Bay Area United Against War Newsletter, November 17, 2022


In order to bring Mutulu home to his family in California safely and comfortably, we must raise funds to cover several urgent costs. These costs include Mutulu’s ground transportation from the prison to the airport, medical air transport from Kentucky to Los Angeles to be reunited with his family, adding a wheelchair accessible ramp and other modifications to his home, healthcare to address existing and emerging urgent medical needs, and other costs associated with him returning home.


To make tax-deductible contributions to his release fund, please donate through:


Community Aid and Development Corporation

EIN# 95-3402456


*The donation button is on the upper-right side of the page.


THANK YOU SO MUCH for your help in bringing Mutulu home!


And please circulate this good news and request to your friends and networks.

in solidarity,

Linda Evans



Freedom for Mumia Abu-Jamal Update

The struggle continues!

At 12:45pm October 26, 2022, a proposed order denying Mumia Abu-Jamal’s constitutional claims of jury bias and suppressed evidence was issued by Common Pleas court Judge Lucretia Clemons.


Abu-Jamal’s defense petition included newly discovered evidence that had been buried in the prosecutor’s own files.  This evidence documented key witnesses receiving promises of money for their testimony and evidence of favorable treatment in pending criminal cases. The petition also documented the abhorrent and unconstitutional practice of striking Black jurors during Mumia’s original trial. 


Racism remains the ELEPHANT in the room.   


“I am going to help them fry the n---word”--Original trial court Judge Albert Sabo said this in front of court clerk Terri Maurer Carter and fellow Common Pleas Court judge Richard Kline during the first week of Mumia’s 1982 trial.  


Philadelphia ADA Jack McMahon made the policy clear in a 1986 training tape stating that getting “a competent, fair and impartial jury. Well, that's ridiculous,'…“You don't want smart people. But if you're sitting down and you're going to take Blacks, you want older Blacks." https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ag2I-L3mqsQ


If you put thick blinders on that block out all reality and rely on procedural minutia for cover, honestly, it is still impossible to avoid the scorchingly blatant racism of trial judge Albert Sabo, Assistant District Attorney Joseph McGill, Mayor and former police chief Frank Rizzo, District Attorney during Mumia’s trial Ed Rendell, and Ron Castille DA on appeal.


Yesterday, Judge Lucretia Clemons in her oral statements from the bench continued a common practice of adopting wholesale the Philadelphia District Attorney’s positions. These positions only seek to preserve convictions at all costs.  These arguments prevent the defense from putting on the record evidence of discrimination.  PCRA procedural rules such as time bar, due diligence, waiver, previously litigated, all avoid a judicial review of the merits.


The racism is so transparent and indefensible so the DA is using court created law to dismiss cases before hearing new suppressed evidence. This is a blatantly dishonest practice routinely used by the prosecution and the courts when everyone knows, and I mean everyone knows, that racism was a hallmark of the original trial.


Striking Blacks from the Jury

Judge Clemons stated that she was dismissing the claim of striking Black jurors on procedural grounds, without addressing the merits of the claim.  She suggested that former counsel for the defense had not sought prosecutor McGill’s previously buried notes (notes that highlight his impermissible race based tracking and discrimination). Clemons adopts the prosecution position that the defense had the opportunity to receive these notes by merely asking the prosecution or cross examining ADA McGill in prior court proceedings. This is a key and deliberate misreading of the record. At no time were these crucial notes and the motivations that guided ADA McGill ever available to the defense. McGill struck Black jurors at a 71% rate, significantly higher than the strike rate for white jurors. His reasons for seating some white jurors and not seating nonwhite jurors were not on the record, they were in his notes.


One only has to look at the McMann training tapes that were made by the Philadelphia DA’s office which instructed district attorney’s how to strike black jurors. These were made after Mumia’s trial but they document the practice which was the norm in the office.  This is the context for this ruling which misstates the record and ignores the reality in these Philadelphia courtrooms.  Judge Lucretia Clemons and her law clerks complained on the record about how long it took them to find Pennsylvania cites to bolster their opinion.  Why is Judge Clemons working so hard to avoid the elephant in the room?


Suborning Perjury: Paying Witnesses

Additionally, at issue is the note from supposed “eye witness” Robert Chobert that asked ADA McGill after the trial “where is the money that is owe to me?” This note was scrubbed from any filings and buried by the prosecution for 40 years. This dramatic “Brady evidence” previously unavailable to the defense, was dismissed by the Judge in her written opinion as not “being material.” Meaning it would not have affected the jury’s verdict.  Underlying this is the wholesale adoption of the credibility determinations of the original trial court judge Albert “I am going to help them fry the n---word” Sabo.  It allows his racist tainted rulings to stand.


She also dismissed records from ADA McGill that extensively track and monitor another key witness Cynthia White, who’s pending criminal cases were ALL were dropped by the prosecution following her testimony.


How can the court ignore the context.  Note this information which follows had been previously prevented from being added to the record by Albert Sabo and other judges on appeal:


Photos from the Philadelphia Bulletin that prove Robert “I was on probation, did not have a license to drive a cab, and threw a Molotov cocktail into a school for pay” Chobert was not parked at the scene of the shooting. Chobert could not have witnessed the shooting. He was NOT parked directly behind the officer’s car as he claimed to be.  The answer is: because the PCRA (Post Conviction Relief Act) allows the dismissal of this critical evidence through by time bar.


Finally, Judge Lucretia Clemons admonished the defense to limit their briefs challenging her proposed ruling to cite Pennsylvania law.  It is commonly understood here, rather than being the birthplace of liberty, Pennsylvania is the place where the US Supreme Courts constitutional standards for criminal defendants are the very last place to be honored.


This case proves that racism reigns unabated in the American justice system, Mumia Abu-Jamal is the canary in the coal mine.   


Judge Clemons’ 31pg proposed opinion will be available today, 10-27-22. The Defense has 20 days to reply, and prosecution given 10 additional days to respond before the court’s order dismissing Mumia’s request for a new trial becomes final and appealable.  


Mumia Abu-Jamal has spent 42 years in prison for the death of Philadelphia Police officer Daniel Faulkner on Dec. 9th 1981. He has maintained his innocence and has sought his freedom by appealing to the very courts that now seek to preserve his unjust and unconstitutional conviction. At age 67 he has spent 42 years in prison.


Mumia Abu-Jamal is a broadcast journalist and internationally recognized author. Mr. Abu-Jamal is serving a life sentence at SCI Mahanoy in Pennsylvania. He is the author of 13 books, holds a Master’s degree in Comparative Literature and is currently working on the requirements to complete a PhD in the History of Consciousness Department at University of California Santa Cruz.


Noelle Hanrahan, Esq. nhanrahanlaw@gmail.com 415-793-7958 www. Prisonradio.org


Every act matters.  Stand up. Join us as we launch Love Not Phear.


Cuando luchamos ganamos, When We Fight, We Win


Noelle Hanrahan

Prison Radio Co-Director




Urgent support needed for cancer-stricken, imprisoned writer/artist, Kevin “Rashid” Johnson’s Legal Fund!


Cash App: $Solidarity2RIBPP


Prostate cancer can be cured if discovered and treated before it spreads (metastasizes) beyond the prostate. But once it spreads it becomes incurable and fatal.

Rashid's prostate cancer was discovered over a year ago and diagnosed by biopsy months ago, before it had spread or any symptoms had developed. However, he has now developed symptoms that indicate it likely has metastasized, which would not have happened if he had begun receiving treatment earlier. Denied care and delayed hospital appointments continue, which can only be intended to cause spreading and worsening symptoms.

I just received word from Rashid through another prisoner where he is, that he was transported on October 25, 2022 to the Medical College of Virginia (MCV) hospital, which is a state hospital where Virginia Department of Corrections (VDOC) officials also work. MCV appears to have a nefarious relationship with the VDOC in denying prisoners needed treatment. Upon arrival to the hospital he was told the appointment had been rescheduled, which has now become a pattern.

The appointment was for a full body PET scan to determine if and to what degree his cancer has metastasized. When he met with a radiologist on October 4, 2022, after 3 prior re-schedulings, there was concern that his cancer may have spread because of symptoms he's begun developing. This is his fourth rescheduled hospital appointment which has delayed appointments for weeks to months, preventing him from receiving care.

Because of delayed testing and denied care Rashid has developed symptoms that continue to worsen, which include internal bleeding and pain. The passage of time without care is worsening his condition and making the likelihood of death from the spread of his cancer more certain.

Here is the new donation link for Rashid's legal fund.





Sign the petition:


If extradited to the United States, Julian Assange, father of two young British children, would face a sentence of 175 years in prison merely for receiving and publishing truthful information that revealed US war crimes.

UK District Judge Vanessa Baraitser has ruled that "it would be oppressive to extradite him to the United States of America".

Amnesty International states, “Were Julian Assange to be extradited or subjected to any other transfer to the USA, Britain would be in breach of its obligations under international law.”

Human Rights Watch says, “The only thing standing between an Assange prosecution and a major threat to global media freedom is Britain. It is urgent that it defend the principles at risk.”

The NUJ has stated that the “US charges against Assange pose a huge threat, one that could criminalise the critical work of investigative journalists & their ability to protect their sources”.

Julian will not survive extradition to the United States.

The UK is required under its international obligations to stop the extradition. Article 4 of the US-UK extradition treaty says: "Extradition shall not be granted if the offense for which extradition is requested is a political offense." 

The decision to either Free Assange or send him to his death is now squarely in the political domain. The UK must not send Julian to the country that conspired to murder him in London.

The United Kingdom can stop the extradition at any time. It must comply with Article 4 of the US-UK Extradition Treaty and Free Julian Assange.



Dear friends, 

Recently I’ve started working with the Coalition to Free Ruchell Magee. On March 17, Ruchell turned 83. He’s been imprisoned for 59 years, and now walks with a walker. He is no threat to society if released. Ruchell was in the Marin County Courthouse on August 7, 1970, the morning Jonathan Jackson took it over in an effort to free his older brother, the internationally known revolutionary prison writer, George Jackson. Ruchell joined Jonathan and was the only survivor of the shooting that ensued. He has been locked up ever since and denied parole 13 times. On March 19, the Coalition to Free Ruchell Magee held a webinar for Ruchell for his 83rd birthday, which was a terrific event full of information and plans for building the campaign to Free Ruchell. (For information about his case, please visit: www.freeruchellmagee.org.)

