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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  • Ericholderfergusonreportlivestream
    The Justice Department is calling for a major overhaul of Ferguson’s criminal justice system after finding systemic discrimination against African-American residents.
    March 05, 2015 | Web Exclusive
  • Fergusonreport
    Read the DOJ reports issued today that find a "pattern and practice" of civil rights violations in Ferguson, and decline to bring criminal charges against Officer Darren Wilson for shooting unarmed African-American Michael Brown.
    March 04, 2015 | Web Exclusive
  • Michelle_alexander-new-jim-crow-mass-incarceration-4
    As the Justice Department sheds new light on the racist criminal justice system in Ferguson, legal scholar Michelle Alexander looks at the historical roots of what she describes as "the new Jim Crow." From mass incarceration to police killings to the drug war, Alexander explores how the crisis is a nationwide issue facing communities of color. "Today we see millions of poor people and folks of color who are trapped, yet again,...
    March 04, 2015 | Story
  • Michellealexanderondemocracynow2
    The U.S. Justice Department has concluded that the police and city courts in Ferguson, Missouri, routinely engaged in a pattern and practice of discrimination against African Americans. Despite comprising about 66 percent of the local population, African Americans accounted for 93 percent of arrests, 88 percent of incidents where force was used, 90 percent of citations and 85 percent of traffic stops. The Justice Department, which launched its...
    March 04, 2015 | Story
  • Antonio-zambrano-washington-pasco-police-shooting-1
    Authorities in Pasco, Washington, have revealed police fired 17 shots at Antonio Zambrano-Montes, an unarmed Mexican farmworker who was shot dead on February 10. Cellphone video shows Zambrano turning to face police and raising his hands before he is shot. The shooting has sparked weeks of protests. Live from Pasco, we speak with Felix Vargas, chairman of Consejo Latino, a group of local businessmen in Pasco who are working with...
    February 27, 2015 | Story
  • 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