Bay Area United Against War Newsletter
Table of Contents:
A. EVENTS AND ACTIONS
B. ARTICLES IN FULL
A. EVENTS AND ACTIONS
Bay Area United Against War Newsletter
Table of Contents:
A. EVENTS AND ACTIONS
B. ARTICLES IN FULL
A. EVENTS AND ACTIONS
Send Chelsea your messages of support
Send Chelsea your messages of support
Write Chelsea your messages of support
UPDATE: Chelsea's attorneys have gotten in touch with Chelsea today (Mon, July 11th) and released the following statement:
For Immediate Release: July 11, 2016
Contact: Christina DiPasquale, 202.716.1953, Christina@balestramedia.com
Chelsea Manning Confirms Health Status Through Her Attorneys
Today, Chelsea Manning's attorneys Chase Strangio, Vincent Ward and Nancy Hollander released the following statement jointly:
"After not connecting with Chelsea for over a week, we were relieved to speak with her this morning. Though she would have preferred to keep her private medical information private, and instead focus on her recovery, the government's gross breach of confidentiality in disclosing her personal health information to the media has created the very real concern that they may continue their unauthorized release of information about her publicly without warning. Due to these circumstances, Chelsea Manning requested that we communicate with the media and her friends and supporters on her behalf.
"Last week, Chelsea made a decision to end her life. Her attempt to take her own life was unsuccessful. She knows that people have questions about how she is doing and she wants everyone to know that she remains under close observation by the prison and expects to remain on this status for the next several weeks. For us, hearing Chelsea's voice after learning that she had attempted to take her life last week was incredibly emotional. She is someone who has fought so hard for so many issues we care about and we are honored to fight for her freedom and medical care."
You can write to Chelsea with your messages of support. Mail must be addressed as follows:
CHELSEA E. MANNING 89289
1300 NORTH WAREHOUSE ROAD
FORT LEAVENWORTH, KANSAS 66027-2304
We must not let the Orlando nightclub terror further strangle our civil liberties: Chelsea's new op-ed
After last weekend's tragedy in Orlando,Chelsea Manning cautions us that our response to such violence can be also be dangerous in her June 13th Guardianopinion article.
"We must grieve and mourn and support each other," Manning states, "but in our grief and outrage we must resist any temptations to let this attack – or any attack – trigger anti-Muslim foreign policy, attacks on our civil liberties or as an excuse to descend into xenophobia and Islamophobia."
"We are not safe and secure when the government uses us as pawns to perpetrate violence against others."
Chelsea Manning, Guardian OpEd
June 13, 2016
This morning, I woke up in my cell to an even more shattered and fractured world. We are lost. We are devastated. We are bewildered. We are hurt. And we are angry. I haven't been this angry since losing a soldier in my unit to an RPG attack in southeastern Baghdad during my deployment in Iraq in 2010.
An attack like this is carefully planned and executed to maximize attention by inflaming the passions of a helpless public..
Chelsea can continue to be a powerful voice for reform, but we need your help to make that happen. Help us support Chelsea in prison, maximize her voice in the media, continue public education, fund her legal appeals team, and build a powerful movement for presidential pardon.
Defying the Tomb: Selected Prison Writings and Art of Kevin "Rashid" Johnson featuring exchanges with an Outlaw Kindle Edition
Join the Fight to Free Rev. Pinkney!
Click HERE to view in browser
Today is the 406th day that Rev. Edward Pinkney of Benton Harbor, Michigan
languishes in prison doing felony time for a misdemeanor crime he did not
commit. Today is also the day that Robert McKay, a spokesperson for the
Free Rev. Pinkney campaign, gave testimony before United Nations
representatives about the plight of Rev. Pinkney at a hearing held in
Chicago. The hearing was called in order to shed light upon the
mistreatment of African-Americans in the United States and put it on an
international stage. And yet as the UN representatives and audience heard
of the injustices in the Pinkney case many gasped in disbelief and asked
with frowns on their faces, "how is this possible?" But disbelief quickly
disappeared when everyone realized these were the same feelings they had
when they first heard of Flint and we all know what happened in Flint. FREE
REV. PINKNEY NOW.
Please send letters to:
Marquette Branch Prison
Rev. Edward Pinkney N-E-93 #294671
1960 US Hwy 41 South
Marquette, MI 49855
Please donate at http://bhbanco.org (Donate button) or send checks to BANCO:
c/o Dorothy Pinkney
1940 Union St.
Benton Harbor, MI 49022
On December 15, 2014 the Rev. Edward Pinkney of Benton Harbor, Michigan was thrown into prison for 2.5 to 10 years. This 66-year-old leading African American activist was tried and convicted in front of an all-white jury and racist white judge and prosecutor for supposedly altering 5 dates on a recall petition against the mayor of Benton Harbor.
The prosecutor, with the judge's approval, repeatedly told the jury "you don't need evidence to convict Mr. Pinkney." And ABSOLUTELY NO EVIDENCE WAS EVER PRESENTED THAT TIED REV. PINKNEY TO THE 'ALTERED' PETITIONS. Rev. Pinkney was immediately led away in handcuffs and thrown into Jackson Prison.
This is an outrageous charge. It is an outrageous conviction. It is an even more outrageous sentence! It must be appealed.
With your help supporters need to raise $20,000 for Rev. Pinkney's appeal.
Checks can be made out to BANCO (Black Autonomy Network Community Organization). This is the organization founded by Rev. Pinkney. Mail them to: Mrs. Dorothy Pinkney, 1940 Union Street, Benton Harbor, MI 49022.
Donations can be accepted on-line at bhbanco.org – press the donate button.
For information on the decade long campaign to destroy Rev. Pinkney go to bhbanco.org and workers.org(search "Pinkney").
We urge your support to the efforts to Free Rev. Pinkney!Ramsey Clark – Former U.S. attorney general,
Cynthia McKinney – Former member of U.S. Congress,
Lynne Stewart – Former political prisoner and human rights attorney
Ralph Poynter – New Abolitionist Movement,
Abayomi Azikiwe – Editor, Pan-African News Wire<
Larry Holmes – Peoples Power Assembly,
David Sole – Michigan Emergency Committee Against War & Injustice
Sara Flounders – International Action Center
MESSAGE FROM REV. PINKNEY
I am now in Marquette prison over 15 hours from wife and family, sitting in prison for a crime that was never committed. Judge Schrock and Mike Sepic both admitted there was no evidence against me but now I sit in prison facing 30 months. Schrock actually stated that he wanted to make an example out of me. (to scare Benton Harbor residents even more...) ONLY IN AMERICA. I now have an army to help fight Berrien County. When I arrived at Jackson state prison on Dec. 15, I met several hundred people from Detroit, Flint, Kalamazoo, and Grand Rapids. Some people recognized me. There was an outstanding amount of support given by the prison inmates. When I was transported to Marquette Prison it took 2 days. The prisoners knew who I was. One of the guards looked me up on the internet and said, "who would believe Berrien County is this racist."
Background to Campaign to free Rev. Pinkney
Michigan political prisoner the Rev. Edward Pinkney is a victim of racist injustice. He was sentenced to 30 months to 10 years for supposedly changing the dates on 5 signatures on a petition to recall Benton Harbor Mayor James Hightower.
No material or circumstantial evidence was presented at the trial that would implicate Pinkney in the purported5 felonies. Many believe that Pinkney, a Berrien County activist and leader of the Black Autonomy Network Community Organization (BANCO), is being punished by local authorities for opposing the corporate plans of Whirlpool Corp, headquartered in Benton Harbor, Michigan.
In 2012, Pinkney and BANCO led an "Occupy the PGA [Professional Golfers' Association of America]" demonstration against a world-renowned golf tournament held at the newly created Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course on the shoreline of Lake Michigan. The course was carved out of Jean Klock Park, which had been donated to the city of Benton Harbor decades ago.
Berrien County officials were determined to defeat the recall campaign against Mayor Hightower, who opposed a program that would have taxed local corporations in order to create jobs and improve conditions in Benton Harbor, a majority African-American municipality. Like other Michigan cities, it has been devastated by widespread poverty and unemployment.
The Benton Harbor corporate power structure has used similar fraudulent charges to stop past efforts to recall or vote out of office the racist white officials, from mayor, judges, prosecutors in a majority Black city. Rev Pinkney who always quotes scripture, as many Christian ministers do, was even convicted for quoting scripture in a newspaper column. This outrageous conviction was overturned on appeal. We must do this again!
To sign the petition in support of the Rev. Edward Pinkney, log on to: tinyurl.com/ps4lwyn.
Contributions for Rev. Pinkney's defense can be sent to BANCO at Mrs Dorothy Pinkney, 1940 Union St., Benton Harbor, MI 49022
Or you can donate on-line at bhbanco.org.
State Seeks to Remove Innocent PA Lifer's Attorney! Free Corey Walker!
The PA Office of the Attorney General (OAG) filed legal action to remove Corey Walker's attorney, Rachel Wolkenstein, in November 2014. On Tuesday, February 9, 2016 the evidentiary hearing to terminate Wolkenstein as Corey Walker's pro hac vice lawyer continues before Judge Lawrence Clark of the Dauphin County Court of Common Pleas in Harrisburg, PA.
Walker, assisted by Wolkenstein, filed three sets of legal papers over five months in 2014 with new evidence of Walker's innocence and that the prosecution and police deliberately used false evidence to convict him of murder. Two weeks after Wolkenstein was granted pro hac vice status, the OAG moved against her and Walker.
The OAG claims that Wolkenstein's political views and prior legal representation of Mumia Abu-Jamal and courtroom arrest by the notorious Judge Albert Sabo makes it "intolerable" for her to represent Corey Walker in the courts of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
Over the past fifteen months the OAG has effectively stopped any judicial action on the legal challenges of Corey Walker and his former co-defendant, Lorenzo Johnson against their convictions and sentences to life imprisonment without parole while it proceeds in its attempts to remove Wolkenstein.
This is retaliation against Corey Walker who is innocent and framed. Walker and his attorney won't stop until they thoroughly expose the police corruption and deliberate presentation of false evidence to convict Corey Walker and win his freedom.
This outrageous attack on Corey Walker's fundamental right to his lawyer of choice and challenge his conviction must cease. The evidence of his innocence and deliberate prosecutorial frame up was suppressed for almost twenty years. Corey Walker must be freed!
Read: Jim Crow Justice – The Frame-up Of Corey Walker by Charles Brover
Go to FreeCoreyWalker.org to provide help and get more information.
TAKE ACTION: Mumia is sick
Judge Robert Mariani of the U.S. District Court has issued an order in Mumia's case, granting Mumia's lawyers Bret Grote and Robert Boyle's motion to supplement the record.
Hepatitis C is a progressive disease that attacks Mumia's organs, skin and liver. Unless the court orders the new hepatitis C treatment - one pill a day for 12 weeks, with a 95% cure rate - Mumia's health will remain at serious risk.
Take Action for Mumia
Call prison officials to demand immediate treatment!
SUPPORTERS OF MUMIA ABU-JAMAL, AND FREE QUALITY HEALTH CARE FOR ALL:
The Oasis Clinic in Oakland, CA, which treats patients with Hepatitis-C (HCV), demands an end to the outrageous price-gouging of Big Pharma corporations, like Gilead Sciences, which hike-up the cost for essential, life-saving medications such as the cure for the deadly Hepatitis-C virus, in order to reap huge profits. The Oasis Clinic's demand is:
PUBLIC HEALTH, NOT CORPORATE WEALTH!
PUBLIC HEALTH, NOT CORPORATE WEALTH!
IMMEDIATE AND FREE TREATMENT FOR ALL HCV-INFECTED PRISONERS!
NO EXECUTION BY MEDICAL NEGLECT!
JAIL DRUG PROFITEERS, FREE MUMIA!
This message from:
Labor Action Committee To Free Mumia Abu-Jamal
PO Box 16222 • Oakland CA 94610 • www.laboractionmumia.org
06 January 2016
Mumia Is Innocent! Free Mumia!
Imam Jamil (H.Rap Brown) moved
Some two weeks ago Imam Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin (H. Rap Brown) was moved by bus from USP Canaan in Waymart, PA. to USP Tucson, Arizona. His mailing address is: USP Tucson United States Penitentiary P.O. Box Tucson, AZ. 85734 (BOP number 99974555)
Sign the Petition:
DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, THE Bureau of Prisons, The Governor of Georgia
We are aware of a review being launched of criminal cases to determine whether any defendants were wrongly convicted and or deserve a new trail because of flawed forensic evidence and or wrongly reported evidence. It was stated in the Washington Post in April of 2012 that Justice Department Officials had known for years that flawed forensic work led to convictions of innocent people. We seek to have included in the review of such cases that of Imam Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin. We understand that all cases reviewed will include the Innocence Project. We look forward to your immediate attention to these overdue wrongs.
