Tag Archives: violence

Transcript: Meryl Streep’s Golden Globes speech

The text of Meryl Streep’s speech at the Golden Globes after accepting the Cecil B. DeMille Award, according to a transcript provided by Hollywood Foreign Press Association:

Thank you very much. Thank you very much. Thank you. This town, thank you. I love you all, but you’ll have to forgive me. I’ve lost my voice in screaming and lamentation this weekend, and I have lost my mind sometime earlier this year. So I have to read. Thank you, Hollywood Foreign Press, just to pick up on what Hugh Laurie said. You and all of us in this room really belong to the most vilified segments in American society right now. Think about it: Hollywood, foreigners and the press.

But who are we? And what is Hollywood anyway? It’s just a bunch of people from other places. I was born and raised and educated in the public schools of New Jersey. Viola was born in a sharecropper’s cabin in South Carolina, came up in Central Falls, Rhode Island. Sarah Paulson was born in Florida, raised by a single mom in Brooklyn. Sarah Jessica Parker was one of seven or eight kids from Ohio. Amy Adams was born in Vicenza, Veneto, Italy. And Natalie Portman was born in Jerusalem. Where are their birth certificates? And the beautiful Ruth Negga was born in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, raised in — no — in Ireland, I do believe, and she’s here nominated for playing a small-town girl from Virginia. Ryan Gosling, like all the nicest people, is Canadian. And Dev Patel was born in Kenya, raised in London, is here for playing an Indian raised in Tasmania. So Hollywood is crawling with outsiders and foreigners, and if we kick them all out, you’ll have nothing to watch but football and mixed martial arts, which are not the arts.

They gave me three seconds to say this. So an actor’s only job is to enter the lives of people who are different from us and let you feel what that feels like, and there were many, many, many powerful performances this year that did exactly that, breathtaking, compassionate work. But there was one performance this year that stunned me. It sank its hook in my heart not because it was good. It was — there was nothing good about it, but it was effective, and it did its job. It made its intended audience laugh and show their teeth. It was that moment when the person asking to sit in the most respected seat in our country imitated a disabled reporter, someone he outranked in privilege, power, and the capacity to fight back. It kind of broke my heart, and I saw it, and I still can’t get it out of my head because it wasn’t in a movie. It was real life. And this instinct to humiliate when it’s modeled by someone in the public platform by someone powerful, it filters down into everybody’s life because it kind of gives permission for other people to do the same thing.

Disrespect invites disrespect. Violence insights violence. When the powerful use definition to bully others, we all lose. Ok. Go on with that thing. OK. This brings me to the press. We need the principal press to hold power to account to call them on the carpet for every outrage.

That’s why our founders enshrined the press and its freedom in our Constitution. So I only ask the famously well-heeled Hollywood Foreign Press and all of us in our community to join me in supporting the Committee to Protect Journalists because we are going to need them going forward and they’ll need us to safeguard the truth.

One more thing. Once when I was standing around on the set one day, whining about something, you know, we were going to work through supper or the long hours or whatever, Tommy Lee Jones said to me, “Isn’t it such a privilege, Meryl, just to be an actor?” Yeah, it is, and we have to remind each other of the privilege and the responsibility of the act of empathy. We should all be very proud of the work Hollywood honors here tonight. As my friend, the dear departed Princess Leia said to me once, “Take your broken heart. Make it into art.” Thank you, friend.

President signs bill to review civil rights-era cold cases

Racially motivated, civil rights-era killings that are now cold cases will get fresh looks under legislation signed by President Barack Obama.

Obama signed the bill earlier this month. It indefinitely extends a 2007 law that calls for a full accounting of race-based deaths, many of which had been closed for decades. The law was set to expire next year.

The bill is named after Emmett Till, a 14-year-old black boy killed in 1955 after whistling at a white woman. His killers were acquitted of murder but later admitted their crimes to a reporter and couldn’t be retried.

Many other similar cases were poorly investigated and prosecutions were rare.

The law provides federal resources to local jurisdictions to look into the cases and extends the time span of cases to be considered to Dec. 31, 1979. It will also require the Justice Department and the FBI to consult with civil rights organizations, universities and others who had been gathering evidence on the deaths.

There has so far been one conviction as more than 100 cases from the 1960s and earlier have been reviewed. New racially suspicious deaths have been identified for investigation.

