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DemocracyNow_logo_for_dark_background-ddcf4f045c365d80e51ecc5cd22d663185032b6b2919d27bd240035d017638f705.07.2022 – 3 Texas Cops Indicted for Violent Crackdown on 2020 Black Lives Matter Protests

A Texas grand jury has indicted three Dallas-area police officers on felony charges they physically assaulted Black Lives Matter protesters in 2020. The indictments were announced Friday, nearly two years after the murder of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer sparked protests across Texas and around the world.

Dallas SWAT officers Ryan Mabry and Melvin Williams face multiple charges of aggravated assault by a public servant and deadly conduct. Williams was fired from the Dallas Police Department earlier this year over an unrelated excessive force charge. A third officer with the Garland Police Department, Joe Privitt, faces a single assault charge. Among those injured at the protests was Brandon Saenz, who was shot in the face in May of 2020 with a so-called less lethal round fired by a Dallas police officer. Saenz spoke to Democracy Now! less than a month after the assault.

Brandon Saenz: “When I woke up out of surgery, that’s when they told me I lost my eye. My jaw was twisted. My nose was broken. And I got metal plates right here, metal screws in my nose and a plate right here on my cheek.”

Amnesty International documented at least 125 instances of police violence against protesters in 40 states and in the District of Columbia in the weeks following George Floyd’s killing, where officers responded to peaceful protests with unlawful beatings, tear gas and rubber bullets.

[Source: Democracy Now!, Kera News]

ProPublica_250px-logo.svg.png10.21.2021 – Jefferson Parish deputy who was seen on video violently dragging a woman by the hair, has been named in nine federal civil rights lawsuits, all involving the use of excessive force

Sheriff’s Deputy Julio Alvarado was caught on camera on September 20 slamming Shantel Arnold, a black woman on the pavement just minutes after she was assaulted by by several boys from the neighborhood.

Turns out the man had a long history of complaints against him : he has been named in more civil rights lawsuits than any deputy currently employed at the JPSO…

[Sign the petition to fire Police officer Julio Alvarado for Assaulting Shantel Arnold]

[Source: ProPublica]

ProPublica_250px-logo.svg.png10.19.2020Feds Didn’t Identify Themselves Before Opening Fire on Michael Reinoehl

Aug. 29. At about 6:40 p.m., two silver SUVs gunned toward Michael Reinoehl, tires squealing as they skidded to a stop in front of his VW, pinning his car in. Deputized U.S. marshals burst from the vehicles aiming military rifles at him. The official line is that he jumped out of his car, his hand on the .380-caliber pistol in his pocket, defying a shouted command: “Stop! Police!”What happened next remains unclear, even among law enforcement officials who participated. Michael Reinoehl, 48, died in the street from gunshot wounds to his head and torso.

Civilian eyewitnesses interviewed by Oregon Public Broadcasting and ProPublica and other public statements offer similarly inconsistent and sometimes conflicting recollections. They agree that they heard no warning from federal agents, and saw no flashing lights that indicated the arrival of law enforcement, just a fusillade that one neighbor likened to a scene out of the video game Call of Duty.

One resident of the apartment complex, Nathaniel Dinguss, has been of particular interest to law enforcement. After the shooting, he consulted with lawyers who issued a news release describing the shooting of Reinoehl. The release noted that Dinguss, who has so far declined to speak with investigators, claims that deputized U.S. marshals did not attempt to apprehend Reinoehl — or issue any commands — before shooting him. Further, the lawyers wrote, Dinguss did not see a gun on Reinoehl or see him make a move to reach for one. Dinguss, through his attorneys, declined multiple requests for an interview for this story.

Garrett Louis witnessed part of the shooting from outside his home and across the street from Dinguss, and he has his own concerns about how officers behaved. “There was no ‘drop your weapon’ or ‘freeze’ or ‘police’ — no warning at all,” he recalled. Louis first thought the gunplay — a brief volley, a few seconds of silence, then a sustained barrage — was the work of rival drug dealers. “They just seemed like trouble,” he said. Confused by the shooting, Louis plucked his 7-year-old and a playmate off a nearby lawn and secured them in his home before dashing across the street to yank his 8-year-old off his bike and run him to safety.