ASAP: The Forgotten Imam Project
P.O. Box 373
Four Oaks, NC 27524
Luqman Abdullah-ibn Al-Sidiq
Commute Kevin Cooper's Death Sentence
Sign the Petition:
Urge Gov. Jerry Brown to commute Kevin Cooper's death sentence. Cooper has always maintained his innocence of the 1983 quadruple murder of which he was convicted. In 2009, five federal judges signed a dissenting opinion warning that the State of California "may be about to execute an innocent man." Having exhausted his appeals in the US courts, Kevin Cooper's lawyers have turned to the Inter American Commission on Human Rights to seek remedy for what they maintain is his wrongful conviction, and the inadequate trial representation, prosecutorial misconduct and racial discrimination which have marked the case. Amnesty International opposes all executions, unconditionally.
"The State of California may be about to execute an innocent man." - Judge William A. Fletcher, 2009 dissenting opinion on Kevin Cooper's case
Kevin Cooper has been on death row in California for more than thirty years.
In 1985, Cooper was convicted of the murder of a family and their house guest in Chino Hills. Sentenced to death, Cooper's trial took place in an atmosphere of racial hatred — for example, an effigy of a monkey in a noose with a sign reading "Hang the N*****!" was hung outside the venue of his preliminary hearing.
Take action to see that Kevin Cooper's death sentence is commuted immediately.
Cooper has consistently maintained his innocence.
Following his trial, five federal judges said: "There is no way to say this politely. The district court failed to provide Cooper a fair hearing."
Since 2004, a dozen federal appellate judges have indicated their doubts about his guilt.
Tell California authorities: The death penalty carries the risk of irrevocable error. Kevin Cooper's sentence must be commuted.
In 2009, Cooper came just eight hours shy of being executed for a crime that he may not have committed. Stand with me today in reminding the state of California that the death penalty is irreversible — Kevin Cooper's sentence must be commuted immediately.
Senior Death Penalty Campaigner
Amnesty International USA
Kevin Cooper: An Innocent Victim of Racist Frame-Up - from the Fact Sheet at: www.freekevincooper.org
Kevin Cooper is an African-American man who was wrongly convicted and sentenced to death in 1985 for the gruesome murders of a white family in Chino Hills, California: Doug and Peggy Ryen and their daughter Jessica and their house- guest Christopher Hughes. The Ryens' 8 year old son Josh, also attacked, was left for dead but survived.
Convicted in an atmosphere of racial hatred in San Bernardino County CA, Kevin Cooper remains under a threat of imminent execution in San Quentin. He has never received a fair hearing on his claim of innocence. In a dissenting opinion in 2009, five federal judges of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals signed a 82 page dissenting opinion that begins: "The State of California may be about to execute an innocent man." 565 F.3d 581.
There is significant evidence that exonerates Mr. Cooper and points toward other suspects:
The coroner who investigated the Ryen murders concluded that the murders took four minutes at most and that the murder weapons were a hatchet, a long knife, an ice pick and perhaps a second knife. How could a single person, in four or fewer minutes, wield three or four weapons, and inflict over 140 wounds on five people, two of whom were adults (including a 200 pound ex-marine) who had loaded weapons near their bedsides?
The sole surviving victim of the murders, Josh Ryen, told police and hospital staff within hours of the murders that the culprits were "three white men." Josh Ryen repeated this statement in the days following the crimes. When he twice saw Mr. Cooper's picture on TV as the suspected attacker, Josh Ryen said "that's not the man who did it."
Josh Ryen's description of the killers was corroborated by two witnesses who were driving near the Ryens' home the night of the murders. They reported seeing three white men in a station wagon matching the description of the Ryens' car speeding away from the direction of the Ryens' home.
These descriptions were corroborated by testimony of several employees and patrons of a bar close to the Ryens' home, who saw three white men enter the bar around midnight the night of the murders, two of whom were covered in blood, and one of whom was wearing coveralls.
The identity of the real killers was further corroborated by a woman who, shortly after the murders were discovered, alerted the sheriff's department that her boyfriend, a convicted murderer, left blood-spattered coveralls at her home the night of the murders. She also reported that her boyfriend had been wearing a tan t-shirt matching a tan t-shirt with Doug Ryen's blood on it recovered near the bar. She also reported that her boyfriend owned a hatchet matching the one recovered near the scene of the crime, which she noted was missing in the days following the murders; it never reappeared; further, her sister saw that boyfriend and two other white men in a vehicle that could have been the Ryens' car on the night of the murders.
Lacking a motive to ascribe to Mr. Cooper for the crimes, the prosecution claimed that Mr. Cooper, who had earlier walked away from custody at a minimum security prison, stole the Ryens' car to escape to Mexico. But the Ryens had left the keys in both their cars (which were parked in the driveway), so there was no need to kill them to steal their car. The prosecution also claimed that Mr. Cooper needed money, but money and credit cards were found untouched and in plain sight at the murder scene.
The jury in 1985 deliberated for seven days before finding Mr. Cooper guilty. One juror later said that if there had been one less piece of evidence, the jury would not have voted to convict.
The evidence the prosecution presented at trial tying Mr. Cooper to the crime scene has all been discredited… (Continue reading this document at: http://www.savekevincooper.org/_new_freekevincooperdotorg/TEST/Scripts/DataLibraries/upload/KC_FactSheet_2014.pdf)
This message from the Labor Action Committee To Free Mumia Abu-Jamal. July 2015
CANCEL ALL STUDENT DEBT!
Sign the Petition:
Dear President Obama, Senators, and Members of Congress:
Americans now owe $1.3 trillion in student debt. Eighty-six percent of that money is owed to the United States government. This is a crushing burden for more than 40 million Americans and their families.
I urge you to take immediate action to forgive all student debt, public and private.
American Federation of Teachers
Campaign for America's Future
Democracy for America
RH Reality Check
Student Debt Crisis
Campaign to Free Lorenzo Johnson
Write: Lorenzo Johnson
301 Morea Rd.
Frackville, PA 17932
Email: Through JPay using the code:
Lorenzo Johnson DF 1036 PA DOC
Directly at LorenzoJohnson17932@gmail.com
B. ARTICLES IN FULL
1) Amid Protests Over Police Shootings of Black Men, Latinos Note a Disparity
By RICK ROJAS and SAMANTHA SCHMIDT JULY 14, 2016
The sheriff's deputies arrived at the home in San Antonio on a call that a woman had been injured in a domestic dispute. A bystander started recording a video as they pursued a shirtless man armed with a knife outside the home. Though taken from a distance, the video seemed to show the 41-year-old man, Gilbert Flores, raising his arms as the deputies opened fire, killing him.
The video appeared on television, and local officials opened an investigation. But the case, which took place last year, has drawn limited national attention — a stark contrast with the fatal police shootings of black men in recent days in Louisiana and Minnesota, which have ignited protests and calls for reform around the country.
To some Latino advocates, it is just one example of how the killings of Latinos in encounters with the police do not generate the same level of scrutiny, outrage or discourse as the fatal shootings of blacks.
"Why isn't the community aggressively championing the victims of these crimes?" said Juan Cartagena, the president of LatinoJustice, a legal advocacy group, who sees parallels in the strained relationship many African-Americans and Latinos experience with law enforcement.
There is no federal clearinghouse that tracks all police-related killings, criminal justice researchers say, so it is difficult to quantify how many Latinos are killed in encounters with officers. That has left advocates to rely largely on anecdotal evidence. Even with jurisdictions that include Hispanic or Latino as an option in statistics, the numbers can be unreliable; it is not uncommon for people to be incorrectly classified as white or black.
"You don't know if the tick box is accurate or not," said Geoffrey P. Alpert, a professor of criminology at the University of South Carolina who researches police shootings and called the lack of a national database a "national embarrassment."
But in recent years, multiple cases have roiled Hispanics in different parts of the country. The fatal shooting of a 19-year-old man in Fullerton, Calif., by California Highway Patrol officers this month led to modest protests, and the killing of a 17-year-old girl in Denver in January 2015 spurred similar demonstrations.
The death of a 35-year-old man in 2015 in Pasco, Wash., gunned down after throwing rocks at police officers, stirred the sizable immigrant population there. Some believed the killing, recorded on video, had the potential to become the "Ferguson moment" for Hispanics.
"There are plenty of high-profile incidents across the country that for one reason or another don't seem to get the same attention," said Eric Rodriguez, vice president for public policy at the National Council of La Raza.
"There's sufficient amount of concern and outrage about what's happening," he added. "This tension at the community level, it's palpable."
Activists and researchers say a range of factors, rooted in differences in history and culture, could explain why pockets of anger cropping up after cases involving Latinos have not grown to have a larger national impact. For one, Hispanic does not denote a race, but rather an ethnicity; the sprawling population of Hispanics has differing priorities, depending on region, nationality and citizenship status.
Also, Latino advocates say, they do not have the same level of organization as African-Americans to spread their concerns more widely. For instance, they say, there is no figure with as high a profile as the Rev. Al Sharpton, nor does religion play as big a role in activism among Hispanics. "The Catholic Church," Mr. Cartagena said, "really hasn't used that kind of messaging as a way to galvanize support."
For some, immigration is a more immediate, driving concern; a fear of confronting the authorities holds some back from being more vocal.
"They interact with that whole system in a very different way because they have even fewer rights," said Angelo Falcón, co-founder of the National Institute for Latino Policy. "You have a lot of Latinos who are living without papers, under the radar, who are abused by regular police as well."
But Mr. Cartagena expressed dismay at the idea that certain issues affect only certain groups of people — that police brutality is an African-American issue, or immigration a Latino concern. "We live similar experiences with respect to marginalization of our communities," he said. "For this to really move the dial, it has to be done in solidarity with everyone else."
Some in law enforcement acknowledge the tensions in their relationship with Latinos. Tina Nieto, a captain in the Los Angeles Police Department, said she has seen the police shift from being an "occupying force" in some neighborhoods to one that is more engaged with residents. And as a commanding officer, she has sought to overcome the lingering skepticism toward the police.
"There's a disconnect between what people believe sometimes and what the policing reality is," said Captain Nieto, the incoming national president of the Hispanic American Police Command Officers Association. "Sometimes it doesn't look pretty, but if you work to establish open lines of communication, we can have that dialogue."
In the case of Mr. Flores in San Antonio, the Bexar County Sheriff's Department has pushed back against the notion that he had his hands up in surrender, despite what the video depicts. (Researchers have noted some shortcomings with video evidence.)
James Keith, a spokesman for the department, said Mr. Flores was moving toward the deputies when he was shot, and earlier, he had tried to attack the deputies. A grand jury declined to press criminal charges against the deputies who shot him, both of whom had Latino surnames.
The Orange County District Attorney's Office is investigating the death of Pedro Villanueva, the 19-year-old killed in California, which happened on July 3, just days before the shooting in Baton Rouge, La. California Highway Patrol officers followed Mr. Villanueva's red pickup truck in their unmarked vehicle for about 10 miles. They tried to pull him over, the authorities said, but he made a U-turn and drove in the direction of the officers, who opened fire.
"How would an innocent boy be killed like that?" David Sainz, Mr. Villanueva's brother, said in a phone interview from the family's Mexican restaurant in the San Fernando Valley. "He was such a good kid. He didn't have to be shot."
The district attorney and the highway patrol declined to comment.
In 2012, Genevieve Huizar's 25-year-old son, Manuel Diaz, was fatally shot by the police in Anaheim, a death that came during a spate of killings in the city that set off protests there. In the years since, Ms. Huizar has traveled across California protesting police-involved shootings. She helped found the Young Survivors Legacy Support Network, which organizes picnics and vigils for relatives who have lost loved ones.
On Wednesday night, almost four years to the day since her son's death, she is planning another vigil.
"All these lives matter," she said. "I believe it should be one movement to make the change for everybody."
2) Taser International Dominates the Police Body Camera Market
By DAVID GELLES JULY 12, 2016
When Micah Johnson went on a deadly shooting rampage in Dallas last week, body cameras worn by police officers were rolling, capturing at least 170 hours of video of the mayhem.
That footage is now stored on a sophisticated cloud computing system that lets police manage digital evidence and hosts more hours of video than Netflix has available to stream.
These paired offerings — body cameras for police and cloud storage — have transformed policing in recent years, adding a new level of transparency and accountability but also raising questions about privacy and who has the right to view those videos.
Behind the scenes, one company is at the center of it all: Taser International. Best known for making Taser stun guns, it controls about three-quarters of the body camera business in the United States.
Until recently a one-note provider of electrical weapons, Taser has swiftly cornered the market for body cameras and related software, making it one of the most important suppliers of technology to law enforcement today.
Its Axon body cameras are worn by officers in dozens of big cities including Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, Washington and, yes, Dallas. And using computing power from Microsoft and Amazon, Taser runs Evidence.com, the site that lets police host and manage body camera video.
