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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  • Bn2015-0717_sandrabland2
    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
  • Bn2015-0717_dashcam3
    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
  • Ramsey-orta-garner-police-chokehold-staten-island1
    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
  • Bree-newsome-2
    In this exclusive, extended interview, we speak with Bree Newsome, who scaled the 30-foot flagpole at the South Carolina state Capitol on Saturday and brought down the Confederate flag. We also speak with James Tyson, who helped her.
    July 02, 2015 | Web Exclusive
  • Tamir-rice-cleveland-police-shooting-murder-toy-gun-2
    A judge in Ohio has found probable cause to charge a police officer with murder for the fatal shooting of 12-year-old Tamir Rice, who was shot dead at a playground while holding a toy gun. On Thursday, Judge Ronald Adrine of the Cleveland Municipal Court said there are grounds to prosecute the officers. The ruling came after community leaders in Cleveland took the unusual legal step on Tuesday of appealing directly to the judge to commence...
    June 12, 2015 | Story
  • Texas-pool-party-police-brutality-mckinney-gun-casebolt-1
    As a grand jury charges former South Carolina police officer Michael Slager with murder for the shooting death of unarmed African American Walter Scott, hundreds have protested in McKinney, Texas, against a white police officer who threw an African-American bikini-clad 14-year-old girl to the ground and pointed his pistol at other black youths at a pool party. We are joined by Cheryl Dorsey, a former sergeant in the Los Angeles Police...
    June 09, 2015 | Story
  • Amy_goodman_mhp_may30
    Watch Democracy Now! host and executive producer Amy Goodman on MSNBC’s "Melissa Harris-Perry" Show, where the conversation covered three Democratic presidential hopefuls as well as the unfolding FIFA scandal.
    May 31, 2015 | D.N. in the News
  • Cleveland-car
    The national conversation on policing African-American communities is focused on Cleveland today after a major federal settlement and a controversial verdict. The Justice Department has reached an agreement with Cleveland over a pattern of what it calls "unreasonable and unnecessary" force by police. A probe last year found "chaotic and dangerous" abuse across hundreds of incidents. This comes just days after an acquittal...
    May 26, 2015 | Story
  • Baltimorepolice3
    A grand jury has indicted six Baltimore police officers in the death of Freddie Gray, clearing the path for a criminal trial in the Maryland courts. Freddie Gray died on April 19 from his injuries suffered in police custody. The indictments came nearly three weeks after Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby first announced her decision to bring criminal charges against the officers. While some of the charges have been amended, the...
    May 22, 2015 | Story
  • Freddie-gray-baltimore
    New cellphone video sheds light on Freddie Gray’s fatal journey in a Baltimore police van. The footage obtained by The Baltimore Sun shows Gray lying motionless as several police officers shackle his ankles and load him into the vehicle. It appears to contradict earlier police claims that Gray was "irate" and "combative." One of the officers, Lt. Brian Rice, reportedly threatened to use his Taser on the eyewitness who...
    May 21, 2015 | Story