Residents and officials packed a council meeting Monday evening, where former U.S. attorney Timothy Heaphy presented the findings of the independent review, which sharply criticized the police department for lacking the proper training and preparation to respond to the violent rally. At the first meeting since the report was publicly released Friday, residents expressed their anger and frustration with city officials and police.
A summary of the findings of the investigation conducted by a private law firm commissioned by the city of Charlottesville. Assuming this summary is accurate, the findings are fairly consistent with my own observations about Charlottesville.
By Gregory Hood
The law firm of Hunton & Williams has just issued an independent, 207-page report on the Unite the Right protest that took place in Charlottesville last August. The city of Charlottesville commissioned and paid for the report, but it is no cover up. It is a slashing indictment of the way the city prepared for and handled the demonstrations. It is a thorough vindication of the perspective of the Unite the Right demonstrators.
The report makes clear that the Charlottesville Police Department (CPD) and its black chief, Al Thomas, had no intention of allowing the demonstration to take place. Astonishingly, the report leaves no doubt that Chief Thomas wanted the police to let enough violence go unchecked to justify an order to declare the event an “unlawful assembly” and shut it down. The report is also unflinching in its condemnation of police and city-administration bungling that virtually guaranteed continued violence even after the event was canceled.
Instead of a Blog
I do not want the police and courts to engage in activities normally approved of by minarchists and some anarchists – such as protecting private property or prosecuting murderers. This is for several reasons:
- Police are not legitimate representatives of the victims. As only a victim has the right to expropriatory or retaliatory force against the criminal (though this is transferable to third parties) the police have no authority to actually detain or prosecute criminals.
- The force deployed against a criminal act must be the minimum needed to dissuade or redress the criminal act. Even a violent criminal, who is not actively threatening others, may not be shot out of hand. And non-violent offenders – thieves and cheats – may not have physical force used against them except under circumstances where they are actively resisting duly transferred property made as compensation. Thus, the arrest, detainment and threats that police use in all their routine duties are in fact criminal aggression. The fact that their victim has committed criminal acts in no way counters this. Only an active threat – say a serial killer, or a soldier – may be met with open violence, even if he is attempting to evade capture. The sole exception would be where a capital offense occurs, i.e. a murder, and the victim’s heirs consent to have the criminal executed. In such a situation the outlaw may be slain out of hand by anyone, including third parties.
- The police do not actually redress wrongdoing and instead impose further costs on the victims and uninvolved parties. Even if the first and second problem were addressed – if it were somehow determined that the police and courts were representing the interests of the victim and were acting only with appropriate force – it would still be illegitimate to impose the costs of courts and imprisonment onto the general taxpayer. No one has a ‘right’ to justice or law or security – you have to pay for it or administer it yourself, if you want it.
- It is undesirable to promote the reliance of the citizenry on the apparatus of the state. The citizens should feel that the state is leaving them defenseless, that it takes from them but provides nothing. People should come to rely on themselves, their personal networks and alternative institutions to provide their protection and dispute arbitration – not agents of the state.
I’ve never been a fan of this guy, but I thought the charges that were put on him sounded like overkill. Apparently, the judge agreed. A thought: We need an “Anarchist Civil Liberties Union,” similar to the American Civil Liberties Union, but which defends all enemies of the state or all those who come under attack by the state, irrespective of ideological considerations and no matter how unsavory the defendants.
By Samantha Baars
Two of three felony charges were thrown out in a more than six-hour-long preliminary hearing November 9 for “Crying Nazi” Chris Cantwell, the New Hampshire man accused of pepper spraying multiple people at the violent August 11 tiki-torch march across the University of Virginia.
Hundreds of white supremacists were in town that weekend for homegrown whites-righter Jason Kessler’s Unite the Right rally, which left three people dead and many injured in its aftermath.
In Cantwell’s case, an Albemarle General District Court judge is allowing one count of illegal use of tear gas to go before the grand jury, after he said Commonwealth’s Attorney Robert Tracci was unable to prove that the two victims who brought the charges against Cantwell were actually sprayed by the shock jock, who continues to broadcast his show, the Radical Agenda, from the Albemarle-Charlottesville Regional Jail.
