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California to ban facial recognition software in police body cams?

Westlake Legal Group FacialRecognition California to ban facial recognition software in police body cams? The Blog Technology police Gavin Newsom facial recognition California

We’ve already covered numerous stories about cities in California passing legislation designed to ban the use of facial recognition software by law enforcement. Apparently it’s too easy to catch criminals these days or something. But this mostly applied to cameras placed out on the streets, such as red light cameras. Now the entire state is preparing for a different sort of ban. They want to forbid the police from employing any sort of software that would apply facial recognition technology to footage captured by police body cameras. (CBS San Francisco)

California is poised to ban the use of facial recognition technology in police body cameras for three years after votes by the state legislature this week.

AB 1215 passed the state Senate 22-15 on Wednesday and the state Assembly 47-21 on Thursday. It has been sent to Gov. Gavin Newsom for signing.

Assemblymember Phil Ting, D-San Francisco, introduced the bill, citing inaccurate identification and apparent racial biases in the current state of the technology.

This level of paranoia about law enforcement officers is simply off the hook. The bill’s author, Assemblymember Phil Ting, made his intentions pretty clear when he released a statement in support of the measure. He’s quoted as saying, “Let’s not become a police state and keep body cameras as they were originally intended — to provide police accountability and transparency.”

In Ting’s opinion, the only use for police body cameras is to catch officers who are breaking the rules. That’s certainly one benefit to using them because we unfortunately do turn up the occasional bad apple among the police. But the footage captured by body cameras is also useful in identifying suspects who escape and as evidence at trial.

Ting went on to further demonstrate his lack of understanding by saying “Without my bill, facial recognition technology essentially turns body cameras into a 24-hour surveillance tool, giving law enforcement the ability to track our every movement.”

Can someone please pass the news to the assemblymember that police body cameras are physically attached to the officer’s body? (Hence the name.) The only way that body cameras could be used to “track your every movement” would be if the officer was physically following you around everywhere you go. And in that case, they would already literally be tracking your every movement without the need of a camera.

I understand the valid concerns some people have over facial recognition software because some of it is still quite error-prone. But I’ve yet to see one documented instance where a person was incorrectly identified by the software and then went on to be tried for a crime they didn’t commit. The results are always looked at by a human being who can quickly figure out that the technology screwed up. This should be doubly true in the case of body cams because the human officer is seeing the same thing the camera is recording in real-time.

California continues to attempt to make the jobs of police officers more difficult while doing nothing to benefit the citizens being served. This is a sad state of affairs.

The post California to ban facial recognition software in police body cams? appeared first on Hot Air.

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Beto O’Rourke: Police wouldn’t go door to door to confiscate guns under my plan

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The money quote: “Much like we don’t go door-to-door to enforce almost any law in the United States, in fact I don’t think we do that for any law in the United States, this would not be something that we would do.” Presumably he’d treat an assault rifle like any other form of contraband. No one will come looking for it, but if you’re caught with it in your possession, you’re cooked.

But I don’t know that he’s thought that far on the subject. He keeps coming back to the point that he has faith that Americans will comply with the law after it’s passed and surrender their AR-15s without a fuss, which is sweet and all but unrealistic. Some will comply. Most, perhaps. Not all. What happens one day when a cop pulls some guy over for speeding, sees that he has an AR-15 in the backseat, demands it, and the guy says no? If a shootout follows, how many cops nationwide will want to risk confronting people about their guns after that? Conversely, how many gun-control fans will begin demanding a more aggressive effort to seize contraband AR-15s than just waiting around and hoping owners hand them over?

Another hypothetical: There are so many assault rifles in circulation that it’s a fait accompli some will be used to carry out new mass shootings even after a buyback plan takes effect. What’s the political fallout from that when it happens? Gun-rights advocates will say, “See? We told you the buyback wouldn’t end mass murder.” Gun-grabbers will say, “See? We told you the policy of asking people nicely to give up their guns wouldn’t work.” What then?

To make the hypothetical extra zesty, imagine that a mass shooter turns out to hail from a rural area in a red state where local cops have effectively decided that they won’t enforce the buyback. Reporters sniff around and find out that no one caught with an AR-15 is being arrested by the sheriff’s office as a matter of policy. What’s the White House’s reaction to that? Does President Beto call for quadrupling the size of the ATF and sending agents out into those rural areas to compel compliance?