North Carolina GOP Sen. Richard Burr and Missouri Democrat Claire McCaskill sponsored the bill in the Senate.

In the House, the bill was negotiated by civil rights icon John Lewis, D-Ga.; John Conyers, D-Mich., the top Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee; and Republican Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner of Wisconsin.

Violence in North Dakota: Water protectors attacked at barricade

More than 100 water protectors from the Oceti Sakowin and Sacred Stone Camps mobilized to a bridge to remove a barricade that was built by the Morton County Sheriff’s Department and the state of North Dakota.

The barricade, built after law enforcement raided the 1851 treaty camp, restricts North Dakota residents from using the 1806 freely and also puts the community of Cannon Ball, the camps, and the Standing Rock Tribe at risk as emergency services are unable to use that highway.

Water Protectors used a semi-truck to remove two burned military trucks from the road and were successful at removing one truck from the bridge before police began to attack Water Protectors with tear gas, water canons, mace, rubber bullets, and sound cannons.

At 1:30 a.m. on Nov. 20, the Indigenous Rising Media team acquired an update from the Oceti Sakowin Medic team that nearly 200 people were injured, 12 people were hospitalized for head injuries, and one elder went into cardiac arrest at the front lines.

At this time, law enforcement was still firing rubber bullets and the water cannon at Water Protectors. About 500 Water protectors gathered at the peak of the non-violent direct action.

A statement from the Indigenous Environmental Network…

The North Dakota law enforcement are cowards. Those who are hired to protect citizens attacked peaceful water protectors with water cannons in freezing temperatures and targeted their weapons at people’s’ faces and heads.

The Morton County Sheriff’s Department, the North Dakota State Patrol, and the Governor of North Dakota are committing crimes against humanity. They are accomplices with the Dakota Access Pipeline LLC and its parent company Energy Transfer Partners in a conspiracy to protect the corporation’s illegal activities.

Anyone investing and bankrolling these companies are accomplices. If President Obama does nothing to stop this inhumane treatment of this country’s original inhabitants, he will become an accomplice. And there is no doubt that President Elect Donald Trump is already an accomplice as he is invested in DAPL”

3 charged in hatchet attack on transgender woman

Charlotte, North Carolina, police say they’ve charged three people in a hatchet attack on a transgender woman.

Ralayzia Taylor tells local media she was attacked Nov. 7 in a park.

She thinks the group wanted to rob her and intensified their attack after they realized she’s transgender.

The 24-year-old Taylor says one attacker cut her with a hatchet and they used gay slurs.

The FBI says it is working with Charlotte police in the investigation.

The Mecklenburg County Jail website says 18-year-olds Dajion Tanner and Destiny Dagraca face charges including attempted first-degree murder. Police say a 15-year-old also was arrested.

It wasn’t clear if they have attorneys.

North Carolina is in the midst of a fight over LGBT rights after the state passed a law limiting where transgender people can use the bathroom.

Wisconsin student accused of assaulting 4 more women

A University of Wisconsin-Madison student already accused of sexually assaulting a woman in his apartment this month has been charged with sexually assaulting four other women since early 2015.

Alec Cook, 20, of Edina, Minnesota, faces seven counts of second-degree sexual assault, three counts of third-degree sexual assault, two counts of strangulation, two counts of false imprisonment and one count of fourth-degree sexual assault.

The complaint prosecutors filed Thursday accuses Cook of assaults dating back to March 2015. Prosecutors said one of the women was assaulted multiple times during a ballroom dancing class she was attending with Cook this past spring. Cook also is accused of assaulting a woman he met at a party in March 2015; a woman he met in a human sexuality class in February; and a woman he met during a psychology class experiment in August.

Cook was charged last week with assaulting a woman in his apartment the night of Oct. 12 after the two studied together.

Media apeports of those charges have driven dozens of women to report to police their encounters with Cook.

Officers searching Cook’s apartment found a black book listing women he’d met and documenting his “sexual desires” and including the word “kill” without explanation, authorities said.

Dane County Circuit Court Commissioner Brian Asmus set Cook’s bail at $200,000 cash during a brief hearing. Cook made no statement at the hearing.

His attorneys, Jessa Nicholson and Chris Van Wagner, told reporters after the proceeding that they believe the ballroom assaults never happened. The rest of the encounters, they claimed, were consensual.

