Black Lives Matter

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…

Dashcam video shows police sexually assaulted Texas woman, lawyer says

The attorney for a black woman subjected to an invasive and lengthy roadside strip search by Texas police has released a dashcam video of the incident that he says shows her treatment was a form of rape. “When you stick your fingers in somebody without their effective consent, that’s rape in any state that I know of,” said Sam Cammack, an attorney for Charnesia Corley. Cammack made the video public after two Harris County deputies, Ronaldine Pierre and William Strong, were cleared of official oppression by a grand jury earlier this month. They are still with the sheriff’s department. Cammack…

Police Killed Michael Brown 3 Years Ago. Reflections on the Energy and Trauma of the Uprising It Sparked

Three years ago today (August 9), a White Ferguson, Missouri, police officer named Darren Wilson fatally shot Michael Brown, an unarmed Black 18-year-old he’d stopped for walking in the street on his way home. Authorities let Brown’s body lay outside for some four hours, stunning and then angering his community. The following day saw both a peaceful vigil and the burning of a QuikTrip gas station among other sites. For 10 days and nights, local then state police met mostly peaceful protesters with tanks, rubber bullets, tear gas and other military-grade equipment. At the height of what some call the…

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