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.

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.

Police Escalation: Lethal Drones.

Drone in sky (Shutterstock).

Drone in sky (Shutterstock).

Legislators in Connecticut are very close to legalizing the use of weaponized drones by cops. I’m sure if this passes, it will get picked up from state to state, allowing cops to become even more lethal towards the citizens of uStates.

Connecticut lawmakers are pushing a bill that would legalize the use of armed drones for police officers. The state’s judiciary committee approved a bill on Thursday titled, “An Act Concerning the Use and Regulation of Drones” that would ban weaponized drones for use by anyone except for police officers, according to Gizmodo.

The bill would allow police officers to use drones armed with tear gas, incendiary devices, explosives, and “remote deadly weapons.” If the bill is signed, it would go into effect in October, 2017.

In its original form, the bill did not include a provision to allow police to equip drones with arms. Rather, as David McGuire, the Executive Director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Connecticut tells Raw Story, “The underlying bill was strong because it only authorized police to use drones with a warrant for surveillance.”

The original bill required officers to obtain a warrant before surveilling individuals suspected of a crime, and would require police to report annually how they used drones. “It protected privacy and free speech rights,” said McGuire.

The added provision, McGuire said, “turned a bill that was about protecting peoples’ rights into a bill that violates peoples’ civil rights by allowing use of force.”

McGuire tells me, “We have been struggling with the issue of militarization of police — this [bill] would be escalating that in a serious and unprecedented way.”

“This amendment would send a terrible message to over-policed and victimized communities,” McGuire said. He added that the last few years have been spent working to rebuild community trust in law enforcement.

If the bill passes with the added amendment, Connecticut would be the first state in the country allowing police to use drones with lethal weapons. “I think you would see more use of force,” said McGuire.

No kidding. Cops adore all their lethal toys, and they’ll love this one, too.

But he remains positive that the bill can go back to its original intent.

Why in the fuckety fuck would you think that? I’ll lay money this won’t go back to original intent, and I’d bet that even restricted to surveillance, they would be misused, every day in every way.

Full story here.

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.

“Not One Negro Was Harmed.”

Members of the National Socialist Movement (Neo-Nazis) during a 2010 march to the Phoenix Federal building (John Kittelsrud/Flickr).

Members of the National Socialist Movement (Neo-Nazis) during a 2010 march to the Phoenix Federal building (John Kittelsrud/Flickr).

White supremacists are outraged after a couple was sentenced to 20 years in prison for displaying a Confederate flag and making “terroristic threats” to black people who were attending a child’s birthday party in Georgia in 2015.

The defendants, Jose Torres and Kayla Norton, who were convicted last month, also “pulled out a shotgun and threatened to kill people at [the] party, including children,” according to Douglas County District Attorney Brian Fortner.

White supremacist groups have responded to the sentencing online in Facebook posts and petitions in protest of the conviction, the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) reports. James Oliver, a member of the country’s largest neo-Nazi organization, the National Socialist Movement (NSM), made a video over the weekend about the sentencing, though it appears to have been removed. The NSM is rooted in the original American Nazi Party.

According to SPLC’s report, Oliver argued in his video, “20 years for f*cking freedom of speech … for name calling … some high school, middle school, kindergarten bullsh*t.” Oliver was reportedly joined in the video by former Klansmen John Girton, who said, “Not one negro was harmed. However, one of them did get their feelings hurt by the use of the n-word.”

I just don’t have words. It’s a rare thing to see justice done anymore, especially when the victims are not white.

White supremacists also threatened Douglas Circuit Judge William Beau McClain, and circulated a petition demanding that the conviction “be overturned or at least reduced dramatically.” A Facebook user named Branden Young commented on Girton’s post, writing, “Something needs [to be] done about judges like this.”

Right. So now it’s time to threaten and harass anyone who does see justice done. And maybe worse than that. People often speculate that current events may devolve into a civil war here in uStates, but I think that’s the wrong way to look at things. We’re already in the middle of a war.

Full story here.

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.

“Things Have Changed.”

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The Council of Conservative Citizens (CCC) is a U.S.-based white supremacist group that was founded in 1985 as a spinoff of the White Citizens Councils of the 1950s and 1960s that fought school desegregation, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.

The group’s mission states an opposition to “all efforts to mix the races of mankind,” and was described by the Atlantic as the “largest white-supremacist group in the nation.” The group has also been active in Canada and was cited in Dylann Roof’s manifesto, the white supremacist behind the 2015 Charleston church massacre.

This week, one of the buildings at Concordia that was targeted by the bomb threat is scheduled to hold an Islamic Awareness Week between Monday and Thursday.

The email from the Council of Conservative Citizens of Canada included threats to “detonate once per day, a small artisanal amateur explosive devices,” targeting two floors of the Hall building and one floor of the Engineering, Computer Science and Visual Arts building, both of which were evacuated on Wednesday morning.

The specific locations were described in the email as “where Muslims hang out,” and the sender clarified that the bombs are “not meant to kill anybody. The only aim is to injure some Muslim students.” According to Global News, the email demands a halt of “religious activities of all kinds on campus.”

