1. California — (The Guardian) A report derived from state data tracking racial profiling revealed that drivers of color are stopped more frequently than white motorists, according to a report issued by the group Reimagining Community Safety in California. In the state’s capital, police stopped Black drivers almost five times as often as their white counterparts. More pronounced disparities were apparent when the purpose of the stop was administrative or equipment related. Such stops were typically for defective lights and outdated registrations. The report also concluded that police generally spent more time making stops than responding to calls for service.
2. Colorado — (Denver Post) A photographer injured by police as he documented George Floyd protests in Denver has accepted settlements totaling $485,000 to compensate for his injury, say his attorneys. Police shot Trevor Hughes with a less-lethal projectile that nearly severed his finger during the 2020 protests. Hughes sued the Denver Police Department and three neighboring counties that aided the Denver police response to the protests. The Denver City Council authorized a $350,000 payment, while Golden, Arvada and Jefferson County paid $45,000 each to Hughes.
3. Texas — (AP) A Death Row inmate who fought successfully to have his spiritual adviser pray for him and touch him during his execution was put to death in Huntsville Oct. 5. John Henry Ramirez, 38, was condemned for the 2004 murder of Pablo Castro. Ramirez’s spiritual adviser, Dana Moore, held his hand to Ramirez’s chest during the execution. The U.S. Supreme Court issued the precedent-setting ruling in March. It provided that states must allow faith leaders to be present to pray and to touch the condemned in the execution chamber. The ruling resulted in the delays of a number of executions, including Ramirez’s.
4. Alabama — (AP) In October, more than 200 people rallied outside the Alabama state Capitol in Montgomery to protest prison conditions and the state’s parole process. The protestors placed tombstones representing men who had died in the prisons from overdoses, murders and suicides on the white marble steps of the Capitol building, reported the AP. The protest came after three weeks of prisoner work stoppages in the prisons aimed at changing sentencing and parole parameters. The U.S. Department of Justice has sued Alabama over what it says is failure to prevent inmate-on-inmate violence and use of excessive force by guards. The state concedes that there are problems but does not acknowledge that conditions violate constitutional standards.
5. Georgia — (CNN) Clayton County sheriff Victor Hill has been convicted on six counts of violating the civil rights of people in his custody, according to court documents. The charges stemmed from incidents in which Hill ordered that incarcerated people be strapped into restraint chairs for hours. Hill’s tenure as sheriff has been controversial, with critics accusing him of abusing his power. After being elected for the first time in 2004, Hill fired 27 deputies on his first day in office in 2005. CNN affiliate WSB-TV reported that Hill had the deputies escorted out of their station house with snipers stationed outside. The fired deputies later regained their positions. In 2013, Hill faced more than two dozen charges of using his office for personal gain. Those charges ended with an acquittal.
6. Florida — (NPR) Keri Blakinger, author of “Corrections in Ink,” a memoir about her time in jail, recently learned that her book has been temporarily banned from Florida prisons as “dangerously inflammatory.” “Honestly, I AM SO PROUD,” responded Blakinger. The book will remain impounded until the Florida Department of Corrections’ Literature Review Committee decides its fate. Florida has one of the largest lists of banned books in the country, according to Blakinger. As for “Corrections in Ink,” Blakinger says “While I am not happy it is impounded, impoundment for being ‘dangerously inflammatory’ is pretty dope. But the idea it poses a threat to security or to the ‘rehabilitative’ goals of prison is LAUGHABLE… My book is more rehabilitative than Florida prisons have ever been.”