Rally against police brutality in McKinney, Texas, June 8, 2015. The head of the US's largest organisation of Black lawyers and judges joined activists and community leaders on June 10 to call for national police reform to address racial bias. She also backed calls for an independent investigation into a white police officer's recent assault of a young Black girl in her bathing suit at a pool party in McKinney, Texas.
A 59-year-old Aboriginal man died in Darwin on May 21 while being held under controversial new “paperless arrest laws”. These laws give police the powers to arrest people for summary offences — such as “obscenity”, undue noise, offensive language — and hold them for up to four hours at a time. In NSW, a program that has been proved to prevent Aboriginal deaths in custody has lost funding under the federal government’s ironically named Indigenous Advancement Strategy.
The case of yet another death at the hands of US police of an unarmed Black man — in this case teenager Ariston Waiters in Georgia — will be re-opened after new evidence emerged on May 17. The new evidence revealed Waiters was shot twice in the back when already on the ground. Dalton County District Attorney Paul Howard reopened the case after Channel 2 Action News revealed new evidence and witnesses. The new elements proves Union City police officer Luther Lewis shot the unarmed 19-year-old Waiters twice in the back, after he already had him on the ground.
A new video has surfaced of the arrest of 25-year-old Black man Freddie Gray by Baltimore police that contradicts previous police accounts and features an extra stop made by police on the way to the station, the Baltimore Sun reported on May 20. Gray died on April 19 from injuries sustained in the back of a police van. He was arrested after he made eye contact with police and then ran away. The newspaper obtained the extra cell phone video footage and testimony from neighbours who said they saw the police van stop one block away from where Freddie Gray was arrested April 12.
The white US police officer who shot dead Black teenager VonDerrit Myers while off-duty will not be prosecuted, officials said on May 18. The 18-year-old teen was shot 17 times in St Louis in October, six minutes after buying a sandwich at convenience store. His death exacerbated protests in Missouri state against the killing of unarmed Black teenager Michael Brown in the nearby town of Ferguson in August, also by a white officer. Like the fatal shooting of Brown, the details of Myers’ death contained startling inconsistencies.
In an atypical move in cases of police killings of unarmed African Americans, six police officers in Baltimore have been charged with serious crimes over the death of 25-year-old African American man Freddie Gray last month. Baltimore state attorney Marilyn Mosby announced the charges on May 1, which include second-degree murder against one officer.
Prince at the 2015 Grammy awards: “Albums still matter. Like books and Black lives, albums still matter. Tonight and always.”
Demonstrators gathered outside Baltimore City Hall on May 3 to celebrate the restoration of their right to protest without harsh controls in an all-too-rare case of a step towards justice in struggles against police brutality, TeleSUR English said the next day.
Protests have rocked the streets of Baltimore, Maryland, after African-American man Freddie Gray died in police custody. Gray was stopped by police while chatting with a friend in broad daylight. After being arrested Gray's spinal cord was broken, and after being in a coma he later died. Baltimore City's Police Department admitted responsibility, saying they mishandled Gray's injury and should have called paramedics earlier.
Khury Petersen-Smith is a 32-year-old African American activist based in Boston, who is actively involved in the growing “Black Lives matter” struggle sweeping the US. I was able to speak with Petersen-Smith, a member of the International Socialist Organization, at the Marxism 2015 conference organised by Socialist Alternative in Melbourne over Easter, at which he was a featured guest.