I think it’d end up like Prohibition, which is … not known as one of America’s shining policy successes.

Watch to the end of the clip below and you’ll see that he’s asked about Chris Coons’s criticism that Beto has set back the gun-control movement by pushing such a radical idea. I’m not a radical, O’Rourke insists, I’m where most Democrats are on this issue and it’s time our leaders in Congress caught up. Is he right? Some Dems agree with Coons that mainstreaming the idea of a buyback does the party more harm than good

By all accounts, Trump needs to run up the score in rural areas to win reelection next year. The 2020 outcome is expected to depend heavily on a trio of Rust Belt states — Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin — that have large numbers of rural voters, many of whom are gun-owners or sympathetic to owners on this issue. And Democrats’ hope of winning control of the Senate rests on states with high rates of gun ownership, like Arizona and Texas…

“The lines like, ‘We’re gonna come and take your AR-15,’ just play into the fears that the NRA has been stoking, and a proposal like that is just going to make rural Iowa and I think probably rural areas elsewhere more red,” [Democrat Warren] Varley said. “I think that’s just a bridge too far for most rural folks, and it conjures up images of the government coming in and invading your home and images of big government trampling over the rights of individuals.”

…but then again, polls like this keep trickling out:

Westlake Legal Group y Beto O’Rourke: Police wouldn’t go door to door to confiscate guns under my plan The Blog police MSNBC mandatory Joy Reid gun confiscation buyback Beto O'Rourke ar-15 all in

Sixty-three percent of Democrats claim that it’s “mostly accurate” to describe the NRA as a domestic terrorist organization. Yesterday I flagged a WaPo poll from earlier this week that showed 74 percent of Democrats(!) favor a mandatory buyback. Last year after the Parkland massacre, one poll found 74 percent of Dems in favor of banning all semiautomatic rifles (not just “assault rifles”) while another found 82 percent support for banning all semiautomatics. Not just rifles — all semiautomatics.

They’re pretty farking radical. Which is not to say that Coons et al. are wrong: Getting crazy with the gun-control cheez whiz may play spectacularly well in California, say, while killing Democrats in Michigan. Guess which state is more important next fall.

Exit question via Drew McCoy: Isn’t Beto giving away the game here by stressing his belief that Americans will comply voluntarily with the law? People willing to surrender their weapons upon a lawful demand by the feds are by definition “law-abiding.” If you’re worried about mass shootings but unwilling to go door to door to look for assault rifles, it’s inevitable that virtually all of the people whom you end up disarming are people whom you didn’t need to worry about in the first place.

The post Beto O’Rourke: Police wouldn’t go door to door to confiscate guns under my plan appeared first on Hot Air.

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Watch: Democrats Harass Police at Houston Debates

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Democrats have gone off the deep end in their radicalism, and they show it in a myriad of ways. In Houston, during the Democratic debates, they showed it by harassing police officers.

As a video posted by Elijah Schaffer shows, Democrats stood behind a barrier as they shouted “f**k the police” at them. They also accused them of working with the KKK, and being “American Gestapo.”

One girl with a bullhorn is seen saying that the Houston Police Dept. works with ICE to deport illegals.

The blatant disrespect they show would suddenly take a back seat in the presence of a real threat. They themselves would call the police should a gunman show up and begin attempting mass murder.

And this yet another reason as to why I can’t take these leftist protesters seriously. They hate the police and compare them to the Gestapo, yet they want police to be the only people who are armed. It defies all logic Even more hilarious is the fact that many of the Houston police are Hispanic and black, yet somehow they work with the KKK?

Reporters say, however, that this group was relatively small and that most Democrats were carrying around signs that supported their favored candidate. The problem for all of them is that their favored candidate has more or less made themselves subject to the radicals in the party that behave much like the protesters here.

The Democrats need a reckoning if they’re going to make their party remotely approachable again, and it’s going to have to start by making sure that protesters like these are kept to the back of the room in a dark corner where nobody has to look at them. Every party has its radical weirdos, but only the Democrats have made theirs mainstream.

The post Watch: Democrats Harass Police at Houston Debates appeared first on RedState.

