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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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Hundreds of protesters are gathered outside the Minnesota governor’s house in St. Paul, following the fatal police shooting of African-American man Philando Castile during a traffic stop for a broken taillight. The immediate aftermath of the shooting was broadcast live on Facebook by his girlfriend, Lavish Reynolds, who is speaking in the car next to her dying boyfriend as the police officer continues to point the gun into the car. A warning to our TV viewers, the footage is graphic.
Lavish Reynolds: “Stay with me. We got pulled over for a busted taillight in the back. And the police just—he’s covered. They killed my boyfriend. He’s licensed, he’s carried—he’s licensed to carry. He was trying to get out his ID and his wallet out his pocket, and he let the officer know that he was—he had a firearm, and he was reaching for his wallet. And the officer just shot him in his arm.”
Police officer: “Told him not to reach for it! I told him to get his hand off it!”
Lavish Reynolds: “He had—you told him to get his ID, sir, his driver’s license. Please, don’t tell me this, lord. Please, Jesus, don’t tell me that he’s gone. Please, don’t tell me that he’s gone. Please, officer, don’t tell me that you just did this to him. You shot four bullets into him, sir. He was just getting his license and registration, sir.”
Later, the video shows a police officer ordering Lavish Reynolds out of the car. She is then ordered by multiple officers to walk backwards. She is handcuffed and put in the back of the police car, along with her four-year-old daughter. This is more of the video, as Lavish Reynolds continues to narrate from the back of the police car.
Lavish Reynolds: “Don’t be scared. My daughter just witnessed this. The police just shot him for no apparent reason. [crying]”
Dae’Anna Reynolds: “It’s OK. I’m right here with you.”
Meanwhile, protests and vigils continue in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, for African-American father of five Alton Sterling, who was shot dead by police while pinned to the ground early Tuesday morning. More than 300 protesters held a vigil last night outside the convenience store where Sterling was killed. Protests also spread to Ferguson, Missouri, and to Philadelphia, where protesters were arrested after blocking rush-hour traffic by lying down across Interstate 676. This comes as a second video showing the fatal police shooting was released online. The video shows Sterling pinned to the ground by two white police officers. One of the officers then shoots Sterling at least twice. The audio then captures the sound of multiple additional gunshots. On Wednesday, Sandra Sterling, Alton’s aunt, spoke out.
Sandra Sterling: “It’s hard. It’s hard.”
Unidentified: “She passed out twice already.”
Sandra Sterling: “That’s because I saw the second video. I didn’t know my child, he was alive. He was alive after he got shot. He was reaching out. It was horrible. I don’t ever want to see that again, ever.”
Reporter: “You saw that second video?”
Sandra Sterling: “Yeah.”
Reporter: “What does that second video tell you?”
Sandra Sterling: “That they sat there and watched my child die. They sat there and watched him die. They sat there and watched him take his last breath. And I’m mad, and I’m angry.”
We’ll go to Baton Rouge and Minneapolis after headlines.
In news from the campaign trail, presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has defended his decision to tweet an anti-Semitic image which showed Hillary Clinton, a pile of $100 bills and a six-pointed Star of David along with the words “Most Corrupt Candidate Ever!” The image originally appeared on a white supremacist message board. Trump later deleted the tweet and retweeted the same image, but with the Star of David replaced by a circle. Speaking at a campaign event in Cincinnati Wednesday, Trump said he wished his team had never deleted the first tweet.
Donald Trump: “It could have been a star for anything. To me, it was just a star. But when I really looked at it, it looked like a sheriff’s star. But CNN started this dialogue going, ’It’s the Star of David. And because it’s the Star of David, Donald Trump has racist’—these people are sick, folks. I’m telling you. They’re sick. So you have the star, which is fine. I said, 'You shouldn't have taken it down.’ You know, they took the star down. I said, 'Too bad. You should have left it up. I would have rather defended it. Just leave it up and say, “No, that's not a Star of David, that’s just a star.”’”
Former Fox News anchor Gretchen Carlson has sued Fox News chairman Roger Ailes for sexual harassment. Carlson says Ailes repeatedly made advances toward her, calling her “sexy” and explicitly asking for a sexual relationship during a meeting in his office. She says that when she rejected his advances, he retaliated against her by cutting her salary, curtailing her airtime and then refusing to renew her contract. Ailes has denied the claims.
