Jail divison 9

Judge nudges Cook County to settle complaint of freezing jail cells

The judge, U.S. District Court Chief Judge Ruben Castillo, directed the county officials to “reevaluate their settlement positions” before the next hearing in a case next month filed by two inmates who contend that officials failed to protect them from extreme cold temperatures in their jail cells in the early months of 2014.

We were struck, reading this editorial in the New York Times on Tuesday about the comments of former Mayor Rudy Giuliani, by where it ended:

We can only hope that in the heat and anger of this wretched summer, Americans’ impulse to pull together is stronger than the divisiveness of race-baiting moralists. We hope, too, that the violence calls further attention to the tragedy of hypersegregated Chicago, whose South and West Sides are beset by gangs and drugs and generations of isolation and joblessness, and where the police have long had the power to harass and humiliate. But the victims of Chicago’s agonies have certainly done their part to try to end them. For years, black Chicagoans have denounced the violence, marched in the streets, pleaded with the authorities for help. Their struggle, like the one that raised the national alarm about unjust policing, deserves to be heard and truthfully confronted.

New study confirms racial disparity in stops

A new national study of  stop and frisk cases confirms what Injustice Watch reported last week about Chicago: There are striking racial disparities. People of color are more likely to be stopped, questioned, thrown against walls and searched forcibly, the new study reaffirmed. That pattern is directly tied to the significant mistrust between the community and their police. Given the events last week, the issues that divide the community and the police take on special significance, of course. The study, by Roland G. Fryer, economics professor at Harvard University, reports: “Using data on NYC’s Stop and Frisk program, we demonstrate that on non-lethal uses of force – putting hands on civilians (which includes slapping or grabbing) or pushing individuals into a wall or onto the ground, there are large racial differences.

Police shootings of black men: Haven’t we seen enough?

Editors Note: Today marks our first commentary from contributing editor Stephen Henderson, the Pulitzer-prize winning editorial page editor of the Detroit Free Press, where this column also appears. 

When they buried Emmett Till in 1955, his mother, Mamie, wanted to be sure America could see her son’s battered face and head, the crushed bone and deep bruises inflicted by two Mississippi men who ravaged the life out of him. So she chose a casket with a glass top. If you could bring yourself to look inside, you couldn’t look away. And you couldn’t look past what the image said about the nation in which Till lived, where black men and boys could quickly be hung from trees or beaten to death for the slightest indiscretion, or for no reason at all. Mamie Till knew the image of her son in that casket, published in newspapers and magazines across the country, would be a call to an American reckoning, and to action.