Democracy Now! - June 12, 2015

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Democracy Now! - June 12, 2015

A judge in Ohio has found probable cause to charge a police officer with murder for the fatal shooting of 12-year-old Tamir Rice, who was shot dead at a playground while holding a toy gun. On Thursday, Judge Ronald Adrine of the Cleveland Municipal Court said there are grounds to prosecute the officers. The ruling came after community leaders in Cleveland took the unusual legal step on Tuesday of appealing directly to the judge to commence prosecution of the officer, saying they were tired of waiting over six months without any progress on the case. We speak to Rice family attorney Walter Madison and Rhonda Williams, the director of the Social Justice Institute at Case Western Reserve University. She’s one of the eight community activists who signed the affidavits in Tamir Rice’s case.

The Department of Justice estimates that about 80,000 prisoners are in solitary confinement. Some have been held in isolation for decades. Former Black Panther Albert Woodfox has been in solitary for over 40 years. While Woodfox could be released as early as today, we look at a new investigation by The Marshall Project and NPR that reveals prisons are sending thousands of people directly from solitary confinement back into their communities with almost no help or preparation. Many wind up homeless or back in prison. We speak to Christie Thompson of The Marshall Project and Five Mualimm-ak, founder of Incarcerated Nation Collective, a collective of previously incarcerated people. He spent 11 years in New York’s prison system, including five years in solitary.

As two fugitives who escaped from the Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora, New York, remain at large, human rights and prison reform activist Five Mualimm-ak discusses the need for reform at the massive prison. "This is a facility that is historically known for its abuse, has no accountability," Mualimm-ak says. "This place needs to be changed."

The annual Human Rights Watch International Film Festival is underway here in New York City, but one of its featured directors won’t be able to attend his film’s U.S. premiere this weekend. That’s because Israel recently deemed Palestinian filmmaker Amer Shomali a "security threat" and prevented him from traveling to Jerusalem to obtain a U.S. visa. Then he went to Amman, Jordan, where the U.S. approved a visa but said their visa machine was broken. Shomali had previously attended half a dozen European festivals without incident, and his film has drawn international acclaim. Interestingly, the film, "The Wanted 18," shows how Israel has historically tried to undermine any form of Palestinian nonviolent resistance by branding such resistance as dangerous and threatening, and recreates an astonishing true story from the First Palestinian Intifada when the Israeli army pursued 18 cows, whose independent milk production on a Palestinian collective farm was declared "a threat to the national security of the state of Israel." We speak to Amer Shomali in Ramallah.

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