Have Black Lives Ever Mattered?

Have Black Lives Ever Mattered? (City Lights Open Media)

By Mumia Abu-Jamal

A Book Review by Robert Fantina

With the recent acquittal of two more police officers in the deaths of unarmed Black men, the question posed by the title of this book is as relevant as it ever was. Through a series of concise, clear essays, Mumia Abu-Jamal details the racism against Blacks, comparing today's behaviors with the lynchings that were common in the south prior to the decade of the sixties. He points out the obvious: The passage of Civil Rights legislation hasn't changed much; it simply changed the way racism operates.

The ways in which the white establishment has worked to oppress Blacks is astounding. After the Civil War, when slavery was no longer legal, "whites realized that the combination of trumped-up legal charges and forced labor as punishment created both a desirable business proposition and an incredibly effective tool for intimidating rank-and-file emancipated African Americans and doing away with their most effective leaders."

Abu-Jamal states that, today, "where once whites killed and terrorized from beneath a KKK hood, now they now did so openly from behind a little badge." He details the killing of Black men and women in the U.S. with almost complete impunity.

There are two related issues Abu-Jamal discusses. The first is the rampant racism that enables the police to kill unarmed Blacks, as young as 12 years old, for no reason, and the second is the "justice" system that allows them to get away with it.

One shocking crime, amid countless others, occurred in Cleveland, Ohio. In 2012; a police officer was acquitted in the deaths of two, unarmed Blacks, after leaping onto the hood of their car and firing 15 rounds from his semi-automatic rifle into the car's occupants. That is 137 shots, at point blank range, into the bodies of two unarmed people.

If this were an anomaly, it would be barbaric, but it is not: it is common practice for the police to kill unarmed Blacks, and, on the rare occasions that they are charged with a crime, for the judges and juries to acquit them.

In the U.S., Black citizens are disproportionally imprisoned. With for-profit prisons on the rise, this injustice will only increase.

Abu-Jamal relates story after story with the same plot, and only the names are different. An unarmed Black man is stopped by the police for any of a variety of reasons ranging from trivial (broken tail light), to more significant (suspect in a robbery). But too often, the outcome is the same: the Black man is dead and the police officer who killed him, more often than not white, is either not charged, or acquitted after being charged.

The Black Lives Matter movement formed to combat this blatant injustice, but it will be an uphill battle. As Abu-Jamal says, "Police serve the ownership and wealth classes of their societies, not the middling or impoverished people. For the latter, it is quite the reverse." As a result, people of color suffer disproportionately, too often winding up on the wrong side of a gun.

What is to be done? Abu-Jamal refers to the writings of Dr. Huey P. Newton, who calls not for community policing, but for community control of the police. Abu-Jamal argues forcefully for a new movement, "driven by commitment, ethics, intelligence, solidarity, and passions; for without passion, the embers may dim and die."

Have Black Lives Ever Mattered? is powerful, disturbing, well-written, and an important book for our day.

Robert Fantina is the author of Empire, Racism and Genocide: A History of U.S. Foreign Policy. His articles on foreign policy, most frequently concerning Israel and Palestine, have appeared in such venues as Counterpunch and WarIsaCrime.org.

New York Journal of Books, July 2017







Bay Area United Against War Newsletter

Table of Contents:












California Alliance for Retired Americans

600 Grand Ave, Rm 410

Oakland CA 94610

510-663-4086,  californiaalliance.org


Please join CARA on August 14 to celebrate Social Security's 82nd birthday, and to re-dedicate ourselves to defend Social Security and preserve, improve, and expand it.  Our confirmed speakers so far are Alex Lawson, Executive Director of Social Security Works and Norman Solomon, author, columnist and activist. 

Monday, August 14, Noon, in Oakland's Frank Ogawa Plaza

Broadway and 14th St, 12th St BART Station.

Rally and Two-Block March to Federal Building

More program details to be announced.

Please contact 

Michael Lyon, 415-215-7575, mlyon01@comcast.net, or

Jodi Reid, 415-550-0828,  jreid.cara@gmail.com

CARA is sponsoring events across California in July and August to defend and expand Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, in the face of attacks from Washington.  Our Oakland event will draw people from all around the San Francisco Bay Area.  We are hoping you can publicize this event among your members, and bring them on August 14.   We are attaching a copy of our leaflet and a petition your members can sign and return.  Anyone can sign the petition, it is not official, but will be used to show support for these programs.

Over its 82 years, Social Security has provided income and dignity to hundreds of millions of retirees and people with disabilities, their spouses and children, and to deceased workers' spouses and children.  For two thirds of seniors, it's been over half their income.  Half of women and people with disabilities would be in poverty without Social Security. Almost 10% of children get it.  We will NOT go back to the days of workhouses!

Social Security is the nation's most effective anti-poverty program, yet it is entirely funded by us, we who work for a living, through FICA deductions from our paychecks, and by our employers.  Not a cent comes from the government; in fact our $2.4 Trillion Social Security Trust Fund is invested in loans to help the government run. Those loans must, and will, be repaid to Social Security.  It's our program, our money!  Our past, our future!

Forces for austerity want to destroy or undermine Social Security by increasing the retirement age, decreasing the benefits and cost-of-living increases, and converting Social Security from a unified government program of collectively-guaranteed economic security for everyone, to a hodge-podge of private individual accounts for each recipient, invested in the stock market, and managed by expensive Wall Street money managers.  

Now, the Trump administration wants to eliminate the payroll tax that is the financial foundation of Social Security and cut $64 Billion over ten years from Social Security Disability Insurance, an integral part of Social Security, by reducing future enrollment with work requirements.

Given this adversity, it's important we remember that our parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents won Social Security in the mid-1930s, the depths of the Great Depression, when everything looked stacked against us.  Social Security must be preserved, improved, and expanded.  In the 1930s, Roosevelt said "Make me do it!"  We did. We can do it again!




The Mission Statement of our Brothers and Sisters of the Millions for Prisoners March, with whom Amend The 13th cooperates: 

We seek to unite Activists, Advocates, Prisoners, Ex-Prisoners, their Family and Friends, as well as all others committed to the fight to drastically reduce or eliminate prisons and the prison system, and replace them with more humane and effective systems. Our aim is to expose the Prison Industrial Complex for the Human Rights Violation that it truly is. We want to challenge the idea that caging and controlling people keeps communities safe. We believe that for too long our nation has relied upon incarceration as a way to solve broader social problems to its detriment.

On August 19th, 2017 we will March On Washington to bring world attention to the continued slavery and involuntary servitude in America, enabled by the 13th Amendment and to highlight the ever increasing Movement against the Prison Industrial Complex.

The New Abolitionist Movement!

A) We DEMAND the 13th amendment ENSLAVEMENT CLAUSE of the United States Constitution be amended to abolish LEGALIZED slavery in America.

B) We DEMAND a Congressional hearing on the 13th Amendment ENSLAVEMENT CLAUSE being recognized as in violation of international law, the general principles of human rights and its direct links to:

  • Private entities exploiting prison labor
  • Companies overcharging prisoners for goods and services
  • Private entities contracted by states/federal government to build and operate prisons. This would also include immigration detentions
  • Racial disparities in America's prison population and sentencing
  • Policing: the disproportionate (unaccountable) killings by police in the black and brown communities
  • Felony Disenfranchisement laws
  • Immigration and Customs Enforcement 34,000 detention quotas
  • Producing the world largest prison population

LOC's (Local Organizing Committees) are being established in cities all throughout the country to bring awareness and promote the March on Washington!

Additional Support is need in the following areas:

– Lawyers – Legal Observer – Lobbyist – Public Relations – Event Planners – Fundraisers

Please contact us if you want to support us in these or other areas:

Email: millionsforprisonersmarch@gmail.com

Tel.: 803-220-4553

Website: www.iamweubuntu.com

Facebook: Facebook.com/groups/MillionsforPrisonersMarch/

Twitter: Twitter.com/milli4prisoners



P.O Box 58201

Raleigh NC 27658​

Update 6-24-2017:

More details here.



CODEPINK Fall Action at Creech:  

Oct. 5 to Oct. 12    (All welcome!)

(Oct. 7 is the 16th Anniversary of the invasion of Afghanistan)

SHUT DOWN CREECH: Spring 2018: Apr. 8-14.  (National Mass Mobilization to Resist Killer Drones)

(Thanks to Sandy Turner, from Ukiah, CA, for sharing this link!)

The Pentagon and CIA now have Brett Velicovich, their own drone veteran and CEO of an "online drone retail store" (Dronepire, Inc. and Expert Drones) , to glorify drone killing. Shameful that NPR couldn't ask the very difficult and important questions.  Lots of public education is needed to help people separate fact from fiction!

Would love for someone to do research on this guy!

Please listen to this interview (filled with misinformation), and consider joining us at Creech in the fall and/or spring to be a voice against the slaughter.  

(Dates below).

Life As A 'Drone Warrior'

NPR interview "with Brett Velicovich about his memoir, Drone Warrior, which details his time hunting and killing alleged terrorists using drones in Iraq, Afghanistan and other places."


PS:  We should have a massive letter writing and phone calling to NPR for this totally biased and dangerous misrepresentation!





Jun 8, 2017

Department of Justice:

Drop the changes against Ms. Reality L. Winner, the defense contractor who allegedly shared with the media evidence of attacks against US election systems by foreign agents. This information should not have been classified. Ms. Winner's prosecution appears politically motivated.

Courage to Resist will attempt to keep signers of the Reality Winners petition up-to-date with periodic news and alerts from her family and attorney. You will be able to opt out at any time.



Reality Winner is a 25-year-old Air Force veteran who was arrested in Augusta, Georgia on June 3rd. She allegedly released classified NSA documents to The Intercept, which were the basis for a story about Russian hacking efforts against US election systems leading up to last year's presidential election. Reality is currently in the Lincoln County Jail in Georgia, and faces up to ten years in prison.

Reality Winner—yes, that is her given legal name—did the right thing, and she should be defended.

Reality allegedly leaked information regarding attempted interference in an election, tampering that many believe assisted in Donald Trump's presidential win—despite earning nearly four million fewer votes than Hillary Clinton. The documents published by The Interceptonly confirm earlier accounts of US election hacking attempts and, given the current administration's extreme antagonisms against facts, the release of these documents was clearly in the public interest. Like the vast majority of government documents that are hidden from public view, these reports should have been declassified by now anyway.

Now Trump's own Department of Justice has targeted Reality. It's a sinister move, but on the other hand, simply a continuation Obama's unprecedented zeal in prosecuting whistle-blowers. Trump inherited an atrocious War on Leaks, and Reality is the latest victim of that war. Her arrest is a signal to the world, and the four million other Americans with access to classified information: Only sanctioned leaks benefiting the government will be tolerated.

There's a striking hypocrisy to Trump's crackdown. Less than a month ago the President was criticized for carelessly leaking classified information to Russian officials during a White House meeting. We now know this information concerned a bomb that is being developed by ISIS. This is standard operating procedure: lawmakers have no issue leaking classified information if it somehow furthers their interest, but they aggressively prosecute citizens who expose actual wrongdoing.

I believe that Reality Winner's possible actions should be understood within the context of recent heroic whistleblowing. Shortly before leaving office, Barack Obama commuted the remaining sentence of US Army soldier Chelsea Manning, who was facing 27 more years in prison for exposing war crimes and corruption. Edward Snowden, who leaked information about our government's massive spying program, was granted asylum in Russia but faces espionage charges back home. Just like Manning, it seems that Reality was able to see the inner workings of the United States' war machine.

She served in the Air Force from 2013 until early this year, working as a linguist. Like Snowden, she would have had a better view than most as to how our security state works. Up until last week, she was a military defense contractor with the Pluribus International Corporation in the suburbs outside of Augusta, Georgia, and had Top Secret security clearance.

The US government has spent tens of millions of dollars in better auditing capabilities since the disclosures by Chelsea Manning and Edward Snowden. Those that would rather keep the public in the dark as to what their government is doing with their tax dollars and in their name, have redoubled their efforts to identify whistle-blowers much more quickly. Winner's arrest was facilitated by the government's increased ability to more easily identify the relatively small number of people that recently accessed documents in question as well as the yellow-colored, nearly-invisible micro dots that most color printers today use to include a printer's serial number and time stamp on each printed page. This appears to have contributed to the focus on Reality Winner.

Reality is expected to plead not guilty to charges against her today. We don't know exactly why she allegedly released the NSA documents to the press, but we do have some insight into her views about the world. Her social media accounts show a woman who, like a clear majority of Americans, is critical of Donald Trump. She has also voiced support for Edward Snowden, and opposition to the US fabricating a reason to attack Iran.

According to The Intercept, [Winner's leak] "ratchets up the stakes of the ongoing investigations into collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian operatives . . . If collusion can ultimately be demonstrated – a big if at this point – then the assistance on Russia's part went beyond allegedly hacking email to serve a propaganda campaign, and bled into an attack on U.S. election infrastructure itself."

We are talking about a potentially monumental story that might require prosecutions, but Reality Winner shouldn't be the one who ends up in jail. While the details of the story continue to unfold, by all indications she deserves our support, and the release of these documents should be celebrated.





Solidarity Statement from the California Coalition for Women Prisoners


CCWP sent the solidarity statement below expressing support with the hunger strikers at the Northwest County Detention Center (NWDC) in Tacoma Washington, one of the largest immigration prisons in the country.  People at NWDC, including many women, undertook the hunger strike starting at the beginning of April 2017 to protest the horrendous conditions they are facing.  Although the peak of the hunger strike was a few weeks ago, the strikers set a courageous example of resistance for people in detention centers and prisons around the country. 

Here is a link to a Democracy Now! interview with Maru Villalpando of Northwest Detention Center Resistance (http://www.nwdcresistance.org/) and Alexis Erickson, partner of one of the hunger strikers, Cristian Lopez.

For live updates, visit: 

California Coalition for Women Prisoners Statement

California Coalition for Women Prisoners (CCWP) stands in solidarity with the hunger strikers, many of them women, detained by ICE at the Northwest Detention Center (NWDC), a private prison operated by the GEO group contracted by ICE in Washington state.  We applaud the detainees at NORCOR, a county jail in rural Oregon, who recently won their demands after sustaining six days without meals. 

Since April 10th, those detained in NWDC have refused meals to demand changes to the abhorrent conditions of their detention, including poor quality food, insufficient medical care, little to no access to family visits, legal counsel or legal documents, and lack of timely court proceedings. Hunger strikes are a powerful method of resistance within prisons that require commitment and courage from prisoners and their families. We have seen this historically in California when tens-of-thousands of prisoners refused meals to protest solitary confinement in 2011 and 2013, and also currently in Palestine where over 1,500 prisoners are on hunger strike against the brutal conditions of Israeli prisons. 

As the Trump administration continues to escalate its attacks on Latinx/Chicanx and Arab/Muslim communities, deportations and detentions serve as strategies to control, remove, and erase people—a violence made possible in a context of inflamed xenophobia and increasingly visible and virulent racism. We stand with the families of those detained as well as organizations and collectives on the ground in Washington State struggling to expose the situation inside these facilities as well as confront the escalating strategies of the Trump administration.

