Law

Attendees stand during the Oct. 22 silent vigil, for mothers of people who've been killed by police, at the Dallas Police Department.
Keren Carrion / KERA

According to the national database Fatal Encounters, an average of 1,500 people have been killed annual during interactions with police since 2000. And about 70% of those killings happen with guns.

Protestors at the March For Our Lives on March 24, 2018. Gun violence researchers say the lack of data makes it hard to understand the impact gun violence has on local economies, and how to go about the best solutions.
Victoria Chamberlin / WAMU

On Oct. 21, the District of Columbia hit a grim milestone for the year — 10 assaults with a firearm in one day. Data from the Metropolitan Police Department also showed 140 gun deaths since January, outpacing last year’s numbers with two more months to go on the calendar.

Adams Wood

What’s the difference between committing the same non-violent crime in one North Carolina county and another? For Daniel Noell, a homeless man convicted of obtaining a controlled substance by fraud and drug trafficking in Buncombe and Yancey counties, the difference was vast: he was sentenced to 30 months of probation in Buncombe County and nearly six years in prison in Yancey County. 

A photo of the Durham County Jail: a large silver building.
Laura Candler/WUNC

COVID-19 is spreading more quickly throughout North Carolina's population: public health metrics in the last week have some experts worried the state is heading in the wrong direction. Research shows the virus spreads more quickly indoors and when people have prolonged close contact with one another — something that's almost unavoidable in places like jails and prisons. 

The death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has set the stage for a historic shift in the court’s makeup and could significantly change how the court views any given gun law in relation to the Second Amendment.

Portrait of Amy Coney Barrett in 2018.
commons.wikimedia.org

President Donald Trump nominated Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court on Saturday, capping a dramatic reshaping of the federal judiciary that will resonate for a generation and that he hopes will provide a needed boost to his reelection effort.

Updated at 11:01 a.m. ET

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is lying in repose at the U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday and Thursday, a two-day event honoring a justice who was both a cultural and legal icon.

As Ginsburg's casket arrived at the high court, former law clerks lined the Supreme Court steps. Supreme Court police officers served as pallbearers. Then the justice's family, close friends and members of the court held a brief ceremony in the court's Great Hall.

In this image provided by C-SPAN, Allison Jones Rushing speaks during her confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee to be a judge on the U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals on Capitol Hill in Washington, on March 21, 2019.
C-SPAN via AP

Called both a legal "rock star" by Republican senators and an "ideological extremist" by critics, Allison Jones Rushing had already landed what most lawyers would consider a career-defining position before turning 40. But the Trump administration may have even bigger plans.

Headshots of Tessie Castillo, Lyle May and three other co-authors of "Crimson Letters"
Tessie Castillo

The criminal justice system puts prisoners out of sight and out of mind for the public. But the recently published book “Crimson Letters: Voices from Death Row” (Black Rose Writing/2020) aims to draw back the veil on the people and realities that make up North Carolina’s death row. 

Image of Asheville police car
Osajus / Flickr Creative Commons

Thirty-one police officers in the western North Carolina city of Asheville have resigned from the force since June.

McKenzie County Sheriff's Office

Hundreds of inmates have been released from state prisons during the COVID-19 pandemic to help curb the spread of the virus. But the same is not true in the state’s jails, which housed just under 16,000 people statewide in the first five months of 2020, according to data from the University of North Carolina School of Government. The North Carolina Department of Public Safety oversees the response to the coronavirus in the state’s prisons, but jails around the state do not have the same accountability or oversight. 

This article is an installment of the Three Types of Loss series. It examines the different types of loss three families experienced following the death of Karlonzo Taylor and wounding of James Harris in a December 2018 shooting in Hartford, Connecticut. The alleged shooter, Bill Moore, is incarcerated. You can read other stories in this series here and here.

When someone fires a gun in Youngstown, Victoria Allen usually hears it — at least on her phone. Allen, who runs the ICU Neighborhood Watch group on Youngstown’s south side, has access to the city’s Shot Spotter app, which records the sound, time and location of gunshots.

On a recent August weekday, Allen was driving to a house that was the site of at least two shootings in the last two days.

A picture of lights on a police car.
Alejandro Mejía Greene/JubiloHaku / Flickr Creative Commons

Police officers in a North Carolina city wrongly detained a 15-year-old boy with their guns drawn. Now, the city's police chief is apologizing for the incident.

Gavel, Court
SalFalko via Flickr, Creative Commons

The attorney for a North Carolina man who has spent 44 years in prison for a rape he says he didn't commit will be freed.

