Bay Area United Against War Newsletter, January 31, 2023


John Beadle (Screenshot)


February 24-25 :: International Days of Action in Solidarity with Ukraine

On the anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, activists throughout the world will be mobilizing for protests and education events in solidarity with the Ukrainian people and their struggle to liberate their country. 

The Ukraine Solidarity Network (U.S.) will be organizing actions and events. 

Connect with us!

Solidarity with Ukraine!

Ukraine Solidarity Network Mission Statement 

The Ukraine Solidarity Network (U.S.) reaches out to unions, communities, and individuals from diverse backgrounds to build moral, political, and material support for the people of Ukraine in their resistance to Russia’s criminal invasion and their struggle for an independent, egalitarian, and democratic country. 

The war against Ukraine is a horrible and destructive disaster in the human suffering and economic devastation it has already caused, not only for Ukraine and its people but also in its impact on global hunger and energy supplies, on the world environmental crisis, and on the lives of ordinary Russian people who are sacrificed for Putin’s war. The war also carries the risk of escalation to a direct confrontation among military great powers, with unthinkable possible consequences. 

It is urgent to end this war as soon as possible. This can only be achieved through the success of Ukraine’s resistance to Russia’s invasion. Ukraine is fighting a legitimate war of self-defense, indeed a war for its survival as a nation. Calling for “peace” in the abstract is meaningless in these circumstances. 

The Ukraine Solidarity Network (U.S.) supports Ukraine’s war of resistance, its right to determine the means and objectives of its own struggle—and we support its right to obtain the weapons it needs from any available source. We are united in our support for Ukraine’s people, their military and civilian defense against aggression, and for the reconstruction of the country in the interests of the majority of its population. We stand in opposition to all domination by powerful nations and states, including by the United States and its allies, over smaller ones, and oppressed peoples. 

We uphold the following principles and goals: 

1.     We strive for a world free of global power domination at the expense of smaller nations. We oppose war and authoritarianism no matter which state it comes from and support the right of self-determination and self-defense for any oppressed nation.

2.     We support Ukraine’s victory against the Russian invasion, and its right to reparations to meet the costs of reconstruction after the colossal destruction it is suffering. 

3.     The reconstruction of Ukraine also demands the cancellation of its debts to international financial institutions. Aid to Ukraine must come without strings attached, above all without crushing debt burdens. 

4.     We recognize the suffering that this war imposes on people in Russia, most intensely on the ethnic and religious minority sectors of the Russian Federation which are disproportionately impacted by forced military conscription. We salute the brave Russian antiwar forces speaking out and demonstrating in the face of severe repression, and we are encouraged by the popular resistance to the draft of soldiers to become cannon fodder for Putin’s unjust war of aggression. 

5.     We seek to build connections to progressive organizations and movements in Ukraine and with the labor movement, which represents the biggest part of Ukrainian civil society, and to link Ukrainian civic organizations, marginalized communities and trade unions with counterpart organizations in the United States. We support Ukrainian struggles for ensuring just and fair labor rights for its population, especially during the war, as there are no military reasons to implement laws that threaten the social rights of Ukrainians, including those who are fighting in the front lines.


Click here to read the complete list of USN Endorsements: 



Please sign below to add your endorsement:




Spring Action Week:  April 15 - 22, 2023
Holloman AFB, Southern New Mexico

Co-sponsored by CODEPINK & Ban Killer Drones

Mark your calendars & Join Us! 

Come for all or part of the week!



Dear friends and supporters of Kevin Cooper, 

We are horrified by the terrible report put out by the Morrison Foerster (MoFo) law firm who were assigned to conduct an independent investigation of Kevin Cooper’s case. As Kevin’s chief attorney, Norman Hile, says: "In short, Mofo did not do an innocence investigation. Instead, they simply looked at the evidence the prosecution used and then hired some of their own experts to affirm what the prosecution said.”

Attached is a brief press statement issued by Kevin’s defense law firm. If you would like to receive the link to the MoFo report (over 200 pages) let me know and I will email it to you.

More analysis and information will follow soon.

An immediate act of solidarity we can all do right now is to write to Kevin and assure him of our continuing support in his fight for justice. Here’s his address:

Mr. Kevin Cooper

C-65304. 4-EB-82

San Quentin State Prison

San Quentin, CA 94974



January 14, 2023


Kevin Cooper has suffered imprisonment as a death row inmate for more than 38 years for a gruesome crime he did not commit. We are therefore extremely disappointed by the special counsel’s report to the Board of Parole Hearings and disagree strongly with its findings.  Most fundamentally, we are shocked that the governor seemingly failed to conduct a thorough review of the report that contains many misstatements and omissions and also ignores the purpose of a legitimate innocence investigation, which is to independently determine whether Mr. Cooper’s conviction was a product of prosecutorial misconduct. The report failed to address that critical issue. The evidence when viewed in this light reveals that Kevin Cooper is innocent of the Ryen/Hughes murders, and that he was framed by the San Bernardino Sheriff’s Department. 


The special counsel’s investigation ordered by Governor Newsom in May 2021 was not properly conducted and is demonstrably incomplete. It failed to carry out the type of thorough investigation required to explore the extensive evidence that Mr. Cooper was wrongfully convicted. Among other things, the investigation failed to even subpoena and then examine the files of the prosecutors and interview the individuals involved in the prosecution. For unknown reasons and resulting in the tragic and clearly erroneous conclusion that he reached, the special counsel failed to follow the basic steps taken by all innocence investigations that have led to so many exonerations of the wrongfully convicted. 


In effect the special counsel’s report says: the Board of Parole Hearings can and will ignore Brady violations, destruction of exculpatory evidence, planted evidence, racial prejudice, prosecutorial malfeasance, and ineffective assistance of trial counsel; since I conclude Cooper is guilty based on what the prosecution says, none of these Constitutional violations matter or will be considered and we have no obligation to investigate these claims.


Given that (1) we have already uncovered seven prosecutorial violations of Brady v. Maryland during Mr. Cooper’s prosecution, (2) one of the likely killers has confessed to three different parties that he, rather than Mr. Cooper, was involved in the Ryen/Hughes murders, and (3) there is significant evidence of racial bias in Mr. Cooper’s prosecution, we cannot understand how Mr. Cooper was not declared wrongfully convicted.  The special counsel specifically declined to address ineffective assistance of counsel at the trial or the effect of race discrimination.  We call on the governor to follow through on his word and obtain a true innocence investigation.

Anything But Justice for Black People

Statement from Kevin Cooper concerning recent the decision on his case by Morrison Forrester Law Firm

In 2020 and 2022 Governor Newsom signed in to law the “Racial Justice Act.” This is because the California legislature, and the Governor both acknowledged that the criminal justice system in California is anything but justice for Black people.

On May 28th, 2021, Governor signed an executive order to allow the law firm of Morrison Forrester (MoFo) to do an independent investigation in my case which included reading the trial and appellant transcripts, my innocence claims, and information brought to light by the 9th circuit court of appeals, as well as anything else not in the record, but relevant to this case.

So, Mr. Mark McDonald, Esq, who headed this investigation by Morrison Forrester and his associates at the law firm, went and did what was not part of Governor Newsom’s order, and they did this during the length of time that they were working on this case, and executive order. They worked with law enforcement, current and former members of the L.A. Sheriff’s department, and other law enforcement-type people and organizations.

Law enforcement is the first part of this state’s criminal justice system. A system that both the California legislature, and the Governor acknowledge to be racist, and cannot be trusted to tell the truth, will present, and use false evidence to obtain a conviction, will withhold material exculpatory evidence, and will do everything else that is written in those two racial justice act bills that were signed into law.

So, with the active help of those pro-police, pro-prosecutor, pro-death penalty people working on this case to uphold my bogus conviction we cannot be surprised about the recent decision handed down by them in this case.

While these results are not true but based on the decisions made in 1983 and 1984 by the San Bernardino County district attorney’s office, these 2023 results were not reached by following the executive orders of Governor Newsom.

They ignored his orders and went out to make sure that I am either executed or will never get out of prison.

Governor Newsom cannot let this stand because he did not order a pro-cop or pro-prosecutor investigation, he ordered an independent investigation.

We all know that in truth, law enforcement protects each other, they stand by each other, no matter what city, county, or state that they come from. This is especially true when a Black man like me states that I was framed for murder by law enforcement who just happened to be in the neighboring county.

No one should be surprised about the law enforcement part in this, but we must be outraged by the law firm Morrison Forrester for being a part of this and then try to sell it as legitimate. We ain’t stupid and everyone who knows the truth about my case can see right through this bullshit.

