Copwatch Premieres At Tribeca Film Festival.

Copwatch Documentary still.

Copwatch will be premiering at the Tribeca Film Festival, April 23rd to April 28th, if you can grab a ticket and watch!

Copwatch is the true story of We Copwatch, an organization whose mission is to film police activity as a non-violent form of protest and deterrent to police brutality. Around the country, a network of regular people take up cameras to bear witness to police actions and hold law enforcement to accountability. Director Camilla Hall profiles several We Copwatch members, including a young California dad who’s found direction in this activism, and Ramsey Orta, the man who filmed Eric Garner’s fatal Staten Island arrest in the devastating video that has galvanized protestors and activists nationwide. And yet Orta is the only person involved in these incidents who has seen the inside of a jail cell. In her powerful directorial debut, Hall crafts an intriguing and incredibly timely profile of citizen-journalist-activists who are seeking to disrupt the ever-present challenge of police violence.

—Opal Bennett

If you’re unaware of We Copwatch, please become aware, and if you haven’t supported We Copwatch, please consider doing so now. You can get a snazzy T-shirt or hoodie!

Dakota Access Allowed to Keep Risks Secret.

© Marty Two Bulls.

It’s not enough that the pipeline went through, and once again, drinking water is threatened (which is fine, of course, because Indians), but ETP can now keep risk information to themselves. Just keeps getting worse. And to those people who think they are helping through vandalism? You aren’t, so fucking stop it.

Despite concerns that the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline could threaten the primary source of drinking water for the Standing Rock Sioux, a federal judge ruled that the pipeline’s developer can keep some information about spill risks secret from the public.

The ruling — which would permit Energy Transfer Partners, the developer of the pipeline, to keep information about spill risks at certain points along the pipeline shielded from the public — comes after unknown protesters used a torch to burn holes in empty above-ground segments of the pipeline. The Standing Rock Sioux and Cheyenne River Sioux tribes had argued that information about spill risks could potentially strengthen their case for more environmental review of the project.

U.S. District Judge James Boasberg rejected that argument, saying that shielding the information from public view would prevent vandalism of the pipeline.

“The asserted interest in limiting intentionally inflicted harm outweighs the tribes’ generalized interests in public disclosure and scrutiny,” Boasberg said in his ruling.

[…]

Pipeline spills in North Dakota are not uncommon — according to analysis from the Center for Biological Diversity, North Dakota has averaged four pipeline spills a year since 1996, costing more than $40 million in property damage.

Under the Trump administration’s proposed budget, the Environmental Protection Agency would face sharp cuts in its enforcement programs, limiting its ability to enforce and penalize companies that violate environmental laws. When pipeline operators, for instance, violate laws like the Clean Water Act by spilling pollutants into waterways, the EPA is normally the agency that imposes fines on those operators. Last week, for instance, the EPA and the Department of Justice issued a fine against a pipeline operator in Ohio that violated the Clean Water Act by discharging approximately 1,950 barrels of gasoline from a pipeline into nearby waterways.

Think Progress has the full story.

When “Telling It Like It Is” Is Not Acceptable.

DFL House Minority Leader Melissa Hortman (screen grab).

DFL House Minority Leader Melissa Hortman (screen grab).

When is ‘telling it like it is’ not acceptable? When the telling is done by a woman, aiming a pointed remark at white men. Uh oh.

According to The Uptake, the incident happened on Monday while the Minnesota House was debating a bill that would increase penalties for protesters who block roads, a tactic successfully used by Black Lives Matters.

DFL House Minority Leader Melissa Hortman noticed that many members had not been on the floor to hear Rep. Ilhan Omar’s (DFL) speech comparing modern day protesters to the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s. So Hortman used a procedure known as “call of the House” to force lawmakers to return to the chamber.

“I hate to break up the 100 percent white male card game in the retiring room, but I think this is an important debate,” she said, exposing the activity of absent lawmakers.

Republican state Rep. Bob Dettmer objected: “I’m a white male. I respect everybody. But I really believe that the comments made by the Minority Leader were really not appropriate.”

“I have no intention of apologizing,” Hortman replied, adding that she was “really tired of watching women of color in particular being ignored. So I’m not sorry.”

[…]

However, Rep. Greg Davids (R-Preston) did think the statement was racist. Heather Carlson of the Rochester Post Bulletin reports that Davids thinks Hortman should resign over the comment. “I was greatly offended by minority leader Hortman’s racist statement about white males,” said Davids according to Carlson.

Mr. Davids has now gone the mortally offended route, and thinks Ms. Hortman should resign for saying something white men don’t like. He’s also claiming it’s racist. Idiotic Privilege, thy name is Davids.

