By George Joseph for The Guardian – Undercover officers in the New York police department infiltrated small groups of Black Lives Matter activists and gained access to their text messages, according to newly released NYPD documents obtained by the Guardian. The records, produced in response to a freedom of information lawsuit led by New York law firm Stecklow & Thompson, provide the most detailed picture yet of the sweeping scope of NYPD surveillance during mass protests over the death of Eric Garner in 2014 and 2015. Lawyers said the new documents raised questions about NYPD compliance with city rules. The documents, mostly emails between undercover officers and other NYPD officials, follow other disclosures that the NYPD regularly filmed Black Lives Matter activists and sent undercover personnel to protests.
By Rachael Revesz for Independent – More people have died at the hands of law enforcement in the US so far this year than during the same period in 2016, casting a dark shadow over the Donald Trump administration as it invests more power in the police. By 19 March this year, 271 people have already been killed by police, compared with 262 people by the same date in 2016, according to a database called Killedbypolice.net. There were fewer deaths (255) in 2015 and even fewer (209) in 2014 by the same point. The rising numbers do little to reassure critics of Donald Trump, who signed an executive order in February to invest more power in the police and who has all but scrapped the former Justice Department’s investigation into law enforcement violence around the US.
Staff for #RememberTrayvon. The murder of Trayvon Martin was the beginning of the Black Lives Matter movement that accelerated with the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, MO and has grown with the deaths of so many other blacks at the hands of police. Here are several campaigns to remember Trayvon: #TrayvonTaughtMe digital toolkit and campaign:The #TrayvonTaughtMe digital campaign highlights the beginnings of the Black Lives Matter movement, and how Trayvon’s extrajudicial murder and his family’s commitment to ending gun violence and strengthening communities catalyzed a generation of organizers and activists to take action for Black lives. #OurSonTrayvon campaign: In collaboration with Gbenga Akkinagbe, founder of Liberated People, and activist-writer Michaela Angela Davis, BLM is supporting the launch of the #OurSonTrayvon campaign, whose goal is to create a sustainable movement humanizing Black children in the collective imagination. #DearTrayvonsMom letter writing campaign: is soliciting love letters to Sybrina Fulton, Trayvon’s mother and #TalkAboutTrayvon digital toolkit and campaign: seeks to launch a conversation among white people about the conditions that led to the extrajudicial murder of Trayvon Martin and the acquittal of George Zimmerman.
By Staff of Tele Sur – The Memphis Police Department has a watch list of Black Lives Matter protesters — a fact that has come to light decades after the department was barred from spying on civil rights activists. The list, which includes the names, race, gender, height, weight and corresponding photographs of several well-known activists, bars those listed from entering the Memphis City Hall without an escort. The list infringes on the civil rights of those it profiles. MPD also appears to be in violation of the 1978 federal decree it was handed following revelations the department spied on civil rights activists and other protesters for years, spurring the American Civil Liberties Union to sue them. MPD Director Michael Rallings defended the list Tuesday, saying it was instead related to “security.”
By Leon Neyfakh for Slate – The new White House website went live following Donald Trump’s inauguration Friday, and it contained a bracing message implicitly directed to supporters of the Black Lives Matter movement: Your kind is not welcome in Trump’s America. “The Trump Administration will be a law and order administration,” reads a page on the website titled “Standing Up for Our Law Enforcement Community.” It continues: “President Trump will honor our men and women in uniform and will support their mission of protecting the public. The dangerous anti-police atmosphere in America is wrong. The Trump Administration will end it.”
By Staff of M4BL – No matter where you are in the world, the name Martin Luther King, Jr., is synonymous with freedom, equality, and hope. On January 16, we’ll commemorate his life, legacy and the contributions of other civil rights warriors whose resistance to oppression pushed the country toward equality. But this year will be different. Just four days after MLK Day, we’ll witness the inauguration of a President who is the antithesis of everything Dr. King stood for; a demagogue who galvanized millions by spewing hate and promising to harm the most vulnerable in this nation. The threats of mass deportation, the dismantling of Obamacare, the registration of Muslims and the criminalization of women’s health, are loud and clear.
By Movement for Black Lives. As we enter 2017 , under an administration motivated by hate and greed, we renew our commitment to you, and to our fight for justice. We know that Black people have always made a way, even when the odds were against us – as they are now. An administration full of racist, sexist, fear mongers are moving into the White House – and we should all be concerned about their potential impact on our lives. We are just beginning to see the effects of the fear and violence they support. In the last 30 days, we’ve seen an increase in hate crimes and hate speech against Black people, the vandalizing of Black churches, and vigilantes taking up arms in our communities to incite violence and fear. In the face of all this, millions of Black folks across the country are asking, “What can we do?”
By Todd Richmond for Associated Press – Prosecutors charged a Milwaukee police officer Thursday with killing a black man in August, alleging the man had thrown his gun away and was unarmed when the officer fired the fatal shot. Dominique Heaggan-Brown, who is also black, was charged with reckless homicide in the Aug. 13 death of Sylville Smith, which sparked two days of riots on Milwaukee’s north side. In the days after the shooting, both the police chief and the mayor had said that police video clearly showed Smith had a gun and was turning toward officers when he was shot. Thursday’s criminal complaint echoed that, but went on to describe a second shot, fired into Smith’s chest after Smith no longer had his gun.