You turn to Democracy Now! for ad-free news you can trust. Maybe you come for our daily headlines. Maybe you come for in-depth stories that expose government and corporate abuses of power. You know that you can count on Democracy Now! to cover the movements changing America and the world. But did you know 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
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
We rely on contributions from you, our viewers and listeners to do our work. If you visit us daily or weekly or even just once a month, now is a great time to make your monthly contribution.
Please do your part today.
Charlotte, North Carolina, was rocked by protests overnight, after hundreds took to the street and blocked Interstate 85 to protest the fatal police shooting of 43-year-old African American Keith Lamont Scott on Tuesday. Video footage shows protesters blocking the highway, where fires were lit. Police in riot gear responded by throwing tear gas at the crowds. Police say about a dozen officers were hurt during the conflict. Protesters were also injured. Keith Lamont Scott was shot and killed around 4 p.m. after police arrived to serve an arrest warrant for another person at Scott’s housing complex. The accounts of the shooting diverge sharply. While the police claim they first tased and then shot Scott because he was armed and “posed an imminent deadly threat,” Scott’s family says he was not armed—except with a book in hand. They say he had been sitting in his car, waiting to pick up his son after school. This is Scott’s daughter speaking in a Facebook live video recorded at the scene of the shooting.
Lyric Scott: “What are they over there doing? Shot my [bleep] daddy for being black. You little [bleep]. Shot my daddy for being black. And look, and they’re just standing there, because they—right? He’s [bleep] disabled! How the [bleep] he going to shoot y’all? He didn’t got no [bleep] gun.”
The officer who shot Scott was also black; police identified him as Brentley Vinson, who has been placed on administrative leave. Three years ago, police in Charlotte shot and killed Jonathan Ferrell, an unarmed African-American college student who was seeking help after a car crash in 2013. Officer Randall Kerrick fired 12 bullets at Ferrell. Officer Kerrick was tried and acquitted of voluntary manslaughter last year.
This comes as protests also erupted in Tulsa, Oklahoma, over the fatal police shooting of 40-year-old African American Terence Crutcher, who was shot by a white police officer, Betty Shelby, while his hands were in the air. Hundreds gathered Tuesday outside the Tulsa Police Department demanding her firing. Crutcher was shot and killed around 8 p.m. on Friday, after his car broke down. Some of the video released Monday came from police helicopter footage, in which one can hear the man in the helicopter saying about Crutcher, “That looks like a bad dude, too.” Footage from police dash cam video shows Crutcher walking away from officers with his hands in the air, then putting his hands on the side of his own car, as he’s surrounded by officers. The video captures a voice coming over the police radio saying, “He’s just been tasered,” and then a woman’s voice yelling “Shots fired,” as the video shows Crutcher’s arms falling to the pavement. We’ll have more on these shootings with Bree Newsome and Vincent Warren of the Center for Constitutional Rights after headlines.
In news from the war in Syria, Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov are meeting in New York today to discuss the collapse of the ceasefire agreement and the attack on U.N. aid convoys on Monday. This comes as the United States is saying Russia is likely responsible for Monday’s attack, which destroyed 18 of the convoys as aid workers were unloading food and other supplies at a Red Crescent warehouse. The Red Cross says 20 people were killed. Russia has denied responsibility.
In updates to this weekend’s bombings in New York and New Jersey, suspect Ahmad Khan Rahami has been charged in a Manhattan federal court with bombing, property destruction and the use of weapons of mass destruction. He was not charged with any terrorism-related crimes. Rahami is the main suspect in the bombings. Police say they identified Rahami from surveillance video which showed him at both sites in Manhattan where bombs were planted—on 23rd Street, where a bomb did explode, injuring 29 people, and four blocks away, on 27th Street, where a bomb did not explode. Authorities also say his fingerprints were found on the device planted at 27th Street. He was arrested after a shootout in Linden, New Jersey, on Monday, in which he and officers were both injured, and he also faces multiple counts of attempted murder of a law enforcement officer. The charges filed Tuesday in the Manhattan courtroom suggest prosecutors have not been able to tie Rahami to any non-state terrorist organizations. This comes as information continues to emerge about Rahami. His father says Rahami was arrested in 2014 for allegedly stabbing a family member. He was not indicted on the charges. His father says at the time he called the FBI and referred to his son as a terrorist, prompting the FBI to open an investigation, which found no evidence to support his father’s statement.
In news from the campaign trail, a new Washington Post investigation reveals Donald Trump used $258,000 from his family foundation, the Donald J. Trump Foundation, to pay off legal fees associated with his businesses—which is illegal under U.S. law. The disputes included $120,000 in unpaid fines over the height of a flagpole in Palm Beach, Florida, and a dispute over a Trump golf course in New York. In both cases, Trump reached settlements that involved him paying out foundation money to other charities. But this money should have been paid by his for-profit businesses, not the foundation. A previous Washington Post investigation showed Donald Trump has not donated any of his own money to his foundation since 2008. Meanwhile, the new Post investigation also reveals Trump used foundation money to buy advertisements for his hotels and to buy a $10,000 portrait—of himself. This is now the second documented case of Donald Trump using his own foundation’s money to buy portraits of himself. The other one was six feet tall and cost $20,000.
