2014-08-18 15:32:38

Democracy Now! 2014-08-18 Monday

A private autopsy report has found that Michael Brown — the African-American teenager killed by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri — was shot at least six times, including twice in the head. Meanwhile, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon has ordered the National Guard into Ferguson after another night of protests over the shootings. In a statement, Nixon said he chose to activate the National Guard because of "deliberate, coordinated and intensifying violent acts." For the past two nights, police have tried to enforce a five-hour curfew starting at midnight. On Sunday night, local police fired tear gas, smoke canisters and rubber bullets in an attempt to clear the streets before the curfew began. Police accused some protesters of throwing Molotov cocktails and trying to overrun the police command center. Earlier in the day on Sunday, 1,300 people packed the Greater Grace Church for a rally attended by Michael Brown’s parents. We air an excerpt of speeches made at this event.

Community outrage grew in Ferguson, Missouri, over the weekend after the police named the officer who shot Michael Brown, Darren Wilson, after withholding his identity for five days. But in naming Wilson, the police also released video footage showing a young man who appeared to be Brown shoplifting a box of cigarillos from a convenience store. The Ferguson police released the video while continuing to withhold all other details about Brown’s killing, including how many times he was shot and the incident report from the shooting. In disclosing the video, the police appeared to suggest Brown may have been stopped as a suspect in the shoplifting. But hours later, Ferguson police admitted the officer did not know about the incident and had stopped Brown solely for walking in the middle of the street. Joining us from St. Louis, the Rev. Clinton Stancil, senior pastor at the Wayman AME Church, says Police Chief Jackson should resign. He also says that efforts are being made to galvanize African-American voters in the next election to address concerns over the lack of diversity in the city’s elected officials.

As protests continue in Ferguson, we are joined by Art McCoy, who in 2010 he became the first African-American school superintendent of the Ferguson-Florissant School District. But three years later, McCoy was suspended without explanation, setting off a controversy that led to his resignation earlier this year. At the time of his suspension, there were no African Americans on the school board, even though three-quarters of the district’s students were black. McCoy is currently an adjunct professor of education at the University of Missouri, and is on the board of the Urban League’s St. Louis Chapter.

After a week that saw a militarized police crackdown and the imposition of a nighttime curfew, Amnesty International USA has taken an "unprecedented" step by sending a 13-person delegation to monitor the developments in Ferguson, Missouri. It is the first time Amnesty organization has deployed observers inside the United States. We speak to Steven Hawkins, executive director of Amnesty International USA.

Just miles away from the scene of the protests in Ferguson lies the grave of Dred Scott at the Calvary Cemetery on West Florissant Avenue. Born a slave in Virginia, Dred Scott sued in a St. Louis court for his freedom. The case went to the Supreme Court, resulting in a landmark 1857 decision that African Americans were not citizens of the United States and therefore had no rights to sue in federal courts. The court described blacks as "beings of an inferior order, and altogether unfit to associate with the white race, either in social or political relations, and so far inferior that they had no rights which the white man was bound to respect." The Dred Scott Decision is considered by many to be the worst decision in the Supreme Court’s history. We discuss the case’s significance with Kimberlé Crenshaw, professor of law at UCLA and Columbia University and founder of the African American Policy Forum.

Amnesty International Amy Goodman Democracy Now! Human Rights Michael Brown Racism

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