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    Default US Police Brutality & The Legal System

    Community Calls for Blood After Police Shoot and Kill Unarmed Teenager

    August 10, 2014

    Saturday afternoon in Ferguson, Missouri, police shot and killed an unarmed teenage boy who was visiting his grandmother at the apartment complex where the murder occurred. The police have not yet made a comment as to why they even stopped 18-year-old Mike Brown to begin with, or why they drew their guns and shot the young man.

    Brown was shot at approximately 2:15 p.m. in the 2900 block of Canfield Drive on Saturday.

    “I know they killed my son, this was wrong and it was cold-hearted. He doesn’t kill, steal or rob. He doesn’t do any of that,” his mother, Lesley McSpadden said.

    The murder has sparked outrage in the community, and at one point, police were forced to retreat from an angry crowd that was demanding answers. Eventually they called in over 100 police cars and pulled resources from over a dozen different departments to intimidate the neighbors who had gathered to protest the killing.

    Many of the neighbors witnessed the murder first hand, and say that Brown had his hands up in the air and was unarmed at the time of the shooting. After the shooting occurred, crowds with hundreds of people gathered to protest the police and demand accountability, many reports said that emotions were understandably hot.

    Louis Head, Brown’s stepfather was photographed holding a sign that said “Ferguson police just executed my unarmed son!!!”

    “He (the officer) shot again and once my friend felt that shot, he turned around and put his hands in the air,” Dorian Johnson, a friend Brown’s, told KMOV News. “He started to get down and the officer still approached with his weapon drawn and fired several more shots.”

    “He was a good kid. He didn’t live around here. He came to visit me and they did that to him for no reason,” Brown’s grandmother, Desuirea Harris, told reporters.

    Ferguson officials issued the following statement early on Saturday night:

    “The City of Ferguson is aware there are strong feelings following the tragic event that occurred on Canfield Drive earlier today. The St. Louis County Police Department is conducting an independent investigation of the events. We will provide further information as the investigation continues.”

    The officer responsible has not been named by the department but it was reported that he has been suspended with pay.

    Michael Brown was a recent high school graduate who was scheduled to begin classes at college on Monday.

    Anonymous Takes interest

    Protest video on FB:



    The real reason the white in power called over 100 police cars and now have swat and military roaming the streets is so the black community doesn't attack the racist abusive law officers and set an example for rest of the nation on what to do against increasing police brutality we are seeing these days.

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    This Is The Terrifying Result Of The Militarization Of Police

    AUG. 12, 2014

    While serving as a U.S. Marine on patrol in Afghanistan, we wore desert camouflage to blend in with our surroundings, carried rifles to shoot back when under enemy attack, and drove around in armored vehicles to ward off roadside bombs.

    We looked intimidating, but all of our vehicles and equipment had a clear purpose for combat against enemy forces. So why is this same gear being used on our city streets?

    On Saturday, a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, shot and killed 18-year-old Michael Brown, an unarmed black man. In the days that have followed, the town with a population of about 21,000 has seen massive protests in response to the shooting, as some witnesses said Brown had his hands up when he was killed.

    Putting aside what started the protests for a moment, it's worth discussing the police response to the outrage. In photos taken Monday, we are shown a heavily armed SWAT team.

    They have short-barreled 5.56-mm rifles based on the military M4 carbine, with scopes that can accurately hit a target out to 500 meters. On their side they carry pistols. On their front, over their body armor, they carry at least four to six extra magazines, loaded with 30 rounds each.

    AP Photo/Jeff Roberson

    Their uniform would be mistaken for a soldier's if it weren't for their "Police" patches. They wear green tops, and pants fashioned after the U.S. Marine Corps MARPAT camouflage pattern. And they stand in front of a massive uparmored truck called a Bearcat, similar in look to a mine-resistant ambush protected vehicle, or as the troops who rode in them call it, the MRAP.

    When did this become OK? When did "protect and serve" turn into "us versus them"?

    "Why do these cops need MARPAT camo pants again," I asked on Twitter this morning. One of the most interesting responses came from a follower who says he served in the Army's 82nd Airborne Division: "We rolled lighter than that in an actual warzone."

    Let's be clear: This is not a war zone — even if the FAA banned flights under 3,000 feet. This is a city outside of St. Louis where people on both sides are angry. Protesters have looted and torched a gas station, and shots were fired at police, according to The Washington Post.

    The scene is tense, but the presence of what looks like a military force doesn't seem to be helping.

    "Bring it. You f*cking animals, bring it," one police officer was caught on video telling protesters. In Ferguson and beyond, it seems that some police officers have shed the blue uniform and have put on the uniform and gear of the military, bringing the attitude along with it.

    Matt Ford, the social-media editor at The Atlantic, summed it up well:

    And here's journalist Radley Balko, author of "Rise of the Warrior Cop":

    If there's one thing I learned in Afghanistan, it's this: You can't win a person's heart and mind when you are pointing a rifle at his or her chest.


    Protests Turn Violent in St. Louis Suburb

    Aug. 13, 2014

    Protests in the St. Louis suburb rocked by racial unrest turned violent on Wednesday night, with people lobbing Molotov cocktails at police, who responded back

    Police used tear gas and smoke bombs to repel crowds who threw Molotov cocktails during another violent night on the streets of a St. Louis suburb in the wake of the shooting of the unarmed 18-year old Michael Brown.

    Hours earlier, the police chief had said race relations were the top priority in the town, where a white police officer fatally shot the black teen. Authorities have vowed to reach across the racial, economic and generational divide in a community in search of answers.

    In the streets of Ferguson, though, the polite dialogue heard at community forums and news conferences is nowhere to be found.

    Instead, officers from multiple departments in riot gear and in military equipment have clashed nightly with protesters, who chant, “Hands up, don’t shoot.” Wednesday saw more tense confrontations and further volleys of tear gas from police — this time paired with smoke bombs in response to flaming projectiles and other objects lobbed from the crowd. Protesters faced heavily armed police who at times trained weapons on them from armored trucks.

    Two reporters said they were detained by police for not clearing out quickly enough from a McDonald’s where they were working, near the protests but away from the more volatile areas. The two, who work for The Washington Post and The Huffington Post, were released without any charges. Both say they were assaulted but not seriously hurt.

    The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported that about 10 people had been arrested, including St. Louis Alderman Antonio French, who has been chronicling the protests on social media. Police had said earlier they would not have arrest information until early Thursday.

    Residents in Ferguson have complained about what they called a heavy-handed police presence that began with the use of dogs for crowd control soon after Brown’s shooting — a tactic that for some invoked the specter of civil rights protests a half-century ago. The county police force took over leading both the investigation of Brown’s shooting and the subsequent attempts to keep the peace at the smaller city’s request.

    County Police Chief Jon Belmar, though, said his officers have responded with “an incredible amount of restraint,” as they’ve been the targets of rocks, bottles and gunshots, with two dozen patrol vehicles being destroyed.

    “It’s pretty amazing how impressed I am and inspired by these officers,” he said. “This is a very difficult circumstance.”

    Police had also asked earlier that people assemble in “an organized and respectful” manner and disperse before evening.

    The city and county are also under criticism for refusing to release the name of the officer involved in Brown’s shooting, citing threats against that officer and others.

    Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson called improving race relations “the top priority right now” but also said he won’t be pressured into publicly identifying the officer — despite, he said, mounting demands from clergy, computer hackers and protesters.

    “We have the right to know, and the family has the right to know who murdered their son,” said Sahari Gutierrez, a 27-year-old Ferguson legal assistant.

    Jackson said he also welcomes Justice Department training on racial relations in the suburb, where two-thirds of the 21,000 residents are black while all but three of the police force’s 53 officers are white.

    Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon cited the “worsening situation” in Ferguson in saying he would be in the area Thursday. He asked community members to be patient and calm while the investigation proceeds and urged law enforcement agencies to “keep the peace and respect the rights of residents and the press.”
    Jackson said the investigation remains weeks away from completion.

    Police have said Brown was shot after an officer encountered him and another man on the street. They say one of the men pushed the officer into his squad car, then physically assaulted him in the vehicle and struggled with the officer over the officer’s weapon. At least one shot was fired inside the car.

    The struggle then spilled onto the street, where Brown was shot multiple times. In their initial news conference about the shooting, police didn’t specify whether Brown was the person who scuffled with the officer in the car and have refused to clarify their account.

    Jackson said Wednesday that the officer involved sustained swelling facial injuries.

    Dorian Johnson, who says he was with Brown when the shooting happened, has told a much different story. He has told media outlets that the officer ordered them out of the street, then tried to open his door so close to the men that it “ricocheted” back, apparently upsetting the officer.

    Johnson says the officer grabbed his friend’s neck, then tried to pull him into the car before brandishing his weapon and firing. He says Brown started to run and the officer pursued him, firing multiple times. Johnson and another witness both say Brown was on the street with his hands raised when the officer fired at him repeatedly.

    Among the protesters critical of the police response has been state Sen. Maria Chapelle-Nadal, a Democrat from nearby University City

    “I just want to know if I’m going to be gassed again, like I was on Monday night?” she asked Jackson at a press conference. “And I was peaceful. And I’m your state senator.”

    “I hope not,” he replied.


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    Huffington Post Reporter Arrested In Ferguson

    The Huffington Post:

    The Huffington Post's Ryan J. Reilly and the Washington Post's Wesley Lowery were arrested Wednesday evening while covering the protests in Ferguson, Missouri after the death of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown, who was shot by a police officer last week. The journalists were released unharmed, but their detentions highlighted the town's ramped up police presence, which has left numerous residents injured by rubber bullets, pepper spray and tear gas during protests held every night after Brown's death.

