Comply Or Die: The Police State’s Answer To Free Speech Is Brute Force

Photo by Tony Webster | CC BY 2.0

By John W. Whitehead for Counter Punch – Unfortunately, this is how the government at all levels—federal, state and local—now responds to those who choose to exercise their First Amendment right to peacefully assemble in public and challenge the status quo. This police overkill isn’t just happening in troubled hot spots such as Ferguson, Mo., and Baltimore, Md., where police brutality gave rise to civil unrest, which was met with a militarized show of force that caused the whole stew of discontent to bubble over into violence. A decade earlier, the NYPD engaged in mass arrests of peaceful protesters, bystanders, legal observers and journalists who had gathered for the 2004 Republican National Convention. The protesters were subjected to blanket fingerprinting and detained for more than 24 hours at a “filthy, toxic pier that had been a bus depot.” That particular exercise in police intimidation tactics cost New York City taxpayers nearly $18 million for what would become the largest protest settlement in history. Demonstrators, journalists and legal observers who had gathered in North Dakota to peacefully protest the Dakota Access Pipeline reported being pepper sprayed, beaten with batons, and strip searched by police.

With Nighttime Raids, Police Wage War On Black And Brown Families In New York

From the Bronx to Harlem to Brooklyn, hundreds of people -- mostly young, poor men of color -- have been rounded up by heavily armed cops and thrown into jails and prisons, leaving their families and communities damaged, divided and even more impoverished. (Photo: Vhmh)

By Ashoka Jegroo for Truthout – This story is the fourth in a new Truthout series, Severed Ties: The Human Toll of Prisons. This series will dive deeply into the impact of incarceration on families, loved ones and communities, demonstrating how the United States’ incarceration of more than 2 million people also harms many millions more — including 2.7 million children. Paula Clarke and her family found themselves crawling half-naked on the floor of her Bronx home at 4:51 am on April 27, 2016, after multiple heavily armed men broke through her front door and demanded that she tell them where her son was. Helicopters could be heard hovering right about her home.

Police Killings In The US Continue To Rise

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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.

Abusive US Cops Learning Even More Abuse From Israeli Police

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By Abby Zimet for Common Dreams – Praising Israeli security forces as “the best” in counter-terrorism, a group of 15 senior U.S. police officials just came back from studying Israel’s occupation-and-counter-insurgency-style policing – complete with militarized gear, tactics and mindset – in hopes of emulating their expertise in racial profiling, excessive force, mass incarceration, collective punishment and other human rights abuses. The Americans, including several big city police chiefs, sheriffs and US Customs and Border Protection personnel, met with elite units from the Jerusalem Police, border police and Israeli Security.

The Day After The Ferguson Grand Jury FILL THE STREETS

Protesting police brutality

Larry Hamm, one of the great local organizers of our times, puts the killing of Michael Brown in historic context dating back to the slave trade, as well as in the context of the unfair economy. Hamm calls for people to “fill the streets” the day after the grand jury in Ferguson makes its decision. Hamm is speaking at the Black is Back Coalition event in Washington, DC this November 1, 2014. Hamm is Chairman of the People’s Organization for Progress based in Newark, NJ. Tarak Kauff, a board member of Veterans For Peace, in urging people to watch this video writes “If you care about anything, care about this. The video of Larry Hamm, perhaps the greatest, most insightful and eloquent revolutionary since Martin Luther King and Malcolm X is 14 minutes and 37 seconds short. Clear the table of all distractions. You want to watch this video and you want to listen to every single word Larry Hamm has to say and you want to get ready. Get ready just as we did in the 101st when we were on STRAC alert. Bags were packed, ready to load on planes as soon as we could get to the loading zone. I hear Larry and I hear him loud and clear. My car will have a full tank of gas and I expect to see many of you in the streets with me. As Larry says, ‘I can’t take it anymore.’ And I say, if not now, when?”

March Against Police Violence Will Shut Down Georgetown Saturday

Ferguson women hold signs for Mike Brown

A coalition of grassroots demonstrators will march in a major commercial area demanding “Justice for Michael Brown” and other significant March to Shut Down Georgetownchanges in policing practices. On Saturday, October 4, 2014, beginning at 7:00 p.m. demonstrators will gather at the Foggy Bottom Metro Station in Washington DC and march to Georgetown. Saturday’s march and rally will build on all of the past events, bringing together many organizations and individuals. Saturday’s march and rally are specifically demanding the arrest of Officer Darren Wilson, the demilitarization of the police, and the institutionalization of civilian review boards of the police with the right to hire and fire.

After Police Killing, Denver Activists Organize Campaign for Justice

Ronquillo memorial

On July 2, 2014, Denver Police shot and killed 20-year old Ryan Ronquillo, who was unarmed, outside of his friend’s funeral at the Romero Family Funeral Home in Northwest Denver. Ronquillo was reportedly shot 12 times while in his car after he stepped outside of the funeral to decompress. News and outrage about yet another DPD killing of an unarmed man of color spread quickly, and a response is already underway. A group of local activists and musicians from the community came together to organize a fundraiser and concert for Friday, August 8, 2014 at Denver’s historic Atzlan Theater aimed at raising funds to pay for Ryan’s funeral and burial. The group is encouraging as many people as possible to donate, not only to support the Ronquillo family – who are currently facing foreclosure and eviction from their home – but also because excess donations will go towards the cost of hiring an attorney to challenge the police shooting of Ronquillo in court and to defend against the unjust foreclosure.

Orange is the New Black (Genocide)

Orange is the New Genocide

In October, 2014, our resistance to mass incarceration must reverberate across the country and around the world. There must be powerful demonstrations nationwide on October 22, the National Day of Protest to Stop Police Brutality, Repression and the Criminalization of a Generation. Throughout October there must be panels and symposiums on campuses and in neighborhoods; major concerts and other cultural expressions; ferment in the faith communities, and more — all aimed at taking the movement to STOP mass incarceration to a much higher level. October, 2014, must be a month that makes clear that thousands and thousands are willing to stand up and speak out today and to awaken and rally forth millions. It must be the beginning of the end of the mass incarceration in the U.S. To that end:

Why the Capitalist Elite Love Mass Incarceration

atv prison capitalism

In this clip from Acronym TV’s full program, to discuss a planned month of Resistance To Mass Incarceration, Carl Dix breaks the war on drugs and the war on crime as proxy wars for the war on black, Latino, and oppressed people. This war, according to Dix, has been going on for decades amongst a backdrop of are the globalization of industry. With production moved from the United States to many other parts of the world where they can find workers that they can exploit much more viciously in much worse conditions and pay them much less than they could here generating more profit for the people who run this country, that leave generations of young people with no legitimate ways to survive and raise families, and Incarceration becomes the program for dealing with that.

With Mass Incarceration, U.S. is Guilty of a Slow Motion Genocide

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If this were happening anywhere else in the world, Americans would be justifiably horrified: 1 out of every 100 adults are living behind bars in the United States, with 1 in 31 in some sort of correctional control, including prison, jail, parole, and probation. The United States, with 5% of the world’s population, has 25% of the worlds prison population. Private prisons are operating around the country at the local and state level, and a majority of them include “occupancy requirements mandating that local or state government keep those facilities between 80 and 100 percent full. In other words, whether crime is rising or falling, the state must keep those beds full.”