In the hours after the shooting, he wrote a two-page account of what he saw. But he has not yet spoken to Thurston County detectives. Investigators did interview his 8-year-old one day when they came to talk to Louis, who wasn’t home at the time. []

[Read the full article and support Mother Jones and ProPublica]

Daily Beat logo from website09.26.2020Minneapolis Councillors Who Voted to Defund the Police Now Regret It

Minneapolis shocked the country in June when the majority of its city council pledged to defund the police department in the wake of George Floyd’s death. But some of the nine council members who supported the pledge told The New York Times they now regret it. Many activists and observers took the pledge to be literal but Councilor Andrew Johnson said he intended it to be “in spirit.” Councilor Phillipe Cunningham said the language in the pledge was “up for interpretation” and had been understood differently by each councilor. Lisa Bender, the council president, said it had “created confusion.”

A recent spike in crime in Minneapolis has led many residents to reevaluate their support for reducing police numbers, and some told the Times they never supported the idea to begin with. Mayor Jacob Frey, who was booed out of a protest for refusing to support defunding the police, said the pledge was confusing and vague.

[Sources: Daily Beast, The New York Times]

ProPublica_250px-logo.svg.png09.23.2020How Criminal Cops Often Avoid Jail

When New Jersey lawmakers sought advice about police accountability, one of the power players they turned to was Sean Lavin, a police union leader. Lavin testified before state senators at a July hearing, where he questioned whether civilians are qualified to serve on police oversight boards, and suggested that chokeholds might sometimes be warranted. He also argued against releasing the names of officers who have been disciplined. “It’s a public shaming to their families,” said Lavin, executive director of the New Jersey Fraternal Order of Police Labor Council. “I don’t see the value in that, and I don’t think there is one.

But Lavin’s own history illustrates something else. A state law enacted more than a decade ago to jail criminal officers and other public officials who abuse their authority hasn’t worked as intended. Lavin is one of dozens of New Jersey officers who have been criminally charged with official misconduct but avoided the jail time called for under the law, an investigation by the Asbury Park Press and ProPublica has found. []

[Read the full article and support ProPublica]

Democracy Now! logo from website09.16.2020Demonstrators in Lancaster, PA Get $1 Million Bail for Protesting Police Killing

In Lancaster, Pennsylvania, at least seven people who were arrested Monday during protests over the police shooting of 27-year-old Ricardo Munoz are being held on a $1 million bail. Body camera footage shows a police officer shooting Munoz, who is holding a knife. Munoz’s family said he suffered from schizophrenia and paranoia.

[Source : Democracy Now!]

NY-Times-logo.png09.05.2020After Accusations of Police Cover-Up, Prude Case Goes to Grand Jury

New York’s attorney general announced on Saturday that she would set up a grand jury to consider evidence in the death of a Daniel Prude, a Black father of five in Rochester, N.Y., who suffocated after he had been placed in a hood by police officers and pinned to the ground.

The unusual weekend announcement by the attorney general, Letitia James, signaled a significant ramping up of the response to the March 23 arrest of Daniel Prude, 41, after months of official silence. Mr. Prude’s family in recent days has accused officials of covering up his death to protect the police officers involved.

[Source : NY Times]

TheGuardian_Logo.png09.04.2020Police shoot 13-year-old boy with autism several times after mother calls for help

Linden Cameron, a 13-year-old boy with autism was shot several times by police officers who responded to his home in Salt Lake City after his mother called for help. Her mother Golda Barton told KUTV she called 911 to request a crisis intervention team because her son, who has Asperger’s syndrome, was having an episode caused by “bad separation anxiety” as his mother went to work for the first time in more than a year.

I said, ‘He’s unarmed, he doesn’t have anything, he just gets mad and he starts yelling and screaming,’” she said. “He’s a kid, he’s trying to get attention, he doesn’t know how to regulate.

Two officers went through the front door of the home and in less than five minutes were yelling “Get down on the ground!” before firing several shots.

Sgt Keith Horrocks of Salt Lake City police told reporters officers were responding to reports “a juvenile was having a mental episode” and thought Cameron “had made threats to some folks with a weapon”. But Police later confirmed they did not find a weapon at the scene.

Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall said in a statement Sunday: ‘While the full details of this incident are yet to be released as an investigation takes place, I will say that I am thankful this young boy is alive and no one else was injured.

