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Who are police protecting and serving? Law enforcement has history of violence against many minority groups

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AUSTIN – If she sees a crime being committed, Ishia Lynette is more likely to call her father than police.

Her reluctance to turn to law enforcement for protection stems from growing up half black and half Mexican in El Paso, Texas, and witnessing her African American father arrested – twice – for minor traffic violations and relatives harassed by police.

“From very early on, I was fearful of the police,” said Lynette, 30, who now lives in Austin and works with the Austin Justice Coalition, which advocates for police reform and accountability. “I can’t think of a time when I called the police unless it was very necessary — like a murder.”

Global protests in the wake of George Floyd’s May 25 death have called for massive overhauls of police,with some groups demanding that American cities defund police departments. Many law enforcement agencies embrace a mission to “protect and serve” but the debate over police brutality and funding has raised questions about just who these departments keep safe. 

Police departments have a long history of violence and aggression toward many minority communities in the U.S., including Latino, Muslim, LGBTQ and Black Americans, creating a deep mistrust of police that has resulted in many minority communities already under-using police departments because they are reluctant to call them for help.

Two young boys join LGBTQ community members and Black Lives Matter protesters holding signs and chanting slogans on an intersection in West Hollywood, Calif. on June 3, 2020, over the death of George Floyd, a black man who died after being restrained by Minneapolis police officers on Memorial Day.

Police relations in black communities have been at the center of worldwide protests, ever sinceFloyd, 46, who is black, was pinned to the ground in Minneapolis by officers after being accused of passing a fake $20 bill at a grocery store. In a video of the encounter, Floyd gasped for breath as officer Derek Chauvin kneeled on his neck for nearly nine minutes while three other officers looked on.

Other minority groups, such as Latino and LGBTQ Americans, have also faced decades of strained relations with police and are hesitant to call on them, according to experts, activists and studies.

Recent cases include: 

  • Tony McDade, a 38-year-old transgender man, was shot and killed by Tallahassee police two days after Floyd was killed. 
  • Mike Ramos, 42, who was shot and killed in April by Austin police after they answered a call of people doing drugs in an apartment complex parking lot. Police later said he didn’t have a gun. 
  • Earlier this month, California Highway Patrol officers repeatedly shot Erik Salgado, 23, after a traffic stop. His pregnant girlfriend survived but was severely injured. 

Fear of police in African American communities could be traced back generations to “slave patrols” that worked with sheriff’s departments across the South to capture and terrorize runaway slaves, said David J. Thomas, a criminologist at Florida Gulf Coast University and retired veteran police officer. Through the years, departments have attempted reforms – such as hiring more minority officers – but those efforts have fallen short of restoring confidence to black communities, he said.

The Department of Justice under Barack Obama launched a series of lawsuits and consent decrees on police departments known to have civil rights violations. But those efforts all but vanished under President Donald Trump, he said.

“There’s nobody that oversees local law enforcement when they run amok,” Thomas said. “Law enforcement without oversight is a very dangerous thing.”

Alexander Weiss, an expert on police staffing who has helped reform police departments in major U.S. cities, said that distrust of police — especially after publicized incidents of police brutality — often leads to minority communities refusing to call police for help, further endangering those neighborhoods.

A study by his consulting firm in February in Baltimore showed that white, affluent areas of the city called on police more than twice the number of times as neighborhoods populated by minority groups. 

“It’s one of the biggest challenges here,” Weiss said. 

A 2013 PolicyLink/University of Illinois at Chicago study revealed that 32% of U.S.-born Latinos would rather tell a church or community leader about a crime than law enforcement. That number rises to 50% for foreign-born Latinos. 

“The Latino community is mistrusting and actually fearful of some of the police in their communities,” said Claudia Ruiz, a policy analyst with UnidosUS, a Washington-based Latino advocacy group. “Latinos have some of the lowest reporting statistics in the U.S.”

