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Reposted from Vyan by a2nite

Now that charges have been filed in the Police Murder of Freddie Gray we've begun to hear the excuses and counter claims that the Prosecutor "Overcharged", was "Politically Motivated" in submitting the indictments making these 6 Officers into "Political Prisƒoners".

But besides the cell phone and surveillance video we also have one lone audio witness who was in the van with Freddie Gray very soon after her suffered his fatal injuriies, and although it was reported by the Washington Post that he told police that Mr Gray was "banging his head as if to injury himself" in this interview with WBAL reporter Jayne Miller that witness, Danta Allen completely and totally debunks that claim.

Video via All In with Chris Hayes

Summary of his comments over the flip.

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Reposted from shaunking by middleagedhousewife
New hashtag started by the Baltimore Police Union
New hashtag promoted by the Baltimore Police Union
What in the world?

After six Baltimore police officers were arrested on felony charges in the death of Freddie Gray, the tone-deaf Baltimore Police Union decided to start a new online campaign called #MyLifeMatters.

Mind you, not one of the officers who played a role in killing Freddie Gray was harmed in any way whatsoever by Gray or anyone else. Why even start such a campaign?

Of the 10 most dangerous jobs in America, being a police officer is not even on the list. Yet they'd have us believe that their job is as dangerous as it gets.

Yeah, your life matters, but we'd like for you to start acting like black lives matter, too.

Reposted from shaunking by a2nite
Officer Justin Craven after being charged with misconduct in the death of Ernest Satterwhite
Officer Justin Craven after being charged with misconduct in the shooting death of Ernest Satterwhite
On April 7, two white police officers in South Carolina were arrested for shooting and killing unarmed black men. One case was told around the world and the other is being quietly swept under the rug. When Officer Michael Slager unjustly shot Walter Scott in the back over and over again in North Charleston, South Carolina, it's highly likely we would've never really known about it if the disturbing cell phone video of the shooting wasn't released. It was that video that rocked the nation and reverberated around the world. Before the video was released, the local news stories about the shooting were pretty much dismissive of Scott and painted Slager as someone who did what he had to do. The video changed everything.

Just hours after Slager was charged with the murder of Walter Scott, another South Carolina officer, Justin Craven, was arrested for shooting an unarmed black man over and over and over again. Sixty-eight-year-old great grandfather Ernest Satterwhite was shot and killed in the driveway of his home near North Augusta. The dashboard camera of Officer Craven filmed the entire shooting.

Craven's dashcam video has been shown to a few people outside of law enforcement. Several who saw say say it's horrible and offensive, and Satterwhite had no time to respond to Craven. They won't speak on the record because they have been threatened with legal action since the video hasn't been publicly released.

The State Law Enforcement Division's decision to withhold the video contrasts with its handling of another police shooting. Earlier this year the agency quickly released a dashcam video of a case in which a white officer shot an unarmed black man in North Charleston.

The shooting was so egregious that the family of Ernest Satterwhite received a $1.2 million settlement for his wrongful death. Officer Craven is using the same old tired excuse that Satterwhite tried to go for his gun, but the dashcam video apparently shows that Satterwhite never even got out of his car when Craven fired five times into the car and shot Satterwhite four times at close range.

Instead of being charged with any serious crime in the shooting, Craven was charged with the misdemeanor charge of "misconduct by an officer" and posted a $20,000 bail two hours later.

This much is clear—the early public release of videos of shootings by police has a real impact on how serious the subsequent charges are. If this video is as "horrible and offensive" as public officials privately claim it to be, the public pressure to charge Justin Craven with a serious crime would have been substantial. Instead, his case flew under the national radar and he was charged with a crime in which he could literally just receive a $1,000 fine. While a 10-year sentence for police misconduct is the maximum, police officers are almost never given maximum sentences, even when charged with murder.

We must have credible national standards on police dashcam videos that require them to be released immediately. They are paid for by public funds and are public record. Officers cannot and should not be able to hide under the protection of them being hidden by their colleagues.

Reposted from Writing by Will McLeod: A Better World is Possible by middleagedhousewife

The Baltimore Sun made the following claim about the riots on Monday:

The incident stemmed from a flier that circulated widely among city school students via social media about a “purge” to take place at 3 p.m., starting at Mondawmin Mall and ending downtown. Such memes have been known to circulate regularly among city school students, based on the film "The Purge," about what would happen if all laws were suspended.

