What To Know Today

“Reframing what justice looks like”: An interview with one of New York’s violence prevention chiefs. Since 2017, Eric Cumberbatch has led the city’s gun violence prevention office, an agency with a $69 million budget that seeks to use a non-law enforcement approach to achieve community safety through a system of mentors and mediators. A former teacher and Housing Authority official who grew up in public housing, he brings with him a holistic understanding of the root causes of urban violence. In an interview with The New York Times, Cumberbatch offers a clear expression of the framework underpinning community-led violence prevention, the challenges of public safety during the pandemic, and the shift away from a law enforcement-centric approach. The whole interview is worth reading in full, but here are two highlights:

  • Lessons from the pandemic: “There are a lot of systems that weren’t necessarily viewed as contributing to public safety — but when you have complete lockdown, all of those things are taken away. I look back at when I was a teacher: I might have been the only person that told a young person ‘good morning’ that day or who hugged someone as I was walking out of the school building. How many lives did that save?”
  • Effective public safety must be proactive: “If you’re telling a story about community safety that points to courts, that points to police, those systems are far too late … I’m speaking about prenatal care, about schools and early childhood education, communication skills, mentoring, economic mobility for families, mental health counseling … The earliest interventions and consistent support for communities are what’s called for.”

Coalition calls on governors to release stimulus funds for community violence prevention. The Fund Peace Campaign, a coalition of Black and brown-led groups that successfully pushed President Joe Biden to include money for law enforcement alternatives in his $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan, is taking its national campaign to statehouses. In a call with reporters, campaign organizers urged governors to funnel resources toward tried-and-true community interventions like hospital-based violence intervention and street outreach. Mayors of cities like Akron, Ohio, and Atlanta have already pledged to use a portion of their stimulus funds to fund community-focused programs. 

Most children fatally shot by police are nonwhite, more likely than adults to be unarmed. That’s according to a Washington Post database that tracks fatal shootings by officers since 2015. As of Monday, 112 children age 18 and younger have been fatally shot in that six-year span, compared to 6,168 adults. Sixty-six percent of children who were killed were Black, Hispanic, Asian, or Native American, compared to 44 percent of adults who were nonwhite. Children were also more likely to be unarmed and to be running away when they were fatally shot — in half of cases versus 33 percent for adults. The youngest children fatally shot since 2015 were two 6-year old boys. 

Analyzing six years of disrupted cases of racially and ethnically motivated violent extremism. A new report from the Program on Extremism at George Washington University looked at 40 cases of plots that the FBI disrupted between 2014 and 2019. Among the findings:

  • Racially and ethnically motivated attack plotters tended to be more lethal if they didn’t have connection to known organizations, highlighting the dangers of lone-wolf types. 
  • The most common method of violence was guns.
  • Religious institutions were most frequently targeted.

A mass shooting in Rhode Island left nine injured. The incident occurred Thursday night in Providence after gunfire broke out between rival groups, police said. A city official told The Providence Journal it was the most people injured in a mass shooting in city history. “We are just supporting the families and the victims,” said an official with the city’s Nonviolence Institute, an outreach group that tries to interrupt violence.

Something exciting we’re up to. The Trace is proud to announce that we’ve been selected for the Google News Initiative Audience Lab, along with nine other newsrooms from across North America. You can read more about the program and the other participants here. I’ll be participating in this program with my colleague and our engagement editor Gracie McKenzie. We hope to use the lab to reach a wider audience with our work.

Data Point

59 — the number of people charged in relation to the Capitol insurrection who belonged to far-right groups. Overall, 411 suspects to date face more than 2,000 separate charges ranging from trespassing with a weapon to assaulting a police officer. [The Washington Post]