Newswire : Congressional Black Caucus introduces legislation to make the police more accountable

By Frederick H. Lowe, BlackmansStreet.Today

House and Senate sponsors of legislation take a knee to pray for George Floyd


The Congressional Black Caucus on Monday introduced “The Justice in Policing Act of 2020,” legislation designed to make the nation’s police more accountable to the nation’s citizens, especially its black citizens, in the wake of the brutal in police custody death of George Floyd.
The May 25th murder Floyd by a Minneapolis cop has sparked worldwide protests about police brutality and has led to a demand in the U.S. for greater accountability by the police.
Karen Bass, chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, called the out the names of other unarmed black men and women killed by police. Bass (D., California) said the names of several victims before asking other members of the CBC to shout out the names of other black men and black women killed by police.
Audience members screamed the names of Freddie Gray, Oscar Grant, Tamir Rice, John Crawford, Michael Brown, Walter Scott, Dontre Hamilton, Breonna Taylor, Rekia Boyd, Corey Jones, Terrence Crutcher and Botham Jean.
U.S. Senator Kamala Harris (D., California), who helped write the legislation, said, “America’s sidewalks are stained with black blood. In the wake of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor’s murders, we must ask ourselves: how many more times must our families and our communities be put through the trauma of an unarmed black man or a woman’s killing at the hands of police who are sworn to protect and serve them?
“What we are witnessing is the birth of a new movement in our country with thousands coming together in every state marching to demand change that ends police brutality, holds officers accountable and calls for transparency,” Karen Bass, chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, said during a Washington, D.C. news conference. “For over 100 years, Black communities in America have sadly been marching against police abuse and calling the for the police to protect and serve them as they do others. Today, we unveil the Justice in Policing Act, which will establish a bold transformative vision of policing in America. Never again should the world be subjected to witnessing what we saw on the streets in Minnesota with George Floyd.”
The bill, if passed and signed into law, it would:
Ban chokeholds, carotid holds, and no-knock warrants at the federal level and limit the transfer of military-grade equipment to state and local law enforcement
Establish a National Police Misconduct Registry to prevent problematic cops who are fired or leave an agency from moving to another jurisdiction without any accountability
Amend a federal criminal statute from a “willfulness” to a “recklessness” standard to successfully identify and prosecute police misconduct
Require state and local law enforcement agencies to report us of force data by race, gender, disability, religion and age
Mandate the use of dashboard cameras and body cameras for federal officers and require state and local enforcement to use existing federal funds to ensure the use of police body cameras
Prohibit federal, state and local law enforcement from racial, religious and discriminatory profiling, and mandate training on racial, religious, and discriminatory profiling for all law enforcement
Reform qualified immunity so that individuals are not barred from recovering damages when police violate their constitutional rights
Establish public safety innovation grants for community-based organizations to create local commissions and task forces to help communities to re-imagine and develop concrete, just and equitable public safety approaches
Create law enforcement development and training programs to develop best practices and require the creation of law enforcement accreditation standard recommendations based on President Obama’s Taskforce on 21st Century Policing
Improve the use of pattern and practice investigations at the federal level by granting the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division subpoena power and create a grant program for state attorneys general to develop authority to conduct independent investigations into problematic police departments
Establish a Department of Justice task force to coordinate the investigation, prosecution and enforcement efforts of federal, states and local governments in cases related to law enforcement misconduct.
Thirty-five members of the U.S. Senate and 166 members of the House of Representatives are sponsoring the bill.

