Democracy Now! - November 25, 2015

For the first time in three decades, a Chicago police officer faces charges of first-degree murder for an on-duty shooting. White police officer Jason Van Dyke was arrested on Tuesday and is being held without bail for the killing of African-American 17-year-old Laquan McDonald. It was more than a year ago, on October 20, 2014, when officer Van Dyke shot the teenager 16 times, including multiple times in the back. Police claimed McDonald lunged at the officer with a small knife. But newly released dashcam footage showed the teenager walking away from the police officers’ cars when another police car pulls up to the scene. The video, which has no sound, then appears to show Officer Jason Van Dyke jumping out of the car, pointing his gun at McDonald and opening fire. The teenager’s body spins as he is hit with the barrage of bullets and then falls to the pavement, where he continues to be struck by bullets. Officer Van Dyke remained on paid desk duty after the shooting until he was taken into custody on Tuesday. In addition to the fatal shooting last October, Officer Van Dyke had at least 18 civilian complaints against him, which included excessive use of force, illegal arrest and use of racial slurs. None of these complaints led to any disciplinary action. This week Chicago police announced they will also move to fire officer Dante Servin, who killed 22-year-old African-American woman Rekia Boyd in 2012. We discuss the developments in Chicago with Barbara Ransby, professor of African American Studies, Gender and Women’s Studies and History at the University of Illinois, Chicago.

Nearly a thousand Black Lives Matter protesters took to the streets of Minneapolis, Minnesota Tuesday after alleged white supremacists opened fire on a demonstration the night before, injuring five people. Police have now arrested three people in connection with the mass shooting, which took place at a protest outside a police precinct. At least one of the gunmen was reportedly wearing a mask. All three suspects are white. Authorities may treat the shooting as a hate crime. Witnesses of the shooting say police took an unusually long time to respond to the attack, and then proceeded to use mace on the protesters. At the time of Monday’s attack, the Black Lives Matter protesters were gathered at an encampment outside a police precinct to protest the police killing of unarmed 24-year-old African-American Jamar Clark, which the Justice Department is now investigating. Authorities say Clark was shot in the head Sunday after a scuffle with officers who responded to a report of an assault. But multiple witnesses say Clark was shot while handcuffed. We speak with eyewitness to Monday evening’s shooting Leslie Redmond, who is a student at The University of St. Thomas School of Law and president of the Black Law Student Association.

Minnesota Congressman Keith Ellison has joined the chorus of people demanding transparency and the release of the video of the police killing of 24-year-old African-American Jamar Clark ten days ago. Authorities say police shot Clark in the head after a scuffle with officers who responded to a report of an assault. But multiple witnesses say Clark was shot while handcuffed. Minneapolis police officers Mark Ringgenberg and Dustin Schwarze have been placed on administrative leave during the investigation. Ellison has also called for a Department of Justice investigation into Clark’s death, which has now begun. During a police raid last Wednesday, a police officer dressed in fatigues and carrying what appeared to be a gas-launching gun pointed his weapon at Ellison’s own son, Jeremiah. “It is a violation of decency,” Ellison says. “Shouldering a weapon against nonviolent protesters is aggressive… and it did not help de-escalate the situation at all.”

In our extended interview with Congressmember Keith Ellison (D-MN), the first Muslim member of Congress, he dismisses legislation passed by the U.S. House of Representatives last week to restrict Iraqi and Syrian refugees from resettling in the United States after the attacks in France. The Republican-backed measures would require top federal officials to sign off on every person from Iraq and Syria seeking refugee status. “We’ve had 750,000 refugees come into this country since the year 2001. None of them – not one – has been engaged in terrorism,” Ellison says. “Why then are we going to revamp our whole refugee resettlement program simply because of intimidation by Daesh?”

Amy Goodman Democracy Now! Laquan McDonald Police Brutality Refuggee Crisis White Supremacy

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