    SWAT officers roughed up the reporters inside a McDonald's, where both journalists were working. Reilly snapped a photo, prompting cops to request his identification.

    "The officer in question, who I repeatedly later asked for his name, grabbed my things and shoved them into my bag," said Reilly, who appeared on MSNBC's "All In with Chris Hayes" shortly after his release to recount the arrest. "He used his finger to put a pressure point on my neck."

    "They essentially acted as a military force. It was incredible," Reilly said. "The worst part was he slammed my head against the glass purposefully on the way out of McDonald's and then sarcastically apologized for it."

    Reilly said it will be difficult to hold the officer "accountable for his actions," as the officer did not respond to Reilly's repeated requests for his name or other identification. He said he can't be "100 percent sure" whether the officer was aware that he's a reporter, "but that really shouldn't matter in this equation."

    Reilly believes he was arrested because he declined to present the officer his identification when asked for it, he said.

    See tweets from Reilly and Lowery below:

    The Huffington Post called the Ferguson Police Department to inquire about the status of Reilly shortly after tweets indicated that he had been arrested. The person who picked up the phone -- who identified himself as "George" -- said he couldn't give any information at this time and that there was no one who could do so. Asked for his last name, he mumbled something quickly. When pressed for the spelling of his name, he hung up.

    The Huffington Post called back and again asked for information on Reilly. We were simply put through to the "Ferguson jail" voicemail. On the third try, George again insisted he didn't have any information at this time and referred us to the city's website for email information. When again asked for his last name, George simply hung up.

    After the incident, Lowery and Reilly both emphasized their experience was minor compared to those of other protesters who have been swarmed by SWAT teams and hit with rubber bullets and tear gas:


    Missouri Police Fire Tear Gas At TV Crew And Take Their Equipment

    Wednesday night, police in Ferguson, Missouri, attempted to disperse several hundred protesters with tear gas, stun grenades, and smoke bombs. It was the fourth night of demonstrations in response to the death of Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager, at the hands of a Ferguson police officer.

    News organizations have had a notoriously difficult time covering the demonstrations in recent days as the FAA has enacted a no-fly zone over the area, preventing news helicopters from covering the scene, and police have often turned away and arrested journalists.

    Wednesday night, local news channel KSDK caught footage and photos of a SWAT team firing tear gas at an Al Jazeera America TV crew that was covering the events behind the police barricade. The SWAT team then moved to dismantle and carry off their camera equipment.

    Here's footage from Al Jazeera America:

    Ash-har Quaraishi, a correspondent for Al Jazeera America who was on the scene, said police were fully aware of their presence on the scene.

    Here's what Quaraishi told Business Insider in a statement:

    ... I had spoken to police officers who knew we were there. We had had discussions with them. We understood this was as far as we could get in terms of where the protest was going on, about a mile up the road. So, we didn’t think there would be any problems here so we were very surprised ...

    We were very close to where those [tear gas] canisters were shot from. We yelled, as you heard there [on the video]. We were yelling that we were press. But they continued to fire. We retreated about half a block into the neighborhood, until we could get out of that situation.”

    Marla Cichowski, a field producer at Al Jazeera America, gave her side of the situation in the same statement:

    We were clearly set up as press with a full live shot set up. As soon as first bullet hit the car we screamed out loud, "We are press,’ ‘This is media."

    Police that were there at the intersection directing traffic earlier knew we were there. We never drove around the police barricade.

    There was another station local NBC parked across the street from us the whole time.

    They shined a huge flood light at us before firing and I can only imagine they could see what they were shooting at.

    Police have not yet released a statement about the event. Al Jazeera has. Here it is in full:

    Last night at 10:30 pm CD in Ferguson, Missouri, an Al Jazeera America news crew was reporting behind police barricades. They were easily identifiable as a working television crew. As they were setting up their camera for a live report, tear gas canisters landed in their proximity and police fired rubber bullets in their direction. Police continued to shoot after crew members clearly and repeatedly shouted "Press."

    Al Jazeera America is stunned by this egregious assault on freedom of the press that was clearly intended to have a chilling effect on our ability to cover this important story. Thankfully, all three crew members are physically fine.

    We believe that this situation must be investigated along with those involving our colleagues at other media outlets.

    From heavily armed SWAT officers aiming rifles at unarmed civilians
    to the use of intimidating armored vehicles — Ferguson looks less small-town U.S.A. and more like Egypt's Tahrir Square during the Arab Spring. The behavior of police is similar — albeit less deadly — in the use of tear gas, rubber bullets, and a deafening loudspeaker meant to break up the demonstration officers had declared "no longer peaceful."

    Various live streams showed a defiant but mostly peaceful crowd chanting and singing songs. But some protesters have indeed been seen, as St. Louis Post-Dispatch's David Carson tweeted, throwing rocks, bottles, and Molotov cocktails.

    On Wednesday evening, the situation escalated as officers over a loudspeaker told the protesters they needed to go home, although they were told their "right to assembly is not being denied." Two reporters were later arrested while working inside a McDonald's restaurant nearby for no apparent reason.

    One officer reportedly slammed a reporter's head against glass, according to CBS correspondent Mark Strassmann. Both reporters were later released, with no charges filed.

    Soon after, the police moved in on the crowd, firing tear gas and rubber bullets, and police officers instructed people to turn off their cameras.

    Police made 16 arrests and that one officer was injured overnight.


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    America Is Not For Black People

    The United States of America is not for black people. We know this, and then we put it out of our minds, and then something happens to remind us. Saturday, in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Mo., something like that happened: An unarmed 18-year-old black man was executed by police in broad daylight.

    By now, what's happening in Ferguson is about so many second-order issues—systemic racism, the militarization of police work, and how citizens can redress grievances, among other things—that it's worth remembering what actually happened here.

    Michael Brown was walking down the middle of the street in Ferguson's Canfield Green apartment complex around noon on Saturday with his friend Dorin Johnson when the two were approached by a police officer in a police truck. The officer exchanged words with the boys. The officer attempted to get out of his car. At this point, two narratives split.

    According to the still-unnamed officer, one of the two boys shoved him back into the vehicle and then wrestled for his sidearm, discharging one shot into the cabin. The two ran, and the police officer once again stepped from his vehicle and shot at the fleeing teenagers multiple times, killing Brown.

    According to Johnson and other eye witnesses, however, the cop ordered the friends to "get the f*ck on the sidewalk," but the teenagers said they had almost reached their destination. That's when the officer slammed his door open so hard that it bounced off of Brown and closed again. The cop then reached out and grabbed Brown by the neck, then by the shirt.

    "I'm gonna shoot you," the cop said.

    The cop shot him once, but Brown pulled away, and the pair were still able to run away together. The officer fired again. Johnson ducked behind a car, but the cop's second shot caused Brown to stop about 35 feet away from the cruiser, still within touching distance of Johnson. Multiple witnesses say this is when Brown raised his hands in the air to show he was unarmed. Johnson remembered that Brown also said, "I don't have a gun, stop shooting!" The officer then shot him dead.

    After that, the narratives dovetail again. Brown was left where he died, baking in the Missouri heat for hours, before he was removed by authorities. The officer was placed on paid administrative leave.

    Michael Brown is not special. In all its specificity, the 18-year old's death remains just the most recent example of police officers killing unarmed black men.

    Part of the reason we're seeing so many black men killed is that police officers are now best understood less as members of communities, dedicated to keeping peace within them, than as domestic soldiers. The drug war has long functioned as a full-employment act for arms dealers looking to sell every town and village in the country on the need for military-grade hardware, and 9/11 made things vastly worse, with local police departments throughout America grabbing for cash to better defend against any and all terrorist threats. War had reached our shores, we were told, and police officers needed weaponry to fight it.

    Officers have tanks now. They have drones. They have automatic rifles, and planes, and helicopters, and they go through military-style boot camp training. It's a constant complaint from what remains of this country's civil liberties caucus. Just this last June, the ACLU issued a report on how police departments now possess arsenals in need of a use. Few paid attention, as usually happens.

    The worst part of outfitting our police officers as soldiers has been psychological. Give a man access to drones, tanks, and body armor, and he'll reasonably think that his job isn't simply to maintain peace, but to eradicate danger. Instead of protecting and serving, police are searching and destroying.

    If officers are soldiers, it follows that the neighborhoods they patrol are battlefields. And if they're working battlefields, it follows that the population is the enemy. And because of correlations, rooted in historical injustice, between crime and income and income and race, the enemy population will consist largely of people of color, and especially of black men. Throughout the country, police officers are capturing, imprisoning, and killing black males at a ridiculous clip, waging a very literal war on people like Michael Brown.

    "There's a long history of racial tension and misunderstanding in this region," St. Louis Post-Dispatch columnist Aisha Sultan told me over the phone yesterday. "Especially on the north side."

    This sort of thing—especially on the north side—is what gets glossed over a little too easily when we try to fit a particular incident into a broader narrative. Ferguson is a small town of 21,000, mostly white until the 1960s, when whites fled anywhere but where they were. Today, Ferguson, which is a bit north of St. Louis, is mostly black; Ferguson and St. Louis County police are mostly white. That fits a metropolitan area flanked by two rivers that divide neighborhoods and regions by race, the sixth-most segregated in the United States.

    To people, like me, from the coast—I'm from Maryland—St. Louis can seem like a blank in the the middle of the country, a place where people and even ideas get stuck on the way to somewhere better, or at least somewhere else. But St. Louis is like New York (the fourth-most segregated metro in America), or Los Angeles, or Miami, or Dallas, or Washington, DC, only more so. Far from a blank, St. Louis is often regarded as the most American of America's cities.

    "It is a microcosm of the rest of the country," Sultan said. "If this can happen in St. Louis, it can happen in any city."