‘No matter the circumstances, what happened on Friday night is a tragedy and I expect this investigation to be handled swiftly and transparently for the sake of everyone involved.’

Linden Cameron is recovering in a Utah hospital, his mother said, after suffering injuries to his shoulder, both ankles, his intestines and his bladder.

[Sources : The Guardian, KUTV]

The Texas Tribune logo09.03.2020Gov. Greg Abbott considering legislation to put Austin police under state control after budget cut

This proposal for the state to takeover the Austin Police Department is one strategy I’m looking at,” Abbott tweeted in response to an article from Reform Austin. “We can’t let Austin’s defunding & disrespect for law enforcement to endanger the public & invite chaos like in Portland and Seattle.

The potential legislation, sent last week to Abbott by former Texas House members and parliamentarians Terry Keel and Ron Wilson, would allow for a city with a population over 1 million and less than two police officers per 1,000 residents — a bucket Austin falls into — to have its police force consolidated with the Texas Department of Public Safety. The state’s law enforcement branch would take over the local police department and form a new entity if the governor decided there were “insufficient municipal resources being appropriated for public safety needs,” according to a copy of the letter obtained by The Texas Tribune.

[Source : Texas Tribune]

The Texas Tribune logo08.21.2020 – Texas put hundreds of hours into finding and arresting police brutality protesters

Two days of unruly protests at the Texas Capitol in May left graffiti on the historic building and cuts and bruises on state police officers. Since then, the Texas Department of Public Safety has spent the summer naming and arresting suspects, the majority of whom are accused of misdemeanors.

DPS has arrested more than a dozen Texans as part of its highly publicized, resource-laden investigation into the Capitol protests. Special agents have spent hundreds of hours this summer poring through social media posts, surveillance footage and YouTube videos to identify protesters they believed engaged in criminal activity, the agency said. The department has also publicly announced arrests and repeatedly offered up to $1,000 in cash for the public’s help in naming the often-masked Capitol protesters seen in grainy screenshots investigators pull from compiled footage.

Lawyers call it a “witch hunt.”

[Source : The Texas Tribune]

ProPublica_250px-logo.svg.png08.17.2020 – The NYPD Is Withholding Evidence From Investigations Into Police Abuse

[] Despite its legal obligations, the NYPD has been withholding significant evidence and undermining investigations of alleged abuse. It has stopped sharing a wide variety of paper records and has been redacting the names of potential witnesses from others without explanation. For two months this year, it allowed officers to refuse to be interviewed by CCRB investigators. And, critically, it often doesn’t produce body-worn camera footage.

An internal CCRB memo obtained by ProPublica enumerates roughly a dozen kinds of records withheld or redacted across the board: warrants, arrests records, documents listing who was in station house cells — key for finding witnesses — even officer injury reports. []

An analysis this year by the CCRB underlines the particular power of the body cam footage that the NYPD is often withholding. The percentage of allegations substantiated against officers more than doubles when investigators can see the body cam videos. Video also increases the percentage of allegations that are deemed unfounded. The outcome that’s less likely with video is the conclusion that’s long been the default: Investigators file away the case without any conclusion at all.

At least on paper, the NYPD has more oversight than perhaps any police department in the country. Few other cities have an inspector general devoted to the police. The court ruling that mandated body cameras also imposed a federal monitor. And the CCRB is the largest civilian oversight agency of the police in the country, with more than 200 staffers.

But the NYPD is the most powerful department in the country’s largest city. With a $6 billion budget, 36,000 officers and a direct line to the mayor, the NYPD has long wielded its clout to fend off scrutiny. And that has often left the CCRB and even the City Council struggling to exercise meaningful oversight of the department. []

[Read the full article on : ProPublica]

Mother_Jones_1280px-Logo.svg.png08.15.2020 – The Infuriating History of Why Police Unions Have So Much Power

[] Police unions are at the center of questions about what will happen to Chauvin and the three officers who watched as Floyd was suffocated. And they are also key to understanding why officers across the country escape discipline time and again after beating or killing people. As other labor unions have shrunk in recent years, membership in police unions has remained high. While the Black Lives Matter movement encouraged people to document police brutality on camera and demand accountability, police unions, which now have hundreds of thousands of members, have pushed back in almost every way imaginable—by overturning firings, opposing the use of body cameras, and lobbying to keep their members’ disciplinary histories sealed. []

