President Obama Recounts Personal Experiences with Racial Profiling

barack and michelle obama 450x315 President Obama Recounts Personal Experiences with Racial Profiling

President Obama Recounts Personal Experiences with Racial Profiling (Photo Credit: Pete Souza/White House)

President Obama and the First Lady discussed their own experiences with racism with People magazine, in light of the incidents of racial profiling and the police officer-involved deaths of black males. Michelle Obama said, “I think people forget that we’ve lived in the White House for six years. Before that, Barack Obama was a black man that lived on the South Side of Chicago, who had his share of troubles catching cabs.”

More from Michelle Obama:

I tell this story–I mean, even as the first lady–during that wonderfully publicized trip I took to Target, not highly disguised, the only person who came up to me in the store was a woman who asked me to help her take something off a shelf. Because she didn’t see me as the first lady, she saw me as someone who could help her. Those kinds of things happen in life. So it isn’t anything new.

President Obama added, “There’s no black male my age, who’s a professional, who hasn’t come out of a restaurant and is waiting for their car and somebody didn’t hand them their car keys.”

He alluded to the recent deaths of Michael Brown and Tamir Rice by two white officers:

The small irritations or indignities that we experience are nothing compared to what a previous generation experienced. It’s one thing for me to be mistaken for a waiter at a gala. It’s another thing for my son to be mistaken for a robber and to be handcuffed, or worse, if he happens to be walking down the street and is dressed the way teenagers dress.

Of course, President Obama’s critics will make it seem as though he is just trying to appease the black community. Never mind the fact that he is biracial.

Iranian Refugee Man Haron Monis ID’d as Lindt Cafe Hostage Taker

lindt cafe 450x302 Iranian Refugee Man Haron Monis IDd as Lindt Cafe Hostage Taker

Iranian Refugee Man Haron Monis ID’d as Lindt Cafe Hostage Taker

***Police confirm Sydney siege has ended – @nswpolice***

The Lindt Cafe hostage taker has been identified as Iranian refugee Man Haron Monis, according to @ReutersIndia.

The hostage taker has demanded an ISIS flag and wants to speak with Prime Minister Tony Abbott, CNN reports.

Police have confirmed that live ammunition was used as heavily armed police stormed the café in Sydney where the hostage situation is underway – @9NewsSyd

Law enforcement storm cafe:

Martin Place Siege: Shotgun Wielding Man Holding Hostages at Lindt Cafe in Sydney

sydney coffee shop hostages 450x302 Martin Place Siege: Shotgun Wielding Man Holding Hostages at Lindt Cafe in Sydney

#BREAKING: Shotgun Wielding Man Holding Hostages in Sydney (Photo Credit: Twitter)

#MartinPlace siege: A shotgun wielding man is holding hostages  at the Lindt Cafe in Sydney, Australia. There are reports 13 people are being held hostage. Two women were seen in the window crying and holding up a black Islamic flag. The authorities are urging people to stay away. There are reports two gunmen are on the scene.

There are unconfirmed reports that one of the hostage-takers has made contact with police saying that he has ‘devices all over the city’ and ‘wants to speak with the prime minister live on radio’, according to Ray Hadley, from 2GB.

Up to two gunmen are involved in the siege but dozens of armed police have sealed off the streets surrounding the site. One gunman is believed to have a shotgun and possibly an explosive device.

The incident began just hours after a 25-year-old suspect was arrested in a terror raid in Sydney.
Officials have also evacuated the Opera House after reports of a suspicious device. Source: Daily Mail

Authorities: The airspace over Sydney hasn’t been shut down, despite earlier reports, Some planes are being rerouted to avoid police helicopters over hostage situation. – @Y7News

CNN reports, that around 9:44 a.m. local time a woman saw a man with a sports bag. She called police because she thought he may have a gun. The man entered the coffee shop and that’s when it turned into a hostage situation.

