Sophia Wilansky was just 21 years old when she gathered with other Water Protectors on the Backwater bridge north of the Standing Rock encampment in North Dakota. She had come to the Oceti Sakowin camp in solidarity with the indigenous led movement to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline from destroying […]
The civil rights complaint seeks justice against the constitutional violations perpetuated against the mostly Native American water protectors, including claims of retaliation and police brutality by law enforcement, as well suing the Morton County Sheriff Kyle Kirchmeier, and City of Mandan Chief of Police Jason Ziegler for maintaining policies, customs, and practices that led to grave violations of Plaintiffs’ rights secured by the U.S. Constitution.
The strength with which our movement fought—without weapons or violence toward those weak cowards wearing badges—was the stuff of historic legend.
This morning the outrageous unprecedented militarized police presence at Standing Rock has taken a turn for the worse. Hundreds of police have surrounded the front lines camp, road blockades have popped up everywhere, and water protectors are currently surrounded by militarized darth vader like cop goons.
Make no mistake about it, when police engage in violence against people of color, they are doing just what they were intended to do. It is not now nor has it ever been a failure of the system due to a few bad apples. If you’re black or brown or poor in this country, the police were never there to protect and serve you.
Last month, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit, which sets legal precedent for the states of Florida, Alabama, and Georgia, ruled that a jury could find that police used unconstitutional excessive force when they tasered a man recovering from a diabetic seizure.
Two especially disturbing trends emerge from The Post’s data — (1) many of the victims who were killed by police were military veterans killed during PTSD episodes, and (2) in many cases, witnesses or victims call 911 seeking medical assistance from the police but, instead of providing aid ,the police end up killing the mentally ill individual.
Consistently, media covering President Obama’s historic 2-day visit to Cuba has focused on the need for Cuba to clean up its human rights record if it truly wants to normalize relations with the U.S. While Cuba may have some shortcomings when it comes to its human rights record, the U.S. should be hesitant in its condemnation of others for abuses when the U.S. commits and perpetuates serious abuses at home (and abroad).
Last week, victims of civil rights abuses by police scored two victories in Massachusetts and New York. In Massachusetts, in Stamps v. Framingham, the federal First Circuit Court of Appeals held that a police officer who holds a loaded gun at the head of a non-threatening, compliant individual, with the gun’s safety off, cannot avoid civil liability for accidentally shooting and killing the individual. In New York, in Held v. Christian, a police officer agreed in a court settlement to pay $45,000 to an individual whose nude photos he stole after taking possession of her cell phone during a routine traffic stop.
Last week, in Cole v. Carson, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in Texas held that a teenager who was shot by police could take the police to court for federal civil rights violations. The teen had recently broken up with his girlfriend and had walked into the woods pointing a gun to his own head. He backed out of the woods with the gun still to his head and then turned to his left to continue walking and police officers opened fire on him.