A Call for National Emergency Meetings on the Border Migrant Crisis: July 20 – 27




Campaign for Medicare for All

At San Francisco Mime Troupe Shows In July

Dear Healthcare Activist, 

We invite you to help us collect postcards in support of HR 1384, the Medicare for All Act of 2019.

We send the postcards to the constituent's Congress Member asking them to support HR 1384 or thanking them if they are already a cosponsor.

In July we will be asking people at many of the San Francisco Mime Troupe shows.  This year's show is about development on Treasure Island.

We will be asking people to sign postcards from noon to 2pm.

The show starts at 2pm. 

Please let us know when you can help.

___ Yes, on July 4 at noon I can collect HR 1384 postcards at Dolores 
Park (18th St and Dolores - 5 blocks from 16th St BART)
___ Yes, on Sat. July 6 at noon I can collect HR 1384 postcards at 41          
Somerset Pl in Berkeley In John Hinkel Park.
___ Yes, on Sun. July 7 at noon I can collect HR 1384 postcards at 41 
Somerset Pl in Berkeley In John Hinkel Park.
___ Yes, on Sat. July 13, I can help collect HR 1384 postcards at         
Frances Willard/Ho Chi Minh Park. Derby & Hillgrass in Berkeley
___ Yes, on Sat. July 20 at noon I can help collect HR 1384 postcards in
          McLaren Park at the Jerry Garcia Amphitheater in San Francisco
___ Yes, on Sat. July 27 at noon I can help collect HR 1384 postcards in 
Balboa Park (San Jose Ave & Havelock in San Francisco)

I look forward to working with you.
Don Bechler
Chair - Single Payer Now

And if you would like to make a financial contribution to keep us strong, you can send a contribution to:
Single Payer Now
PO Box 460622
San Francisco, CA 94146
Or to make a credit cards contribution: Click here



Political Prisoners and Assange: Carole Seligman At S.F. Assange Rally
As part of an international action to free Julian Assange, a rally was held on June 12, 2019 at the US Federal Building in San Francisco and Carole Seligman was one of the speakers. She also speaks about imperialist wars and  the cases of Mumia Abu-Jamal and Fumiaki Hoshino.
For more info:
Production of Labor Video Project



Act Now to Save Mumia's Eyesight and to 

Demand His Release!

Tell them to approve Mumia's cataract surgery immediately!

Tell them to release Mumia Abu-Jamal NOW because he can receive better healthcare outside of prison and also because he is an innocent man!

Update June 3, 3029:

Forwarded message from Dr. Joseph Harris:

To All:

With a more complete history I was able to clarify:

1. Mumia is currently suffering from severe visual impairment "functionly" blind.
2. Under current conditions of incarceration his prognosis is dismal. I estimate he will be partially blind in less than 1 year and will be totally or near totally blind in 2 years.


J. Harris MD
(Please circulate)
P.S. In a subsequent email, Dr. Harris said that Mumia gave his permission to circulate this information. 

Mumia Abu-Jamal

Take Action:

1.    Sign the petition
2.    Call: Dr. Courtney P Rodgers – (570) 773-7851 and SCI Mahanoy Superintendent Theresa A. Delbalso - (570) 773-2158
3.    Call: Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf – (717) 787-2500; PA DOC Secretary John Wetzel – (717) 728-2573; Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner – (215) 686-8000

Write to Mumia at:
Smart Communications/PA DOC
Mumia Abu-Jamal #AM-8335
SCI Mahanoy
P.O. Box 33028
St. Petersburg, FL 33733


50 years in prison: 

FREE Chip Fitzgerald 
Grandfather, Father, Elder, Friend
former Black Panther 
Romaine "Chip" Fitzgerald has been in prison since he was locked up 50 years ago. A former member of the Black Panther Party, Chip is now 70 years old, and suffering the consequences of a serious stroke. He depends on a wheelchair for his mobility. He has appeared before the parole board 17 times, but they refuse to release him.

NOW is the time for Chip to come home!

In September 1969, Chip and two other Panthers were stopped by a highway patrolman. During the traffic stop, a shooting broke out, leaving Chip and a police officer both wounded. Chip was arrested a month later and charged with attempted murder of the police and an unrelated murder of a security guard. Though the evidence against him was weak and Chip denied any involvement, he was convicted and sentenced to death.

In 1972, the California Supreme Court outlawed the death penalty. Chip and others on Death Row had their sentences commuted to Life imprisonment with the possibility of parole. All of them became eligible for parole after serving 7 more years. But Chip was rejected for parole, as he has been ever since. 

Parole for Lifers basically stopped under Governors Deukmajian, Wilson, and Davis (1983-2003), resulting in increasing numbers of people in prison and 23 new prisons. People in prison filed lawsuits in federal courts: people were dying as a result of the overcrowding. To rapidly reduce the number of people in prison, the court mandated new parole hearings:
·        for anyone 60 years or older who had served 25 years or more;
·        for anyone convicted before they were 23 years old;
·        for anyone with disabilities 

Chip qualified for a new parole hearing by meeting all three criteria.

But the California Board of Parole Hearings has used other methods to keep Chip locked up. Although the courts ordered that prison rule infractions should not be used in parole considerations, Chip has been denied parole because he had a cellphone.

Throughout his 50 years in prison, Chip has been denied his right to due process – a new parole hearing as ordered by Federal courts. He is now 70, and addressing the challenges of a stroke victim. His recent rules violation of cellphone possession were non-violent and posed no threat to anyone. He has never been found likely to commit any crimes if released to the community – a community of his children, grandchildren, friends and colleagues who are ready to support him and welcome him home.

The California Board of Parole Hearings is holding Chip hostage.

We call on Governor Newsom to release Chip immediately.

What YOU can do to support this campaign to FREE CHIP:

1)   Sign and circulate the petition to FREE Chip. Download it at https://www.change.org/p/california-free-chip-fitzgerald
Print out the petition and get signatures at your workplace, community meeting, or next social gathering.

2)   Write an email to Governor Newsom's office (sample message at:https://docs.google.com/document/d/1iwbP_eQEg2J1T2h-tLKE-Dn2ZfpuLx9MuNv2z605DMc/edit?usp=sharing

3)   Write to Chip: Romaine "Chip" Fitzgerald #B27527,
P.O. Box 4490
Lancaster, CA 93539

Freedom Archives 522 Valencia Street San Francisco, CA 94110 415 863.9977 https://freedomarchives.org/



Support Chuck Africa for Parole

Michael Africa Jr. started this petition to Pennsylvania Governor

Charles Sims Africa #AM 4975 has been in prison since age 18. He is now 59 years old and a recovering cancer patient. He has been eligible for parole since 2008 but continually denied because of  his political views.
Charles has 8 codefendants. Two has died in prison, four has been released from prison onto parole. Chuck's sister Debbie Sims Africa is one of the four codefendants released onto parole.
Since coming home from prison, Debbie is thriving. Our community of support has supported Debbie to excel and we are committed to do the same for Chuck so that he can excel as well. 



On Abortion: From Facebook

Best explanation I've heard so far..., Copied from a friend who copied from a friend who copied..., "Last night, I was in a debate about these new abortion laws being passed in red states. My son stepped in with this comment which was a show stopper. One of the best explanations I have read:, , 'Reasonable people can disagree about when a zygote becomes a "human life" - that's a philosophical question. However, regardless of whether or not one believes a fetus is ethically equivalent to an adult, it doesn't obligate a mother to sacrifice her body autonomy for another, innocent or not., , Body autonomy is a critical component of the right to privacy protected by the Constitution, as decided in Griswold v. Connecticut (1965), McFall v. Shimp (1978), and of course Roe v. Wade (1973). Consider a scenario where you are a perfect bone marrow match for a child with severe aplastic anemia; no other person on earth is a close enough match to save the child's life, and the child will certainly die without a bone marrow transplant from you. If you decided that you did not want to donate your marrow to save the child, for whatever reason, the state cannot demand the use of any part of your body for something to which you do not consent. It doesn't matter if the procedure required to complete the donation is trivial, or if the rationale for refusing is flimsy and arbitrary, or if the procedure is the only hope the child has to survive, or if the child is a genius or a saint or anything else - the decision to donate must be voluntary to be constitutional. This right is even extended to a person's body after they die; if they did not voluntarily commit to donate their organs while alive, their organs cannot be harvested after death, regardless of how useless those organs are to the deceased or how many lives they would save., , That's the law., , Use of a woman's uterus to save a life is no different from use of her bone marrow to save a life - it must be offered voluntarily. By all means, profess your belief that providing one's uterus to save the child is morally just, and refusing is morally wrong. That is a defensible philosophical position, regardless of who agrees and who disagrees. But legally, it must be the woman's choice to carry out the pregnancy., , She may choose to carry the baby to term. She may choose not to. Either decision could be made for all the right reasons, all the wrong reasons, or anything in between. But it must be her choice, and protecting the right of body autonomy means the law is on her side. Supporting that precedent is what being pro-choice means.", , Feel free to copy/paste and re-post., y
Sent from my iPhone



Celebrating the release of Janet and Janine Africa
Take action now to support Jalil A. Muntaqim's release

Jalil A. Muntaqim was a member of the Black Panther Party and has been a political prisoner for 48 years since he was arrested at the age of 19 in 1971. He has been denied parole 11 times since he was first eligible in 2002, and is now scheduled for his 12th parole hearing. Additionally, Jalil has filed to have his sentence commuted to time served by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. Visit Jalil's support page, check out his writing and poetry, and Join Critical Resistance in supporting a vibrant intergenerational movement of freedom fighters in demanding his release.

48 years is enough. Write, email, call, and tweet at Governor Cuomo in support of Jalil's commutation and sign this petition demanding his release.

The Honorable Andrew M. Cuomo
Governor of the State of New York
Executive Chamber State Capital Building
Albany, New York 12224

Michelle Alexander – Author, The New Jim Crow
Ed Asner - Actor and Activist
Charles Barron - New York Assemblyman, 60th District
Inez Barron - Counci member, 42nd District, New York City Council
Rosa Clemente - Scholar Activist and 2008 Green Party Vice-Presidential candidate
Patrisse Cullors – Co-Founder Black Lives Matter, Author, Activist
Elena Cohen - President, National Lawyers Guild
"Davey D" Cook - KPFA Hard Knock Radio
Angela Davis - Professor Emerita, University of California, Santa Cruz
Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz - Native American historian, writer and feminist
Mike Farrell - Actor and activist
Danny Glover – Actor and activist
Linda Gordon - New York University
Marc Lamont Hill - Temple University
Jamal Joseph - Columbia University
Robin D.G. Kelley - University of California, Los Angeles
Tom Morello - Rage Against the Machine
Imani Perry - Princeton University
Barbara Ransby - University of Illinois, Chicago
Boots Riley - Musician, Filmmaker
Walter Riley - Civil rights attorney
Dylan Rodriguez - University of California, Riverside, President American Studies Association
Maggie Siff, Actor
Heather Ann Thompson - University of Michigan
Cornel West - Harvard University
Institutional affiliations listed for identification purposes only
Call: 1-518-474-8390

Email Gov. Cuomo with this form

Tweet at @NYGovCuomo
Any advocacy or communications to Gov. Cuomo must refer to Jalil as:
Sullivan Correctional Facility,
P.O. Box 116,
Fallsburg, New York 12733-0116



Painting by Kevin Cooper, an innocent man on San Quentin's death row. www.freekevincooper.org

