Witness to Michael Brown’s Killing Explains What He Saw

Witness to Michael Brown's Killing Explains What He Saw

Dorian Johnson was walking down the middle of the street in Ferguson, Missouri, with his friend Michael Brown on Saturday—just moments before Brown was shot and killed by a still unnamed police officer. Johnson says that police officer began cursing at them and emerged from the car with his weapon drawn. He says he remembers no fewer than seven shots fired. He recalls that Brown’s hands were in the air as the officer fired.

MSNBC is reporting that Johnson’s attorney, Freeman Bosley, says that police declined the opportunity to speak with Johnson during their investigation. In this video, Johnson recounts the violence he encountered the day his friend Mike Brown lost his life.

10 Social Media Shares About the Horrors in Ferguson

10 Social Media Shares About the Horrors in Ferguson

Tensions remain high in Ferguson, Missouri, following the killing of 18-year-old Mike Brown Saturday—and the F.B.I. has now opened a civil rights investigation into Brown’s death.

Protests are expected to continue today in Ferguson today, as local residents and the press take to social media to chronicle the police department’s massive show of force. Officers in riot gear, sometimes riding massive armored trucks through the streets and armed with what appear to be M-16s, have been using tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse protestors. One local resident also captured the police pulling a pregnant woman out of a car and slamming her facedown on the ground.

Here are 10 posts from Twitter, Instagram and Vine that illustrate some of the horrors in Ferguson:

Police began patrolling streets in Lenco armored trucks on Saturday, the day Brown was killed.


By Monday, gas-masked officers were screaming, “Get the fuck out of here!”


Officers in traffic. 


Tear gas and weapons. 


Officer pointing a weapon into a yard. 

Additional police vehicles entering Ferguson. 



Man hit by rubber bullet taken in ambulance gurney. 


26-year-old Steve Walsh says he was shot by a wood pellet. 


Shot by rubber bullet directly between the eyes.

Pregnant woman screaming, “I’m six months pregnant, I cannot lay on my stomach!” after officers slam her facedown on the ground.  

F.B.I. Opens Inquiry Into Ferguson, WHO Approves Ebola Drugs and Detroit Flooding

F.B.I. Opens Inquiry Into Ferguson, WHO Approves Ebola Drugs and Detroit Flooding

Here’s what I’m reading up on this morning:

  • More than two months after a crash that killed his friend, Tracy Morgan is still recovering
TAGS: Morning Rush

Grandmother Assaulted by CHP Officer Breaks Silence

Grandmother Assaulted by CHP Officer Breaks Silence

In a video that went viral in July, a white California Highway Patrol (CHP) officer Daniel L. Andrew, is seen chasing, knocking down, straddling and repeatedly pummeling a black woman on the side of a freeway. That woman, 51-year-old grandmother Marlene Pinnock, is now speaking out to media in Los Angeles. 

In an interview with ABC-7, Pinnock she was walking down a Los Angeles freeway when Andrew assaulted her. She says that she has no idea why Andrew assaulted her. Pinnock is still recovering from the beating—she’s still in pain from swelling and slurs her speech.

The CHP, which says it’s prioritizing the investigation into Pinnock’s beating, refused to name the officer involved, but has taken him off patrol. A federal civil rights lawsuit names him as Daniel Andrews. 

Atlanta Schools Cheating Trial Begins

Atlanta Schools Cheating Trial Begins

Starting today, a dozen Atlanta Public Schools educators will face trial over whether they turned to cheating on their students’ tests in order to win bonuses and to meet federal and state education standards. Former principals, school administrators, teachers and testing staff have been charged with racketeering, and some have been accused of lying to state investigators and swaying witnesses, AP reported. 

The 12 who face trial today are just a fraction of the nearly three dozen educators who were indicted in a massive cheating scandal which rocked the nation, and the more than 200 teachers and principals that Georgia state investigators found involved in the cheating scandal. In 2011, Georgia investigators confirmed teacher cheating on student tests dating back to 2005 at 44 of 56 Atlanta Public Schools they investigated.

