News Roundup

This week it was widely reported that federal investigators have issued subpoenas to the North Carolina State Board of Elections as well as to elections boards in 44 counties in the eastern part of the state requesting the production of millions of voter records.  The Associated Press says that the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of North Carolina issued the subpoenas on behalf of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, suggesting that the underlying investigation concerns illegal voting by people who are not citizens.  The AP piece notes that two weeks ago the Eastern District U.S. Attorney announced charges against 19 foreign nationals arising from alleged illegal voting activities.  Keep reading for more news.

Traffic Stop Analysis.  UNC political science professor Frank Baumgartner is the co-author of a new book entitled “Suspect Citizens: What 20 Million Traffic Stops Tell Us About Policing and Race” in which he and his coauthors analyze data from every traffic stop in North Carolina since 2002.  In a recent interview with the Daily Tar Heel, Baumgartner says that his analysis suggests that, compared to white drivers, black drivers are about twice as likely to be pulled over and also are more likely to be searched after being pulled over.

Unsolved Crime.  The Greensboro News & Record has an article this week describing attorney Deborah Moy’s continuing search for justice in the years following her survival of a brutal unsolved crime in 2008.  Nearly a decade ago, Moy and a friend, Billy Hobbs, were discovered badly beaten in Moy’s Greensboro apartment, which had been set on fire.  Hobbs died of his injuries but Moy survived, enduring years of medical treatment and going on to attend Elon Law School.  Greensboro police eventually made an arrest in the case, but the charges were dropped because of the “procedural blunders” of an investigator.  Though now a cold case, the investigation remains open.

Arrest in A&T Shooting.  The News & Record recently published another story about an old crime, but in this case an arrest has been made.  In 2016, N.C. A&T students Alisia Dieudonne and Ahmad Campbell were shot and killed at an off-campus party.  The two were hit by stray bullets when a fight broke out as the party was coming to an end.  Their families have held several vigils over the past two years to maintain public awareness about the crime, and late last week Lawrence Jacques Baird was arrested for his alleged involvement in the shooting.

#MeToo Speaker.  The Winston-Salem Journal reports that the founder of the #MeToo movement, Tarana Burke, will be speaking at Wake Forest University on September 25 at 6 p.m.  The event is co-sponsored by the Wake Forest Women’s Center and is free to attend, but attendees must register at a website accessible from the link to the Journal story.

Law Enforcement Technology.  The New Yorker recently published an article exploring the evolution of Axon Enterprise, the company formerly known as Taser International.  The article is an interesting read, with the company’s founder Rick Smith tracing the 25-year journey of the Taser from an obscure curiosity sold in Sharper Image catalogues to standard equipment for law enforcement officers across the country.  With Tasers reaching a saturation point, the article says that Axon now is focusing on the company’s second act – the widespread deployment of body cameras and an associated software platform that collects, stores, and analyzes vast amounts of data generated by the cameras.

#LipSync Challenge.  Regular readers are well aware of the #LipSync challenge, a viral sensation where law enforcement agencies across the country created amazing music and dance videos.  With the summer winding down, there’s one last chance to wring all the goodness we can out of this phenomenon – USA Today has created a bracket contest that allows people to vote for the best video of the summer.  Readers, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department needs your help as they face off against the Seattle Police Department in the semifinals; hit the link and cast your vote for the Queen City’s finest.

1 thought on “News Roundup”

  1. Maybe it’s not dishonest, but it is certainly disingenuous for Dr. Baumgartner to say his survey has analyzed every traffic stop since 2002. From the AG’s website: “Under North Carolina state law, the following agencies report their traffic stops: all state law enforcement officers; law enforcement officers employed by county sheriffs or county police departments; law enforcement officers employed by police departments in cities and towns with a population of 10,000 or more persons; law enforcement officers employed by police departments in cities and towns employing five or more full-time sworn officers for every 1,000 people.”

    Here’s some context: There are 532 incorporated areas (towns/cities) and 100 counties. Of these, 82 incorporated areas meet the threshold of 10,000 or more person that are required to report (about 15%, though I don’t know how many of these may do so voluntarily). The population in the reportable areas is around 4,286,750. North Carolina’s total population is 9,535,000.

    There’s certainly enough data to raise concerns over the issue of race and traffic stops. But if you are going to bring the subject under the microscope you need to do it with complete candor and be very careful about painting with a broad brush.


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