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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 Charleston, South Carolina, a judge has declared a mistrial in the murder trial of white former police officer Michael Slager, who was caught on video fatally shooting 50-year-old African American Walter Scott in the back as he ran away in April 2015. Officer Slager had stopped Walter Scott for a broken taillight. After Scott fled the car, video filmed by a bystander shows Officer Slager fatally shooting Scott in the back from more than 17 feet away. Despite the distance and the fact that Walter Scott was unarmed, Officer Slager argued during his trial that he was in “total fear” for his life. There were 11 white jurors and one black juror on the panel, which deadlocked after four days of deliberations. This is Judge Clifton Newman.
Judge Clifton Newman: “I have a final note from the jury. It says, 'We, as the jury, regret to inform the court that despite the best efforts on all members, we are unable to come to a unanimous decision in the case of the state versus Michael Slager.' So I am going to bring the jury out and to declare a mistrial.”
Walter Scott’s killing in 2015 sparked protests nationwide. Prosecutors say they will retry the case. This is Walter Scott’s mother, Judy Scott.
Judy Scott: “I believe God. I am encouraged, because I know God is able. He will get his just reward. And we have the federal trial and another trial to go. I’m just waiting on the lord. I’m just going to rest in the lord. I don’t care what man say. I don’t care how it looks. It’s not over. Y’all hear me? It’s not over 'til God say it's over.”
The jury of 11 white people and one black man came from the city of North Charleston, which is nearly half black. The mistrial comes after a jury deadlocked in another high-profile police killing: the fatal shooting of African American Samuel DuBose by white former University of Cincinnati police officer Ray Tensing in Ohio in 2015.
A Republican member of the Electoral College has come out saying he will not vote for President-elect Donald Trump when the Electoral College meets on December 19. Christopher Suprun, a paramedic from Texas, wrote in an op-ed published in The New York Times Monday that Trump is “not qualified for the office” of the presidency, and called on his fellow Republican electors to unite behind another Republican presidential candidate, such as Ohio Gov. John Kasich.
In Florida, three voters have sued to demand a hand recount of the paper ballots, alleging the presidential election was skewed by hacking and malfunctioning voter machines. Donald Trump was declared the winner of Florida by more than 112,000 votes.
Meanwhile, a recount in Michigan is running into problems due to a state law that says a voting precinct cannot be recounted if the number of ballots in the box doesn’t exactly match the number on the poll books. The law could make precincts across the state ineligible for the recount. Click here to see our interview with the Green Party’s Jill Stein, who sued for the recount in Michigan, as well as in Wisconsin.
President-elect Donald Trump and his daughter Ivanka met with former Vice President Al Gore Monday to discuss climate change. Trump has rejected global scientific consensus and called climate change a Chinese hoax. This comes as the volcano peaks of Hawaii’s Big Island have been hit by nearly three feet of snow—with meteorologists warning more is on the way.
The Washington Post has revealed the Pentagon sought to bury an internal study that revealed the Pentagon’s vast bureaucracy wastes as much as $125 billion. Sources told the Post the Pentagon hid the study out of concerns Congress would use it to cut the defense budget.
Palestinian leaders and the international community are expressing outrage at the Israeli parliament’s vote Monday to retroactively legalize thousands of Jewish-only settlements on Palestinian land in the Israeli-occupied West Bank. The settlements are considered illegal under international law. The measure passed the first of three required votes during a contentious session Monday, 60 to 49. This is Arab-Israeli lawmaker Ahmad Tibi.
Ahmad Tibi: “The law of organizing and legalizing the settlements, Amona, specifically, is one of the most dangerous laws. This says that this state and its institutions are focusing on settlements and changing the law or putting the law or facing the high court, which ordered the evacuation of Amona for these houses, that were built on a stolen Palestinian land whose owners exist.”