I will continue to fight not only for my life, and to get out of here, but to end the death penalty as well. My entire legal team, family and friends and supporters will continue as well. We have to get to the Governor and let him know that he cannot accept these bogus rehashed results.

MoFo and their pro-prosecution and pro-police friends did not even deal with, or even acknowledge the constitutional violations in my case. They did not mention the seven Brady violations which meant the seven pieces of material exculpatory evidence were withheld from my trial attorney and the jury, and the 1991 California Supreme court that heard and upheld this bogus conviction. Why, one must ask, did they ignore these constitutional violations and everything that we proved in the past that went to my innocence?

Could it be that they just didn’t give a damn about the truth but just wanted to uphold this conviction by any means necessary?

No matter their reasons, they did not do what Governor Gavin Newsom ordered them to do in his May 28, 2021, executive order and we cannot let them get away with this.

I ask each and every person who reads this to contact the Governor’s office and voice your outrage over what MoFo did, and demand that he not accept their decision because they did not do what he ordered them to do which was to conduct an independent investigation!

In Struggle and Solidarity

From Death Row at San Quentin Prison,

Kevin Cooper


Call California Governor Newsom:

1-(916) 445-2841

Press 1 for English or 2 for Spanish, 

press 6 to speak with a representative and

wait for someone to answer 

(Monday-Friday, 9:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M. PST—12:00 P.M. to 8:00 P.M. EST)



Ruchell is imprisoned in California, but it is important for the CA governor and Attorney General to receive your petitions, calls, and emails from WHEREVER you live! 


SIGN THE PETITION: bit.ly/freeruchell




Call CA Governor Newsom:

CALL (916) 445-2841

Press 1 for English or 2 for Spanish, 

press 6 to speak with a representative and

wait for someone to answer (Mon. - Fri., 9 AM - 5 PM PST / 12PM - 8PM EST)


Call Governor Newsom's office and use this script: 


"Hello, my name is _______ and I'm calling to encourage Governor Gavin Newsom to commute the sentence of prisoner Ruchell Magee #A92051 #T 115, who has served 59 long years in prison. Ruchell is 83 years old, so as an elderly prisoner he faces health risks every day from still being incarcerated for so long. In the interests of justice, I am joining the global call for Ruchell's release due to the length of his confinement and I urge Governor Newsom to take immediate action to commute Ruchell Magee's sentence."


Write a one-page letter to Gov Gavin Newsom:

Also, you can write a one-page letter to Governor Gavin Newsom about your support for Ruchell and why he deserves a commutation of his sentence due to his length of confinement (over 59 years), his age (83), and the health risks of an elderly person staying in California’s prisons. 


YOUR DIGITAL LETTER can be sent at bit.ly/write4ruchell


YOUR US MAIL LETTER can be sent to:

Governor Gavin Newsom

1303 10th Street, Suite 1173

Sacramento, CA 95814


Email Governor Newsom




Under "What is your request or comment about?", select "Clemency - Commutation of Sentence" and then select "Leave a comment". The next page will allow you to enter a message, where you can demand:


Commute the sentence of prisoner Ruchell Magee #A92051 #T 115, who has served 59 long years in prison. 

He was over-charged with kidnapping and robbery for a dispute over a $10 bag of marijuana, a substance that is legal now and should’ve never resulted in a seven-years-to-life sentence.  Ruchell is 83 years old, so as an elderly prisoner he faces health risks every day from still being incarcerated for so long.


Write to District Attorney Gascon

District Attorney George Gascon

211 West Temple Street, Suite 1200

Los Angeles, CA 90012


Write a one-page letter to D.A. George Gascon requesting that he review Ruchell’s sentence due to the facts that he was over-charged with kidnapping and robbery for a dispute over a $10 bag of marijuana, a substance that is legal now and should’ve never resulted in a seven-years-to-life sentence. Ruchell’s case should be a top priority because of his age (83) and the length of time he has been in prison (59 years).


·      Visit www.freeruchellmagee.org to learn more! Follow us @freeruchellmagee on Instagram!

·      Visit www.facebook.com/freeruchellmagee or search "Coalition to Free Ruchell Magee" to find us on Facebook!

·      Endorse our coalition at:

·      www.freeruchellmagee.org/endorse!

·      Watch and share this powerful webinar on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4u5XJzhv9Hc



Ruchell Magee

CMF - A92051 - T-123

P.O. Box 2000

Vacaville, CA 95696


Write Ruchell uplifting messages! Be sure to ask questions about his well-being, his interests, and his passions. Be aware that any of his mail can be read by correctional officers, so don’t use any violent, explicit, or demoralizing language. Don’t use politically sensitive language that could hurt his chances of release. Do not send any hard or sharp materials.



of Detroit Shakur Squad


The Detroit Shakur Squad holds zoom meetings every other Thursday. We educate each other and organize to help free our Elder Political Prisoners. Next meeting is Thurs, Jan 12, 2022.  Register to attend the meetings at tinyurl.com/Freedom-Meeting




Supporters of Mumia Abu-Jamal march down JFK Blvd. past the Juanita Kidd Stout Center for Criminal Justice and City Hall, in Philadelphia, Friday, December 16, 2022.Jessica Griffin / Staff Photographer

Results of Mumia Abu-Jamal's Court Hearing 

December 16, 2022


In October, Common Pleas Court Judge Lucretia Clemons strongly signaled in a 30-page opinion that she is leaning toward dismissing the defense appeal.

However, she gave the two sides one last chance Friday, Dec. 16, 2022 to argue their positions. The lawyers did so in a courtroom filled with about 50 Abu-Jamal allies, as well as Faulkner’s widow, Maureen, and a smaller number of her supporters. Mumia Abu-Jamal was not present.

Clemons said she would rule within three months. Before ending the hearing, the judge asked the prosecutors and defense lawyers to make sure that Abu-Jamal’s lawyers had reviewed every scrap of evidence that the District Attorney’s Office could share.

“I do not want to do this again,” she said.




Watch the live-stream of the Dec. 16 Court Rally at youtu.be/zT4AFJY1QCo.

The pivotal hearing follows a hearing Oct. 26 at which the Judge said she intended to dismiss Abu-Jamal’s appeal based on six boxes of evidence found in the District Attorney’s office in Dec. 2018. Clemons repeatedly used procedural rules – rather than allowing for an examination of the new evidence – in her 31-page decision dismissing Mumia Abu-Jamal’s petition for a new trial. (https://tinyurl.com/mtvcrfs4 ) She left the door open on Abu-Jamal’s appeal regarding the prosecution’s selection of jurors based on race.

Abu-Jamal’s attorneys Judith Ritter, Sam Spital  and Bret Grote filed a “ Petitioner’s Response to the Court’s Notice of Intent to Dismiss PCRA Petition” (https://tinyurl.com/mvfstd3w ) challenging her refusal to hold a hearing on the new evidence.

Just this week, the UN Working Group on People of African Descent filed an Amicus brief, a friend of the court document that reinforced the facts and arguments in Mumia's attorney's PRCRA filing. (https://tinyurl.com/587r633p ) They argued that no judicial time bar should be applied when the defendant is a victim of historic racial bias that may have tainted the possibility of a fair trial and due process.

At a press conference Dec. 13 announcing the Amicus brief, the Hon. Wendell Griffen, Division 5 judge of the 6th Judicial Circuit Court for Pulaski County, Arkansas said, “Clemons is only the second Black judge to hear any aspect of Abu-Jamal’s case. Will she have the courage to say that there are too many factors here that compel for Mumia to justify dismissing the motion? This evidentiary hearing is required, because exculpatory evidence was concealed.” (https://youtu.be/Xh38IKVc_oc )

Griffen clarified his statement on Dec 14 during a Democracy Now interview (https://youtu.be/odA_jjMtXQA): “Under a 1963 decision that every law student knows about, and every lawyer that does criminal law practice, in Brady v. Maryland, the Supreme Court of the U.S. held that due process of law is violated when the prosecution conceals evidence relevant to guilt or punishment from the bench. In this country, that kind of precedent should have required Mumia to be released and the Commonwealth decide whether or not to prosecute him based upon having revealed the right evidence. That hasn’t been done.”

More details on Abu-Jamal’s case can be found at 
https://tinyurl.com/ymhvjp8e and https://tinyurl.com/34j645jc.





