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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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Cleveland, Ohio, officials have agreed to pay $6 million to settle a lawsuit filed by the family of Tamir Rice. The African-American 12-year-old was fatally shot by police in 2014 while playing with a toy pellet gun in a Cleveland park. A 911 caller reported seeing him with a weapon but noted it was “probably fake”—that information was not relayed to the responding officers. Officer Timothy Loehmann shot Tamir within two seconds of arriving at the scene. Neither Loehmann nor his partner, Frank Garmback, administered any first aid. When Tamir’s 14-year-old sister rushed to her brother’s side, they tackled her to the ground, handcuffed her and put her in the cruiser. Tamir died the next day. Last year, a grand jury failed to bring charges against either of the officers. Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson announced the payout, which is likely the largest ever for the city in a police-related case.
Mayor Frank Jackson: “And while we have settled the legal side of this and the court proceeding side of this for $6 million, there is no price that you can put on the life, of the loss of a 12-year-old child.”
After the settlement was announced, the head of the police union, Stephen Loomis, sparked controversy by suggesting the Rice family use part of the money to “help educate the youth of Cleveland in the dangers associated with the mishandling of both real and facsimile firearms.” We’ll speak with an attorney for Tamir Rice’s family and a Black Lives Matter organizer after headlines.
Voters head to the polls today in Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island for the so-called Acela primary, nicknamed for the high-speed Amtrak train that runs through the states. On the Republican side, the primaries come after Ohio Governor John Kasich and Texas Senator Ted Cruz announced plans to coordinate to defeat Donald Trump in three upcoming states, though the alliance appears to be unraveling already. Cruz’s campaign has said it will focus on the May 3 primary in Indiana in order to allow Kasich to compete with Trump in Oregon and here in New Mexico. Trump mocked the alliance—and his rivals—at a stop in Warwick, Rhode Island.
Donald Trump: “In politics, because it’s a rigged system, because it’s a corrupt enterprise, in politics you’re allowed to collude. So they colluded, and actually I was happy, because it shows how weak they are. It shows how pathetic they are. … Now, you look at Kasich. I don’t think he knows what—you know, did you see him? He has a news conference all the time when he’s eating. I have never seen a human being eat in such a disgusting fashion.”
Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders rallied voters in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Monday, saying he could triumph in today’s contests if voter turnout is high.
Sen. Bernie Sanders: “All over this country, what we have found is that when voter turnout is high, we do very well. And I believe that if there is a high voter turnout tomorrow, we’re going to win here in Pennsylvania.”
A new survey from Harvard University’s Institute of Politics shows Sanders remains the most popular candidate among young people between 18 and 29. Polling director John Della Volpe told The Washington Post, “He’s not moving a party to the left. He’s moving a generation to the left.” Democratic rival Hillary Clinton meanwhile took aim at Republican front-runner Donald Trump during a campaign stop in Wilmington, Delaware.
Hillary Clinton: “So, Donald Trump says wages are too high in America, and he doesn’t support raising the minimum wage. And I have said, 'Come out of those towers named for yourself, and actually talk and listen to people.'”
Billionaire environmentalist Tom Steyer has announced his super PAC will spend at least $25 million to mobilize young people to vote. The outreach campaign will focus on the swing states of Ohio, Pennsylvania, Iowa, Colorado, Nevada, New Hampshire and Illinois. Steyer was the single largest political donor of the 2014 midterm election cycle, spending $74 million to support Democrats through his super PAC, NextGen Climate Action. He is the biggest super PAC donor of 2016 to date.
A federal judge has upheld sweeping voting restrictions in North Carolina, which could be a key swing state in the November election. The ruling upholds North Carolina’s requirement of a photo ID to vote, as well as a week-long cut in early voting and restrictions barring people from registering and voting on the same day or from registering before their 18th birthday. Critics vowed to continue protesting the rules, which they say disproportionately impact African Americans, Latinos and the elderly.
More than 50 people were arrested at the North Carolina state House Monday night, protesting the state’s new anti-transgender law. The law bars transgender people from using the bathroom that corresponds to their gender identity, and nullifies local ordinances aimed at protecting LGBT people. Opponents delivered 187,000 signatures demanding a repeal. Reverend William Barber denounced the law, known as House Bill 2.
Rev. William Barber: “Hate Bill 2 is not a bathroom bill. It is not a bill to protect women and children from predators. It is a cynical attempt to pit supposedly Christian values against our families’ best interests and our faith’s highest morality.”
In Bangladesh, a gay rights activist has been hacked to death in the capital Dhaka. Julhas Mannan was the editor of Bangladesh’s only LGBT magazine. He was murdered alongside another man by a group of five or six attackers wielding machetes. The killing comes just days after a university professor was also hacked to death.
A Canadian man held hostage by militants in the Philippines has been beheaded. John Ridsdel was captured six months ago by the group Abu Sayyaf, which executed him after a ransom deadline passed. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau condemned the killing.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau: “This was an act of cold-blooded murder, and responsibility rests squarely with the terrorist group who took him hostage. The government of Canada is committed to working with the government of Philippines and international partners to pursue those responsible for this heinous act and bring them to justice.”
A Pennsylvania appeals court has paved the way for a criminal sexual assault case against Bill Cosby to move forward. The court dismissed Cosby’s bid to have the charges thrown out in a case involving Andrea Constand, who says Cosby drugged and assaulted her in 2004. More than 50 women have come forward to accuse Cosby of sexual assaults dating back decades.
An Australian politician has set a river on fire to protest the gas drilling technique known as fracking. Video shows Green Party MP Jeremy Buckingham leaning out of a small boat and setting the river in Queensland ablaze with a lighter.
Jeremy Buckingham: “Sometimes a picture says a thousand words. Have a look at this: the Condamine River in South West Queensland on fire, the fracking just a kilometer away, methane coming up, and now the river is alight. Unbelievable, the most incredible thing I’ve seen, a tragedy in the Murray-Darling Basin. This is the future of Australia if we do not stop the frackers who want to spread across all states and territories and do this to your community.”
And Ukraine is holding commemorations today to mark the 30th anniversary of the worst nuclear disaster in history. The meltdown at the Chernobyl plant sent a cloud of radioactive fallout into Russia, Belarus and over a large portion of Europe. A vast rural region became uninhabitable, including the town of Pripyat, which remains abandoned. Lyudmila Kamkina, a former Chernobyl employee, spoke at a memorial ceremony in the Ukrainian capital Kiev.
Lyudmila Kamkina: “We did not think that this accident would change all our lives and our lives would be divided into 'before the war' and 'after the war,' as we called it. It was silent nuclear war for us, for those who lived there in Pripyat and who worked at the station.”
We’ll have more on Chernobyl later in the broadcast.