Police Brutality Topics

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As scandals of police brutality have unraveled across the country, Democracy Now! documented the movements they spurred and their demands for accountability. Scroll through the stories below to see our extensive coverage of the killing of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, and how protesters continue to defy a militarized crackdown to call for the arrest of police officer Darren Wilson, who shot him. In New York City we covered the death of Eric Garner, who died when police placed him in a chokehold and then pinned him to the ground as he repeatedly told them, "I can’t breathe!" The fatal encounter was caught on camera by an onlooker using his smartphone and helped counter the police version of events. We have also documented the police killing of Kenneth Chamberlain Sr., a 68-year-old African-American Marine veteran who was shot dead by police inside his own home after he mistakenly set off his LifeAid medical alert pendant. We also interview many of the families of police victims, such as Kadiatou Diallo, mother of Amadou Diallo, who was killed when NYPD officers unleashed a 41-shot barrage with no warning and kept firing as he lay on the ground. In 2011-2012 we were there to witness the police crackdown on the Occupy movement, and interviewed Scott Olsen, who survived two tours in Iraq but almost died when he was hit with a police projectile at an Occupy Oakland protest. Our coverage includes conversations with advocates like Michelle Alexander, author of the best-selling book, "The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness."

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    We speak with Kamran Loghman, the expert who developed weapons-grade pepper spray, who says he was shocked at how police have used the chemical agent on nonviolent Occupy Wall Street protesters nationwide, including students at University of California, Davis, female protesters in New York City, and an 84-year-old activist in Seattle. "I saw it, and the first thing that came to my mind wasn’t police or students, was my own children...
    Nov 29, 2011 | Story
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    Activists in Egypt are holding their fourth day of massive demonstrations to demand an end to military rule and a transition to a civilian government. The protests continue amidst a massive crackdown and an offer to resign from Egypt’s interim cabinet. Reports from Cairo’s main morgue said at least 33 people have been killed and more than 1,500 wounded in the military government’s crackdown. The turmoil comes as Egypt is...
    Nov 22, 2011 | Story
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    The Occupy Wall Street movement entered its third month Thursday with protests against the economic system in dozens of cities across the country. Reports estimated some 300 people were arrested nationwide, with the majority of the arrests taking place in New York City when protesters attempted to shut down the New York Stock Exchange. "We effectively shut down Wall Street this morning. We did it with our stories, with our bodies, with...
    Nov 18, 2011 | Story
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    One of the factors that fueled Thursday’s huge march on the Brooklyn Bridge in New York City was the dramatic surprise police raid on Zuccotti Park earlier in the week. Among those arrested in the raid was New York City Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez. He was charged with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest and then held in a police van alone for two hours. Rodriguez’s arrest came just a week after he helped organized an...
    Nov 18, 2011 | Story
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    We speak with former freelancer at the New York Times, Natasha Lennard, who helped the newspaper cover the initial Occupy protests. She was arrested during the Brooklyn Bridge demonstration while reporting on the event. She no longer freelances for the Times and recently wrote a piece for Salon.com titled "Why I Quit the Mainstream Media." [includes rush transcript]
    Nov 17, 2011 | Story
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    Police departments across the country are coming under criticism for using excessive force against Occupy Wall Street protesters during the past two months. In Seattle, Mayor Mike McGinn apologized Wednesday, hours after an 84-year-old retired Seattle school teacher named Dorli Rainey was pepper-sprayed in the face during a protest. Photographs of her moments after she was pepper-sprayed went viral, showing the chemical irritant and liquid...
    Nov 17, 2011 | Story
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    We host a discussion on policing and the Occupy Wall Street movement with Chuck Wexler, director of the Police Executive Research Forum, which helped organize calls among police chiefs on how to respond to the Occupy protests, and with Norm Stamper, the former police chief of Seattle, who recently wrote an article for The Nation magazine titled "Paramilitary Policing from Seattle to Occupy Wall Street." "Trust me, the police do...
    Nov 17, 2011 | Story
  • We got word just after 1 a.m. Tuesday that New York City police were raiding the Occupy Wall Street encampment. I raced down with the “Democracy Now!” news team to Zuccotti Park, renamed Liberty Square. Hundreds of riot police had already surrounded the area.
    Nov 16, 2011 | Columns & Articles
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    Thousands of defiant Occupy Wall Street protesters streamed into Zuccotti Park late Tuesday, less than 24 hours after police forcibly removed them from their camp. Police arrested more than 200 people, including about a dozen who had chained themselves to each other and to trees. As protesters returned, a judge upheld the city’s ban preventing them from bringing backpacks, tents and sleeping bags with them into the park. Democracy Now!...
    Nov 16, 2011 | Story
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    As the Occupy movement approaches its two-month anniversary, we’re joined by two guests who are studying its strategies and successes. Author Jeff Sharlet helped found the group Occupy Writers and is assisting efforts to reestablish the evicted library at Occupy Wall Street. His recent article for Rolling Stone is "Inside Occupy Wall Street: How a Bunch of Anarchists and Radicals with Nothing but Sleeping Bags Launched a Nationwide...
    Nov 16, 2011 | Story