we were struck by the wide variation from community to community. To paraphrase an aphorism about politics, all crime is local. Each city has its own trends that depend on the characteristics of the city itself, the time frame, and the type of crime. In fact, the trends vary from neighborhood to neighborhood within cities; a recent study posited that 5 percent of city blocks account for 50 percent of the crime. That is why most Americans believe crime is worse, while significantly fewer believe it is worse where they live.
To read the entire article and report go to: Crime in Context | The Marshall Project
Regardless of whether overall crime is rising, when crime happens in your own neighborhood your don’t like it. Recently, in St. Louis, MO, video was released showing a passenger in a car opening fire during a fatal shooting. The fatal shooting happened in the 5300 block of Terry Ave around 7pm on August 4, 2016.
According to an article in the St. Louis Post Dispatch, Police say several men were outside a home when a gray Chevrolet Impala approached. A passenger emerged and fired at the men, hitting two people. Read more at stltoday.com
While enforcing laws is an important component of keeping crime under control, law enforcement is only one part of the justice system. There are other important components to the justice system such as the prosecutors, defense attorneys, judges and the courts.
In the United States a person is considered innocent until proven guilty. In most cases a person can get out of jail by posting bail while awaiting court proceedings for the charges against them.
Many groups oppose the current bail bond system and advocate for a bail system that is more fair for poor defendants. Cleveland.com is reporting the American Bar Association supports judge’s ruling that Calhoun, Georgia bail system is unfair: The American Bar Association is urging the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to rule in favor of a lawsuit filed by people accused of petty crimes who claim they were unfairly jailed by the city of Calhoun, Georgia, because they couldn’t afford bail, the American Bar Association Journal reports.
“Inflexible money-bail systems disrupt the lives of indigent defendants, lead to worse legal outcomes, and pressure defendants to plead guilty,” the brief states, according to the ABA Journal. “At the same time, inflexible money-bail systems… do not improve appearance rates or public safety, and leave jurisdictions that use such systems bearing the costs of overcrowded jails.”
To read more about this go here: American Bar Association blasts unfair bail practices