Newswire: Report: Police killings are a leading cause of death of Black men

By Frederick H. Lowe

Protestor hold banner of Blacks killed by police


Special to the Trice Edney News Wire from NorthStarNewsToday.com
(TriceEdneyWire.com) – Police violence is a leading cause of death among young men, especially young Black men, according to a scientific report published recently.
The study, which looked at police use of force, found that Black men are 2.5 times more likely to be killed by police than White men.
“Our models predict that 1 in 1,000 Black men and boys will be killed by police over the life course,” the report said.
The report titled “Risk of being killed by police use of force in the United States by age, race-ethnicity, and sex” reported that 1 in every 1,000 Black men can expected to be killed by police. In 2018, police killed 1,018 people, not all of them Black men, according to the database “People Killed by Police.”
The report is contained in the August 20, 2019, issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States or America ( PNAS). “Police in the United States kill far more people than do police in other advanced countries industrial democracies,” PNAS reported.
The report listed the names of Black-male victims of police violence. The are: Oscar Grant, Michael Brown, Charleena Lyles, Stephon Clark and Tamir Rice and many others who have been murdered by the police.
The killings have sparked protests, and the U.S. Attorney General William Barr angrily reacted.
Recently, at an awards ceremony in Washington honoring policing, Barr warned that critics of policing must display more deference or risk losing police protection.
The PNAS report challenged the widely accepted belief promoted by corporate media that more murders of young Black men were committed by other young Black men but in reality it’s the police who are killing large numbers of Black men.
The murders also affect Black men’s mental health and reinforce inequality in society between blacks whites, according to The Lancet, a peer-reviewed medical journal. In a report titled “Police killings and their spillover effects on the mental health of Black Americans: a population-based, quasi-experimental study” it was reported that police killings of Black men affects the mental health of people not directly affected.
“Our estimates therefore suggest that the population mental health burden from police killings among black Americans is nearly as large as the mental health burden associated with diabetes,” Lancet wrote.
“Violent encounters with the police have profound effects on health, neighborhoods, life changes and politics. Policing plays a key role in maintaining structural inequalities between people of color and white people in the United States,” the study reported. “Our results show that people of color face a higher likelihood of being killed by police than do White men and women, that risk peaks in young adulthood, and that young men of color face a nontrivial lifetime risk of being killed by the police.”
PNAS researchers from Rutgers University, Washington University and the University of Michigan estimated the risk of being killed by race and sex using data from 2013 to 2018.

Newswire: Studies indicate reparations must include costs of predatory lending

New University Studies Track High Costs of Discriminatory Housing

By Charlene Crowell

Charts showing impact of housing discrimination

(TriceEdneyWire.com) – In recent years, the spate of homicides linked to questionable uses of deadly weapons and/or force, have prompted many activist organizations to call for racial reparations. From Trayvon Martin’s death in Florida, to Michael Brown’s in Missouri, Eric Garner’s in New York and many other deaths — a chorus of calls for reparations has mounted, even attracting interest among presidential candidates.

While no amount of money could ever compensate for the loss of Black lives to violent deaths, a growing body of research is delving into the underlying causes for high poverty, low academic performance and — lost wealth. Public policy institutes as well as university-based research from the University of California at Berkeley and Duke University are connecting America’s racial wealth gap to remaining discriminatory policies and predatory lending.

This unfortunate combination has plagued Black America over multiple decades. And a large part of that financial exploitation is due to more than 70 years of documented discriminatory housing.

The Road Not Taken: Housing and Criminal Justice 50 Years After the Kerner Commission Report, returns to the findings of the now-famous report commissioned by President Lyndon Johnson. In the summer of 1967, over 150 race-related riots occurred. After reviewing the 1968 report’s recommendations and comparing them to how few were ever enacted, the Haas Institute tracks the consequences of recommendations that were either ignored, diluted, or in a few cases pursued. Published by Berkeley’s Haas Institute for Fair and Inclusive Communities, it weaves connections between education, housing, criminal justice – or the lack thereof.

“Although in some respects racial equality has improved in the intervening years,” states the report, “in other respects today’s Black citizens remain sharply disadvantaged in the criminal justice system, as well as in neighborhood resources, employment, and education, in ways that seem barely distinguishable from those of 1968.”

In 1968, the Kerner Commission report found that in cities where riots occurred, nearly 40% of non-white residents lived in housing that was substandard, sometimes without full plumbing. Further, because Black families were not allowed to live wherever they could afford, financial exploitation occurred whether families were renting or buying a home.

As many banks and insurance companies redlined Black neighborhoods, access to federally-insured mortgages were extremely limited. At the same time, few banks loaned mortgages to Blacks either.This lack of access to credit created a ripe market for investors to sell or rent properties to Black families, usually in need of multiple needed repairs. Even so, the costs of these homes came at highly inflated prices.

In nearly all instances, home sales purchased “on contract” came with high down payments and higher interest rates than those in the general market. The result for many of these families was an eventual inability to make both the repairs and the high monthly cost of the contract. One late or missed payment led to evictions that again further drained dollars from consumers due to a lack of home equity. For the absentee owner, however, the property was free to sell again, as another round of predatory lending. As the exploitive costs continued, the only difference in a subsequent sale would be a home in even worse physical condition.

The Plunder of Black Wealth in Chicago: New Findings on the Lasting Toll of Predatory Housing Contracts, also published this May, substantiates recent calls for reparations, as it focuses on predatory housing contracts in Illinois’ largest city. Published by Duke University’s Samuel DuBois Cook Center on Social Equity, this report analyzed over 50,000 documents of contract home sales on the Windy City’s South and West Sides and found disturbing costs of discriminatory housing in one of the nation’s largest cities, as well as one of the largest Black population centers in the nation. Among its key findings:

During the 1950s and 1960s, 75-95% of Black families bought homes on contract;

These families paid an average contract price that was 84% more than the homes were worth;

Consumers purchasing these homes paid an additional $587 each month above the home’s fair market value;

Lost Black Chicago wealth, due to this predatory lending ranged between $3.2-$4 billion.

