Outrage explodes in Ferguson after a federal grand jury decided not to indict the officer who shot and killed unarmed teen Michael Brown.—
Top of the Alty World
“Black Lives Matter: Ferguson Erupts After Grand Jury Clears Officer in Michael Brown Killing”—Democracy Now!
The National Bar Association questions the grand jury's decision and calls for a Department of Justice investigation.—NationalBar.org
ranks the five worst states for LGBT residents.—Rolling Stone
explores the contradictory eyewitness testimony presented in the case to indict the Ferguson officer who shot Michael Brown.—The Atlantic
Top of Alty Utah
A bill to limit campaign contributions in elections came down to a close vote in a recent legislative committee.—Utah Political Capitol
Utah Politico Hub looks at how GOP campaigns that mastered the three-part “get out the vote” strategy for election day, voting by mail and early voting helped give Republicans major gains in this past election.—Utah Politico Hub
Some have argued that the Trib
's biography of Mia Love raises ethical questions for the paper and reporters who covered her campaign and wrote the book.—Salt Lake City Weekly
LGBT advocacy group Restore Our Humanity is calling for a town hall meeting to discuss countering anti-LGBT rhetoric coming out of Utah County.—Q Salt Lake
argues that a court system that has always given a wide berth to law enforcement was never going to indict officer Darren Wilson in the first place for lethally shooting Michael Brown:
The judicial system as we’ve constructed it just isn’t equipped—or even willing—to hold officers accountable for shootings and other offenses. Or put differently, the simple fact is that the police can kill for almost any reason with little fear of criminal charges.
Which is to say this: It would have been powerful to see charges filed against Darren Wilson. At the same time, actual justice for Michael Brown—a world in which young men like Michael Brown can’t be gunned down without consequences—won’t come from the criminal justice system. Our courts and juries aren’t impartial arbiters—they exist inside society, not outside of it—and they can only provide as much justice as society is willing to give.
The Long View
lays out the big picture about police shootings in examining how difficult in general it is to indict a police officer over a shooting:
First, the big picture. Last year, the FBI tallied 461 “justifiable homicides” committed by law enforcement—justifiable because the Bureau assumes so, and the nation’s courts have not found otherwise. This is the highest number in two decades, even as the nation’s overall homicide rate continues to drop. Homicides committed by on-duty law enforcement make up 3 percent of the 14,196 homicides committed in the United States in 2013. A
USA Today analysis of the FBI database found an average of about 96 police homicides a year in which a white officer kills a black person.
The FBI’s police homicide stats are fuzzy, and they are surely an undercount, given that they come from voluntary reports to the FBI from police departments all over the country. That the federal government does not keep a strict national tally shows just how seriously it takes this problem. A crowdsourced database has sprung up to fill the gap, as has a wiki-tabulation.
Perhaps the most disturbing thing about these police killings, many of them of unarmed victims, is that our courts find them perfectly legal.