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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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In Ohio, a grand jury has indicted a University of Cincinnati police officer on murder charges for shooting Sam DuBose, an unarmed African-American man. Police officer Ray Tensing fatally shot DuBose on July 19, after pulling him over for not having a front license plate. In announcing the indictment Wednesday, prosecutor Joseph Deters called the killing “senseless” and “horrible.”
Joseph Deters: “I’ve been doing this for over 30 years. This is the most asinine act I’ve ever seen a police officer make. Totally unwarranted. It was — it’s an absolute tragedy in the year 2015 that anyone would behave in this manner. It was senseless. And I met with the family just moments ago. It’s just horrible.”
Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley praised the indictment of Officer Tensing and compared it to cases in other cities where grand juries chose not to indict police officers.
Mayor John Cranley: “We wanted the truth to come out. And when you look at, for example, the videos in New York earlier this year and you see that no charge was brought, there was a great sense that maybe justice was not done.”
The prosecutor released footage from Officer Ray Tensing’s body camera, which shows Tensing approaching Sam DuBose’s car and telling him that he was stopped for not having his front license plate mounted. The officer asks to see a bottle lying on the floor of the passenger side seat, and DuBose hands him an unopened bottle labeled “gin.” Then Tensing asks to see DuBose’s license. As DuBose searches for it, he acknowledges to Tensing that he might not have the license on him and asks him to run his name instead. Tensing grows agitated and asks him to take off his seat belt. DuBose protests, saying he didn’t do anything. Then he turns the key to start the car. Tensing then reaches into the car and shoots DuBose in the head. A warning to our video audience, the video is graphic.
Officer Ray Tensing: “OK, well, until I can figure out if you have a license or not, go ahead and take your seat belt off for me.”
Sam DuBose: “I didn’t even do do nothing.”
Tensing: “Go ahead and take your seat belt off. Stop! Stop!”
Officer Tensing claimed that he shot DuBose because he was dragged by the car as DuBose drove away. However, the body cam video appears to show the car didn’t start moving until after DuBose was shot. After the indictment of Officer Tensing Wednesday, protesters gathered to demand an end to police brutality. Sam DuBose’s nine-year-old son, Samuel, addressed the crowd.
Samuel DuBose: “I feel good that he’s being locked up, because he had shot him, blatantly murdered. He didn’t do nothing but shoot him. He just shot him. Like what is he doing? My daddy, he was just shot at. [inaudible] They just shot him in the head. He didn’t go. He didn’t get caught up in a car. This dude lied. He knew he was going to be on video. He knew he was going to lie. He thought he wasn’t going to get locked up. That’s why they’re charging him for murder.”
It is the first time a police officer has ever been indicted for murder in the county.
In news from the Middle East, residents are fleeing the Kurdish village of Amadiya after Turkey’s heaviest airstrikes in two weeks pummeled the hillside town in northern Iraq. Turkey has said the targets of the airstrikes are the military camps of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, known as the PKK. But residents of Amadiya say yesterday’s airstrikes struck civilian homes and fields.
In news from Egypt, the announcement of the verdict in the trial of two Al Jazeera journalists accused of supporting the Muslim Brotherhood has been abruptly postponed. An Egyptian court had been due to issue its ruling in the retrial of Mohamed Fahmy and Baher Mohamed, who each spent more than a year in prison on charges of aiding a terrorist organization before being released on bail in February. Their verdict is now expected August 8. Journalist Mohamed Fahmy spoke out Wednesday.
Mohamed Fahmy: “I really don’t know what’s going to happen. I am paying for my own legal fees. It’s become really costly for me, and on every level — emotionally, financially. My whole family is stressed. I enjoyed my first couple of days of freedom, but it’s still limited freedom.”
In news from Afghanistan, the spokesperson for the Afghan national security agency has said there is “no doubt” that Taliban leader Mullah Omar died more than two years ago. The Afghan government has said it is assessing the reports. U.S. intelligence officials are also still investigating. On Wednesday, White House Deputy Press Secretary Eric Schultz said the reports of Omar’s death are “credible.”
White House Deputy Press Secretary Eric Schultz: “We are aware of the death — of reports of the death of Mullah Omar. Without commenting on the specifics of these reports, we do believe the reports of his death are credible. Beyond that, I’m not going to be in a position to comment on the specifics surrounding his death.”
The FBI has arrested a Florida man for allegedly plotting an attack in support of the self-proclaimed Islamic State, after an FBI informant supplied him with a explosive device. The 23-year-old man, named Harlem Suarez, had been under FBI surveillance for months. Earlier this week, an FBI agent posing as an operative for ISIL took Suarez to meet another FBI agent, who gave Suarez an inert explosive device and told him how to use it. When Suarez exited the car, the agents arrested him.
In news from Tunisia, Parliament has overwhelmingly passed a new terror law. The legislation allows for police to detain suspects for up to 15 days without giving them access to a lawyer or a judge. It also allows prosecutors to seek the death penalty in terrorism cases. The new legislation comes after last month’s deadly shooting in the resort town of Sousse, when a shooter killed 38 people, mostly British tourists.
In news from the campaign trail, Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders has hosted the biggest online and grassroots organizing event of the 2016 campaign. Wednesday night, as many as 100,000 people gathered for simultaneous house parties in all 50 states. During a 20-minute livestream address played during the house parties, Sanders addressed police brutality and the case of Sandra Bland, an African-American woman who died in a Texas jail two weeks ago after being arrested for failing to signal a lane change.
Sen. Bernie Sanders: “We are tired of seeing black women yanked out of a car, thrown to the ground, assaulted, put in handcuffs, and then sent to jail and die three days later, in the case of Sandra Bland. For what crime? She didn’t signal that she made a left turn. And we’re seeing that all over this country. Enough is enough. We have got to combat institutional racism in the United States of America.”
In California, authorities are investigating a two-mile-long oil slick that has appeared in the water off the coast of Santa Barbara. Two kayakers discovered the slick Wednesday when they suddenly found their legs and boats covered in oil. The slick appeared about 12 miles away from the site of a massive pipeline spill in May, which dumped 100,000 gallons of crude oil onto the beach.
Planned Parenthood’s website was reportedly attacked by anti-choice activists Wednesday, who took the site offline for hours. The organization tweeted that the site was being targeted “by anti-abortion extremists.” The online attack comes as Planned Parenthood is under fire from anti-choice activists, who are accusing the organization of selling fetal tissue. Planned Parenthood has repeatedly said that it shares the tissue with medical researchers without making any profit. Meanwhile, a California court issued a restraining order Wednesday to prevent the same anti-choice group that released edited videos of Planned Parenthood from releasing videos about a California company that supplies fetal tissue to medical researchers.
And three graduates of the University of Virginia have sued Rolling Stone for defamation over a now-discredited article about an alleged gang rape on the college campus. The article was later retracted after parts of the article’s account were found to be inaccurate. The graduates, who were members of the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity, have sued both the magazine and the article’s author. Meanwhile, Rolling Stone managing editor Will Dana has announced he is stepping down after 19 years at the magazine.