By Staff for Ruptly. Black Lives Matter activists gathered outside a Police station in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Thursday, to enjoy a Thanksgiving Day meal as protesters continue to demand justice for 24-year-old Jamar Clark, who was killed by a police officer on 15 November. The protesters, who have been blocking the streets outside the Fourth Precinct Police Department on Plymouth Avenue for the 12th day in a row, spent the holiday at the protest encampment with neighbours and supporters donating food in solidarity with the movement. Hundreds of people passed by the camp to receive their Thanksgiving day meal offered by volunteers despite the cold temperatures and snow. Ongoing protests, organised by the ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement, have been held daily outside the Minneapolis Police Department’s Fourth Precinct building since the killing of Jamar Clark. Witnesses say the 24-year-old black man was shot by police execution-style while handcuffed, an account which the Minneapolis Police Department disputes.
By the ACLU of Maryland. Denial is over. Videos of police encounters are changing perceptions about biased policing and police brutality and sparking reform of police practices. That’s why the ACLU has launched Mobile Justice, an app that makes it easy for you to record interactions with police. It’ll be available for download in Maryland, as well as 10 more states on Friday, November 13! The Mobile Justice app (for iPhone and Android) will allow you to take secure video of police interactions and send it to the ACLU so it cannot be deleted or lost if your phone is confiscated by police. It will also have an intake survey where you can describe the details of the incident, and a Know Your Rights section that offers an overview of your rights when stopped by law enforcement.
By Danielle Wiener-Bronner for Fusion. Political organizer Keegan Stephan pointed out on Twitter that at least three police officers whose shootings prompted manhunts or were blamed on Black Lives Matter activists actually shot themselves. The tweet sparked a discussion on the social media platform. Some said that three is a relatively low number when compared to the amount of active police officers in the U.S., and that their actions shouldn’t be seen as representative of most cops. But taken together, the incidents are an upsetting look at how sentiment against the Black Lives Matter movement—which prompted the creation of counter movements like “Police Lives Matter”—can be fomented by false events. Here’s a breakdown of each incident.
By Dan Hinkel for the Chicago Tribune – A Tribune investigation into the Waukegan Police Department has found a troubling history of investigative failure and abuse allegations. No city police agency in Illinois, other than Chicago’s, shares responsibility for as many known wrongful convictions as the Waukegan police, who helped send six men to prison — some for decades — before they were cleared, according to an analysis of data from the National Registry of Exonerations. Waukegan police also have been inundated with abuse allegations, records show, and insurers and the city have paid out $26.1 million in police cases since 2006, outspending towns with more police and, in some cases, more violent crime. The Waukegan Police Department has been led by officers who played central roles in some of the costliest investigative failures in Lake County history, and police with troubled records have flourished in the department. Scandal and instability have plagued the agency, and the city is now run largely by former officers who have given little public indication that they detect a problem.
By Press TV – Police arrested 66 protesters outside a meeting of the International Association of Chiefs of Police in Chicago on Saturday, as demonstrators gathered to decry racial profiling and police killings in the black community. Hundreds of protesters marched on the McCormick Place convention center from Chicago police headquarters, to protest where police leaders from around the country are meeting over the weekend, according to the AFP. During the demonstration, several protesters reportedly chained themselves together, in an attempt to disrupt the annual convention, with law enforcement using handsaws to break through their bonds. The protest was organized by several anti-police brutality and black power groups, including Assata’s Daughters, We Charge Genocide, Black Youth Project 100, and Organized Communities Against Deportation. An increase in unlawful arrests and the killing of black people in recent years has sparked campaigns against police brutality and racial profiling in the US, including the prominent ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement.
By Ashoka Jegroo for Waging Nonviolence – Anti-police brutality activists in New York City took a trip to a gentrified neighborhood on October 18 to catch white people freely committing the type of crimes that get black and brown people regularly harassed by cops. The group that organized the action, the Police Reform Organizing Project, or PROP, took to the streets of Park Slope, Brooklyn Sunday afternoon and handed out fake summonses to white people committing small quality-of-life crimes. “We’re out today just giving mock summonses to people in Park Slope,” said Josmar Trujillo, a member of the Coalition to End Broken Windows, one of the groups that joined the action in Park Slope.
By Brendan O’Connor for Gawker – NYPD officer Michael Ackermann was convicted Thursday on a felony charge of falsifying a record to justify the 2012 arrest of a New York Times photographer in the Bronx, the New York Times reports. On August 4, 2012, according to the Times, the photographer, Robert Stolarik, was taking pictures of police arresting a young black woman in the Bronx for a story about the use of stop-and-frisk tactics in the 44th Precinct. Officer Michael Ackermann claimed that Stolarik—who had previously been arrested during Occupy Wall Street—had interfered with the arrest by repeatedly shoving the camera’s flash in his face: Stolarik was charged with obstructing government administration and resisting arrest.
