Tag Archives: Police Brutality

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

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‘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

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Palestinian Protesters Recount Harrowing Details of Torture at the Hands of Israeli Police

Officers wounded the detainees, terrorized them, and whomever dared to lift his head upwards risked more beatings by officers. According to affidavits, the floor of the room was covered in blood from the beatings.

By Jessica Buxbaum  Published 6-25-2021 by MintPress News

Photo: FOBZU

In May, the world watched Israel’s brutal occupation on full display: The forcible displacement of Sheikh Jarrah residents was underway; Israeli security forces attacked Muslim worshippers at Al-Aqsa Mosque during Ramadan; Israeli rocket fire rained down on Gaza; and Jewish extremists chanted “Death to Arabs!” in the streets.

According to multiple testimonies, Israeli police in Nazareth ran a “torture room” where they ruthlessly attacked Palestinian detainees during the wave of demonstrations against Israel in May.

Now, as international headlines fade on Palestine, Israeli violence continues. Continue reading

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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

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Hundreds of Palestinians Protesting Evictions in Jerusalem Injured in ‘State-Sanctioned Campaign of Israeli Violence’

“Israel’s violence has a clear purpose: ethnically cleanse Jerusalem of Palestinians to allow Israeli settlers to take over Palestinian homes.”

By Kenny Stancil, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 5-8-2021

Photo: Faraz Khan/Twitter

More than 200 Palestinians were wounded and at least one partially blinded over night in East Jerusalem when Israeli police fired rubber-coated steel bullets and stun grenades at thousands of people who were protesting Israeli settlers and security forces’ ongoing effort to dispossess Palestinians of their land in the occupied territory.

Israel’s violent oppression of Palestinians, which has intensified in recent days, continued Saturday.

“What’s happening in Jerusalem and Palestine more broadly is not a ‘clash’ or a ‘scuffle,’ but a state-sanctioned campaign of Israeli violence against Palestinians,” the Institute for Middle East Understanding (IMEU) said Saturday. “To pretend otherwise is to minimize the horrors we are witnessing.” Continue reading

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‘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

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‘Classic Case of Crisis Opportunism’: Republicans in Three States Introduce Bills Criminalizing Protest in Wake of Capitol Attack

These proposed laws are “aimed at police brutality protests, not right-wing insurrection.”

By Kenny Stancil, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 1-13-2021

George Floyd protests in Washington DC. Photo: Rosa Pineda /CC

Progressives are sounding the alarm that a handful of Republican lawmakers are exploiting the deadly attack on the U.S. Capitol on January 6 by an insurrectionist pro-Trump mob to push for anti-protest bills that critics say do not aim to stem the tide of right-wing extremism but instead criminalize dissent by those seeking social change and justice.

In the immediate aftermath of last week’s invasion of the halls of Congress, GOP lawmakers in Florida, Mississippi, and Indiana introduced bills that “do not represent new strategies designed specifically to prevent future right-wing insurrections… [but] draw from a set of policies that numerous state legislators introduced [last] summer in order to appear tough on protests against police brutality,” The Intercept reported Tuesday. Continue reading

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7 ways women of colour resisted racism this year

Women are leading anti-racist activism around the world, from Black Brazilians running for election to Germany’s migrant rights movement. #12DaysofResistance

By Sophia Seawell  Published 12-30-2020 by openDemocracy

Anti-Racism Protest in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. June 8, 2020. Photo: Andrew Mercer/Wikimedia Commons/CC

The murder of George Floyd in May this year triggered uprisings against and conversations about racism in countries across the world. It felt as though the Black Lives Matter movement – founded in 2013 by three Black women in the US – had gone global on an unprecedented scale.

And while racism is an issue that transcends borders (White supremacy was, after all, a colonial project), it takes on different forms in different contexts. What constitutes racism in Canada may look quite different from racism in India or Brazil. Continue reading

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France’s New Security Law May Have Just Sparked a “George Floyd” Moment

Sparked by a new bill that would make publishing photos of police illegal and a viral video soon after that shows French police brutally beating a black man, it appears that France may be headed for its own “George Floyd” moment.

By Alan Macleod. Published 11-30-2020 by MintPress News

Screenshot: EuroNews

Award-winning Syrian photographer Ameer Alhalbi lies dazed on the ground. His head is heavily bruised and bandaged, blood covers his face, arms, and much of his body. Lengths of cotton wool have been stuffed up his broken nose, giving him an almost comical appearance. Alhalbi has been badly beaten by police. But this is not Syria, it is Paris, where he was covering — ironically — huge, nationwide protests against police brutality this weekend.

Perhaps even more concerning is that new laws pushed through by the government of Emmanuel Macron and passed by France’s National Assembly (akin to the U.S. House of Representatives) mean that sharing images of Alhalbi or other victims of police brutality might soon be considered illegal.

