Oliver Laughland

Liquid Genocide Destroyed the Pine Ridge Reservation -- Then They Fought Back

Dashing through wild sunflowers and tall grass, Joe Pulliam slid through the barbed-wire fence that marks the state border. With two large wooden tipi poles slung over his shoulder, sweating in the morning sun, he knew it was trespassing. But this was about something bigger.

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Protesters Attempt to Disrupt Inaugural Events in Washington

As Donald Trump’s election victory was cemented during celebratory inauguration events in the nation’s capital, the dissent and divisive discord his campaign produced was evident on the streets of Washington DC as throngs of protesters arrived to disrupt proceedings.

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Young Black Men Killed by U.S. Police at Highest Rate in Year of 1,134 Deaths

Young black men were nine times more likely than other Americans to be killed by police officers in 2015, according to the findings of a Guardian study that recorded a final tally of 1,134 deaths at the hands of law enforcement officers this year.

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Cleveland Officer Who Fatally Shot 12-Year-Old Tamir Rice Will Not Face Charges

The white police officer who fatally shot Tamir Rice, an African American 12-year-old, will not face criminal charges, it was announced on Monday, more than a year after the shooting in Cleveland.

A grand jury declined to indict officer Timothy Loehmann, who opened fire on Rice less than two seconds after arriving at a park where the 12-year-old was playing with a toy gun on Nov. 22, 2014. Loehmann’s partner, Frank Garmback, will also face no charges, Cuyahoga county prosecutor Timothy McGinty announced at a press conference.

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Bolts from the Blue: Inside the Deaths Caused By Police Use of Tasers

Calvon Reid writhed in pain before he died. “I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe,” the 39-year-old screamed. Reid, an African American father of two, was held face-down by two police officers on a grassy lawn inside a predominantly white, gated retirement village in the south Florida suburb of Coconut Creek in the early hours of 22 February.

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Officers at Sam DuBose Scene Involved in Death of Another Unarmed Black Man

Two police officers who corroborated a seemingly false account of the fatal shooting of Samuel DuBose in Cincinnati were previously implicated in the death of an unarmed, hospitalised and mentally ill black man who died after he was “rushed” by a group of seven University of Cincinnati police officers.

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Freddie Gray Death: Cries of 'Justice' in Baltimore After Six Officers Charged

A criminal prosecution for murder will be brought over the death of Freddie Grayin Baltimore, the city’s top prosecutor announced on Friday morning.

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Freddie Gray Was Not Put in Seatbelt During Fatal Arrest

Freddie Gray had no seatbelt on in the police van where he was placed in handcuffs and later put in leg irons, police said as they confirmed the possible breach of protocol forms part of their investigation into his death.

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Baltimore Officer Suspended in Freddie Gray Case Has Past Accusations of Domestic Violence

The Baltimore police officer who led the initial chase of Freddie Gray, the young man who died after being arrested and suffering a broken neck, has twice been accused of domestic violence and was temporarily ordered by a court to stay away from a second person.

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Toni Morrison Lets Loose on Race in America: 'I Want to See a White Man Convicted of Raping a Black Woman'

The Nobel prize-winning author Toni Morrison has delivered a frank assessment of race relations in America, declaring that until racial disparities in the criminal justice system are resolved, the conversation about racism will never be over.

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Nearly 2,000 Wisconsin Students Swarm State Capitol Building to Protest Police Killing of Black Teenager

Hundreds of Wisconsin high school and university students left their classrooms and occupied the state capitol building on Monday to protest about the fatal police shooting of unarmed black teenager Tony Robinson, who was killed by a white Madison police officer last week

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Shot in the Chest, Racially Abused: 5 Horror Stories from the DOJ's Ferguson Police Report

“The harms of Ferguson’s police and court practices are borne disproportionately by African Americans, and there is evidence that this is due in part to the intentional discrimination on the basis of race,” concluded a damning investigation published by the US department of justice on Wednesday.