His supporters, known for their fashy haircuts and white polos and khakis, coordinated new outfits this time. About a dozen of them lined the courtroom’s benches wearing black, some dressed head-to-toe in the color.
Defending all of those who come under attack by the state must be one of the first principles of a serious anarchist movement. This includes Communists protesting Donald Trump, Alt-Rightists protesting in favor of Confederate monuments, marijuana farmers attacked by the DEA, gun nuts attacked by the BATF, transgender prostitutes attacked by vice cops, purveyors of kiddie porn subject to illegal police entrapment schemes, gang members prosecuted under dubious conspiracy and racketeering laws, homophobic Christians who refuse to bake a gay wedding cake, and anyone else whom the state attacks.
On 20 January, 2017, thousands of people poured into Washington DC to protest Donald Trump’s inauguration. Nearly half a million people brandished signs and shouted slogans for the Women’s March. Thousands of protesters sparked up joints for a “Trump 420” protest in Dupont Circle. And hundreds marched in an anti-capitalist, anti-fascist rally organized by Disrupt J20.
Far too many libertarians and anarchists, left and right, are losing sight of who the real enemy is.
Bleeding Heart Libertarians
You’d think the statement in my title should be obvious, but if you were wondering why it’s been so easy for so many supposed libertarians to flip over to the alt-right, you might consider the recent Facebook post of Lawrence Reed, the president of the Foundation for Economic Education, the oldest of the free-market think tanks. Larry, who I’ve known for decades and have always respected, tagged a story on business closures in Venezuela with the following: “Venezuela desperately needs a Hayek right now. Short of that, how about a Pinochet?”
As I said on Facebook, I don’t even know what to say about this given my long association with FEE and respect for the work they and Larry have done. I deeply want to believe that it’s a really bad attempt at humor, yet nowhere in that original Facebook thread does Larry give any indication that he was making a horrible joke. Given the pushback he’s getting there, it would have been very easy for him to try to back out with that excuse, but it’s not there. Not only that, he explicitly argues for “helicopter dropping” Maduro. Sure doesn’t sound like someone who is joking.
Even as really misguided humor, Larry’s remark fails in several important ways that are worth noting explicitly:
Press TV. Listen here.
The US has been waging a war against drugs for half a century, viewing drug addiction as a criminal phenomenon instead of a health issue, therefore no headway has been made in curbing the US opioid crisis, an American analyst says.
The so-called ‘War on Drugs’ refers to a US government campaign launched during the administration of former President Richard Nixon, which included the prohibition of drugs and military intervention, with the stated aim being to reduce the illegal drug trade.
The United States leads the world in both recreational drug usage and incarceration rates. Many experts believe that the War on Drugs has been costly and ineffective largely because inadequate emphasis is placed on treatment of addiction.
The current opioid epidemic in the United States has multiple reasons, among them the excess prescription of pain killers, which in turn contribute to an increase in pharmaceutical financial gains, said Keith Preston, chief editor of AttacktheSystem.com.
“People become addicted to pharmaceutical drugs when undergoing medical treatment, and then because of the addiction, they develop they can’t stop the habit, so when their medical treatment is over with, and they are cut off their drug supply then they start buying prescription drugs off the street that are sold on the illegal market and often they will switch to heroin because heroin is actually cheaper than prescription opiods,” Preston said in an interview with Press TV on Wednesday
“So we have now this wave of heroin addicts as well as people who are addicted to prescription opioids as well,” he added.
Preston said the Trump administration’s approach to the drug crisis is encouraging in the sense that it has not recommended the escalation of the war on drugs and instead has taken a non-criminal approach to the crisis recognizing the crisis is more of a health issue.
“There may be some signs of a turning of the tides there,” he said.
The White House Council of Economic Advisers said Monday that the true cost of the opioid epidemic in 2015 was $504 billion, more than six times the most recent estimate.
The council said a 2016 private study estimated that prescription opioid overdose, abuse and dependence cost $78.5 billion in the US in 2013.
Most of that expense was attributed to health care and criminal justice spending, along with lost productivity.
