Tagged: police

France presents citizenship to Malian hero of Kosher market standoff

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What should have been an average workday for 24-year-old Malian, Lassana Bathily, an employee of a Parisian kosher supermarket, turned into a hostage nightmare that shook the world just days after one of the deadliest attacks in France in decades.

On Friday, Jan. 9, Bathily, a practicing Muslim, went far beyond his daily responsibilities as a shopkeeper. He courageously aided law enforcement and store patrons through one of two simultaneous standoffs…

His actions inspired a Change.org petition, which compiled more than 300,000 signatures, calling for him to be granted French citizenship and the Legion of Honor. French officials agreed.

Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve declared Bathily a hero and announced that the country would expedite his citizenship and naturalize him next Tuesday for his bravery.

Bathily came to customers’ aid that fateful Friday, when attacker Amed Coulibaly stormed into the busy Hyper Cache as shoppers prepared for the Sabbath. The gunman threatened to kill the hostages if the police didn’t release brothers Säid Kouachi and Chérif Kouachi, the men responsible for the Charlie Hebdo attack who were, at the time, engaged in a separate hostage standoff in the French countryside.

Bathily valiantly guided costumers into a cold-storage space for protection, turned off the refrigeration, and fled the shop to notify the French police of the heist.

Initially the police considered him a suspect and handcuffed him for an hour and a half…Bathily was eventually able to convince police that he was not an accomplice, but an employee who could aid in the unnerving standoff.

With his knowledge of the store, he provided authorities with critical information about the layout and location of the hostages. Despite their collaborative efforts, four customers were killed that day. Nevertheless, Bathily emerged as the heroic civilian during 54 hours of violence that wracked the nation.

With France now experiencing heightened Islamophobia and anti-Semitism after the attacks, Bathily said he was not fazed by some of the divisiveness.

“We’re brothers. It’s not a question of Jews, Christians or Muslims,” Bathily declared. “We’re all in the same boat, and we have to help one another to get out of this crisis.”

Just one more ordinary working man rising to the demands of crisis around him.

An object lesson for the idjits who descend to bigotry in the face of perceived danger.

Which states lead the way in mass incarceration

Following the start of the war on drugs in the 1970s, America’s prison population skyrocketed as the country locked up even the lowest-level drug offenders in hopes of tamping down on drug use and the crime wave of the 1960s through 1980s.

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While incarceration can help bring down crime to some degree, criminal justice experts generally agree US imprisonment has become an ineffective deterrent to crime as it’s extended far beyond the point of diminishing returns. Federal and state data shows there is no correlation between decreases in the prison population and rises in crime. And an analysis by the Pew Public Safety Performance Project found the 10 states that shrunk incarceration rates the most over the past five years saw bigger drops in crime than the 10 states where incarceration rates most grew…

So far, there has been a small reversal. The overall imprisonment rate dropped, particularly in California, in the past few years. And the US corrections population — the number of people in jail, prison, parole, and probation — in 2013 dropped to its lowest point since 2003, according to a report from the Bureau of Justice Statistics.

But the reversal hasn’t been enough to keep up with the rapid decline of violent crime across the country. Federal statistics show that the incarceration rate fell by roughly 1 percent between 2000 and 2013, even as violent crime fell by about 27 percent in the same time period.

Which begs the usual question: Are Americans stupid or ignorant?

We know what our politicians are. Cowards, opportunists, careerists. Simple public opinion, the pressure of national sentiment is rarely sufficient to overcome so-called lobbying from those who profit from a useless status quo. Whether that lobbying come from the Koch Bros or the [NRA] gun manufacturers lobby is irrelevant. Corporate special interests overrule the needs and wants of the American people – unless those people seriously stand up and raise a glorious noise. Dissent and demonstration catches the attention of even the least competent politician.

There is a corporate prison lobby that ties in nicely with Tea Party Republicans, police benevolent associations, leftovers from the Confederacy – reactionary dunderheads all. Meanwhile, ordinary citizens get to fund these storehouses for the inopportune, pick up the tab for backwards political decisions.

Nixon’s War on Drugs still marches down the highway to Nowhere.

One more police shooting of unarmed Black man ruled a Homicide

An unarmed black man was shot three times by Los Angeles police officers, once each in the back, side and arm, according to a coroner’s report released on Monday, more than four months after his death.