Meanwhile, Trump’s son, Donald Trump Jr., continues to spark controversy with his comments that compared Syrian refugees to poisoned Skittles. On Monday, he tweeted a graphic reading, “If I had a bowl of Skittles and I told you just three would kill you. Would you take a handful? That’s our Syrian refugee problem.” Now, the man who shot the photo of the Skittles in the graphic has come forward, revealing he himself is a former refugee. David Kittos lives in Britain. He said, “In 1974, when I was six years old, I was a refugee from the Turkish occupation of Cyprus, so I would never approve the use of this image against refugees.” The parent company of Skittles has also pushed back against the tweet, saying, “Skittles are candy. Refugees are people. We don’t feel it’s an appropriate analogy.”
In financial news, Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren grilled Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf during his two-hour testimony to the Senate Banking Committee Tuesday over a growing scandal at the major Wall Street bank involving thousands of employees who took private customer information to create 2 million fake accounts in order to meet sales targets. The scandal dates back to at least 2011, and CEO John Stumpf admits he’s known about the practice since 2013. Wells Fargo has been fined $185 million. On Tuesday, Senator Elizabeth Warren called on Stumpf to be investigated and to resign.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren: “But you squeezed your employees to the breaking point, so they would cheat customers and you could drive up the value of your stock and put hundreds of millions of dollars in your own pocket. And when it all blew up, you kept your job, you kept your multimillion-dollar bonuses, and you went on television to blame thousands of $12-an-hour employees who were just trying to meet cross-sell quotas that made you rich. This is about accountability. You should resign. You should give back the money that you took while this scam was going on. And you should be criminally investigated by both the Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission.”
Here in New York, the United Nations General Assembly held its first-ever Summit for Refugees and Migrants. The summit produced a nonbinding declaration detailing a more coordinated and humane response to the biggest migration upheaval since World War II. President Obama also announced the United States will resettle 110,000 refugees from around the world—a nearly 60 percent increase from 2015, but still only a tiny fraction of the number of refugees resettled in other countries. Only hours after the meeting was occurring in New York, a massive fire swept through a refugee camp on the Greek island of Lesbos. The fire at the Moria camp destroyed dozens of homes and tents, and forced thousands of people to flee. We’ll have more on the Summit for Refugees and Migrants later in the broadcast.
In Brussels, Belgium, as many as 15,000 people marched Tuesday to demand the EU abandon two controversial trade deals: the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership between the EU and the U.S., and the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement between the EU and Canada. This is one of the protesters.
Igor Lacoste: “The aim of the treaty is to remove all barriers nonrelated to tariffs to allow, they say, more competitivity, free trade, free market. But the problem is that those barriers also include food controls, food security, safety of the food chain. And that is not something we can tolerate as citizens, as human beings, fathers.”
The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, known as TTIP, would be the largest trade deal in the world. It’s faced resistance both in the U.S. and across Europe.
In a landmark ruling, a federal judge in Pennsylvania has ordered the immediate release of a prisoner from long-term solitary confinement. Arthur “Cetewayo” Johnson has not touched another human other than a guard since 1979. He is challenging his conditions as cruel and unusual. He described his isolation in a statement for the court, saying: “During my over 36 years in solitary confinement, my cell has been about 7 feet by 12 feet, smaller than many cages used to hold animals at zoos. … [M]y cell has been lighted 24-hours per day, with no break during day or night. … I have been allowed at most one hour of time outside, five days a week, in a fenced-in exercise cage that is slightly larger than my cell. … I have been forced to eat all of my meals alone in my cell. Each time I leave my cell I am forced to undergo a mandatory strip-search. … I have not been accused of any serious disciplinary infraction in more than 25 years.” On Tuesday, Judge Christopher Conner called for a plan within a week to reintegrate Johnson into general population in 90 days. Johnson was convicted of homicide and sentenced to life without parole at age 18. He is now 64. While behind bars, he became politicized though the Black Liberation Movement. His case is handled by the Abolitionist Law Center and Jones Day law firm.
And in news from the ongoing movement to stop the $3.8 billion Dakota Access pipeline, Standing Rock Sioux Tribe Chairman Dave Archambault II has called on the United Nations Human Rights Council to oppose the project, saying the United States has failed to honor the tribe’s sovereign rights and treaty land.
Dave Archambault II: “While we have gone to the court in the United States, our courts have failed to protect our sovereign rights, our sacred places and our water. We call upon the Human Rights Council and all members, all member states, to condemn the destruction of our sacred places and to support our nation’s efforts to ensure that our sovereign rights are respected. We ask that you call upon all parties to stop the construction of the Dakota Access pipeline and to protect the environment, our nation’s future, our culture and our way of life.”
That’s Dave Archambault II speaking in Geneva at the United Nations Human Rights Council.