CCWP recognizes the common struggle for basic human dignity and against unconstitutional cruel and inhumane treatment that people of color and immigrants face in detention centers, jails, and prisons across the United States. We also sadly recognize from our work with people in women's prisons the retaliatory tactics such as prison transfers and solitary confinement that those who fight oppression face. Similar abuses continue to occur across California at all of its prisons and  detention centers, including the GEO-run women's prison in McFarland, California.. CCWP sends love and solidarity to the hunger strikers in the Northwest. Together we can break down the walls that tear our families and communities apart. ¡ya basta! #Ni1Más #Not1More

    Northwest Detention Center Press Release May 4, 2017

Despite threats and retaliation, hunger strikers continue protest 

ICE ignores demands for improved conditions 

Tacoma, Washington/The Dalles, Oregon—Immigrants held at ICE facilities in two states—the Northwest Detention Center (NWDC), run by GEO Group, and NORCOR, a rural public jail—continued their hunger strike today, despite growing weakness from lack of food. The exponential growth of immigration detention has led ICE to contract the function of detaining immigrants out to both private prison companies and to county governments, with both treating immigrants as a source of profit. ICE has been using NORCOR as "overflow" detention space for immigrants held at NWDC, and is regularly transferring people back and forth from the NWDC to NORCOR. People held at NORCOR have limited access to lawyers and to the legal documents they need to fight and win their deportation cases. They are often transferred back to NWDC only for their hearings, then shipped back to NORCOR, where they face terrible conditions. Jessica Campbell of the Rural Organizing Project affirmed, "No one deserves to endure the conditions at NORCOR—neither the immigrants ICE is paying to house there, nor the people of Oregon who end up there as part of criminal processes. It's unsafe for everyone."

The strike began on April 10th, when 750 people at the NWDC began refusing meals. The protest spread to NORCOR this past weekend. Maru Mora Villalpando of NWDC Resistance confirmed, "It's very clear from our contact with people inside the facilities and with family members of those detained that the hunger strike continues in both Oregon and Washington State." She continued, "The question for us is, how will ICE assure that the abuses that these whistle-blowing hunger strikers have brought to light are addressed?"

From the beginning of the protest, instead of using the strike as an opportunity to look into the serious concerns raised by the hunger strikers, ICE and GEO have both denied the strike is occurring and retaliated against strikers. Hunger strikers have been transferred to NORCOR in retaliation for their participation. One person who refused transfer to NORCOR was put in solitary confinement. Just this week, hunger striking women have been threatened with forced feeding—a practice that is recognized under international law to be torture. In an attempt to break their spirit, hunger strikers have been told the strike has been ineffective and that the public is ignoring it.

Hunger striker demands terrible conditions inside detention center be addressed—including the poor quality of the food, the dollar-a-day pay, and the lack of medical care. They also call for more expedited court proceedings and the end of transfers between detention facilities.   Hunger strikers consistently communicate, "We are doing this for our families." Despite their incredibly oppressive conditions, locked away and facing deportation in an immigration prison in the middle of an industrial zone and in a rural county jail, hunger strikers have acted collectively and brought national attention to the terrible conditions they face and to the ongoing crisis of deportations, conditions the U.S. government must address.Latino Advocacy

Maru Mora Villalpando

For live updates, visit: 

News mailing list: News@womenprisoners.org

Activist Goes on Hunger Strike Outside the Northwest Detention Center

Maru Mora Villalpando Joins the Tacoma 12 and Adelanto 9 in Calling for an End to Human Rights Abuses in Immigrant Detention

Tacoma, WA - On Monday, June 19th, Maru Mora Villalpando, member of the NWDC Resistance, will begin  a hunger strike to call attention to the plight of up to 1,600 immigrants held in detention suffering human rights abuses at the Northwest Detention Center (NWDC). On June 15, 2017, at least a dozen detainees went on hunger strike to call attention to inhumane detention conditions, refusing to eat for multiple days. By June 18, NWDC Resistance organizers received reports that more than 25 hunger strikers are calling on GEO Group to provide edible, nutritious food, on ICE to provide fair and timely hearings, and on civil society to step up and take action for the injustices in our communities. In response, Maru Mora Villalpando is going on hunger strike, and is joined by other members of civil society who are stepping up their solidarity.

As hunger strikers on the inside are discussing ceasing their strike on the inside, Maru will keep the hunger strike continuous by holding space on the outside. A female hunger striker in detention said: "I feel more deteriorated every day, more bad, more worse, because of what we are living through and what we are seeing inside. What we are suffering is horrible, horrible. Here they don't care what conditions we are living in… they don't care about anything." To listen to her story, go to: http://bit.ly/2sIyXzZ

GEO Group's human rights abuses are not a case of "bad apples." Just this week, GEO employees have refused to complete basic maintenance, such as repairing a broken air conditioner when projected temperatures are expected to reach 78 degrees. Likewise, people in detention have noted repeated problems with incorrect medications resulting in hospital visits, suicide attempts, and inadequate access to medical treatment -- even in diagnosed cases of malignant cancers.

There are also 9 asylum seekers on hunger strike at the GEO-owned Adelanto Detention Facility in Southern California. Rather than releasing asylum seekers pending their hearing, they were subjected to further trauma -- pepper spray, beating and solitary confinement. The #Adelanto9 continue on hunger strike to call attention to these blatant human rights abuses, meaning that people inside and outside detention centers are on hunger strike throughout the West Coast.

Call to Action: Hunger strikers and solidarity supporters are holding down a 24-7 encampment outside the Northwest Detention Center. Please join them to show people held in detention that they are not alone, and the state of Washington will no longer tolerate human rights abuses!

For live updates on the #Tacoma12 and solidarity hunger strikes, visithttps://www.facebook.com/ NWDCResistance/.


NWDC Resistance is a volunteer community group that emerged to fight deportations in 2014 at the now-infamous Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma, WA. NWDC Resistance is part of the #Not1More campaign and supported people detained who organized hunger strikes asking for a halt to all deportations and better treatment and conditions.

Contact: Maru Mora Villalpando, (206) 251 6658, maru@latinoadvocacy.org

#Tacoma12     #Adelanto9     #Not1More      #NoEstánSolos



Labor Studies and Radical History

4444 Geary Blvd., Suite 207, San Francisco, CA 94118




(call 415.387.5700 to be sure the library is open for the hours you are interested in. We close the library sometimes to go on errands or have close early) suggested)

7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Closed on all major holidays and May Day 

We can arrange, by request, to keep the library open longer during the day or open it on weekends. Just ask.


  • Reference Librarian On-site
  • Email and Telephone Reference
  • Interlibrary Loan
  • Online Public Access Catalog 
  • Microfilm Reader/Printer
  • DVD and VCR players
  • Photocopier
  • Quiet well-lighted place for study and research 

For an appointment or further information, please email: david [at] holtlaborlibrary.org 





Thank you for being a part of this struggle.

Cuando luchamos ganamos! When we fight we win!

Noelle Hanrahan, Director




To give by check: 

PO Box 411074

San Francisco, CA


Stock or legacy gifts:

Noelle Hanrahan

(415) 706 - 5222



MEDIA ADVISORYMedia contact: Morgan McLeod, (202) 628-0871




Washington, D.C.— Despite recent political support for criminal justice reform in most states, the number of people serving life sentences has nearly quintupled since 1984. 

A new report by The Sentencing Project finds a record number of people serving life with parole, life without parole, and virtual life sentences of 50 years or more, equaling one of every seven people behind bars. 

Eight states  Alabama, California, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nevada, New York, and Utah  have at least one of every five prisoners serving a life or de facto life sentence in prison. 

The Sentencing Project will host an online press conference to discuss its report Still Life: America's Increasing Use of Life and Long-Term Sentences, on Wednesday, May 3rd at 11:00 a.m. EDT.   

Press Conference Details

WHAT: Online press conference hosted by The Sentencing Project regarding the release of its new report examining life and long-term sentences in the United States. REGISTER HERE to participate. The call-in information and conference link will be sent via email.  


Wednesday, May 3, 2017 at 11:00 a.m. EDT 


  • Ashley Nellis, The Sentencing Project's senior research analyst and author of Still Life: America's Increasing Use of Life and Long-Term Sentences
  • Evans Ray, whose life without parole sentence was commuted in 2016 by President Obama
  • Steve Zeidman, City University of New York law professor and counsel for Judith Clark—a New York prisoner who received a 75 year to life sentence in 1983

The full report will be available to press on Wednesday morning via email.

Founded in 1986, The Sentencing Project works for a fair and effective U.S. criminal justice system by promoting reforms in sentencing policy, addressing unjust racial disparities and practices, and advocating for alternatives to incarceration.




When they knock on your front door: Preparing for Repression


When they knock on your front door: Preparing for Repression


Mothers Message to the NY/NJ Activist Community 

In order to effectively combat the existing opportunism, hidden agendas and to better provide ALL genuinely good willed social justice organizations and individuals who work inside of the New York and New Jersey metropolitan areas... with more concrete guidelines; 

The following "10 Point Platform and Justice Wish List" was adopted on Saturday, May 13, 2017    during the "Motherhood: Standing Strong 4 Justice" pre-mothers day gathering which was held     at Hostos Community College - Bronx, New York.......

"What We Want, What We Need" 

May, 2017 - NY/NJ Parents 10 Point Justice Platform and Wish List 

Point #1 - Lawyers and Legal Assistance:  Due to both the overwhelming case loads and impersonal nature of most public defenders, the Mothers believe that their families are receiving limited options, inadequate legal advise and therefore; WE WANT and NEED for community activists to help us in gaining access to experienced "pro-bono" and/or activist attorneys as well as the free resources provided by non-profit social justice and legal advocacy groups.


Point #2 - First Response Teams: The Mothers felt that when their loved ones were either killed or captured by the police that they were left in the hands of the enemy and without any support, information or direction on how to best move forward and therefore; WE WANT and NEED community activists to help us develop independently community controlled & trained first response teams in every borough or county that can confirm and be on the ground within 24 hours of any future incident.


Point #3 - Security and Support At Court Appearances: The Mothers all feel that because community activist support eventually becomes selective and minimal, that they are disrespected by both the courthouse authorities, mainstream media and therefore;   WE WANT and NEED community activists to collectively promote and make a strong presence felt at all court appearances and; To always provide trained security & legal observers... when the families are traveling to, inside and from the court house.


Point #4 - Emotional/Spiritual Healing and Grief and Loss Counseling: After the protest rallies, demonstrations, justice marches and television cameras are gone the Mothers all feel alone and abandoned and therefore;                                                                             WE WANT and NEED for community activists to refer/help provide the families with clergy, professional therapy & cultural outlets needed in order to gain strength to move forward. 


Point #5 -  Parents Internal Communication Network: The Mothers agreed as actual victims, that they are the very best qualified in regards to providing the needed empathy and trust for an independent hotline & contact resource for all of the parents and families who want to reach out to someone they can mutually trust that is able understand what they are going through and therefore;           WE WANT and NEED for community activists to help us in providing a Parents Internal Communication Network to reach that objective.


Point #6 -  Community Offices and Meeting Spaces: The Mothers agreed that there is an extreme need for safe office spaces where community members and family victims are able to go to for both confidential crisis intervention and holding organizing meetings and therefore;                                                                                                                                                                                                 WE WANT and NEED for community activists to help us in securing those safe spaces inside of our own neighborhoods.   


Point #7 - Political Education Classes and Workshop Training: The Mothers agreed in implementing the "each one, teach one"   strategy and therefore;                                                                                                                                                                                         WE WANT and NEEDfor community activists to help us in being trained as educators and organizers in Know Your Rights, Cop Watch, First Response, Emergency Preparedness & Community Control over all areas of public safety & the police in their respective neighborhoods.


Point #8 - Support From Politicians and Elected Officials: The Mothers believe that most political candidates and incumbent elected officials selectively & unfairly represent only those cases which they think to be politically advantageous to their own selfish personal success on election day and therefore;                                                                                                                                WE WANT and NEED for community activists to help us in either publicly exposing or endorsing these aforementioned political candidates and/or elected officials to their constituents solely based upon the uncompromising principles of serving the people.


Point #9 - Research and Documentation: The Mothers believe that research/case studies, surveys, petitions, historical archives, investigative news reporting and events should be documented and made readily available in order to counter the self-serving  police misinformation promoted by the system and therefore;                                                                                                                          WE WANT and NEED for community activists to help us by securing college/university students, law firms, film makers, authors, journalists and professional research firms to find, document & tell the people the truth about police terror & the pipeline to prison.


Point #10 - Grassroots Community Outreach and Information: The Mothers believe that far too much attention is being geared towards TV camera sensationalism with the constant organizing of marches & rallies "downtown"  and therefore; WE WANT and NEED for community activists to provide a fair balance by helping us to build in the schools, projects, churches and inside of the subway trains and stations of our Black, brown and oppressed communities where the majority of the police terror is actually taking place. 



100,000 protest in San Francisco, CA

Pictures From Women's
Marches on Every Continent



My Heartfelt "Thank You!"

By Mumia Abu-Jamal

Several days ago I received a message from both of our lawyers, Bob Boyle and Bret Grote, informing me that the latest lab tests came in from the Discovery Requests.  

And they told me that the Hepatitis C infection level is at zero and as of today I'm Hepatitis C free. 

This is in part due to some fine lawyering by Bret and Bob who—remember—filed the suit while I was in the throes of a diabetic coma, unconscious and thus unable to file for myself.  

But it's also due to you, the people.  Brothers and sisters who supported our efforts, who contributed to this fight with money, time, protests and cramming court rooms on our behalf, who sent cards, who prayed, who loved deeply.  

I can't thank you all individually but if you hear my voice or read my words know that I am thanking you, all of you. And I'm thanking you for showing once again the Power of the People. 

This battle ain't over, for the State's cruelest gift is my recent diagnosis of cirrhosis of the liver. With your love we shall prevail again.  I thank you all. Our noble Dr.'s Corey Weinstein, who told us what to look for, and Joseph Harris who gave me my first diagnosis and who became the star of the courtroom by making the mysteries of Hep C understandable to all.  An internist working up in Harlem, Dr. Harris found few thrills better than telling his many Hep C patients that they're cured.  

This struggle ain't just for me y'all. 

Because of your efforts thousands of Pennsylvania prisoners now have hope of healing from the ravages of Hepatitis C. [singing] "Let us march on 'til victory is won." So goes the old Negro Spiritual, "The Black National Anthem." 

We are making it a reality. I love you all.

From Prison Nation,

This is Mumia Abu-Jamal

Prison Radio, May 27, 2017


Court order to disclose DA files in Mumia Abu-Jamal's legal case [video]

This 9-minute video gives background on new revelations about conflict of interest -- an appeals judge who had previously been part of the prosecution team -- in upholding the 1982 conviction of journalist Mumia Abu-Jamal on charges of killing a police officer:


A ruling to implement a judge's recent order for "discovery" could be made on May 30.

Judge Tucker granted discovery to Mumia Abu-Jamal pursuant to his claims brought under Williams v Pennsylvania that he was denied due process because his PA Supreme Court appeals from 1998-2008 were decided by Ronald Castille, who had previously been the District Attorney during Mumia's 1988 appeal from his conviction and death sentence, as well as having been a senior assistant district attorney during Mumia's trial.

The DA is given 30 days—until May 30, 2017—to produce all records and memos regarding Mumia's case, pre-trial, trial, post-trial and direct appeal proceedings between Castille and his staff and any public statement he made about it. Then Mumia has 15 days after receiving this discovery to file amendments to his PCRA petition.

This date of this order is April 28, but it was docketed today, May 1, 2017.

This is a critical and essential step forward!


Dear Friend,

For the first time- a court has ordered the Philadelphia DA to turn over evidence and open their files in Mumia's appeal.   In a complacency shattering blow, the District Attorney's office is finally being held to account.  Judge Leon Tucker of the Philadelphia Common Pleas Court ordered the DA to produce all of the documents relevant to former PA Supreme Court Justice's role in the case. Castille was first a supervisory ADA during Mumia's trial, then District Attorney, and finally as a judge he sat on Mumia's appeals to the PA Supreme Court. 

This broad discovery order follows just days after the arguments in court by Christina Swarns, Esq. of the NAACP LDF, and Judith Ritter, Esq. of Widner Univ.

