The national conversation on policing African-American communities is focused on Cleveland today after a major federal settlement and a controversial verdict. The Justice Department has reached an agreement with Cleveland over a pattern of what it calls "unreasonable and unnecessary" force by police. A probe last year found "chaotic and dangerous" abuse across hundreds of incidents. This comes just days after an acquittal in a case that helped launch the probe. On Saturday, Officer Michael Brelo was found not guilty of manslaughter for the fatal shootings of two unarmed African Americans in their car. In November 2012, Brelo was one of 13 officers who fired 137 rounds at Timothy Russell and Malissa Williams after a chase which began when officers mistook a backfiring car for gunshots. Officer Brelo personally fired 49 shots, at least 15 of them at point-blank range through the windshield after he climbed onto the hood of the car. In a verdict on Saturday, Judge John O’Donnell said he can’t prove Belo shot the fatal bullets, since 12 other officers also opened fire. O’Donnell also said Brelo had grounds to fear for his safety. We are joined by two guests: the Reverend Waltrina Middleton, a community organizer close to the families of Russell and Williams; and Alice Ragland, an activist with the Ohio Student Association, which has been organizing around the issue of police violence in Ohio.
- Iraqi Forces Launch Bid to Retake Ramadi from ISIL
- Yemen Violence Rages as Peace Talks Cancelled
- Saudi Arabia: Thousands Attend Funeral for Shiite Bomb Victims
- Burundi Protests Resume; Refugees Hit by Cholera in Tanzania
- Ireland Legalizes Same-Sex Marriage in Historic Referendum
- Spain: Leftist Women to Run Barcelona, Madrid After Anti-Austerity Wins
- Cleveland Cop Who Fired 49 Shots Acquitted; Probe Finds Pattern of Abuse
- Lapse of Bulk Phone Spying Likely as Senate Fails to Reach Deal
- Senate Approves TPP Fast-Track Bill Despite Protests
- India: 800 Dead as Temperatures Approach 122 Degrees
- Extreme Weather Kills At Least 17 in TX, OK and Mexico
- Shell Oil Protester Hangs from Ship for 3 Days; Univ. of Hawaii Divests from Fossil Fuels
- Marches Against Monsanto Held in over 450 Cities Worldwide
- California Farmers Agree to Voluntary Water Cuts
- Peru Imposes Martial Law to Quell Protests Against Copper Mine
- Mexico: 43 Killed in Shootout as Families Question Official Account
- Women Peace Activists Cross from North to South Korea
- Charter Communications to Buy Time Warner in Major Merger
- Protester Who Threw Fake Blood on NYPD Commissioner Gets Community Service
Ron Dellums was elected to Congress in 1970 during the height of the Vietnam War. In one of his first acts in office, he took a small annex room to his office in the House and mounted an exhibition of the atrocities committed by the United States in Vietnam. Dellums would rise to serve as chair of the Armed Services Committee. Later he became mayor of Oakland. "Peace is the superior idea, that the umbrella movement for—of all movements, the peace movement, because to come together under the banner of peace forces us to challenge all forms of injustice," Dellums said at the recent conference, "Vietnam: The Power of Protest."
In 1972, Pat Schroeder of Colorado was elected to Congress, becoming the second-youngest woman ever elected to the House of Representatives. She ran on an antiwar platform. Once elected, she pushed to cut off funding for the war. She spoke recently at the conference, "Vietnam: The Power of Protest."
As the nation celebrates Memorial Day, we look back at the Vietnam War. Fifty years ago, on March 7, 1965, 3,500 U.S. marines landed in South Vietnam, marking the start of the U.S. ground war in Vietnam. That same day, in Alabama, state troopers beat back civil rights protesters in Selma trying to walk over the Edmund Pettus Bridge. Weeks later, the first teach-in against the Vietnam War was held at the University of Michigan. By 1968, the U.S. had half a million troops in Vietnam. The war continued until April 1975. Some scholars estimate as many as 3.8 million Vietnamese died during the war, up to 800,000 perished in Cambodia, another one million in Laos. The U.S. death toll was 58,000. Today we spend the hour airing highlights from a recent conference titled "Vietnam: The Power of Protest." We begin with Tom Hayden, who helped to found SDS, Students for a Democratic Society.
As we head into the Memorial Day weekend, Buffy Sainte-Marie returns to the Democracy Now! studios. Her song "Universal Soldier" became one of the classic antiwar songs of the 1960s. Buffy Sainte-Marie once said, "It’s about individual responsibility for war and how the old feudal thinking kills us all." Buffy Sainte-Marie wrote the song in 1964. A year later, just months after U.S. ground forces invaded Vietnam, the British singer Donovan turned it into a hit. She has also written and sung about the struggles of Native American and First Nations people for decades. She worked with the American Indian Movement and began the Nihewan Foundation for American Indian Education. Her political activism would lead her to be largely blacklisted from commercial radio in the 1970s. On her new album, she re-records two songs from what’s become known as her "blacklist years." Five decades later, Buffy Sainte-Marie is still making powerful music. She has just released "Power in the Blood." It’s her first studio album since 2008.