The autopsy on Ezell Ford, which was first obtained by the Los Angeles Times, officially classifies his death as a homicide. It was released ahead of a Wednesday deadline imposed by the city’s mayor.

Ford, a mentally ill 25-year-old, was shot dead 11 August after police say he lunged for an officer’s gun. Police have released few details about why Ford was stopped in his South Los Angeles neighborhood by two officers assigned to the department’s anti-gang unit. A statement released shortly after Ford’s death said two officers attempted to stop him on a sidewalk, but he “continued walking and made suspicious movements” before the interaction escalated.

If you’re one of our readers outside the United States – understand that a suspicious movement includes believing you have human rights if you’re not white.

Los Angeles Police Department chief Charlie Beck said blah, blah, blah

Police officials say they delayed release of the autopsy to allow time for witnesses to come forward. They have made public pleas for witnesses from the South Central Los Angeles neighborhood to contact them…

Yes, progress is being made in the society that Republicans and other idjits say is a post-racial society – and also believe in the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy.

In that vein, in Congress, the House Majority Whip – Republican Steve Scalise – says it was just ignorance on his part when he was guest speaker at a convention for white supremacists as a state representative. The “progress” part is admitting he’s an ignoranus.

U.N. torture watchdog urges crackdown on U.S. police brutality

Conservatives definition of freedom

The U.N. Committee against Torture urged the United States…to fully investigate and prosecute police brutality and shootings of unarmed black youth and ensure that taser weapons are used sparingly.

The panel’s first review of the U.S. record on preventing torture since 2006 followed racially-tinged unrest in cities across the country this week sparked by a Ferguson, Missouri grand jury’s decision not to charge a white police officer for the fatal shooting of an unarmed black teenager.

The committee decried “excruciating pain and prolonged suffering” for prisoners during “botched executions” as well as frequent rapes of inmates, shackling of pregnant women in some prisons and extensive use of solitary confinement.

Its findings cited deep concern about “numerous reports” of police brutality and excessive use of force against people from minority groups, immigrants, homosexuals and racial profiling.

The panel referred to the “frequent and recurrent police shootings or fatal pursuits of unarmed black individuals.”

“We recommend that all instances of police brutality and excessive use of force by law enforcement officers are investigated promptly, effectively and impartially by an independent mechanism,” said panel member Alessio Bruni…

“We have certain concerns about whether investigations are thoroughly completed and whether punishment of law enforcement (officers) when they have crossed the line are effectively put in place,” committee member Jens Modvig told reporters.

Activists welcomed the findings and called for reforms.

“This report – along with the voices of Americans protesting around the country this week – is a wake-up call for police who think they can act with impunity,” said Jamil Dakwar of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), who attended the review.

Of course, we could elect a solid Republican federal administration in 2016 to match the Koch Bros/Heritage Foundation anschluss of state legislatures. Then, police brutality would take place with an absolute guarantee of impunity.

The Confederacy could be recognized as a federalist partner of our government and the US National Guard would give partner status to Oathers and other crypto-fascist militias. Woo-hoo!

The New Yorker illustrates the racial divide in Ferguson, Missouri and the USA

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The NewYorker has long had the courage to take sides against bigotry and racism. Especially important in a nation that rationalizes away lynching-by-cop with sophistry about “two sides to every question”.

Vox has a short note about the magazine and Bob Stake who did this cover for next week’s edition.

Today’s stupid cop trick

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Quick draw banana!

A man is facing a felony menacing charge after two western Colorado sheriff’s deputies say he pointed a banana at them and they thought it was a gun.

The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel reports 27-year-old Nathan Rolf Channing, of Fruitvale, was arrested Sunday.

According to an arrest affidavit, Mesa County deputies Joshua Bunch and Donald Love said they feared for their lives even though they saw that the object was yellow. Bunch wrote in the affidavit that he has seen handguns in many shapes and colors.

He wrote that Love was drawing his service weapon when Channing yelled, “It’s a banana!

The deputies say Channing told them he was doing a trial run for a planned YouTube video and he thought it would “lighten the holiday spirit.”

Think these stalwart coppers would have been charged if they killed the guy threatening them with a banana?