What To Know Today

Racial and gender diversity of police officers reduces fear among Black Americans, study finds. Two years after the police murder of George Floyd, a team of researchers led by Professor Justin Pickett at the University at Albany found that, compared to their previous study, Black Americans are still disproportionately afraid of the police. They also found that Black Americans were less afraid of officers when they were non-white and female, using two different methodological experiments based on a nationwide sample of Black and non-Black respondents. The new research also found that civilians were less likely to fear officers when they were aware of body-worn cameras being used by police. The authors acknowledge that perception alone doesn’t automatically mean better policing. Still, they write that the combination of body-worn cameras and more diversity could “help to emotionally de-escalate police-civilian encounters.” From The Trace: The experience of Marilyn Thompson, a Black police officer in Arkansas.

ICYMI: Americans want stricter gun laws — and to own guns. We published a closer look at a survey published last week by the University of Chicago, Harris School of Public Policy, and The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. It found that 71 percent of respondents said gun laws should be stricter, the highest share since the poll launched in October 2017. At the same time, a majority of respondents said it was important for people to own guns for personal protection. “Americans have a more sophisticated take that you see reflected in the political discourse,” John Roman, a senior fellow at NORC at the University of Chicago, told me. “But you also see the fear, which is that Americans are afraid that they’ll be the victim of gun violence, and they want to have their own weapons to defend themselves.”

In California, nearly a third of red flag law orders came from San Diego County. That’s according to data released by state Attorney General Rob Bonta, who said that 31 percent of the gun violence restraining orders across the state last year — or 435 of 1,384 total — came from areas under the jurisdiction of San Diego City Attorney Mara Elliott. That compares to 483 orders in 2020 — or 37 percent of the state’s total. Suggesting that the state red flag law is underused in many other counties, Bonta pointed to San Diego’s example. Elliott and Bonta said last week that Elliott’s office has used more than 900 red flag orders since its first one in January 2018, resulting in over 1,500 gun seizures and 50 cases involving mass shooting threats. From The Trace: In 2019, we reported on Elliott’s widespread use of the orders and how she has become a national advocate for red flag laws. 

Families of Uvalde shooting victims travel to Texas Capitol to call for gun reform. The small group traveled some three hours from Uvalde — along with survivors and family of victims of the 2018 mass shooting in Sante Fe, Texas, and other advocates for gun reform. They gathered to press for a special legislative session on gun policy and call for raising the minimum age to purchase semiautomatic rifles from 18 to 21. Governor Greg Abbott has so far resisted calls to call such a session.

Sandy Hook families ask bankruptcy court to force Alex Jones to hand over control of his company. In a filing in the federal court late last week, families of nine victims of the 2012 shooting alleged the far-right conspiracy theorist “systematically transferred millions of dollars” out of the parent company of his media empire while claiming he was bankrupt. The case comes as Jones faces two more defamation damages trials in Texas and Connecticut after being ordered by a Texas jury to pay more than $49 million in damages to a Sandy Hook family earlier this month.

Boogaloo extremist sentenced to life in prison for the second of two murder convictions. Steven Carrillo, an Air Force veteran and anti-government extremist linked to the ideological movement, was previously sentenced to 41 years after pleading guilty to the 2020 death of a federal security officer after a Black Lives Matter event in Oakland in May 2020. On Friday, he was sentenced to life for fatally shooting another man, Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Deputy Damon Gutzwiller, in June 2020. Carrillo also pleaded guilty to attempted murder of five other officers.

‘Things that I haven’t seen before’: Man shoots residents fleeing from a fire he started. The horrific scene occurred early on Sunday morning in Houston, where authorities said a man started a fire at a rental residence he had recently been evicted from before he fatally shot three people and wounded two others. The suspect was later killed by a responding officer.

Data Point

10 — the number of mass shootings over the weekend across the country, leaving a total of 13 people dead and 42 injured, seven at a private event in Lexington, Kentucky. The Houston shooting was the deadliest. [Gun Violence Archive]