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

Fundraiser for an attorney to represent Rashid’s struggle for medical care
A campaign is underway to hire an attorney to represent Kevin Rashid Johnson’s struggle for medical care. The prison has denied this care to him, despite a cancer diagnosis discovered over one year ago for which no treatment has yet been provided.

Here is the donation link for Rashid’s legal fund: 
Please be as generous as you can.


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.



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.



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.



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



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!



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) From Sacramento to Memphis, Tyre Nichols Cut His Own Path

Social media posts show that Mr. Nichols harbored a mistrust of prevailing government and economic systems, yet, a friend says, he also considered trying to change policing from the inside.

By Richard Fausset, Jan. 27, 2023


A screenshot of Mr. Nichols skateboarding.
A screenshot of Mr. Nichols skateboarding.

Before Tyre Nichols moved to Memphis — before he was brutally beaten on a Saturday night by police officers there — he lived in California, in the Sacramento area, where he hung out with a crowd of skateboarders.


They were a pack of teenage nonconformists. “Our friend group, we were a bunch of little rebels,” said Angelina Paxton, one of Mr. Nichols’s closest friends in Sacramento. But Mr. Nichols, she said, tended to be the voice warning them away from confrontation and serious trouble.


“If anything, he was the one in the back saying, ‘Come on, guys,’” Ms. Paxton recalled. “He was chill. He was peaceful. He was laid back.”


Mr. Nichols, she also said, was wary, as a Black man, of the police. His social media posts show that he identified with the Black Lives Matter movement and harbored a mistrust of prevailing government and economic systems.


And yet recently, Ms. Paxton said, Mr. Nichols had considered becoming a police officer.


“He was talking about how maybe that would be the easiest way to change things in the system — by becoming the system,” she said.


Mr. Nichols, 29, died in a Memphis hospital on Jan. 10, three days after he was pulled over on suspicion of reckless driving. He had fled from the officers on foot, and had apparently been running toward the home of his mother and stepfather, where he had been living.


“All my son was trying to do was get home,” his mother, RowVaughn Wells, said at a news conference earlier this week. “He was two minutes from the house when they murdered him.”


Mr. Nichols’s traumatic death has shocked Memphis, and forced the capital of the old Southern Cotton Belt to reckon with a nightmare scenario that does not fit neatly into most narratives of racist violence: all five of the officers, who have been fired and indicted for crimes including second-degree murder, are Black. So is the Memphis police chief, Cerelyn J. Davis, who this week called the officers’ actions “heinous, reckless and inhumane.”


Mr. Nichols’s life story also cut against old narratives of African American migration patterns. Decades ago, Black people left the former Confederate states in large numbers, headed for places like California in search of opportunity and the hope of greater freedom.


But for Mr. Nichols, it was California, and its high cost of living, that had begun to feel oppressive. In early 2020, Ms. Paxton said, he set out for Tennessee to find a way to make ends meet, becoming part of what scholars have called a “New Great Migration” of Black Americans back to the states of the old Confederacy.


“At least things are affordable here,” Mr. Nichols wrote in a 2021 Facebook post. “OK jobs with decent pay. Cheaper registration fees. Cigarettes that aren’t $10 a pack lol.”


Ms. Paxton, 28, met Mr. Nichols when they were teenagers. They were both involved with a California youth ministry called Flipt 180. “They were trying to give teenagers an outlet that wasn’t the streets,” she said.


She recalled how she first bonded with him in a car as they headed to a church event. She noticed that they were both wearing shocking shades of lime green. She found him to be mellow, but difficult to pin down. When he played D.J. for his friends, he played everything: country music, the rappers Lupe Fiasco and Tupac, reggae.


As they grew closer, Ms. Paxton learned that her friend’s situation was complicated. He had been living with his father in Sacramento, but the father was terminally ill, and would die before Mr. Nichols was out of high school. His mother was 1,800 miles away, in Memphis. Skateboarding offered an escape.


“He was going through a lot,” Ms. Paxton said. “When he skated, it’s like he wasn’t worried anymore. It was like nothing mattered more than when he landed that trick, you know?”


Sometime after his father died, Mr. Nichols moved in with the family of a close friend. After high school, Ms. Paxton said, he bounced around from job to job. He had a son with a woman he was in a relationship with for awhile. Pressure to move up the economic ladder was mounting.


At a certain point, Ms. Paxton said, “he spent most of the time trying to figure out what he was going to do with his life.”


His move to Memphis in 2020 roughly coincided with the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic and its lockdowns. He posted online about missing California, his old friends and his son: on the child’s fourth birthday, Mr. Nichols bought cupcakes in his honor, but acknowledged that he would be eating them himself.


Yet on other occasions, he celebrated the fact that he had escaped to Tennessee.


“He felt the presence of the creator out in Memphis more than he ever had,” Ms. Paxton said. “I mean, the nature, the people are kind — it’s just a whole different world.”


Mr. Nichols was an avid amateur photographer, and his love of his new home was reflected on his Wix page, where he posted images of blues clubs, local landmarks and the sun setting over the Mississippi River. “He liked to go and watch the sunset and take pictures,” his mother said at a news conference in Memphis on Friday. “That was his thing.”


His embrace of Tennessee was also evident from his Facebook entries. In August 2021, he posted a video of himself in a checkered shirt, ball cap and mirrored sunglasses, dancing against a backdrop of farmland to Jason Aldean’s “Girl Like You.”


His other posts offered a glimpse into his passions and his politics. He posted about pro football and basketball. He wrote passionately about the plight of Indigenous people and the resilience of African Americans in the face of centuries of oppression. He denounced modern-day racism, political corruption and the power of elites. He embraced conspiracy theories about chemtrails, the John F. Kennedy assassination and the AIDS epidemic.


In June 2020, the month after George Floyd’s murder, he posted a drawing based on a famous photo of Malcolm X peering out of a window, armed with a rifle. Beneath it was a caption: “Because I have a Black son,” it said, followed by a drawing of a heart. That same month, in a separate post, Mr. Nichols wrote that he had seen “a lot more cops” who had decided to “kneel with all the protesters” and walk alongside them “with no batons and forceful weapons.”


“Humanity is SLOWLY being restored!” he wrote.


Eventually his stepfather, Rodney Wells, helped him find a job at FedEx. The company’s headquarters are in Memphis, and it has long been viewed as a crucial engine for economic sustenance and mobility for Black residents across the economic spectrum. “Those jobs are like post office jobs back in the day,” said State Representative Joe Towns Jr., who represents part of Memphis. “Everybody wants one.”


He worked the evening shift, and would come home with his stepfather, who worked the same shift, at around 7 p.m., when his mother had home cooking waiting. Ms. Paxton said that Mr. Nichols had specific goals: to earn enough to buy a car and a house, and to be able to fly his son out to visit him. Weekends, he would skate and take photos.


On the Saturday night when he was beaten, his mother had planned to cook him sesame chicken, a favorite. When the police stopped him, she said, he was driving back from Shelby Farms, a 4,500-acre park in the heart of Memphis, where he had probably taken in the sunset.


According to an initial police statement, the officers stopped him at 8:30 p.m., and a confrontation followed. He fled, but they chased him and caught him. The statement did not mention the beating, but it did note that he complained of shortness of breath. An ambulance came and took him to the hospital in what the police described as “critical condition.”


At a news conference on Monday, Ms. Wells acknowledged that it seemed like every mother in her position describes their child as good. “But my son, he actually was a good boy,” she said. Ben Crump, a lawyer for the family, noted that Mr. Nichols suffered from Crohn’s disease, and as a result was almost impossibly slim: six-foot-three and 145 pounds.


On Tuesday, one of Mr. Nichols’s three surviving siblings, Jamal Dupree, posted to Facebook a photo of Mr. Nichols as he lay in a hospital bed with a tube in his mouth, his face swollen and bruised and resting on a bloody pillow.


In a later post, Mr. Dupree addressed his younger brother directly: “I’m sorry I wasn’t there to protect you,” it said.


It was accompanied by a video shot from above the cloud line, with a blazing sun on the horizon that appeared to be either rising or setting.


Rick Rojas and Susan C. Beachy contributed reporting.



2) Tyre Nichols’s Death Is America’s Shame

By Charles M. Blow, Jan. 27, 2023


A woman holds a candle during a vigil for Tyre Nichols.

Scott Olson/Getty Images

The spectacle of a televised countdown to the showing of the video in which Tyre Nichols was savagely beaten by Memphis police officers doesn’t just theatricalize Black death; it is a damning indictment of American perversion.


