What To Know Today
Police reform commission calls for expanded federal oversight of officer misconduct. It was one of several accountability recommendations released by the bipartisan Council on Criminal Justice’s Task Force on Policing. In addition to the expansion of federal efforts to investigate or help reform police agencies, the task force called for the widespread use of body-worn cameras and a national database of decertified police officers to prevent them from moving to new agencies. This is the task force’s third batch of police reform recommendations. Previous iterations looked at shortcomings in police training and called for mandates that officers intervene when they witness excessive force, an end to chokeholds, and restrictions on no-knock raids. Related: The Trace’s J. Brain Charles this week reported on the path of reform in Newark, New Jersey, where police have been working under Justice Department oversight since 2016.
Video shows Adam Toledo wasn’t holding a gun, had hands up, when Chicago police fatally shot him (NO VIDEO IN LINK). A spokesperson for the State’s Attorney’s Office said that a Cook County prosecutor “failed to fully inform himself before speaking” when he said last week that the 13-year-old had a gun in his hand during the March 29 shooting. Footage released yesterday shows Toledo raising his hands in the air before an officer shoots him at close range; moments before, the teen tosses what appears to be a gun behind a fence. Ahead of the announcement, Mayor Lori Lightfoot said she had seen no evidence that Toledo had shot at the police, who had initially described the incident as an “armed confrontation.” “If you’re shooting an unarmed child with his hands in the air, it is an assassination,” an attorney for the family told WBEZ afterward.
A mass shooting at a FedEx warehouse in Indianapolis leaves eight people dead. Around 11 p.m. Thursday, police responded to reports of shots fired at the FedEx Ground Plainfield Operations Center near the airport. At least five people were also injured in the incident. A suspected gunman was reported dead from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound. “We are deeply shocked and saddened by the loss of our team members,” FedEx said in a statement. “Our most heartfelt sympathies are with all those affected by this senseless act of violence.” It was one of 147 mass shootings (defined as four or more injured) so far this year, according to Gun Violence Archive. Follow The Indianapolis Star for updates on the shooting.
New Jersey’s governor proposes a slew of actions on guns. The announcement from Governor Phil Murphy include earmarking $10 million more for community-focused violence intervention programs and $2 million for the state-funded Gun Violence Research Center at Rutgers University, which launched in 2018. He’s also proposing tightening the state’s already strict gun laws, including raising the minimum age to purchase long guns from 18 to 21, banning .50-caliber weapons under the state’s assault weapons ban, and more. All of the measures require the assent of the Democratic-controlled Legislature.
Oath Keepers members involved in Capitol insurrection had a cache of guns ready for use, prosecutors say. The government’s allegation came during a hearing arguing for the continued detention of Kenneth Harrelson, one of 12 Oath Keepers militia members to have been charged in relation to the January 6 attacks. Others tied to the militia were “prepared to come into D.C. and ferry these weapons to the ground team that Mr. Harrelson was running,” prosecutors said. None of the Oath Keepers have been indicted on firearms charges, but at least 10 other people implicated in the Capitol riot have been.
Philadelphia Police will no longer use an NRA program for gun safety. The announcement came less than 24 hours after the police chief announced — alongside the unveiling of new anti-violence efforts — that the department has been using the National Rifle Association’s Eddie Eagle GunSafe program at city recreation centers to educate children about gun safety. “We heard you loud and clear!” the department tweeted after a swift backlash from some city officials, as well as gun reform and advocacy groups.
39.3 percent — the increase in gun homicides in majority-POC, high-poverty census tracts from March 2020 through February 2021, according to Jonathan Jay, an assistant professor at Boston University School of Public Health. He tells me that amounts to an additional 2,102 firearm homicides for that cohort alone. [Dr. Jonathan Jay]