Wandering Eye: White people say cops are A-OK, the price of incarcerating youths, and more

So with the horrible treatment of protestors by police in Ferguson, Missouri, where officer Darren Wilson shot an unarmed teen Michael Brown, and the videotaped death of Eric Garner after being put in a chokehold by a New York cop, a lot of people would probably agree police are in a bad way, right? Not so, say white people. According to an NBC News/Maris College poll detailed in The Washington Post, these episodes "might have actually increased white Americans' belief that their local cops treat blacks fairly." Uh, what? Turns out there was an 11 percent increase in the number of white people who said they have "a 'great deal' of confidence that police officers in their community treat blacks and whites equally," bringing the total to 52 percent of respondents. Unsurprisingly, the number was far lower for African-Americans, the people who have to put up with police fuckery: 12 percent. "Only one-third have at least a 'fair amount' of confidence in their neighborhood police, compared with 78 percent of whites," says the Post. To which we can only say:

(Brandon Weigel)

 

A man who is suing Baltimore City over the demolition of his building has got the U.S. Supreme Court to agree to hear his case. But now the court says it can’t locate the man, Bobby Chen, who communicated through a Yahoo account that has been disabled. The Wall Street Journal broke the story. "Chen managed to become part of the court's docket despite not being able to afford the standard $300 filing fee and reportedly handwriting his appeal, referring to himself in the third person and often using incorrect grammar," according to that account. The crux of the case appears to be not the demolition per se, which the city undertook after knocking down an adjoining building. Both were unsafe, the city says. But Chen, who bought the place for $900, sued, and his case was dismissed for lack of service. He said he had a hard time serving city officials with the suit and wanted a time extension. The Supreme Court apparently wants to clarify the issue of when a suit can be extended and when it should be dismissed. It's incredibly rare for a pro-se litigant to get the Supremes to hear a case. It is rarer still that the litigant then flakes off. But this is Baltimore, baby! (Edward Ericson Jr.)

 

A new report by the Justice Policy Institute (JPI), "Sticker Shock," compiled state-reported data for per-person annual costs of incarcerating youthful offenders, and Maryland's figure—$295,285­—was the second-most expensive of the 46 states reporting, behind New York's $352,663. The issues here are nuanced—high-spending states may be attempting to apply the most efficacious rehabilitation strategies, for instance, while low-spending states may be warehousing kids in large, overcrowded facilities—but JPI's point is clear: Incarcerating nonviolent youthful offenders is not only costly and unnecessary, but it tends to fall unfairly on poor, non-white offenders and foster recidivism. Maryland governor-elect Larry Hogan (R), take note: The report quotes Republican Rick Scott, governor of Florida, as saying that "we cannot afford the financial or societal costs of unnecessary juvenile incarceration" and that "by shifting our focus—and our investments—to the front end of the system, we will save not only money, but also lives." (Van Smith)

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