Decarcerate Louisiana

Declaration of Undersigned Prisoners
We, the undersigned persons, committed to the care and custody of the Louisiana Department of Corrections (LDOC), hereby submit the following declaration and petition bearing witness to inhumane conditions of solitary confinement in the N-1 building at the David Wade Corrections Center (DWCC). 
Our Complaint:
We, the Undersigned Persons, declare under penalty of perjury: 
1.    We, the undersigned, are currently housed in the N-1 building at DWCC, 670 Bell Hill Road, Homer, LA 71040. 
2.    We are aware that the Constitution, under the 8th Amendment, bans cruel and unusual punishments; the Amendment also imposes duties on prison officials who must provide humane conditions of confinement and ensure that inmates receive adequate food, clothing, shelter, medical care, and must take reasonable measures to guarantee the safety of the inmates. 
3.    We are aware that Louisiana prison officials have sworn by LSA-R.S.15:828 to provide humane treatment and rehabilitation to persons committed to its care and to direct efforts to return every person in its custody to the community as promptly as practicable. 
4.    We are confined in a double-bunked six-by-nine foot or 54 square feet cell with another human being 22-hours-a-day and are compelled to endure the degrading experience of being in close proximity of another human being while defecating. 
5.    There are no educational or rehabilitation programs for the majority of prisoners confined in the N-1 building except for a selected few inmates who are soon to be released. 
6.    We get one hour and 30 minutes on the yard and/or gym seven days a week. Each day we walk to the kitchen for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, which takes about one minute to get there. We are given ten minutes to eat. 
7.    The daily planner for inmates confined in the N-1 building is to provide inmates one hour and 30 minutes on yard or gym; escort inmates to kitchen for breakfast, lunch, and dinner to sit and eat for approximately ten minutes each meal; provide a ten minute shower for each cell every day; provide one ten minute phone call per week; confine prisoners in cell 22-hours-a-day. 
8.    When we are taking a shower we are threatened by guards with disciplinary reports if we are not out on time. A typical order is: "if you are not out of shower in ten minutes pack your shit and I'm sending you back to N-2, N-3, or N-4"—a more punitive form of solitary confinement. 
9.    When walking outside to yard, gym or kitchen, guards order us to put our hands behind our back or they'll write us up and send us back to N-2, N-3, N-4. 
10.  When we are sitting at the table eating, guards order us not to talk or they'll write us up and send us back to N-2, N-3, N-4. ) 
11.  Guards are harassing us every day and are threatening to write up disciplinary reports and send us back to a more punitive cellblock (N-2, N-3, N-4) if we question any arbitrary use of authority or even voice an opinion in opposition to the status quo. Also, guards take away good time credits, phone, TV, radio, canteen, and contact visits for talking too loud or not having hands behind back or for any reason they want. We are also threatened with slave labor discipline including isolation (removing mattress from cell from 5:00 A.M. to 9:00 P.M.,) strip cell (removing mattress and bedding and stationery from cell for ten to 30 days or longer), food loaf  (taking one's meal for breakfast, lunch, or dinner and mixing it all together into one big mass, bake it in oven and serve it to prisoners for punishment.)
12.  When prison guards write up disciplinary reports and transfer us to the more punitive restrictive solitary confinement in N-2, N-3, N-4 or N-5, guards then enforce an arbitrary rule that gives prisoners the ultimatum of sending all their books and personal property home or let the prison dispose of it. 
13.  Louisiana prison officials charge indigent prisoners (who earn less than four cents an hour) $3.00 for routine requests for healthcare services, $6.00 for emergency medical requests, and $2.00 for each new medical prescription. They wait until our family and friends send us money and take it to pay prisoners' medical bills. 
Our concerns:
14.  How much public monies are appropriated to the LDOC budget and specifically allotted to provide humane treatment and implement the rehabilitation program pursuant to LSA- R.S.15:828? 
15.  Why does Elayn Hunt Correctional Center located in the capitol of Louisiana have so many educational and rehabilitation programs teaching prisoners job and life skills for reentry whereas there are no such programs to engage the majority of prisoners confined in the N-1, N- 2, N-3, and N-4 solitary confinement buildings at DWCC. 
16.  It is customary for Louisiana prison officials and DWCC prison guards to tell inmates confined in the prison's cellblocks to wait until transfer to prison dormitory to participate in programs when in fact there are no such programs available and ready to engage the majority of the state's 34,000 prisoner population. The programs are especially needed for prisoners confined in a six-by-nine foot or 54 square feet cell with another person for 22-or-more-hours-per-day. 
17.  Why can't prisoners use phone and computers every day to communicate with family and peers as part of rehabilitation and staying connected to the community? 
18.  Why do prisoners have to be transferred miles and miles away from loved ones to remote correctional facilities when there are facilities closer to loved ones? 
19.  Why are prison guards allowed to treat prisoners as chattel slaves, confined in cages 22-or-more-hours-per-day, take away phone calls and visitation and canteen at will, and take away earned good time credits for any reason at all without input from family, one's peers and community? 
20.  Why do the outside communities allow prison guards to create hostile living environments and conditions of confinement that leaves prisoners in a state of chattel slavery, stress, anxiety, anger, rage, inner torment, despair, worry, and in a worse condition from when we first entered the prison? 
21.  Why do state governments and/or peers in the community allow racist or bigoted white families who reside in the rural and country parts of Louisiana to run the state's corrections system with impunity? For example, DWCC Warden Jerry Goodwin institutes racist and bigoted corrections policies and practices for the very purpose of oppression, repression, antagonizing and dehumanizing the inmates who will one day be released from prison. 
22.  David Wade Correctional Center Colonel Lonnie Nail, a bigot and a racist, takes his orders from Warden Jerry Goodwin, another racist and bigot. Both Goodwin and Nail influences subordinate corrections officers to act toward prisoners in a racist or bigoted manner and with an arrogant attitude. This creates a hostile living environment and debilitating conditions of confinement for both guards and prisoners and prevents rehabilitation of inmates.
23.  In other industrialized democracies like Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Germany, the Netherlands, et al, it is reported that no prisoner should be declared beyond reform or redemption without first attempting to rehabilitate them. Punitive or harsh conditions of confinement are not supported because they see the loss of freedom inherent in a prison sentence as punishment enough. One Netherlands official reported that their motto is to start with the idea of "Reintegration back into society on day one" when people are locked up. "You can't make an honest argument that how someone is treated while incarcerated doesn't affect how they behave when they get out," the official added. 
24.  Additionally, some Scandinavian countries have adopted open prison programs without fences or armed guards. Prisoners who prove by their conduct that they can be trusted are placed in a prison resembling a college campus more than a prison. The result is a 20 percent recidivism rate, compared to a 67 percent rate in the United States. 
25.  The National Commission on Correctional Health Care (NCCHC) in a position statement says: "Prolonged (greater than 15 consecutive days) solitary confinement is cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment, and harmful to an individual's health."
 What We Believe: 
26.  We believe that when the greater portion of public monies goes to war and the military, this leaves little funds left for community reinvestment and human development.The people have less access to resources by which to get a better idea of human behavior and rely on higher education instead of prison to solve cultural, social, political, economic problems in the system that may put people at risk to domestic violence and crime as a way to survive and cope with shortcomings in the system. 
27.  We believe that investing public monies in the rehabilitation program LSA-R.S.15:828 to teach prisoners job and life skills will redeem inmates, instill morals, and make incarcerated people productive and fit for society. 
28.  We believe that confining inmates in cellblocks 15-or-more=hours-per-day is immoral, uncivilized, brutalizing, a waste of time and counter-productive to rehabilitation and society's goals of "promoting the general welfare" and "providing a more perfect union with justice for all." 
29.  We believe that corrections officers who prove by their actions that incarcerated people are nothing more than chattel slaves are bucking the laws and creating hardening criminals and these corrections officers are, therefore, a menace to society. 
Our Demands:
30.  We are demanding a public conversation from community activists and civil rights leaders about (1) the historic relationship between chattel slavery, the retaliatory assassination of President Abraham Lincoln, and the resurrection of slavery written into the 13th Amendment; (2) the historic relationship between the 13th Amendment, the backlash against Reconstruction, Peonage, Convict Leasing, and Slavery; (3) the historic relationship between the 13th Amendment, the War Against Poverty, the War on Drugs, Criminal Justice and Prison Slavery. 
31.  We demand that the Louisiana legislature pass the Decarcerate Louisiana Anti-Slavery and Freedom Liberation Act of 2020 into law and end prison slavery and the warehousing of incarcerated people for the very purpose of repression, oppression, and using prisoners and their families and supporters as a profit center for corporate exploitation and to generate revenue to balance the budget and stimulate the state economy. 
32.  We are demanding that Warden Jerry Goodwin and Colonel Lonnie Nail step down and be replaced by people are deemed excellent public servants in good standing with human rights watchdog groups and civil rights community. 
33.  We are demanding that the LDOC provide public monies to operate state prison dormitories and cellblocks as rehabilitation centers to teach incarcerated people job and life skills five-days-a-week from 7:00 A.M. to 4:00 P.M. 
34.  We are demanding that the LDOC release a public statement announcing that "from this day forward it will not support punitive or harsh conditions of confinement," and that "no prisoner should be declared beyond reform or redemption without first attempting to rehabilitate them."
35.  We are demanding that the prison cellblocks be operated as open dormitories (made in part a health clinic and part college campus) so that incarcerated people can have enough space to walk around and socialize, participate in class studies, exercise, use telephone as the need arise. Prisoners are already punished by incarceration so there is no need to punish or further isolate them. Racism and abuse of power will not be tolerated. 
36.  We are demanding an end to unjust policies and practices that impose punishments and deprive incarcerated people of phone calls, visitation, canteen, good time credits, books and other personal property that pose no threat to public safety. 
37.  We are demanding that LDOC provide incarcerated people cellphones and computers to communicate with the public and stay connected to the community. 
38.  We are demanding the right to communicate with reporters to aid and assist incarcerated persons in preparing a press release to communicate to the public Decarcerate Louisiana's vision and mission statements, aims, and plans for moving forward. 
39.  We are demanding the right to participate in the U.S.-European Criminal Justice Innovation Project and share our complaint, concerns, and demands for a humane corrections program. 
40.  We are only demanding the right to enough space to create, to innovate, to excel in learning, to use scientific knowledge to improve our person and place and standing in the free world. The rule of law must support the betterment and uplifting of all humanity. As Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., said: "injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." 
41.  We demand that the responsibility for prisoner medical care be removed from DOC wardens and place it under the management of the state's health office; increase state health officer staff to better monitor prisoner healthcare and oversee vendor contracts. 
42.  We have a God-given right and responsibility to resist abuse of power from the wrongdoers, to confront unjust authority and oppression, to battle for justice until we achieve our demands for liberation and freedom. 
We, the undersigned, declare under penalty of perjury that the foregoing is true and correct. 
Executed on this 28th Day of January 2019. 
Ronald Brooks #385964 
David Johnson #84970 
Freddie Williams #598701 
Earl Hollins #729041 
James Harris #399514 
Tyrone Carter #550354 
Kerry Carter #392013 
Ivo Richardson #317371 
Rondrikus Fulton #354313 
Kentell Simmons #601717 
Jayvonte Pines #470985 
Deandre Miles #629008 
Kenneth P. #340729 
Brandon Ceaser #421453 
Tyronne Ward #330964 
Jermaine Atkins #448421 
Charles Rodgers #320513 
Steve Givens #557854 
Timothy Alfred #502378 
—wsimg.com, January 2019



New Prison and Jail Population Figures Released by U.S. Department of Justice

By yearend 2017, the United States prison population had declined by 7.3% since reaching its peak level in 2009, according to new data released by the Department of Justice. The prison population decreases are heavily influenced by a handful of states that have reduced their populations by 30% or more in recent years. However, as of yearend 2017 more than half the states were still experiencing increases in their populations or rates of decline only in the single digits. 
Analysis of the new data by The Sentencing Project reveals that: 
  • The United States remains as the world leader in its rate of incarceration, locking up its citizens at 5-10 times the rate of other industrialized nations. At the current rate of decline it will take 75 years to cut the prison population by 50%.
  • The population serving life sentences is now at a record high. One of every seven individuals in prison – 206,000 – is serving life.
  • Six states have reduced their prison populations by at least 30% over the past two decades – Alaska, Connecticut, California, New Jersey, New York, and Vermont.  
  • The rate of women's incarceration has been rising at a faster rate than men's since the 1980s, and declines in recent years have been slower than among men.
  • Racial disparities in women's incarceration have changed dramatically since the start of the century. Black women were incarcerated at 6 times the rate of white women in 2000, while the 2017 figure is now 1.8 times that rate. These changes have been a function of both a declining number of black women in prison and a rising number of white women. For Hispanic women, the ratio has changed from 1.6 times that of white women in 2000 to 1.4 times in 2017. 
The declines in prison and jail populations reported by the Department of Justice today are encouraging, but still fall far short of what is necessary for meaningful criminal justice reform. In order to take the next step in ending mass incarceration policymakers will need to scale back excessive sentencing for all offenses, a key factor which distinguishes the U.S. from other nations. 

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[Note: China's population is 1,419,147,756* as of April 26, 2019 with 1,649,804 in prison***; while the population of the USA is 328,792,291 as of April 27, 2019** with 2,121,600 in prison.*** 



Courage to Resist
daniel hale drone activist
Drone vet turned activist facing 50 years for whistle-blowing
Daniel Hale, an Air Force veteran and former US intelligence analyst was arrested May 9th and charged with violating the Espionage Act. Daniel is a well-known anti-drone activist who has spoken out a number of anti-war events and conferences. He's a member of About Face: Veterans Against the War, and he's featured in the documentary "National Bird." For years, Daniel has expressed concern that he'd be targeted by the government.  Learn more.
Hal Muskat
Podcast: "There were US anti-war soldiers all over the world" - Hal Muskat
"I told my command officer that I wasn't going to, I was refusing my orders [to Vietnam] … In his rage, he thought if he court-martialed me, he'd have to stay in the Army past his discharge date." While stationed in Europe, Hal Muskat refused orders to Vietnam and joined the GI Movement, resulting in two court martials. This Courage to Resist podcast was produced in collaboration with the Vietnam Full Disclosure effort of Veterans For Peace. Listen to Hal Muskat's story.

Chelsea Manning returned to jail after brief release; Faces half million dollar fine in addition to another 18 months prison
chelsea manning resists
Since our last newsletter less than two weeks ago, Chelsea Manning was freed from jail when the grand jury investigating Julian Assange and WikiLeaks expired. However, a few days later, she was sent back to jail for refusing to collaborate with a new grand jury on the same subject. District Court Judge Anthony Trenga ordered Chelsea fined $500 every day she is in custody after 30 days and $1,000 every day she is in custody after 60 days -- a possible total of $502,000. Statement from Chelsea's lawyers.
Stand with Reality Winner, rally in DC
chelsea manning resists
June 3, 2019 at 7pm (Monday)
Lafayette Square, Washington DC 
Please join friends and supporters as we raise awareness of the persecution of this young veteran and brave truth teller. This marks two years of imprisonment of Reality for helping to expose hacking attempts on US election systems leading up to the 2016 presidential election. For more info, visit the "Stand with Reality" pages on Twitter or FacebookOrder "Stand with Reality" shirts, banners, and buttons from Left Together protest shirts.