The Charlotte Observer reported that Ronnie Long's attorney shared the news via Twitter on Wednesday.

An undated file photo provided by Robert Brown Public Relations of Greg Lindberg.
Robert Brown Public Relations/Greg Lindberg / via AP

An insurance company founder and big political donor heading to prison after being convicted of attempting to bribe North Carolina’s top elected regulator of the industry remains confident he'll get a new trial or overturned conviction.

StarsApart/Flickr/CC

The North Carolina Supreme Court banned the state from reinstating the death sentence on a Black man named Marcus Robinson last Friday. Robinson was removed from death row in 2012  and sentenced to life without parole after a North Carolina judge found that his trial was influenced by racial discrimination in the jury. At Robinson’s original trial, the prosecution removed half of qualified Black jurors from serving — but only 15% of white jurors. 

Latest Shot Fired In Lead Ammo Debate

Aug 20, 2020

The latest round in the fight over lead ammunition is working its way through Congress.

A bill introduced in July by Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA) would ban lead ammunition on U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services land. The agency is responsible for administering national wildlife refuges, which cover 95 million acres across the country — much of that prime hunting ground.

Raleigh Police Cruiser
PDpolicecars, via Flickr / https://bit.ly/2Q7UmMD

Raleigh Police are creating a new unit that would send both officers and social workers to certain calls.

A yellow warning triangle sign showing a person slipping on the ground.
Flickr / Creative Commons

North Carolina’s 1992 Retaliatory Employment Discrimination Act (REDA) is intended to protect workers from retaliation when they file complaints related to on-the-job injury and other health and safety concerns. It should keep employers from firing workers who complain.

  Credit Namerifrats29 via Flickr / https://bit.ly/2E4pyJV Edit | Remove

  

The Greensboro City Council will consider stricter requirements for police officers to conduct searches when they do not have probable cause.

One of Kamala Harris’ more forceful platforms as a presidential candidate was to enact stricter gun control measures, and it’s a platform that she might continue to promote as a vice presidential candidate.

A U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement official stands with his back to the camera as someone is led away by other officials.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement

Sheriffs in North Carolina are signing new agreements with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Under the new Warrant Service Officer program, local law enforcement officials can serve federal administrative warrants and transfer detainees into ICE custody.

 

Wallpaper Flare

Gun violence is back on the rise in North Carolina and around the country. After a lull during the stay-at-home orders, shootings surged over recent weeks. 

Waynesville police car.
Smoky Mountain News

The price of local law enforcement is coming under increased scrutiny amidst nationwide calls to defund or abolish the police. Smoky Mountain News took a deep dive into the implications and possibilities for reallocating funding for law enforcement in four counties in Western North Carolina. 

Gun Store Robberies Are On The Rise

Jul 20, 2020

Thieves stole more than 1,000 firearms from gun stores across the country in just over one week this spring, according to the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosives. The ATF says thefts of gun stores are on the rise.

To put that in perspective, that haul between May 28-June 5 would have accounted for nearly one-fifth of the roughly 5,600 guns reported stolen in all of 2019.

Thomas Chittum, ATF deputy director for field operations, says a lot of that appears to be tied to unrest around the country in the wake of the police killing of George Floyd.

Police Lights
Keith Kern, Creative Commons / https://bit.ly/2CFeh2a

Police in Durham have arrested 23 people – ranging from ages 18 to 46 – after a former police headquarters was vandalized.

Do Safe Storage Gun Laws Prevent Gun Violence?

Jul 15, 2020

This article is part of the Guns & America explainer series. You can read other entries here.

Left unsecured, guns can be dangerous. While many experts suggest that storing firearms locked away and separate from ammunition can save lives, there is no federal law requiring gun owners to do so.

Steven Weiss was protesting in front of the Multnomah County Justice Center. It was June 19, three weeks into near-nightly protests against systemic racism and police violence. Those protests routinely culminated each night with police resorting to violence to disperse hundreds of nonviolent protesters.

Two groups of protesters facing off in a street, with police officers standing in the middle. Protesters with confederate flags stand on the right.
Jason deBruyn/WUNC

Protests continue in Graham over the town’s Confederate statue and the local history of racist policing. Over the weekend, the Alamance County seat hosted hundreds of protesters from the Black Lives Matter movement and local social justice organizations. They were met by law enforcement and more than 50 counter-protesters with ties to ReOpen networks and white supremacist organizations.

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