postracialcomments:

The bodies of two Tampa teenagers were discovered Thursday morning on a roadside in Duval County.
Angelia Mangum, 19, and Tjhisha Ball, 18, were found about 1 a.m., according to law enforcement. A witness told Jacksonville news station WJAX the teenagers were bound with zip ties and lying on top of one another.
"Two witnesses were driving by and they saw bodies and they called 911," Sgt. T.K. Waters told news station WJXT.
Officers were dispatched to Sisson Drive, near the intersection of Main Street North and Clark Road.
Investigators suspect foul play and are trying to determine the causes of death.
"They were in an area where they would have been noticed, so I think it was fairly recently since they’d been left there,” Waters also told WJXT.
A medical examiner has taken the bodies to determine the cause of death.
"I just don’t understand what happened," Ball’s sister, Crystal Moore, said.
According to Moore, both women had been living in the Jacksonville area off and on for approximately a year and a half.
"I feel like sometimes that I failed," Ball’s mother, Jerlean Moore, said. "What could I have done? What could I have taught her better? It hurts…it really hurts."
It’s a pain that’s only worsened by the fact that no one has been caught.
  
309月14reblog

What’s happening in Hong Kong?

fireinthehob:

  • The protests are being held in order to achieve universal suffrage in Hong Kong. Although democracy had been promised for 2017 in 2008, China announced this August that Hong Kong people would only be able to vote from a pool of 2-3 specially selected candidates (all of whom would definitely have pro-China sentiments) 
  • University students held a week-long boycott of classes to protest for true democracy in Hong Kong 
  • Today riot police were deployed against peaceful protesters. Equipped in full riot gear the police used pepper spray to deter the protesters, mainly students and youths but also some elderly people have reported being sprayed point blank 
  • It is estimated that over 50,000 people have joined the protest and this number continues to grow
  • This is the largest political protest in Hong Kong since our independence from the UK in 1997 
  • Although the protests remain peaceful, police have now started to use tear gas and have brought out long guns loaded with rubber bullets (there hasn’t yet been a report of any bullets being shot)
  • Over 80 arrests have been made including students as young as 16 for taking part in these protests
  • They are cutting cell phone receptions in the protest area so that people can’t share any information
  • Violence is increasing as police continue to instigate protesters
  • All this comes right before the October 1st celebration of the 65th anniversary of founding of the People’s Republic of China 
  • There are rumours that the PLA (the Chinese army) are going to be brought into the city tonight 

More facts about Hong Kong:

  • We run under a one country, two systems policy with China meaning that we are part of China but have our own government and laws. 
  • Protests for universal suffrage have been held throughout the summer but these are the biggest yet 
  • Anti-China and anti-government sentiments are at their highest levels yet. Survey results showed that 1 in 5 people are thinking of emigrating from the city. 
  • In June, China issued a white paper essentially telling Hong Kong to remember their place and re-asserting their authority over the city

The scenes from the protest look awful. In my 17 years in Hong Kong I’ve never seen anything like it. The world needs to know about this and say something before we get a recurrence of the Tiananmen Square massacre.

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I hope everyone stays safe. Hong Kong stay strong. 

  
299月14reblog

Nonviolent Communication can hurt people

realsocialskills:

People who struggle interpersonally, who seem unhappy, or who get into a lot of conflicts are often advised to adopt the approach of Nonviolent Communication. 

This is often not a good idea. Nonviolent Communication is an approach based on refraining from seeming to judge others, and instead expressing everything in terms of your own feelings. For instance, instead of “Don’t be such an inconsiderate jerk about leaving your clothes around”, you’d say “When you leave your clothing around, I feel disrespected.”. That approach is useful in situations in which people basically want to treat each other well but have trouble doing so because they don’t understand one another’s needs and feelings. In every other type of situation, the ideology and methodology of Nonviolent Communication can make things much worse.

Nonviolent Communication can be particularly harmful to marginalized people or abuse survivors. It can also teach powerful people to abuse their power more than they had previously, and to feel good about doing so. Non-Violent Communication has strategies that can be helpful in some situations, but it also teaches a lot of anti-skills that can undermine the ability to survive and fight injustice and abuse.