Below are two ways to stream this historic webinar, plus 

• a petition you can sign

• a portal to send a letter to Governor Newsom

• a Donate button to support his campaign

• a link to our campaign website. 

Please take a moment and help. 

Note: We will soon have t-shirts to sell to raise money for legal expenses.

Here is the YouTube link to view the March 19 Webinar: 


Here is the Facebook link:


Sign the petition to Free Ruchell:


Write to Governor Newsom’s office:




Ruchell’s Website: 



Charlie Hinton


No one ever hurt their eyes by looking on the bright side



Tell Congress to Help #FreeDanielHale


I’m pleased to announce that last week our client, Daniel Hale, was awarded the Sam Adams Award for Integrity in Intelligence. The “Corner-Brightener Candlestick” was presented to Daniel’s friend Noor Mir. You can watch the online ceremony here.

As it happens, this week is also the 20th anniversary of the first drone assassination in Yemen. From the beginning, the drone assassination program has been deeply shrouded in secrecy, allowing U.S. officials to hide significant violations of international law, and the American Constitution. In addition to the lives directly impacted by these strikes, the program has significantly eroded respect for international law and thereby puts civilians around the world in danger.

Daniel Hale’s revelations threw a beam of light into a very dark corner, allowing journalists to definitively show that the government's official narrative was a lie. It is thanks to the great personal sacrifice of drone whistleblowers like Hale that public understanding has finally begun to catch up to reality.

As the Sam Adams Associates note:

 “Mr. Hale was well aware of the cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment to which other courageous officials have been subjected — and that he would likely suffer the same. And yet — in the manner of his famous ancestor Nathan Hale — he put his country first, knowing what awaited him at the hands of those who serve what has become a repressive Perpetual War State wreaking havoc upon much of the world.”

We hope you’ll join the growing call to pardon or commute Hale’s sentence. U.S. citizens can contact your representatives here.

Happy new year, and thank you for your support!


Jesselyn Radack
Whistleblower & Source Protection Program (WHISPeR)

Twitter: @JesselynRadack



Laws are created to be followed

by the poor.

Laws are made by the rich

to bring some order to exploitation.

The poor are the only law abiders in history.

When the poor make laws

the rich will be no more.


—Roque Dalton Presente!

(May 14, 1935 – Assassinated May 10, 1975)[1]

[1] Roque Dalton was a Salvadoran poet, essayist, journalist, political activist, and intellectual. He is considered one of Latin America's most compelling poets.







Screenshot of Kevin Cooper's artwork from the teaser.


 “In His Defense” The People vs. Kevin Cooper

A film by Kenneth A. Carlson 

Teaser is now streaming at:



Posted by: Death Penalty Focus Blog, January 10, 2022



“In his Defense,” a documentary on the Kevin Cooper case, is in the works right now, and California filmmaker Kenneth Carlson has released a teaser for it on CarlsonFilms.com


Just over seven months ago, California Gov. Gavin Newsom ordered an independent investigation of Cooper’s death penalty case. At the time, he explained that, “In cases where the government seeks to impose the ultimate punishment of death, I need to be satisfied that all relevant evidence is carefully and fairly examined.”


That investigation is ongoing, with no word from any of the parties involved on its progress.


Cooper has been on death row since 1985 for the murder of four people in San Bernardino County in June 1983. Prosecutors said Cooper, who had escaped from a minimum-security prison and had been hiding out near the scene of the murder, killed Douglas and Peggy Ryen, their 10-year-old daughter, Jessica, and 10-year-old Chris Hughes, a friend who was spending the night at the Ryen’s. The lone survivor of the attack, eight-year-old Josh Ryen, was severely injured but survived.


For over 36 years, Cooper has insisted he is innocent, and there are serious questions about evidence that was missing, tampered with, destroyed, possibly planted, or hidden from the defense. There were multiple murder weapons, raising questions about how one man could use all of them, killing four people and seriously wounding one, in the amount of time the coroner estimated the murders took place.


The teaser alone gives a good overview of the case, and helps explain why so many believe Cooper was wrongfully convicted.



New Legal Filing in Mumia’s Case

By Johanna Fernández

The following statement was issued January 4, 2022, regarding new legal filings by attorneys for Mumia Abu-Jamal.

Campaign to Bring Mumia Home

In her novel Their Eyes Were Watching God, Zora Neale Hurston wrote, “There are years that ask questions, and years that answer.”

With continued pressure from below, 2022 will be the year that forces the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office and the Philly Police Department to answer questions about why they framed imprisoned radio journalist and veteran Black Panther Mumia Abu-Jamal. Abu-Jamal’s attorneys have filed a Pennsylvania Post Conviction Relief Act (PCRA) petition focused entirely on the six boxes of case files that were found in a storage room of the DA’s office in late December 2018, after the case being heard before Judge Leon Tucker in the Court of Common Pleas concluded. (tinyurl.com/zkyva464)

The new evidence contained in the boxes is damning, and we need to expose it. It reveals a pattern of misconduct and abuse of authority by the prosecution, including bribery of the state’s two key witnesses, as well as racist exclusion in jury selection—a violation of the landmark Supreme Court decision Batson v. Kentucky. The remedy for each or any of the claims in the petition is a new trial. The court may order a hearing on factual issues raised in the claims. If so, we won’t know for at least a month. 

The new evidence includes a handwritten letter penned by Robert Chobert, the prosecution’s star witness. In it, Chobert demands to be paid money promised him by then-Prosecutor Joseph McGill. Other evidence includes notes written by McGill, prominently tracking the race of potential jurors for the purposes of excluding Black people from the jury, and letters and memoranda which reveal that the DA’s office sought to monitor, direct, and intervene in the outstanding prostitution charges against its other key witness Cynthia White.

Mumia Abu-Jamal was framed and convicted 40 years ago in 1982, during one of the most corrupt and racist periods in Philadelphia’s history—the era of cop-turned-mayor Frank Rizzo. It was a moment when the city’s police department, which worked intimately with the DA’s office, routinely engaged in homicidal violence against Black and Latinx detainees, corruption, bribery and tampering with evidence to obtain convictions. 

In 1979, under pressure from civil rights activists, the Department of Justice filed an unprecedented lawsuit against the Philadelphia police department and detailed a culture of racist violence, widespread corruption and intimidation that targeted outspoken people like Mumia. Despite concurrent investigations by the FBI and Pennsylvania’s Attorney General and dozens of police convictions, the power and influence of the country’s largest police association, the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) prevailed. 

Now, more than 40 years later, we’re still living with the failure to uproot these abuses. Philadelphia continues to fear the powerful FOP, even though it endorses cruelty, racism, and multiple injustices. A culture of fear permeates the “city of brotherly love.”

The contents of these boxes shine light on decades of white supremacy and rampant lawlessness in U.S. courts and prisons. They also hold enormous promise for Mumia’s freedom and challenge us to choose Love, Not PHEAR. (lovenotphear.com/) Stay tuned.

Workers World, January 4, 2022


Pa. Supreme Court denies widow’s appeal to remove Philly DA from Abu-Jamal case


Abu Jamal was convicted by a jury of first-degree murder of Faulkner in 1982. Over the past four decades, five of his appeals have been quashed.


In 1989, the state’s highest court affirmed Abu-Jamal’s death penalty conviction, and in 2012, he was re-sentenced to life in prison.


Abu-Jamal, 66, remains in prison. He can appeal to the state Supreme Court, or he can file a new appeal.


KYW Newsradio reached out to Abu-Jamal’s attorneys for comment. They shared this statement in full:


“Today, the Superior Court concluded that it lacked jurisdiction to consider issues raised by Mr. Abu-Jamal in prior appeals. Two years ago, the Court of Common Pleas ordered reconsideration of these appeals finding evidence of an appearance of judicial bias when the appeals were first decided. We are disappointed in the Superior Court’s decision and are considering our next steps.


“While this case was pending in the Superior Court, the Commonwealth revealed, for the first time, previously undisclosed evidence related to Mr. Abu-Jamal’s case. That evidence includes a letter indicating that the Commonwealth promised its principal witness against Mr. Abu-Jamal money in connection with his testimony. In today’s decision, the Superior Court made clear that it was not adjudicating the issues raised by this new evidence. This new evidence is critical to any fair determination of the issues raised in this case, and we look forward to presenting it in court.”



Demand Mumia's Freedom:

Governor Tom Wolf -1(717) 787-2500  Fax 1 (717) 772-8284
Office of the Governor
508 Main Capitol Building
HarrisburgPA  17120    
After calling the governor, send an online communication about our concerns.   https://www.governor.pa.gov/contact/#PhoneNumber
Let us know what there response was, Thank you.  Mobilization4Mumia@gmail.com


Questions and comments may be sent to: info@freedomarchives.org



A Plea for the Compassionate Release of 

Leonard Peltier

Video at:


Screen shot from video.

Sign our petition urging President Biden to grant clemency to Leonard Peltier.




Email: contact@whoisleonardpeltier.info

Address: 116 W. Osborne Ave. Tampa, Florida 33603


Bury My Heart with Leonard Peltier

How long will he still be with us? How long will the genocide continue?

By Michael Moore

—VIA Email: michaelmoore@substack.com

LEONARD PELTIER, Native American hero. An innocent man, he’s spent 44 years as a political prisoner. The prosecutor who put him behind bars now says Peltier is innocent. President Biden, go to Mass today, and then stop this torture. (Sipa/Shutterstock)

American Indian Movement leader, Leonard Peltier, at 77 years of age, came down with Covid-19 this weekend. Upon hearing this, I broke down and cried. An innocent man, locked up behind bars for 44 years, Peltier is now America’s longest-held political prisoner. He suffers in prison tonight even though James Reynolds, one of the key federal prosecutors who sent Peltier off to life in prison in 1977, has written to President Biden and confessed to his role in the lies, deceit, racism and fake evidence that together resulted in locking up our country’s most well-known Native American civil rights leader. Just as South Africa imprisoned for more than 27 years its leading voice for freedom, Nelson Mandela, so too have we done the same to a leading voice and freedom fighter for the indigenous people of America. That’s not just me saying this. That’s Amnesty International saying it. They placed him on their political prisoner list years ago and continue to demand his release.


