Rounds

News and notes on guns in America

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[Tony Webster/Wikimedia Commons]

Daily Bulletin: Minneapolis Police Pull Guns on Black Residents at Disproportionate Rate

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WHAT TO KNOW TODAY

NEW from THE TRACE: Police should never use rubber bullets against civilians, experts say. Prominent among the weapons police have deployed to quell police brutality demonstrations are rubber bullets, a shorthand description of projectiles designed to deliver a knock-down blow without actually penetrating a person’s body. But frequent descriptions of these rounds as “nonlethal” are misleading. “Rubber bullets are dangerous, indiscriminate, and potentially lethal — and that’s a bad combination,” said one medical expert. Brian Freskos has that story here.

Minneapolis Police pull their guns on Black residents at a disproportionate rate. Nearly 70 percent of police use-of-force cases where officers displayed firearms involved Black people, according to a New York Times analysis of city data. Black people make up 20 percent of the population, but are seven times more likely than white residents to experience police force. Related: On Tuesday, the Minnesota Department of Human Rights launched a civil rights investigation into the Minneapolis PD.

Gun ownership drastically elevates suicide risks. That’s according to a new study published in The New England Journal of Medicine, which tracked 700,000 first-time handgun buyers in California over a 12-year period. The risks were highest in the immediate period after purchase, but remained for years. The research found that male gun owners were eight times more likely to die by gun suicide that non-gun owners, while women were 35 times more likely. Previous studies have linked gun ownership to higher suicide rates, but experts hailed the new findings as especially persuasive. “I find the work extremely compelling,” one told The New York Times. “This is really a groundbreaking paper,” another told Stat News.

School districts are canceling police contracts. The Minneapolis school board voted late Tuesday to stop employing school resource officers. The teachers union supported the change and the school system is exploring alternative security arrangements for the upcoming year. School board officials have made similar calls this week in Charlottesville, Virginia, and Denver. As of 2016, 42 percent of public schools had a regular school resource officer.

After backlash, Omaha DA says he’d support grand jury probe into shooting death of Black protester. On Monday, County Attorney Don Kleine said a white bar owner acted in self-defense when he fatally shot James Scurlock, 22, on Saturday and would not be charged. Now Kleine has announced that he would request a grand jury to review the shooting, saying: “I certainly believe in transparency and I have no problem with any oversight about decisions that we’ve made.” The decision comes a day after local Black leaders confronted Republican Governor Pete Ricketts about the case. When asked what he was doing to ensure public safety, Ricketts said: “Where the hell were you people?” Ricketts later said he had chosen poor woods and apologized.

Online extremists are using protests to spread their agenda of armed rebellion. The Network Contagion Research Institute, which tracks extremist activity, says online extremist subgroups — which it calls the “militia-sphere” — have intensified their efforts during months of social upheaval in an effort to “draw populist support for increasingly violent and apocalyptic confrontations against the lockdown, law enforcement, and an ill-defined ‘elite.’” The report says that militia-sphere adherents are also increasingly showing up at demonstrations, where they have recently engaged in street violence and, in at least one instance, shot at protesters.

Related: Federal prosecutors charge three men who had ties to the “boogaloo” movement. The loose collection of far-right extremists call for violent opposition to the government. The feds say the men were engaged in a conspiracy to use recent protests in Las Vegas — first against state lockdowns, most recently anti-police brutality protests — to cause violence. They were arrested in Las Vegas on May 30 and brought up on numerous state and federal charges, including possession of explosive and unregistered firearms.

DATA POINT

After the police killings of Michael Brown, Eric Garner, and Tamir Rice in 2014, just 16 states have passed laws restricting police use of deadly force. Associated Press