For marginalized or abused people, being judgmental is a necessary survival skill. Sometimes it’s not enough to say “when you call me slurs, I feel humiliated” - particularly if the other person doesn’t care about hurting you or actually wants to hurt you. Sometimes you have to say “The word you called me is a slur. It’s not ok to call me slurs. Stop.” Or “If you call me that again, I’m leaving.” Sometimes you have to say to yourself “I’m ok, they’re mean.” All of those things are judgments, and it’s important to be judgmental in those ways.

You can’t protect yourself from people who mean you harm without judging them. Nonviolent Communication works when people are hurting each other by accident; it only works when everyone means well. It doesn’t have responses that work when people are hurting others on purpose or without caring about damage they do. Which, if you’re marginalized or abused, happens several times a day. NVC does not have a framework for acknowledging this or responding to it.

In order to protect yourself from people who mean you harm, you have to see yourself as having the right to judge that someone is hurting you. You also have to be able to unilaterally set boundaries, even when your boundaries are upsetting to other people. Nonviolent Communication culture can teach you that whenever others are upset with you, you’re doing something wrong and should change what you do in order to meet the needs of others better. That’s a major anti-skill. People need to be able to decide things for themselves even when others are upset.

Further, NVC places a dangerous degree of emphasis on using a very specific kind of language and tone. NVC culture often judges people less on the content of what they’re saying than how they are saying it. Abusers and cluelessly powerful people are usually much better at using NVC language than people who are actively being hurt. When you’re just messing with someone’s head or protecting your own right to mess with their head, it’s easy to phrase things correctly. When someone is abusing you and you’re trying to explain what’s wrong, and you’re actively terrified, it’s much, much harder to phrase things in I-statements that take an acceptable tone.

Further, there is *always* a way to take issue with the way someone phrased something. It’s really easy to make something that’s really about shutting someone up look like a concern about the way they’re using language, or advice on how to communicate better. Every group I’ve seen that valued this type of language highly ended up nitpicking the language of the least popular person in the group as a way of shutting them up. 

tl;dr Be careful with Nonviolent Communication. It has some merits, but it is not the complete solution to conflict or communication that it presents itself as. If you have certain common problems, NVC is dangerous.

  
299月14reblog
the-exercist:

the-exercist:

Folks: Please contact http://dollskill.com  to let them know that their racist Halloween costumes are unacceptable and must be removed.
If you’re unsure of what to write, feel free to use my message as a guide:

Dollskill.com,

I’m asking you to remove the Fringed Benefits, Tribal Tease, and Fringed Feather Headpiece costumes from your store. 

These costumes are racist and outright violent for two main reasons: 1. It is profane and disrespectful for a non-Native to wear a sacred headdress as a costume, and 2. The “sexy Indian” trope that this costume uses (with it’s short skirt and low cut neck line) is actively contributing to the high rate of sexual assault on Indigenous women. 

Natives work hard to earn their right to wear a war bonnet. This is not something that can be purchased and bestowed upon yourself. Earning a headdress is comparative to earning a military medal: You have to display your courage and worthiness before you can be awarded with a headdress. To take such a sacred item and turn it into a costume that anyone can wear? That is disgusting. It spits on the cultural significance of this relic and shows that you have no respect whatsoever for Natives. You and your consumers do not have the right to buy your way into these meaningful symbols of Indigenous culture. 

If that is not enough of a reason to remove these items, please recognize that 1 in 3 Native women will be raped in their lifetime. As a group, Indigenous women are highly sexualized in our culture and are suffering from it: Native women are 2.5 times more likely to be raped or sexually assaulted than women in the USA in general. By using this “Sexy Indian” trope, you’re continuing to teach people that it is acceptable to see Natives as a fetish. You’re turning real, live Native women into walking stereotypical sexpots that exist solely for the consumption of an audience.  This may be easy to dismiss by saying “That’s not our fault! We’re not doing that!” But by selling this costume, you are directly contributing to a culture that thinks such violence is acceptable. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, at least 70% of the violent victimizations experienced by American Indians are committed by persons not of the same race: Letting non-Natives consume Indigenous culture is just a way to teach them that Native culture isn’t worth respecting.

These costumes have far reaching implications. Please take Fringed Benefits and the related costumes off of your site: It is racist and unacceptable for this costume to be sold. Natives are not a costume that you get to wear for a night. Recognize that Natives are real people who have to deal with the consequences of your racism. 

