+
The Derek Chauvin verdict was remarkable because the law is designed to favor police over people
via Hennepin County Sheriff

The verdict in the trial of Derek Chauvin, a former Minnesota police officer convicted of murdering George Floyd, has many breathing a sigh of relief. Even though the disturbing video evidence of Floyd dying under Chauvin's knee is impossible to refute, it's incredibly hard to convict an officer of murder.

The United States judicial system is so preferential to law enforcement that even though the world saw murder in broad daylight, many were skeptical of whether he'd be convicted.

"Most people, I think, believe that it's a slam dunk," David Harris, a law professor at the University of Pittsburgh and an expert in policing, told the Washington Post before the trial. "But he said, "the reality of the law and the legal system is, it's just not."


Chauvin was convicted of all three charges of second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and manslaughter. The presumptive sentence according to Minnesota law is 12 ½ years, but aggravating circumstances could raise that number by decades.

"Let's also be clear that such a verdict is also much too rare," President Biden said after the verdict was announced. "For so many, it feels like it took all of that for the judicial system to deliver a just — just basic accountability."

Since 2005, Philip M. Stinson, a criminologist at Bowling Green State University, has been tracking police misconduct and found the number convicted of murder is incredibly small.

Over that time's he's counted 140 causes of police being arrested on murder or manslaughter charges as the result of an on-duty shooting. Of the 97 cases that have been concluded, only seven resulted in murder convictions. Some were reduced to lesser offenses and more than half were dismissed or resulted in acquittals.

When it comes to justice for unarmed Black men and women, the numbers are even more sobering.

According to NPR, around 135 Black people have been fatally shot by police since 2015 and authorities failed to press charges in 80 of these cases. Only 13 of the officers who received manslaughter or murder charges with only four were found guilty.

There are myriad reasons why it's so difficult to convict police of murder. "The law favors the police, the law as it exists," Harris added.

One major reason is because of the Supreme Court's 1989 Graham v. Connor decision that states an officer's actions must be judged against what a reasonable officer would do. "A police officer can use force, but it has to be justifiable," Neil J. Bruntrager, a St. Louis-based attorney, told Washington Post. "And what the Supreme Court has told us is we have to see it through the eyes of the police."

via Fibonacci Blue / Flickr


Officers can avoid convictions by claiming they killed someone out of fear for their own safety.

"If a civilian is displaying a weapon, it's very hard to charge [the police officer] with murder for taking action against that civilian," Kate Levine, a professor of law at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, told FiveThirtyEight. "And even if a civilian doesn't have a weapon, it's hard to charge a police officer if [the officer] can credibly say they feared for their life."

Police also enjoy the protection of unions that provide high-priced legal services immediately after an incident. There is also a built-in conflict of interest in the legal system. Prosecutors often depend on police so they're inclined to protect those relationships.

Police defendants are more likely to refuse plea deals because their high-quality representation makes them more likely to win a trial. "The quality of the lawyering is very different from regular criminal cases," Brandon Garrett, professor law and Duke University, told CNN. "For the typical criminal defendant, it's incredibly risky to go to trial."

Finally, police are protected from being held accountable by qualified immunity, a judicial doctrine that makes it nearly impossible for individuals to sue public officials. "Qualified immunity fosters an environment where government agents, including police, may feel empowered to violate people's rights with the knowledge they will face few consequences," the ACLU said. "Under qualified immunity, lives can be taken with impunity."

Officers are able to hide behind qualified immunity because of a clause that says their misbehavior must be "clearly established" somewhere in case law.

Lawmakers across the country are working to hold police accountable by striking down qualified immunity. In 2020, former Republican and current Libertarian Representative Justin Amash of Michigan unveiled the first bill to end qualified immunity on a federal level for all public officials. Unfortunately, it went nowhere.

However, it looks like qualified immunity's time could be coming to an end at the local level. Bills addressing qualified immunity have been introduced in 19 states and Connecticut, Colorado, and New Mexico have all passed laws curtailing its power. New York City recently became the first municipality to restrict its use.

It's too early to say whether the Chauvin decision marks the beginning of a new era where police are held accountable for their on-duty behavior. But the result of the trial is a great example of what can happen when Americans come together in support of truth and justice.

"For so many people, it seems like it took a unique and extraordinary convergence of factors, "President Biden said, "a brave young woman with a smartphone camera; a crowd that was traumatized — traumatized witnesses; a murder that lasts almost 10 minutes in broad daylight for, ultimately, the whole world to see; officers standing up and testifying against a fellow officer instead of just closing ranks, which should be commended; a jury who heard the evidence, carried out their civic duty in the midst of an extraordinary moment, under extraordinary pressure."

All images provided by Bombas

We can all be part of the giving movement

True

We all know that small acts of kindness can turn into something big, but does that apply to something as small as a pair of socks?

Yes, it turns out. More than you might think.

