Protests are set to begin for a third day in a row in Ferguson, Missouri over a grand jury’s decision not to indict Officer Darren Wilson for killing unarmed black teenager Michael Brown. On Tuesday, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon deployed more than 2,000 National Guardsmen to patrol the St. Louis area. Police repeatedly fired smoke bombs and tear gas to scatter protesters gathered near Ferguson City Hall. Police said 44 people were arrested. Meanwhile demonstrations over the Michael Brown case spread across the country from Los Angeles to New York. We go to Ferguson to speak with Tory Russell, one of the founders of the group Hands Up United and a member of the St. Louis-based Organization for Black Struggle.
On Tuesday, the family of Michael Brown held a press conference at a church not far from Ferguson. Michael Brown Sr. was present but did not speak. He wore a red St. Louis baseball cap similar to the one his son had on when he was killed by Officer Darren Wilson, and a t-shirt that read, "No Justice, No Peace." The Brown family’s attorney Benjamin Crump and the Rev. Al Sharpton criticized St. Louis County Prosecutor Bob McCulloch’s handling of the grand jury process. At the news conference, Amy Goodman asked Rev. Al Sharpton about whether authorities let parts of Ferguson burn on Monday night. She also asked about the three slain civil rights workers awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom on Monday, and whether that case offers hope for federal charges against Wilson.
At the Presidential Medal of Freedom ceremony on Monday, President Obama honored James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Mickey Schwerner, the three civil rights workers who were killed 50 years ago by the Ku Klux Klan after traveling to Mississippi to register black voters. "In that Freedom Summer, these three Americans refused to sit on the sidelines," Obama said. "Their brutal murder by a gang of Ku Klux Klan members shook the conscience of our nation. It took 44 days to find their bodies, 41 years to bring the lead perpetrator to justice." We also play an excerpt from the film, "Neshoba: The Price of Freedom."
An Ohio man has been freed from prison after spending 39 years behind bars for a crime he didn’t commit. Ricky Jackson, a 59-year old African-American man, had been jailed since 1975 on a murder conviction. The prosecution’s case was based on the testimony of a 13-year-old witness. After a 2011 investigation, the witness recanted his testimony, saying he had implicated Jackson and two others under police coercion. The witness, Eddy Vernon, said police had fed him the story and threatened to arrest his parents if he didn’t cooperate. On Friday, Ricky Jackson was freed after prosecutors dropped the case. With nearly four decades wrongfully behind bars, Jackson is the longest-held U.S. prisoner to be exonerated. He joins us today along with his lawyer, Brian Howe, a staff attorney with the Ohio Innocence Project.
Full episodes of Democracy Now! can be viewed at the link: https://www.freespeech.org/collection/democracy-now.
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