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Eyes Wide Shut!
by Yugen Fardan Rashad
By Norman Solomon
NW Alliance for Alt. Media & Education
(NAAME) dba The Portland Alliance:
Questions, comments, or suggestions: firstname.lastname@example.org
We Speak Truth to Power for the 99%
Help strengthen Oregon's privacy protections and limit the use of dragnet surveillance.
Join us for ACLU’s Privacy Day in Salem on Monday, March 16. We are advocating for:
• Strict guidelines for the use of automatic license plate readers.
• A warrant requirement to access our email, phone, and location records.
• A warrant requirement to search our cell phones.
Advances in technology have made it too easy for law enforcement to track where you go, what you do, and who you are with. Most of the data the government collects is about innocent people who are not suspected of any crimes. Yet the government collects that personal information - or accesses it directly from your internet or cell phone provider – and can keep it for years on end.
It’s time to stop unwarranted spying in Oregon. Join us Monday, March 16 for Privacy Day and tell legislators you support limits on access to your internet, phone, and location information.
Privacy Day registration is $10 (fee waivers available) and includes materials and lunch.
Register online: http://aclu-or.org/privacyday
ACLU Receives Heavily Redacted Incident Report
On Aug. 12, the American Civil Liberties Union of Missouri asked the Ferguson Police Department to release the incident report for the Aug. 9 fatal shooting of Michael Brown. After the request was denied, the ACLU filed a Missouri Sunshine Law suit on Aug. 15. Late Thursday afternoon, the ACLU received a heavily redacted copy of the incident report. The St. Louis County Police Department had released their redacted incident report on Wednesday.
“It’s been nearly two weeks and Ferguson is still hiding information regarding the fatal shooting of Michael Brown,” said Tony Rothert, legal director of the ACLU of Missouri. “It is long past time for the Ferguson Police Department to begin building public trust and the first step is to release a complete copy of the incident report.”
Full Transparency Still Missing: What The Ferguson Police Have Revealed About Mike Brown's Shooting ThePortlandAlliance.org/aclu
Ferguson is still hiding information regarding the fatal shooting of Michael Brown. It is long past time for the Ferguson Police Department to begin building public trust and the first step is to release a complete copy of the incident report.
- On Aug. 12, the American Civil Liberties Union of Missouri asked the Ferguson Police Department to release the complete incident report for the Aug. 9 fatal shooting of Michael Brown. After the request was denied, the ACLU filed a Missouri Sunshine Law suit on Aug. 15.
- On Aug. 20th we received the St. Louis County Police Department's incident report, which only includes barebones information and lacks any narrative description of what occurred. The county report classifies the shooting as a homicide.
- The report from the St. Louis County Police reveals a time discrepancy which further suggests there is much the public doesn’t know. The county report shows a 43 minute delay before anyone called the county police and another 47 minute delay before the county police arrived on the scene.
- The following day, Aug. 21, the ACLU received the Ferguson Police Department's incident report. It was redacted, and also lacked any narrative description of what occurred.
It is deeply troubling and unacceptable that the two incident reports we’ve received completely lack any detailed information of what happened when Officer Darren Wilson encountered and then shot an unarmed Michael Brown. Two weeks after the shooting, this demonstrates a continued lack of transparency and adds to confusion about the events of the day. We still do not have what should be publicly available information about the police shooting of Michael Brown.
State of Missouri and Ferguson and St. Louis County Police Departments »
State and Local Lawmakers and Law Enforcement Across the United States »
The Department of Justice »
In the Courts
The ACLU and ACLU of Missouri have been working diligently to shed light on what transpired in Feguson, as well to protect First Amendment rights for the community and media. The ACLU of Missouri has filed two Missouri Sunshine Law suits to receive copies of the incident reports from both the St. Louis County and the Ferguson Police Departments, which have both to date refused to turn over the reports that should contain important details regarding the shooting, and are key to a fair and just investigation.
The Real Reason Ferguson Has Military Weapons
It used to be billy clubs, fire hoses and snarling German shepherds. Now it's armored personnel carriers and flash-bang grenades. The weaponry has changed, but the target is still the same.