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Iain Dale: The Prime Minister. He gets knocked down. But he gets up again.

Iain Dale presents the evening show on LBC Radio and is a commentator for CNN.

Number Ten, it seems, has recognised that withdrawing the whip from 21 Conservative MPs and preventing them from standing as Tory candidates at the next election might just have been a teency-weency bit over the top. A bit of rowing back has gone on this week, and the MPs in question have received a letter telling them that they can either reapply for the whip or, if they think they have been treated unfairly, appeal to a panel.

Time will tell how many will avail themselves of the offer. There will be some who will refuse and revel in their martyrdom, but others who will want to return to the tribe. I suspect, however, that the conditions imposed on them will mean that most may well refuse. If this is a genuine offer by Downing Street and the Chief Whip, then the 21 need to be treated sensitively rather than presented with the equivalent of signing a total surrender document.

– – – – – – – – – – –

Having had a five week long political honeymoon, the last ten days have seen the Prime Minister experience the political equivalent of five rounds in the ring with Anthony Joshua. He’s been pummelled onto the floor by losing six votes Commons – but hasn’t been knocked out, despite being punched in the guts by his brother Jo.

And that’s the blow that hurt the most. I’m told that the Prime Minister was reduced to tears by this as he immediately realised the implications. Forget the political effect, it was the immediate realisation that his relationship with his brother would never be quite the same again. He was knocked for six.

This may explain his shambolic performance in front of the police cadets in Wakefield, where he gave a speech which was almost incomprehensible. And that’s being kind. On a human level, I think that many people will have a lot of sympathy for him. In some ways, this was far worse than what Ed Miliband did to his brother by standing against him in 2010. This was a dagger – straight to the heart.

One thing our Prime Minister finds very difficult to cope with is people who either don’t like him or who misunderstand his motives. It’s very human in many ways, and I warm to him because of it, but in politics it’s a weakness.

It may make him a less empathetic human being, but perhaps Johnson needs to grow a suit of human body armour. As Prime Minister, it’s impossible to be liked by everyone, and you can’t avoid the fact that your political enemies will come for you when they scent blood. And, boy, have they scented blood in the last ten days.

– – – – – – – – – –

 

Last Friday, I chaired the Norfolk Police & Crime Commissioner selection hustings in Norwich. The last time I had attended a meeting at the Mercure Hotel (formerly the Hotel Norwich) on the Norwich inner ring road was in April 1987, for the adoption meeting of the then Norwich North MP, Patrick Thompson, at the start of the general election campaign.

The room hadn’t changed a bit.  There were a lot of people there I knew from my North Norfolk campaign in 2005 and the age profile of the audience was very different to that I experienced during the leadership hustings. Yes, there was a scattering of young faces, but not a single person who wasn’t white.

Norwich itself has become a much more diverse city in recent years, and that needs to be reflected in the membership of local political parties. There was four finalists for the PCC job, all of whom were in their 60s (I think). Three men and one woman.

I gave each of them quite a grilling and all of them stood up to it quite well, even if I suspect none of them had ever experienced anything like it. The eventual winner (on the first ballot) was Giles Orpen-Smellie, a former diplomat with the gift of the gab. He provided the best answer to the final question I put to each of the four candidates: “I think PCCs are a complete waste of money and should be abolished. Tell me why I’m wrong.”

– – – – – – – – – –

I think enough has been said and written about my appearance on the BBC’s Question Time show last week. However, I was very aware that when I next hosted an LBC Cross Question show on Wednesday, I’d be under quite a bit of scrutiny. Could I maintain control over the panellists on my show – David Starkey, Andrew Adonis, Christine Jardine and Mark Harper – in a way that Fiona Bruce had often failed to do on hers the week before?

Would I allow one panellist to dominate in the way that Emily Thornberry was allowed to? Well, you can listen for yourself on the Cross Question podcast or view it on the LBC Youtube channel.

To be honest the hour was, in my opinion, exactly what a debate should be about. Apart from Starkey calling Theresa May “a hag” (which I made him apologise for), it was conducted with utter respect, without fake rows and I think the listeners learned a lot. But while I think I maintained control I think I failed to stop Starkey dominating. But then again, I defy any presenter to do any better than I did!