A cleanup effort residents say was slow to start is now underway off the coast of Santa Barbara, California, where crude oil from a broken pipeline leaked into the Pacific Ocean and washed ashore at Refugio State Beach. The company that operates the pipeline first said 21,000 gallons had leaked, but then increased their estimate to 105,000 gallons. On Thursday, The Santa Barbara Independent revealed the ruptured pipeline operated by Plains All American is the only pipeline in the county that is not required to be equipped with an automatic shutdown valve in case of a leak, because it operates outside of the regulatory oversight of the county. This latest spill recalls a catastrophic blowout at an oil well in the same area in 1969, when Union Oil’s drilling platform spewed an estimated three million gallons of crude along 30 miles of coastline. We speak to Tyler Hayden of The Santa Barbara Independent and Linda Krop of the Environmental Defense Center.
Watch an excerpt from Neil Young’s newest video for his song "Rock Starbucks" from his forthcoming record, "The Monsanto Years." Young recorded the album with Willie Nelson’s sons, Micah and Lukas. "I want a cup of coffee, but I don’t want a GMO," Young sings on "Rock Starbucks." "I love to start my day off without helping Monsanto."
A grand jury has indicted six Baltimore police officers in the death of Freddie Gray, clearing the path for a criminal trial in the Maryland courts. Freddie Gray died on April 19 from his injuries suffered in police custody. The indictments came nearly three weeks after Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby first announced her decision to bring criminal charges against the officers. While some of the charges have been amended, the most serious ones — second-degree murder against Officer Caesar Goodson and involuntary manslaughter against four of the officers — remained intact. We speak to longtime Baltimore civil rights attorney A. Dwight Pettit.
- ISIL Seizes Last Government-Run Border Crossing in Syria
- U.S. Admits Strike in Syria Killed 2 Children
- Yemen: Saudi Shells Kill 5 Ethiopian Refugees
- Report: Both Sides in Ukraine Committing War Crimes
- TPP Fast-Track Bill Clears Hurdle in the Senate
- Senate Scrambles to Act on Bulk Phone Spying Before It Expires
- Ireland Holds Historic Same-Sex Marriage Referendum
- Boy Scouts President Calls for End to Ban on LGBT Scout Leaders
- Baltimore Grand Jury Indicts 6 Officers in Freddie Gray's Death
- "Say Her Name" Protests Nationwide Honor Black Women Killed by Police
- Akai Gurley's Partner Sues New York City over Police Shooting Death
- Washington: Cop Shoots 2 Unarmed Men Accused of Trying to Steal Beer
- Thousands Call for $15-an-Hour Minimum Wage at McDonald's HQ
- Guatemalan President Fires Top Officials amid Corruption Scandal
- El Salvadoran Archbishop Óscar Romero, Killed by U.S.-Backed Death Squad, to Be Beatified
New cellphone video sheds light on Freddie Gray’s fatal journey in a Baltimore police van. The footage obtained by The Baltimore Sun shows Gray lying motionless as several police officers shackle his ankles and load him into the vehicle. It appears to contradict earlier police claims that Gray was "irate" and "combative." One of the officers, Lt. Brian Rice, reportedly threatened to use his Taser on the eyewitness who was filming. We are joined by Matt Taibbi, whose latest article for Rolling Stone is "Why Baltimore Blew Up." He writes, "Instead of using the incident to talk about a campaign of hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of illegal searches and arrests across decades of discriminatory policing policies, the debate revolved around whether or not the teenagers who set fire to two West Baltimore CVS stores after Gray’s death were “thugs,” or merely wrongheaded criminals."
Matt Taibbi: World's Largest Banks Admit to Massive Global Financial Crimes, But Escape Jail (Again)
Five of the world’s top banks will pay over $5 billion in fines after pleading guilty to rigging the price of foreign currencies and interest rates. Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, Barclays and Royal Bank of Scotland pleaded guilty to conspiring to manipulate the price of U.S. dollars and euros exchanged in the $5 trillion FX spot market. UBS pleaded guilty for its role in manipulating the Libor benchmark interest rate. No individual bank employees were hit with criminal charges as part of the settlements. We are joined by Matt Taibbi, award-winning journalist with Rolling Stone magazine.
The self-described Islamic State has seized control of the ancient city of Palmyra in central Syria. Palmyra is home to some of the world’s most renowned historic structures and is classified as a World Heritage Site. There are fears it could see the same fate as other cities where ISIL has destroyed ancient cultural sites and artifacts. With Palmyra’s capture, ISIL now reportedly controls more than half of Syrian territory. The seizing of Palmyra in Syria comes as the U.S. has launched airstrikes and expedited weapons shipments for the campaign to dislodge ISIL from the Iraqi city of Ramadi. ISIL seized Ramadi on Sunday, leaving hundreds dead and forcing thousands to flee. Iranian-backed Shiite militias are staging a counteroffensive to retake the city. We are joined by Charles Glass, former ABC News chief Middle East correspondent and author of "Syria Burning: ISIS and the Death of the Arab Spring."
