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Friday, August 15, 2014

  • Facing National Outcry, Ferguson Police Drop Military-Grade Gear as Protests Continue over Shooting

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    Protests are continuing in Ferguson, Missouri, over the death of Michael Brown, an unarmed African-American teenager who was shot by police on Saturday. But the mood in Ferguson has changed drastically over the past 24 hours. On Wednesday night, the city looked like a war zone as police fired tear gas, stun grenades and smoke bombs. Police arrested at least 10 people, including a St. Louis alderman and two journalists. But last night the mood was less tense after Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon put an African-American Highway Patrol captain, Ron Johnson, in charge of security in the town of Ferguson. Johnson marched with protesters and ordered the riot gear put away. We go to St. Louis to speak with the Rev. Renita Lamkin, who was hit with a rubber bullet by police on Wednesday while attending the protest, and Patricia Bynes, Democratic committee member of Ferguson Township.

  • Cops or Soldiers? Pentagon, DHS Helped Arm Police in Ferguson with Equipment Used in War

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    The events in Ferguson over the past week have sparked a national debate over racial profiling and the militarization of local police forces. On Thursday, Attorney General Eric Holder said, "I am deeply concerned that the deployment of military equipment and vehicles sends a conflicting message." What Holder did not mention was the federal government’s role in supplying local police forces with military-grade equipment. The New York Times reports Department of Homeland Security grant money paid for the $360,000 BearCat armored truck on patrol in Ferguson. Most of the body armor worn by officers responding to the Ferguson protests was also paid for with federal money. We speak to Radley Balko, author of the book, "Rise of the Warrior Cop: The Militarization of America’s Police Forces." "When we take domestic police officers and we train them like soldiers and we give them military gear and we dress them up like soldiers and we tell them they’re fighting a war — a war on crime or a war on terror — they’re going to start to see themselves as soldiers," Balko says.

  • As WHO Warns Ebola Death Toll is Underestimated, How Should Global Community Handle Dire Crisis?

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    The World Health Organization is now saying the number of reported cases and deaths of Ebola in West Africa vastly underestimates the scale of the outbreak. The official death toll from the Ebola outbreak is now at 1,069 since February. Guinea has become the fourth country in Africa to declare a national health emergency as it battles the spread of the deadly Ebola virus in the worst outbreak since the disease was discovered in 1976. The outbreak began in Guinea, where it has killed 377 people. It has since spread to Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria, which have all declared a national health emergency. We speak to three guests: Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Laurie Garrett, senior fellow for global health at the Council on Foreign Relations; public health law professor Lawrence Gostin of Georgetown University; and medical anthropologist Adia Benton of Brown University, who has conducted research on infectious disease in Sierra Leone over several years.