What To Know Today

NYPD leader blasts prosecutor’s reform guidance. Last Monday, new Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg sent a memo to prosecutors in his office advising them to seek jail and prison time in only the most serious cases and stop charging lower-level crimes. The directive also included not seeking jail time for gun possession charges absent an accompanying, higher-level charge. Bragg noted that prosecutors must find ways to adhere to his guidance without violating state and local law. But by Friday night, new NYPD Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell — whom Mayor Eric Adams appointed — sent a note to the entire 36,000-member department questioning the reforms, particularly the firearm possession guidance for affording “people the opportunity to continually possess guns without consequence.” Sewell’s reaction echoed the blowback progressive prosecutors have received from police and police unions in other major cities, like Kim Foxx in Chicago and Larry Krasner in Philadelphia. (Both easily won reelection bids despite police opposition.) Watching the mayor’s moves: Democrat Eric Adams was elected on a centrist, pro-police platform, while at the same time expressing support for supporting non-law enforcement public safety programs favored by progressives. It’s unclear what role, if any, Adams had on Sewell’s memo, but as mayor he has final say on police policy.  

Reversing Philly’s gun violence spike: “The solutions have not been as big as the problems they seek to solve.” In an op-ed in The Philadelphia Inquirer, criminologists Caterina G. Roman and John K. Roman make the case for how to reverse the tide in a city that has been hit especially hard by the nationwide shooting surge. They argue that the city response has been too narrowly focused on the shooting rate, when a multidimensional problem like gun violence requires a citywide approach to tackling deeper root causes. To change that, the mayor should create a permanent cabinet to span future administrations, they write: “This cabinet would define gun violence as a broad public health and safety issue – one that is caused in large part by poverty and intersects with everything from education to child welfare to housing.” Up the Block: Our resource hub for Philadelphians highlights organizations providing resources to those affected by gun violence.

Indiana Republicans take another swing at permitless carry. The bill, which a House committee voted last week to send to a full floor vote, removes permitting requirements for people to carry handguns in public. Though similar legislation has failed in the state in the past, supporters hope to echo passage of similar bills in six GOP-led states last year. The proposal creates rare daylight between Republicans and many law enforcement groups, who have opposed the policy that they say helps screen out prohibited gun purchasers and makes it easier for officers to determine if someone they stop or detain is carrying a weapon lawfully. Republican-controlled legislatures in Alabama, Nebraska, and Ohio are also considering their own permitless carry bills in 2022.

Friend who bought Kyle Rittenhouse the rifle he used in Kenosha shootings agrees to a plea deal. Dominic Black, 20, bought an assault-style for the then-17-year-old prior to the fatal shooting of two protesters, and on Friday agreed to plead no contest for contributing to the delinquency of a minor and pay $2,000 to avoid possible conviction for two felony charges. Judge Bruce Schroeder, who oversaw the case against Rittenhouse and threw out a minor-in-possession charge against him before a jury acquitted Rittenhouse on all counts, is also handling Black’s case and is expected to rule on the plea deal at a hearing today.

“A tragedy on many, many levels”: Killers of Ahmaud Arbery sentenced to life in prison. The judge overseeing the case of the three white men who chased down and killed a Black man who was jogging in March 2020 sentenced father and son Greg and Travis McMichael to life without possibility of parole, while accomplice William “Roddie” Bryan will be eligible for parole when he’s 82. The men still face federal hate crimes charges.

Data Point

42 percent — the share of firearm homicide victims in 2020 that were Black men between the ages of 15 and 34, despite that group accounting for only 2 percent of the U.S. population. [The Trace]