DragNet

DragNet: March 23 – April 5, 2015

chicago gangs

“What would it take for today’s gang members to bring peace to the neighborhood?” writes Laurence Ralph in his post for Anthropoliteia last month. Ralph recounts the story of his friendship with an elderly member of one of Chicago’s most notorious gangs, The Divine Knights. But the story reveals the little known history of the gang, as well as a strikingly “tender” side of the group previously known only among local community members.

To record, or not to record; that is the question! Last month, we shared Carlos Miller’s post for Photography is Not a Crime. According to legislators in Texas, members of the general public should not be allowed to film or record officers by law. But a policy being proposed by a political duo in Colorado begs to differ. Joe Salazar and Daneya Esgar have teamed up to co-sponsor a bill that would award up to $15,000 (plus attorney fees) to citizens who have cameras or recording devices confiscated by officers without a warrant. You can read a copy of the proposed bill here and decide for yourself.

The small town of Madison, Wisconsin is putting a whole new spin on the meaning of “officer next door” in an attempt to foster peaceful interactions between police and local community members. Melissa Block hosts this episode of All Thing Considered for NPR and details how officers and neighborhood residents have reacted to the police department literally moving in next store to high crime areas. The key to the community initiative’s success apparently lies in its exposure of officers and citizens to one another in everyday contexts- both good and bad.

If you, like me, have been amazed to discover how very impossible it is to obtain even the slightest estimates about lethal use of force by police for any given year, you’ve got to read Tom McCarthy’s post for The Guardian ASAP. Finally, we learn why there are no reliable estimates about police-related homicides: it was too difficult, so “we just gave up”. (Yeah, I’m not buying it either!) Although the Bureau of Justice Statistics arguably places a number on all kinds of similar measures, they’re reporting difficulties assessing lethal use of force nation-wide. Among other stumbling blocks are incomplete or never-filed reports (from departments such as NYPD) and inconsistent reporting. Now it’s time to play the waiting game to see if Obama’s newly created Policing Task Force will follow through with his request for “more” (or any?) data…

“What would it take for today’s gang members to bring peace to the neighborhood?” writes Laurence Ralph in his post for Anthropoliteia last month. Not that we need to remind you, but the newest Tip of the Cap feature is up and hungry for your feedback. Ralph recounts the story of his friendship with an elderly member of one of Chicago’s most notorious gangs, The Divine Knights. But the story reveals the little known history of the gang, as well as a strikingly “tender” side of the group previously known only among local community members. Laurence Ralph is an Assistant Professor of African and African American Studies as well as Anthropology at Harvard University. If you leave the post wanting more, be sure to check out his book, “Renegade Dreams: Living Through Injury in Gangland Chicago“.

To end on a fun note (and just because I’m feeling random), treat yourself to browsing through Radio Free Europe Radio Liberty’s eclectic collection of bizarre Soviet Police posters from back in the day. Among my own personal favorites are, “concerned looking smoking guy” and “Gee! My facial angle looks great in this lighting!“. If you’re also the kind of person that likes a healthy amount of “crazy crap” on your walls, you’ll thank me for including a link that can hook you up with your next police-inspired addition.

Did I miss something? No worries- it does happen on occasion. If you have any suggestions for DragNet, or if you want to call attention to a specific blog or article, send an email to anthropoliteia@gmail.com with the words “DragNet” in the subject header and I’ll get on it!

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In the Journals

In the Journals – March 2015

police-helicopter

Welcome back to In the Journals, a monthly review of some of the more recent academic research on security, crime, policing and the law. As the new season dawns on us and we hopefully have some free time in spring break, hopefully you’ll have time to peruse some of these new publications.

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Tip of the Cap

Un-silencing the Gang: A Past Retold in the Present that Shapes Possible Futures

We would like to welcome Laurence Ralph in this latest edition of our feature, Tip of the Cap.
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I got my start in gang research from working with non-profits. There, I met a sixty-eight year-old gang member named Mr. Otis. At first it surprised me that someone so old would adamantly affiliate with one of Chicago’s most notorious gangs, the Divine Knights. But I soon learned that the idea of “the gang” as a group of violent criminals meant something very different to Mr. Otis. For him, the gang was an organization that could actually improve the community, if given the chance. And he wanted to curate a gang exhibit to prove it. Continue reading
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DragNet

DragNet: February 23 – March 8, 2015

Spencer Ackerman's post for The Guardian  investigates a US-based policing "black site" known simply as Homan Square. Once inside the walls of this Chicago warehouse, constitutional rights are said to go out the window.

Spencer Ackerman’s post for The Guardian investigates a US-based policing “black site” known simply as Homan Square. Once inside the walls of this Chicago warehouse, constitutional rights are said to go out the window.

It would appear that Ali Wajahat is not the only name in modern-day cop shows with a twist according to a post by Mike Hale of NYtimes.com. Comedian Colin Quinn’s series, creatively dubbed “Cop Show”, debuted in mid-February and is quickly accumulating nods of approval for its amusement factor. Look for cameos by big-wig comedians, such as Jerry Seinfeld and Jim Gaffigan, on this mock-u-mentary hit. You can catch up on the series- which is currently available for streaming- on LStudio.com.

In far less cheery news, we also shared Spencer Ackerman‘s post for The Guardian, which investigates a US-based policing “black site” known simply as Homan Square. Once inside the walls of this Chicago warehouse, constitutional rights are said to go out the window. Lawyers interviewed by Ackerman report that it has become standard practice to assume apprehended individuals who remain “unlocatable” through otherwise standard procedures have landed themselves within the Homan black box. Follow ongoing coverage of the investigation by The Guardian here. We also recommend Alexandra Starr of NPR’s post for Codeswitch we featured earlier this month.

