"Roman Candle" turns 20: Secrets of Elliott Smith's accidental masterpiece (slideshow)
Elliott and the friends with whom he recorded in middle school in Texas (photo courtesy of Dan Pickering)
The landmark federal trial, Floyd vs. City of New York, which challenges the constitutionality of stop-and-frisk practices used by the NYPD. Lawyers with the Center for Constitutional Rights who are bringing the class-action suit believe it will be the “trial of the century,” probing whether the police have been unlawfully stopping black and Latino young men.
As the New York Times noted, the class-action “claims to represent ‘hundreds of thousands if not millions of people’ who experienced ‘suspicionless and race-based stops’ by the city’s police officers.” The NYCLU noted last week that the NYPD under Mayor Bloomberg have carried out 5 million stop and searches, over 86 percent of which on black or Latino individuals.
The plaintiffs’ lawyers will be seeking to prove that NYPD officers, under pressure to fulfill quotas, are tacitly but systematically encouraged to target young, minority race males. The named plaintiff, David Floyd, a medical student in the Bronx, was stopped twice by police — once just walking along the sidewalk, once helping a neighbor into their apartment.
Both Mayor Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Ray Kelly have stood by stop-and-frisk practices while criticism has mounted in recent years. In a recent poll, 55 to 39 percent of voters said they disapprove of stop-and-frisk and 44 to 22 percent that they are less likely rather than more likely to vote for a mayoral candidate who supports continuing the tactic.
Natasha Lennard is an assistant news editor at Salon, covering non-electoral politics, general news and rabble-rousing. Follow her on Twitter @natashalennard, email firstname.lastname@example.org.More Natasha Lennard.
Heatmiser publicity shot (L-R: Tony Lash, Brandt Peterson, Neil Gust, Elliott Smith) (photo courtesy of JJ Gonson photography)
Elliott and JJ Gonson (photo courtesy of JJ Gonson photography)
"Stray" 7-inch, Cavity Search Records (photo courtesy of JJ Gonson photography)
Elliott's Hampshire College ID photo, 1987
Elliott with "Le Domino," the guitar he used on "Roman Candle" (courtesy of JJ Gonson photography)
Full "Roman Candle" record cover (courtesy of JJ Gonson photography)
Elliott goofing off in Portland (courtesy of JJ Gonson photography)
Heatmiser (L-R: Elliott Smith, Neil Gust, Tony Lash, Brandt Peterson)(courtesy of JJ Gonson photography)
The Greenhouse Sleeve -- Cassette sleeve from Murder of Crows release, 1988, with first appearance of Condor Avenue (photo courtesy of Glynnis Fawkes)