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Thanks to a grant from the Fund for Investigative Journalism, I had the privilege of visiting both North and South Dakota and speak with witnesses and victims of the widespread police violence that occurred on the north border of the Standing Rock Reservation. There will be plenty of follow-up in the weeks to come, but while the memory’s still fresh, I wanted to share an initial reflection from traveling to the treaty lands of the Dakotas.
With help from a grant by the Fund for Investigative Journalism, MuckRock’s Curtis Waltman will have the opportunity to travel to both North and South Dakota beginning this Friday, to speak with victims of this police violence and hear their stories, gather a more complete picture of the tactics used against them, and learn about the aftermath of what this trauma wrought.
Mobile phone forensic extraction devices have been a law enforcement tool for years now, and the number of agencies using them is only rising. As part of an ongoing investigation, we have finally been able to turn up some usage logs of this equipment, from the Tulsa Police Department, and Tucson Police Department. While the logs don’t contain specifics of why the phone was being searched, it does list the make of the phone, the date, and the type of extraction - and it underscores just how often the tech is getting used.
After filing near 50 public records requests tracking regulations that may or may not exist on bail enforcement agents (also commonly called bail recovery agents or bounty hunters), is that the industry is almost entirely devoid of any meaningful oversight. A perfect illustration of this comes to us from North Dakota’s Insurance Department, which helpfully provided a lone audio file concerning a violent struggle by an unlicensed bounty hunter team, and a single complaint written by a woman whose brother had experienced the wrath of an abusive bail agent.
We’ve all seen the lines of police at protests donning head to toe armor, batons and/or launchers at the ready, glowering down at protesters through face shields. But how much does all that gear cost? According to the early returns on riot gear budgeting requests we have been filing, quite a lot.
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|Infirmary Reports Concerning Disciplinary Segregation (MCI - Norfolk (Massachusetts Corrections))||Awaiting Acknowledgement||MCI - Norfolk (Massachusetts Corrections)||Massachusetts|
|Infirmary Reports Concerning Disciplinary Segregation (MCI - Cedar Junction Walpole (Massachusetts Corrections))||Awaiting Acknowledgement||MCI - Cedar Junction Walpole (Massachusetts Corrections)||Massachusetts|
|Communications with Cheyenne River Reservation||Awaiting Acknowledgement||Office of the Governor - South Dakota||South Dakota|
|Communications with Pine Ridge Reservation||Awaiting Acknowledgement||Office of the Governor - South Dakota||South Dakota|
|Communications with Rosebud Reservation||Awaiting Acknowledgement||Office of the Governor - South Dakota||South Dakota|