Full story here. I don’t have anything. At all. Just an enormous headache and desire to go to another universe entirely.

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.

Deadly Silence.

Adam Purinton. CREDIT: mugshot via Toronto Star.

Adam Purinton. CREDIT: mugshot via Toronto Star.

Yet another incident of racially motivated, domestic terrorism has been met with a deafening silence from the Tiny Tyrant. In the Splintered States of White Nationalism, our president willfully ignores every instance of white nationalism, white supremacy, racism, Islamaphobia, and refuses to face the fact that domestic terrorism is by far the greatest threat to uStates citizens. This happens when you install a white supremacist, Nazi cabinet in the highest offices, people who have no problem whatsoever with domestic terrorism, as long as it doesn’t accidentally take out any white people.

The racially motivated violence in Kansas comes amid an explosion of hate incidents since the election.

[…]

Trump has established a pattern of trying to capitalize on incidents that reinforce his Islamophobia and fear-mongering about “inner cities,” while ignoring violence perpetrated by white supremacists. He has still not publicly denounced a January 29 mass shooting at a mosque in Quebec City that left six dead and was reportedly perpetrated by a white nationalist, anti-immigrant fan of his. Instead, days later, he tweeted about an attack in Paris that left one person with minor injuries.

Research indicates a person in America is far more likely to be killed by a right-wing extremist or white supremacist — like the one who allegedly opened fire on Wednesday night in Kansas — than a Muslim terrorist. But three days after the Quebec City mosque shooting, news broke that the Trump administration wants a federal counter-terrorism program to stop focusing on violent white supremacists and any other extremist groups not comprised of Muslims.

Via Think Progress.

Oh, Those Pro-Protesters, At It…Wait.

Credit: YouTube.

Credit: YouTube.

It’s not protesters causing trouble, it’s a cop. Again. In this case, there’s a 13 year old who is damn lucky to be alive. Let’s see what caused this shining example of “to protect and serve” to boil over, shall we?

Protests erupted in Anaheim, California on Wednesday after an off-duty LAPD officer dragged a 13-year-old boy across his yard, pulled a gun on the boy’s friends, and pulled the trigger.

According to an eyewitness, the confrontation began after a young girl walked across the lawn of an off-duty officer, who responded by calling her a “cunt.” Thirteen-year-old Christian Dorscht reportedly tried to defend the girl.

Cellphone video then shows the unnamed cop grabbing and pulling Dorscht by the arm. As a group of young people wearing backpacks looks on, the officer drags Dorscht for a few yards. Moments later, three boys rush the officer, pushing him into nearby bushes to free Dorscht. Seemingly uninjured, the cop gathers himself and drags the 13-year-old through the shrubs. After one boy tries to punch him, the officer reaches into his waistband and pulls out his gun. Everyone backs away, but the officer fires anyway. Nobody was struck by the bullet.

Oh, well, a kid cut across his lawn. Yes, that’s such an extraordinarily unusual and heinous action! There’s no such thing as the cliche of an adult, generally an old curmudgeon, shaking their fist and yelling “damn kids, get off my lawn!” Obviously, such a horrible act forced this upstanding officer to spit “cunt” at her, and what on earth was a 13 year old boy thinking, trying to defend her? Goodness, such awful behaviour, oh my yes.

Approximately 300 protesters —including young people — gathered in the streets Wednesday night, as news of the incident spread. They reportedly blocked major avenues and intersections in Anaheim, home of Disneyland, and some protesters marched to the unnamed officer’s house. People yelled “Whose streets, our streets” and “Hands up, don’t shoot” as they marched, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Some of the demonstrators threw rocks at police observing the fray, while a few people banged on the doors of the officer’s home. Riot police were eventually called to block off protesters.

Oh, I’m sure that just completely justified calling in riot cops. Having been face to face with riot cops more than once, I can say that no, protests don’t justify their presence in any way. You have a bunch of hyped-up authoritarians swaddled in battle armor, just itching to use all those nifty, lethal toys.

So, what happened to the key players, like the cop, who was an adult, at least technically, who called a young girl a cunt, assaulted a 13 year old boy, and pulled his gun and fired? Oh, nothing much, but those evil, meddling kids?

Dorscht, who sustained a line of bruises on his neck, was arrested and brought to the Orange County Juvenile Hall for battery and making criminal threats against the officer. A 15-year-old involved in the initial confrontation was also arrested for assault and battery.

According to Anaheim Police Sgt. Daron Wyatt, the officer was not arrested but was removed from the field for three days. The LAPD is currently investigating the matter.

Oh, I’m sure they are “investigating”, if that means getting stories straight, shuffling paperwork, and purging evidence. In the meantime, two victims have been dumped into the maw of the SoCal juvenile justice system, which is a remarkably ugly one, as these systems go. As for those wicked protesters, 24 of them, including 6 minors, were arrested and charged for resisting arrest, battery, and refusing to disperse. Remember, cops are the good guys!

Via Think Progress.

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.