The flier included an image of protesters smashing the windshield of a police car Saturday during a march spurred by the death of Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old man who suffered a spinal cord injury earlier this month after being arrested by city police.

They were not alone. Many of the broadcasters made claims that there was some kind of Purge intended for Monday. The Purge was trending on twitter.

Now, I have spent the past week digging through social media posts, and I can find no evidence to support the claim that Baltimore high school students planned any sort of action for Monday. It's not just that I can't find them talking about a purge before the riot started (there's plenty of stuff posted after 3:00 PM) I can't find them making posts about planning anything at all for Monday.

The image tweeted by a number of organizations and described by the Baltimore sun is this one:

I can't find a single account tweeting this image until after 3:00 on Monday.

The Hashtag #Fdl mentioned in the above image does not produce the above image on any social media search engine, nor any image which is even tangentially related to a riot on Monday.

The Hashtag #Purge produces thousands of images from bulimic women talking about food and suicide, but it does not produce any results relevant to a protest from last Monday.

These were only two of around a hundred hashtags and keywords I used to search through Topsy, Gramfeed, and other social media search engines which plug directly into social media sites like Twitter and Instagram, the latter being the place this image allegedly came from. I searched for the Baltimore protests, and then searched through most of the Hashtags used to discuss it.

I found only one image posted to Instagram in Baltimore which mentioned the unrest on Monday before it happened:

The officer at the mall just said it's suppose to start here at mondawmin and go downtown... Tell Everybody.
"The officer at the mall" told people that someone was planning a riot. That is all I could find. A secondhand statement where someone is quoting a supposed "officer." That person could be a security guard, for all we know. This image was posted to Instagram several times before the unrest began.

All we have hear is hearsay and rumor. At this point, this is all the evidence I can find of the allegedly "planned" riot.

In the hours I spent looking through every single Instagram photo I could find from Baltimore last weekend, I did see a lot of food, a lot of memes, and a ton of racism. Things like screengrabs from "Rise of the Planet of the Apes" with a caption reading "Welcome to Baltimore." These images were all posted before the unrest, which started at 3:00 PM. After the unrest began, there are a ton of posts mentioning a "Purge" but nothing from before 3:00 PM which would lead me to believe that anything was planned by High School Students.

I did, in my research, find other images relating to a purge:

It was a joke, and was treated as such. At face value it appears to be a call for rioting after the Baltimore/Washington game. No such riots occurred on the date in question.

Someone took that image and made another joke post implying that there would be a purge on Saturday night:

This was not the riot on Monday  the 27th. Nor was this planning for the riot on monday. Nor did the account which posted this image interact with any other accounts in a way that could be considered "planning."

It was another hoax, just like all the rest. It was posted just after Midnight, early Sunday morning.

Snopes has a lot to say about these "purge" rumors.

They've happened quite a lot, and never turned out to be anything other than a joke.

If this unrest was in fact planned, it does not look like High School kids on social media were the ones doing the planning.

But maybe I've just been tricked. Maybe a bunch of high school kids whose Instagram accounts sometimes contain pornography, underage drinking, and marijuana use had the presence of mind to coordinate and universally delete every single image and post they'd made about their dastardly plans for a riot. Maybe they then convinced everyone who responded or reacted to these dastardly plans to go ahead and delete their responses, too. That's not completely impossible.

The laws of physics just might stop working tomorrow. After all, who can know the future? It's not completely impossible, and no one could say for sure.

Baltimore high school students might just be better at operational security than the Navy Seals, whose raid on Osama Bin Laden's headquarters got tweeted by a random witness in Pakistan. Even Seal Team 6 couldn't prevent their covert actions from being outed on social media accidentally. But maybe some Baltimore high schoolers figured out how to leave no electronic trace behind.

If these kids really were planning a riot, then it's extremely likely that images like the one above would have been all over social media, with a ton of angry responses as well.

At this point, I can't find any of that posted before 3:00 PM on Monday. There's a ton of it afterwards.

So let me be extremely clear about what I am saying, and what I am not saying.

What I am saying:

I can't find any evidence of the "Purge" flier allegedly distributed by Baltimore HS kids until after the riot was underway. Nor can I find any evidence of a planned riot. This is all I am saying.