During that hearing, Swarns made it clear that the District Attorney's practice of lying to the appellate courts would not be tolerated and had been specifically exposed by the U.S. Supreme Court.  In the Terrence Williams case, which highlights Ronald Castile's conflict, the Supreme Court in no uncertain terms excoriated the office for failing to disclose crucial evidence.  Evidence the office hid for years.  This is an opportunity to begin to unravel the decades long police and prosecutorial corruption that has plagued Mumia's quest for justice.  

In prison for over thirty six years Mumia Abu-Jamal has maintained his innocence in the death of Philadelphia Police officer Daniel Faulkner on Dec. 9th 1981.  

"The Commonwealth  must  produce  any  and  all  documents  or  records  in  the  possession  or  control  of  the Philadelphia  District  Attorney's  Office   showing   former   District   Attorney   Ronald   Castille's   personal   involvement   in the  above-captioned  case  ... and public statements during and after his tenure as District Attorney of Philadelphia."

It is important to note that the history of the District Attorney's office in delaying and appealing to prevent exposure of prosecutorial misconduct and the resulting justice.  At every turn, there will be attempts to limit Mumia's access to the courts and release.   it is past time for justice in this case.  

Noelle Hanrahan, P.I.

Prison Radio is a 501c3 project of the Redwood Justice Fund. We record and broadcast the voices of prisoners, centering their analyses and experiences in the movements against mass incarceration and state repression. If you support our work, please join us.

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Kevin "Rashid" Johnson Packed Off to Florida!

Rashid: I'm off to Florida and a new phase of reprisals for publicizing abuses in US prisons

July 14, 2017

Readers are urged to share this story widely and write to Rashid right away; mail equals support, and the more he gets, the safer he'll be: Kevin Johnson, O-158039, RMC, P.O. Box 628, Lake Butler FL 32054

by Kevin 'Rashid' Johnson


Packed off to Florida

Following Texas prison officials planting a weapon in my cell on March 26, 2017, then stealing most of my personal property on April 6, 2017, in an ongoing pattern of retaliation for and attempts to repress my writing and involvement in litigation exposing and challenging abuses in Texas prisons, including their killing prisoners, I was unceremoniously packed off to the Florida Department of Corrections (FDC) on June 22, 2017.

This transfer came as outside protests mounted against the abuses, and Texas officials became more and more entangled in a growing web of their own lies invented in their efforts to cover up and deny their reprisals against me, and also while a contempt investigation was imminent upon a motion I filed in a federal lawsuit brought by relatives of one of the prisoners they'd killed – a killing I'd witnessed and publicized.

Florida, notorious for its own extremely abusive prisons, readily signed on to take up Texas's slack. And being an openly corrupt system unaccustomed to concealing its dirt, FDC officials shot straight from the hip in expressing and carrying on efforts to repress and act out reprisals for my exposing and challenging prison abuses.

The Welcoming Committee

Following a four-hour flight from Texas to Florida, I was driven in a sweltering prison van from an airport just outside Jacksonville, Florida, to the FDC's Reception and Medical Center (RMC) in Lake Butler, Florida. I was forced to leave most all my personal property behind in Texas.

Upon reaching RMC, I was brought from the van, manacled hand and foot into an enclosed vehicle port, where I was met by a mob of white guards of all ranks. I was ordered to stand in a pair of painted yellow footprints on a concrete platform as the guards crowded around me.

I was ordered to stand in a pair of painted yellow footprints on a concrete platform as the guards crowded around me. "This is Florida, and we'll beat your ass! We'll kill you!" said the spokesman.

Their "chosen" spokesman, a tall goofy guard, R. Knight, stepped forward and launched into a speech consisting of threats and insults. He emphasized that I was "not in Virginia or wherever else" I'd been. That "this is Florida, and we'll beat your ass! We'll kill you!" He assured my "Black ass" that my tendency to protest "won't be tolerated here."

He went on and on, like an overseer explaining the plantation's code of decorum and the "place" to a newly arrived Black slave. The analogy is apt. "You will answer us only as 'no sir' and 'yes sir,' 'no ma'am' and 'yes ma'am.' You forget this and we'll kick your fucking teeth out," he barked.

I was then taken through the various stages of being "processed" in: fingerprinted, examined and questioned by medical staff etc. Knight took possession of my property and stole a number of documents and all my writing supplies (five writing tablets, four ink pens, 19 envelopes, stamps), all my hygiene supplies (deodorant, shampoo, two bars of soap, toothbrush, toothpaste, nail clippers) and so on.

All these items that I brought with me from Texas were inventoried and logged by Texas officials. Knight logged and inventoried me as receiving from him only my watch, some legal papers, 15 envelopes and my eyeglasses.

Next, I was taken into an office and sat before a Sgt. L. Colon, RMC's "gang (or STG, Security Threat Group) investigator." He proceeded in the same hostile terms. He explained that he knew all about me and his displeasure with my published articles about prison abuses, and he assured that FDC would put an end to it. He admitted his purpose was to put an STG profile on me, refer it to FDC's central office in Tallahassee to be upheld, and I would then be put on STG file, which in turn would be used to stop my writings.

He proceeded to ask about me being a "Black Panther leader" and, using a thoroughly amateur interrogation method, attempted to have me characterize myself and my party as a gang. When his efforts failed, he charged me with being a "bullshitter." I told him only that I am a member of a constitutionally protected, non-violent communist party and whatever false stigma he wanted to try and invent against me and us was typical of fascist governments and we'd address it publicly and in court. Our "interview" was terminated.

Another nurse did my medical history check, remarking that my blood pressure reading was extremely high, 145/103. Although she had all my medications sitting there in front of her, and I told her I had not received my dose that day, she refused to provide them and did nothing.

Upon arriving in Florida, I had not received my hypertension medications since the prior morning. The sweltering heat was aggravating my condition. During the intake process a routine blood pressure check was done and my reading was around 145/103. The nurse who did the reading passed me on to another nurse who did my medical history check, remarking that my reading was extremely high. Although she had all my medications sitting there in front of her, and I told her I had not received my dose that day, she refused to provide them and did nothing.

Barbaric housing

Following completing the intake process, I was walked a substantial distance across the prison yard carrying my bag of property in handcuffs and the sweltering midday heat, dizzy from my elevated blood pressure.

I was led to K-building, the solitary confinement unit, where I was put into a cell, K-3-102, which had no bunk in it and had a commode that had to be flushed by guards from outside the cell – often they would not flush it when it needed to be and I asked them to. The commode had otherwise been obviously left unflushed for long periods, because inside the bowl was and is a thick, yellowed layer of calcium and waste residue and it reeked of fermented urine and feces.

Just before I entered the cell, it was wet-mopped, not to sanitize it, but to cover the entire floor with water that would not, and did not, dry for over a day afterward due to the extreme humidity and lack of air circulation in the cells. There is no air conditioning in the cell blocks and, unlike in Texas, FDC prisoners may not have in-cell fans.

My cell was infested with ants which would find their way into my bed as I slept on the floor. I received numerous bites from them and I believe also roaches that frequently crawled into the cell. At night, in the pitch black cells – and even when the lights were on – mice and huge, two-inch-long cockroaches, along with the "regular" smaller breed of roaches, ran into and explored the cell.

My cell was infested with ants which would find their way into my bed as I slept on the floor. I received numerous bites from them. At night, even when the lights were on, mice and huge, two-inch-long cockroaches, along with the "regular" smaller breed of roaches, ran into and explored the cell.

The K-building lieutenant, Jason Livingston, posted a special note outside my cell door stating I was on a heightened security status, that I and the cell were to be specially searched any time I exited or entered the cell, that I was to be specially restrained and the ranking guards had to accompany me to and from any destination outside the cell. The pretense was that I was an extreme physical threat.

I was denied my hypertension medications until I briefly fell unconscious on the evening of June 24, 2017.

Following sending word out to an attorney and others about my conditions and experiences, who apparently raised complaints on my behalf, I was moved to a "regular" cell, K-1-204, on June 30, 2017, with a bunk and a commode I can flush. I was repeatedly confronted by various guards who've commented that I'm no dangerous person and they don't understand why I've been profiled or treated as though I am.

A week later FDC officials would come clean, exposing on the record their actual motives for my mistreatment, and "special" security status.

Solitary confinement for publicizing abuses

My readers and others will recall when, in January 2017, I was given a disciplinary infraction by Texas officials for a statement I wrote about suffering their abuses that was published online. When confronted about such retaliatory acts by a PBS reporter, Ms. Kamala Kelkar, TDCJ spokesman Jason Clark initially lied, denying that I received any such infractions, until Ms. Kelkar emailed him a copy of the charge I'd received. He then suddenly changed his story, lying yet again to claim the infraction had been overturned, then declined to answer any further questions.[i]

Clark knew enough to deny and try to cover up such acts of retaliation against a prisoner exercising his right to freedom of speech. Florida officials, however, have come right out admitting and exposing such actions.[ii]

On July 6, 2017, I was confronted by RMC classification officer Jeremy Brown, who notified me that I am to be formally reviewed for placement on Close Management I status, which is the FDC's name for solitary confinement. The reason he gave for this review was the exact STG pretext Sgt. L. Colon told me on my first day was going to be created to justify suppressing my writings about prison abuses.

Brown served me written notification stating my CMI review was based upon my alleged "documented leadership in a Security Threat Group that is certified by the Threat Assessment Review Committee in Central Office." Remember, this is the very same illegal basis upon which California prison officials were indefinitely throwing prisoners in solitary confinement which prompted three historic mass prisoner hunger strikes in 2011 and 2013 and was abolished upon the settlement of a class action lawsuit against the practice in 2015.

My assignment to solitary confinement is for "documented leadership in a Security Threat Group" … This is the very same illegal basis upon which California prison officials were indefinitely throwing prisoners in solitary confinement which prompted three historic mass prisoner hunger strikes in 2011 and 2013 and was abolished upon the settlement of a class action lawsuit against the practice in 2015.

But FDC officials went much further in supporting "comments" to state their true motives for devising to put me in solitary and for my mistreatment up to that point.

As Colon had threatened, an STG label was invented against the New Afrikan Black Panther Party, a party about which Colon admitted he and the FDC had no prior knowledge. The reason the party was designated an STG and gang was because (get this!) I'd written articles while in Oregon and Texas prison systems that were published online about abuses in the prisons which generated concern and perfectly legal protests from the public, which was characterized as my gang following that "caused disruption in the orderly operations" of the prisons.

The notice went on to admit, as I've long contended in my writings, that these writings are the actual reason I've been transferred from state to state – illegal retaliatory transfers – which was characterized as STG activities.

Passing mention was made that I'd received disciplinary infractions while in Oregon and Texas, but no attempt was made to show those infractions bore any connection to my party affiliation. In fact, those who have followed my writings and the series of official reprisals – which is now being admitted by FDC officials – know those infractions were fabricated retaliations, many of which I was prevented from contesting.

So, according to FDC officials, I am a confirmed gang leader because I publicize prison abuses through articles that are posted online and my gang members and followers are members of the public who read my articles and make complaints and inquiries of officials, which acts are characterized as presenting disruptions to prison operations – or in other words throwing a monkey wrench in their business-as-usual abuses.

According to FDC officials, I am a confirmed gang leader because I publicize prison abuses through articles that are posted online and my gang members and followers are members of the public who read my articles and make complaints and inquiries of officials, which acts are characterized as presenting disruptions to prison operations.

For this I am to be thrown into solitary, which means any future posting and publishing of writings by me about prison abuses will be characterized as my continuing to engage in STG or gang activities, and any legal public protests as my gang members threatening prison security.

I didn't make this up, it's all in writing; read it HERE (scroll down to "SUPPORTING DOCUMENTS"). This is where taxpayers' monies are going in financing these ubiquitous gang busting units. And should you protest, you will be labelled a gangster yourself. I won't belabor the point.

Dare to struggle, Dare to win!

All Power to the People!

[i] Kamala Kelkar, "Resistence Builds Against Social Media Ban in Texas Prisons," PBS NewsHour Weekend, Jan. 29, 2017, 5:23 p.m. EST

Send our brother some love and light – and share this urgent story widely. The more people who write to him now, the safer he'll be: Kevin Johnson, O-158039, RMC, 7765 S. Cr. 231, P.O. Box 628, Lake Butler FL 32054.











Defying the Tomb: Selected Prison Writings and Art of Kevin "Rashid" Johnson featuring exchanges with an Outlaw Kindle Edition

by Kevin Rashid Johnson (Author), Tom Big Warrior (Introduction), Russell Maroon Shoatz(Introduction)



Major Battles On

For over 31 years, Major Tillery has been a prisoner of the State.

Despite that extraordinary fact, he continues his battles, both in the prison for his health, and in the courts for his freedom.

Several weeks ago, Tillery filed a direct challenge to his criminal conviction, by arguing that a so-called "secret witness" was, in fact, a paid police informant who was given a get-out-of-jail-free card if he testified against Tillery.

Remember I mentioned, "paid?"

Well, yes--the witness was 'paid'--but not in dollars. He was paid in sex!

In the spring of 1984, Robert Mickens was facing decades in prison on rape and robbery charges. After he testified against Tillery, however, his 25-year sentence became 5 years: probation!

And before he testified he was given an hour and a ½ private visit with his girlfriend--at the Homicide Squad room at the Police Roundhouse. (Another such witness was given another sweetheart deal--lie on Major, and get off!)

To a prisoner, some things are more important than money. Like sex!

In a verified document written in April, 2016, Mickens declares that he lied at trial, after being coached by the DAs and detectives on the case.

He lied to get out of jail--and because he could get with his girl.

Other men have done more for less.

Major's 58-page Petition is a time machine back into a practice that was once common in Philadelphia.

In the 1980s and '90s, the Police Roundhouse had become a whorehouse.

Major, now facing serious health challenges from his hepatitis C infection, stubborn skin rashes, and dangerous intestinal disorders, is still battling.

And the fight ain't over.

[©'16 MAJ  6/29/16]

Major Tillery Needs Your Help and Support

Major Tillery is an innocent man. There was no evidence against Major Tillery for the 1976 poolroom shootings that left one man dead and another wounded. The surviving victim gave a statement to homicide detectives naming others—not Tillery or his co-defendant—as the shooters. Major wasn't charged until 1980, he was tried in 1985.

The only evidence at trial came from these jailhouse informants who were given sexual favors and plea deals for dozens of pending felonies for lying against Major Tillery. Both witnesses now declare their testimony was manufactured by the police and prosecution. Neither witness had personal knowledge of the shooting.

This is a case of prosecutorial misconduct and police corruption that goes to the deepest levels of rot in the Philadelphia criminal injustice system. Major Tillery deserves not just a new trial, but dismissal of the charges against him and his freedom from prison.

It cost a lot of money for Major Tillery to be able to file his new pro se PCRA petition and continue investigation to get more evidence of the state misconduct. He needs help to get lawyers to make sure this case is not ignored. Please contribute, now.


    Financial Support: Tillery's investigation is ongoing, to get this case filed has been costly and he needs funds for a legal team to fight this to his freedom!

    Go to JPay.com;

    code: Major Tillery AM9786 PADOC

    Tell Philadelphia District Attorney

    Seth Williams:

    Free Major Tillery! He is an innocent man, framed by police and and prosecution.

    Call: 215-686-8711 or

    Write to:

    Major Tillery AM9786

    SCI Frackville

    1111 Altamont Blvd.

    Frackville, PA 17931

      For More Information, Go To: Justice4MajorTillery/blogspot


      Rachel Wolkenstein, Esq. (917) 689-4009RachelWolkenstein@gmail.com



      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.

      In solidarity,

      James Clark
      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












        1)  U.S. Appeals Court Upholds Nondisclosure Rules for Surveillance Orders

         JULY 17, 2017, 1:48 P.M. E.D.T


        WASHINGTON — A U.S. federal appeals court on Monday upheld nondisclosure rules that allow the FBI to secretly issue surveillance orders for customer data to communications firms, a ruling that dealt a blow to privacy advocates.