US President Donald Trump said Monday at a cabinet meeting in the White House that the “opioid epidemic that is ravaging so many American families and communities” would be among topics for discussion.
Last month, Trump declared the US drug crisis a “public health emergency.” He also announced an advertising campaign to combat the epidemic, but did not direct any new federal funding toward the effort.
Opioids are drugs formulated to replicate the pain reducing properties of opium. They include both legal painkillers like morphine, oxycodone, or hydrocodone prescribed by doctors for acute or chronic pain, as well as illegal drugs like heroin or illicitly made fentanyl.
The word “opioid” is derived from the word “opium.”
US government and healthcare officials have been struggling to stem the epidemic of overdoses, which killed more than 64,000 Americans last year alone, up from 52,000 the previous year. More than half were related to opioids.
Interview with former Alcatraz convict and depression-era gangster, Alvin “Creepy” Karpis (AZ-325). He was a key member of the Karpis/Barker gang, a criminal organization that terrorized the Midwest in the 1930s. Karpis spent nearly 26 years on Alcatraz, a record.
We need for anarchists to start running for mayor of cities and towns with this as part of their platform. I’m serious.
The community of Sharpstown, Texas decided that they didn’t need the police any longer. They made a controversial decision to fire the local police department and hire private citizens, granted no special rights that ordinary citizens do not have, to keep them safe.
That was back in 2012, and since then, Sharpstown residents say the private security company, SEAL Security Solutions, have done a much better job than the police used to. Crimes is down 61% in only 20 months.
James Alexander, the director of operations for SEAL Security Solutions says that, “Since we’ve been in there, an independent crime study that they’ve had done [indicates] we’ve reduced the crime by 61 percent,” according to Guns.com.
All of that and they don’t have any special rights that you or I don’t have. That means they can’t arrest for misdemeanor crimes… and why should people be arrested for them anyway? It also means that they are held accountable the same way as anyone else.
The SEAL security patrolmen don’t “receive the same protection, as we are in the private sector,” Alexander said. This, he explains, leads to constant accountability and vigilance of their employees making sure they don’t do something to get fired.
There are different types of criminal acts. Some are casual, unpredictable and opportunistic like a bag snatching or a smartphone lift from a club when someone rested their phone on the mahogany bar just for a second. Other times, crimes are planned well in advance, gestated for long periods of time, with the pros and cons weighed to consider risks vs reward before deciding to carry out the criminal act.
It’s Not Always Obvious Who Was Going to Commit a Crime
It’s not always the most likely person who will commit an act of larceny or assault another person without warning. Sometimes the person walks into the store and looks like trouble the second you lay eyes on him or her through a video security system. But other times you’re asking, “Him? Really?” when told what they did the night before.
What Triggers a Criminal Act?
A crime can be carried out simply as a protest against the state or the federal system of control through laws and restrictive regulations. It doesn’t always have to be for monetary gain, personal pleasure or out of revenge. It can be an act of anarchy, opportunistic, and seemingly almost random when actually it’s not. It depends on what injustice the person feels and what action this spurs them to take in response to the perceived injustice.
Can Acts of Crime Be Prevented?
The pre-crime division as depicted in the Minority Report movie where “precogs” saw crimes being committed before they happened, and officers went to arrest people before they’d even done anything wrong is interesting. Is there a way to actually prevent crime when you don’t have your very own precog to assist you? Well, there just might be and it’s not through the use of the latest questionable technology developed with Homeland Security in mind either.
Is Counseling the Answer?
Being able to talk with people to help them think and work through their problems is far more effective than leaving people with no hope causing some to take drastic action. Quite often, crimes are committed to make a person feel significant (controlling another person by brandishing a weapon is an act of control over another) which indicates that the person feels insignificant in their normal life. By working through their difficulties in creating a happy, productive life for themselves, they can feel greater levels of significance and a lesser urge to throw it all away by turning (back) to crime.
One way to get involved with this transformative process is to study for an online masters in counseling at Bradley University. The counseling master’s degree online is created to learn the skills to help others with their life problems. The course is studied over the internet. Anyone who enjoys helping other people to live more fulfilling lives will find happiness in the counseling profession because it gives direct access to people in need.