What I am not saying:

I am not accusing anyone of lying or fabricating things. I'm simply saying that I, as someone who works with social media, can't find any evidence of this stuff on social media.

What this means:

If it turns out that these purge rumors were as false as the "credible threat" rumors about gangs, then the stories being told about the Baltimore police having themselves started the riots on Monday begin to look true.

We don't yet know what happened. But there are some very specific questions that need answers.

1. Where does this purge poster come from? Who created it? Who shared it first?

2. Who is the Baltimore sun's source for these purge claims?

3. If the source is the police, then do they have the information I asked for above?

I'm not yet willing to say that the police started this riot, as others are alleging, because I don't have hard evidence of this.

I am also not willing to believe that this riot was started by angry high school kids, who planned it in advance, because I have absolutely no evidence of that either.

I am happy to say that I don't know what happened here until I actually have evidence of what happened. But when there's so little evidence, it makes me think that a lot of other people who are talking about Monday don't know anything either.

I'm going to keep digging, and I'm going to try to do it from an evidence-based perspective. I'm also going to say that if other journalists were using the same evidence-based perspective that I'm using, there would not have been the rush to judgement we saw in the reporting on this topic.

It looks like our lazy, corporate media is happy to line up behind the official police account of the situation, and report this as fact, because it means they don't have to do any actual work.

But I don't know. Maybe the Baltimore Sun has some screenshots of accounts sharing that flier. I sure would like to see the evidence, if this is the case.

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Sat May 02, 2015 at 05:10 PM PDT

R.I.P. A Garden Grew in Oakland Today.

by jpmassar

Reposted from jpmassar by jpmassar

Oscar Grant Plaza filled Saturday afternoon with a couple hundred people come to the first #BlackSpring event in Oakland. The organizers came up with a great idea, an its already spread across the twitterverse.

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Reposted from jpmassar by jpmassar

A simple tweetpic essay.

Putting the final touches on chalk art at Oscar Grant Plaza before the march arrives. The March in Solidarity Against Police Terror, called by ILWU Local 10 and community organizations united against murder by police, left the Port of Oakland as scheduled at 10:00 AM and arrived at Oscar Grant Plaza outside of City Hall in downtown Oakland at 11:30 AM.

The pre-march rally at the Port of Oakland. Mollie Costello, of the Alan Blueford Center for Justice, revs up a crowd that reached nearly one thousand people.

Out of the Port, into West Oakland.

The post-march rally at Oscar Grant Plaza. I'm in there! One of more than a thousand.

More tweetpics and tweetvideos below.

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Reposted from JoanMar by JoanMar
MLK makes a point.
If there is one name that has been uttered more often than Freddie Gray's over the past week, it has been that of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King. We know that the criminal, heartless Right Wing Media have been doing their darnedest to claim the civil rights icon as their own. They have been on a mission to remake Dr. King into their own image. That last sentence isn't even exactly true; they have been busy whittling down the man into a one-dimensional, wishy-washy, mealy-mouthed battering ram to be used against the very people for whom he fought.

Let's take a look at what the man actually preached ... and let's place his words in context and in the spirit in which they were intended.

Become mal-adjusted:

I never intend to adjust myself to the tragic effects of the methods of physical violence and to tragic militarism. I call upon you to be maladjusted to such things. (Martin Luther King, Jr., “The Power Of Nonviolence” (1957).)
What did Martin Luther King really say about riots as they have to do with political activism and civil rights (and not the results of ball games)?
I contend that the cry of "black power" is, at bottom, a reaction to the reluctance of white power to make the kind of changes necessary to make justice a reality for the Negro. I think that we've got to see that a riot is the language of the unheard. (Martin Luther King, Jr., "The Other America".)
In other words, no justice, no peace. It is an act of malice - intended to inflict serious psychological damage - to demand peace from the hurting and disenfranchised even as you dispense justice to only those who share your skin color and or socio-economic background.

After using the word "thug" to describe young rioters in Baltimore, Erin Burnett was asked, (paraphrasing as best as I can remember) "Then what do you call members of the police who broke Freddie Gray's spine?" To which Ms. Burnett replied, "I don't know what happened. I will wait on the courts to decide. You remember how that whole 'hands up don't shoot' was found to be a total lie."

Michael Brown and Freddie Gray are dead. Justice, some wise person said long ago, should not only be done, but also be seen to be done. There's no justice to be seen anywhere in these cases; primarily because journalists are very well adjusted to, and accepting of, these incidents of injustice happening again, and again, and again.