All of which can make officers feel invincible when they commit acts of violence. A forthcoming research paper from the University of Victoria in Canada found that after police officers formed unions—generally between the 1950s and the 1980s—there was a “substantial” increase in police killings of Black and Brown people in the United States. Within a decade of gaining collective bargaining rights, officers killed an additional 60 to 70 civilians of all races per year collectively, compared with previous years, an increase that researchers say may be linked to officers’ belief that their unions would protect them from prosecution. A working paper from the University of Chicago found that complaints of violent misconduct by Florida sheriffs’ offices jumped 40 percent after deputies there won collective bargaining rights in 2003.

Police unions, like all unions, were designed to protect their own. But unlike other labor unions, they represent workers with the state-sanctioned power to use deadly force. And they have successfully bargained for more job security than what’s afforded to most workers, security they can often rely on even after committing acts of violence that would likely get anyone else fired or locked up. []

[Read the full article on : MotherJones]

ProPublica_250px-logo.svg.png08.14.2020 – ICE Guards “Systematically” Sexually Assault Detainees in an El Paso Detention Center, Lawyers Say

Guards in an immigrant detention center in El Paso sexually assaulted and harassed inmates in a “pattern and practice” of abuse, according to a complaint filed by a Texas advocacy group urging the local district attorney and federal prosecutors to conduct a criminal investigation.

The allegations, detailed in a filing first obtained by ProPublica and The Texas Tribune, maintain that guards systematically assaulted at least three people in a facility overseen by Immigration and Customs Enforcement — often in areas of the detention center not visible to security cameras. The guards told victims that no one would believe them because footage did not exist and the harassment involved officers as high-ranking as a lieutenant.

According to the complaint filed with the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Inspector General and shared with prosecutors, several guards “forcibly” kissed and touched the intimate parts of at least one woman. She faces deportation next week — meaning investigators could lose a key witness. Her attorneys have requested that immigration officials pause her deportation pending a review of the matter. []

Since the complaint was filed Wednesday, two more women, including one who is currently detained in the El Paso facility and one who was previously held there, have come forward with abuse allegations. At least one other woman was deported after a guard assaulted her, detainees told lawyers. []

The El Paso allegations are the latest instance of sexual abuse complaints related to detention centers run by ICE, which imprisons about 50,000 immigrants across the country each year — mostly through contractors at a taxpayer expense of almost $2.7 billion.

About 14,700 complaints alleging sexual and physical abuse were lodged against ICE between 2010 and 2016, according to federal data obtained by the advocacy group Freedom for Immigrants. The group found that only a small fraction were investigated by the Office of Inspector General.

In 2018, the most updated statistics available online, ICE reported 374 formal accusations of sexual assault, of which 48 were substantiated by the agency and 29 remained pending an investigation as of that year.

Most recently, in a May federal court filing in Houston, a Mexican woman said that she was in an ICE facility there in 2018 when she and two female detainees were moved to an isolated cell. Around midnight, three men wearing facial coverings entered the cell. They raped and beat them, according to the complaint. The immigrants were bused to Mexico hours later, where the woman eventually discovered she was pregnant from the assault. []

[Read the full article on : ProPublica]

The Texas Tribune logo08.14.2020 – Texas’ largest cities spend more on police than anything else. Activists want more of those funds spent on the social safety net instead

Officials in Austin, Dallas, Houston and San Antonio each spent more than $434 million from their general funds on their respective police departments during the 2020 fiscal year. For each, that was more than a third of their general funds, the portion of city budgets that can largely be distributed to any department because it is not mandated to a specific function. []

In 2018, about a third of Texas prisoners were Black, a third were white and a third were Hispanic, according to the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics. That same year, about 12% of Texas’ population was Black, about 42% was white and 40% was Hispanic, according to the Texas Demographic Center. []

Also in 2018, 19.6% of Black Texans lived below the poverty line, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, compared with 20.9% of Hispanic Texans and 8.5% of non-Hispanic white Texans. []

[Check the figures and read the full article on : The Texas Tribune]

The Texas Tribune logo08.13.2020 – Austin City Council votes to cut police department budget by one-third, reinvest money in social services