It is never okay to sell Native headdresses as a Halloween costume. Let them know at contact@dollskill.com

It took multiple emails before they replied and I ended up getting no real response at all. The rep simply passed the blame to someone else within the company:

The response reads:

Hey,I apologize this is the first email we have recorded from you-My name is Alix and I am the customer service manager. I have heard about this and I have notified our buying department. The decision to keep or remove any item on dollskill.com is not one that our department makes. We work with existing or potential customers to answer questions about orders and purchases. With that being said, we appreciate you taking the time to email us and hope you have a fabulous week.
Xx AlixDolls Killwww.dollskill.com1-800-354-ROCKinternational +01-415-932-68092525 16th street suite 410San Francisco, CA 94103

Notice that she apologizes for not replying to my first emails, but never apologizes for the company’s racism and racist costumes.

I immediately wrote back to ask, if their department does not handle this issue, who should I be contacting instead? What email address should I be sending my concerns to? I specifically asked for the contact information for the buying department or their related customer service branch.

Let’s see if this garners an answer. 

the-exercist:

the-exercist:

Folks: Please contact to let them know that their racist Halloween costumes are unacceptable and must be removed.

If you’re unsure of what to write, feel free to use my message as a guide:

Dollskill.com,
I’m asking you to remove the Fringed Benefits, Tribal Tease, and Fringed Feather Headpiece costumes from your store. 
These costumes are racist and outright violent for two main reasons: 1. It is profane and disrespectful for a non-Native to wear a sacred headdress as a costume, and 2. The “sexy Indian” trope that this costume uses (with it’s short skirt and low cut neck line) is actively contributing to the high rate of sexual assault on Indigenous women. 
Natives work hard to earn their right to wear a war bonnet. This is not something that can be purchased and bestowed upon yourself. Earning a headdress is comparative to earning a military medal: You have to display your courage and worthiness before you can be awarded with a headdress. To take such a sacred item and turn it into a costume that anyone can wear? That is disgusting. It spits on the cultural significance of this relic and shows that you have no respect whatsoever for Natives. You and your consumers do not have the right to buy your way into these meaningful symbols of Indigenous culture. 
If that is not enough of a reason to remove these items, please recognize that 1 in 3 Native women will be raped in their lifetime. As a group, Indigenous women are highly sexualized in our culture and are suffering from it: Native women are 2.5 times more likely to be raped or sexually assaulted than women in the USA in general. By using this “Sexy Indian” trope, you’re continuing to teach people that it is acceptable to see Natives as a fetish. You’re turning real, live Native women into walking stereotypical sexpots that exist solely for the consumption of an audience.  This may be easy to dismiss by saying “That’s not our fault! We’re not doing that!” But by selling this costume, you are directly contributing to a culture that thinks such violence is acceptable. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, at least 70% of the violent victimizations experienced by American Indians are committed by persons not of the same race: Letting non-Natives consume Indigenous culture is just a way to teach them that Native culture isn’t worth respecting.
These costumes have far reaching implications. Please take Fringed Benefits and the related costumes off of your site: It is racist and unacceptable for this costume to be sold. Natives are not a costume that you get to wear for a night. Recognize that Natives are real people who have to deal with the consequences of your racism. 

It is never okay to sell Native headdresses as a Halloween costume. Let them know at contact@dollskill.com

It took multiple emails before they replied and I ended up getting no real response at all. The rep simply passed the blame to someone else within the company:

image

The response reads:

Hey,

I apologize this is the first email we have recorded from you-

My name is Alix and I am the customer service manager. I have heard about this and I have notified our buying department. The decision to keep or remove any item on dollskill.com is not one that our department makes. We work with existing or potential customers to answer questions about orders and purchases. With that being said, we appreciate you taking the time to email us and hope you have a fabulous week.
Xx Alix
Dolls Kill
www.dollskill.com
1-800-354-ROCK
international +01-415-932-6809
2525 16th street suite 410
San Francisco, CA 94103
Notice that she apologizes for not replying to my first emails, but never apologizes for the company’s racism and racist costumes.
I immediately wrote back to ask, if their department does not handle this issue, who should I be contacting instead? What email address should I be sending my concerns to? I specifically asked for the contact information for the buying department or their related customer service branch.
Let’s see if this garners an answer. 
  
