A new report has uncovered shocking details about the history of lynchings in the United States and their legacy today. After five years of exhaustive research and interviews with local historians and descendants of lynching victims, the Equal Justice Initiative found white Southerners lynched nearly 4,000 black men, women and children between 1877 and 1950 — a total far higher than previously known. The report details a 1916 attack in which a mob lynched Jeff Brown for accidentally bumping into a white girl as he ran to catch a train. In an example from 1940, a crowd lynched Jesse Thornton for not addressing a white police officer as "mister." In many cases, the lynchings were attended by the entire white community in an area. We speak with attorney and Equal Justice Initiative founder and director Bryan Stevenson, whose group’s report is "Lynching in America: Confronting the Legacy of Racial Terror." The EJI is calling for the placement of historical markers at sites where lynchings occurred.
Alabama has become the 37th state to allow same-sex marriage after the U.S. Supreme Court rejected the state’s bid to block the unions. Same-sex couples lined up to marry in parts of the state, including Huntsville, Birmingham and Montgomery. But on Tuesday, 44 of Alabama’s 67 counties reportedly continued to refuse to issue same-sex marriage licenses after Sunday’s conflicting order from an Alabama Supreme Court justice. Chief Justice Roy Moore ordered judges and officials not to issue or recognize the licenses, arguing the local courts are not beholden to a federal court ruling that struck down the ban. Now, a federal judge has set a hearing that could determine whether resistant local probate judges must grant the licenses. While marriage-equality advocates have welcomed recent developments in the historically conservative state, they warn that much work remains to be done. Alabama is one of the 30 states where it is still legal for an employer to fire LGBT employees. We are joined by Tori and Shanté Wolfe-Sisson, who made history Monday by becoming the first same-sex couple to marry in Montgomery.
After months of demonstrations calling for justice, a New York City Police Department officer has been indicted for the fatal shooting of unarmed African American Akai Gurley last November. A grand jury elected to charge Officer Peter Liang with manslaughter, criminally negligent homicide, assault and official misconduct. Liang was reportedly carrying his gun in his left hand and a flashlight in his right when he opened the door to a dimly lit stairwell he was patrolling in a Brooklyn housing project. His gun went off, hitting Gurley as he walked down the stairs. Police Commissioner William Bratton has described the shooting as an "unfortunate accident" and said Gurley was "totally innocent." Liang did not respond to police radio contact for more than six minutes and texted his union representative for advice. A neighbor ended up calling for the ambulance that rushed Gurley to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead. We get reaction to the indictment from Vincent Warren, executive director of the Center for Constitutional Rights.
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