The trial could last months, Reuters reported.

Police Officer Calls Ferguson Protestors ‘Animals’

Police Officer Calls Ferguson Protestors 'Animals'

As Jamilah King explains, Michael Brown’s death at the hands of police officers isn’t an isolated incident in Ferguson, Missouri—where black residents face disproportionate stops, searches and arrests. The community has come out into the streets in protest to Brown’s killing, but it seems authorities don’t yet have a basic understanding about the outrage residents are feeling.

In a video report posted on CNN, a local police officer is heard yelling at protestors, “Bring it, all you fucking animals! Bring it!” You can hear it in the video above, with the expletive censored out, at 00:15. Ferguson’s mayor James Knowles tells CNN, “The officers did their best. They’re only human.”

Another protest is scheduled this morning outside of the Ferguson Police Department. 

Michael Brown’s Death Didn’t Happen in a Vacuum

Michael Brown's Death Didn't Happen in a Vacuum

Michael Brown should be starting freshman orientation at Vatterott College today. Instead, his body is laying in a St. Louis-area morgue pending an investigation into what drove a police officer to shoot and kill the unarmed 18-year-old on Saturday.

Residents of Ferguson, Missouri, the black St. Louis suburb where Brown lived and died, confronted police officers on Sunday in a scene that’s since been described by the national media as one that quickly devolved into “looting.” In photos, black residents stood in front of police with their hands up to show that they were unarmed. They chanted the slogans we’ve all become too used to over the years: “What do we want? Justice! When do we want it? Now!” Brown’s stepfather, Louis Head, carried a message scrawled in sharpie on a piece of cardboard: “Ferguson Police Just Executed My Unarmed Son!!!”


The St. Louis Post Dispatch’s editorial board unearthed some of the embers that lit Sunday’s fire. “Michael Brown didn’t get due process,” they wrote. “The still unnamed police officer who shot the 18-year-old black teenager dead in Ferguson will get plenty of it.”

And you can quantify that anger. Here’s more from the editorial board:

Last year, for the 11th time in the 14 years that data has been collected, the disparity index that measures potential racial profiling by law enforcement in the state got worse. Black Missourians were 66 percent more likely in 2013 to be stopped by police, and blacks and Hispanics were both more likely to be searched, even though the likelihood of finding contraband was higher among whites.

Every year these numbers come out to little fanfare, in part because there isn’t enough political will to do the further study to break them down by precincts and individual officers to determine whether there is a cultural or training problem in entire departments or just a few rogue, racist cops who need to find another line of work.


…In Ferguson, the city where Michael died, the police in 2013 pulled over blacks at a 37 percent higher rate than whites compared to their relative populations. Black drivers were twice as likely to be searched and twice as likely to be arrested compared to white drivers.

In January, the local chapter of the NAACP filed a civil rights complaint against the St. Louis County police, alleging that “racism is rampant in the department’s hiring, firing and discipline.” Now, NAACP leaders and local residents are asking that the FBI take over the investigation into Brown’s death. They don’t trust that justice, however it’s defined at this point, will be served.

As he was readying for college orientation last week, Brown posted one last message on Facebook: “if i leave this earth today,” he wrote to a friend, “atleast youll know i care about others more then i cared about my damn self.”

The ensuing days and months will who just how much America cared about him. 

Scenes from Sunday’s protests in Ferguson, Missouri:

brown1_081114.jpgBlack residents in Ferguson, Missouri, protest Michael Brown’s shooting. Photo from @SunnyHostin

brown3_081114.jpgResidents march through the streets of Ferguson. Photo from @Lnonblonde

brown5_081114.jpgPhoto from @AntonioFrench

brown6_081114.jpgCrowd at Ferguson Police Headquarters. Photo from @MichaelCalhoun 

Outrage Over Killing of Unarmed Teen, Ebola Exposure Quarantine in North Carolina and Supermoon

Outrage Over Killing of Unarmed Teen, Ebola Exposure Quarantine in North Carolina and Supermoon

