Democracy Now! - January 14, 2015

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Democracy Now! - January 14, 2015

After leading a controversial campaign against Mayor Bill de Blasio, the head of New York City’s largest police union, Patrick Lynch, is facing an internal challenge of his own. Lynch, who accused de Blasio of having "blood on his hands" for a gunman’s murder of two officers and later spearheaded the two-week arrest and summons slowdown by New York City Police Department officers, will be challenged by dissident cops in the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association’s next election in June. Democracy Now! co-host and New York Daily News columnist Juan González discusses the revolt, which he attributes in part to a changing NYPD demographic that in recent years has seen officers of color become the majority on the force.

It has been nearly two-and-a-half years since American journalist Austin Tice disappeared while covering the war in Syria. At the time of his disappearance, Austin was one of the few foreign journalists who had continued reporting in Syria as the conflict intensified. He traveled extensively throughout the country filing in-depth dispatches from the frontlines. Tice is the last known U.S. reporter held in Syria, after two others — James Foley and Steven Sotloff — were beheaded by militants from the self-described Islamic State last year. Syria is said to be the world’s most dangerous country for journalists, with nearly 130 news and information providers killed since the conflict began in March 2011. Austin’s parents, Debra and Marc Tice, join us to discuss the ongoing effort to win their son’s release. We also speak to Delphine Halgand, U.S. director of Reporters Without Borders, which has has launched a public awareness campaign for Austin’s release.

In a Democracy Now! exclusive, we speak to environmental activist Eric McDavid, who has just been released from prison 10 years early after federal prosecutors acknowledged withholding key evidence about how he may have been entrapped by an FBIinformant with whom he had fallen in love. In 2008, McDavid was sentenced to 19 years in prison for conspiring to bomb sites in California including the Nimbus Dam. Defense attorneys say he was entrapped by a teenage informant who went by the name "Anna" and supplied him with food, housing and bomb-making instructions, and pressured him into illegal activity. As part of a settlement reached in the case on Thursday, federal prosecutors acknowledged withholding key evidence, including an FBI request for the informant to undergo a lie-detector test. This damning detail about the government’s star witness was found in thousands of documents released after his trial, when his supporters filed a Freedom of Information Act request. In his first interview since his release, McDavid joins us from Sacramento along with his partner Jenny Esquivel, a member of the group Sacramento Prisoner Support. We are also joined by McDavid’s lawyer, Ben Rosenfeld, a civil rights attorney who specializes in cases dealing with police andFBI misconduct.