Michael Brown buried, millions mourn

This video is called Thousands attend funeral of teenager Michael Brown.

By Niles Williamson in the USA:

Thousands gather in St. Louis for Michael Brown’s funeral

26 August 2014

Several thousand people turned out Monday in St. Louis, Missouri to attend the funeral of Michael Brown, the 18-year-old youth who was killed by a police officer in the suburb of Ferguson on August 9.

The attendance was a reflection of the widespread popular outrage over the police murder of Brown and the crackdown on protests that erupted over the killing. Brown’s death sparked two weeks of demonstrations that were violently repressed by a militarized police force armed with assault weapons and armored vehicles, and using flash-bang grenades, tear gas, and rubber bullets.

The governor of Missouri declared a “state of emergency” and called out the National Guard, placing Ferguson under police rule.

As hundreds of Brown’s family members, politicians, dignitaries, and others attended the service inside the Friendly Temple Missionary Baptist Church, thousands of workers from St. Louis and throughout the country gathered outside. Hundreds of people watched a live broadcast of the service in an overflow area across from the church that was open to the public.

A group of several hundred motorcycle club members gathered to ride at the head of the funeral procession.

University students throughout the country participated in protests during Brown’s funeral to express their opposition to his killing. Campuses that were reported to have participated in the #HandsUpWalkOut protest include George Mason University, Syracuse University, Antioch College, Sewanee, the University of Kansas and Washington University in St. Louis, where approximately 500 students gathered on the campus quad. …

Barbara Cole attended the funeral out of support for the Brown family because her son, Joseph Cole, had been killed by the Ferguson police in 2000. Police claim that Cole had fired a gun at them, but the autopsy did not show gun powder residue on his hands. “This is a rehash of what happened with my son, except this time it is getting the attention it deserves,” Cole said.

Shanjiwah, a nursing assistant from St. Louis, also came to support the Brown family and oppose the police response to protests. “I’m here because I need to be here. We are all family. What’s going on in our community is terrible. It needs to stop. If you bring out a bunch of cops in military outfits with military equipment you are going to get a response. Its opening people’s eyes. I pray to God we get some justice, because if we don’t it’s going to get worse.”

Shinita came out to express support for the Brown family. King’s daughter Kiera Tanter was killed in a 2012 killing, in a case that remains unsolved. She expressed anger at the limited police investigation. “My baby got killed at 16, and I still haven’t gotten any justice. I know how hard it is for [Brown’s] mother, she’s going to miss all of the little things he used to do. It’s going to get worse for her when his birthday comes around.” …

Eli, a veteran of the First Gulf War who served in the Navy from 1983 to 1994, spoke out about the militarized response of police to the Ferguson protests. “I was surprised by that. It was too much escalation. That’s stuff we used over in Iraq. It was uncalled for. I was in L.A. during the Rodney King riots and they didn’t use the heavy equipment like in Ferguson.”

The paramilitary siege of Ferguson, Missouri in recent weeks has underscored the extent to which the police in the United States have become more and more militarized. The school police of Compton, a working-class community of 100,000 in Los Angeles, are keeping up with this disturbing trend. In July, the school board of Compton Unified passed a policy that would allow school police to carry semi-automatic AR-15 assault rifles in their patrol car trunks while on duty: here.

British actor Richard Attenborough helped honour Nelson Mandela

This video is called BBC News – Filmmaker Richard Attenborough dies at 90.

By Will Stone in Britain:

Tuesday 26th August 2014

Tributes pour in for progressive actor who died aged 90

BELOVED actor Richard Attenborough was remembered yesterday for his “determination and courage” in helping to erect the statue of Nelson Mandela in Parliament Square.

The award-winning star, described as a “titan of British cinema” by film academy Bafta and famed for his roles in blockbusters Jurassic Park, Gandhi and The Great Escape, died at lunchtime on Sunday at the age of 90.

But left groups remembered his achievements off the screen too.

Jude Woodward, former culture and creative industries advisor at City Hall under Ken Livingstone, told the Star that few have mentioned Attenborough’s “irascible” nature, which she believed helped make sure the bronze statue of South Africa’s former president and anti-apartheid activist was built.

Mr Attenborough helped set up a fund for the statue with the widow of the late anti-apartheid activist Donald Woods, who originally came up with the idea and received approval from Mandela in 2001.

“He was absolutely determined,” she said, recalling that they had initially battled to get the nine-foot statue put up outside the High Commission of South Africa in Trafalgar Square.

However Westminster Council rejected the planning application on the grounds its location would disrupt events in the area.

After much discussion the council finally agreed to erect the £400,000 sculpture, designed by Ian Walters, in Parliament Square alongside the statues of other iconic figures including Winston Churchill, Abraham Lincoln and Benjamin Disraeli.

This video from London, England is called Nelson Mandela‘s speech at the unveiling of his statue.

Mandela himself attended the unveiling of the sculpture in 2007, six years after it was first approved, and the statue is still the only one of a black person in the square.

