Law & Order

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Mistrust and alienation between black men and the police have become so entrenched that we need radical, sweeping change. The collective experience of black men in the criminal justice system is sobering. African Americans are 2.5 times more likely to be arrested than whites, and numerous studies have shown that black men are disproportionately targeted, stopped, frisked, and searched through the practice of racial profiling.

Oh, Code Switch fam: Has there ever been such a week? Because of the virtual smorgasbord of unfortunate news, you may have skipped putting these on your plate. Dig in. Keep a chaser of Pepto handy.

Georgia Executes Man Who Killed Elderly Neighbor In 1992

May 17, 2017
Georgia Department of Corrections

Georgia on Wednesday carried out its first execution this year, putting to death a man convicted of killing his 73-year-old neighbor 25 years ago.

J.W. Ledford's time of death was 1:17 a.m. after an injection of compounded barbiturate pentobarbital at the state prison in Jackson, Warden Eric Sellers told witnesses. Ledford, 45, was convicted of murder in the January 1992 stabbing death of Dr. Harry Johnston in Murray County.

Georgia Department of Corrections

The State Board of Pardons and Paroles has declined to commute the death sentence of J.W. Ledford. His execution is scheduled to be carried out Tuesday, May 16. It will be the first one this year. Georgia has long played a central role in the death penalty debate.

Kate Brumback / AP Photo/File

Federal authorities say a Panamanian detainee at a south Georgia immigration detention center appears to have killed himself.

Georgia Department of Corrections via AP

Lawyers for a Georgia inmate scheduled for execution next week are asking the state parole board to spare his life, citing a rough childhood, substance abuse from an early age and his intellectual disability.

J.W. Ledford Jr., 45, is scheduled to be put to death Tuesday. He was convicted of murder in the January 1992 stabbing death of his neighbor, 73-year-old Dr. Harry Johnston, near his home in Murray County, in northwest Georgia.

Flickr / weaverphoto

Georgia Governor Nathan Deal has signed the campus carry law. Starting July 1, anyone with a weapons license can carry a concealed gun on a state school’s campus. The Chief of Police for Valdosta, home of Valdosta State University, says this is bad news for public safety. Here’s Chief Brian Childress, in his own words.

Grant Blankenship / GPB

Governor Nathan Deal has signed three new criminal justice reform bills into law.

 

Deal picked an audience of corrections, parole and non-profit workers at a convention called the Reentry Summit in Macon to sign the bills. The first of the three laws will affect funding for alternatives to prison time like the state’s drug courts, a place Deal says he tells his pastor friends to visit for sermon material.

David Goldman / The Associated Press

Georgia’s system for deciding parole just changed for the first time in a decade. Last month, the State Board of Pardons and Paroles approved new guidelines for determining if inmates should get out of prison early. One of the changes includes a person’s prior arrest history, rather than just their conviction history.

GPB

New research from the Southern Poverty Law Center and Emory University finds cases of alleged bias in the Atlanta Immigration Court. The AIC denies asylum to 98 percent of seekers, by far the highest rate of any immigration court in the nation.

Looking back at the 1992 Los Angeles riots, people often remember tensions between African-Americans, white law enforcement officers and Korean small business owners. That story gets even more complicated when you step into Pico-Union — a neighborhood that was, and still is, predominantly Latino.

Georgia Sets Execution For Man Convicted Of Killing Doctor

Apr 27, 2017
Georgia Department of Corrections via AP

A Georgia death-row inmate convicted of killing a 73-year-old doctor 25 years ago is set for execution next month, the state's attorney general said Wednesday. He would be the first inmate executed in the state this year.

New York City is set to begin giving body cameras to its police officers on Thursday.

Under the police department's pilot program, 1,200 officers in 20 precincts will receive the cameras. The officers will also be studied by scientists to see what effect the cameras have on policing.

As police don body cameras across the country, scientists are increasingly working with departments to figure out how the cameras change behavior — of officers and the public.

Gwinnett Officers Charged; Police Say Video Showed Assault

Apr 27, 2017
Gwinnett County Police Department

Police on Wednesday filed charges against two fired Georgia police officers who authorities say were captured on video kicking and hitting a man during a traffic stop. On Thursday morning, Sgt. Michael Bongiovanni had turned himself, with Master Officer Robert McDonald expected to follow sometime later in the day.

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