Full story here.

Killer Cop: “It’s a lynch mob!” “I’m the victim!”

Tulsa police officer Betty Shelby (Photo: Tulsa PD).

Tulsa police officer Betty Shelby (Photo: Tulsa PD).

Remember Betty Jo? She’s the cop who murdered Terence Crutcher, who had his hands up. I’ve posted three times prior about this case: one, two, three. The third post was about her first attempt at a defense, “auditory exclusion”, claiming she was so stressed, she went temporarily deaf, and didn’t hear back up arrive. There were many problems with that so-called defense, not the least of which is how she missed the taser dot on Mr. Crutcher, aimed by her back up. Now Ms. Shelby has shown up on 60 minutes, where she woefully claimed that she was the victim, and she’s had a lynch mob after her.

In an interview with 60 Minutes aired Sunday night, Betty Jo Shelby both insists that her killing of Terence Crutcher was justified and portrays herself as the real victim in this saga. After a video snippet of protesters calling for her resignation, Shelby likens the Tulsa community’s accountability demands to “a lynch mob.”

“My situation was no different than — I don’t know whether I should say this — than a lynch mob coming after me. And I had those very threats,” said Shelby.

Lynch mobs kill people. Betty Shelby still has a job. She faces at most four years in prison in the statistically unlikely event that a jury decides her killing of Crutcher was unlawful manslaughter rather than justifiable police action.

It is unusual for someone accused of manslaughter to go on national TV to discuss specifics of a case before a jury has heard it. Potential jurors will now likely have seen both raw videos of Shelby killing Crutcher, and CBS’ tight repackaging of the Shelby team’s narrative of what the videos do and do not show.

This is beyond disgusting. It’s bad enough to have a bigoted, homicidal cop roaming about, and it’s already clear there won’t be justice for Terence Crutcher in this case. The charge is manslaughter, and even if convicted, which is doubtful, the maximum sentence is four years. That’s not much for gunning a person down in cold blood.

Shelby insists that implicit racial bias played no role in her decision-making that day.

[…]

She agreed with Whitaker that Crutcher’s death was “avoidable” but ultimately lays the blame on the dead man.

“If he would have communicated with me, if he would’ve just done as I asked him to do we would not be here,” Shelby said.

Right. Shelby isn’t a bigot at all, and Terence Crutcher is dead because Terence Crutcher. The depth of racism white people in uStates carry around is deep and ever present, and it’s past time that everyone else keeps turning a blind eye to it. That said, I have no faith the jury in this case will do the right thing.

Full story at Think Progress.

Homicidal Cop, Good. Whistleblower, Bad.

NYPD Officer Daniel Pantaleo holds Eric Garner in a fatal chokehold. CREDIT: YouTube/New York Daily News.

NYPD Officer Daniel Pantaleo holds Eric Garner in a fatal chokehold. CREDIT: YouTube/New York Daily News.

A short while back, I posted about the history of the cop who murdered Eric Garner. It was an ugly history, one which was ignored in keeping Daniel Pantaleo employed. That employment continues, but the  person who disclosed that hidden history? No, they are no longer employed.

The release of previously secret disciplinary records of the NYPD officer that killed Eric Garner is stirring controversy in New York City, reinvigorating a heated debate among activists and city officials over transparency and police accountability.

On Tuesday, ThinkProgress published the disciplinary records of Daniel Pantaleo, the NYPD officer who used a prohibited chokehold against Garner in 2014. The records — which were previously hidden from the public — originated from the Civilian Complaint Review Board (CCRB), the independent city agency that fields complaints about officer misconduct. They were leaked to ThinkProgress from an anonymous source who was discovered by the agency and forced to resign.

The news also forced the CCRB to formally confirm that the documents are real.

The CCRB’s actions triggered indignation from Cynthia Conti-Cook, a lawyer at the Legal Aid Society’s Special Litigation Unit. The group is currently involved in lawsuits to obtain disciplinary records from both the CCRB and the NYPD.

“When there is more political will to fire a whistleblower than an officer who killed an unarmed man, it sends a message about the Mayor’s capacity to act quickly and therefore simultaneously sends a message about his lack of political will to hold police like Pantaleo…accountable for misconduct,” she said, referring to the fact that Pantaleo remains employed by the NYPD, and received a raise last year.

I could not possibly agree more. This is shocking behaviour. Well, it should be shocking. I’m afraid we have all become much too inured, and given the increasingly open shite supremacist feeling in uStates, there tends to be little more than an ennui laden shrug over such heinous actions.