484 Lake Park Ave #41, Oakland, California 94610 ~ 510-488-3559


Funds for Kevin Cooper


For 34 years, an innocent man has been on death row in California. 

Kevin Cooper was wrongfully convicted of the brutal 1983 murders of the Ryen family and houseguest. The case has a long history of police and prosecutorial misconduct, evidence tampering, and numerous constitutional violations including many incidences of the prosecution withholding evidence of innocence from the defense. You can learn more here . 

In December 2018 Gov. Brown ordered  limited DNA testing and in February 2019, Gov. Newsom ordered additional DNA testing. Meanwhile, Kevin remains on Death Row at San Quentin Prison. 

The funds raised will be used to help Kevin purchase art supplies for his paintings . Additionally, being in prison is expensive, and this money would help Kevin pay for stamps, paper, toiletries, supplementary food, and/or phone calls.

Please help ease the daily struggle of an innocent man on death row!



Don't extradite Assange!

To the government of the UK
Julian Assange, through Wikileaks, has done the world a great service in documenting American war crimes, its spying on allies and other dirty secrets of the world's most powerful regimes, organisations and corporations. This has not endeared him to the American deep state. Both Obama, Clinton and Trump have declared that arresting Julian Assange should be a priority. We have recently received confirmation [1] that he has been charged in secret so as to have him extradited to the USA as soon as he can be arrested. 
Assange's persecution, the persecution of a publisher for publishing information [2] that was truthful and clearly in the interest of the public - and which has been republished in major newspapers around the world - is a danger to freedom of the press everywhere, especially as the USA is asserting a right to arrest and try a non-American who neither is nor was then on American soil. The sentence is already clear: if not the death penalty then life in a supermax prison and ill treatment like Chelsea Manning. The very extradition of Julian Assange to the United States would at the same time mean the final death of freedom of the press in the West. 
The courageous nation of Ecuador has offered Assange political asylum within its London embassy for several years until now. However, under pressure by the USA, the new government has made it clear that they want to drive Assange out of the embassy and into the arms of the waiting police as soon as possible. They have already curtailed his internet and his visitors and turned the heating off, leaving him freezing in a desolate state for the past few months and leading to the rapid decline of his health, breaching UK obligations under the European Convention of Human Rights. Therefore, our demand both to the government of Ecuador and the government of the UK is: don't extradite Assange to the US! Guarantee his human rights, make his stay at the embassy as bearable as possible and enable him to leave the embassy towards a secure country as soon as there are guarantees not to arrest and extradite him. Furthermore, we, as EU voters, encourage European nations to take proactive steps to protect a journalist in danger. The world is still watching.
[1] https://www.nytimes.com/2018/11/16/us/politics/julian-assange-indictment-wikileaks.html
[2] https://theintercept.com/2018/11/16/as-the-obama-doj-concluded-prosecution-of-julian-assange-for-publishing-documents-poses-grave-threats-to-press-freedom/



Words of Wisdom

Louis Robinson Jr., 77
Recording secretary for Local 1714 of the United Auto Workers from 1999 to 2018, with the minutes from a meeting of his union's retirees' chapter.

"One mistake the international unions in the United States made was when Ronald Reagan fired the air traffic controllers. When he did that, the unions could have brought this country to a standstill. All they had to do was shut down the truck drivers for a month, because then people would not have been able to get the goods they needed. So that was one of the mistakes they made. They didn't come together as organized labor and say: "No. We aren't going for this. Shut the country down." That's what made them weak. They let Reagan get away with what he did. A little while after that, I read an article that said labor is losing its clout, and I noticed over the years that it did. It happened. It doesn't feel good."

[On the occasion of the shut-down of the Lordstown, Ohio GM plant March 6, 2019.]



Get Malik Out of Ad-Seg

Keith "Malik" Washington is an incarcerated activist who has spoken out on conditions of confinement in Texas prison and beyond:  from issues of toxic water and extreme heat, to physical and sexual abuse of imprisoned people, to religious discrimination and more.  Malik has also been a tireless leader in the movement to #EndPrisonSlavery which gained visibility during nationwide prison strikes in 2016 and 2018.  View his work at comrademalik.com or write him at:

Keith H. Washington
TDC# 1487958
McConnell Unit
3001 S. Emily Drive
Beeville, TX 78102
Friends, it's time to get Malik out of solitary confinement.

Malik has experienced intense, targeted harassment ever since he dared to start speaking against brutal conditions faced by incarcerated people in Texas and nationwide--but over the past few months, prison officials have stepped up their retaliation even more.

In Administrative Segregation (solitary confinement) at McConnell Unit, Malik has experienced frequent humiliating strip searches, medical neglect, mail tampering and censorship, confinement 23 hours a day to a cell that often reached 100+ degrees in the summer, and other daily abuses too numerous to name.  It could not be more clear that they are trying to make an example of him because he is a committed freedom fighter.  So we have to step up.

Who to contact:
TDCJ Executive Director Bryan Collier
Phone: (936)295-6371

Senior Warden Philip Sinfuentes (McConnell Unit)
Phone: (361) 362-2300



Major George Tillery
April 25, 2018-- The arrest of two young men in Starbucks for the crime of "sitting while black," and the four years prison sentence to rapper Meek Mill for a minor parole violation are racist outrages in Philadelphia, PA that made national news in the past weeks. Yesterday Meek Mills was released on bail after a high profile defense campaign and a Pa Supreme Court decision citing evidence his conviction was based solely on a cop's false testimony.
These events underscore the racism, frame-up, corruption and brutality at the core of the criminal injustice system. Pennsylvania "lifer" Major Tillery's fight for freedom puts a spotlight on the conviction of innocent men with no evidence except the lying testimony of jailhouse snitches who have been coerced and given favors by cops and prosecutors.

Sex for Lies and Manufactured Testimony
For thirty-five years Major Tillery has fought against his 1983 arrest, then conviction and sentence of life imprisonment without parole for an unsolved 1976 pool hall murder and assault. Major Tillery's defense has always been his innocence. The police and prosecution knew Tillery did not commit these crimes. Jailhouse informant Emanuel Claitt gave lying testimony that Tillery was one of the shooters.

In May and June 2016, Emanuel Claitt gave sworn statements that his testimony was a total lie, and that the homicide cops and the prosecutors told him what to say and coached him before trial. Not only was he coerced to lie that Major Tillery was a shooter, but to lie and claim there were no plea deals made in exchange for his testimony. He provided the information about the specific homicide detectives and prosecutors involved in manufacturing his testimony and details about being allowed "sex for lies". In August 2016, Claitt reaffirmed his sworn statements in a videotape, posted on YouTube and on JusticeforMajorTillery.org.

Major Tillery has Fought his Conviction and Advocated for Other Prisoners for over 30 Years

Major Tillery Needs Your Help:

Major Tillery and family

    Financial Support—Tillery's investigation is ongoing. He badly needs funds to fight for his freedom.
    Go to JPay.com;
    code: Major Tillery AM9786 PADOC

    Tell Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner:
    The Conviction Review Unit should investigate Major Tillery's case. He is innocent. The only evidence at trial was from lying jail house informants who now admit it was false.
    Call: 215-686-8000 or

    Write to:
    Security Processing Center
    Major Tillery AM 9786
    268 Bricker Road
    Bellefonte, PA 16823
    For More Information, Go To: JusticeForMajorTillery.org
    Kamilah Iddeen (717) 379-9009, Kamilah29@yahoo.com
    Rachel Wolkenstein (917) 689-4009, RachelWolkenstein@gmail.com




    On Monday March 4th, 2019 Leonard Peltier was advised that his request for a transfer had been unceremoniously denied by the United States Bureau of Prisons.

    The International Leonard Peltier Defense Committee appreciates and thanks the large number of his supporters who took the time to write, call, email, or fax the BOP in support of Leonard's request for a transfer.
    Those of us who have been supporting Leonard's freedom for a number of years are disappointed but resolute to continue pushing for his freedom and until that day, to continue to push for his transfer to be closer to his relatives and the Indigenous Nations who support him.
    44 years is too damn long for an innocent man to be locked up. How can his co-defendants be innocent on the grounds of self-defense but Leonard remains in prison? The time is now for all of us to dig deep and do what we can and what we must to secure freedom for Leonard Peltier before it's too late.
    We need the support of all of you now, more than ever. The ILPDC plans to appeal this denial of his transfer to be closer to his family. We plan to demand he receive appropriate medical care, and to continue to uncover and utilize every legal mechanism to secure his release. To do these things we need money to support the legal work.
    Land of the Brave postcard-page-0

    Please call the ILPDC National office or email us for a copy of the postcard you can send to the White House. We need your help to ask President Trump for Leonard's freedom.

    Free Leonard Peltier!

    Art by Leonard Peltier
    Write to:
    Leonard Peltier 89637-132
    USP Coleman 1,  P.O. Box 1033
    Coleman, FL 33521



    Working people are helping to feed the poor hungry corporations! 
    Charity for the Wealthy!



    1) Hector Figueroa: The Labor Movement Can Rise Again
    By Hector Figueroa, July 12, 2019

    The author in 2017 with Union members, Fast Food Workers, and New York City Council Members, outside the US Department of Labor Building protesting President Trumps Pick of a Fast-Food CEO for U.S. Secretary of Labor.CreditCreditErik McGregor/Pacific Press -- LightRocket, via Getty Images

    As the American economy continues its record-breaking expansion, the question for labor leaders across the country is: What can unions do to make economic growth work for the workers left behind by the bonanza of the past decade?
    Workers are ready to do more. In the United States, about 80 million workers make less than $20 an hour. And many of them are more than willing to take risks and demand dignity and respect on the job. There are signs of renewed worker militancy everywhere. In 2018,  in America went on strike or stopped work because of a labor dispute, the largest number since 1986. From teachers to aircraft cleaners, workers are showing a return to the kind of collective action that brought us Social Security, the weekend and a federally guaranteed minimum wage. nearly half a million workers
    That's a good sign, but it's not enough to reshape our economy. If labor wants to have a real impact, our movement needs a big and ambitious plan to organize.

    We hear all the time about the heyday of American unions. They were strong and influential in the 1950s, when they counted  as members. But what most people forget is that this power came from a conscious decision to organize new members — a commitment that began two decades earlier.35 percent of American workers

    In the 1930s, national federations like the Congress of Industrial Organizations realized that without making an effort to grow, the movement would die. So they put real money into organizing. In 1936, the C.I.O., thanks to the commitment of the mine workers and clothing workers unions, poured $500,000 — the equivalent of $9.2 million today — into a single campaign to organize steelworkers. Fast-forward to 2019, and you will find that with only a few exceptions, most unions are not committing significant resources to organizing nonunion workers.
    That is a grave error. Poll after poll, especially of millennials, women and independent voters, finds that Americans want unions to be more powerful and influential. But only  of American workers now have a union. As a labor leader, it is heartbreaking to witness our movement risk near-irrelevance at a time when workers are ready to take action and improve their jobs and lives. 10.5 percent
    Our lack of ambition is having direct effects on the very members we should be fighting for. With fewer workers in unions, we have become weaker at the bargaining table. Many younger union members have two-tiered union contracts, so that older workers get pension benefits that younger union members will never see. And pensions are a nonstarter for nonunion workers. We've been tricked into believing that the bosses just can't afford to let workers retire with dignity, or to fully cover our health care, or pay us enough to feed our families.
    How did we go from 35 percent to just 10.5 percent union membership, the lowest unionization rate of any rich country? A lot of the decline is the fault of governments unfriendly to labor. The Taft-Hartley Act of 1947 slowed down union organizing, putting new restrictions on unions and allowing states to pass freeloader laws (also known as right-to-work laws) allowing nonunion members to enjoy union benefits without paying dues. The Reagan years brought a new round of deregulation and a direct attack in 1981, when Ronald Reagan fired more than 11,000 striking air traffic controllers who refused his back-to-work order after they walked out to protest poor working conditions and low pay.
    But there's plenty of blame to go around. For too long, too many unions have avoided the tough work that needs to be done to organize nonunion workers, to convince our own members that it's in their interest to expand our ranks, and to retool our organizations by putting resources into building power. We have let ourselves be backed into a corner, by trying to just hold on to what we have and fighting only for workers who are already union members.