Here’s what I’m reading up on this morning: 

  • Ferguson, Missouri’s black community holds vigil after police shoot and kill unarmed teen Mike Brown.
  • Tensions are increasing between Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki and the Obama administration. 
  • U.S. Missionaries returning from West Africa who may have been exposed to Ebola are being quarantined in Charlotte, North Carolina. 
TAGS: Morning Rush

Black Female Academic On Being Erased by President Obama

Black Female Academic On Being Erased by President Obama

What is it for an academic to launch a theory with 25 years of staying power but rarely get credit for its creation? — Signithia Fordham, a professor at the University of Rochester in New York, wrote a personal essay this week explaining how she makes sense of her intellectual erasure. In late July, President Obama reached into a familiar grab bag for Fordham’s controversial “acting white” theory during a My Brother’s Keeper announcement held at a Washington, D.C. public school. The 1986 theory has since been debunked according to the Washington Post, but it remains popular. Fordham’s essay, which doesn’t address the theory itself, is poignant. The erasure of black and Latina girls after all is the key criticism being leveled at Obama’s My Brother’s Keeper initiative aimed at young men and boys of color.

From Fordham:

Out of view of this spirited and public debate [about “acting white”], my phone and email inboxes filled to capacity with calls and notes from colleagues and friends who were dismayed that my work was being discussed—again without me.

The critical question I seek an answer to affects, not just me, but also many others: Are black women ignored by American society? Are we compelled to do the imporant labor for others to consume, elaborate, embellish, and dismiss?

Does Fordham have a point?


(h/t Race and Beyond blog, CAP)

Weekend Read: Why Do So Many People Claim Native Heritage?

Weekend Read: Why Do So Many People Claim Native Heritage?

What do Elizabeth Warren, Bill Clinton, Miley Cyrus and The Crying Indian in that popular 1970s Earth Day PSA have in common? Oklahoman Russell Cobb says they all belong to Wannabe Nation. It’s “bigger than the Cherokee Nation and perhaps even bigger than the entire state of Oklahoma—although that’s difficult to confirm, since the Census Bureau doesn’t keep statistics on this subset of the population,” Cobb writes in a brilliant essay in This Land Press. Definitely check it out this weekend [full text available by popular demand via Longreads].

Add Rachel Aviv’s, Wrong Answer, too. It’s being described as some of the most riveting reporting on the infamous Atlanta Schools cheating scandal that blew up in 2011. (See here for a brief refresher of the allegations, investigation and fallout.)

And last but not least, check out the latest from Colorlines’ Life Cycles of Inequity series about black men, Criminals, Victims and the Black Men Left Behind

What’s on your Read-Watch List this weekend?

ICE Detention Officer Complains About ‘Third World’ Mothers and Children

ICE Detention Officer Complains About 'Third World' Mothers and Children

Artesia detention center—a new facility in Texas created to hold migrant families—has garnered negative attention. The center holds about 600 women and children; all have been placed under quarantine following two cases of chickenpox, which means that deportations are currently halted out of Artesia. Migrants seeking asylum are being rushed through for deportation and are routinely being interviewed to establish credible fear without attorneys present. 

Detainees and the few who have visited them have stated that the facility isn’t medically equipped to handle families, and that officers there aren’t exactly friendly. Latino Rebels obtained a recording of one lawyer who called and spoke with ICE Supervisory Detention and Deportation Officer Henry Davila, who had choice words about a child that had to be rushed to an emergency room at a hospital out of Artesia. Davila complained about immigrants from “Third World countries” and talked about diseases, viruses and infections from migrants. 

Read more over at Latino Rebels

Want to Avoid Black Neighborhoods? There’s an App for That

Want to Avoid Black Neighborhoods? There's an App for That

First, it was Ghetto Tracker. Now, it’s SketchFactor. The new iPhone app, which will soon be available for Android, allows users to report on what they think are sketchy parts of town—so that other users can navigate around them. The app, which essentially crowdsources fear, just became available for download and has already garnered some racist posts. 

