What To Know Today

More insights from the FBI’s final crime numbers for 2020. Last week, we covered the early release of the bureau’s final numbers that were obtained ahead of time by The Upshot. The full dataset was publicly released Monday, and it confirms that the national murder rate rose by 29 percent, while the share of murders committed with a gun reached a record-high 77 percent. More murders, fewer cleared cases: Another notable trend is that police agencies made arrests in 54 percent of murder cases last year, down from 61 percent in 2019. The drop was more pronounced in cities with a population over 250,000, where the rate went from 58 percent in 2019 to 47 percent last year. From The Trace: As we reported in 2019, police departments in cities across the country are increasingly failing to solve the shootings of Black and Hispanic victims, fueling community mistrust in law enforcement. 

The harrowing tale of an accidental shooting — and the long road to recovery for the 4-year-old victim. Shootings of children nationwide spiked during the pandemic, with more than 5,100 people under 18 shot, far more than at any point since Gun Violence Archive started tracking the data in 2014. In Washington, D.C., 95 people under 18 were shot last year, nine fatally. In a poignant, disquieting feature, The Washington Post focuses on the near-fatal shooting of 4-year-old My’onna Hinton, which occurred in May 2020 as she and a 7-year-old relative found a loaded (and illegally acquired) gun inside a neighborhood apartment. The piece is equal parts beautiful and tragic, detailing My’onna’s recovery and offering a reminder of the devastating consequences of America’s gun violence crisis on the young and especially on Black communities. John Woodrow Cox, the author of the story, directed readers to a GoFundMe campaign set up for My’onna and her family after the shooting. 

The link between rundown properties and gun violence. Murders in Washington, D.C., are up 11 percent over last year, which already saw the highest level in 16 years. The D.C. Attorney General’s Office tells Axios that mismanaged and rundown properties have been a driver for the city’s rising violence. “Almost always when there is drug or firearm-related activity, there is also unkept property,” said the head of the social justice division in Attorney General Karl Racine’s office. “It usually goes hand-in-hand with overgrown shrubs, trash that is not being picked up, doors that are not being secured [and] inadequate lighting.”

Pulse shooting victims lose lawsuit against Facebook, Google, and Twitter. The suit contended that the platforms illegally facilitated international terrorism, as the perpetrator became radicalized through information found on their sites before committing the Orlando nightclub massacre that left 49 people dead in 2016. But the 11th Circuit for the U.S. Court of Appeals disagreed: The shooter’s “deadly acts of domestic terrorism — and the means by which he accomplished them — do not plausibly transcend national boundaries,” argued the three-judge panel. While the shooter declared his allegiance to ISIS, the court argued that no direct links were found between the perpetrator and any overseas networks.

“The end of public access to law-enforcement records.” So wrote Tom Parker, chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court, in a blistering dissent late last week in a case concerning a 2017 fatal police shooting of a motorist in Baldwin County. The Alabama-based news outlet Lagniappe filed suit after being denied records related to the incident, in which the officer was later cleared of wrongdoing. On Friday, the state Supreme Court ruled that Baldwin County Sheriff’s Office didn’t have to publicly disclose those records. The ruling was a broad interpretation of statutes exempting investigative records from public requests, and it may affect the success of future requests. “I cannot sit idly by while this Court shrinks a legal right of the people of Alabama to the vanishing point,” added Parker, the lone dissenting judge.

Data Point

100 percent — the year-over-year increase in shootings in one police precinct in Portland, Oregon, through the end of August. The city is facing one of its worst-ever years for gun violence — murders are up 82 percent — and the North Precinct accounted for 383 shootings out of 837 in the city. [The Oregonian]