By Dahr Jamail for Truthout. What are your concerns with the Trump administration as to how much worse this could become, particularly after his recent executive order? Trump has been an investor in the pipeline. He says he’s decreased his investment, which I question. He’s made the construction of pipelines and general fossil fuel development a large part of his program. I think he’ll make Standing Rock a target. Instead of the Army Corps of Engineers having a new EIS [Environmental Impact Statement] done, as it is calling for, he’ll erase that, and tell the pipeline if they drill under the lake they won’t be prosecuted anyway. I fear that law enforcement will feel they have a free hand to use excessive, and possibly lethal, force on the Water Protectors.
By John Knefel for TruthOut. As much of the United States waits in collective distress to see exactly what the presidency of Donald J. Trump will bring, it is already clear that the country is in for an unprecedented assault on ethics regulations and legal obligations from the White House. At the same time, all the signs point to a renewed era of harsh law enforcement for the rest of the country, focused primarily on already heavily policed and marginalized communities. An ominous statement posted to the official White House website today reads: “The dangerous anti-police atmosphere in America is wrong. The Trump Administration will end it.” It remains to be seen exactly how law enforcement will change under Trump, and whether he will actively pursue some of his most discriminatory campaign promises, like subjecting Muslims to increased surveillance and deporting millions of undocumented immigrants.
By Juliet Linderman and Eric Tucker for Associated Press. Vanita Gupta, the head of the Justice Department’s civil rights division, said the agreement will make the city safer for everyone, including officers. “The city and BPD will implement comprehensive reforms to end the legacy of Baltimore’s zero-tolerance policing,” she said. “And in its place, Baltimore is empowering officers to engage in proactive, community-oriented policing.” The Justice Department agreement mandates changes in the most fundamental aspects of police work. Known as a consent decree, it is the culmination of months of negotiations and is meant to correct constitutional violations identified in the report released last year.
By Monique Judge for The Root – A police officer in Rolesville, N.C., is on administrative leave after video posted to Twitter on Tuesday showed him picking up a female high school student and slamming her violently to the ground. The eight-second video shows a group of students at Rolesville High School crowded together, and then the officer slams the girl to the ground. After throwing her to the ground, the officer picks her up and leads her off with her hands behind her back. Police told WTVD/ABC11 that a fight occurred at the high school earlier that morning. A second video sent in to WTVD shows the fight that led up to the incident with the officer.
By Barbara With and Rebecca Kemble for Wisconsin Citizens Media Cooperative. According to Angela Bibens, an attorney from Colorado and a member of the Water Protector Legal Collective (WPLC), the conditions of North Dakota’s legal system at present are making it impossible for fair trials to take place due to several factors. The Morton County Sheriff’s department made the decision to take a hard-line, militarized position in its response to the nonviolent activities of unarmed water protectors. This includes the use of water cannons, flash bang canisters, rubber bullets, and mace, which resulted in hundreds of water protectors being injured at the front lines. As of August 19, 2016, there were just 28 DAPL-related arrests. By mid-December, 500 more people have been arrested and charged. This was a crisis of their own making, which has cost the state over $17 million in law enforcement fees.
By Alexandra Jacobo for Nation of Change. Native American activists are protesting outside CNN’s office building in Hollywood demanding more coverage on the Dakota Access Pipeline protests. Native American activists are protesting outside CNN’s office building in Hollywood demanding more coverage on the Dakota Access Pipeline protests. The Indigenous Life Movement has covered the event via Facebook: The group can be heard singing and playing instruments in peaceful protest outside the building. They have to raise awareness about the bias or near-lack of coverage the mainstream news network is giving to the protests in North Dakota. CNN has barely covered the situation in North Dakota. On Thursday, when police showed up in full riot gear and used tear gas and pepper spray on the peaceful water protectors, the network finally ran a small story featured on their homepage with a headline that stated the protesters were starting fires. Although additional details were given when reading the actual report, CNN failed to report on any of injustices on the part of the police, including protestors being injured by shrapnel from concussion grenades and pepper spray to the face.
By Adeshina Emmanuel for In These Times. President-elect Donald Trump has nominated Senator Jeff Sessions (R – AL), a longtime ally, to become his attorney general. Sessions is known as an immigration hard-liner with an alleged history of racist remarks and actions, sparking fears that his confirmation could mean major changes at the Department of Justice (DOJ)—especially as it relates to communities of color. “I would hope the folks who have been activists around police reform, who have built an important and effective movement, will see this as a moment where that movement needs to get bigger,” says Jonathan Smith, former DOJ official. Activists concur, but not just because of the potential shifts in the DOJ. Master notes that Trump’s presidency has emboldened proponents of white supremacy, xenophobia, homophobia, transphobia and anti-Muslim sentiments in the U.S. She says that means activists from marginalized groups have to change their approach, bolster their bases and collaborate more with one another. “Trump’s regime … doesn’t stop our work,” says Samantha Miller, a Baltimore area organizer.. “It makes it more pressing.”