Van Wagner showed reporters a page from Cook’s book with the word “Killed?” written at the top and said it’s unclear what it means.

He said Cook has been vilified on social media but the prosecution’s case is “just dust.” Women are coming forward because they’ve seen social media postings about Cook and have become frightened, he said.

“He’s been painted as the face of evil,” Van Wagner said. “That’s wrong.”

According to the complaint, the accuser from the Oct. 12 incident says she went to his apartment after studying with him at a campus library. She said he assaulted her for 2 1/2 hours, maintaining what she described as a “death grip” on her arm or body.

Another woman came forward two days after charges were filed in that case. She said she met Cook at her friend’s birthday party in March 2015. Two weeks later she visited his apartment, where he began kissing her forcefully, then sexually assaulted her.

The same day that Cook was charged with the Oct. 12 assault, two other women reported being assaulted by him.

One woman told police she was in a ballroom dance class with Cook during the spring 2016 semester. She accused him of repeatedly touching her while they were dancing despite her telling him to stop. The touching occurred 15 to 20 times over the semester, she said.

The class instructor told investigators she got an email from the woman saying she was uncomfortable with how Cook touched her. The instructor responded by speaking to the class about appropriate contact during dances. Another woman told police that she met Cook during a human sexuality class and began dating him in January, the complaint said. She said he assaulted her at his apartment in February.

Another woman told police that she met Cook during a psychology class experiment. They had consensual sex at his apartment in August, the woman said, during which he tried to choke her. After taking a break to smoke marijuana, Cook tried to have sex with her again, this time slapping her and leaving bruises.

Gwen Moore earns endorsement from LGBT group against gun violence

Pride Fund to End Gun Violence PAC, an LGBT organization focused on gun violence prevention, has endorsed U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore, D-Wis., for re-election.

The group this week announced 16 endorsements for U.S. House and one for U.S. Senate.

Pride Fund endorsed Suzanne Bonamici of Oregon, Terri Bonoff of Minnesota, Salud Carbajal of California, Gerry Connolly of Virginia, Eliot Engel of New York, Bill Foster of Illinois, Michelle Lujan Grisham of New Mexico, Dan Kildee of Michigan, Sander Levin of Michigan, Gwen Moore of Wisconsin, Jerry Nadler of New York, John Sarbanes of Maryland, Jan Schakowsky of Illinois, Carol Shea Porter of New Hampshire, Adam Smith of Washington and Brady Walkinshaw of Washington.

The group also endorsed Tammy Duckworth for U.S. Senate in Illinois.

“We support these candidates because of their demonstrated commitment to support equality and safety for all, and for their commitment to acting on common sense gun reforms,” said Jason Lindsay, founder and executive director of Pride Fund. “We need elected officials who will stand up for people — not for the profits of the corporate gun manufacturers.”

In its announcement, the Pride Fund said, “With this election, we have an opportunity to reclaim our communities from the threat of gun violence. Pride Fund is turning anger into action by working to elect candidates who have committed to making our cities, our states, and our country safer for everyone.”

The Pride Fund endorsed candidates have pledged to support the following key issues:

  • Expanding background checks to cover all gun sales
  • Prohibiting suspected terrorists from purchasing guns
  • Restricting access to assault weapons and high-capacity magazines
  • Supporting federally funded research on gun violence
  • Preventing individuals convicted of committing hate crimes from purchasing guns

On the Web

To learn more, visit www.pridefund.org.

Doc shows militarization of US police from the inside

The documentary Do Not Resist provides a timely look at the state of policing in the United States, from the escalation of SWAT raids to the unregulated technology police departments are using.

Director Craig Atkinson for over two years traveled around the country shadowing various police departments in their everyday activities. The film is now playing in limited release, with weeklong runs launching in Washington, D.C., and Los Angeles on Friday, and expanding throughout October and November.

Atkinson, the cinematographer on the documentary Detropia, was first intrigued to pursue the issue of police militarization after seeing the police response to the Boston Marathon bombing and the military grade equipment they used. He was struck by how police acted more like an “occupying force,” he said.

“I was seeing reports coming out later where people were handcuffed face down on their front lawn detained, no charges filed, no questions, police officers entering homes without search warrants,” Atkinson said.

