Skip navigation

Articles by Michael Fortino, Ph.D

Sex Panic: The War on Sex Offenders as Public Enemy Number One

Inadequate and Outdated Training Results in Wild West Policing

But it is possible that much broader and ...

Report: Judicial System Gives Cops a Pass in New Jersey, Elsewhere

Such checks and balances on the judicial front are ...

Police Unions No Longer Welcome by Rank-and-File Labor

by Michael Fortino, Ph.D.

For nearly 123 years, police have enjoyed the privilege of organizing under various trade unions until recently when they began to be shunned by many of America’s larger labor organizations for violating the laborer’s sacred code of fair and impartial representation of the working class. According ...

COVID-19 Has Profound Effect on Breadth and Scope of Law Enforcement Agencies

 

by Michael Fortino, Ph.D.

With a global pandemic affecting nearly every aspect of traditional government operations, Syracuse University, in late spring of 2020, set out to evaluate the impact COVID-19 has had on the manpower and operations of our most active law enforcement agencies.

Much of this change seemed to follow the Trump administration’s March 15, 2020, decision to adopt a new “work from home” initiative for most federal agencies. Criminal referrals in the first half of March 2020 averaged about 4,500 per week, prior to the onset of the novel coronavirus and the “work from home” mandate. Shortly thereafter, communities experienced a reduction in both crimes and arrests, according to the data. By the end of March 2020, agency arrest referrals landing on U.S. Attorneys’ desks dropped to 1,800 per week, a dramatic decrease by more than half.

Following a Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”) request for Department of Justice (“DOJ”) records, Syracuse University utilized the “Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse” (“TRAC”) to obtain agency production numbers, which produced surprising results. The numbers led law enforcement analysts to grow concerned that the virus may have resulted in a paradigm shift in both the quantity of criminal referrals as ...

Shielding Police Identities: A Law That Cuts Both Ways

 

by Michael Fortino, Ph.D.

Marsy’s Law, also known as the “crime victim bill of rights” designed to protect victims from their attackers when the latter are no longer incarcerated, is used by Florida police as a shield to hide an officer’s identity from public access after a violent encounter with a suspect. 

Responding to a call about a fatal stabbing, police chased down a man on the south side of Tallahassee. Natosha “Tony” McDade, a Black transgender man, pulled out a gun when cornered by police and was subsequently shot dead by the pursuing officer on May 27, 2020. The Tallahassee Police Department, citing Marsy’s Law, refused to release the identity of the officer involved in the incident, claiming him “the victim of a crime ... his identity should therefore be protected” as reported by motherjones.com.

Immediately after the shooting, according to the Florida Police Benevolent Association (“PBA”), the officer “was threatened by a person at the scene, and there has been ongoing animosity expressed against him on social media since he was forced to defend his own life.” The PBA also cited the current toxic anti-police sentiment being expressed nationally and globally as a result of various ...

The 1971 Stanford Prison Experiment Showing Authoritarian Abuse Still Relevant Today

The experiment was the brainchild of Stanford University psychology professor Dr. Philip Zimbardo, who provided unequivocal proof that, under the right conditions, power and authority often blur the lines of right and wrong and corrupt the psyche to perform unthinkable acts, including the abuse of our fellow human.

The 1971 study recruited 24 students to participate in a roleplay experiment in which nine would be assigned as “jailers” or “prison guards” and 15 would be assigned as captives. The experiment took place in the basement of one of the Stanford buildings, which was converted into a makeshift jail, complete with impenetrable jail cells. The structure was designed to assure that the “imprisoned” students could not casually discontinue the experiment at ...

Blue Lives Matter More: Georgia Introduces Hate Crime Bill Designed to Protect the Cops

by Michael Fortino, Ph.D.

In the summer of 2020, a summer of discontent, a summer rife with pandemic lockdowns and street protests, the Georgia Legislature chose not to address the unrest and concerns of protesters but rather to double down on the side of law enforcement. They decided to give police and first responders more legalized protections and powers, including immunity from nearly any civil action brought against them. On August 12, 2020, Georgia passed, by a thin margin, the controversial bill HB-838/AP, under a vote that was split down the conservative/liberal party line.

Law enforcement has always enjoyed various protections that relate to this unique and dangerous line of work, but in recent years, states such as Georgia have begun to expand such protections leaving the public with a “David and Goliath” disadvantage. Law enforcement has enjoyed “qualified immunity,” a nearly impenetrable legal shield that provides an officer with immunity from nearly any civil lawsuit. This one-sided protection has successfully provided them the ability to act with impunity in almost any scenario short of acts involving premeditated criminal intent or outright murder. 

Police have also enjoyed safety behind the iron curtain of labor unions. Beyond these protections, law ...

After a Decade of Fighting, The Last Resort Exoneration Project Finally Frees Two Wrongfully Convicted of Murder

Police State: From Social Justice to Social Dominance

Just when we thought things could not get any worse, somehow they did. In the midst of a global pandemic, economic collapse, mass unemployment, and racial divide, we were exposed to a dark truth about police brutality—a truth we could not unsee because the weight of ...

 

 

CLN Subscribe Now Ad 450x600
Advertise Here 3rd Ad
CLN Subscribe Now Ad 450x600