By Staff for #RiseUpOctober – A delegation of organizers for #RiseUpOctober, a mass mobilization to STOP Police Terror October 22-24, will serve a People’s Arrest Warrant for NYPD Officer James Frascatore for his assault on James Blake. On September 9, NYPD Officer James Frascatore ran up and body slammed James Blake, a Black man, to the ground. People everywhere have seen the surveillance video. Frascatore, in plain clothes, never identified himself as an NYPD officer. He made no effort to talk to James Blake before rushing him and slamming him to the ground. After Mr. Blake was brutalized, the police released him, saying they had the “wrong person.” But then NYPD Commissioner William Bratton defended Frascatore, saying that Mr. Blake “looked like the twin brother” of the suspect the police were seeking. Bratton went on to say that in the attack on Mr. Blake, “Race had nothing to do with it.”
By Zak Cheney-Rice for Mic.com – In the year that has passed since Brown’s death, Barghi has been illustrating and tweeting her own creative depictions of the last words spoken by slain black male victims of state violence in the U.S. The result is a haunting tribute to the dead and a heartbreaking reminder of the toll American racism takes daily on black families and communities. In many ways, #LastWords has assumed a life of its own, she says. Artists and musicians have reached out to her about creating similar series’ focused on other topics, like the war in Yemen. Activists in Ferguson have also spoken to her about amplifying the last words spoken by black women who have died at the hands of American police. “I really want other people to continue this work,” Barghi says. “First, I’m not black, which I realize influences my perspective. Black pain [in the U.S.] is very real. So the first thing I try to do is educate myself, build an awareness.” Barghi moved to the United States from Iran in 2011.
By Eugene Puryear & Sean Blackman for Stop Police Terror – Mayor Muriel Bowser has released her plan addressing the spike in crime. Stop Police Terror and many others, have stated, she is headed in the wrong direction. In her framing she states the plan is “comprehensive.” Translated from politician-speak that means it contains “something for everyone.” Stop Police Terror has some serious concerns particularly about the massive increase in police presence and expansion of police powers. Much of what Bowser proposes is based on spurious information. Tougher penalties for crimes on public transit is a strategy that simply will not work. One of the principal studies on the effect of more severe penalties concluded: “the studies reviewed do not provide a basis for inferring that increasing the severity of sentences generally is capable of enhancing deterrent effects.” Stop Police Terror rejects this mass incarceration approach to criminal justice that has been proven by the academic and anecdotal evidence to be unsound.
By Rachel Levinson-Waldman for the Brennan Center for Justice – This history suggests that for body cameras — and any other surveillance technology — the right question to ask is not, “are we comfortable with this particular technology, used for the particular governmental purpose currently asserted, with the particular controls currently in place?” Rather, the more accurate and far-reaching question is, “what do we think of the other uses that might be spawned once this technology is introduced?” For body cameras, it is already evident that they will be introduced in many more contexts than simply law enforcement. If they are being placed on principals, they will eventually be placed on teachers. If they are placed on teachers, they will eventually be placed on child care providers, and then on youth ministers, and so on and so on. The normalization of one kind of surveillance technology will also help hasten the normalization of other types.
By Margaret Paulson for Chicagoist – The American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois and the Chicago Police Department have struck an agreement to have an independent monitor evaluate the controversial #8220;stop and frisk” policy. The agreement, announced Friday, appoints independent consultant Arlander Keys, a former U.S. magistrate, to issue twice-yearly public reports on “stop and frisk” and suggest policy changes to the Chicago Police Department. In addition, Chicago police will now be required to collect data on and track information on all street stops and to note when pat-downs (“frisks”) are employed, and why. Previously, the police were only required to collect data on street stops but were not required to report if they frisked the person. Additionally, if arrests were made, officers weren’t required to record that data.
By Staff for Popular Resistance – Since the killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson one year ago the #BlackLivesMatter movement has swept the nation. Tomorrow, there will protests in many parts of the country to remember his death and the uprising that has followed. Michael Brown was not the first person to be killed by police, this is a long, historic reality of US policing of black and brown communities, nor was his death the first to be protested. Popular Resistance has reported on protests against police violence throughout its existence and in our earlier incarnation as the Occupation of Washington, DC at Freedom Plaza. Historically, riots in urban areas have often been ignited by police violence. Something is different now, the #BlackLivesMatter movement has created an organized revolt against police violence. It is developing a broad base in communities of color with many Caucasin communities participating, standing with #BlackLivesMatter leaders. Postive changes have been made in the last year and we expect escalation of the #BlackLivesMatter over the next year and will do all we can to support it.
By Staff for Associated Press – Since the killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, legislators in almost every state have proposed changes to the way police interact with the public. The result: Twenty-four states have passed at least 40 new measures addressing such things as officer-worn cameras, training about racial bias, independent investigations when police use force and new limits on the flow of surplus military equipment to local law enforcement agencies, according to an analysis by The Associated Press. Despite all that action, far more proposals have stalled or failed, the AP review found. And few states have done anything to change their laws on when police are justified to use deadly force. National civil rights leaders praised the steps taken by states but said they aren’t enough to solve the racial tensions and economic disparities that have fueled protests in Ferguson, Baltimore, New York and elsewhere following instances in which people died in police custody or shootings.