And it’s not just Amnesty leading the way. It’s the Pope who has demanded Leonard Peltier’s release. It’s the Dalai Lama, Jesse Jackson, and the President Pro-Tempore of the US Senate, Sen. Patrick Leahy. Before their deaths, Nelson Mandela, Mother Theresa and Bishop Desmond Tutu pleaded with the United States to free Leonard Peltier. A worldwide movement of millions have seen their demands fall on deaf ears. 


And now the calls for Peltier to be granted clemency in DC have grown on Capitol Hill. Senator Brian Schatz (D-HI), the head of the Senate committee who oversees the Bureau of Indian Affairs, has also demanded Peltier be given his freedom. Numerous House Democrats have also written to Biden. 


The time has come for our President to act; the same President who appointed the first-ever Native American cabinet member last year and who halted the building of the Keystone pipeline across Native lands. Surely Mr. Biden is capable of an urgent act of compassion for Leonard Peltier — especially considering that the prosecutor who put him away in 1977 now says Peltier is innocent, and that his US Attorney’s office corrupted the evidence to make sure Peltier didn’t get a fair trial. Why is this victim of our judicial system still in prison? And now he is sick with Covid.


For months Peltier has begged to get a Covid booster shot. Prison officials refused. The fact that he now has COVID-19 is a form of torture. A shame hangs over all of us. Should he now die, are we all not complicit in taking his life? 


President Biden, let Leonard Peltier go. This is a gross injustice. You can end it. Reach deep into your Catholic faith, read what the Pope has begged you to do, and then do the right thing. 


For those of you reading this, will you join me right now in appealing to President Biden to free Leonard Peltier? His health is in deep decline, he is the voice of his people — a people we owe so much to for massacring and imprisoning them for hundreds of years. 


The way we do mass incarceration in the US is abominable. And Leonard Peltier is not the only political prisoner we have locked up. We have millions of Black and brown and poor people tonight in prison or on parole and probation — in large part because they are Black and brown and poor. THAT is a political act on our part. Corporate criminals and Trump run free. The damage they have done to so many Americans and people around the world must be dealt with. 


This larger issue is one we MUST take on. For today, please join me in contacting the following to show them how many millions of us demand that Leonard Peltier has suffered enough and should be free:


President Joe Biden


Phone: 202-456-1111

E-mail: At this link



Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland


Phone: 202-208-3100

E-mail: feedback@ios.doi.gov


Attorney General Merrick Garland


Phone: 202-514-2000

E-mail: At this link



I’ll end with the final verse from the epic poem “American Names” by Stephen Vincent Benet: 


I shall not rest quiet in Montparnasse.

I shall not lie easy at Winchelsea.

You may bury my body in Sussex grass,

You may bury my tongue at Champmedy.

I shall not be there. I shall rise and pass.

Bury my heart at Wounded Knee.



PS. Also — watch the brilliant 1992 documentary by Michael Apted and Robert Redford about the framing of Leonard Peltier— “Incident at Oglala”



The Moment

By Margaret Atwood*


The moment when, after many years 

of hard work and a long voyage 

you stand in the centre of your room, 

house, half-acre, square mile, island, country, 

knowing at last how you got there, 

and say, I own this, 


is the same moment when the trees unloose 

their soft arms from around you, 

the birds take back their language, 

the cliffs fissure and collapse, 

the air moves back from you like a wave 

and you can't breathe. 


No, they whisper. You own nothing. 

You were a visitor, time after time 

climbing the hill, planting the flag, proclaiming. 

We never belonged to you. 

You never found us. 

It was always the other way round.


*Witten by the woman who wrote a novel about Christian fascists taking over the U.S. and enslaving women. Prescient!



Union Membership—2021

Bureau of Labor Statistics

U.S. Department of Labor

For release 10:00 a.m. (ET) Thursday, January 20, 2022

Technical information: 

(202) 691-6378 • cpsinfo@bls.gov • www.bls.gov/cps

Media contact: 

(202) 691-5902 • PressOffice@bls.gov

In 2021, the number of wage and salary workers belonging to unions continued to decline (-241,000) to 14.0 million, and the percent who were members of unions—the union membership rate—was 10.3 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. The rate is down from 10.8 percent in 2020—when the rate increased due to a disproportionately large decline in the total number of nonunion workers compared with the decline in the number of union members. The 2021 unionization rate is the same as the 2019 rate of 10.3 percent. In 1983, the first year for which comparable union data are available, the union membership rate was 20.1 percent and there were 17.7 million union workers.

These data on union membership are collected as part of the Current Population Survey (CPS), a monthly sample survey of about 60,000 eligible households that obtains information on employment and unemployment among the nation’s civilian noninstitutional population age 16 and over. For further information, see the Technical Note in this news release.

Highlights from the 2021 data:

• The union membership rate of public-sector workers (33.9 percent) continued to be more than five times higher than the rate of private-sector workers (6.1 percent). (See table 3.)

• The highest unionization rates were among workers in education, training, and library occupations (34.6 percent) and protective service occupations (33.3 percent). (See table 3.)

• Men continued to have a higher union membership rate (10.6 percent) than women (9.9 percent). The gap between union membership rates for men and women has narrowed considerably since 1983 (the earliest year for which comparable data are available), when rates for men and women were 24.7 percent and 14.6 percent, respectively. (See table 1.)

• Black workers remained more likely to be union members than White, Asian, or Hispanic workers. (See table 1.)

• Nonunion workers had median weekly earnings that were 83 percent of earnings for workers who were union members ($975 versus $1,169). (The comparisons of earnings in this news release are on a broad level and do not control for many factors that can be important in explaining earnings differences.) (See table 2.)

• Among states, Hawaii and New York continued to have the highest union membership rates (22.4 percent and 22.2 percent, respectively), while South Carolina and North Carolina continued to have the lowest (1.7 percent and 2.6 percent, respectively). (See table 5.)

Industry and Occupation of Union Members

In 2021, 7.0 million employees in the public sector belonged to unions, the same as in the private sector. (See table 3.)

Union membership decreased by 191,000 over the year in the public sector. The public-sector union membership rate declined by 0.9 percentage point in 2021 to 33.9 percent, following an increase of 1.2 percentage points in 2020. In 2021, the union membership rate continued to be highest in local government (40.2 percent), which employs many workers in heavily unionized occupations, such as police officers, firefighters, and teachers.

The number of union workers employed in the private sector changed little over the year. However, the number of private-sector nonunion workers increased in 2021. The private-sector unionization rate declined by 0.2 percentage point in 2021 to 6.1 percent, slightly lower than its 2019 rate of 6.2 percent. Industries with high unionization rates included utilities (19.7 percent), motion pictures and sound recording industries (17.3 percent), and transportation and warehousing (14.7 percent). Low unionization rates occurred in finance (1.2 percent), professional and technical services (1.2 percent), food services and drinking places (1.2 percent), and insurance (1.5 percent).

Among occupational groups, the highest unionization rates in 2021 were in education, training, and library occupations (34.6 percent) and protective service occupations (33.3 percent). Unionization rates were lowest in food preparation and serving related occupations (3.1 percent); sales and related occupations (3.3 percent); computer and mathematical occupations (3.7 percent); personal care and service occupations (3.9 percent); and farming, fishing, and forestry occupations (4.0 percent).

Selected Characteristics of Union Members

In 2021, the number of men who were union members, at 7.5 million, changed little, while the number of women who were union members declined by 182,000 to 6.5 million. The unionization rate for men decreased by 0.4 percentage point over the year to 10.6 percent. In 2021, women’s union membership rate declined by 0.6 percentage point to 9.9 percent. The 2021 decreases in union membership rates for men and women reflect increases in the total number of nonunion workers. The rate for men is below the 2019 rate (10.8 percent), while the rate for women is above the 2019 rate (9.7 percent). (See table 1.)

Among major race and ethnicity groups, Black workers continued to have a higher union membership rate in 2021 (11.5 percent) than White workers (10.3 percent), Asian workers (7.7 percent), and Hispanic workers (9.0 percent). The union membership rate declined by 0.4 percentage point for White workers, by 0.8 percentage point for Black workers, by 1.2 percentage points for Asian workers, and by 0.8 percentage point for Hispanic workers. The 2021 rates for Whites, Blacks, and Hispanics are little or no different from 2019, while the rate for Asians is lower.

By age, workers ages 45 to 54 had the highest union membership rate in 2021, at 13.1 percent. Younger workers—those ages 16 to 24—had the lowest union membership rate, at 4.2 percent.

In 2021, the union membership rate for full-time workers (11.1 percent) continued to be considerably higher than that for part-time workers (6.1 percent).

Union Representation

In 2021, 15.8 million wage and salary workers were represented by a union, 137,000 less than in 2020. The percentage of workers represented by a union was 11.6 percent, down by 0.5 percentage point from 2020 but the same as in 2019. Workers represented by a union include both union members (14.0 million) and workers who report no union affiliation but whose jobs are covered by a union contract (1.8 million). (See table 1.)


Among full-time wage and salary workers, union members had median usual weekly earnings of $1,169 in 2021, while those who were not union members had median weekly earnings of $975. In addition to coverage by a collective bargaining agreement, these earnings differences reflect a variety of influences, including variations in the distributions of union members and nonunion employees by occupation, industry, age, firm size, or geographic region. (See tables 2 and 4.)

Union Membership by State

In 2021, 30 states and the District of Columbia had union membership rates below that of the U.S. average, 10.3 percent, while 20 states had rates above it. All states in both the East South Central and West South Central divisions had union membership rates below the national average, while all states in both the Middle Atlantic and Pacific divisions had rates above it. (See table 5 and chart 1.)