    It does. On August 5 in Beavercreek, Ohio, 22-year-old John Crawford was killed in a Walmart when a toy gun he had picked up from inside the store was apparently mistaken for a real gun. LeeCee Johnson, who had two children with Crawford, said that she was on the phone with him, and that his last words before she heard gunshots from police officers were, "It's not real."

    On July 17 in Staten Island, New York, 43-year-old Eric Garner, a well-known presence in the neighborhood who sold illicit cigarettes and kept an eye on the block, was killed after breaking up a fight when NYPD officer Daniel Pantaleo used an illegal chokehold on the asthmatic man. "I can't breathe," he said, before he died. "I can't breathe."

    On the night of September 14, 2013 in Charlotte, N.C., 24-year-old Jonathan Ferrell was killed after getting into a car accident. He climbed out of the rear window of the car, stumbled to the nearest house, and banged on the door for help. The homeowner notified the police, who showed up to the house. Ferrell was tased, and then an officer named Randall Kerrick shot and struck Ferrell 10 times.

    There was Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Fla., and Oscar Grant in Oakland, Calif., and so many more. Michael Brown's death wasn't shocking at all. All over the country, unarmed black men are being killed by the very people who have sworn to protect them, as has been going on for a very long time now. It would appear that cops are not for black people, either.

    After Brown's death came his demonization. First, we heard that Brown had run for stealing candy from a store. Then we were bombarded with a photo of Brown in a red Nike tank top on a stoop, posing for the camera.

    This photo, in which Brown was flashing a "gang sign"—a peace sign, actually—was presented as proof that the teenager was a thug; his friends and family now not only have to work through their grief, but against a posthumous slur campaign. Johnson described his friend in an MSNBC interview as cool and quiet. Brown's uncle, Bernard Ewings, said in a Sunday interview that Brown loved music. Brown's mother, Leslie McSpadden, said that he was funny and could make people laugh. He graduated from high school in the spring, and was headed to college to pursue a career in heating and cooling engineering. Monday would have been his first day.

    By all accounts, Brown was One Of The Good Ones. But laying all this out, explaining all the ways in which he didn't deserve to die like a dog in the street, is in itself disgraceful. Arguing whether Brown was a good kid or not is functionally arguing over whether he specifically deserved to die, a way of acknowledging that some black men ought to be executed.

    To even acknowledge this line of debate is to start a larger argument about the worth, the very personhood, of a black man in America. It's to engage in a cost-benefit analysis, weigh probabilities, and gauge the precise odds that Brown's life was worth nothing against the threat he posed to the life of the man who killed him. It's to deny that there are structural reasons why Brown was shot dead while James Eagan Holmeswho on July 20, 2012, walked into a movie theater and fired rounds into an audience, killing 12 and wounding 70 more—was taken alive.

    To ascribe this entirely to contempt for black men is to miss an essential variable, though—a very real, American fear of them. They—we—are inexplicably seen as a millions-strong army of potential killers, capable and cold enough that any single one could be a threat to a trained police officer in a bulletproof vest. There are reasons why white gun's rights activists can walk into a Chipotle restaurant with assault rifles and be seen as gauche nuisances while unarmed black men are killed for reaching for their wallets or cell phones, or carrying children's toys. Guns aren't for black people, either.

    Sunday was Brown's vigil, and several hundred people congregated in Ferguson. They began to march toward the Ferguson police station in protest. Police met them in full riot gear, with rifles, shields, helmets, dogs, and gas masks. Protesters yelled, "No justice, no peace!" They called the police murderers. They raised their hands in mock surrender, saying, "Don't shoot, I'm unarmed."

    And then the protest turned violent, as some citizens began to break into, loot, and set fire to storefronts in their own community.

    Police officers shot tear gas and rubber bullets. Thirty-two people were arrested that night. Two policemen were injured. There was nothing easy to make of it. It was a senseless and counterproductive attack on the community; it was the grief-stricken flailing of people who knew it could have been them, or their friends, or their brothers or sons. Whatever it was, it was met with force.

    On Monday morning, Sultan went back to Ferguson, where she witnessed citizens cleaning up debris from the night before. Some were shocked by the violence; others said that they'd been backed against a wall, forced into necessary evil. Sultan interviewed an 11-year-old boy about the rioting. "It seems like police are about to go to war with the people," he said.

    On Monday night, police again took the streets as demonstrators again marched in nonviolent protest, holding their hands high. Police again fired rubber bullets and tear gas, and again blocked off the main streets, not allowing anyone in or out. Police were photographed sweeping into side streets, and pointing guns over fences into backyards. It spilled over into today. They ran helicopters and drones over all of it; they shot tear gas; they ran up on citizens with guns drawn.

    "Return to your homes," they yelled over megaphones.

    "This is our home," the people of Ferguson answered. There wasn't—there isn't—much more to say.


    Due media slur of the Michael Brown, People have been posting their side by side picture asking which one will media use?


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    Police name officer who shot US teenager

    Officer in state of Missouri says Darren Wilson encountered 18-year-old Michael Brown after robbery reports circulated.

    Last updated: 15 Aug 2014

    Authorities in the US state of Missouri have identified the police officer who fatally shot an unarmed black teenager, sparking violent protests and accusations of racism. Thomas Jackson, the top police officer for the city of Ferguson in Missouri, said police officer Darren Wilson encountered 18-year-old Michael Brown and his friend, Dorian Johnson, after reports of a robbery circulated on police radio.

    Ferguson police had earlier withheld the name of the officer involved, citing security concerns. The move triggered rioting in the midwestern state.

    Jackson said Brown was suspected of stealing cigars and pushing a clerk at a nearby convenience store earlier that day. Jackson released several police reports and documents during a news conference, and said the police officer involved had been placed on administrative leave since the shooting on August 9.

    According to the police reports, Brown and his friend Johnson, were suspected of taking a box of cigars from a store in Ferguson that morning.

    Jackson said the police officer behind the shooting, along with other officers, was called to the area after a police call reporting a "strong-arm'' robbery just before noon.

    Description of suspect

    He said a dispatcher gave a description of the robbery suspect, and Wilson, the shooter, who had been assisting on another call, was sent to investigate. Wilson, who has served in the police department for six years, encountered Brown just after 12:01pm, with a second officer arriving three minutes later, Jackson said.

    Police have said Brown was shot after an officer encountered him and another man on the street. They said one of the men pushed the officer into his squad car, then physically assaulted him in the vehicle and struggled with the officer over the officer's weapon. At least one shot was fired inside the car before the struggle spilled onto the street, where Brown was shot multiple times, according to police.

    Al Jazeera's Diane Eastabrook, reporting from Ferguson, said that the latest press conference only answered some of the questions people in the city are asking.

    Our correspondent also said that residents of Ferguson are asking why the information about the allegedly robbery was kept for several days.

    Brown's friend Johnson has told the media a different story. He has said he and Brown were walking in the street when an officer ordered them out of the street, then grabbed his friend's neck and tried to pull him into the car before brandishing his weapon and firing. He said Brown started to run and the officer pursued him, firing multiple times.

    Tensions boiled over after a candlelight vigil on Sunday night, as looters smashed and burned businesses in the neighbourhood, where police have repeatedly fired tear gas and smoke bombs. But on Thursday, county police in riot gear and armored tanks gave way to state troopers walking side-by-side with thousands of peaceful protesters.


    There is more than one St. Louis-area police officer named Darren Wilson

    Sarah Larimer| August 15, 2014

    Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson on Friday identified the officer involved in the fatal shooting of an unarmed black teenager as Darren Wilson, a six-year veteran of the force.

    There’s more than one Darren Wilson who works in St. Louis-area law enforcement, however — and if you Googled “Darren Wilson police” immediately after the name was released, there’s a good chance you found the wrong guy.

    Darren Wilson — a sergeant with the St. Louis Police Department and president of the Ethical Society of Police — is not the Darren Wilson who shot and killed Michael Brown, an 18-year-old whose death has sparked protests in Ferguson, Mo. That’s according to a statement posted on Facebook shortly after the news conference in Ferguson.

    “The first thing we would like to assure the world is that this is a horrific coincidence,” the statement reads. “May I assure the world that this is not the President of the Ethical Society of Police’s Sergeant Darren R. Wilson who is African American, and happens to be an 18 year veteran of the St. Louis Police Department.”

    The Ethical Society of Police is a group that “represents African-American police officers,” according to a 2013 St. Louis Post-Dispatch story, which now carries an editor’s note to clarify Wilson’s identity in the piece.

    E-mails and messages left with Wilson, the St. Louis police sergeant, were not immediately returned Friday.

    At least two names floated around the Internet prior to Friday’s news conference — and on Thursday, the hacking group Anonymous tried to ID the officer involved. But the name it released was wrong, officials said.

    USA Today spoke with the stepmother of the man whose name Anonymous had connected to the Brown shooting. She told the paper that he was a dispatcher in a St. Louis suburb, not a police officer in Ferguson.

    “Wow, this is not good,” the woman reportedly said, as she cried.


    KKK raising money for white ‘hero’ Ferguson cop

    By David Ferguson | Thursday, August 14, 2014

    The Southern Poverty Law Center’s Hate Watch blog reported that the South Carolina-based New Empire Knights of the Ku Klux Klan boasted that its Missouri chapter is raising money as a “reward” for the officer.

    “We are setting up a reward/fund for the police officer who shot this thug,” said an email from the Klan group. “He is a hero! We need more white cops who are anti-Zog and willing to put Jewish controlled black thugs in their place. Most cops are cowards and do nothing while 90 percent of interracial crime is black (and non-white) on white.”

