Indian Automaker’s Plant Is Latest Sign of Detroit Comeback

Huh? Indian auto company moving to Detroit indicates a comeback for the city – region? Ah, err, um if Ford, Chrysler, or GM was building new plants that would be news of a comeback. Mahindra will open the area’s first new vehicle assembly factory in 25 years, building off-road vehicles. The move may signal larger ambitions in the American market.

Trump administration ends program for Haitians who came to US after quake

A big F$ck you to Haitian refugees and their children born here – typical of #45’s racism!

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Temporary residency permit program allowed almost 60,000 citizens to live and work in US following devastation of 2010 earthquake

The Trump administration said Monday that it was ending a temporary residency permit program that has allowed almost 60,000 citizens from Haiti to live and work in the United States since a 2010 powerful earthquake shook the Caribbean country.

The homeland security department said conditions in Haiti have improved significantly, so the benefit will be extended one last time – until July 2019 – to give Haitians time to prepare to return home.

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Anaheim PD Has “Shocking” Pattern of Fatal Police Shootings Says New ACLU Report

Over the past three years, the Anaheim Police Department’s rate of officer-involved deaths during arrests consistently exceeded that of major police departments, including the rates of the Los Angeles Police Department, the New York Police Department, San Diego Police Department, the San Francisco Police Department, and more, according to a report released Monday morning by the ACLU of Southern California.

The 28-page report, authored by the ACLU’s Jennifer Rojas and Peter Bibring, states that the Anaheim PD’s arrest-related deaths are not only unusually high, they are out of proportion with the city’s crime rate, and indicate an urgent need for “meaningful” independent oversight.

The report is based on the study and analysis of police and coroner reports, newspaper articles, along with data collected by the California Attorney General’s Office, and the U.S. Department of Justice. It also drew on research on police use of force and best practices across the nation, as well as the history of reform recommendations made to the Anaheim PD.

It chiefly examines the time span from 2003 to 2016, during which 33 people died following use-of-force by on-duty Anaheim Police Department officers. Of those, 29 were shot, three were hit with Tasers and one had been placed in a chokehold.

The ACLU’s probe also looks at attempts to reform the department that the report’s authors state have not accomplished what was needed to solve the Anaheim PD’s most pressing and deadly problems.

“Anaheim, which likes to call itself the ‘City of Kindness,’ must grapple with the disparate impact of deadly use-of-force by its police department on low-income, communities of color,” said the report’s co-author Jennifer Rojas. “It’s critical that true, independent civilian oversight, not beholden to the city, be established to examine the actions of the police department.”

The report notes that, since 2014, Anaheim PD’s rate of arrest-related deaths not only made it the 9th deadliest police force among the 60 largest U.S. cities, according to FBI data, Anaheim’s numbers also significantly exceed that of California as a whole. In 2016, Anaheim PD killed individuals at nearly 3 times the average rate for other California agencies. 2016, Anaheim PD was involved in arrest-related deaths at a rate 74% higher than average for police in California.

Furthermore, it appears that, as mentioned above, the high rate of arrest-related deaths in Anaheim is not related to the city’s crime rate. In 2014, the city ranked 2nd safest among the 50 largest cities in terms of violent crime, 8th safest in terms of property crime, and 8th safest overall, according to FBI statistics. Police departments in cities with similar crime rates kill far fewer people per capita than Anaheim PD, states the report.

Moreover, between 2003 and 2016, Anaheim PD was responsible for 17% of all homicides in the city, according to the report’s authors. In 2009, 36% of all homicides in Anaheim were at the hands of Anaheim PD officers. In 2012, Anaheim PD officers were responsible for one in four of all homicides in Anaheim. In 2016, Anaheim PD officers were responsible for 36% of all homicides in Anaheim.


Armed and unarmed

Of the individuals killed by Anaheim PD between 2003 and 2016, nearly 40 percent were unarmed–even with a conservative definition of “unarmed,” the report shows.

Specifically, the report’s authors and researchers counted as “armed” individuals carrying a toy or replica gun, or a BB gun.

They also counted as armed, Cesar Cruz, a man who Anaheim PD officers shot as he emerged from his car after a pursuit, claiming that he was reaching for his waistband. (Although no gun was found on Cruz, a gun was found on the passenger seat of his car.)

The authors explained they did exclude people holding ordinary household objects, “such as Julian Alexander, who was in his front yard holding a broomstick when he was shot by police.”

The data show a disparity by race: 55% Latino victims killed by Anaheim PD were unarmed, compared to 25% of Blacks and only 12.5% of whites. All white victims of Anaheim PD homicides were armed with either a knife or a gun (or replica), with the exception of one person. More than one-third of arrest-related deaths occurred after a foot pursuit. And nearly one in five arrest related deaths involved a person with a mental health condition.


