What to Know Today
First San Francisco police officer charged with manslaughter for on-duty killing has yet to go to trial. In 2017, rookie cop Chris Samayoa shot and killed Keita O’Neil, a 42-year-old unarmed Black man. Three years later, as protests for racial justice erupted across the country, then-San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin charged Samayoa with manslaughter and assault. It seemed to be the first time in city history that prosecutors filed homicide charges against a law enforcement officer for an on-duty killing, according to BuzzFeed News. But Boudin was removed from office this summer, and his successor, Brooke Jenkins, recently postponed Samayoa’s next hearing to December, delaying the trial even further. O’Neil’s aunt, April Green, met with Jenkins in August and told KQED she had little hope the DA would pursue the case. A former SFPD officer told the station that Samayoa’s case could indicate Jenkins’s wariness before her election, and may be a sign that she plans not to pursue charges once she secures her full term in office.
In Knoxville, Tennessee, racial economic inequality takes focus as a major hurdle to ending gun violence. At a meeting to discuss ways to address a dramatic spike in gun violence, a group of Knoxville activists, educators, and community members concurred on a specific issue: poverty in the city’s Black communities. Though Black residents make up just 17 percent of Knoxville’s population, 75 percent of the city’s gun homicide victims in 2021 were Black, the Knoxville News Sentinel reported Tuesday, and nearly half of Black people in the city live below the poverty line. “Community leaders have to look at the root causes of this violence,” gun violence intervention expert Greg Jackson told the News Sentinel. “Violence in the Black community is not simply just a crime problem. It’s a cycle of poverty and trauma.”
Texas AG appeals a federal court decision that would lower age restrictions for handguns. The office of Attorney General Ken Paxton, normally a supporter of gun rights, filed the notice on behalf of the Texas Department of Safety last week but didn’t state the grounds on which it would base the appeal, The Texas Tribune reported. The decision to fight the ruling, which was issued last month and cited Bruen, is drawing the ire of gun rights groups.
An unusual violence prevention project moves conflicts from the street to a backyard boxing ring. Chris “Scarface” Wilmore started the underground fight club Streetbeefs in 2008 after he lost a friend to a shooting, The New Yorker reported this week. His slogan, “Guns Down, Gloves Up,” is indicative of Streetbeefs’ mission: to provide a space to resolve disputes without firearms, whether that’s peaceful mediation or stepping into the (refereed) ring. Streetbeefs is the subject of a book of photography released earlier this month.
Richmond, Virginia, tries a holistic approach to gun violence prevention. In April, the city adopted the Gun Violence Prevention and Intervention framework, a strategy emphasizing the need for violence intervention to involve both shooters and victims. In the latest installment of a series on Richmond’s gun violence, VPM News reports on the community’s hopes for a shifted framework. One of the GVPI’s prevention methods involves the use of “credible messengers,” trusted community members who speak with victims and those at risk of being shot, as well as people who have committed gun violence. The program has received criticism, though, for heavy police involvement, including a high-profile operation to arrest people who “will shoot other people” and targeting the city’s largest public housing communities.
178 — the number of children shot so far this year in Philadelphia. Of those 178, 23 have died. [The Philadelphia Inquirer]