    An Arizona Klan chapter wrote on its blog, “We know that Michael Brown was nothing more than a punk. The media and others are painting him out to be a ‘good son’ and ‘great kid.’ The blacks of Missouri are showing their love of him by rioting, attacking and shooting people. Nothing new.”

    Hate Watch blogger Don Terry said that attempts to communicate with the Klan’s Imperial Wizard Chuck Murray went unanswered.

    On Thursday, the hacking collective Anonymous claimed to reveal the name of the officer who shot Michael Brown. Ferguson police had been reluctant to reveal the officer’s name for fear of retribution.


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    Report: Israeli model underlies militarization of U.S. police

    December 4, 2011

    The extreme militarization of American police forces has been brought to public attention by the tactics employed against Occupy protesters, which often appear more appropriate to counter-terrorism operations than to the control of non-violent protest. According to investigative journalist Max Blumenthal, however, the proper term for this ruthless suppression of dissent should be “Israelification.”

    In an article which begins with examples of American police training alongside Israeli security forces, Blumenthal writes, “Having been schooled in Israeli tactics perfected during a 63 year experience of controlling, dispossessing, and occupying an indigenous population, local police forces have adapted them to monitor Muslim and immigrant neighborhoods in US cities.

    Meanwhile, former Israeli military officers have been hired to spearhead security operations at American airports and suburban shopping malls, leading to a wave of disturbing incidents of racial profiling, intimidation, and FBI interrogations of innocent, unsuspecting people. The New York Police Department’s disclosure that it deployed ‘counter-terror’ measures against Occupy protesters encamped in downtown Manhattan’s Zuccotti Park is just the latest example of the so-called War on Terror creeping into every day life. Revelations like these have raised serious questions about the extent to which Israeli-inspired tactics are being used to suppress the Occupy movement.”

    According to Blumenthal, the transformation began after September 11, when American law enforcement officers began to look to the Israelis for counter-terrorism expertise and in response the Israel Lobby “provid[ed] thousands of top cops with all-expenses paid trips to Israel and stateside training sessions with Israeli military and intelligence officials.

    Many of these trips and training sessions were arranged by JINSA, the stridently pro-Israel organization whose advisors have included such prominent Neocons as Douglas Feith and Richard Perle.

    The Anti-Defamation League has also provided Israeli-run training senssions to over 700 police officers through its course on Extremist and Terroist Threats and claims to have provided a background in Israeli perspectives to another 45,000 through its Law Enforcement and Society program, which is required training for all new FBI agents.

    The Israeli influence has been particularly strong in New York City where, Blumenthal writes, “under the leadership of Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, ties between the NYPD and Israel have deepened by the day. Kelly embarked on his first trip to Israel in early 2009 to demonstrate his support for Israel’s ongoing assault on the Gaza Strip. … Kelly returned to Israel the following year to speak at the Herziliya Conference, an annual gathering of neoconservative security and government officials who obsess over supposed ‘demographic threats.’ … Back in New York, the NYPD set up a secret ‘Demographics Unit’ designed to spy on and monitor Muslim communities around the city.”

    Not only dissidents but even ordinary criminals may be treated as terrorists under the Israel model, which can also include the routine use of torture. Karen Greenberg, director of Fordham School of Law’s Center on National Security, told Blumenthal, “After 9/11 we reached out to the Israelis on many fronts and one of those fronts was torture. The training in Iraq and Afghanistan on torture was Israeli training. There’s been a huge downside to taking our cue from the Israelis and now we’re going to spread that into the fabric of everyday American life? It’s counter-terrorism creep. And it’s exactly what you could have predicted would have happened.”

    “Given the amount of training the NYPD and so many other police forces have received from Israel’s military-intelligence apparatus,” Blumenthal concludes, “and the profuse levels of gratitude American police chiefs have expressed to their Israeli mentors, it is worth asking how much Israeli instruction has influenced the way the police have attempted to suppress the Occupy movement, and how much it will inform police repression of future upsurges of street protest. But already, the Israelification of American law enforcement appears to have intensified police hostility towards the civilian population, blurring the lines between protesters, common criminals, and terrorists.”


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    National Guard Ordered Onto Streets of Ferguson, Missouri

    Missouri's governor ordered the National Guard onto the streets of Ferguson early Monday after another night of violence following the shooting of an unarmed black teen by police in the St. Louis suburb. "Tonight, a day of hope, prayers, and peaceful protests was marred by the violent criminal acts of an organized and growing number of individuals, many from outside the community and state, whose actions are putting the residents and businesses of Ferguson at risk," Gov. Jay Nixon said in a statement. "Given these deliberate, coordinated and intensifying violent attacks on lives and property in Ferguson, I am directing the highly capable men and women of the Missouri National Guard to assist ... in restoring peace and order to this community.”

    The St. Louis suburb has been roiled by unrest following the killing of 18-year-old Michael Brown last weekend. Earlier, the Highway Patrol captain appointed to oversee security in Ferguson defended using tear gas as part of the police response violence which erupted Sunday night. Capt. Ron Johnson said law enforcement "had to act to protect lives and property" in the hours before a state-imposed curfew that had been due to take effect at midnight local time. Shooting was reported at 8:25 p.m. local time (9:25 p.m. ET), Johnson said. Shots were later fired at police, Molotov cocktails were hurled at officers and makeshift barricades set up, he added. Johnson said police "deployed tear gas in an attempt to disperse the crowd." Looters also targeted a Domino's Pizza outlet, a Family Dollar store, an auto-parts retailer and a self-storage business. Employees of a McDonald's restaurant hid in a storage room after it was "overrun" by a large crowd. At least two people were injured amid the chaos but no officers were injured, Johnson said. At least seven arrests were made by early Monday. Authorities also announced that schools in Ferguson would be closed on Monday.


    The National Guard is a branch of the US military with armed forces in each state that are typically left under state control to allow governors to respond to and handle emergency situations. In this case, the National Guard will provide extra resources and troops to help various police agencies deal with the increasing tide of conflict in Ferguson.

    Although the National Guard can be federalized and launched under the president's watch, the White House told BuzzFeed it "did not know" the National Guard is being deployed in Ferguson. Nixon gave "no heads up," an unnamed Obama administration official said.

    Various police departments are already involved in Ferguson, including local police, the St. Louis City Police, the St. Louis County Police, and the Missouri Highway Patrol. The various agencies, however, haven't been able to prevent the escalation of the protests, some of which media and protesters argue has been driven by a heavy-handed crackdown from militarized police forces.

    11 Things You Should Know about the Michael Brown Shooting


    Facebook #Ferguson Updates:


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    Grand Jury Says Ferguson Cop NOT GUILTY: Rioting & Looting Expected, National Guard Mobilizes

    The Verdict is in; Grand Jury says no charges to be filed.

    After hearing testimony for the last three months about the shooting death of Michael Brown Jr., a St. Louis County grand jury has found that Ferguson Officer Darren Wilson is not guilty of murder. The Grand Jury found there was not enough evidence to indite the officer.

    Police & National Guard Prepare for Violence

    Anxiety over the decision has St. Louis police, and police throughout the U.S. on high alert as unhinged people throughout the country are threatening violence, looting, and rioting. Hours before the verdict, people were already lining the streets of St.Louis and Ferguson ready to start trouble. National Guard troops have been dispatched throughout the St. Louis area, and police departments around the country are mobilizing in response to the verdict.

    National Guard Troops secure the St. Louis Prosecutors Office as the Grand Jury’s Decision is announced.

    For weeks, St. Louis area residents have been warned to stock up on emergency supplies in anticipation of protests that will likely shut down local businesses. The City of Berkeley, near Ferguson, warned residents to prepare for periods of disruptions in essential services. They warned residents to stock up on water, food and medicine.

    Schools & Local Businesses Close Doors

    Ferguson and St. Louis area schools, libraries, and businesses are all closing their doors to protect themselves from the angry crowds.

    The Ferguson-Florissant School District released a statement this afternoon that read:

    Due to the anticipated increase in traffic and possible demonstrations in our area as a result of the pending Grand Jury announcement this evening, and in consideration of the safety of all students and staff, the Ferguson-Florissant School District will be closed on Tuesday, Nov. 25. All after-school and evening activities will also be canceled.

    ITV News: Businesses in #Ferguson and Clayton are boarded up ahead of Michael Brown shooting decision http://www.itv.com/news/story/2014-11-24/jury-decision-made-in-michael-brown-case/ …

    @Suntimes RT @alexwroblewski QuikTrip getting boarded up now not far from #Ferguson pic.twitter.com/1Rpmpejs9x // http://sun-tim.es/1zSjvv2

    @EliKMBC: NOW BOARDED: This is a common sight in #Ferguson. Business owners say they hate it, but fear they have no choice.

    Nationwide Protests Expected

    For months activists have been planning mass demonstrations throughout the country. Activists have scheduled marches and rallies in major cities throughout the U.S., including Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Chicago and New York.

    Activists protesting the Grand Jury Decision in Downtown Chicago

    Protestors making their way into New York’s Union Square

    Everyone should be on high alert. Be aware of what’s going on around you, and keep an eye out for any protests that pop up in your area. The last place you want to be is anywhere near the chaos, so pay attention and keep an eye on your local news. Be aware that this type of chaos could breakout in your area, so be prepared for it.


    Racial and gender makeup of grand jury revealed in Ferguson case

    Three black people are among the 12-member grand jury hearing evidence in the Michael Brown case.

    The grand jury consists of six white men, three white women, two black women and one black man. Nine votes are needed to indict. [Just enough white people to vote not guilty]


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    North Korea Calls U.S. 'Graveyard Of Human Rights' Over Ferguson

    SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — North Korea is saying the police shooting of an unarmed black 18-year-old in Ferguson, Missouri, is evidence that the United States is a "graveyard of human rights."