What if we were to apply this quote from Dr. King to American Law Enforcement Officers?

Violence is impractical because it is a descending spiral ending in destruction for all. It is immoral because it seeks to humiliate the opponent rather than win his understanding: It seeks to annihilate rather than convert. Violence is immoral because it thrives on hatred rather than love. It destroys community and makes brotherhood impossible. It leaves society in monologue rather than dialogue. Violence ends up defeating itself. It creates bitterness in the survivors and brutality in the destroyers.
The police are the patriarchal formal leaders who have been foisted on our communities and invested with the power to slap us upside the heads if mothers won't do it; or eliminate us if and when they feel like it. Violence is the tactic used to whip us into shape.  When the oppressed revolt, however briefly, against aggressive over-policing, they are castigated and condemned as "thugs." No winning for black folks.

What to do about this fucked-up state of affairs?

One awesome member of Support the Dream Defenders said this:

"In times of uncertainty and turmoil in the past, Americans have fought back in four principal ways: at the ballot box, by long-term populist appeals, with protests, and through legal action."
Protest is of the utmost importance right now. We applaud and support those who have taken to the streets to let their voices be heard, those gathered in New York, in Philadelphia, in Washington DC, in Chicago, in Ferguson, and in Baltimore.

As our young people and others of good conscience take to the street, we invite our friends to help us with the fight on the legal action front.

We need revolutionary changes to policing in this country. We do not claim that we have all the answers, but the Michael Brown Over-Policed Rights Act provides at least some of the answers.

As you may know, Support the Dream Defenders crowd-sourced the Michael Brown Over-Policed Rights Act at Daily Kos in the fall of 2014. Over 700 Kossacks supported our effort. Our finalized bill quickly gained the support of the NAACP and the ACLU. The NAACP forwarded our bill to members of Congress, and we distributed it to members of the Congressional Black Caucus and other progressive members of Congress. President Obama signed into law a small piece of our bill in December 2014. The Department of Justice included part of our bill in their recent report on Ferguson, Missouri. Our state version of the MBOPRA is currently in committee in the Kansas legislature. The final version of our law: Michael Brown Over-Policed Rights Act of 2015 (Federal)

Action Steps:

Please contact your U.S. senators and representatives and ask them to support our Michael Brown Over-Policed Rights Act.

Two helpful websites:

How to Contact Your U.S. Senator

How to Contact Your U.S. Representative

Please note the information to include in an email to your representative or senator, such as your address, etc.
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Reposted from Christian Dem in NC by a2nite

For all the kicking and screaming that the Baltimore Fraternal Order of Police directed at Marilyn Mosby today after six of their brothers were indicted for their role in the death of Freddie Gray, they seem to have missed one thing.  The indictment came down less than 24 hours after Mosby got the case from Baltimore police.  You know what that tells me?  Police commissioner Anthony Batts knew that a crime had been committed.

Batts has already said that the six officers who handled Gray broke police procedure by not responding to his requests for medical attention and not buckling him in when they put him in the police wagon.  However, given how fast the indictment came, I suspect that Batts concluded that Gray's death was a criminal act, not merely a violation of procedure.

The picture I'm getting here is that Batts wanted to have all arrested then and there--only to have a judge tell him to let the state's attorney's office take a look at the case.  I immediately thought about something that happened in 2013, when a Dallas cop was arrested for an unprovoked shooting of a mentally ill man.  Cardan Spencer claimed he'd been forced to shoot the man when he lunged at him with a knife.  However, after a video came out showing Spencer shooting the man with his arms at his sides, the police chief wanted him charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.  However, the judge insisted that the case be taken to the grand jury.  

Several of the commenters in the diary I wrote about it suggested that the judge didn't want the blowback from the cops with whom he had to work on a regular basis.  That may have been what happened here--let Mosby and her team churn it through the system.  Apparently Mosby came to the same conclusion as Batts--literally hours after getting the medical examiner's report, she rolled out the indictments.

The system worked exactly the way it was intended to work--just a lot faster than even the most optimistic among us expected.