299月14reblog

Nice Lady Therapists

realsocialskills:

Content warning: this post is about physical and emotional harm done to people (especially children) with disabilities by (mostly) female therapists. Proceed with caution.

  

This is a hard post to write. It’s about abuse. It’s about a kind of abuse I haven’t seen described much. I think abuse is the right word, even though a lot of abusers probably genuinely think they’re doing the right thing.

 

Anyway, here goes:

 

Many, many people with disabilities I know have been harmed or even outright abused by Nice Lady Therapists. (Usual caveat: not all therapists are abusive, and this post is not opposition to childhood therapy. I’m saying that therapists need to stop hurting kids and other vulnerable people, not that therapy is evil. Pointing out that therapy is often important and that many therapists are good is not an answer to what I am describing.)

 

Nice Lady Therapists tell us that, whatever they do to us is by definition nice, and good for us. And that we like it, and that they love us, and that they are rescuing us, and that we are grateful.

They have a brightly-decorated therapy room full of toys, and assure every adult they come across that ~their kids~ love therapy. They use a lot of praise and enthusiastic affect, and maybe positive reinforcement with stickers and prizes. They might call the things they have kids do games. Some of them really do play games.

And every interaction with them is degrading in a way that’s hard to pinpoint, and hard to recover from. They do all kinds of things to kids with disabilities that typically developing kids would never be expected to tolerate. And they do it with a smile, and expect the kids they’re doing it to to smile back.

Sometimes it hurts physically, sometimes it hurts emotionally. Sometimes it’s a matter of being 12 years old and expected to trace a picture for toddlers for the zillionth time. And being told “This is fun! I used to do this all the time when I was a kid!”.

Sometimes it’s a matter of being forced to do a frightening or physically painful exercise, and being forbidden to express pain or fear. It hurts their feelings if a kid is upset. Don’t we know how much she cares? Don’t we know that she’d never do anything to hurt us? Don’t we want to learn and grow up to be independent?

Sometimes it’s a matter of being expected to accept intensely bad advice as though it’s insight. For instance, getting sent to therapy because you’re not making friends. And being told “We are all friends in this school! You have to give the other kids a chance.” And, if you try to explain otherwise, she patiently and lovingly explains to you why your thinking is distorted and you’ll have lots of friends if you just let yourself try.

Sometimes it’s - crossing a physical line. Touching in a way they have no good reason to be touching. Or touching over the objections of the kid in a way that is in no way justified by therapy goals. Sometimes sexually, sometimes not. Sometimes in ways that are against ethical standards of practice, sometimes not. But intimately, invasively. And if you say no, she patiently, lovingly, explains that you have nothing to be afraid of and that everything is ok. And that if you just trust her, you will have fun and get better. And when her profession has professional training about boundaries and appropriate touch, she thinks or even says “women don’t do that.”

Some male therapists do many of these things too, but there’s a gendered version of it that usually comes from women. And that can cause a problem for people with disabilities who are recovering from this. Most things about trauma and abuse of power are about misogyny in some way. They’re about men hurting women, and taking advantage of power dynamics that favor men to do so. Those descriptions are important because that pattern is common. But it is not the only abuse pattern, and it is not the only gendered abuse pattern.

Female therapists are subjected to misogyny and the power of men just as much as any other women. But they also have tremendous power over people with disabilities, many of whom are deeply dehumanized. The assumption that women have neither the power nor the ability to hurt anyone gets really dangerous really quickly for children with disabilities receiving therapy.

And it also means that people with disabilities often have a different relationship to gender than most nondisabled people. If you’ve been harmed by women over and over and assured that you liked it, it complicates things. If you’re a girl, it can make it hard to see a group of women as a Safe Space, especially if they think the thing making it safe is keeping the men out. If you’re a boy who has been repeatedly harmed by women who believed they were powerless, it can be hard to understand that the gender hierarchies that feminists and others talk about actually do exist. And it complicates things in any number of other ways.

But if you have been hurt by Nice Lady Therapists, you are not alone. If it has affected your relationship to gender, you are not alone. If it has left scars that others say you shouldn’t have because she was nice and meant well, you are not alone.

