Two Kentucky jailers indicted in federal civil rights charges in the killing of a detainee

Damon Hickman and Larry Trent, Kentucky jailers accused of beating an inmate to death.

Here’s another incident of police violence to watch.
Today, the Department of Justice announced that Damon Hickman and William Howell, two jailers at the Kentucky River Regional Jail in Hazard, Kentucky, are being indicted on civil rights charges stemming from the 2013 death of Larry Trent. The indictment charges Hickman and Howell with using unnecessary force in the altercation with and beating of Kent. They are both charged with subsequently falsifying records to deny Kent critical medical services after the beating, which allegedly led to his death. According to the DOJ:

The indictment charges Damon Hickman, 38, and William Howell, 59, with causing Trent’s death, and charges Hickman with attempting to cover up his involvement in the death.
Hickman and Howell are charged with federal civil rights violations for depriving Trent of his civil rights. Count one of the indictment charges Hickman and Howell of failing to provide Trent

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Police sexual misconduct: Just how big of a problem is it?

Pretty big. That’s how big.
Over the weekend the Associated Press published the results of a year-long investigation into sexual misconduct by law enforcement in the U.S. The investigation found that about 1,000 officers from 41 states across the country were booted from police forces due to sex-related conduct over a five-year period, from 2009 to 2014. That number comes from a total of about 9,000 records that the AP combed through.

The AP investigation’s results were released just in time for the start of the trial of one of their subjects, Daniel Holtzclaw. His trial begins today in Oklahoma with jury selection. The former Oklahoma City police officer faces 36 counts of sexual assault and other crimes against 13 women.

The report is obviously troubling for a number of reasons. One—and only one—is that the total number of officers that engage in such behavior isn’t truly known. Some

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Houston’s vote on an LGBT equal rights measure a nail-biter as the right obsesses over bathroom use

Houston’s right-wing nut jobs have dubbed the LGBT nondiscrimination measure, which goes to vote Tuesday, “the bathroom ordinance.” They are obsessed with which bathrooms people use and have been making completely fabricated claims that the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO) will allow “any man at any time” to use a women’s restroom.
But what’s even worse than the right’s incendiary claims is the fact that their scare tactics might actually defeat a measure that’s designed to provide nondiscrimination protections on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity as well as race, sex, ethnicity, religion, disability, age, and other characteristics. Sandhya Somashekhar reports:

Robert M. Stein, a pollster and political science professor at Rice University, said his latest poll, which wrapped up in early October, shows the measure passing by six percentage points. But the political winds have shifted since then, Stein said, and now he

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Police unions gang up on Quentin Tarantino

Police Benevolent Association President Patrick Lynch is pictured following the funeral of slain NYPD officer Rafael Ramos in the Brooklyn borough of New York December 27, 2014. Picture taken December 27, 2014.  A majority of New York City residents are c

The New Jersey State Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association (PBA) is the latest police union to join a boycott of filmmaker Quentin Tarantino called for by their New York “brothers in blue.”  Patrick Lynch, president of the New York police officers’ union, described Tarantino as a “cop hater” and called for New Yorkers to send the director “a message.” Tarantino spoke at an anti-police brutality rally in the city last Saturday, saying that he was on the side of those victimized by police.
PBA President Pat Collegian said, “Mr. Tarantino should be mindful of the potential dangers that can result from the dangerous rhetoric once it is ingrained in the mind of a person who is willing to harm an officer.”

The New Jersey organization joins unions in Philadelphia and Los Angeles in both the boycott and the hyperbole against the director. Philadelphia’s union head John McNesby also

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How Jeb! pushed Florida’s quiet war on black voters

Jeb Bush speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) at National Harbor in Maryland February 27, 2015.  REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque  (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS) - RTR4RHAO

Jeb! Bush made the most of Florida’s arcane voter laws while he was governor to help disenfranchise black voters in the state, as documented by a new Mother Jones article titled, “How Jeb Bush perpetuated the Sunshine State’s war on black voters.”
The story opens on James Ghent, a black Miami resident who turned his life around in the early ’90s after spending much of the ’80s in and out of jail. “He got clean. He remarried and raised a family. He went back to school for a degree in radiography,” writes Pema Levy. But Florida is one of three states in which felons permanently lose their voting rights, even after serving their time. The only way to get one’s right to vote back is to petition the governor and his or her cabinet in person.

These hearings, held four times annually, begin promptly at 9 a.m. One

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How Cuyahoga County prosecutor Tim McGinty is ensuring that Tamir Rice’s killer won’t go to trial

The last photo of Tamir Rice, taken just weeks before he was shot and killed by Cleveland Police

Daily reminder: Grand juries for officer-involved shootings are bullshit.
In the wake of controversial decisions by prosecutors in Richmond County, New York, and St. Louis County, Missouri, to protect the police officers who killed Eric Garner and Michael Brown, respectively, with grand jury proceedings, activists and legal experts are rightly calling foul in Cleveland. On October 10, Cuyahoga County prosecutor Tim McGinty took the grand jury scheme a step further, authorizing the release of two independent reports that argued that officer Timothy Loehmann acted reasonably in killing 12-year-old Tamir Rice. These public reports came well in advance of the grand jury, and according to some experts may unfairly color the proceedings in Loehmann’s favor. You think? According to Mother Jones:

[T]he reports have sparked outrage from Rice’s family and supporters, who say the grand jury investigation amounts to “a charade aimed at whitewashing” and are demanding that a special

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Amonderez Green dies of injuries sustained in officer-involved shooting

Another day, yet another tragedy involving police officers and a mentally ill person. This time in the St. Louis suburb of Normandy, Amonderez Green died early on the morning of October 29 from injuries sustained in an October 28 shootout with Normandy police. According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:

Normandy police officers were called to the 5800 block of Bermuda Drive about 2 p.m. for a report of a suicidal man, Normandy police Cpl. Tameika Sanders said at a press conference Wednesday night. The area is near the Normandy-Ferguson city line.
The man, now identified as Green, was being followed by family members who were “seeking police and medical intervention,” Normandy police said in a press release.

Like all too many interactions between black individuals—especially those who are mentally ill—this one ended in death. Normandy police report that Green was uncooperative and unresponsive to attempts to speak to

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