Civil rights groups and several city officials were also outraged by the content of the documents, which showed that Pantaleo had 7 complaints and 4 substantiated allegations years before his encounter with Garner—far more than the overwhelming majority of his fellow NYPD officers, according to CCRB data. The revelations also raised questions about whether Pantaleo was properly disciplined, as the documents showed that the NYPD repeatedly enacted lesser penalties than those recommended by the CCRB.

Gwen Carr, Garner’s mother, said that earlier review of the records could have saved her son’s life.

“Someone should have taken a look at his record a long time ago,” Carr told the New York Daily News. “If they had done that maybe my son would still be alive.”

That’s assuming that anyone looking at Pantaleo’s record would have actually done something about it, which is more than questionable. Cop shops all over the country simply don’t have a problem with bigoted, homicidal cops, nor do they seem to be overly concerned about dead brown people. It seems the only time they do care is if they end up in the public spotlight, and even then, the result is rarely justice.

Think Progress has the full story.

The Hidden History of A Homicidal Cop.

NYPD Officer Daniel Pantaleo holds Eric Garner in a fatal chokehold. CREDIT: YouTube/New York Daily News.

NYPD Officer Daniel Pantaleo holds Eric Garner in a fatal chokehold. CREDIT: YouTube/New York Daily News.

The cop who murdered Eric Garner is still employed. As of last year, his salary was $119,996 , a 14% increase over what he was making when he murdered Garner. A person could get ideas about that. I certainly have number of ideas, none of them painting cops in a good light. Think Progress has gotten an exclusive look at hidden documents which highlight Pantaleo’s past behaviour as a cop, and it’s not a good record in any way. The article is long and in-depth, so head on over for a read.

Now, documents obtained exclusively by ThinkProgress indicate that Pantaleo, who is still employed by the NPYD, had a history of breaking the rules. These records are the subject of an ongoing lawsuit, and the city refuses to release them.

Before he put Garner in the chokehold, the records show, he had seven disciplinary complaints and 14 individual allegations lodged against him. Four of those allegations were substantiated by an independent review board.

Neither Pantaleo nor the NYPD responded to Think Progress requests for comment.

EXCLUSIVE DOCUMENTS: The disturbing secret history of the NYPD officer who killed Eric Garner.

Mr. Tweet: What. An. Idiot.

Snoop Dog (Screen Capture).

Snoop Dogg (Screen Capture).

There’s been considerable fuss over Snoop Dogg’s latest, which features the assassination of a political clown. (Three guesses.) I’d assume the video was meant to be one which would cause a fuss, because it’s a rather strong indictment of the current regime, which so far has taken many draconian measures against all manner of people, most of them not pasty white. Or orange. Political dissent is being quashed and felonized, the government is allowing cop shops to comb through social media, there’s the ban, the wall, representatives openly speaking out about the wonders of white supremacy, millions upon millions of people will have their health care stripped from them, cops have been given a green light to murder, and on and on it goes. So, I get where Snoop Dogg is coming from, and I agree with him that this regime is evil.

All that said, no matter where you stand on the video, Unpresident Jekyll gave away to Mr. Tweet once again, and once more proves that Mr. Tweet is a fucking dumbass:

Can you imagine what the outcry would be if @SnoopDogg, failing career and all, had aimed and fired the gun at President Obama? Jail time!

Oh, Crispy Fried Christ, the man is a fucking idiot. No, dipshit-in-chief, there would not have been jail time. You’re the one who wants to jail people for no reason, remember? And, in the scenario you paint, I expect conservative assholes like yourself would have been thrilled and cheering it on. There wasn’t a video like that though, because there was no reason for one. Now, there’s a reason.

Also note the bloated ego of the child in tantrum: failing career, look at me, I’m unpresident, you’re no one! Jesus Fuck. Perhaps putting you in clown face is a good idea, then people might start to wake up to what you really are, an evil sociopath.

People in the tweet stream helpfully pointed out the time that Trump said he could shoot someone in the street and still have people vote for him; and others pointed out that he was stone silent when effigies of President Obama were set on fire; also silent when President Obama’s face was placed on targets for sale; also silent when the craptastic Ted Nugent said President Obama should suck on his gun; pointed out the time Trump called on 2nd amendment fans to take care of Ms. Clinton, and so on. One of the dangers of being such a fucking idiot is having all the smart people point at your hypocrisy.

Full story here.

Oh, White People…

@beeredblackman via Instagram.

@beeredblackman via Instagram.

Really? FFS. I’ll let Michael Harriot at The Root do the talking.

In the latest case of tone-deaf whiteness, a craft-beer lover in Birmingham, Ala., posted the above picture to Instagram.

Really?

