The lawsuit Daniel Robbins filed against the Des Moines Police Department after Robbins was questioned, patted down and had his camera confiscated by police is a legal matter worth following.
Robbins was legally taking pictures and video on a city street, yet, as the video shows, his actions didn’t sit well with police.
Robbins was near the police department when he noticed a Des Moines Police Department employee appearing to park illegally, so he used his phone to shoot video of the employee pulling her vehicle out of a no parking zone. Watching his footage, next comes several minutes of various officers confronting Robbins, questioning him, patting him down (twice) and eventually taking his phone and a camera.
Robbins’ lawsuit against the police was dismissed, though now the American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa has joined an appeal. A brief in the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals highlights the free speech and racial justice implications of the case, according to the ACLU.
Consider the comments made by Assistant City Attorney
Michelle Mackel-Wiederanders in defense of the police. “A reasonable officer, under the totality of the circumstances, would believe he had probable cause to seize this camera to investigate whether Mr. Robbins was engaged in criminal activity related to vehicles,” she wrote. Mackel-Wiederanders noted that while Robbins did have constitutional right to videotape law enforcement, that kind of activity could still be suspicious.
Suspicious? Based on what?
Think now about how many times cellphone recordings of police interactions have proven vital in documenting police behavior related to racial profiling and use-of-force issues. To suggest that police should be allowed to supersede the Constitution when they don’t like the looks of someone is highly problematic.
Like anyone, Robbins has a right to videotape a scene from a public space. Our First Amendment protects that right, and law enforcement does not get to decide when it applies.
After long fighting against the prospect of compensation for college athletes, the NCAA has finally caved.
Once California changed its state laws to sweeten the pot for student athletes, and 10 other states are contemplating the same move, the NCAA came to the realization that it needed to come to the party.
While the NCAA has enforced strict rules barring student athletes from profiting from their participation in college sports, the rules didn’t apply to anyone else.
For decades, thousands of people and institutions have gotten rich off the stars of college sports. Athletic departments make millions. Top football and basketball coaches command seven-figure paychecks (not to mention money from product endorsements and coach’s shows.) TV networks — and even radio — make bundles selling advertisements during games. And the NCAA itself gets enormous payouts for things like broadcasting rights.
From the vendors at stadiums, to the fans who place bets, there are paydays galore in college athletics. Nearly everyone gets in on the action except the athletes themselves. Now, at last, the tide has begun to turn.
Determining what that opportunity to profit will look like for student athletes is a conundrum yet to be unfurled. And the potential impacts at mid-level and small schools remains unclear. But it’s time to move in a new direction where athletes are not overlooked.
In order for employers to fill needed positions and the region to continue to grow its economy, creating a welcoming community for people of color will be critical.
That, after all, is where workers will come from.
Analysis by the Washington Post shows that for the first time in U.S. history, most new “working-age” hires in U.S. are minorities.
Reviewing Department of Labor data from the 1970s to today, the analysis shows a historic high number of minorities age 25 to 54 entering the job force. The hiring of people of color surpassed white hires last year, driven largely by a surge of minority women joining the workforce.
Driving the trend is the tight labor market. The unemployment rate in Dubuque County fell to just 2% in September, well below the national jobless rate of 3.5% and the statewide rate of 2.5%. In many places, that has forced employers to look broader and deeper in the labor pool to find more candidates.
Initiatives like Inclusive Dubuque, designed to raise awareness and understanding and to embrace cultural differences, are far more than simply a feel-good effort. Building cultural understanding will be crucial to developing the 21st century, multicultural workforce necessary to move the community forward.