        A unanimous three-judge panel on the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco sided with a lower court ruling in finding that rules permitting the FBI to send national security letters under gag orders are appropriate and do not violate the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution's free speech protections.

        Content distribution firm CloudFlare and phone network operator CREDO Mobile had sued the government in order to notify customers of five national security letters received between 2011 and 2013.

        Andrew Crocker, an attorney for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which represented the companies in the consolidated case, said no immediate decision whether to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court had been made. He called the ruling disappointing.

        Several major technology firms, including Microsoft and Twitter, have mounted a variety of legal challenges in recent years to U.S. government restrictions limiting what they can disclose, both to affected users and to the public, about the surveillance requests they receive.

        National security letters, or NSLs, are a type of government subpoena for communications data sent to service providers. They are usually issued with a gag order, meaning the target is often unaware that records are being accessed, and they do not require a warrant.

        Tens of thousands of NSLs are issued annually, and some gag orders last indefinitely.

        Writing for the panel, Judge Sandra Ikuta said the gag orders meet a compelling U.S. government interest, are sufficiently narrow and allow for appropriate judicial review.

        Ikuta, appointed by former Republican President George W. Bush, said recent changes to the law passed by Congress in 2015 bolstered oversight of NSL use.

        The FBI's use of NSLs has drawn increased scrutiny from privacy groups in recent years as new transparency laws have allowed companies to publish some of them.

        In June of last year the U.S. Senate narrowly rejected a Republican-backed proposal to expand the kinds of telephone and internet records the FBI could request under an NSL to include senders and recipients of emails, some information about websites a person visits and social media log-in data.

        The legislation failed, but lawmakers have said they intend to pursue the expansion again.

        (Reporting by Dustin Volz; Editing by David Gregorio)



        2) Seattle insists it's a model for progressive policing – so why was Charleena Lyles killed?

        On 18 June, two white police officers shot dead a black pregnant mother of four, in a city where, family members say, police are 'trained to kill'

        "In Washington, police are never convicted. Out of 213 police killings in a 10-year-period, only one officer was even charged, according to a Seattle Times investigation"

        By Sam Levin, July 17, 2017


        Police were quick to respond to Charleena Lyles's call about a burglary in her apartment. Less than an hour after she dialed 911 on the morning of 18 June, she opened her door to two Seattle officers and explained that her Xbox went missing after a trip to the store.

        Two minutes and 35 seconds later, the pregnant mother of four was lying on the floor, face-down, bleeding from gunshot wounds. Her one-year-old son crawled to her and rested his head on her body.

        The policemen, who are both white, had fired bullets at Lyles from about 5ft away. They immediately scrambled to get the baby and two other children out of the apartment, but it was impossible to prevent them from seeing their mother, who died by the time the ambulance arrived.

        The killing of Lyles – who police claim threatened the officers with a knife and may have been mentally ill – has reignited national criticism of racially biased policing in the US and law enforcement's disproportionate shooting of black Americans. Once again.

        But this time, the shooting has taken place in a progressive city whose leaders insist that they have created a model for de-escalation and crisis intervention training that departments across the country have followed.

        "I don't think there's anyone who is doing it better than us," said Sgt Dan Nelson, Seattle police's crisis intervention team coordinator.

        That claim is particularly painful for Lyles's grieving relatives. To them, the case is a litany of all-too-familiar injustices: disregard for those with mental health challenges; the use of excessive force against communities of color; and a state legal system that makes it impossible to prosecute officers who kill civilians.

        At a memorial service one week ago – packed with Lyles's family and hundreds of other mourners – some said they were holding on to hope that the shooting was so disturbing and indefensible that it would be the catalyst for meaningful reforms.

        The police feel they have this special immunity. They don't want to be responsible or accountable

        André Taylor, activist

        A victim treated like a suspect

        Charleena Lyles, 30, known by her loved ones as Leena, was about 15 weeks pregnant when she was killed. The day after the funeral, her siblings and cousins briefly laughed through their grief at the absurdity of two policemen feeling physically endangered by her. 

        She was feisty and outspoken, they said, but at 5ft 3in and 100lbs, she was not intimidating or menacing – and certainly not some kind of skilled knife-thrower as police seemed to fear.

        "She's not a threatening person at all," said Monika Williams, her 37-year-old sister. "She was just one of those people who lit up the room."

        Her relatives said she was known as one of the most energetic people in the family and loved dancing, styling her cousins' hair and writing poetry about her loved ones. Above all, they said, she was dedicated to her four children.

        "I truly admired her as a mother and I just admired her drive," said Shaneé Isabell, a cousin who grew up alongside her. "She was very courageous and dependable, and she was very loyal."

        Seattle officers saw something very different in Lyles. The day of her death was not the first time she had called police for help and was instead treated like a suspect.

        On 5 June, Lyles called police after an ex-boyfriend showed up to her apartment unannounced, according to her family. Officers arrived to investigate a "physical domestic disturbance", but instead of approaching her like a potential domestic violence victim, the police quickly had their service pistols drawn, records show. They felt threatened, the officers later said, because Lyles was holding a pair of scissors.

        They arrested her for "harassment", alleging she "repeatedly used words and actions to create a substantial risk of assault".

        A police report on that day said that Lyles seemed "out of touch with reality" and had made statements about police being the devil. But any struggle Lyles was having with her mental health was only further exacerbated by spending the next eight days behind bars, away from her children, her family said.

        Four days after her release, on 18 June, two different officers prepared to investigate her burglary call, reviewing Lyles's previous incident which noted that they should approach her with caution.

        "She started talking all crazy," officer Jason Anderson told the other officer, Steven McNew, according to released audio recordings. "This gal, she was the one making all these weird statements."

        When they arrived at her door, Lyles answered a few questions and the officers, in later interviews with investigators, said that everything seemed normal to them, though they both said they noticed her home was messy.

        Within a few minutes, they realized she had a knife in her hand, and said in their official account that they feared she could try and stab them or throw it at them. McNew, 6ft 2in and 250lbs, later noted that he is "a little larger" than Lyles, but said he feared for his life nonetheless.

        Anderson and McNew screamed at her to get back, and at one point she complied. They briefly discussed tasering her, but they didn't have one on them. Within about 12 seconds of them noticing the knife, they both fired multiple rounds at her. 

        Neither officer ever ordered her to drop the knife. 

        'The training is to kill'

        Deep distrust of police is embedded in the family, said Williams, Lyles's sister. "I can honestly say I would fear the police, even before this, more than I would fear a gang member. At least a gang member, you'd have to do something to them for them to want to do something to you."

        When Williams's four-year-old daughter sees an officer, she always asks: "Are you going to shoot my dad?"

        Lyles's relatives all had stories – unjustified tickets, unwarranted stops, threatening physical contact.

        Nakeya Isabell, Lyles's cousin, said this was standard police behavior in Seattle's African American communities: "They train your mind to fear people, specifically black people."

        "It's a system founded on racism ... All the training is to kill." 

        Later, she elaborated that while some training is geared toward non-lethal tactics, she believes police would have less fear if they developed better relationships with communities of color.

        Angel Johnson, another cousin, chimed in: "They are hunting us. It's like target practice."

        The US Department of Justice (DoJ) validated these kinds of complaints in 2011 when it concluded that the Seattle police department was engaged in an unconstitutional pattern of excessive use of force. The investigation originatedwith the 2010 police killing of a First Nations woodcarver who had trouble hearing and was ordered to drop his knife while walking down the street.

        The DoJ inquiry resulted in a consent decree that required the agency to make significant reforms under the watch of a federal monitor.

        (These kinds of court-enforced reforms are now under threat by US attorney general Jeff Sessions, who has ordered a review of consent decrees, arguing that the DoJ has gone too far in its interference with local policing.)

        Seattle is proud of the progress it has made, Brian Maxey, chief operating officer, said in an interview at police headquarters. From 2011 to 2016, the department's use of force has dropped 60%, and last year, out of 9,300 cases of encountering people in crisis, officers applied force only 1.6% of the time.

        "We rarely use force and when we do, it appears to be appropriate," he said, adding that he believes the agency has aggressively tackled racial profiling and bias.

        Crisis intervention trainings emphasize de-escalation tactics – finding ways to slow down the situation, isolate suspects so they can't harm others and use non-lethal force to disarm them. Even officers with minimal training are well equipped to respond to people facing mental health crises, said Nelson, the crisis intervention coordinator.

        "They have a pretty deep level of understanding," he said, adding, "We definitely are national leaders in our training."

        Maxey and Nelson said they couldn't comment on the Lyles shooting while the investigation was pending, but they both noted that, in general, knives are considered lethal instruments and there are times when officers have to respond with deadly force.

        'Accountable to nobody'

        The officers who killed Lyles had both done the required crisis intervention training.

        Anderson later admitted he was supposed to be carrying a Taser, but that his battery recently died and he hadn't replaced it.

        Seated inside his seventh-floor office in city hall, Seattle mayor Ed Murray called Lyles's death a "tragedy" and "huge setback" for the city. "Seattle's story, I think, is significant progress, but we're not there yet ... The question is what failed with their training."

        Katrina Johnson, Lyles's cousin, scoffed at the idea that the department had improved, noting that the medical examiner's office told her that Lyles had two bullet wounds in her back: "They de-escalate who they want to de-escalate."

        No matter what evidence emerges, the officers are very unlikely to face any criminal consequences in Washington, which is by some measures the hardest place in America to hold police accountable.

        In 1986, the state passed legislation saying officers cannot face prosecution for killing someone in the line of duty unless they acted with "malice" and "evil intent".

        The law is the most restrictive in the US, where it is generally very difficultto convict officers who kill, since they can broadly cite self defense. Despite video evidence, officers across the country have avoided criminal consequences in most high profile killings in recent years, including the deaths of Philando CastileAlton Sterlingand Tamir Rice

        In Washington, police are never convicted. Out of 213 police killings in a 10-year-period, only one officer was even charged, according to a Seattle Times investigation.

        "It's the worst law in the nation," said André Taylor, a police reform activist whose brother was killed by police last year. "It can embolden officers. They feel they have this special immunity. They don't want to be responsible or accountable to nobody."

        Taylor, who has been assisting Lyles's family, is chairing a campaign to pass a ballot measure that would remove the "malice" language.

        Without criminal consequences, activists have argued, the killings will continue. Under the current laws, Taylor argued, the easiest way to get away with murder in Washington state is to put on a police uniform.

        Life without their mother

        Lyles's oldest children have avoided talking much about their mother's death. Her 11-year-old son and 12-year-old daughter are aware of some of the marches and protests in her honor, but they've struggled to process the events, said Francis Butts, their grandmother, who is taking care of them. 

        "I've just been keeping them busy," she said, seated in the basement of a Seattle church where the family was preparing a reception after the funeral. "They just seem normal, but you can look in their eyes and you can see the hurt and pain."

        Lyles's four-year-old and one-year-old, who were crawling nearby when their mother died, don't seem to understand what happened. But Lyles's family fears long term impacts for the toddlers, who are now living with one of her sisters.

        "They are going to have secondary trauma for the rest of their lives," said Katrina, one of the cousins.

        Nakeya noted that the children were frightened by loud noises at the funeral and could be suffering from some kind of post-traumatic stress. "These are two babies who can't communicate. What are they going to do? We can't bring their mother back."

        Shaneé said there was at least one clear lesson she took away from her cousin's death: she would never call the police again.



        3)  Driving While Undocumented, and Facing the Risks

         JULY 18, 2017




        Heading to church one evening in late March, a farmworker and her sister were stopped for speeding in the village of Geneseo, N.Y. They were driving with their five children in the back of the minivan. Two were not in car seats, as required.

        The police officer, trying to cite the driver for the infractions, discovered she had no driver's license, so he called Border Patrol to review her Guatemalan passport. Both sisters were undocumented immigrants. They were detained and are facing deportation.

        Under a Trump administration that has taken an aggressive stance on illegal immigration, the moving car has become an easy target. A broken headlight, a seatbelt not worn, a child not in a car seat may be minor traffic violations, but for unauthorized immigrants, they can have life-altering consequences.

        Routine traffic stops have always carried the threat of deportation, but during the last years of the Obama administration, when serious crimes were prioritized, the stops that simply revealed unlawful status often resulted in deferment. No longer.

        Rachael Yong Yow, a spokeswoman for Immigration and Customs Enforcement, said it did not keep statistics on traffic stops that have led to detention, but over the last several months, there has been an increasing number of reports of traffic stops, whether in upstate New York, Florida or Minnesota, in which drivers have been taken into ICE custody. Even passengers have been detained and face deportation.

        "If there was a valid licensed driver driving the vehicle," the Geneseo police chief, Eric Osganian, said in a statement after the two sisters were pulled over, "there would have been no need to call Border Patrol to confirm the ID of the driver."

        As many as 12 states, along with the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, offer driver's licenses for unauthorized immigrants, up from three in 2010. New York, which has the third-largest immigrant population in the country, is not one of them.

        In large sections of the United States, unauthorized immigrants drive without a license anyway — to work, to shop or to take their children to school or other activities. Carlos Cardona, 28, who works on a dairy farm outside of Rochester, said he had no choice the night his infant daughter's fever spiked. He drove to get her medicine. "I know we are in another country that is not our own, and I don't like breaking the law," he said in an interview in Spanish, "but when it comes to my family, I have to take risks."

        Luis Jimenez, 33, another dairy worker who said that he drove without a license, said: "We are workers. We are not here to harm anybody. We need things to advance."

        Supporters of efforts to allow those who are undocumented to get driver's licenses say that public safety would improve because they would be required to pass road tests and obtain insurance. But critics said that licenses represented a privilege that unauthorized immigrants should not hold, because they should not be here in the first place.

        Outside of Rochester, Tony Bartolucci, a pastor, and his daughter were struck by an unlicensed, undocumented driver on their way to buying a Christmas tree on Christmas Eve in 2015. His daughter, Giana, 14, died six months later after brain surgery.

        "It was the second time that he was caught in the country illegally," Mr. Bartolucci said. "And both times were due to his being drunk while driving. Obviously, if he wasn't in the country illegally, it wouldn't have happened either. But I'm not going to make a political point about it."

        He believes in restricting illegal immigration and thinks that giving driver's licenses to people in the country illegally is just "a non sequitur." But at the same time, Mr. Bartolucci said, he has forgiven his daughter's killer.

        While Connecticut and Vermont enacted laws in 2013 that allow noncitizens to obtain licenses, a similar effort in New York has made little progress in more than a decade.

        In 2007, Gov. Eliot Spitzer ordered that unauthorized immigrants be given licenses, but within two months, he was forced to rescind the order under pressure from upstate county clerks — serving as officers of the Department of Motor Vehicles — who refused to enforce it. Bills supporting the idea have been introduced in the State Assembly the last three years, but in June, another legislative session ended without a billfor "limited purpose drivers' licenses" getting out of the transportation committee.

        Advocates for a grass-roots campaign, "Green Light NY: Driving Together," to offer the licenses considered this year's effort a test run for next year. They emphasized the public safety aspect of having noncitizen licenses so that all drivers know the rules of the road and carry insurance.

        Senator Kathleen A. Marchione, a Republican representing the Upper Hudson Valley, was the president of the New York State Association of County Clerks when it opposed Gov. Spitzer's initiative in 2007. She does not understand the argument for giving licenses to those who are undocumented.

        "Driving without a license should not give you a right to have a driver's license when you are already breaking the law in two instances," she said in an interview. "That's like saying if a kid is drinking at 16 years old, we might as well let him."

        Senator Marchione said that the association's main objection in 2007 still stands: that creating a license designated for unauthorized immigrants could enable would-be terrorists to obtain identification. (Some of the Sept. 11 hijackers used state driver's licenses to check in for their flights.)

        The Assembly bill, proposed by a Queens Democrat, Francisco Moya, however, would ensure that the card would not be legal for federal purposes — boarding an airplane or entering federal buildings.