- Islamic State Captures Ancient Syrian City of Palmyra; U.S. Targets ISIL in Ramadi
- Malaysia, Indonesia Offer Shelter to 7,000 Stranded Migrants
- U.N. to Chair Meeting of Rival Yemeni Factions
- 5 Top Banks to Pay $5B Penalty for Rigging Foreign Exchange
- Nebraska Lawmakers Vote to End Death Penalty
- Sen. Paul Stages Filibuster-Style Action Against NSA Bulk Data Surveillance
- California Declares State of Emergency as Oil Spill Grows
- Obama: Climate Change an "Immediate Risk to National Security"
- Thousands of Workers Seek $15 Wage, Unionization at McDonald's Meeting
- New Cellphone Video Challenges Police Account in Freddie Gray Case
- Gyrocopter Pilot Who Landed on Capitol in Campaign Finance Protest Is Indicted
- Navy Whistleblower Who Exposed U.K. Nuclear Risks Arrested
- Protesters Call on Food Giant Nestlé to Stop Bottling Water in Drought-Stricken California
A major campaign is underway in Seattle against oil giant Shell’s plans to drill in the remote and pristine Arctic this summer. On Monday, hundreds blocked the entrance to the the city’s port, where Shell has docked its 400-foot-long, 355-foot-wide Arctic-bound Polar Pioneer drilling rig. On Saturday, about 500 environmentalists and indigenous leaders took to kayaks and small boats in a protest described as "Paddle in Seattle." The Shell rig arrived Thursday even after Seattle’s mayor announced its permit as a cargo ship does not apply to oil rigs. Now the Seattle City Council has issued a notice of violation against Shell and could issue fines of up to $500 a day. All this comes after the Obama administration announced conditional approval for the company’s plans last week. We are joined by Seattle City Councilmember Mike O’Brien, who was among the hundreds of kayakers in Saturday’s action.
Rekia Boyd was 22 years old when she was killed in 2012 by an off-duty Chicago police detective. Dante Servin fired several shots over his shoulder into a group of people Boyd was standing with near his home, striking her in the back of her head. He was charged with involuntary manslaughter, marking the first time in 15 years a Chicago police officer was charged for a fatal shooting. But last month, in a dramatic dismissal, Judge Dennis Porter acquitted Servin on a legal fine point. While speaking from the bench, Porter suggested prosecutors should have actually charged Servin with murder. "The act of intentionally firing a gun at some person or persons on the street is an act that is so dangerous it is beyond reckless; it is intentional, and the crime, if there be any, is first-degree murder," he said. We speak to Rekia Boyd’s brother, Martinez Sutton.
Last year on August 14, just days after Michael Brown was fatally shot in Ferguson, Michelle Cusseaux was killed at close range by a Phoenix police officer who had been called to take the 50-year-old woman to a mental health facility. The officer, Sgt. Percy Dupra, claims Cusseaux threatened him with a hammer. Her family joined supporters the week after her death in marching her casket from Phoenix City Hall to the U.S. Attorney’s Office to call for an outside investigation. Phoenix police say they are now creating a crisis intervention squad to respond to calls involving the mentally ill. We are joined by Michelle Cusseaux’s mother, Frances Garrett.
As the Black Lives Matter movement grows across the country, the names of Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice and Freddie Gray have become well known. All died at the hands of local police, sparking waves of protest. During this time, far less attention has been paid to women who have been killed by law enforcement. Today, a vigil under the banner of Say Her Name is being organized in New York to remember them. We are joined by Kimberlé Crenshaw, professor of law at UCLA and Columbia University, founder of the African American Policy Forum and co-author of the new report, "Police Brutality Against Black Women."
Watch more #SayHerName coverage from today’s show:
Police Killing of Michelle Cusseaux Raises Questions of Wrongful Death & Handling of Mentally Ill
Newly released video has revealed the dying moments of an African-American active-duty soldier who checked himself into the El Paso, Texas, county jail for a two-day sentence for driving under the influence, and died while in custody in 2012. Authorities claimed Sgt. James Brown died due to a pre-existing medical condition, but shocking new video from inside the jail raises new questions about what happened. The video shows guards swarming on top of him as he repeatedly says he can’t breathe and appears not to resist. By the end of the video, he is shown naked, not blinking or responding, his breathing shallow. Attorneys say an ambulance was never called. Brown was eventually brought to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead. His family had long suspected foul play in his death but received little information from authorities. They’ve now filed a lawsuit against El Paso County saying his constitutional rights were violated. We are joined by Brown’s mother, Dinetta Scott.