It was horrific, as promised, but unfortunately not singularly so. It was instead yet another data point in a long line of videos showing the torturing of Black bodies by police. It was more snuff porn with Black victims in a country becoming desensitized to the violence because of its sheer volume.


America — and the world — had the realization that police violence was a problem, and then it simply walked away before the work was done and the war was won.


After the killing of George Floyd in 2020 and the historic summer of protest that followed, police killings of American citizens didn’t decrease; they increased. What fell away were the evanescent allies, poll-chasing politicians and cooped-up Covid kids who had used the protests as an opportunity to congregate.


Even Black people’s support for the Black Lives Matter movement eventually began to fall.


And as Americans shifted to other priorities like politics and the economy, the broader public became desensitized to police killings, or it callously started to see the police killings as unfortunate but ultimately acceptable byproducts of much-needed increased policing at a time of rising crime.


To break through, a killing would have to be truly gruesome and barbaric, the circumstances around it truly ghoulish and the victim of it truly unassailable.


That case has now arrived with the death of Nichols, a Black man, after his horrific beating at the hands of five Black Memphis police officers.


Authorities moved relatively quickly to fire, arrest and aggressively charge the officers.


But instead of leaping to my feet to applaud a system working as it should, rather than as it was designed, I am stuck on the fact that there should have been federal legislation to prevent such killings.


But there wasn’t, and there isn’t, because America has once again failed Black people who were pleading for help and demanding it.


America should be ashamed. It abandoned the issue of police reform.


After Covid lockdowns eased and people were once again gathered for things other than protest, their priorities snapped back to a noninterventionist normality. Their cabin-fever racial consciousness was like some kind of delirium, an outgrowth of end-of-the-world ideations.


As the world reopened, elections approached and crime and inflation rose in tandem, interest in police reform and protecting Black lives from police violence melted away like ice cubes on a summer sidewalk.


And with it, America was taught some horrendous lessons that do more harm to the quest for equality than the protests did to promote it.


Black people were taught that for some, interest in their safety had simply been a dernier cri, that allyship could be transitory and transactional, that some people entered the fight through a turnstile and that when their interest and energy waned, they exited the same way.


Too many liberal politicians showed us that their commitment to legislation, and even language, to protect Black lives from police violence was polling dependent, not rooted in moral rectitude or core values but governed by their ideas’ public appeal. When the winds shifted, these politicians spun like a weather vane.


They ran scared of being labeled woke or supporting a “defund the police” ideology. Rather than rebrand a laudable effort to be smarter about how municipal funds are allocated with a more acceptable slogan, they did the lazy, politically expedient thing: They raced to neutralize the idea by proclaiming their direct opposition to it, not defunding the police but increasing funding to police.


Police unions also learned a lesson: that they could survive the most intense and coordinated denunciation of their practices they had ever faced and still dodge federal legislation to address the violence that happens on their watch.


Yes, states like California and New York moved quickly, while the issue was still in vogue, to rewrite some criminal codes, and a smattering of cities increased protection by doing things like strengthening “duty to intervene” policies, but national reform remained elusive.


If there are rare occasions to employ a cliché, this is one: They dodged the bullet.


If there is a silver lining in all of this, it is at present an anecdotal one. It is the seeming impact that Black women have had to disrupt the system when given power not necessarily to prevent violent excesses but at least to punish them.


The police chief who moved quickly to fire the officers in the Nichols case is a Black woman.


When Rayshard Brooks was killed in Atlanta at a drive-through, the mayor, Keisha Lance Bottoms, a Black woman, accepted the resignation of her police chief and decided that the officers should be fired immediately. (Unfortunately, the officers were not eventually charged in the case, sued the city and were reinstated.)


When a white Dallas police officer, Amber Guyger, walked into the apartment of Botham Shem Jean and shot him to death, Police Chief U. Reneé Hall, a Black woman, moved quickly to secure a warrant for the officer’s arrest. Guyger was convicted of murder in the case.


I don’t want to imply that a handful of cases are universally revelatory but to circle them as curiosities worthy of keeping an eye on.


Rather than pointing to a system that is evolving and becoming more humane, these examples only underscore the racialized nature of the system and how slow it has been to act in places where neither the people in power nor the accused officers were Black.


Tyre Nichols’s death isn’t only an individual tragedy; he is now a marquee victim of a predacious system that America has lost its willingness to confront. The untreated wound, still festering, bled through the gauze.



3) Violent History Echoes in the Killing of Tyre Nichols

By Emily Yellin, Jan. 28, 2023

Ms. Yellin is a Memphis-based journalist who is collaborating with the Rev. James Lawson Jr. on his forthcoming memoir. 


A crowd of demonstrators, with one holding a sign that reads, “The people demand: End police terror.”

Protesters blocking traffic on Friday night in Memphis after a video of the police killing of Tyre Nichols was released. Credit...Desiree Rios/The New York Times

MEMPHIS — On April 3, 1968, shortly before the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. would deliver what turned out to be his last speech, “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop,” at a Memphis church packed with striking sanitation workers, the Rev. James M. Lawson Jr., a local minister and national strategist of nonviolent direct action, stepped up to the church’s pulpit. A colleague and friend of Dr. King, Mr. Lawson spoke passionately to the crowd about a teenager named Larry Payne. A few days before, a Memphis police officer had shot and killed Mr. Payne in a doorway outside the housing project where he lived, unbeknown to his mother, who was at home in their apartment less than a hundred yards away.


This month, Tyre Nichols, a 29-year-old Memphis father, became the latest Black man to join a horrific line of abuse that connects that moment 55 years ago to right now. Five Memphis police officers have been charged with the aggravated kidnapping and second-degree murder of Mr. Nichols, an avid skateboarder and photographer who worked the second shift at FedEx. The officers beat him mercilessly. He was heard on videos from the scene saying, “I’m just trying to get home.” And he called out for his mother (as George Floyd did in 2020), unbeknown to her at the time, even though she was at their house less than a hundred yards away.


Mr. Lawson told the crowd that night in 1968 how people defending the police killing were saying, “They were only doing their job.” But, Mr. Lawson countered, “if their job requires that they stick a shotgun in the midsection of a 17-year-old boy who has his hands over his head and is saying, ‘Don’t shoot,’ then we need —” Mr. Lawson couldn’t finish his sentence, because those words (which would echo decades later as demonstrators chanted, “Hands up, don’t shoot,” in Ferguson, Mo.) stirred people in attendance to thunderous hollers, shouts and clapping. A few beats later, he raised his voice, declaring it was “high time that we rid Memphis and this nation” of police brutality. “We want to see it end,” he said, “once and for all.”


The next day, Dr. King was assassinated. And in 2023 “once and for all” still has not come true.


Many cities in the United States could trace similar repetitive patterns of policing that torments and kills people who aren’t considered white, all the way back to the origin of law enforcement in this country. It is a history rooted in slave patrols and militias designed to protect white people’s lives and livelihoods from rebellion among enslaved Black people. But in Memphis the grief and oppressiveness resulting from those systemic patterns run especially deep — lingering and reverberating, like the rap, soul, blues and rock ’n’ roll music this city has given the world.


Three years after Mr. Payne’s 1968 killing, several Memphis law enforcement officers were charged in connection with the murder of Elton Hayes, a Black 17-year-old who was beaten to death in a ditch after a high-speed chase. (Twenty years later, the police beating of Rodney King in Los Angeles had similarities to that case.) Mr. Hayes’s killing in 1971 ignited five days of uprisings in Memphis. The officers were acquitted.


In 1974 a Memphis police officer pursued a Black 15-year-old accused of stealing a wallet containing $10 and shot him in the back of the head, killing him as he was running away. The case went to the U.S. Supreme Court and set a standard limiting the justifications for police shootings of fleeing suspects. The young victim in the Memphis case was named Edward Garner. (Forty years later, a police officer using a banned chokehold killed a Black man named Eric Garner on a Staten Island sidewalk.)


The toxic line reaches much farther back, to 1866, when mobs led by white Memphis police officers, angry at the Black Union soldiers who were freely roaming the city after the end of the Civil War, systematically killed 46 Black people in the streets. For three days, the mobs rampaged, raping Black women and looting and burning Black people’s homes, schools and churches in the same part of the city where Mr. Payne and Dr. King were killed 102 years later. No charges were ever brought against any of the policemen, even though a 400-page congressional report on the horrors of the attacks swayed many in Congress and was said to influence the passage of the 14th Amendment.