Ms Woodward said that it was “a real achievement” and a “right and fitting legacy” to Mandela that the statue was erected in his lifetime.

Describing Mr Attenborough, she added: “If things got in his way he would not brook opposition. He was absolutely determined there would be a tribute to Mandela and that it would be erected while he was living.”

Also paying tribute, Labour leader Ed Miliband said: “The death of Richard Attenborough is a sad day for the film world and the Labour movement. He and his work will be remembered.”

BFI chief executive Amanda Nevill added: “the world has lost a very, very special person.”

Police brutality and racism, video

This video says about itself:

Four Cases Of Police Brutality And Racism You Need To Know

25 August 2014

It’s been more than 20 years since the police beating of Rodney King led to the L.A. riots. More recently, protesters in Ferguson, Missouri, and all around the United States are furious over the police shooting of yet another unarmed black man — Michael Brown. AJ+ takes a look back at some of the most infamous police brutality cases that inform us now.

Round up of all the solidarity actions for #Ferguson from across the country: here.

Chicago police shoot two teens to death after they refuse to drop their guns: here.

An African American writes about his killer cop white brother

It’s one thing to have to ask this of the police. It’s another to ask it of your brother. Photograph: Steve Eberhardt/Demotix/Corbis

By Zach Stafford in daily The Guardian in Britain:

I’m black, my brother’s white … and he’s a cop who shot a black man on duty

I never thought that my brother would be one of those police officers. He was supposed to be different because of me

Monday 25 August 2014 12.30 BST

My white brother loved black people more than I did when we were growing up. As a black interracial child of the south – one who lived in a homogenous white town – I struggled with my own blackness. I struggled even more with loving that blackness. But my brother, Mitch, didn’t. He loved me unapologetically. He loved me loudly.

He also loved screwing with other people’s expectations. Whenever we met new people or I joined a social situation he was in, Mitch would make sure I was standing right next to him for introductions and say, “This is Zach, my brother” – and then go silent with a smirk.

These new acquaintances would then scan back and forth with such intensity – black, white, white, black – that our faces became a kind of tennis court, with strangers waiting for someone to fault. Eventually someone would awkwardly laugh and say something like: “Oh, adopted brother,” immediately looking relieved to have figured it out. My brother would deny that and push the line further, “No, like, my brother. We have the same mom. We are blood.”

That would lead to someone questioning me intensely, and, each time, my white brother would stand next to me, proud: prouder than me of my own skin. And over the years, as he continued playing this game, I became prouder … with his help.

And then, years later and far away in Chicago, I got the phone call: my brother, now a cop, had shot an unarmed black man back in Tennessee.

Hearing about black men dying is never exactly a surprise. Every day, you see the news stories: On the news, black men die while getting Skittles. On the news, black men die in choke-holds. On the news, black men die for playing their music too loud. It seems black men die on the news more than they do almost anything else on the news, even with a black president in office. Every 28 hours, a black man is killed by a police officer in America.

I just never imagined that the police officer in that scenario would ever be my brother. Mitch was supposed to be different than all the rest. He was supposed to be different because of me.

The first thing I did after I got the phone call was Google my brother’s name. I saw a mix of headlines; some outlets were more sympathetic toward the unarmed 22-year-old victim, while other coverage was more favorable to my brother, the cop who “accidentally” killed someone. Articles kept using that word – “accidental” – over and over, and it felt like aloe on a burn.

Watching the first press conference later that day, the police spokesman talked about how my brother was just doing his job, that he followed protocol and that this was just a tragic accident for everyone involved. After the press conference, one of the local news stations in Nashville aired a more in-depth look at the case and reported that the victim had a family member who had been shot by someone on the same police force years earlier – also, apparently, “by accident”.

Accident seemed like an odd word to me for this situation. When I hear the word “accident”, I usually think about spilled milk or the dog urinating on the carpet or even bumper scratch. Accidents were things that you respond to with, “Whoops, sorry!” But with this accident, I wondered: to whom could we even say “sorry” now that a man lay dead?

While I watched, I kept thinking about why these accidents always seemed to happen to black people. And why they were called accidents, when it seemed so clearly to be much more than an accident – when it seemed to be a flaw in a system that called things accidents.

I stared at my computer after my screen went black and prayed that it was an accident. Because calling it that didn’t make me feel I had to choose my race over my blood – the strangers who asked me questions over the brother who wanted them to.

I went home to Tennessee a few years later, after the media coverage of the case had calmed down, and sat in one of the chairs in my mother’s living room and let the argument happen. My mother, with her smooth milk skin, stared at me with eyes that would not unlock from my own.

“Do you actually think he shot him because he was black?” she asked, tearing up.

“Yes, I do. I really do.”

“But how can you say that? Honestly, he is blacker than you!”

I winced at her backwards compliment, the racism veiled as praise, the description I’d heard since I could write my name.

“Mom, that is simply not true. He is white. This will never change, no matter what he does. Never. And because I am black, I know that if that man would have been white he would be alive today.”

