Police Brutality in Lock-Ups

Many people defend police brutality by saying that cops have a tough job to do and sometimes catching the bad guys requires a little roughness.  But while policing is a difficult job, that does not excuse the above-the-law mentality fueling the all too frequent and unnecessary police violence we see. A lack of accountability is at the… Read More

The Price of School Cops

One disturbing trend in recent years has been the tremendous increase in the number of police officers patrolling inside of schools, kindergarten through high school. In theory, school cops or “school resource officers” are intended to reduce crime, school drug use, bullying, and truancy and to deter mass shootings. But at what price? For starters,… Read More

Demonstrator Who Recorded Arrests Sues for Unlawful Seizure of Cell Phone

Denver Police Retaliated Against Demonstrator for Recording Forceful Arrests of Other Demonstrators DENVER, March 28, 2016 – A woman who attended an anti-police brutality demonstration filed a federal civil rights suit today against a Denver police district commander for violating her First Amendment freedoms by seizing her cell phone in retaliation for recording the forceful… Read More

Prosecutors and Politics

The United States is the only country in the world that lets voters decide who will be their prosecutors. For the most part, those elections are foregone conclusions. Prosecutors run for election unopposed 85% of the time. The incumbent wins the election 95% of the time. But what happens when the voters buck this system… Read More

Journalist Sues to Get Police & State’s Attorney Records of Laquan McDonald Shooting Investigations

Laquan McDonald protest

CHICAGO — The independent journalist who forced the release of the infamous Laquan McDonald police shooting video has sued Chicago Police, the Independent Police Review Authority, and Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez to force release of their investigations into the police killing of the 17-year-old. The suits were filed on behalf of independent journalist… Read More

Police Contracts Protecting Misconduct

Police violence will end only when there are real consequences for bad cops – not just in the most extreme cases, but in all of the cases of unjustified police brutality. Unwarranted police violence happens regularly, but there are almost never any employment consequences for the officers. This is because in most cities, two types… Read More

Mental Illness and the Law

  Many of the important justice issues discussed here –police brutality, wrongful convictions, mistreatment in prison, and mass incarceration – are magnified when the justice system encounters people with mental illness. On every level, our criminal justice system fails the mentally ill. The results are beyond appalling. Let’s consider it step by step. Police encounters… Read More

Martin Luther King Day and You

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” – Martin Luther King, Jr. On Martin Luther King Day this year, let’s think about how we can contribute to fighting injustice. All year, we blog about how broken our criminal justice system is, but we rarely talk about what can be done about it on a… 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