Twenty-six years later, in 1892, the police, along with armed civilians, invaded a prosperous nearby neighborhood. They rounded up and arrested dozens of Black men without sound reasons. A few days later, a group of white men easily entered the jail and kidnapped three of the most successful business leaders among the arrested men and murdered them in a field near the Mississippi River. One was a particularly close friend of the Memphis schoolteacher and journalist Ida B. Wells. Their deaths sparked her international anti-lynching campaign.


This past week, as the city braced for the release of police videos of Mr. Nichols being assaulted, a Memphis pastor, the Rev. Earle Fisher, called out local and national leaders on social media. He is a respected longtime critic of deadly overpolicing in Memphis, particularly since a police officer killed 19-year-old Darrius Stewart in 2015 during a traffic stop. Mr. Fisher posted, “I feel a way about how some of the same people who have resisted or tried to reduce our calls for reform FOR THE LAST SEVERAL YEARS; the ones who have literally manufactured and maintained these brutal conditions, are now posturing themselves as champions at the vanguard of structural and systemic change.”


Mr. Nichols might not have known every detail of the cruel heritage that was ensnaring him as he tried to calm the mob of policemen beating him, tried to escape and shouted, “Mom, Mom, Mom.” But that doesn’t mean he didn’t know in his bones or in his DNA or from the Memphis soil beneath him that he could end up joining those who preceded him in the lineage of terror running through our nation’s history.


Mr. Nichols’s stepfather told a reporter how wrenching it was to see on video when officers who had just taken turns kicking his son and beating him with batons acted so nonchalantly afterward, as if they had done the same thing many times before. Isn’t that similar to how our nation has responded for centuries when it comes to police violence against Black people? Isn’t it high time, again, to stop treating police brutality as just another issue to address with half measures? Or will this be yet one more moment when the vicious, racist (blue) line twisting through our nation continues to be as American as apple pie, baseball and Elvis?



4) Palestinian Man Fatally Shot as Violence Continues With Israeli Forces

Tensions and violence have gripped the Israeli-occupied West Bank and Jerusalem for days after an Israeli military raid on Thursday killed nine people.

By Raja Abdulrahim, Jan. 29, 2023

"The violence has marked a bloody and deadly beginning to 2023, with the killings of at least 30 Palestinians, including five people under 18, and seven Israelis."

A Palestinian man checking damage on Sunday after a fire overnight in a village near Ramallah, in the occupied West Bank.

A Palestinian man checking damage on Sunday after a fire overnight in a village near Ramallah, in the occupied West Bank. Credit...Jaafar Ashtiyeh/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

A Palestinian man was fatally shot outside an Israeli settlement in the Israeli-occupied West Bank and Israeli settlers carried out nearly 150 attacks on Palestinians and their properties across the region, according to reports on Sunday by Palestinian state media and the Israeli Army.


The Israeli military said the man who was shot, Karam Salman, 18, was armed with a handgun and fired on by a settlement security team in Kedumim. The Palestinian official news agency, Wafa, reported that the circumstances of Mr. Salman’s killing were unclear.


Tensions and violence have gripped the Israeli-occupied West Bank and Jerusalem for days after an Israeli military raid on Thursday killed ten people. A 24-year-old man who was wounded in the raid died of his injuries on Sunday. Thursday’s incursion, the military said, was aimed at apprehending members of the Islamic Jihad group who were involved in planning and executing multiple attacks on Israel. It was the deadliest military operation in the occupied West Bank in at least a half-decade.


On Friday night, a Palestinian gunman killed seven people outside a synagogue in a Jewish settlement in East Jerusalem, the deadliest attack on civilians in the city since 2008. And on Saturday, an attacker who the police said was 13 years old shot and injured two Israelis near another Jewish settlement in East Jerusalem.


Palestinian officials said that across the West Bank on Saturday night and into early Sunday, Israeli settlers had carried out 144 attacks against Palestinian civilians and their properties. One official, Ghassan Daghlas, told Wafa that the attackers had hurled stones at more than 1,000 motorists and vehicles and had set fire to six vehicles in a wave of settler violence.


At least 22 Palestinian-owned shops were attacked and at least one Palestinian home near the city of Ramallah was set on fire by settlers, Palestinian media reported.


On Saturday night, a gunman opened fire on a restaurant in a settlement in the West Bank near the city of Jericho, the Israeli military said. After firing one bullet, the gunman fled the scene, the army said. No one was injured.


In several Palestinian neighborhoods in Jerusalem, clashes broke out between the Israeli police, who were armed with rubber bullets and tear gas, and Palestinians, who had stones and firecrackers, according to Palestinian media. At least one Palestinian man was shot and injured by Israeli forces during the confrontations, Wafa reported.


Israel’s new far-right government announced a number of measures on Saturday night to exact a price on Palestinian attackers and those who support them, it said. But the measures could further inflame the situation and stoke violence as the government plans to expedite gun licenses for Israeli citizens; to reinforce military and police units to carry out more arrests of Palestinians; and to conduct operations aimed at seizing Palestinians’ weapons.


The recent Palestinian attacks, including Friday night’s shooting outside a synagogue and Saturday’s shooting, have targeted Israeli settlements and settlers in East Jerusalem and the West Bank. The settlements are considered illegal under international law and by much of the international community.


Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s security cabinet said on Saturday that it would take steps to strengthen security in the settlements.


The violence has marked a bloody and deadly beginning to 2023, with the killings of at least 30 Palestinians, including five people under 18, and seven Israelis.



5) Jury Awards $1 Million to Woman Who Was Told, ‘I Don’t Serve Black People’

Rose Wakefield was ignored by an attendant at a gas station in Beaverton, Ore., near Portland, as white customers who pulled in after her were served first, according to the lawsuit.

By McKenna Oxenden, Published Jan. 28, 2023, Updated Jan. 29, 2023

Rose Wakefield after a Multnomah County jury awarded her $1 million in damages for racial discrimination. Credit...Kafoury & McDougal

A woman in Oregon was awarded $1 million in damages this week after a jury found that she was discriminated against when a gas station attendant told her he didn’t “serve Black people.”


The decision by the jury in Multnomah County, which came after a four-day civil trial, included $550,000 in punitive damages.


Greg Kafoury, a lawyer for Rose Wakefield, the plaintiff, said his client felt “vindicated” and was looking forward to putting this case behind her.


“This company deserved to be publicly humiliated just as they had publicly humiliated my client by calling her a liar in court for four days when she had been telling the truth,” Mr. Kafoury said in an interview on Saturday.


In March 2020, Ms. Wakefield, 63, of Portland, stopped for gas at a Jacksons Food Store in Beaverton, west of Portland.


But when she pulled into the station, Ms. Wakefield noticed she was being ignored by the attendant, who served multiple white customers who arrived after her. She then asked the employee, identified as Nigel in the lawsuit, when she would be helped. “I’ll get to you when I feel like it,” he told her, according to a news release from Mr. Kafoury.


Oregon is one of two states, along with New Jersey, where it’s illegal in most areas for drivers to pump their own gas. (It’s allowed in certain rural counties in Oregon.)


Ms. Wakefield then went inside the store to talk with a manager, who “offered no assistance,” according to the lawsuit. Eventually, another employee from inside the store pumped the gas for Ms. Wakefield.


As she was about to leave, Ms. Wakefield asked the attendant why she had not been served. The employee replied, “I don’t serve Black people,” according to a news release from her lawyer.


Shortly after leaving the gas station, Ms. Wakefield called Jacksons Food Stores to complain twice and was largely ignored, according to her lawyers. The attendant was never questioned about the matter, they said.


The attendant was fired about a month after the encounter after being written up numerous times for talking on the cellphone, the release said.


Jacksons is owned by PacWest Energy, which was also named in the suit.


Cory Jackson, the president of Jacksons Food Stores, said in an email that there was a “zero-tolerance” policy against discrimination and pointed to employee trainings meant to “best serve all of our customers with dignity and respect.”


Mr. Jackson said the company disagreed with the verdict.


“After carefully reviewing all facts and evidence, including video surveillance, we chose to take this matter to trial because we were comfortable based on our knowledge that the service-related concern actually reported by the customer was investigated and promptly addressed,” Mr. Jackson said. “As such, we respectfully disagree with the jury’s ruling because our knowledge does not align with the verdict.”


Lawyers for the company and for the store manager, who was named in the complaint, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.



6) Authorities Used a Taser on

Him 7 Times in 15 Minutes. Then

He Died. Justice Never Came.