FBI Director James Comey is slated to testify before Congress today over the agency’s decision to recommend no charges be brought against Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton over her use of multiple private email servers while she was secretary of state. On Tuesday, Comey said Clinton had been “extremely careless” in her handling of classified information but that her actions did not merit charges. The decision sparked outrage from Republican lawmakers, from Donald Trump and from Green Party nominee Jill Stein, who called for charges against Clinton, saying, “Hillary Clinton’s failure to protect critical security information is not the only thing in her tenure as Secretary that deserves the term reckless, including her decision to pursue catastrophic regime change in Libya, and to support the overthrow of democratically elected governments in Ukraine and Honduras.”
British Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has apologized on behalf of the Labour Party for its role in pushing Britain into the Iraq War.
Jeremy Corbyn: “Politicians and political parties can only grow stronger by acknowledging when they get it wrong and by facing up to their mistakes. So I now apologize sincerely on behalf of my party for the disastrous decision to go to war in Iraq. The apology is out first to all the people of Iraq. Hundreds of thousands of lives have been lost, and the country is still living with the devastating consequence of the war and the forces it unleashed. They have paid the greatest price for the most serious foreign policy calamity of the last 60 years.”
Jeremy Corbyn was the president of Stop the War Coalition. This comes one day after the release of the long-awaited Chilcot report, which blames British Prime Minister Tony Blair for deliberately exaggerating the threat posed by Saddam Hussein in the lead-up to the Iraq War. Blair was the longest-serving Labour prime minister in British history. The Chilcot report revealed Blair had been warned multiple times by Britain’s Joint Intelligence Committee that the invasion of Iraq would increase the threat of terrorism by al-Qaeda and other militant groups.
President Obama has announced the U.S. is once again delaying the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan.
President Barack Obama: “I’m announcing an additional adjustment to our posture. Instead of going down to 5,500 troops by the end of this year, the United States will maintain approximately 8,400 troops in Afghanistan into next year, through the end of my administration.”
President Obama had pledged to withdraw the majority of the thousands of U.S. troops deployed to Afghanistan by the end of 2015, but he has repeatedly changed this timeline. The war in Afghanistan is the longest war in U.S. history.
In Bangladesh, another attack has occurred, this time at a prayer ground where more than 100,000 people had gathered to celebrate the end of Ramadan. The bombing comes less than a week after militants seized control of a trendy restaurant in Dhaka, killing 20 people. Two officers and one civilian have died in the most recent attack.
Lawyers for imprisoned Army whistleblower Chelsea Manning are demanding access to their client, after unconfirmed reports surfaced Wednesday about a possible suicide attempt. Manning is currently in her cell in stable condition, after being taken to the hospital Tuesday morning. It is not yet known if she did in fact attempt to commit suicide. Manning’s lawyers say they were due to speak with her on Tuesday, but they were then told the call could not be connected. It appears she was in fact in the hospital at the time. Manning’s attorney, Nancy Hollander, said, “We’re shocked and outraged that an official at Leavenworth contacted the press with private confidential medical information about Chelsea Manning yet no one at the Army has given a shred of information to her legal team.” Manning’s legal team has been told they cannot talk to her until Friday.
The University of Tennessee paid nearly $2.5 million to settle a sexual assault lawsuit filed by eight women who argued the university condoned a hostile environment that led to sexual assaults by male athletes. The lawsuit argued UT football coach Butch Jones called one of his players a “traitor” and said he’d “betrayed the team” after the man helped a woman who said she’d been raped by two other football players.
And in Puerto Rico, hundreds of people gathered in Old San Juan in opposition to a proposal for toxic aerial fumigations aimed at fighting the Zika virus. The protest brought together activists, environmentalists, farmers and students. Many were also protesting the recently signed PROMESA bill, which will establish a federally appointed control board with sweeping powers to run Puerto Rico’s economy. Activist Melissa Vargas spoke in front of an ongoing protest camp in front of the U.S. federal court, where activists have been protesting the PROMESA bill.
Melissa Vargas: “Really, all of this, every one of these particular problems are tentacles of a big monster, which is the government. And basically, the government is not defending us, is not representing us. The government is not fulfilling its duty to protect its citizens.”