Article 24 of the country’s new national security bill, which now only needs to be ratified by the Senate, specifically outlaws the publishing and dissemination of images of police that undermine their physical or psychological “integrity,” and is punishable with a fine of up to €45,000 and up to one year in jail. The bill specifically states that filming police in such a manner would be against the law, but questions have been raised about how liberally authorities would interpret the nebulous language of the new edict. Media unions and human rights groups warn that it could prevent journalists from documenting police abuses.

The National Assembly’s decision to approve the law last week sparked large protests in many major cities around France, including Bordeaux, Lille, Montpellier, and Nantes. However, an incident caught on camera on Saturday threw large amounts of fuel on the fire of resentment, drastically increasing the demonstrations’ size and intensity.

Images from mobile phones and closed-circuit television showed an unprovoked police attack on a young black music producer at his place of work. A group of four officers can be seen chasing after Michel Zecler, following him from outside into his studio, where they kick, punch and beat him with truncheons. Zecler also alleges they shouted racial abuse while they assailed him.

Before the videos went viral on social media, the officers testified that Zecler had, in fact, attacked them, and was resisting arrest. The officers have now been charged with “deliberate violence” and with “falsifying statements.” Two of the gang of four, including a 44-year-old senior officer with the rank of brigadier, remain in custody, while two others have been released.

The viral images provoked a storm of condemnation across the country this weekend, and propelled as many as 500,000 people into the streets, with demonstrations in dozens of cities. Protestors marched through the streets, setting light to cars, damaging buildings, and clashing with police, of whom a reported 98 were injured nationwide. Many of Paris’ iconic boulevards resembled a war zone as thousands of demonstrators pitched battle with lines of police in riot gear.

President Macron said he was “very shocked” by the footage of the police attack on Zecler, yet continues to be a driving force behind the new security law, under which many have noted that the images might never have come to light, given as they essentially identify the Parisien officers and clearly undermine their integrity or authority. Without the footage, it is possible that Zecler would have been facing prosecution himself.

Although the bill and the protests against it are dominating French politics, the story has been covered sparsely in the American corporate press, with no coverage whatsoever in MSNBCCBS News, or CNBC. Fox News, meanwhile, reprinted one Associated Press article, featuring an egregious, uncorrected error in its subheadline, asserting that protestors were shooting tear gas at themselves.

While foreign desks have been seriously cut in recent years, huge demonstrations in central Paris should not have been too difficult to cover. Lebanese political commentator Sarah Abdallah suggested that if the rallies had been happening in countries antagonistic to the United States, they would have been front-page news. Certainly, similar protests in Iran and Hong Kong dominated the news cycles last year, prompting constant reaction from Mike Pompeo. The Secretary of State is yet to comment on the events in France, suggesting that they are not at the front and center of his thoughts.

President Macron came to power in 2017, winning in the final round of the election against far-right challenger Marine Le Pen. A strong believer in neoliberalism and an admirer of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, he has insisted that France must not merely be reformed, but transformed, and has attempted to radically alter the shape of French society, away from a social democratic model to one more resembling the United States. Almost immediately after gaining the presidency, however, his average approval rating tumbled and has not risen above 40% since.

Indeed, the 42-year-old former investment banker has faced almost constant resistance to his agenda from the general public. His attempts to increase the cost of fuel in 2018 sparked the Yellow Vest movement across the country. Meanwhile, his plans to raise the age of retirement and reform France’s pension system was met with a months-long general strike that paralyzed the country last winter. Despite losing over 50,000 people to the coronavirus pandemic, he has seen his popularity increase this year due to the government’s financial response to the virus, which included aid to small businesses and paying employees to stay home. Despite this, it appears possible that France might be headed for its own “George Floyd” moment, where its racial injustices are finally reckoned with.

This work is published under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 International License.

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Police fire on femicide protest in Cancún, Mexico

The femicide of a 20-year-old girl on the Mexican Caribbean coast adds to a pandemic of bloody murders that do not remit despite popular outrage.

By Danica Jorden.  Published 11-16-2020 by

Portrait of Bianca Alejandrina Lorenzana, Alexis | #justiciaparaalexis

“Im afraid to leave the house and never see my mom again.”

— Alexis

The details were sickening and at the same time so familiar. Another young woman missing, raped, murdered and mutilated. This time she was 20 years old and her name was Bianca Alejandrina Lorenzana, known as Alexis, and, until November 7, 2020, she lived in the balmy resort town of Cancún, Mexico. She had dared to leave the house alone one evening to make a little money selling a vape and now she was never coming back. Her body, like those of so many of her sisters, had been cut up and placed in garbage bags. Continue reading

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