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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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  • Chicago-homan-square-police-torture-2
    An explosive new report in The Guardian claims the Chicago police are operating a secret compound for detentions and interrogations, often with abusive methods. According to The Guardian, detainees as young as 15 years old have been taken to a nondescript warehouse known as Homan Square. Some are calling it the domestic equivalent of a CIA "black site" overseas. Prisoners were denied access to their attorneys, beaten and held for up...
    February 26, 2015 | Story
  • Guantanamo-detainees-2
    A former Guantánamo Bay interrogator involved in torture was also a longtime Chicago police officer known for abusing people of color. According to The Guardian, Richard Zuley spent three decades as a notoriously brutal detective on the Chicago police force. From 1977 to 2007, Zuley used tactics including torture, threats and abuse to elicit confessions from suspects, the majority of whom were not white. One of those confessions was later...
    February 26, 2015 | Story
  • Jessie-hernandez-denver-police-shooting-1
    The fatal police shooting of a teenage girl in Denver has drawn protests amidst a nationwide push for more police accountability. On the morning of January 26, Denver police shot and killed 17-year-old Jessica Hernandez. They say she and several teenage friends were driving a stolen car that struck and injured an officer. Police Chief Robert White says his officers repeatedly told her to get out of the car before they opened fire. But a...
    February 13, 2015 | Story
  • Akai-gurley-police-shooting-1
    After months of demonstrations calling for justice, a New York City Police Department officer has been indicted for the fatal shooting of unarmed African American Akai Gurley last November. A grand jury elected to charge Officer Peter Liang with manslaughter, criminally negligent homicide, assault and official misconduct. Liang was reportedly carrying his gun in his left hand and a flashlight in his right when he opened the door to a dimly lit...
    February 11, 2015 | Story
  • Blacklivesmarch
    What did you listen to this MLK Day? Democracy Now! host Amy Goodman spoke with the arts and culture magazine BlackBook about what songs and interviews are on her mind.
    January 19, 2015 | D.N. in the News
  • Goodman_perry
    Watch Amy Goodman join Melissa Harris-Perry on MSNBC to talk about the history of policing in America, and the history of the role of white allies in racial justice protest movements.
    January 06, 2015 | D.N. in the News
  • 1229_seg4_polanco
    Some 20,000 people, including a sea of uniformed officers, gathered in New York City on Saturday for the funeral of NYPD Officer Rafael Ramos, one of the two killed in a targeted ambush one week before. It was said to be one of the largest police funerals in New York City history. Controversy erupted as hundreds of police turned their backs on Mayor Bill de Blasio as he delivered a eulogy inside the church, protesting his earlier comments on...
    December 29, 2014 | Story
  • 1224_seg1_justice4dontre2
    A Wisconsin prosecutor has decided not to bring charges against a white police officer who fatally shot a mentally ill African-American man. In April, Milwaukee Officer Christopher Manney responded to a call about a man sleeping in a park. Before Manney arrived, two other officers had already spoken to the man, Dontre Hamilton, and found he was not causing a problem. But Manney said Hamilton resisted when he tried to frisk him, sparking a...
    December 24, 2014 | Story
  • 1222_seg1-nypdofficersv2
    New York City is grappling with the aftermath of the first targeted killings of police officers in years. Officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos were ambushed in broad daylight while sitting in their patrol car in Brooklyn on Saturday. The shooter, 28-year-old Ismaaiyl Brinsley, fled to a nearby subway station where he turned the gun on himself. Brinsley had shot his former girlfriend hours earlier in Maryland, leaving her wounded. He later...
    December 22, 2014 | Story
  • Mike-brown-thumb
    As protests continue across the country over the police killing of Michael Brown, new questions are being raised about the grand jury that failed to indict Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson for shooting Brown. Many questions center on a woman identified in the grand jury documents simply as "Witness 40." She told the grand jury that Brown charged at Wilson "like a football player." Earlier this week, the website...
    December 17, 2014 | Story