My mom finally unlocked eyes with me and stared down at her glass. I could see that she wanted to agree with me, but couldn’t this time, because it was an indictment of her other son. She had probably never imagined having to argue with her black son about her white son shooting and killing an unarmed black man while on duty.

But that’s also when I began to see just how much racism isn’t really about a single act or a single person, but rather a much larger system. A system that calls the recurring death of black male bodies “accidents”.

No matter how my mom had raised us, no matter how much my brother loved my blackness and was so proud of me for who I was, it still didn’t stop another black man from losing his life.

My white brother isn’t a racist – and he didn’t intentionally kill that man because he was black – but that’s not the point. In his case – in Ferguson and in so many other cases – we see the deaths of unarmed black men as “accidents”. And until the day we all recognize them as casualties of something much bigger, we will continue to see black men dead on the news.

We will continue to see brothers killing brothers.

Michael Brown funeral: thousands expected to attend memorial – live: here. Live stream of the funeral: here.

Matt Bors cartoon

This is a cartoon by Matt Bors about how corporate media in the USA react to police or other violence.

New York Times harshly criticized for Michael Brown article: here.

More Audio Surfaces From Dan Page, the St. Louis County Police Officer Suspended After Racist Remarks. Page says Ferguson, the border crisis, and other events are part of a far-reaching conspiracy: here.

MICHAEL BROWN LAID TO REST “Hours after a packed funeral at a nearby church, Michael Brown’s parents laid him to rest in an emotional cemetery service. Michael Brown Sr. and Lesley McSpadden were surrounded by dozens of family members and figures like the Rev. Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson for a short service featuring prayers … After his son’s casket was closed inside a copper vault, Brown gave out a pitched scream. Wearing a tie with his son’s picture on it, he gazed at the vault for several long minutes before leaving.” A man came forward with an alleged audio recording of the Michael Brown shooting yesterday. And in depressing news about America, “three-quarters of whites don’t have any non-white friends.” [HuffPost]

BERNICE KING: ‘A FOUNDATION FOR CHANGE IN POST-FERGUSON AMERICA’ “Above all, the people of Ferguson, law enforcement and citizens alike, and every American community must aspire to forge a new unity based on mutual respect, understanding and goodwill … As my father said, ‘The aftermath of violence is bitterness. The aftermath of nonviolence is reconciliation and the creation of a beloved community.’ This is the way forward to end the current climate of violence and despair — and to a new era of progress and hope for our country.” [HuffPost]

St. Louis, USA racist policeman suspended

This video from the USA is called Ferguson Police Officer Gets Busted! Officer Dan Page gets busted for video rant.

From daily The Independent in Britain:

Ferguson riots: St Louis police officer Dan Page suspended over video calling black people ‘little perverts’

Page also boasted of past killings while in combat

Heather Saul

Saturday 23 August 2014

An officer involved in policing Ferguson protests has been relieved from his patrol duties after video footage emerged of him describing black people as “little perverts” and Barack Obama as “that illegal alien claiming to be president”.

Officer Dan Page of the St. Louis County Police Department has been placed in an administrative position pending an internal investigation after video of a speech he gave attacking Muslims, gay people and black people in April was posted on YouTube.

In the hour-long ramble, the US military veteran is seen addressing a St. Louis chapter of the Oath Keepers, a conservative group of former servicemen, where he also boasted of previous killings.

He told the audience: “I’m also a killer. I’ve killed a lot, and if I need to I’ll kill a whole bunch more. If you don’t want to get killed, don’t show up in front of me.

“I’m into diversity – I kill everybody”.

Page is the same officer who pushed and threatened to arrest CNN journalist Don Lemon while he was reporting live from protests in Ferguson over the shooting of teenager Michael Brown.

His speech quotes the declaration of independence’s statement that “all men are created equal”. He says: “That does not mean affirmative action. It means we’re all equal … God does not respect persons so we have no business passing hate crime laws. None. Because we’re setting aside a group of people special.”

Holding a copy of the Bible, he tells the audience: “This here is the foundation for this [the declaration of independence]. You can’t separate them. I don’t know what them black little perverts don’t understand down there, but they need me to talk to them. I’ll square them away for you.”

Page also made disparaging remarks about Muslims, claiming “they will kill you” and expressed the view that the United States was on the verge of collapse.

St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar has apologised for the officer’s “bizarre” remarks. In a statement, he said that while Page “has never been involved in an officer-involved shooting, the statements made about killing are unacceptable and not what we are about as a department”.

Two days earlier, another St. Louis-area policeman, an officer from the town of St. Ann, was suspended indefinitely for pointing a semi-automatic assault rifle at a peaceful demonstrator and yelling obscenities. …

“Dan Page, speaking to the St. Louis/St. Charles, Missouri Chapter of Oath Keepers, explains how they plan to end American sovereignty and the Constitution, establishing martial law and merging the U.S. with the New World Order.”

Thousands of people marched through New York borough Staten Island on Saturday to protest about the killing of an unarmed black man [Eric Garner] by a white police officer: here.