A fresh pair of socks is a simple comfort easily taken for granted for most, but for individuals experiencing homelessness—they are a rare commodity. Currently, more than 500,000 people in the U.S. are experiencing homelessness on any given night. Being unstably housed—whether that’s couch surfing, living on the streets, or somewhere in between—often means rarely taking your shoes off, walking for most if not all of the day, and having little access to laundry facilities. And since shelters are not able to provide pre-worn socks due to hygienic reasons, that very basic need is still not met, even if some help is provided. That’s why socks are the #1 most requested clothing item in shelters.

homelessness, bombasSocks are a simple comfort not everyone has access to

When the founders of Bombas, Dave Heath and Randy Goldberg, discovered this problem, they decided to be part of the solution. Using a One Purchased = One Donated business model, Bombas helps provide not only durable, high-quality socks, but also t-shirts and underwear (the top three most requested clothing items in shelters) to those in need nationwide. These meticulously designed donation products include added features intended to offer comfort, quality, and dignity to those experiencing homelessness.

Over the years, Bombas' mission has grown into an enormous movement, with more than 75 million items donated to date and a focus on providing support and visibility to the organizations and people that empower these donations. These are the incredible individuals who are doing the hard work to support those experiencing —or at risk of—homelessness in their communities every day.

Folks like Shirley Raines, creator of Beauty 2 The Streetz. Every Saturday, Raines and her team help those experiencing homelessness on Skid Row in Los Angeles “feel human” with free makeovers, haircuts, food, gift bags and (thanks to Bombas) fresh socks. 500 pairs, every week.

beauty 2 the streetz, skid row laRaines is out there helping people feel their beautiful best

Or Director of Step Forward David Pinson in Cincinnati, Ohio, who offers Bombas donations to those trying to recover from addiction. Launched in 2009, the Step Forward program encourages participation in community walking/running events in order to build confidence and discipline—two major keys to successful rehabilitation. For each marathon, runners are outfitted with special shirts, shoes—and yes, socks—to help make their goals more achievable.

step forward, helping homelessness, homeless non profitsRunning helps instill a sense of confidence and discipline—two key components of successful recovery

Help even reaches the Front Street Clinic of Juneau, Alaska, where Casey Ploof, APRN, and David Norris, RN give out free healthcare to those experiencing homelessness. Because it rains nearly 200 days a year there, it can be very common for people to get trench foot—a very serious condition that, when left untreated, can require amputation. Casey and Dave can help treat trench foot, but without fresh, clean socks, the condition returns. Luckily, their supply is abundant thanks to Bombas. As Casey shared, “people will walk across town and then walk from the valley just to come here to get more socks.”

step forward clinic, step forward alaska, homelessness alaskaWelcome to wild, beautiful and wet Alaska!

The Bombas Impact Report provides details on Bombas’s mission and is full of similar inspiring stories that show how the biggest acts of kindness can come from even the smallest packages. Since its inception in 2013, the company has built a network of over 3,500 Giving Partners in all 50 states, including shelters, nonprofits and community organizations dedicated to supporting our neighbors who are experiencing- or at risk- of homelessness.

Their success has proven that, yes, a simple pair of socks can be a helping hand, an important conversation starter and a link to humanity.

You can also be a part of the solution. Learn more and find the complete Bombas Impact Report by clicking here.

via UNSW

This article originally appeared on 07.10.21


Dr. Daniel Mansfield and his team at the University of New South Wales in Australia have just made an incredible discovery. While studying a 3,700-year-old tablet from the ancient civilization of Babylon, they found evidence that the Babylonians were doing something astounding: trigonometry!

Most historians have credited the Greeks with creating the study of triangles' sides and angles, but this tablet presents indisputable evidence that the Babylonians were using the technique 1,500 years before the Greeks ever were.


Keep ReadingShow less
via LinkedIn

This article originally appeared on 07.10.21


A dad from Portland, Oregon, has taken to LinkedIn to write an emotional plea to parents after he learned that his son had died during a conference call at work. J.R. Storment, of Portland, Oregon, encouraged parents to spend less time at work and more time with their kids after his son's death.

Keep ReadingShow less
Pop Culture

14 things that will remain fun no matter how old you get

Your inner child will thank you for doing at least one of these.

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Swings can turn 80-year-olds into 8-year-olds in less that two seconds.

When we’re kids, fun comes so easily. You have coloring books and team sports and daily recess … so many opportunities to laugh, play and explore. As we get older, these activities get replaced by routine and responsibility (and yes, at times, survival). Adulthood, yuck.

Many of us want to have more fun, but making time for it still doesn’t come as easily as it did when we were kids—whether that’s because of guilt, a long list of other priorities or because we don’t feel it’s an age-appropriate thing to long for.

Luckily, we’ve come to realize that fun isn’t just a luxury of childhood, but really a vital aspect of living well—like reducing stress, balancing hormone levels and even improving relationships.

More and more people of all ages are letting their inner kids out to play, and the feelings are delightfully infectious.

You might be wanting to instill a little more childlike wonder into your own life, and not sure where to start. Never fear, the internet is here. Reddit user SetsunaSaigami asked people, “What always remains fun no matter how old you get?” People’s (surprisingly profound) answers were great reminders that no matter how complex our lives become, simple joy will always be important.

Here are 14 timeless pleasures to make you feel like a kid again:

Keep ReadingShow less