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In LEVEL. More on Medium.

Linda Franks blows into a plastic noisemaker at the perimeter of Louisiana’s East Baton Rouge Parish Prison during a protest with other members of the reform coalition. Her son, Lamar Johnson, died while in custody at the prison in 2015. Photos: William Widmer for LEVEL

In one decade, 45 people died in East Baton Rouge Parish Prison. Most were charged with nonviolent misdemeanors. Most didn’t have their day in court. Most were Black. How did the system fail them?

Years before Covid-19 ravaged correctional facilities across the United States, the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison (EBRPP) experienced its own prolonged wave of death. From 2009 to 2019, 45 prisoners died in the jail’s custody, which is nearly double the national average. …

President Biden and the Department of Justice made a statement — but there’s still more work to be done

Photo: Melina Mara/Getty Images

These despicable statistics illuminated the answered…

A White man’s bad day is never victimless. A White man’s bad day is terror.

Captain Jay Baker, of the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office, speaks at a press conference on March 17, 2021 in Atlanta, Georgia.
Captain Jay Baker, of the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office, speaks at a press conference on March 17, 2021 in Atlanta, Georgia.
Photo: Megan Varner/Stringer/Getty Images

Really. Bad. Day.

Given the fact that Baker himself once released racist anti-Asian merch, his implicit sympathizing with a mass murderer wasn’t even off-brand. Still, you don’t have to be that blatant of…

Music stars and activists alike have exploited Black death and protest imagery for profit

Lil Baby performs at the 63rd Annual Grammy Awards on March 14, 2021. Photo: Kevin Winter/Getty Images for The Recording Academy

Yes, Amy Cooper is a genuinely awful person — but hear me out

Photo: Christian Cooper

Cooper, who called 911 and falsely accused Christian Cooper (no relation) of threatening her in Central Park last summer, became the peak embodiment of Karen behavior — in large part because her behavior happened just as America found itself embroiled in civil unrest over police brutality.

The charges were dropped after she completed five therapy sessions “designed for introspection and progress,” assistant district attorney Joan Illuzzi-Orbon said at a brief virtual hearing. Five therapy sessions? A slap on the wrist.

This Week in Racism

It’s an embarrassment of riches in our weekly roundup of the world’s most preventable disease!

Death and taxes used to be the only two certainties in life. But no matter how much progress it feels like we’re making sometimes, the sad fact is you can probably slide racism into that list. Are we in a moment of uprising that feels like it has the potential to create real, systemic change? Yes. Do people and organizations still show their ass on a daily basis? Oh, most definitely. And to keep tabs on all that ass-showing, we created a weekly racism surveillance machine. …

Executive orders are well and good, but it’s time to get serious

Which is where we come in.

Anyone who thought I was going to ease up on politicians just because the worst…

Tomorrow, Donald Trump will vacate his post as president of the United States. And in the wake of his departure, he leaves not only a national mess to be cleaned up by the incoming administration but also his own unresolved controversy—namely, the fallout from the insurrection attempt at the Capitol that he incited earlier this month. Trump has been impeached for a second time, and LEVEL columnist Michael Arceneaux doesn’t want to see his fellow politicians or the (in)justice system go easy on him.

In his latest piece, “Now Is the Perfect Time to Ruin Trump’s Life,” Arceneaux addresses why…

Why mince words? If he’s not going to own up to what he’s done, he doesn’t deserve leniency.

Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Although House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy reportedly informed House Republicans on Monday that Trump has accepted some responsibility for last week’s deadly riots at the Capitol, you…

His race isn’t the issue — it’s the fact that he ignores racism

Photo: Francesco Carta fotografo

These days, there are plenty of reasons to yell at the TV screen.

Donald Trump got 10.2 million more votes in 2020 than in 2016, all while incubating a baseless conspiracy theory that led people to storm Capitol Hill in the name of patriotism. Meanwhile, Black and Brown people are still dropping like flies from a mishandled pandemic and police brutality.

I’m angry, like many others, but I also never expected that the state of the nation would cause me to raise my voice to a friend — a friend I had always assumed would understand what it felt like…


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