Crime is preventable when it is treated at a societal level by kind, caring individuals who help others believe that their lives can have both meaning and significance. It’s never too late to turn a life around.
In recent years, there has been growing concern in some camps about matters involving police brutality, police militarization, mass incarceration, overcriminalization, electronic surveillance and related matters.
The bulk of the concerns of these kinds have come from the left end of spectrum, and raised by those who are concerned with racial disparities that can be observed within the framework of the police state. Yet there have also been some on the right end who have become concerned about the fiscal costs of mass incarceration, the social costs to families and communities, and the fact that the police state is now attacking population groups outside of traditional outgroups. When the police state primarily targeted blacks, Puerto Ricans, hookers, and the drug culture, the right-wing was all for it. However, it is now not uncommon to find middle class persons, older people, churchgoers, business people, and others outside of the traditional underclass or marginal sectors who have had run ins with the cops or the carceral state.
This is a peer reviewed article published last year by the British Medical Journal on the subject of police brutality in the United States and how frequently it occurs. The researchers summarized their findings as follows.
“US police killed or injured an estimated 55 400 people in 2012 (95% CI 47 050 to 63 740 for cases coded as police involved). Blacks, Native Americans and Hispanics had higher stop/arrest rates per 10 000 population than white non-Hispanics and Asians. On average, an estimated 1 in 291 stops/arrests resulted in hospital-treated injury or death of a suspect or bystander. Ratios of admitted and fatal injury due to legal police intervention per 10 000 stops/arrests did not differ significantly between racial/ethnic groups. Ratios rose with age, and were higher for men than women.”
Read the entire article here.
Trump goes predictably full Nixon/Reagan on drug policy. Expect a backlash in the future given the racial implications of drug policy and the racially controversial nature of the Trump presidency.. The next Democratic President will likely be the furthest left the US has ever had. Just like Bill Clinton seems rather conservative by today’s standards, the next Democratic President will likely make Obama seem comparatively right-wing.
By Lois Beckett
Shauna Barry-Scott remembers the moment she felt the American fever for mass incarceration break. It was an August morning in 2013, and she was in a federal prison in the mountains of West Virginia. She remembers crowding into the TV room with the other women in their khaki uniforms. Everyone who could get out of their work shifts was there, waiting. Good news was on the way, advocates had told them. Watch for it.
Some of her fellow inmates were cynical: it seemed like millions of rumors of reform had swept through the federal prison system to only then dissolve. Barry-Scott did not blame them, but she was more hopeful.
At age 41, she had been sentenced to 20 years in prison for possession with the intent to distribute 4.5 ounces of crack cocaine. “Think of a 12oz can of Coke, cut that in a third,” she explains. “And that’s what I got 20 years for.” The sentence made no sense to her. Barry-Scott’s son had been murdered in 1998, and the men charged with shooting him to death had to serve less time than she did – six and seven years each, she says.
But the amount of drugs in her possession had triggered a mandatory minimum sentence, part of a now-infamous law passed in 1986 to impose punitive sentences for certain offenses amid a rising panic over drug abuse. In 1980, some 25,000 people were incarcerated in federal prisons. By 2013 after four decades of America’s war on drugs, there were 219,000. Yet this population was just a small fraction of the estimated 2.3 million Americans locked up not only in federal prisons, but also in state facilities and local jails.
By Nathan J. Robinson
If you are a Trump supporter, the president has just pardoned “America’s toughest sheriff,” a man who was willing to fight illegal immigration using any means at his disposal. If you are a liberal, Trump has pardoned a despicable racist, a man who spent decades casually violating the civil liberties of Latinos. And if you are a balanced and neutral news organization, Trump has pardoned a “controversial” sheriff who faced “accusations of abuse” and “defied a court order.” These are the terms on which the debate about Arpaio is had: is he a vindictive bigot who neglected his prisoners or a steely lawman who dared to enforce immigration policy when the Feds wouldn’t? (Perhaps we’ll just call him “polarizing.”)
