Must-Reads, Predictive Policing 101 and Chicago Says "Ceasefire"

Must-Reads, Predictive Policing 101 and Chicago Says "Ceasefire"
(Photo: Sarah-Ji)

Why trust an algorithm to curate the news when I'm here to help? Your weekly rundown is here. But first, this week’s episode of Movement Memos is a predictive policing 101. In this conversation, Andrew Guthrie Ferguson and I separate fact from science fiction, explore the history and failures of predictive policing, and raise the alarm about the creation of new data empires. (You can find a transcript and show notes here.)

Relatedly, in our next episode, we will be revisiting the #StopShotSpotter campaign in Chicago. The city’s contract with SoundThinking expires on February 16, and Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson has the opportunity to keep a pivotal campaign promise by getting rid of the troubled gunshot detection service. South Side Weekly has published some great coverage of the company’s fight to keep the contract in the face of fierce grassroots opposition. Fights like this one couldn’t be more crucial right now, so stay tuned.


From the criminalization of journalism and bail funds to Black history, a "ceasefire" resolution in Chicago, and the involuntary commitment of substance users, here are some important stories you may have missed this week.

New Georgia cash bail expansion will criminalize charitable bail funds by Atlanta Community Press Collective. “'This should be alarming to anyone who values a free society,' Kautz warned. 'If paying bail is criminalized, the result will be a criminal justice system which can jail people indefinitely with no evidence, no trial and no recourse.'"

The National Black Feminist Organization: A Legacy of Radical Activism and Community by Houreidja Tall. "I was looking for people like myself who thought and believed and aspired and all of that kind of thing, and I walked into that room and I thought, Wow, here you all are."

Death and Donations: Did the Israeli Volunteer Group Handling the Dead of October 7 Exploit Its Role? by Aaron Rabinowitz. “As part of the effort to get media exposure, Zaka spread accounts of atrocities that never happened, released sensitive and graphic photos, and acted unprofessionally on the ground.”

She Was Arrested for Her Journalism. A Federal Court Says She Can't Sue by Billy Binion. “A journalist asked the police a few questions and was arrested by that same agency for publishing the answers.”

Florida: "Misrepresenting" Gender On Drivers Licenses Is Fraud, Changes Now Banned by Erin Reed. "The ramifications of this rule could be far-reaching. All transgender individuals in the state with Florida driver's licenses not aligning with their 'biological sex' might immediately be in possession of a fraudulent license." 

Read novelist Lana Bastašić’s blazing response to yet another act of literary censorship by Dan Sheehan. “It is my political and human opinion that children should not be slaughtered and that German cultural institutions should know better when it comes to genocide.”

IDF Troops Occupy, Burn Gaza Homes in Likely War Crime​s by Brett Wilkins. “Israeli forces have also occupied homes, according to the newspaper. In one case, soldiers spared a home so that other IDF troops could use it, leaving a note reading, ‘We are not burning the house so you can enjoy it, and when you leave—you'll know what to do.’"

Advocates say Nashville’s ‘Cop City’ is an escalation in militarized policing by Justin Davis. “MALETA’s proposed campus will take up 810 acres of state-owned land in Nashville’s Cockrill Bend area—more than double the size of the land originally leased for Atlanta’s Cop City in 2021.”

38 States Currently Authorize Involuntary Commitment for Substance Use by Mattea Kramer & Sean Fogler. “According to the Action Lab at the Center for Health Policy and Law, 38 states currently authorize involuntary commitment for substance use. None of them require evidence-based treatment in all involuntary commitment settings and 16 of them allow facilities to engage in treatments of their choice without the individual’s consent.”

CPD Reported Hundreds of Missed Shootings to ShotSpotter Last Year by Jim Daley and Max Blaisdell. “'Better hope the electrical inspector doesn’t see this,' began one email the contractor sent to ShotSpotter."

“Historic”: Chicago Becomes Largest US City to Call for Ceasefire in Gaza by Sharon Zhang. "Activists celebrated the resolution’s passage, having fought for months for the city to back a ceasefire. A wide coalition of Palestinian rights groups, community groups, unions and city staffers had fought for the proposal, with months of protests across the city."

Against Silence: A Palestinian Writing Series

Words Without Borders has kicked off a series that seeks to address “the relative lack of Palestinian writing available in English translation, and just as crucially, the paucity of critical engagement with the literature that already exists.” Featured writing will span multiple genres, from poetry to essays, fiction, reviews, and interviews with Palestinian writers. New work will be featured each month.

Chicago Says "Ceasefire"

Grassroots organizers in Chicago saw two major victories this week. In the first, Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson announced his support for the removal of police from Chicago public schools. Decades of organizing made this moment possible. From Project NIA to #CopsOutCPS and beyond, so many activists have labored for this opportunity, and I hope the Board of Education sees it through.

In another great moment for Chicago activists, we saw the passage of Chicago’s “ceasefire” ordinance, making Chicago the largest city in the nation to demand a ceasefire in Gaza. Some critics have questioned the value of a city-level ordinance, given that the Chicago City Council does not have the power to halt Israel's assault on Gaza. So I asked Palestinian artist, educator and author Eman Abdelhadi why this win matters. She told me:

The ceasefire resolution reflects the growing consensus around a ceasefire in the American public and growing critique of Israel. Every American should be concerned about this, because our government is Israel’s primary financial backer and political ally. We have supplied 379 billion in aid to Israel since its founding, and we give them $3 billion a year to military aid. That money should be invested into our communities here in the US, where our government is always telling us there isn’t enough for our needs. Many police departments, including CPD, take trips to train in Israel. We are all questioning these ties.

It's also worth noting that Chicago will host the Democratic National Convention this summer. This ordinance sends a message to the Democratic Party about the energy their pro-genocide agenda will be met with in our city. The protesters who created the momentum behind this measure with shutdowns, mass marches, sit-ins and blockades – the protesters who celebrated in the packed corridors of City Hall on Wednesday – are the same organizing community that will greet the Democratic Party in August.

The DNC already has a rocky history in Chicago, and leading Democrats, including Biden, should think long and hard about how they hope to engage with our city. Their current messaging, including Pelosi’s assertions that Palestine solidarity protesters are affiliated with Russia and have headquarters in China, is not going to play well here.

Chicago is now the largest of 70 US cities that have demanded a ceasefire. During an election year, that cumulative pressure is important. But of course, such wins are not enough. For those who are feeling discouraged because symbolic victories don't stop bombs from falling, I think it's important to revisit the words of my friend Dan Berger:

Our actions are working, and they are not enough.
Nothing we do is sufficient, and everything we do matters.
We must be strategic, and we must operate on multiple fronts simultaneously.
Time is of the essence, and we have to act for the long haul.
This is how change happens.

Much love,


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