A previous DragNet post asked, “When officers behave questionably, who you gonna call?” It appears Shea Serrano -staff writer for Grantland– has taken it upon himself to provide an answer to our quandary. His post, The Second Banana Cop Matrix: A Definitive Guide to Who You Should Call for Backup wins my non-existent prize for best satirical post of the month (plus, after reading Homan Square coverage we could all use some comic relief, right?). Worthy of note is his shout out to my own personal favorite police “side-kick” ever: the kid from Last Action Hero.

The President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing released some recommendations for improving police-citizen relations this month, beginning with the regular measuring of “community trust”. Carrie Johnson‘s post for The Two-Way also recaps the Task Force’s stance on the ever-popular “body-worn camera solution“, with concerns about privacy packing a powerful punch. These recommendations came just days before the killing of Philadelphia Police Officer Robert Wilson, which is especially poignant given that Commissioner Charles Ramsey has a position on the Task Force. Also noteworthy is the fact that Wilson’s district is the site of PPD’s current body-worn camera pilot project.

Also on the topic of police-citizen violence, a DOJ investigation into patterns of police use of force in Ferguson, Missouri found “alleged sweeping patterns of discrimination” within the city’s police department. But the discrimination doesn’t end there. The report also found that blacks were “68% less likely than other races to have their cases dismissed by a municipal court judge”. My personal LEAST favorite statistic, you ask? Of 21,000 total Ferguson residents, 16,000 of them were found to have outstanding warrants (often for minor violations). Stay tuned to our twitter feed for ongoing coverage!

Did I miss something? No worries- it does happen on occasion. If you have any suggestions for DragNet, or if you want to call attention to a specific blog or article, send an email to anthropoliteia@gmail.com with the words “DragNet” in the subject header and I’ll get on it!

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DragNet

DragNet: November 18 – December 1, 2014

Although we here at Anthropoliteia don't have any “existential answers" about how to process the recent events in Ferguson, we hope to provide a safe space for readers to reflect about and share their reactions.

Although we here at Anthropoliteia don’t have any “existential answers” about how to process the recent events in Ferguson, we hope to provide a safe space for readers to reflect about and share their reactions.

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Announcements, Conferences

Anthropoliteia @ #AAA2014

As long time readers may know, we like to offer a run down of the sessions, papers and events at the Annual Meetings of the American Anthropological Association that may be of interest for readers of this blog.  This has been made considerably easier the last couple of years by AAA’s personal scheduler function, which allows for the creation of sharable schedules.  You can see a full* list of these papers and sessions via our shared Google Calendar, here.  If you’re also a user of Google Calendar, you can easily copy individual events to your own schedule there.

In particular, though, I’d like to highlight a few events that are either directly sponsored or otherwise associated with Anthropoliteia.net.  Perhaps the most important of these is the first ever Anthropoliteia “Tweet-Up.”  Based on the previous success of similar events hosted by Savage Minds (among others), our Editorial Board has decided to extend an invitation to anyone interested to come meet with us–along with a select group of our various Section Editors and Contributors–to discuss, imbibe, and otherwise commiserate.  You can find** us Thursday, December 4th from 6-8pm at Murphy’s Irish Pub, around the corner from the conference hotel [UPDATE: Harry’s Pub, in the Wardman Park Marriott].

Besides the tweet-up, there are a few official sessions that come out of collaborations on Anthropoliteia and the CFP we circulated earlier this year:

On Wednesday, December 3rd from 4-5:45pm in Washington Room 3 of the Marriott Wardman Park will be the panel “Thinking Through Police, Producing Anthropological Theory: police ethnography as a tool for critical thought,” organized by and featuring yours truly, along with Avram Bornstein (John Jay-CUNY), Mirco Gopfert (U Konstanz), Beatrice Jauregui (U Toronto), Matthew Wolf-Meyer (UC Santa Cruz) and Matthew Hull (U Michigan).

On Friday, December 5th from 6:30-8:15pm in the Diplomat Ballroom of the Omni Shoreham will be a roundtable on “Critical Potentialities of the Anthropology of Policing.  Accounts of Police, Power and Politics on Public Display?” organized by our own Paul Mutsaers (Tilburg U) and featuring Beatrice Jauregui (U Toronto), Eilat Maoz (U Chicago), Simanti Dasgupta (U Dayton), Daniel Silva (Unicamp), Michelle L Stewart (U Regina), and Craig William Schuetze (UC, Santa Cruz).

Finally, on Saturday, December 6th from 9-10:15am, again in the Diplomat Ballroom of the Omni Shoreham, will be the panel “Violence and Ethics in Ethnographies of Security in Latin America,” organized by Stephanie Savell (Brown U), guest editor of this summer’s Forum “Security in Brazil: World Cup 2014 and Beyond“, and featuring Erika Robb Larkins (U Oklahoma), Aldo Civico (Rutgers U), Stephanie Savell (Brown U), Kristen Drybread (University São Paulo/ NEV) and Danial M. Goldstein (Rutgers U).

We hope to see you all there!

* As always, if you notice any oversights or would like to suggest additions send an email to anthropoliteia@google.com
** If you’re not sure who to look for, I basically look like this, possibly with shaggier hair.  Also, I’ll try to be attentive to twitter–@anthropoliteia and @kevinkarpiak–especially towards the beginning

 

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