Law enforcement's domestic abuse problem

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A review of the best commentary on and around the world...

Today's must-read

The Atlantic's Conor Friedersdorf is puzzled by all the attention given the National Football League (NFL) for domestic violence incidents involving some of its players.

"Domestic violence is less common among NFL players than the general population," he notes.

There is a profession, on the other hand, that has an unusually high rate of domestic abuse - police officers. Those criticising the NFL, he says, should also be spotlighting this disturbing trend in the law enforcement community.

The National Center for Women and Policing cites two studies that found that "at least 40% of police officer families experience domestic violence, in contrast to 10% of families in the general population".

Friedersdorf asks:

"If there's any job that domestic abuse should disqualify a person from holding, isn't it the one job that gives you a lethal weapon, trains you to stalk people without their noticing, and relies on your judgment and discretion to protect the abused against domestic abusers?"

Friedersdorf goes on to recount a number of domestic violence incidents in recent years across the US involving police officers, such as murder-suicides in Colorado, Washington state, Texas , Indiana, Nevada and Utah.

He also points to a 2013 New York Times article that found many domestic violence incidents involving police are handled "informally", allowing the assailants to continue to work without official sanction.

"The law enforcement community hasn't seen fit to track these cases consistently or rigorously," he writes.

Based on reported stories and the incidents that do lead to criminal prosecution, however, he says the evidence of a nationwide problem is "overwhelming".

"The situation is significantly bigger than what the NFL faces, orders of magnitude more damaging to society and yet far less known to the public, which hasn't demanded changes," he concludes.

A few weeks ago Echo Chambers observed that law enforcement also doesn't seem all that interested in keeping records about how often citizens are killed in police shootings.

Out of the public's sight, out of the public's mind.


A government crackdown on internet speech - By hosting the 2022 World Cup and assisting in negotiations between the US and Islamic militants, Qatar is laying claim to a larger international role. But as it does this, writes the Washington Post's Brian Murphy, it is also cracking down on free expression on the internet.

The nation, like others in the Persian Gulf region, has made posting information deemed threatening to the security or general order of the state, or dealing with someone's "personal or family life", a crime punishable by fines and imprisonment.

"The fraternity of sheiks, emirs and monarchs across the Gulf have tried in varying degrees to embrace the Web to get their messages across," he says. "But the Arab Spring uprisings made them downright panicky."


Boom times return for Irish economy - The Celtic Tiger is back, writes the Telegraph's Ambrose Evans-Pritchard. Ireland's gross domestic product grew 7.7% in the last year, he says, making the 2008 economic collapse "seem like another age".

Evans-Pritchard contends that Ireland's booming exports are the reason it has recovered from the crisis while other nations - such as Spain, Portugal and Greece - continue to languish.

He cautions, however, that low interest rates could be creating another Irish real-estate bubble. Policies designed to help the rest of the EU could end up overheating the Irish economy, creating "a carbon-copy of what went wrong a decade ago".


Extremism borne in the back alleys - Hurriyet's Fatih Cekirge tells the story of a young teenage boy who left Germany to fight for Islamic State (IS). He was caught at the Turkey-Syria border by a vigilant guard but could very easily have become the latest Western citizen to join the Islamic militants.

"The interpretation of the German state about children joining IS is that they are unsuccessful and hopeless youngsters who do not go to school," Cekirge writes. He adds that this is compounded by public employees "stuck at the very bottom of the bureaucracy" who take out their rage on Muslim children.

"The back streets of Europe have each become 'settings for uprising' for these kinds of children," he writes. "They feed terrorism."


"Ghost towns" are not a concern - The rise of massive unoccupied cities in China served by overbuilt infrastructure is not a sign of an impending economic collapse, write Andrew Sheng and Xiao Geng of Fung Global Institute.

Instead, they contend in an article for Project Syndicate, they are a healthy product of economic expansion, which "enlarges the range of options from which people and companies can choose when deciding where to live or establish factories and offices".

"When viewed through the long lens of history, China's ghost towns will prove to be potholes on the path to development," they write.

BBC Monitoring's quotes of the day

Vladimir Yevtushenkov, billionaire head of the Russian corporation AFK Sistema, has been charged with money laundering and placed under house arrest. Russian commentators worry about the implications.

"It's an unambiguous message to all the rich and influential that the 'oligarchy' will no longer enjoy its erstwhile relationship with the authorities. It's a revolution, kids." - Vladimir Pastukhov in Novaya Gazeta.

"The very fact of Yevtushenkov's criminal prosecution is a bad sign for all of Russian business. Elsewhere in the world, criminal prosecution, especially in the business sector, legitimately involves the practise of bargaining... In our country such deals are very weakly legalized; everything happens in secret." - Vadim Volkov in RBK Daily.

"No matter what contemporary Russia is moving to, one thing is clear - the resistance of capitalist elements is on the rise again and the struggle is intensifying again." - Maksim Trudolyubov in Vedomosti.‎

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