One of the biggest barriers in improving relations and avoiding civil rights violations in Latino communities is lack of good data, Ruiz said. Local law enforcement agencies often include race but not ethnicity in arrest records, a discrepancy UnidosUS is lobbying Washington to fix, she said.

“It’s very hard to call for changes in how law enforcement interacts with Latinos when the data is not complete,” Ruiz said.

Blacks and Latinos are not the only groups that have complained of police mistreatment. In 2017, a New York federal judge approved a settlement that protected Muslims and others from New York Police Department investigations into political or religious activity. The agreement stemmed from lawsuits that accused the NYPD of illegally surveying Muslims in the wake of the 911 terrorist attacks.  

To repair mistrust between police and minority communities, police officials have been bolstering training among their ranks and encouraging more hiring of minority officers, said Cindy Rodriguez, president of the National Latino Peace Officers Association. 

Her group offers training to departments around the U.S. that encourage inclusiveness, both inside and outside of agencies, she said. Rodriguez said she’s also encouraged by NLPOA’s growing size: In the past four years, the group has welcomed 600 new members and grown by 12 chapters. 

Those minority officers go into neighborhoods and bridge a lot of gaps, she said. 

“That’s how you gain the trust,” Rodriguez said. “It’s going into the community and doing things.”

The modern fight for LGBTQ rights in the U.S. began with a response to police brutality: the 1969 Stonewall riots. Violent street demonstrations erupted on the streets of New York City after an early morning police raid on June 28, 1969, at the Stonehall Inn in Greenwich Village, a popular hangout for the area’s gay men and lesbians. Today, popular LGBTQ Pride events are held toward the end of June to mark the Stonewall riots.

Through the years, new laws and police practices have improved police reaction to LGBTQ rights, but widespread harassment and discrimination still exists in the community at the hands of police, said Avatara Smith-Carrington, a law fellow at Lambda Legal, a New York-based organization that supports LGBTQ rights.

And people in the LGBTQ community who are also black or brown often receive even harsher treatment from police, Smith-Carrington said. Many of them are reluctant to call police to report crimes for fear of being harassed themselves, Smith-Carrington said.

In a 2012 study released by Legal Lambda, 73% of those surveyed reported having some face-to-face encounter with police over the previous five years and 21% said police had been hostile toward them. Another 14% of respondents reported being verbally assaulted by police, according to the study. 

One gay man in the study reported being called a homophobic slur and beat up by police in Washington, D.C., then charged with assaulting them and forced to plead guilty to being under the influence of his HIV medication. 

The recent protests sparked by Floyd’s death are a good opportunity to shine an equally bright light on LGBTQ rights, Smith-Carrington said. 

“The beauty of this movement right now is that it’s elevating and amplifying the harm that happens to communities of color,” they said. “These same incidents of violence at the hands of police also happen to LGBTQ people across the spectrum.”

In Austin, Brenda Ramos, Mike Ramos’s mother, has been speaking at rallies drawing thousands of protesters following Floyd’s death, raising awareness of police brutality on people of all races and colors.

“My son, Mike, my baby, was shot and killed by Austin police officer Christopher Taylor one month ago. I cried every day,” she said at a May 31 gathering alongside parents of other slain victims. “Now, I’m in this terrible heartbreaking club. It’s a club of mothers of black Americans who have been murdered by police.”

Lynette, the Austin activist, said she doesn’t agree with completely abolishing police but does think many of the millions of dollars that go into paying for more officers and weapons could be better used toward eradicating homelessness, improving mental health and overall empowering communities historically weary of police.

“We will keep having the same issue as to how minority communities interact with police until we can build that trust back up,” she said. “At this point, it’s gone.”

Follow Jervis on Twitter: @MrRJervis.

