Criminal Justice

Criminal justice news and developments.

Learn how film and television portray policing.

Law and Order. CSI. Hawaii-Five-Oh. American Sniper. TV shows and movies about law enforcement and the police permeate the screens of Americans across the country. Media portrayals about police officers, detectives, judges, crime fighters, and more firmly implemented into the cultural lexicon. Just because they are on TV does not mean that these shows exclusively exist for entertainment. Many shows actively depict criminal justice without showcasing the many ways it harms the lives of communities of color. These shows often work to bolster law enforcement in the eyes of white supremacy while simultaneously reducing compassion for the disproportionately Black victims of its system.

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Unpack the Derek Chauvin trial.

For the past month, Derek Chauvin has been on trial for the murder of George Floyd. Finally, the verdict is out. Chauvin faced three charges: second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter. To convict Chauvin, the prosecution needed to show each charge beyond a reasonable doubt. The prosecution did not need to prove that Chauvin intended to kill George Floyd to convict him of the charges.

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150 150 Nicole Cardoza

Abolish qualified immunity.

The death has been referred to as an “accidental discharge.” But there is nothing accidental about the death of an unarmed Black man by law enforcement. Our system is designed to maximize interactions between Black and brown people and police officers, which all but ensures that harm will happen. This is enforced through the practice of over-policing, initiatives that have justified increased levels of policing for the sake of the greater good, but often with adverse consequences (Scientific American).

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150 150 Nicole Cardoza

Stop over-policing.

The death has been referred to as an “accidental discharge.” But there is nothing accidental about the death of an unarmed Black man by law enforcement. Our system is designed to maximize interactions between Black and brown people and police officers, which all but ensures that harm will happen. This is enforced through the practice of over-policing, initiatives that have justified increased levels of policing for the sake of the greater good, but often with adverse consequences (Scientific American).

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150 150 Nicole Cardoza
Support the BAmazon Union.
Person delivering an Amazon package to a door.

Support the BAmazon Union.

5,805 workers at an Amazon facility in Alabama will decide whether they wish to be represented by the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union. If they vote yes, they would be the first Amazon warehouse in the United States to unionize.

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3878 2765 Nicole Cardoza

Fight racist death row sentencing.

Pervis Payne, a Black man who was convicted for murder 33 years ago, will be executed in December, despite DNA evidence that could prove his innocence (CNN). While the execution of an intellectually disabled person is unconstitutional, the court didn’t recognize Payne’s disability at the time of his trial (Tennessean). The Innocence Project, a legal organization that works to exonerate the wrongfully convicted, is trying to stop Payne’s execution. As of today, “375 people in the United States have been exonerated by DNA testing, including 21 who served time on death row” (The Innocence Project).

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150 150 Team ARD

Expand the court.

It happened. Justice Amy Coney Barrett was confirmed to the Supreme Court Monday evening (NPR). Judge Barrett, who is 48 years old, is likely to serve on the court for decades, solidifying a 6-3 conservative majority. It also gives her immediate power in several upcoming hearings this November that disproportionately impacts the livelihood of communities of color. This is the first time a Supreme Court nominee has been confirmed without a single vote from a major minority party since December 1869 (WSJ). Now that it’s official, inquiries on whether or not Biden, if confirmed, could expand the court, have snowballed into comprehensive calls for action.

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150 150 Nicole Cardoza
The Police Use of Ketamine in Arrests Faces Scrutiny
A close up of a cop arresting a person.

The Police Use of Ketamine in Arrests Faces Scrutiny

Police face criticism for their use of ketamine in the arrest of individuals they mislabel as “aggressive” following the death of Elijah McClain.

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5184 3888 Sydney Cobb

Learn the legacy of Japanese American incarceration.

TAKE ACTION Investigate how your state or local school district teaches Japanese American incarceration. If it’s inadequate, contact them. (Feel free to share this newsletter). Read more about the history of Japanese America on Densho’s , . “I was wondering how will they ever put all of us in a place that small. What surprised me…

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150 150 Jami Nakamura Lin
The Enduring Criminality of the War on Drugs
A person lighting a cigarette in the dark.

The Enduring Criminality of the War on Drugs

The impact of the “war on drugs” campaign in the ’70s and ’80s continues to the mass incarceration of Black and Brown people today.

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2400 1600 Renée Cherez