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Real public servants are free enterprising individuals who, inspired, embrace challenge, take risks, and create, sometimes big, and often, they create jobs in the process, all out of their ideas, and self initiative...

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Facing Cuts, a City Repeals Its Domestic Violence Law - NYTimes.com

By A. G. SULZBERGER
Published: October 11, 2011

TOPEKA, Kan. — The startling vote came up at a City Council meeting here on Tuesday, provoked by a run-of-the-mill budget dispute over services that had spun out of control: decriminalize domestic violence...
"...Eighteen people have been arrested on domestic violence charges since September and released without charges because no agency is accepting new cases. That has raised concerns among advocates for victims of domestic violence, some of whom gathered Tuesday outside government buildings to express outrage over the gamesmanship..."

"...'To have public officials pointing fingers while victims of domestic violence are trying to figure out who will protect them is just stunning,' said Joyce Grover, executive director of the Kansas Coalition Against Sexual and Domestic Violence.

Though Kansas and its capital city have fared better than much of the country in this struggling economy, they are not immune to fiscal strains. The district attorney’s budget of $3.5 million was cut by 10 percent, which would force about a dozen layoffs. Meanwhile the office is dealing with what Mr. Taylor describes as a 'recent uptick in violent crime,' which he attributed to increased gang activity...."


An increase in gang activity? What do gangs engage in? Drugs? What if drugs were legalized and our approach to drug abuse was to offer treatment to addicts when they chose to seek treatment, because their life was not working so well for them? Why not stop spending millions to fight a losing war on drugs, creating gangs, gangsters, turf wars, and drying up our resources to help victims of crimes that are not drug related?



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Botched Paramilitary Police Raids: An Epidemic of "Isolated Incidents"

"If a widespread pattern of [knock-and-announce] violations were shown . . . there would be reason for grave concern." —Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, in Hudson v. Michigan, June 15, 2006. An interactive map of botched SWAT and paramilitary police raids, released in conjunction with the Cato policy paper "Overkill: The Rise of Paramilitary Police Raids," by Radley Balko. What does this map mean? How to use this map View Original Map and Database

Key

Death of an innocent. Death or injury of a police officer. Death of a nonviolent offender.
Raid on an innocent suspect. Other examples of paramilitary police excess. Unnecessary raids on doctors and sick people.
The proliferation of SWAT teams, police militarization, and the Drug War have given rise to a dramatic increase in the number of "no-knock" or "quick-knock" raids on suspected drug offenders. Because these raids are often conducted based on tips from notoriously unreliable confidential informants, police sometimes conduct SWAT-style raids on the wrong home, or on the homes of nonviolent, misdemeanor drug users. Such highly-volatile, overly confrontational tactics are bad enough when no one is hurt -- it's difficult to imagine the terror an innocent suspect or family faces when a SWAT team mistakenly breaks down their door in the middle of the night. But even more disturbing are the number of times such "wrong door" raids unnecessarily lead to the injury or death of suspects, bystanders, and police officers. Defenders of SWAT teams and paramilitary tactics say such incidents are isolated and rare. The map above aims to refute that notion.

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