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Illinois becomes first state to eliminate cash bail

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Illinois becomes first state to eliminate cash bail

Illinois is set to become the first state to eliminate cash bail.

The state’s Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker on Monday signed into law a sweeping overhaul of policing and criminal justice that eliminates the system starting in January 2023.

The bill also mandates that all police officers be equipped with body cameras and sets statewide standards on use-of-force, de-escalation and arrest techniques for law enforcement.

“This legislation marks a substantial step toward dismantling the systemic racism that plagues our communities, our state and our nation and brings us closer to true safety, true fairness and true justice,” Pritzker said in a statement.

Other states, including New York and New Jersey have already limited the use of cash bail

Many in law enforcement say that getting rid of bail allows dangerous people to be set free while awaiting trial.

Critics of the system, meanwhile, argue it is unfair to poor people, who may not be able to afford bail and would then be forced to stay behind bars before being convicted on the charges that led to their arrest.

Under Illinois’ new law, judges would no longer be able to set any kind of bail. However, they would still be able to detain a defendant if they’re charged with felonies such as murder or domestic battery, local outlets reported.

“What we’ve done is strengthen judicial discretion when it comes to determining whether someone is a threat to a person or community,” said Sen. Robert Peters, a Democrat from Chicago. 

“We focused this explicitly and narrowed it so money does not play a factor. Money does not determine whether someone´s a threat.”

The Illinois Legislative Black Caucus, which spearheaded the state’s massive measure, hailed it as a historic response to the deaths last year of George Floyd in Minneapolis and Breonna Taylor in Louisville, Kentucky.

Peters, Black Caucus Senate chair, called it a “historic first step toward winning real safety and justice in our communities,” WMAQ-TV reported.

But major organizations representing police and prosecutors said they weren’t consulted for key pieces, and argued the legislation would hamstring police and discourage talented people from joining law enforcement.

“The governor is willfully undermining public safety — endangering citizens, emboldening criminals, and making Illinois less safe for families,” Illinois Republican Party Chairman Don Tracy said.

The governor, meanwhile, countered that the bill would bolster safety.

“I am actually very confident that this is going to make policing safer, and it is going to make the public safer,” he said.

With Post wires

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Police searching for motorcyclist accused of shooting Texas officer

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Police searching for motorcyclist accused of shooting Texas officer

Texas authorities are searching for a motorcyclist who allegedly shot a police officer during a traffic stop on Sunday night, a report said.

The suspected shooter was identified by authorities as 43-year-old Royce Wood. He allegedly shot a Rhome police officer in the leg near the intersection of Farm-to-Market roads 407 and 2264 in Wise County, NBC DFW reported.

Wood was driving a motorcycle with a female passenger when they were stopped. One of them matched the description of the suspect wanted in a Saturday night home invasion, authorities said.

After the shooting, Wood fled the scene on foot. The female passenger was taken into custody.

The injured officer was hospitalized in stable condition.

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Spectators injured by out-of-control vehicle at Texas mud racing event

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Spectators injured by out-of-control vehicle at Texas mud racing event

Eight people, including spectators, were injured Sunday at a Texas mud racing event after an out-of-control vehicle plowed through a guard rail, a report said.

Three of the victims were critically injured in the crash at a track in Fabens, KTSM reported, citing authorities. The other five people suffered non-life threatening injuries.

It was not immediately known what caused the driver to exit the track and crash. Three other vehicles were also hit, the report said.

A medevac helicopter was spotted at the event, along with several ambulances.

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Over 5,800 USPS workers attacked by dogs last year

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Over 5,800 USPS workers attacked by dogs last year

Over 5,800 USPS workers were attacked by dogs last year, the agency recently announced ahead of a campaign to highlight the issue.

“From nips and bites to vicious attacks, aggressive dog behavior poses a serious threat to postal employees and the general public,” the USPS said in a Thursday press release.

Of all major US cities, Houston last year experienced the most dog attacks on letter carriers — with 73 of them, the service said in its release. Chicago and Los Angeles were second and third on the list, with 59 and 54, respectively.

California, meanwhile, was home to the most dog attacks by state in 2020 with 782.
New York had 295 attacks, which was the fourth most of any state.

As part of the weeklong awareness campaign, which began Saturday, the service is providing guidance to dog owners to help mitigate the problem.

Among the pointers is not letting children in homes with dogs to take mail from the letter carriers, as the animals may view the worker as a threat.

Kansas City letter carrier James Michael Benson was recently attacked after a child answered the door.

“I knocked on a customer’s door to pick up a package and as a young child answered, a dog came bursting out of the door and bit my forearm, knocking me to the ground “ said Benson.

“I was in shock and struggling with the dog, when he lunged and bit me again on my face, under my ear.”

The dog was then restrained by its owner.

“Dogs are instinctive animals that may act to protect their turf and that why it’s important to inform the public about this campaign,” USPS Acting Employee Safety and Health Awareness Manager Jamie Seavello said in a statement.

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