By Sam Mirpoorian


The torture and murder of Jerod Draper while incarcerated and incapacitated. (Screenshot)

In 2018, Jerod Draper, a 40-year-old father in southern Indiana high on methamphetamines, was arrested during a traffic stop and locked in a cell at a county jail. Several hours later, the man died.


Authorities did not immediately investigate the circumstances of Mr. Draper’s death. But in the Opinion Video above, the filmmaker Sam Mirpoorian examines that final chapter of Mr. Draper’s life — and what happens when authorities fail to uphold their responsibility to protect the people in their custody.


Using surveillance video from the jail cell where Mr. Draper was confined, the film chillingly describes the prisoner’s last grueling hours. Rather than receive the medical care he desperately needed to address a drug overdose, Mr. Draper was subjected to various heavy-handed restraint techniques, including Taser shocks that opened bloody wounds on his thighs.


Vicki Budd, Mr. Draper’s mother, says in the film that her son “had a tough life and a lot of demons to fight.” But, she adds, “he didn’t deserve, by any means, what happened to him in that jail.”



7) The Police Cannot Be a Law Unto Themselves

By Jamelle Bouie, Jan. 31, 2023


A man raises a fist in a crowd of protesters standing in front of an electronic American flag including black stripes.

Andrew Kelly/Reuters

In 2020, during the weeks of protest and civil unrest that followed the murder of George Floyd at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer, I argued that the problem of police violence and misconduct was a problem of democracy. And this week, in the wake of yet another police killing caught on camera, I think it’s worth saying, again, that the institution of American policing lies outside any meaningful democratic control.


You can think of accountability for public institutions in two ways: on the back end and on the front end.


Back-end accountability takes place, as the name would suggest, after the fact. It is aimed at making sure that the rules were followed. In the context of policing, this means civilian review boards, officer discipline and judicial review. Back-end accountability provides recourse for misconduct.


Front-end accountability, according to the legal scholars Maria Ponomarenko and Barry Friedman, who founded The Policing Project at N.Y.U., takes place when there are “rules in place before officials act, which are transparent, and formulated with public input.” With front-end accountability, the public has a direct say in the rules that govern an agency or institution. “Public participation can improve the quality of rules by ensuring that officials have all of the information they need to make sensible policy,” Ponomarenko and Friedman contend. “It also helps to make clear that government officials are, to the extent possible, responsive to the popular will.”


Back-end accountability is, you could say, legal accountability, while front-end accountability is democratic accountability. The two are linked, and in American policing we see the collapse of the former and the almost total absence of the latter. “Police departments are too often insulated from legitimate citizen challenges,” Amy E. Lerman and Vesla M. Weaver write in “Arresting Citizenship: The Democratic Consequences of American Crime Control.” Citizens, they continue, “are denied effective mechanisms for ensuring that the police are held accountable.”


American police officers have extraordinary power to work their will as they see fit. Local rules vary but generally speaking they can stop and frisk on the “reasonable suspicion” that you are “armed and presently dangerous.” They can stop and conduct a warrantless search of your vehicle with only “probable cause” that someone in the car or truck or van is committing a crime. The police have no obligation to either protect or assist you, even in the face of a credible threat to your life, and they are virtually immune to legal consequences for their actions under the doctrine of “qualified immunity,” with so few exceptions — like the almost immediate arrest of the offending officers accused in the killing of Tyre Nichols in Memphis — that it essentially proves the rule.


What little accountability exists for American police is easily subverted. Internal-affairs departments are often more interested in exonerating colleagues than investigating misconduct, and police unions do everything they can to shield bad actors, attack critics and secure more due process for cops accused of abuse than their victims ever get.


On those occasions when voters try to bring police departments under greater public control — by seeking to elect reform-minded mayors or district attorneys — police officers will do everything to undermine the officials in question. In 2019, San Francisco’s police union spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on campaign ads attacking Chesa Boudin, a progressive critic of law enforcement who was running for district attorney, as the best choice of “criminals and gang members.” In 2020, likewise, police unions spent millions trying to defeat a reformist candidate for district attorney in Los Angeles. And in Albuquerque, police unions and their allies fought a yearslong battle to try to stymie a proposed civilian oversight board that would have greater oversight authority.


The absence of legal and, especially, democratic accountability is, or should be, an existential problem for any police reform agenda. Without a strategy to curb or break the cartel power of police departments — meaning their ability to undermine, neuter and subvert all attempts to regulate and control their actions and personnel — there is no practical way to achieve meaningful and lasting reform, if that is your goal. Indeed, anything resembling a root-and-branch transformation of American policing will only ever occur after the public is able to exercise real control over the institution itself.


Put a little differently, the only reforms that can take hold in the absence of direct democratic accountability — where the public itself can shape the rules that govern policing and police officers — are those that don’t actually alter the status quo of police culture and police institutions. There is a reason, after all, that most police departments issue body cameras to their officers without serious pushback; the footage is theirs to control, in the main, and withhold from the public, should they desire to do so.


With great power should come greater responsibility and accountability. The more authority you hold in your hands, the tighter the restraints should be on your wrists. To give power and authority without responsibility or accountability — to give an institution and its agents the right and the ability to do violence without restraint or consequence — is to cultivate the worst qualities imaginable, among them arrogance, sadism and contempt for the lives of others.


It is, in short, to cultivate the attitudes and beliefs and habits of mind that lead too many American police officers to beat and choke and shock and shoot at a moment’s notice, with no regard for either the citizens or the communities we’re told they’re here to serve and protect.



8) D.C. Employee to Face Murder Charge in Shooting of 13-Year-Old

Jason Lewis turned himself in to the police to face a second-degree murder charge in the shooting death this month of the teenager, Karon Blake, the authorities said.

By Christine Hauser, Jan. 31, 2023


A teenager in a white T-shirt and torn jeans stands in a doorway with his hands clasped at his chest.

Karon Blake, 13, was shot and killed in the Brookland neighborhood of Washington, D.C., on Jan. 7 by a man who went outside with a firearm after he heard noises, the police said. Credit...WUSA 9

A Washington, D.C., government employee turned himself in to the police there on Tuesday to face a second-degree murder charge in connection with the shooting death of a 13-year-old, Karon Blake, earlier this month, a police spokeswoman said.


The spokeswoman, Brianna Burch, said that details about the investigation and the charge against the city employee, Jason Lewis, would be announced at a news conference later on Tuesday.


Mr. Lewis’s lawyer, Lee Smith, said in an emailed statement that Mr. Lewis was “distraught” and “maintains his innocence.”


“While this is certainly a tragedy, once all the facts are heard, I believe that a jury will find that there was no crime here,” Mr. Smith said.


The Metropolitan Police Department said that, just before 4 a.m. on Jan. 7, a man emerged from a residence in the Brookland neighborhood of Northeast Washington when he heard noises and saw someone who appeared to be “tampering” with cars. After an “interaction,” the police said, the man fatally shot the teenager, later identified as Karon Blake.


Little was initially said about what happened during the encounter between the man and the middle school student. The case stirred concerns about armed citizens taking matters into their own hands, and days after the shooting, many questioned why the man had not been publicly identified or arrested.


On Jan. 10, Chief Robert J. Contee III of the Metropolitan Police Department said at a news conference that the case represented the “tragic death of a son of our city,” but emphasized that the department could not release details about what happened until an investigation was completed.



9) As Officers Beat Tyre Nichols, a Crime-Prevention Camera Watched Over Them

A SkyCop camera in Memphis provided overhead footage that was instrumental in shaping the public’s understanding of what unfolded.

By Rick Rojas and Jesus Jiménez, Feb. 1, 2023

SkyCop footage showing the night Tyre Nichols was beaten by officers on Castlegate Lane in Memphis.
SkyCop footage showing the night Tyre Nichols was beaten by officers on Castlegate Lane in Memphis. Credit...Memphis Police Department/via Reuters

MEMPHIS — The body cameras worn by the Memphis police officers who stopped Tyre Nichols recorded his anguished cries and the conflicting orders that were virtually impossible for him to obey. As the officers punched and pepper-sprayed him, though, those cameras were often jostled, pointed away or dark.


But the residential street where the officers had caught up with Mr. Nichols after he ran from them on the night of Jan. 7 happened to have another camera trained on it, affixed to a utility pole in a white metal box with a bright blue light.


It was one of the hundreds of SkyCop cameras, as they are known, that the Memphis Police Department has installed around the city. It was watching from above, recording as Mr. Nichols was beaten and then as officers and medics delayed providing aid. He died three days later.


