Last night, thousands of people protested the failure to indict the police officer who killed Eric Garner. Photo by David Bledsoe.
One hundred and twenty-two years ago, Ida B. Wells, an African American journalist who reported on the horrors carried out by white lynch mobs against Southern blacks, penned a oft-pronounced slogan that still rings true today: “This is a white man's country and the white man must rule.”
A Portland police officer hugs 12-year-old Devonte Hart at a Ferguson protest in Portland, Oregon, last week. Devonte was holding a sign offering free hugs and the officer asked to take him up on the idea. Photo by Johnny Nguyen.
I waited three months to hear the phrase—the phrase that etched another devastating moment into the history of America. When it finally came, I prayed for the Brown family, who had to endure a painful Thanksgiving dinner with one less light at the table.
In the wake of Ferguson, Black Friday takes on a whole new meaning.
I recall with stunning clarity that day in 1992 when the Rodney King beating verdict came down. An all-white jury in Simi Valley pronounced that a gang of police officers was not guilty for beating an unarmed black man nearly to death, despite the fact that a bystander caught the whole ugly incident on video.
There's a powerful new mural in New York City: at 22 East 2nd Street in Lower Manhattan, seven mothers are painted in front of bold, colorful stripes. These are all mothers whose sons have been killed by violence from the state.
It makes sense for public health departments to invest in distributing free condoms. But why would a city spend a million dollars a giving out free condoms—then allow police to use those very same condoms as evidence of prostitution? This may sound ridiculous, but this has been the reality in New York City.
A medic—who was sent away—checks out James Chasse's injuries as police sip coffee.
Cases of police brutality are reported time and time again across the country. And yet, despite the passing of years and supposed reforms, we are always taken aback when new cases arise.
Seven years after one particularly awful case in Portland, Oregon, the new independent documentary Alien Boy: The Life and Death of James Chasse captures the horror once more. The film is a chilling, intimate look at one case of police brutality and the flawed justice system that allows officers to act with impunity.