The Austin City Council unanimously voted to cut its police department budget by $150 million on Thursday, after officers and the city’s top cop faced months of criticism over the killing of an unarmed Black and Hispanic man, the use of force against anti-police brutality protesters and the investigation of a demonstrator’s fatal shooting by another citizen. []

The proposal to cut police funding by about one-third of its total $434 million budget calls for immediately cutting around $21.5 million from the department, according to a document put together by council members. But city spokesperson Andy Tate said Thursday that the number was closer to $20 million. []

These immediate cuts would include eliminating funding from three planned police cadet classes and reallocating funds to areas like violence prevention, food access and abortion access programs. However, the council said it may allow one or two cadet classes to begin in fiscal year 2021 if a revised curriculum is completed and a “more appropriate recruitment program” is implemented. It will also consider attrition rates, pension impacts and additional funding as factors influencing its decision on cadet classes. []

[Read the full article on : The Texas Tribune]

The Texas Tribune logo08.13.2020 – Texas Legislative Black Caucus unveils the George Floyd Act to ban chokeholds and limit police use of force

Black lawmakers at the Texas Legislature unveiled on Thursday the George Floyd Act, a sweeping police reform proposal that would ban chokeholds across the state and require law enforcement officers to intervene or render aid if another officer is using excessive force while on the job.

The legislation, spearheaded by members of the Texas Legislative Black Caucus, is named after Floyd, a Black man killed in Minneapolis police custody. Floyd died after a white police officer knelt on his neck for several minutes until and after he lost consciousness. []

The bill would also address qualified immunity, which shields government officials from litigation, by allowing civil lawsuits at the state level “for deprivation of rights under color of law,” according to a caucus summary of the legislation. Another provision would end arrests for fine-only offenses like theft under $100, a version of which died dramatically in 2019 after union opposition. []

[Read the full article on : The Texas Tribune]

NY-Times-logo.png08.11.2020 – New Footage Shows Delayed Medical Response to George Floyd

A Minnesota judge ordered that footage from cameras worn by two officers be publicly released. []

The New York Times has reviewed the full 65 minutes of footage, which was previously viewable only by appointment, and selected crucial moments that offer new information. []

The footage was taken from the body cameras of Officers Thomas Lane and J. Alexander Kueng, who detained Mr. Floyd on May 25. The camera of a third officer, Derek Chauvin, who appeared in widely viewed footage kneeling on Mr. Floyd’s neck, fell off during the arrest, and its footage has not been released. Mr. Lane, Mr. Kueng and a fourth officer, Tou Thao, have been charged with aiding and abetting murder, and manslaughter, while Mr. Chauvin was charged with second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. The officers were all fired after Mr. Floyd’s killing. []

Mr. Lane’s and Mr. Kueng’s videos provide the first clear evidence of the time Mr. Chauvin places his knee on Mr. Floyd’s neck, changing the widely known narrative that Mr. Chauvin held his knee there for eight minutes and 46 seconds. Prosecutors initially gave this duration, then changed it to seven minutes and 46 seconds. The footage shows that neither were correct: Mr. Chauvin actually keeps his knee on Mr. Floyd’s neck from 8:19 until 8:28 p.m., for a total of nine minutes and 30 seconds. That is nearly two minutes more than the prosecutors’ amended time. []

The body camera footage also shows delays by the officers and the paramedics who respond. []

Six minutes after Mr. Chauvin, Mr. Lane and Mr. Kueng put Mr. Floyd facedown, and only after bystanders have shouted at the officers to attend to Mr. Floyd’s health, Mr. Kueng checks for Mr. Floyd’s pulse and tells Mr. Chauvin and Mr. Lane that he cannot feel it. All three of the officers continue to hold Mr. Floyd in a position that restricts his breathing, and none check to see whether he is getting air.

Two minutes later, emergency responders arrive and check Mr. Floyd’s pulse, but do not assess his breathing. Instead of repositioning Mr. Floyd to assess or treat him on the scene, the medics load him into the ambulance as Mr. Lane joins them.

It takes three minutes after their arrival on the scene — and four more pulse checks — before Mr. Lane begins first chest compressions. It is five additional minutes before a medic ventilates Mr. Floyd — 10 minutes after Mr. Kueng first reported Mr. Floyd did not have a pulse. Mr. Lane eventually leaves the ambulance when the Fire Department arrives.

