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10 things you need to know today: January 14, 2017

The Fifth Column

Vittorio Zunino Celotto/Getty Images

THE WEEK

1. Trump may lift Russia sanctions ‘if we get along’
President-elect Donald Trump may lift U.S. sanctions against Russia if relations between the two countries improve during his time in office, he indicated in an interview published by The Wall Street JournalFriday. “If you get along and if Russia is really helping us, why would anybody have sanctions if somebody’s doing some really great things?” Trump asked, though he noted he will not make any major changes “at least for a period of time.” He also suggested possible diplomatic shakeup with China, announcing that “Everything is under negotiation including ‘One China,'” the long-time U.S. policy of formally accepting Beijing’s claim that Taiwan is not a separate nation. Still, the president-elect made a point to highlight the holiday greeting he received from Chinese President Xi Jinping, saying, “I have a beautiful card from…

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Department of Justice Investigative Findings Of The Chicago Police Department

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Photo credit (Jose Osorio / Chicago Tribune)

The United States Department of Justice completed a probe of the Chicago Police.  Its investigation was conducted over a period of 13 months. They found that the Independent Police Review Authority (IPRA) used biased techniques to investigate officers and a consistent unwillingness to probe or dispute officers’ statements.

The Chicago police force is one of the nation’s largest, with 12,000 officers.

The DOJ also found that the police received insufficient training in de-escalation techniques and poor training on all levels.

The investigation also found Constitutional violations, and violations of federal law by officers in the use of force, racial disparities and other systemic problems.

The Chicago Sun-Times reports;

“The Justice Department and City Hall have hammered out a pact, called a “statement of agreement,” which will detail remedies the city has already or will be taking to address problems that have ruptured relations between police and the people they serve, particularly minority communities.”

Attorney General Loretta Lynch will be out of office on January 20, 2017, and wanted to complete DOJ investigations in Baltimore and Chicago before the new administration takes over.  Read the rest of this entry

Seattle Police Department Won’t Comply With Constitutional Policing Without Wage Hike

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U.S. District Court Judge James Robart

Federal district court judge James Robart is a President George W. Bush appointee.  He is presiding over a case involving a consent decree between the Department of Justice and the City of Seattle.  The decree was reached in 2012, and required the city to remedy unconstitutional practices including illegal stops, unreasonable and deadly use of force, and other practices.

In order to fulfill its legal obligation, Seattle attempted to reach a compromise with the police union this summer, offering a new contract that mixed the requisite reforms with wage hikes. The union overwhelmingly rejected the contract on the grounds that it did not sufficiently reward officers with more money and benefits in exchange for engaging in constitutional policing.

“The court and the citizens of Seattle will not be held hostage for increased payments and benefits … ,” U.S. District Judge James Robart said of contract talks, adding, “I’m sure the entire city of Seattle would march behind me.”

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Recent News On Ferguson and St. Louis

Federal Probe Into St. Louis Police Department

St. Louis CBS Local News reports that as many as 25 St. Louis City police officers are under investigation for being hired to protect drug dealers. St. Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson says the involved officers are no longer on active duty as the investigation continues.

The Drug Enforcement Agency, FBI, the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the Circuit Attorney are all involved in the investigation that began in December. The investigation began when an off-duty police officer was shot in North St. Louis. The off-duty officer returned fire and the man he shot later turned up dead in a burning car.

In a press release by the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department, they state that they are unable to discuss details or findings before the investigation has concluded.

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Ferguson Municipal Judge Resigns

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Miami Gardens Police Chief Resigns Amid Convenient Store Scandal

United States Hypocrisy

Miami Gardens’s first and only police Chief, Matthew Boyd, unexpectedly resigned on December 10, 2013, one day after the NAACP called on United States Attorney General Eric Holder and the Justice Department to conduct a review of the  Miami Gardens Police Department which Boyd resided over. While spokespeople for the Department as well as Mayor Oliver Gilbert insist that any correlation between Boyd’s resignation and the NAACP’s letter to Holder is purely coincidental, the timing is certainly noteworthy. Chief Officer Boyd was expected to announce his plans for retirement late in the month of January, 2014 – a month after he resigned.

Chief Matthew Boyd Miami Gardens

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