News and opinion compiled from outlets across the country by Policing the USA

Gang database goes bye bye

Activists who have been fighting against the use of predictive policing will be happy. At least the ones in Portland, Ore., will be. That city has taken the first step toward dismantling a system that frequently targets minority communities. 

Next month, police will stop labeling people gang members and gang associates. An Oregonian reporter investigated the practice — which police have been using for more than two decades — and found that of the 359 people in the database, 81% were minorities. More than 200 of those designated in the database were black.

What did it take to get on the list? Apparently not much. Police flagged gang members and affiliates more than 100 times a year — some of whom had never been convicted of a crime or arrested, according to an Oregonian report.  

More than a dozen framed by cops

Baltimore cops aren’t the only ones being accused of planting drugs as evidence. 

Fifteen people who were arrested by the Chicago police on drug charges petitioned Tuesday to have their criminal drug convictions overturned, claiming that they were framed. One petitioner, Leonard Gipson, says Sgt. Ronald Watts planted heroine on him because he refused to pay the officer “protection money.”

This isn’t the first time Watts has been in trouble. He served time in federal prison four years ago after stealing from a drug courier who turned out to be an FBI informant.  

Kids, brutality and race 

There are overwhelming topics that some parents avoid talking about to their kids. Don’t make police and policing one of them. If you’re looking for the right way to broach the subject, a series of young adult novelists may have a few solutions.

Jay Coles’ “Tyler Johnson Was Here,” tells the story of a twin boy who was fatally shot by police. Coles says he wanted black kids to “have a window” to “express their hurt, pain and frustration to society.” Coles’ book is slated for publication in March and is latest in a series of novels that tackles the difficult issue of police shootings and violence including Angie Thomas’ “The Hate U Give,” which is being turned into a movie; Kekla Magoon’s “How it Went Down” and Jason Reynold’s and Brendan Kiely’s “All American Boys” about a cop who assaults a black teen he thought…