After St Louis police officer Jason Stockley, killed an unarmed black man named Anthony Lamar Smith with an unauthorized AK-47, planted a pistol on his body, and was then acquitted on murder charges in 2017, St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department Officer Dustin Boone sent several texts in which he relished the prospect of beating up the protesters he anticipated following the verdict: phrases like "It’s still a blast beating people" and It’s gonna get IGNORANT tonight!!” and “It’s gonna be a lot of fun beating the hell out of these s---heads once the sun goes down and nobody can tell us apart!!!!”
Read the rest “St Louis cops indicted for beating up a "protester" who turned out to be an undercover cop”
Smartphone video footage of police brutality being exercised against black Americans and other ethnic minorities living their lives within the nation’s borders have become depressingly commonplace. While difficult to watch and, most likely for the videographer, difficult to stand by and film, such footage can be an important tool in bringing cops who abuse the power of their office to justice. The news, social media and water cooler talk here in North America often overflows with reports of abuses of power by law enforcement officials. It’s easy to forget that the very same brand of injustice and violence are served up in other parts of the world – a lot.
According to The New York Times, in Australia, a country that’s been marred by institutional racism since its inception, “...aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are incarcerated at 13 times the rate of non-Indigenous Australians. They make up 27 percent of Australia’s prisoners, compared with 3 percent of the overall population.” Given the disproportionate representation of Indigenous Australians in the clink, it’s safe to say that there’s some greasy shit going on Down Under, of a similar sort to the greasy shit we see going on up here in places like New York City and Ferguson, Missouri.
To help Australia aboriginals and Torres Strait Islander peoples to mitigate this prejudicial treatment at the hands of those meant to serve and protect them, human rights activists are teaching them how to respond to the threat of police violence and to record their interactions with law enforcement, just like we do up here:
From The New York Times:
Read the rest “Activists teaching Australian Aboriginals to protect themselves by recording their interactions with law enforcement”
The Copwatch workshops, activists said, are intended to teach people their legal rights and how to safely record interactions with police officers.
Massive income inequality, combined with Republican attacks on the taxation of the wealthiest, has produced a situation in which the state increasingly depends on extracting fines, interest and debt service from people who grow steadily poorer and less able to pay, and thus the state must turn to ever-more-extreme measures to extract the money it needs to survive.
Read the rest “States suspend your driver's license over inability to pay court fines, costing you your job and any ability to repay”
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 “Quantifying the additional killings commited by cops when they get military weapons”
After 1954's landmark Brown v Board of Ed ruling, America's (largely racially segregated) cities began racially integrating their schools by busing black kids to white neighborhoods, a project that hit its stride at the start of the 1970s. It worked. Read the rest “How America abandoned the only policy that consistently closes the black-white educational gap”
When Philando Castile was killed by a Minneapolis cop after a traffic stop, we learned that he had been stopped 46 times before and had been fined for driving without a license. Read the rest “How racist traffic stops criminalize black people, and what to do about it”
In the aftermath of the Ferguson uprising, much ink was spilled on the reliance of the predominantly black city on fines from its residents to pay its bills -- and on the use of what amounted to debtors' prisons that locked up those who wouldn't or couldn't pay the constant stream of fines and scared the rest into begging and borrowing to pay their own fines. Read the rest “The blacker a city is, the more it fines its residents (especially black ones)”
FBI Director James Comey told reporters that "viral video effect" (which is his latest term for what used to be called the "Ferguson effect") is responsible for increased violent crime in some US cities, in that police are scared to do their jobs because they might end up on Youtube in an unflattering video. Read the rest “FBI Director: viral videos make cops afraid to do their jobs”
Ferguson's cops aren't just notorious for being an invading domestic military force: long before that, they were notorious for "failure to comply" arrests, where (mostly brown) people who were minding their own businesses were arrested for refusing to show ID, move along, or following other orders from uniformed officers. Read the rest “Ferguson spends itself into the poor-house defending cops' dirty "failure to comply" busts”
St. Louis Fire Department captain Garon Mosby calls the fires "arson," but despite the shocking string of racist attacks, major media have hardly breathed a word about the fires. Read the rest “Terrorists torch five black Ferguson-area churches, nation yawns”
Judge Ronald J Brockmeyer -- who filled Ferguson's coffers by fining its poorest residents and sent them to inhumane, overcrowded prisons when they couldn't pay a few hundred dollars -- stands accused of fixing fines for his cronies, and owes $170K in unpaid taxes. Read the rest “Judge who invented Ferguson's debtor's prisons owes $170K in tax”
The police department "routinely" blocks citizens from recording their activities under a bizarre rubric of "officer safety," according to the Justice Department's investigation. Read the rest “Justice Department issues "scorching" report on Ferguson's Police Department”
Breaking news: unacceptable behavior by police continues in the town where a police officer shot an unarmed black kid dead, and was not charged with any crime for the killing.
Amy Barnes was jailed and held in solitary in 2012 when she called out "fuck the police" as she bicycled past Cobb County cops who were questioning a suspect by the roadside. Read the rest “Georgia cops pay $100K for jailing woman who said "Fuck the police"”
Led by the families of black men and children killed by police in recent high-profile cases, thousands are marching in the nation's capital today to demand “Justice For All.”
In this photo from a protest in Oakland, an undercover police officer aims his loaded gun directly at a Reuters photographer.