What To Know Today

NEW from THE TRACE: Baltimore still thinks it can defund the police. Political support for defunding law enforcement has withered in many places, the gains earned during the summer 2020 protests flagging as people worry cities cannot fight surging crime without police. In Baltimore, where the defund movement has deep roots, proponents are embracing a longer play by pushing for gradual movement and citizen engagement with the city budget. In partnership with Baltimore magazine, J. Brian Charles explores the movement’s efforts to navigate a tricky path through opposition from the police and Republican state governor, residents who fear both police abuse and lawlessness if police numbers are cut, and the slow toil of bureaucracy that activists believe is the key to lasting change.

Though close to historic lows, shootings by the LAPD are again on the rise. Officers have killed 11 people in 30 police shootings so far this year, according to police data tracked by The Los Angeles Times. 2020’s year-end total was seven deaths in 27 shootings; in 2019, there were 12 deaths in 26 shootings, the department’s lowest tally in three decades. In multiple years during the early 1990s, LAPD officers shot people more than 100 times. This year’s tally of fatal shootings reversed an annual downtrend that began in 2015, when police shot 21 people fatally. Meanwhile, homicides across LA have also risen for a second straight year, increasing by 46 percent over 2019.

A tale of two 911 calls — and the activist push to reimagine public safety. A Mother Jones deep dive looks at the Oakland activists pushing alternatives to policing, particularly in emergency response for people experiencing medical or mental health emergencies. Two cases, six years apart, began with an emergency call about Black men in crisis. The first incident ended with a fatal police shooting; in the second, the resolution to a tense stand-off was ultimately peaceful. Activists argue that the second outcome can and should be the default. Related: A growing national movement is seeking to reduce law enforcement’s role in emergency response. 

1 dead, 7 injured in another shooting at Grambling State University. The incident occurred on the Louisiana campus early Sunday morning, the university said; one of the injured was the only student victim. The school cancelled homecoming events and classes on Monday and Tuesday. On early Wednesday morning, a separate on-campus shooting left one person dead and three others injured, including two students. Another shooting, another school: A 19-year-old Alabama resident was arrested and charged with five counts of attempted murder over a shooting at a high school football game in Mobile, Alabama, that left five people injured.

Parkland school shooter to plead guilty. The former student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School now says he is mentally competent to stand trial, and his lawyer said he plans to plead guilty to 17 counts of premeditated murder and 17 counts of attempted murder for the 2018 shooting that left 14 students and three faculty members dead. A plea hearing is scheduled for Wednesday. Since Parkland: In 2019, The Trace commissioned teen journalists to commemorate 1,200 of their peers who died from gun violence in the year after the mass shooting.

Data Point

245 — the number of guns without serial numbers that Chicago police recovered from January through the middle of June. That’s more than officers seized in each of the previous five years. The department doesn’t separately classify “ghost guns,” which would be included on the list but specifically refer to homemade firearms. [The Chicago Tribune]