North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory has declared a state of emergency in the city of Charlotte following protests Wednesday night during which police in riot gear fired rubber bullets, tear gas and pepper spray at protesters, who threw fireworks and trash at officers. Authorities said four officers were injured. Many demonstrators were also injured. The night’s protest also included a civilian-on-civilian shooting that left one man critically wounded. The governor has also begun steps to deploy the National Guard. This was the second night of protests in the city following the fatal police shooting of 43-year-old African American Keith Lamont Scott on Tuesday. While the police claim they tased and then shot Scott because he was armed, 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 comes as protests also continue in Tulsa, Oklahoma, over Friday’s fatal police shooting of 40-year-old African American Terence Crutcher, who was shot by white officer Betty Shelby while his hands were in the air. Solidarity protests to demand justice for the two men were held last night in other cities, including here in New York, while in Indianapolis every player on the WNBA team the Indiana Fever knelt during the national anthem to protest the killings. We’ll go to both Charlotte, North Carolina, and Tulsa, Oklahoma, after headlines.
Meanwhile, Baltimore County State’s Attorney Scott Shellenberger has announced no charges will be filed against the police officer who shot 23-year-old Korryn Gaines, as well as her five-year-old son Kodi. Gaines was killed by the police gunfire on August 1, after a SWAT team broke down her door and stormed her home in order to serve a warrant related to a traffic violation. Her son Kodi was injured by police gunfire, but he survived.
In the wake of the fatal police shootings of Terence Crutcher and Keith Lamont Scott, Donald Trump has called for a nationwide stop-and-frisk program, while speaking at a town hall meeting in a black church in Cleveland hosted by Fox News.
Ricardo Simms: “There’s been a lot of violence in the black community. I want to know what would you do to help stop that violence, you know, black-on-black crime.”
Donald Trump: “Right. Well, one of the things I’d do, Ricardo, is I would do stop-and-frisk. I think you have to. We did it in New York. It worked incredibly well. And you have to be proactive. And, you know, you really help people sort of change their mind automatically. You understand. You have to have—in my opinion, I see what’s going on here, I see what’s going on in Chicago. I think stop-and-frisk—in New York City, it was so incredible the way it worked. Now we had a very good mayor. But New York City was incredible the way that worked. So I think that would be one step you could do.”
In more news on this weekend’s bombings in New York and New Jersey, a New York Times investigation has revealed that the main suspect, Ahmad Khan Rahami, was flagged twice for federal scrutiny in 2014, but was never questioned by federal agents. The first flag came from custom officials after he returned from Pakistan. The second flag came after his father called the FBI after Rahami reportedly stabbed a family member. During that phone call, his father referred to Rahami as a terrorist. Authorities now say Rahami was carrying a notebook that suggests he was inspired by ISIS. Rahami has been charged in a Manhattan federal court with bombing, property destruction and the use of weapons of mass destruction—but not with any terrorism-related charges, suggesting prosecutors have not been able to tie Rahami to any non-state terrorist organizations.
In Mandan, North Dakota, hundreds gathered Wednesday to call for the release of Lakota land defender Olowan Martinez, who was arrested on September 13 during a land defense action in which she locked herself to a piece of heavy machinery to stop construction of the $3.8 billion Dakota Access pipeline. Martinez has been held since then in the Morton County jail because she has a warrant out for her in Nebraska, where she’s been fighting the presence of liquor stores in the small town of White Clay, which is near her home on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. This is Olowan Martinez speaking to Democracy Now! when we were in North Dakota covering the standoff at Standing Rock.
Olowan Martinez: “White Clay, Nebraska, is a small town on the edge or on the border of South Dakota and Nebraska. And it’s four liquor stores, basically—or, yes, liquor stores, I guess you could call them. They make, you know, 4 million a year just basically off the misery and the suffering of my people, who are struggling with alcohol and alcoholism, abuses from alcohol.”
Amy Goodman: “So you’re saying it’s actually sort of a town of liquor stores that sell to people on the Pine Ridge Reservation?”
Olowan Martinez: “Yes, the majority of the alcohol they sell comes from Prisoner of War Camp 344, and it’s basically a very severe infection amongst our nation. And so, my idea, when we first started fighting White Clay, was to heal the wound.”
That’s Olowan Martinez, who has been held for over a week after protesting the Dakota Access pipeline. On Wednesday, Oglala Lakota land defenders also disrupted the North Dakota Petroleum Council conference in Minot. They took over the stage while Department of Mineral Resources Director Lynn Helms was speaking, and demanded an end to construction of the Dakota Access pipeline. They were then escorted away by police.
In South Africa, police attacked protesting students with tear gas and stun grenades, as students at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg protested for a second day against a proposed 8 percent tuition hike for 2017. The students are demanding free education. Last year, massive student protests across South Africa forced the university to back down from plans to increase tuition for this academic year. On Tuesday, at least 30 students were arrested and several were injured by police. The protests have forced the university to close for the week. The University of Cape Town was also closed Wednesday amid fear of protests.
In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, security forces have killed dozens of protesters amid massive two-day demonstrations demanding President Joseph Kabila step down after his second term ends in December. Human Rights Watch says 37 protesters and six police officers have been killed so far during this week’s conflict. The protests were sparked by President Kabila’s announcement that this year’s presidential elections would be postponed.
And this year’s Right Livelihood Awards, known as the Alternative Nobel Prize, have been announced in Stockholm, Sweden. This year’s winners are the volunteer rescue group the Syria Civil Defense, known as the White Helmets; Egyptian feminist Mozn Hassan; Russian human rights activist Svetlana Gannushkina; and Turkish newspaper Cumhuriyet, whose journalists have faced arrest, imprisonment and assassination attempts amid Turkey’s increasing crackdown against the press.