Eight years after a judge ruled New York City police violated the constitution by stopping, questioning and frisking mostly Black and Hispanic people on the street en masse, people in communities most affected by such tactics say they’ve been shut out of the legal process to end them. Lawyers for plaintiffs in two landmark stop-and-frisk lawsuits said in court papers Thursday that community stakeholders have had “very little contact” in the last three years with the court-appointed monitor overseeing reforms and that reports he’s issued don’t reflect their experiences.Continue reading
City Council meetings were dominated by residents’ and civil rights activists’ calls for police accountability. A year later, these activists say their relationships with City Council remain strained. Those hoping to redistribute police investment said they’re unsatisfied with the government’s response. Some City Council members say they understand the calls for change, but that change takes time.Continue reading
We are The Gym, an organizing network focused on mutual aid and community support along the Myrtle-Broadway corridor of Bushwick on the occupied Lenape land known as Brooklyn, New York. On Saturday, July 24, the NYPD violently attacked our neighbors, friends, and comrades at the behest of the landlord, Richard Pogostin.
We began using the sidewalk space in front of The Gym storefront at 1083 Broadway in August 2020, when Pogostin’s corporation, Dodworth Development of New Rochelle, originally harassed us and removed the mutual aid and organizing efforts in the space. Last week, after nearly a year of daily operations on the sidewalk, The Gym reclaimed the storefront, which had been kept vacant and neglected.Continue reading
At a school in North Minneapolis, the school day starts with a team of four peacekeepers escorting teachers and staff into the building. Then the team watches out for the students as they get off the bus and enter the schoolyard. Throughout the day, they’re on hand to de-escalate fights and aid the students in conflict resolution. They’re not volunteers. This is their job. They have replaced police (resource officers) in this school.
This is not a fairy tale or a utopia story. Two blocks away is a hub of drug dealing. Gun violence is frequent in this neighborhood. These four peacekeepers are part of EMERGE, a program which provides internships, jobs and mentorship for youth who live amidst a cycle of violence, trauma, gangs and/or the justice system.Continue reading
The Behavioral Health Emergency Assistance Response Division, or “B-HEARD” program, which started in a portion of Harlem a month ago, has already responded to about 110 calls where there was no weapon or imminent risk of violence, according to summary data provided by the city on Thursday. Instead of cops and paramedics responding to 911 mental health calls, three-person teams of social workers and paramedics respond instead. In 95 percent of those cases, the city said, the subject of the call accepted the team’s offer of assistance.Continue reading
More than 600,000 people in the United States have died of coronavirus since the pandemic began, a number that is incomprehensible. Few people understand the magnitude of this loss more than 14-year-old Madeleine Fugate. Since April 2020, the eighth grader from California has spent her weekends constructing the Covid Memorial Quilt, a tribute to the casualties of the virus.Continue reading
Portland, OR – On Wednesday, Governor Kate Brown signed legislation into law prohibiting law enforcement officers from using deception while interrogating people under the age of 18. The law bans commonly used deceptive interrogation tactics, including false promises of leniency and false claims about the existence of incriminating evidence. Both of these tactics have long been identified as significantly increasing the risk of false confessions, which have played a role in about 30% of all wrongful convictions overturned by DNA. False confessions are also the most frequent contributing factor in wrongful conviction cases involving homicides. And recent studies suggest that children under 18 are between two and three times more likely to falsely confess than adults.Continue reading
On June 28, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet released a stunning 23-page report accompanied by a 95-page conference room paper for the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) documenting systemic racism and human rights violations by police forces against Africans and people of African descent throughout the world. The report considered more than 340 interviews and more than 100 written submissions from civil society organizations.
Bachelet grounded her analysis in “the long-overdue need to confront the legacies of enslavement, the transatlantic trade in enslaved Africans and colonialism and to seek reparatory justice.” She took aim at “misconceptions that the abolition of slavery, the end of the transatlantic trade in enslaved Africans and colonialism” and subsequent reforms have eliminated “the racially discriminatory structures built by those practices and created equal societies.”Continue reading
Before the age of computers and body cameras, citizens were forced into court proceedings with an attitude of, “It was my side of the story against the cops. Who do you think the jury is going to believe?” In the age of technology in which we are presently, however, the word of police officers can be called into question. But it is not enough, according to one ex-cop, who says cops are taught precisely how to manipulate police reports for deceptive purposes.
Thomas Nolan spent 27 years on the force as a cop and says he was not a very good beat cop but could write police reports bar none. He was so good at craftily wording police reports other officers inside the Boston Police Department would seek out his assistance in their own reporting.Continue reading
The World Socialist Web Site has uncovered evidence that police departments across the United States have paid thousands of dollars for “training” by a fascistic private military contractor, Northern Red Inc. Former trainers at the company who have since left and founded their own ventures have continued to train police departments in the death squad tactics honed in the course of US neo-colonial wars overseas.
Last month, during a congressional hearing on the January 6 coup attempt that took testimony from US Capitol Police Inspector General Michael Bolton, it was revealed that in 2018 and 2019 the US Capitol Police paid Northern Red Inc. $90,075 to train its Containment Emergency Response Team, or CERT.Continue reading
A journalist is taking legal action against the Metropolitan Police after it refused to release correspondence with the US about three WikiLeaks journalists under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) on terrorism and national security grounds.
Italian investigative journalist Stefania Maurizi argued in a tribunal yesterday that terrorism legislation should not be used to “clamp down” on journalists working in the public interest to report on national security.
The Metropolitan Police, which is backed by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), claims that the release of the information, which it exchanged with the US Department of Justice, will harm counter-terrorism initiatives and damage the UK’s relationships with the US.Continue reading
The pandemic, in the midst of its many horrors, has temporarily slowed the number of arrests across some U.S. cities. With pressure from advocates and incarcerated organizers, District Attorney Eric Gonzalez in Brooklyn, Prosecuting Attorney Dan Satterberg in Seattle, State’s Attorney Kim Foxx in Cook County, Illinois, and City State Attorney Marilyn Mosby in Baltimore pledged to curb or stop prosecuting “low level” crimes in attempts to minimize the spread of COVID-19. By 2018, newly reelected Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner had already directed his office to stop prosecuting sex work, marijuana possession and marijuana drug paraphernalia.
Most of these prosecutors have strictly tied their commitments to the duration of the pandemic.Continue reading
Trans youth are under attack around the country. Though we are only halfway through 2021, it has already become the worst year in recent history for legislative attacks on trans youth. 33 states have introduced anti-trans laws across the country, many of which ban trans students from playing sports. Arkansas recently became the first state to ban trans youth from accessing gender-affirming health care, and many other states have either passed or are debating similar bills. All of these laws must be repealed, and we need to build a militant trans rights movement to defend against these right-wing attacks.
The results of efforts to oppress and dehumanize trans people hit trans youth the hardest. The American Journal of Psychiatry reports that trans people are about six times more likely to suffer from mood and anxiety disorders, and over half of trans and nonbinary youth in the U.S. reported having seriously contemplated suicide in 2020.Continue reading
What started as a Colombian protest against a regressive tax bill has become a national strike against police brutality and poverty.
The administration of President Ivan Duque has already pulled back the tax reform and the finance minister has resigned, but people are angry and marches and road blocks continue. Unions, student groups, and other organizations have formed a National Strike Committee which is negotiating with the government, demanding transformational change.
Among the strike committee’s demands are guaranteed health care during the pandemic, a universal basic income, and a commitment to protecting domestic industries. Protesters are blocking roads and commerce to create leverage, which the government claims is causing shortages of basic goods.Continue reading
That Community Control Over Police campaigns (CCOP) are essentially neocolonialism is a rather wild claim that avowed abolitionist activists, like Dubian Ade applies to the articulation of CCOP by advocate Max Rameau, an organizer in Pan-African Community Action (PACA) to which this author also belongs. Understandably Ade avoids the rabbit hole of condemning the Black Panther Party as neocolonialist, the progenitors of CCOP.
While the Democratic Party claims championship over congressional approval of police reform in the name of George Floyd, now awaiting a Senate vote, some Black circles are still debating the virtues or lack thereof in CCOP. Corporate media theater aids and abets the lopsided focus by blitzing the public with coverage of a partisan struggle over the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act of 2021 .Continue reading