Sam Levin Profile picture
@Guardian senior reporter. sam.levin@theguardian.com. he/him
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Apr 11 20 tweets 7 min read
NEW INVESTIGATION: a California prison sergeant sexually abused an incarcerated woman for months, then harassed/stalked her for yrs after her release, records show.

🧵on Nilda Palacios' long fight to be believed + how Sgt Tony Ormonde evaded consequences: theguardian.com/us-news/ng-int… (content warning for this thread: prison abuse, sexual assault, stalking)
Apr 1 14 tweets 5 min read
NEW: Video reveals San Bernardino sheriffs fatally shot Savannah Graziano, 15, a reported kidnapping victim, while she was unarmed + following deputies instructions to move to them.

They continued shooting even after one officer said "Stop shooting her"

theguardian.com/us-news/2024/a…
screenshot of aerial surveillance footage showing six San Bernardino sheriff's cars by a white pickup truck on the side of a freeway San Bernardino has refused to release video of the killing of the teenage girl since 2022, but @joeyneverjoe filed records requests + pushed for their release + shared the footage with @guardian

The video + audio evidence shows how the sheriff initially spread misleading claims.
Mar 11 13 tweets 4 min read
A San Bernardino sheriff fatally shot Ryan Gainer, 15, who was holding a garden tool.

Ryan ran cross-country team, wanted to be engineer + had autism, family lawyer told me.

The dept released edited video but refused to share footage of actual shooting theguardian.com/us-news/2024/m… “There are great questions as to whether it was appropriate to use deadly force against a 15-yr-old autistic kid having an episode. We need to see the video and the moment of the shooting … but it doesn’t seem like anyone was in imminent danger of death or great bodily injury.”
a photo of Ryan Gainer sitting with three family members smiling near a sign that says Puente Barranca Honda. Photograph from family, courtesyof Burris, Nisenbaum, Curry & Lacy law firm
a smiling photo of Ryan Gainer with another family member. Photograph from family, courtesyof Burris, Nisenbaum, Curry & Lacy law firm
Mar 4 18 tweets 8 min read
NEW: LAPD has repeatedly shot people holding harmless objects - most recently, Jason Maccani who held a plastic fork.

LAPD also shot ppl holding phones, lighters, a bike part, a car part + a wooden board.

🧵on the cases + families fighting for justice:
theguardian.com/us-news/2024/m… There's a clear pattern: Cops instantly escalate an encounter w/ person in mental distress, fail to communicate, rush to shoot + then continue to blame the victim after learning they were unarmed.

Jason Maccani had a fork, but LAPD first reported it as man “armed with a stick.”
image of white plastic fork that LAPD shared as evidence after killing Jason Maccani
photo of Jason Maccani smiling at an event.
Feb 22 9 tweets 3 min read
NEW: There's been a 300% surge in deaths of unhoused people in Los Angeles amid worsening fentanyl + housing crises.

@craftworksxyz + I obtained 10 yrs of autopsy data, revealing 2,000+ deaths last yr. Hear from folks on the street about the rising toll➡️theguardian.com/us-news/2024/f… @craftworksxyz From 2014-2023, 11,573 unhoused people died in LA County, with steadily rising death tolls every yr, according to medical examiner autopsies. It's a significant undercount as the ME does not track all deaths. Health officials estimate there are 20% more deaths not captured by ME.
Jan 9 7 tweets 3 min read
Police in the US killed more people in 2023 than any year in the last decade:

•At least 1,232 killed, 3+ a day
•445 victims were fleeing police
•rise in killings by sheriffs + in rural areas
•Black people killed at rate 2.6x higher than white ppl

theguardian.com/us-news/2024/j… Data via Mapping Police Violence's @samswey, who notes: “The majority of cases have not originated from reported violent crimes. The police are routinely called into situations where there was no violence until police arrived and the situation escalated."
Oct 13, 2023 8 tweets 3 min read
NEW: A pregnant woman in Alabama was accused of drug use + jailed to "protect her unborn child."

She ended up giving birth in the jail shower after officers refused to take her to the hospital, leaving her to labor alone for 12 hours. She nearly died.

theguardian.com/us-news/2023/o… Ashley Caswell, represented by @PregnancyJust @splcenter @sullcrom, was jailed in Etowah County, AL to "protect her fetus," spending most her pregnancy sleeping on a mat on concrete floor, denied regular prenatal care and meds and nearly dying in labor alone in jail bathroom. selfie of Ashley Caswell smiling wearing a floral shirt
Apr 12, 2023 10 tweets 4 min read
NEW: Video reveals Indiana jail guards left Josh McLemore, 29, naked in solitary confinement for 3 weeks straight before he died of malnutrition. He was in a state of psychosis and had no bed or bathroom while trapped in a windowless cell w lights on 24/7

theguardian.com/us-news/2023/a… Josh McLemore's family wants the videos publicized, so @guardian has posted clips, but content warning, it's very disturbing.

"Constant isolation, his cell being illuminated 24 hrs a day, sleep deprivation – those are things we associate with torture"
theguardian.com/us-news/2023/a…
Feb 1, 2023 7 tweets 3 min read
I spoke to the family of Anthony Lowe, a wheelchair user + double amputee who was hobbling away from Huntington Park cops before they killed him.

