I had no intention of going to Ferguson, the flashpoint of the Black Lives Matter movement against police brutality. It was the United States’ dirty problem, not Australia’s. Then I read a piece about Black Lives Matter activists taking the mic from Bernie Sanders while he campaigned for Democratic presidential candidacy. Parts of the crowd booed.
The white police officer who shot two unarmed Black youths in May in Thurston County, Washington state, will not face criminal charges, the Thurston County Prosecutor announced on September 2, because the youths’ skateboards were said to be “threatening” the officer. Prosecutor Jon Tunheim said that rather than charging the cop, whose bullets left one of the young men paralysed from the waist down, assault charges would be filed against the two men, Bryson Chaplin, 21, and Andre Thompson, 24.
Cornel West addresses the protest. Photo: Edward Leavy Jr. Thousands braved heat and no shade to rally and march in Newark, New Jersey, on July 25 and police brutality, racial injustice and economic inequality. The majority African-American crowd were supporting a demonstration initiated by the Newark-based People’s Organization for Progress.
Melbourne, July 18: Police pepper spray anti-racists and high five fascists. The following statement was released by the Melbourne Street Medics' Collective on July 18: * * *
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.
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.
Chile has been hit by another round of protests by student groups demanding substantial reforms to the country’s education system. Two student activists were killed in Chile on May 14 amid nationwide protests. The two students were shot in the city of Valparaiso, near the Plaza Victoria, at the end of a huge rally. Local media said both students were gunned down by a Valparaiso store owner as they attempted to hang a banner over his shop.
Photo: TeleSUR/Rael Mora. A three-day general strike against the Tia Maria mining project of transnational Southern Copper Corporation in the southern region of Arequipa in Peru was launched on May 12.
Prince at the 2015 Grammy awards: “Albums still matter. Like books and Black lives, albums still matter. Tonight and always.”
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.
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.
I fanatically loved the critically acclaimed Baltimore-based television drama The Wire, which ran for five seasons from 2002-08. It is difficult to even imagine my pop-cultural brain without the presence of Omar Little, Stringer Bell, Bunk and “McNutty”. When I started doing my sports radio show eight years ago, I scheduled interviews with as many of the actors as I could for no other reason than I wanted to breathe their air. Talking to Michael K Williams about the method of Omar's “long game” while he aggressively chewed on a sandwich will forever remain a career highlight.
In California, the local chapter of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union has vowed to shut down ports on May 1 in a historic protest against police brutality, Democracy Now! reported. In a statement, the union said: "It is fitting that on May Day, International Workers Day, Bay Area ports will be shut down to protest the racist police killing of mainly black and brown people."