Ten states had union membership rates below 5.0 percent in 2021. South Carolina had the lowest rate (1.7 percent), followed by North Carolina (2.6 percent) and Utah (3.5 percent). Two states had union membership rates over 20.0 percent in 2021: Hawaii (22.4 percent) and New York (22.2 percent).

In 2021, about 30 percent of the 14.0 million union members lived in just two states (California at 2.5 million and New York at 1.7 million). However, these states accounted for about 17 percent of wage and salary employment nationally.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic Impact on 2021 Union Members Data

Union membership data for 2021 continue to reflect the impact on the labor market of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Comparisons with union membership measures for 2020, including metrics such as the union membership rate and median usual weekly earnings, should be interpreted with caution. The onset of the pandemic in 2020 led to an increase in the unionization rate due to a disproportionately large decline in the number of nonunion workers compared with the decline in the number of union members. The decrease in the rate in 2021 reflects a large gain in the number of nonunion workers and a decrease in the number of union workers. More information on labor market developments in recent months is available at: 

www.bls.gov/covid19/effects-of-covid-19-pandemic-and- response-on-the-employment-situation-news-release.htm.



Resources for Resisting Federal Repression

Since June of 2020, activists have been subjected to an increasingly aggressive crackdown on protests by federal law enforcement. The federal response to the movement for Black Lives has included federal criminal charges for activists, door knocks by federal law enforcement agents, and increased use of federal troops to violently police protests. 

The NLG National Office is releasing this resource page for activists who are resisting federal repression. It includes a link to our emergency hotline numbers, as well as our library of Know-Your-Rights materials, our recent federal repression webinar, and a list of some of our recommended resources for activists. We will continue to update this page. 

Please visit the NLG Mass Defense Program page for general protest-related legal support hotlines run by NLG chapters.

Emergency Hotlines

If you are contacted by federal law enforcement you should exercise all of your rights. It is always advisable to speak to an attorney before responding to federal authorities. 

State and Local Hotlines

If you have been contacted by the FBI or other federal law enforcement, in one of the following areas, you may be able to get help or information from one of these local NLG hotlines for: 

National Hotline

If you are located in an area with no hotline, you can call the following number:

Know Your Rights Materials

The NLG maintains a library of basic Know-Your-Rights guides. 

WEBINAR: Federal Repression of Activists & Their Lawyers: Legal & Ethical Strategies to Defend Our Movements: presented by NLG-NYC and NLG National Office

We also recommend the following resources: 

Center for Constitutional Rights

Civil Liberties Defense Center

Grand Jury Resistance Project

Katya Komisaruk

Movement for Black Lives Legal Resources

Tilted Scales Collective






1) Three Former Officers Plead Guilty in Fatal Shooting of Girl, Authorities Say

The death of Fanta Bility, 8, last year occurred during gunfire that erupted outside a high school football game in Pennsylvania.

By Eliza Fawcett, Nov. 13, 2022


Protesters called for police accountability in the death of Fanta Bility at the Delaware County Courthouse in January.

Protesters called for police accountability in the death of Fanta Bility at the Delaware County Courthouse in January. Credit...Matt Rourke/Associated Press

Three former Pennsylvania police officers each pleaded guilty on Thursday to 10 counts of reckless endangerment in the fatal shooting of an 8-year-old girl outside a high school football game last year, according to the Delaware County district attorney.


The former officers, Devon Smith, Sean Dolan and Brian Devaney, of the police department in Sharon Hill, a Philadelphia suburb, were each charged in January with a total of 12 counts — including both voluntary and involuntary manslaughter and reckless endangerment —  in the death of the girl, Fanta Bility. The manslaughter charges were dropped as part of the plea deal, according to the office of the district attorney, Jack Stollsteimer.


The officers, who were fired in January, are scheduled to be sentenced on Jan. 12, 2023. Each reckless endangerment charge carries a maximum penalty of up to two years.


On Aug. 21, 2021, the police were monitoring a crowd outside the football field at Academy Park High School in Sharon Hill when gunfire erupted, according to prosecutors. With a few minutes left in the game, most people were headed toward the exits.


Two shots were fired “in the direction of” the officers, who responded by firing “in the direction of” the stadium, prosecutors said. The officers also fired toward a car they mistakenly believed had been the source of the initial gunshots, prosecutors said. Overall, they said, the officers fired a total of 25 shots, killing Fanta and wounding her older sister and two other people.


Fanta, who is the daughter of West African immigrants, had attended the game to watch her sister, a cheerleader, and a cousin who was one of the football players.


In his statement, Mr. Stollsteimer said that his office remained in close contact with the family to ensure that their views were taken into account. “Led by the family’s wishes, we have arrived at today’s result,” he said.


Lawyers representing the former officers did not return requests for comment.


In a joint statement in January, the lawyers said that the officers “ran to the sound of gunshots and risked their own lives to protect that community” and “are innocent and remain heartbroken because of this senseless violence.”


The family agreed to the plea deal following “much prayer and discussion,” said Siddiq Kamara, a cousin of Ms. Bility, in a statement released by Bruce L. Castor Jr., a lawyer representing the family.


“The agony we feel constantly reliving the loss of our dear Fanta, who was just 8 years old when she was killed by Sharon Hill police officers, is impossible to describe with words,” Mr. Kamara said. “Since her mother and siblings were witnesses to this tragic incident, they will have to live with that trauma imprinted in their memories for the rest of their lives.”


Mr. Kamara added that the plea agreements could allow the family and the community to “begin the healing process.”


Mr. Stollsteimer initially filed murder charges last year against two teenagers for the shooting outside the stadium, but those charges were withdrawn in January following a grand jury investigation. One of the teenagers, Hasein Strand, 18, of Collingdale, has pleaded guilty to illegal possession of a firearm and aggravated assault. The other teenager, Angelo Ford, faces charges of attempted murder, aggravated assault and weapons violations, according to court records. He has not entered a plea, according to Mary Elizabeth Welch, his attorney.



2) University of California Academic Employees Strike for Higher Pay

Teaching assistants, researchers and other workers walked off the job Monday in a dispute over pay and benefits, a move expected to disrupt classes.

By Shawn Hubler, Nov. 14, 2022


Students passing through Sather Gate on the University of California, Berkeley, campus this year.

Students passing through Sather Gate on the University of California, Berkeley, campus this year. Credit...Peter Prato for The New York Times

SACRAMENTO — Academic workers in the University of California system went on strike on Monday, as teaching assistants, graduate student researchers and other university employees called for significant pay increases in the face of rising housing costs in the state.


The walkout covers nearly 48,000 unionized campus employees across one of the nation’s most prestigious public university systems. It appears to be one of the largest university-based labor actions yet as graduate students push in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic for higher pay and more secure working conditions.


The university system has said its 10 campuses, where nearly 300,000 students are enrolled from San Diego to Berkeley, will remain open and that instruction and operations will continue. But the students and employees involved, who are represented by the United Automobile Workers, make up a core work force in classrooms and labs throughout the university system, where most campuses are only a few weeks away from final examinations.


“We’re the ones who perform the majority of the teaching, and we’re the ones who perform the majority of the research,” said Rafael Jaime, a doctoral candidate at the University of California, Los Angeles, who is president of U.A.W. Local 2865, which represents some 19,000 teaching assistants, tutors and other classroom workers.


“We’re the backbone of the university,” he said, “and I have a hard time seeing how operations are going to be maintained with us on the picket line.”


Graduate students at universities across the country have long been integral to higher education, advising students, teaching classes, grading exams and papers, and staffing major research projects and labs. In recent years, however, concerted efforts to unionize have gained momentum, particularly as the pandemic has underscored schools’ reliance on graduate student labor. The actions have been driven by what workers say is low pay and often insecure working conditions, especially as wages rise in other sectors during a tight labor market.


Three years ago, a “wildcat” strike at the University of California, Santa Cruz — conducted without the backing of the union that represents the workers statewide — ended with the firing of more than 70 graduate students who had refused to turn in fall grades as part of the labor action. Most were eventually reinstated. This year, in contrast, unionized graduate students and adjunct professors have negotiated contracts at Columbia University and New York University.


The University of California workers, many of whom have been negotiating with the university for more than a year, are demanding that their salaries more than double in some cases, particularly to address the cost of housing. The U.C. campuses lie in some of the most expensive housing markets in the nation, not just in the Bay Area and Los Angeles, but coastal enclaves such as Santa Barbara, Santa Cruz and Irvine. Even subsidized campus housing in some areas is significantly more expensive than market rents in much of the country.


Campus-area housing has long been a policy concern, vexing state lawmakers and inciting town-and-gown legal battles. In a union survey, 92 percent of graduate student workers said housing consumed more than a third of their income. For 40 percent of them, it was more than half.


Mr. Jaime, 33, who teaches an introductory Shakespeare class at U.C.L.A., said he could not afford an apartment in the Westwood neighborhood surrounding the campus. Instead, he lives in downtown Los Angeles, more than 15 miles away, sharing rent with two roommates. Even so, he said, the $1,600 he pays for rent each month eats up half of his paycheck, not counting the costs of his commute to campus via bicycle, light rail and bus.


The workers are also demanding more reimbursement for public transit, additional child care subsidies, expanded health care for dependents and other benefits.


In a statement, the university system said it recognized the “important and highly valued contributions” to its teaching and research mission made by the workers and that it had provided “fair responses” on issues including pay, housing and a “respectful work environment.”


“We have listened carefully to U.A.W. priorities with an open mind and a genuine willingness to compromise,” the statement said, adding that “many tentative agreements” on issues such as health and safety had been reached.


But major differences remain. Graduate teaching assistants, tutors and readers, for instance, are demanding that their pay, which averages about $24,000 annually, increase to $54,000, while the university system is offering an increase of 7 percent the first year, with 3 percent annual raises in subsequent years.


Workers also want salaries to be set high enough that no employees would have to spend more than 30 percent of their monthly pay on housing; the U.C. system has noted that housing is an issue for workers throughout California, and that it already provides a limited amount of subsidized housing for graduate student workers that is priced at up to 25 percent below market rates.