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“To Your Bone You’re Cold,” What It's Like to Be Homeless in the Freezing Cold

Kenneth Ricks is homeless for the first time in his life. The 51-year-old has lived in New York since he was born, but after he lost his job, had his foot amputated following an accident and spent six months in hospital, he could no longer keep up the rental payments on his Flatbush, Brooklyn apartment.

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NYPD Officer Indicted in Killing of Unarmed Black Man Akai Gurley in Public Housing Stairwell

An NYPD officer who shot and killed Akai Gurley, an unarmed 28-year-old black man, in Brooklyn last year has been indicted, according to a lawyer for Gurley’s family.

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Revealed: Gov't Surveillance Is Much More Developed Than You Thought

Federal agencies tried to use vehicle license-plate readers to track the travel patterns of Americans on a much wider scale than previously thought, with new documents showing the technology was proposed for use to monitor public meetings.

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Man Commits Suicide Outside of News Corp Building - Says Fox Ruined His Life

After an apparent protest against the broadcasting company Fox, a man shot himself in the chest in front of the News Corp building in New York on Monday morning and later died. The man was a former employee of a local Fox affiliate in Texas, according to a report from the Wall Street Journal, and had been claiming the company “ruined his life”. 

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Florida Police on Defense After Black Men's Mugshots Used for Target Practice

Police in North Miami Beach have been forced to defend using the mugshots of black men for target practice after a board riddled with gunshots that displayed photographs of six young men was found after a training exercise last month.

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De Blasio Appeals for Unity at NYPD Funeral but Police Turn Backs Again

The sea of blue uniforms – made up of thousands of police officers from throughout the US – was long and deep, extending for hundreds of metres down 65th street.

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'We Can't Breathe': Protesters Chant Eric Garner's Last Words

The last words of Eric Garner became the rallying cry for protests that swirled in New York after a grand jury refused to indict a police officer who placed the unarmed black man in a chokehold, reigniting racial tensions that have been simmering for months in the US.

“I can’t breathe,” protesters chanted, in mostly peaceful demonstrations that brought longstanding strains over race to the heart of America’s most populous city. Eighty-three arrests were made during the protests overnight, an NYPD spokesman confirmed to the Guardian. 

Earlier in the day, prosecutors announced the jury’s decision not to charge Daniel Pantaleo, one of the New York police department officers who had confronted Garner for selling loose cigarettes on Staten Island in July.

The protesters’ anger echoed the tensions in Ferguson, Missouri, the scene of violence and rioting after another grand jury declined to bring charges against a white police office in the killing of Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager suspected of robbing a convenience store. His death sparked hundreds of protests across the country and snapped into focus seething race issues.

Garner, who was black, died in July after being put in a chokehold by Pantaleo. Police had stopped the heavy-set father of six on suspicion of selling untaxed “loose” cigarettes. Garner had been arrested previously for selling untaxed cigarettes, marijuana possession and false impersonation.

A video shot by a bystander shows Garner resisting arrest as a plainclothes officer attempts to handcuff him. Backing away from the officer, Garner tells him: “This stops today,” which has become a rallying cry for protesters in New York. After a struggle during which Garner is wrestled to the ground by several officers, he gasps “I can’t breathe” until his 350lb body goes limp.

President Barack Obama, criticized for his response to unrest in Ferguson, suggested the Garner case had reaffirmed his determination to ensure all Americans are treated equally in the criminal justice system.

“When anybody in this country is not being treated equally under the law, that’s a problem,” the president said in Washington. “And it is my job as president to help solve it.”

After the decision not to bring criminal charges in New York, the US attorney general, Eric Holder, announced a federal investigation. “All lives must be valued,” Holder said. “All lives.”

Holder’s announcement was not enough to placate the anger in the city. About 200 protesters partially closed the West Side Highway, before police made several arrests, while other groups descended on various locations in midtown Manhattan, including Grand Central station, the Lincoln tunnel and Brooklyn bridge. Protesters also targeted the annual lighting of the Christmas tree at the Rockefeller Center, but were kept away from the ceremony.