        In New York State, driver's licenses are offered to green card holders with Social Security numbers, and those with temporary visitor or work visas, including recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. Applicants must provide proof of residence and forms of identification that are weighted on a point scale.

        Anne Doebler, a private immigration lawyer in Buffalo, said that undocumented immigrants want to follow traffic laws, and that civil law and immigration law should be kept distinct. "Why do we want to use our vehicle and traffic laws to enforce an immigration policy when it's detrimental to public safety?" she asked.

        "I don't want someone to hit me who doesn't have insurance," she said. "I don't care what their immigration status is."

        recent report out of Stanford University in California, which started issuing drivers' licenses for undocumented residents in 2015, examined the public safety aspect of the law. With 600,000 new licensed drivers who were undocumented in 2015, hit-and-run accidents decreased significantly, by 4,000, from the year before.

        According to a report by the Fiscal Policy Institute, a nonpartisan think tank, more than 752,000 undocumented immigrants would be eligible for driver's licenses in New York State, and of that number, roughly 265,000 would apply. Taxes and fees could assist the annual economy in counties and the state by $57 million, the report showed.

        The Westchester villages of Mamaroneck, Ossining and Port Chester issued resolutions in support of the State Assembly bill earlier this year. So did Ithaca, Hudson and Irvington.

        "We think that people should be able to drive so that they can be productive members of the community, as well as being properly licensed and insured," said Nancy Seligson, the Mamaroneck town supervisor.

        Recently, Alberto, a 32-year-old Mexican man living in Ulster County for the last 11 years, was on his way to visit his sick mother-in-law in Florida when a police officer pulled his car over. His wife had been breast-feeding their infant while the car was moving. That was illegal.

        Alberto, who declined to give his last name because of his immigration status, said in a recent interview that he was arrested that night in Georgia. His car was impounded because he had no license to drive it. He was able to get the car back and plead to lesser charges, he said, but those charges have not yet been reduced. He could still face deportation.

        Back in New York, he continues to drive, always looking over his shoulder. "I have to be perfect," he said.



        4)  After Minneapolis Police Shooting, Many Ask: Why Wasn't Body Camera On?

         JULY 19, 2017




        It has happened in high-profile, fatal police shootings in Chicago, Los Angeles and now in Minneapolis: An officer fired a gun, but his body camera was turned off.

        Body cameras have been rapidly adopted in police departments across the country in recent years, as scrutiny of police conduct has mounted. But officers often fail to turn cameras on at crucial moments, depriving investigators and the public of video evidence that could be revealing.

        The issue emerged again this week after the death of Justine Damond, 40, an Australian immigrant and meditation teacher who was fatally shot by a police officer, Mohamed Noor, outside her home in Minneapolis on Saturday.

        State and city officials have given spare details about what happened that night, and they say they know of no video footage or audio recording of the shooting. Ms. Damond had called 911 to report a possible assault near her home and went outside to the alley, where Officer Matthew Harrity and Officer Noor had arrived and were investigating. Officer Harrity, who was driving the squad car, told state investigators that he was startled by a loud noise near the car; immediately afterward, Ms. Damond approached his window. His partner, Officer Noor, then fired through the open window, fatally shooting Ms. Damond in the abdomen.

        The authorities say that neither Officer Noor nor his partner had their video cameras activated during the shooting. Officer Noor, who declined to be interviewed by investigators, may have violated department policy by not turning his body camera on before firing his weapon. According to the Minneapolis Police Department's policy and procedure manual, body cameras should be activated if the officer is using force. If the camera is not activated during the use of force, the manual says, the officer should turn it on "as soon as it is safe to do so."

        State investigators have said that a camera on the squad car was also not turned on, and that the officers' body cameras were not activated until after the shooting. A lawyer for Officer Noor did not return an email seeking comment.

        "Why don't we have footage from body cameras?" Betsy Hodges, the mayor of Minneapolis, said at a news conference Tuesday evening, visibly frustrated. "Why were they not activated? We all want answers to those questions."

        Around the country, police officers have no standard practice that dictates when a body camera should be turned on, said Jim Bueermann, president of the Police Foundation, a Washington-based nonprofit focused on improving policing. Recording constantly would spare officers from deciding when to turn on their cameras, but it would result in an unwieldy amount of data to be stored, an expensive undertaking for police departments, experts say. Instead, a patchwork of rules governing individual police departments has developed, with some officers required to turn on their cameras during every interaction with a civilian, and others required to activate cameras on a more limited basis.

        "Part of what's happening in policing around body camera video policy is, there's no national coherence," Mr. Bueermann said. "The policy has to be clear. And you have to have an auditing system that helps you determine if the policy is working."

        In Minneapolis, the use of body cameras has been fiercely debated. Critics say that the Police Department was slow to adopt cameras, and that it still does not require officers to use them frequently enough.

        Last week, days before Ms. Damond's shooting, a Minneapolis television station, using a snapshot of data from March, reported that body camera usage in the Minneapolis Police Department appeared to be minimal. Records showed that on average, officers each uploaded five or six hours of video footage for the entire month.

        In Ms. Damond's case, the lack of body camera footage is concerning, said Teresa Nelson, the interim executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Minnesota.

        "Body cameras aren't perfect, and they're only going to capture from the officer's perspective," she said. "But we would know, certainly, perhaps any commands that were given prior to the use of force. We would know, perhaps, the reason why force happened. We would know if this was an accident. The officer who shot might have commented, 'I can't believe I just did that.' We would know so much more about why this happened."

        The shooting in Minneapolis was unusual in several ways. It took place in a neighborhood in the southwest part of the city that has little violent crime. Ms. Damond had moved to Minnesota from Sydney, Australia, a few years ago, and she was fatally wounded by a police officer of Somali descent, one of only a small number of officers with similar backgrounds in the Minneapolis department.

        After the shooting, three days went by without an explanation from officials. Ms. Damond's grieving family and friends demanded an answer: What reason could Officer Noor have had for shooting her?

        "It sounds like a really tragic situation right on the surface," said Darrel W. Stephens, executive director of the Major Cities Chiefs Association and an instructor for the Public Safety Leadership program of the School of Education at Johns Hopkins University. "But we know virtually nothing from the officer's perspective on what they encountered. Body camera footage would help."

        The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, a state agency, is investigating the shooting. It is likely to take weeks or months before the county prosecutor decides whether to file criminal charges against Officer Noor, 31, who joined the police force in 2015.

        Last year, the Minneapolis Police Department equipped its officers with close to 600 body cameras across all five districts, excluding detectives and undercover officers.

        A citizens group, the Police Conduct Oversight Commission, has pushed the department for more oversight of how officers are using the cameras. The group has urged monthly audits to determine how often officers are turning on the cameras. So far, said Jenny Singleton, the vice chairwoman of the group, the recommendations have been ignored.

        "I had no evidence about how they were using the body cameras, but I know that there weren't specific structures in place to make sure they were using the cameras in accordance with policy," Ms. Singleton said.

        Medaria Arradondo, assistant chief of the Minneapolis Police Department, said on Tuesday that department officials will soon release an updated policy. Among the updates expected: changes to when officers are required to turn their body cameras on.



        5)  City Expands Services as More Become Homeless, Even With a Job

         JULY 19, 2017




        Between intermittent drizzle and drenching downpours, social workers climbed an embankment just off what they called the "zigzag" — an entanglement of roads and exits from the Henry Hudson Parkway and Riverside Drive in northern Manhattan.

        They were looking for a crudely built wooden loft bed wedged into concrete so that it was suspended above the ground and three feet or so beneath Riverside Drive.

        Kyle Stefano, one of the workers, shined a flashlight and woke the man who had slept through the rumbling traffic above him. He said that his name was Javier and that he didn't want help. "Wait, wait," he shouted from the darkness on Friday morning. "What time is it? I have to go to work."

        The problem of homelessness in New York City now includes more able-bodied people who sometimes have jobs but shun the overcrowded shelters. To address the change, the city is expanding its services to help those who recently began living on the street.

        An annual survey in February found that about 3,900 people were living on sidewalks, in subways, in parks and in isolated areas, like the embankment. The tally was an alarming 40 percent increase from 2016. Though mild winter weather was cited as a factor, Steven Banks, the commissioner of social services, said the survey gave a more accurate picture of what social workers had been reporting.

        As part of a new approach, the Center for Urban Community Services, a nonprofit, will announce this week that under a $33 million contract with the city, it will lead a consortium to reduce street homelessness in Manhattan. Other nonprofits handle the city's other boroughs, but Manhattan was the clear epicenter of the surge, according to the survey.

        Tony Hannigan, the executive director of the Center for Urban Community Services, said the contract required the consortium to broaden its scope and its definition of homelessness. For a decade, the nonprofits focused on chronically homeless people, defined as living unsheltered for nine months or more and having physical or developmental disabilities, substance abuse problems or mental health issues. The providers are now being asked to help newly homeless or short-term homeless people, including panhandlers.

        "The economy has improved but not necessarily for people on the very bottom," Mr. Hannigan said.

        Mayor Bill de Blasio recently upset some homeless people and advocates with off-the-cuff remarks that included calling people begging for money on the street charlatans pretending to be homeless.

        But his remarks reflected a new effort by the Department of Homeless Services to better understand who is panhandling, why they are begging and how the city can help them get off the streets. "We want to dig more deeply to what their needs are," Mr. Banks said.

        One of their needs is to simply have somewhere to go. The city has six drop-in centers, where people can shower and get meals and services. Two more are scheduled to open by the end of the year, including one on 14th Street in Manhattan, Mr. Banks said.

        On Tuesday, Mr. Banks toured a new center in Ozone Park, Queens, operated by Breaking Ground, which is part of the consortium.

        Once home to a coffee roaster, the unassuming building still smells of coffee beans, but is filled with computers and has a new kitchen. Abdul Hasan, 38, who said he became homeless three months ago after a dispute with his family over his sexuality and drinking, said he was now getting three meals a day there instead of hanging out in nearby Forest Park.

        Mr. Hasan said he lived in a shelter in East New York for two months until he was attacked by other residents. He said he quit his job as a cashier at a restaurant at Kennedy Airport after he was unable to maintain his hygiene. Told about the drop-in center, Mr. Hasan said social workers have helped him apply for unemployment benefits and get a mailing address and a library card.

        "It's way better than the street," he said. "I could have been sitting on a bench."

        The city has a list of 2,000 names of people who live on the street, Mr. Banks said. That is far from the survey's estimate of 3,900 people, but Mr. Banks said it was a start to building the trust needed to get people into shelter. It takes an average of five months to establish trust and get people indoors, according to the Homeless Services Department.

        On Friday as she left the embankment, Ms. Stefano suspected that Javier was a fake name. She and Eric Wilson, a case manager, ticked off nicknames they have been given: Daddy-O, Animal, Tasty, Tow Truck, Charlie Tuna, Mr. Nature, Dirty Harry and Juice.

        "Some folks have given up on the shelters," Mr. Wilson said. "The more crowded the shelters get, it trickles to the street."

        Mr. Wilson and Ms. Stefano found several people living under an overpass in Highbridge Park in Washington Heights in Manhattan. Meticulously decorated, the encampment of half a dozen people looked like the showroom of a furniture store, complete with a comfy red velour armchair.

        In Harlem, Ms. Stefano and Mr. Wilson talked to Mohammad Daka, an immigrant from Ivory Coast, who was living in a tent he had fashioned out of a blue tarp, a black shower curtain and cardboard boxes.

        Mr. Daka and others on the street could be moved by city officials as a nuisance, though the city now gives some notice. Earlier this year, the city settled a lawsuit filed on behalf of three homeless men whose belongings, including birth certificates, were destroyed in a removal.

        Mr. Daka was willing to take the risk. He said he could not deal with the curfews and rules of the shelters.

        On a bad day, there are about 60,000 people in the city's main shelter system. Earlier this year, Mr. de Blasio unveiled a plan to open about 90 new shelters aimed at replacing the apartments and hotel rooms currently being used as stopgap measures for a system too small to meet the demand.

        High-profile crimes inside shelters, including the murder of a former librarian in January 2016, keep people away.

        Aware of the reputation, the city is increasing the number of so-called safe haven beds. The beds are generally in smaller settings and in churches and do not have the same restrictions, like curfews. In the past 18 months, the city has added 350 safe haven beds and plans to add 360 by the end of the year, when it with have a total of 1,100.

        Israel Gonzalez, 47, moved into a safe haven about nine months ago after becoming homeless about eight years ago. "When they told me they were going to house me, I said, 'Aww, I've heard that one before,' " he said.

        But in three weeks, he was in the Center for Urban Community Services safe haven in Harlem, which has 40 beds and is adding 20 more.

        Mr. Gonzalez said he was grateful to be off 126th Street and Third Avenue where he had made his home outdoors. He preferred it to the shelters. "In the winter, shelters get extra, extra packed," he said.

        He said opening more shelters and safe havens was noble of the city. "But I don't think more shelters would work," he said. "More permanent housing is the solution."

        That is the solution the city would like, too, Mr. Banks said.



        6)  Public Defender: Body Camera Shows Cop Planting Drugs 

        While charges were dropped against the suspect, former Baltimore cops say the case should highlight the need to end prohibition


        Public Defender: Body Camera Shows Cop Planting DrugsStephen Janis: This is Stephen Janis reporting for The Real News Network in Baltimore City, Maryland. Another cop under suspicion. This time a video showing him planting drugs. 

        Deborah Levi : What we see on the video, if you slow down in the first five seconds, an officer appearing to place a red can under some garbage. Then, all three officers who are in the video walk away. They turn the body camera on. As you can see, when a body camera is activated it sort of bounces back 30 seconds without audio. 

        Richard Pinheiro: I'm going to go check here.
        Deborah Levi : It then picks up the officers on the sidewalk saying they're going to go look in that same space where it appears he may have placed the can, and then you can hear his two colleagues laughing, and then the officer walks down the alley, digs through the trash where the red can appears to have just been placed, and he retrieves it. 
        Richard Pinheiro: Yo. 
        Stephen Janis: As part of our story, we caught up with the Public Defender who released the video to the public. 
        Deborah Levi : Well, it was Mr. Curran's client, who was a colleague of mine at the office of the Public Defender. It was Mr. Kern who caught this suspected misconduct on the video and alerted the State's Attorney's Office to it. Then, that case after Mr. Curran brought it to the attention of the State's Attorney's Office, that case was dismissed. Mr. Curran received indication from the State's Attorney's Office that something would be done about it. The following week, the State's Attorney's Office prosecuted another case with Officer Pinheiro where no disclosure was made about the video to the defense attorney and nothing had been done. 
        Stephen Janis: Well, this speaks to an issue that you've been fighting for which is disclosure of officers disciplinary records and other information during the trial. Do you think this is another important point of making sure that that happens? 
        Deborah Levi : Our expectation is that when something comes to light, that swift action is taken both by the State's Attorney's Office and by the Baltimore Police Department. In our opinion, if the cases are being prosecuted the following week without any action and without any disclosure, we don't think that was swift enough. We're hoping that everybody rises to the occasion and continues to take these matters as seriously as the Office of the Public Defender does. 
        Stephen Janis: Does the Baltimore Police Department have any credibility in your mind as it represents people who are being charged? 
        Deborah Levi : I have great faith in Commissioner Davis and his deputies, that they are working very hard to turn around a culture that has been allowed to persist for a long time. We are very hopeful that Commissioner Davis will continue to do his job and somehow find a way to focus on the good officers while getting rid of the officers who are not up to the standards for the people of Baltimore City. 
        Stephen Janis: The story appears to be another example the flawed war on drugs. To understand what it means, we spoke to two former Baltimore City police officers who have been critical of it. 
        Michael Wood: We have no empathy. We run around and we treat everybody like they're an enemy combatant. You're going to go out there and you're going to fight crime. Right? Well, if you're fighting, you have to have somebody to fight. What would even happen if there was no crime? What would a cop do? What they do we've been shown is invent it. 
        Neill Franklin: Let's take a page out of history and learn from that. We've experienced the same things from back then. The drive-by shootings, the running gun battles, the corruption. Bad booze was flowing through the streets back then. Now we go bad drugs flowing through the streets today. At every turn, conditions have gotten worse under these problems of prohibition. Everything that we're seeing happening from homicides to corruption to the overdose deaths, it's all occurring under these problems and policies of prohibition. That's what we need to change. If we're really concerned about our young people in the city, understand this. It has been our criminal justice system that has been more detrimental to our families, mainly in the black community than any other policy centered around or surrounding the war on drugs. These numbers, I'll leave you with these. One in 57 according to the NAACP, that's the number of white children have a parent or parents under the control of the criminal justice system. For our black kids, that number is one in nine. One in nine. We're not going to be able to successfully raise our young black children until we balance that out.



