Report: Most of America's largest police departments allow officers to choke, strangle, and hog-tie people
Analysis of the use of force policies at America's 17 largest city police departments reveals widely varying standards, a chronic transparency deficit, and a frequent lack of accountability measures.
The report, released Wednesday by Campaign Zero's Police Use of Force Project, evaluated the departments on four primary policy fronts: prioritizing preservation of life, requiring officers to de-escalate encounters, prohibiting officers from choking or strangling people, and requiring officers to intervene when their colleagues use excessive force.
Of the cities reviewed, only Philadelphia has positive policies in place on all four issues, while Houston, Indianapolis, and Minneapolis fail on all four counts.
Examining specific department rules, the project found that only four cities — L.A., Philadelphia, Seattle, and Washington, D.C. — prohibit police from strangling or choking people. Just four more — Minneapolis, New York, Phoenix, and San Francisco — ban hog-tying as a means of restraint. And in Chicago, Houston, L.A., and San Antonio, cops are not required to offer even a verbal warning before opening fire on civilians.
Transparency and accountability are lacking in many cities, too, as some departments do not make their use of force policies available to the public and others redact them heavily before publishing. Only three of the 17 departments require officers to file a report about every use of force incident. Bonnie Kristian
Five days after an avalanche buried the Hotel Rigopiano in Farindola, Italy, rescuers found three sheepdog puppies alive in the rubble.
— The Boston Globe (@BostonGlobe) January 24, 2017
Firefighter Fabio Jerman told Agence France-Presse this signals there are still air pockets in the collapsed building. "[This is an] important sign of life, which gives us hope," he said. There are 22 people missing, and seven confirmed dead. On Friday, nine people were pulled out of the rubble alive, telling rescuers they survived by eating dirty snow. "It's a race against time, we know we need to go fast, but it's not an easy working environment," Luca Cari, a fire service spokesman, said.
Local investigators are looking into whether the hotel should have been built in the area and if guests should have been evacuated. The hotel did send an email to local authorities in the hours before the avalanche, which said people were worried because earthquakes were hitting the region and they were stuck in the snow. Catherine Garcia
Civil rights leader Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) received four American Library Association awards on Monday, honoring the third installment of his graphic memoir, March.
Written with Andrew Aydin and illustrated by Nate Powell, March: Book Three won the Coretta Scott King Award for best African-American author; the Michael L. Printz Award for excellence in literature written for young adults; the Robert F. Silbert Informational Book Award for most distinguished informational book for children; and the YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults. This is the first time an author has won so many ALA awards in a single year, NPR reports. March: Book Three also received a National Book Award in November. Catherine Garcia
On Monday evening, the Senate voted 66-32 to confirm Mike Pompeo, a conservative congressman from Kansas, as the CIA director.
His responsibilities will include managing the global spy network and improving the contentious relationship between the agency and President Trump. As a Congressman, Pompeo was a Tea Party Republican who opposed the Obama administration's nuclear accord with Iran and called the attacks on U.S. compounds in Benghazi "worse in some ways" than Watergate, The Washington Post reports. Catherine Garcia
A federal judge on Monday blocked the proposed $34-billion merger of health insurance giants Aetna and Humana on antitrust grounds.
The Justice Department under the Obama administration sued to stop the deal. In his ruling, U.S. District Judge John Bates said the deal would threaten competition, writing that "federal regulation would likely be insufficient to prevent the merged firm from raising prices or reducing benefits" and there is "valuable head-to-head competition between Aetna and Humana which the merger would eliminate."
Aetna and Humana said that by 2018, they expected to see $1.25 billion in annual cost savings, but Bates wrote "the Court is unpersuaded that the efficiencies generated by the merger will be sufficient to mitigate the anti-competitive effect for consumers" in markets the deal affects, the Los Angeles Times reports. The Justice Department also sued to block Anthem's proposed $48 billion purchase of Sigma Corp on antitrust reasons; another judge is hearing that case. Catherine Garcia
Stephen Colbert will host the 2017 Emmy Awards, CBS announced Monday. The host of The Late Show will be the fourth late-night host this year to emcee an awards ceremony, following Jimmy Fallon for the Golden Globes, Jimmy Kimmel for the Academy Awards, and James Corden for the Grammys.
"This will be the largest audience to witness an Emmys, period. Both in person and around the globe," said Colbert, taking a shot at President Trump and White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer for their claims about the record attendance at Trump's inauguration.
This will be Colbert's biggest live hosting gig yet; he previously hosted the Annual Kennedy Center Honors on CBS. He has won nine Emmy awards for his writing and for his Comedy Central series, The Colbert Report, which he left in 2014.
The Emmys will air Sept. 17, with nominees to be announced July 13. Becca Stanek
"For those plotting world domination from the comfort of their own living rooms, this is the ultimate armchair," says Margaret Abrams at New York Observer. A statement piece in any home, the Gold Skull Armchair ($500,000) from Harow, a Paris design studio, looks almost conventional when viewed head-on. From every other angle, it's "worthy of the next Game of Thrones season" — menacing, faceted like a diamond, and plated in 24-karat gold. You can also get the chair in black or chrome, but shiny gold "seems to be the newest (and oldest) trend when it comes to luxury items."
President Donald Trump's inaugural address about "American carnage" and "America first" apparently went over swimmingly with America's citizens. A Gallup poll released Monday revealed that 53 percent of Americans who watched or read about Trump's inaugural address Friday rated it as "excellent" or "good." Just 20 percent said the president's speech was "poor" or terrible."
However, Trump's ratings lag behind those of former President Barack Obama in both 2013 and 2009, and of former President George W. Bush in 2005. Sixty-five percent gave Obama's 2013 address an "excellent" or "good" review, while 81 percent did so in 2009; Bush's 2005 address got a positive rating from 62 percent.
Still, Trump's address did make Americans somewhat more optimistic about the future, Gallup found. While 30 percent reported feeling "less hopeful" after listening to Trump speak, 39 percent reported feeling "more hopeful." Another 30 percent said his address made "no difference" at all.
The poll surveyed 508 adults from across all 50 states immediately after Trump's inaugural address on Jan. 20. Its margin of error is plus or minus 5 percentage points. Becca Stanek