Repeat shooters

One of the problems, the ACLU authors suggest, is that the Anaheim PD has failed to adequately identify and correct patterns of force among its ranks, given what the report calls “the high proportion of arrest-related deaths involving officers repeatedly involved in deadly force.”

As an example, the author point to one Anaheim PD officer who was involved in two fatal shootings and two other use of force incidents, before he shot and killed a third man. “The victim of the force,” the authors write, “was armed in only one of the officer’s shootings.”

The report makes clear that the “vast majority” of Anaheim PD officers–about 88%—have never been involved in a fatal incident. But several officers, they note, have been involved in two or even three arrest-related deaths. And it is “these officers” who have played a role in a significant percentage of Anaheim’s officer-involved deaths.

The 33 arrest-related deaths between 2003 and 2016, states the report, involved a total of 50 Anaheim PD officers. Nineteen of those officers were involved in more than one fatal incident, and three officers were involved in three arrest-related deaths. The data show that 58% of Anaheim PD’s arrest-related deaths— over half — involve officers who were also involved in at least one other death. More than a quarter of Anaheim PD’s arrest-related deaths — 27% — involved the same three officers.

Furthermore, according to the report, in two separate instances, Anaheim PD has decided to hire officers that have previously used deadly force, who have gone on to kill a person the year after they were hired.

The report’s primary recommendation is to call for the creation of a new, independent oversight body to provide robust and meaningful civilian supervision of the police. “This new body must be beholden to the community rather than the police department and other city agencies.”

In addition to authors Jennifer Rojas and Peter Bibring, the reports contributing authors and researchers include Eve Garrow, Casey Kasher, Michelle Ochoa Castañeda, and Adrienna Wong.

Bibring is senior staff attorney, and director of police practices, for the ACLU of California.

Rojas, who works in the Orange County office is the community engagement and policy advocate at the ACLU of Southern California.

Black Men Receive 20 Percent Longer Sentences Than White Men for the Same Crimes Says New Fed Report

WTF Friday extended until Monday! Should not be a surprise, just shameful and should be changed but… it will probably be filed to gather dust or denied by current Administration in Washington and Congress.

A newly released report by the United States Sentencing Commission found that black male offenders received sentences that were significantly longer than “similarly situated” white male offenders when tried in federal court, even when their crimes were absolutely the same.

On November 14, the nation’s Sentencing Commission (USSC) released its new publication, Demographic Differences in Sentencing. Among the key findings of the 43-page report, the commission discovered that sentences received by black male offenders were, on average, 19.1 percent longer than “similarly situated white male offenders.”

This newest report is the third such examination of sentencing discrepancies, made by the USSC, which is, by the way, a bipartisan, independent agency that was created by Congress in 1984 to “reduce sentencing disparities and promote transparency and proportionality in sentencing.” (Commissioners are appointed by the President and confirmed by the U.S. Senate.)

In 2010, the commission published a very similar report that examined how the length of sentences imposed on federal offenders might be affected by the “demographic characteristics of those offenders,” once the BSSC researchers had controlled for such variables as type of offense, criminal history, and weapons possession.


Exploring the effects of 2 SCOTUS rulings

The purpose of the 2010 report, and a subsequent report in 2012, was to examine the impact of the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2005 ruling in United States v. Booker, which determined that the federal sentencing guidelines should now be viewed as advisory, rather than hard and fast limitations, thus permitting federal judges to have the discretion to go above or below the boundaries of the guidelines.

Then two years later, in 2007, SCOTUS further clarified what federal judges could do vis-a-vis the guidelines with Gall v. United States, which held that an appellate court must not upend a fed judge’s “reasoned and reasonable sentencing decision” without a very good cause.

In its 2010 analysis, the Sentencing Commission found that, indeed, some demographic characteristics made a significant difference in sentencing outcomes. Most dramatically, post Booker and Gall, black male offenders already received longer sentences than white offenders, and the gap had continued to widen substantially after Booker.

In 2012, the commission updated its analysis for the period between the 2010 report and that of a 2012 report, and continued to find that black men continued to receive longer sentences than similarly their similarly situated white male counterparts.

The report released last week, covers the four years from 2012 to 2016, controlling for all the same variable of previous two reports. But this time, the authors also controlled for any past violence in the offender’s history, which they felt was an important missing element.

Even with that additional variable accounted for, researchers found that the sentences for black men still hovered around 20 percent higher than those of white men, once all the other main variables were factored in.


Judicial discretion

In another key finding, the reported noted that what they described as “non-government sponsored departures and variances” from the sentencing guidelines—in other words, when judicial discretion was exercised—this appeared to contribute “significantly” to the difference in sentence length between black male offenders and white male offenders.

