Durham protesters turn themselves in at police station after pulling down Confederate statue

On Monday, anti-racist protesters in Durham, North Carolina pulled down a statue dedicated to the "unknown soldiers" who fought to defend slavery, which was adorned with "a seal engraved with ‘The Confederate States of America’" and the words, "In memory of the boys who wore gray." Read the rest

Trump's Jewish team-members won't go public on his endorsement of neo-Nazis

Gary D Cohn is director of Trump's National Economic Council; Steven Mnuchin is Secretary of the Treasury; Jared Kushner is Trump's son-in-law and Ivanka Trump is Trump's daughter, who converted to Judiasm: not one of them has said anything in public about Trump's bizarre rant in which he said that not all the Nazi marchers in Charlottesville were bad and some were "very fine people." Read the rest

Charlottesville white supremacist strips off uniform and insists it's just for lulz

CJ Hunt was at the neo-Nazi rally in Charlottesville when he spotted this young man in white supremacist uniform (white polo and khakis) running away from counterdemonstrators, then turning abruptly and stripping off while insisting that he was not really a Nazi and had just shown up for fun. Read the rest

Donald Trump will not condemn the terrorist attacks on anti-Nazi protestors

Donald Trump represents the eminently foreseeable outcome of Reagan's Republican bargain: welding together a coalition of racists and religious fanatics with the finance sector and its lobbyists, making two groups who had spent a century cordially loathing each other into one. Read the rest

An Illinois gubernatorial hopeful will spring all low-level drug offenders from jail

If Chicago Alderman Ameya Pawar is successful in winning the Democratic Party nomination to stand for governor of Illinois and then wins the election, he will: 1) commute all low-level drug offenders' sentences and free them from jail; 2) take educational oversight power from Chicago mayor Rahm Emmanuel and give it to the Chicago School Board; 3) fund schools out of a fairly distributed state pools, ending the system of funding based on local taxes, which disadvantages schools in poor neighborhoods; and 4) make access to paid sick leave and child care universal in the state of Illinois. Read the rest

Americans perceive overweight Asian people as 'less foreign' than skinny Asians

In Unexpected Gains: Being Overweight Buffers Asian Americans From Prejudice Against Foreigners (Sci-Hub mirror), a paper published in Psychological Science, a group of social scientists from UK and US universities as well as Microsoft evaluated the role that weight plays in the perceptions of people of Asian descent in the USA. Read the rest

Tory MP suspended for using the n-word in Brexit debate

Anne Marie Morris is the Conservative Party MP for Newton Abbott, Devon; while on a panel at a Eurosceptic meeting in Central London, she described the UK leaving the EU without a deal as a "real n*****r in the woodpile," a phrase that refers to enslaved Africans and African-Americans hiding from vengeful bounty hunters after escaping from the white people who'd enslaved them. Read the rest

How an obscure law allowed white, rich developers to steal African-Americans' land for a century

After the civil war, formerly enslaved people bought about 15 million acres across the US (mostly in the south), but those landowners lacked clear legal title and also often did not have access to legal advice for estate planning -- combine that with lending discrimination (redlining) and the diasporas that scattered families across the country and that land has become easy pickings for crooked property developers and their crooked lawyers. Read the rest

PA supreme court: was illegal to steal elderly woman's home because her son sold $140 of weed

It took four years, but the Pennsylvania Supreme Court has finally ruled in favor of 72 year old grandmother Elizabeth Young, whose house was seized by the Philadelphia District Attorney under asset forfeiture rules when her son was caught selling $140 worth of marijuana to undercover agents.

Under civil forfeiture rules, cops and DAs get to steal property suspected of being the proceeds of a crime, then they sue the inanimate objects. The owners of the objects can hire lawyers to represent their property, while the taxpayers foot the bill for the state's side of the suit. If the government wins, it gets to keep the property or sell it and pocket the proceeds.

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court blasted the DA for the seizure and reminded the state's lawyers and cops that they can only invoke civil forfeiture when there is good reason to believe that the property's owner "knew of and agreed to the crimes" in question.

The cop who bought the marijuana from Young's son is currently serving a 3.5 year federal prison sentence for planting drugs on suspects.

Young is far from the only person to have her house seized by the Philadelphia D.A. for a minor drug crime that she didn't even commit. In 2013, Philadelphia police seized the house of Christos and Markela Sourovelis after their son was arrested for selling $40-worth of drugs outside of it.

The Sourovelis' sued, with assistance from the libertarian-leaning Institute for Justice, a nonprofit law firm that has challenged asset forfeiture laws in several states.

Read the rest

Suburban Chicago library set to fire only African American librarian who spoke out about racial equity

Cheryl writes, "The sole African American librarian in Evanston Public Library (population ~75K-- first 'burb north adjacent to Chicago) faced a termination hearing today related to social media posts she made in protest to the library's lack of action related to addressing racial equity in library services." Read the rest

The coded gaze: biased and understudied facial recognition technology

Rod McCullom at Undark has a terrific overview of the perpetual "virtual lineup," where half of all American adults "are enrolled in unregulated facial recognition networks used by state and local law enforcement agencies." Read the rest

Matt Ruff's "Lovecraft Country" adapted for TV by Jordan Peele and HBO

Well, this just made my day: Matt Ruff's outstanding anti-racist novel Lovecraft Country has been picked up for development into a TV show by Jordan "Get Out" Peele, JJ Abrams and HBO. Read the rest

America's top cop-killing domestic terror threat is far-right "sovereign citizens" and militias

A 2014 survey of 175 US law enforcement agencies found that they ranked "sovereign citizens" as the top domestic terror threat, and with good reason: members of the heavily armed, white-supremacist-adjacent movement regularly kill cops during routine traffic stops and other interactions. Read the rest

Louisiana's public defender's office is largely nonexistent so poor people just plead guilty

Louisiana has always been a backward place for criminal justice, the only state in the union that funds its public defenders' office with conviction fees, leaving a public defender's office that averages $238 spent on each accused. Read the rest

Jeff Sessions orders prosecutors to charge Americans "with the most serious offense you can prove"

Racist, perjuring Attorney General Jeff Sessions has issued guidance to federal prosecutors, ordering them to charge the people they will face in court with "the most serious offense you can prove," paving the way for a surge in America's already-shameful record of racially biased, family destroying, community-devastating, private-prison-enriching mass incarceration, which already outstrips the rates of incarceration in Apartheid-era South Africa, China and the USSR. Read the rest

For today's college kids, the Rodney King beating seems mild and unremarkable

In 1991, George Holliday's video of Rodney King being kicked and nightsticked by LAPD officers shocked the nation and sparked an uprising that galvanized the discussion about police brutality. 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

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