In news from the Morocco-occupied Western Sahara, 22 year-old media activist Walid Fatal was sentenced yesterday by a Moroccan court to 14 months in prison for filming a peaceful protest in the city of Smara last November 25 on International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. Twenty protesters, mostly women, were injured by police at the protest, according to the Sahrawi women’s group FAFESA. The court found Fatal guilty of obstructing a public road and attacking a police officer, but Fatal claims he was only filming the protest for the Sahrawi media group Smara News. He is one of several media activists recently arrested and tried by Morocco in the Western Sahara, where independent journalists are frequently harassed. Last month, Reporters Without Borders called on Moroccan authorities to stop violating the rights of Sahrawi and foreign journalists and to end all reporting restrictions in Western Sahara, a territory occupied by Morocco for 41 years.
On the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in North Dakota, Wes Clark Jr., the son of the retired U.S. Army general and former supreme allied commander of NATO, Wesley Clark Sr., led military veterans in a ceremony Monday to ask forgiveness from Native Americans for the crimes of the U.S. military. Thousands of Native and non-Native veterans have descended on Standing Rock to support the water protectors fighting the $3.8 billion pipeline in recent days. This is Wes Clark Jr.
Wes Clark Jr.: “We came. We fought you. We took your land. We signed treaties that we broke. We stole minerals from your sacred hills. We blasted the faces of our presidents onto your sacred mountain. And we took still more land. And then we took your children. And then we tried to take your language. We tried to eliminate your language, that God gave you and that the creator gave you. We didn’t respect you. We polluted your earth. We’ve hurt you in so many ways. And we’ve come to say that we are sorry, we are at your service, and we beg for your forgiveness.”
That was Army veteran Wes Clark Jr., son of U.S. retired Army General Wes Clark Sr., kneeling at the feet of Leonard Crow Dog, Lakota medicine man and spiritual leader of the American Indian Movement who was part of the 1973 occupation of Wounded Knee. On Sunday, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers denied the Dakota Access pipeline company a permit to drill underneath the Missouri River—halting construction for now. Water protectors have committed to remain at the resistance camps and stay vigilant, and the company has vowed to build on. Click here to see our coverage of Sunday’s historic victory.
Meanwhile, advisers to President-elect Donald Trump told Reuters they are proposing to privatize Native American reservations in order to further accelerate the extraction of oil, gas and other minerals. In response, Tom Goldtooth, head of the Indigenous Environmental Network, said, “Our spiritual leaders are opposed to the privatization of our lands, which means the commoditization of the nature, water, air we hold sacred. Privatization has been the goal since colonization—to strip Native Nations of their sovereignty.”
In Flint, Michigan, residents are warning the lead-poisoned water is still undrinkable—and may be getting even more toxic. Flint resident Melissa Mays of the group Water You Fighting For? said, “The longer they wait to change our pipes, the worse our water gets.” Last week, a judge rejected the state of Michigan’s attempt to stop delivering bottled water to Flint, warning of “irreparable harm” to residents.
In New York City, a 45-year-old Muslim transit worker wearing a headscarf was attacked Monday, pushed down the stairs at Grand Central Terminal and called a “terrorist” in the latest of a series of hate crimes against Muslims following the election of Donald Trump. On Saturday in Brooklyn, another man violently threatened an off-duty Muslim police officer, referring to her as ISIS and saying, “I will cut your throat. Go back to your country.”
In Oakland, California, residents are mourning the deaths of at least 36 people who were killed in a fire at the “Ghost Ship” warehouse Friday night. The fire is one of the deadliest building fires in the last half-century in the United States. The Ghost Ship was an artist collective that housed many young artists and musicians, and the victims were overwhelmingly young artists, activists and community organizers. This is Oakland resident Amir.
Amir: “Obviously, I’m sad. I knew two people in the fire, named Alex and Anna. You know, obviously, I’m sad, but I’m more concerned about their family and their well-being. More than that, I’ve lost two friends.”
Meanwhile, in Baltimore, authorities have abruptly shut down an artists’ space called the Bell Foundry, citing safety concerns. Artists say the space was raided, and they were abruptly evicted from their collective workspace with their things locked inside. They describe the Bell Foundry as a haven for queer people and people of color, with one artist saying, “This place saved my life—literally.”
And the state of Georgia is slated to execute William Sallie at 7 p.m. tonight. Sallie’s lawyers have demanded his execution be halted so he can have a hearing to address claims of juror bias—an issue that has not yet been heard by a court in his case. If executed tonight, Sallie would become the ninth person killed by the state of Georgia this year.