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“Most journalists in the United States believe the press here is free. That grand illusion only helps obscure the fact that, by and large, the US corporate press does not report what’s really going on, while tuning out, or laughing off, all those who try to do just that. Americans–now more than ever–need those outlets that do labor to report some truth. Project Censored is not just among the bravest, smartest, and most rigorous of those outlets, but the only one that’s wholly focused on those stories that the corporate press ignores, downplays, and/or distorts. This latest book is therefore a must read for anyone who cares about this country, its tottering economy, and–most important– what’s now left of its democracy.” –Mark Crispin Miller, author, professor of media ecology, New York University.
“For ages, I’ve dreamed of a United States where Project Censored isn’t necessary, where these crucial stories and defining issues are on the front page of the New York Times, the cover of Time, and in heavy rotation on CNN. That world still doesn’t exist, but we always have Project Censored’s yearly book to pull together the most important things the corporate media ignored, missed, or botched.” –Russ Kick, author of You Are Being Lied To, Everything You Know Is Wrong, and the New York Times bestselling series The Graphic Canon.
“The staff of Project Censored presents their annual compilation of the previous year’s 25 stories most overlooked by the mainstream media along with essays about censorship and its consequences. The stories include an 813% rise in hate and anti-government groups since 2008, human rights violations by the US Border Patrol, and Israeli doctors injecting Ethiopian immigrants with birth control without their consent. Other stories focus on the environment, like the effects of fracking and Monsantos GMO seeds. The writers point out misinformation and outright deception in the media, including CNN relegating factual accounts to the “opinion” section and the whitewashing of Margaret Thatcher’s career following her death in 2013, unlike Hugo Chavez, who was routinely disparaged in the coverage following his death. One essay deals with the proliferation of “Junk Food News,” in which “CNN and Fox News devoted more time to ‘Gangnam Style’ than the renewal of Uganda’s ‘Kill the Gays’ law.” Another explains common media manipulation tactics and outlines practices to becoming a more engaged, free-thinking news consumer or even citizen journalist. Rob Williams remarks on Hollywood’s “deep and abiding role as a popular propaganda provider” via Argo and Zero Dark Thirty. An expose on working conditions in Chinese Apple factories is brutal yet essential reading. This book is evident of Project Censored’s profoundly important work in educating readers on current events and the skills needed to be a critical thinker.” -Publisher’s Weekly said about Censored 2014 (Oct.)
“Hot news, cold truths, utterly uncensored.” —Greg Palast
“[Censored] should be affixed to the bulletin boards in every newsroom in America. And, perhaps read aloud to a few publishers and television executives.” —Ralph Nader
“In another home run for Project Censored, Censored 2013 shows how the American public has been bamboozled, snookered, and dumbed down by the corporate media. It is chock-full of ‘ah-ha’ moments where we understand just how we’ve been fleeced by banksters, stripped of our civil liberties, and blindly led down a path of never-ending war.” –Medea Benjamin, author of Drone Warfare, cofounder of Global Exchange and CODEPINK.
“Project Censored brings to light some of the most important stories of the year that you never saw or heard about. This is your chance to find out what got buried.” –Diane Ravitch, author of The Death and Life of the Great American School System.
Buy it, read it, act on it. Our future depends on the knowledge this col-lection of suppressed stories allows us.” —San Diego Review
“Project Censored continues to be an invaluable resource in exposing and highlighting shocking stories that are routinely minimized or ignored by the corporate media. The vital nature of this work is underscored by this year’s NSA leaks. The world needs more brave whistle blowers and independent journalists in the service of reclaiming democracy and challenging the abuse of power. Project Censored stands out for its commitment to such work.” —Deepa Kumar, author of Islamophobia and the Politics of Empire and associate professor of Media Studies and Middle Eastern Studies at Rutgers University
“Censored 2014 is a clarion call for truth telling. Not only does this volume highlight fearless speech in fateful times, it connect the dots between the key issues we face, lauds our whistleblowers and amplifies their voices, and shines light in the dark places of our government that most need exposure.” –Daniel Ellsberg, The Pentagon Papers
“[Censored] offers devastating evidence of the dumbing-down of main-stream news in America. . . . Required reading for broadcasters, journalists, and well-informed citizens.” —Los Angeles Times
“Those who read and support Project Censored are in the know.” —Cynthia McKinney
“At a time when the need for independent journalism and for media outlets unaffiliated with and untainted by the government and corporate sponsors is greater than ever, Project Censored has created a context for reporting the complete truths in all matters that matter. . . . It is therefore left to us to find sources for information we can trust. . . . It is in this task that we are fortunate to have an ally like Project Cen-sored.” —Dahr Jamail
“Activist groups like Project Censored . . . are helping to build the media democracy movement. We have to challenge the powers that be and rebuild media from the bottom up.” —Amy Goodman
“Project Censored interrogates the present in the same way that Oliver Stone and I tried to interrogate the past in our Untold History of the United States. It not only shines a penetrating light on the American Empire and all its deadly, destructive, and deceitful actions, it does so at a time when the Obama administration is mounting a fierce effort to silence truth-tellers and whistleblowers. Project Censored provides the kind of fearless and honest journalism we so desperately need in these dangerous times.” —Peter Kuznick, professor of history, American University, and coauthor, with Oliver Stone, of The Untold History of the United States
“Project Censored is one of the organizations that we should listen to, to be assured that our newspapers and our broadcasting outlets are practicing thorough and ethical journalism.” —Walter Cronkite
“One of the most significant media research projects in the country.” —I. F. Stone
“Project Censored shines a spotlight on news that an informed public must have . . . a vital contribution to our democratic process.” —Rhoda H. Karpatkin, president, Consumer’s Union