“Glory be to God that a SkyCop camera was there to catch what happened,” Van D. Turner Jr., the president of the Memphis branch of the N.A.A.C.P., said last week.


The overhead footage, publicly released on Friday along with some of the officers’ body camera videos, has been widely regarded as critical in shaping the public’s understanding of what unfolded after the police pulled over Mr. Nichols that night, by offering an unobstructed bird’s-eye view.


Camera systems like SkyCop, which have been adopted by police departments around the country, have been criticized by activists and privacy advocates as a costly investment that does little to deter crime while adding to the overbearing presence that the police often have in neighborhoods — especially poor ones — where the cameras have proliferated.


Yet in this case, the round-the-clock camera has been a vital tool for accountability as Mr. Nichols’s death has unleashed pain and anger in Memphis and around the country.


“It just so happens that in the case of Tyre, those cameras worked out in that way,” said Chelsea Glass, an organizer with Decarcerate Memphis, a group pushing for overhauling the criminal justice system.


The bulk of the footage released by city officials on Friday came from body cameras and showed Mr. Nichols, who the police initially said had been stopped for reckless driving, being pulled from his car and then running away.


But the release also included about 31 minutes of video taken by the SkyCop, starting with a feed showing a tranquil winding street lined with brick homes before panning over to where officers had stopped Mr. Nichols on foot.


From then on, it captured a scene of escalating brutality as well as the immediate aftermath: The footage showed the officers kicking Mr. Nichols and pummeling him with a baton. Minutes later, he could be seen slumped on the ground against a police car, without receiving any care from officers or medics who had arrived at the scene.


“That particular video is what, I think, demonstrated not just the inhumanity but the grave disregard for this man’s rights and his life,” said the Rev. Dr. J. Lawrence Turner, the pastor of the Mississippi Boulevard Christian Church in Memphis, where Mr. Nichols’s funeral is to be held on Wednesday.


“The sky cam video makes the difference,” Pastor Turner said, adding that if “we were only left with the body cam footage,” it would still be harrowing and infuriating, but possibly not as conclusive to prosecutors as they considered charges against the officers. Five of them were charged with second-degree murder, among other things, last week for the death of Mr. Nichols.


The SkyCop camera that captured the beating is one of more than 2,000 that have been stationed around the city, all of which send back live feeds to the Police Department’s real-time crime center. Operators there are able to pan and zoom the cameras like the one providing footage in this case, which have a range of about 200 feet.


“I actually placed that camera there,” said Joe Patty, a retired lieutenant who served as the Police Department’s video surveillance manager and now, as a security consultant, works for SkyCop, a Memphis-based company.


Many of the SkyCop cameras in Memphis were initially installed more than a decade ago, mostly in affluent neighborhoods, as community groups raised the money to buy them and donate them to the city. But in 2016, the city purchased 80 SkyCops and placed them largely in areas that are predominantly African American and impoverished, and that have had persistent struggles with crime.


Even if many in the community expressed gratitude for the SkyCop footage of Mr. Nichols’s beating, it did not erase the skepticism that many still have about the cameras — or more to the point, the police force that operates them.


“It’s not really about the cameras,” said Duane T. Loynes Sr., a professor at Rhodes College in Memphis whose research focuses on the strained relationship between the Black community and law enforcement. “It’s about who’s in charge of the cameras.”


Law enforcement agencies around the country have deployed sprawling networks of cameras, with advocates describing them as a powerful tool for combating street crime and guarding against terrorism. Many of those systems now employ more advanced technology, including artificial intelligence and facial recognition. Studies have shown that facial recognition software can return more false matches for African Americans than for white people, a concern that has been raised in Detroit.


In Memphis, Mr. Patty said the SkyCop cameras do not use facial recognition technology, but some of the devices are outfitted with license plate readers and they do have motion sensors that alert the operators to movement.


Mr. Patty said the SkyCops, with their bright blue lights, were designed to be a conspicuous presence in the hope of discouraging criminal activity.


“The unknown factor is what you deterred,” he said. “There’s no way to figure that into an equation.”


Still, Mr. Patty said they were seen as a source of comfort in some neighborhoods, particularly where residents had raised money to install them. “I never had a complaint of someone wanting to take a camera down,” he said. “It was always, ‘Please can we have more.’”


But detractors have pointed out that violent crime increased in Memphis even after SkyCops were installed across the city. Larry Turnage, 64, who lives near the site of Mr. Nichols’s beating, said he did not think they helped. “They’re going to commit crime regardless,” he said. “It doesn’t matter.”


Chad A. Marlow, a senior policy counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union who focuses on privacy and surveillance issues, said that studies have shown that mounted camera systems do not deter crime. If anything, he added, the footage of the Memphis officers helped bolster those findings. “The police officers knew the camera was there and obviously it did not deter their bad behavior,” Mr. Marlow said.


“It does from time to time capture evidence of wrongdoing and that is certainly what occurred here,” he added. “But ultimately what you have is a tool that brings more police into these communities and creates more dangerous police interactions, and in this one case, it happens to provide evidence of police misconduct.”


Professor Loynes said the footage showed something that was no surprise to many in Memphis, where nearly two-thirds of residents are Black. “For Black Memphians, they didn’t need to see it, they’ve lived it,” he said.


He said that camera footage alone was not always enough to bring criminal charges against officers or lead to firings and promises of making changes to policing policy. There have been cases, he noted, where video footage had clearly shown police aggression but they had not resulted in criminal charges, like that involving Eric Garner, the 43-year-old Black man from Staten Island who died in 2014 after a New York police officer placed him in a chokehold.


“There’s a completely valid alternative universe where we have those videos,” he said, “and those officers are still not held accountable.”


In this version of events, though, many in the community were praising the charges and the role the SkyCop camera had played. “I’m glad that camera was here,” said Praylen Dickerson, who lives in the neighborhood.


Marcus Belton also stopped by the scene of Mr. Nichols’s beating to pay respects to Mr. Nichols. “It’s a proven fact that it worked then,” Mr. Belton said of the camera above, referring to the night of Jan. 7. “It worked magnificently.”


On Sunday, Mr. Dickerson, 63, brought a single rose to lay at the corner of Castlegate and Bear Creek Lanes, where a memorial for Mr. Nicols has grown in recent days.


He looked up at the camera above the intersection and the white box stamped in blue with the letters “MPD” and the Police Department’s insignia.


“They’re probably watching us right now,” Mr. Dickerson said.



10) As Parisians March to Fight Pension Changes, Shopkeepers Nod and Agree

Angry protests over a plan to raise France’s retirement age pile uncertainty on small businesses, but most are siding with the demonstrators.

By Liz Alderman, Feb. 1, 2023

Liz Alderman, who writes about economics in Europe, has reported extensively on France’s pension overhaul plans.


Maxime Clausier stands at the entrance of a butcher shop, with the store’s name and hours engraved in gold cursive writing in French.

Maxime Clausier temporarily shuttered his butcher shop during pension demonstrations. But he had plenty of sympathy for the protesters. Credit...Andrea Mantovani for The New York Times

Protesters meet at a cafe in Paris. One woman with a blond bob appears to be talking animatedly, gesticulating with her hands.

Demonstrators met in cafes around the Place d’Italie before the protest. Credit...Andrea Mantovani for The New York Times

Hubert Labrousse dressed as Mr. Monopoly with a black top hat and a white scarf, chomping on a cigar.

Hubert Labrousse said the government should “tax the rich” to help fund France’s pension system, rather than raise the retirement age. Credit...Andrea Mantovani for The New York Times

Maxime Clausier stood inside the barricaded entrance of his butcher shop in central Paris and surveyed the swelling crowd of protesters outside his door. He had closed early Tuesday amid the latest demonstrations in France against President Emmanuel Macron’s plan to raise the legal age of retirement to 64 from 62, and his business was taking a hit.


But Mr. Clausier said he would have given anything to be right out there in the crowd. Even at age 30, having worked nearly half his life as a butcher, he couldn’t stomach the idea of being required to work longer to finance what the government says may soon be an untenable pension system.


“I can’t afford to be out there for even five hours,” said Mr. Clausier, who helps run La Boucherie des Gobelins and pays what he said were high payroll taxes used to fund France’s social safety net. “But I’m with them in spirit, because what we are seeing is the unraveling of France’s social contract. We can’t let that happen.”


Tens of thousands of people marched past Mr. Clausier’s shop on the Avenue des Gobelins on Tuesday, following a snaking four-kilometer route that started at the Place d’Italie and coursed along the main arteries of Paris’s Left Bank, all the way to Napoleon’s tomb at the Invalides.


