Michael Brown’s father seeks to reopen son’s case

On the fifth anniversary of Michael Brown’s death in Ferguson, his father is urging the top St. Louis County prosecutor to reopen the investigation into the white police officer who fatally shot the black and unarmed 18-year-old. (Aug. 9)

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Ferguson Commission member Felicia Pulliam discusses the fallout from the Michael Brown shooting

Felicia Pulliam recognizes that more than a half-century after the civil rights movement, race relations in the U.S. have a long way to go. But she believes events in Ferguson helped move things forward. Pulliam, who is black, is a longtime advocate for racial equity and unity. She was among the 16 people appointed to the Ferguson Commission convened by then-Gov. Jay Nixon to address the racial problems in the St. Louis region that were thrust into the spotlight after Michael Brown’s death.

Mayor James Knowles III talks about how Michael Brown’s death changed Ferguson

James Knowles III, who is white, was re-elected to a third three-year term last year. He said the election was evidence that despite those who speak out at council meetings, he has plenty of support, including in the black community. Knowles, 40, is proud of the work Ferguson has done to reform its police and court practices, reforms that he points out began weeks after Brown’s death, long before they were mandated by a 2016 agreement with the Justice Department. The Ferguson Police Department drew heavy criticism in 2014 for many reasons: It had only three black officers out of 53 in a city that is two-thirds African American. Police were accused of racial profiling in traffic stops, of treating blacks with aggression. Today, Knowles said, the department is almost evenly split between white and black officers. Officers now wear body cameras. They’re more involved with people rather than just reacting to crime.

Filmmaker Chris Phillips talks about the impact of Michael Brown’s death

As unrest grew in Ferguson, many people across the country were getting their news not from traditional media but from online video, including livestreaming.
Filmmaker Chris Phillips was among those providing that content, in part because, for him, it was personal: He was black and lived at the time in Canfield Green Apartments, near where Brown was killed.
Phillips, now 38, didn’t fully grasp the magnitude of the shooting until the next day.
For the next several months, Phillips and other videographers were a constant presence at the protests, capturing images of police in riot gear and armed with military weapons clashing with demonstrators.

Activist Josh Brown speaks about the impact of Michael Brown’s death

Josh Williams’ mother drove Michael Brown’s school bus. In 2014, Williams and Brown were both 18 and knew each other, though not well. Williams said he was shaken by his death.
Williams, who is black, took to the streets of Ferguson the night after the shooting and stayed there for the months of protests that followed. He lived in a tent most of the time along West Florissant Avenue.
In December 2014, Antonio Martin was killed in a confrontation with police at a gas station in Berkeley, near Ferguson. In what he called a fit of anger during a protest, Williams grabbed a few things from the store and set fire to a trash can.
The crime was captured by a TV news crew, and Williams was arrested the next day. He was convicted and sentenced to eight years in prison. His only prior arrests were for disturbances related to protests.
Now 23, Williams is housed in a prison southwest of St. Louis. He said he spends much of his time counseling other prisoners, helping them prepare for life once they get out.

Impact of Brown’s death still felt in Ferguson

Five years after Michael Brown was shot and killed by a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, the town has seen changes but some residents wonder if enough has been done. (August 8)

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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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Black Lives: Struggle. Dreaming of racial justice in St. Louis’ black neighborhoods (Ep.1)

Fifty years after Martin Luther King’s death, some American cities are still divided along racial lines. The legacy of legalised segregation persists and shapes urban areas like St. Louis
Episode one follows St. Louis activists who are fighting battles old and new: against inequality, poverty, bias, lack of prospects, police abuse, and extrajudicial killings, all problems the African-American community faces every day. We meet activist rapper, T-Dubb-O, Ferguson protester, Dhoruba Shakur, and local protest organiser, Tory Russell. They all describe the bleak reality of living in black enclaves
We also hear from Gina Torres, whose son, Isaiah Hammett, was killed in a raid on their home by a SWAT team. Some say the young white man received, “the treatment of black people” and died because he hung around black people.

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