Tag Archives: police accountability

In First, US Labeled ‘Backsliding’ Democracy as Global Authoritarianism Grows

A new report calls the rejection of the 2020 election results by many in the Republican Party as an “historic turning point” for the United States.

By Julia Conley. Published 11-22-2021 by Common Dreams

The Capitol riot. Photo: Blink O’fanaye/flickr/CC

For the first time in its four years of compiling annual data on the state of democracy around the world, an international think tank added the United States to its list of “backsliding” democracies in the report it released Monday, pointing to factors including politicians’ continued false claims that the 2020 presidential election results were illegitimate as one of the key elements weakening the country’s democratic system.

The Global State of Democracy report, released by the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (IDEA), called former President Donald Trump’s public questioning of the election results in November 2020 “a historic turning point” both for U.S. democracy and the world, pointing to a knock-on effect in several countries. Continue reading

Share Button

Major Police Overhaul Goes Down in Minneapolis, But Austin and Cleveland Advocates Notch Wins

“It’s a long road to liberation and our journey doesn’t begin or end with Question 2,” said one campaign group in Minneapolis.

By Julia Conley.  Published 11-3-2021 by Common Dreams

Protest march against police violence in Minneapolis. Phoyo: Fibonacci Blue/flickr/CC

Advocates of a push to amend Minneapolis’ city charter and replace the city’s police department with a “public health-oriented” Department of Public Safety were undeterred from their fight for far-reaching reform on Wednesday after their proposal failed to win a majority of voters’ support, while activists in other U.S. cities celebrated victories against powerful law enforcement structures.

The grassroots group Black Visions Collective applauded the “historic” Yes on 2 campaign, which helped push nearly 44% of Minneapolis voters to support Question 2 after launching a petition to demand the question be included on the ballot. Continue reading

Share Button

‘Weapon of War’: Cori Bush Decries Unregulated Use of Tear Gas on US Civilians

“The current design of our law enforcement is militarized,” said Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams.  Published 10-14-2021

Tear gas in front of Oakland Museum – Occupy Oakland January 2012. Photo: Steve Rhodes/flickr/CC

Following a call by Rep. Cori Bush to investigate the use of tear gas on civilians by law enforcement, the House Oversight Committee on Thursday released a memo showing that the federal government has never determined the unregulated chemical to be safe for use on humans—despite the fact that manufacturers earn millions of dollars per year providing tear gas to police departments across the country.

Reps. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-Ill.) and Jamie Raskin (D-Md.), who chair the Oversight Committee’s panels on economic and consumer policy and civil rights liberties, respectively, released the memo decrying “a complete void in the regulation of tear gas, a weapon that is banned in war yet commonly used against U.S. citizens.” Continue reading

Share Button

‘A Win for Civil Rights’: Federal Judge Blocks Florida GOP’s Anti-Protest Law

The court’s decision, said a coalition of civil rights groups, “serves as a powerful reminder that such unjust and unconstitutional efforts cannot stand.”

By Kenny Stancil, staff writer for Common Dreams.  Puvlished 9-10-2021

George Floyd protests in Miami, Florida on June 6, 2020. Photo: Mike Shaheen/Wikimedia/CC

Civil liberties and racial justice advocates are celebrating after a federal judge ruled Thursday that Florida’s anti-protest law is unconstitutional and therefore unenforceable.

In his 90-page decision (pdf) granting civil rights groups’ request for a preliminary injunction, U.S. District Judge Mark Walker said the law—passed by Florida’s GOP-controlled House and Senate and signed in April by Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis in response to demonstrations against police violence and racial injustice—violates rights to free speech and peaceful assembly as well as due process protections. Continue reading

Share Button

Feds Targeted BLM Activists to Foil Racial Justice Protests: Report

“The federalization of protest-related charges was a deliberate and cynical effort to target and discourage those who protested in defense of Black lives.”

By Kenny Stancil, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 8-19-2021

George Floyd protest in Philadelphia 6-1-2020. Photo: Joe Piette/flickr/CC

As Black Lives Matter protests grew across the U.S. following the police murders of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd, so did the federal government’s persecution of activists who marched in support of racial justice.