PM Tony Abbott press conference:

More from Twitter:

Senate Report: CIA’s Enhanced Interrogation Techniques Not Effective

dick cheney 1 450x261 Senate Report: CIAs Enhanced Interrogation Techniques Not Effective

Senate Report: CIA’s Enhanced Interrogation Techniques Not Effective (Photo Credit: Donkey Hotey)

***SENATE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE:  CIA MISLED THE PUBLIC ON TORTURE***

A Senate report found the CIA’s enhanced interrogation techniques, including waterboarding and rectal rehydration, were not effective. The agency is accused of misrepresenting management of the program. Um, these are the same techniques former vice president Dick Cheney praised.

Here are some key points from the NY Times on the CIA interrogation report:

1. The C.I.A.’s interrogation techniques were more brutal and employed more extensively than the agency portrayed.

The report describes extensive waterboarding as a “series of near drownings” and suggests that more prisoners were subjected to waterboarding than the three prisoners the C.I.A. has acknowledged in the past. The report also describes detainees being subjected to sleep deprivation for up to a week, medically unnecessary “rectal feeding” and death threats. Conditions at one prison, described by a clandestine officer as a “dungeon,” were blamed for the death of a detainee, and the harsh techniques were described as leading to “psychological and behavioral issues, including hallucinations, paranoia, insomnia, and attempts at self-harm and self-mutilation.”

2. The C.I.A. interrogation program was mismanaged and was not subject to adequate oversight.

The report cites dissatisfaction among intelligence officers about the competence and training of interrogators. Those found to have violated agency policy were “rarely held accountable.” The architects of the program had never carried out a real interrogation. The report states that the C.I.A. resisted congressional oversight, restricted access to information, declined to answer questions about the program and “impeded oversight” by the agency’s inspector general by providing false information.

3. The C.I.A. misled members of Congress and the White House about the effectiveness and extent of its brutal interrogation techniques.

The report says that the C.I.A. provided false and misleading information to members of Congress, the White House and the director of national intelligence about the program’s effectiveness. It asserts that a review of cases, in which the agency claims to have collected “actionable intelligence” it would have been unable to obtain by other means, calls into question the connection between the information and any “counterterrorism success.”

CIA Director John Brennan statement on Senate report:  “We acknowledge that the detention and interrogation program had shortcomings and that the agency made mistakes…[but] our review indicates that interrogations of detainees on whom [enhanced interrogation techniques] were used did produce intelligence that helped thwart attack plans, capture terrorists, and save lives.” — Read More at www.cia.gov

DOJ to Launch Civil Rights Investigation into Eric Garner Chokehold Death

eric garner 450x364 DOJ to Launch Civil Rights Investigation into Eric Garner Chokehold Death

DOJ to Launch Civil Rights Investigation into Eric Garner Chokehold Death

Attorney General Eric Holder said the Department of Justice will launch an civil rights investigation into the Eric Garner chokehold death after a Staten Island grand jury cleared NYPD Officer Daniel Pantaleo. Holder said the probe into Eric Garner’s death will be “independent, thorough, fair and expeditious.”

Good evening.  I want to provide an update regarding the case involving Eric Garner, a Staten Island resident, who died tragically in July.

Since Mr. Garner’s death, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York, the Civil Rights Division and the FBI have been monitoring the local case closely while allowing the local investigation, led by the District Attorney’s office in Staten Island, to proceed first.

Earlier today, the grand jury declined to return an indictment in this case.  Now that the local investigation has concluded, I am here to announce that the Justice Department will proceed with a federal civil rights investigation into Mr. Garner’s death.

This afternoon I spoke with the widow of Eric Garner to inform her and her family of our decision to investigate potential federal civil rights violations.  I have been in touch with President Obama and Mayor de Blasio regarding our decision as well.

Our prosecutors will conduct an independent, thorough, fair and expeditious investigation.

In addition to performing our own investigative work, the Department will conduct a complete review of the material gathered during the local investigation.

We have all seen the video of Mr. Garner’s arrest.  His death, of course, was a tragedy.  All lives must be valued.  Mr. Garner’s death is one of several recent incidents across the country that have tested the sense of trust that must exist between law enforcement and the communities they are charged to serve and protect.  This is not a New York issue or a Ferguson issue alone.  Those who have protested peacefully across our great nation following the grand jury’s decision in Ferguson have made that clear.

