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Articles by Casey Bastian

Promises to Defund the Police Lead to Increase in Private Security Forces on City Streets

In June, Minneapolis was the first of any large city to actually pledge to wholly disband its police department, though now some council members are retreating from it becoming actual policy.

Several other communities have begun only a defunding process, with at least 13 cities eliminating officer positions and cutting department budgets. Among them are New York City, Atlanta, Los Angeles, Austin, Salt Lake City, Kenosha, and Norman.

Organizers are obviously requesting that police departments be dismantled. They desire a shift of funds to other programs that focus on violence prevention, safety, and community health. The result may not be what is actually being demanded. What city leaders are doing is merely transferring budgetary allocations to the hiring of private security. In some communities, these cuts resulted in privatization, not less policing.

During one June ...

Did Two Judges Violate Ethics in Florida Voting Rights Restoration Case?

Robert Luck and Barbara Lagoa served on the Florida Supreme Court. Both were later selected to serve on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit during the course of these proceedings. During their tenure on the state Supreme Court, Lagoa and Luck participated in oral arguments on the amendment issue. Lagoa was particularly vociferous in her argument supporting that the amendment clearly intended to include payment of all owed monies. Despite both judges hearing the case, neither Lagoa nor Luck contributed to ...

Government Agencies Expand Use of Private Companies to Bypass Constitution

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (“CBP”) knows about it and reportedly uses its database to conduct warrantless surveillance. CBP admitted that it uses the database in CBP’s updated Privacy Impact Assessment (“PIA”). The PIA states the database “provide[s] CBP law enforcement personnel with a broader ability to search license plates nationwide.”

LEARN (the Law Enforcement Archival Reporting Network) is a license plate reader innovation that allows for the collection of plate information of passing vehicles. With this information, CBP tracks historical locations of specific cars. Often other vehicles are equipped with license plate reader cameras and collect data on passing cars.

Vigilant’s sister company, DRN, claims to have over nine billion scans in its database. DRN shares all of its information with Vigilant customers.

It is virtually impossible to avoid such a dragnet. In April, a man was convicted of dealing heroin in Massachusetts. The state used historical location evidence caught by a reader near a bridge. The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court affirmed the conviction.

Justice Frank M. Gaziano did warn, “Where the [automated license plate readers] are placed matters…. ALPRs ...

Defense Officials: Law Enforcement in Military Garb not Appropriate

U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Border Patrol Tactical Unit (“BPTU”), its immediate response force, arrived in Portland to quell the destructive protests. Concerns were raised when video showed the BPTU agents were recorded wearing what appeared to be U.S. Army uniforms.

Secretary of Defense Mark Esper promptly raised his concerns about uniform misappropriation to the Trump administration. “The secretary has expressed a concern of this within the administration, that we want a system where people can tell the difference,” said Defense Department spokesman Jonathan Hoffman.

Hoffman addressed concerns as early as June about certain uniforms making agents of law enforcement appear to be military personnel.

Lawmakers began demanding answers after video footage and photographs of law enforcement appearing to wear Army camouflage while confronting protestors. Many officials refused to identify ...

Interactions Between Diabetics and Law Enforcement Can Become Life-Threatening

The health of diabetics depends on uninterrupted access to insulin, snacks, pumps, glucose testing strips, or syringes on a near constant basis. If a diabetic experiences unbalanced blood sugar levels, he or she may struggle to process commands, possibly becoming erratic or aggressive.

“A decent chunk of ‘use of force’ cases involve people who ... were in some kind of physical or mental health crisis,” said Matthew Segal, legal director of ACLU Massachusetts. He added, “It’s very common for the police to deal very harshly with people who simply need help.” This issue is neither new nor infrequent.

In 1984, Dethorne Graham, a diabetic who is Black, entered a store to get juice to raise his ...



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