Democracy Now! 3/30/16

On today's episode of Democracy Now!

Democracy Now! co-host and New York Daily News columnist Juan González has announced he is leaving the Daily News after 29 years. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio tweeted, "Will miss hearing [Juan González]’s loud voice for the workers." Former Village Voice reporter Tom Robbins described Juan as "the best voice in the Daily News these past 29 years." In a message to the Daily News staff, the paper’s editor described Juan as a "legend who set his powerful, intelligent, compassionate voice on a 29-year course at the Daily News, standing up to every bully that came his way in his relentless assault on injustice."

The family of a Mexican immigrant killed by Border Patrol agents in 2010 is launching an unprecedented effort to hold the United States responsible. Six years ago, in May 2010, Anastasio Hernández Rojas tried to cross the border to return to San Diego, where he had lived for 25 years and fathered five children. Hernández Rojas was stopped by Border Patrol agents. He would never see his children again. The agents initially said Hernández Rojas became hostile and resisted arrest, but eyewitness video shows the agents beat and tasered him. The San Diego Coroner’s Office classified Anastasio Hernández Rojas’s death as a homicide, concluding he suffered a heart attack as well as "bruising to his chest, stomach, hips, knees, back, lips, head and eyelids; five broken ribs; and a damaged spine." Despite these findings, the Department of Justice announced last year there was insufficient evidence to pursue federal criminal civil rights or other federal charges against the agents. Just after our broadcast today, the family of Anastasio Hernández Rojas is filing a petition with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights in Washington, D.C. We speak to Anastasio’s brother, Bernardo Hernández Rojas, and Roxanna Altholz, associate director at the International Human Rights Law Clinic at UC Berkeley School of Law.

President Obama has unveiled a series of steps aimed at addressing the epidemic of opioid addiction in the United States. In 2014, a record number of Americans died from drug overdoses, with the highest rates seen in West Virginia, New Mexico, New Hampshire, Kentucky and Ohio. Many states reported even higher death tolls in 2015. We speak with journalist Maia Szalavitz and Michael Collins of the Drug Policy Alliance about Obama’s proposal. "I think the best thing we can say about the proposal is it’s two steps forward and one step back," Collins says. "There is a lot of positives in the announcement—emphasis on harm reduction, treatment, overdose prevention—but at the same time the Obama administration is still beholden to the criminalization of drug users."

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