Ferguson is Everytown, U.S.A.
The tragic killing of college-bound teenager Michael Brown has raised questions about the frequency with which police kill unarmed black men in America. The answer, unfortunately, is far too often.
Ferguson: On the Ground
In the wake of the Michael Brown tragedy last week, the ACLU has been working diligently to shed light on what transpired, as well as preserve First Amendment Rights for the community and media.
It is not a great time to be a journalist in America.
The assault on the First Amendment by militarized police in Ferguson, Mo., continues unabated, and the press is not spared. Since the start of protests against the August 9 killing of Michael Brown, journalists in Ferguson have been arrested, fired on, threatened, and assaulted.
After more than a week of heavy-handed police violence – through the use of tactics and weapons better suited for a warzone than an American suburb – freedoms of speech and the press were dealt a major legal blow on Tuesday. A federal court denied a motion from the ACLU of Missouri for an emergency order to prevent police from enforcing a ban on standing in place for more than five seconds. The "keep-moving mandate" (also known as the five-second rule) remains in place, criminalizing constitutionally protected activity and placing a dangerous barrier on the ability of the media to bring us stories from this city under siege. As Tony Rothert, the legal director of the ACLU of Missouri, told MSNBC, "In many ways, the First Amendment has been suspended in Ferguson."
As the United Nations this week debated America's record on race, one name was on everyone's minds: Michael Brown. Not only Americans have been riveted this week by the tragic killing of the unarmed teenager, the subsequent protests, and the militarized response of law enforcement in Ferguson, Mo.
The events in the overwhelmingly black suburb of St. Louis came as the U.N. Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination reviewed U.S. compliance with the world's leading anti-discrimination legal instrument, which the United States ratified 20 years ago. The gap between the rights guaranteed by our Constitution on one hand, and the reality of the persistent racism that continues to plague our society on the other, could not have been made more relevant by current events.
That gap is just as stark when viewed from the lens of international human rights law. This week, in Geneva, Switzerland, the U.N. committee that oversees compliance with the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination placed the U.S. record under the spotlight. The committee, comprised of leading human rights and race discrimination experts from all over the world, heard from high-level representatives of the U.S. government in a large delegation as well as from advocates and victims of human rights abuses.
The committee expressed deep concern at the circumstances surrounding Mr. Brown's shooting as well as over other recent deaths of unarmed African-American men – like Eric Garner, John Crawford, Ezell Ford, and others – at the hands of law enforcement. They heard heartbreaking testimony from the mother of Trayvon Martin and the father of Jordan Davis, both of whom lost their sons in violent circumstances that underscored the overt and subconscious forms of racism that our country continues to face. Mark Kappelhoff, the deputy assistant attorney general of the Civil Rights Division at the Department of Justice said in response to the committee's questions that the Department of Justice has opened a civil rights investigation into the Brown case.
The United States was represented by a high-level delegation led by Ambassador Keith Harper, a member of the Cherokee nation of Oklahoma and the first Native American U.S. ambassador to represent the United States at the U.N. Human Rights Council. In Ambassador Harper's words:
The United States has made...visible progress that is reflected in the leadership of our society, [but] we recognize that we have much left to do. Issues covered by this Convention are of such fundamental and deep importance that we must continue to make progress. For this reason, we value the opportunity for dialogue with the Committee.
That dialogue was a rich one, with the committee questioning the United States on a variety of issues, including deaths on the Southern border, the unaccompanied minor crisis, family detention, lack of access to justice for individuals detained at Guantánamo Bay, education, and violence against women, amongst many other topics. The committee also asked specific questions about lack of implementation of the treaty at federal, state, and local levels and echoed many concerns raised in the ACLU shadow report submitted to the committee. Those include:
The committee's final report and recommendations will be issued on August 29. We hope that they serve as a guide for how our government can better comply with its obligations under the convention and – more importantly – take further steps to address persistent forms of discrimination and prevent any more unnecessary deaths.
The world is watching.
Learn more about racial discrimination and other civil liberties issues: Sign up for breaking news alerts, follow us on Twitter, and like us on Facebook.
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