Time for a fresh batch of stories that we appreciated this week:
After a 10-month investigation of the New Orleans Police Department, federal authorities released a report last week that detailed what the New York Times called “a department that is severely dysfunctional on every level: one that regularly uses excessive force on civilians, frequently fails to investigate serious crimes and has a deeply inadequate, in many cases nonexistent, system of accountability.” And this does not include a series of shootings by officers in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, which the investigators avoided as they are the subject of federal criminal probes.
As authorities in Japan struggle to reduce the radiation coming from nuclear plants damaged by the earthquake and tsunami, a “legion of grunts” is shouldering much of the burden, the Wall Street Journal reported. Many plant workers at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear complex have been performing manual labor that exposes them to radiation while working for their regular wages. The companies say they haven’t considered higher pay or extending extra health benefits for these workers because they are too busy dealing with the crisis, according to the article.
U.S. Army Spc. Jeremy Morlock pleaded guilty Wednesday to murdering three unarmed Afghan villagers while serving as a member of the 5th Brigade (Stryker), 2nd Infantry Division, which is based in Joint Base Lewis-McChord, the Seattle Times reported. As part of his plea deal, Morlock is expected to testify against four other members of his platoon alleged to have been involved in the killings, which were then staged to look like legitimate combat fatalities. Murlock — who also admitted that he conspired to commit the murders, regularly used drugs and assaulted another soldier who threatened to expose his drug use — said he lost his moral compass, and admitted that there was a concerted plan to kill people during his unit’s tour in southern Afghanistan, which lasted from the summer of 2009 to the summer of 2010.