On Democracy Now! 7/23/20:
As President Trump announces a “surge” of federal agents into major U.S. cities to confront protesters, DN! speaks with Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner, who warns he will arrest and charge Trump’s police forces if they violate the rights of residents in his city. “The law applies to the president of the United States, even though he doesn’t think so. The law applies to law enforcement. The law applies to civilians. It is real simple,” says Krasner. He also discusses the importance of releasing incarcerated people during the pandemic, and tackling police corruption, such as in the case of political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal.
Krasner has made addressing police corruption a cornerstone of his time in office, and he says it affects many criminal cases, including that of political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal, who has always maintained his innocence for the 1981 murder of a Philadelphia police officer for which he has spent four decades behind bars. Within weeks of the end of the trial, a third of the police involved in his case were jailed for systematically tampering with evidence to obtain convictions in cases across the city, and at least one police officer in the case, James Forbes, lied on the stand, saying he had properly handled guns. “It is a microcosm of the realities of what progressive prosecutors face now when they’re trying to go back in time and do justice,” Krasner says of efforts to rectify police abuses steeped in “a culture that used to shred and used to hide and used to destroy.”
Protesters in Chicago are demanding justice after police officers attacked a teenage activist last week during a demonstration in which people attempted to topple a statue of Christopher Columbus in Grant Park. An officer struck 18-year-old Miracle Boyd, a recent high school graduate and organizer with the group GoodKids MadCity, in the face, knocking out several teeth. Journalists also reported being mistreated by police officers, who used chemical sprays and batons on protesters. “This is consistent with what we’ve seen from the Chicago Police Department in their response to these uprisings,” says Sheila Bedi, the civil rights lawyer representing Boyd.
The harrowing scenes of paramilitary-style units in the streets of American cities like Portland has shocked mainstream America, but award-winning independent journalist Todd Miller, who has reported on border security and immigration for over a decade, says it’s a reflection of how the U.S. has operated around the world. DN! also speaks with Cecilia Menjívar, UCLA sociology professor, who says the image of unmarked vans snatching people from the streets “brings back memories to Latin Americans who lived through disappearances of families and friends and co-workers.”
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