    It's not too late to rebuild our movement. Many who study the labor movement thought the Supreme Court's ruling  which aimed to strip unions of vital dues resources, would kill the movement. That's what the political right was hoping. But we survived, and workers are mobilizing and organizing, with and sometimes without a union behind them. in the Janus case last year,
    We cannot let this unique moment in history pass us by. Organizing workers, all kinds of workers, needs to be our No. 1 priority.
    My local union, by mandate of its members, spends at least 20 percent of its budget to bring in workers who are not already union members. We are far from perfect, but our strategy is working. Our union has grown to 175,000 members — doubling our size in just over a decade — by talking to workers in sectors that many thought too fragmented to be organized. Thousands of baggage handlers, security personnel, aircraft cleaners and other low-wage workers at airports up and down the East Coast have joined our ranks, taking risks by speaking up and, when necessary, going on strike, to demand respect. These tactics made it possible for 40,000 New York-New Jersey area service workers to win a $19-an-hour wage rate by 2023,  in the country.the highest government-required minimum wage
    To make lasting change for American workers, unions cannot focus only on dues-paying members. We need a broader movement that helps every family — union or nonunion — win economic security. We can do more. That's why our union is running a breakthrough campaign in fast food. That's why we are supporting the taxi workers' union in New York City, which won the first ever minimum pay rate for Uber drivers and regulations on app companies to protect driver livelihoods. We are also backing New York State farmworkers in their fight for collective bargaining rights, and we helped them to win those rights in this legislative session. 
    As the Trump administration ramps up its attack on workers, and with Trump's labor board and the courts firmly on the side of the rich and powerful, the labor movement can't wait to organize workers shop by shop. We need, instead, industrywide efforts to mobilize large numbers of workers. This "big tent approach" calls for a richer understanding of the economics and competitive dynamics within industries and in different cities. 
    Let's take Amazon, which is now the  in the United States, with warehouses scattered all around the country, many of them also staffed by contract workers. Organizing those warehouse workers should be a top priority for the labor movement, but it would be close to impossible for one union to organize so many workers in so many locations. So unions need to pool their resources and work together, with the shared goal of creating secure union jobs, regardless of which union the workers may end up in.second-largest private employer
    President Trump is trying hard to divide us, but unions can help reverse some of the damage. We can build a lasting movement that will reduce income inequality, create a country that is fair for all and kick the hatemongers out of office. We must begin putting organizing first today, not in 2021.

    I once heard it said that most people miss opportunity because it's dressed in overalls and looks like work. If that's the case, let's get to work, my brothers and sisters.

    Hector Figueroa was president of Local 32BJ of the Service Employees International Union.


    2) How the Eric Garner Decision Compares With Other Cases
    By Mitch Smith, July 16, 2019

    From left: Darren Wilson, Betty Jo Shelby, Jason Van Dyke and Mohamed NoorCreditCreditSt. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney's Office, via Associated Press; Sue Ogrocki/Associated Press; pool photo by Antonio Perez; Craig Lassig/Reuters

    After the fatal chokehold of Eric Garner by a New York City police officer, a familiar pattern unfolded: Expressions of outrage, promises to investigate, a long wait for a resolution.
    On Tuesday, just before the fifth anniversary of Mr. Garner's death, word came that federal prosecutors would not seek civil rights charges against Daniel Pantaleo, the officer who put Mr. Garner in a chokehold.

    Mr. Garner's death was among several involving the police in recent years that have led to protests and calls for the officer to face criminal charges. Here is what has happened to the officers in some of the other cases.

    Protesters marched for months in 2014 when Darren Wilson, a white Ferguson, Mo., police officer, shot and killed Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager. Mr. Wilson resigned. County grand jurors declined to indict him, and federal prosecutors decided not to file civil rights charges.

    In 2014, Timothy Loehmann, a rookie patrolman in Cleveland, shot and killed Tamir Rice, a black 12-year-old, within seconds of arriving outside a recreation center where Tamir was carrying a replica gun. Mr. Loehmann, who is white, was not criminally charged, but was fired from the Cleveland police for lying about a past job on his employment application. Years later, Mr. Loehmann accepted another policing job in rural Ohio, but resigned under pressure from activists. He has appealed his firing from the Cleveland police force.
    Protesters in Minneapolis occupied the area outside a police station for days in 2015 after Jamar Clark, a black man, was shot during a struggle with Officers Mark Ringgenberg and Dustin Schwarze. Both officers, who are white, returned to work after the county prosecutor and the police chief cleared them of wrongdoing. In 2017, Officer Ringgenberg was among the first officers on the scene after another Minneapolis officer shot and killed an unarmed woman.
    In Tulsa, Okla., prosecutors swiftly charged Officer Betty Jo Shelbywith manslaughter after she shot and killed Terence Crutcher, an unarmed black man, in 2016. But jurors acquitted her, and Officer Shelby, who is white, returned to work. She later resigned from the Tulsa police after being assigned a desk job, and joined a sheriff's department in a nearby county.

    Twice, prosecutors tried to convince jurors that Ray Tensing, a white University of Cincinnati police officer, was guilty of murder in the death of Samuel DuBose, an unarmed black driver. Twice, jurors deadlocked and failed to reach a verdict. Prosecutors declined to seek a third trial. Mr. Tensing, who had been fired shortly after the shooting, was later reported to have reached a settlement with the university that included legal fees and nearly $250,000 in back pay.
    Baltimore erupted in large, sometimes violent, protests in 2015 when Freddie Gray, a black man, died after suffering a spinal cord injury while in police custody. The local prosecutor charged six officers in connection with his death, but none were convicted. Federal prosecutors declined to file charges.
    Roy D. Oliver II, a white police officer in Balch Springs, Tex., shot and killed Jordan Edwards with a high-powered rifle as Jordan, who was black and 15, and other teenagers drove away from a house party in 2017. Mr. Oliver was convicted of murder last summer and sentenced to 15 years in prison, a sentence Jordan's family called too lenient.
    Mohamed Noor, a Minneapolis police officer, said he feared for his life when Justine Ruszczyk, a white woman wearing pajamas and holding a glittery cellphone, approached his squad car on a summer night in 2017. Mr. Noor, who is black, shot and killed her. Jurors did not accept his account, and convicted him of murder this year. He was sentenced to 12.5 years in prison.
    A 2014 video showing Jason Van Dyke, a white Chicago police officer, firing 16 shots into Laquan McDonald, a black teenager who had been holding a knife, touched off political upheaval and led to an agreement to overhaul the city's Police Department. Jurors found Mr. Van Dyke guilty of murder last year — the first such conviction for an on-duty Chicago officer in decades — and he was sentenced in January to nearly seven years in prison. Laquan's family and the Illinois attorney general called the sentence inadequate.


    3) Why the Eric Garner Case Is Not Over
    By Azi Paybarah, July 17, 2019

    Gwen Carr, Eric Garner's mother, at a news conference Tuesday.CreditDemetrius Freeman for The New York Times

     Five years after Eric Garner died, the Justice Department announced it would not bring federal charges against the officer who placed him in a chokehold.

    Attention immediately turned to Mayor de Blasio, who has allowed that officer, Daniel Pantaleo, and others involved in the fatal encounter, to remain on the New York Police Department payroll.
    "Mayor de Blasio, do your job. Fire these officers," Mr. Garner's mother, Gwen Carr, said at a news conference. 
    Catch me up. What happened?
    The Justice Department was considering whether to bring federal civil rights charges against Officer Pantaleo. On video taken by a bystander, he is seen wrapping an arm around Mr. Garner's neck and helping to wrestle him to the ground. (Mr. Garner had been accused of selling loose, untaxed cigarettes.) 
    On the video, Mr. Garner is heard saying "I can't breathe" 11 times. 
    Officer Pantaleo still works for the city? 

    Officer Pantaleo has been stripped of his gun and badge and assigned to desk duty since the July 17, 2014, encounter.

    In 2016, Politico reported that Mr. Pantaleo had bolstered his salary of $78,000 with more than $23,000 in overtime pay
    Can Mr. de Blasio fire him?
    The Police Department is a highly regulated agency. It is constrained by federal and local laws, decades of court rulings and labor agreements with several unions.
    Despite all that, the mayor has tremendous influence over the department, and also appoints the police commissioner, who makes the final decision about internal disciplinary matters. 
    The mayor also selects the head of the Civilian Complaint Review Board, which investigates certain allegations of police wrongdoing. 
    What has the mayor said about employing Officer Pantaleo?
    Initially, Mr. de Blasio said he wanted federal officials to finish their inquiry before the Police Department initiated its own. That way, the mayor said, there would be no interference. 
    Officer Pantaleo's departmental trial began in May and ended last month, but the judge has yet to release her decision. 
    In 2015, the city agreed to pay Mr. Garner's family $5.9 million to settle a wrongful-death claim.
    Yesterday, the mayor implied that waiting to begin the departmental inquiry was wrong.

    "We won't make that mistake again," he said in a statement. From now on, the Police Department and the review board "will begin its disciplinary process immediately" when an unarmed civilian is killed by a police officer.
    What's next?
    Mr. Garner's supporters plan 11 days of protests throughout the city to pressure Mr. de Blasio into taking action. 
    A lawyer for the Garner family said it would seek federal charges under a new administration. "The next president and the next attorney general will be presented with the same facts," said the lawyer, Jonathan Moore.


    4) Prison for Life. He Turned Himself Around. So I Freed Him.
    A federal judge explains how she say redemption in an inmate's efforts to improve himself.
    By Robin Rosenberg, July 18, 2019

    CreditCreditÁngel Franco/The New York Times

    WEST PALM BEACH, FLA. — In January 1999, Robert Clarence Potts III was sentenced to life in prison. He was 28, and had been convicted of drug and weapons charges. The federal judge sentencing him seemed to express some regret at the gravity of the penalty. But under the law at the time, Mr. Potts faced a mandatory sentence of life imprisonment without release because of the type of offenses and his two previous convictions for drug and other offenses.
    "You are facing a very tough sentence here, and it is very regrettable that you are," the judge, James C. Paine of the United States District Court of the Southern District of Florida, told him. The judge added that "we are governed by the law and the guidelines and we are going to have to go by those." And the law and sentencing guidelines meant "a term of life imprisonment," he explained.
    To that, Mr. Potts responded, "Sir, there is not much I can say." But it was what he did afterward that ultimately made the difference.

    On Friday, Mr. Potts, now 49, is scheduled to be released from prison after more than 20 years — a turn of events made possible by the First Step Act, passed by Congress and signed by President Trump last year. Among other things, the law expanded early-release programs, modified sentencing laws and allowed defendants like Mr. Potts to seek a reduction in their sentence, a step toward correcting the country's history of disproportionate sentences.

    The decision whether to reduce his sentence fell to me when I was randomly assigned his case. The twist was that I had been Judge Paine's law clerk in 1989, 10 years before Mr. Potts was sent away. Now I was a federal judge in the same courthouse where Judge Paine had served and where he had sentenced Mr. Potts two decades before.
    I wanted to understand who Mr. Potts was back then. But, maybe more important, I wanted to understand who he is today. 
    At his hearing, I learned that Mr. Potts was born in Florida and grew up in a poor but close-knit family; his father was a landscaper and his mother worked as a housekeeper. He graduated from high school and joined the Army at 18, where he was a nuclear weapons technician in Germany and Oklahoma. 
    But his life started to spiral down after he left the Army. His mother and father separated. A car accident left him in a coma for a week and caused chronic pain. He started using crack cocaine to self-medicate and sold drugs to maintain his addiction.
    State authorities arrested and charged Mr. Potts twice within three months. In the first case, he was convicted of battery, resisting an officer and drug possession. In the second case, he was convicted of resisting an officer, drug possession with intent to sell and possession of drug paraphernalia. For these crimes, he received a total of six months in county jail and two years of probation.

    Then, in 1998, Mr. Potts sold crack cocaine to a confidential informant who reported to law enforcement that Mr. Potts had a large amount of crack cocaine at his home. A search there uncovered drugs and firearms. He was convicted by a jury and given his sentence by Judge Paine.
    Mr. Potts had served over 20 years in a high-security federal penitentiary when the First Step Act became law last December. The First Step Act made the Fair Sentencing Act — signed by President Barack Obama in 2010 to reduce the disparity in sentencing for powder cocaine and crack cocaine offenses — applicable to past cases. The First Step Act also allowed a defendant like Mr. Potts to seek a sentence reduction even when the original sentence was for life. The law provides wide discretion to the court to determine whether to reduce a sentence and by how much.
    At his sentence reduction hearing, Mr. Potts had much more to say than he did back in 1999. Before me, he was remorseful, dignified and hopeful. He was proud of all that he had accomplished in over two decades in prison — proud of the courses he took in personal growth, responsible thinking, legal research and software, proud of his participation in nearly every health, nutrition and fitness class available. Perhaps he derived his greatest pride from conquering a debilitating addiction and maintaining his sobriety. As his lawyer explained to me, sobriety is not a foregone conclusion in prison, where drugs are widely available.
    I wanted to know how Mr. Potts had managed his life in prison. He told me: "A lot of times I felt like giving up, but I didn't want to let my mom down, my family." 
    He continued: "I kept myself away from a lot of people in prison. I wasn't around the average people in prison. Prison is an awful place. You have all these different types of organizations and gangs and foolishness. That is not me, ma'am. I'm not like that.
    "I made some bad decisions in my life," he added, "but I am not a bad person."
    The true marker of a person's character is what he does when he thinks no one is watching. Because Mr. Potts was sentenced to life, no one had really been looking at what he had been doing. But his unwavering dedication to improve himself over the last two decades, despite his circumstances, convinced me that his hope in his own future isn't misplaced.
    After a long hearing, I concluded that 20 years was more than sufficient as punishment for his past — and serious — crimes, and ordered his release. To help his transition, he will spend six months in a residential re-entry center.
    I believe Mr. Potts's story is one of redemption through self-improvement. His case speaks to the importance of criminal justice reforms such as the First Step and Fair Sentencing Acts. His story illuminates the human impact of such reforms and a person's capacity for hope and redemption.
    Robin Rosenberg is a federal judge in the Southern District of Florida.

