Tag Archives: abuse

Another Abuse of Power by the Police

Salt Lake City in Utah is one of the newest homes to an abuse of power by the police. Alex Wubbels is a nurse at the University of Utah hospital who had a frightening and shocking experience with Salt Lake City police detective, Jeff Payne. After a head-on collision on a Utah highway, William Gray was rushed to the hospital’s burn unit. The police came to collect a blood sample from him, which is standard procedure. Nurse Wubbels informed Detective Payne that he would need a warrant for the blood sample, but he still insisted, despite being told by his colleagues and superior that they could get the blood sample another way. When Wubbels held her ground, Payne decided to arrest her and drag her screaming to his police car. The police detective was clearly agitated and took out his frustrations on the nurse.

Alex Wubbels, the nurse arrested in the Salt Lake City hospital, shares the story of her arrest.
Photo and featured photo from nbcnews.com

Once again, a police officer has taken advantage of their power and breached the civil rights of another person. This nurse was assaulted and wrongly arrested for simply following the law and doing her job. A person’s blood is legally considered their property and it cannot just be taken without consent or a warrant. The police officer had no right to touch her or arrest her and he knew that; she was later released and was not charged with anything.

This is just another example of the deteriorating standards that police are held to and it shows that something needs to be done. Fortunately, this incident did not devolve into something much worse and end up with someone being injured or killed, as has happened before, usually with African Americans. For now, the officer is on paid leave and the situation is being investigated, but this officer should be reprimanded and punished for this abuse of power. Far too often police officers are allowed to get away with gross abuses of power and that needs to stop. A message needs to be sent that says the police force is not above the law and that they will be held accountable for their actions and misdeeds.

Sources

  1. https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/officer-arrested-utah-nurse-after-he-was-told-let-her-n800021
  2. http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/officer-arrested-utah-nurse-after-he-was-told-not-to/ar-AArynJM?li=AA4ZnC&ocid=ientp

Machines can cut down domestic violence

In a metropolitan area, arraignment decisions made with the help of machine-learning, decreased new domestic violence occurrences by 50 percent, which led to a cut of more than 1,000 post-arraignment arrests yearly, according to new discoveries made by the University of Pennsylvania.

In the U.S., the average pre-trial process progresses from arrest to preliminary arraignment to a mandatory court appearance.

Throughout the preliminary arraignment, a magistrate or judge decides whether or not to release the offender, depending on the chance that the individual will return to court or commit new violations.

Machines will be able to help us out. Don't be afraid. Photo from coursera.com
Machines will be able to help us out. Don’t be afraid. Photo from coursera.com

Susan B. Sorenson, a professor of social policy in Penn’s School of Social Policy & Practice and Richard Berk, a criminology and statistics professor in Penn’s School of Arts & Sciences and Wharton School, discovered that utilizing machine-learning forecasts at the preliminary arraignment can significantly decrease future domestic violence arrests.

To see how machine-learning could assist in cases of domestic violence, Sorenson and Berk acquired data from over 28,000 domestic violence arrangements between January 2007 and October 2011. Additionally, they observed a two-year follow-up period after release, which ended in October 2013.

Computers can “learn” from certain training data which sort of people are prone to re-offend. For this research, the 35 beginning inputs involved age, gender, prior warrants and sentences, as well as residential location. This data assists the computer in understanding proper relationships for projected risk, which offers additional data to a court official deciding whether to release or detain a suspect.

The quantity of inaccurate predictions can be somewhat high, and a few individuals object on a basic level to utilizing information collected and machines for these situations. To these objections, the researchers simply retort that machine-learning is just a tool.

Some criminal justice settings already utilize machine-learning as a procedure, although various types of choices calls for distinctive datasets from which the machine must learn. Nevertheless, the underlying statistical techniques, nevertheless, continue as before.

Sorenson and Berk both contend that the new system of cutting down domestic violence can make current practices better and more improved.

The study was published in the March issue of The Journal of Empirical Legal Studies.

Free Kesha

Kesha lost her case on Friday against her producer, Dr. Luke, after accusing him of raping her in 2006 and then continuing to abuse her, mentally and physiologically. Kesha went to court in order to ask for a break of contract with the record company, Sony, so she could make music without Dr. Luke. The contract stated that Kesha must stay and make six more albums with Sony as well as Dr. Luke. The judge did not issue for her contract to be cancelled, which forces Kesha to work alongside her rapist and abuser for six more albums, that is, if she can mentally handle making more music with him.

Free Kesha from this ridiculous justice system. Photo from nydailynews.com
Kesha after losing her case against Dr. Luke. Photo from nydailynews.com

What kind of world do we live in where an artist, a woman, has to work with her rapist, has to be legally bound to a man who has ruined her life for the last ten years, because the law says so? Because there wasn’t enough “evidence” to prove Kesha’s story?

What kind of society holds money and power as more important than the wellbeing of a person, of a woman whose dream was to make music for a living and was taken advantage because of it? What kind of professional establishment, a record company, would force its employee to work with a man who raped her, simply because he makes the most money for the label? How does this happen to somehow who has done nothing but good and respectable things for this world? Where is the justice?

