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Baltimore City Paper

This Week in Alts: Churches confront homelessness, more cases of police brutality, and more

Eugene Weekly, "Good God: Churches and the Homeless" The Oregon paper focuses on homelessness in this week's issue, with three different stories profiling efforts to support the homeless in the area. The first story profiles Pastor Dan Bryant's activist efforts to help the homeless in Eugene: "I am convinced that those who blame the homeless for their condition are not so much uncaring as they are unaware—they see what is on the surface and not what is inside," Bryant says. "When we get to know someone, wounds, warts and all, we move from blame to empathy and we see the other as a full human being deserving our respect and care rather than as an object we can scorn and dismiss." The second piece profiles the Vet Camp, a Eugene Safe Spot camp managed by Community Supported Shelters (CSS) that provides tents on elevated platforms to homeless veterans. And the third piece talks to Father Brent Was about what he calls structural sin, "That institutionally our country is set up in a way that is sinful and unjust. The idea that since you are unable to earn money, you are unable to live, have food, have a place to live, etc."

Pittsburgh City Paper, "Did a security firm hired by the city go too far to gather info on Jordan Miles?" As a nationwide conversation rages on about police brutality, Pittsburgh has been dealing with its own case of a police beating for years now. Back in January 2010, an unarmed black teenager named Jordan Miles was severely beaten by three police officers who said "they worried a suspicious bulge in his jacket concealed a gun, though it was nothing more than a bottle of pop." After Miles filed suit, a jury awarded him around $119,000 for false arrest, but did not find the officers guilty of using excessive force. Through the court proceedings, the defense characterized Miles as an unintelligent, jacked-up "punk," using pictures from his Facebook page to illustrate their point.

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Now, Miles has told the Pittsburgh City Paper that one of the Facebook pictures the defense used hadn't been public, raising questions about whether the picture was acquired ethically. "Whether Miles should have expected photos he posted of himself online to remain private is a complicated question—and the legality of using social media to gather evidence is constantly evolving. But documents recently obtained under the state's right-to-know law show that the city hired outside investigators to collect information about Miles on social media in ways that could have violated ethics rules, including creating fake profiles or trying to reach him without permission from his lawyers."

This isn't the only story in alts this week about police brutality—see also:

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Oof.

The Stranger, "Why Sarah Galvin's Poetry Is Like a Car Crash" After all this heavy news, let's end on a happier note. In Seattle's The Stranger, writer Paul Constant reflects upon the brilliant hilarity of poet Sarah Galvin: "The humor in Galvin's poetry comes from the electricity of not knowing what the next word to tumble out of her mouth will be. It's the surprise of discovery when you find you can't predict where the next poem will begin, or end. The air is so alive with possibility that wild laughter becomes a reflexive response, the way you laugh when you narrowly avoid a vicious car accident. You're on bonus time."


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