#24 Eight Use of Force Policies to Prevent Killings by Police

Killings by police are not inevitable or difficult to prevent, according to a September 2016 study by Campaign Zero, a police-reform group formed in the aftermath of the Ferguson protests. The study, “Police Use of Force Policy Analysis,” examined police departments in ninety-one of the nation’s largest cities and found that departments with stricter use of force regulations killed significantly fewer people. Noting that many police departments fail to establish “common sense restrictions” on use of force and that police violence is “distributed disproportionally,” with black people being three times more likely to be killed by police than their white counterparts, the study’s authors wrote, “fundamentally changing use of force polic[i]es can dramatically reduce the number of people killed by police in America.” As Jamilah King reported in Mic, the study is “the first wide-scale analysis to demonstrate the connection between differing ‘use of force’ policies and the rate of police killings.”

Campaign Zero identified the following eight guidelines, restricting when and how police officers should use force, that greatly decrease the likelihood of civilian deaths:

  • Require officers to de-escalate situations before resorting to force.
  • Limit the kinds of force that can be used to respond to specific forms of resistance.
  • Restrict chokeholds.
  • Require officers to give a verbal warning before using force.
  • Prohibit officers from shooting at moving vehicles.
  • Require officers to exhaust all alternatives to deadly force.
  • Require officers to stop colleagues from exercising excessive force.
  • Require comprehensive reporting on use of force.

Campaign Zero found that, on average, “each additional use of force policy was associated with a 15% reduction in killings,” and that implementing all eight guidelines would result in a 54 percent reduction in killings for the average police department. Taking into account the number of arrests made, assaults on officers, and community demographics, Campaign Zero reported that police departments with all eight use of force policies implemented “would kill 72% fewer people than departments that have none of these policies in place.”

As King reported for Mic, Campaign Zero determined its findings by combining police department data on use of force policies, obtained through Freedom of Information Act requests, and records of police-involved killings dating back to 2015, as compiled by the Guardian and the Washington Post. (For previous Project Censored coverage of efforts to track the number of police-involved killings of civilians, see “Who Dies at the Hands of US Police—and How Often,” Censored 2016, pp. 58–61; “National Database of Police Killings Aims for Accountability,” Censored 2015, p. 69; Peter Phillips, Diana Grant, and Greg Sewell, “Law Enforcement–Related Deaths in the US: ‘Justified Homicides’ and Their Impacts on Victims’ Families,” Censored 2015, pp. 243–68.)

In her coverage of the Campaign Zero study, Alice Speri of the Intercept noted that just thirty-four of the ninety-one police departments studied by Campaign Zero had policies requiring officers to de-escalate situations before resorting to force, and only thirty-one of the ninety-one departments required officers to exhaust all alternatives before resorting to deadly force. Just fifteen of the ninety-one departments required officers to report on all uses of force, including threatening a civilian with a firearm.

Yet, as King reported in Mic, Campaign Zero found significant differences between metropolitan police departments that had four or more of the policies in place and those that did not. For example, Washington, DC, and Miami did have four or more of the policies in place, and these cities had relatively low rates of police killings (between six police killings per million residents for Washington, DC, and ten per million for Miami). By contrast, the police departments of Orlando, Florida; Stockton, California; and Oklahoma City each implemented fewer than four of the use of force guidelines, and these cities had the nation’s worst rates of police killings (between twenty-one police killings per million residents for Oklahoma City and twenty-five per million for Orlando).

Samuel Sinyangwe, one of the study’s researchers and authors, told the Intercept that few departments have implemented all or most of these policies, partly due to “resistance from police unions that claim more restrictive policies will endanger officers.” On the contrary, the Campaign Zero study showed that the numbers of officers assaulted or killed in the line of duty decreased in proportion with the number of regulations adopted by their department.

Sinyangwe, the Campaign Zero researcher, told Mic, “Two years ago we didn’t even have the data to know which police departments were killing people at higher rates than others and why . . . Now we can identify the key policies to prevent these killings.”

Kate Stringer’s YES! Magazine article, “We Already Know How to Reduce Police Racism and Violence,” predated the publication of the Campaign Zero report, but offered insights on how cities could interrupt police violence, based on findings of previous research. Her report cited prior studies encouraging support for police reforms which included training officers against racial bias, hiring more female officers, hiring to match communities’ racial diversity, opening departments to research, and using body cameras.

As of June 2017, Campaign Zero’s findings appear to have been completely overlooked by the nation’s major corporate news outlets.

Kate Stringer, “We Already Know How to Reduce Police Racism and Violence,” YES! Magazine, July 8, 2016, http://www.yesmagazine.org/people-power/cities-have-the-power-to-reduce-police-racism-and-violence.

Jamilah King, “Study: More Restrictive ‘Use of Force’ Policies Could Curb the Epidemic of Police Violence,” Mic, September 21, 2016, https://mic.com/articles/154715/study-more-restrictive-use-of-force-policies-could-curb-the-epidemic-of-police-violence.

Alice Speri, “Here are Eight Policies That Can Prevent Police Killings,” Intercept, September 21, 2016, https://theintercept.com/2016/09/21/here-are-eight-policies-that-can-prevent-police-killings.

Student Researcher: Malcolm Pinson (San Francisco State University)

Faculty Evaluator: Kenn Burrows (San Francisco State University)

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