Justice for Alonzo Smith: Beverly Smith Reflects on Her Son’s Life Before He Was Killed by Special Police

Born in Washington, DC, on January 2, 1988, Alonzo Smith was a father of three children, and a father figure to the many children for whom he was a teacher’s aide at Accotink Academy — a therapeutic school located in Springfield, Virginia. He is deeply missed by his students, because on November 1, 2015, 27-year-old Smith was killed by private security guards known as “Special Police.” “At his school, they called him a master of his trade. He was very loved by his children and staff as well,” Beverly Smith, Alonzo’s mother, says. “He had the gift for gab, very…

Sixteen Shots

Chicago police have told their version of how 17-year-old black teen Laquan McDonald died. The autopsy tells a different story. An autopsy tells a story. The genre is mystery: a narrative set in motion by a corpse. The pathologist-narrator investigates the cause of death in precise, descriptive prose that ultimately allows the dead to testify about what happened to them. In the case of Laquan McDonald, a 17-year-old black youth killed by Chicago police on Oct. 20, 2014, the autopsy raises questions not only about how he died, but about how the Chicago Police Department has handled the case since….

Journalist Who Told Laquan McDonald’s Story Faces Fight Over Sources

CHICAGO — If not for the reporting of Jamie Kalven, an independent journalist in Chicago, the world might never have known the name Laquan McDonald, a black teenager who was shot 16 times by a police officer as he walked down a street holding a folding knife. Mr. Kalven questioned the official police account of the shooting and revealed the existence of a police dashboard-camera video that documented the episode. Months and many court fights later, Chicago city officials were forced to release the video of the shooting, which showed Mr. McDonald, 17, being shot again and again one night…

Police Violence Persists, Though Most Media Have Stopped Paying Attention

October was an especially brutal month when it comes to the tally of people killed by police in this country, particularly for people of color. I emphasize people of color because my lifelong research on this topic tells me that their killings are not random, but rather are a result of dehumanization and the constant patrolling of bodies and communities of color, especially those of Native, Black and Brown peoples. Unfortunately, this is not a new phenomenon. This pattern of killings with impunity has been ongoing since 1492. Regardless of whether the killings are random or targeted, the number of…

Killed By Police 2017 (KBP) lists 93 people killed in the month of October. For September, the number was “only” 84. Let that sink in; that is more than three per day, and November is on the same pace. …There are other groups that keep similar tallies, but KBP has done the most consistent job since mid-2013. (The Guardian was doing excellent work on this topic; however, it stopped this past year.) It is shameful that in this day and age, a volunteer effort, year in and year out, does a better job than the federal government at keeping track of such statistics….

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