Source: http://rssfeeds.usatoday.com/~/627274548/0/usatoday-newstopstories~Who-are-police-protecting-and-serving-Law-enforcement-has-history-of-violence-against-many-minority-groups/

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Security and Sustainability Forum-With Hazel Henderson and Claudine Schneider. 10/22/2020

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Steering Societies Beyond GDP to the SDGs

With Hazel Henderson and Claudine Schneider

October 22, 2020

1:15 pm to 2:15 pm EDT

The next webinar in the SSF series, with ecological economist and futurist Hazel Henderson, will address how the UN SDGs can and should replace GDP as the basis for valuing society leading to an economy based on planet protection and human wellbeing. Claudine Schneider is Hazel’s guest.

GDP accounts for all the public expenditures as “debt” while ignoring the value of the assets they created. If GDP were to be corrected by including the missing asset account, these debt-to-GDP ratios would be cut by up to 50% — with a few keystrokes! Learn why money isn’t what you think it is and why that matters to life on Earth in the next two webinars with Hazel and guests.

Register

Claudine Schneider is a former Republican U.S. representative from Rhode Island. She was the first, and to date only, woman elected to Congress from Rhode Island. She is founder of Republicans for Integrity, which describes itself as a network of “Republican former Members of Congress who feel compelled to remind Republican voters about the fundamentals of our party and to provide the facts about incumbents’ voting records.”

October 22nd webinar with Claudine Schneider and Hazel

Sincerely,

Ed.

Edward Saltzberg, PhD

Executive Director

Security and Sustainability Forum

www.ssfonline.org

[email protected]

Sincerely,

Ed.

Edward Saltzberg, PhD

Executive Director

Security and Sustainability Forum

www.ssfonline.org

Source: https://www.ethicalmarkets.com/63564-2/

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The Briefing: RVShare raises over $100M, Google disputes charges, and more

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Here’s what you need to know today in startup and venture news, updated by the Crunchbase News staff throughout the day to keep you in the know.

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RVShare raises over $100M for RV rentals

RVShare, an online marketplace for RV rentals, reportedly raised over $100 million in a financing led by private equity firms KKR and Tritium Partners.

Akron, Ohio-based RVShare has seen sharp growth in demand amid the pandemic, as more would-be travelers seek socially distanced options for hitting the road. Founded in 2013, the company matches RV owners with prospective renters, filtering by location, price and vehicle types.

Previously, RVShare had raised $50 million in known funding, per Crunchbase data, from Tritium Partners. The company is one of several players in the RV rental space, and competes alongside Outdoorsy, a peer-to-peer RV marketplace that has raised $75 million in venture funding.

Funding news

  • BrightFarms closes on $100M: Indoor farming company BrightFarms said it secured more than $100 million in debt and new equity capital to support expansion plans. The Series E round of funding was led by Cox Enterprises, which now owns a majority stake in the company, and includes a follow-on investment from growth equity firm Catalyst Investors.
  • Anyscale inks $40MAnyscale, the Berkeley-based company behind the Ray open source project for building applications, announced $40 million in an oversubscribed Series B funding round. Existing investor NEA led the round and was joined by Andreessen Horowitz, Intel Capital and Foundation Capital. The new funding brings Anyscale’s total funding to more than $60 million.
  • Klar deposits $15M: Mexican fintech Klar closed on $15 million in Series A funding, led by Prosus Ventures, with participation from new investor International Finance Corporation and existing investors Quona Capital, Mouro Capital and Acrew. The round brings total funding raised to approximately $72 million since the company was founded in 2019. The funds are intended to grow Klar’s engineering capabilities in both its Berlin and Mexico hubs.
  • O(1) Labs rakes in $10.9M: O(1) Labs, the team behind the cryptocurrency Mina, announced $10.9 million in a strategic investment round. Co-leading the round are Bixin Ventures and Three Arrows Capital with participation from SNZ, HashKey Capital, Signum Capital, NGC Ventures, Fenbushi Capital and IOSG Ventures.
  • Blustream bags $3M: After-sale customer engagement company Blustream said it raised $3 million in seed funding for product usage data and digital transformation efforts for physical goods companies via the Blustream Product Experience Platform. York IE led the round of funding for the Worcester, Massachusetts-based company with additional support from existing investors.Pillar secures another $1.5M: Pillar, a startup that helps families protect and care for their loved ones, raised $1.5 million in a seed extension to close at $7 million, The round was led by Kleiner Perkins.