Demand for the products has soared in the two years since Michael Brown was shot dead by an officer in Ferguson, Mo., and analysts now estimate that the market will soon be worth $1 billion a year.
"When the rest of us are snapping pictures and videos, police can't pull out a note pad and start writing," said Patrick W. Smith, the chief executive of Taser. "There's now an expectation from society that they're getting good documentation of what they're involved in. It's in everyone's interest to know what happened."
Mr. Smith and his brother, Thomas, founded Taser in Scottsdale, Ariz., in 1993, and the company now is worth about $1.3 billion. Taser cameras have captured thousands of altercations between the police and the public and several controversial police shootings, including ones in Albuquerque and Cincinnati.
Yet as Taser works to sell cameras and software to more departments, it is coming under fire for questionable business practices. In some instances, it has paid police chiefs to travel to Taser conferences. In other cases, chiefs who have bought Taser products have joined the company as consultants shortly after leaving public service. And several cities have awarded contracts to Taser without competitive bidding.
So far, these issues have done little to blunt Taser's momentum. Last quarter, for the first time, Taser booked more sales for body cameras and related software than it did for its stun guns.
Interest in body cameras was already picking up two years ago, as police departments around the country started responding to calls for greater accountability. Then, in August 2014, a white police officer killed Mr. Brown, an unarmed black teenager, in Ferguson. The officer was not wearing a body camera, and witnesses disputed his account of the altercation that led to the shooting. The officer was not charged, and critics said that had he been wearing a body camera, the outcome might have been different.
Video captured by body cameras can be difficult to interpret. Yet as more Taser cameras are deployed around the country, the grainy images they produce are playing an increasingly important role in the aftermath of deadly shootings.
At times, the video can exonerate officers. In 2009, shortly after Taser began selling its cameras through its Axon division, Sgt. Brandon Davis shot and killed a man in Fort Smith, Ark. Video recorded by his body camera captured the shooting, and Mr. Davis was cleared of wrongdoing.
In other instances, the footage can portray police as needlessly aggressive. In 2014, a Taser Axon camera worn by an officer in Albuquerque captured the fatal shooting of a homeless man by officers who did not appear to be threatened. The two officers have been charged with second-degree murder and are expected to stand trial soon.
Even when body cameras are worn, they are not always effective. When two police officers fatally shot Alton B. Sterling in Baton Rouge, La., on July 5, they were wearing body cameras made by a Taser competitor. A police spokesman said the cameras became dislodged during the altercation with Mr. Sterling, and the video was unlikely to reveal much; Baton Rouge is making a transition to Taser cameras.
In another incident last week, the officer who killed Philando Castile during a traffic stop in Falcon Heights, Minn., was not wearing a body camera. But Mr. Castile's girlfriend streamed the aftermath on Facebook Live.
"The whole world wants to know what the heck happened in the moments leading up to that shooting," said Mr. Smith of Taser. "Would a body camera have changed the behavior? Maybe. But it sure would have answered some questions."
Just a few years ago, many police were reluctant to wear body cameras, fearing that their every action would be scrutinized.
"There was a real hesitation at first," said Officer Jeff Garwacki, who oversees the body camera program at the Fort Worth Police Department.
But as the devices have become more common, many police officers have come to rely on them. In Fort Worth, which has bought 800 body cameras from Taser and uses its Evidence.com service, Mr. Garwacki said most officers wanted to wear cameras at all times. "The body cameras are showing that the officers are doing what they say they're doing," he said.
Though research is limited, some studies suggest that the use of body cameras can reduce the use of force by officers and complaints by the public. In a study published in the Journal of Quantitative Criminology, researchers found that when officers in Rialto, Calif., began wearing body cameras, use of force by officers dropped 59 percent, and complaints against officers dropped 87 percent.
"When police use body cameras and tell people that they are using them, it tends to produce better behavior by both the police and the public," said Chad Marlow, advocacy and policy counsel at the American Civil Liberties Union.
Yet Mr. Marlow expressed concern that Taser had achieved such dominance in the body camera industry so quickly.
"The fact that a lot of police departments are familiar with Taser has created an inclination to go with them," said Mr. Marlow. "Other companies are not getting the opportunity to show off their products."
Some of Taser's rivals, Mr. Marlow said, were developing software that made it easier to redact identifying features of people captured on camera, better protecting their privacy.
There is no doubt that Taser has managed to use its longstanding relationships with police departments, which have used the company's stun guns for decades, to gain its early lead in the market for body cameras and related software.
But several competitors, and some city officials, accuse the company of cozying up to police chiefs to secure lucrative contracts. Nearly all of the roughly 18,000 law enforcement agencies in the United States have bought Taser's stun guns. "Taser is very much intertwined with police departments," said Mark Strouse, an analyst at JPMorgan Chase.
In several instances around the country, Taser has either paid for the travel of police chiefs who went on to award the company contracts, or hired recently retired chiefs who had awarded Taser contracts.
In other cases, cities have skipped traditional steps like competitive bidding and city council approval, and awarded contracts to Taser with little oversight. Investigations by The Associated Press and The Wall Street Journal turned up examples of such practices in Fort Worth, Memphis, Los Angeles and Chicago. The New Mexico attorney general has opened a criminal investigation of former Chief Ray Schultz of the Albuquerque police in connection with a $2 million contract his department awarded Taser.
"We think there's an ongoing pattern of police chiefs getting lucrative consulting contracts after they retire, if they give Taser contracts," said Robert McKeeman, chief executive of Utility, which makes a rival body camera.
Taser defended its sales tactics, saying they were commonplace, and said that many police departments were familiar with the company. It now makes law enforcement officials wait a year after leaving government service before it will hire them as consultants. Taser also said that while it was sometimes awarded sole-source bids, the departments doing the purchasing have often run a competitive process to test other cameras.
"If you're going to solve customers' needs, you have to have close relationships," Mr. Smith said. "I don't think we did anything that was misleading."
Taser was initially founded to sell electrical weapons. The Smith brothers' partner, Jack Cover, was an engineer who worked with NASA and went on to develop the original technology used in the stun guns.
The company struggled for several years. Ill-fated brand extensions like the Auto Taser, a device that electrified steering wheels to prevent car theft, nearly bankrupted the company.
But sales picked up when Taser introduced a powerful electrical weapon, the M26, which resembled a handgun. Taser went public in 2001.
Sales soared in the years after, with thousands of law enforcement agencies buying Taser stun guns. Though the guns were designed to be nonlethal, many people shot with Tasers died, miring the company in controversy.
The company began selling video recorders that worked with Taser weapons in 2006, and it introduced its first body camera, the Axon Pro, in 2009.
Mr. Smith predicted that sales of Axon cameras and Evidence.com would soon dwarf sales of Taser's weapons, and that the company would one day be renamed to reflect the growing prominence of its body camera business.
"We had a very successful business selling Taser weapons," Mr. Smith said. "Now it's not just about weapons, but about providing transparency and solving related data problems."
3) A Bank Too Big to Jail
Have you ever wondered why the crippling 2008 financial crisis generated almost no criminal prosecutions of large banks and their top executives?
Then take a moment to read the congressional report issued on July 11 titled "Too Big to Jail." Citing internal documents that the United States Treasury took three years to produce, the report shows how regulators and prosecutors turned a potential criminal prosecution of a large global bank — HSBC — into a watered-down settlement that insulated its executives and failed to take into account the full scope of the bank's violations.
The report, prepared by the Republican staff of the House Financial Services Committee, does not examine a matter related to the mortgage crisis. Rather, it looks at the Department of Justice's 2012 settlementwith HSBC, the British banking behemoth, after accusations that it laundered nearly $900 million for drug traffickers and processed transactions on behalf of Cuba, Iran, Libya, Sudan and Myanmar, or Burma, when those countries were subject to United States sanctions.
HSBC and its American subsidiary, HSBC Bank USA, agreed to pay almost $2 billion under the settlement, striking a deferred prosecution arrangement that remains in place. Under such deals, the government agrees to delay or forgo prosecution of a company if it promises to change its behavior.
In spite of the settlement's size, it did not represent a body blow to the bank. Announced in late 2012, the HSBC agreement was almost a footnote to the earlier fallout from the mortgage crisis. Still, the facts outlined by prosecutors were damning enough to raise questions about why the bank had not been subject to harsher treatment, fueling the view that large financial institutions are not only too big to be allowed to fail but also are too significant to be prosecuted criminally.
The report on HSBC was not adopted by the full House committee, but neither did it generate a dissent from others on the committee. It was released, the staff said, "to shed light on whether D.O.J. is making prosecutorial decisions based on the size of financial institutions and D.O.J.'s belief that such prosecutions could negatively impact the economy."
There doesn't seem to be much doubt about that. Indeed, the report concluded that the Justice Department's leadership overruled an internal recommendation to prosecute HSBC, citing concerns "that prosecuting the bank 'could result in a global financial disaster.'"
This will surprise few Americans who learned during the financial crisis that banks and their officials are rarely held to account.
Peter Carr, a spokesman for the Justice Department, said it was "committed to aggressively investigating allegations of wrongdoing at financial institutions, and, along with our law enforcement partners, holding individuals and corporations responsible for their conduct." Since 2014, he said, It has prosecuted numerous individuals for corporate misconduct, including top executives.
Eric H. Holder Jr., the former attorney general, did not return a phone call seeking comment about the report.
Quoting from internal Treasury records, the report said that once the Justice Department decided not to prosecute HSBC, its officials began softening the deal offered to the bank. One change involved releasing the bank's employees, officers and directors from potential prosecution.
The original agreement provided no protection from prosecution for employees who "knowingly and willfully" processed financial transactions with countries under American sanctions, the report said.
But the final deferred prosecution agreement gave a conditional release from liability for transactions disclosed to investigators during the period covered by the settlement.
David A. Skeel, a professor of corporate law at the University of Pennsylvania Law School, said he was struck by this change. "This is one case where it looks like the government might have been able to prosecute misbehaving executives during the crisis period, yet it waived its right to do so," he said in an email.
Another modification involved penalties to be exacted from executives if HSBC failed to live up to compliance requirements.
While initial terms called for voiding the entire year's bonus compensation at the bank if it did not meet compliance hurdles, the final deferred prosecution agreement said only that a failure could potentially void the bonuses. This revision, the report said, "apparently leaves open the possibility for executives to get their bonuses, despite failing to meet compliance standards."
Another disturbing element turned up by the House committee: The settlement terms were given to HSBC before officials in the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control, or O.F.A.C., had assessed the full extent of the bank's sanctions violations.
The Justice Department called for HSBC to pay $375 million to settle the sanctions violations. But officials in charge of analyzing those violations were still awaiting additional information from the bank when this figure was submitted. Therefore, they could not be sure the amount was adequate.
"No matter that our sanctions numbers might come in higher than that," an official at the Treasury office wrote in an email to colleagues. "We weren't consulted. We were told."
As a result, the report said, officials of the Office of Foreign Assets Control "decided to hastily resolve internal concerns about the extent of HSBC's sanctions violations and 'frame' O.F.A.C.'s final settlement number to mirror the $375 million 'deemed settled' value proposed" by the Justice Department.
Mary Kreiner Ramirez, a professor at Washburn University School of Law in Topeka, Kan., and a former assistant United States attorney, said she was startled by how much influence officials at the Financial Services Authority — Britain's top financial regulator at the time — had on the Justice Department's process in the HSBC matter, according to the report.
"It would seem that in making the decision with respect to HSBC, Holder gave more attention to the concerns expressed by the F.S.A. than he did with respect to our own agencies," Ms. Ramirez said in an interview. "And think about it: Congress spent three years trying to uncover this information that F.S.A. was getting at the time the events were unfolding."
That it took the House committee so long to receive the information from the Treasury Department once again raises questions about transparency in government, something the Obama administration has called a top priority.
"Treasury improperly impeded the committee's investigation" for nearly three years before producing certain subpoenaed records, the report said. The department's production of records "is missing dozens, if not hundreds, of pages," the report said.
Joshua Drobnyk, a Treasury spokesman, disputed this characterization, saying the department had cooperated extensively with Congress. "Treasury made hundreds of pages of documents available to the committee more than two years ago, in April 2014, and committee staff reviewed the materials five separate times," Mr. Drobnyk said in a statement.
But Jeb Hensarling, the Texas Republican who heads the House Financial Services Committee, doesn't buy it. "If an incomplete response to the committee after three years and the threat of deposition subpoenas isn't stonewalling, I don't know what is," he said in a statement. "After these revelations, if the Obama administration refuses to be transparent, produce the documents that it is withholding and address the urgent questions that this report has raised, the American people need to ask why."
By shedding light on the HSBC matter, the report is "the best kind of anticorruption action," said Edward J. Kane, a professor of finance at Boston College and an authority on regulatory failures. "The fact that so many of these cases are settled rather than going to court means we don't get an airing of facts and challenges of facts."