    The comments by a Foreign Ministry spokesman fit a North Korean pattern of seizing any opportunity to turn the table on Washington's longstanding criticism of the North as one of the world's worst human rights abusers.

    The Aug. 9 death of Michael Brown in Ferguson triggered nearly two weeks of sometimes-violent street protests.

    The North Korean statement carried by state media on Tuesday called the United States a country "where people are subject to discrimination and humiliation due to their races and they are seized with such horror that they do not know when they are shot to death."


    North Korea: Ferguson was a ‘disgrace’ and the United States is now ‘laughingstock of the world’

    The shooting of Michael Brown and subsequent standoff between protesters and police in Ferguson made headlines around the world, with allies treating it like a war-zone and despots using it to voice their considerable schadenfreude about America's place in the world.

    North Korea, however, had remained silent on the subject – until today.

    In an article titled "DPRK Foreign Ministry Spokesman Terms U.S. Human Rights Abuser," North Korea state news agency KCNA has taken the U.S. to task for the problems that led to Ferguson and the police response to it. Here's how KCNA describes the case:

    Some days ago, a black teenager was shot to death by a white policeman in Ferguson City, Missouri State, the U.S. and police ruthlessly cracked down on protesters, leveling their rifles at them and firing tear gas and smoke shells. Against this backdrop, there occurred a shuddering incident in another city in which a policeman shot another young black man to death.

    The U.S. is, indeed, a country wantonly violating the human rights where people are subject to discrimination and humiliation due to their races and they are seized with such horror that they do not know when they are shot to death.

    After the initial criticism of the Ferguson situation, KCNA pulls back to a make a broader point about the United States: You have your own human rights problems, so stop criticizing us. The U.S. has "suffered disgrace" from Ferguson, KCNA says, and become "a laughing stock of the world."
    KCNA writes:

    The U.S. had better honestly accept the unanimous accusations of the broad international community and mind its own business, instead of interfering in the internal affairs of other countries.

    It's a damning statement, but not an entirely unique one: China, for instance, made similar comments regarding the U.S. in an editorial published by state news agency Xinhua.

    Nor is it unexpected. In February, a United Nations report on human rights in North Korea concluded that the country was committing human rights violations “without any parallel in the contemporary world.” Months later (as with the Ferguson coverage, there was a significant lag), KCNA released its own list of "human rights abuses" by the United States.

    Many of those abuses listed by KCNA also dealt with U.S. race issues. For example, it clearly referred to the 2013 death of Trayvon Martin, though the details appeared to be slightly off:

    The U.S. true colors as a kingdom of racial discrimination was fully revealed by last year's case that the Florida Court gave a verdict of not guilty to a white policeman who shot to death an innocent black boy.

    Other critiques were more broad:

    The U.S. is a living hell as elementary rights to existence are ruthlessly violated.
    Of course, this all seems like a big case of "whataboutism" – an appeal to hypocrisy designed to undercut a critic's argument by pointing out that they have too done things they should be criticized for. It's a "Tu quoque" or "you, too" argument, and ultimately a logical fallacy, designed not to address the criticism but distract from it. Pointing to Ferguson clearly doesn't negate the allegations about North Korea's notorious political prison system, for example.

    Still, that doesn't mean that the criticisms of America's human rights record are without merit. This may be one rare instance where many people in the U.S. actually agree with North Korea.


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    USA Today Accidentally Ran Article Announcing ‘No Indictment’ Well Before Verdict Was Announced

    November 24, 2014

    In breaking news, we are writing this as the Ferguson verdict announcement is getting underway…

    But as we at Counter Current News are tuned in to listen to the same live streams that many others are listening to, the announcement has yet to be made in Ferguson, Missouri.

    So why has USA Today already announced that the verdict is to not indict Officer Darren Wilson?

    See the screen captures that we have made from their website (above and below). Again, the verdict will be announced any second, but it has NOT been announced yet.

    Please check back here for updates and help us get the word out. What did USA Today know ahead of time and why?

    UPDATE: The verdict has been announced now and USA Today was in fact correct. But why were they so brazen as to run an article with the verdict before anyone had even taken to the podium to announce it? Never forget that the mainstream media is in on the con.


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    Beyond Drinking From Water Fountains and Riding Buses, Black People Have a Right to Survive


    The grand jury decision not to indict Darren Wilson in theAug. 9 shooting death of Michael Brown was not a failure of the U.S. justice system. To the contrary, the system is working just fine. In fact, it has worked exactly how it is supposed to work for generations (Emmett Till, Addie Mae Collins, Cynthia Wesley, Carole Robertson and Denise McNair, Trayvon Martin, Aiyana Stanley-Jones, Marissa Alexander). The system is not broken. This nation's morals are broken. Our children do not matter because they do not humanly exist.

    Like many of us, I was pained to numb after the Ferguson verdict was announced on Nov. 24. We knew this was going to happen, but that did not make it any less excruciating. What we may not have realized however was the extent to which the details of the case would repeat history. Shortly after the verdict was released, the twitterverse lit up with the stories of Darren Wilson's testimony. Apparently, Wilson described Michael Brown like a cross between a demon and Hulk Hogan, drudging up uncomfortable memories of police testimony after the Rodney King case for many of us.

    We need only remember the testimonies of sergeant Stacey Koon and officers Laurence Powell and Theodore Briseno and Timothy Wind, who stated that they feared for their lives when they were beating King senseless. Powell even made comments that referred to "gorillas in the mist." Police officers who have demonic visions that prompt them to severely beat and/or kill black people are not a new phenomenon. No. Humans. Involved.

    Social psychologist Phillip Atiba Goff demonstrates that the cognitive association between black people and apes directly leads to the sanctioning of extreme violence against black people, including police violence and the death penalty. Scholar Sylvia Wynter also reminded us back in 1992 in her essay "No. Humans. Involved: An Open Letter to My Colleagues" that the ease with which police officers associate black victims with apes (... demons, Hulk Hogan) has everything to do with the historical exclusion of black people from the concept of the human in Western society. In other words, they do not perceive our humanity.

    When we cry for justice in this nation we appeal to a moral logic that the United States has been bereft of since before the Rev. Martin Luther King walked the Edmund Pettus Bridge. Some have argued that we are living in a new era of lynching. I would argue that the era of lynching never ended. Throughout the 19th-century black activists appealed to United States government to pass the Anti-Lynching Law to no avail. The gradual ground we have gained regarding our civil rights should not be confused with the literal stalemate we have had with the U.S. justice system regarding our human rights for more than 200 years. The right to shop, drink water at any water fountain and sit at the front of the bus is a concession this nation was willing to cede. The right to survive has never been on that list.




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    EXCLUSIVE: Battle of Ferguson II: An Inside Look at #OpKKK

    November 21, 2014

    The war between Anonymous and the Ku Klux Klan over the rights of protesters in Ferguson has been raging. The war involves a faction of Anonymous that has been in existence for years, but has remained a closely guarded secret. It also involves a factionalized hate group that has been unsuccessfully trying to rebrand itself as a kinder, gentler version of the KKK.

    The facts are pretty simple. A faction of the Klan issued a threat against protesters in Ferguson. Anonymous stepped up and began #OpKKK, also known as #HoodsOff. Anonymous began disclosing the identities of Klansmen and even seized control of the Klan’s most important Twitter account. The Klan responded by claiming they weren’t violent, threatening Anonymous with violence, and saying the people being identified as Klansmen weren’t really Klansmen (even when there were photos of those members wearing the famous white sheets of the Klan).

    The Klan’s seemingly bipolar actions stem from the fact that the Klan just isn’t what it used to be. There was a time when the Klan was a highly-organized paramilitary organization capable of striking fear into the hearts of its enemies all across the country. It was an invisible empire of white supremacist hatred that had members in all facets of life, from the local police departments to the halls of the US Senate.

    Today, the Klan is factionalized. Many of the Grand Wizards aren’t really even racists; they’re just out to make a quick buck. Some factions are ultra-violent, and some are a club of people pretending to be racists in order to belong to something. (How sad is that?) There is no organization connecting the Klans. Each Klan tends to just follow whatever their particular leader says, and the leaders are sometimes at odds. In short, the organization is in complete disarray. This doesn’t make them ineffective. In fact, it probably makes them more dangerous. When other paramilitary organizations have fallen into this kind of factionalism, one group typically steps forward to proclaim themselves the “true” leaders. This proclamation historically has involved a major act of violence. (see: Irish Republican Army)


    For its part the Klan has engaged in a major campaign of disinformation, or maybe it’s just that one faction has no idea what the other factions are doing. An alleged phone call between Missouri Klan leader Frank Ancona and Anonymous activist Alex Poucher seems to indicate that his faction of the Klan actually want to help the protesters with their legal troubles. Ancona even offered to give the protesters access to Klan lawyers.

    Of course, it’s hard to believe a word that comes out of Ancona’s mouth when he is the same Klansmen that checked-in on Facebook from the Ferguson Police Department with the comment:

    “I was going to tie a watermelon to the back of my SUV and lead them [the protesters] all south.

    Screen Shot provided by NOWsec.
    If you listened to the recording, you’ll hear Ancona indicate that the Klan really isn’t racist.

    Other Klansmen have condemned Ancona, but the website is probably still #TangoDown due to Anonymous operations.


    One of the more interesting parts to the Anonymous operation is that most, including many Anons, didn’t know anything about who was really behind it. Anonymous is also subdivided into many factions, most use a word and then add the abbreviation “sec” to the end to pay homage to the best-known subdivisions of Anonymous, like LulzSec (which means Lulz Security). The secret of who the masked men (and at least three women) behind the #OpKKK operation is out. It was the faction NOWsec. NOWsec has been in existence for years, but keeps an extremely low-profile.

