Thursday, July 30, 2020

Should social workers supplement or displace police? SWAT for show, Confederate prison names, and other stories

Here are a few odds and ends to hold y'all over while I finish editing this month's podcast:

Getting to know Jose Garza
Grits had earlier opined that, when he takes office in January, Travis County's Jose Garza will arguably become Texas' first truly "progressive" District Attorney, at least when judged by national standards. See an interview with Jacobin magazine, coverage from The Appeal, and an editorial in the Texarkana Gazette.

Mike Ramos shooting video released
Austin PD released video from the Mike Ramos shooting. It confirmed critics' claims and discredited APD's official account of what happened. Related: From the Washington Post's Post Reports podcast, check out, "Can police learn to de-escalate?"

Should social workers supplement or displace police?
There's much talk these days of deploying social workers to address many of the problems that society uses police to confront now. A program in Houston raises the question: Should they be deployed along with or instead of police officers? Different cities are trying both approaches. Also check out a recent letter from social workers to the Austin City Council supporting a shift in responsibility from the policing profession to theirs. See also a video "community conversation" sponsored by the Austin Justice Coalition on the topic of social workers and policing.

SWAT for Show
In Williamson County, the Sheriff would deploy the SWAT team to execute search warrants to make things more exciting for a reality TV show that was filming at the department. The TV show, LivePD, recently shuttered after it was revealed they'd recorded a Sheriff's deputy killing Javier Ambler and never turned footage over to authorities.

Recalling prison violence
At The Tyler Loop, Jennifer Toon tells a story of violence and racism from her time in prison.

Will ex-Confederate name purge extend to prisons?
At the Marshall Project, Keri Blakinger wonders if the movement to purge racist and Confederate-themed names from institutions will extend to prisons, and suggests a few candidates for change if it does.

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