In Tulsa, police officer Betty Shelby has been booked and released, after she was charged with felony manslaughter in the fatal shooting of African American Terence Crutcher. Video footage shows Officer Shelby, who is white, shooting and killing Crutcher while his hands were in the air. The criminal complaint says Shelby’s "fear resulted in her unreasonable actions which led her to shooting." Crutcher’s killing has sparked protests throughout the week in Tulsa. If convicted, Shelby faces four years to life in prison.
Meanwhile, in Charlotte, North Carolina, protests continue for a third day to demand police release video of the shooting of African-American father Keith Lamont Scott. North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory has declared a state of emergency and mobilized the National Guard. The Charlotte mayor has also imposed a midnight curfew, amid the ongoing protests. While the police initially claimed they tased and then shot Scott because he was armed, Scott’s family says he was not armed—except with a book in hand. They say he had been sitting in his car, waiting to pick up his son after school. On Thursday, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Chief Kerr Putney walked back the claims that Scott had a gun.
Police Chief Kerr Putney: "The video does not give me absolute, definitive visual evidence that—that would confirm that a person is pointing a gun. I did not see that in the videos that I’ve reviewed."
Scott’s family has now been shown the video, but it has not yet been released to the public. Meanwhile, the protester who police claimed was the victim Wednesday of a "civilian on civilian" shooting has died. Several eyewitnesses dispute the police’s explanation. Charlotte public defender Eddie Thomas told The Guardian he believes the protester was shot by a tear gas canister, pepper ball or other projectile that caused him to stumble back and hit his head on the brick sidewalk. We’ll go to North Carolina and Tulsa, Oklahoma, after headlines.
In news from the campaign trail, a new investigation by Politico has revealed Donald Trump’s campaign has paid more than $8.2 million to Trump-owned businesses for everything from office space rent to food for events, which Politico describes as "an unprecedented amount of self-dealing in federal politics." The $8.2 million accounts for a full 7 percent of the campaign’s expenditures. In 2000, Trump said, "I could be the first presidential candidate to run and make money on it."
Meanwhile, Trump’s campaign chair in Ohio, Kathy Miller, has resigned after The Guardian published an interview in which she made a series of racist comments.
Kathy Miller: "I don’t think there was any racism until Obama got elected, that we never had problems like this. You know, I’m in the real estate industry. There’s none. Now, you know, with the people with the guns and shooting up neighborhoods and not being responsible citizens, that’s a big change, and I think that’s the philosophy that Obama has perpetuated on America. And if you’re black and you haven’t been successful in the last 50 years, it’s your own fault."
This comes as 75 former U.S. diplomats have signed onto a letter calling Donald Trump "entirely unqualified to serve as President and Commander-in-Chief." The signatories include ambassadors and high-level State Department officials. For many, it was the first time they’d endorsed a candidate, justifying the switch by saying "this election is different from any election we can recall."
In more election news, more leaked Democratic Party emails have revealed documents detailing the schedules of Hillary Clinton, Michelle Obama and Joe Biden in recent weeks, as well as a possible image of Michelle Obama’s passport. The emails were posted to the site DCLeaks.com and came from the Gmail account of a young Democratic operative named Ian Mellul. It’s a further indication of how frequently sensitive information is shared over private email servers across the Democratic Party.
Meanwhile, Yahoo says as many as 500 million of its accounts were hacked, and that private information including names, phone numbers, passwords and birthdates may have been stolen. It’s believed to be the biggest hack of an email provider to date. Yahoo has blamed a "state-sponsored actor."
In more political news, New York authorities are investigating former New York Congressmember Anthony Weiner over allegations he sent sexually explicit text messages to an underaged girl. This comes a month after Hillary Clinton’s top aide Huma Abedin announced she was leaving Weiner, after photos and reports surfaced of him again sending sexual text messages. Weiner stepped down from Congress in 2011 after initially lying to the public about explicit phone and internet contact with women he met online.
In Syria, the Assad government has launched a new round of airstrikes on Aleppo, after the ceasefire brokered between the U.S. and Russia collapsed earlier this week. This comes after Secretary of State John Kerry called Wednesday for a grounding of military aircraft in key areas across Syria—a call that stops short of calling for a no-fly zone but nevertheless represents an escalation of the United States’ position on the ongoing war in Syria.
In Yemen, a U.S.-backed, Saudi-led airstrike has killed at least 30 people after it struck a neighborhood in the port city of Hudaydah Wednesday. The strike came the same day as the U.S. Senate voted down legislation to block a $1.15 billion arms sale to Saudi Arabia over concerns about the ongoing Saudi-led war in Yemen. Although the resolution failed, 27 lawmakers did vote to oppose the arms transfer.
In the Philippines, several thousand students and activists have protested throughout the week to mark the 44th anniversary of former dictator Ferdinand Marcos’s declaration of martial law, which was announced on September 23, 1972. On Wednesday, youth groups organized a nationwide strike that led to school walkouts in about a dozen cities. Human rights activists protested Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte’s proposal to give the late dictator Marcos a hero’s burial.
Feliz Dalisay: "If Marcos is buried at the heroes’ cemetery and treated as a hero, it will change history. The real heroes will be erased from history, the heroes who fought martial law. We will make sure that he will not be buried at the heroes’ cemetery, because his resting place will be watered with spit, not tears."
This comes as President Duterte has lashed out at the European Union, after its Parliament called on him to end his so-called war on drugs, which has claimed more than 3,500 lives since Duterte took office in June. On Tuesday, Duterte said, "I have read the condemnation of the European Union. I’m telling them, 'F**k you.'"
In Guatemala, the special prosecutor for human rights, Orlando López, has been arrested, sparking fears he may be killed in prison for his high-level prosecution of Guatemalan ex-military officials implicated in the 1980s genocide. López is best known for prosecuting the 2013 genocide trial of ex-dictator Efraín Ríos Montt, who was found guilty of killing nearly 2,000 Ixil Mayans under his rule in the 1980s. López’s arrest stems from hit-and-run allegations reported by a right-wing group tied to many former military generals.
In Puerto Rico, residents erupted in cheers late Thursday night as neighborhoods began to emerge from an island-wide blackout, sparked by a fire at a power plant on Wednesday. The blackout affected all 3.5 million people across Puerto Rico.
Fifty different tribes and First Nations from the United States and Canada have signed a continent-wide "Treaty Alliance Against Tar Sands Expansion," committing to a unified fight against the construction of pipelines in their territories. The proposed pipelines include Keystone XL, Enbridge Line 3, Kinder Morgan, Energy East and Enbridge Northern Gateway pipelines. The treaty means that dozens of First Nations in Canada, as well as the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in North Dakota and the White Earth Nation in Minnesota, have now legally barred these pipelines from crossing their lands.
Meanwhile, in North Dakota, Lakota land defender Olowan Martinez was freed Thursday. She had been held for more than a week, after she locked herself to a piece of heavy machinery to stop construction of the $3.8 billion Dakota Access pipeline on September 13. This is Martinez speaking to Democracy Now! when we were in North Dakota.
Amy Goodman: "So how long do you plan to stay here?"
Olowan Martinez: "Until we know for sure that this black snake is dead."
Amy Goodman: "Your T-shirt says 'Red Warrior Camp.'"
Olowan Martinez: "Yes."
Amy Goodman: "And it’s got a fist."
Olowan Martinez: "Yes, I believe it speaks the spirituality and the mentality of everyone here within Red Warrior Camp. We’re a camp of great minds that have come together, again, to kill this black snake by any means necessary."