It was just different from what he’d known. Atkinson has in some ways been observing the police his entire life. His father was an officer for 29 years outside of Detroit and a SWAT member from 1989 to 2002. As a boy, Atkinson would tag along to training exercises and play hostage. When he got a little older he would play the role of armed assailant.

“I always had a great deal of respect for the work he was doing,” Atkinson said. “He was a very upstanding officer.”

He knew, too, in the War on Terror era that police, and SWAT, were getting a bad rap and thought it would be a good idea to go behind the scenes and show it as it really happens — “the full breadth of the SWAT experience.”

What he found, however, was not what he expected. In one department, SWAT was being used for raids over 200 times a year. It was a striking difference to the experience of his father, who, in a similarly sized department, did 29 search warrants in 13 years.

“We never found an opportunity where you see the equipment being used in a situation where you would actually want it used,” he said. He thinks something like the Florida nightclub shooting was one instance where SWAT was in fact used appropriately.

The issue of the militarization of police in the United States has been vexing the country for years, most pointedly during the police-shooting protests in Ferguson, Missouri, where police wore riot gear and deployed tear gas, dogs and armored vehicles, sometimes pointing assault rifles at protesters.

The ACLU has spoken out against it, and the Obama administration, which defended the use of military vehicles during the Boston Marathon bombing, subsequently issued stricter controls over weapons and gear distributed to law enforcement. But it remains a hot button issue in the country, with some passionately defending the necessity of riot gear for the protection of officers in dangerous situations.

In the tense aftermath of a police shooting death in Louisiana, for instance, Gov. John Bel Edwards said a Baton Rouge police officer had teeth knocked out with a rock thrown by a protester. He said if officers don’t use riot gear, “you have no defense against that sort of thing.”

For his part, Atkinson started filming about a year before the events in Ferguson. Once that happened, he knew his footage would be timestamped around that, and there became an urgency to finish.

He chose to present the footage in a verite style. Thus, we hear only from those either involved in policing or public events like congressional hearings or community meetings.

People encouraged him to include his father’s story (he didn’t) or a “voice of god” narration to guide the audience (also absent). Atkinson says his personal interjections are not the point.

“Everybody already has an opinion about these issues,” Atkinson said. “We’re just showing things, we’re letting things unfold.”

As the film continues its run throughout the country, he’s mainly surprised and “disheartened” that it remains relevant.

“Here we are years later and it’s as timely as it ever could be,” he said.

UNICEF calls for end to dire situation in Aleppo

UNICEF’s representative in Syria called Saturday for an end to the violence that has beset northern Aleppo, causing dire humanitarian and psychological impacts on both sides of the divided city.

U.N. agencies are on “standby” to deliver needed assistance, Hanaa Singer of the U.N.’s children agency told The Associated Press.

With the key powers deeply divided, the U.N. Security Council on Saturday once again failed to agree on the course of action in war-ravaged Aleppo, and Syria in general. Russia vetoed a resolution drafted by France demanding an immediate halt to the bombing of Aleppo. A resolution put forward by Russia that called for a separation of moderate and extremist forces in Syria but making no mention of a bombing halt in Aleppo failed to get the minimum nine “yes” votes required for passage.

Also on Saturday, Syrian state media and a Syria monitoring group said pro-government troops advanced in a northern district of eastern Aleppo, wrestling control from rebel fighters in their latest push into the besieged area.

Singer said conditions in besieged Aleppo are “terribly dire,” with hospitals hit, doctors overwhelmed, and over 100 children killed in bombings since Sept. 19. Conditions for thousands of displaced in the government-held part of the city are also deteriorating, with some of them being displaced for up to six times in the last three years, she said.

Singer returned earlier this week from a week-long trip to the government-held part of Aleppo where she was visiting thousands of displaced Syrians. Most are crammed in makeshift shelters, mosques, parks and churches after recently fleeing clashes on the frontline between rebels and pro-government forces. In one case, a mother so desperate from the continuous displacement, stabbed her baby girl thinking she will save her the misery of living on handouts and without a home, Singer said.

Describing the dramatic situation for thousands of families living in shelters in government-controlled Aleppo, Singer said: “These (are) the horrors in western Aleppo. God knows what is happening, (in the case of) mental health or the psychological situation on the eastern (rebel-held) side.”