Sony claims to have offered Kesha a new producer, someone who can help her make her music that isn’t Dr. Luke; however, what they failed to mention is that if she did choose to changer her producer, the label would refuse to promote the album, which in turn, would make switching producers counterproductive and make it impossible for Kesha to make music in a safe atmosphere.

The legal and justice system has some updating to do. It’s ridiculous that she was denied her break of contract considering the circumstances, and the man who raped her is left off, his left barely affected at all. Kesha and all of the female artists out there who have been through the same situation deserve better than to be put below money and power on the importance totem pole. When it comes down to it, money will be worthless and power will be subjective. People are what matter and the owners of Sony and Dr. Luke need to be reminded of that.

Abuse in sports: Why Mike Rice not Bob Knight

With all the blood, sweat and tears in practice and games, athletes at the high school, collegiate and professional levels continually take mental and physical abuse from staff and coaches.

Most of the abuse is mental; coaches appear to control every aspect of athlete’s lives from how much they eat to who they see. A majority of the time players are rejected by their coaches if they don’t follow their rules and are punished, which can include sprinting for long periods of time, pushups, sit-ups and sometimes physical and emotional abuse.

Mike Rice standing with the basketball team. Image from New York Times.
Mike Rice standing with the basketball team. Image from The New York Times.

In the wake of Rutgers University scandal where now former head coach Mike Rice was fired, the commonality of this behavior leads many, as well as myself, to wonder why he was fired. Rice was terminated on Wed, April 3, after a videotape was aired that showed him shoving, grabbing and throwing balls at players, as well as using derogatory gay slurs. Continue reading Abuse in sports: Why Mike Rice not Bob Knight

Don’t stress over stress with Jordan Burnham

Photo from lincolndailynews.com.

Radford University is hosting a seminar that will be focusing on topics such as depression, suicide, substance abuse and the physical and mental health connection. These are serious topics that not everyone is comfortable talking about, but one man has the courage to stand up and bring awareness to RU students. Continue reading Don’t stress over stress with Jordan Burnham

Is hazing still an issue?

Is hazing a big deal? Photo from Creative Commons.

On college campuses around the nation, hazing is still prevalent, but is it as bad as it once was? Every year since 1970, there has been a reported death due to hazing according to the University of Connecticut’s Greek Life website. There are a lot of hazing cases that don’t get reported but are still harmful, causing physical and psychological damage.

What is hazing? According to Virginia law 18.2-56, hazing is defined as, “an abusive, often humiliating form of initiation into or affiliation with a group.”

According to the University of Michigan, 55% of college students involved in clubs, teams and organizations experience hazing.

If someone were considered a pledge brother or sister, why would they be hazed? That’s the question Sigma Nu fraternity asked in “40 Answers To Common Excuses for Hazingwhich took place on Twitter.

According to Tracy Maxwell, the executive director of HazingPrevention.org, it was huge success. There were 5,000 tweets in 40 days. Some popular excuses for hazing were “pledges have to pay their dues to become a brother or sister,” and “hazing weeds out those that who don’t really want to be there.” All 40 answers can be found here.

Photo from Creative Commons.

The most popular reason was that hazing is a tradition.

If fraternities and sororities think it’s OK, can it be stopped? Hazing expert and self-proclaimed international watchdog of hazing Hank Nuwer believes the way to stop hazing is for the underclassmen to snub thought of it. If students stood up and said that hazing isn’t acceptable and dangerous, it would stop itself.

Dr. Tracy Maxwell believes that to stop hazing, schools need to do something at the campus-wide level for every organization, until people really take a hard look at hazing.

According to the National Study of Student Hazing done by Dr. Elizabeth Allen and Dr. Mary Madden in 2006, 40% of Greek Life organization members admit knowledge of hazing activities. Allen believes hazing has become a social norm in social Greek Life organizations. Hazing is glorified in movies like Dazed and Confused, where the upcoming freshmen in high school get chased and hit with wooden paddles.

On many of the Greek Life organization’s websites, they explicitly state that hazing is not allowed and will not be tolerated. Is this a rule they stick to? Many students say no.

Sam Mason was a sophomore at Radford University in 2010 when he died because of ethanol poisoning. He was pledging Tau Kappa Epsilon and lost his life. Seven TKE brothers were later indicted and charged with hazing and supplying alcohol to an underage person.

“I feel a lot has ended due to the death of Sam Mason, but I believe hazing will never truly end,” said Senior Becca Barteau. “It is a tradition in most of Greek Life and I highly doubt it will ever end.”

Dr. Tod Burke, a Radford University professor of Criminal Justice, spoke about the dangers and effects of hazing on WSLS TV and National Public Radio in Roanoke, Va. in July 2011. He touched on the fact that anti-hazing laws tend to be relaxed until something tragic happens, and that’s when action is too late.

“Hazing can be prevented, but everyone involved has to take the right steps to make it stop,” he said. “It won’t just stop on it’s own.”