Justice Department to Track Use of Force by Police

Justice Department to Track Use of Force by Police Across U.S. – as published by The New York Times on Oct. 13, 2016

The U.S. Justice Department announced that it will be developing an initiative to track the use of force by police due to the lack of government data and the series of protests that have ensued since 2014. The department will begin collecting nationwide data early next year. The article explains that law enforcement and government officials have yet to have an educated conversation about the issue of the use of force by police because of a lack of data. In the past two years, the news media has done a better job of tracking police shootings than the government. The Justice Department is authorizing $750,000 towards this initiative that is “designed to help local departments collect and publicly release information on a wider range of actions, including stops of citizens, searches, the use of force, shootings and other encounters.” Since the initiative depends on local departments voluntarily giving up this kind of information, the main concern is how the department will impose penalties on states that do not cooperate.

This is an important article because it puts the past years of protests against police brutality into perspective. Citizen unrest as boiled over in this nation due to the violent and visible injustices that have occurred involving police officers. Data is important to this conversation because it acknowledges a problem and gives way for further action and change to occur. However, it is troubling how long the federal government took to implement this.

This story consists of conflict and human interest. It was well-written and contained some good direct and partial quotes. police-brutality


The ‘Ferguson effect’?

‘Ferguson effect’? Savagely beaten cop didn’t draw gun for fear of media uproar, says Chicago police chief – As published on The Washington Post on Oct. 7, 2016.

An officer (not yet identified) in Chicago was brutally beaten after responding to a car crash Wednesday. The man involved in the car accident was high on PCP and hit the officer in the face and smashed her head against the pavement until she passed out. The officer was hospitalized and said that she feared for her life, but she was afraid to shoot him for fear of media backlash. The article describes this as the Ferguson Effect. Since the Mike Brown shooting, there has been a media focus on policing and race that has made some officers doubt themselves in the field.

This is an important story because it sheds light on the climate of this nation right now as it relates to policing and race. Police brutality has been a hot topic in recent years especially due to social media and an increase of recorded police shootings. Because these things do not happen in a vacuum, it affects police and people of color all over the nation. Police fear taking the wrong actions in the field and people of color fear they will be the victim of yet another police killing for being black or brown. This is a perspective that not many spend the time to think about. Police officer obviously have a job and while there are a few bad seeds, many of them are just trying to enforce the law. It certainly does not help when media exploits these situations even if they are done by the book. But this is the time that we live in.

This article was well-written and was easy to read. This is a human interest story that contains conflict. ferguson-effect

Immigrants Eager to Vote Obeyed All the Rules. It Didn’t Pay

immigrantsImmigrants Eager to Vote Obeyed All the Rules. It Didn’t Pay. – as published on The New York Times on Sep. 30, 2016

This article reports that there has been an extraordinary increase of legal immigrants applying to become American citizens in the last year. This increase can be linked to the election year and presidential candidate Donald Trump, who is highly unpopular among immigrants. According to the article, last year, almost a million legal immigrants applied for naturalization and half a million applications are still waiting to be examined. The article featured a few people who applied as early as January who do not think they will be able to become citizens in time to register to vote. What is supposed to usually be a 6-month process, has been dragged out because the immigration agency is taking its time to avoid any oversight instead of speeding up the process for these people’s voices to be heard.

This is an important story because it tells the other side of the story about legal immigrants. We usually hear about immigrants as if they are criminals or just as a community. We don’t hear their stories or how they are marginalized individuals. It is also an important story because of the voting aspect. Our history has shown us that the government creates obstacles and hoops for people, especially minorities, to vote or register to vote. As of right now, the Black community is fighting to restore the Voting Rights Act that helped to eliminate these kind of obstacles. These stories are important because it sheds light on the other side of our “democracy.”

This story is newsworthy because it is of human interest and contains conflict. It shows a bit of bias against Trump through the quotes. However, the quotes and the stories of these individuals helps to evoke emotion and adds interest to the story. Overall, this is a well-written article.

U.S. airstrike threatens Syria ceasefire


Syria war: US airstrike on Syrian troops threatens ceasefire deal, Russia says – as published on INDEPENDENT on September 18, 2016

U.S. airstrikes near ISIS territory accidentally kills 62 Syrian soldiers in Deir-ez-Zour. This mistake may threaten the ceasefire agreement that the U.S. and Russia have established with Syria, which was made early last week. Russia asked for an emergency council meeting at the United Nations to discuss the matter. Conflict ensued during the UN meeting between the UN Ambassador, Russia, and the U.S.

This story is important to know because if Syria decides to react, it could put an end to the ceasefire in Syria and possibly mean war on the U.S. The recent New Jersey and New York explosions and the Minnesota stabbings come at a very questionable time now. Although these attacks were not claimed to be acts of terrorism, they have been labeled as “intentional.” It is important to know what is going on with the U.S. abroad so we can put these attacks into context or be cautious of what may follow.

This story demonstrates conflict, human interest, and timeliness. However, the story is organized strangely as I did not learn how many Syrian soldiers were killed until near the end of the story. While this story highlights the conflict between U.S. and Russia, it is still important to know the reason behind it. I got this story from a news source outside of the U.S. and Russia so I could get a unbiased representation of the story.

Updates on North Dakota Pipeline

U.S. Suspends Construction on Part of North Dakota Pipeline – as posted on the New York Times on Sep. 9, 2016


After protesters demonstrate against the Energy Transfer Partners’ Dakota Access oil pipeline, the U.S. government intervenes by temporarily delaying any further construction. While Energy Transfer Partners claim that the pipeline will help the economy by creating more jobs and “providing a reliable way to transport oil” from North Dakota to Illinois, many people are concerned with how it could affect the water supply and sacred ground it would be built under. The Standing Rock Sioux, a Native American tribe in North Dakota, are the main people who are fighting agains the company’s construction as they protect their water source, Lake Oahe. Over the past several days, there has been tension between the protesters, construction workers, and the company’s private security. The government halted the construction 40 miles around Lake Oahe but there is no indication of how long the delay will last or if the company will abide as they have not issued a response. Energy Transfer Partners has spent $3.7 billion on this pipeline and claim that they tried to meet with the Standing Rock Sioux to discuss the matter of building under their land but the tribe refused to meet with them. Despite the company’s inability to meet with the tribe, it had acquired all of the proper licenses and approvals to build the pipeline – or so they thought.

This is an important and interesting story to follow because these protesters are engaging in the democratic process as the exercise their right to demonstrate against what they believe to be wrong. It is important to know that is how our government is supposed to work. The article mentions that the Standing Rock Sioux did not expect the government to step in – let alone take their side in the matter. They were ready to file a law suit but their concerns were heard. Citizens have more power than they know and this story is a perfect example.