The report should be viewed as "evidence of an abuse of the regulatory system," Mr. Kane added. "And unless proven otherwise, this is just the tip of the iceberg."
4) Some Predict Tuition Increases Under Hillary Clinton's College Plan
By BINYAMIN APPELBAUM JULY 16, 2016
WASHINGTON — Hillary Clinton's plan to allow most Americans to attend public universities at no cost could have the perverse effect of driving tuition higher as the federal government chased a tuition target that universities would simply raise at taxpayers' expense, some experts warn.
In recent decades, the federal government has significantly expanded tuition subsidies, only to watch the cost of college climb even faster. Some experts see evidence that colleges have responded to past increases in federal subsidies by raising prices.
A 2015 study published by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York found that colleges pocketed up to 60 cents from every $1 increase in subsidies, either by increasing tuition or by cutting their own aid packages. The government pumps in money, and the colleges soak it up.
"The basic economics are pretty straightforward," said Taylor Nadauld, a finance professor at Brigham Young University and a co-author of the study. "Colleges have the opportunity to extract money from the federal government, and they do it."
College affordability has emerged as a major issue in Democratic Partypolitics. Americans now owe more money in student loans than in credit card debt. The share of average household income required to attend a four-year college keeps climbing, up in 45 states since 2008, according to a recent report.
The Obama administration has responded by reducing the cost of loans and increasing the availability of grants. Mrs. Clinton, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, borrowed from her primary campaign rival, Senator Bernie Sanders, to develop her proposal to pay the cost of public, in-state college for students from families with incomes below $125,000. It would also reduce rates on existing loans. The Clinton campaign said the costs would be covered by tax increases.
The plan also nods at the other side of the equation: An outline released by the campaign promises to hold colleges "accountable for reining in costs." But it does not explain how, and the campaign did not respond to a request for details.
Joni E. Finney, the director of the Institute for Research on Higher Education at the University of Pennsylvania, said Mrs. Clinton's plan could make a meaningful dent in an important problem. "Low- and middle-income students really do find themselves borrowing way too much to attend postsecondary education," Ms. Finney said. "And this is at a time when the country needs more highly educated people."
First, however, Mrs. Clinton would need to win both congressional approval and the participation of state governments, which would be required to provide some of the funding. The resistance to the Obama administration's expansion of Medicare, a broadly similar initiative, suggests that uniform cooperation is unlikely. Gov. Scott Walker, Republican of Wisconsin, has already expressed opposition.
The average cost of attending an in-state public college or university increased by more than 40 percent over the past decade, after adjusting for inflation. Public institutions have spent heavily to attract students — and to keep pace with private competitors — even as many state legislatures have cut funding.
Colleges also have shifted their pricing models, charging higher list prices but offering more aid, so that lower-income students may actually pay less.
The idea that the federal government is contributing to the problem first gained widespread attention in 1987 when William Bennett, the secretary of education at the time, wrote in an opinion piece in The New York Times that colleges were raising prices in part because they were confident the federal government would provide more aid. The idea still is often described as the "Bennett hypothesis."
The logic is straightforward. Imagine if the government started handing out gift cards that could only be used to buy Broadway theater tickets. As there are only so many seats available, the price of tickets would probably begin to climb.
But efforts to measure the effect on tuition costs have ranged widely. Some studies have found little evidence of a significant impact. The New York Fed study, however, looked at three different increases in federal subsidies in recent years and found that each had produced a significant increase in college tuition.
Another piece of evidence: The government limits the total amount undergraduates can borrow, but for the last decade it has allowed graduate students to borrow unlimited sums. Before the change, undergraduate tuition was rising more quickly than graduate school tuition. Since the change, the pattern has reversed, according to Andrew Gillen, an independent education analyst based in Washington.
"Schools are under tremendous competitive pressure to raise as much revenue as possible from every possible source," Mr. Gillen said.
There is some evidence the impact is larger at private institutions. A sense of public mission or legislative barriers may prevent public schools from raising costs.
The effect also appears to be larger when aid is extended to higher-income families. "Institutions know those families can afford to pay, and that they're going to send their kids to school anyway," Ms. Finney said.
Under Mrs. Clinton's plan, most students would not feel the pain of tuition increases. The government would pay their bills regardless. But that could make it easier for colleges to raise prices, as they would not need to fear a loss of customers.
It would replicate the dynamic in the health care industry, where patients generally do not consider cost when seeking treatment, and doctors do not consider cost when providing treatment, because bills are paid by insurers or the government.
That puts the burden of cost control squarely on the government's shoulders. But even if prices do rise, the government may still be getting a good deal. Federal wage data shows that the value of a college education is higher than it has ever been.
"Purely from an economic standpoint, it has never been a better investment," Mr. Nadauld said. "Even though costs are obscene, the returns are obscene, too."
5) Philando Castile, Fatally Shot in His Car, Was a Magnet for Minor Traffic Stops
ST. PAUL — Turning into a parking lot without signaling. Failing to repair a broken seatbelt. Driving at night with an unlit license plate. Driving with tinted windows.
In a 13-year span, Philando Castile was pulled over by the police in the Minneapolis-St. Paul region at least 49 times, an average of about once every three months, often for minor infractions.
His mother, Valerie, who was often called on to help when her son's car was impounded, believes that the police were stopping Mr. Castile not because of his driving but because of his race. "Driving while black," she said.
But Mr. Castile did not follow his mother's advice to lodge an official complaint about biased policing, possibly because he drove for six consecutive years without a valid license, as officers would quickly discover after they pulled him over.
It was also, his mother said, not his nature to complain. "He didn't quite look at it as being profiled," she said.
Mr. Castile, a 32-year-old school cafeteria worker, had regained his license and had been driving legally for three years when a Hispanic police officer, Jeronimo Yanez, pulled him over in a tiny suburb called Falcon Heights, Minn., on July 6, ostensibly for a cracked taillight. According to his girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds, who was in the passenger seat, Mr. Castile tried to tell Officer Yanez that he was carrying a gun with a legal permit. Mr. Castile was reaching for his identification when the officer shot him several times, Ms. Reynolds said.
A lawyer for Officer Yanez said that Mr. Castile had not followed his client's commands and that Officer Yanez had been reacting to Mr. Castile's gun when he fired.
The episode, to many, is a heartbreaking illustration of the disproportionate risks black motorists face with the police. In the past two years, at least two other African-Americans — in Cincinnati and in North Charleston, S.C. — were fatally shot by officers after being pulled over for minor traffic infractions. The killings have helped fuel a growing national debate over racial bias in law enforcement.
"This is years and years of racial profiling," said Rashad Turner, an organizer with the St. Paul chapter of Black Lives Matter. "Now it's come to the death of a pillar in our community, a black man who was taking care of business."
Traffic stops are how most citizens interact with law enforcement, and they tend to shape perceptions of the police. They rarely turn violent, but even peaceful encounters, like all but one of Mr. Castile's, can lead to fines, searches, arrests and days of sitting in courtrooms that disproportionately affect poorer citizens.
In the seven states that collect the most comprehensive data on traffic stops, analysts have found often-striking disparities in how African-American drivers are treated. In two of the states, Connecticut and Rhode Island, changes in traffic enforcement followed.
There has been no such change in Minnesota. A state-commissioned study in 2003 found that minority drivers were more likely than white drivers to be both stopped and searched, even though officers found contraband more often when searching white drivers.
Myron Orfield, a University of Minnesota professor who was a co-author of the study, said that the findings strongly suggested widespread racial and ethnic bias in traffic enforcement.
More recently, a study by the American Civil Liberties Union found that African-Americans and Native Americans in Minneapolis were eight times more likely than whites to be charged with a low-level infraction, such as trespassing or loitering.
Mr. Castile's encounters with law enforcement began when he was a teenager but never went beyond traffic infractions or misdemeanor charges of marijuana possession, which were dismissed. Nor was there ever any indication that he had been combative with the police. When a St. Paul officer pursuing a drug suspect stopped Mr. Castile's car in 2005, the officer wrote that he knew him and that "normally Castile is very cooperative and friendly."
In his first six years as a driver, Mr. Castile received nearly two dozen tickets, mostly for driving without insurance or with a suspended license. He managed to keep getting his license reinstated until late 2007, when it was revoked for a lack of insurance.
Maria Mitchell, an assistant public defender in the county that includes Minneapolis, said Mr. Castile was typical of low-income drivers who lose their licenses, then become overwhelmed by snowballing fines and fees. "Clients just start to feel hopeless," she said. "Kind of like when your credit gets out of control."
St. Paul has limited public transportation, activists said, and Mr. Castile's car allowed him to reach his job with the St. Paul school district, which hired him shortly after he graduated from high school. In the six years after he lost his license, Mr. Castile was pulled over another 21 times, repeatedly convicted of driving with an invalid license, fined and ordered not to drive.
Amid the string of traffic stops was one in Maplewood, another suburb of St. Paul, one afternoon in 2008. Mr. Castile had driven a friend's car, a 1997 black Mercury Marquis, to a Taco Bell for lunch. An officer pulled him over for tinted windows.
The police report gives the following account: Mr. Castile said he had a license but could not produce it or proof of insurance. He was sweating heavily, appeared "very nervous" and fumbled for his wallet. The officer spotted a small bag of marijuana in the ashtray, ordered Mr. Castile out of the car, handcuffed him, undid his belt, loosened his pants and searched inside.
The officer found only $377 in the pants pockets — which Mr. Castile said had come from cashing his paycheck. Mr. Castile was arrested and accused of possession of less than one-third of an ounce of marijuana, a charge later dismissed, and driving with a revoked license, for which he was convicted.
Mr. Castile's sister Allysza said her brother's love of wide-bodied, older-model cars, like the 1997 Oldsmobile he bought for $275 and was driving when he was shot, attracted police officers' attention.
Ms. Castile was pulled over three times when she borrowed his car, she said, because "those are mostly stereotyped as drug dealer-type cars."
"I told him several times, 'We need to go to the police station and report this, because this ain't right,'" Valerie Castile, his mother, said in an interview. "Every time you get in that car and leave out the door you come back with another ticket, or they take it from him and I have to go get it."
By mid-2013, Mr. Castile had at last set his driving affairs in order. He had passed a new driver's test. He had purchased car insurance.
That year and the next, he paid off at least $1,200 in fines, although he apparently still owed about $500. He had some extra cash because in 2014 the school district promoted him to cafeteria supervisor, a job that paid $19.31 an hour.
Mr. Castile had received only one ticket, for speeding, in nearly three years when Officer Yanez and another officer pulled him over in the early evening near the state fairgrounds in Falcon Heights, a spot where residents say traffic stops are common.
The Police Department for the neighboring town of St. Anthony, which patrols Falcon Heights and two other suburbs, had declined to participate in the state's 2003 study of racial profiling in traffic stops, even though the decision meant forgoing police cameras and other incentives, Professor Orfield said.
African-Americans make up at most 8 percent of the residents in the cities policed by the department. But they amounted to 19 percent of those who received tickets and 41 percent of those arrested there last year, statistics show.
Peter Lindstrom, the mayor of Falcon Heights, said residents were stunned and saddened that Mr. Castile had been killed in a town where the biggest controversies tended to be about issues like whether to build a sidewalk.
At a somber City Council meeting on Wednesday, resident after resident, nearly all of them white, demanded changes in policing practices. One of them, Chuck Johnson, said, "I don't want this to be done in my name in this town anymore."
6) In the Age of ISIS, Who's a Terrorist, and Who's Simply Deranged?
WASHINGTON — In December 2014, a middle-aged man driving a car in Dijon, France, mowed down more than a dozen pedestrians within 30 minutes, occasionally shouting Islamic slogans from his window.
The chief prosecutor in Dijon described the attacks, which left 13 injured but no one dead, as the work of a mentally unbalanced man whose motivations were vague and "hardly coherent."
A year and a half later, after Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel slaughtered dozens of people when he drove a 19-ton refrigerated truck through a Bastille Day celebration on Thursday in Nice, France, the authorities did not hesitate to call it an act of Islamic terrorism. The attacker had a record of petty crime but no obvious ties to a terrorist group, yet the French prime minister swiftly said Mr. Lahouaiej Bouhlel was "a terrorist probably linked to radical Islam one way or another."
The age of the Islamic State, in which the tools of terrorism appear increasingly crude and haphazard, has led to a reimagining of the common notion of who is and who is not a terrorist.
Instances of wanton violence by deranged attackers — whether in Nice or in Orlando, Fla. — are swiftly judged to be the work of terrorists. These judgments occur even when there is little immediate evidence that the attackers had direct ties to terrorist groups and when they do not fit a classic definition of terrorists as those who use violence to advance a political agenda.
