To Protect and Slur? Law Enforcement and Social Media
Date:  08-08-2019

The Sentencing Project offers several news articles on race and justice
From The Sentencing Project:

Black Homicide Victims’ Families Less Likely to Receive Victim Compensation

Oklahoma’s Victims Compensation Program denies aid to the families of black homicide victims more often than to other racial groups, according to a recent analysis by The Frontier. The compensation program was created to assist families with funds for funeral expenses, counseling, and loss of support. The analysis found 38% of applications involving black homicide victims were denied funds, compared to 27% for whites between 2014 and 2018. Denials are often attributed to the victim’s “contributory conduct”—meaning that the victim was somehow responsible for their death because of factors such as their alleged gang membership. “Black people are automatically considered or assumed guilty or associated more than our white counterparts all the time. I think it’s those same systems of bias and racial inequity at work in those denials,” said Rev. Sheri Dickerson, director of Black Lives Matter OKC.

The racial disparities that impact aid for victims’ families are not limited to Oklahoma. Past reporting from the Marshall Project, Reveal, and USA Today found seven states—Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Rhode Island, North Carolina, Florida, and Ohio—deny victim compensation to people with prior criminal records.

“To Protect and Slur?” Law Enforcement and Social Media

The Plain View Project examined 3,500 personal Facebook accounts of current and former police officers from eight departments and found that one in five current officers, and two in five retired officers, had posted public messages displaying bias against people of color, Muslims, or women, applauded violence, scoffed at due process, or used dehumanizing language. Buzzfeed News reported on the findings of the research team, which was led by Philadelphia lawyer Emily Baker-White. An investigation by Reveal, titled “To Protect and Slur,” found that hundreds of officers are members of hate or anti-government militia groups on Facebook. When ProPublica found troubling sentiments in a private Facebook group of current and former Border Patrol agents, Professor Manisha Sinha reflected that these agents “appear not only to be following orders but … have paraded their own racist, misogynistic, and sadistic tendencies in Facebook posts.”

The Plain View Project shared its data with Injustice Watch, a nonprofit news organization, which found that many of the officers who posted offensive messages were also involved in brutality or civil rights violations lawsuits. Many police departments have social media guidelines that prohibit officers from making derogatory remarks. Recent reports have triggered internal investigations and disciplinary actions.

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