The report also found that black male offenders were 21.2 percent less likely than White male offenders to be the beneficiary of judicial discretion that dropped them below the guidelines.

Furthermore, when black men did receive a sentence that went below the federal guidelines, their sentences were still 16.8 percent longer than white male offenders who were the recipients of a lower-than-guidelines sentence. In other words, when judges decided to give black men a break, statistically they didn’t give them as much of a break as they did white men.

In contrast, when judges didn’t stray from the applicable federal sentencing guideline range, there was still a 7.9 percent difference in sentence length between black men and white men.

The researchers noted that, contrary to some expectations, violence in an offender’s criminal history did not appear to account for any of the demographic differences in sentencing. Black male offenders received sentences on average 20.4 percent longer than similarly situated white male offenders, even after accounting for violence in an offender’s past. (This number, however, only pertained to fiscal year 2016, which the report’s authors said was the only year for which such data was available.) This figure is almost the same as the 20.7 percent difference without accounting for past violence. “Thus,” they wrote, “violence in an offender’s criminal history does not appear to contribute to the sentence imposed to any extent beyond its contribution to the offender’s criminal history score determined under the sentencing guidelines.”

The report’s other main finding was the fact that, in all three reports, female offenders of all races received shorter sentences than white male offenders.


The effects of judges, prosecutors and defense attorneys

At first glance, the numbers suggest that, once judicial discretion is in play, it opens the door to judicial bias, which became the primary culprit in producing the race-based difference in sentencing.

Yet Marc Mauer, CEO of the Sentencing Project, disagreed with the analysis when he talked to the Washington Post about the new report.

“What we see is that the charging decisions of prosecutors are key,” he told the Post’s Christopher Ingraham. “Whether done consciously or not, prosecutors are more likely to charge African Americans” with a “…charge carrying a mandatory minimum sentence to ensure that a certain amount of prison time is imposed, with no possible override by the judge.”

In a similar vein, Douglass Berman, the Robert J. Watkins/Procter & Gamble Professor of Law, and creator of the widely cited, Sentencing Law & Policy, opined when he wrote about the report that, while the commissions findings were “really interesting, they were “not especially surprising.” Then, in a spin on Mauer’s thoughts, Berman said that he feared that “differences in the resources and abilities of defense counsel” may create or enhance disparities in federal sentencing outcomes “in ways that can not be easily measured or remedied.”

Berman also remarked—and WitnessLA agrees—that it will be instructive to see how both the US Department of Justice “and members of Congress pushing for federal sentencing reform” might respond to the USSC’s disquieting report.


Photo courtesy of the Bureau of Prisons

“Around every corner, his fumbling fingers awaited”

Ugly truths finally being outed on predators.

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Lyssna: Sexual harassment against female actors

Last night, actresses took to thirteen theatres across the country to reveal their stories of sexual harassment and abuse.

One woman, speaking in Malmö City Theatre’s main stage, told the story of an actress who was only 15 years old when the film director she was working with initiated a physical relationship with her. “Around every corner on set, his fumbling fingers awaited – to touch my body, and his meandering tongue, finding its way down my throat,” she says.

Plenty of similar stories were told in succession. In Stockholm alone, roughly two hundred women spoke at Södra Teatern, to an audience including Queen Silvia, Crown Princess Victoria and Culture Minister Alice Bah Kuhnke. Recently, Bah Kuhnke summoned a number of theatre heads to a meeting to discuss harassment at work. Now, she has promised a series of measures from the government to tackle the problem.

But it was not just actresses speaking up over the weekend. On Sunday, 1,139 women from the IT and technology sector co-signed a letter with testimonies of sexism and harassment, under the hashtag teknisktfel, or technical error.

Phelan Chatterjee
phelan.chatterjee@sr.se

Charles Manson’s prosaic and ugly life is over. But his loser cult lives on | Suzanne Moore

The majority of those alive today had never heard of Charles Manson, now they have and not because of Charlie but because of “journalists” and “editors” pimping for clicks and ad money.

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A short man full of violence, rage and manipulation, his fantasy was of race war, and now his warped logic holds sway at the highest levels of US society

Charles Manson is finally dead. There is no resting in peace for such a person. At his trial, Manson told the prosecutor Vincent Bugliosi that he was already dead. He had said previously that he had been dead for 2,000 years. This was part of the confused allusions he made to being Christ. The terrible murders he committed in 1969 and his courtroom testimony transfixed America. The cult leader was finally starring in his own movie, strutting and fretting his hour upon the stage – a short, long-haired man full of violence, rage and manipulation.

Related: Charles Manson, cult leader and convicted murderer, dies aged 83

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