Conor Friedersdorf, The Atlantic: Former Vice President Dick Cheney, the de facto leader of the national security team that failed to stop the most successful terrorist attack in U.S. history, is taking to the airwaves to defend the Bush Administration's subsequent torture of prisoners. His Fox News interview rewards close scrutiny. Early on, interviewer Bret Baier says, "The Feinstein report suggests that President Bush was not fully briefed on the program and deliberately kept in the dark by the CIA." Dick Cheney denies this. "Not true," he says. "Read his book. He talks about it extensively in his memoirs. He was, in fact, an integral part of he program. He had to approve it before we went forward . We did discuss the techniques. There was no effort on our part to keep him from that." Cheney goes on to declare that "the men and women of the CIA did exactly what we wanted to have them do in terms of taking on this program." read more
NPR: Race is at the forefront of the current debate over the police use of deadly force. But one shooting in Wisconsin highlights another factor at play when police shoot civilians -- the lack of outside investigation. And the decade-old death has led to real reform in the state.
Ten years ago, [Michael Bell] pulled up to the house where he lived with his mom and sister in Kenosha, Wis.[...] A police officer who [...] chose to follow Bell after observing his driving, arrived shortly after. [A toxicology report] showed that Bell had been drinking that night[...]
The Kenosha Police Department's detective division and internal affairs division immediately conducted an investigation. [It] didn't take long. Within 48 hours, the department had determined that the shooting was justified, that the use of force was proper and that none of the officers had done anything wrong.
"It wasn't until later that we realized just how little of an investigation had been done," Barton says. read more
Steven Greenhut, San Diego Union Tribune: The arrest this week of two ex-cop private investigators -- charged with felonies related to their alleged attempt to frame a Costa Mesa city councilman for a false DUI -- is about more than the disturbing tactics of two hired guns. It offers insight into the way some police unions across California intimidate political opponents into silence. Councilmen Jim Righeimer, Stephen Mensinger and Gary Monahan were loathed by the city's police union because of their efforts to reduce pension liabilities and outsource services ... Righeimer left a council meeting and met with Monahan at the latter's restaurant and bar, drank a couple diet sodas and left. Righeimer got home and went inside his house -- but soon had police knocking on his door, asking him to step outside for a DUI test. He was detained for a while, but wasn't drunk. read more
Radley Balko, Cato Institute: Americans have long maintained that a man's home is his castle and that he has the right to defend it from unlawful intruders. Unfortunately, that right may be disappearing. Over the last 25 years, America has seen a disturbing militarization of its civilian law enforcement, along with a dramatic and unsettling rise in the use of paramilitary police units (most commonly called Special Weapons and Tactics, or SWAT) for routine police work. The most common use of SWAT teams today is to serve narcotics warrants, usually with forced, unannounced entry into the home.
These increasingly frequent raids, 40,000 per year by one estimate, are needlessly subjecting nonviolent drug offenders, bystanders, and wrongly targeted civilians to the terror of having their homes invaded while they're sleeping, usually by teams of heavily armed paramilitary units dressed not as police officers but as soldiers. read more
David Kravets, ARS Technica: A 36-year-old Baltimore woman claims she was tased by police and arrested while filming the arrest of a man with her mobile phone, according to a lawsuit to be served on the Baltimore City Police Department as early as Thursday. Video of the March 30 melee surfaced online this week. Police erased the 135-second recording from the woman's phone, but it was recovered from her cloud account, according to the Circuit Court for Baltimore City lawsuit (PDF), which seeks $7 million. Kianga Mwamba was driving home from a family gathering in March. Stopped in traffic, she began filming the nearby arrest of a man who she says was kicked by police. "You telling me I can't record," the woman says on the video as police tell her to move on. read more