"A lot of this stuff is at the fringes of what we would historically think of as terrorism," said Daniel Benjamin, a former State Department coordinator for counterterrorism and a professor at Dartmouth College. But, he said, "the Islamic State and jihadism has become a kind of refuge for some unstable people who are at the end of their rope and decide they can redeem their screwed-up lives" by dying in the name of a cause.
Mr. Benjamin said this also led the news media and government officials to treat violence like the Nice attack differently from other mass attacks, like shootings at schools and churches that have been carried out by non-Muslims.
"If there is a mass killing and there is a Muslim involved, all of a sudden it is by definition terrorism," he said.
The spectrum of terrorism is widening and now includes attacks loosely inspired by the Islamic State, those carried out by its affiliate groups and attacks directed by the group's leadership. All have drawn public condemnation and concern, but the plots organized and executed by the Islamic State usually prompt greater concern from the authorities.
On Saturday, a bulletin on the Islamic State's Amaq News Agency channel described Mr. Lahouaiej Bouhlel as a "soldier of the Islamic State" who answered a call to attack nations involved in the military campaign against the group. But the bulletin gave no specifics about the extent of the attacker's ties to the terrorist network.
On one hand, there is now good reason for government officials to make immediate assumptions after some mass killings that the Islamic State has played a role, however indirect. The group's ideology, spread widely through social media and slick propaganda videos, appears to have inspired a scourge of violence for more than a year: including the shooting in December in San Bernardino, Calif.; the mass killings last month at a gay nightclub in Orlando; and the deadly attack early this month at a cafe in Bangladesh. These were in addition to attacks that top Islamic State operatives apparently planned directly, like the Paris assaults in November and the Brussels bombings in March.
In September 2014, the spokesman for the Islamic State put out a call for the group's followers to attack Westerners by any means possible, and to do so without awaiting further instructions from the group's leaders.
"Smash his head with a rock, or slaughter him with a knife, or run him over with your car, or throw him down from a high place, or choke him, or poison him," the spokesman, Abu Muhammad al-Adnani, said during a 42-minute recorded statement.
At the same time, governments also see a benefit in linking the Islamic State to what are sometimes random and unconnected acts of violence. It is a way to project order amid chaos, and to try to assure jittery citizens that there is a strategy to end the violence. For example, in the days since the Nice attack, French officials have pledged to increase the resources that the country is devoting to the bombing campaign against the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq.
"Even if Daesh doesn't do the organizing, Daesh inspires this terrorist spirit against which we are fighting," the French defense minister, Jean-Yves Le Drian, said Saturday, using an Arabic acronym for the Islamic State, which is also known as ISIS or ISIL.
Similarly, American officials have cited progress in the military campaign as a measure of success in draining the Islamic State's power, resources and influence. Brett H. McGurk, President Obama's special envoy in the fight against the Islamic State, recently told Congress that the group had lost 47 percent of its territory in Iraq and 20 percent in Syria: territory used to extract oil from the ground and taxes from residents, as well as to plot attacks against the West. Top representatives of nations participating in the bombing campaign will meet this week in Washington to assess the progress in the fight.
But terrorism experts caution that because the Islamic State seems to have broad appeal to the mentally unbalanced, the displaced and others on the fringes of society, there are limits to how much any military campaign in Syria and Iraq can reduce violence carried out in other countries on the group's behalf.
William McCants, a scholar at the Brookings Institution and the author of "The ISIS Apocalypse," said there was a large cadre of "men and women who have no organizational ties to ISIS but murder in its name." These irreligious criminals and social misfits, whom he described as "ISIS-ish," are "rebels looking for a cause," he said.
During congressional testimony last week, Nicholas J. Rasmussen, the director of the National Counterterrorism Center, gave a sober assessment of the broad campaign against the Islamic State. "It is our judgment that ISIL's ability to carry out terrorist attacks in Syria, Iraq and abroad has not to date been significantly diminished," he said.
"Either lone actors or small, insular groups continue to gravitate toward simple tactics that do not require advance skills or outside training," he said.
The murderous truck-driving rampage by Mr. Lahouaiej Bouhlel, 31, a Tunisian living in France, is the embodiment of this phenomenon. The authorities in France are still trying to piece together what direct ties, if any, Mr. Lahouaiej Bouhlel had to the Islamic State.
On Saturday, the Islamic State's Bayan radio station said Mr. Lahouaiej Bouhlel had used "a new tactic" to wreak havoc.
"The crusader countries know that no matter how much they enforce their security measures and procedures, it will not stop the mujahedeen from striking," the station said.
Such ominous warnings about indiscriminate violence create formidable challenges for world leaders, who must strike a balance of raising awareness about the terrorist threat without gratuitously stoking fears.
"As for how governments can calm their citizens, I'm at a loss," Mr. McCants said. "Every attack is discussed endlessly on television and social media, which heightens fear of future attacks, makes citizens scared of one another" and puts pressure on governments to look tough, he said.
And, he added, it "gives politicians a cudgel to club their governing opponents when they don't react strongly enough."
7) Anger Over Police Killings Pervades Memorials on 2nd Anniversary of Garner's Death
The death of Eric Garner on Staten Island two years ago inflamed a nationwide debate over the treatment of blacks at the hands of law enforcement. To the people who turned out to march and memorialize him at events around the region on Sunday, it seemed that agonizingly little had changed.
On Sunday, the anniversary of his death, friends, family and activists marched with banners and flags on Bay Street on Staten Island, where Mr. Garner had been apprehended by police officers for allegedly selling loose cigarettes, and where he was recorded gasping, "I can't breathe," before he died. It is a phrase that has been taken up to denounce the spate of deaths of black people involving police officers — two more this month in different parts of the country — in protests across the nation in the intervening years.
"Every time you turn around, somebody new is killed by police," said Marvin Flagg, 56, an uncle of Mr. Garner's. "How long must the madness continue?"
The country has continued to convulse. Five police officers were killed in an ambush in Dallas on July 7, and on Sunday morning, three police officers were killed in Baton Rouge, La., the same city where a black man, Alton B. Sterling, was killed by the police this month. (The authorities have not said whether the gunman had targeted police officers on Sunday.) And on July 6, Philando Castile, who was also black, was shot and killed by an officer in a suburb of St. Paul.
News of the shootings in Louisiana had not reached most people at a special service at Christian Love Baptist Church in Irvington, N.J., on Sunday morning. Gwen Carr, Mr. Garner's mother, and over a dozen other mothers of black people killed by the police were guest speakers. Kadiatou Diallo, the mother of Amadou Diallo, who was shot by police in 1999, begged for peace but feared it was still far off. "We have not seen the changes so we don't have to lose any more children, so we don't have to lose any more police officers," she said.
The continued calls for calm and unity by President Obama and other leaders this bloodstained July did not seem to temper the anger at the police that pervaded the events on Sunday. Benjamin Lawton, a first cousin of Mr. Garner's, seemed to strike a tone of understanding toward the New York Police Department as he opened the first of two marches along Bay Street to the 120th Precinct police station. "I have no hatred for law enforcement, we need them," Mr. Lawton said, adding that members of his extended family had served in the Police Department, in the military and as corrections officers.
But an hour later, he grabbed a bullhorn and led the crowd, an ethnically diverse group that appeared to be predominantly white, in a chant of obscenities directed at the police.
As Michael Houston, a 20-year-old student, marched, he struck up a conversation with the commander of the Staten Island police, Edward Delatorre, asking what he could do to help. Mr. Delatorre suggested he join the department. Suddenly, Shannon Jones, a member of an organization called Bronxites for NYPD Accountability, interjected, screaming until Mr. Delatorre walked away. "Don't join a racist institution," Ms. Jones yelled.
"How do you expect to change it if you don't get involved?" Mr. Houston asked her. The two debated for several blocks before Ms. Jones became exasperated and moved away. "There's nothing wrong with listening," Mr. Houston called to her.
Another woman in the crowd yelled at Mr. Houston: "Let me know how that listening goes when they got their foot on the back of your neck."
The crowd barreled along Bay Street, a furious flood of waving banners, guarded on either side by the police. Mr. Houston continued on, now solemn. "The anger is so strong now," he said, "that any kind of listening is just inconceivable."
8) Board Recommends Releasing Detainee Who Wrote 'Guantánamo Diary'
By CHARLIE SAVAGE JULY 20, 2016
WASHINGTON — A Guantánamo Bay detainee whose memoir recounting abuse by American interrogators became a best-seller last year has been recommended for transfer out of the wartime prison, the military disclosed on Wednesday.
The detainee, Mohamedou Ould Slahi, 45, is a Mauritanian and the author of "Guantánamo Diary," which he wrote by hand at the prison in 2005.
His lawyers fought for years with the government for permission to publish the book. It finally appeared in bookstores in January 2015 — with many redactions — sold briskly, and has since been optioned for a movie.
Mr. Slahi appeared June 2 before a parole-board-like six-agency panel, the Periodic Review Board, that interviews prisoners and reviews their files. It decides whether they are enough of a threat to national security to continue to be detained. In a July 14 decision memo that was made public on Wednesday, the board determined that Mr. Slahi should be transferred.
"We are thrilled that the P.R.B. has cleared our client," Nancy Hollander, one of Mr. Slahi's lawyers, said in a statement released by the American Civil Liberties Union, which has helped represent Mr. Slahi. "We will now work toward his quick release and return to the waiting arms of his loving family. This is long overdue."
The board also decided to recommend transferring an Afghan, Abdul Zahir. He was long accused of working on chemical and biological weapons for Al Qaeda and the Taliban, but documents showed that intelligence officials decided in 2015 that he "was probably misidentified" and had merely been a bookkeeper and translator for Islamist militants.
Of the 76 detainees remaining at the prison, 31 are recommended for transfer if security conditions can be met in the receiving country.
In a short statement on its "consensus" decision, the board cited Mr. Slahi's "highly compliant behavior in detention."
"The board also noted the detainee's candid responses to the board's questions, to include recognition of his past activities, clear indications of a change in the detainee's mind-set," it said. "Furthermore, the board considered the extensive support network available to the detainee from multiple sources, including strong family connections, and the detainee's robust and realistic plan for the future."
A representative at Mr. Slahi's hearing said the detainee wanted to start a business and write books.
Mr. Slahi studied electrical engineering in Germany and then joined Al Qaeda to help the Afghan anti-Communist resistance in the early 1990s, a time when Osama bin Laden's mujahedeen fighters were backed by the United States.
He returned to Germany and later crossed paths with one of the accused plotters of the 9/11 attacks. Mr. Slahi was back in Mauritania by the time of those attacks, and he was arrested and sent to Jordan, which later transferred him to the United States.
Mr. Slahi was taken to Guantánamo and in 2003 was subjected to a special interrogation approved by Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld. Mr. Slahi wrote of extensive sleep deprivation, beatings, dousings with ice water, and of being shackled for days in a freezing cell. He denied involvement with terrorism and was never charged with a crime.
When Mr. Slahi's memoir was published, Mark Danner wrote in The New York Times Sunday Book Review that it was "the most profound account yet written of what it is like to be" collateral damage from the American response to the 2001 attacks.
9) French Government Pushes Divisive Labor Law Through Parliament
By AURELIEN BREEDEN JULY 20, 2016
PARIS — France's government pushed through Parliament a controversial overhaul of the country's labor law on Wednesday, the last step of a lengthy legislative process that has split President François Hollande's Socialist Party less than a year before presidential and legislative elections.
The law, which eases rules for firing, hiring and setting work hours, was one of the most hotly debated and widely protested measures of Mr. Hollande's term, which began in 2012. For months, angry protesters took to the streets of Paris and other cities for occasionally violent demonstrations against the proposal.
Recent polls show that 70 percent of the public oppose the overhaul. Proponents of the measure say it is essential to reduce the country's stubbornly high unemployment rate and to make the French economy more competitive.
France is still reeling from the attack that killed 84 people on Bastille Day last week in Nice, and asking whether it could have been avoidedand who was to blame. The attack, the third major terrorist assault in France in 19 months, turned the nation's attention away from what has been one of the most controversial actions taken by Mr. Hollande's government.
The government pushed the bill through the National Assembly, the lower house of Parliament, without a vote, because opposition from rebel Socialist lawmakers meant it did not have a clear majority. It was the third time the government has bypassed lawmakers to advance the law, by invoking a special constitutional provision.
That provision allows lawmakers to protest by filing a no-confidence motion in the government within 24 hours. But neither the center-right Republicans, the main opposition party, nor the rebel Socialists and other leftists who opposed the bill, are expected to do so, and the measure is expected to officially pass on Thursday afternoon.
It was not the only economic measure adopted through the constitutional provision, which is supposed to be used sparingly: Last year, it was used to adopt measures put together by the economy minister, Emmanuel Macron, that opened up certain professions to competition and allowed stores in major tourist areas to open on Sundays.