You don’t have to think someone is nice because she says she is. It’s ok to think that someone is hurting you even if that upsets them. You don’t have to think someone is safe or loving just because they are a woman or a therapist or smiling. Women can be abusive too. In human services, it is common. You are not alone, and it was wrong to treat you that way. The harm done to you was not because of your disability, and it’s not something that you could have fixed by being more cooperative or working harder or having a better attitude.  It’s not your fault, and it’s not because of anything wrong with you. And it’s not your fault if it still hurts. 

I’m not sure what else to say about this today. I think that there is a lot that needs saying (and I hope I will find some of it in the comments.) Any of y’all want to weigh in?

  
299月14reblog

"Don’t let people get to you"

realsocialskills:

I don’t know about you, but I’ve experienced this a lot:

  • I’ll talk about someone being mean or bigoted towards me.
  • And someone will say something like “Don’t let them get to you”, or
  • "Don’t ever let people get under your skin like that, they’re not worth it"

And in my experience, that always makes me feel worse. This is what I eventually figured out about it:

Things hurt.

It’s not your fault that it hurts when people are awful to you.

It’s not your fault you care what people think of you sometimes. (Everyone does.)

Having connections to others matters. And when people we’re connected to are mean, it hurts.

Self esteem talk can end up being yet another stick to beat you with, and that’s not right either. 

Being hurt by mean people doesn’t mean you’re failing. It’s not possible to be completely invulnerable at all times. When someone’s shooting arrows at you, it’s not your fault for failing to make armor fast enough to stop them.

You’re ok. They’re mean.

  
299月14reblog

realsocialskills:

Hey, you mentioned wanting to figure out how to find a good therapist in your last post. I recently tackled that problem, and I’m pretty satisfied with the results I got - I think my method can be improved on, but it’s at least a starting point.

What I did was make a questionnaire in google docs and email it to a bunch of local therapists - anyone who looked like they might work out at all. It included a bunch of different types of questions, everything from basic information about where the therapist’s office is to questions about their ethics and personality.

The first test was whether they filled out the form at all, and a lot of them didn’t. That’s fine - anybody who isn’t willing to put up with being asked to do something a little out of the ordinary is probably not going to be a good match for me anyway.

For the actual questions, here’s a breakdown of what I asked:

- Basic biographical information - name, office location, whether they were taking new clients

- Familiarity with various things that are relevant to me - ADD and autism, PTSD, disability rights, that sort of thing. I also asked how they’d learned about autism. For these, I wasn’t necessarily looking for a high level of familiarity, especially for autism - someone who thought they knew a lot but had never spoken to an autistic adult would have been disqualified, for example - but these questions would have made a good tiebreaker if I’d had more than one good candidate.

- Physical and social accessibility stuff:
    - Is their office physically accessible? Are there stairs to get to it? Are they comfortable with the idea of working with a disabled person?
    - Are they comfortable communicating via text? Is there wifi I can use to IM with them?
    - Are they comfortable working with someone who’s nonbinary? very smart? follows a weird religion? distrusts authority?

- How do they rate themselves on the parts of the Big 5 Agreeableness trait? (Trust, straightforwardness, altruism, compliance, modesty, tender-mindedness - wikipedia can explain more about this)
    - In particular I was looking for high trust and straightforwardness and low compliance - the low compliance is particularly important, since it suggests that they’ll actually listen to me rather than just sticking to what they’ve been taught about the right way to do therapy.

- Treatment approach
    - How familiar are they with the issue I’d be seeing them for? How often do they work with people on that issue? How confident are they that they can help me with it?
    - What treatment method or methods do they use? How firm are they about sticking to their preferred method if it doesn’t seem to be working or if I don’t like it?
    - How long would they expect it to take for me to see results?

- Ethics questions - honestly I’m pretty sure you can do better than I did, on these, but I started by defining ethics as “Ethics is about doing things safely, particularly without risking harm to others. What do you believe about ethics?”, and here’s what I asked - the possible answers were ‘strongly agree, agree, neutral, disagree, strongly disagree’.
    - It is easy to make ethical mistakes.
    - Ethical mistakes can be made unintentionally.
    - Everyone makes ethical mistakes sometimes.
    - It is important to be honest with others about my ethics and ethical beliefs. (This one was not really a question - the idea was to prompt the therapist to answer the next few questions honestly.)
    - Committing to following a code of ethics written by an expert is a reliable way to avoid ethical mistakes.
    - Keeping my behavior the same across different contexts helps me avoid ethical mistakes.
    - It is important to understand others’ ideas of harm so that I can treat them ethically.
    - Cognitive disability, youth, and inexperience can be good reasons to discount claims of harm.

