What To Know Today

Parsing President Joe Biden’s budget request. On Monday, the White House released its $5.8 trillion 2023 fiscal budget, an annual wish list which this year proposes a 13 percent increase — $1.7 billion — for the ATF. The money would give the agency the ability to hire 300 more people in part to crack down on problematic gun dealers and ensure that federal firearms licensees comply with the law. The funding would also target gun trafficking, increase resources for the agency’s gun ballistics program, and contribute to its gun tracing capacity. The budget also earmarks:

  • $1.97 billion in discretionary funding — a 12 percent increase — to support state law enforcement. 
  • $500 million for community-led violence interventions, to be divided between the Department of Justice and Health and Human Services.
  • $60 million for the CDC and NIH to research gun violence, a 140 percent increase.
  • Hundreds of millions for so-called root cause interventions that expand mental health services, housing assistance, employment programs, domestic violence prevention, and more.

A Nebraska city experiments with more diversity in its police force. The police chief of Bellevue, the state’s third-largest city, is hiring more women to curb law enforcement violence and raise morale. While it’s too early to tell if the hiring emphasis has cut down the use of excessive force, police officers are seeing a positive change in departmental culture and diversity. Since Police Chief Ken Clary arrived in September 2020, the share of women and Spanish speakers has increased, and nine of the last 15 hires were women. “If you’re not intentional about recruiting everyone and showing everyone that they can be successful here, you’re intentionally excluding people,” Clary tells The Washington Post.

Cities settle a handful of police abuse and shooting cases. Here are a few payouts you may have missed in the last week:

  • A federal jury in San Antonio awarded $10 million to the family of Gilbert Flores, whose arms were raised and who held a knife when police fatally shot him in 2015. 
  • The city of Detroit reached a $7.5 million settlement with Davontae Sanford, who spent eight years in jail after pleading guilty (at age 15) to fatally shooting four people. Sanford took a plea deal because he felt helpless and poorly represented.
  • A federal jury in Denver awarded $14 million to 12 plaintiffs who were injured by the Denver Police during the George Floyd protests from the use of projectiles at close-range and without warning. From The Trace: A leading expert told Brian Freskos in 2020 that such less-lethal rounds, including rubber bullets, are “dangerous, indiscriminate, and potentially lethal.”

Listen: Alain Stephens joined Apple News Today to discuss his latest reporting. He talks about his investigation into the rise of the auto sear, a small, cheap device that converts semiautmoatic guns into fully automatic ones. Alain comes in during the final segment, around the 4-minute mark. You can listen here.

Data Point

3 — the number of shootings at malls across the country over the weekend, leaving a total of four people dead and three injured. The incidents took place in Prince George’s County, Maryland, Roseland, Illinois, and Colorado Springs, Colorado.