Democracy Now! - September 16, 2015

Attorneys for death row prisoner Richard Glossip have made a last-minute bid to save his life, saying the state of Oklahoma may be about to execute an innocent man. Glossip is scheduled to die at 3 p.m. Central time today. On Tuesday, Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin denied him a stay of execution as protests grew from supporters who say he is innocent. In 1997, Glossip was working as a manager at the Best Budget Inn in Oklahoma City when his boss, Barry Van Treese, was murdered. A maintenance worker, Justin Sneed, admitted he beat Van Treese to death with a baseball bat, but claimed Glossip coerced him into the killing, offering him money and job opportunities. The case rested almost solely on Sneed’s claims. No physical evidence ever tied Glossip to the crime. Glossip’s attorneys say Sneed implicated their client in exchange for a deal to receive life imprisonment instead of the death penalty. We go now to Oklahoma City, where we are joined by Sister Helen Prejean, one of the world’s most well-known anti-death-penalty activists. As a Catholic nun, she began her prison ministry over 30 years ago. She is the author of the best-selling book, "Dead Man Walking: An Eyewitness Account of the Death Penalty."

Retired professional tennis star James Blake was standing outside the Grand Hyatt Hotel in New York on September 9, waiting for a car to go watch the U.S. Open, when surveillance video shows undercover police officer James Frascatore run at him, wrap an arm around his neck, tackle him to the ground and handcuff him. Blake, who is biracial, never resisted. Police say they mistakenly identified Blake as a suspect in a credit card fraud probe.NYPD Police Commissioner Bill Bratton said the arrest "should not have happened," and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has personally apologized to Blake. At least one officer has been placed on administrative desk duty after the incident, but Blake is calling for Frascatore to be fired as more is being learned about his record. Frascatore has worked for four different police departments in the last five years and has had five complaints in just seven months against him registered with the Civilian Complaint Review Board (CCRB) — more complaints than 90 percent of officers on the force receive in their entire careers. Several other cases have yet to be reported. The CCRB, an independent agency charged with handling complaints against the police department, has its own problematic history, criticized for covering up police misconduct, operating in secret and colluding with the NYPD. We speak with Kenneth Finkelman, a Legal Aid Society staff attorney who represented a Queens resident who claimed that Frascatore punched him in the face after he was stopped for a broken taillight; Warren Diggs, who was pinned on the ground by Frascatore and two other officers for riding his bicycle on the sidewalk; and Amy Rameau, a civil rights attorney representing Diggs.

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