Tag Archives: Alabama

‘Wild and Timely’ Report Details Infiltration of Far-Right Militias and White Supremacist Groups in US Police Departments

The study comes amid unrest in Kenosha, Wisconsin, following the latest high-profile police shooting of a Black man and the shooting deaths of two protesters by an alleged far-right militia member.

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 8-27-2020

Kyle Rittenhouse walks past police in Kenosha after allegedly shooting three people, killing two of them. Photo: Rod Breslau/Twitter

As law enforcement agencies and lawmakers respond to nationwide outrage over countless police shootings of Black Americans with pledges to address racial profiling and “implicit bias,” the Brennan Center for Justice released a report Thursday on what it called “an especially harmful form of bias, which remains entrenched within law enforcement: explicit racism.”

The presence of virulent racism within police ranks across the country has grown over the past two decades, Brennan Center fellow and former FBI special agent Michael German wrote in the report, as white supremacist and far-right militant groups have infiltrated law enforcement agencies. Continue reading

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Ruling Against Rape Victim in Alabama, Say Critics, Shows Stand-Your-Ground Laws ‘Not Created for Women’

Brittany Smith’s attorneys plan to appeal the decision.

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 2-4-2020

A judge in Alabama rejected a woman’s “Stand Your Ground” defense regarding the shooting of her alleged rapist. (Photo: Lori Shaull/Flickr/cc)

A woman in Alabama could face life in prison after losing her “Stand Your Ground” hearing in spite of testifying she shot a man in her home in January 2018 because he raped her and attacked her brother.

Brittany Smith was charged with first-degree murder after killing Todd Smith, her acquaintance, but sought immunity from prosecution citing Alabama’s Stand Your Ground law. The state is one of 25 with laws that ostensibly permit the use of deadly force in the case of self-defense in the case of a burglary or the threat of violence. Continue reading

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‘Dystopian’: Reproductive Rights Advocates Decry California Woman’s Murder Charge Over Her Stillborn Baby

“Pregnant people being criminalized and thrown in jail because of their pregnancy outcomes is not just a warning for the future: It’s already here.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 11-7-2019

A woman in California was charged Wednesday with first-degree murder in the death of her stillborn baby, who had toxic levels of methamphetamine in his system. Experts caution against the criminalization of women who use drugs during pregnancy. (Photo: Mikasi/cc/flickr)

Reproductive and human rights advocates on Thursday warned that first-degree murder charges against a woman in California for the death of her stillborn baby is “the direct result” of the anti-choice movement’s push for extreme laws pitting the rights of women against those of unborn children.

Chelsea Cheyenne Becker was arrested and charged on Wednesday with murder in Hanford, California and held on $5 million bail, several weeks after giving birth to a stillborn baby. The baby was found to have toxic levels of methamphetamine in his system, suggesting to investigators that Becker had used the drug throughout her pregnancy. Continue reading

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After Supreme Court decision, gerrymandering fix is up to voters

The Supreme Court is empty days before the justices vote to on the U.S. gerrymandering case. AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

 

John Rennie Short, University of Maryland, Baltimore County

In a 5-4 decision the Supreme Court has ruled that partisan gerrymandering is not unconstitutional.

The majority ruled that gerrymandering is outside the scope and power of the federal courts to adjudicate. The issue is a political one, according to the court, not a legal one.

“Excessive partisanship in districting leads to results that reasonably seem unjust,” wrote Chief Justice John Roberts in the majority decision. “But the fact that such gerrymandering is incompatible with democratic principles does not mean that the solution lies with the federal judiciary.” Continue reading

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‘Terrifying’ and ‘Unacceptable’: Outrage Mounts Over Manslaughter Charge for Alabama Woman Who Miscarried After Being Shot in the Stomach

Critics warn the case threatens reproductive rights nationwide by advancing the anti-choice concept of “fetal personhood”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 6-27-2019

Marshae Jones, a 27-year-old from Alabama, was charged with manslaughter Wednesday for experiencing a miscarriage last year after she was shot in the stomach. (Photo: AL.com)

In a case that has outraged and alarmed reproductive rights advocates nationwide, Marshae Jones—a 27-year-old black woman from Alabama—was charged with manslaughter Wednesday for experiencing a miscarriage last December after she was shot in the stomach.

“This is the toxic collision of the everyday racism, sexism, and violence experienced by black women and the terrifying end point of the dangerous anti-choice laws spreading across the country, including in Alabama, that devalue, dehumanize, and criminalize women,” Shaunna Thomas of the national women’s group UltraViolet said in a statement. “This is part of a larger pattern of how our criminal justice system permits and furthers violence and abuse against black women, and it is unacceptable.” Continue reading

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New Data Reveals ‘Alarming Escalation’ of Threats Towards Abortion Facilities

“Anti-choice individuals and groups have been emboldened by the rhetoric of President Trump, Vice President Pence, and other elected officials.”