    5) Puerto Ricans in Protests Say They've Had Enough
    By Patricia Mazzel and Frances Robles, July 18, 2019

    Protesters have been filling the streets of San Juan, Puerto Rico, calling for Gov. Ricardo A. Rosselló to resign. Here are the reasons fueling their anger.CreditCreditErika P. Rodriguez for The New York Times

    SAN JUAN, P.R. — Flags in hand, Puerto Ricans descended into the streets of San Juan on Wednesday, arriving by the thousands for several hours before the start of an enormous protest. They filled a boulevard lined with palm trees, a sea of people covering every inch from the imposing Capitol to the waterfront with a unified message: The governor must go.
    On a platform with speakers, the rapper Residente offered a microphone to the artist Ricky Martin. The trap musician Bad Bunny waved a flag. The singer iLe looked over the impressive crowd and declared, "It was about damn time to wake up."
    Then, the schoolteachers and the union leaders, the lifetime political activists and the first-timers, the students and their parents, set off on foot to try to reach the governor's mansion, where more protesters awaited. For the fifth consecutive day, they demanded Gov. Ricardo A. Rosselló's resignation. As on Monday, the night ended with chaotic confrontations with the police.

    This time, there were many more protesters packed into the narrow colonial streets of Old San Juan, including a hardcore group that faced off with the authorities for hours. Police officers in riot gear deployed tear gas and rubber bullets. The young demonstrators left a Puerto Rican flag — symbolically painted in black, white and gray instead of red, white and blue — perched on the ground facing the governor's mansion.

    Ostensibly, the demonstrators were protesting the arrogant and crass exchanges by the governor and his inner circle in a leaked group chat and the corruption of top politicians unveiled by a series of high-profile arrests. But the forceful display on the streets of Old San Juan amounted to a rejection of decades of scandals and mismanagement involving affluent and disconnected leaders who have time and again benefited at the expense of suffering Puerto Ricans.

    The outcry has brought the United States commonwealth to a crossroads, with far-reaching implications. For now, Mr. Rosselló is still governor. But the persistent question about how Puerto Rico might be governed amid so many difficulties remains.
    Some of Mr. Rosselló's ambitious goals, including the push for statehood, will almost certainly be shelved now. And his rapidly diminishing power has handed political fuel to President Trump, who has derided the island's leaders as not competent enough to manage federal disaster relief funds.
    Now, Mr. Trump claims to be vindicated — even though some of Puerto Rico's woes are not entirely of the island's own making. Big Wall Street investors benefited for years from the Puerto Rican government's willingness to keep taking on more debt. The island's bankruptcy restructuring has cost jobs and, at one point, threatened public employees' pensions and traditional Christmas bonuses.

    Silvia Álvarez Curbelo, a historian who retired last year from the University of Puerto Rico, said the protests against the governor are unprecedented. Nobody took to the streets during the aftermath of Hurricane Maria in 2017, when both the local and federal governments were widely blamed for a botched response, because they were too busy surviving, she said. But the accumulation of grievances has led to a spontaneous explosion of discontent.
    "This has been a process of trauma," Ms. Álvarez Curbelo said. "And so now, all of that trauma has come out, all of that pain."

    Mr. Rosselló's tenure has been defined by the hurricane that hit less than nine months after his inauguration. Many people did not have electricity for months, and the storm is estimated to have left several thousand people dead — a grim reality that the governor's administration was slow to acknowledge. On the chat, one of his aides made a joke about the cadavers that had accumulated after the hurricane in the understaffed morgue.
    Immediately after the storm, Mr. Rosselló's administration caused outrage when it awarded a $300 million contract, to help restore power, to Whitefish Energy, a Montana company with no major disaster experience. After the public furor, the governor was forced to cancel the agreement. Mr. Rosselló and the electric company's leaders were criticized for not having standard mutual aid agreements ready, so that outside utilities could be on hand to help quickly. In the end, it took nearly a year to get power fully restored.
    Mr. Rosselló has also overseen thousands of layoffs, cuts to public services, school closures and tuition hikes as a result of a 12-year economic recession and Puerto Rico's debt crisis. Not all of those measures were Mr. Rosselló's doing: The island's finances are managed by an unpopular and unelected oversight board created by Congress.
    Mr. Rosselló has tried at times to push back against "la junta," as the board is known, but his term has coincided with its oversight, and Puerto Ricans have fused their anger toward Mr. Rosselló with their anger toward the board. One of the most popular protest chants is, "¡Ricky, renuncia, y llévate a la junta!" — Ricky, resign, and take the board with you.

    Since Puerto Rico's Center for Investigative Journalism published 889 pages of the leaked Telegram chat on Saturday, Mr. Rosselló has found himself increasingly isolated in office. The snowballing scandal has, suddenly and unexpectedly, united factions from across Puerto Rican society, revealing deep dissatisfaction with how the island is governed.

    "The governor's moral authority and credibility to lead are completely gone," said former Gov. Luis Fortuño, who like Mr. Rosselló is a member of the New Progressive Party. "I only hope and pray that the governor will think of the Puerto Rican people first, and put them above his own political interests."
    Mr. Rosselló and the 11 other men on the chat have been ordered to turn over their cellphones to Puerto Rico's Department of Justice. The governor has maintained that there was no illegal activity taking place in the chat.
    The political crisis has prompted Republican and Democratic lawmakers on Capitol Hill to consider imposing more oversight restrictions on $12 billion in federal Medicaid funds for the island. Tens of millions more have been set aside to help Puerto Rico recover from Hurricane Maria.
    To avoid the unrest, cruise ships have skipped docking in San Juan, worrying small business owners who depend on tourists to survive. On Wednesday, Old San Juan felt eerily silent, its storefronts covered by storm shutters in advance of the angry crowds.

    Business leaders have expressed concern about scaring off investors long term, especially if truckers make good on their threat to join the protest by slowing deliveries of gasoline and goods.

    But Puerto Ricans of all stripes said they could no longer tolerate mocking, profanity and corruption, real or perceived, by the leaders who are supposed to be fighting on their behalf in Washington and San Juan. Six people with ties to the government, including a former Cabinet secretary and agency director, were arrested in the federal corruption investigation last week.
    At Wednesday night's protests, some said it was the devastation of the hurricane, and the government's poor response, that helped open people's eyes.
    "This is the upside of Maria," said Coralie Córdoba, 55. "This would not have happened, I don't think, if we wouldn't have had Maria. It's been too many years of putting up and holding back."
    Vanessa Ruiz, a 34-year-old teacher, said she was attending her first protest ever. Puerto Rico has had troubled governments "for as long as I remember, since I was a little girl," she said.
    "I have never seen or heard of a transparent government," she said. "I haven't lived under a government that hasn't been corrupt. This is why we came."

    Puerto Rico has a long history of embarrassing scandals. Mr. Rossello's father, Pedro J. Rosselló, who was governor from 1993 through 2000, saw some of his closest aides, including an executive assistant and the former education secretary of education, convicted of kickback schemes. The stain on the two-time governor's legacy added to his defeat when he tried to return to the governor's seat in 2004.
    He lost to Aníbal Acevedo Vilá, who was later indicted in connection with an elaborate scheme to pay back campaign debt. A judge dismissed many of the charges, and a jury acquitted him of the rest. In 2015, a federal indictment laid out a pattern of cronyism surrounding former Gov. Alejandro García Padilla, whose brother was accused of accepting gifts from a top Popular Party fund-raiser.
    Mr. Acevedo said this week that members of his family joined this week's protests. His daughter was tear gassed when police clashed with demonstrators. "I had never seen anything like this," he said.
    Talk of impeachment and private negotiations over a transition abound. Members of the governor's New Progressive Party have spent much of the week on the phone, trying to figure out what comes next.
    "There is deep dissatisfaction, and there is grading of positions: Some people want him to resign the party presidency, some people want him to resign re-election aspirations and some are asking that he resign the position he currently holds," said Kenneth McClintock, a former Puerto Rican secretary of state and senator.

    Mayor Mayita Meléndez of Ponce, who is a member of Mr. Rosselló's party, left a meeting with the governor disgusted over his attempts to move on from the scandal.

    "I expected to see a sensible man, a repentant man," she said. She has since called on him to resign.
    When he began campaigning, Mr. Rosselló, who holds a doctorate in biomedical engineering from the University of Michigan but had no prior political experience, was viewed as an extension of his father. This week, his father called legislators on the island to plead his son's case to stay in office.
    Carlos Romero Barceló, who served as governor from 1977 to 1985 and was one of the founders of the governor's party 50 years ago, said he supported Mr. Rosselló's candidacy but was surprised that once the governor took office, the governor's chief of staff never returned any of Mr. Romero Barceló's phone calls.
    "What has happened is the product of the arrogance and lack of experience," Mr. Romero Barceló said.
    Still, Mr. Romero Barceló said it was "premature" to ask for the governor's resignation. Party leaders were busy trying to find a good candidate to be secretary of state, so that someone could be in place for a smooth transition should Mr. Rosselló resign. The governor technically has the right to fill that position, but he needs the support of the head of the Puerto Rico Senate and House of Representatives to get a person approved.
    With his political life hanging in the balance, Mr. Rosselló turned earlier this week to the most mundane of government agencies to try to defend the work being done by his administration: The Department of Motor Vehicles, he touted, would soon provide more services online.
    Around the same time, on the other side of San Juan, several women walked into the local D.M.V. office and marched up to the framed portrait of the governor, with his boyish, matinee-idol good looks.
    In an age-old act of defiance against power, they unceremoniously yanked Mr. Rosselló's picture off the wall.


    6) E.P.A. Won't Ban Chlorpyrifos, Pesticide Tied to Children's Health Problems
    By Lisa Friedman, July 18, 2019

    A 2018 protest in California after a public hearing on increasing restrictions on the use of the agricultural pesticide chlorpyrifos. CreditCreditMax Whittaker for The New York Times

    WASHINGTON — The Trump administration took a major step to weaken the regulation of toxic chemicals on Thursday when the Environmental Protection Agency announced that it would not ban a widely used pesticide that its own experts have linked to serious health problems in children. 
    The decision by Andrew R. Wheeler, the E.P.A. administrator, represents a victory for the chemical industry and for farmers who have lobbied to continue using the substance, chlorpyrifos, arguing it is necessary to protect crops. 
    It was the administration's second major move this year to roll back or eliminate chemical safety rules. In April, the agency disregarded the advice of its own experts when officials issued a rule that restricted but did not ban asbestos, a known carcinogen. Agency scientists and lawyers had urged the E.P.A. to ban asbestos outright, as do most other industrialized nations

    In making the chlorpyrifos ruling, the E.P.A. said in a statement that the data supporting objections to the use of the pesticide was "not sufficiently valid, complete or reliable." The agency added that it would continue to monitor the safety of chlorpyrifos through 2022.

    The substance, sold under the commercial name Lorsban, has already been banned for household use but remains in widespread use by farmers for more than 50 fruit, nut, cereal and vegetable crops. In 2016, more than 640,000 acres were treated with chlorpyrifos in California alone.
    Representatives of Corteva Agriscience, the maker of chlorpyrifos, did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the decision.
    The Obama administration announced in 2015 that it would ban chlorpyrifos after scientific studies produced by the E.P.A. showed the pesticide had the potential to damage brain development in children. That ban had not yet come into force when, in 2017, Scott Pruitt, then the administrator of the E.P.A., reversed that decision, setting off a wave of legal challenges.
    Those lawsuits culminated in April when a federal appeals court ordered the E.P.A. to issue a final ruling on whether to ban chlorpyrifos by this month.

    Patti Goldman, a lawyer for Earthjustice, an environmental group that brought a legal challenge against the E.P.A.'s 2017 decision on behalf of farmworker organizations and others, criticized the decision. She said groups would sue again and ask the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit to expedite the case. 
    "By allowing chlorpyrifos to stay in our fruits and vegetables, Trump's E.P.A. is breaking the law and neglecting the overwhelming scientific evidence that this pesticide harms children's brains," Ms. Goldman said in a statement.
    Representatives of the chemical industry expressed satisfaction with the decision. "The availability of pesticides, like chlorpyrifos, is relied upon by farmers to control a variety of insect pests and by public health officials who work to control deadly and debilitating pests like mosquitoes," Chris Novak, chief executive of CropLife America, said in a statement. 
    Hawaii banned chlorpyrifos in 2018. California and New York are considering similar actions. The European Commission is under pressure from consumers and environmental groups to ban the pesticide.
    The Trump administration has issued several other decisions in recent months relaxing environmental regulations. This week, the E.P.A. acknowledged a new policy doing away with surprise inspections of chemical and power plants. The "no surprises" policy is aimed at fostering better working relationship between the agency and states, E.P.A. officials wrote. 
    Last week, the E.P.A. approved broad use of the pesticide sulfoxaflor, which is known to harm bees. And this year the agency announced curbs on a lethal chemical found in paint-stripping products that represented a weakening of a ban that the Obama administration proposed.


