Law & Order

Ways to Connect

Why don't the police fire warning shots? That's a question that comes up a lot, especially after controversial shooting deaths.

Last fall, the International Association of Chiefs of Police and 10 other law enforcement groups got together to work out a consensus policy on the use of force — a sort of model document for local departments that want to update their rules. When the document came out in January, it contained a surprise: It allowed for warning shots.

The number was nothing less than a shock to the system. In text set beside a series of photographs, each one depicting a girl of color staring back at the camera, the image that went viral on social media last week claims to lay bare an appalling truth: "14 Girls Have Gone Missing in DC in the Last 24 Hours."

Trouble is, police say the claim is not true.

Editor's Note: This story includes videos and descriptions of violent encounters between police and civilians, as well as language that may not be appropriate for all readers.

Gwinnet County Sheriff's Office

On March 18, a pair of Gwinnett County Sheriff’s Office deputies allegedly stole items from a storage area without permission.

Corporal Ronnie Rodriguez and Deputy Jason Cowburn were arrested by Gwinnett County Sheriff’s Office investigators on March 22 and charged with theft of county property. Investigators did not specify what was taken, but arrest warrants valued the property between $1,500 and $5,000.

Was 'House Full Of Girls' A Business Or Criminal Enterprise?

Mar 24, 2017
Fulton County Detention Center

A Georgia man forced women he held at a million-dollar mansion to get gang-related tattoos, collected all the money they made at a strip club and threatened them if they wanted to leave, a prosecutor said Thursday.

But a lawyer for Kenndric Roberts, 33, said his client simply "had grand designs to become a very wealthy person," never held the women against their will, showered them with lavish gifts and promised to share profits from his entertainment company.

Chicago police say they've located a missing teenage girl who was sexually assaulted in an attack streamed live on Facebook.

The Associated Press reports that the girl was apparently raped "by five or six men or boys" in the video, which was watched live by dozens of people.

It's the second incident in the past three months where an apparent violent crime in Chicago, with multiple assailants, was broadcast live on Facebook as it happened.

Editors' note Monday, 12:55 p.m. ET: Since this story was first published, we have added material from another former student and former law clerks of Gorsuch, as well as more information about Jennifer Sisk's political affiliations. On Tuesday, Gorsuch disputed the allegation himself during his confirmation hearing and explained the lesson he intended to teach.

Silicon Valley, a region that attracts a diverse population from across the country and world due to its thriving tech sector, faces an existential question with real-world consequences: how might its mix of cultures change local policing?

Some recent history has created fertile ground for such a question.

Brandon Anderson / flickr

Unsolved murders can become cold cases, and leave more questions than answers. That’s where the Murder Accountability Project (MAP) comes into the picture. The group sifts through large amounts of homicide data to find crime patterns and predict possible outcomes.

Court: Discrimination Against Gay Workers Not Prohibited

Mar 14, 2017
uscourts.gov

In a setback for gay rights advocates hoping for an expansion of workplace discrimination protections, a federal appeals court in Atlanta has ruled that employers aren't prohibited from discriminating against employees because of sexual orientation.

A three-judge panel of the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Friday ruled 2-1 that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits workplace discrimination based on a variety of factors, doesn't protect against workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation.

Georgia State Senate

The top federal prosecutor in southeast Georgia is among dozens resigning at the request of Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

A news release Monday said U.S. Attorney Edward Tarver stepped down from his post in the Southern District of Georgia. Tarver resigned Friday after Sessions requested that 46 U.S. attorneys who were holdovers from the Obama administration leave their posts immediately.

President Barack Obama appointed Tarver, an Augusta attorney and former Georgia lawmaker, to the job in 2009.

WIKIPEDIA COMMONS / Creative Commons

Attorneys on both sides of a high-profile case of what was alleged to be voter fraud in Georgia say they have agreed those charges were unfounded.

In the lead up to a contentious local election in 2015, sheriff’s deputies in Hancock County ­– 100 miles east of Atlanta – knocked on doors checking to see if voters were living where their drivers’ licenses said they did. The board of elections identified 180 voters, mostly African-American, who were mismatched and accused them of voter fraud.

After out-of-court mediation, an agreement issued this week refutes that. 

Man Accused Of Threats To Rep. Lewis' Staff Denied Bond

Mar 6, 2017

A judge says an Atlanta man accused of threatening the staff of U.S. Rep. John Lewis must undergo a mental health evaluation before the judge will consider releasing him from custody.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Alan Baverman denied bail Monday for 42-year-old Dante Antoine Rosser. He scheduled another hearing for March 23.

Court records say the Democratic congressman's Atlanta-based staff members expressed "grave concerns" for their safety after Rosser visited their office and also made repeated phone calls.

In 2014, the New Orleans Police Department made a bold move into body cameras, requiring all uniformed officers to wear them and record their contact with the public.

The program got off to a rough start: NPR documented spotty use by officers, and, crucially, how hard it was for the office of the city's independent police monitor — which handles complaints about police misconduct — to gain access to videos of police use of force.

FBI agents have arrested an Atlanta man accused of threatening the staff of Georgia Rep. John Lewis.

