Quantifying the additional killings commited by cops when they get military weapons

The US Department of Defense's 1033 program sends "surplus" military equipment to US police forces ("surplus" in quotes because military contractors lobby for the US military to buy more weapons than they need in order to feed materiel to the program), which has created a situation in which cops show up in their communities literally clad in the armor of an occupying army. Read the rest

Philando Castile's killers secretly tried to order Facebook to let them spy on Castile's girlfriend

After shooting Philando Castile dead during a traffic stop -- a killing that was livestreamed on Facebook by Castile's girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds -- the police obtained a secret warrant for Reynolds's Facebook account, including her private messages and deleted messages, accompanied by a gag order that banned Facebook from every discussing the warrant's existence. Read the rest

Opsec and #blacklivesmatter: how Trump is motivating activists to learn and practice digital security

It's been more than two years since Harlem Cryptoparty made the connection between the struggle for racial justice in America and access to networks and encryption; the Trump election has strengthened that proposition, with a national network of Digital Security in the Era of Trump workshops where activists train each other on operational security. Read the rest

Jeff Sessions wants to bring back long mandatory prison sentences for minor drug offenses

Donald Trump's racist, perjuring Attorney General, former senator Jefferson Sessions, was signaled that he will reverse Obama-era AG Eric Holder's memo that told federal prosecutors not to bring charges against petty drug offenders, because these crime carry absurd minimum sentences that resulted in America imprisoning a greater proportion of its population than any country in the history of the world, including the USSR and Apartheid-era South Africa. Read the rest

The truth behind Pepsi's tone-deaf #blacklivesmatter-commodifying TV spot

How, you say, could Pepsi have been stupid enough to run a TV ad that trivialized the popular uprising against the official murder of black people by American law enforcement? The answer is obvious: They Live. (via JWZ) Read the rest

Monopoly capitalism destroyed American black businesses, which provided safe employment for civil rights activists

For a generation, Americas anti-trust enforcers have walked away from their duties, gripped by an ideology that says that bigger companies mean more profits (which benefit the rich) and lower prices (which benefit everyone else). Read the rest

How hackers tried to knock blacklivesmatter.com offline

DBO writes, "A new report by Deflect Labs tracks the complex ways that hackers have sought to take down the Black Lives Matter website. The attacks, which relied on harvesting WordPress sites, increased in sophistication and left a murky, unsavory trail by actors who did everything from try to extort the website to taking it down entirely." Read the rest

Black Lives Matter declares its opposition to TPP

It's been one year since the text of the Trans Pacific Partnership was finally released after years of extreme, tragicomic secrecy. Read the rest

Though crime happens everywhere, predictive policing tools send cops to poor/black neighborhoods

Researchers from the Human Rights Data Analysis Group (previously) reimplemented the algorithm Predpol predictive policing system that police departments around America have spent a fortune on in order to find out where to set their patrols, and fed it Oakland's 2010 arrest data, then asked it to predict where the crime would be in 2011. Read the rest

Black voter registration is inversely correlated with black death at police hands

Correlation is not causation, and the data-set is awfully small (39 incidents), but computational epidemiologist Maimuna Majumder is working with what's available, because the federal government won't fund research into gun fatalities, and does not require states to gather data on police use of force. Read the rest

El Cajon police say unarmed black man pointed vape at officer before he was shot to death

Alfred Okwera Olango, who was black, was fatally shot by police in El Cajon, California on Tuesday. Police in the San Diego suburb city say the 38 year old Ugandan immigrant pointed a vape pen or e-cigarette device at them, before police shot the man to death.

Officers were responding to a call of a man behaving erratically, and walking in traffic. Olango's friends and supporters say court records show that he suffered from mental illness, and may have been experiencing a seizure before his death. An El Cajon police officer is believed to have shot Olango within as little as one or two minutes after arriving at the scene.

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Serena Williams on police killings of black Americans: "I won’t be silent"

The world's greatest living tennis player wrote something on Facebook today about police killings of unarmed black Americans.

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California will collect public records for all police use of force, using open source software

There are a handful of states that keep records of police force, but they are incomplete records, and they're maintained on paper; contrast that with URSUS, California's new tool that collects every single use of force, storing it in open, transparent free software maintained by Bayes Impact, a nonprofit. Read the rest

The AI Now Report: social/economic implications of near-future AI

The National Economic Council convened a symposium at NYU's Information Law Institute in July, and they've released their report: 25 crisp (if slightly wonky) pages on how AI could increase inequality, erode accountability, and lead us into temptation -- along with recommendations for how to prevent this, from involving marginalized and displaced people in AI oversight; to increasing the diversity of AI researchers; to modifying the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act and Digital Millennium Copyright Act to clarify that neither stands in the way of independent auditing of AI systems. Read the rest

Cops pepper-spray 15-year-old girl who fell off her bike

This is very sad and infuriating. A 15-year-old girl from Hagerstown, Maryland was riding her bike and collided with a car. When police arrived they told her an ambulance was going to take her to the hospital. She didn't want to go. She got back on her bike, but before she could get away, an officer grabbed her from behind. The next thing you know, she was roughed up, cuffed, put in the back of a patrol car, and then pepper sprayed. Instead of taking her to the hospital, the officers took her to the police station for interrogation.

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St. Louis cop accused of planting gun on black man he shot to death

“I’m going to kill this motherfucker.” That's what St. Louis police officer Jason Stockley was recorded saying to his partner Brian Bianchi while they were chasing drug suspect Anthony Lamar Smith in his car. Stockley kept his word. Once they stopped Smith, Officer Stockley shot him five times, killing him.

Now, newly released video shows Officer Stockley rummaging through a duffel bag in the back of his police SUV, then entering Smith's car. Officer Stockley said he found a gun in Smith's car, but the only DNA found on the gun belonged to Officer Stockley.

Officer Stockley was charged with first degree murder.

From NY Daily News

Prosecutors have not accused Stockley of planting the firearm that he says Smith has, and told KTVI "The people of the City of St. Louis have a right to determine whether the State has proven its case beyond a reasonable doubt. The courtroom is the appropriate forum for this matter."

Stockley has been released on $1 million bail and a hearing for his case is set for Oct. 3.

Smith's daughter reached a $900,000 settlement with the St. Louis Board of Police Commissioners in 2013.

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Video released of Tulsa police fatally shooting unarmed black man Terence Crutcher

WARNING: The video in this post is graphic and documents a violent death.

In Tulsa, Oklahoma, police have released video that shows a white police officer shooting and killing an unarmed black man. In the video, Terence Crutcher can be seen raising his hands above his head.

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