In cities stretching from Lille in northern France to Marseille in the south, for the second time in two weeks, throngs took to the streets in a show of anger set off by Mr. Macron’s pension overhaul plans.


Mr. Macron, who made changes to the pension system a cornerstone of his re-election campaign last year, argues that he has a strong mandate and that France’s complex but generous state-backed retirement plan will run out of money if nothing is done. The only way to fix it, Mr. Macron says, is to make the French work longer.


Opponents, including a united front of labor unions, say Mr. Macron is attacking a cherished right to retire and unfairly burdening blue-collar workers because of his refusal to increase taxes on the wealthy. Neither side has shown signs of backing down.


Near the front of the marchers, Eileen Nati positioned her wheeled food stand in the middle of the growing crowd, where hungry protesters paid 5 euros, about $5.40, for sizzling merguez sausage sandwiches. The family business — her husband, Mohammed, and father, Said, tended to two other stands across the street — is part of a satellite economy of food and pamphlet vendors who follow nearly every major protest movement that breaks out across France.


“We make decent money,” said Ms. Nati, 29, whose father started out with a tiny barbecue cart over 40 years ago, rising at 5 a.m., laboring over wood fires and crisscrossing the country in a truck in search of business.


The work allowed the family to get by, but it also took a toll on family life. “We want to be able to profit from life with our children and grandchildren,” Ms. Nati said. “So I support this movement. We pay taxes to fund the system, and to force us to work longer to benefit from what we’ve put in isn’t right.”


To the raucous Parisians parading along the Avenue des Gobelins, the pension overhaul was the latest sign that Mr. Macron was out of touch with people. They shouted into megaphones, chanted antigovernment slogans and railed against what many saw as a growing inequality divide between average workers and the superrich in France and around the world.


Many of the businesspeople watching the crowds from inside their shops agreed.


A few doors down from Mr. Clausier’s butcher shop, Arnaud Tourneboeuf, 59, sat quietly in the designer Scandinavian furniture boutique where he sells custom shelving units. Only a handful of customers had stopped in since the morning, but he wasn’t worried. People who could afford big-ticket items would come back another day.


Even so, his eyes darted to the ever-thickening crowd, where protesters wielded signs reading “Retirement before death” and caroused satirically to the French disco song “Born to Be Alive,” a tongue-in-cheek reference to Prime Minister Élisabeth Borne, who is leading Mr. Macron’s reform drive.


Mr. Tourneboeuf acknowledged that France’s current retirement age was one of the lowest in Europe. “If Scandinavian countries, Germany, Spain and everyone else has raised it, it must mean something needs to be done,” he said. “Even so,” he added, “we are spending enormous sums on France’s defense budget” in light of Russia’s war against Ukraine. “There surely must be another way to find money for pensions.”


As the crowd got louder, Mr. Tourneboeuf grew somber. “What’s happening here is not merely a protest about the retirement age,” he said. “Everywhere we are seeing more and more evidence of inequality, tilting in favor the powerful. Two hundred years after the French Revolution, it’s as if society has not become more equal.”


Mr. Tourneboeuf also said Mr. Macron’s policies were a continuation of neoliberal economic prescriptions that had already contributed to inequality for decades. If France’s Yellow Vest movement was sparked by an attempt by Mr. Macron to raise gas taxes on people who could least afford it, the president’s latest gambit to raise the retirement age is igniting “an immaterial anger,” he said.


Such talk didn’t resonate with everyone. Farther along, where the avenue dipped to reveal the stunning profile in the distance of the Pantheon, Emmanuel Schoemann stood behind the counter of his empty video game shop and watched the crowds file by.


A nearly full-scale shutdown of Paris’s transit system, a strike in sympathy with the retirement-age protest, had kept his clientele away. “I’ve had only four customers since this morning,” he said.


Mr. Schoemann, 41, couldn’t understand why the thousands of people walking past his store were protesting. Despite France’s flaws, he said, it generally protects people of all stripes with a social safety net that would be envied in most other parts of the world.


The pension system is a prime example, he said, calling it one of the most protective in Europe. “The strikers have a hard time facing reality,” he said. “They should look at our neighbors and realize that France is actually pretty generous.”


But for others, the pension overhaul has come to symbolize a deeper problem afflicting the country. Standing outside a BNP Paribas bank whose windows were boarded up was a man dressed like Mr. Monopoly, sporting a black top hat and white silk scarf and chomping on a cigar.


The man, Hubert Labrousse, a retiree and a member of Attac, a French anti-globalization movement, was making a point. He stretched his arm toward a poster of Bernard Arnault, the chief executive of LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, the world’s largest luxury goods company, who recently surpassed Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos to become the world’s richest man.


“He belongs to the gang of profiteers,” Mr. Labrousse said. With a fortune estimated at over $200 billion by Forbes, Mr. Arnault was a main target of many protesters after LVMH last week reported record revenue of nearly €80 billion and net profit of over €14 billion, fueling a debate in French news media about the outsize wealth divide.


“Macron says we must not tax surplus profits or raise taxes on the 1 percent,” said Evelyne Dourille-Feer, 72, a retired economist working with Mr. Labrousse. “Meanwhile, the number of people living under the poverty line in France has grown, and the poorest people are growing really poor,” she said.


“Where is the social justice?” she asked.


Tom Nouvian contributed reporting.



11) Biden Clears the Way for Alaska Oil Project

The administration issued an analysis that indicates a scaled-back version of the Willow project can go forward. Opponents call the drilling plan a “carbon bomb.”

By Lisa Friedman, Feb. 1, 2023


A cylindrical object, wrapped in a black cover, stands in wide expanse of Alaskan tundra dotted by patches of green interspersed with small pools of water.

Conoco-Phillips testing equipment in the National Petroleum Reserve, Alaska. Credit...Jim Wilson/The New York Times

WASHINGTON — The Biden administration on Wednesday took a crucial step toward approving an $8 billion ConocoPhillips oil drilling project on the National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska, drawing the anger of environmentalists who say the vast new fossil fuel development poses a dire threat to the climate.


The Bureau of Land Management issued an environmental analysis that says the government prefers a scaled-back version of the project, which is known as Willow. The assessment calls for curtailing the project to three drill sites from five, as well as reducing the miles of both gravel and ice roads, pipelines and the length of airstrips to support the drilling.


The analysis is the last regulatory hurdle before the federal government makes a final ruling about whether to approve the Willow project. If approved, the Willow project would produce about 600 million barrels of oil over 30 years, with a peak of 180,000 barrels of crude oil a day.


Separately, Bureau of Land Management and White House officials are considering additional measures to reduce carbon dioxide emissions and environmental harm, such as delaying decisions on permits for one of the drill sites and planting trees, according to two people familiar with the discussions.


The final decision could come within the next month. But in concluding that limited drilling could occur on the land in Alaska’s North Slope, the Biden administration has already sent a strong signal that it is likely to give the project a green light, both supporters and opponents said.


The Department of the Interior issued a statement saying the agency still had “substantial concerns” about the Willow project, “including direct and indirect greenhouse gas emissions and impacts to wildlife and Alaska Native subsistence.” The analysis notes that the agency might make final changes “that would be more environmentally protective” like delaying a ruling about permits to more than one drill site.


The report is expected to be greeted with relief by Alaskan lawmakers and ConocoPhillips executives, who wanted a more expansive area for drilling but were worried that President Biden, who has made tackling climate change a centerpiece of his agenda, would work to block the project entirely.


ConocoPhillips said in a statement that it “welcomes” the environmental analysis and said the alternative selected by the Bureau of Land Management provided “a viable path forward” for the Willow project.


“We believe Willow will benefit local communities and enhance American energy security while producing oil in an environmentally and socially responsible manner,” Erec S. Isaacson, president of ConocoPhillips Alaska, said in a statement. He said the project had undergone five years of rigorous regulatory review and called on the administration to approve the plan “without delay.”


The option is the smallest footprint possible for the Willow project with a more limited impact on the immediate environment, but still allows the company access to the area’s vast petroleum reserves. In addition to the three drilling sites, the Bureau of Land Management’s preferred option calls for about 482 acres of gravel fill, more than 400 miles of ice roads and about 89 miles of pipelines.


The agency said the blueprint would reduce the proposed project’s footprint within the Teshekpuk Lake Special Area, a critical ecological area in the petroleum reserve that supports thousands of migratory birds and is a primary calving area and migration corridor for the Teshekpuk caribou herd.