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Matthew Barber: The potential to fight crime using technology is significant

Matthew Barber is the Conservative candidate for Police and Crime Commissioner for the Thames Valley. He is currently the Deputy PCC for that area.

Confidence matters. Not just in the sense of good PR, or a nice warm feeling inside, it actually matters. Thankfully, most people have very little or no contact with the criminal justice system, but we all need to have confidence that the system is in good health and working to protect us and those around us. You do not have to believe in a rose-tinted past in order to see that this confidence has taken a battering over recent years, and indeed decades.

Justice is seen as too slow and bureaucratic; investigative outcomes are poor; sentencing is seen as weak and reoffending rates are high. We urgently need to rehabilitate both offenders, and the criminal justice system itself. Few complex systems are perfect, especially those that have to deal with human tragedy and transgression as their bread and butter, but through the leadership of Local Criminal Justice Boards, that bring together all of the agencies involved in delivering justice, Police and Crime Commissioners can be the midwives to that transformation.

Much of the attention to police performance is understandably about visibility, but that is only part of the picture. The investigative outcomes are well below where the public would expect them to be. In Thames Valley a major new initiative is being launched to ensure that investigation is at the heart of what the police do. It is one of the unique functions that can only be carried out by the police and it goes beyond the immediate response to incidence which is so often the focus of attention and resources.

The effectiveness and quality of prosecutions must also be rigorously scrutinised. Undoubtedly much of this rests with the police in terms of providing thorough investigations and properly dealing with issues such as disclosure, but the Crown Prosecution Service also need to ensure that they are not prioritising the safest cases at the expense of confidence in the wider system.

The use of technology in our courts and prisons needs to be improved. Too often the correct technology is not in place or the infrastructure isn’t up to the job. With court closures making the physical journey to secure justice a longer one for many victims and witnesses, the facilities and the support for them needs to be right first time, every time.

The public response to sentencing, often without understanding the details of the case will always be a problem, but whilst prisoners continue to be routinely released half way through the sentence that has been imposed by the courts it is little wonder that confidence is draining away. If we are to retain this policy the Ministry of Justice should seriously consider GPS tagging for all serious or violent offenders as part of their sentence. This is currently used by Thames Valley on a voluntary basis for a small cohort of offenders, but the potential of this technology is significant. Not just by imposing an additional restriction on someone’s liberty as part of their sentence, but as an active tool to reducing reoffending and helping people to turn their lives around.

This final point about reducing the chances of someone committing further crimes is key. Too often the pendulum of debate swings all the way to draconian punishment to ultra-lenient sentencing with no evidence of success. There is a balance to be struck. Whilst offenders are in prison they are their to be punished, but there is no reason why that time inside should not be used to equip them with the basic skills to become law abiding members of society on their release. Once they are outside there is no reason why they should be cast aside. Restrictions on liberty, provision of education, and where necessary treatment should all be part of how the state deals with offenders in order to keep society safe.

Reform will cost money, but as is so often the case, cash isn’t the only answer. By properly joining the system up, through bodies such as Local Criminal Justice Boards, can improve working practices, encourage the sharing of data and ensure that all agencies have a shared goal of improving justice for victims.

Just as there is no contradiction between punishment and rehabilitation, there should also be no conflict between delivering an efficient criminal justice system and at the same time ensuring public confidence in it.

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Portland cop accused by Antifa of colluding with Patriot Prayer is cleared

Westlake Legal Group Ted-Wheeler-press-conference Portland cop accused by Antifa of colluding with Patriot Prayer is cleared The Blog Portland police Mayor Ted Wheeler Chief Outlaw antifa

Back in February, there was a mini-scandal in Portland over the publication of texts which showed Lt. Jeff Niiya of the Portland Police texting with Patriot Prayer leader Joey Gibson. Despite the fact that this was Lt. Niiya’s job, i.e. to coordinate with protest groups, Antifa and Portland Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty accused him of collusion and favoritism toward the right-wing group. Today the Oregonian reports that after an investigation, Lt. Niiya has been completely cleared:

Portland’s Independent Police Review, a city auditing division that handles investigations of high-ranking police administrators, didn’t find sufficient evidence to prove allegations against Lt. Jeff Niiya, the report shows.