[Read the full article and watch bodycam footage on : The New York Times]

Mother_Jones_1280px-Logo.svg.png07.27.2020 – National Guard Whistleblower Says Feds Used Excessive Force on Peaceful Protesters

A senior National Guard officer will tell Congress that the US Park Police engaged in “an unprovoked escalation and excessive use of force” when the agency forcefully cleared peaceful protesters from in front of the White House ahead of President Donald Trump’s infamous June 1 photo op at a nearby church.

At no time did I feel threatened by the protestors or assess them to be violent,” Adam DeMarco—a major in the Washington, DC, Guard, who was present during the operation to clear Lafayette Square—says in written testimony prepared for a House Natural Resources Committee hearing set for Tuesday. “In addition, considering the principles of proportionality of force and the fundamental strategy of graduated responses specific to civil disturbance operations, it was my observation that the use of force against demonstrators in the clearing operation was an unnecessary escalation of the use of force.

[Read the full article on : MotherJones]

ProPublica_250px-logo.svg.png07.26.2020 – ProPublica has published the disciplinary records for thousands of New York City police officers, records that were, until recently, completely sealed off from the public

New York lawmakers voted in June to repeal the controversial “50-A” law that shielded the records, in the wake of George Floyd’s killing and amid the nationwide antiracist uprising. ProPublica obtained the records from New York City’s Civilian Complaint Review Board before a federal judge last week issued a restraining order, blocking the city from releasing the data. NYPD unions are suing to prevent the city from making the records public.

[Sources : Democracy Now!, ProPublica]

NY-Times-logo.png07.25.2020 – Officer Who Pressed His Knee on George Floyd’s Neck Drew Scrutiny Long Before

In more than 19 years on the Minneapolis police force, Mr. Derek Chauvin had a reputation as a rigid workaholic with few friends. He sometimes made other officers uncomfortable.

[Read the full article on : The New York Times]

Protests in Oregon (from DN! website)07.24.2020 – Judge Bars Federal Agents in Oregon from Targeting Journalists & Legal Observers

Protests are continuing in Portland, Oregon, against racism, as well as the deployment of federal officers to the city. On Thursday, a federal judge issued a restraining order barring federal agents from using force against journalists and legal observers. Meanwhile, the inspector general of the Justice Department has announced he will investigate the actions of federal forces in Portland, as well as in Washington, D.C.

[Source : Democracy Now!]

The_Intercept_2015_Logo.png07.22.2020 – NYPD Disappeared Black Lives Matter Protesters Into Detention for Days at a Time. Lawmakers Want to End the Practice

In early June, hundreds of Black Lives Matter protesters languished for days in cramped New York City jail cells. Stuck in holding pens without masks and exposed to soiled conditions amid the coronavirus pandemic, they were unable to reach loved ones or lawyers. The protesters were effectively disappeared into New York City’s detention system.

Attorneys from the Legal Aid Society went to court to demand the protesters’ immediate release. In a lawsuit filed against the New York Police Department, attorneys from Legal Aid, a public defense organization, alleged that over 400 individuals in city detention facilities had been held for more than 24 hours without seeing a judge, in breach of state law and detainees’ constitutional rights.

The public defenders accused the police department of deliberately slow-rolling standard procedures to keep protesters in jail as payback for demonstrations against police brutality. Lawyers for the police asserted that the NYPD faced unprecedented challenges with both a pandemic and widespread protests raging.

In a one-line decision, Judge James M. Burke of the State Supreme Court in Manhattan sided with the police. “All writs are denied,” he ruled. In doing so, Burke accepted the NYPD’s rationale that the conditions on the ground should overrule preexisting state law: The 1991 Roundtree v. Brown decision established the 24-hour standard from arrest to arraignment.

[Read the full article on : The Intercept]

The_Intercept_2015_Logo.png07.20.2020 – In Portland, Questions Swirl Around Local Police’s Coordination With Federal Officers

Portland City Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty agrees with other elected officials in Oregon who say federal police dispatched to the city by President Donald Trump are an “occupying army,” represent “a blatant abuse of power,” and are “shadowy forces” that have been “escalating, not preventing, violence.”

