Police Brutality Topics

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Democracy Now! has documented scandals of police brutality across the country. Scroll through the stories below to see our coverage of the killing of unarmed teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, and protests calling for the arrest of the officer who shot him. In New York City we reported on the death of Eric Garner after police placed him in a chokehold as he repeatedly told them, "I can’t breathe!" The encounter was recorded by an onlooker using his smartphone. We have also documented the killing of Kenneth Chamberlain Sr., a 68-year-old Marine veteran shot by police inside his own home after he mistakenly set off his LifeAid medical alert pendant. In 2011-2012 we covered the police crackdown on the Occupy movement, and spoke to Scott Olsen, who survived two tours in Iraq but nearly died when he was hit with a police projectile at an Occupy Oakland protest. We also interview loved ones of police victims, and feature 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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  • NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly was recently confronted with images of his officers abusing supporters of the Occupy Wall Street protest movement as he addressed students at Columbia University. While Kelly spoke a projection appeared on the wall behind him offering an "alternative presentation." Democracy Now! has exclusive video of the action.
    November 30, 2011 | Web Exclusive
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    Some 1,000 police officers raided the Occupy Los Angeles encampment in a park outside City Hall overnight, arresting scores of people and evicting what has been the largest Occupy camp in the country. Meanwhile, Occupy Philadelphia protesters vacated their encampment this morning after more than a thousand police moved in and warned them of mass arrests. We get eyewitness updates on both raids from National Lawyers Guild legal observer Ken...
    November 30, 2011 | Story
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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...
    November 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...
    November 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...
    November 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...
    November 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]
    November 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...
    November 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...
    November 17, 2011 | Story
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    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.
    November 16, 2011 | Columns & Articles