TIME Crime

Protesters Clear Out as Ferguson Streets Calm Down

APTOPIX Ferguson
A police officer approach a police vehicle after a protester has thrown a smoke device from the crowd Tuesday, Nov. 25, 2014, in Ferguson, Mo David Goldman—AP

Arrests made as police car torched outside city hall

(FERGUSON, Mo.) — Police have dispersed protesters from the streets of Ferguson after second night of demonstrations following a grand jury decision to not indict Officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of Michael Brown.

Tuesday was far calmer than the previous night, though officers did have to extinguish a police car that was set on fire and vandals managed to damage some additional storefronts.

Several arrests were made, but the protests did not approach the chaos of the previous night, which saw arson, looting and rioting in the streets.

Members of the National Guard — which tripled its numbers in the Ferguson region Tuesday — were far more visible and remained posted throughout the city after the protests ended.

TIME Crime

Ferguson Protests Continue Across Nation

Protests Continue For A Second Day In NYC After Ferguson Grand Jury Decision
People protest over the Ferguson grand jury decision in Times Square, New York City, on Nov. 25, 2014 Andrew Burton—Getty Images

Anger over a Missouri grand jury’s decision not to indict the police officer who shot Michael Brown to death continued to reverberate around the country Tuesday, with protests and demonstrations from coast to coast.

A melee broke out after protesters shut down a San Francisco highway, a car plowed through a crowd in Minneapolis and marchers in New York City caused a 12-block backup at the entrance to the Lincoln Tunnel.

In New York City, about 250 protesters again gathered in the famed Union Square and began marching up Broadway on Tuesday evening …

Read the rest of the story from our partners at NBC News

TIME Crime

The One Battle Michael Brown’s Family Will Win

Peter Ferranti
Las Vegas police Sgt. Peter Ferranti models a body camera on Nov. 12, 2014. About 200 street officers in Las Vegas wear the cameras. John Locher—AP

Body-worn cameras are poised to become standard for police around the U.S. after the tragedy in Ferguson

In the fevered moments after the grand jury’s decision not to charge Ferguson, Mo. police officer Darren Wilson in the fatal shooting of Michael Brown, the family of the slain 18-year-old released a statement pleading for peace — and urging people to join their campaign to get police around the nation to wear cameras.

“We need to work together to fix the system that allowed this to happen,” the statement read. “Join with us in our campaign to ensure that every police officer working the streets in this country wears a body camera.”

The crusade is understandable. No video recordings of the Aug. 9 confrontation between Wilson and Brown exist, and eyewitness accounts of the incident were often in conflict. Some said Brown had his hands up when he was shot. Others said Brown was charging toward Wilson when he officer fired. To many, a camera on Wilson’s uniform would have ended the uncertainty and potentially avoided the subsequent tumult that engulfed the St. Louis suburb.

The lesson wasn’t lost on other police departments. In the weeks after Brown’s death, numerous law enforcement agencies around the U.S. began experimenting with body cameras. Anaheim, Calif. Denver, Miami Beach, Washington, D.C. and even Ferguson have all begun outfitting officers with cameras or announced plans to start. The movement Brown’s family called for the night Wilson was cleared has actually been growing since the day their son was killed.

“Police realize that they’re under greater levels of public scrutiny,” says Art Lurigio, a professor of psychology and criminal justice at Loyola University Chicago. “And the Michael Brown case is elevating this urgency. It’s bringing this discussion of cameras to a more fevered pitch.”

For police, cameras have the potential to offer visual evidence of confrontations, which could provide a level of public transparency and potentially save law enforcement agencies millions of dollars in legal fees spent fighting and settling suits brought by citizens.

But only a few studies have been conducted on the effects body-worn cameras. The most frequently cited came out of the police department in Rialto, Calif., which found an 88% drop in the number of complaints filed against officers and a 60% decline in use of force incidents compared with the year before officers adopted cameras.

(MORE: All the Ways Darren Wilson Described Being Afraid of Michael Brown)

Most experts say that the Brown case has accelerated a discussion about cameras that was already taking place inside many of the country’s bigger departments thanks to the ubiquity of camera-equipped phones.

“The big question is not whether or not agencies will adopt body-worn cameras but the sorts of policies that will be put into place to monitor and control the use of this new technology,” says Victor Thompson, an expert in race and crime at Rider University.