The reviewers considered three allegations: that Niiya engaged in unprofessional behavior during his communications with Gibson, didn’t maintain objectivity while communicating with Gibson and inappropriately disclosed information to Gibson to allow individuals to avoid arrest.

The Independent Police Review recommended its findings to the Police Bureau. Niiya won’t face any discipline, according to sources familiar with the inquiry.

It’s good this was over, but this was pretty obviously nonsense from the beginning. When the texts were published, Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty said she was shocked to learn there were “members of the Portland police force who work in collusion with right-wing extremists.” Mayor Ted Wheeler poured gasoline on the fire: “It is imperative for law enforcement to remain objective and professional, and in my opinion, these text messages appear to cross several boundaries.”

And of course, the goons from Rose City Antifa were all over this. When Police Chief Danielle Outlaw held a listening session a week later it turned into a sh*tshow with people calling for the disbanding of the entire force:

Today, Chief Outlaw explained at a press conference that Lt. Niiya had been cleared of any wrongdoing and that it was clear the selectively released texts presented an inaccurate portrayal of his work. Then Ted Wheeler got up and offered a mea culpa of sorts. Asked why he seemed to be condemning Lt. Niiya before any investigation took place, Wheeler offered this meandering response: “In retrospect, what I would have preferred was that I—I would have preferred, and this is based on the conversations that I’ve had with many of the officers in the Bureau and sharing their feelings and their desires and their expectations, in retrospect it would have been better had I been more overt about giving Lt. Niiya the benefit of the doubt.”

Mayor Wheeler added that he told Lt. Niiya directly that he wished he’d been more clear that he was giving him the benefit of the doubt. That’s something I guess but it’s too bad for the Portland PD that their Police Commissioner didn’t know that before now. The final report on the investigation is here. Below is the full press conference. I have this queued up to Mayor Wheeler’s answer about what he would have preferred (of himself) in retrospect:

The post Portland cop accused by Antifa of colluding with Patriot Prayer is cleared appeared first on Hot Air.

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Can Baltimore’s SWAT units shut down the “squeegee kids?”

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As if Baltimore doesn’t have enough problems on its hands, it seems that they’ve still been unable to get the epidemic of “squeegee kids” under control. In case you’re not familiar with this phenomenon, gangs of younger people (not all of whom are actually “children” by the way) show up at city intersections with traffic lights carrying buckets of presumably soapy water and squeegees. The deal is that if they run up to a stopped car that is trapped in traffic at the light and wash the windshield, they expect the driver to give them money.

The problems with this should be obvious and the city has made some efforts in the past to discourage this activity and find other things for the kids to do. But there are too many of them. Now the Baltimore PD is assigning more officers to clear them out and keep things under control, including the use of SWAT Team members if they are severely understaffed. This has some of the locals up in arms, assuming that heavily armed men in riot gear will be showing up to chase the little vandals away. (CBS Baltimore)

Baltimore police are patrolling the intersections where “squeegee kids” normally conduct business. Each police district is responsible for manning the intersections in their districts that are regularly used to conduct business.

If the district doesn’t have enough staff to man the corners, then bike patrol, traffic enforcement officers or SWAT will assist.

Late Friday, police called to inform WJZ that if SWAT officers are assigned to this detail, they would not be acting in a SWAT capacity.

As to the complaints being heard, I think the cops have made it pretty clear. SWAT Team members are only being used when the PD is stretched too thin and can’t cover all of the corners. And when that happens, they are not showing up in riot gear with heavy weapons. They’re wearing regular uniforms and just helping out the regular beat cops to cover all the action.

But maybe they should be a bit more heavily armed. As usual, the local news coverage doesn’t cover this situation very well, describing what these “kids” are doing as “conducting business.”

I wrote about this last winter and there’s a reason the police are needed on these corners. First of all, these kids are not “conducting business” and this isn’t a “job.” There is no customer requesting these services, or if there is, it’s rare in the extreme. They run up to the cars unbidden and just start slopping water on the windshield. And then most of them do not “ask” for money. They demand it.

If you don’t pony up, they frequently become abusive and threatening. Some of them have vandalized the cars of people who don’t want to pay. People have been attacked, particularly if they get out of their vehicle when it’s being damaged. One man named Jon Coles and his wife had their car vandalized and the couple was then attacked by multiple squeegee kids, causing injuries. No arrests were made.