Special Agent David LeValley, who leads the agency's Atlanta office, announced that agents arrested 42-year-old Dante Antoine Rosser on Thursday on a charge of threatening to assault a federal official.

Charles Collins and his wife, Joyce, were cruising down one of the main streets in Milwaukee's North Side one spring evening in 2014, headed home after a day of babysitting their infant granddaughter. They had just dropped the little girl off with his son.

"You know how you have a leisurely ride?" Collins said this week by telephone. "That's just what we were doing, just enjoying my lady."

Prison For 2 Who Threatened Violence At Black Child's Party

Feb 27, 2017
Douglas County Sheriff’s Office

A Georgia judge sentenced two people to lengthy prison terms for their role in the disruption of a black child's birthday party with Confederate flags, racial slurs and armed threats.

Jose Ismael Torres, 26, will spend 13 years in prison; Kayla Rae Norton, 25, is to serve six years, Atlanta news outlets report.

Both wept as the sentences were handed down Monday in Douglas County, west of Atlanta.

"Their actions were motivated by racial hatred," said Superior Court Judge William McClain.

While trying to catch a bus to school, Emilio Mayfield, 16, jaywalked. When he didn't comply with a police officer's command to get out of the bus lane, a scuffle ensued. Mayfield was struck in the face with a baton and arrested by nine Stockton, Cal. police officers. The arrest was captured on video by a bystander and the video went viral.

Criminal Justice Council Recommends Changes To Probation

Feb 22, 2017
Bubba73 / Wikimedia Commons

State officials are recommending changes to help reduce what they say is the highest rate of felons on probation in the country.

In a report submitted to Gov. Nathan Deal on Tuesday, the Georgia Council on Criminal Justice Reform said doing so would have several positive results, including reducing heavy caseloads for probation officers and allowing the officers to focus more on higher-risk offenders.

After years of declining numbers, hate crimes against Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders are rising exponentially. A report from the Los Angeles County Commission on Human Relations found that crimes targeting Asian-Americans tripled in that county between 2014 and 2015. In addition, the FBI found that the number of hate crimes against Muslim communities rose dramatically between 2014 and 2015 (67 percent).

A federal appeals court says doctors in Florida must be allowed to discuss guns with their patients, striking down portions of a Florida law that restricts what physicians can say to patients about firearm ownership.

Demonstrators have taken to the streets in and around Paris to protest the alleged beating and rape of a black man by French police.

The unrest has gone on nearly a week, and "rioters have clashed with police and have set fire to trash cans, cars and a nursery school," reported Jake Cigainero for NPR's Newscast unit.

The unrest in Ferguson, Mo., following the death of Michael Brown in summer 2015 drew renewed scrutiny to police violence and revealed just how little the public knew about its pervasiveness. At first, there were widespread calls to address what officers looked like since Brown was African-American and the officer who shot him is white.

Georgia And Florida Bishops Speak Against Death Penalty In Priest's Killing

Jan 31, 2017
FHSMV/St. Johns County Sheriffs Office

Catholic church officials are urging a Georgia prosecutor to reverse a decision to seek the death penalty against a man charged with killing a Florida priest.

Sam Whitehead / GPB

A Georgia police department is looking at its past to strengthen its relationship with the African-American community. 

 

Last week in LaGrange, something rare happened: the police chief made a public apology for his agency's role in a lynching that happened more than 75 years ago.

 

Despite his 22 years in LaGrange, Ga., Louis Dekmar had not heard of Austin Callaway — but some members of his community knew Callaway's story well.

Callaway, a 16-year-old African-American in police custody, was abducted at gunpoint by a mob. Hours later, Callaway was discovered with five bullet wounds in his head. He died shortly afterward in the hospital.

The police department did not pursue an investigation into the lynching. A grand jury's only comment on it was to recommend better jail cell locks.

via AUCConsortium Twitter

Crime has frequently been an issue for the Atlanta University Center, but the completion of a $700,000 security system is aiming to decrease the area’s crime rate. On Tuesday, Mayor Kasim Reed and the Atlanta University Center Consortium announced that 35 new cameras and five license plate readers have been installed throughout the AUC.

Clark Atlanta University, Spelman College, Morehouse College and Morehouse School of Medicine each contributed $100,000 to the initiative. The City of Atlanta contributed $300,000.

A British police watchdog is investigating an incident last Saturday in Bristol in which an officer fired a stun gun at a black man who has served as a community-relations adviser for local law enforcement.

Sean Powers / On Second Thought

The U.S. Supreme Court decided Roe v. Wade 44 years ago this month. At the same time, it also ruled on a companion case from Georgia called Doe v. Bolton. This case was another challenge to states' abortion restrictions.

Before The Legal Fight For Abortion

Jan 18, 2017
The Associated Press

Nearly 44 years ago, the U.S. Supreme Court legalized getting an abortion with its Roe v. Wade decision. The battle over abortion rights goes back a long way in the United States, long before the landmark decision in 1973. There was a time in the 19th century when abortions during early pregnancy were legal according to common law. But by 1880, most states had passed anti-abortion laws.

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