    7) Heat Waves in the Age of Climate Change: Longer, More Frequent and More Dangerous
    By Kendra Pierre-Louis, July 18, 2019

    Raquel Morales in the Bronx on Thursday. Temperatures in the city are forecasted to reach 100 degrees over the weekend. CreditCreditDesiree Rios for The New York Times

    Two-thirds of the United States is expected to bake under what could be record high temperatures heading into the weekend. As a result, government agencies have issued warnings that can feel ominous.
    An "oppressive and dangerous heat," warned the National Weather Service. "Excessive heat, a 'silent killer'," echoed a news release by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. "Extreme heat is hazardous," tweeted the NYC Emergency Management Department.
    But people with health issues, older people and young children are especially susceptible to the effects of extreme heat. It's a threat that grows as climate change continues.

    To understand how climate change increases the frequency of heat waves, it helps to think of the Earth's temperature as a bell curve said Michael Mann, the director of the Penn State Earth System Science Center.

    Climate change is shifting that bell curve toward the hotter part of the temperature scale. Even a tiny shift in the center means that more of the curve touches the extreme part of the temperature scale.
    "So you know, a warming of 1 degree Celsius, which is what we've seen thus far, can lead to a 10-fold increase in the frequency of 100 degree days in New York City for example," said Dr. Mann. According to the U.S. Global Change Research Program, since the 1960s the average number of heat waves — defined as two or more consecutive days where daily lows exceeded historical July and August temperatures — in 50 major American cities has tripled.

    The program used historic lows because the most serious impacts of extreme heat tend to come when nighttime temperatures don't cool off. By the 2010s, the average number of heat waves had risen from an average of two per year in the 1960s to the current average of nearly six per year.

    There's another way that climate change worsens heat waves: by changing the jet stream. Those air currents in the atmosphere help move weather systems around and are driven by temperature differences, which are shrinking. So when heat waves arrive, they stay in place longer.

    "We're warming up the Arctic faster than the rest of the northern hemisphere," said Dr. Mann. "So that's decreasing that temperature contrast from the subtropics to the pole, and it's that temperature contrast that drives the jet stream in the first place." 
    At the same time, under certain circumstances the jet stream can get "stuck" between an atmospheric wall in the subtropics, and at the Arctic, trapping weather systems in place.
    "That's when you get these record breaking weather events," said Dr. Mann, "either the unprecedented heat wave and drought, to wildfires and floods." 
    This accounts for last summer's European heat wave, as well as the recent European heat wave, he says, and is behind the current North American heat wave. 
    Nationwide, the time period in which heat waves might be expected to occur is 45 days longer than it was in the 1960s, according to the U.S. Global Change Research Program.

    According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which uses methods most in accordance with global standards, currently, cold weather kills more people than hot weather does.
    But as global temperatures increase, the number of deaths associated with extreme cold are predicted to decrease. At the same time, the number of deaths associated with extreme heat will increase. And those deaths, according to the National Climate Assessment, will exceed the decline in deaths from extreme cold, meaning an overall increase in mortality.
    Want climate news in your inbox? Sign up here for Climate Fwd:, our email newsletter.
    It's important to note that not everyone suffers equally when temperatures soar. In addition to the vulnerable groups, like elderly people, it also matters where you live. Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, analyzed data from the 2000 census and found that people of color were up to 52 percent more likely to live in the hottest parts of cities. 
    Similarly, Eric Klinenberg, the director of the Institute for Public Knowledge at New York University, found that during the 1995 Chicago heat wave that killed more than 700 people, the death tolls were highest in places that were not just poor and segregated, but what he calls "institutionally depleted."


    8) Years Before Black Lives Matter, 41 Shots Killed Him
    By Christian Red, July 19, 2019

    Kadiatou Diallo, center, came to New York from Guinea after her son, Amadou, was killed in 1999. CreditCreditEdward Keating/The New York Times

    In the months after her son was killed in the Bronx by four police officers, she was consumed by grief each time she walked the unfamiliar streets of New York City. She wept often. 
    While riding the subway, she would think, "Did he take this train when he was alive?"
    But now, 20 years after that life-altering event, the woman, Kadiatou Diallo, no longer dreads visits to the city. She comes to New York at least once a year to advance her charity and advocacy work or to spend time with and give guidance to other mothers who have also lost children in law enforcement-related incidents — a support system she didn't have two decades ago. 
    "She's my hero," said Valerie Bell, the mother of Sean Bell, who was killed by police officers in Queens in 2006, hours before his wedding. "What she went through, and to stand firm for her son, she's still doing it now."

    On Tuesday, Ms. Diallo paused for a few seconds during a telephone interview after she was told the breaking news that the Department of Justice would not prosecute a New York City police officer accused of killing Eric Garner five years ago in Staten Island.

    Ms. Diallo recalled the infamous video showing Mr. Garner being put in a chokehold by Officer Daniel Pantaleo during his arrest and uttering the phrase, "I can't breathe," 11 times before his death.
    "The world has watched those images," Ms. Diallo, 59, said from her home country, Guinea, in western Africa, where she was doing charity work. "I remember when that happened, I saw the video. I was down on the floor. It was so shocking and difficult to watch."
    It was a painful reminder of what she had experienced. 
    On Feb. 4, 1999, her son, Amadou Diallo, was killed in the vestibule of a Bronx apartment building by four New York Police Department officers who had been searching for a suspect in a rape case. The officers — who fired a total of 41 shots — said they believed Mr. Diallo, 23, had reached to grab a gun when they approached him. Instead, Mr. Diallo had grabbed for his wallet.

    The president of the N.A.A.C.P. at the time, Kweisi Mfume, called the shooting, "excessive force at its worst." Mr. Diallo's death led to numerous protests in the city, resulting in a politically fraught timefor former Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani.

    Nearly 14 years before the start of the Black Lives Matter movement, Mr. Diallo's death became the rallying cry for those who believed the Police Department operated with racial bias
    Ms. Diallo arrived into this tense environment from Guinea five days after her son was killed. She cried his name while being helped to the crime scene by the authorities. She was immediately immortalized in New York newspapers and on television and computer screens. She toured the country with the Rev. Al Sharpton, decrying police brutality. 
    But Ms. Diallo soon appeared hesitant to become a symbol for a narrative she did not totally understand. 
    "I didn't even know about race issues," Ms. Diallo said. "Everything was happening so quickly. I didn't have that someone who went through that experience. But I was able to stand up and just speak for my child. It was an awakening for me."
    She had a reported rift with Mr. Sharpton, partly regarding who would represent her in a lawsuit against the city and the officers. The pressure on her to fight for a larger cause was immense. Ms. Diallo just wanted to move on, heal and seek reconciliation with the mayor and the Police Department.
    "I came back to my senses, because the anger and the agony were gone," she told The New York Times Magazine in early 2000. "I don't want to do that anymore — the speeches and things."

    Instead, she started the Amadou Diallo Foundation.

    The four officers involved in the shooting were indicted almost two months after the shooting. But in February 2000, a jury acquitted them of all charges.
    Ms. Diallo and her ex-husband received a $3 million settlement in 2004 to their lawsuit against the city and the officers. Ms. Diallo was given half. 
    After the settlement, she completed a memoir, "My Heart Will Cross This Ocean," built a school in her son's name in Guinea and ran the foundation. 
    In the 20 years since her son's killing, Ms. Diallo has become the type of leader many had wanted her to be in the months after the shooting, and she's done it with little or no publicity. She's also mended her relationship with Mr. Sharpton. 
    When he holds events about policing, "he always reaches out to me," she said. "We also have a relationship, personally, because I attended his daughter's wedding. On Mother's Day, he always calls me."
    She has also befriended people like Gwen Carr, Mr. Garner's mother. Ms. Diallo said on Tuesday that she planned to call her to offer support. 
    "I know what Gwen is going to tell me: 'Kadi, I'm ready to fight this. I cannot give up,'" Ms. Diallo said.

    She added: "Our sons haven't received justice that they deserve to have. All we want is good policies, good laws to be passed and if someone did wrong — they have to be accountable for what they did."
    Ms. Diallo is also involved with the Justice Committee, a New York grass-roots advocacy group. One of its efforts is a campaign urging Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo to sign an executive order to appoint a special prosecutor to handle cases like Mr. Garner's. 
    "It's a setback, but it gives us more strength to carry on to change," she said of the ruling regarding Mr. Garner's case. "The history of the civil rights didn't happen overnight. This is our new civil rights."
    Ms. Diallo attended Mr. Garner's funeral in 2014, but personally met Ms. Carr later that year at Riverside Church in Harlem, when both women were on a panel. Ms. Carr, in an interview earlier this year, said she felt "a real connection" to Ms. Diallo immediately, and that they have talked every week since.
    Ms. Carr said she appreciated Ms. Diallo's presence after her son's death. "I was in a dark place," she said. 
    Ms. Carr said she vividly remembered following the news of Mr. Diallo's death and its aftermath, watching and reading about how Ms. Diallo navigated the chaotic time.

    "I remember hearing one of my friends say, 'That is such a tragedy. I will never carry a wallet again,'" said Ms. Carr. "That wrenched my heart. I had such sympathy for her."
    Ms. Diallo runs her foundation on her own, though a consultant helps to organize an annual fund-raiser. 
    The night before her son's death, Ms. Diallo said she spoke to him by phone. "Mom, I'm going to college!" she recalled him announcing. (She acquired a trademark on that phrase, and has used it for the foundation.)
    Ms. Diallo was in New York earlier this year to preside over the first three scholarships awarded by her foundation to students at Guttman Community College in Midtown Manhattan who plan to pursue computer-related careers, just as Amadou had hoped to do.
    Ms. Diallo said she has never felt "revengeful" toward the police.
    "Let's move forward in one direction and fight for this good fight so we can save the children. That was my mission," said Ms. Diallo, who has a daughter and two other grown sons, and is a grandmother of three. 
    "That's what I still do. The other people who were cynical then, how do they see me now? This is 20 years later. I didn't run from it. I stay the course and I do what I can without bashing the police, without being revengeful."


    9) 'Sharpening the Knives': Musicians Join the Protests in Puerto Rico
    By Frances Robles, July 19, 2019

    Well-known musicians joined the protests in Puerto Rico calling for the governor to resign.CreditCreditErika P. Rodriguez for The New York Times

    Among the tens of thousands who flocked to the streets of Puerto Rico this week to call for the resignation of the island's governor, Ricardo A. Rosselló, there was a new kind of activist: well-known musicians ready to use the clout of their enormous social media followings to energize the brewing discontent.
    The pop superstar Ricky Martin, the rapper Residente, his sister iLe, and the Latin trap artist Bad Bunny combined their efforts in support of a social movement like no other Puerto Rico has ever seen. Bad Bunny, whose legal name is Benito Antonio Martínez Ocasio, even cut off a tour to fly to San Juan. They joined the singers La India and Danny Rivera and the actor Benicio Del Toro, who were present at a protest Wednesday night that filled the streets from the Capitol to the governor's mansion a mile away.

    Mr. Martin announced his participation in a video on Twitter that he shared with his 20 million followers.

    "Frustrated. Angry. I feel this horrible pressure in my chest," he said. "How do I free myself of this anguish? Simply traveling to Puerto Rico."

    Residente, iLe and Bad Bunny produced a protest song — written and recorded in one day — called "Afilando los Cuchillos" (Sharpening the Knives) that had 2.5 million views on YouTube within a day of its release.

    The playwright Lin-Manuel Miranda joined the protest in New York.
    Experts say the involvement of artists from so many different genres of music, from pop to reggaeton to Latin trap, could draw a range of young people who are usually turned off by traditional party politics. And it likely tightened the pressure on the governor, who is increasingly isolated with few public supporters.

    "This is really important, not just because we or the other artists arrived, but because this is historic," René Pérez Joglar, who uses the stage name Residente, said in an interview. "When we unite, this becomes an international story," he said. "But understand that people are there because they are upset, not because they want to see artists."
    Mr. Rosselló is under pressure to leave office after the release of nearly 900 pages of chat messages among him and his inner circle, including the island's chief financial officer and secretary of state, in which the governor called a former New York City Council speaker a whore and joked about shooting San Juan's mayor, Carmen Yulín Cruz. The chat scandal came on the heels of corruption arrests of two top former officials in his administration.
    The chat was the breaking point for an island of more than three million people that had already endured a devastating hurricane, job losses and, in some areas, no electricity for nearly a year.
    "People still don't have roofs on their houses," Mr. Pérez said. "I think there are a lot of things happening at the same time. There is a new generation of young people that has a different mind-set. This generation is very aware. That is fundamental."
    Mr. Pérez's presence at the protest is hardly a surprise: He has always been vocal about his desire to see Puerto Rico become an independent nation. But for Puerto Ricans to see Mr. Martin and Bad Bunny protesting was a game-changer for the island, said Yarimar Bonilla, a political anthropologist at Hunter College.
    "Ricky Martin is not known for political stances. He's a Buddhist; he is peaceful. For him to get involved, that is important and says something," she said. "Bad Bunny's presence was so important: He has a rising political influence and has a much younger depoliticized following."
    Mr. Martin's homosexuality was mocked in one of the posts by another official in the governor's chat group. "Nothing says patriarchal oppression like Ricky Martin," it said, going on to describe him using crude language as a "male chauvinist" for whom "women don't measure up. Pure patriarchy."