This “business” is not a social justice project to help underprivileged kids. It wasn’t set up by any government agency. It’s an extortion racket that they dreamed up themselves and it’s been tolerated for too long. Don’t assume that tourists will keep coming back to the area if this is what they encounter every time they drive through town.

The post Can Baltimore’s SWAT units shut down the “squeegee kids?” appeared first on Hot Air.

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Bronx Residents Assault Police Officers For Helping Put Out a Fire

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Here’s another example of why the outrageous, generalized rhetoric against police officers we hear from the left is dangerous.

A fire broke out in a Bronx building last last week, drawing a crowd as firefighters battled the blaze. The police showed up to provide crowd control and multiple assaults took place against the officers.

The local New York media covered in ridiculous fashion, making it seem as if the officers were out for a brawl and were part of the cause. Take this story entitled Fight Breaks Out Between Cops and Residents As Firefighters Battle Bronx Blaze.

You can find the video of the incident at the link above.

Firefighters battling flames inside a Bronx building weren’t the only ones getting hot Tuesday afternoon, as tempers flared between police officers and residents right outside the burning building.

More than 100 firefighters were called to battle the flames shooting out of a sixth floor apartment kitchen near East 171st Street in Grand Concourse. The fire broke out around 4:30 p.m., and neighbors used the fire escape to climb from the smoke-filled units to safety.

Meanwhile, a fiery confrontation was going on outside the building, as tensions rose between heated tenants and police officers called to the scene to help clear the crowds, in order for the firefighters to quickly get in and out of the building.

The fight started as crowds refused to make way as cops demanded they move. Police say a 39-year-old woman ripped an officer’s body camera off and threw it to the ground, while another person threw a carton of milk at the cops before running off.

For the life of me, I don’t get what the point of this is. The officers are there trying to make room for firefighters to save the building these people live in, and they repay that by getting violent. Further, five firefighters were injured trying to serve these people.

Something has to change with how police are treated in this country. The vast majority are underpaid public servants just trying to do a tough job. You will always be able to find bad apples in any profession. That’s not a reason to spread overwrought, false propaganda against cops that leads to this kind of nonsense happening. You probably won’t see Bill de Blasio or anyone from New York City’s government push back on this because they are essentially complicit at this point, never missing a chance to undermine police.

The behavior exhibited by these Bronx residents would have caused a lot of people to throw their hands up and leave them to fight the fire themselves. They are lucky that firefighters and law enforcement abide by a code of duty that requires them to help even those who don’t deserve it.

————————————————

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The post Bronx Residents Assault Police Officers For Helping Put Out a Fire appeared first on RedState.

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Cancel culture: Alabama dean of students out after Breitbart flags his old tweets about race

Westlake Legal Group m Cancel culture: Alabama dean of students out after Breitbart flags his old tweets about race university The Blog Students soave Race police jamie riley dean cancel culture Breitbart Alabama

“One of the worst arguments I hear conservatives make in defense of the right de-platforming the left is ‘we are just making the left play by their own rules,’” wrote Reason’s Robby Soave about this story. “They are no longer the left’s rules, if you are enforcing them. Then they are your rules.”

The response would be that de-platforming the left is a form of deterrence. If you want them to stop taking scalps from the right, start taking them from the left until they think better of their tactics. One problem with that logic, though, is that you’ll never deter everyone; another problem is that taking scalps in unjust circumstances could backfire by generating greater enthusiasm on the other side for even more ruthless scalp-taking. Although the stakes are obviously way lower, the conflict considerations here aren’t much different than they’d be for a group that’s trying to decide whether to engage in terrorism to advance its cause. Will you gain more for your cause or lose more by responding to violence perpetrated against you with your own violence? Will that violence frighten the enemy into suing for peace or radicalize him into committing to your destruction? As a moral matter, should you be as bad as your enemy or insist on being better and prove how cutthroat he is by the contrast with your example?

I don’t know that Media Matters, say, would mind if scalp-taking became mainstream partisan practice, to the extent that it isn’t already.

