What To Know Today

Ted Nugent resigns from the NRA board. A high-profile National Rifle Association booster and vocal bigot, Nugent joined the board in 1995. In an email sent July 29, NRA general counsel John Frazer told board members that Nugent had to step down “due to ongoing schedule conflicts.” A rock guitarist known as the “Motor City Madman,” Nugent once called former president Barack Obama a “subhuman mongrel.” In his email, Frazer wrote that NRA President Carolyn Meadows, CEO Wayne LaPierre, “and all of the NRA’s officers thank Ted for his service to the association and wish him well in his new endeavors.” — Will Van Sant, staff writer

Cities that made fewer arrests for minor offenses saw fewer police shootings — and no increase in crime. Data from the FBI Uniform Crime Report indicates that a decline in low-level arrests may have assisted a reduction in police firing their weapons at people. Eighty-six of the 100 most-populous cities in the United States reported a 30 percent decline in arrests from 2013 to 2019, most pronounced in low-level offenses. Although only 27 percent of agencies report police shooting data to the FBI, the data we do have suggests that those 86 cities also saw a 38 percent decline in police shootings — from 749 in 2013 to 464 shootings in 2019. Cities like Milwaukee, Philadelphia, and Newark, New Jersey, reduced low-level arrests by 50 percent or more and saw 57 percent fewer police shootings. On the other hand, some cities with more low-level arrests saw an uptick in police shootings. Samuel Sinyangwe, the data scientist who founded the Police Scorecard research group, writes in FiveThirtyEight that the latest data available, from 2019, shows there is still room for improvement: Low-level arrests still make up 55 percent of all arrests in the nation’s largest cities, and 69 percent of arrests nationwide. 

Florida’s agricultural commissioner suspended the concealed carry licenses of 22 people charged for Jan. 6 riots. Nikki Fried’s office handles the state’s concealed carry licensing program and can revoke permits from people charged with felonies. In a tweet, Fried announced she’d suspended nearly two-dozen concealed weapon permits of “people involved in the insurrection against the United States of America instigated by Donald Trump.” Fried, the only statewide elected Democrat, is running to unseat Gov. Ron DeSantis next year. “The deeply disturbing events that occurred at our nation’s Capitol on January 6th were sedition, treason, and domestic terrorism — and those individuals involved in the insurrection must be held accountable for attempting to subvert our democratic process,” Fried said in a statement

Tampa cop sues firearms manufacturer, alleging gun fired by itself. Bob Northrop, a 30-year Tampa Police veteran who has been a reserve officer since 2002, said that last February his firearm discharged when he tried to attach a set of keys to his service belt. He was patrolling a local high school during baseball and softball games when the weapon went off. The bullet fractured his leg and ankle. Northrop is suing Sig Sauer, the gun manufacturer that created the estimated 500,000 Sig P320 handguns held by police and civilians alike. WFTS in Tampa reports that since 2019, there have been dozens of incidents of that model handgun discharging without anyone pulling the trigger. In 2017, the company launched a voluntary upgrade program after an officer in Connecticut was shot when he dropped his gun. Northrop received one of those upgraded guns, getting a new weapon in April 2019. “Basically, all that they had said was that there had been a problem with the Sig P320, but that it was related to drop,” he said. “And they assured us that that had been repaired.”

Atlanta spa shooter enters a guilty plea for four murders, faces the death penalty for four others. The man arrested for killing eight people in a string of shootings in March pleaded guilty in Cherokee County, Georgia, to four counts of murder. He will serve four consecutive life sentences with no possibility of parole, plus 35 years. The prosecutor in Fulton County, where the gunman faces four more counts of murder, is seeking the death penalty. Fulton County’s district attorney is also pursuing hate crime charges, as six of the eight victims were Asian women.

Dallas Police apologize for killing 12-year-old during a 1973 Russian roulette interrogation. After they were accused of stealing $8 from a gas station vending machine, brothers Santos and David Rodriguez were pulled from their beds in the middle of the night by a white police officer who tried to extract a confession by playing Russian roulette. The boys pleaded their innocence but the cop persisted; his second trigger pull fired a shot that hit Santos in the head. The officer was later convicted of murder, but only served half of his five-year sentence. Despite years of campaigning for the Dallas Police Department to acknowledge the harm and pain of the killing, it wasn’t until the 48th anniversary of Santos’s death that the department apologized to the boys’ mother, Bessie Rodriguez. “I have to forgive to be forgiven,” she said.

Data Point

60 million — the estimated number of Americans who encounter police each year. More than a million of those encounters include a threat or physical force. [SocArXiv]