New Footage of Michael Brown on the Day He Was Killed Shows How Easy It Is for Cops to Paint Victims as 'Bad Guys'
Last weekend, a new development emerged in the story of the 2014 killing of unarmed teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, whose death sparked unrest across the nation. Previously unreleased footage of Brown inside the convenience store that the police claimed he had robbed before he was confronted by Darren Wilson, the former officer, contradicts the story the police department pushed about Brown’s actions that day.
Flint, Michigan’s lead-poisoned water crisis, which erupted in 2014, shined a global spotlight on the dangerous confluence of austerity, poverty and environmental racism. A new in-depth investigation by Reuters finds that Flint is far from alone, with nearly 3,000 areas nationwide facing lead poisoning rates “at least double those in Flint during the peak of that city's contamination crisis.” In 1,100 of those communities, residents had lead levels in their blood that were four times higher than those found in Flint.
Last week, Baltimore state’s attorney Marilyn Mosby dropped charges against the final three officers awaiting trial for their role in the death of Freddie Gray, having determined there was no chance of successfully prosecuting them. “Gee, looks like NOBODY killed Freddie Gray,” writer Stephen King tweeted sarcastically in response to the first wave of acquittals. “Guess he just died of being black. Funny how that happens in this country.”
“You’re more likely to be convicted of a crime you didn’t commit than a cop is for one they did,” Son of Nun, a Baltimore-based rapper, organizer and Firebrand Records artist, told AlterNet. “I have no faith in this nation’s legal system, how can I when it’s legal to deny people justice? If we can figure out how to put a robot on mars, then we can figure out how to hold police accountable. It’s only complicated if you’re complicit.”
Six Baltimore police officers faced criminal charges of varying degrees for the death of 25-year-old Freddie Gray last year, and the remaining charges were dropped by prosecutors Wednesday. This means not a single person was convicted for Gray’s death after he was loaded into a police van, shackled but not secured with a seatbelt, and died a week later from a severe spinal injury. The prosecutors dropped charges against Officer William Porter, who was awaiting a retrial after his first ended in a hung jury in December, and Officer Garrett Miller and Sergeant Alicia White, who never went to trial.
Freddie Gray died in April 2015 of spinal injuries after he was arrested and transported in a police van. Gray’s family and attorney say his voice box was crushed and his spine was "80 percent severed at his neck." Three police officers have already been acquitted off all charges related to his arrest and death.
Officer Caesar Goodson, the van driver in the Freddie Gray case, was charged with seven different crimes—from second degree “depraved heart” murder to reckless endangerment. He was found not guilty on all charges today by Baltimore City Circuit Court Judge Barry Williams.
Officer Edward Nero faced misdemeanor charges of second-degree assault, reckless endangerment and two counts of misconduct in office. Nero was one of six officers charged in Gray’s death. Judge Barry Williams handed down the verdict in a bench trial on Monday, ruling that "the state has not met its burden" to prove Nero’s guilt "beyond a reasonable doubt." The ruling was met with little surprise from the community in a case that many said was the state’s weakest. We speak with Gray family attorney Billy Murphy, who recently won a $6.4 million settlement from the city of Baltimore for the family of Freddie Gray, and Rev. Heber Brown III, pastor of Pleasant Hope Baptist Church and member of Baltimore United for Change.
A second officer was tried in the death of Freddie Gray, the Baltimore man whose death in police custody sparked riots last Spring.
I’m holding in my hand what has been called “one of the most daring books of the 21st century,” a “book for the ages,” “bracing,” “unrelenting.” The title is Democracy in Black: How Race Still Enslaves the American Soul, and it breathes with prophetic fire.