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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  • Anderson-boyd-carey-cusseaux-frey-moore-say-her-name
    As the Black Lives Matter movement grows across the country, the names of Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice and Freddie Gray have become well known. All died at the hands of local police, sparking waves of protest. During this time, far less attention has been paid to women who have been killed by law enforcement. Today, a vigil under the banner of Say Her Name is being organized in New York to remember them. We are joined by Kimberlé...
    May 20, 2015 | Story
  • Michelle-cusseaux-police-killing-say-her-name
    Last year on August 14, just days after Michael Brown was fatally shot in Ferguson, Michelle Cusseaux was killed at close range by a Phoenix police officer who had been called to take the 50-year-old woman to a mental health facility. The officer, Sgt. Percy Dupra, claims Cusseaux threatened him with a hammer. Her family joined supporters the week after her death in marching her casket from Phoenix City Hall to the U.S. Attorney’s Office...
    May 20, 2015 | Story
  • James-brown-texas-police-assault-death-2
    Newly released video has revealed the dying moments of an African-American active-duty soldier who checked himself into the El Paso, Texas, county jail for a two-day sentence for driving under the influence, and died while in custody in 2012. Authorities claimed Sgt. James Brown died due to a pre-existing medical condition, but shocking new video from inside the jail raises new questions about what happened. The video shows guards swarming on...
    May 20, 2015 | Story
  • Rekia-boyd-police-killing-say-her-name-1
    Rekia Boyd was 22 years old when she was killed in 2012 by an off-duty Chicago police detective. Dante Servin fired several shots over his shoulder into a group of people Boyd was standing with near his home, striking her in the back of her head. He was charged with involuntary manslaughter, marking the first time in 15 years a Chicago police officer was charged for a fatal shooting. But last month, in a dramatic dismissal, Judge Dennis Porter...
    May 20, 2015 | Story
  • James-brown-texas-police-assault-death-1
    Newly released video captures the final moments of an active-duty soldier who died after self-reporting to an El Paso, Texas jail in 2012 for a two-day sentence for driving while intoxicated. Sgt. James Brown told guards he couldn’t breathe at least 20 times, as they piled on top of him, carried him to an infirmary, and placed a mask over his face.
    May 15, 2015 | Web Exclusive
  • Angel-perez-chicago-homan-square-police-torture-2
    More victims have come forward to detail recent abuse inside Homan Square, a secret compound used by Chicago police for incommunicado interrogations and detentions which some have described as the domestic equivalent of a CIA black site overseas. Exclusive video obtained by The Guardian shows a Chicago man named Angel Perez being taken inside a "prisoner entrance." Perez says police handcuffed his right wrist to a metal bar and then...
    May 15, 2015 | Story
  • Darrell-cannon-chicago-police-torture-reparations-2
    Earlier this month, the Chicago City Council approved a $5.5 million reparations fund for victims of police torture. More than 200 people, most of them African-American, were tortured under the reign of Chicago Police Commander Jon Burge from 1972 to 1991. Tactics included electric shocks and suffocation. The reparations package will provide free city college tuition for victims and relatives, counseling services, a memorial to victims,...
    May 15, 2015 | Story
  • Tony-robinson-wisconsin-police-shooting-1
    A Madison, Wisconsin, police officer will not face criminal charges for fatally shooting an unarmed African-American teenager. Tony Robinson was shot dead in March after Officer Matt Kenny forced his way into an apartment following a "disturbance." Kenny says Robinson attacked him upon his entry. On Tuesday, the Dane County district attorney said an investigation found Kenny was lawful in firing the fatal shots. Robinson’s...
    May 13, 2015 | Story
  • Move-police-bombing-philadelphia-1985
    Today marks the 30th anniversary of a massive police operation in Philadelphia that culminated in the helicopter bombing of the headquarters of a radical group known as MOVE. The fire from the attack incinerated six adults and five children, and destroyed 65 homes. Despite two grand jury investigations and a commission finding that top officials were grossly negligent, no one from city government was criminally charged. MOVE was a...
    May 13, 2015 | Story
  • Baltimore-mosby-state-attorney-police-2
    As the Justice Department launches a probe of the Baltimore Police Department for a potential pattern of unconstitutional policing in the wake of the death of Freddie Gray, attorneys for the six officers indicted over Gray’s death are challenging the role of Baltimore’s top prosecutor, Marilyn Mosby. On Friday, defense lawyers filed a motion demanding Mosby recuse herself because of alleged conflicts of interest and...
    May 11, 2015 | Story