For instance, Thompson says that a camera that can be easily turned on and off at the discretion of an officer may be of little value because it would allow that officer to control what’s ultimately being recorded and fail to provide the kind of transparency activists are calling for. Other experts advocate establishing rules about how and when the cameras are used along with clear protocols for review of video footage and sanctions against officers if they fail to comply.

Not all cops are on board. As police departments increasingly experiment with making officers’ a mobile surveillance pod, some police unions are pushing back. They argue that having to turn on a camera during a threatening situation could lead to deadly consequences at a time when every second is important.

Such resistance is unlikely to stop the spread of cameras. In recent weeks, police departments in cities such as Cleveland and Dallas have announced plans to put cameras on officers or expand existing wearable programs.

“In 10, 15 years,” Lurigio says, “I think we’ll be talking about the camera in the way that today we talk about the baton or the badge.”

TIME ebola

Ebola Isolation Is ‘Pretty Much Vacation’ for U.S. Service Members Back From West Africa

Langley Transit Center in a pre-existing expeditionary training center, for military personnel returning from Ebola missions in West Africa, at Langley Air Force Base Va. on Nov. 4, 2014.
Langley Transit Center in a pre-existing expeditionary training center, for military personnel returning from Ebola missions in West Africa, at Langley Air Force Base Va. on Nov. 4, 2014. Staff Sgt. Teresa J. Cleveland—AP

"It's Wi-Fi everywhere, flat screens everywhere, big gym to either lift or run"

Ebola quarantine for health care workers has been likened to prison, but isolation for military personnel appears to be a much more relaxed experience.

American service members returning from missions in West Africa are required by the Department of Defense to undergo precautionary, 21-day quarantines in one of five designated U.S. bases, with at least one center providing everything from cafeterias to entertainment centers, the Associated Press reported Tuesday.

At Langley Air Force Base in Virginia, there are 21 small buildings housing about 90 service members, the first batch to return from the roughly 1,800 troops deployed to the region. There, service members described having access to video games and a library, in addition to being able to select what they want to eat for each meal.

“All I can say about this camp, Langley, it’s pretty much vacation. It’s Wi-Fi everywhere, flat screens everywhere, big gym to either lift or run. There’s an asphalt road kind of running around the perimeter that you can work out on,” said Navy Chief Petty Officer Jason Knifley. “This isn’t bad at all.”

Returning service members undergo the twice daily temperature measurements, and there have been no reported infections yet. Despite the perks, the service members believe it’s also their experiences in handling tough circumstances that help them stay positive.

“Most of us have been in far worse conditions than this, and it’s only 21 days,” said Air Force Maj. Jeffrey Chaperon, who is among those isolated on the base. “You can stand on your head for three weeks if you’ve got to.”

[AP]

TIME Crime

Taser, Rival Think Their Body Cameras Could Have Helped in Ferguson

Cameras on Cops
Patrol Sergeant John Crowley wears the Taser Axon camera that will be issued to all officers to record their interactions with the public Karl Gehring—Denver Post/Getty Images

The LAPD could be the first top police department to outfit every officer with Taser’s Axon body-mounted camera

The LAPD could be the first top police department to outfit every officer with Taser’s Axon body-mounted camera.

A St. Louis County grand jury’s decision Monday not to indict a police officer in Ferguson, Mo., over the fatal shooting of an unarmed teenager has led to demonstrations around the nation. The lack of camera footage means no one knows for sure exactly what happened when the controversial shooting took place. Would better technology have helped? Taser thinks so.

Taser, of course, is best known for the tiny stun guns carried by police and sometimes civilians, made particularly famous a few years ago when a student at the University of Florida screamed “Don’t tase me, bro!” at officers arresting him during a speech given by then-Sen. John Kerry. Now, though, Taser is looking get the word out that it’s more than just a weapons company.

In addition to those stun guns, Taser sells Axon body-mounted cameras to police departments, and they’re used to record officer interactions with civilians. After an interaction is recorded, it’s automatically sent to Evidence.com, a cloud storage system run by Taser and built using technology provided by Amazon.

