This president promised to be less exhausting: After "facing pressure," Biden is finally set to sign an executive order to do what the executive branch can do to alleviate the suffering induced by the Supreme Court's overturn of Roe v. Wade. I really thought his whole appeal was that he'd take care of the awful stuff so we could all focus on our own lives, but, yet again, it took the entire base of his party lighting their collective hair on fire to make him do his job.
What happens now that the Charleena Lyles inquest is over? Procedurally, King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg will now review the inquest jury's findings and decide whether to charge the two SPD officers who shot Lyles back in 2017. Karen Koehler, the attorney for Lyle's family, told me in an email that in her opinion "Satterberg will never charge those officers in a million years."
Well, what about the people who want Satterberg's job? I asked both candidates running for King County Prosecutor for comment on the inquest results. Federal Way Mayor Jim Ferrell met the lowest bar possible for human decency by calling Lyles's death "heartbreaking" and a "tragedy." He said he'd review the evidence from the inquest and make his own charging decision, irrespective of the jury's finding that the use of force against Lyles was "appropriate." Leesa Manion, Chief of Staff to Satterberg, did not respond to multiple requests for comment.
Aspiring legislators weigh in: I also checked in with candidates competing for the open House seat in the 46th Legislative District, where Lyles lived when the police shot and killed her during a mental health crisis. Lelach Rave called the shooting a "failure at every level" and stressed the need to have mental health professionals respond "instead of — or in addition to — traditional police officers" when someone in crisis calls 911. Nina Martinez called the jury's finding "flat out wrong and inexcusable" while blaming the officers for failing to use any deescalation techniques to subdue a pregnant woman much smaller than either cop. Melissa Taylor said the ruling was "nonsense" and demonstrated the need for new use-of-force policies that "don’t kill people who need help."
The most detailed response among the House hopefuls came from Darya Farivar. In her opinion, the inquest hearings were "built to protect the system." She pointed to the new statewide Office of Independent Investigations (OII) as the entity that should be investigating cops who kill people on the job, since we can hardly expect prosecutors and cops who work with each other on the daily to be impartial in cases like this. She wants to build on the success of getting the bill that created OII through Olympia by creating an independent prosecutor's office as well, which would have taken the charging decision for these cops out of Satterberg's hands.
Senate candidates remain silent: Javier Valdez, the current 46th LD Representative and a candidate for the open Senate seat in that district, did not respond to a request for comment via email. Matthew Gross, his opponent and a line prosecutor in Satterberg's office, had a better reason for refusing to comment than simply not replying to my email. Because the charging decision has not been made, he says office policy prevents him from speaking publicly about the case.
Community group also outraged: King County Equity Now, a nonprofit that advocates for police accountability and economic issues affecting the local Black community, also sent a statement:
The use of force in the Charleena Lyles case was not appropriate! This inquest is yet another example of officers protecting officers; an example of why so many don't believe this system is here to serve and protect them; an example of the need for us to do all we can to hold officers accountable to their actions; and an example of the need to apply equity to the injustice system and uproot anti-Blackness.
The systemic view: In case you're inclined to think that this was an isolated tragedy, a new report from a disability rights organization finds that "almost half of people who die at the hands of police have some kind of disability." The Ruderman Family Foundation published the analysis of incidents from 2013-2015, concluding that those kinds of interactions become disproportionately lethal because cops presume that people with psychiatric disabilities are dangerous to themselves and others.
Please excuse me while I stare into the abyss:
Breonna Taylor's family filming Jacob Blake's family get beaten by police at a vigil for Jayland Walker's family who were arrested by Akron police reveals more clearly than anything the deep rotteness of the system. The police must be defeated. https://t.co/e4zc7Wz5FJ— Vitalist International (@VitalistInt) July 7, 2022
I'm not going to pretend to have a good transition here, but, in a world where embarrassing miscarriages of justice seem to be the norm, I'll take my small victories wherever I can find them:
Longest-serving Japanese Prime Minister assassinated: Former PM Shinzo Abe was shot yesterday at a campaign event in Nara. Local law enforcement will hold a press conference in the next few hours to release more details. CNN has a continuously updated post that will have the latest details for you here.
Zuck keeps finding new ways to suck: According to a lawsuit brought by a former employee, Facebook developed a tool in 2019 to access users' deleted Messenger data and share it with law enforcement. How many more ways will this mega-corporation find to violate our privacy before we make some effort to regulate it?
After a tough AM, I leave you with this incredibly underrated number from Dr. Dre's 2015 Compton soundtrack: