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Was Key Grand Jury Witness in Michael Brown Case a Racist, Mentally Ill, Lying Ex-Felon?

Posted on Dec 19 , 2014 in News

Was Key Grand Jury Witness in Michael Brown Case a Racist, Mentally Ill, Lying Ex-Felon?, Democracy Now, Interview of William Bastone, December 17, 2014.

Excerpt: “As protests continue across the country over the police killing of Michael Brown, new questions are being raised about the grand jury that failed to indict Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson for shooting Brown. Many questions center on a woman identified in the grand jury documents simply as “Witness 40.” She told the grand jury that Brown charged at Wilson “like a football player.” Earlier this week, the website TheSmokingGun.com identified Witness 40 as Sandra McElroy. The website described her as a “bipolar Missouri woman with a criminal past who has a history of making racist remarks and once insinuated herself into another high-profile St. Louis criminal case with claims that police eventually dismissed as a ‘complete fabrication.'” It now appears McElroy may have lied about witnessing the shooting, which occurred 30 miles from her home.” Continue>>

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State committee urges Cuomo, legislators to open police files

Posted on Dec 19 , 2014 in News

State committee urges Cuomo, legislators to open police files, The Times Union, Brendan Lyons, December 19, 2014.

Excerpt:”The state Committee on Open Government cited a “corrosive lack of transparency” in a unanimous vote announced this week urging the governor and Legislature to repeal a 1976 statute that prevents the public from having access to the personnel records of police and correction officers. The committee’s call for “greater transparency” for law enforcement agencies comes after public outcry over deadly incidents involving police use of force in the shooting of an unarmed teenager in Ferguson, Mo., and the July death of a New York City man placed in a chokehold by officers who confronted him for selling untaxed cigarettes on Staten Island.”Continue>>

Click here to view the full report by the Committee on Open Government

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Serial’s $2,500 Phone Bill and the Prison-Calling Racket

Posted on Dec 18 , 2014 in News

Serial’s $2,500 Phone Bill and the Prison-Calling Racket, Bloomberg Business Wee,k 

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The Reign of Terror Ends at LA County Jails

Posted on Dec 18 , 2014 in News

The Reign of Terror Ends at LA County Jails, ACLU, Margaret Winter and Peter Eliasberg, December 16, 2014.

Excerpt: “Today, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors entered into an agreement consenting to the entry of a federal decree in the ACLU’s lawsuit Rosas v. Baca, which we filed in 2012 together with the firm of Paul Hastings LLP. The landmark decree will implement and enforce sweeping changes to the jails’ policies and practices. The roller-coaster ride that led to today’s settlement began in 2008 when we published the first of a series of reports documenting widespread, organized deputy abuse against inmates. Sheriff Leroy Baca’s spokesmen denied everything. On another occasion the Department’s Chief of Custody Operations insisted that there was an organized conspiracy of inmates who lied about deputies to get them in trouble.” Continue >>

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Black 14-year-old exonerated 70 years after South Carolina put him to death

Posted on Dec 18 , 2014 in News

Black 14-year-old exonerated 70 years after South Carolina put him to death, The Guardian, Karen McVeigh, December 17, 2014.

Excerpt: “More than seven decades after South Carolina executed 14-year-old George Stinney, a judge has thrown out his conviction and cleared his name. Stinney was accused of killing two white girls, Betty June Binnicker, 11, and Mary Emma Thames, seven, who were found dead in a ditch on the black side of the racially segregated town of Alcolu, South Carolina, in March 1944. In the Jim Crow era of the South, Stinney was tried, convicted and executed within 83 days in the small mill town.” Continue >>

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Confessing While Black

Posted on Dec 17 , 2014 in News

Confessing While Black, The Marshall Project, Andrew Cohen, December 12, 2014.

Excerpt: “This statement, the state court declared, “was an intentional misrepresentation of rights ensconced in the very fabric of our nation’s justice system—the right to a fair trial and impartial jury, and the right not to be judged by or for the color of your skin—carried out as leverage to convince a suspect in a criminal case that his only recourse was to forego his claim of innocence and confess.” The detective’s comment, the Indiana justices continued, “intentionally played on the fear that Bond could not receive a fair trial because of his race. And in doing so, it gave truth to the fear.” Left unsaid by the Indiana justices was whether such a fear was unfounded in the first place.” Continue >> 

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Deadly Force, in Black and White

Posted on Dec 17 , 2014 in News

Deadly Force, in Black and White, Propublica, Ryan Gabrielson, Ryann Grochowski Jones and Eric Sagara, October 10, 2014.

Excerpt: “Young black males in recent years were at a far greater risk of being shot dead by police than their white counterparts – 21 times greater i, according to a ProPublica analysis of federally collected data on fatal police shootings. The 1,217 deadly police shootings from 2010 to 2012 captured in the federal data show that blacks, age 15 to 19, were killed at a rate of 31.17 per million, while just 1.47 per million white males in that age range died at the hands of police. One way of appreciating that stark disparity, ProPublica’s analysis shows, is to calculate how many more whites over those three years would have had to have been killed for them to have been at equal risk. The number is jarring – 185, more than one per week.” Continue >>

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After 17 Years Behind Bars, Coming Home To A Different Life

Posted on Dec 17 , 2014 in News

After 17 Years Behind Bars, Coming Home To A Different Life, NPR, Carrie Johnson, Marisa Penaloza, December 16, 2014.

Excerpt: “She’s one of thousands of nonviolent drug offenders sentenced under tough laws that called for decades — if not life — in prison. Police found half a kilo of cocaine (about 1 pound) and more than $10,000 in her attic. With two small-time prior drug offenses, that meant life. Congress designed those mandatory minimum sentences for kingpins. But over the past 20 years, they’ve punished thousands of low-level couriers and girlfriends like George.” Continue>>

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Former Officer: Policing Takes Patience, But Black Suspects Get Little

Posted on Dec 12 , 2014 in News

Former Officer: Policing Takes Patience, But Black Suspects Get Little, NPR, December 12, 2014.

Click here to listen.

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Albany police and community meet in wake of Garner decision

Posted on Dec 05 , 2014 in News

Albany police and community meet in wake of Garner decision, Innovation Trail, WMHT,  Jenna Flanagan, December 4, 2014.

Excerpt: ” Just hours after a Staten Island Grand Jury ruled there were no grounds to indict a white police officer in the killing of an African American man, Albany’s elected officials, community leaders and members came together to discuss ways to improve policing in the capital cities minority communities. The Innovation Trail’s Jenna Flanagan was there for the emotional meeting. There was a palpable tension in the packed room at the Arbor Hill Community Center. The meeting was originally organized by Albany Common Council member Dorcy Applyrs and Kelly Kimbrough in response to the Michael Brown case in Missouri, but the Wednesday’s events in New York City added an extra level of urgency.” Continue –>