Earlier this month, Scottsdale, Ariz., -based Taser announced its biggest client yet — the Los Angeles Police Department. Although the order hasn’t come in yet, Taser’s CEO Rick Smith said he thinks the agency will make Taser’s Axon cameras standard equipment for all officers. Smith said an official order from the LAPD would likely come before the end of the year.

The LAPD would be the first of the five biggest police departments to make the cameras standard issue. Taser has also added the business of a number of other big city police departments — including Pittsburgh and San Francisco — over the past year.

Of course, Taser is not the only company looking to capitalize on the increased focus on police technology. Utility Inc., based in Tucker, Ga., has been making wireless routers that are used in cars for years. Recently, though, it has brought to market an on-body camera that’s similar to Taser’s Axon.

Taser’s CEO Smith says there’s a pressing need for better technology for police officers to increase transparency.

“We have [departments] that are still using VHS tapes to store their video,” Smith said. “The better way to think, from a practical perspective, about law enforcement, isn’t like the surveillance state of advanced technology, it’s like your local city government. This is a small department.”

Smith said there is a particular market for Taser’s cameras and cloud service because it all comes in one user-friendly package, meaning police departments don’t have to go through the bureaucratic procurement process for cameras, storage or servers — instead, Taser takes care of it all.

Utility also uses an Amazon-based cloud storage system for its cameras. CEO Bob McKeeman said he considers his company’s technology to be “Second Generation” because turning on a squad car’s lights, or opening the door automatically activates the cameras. Taser plans on introducing similar technology early in 2015, with the added bonus that when one camera is triggered, other cameras in the vicinity will also turn on.

For now, not every police officer is wearing a camera, mostly because not every police department can afford to buy the technology. McKeeman thinks prices will eventually come down as the price of the technology declines, and eventually cameras will become as commonplace as a radio in the police officer’s daily equipment set.

“We see it as inevitable,” he said. “Every police officer is going to have a body-worn camera.”

This article originally appeared on Fortune.com

TIME Crime

Darren Wilson Joins Hundreds of Cops Who Commit ‘Justifiable Homicide’ Each Year

A police officer is charged under the same homicide laws that apply to private citizens, but most states make it tough to convict officers for action in the line of duty

By avoiding indictment in the lethal shooting of Michael Brown, Ferguson, Mo. police officer Darren Wilson became one of hundreds of cops whose use of force is deemed justifiable under the law each year.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation recorded 410 “justifiable homicides” in 2012, and that is self-reported by states with varying degrees of rigor. The actual count is likely higher.

Fatal shootings such as Wilson’s encounter with the unarmed Brown on Aug. 9 resonate deeply in African-American communities across the country. Black teenagers were 21 times as likely to be shot dead by an officer than white teenagers, according to statistics compiled by Pro Publica.

A police officer is charged under the same homicide laws that apply to private citizens, but most state legislatures have carved out exceptional circumstances for officers in the line of duty. In Missouri, the protections come down to three short sentences located in a single statute.

“You certainly see in that statute a desire of the legislature to give special protections to police officers,” says Eric Zahnd, the Platte County, Mo. prosecuting attorney who has overseen a handful of homicide investigations in his community of 93,00.

The broadest protection permits police to use lethal force to prevent the escape of anyone who the officer “reasonably believes” is a felon. The narrower protections allow use of force against anyone whom the officer “reasonably believes” will use a deadly weapon or do harm to other people.

“Ultimately it all boils down to a single issue,” says Zahnd. “Did the officer use force in the reasonable belief that he had to do so?”

In choosing not to charge with Wilson with any one of five potential crimes, the grand jury essentially determined that the officer’s actions were reasonable under the law.

TIME Ferguson

Twitter Users Mock Photos of Ferguson Cop Darren Wilson’s Injuries

An undated evidence photograph made available by the St. Louis County prosecutors office on Nov. 25, 2014 shows Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson during his medical examination after the shooting of Michael Brown.
During the medical examination, bruising was discovered on Wilson's cheek where he says Brown punched him in the face St. Louis County

After the medical examiner's photographs of Wilson after the shooting were released

Twitter users have taken to the hashtag #ThingsMoreHurtThanDarrenWilson to express frustration over the photographic evidence of Darren Wilson’s injuries following his shooting of Michael Brown.

