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You turn to Democracy Now! for ad-free news you can trust. Maybe you come for our daily headlines, or for in-depth stories that expose government and corporate abuses of power. We produce our daily news hour at a fraction of the budget of a commercial news operation, all without ads, government funding or corporate underwriting? This is only possible with your support. Right now every donation to Democracy Now! will be doubled by a generous supporter. This means if you give $25 today, Democracy Now! will get $50 to support our daily news hour. Please do your part. It takes just a couple of minutes to make sure that Democracy Now! is there for you and everybody else in the coming year. Thanks so much. -Amy Goodman
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Maryland Governor Larry Hogan has deployed the National Guard in Baltimore amid an uprising over the death of Freddie Gray. Gray died a week after a police encounter which his family said left his spine “80 percent severed” at the neck. Police stopped him because he made eye contact with a lieutenant, then ran away. Two weeks of peaceful protest over Gray’s death erupted into violence Monday as high school students threw bricks and rocks at police, and looting and vandalism were reported across the city. Overnight, cars and buildings were burned. Police said 15 officers were injured, though all are expected to recover. At least 27 people were arrested. Governor Hogan denounced the protesters as “gangs of thugs roaming the streets.”
Governor Larry Hogan: “Everybody believes we need to get to the answers and resolve this situation, the concern everybody has about what exactly happened in the Freddie Gray incident. That’s one whole situation. This is an entirely different situation. This is lawless gangs of thugs roaming the streets, causing damage to property and injuring innocent people, and we’re not going to tolerate that.”
Following Ferguson, this marks the second time in six months the National Guard has been called to restore order after protests over police violence.
The protests came after Freddie Gray’s funeral was attended by thousands, including Maryland Democratic Congressmember Elijah Cummings; a delegation from the White House; and the family of Eric Garner, the Staten Island man who died after a New York City police officer put him in a banned chokehold. Billy Murphy, an attorney for Freddie Gray’s family, addressed the mourners.
Billy Murphy: “You know, most of us are not here because we knew Freddie Gray, but we’re all here because we know lots of Freddie Grays.”
Rev. Jesse Jackson also addressed mourners. We’ll speak to him in Baltimore after headlines.
Not far from the upheaval in Baltimore, Loretta Lynch was sworn in as the nation’s first African-American woman attorney general at a ceremony in Washington, D.C.
Loretta Lynch: “If a little girl from North Carolina, who used to tell her grandfather in the fields to lift her up on the back of his mule so she could see way up high, granddaddy, can grow up to become the chief law enforcement officer of the United States of America, we can do anything.”
Lynch released a statement on the situation in Baltimore, vowing to “bring the full resources of the Department of Justice to bear in protecting those under threat, investigating wrongdoing, and securing an end to violence.” The Justice Department is investigating Freddie Gray’s death.
The prime minister of Nepal has warned the death toll from Saturday’s devastating 7.8-magnitude earthquake could reach 10,000. The toll now stands at over 4,300 and is continuing to climb, with 8,000 injured. While humanitarian aid has begun to reach the capital Kathmandu, residents of remote villages remain cut off by landslides, as they struggle to bury their dead. Entire villages have been flattened. Nepal has attempted to airdrop supplies, while residents complain of a dire need for food and water. UNICEF spokesperson Christophe Boulierac said up to one million children require urgent aid.
Christophe Boulierac: “So far, we think that nearly one million children are affected by the earthquake and are in need of emergency assistance. Usually in these situations, such as in Haiti in 2010, there are lots of surgery which is required for children who are maimed, who lost a part of one leg or an arm. So these are really pathologies typical that we find during situations of earthquake that needs urgent surgery.”
In Nigeria, hundreds of bodies have been found in the northeastern town of Damasak, after an apparent massacre by the militant group Boko Haram. Local sources told Agence France-Presse the death toll exceeds 400, with bodies found in homes, streets and a dried-up river. Troops from Chad and Niger retook the town from Boko Haram last month, discovering another mass grave containing about 100 bodies.
In Libya, five journalists with a Libyan TV station have been found dead with their throats slit eight months after they went missing. An army commander told Reuters the journalists were killed by militants with the self-proclaimed Islamic State.
A United Nations probe has confirmed Israeli forces conducted direct attacks on United Nations facilities in Gaza, killing at least 44 Palestinians sheltering at the sites during last summer’s assault. The attacks took place despite repeated notifications with the GPS coordinates of U.N. sites to Israeli forces. In one case, the Israeli Defense Forces fired 88 mortar rounds at a U.N. girls’ school where 3,000 refugees were sleeping, killing up to 18 people, including a U.N. employee and two of his sons. The probe also found Palestinian militants hid weapons at three empty U.N. schools. Palestinians have vowed to bring the findings to the International Criminal Court at The Hague, where they became the newest member earlier this month.
The Supreme Court is hearing arguments today in a historic case that could legalize same-sex marriage across the United States. Same-sex couples can now wed in 36 states and Washington, D.C. But the case under consideration today could establish the constitutional right to marriage equality in all 50 states. The plaintiff in the case, Jim Obergefell, married his longtime partner John Arthur in Maryland when Arthur was dying of ALS. Their home state of Ohio has refused to recognize their marriage on Arthur’s death certificate, a right Obergefell said is worth fighting for.
Jim Obergefell: “The state of Ohio wants nothing more than to take John’s last official record as a person and to change it so that it’s wrong. They want to erase the fact that John and I were legally married. They want to erase the official record of our marriage, of me as John’s spouse. There’s no way I would ever stop fighting for that.”
In Oklahoma, the undersheriff of Tulsa County has resigned after a leaked report showed he intimidated staff to protect a reserve deputy and wealthy donor who killed an unarmed African-American man earlier this month. The deputy, Robert Bates, claimed he mistook his gun for a Taser when he fatally shot Eric Harris. An internal report from 2009 reveals how Bates was permitted to flout policies, patrolling in his own vehicle and conducting traffic stops on his own without adequate training. It found Undersheriff Tim Albin instructed staff to overlook Bates’ violations, telling a sergeant to “stop messing with [Bates] because he does a lot of good for the county.” Sheriff’s officials initially claimed they couldn’t find any record of the 2009 probe, but a lawyer for Eric Harris’ family obtained a leaked copy. A judge allowed Robert Bates to go on a month-long vacation to the Bahamas after he pleaded not guilty to second-degree manslaughter in the death of Eric Harris.
In South Carolina, two police officers in the city of Marion have been sentenced to prison for unnecessarily shocking a disabled woman with a Taser at least eight times in 2013. Franklin Brown, who shocked the victim, Melissa Davis, while she was handcuffed and not resisting, received an 18-month term, while fellow officer Eric Walters was sentenced to a year. Brown admitted telling fellow officers he shocked Davis because he “did not want to touch that nasty [expletive].”
A new report by the International Business Times has revealed Goldman Sachs paid former President Bill Clinton $200,000 to deliver a speech, just months before the banking giant began lobbying the State Department, which was then led by Hillary Clinton. The report by David Sirota and Andrew Perez is the latest to raise questions about the Clintons’ financial ties. On Sunday, the Clinton Foundation acknowledged mistakes in how it reported donations from foreign governments, saying it “mistakenly combined” the sums with other donations, and would refile tax returns.
And a federal judge has rejected a bid by the food industry to strike down a Vermont law which would make the state the first in the country to require labeling of genetically modified foods. The judge rejected a request by industry groups to block the law, but let the groups’ lawsuit move forward, paving the way for a trial over the law. Meanwhile, the fast-food company Chipotle says it has become the first national restaurant chain to eliminate GMO foods.