Anyway, there’s a difference between what Breitbart did to (now former) U of A dean of students Jamie Riley in this case and what Bloomberg Law did to Leif Olson earlier this week. The apparent intent was the same — get the target canceled, i.e. fired — but there’s no evidence that Breitbart misrepresented Riley’s actual views. His tweets were public statements which he chose to publish; and as a dean at a public university he’s a public official, accountable not just to his school but to the broader taxpaying public. It’s fair game to scrutinize the writings of a public official.

But no, this guy shouldn’t have been fired. At least not without reason to believe that his views had led him to be ineffective in his job.

“The [American flag emoji] flag represents a systemic history of racism for my people,” Riley wrote in the tweet. “Police are a part of that system. Is it that hard to see the correlation?”

In a separate image of a tweet in October 2017, Riley said white people have “0 opinion” on racism because white people cannot experience racism.

“I’m baffled about how the first thing white people say is, ‘That’s not racist!’ when they can’t even experience racism,” Riley wrote in the tweet. “You have 0 opinion!”

Under the previous tweet, Riley sent a hashtag that read “#missmewithyourprivilege.” Later, an image of a 2016 tweet from Riley shows him questioning the motive of making movies about slavery.

“Are movies about slavery truly about educating the unaware, or to remind Black people of our place in society,” Riley wrote.

If agreeing with the first tweet is a firing offense, every Democrat in the country as well as some Republicans should be fired tomorrow. The third tweet is … odd. If you’re so woke that you think movies like “12 Years a Slave” are actually a tool of The Man to further oppress blacks, you’re too woke. The second tweet is the one that’s a potential issue: If Riley is ignoring white students’ opinions on some subjects like race as a matter of policy, because he thinks whites can’t experience racism or whatever, that’s obviously a problem for a dean whose job is to listen to students.

But was he actually ignoring anyone? Did Alabama take five seconds to ask students how they felt about him before dropping the axe? Was there any sort of boycott threat that might have required fast action? Or was Riley simply guilty of what tens of millions of people are guilty of every day, having a dickish thought and farting it out on Twitter immediately before thinking better of it later, and no one really cared?

I’m going to share a secret here with America’s institutions, left and right: You don’t need to actually give the other side a scalp when they demand it. If the Labor Department hadn’t been so quick to appease Bloomberg Law, they would have read through Olson’s Facebook posts, realized he was being smeared, and spared themselves several days of bad press by telling Bloomberg to go away instead of firing the poor guy. If Alabama hadn’t been so quick to appease Breitbart, they would have sniffed around to see if Riley’s views on race were affecting his work. If there were reports already floating around that he was treating white students unfairly, it shouldn’t have taken some old tweets to get him fired. If there weren’t any such reports, they could have put out a statement saying “his views are his own and don’t represent the university” and left it there. As it is, I wonder if they’re going to end up in the same unfortunate place that the Labor Department ended up, with people who are outraged by the firing giving the institution more grief than it would have gotten if it had just exercised due diligence before leaping to can someone.

Like I say, it’s fair to call attention to someone’s public statements, which is what righty operatives are also doing now with reporters. And it’s also fair not to fire someone just because a political enemy claims to be offended. Exit question: If righties, who claim to despise “cancel culture,” are going to participate in it ostensibly for the purpose of getting the left to cease using the tactic, what would count as evidence that they’d ceased? Does every “watchdog” group like Media Matters need to close down? What if that happens and some lefties start freelancing scalp-taking? “We only do it because the other side does it” is a convenient excuse in some people for “I really enjoy fighting dirty but need a moral fig leaf, like self-defense, to justify it to myself.”

The post Cancel culture: Alabama dean of students out after Breitbart flags his old tweets about race appeared first on Hot Air.

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Jay Singh-Sohal: As a Sikh I understand how a sense of community is a safeguard against crime

Capt. Jay Singh-Sohal works in Strategic Communications for M&C Saatchi and serves as a Captain in the Army Reserve. He is the Conservative candidate for West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner.

Crime has shockingly been on the rise in the West Midlands ever since Labour first won the Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) election in 2012.  Since then, knife crime has increased by 85 per cent, and it’s affecting our young people the most. In 2018, nearly 700 schoolchildren were the victims of knife crime, including 41 of primary school age. Alongside, has been a general rise in weapons’ possession (up 36 per cent from last year) and violence against the person (up 32 per cent). I cannot accept this rise in violence, which shows no signs of abating under a Labour PCC who has politicised the role.