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 5-24-2019

“It is time for the demonizing of abortion providers and their patients to end,” said The Very Reverend Katherine Ragsdale, interim president and CEO of NAF. (Photo: ACLU)

As reproductive rights face continued attacks on the state and federal levels, just-released data reveals an “alarming escalation” in violence and harassment aimed at abortion providers and those seeking their services.

The statistics (pdf), reflecting incidents in 2018, were released Friday by the National Abortion Federation (NAF). Continue reading

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‘This Is Not A Drill’: Amid GOP Attack, Pro-Choice #StopTheBans Rallies Take Place Nationwide

“Now more than ever, we must unite against this unprecedented attack on our fundamental rights and freedoms…Because we are in the fight of our lives.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 5-21-2019

NARAL Pro-Choice America President Ilyse Hogue speaks at a #StopTheBans rally in Washington, D.C., aimed at ending the Republican Party’s attacks on abortion rights. (Photo: NARAL Pro-Choice America)

A week after the Alabama legislature sparked outrage that spread across the country with its approval of a near-total ban on abortion care in the state, reproductive rights advocates across the country are holding “Stop the Bans” rallies on Tuesday to demand that state Republican lawmakers end their attacks on abortion rights.

NARAL Pro-Choice America, the National Women’s Law Center, and Planned Parenthood were among dozens of national groups that began planning a #StopTheBans Day of Action last week after extreme anti-choice laws were passed both in Alabama and Missouri. By Tuesday morning, more than 500 direct actions were planned in all 50 states as well as Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico. Continue reading

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Pennsylvania Supreme Court Smacks Down GOP Gerrymandered Congressional Map

Decision hailed as ‘major victory for all Pennsylvanians’

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer for CommonDreams. Published 1-22-2018

Thanks to the new decision, said the National Democratic Redistricting Committee, “The new maps could result in a delegation that more closely resembles the will of Pennsylvania’s voters.” (Photo: Penn State/Flickr/cc)

Pennsylvania’s high court on Monday ruled that the state’s gerrymandered congressional map “clearly, plainly, and palpably” violates the state constitution and ordered the state to draw up a new map to be used in the primary.

“The Pennsylvania Supreme Court today ruled in favor of voters choosing politicians rather than politicians choosing voters, and that is major victory for all Pennsylvanians,” said Karen Hobert Flynn, president of Common Cause, which filed an amicus brief in the case. “The court order will result in new maps in time for the 2018 election so that voters will not be forced to face a fourth congressional election under these unconstitutionally gerrymandered congressional districts.” Continue reading

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‘Hoop After Hoop’: How Gulf Coast States Are Playing Politics with Women’s Health

“It’s just plain irresponsible for politicians to keep forcing doctors to go court just to ensure that they can provide the care that women need.”

By Deirdre Fulton, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 6-3-2016

John Bel Edwards

John Bel Edwards. Photo:YouTube

Women on the Gulf Coast continue to face concerted attacks on their right to healthcare, as Louisiana passed new abortion restrictions this week and the ACLU sued Alabama over several recently enacted, draconian laws.

On Tuesday, Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) signed into law a bill banning the abortion procedure known as “dilation and evacuation” or D&E—which women’s health experts say is the safest and most common method of abortion for women in their second trimester of pregnancy. Continue reading

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Exxon Gets Sued by Conservationists and Legal Help from Conservatives

As attorneys general of Texas and Alabama pledge to assist oil giant with fraud probe, conservation group files first lawsuit since cover-up revealed

By Nadia Prupis, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 5-17-2016

The lawsuit "aims to hold ExxonMobil accountable for decades of dishonesty." (Photo: Johnny Silvercloud/flickr/cc)

The lawsuit “aims to hold ExxonMobil accountable for decades of dishonesty.” (Photo: Johnny Silvercloud/flickr/cc)

An environmental group has filed the first non-governmental lawsuit against ExxonMobil since the fossil fuel giant’s campaign of misinformation was exposed last year.

The Boston-based Conservation Law Foundation (CLF) announced Tuesday that it served a formal notice against Exxon for its decades-long effort to suppress information about climate change and spread public doubt about the impacts of greenhouse gases. CLF launched an investigation against the corporation after InsideClimate News exposed its cover-up in 2015, and found Exxon to be endangering New England communities by misleading regulators over the climate-readiness of its facilities. Continue reading

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