UN Committee Against Torture Calls Out Chicago Police for Brutality, ‘Excessive Use of Force’

By: Friday November 28, 2014 2:45 pm

Earlier this month, a US delegation appeared before the committee as all countries that are signatories to the treaty banning torture are supposed to do every four years. Committee members were able to ask officials in the delegation any questions. Delegations from civil society organizations were also able to submit “shadow reports” on the US that committee would use to help them review the country’s record.

The US government’s insistence that a federal law specifically prohibiting torture is unnecessary, holds a “restrictive interpretation” of how the treaty applies to “any territory” under US control, captives remain in indefinite detention without charge or trial at Guantanamo Bay prison and hunger strikers are subject to cruel and inhuman forced-feeding and the failure to appropriately hold officials accountable for torture were each some of the concerns.

Yet, even more remarkable was the fact that an entire section on police brutality and “excessive use of force” in the US solely focused on the Chicago Police Department.

 

The March for Ferguson: Houston

By: Wednesday November 26, 2014 4:54 pm

The notice of the March for Ferguson and Michael Brown came through Facebook. It would begin in a park near where I work so I thought I would take a look.

When I arrived, I thought there might actually be more media and cops than demonstrators but the crowd slowly swelled. A few people spoke in turn through a megaphone but the chants soon took over, “ Hands up, don’t shoot”.

Police Fired Tear Gas at Coffee Shop in St. Louis That Was Supposed ‘Safe Space’ – Twice

By: Tuesday November 25, 2014 3:50 pm

Police deployed in riot gear fired tear gas directly at a coffee shop in St. Louis early in the morning on Tuesday. The scene unfolded just hours after an announcement by St. Louis County prosecutor, Robert McCulloch, that a grand jury had found no “probable cause” to indict white Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson for killing an unarmed black teenager, Michael Brown, on August 9.

Rachel O’Leary, who is the Deputy Executive Director for Field Organizing for Amnesty International USA, was in MoKaBe’s Coffeehouse in the Shaw neighborhood with some members of a delegation of human rights observers. About 1 am—or just after—tear gas was fired.

“We noticed police behaving strangely,” O’Leary recalled. “They were squatting down in a group, and we couldn’t figure out what was happening. We were watching this out the window.”

Questions from Ferguson

By: Tuesday November 25, 2014 11:30 am

What happened in Ferguson matters to us all as Americans. Are we doomed to remain a nation hopelessly, violently adrift in a swamp of racism? Do we have a justice system that is indeed just? Can everyone expect to receive fair treatment in our system, from the moment police confront an alleged criminal to the moment some sort of final decision is reached? Do our police forces exist to “protect and serve,” or does that only apply to some groups of Americans, while for others the police are deadly enemies?

Grand Jury Does Not Indict Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson for Killing Unarmed Mike Brown

By: Monday November 24, 2014 6:48 pm

After much anticipation, a grand jury in Clayton, Missouri, did not indict Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson for killing unarmed black teenager, Michael Brown, on August 9.

St. Louis County Prosecutor Robert McCulloch announced the grand jury determined “no probable cause” existed to file a charge against Wilson.

“In this moment, we all have a choice to make,” said Tef Poe, who is the co-founder of Hands Up United, “We can stand by while police and their apologists in prosecutors’ offices and city halls continue to kill, harass and criminalize our communities – or stand up in this moment to demand that our elected officials lead and finally deal with our broken policing system.”

For CNN, Michael Smerconish Helps Police Create Propaganda Against Ferguson Protesters

By: Monday November 24, 2014 11:19 am

Attorney and radio and television host Michael Smerconish spent a full hour on November 22 on the forthcoming grand jury decision in Ferguson, Missouri, that was expected. He committed his show to not only holding protesters accountable but also to giving a Ferguson police officer air time to spread fear by claiming that all police officers he knows have received “death threats.”

FBI Sting Operation in St. Louis: Preemptive Policing Ahead of Announcement of Grand Jury Decision

By: Saturday November 22, 2014 4:00 pm

Days before a grand jury announcement is expected on whether Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson will be indicted for killing an unarmed black teenager, Mike Brown, the FBI has reportedly targeted and caught two men with alleged connections to the New Black Panthers who allegedly planned to purchase guns to hurt police officers.

Multiple news media organizations also initially reported, based of anonymous law enforcement sources, that these same two individuals “purchased explosives to use in pipe bombs they intended to use in protests in Ferguson.” But the two men, Brandon Orlando Baldwin and Olajuwon Davis, have yet to be indicted on any charges related to buying explosive materials.

Protest at Chicago Police Headquarters: Families of Those Killed by Cops Speak Out for Justice (VIDEO)

By: Thursday November 6, 2014 10:12 am

Family of people shot and killed by Chicago police gathered outside the Chicago Police Department’s headquarters on November 5. Somewhere around fifty to a hundred people, including activists and city residents, participated in an evening demonstration for justice and accountability.

Specifically, the action took place on November 5 because 22-year-old Rekia Boyd would have been celebrating her birthday on November 5 had she not been killed by an off-duty police officer on March 21, 2012.

Boyd was out with her friends in Chicago when an off-duty police officer named Dante Servin stopped her and her friends while they were in North Lawndale’s Douglas Park on the west side. Servin told them to “keep the noise down.” The officer continued to exchange words with Boyd and her friends and then pulled out his gun and fired “at least five rounds at the group,” according to a recent report by a local grassroots group, We Charge Genocide (WCG).

Ferguson No-Fly Zone & A Brief Overview of a Tool Used to Restrict Freedom of the Press

By: Monday November 3, 2014 1:36 pm

The United States government agreed to “restrict more than 37 square miles of airspace” over an area surrounding Ferguson, Missouri, for a period of 12 days in order to keep news helicopters from covering protests and the police response to them.

Podcast: Going to the UN Committee Against Torture to Call Attention to Rampant Police Violence

By: Sunday November 2, 2014 9:05 am

Chicago police officers have shot over three hundred people in the past five years. They have killed at least 89 people, predominantly people of color, in that same period. They have used force and received an astounding number of complaints about brutality from citizens in Chicago. Yet, Chicago police seem to enjoy a stunning level of immunity from accountability and justice.

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