Racism

New Video of Michael Brown Shooting Shows Immediate Witness Reaction

Construction workers who saw Brown shot corroborate earlier statements that he was surrendering

Nadia Prupis, Commondreams staff write

http://www.commondreams.org/news/2014/09/12/new-video-michael-brown-shooting-shows-immediate-witness-reaction

A screengrab from the video provided by CNN shows witnesses to Michael Brown's shooting gesturing with raised arms.

Citing Failed War on Drugs, World Leaders Call for Widespread Decriminalization

Global commission condemns "harsh measures grounded in repressive ideologies"

by Deidre Fulton, Commondreams staff writer
http://www.commondreams.org/news/2014/09/09/citing-failed-war-drugs-worl...

In the face of a failed War on Drugs, a global commission composed mostly of former world leaders recommended on Tuesday that governments decriminalize and regulate the use of currently illicit drugs such as marijuana, cocaine, and psychedelics.

Crime, Bias and Statistics

by Charles M. Blow

Discussions of the relationship between blacks and the criminal justice system in this country too often grind to a halt as people slink down into their silos and arm themselves with their best rhetorical weapons — racial bias on one side and statistics in which minorities, particularly blacks, are overrepresented as criminals on the other.

What I find too often overlooked in this war of words is the intersection between the two positions, meaning the degree to which bias informs the statistics and vice versa.

The troubling association — in fact, overassociation — of blacks with criminality directly affects the way we think about both crime and blacks as a whole.

A damning report released by the Sentencing Project last week (http://www.sentencingproject.org/doc/publications/rd_Race_and_Punishment...) lays bare the bias and the interconnecting systemic structures that reinforce it and disproportionately affect African-Americans.

Undercover in White America: Why Black Rage is Conscious, Justified, and Long Overdue

by Colin Jenkins

Students at Howard University pose for this photo with their 'Hands Up' as they acknowledged the police violence that took hold of Ferguson, Mo. in recent weeks. (Photo: flickr / cc / Debra Sweet)

'They Just Killed Him': New Video Betrays Police Depiction of Fatal Shooting

Amid ongoing demonstrations in city of Ferguson, Mo. and national outrage over police violence against black community members, new evidence in Tuesday's shooting of man by St. Louis police

by John Queally, Commondreams staff writer

http://www.commondreams.org/news/2014/08/21/they-just-killed-him-new-video-betrays-police-depiction-fatal-shooting
 

To Terrify and Occupy

How the excessive militarization of the police is turning cops into counterinsurgents

by Matthew Harwood
 

Jason Westcott was afraid.

One night last fall, he discovered via Facebook that a friend of a friend was planning with some co-conspirators to break in to his home. They were intent on stealing Wescott's handgun and a couple of TV sets. According to the Facebook message, the suspect was planning on “burning” Westcott, who promptly called the Tampa Bay police and reported the plot.

According to the Tampa Bay Times, the investigating officers responding to Westcott’s call had a simple message for him: “If anyone breaks into this house, grab your gun and shoot to kill.”

New York Times Editorial Board: Repeal Prohibition, Again

The paper of record goes on the record unequivocably in favor of legalization of marijuana.

by the New York Times Editorial Board

It took 13 years for the United States to come to its senses and end Prohibition, 13 years in which people kept drinking, otherwise law-abiding citizens became criminals and crime syndicates arose and flourished. It has been more than 40 years since Congress passed the current ban on marijuana, inflicting great harm on society just to prohibit a substance far less dangerous than alcohol.

The federal government should repeal the ban on marijuana.

We reached that conclusion after a great deal of discussion among the members of The Times’s Editorial Board, inspired by a rapidly growing movement among the states to reform marijuana laws.

Study released on handling of minor marijuana cases in Illinois

Marijuana possession arrests are down 32% in Urbana, but justice in the rest of the county and across the state is very uneven.

by ICDP/Roosevelt University

Illinois is one of the least friendly places in the nation for those caught possessing small amounts of marijuana, a new study by Roosevelt University’s Illinois Consortium on Drug Policy suggests.

An emphasis on misdemeanor arrests for possession and a lack of consistency in implementing local pot-ticket laws typify how cases involving small amounts of marijuana possession frequently are handled in Illinois, according to the report that looks at misdemeanor marijuana possession arrests vs. tickets.

Illinois ranked fifth in the nation for the number of marijuana arrests made in 2010, and the state ranked first in the country for its high proportion of marijuana possession arrests vs. marijuana sales/distribution arrests. A whopping 98.7 percent of marijuana arrests in Illinois were cases involving simple possession, according to the study.

End Mass Incarceration Now

The American experiment in mass incarceration has been a moral, legal, social, and economic disaster. It cannot end soon enough.

by the New York Times Editorial Board
 

For more than a decade, researchers across multiple disciplines have been issuing reports on the widespread societal and economic damage caused by America’s now-40-year experiment in locking up vast numbers of its citizens. If there is any remaining disagreement about the destructiveness of this experiment, it mirrors the so-called debate over climate change.

In both cases, overwhelming evidence shows a crisis that threatens society as a whole. In both cases, those who study the problem have called for immediate correction.

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