2015-04-08 13:43:59

Democracy Now! - April 8, 2015

A white South Carolina police officer has been charged with murder after a video showed him shooting an apparently unarmed African-American man who was running away. The killing happened Saturday morning after North Charleston police officer Michael Slager stopped Walter Scott for a broken brake light. On the video, Slager is seen shooting at Scott eight times as he tries to flee. The North Charleston Police Department had initially defended Slager after he said he feared for his life and claimed Scott had taken his taser weapon. But the video shows Slager shot Scott in the back at a distance of about 15 feet. The video also appears to capture Slager planting an object next to Scott — possibly the taser gun. The video does not appear to show Scott in possession of the officer’s stun gun at any time. We are joined by longtime South Carolina civil rights activist Kevin Alexander Gray, editor of the book "Killing Trayvons: An Anthology of American Violence."

Ferguson has made history in the Missouri town’s first municipal election since the police shooting of Michael Brown and the release of a scathing Justice Department report documenting racially discriminatory practices by police and local courts. For the first time in Ferguson’s 120 years, the six-member City Council will have three African Americans. Ella Jones and Wesley Bell were elected with record voter turnout of nearly 30 percent in an area that usually sees about 12 percent of registered voters go to the polls. When Brown was killed last August, Ferguson’s mayor, the police chief, the city manager and the municipal judge were all white. Since the shooting, all but the mayor have resigned. The newly elected city council members will be charged with hiring their replacements. We are joined by Patricia Bynes, Democratic committeewoman of Ferguson Township. Bynes helped register residents and get out the vote, and served as a campaign manager for two candidates.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has won re-election in a hard-fought runoff against challenger Jesús "Chuy" García. Emanuel defeated García with a margin of around 55 percent to García’s 44 percent. Emanuel raised $23 million for the campaign, more than three times García’s $6 million. García, the son of Mexican immigrants, shocked the nation’s political establishment by forcing Emanuel into the runoff earlier this year. Emanuel faced public dissatisfaction over his closing of 50 schools in mostly African-American neighborhoods, his handling of a 2012 teachers’ strike, and the city’s high murder rate and levels of gun violence. We are joined from Chicago by Rick Perlstein, a reporter and author who has been covering the city elections for In These Times.

In his new book "My Journey with Maya," the television and radio broadcaster Tavis Smiley pays tribute to the late Maya Angelou, chronicling their nearly three decade-long, multi-generational friendship. Smiley was 21 and Angelou was 58 when they first met in the mid-1980s. The book brims with the renowned poet’s words and Smiley’s remembrances of how she guided him through challenging moments in his life. The book’s release coincides with the U.S. Postal Service’s unveiling of a new limited edition forever stamp in Angelou’s honor.

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Amy Goodman Democracy Now! Ferguson Maya Angelou Police Shootings Rahm Emanuel Tavis Smiley

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