Althouse | category: crime



an endless succession of beans and nuts.

"Last year, federal prosecutors in the [Washington D.C.] U.S. attorney’s office chose not to prosecute 67 percent of those arrested..."

"... by police officers in cases that would have been tried in D.C. Superior Court.... In an interview, Matthew M. Graves, the Biden-appointed U.S. attorney for the District, said his office was continuing to prosecute the vast majority of violent felonies. He said prosecutors were declining less serious cases for myriad reasons, including that the city’s crime lab remained unaccredited and police body-camera footage was subjecting arrests to more scrutiny...."

"[P]rosecutors have to pay to have evidence for DNA, firearm and fingerprint analysis sent to outside laboratories, Graves said. Prosecutors, he said, prioritize doing so for violent offenses.... [A] D.C. law that the city council passed in 2020 preventing officers from reviewing their body worn cameras before filling out charging documents... means officers now have to rely on their memories and notes when filling out arrest warrants, and prosecutors might not move forward on a case if details in the warrant don’t match the footage, officials said.... Graves said the office temporarily had resources stretched thin in recent years, though some of those problems had abated. After the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol, he said his office temporarily pulled about 15 prosecutors and staffers from D.C. Superior Court cases to focus on prosecuting the federal cases."

"U.S. prosecutors on Tuesday charged a Wisconsin man with firebombing a conservative anti-abortion group's office last May..."

"... just days after a leaked draft of the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling overturning the nationwide right to abortion became public. Hridindu Sankar Roychowdhury, 29, was arrested at an airport in Boston after authorities said DNA from a thrown-away bag containing a partially eaten burrito had helped them identify who caused the May 8 fire at Wisconsin Family Action's office."

"Twice in the past week, Republicans scored wins and divided Democrats by employing an arcane maneuver known as a resolution of disapproval..."

".... The biggest victory came on Thursday, when President Biden told Senate Democrats that he would sign a Republican-led resolution blocking the District of Columbia’s new criminal code if it reached his desk. It was a reversal from his earlier opposition and a frank acknowledgment that Republicans had gotten the better of Democrats on the hot-button topic of violent crime. It is somewhat unusual for the president to have to confront legislation he opposes when his party controls at least part of the Congress — in this case the Senate — since his allies on Capitol Hill can usually bottle up legislation they don’t like and spare him from a veto or a tough decision...."
[T]he Congressional Review Act, enacted in 1996 after Republicans took power on Capitol Hill... created the process that allows Congress to upend federal rules. With little power to set the Senate agenda, Republicans regard the tactic as a handy way to score legislative victories and force Democrats to debate subjects they would rather avoid.... 
The technique... fits the Republican legislative mind-set, which tends more toward blocking policy rather than creating it. “We are built to disapprove,” said Senator Kevin Cramer, Republican of North Dakota.... 
Given Congress’s constitutional authority over the District, its laws are subject to review and can be overturned. Republicans are eager to cast Democrats as soft on crime and saw the District law as a vehicle to do just that....
The president ended the suspense by announcing he would sign it, making it the first time in 30 years that a District law is set to be blocked by Congress. 

"... Lightfoot may be a harbinger, or at least a warning, for the other big-city Black mayors..."

"... will their mostly non-Black citizens feel that their safety is being prioritized and secured under Black leadership?"

Concludes Charles Blow, in "The Spectacular Fall of Lori Lightfoot" (NYT).
... Lightfoot belongs to a group of recently elected Black mayors of major American cities, including Eric Adams in New York, Sylvester Turner in Houston and Karen Bass in Los Angeles. In those cities, Black people are outnumbered by other nonwhite groups, and in New York City and Chicago their ranks are dwindling. Each of these four mayors was elected or re-elected around the height of two seismic cultural phenomena — Black Lives Matter and the pandemic.... 

Blow interviewed Lightfoot 4 days before the first round of the election (in which Lightfoot, with 2 candidates outpolling her, failed to advance). About Paul Vallas, the white man who came in first with 34% of the vote, she said:

“He is giving voice and platform to people who are hateful of anyone who isn’t white and Republican in our city, in our country.”


“People who are not used to feeling the touch of violence, particularly people on the North Side of our city, they are buying what he’s selling.”

She's insinuating that it's racist to care too much about your own physical safety. It's obviously impolitic to say that too clearly. Blow also proceeds gently (and abstrusely!):

In this moment, when the country has still not come to grips with the wide-ranging societal trauma that the pandemic exacerbated and unleashed, mayors are being held responsible for that crime. If all politics is local, crime and safety are the most local. And when the perception of crime collides with ingrained societal concepts of race and gender, politicians, particularly Black women, can pay the price.

What's he saying other than the obvious reality that mayors are held responsible for crime? Does he really mean to say that black mayors — or women mayors — are held more responsible?

In 2021, Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms of Atlanta chose not to seek re-election, becoming the city’s first Black mayor to serve only a single term, after wrestling with what she called the “Covid crime wave.” 