Opponents of the labor law overhaul argue that it weakens hard-won worker protections and dispute the notion that it will help jump-start economic growth.
Force Ouvrière, one of the main unions opposed to the changes, said in a statement after the overhaul was pushed through that the bill "was and remains sullied by its antidemocratic character" and vowed to continue fighting against it.
Although the government watered down some of the measures — removing, for instance, a mechanism to cap payouts to dismissed workers — it never backed down to pressure from those who wanted the bill scrapped entirely.
Prime Minister Manuel Valls, in a speech on Wednesday at the National Assembly before he invoked the constitutional provision, called the overhaul "indispensable."
He said: "This bill is a bill of progress. This bill puts an end to rigidities in the labor market."
Unions opposed to the overhaul took to the streets a dozen times between March and July, organizing nationwide demonstrations that sometimes turned violent and saw protesters clash with the police, with injuries on both sides.
Last month, Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said that more than 1,700 people had been arrested during the protests, and more than 550 police officers and gendarmes injured.
The unions protesting the bill, led by the hard-line General Confederation of Labor, known as the C.G.T., were particularly infuriated by a provision that allows labor agreements negotiated by individual companies — over issues such as hours worked and overtime pay — to take precedence over agreements negotiated at the occupational sector level.
They argued that unions at the individual company level were in a weaker position to negotiate with their employers. But the government and its allies, like the more moderate French Democratic Confederation of Labor, or C.F.D.T., a union that supported the bill, said that individual companies needed to have the flexibility to adapt to an increasingly competitive global market.
At times, protesters stopped collecting trash, went on strike at nuclear power plants and blocked gas refineries. The protests quickly became as much about the law as they were about expressing frustration and dissatisfaction with Mr. Hollande, who is expected to run for re-election next year but has struggled to make good on his promise to significantly lower unemployment.
Lawmakers who oppose the labor law overhaul can still challenge it at France's constitutional court before the law is officially promulgated. The last union protest against the legislation was on July 5 and none are scheduled for the summer, but the C.G.T. and its allies have called for more demonstrations in the fall.
10) The Loneliness of Being Black in San Francisco
By THOMAS FULLER JULY 20, 2016
SAN FRANCISCO — Gerald Harris was walking along Ocean Beach, the blustery coastline at the western edge of the city, when he passed Danny Glover, a star of Hollywood action movies and a San Francisco native. The men exchanged glances.
"We were the only two black people in the area," Mr. Harris said.
San Francisco was once a national beacon of African-American culture, home to a thriving jazz scene that had so many clubs it was known as the Harlem of the West. But these days, blacks say they take notice when they see another African-American in affluent and middle-class neighborhoods.
The jazz clubs of the Fillmore neighborhood have been replaced with upscale shops. Marcus Books, a cultural anchor of the black community and one of the first bookshops in the nation to focus on African-American topics, closed in 2014. Other black landmarks that have long since disappeared are commemorated with remembrances embedded in the sidewalk like tombstones to a forgotten culture.
The decline has been steady and noticeable. One of seven residents was black in 1970. Today, it is nearly one of 20, with most of the city's 46,000 blacks living in public housing.
"My prediction is 10 years from now, we won't have 20,000 blacks in this city," said the Rev. Amos C. Brown, the pastor of Third Baptist Church, a historically black church founded in 1852.
While San Francisco residents agree that the loss of black culture is palpable, there is disagreement over what to do about it. City officials say they are trying to retain the remaining black population, largely through expanding and improving public housing, and want to lure more affluent blacks to the city. They are also confronting accusations of racial profiling by the police force, which has spurred protests throughout the city.
Yet one of the city's most prominent African-Americans, Willie Brown, a former mayor and former speaker of the California State Assembly, said he did not believe the shift could be reversed. There is no point in trying to engineer the city's ethnic population, he said.
"I don't think I would put a whole lot of time and energy into doing anything," Mr. Brown said, "except making sure there's equal access and equal opportunity and equal resources."
He called the current mix — with whites, Asians and Latinos making up the largest segments of the population — a "new reality."
The reasons for the migration are in large measure economic: Skyrocketing real estate prices fueled by high-paying tech jobs have priced out middle-class residents of all ethnicities. But the exodus was also accelerated by a domino effect of black businesses and families moving away, many of them to Oakland and other cities along the East Bay.
When black communities, which were splintered into three areas in San Francisco, lost their barber shops, restaurants and clubs, they lost their centers of gravity, according to Mr. Brown. Black residents moved to places where they felt more "comfortable socially," he said.
The tech industry, the motor of San Francisco's economy in recent years, has accelerated the decline. The tech industry skews white and Asian. John William Templeton, a local historian and an advocate for greater black participation in the industry, said it was disappointing that blacks were not more involved in one of America's most successful industries.
Around 1 percent of employees at tech companies in the Bay Area are black, down from 4 percent in 1998, according to Mr. Templeton.
The shift was also partly encouraged by what is now recognized as an extensive and misguided city policy of eradicating what was called "urban blight." Thousands of homes in black neighborhoods were razed in the name of redevelopment from the 1950s to the 1970s. Theodore Miller, an aide to Mayor Edwin M. Lee, called it a "terrible undertaking that had catastrophic consequences."
The final draft of a city-commissioned report, published in January, said redevelopment benefited prominent members of the business community whose "real motivation was the replacement of low-value 'slums' with high-value commercial and residential development."
The city is by no means empty of African-Americans, especially in the business district; many blacks commute to work from other cities in the Bay Area.
Still, Mr. Harris said he often found that he was the only African-American in restaurants or at the Commonwealth Club, where he helps organize seminars on science and technology.
Frederick E. Jordan, a business leader who talks about the need for a "Marshall Plan" to woo more blacks to the city, says "there are no jobs and no contracts" for blacks.
"Our backs are against the sea; we're almost out," said Mr. Jordan, who owns an engineering firm and is the chairman of the San Francisco African American Chamber of Commerce.
"We have to rebuild our African-American middle class," said Mr. Miller, the mayor's aide. The majority of blacks who remain are disproportionally poor, with median incomes for blacks at $27,000 compared with $89,000 for whites, a disparity twice as large as the national average.
Blacks who remain have been subject to racial profiling by the police, according to the public defender's office, and a recent reportcommissioned by the city cited a host of actions by the police against blacks that appear to be discriminatory.
The report found that while African-Americans make up about 6 percent of the city's residents, they constituted about 40 percent, 20 of 51, of the victims of officer-involved shootings from January 2010 through July 2015. In addition, the study found evidence of racial disparities in the rate of police stops and searches of African-Americans.
Those racially charged shootings, including of a black man and woman, forced the police chief, Gregory P. Suhr, to resign in May.
From the days of the gold rush, San Francisco was a place of opportunity for pioneering blacks, as it was for Jews, Italians, Irish and other ethnic groups. The city's black population was small until around World War II, when tens of thousands of blacks migrated from the South to work in shipyards and other wartime jobs. The African-American population increased by nearly 800 percent in the 1940s and reached its peak around 1970, when 13 percent of the city was black.
San Francisco also played a role in the civil rights movement. In 1968, black students at what was then San Francisco State College (now San Francisco State University) held a prolonged strike that led to the creation of the nation's first black studies program, a campaign chronicled in the recent documentary "Agents of Change."
Mr. Glover, who took part in the protests as a student, said the black exodus from the city made him "sad and angry."
The larger question, he said, is whether San Francisco is becoming an enclave for the rich.
"It's a question about who we are and our responsibility to build our communities," he said, "and not just based upon who has the ability to pay."
The frustration is keenly felt among those whose neighborhoods have lost their core. Many say they feel like strangers in their own city.
"You get the feeling that people are thinking, 'You're still here?'" said Barbara Gainer, a probation officer and a jazz singer. She lives in the western reaches of the city, a neighborhood that was once predominantly black but now is mostly Asian-American, a segment that now makes up 34 percent of the city's population, up from 13 percent in 1970.
Ms. Gainer says she is regularly asked if she wants to sell her house; her mailbox fills up with solicitations. The inquiries were flattering at first because they reminded her of the value of her property, but now she feels singled out. She remembers one couple in particular who approached her four or five times about selling. She tried to dissuade them.
"I said: 'Even if I sold you my house and you gave me this big price, why would I do that? Where would I live?'"
The reply stunned her: "You should go to Antioch. That's where your people go."
Antioch, a city about 50 miles northeast, has a sizable African-American population.
At Mr. Brown's Third Baptist Church, attendance has been steadily declining; on a recent Sunday, around 150 parishioners worshiped in a sanctuary that seats 1,100. "We pray that we would never be cut flowers, that we would always have roots," Mr. Brown told the congregation.
Mr. Brown then told the story of hearing a radio program lamenting the looming extinction of a type of butterfly.
"And yet," he said, "we don't have the basic compassion and common sense to realize that blacks are an endangered species in the city of San Francisco."
11) Groups Unite Across America to Protest Police Shootings
By KATIE SHEPHERD and CHRISTINE HAUSER JULY 21, 2016
Washington, D.C. — A coalition of black racial-justice organizations started a series of coordinated demonstrations in more than a dozen cities across the United States on Thursday to protest police shootings.
One of the earliest to kickoff the Movement for Black Livesdemonstrations was in Washington, D.C. where a small, mostly white, crowd stood near the entrance of the Office of Police Complaints holding signs printed with "Black Lives Matter" and "Stop Killing Black People."
Most came to the protest with Showing Up for Racial Justice, an organization that encourages white people to rally around social justice causes, especially those related to race in America. The white protesters would not speak on the record, saying they did not want white voices to drown out the concerns of the black activists they aimed to support.
One organizer from another group, the Stop Police Terror Project, thanked the crowd for coming out.
"We have to move beyond being allies to being comrades in this struggle," Sean Blackmon said into a megaphone aimed at the crowd of protesters. "The police are an institution that investigates itself and finds itself not guilty as a matter of habit."
Mr. Blackmon said he was happy to see white residents among the protesters. "Black people don't have a monopoly on suffering," he said. "Black people don't have a monopoly on being killed by police."
The protests, called Freedom Now, were organized before the most recent shooting, when an officer in North Miami, Fla., on Wednesday wounded a black therapist who had been trying to help an autistic patient on a street, and who was on the ground with his hands up. The protests also come in the wake of other shootings in Louisiana and Minnesota that have stoked racial tensions in the United States, and ambushes of police officers in Louisiana and Texas.
Demonstrations kicked off early in other cities, unifying the message online with #BlackLivesMatter and #FreedomNow, the name given to the collective call to action.
In New York, Showing Up for Racial Justice posted a series of photographs of their followers at police precincts and of a Black Lives Matter banner unfurled at the entrance of a tunnel.
In Austin, a group held a sit-in outside of the police department.
Other cities including St. Louis, Chicago, Chattanooga, Tenn., Oakland, Calif., and Detroit are planning lunches, meetings, marches and demonstrations during the day.
The message has also attracted support in other countries: Protests have been announced in Malmo, Sweden.
The actions in Washington, D.C. included signs and fliers that urged passers-by to call the Office of Police Complaints and demand more transparency in the investigation of the fatal officer-involved shooting in June of Sherman Evans, a 63-year-old man who pointed a pellet gun at officers and refused to drop what the police said looked like a real firearm.
Mayor Muriel Bowser of Washington decided to release body camera footage of the shooting this month although the internal investigation was still in its earliest stages.
A small group of the protesters entered the police complaints office when it opened around 8:30 a.m. to file a formal complaint demanding that the office make the Sherman killing a priority and provide updates.
By 9 a.m., nearly all the demonstrators had left, leaving the street corner quiet and passable for people walking by on their way to work.
12) In Africa, Birds and Humans Form a Unique Honey Hunting Party
Their word is their bond, and they do what they say — even if the "word" on one side is a loud trill and grunt, and, on the other, the excited twitterings of a bird.
Researchers have long known that among certain traditional cultures of Africa, people forage for wild honey with the help of honeyguides — woodpecker-like birds that show tribesmen where the best beehives are hidden, high up in trees. In return for revealing the location of natural honey pots, the birds are rewarded with the leftover beeswax, which they eagerly devour.
Now scientists have determined that humans and their honeyguides communicate with each other through an extraordinary exchange of sounds and gestures, which are used only for honey hunting and serve to convey enthusiasm, trustworthiness and a commitment to the dangerous business of separating bees from their hives.
The findings cast fresh light on one of only a few known examples of cooperation between humans and free-living wild animals, a partnership that may well predate the love affair between people and their domesticated dogs by hundreds of thousands of years.
Claire N. Spottiswoode, a behavioral ecologist at Cambridge University, and her colleagues reported in the journal Science that honeyguides advertise their scout readiness to the Yao people of northern Mozambique by flying up close while emitting a loud chattering cry.
