Monday, December 19, 2011

Nearly a third of Americans are arrested by age 23

A UNC Charlotte criminologist is getting national buzz this morning for a new study he led showing nearly a third of all Americans have been arrested by age 23. The study, out today in the journal Pediatrics, is also summarized today by the New York Times in this story.

The study, by UNCC criminal justice professor Robert Brame, shows a significantly higher arrest rate than in 1965, when a similar study was done. It leaves several key questions unanswered, however, including the impact of racial or regional differences. Still, interesting findings.

Why do you think the arrest rates for young adults might be rising?

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Officer charged with assault has lengthy suspension record

Officer David Estele Jones III had been suspended five times since he was hired on Sept. 27, 2000.

Earlier today, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police responded to a freedom of information request for the public parts of Jones' employment record.

Jones is accused of slamming Richard McVicker to the ground after a traffic collision involving the officer's mother. The Observer has reported previously that Jones faced a hefty six-week suspension (240 hours) for an undisclosed incident that happened on March 25, 2010.

The suspension record, which is public information, shows the date and severity of each suspension, but it doesn't detail why Jones was punished, or if he had been accused of violent acts in the past.

In addition to the six-week suspension, Jones was also suspended without pay for a week (40 hours) on August 5, 2004. In February, 2006, he was given a probation-like suspension for one day, which would not be activated unless he got into trouble with the department again. That suspension was activated six months later when he appears to have had another departmental infraction.

During two of his suspensions, Jones was required to undergo some type of counseling. --Cleve R. Wootson Jr.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Officer charged with assault had been suspended for 6 weeks

We know that Officer David Estele Jones III was given a hefty suspension in April 2010. What we don’t know is why.

Jones is the officer accused of slamming Richard McVicker to the ground after a traffic collision involving the officer’s mother. Jones first court appearance was today in court, but his lawyer, George Laughrun, showed up on his behalf.

McVicker, who said he had "a few beers" before the collision and was charged with driving while impaired, told me yesterday that Jones’ mother took his license when he asked if she was OK following the collision.

McVicker says he rapped on the woman’s window, trying to get it back. Jones’ lawyer used the word “banged.”

Earlier today, we reported that Jones had been suspended by the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police department three times since he’d been hired a decade ago. We got the information via a public records request.

About a year ago, the Charlotte Observer requested detailed information about suspensions from the city and the police department. A new state law had made public for the first time information about a public employee’s suspensions, demotions, and dismissals.

The list we received from the city had hundreds of suspensions on them, most for small amounts of time. But a few officers, like Jones, had multiple suspensions or suspensions of a week or more.

Gov. Bev Perdue has said the personnel law – which was passed as part of a series of ethics reforms – was designed to increase accountability in government.

But in this case, it appears to have provided more questions than answers, as readers have asked the same question – why was Jones suspended?

We’ve asked city and police officials for more information on Jones’ suspensions. We’ll share their response when we get it.