But none of these perspectives actually capture the full truth about Joe Arpaio. And I am worried that even those who detest Trump and are appalled by this pardon do not entirely appreciate the depth of Arpaio’s evil, or understand quite how indefensible what Donald Trump just has done is. Frankly I think even Trump may not fully realize the extent of the wrongdoing that he has just signaled his approval of. And I think it’s very important to be clear: the things Joe Arpaio is nationally infamous for, the immigration crackdown and the tent city, these are only the beginning.
By Keith Preston
The State exists for the purpose of maintaining a monopoly over the legitimate use of violence within a particular geographical territory in order to more effectively control resources, exploit subjects, protect an artificially privileged ruling class, and expand its own power both internally and externally. The State does this while maintaining a self-legitimating ideological superstructure, and buying the loyalty of the middle class by suppressing the lower/underclass. The State is what you would get if the Mafia managed to eliminate all of its competitors, including the State itself, and consequently become a state of its own.
At times, the State will seek to maintain total control over every aspect of social life (e.g. the totalitarian regimes of the 20th century, present day North Korea or Islamist regimes like ISIS, the Taliban, and Saudi Arabia, or Israel’s conduct in the occupied territories). However, most modern states allow for a fairly robust civil society to exist that may actually have the effect of affording the average person a fair amount of comfort. States of these kinds, so-called “liberal democracies,” may even encourage intense political debate within certain narrow parameters (or even fairly broad parameters). Some states will allow or even encourage a fair amount crime and disorder in order to legitimize the expansion of state power to an even greater degree (what the late paleconservative writer Samuel Francis called “anarcho-tyranny’‘). For example, isn’t it interesting that in spite of the massive police and prison systems that now exist in the United States, one third of all murders go unsolved?
However, no state can allow disorder to spiral too far out of control, or it will lose its legitimacy in the process. A state of this kind is a protection racket that continues to engage in extortion and exploitation, but can no longer offer actual protection. Hence, states tend to be very sensitive to perceived threats to their own legitimacy. At present, the violence that is taking place between the Antifa, Alt-Right, and their various allies certainly poses no threat to the state. America in 2017 is light years away from Weimar Germany in 1932. But the important question involves the issue of to what degree the State will continue allow such violence to persist, if indeed it does persist, which it may not. That remains to be seen.
I can’t think of any time since the conspiracy trials of the late 1960s and early 1970s that there has been an effort to attack political freedom on this magnitude and in such a direct manner.
By David Cole and Faiz Shakir
David Cole is national legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union. Faiz Shakir is national political director of the ACLU.
The right to boycott has a long history in the United States, from the American Revolution to Martin Luther King Jr.’s Montgomery bus boycott to the campaign for divestment from businesses serving apartheid South Africa. Nowadays we celebrate those efforts. But precisely because boycotts are such a powerful form of expression, governments have long sought to interfere with them — from King George III to the police in Alabama, and now to the U.S. Congress.
Shades of Emma Goldman.
I have been a student of the prison system since I first entered it in 1957. I was around when a bread and water diet was part of the punishment process, and even had a taste of it. And I lived through major prison riots in Parkhurst, Hull and Strangeways, circa 1990.
Following the Woolf Report that followed the Strangeways riot a year later, a Guardian leader spoke of the “mandarins who condoned and defended a prison system that in all practical ways is an affront to our definition of civilisation.” Pre-riot, I spent years in the conditions that leader attacked, then served more time in the better environment that report brought about.
But I say, hand on heart, I have never seen the system in such a chaotic and dangerous state as it is now. Where to begin in chronicling the deep malaise? Soaring death rates, from homicidal, self-inflicted and natural causes; violence levels at an all-time high; prisons awash with drugs; and overcrowding and understaffing the norm in many jails.
Where are the Shining Path when you need them?
New Mexico — A small community in New Mexico is learning firsthand the consequences of relying on corporate industry to fuel your economy. In the case of Torrance County, it’s the private prison industry. From a July 25 article by the Santa Fe New Mexican:
“The company that has operated a private prison in Estancia for nearly three decades has announced it will close the Torrance County Detention Facility and lay off more than 200 employees unless it can find 300 state or federal inmates to fill empty beds within the next 60 days, according to a statement issued Tuesday by county officials.”