“The curse of contract sales still reverberates through Chicago’s Black neighborhoods (and their urban counterparts nationwide,” states the Duke report, “and helps explain the vast wealth divide between Blacks and Whites.”

Now fast forward to the additional $2.2 trillion of lost wealth associated with the spillover costs from the foreclosure crisis of 2007-2012. During these years, 12.5 million homes went into foreclosure. Black consumers were often targeted for high-cost, unsustainable mortgages even when they qualified for cheaper ones. With mortgage characteristics like prepayment penalties and low teaser interest rates that later ballooned to frequent and eventually unaffordable adjustable interest rates, a second and even worse housing financial exploitation occurred.

A 2013 policy brief by the Center for Responsible Lending, found that consumers of color – mostly Black and Latinx – lost half of that figure, $1.1 trillion in home equity during the foreclosure crisis. These monies include households who managed to keep their homes but lost value due to nearby foreclosures. Households who lost their homes to foreclosures also suffered from plummeting credit scores that made future credit more costly. And families who managed to hold on to their homes lost equity and became upside down on their mortgages – owing more than the property is worth. Both types of experiences were widespread in neighborhoods of color.

In terms of lost household wealth, nationally foreclosures took $23,150. But for families of color, the household loss was nearly double — $40,297.

CRL’s policy brief also states. “We do not include in our estimate the total loss in home equity that has resulted from the crisis (estimated at $7 trillion), the negative impact on local governments (in the form of lost tax revenue and increased costs of managing vacant and abandoned properties) or the non-financial spillover costs, such as increased crime, reduced school performance and neighborhood blight.”

As reparation proposals are discussed and debated, the sum of these financial tolls should rightly be a key part. While the Kerner Commission recommendations remain viable even in 2019, it will take an enormous display of public will for them to be embraced and put into action.

“The Kerner Report was the ‘road not taken’, but the road is still there,” noted john a. powell, the Hass Institute’s Director.

Charlene Crowell is the Communications Deputy Director with the Center for Responsible Lending. She can be reached atcharlene.crowell@responsiblelending.org.

Newswire : Police killings challenge the mental health of Black Americans

By Frederick H. Lowe, BlackmansStreet.Today

policearemostlikelytokillblackpeople.png

Blacks more likely to be killed by police
Police killings of unarmed African Americans have a deep psychological effect on the entire black community, causing many who weren’t in the line of fire to feel psychically wounded, according to a study published by The Lancet, a weekly peer-reviewed general medical journal.
Black people are most likely to be killed by police . Source. Mapping Police Violence
Police killings of unarmed Black Americans add 1 to 7 additional poor-mental health days per person per year or 55 million excess poor mental-health days among black Americans, resulting in their suffering from depression and post-traumatic stress disorder, according to the report titled, “Police killings and their spillover effects on the mental health of black Americans: a population-based, quasi-experimental study.”
The report focused on the number of days in which the person questioned said his mental health suffered noticeably after learning of deadly police shooting of an unarmed black person in their city or state. Police kill more than 300 blacks each year and at least a quarter of them, or 75, are unarmed.
The list of unarmed black men killed by police is long and continues to grow. These victims include Oscar Grant, Eric Garner, Walter Scott, Freddie Gray and Stephon Clark. Most recently, Antwon Rose, Jr., 17, was killed when Michael Rosfeld, an East Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, police officer, shot him three times in the back as he ran from a traffic stop.
In 2017, 25 percent of the people killed by police were black although blacks comprise only 13 percent of the nation’s population. Some were armed and some were not. There were only 17 days in 2017 when the police did not kill someone.
Following the police murder of Michael Brown, which set off days of civil unrest and demonstrations in Ferguson, Missouri, where the shooting occurred, researchers said blacks reported suffering from high rates of depression.
Dorian Johnson was walking with Brown when the teenager was shot to death by Darren Wilson, a police officer. Johnson said he suffered from depression following the shooting.
The study did not address how deadly police shooting in other parts of the country affected blacks who read about them in the newspapers, hear about them on the radio, watched television news reports or read news stories about the deadly shooting online.
The study also did not report how deadly shootings affected blacks when police are assigned to desk duty but are later are acquitted of all the charges related to the killings.
The website Mapping Police Violence reported that in 2015 99 percent of cases have not resulted in involved officers being convicted of a crime.