Union officials say that the university system also has violated labor law nearly two dozen times in the course of negotiations, dealing directly with certain groups of workers and changing certain working conditions without going through collective bargaining. These unfair labor practices, officials say, triggered the strike.


“The university needs to bargain fairly,” said Neal Sweeney, president of the U.A.W. bargaining unit that represents academic researchers and postdoctoral scholars. “If they do that, we think we can reach a transformative agreement.”


The university system has denied any illegal action and has called on the unions to stay at the bargaining table. “We are committed to continuing to negotiate in good faith and reaching full agreements as soon as possible,” the statement from the University of California said.


Stephanie Saul and Anemona Hartocollis contributed reporting.



3) Iran charges more than 750 over 'riots', issues first death sentence



Iranian men and women chant and carry banners at a protest against the country's leadership in Tehran, Iran on October 28, 2022. © Wana News Agency via Reuters

Iran on Sunday issued its first death sentence linked to participation in "riots", amid nationwide protests since the death of Mahsa Amini, the judiciary's Mizan Online website said.


The accused was sentenced in a Tehran court to death for the crime of "setting fire to a government building, disturbing public order, assembly and conspiracy to commit a crime against national security, and an enemy of God and corruption on earth", one of the most serious offences under Iranian law, Mizan Online reported.


Another court in Tehran sentenced five others to prison terms of between five to 10 years for "gathering and conspiring to commit crimes against national security and disturbing public order".


All those convicted can appeal their sentence, Mizan added.


Dozens of people, mainly demonstrators but also security personnel, have been killed during the protests, which the authorities have branded as "riots".


Earlier on Sunday, the judiciary said it had charged more than 750 people in three provinces for involvement in such incidents.


More than 2,000 people had already been charged, nearly half of them in the capital Tehran, since the demonstrations began in mid-September, according to judiciary figures.


Judicial chief for the southern province of Hormozgan, Mojtaba Ghahremani, said 164 people had been charged "after the recent riots", Mizan Online earlier said.


They face accusations including "incitement to killing", "harming security forces", "propaganda against the regime" and "damaging public property", the website said, adding that their trials would begin "from Thursday in the presence of their lawyers".


Another 276 people were charged in the central province of Markazi, its judiciary chief Abdol-Mehdi Mousavi was quoted as saying by state news agency IRNA.


However, 100 young people were released after signing pledges not to participate in any future "riots", IRNA said.


In central Isfahan province, judicial chief Asadollah Jafari said 316 cases had been filed in connection with the recent strife.


Twelve have already gone to trial, the Tasnim news agency reported him as saying late Saturday.


Amini's death on September 16 came days after her arrest by the morality police for an alleged breach of the country's strict dress rules for women.


Authorities have denied claims by rights groups abroad that about 15,000 people have been detained in the ensuing unrest.


Iran on Sunday criticised a Friday meeting between French president Emmanuel Macron and opponents of the Islamic republic, calling Emmanuel Macron's comments after the encounter "regrettable and shameful".


Macron met with four prominent Iranian dissidents, all of them women.



4) Stymied by Protests, Iran Unleashes Its Wrath on Its Youth

Hundreds of minors have been detained for joining the demonstrations, and many others have died in the crackdown, according to Iranian lawyers and rights activists.

By Farnaz Fassihi, Nov. 14, 2022


These are among the nearly 50 minors that rights groups say Iran has killed in the past two months, as protests swept the country. Security forces shot or beat to death most of them during protests.

These are among the nearly 50 minors that rights groups say Iran has killed in the past two months, as protests swept the country. Security forces shot or beat to death most of them during protests. Credit...Amnesty International

One girl, a 14-year-old, was incarcerated in an adult prison alongside drug offenders. A 16-year-old boy had his nose broken in detention after a beating by security officers. A 13-year-old girl was physically attacked by plainclothes militia who raided her school.


A brutal crackdown by the authorities in Iran trying to halt protests calling for social freedom and political change that have convulsed the country for the past two months has exacted a terrible toll on the nation’s youth, according to lawyers in Iran and rights activists familiar with the cases.


Young people, including teenage girls and boys, have been at the center of the demonstrations and clashes with security forces on the streets and university campuses and at high schools. Iranian officials have said the average age of protesters is 15.


Some have been beaten and detained, others have been shot and killed on the streets, or beaten in the custody of security services, and the lives of countless others have been disrupted as the authorities raid schools in an effort to crack down on dissent.


The authorities are targeting thousands of minors, under the age of 18, for participating in the protests, according to interviews with two dozen people, including lawyers in Iran involved in cases and rights activists, as well as parents, relatives and teenagers living in the country. Rights groups say that at least 50 minors have been killed.


The lawyers and many of the individuals interviewed for this article asked not to be named for fear of retribution.


The targeting of young people comes amid a broader crackdown on protesters in which 14,000 people have been arrested, according to the United Nations. On Sunday, state media said an unidentified person had been sentenced to death for setting fire to a government building.


But the Islamic Republic is unleashing its wrath on its youth in ways and on a scale not seen during other protests that have rocked the country over the past two decades, the rights groups say. The nationwide uprising, largely led by women, has seen daily protests in cities across the country calling for an end to rule by hard-line clerics in the aftermath of the death of a 22-year-old woman, Mahsa Amini, in the custody of morality police in September.


Kazem Gharibabadi, secretary general of Iran’s High Council for Human Rights, did not respond to questions about the government’s actions against youthful protesters.


The government has responded to the youthful revolt with the same tactics it deploys against adults: shooting and beating some to death; arresting and throwing others into detention cells with adult inmates; and interrogating and threatening children and their families, according to rights groups, parents and lawyers.


The 14-year-old girl detained alongside the drug offenders had gone missing after attending a protest in the religious city of Qom. She was released on bail and was told she now has a criminal file and must be put on trial. The 16-year-old boy who had his nose broken had marched in a protest in the northwestern city of Tabriz, where the crowd chanted “Death to the dictator.”


“What makes these protests different is children are much more visibly present, displaying a bold determination to defy the establishment and ask for a better future for themselves,” said Diana Eltahawy, Amnesty International’s deputy director for Middle East and North Africa. “And they are using all the tools of repression at their disposal to crack down on them.”


Amnesty International said it had documented 33 cases of minors killed in the uprising, but the real numbers are likely higher. Iran-focused rights groups and the association for teachers say the number is closer to 50.


Lawyers and rights activists estimate that 500 to 1,000 minors are in detention with no clarity on how many are held in adult prisons.


At the juvenile detention facilities the children have been forced to undergo behavior therapy under the supervision of a cleric and a psychologist who tell the children they have committed sins and they must accept their wrongdoing, according to lawyers and rights activists. In several instances the children have been prescribed psychiatric drugs after resisting behavioral treatment, lawyers said.


In an audio message shared with The New York Times by a prominent Iranian human rights lawyer, Hossein Raeesi, a security officer said the government issued a confidential order demanding that all the cases involving children “must be handled by security and intelligence experts.” The officer added: “The situation of the children is extremely grave, the cases are slowly emerging.”


Mr. Raeesi said Iran’s laws stipulate that minors can only be held at juvenile detention facilities and questioned by judges who are specially trained and assigned to juvenile courts.


Iran is also a signatory to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, and its targeting and treatment of children, Mr. Raeesi said, violates its obligations.


In the Kurdish city of Kamyaran, a 16-year-old boy named Mobin was arrested and taken to a prison, where he was beaten in an assault that left his shoulder broken, according to Rebin Rahmani, a director at the Kurdistan Human Rights Network. When the boy was taken to the hospital for X-rays, the doctors planning to admit him were overruled by security forces, and he was returned to detention, Mr. Rahmani said.


Schools typically considered a sanctuary for children have suddenly turned into battlegrounds where students are at risk for simply attending class.


The New York Times documented 23 raids on high schools in cities across Iran, where plainclothes militia and intelligence agents interrogated, beat and searched students or where school authorities threatened or attacked students.


In one incident, a Tehran elementary school was attacked last month when security forces threw tear gas in its yard during recess because students were chanting anti-government slogans, according to a parent whose third-grade son attends the school.


“My children are not safe on the streets, and they are not safe in school anymore. Every day I die from anxiety until they get home,” said Sara, a 50-year-old mother of two teenage girls in Tehran who asked that her last name not be used. Last week, the school called to inform her that the plainclothes Basij militia planned a raid of the school and would demand access to the students’ phones. Sara did not send her daughters to school for two days.


Her 17-year-old daughter, a senior who asked not to be named for safety concerns, said she felt “empowered” because every day she has been protesting alongside her schoolmates by taking off their hijabs, banging on doors and chanting “Women, Life, Freedom.”


In Tabriz, a 14-year-old boy named Amir showed symptoms of trauma at home when he refused to eat and became reclusive, his family said. He complained of headaches and an upset stomach.


After three days, he told his uncle that his school had been raided by intelligence agents who had parked a police van in the yard and threatened to take students to jail if they had been found to have torn pictures of the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, in their schoolbooks or had expressed support for protests. They checked the students’ books and scanned their phones, taking screenshots of photos and social media posts.


“They had told Amir that if you tell your parents we will arrest your father,” his uncle, Ebi, a mechanical engineer who asked that his last name not be used, said by telephone from Tabriz. “They are terrorizing the kids because they are afraid of the future and they know these kids will fight for their rights.”


A mother in Shiraz said that the principal of Amin Lari High School, which her 14-year-old daughter attends, called the police and education department when students smashed framed pictures of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the founding father of the revolution, and chanted slogans in the yard. When they raided the school, the principal gave them access to surveillance cameras to identify students who had instigated the protest. Sixteen were suspended.


In one of the most high-profile school incidents, the Basij militia last month stormed Shahed High School in the northwestern city of Ardabil and beat students, sending nine to the hospital in ambulances. Rights activists said a 15-year-old girl, Asra Panahi, was beaten to death.


But members of her family have publicly toed the government line that she committed suicide by swallowing pills, which rights groups say is because of pressure from the authorities.


