FROM Delores Jones-Brown
Who's Accountable for Police Killings? In New York, the medical examiner called a videoed killing "homicide" by chokehold, but the grand jury did not return an indictment. In Ferguson, there was no video, and testimony conflicted, but there's been outrage nationwide because there was no indictment and no public trial. Now in Cleveland, there are troubling new revelations about the white policeman who killed a 12-year old black boy playing with a toy gun in a public park. President Obama wants to outfit cops with body cameras. Will that help restore lost confidence in the justice system?
Is Ferguson a Microcosm of the USA? Ferguson, Missouri erupted last night after a grand jury held that white Officer Darren Wilson’s killing of black teenager Michael Brown was not a crime. Asked if refusing to take the matter to trial was passing the buck, St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Robert McCulloch released all the trove of evidence the grand jury looked at in making its decision. “No one can just file charges and go to a jury trial… We’re gathering evidence, presenting it to the grand jury. We do this every day, day in and day out. It’s certainly not passing the buck” Benjamin Crump, attorney for Brown’s family, vigorously disagreed, “The process is broken, the process should be indicted.” After months of media coverage, the nation was ready for the decision, violence in Ferguson and protests in other cities. We get an update on reaction to last night’s decision, look at the process, the mountain of evidence and what the incident could mean for the country.
Police and Race in America Last Friday in Beverly Hills, California, TV producer Charles Belk—a 51-year old black man—was on his way to a pre-Emmy awards party. When he left a restaurant, he was stopped by police, handcuffed and taken to jail with bail sent at $100,000. After 6 hours, police reviewed videotape that proved Belk had not robbed a bank and released him 10 minutes later. Belk says it was all because he was “tall, bald, male and black.” Will policing ever be colorblind?
"Tough on crime" rhetoric sees a revival at Sessions' DOJ The pendulum swings between treatment-focused approaches to drug abuse and tough law enforcement. Now, after years of Obama-era "reforms," President Trump’s Attorney General, Jeff Sessions wants local police freed from federal restrictions to fight another "war on drugs."
White House flip flops: NATO, Syria and China In less than 100 days, President Trump has contradicted himself on a host of foreign policy issues — Syria, NATO, China and Vladimir Putin’s Russia. Is it a strength — or a weakness — for the United States when the world of power politics never knows what to expect?