“I’m heartbroken + filled with rage. I just cant understand why they'd do that" -Tatiana Jackson, his sister theguardian.com/us-news/2023/j… “He was running away scared for his life,” -Ebonique Simon, mom of Anthony’s son. “This could have been handled in any other way. But they chose gunfire as the resolution to the problem. We’re supposed to trust police w/ our lives, but how can we if they do something like this?”
Jan 24, 2023 16 tweets 5 min read
🧵Hundreds of formerly incarcerated youth have come forward with accounts of being sexually abused + tortured by officers in Los Angeles juvenile jails, from 1970s to today.

Three survivors shared their stories with me ⬇️

(TW: child abuse, sexual assault)theguardian.com/us-news/2023/j… The survivors I spoke to faced abuse, violence, neglect, homelessness + significant poverty as young kids – circumstances which landed them in juvenile jail as kids, some as young as 12. When they arrived at the overcrowded jails, they were quickly violated + abused by guards.
Jan 12, 2023 6 tweets 2 min read
I talked to Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Cullors about LAPD killing her cousin, who got in a car accident + then was restrained and Tased by multiple cops.

"He was asking for help and was killed."

Keenan Anderson was a high school teacher:

theguardian.com/us-news/2023/j… Bodycam vids showed Keenan was begging for help as multiple officers held him down. At one point he said, “They’re trying to George Floyd me.” One cop had his elbow on Keenan’s neck. Another Tased him for roughly 30 secs straight before pausing + Tasing him again for 5 more secs
Jan 6, 2023 4 tweets 2 min read
NEW: Killings by US police reached a record high in 2022. Data reveals:

•1 in 3 victims was fleeing

•majority were routine encounters turned deadly, incl traffic stops, mental health calls, no crime alleged

•major surge in killings by sheriff depts

theguardian.com/us-news/2023/j… Mapping Police Violence @samswey data reveals police killed at least 1,176 people in the US in 2022, more than 3 a day or nearly 100 every month. Black ppl were 24% of victims (while 13% of population).

“It's clear that it’s continuing to get worse + that it’s deeply systemic.” Graphic of killings by police in the US by year, showing tha
Dec 31, 2022 14 tweets 9 min read
As 2022 comes to a close, a 🧵of some of my @guardian features on incarceration + policing this year. These stories focused on people currently behind bars, their families and those most criminalized in the US (my priorities entering 2023).

content warning: death/abuse... (1/x) @guardian 1. Jalani Lovett, 27, spent 2 years stuck in LA County jail + in his final months, in solitary, where he died in a block known for Sheriff gang abuse.

"This was murder. They killed my son." "Somebody in that jail either killed him or allowed him to die."
theguardian.com/us-news/2022/j…
Dec 29, 2022 12 tweets 5 min read
🧵Victims’ rights advocacy has long been one of the most powerful political movements in the US.

Its legacy: harsh punishments, exponential prison growth, mass surveillance + a system that fails most victims, says Lenore Anderson in her new book.

My Q+A:theguardian.com/us-news/2022/d… From the 1980s to 2010s, advocates + law enforcement lobby passed 32,000+ laws in the name of victims rights. The laws created mandatory long + indefinite sentences; locked up youth for life; expanded arrests + police powers; reduced the rights of defendants + incarcerated people
Jul 5, 2022 11 tweets 6 min read
As anti-trans attacks and rhetoric rapidly escalate in the US and across the globe, a 🧵 of some recent journalism worth reading and watching:

'She just started blooming': the trans kids helped by a pioneering project

by @transscribe

(1/x)

theguardian.com/society/2020/j… @transscribe Kris Wilka Just Wants to Play Football

by @_pem_pem

gq.com/story/kris-wil…
Dec 30, 2021 12 tweets 6 min read
New from me: LAPD killed five people in a nine-day period this month, part of a sharp increase in officer killings this year.

“There’s just a reckless disregard for human life."

Thread on the recent killings and the year of scandals at LAPD ⬇️

theguardian.com/us-news/2021/d… LAPD shot 38 people this year, killing 18 of them. This is more than double the number of killings last year.

LAPD shot six people around the holiday. Five died, none armed with guns.

The first two killings in this recent wave involved men who were allegedly holding knives. Image
Jul 14, 2021 11 tweets 2 min read
I sat in on Britney Spears's new testimony today – more disturbing allegations + emotional pleas from the singer to end the conservatorship and remove her father.

“I’m here to get rid of my dad + charge him with conservatorship abuse ... I was always extremely scared of my dad." She alleged that her hair vitamins and coffee were taken away from her “Ma’am, that’s not abuse, that’s just fucking cruelty. Excuse my language but it’s the truth.”

She added: “They were always trying to make me feel like I’m crazy, which I’m not.”
Jul 1, 2020 19 tweets 8 min read
NEW: I spent time with families of those killed by Los Angeles sheriff deputies. They want the department defunded + dismantled. They want DA Jackie Lacey out. They want officers fired + prosecuted.

Listen to their words here (thread / videos) ⬇️

theguardian.com/us-news/2020/j… Julie Martinez, grandmother of Paul Rea, 18, killed by LASD during a traffic stop after allegedly driving thru a stop sign: “The sheriffs for decades have been operating like illegal thugs and gang members under the color of authority. They are never held accountable.”