The closure of the prison would mean a loss of about $700,000 in annual taxes and utility payments for the town of Estancia, which has a population of 1,500. Surrounding Torrance County would see a loss of around $300,000. Incidentally, the county has no jail of its own, meaning the sheriff’s department would have to find new housing for the 50 to 75 people it arrests each month.
“This is a big issue for us,” county manager Belinda Garland told the Santa Fe New Mexican. “It’s going to affect Torrance County in a big way.”
The corporate entity that operates the facility, CoreCivic — formerly known as Corrections Corporation of America — is the second-largest private prison company in the nation. CoreCivic spokesman Jonathan Burns said this of the closing:
Oregon: Soon to be a Pan-Anarchist homeland for druggies?
This bill isn’t as radical as it sounds but it’s a start.
By Nicole Lewis
First-time offenders caught with small amounts of heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine and other illegal drugs will face less jail time and smaller fines under a new bill approved by the Oregon legislature that aims to curb mass incarceration.
Jared Taylor of American Renaissance tries to understand the concept of “institutional racism.” Racism is said to be what holds back blacks and whites in American society, but there just don’t seem to be enough racist people or deliberately racist practices to explain large gaps in achievement. The culprit must therefore be institutions, or the structure of society. Jared Taylor shows why this explanation makes no sense, and explains what the real problem is.
Are blacks more likely to be arrested for drug offenses despite using drugs at the same rates as whites? Conventional wisdom has it that the war on drugs is inherently discriminatory, but a closer look at black crime statistics undermines explanations that rely exclusively on racial bias or police discrimination. Jared Taylor, editor of American Renaissance, discusses several empirical studies that support a more nuanced understanding of differential arrest rates for drug-related crimes, one that avoids the pitfalls of the typically reductive explanations that emphasize systemic anti-black discrimination by a hopelessly racist police force.
By Shaun King
New York Daily News
Are you familiar with the 10,000 hour rule that Malcolm Gladwell shares in his book, “Outliers?” It basically states that it takes about 10,000 hours of time and effort in a field to become an expert in it. I’m now nearing my 10,000 hours on police brutality and injustice in America. Going on four straight years, it’s dominated my life as I’ve studied not hundreds, but thousands of cases from top to bottom. I’ve written over a thousand articles on the topic. I’ve organized, agonized, strategized, fundraised, recorded, presented, brainstormed, protested, researched, counseled, and dreamed about how we can solve this crisis — or at least drastically improve it.
And in all of those hours, in all of those cases, I’ve never seen what I’m seeing in Minnesota at this very moment surrounding the horrific police killing of Justine Damond — an Australian immigrant and yoga instructor who was just weeks away from getting married when she called 911 to report suspicious noises outside of her Minneapolis home. The police showed up. Justine, in her pajamas, went outside to meet them, but was fatally shot by one of the reporting officers.
All of that is textbook police brutality. I could name a dozen cases off the top of my head where a family called 911 for help but ended up being victimized by the police instead. Everything about what happened to Justine Damond is normal in America — except the demographics.
She’s white — a sweet, popular, peaceful, blonde-haired, blue-eyed white woman at that.
An interesting new study.
By Peter Wagner and Bernadette Rabuy
Prison Policy Initiative
Wait, does the United States have 1.3 million or more than 2 million people in prison? Are most people in state and federal prisons locked up for drug offenses? Frustrating questions like these abound because our systems of confinement are so fragmented and controlled by various entities. There is a lot of interesting and valuable research out there, but varying definitions make it hard — for both people new to criminal justice and for experienced policy wonks — to get the big picture.
This report offers some much needed clarity by piecing together this country’s disparate systems of confinement. The American criminal justice system holds more than 2.3 million people in 1,719 state prisons, 102 federal prisons, 901 juvenile correctional facilities, 3,163 local jails, and 76 Indian Country jails as well as in military prisons, immigration detention facilities, civil commitment centers, and prisons in the U.S. territories. And we go deeper to provide further detail on why people are locked up in all of those different types of facilities.