“The families of children who are killed or arrested are under enormous pressure and threats to not tell the truth about their cases and not give their names,” said Yashar Hakakpour, director of the Canada-based Association for Defense of Azerbaijani Political Prisoners in Iran. He said he had been in contact with people close to Asra’s family and could confirm she was killed in the raid. “They think if they scare the parents, they can control the children too.”


Some children have disappeared from protests and their families have been unable to locate them, according to rights activists and media reports. Two brothers, 16 and 17, have been missing for more than a month in Zahedan, a city in the southeast of the country that has been the scene of a violent crackdown. Three 15-year-old girls have been missing for days in Lahijan.


“They have never respected or accepted the concept of children having any rights,” said Bahram Rahimi, a founding member of Iran’s Committee to Protect the Rights of Children who is now in exile in California. “Even the most conservative families are infuriated at the way they are targeting children.”



5) Colombia Leads a New Latin American Left Into the Climate Fight

The country’s first leftist president says oil is his economy’s worst addiction. Phasing it out would be a global first for a major oil producer.

By Max Bearak, Photographs by Federico Rios, Nov. 15, 2022

Bearak traveled to Colombia’s oil fields to report this story, and is now in Egypt at the United Nations climate talks.


An aerial shot of an oil field in the middle of a lagoon.

An oil field in the Arauca department of Colombia. Oil revenues in the country account for about a fifth of government income, roughly half of its foreign investment and nearly a 10th of gross domestic product.

ARAUCA, Colombia — Over the past four decades, Colombia has pumped billions of barrels of oil from under a vast savanna it shares with neighboring Venezuela. Through pipelines, the thick crude travels over the Andes and to the Caribbean coast, and then onto tankers, mostly to the United States.


Much like another famous export of Colombia’s, it has an addictive quality.


In the span of a generation, the nation’s economy became dependent on oil revenue.


This year, voters moved to break that habit, electing Colombia’s first leftist president in two centuries of independence, a former guerrilla fighter and environmentalist who wants to phase out oil while heavily taxing coal mining companies.


“What is more poisonous for humanity: cocaine, coal or oil?” President Gustavo Petro asked world leaders at the United Nations General Assembly in September. “The opinion of power has ordered that cocaine is poison … but instead, coal and oil must be protected, even when it can extinguish all humanity.”


Mr. Petro, 62, is at the vanguard of a new crop of climate-conscious Latin American leaders. South America and Central America’s political pendulum has swung left once again, but instead of arguing that extractive economies are needed to fund welfare programs, as many of their socialist contemporaries and predecessors have, Mr. Petro, President Gabriel Boric of Chile and others say fossil fuels have not lifted enough people out of poverty to justify their impact on the climate.


It is a radical proposition, if only because Colombia is still relatively poor and theoretically has decades more of oil revenue to reap. That money now accounts for around a fifth of government income, roughly half of its foreign investment and nearly a 10th of gross domestic product.


Colombia would be the first major oil producing country in the world to stop drilling if Mr. Petro successfully decoupled the national budget from oil money. On the opening day of the U.N. climate talks in Sharm el Sheikh, Egypt, Mr. Petro doubled down on his promise.


“Surmounting the climate crisis means leaving behind the consumption of oil and coal,” he told leaders from nearly 200 nations. “This means a profound transformation of economies, a devaluing of powerful interests in these economies, a change in the global economy that the political leadership of humanity cannot get ahead of.”


His environment and energy ministers, both women with backgrounds as activists, have been assigned the task of reimagining Colombia’s economy without it.


“Because of our dependence on fossil fuels, we’ve set up the economy to fail if we don’t change it,” Susana Muhamad, the environment minister, said. “We haven’t made a major new oil discovery in years. Besides that, you cannot ignore climate change. That is the whole point.”


The government, which has been in power for only three months, has asked for six more months to come up with the particulars of its energy transition. The big question is: What will replace Colombia’s oil revenue? Even tentative details are sketchy.


The uncertainty has already made many wary of Mr. Petro’s vision. In his campaign, he promised to end new permits for oil exploration and impose a windfall tax on oil and coal companies.

The concern is mostly economic, as Colombia already generates nearly 80 percent of its energy from renewable sources — mainly hydropower.


The country’s business elite, many of whom are invested in the oil industry, are watching as Colombia’s already weak currency dips further, reacting to Mr. Petro’s policy proposals, soaring energy prices and global inflation.


“We have to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels, yes, but imagine choosing this very moment to do it,” said Óscar Iván Zuluaga, Colombia’s long-serving finance minister, now a businessman in steel-making, an industry that contributes between 7 and 9 percent of greenhouse gas emissions globally. “Petro has to take reality into account, not just ideology. That is the basis of governance.”


The specter of economic collapse in Venezuela, where government mismanagement has plunged the economy into free-fall, shadows Mr. Petro’s plans. More than two million Venezuelans have settled in Colombia in recent years, fleeing destitution.


“With Petro, we can also descend into total chaos,” said Erik Arciniegas, who runs a contracting company that services oil companies in Arauca, where two-thirds of the vote went to Mr. Petro’s opponent.


Mr. Arciniegas stands to lose business under Mr. Petro, but his argument against phasing out oil mirrors one that has gained traction across the developing world.


“The Americans and the Arabs are continuing to benefit from those riches,” he said. “I don’t understand why we should stop.”


That view is shared by the leftist leaders of Latin America’s two biggest economies, Brazil and Mexico, which each produce more oil than Colombia. At the climate summit in Egypt, Colombia’s delegation has tried to rally Latin American counterparts to forge regional consensus on “decarbonization” but so far have little to show for it.


In Brazil, environmentalists claimed a win with last month’s election victory of Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, commonly known as Lula, who has a record of clamping down on deforestation. But few see him making similar moves to Mr. Petro.


When asked about Mr. Petro’s oil phase-out plans during the election, Mr. Lula told reporters: “In the case of Brazil, it is not a real possibility. Nor in the case of the world.”


Mr. Lula is expected to receive a warm welcome this week in Sharm el Sheikh, where he will give a speech and hold discussions focused on protecting the Amazon rainforest. About 10 percent of the Amazon is in Colombia, and deforestation is far less rampant there than in Brazil.


Regional climate aspirations suffered a setback in October, when voters rejected a constitutional referendum in Chile that would have incorporated climate considerations into almost every aspect of governance.


“I’ve known Petro for 16 years, and since the beginning, he has criticized the Latin American left on their dependence on commodities,” Ms. Muhamad said. “He is very clear that because of climate change, more and more of governance will be about crisis management. The more we can prevent crises, the more we can move forward.”


Colombia has begun to experience more frequent effects of climate change as its glaciers melt and as La Niña and El Niño weather patterns become less predictable, exposing much of the country’s coast to cycles of flood and drought.


Ms. Muhamad, 45, once worked for Shell, one of the world’s biggest oil companies, as an environmental and human rights risk consultant. She grew disillusioned when she realized her self-described “ecotopian” vision of helping Shell transition to energy sources beyond oil and gas was unlikely.


She and her colleague, the energy and mining minister Irene Vélez, 40, both spent much of the last couple of decades working with marginalized communities.


“I call myself an activist scholar,” Ms. Vélez said. She earned a doctorate focused on miners of Afro-Colombian descent and taught a university course on extractive economies before becoming minister. “One of the things I have brought to government is a good understanding of the real problems that people face, and the confidence that what we’re trying to solve is important,” she said.


The two ministers see their proposed energy transition as a “gran giro,” or a great turn, that would gradually eliminate oil and coal and reorient Colombia’s export economy around ecotourism and producing foodstuffs like grain and avocados.


In interviews, neither Ms. Muhamad nor Ms. Vélez nor Mr. Petro’s vice president, Francia Márquez, would fully recommit to the campaign pledge of stopping new oil permits, instead saying that consultations on that plan were still underway. After protests organized in part by oil companies, Mr. Petro tweeted reassurances that oil production and exploration were still “continuing normally.”


“There is no prohibition,” he wrote.


Climate activists are holding on to hope that Mr. Petro will follow through on his promises.


“I’m not naïve, but I am excited,” Maria Laura Rojas, a co-founder of the environmental organization Transforma, said. “He won’t be able to do everything in a four-year term. But mainstreaming environment and life, that’s new. Colombia should be a laboratory for Latin America’s energy transition, and Latin America for the world’s.”


Even Mr. Petro’s opponents mostly wish him well.


At a protest in Arauca spearheaded by Mr. Arciniegas, the contractor, there were no denunciations of Mr. Petro, and the chants felt more like gentle suggestions.


“La reforma sí, pero no así,” went one. “Yes to reform, but not in this form.”


In the airy halls of the business district of the capital, Bogotá, executives who were open about not voting for Mr. Petro nevertheless praised his intelligence and oratory skills.


In explaining his support for Mr. Petro’s energy transition plans, Bruce MacMaster, the president of the National Business Association, pulled out a copy of a presentation he made at last year’s climate summit in Glasgow, detailing a plan for Colombia’s low-carbon future.


“When he talks about climate, and cocaine, we are with him. We have also put our lives into these fights,” Mr. MacMaster said. “But move away from fossil fuels too fast and Petro will lose everything: people’s faith, foreign investment, the strength of our currency.”


It would be better, he said, if Mr. Petro convinced the major industrial nations that buy Colombia’s oil and emit many times as much carbon dioxide to change their ways first.


“The United States, Europe, China, India — the future of the world depends on their leadership,” Mr. MacMaster said. “May Petro be their prophet. God knows we have lacked one on this issue.”


Genevieve Glatsky, Julie Turkewitz and Federico Rios contributed reporting.



6) Hundreds of Women Set to Sue New York Over Allegations of Prison Sex Abuse

A law that takes effect on Nov. 24 allows people to sue over years-old assaults long past the criminal statute of limitations.

By Chelsia Rose Marcius, Nov. 16, 2022


Three women stand closely bunched on an outdoor balcony with high rise buildings behind them.