        7)  A Warrant to Search Your Vagina

        JULY 21, 2017




        As debate raged around health care and Russia-gate last month, Attorney General Jeff Sessions quietly held a "national summit" of law enforcement representatives to discuss the future of policing.

        Vice President Mike Pence predicted that the summit, which was largely held behind closed doors, would "impact this country for years to come." Its purpose was to influence the recommendations — due out next week — of the Department of Justice Task Force on Crime Reduction and Public Safety, created in response to one of President Trump's executive orders. Drugs featured prominently on the agenda.

        This should come as no surprise. This spring Mr. Sessions instructed federal prosecutors to seek the highest possible sentences in drug cases, and the administration's proposed budget increased spending on the Drug Enforcement Administration by $150 million while cutting funds for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration by $109 million. Mr. Sessions has also signaled his intent to step up enforcement of laws targeting marijuana. All these are in contrast to recent policy shifts reflecting the growing consensus that the aggressive policing of the war on drugs has failed.

        Doubling down on the drug war is likely to result in increased violence, not increased public safety. The damage these policies have done to black communities has been well documented. But less attention has been paid to the ways that women of color specifically are targeted in drug cases and are subject to abuse or assault by police officers.

        From 1980 to 2014, the rate of growth in the number of women in prison outpaced that of men by more than 50 percent (and black women continue to be incarcerated at twice the rate of white women). Women are particularly vulnerable to the drug enforcement tactics acclaimed by Steven H. Cook, the former prosecutor who leads Mr. Sessions's task force: "We made buys from individuals who were lower in the organization. We used the mandatory minimums to pressure them to cooperate."

        As is true in most industries, women are largely relegated to the lower echelons of the drug trade. They have been aggressively prosecuted on the theory that they would lead law enforcement to elusive "drug kingpins." Yet because they had little information to trade, they were often saddled with sentences much longer than those of men higher up in the industry.

        Then there are the police encounters that lead to these sentences, which are often characterized by physical, sexual and sometimes deadly violence.

        The infamous former Oklahoma City police officer Daniel Holtzclaw — convicted in 2015 of 18 counts, including the rape and sexual battery of black women — often ordered women to lift their shirts or open their pants to show him they were not carrying any drugs. In another notorious case, four women arrested on drug-related charges came forward to accuse two Los Angeles police officers of coercing sex from them. Research suggests that drug law enforcement is too often accompanied by such sexual shakedowns, in which women — who may or may not be using, carrying or dealing drugs — are given the choice between performing sexual acts or facing what could be decades in prison.

        A Government Accountability Office report on contraband searches at airports, released in 2000, reflected another form of violation. Black, Asian-American and Hispanic women, it found, were almost three times as likely as men of the same race to be subject to humiliating strip-searches. Black women in particular were more likely than any other group to be X-rayed in addition to being frisked, though they were less likely to be actually carrying drugs. The report also mentioned instances in which travelers were subjected to body cavity searches and monitored bowel movements.

        Such intrusive procedures are not limited to airports. In 2015 Charneshia Corley was pulled out of her car at a gas station after a police officer claimed he smelled marijuana during a traffic stop. Two female officers then forced her legs apart and probed her vagina in full view of passers-by.

        Three years earlier, two other black women, Brandy Hamilton and Alexandria Randle, were also subjected to a roadside cavity search by officers who claimed to have smelled marijuana. These incidents eventually prompted the Texas Legislature to pass a bill banning cavity searches during traffic stops absent a warrant.

        You may now be asking yourself: Can police officers actually get a warrant to search someone's vagina? The answer is yes.

        One night in 1986 Massachusetts police officers showed up at Shirley Rodriques's house, forced open her door and, finding her sleeping in bed with her husband, told her that they had a warrant to search her vagina for drugs. When she refused their order to reach inside herself and take out the "stuff," police took her to a hospital where, Ms. Rodriques said, a physician forcefully searched her vagina while a nurse held her down on the table.

        No drugs were found. But when Ms. Rodriques filed a lawsuit claiming her rights had been violated, courts found no wrongdoing, citing the existence of a valid judicial warrant. It is still possible to get such a warrant today.

        Finally, there are the fatalities. While there are no official statistics on the number of women killed or injured in drug raids and arrests, the cases that have come to light give plenty of cause for concern. Some victims were mothers, like Tarika Wilson, shot to death by a SWAT team in 2008 in Ohio, as she stood, unarmed in a bedroom with her six children, holding her 1-year-old baby. Some were pregnant, like Danette Daniels, shot to death by a New Jersey police officer following a drug arrest. Some, like Frankie Perkins and Theresa Henderson, were choked to death by officers who believed — erroneously, it turned out — that they had swallowed drugs. In one case, a transgender teenager named Shelly Hilliard was brutally murdered after being set up by police as an informant.

        In addition to the drug war, women have also suffered from the "broken windows" policing practices — the aggressive enforcement of minor offenses on the unproven theory that it will prevent more serious crime — that Mr. Sessions promotes. For instance, soon after Eric Garner suffocated in a police chokehold, Rosann Miller, a black woman who was seven months pregnant, said she was also placed in a chokehold by a New York City police officer during an encounter that started over the use of a barbecue outside her home.

        Officers have also used the threat of arrests for minor "broken windows" offenses to extort sex. In one case, a New York City officer was convicted in 2010 of official misconduct for offering to rip up a summons for being in a park after dark in exchange for oral sex.

        These encounters do not reduce violence; they contribute to it. Critics of police violence and mass incarceration have rightfully shed light on the pain of families separated by long prison terms, of women torn from partners and children. But women's suffering isn't restricted to heartbreak: They have been raped, choked and killed, all in the service of public safety. Sadly, the recommendations of D.O.J.'s task force are likely to be a recipe for more of the same.



        8)  Broader Sweep

        A day in the field with immigration enforcers in California, a state hostile to President Trump's efforts to step up deportations.

        "More than 65,000 people have been arrested by the agency since President Trump took office, a nearly 40 percent increase over the same period last year and as sure a sign as any that the United States is a tougher place today to be an undocumented immigrant."

        JULY 21, 2017


        RIVERSIDE, Calif. — Just after dawn, a line of officers marched to the gate outside Fidel Delgado's home here with guns drawn, one holding a rifle. Mr. Delgado emerged barechested from his home and with a look of confusion.

        "¿Qué necesita?" he asked: What do you need?

        About 20 minutes later and 10 miles away, Anselmo Morán Lucero sensed exactly why officers had come. He spotted them as he was returning from a night out, and turned his truck around. But an unmarked S.U.V. pulled in front of him and another flashed its lights behind him, blocking his escape.

        They asked his name. They asked if he knew why he was being arrested. Mr. Lucero nodded.

        Every day around the United States, from before sunrise until late into the night, people like Mr. Delgado and Mr. Lucero are being picked up by Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers, the front-line soldiers in President Trump's crackdown on illegal immigration.

        More than 65,000 people have been arrested by the agency since President Trump took office, a nearly 40 percent increase over the same period last year and as sure a sign as any that the United States is a tougher place today to be an undocumented immigrant.

        But I.C.E. is in some ways operating in enemy territory in California, home to more than two million undocumented immigrants and hostile to the idea of mass deportations. Because local law enforcement often will not turn over undocumented immigrants in their custody, I.C.E. must make most of their arrests at homes, at workplaces and out on the street, which is more complicated than simply picking people up from jails — and potentially more dangerous.

        So when a team of immigration agents gathered at 4:30 on one already warm morning in June, their chief, David Marin, warned them to stay away from any sign of danger.

        After going over notes on each of the men they were after, the team pulled off in their unmarked S.U.V.s. Eight hours later, five men would be in custody, awaiting the start of deportation proceedings.

        The New York Times followed the team for a day as it navigated the streets and politics of Southern California, and spoke with some of the men they arrested and the families they may soon be leaving behind.

        An Unplanned Arrest

        As the sun crept above the horizon, the officers gathered on a hill just a few yards away from Mr. Delgado's home. But it was not Mr. Delgado they had come for; it was his son Mariano.

        Mariano Delgado, 24, had returned to Mexico in 2011 after he was convicted of drunken driving. Since illegally re-entering the United States, he has been arrested four times for assault with a deadly weapon.

        Immigrants like him are called "criminal aliens," and there are so many of them in Southern California that Mr. Marin says it is effectively impossible to go after anyone else. But under President Trump, agents are encouraged to also arrest undocumented immigrants without serious criminal records, a break from the Obama administration's policy of mostly leaving those immigrants alone.

        So here and across the country, agents now make more "collateral" arrests — undocumented people they come across while looking for someone else. That was about to happen.

        When officers, guns out, approached the chain-link fence surrounding the home, the dogs began barking loudly, joining the squawking chickens. Fidel Delgado emerged.

        The elder Mr. Delgado, 46, and his wife, María Rocha, told the officers that their son had moved to Texas months ago. They readily admitted to being in the country illegally, but added that they work. Their youngest son, 16, is an American-born citizen. When the agents shook him out of bed, he began to sob.

        After taking Fidel Delgado's fingerprints, they ran them through a database. Within minutes, they learned that he had once crossed the border illegally, twice in the same day, and had been sent back to Mexico.

        A couple of officers debated what to do: Should they take both parents and call Child Protective Services for the boy? Did they believe that Mariano Delgado was no longer living there, even though they thought he was home as recently as the week before?

        "If he doesn't give up the son, we're going to take him," one officer said.

        They left the wife behind and led Mr. Delgado to a van, where he was soon shackled. The handcuffs would leave marks.

        Later that morning, Ms. Rocha, 50, leaned against the chain-link fence that surrounds their home, bleary-eyed and in shock.

        "My husband, they had no reason to take him," she said. "They weren't searching for him."

        The family has lived in the three-bedroom white house in a blue-collar, semirural enclave of Riverside for three years, paying $1,300 a month in rent. Ms. Rocha, who cleans offices in nearby Corona, a more upscale community, said she brings home about $1,200 a month. Her husband, who milks cows at a dairy, earns about $12 an hour.

        The couple married in Mexico 24 years ago, just before heading north. "We came here for a better life," she said. In all her years in the United States, she said, she had never had problems with "la migra," as the immigration agency is known.

        By the afternoon, Mr. Delgado had been released by immigration agents, who decided that he was not a threat to public safety. He was given a notice that he must comply with any orders from immigration agents and returned to work the next day.

        Agency Under a Microscope

        Before heading out to their targets for the day, the I.C.E. team gathered in the darkness in the parking lot of a small hardware store. Mr. Marin, the enforcement supervisor, quizzed his officers:

        What time will this man start to leave his home? Which way will that one turn when he pulls out of his driveway? When will the other one arrive back from his night shift?

        The officers had been watching the men they were after for days, learning their habits so they could capture them easily.

        Mr. Marin, 48, has worked in immigration enforcement for more than two decades, starting when the agency was called Immigration and Naturalization Services. In the 1990s, he said, officers would spend much of their time rounding up immigrants in front of home repair stores, routinely arresting people so many times that they would know them by sight. Within hours of a bus ride returning them to Mexico, Mr. Marin said, they would be on their way to the United States again.

        Like roughly half of the other officers, Mr. Marin began his career in the military, serving as a Marine. He amassed tattoos the way others collect shot glasses: On his left forearm is the first letter of the word "Christian" written in Arabic, commemorating his work collecting intelligence on the Taliban in Pakistan.

        Though he had to pass a basic Spanish course early in his career, today Mr. Marin hardly speaks a word of it. But many officers do. Nearly 40 percent of Mr. Marin's officers are Latino, he said, and many of them hear refrains of "How can you do this to your own people." They do not apologize.

        But the agency is under a microscope here. Arrests in the Los Angeles region are up only 17 percent since Mr. Trump took office, far less than in the rest of the country, according to I.C.E. statistics.

        Members of Congress and local officials routinely call Mr. Marin's cellphone when they hear of arrests in their area.

        "People want to know if we've gone into schools, if we're standing in the market, but that's not what we do," Mr. Marin said, driving before dawn. "We know an arrest is a traumatic event for a family. We know the impact it has, and we take it very seriously."

        Luck Runs Out

        While Mr. Delgado was being questioned, other members of the team were waiting for Mr. Lucero, who had already been deported once.

        Mr. Lucero, 51, and his wife, Jamie, 47, arrived from a small village in the Mexican state of Puebla more than three decades ago. He had built a thriving landscaping business, tending to yards of homes in upscale Orange County.

        In 2006, Mr. Lucero was convicted in a domestic violence case and spent several months in jail, then was deported. But he had reconciled with his wife and was eager to return to her and their six children, two of them born in the United States. So he crossed the border illegally again.

        Immigration officials had tried to get the Orange County sheriff's office to hold Mr. Lucero for them when he was in jail for a day on a new domestic violence charge in 2014. But the sheriff declined, according to I.C.E. Many California sheriff and police departments do not cooperate with immigration officials, saying it erodes trust in law enforcement among immigrant populations. Mr. Trump has threated to punish these so-called sanctuary cities and counties, saying they harbor lawbreakers.

        For several nights before the I.C.E. team showed up, Mr. Lucero said, he had dreams of immigration agents coming to get him. The night before, he and his wife tried their luck at a nearby casino, playing the slot machines until daybreak. They had won a couple of hundred dollars and left just before 6 a.m.

        When they began driving home, Ms. Lucero's brother, with whom the family lives, warned them that immigration officers were near. But Mr. Lucero was unable to evade them.

        Hours after his arrest, Jamie Lucero, her eyes red with tears, pulled out a blue folder with Mr. Lucero's papers neatly organized, including documents showing he had completed an anger-management program and followed the rules of probation from his domestic violence case. She was planning to take the folder with her when she visited him in detention, though the papers are unlikely to have a bearing on his new deportation case.

        Their 29-year-old son, Urie, said that the week before, four officers had come to the door holding a picture of a bald man they said they were after. They never mentioned the man's name, and Urie Lucero said he did not recognize the man.

        But the officers came inside the home and looked around. The family is convinced that the visit and the picture of the bald man were ruses to try to scope out Anselmo Lucero's whereabouts. "That's how they are getting people," Urie Lucero said.

        Jamie Lucero said the officers had told her not to bother paying for a lawyer because he faced certain deportation.

        By lunchtime, the agents had five immigrants in custody: three of their six targets of the day, as well as Mr. Delgado and another man they found in the home of a target. Typically, officers successfully arrest about half the people they are looking for, Mr. Marin said, so this was a good day.

        "Criminals off the street, that's our goal," he said while standing inside the San Bernardino processing center, where immigrants from the region are taken each day.

        The men they had arrested sat inside a small holding cell clutching their brown-bag lunch of a turkey sandwich and apple. Mr. Marin and one of his deputies headed for lunch at a small Mexican taqueria.



