The Sheriffs Refusing To Enforce Washington State’s New Gun Law (HBO)

From his temporary office in the basement of the Klickitat County Courthouse, Sheriff Bob Songer is carrying out a provocative mission: he’s refusing to enforce a new Washington State gun control law.

The law, Initiative 1639, raises the age to purchase a semi-automatic rifle to 21, expands background checks, and adds new rules for the safe storage of firearms. Some of its provisions went into effect on January 1st; the rest are supposed to start in July.

But Songer says the law is unconstitutional — and he insists he won’t carry it out, nor, as an elected sheriff, should he be obligated to.

“Even if it was a legal law, you have discretionary power,” Songer tells VICE News Tonight. “There is no other law enforcement official in the entire United States except a sheriff is elected to office by the people.”

Songer is a leading figure in a movement that’s become the go-to response to new gun-control laws: law enforcement officials declaring their counties “sanctuaries” for gun rights. So far, more than 100 counties in at least seven states have made the move. In Washington alone, more than twenty sheriffs have said that they will follow Songer’s lead.

Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson thinks a lot of that is bluster. But he’s also taking steps to ensure the law is fully enforced.

“We’ve had a death penalty in our state for many, many years,” Ferguson says. “I’m personally quite opposed the death penalty. But my office helps defend death penalty cases across the state.”

In February, Ferguson sent an open letter to sheriffs across the state warning them that their counties’s residents could face civil penalties or liability if the law is not enforced. Earlier this month, he penned another letter reminding gun shops that they must follow the new law, regardless of what their local sheriff tells them.

“To me where I draw the line is what’s discretionary and what’s not,” Ferguson said. “You will see in the state 18 year olds, 19 year olds, and 20 year olds can no longer purchase AR-15s. That’s going to happen. Period. You will see in the state enhanced background checks done for semiautomatic weapons. Effective July 1 that’s going to happen. Period.”

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Speaking with Prominent Activist Brittany Packnett – VICE on HBO

Almost three years after Ferguson, tensions between the police and black communities remain high. While African Americans are being targeted at unprecedented rates, 2016 saw a dramatic spike in the number of officers killed in ambush-style attacks.

Recent attempts at reform have done little to save lives. Now, as the country grows further divided, some officers are speaking out to spark change in some of the 18,000 local police departments. VICE correspondent Cord Jefferson reports from St. Louis, one of America’s most dangerous cities, to hear from activists and police officers alike about race and policing.

VICE airs Fridays on HBO at 11pm.

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Cops Getting Caught On Video Hasn’t Led To More Convictions (HBO)

Jason Stockley, the former Missouri police officer who shot and killed Anthony Lamar Smith in 2011, on Friday became the latest cop to be acquitted of murder in spite of video that showed Stockley saying he would kill Smith before shooting him at close range multiple times.

The acquittal was expected to trigger protests in St. Louis, just a few miles from Ferguson, Missouri, where Michael Brown was shot and killed by police in 2014.

While video evidence from body cameras, dash cameras, surveillance cameras, and mobile phones has increased the frequency with which cops are charged with murder and manslaughter since 2015, it is not leading to more convictions. VICE News’ Isabella McKinley Corbo reports:

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Ferguson Election & Russia Protests: VICE News Tonight Full Episode (HBO)

This is the full episode from April 3, 2017, of VICE News Tonight on HBO.

Nearly a thousand people were detained during a week of mass anti-corruption protests in Russia last week, we went to Moscow to meet a family being reunited. Plus, a report on Ferguson’s first mayoral election since the shooting death of Michael Brown. And, an acclaimed new video game allows players to become anything – and everything – in our interconnected universe. Dexter Thomas plays the video game with creator David O’Reilly. Also, April Fools in the era of fake news.

Read: “The progressive Resistance took down Trumpcare. Now what?” – http://bit.ly/2o0zask

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On The Line: Avi Asher-Schapiro on Cop Watch

​Follow us on Twitter (https://twitter.com/vicenews) where we’ll announce the next topic for On The Line.

VICE News journalist Avi Asher-Schapiro (https://twitter.com/aaschapiro) joined On The Line to discuss his new piece about Cop Watch.

Over the past year-and-a-half, police violence in places like New York, Baltimore, and Ferguson grabbed headlines, sparked mass protest, and drove down public confidence in law enforcement to a 22 year low. In response, people across the country have been fashioning makeshift uniforms, arming themselves with cameras, and patrolling streets to document police misconduct. It’s an explosion of a movement that has been around for many years. This is Copwatch.

Read: Walking the Beat With Copwatch, the People Who Police the Police – http://bit.ly/1V8w12t

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This Week On The Line: Avi Asher-Schapiro on Cop Watch

On Thursday at 12pm EDT VICE News journalist Avi Asher-Schapiro (https://twitter.com/aaschapiro) joins On The Line to discuss his new piece about Cop Watch.

Over the past year-and-a-half, police violence in places like New York, Baltimore, and Ferguson grabbed headlines, sparked mass protest, and drove down public confidence in law enforcement to a 22 year low. In response, people across the country have been fashioning makeshift uniforms, arming themselves with cameras, and patrolling streets to document police misconduct. It’s an explosion of a movement that has been around for many years. This is Copwatch.

Read: Walking the Beat With Copwatch, the People Who Police the Police – http://bit.ly/1V8w12t

VICE News and On The Line want to hear from you! Let us know your questions for Avi on Twitter with the hashtag #ontheline, or send us a video message on Skype.

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