Some people believe (and by “some people” I mean me) that most white people—and people in general—have tasteless jokes and stereotypes that they are comfortable enough to perpetuate in private or around their friends. But someone went out and brewed a beer, had labels printed up and bottled a beer whose name appropriates a movement meant to save lives. Even worse, some brave retailer looked at all of this and said, “Yeah, I’ll sell it for you.”

Regardless of one’s position on the #BlackLivesMatter movement, it is indicative of the reality of toxic privilege that we live in a world where people are comfortable enough to do this unchecked. Ralph Marion is the guy who shared the pic to Instagram on Feb. 15, and to his credit, he thought the name was uncalled for. He explained to Mic:

“They made a parody of a very serious issue,” Marion said, explaining that there are a lot of beers that “sometimes toe the line of being insensitive but are still funny.” …

“I just find this being clueless of the times that we are living in right now and how it could make people feel,” Marion said of the #Black Stouts Matter beer name.

[…]

OK, my beloved Caucasians, I will explain it one more time. This time, I’ll say it slowly:

You. Don’t. Get. To. Have. Everything.

I know the conquering, pillaging spirit embedded in many of you won’t allow you to hear this, but there are some things in the world that are off-limits, and this is one of them. There are dead sons and daughters in your jovial little joke. There are 400 years of tears entangled in your cute pun. If you call it anything else, it will taste the same, and if it’s good, people will still buy it. Aren’t those the “free market” principles you so proudly declare?

Or maybe you can just call it white tears, which is what you’d cry if a black person did anything equally offensive.

I’ll add that this is a callous attempt to make money off off other peoples’ grief and misery, while appealing to evil bigots. That does not make you clever, and it certainly doesn’t make you smart. Some white people (you know who you are) are a complete and utter embarrassment. Stop that shit.

Via The Root and MIC.

Norway’s Storebrand Goes NoDAPL.

NorSR

© C. Ford. All rights reserved.

More and more efforts are directed at divestment, and Norway’s largest private investor has decided to go No DAPL.

The largest private investor in Norway has pulled out of three companies connected to the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) because of the conflict at Standing Rock.

Storebrand, an Oslo-based financial-services company that specializes in sustainable, socially conscious investing, has sold off nearly $35 million worth of shares in Phillips 66, Marathon Petroleum Corporation, and Enbridge, the company announced on March 1.

“Storebrand has made the decision to withdraw all investments from the controversial Dakota Access pipeline, including positions in the North American companies Marathon Petroleum Corporation, Enbridge Inc. and Phillips 66,” said Storebrand in a statement on March 1.

“Our conclusion is that these are poor long-term investments, both for our pension customer and from a sustainability point of view,” the company said.

Storebrand had investments of $11.5 million in Philips 66, $7 million in Marathon Petroleum Corp. and $16.2 million in Enbridge Inc., for a total of $34.8 million, said the company. According to its website, it has been in operation since 1767 and was managing pension funds since 1917, pre-dating Norway’s social security system by 50 years.

“There is too much uncertainty, for us as an investor, as to whether there has been a good process that ensures the rights of all parties in the conflict,” said Matthew Smith, Head of Sustainable Investments. “There has been involvement by the United Nations, by President Obama, and President Trump. Caught in the middle are the people directly impacted by the pipeline.”

[…]

Storebrand tried numerous tactics to enact change, Smith said in the statement, but none of them worked.

“Generally, it is our belief that we can have a more positive effect on companies and situations by using our position as an owner to effect change. We have successfully done so on many occasions, but it doesn’t always work,” Smith said. “Storebrand has been in direct contact with the companies, and has worked with international groups of investors. Our most recent initiative is an investor letter, representing 137 investors with $653 billion assets under management, that encourages involved banks that have lent money to the project to use their position and influence to engender positive change and a reconsideration the routing of the pipeline.”

Storebrand was forced to conclude that “active ownership is not going to deliver a better outcome,” he said. “We do hope that this can give a final indication to the involved companies to reconsider the routing of the pipeline.”

The investor joins a growing number of companies and entities that have pulled funds from Wells Fargo and other banks that are financing DAPL, ranging from the City of Seattle to individual account holders. Others, such as New York City, have put DAPL banks on notice.

The decision was not easy, Smith told The Guardian.

“Divestment is a last resort,” he said. “When you divest from companies, you give up your possibility to influence companies to come to a better solution.”

Full story at ICMN.

This Is Our Land.

Water Protectors Leave Oceti Sakowin Reluctantly.