Hardesty, though, stands nearly alone in saying local officials should share blame for the nightly violence engulfing the streets around the federal courthouse in downtown Portland, where the federal cops are deployed. Mayor Ted Wheeler and Police Chief Chuck Lovell gave Trump the opportunity to send in the “secret police,” she told The Intercept. For more than a month before the federal forces came, local police had already been clashing with protesters. “Portland police overreacted at people throwing bottles at them,” Hardesty said. “They started gassing whole neighborhoods. They were doing that long before the feds showed up.

[Read the full article on : The Intercept]

06.19.2020What does ‘defund the police’ mean and does it have merit?

Defund the police” means reallocating or redirecting funding away from the police department to other government agencies funded by the local municipality. That’s it. It’s that simple. Defund does not mean abolish policing. And, even some who say abolish, do not necessarily mean to do away with law enforcement altogether. Rather, they want to see the rotten trees of policing chopped down and fresh roots replanted anew. Camden, New Jersey, is a good example. Nearly a decade ago, Camden disbanded (abolished) its police force and dissolved the local police union. This approach seems to be what Minneapolis will do in some form, though the nuances are important. 

Different from abolishing and starting anew, defunding police highlights fiscal responsibility, advocates for a market-driven approach to taxpayer money, and has some potential benefits that will reduce police violence and crime. Rashawn Ray outlines some of the main arguments for defunding the police.

[Source : Rashawn Ray on Brooking]

06.10.2020New York State Will No Longer Hide Disciplinary Records of Police Officers

New York, state lawmakers have voted to ban the use of police chokeholds and to repeal a controversial law known as 50-A that shields the disciplinary records of police officers from the public. The vote came despite heavy lobbying from police unions to keep officers’ records secret.

[Source : Democracy Now!]

06.08.2020Minneapolis City Council Announces It Will Disband Police Department

As historic protests continue to sweep the country two weeks after the police murder of George Floyd, the Minneapolis City Council announced Sunday it would move to disband the city’s police department. Nine members of the council — a veto-proof majority — made the vow during a community rally on Sunday. This is Minneapolis City Councilmember Phillipe Cunningham.

The vow to disband the police came just days after the Minneapolis City Council voted to ban chokeholds and neck restraints. Derek Chauvin, the former officer who killed Floyd by kneeling on his neck for nearly nine minutes, will make his first court appearance today. We’ll have more on the historic City Council announcement after headlines with Minneapolis City Councilmember Jeremiah Ellison.

[Source : Democracy Now!]

06.02.2020 – Police Fatally Shot A Man Who Was Kneeling After Mistaking A Hammer In His Pocket For A Gun

A 22-year-old was shot and killed by police on Tuesday after officers who were responding to reports of looting mistook a hammer in the man’s pocket for a gun.

The victim, Sean Monterrosa, was kneeling when he was fatally shot outside a Walgreens in Vallejo, California, police said.

An officer fired five shots at the victim through the windshield of an unmarked police car, striking him once.

[Sources : BuzzFeedNews, The Guardian]

05.25.2020 – “I can’t breathe”

I can’t breathe” — that’s what George Floyd, an unarmed African American man, repeatedly told a white Minneapolis police officer who pinned him to the ground Monday with a knee to his neck. Video of the police attack went viral. Now four officers have been fired. This comes as another video went viral of a white woman calling the cops on a Black man in New York City’s Central Park and falsely accusing him of “threatening her life” after he asked her to leash her dog. DN! discusses these developments and more with Ibram X. Kendi, founding director of the Antiracist Research and Policy Center at American University and National Book Award–winning author of “Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America” and “How to Be an Antiracist.”

[Sources : Democracy Now!, NY Times reconstitution]

05.08.2020Data Shows 35 of 40 People Arrested in NY for Social Distancing Violations Are Black

In New York, new data from the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office show that 35 of 40 people arrested for social distancing violations were Black. Mayor Bill de Blasio has rejected comparison’s to New York City’s unconstitutional “stop-and-frisk” policies under former Mayor Bloomberg, but said in a tweet, “The disparity in the numbers does NOT reflect our values.” This comes as a new study by the Foundation for AIDS Research finds U.S. counties with a predominantly Black population account for over half of the coronavirus cases in the country, and nearly 60% of COVID-19 deaths.

