L.A. Immigration Protest: The Police "Were Relentless. They Were Merciless."

The Los Angeles Police Department is coming under increasing criticism for violently crushing a largely peaceful immigrants rights march on Tuesday. Police with riot guns fired 240 rounds, shot tear gas and clubbed protesters and journalists gathered in MacArthur Park. At least ten people were injured including seven journalists.

Pedro Sevcec was broadcasting live for the Spanish-language television network Telemundo when police knocked over his monitors and lights and hit his staff with batons. Sevcec told the Los Angeles Times a police officer grabbed one of his cameras and threw it more than fifteen feet to the ground. He said police pointed a riot gun at his face, hit him with a baton and forced him out of the park.

Patricia Nazario of the public radio station KPCC was also injured. On Wednesday Nazario described to listeners what had happened to her:

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Imagine you've forgotten once again the difference between a gorilla and a chimpanzee, so you do a quick Google image search of “gorilla." But instead of finding images of adorable animals, photos of a Black couple pop up.

Is this just a glitch in the algorithm? Or, is Google an ad company, not an information company, that's replicating the discrimination of the world it operates in? How can this discrimination be addressed and who is accountable for it?

“These platforms are encoded with racism," says UCLA professor and best-selling author of Algorithms of Oppression, Dr. Safiya Noble. “The logic is racist and sexist because it would allow for these kinds of false, misleading, kinds of results to come to the fore…There are unfortunately thousands of examples now of harm that comes from algorithmic discrimination."

On At Liberty this week, Dr. Noble joined us to discuss what she calls “algorithmic oppression," and what needs to be done to end this kind of bias and dismantle systemic racism in software, predictive analytics, search platforms, surveillance systems, and other technologies.

What you can do:
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