Hundreds of women who have been incarcerated are expected to pursue lawsuits under the Adult Survivors Act. Jacqueline Wiggins, 58, Sadie Bell, 61, and Kia Wheeler, 49, will be among the first wave. Credit...Sarah Blesener for The New York Times

Hundreds of women who have accused prison guards of sexual abuse going back decades plan to sue New York State under new legislation that allows survivors to take legal action no matter how many years have elapsed.


The Adult Survivors Act, passed in May, gives people who say they were sexually abused a one-time opportunity to file civil suits long after the statute of limitations for most criminal cases has expired.


New York lawmakers anticipated that current or former prisoners would sue. Like the Child Victims Act that passed in 2019, which extended the statutes of limitations for those abused as children, the new law allows people to file allegations about mistreatment in state facilities, including prisons.


There is no cap on how much the state can pay out to settle such lawsuits, said Brad Hoylman, the New York State senator who sponsored the legislation. The money would come out of the $220 billion state budget, and possibly from the roughly $500 million reserved for unexpected expenses. California approved similar legislation in September.


The legislation takes effect in New York on Nov. 24. At the law firm of Slater Slater and Schulman alone at least 750 individual civil lawsuits on behalf of incarcerated women are expected to be filed, lawyers there said. Some of the women’s cases date back to the 1980s and 1990s. Other law firms are likely to follow. Slater Slater and Schulman has previously pursued sex-abuse suits against the Boy Scouts of America and the Catholic Church.


The state Corrections Department has a long history of sexual abuse inside its prisons. The Department of Justice investigated allegations in the early 1980s at the now-shuttered Bayview Correctional Facility in Manhattan. The agency released a scathing report in 1985 about the abuse, and made recommendations to the state.


Thomas Mailey, a spokesman for the state Corrections Department, said in a statement that the agency has “zero tolerance for sexual abuse, sexual harassment, and unauthorized relationships,” and that it investigates all reports of sexual victimization.


There are about 31,100 people incarcerated in 44 state prisons, according to October statistics from the state Corrections Department. About 1,200 women are in three of the state’s all-female facilities.


Some legislators and even the lawyers at Slater Slater Schulman were surprised by the large response from women who served time, a group often overlooked because of the stigma prison carries. Adam Slater, a partner at the firm, said the number of women who say they were victimized was staggering.


“Once we recognized the overwhelming number of survivors, we decided to reach out in different ways — and the response has been pretty unbelievable,” he said.


The firm’s clients include Sadie Bell, 61, who says she suffered an ectopic pregnancy and was left infertile after being raped by a prison sergeant at Bayview. Another is Kia Wheeler, 49, from the Bronx, who says she was repeatedly and violently sexually assaulted for months by a guard at Bedford Hills Correctional Facility in Westchester.


“I tried to leave that behind 30 years ago. And now here it is, all coming back,” Ms. Wiggins said during a recent interview at the law firm’s Midtown office. “I suppressed it. I kept it down in my gut. I didn’t think I was worthy. I didn’t think anyone would care.”


Some of the suits the firm plans to file under the Adult Survivors Act will also be against cities and counties and their jails, including Rikers Island in New York City. Ben Crump, a prominent civil-rights attorney who represented the families of Black victims of police violence, including Breonna Taylor and George Floyd, has partnered with Slater Slater and Schulman to litigate some of the suits.


For Ms. Wheeler, filing a suit meant dredging up memories she has tried to forget for 20 years.


She smoked marijuana at times to get through the day, but anger festered. She would often lash out at strangers, her daughter and former fiancé. She wears her diamond engagement ring on a silver chain, a reminder of the relationship she says she ruined because she had not dealt with the abuse.


Ms. Wheeler went to a therapist as a part of the conditions of her parole. During one visit, the therapist told her to return to a time before prison. He asked her, if she was 13 years old what would she buy for herself?


She said Barbie dolls and roller skates, like the ones she wore when she used to go to the rink with her brother. She went out and bought them both.


“My ex fiancé would be like, ‘Why are you always on those skates?’” she said, sobbing as she spoke. “And I would tell him because you never see a sad roller skater.”


Mr. Hoylman said the new law empowers women like Ms. Wheeler whose abusers evaded justice because of short criminal statutes of limitations.


“These women are part of a vulnerable group of people who suffered under the system and those in power,” he said.


Ms. Bell, who had the ectopic pregnancy, says she was placed into solitary confinement for weeks immediately after a sergeant raped her at Bayview. When officials learned she was pregnant, she was transferred to Bedford Hills.


Soon after, Ms. Bell says she experienced searing pain and was rushed to the hospital, where she was cuffed and shackled. Her fallopian tube had ruptured and she lost five pints of blood. She became infertile as a result.


“I haven’t really received treatment for all of this,” she said of the assault, and the trauma that ensued. “Every therapist I had was either falling asleep or yawning when I told them the story. And then I didn’t want to tell it anymore.”



7) Manhattan D.A. Tosses Nearly 200 Convictions Tied to Discredited Officers

The convictions were connected to eight members of the N.Y.P.D. who “abused their positions of power,” according to the Manhattan district attorney, and came amid hundreds of other dismissals by city prosecutors.

By Hurubie Meko, Nov. 17, 2022


Detectives Edward Martins, left, and Richard Hall, center, arrive handcuffed at Brooklyn Supreme Court.

Detectives Edward Martins, left, and Richard Hall, center, were charged with the rape of an 18-year-old woman in their custody. Credit...Dave Sanders for The New York Times

The Manhattan district attorney’s office on Thursday sought the dismissal of 188 convictions, going as far back as 2001, that were tied to the work of eight New York Police Department officers, sergeants and detectives who have since been discredited.


The move follows similar actions by prosecutors across the city in a sweeping effort to review cases that relied on police officers who were convicted of official misconduct and other crimes related to their work. In September, the Brooklyn prosecutor’s office announced that it was seeking to dismiss 378 low-level criminal convictions that relied on 13 former police officers who were convicted of crimes. Last year, the Bronx district attorney vacated 250 convictions that relied on a single officer who had been accused of lying in other cases. And that same year, the Queens district attorney dismissed 60 such cases.


The reviews in Manhattan — which came after public defenders and advocacy groups sent letters to the city’s five district attorneys last year — scrutinized police testimony and investigations in cases going back decades. The letters identified 20 former police officers who have been convicted of crimes and two who engaged in work-related misconduct. In Manhattan, the prosecutor’s office is reviewing over 1,100 convictions connected to the officers.


The eight officers connected to the vacated cases on Thursday “abused their positions of power,” Alvin L. Bragg, the Manhattan district attorney, said in a statement.


The former officers were convicted on an array of charges, including perjury, selling a controlled substance and official misconduct, such as performing unlawful searches. They received sentences ranging from community service to prison time of up to 15 and a half years.


“New Yorkers must know that everyone is acting with the utmost integrity in the pursuit of equal justice under the law,” Mr. Bragg said. “We cannot allow unconstitutional convictions to continue to hinder the lives of New Yorkers.”


Over half of the cases dismissed in Manhattan, in which the arrests occurred between 2001 and 2016, resulted in fines or incarcerations. And the most common charges were for possession or sale of a controlled substance, including marijuana, and driving-related offenses — such as operating a motor vehicle while impaired or without a license, according to the prosecutor’s office.


In the statement, Mr. Bragg acknowledged that the consequences for the convictions were significant, saying “the stigma lasts a lifetime and prevents people from finding a job, going back to school or securing housing.” While no one is currently incarcerated or still on probation based on these convictions, according to the prosecutor’s office, a majority of the cases involved young Black men. About 94 percent of those convicted were men, roughly 63 percent were 35 or younger, and 53 percent were Black.


For those whose cases were cleared on Thursday, the hardships they endured — including incarceration, hefty legal fees and severed access to critical benefits — should have never been allowed to happen, said Elizabeth Felber, director of the Wrongful Conviction Unit at the Legal Aid Society.


Cases that relied on discredited officers should be reviewed on a regular basis to minimize these impacts, Ms. Felber said.


“The mandate to do justice must include evaluating criminal conduct by law enforcement with the same lens that is used with every other New Yorker,” she added.


The Manhattan district attorney’s office said it vacated the convictions this week after its investigations found that the discredited officers played a “substantial role” in all of the convictions.


One detective, Richard Hall, who pleaded guilty in 2019 to charges related to releasing an 18-year-old woman from custody in exchange for sexual favors, was involved in 31 of the cases dismissed on Thursday, as well as dozens of cases listed for dismissal by the Brooklyn district attorney’s office in the fall.


Mr. Hall, along with another detective, Edward Martins, faced more than 40 sexual abuse charges and 25 years in prison. After pleading guilty to bribery and official misconduct charges in a deal, they were sentenced to five years of probation and no jail time.


Another detective, Michael Foder, who was tied to one of the cases vacated this week, was arrested in 2018 for federal perjury charges after prosecutors said he had doctored a photo lineup in a carjacking case.


Another nine cases on the prosecutor’s list were tied to Nicholas Mina, a former police officer who was arrested in 2012 for stealing guns from his colleagues’ precinct lockers and selling them, as well as other charges. He was sentenced to 15 and a half years in prison.


Last year, the Brooklyn prosecutor’s office began reviewing cases that relied on a former narcotics detective, Joseph E. Franco, who was charged with several offenses in connection to his nearly two decades of undercover work, including perjury, after he was accused of lying about drug sales that videos showed did not happen.


The Brooklyn district attorney, Eric Gonzalez, then asked the court to dismiss 90 convictions that involved Mr. Franco. Mr. Gonzalez said at the time that his office could no longer stand behind convictions that relied on Mr. Franco’s testimony.



8) Alabama Again Cancels an Execution Over Delays Inserting IV Lines

After last-minute appeals and issues with inserting an IV line, prison officials determined there was not enough time left to execute an inmate before his death warrant expired.

By Nicholas Bogel-Burroughs, Published Nov. 17, 2022, Updated Nov. 18, 2022


Alabama’s lethal injection chamber at Holman Correctional Facility in Atmore, Ala.