    Young people who may not have been raised on politics now have an entry into the protest movement, Ms. Bonilla said, noting that people were using lyrics from recent popular songs and turning them into protest slogans. A song about dumping a girlfriend became a chant about canning the governor.
    Ms. Bonilla, who attended the protest, said she was struck by the fact that the musicians were not performing, but standing on a platform waving flags.
    "It wasn't a concert," said Ileana Mercedes Cabra Joglar, Mr. Pérez's sister, who uses the name iLe when performing. (She did sing a revolutionary hymn.)
    Ms. Cabra sings the chorus in "Afilando los Cuchillos."
    It offers a sharp-edged rebuke to Mr. Rosselló, accusing him of inheriting a legacy from his father, a former Puerto Rico governor whose administration was wracked by corruption, and it delivers a jab to the first lady, Beatriz Rosselló, noting a gaffe she once made that suggested a lack of knowledge of Spanish-language literature.
    "Normally the same people go to protests all the time," Ms. Cabra said. "This transcended everything. This feels like a big family."
    Bianca Passalacqua, 21, a recent graduate of the University of Puerto Rico, said the singers were a draw — but to different key audiences.

    "I believe it's important that they come, because of the convening power they have," Ms. Passalacqua said. "The fact that they come does make more people want to participate. For example, Bad Bunny attracts more millennials, while Ricky Martin attracts the elderly."
    "In my case," she added, "I would have participated anyway."


    10) 3,271 Pill Bottles, a Town of 2,831: Court Filings Say Corporations Fed Opioid Epidemic
    By Jan Hoffman, Katie Thomas and Danny Hakim, July 19, 2019

    CreditCreditMohammad Khursheed/Reuters

    The Walgreens employee was bewildered by the quantity of opioids the company was shipping to just one store. Its pharmacy in Port Richey, Fla. (population 2,831) was ordering 3,271 bottles of oxycodone a month.
    “I don’t know how they can even house this many bottles to be honest,” Barbara Martin, whose job was to review suspicious drug orders, wrote to a colleague in a January 2011 email. The next month, the company shipped another outsized order to the same store.

    The email was among thousands of documents from corporations across the pharmaceutical and retail industries — internal memos, depositions, sales and shipping reports, experts’ analyses, and other confidential information — filed Friday in federal court in Cleveland by lawyers for cities, towns and counties devastated by addiction. They lay out a detailed case of how diverse corporate interests — far beyond the familiar players like Purdue Pharma — fed a deadly opioid epidemic that persisted for nearly two decades.

    Little-known manufacturers of generic pills, superstores like Walmart and chain retailers like Rite Aid also flooded the country with billions of pills, according to the filings. The devastation was so extreme that one Ohio county resorted to a mobile morgue to handle all the corpses of people who died from overdoses.

    As the epidemic crested, the suppliers with the greatest sales were not the branded manufacturers but those who made generic prescription drugs. Between 2003 and 2011, lawyers for the plaintiffs said in one filing, Mallinckrodt, the Ireland-based manufacturer of generic and branded drugs, sold 53 million orders of opioids. Yet the company stopped and then reported to federal authorities at most 33 orders as suspicious, a ratio the lawyers described as defying credibility.
    The filings represent a signature moment in the run-up to the first trial of nearly 2,000 cases brought by cities and counties nationwide, consolidated in an Ohio federal court. They are seeking billions of dollars in compensation from the corporations implicated in the opioid epidemic. 
    Both sides have largely finished gathering evidence, and Friday’s filings attempt to solidify major claims for the first trial, which is scheduled to begin in October. Stemming from a lawsuit brought by Cuyahoga and Summit counties in Ohio, it is intended as a litmus test for the remaining cases. Judge Dan Aaron Polster of Federal District Court of Northern Ohio hopes that the shadow of the trial will goad the sides to reach a national settlement that could award money to cities, towns and counties across the country, and foreclose further opioid lawsuits.

    With Friday’s briefs, the plaintiffs want the judge to rule that for years, defendants ignored and violated laws that required them to monitor and report suspicious orders. They also argue that defendants created a “public nuisance” — a continuing crisis that affects the far reaches of public health, including neonatal intensive care, foster care, emergency services, detox and rehabilitation programs and the criminal justice system.

    The pharmaceutical industry also filed briefs on Friday. Many submissions, including exhibits, were limited, heavily redacted or outright sealed.
    Manufacturers of generic drugs argued that they do not market their opioids, nor should they be penalized for selling versions of prescriptions approved by the Food and Drug Administration. The pharmacy chains argued that the plaintiffs offered no proof that opioids they distributed only to their own stores had been illegally diverted. And they said that many plaintiffs’ claims were invalid because statutes of limitations had run out.

    But the plaintiffs offered up a less benign view of how opioids flew through the pharmacies.
    When patients of Dr. Adolph Harper, a gynecologist, needed to buy opioids, they often seemed to show up at Rite Aid stores near his office in Akron, Ohio. His clinic prescribed hundreds of thousands of the painkillers, such as OxyContin, Roxicet, Percocet and Opana. He continued to do so even though at least eight patients overdosed and died, the Justice Department has previously said. Dr. Harper was later arrested and sentenced to 10 years in jail.
    But despite all the opioid prescriptions pouring in from Dr. Harper, the company did not identify any suspicious orders coming from Dr. Harper’s clinic, the plaintiffs said. Instead, Rite Aid increased its orders to meet the surge in demand from the clinic.

    For years, long after the opioid crisis began, the giant pharmacy chains, including Walgreens and CVS, and Walmart did almost nothing to fulfill their legal duty to monitor suspicious orders, the plaintiffs’ lawyers claim. While they were supposed to block such orders and alert the Drug Enforcement Administration, they did so rarely.
    One official at Walgreens tasked with monitoring such orders said his department was “not equipped” for that work. The company created lists of suspicious orders that ran thousands of pages, but then shipped them without further review. 
    Asked for a response, Walgreens issued a statement saying it “has not distributed prescription controlled substances since 2014 and before that time only distributed to our chain of pharmacies.” The company called itself “an industry leader in combating this crisis.”
    An official at CVS who was listed as the company’s D.E.A. compliance coordinator admitted that it was not her real job, the plaintiffs’ filing said. Much of the company’s compliance was relegated to “pickers and packers” — the warehouse workers at distribution centers who appeared to have no formal training in monitoring and rarely held up orders. In the company’s Indianapolis distribution center, approximately two orders were flagged each year from 2006 to 2014.
    Before 2011, Walmart had no discernible system to monitor suspicious orders. the plaintiffs contended. The company said that it relied on its hourly employees, which the plaintiffs called a “farcical” claim with no evidence of training or policy in place. 
    By 2015, the company put a system of storewide limits in place, but it was so forgiving that a store could go from ordering 10 dosages of 10 milligrams of oxycodone in one month, to 7,999 dosages the next, without raising an alarm. In a filing Friday, Walmart said that its pharmacy business accounted “for a vanishingly small part of the relevant market” and noted that an expert for the plaintiffs had concluded that Walmart distributed less than 1.3 percent of the opioids distributed to the Ohio counties that brought the case.
    Rite Aid, in its own filing, said that “plaintiffs have presented no evidence” that the company’s “limited distribution of opioids caused any of their injuries,” an argument echoed by CVS, which said in its filing there was “no evidence’ that any CVS shipment to the counties was misused.

    But the plaintiffs alleged complicity across the opioid supply chain. 
    “Failure to identify suspicious orders was their business model,” they said of the defendants. “They turned a blind eye and called themselves mere ‘deliverymen’ with no responsibility for what they delivered or to whom. Just like any street drug courier.”
    As billions of their pills poured into the country, generic manufacturers took a lax approach to tracking suspicious orders, the briefs for the plaintiffs said. They used faulty algorithms to flag questionable orders and frequently handed oversight to customer service employees and account managers, whose pay was tied to drug sales.
    Many of the companies used rudimentary systems to flag orders, for example only singling out cases when a customer ordered more than two or three times the amount that it had in the past. Such systems did not comply with D.E.A. requirements, the plaintiffs said. They did not account for pharmacies that were already ordering inappropriately large quantities of opioids, and many of the tracking systems could be evaded by dividing orders into smaller quantities, or switching to new dosages.
    The generic manufacturer Teva’s program was called “DefOps,” which was short for “Defensible Operations.” It was set up to keep Teva out of trouble and also because it “sounded good,” according to the filing, which cited a deposition of the employee who had designed it.
    In a legal filing Friday, Teva said it had followed the law and that the plaintiffs could not show that its products caused them harm.
    Some companies gave sales employees responsibility for investigating and clearing suspicious orders. That was the case at Mallinckrodt. From 2006 through 2014, the plaintiffs’ lawyers said, Mallinckrodt’s products accounted for a quarter of all the opioids dispensed in the two Ohio counties.

    Mallinckrodt’s national account managers, whose bonuses were tied to sales, investigated suspicious orders. One order was cleared because a national account manager wanted to keep the “momentum rolling” with a customer, according to the legal filing. Another justified an unusually large order because the customer had been unable to obtain opioids from another source.
    Company officials acknowledged that assigning their sales staff to scrutinize suspicious orders was a conflict of interest, according to emails cited in the legal filing, but allowed the practice to continue.
    A spokesman for Mallinckrodt declined to comment on the legal filings Friday. 
    In 2017, Mallinckrodt agreed to pay $35 million to settle federal charges that it had failed to detect suspicious orders of opioids and to report them to the D.E.A. Under that settlement it also agreed to more closely analyze its distribution to ensure its products are not being misused.

    Some manufacturers failed to alter their practices even when they were warned that their drugs were being misused. In 2012, D.E.A. officials met with employees of Actavis, a manufacturer of generic OxyContin and Opana ER, two of the most abused painkillers on the market. The agency urged the company to see for themselves how their products were being used on the ground.
    According to the legal filing, a D.E.A. worker told the Actavis employees “to visit pharmacies who were receiving their products in South Florida, in order for them to witness the long lines at pain clinics, out-of-state license plates, questionable clients, security guard(s) in the parking lots, and signs stating cash payments only.”
    But little changed. Actavis’s ethics and compliance officer later said in a deposition, cited in the plaintiffs’ filing, that the “tone and tenor” of the meeting “made it less productive than it could have been” and that the D.E.A. officials had treated the employees “as street dealers.”

    In a follow-up meeting later that year, the D.E.A. asked Actavis to reduce its manufacturing quota for oxycodone, the active ingredient in OxyContin. The company rejected the agency’s request.
    Following a series of acquisitions, Actavis’s generic products are now owned by Teva, which declined to comment.

    Jan Hoffman is a health behaviors reporter for Science, covering law, opioids, doctor-patient communication and other topics. She previously wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Style and was the legal affairs correspondent for Metro. @JanHoffmanNYT
    Katie Thomas covers the business of health care, with a focus on the drug industry. She started at The Times in 2008 as a sports reporter. @katie_thomas
    Danny Hakim is an investigative reporter for the business section. He has been a European economics correspondent and bureau chief in Albany and Detroit. He was also a lead reporter on the team awarded the 2009 Pulitzer Prize for Breaking News. @dannyhakim  Facebook

    11) ‘The Antithesis of Bolsonaro’: A Gay Couple Roils Brazil’s Far Right
    By Ernesto Londoño, July 20, 2019

    CreditCreditDado Galdieri for The New York Times

    RIO DE JANEIRO — The votes had been tallied, and the skies of Rio de Janeiro crackled with fireworks as supporters celebrated the decisive election of a far-right populist, Jair Bolsonaro, as Brazil’s president.
    But not everyone was jubilant. David Miranda, a socialist Rio de Janeiro council member who had campaigned for Congress, reached for a bottle that October night to mourn his electoral loss. His husband, Glenn Greenwald, a spitfire American journalist, popped a Xanax. The political era that dawned felt like a gut punch for the gay, biracial couple.
    “We are the antithesis of Bolsonaro,” Mr. Miranda said in an interview. “We’re everything they hate.”

    Since then, the two men find themselves on the front lines of the country’s increasingly bitter political divide. In June, Mr. Greenwald’s news organization published reports suggesting that Mr. Bolsonaro’s main opponent in the race was improperly jailed just six months before the election, raising serious questions about the legitimacy of Mr. Bolsonaro’s victory and testing the mettle of Brazil’s democratic institutions.