The photographs of Wilson, released Monday evening by the St. Louis prosecuting attorney following the late-night announcement of the grand jury’s decision not to indict him, offer a closer look into Wilson’s claims that he feared for his life before shooting and killing Brown.

In the photos, Wilson appears to have sustained bruises to the back of his neck and his jaw, which some people do not believe indicate that Brown posed as much of a danger as Wilson indicated in his newly released grand jury testimony.

In an interview that aired Tuesday evening, Wilson said he has “a clean conscience” regarding the Aug. 9 killing and insisted “I know I did my job right.”

MORE: Ferguson Erupts Again After Cop Cleared in Killing

TIME

Bill Cosby’s Nephew Speaks Out on Comedian’s Sex-Assault Allegations

Braxton A. Cosby promotes his book "The Star-Crossed Saga Prostar" while his uncle Bill Cosby promotes "I Didn't Ask To Be Born: (But I'm Glad I Was)" at Hue-Man Bookstore & Cafe on Jan. 18, 2012 in New York,.
Braxton Cosby promotes his book The Star-Crossed Saga Prostar while his uncle Bill Cosby promotes I Didn't Ask to Be Born (but I'm Glad I Was) in New York City on Jan. 18, 2012 Debra L Rothenberg—FilmMagic/Getty Images

A nephew of Bill Cosby is speaking out on behalf of the 77-year-old comedian, saying he “is innocent” in light of the “unjustified claims.”

Braxton Cosby, who heads up Cosby Media Productions, told FarrahGray.com that “unless the judicial system can prove otherwise, I stand behind him and his contributions.”

“I would be more inclined to compare it to the passage in the Bible where the people of the village were about to stone the woman caught in adultery and Jesus challenged them by saying that the person who is without sin should cast the first stone,” Braxton told the website, as confirmed by PEOPLE.

“The one difference in this case being that the woman was caught in the act and her accusers brought her forward. I want to remind everyone that we live in the greatest country in the entire world, one that prides itself on the moral law that everyone is innocent until proven guilty. That’s where we stand at this time with the allegations brought against my uncle.”

Interestingly, the production-company executive also seemed to suggest the “attacks” were an attempt to muzzle the kind of “uplifting” and “inspirational” content that Cosby Media produces. The company’s website says its mission is to develop content “that will entertain the mind and inspire the soul, from books, TV, film and music.”

“With my company, Cosby Media Productions, we will continue to push content that reflects the same positivity,” Braxton told FarrahGray.com. “I feel that the goal here was to destroy the attempts to instill that type of entertainment going into the next year. Thankfully, it will not succeed.”

In the meantime, two more venues in Washington and Connecticut reportedly announced they were canceling upcoming appearances featuring the comedian, amid accusations that he sexually assaulted several women. Cosby’s attorney has called some of the claims “fantastical.”

This article originally appeared on PEOPLE.com

TIME Retail

San Francisco Passes First-Ever Retail Worker ‘Bill of Rights’

Ahead of the hectic Thanksgiving and Black Friday shifts

Just in time for Black Friday and the holiday shopping season, the measure will make the worker-friendly city even friendlier.

Hours before retail employees punch in for their stores’ hectic Thanksgiving and Black Friday shifts, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors approved new protections for the city’s retail workers.

The supervisors voted unanimously on Tuesday afternoon in favor of measures aimed at giving retail staffers more predictable schedules and access to extra hours. The ordinances will require businesses to post workers’ schedules at least two weeks in advance. Workers will receive compensation for last-minute schedule changes, “on-call” hours, and instances in which they’re sent home before completing their assigned shifts.

Businesses must also offer existing part-time workers additional hours before hiring new employees, and they are required to give part-timers and full-timers equal access to scheduling and time-off requests. The legislation will apply to retail chains with 20 or more locations nationally or worldwide and that have at least 20 employees in San Francisco under one management system. David Chiu, president of the Board of Supervisors, told Fortune on Tuesday that the proposal will affect approximately 5% of the city’s workforce.

The San Francisco Chamber of Commerce has opposed the bill, arguing that it is too onerous for business owners. In particular, the Chamber has taken issue with the limits the new requirements will impose on employers’ staffing decisions.

Now that it has board approval, the proposal just needs the signature of Mayor Ed Lee, a Democrat, to become law. Even if the mayor rejects the legislation, which is unlikely, the measure has enough support among the city’s supervisors to override a veto.