Alabama’s lethal injection chamber at Holman Correctional Facility in Atmore, Ala. Credit...Dave Martin/Associated Press

Alabama called off its plans to execute a man on Thursday after a whirlwind few hours in which the Supreme Court allowed the execution to proceed, but prison officials determined they did not have enough time to kill the man before his death warrant expired at midnight.


It was the second time in less than two months that Alabama had brought a prisoner into its execution chamber, strapped him to a gurney and begun trying to insert intravenous lines — only to call off the execution and return him to his cell. In both cases, it appeared that prison officials had struggled to insert the lines into the prisoners after last-minute appeals were thrown out by the Supreme Court.


On Thursday, officials began trying to insert intravenous lines into the man, Kenneth Eugene Smith, shortly after 10 p.m., but were able to insert only one of the two lines through which the lethal injection drugs could flow. John Q. Hamm, the commissioner of Alabama’s prisons, said at a news conference that prison officials determined that they could not insert a second, necessary line before the death warrant expired, and at 11:21 p.m. temporarily called the execution off. He said the people attempting to carry out the execution had tried to insert a line into “several locations” without success.


The episode was strikingly similar to the other case, in September, in which officials sought to execute Alana Eugene Miller but were unable to insert a line into his veins before his death warrant expired. Following that attempt, Mr. Miller’s lawyers had described him as the “only living execution survivor” in the United States, a group that Mr. Smith has now joined.


Earlier, in July, Alabama had executed a third man, Joe Nathan James, after struggling for hours to access his veins and apparently slicing into one of his arms in what is known as a “cutdown.” The account of that execution has served as the basis of several appeals by death row prisoners in the state.


And in 2018, executioners in Alabama struggled for hours to insert an IV line into Doyle Lee Hamm, ultimately giving up the effort about half an hour before his death warrant expired. He was the third death row inmate in the U.S. to survive a botched lethal injection attempt; he died of natural causes in prison last year.


Many death row prisoners are middle-aged or older by the time their executions are scheduled, which can make it harder to find suitable veins than it might be in a young adult. States other than Alabama have had similar problems inserting IV lines.


Executioners in Arizona made an incision in a condemned man’s groin area earlier this year to insert a line after they were unable to access veins in his arms. On Wednesday, prison officials in Texas had to alter their usual protocol to execute a prisoner with a disability who could not fully extend his arms, ultimately spending about 30 minutes to gain access to a vein in his neck.


In Mr. Smith’s case, his lawyers had successfully persuaded an appeals court to halt the execution earlier on Thursday so that they could argue that Alabama's problems inserting intravenous lines could lead Mr. Smith to suffer an illegally “cruel” death. But the U.S. Supreme Court overturned that action, clearing the way for the execution in an order with no explanation. The order noted that the high court’s three liberal members — Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan and Ketanji Brown Jackson — had voted to uphold the appeals court’s temporary stay.


Even before then, the planned execution of Mr. Smith, 57, had been unusual.


A jury had convicted Mr. Smith for the 1988 murder of Elizabeth Dorlene Sennett, finding that Ms. Sennett’s husband, a pastor, had paid Mr. Smith to kill her. In the sentencing phase, the jurors voted 11 to 1 to spare Mr. Smith’s life and sentence him to life in prison with no opportunity for parole. But a judge ordered Mr. Smith to be executed, overruling the jury in a practice that Alabama banned in 2017 and which is no longer allowed anywhere in the United States.


Lawyers for Mr. Smith had been unsuccessful in challenging his execution based on the judge’s decision, but they filed a flurry of appeals on other matters — including Alabama’s recent problems administering lethal injections — that delayed the execution by several hours.


Gov. Kay Ivey of Alabama said in a statement that while Alabama had made a “necessary” change to ban judges from overruling jurors’ recommendations, lawmakers had chosen not to make the law retroactive in order to honor sentences that had already been handed down and the victims’ relatives who were relying on them for justice.


“Although that justice could not be carried out tonight because of last-minute legal attempts to delay or cancel the execution, attempting it was the right thing to do,” said Ms. Ivey, a Republican. “My prayers are with the victim’s children and grandchildren as they are forced to relive their tragic loss.”


In a brief email early on Friday, one of Mr. Smith’s lawyers said that he and other lawyers were working into the morning to draft legal filings and work out their next steps.


“Tonight is really tough,” said the lawyer, Jeffrey Horowitz.


Maya Foa, the director of Reprieve U.S., a group that opposes the death penalty and has been highlighting Alabama’s problems inserting IV lines, said the botched executions amounted to torture.


“The recent spate of disastrous lethal injection executions have shown that whatever the drug, whatever the protocol, condemned prisoners often spend their final hours in agonizing pain and distress,” Ms. Foa said.


Mr. Smith was convicted in 1996 of murdering Ms. Sennett, the pastor’s wife. The pastor, who had offered $1,000 each to Mr. Smith and another man to kill her, killed himself a week after the murder. The other hired hit man was executed in 2010.


At his sentencing proceeding, Mr. Smith’s lawyers noted that he was 22 years old at the time of the crime and had been “neglected and deprived” in his childhood. Other mitigating factors included that Mr. Smith was remorseful, had no significant criminal history and had conducted himself well in jail. Eleven jurors voted for a life sentence with no parole.


But the judge in the case, N. Pride Tompkins, said that the aggravating factors in the case outweighed those issues: Mr. Smith had been paid for the crime, and he had ample opportunity to back out of the murder-for-hire plan but went along with it anyway. Jurors, he said, had heard an “emotional appeal” from Mr. Smith’s mother. Overruling the jury, he imposed the death sentence.


Alabama is one of four states — in addition to Delaware, Florida and Indiana — that ever allowed judges to overrule jurors who recommended against a death sentence, according to the Death Penalty Information Center. All of those states have since outlawed the practice or had it declared illegal by courts.


Mr. Smith’s scheduled execution was to have been the fourth this week across the country. Two prisoners were executed on Wednesday — the man in Texas and one in Arizona — and a third was executed in Oklahoma Thursday morning.



9) Georgia State Agency Investigating Jail Beating Caught on Camera

The videos, which began circulating on Monday, show officers entering the cell where Jarrett Hobbs was held at the Camden County jail in Woodbine, Ga., and punching him repeatedly.

By Christine Chung, Nov. 18, 2022


Five men, several of whom wear jackets with jail insignia, crowd around an inmate inside a small cell of brick walls. One of the officers is grabbing the detainee’s face with his right hand.
Security camera footage showing Jarrett Hobbs and multiple officers in a cell at the Camden County Safety Complex on Sept. 3. Credit...Harry Daniels, Mr. Hobbs's attorney

The Georgia Bureau of Investigations said this week it would review the beating of a detainee caught on camera at a jail in Camden County, after videos of the incident, showing multiple correction officers repeatedly punching the man, circulated on social media.


The agency said it would conduct “an independent and thorough investigation” into use of force by officers and would submit its findings to the local district attorney’s office in the Brunswick Judicial Circuit. The announcement on Tuesday came a day after lawyers for the detainee released videos that show their client, Jarrett Hobbs, cornered in his cell as he is surrounded by multiple officers who repeatedly punch him in the head.


Mr. Hobbs’s lawyers have demanded that the officers involved in the beating be terminated and that the Justice Department launch an investigation into the incident, which occurred on Sept. 3 at the Camden County Jail in Woodbine, Ga. This week, his counsel released three videos of the incident, including one with audio.


“These white officers were beating a Black man in the Deep South,” said Harry Daniels, one of Mr. Hobbs’s lawyers, adding that it was reminiscent of “old antebellum, Jim Crow” times.


The Camden County Sheriff’s Office, which oversees the jail, said in a news release on Monday that it would investigate the incident and review all security camera footage from Mr. Hobbs’s time in the complex. The office said that the videos on social media represented “a portion of an incident.”


The names of the officers involved will not be made public until the review is complete, the sheriff’s office said. James Bruce, a spokesman for the office, said that five officers had been placed on administrative duties.


At a Wednesday news conference, Mr. Daniels and Bakari Sellers, a former South Carolina state lawmaker who is also representing Mr. Hobbs, called for the officers involved to be held accountable. They said that the sheriff’s office should have “immediately” conducted an investigation, instead of taking action two months later.


Mr. Hobbs, 41, of Greensboro, N.C., was incarcerated at the Camden County jail from Sept. 3 to Sept. 30 for traffic infractions and possession of a controlled substance, Mr. Daniels said.


Mr. Sellers said in a statement that the footage made it “absolutely clear that these officers beat Jarrett Hobbs like a dog for no reason other than they could.” He added that placing them on administrative duty was “not even close” to holding them accountable.


In all, the three videos show five officers entering Mr. Hobbs’s cell, grabbing his face and punching him in the head. They then drag him from his cell into the hallway and push him against a wall, where the beating continues. Though the audio is muffled, Mr. Hobbs appears to question at one point why the guards are hitting him and screams.


In court documents filed in U.S. District Court in North Carolina, F.J. Carney, Mr. Hobbs’s probation officer, stated that Mr. Hobbs was kicking his cell’s door before the beating.


“Officer Carney testified that Defendant apparently continued this kicking, resulting in the jailers approaching him, giving him verbal commands and putting his hands behind his back,” the document reads. He did not comply, the document states, and told the officers that he did not intend to do so.


Mr. Carney said that Mr. Hobbs resisted the guards, punched one in the face and another on the side of the head, leaving a guard with a bruised eye and a broken hand, according to the document.


Mr. Hobbs told his attorneys that he was experiencing a mental health crisis during his incarceration at the Camden County jail. He told them that he was trying to avoid getting dragged onto the ground during the Sept. 3 incident.


“He said, no matter what, he knew if he went to the ground he would be the next George Floyd, that he was going to die that day,” Mr. Daniels said.


Last week, a judge in North Carolina revoked Mr. Hobbs’s probation for violating the terms of his supervised release while also dismissing a violation related to the charges of battery, assault and obstruction on the Camden County jail employees, Mr. Daniels said.


Mr. Hobbs is in custody at the Guilford County Jail in North Carolina for violation of his probation related to a fraud conviction in 2014, Mr. Daniels said.