Also for each section I included a fill-in box for the therapist to write in anything else they thought I should know about their answers to that section, but nobody actually used them for anything interesting.

And, to give you an idea of responses - I sent this form to somewhere between 15 and 20 therapists. I heard back from 10, of which 5 weren’t accepting clients, 2 didn’t do IM, 1 didn’t work with people with PTSD, 1 emailed back with a suggestion that I work with a group of therapists in something that sounded like an outpatient institutional setting (*alarmed flailing*) … but the last one seems to be a really good fit, and it didn’t take a whole lot of work or risk to find her out of the original bunch I sent the form to, so I’m pretty happy.

realsocialskills said:

Has this worked (or not worked) for any of y’all? Has anything else?

  
299月14reblog
rhamphotheca:

In the Shadows of Machu Picchu, Scientists Find ‘Extinct’ Cat-Sized Rodent
by Jeremy Hance
Below one of the most famous archaeological sites in the world, scientists have made a remarkable discovery: a living cat-sized mammal that, until now, was only known from fossils.
The Machu Picchu arboreal chinchilla rat (Cuscomys oblativa) was first described from two enigmatic skulls discovered in Incan pottery sculpted 400 years ago. Dug up by Hiram Bignham in 1912, the skulls were believed to belong to a species that went extinct even before Francisco Pizarro showed up in Peru with his motley army.
Yet, all that changed in 2009 when a park ranger, Roberto Quispe, found what was believed to be a living Machu Picchu arboreal chinchilla rat near the original archaeological site.”In Conservation Biology this type of rediscoveries is called the Lazarus effect,” writes a team of Mexican and Peruvian scientists in a press release, who years later sought to confirm Quispe’s discovery…
(read more: MongaBay)
photograph by Roberto Quispe

rhamphotheca:

In the Shadows of Machu Picchu, Scientists Find ‘Extinct’ Cat-Sized Rodent

by Jeremy Hance

Below one of the most famous archaeological sites in the world, scientists have made a remarkable discovery: a living cat-sized mammal that, until now, was only known from fossils.

The Machu Picchu arboreal chinchilla rat (Cuscomys oblativa) was first described from two enigmatic skulls discovered in Incan pottery sculpted 400 years ago. Dug up by Hiram Bignham in 1912, the skulls were believed to belong to a species that went extinct even before Francisco Pizarro showed up in Peru with his motley army.

Yet, all that changed in 2009 when a park ranger, Roberto Quispe, found what was believed to be a living Machu Picchu arboreal chinchilla rat near the original archaeological site.”In Conservation Biology this type of rediscoveries is called the Lazarus effect,” writes a team of Mexican and Peruvian scientists in a press release, who years later sought to confirm Quispe’s discovery…

(read more: MongaBay)

photograph by Roberto Quispe

  
299月14reblog

an autism self-diagnosis masterpost

bookhobbit:

In the last few months a couple of people have contacted me looking for resources about autism, especially self-diagnosis. I did try to help, but I often forgot what resources I used, so I had trouble tracking them down again.

I don’t want that to keep on happening, so here is an attempt at a great big list of self-diagnosis resources for people who think they might be autistic and want to know more. There are probably others, but hopefully this’ll be helpful to someone.

Wherever possible, I have tried to link to works by autistic people rather than works by the psychiatric community (which is, obviously, allistic-dominated).

This is because autistic people know how autism works much better than any allistic person can. So, if you’re wondering why so much of the list is blog posts instead of medical articles, that’s why.  

Finally, this is very much a work in progress, so please feel free to suggest things to add or change.

And I would like to extend a thousand thanks to mildlyautisticsuperdetectives for beta-ing this for me. She is amazing and you should totally check out her blog.

Read More

autism  
  
299月14reblog
  
299月14reblog

Justice Is Most Likely Rigged In The Michael Brown Shooting, In That The Lead Prosecutor Has Conflicts of Interest

thepoliticalfreakshow:

What happened in Ferguson, Mo., last month was a tragedy. What’s on course to happen there next month will be a farce.