        9)  Foster Care as Punishment: The New Reality of 'Jane Crow'

        JULY 21, 2017




        Maisha Joefield thought she was getting by pretty well as a young single mother in Brooklyn, splurging on her daughter, Deja, even though money was tight. When Deja was a baby, she bought her Luvs instead of generic diapers when she could. When her daughter got a little older, Ms. Joefield outfitted the bedroom in their apartment with a princess bed for Deja, while she slept on a pullout couch.

        She had family around, too. Though she had broken up with Deja's father, they spent holidays and vacations together for Deja's sake. Ms. Joefield's grandmother lived across the street, and Deja knew she could always go to her great-grandmother's apartment in an emergency.

        One night, exhausted, Ms. Joefield put Deja to bed, and plopped into a bath with her headphones on.

        "By the time I come out, I'm looking, I don't see my child," said Ms. Joefield, who began frantically searching the building. Deja, who was 5, had indeed headed for the grandmother's house when she couldn't find her mother, but the next thing Ms. Joefield knew, it was a police matter.

        "I'm thinking, I'll explain to them what happened, and I'll get my child," Ms. Joefield said.

        For most parents, this scenario might be a panic-inducing, but hardly insurmountable, hiccup in the long trial of raising a child. Yet for Ms. Joefield and women in her circumstances — living in poor neighborhoods, with few child care options — the consequences can be severe. Police officers removed Deja from her apartment and the Administration for Children's Services placed her in foster care. Police charged Ms. Joefield with endangering the welfare of a child.

        She was caught up in what lawyers and others who represent families say is a troubling and longstanding phenomenon: the power of Children's Services to take children from their parents on the grounds that the child's safety is at risk, even with scant evidence.

        The agency's requests for removals filed in family court rose 40 percent in the first quarter of 2017, to 730 from 519, compared with the same period last year, according to figures obtained by The New York Times.

        In interviews, dozens of lawyers working on these cases say the removals punish parents who have few resources. Their clients are predominantly poor black and Hispanic women, they say, and the criminalization of their parenting choices has led some to nickname the practice: Jane Crow.

        "It takes a lot as a public defender to be shocked, but these are the kinds of cases you hear attorneys screaming about in the hall," said Scott Hechinger, a lawyer at Brooklyn Defender Services. "There's this judgment that these mothers don't have the ability to make decisions about their kids, and in that, society both infantilizes them and holds them to superhuman standards. In another community, your kid's found outside looking for you because you're in the bathtub, it's 'Oh, my God'" — a story to tell later, he said. "In a poor community, it's called endangering the welfare of your child."

        Lawyers for parents say the spikes in child removals tend to occur after high-profile failures in the system, and this could well describe the pattern now: In December, the agency administrator resigned after two children who were being monitored by the agency were beaten to deathin separate incidents.

        As a result, an independent monitor is now assessing the agency, and the new commissioner, David Hansell, has promised to reform it.

        Mr. Hansell said in an interview that Children's Services has been trying to shift from ordering removals to offering support. He supplied figures showing that emergency removals of the kind that took Deja from her mother were about the same, a little over 300, in the first two months of 2017 as during the same period in 2016.

        Vivek Sankaran, a professor at the University of Michigan Law School, has examined short-term placements of children in foster care. He learned that in the 2013 federal fiscal year, 25,000 children nationwide were in foster care for 30 days or fewer, about 10 percent of the total removals.

        "We've inflicted the most devastating remedy we have on these families, then we're basically saying, within a month, 'Sorry, our mistake,'" he said. "And these families are left to deal with the consequences."

        After Ms. Joefield was released from jail, she had a court hearing, and Deja was returned to her after four days. Still, the case stayed open for a year, during which she had to take parenting classes, and caseworkers regularly stopped by her apartment to do things like check her cupboards for adequate food supplies and inspect Deja's body for bruises. "They asked me if I beat her," Ms. Joefield said. "They're putting me in this box of bad mothers."

        "It's a slap in your face to have someone tell you what you can and cannot do with a child that you brought into this world," she said, wiping tears away.

        "I still get nervous," she said. "You're afraid to parent the way you would normally parent."

        Birth and Then Shackles

        In the spring of 2015, Elizabeth Latimer, then a public defender, was working a shift at Brooklyn Criminal Court when she was told she had a new client.

        The woman was in a cell in the back of court, wearing a hospital gown and bleeding heavily. Ms. Latimer's notes about the client read, "Just gave birth Sunday." It was Tuesday.

        The woman's medical files show that she had been in her apartment with her 6-year-old daughter when she started bleeding, and felt numbness in one leg.

        Her due date was still weeks away. Frightened, she called an ambulance. Then she realized her boyfriend, who was at nearby job-placement program and didn't have a cellphone, would have no way of knowing if she went to the hospital. So she left her phone with her daughter, told her to stay in their apartment, and walked to the boyfriend's training site, about eight blocks away.

        "I'm like, I understand I'm not supposed to leave my daughter, but it's an emergency," said the woman during an interview. Her lawyers asked that she not be named, because her case is still open.

        Doubled over with contractions, it took her about 40 minutes to get to the site and back. When the couple returned to the apartment, it was swarming with people. Emergency workers had arrived as she'd requested; finding the daughter alone, they had called the police.

        By the time the woman was taken to the hospital, her contractions were four minutes apart, medical records reviewed by The Times show. While she was in labor, police officers stood by her bedside. When a nurse explained to her that she was under arrest, she asked, "How?"

        Once she had delivered, her feet were shackled and her hands cuffed to her bed, the records show. Her only reprieve: an officer agreed to take off the cuffs while she breast-fed her newborn son, she said. She was discharged from the hospital with a fever, breast pain, severe abdominal pain and instructions to take various medications. Officers took her from the hospital to criminal court, where, after waiting for hours, she was charged with endangering the welfare of her 6-year-old.

        In New York, authorities pursue child neglect cases on two tracks. The district attorney can file a criminal charge of child endangerment; separately, the Administration for Children's Services can file a family court case, often asking that the child be removed from parental care to the home of a relative, or to foster care. Either police officers or agency workers can take a child from a home if they find imminent risk; agency workers must file a petition in family court by the next court date, at which time they must justify the removal at a hearing.

        During her criminal arraignment, the woman sat slumped in a chair, unable to stand.

        "I was in pain, I was in badly pain, ready to pass out," she said.

        She found out then that Children's Services had put her daughter in foster care, but the woman didn't know where. Because she had tested positive for marijuana, and because of the child endangerment case involving her daughter, she was not allowed to take her newborn son home.

        Released from court, she walked 30 minutes each way to the hospital to nurse the baby twice a day. Her breasts became overfull. "I was walking like this on the street," she said, folding her arms over her chest.

        As soon as he was medically cleared to leave the hospital, her newborn son was placed in foster care.

        After the woman filed an emergency petition, both children were returned to her after 30 days.

        Her criminal case was to be dismissed if she attended parenting classes, while her family court case had no such stipulation. Confused by the conflicting requirements, the woman didn't attend classes. Three months ago, she was arrested on a warrant for not taking the parenting classes; her case remains open.

        Her daughter, interviewed at their apartment, said that she was "sad" when she was sent to the foster home.

        Back home, she said, she was "happy."

        She pulled at some Silly Putty. "I get to spend time with my mommy," she said.

        A Lasting Effect

        Even short-term removals that are reversed can have lasting effects on vulnerable children. It "poses a pretty big threat to their development," said Kristin Bernard, an assistant professor of psychology at Stony Brook University. A brief stay in foster care like that of Ms. Joefield's daughter, Deja, can profoundly upset family life.

        Mr. Hansell, the commissioner, said the agency was trying to steer away from removing children from the home.

        "With increasing frequency over the past six months or so," he said, "the outcome of our involvement with family court has not been removal of children but court-ordered supervision, under which families are required to participate in services to address the risks that we've identified."

        As Ms. Joefield, 32, talked in her Brooklyn apartment, the living room was filled with happy familial chaos. Her toddler shook a box of cereal, her cat's collar bell tinkled, and Deja, now 13, climbed on the couch, trying to get the cat's attention.

        According to court records from Ms. Joefield's case, a passer-by found Deja, who was then 5, out on the sidewalk at midnight. The records noted that Deja appeared well looked after. Deja told interviewers that she attended school daily and usually ate pancakes for breakfast.

        Deja's pediatrician told the agency that "Ms. Joefield is very attentive" and that "Deja is a smart kid." Administrators at Deja's school said they had no concerns. And Children's Services, in a report on the family, noted that Ms. Joefield was in college; Deja's father, who lived nearby, was employed and involved; Deja was "very intelligent for her age"; and there was plenty of family support.

        Still, the agency pushed for Deja to be removed, though records show the great-grandmother called the agency asking that Deja be sent to her. Deja's father was also available.

        "This is my opinion: they factored in my age" — she was 25 at the time — "where I lived, and they put me in a box," Ms. Joefield said.

        In Ms. Joefield's case, a judge decided that "the risk of emotional harm in removal" outweighed the risk of neglect. Deja was returned to her mother.

        The Administration for Children's Services declined to comment on specific cases.

        But those four days in 2010, Ms. Joefield said, had produced long-lasting effects.

        First, her name remained on a state registry of child abusers for years, preventing Ms. Joefield, a former day care worker, from working with children. Most important, she said, speaking of Deja, the experience had "changed her."

        When her daughter came home, she said, "she was always second-guessing if she did something wrong, if I was mad at her," she said.

        Research backs up what Ms. Joefield noticed. Removal is traumatic for children, even if home life is stressful.

        Joseph Doyle, an economics professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Sloan School of Management, used statistical methods to analyze the effect of foster care placement in so-called marginal cases — those in which a strict investigator might put a child in foster care, but a more lenient investigator might not. Over time, the children sent to foster care had higher delinquency rates, higher teen birthrates, lower earnings and a higher likelihood of going to prison as an adult.

        Months after Deja's removal, a caseworker with Children's Services asked an administrator at Deja's charter school about the girl. The administrator said, according to agency records, that while she had no concerns about Ms. Joefield's care, Deja was "not doing as well as she used to before she was removed from her home."

        Living Conditions

        The threat of the agency removing children has become a weapon landlords use to force out lower paying tenants. According to dozens of public defenders and housing lawyers, some parents face a stark choice: leave their apartments or lose their kids.

        Bernadette Charles found this out when her apartment, in the East Flatbush neighborhood of Brooklyn, experienced problem after problem. A sluice of brown water came through the ceiling, ruining the suede couch she had just purchased on credit. Large rats took over the kitchen.

        While her husband spent his days driving a school bus, she spent hers worrying about how each new hazard would affect her four sons. At first she kept quiet. She felt fortunate to have a place where her family could meet the rent. One day she walked into the bathroom to find black mold sprouting in paisley patterns on the walls. For Ms. Charles, that was the breaking point.

        Ms. Charles said that when her landlord learned she had complained to 311 about conditions, he punished her by calling Children's Services. The agency worker arrived days later. The worker cited unsafe conditions, including roaches and dirty dishes in the sink. Despite noting that the couple's four children were "clean and healthy," the worker said they could not stay and removed the children. Ms. Charles remembers her youngest, who was 3 at the time, wailing as he was taken from the apartment.

        "He didn't want to give us any chance," Ms. Charles said of the Children's Services agent. Three days later, a judge ordered that the family be reunited.

        Vanished Months

        One December night in 2011, Colyssa Stapleton ran out of formula for her 7-month-old, Nevaeh, and texted Nevaeh's father, who lived nearby, asking him to buy some. When he texted back that he was en route and she should come downstairs, Ms. Stapleton dashed to the yard of her Brooklyn apartment building to wait for him.

        Unfortunately for Ms. Stapleton, the police were patrolling the area and her aunt was in the yard smoking marijuana. Ms. Stapleton says she was not smoking and the police report noted that only one joint was found and that Ms. Stapleton's aunt was seen throwing it to the ground. But both women were charged with marijuana possession.

        Ms. Stapleton protested that her infant daughter was upstairs by herself. The police officers accused Ms. Stapleton of endangering the welfare of a child.

        They took Nevaeh to the hospital, where she was found to be "in great condition." Even so, Children's Services placed Nevaeh with her father for six months and Ms. Stapleton was forbidden contact.

        "I thought of where I could've tried and done something better, but taking her all the way downstairs and all the way upstairs — I didn't think of it as something that would get you into trouble," said Ms. Stapleton, now 24.

        When she saw Nevaeh after several months, in the hallway of family court, the girl cried. "Her dad was like, 'Now you don't know nothing about her,' and he was right," she said.

        Without her daughter to take care of, Ms. Stapleton sank into depression. "It came to a point where I'd shut myself into a room and not come out, not eat," she said.

        After a year and a variety of parenting classes taken during 2012, the criminal charges were functionally dismissed, and she regained full custody of Nevaeh, but Ms. Stapleton said she is aware of what she lost.

        "She didn't take her first steps around me, so I missed that. Her first tooth, I didn't get to see that," she said. "I don't think anybody should be robbed of those things unless they really deserved it."



        10)  U.S. Attempt to Limit Wall Street Bonuses Fizzles Out Quietly

        JULY 21, 2017, 1:24 P.M. E.D.T


        WASHINGTON — The regulatory agenda released by the Trump administration on Thursday contained a signal that the U.S. government has halted its work on restricting Wall Street executives' bonuses and other pay incentives.

        The 2010 Dodd-Frank Wall Street reform law called for federal banking and securities regulators to create limits on incentive-based compensation at big financial companies and prevent executives from receiving outsized rewards for overly risky gambles.

        Last year those regulators, many appointed by former President Barack Obama, a Democrat, rolled out a 500-page rule over many weeks that would require senior executives to return bonuses earned by making decisions that materially hurt their banks.

        But in the biannual White House agenda on regulation, the rule was listed under the heading "long-term action," instead of one denoting regulators were making progress toward a final version. In Washington-speak that meant the rule was dead.

        The move followed President Donald Trump's campaign pledges to lighten federal regulations that hurt liquidity and strangled business.

        "They're not even working on it," said Lisa Gilbert, who closely tracks Dodd-Frank implementation for the liberal-leaning public interest group Public Citizen.

        She added that the rule was labeled "pending" in previous agendas. By law it was supposed to be completed by 2011.

        Agencies working on the proposed rule declined to comment.

        Regulators neglected last year's proposal, which addressed many concerns raised about a 2011 draft, even though Obama pushed them to finish it before he left office.

        "We kind of knew it was on the back-burner," said Alexander Monterrubio, director of regulatory affairs for the National Association of Federally-Insured Credit Unions trade group. "The unified agenda confirmed that thought."

        Each agency had a different view on regulating incentive-based compensation, making progress difficult, Monterrubio said.

        Congress wanted a way to hold top executives accountable after the 2007-09 financial crisis, when some banks experienced major losses partly due to risky decisions made by their leaders. The call for a rule was renewed when regulators rapped Wells Fargo & Co. for an incentive method that pushed employees to open thousands of phantom accounts in customers' names.

        But it was politics that likely proved the rule's downfall.

        Agencies give the White House lists of their regulatory priorities, which makes changes based on the president's goals and then publishes what is called the "unified agenda."

        Monterrubio said of the rule: "It wasn't going to happen under President Trump."

        (Additional reporting by Pete Schroeder; editing by Andrew Hay)



        11)  A Drug Maker Spends Big in Washington to Make Itself Heard

        "Lawmakers in both the House and Senate collected $44,000 from Mallinckrodt in 2017's first quarter, nearly nine times what they got from the company in the same period two years ago. Mallinckrodt also spent $610,000 lobbying Congress, triple the amount of 2015's first quarter."

        JULY 21, 2017


        Two federal investigations — one examining opioid sales, another about a multiple sclerosis drug whose price had soared to $34,000 a vial — were only part of the troubles Mallinckrodt faced as the year began.

        The stock of the drug maker, whose United States headquarters are in St. Louis, was tanking. Wall Street worried that Medicare might reduce the half-billion dollars it was spending yearly on a Mallinckrodt drug with limited evidence of effectiveness.

