Standing in Front of Your Own House (While Black): Washington City Paper Investigates “Incommoding” Arrests

The chitlins were making Alex Dennis sick. Dennis, a 20-year-old with dreadlocks that graze his shoulders, found himself getting nauseous in his apartment while his uncle and aunt cooked soul food for Thanksgiving.Dennis walked outside to get some air, but ended up right in the grasp of the Metropolitan Police Department.Stepping outside an apartment for fresh air doesn’t draw police attention in, say, Georgetown. But Dennis doesn’t live there. Instead, he lives on Buena Vista Terrace SE, … [Read more...]

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“‘Force is the Best Medicine’: How America Overdosed on Drug Courts”

by Maia Szalavitz:...If doctors were to deviate this far from the standard of care in treating patients, they would face malpractice judgments and, in extreme cases, criminal prosecution. But drug court judges face no such accountability, even though they generally acknowledge that addiction is a disease and make final decisions on which treatments are permitted. “A judge’s decisions cannot be mucked about with unless they’re illegal or a total abuse of discretion,” says Peggy Hora, a retired … [Read more...]

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“Think Twice Before Calling the Cops on the Mentally Ill”

yeah: A social worker who cares for the mentally ill and developmentally disabled has now contacted me to explain why he prefers that people avoid calling the police if at all possible when it comes to the sorts of disabled people for whom he cares. In fact, the danger of dialing 911 is something he emphasizes in all orientation sessions for new employees at the organization where he works. And when one of his organization’s charges becomes loud or disruptive in a public place, as inevitably h … [Read more...]

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“These Cops Are Tired of White People Getting Freaked Out By Their Black Neighbors”

Washington Post again... The stories pile on. A white security officer tells of the year he and his black wife lived in an apartment complex. "She got cops called a total of 9 times in the year we lived there I got zero," he says. A retired cop recalls the time a "lady called scared to death because some black guy was sitting in his truck across from her house" -- it was the water meter reader. more … [Read more...]

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“In Fresno, A Community-Policing Ethos Builds Ties Between Officers and Residents”

from the Washington Post: Not long ago, the Hispanic residents of this gang-ridden neighborhood in Southwest Fresno would not have voluntarily spoken to a police officer, much less attended a police-sponsored block party and taken photos with the chief. But over the past decade, a sustained policing initiative marked by community meetings, Christmas gifts and dozens of neighborhood events has fundamentally altered police-resident relations. more (there are serious limits to attempts to "reform … [Read more...]

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“Our Children: Gay Christians Can’t Afford to Be Divided”: I’m at Level Ground

with not my strongest piece, but I think the underlying point is necessary. One thing I wish I'd added is that gay people who accept the Christian sexual ethic are both the ones serving our neediest and the ones in need: We too have been rejected by our parents and even kicked out of our homes for coming out, and have suffered other economic consequences--sometimes both the economic injustices associated with being gay and economic injustices associated with celibacy or unmarried kinship. We're … [Read more...]

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The Opposite of Anti-Gay Discrimination: What I Said at Steubenville

Hi y'all. Last week I had the chance to speak at the terrific BookMarx bookstore in Steubenville, OH. ("I'm here to do a job, I won't buy anything. ...I'll just buy like one or two very slender books." Walked out with a stack of sci-fi, Rumer Godden, and Italian epics. Some men, some men....) I'd been asked to speak on "unjust discrimination" against gay people, a term which comes from the Catechism. This is roughly what I said.I started by describing life in a bifurcated culture, where lots … [Read more...]

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