The app was created by Allison McGuire and Daniel Herrington; McGuire told Crain’s New York that she was motivated to create the app while living in Washington, D.C., as a young non-profit worker. She lives in New York now and says “almost nothing’s sketchy anymore.” So although she lives in a place in which she claims nothing is suspicious to her anymore, McGuire and Herrington nevertheless introduced SketchFactor. They now stand to make $20,000 for SketchApp as BigApps finalists, a contest sponsored by the New York Economic Development Corporation.

McGuire also told Crain’s that although she understands the potential as SketchFactor as a portal for racism, she hopes people will actually empower people of color to report racial profiling:

“We understand that people will see this issue,” Ms. McGuire said. “And even though Dan and I are admittedly both young, white people, the app is not built for us as young, white people. As far as we’re concerned, racial profiling is ‘sketchy’ and we are trying to empower users to report incidents of racism against them and define their own experience of the streets.”

Yeah. That’s probably not gonna happen.

(h/t Citylab)

Florida Church Cancels Funeral of Gay Man At Last Minute

Florida Church Cancels Funeral of Gay Man At Last Minute

Upon learning the night before that 42-year-old Julion Evans was gay, a Tampa church canceled his late-July funeral. Pastor T.W. Jenkins expressed regret for the cancellation but told WFLA News that New Hope Missionary Baptist Church preaches against gay marriage. Evans’ husband, Kendall Capers, said that he would have understood the church’s position but called the cancelation during the wake “disrespectful” and “wrong.”

“Based on our preaching of the scripture, we would have been in error to allow the service in our church,” Jenkins said. “I’m not trying to condemn anyone’s lifestyle, but at the same time, I am a man of God, and I have to stand up for my principles.”

Evans married his partner of 17 years last year in Maryland. His mother said she was baptised at New Hope as a child.

Watch WFLA News above for more.

Gaza Truce Ends, WHO Declares Ebola International Emergency and New Kidney Stone Test

Gaza Truce Ends, WHO Declares Ebola International Emergency and New Kidney Stone Test

Here’s what I’m reading up on this morning:

  • Obama authorizes airstrikes against ISIS to protect Yazidis from possible genocide in northern Iraq. 
  • The truce is over in Gaza and a 10-year-old child is the first victim of new Israeli attacks. 
  • Montana Senator John Walsh (D)  pulls out of the race after plagiarism accusations; there’s only a few days left in which to pick a replacement.
TAGS: Morning Rush

Guilty Verdict Returned in Renisha McBride Trial

Guilty Verdict Returned in Renisha McBride Trial

Theodore Wafer, 54, has been found guilty in the murder of 19-year-old Renisha McBride. “I have no problem locking up entire families,” the judge is reported to have said to the courtroom while asking for calm as the verdict was read. Wafer, who was convicted of second-degree murder, had claimed self defense in the shooting death of McBride who, disoriented and unarmed, went to his door late one November night after getting into a car accident.

(h/t CBSDetroit)

New Research: White Voter Support for Fewer Prisoners Depends On Who’s Locked Up

New Research: White Voter Support for Fewer Prisoners Depends On Who's Locked Up

A white female researcher went to a train station near San Francisco and asked 62 white voters to watch a video of mug shots of male inmates—before asking them to sign a petition easing California’s three-strikes law. Some watched a video where only 25 percent of inmates were black. Others, where 45 percent of inmates were black. When it came time for signing, most white voters viewing the video with fewer black inmates signed the petition. Those viewing the video with a higher percentage of black inmates, however, refused to sign, “regardless of how harsh participants thought the law was.” A new Stanford University study out this week reports that this and other experiments show that for white voters, highlighting racial disparities in mass incarceration may actually bolster support for tough on crime policies.

Researchers conducted a separate “real-life” experiment with white New Yorkers around stop-and-frisk. The results were similar to San Francisco’s. The takeaway?