    NOWsec was formed around the time of Oscar Grant’s murder. That was more than five years ago. The Anti-Media talked to one of the reclusive activists through an encrypted chat. It was the first time an activist connected to NOWsec spoke with the press about the faction.

    The activist, who is identified only as “Kafir,” was hesitant to answer questions about the size and strength of NOWsec.

    “The amount of Anons in NOWsec is confidential. It’s made up of both local and non local Anons.” [local meaning activists in Ferguson]

    Estimates about the size and strength vary greatly, but most place the group’s core membership in the range of 40 to 120.

    When asked about the comments made by Ancona in regards to helping the protesters, the doubt was crystal clear.

    “Ancona is trying to do damage control. The offer is not genuine.”

    I was curious if NOWsec would continue operations against the Klan. Kafir made it clear that the operation had grown and was now in the hands of the global collective. Indicating that it was no longer their decision to make, but the activist did say the group wasn’t done with #HoodsOff.

    “We will list every Klan member and Ghoul Squad member we can find.”
    He later said,

    “NOWsec’s current goal is exposing connections between TAK KKK and law enforcement involved in policing Ferguson protests.”
    An employee with access to the St. Louis County Police Department (who also happens to be a NOWsec sympathizer) is aware of NOWsec’s operations and believes officers are worried.

    “There have been discussions about it. They aren’t happy.”
    The employee provided a list of names that will be turned over to NOWsec for examination and comparison.

    The Klan has been attempting to find out the identities of the NOWsec activists, all I can say is good luck with that. NOWsec is one of the most secretive parts of Anonymous, and any attempts to find them will only lead to incorrect information. If other Anons don’t know exactly who they are, it’s unlikely the Klan will be able to track them down. To summarize the war, the Klan hasn’t been able to agree with itself or launch any successful counter-attack; and Anonymous has identified Klansmen, taken over Klan accounts, and has a mole inside the local police department.

    It certainly seems the “Invisible Empire” is the hidden hand of someone wearing a Guy Fawkes mask, instead of the Klan hoods from yesteryear.

    Information obtained by NOWsec is being held tightly. A release is expected in the coming days.



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    Ferguson riots: ‘150 shots’ fired at police during riots after jury decides not to indict officer

    Angry crowds poured into the streets of Ferguson within minutes of news that a grand jury decided not to indict a white police officer over the death of an unarmed black 18-year-old.

    The fatal shooting of Michael Brown sparked weeks of demonstrations and exposed deep racial tension between African-Americans and police.

    Chief Jon Belmar of St Louis County said he counted 150 shots fired at police during the disturbances, however he maintains that ‘not a single shot’ has yet been fired by police officers.

    President Barack Obama and the family of Mr Brown asked for calm after St Louis County’s senior prosecutor announced the grand jury’s decision.

    As the president spoke live from the White House briefing room, television networks showed Mr Obama on one side of the screen, and violent demonstrations in Ferguson on the other.

    Within a few hours, several buildings were ablaze, and frequent gunfire was heard. Officers used tear gas to try to disperse some of the gatherings.

    There was also looting at several businesses after the Ferguson protests turned violent.

    more @ http://metro.co.uk/2014/11/25/riotin...61415/?ito=v-b

    Ferguson verdict shows US still has a terrible race problem

    Overnight, the St Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri, exploded in violence once again after it was announced that police officer Darren Wilson would face no charge for shooting dead unarmed teenager Michael Brown last August.

    Given several eye witnesses’ statements that Brown was surrendering at the time he was shot, the St Louis County grand jury’s verdict on Wilson was shocking. But it wasn’t a surprise.

    Why? Quite simply, in 2014 America still has a terrible problem with race.

    Yesterday was just the most recent example of the alarming discrepancy in the way the US state court system deals with African American and white defendants.

    At the same time that Wilson was told no criminal charges would be brought against him, Marissa Alexander, who fired a warning shot in the air when threatened by her abusive husband, took a plea deal to avoid a possible 60-year prison sentence.

    Alexander, who is black, has already spent over 1,000 days in prison, yet she shot no one. Wilson, who is white, won’t even face trial.

    Then there is the fact that the Ferguson ruling is only the latest in an alarming trend for police killings of African Americans that result in no indictment.

    Already this year, America has seen the case of Eric Garner, who died in July after being placed in a chokehold by New York police officers who suspected him of selling single, untaxed cigarettes.

    Despite the incident being ruled a homicide, the officers involved have yet to face charges.

    In September, an Ohio grand jury ruled that the officers who shot dead John Crawford III in a Wal-Mart had nothing to answer for.

    Crawford III’s ‘crime’? Carrying an air-rifle that was sold in the store.

    Yet, if the US Supreme Court is to be believed, the problem of racism in the country has been solved.

    That’s effectively what it declared last year, when it gutted the part of the 1965 voting rights act that required states with a history of discrimination to get permission before changing their election rules.

    Since then, many of those states have re-introduced laws that make it more challenging for minorities to vote.

    It was therefore no surprise when, in August this year, the UN’s committee on human rights criticised the US for its terrible track record of racial and ethnic discrimination.

    The committee found that African Americans face unfair disadvantages across all levels of society, from the legal and school systems to access to jobs, housing and healthcare.

    Until America can resolve these disparities and shift ingrained attitudes, it will remain a country wracked by division along racial fault lines, where famed news presenters like Bill O’Reilly can get away with telling black university professors they look like drug dealers on live television.


    Military Veterans Send Urgent Letter to National Guard in Ferguson Telling them to Stand Down

    November 24, 2014

    Hundreds of active duty US military and veterans have sent an open letter to Missouri National Guard members urging them to join Ferguson protesters, not fight against them.

    The letter, signed by many veterans including dozens who fought in the Iraq war, was published on MarchForward.org and can be viewed below:


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    One Tweet Perfectly Sums Up the Double Standard of White Male Privilege in America

    November 25, 2014

    As protests erupted across the country Monday night in response to a grand jury's decision not to indict Ferguson, Missouri, Officer Darren Wilson for the fatal shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown, feelings that bubbled over in the wake of Brown's death in August reappeared — with a vengeance.

    "In Ferguson, a wound bleeds," read the first line of an open letter from protesters. But the feelings that were sparked in August have now taken on a different shape.

    As the verdict sank in, the intensity of the reactions, particularly those online, was palpable. Many talked about injustice, the pain of Brown's family and the state of race relations across the country. One of the most powerful, however, spoke of privilege — and the lack thereof — possessed by certain groups in America:


    The message gets to the heart of things. It encapsulates many of the frustrations faced by minority groups: victim blaming, a lack of institutional accountability, power imbalances. It also speaks volumes about the empathy our society is willing to grant people when they fall into the category of "white male." When people who don't fit into that box are the focus — even if they're the victims — they fall by the wayside.

    Brown's death isn't the only example of this. In the past couple of weeks Akai Gurley, 28, wasshot and killed by police while walking down a dark stairwell with his girlfriend. Tamir Rice, 12, was killed by a first-year police officer in Cleveland because he had an airsoft gun in his hands. And the Rolling Stone detailed Wednesday, among other things, the failure of a university to punish an alleged gang rape of one of its own.

    Go back even further and similar instances pile up. Yet there are still those out there who believe white privilege doesn't exist, or that black Americans are pulling the race card or that a woman who is raped somehow deserved it.

    And yet when incidents like Sandy Hook and the Aurora, Colorado, movie theater shooting occur, the discussions tend to revolve around mental health: Why did this happen? How can we prevent it? How did we fail these people?

    That's not to say these questions don't have a place; we can and must continue to work harder to prevent these situations before they happen. But when we're not asking the same things when women and people of color are concerned — and instead try to find any way possible way to place the blame on them — that's a problem.

    If there's anything to be taken from the event of the past few weeks, it's this: Privilege is one hell of a drug.





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    Muslim Community Reacts to Ferguson Grand Jury Decision, Call for 'Black Friday' Boycott

    As details of the grand jury decision in Ferguson, Mo., trickled out Monday night, many Muslim Americans braced for a painfully familiar outcome.

    On Facebook and Twitter, many began to express outrage as the announcement was delivered that a white police officer would face no charges in the shooting of a black teenager.

    Melina Abdullah of Los Angeles stated, "When the "no indictment" announcement came down my face got hot and my heart pounded out of my chest. I know this system is oppressive, even murderous, that it has no regard for Black life, but somehow I held out just a little hope…that this time would be different."

    Ferguson's story is a familiar one to Los Angeles. Since the Watts riots left 34 dead in 1965 and the acquittal of four police officers in Rodney G. King's beating sparked the L.A. riots in 1992, stories of violence against young black men nationwide have reverberated in Los Angeles. Most recently, tensions flared over the fatal LAPD shooting of Ezell Ford, a 25-year-old mentally ill man who was killed two days after Brown was shot.

    The city has a wrenching history when it comes to police action and the African American community, one forged by two deadly riots and decades of distrust.

    In recent years, there have been clear signs that the relationship has improved. But many in Los Angeles saw Monday night's decision through the prism of the past.

    When activist Najee Ali delivered the news at a microphone in Leimert Park, chants of "no justice, no peace" fell silent. Many shook their heads and walked away, overcome with disbelief. Tears welled as the news sank in.

    Ali, who was criticized heavily by Fox News leading up to the announcement had this to say, "Dear Fox News, I don't care what you say about me. I can't be intimidated or silenced. You're evidence is irrelevant when an unarmed Black child is murdered by police."

    His organization Project Islamic Hope has called for a "Black Friday" boycott of all stores not African-American owned. That sentiment has now gathered a head of steam on social media networks. On Twitter it was hash tag, #NotOneDime.
    "I'm not spending one dime, unless it's a Black-owned business. Now get mad at that," stated Cornell Ward on the Facebook group site, Leimert Park Beat. ""

    The Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation's largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, called for a "national action" to address issues of racism in the aftermath of the Missouri grand jury's decision.

