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News and notes on guns in America

Daily Bulletin: As Protests Roil the Nation, Advocates Offer Blueprints for Ending Police Violence

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WHAT TO KNOW TODAY

Advocates advance blueprints for reducing police violence. As outrage and anguish  poured out at protests around the country, contrasting narratives emerged over the weekend. Some police officers, hoping to deescalate tense situations, started to take a knee with marchers. But others responded to demonstrations against police brutality by committing more police brutality. It is not clear what will end our current cycle of largely peaceful daytime protests and destructive overnight chaos. But advocates for black criminal justice reform and anti-violence leaders are pointing a way out of the crisis with proposals for ending the police killings and excessive use of force at the center of the conflagration. A few examples: 

  • Pastor Mike McBride of Live Free USA, who champions community-centered gun violence interventions credited with dramatically reducing shootings in Oakland, California, is calling on mayors to pledge to expel officers with a history of racism. Live Free’s campaign also includes planks on police hiring, equipment, accountability, and training. Here’s its website, which includes success stories from California. 
  • Data scientist and policy analyst Samuel Sinyangwe, a co-founder of Campaign Zero, reiterated changes that states and cities have already implemented. The list includes bans on hiring officers previously fired or investigated for serious misconduct at their former departments; requirements that police use all available alternatives before resorting to lethal means; community oversight systems; and prohibiting departments from purchasing decommissioned military gear. 
  • In this New York Times op-ed, Philip V. McHarris and Thenjiwe McHarris note that the Minneapolis Police have already adopted many popular reforms. The McHarrises argue for a dramatic redistribution of tax dollars away from police budgets and toward civilian-led violence interruption programs and more emergency social service responders. 

Gunfire adds to bloodshed at protests. A white bar owner was arrested on allegations of fatally shooting a black protester in Omaha, Nebraska, on Saturday. The victim, James Scurlock, was 22 years old. “His daughter lost a father,” said Scurlock’s dad. “All because he decided to protest against racism.” During protests in downtown Indianapolis on Saturday and Sunday, at least two people were fatally shot and at least one other person was woundedIn Fargo, North Dakota, a protester was shot in the foot. A Kansas City, Missouri, woman was shot and wounded during a protest there, and one person in New York City was shot and wounded as looters ransacked luxury stores in Manhattan’s SoHo neighborhood. 

In multiple cities, gun owners shot at or threatened protestors. A motorist in Eugene, Oregon, was arrested after spraying gunfire at protesters tapping on his car. In Texas, police officers looked on while men wielding assault-style rifles guarded the Alamo in San Antonio, and the driver of an 18-wheeler pulled a gun on protesters in Austin. In California, a man was arrested in Rancho Cucamonga after circling a protest and pointing a gun at demonstrators; peaceful protestors found themselves at gunpoint in Benicia; and armed business owners stood guard outside their shops in La Mesa. A few homeowners in Bellevue, Washington, blocked off their street with rifles. While hundreds of protestors gathered in Nashville, Tennessee, heavily armed man climbed a construction site across the street. 

There were at least eight multiple-victim shootings over the weekend, according to Gun Violence Archive. Three of them — in HoustonGastonia, North Carolina; and Gulfport, Mississippi — occurred at parties. One person was killed and five people, including a police officer, were injured in a shooting at a raceway in Florida.

ICYMI: To save Baltimore, mayoral candidates vow to crack down on illegal guns. As local governments around the country have directed more resources into community-led gun violence interventions, three of the leading black candidates for Baltimore mayor have pledged to reduce shootings by empowering law enforcement. Politico Magazine looked at the contenders’ embrace of focused deterrence, which has proven effective when implemented correctly. But other tactics they advocate, including stiffer prison sentences and a public registry of people caught with illegal guns, have mixed records. Ahead of Tuesday’s mayoral primary, The Trace’s J. Brian Charles has that story, published in partnership with Baltimore Beat.

DATA POINT

At least 400 people have been shot and killed by police in the U.S. so far this year. Of them, 75  were black. — The Washington Post