Tag: protesting police brutality

Chicago Protesters Shut Down Michigan Ave. on Black Friday to Protest Shooting Death of #LaquanMcDonald

ChicagoProtest
Chicago Protest on Black Friday in honor of Laquan McDonald (Photo: Kelly Hayes via Twitter)

Thousands of protesters braved rain and chilly temperatures to flood Chicago’s high-end shopping district Friday to demand justice in the wake of the shooting death of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald

Tuesday, the city released the heartbreaking video of McDonald’s shooting and announced former Chicago PD officer Jason Van Dyke would be charged with first-degree murder. The timing of the announcement angered many who wondered why it took more than a year to charge Van Dyke given video evidence that he shoot the teen 16 times, 14 of which came while McDonald lay on the ground.

Today, thousands of protesters took to Michigan Avenue, one of Chicago’s premier shopping districts, to demand the mayor, police commissioner, and state’s attorney resign. Continue reading “Chicago Protesters Shut Down Michigan Ave. on Black Friday to Protest Shooting Death of #LaquanMcDonald”

Eric Garner’s Mother Gwen Carr Appears Before Lawmakers, Says Baltimore Riots Should Be A Wake-up Call

Gwen Carr According to Eric Garner’s mother Gwen Carr, the riots going on in Baltimore should serve as a wake-up call to lawmakers in New York that something needs to change.

Carr, along with several relatives of police victims traveled to Albany, New York Tuesday to demand that Governor Andrew Cuomo sign an executive order that would allow special prosecutors to step in to investigate police-related shootings, The New York Daily News reports.

She went on to say that many of the people who are rioting in Baltimore have reached a breaking point and in many ways, they are risking their lives to protect the lives of others who are in danger of being killed off by police in the future.

“It is very sad to see the city burning like that but sometimes people get so frustrated and they say enough is enough,” she said about Baltimore. “It just seems to me just watching it that they’re just laying their lives on the line to protect other people in the future.”

As for lawmakers, Carr had this to say:  “They need to wake up and see what’s really going on,” Carr said. “What caused this to happen? That’s the question they should ask and then correct that.”

Governor Cuomo had initially proposed criminal justice reforms that include appointing a special monitor to review cases involving deadly police encounters but has not gone as far as to allow special prosecutors to step in.

Carr and others, however, did not feel that this would be enough. Following their meeting Tuesday, Alphonso David, counsel to the governor, said that Cuomo promised to approve special prosecutors if the Legislature did not pick up his plan.

“We had a productive meeting, where both the Governor and the families of these victims had a detailed and respectful discussion on how to best reform the criminal justice system,” said David. “The Governor believes that his reform package is a balanced approach that would correct real and perceived inequities that exist within the system and he is intent on passing them in the remaining weeks of the legislative session.”

“He made it clear that if these reforms were not approved by the Legislature, he would sign an order creating a special prosecutor for police-involved fatalities,” David continued.

In a perfect world, lawmakers would have begun paying closer attention to these police-involved killings a long time ago. Hopefully, Governor Cuomo keeps his word and lawmakers across the nation will follow suit.

In other news, Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced that she will be sending two government officials to Baltimore to meet with faith and community leaders, as well as city officials.

article by Jazmine Denise Rogers via madamenoire.com

ACLU of California Launches Cellphone App to Preserve Videos of Police

A homeless man on skid row was shot to death last month during an altercation with Los Angeles police. Cellphone video captured the incident. (Los Angeles Police Department)
A homeless man on skid row was shot to death last month during an altercation with Los Angeles police. Cellphone video captured the incident. (Los Angeles Police Department)

Californians who use their cellphones to record police encounters with the public on video will be able to automatically transmit them directly to their local chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union using a smartphone application launched Thursday.

By using the Mobile Justice CA app to send recordings to the ACLU, leaders of the organization said, people can ensure that video of potential police misconduct is preserved, even if their cellphone is tampered with or destroyed.

“We’re merging the power of technology with the power of the ACLU and the power of the people,” Hector Villagra, the executive director for the ACLU of Southern California, told reporters Thursday. “We are so proud to put an innovative new tool in people’s hands, empowering people to know, to assert and to protect their rights.”

Peter Bibring, a senior staff attorney for the ACLU of Southern California, told The Times that work on the app began before the recent national outcry over how police officers use force, particularly against black men. But, he said, the recent string of controversial police killings have shown the importance – and impact – of civilian-captured video.

“As we’ve seen in headlines over the previous few months, recordings by members of the public is a crucial check on police abuse,” Bibring said. “We’ve seen a number of examples of high-profile incidents of abuse and unlawful shootings or killings that never would have come to light if someone wouldn’t have pulled out their phone and taken video.”