[Source : Democracy Now!]

05.05.2020 – Washington King County  signs a 2.5$ settlement deal

And apologizes for the murder of 17-year old African-American Mi’Chance Dunlap-Gittens, killed during a police operation targeting one of his friends.

12.15.2017Police bodycam video released

Video shows Daniel Shaver begging for his life before being executed by a police officer in a hotel in Mesa, Arizona, on January 18; 2016. The video was released after a jury acquitted Philip Brailsford, the police officer, on December 7.

[Source : New York Times]

09.03.2015 – Judge Upholds Charges Against 6 Officers in Freddie Gray‘s Death in Maryland

In Maryland, a judge has ruled six Baltimore police officers will face separate trials for the arrest and death of African-American resident Freddie Gray. At a hearing Wednesday, Judge Barry Williams refused defense attempts to dismiss the charges and remove prosecutor Marilyn Mosby from the case. Freddie Gray died in April after being arrested and transported without a seat belt in a police van. His family said his spine was 80 percent severed at the neck. Police said they arrested him for making eye contact with them, then running away. Another hearing in the case is set for next week on a motion to move the officers’ trials out of Baltimore. Attorney J. Wyndal Gordon, who observed the proceedings, said the case should be heard in Baltimore.

J. Wyndal Gordon:I think that the ladies and gentlemen of Baltimore city, the citizens of Baltimore city, are intelligent enough — not even intelligent enough, are intelligent. They are thoughtful. They are very attentive when it comes to cases such as this, and they can handle this case, provide each and every defendant a fair trial, provide the State’s Attorney’s Office with a fair trial.

[Source : Democracy Now!]

08.05.2015 – Wrongful Death Suit Filed over Death of Sandra Bland in TX Jail Cell in Ohio

In news from Ohio, the mother of Sandra Bland has filed a lawsuit over the death of her daughter, who was found dead in a Waller County, Texas, jail cell last month. Bland was arrested on July 10 by Texas State Trooper Brian Encinia, who alleged that Bland failed to signal a lane change. Dash cam video of her arrest shows Encinia forcibly removing Bland from her car and threatening to “light [her] up” after she refused to put out her cigarette. She can later be heard accusing police of slamming her head into the ground. Authorities have said Bland committed suicide in jail, a claim her family has disputed. The wrongful death suit filed Tuesday argues Encinia used an inappropriate level of force during the arrest and that Bland should not have been arrested in the first place. The suit also contends Bland was placed in a cell containing a large garbage can, garbage bags and exposed beams, even after Bland told authorities she had attempted suicide in the past. The suit names State Trooper Encinia, two Waller County Jail guards, the Texas Department of Public Safety and Waller County.

[Source : Democracy Now!]

08.05.2015 – Cop faces 11 Years in Prison for Killing Unarmed Black Man in 2013 in North Carolina

In news from North Carolina, the trial has begun for a white police officer who fatally shot an unarmed African-American man who was seeking help after a car crash in 2013. Randall Kerrick, a white police officer, is facing charges of voluntary manslaughter for allegedly shooting 24-year-old Jonathan Ferrell. According to prosecutors, Ferrell had sought help from a nearby homeowner after a car crash, but the woman had believed she was being robbed and called the police. When the officers arrived, one pointed the laser of his taser at Ferrell’s chest. Ferrell fled in fear and attempted to hide between the two police cars. This brought Ferrell close to Kerrick, who then opened fire, striking Ferrell 12 times. If convicted, Kerrick could face up to 11 years in prison.

[Source : Democracy Now!]

04.08.2015 – Bottle in Sam DuBose’s Car was Air Freshener, Not Gin…

In news from Ohio, the coroner for Hamilton County has determined that the bottle in the car of Sam DuBose, who was fatally shot by University of Cincinnati officer Ray Tensing, contained air freshener, not alcohol. Tensing, who is white, stopped DuBose, who is African-American, on July 19 for not having a front license plate. Police body cam video showed Tensing asked to see the bottle during the traffic stop, which was labeled “gin” but which DuBose said contained air freshener. Minutes later, Tensing fatally shot DuBose in the head after DuBose objected to removing his seat belt. Tensing has been charged with murder and is currently free on a $1 million bail.

[Source : Democracy Now!]