Tulsa police shooting investigated by Justice Department

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Image: NBC News

From different angles, the videos show the same scene.

An unarmed black man walks on a Tulsa, Oklahoma, road with his hands in the air. Police officers follow closely behind him as he approaches his vehicle. He stands beside the car, then falls to the ground after one officer pulls the trigger.
Now 40-year-old Terence Crutcher is dead. Crutcher’s sister is demanding that prosecutors charge the officer who shot him. And the police videos of the incident are fueling criticism about the case.
Federal, state and local authorities are investigating the Friday night shooting.
Crutcher’s family says he was waiting for help on the road after his SUV broke down.
The officer’s attorney says she was afraid Crutcher was reaching for a weapon when she opened fire. Attorney Benjamin Crump, part of the legal team representing Crutcher’s family, countered at a Tuesday news conference that Crutcher’s window was rolled up, making it unlikely he was reaching into the car.
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Family and neighbors call Scott a quiet ‘family man’

Vernita Walker calls her son, Keith Lamont Scott, a “mama’s boy” who called her every day.

He last checked in with her on Tuesday afternoon at around 2, Walker says. “But I missed his call.”

Keith Lamont Scott, at far right, in a photo from a GoFundMe page set up on his behalf after Tuesday’s events.
Image: GoFundMe via Charlotte Observer

About two hours later, Scott, 43, was fatally shot by police conducting a search for someone who had an outstanding warrant. Scott was not the person police were looking for.

His shooting launched a night of violent protests in the University area and conflicting stories from neighbors and police. Police say they saw Scott had a handgun as he got out of his car and got back in. A woman who said she is Scott’s daughter said on a live-streamed video that Scott was unarmed, sitting in his car reading a book.

In a brief phone interview with the Observer, Walker hesitated talking about her son in the past tense: “I don’t like to talk about him in that term.”

She called him “a family man” and “a likeable person.”

“… And he loved his wife and his children … And this was, they don’t want to say it, but a mama’s boy. Yes, he’s one of those. But he was a smart, young man.”

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After court threat, state of Michigan removed Flint’s power to sue

Days after Flint Mayor Karen Weaver served notice that her city might file a lawsuit against the State of Michigan over the Flint drinking water crisis, the state removed Flint’s ability to sue.

Though Flint has not been under a state-appointed emergency manager since April 2015, the state still exerts partial control over the city through a five-member Receivership Transition Advisory Board, whose members are appointed by Gov. Rick Snyder.

The board moved quickly to change the rules under which Flint is governed so that the city cannot file a lawsuit without first getting approval from that state-appointed board.

In other words, Flint cannot sue the state without getting the state to sign off on it first.

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Thousands of life jackets have been laid outside the British Parliament to commemorate refugee death

Image: Quartz

As the United Nations summit on migrants and refugees begins in New York, campaigners in the UK have created a”life jacket graveyard” on Parliament Square in London to raise awareness of the ongoing crises. The installation by Snappin’ Turtle productions is to commemorate those who died trying to get to Europe. Almost 7,000 people died…

via Thousands of life jackets have been laid outside the British Parliament to commemorate refugee deaths — Quartz

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Defense Department Paid Sports Teams $53M of Taxpayer Dollars to Play Anthem, Stage Over-the-Top Military Tributes

At a time when professional athletes such as Colin Kaepernick are labeled as unpatriotic for refusing to stand during the national anthem at sporting events, it turns out that the very displays of patriotism and tributes to the armed forces on display at those games were paid for by the U.S. government. So when those teams tell the players to stand for the “Star-Spangled Banner,” it is because the fake patriotism is bought and sold like a commodity.

Stephen A. Smith brought attention to the practice on ESPN’s “First Take” recently, as players have come under fire for refusing to salute the flag. Smith noted that players were not required to stand until 2009, and before that time players did not stand for the anthem because they remained in the locker room until game time.

In November 2015, Republican U.S. Senators John McCain and Jeff Flake of Arizona released a report stating that “In all, the military services reported $53 million in spending on marketing and advertising contracts with sports teams between 2012 and 2015. More than $10 million of that total was paid to teams in the National Football League (NFL), Major League Baseball (MLB), National Basketball Association (NBA), National Hockey League (NHL), and Major League Soccer (MLS).”

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Obama Grants Clemency to Another 111 Federal Inmates, More Than the Last 9 Presidents Combined

In a continued push for criminal justice reform, President Barack Obama commuted the sentences of 111 additional inmates, the White House announced Tuesday.

Image: Image: Tri-Parish Times

Obama broke his previous single-day record when he pardoned 214 federal inmates earlier this month. According to the White House, a whopping 325 people were granted clemency this August, making it the greatest number of commutations ever granted by a president in a single month.

“We must remember that these are individuals — sons, daughters, parents, and in many cases, grandparents — who have taken steps toward rehabilitation and who have earned their second chance,” White House Counsel Neil Eggleston wrote in a blog post Tuesday. “They are individuals who received unduly harsh sentences under outdated laws for committing largely nonviolent drug crimes.”

The majority of those pardoned Tuesday were serving lengthy sentences for cocaine, heroin, marijuana and methamphetamine trafficking, USA Today reports. Thirty-five individuals also had their life sentences commuted.

Obama has fiercely defended his use of commutations and continues to work with bi-partisan Congress to make sweeping criminal justice reforms. However, legislation aimed at ending unduly harsh sentencing for drug offenses remain stalled on Capitol Hill.

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Here Is Why Women Of Color Are The Fastest Growing Jail Population

Image: Newsone

As the nation wrestles with the weight of mass incarceration and its impact on individuals and communities, a study released Wednesday by the Vera Institute of Justice and Safety and Justice Challenge explores a growing epidemic: the steady rise of incarcerated women.

The report, titled Overlooked: Women and Jails in an Era of Reform, shows that since 1970, the number of women held in local jails has increased from under 8,000 to nearly 110,000.

Poor women are affected the most, according to the study. Approximately two-thirds of women in jail are of color: 44 percent are Black, 15 percent are Hispanic, and five percent are of other racial/ethnic backgrounds. Thirty-six percent of women in jail identify as White.

So-called broken windows policing serves as one of the many probable causes leading to the significant hike of women in jail. In the 1990s, policing began to focus on responding to quality-of-life or low-level offenses, along with increased rates for drug possession. Today, 82 percent of women are in jail for nonviolent crimes.

Since women are more likely to commit non-violent crimes or minor offenses such as drug possession, the rate of women in jail dramatically increased. Affiliating with romantic partners, accused of committing some of the offenses, also helps to sweep women into the system, experts say.

Elizabeth Swavola, a senior program associate at Vera, and one of the authors of the study, spoke to NewsOne about why it was necessary to delve into research that explored this unfamiliar subject.

“Oftentimes when we talk about mass incarceration, we focus on prisons, not local jails,” she said. “When we looked at women, there was a 14-fold increase.”

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