Continue reading “ACLU of California Launches Cellphone App to Preserve Videos of Police”

#BaltimoreUprising Protests Spread To NYC, DC And Beyond

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New York City Protest for Freddie Gray (Photo: Michael Skolnick)

Wednesday evening protests inspired by those who marched for answers in the death of Freddie Gray spread from Baltimore to other cities. Some highlights:

-In New York City, protesters starting at Union Square in Manhattan marched throughout the city, at one point shutting down the West Side highway and Holland Tunnel., according to CBS-2. At least one dozen arrests were made, according to USA Today, and Michael Skolnik of Interactive One, who was out with the marchers, and sent out a photo of Instagram of one of them. His caption: “Lots of arrests in NYC tonight. This could be a very long night…”

-In Washington, DCNBC-4 reported that “a large group of protesters,” rallied peacefully after gathering at Gallery Place and DuPont Circle.

-In Denver, a rally that started at the county jail ended with several arrests and police pepper-spraying protesters, reported ABC-7.

-In Minneapolisabout 1,500 people marched throughout the downtown area, reported the Star Tribune. There were no arrests.

-In Boston, the Boston Globe reported that more than 500 protesters marched after gathering behind police headquarters in the Roxbury section of the city.

Meanwhile, back in Baltimore, the epicenter of protests in reaction to the death of Freddie Gray after suffering a severed spine in police custody, USA Today reported that thousands gathered outside of City Hall. Eighteen people had been arrested in Baltimore by 8 p.m., including two juveniles, the paper reported. Just after a citywide 10 p.m.-5  a.m. curfew took effect, conditions were reportedly calm.

article via newsone.com

President Obama: Police Must Hold Officers Accountable for Wrongdoing

President Barack Obama (Photo via thegrio.com)
President Barack Obama (Photo via thegrio.com)

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama said the Baltimore riots show that police departments need to hold officers accountable for wrongdoing “instead of just the closing-ranks approach that all too often we see.”

In an interview broadcast Wednesday morning on “The Steve Harvey Morning Show,” Obama said his heart goes out of the Baltimore officers who were injured by rioters. He said there’s no excuse for that kind of violence and Baltimore police showed “appropriate restraint.”

But he said police departments have to build more trust in minority communities by building accountability and transparency.

“It’s in their interest to root out folks who aren’t doing the right thing, to hold accountable people when they do something wrong, instead of just the closing-ranks approach that all too often we see that ends up just feeding greater frustration and ultimately, I think, putting more police officers in danger,” Obama said in the interview taped Tuesday and broadcast on black radio stations nationwide.

Obama said Attorney General Loretta Lynch is reaching out to mayors to let them know what resources are available for retraining police and providing body cameras to hold them accountable. But he said solving the problems is going to require a broader political movement that addresses problems like poor education, drugs, absent fathers and limited job opportunities.

“If all we’re doing is focusing on retraining police but not dealing with some of these underlying issues, then these problems are going to crop up again,” Obama said.

“Unfortunately we’ve seen these police-related killings or deaths too often now,” Obama said. “And obviously everybody is starting to recognize that this is not just an isolated incident in Ferguson or New York, but we’ve got some broader issues.”

“I’ve seen this movie too many times before,” he added.

Asked whether he would visit Baltimore, Obama said he didn’t want to draw resources away from addressing the violence. “Once things have been cleared up, I think there’s going to be a time I go back to Baltimore.”

article by Nedra Pickler via thegrio.com

End Racial Profiling Act 2015: Democratic US Lawmakers Re-Introduce Minority Protections Bill

John Conyers
U.S. Rep. John Conyers, D- Mich., is pictured during a House Judiciary Committee hearing. On Wednesday, Conyers and Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Md., re-introduced the End Racial Profiling Act in Congress.  (Reuters/Jonathan Ernst)

Democratic lawmakers are making yet another attempt to pass legislation against racial profiling in local law enforcement. On Wednesday, Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., and Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Md., announced they would re-introduce the End Racial Profiling Act for at least the third time in the last three sessions of Congress. Previous bills have failed to get hearings or clear the Senate and House committees with law enforcement oversight.

The latest measure, coming as tensions rise between police and communities of color amid a wave of police killings of black men, would stop police officers from racially profiling African-Americans and Latinos, as well as Muslims, Sikhs and other minority groups that have long complained of targeting by law enforcement. Last year, the Department of Justice expanded policies that protect racial and religious minorities from profiling by federal law enforcement agencies.

The DOJ rules don’t apply to state, county and local law enforcement; the proposed law would expand on them by requiring states to certify their compliance with policies discouraging racial profiling. The announcement by Cardin and Conyers was welcomed Wednesday by civil rights leaders and activists.

“Racial profiling robs people of their dignity, undermines the integrity of our criminal justice system and instills fear and distrust among members of targeted communities,” Wade Henderson, president and CEO of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, said in a statement.

Studies have shown how generally ineffective and counter-productive racial profiling has been as a law enforcement tool, Henderson said. Officers can become overly distracted by racial stereotypes and overlook individuals posing serious threats to public security, he said. But despite the evidence of its ineffectiveness, racial profiling expanded after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in New York and Washington, D.C., in the guise of counterterrorism and immigration enforcement.

Senate and House versions of the law were introduced one day after the “March 2 Justice,” a group of activists against racial profiling and police brutality who walked 250 miles from New York to the U.S. Capitol, arrived in Washington. The group met Wednesday with members of Congress to urge passage of the racial profiling ban.

article by Aaron Morrison via ibtimes.com