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Obama to address police conference amid Ferguson backlash

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President Barack Obama will address a major conference of police chiefs on Tuesday at a turbulent time for the law enforcement community, with a new U.S. Justice Department report expected to be issued at the gathering on ambush attacks of police.

U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch had been scheduled to address the annual gathering of the International Association of Chiefs of Police, as well, but she canceled unexpectedly due to illness.

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Obama is seeking support in Congress and among police leaders for new measures to reduce high U.S. incarceration rates and reform sentencing guidelines for non-violent offenders.

The U.S. law enforcement community is grappling with public outrage over the deaths of black men at the hands of police in Ferguson, Missouri, New York and elsewhere.

A dozen police officers have been charged with murder or manslaughter this year resulting from shootings. That is an unusually high number, up from an average of about five a year from 2005 to 2014, according to academic research.

At the same time, FBI Director James Comey has said in recent days that fear of being accused of brutal tactics has sent a “chill wind” through law enforcement in the past year, making police less effective at cracking down on violent crime.

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Lynch’s change of plans came ahead of her scheduled testimony on Wednesday to the Republican-controlled House of Representatives Judiciary Committee.

At the oversight hearing, lawmakers will ask Lynch about criminal justice reform and a range of other issues facing the department, said Republican committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte.

Details of the report on ambush attacks and a second one on officers’ health and safety were not immediately available.

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Ambush attacks account for an increasing portion of police fatalities, totaling 36 over the past decade and seven in 2014 alone, the FBI said. These included the double ambush of two New York Police Department Officers in December.

On Tuesday, the administration also issued a new guidebook of actions that elected officials and law enforcement officers can take to build trust and legitimacy within their communities, such as reviewing and updating policies on the use of force.

Members of a new national group of law enforcement leaders who support reducing crime and incarceration met Obama at the White House last week to discuss topics such as mandatory minimum sentences and the Black Lives Matter movement.

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(Editing by Kevin Drawbaugh and Christian Plumb)

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Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

We need your support to keep producing quality journalism and deepen our investigative reporting. Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Invest with us in the future. Make a one-time contribution to Raw Story Investigates, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you.



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Trump promises vets he won’t use his campaign slogan — then blurts it out seconds later

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While talking with veterans on Wednesday, President Donald Trump vowed that he would not politicize the event by reciting his 2020 campaign slogan -- and then did it anyway just seconds later.

While addressing the American Veterans National Convention in Louisville, Kentucky, the president made light of the fact that he was not supposed to be using his speech to promote his reelection campaign and was only there to talk about his administration's work on behalf of veterans.

"In all things, we are putting our country first," the president said. "We are saying, let’s say 'Make America great again,' but we are almost there, 'Make America great again.' We may have to switch it. You know what we’re going to switch it to? Huh? Yeah? That is right. I will not say it here, because this is not a campaign speech."

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Anti-LGBT group: Straight man who spied on women’s dressing rooms is proof we need anti-trans bathroom laws

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A Pennsylvania man was arrested last month for drilling holes in the women's dressing rooms of a Target store with the intention of spying, The Mercury reports. Sean Christopher Anderson, 41, was initially charged with criminal mischief and possessing an instrument of crime, but had his charges upgraded this Monday to invasion of privacy and possessing child pornography.

Now, the right-wing Christian group American Family Association is trying to use his case as proof of the urgency of their boycott campaigns targeting Target's gender-neutral bathrooms, but as LGBTQ Nation points out, Anderson is a straight cisgender man.

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Trump promoting himself as the ‘second coming of God’ is another sign of his lack of basic mental capacity: Yale psychiatrist

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On Wednesday, President Donald Trump retweeted an anti-Semitic super-fan who compared Trump to the "second coming of God." That was after he made comments Tuesday suggesting that Jews who vote for Democrats are traitorous to Israel. The comments come after a long summer of Trump accusing members of the Squad of being anti-Semitic and suggesting that the Clintons are responsible for disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein's death in jail.

Raw Story spoke with Dr. Bandy X. Lee, a forensic psychiatrist and violence expert at Yale School of Medicine, about the president's fitness for office. Lee helped launch a public health approach to global violence prevention as a consultant to the World Health Organization and other United Nations bodies since 2002. She authored the textbook, “Violence: An Interdisciplinary Approach to Causes, Consequences, and Cures,” which shows how the dangerous psychology of individuals is connected to dangerous societies and cultures, including their politics and economics. She and several coauthors of the public-service book, “The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump: 37 Psychiatrists and Mental Health Experts Assess a President,” prepared a mental health analysis of the president using information in the Mueller report (dangerouscase.org).

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