That is why I am running to be Commissioner, to work with the government and our regional Mayor, Andy Street, to tackle crime and improve the life chances of our young people.  It’s an issue close to my heart because of where I was raised, in Birmingham Ladywood, one of the most deprived areas of the country.

For people like me growing up in a migrant family during the 1980s and 1990s, life could be made simple or complicated depending on which side of the law you found yourself on. If you worked hard and stayed out of trouble, there was an opportunity to be gained. But for some young people, the lack of options presented a temptation to take short cuts. It could mean becoming either victims of crime or entering a slippery slope to being perpetrators themselves.

I saw this at first hand, friends and peers who joined gangs for camaraderie and brotherhood, smoked cannabis outside the school gates to pass time, stole from corner shops and music stores, and, for those who caught buses from afar, got into fights in Birmingham city centre with lads from other schools. Years later, it does not surprise me to hear about the fate of some of those I grew up with in Handsworth.

I was fortunate to have been able to steer away from much of that because growing up I had a religious family and community of faith-principled Sikhs to keep me in check. From a young age, visits to the many Gurdwaras near my home in Birmingham, West Bromwich and Smethwick and school holidays spent at Sikh camps in Dudley and Wolverhampton learning about my faith and identity meant I knew the difference between right and wrong and had successful role models to look up to.

So it’s not an understatement to say being surrounded by my community kept me away from crime. It gave me purpose, to want to tell the stories of those around me and to now use the office of the PCC to introduce preventative activities that steer young people away from gangs and towards respecting others and developing themselves.

I know it can work because I’m proof: at the tender age of 16, with support from community youth workers, I successfully applied for funding from the Princes Trust Millennium Awards Scheme to create and publish a regular inner-city magazine. I was a teenager trusted with around £12,000 in my bank account to run the project. It could have gone so wrong. Instead, it was the beginning of my career in journalism.

Even then, boys will be boys and I’d be lying if I said the paths presented to me often split with a clear enough route to getting up to no good. The temptation was there and I don’t think I was too lazy not to. But perhaps the exposure to community values was too strong, the wearing of a Kara (Sikh iron bangle and one of five symbols of our faith which reminds oneself to do good) too powerful. Or maybe I was too much of a geek (I used to be teased at school for watching Star Trek) to warrant being included by the “cool kids”. I still found other ways to rebel, legally. Some in my traditionally Labour-voting community might even say joining the Conservatives was the ultimate form of rebellion.

So I understand the pressures and real life choices young people are presented with in life, and acknowledge that it is not easy growing up in inner-cities and within homes where social and familial cohesion might not be apparent.  In a fast-paced world our young people are all too easily tempted into doing no good – it could be because of peer pressure, lack of positive role models or missing economic opportunity. From minor theft to recreational drugs to anti-social behaviour, the journey into gangs, violence and crime is too easily made. Particularly for those from poorer backgrounds who are disproportionately more likely to become involved in criminal activity. We must address those issues if we are to create the positive change we need to improve the lives of young people and the future hopes of our urban areas.

Creating opportunities for young people is the natural next stage of delivering upon a robust and dynamic domestic agenda that creates behaviour change to tackle the causes of criminal behaviour. It must follow on from the Prime Minister’s announcements of several much-needed measures including recruiting 20,000 more police officers, more prison spaces, and more money for the CPS to tackle violent crime.

Youth crime is a social justice issue that our government must now take seriously by investing in “diversionary opportunities” that ensure all our young people are presented with better options than activity that leads to breaking the law.  Boris Johnson will understand this. As Mayor of London, he not only presided over more “stop and search” to tackle rising knife crime but balanced this with intervention schemes including sponsored mentoring, apprenticeships, and youth clubs that helped address the cause of youth crime.  I am hopeful he will do so again on a national level.

My active and faith-principled community helped in my development, but for many, it requires government commitment at a national and local level to create investment into youth and community facilities that improve neighbourhoods and ensure young people have the opportunities to become empowered to make the right decisions in life.

I will be working hard to win the argument for the Tory blue approach across the region, and lobbying for more investment into our young people’s futures. Doing so will assure the less privileged and often overlooked sections in our society of our Conservative commitment to ensuring that anyone can succeed with the right opportunities.

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