October is when a grand jury is expected to decide whether to indict the white police officer, Darren Wilson, who killed an unarmed black teenager by firing at least six bullets into him. It’s a good bet the grand jurors won’t charge him, because all signs indicate that the St. Louis County prosecutor, Robert McCulloch, doesn’t want them to.

The latest evidence that the fix is in came this week from The Post’s Kimberly Kindy and Carol Leonnig, who discovered that McCulloch’s office has declined so far to recommend any charges to the grand jury. Instead, McCulloch’s prosecutors handling the case are taking the highly unusual course of dumping all evidence on the jurors and leaving them to make sense of it.

McCulloch’s office claims that this is a way to give more authority to the grand jurors, but it looks more like a way to avoid charging Wilson at all — and to use the grand jury as cover for the outrage that will ensue. It is often said that a grand jury will indict a ham sandwich if a prosecutor asks it to. But the opposite is also true. A grand jury is less likely to deliver an indictment — even a much deserved one — if a prosecutor doesn’t ask for it.

One might give McCulloch the benefit of the doubt, if not for his background. His father was a police officer killed in a shootout with a black suspect, and several of his family members are, or were, police officers. His 23-year record on the job reveals scant interest in prosecuting such cases. During his tenure, there have been at least a dozen fatal shootings by police in his jurisdiction (the roughly 90 municipalities in the county other than St. Louis itself), and probably many more than that, but McCulloch’s office has not prosecuted a single police shooting in all those years. At least four times he presented evidence to a grand jury but — wouldn’t you know it? — didn’t get an indictment.

One of the four: A 2000 case in which a grand jury declined to indict two police officers who had shot two unarmed black men 21 times while they sat in their car behind a Jack in the Box fast-food restaurant. It was a botched drug arrest, and one of the two men killed hadn’t even been a suspect. McCulloch at the time said he agreed with the grand jury’s decision, dismissing complaints of the handling of the case by saying the dead men “were bums.” He refused to release surveillance tapes of the shooting. When those tapes were later released as part of a federal probe, it was discovered that, contrary to what police alleged, the car had not moved before the police began shooting.

McCulloch apparently hasn’t learned from that. His spokesman, asked by The Post’s Wesley Lowery about those remarks, said the slain men “should have been described as ‘convicted felons’ rather than ‘bums.’ ”

Lowery gained national attention last month when he was unjustly detained by Ferguson’s out-of-control police while covering the demonstrations. He has since asked McCulloch’s office for a list of cases in which prosecutors pursued charges against a law enforcement official. McCulloch’s office ultimately came up with only one case over 23 years that The Post could verify of the prosecution of a white officer for using inappropriate force against a black victim, and it wasn’t a shooting.

But if McCulloch lacks credibility, he apparently has political clout. This could explain why Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon — like McCulloch, a Democrat — is refusing to appoint a special prosecutor. This could also explain Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill’s statement in support of McCulloch.

Proving a case of excessive force against a police officer is difficult, and I’m not in any position to determine Wilson’s guilt. But that doesn’t justify declining to prosecute such cases. There’s no dispute that Brown ran away after Wilson shot him in a scuffle and that Wilson shot Brown several more times after that. Several witnesses — including those in a newly discovered video showing the immediate aftermath of the shooting — claim that Brown had his hands up in surrender. The alternative account offered by Wilson — Brown charged at him — requires us to believe that the unarmed and wounded man ran away, reconsidered and ran back toward the man pointing a gun at him.

And McCulloch won’t have his prosecutors recommend even involuntary manslaughter? If he persists and if the governor won’t intervene, their behavior will confirm suspicions that justice is rigged.

Source: Dana Milbank for The Washington Post

queue  ferguson  
  
299月14reblog
sorararart:

SCREAMS i found this on my folder
this is from like ?????? three months ago

sorararart:

SCREAMS i found this on my folder

this is from like ?????? three months ago

  
299月14reblog

Listen to sex workers – you'll realise we have a lot to say about labour rights

clarawebbwillcutoffyourhead:

Did people outside the states see that article last year that heralded strippers as the potential new leaders of the labour movement? It was so inspiring, if only I thought it were possible

  
299月14reblog