‘Absolutely False’: No Contact From Trump Administration, Archambault Says.

marty-two-bulls-cartoon-dapl-020717
NODAPL; The Last Stand © Marty Two Bulls.
 
marty-two-bulls-cartoon-dapl-020117_WEB
No DAPL; Beware the Early Thaw © Marty Two Bulls.

Arizona Goes for Full Protest Suppression.

Women's March on Washington (Photo: Sarah Burris/RawStory).

Women’s March on Washington (Photo: Sarah Burris/RawStory).

The myth of professional protesters continues to be spread by rethugs, and Arizona rethugs have passed legislation which would allow the cops to seize the assets of anyone who attended a protest which turned violent in any way, along with the power to arrest those who planned the protest, although they did not commit any violent acts. The rethugs are extremely unhappy with The Resistance, and are doing everything they can to shut it down. We are all going to have to stiffen our spines and our resolve, and refuse to back down in the face of blatant rights violations.

The Republican-controlled Arizona Senate has passed a bill that would let law enforcement officials seize the assets of people who participate in protests that turn violent — even if those people had nothing to do with any violent incidents.

[…]

The bill would allow police to seize assets of anyone who attended a peaceful protest that happened to turn violent, and it also gives cops the power to arrest people who planned the events, even if they did not personally commit violence.

State Sen. John Kavanagh (R-Fountain Hills), who supported the bill, explained to the Arizona Capital Times that it’s aimed at curtailing the activities of “professional protest” groups whose goal is to start riots and damage private property.

“You now have a situation where you have full-time, almost professional agent-provocateurs that attempt to create public disorder,” said Kavanagh, a former police officer.

Bald-faced fucking liar. :spits: I’d like to see this flaming asshole address all the violence at Black Lives Matter protests, as the violence was all perpetrated by cops. I’d like to see this asspimple address the overwhelming violence committed by cops against all those at Standing Rock. Fuck you, Kavanagh. People are marching and protesting and protecting because it’s the only recourse we have. It’s not like we can look to our government for help.

Via Raw Story.

Crispus Attucks: A Shared Narrative.

Getty images - Simon and Schuster.

Getty images – Simon and Schuster.

Gyasi Ross has an excellent article up about Crispus Attucks, and the shared narrative between Black people and Indigenous people.

Since white colonization of this continent, Black and Native lives have always been valued less than other people.  The story of Crispus Attucks was an early illustration of how there seems to always be a reason why black and Native people get killed that somehow exonerates the authorities of guilt when they harm us.  “Self-defense.”  But, perhaps most importantly, the story of Crispus Attucks is about combined Native and black lineages that resisted, suffered, but through that resistance caused a revolution.

The year was 1770 and the scene was the Massachusetts Colony.  Boston was hot with anger and resentment toward England. 150 years after Pilgrims originally occupied the homelands of the Wampanoag people, the descendants of those Pilgrims felt like they were losing control of the land they called “home.” At that time slavery was legal in the Massachusetts Colony—white colonists enslaved Natives and blacks alike in Massachusetts.  For example, in 1638 during the so-called “Pequot Wars,” white colonists enslaved a group of Pequot women and children. However, most of the men and boys, deemed too dangerous to keep in the colony. Therefore white colonists transported them to the West Indies on the ship Desire and exchanged them for African slaves.

[…]

Crispus Attucks was both Indigenous and black and a product of the slave trade. He was brilliant in the survival skills that is common and necessary amongst both Indigenous people and black people since the brutal regime of white supremacy came to power on Turtle Island.  His mother’s name was Nancy Attucks, a Wampanoag Native who came from the island of Nantucket. The word “attuck” in the Natick language means deer. His father was born in Africa. His name was Prince Yonger and he was brought to America as a slave.

Attucks was himself born a slave. But he was not afraid to actively seek his own (or others’) liberation. For example he escaped from his slave master and was the focus of an advertisement in a 1750 edition of the Boston Gazette in which a white landowner offered to pay 10 pounds for the return of a young runaway slave.

“Ran away from his Master, William Brown of Framingham, on the 30th of Sept. last, a Molatto Fellow, about 27 Year of age, named Crispas, 6 Feet two Inches high, short curl’d Hair…,”

Attucks was not going back though—he never did.  He spent the next two decades on trading ships and whaling vessels.

[…]

The story of Crispus Attucks is powerful. Native and black people have been facing the same tribulations and common enemies for a very long time.  For most of the time since white people have been on this continent, black folk and Native folk have had no choice but to work together and have.  If we look at statistics today—from expulsion/suspension from schools, to the blacks and Natives going to prison, to getting killed by law enforcement—not a lot has changed.  We still share very common narratives and need each other.

We still need to work together.

Click on over to Indian Country Media Network for the full article.