By Jim Ryan of The Oregonian. Portland, OR – The fourth round of mass demonstrations in Portland against Donald Trump’s election came to a violent end early Saturday morning when someone shot a protester on the Morrison Bridge. Police said the protester, who wasn’t publicly identified, suffered injuries that weren’t life threatening. The shooter left the area, likely in a car, Portland police said in a news release. The shooting appears to be the only one reported at an anti-Trump protest nationwide. More than 225 people have been arrested at demonstrations in various cities, the Washington Post reported. Most demonstrations across the country have remained peaceful, but some violence has been reported, the Post said. In Oakland, California, protesters reportedly threw rocks and fireworks at police officers, injuring three.
By Nathan Wellman for US Uncut. Amnesty International USA (AIUSA) has sent a team of human rights observers to monitor law enforcement response to those protesting the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline. The decision to send the team came in response to reports of militarized police deploying pepper spray, bean bags, and strip searches, as well as a case where improperly trained mercenaries allowed guard dogs to bite multiple protesters. The protesters – who prefer to be referred to as water protectors – have so far emphasized the importance of peaceful protesting tactics. Members of the media have also been arrested for covering the confrontations. “Our observers are here to ensure that everyone’s human rights are protected,” said Eric Ferrero, director of communications for AIUSA.
By Alice Speri for The Intercept. SAMANTHA SEDA’S CLIENT, a 16-year-old foster child from Far Rockaway, New York, had no criminal history when he was arrested in September, accused of having pulled out a gun and fired one shot in the air. Even though he had no priors and no relatives who could post bail, a judge set the amount at $100,000, and as he sat in jail for over a month, the boy lost his spot at the foster home where he had been living. Seda, a Legal Aid attorney representing adolescents charged as adults in Queens, thought the allegations against her client were dubious and was looking for a way to get him out on bail. That’s when she decided to look into the officers named in the complaint against him. What she discovered stunned her.
By Ali Afshar for Human Development Project. California – You may or may not know that the incidence and relapse rates of schizophrenia in African-Caribbean males in Western countries has been reported as being much higher than equivalent white male cohorts. This knowledge was forefront in my mind when I saw a man in his twenties muttering to himself, handcuffed and surrounded by 4 white male police officers on El Camino, in Northern California. As a physician, I have a duty (shit, I swore an actual oath) to preserve the health of all humans. There was no way I was going to drive past this situation without making sure that guy was going to be fine. As I pulled over to ask if the gentleman was OK, I was immediately threatened with a ticket for blocking traffic. I re-parked my car legally and returned. My exact words were “I want to help to make sure this guy is OK”. The officers were aggressive and angry, instantly.
By Stephanie Woodard for In These Times. SUQUAMISH TRIBE DESCENDANT JEANETTA RILEY, A 34-YEAR-OLD MOTHER OF FOUR, LAY FACEDOWN ON A SANDPOINT, IDAHO, STREET. One minute earlier, three police officers had arrived, summoned by staff at a nearby hospital. Her husband had sought help there because Riley—homeless, pregnant and with a history of mental illness—was threatening suicide. Riley had a knife in her right hand and was sitting in the couple’s parked van. Wearing body armor and armed with an assault rifle and Glock pistols, the officers quickly closed in on Riley—one moving down the sidewalk toward the van, the other two crossing the roadway. They shouted instructions at her—to walk toward them, show them her hands. Cursing them, she refused.
By Carla Herreria for Huffington Post. City council members in Greensboro, North Carolina voted this week to strip the law enforcement credentials of a police officer who is accused of violently arresting a man sitting on his porch after body camera footage of the arrest was made public. The council voted unanimously Monday to permanently sanction Officer Travis Cole for using excessive force during the June arrest. The body camera footage shows Cole roughly throwing Dejuan Yourse to the floor of the porch and punching him as Yourse waited for his mom to come home and let him into the house, according to local news WREG. The council pushed for criminal charges against Cole, but the district attorney refused, saying he wouldn’t “rehash the same evidence,” the Greensboro News & Record reported.
By Erica Snipes-Garner for Alternet. NYPD Officer Daniel Pantaleo killed my father, Eric B. Garner, on July 17, 2014. The idea that Pantaleo receives a substantial increase in pay after murdering my father and no one noticed is silly. Someone knew about this. This was Mayor Bill de Blasio’s bonus for a job well done and de Blasio has put his political future on the line to defend this corrupt institution. This underscores why we need transparency, the Right To Know Act, and a permanent special prosecutor. This also underscores why de Blasio is fighting tooth and nail to hide the disciplinary records of this killer cop on payroll. He already knows what we do not. As long as police officers like Daniel Pantaleo and Michael Zak are on the force and reporting to work in the 120th precinct and getting bonuses for corruption, we can never be serious about healing and building relationships with the community.