Thursday, April 12, 2012

  • 45 Days After Killing Trayvon Martin & Sparking National Outcry, George Zimmerman Finally Charged


    Forty-five days after George Zimmerman shot and killed unarmed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, he has been charged with second-degree murder. Special Prosecutor Angela Corey says the charges are based on the merits of the case and were not influenced by the several weeks of nationwide protests and a massive social media campaign. We speak with NAACP President Benjamin Jealous, who disagrees. "The reality is that [Corey] would not be the prosecutor but for [Trayvon’s] family standing up, and millions of people with them, and saying, 'We need justice in this case.'" We’re also joined by attorney Jasmine Rand, head of the civil rights division at Parks & Crump Law Firm, which is representing Martin’s family. "I think that the federal government needs to look very closely at all of the facts and investigate whether or not there was a hate crime," Rand says. [includes rush transcript]

  • Connecticut Poised to Repeal Death Penalty as Momentum Grows for Supreme Court Challenge


    Lawmakers in Connecticut have given final approval to a measure that would repeal the state’s death penalty for future convictions. The bill now goes to Gov. Dannel Malloy, who’s pledged to sign it into law. Connecticut would become the fifth state in five years to abolish the death penalty and the 17th state overall, moving activists closer to the 26 states needed to bring a challenge to the Supreme Court. "This is our first victory since Troy [Davis] was executed," says NAACP President Ben Jealous. "This is a hard-won bit of progress on the issue of human rights for our country." [includes rush transcript]

  • Outrage over "Stand Your Ground" Laws After Trayvon Martin Killing Sparks Corporate Exodus from ALEC


    Amidst a movement to overturn "Stand Your Ground" gun laws after the Trayvon Martin shooting, we look at the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a corporate-funded group that worked with the National Rifle Association to pass the measures across the country. On Wednesday, the fast-food giant Wendy’s became the sixth corporation to publicly cut ties with the secretive right-wing group for backing the laws. Over the past week McDonald’s, Kraft Foods, Coca-Cola, Pepsi and Intuit have all announced that they have decided to not renew their membership with ALEC. We speak with Lisa Graves, executive director of the Center for Media and Democracy, which runs "ALEC Exposed," a website that published more than 800 "model" bills and resolutions secretly voted on by corporations and politicians. "We’ve seen ALEC, which is really a corporate bill mill, push legislation on all sorts of issues to make it harder for Americans to get justice, to make it harder for Americans to vote, to make it harder for Americans to have their day in court if they or their loved one is killed or injured by a corporation, by corporate greed, by a bad drug, by a product," Graves says. She notes many of the draft bills outline the privatization of Social Security, schools and prisons. [includes rush transcript]

  • Grand Jury Hears Kenneth Chamberlain Sr. Case as Autopsy Casts Further Doubt on Police Claims


    A grand jury met Wednesday to consider whether charges should be filed in the police shooting of retired Marine Kenneth Chamberlain Sr., who was killed when police, responding to a false alarm from his LifeAid medical-alert pendant, burst into his White Plains apartment, tasered him and shot him dead on November 19, 2011. Lawyers for Chamberlain’s family say newly revealed documents show the White Plains police violated their own taser policy by using the weapon on an elderly person and failing to give verbal warnings. In addition, the lawyers have raised questions about the police account of Chamberlain’s death based on the findings of his autopsy. On what would have been Chamberlain’s 69th birthday, we’re joined by two attorneys for his family, Mayo Bartlett and Abdulwali Muhammad. [includes rush transcript]