As crowds rallied in Times Square, one young black man likened the treatment of minorities in the US in the 21st century to the early days of slavery. “It goes back to the foundations of the country. We’ve been dehumanised since we’ve been here, and we are being dehumanised now,” he said.

“Every 28 hours a young black man is killed by police,” one young woman told the Guardian, referring to nationwide statistics. “Only 2% of police are indicted. Those numbers are crazy. It’s telling young black men that their lives don’t matter and their deaths can be passed over.”

Groups of protesters continued marching well into the night.

The mayor of New York, Bill de Blasio, had earlier urged calm. De Blasio, who is white, said that he and his wife, Chirlane McCray, who is black, had spent years teaching their mixed-race son, Dante de Blasio, 17, how to “take special care” around police officers.

We “have had to [talk to] Dante for years about the dangers he may face,” de Blasio said in an emotional news conference. “Because of a history that still hangs over us, we’ve had to train him, as families have … in how to take special care in any interaction with the police officers who are there to protect him.”

The New York police department has long denied racial profiling in its law enforcement practices, despite a finding by federal prosecutors in 2000 that the practice was routine for street crimes units.

The mayor called on protesters to remain nonviolent, saying he had just met Ben Garner, Eric Garner’s father. “Eric would not have wanted violence,” the mayor quoted the father as saying.

De Blasio acknowledged the widespread discontent the grand jury decision was likely to cause. “It’s a very emotional day for our city,” he said. “It’s a very painful day for so many people of this city.” The mayor said the country was at a crossroads, calling discrimination and inequality before the law “all our problem”.

“Anyone who believes in the values of this country should feel a call to action right now,” De Blasio said. “It is a moment that change must happen.”

Minutes later, Garner’s family appeared alongside civil rights campaigner the Rev Al Sharpton in Harlem to address the media.

Garner’s widow, Esaw, vowed to continue fighting for justice. “As long as I have breath in my body I will fight the fight,” she said.

In Washington, Holder said that Garner’s death as well as that of unarmed teenager Brown, who was shot dead by police officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson in August, “have tested the sense of trust between law enforcement and the communities they are charged to serve”.

Holder said he respected the rights of protesters to voice their disappointment but called on them to remain peaceful.

Tensions had been simmering all week as New Yorkers braced for the verdict.

Activists called for a day of action following the verdict to protest the decision not to pursue charges against Pantaleo. Protesters have also been demanding an end to a policing philosophy championed by NYPD commissioner William Bratton. The policing model, known as broken windows, emphasises attention to petty crime – such as selling untaxed cigarettes – as a means of stymying large-scale crime.

The decision may compound already frayed relations between the New York police department and minority communities, which Bratton and de Blasio have pledged to repair.

The NYPD banned chokeholds over two decades ago, because they can be deadly if administered inappropriately or carelessly. Still, between January 2009 and June 2014, the city’s Civilian Complaint Review Board, an independent agency that investigates police misconduct, received 1,128 civilian complaints involving chokehold allegations. Of these, only a small fraction of the cases are ever substantiated– just ten over the five and a half year window.

In the days after Garner’s death, Bratton said all 35,000 officers would be retrained on the department’s use of force policy.

Sharpton announced a rally in Washington on 13 December. “It’s time for a national march to deal with a national crisis,” he said. “We are not going away.”

Additional reporting by Mae Ryan and Ana Terra Athayde in New York.

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Students, Workers Participate in 'Hands Up, Walkout' Demonstrations Nationwide

Students and workers across the US walked out of classrooms and offices on Monday, as nationwide protests following the decision not to indict police officer Darren Wilson over the fatal shooting of the unarmed teenager Michael Brown continued into a second week.

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Former Amazon Employee Set for Hunger Strike at Seattle Headquarters

A former Amazon employee embroiled in a legal battle with the online retailer is set to go on hunger strike in an attempt to force the company to change business practices which he calls “deceptive and fraudulent”.

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