Thursday, August 06, 2020

Lies, jail deaths, naysaying on police budget cuts, and other stories

Here are a few odds and ends that merit Grits readers' attention while mine is focused elsewhere.

Austin Budget Battles. Grits will wait till the smoke has cleared to discuss the Austin police budget fights which are currently ongoing. Everything right now is a moving target. But if you're following the process, the Austin Chronicle has had by far the best coverage. Frankly, folks who only read the Statesman or watch TV news are currently clueless about the details of the debate, which behind the scenes has been quite intense and more wide ranging than one might imagine from reading MSM coverage. I've been disappointed in Mayor Steve Adler during this process. He lately seems more worried about placating the Greater Austin Crime Commission than actually reforming the police department. After initially supporting a divestment/reinvestment strategy, the mayor has adopted the role of reflexive naysayer and is spearheading efforts to put off budget cuts until later, apparently hoping public sentiment will soften the further away we get from George Floyd's death. Incredibly frustrating.

Nurses indicted over Midland jail death. Six contract nurses at the Midland County Jail have been charged with manslaughter and other, lesser offenses for allegedly falsifying documents in a way that resulted in the death of an inmate. It's incredibly rare for faulty medical care in jails to even be acknowledged by authorities, much less for anyone to catch felony indictments for it. Can't wait to learn the backstory on this one.

Jail deaths and familial rights. Read a heart breaking story out of San Antonio of a young man who died of an overdose in jail and the cruel rules that limited his family's access to him as he lay sick and dying.

When the gang database is full of lies. In California, recent revelations that officers falsely accused people of being gang members in the state's gang database raise questions about Texas' statewide gang database. DPS operates the platoform but exercises no oversight into the veracity of information in it. Grits has little doubt a comprehensive audit would find the same problems with our gang database seen in California.

Who was that masked man? Masks make facial recognition tech less accurate, but the difference is less dramatic than one might expect.

Lies, damn lies, and police affidavits. Police lie. A lot. Slate ponders what if anything can be done about it.

News flash: Crime remains quite low. Here's your periodic reminder that Americans think crime is high when it's really low because the MSM and agenda-driven special interests tout gruesome anecdotes widely and downplay more sanguine, contextual data.

Incarceration vs. Safety. Higher incarceration levels do not result in greater public safety, concludes a Vera Institute report.


Gadfly said...

Re the Midland nurses, how much are they being thrown under the bus?

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Really hard to tell bc there's little detail in the stories. I flagged it bc I've never seen that many nurses indicted but no jailers, administrators, etc.. Weird fact pattern to it. Who knows what's going on? I'll post a follow up later when more has been reported.

Steven Michael Seys said...

While all crime is falling at a precipitous pace, murder has spiked in big cities like Austin, Dallas and Houston. There's something at the root that needs to be investigated.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Maybe, Steven. Or maybe, when numbers are as small as they are in the murder column, small changes amount to big percentages. Even murders are WAY down compared to 20-30 years ago, when the population was much lower. IMO it's too early to declare a trend on that front. said...

This is the FIRST TIME EVER that I've heard of a nurse working at a correction facility receiving a verbal reprimand, forget felony charges of manslaughter and for 6 different nurses! That's rare indeed and I'm very curious to know more. Please update when you find out more information.

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