“Many legal advocates and social activists seem to assume that bombarding the public with images, statistics and other evidence of racial disparities will motivate people to join the cause and fight inequality,” Hetey said. “[But] our research shows that numbers don’t always speak for themselves,” Eberhardt said. “Reducing inequality takes more than simply presenting people with evidence of extreme inequality.”

Read more at Stanford News.

Khmer Rouge Leaders Sentenced to Life, DHS Hacking and BofA’s Massive Mortgage Settlement

Khmer Rouge Leaders Sentenced to Life, DHS Hacking and BofA's Massive Mortgage Settlement

Here’s some of what I’m reading up on this morning: 

  • A major Homeland Security contractor is hacked, putting government workers’ information at risk. 
TAGS: Morning Rush

Jury Deliberation Begins in Renisha McBride Trial

Jury Deliberation Begins in Renisha McBride Trial

Jury deliberation began Wednesday in the trial of Theodore Wafer, 54, charged with the murder of 19-year-old Renisha McBride last November. The jury, according to Legal Insurrection, is composed of seven men and five women, including eight whites and four blacks. There are two white female alternates.

The McBride trial began on Monday, July 21. She was unarmed and disoriented when Wafer shot her on his front porch late one night, after McBride had gotten into a car accident.

For live updates, follow

When the U.S. Nearly Had Universal Child Care

When the U.S. Nearly Had Universal Child Care

Yesterday marks the 20th anniversary of a federal law that says, “having a baby shouldn’t cost you your job or your health insurance.” Meditate on Ellen Bravo’s words for a minute. Then consider that the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), which offers 12 weeks unpaid leave, still doesn’t go far enough for most families. But advocates appear hopeful that could soon change. After a near 50-year lull, according to an informative history by Think Progress’ Bryce Covert, a new top-level conversation around the “family friendly” workplace and universal childcare is once again gaining steam—which is good news for all families but in particular single parents and working class families of color. 

Read up on paid leave bills passing in states across the country, where the FMLA falls short, and this 2013 TNR piece on how Pat Buchanan helped kill a 1970s plan to implement national daycare

What one piece of national legislation would do the most to help single parents or families of color?

(h/t Huffington Post)

Professor Loses New Job for Pro-Palestinian Tweets

Professor Loses New Job for Pro-Palestinian Tweets

According to Inside Higher Ed, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has blocked the appointment of Steven G. Salaita to its faculty. Illinois made its appointment public a few weeks ago—and Salaita was to start teaching in the American Indian studies program later this month. 

But Inside Higher Ed’s Scott Jaschik writes that according to two sources, Salaita lost his opportunity due to the “tone” of his recent pro-Palestinian tweets:

The sources familiar with the university’s decision say that concern grew over the tone of his comments on Twitter about Israel’s policies in Gaza. While many academics at Illinois and elsewhere are deeply critical of Israel, Salaita’s tweets have struck some as crossing a line into uncivil behavior.

Salaita’s Twitter account has gone silent in recent days.

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is not new to controversy. The school retired its mascot, Chief Illiniwek, in 2007, but it remains a presence on campus, causing some students serious distress. And after the school’s chancellor, Phyllis Wise, declined to declare a snow day on a particularly cold day this January, students soon took to Twitter to make racist and sexist attacks against her.

J Kēhaulani Kauanui, an associate professor at Wesleyan, has created an action page on Facebook to back Salaita, asking supporters to call and write their complaints about blocking his hire to Chancellor Wise. 

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98 99 100 101 102 103 104 105 106 107 108 109 110 111 112 113 114 115 116 117 118 119 120 121 122 123 124 125 126 127 128 129 130 131 132 133 134 135 136 137 138 139 140 141 142 143 144 145 146 147 148 149 150 151 152 153 154 155 156 157 158 159 160 161 162 163 164 165 166 167 168 169 170 171 172 173 174 175 176 177 178 179 180 181 182 183 184 185 186 187 188 189 190 191 192 193 194 195 196 197 198 199 200 201 202 203 204 205 206 207 208 209 210 211 212 213 214 215 216 217 218 219