Reposted from Brainwrap by a2nite

This may seem a bit self-centered since my other diary is already at the top of the Rec list, but a couple people suggested that my update deserves it's own diary as well to ensure maximum exposure, so here you go:

The Baltimore Fraternal Order of Police have channelled their inner Frank Nitti:

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Reposted from shaunking by a2nite
Freddie Gray before beginning a rough ride.
Freddie Gray being loaded into a van by Baltimore Police
On April 12th, six Baltimore police officers assaulted Freddie Gray and took him on something I'll admit I've never heard of before called a "rough ride."

A "rough ride," also called a "cowboy ride," is when a handcuffed man or woman is put into the back of a police van or paddy wagon, without being buckled in or secured. The vehicle then drives recklessly, making sharp, dangerous turns and sudden movements in ways that throw the passenger violently around the vehicle.

When Freddie Gray was arrested in Baltimore, he was actually only five city blocks away from the precinct. The drive to take him there should've only taken two minutes, but instead, Freddie Gray was taken on a 40 minute rough ride. New evidence suggests that Freddie Gray received a catastrophic spinal injury in the back of the van just 14 minutes into the ride.

These rough rides, though, have a deep and ugly history in Baltimore and beyond.

Dondi Johnson, 43, was picked up on a public urination charge in November 2005. Officers placed him in a police van without fastening his seat belt, his family alleged. Johnson complained about needing to use a bathroom, so he was driven to the closest police station, according to the family’s lawyer. Upon arrival, however, the officers found him on the floor of the van “complaining about how the car was driven,” according to the family.

The officers pulled Johnson from the van, placed him in a patrol car and took him to Sinai Hospital, where tests showed he had a fractured and dislocated spine, resulting in quadriplegia, according to the family.

After fighting to survive for two weeks, Dondi Johnson died in the hospital on Dec. 7, 2005.
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Reposted from shaunking by a2nite
Freddie Gray being loaded into the police van
Freddie Gray being loaded into the Baltimore Police Van.
Again, because the Baltimore Police refuse to release any real statements from the officers involved in the April 12th arrest and April 19th death of Freddie Gray, we are forced to become citizen investigators. As more facts become evident, it is increasingly clear that what happened on April 12th violated multiple department policies and caused catastrophic injuries to Gray, who was completely unresponsive by the time police arrived at the Western District Station.

The police as you will see in the photo below,

In this article, I exposed the lies that Freddie Gray caused his own injuries. He didn't.

In fact, on April 24th, the police themselves admitted that Freddie Gray was severely injured and in need of medical attention before he was placed in the van.

Baltimore deputy police commissioner Kevin Davis confirmed Friday that Freddie Gray, who was taken into custody after fleeing from police had already been injured before he was carried to the police van.

"And quite frankly that's exactly where Freddie Gray should have received medical attention," said Davis. "He did not."

What they aren't saying is that it is an egregious violation of multiple department polices for police to ignore the injuries of someone in custody. Every single officer and spectator who saw and heard Freddie Gray during his arrest knew that he was critically injured and in excruciating pain.

His legs were limp, his neck already appears to be in great pain, and he is yelling in discomfort. This is a textbook case of someone needing immediate medical attention. Yet, instead of calling medics for a man who clearly wasn't a flight risk or taking Freddie Gray on a two minute ride to the precinct, they began a fatal 40 minute ride which effectively killed him. He never spoke another word again.

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Reposted from Joan McCarter by a2nite
U.S. Attorney General nominee Loretta Lynch speaks as U.S. President Barack Obama (R) looks on, in the Roosevelt Room at the White House in Washington November 8, 2014. Obama on Saturday picked Brooklyn federal prosecutor Lynch to replace retiring Attorne
Attorney General Loretta Lynch capped her first, challenging week at the helm of the Justice Department by announcing a $20 million police body camera pilot project.
"This body-worn camera pilot program is a vital part of the Justice Department's comprehensive efforts to equip law enforcement agencies throughout the country with the tools, support, and training they need to tackle the 21st century challenges we face," Attorney General Loretta Lynch said in a statement. "Body-worn cameras hold tremendous promise for enhancing transparency, promoting accountability, and advancing public safety for law enforcement officers and the communities they serve."
The Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets of Act of 1968 authorizes the attorney general to provide a maximum of $20 million to local governments to modernize the technology they use. The DOJ said that they would provide 50 grants and that a third would go to smaller police departments. The grants have to have a 50-50 in-kind or cash match by the departments, and all of the departments receiving the grants will have to create implementation and training programs.
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