        This year, the company left the industry trade group Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, or PhRMA, after the group threatened to kick out companies that did not spend enough on research.

        Mallinckrodt, however, has been increasing its spending in another area: It has been writing checks to politicians.

        After making meager donations in 2015, the company's political action committee began raising its contributions for congressional campaigns last year. Lawmakers in both the House and Senate collected $44,000 from Mallinckrodt in 2017's first quarter, nearly nine times what they got from the company in the same period two years ago.

        Mallinckrodt also spent $610,000 lobbying Congress, triple the amount of 2015's first quarter. The company, which makes pain-control drugs as well as H. P. Acthar, an injectable gel prescribed for multiple sclerosis and other diseases, has lobbied on issues related to opioids, patents, Medicare and other matters, regulatory filings show.

        Mallinckrodt is far from unique. This year, a critical and risky one for drug companies, the industry as a whole is ratcheting up campaign donations and its presence on Capitol Hill, a new database compiled by Kaiser Health News shows.

        (Did your representative receive money from a pharmaceutical political action committee? Look your representative up here »)

        "The stakes are really high right now," said David Maris, who follows pharmaceutical stocks for Wells Fargo, given that President Trump has joined Democrats to demand action on drug costs.

        Mallinckrodt acknowledges that it has increased its political spending to help its particular causes. "We actively participate in the political process on issues that matter to us and our patients," Rhonda Sciarra, a Mallinckrodt spokeswoman, said by email. "Our PAC's absolute spend remains small in relation to other companies in our industry."

        Congressional donations from pharmaceutical PACs rose 11 percent in this year's first quarter, compared with the first three months of 2015 (the comparable point in the previous election cycle), according to a Kaiser Health News analysis. The increase accompanied a spike in pharma lobbying for the period.

        Contributions to powerful committee members who handle health policy matters also increased in the face of public anger over the opioid crisis as well as anticipated renewal of legislation that determines the "user fees" companies pay for regulatory drug approval.

        A dozen Republican committee heads and ranking Democrats on health-related panels collected $281,600 from pharma-related PACs in the first quarter, up 80 percent from what people in the same positions collected in the first quarter of 2015, the data shows. Such initial donations often set the pace for a two-year election cycle, and suggest whom corporate interests are trying to cultivate in a new Congress, with implied promises of more to come, analysts say.

        For pharma companies, "now would be the time to give out the money, ahead of a piece of legislation that may come down the road," said Kent Cooper, a former Federal Election Commission official who has tracked political money for decades.

        "You want to get your name out there and make a connection with these members' legislative assistants — so you are known to them and you can get in their door," Mr. Cooper said.

        Other drug makers increasing their congressional donations include AbbVie — whose blockbuster rheumatoid arthritis injection, Humira, faces threats from competition — and Alexion Pharmaceuticals. A six-figure price tag for Soliris, Alexion's treatment for a rare blood disorder, makes it one of the world's most expensive drugs.

        Pfizer, the No. 2 pharma donor in the first quarter after Sanofi, gave $130,900 to congressional campaigns, three times its contribution for the same period two years ago. So far this year, the company has raised the price of dozens of drugs by an average of 20 percent, The Financial Times reported.

        PhRMA, a big giver in the past, has not yet joined individual companies in increasing donations for this election cycle. Congressional campaigns collected $7,000 in the first quarter from PhRMA, which Politico reported had raised member dues to prepare for the drug-price fight. They got $31,500 two years ago.

        The totals do not include contributions from individual executives and lobbyists, or donations to leadership PACs. Leadership PACs associated with a particular member of Congress often spend money on other members' campaigns, as well as on things that a campaign committee cannot finance. Details on contributions to leadership PACs take longer to become available.

        Outrage was still bubbling last year over moves by Turing Pharmaceuticals and Mylan to raise prices of cheap-to-make, lifesaving drugs to hundreds of dollars a dose, when the country elected a Republican president who vowed: "I'm going to bring down drug prices." Nearly eight Americans in 10 said in a September poll they believed prescription drug prices were unreasonable.

        Evidence has grown that pharma companies helped fuel the nation's addiction and overdose crisis with sales of powerful painkillers, prompting calls for an overhaul. Drug developers are also preparing for renewal of the Prescription Drug User Fee Act, which generates revenue to pay for government review and approval of drugs.

        At the same time, drug companies anticipated Republican efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, which finances billions in drug sales. That process has stalled in the Senate. All of this gives drug makers the most powerful incentives in years to cultivate policy makers, analysts say.

        Tense politics may also be prompting members of Congress to be energetic about soliciting donations.

        "My sense is that Republicans are nervous in the House — especially given the long-term record of the presidential party losing seats in the midterm," said David Magleby, a political scientist at Brigham Young University who studies campaign finance. "I would be surprised if Republican incumbents across the board aren't more aggressive in raising money in the first and second quarters."

        In the last six months, Mallinckrodt has come under pressure for both painkiller sales and price increases for nonnarcotic drugs. Earlier this month, the Justice Department announced the company would pay $35 million to resolve an investigation into whether it ignored enormous volumes of its oxycodone moving through distributors and pharmacies. Over several years, The Washington Post reported, Mallinckrodt was responsible for two-thirds of all the oxycodone sold in Florida.

        Mallinckrodt denied it violated the law and said the settlement was not an acknowledgment of liability.

        In January, it agreed to pay $100 million to settle Federal Trade Commission allegations that a company it bought three years ago had illegally quashed competition, enabling it to raise the price of Acthar, the multiple sclerosis drug, which the F.T.C. said cost only $40 per vial in 2001, to $34,000. Mallinckrodt disputed the agency's complaint but said it settled to put the matter to rest.

        The drug is prescribed to treat a rare form of epilepsy as well asmultiple sclerosis and other ailments. Even Mallinckrodt acknowledgesthat "clinical trials demonstrating the efficacy for Acthar are limited."

        But in part because of price increases, global sales of the drug soared from $123 million in the 2014 fiscal year to $1.2 billion in the 2016 fiscal year. It was Medicare's most expensive drug per patient in 2015 — $162,371 for the year — and now makes up a third of the company's revenue.

        Company shareholders have worried that Medicare will crack down on sales of Acthar. Mallinckrodt has pledged to keep future price increases for all drugs to single-digit percentages per year, though that could still be well above the current inflation rate of less than 3 percent.

        Mallinckrodt's biggest donations on Capitol Hill, of $5,000 each, went to Ann Wagner, a House member from its home state, Missouri, and Senator Orrin G. Hatch, the powerful chairman of the Senate Finance Committee. That amount is the maximum a PAC can give to a campaign committee for each primary and general election.

        Ever since it was spun off as an independent company in 2013, Mallinckrodt has made its legal home in Ireland, which allows it to take advantage of lower income tax rates. Mr. Hatch favors cutting United States corporate taxes to eliminate incentives to make such moves.

        Mallinckrodt gave lesser amounts to 16 other congressional campaigns, including that of Paul D. Ryan, the House speaker. Mr. Ryan, who has played down Mr. Trump's attacks on the pharmaceutical industry, was the top recipient of industry money in the first quarter, with $82,750 collected, the data shows.

        The White House has made no proposals on drug costs. Mr. Trump has said little about the issue since January, when he said drug sellers were "getting away with murder."

        Drug companies are hedging their bets, writing checks to individual Democrats and Republicans. With Mr. Trump breaking ranks with Republicans to favor reform, "You can't tell who's your friend and who's not," said Mr. Maris, the Wells Fargo analyst. "So you have to go to a ground game — a more one-on-one legislator basis."



        12)  Cecil the Lion's Son Xanda Killed by a Trophy Hunter

        JULY 20, 2017



        Two years after Cecil the Lion was killed in a national park in Zimbabwe, sparking international outrage, his son Xanda was killed in a trophy hunt.

        The lion was shot on July 7 in a hunting area just outside Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe, according to Andrew Loveridge, an Oxford University researcher who had studied both Cecil and his son. Xanda, who was 6 years old, was wearing an electronic collar that was put on by researchers to monitor his movements.

        "As researchers we are saddened at the death of a well-known study animal we have monitored since birth," Mr. Loveridge said in an email.

        The Telegraph reported that Richard Cooke, of the company RC Safaris, had led the hunt, though it was not immediately clear who killed the lion.

        "Richard Cooke is one of the 'good' guys," Mr. Loveridge told The Telegraph. "He is ethical and he returned the collar and communicated what had happened. His hunt was legal and Xanda was over 6 years old so it is all within the stipulated regulations."

        Mr. Cooke could not be reached for comment on Thursday.

        The pride spent "considerable time outside the protection of the park," Mr. Loveridge said. Xanda was shot about two kilometers from its edge in Ngamo Forest, in an area where hunting is legal.

        The lion, who was part of a pride of three females and seven cubs, was first collared for study in July 2015, with a GPS satellite collar added in October 2016, Mr. Loveridge said. The researchers traced his whereabouts until his death.

        Cecil was 13 when he was killed by Dr. Walter J. Palmer, an American dentist, in July 2015. Like Xanda, he had wandered outside of his sanctuary in Hwange National Park. Dr. Palmer apologized for the killing but became the target of threats and harassment.

        "The killing of Xanda just goes to show that trophy hunters have learned nothing from the international outcry that followed Cecil's death," said Masha Kalinina, an international trade policy specialist for Humane Society International.

        "Xanda was a well-studied lion like this father and critical to conservation efforts in Zimbabwe," she said. "To stop lions slipping into extinction, it is critical that countries like Zimbabwe keep as many lions alive as possible and shift away from the trophy hunting industry."

        The Humane Society said that fewer than 30,000 African lions remain.



        13)  Exclusive-U.S. Weighs Financial Sanctions to Hit Venezuela's Oil Revenue: Sources

        "Sanctions on dollar transactions could be more punitive than an import ban because they would make it much more difficult for any refiner or trader to buy Venezuelan oil - not just customers in the United States."

        JULY 21, 2017, 8:39 P.M. E.D.T


        HOUSTON/WASHINGTON — The United States is considering financial sanctions on Venezuela that would halt dollar payments for the country's oil, according to a senior White House official and an adviser with direct knowledge of the discussions.

        The move could severely restrict the OPEC nation's crude exports and starve its socialist government of hard currency.

        Sanctions prohibiting any transaction in U.S. currency by Venezuela's state-run oil firm, PDVSA, are among the toughest of various oil-related measures under discussion at the White House, the two sources told Reuters.

        The administration aims to pressure socialist President Nicolas Maduro into aborting plans for a controversial new congress that critics say would cement him as a dictator.

        Venezuela's oil-based economy is in the grip of a brutal recession and a local currency crash, and Maduro has faced months of anti-government unrest that has claimed the lives of about 100 people. Sanctions on dollar transactions would make it even harder for Maduro's government to secure cash for debt payments and finance imports of basic goods.

        The White House declined to comment on the sanctions under consideration. PDVSA and Venezuela's Oil Ministry did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

        The U.S. measures under discussion are similar to those that were imposed against Iran over its nuclear program - which halved Iran's oil exports and prevented top crude buyers from paying for Iranian oil.

        The measures were seen as among the most effective economic sanctions ever imposed and paved the way for a deal that curbed Tehran's nuclear activity.

        Measures on financial transactions would give President Donald Trump's administration the power to escalate pressure on Venezuela by threatening punishment of any U.S. firm doing business with PDVSA or U.S. banks processing any of its transactions in dollars.

        The financial restrictions have been "raised repeatedly" in recent discussions about options for actions against Maduro's government, said the senior White House official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

        The administration is also discussing a ban on U.S. oil imports from Venezuela, but no final decisions have been reached, the official said.

        Sanctions on dollar transactions could be more punitive than an import ban because they would make it much more difficult for any refiner or trader to buy Venezuelan oil - not just customers in the United States.

        The impact of sanctions on PDVSA would ripple across oil markets, forcing refiners to buy alternative supplies. The U.S. could use crude from its Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) to blunt the impact of any short-term supply shortage, the policy adviser told Reuters.

        The United States bought 780,000 barrels per day (bpd) of Venezuelan crude and refined products in the first four months of 2017, according to the Energy Information Administration, nearly 8 percent of total imports. PDVSA is a major supplier to Valero Energy, Phillips 66, Chevron Corp and PBF Energy.

        PDVSA's refining unit in the United States, Citgo Petroleum, last month was the second largest recipient of Venezuelan crude.

        It is unclear how Citgo, being wholly owned by Venezuela, would be impacted by U.S. sanctions. Citgo operates three refineries, pipelines and a fuel distribution network in the United States.

        The threat of sanctions against Venezuela was a key reason for talks this week between PDVSA and Rosneft, Russia's leading state-owned oil firm, which is already under U.S. sanctions. The negotiations in Moscow, reported by Reuters earlier this week, focused on a proposed swap of Rosneft's collateral stake in Citgo for a host of other Venezuelan oil assets - a move to avoid legal complications.


        The White House said earlier this week that Trump's administration could take what it called "strong and swift economic actions" against Venezuela as soon as July 30.

        Other options under consideration by Washington include putting more Venezuelan officials and PDVSA executives on its sanctions list, the two sources told Reuters.

        Maduro intends to create a superbody called the constituent assembly this year that would have the power to rewrite the country's constitution. It would supersede other institutions and replace the democratically elected National Assembly.

        Maduro has decried what he calls "imperialist meddling" by U.S. officials.

        Several governments in Latin America also have called on Maduro to abandon the assembly plan.

        But officials in neighbouring countries also expressed concern that U.S. economic sanctions would trigger famine in Venezuela, which is already reeling from shortages of food and medicine.

        PDVSA's cash flow has plummeted in recent years, in part due to the Venezuelan government's deals to barter its oil to other nations in exchange for fuels, services and loans.

        Chinese and Russian entities currently take about 40 percent of all PDVSA's exports as repayment for more than $50 billion in loans to Venezuela and its oil company in the last decade, according to a Reuters analysis of its sales.

        PDVSA also barters with Caribbean nations, Indian refiner Reliance and its unit Citgo.

        Almost all of PDVSA's cash-paying customers are in the United States and India, and the preferred currency for oil transactions worldwide is the U.S. dollar.

        PDVSA currently collects most payments from oil exports using China's Citic Bank, but customers making dollar transfers require a correspondent bank in the United States to guarantee the money arrives in China.

        The Venezuelan oil firm has been struggling to find correspondent banks in the United States since Citibank a year ago suspended providing that service. It would have even fewer options to collect dollars if the sanctions are levied.

        The company could seek payment in euros through European bank accounts, or use other non-dollar denominated transactions. But the European Union could also take similar measures to prevent transactions in euros, following the lead of the United States.


        The crude import ban has been strongly opposed by oil companies and crude processors because of the impact it could have on the refining sector, especially on the U.S. Gulf Coast.

        Administration officials have heard from U.S. refiners on the hardships an import ban could have on their businesses and "are now measuring its potential impact on prices, market movement, [and] inventories," the policy adviser to the White House told Reuters.

        Phillips 66 - the third largest buyer of Venezuelan crude in the United States this year - said on Thursday that the administration should "carefully consider" sanctions that would affect U.S. refiners and not prevent the sale of Venezuelan crude elsewhere.

        Valero did not respond to a request for comment. Chevron declined to comment.

        Chet Thompson, chief executive of trade group American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM), has been calling and writing White House officials, urging they consider something other than an Venezuelan oil import ban.

        Some refineries get up to half their supply from Venezuela, he said in an interview Friday.

        "It's not easily replaced," he said, adding that the sanctions also may not have their intended effect.

        "Venezuela," he said, "will just sell it to someone else."

        (Additional reporting by Erwin Seba in Houston and Nidhi Verma in New Delhi; Writing by by Gary McWilliams and Marianna Parraga; Editing by Simon Webb and Brian Thevenot)


















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