Why Police Shooting Cases Need Outside Prosecutors

In the aftermath of highly publicized police shootings, a number of states around the country have enacted reforms requiring special prosecutors to investigate police shootings, and many other states are considering them. Chicago, more so than any other jurisdiction, needs to implement this reform. The demand for special prosecutors is a result of the following… Read More

A Matter of Perspective?

At Altering Convictions we share our perspective about combating police brutality, opposing mass incarceration, and fighting injustice. All of our pieces presume a few basic truths that are inarguable. It is unacceptable for law enforcement to treat certain people’s lives as expendable. Law enforcement should honor everyone’s constitutional rights. And all people should be treated… Read More

Doubling Down With Police Tasers

Chicago’s long time police shooting problem has finally made national news, with the horrifying video of an officer senselessly gunning down Laquan McDonald as the impetus for closer scrutiny. With the spotlight shining on it, the Chicago Police Department is doubling down with a shockingly counterproductive change that will only worsen the situation. It is… Read More

How Does US Justice Stack Up? An International Comparison

As we near the end of the year, it seems like a good time to reflect, so I thought I’d examine how the United States compares to other countries in matters of policing and criminal justice. Unfortunately, an international comparison of criminal justice statistics shows just how far behind our country is. Police shootings: This… Read More

Media Coverage of Black Shooting Victims (Part II): “Thugs” in the News Media

  In a recent post, Media Coverage of Black Shooting Victims (Part I), we considered how the media uses negative portrayals of black shooting victims to imply that police brutality against black victims is somehow justifiable. We explored how the news media’s use of mug shots or unflattering photos of the victims and its assassination… Read More

Rejecting the Police Cover Up

  By now, surely many have read or heard about the release of the gruesome dashboard camera videos of Chicago Police Department officer Jason Van Dyke shooting black teenager Laquan McDonald 16 times. But while mourning this brutal shooting, few are talking about the police cover up at the center of the story. The release… Read More

Gratitude and Privilege in the Justice System

As I prepare to celebrate the holiday season, I am struck by things that I am grateful for, but which are denied to many in our communities. In particular, I am concerned with privilege as it relates to the justice system. Basic rights become privilege when our system offers the rights only to some, while… Read More

Police Training: Shoot First

  With the almost constant barrage of unjustified police shootings in the news, you’d think that police training would start emphasizing how to not gun down innocent people. But if you thought that, you’d be dead wrong. Instead, the typical police training continues to stress shoot first and ask questions later. First, let’s look at… Read More

Journalist, Attorney Respond to Mayor Emanuel’s Comments on Release of Police Shooting Video

November 13, 2015 – In a story date-lined 1:43 PM today, the Chicago Tribune reports that Mayor Emanuel commented on why the City of Chicago is still refusing to release police film of an officer shooting 17-year-old Laquan McDonald sixteen times in October 2014. The Tribune reports that Mayor Emanuel said that now is not… Read More