In the era of Trump, it can be hard to keep up with essential stories about injustice in America. This is my weekly column where I give a rundown of important headlines that have unfolded that may have gotten past you. If you have not done so already, please subscribe to our regular newsletter here. It’s the absolute best way to stay informed.
Louisiana sheriff says how much he wants to keep good men in prison so they can clean his car and change his oil
For many of us in this community that fights injustice daily, the words Caddo Parish immediately make us cringe. In many ways, it is ground zero for so much that is horribly wrong with the criminal justice system. Earlier this year, Louisiana passed a criminal justice reform package that aims to reduce the prison population by at least 10%. In a press conference about how much he dislikes many of these reforms, Sheriff Steve Prator, in plain English, openly states how he hates seeing good men let go because they are the ones that “can pick up trash,” “wash cars,” “change oil in our cars,” and “cook in the kitchen.” Watch it for yourself. It’s troubling and basically shows how our current systems of mass incarceration are slavery by another name.
California prosecutor illegally withholds evidence, the state bar recommends her law license be suspended, she testifies that she’d do it again
Injustice is local and it’s likely that you have not heard of how outrageously corrupt the District Attorney’s Office in Orange County, California is and has been for years on end. I study these offices across the country and few rival how gross this one is from the top on down.
Back in 2013 Deputy District Attorney Sandra Lee Nassar deliberately withheld key evidence from defense attorneys. That’s illegal. The California State Bar has now recommended that her law license be suspended for a year and that she be put on probation for at least three years while she proves to the bar that she has been rehabilitated. Why? Because the state bar found evidence not only of other misconduct, but testimony revealing that she said she’d do it again.
“One issue that distinguishes the present case (from the others) is (Nassar’s) lack of insight and understanding regarding her own misconduct,” the bar said in its recommendation. “This court found deeply disturbing (Nassar’s) testimony that she would engage in the same conduct again. In her capacity as a prosecutor, (Nassar’s) lack of insight on this subject represents a tremendous threat of future harm to the public and the administration of justice.”
Here’s my take: Sandra Lee Nassar should never again be allowed to be a criminal prosecutor.
The truth is finally being told about Manhattan’s District Attorney — Cy Vance
In the span of about 10 days, the house has come crashing down for Manhattan’s District Attorney, Cy Vance. While he regularly throws the book at Black and Latino youth in the city, we recently found out that he made case after case disappear not just for Harvey Weinstein, but for the Trump family as well — each who gave him large donations around the time he opted to drop the strong cases against them.
Sadly, he is running unopposed for reelection and the date has already passed for someone better to get on the ballot. People are considering running against him as write-in candidates, but calls are growing for him to step down altogether. I support those calls. His integrity and public reputation are compromised.
The DA of Salt Lake City justifies the absolutely unjustifiable police murder of Patrick Harmon
Sadly, I’ve seen hundreds of horrible videos of people being killed by police in America. The video of the police execution of Patrick Harmon will stick with me for years. A 50 year old black man, Harmon can be seen and heard on video before the shooting sobbing at the possibility of going to jail. Police appear to have initially confronted Harmon because they didn’t like how he was riding his bike on the road. When they ran a check on Harmon and learned that he had an open warrant, police decided to place him under arrest. At that point, he panicked and ran, then police shot him repeatedly in the back.
Mind you, Harmon was a toothless, life-worn man, who could’ve been chased down with a brisk walk. Officers chose instead to shoot him on the spot.
The DA insists the shooting was just fine. They always are, according to him. It’s disgusting.
Multiple NYPD officers accused of rape and child prostitution
I’ve written a great deal about the NYPD’s 42nd Precinct. Some of the officers there are among the most corrupt men I’ve ever encountered. That’s why it was no surprise that an officer from the precinct, 40 year old Raul Olmeda, not only paid a 15 year old girl for sex, he also filmed it. Prosecutors have charged him with over a dozen different crimes.
This comes at the same time as DNA from two different NYPD cops has been matched to DNA taken from rape kits after the officers were accused of raping a Brooklyn teenager that they had handcuffed after a traffic stop.
What I know is that the evidence on all three of these men is more than enough to not only arrest, but convict virtually any everyday New Yorker.