What To Know This Week
Out of 650 police killings since 2004, LA County prosecuted just four officers. Every time a person is killed by law enforcement in Los Angeles County, the local prosecutor reviews the case and determines whether charges are warranted. The District Attorney’s Office ruled that the incidents were justified in more than 99 percent of cases, according to an investigation by The Los Angeles Times, which examined records going back 17 years. The investigation also found that in one out of six cases there was no evidence presented to the county prosecutor that a victim had a weapon at the time of their death. New officials pledge change: Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón, who took office on Monday, made a campaign promise to reopen a number of officer-involved shooting cases. This week, he announced the creation of an independent review board to investigate police killings going back to 2012.
The NRA accused its former head lobbyist of claiming improper personal expenses. His lawyer says they were all approved. My colleague Will Van Sant recently got an exclusive look at the gun group’s 2019 tax filings. They reveal that the National Rifle Association alleges that Chris Cox obtained excess benefits between 2015 and 2019. (Cox departed in June 2019 after a falling out with CEO Wayne LaPierre). In a statement to Rolling Stone, Cox’s lawyer said the NRA’s allegations are false and that Cox’s expenses were “approved through the appropriate channels.” Gun group counsel William A. Brewer III told Rolling Stone that the NRA “is pursuing reimbursement from Mr. Cox for lavishing himself with benefits to which it believes he was not entitled.” Meanwhile in the executive suite: The nonprofit tax forms also show that LaPierre — who is being investigated for tax fraud — repaid the NRA $300,000 in travel expenses charged to the group from 2015 to 2019 that were found to be an excess benefit under the tax code.
Feds launch civil rights probe over police killing of Ohio man outside his own home. The investigation by the FBI and the U.S. Attorney’s Office centers on the fatal shooting of Casey Goodson, Jr., by a Franklin County sheriff’s deputy last Friday. Law enforcement and Goodson’s family offered differing accounts of the incident. The Sheriff’s Department says they recovered a gun at the scene, while Goodson’s family says he was shot in the back while holding a sandwich as he walked to his front door. The deputy was part of a U.S Marshals task force and had just finished an unsuccessful search for a suspect. Goodson was not a target of the sweep, officials said.
Four men were charged in an illegal gun-trafficking scheme. Feds say they had darker ideas. In October, four men, including an active-duty Marine, were arrested in Nevada and North Carolina. The men are facing an array of criminal counts, including a plan to manufacture and ship illegally altered guns across state lines. Citing new court filings and leaked chat messages, HuffPost fleshes out their white supremacist ideology and discussions about committing violence against Black Lives Matter demonstrations and protesters.
A man linked to a neo-Nazi cell’s alleged plot is sentenced to five years. William Garfield Bilbrough, 20, was arrested in January with two fellow members of The Base, a white supremacist group, who were allegedly planning to commit violence at a gun rally in Richmond, Virginia, last January. Bilbrough pleaded guilty to conspiracy charges. Patrik Mathews and Brian Mark Lemley, an U.S. Army veteran, have pleaded not guilty to far more serious gun-related felony charges. A homemade arsenal: The Trace has reported on how the cell built up a cache of DIY weapons.
47 percent — the year-to-date increase in homicides in Oakland, California, according to police. The uptick in killings has been a particularly tough challenge for a city that achieved a 50 percent decline in homicides between 2012 and 2019. [NBC Bay Area]