Which has ever brought a peaceful future nearer to neighborhoods: weaponized military and surveillance systems, or the efforts of concerned neighbors seeking justice? The United States withholds resources needed for the task of healing the battle scars our country has inflicted on so much of the world. If our fear is endless, how will these wars ever end?
Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch filed a civil rights lawsuit against Ferguson, Mo. after the St. Louis suburb rejected an agreement with the Justice Department that would have reformed their criminal justice system. “Their decision leaves us no further choice,” Lynch said.
The bald eagle has been the symbol of the U.S. for over 200 years.
But we’ve never put an eagle to as good of a use as the Dutch are now: taking down drones.
In order to remove drones hovering above unauthorized areas, such as airports or political events, Dutch police are training eagles to snatch them out of the air.
We've put a man on the moon. Why haven't we done this yet?
In an abrupt change, the city of Chicago has made public video footage that documents the shooting death of Cedrick Chatman at the hands of Chicago police. The 17-year-old Chatman was shot and killed while running away from police. The officers claim he turned around and pointed a black object at them, an object which turned out to be a black iPhone box.
Cook County state’s attorney Anita Alvarez announced Dec. 7 that there will be no charges in the death of Ronald Johnson.
Ronald Johnson was shot and killed by Officer George Hernandez. According to Alvarez, Johnson resisted arrest and refused to drop a gun he was holding. Dashcam video of the shooting was also released. Officers had purported it shows Johnson holding a gun, but the images — dark and blurry — are inconclusive.
There is no sound on the video.
Alvarez had said she would make her decision based on "whether there was enough evidence to bring charges against the officer," reports the Chicago-Sun Times, and concluded there was not.
Johnson’s mother has sued the city and Officer Hernandez, claiming that her son was not carrying a gun.
Read more here.
Baltimore, like Ferguson, is a parable — a story that can teach us important lessons. It's one in which we should see that we are, for the most part, still missing the most important lessons.
Decades of bad behavior on the part of Baltimore's police force in relation to the black community were brought to light, as in other circumstances of young black men dying at the hands of police. But the parable of Baltimore needs to go deeper.
1. Officers Charged in Freddie Gray's Death, Ruled a Homicide
“In an unexpected announcement Friday, Baltimore lead prosecutor Marilyn J. Mosby said there is “probable cause” to file criminal charges against police officers in the death of Freddie Gray ...”
2. How Biased Is Your Feed?
Via Future Journalism Project Media Lab: A new study indicates that news and information gets more biased as it passes through social networks. … And given that half of Facebook and Twitter users consume news via those networks, our consumption and digestion of such “news” could take on that bias.
3. Nepal Earthquake: Up to 15,000 May Have Died, According to Army Chief
Amid public anger at government response to the massive earthquake and threats of disease, the country’s army chief painted a grim estimate of between 10-15,000 likely deaths in the wake of the weekend’s quake.
4. Lawmaker Considers Blocking Baltimore Protesters’ Food Stamp Benefits
“‘That’s an idea, and that could be legislation,’ [Maryland state legislator Patrick McDonough] said in response to a caller who asked if benefits could be revoked from parents of protesters. ‘I think that you could make the case that there is a failure to do proper parenting, and allowing this stuff to happen—is there an opportunity for a month to take away your food stamps?’”
I enjoy cop shows on television.
My favorite is Blue Bloods, following the “Reagan” family from terrorist threats to homicides to domestic violence.
I can’t imagine what it’s like to be a cop. Perhaps routine marked by bursts of frenzy, some of it life-threatening. One’s hometown seen through the lens of crime, tragedy, and evil. Low pay, high risk.
I like Blue Bloods because it shows upright law enforcement taking “Protect and Serve” seriously and making brave and ethical choices.
These shows are quite unrealistic, of course. Crime doesn’t get solved that easily or snap decisions made that wisely.
I don’t think, however, that I realized until recently how separated from reality those fictional accounts have been. As police shootings of unarmed citizens go viral, as minorities talk of long-standing police brutality, as we watch guards beating prisoners, and as federal law enforcement engages in creepy surveillance, internal corruption, and the arming of local police as military commandos, the veil is lifted.
Now we see in our own American law enforcement the same brutality and power-madness that have marked corrupt societies we supposedly surpassed, from the secret police in Eastern Europe to uniformed thugs in South America.
I find it confusing. Not the discovery that TV isn’t real, but to see how low we have fallen. Has this brutality been the dark side of police work all along?
Early Thursday morning, just hours after the resignation of Ferguson police Chief Thomas Jackson, two officers were shot as they stood guard amidst protests outside the police department in Ferguson, Mo. One officer, a 41-year old from the St. Louis County Police Department, was struck in the shoulder. The other, a 32-year old from nearby Webster Groves Police Department, was hit in the face. Both officers were reported to be in serious, but non-life threatening condition.
As local authorities search for the unidentified shooters, protesters and police have begun to speculate about causes and responsibility.