US briefs: Black activtist death 'to be treated like murder'; one third Latino kids in poverty

July 26, 2015

United States: Death of Black activist to be 'treated like murder'

After a public outcry, a district attorney in Texas announced on July 20 that the death of African American activist Sandra Bland in a police cell will be investigated as thoroughly as a murder, TeleSUR English said.

“This is being treated like a murder investigation,” Waller County District Attorney Elton Mathis said. Mathis said there were “too many questions” surrounding Bland's death.

Bland's family has already called for an independent autopsy and a US Department of Justice investigation. Bland was a well-known social activist and vocal critic of racism and police brutality. She died after being detained by police earlier this month.

Bland was driving to a job interview when she was stopped by Waller County police officers for alleged improper signalling during a lane change, ABC7 Chicago quoted county Sheriff Department officials as saying.

Officials previously said her death in her jail cell was ruled a suicide by hanging. Bland’s family expressed deep reservations over this version of events. Authorities alleged Bland assaulted them, charging her with “assault on a public servant,” prior to her violent arrest. Witnesses said they saw police slamming Bland’s head on the dirt as they aggressively tossed her to the ground, using their knees to restrain her neck.

One-third of Latino children in poverty

One-third of Latino children in the United States live in poverty, demonstrating that many families of colour have benefited least from economic recuperation, a report revealed on July 21, TeleSUR English said.

The study, carried out by Annie E Casey Foundation, found that 22% of all US children live in conditions of poverty. The most affected are young African-Americans, of whom 39% live in poor households, compared to 14% of youth who identified as white.

The foundation’s study Kids Count Data Book 2015 found that since 2008, the number of children living in poverty has risen by nearly 3 million, from 13.2 million to 16.1 million in 2013.

Pre-recession, the report says, 18% of children lived in poverty conditions, demonstrating the uneven distribution of the economic recovery. This shows low income families, especially those of colour, have been left behind.

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