    CAIR also questioned the "problematic" grand jury process that resulted in a failure to indict the officer.

    In a statement, CAIR said:
    "The tragedy in Ferguson makes it imperative that Americans of all races and backgrounds initiate national action to address the issues of systemic racism and police profiling that the shooting brought to the surface.

    "We question the problematic conduct of the prosecutor's office in the grand jury process as demonstrated by showing unprecedented deference to the officer, a potential criminal defendant.

    "We urge all Americans to contact their elected officials to urge passage of the End Racial Profiling Act (ERPA) and any similar legislation that addresses unconstitutional actions by American law enforcement. We once again call on the Department of Justice to complete its independent investigation of the killing of Michael Brown in a transparent and thorough manner. CAIR is also concerned about any militarized response of law enforcement to peaceful protesters in Ferguson or in other cities nationwide.

    "If any good is to come of this heartbreaking incident, it will be in the recognition that many Americans still feel the impact of institutional racism and that there is still much work to do to create a society in which people 'will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.'

    "CAIR and the Muslim community join all Americans of conscience in reaffirming our commitment to fighting for racial and social justice. We must work together to seek an end to racial profiling and the injustices perpetrated against racial, ethnic or religious minorities. We must also address the fact that there is a growing concern in our nation about the mistreatment of minorities by law enforcement personnel.

    "As a core principle, CAIR is an ally of groups -- religious or secular -- that advocate justice and human rights in America."

    The Fergusson Grand Jury's decision will likely be debated for some time to come. But many African Americans and Muslims have lost confidence in our system.

    On Facebook, Bilal Shabazz from Atlanta, simply put up a quote by W.E.B. Dubois which read, "A system cannot fail those it was never built to protect."

    Aisha Ahmed from Washington responded, "Why can't our people see that?"


  16. #16
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    Anonymous: Campaign against ‘terrorist group’ KKK will continue

    November 18, 2014

    Individuals associated with the hacktivist group Anonymous are moving forward with their cyber campaign against the Ku Klux Klan and say the actions they’ve undertaken so far should be considered “just the beginning” of what’s to come.

    On the heels of an operation launched by the amorphous, international hacking movement last week, #OpKKK, people aligned with Anonymous say they will continue to set their sights on the Klan after the infamous hate group threatened to use “lethal force” against protesters in Ferguson, Missouri, where mass demonstrations are expected to occur in the coming days.

    RT reported previously that self-proscribed members of Anonymous, or Anons, responded to the KKK’s stated intentions to harm activists in Ferguson by compromising a Twitter account related to the Klan while at the same time rendering affiliated websites unavailable through a campaign of distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks. On Monday, Anons published a statement by way of the affected Twitter account, @KuKluxKlanUSA, explaining the status of the headline-grabbing operation launched over the weekend on November 16.

    “Before going any further, we’d like to address our idea of freedom. After exposing Klan members and seizing the Klan’s websites and Twitter accounts, Anonymous members faced much criticism regarding freedom. Anonymous stands for freedom, so why would we strip someone of his or her freedom of speech? The Ku Klux Klan is a terrorist group. The blood of thousands of human beings are on the hands of Klansmen. In most of Anonymous’ member’s eyes, the KKK no longer has the right to express their racist, bigoted opinions,” the message reads in part.

    Later, the statement suggests that the compromised KKK account contained evidence that could potentially unmask some Klansmen and is currently being disseminated by hacktivists. Anons say they want to ensure they identify those individuals with utmost accuracy, though, adding “It would be against everything Anonymous does if we publically released information of the innocent.”

    According to the statement, which has since been retweeted more than 4,000 times, Anons plan to erase the compromised Twitter account once the information it contains is analyzed thoroughly.

    “What was accomplished on 16 Nov 24,” the message continues, “is just the beginning of #OpKKK. Anonymous has plenty more work to do. To the men and women representing Anonymous in Ferguson, make us proud. Show the world why Anonymous is the most united legion on this planet.”

    Attachment 1611

    Meanwhile, Anons from around the world are continuing to participate in the anti-Klan campaign by tweeting new details about purported Klansmen and collaborating elsewhere on the web as KKK-related websites are harvested as targets to be hit with DDoS assaults and other methods of attack.

    According to at least one influential Klansmen, however, Anonymous’ efforts have so far been anything but effective. "Sounds to me like a bunch of kids in their mom's basement whacking off," Imperial Wizard Frank Ancona of the Traditionalist American Knights of the KKK told the Daily News on Monday.

    Protests are expected to erupt in and around Ferguson, MO pending the forthcoming outcome there concerning the federal grand jury tasked with deciding if Darren Wilson, a white police officer, should be charged for killing Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager, in August.


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    NYPD cop who choked Eric Garner wasn't indicted

    A grand jury in Staten Island voted Wednesday not to indict New York City police officer Daniel Pantaleo in the death of Eric Garner, a black man who died after being placed in a chokehold.

    Garner, 43, died July 17 while he was being arrested for selling untaxed cigarettes. In a video of the arrest, which has since gone viral, Garner screams “I can’t breathe!” multiple times until his body goes limp. A medical examiner later said that he died of a chokehold, a move that is banned by the NYPD, and ruled his death a homicide.

    Garner's attorney said Wednesday that the "family is very upset and disappointed that these officers are not getting indicted for any criminal conduct."

    Civil rights leader Al Sharpton told The New York Times Wednesday that he had spoken with the Garner family and they were not surprised by the announcement. He also said that before the grand jury had reached its decision, he had met with federal prosecutors to ask them to take over the case.

    “People thought we were being extreme,’” Sharpton said. “But now, I think you can see, we have no confidence in the state grand juries, whether in Ferguson or in New York, because there is an intrinsic relationship between state prosecutors and the police; they depend on the police for their evidence, they run for office and depend on the unions for endorsements.”

    NYPD guidelines banned chokeholds in 1993, but many people have lodged complaints against the police department since then for continuing to use them. There were more than 1,000 complaints regarding the NYPD's use of chokeholds between 2009 to 2013, according to the city's Civilian Complaint Review Board.

    "Here we are, 20 years after the NYPD placed an absolute ban on chokeholds, and we still see that they are widely used and sometimes to used to deadly effect," City Council Member Rory Lancman told The Huffington Post in July. "Clearly, we need to do more to deter use of chokeholds and hold people accountable when they are used."

    Garner's family members plans to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the city seeking $75 million in damages.

    But man who recorded the incident was indicted

    As the Staten Island Advance reported, 22-year-old Ramsey Orta was indicted this past August, 13 days after being arrested and charged with felony counts of third-degree criminal weapon possession and criminal firearm possession.

    Just before Orta’s indictment, his wife, 30-year-old Chrissie Ortiz, was arrested and charged with misdemeanor assault for allegedly attacking another woman. Ortiz had also called the charges against him “total B.S.”

    “It’s obvious what they’re doing: they’re trying to shut him up,” Ortiz said at the time of her husband’s indictment. “They’re trying to keep him away. They’re trying to find anything to crucify him. They’re bringing up his past, when they should be bringing up the officer’s past, who committed this murder.”

    According to the Huffington Post:

    “Police alleged that Orta had slipped a .25 caliber handgun into a teenage accomplice’s waistband outside a New York hotel. Orta testified that the charges were falsely mounted by police in retaliation for his role in documenting Garner’s death, but the grand jury rejected his contention, charging him with single felony counts of third-degree criminal weapon possession and criminal firearm possession.”

    Raw Story reported Orta stating in an interview with the Advance that he was also threatened at that time:

    “When they searched me, they didn’t find nothing on me…and the same cop that searched me, he told me clearly himself, that karma’s a b*tch, what goes around comes around,” Orta said, adding later, “I had nothing to do with this. I would be stupid to walk around with a gun after me being in the spotlight.”

    In an interview with Orta by the New York Daily News, Orta talked about his Grand Jury proceeding:

    “I feel like it wasn’t fair at all,” he said. “It wasn’t fair from the start.”
    “When I went to the grand jury to speak on my behalf, nobody in the grand jury was even paying attention to what I had to say,” Orta said. “People were on their phones, people were talking. I feel like they didn’t give (Garner) a fair grand jury.”
    “The whole thing was just about Eric — why was he selling cigarettes, did you know he was selling cigarettes? It was bulls–t,” he said.


    Eric Garner's widow lashes out at NYPD cop who put her husband in fatal chokehold

    Eric Garner's widow shouted two fiery words of rebuke when asked if she accepted words of condolence from the cop who killed her husband with a chokehold: “Hell no!”

    “The time for remorse was when my husband was yelling to breathe,” she said, referring to Eric Garner’s last words. “That would have been the time for him to show some remorse or some type of care for another human being’s life.”

    After Pantaleo was cleared by the Staten Island grand jury, the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association released a statement on the cop’s behalf. “I hope that they will accept my personal condolences for their loss,” he said.

    Garner’s widow was clear.

    “No, I don’t accept his apology,” she said Wednesday night at the Harlem headquarters of the Rev. Al Sharpton’s National Action Network. “I could care less about his condolences. My husband is 6 feet under. (The cop) is still working. He’s still collecting a paycheck and I’m looking for a way to feed my kids.”

    After returning home from the press conference, the widow compared her husband’s death “to a modern day lynching.”

    As for the grand jury, she said, “They had to get 12 to agree and they probably got 12 white motherf-----s to say no.”


    The panel’s decision was condemned by everyone from former Mayor David Dinkins and union leaders to Amnesty International.

