Federal District Judge William Rea ruled yesterday that anti-racketeering laws can be used in a current case against the Los Angeles Police Department and officers accused of corrupt acts in the continually unfolding Rampart Division police scandal. The court’s ruling will allow the federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) law to be used in a case in which plaintiffs are accusing LAPD officers of beating and false arrests, and arguing that the LAPD knew of and condoned these actions. Applying this statute to the case would treat the LAPD as a “criminal enterprise” that conspired to bring false drug charges, plant false evidence and brutalize citizens. Since the scandal erupted, over 100 criminal cases have been overturned. The LAPD has also been previously accused of systematically covering up brutality by officers toward their wives and girlfriends.
Chief Penny Harrington, Director of the Feminist Majority Foundation’s National Center for Women and Policing, urged that, as this case moves forward, the courts examine the role of gender in police brutality. The Center’s research shows that women officers are involved in excessive force and brutality at rates substantially below male officers. In its 1992 examination of the LAPD, the Christopher Commission found that ongoing sexism and discrimination against women in the LAPD contributed to the climate of excessive use of force among officers.
Media Resources: New York Times, A14 – August 30, 2000 and Feminist Majority Foundation
8/31/2015 Chicago Activists Continue Hunger Strike to Save Predominately Black Public High School - Chicago residents have entered the second week of their hunger strike protesting the closure of Dyett High School, in the predominately African-American Bronzeville neighborhood located on the South Side of Chicago.
Parents and community members are calling on the Chicago Board of Education to keep Dyett - the only open-enrollment, neighborhood school in its area - open and accept a community plan to revitalize the school with a focus on science and green technology. . . .
8/28/2015 Alaska Court Protects Abortion Access for Low-Income Women - The Alaska Superior Court struck down a state law yesterday that would have severely limited abortion access for low-income women in Alaska.
The state's Superior Court also struck down a Department of Health and Social Services regulation that placed narrow specifications on Medicaid coverage for abortions, requiring that Medicaid-funded abortions be determined by a physician to be "medically necessary." Last year, the Center for Reproductive Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Planned Parenthood sued on behalf of the Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest, claiming that the narrow definition of "medically necessary" arbitrarily established conditions designed to restrict the ability of low-income women to access abortion services.
The law was temporarily blocked last July by an Alaskan state court judge.
Superior Court Judge John Suddock ordered yesterday that the state be blocked from implementing this regulation, ruling that it placed an undue burden on low-income women seeking abortion services in Alaska.
"By providing health care to all poor Alaskans except women who need abortions, the challenged regulation violates the state constitutional guarantee of 'equal rights, opportunities, and protection under the law'," the ruling read.
"We applaud the superior court for striing down these cruel restrictions on women's health and rights that violate the Alaska Constitution," said Chris Charbonneau, CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands. . . .