Western Aleppo, controlled by the government, is separated from eastern rebel-held Aleppo by a few meters, sometimes by a single plastic sheet or pockmarked building. An estimated 275,000 people are living in the rebel-held part of Aleppo, with no international aid reaching the area since the first week of July. Besides the scarce assistance, it is also difficult to assess the needs with the ever-evolving violent situation, and lack of access for international aid groups, she said.

“I think we all agree, and especially if you have been so close in the area there and seeing the dire situation in the west, hearing about the horrible situation in the east, all we need now is (for) the violence to stop,” Singer said. “The violence has to stop and once the violence stops, the U.N., we absolutely stand ready. We are ready. We are actually on standby.”

Singer says U.N. plans are in place for government-held Aleppo to accommodate residents that may evacuate the besieged part of the city if a cease-fire takes effect.

According to medical charity Doctors Without borders, hospitals in the eastern side of Syria’s Aleppo have been attacked 23 times since July, damaging all eight facilities that have not yet been shuttered or destroyed. Since the U.S-Russian cease-fire broke down on Sept. 19, the situation in besieged Aleppo has immensely deteriorated under a relentless bombardment campaign. Water stations and civil defense centers have also been hit, while over 320 people have been killed in eastern Aleppo in nearly three weeks of violence.

“In eastern Aleppo, the situation is terribly dire. Lots of schools and of hospitals have been hit we understand that there are only 30 doctors there. We have information that at least over 100 children have been killed. We hear that because of the lack of services and lack of health facilities that some children, that doctors can’t cope with all the cases, and some children in dire situation are left to die,” Singer said.

On Saturday, amid intensive air raids, pro-government forces seized the al-Awijeh district in northeastern rebel-controlled Aleppo, according to the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. The Observatory also reported clashes on the southern edge of the rebel-held area. There was no immediate word on casualties.

Syrian State TV reported that government and allied troops took control of al-Awijeh, moving toward the Jandoul roundabout and getting closer to crowded residential areas in Aleppo’s rebel-controlled eastern districts.

FBI: Violent crime up in 2015, but far below peak levels

Violent crime in the United States increased in 2015 but remained far below peak levels of the 1990s, the Federal Bureau of Investigation said on Monday as presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump prepared for a debate that is likely to focus on public safety.

The FBI’s annual report showed that the prevalence of murder, rape and assault edged up last year after decreasing for decades.

At 372.6 incidents per 100,000 people, the 2015 violent-crime rate is higher than the 2014 rate of 361.6 but well below the levels of the last decade, which never dipped below 400. The increase was most pronounced in big cities, the report found.

Coming on the day of the first debate between Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton, the report could “be turned into political football,” said Robert Smith, a research fellow at Harvard Law School, in a teleconference on Friday with other crime experts.

Trump last week praised aggressive policing, including “stop-and-frisk” tactics that critics say unfairly target minorities.

Clinton has pushed for stricter gun control to help curb violence and has called for national guidelines on the use of force by police officers.

In 2015, there were an estimated 15,696 murders in the United States compared with an estimated 14,164 the prior year, according to the report. Last year’s crime rate was still lower than in 2012 and earlier years, the FBI found.

Crime was highest in the southern United States, the report found. At 45.9 per 100,000 people, the murder and manslaughter rate in the region was more than twice as high as in the West, the Midwest and the Northeast, according to the FBI. Rates of rape, assault and property crime were dramatically higher as well.

FBI Director James Comey warned last year that violent crime in the United States might rise because increased scrutiny of policing tactics had created a “chill wind” that discouraged officers from using aggressive tactics.

The rise in crime has been concentrated in big cities’ segregated and impoverished neighborhoods. Experts said crime there can best be fought through better community policing and alternatives to incarceration for nonviolent crime.

“We’re just beginning to see a shift in mentality in law enforcement from a warrior mentality … to a guardian mentality,” Carter Stewart, a former prosecutor for the Southern District of Ohio, said on the teleconference. “I don’t want us as a country to go backwards.”

In Chicago, 54 more people were murdered in 2015 than the year before, a 13 percent jump in the city’s murder rate, according to an April study by New York University’s Brennan Center for Justice.

Reporting by Julia Harte, Susan Heavey and Andy Sullivan in Washington.