That’s according to a new report released Wednesday by the Movement for Black Lives (M4BL) and the Creating Law Enforcement Accountability & Responsibility (CLEAR) clinic at the City University of New York School of Law. Continue reading

Share Button

Water Protectors Against Line 3 Sue Over Police Blockade of Indigenous Camp

“The Hubbard County Sheriff has attempted to illegally construct a de facto open-air prison to trap Indigenous environmental protectors and allies on their own property.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 7-16-2021

Since June 28, 2021, police in Minnesota have blockaded a driveway to an Indigenous camp of water protectors protesting the Line 3 pipeline. (Photo: Giniw Collective)

Water protectors fighting against Enbridge’s Line 3 tar sands pipeline in Minnesota filed suit Friday to stop a police blockade of a camp they use for Indigenous-led organizing, decolonization, and treaty rights trainings as well as religious activities.

The plaintiffs, including Indigenous leaders Tara Houska and Winona LaDuke, are taking legal action in response to the Hubbard County Sheriff Office’s ongoing blockade of the private property, which police unexpectedly began late last month. The complaint names the county, Sheriff Corwin “Cory” Aukes, and Mark Lohmeier, the local land commissioner, as defendants. Continue reading

Share Button

‘Counseling Not Criminalization’ Bill Unveiled to Boot Police From US Schools

“For too long our education system has been intertwined with the criminal legal system and the results have been tragic.”

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer for Common Dreams. Publlished 6-18-2021

Los Angeles School Police car. Photo: Chris Yarzab/flickr/CC

Rep. Ayanna Pressley and Sen. Chris Murphy on Thursday announced reintroduced legislation to direct budget resources away from police presence in public schools and instead toward providing students with “trauma-informed services”—an approach the lawmakers say will put student well-being over criminalization.

The bicameral legislation, entitled the Counseling Not Criminalization in Schools Act, is co-led by by Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass) and Tina Smith (D-Minn.) and Reps. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) and Jamaal Bowman (D-N.Y.) and came amid growing calls to overhaul policing in the nation. Continue reading

Share Button

UN Human Rights Chief Calls for ‘End to All Forms of Violence’ After Troops Deployed Over Colombian Protests

Dozens of people have died during the past month of demonstrations, which have been met with deadly attacks by the nation’s law enforcement.

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 5-30-2021

Photo: Joshua Collins/Twitter

United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet responded to the Colombian president’s decision to deploy thousands of troops after a month of protests by calling for an end to all violence and urging negotiations over key national policies, which had stalled but were set to resume Sunday.

Bachelet, in a statement Sunday, specifically expressed concern about reports that since Friday, at least 14 people have died and 98 people have been injured in the Colombian city of Cali—one of the primary protest sites over the past month—and that an off-duty judicial police officer and others have fired at demonstrators. Continue reading

Share Button

Sheriffs in more militarized counties reap election rewards

When local law enforcement agencies get military surplus equipment, like armored vehicles, local sheriffs are more likely to get reelected. AP Photo/David Goldman

Christos Mavridis, Middlesex University; Maurizio Zanardi, University of Surrey, and Orestis Troumpounis, Lancaster University

The Research Brief is a short take about interesting academic work.

The big idea

Sheriffs in counties that get more military surplus equipment from a federal program have a better chance of getting reelected than sheriffs whose counties get less equipment, or less lethal equipment, from the same program, our new research shows.

Through a federal program aimed at fighting drug trafficking and terrorism and improving border security, thousands of law enforcement agencies around the country have gotten billions of dollars’ worth of military equipment, including bulletproof vests, helicopters, robots, firearms and ammunition, and armored vehicles. Continue reading

Share Button

‘Racist, Unconstitutional, and Anti-Democratic’: Florida Senate Passes GOP Anti-Protest Bill

“This bill is a disgrace to our state.”

By Kenny Stancil, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 4-16-2021

George Floyd protests in Miami, Florida on June 6, 2020. Photo: Mike Shaheen/Wikimedia Commons/CC

After Florida’s Senate Republicans on Thursday passed an undemocratic anti-protest bill—expected to be signed into law by its chief proponent, Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis, as early as next week—the state’s ACLU chapter condemned GOP lawmakers for “aiming to shut down political speech they disagree with in a direct attack on the First Amendment and at the cost of Black and Brown people.”

House Bill 1 “is racist, unconstitutional, and anti-democratic, plain and simple,” Micah Kubic, executive director of the ACLU of Florida, said in a statement. Continue reading

Share Button