Other news

  • Google rejects DOJ antitrust arguments: In the wake of a widely anticipated U.S. Justice Department antitrust suit against Google, the search giant disputed the charges in a statement, maintaining that: “People use Google because they choose to, not because they’re forced to, or because they can’t find alternatives.”
  • Facebook said to test Nextdoor rival: Facebook is reportedly testing a service similar to popular neighborhood-focused social Nextdoor. Called Neighborhoods, the feature reportedly suggests local neighborhood groups to join on Facebook.

Illustration: Dom Guzman

Venture investors and leaders in the fintech space can visualize a future where such startups will move toward again rebundling services.

Root Inc., the parent company of Root Insurance, launched its initial public offering and is looking at a valuation of as much as $6.34 billion.

Clover Health posted rising revenues and a narrower loss in its most recent financial results, published in advance of a planned public market debut.

Crunchbase News’ top picks of the news to stay current in the VC and startup world.

Source: https://news.crunchbase.com/news/briefing-10-21-20/

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Syte Sees $30M Series C For Product Discovery

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Online shopping has become the norm for most people in 2020, even coaxing traditional retail brands to up their presence to stay competitive. However, now that shoppers can’t see and touch products like they used to, e-commerce discovery has become a crucial element for customer acquisition and retention.

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Enter Syte, an Israel-based company that touts creating the world’s first product discovery platform that utilizes the senses, such as visual, text and voice, and then leverages visual artificial intelligence and next-generation personalization to create individualized and memorable customer experiences, Syte co-founder and CEO Ofer Fryman told Crunchbase News.

To execute on this, the company raised $30 million in Series C funding and an additional $10 million in debt. Viola Ventures led the round and was joined by LG Technology Ventures, La Maison, MizMaa Ventures and Kreos Capital, as well as existing investors Magma, Naver Corporation, Commerce Ventures, Storm Ventures, Axess Ventures, Remagine Media Ventures and KDS Media Fund.

This brings the company’s total fundraising to $71 million since its inception in 2015. That includes a $21.5 million Series B, also led by Viola, in 2019, according to Crunchbase data.

Fryman intends for the new funding to be put to work on product enhancements and geographic expansion. Syte already has an established customer base in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, and will now focus expansion in the U.S. and Asia-Pacific.

Meanwhile, Syte has grown 22 percent quarter over quarter, as well as experienced a 38 percent expansion of its customer base since the beginning of 2020.

“Since we crossed $1 million annual recurring revenue, we have been tripling revenue while also becoming more efficient,” Fryman said. “We can accelerate growth as well as build an amazing technology and solution for a business that needs it right now. We plan to grow further, and even though our SaaS metrics are excellent right now, our goal is to improve them.”

Anshul Agarwal, managing director at LG Technology Ventures, said Syte was an attractive investment due in part to its unique technology.

“They have a deep-learning system and have created a new category, product discovery that will enable online shopping in a way we never had the ability to do before,” Agarwal said. “The product market fit was also unique. We believe in the strong execution by the team and the rapid growth in SaaS. We looked at many different companies, and the SaaS metrics that Syte showed are the strongest we’ve seen in a while.”

Illustration: Li-Anne Dias

Venture investors and leaders in the fintech space can visualize a future where such startups will move toward again rebundling services.

Root Inc., the parent company of Root Insurance, launched its initial public offering and is looking at a valuation of as much as $6.34 billion.

Clover Health posted rising revenues and a narrower loss in its most recent financial results, published in advance of a planned public market debut.

Crunchbase News’ top picks of the news to stay current in the VC and startup world.

Source: https://news.crunchbase.com/news/syte-sees-30m-series-c-for-product-discovery/

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