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.

Image Credit: flickr.com/ep_jhu
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    Hundreds gathered Saturday to remember Sandra Bland at the suburban Chicago church she attended for decades before moving to Waller County, Texas, where she was set to begin a new job but was then discovered dead in her jail cell after a traffic stop escalated into an arrest. The 28-year-old African-American woman’s family members stood before her open casket as they continued to dispute law enforcement claims she hung herself with the liner...
    July 27, 2015 | Story
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    We feature a video just released by the oral history project StoryCorps called "Traffic Stop," in which Alex Landau, an African-American man, recalls how he was raised by his adoptive white parents to believe that skin color didn’t matter. But when he was pulled over by Denver police officers in 2009, he lost his belief in a color-blind world when he was nearly beaten to death. Alex and his white adoptive mother, Patsy Hathaway,...
    July 27, 2015 | Story
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    More than a thousand Black Lives Matter supporters converged in Cleveland, Ohio, this weekend for a historic conference to raise national attention about police brutality and other pressing issues, including immigration rights, economic justice and LGBTQ rights. During the opening ceremony, family members of more than 20 African Americans killed by police took to the stage to speak about why they continue to fight for justice. Democracy Now!’s...
    July 27, 2015 | Story
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    Law enforcement officials in Waller County, Texas, have concluded that the cause of Sandra Bland’s death in police custody was suicide. But Bland’s family and friends dispute claims she was suicidal, and say there is no evidence she previously tried to kill herself before her traffic stop escalated into an arrest. We are joined by Sharon Cooper, who is Sandra Bland’s sister. Also with us is Cannon Lambert, the attorney representing...
    July 24, 2015 | Story
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    As a Movement for Black Lives Convening is set to take place this weekend in Cleveland, we discuss the case of Sandra Bland and many others who have died in the custody of law enforcement with the three founders of the Black Lives Matter movement. Patrisse Cullors is the director of Truth and Reinvestment at the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights in Oakland, California, and the founder of Dignity and Power Now, a grassroots organization in Los...
    July 24, 2015 | Story
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    In Texas, new information has emerged about the arrest of Sandra Bland, the 28-year-old African-American woman found dead in a jail cell in what authorities claim was a suicide by hanging. Bland was stopped for not signaling a lane change. Dash cam video shows Texas State Trooper Brian Encinia forced her from her car, threatening to "light [her] up," after she failed to put out her cigarette. Now, Waller County Sheriff Glenn Smith...
    July 23, 2015 | Story
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    In Texas, authorities have released police dashboard camera footage that shows the arrest of Sandra Bland, a 28-year-old African-American woman who was found dead in a jail cell in Waller County, Texas, last week after a traffic stop for not signaling a lane change. Authorities have said her death was a suicide, a claim that her friends and family have disputed. The arrest video shows Trooper Brian Encinia threatening to "light [Bland]...
    July 22, 2015 | Story
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    Last Friday, an African-American woman was returning home from a job interview in Waller County, Texas, when she was stopped by police. Apparently, she had improperly signaled a lane change. Two days later, the woman, Sandy Bland, was found dead in a jail cell. A video taken by a bystander during the arrest shows Bland shouting that the officer had slammed her head into the ground. According to police, Sandra Bland was taken into custody and...
    July 17, 2015 | Story
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    After a two-year legal battle between the California city of Gardena and news outlets, a federal judge has ordered the release of police dash cam footage that shows local police officers shooting an unarmed man. In the video unsealed Tuesday, police order Ricardo Diaz-Zeferino and two other men to raise their hands in the air. The men comply. Diaz-Zeferino then lowers and raises his hands several times and removes his cap. His friends say he...
    July 17, 2015 | Story
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    New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has announced plans to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate police killings of unarmed civilians, making New York the first state to do so. Cuomo’s move came a day after mothers of New Yorkers killed by police rallied outside his New York City office demanding he fulfill his promise to appoint the special prosecutor if state lawmakers did not take action. We speak to Gwen Carr, the mother of Eric...
    July 10, 2015 | Story