    “How can anyone in the community have faith in the system now?”
    asked Vincent Warren, head of the Center for Constitutional Rights. “First Ferguson, now Staten Island.”

    “There is no justice,” said a furious 47-year-old Jeanette Johnson. “There will never be peace with us and the police. Ever.”

    Jamillah Rivera, 25, said she saw Garner get wrestled to the ground and remembers the contempt Pantaleo showed them when they complained.

    “The cop stuck up his middle finger to all of us,”
    she said. “He thought it was a big joke. How does someone like that go free?”

    “All over America, cops are getting away with this,” added 22-year-old Demetri Green. “They’re the real gang in New York City. They’re the real gang in this county.”


  18. #18
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    Protests after N.Y. cop not indicted in chokehold death

    Protesters poured onto the streets of New York late Wednesday, upset over a grand jury's decision not to indict a police officer in the death of Eric Garner.

    They marched at the same time U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder announced that federal officials were moving ahead with a civil rights investigation.

    Garner, an unarmed black man, died in July after a white officer, Daniel Pantaleo, put him in a chokehold. Garner's death was later ruled a homicide.

    "This fight ain't over. It just begun. I'm determined to get justice for my husband because he shouldn't have been killed in that way. He shouldn't have been killed in any way," said Esaw Garner, his widow.

    "He should be here, celebrating Christmas and Thanksgiving and everything else, with his children and his grandchildren. And he can't. Why? Because a cop did wrong. Somebody that gets paid to do right did wrong and he's not held accountable for it. But my husband's death will not be in vain. As long as I have a breath in my body I will fight the fight till the end."

    Protesters gathered at various points in Manhattan, including Times Square and Union Square, marching peacefully north as crowds formed near Rockefeller Center for the lighting of the Christmas tree. Columbus Circle was blocked for a time.

    There were demonstrations in other cities too, including Washington, D.C., Philadelphia and Oakland, California.

    "No Justice. No peace," protesters chanted in New York. "No racist police."

    Garner's mother, who spoke alongside his widow, said she was disappointed by the grand jury's decision. She called for calm.

    "We want you to rally, but rally in peace. Make a statement, but make it in peace," said Gwen Carr.

    On New York City's West Side Highway, a group of protesters stood face to face with rows of police officers, shouting, "I can't breathe, I can't breathe."

    The protesters sat down on the road, crying out, "What do we want? Justice. When do we want it? Now!"

    "Ferguson is Everywhere," one demonstrator's sign read, referring to the Michael Brown shooting in Ferguson, Missouri.


    Eric Garner Protests Spread Across The Country; Police Arrest More Than 200 In NYC

    Eric Garner was overweight and in poor health. He was a nuisance to shop owners who complained about him selling untaxed cigarettes on the street. When police came to arrest him, he resisted. And if he could repeatedly say, "I can't breathe," it means he could breathe.

    Rank-and-file New York City police officers and their supporters have been making such arguments even before a grand jury decided against charges in Garner's death, saying the possibility that he contributed to his own demise has been drowned out in the furor over race and law enforcement.

    Officers say the outcry has left them feeling betrayed and demonized by everyone from the president and the mayor to throngs of protesters who scream at them on the street.

    "Police officers feel like they are being thrown under the bus," said Patrick Lynch, president of the police union.

    The grand jury this week cleared a white patrolman, Daniel Pantaleo, who was caught on video applying what appeared to be an illegal chokehold on the black man. Mayor Bill de Blasio said the case underscores the New York Police Department's need to improve relations with minorities.

    But Lynch said: "What we did not hear is this: You cannot go out and break the law. What we did not hear is that you cannot resist arrest. That's a crime."

    At the noisy demonstrations that have broken out over the past few days, protesters have confronted police who had nothing to do with the case. Signs read: "NYPD: Blood on your hands," ''Racism kills" and "Hey officers, choke me or shoot me." Some demonstrators shouted, "NYPD pigs!" More than 280 people have been arrested, and more demonstrations were held Friday.

    In private and on Internet chat rooms, officers say they feel demoralized, misunderstood and "all alone."

    Some are advising each other that the best way to preserve their careers is to stop making arrests like that of Garner's, in defiance of the NYPD's campaign of cracking down on minor "quality of life" offenses as a way to discourage serious crime.

    "Everyone is just demonizing the police," said Maki Haberfeld, a professor of police studies at John Jay College of criminal justice. "But police follow orders and laws. Nobody talks about the responsibility of the politicians to explain to the community why quality-of-life enforcement is necessary."

    The fatal encounter occurred in July after Pantaleo and other police officers responded to complaints about Garner, a 43-year-old father of six.

    The video showed Garner telling officers to leave him alone and refusing to be handcuffed. Pantaleo, an eight-year veteran, appeared to wrap his arm around Garner's neck and take him down to the ground with the help of other officers.

    Garner could be heard saying, "I can't breathe," several times before he went motionless.

    The medical examiner later found that a chokehold resulted in Garner's death, but also that asthma, obesity and cardiovascular disease were contributing factors.

    While many have decried the death of another black man at the hands of a white officer, no evidence has come to light to suggest that Pantaleo's actions were racially motivated. His supervising sergeant at the scene was black, and so were some of the officers involved in the confrontation.

    As the video sparked accusations of excessive force, the police unions mounted a counter-narrative: that Garner would still be alive if he had obeyed orders, that his poor health was the main cause of his death and that Pantaleo had used an authorized takedown move — more like a headlock than a chokehold — to subdue him.

    While the grand jury proceedings were secret, Pantaleo's lawyer has said that the officer testified that he never tried to choke Garner and did not believe the man was in mortal danger.

    Pantaleo's defenders have included Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., who argued that the grand jury outcome would have been the same if Garner had been white and that police were right to ignore his pleas that he couldn't breathe.

    "The fact that he was able to say it meant he could breathe," said King, the son of a police officer.

    "And if you've ever seen anyone locked up, anyone resisting arrest, they're always saying, 'You're breaking my arm, you're killing me, you're breaking my neck.' So if the cops had eased up or let him go at that stage, the whole struggle would have started in again."


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    Default Prisons: Why innocent people plead guilty

    Why innocent people plead guilty

    Federal judge says thousands are in prison after taking deals

    After serving as a criminal defense attorney, federal prosecutor and now United States District judge, the Hon. Jed Rakoff knows what works — and what doesn’t — in the criminal justice system.

    Rakoff, who sits on the Federal District Court in Manhattan, N.Y., spoke recently at the USC Gould School of Law’s Neiman Sieroty Lecture on “Why Innocent People Plead Guilty.” The annual talk is named for Allen Neiman ’56 and Alan Sieroty ’56, who were former classmates and law partners.

    “The criminal justice system is nothing like you see on TV — it has become a system of plea bargaining,” Rakoff said.

    Today, only 2 percent of cases in the federal system go to trial, and 4 percent of cases in the state system go before a jury. As a result, accepting a deal from prosecutors — despite one’s guilt or innocence — has become a common choice for individuals accused of a crime.

    “Plea bargains have led many innocent people to take a deal,” Rakoff said. “People accused of crimes are often offered five years by prosecutors or face 20 to 30 years if they go to trial. … The prosecutor has the information, he has all the chips … and the defense lawyer has very, very little to work with. So it’s a system of prosecutor power and prosecutor discretion. I saw it in real life [as a criminal defense attorney], and I also know it in my work as a judge today.”

    A controversial solution

    What can be done? Rakoff said prosecutors should have smaller roles in sentence bargaining and the mandatory minimum sentences should be eliminated.

    “But to be frank, I don’t think, politically, either of those things is going to happen. … When it comes right down to it, I think the public really wants these high penalties, and that’s because when these harsh penalties were imposed [in the 1980s], the crime rate went down.”

    Another more controversial solution is to allow judicial involvement in the plea bargain process. A judge who is not involved in the case could take a first pass at an agreement, working with prosecutors and defense attorneys.

    “What I have in mind is a magistrate judge or a junior judge would get involved,” Rakoff said. “He would take offers from the prosecutor and the defense. … He would evaluate the case and propose a plea bargain if he thought that was appropriate, and he might, in appropriate cases, say to the prosecutor, ‘You don’t have a case and you should drop it.’ This would be very difficult for the judiciary; it’s not something I come to lightly, but I can’t think of any better solution to this problem.”

    Until extraordinary action is taken, Rakoff said little will change.

    “We have hundreds, or thousands, or even tens of thousands of innocent people who are in prison, right now, for crimes they never committed because they were coerced into pleading guilty. There’s got to be a way to limit this.”


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    Accused of Stealing a Backpack, High School Student Jailed for Nearly Three Years Without Trial


    I’ve always felt that the essence of the criminal justice system in America, 95 percent of the cases, are the plea bargains

    We look at the incredible story of how a 16-year-old high school sophomore from the Bronx ended up spending nearly three years locked up at the Rikers jail in New York City after he says he was falsely accused of stealing a backpack. Kalief Browder never pleaded guilty and was never convicted. Browder maintained his innocence and requested a trial, but was only offered plea deals while the trial was repeatedly delayed. Near the end of his time in jail, the judge offered to sentence him to time served if he entered a guilty plea, and warned him he could face 15 years in prison if he was convicted. But Browder still refused to accept the deal, and was only released when the case was dismissed. During this time, Browder spent nearly 800 days in solitary confinement, a juvenile imprisonment practice that the New York Department of Corrections has now banned. We are joined by reporter and author Jennifer Gonnerman, who recounts Browder’s story in the current issue of The New Yorker. We also speak with Browder’s current attorney, Paul Prestia, who has filed a lawsuit against the City of New York, the New York City Police Department, the Bronx District Attorney, and the Department of Corrections, on Browder’s behalf.

    Read interview transcript at:



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