Mayor LaToya Cantrell of New Orleans is facing a possible recall, largely over the issue of crime in her city, and organizers said this week that they have gathered enough signatures to force a recall vote....

Yes, I think Blow means to say that people suspect that woman mayors, black mayors, and, especially, black women mayors are soft on crime. 

"I know auto theft is a growing issue, not just in Denver but everywhere, and it’s infuriating to be victimized like that, but I discourage any resident to taking a vigilante approach."

Was this vigilantism? 

From the Wikipedia article on the topic:

According to political scientist Regina Bateson, vigilantism is "the extralegal prevention, investigation, or punishment of offenses."[1] The definition has three components:

  1. Extralegal: Vigilantism is done outside of the law (not necessarily in violation of the law)
  2. Prevention, investigation, or punishment: Vigilantism requires specific actions, not just attitudes or beliefs
  3. Offense: Vigilantism is a response to a perceived crime or violation of an authoritative norm
Can an owner of a car use an app to go in search of his stolen car? If he does, is it wrong to be armed? If, on finding his car, persons in the car point guns at him, isn't it self-defense to shoot the gun? I understand that the authorities like the idea of leaving it to them to decide what to do about crime, and I can see why they generally prefer that people not risk a confrontation, but I don't think it's "vigilantism" to go to retrieve your own property and to engage in legal self-defense. 

I don't know the facts of this case. I'm merely trying to picture what the words "exchanged fire" mean, and I note that the shooter has not been arrested. And I don't know the extent to which the Denver police have been effective in dealing with car theft.

Of course, the biggest problem is that a 12-year-old became involved in car theft. It led to his death. We're told that after he was shot in the head he "drove the car about two blocks" and "It was not clear if the boy had been driving the car before the shooting." Those are puzzling facts. Could he have moved into the driver's seat after being shot in the head? It seems more likely that he stepped on the gas to escape and as he was getting shot in the head and the car propelled itself 2 blocks. 

It's very sad that a boy is dead and that his life was such that it ended the way he did. 

"Even as city officials credited Scorpion officers with bringing down violent crime, their presence had spread fear in the predominantly low-income neighborhoods they patrolled..."

"... according to interviews with dozens of people in the community.... 'Police out here riding around like hound dogs,' said Lareta Johnson Ray, whose family members wound up in a violent encounter with the unit’s officers after running from them last summer. The Scorpion unit was 'terrorizing this city,' Ms. Ray said, and Mr. Nichols’s death was 'not the first time that they be beating on people — it was the first time that they messed up.'... In encounter after encounter, Memphis residents said, the Scorpions had a similar playbook: Officers would spot some minor infraction, jump out and begin asking questions and barking commands. Some said the officers offered no explanation about what they had done wrong, leading to confusion and sometimes disobedience. Some of those interviewed said they had tried to run away, in part, out of pure fear."

"Many of the Scorpion officers remain on the force, and it is unclear how many operated with the aggressive tactics that arrestees detailed in interviews. Michalyn Easter-Thomas, a member of the City Council, said she did not hear about the volatile encounters people had with the Scorpion unit until after Mr. Nichols’s death. 'I just wish we would have known sooner,' she said."

Wish?! Isn't it your job to know? Didn't you know?

This is a long article, and I recommend it, but I was motivated to search the page for the word "Democrat." It does not appear. Even when the mayor is named, we are not told his party. There should be political responsibility. The article makes that clear, but it declines to make Democrats uncomfortable. Immoral priorities.

Sushi tero — sushi terrorism... contaminating the food at the kaitenzushi — conveyor-belt restaurant.

From "Licking things at sushi train restaurants, the latest viral Japanese trend" (WaPo):
Such scenes would elicit disgust anywhere. But they have set off a national wave of revulsion in Japan, known for its exacting standards of both hygiene and politeness. This week, Sushiro, a conveyor belt sushi restaurant chain where one of the most-viewed recent videos was filmed, took the rare step of submitting a complaint to the police about a boy who licked unused cups and soy sauce bottles and touched other people’s sushi after licking his fingers.... 
The boy, whose age was not disclosed, and his parents apologized to the restaurant. But the restaurant claimed it has suffered reputational and financial damage; its stock fell by 5 percent, or nearly $125 million, after those videos went viral.... 
[T]he latest videos on TikTok, Twitter and Instagram have garnered huge social media interest....

Well, now, everyone is going to have to garner their food somewhere else.

This method of service depends on shared virtue and the virtue is gone. Social media destroyed it. A human being will now need to bring the food to the table. But there must also be video of waiters (and cooks) contaminating the food with bodily fluids.

Truly, how can you eat in a restaurant anywhere? Must we sit home — covid-style — until the robots take over? The robots will be virtuous. The conveyor belt is an incomplete robot, crudely throwing everyone's food at everyone. 

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