While the action San Francisco is set to take on workers’ behalf is the first of its kind, one aspect of the legislation has precedent. Last year, voters in SeaTac, Wash. approved a measure that requires companies to offer more hours to part-time workers before they hire new employees. They voted for it as part of a ballot initiative to increase the minimum wage to $15 per hour, one of the nation’s highest rates.

If San Francisco’s retail worker bill becomes law, it will make a city already known as worker-friendly even more so. Earlier this month, 59% of voters cast ballots in favor of increasing San Francisco’s current minimum wage of $10.74 to $15 by 2017.

San Francisco’s proposal takes sharp aim at employers’ tendency to schedule workers’ hours with little notice—a practice especially prevalent in retail. Earlier this year, University of Chicago professors found that employers determined the work schedules of about half of young adults without employee input, which resulted in part-time schedules that fluctuated between 17 and 28 hours per week. Forty-seven percent of employees ages 26 to 32 who work part time receive one week or less in advance notice of the hours they’re expected to work, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Congress attempted to tackle this issue at the federal level in July when they proposed legislation that would give retail workers more predictable hours. “Workers need scheduling predictability so they can arrange for child care, pick up kids from school, or take an elderly parent to the doctor,” co-sponsor Representative George Miller, a Democrat from California, said at the time. But the “Schedules that Work” bill has gone nowhere since it was introduced.

This article originally appeared on Fortune.com

TIME Crime

Ferguson Cop Darren Wilson on Michael Brown’s Death: ‘I Have a Clean Conscience’

Police officer Darren Wilson breaks his silence about the shooting of Michael Brown in an interview with ABC News' George Stephanopoulos on Nov. 25, 2014.
Police officer Darren Wilson breaks his silence about the shooting of Michael Brown in an interview with ABC News' George Stephanopoulos on Nov. 25, 2014 Kevin Lowder—ABC/Getty Images

Officer speaks for the first time after the grand jury decided not to indict him

The Ferguson police officer whom a grand jury has chosen not to indict in the August shooting death of an unarmed teenager said in an interview Tuesday he would not have done anything differently because he was trying to save his own life.

In an interview that aired Tuesday evening with George Stephanopoulos of ABC News, Darren Wilson recalled the incident and said, “The reason I have a clean conscience is because I know I did my job right.” The sit-down marked his first since Monday evening’s announcement that a grand jury had declined to charge him for the killing of Michael Brown, which ignited bouts of looting and arson in Ferguson despite state efforts to prepare for the possibility of violence. Demonstrations from New York City to Los Angeles played out into the night.

MORE: Ferguson Erupts Again After Cop Cleared in Killing

On Aug. 9, Wilson said he and Brown, who was 18, got into a physical altercation after he approached him, and that Brown threw the first punch, hitting the left side of his face. “I didn’t know if I’d be able to withstand another hit like that,” he said.

Over the course of their altercation, which Wilson said involved punching and the slamming of his vehicle’s door, he said he got a sense that Brown, who was 6 ft. 4 in. and 289 lb., could easily overpower him. “I felt the immense power of this man … It was like a 5-year-old holding onto Hulk Hogan.”

Wilson said he threatened to shoot Brown, which is when he said the teen reached for his gun: “He grabbed the top of my gun, and he said, ‘You’re too much of a p—y to shoot me.’” Next, he recalled aiming his gun at Brown “thinking this has to work, otherwise I’m going to be dead.” That moment was apparently the first time he ever fired his gun in the line of duty.

After Brown started walking away, Wilson chased him, explaining “that’s what we were trained to do.” Then, he added, when Brown started to approach him, “he ignored all my commands and just kept running.” The officer said there was “no way” Brown put his hands up, as has been widely reported.

MORE: President Obama Says There Is ‘No Excuse’ for Violence in Ferguson

Wilson said at that point there was nothing he could have done to prevent Brown’s death. When asked if he thought he would have still shot Brown if he had been white, Wilson said there was “no question” he would do the same thing.

“I don’t think it’s a haunting,” he admitted. “It’s always going to be something that happened.” After the short clip, Stephanopoulos added that Wilson expressed sympathy for Brown’s family.

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