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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  • Filmingpolice
    Over the past week, video of police killings of unarmed African Americans in South Carolina and in Oklahoma has led to charges against the officers who fired the fatal shots. Meanwhile, 10 sheriff’s deputies have been suspended in California after a news helicopter filmed them kicking and punching a suspect as he lay face down in the desert after a chase. As video proves decisive in holding police accountable for abuses nationwide, we...
    April 14, 2015 | Story
  • Black-lives-matter-protest
    Cries of "Black Lives Matter" continue to ring out across the country after new police killings of unarmed African Americans. Over the weekend in South Carolina, the funeral was held in North Charleston for Walter Scott, the black man who fled a traffic stop and was fatally shot in the back by police officer Michael Slager. Video of the incident taken by a bystander forced the police to retract its initial defense of Slager and see...
    April 14, 2015 | Story
  • Orta_aunt_background_release
    Ramsey Orta, the man who filmed Eric Garner’s fatal chokehold on Staten Island, has been released from jail after his aunt and lawyers were interviewed on Democracy Now!
    April 13, 2015 | Web Exclusive
  • Mumia-abu-jamal-scott-slager
    Imprisoned journalist and former Black Panther Mumia Abu-Jamal has spoken out from a prison infirmary about the police killing of Walter Scott in South Carolina. Abu-Jamal, who is seriously ill at SCI Mahanoy, rose from his infirmary bed to record the commentary after a fellow prisoner wheeled in a TV so he could watch coverage of the shooting. In a Democracy Now! exclusive, we air an excerpt from Abu-Jamal’s Prison Radio commentary...
    April 10, 2015 | Story
  • Walter-scott-police-slager-shooting-south-carolina-1
    Democracy Now! co-host Juan González discusses how video of the Walter Scott killing echoes other videos of police shootings, such as Tamir Rice in Cleveland and Eric Garner in New York City. "People wonder why the Black Lives Matter movement has grown and spread so rapidly across the country," González notes, "when people are seeing these videos where people who are shot and not even given immediate aid." González writes...
    April 10, 2015 | Story
  • Police-body-camera-1
    The murder charges filed against North Charleston police officer Michael Slager for fatally shooting Walter Scott has reignited debate over whether officers should wear body cameras. Police were forced to change their story that Slager fired his gun because he feared for his safety, after Feidin Santana came forward with video of the encounter he filmed on his cellphone. The video shows Slager fired eight times as Scott was running away from...
    April 09, 2015 | Story
  • Ramsey-orta-garner-police-chokehold-staten-island
    As a South Carolina police officer faces murder charges after his fatal shooting of unarmed Walter Scott was caught on video, we look at what happened to the man who filmed Eric Garner’s fatal chokehold on Staten Island. While no police officers were indicted for Garner’s death, the man who filmed the attack, Ramsey Orta, is now locked up in jail after facing what he described as harassment by local police. Orta was first arrested...
    April 09, 2015 | Story
  • Walter-scott-south-carolina-police-shooting
    A white South Carolina police officer has been charged with murder after a video showed him shooting an apparently unarmed African-American man who was running away. The killing happened Saturday morning after North Charleston police officer Michael Slager stopped Walter Scott for a broken brake light. On the video, Slager is seen shooting at Scott eight times as he tries to flee. The North Charleston Police Department had initially defended...
    April 08, 2015 | Story
  • Lesley-mcspadden-mike-brown-ferguson2
    As the U.S. Department of Justice calls for a major overhaul of Ferguson’s criminal justice system after finding systemic discrimination against African-American residents, we speak with Michael Brown’s mother, Lesley McSpadden, who marched in Selma to mark the 50th anniversary of the protest for voting rights. "My son would have been able to vote had he still been alive for the election coming up," McSpadden says of...
    March 09, 2015 | Story
  • Johnlewisselmabloodysunday
    Thousands of people are expected to travel to Selma, Alabama, this weekend for the 50th anniversary of "Bloody Sunday," when hundreds of peaceful voting rights activists were attacked by police crossing the Edmund Pettus Bridge as they attempted to march to Montgomery on March 7, 1965. Bloody Sunday was the first of three attempted marches from Selma to Montgomery, which was finally completed under federal protection and led by Dr....
    March 06, 2015 | Story