How Two Cops Took on a Stash House in Crack-Era Brooklyn

HBO's The Wire
Warren Bond played college football at UCLA and hoped to play in the NFL. He made it onto the Jets in 1982, but didn't play in any games. NFL players went on strike that year and Bond did not want to cross the picket line. In the meantime, he needed a job.

His brother-in-law, who was a cop, suggested Bond sign up for the police academy. The strike lasted just two months, but by the time it ended, Bond had decided that the career path of a police officer was more appealing than that of a football player. The starting salaries were similar, and the job security was much better.

He graduated from the academy in 1983. Within three years, he rose to the narcotics unit. There, he worked one of the most dangerous jobs in policing: undercover drug busts in crack-era Brooklyn

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Cheaper, More Addictive, and Highly Profitable: How Crack Took Over NYC in the '80s

New Jack City
Crack popped up in Miami and Los Angeles in the 1970s. The Drug Enforcement Agency didn't pay it much mind then. It was nothing more than a different version of cocaine, the agency figured. Crack arrived in New York City in the early 1980s before most of the public had heard anything about it. And as we noted in last week's cover story, which explored how the crack era shaped policing strategies, the NYPD was ill-prepared for the crime wave the drug would bring.

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Forced Confessions and Suppressed Evidence: This Year's Overturned Convictions in Brooklyn

Albert Samaha
Protesters took to the step of city hall in April to urge Thompson to speed up his review.
Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson has dismissed seven convictions this year. Three of them involved former Detective Louis Scarcella, the subject of this week's feature story, The Tragedy of Louis Scarcella. Thompson's office is reviewing all 71 convictions tied to Scarcella, a review that began under the previous D.A., Charles Hynes. The three other dismissed convictions, however, were among the 30 or so non-Scarcella cases also under review.

Here are the facts on the seven dismissed convictions:

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The Rise and Fall of Crime in New York City: A Timeline

The Warriors
This week's feature story, The Tragedy of Louis Scarcella, explores the context of the now-infamous Brooklyn detective's career. It explained how the culture of policing changed over the years in response to the city's rising crime rate. Crime, in many ways, shaped the modern history of New York City.

And so here is a timeline chronicling the rise and the fall of crime in New York City:

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Rikers Island Violence Violates Constitutional Rights of Younger Inmates, says DOJ

Rikers Island is a very violent place. We've known this for a while now and are reminded with each new report about an inmate beaten or dying at the facility. For years, inmates and advocates have called out corrections officials for the ongoing brutality at Rikers. Now the federal government has too. The U.S. Department of Justice declared, in a report released on Monday, that the conditions at Rikers Island are unconstitutional. More »

Court: Inmate's Threat in Therapy Not Grounds for Discipline

Photo Credit: Thomas Hawk via Compfight cc
A prisoner who was disciplined for comments in therapy gets reprieve.

Presumably, it's a good thing when prison inmates are honest during psychiatric counseling. Opening up to a therapist is sort of the whole point of the exercise.

So imagine Thomas Archie's surprise when his statement to a therapist landed him in disciplinary proceedings at the state prison where he was serving time.

A New York Supreme Court, Appellate Division, Third Department has now confirmed the obvious, ruling in a decision published July 31 that Archie can't be disciplined for telling his therapist his innermost thoughts. Even if he sometimes "thought about choking an Office of Mental Health psychiatrist and wanted to wrap a wire around the neck of a physician who had treated him."

That kind of talk may not be your typical therapist/patient banter, of course, but this is prison, and emotions run a little hot. And anyway, the therapist testified that "she was unable to determine if petitioner actually meant to harm the individuals in question or if he was speaking out of frustration."

Either way, the court ruled, there was no evidence to support the contention that Archie was issuing an actual threat. And he had, after all, been encouraged to "express his feelings."

Read the rest of the decision here.

Bank Robbery Suspect Caught After Police Chase on NJ Turnpike

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Before the chase and the arrest, there was the robbery. Edison, New Jersey, police got the call at 10:36 a.m. on Friday: a man was robbing the Investors Savings Bank. The man left the bank with an undisclosed amount of cash. And by the time officers arrived, the suspected robber was hopping into a green minivan.

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Deported Too Soon: Report Says Fed Immigration Authorities are Violating New York Law [Updated]

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Report says immigrants are being denied basic rights.

Immigrant detainees are routinely deported from New York State before all legal remedies have been exhausted, according to a report released this week by the New York University School of Law's Immigrant Rights Clinic and immigrant rights advocacy organization Families for Freedom.

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Canadian Antiques Dealer Indicted in Manhattan For Allegedly Smuggling Rhino Horns

Photo Credit: The Brit_2 via Compfight cc
Ounce per ounce, black rhino horns are worth more than gold.
A Canadian antiques dealer was indicted yesterday in Manhattan in a long-running scheme to smuggle endangered species parts, including black rhinoceros horns and elephant ivory, from the U.S. into Canada.

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Legal Consultant on Divorce Extortion Cases Murdered in Florida

Brian Stauffer
Dan Markel was a well-respected law professor at Florida State University. In 2011, he was a scholar-in-residence at NYU. His academic writing focused on punishment theory and he kept a legal blog. He wrote op-eds for the New York Times and the Atlantic. Recently, he was also hired as a consultant for the defendants accused of running a divorce extortion operation targeting Orthodox Jewish men in New York and New Jersey.

Earlier this month, Markel was killed. He was 41.

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