    Now, Mr. Greenwald and Mr. Miranda — who ultimately took a seat in Congress — are under attack by Mr. Bolsonaro and his allies. They have faced death threats and, according to a conservative Brazilian website, the federal police are investigating Mr. Greenwald’s finances. Government officials have neither confirmed nor denied the report, but the suggestion that Mr. Greenwald is being targeted by the state for his news reports has ignited an outcry over press freedom in Brazil.
    Mr. Greenwald — one of the two journalists who obtained and disseminated the trove of secret intelligence documents leaked by the National Security Agency whistle-blower Edward Snowden in 2013 — said he had doubted he would ever break a more consequential story. The Snowden revelations set off a global debate about government surveillance and privacy.
    But the stakes of the exposé in Brazil seem higher in some ways, he said.
    The information published by The Intercept Brasil, a news organization co-founded by Mr. Greenwald, challenged the integrity of a wide-ranging corruption investigation that ensnared some of the most powerful figures in Brazil’s political and business establishment over the past five years, landing many of them in prison.
    Among them was the leftist former president, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, who was jailed and prevented from taking part in a presidential race in which he had a large lead over Mr. Bolsonaro.
    The man presiding over that investigation, the federal judge Sérgio Moro, became a folk hero of sorts for many Brazilians fed up with graft and violence. Later nominated by Mr. Bolsonaro to be justice minister, Mr. Moro became one of the most popular members of his cabinet, lending legitimacy to the president’s promise to tackle rampant crime and crack down on corruption.

    But a massive archive of private chats between members of the judiciary involved in the sprawling corruption investigation, obtained by The Intercept Brasil from a source it did not reveal, contains exchanges in which Mr. Moro appears to cross ethical and legal lines in his handling of Mr. da Silva’s case.

    The exchanges show that Mr. Moro provided strategic advice to prosecutors and passed along an investigative lead. Judges must be impartial arbiters under Brazilian law. Mr. Moro has denied wrongdoing.
    “I’m a big defender of the free press, but this campaign against Carwash and in favor of corruption is bordering on ridiculous,” Mr. Moro said in a statement, referring to the name of the corruption scandal.
    The Intercept Brasil’s steady stream of articles has led to calls for Mr. Moro’s resignation, and made Mr. Greenwald, 52, the chief target of praise and fury for those on opposite ends of Brazil’s political divide.
    The scandal has also become the first test of the resilience of Brazil’s democratic institutions under the leadership of a president who has spent much of his political career railing against democracy and lauding the 21-year period of repressive military rule in Brazil that ended in 1985, Mr. Greenwald said.
    “There is a huge question about what kind of country Brazil is going to be,” Mr. Greenwald said during a recent interview at his heavily guarded home in Rio de Janeiro. “Will it be a country with functioning democratic institutions, or is it going to become the repressive authoritarian state that Bolsonaro desires and craves?”

    Mr. Greenwald would probably not have ended up so invested in Brazil’s future were it not for a day in February 2005 when he was sitting alone on an Ipanema beach, nursing a broken heart, and a young man accidentally knocked over his drink with a ball.
    Mr. Miranda, who was then 19, apologized profusely in broken English. Mr. Greenwald, who was 37, accepted the apology and asked the young Brazilian out to dinner. Three days later, the pair had essentially moved in together, to the dismay of friends on both sides, who saw nothing but red flags as two radically different lives began to meld.
    Mr. Greenwald had a law practice in New York. Mr. Miranda, the son of a prostitute who died when he was 5, had been raised by an aunt in Jacarezinho, a poor favela in Rio, and dropped out of school at 13.
    “I was not at all the type that ever fell in love with someone at first sight,” Mr. Greenwald said. “But the passion, David’s intensity, it was like two asteroids colliding.”
    Mr. Miranda soon enrolled in college and Mr. Greenwald began writing about national security and legal matters in a blog called Unclaimed Territory. Among his many loyal readers was Mr. Snowden, who turned over to Mr. Greenwald and the American documentary-maker Laura Poitras a huge cache of secret intelligence documents.
    In August 2013, while Mr. Miranda, 34, was transporting a memory drive with Snowden files from Ms. Poitras’s home in Germany back to Brazil, he was interrogated for hours and threatened with arrest during a layover in London.

    The experience prompted Mr. Miranda to lead a campaign to get the Brazilian government to offer Mr. Snowden asylum, an effort that ignited his interest in running for office. Soon after, Mr. Greenwald started writing about Brazilian politics. The pair soon crossed paths with Mr. Bolsonaro, who represented the state of Rio de Janeiro in Congress.

    In 2014, Mr. Greenwald decided to profile Mr. Bolsonaro in The Intercept Brasil, which was then a new online news site funded by Pierre Omidyar, the American billionaire who founded eBay.
    It fell to Mr. Miranda to interview Mr. Bolsonaro, a former Army captain who was then a largely powerless representative notorious for making incendiary comments about women, gays and blacks. The story ran under the headline: “The Most Misogynistic, Hateful Elected Official in the Democratic World: Brazil’s Jair Bolsonaro.”
    In 2017, when Mr. Bolsonaro was gearing up to run for president, he and Mr. Greenwald exchanged barbs on Twitter. After the journalist referred to Mr. Bolsonaro as a “fascist cretin,” the politician responded with a crude reference to anal sex.
    Mr. Miranda ended up taking a seat in Congress in February, after a gay lawmaker in his party who had been sent death threats went into self-imposed exile. Soon after Mr. Miranda was sworn in, one of Mr. Bolsonaro’s staunchest allies in Congress, Representative Joice Hasselmann, began suggesting that he had purchased his seat in Congress.
    The claim is preposterous, Mr. Miranda and Mr. Greenwald say, but it came just as Mr. Miranda was struggling to get his bearings in Congress, where most lawmakers are white and hail from privileged families. The first time he grabbed the microphone to speak, his hand trembled, he said.
    “I was feeling like I didn’t belong,” he said. “Everyone else seemed like they knew what they were doing.”

    By April, the loneliness and alienation he felt in Brasília led to a breakdown.
    “I am not doing well,” Mr. Miranda said he told his therapist, who prescribed anti-depressants. The lawmaker took two weeks off and stayed home with the two sons he and Mr. Greenwald adopted last year.
    Soon after Mr. Miranda returned to the capital, the political establishment was rocked by the first leaked Carwash chat.
    Threats and taunts against Mr. Miranda and Mr. Greenwald have kept the pair largely confined to their home. They venture out only with armed guards, sleep little and lightly, and fear for the safety of their children.
    Yet the two said they have no regrets about the cause they took on, calling it a make-or-break moment for the rule of law in Brazil.
    “This can wind up strengthening democracy,” Mr. Miranda said. “It will depend on how institutions decide to act.”


    12) Inmates Freed as Justice Dept. Tries to Clear Hurdles of New Law
    By Katie Benner, July 19, 2019


    WASHINGTON — More than 3,000 inmates were freed from federal prison on Friday as part of the Justice Department’s implementation of the sweeping bipartisan criminal justice overhaul that President Trump signed into law late last year.
    The department has faced sharp criticism over its execution of the act. The partial government shutdown in January stymied progress on its implementation, which was further overshadowed by a debate over when the bill authorized the release of thousands of prisoners. 
    Advocates have expressed worries that the department would slow-walk implementation because former Attorney General Jeff Sessions and others within the department who stayed on after he was fired had fiercely opposed the law.
    The deputy attorney general, Jeffrey A. Rosen, sought to tamp down those concerns at a news conference on Friday to announce that the department had met the deadline for the prison releases, as well as other milestones of the law, called the First Step Act.

    “The timely, efficient and effective implementation of the First Step Act is a priority for the Department of Justice and this administration,” Mr. Rosen said. “The department intends to implement this law fully and on time.”
    In addition to the release of 3,100 inmates, the Justice Department said that it had redirected $75 million from Bureau of Prisons inmate care programs and institutional administrative funding to fully fund the law for the fiscal year that started in October.
    The department will work with Congress to obtain the funds needed for the law going forward, Mr. Rosen said, including money for services at its heart, such as vocational and job readiness training, rehabilitation and trauma care services that prisoners can participate in to earn reduced sentences.
    He also said that the department had created a tool that gauges whether inmates are ready to leave prison. The Bureau of Prisons will use the tool to screen all federal inmates to identify risk factors that could increase their likelihood of recidivism, and match them with programs aimed at reducing that risk, such as drug treatment and job training courses.
    As the law is written, inmates who had already earned credits and were eligible for early release could not leave until after the Justice Department created the risk assessment tool. Critics argued in recent months that the language did not accurately reflect the intent of the lawmakers who drafted the bill, and they pressed Congress to rewrite it so that thousands of prisoners could immediately be freed.

    That didn’t happen, so the eligible prisoners had to wait until Friday for early release. Of the 3,100 prisoners released nationwide, about a third of them were subject to detainers, meaning they will go from federal custody to serve state prison sentences or they are in the United States illegally and will be released to face immigration court proceedings.
    Amid acrimony between Democrats and Republicans, the criminal justice overhaul passed overwhelmingly in December. Mr. Trump has hosted two events to highlight the law, and he is likely to tout it during his re-election campaign as one of his administration’s signature achievements.

    But the overhaul had a difficult birth, partly because of opposition from Mr. Sessions, according to legislative aides and advocates who worked on it. Mr. Sessions promised to provide feedback, they said, but he eventually criticized a draft without giving lawmakers what they considered substantive recommendations or improvements.
    A representative for Mr. Sessions, who has returned to private life, disputed that characterization Friday in a statement. “The Department provided significant substantive feedback on the proposed bill over several month period both at the staff and member level,” the statement said, adding, “The members also were well aware of the Department’s grave concerns about the bill’s large reductions in sentences for violent and serious federal criminals and the need to maintain truth in sentencing.”
    Mr. Sessions was opposed to retroactively reducing sentences for drug offenders, according to a former administration official familiar with the deliberations who spoke on condition of anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to share details. Mr. Sessions also opposed sentence reductions for repeat offenders, believing that repeat criminal behavior increased the likelihood of recidivism.
    Once it was clear that Mr. Trump supported the bill, Mr. Sessions began publicly backing it but privately worked through back channels to oppose it, encouraging law enforcement associations and other groups to voice their opposition to lawmakers and other stakeholders. When supporters of the bill heard about his efforts, they sought White House help to ensure its passage.

    But after Congress passed the law, they expressed concern that Justice Department officials who had sided with Mr. Sessions and remained in their jobs after he was fired in November would delay its implementation.
    “Sessions represented an all-time low for prospects for successful passage at the time and also prospects for implementation,” said Holly Harris, the president of Justice Action Network, a criminal justice reform advocacy group. “We’re looking at a vastly improved situation,” she said of Attorney General William P. Barr, who replaced Mr. Sessions in February.
    Mr. Barr assured supporters of the law that he would back its full implementation. Ahead of his confirmation hearing, he met with senators including Charles E. Grassley, Republican of Iowa and the former head of the Senate Judiciary Committee, who was one of the bill’s strongest backers. Mr. Barr said that his thinking on criminal justice had evolved, and that he no longer supported the harsh sentencing measures that he had pushed for during his first stint as attorney general in the early 1990s.
    During an interview this month after touring a federal prison in Edgefield, S.C., Mr. Barr defended the tough-on-crime measures he had supported at the time as “essential for reducing the crime rate and also tackling the crack epidemic.” But with crime rates down substantially, he said he felt that the time was right to identify and free inmates who no longer constituted a safety risk. 
    “After someone has been in prison for a substantial period of time, and you can really assess whether they continue to pose a threat to the community,” Mr. Barr said, “then obviously you’re more inclined to modify the sentence or strike the balance in favor of some kind of monitoring that doesn’t involve the heavy cost and the isolation of this kind of prison system.”
    The law consists of a package of incentives and new programs designed to improve prison conditions and prepare prisoners considered low risks for recidivism to re-enter society. It also outlawed the shackling of pregnant inmates and the placement of juveniles in solitary confinement and said the Bureau of Prisons must place prisoners close to home if possible. 
    The law also makes retroactive the 2010 Fair Sentencing Act, which decreased the relative penalty for possession of crack versus powder cocaine.

    In the run-up to Friday’s announcement, both Mr. Barr and Mr. Rosen worked with Antoinette Bacon, a Justice Department lawyer who is in charge of implementation, to ensure that the department met the deadline for developing the risk assessment tool, called Pattern, and prisoner releases.
    In June, Mr. Rosen met for nearly two hours with the team creating Pattern, discussing research that showed how risk factors including age and gender affected the likelihood of recidivism. Ignoring these disparities, the committee warned, could result in early releases being applied unfairly.
    Mr. Barr met with the committee on Thursday to hear about steps to improve Pattern in the coming months as the committee gets feedback from the Bureau of Prisons and advocates about its effectiveness.
    In addition to Mr. Barr’s recent visit to the medium-security federal prison in South Carolina, Mr. Rosen visited a maximum-security penitentiary in Colorado in recent weeks to discuss programming and rehabilitation efforts.
    Advocates said they were pleased that Mr. Barr was speaking positively about the criminal justice overhaul, but they called for a congressional oversight hearing about the implementation of the entire law and vowed to closely monitor the process, especially the efficacy of the risk assessment tool.
    It “has been a real mystery to a lot of groups,” said Ms. Harris.


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