Wednesday, January 08, 2020

Dallas PD pursuit policy wouldn't have allowed DPS pursuit that lead to shooting, qualified immunity prevents prison-conditions suit, court records lost to history, and other stories

Let's clear some browser tabs. Here are a number of recent items that merit Grits readers' attention:

Dallas PD pursuit policy wouldn't have allowed chase that led to DPS troopers shooting kid last summer
Video was finally released from the shooting by DPS troopers deployed in Dallas last summer. Troopers engaged in a pursuit when a driver failed to pull over for failure to signal a lane change, then shot him in his driveway. The driver was armed but body cam footage doesn't show him firing his weapon or aiming it at police. Notably, the pursuit would not have been allowed under the Dallas PD pursuit policy, which forbids pursuits except for felonies involving violence, providing support for other law-enforcement agencies' pursuits, if the suspect fired or displayed a firearm in a threatening manner, or when "the officer reasonably believes that the immediate need to apprehend the offender outweighs the risk to any person of collision, injury or death." Otherwise, "all other pursuits are prohibited." This kid would still be alive if the Dallas PD policy were followed - a great example why state troopers shouldn't be tasked to perform urban policing.

5th Circuit: Qualified immunity prevents valid prison-conditions suit
Qualified immunity prevented a TDCJ prison-conditions lawsuit from going forward in the 5th Circuit, reported Andrew Cohen via the Brennan Center. The 5th Circuit ruled that the evidence indicated officers acted with “deliberate indifference” and subjected the plaintiff to a “substantial risk of serious harm” by housing him in a cell smeared floor to ceiling with feces and mocking him when he complained. But they threw the suit out, ruling defendants were protected by qualified immunity.

Historical court records 
Trying to use criminal-court records to investigate lynchings in Denton from the 1920s, a grad student discovered many had been lost to history.

Reforming parole
Right on Crime has produced a new policy brief on "Modernizing Parole Supervision." See also, new parole reform proposals out of West Virginia.

Bias, fairness, and risk assessments
It's a relatively simple matter to adjust risk assessment scores to reduce disparities in false positive rates by race, declared criminologist Andrew Wheeler. But the results exacerbate false negatives (i.e., times when the assessment fails to identify a high-risk person). And there are other vectors of fairness, by which risk assessments may be reasonably judged.

Reconsidering recidivism
Check out an academic critique of recidivism rates as a reform metric, see a summary of the analysis from The Crime Report. Grits agrees with much of her critique and thinks one can even go further. In high-incarceration-rate states like Texas and Oklahoma, recidivism rates are lower because we incarcerate so many low-risk people. Reforms that reduce incarceration of low-risk folks, in that environment, as a result can cause recidivism rates of those who remain to rise.


Anonymous said...

Has DPS ever felt obligated to follow rules imposed by municipalities? I understand the narrative is more about the reliance on DPS in urban areas but don't let wishful thinking get in the way of historical example when DPS are expected to assign some manpower to those areas.

Anonymous said...

If only there was some department to ensure the safety of the public...

Gritsforbreakfast said...

@2:35, I'm not saying DPS is obliged to follow municipal rules. I'm saying that BECAUSE their rules aren't designed for policing urban areas, they shouldn't be assigned to patrol there.

Anonymous said...

I miss barkgrowlbite and his smart ass comments. Bring him back!