There are many injustices to which the system remains blind. Standing as the accused is damaging to anyone forced to undergo the process, whether guilty or innocent. Defendants confront loss of employment and impoverishment, stigmatization and the loss of dignity, and exposure to mental and physical harm. These injustices occur throughout the court process, and on a daily basis. While they seem unconscionable to anyone forced to suffer or witness them, they are baked into a system that operates for the maintenance of class power and protection of property.

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Who says that government can’t give us nice things? Just this week, Monroe County approved $4.3 million in tax exemptions for the latest sports fad, Topgolf, to come to CityGate. While its proponents tout jobs, tourism, and reinvestment in the local economy, without a doubt there exist more beneficial means of achieving these goals. This is just the latest insult by a political class demonstrating who they work for—not the working class, but the idle rich.

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Despite the critical role of the PAB and the need for independent police oversight in Rochester, ROC DSA has made the decision to resign as a member agency of the PABA. This decision was not made lightly. Over the last several years, the PABA has become a challenging and, at times, deeply toxic environment. Our organization’s departure is far from the first and, unfortunately, it will almost certainly not be the last. We urge the leadership and remaining members of the PABA to take a critical look at the state of the alliance and find the lessons that must be learned. This city needs the PAB, and the PAB needs a functional PABA.

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In the past few years, the push for civilian oversight of law enforcement has expanded nationwide. Body cam technology and police reform are increasingly being written into law, and social movements like Black Lives Matter have generated incredible energy. Along with it, however, new ways of obstructing the work of holding law enforcement agencies accountable have and continue to emerge.

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