Crime and Police

In Ferguson and Beyond, Punishing Humanity

by Kate Manne

On Sept. 26, two peaceful protesters were arrested in Ferguson, Mo. Watch this video (warning: includes profanity) and you will see two white officers arresting a young black woman who is wearing a red hoodie. One tackles her in a chokehold and yanks her hands behind her back. She whimpers, and they force her face down on the pavement. They then carry her off with one officer holding her by an arm, and the other holding her by a leg. Her body has gone limp; they dangle her between them carelessly. Why were these two men handling her “like an animal?” asks the protester recording the scene with her cellphone. It is a good question. And its answer is not obvious.
 

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.

Let's Interupt the Cradle-to-Prison Pipeline by Empowering Our Nation's Youth

By supporting the The Youth PROMISE Act and other programs that save lives, we can give every young person the chance to reach their full potential

by Matthew Albracht
 

Were you aware that in the United States, homicide frequently ranks as the 2nd leading cause of death for youths aged 15 to 24 years old?  Sadly, good case could be made that many of our own neighborhoods are effectively war zones.

In fact, research has shown that many youth in these communities struggle with post-traumatic stress disorder at similar levels to what’s experienced by returning Iraq and Afghanistan veterans . It’s one of the great and too-often ignored tragedies of our time—and it’s happening in our own neighborhoods. 

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
 

A New Vision to Fix the Tragedy No One Ever Thinks About

New York and other cities confront the fact that 4500 Americans are killed crossing the street each year

by Jay Walljasper
 

More than 4500 pedestrians are killed by motor vehicles every year on the streets of America--more than those who died in the horror of 9/11.  

A recent report from the National Complete Streets Coalition studying ten years of data found that 16 times more people were killed crossing the street than in natural disasters over the that same period. Another 68,000 walkers on average are injured every year. The victims are disproportionately children, seniors and people of color, according to the report.

 

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.”

Two-Thirds of Americans Say Private Consumption of Marijuana Should Be Legal

by Paul Armentano

55% of those surveyed also said that they supported statewide laws seeking to tax and regulate the production and sale of cannabis to adults.

PALO ALTO, CA — Sixty-six percent of Americans believe that adults ought to legally be able to consume cannabis in the privacy of one’s own home, according to results of a recent nationwide HuffingtonPost/YouGov survey.

Seventy-two percent of self-identified Democrats and 70 percent of Independents said that the private consumption of cannabis should be legal.

Republican respondents endorsed private consumption by a margin of 50 percent to 39 percent.

Fifty-five percent of respondents — including 62 percent of Democrats and 60 percent of Independents — also said that they supported statewide laws seeking to tax and regulate the commercial production and retail sale of cannabis to adults, such as those recently enacted in Colorado and Washington.

By contrast, only 37 percent of Republicans said they supported such a plan.

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