For their part, the Yao seek to recruit and retain honeyguides with a distinctive vocalization, a firmly trilled "brrr" followed by a grunted "hmm." In a series of careful experiments, the researchers then showed that honeyguides take the meaning of the familiar ahoy seriously.
The birds were twice as likely to offer sustained help to Yao foragers who walked along while playing recordings of the proper brrr-hmm signal than they were to participants with recordings of normal Yao words or the sounds of other animals.
"The fact that the honeyguides were responding more to the specialized sound implies they recognize the specific information content in the signal," Dr. Spottiswoode said. "It's not simply a cue to human presence. It's a signal that the person will be a good collaborator."
John N. Thompson, a distinguished professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of California, Santa Cruz, said: "I think it's an absolutely terrific paper. This is one of those 'just-so' natural history stories we've known for years, and now we've got some hard-won data to show it really is so."
The report describes in detail the trans-species collusion to enjoy the fruits of bee labor. Bees transform gathered nectar and pollen into honey for food and wax for honeycomb housing. As honey is among the most energy-rich foods in nature, it is not surprising that bees guard it with their lives.
African bees are particularly aggressive and will swarm any intruder that so much as jiggles an adjoining branch. Even our closest relatives are loath to disturb a beehive.
"Chimpanzees want to eat honey at least as much as humans do," Brian M. Wood, a biological anthropologist at Yale University, said. "But they don't possess the technologies that have allowed us to tap into that resource."
The Yao know what to do to subdue bee defenses. They wedge a bundle of dry wood wrapped in palm fronds onto a long pole, set the bundle on fire, hoist it up and rest it against a beehive in a tree. When most of the bees have been smoked out, the Yao chop down the tree, tolerate the stings of any bees that remain and scoop out the liquid gold within.
Much harder for the Yao is finding the hives. That's where the honeyguides come in. Not only can they easily flit from tree to towering tree; they have unusually large olfactory bulbs, and they are good at smelling wax, which makes up a good part of their diet.
"It's decidedly odd to eat wax, but if you've got the metabolism to break it down, it's a good source of calories," Dr. Spottiswoode said.
The birds can nibble on waxy plants, waxy insects, the waxy detritus in an abandoned bee nest. Or they can summon human honey hunters to crack open a felled and toasted hive, remove the honey and leave the fresh waxy infrastructure to them.
The birds can recruit helpers with a chatter, or be recruited with a trill-grunt. They can show their human companions the right trees with more chatters or a flick of their white-tipped tails. When assisted by honeyguides, Yao hunters found beehives 54 percent of the time, compared with just 17 percent when unaided.
Researchers have identified a couple of other examples of human-wild animal cooperation: fishermen in Brazil who work with bottlenose dolphins to maximize the number of mullets swept into nets or snatched up by dolphin mouths, and orcas that helped whalers finish off harpooned baleen giants by pulling down the cables and drowning the whales, all for the reward from the humans of a massive whale tongue.
But for the clarity of reciprocity, nothing can match the relationship between honeyguide and honey hunter. "Honeyguides provide the information and get the wax," Dr. Spottiswoode said. "Humans provide the skills and get the honey."
How the alliance began remains mysterious, but it is thought to be quite ancient.
"It appears to depend on humans using fire and hand-axes," Richard Wrangham, a biological anthropologist at Harvard University, said. Those talents date back to the lower Paleolithic, "so the relationship could be more than a million years old."
The bird might even have played a role in the emergence of fully modern humans and their energetically demanding brains. Honey is a vital resource for many subsistence cultures, Dr. Wrangham said, "sometimes supplying 80 percent of calories in a month."
It is beloved by all who depend on it. Among the Hadza of Tanzania, Dr. Wood said, "it's the top choice of what people claim they would like to eat — the sweet, delicious meal they'll go for when given the chance."
13) Lawsuit Forces Texas to Make It Easier for Immigrants to Get Birth Certificates for Children
By JULIA PRESTON JULY 24, 2016
After Nancy Hernandez gave birth to a baby girl in a hospital in Texas in 2013, she went to a county office to get a birth certificate, just as she had after her first two children were born in the state.
But officials told Ms. Hernandez, a Mexican immigrant living in the United States illegally, that the rules had changed. Without valid documents, she would not be able to get a birth certificate to show that her daughter was an American-born citizen.
Last year, Ms. Hernandez and about two dozen other immigrants sued, saying they could not obtain the documents Texas officials were demanding to prove their identities. On Friday, Texas agreed to a settlement that will expand the types of documents parents can present, allowing those without legal immigration status to obtain certificates for their children again.
The babies whose parents brought the federal suit were born in Texas medical facilities, so it was not in doubt that they were citizens. Lawyers for the parents said the settlement would be "life-changing" for them.
"The bottom line is, there was a category of people who were being locked out of obtaining a birth certificate to which they are entitled constitutionally as citizens born in the United States just because of the immigration status of the parents," said Efrén Olivares, the legal director of the Texas Civil Rights Project's South Texas office and a lead lawyer in the lawsuit.
In the settlement, Texas made no changes to the basic rules for birth certificates, which it argued were designed to ensure that the essential documents were correctly issued. But the state agreed to accept several documents from parents that it had started to reject.
The change in practice by Texas registrars dated to 2013, when state leaders were taking steps to stem a surge in illegal border crossings by families from Central America. The next year, Texas sent National Guard troops to the border. Texas led 26 states in a federal lawsuit in 2014 to halt President Obama's immigration programs to shield undocumented immigrants from deportation, which state officials said encouraged more illegal crossings. A tie decision by the Supreme Courtin June effectively ended those programs.
The Republican presidential nominee, Donald J. Trump, added new fuel to the debate about the children of undocumented immigrants, saying he would cancel their right to citizenship if he became president.
Texas county offices began to require that foreign passports presented by parents include a valid United States visa. Officials also stopped accepting photo identity cards, known as matrículas, that Mexicans obtain from their consulates in the United States. In 2013, the lawsuit said, Texas stepped up enforcement of the new rules.
Parents said they could not obtain the required documents. They had not been able to baptize their children, enroll them in school or sign them up for public health programs so they could be vaccinated. With no legal document proving the babies were their children, parents feared that if they were deported, their families might be separated or that the children might not able to return to the only country where they were citizens.
In court, Texas did not deny its policy, but said that the immigrant families did not need birth certificates to gain access to state programs. But the judge hearing the case, Robert L. Pitman of the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas, had signaled he was skeptical of that argument.
In a ruling in October, Judge Pitman said Texas' claim that a birth certificate was not a vital document "simply begs credulity."
Under the settlement, Texas confirmed that Mexican immigrants will be able to present a Mexican voter identification card. Under a recent change by Mexico, its citizens can now obtain those cards from consulates in the United States.
Parents from three Central American countries — El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras — will be able to present documents certified by their consulates. Texas has also set up a review process for parents whose applications were rejected, as well as training for more than 450 county officials who issue birth certificates.
The judge agreed to a monitoring period of nine months to make sure Texas was complying.
Juana Gomez, 34, a Mexican immigrant without legal status, said she was relieved that her two daughters, born in South Texas hospitals, would get their certificates. Ms. Gomez, who has been living in this country for 20 years, said she had to delay their baptisms, and Border Patrol agents had demanded to see their birth certificates at checkpoints well inside the United States.
But Ms. Gomez said she decided to join the lawsuit and risk exposure as an undocumented immigrant because she was concerned that her daughters would grow up without being able to vote.
"It's just about respecting what is in the Constitution," Ms. Gomez said of the settlement. "I don't think of it as just good for me. A lot of mothers are happy and satisfied."
14) A Fish Outlived the Dinosaurs. Can It Outlast a Dam?
What has no teeth, no rib cage, is covered in bony scales and managed to outlive the dinosaurs? The answer is the pallid sturgeon. But after millions of years of survival, only about 125 of these wild "dinosaur fish" remain. And if something isn't done to save this endangered species, it could vanish forever — all because of what's going on at a single dam in Montana.
Pallid sturgeon were once abundant along the Missouri River, which flows east from Montana and south until it empties into the Mississippi River in Missouri. They swam up it to spawn, and their fertilized eggs developed as they drifted down the river and through its tributaries. The larvae turned into fish that could grow up to six feet long, weigh up to 90 pounds and live about as long as the average human.
That was life for the pallid sturgeon and its ancestors for millions of years, but then we built dams.
The Intake Diversion Dam in Montana along the Yellowstone River, a tributary of the Missouri, provides water to around 55,000 acres of farmland. But dams like this make it hard for the pallid sturgeon. And this is the last stronghold of sturgeon that have not interbred with another species of the fish. Stuck between this dam and the Fort Peck Dam to the northwest, the pallid sturgeon can no longer travel far enough up the fragmented rivers to ensure their eggs will make it to a healthy place to develop.
Normally, the fertilized eggs drop to the bottom of the river and are at the current's mercy until they develop tiny tails, kind of like tadpoles, to propel them around. But the dinosaur fish usually can't get past dams. So the eggs end up trapped in reservoirs like Lake Sakakawea, with a lot of sediment, a lot of bacteria and very little oxygen. There they suffocate and die.
"The headwaters of Lake Sakakawea is a dead zone," said Christopher Guy, a biologist at Montana Cooperative Fishery Unit, who published a paper about the same thing happening around Fort Peck Dam last year.
The fate of these ancient fish rests in restoring their ability to swim freely on a long river. But how to make this happen is caught up in a legal dispute between government agencies, who want to build a passageway, and wildlife protection groups, who want to get rid of the Intake Diversion Dam altogether. Last year, biologists and conservationists got a judge to temporarily block dam construction while the agencies conducted a more thorough study of the options and their possible effects on the pallid sturgeon. Based on this assessment, federal agencies have put out a draft proposal that is open for public comment until July 28.
The Bureau of Reclamation, part of the Department of Interior, has joined with the United States Fish and Wildlife Service and the Army Corps of Engineers in wanting to replace the Intake Diversion Dam with a new one. It would have a bypass channel intended to allow the fish to get past the dam. This proposal costs around $60 million and would mean less upkeep for the farmers using the water to irrigate their crops.
"This project is about balancing the needs of the endangered wild pallid sturgeon and the needs of the local agricultural industry," Tyler Johnson, a public-affairs officer for the Bureau of Reclamation, wrote in an email. "These are difficult decisions."
But the environmental groups are critical of the proposal.
"It's a wasteful expenditure of money because it's very likely not to work," Dr. Forrest said. Passages have worked for some fish, but have never worked for the sturgeon. As old fish grow older and new fish learn to navigate the water, "time is not on our side," he said.
Defenders of Wildlife say the only sure way to let the fish through is to get rid of the dam and replace the irrigation system with pumps. This has been successfully done in California, where the Red Bluff Diversion Dam, on the Sacramento River, was removed to allow passage for salmon. But making the switch would not be cheap. It could cost around $80 million to $138 million, depending on who you ask, and the farmers who use the water aren't keen on changing a system they've used for more than a century.
With the future of their long river being held up in court, the fish, and their future, await our decision.
15) Keep Your Mouth Closed: Aquatic Olympians Face a Toxic Stew in Rio
JULY 26, 2016
RIO DE JANEIRO — Health experts in Brazil have a word of advice for the Olympic marathon swimmers, sailors and windsurfers competing in Rio de Janeiro's picture-postcard waters next month: Keep your mouth closed.
Despite the government's promises seven years ago to stem the waste that fouls Rio's expansive Guanabara Bay and the city's fabled ocean beaches, officials acknowledge that their efforts to treat raw sewage and scoop up household garbage have fallen far short.
In fact, environmentalists and scientists say Rio's waters are much more contaminated than previously thought.
Recent tests by government and independent scientists revealed a veritable petri dish of pathogens in many of the city's waters, from rotaviruses that can cause diarrhea and vomiting to drug-resistant "super bacteria" that can be fatal to people with weakened immune systems.
Researchers at the Federal University of Rio also found serious contamination at the upscale beaches of Ipanema and Leblon, where many of the half-million Olympic spectators are expected to frolic between sporting events.
"Foreign athletes will literally be swimming in human crap, and they risk getting sick from all those microorganisms," said Dr. Daniel Becker, a local pediatrician who works in poor neighborhoods. "It's sad, but also worrisome."
Government officials and the International Olympic Committee acknowledge that, in many places, the city's waters are filthy. But they say the areas where athletes will compete — like the waters off Copacabana Beach, where swimmers will race — meet World Health Organization safety standards.
Even some venues with higher levels of human waste, like Guanabara Bay, present only minimal risk because athletes sailing or windsurfing in them will have limited contact with potential contamination, they add.
Still, Olympic officials concede that their efforts have not addressed a fundamental problem: Much of the sewage and trash produced by the region's 12 million inhabitants continues to flow untreated into Rio's waters.
"Our biggest plague, our biggest environmental problem, is basic sanitation," said Andrea Correa, the top environmental official in the state of Rio de Janeiro. "The Olympics has woken people up to the problem."
Foreign athletes preparing for the Games have long expressed concern that waterborne illnesses could thwart their Olympic dreams. An investigation by The Associated Press last year recorded disease-causing viruses in some tests that were 1.7 million times the level of what would be considered hazardous on a Southern California beach.
"We just have to keep our mouths closed when the water sprays up," said Afrodite Zegers, 24, a member of the Dutch sailing team, which has been practicing in Guanabara Bay.
Some athletes here for the Games and other competitions have been felled by gastrointestinal illness, including members of the Spanish and Austrian sailing teams. During a surfing competition here last year, about a quarter of the participants were sidelined by nausea and diarrhea, organizers said.
Officials have been grappling with a welter of challenges as they scramble for the opening ceremony on Aug. 5. The Zika virus epidemic has dampened foreign ticket sales, crime is soaring, and the federal government has been paralyzed by the impeachment proceedings against Brazil's president, Dilma Rousseff.
Last month, the acting governor of Rio de Janeiro, Francisco Dornelles, declared a state of emergency, claiming that a lack of money threatened "a total collapse in public security, health, education, transport and environmental management."
Still, Olympic organizers say the sports venues are nearly complete, and the federal government has provided emergency funds to the state. Many athletes expect the Games will proceed without serious complications.
The city's contaminated waterways, however, are another matter.
"It's disgusting," said Nigel Cochrane, a coach for the Spanish women's sailing team. "We're very concerned."
For many, the sewage crisis is emblematic of the corruption and mismanagement that have long hobbled Latin America's largest country.
Since the 1990s, Rio officials claim to have spent billions of dollars on sewage treatment systems, but few are functioning.
In its 2009 bid for the Games, Brazil pledged to spend $4 billion to clean up 80 percent of the sewage that flows untreated into the bay. In the end, the state government spent just $170 million, citing a budget crisis, officials said.
Most of the money in the state's sanitation budget has been spent on trash-collecting boats and portable berms to stop the sludge and debris that flow into the bay.
Critics say they are cosmetic measures.
"They can try to block big items like sofas and dead bodies, but these rivers are pure sludge, so the bacteria and viruses are going to just pass through," said Stelberto Soares, a municipal engineer who has spent three decades addressing the city's sanitation crisis.
Mr. Soares said he laughed when he heard officials promise to tackle the sewage problem before the Games.
An earlier, multibillion-dollar effort financed by international donors yielded a network of 35 sewage treatment facilities, 500 miles of conduits and 85 pumps, he said. When he last checked, only three of the pumps and two of those treatment plants were still working; the rest had been abandoned and mostly vandalized, he said.
Asked what had happened, he threw up his hands. "In Brazil, they say sanitation doesn't get votes."
Romario Monteiro, 45, a second-generation fisherman who has spent a lifetime plying Guanabara Bay, recalls when the waters were crystalline and the fish were plentiful.
Now his net often yields more trash than fish, including television sets, dead dogs and the occasional dolphin killed by ingesting plastic bags.
"It's disgusting," Mr. Monteiro said.
He has sailed past more than a few dead bodies, including the corpse of a man — his legs bound in rope — bobbing in the water last month.
But Mr. Monteiro is most concerned with the shoreline factories that discharge chemical waste and the oil tankers that flush out their holds, giving the water's surface a multicolored sheen.
As he pulled out from the harbor near his home on Governador Island, he pointed to a half-dozen pipes, exposed at low tide, belching out human waste from the island's 300,000 residents.
"When you open up the fish, their innards are black with oil and muck," he said. "But we clean them with soap and eat them anyway."
For many residents, especially those who live in the slums, or favelas, the lack of sanitation causes misery. Hepatitis A is endemic among favela residents, health experts say, and children are frequently sickened by the pathogens that seep from sewage-laden culverts into jury-rigged drinking water pipes.
Irenaldo Honorio da Silva, 47, who heads the residents committee in Pica-Pau, a favela with 7,000 residents, said local officials had been promising to address the sanitation crisis for decades.
"They come, and then they go," he said.
Heavy rains turn Pica-Pau's streets into a putrid stew. One edge of the community is bounded by a fetid canal, its banks lined with homes, abandoned cars and food vendors.
The odor is overwhelming.
"This is nothing," Mr. da Silva said. "In summer, it's unbearable."
Every few days, the State Environmental Institute tests bacteria levels in the city's waters and posts them in a color-coded graph online. Many showcase beaches are consistently rated "unsuitable" for human activity.
That includes Flamengo, the bayside cove where the Olympic boating competitions will take place, and the iconic beaches that front some of Rio's wealthiest neighborhoods.
Residents still throng the beaches on the weekend, but Renata Picão, a microbiologist at the Federal University of Rio, has refused to step foot in the water since she began sampling it three years ago.
Ms. Picão documents high levels of drug-resistant microbes at five of the city's best-known beaches. The Oswaldo Cruz Foundation, a government-run lab, found super bacteria in the Rodrigo de Freitas lagoon, a body of water ringed by high-priced condominiums.
She said the pathogens, potentially fatal to those with compromised immunities, probably come from local hospitals that discharge untreated waste. Although super bacteria might not pose a threat to healthy people, the organisms can remain in the body for years, and wreak havoc if a person becomes sick with other ailments.
Ms. Picão and other health experts say that unlike residents, who have been repeatedly exposed to sewage-borne pathogens, foreign visitors are more likely to fall ill after contact with contaminated waters.
And she is not optimistic about future cleanup efforts.
"If they couldn't clean things up for the Olympics, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, I'm afraid it might never happen," she said.
16) Australia Promises Inquiry After Video Shows Abuse in Juvenile Detention
JULY 26, 2016
SYDNEY, Australia — Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announced an investigation on Tuesday into the treatment of juvenile detainees in Australia's far north, saying he was "shocked and appalled" by a news report that showed boys being stripped, sprayed with tear gas at close range and, in one case, shackled to a chair while forced to wear a hood.
The report, broadcast on Monday night on "Four Corners," a news program of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, documented abuses at a number of facilities in the Northern Territory, including the Don Dale children's prison in the town of Berrimah, near the city of Darwin. That prison was closed in 2014, but previous inquiries into allegations of abuse there had not uncovered some of the details shown in the report, and some of the new video contradicted official accounts of past episodes.
"This is a shocking state of affairs," Mr. Turnbull said in an interview on ABC radio on Tuesday morning. "Like all Australians, I've been deeply shocked, shocked and appalled by the images of mistreatment of children at the Don Dale center. We will be establishing a Royal Commission into these events." A Royal Commission has the power to compel witnesses to give evidence.
The minister responsible for the Northern Territory's juvenile justice system, John Elferink, was dismissed from that job on Tuesday morning, though he continues to hold other government posts. The territory's chief minister, Adam Giles, said at a news conference that "anybody who saw that footage on television last night on 'Four Corners' would undoubtedly describe it as horrific footage."
According to the report, children as young as 10 were jailed at the Don Dale prison, and some as young as 13 were held for long periods in solitary confinement. Children were locked in small, high-security cells that had no running water and no natural light, the report said. Young boys were subjected to brutal and degrading treatment, including one who was stripped and another who was hurled across his cell by a prison guard.
The report included closed circuit television footage of two teenage boys scrambling and cowering under bedsheets and a mattress as tear gas is sprayed into an anteroom adjoining their cells. The boys, and four others, also tear-gassed, are shackled and dragged outdoors, crying and gagging, where they are sprayed with a fire hose.
That episode occurred in August 2014. Mr. Elferink had said at the time that the boys were trying to escape from the center and had armed themselves with metal bars and glass from broken windows. But the video shows some of them playing cards when the tear-gassing begins, and the entire episode appears to have taken place within a secure area.
Jared Sharp, a lawyer with the North Australian Aboriginal Justice Agency, said there had been "a deliberate effort to mislead the public about what had occurred."
Elaine Pearson, director of Human Rights Watch Australia, said that an independent Northern Territory agency responsible for protecting children had exposed abuses in the juvenile detention system last year but that no action had been taken. "Excessive force is an abuse, and the perpetrators of such abuses should be held to account," Ms. Pearson said.
Later Tuesday, eight inmates at a Northern Territory correctional facility, the Alice Springs Adult Prison, climbed onto the prison's roof to protest the treatment of juvenile detainees, according to a spokesman for the police in Alice Springs, which is about 930 miles south of Darwin by road. A police negotiator had been called to speak with the prisoners, a spokesman for the Northern Territory Correctional Services Department said. He said that the inmates were unarmed and that no one had been injured.
Ninety-eight percent of juvenile detainees in the Northern Territory are Aboriginal, according to the Law Council of Australia. John B. Lawrence, a lawyer who has written reports on juvenile detention in the territory, said that Aboriginals were imprisoned there at a much higher rate than the general population and that the imprisonment of juveniles, often for petty offenses, had "gone through the roof."
"It is a bad situation, and it is getting worse," Mr. Lawrence said.
Mr. Lawrence said images in the "Four Corners" report of a 17-year-old boy shackled to a chair and forced to wear a hood were particularly disturbing. "You are looking at a child," Mr. Lawrence said by telephone from Darwin. "He has been set upon by a number of fully grown, large guards, and strapped in this chair. He's tied up, manacled and left there for hours. It takes you to a whole other dystopia."
Mr. Turnbull said that the public inquiry, which is likely to be led by a former judge, would be held in conjunction with the Northern Territory government. "We want to know why there were inquiries into this center which did not turn up the evidence and the information we saw on 'Four Corners,' " Mr. Turnbull said.
But Mr. Lawrence said that it was important that the Royal Commission be fiercely independent. "The only involvement the Northern Territory government should have is as witnesses," he said.
17) Nine-Year-Old Child Worker Dies in Bangladeshi Textile Mill
JULY 25, 2016
DHAKA, Bangladesh — A supervisor at a textile mill was arrested after a 9-year-old worker died over the weekend, and the boy's father accused the supervisor and others of killing him because he had protested against abuse.
Ismail Hossain, the officer in charge of the Rupganj police station in Narayanganj District in central Bangladesh, said that Nazmul Huda, an assistant administrative officer at the Zobeda Textile Mill, had been taken into custody for questioning, and that others would also be detained as the inquiry continued.
The father of the boy, Ratan Barman, 70, filed a complaint on Sunday with the Rupganj police, accusing supervisors at the mill of killing his son by pumping air from a compressor machine into his rectum.
The boy, Sagar Barman, had been working at the mill for seven months, along with his parents, his father said in a telephone interview on Monday.
"I thought, as we are poor, it will be helpful to run our family if my son Sagar can do some work in this factory," Mr. Barman said. "I used to gather empty bobbins," putting them into a trolley, he added. "My son also used to do the same work."
Last year, a 12-year-old boy died in a similar manner at the motorcycle repair shop where he had worked. Though the official minimum working age is 14, child labor has long been widespread in Bangladesh, and the government does not keep records of workplace deaths or injuries involving children. But cases like Sagar's capture the public's attention.
Mr. Barman, in his police complaint, said he and his son had arrived at work at 6 a.m. on Sunday, as usual. Around noon, Sagar went to the compressor to clean dust from his body. Soon after, a female worker told Mr. Barman that Sagar was lying on the floor.
The father said he had rushed over and found his son unable to speak. The boy's abdomen was swollen. Sagar was taken to a nearby hospital, then to Dhaka Medical College and Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
In the complaint, the father accused four identified and four other unknown people at the mill of being involved in the boy's death, including Mr. Huda.
According to the police complaint, Mr. Barman said those men and several other linemen and supervisors used to speak abusively to him and his son, and beat them when there were small mistakes in their work. He said that his son was killed because he had protested about the abuse.
The complaint accused the factory's owners, Mozammel Haque Bhuiyan, Mazharul Islam Bhuiyan, Azharul Haque Bhuiyan and Zafar Hossain Bhuiyan, of using child laborers in their factory.
The factory owners and supervisors could not be reached for comment on Monday night.
Mr. Hossain said the police were still investigating how the air got into the boy's body, and whether "air was pumped by someone else into his body through the rectum or air went into his body through his mouth when he was cleaning his body."
He said the mill was established in 1985 and produced yarn from cotton, which was sold at local markets to make fabric.
About 3,000 workers are employed at the mill, an estimated 10 percent of them children. They were not recruited but were employed at the request of the adult employees who wanted "some light work" for their children to perform so that "they can earn some money for their family," Mr. Hossain said.
The management hired the children as a "humanitarian" gesture, according to Mr. Hossain.
Sagar had earned 3,100 taka, or about $40 a month.
The air compressors were mostly used to clean dust from machines and accessories in the factory, Mr. Hossain said. But he said the boy and some other workers also used the compressors to clean themselves of factory dust.
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