As the brother of a retired police officer, I know in a personal way about the bravery of the men and women in uniform who put their lives at risk every day to protect public safety.  The vast majority of our law enforcement officers perform their duties honorably and are committed to respecting their fellow citizens civil rights as they carry out their very challenging work.

It is for their sake as well that we must seek to heal the breakdown in trust we have seen.  Earlier this week, I traveled to Atlanta to begin a series of interactions to begin this process – and officials around the country at every level of the Department of Justice will continue this vital ongoing work.  As the Justice Department’s independent investigations into the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner proceed, I will continue these conversations as we seek to restore trust, to rebuild understanding and to foster cooperation between law enforcement and the communities they serve.

I know that substantial numbers of people in New York and across the country will be disappointed and frustrated by the outcome of the state grand jury proceeding today.  I know many will plan to voice their disappointment publicly through protests.  This is the right of all Americans.  But as I have said before, throughout our history, the most successful movements have been those that adhered to the principles of nonviolence.  I urge all those inclined to demonstrate tonight and in the days ahead to remain peaceful in their demonstrations, and not to engage in activities that deflect our attention from the very serious matters our nation must confront.  Source: Justice Department

Report: Grand Jury Won’t Indict NYPD Cop in Eric Garner Chokehold Death

eric garner 2 450x364 Report: Grand Jury Wont Indict NYPD Cop in Eric Garner Chokehold Death

Report: Grand Jury Won’t Charge Cop in Eric Garner Chokehold Death

#BREAKING:  A Staten Island grand jury has elected not to indict the officer in the Eric Garner chokehold death, despite having video evidence. Staten Island is now bracing for Ferguson-like riots as the grand jury clears Officer Daniel Pantaleo for Garner’s murder.

Police said they approached Garner because he was selling unlicensed cigarettes – better known as loosies – and that he resisted arrest.

They noted that Garner’s rap sheet listed 31 arrests, beginning when he was 16.

But Garner’s death sparked national outrage after The Daily News obtained a sickening cell phone video of his deadly encounter with police.

Pantaleo, who had been accused of false arrest and violating police procedures in two previous lawsuits, was yanked off the street. Source: NY Daily News

NYPD officer Daniel Pantaleo on being cleared by grand jurors in Eric Garner’s death: ‘It is never my intention to harm anyone and I feel very bad about the death of Mr. Garner’ — @Bogs4NY

From BreakingNews.com:  Grand jurors considering whether to indict officer Daniel Pantaleo in the death of Eric Gardner found there was no probable cause that a crime was committed; they could have considered a range of charges, from murder to reckless endangerment. Garner’s case drew national attention in part due to a video of the incident which showed Garner, who suffered from asthma, repeatedly telling officers he could not breathe. The medical examiner’s office determined his death was a homicide and that a chokehold, a tactic banned by the NYPD, contributed to his death. – Tricia

Louis Head Apologizes for “Burn That Bitch Down” Comment

louis head1 450x254 Louis Head Apologizes for Burn That Bitch Down Comment

Louis Head Apologizes for “Burn That Bitch Down” Comment

Michael Brown’s stepdad Louis Head responds to “burn that bitch down” comments during Ferguson rioting after the grand jury cleared Darren Wilson in the shooting: “I humbly apologize to all of those who read my pain and anger as a true desire for what I want for our community.” — NBC News

Michael Brown’s Stepdad, Louis Head, Investigated for Inciting Riots in Ferguson

louis head 450x254 Michael Browns Stepdad, Louis Head, Investigated for Inciting Riots in Ferguson

Michael Brown’s Stepdad, Louis Head, Investigated for Inciting Riots in Ferguson (Photo Credit: CNN Video Screengrab)

Michael Brown’s stepdad, Louis Head, is being investigated by the Ferguson police for inciting riots in Ferguson after the grand jury decision clearing Darren Wilson was announced. Head was heard saying, “burn this bitch down, burn this bitch down.” While it’s was reprehensible for him to have uttered those words, it may be very hard to prove that his words actually did incite the riots. I seriously doubt he can be blamed for the riots that rocked Ferguson and it will be very hard to prove in court. At the very least he should reach out to the community, express remorse and apologize for his comments. At this juncture, the community wants healing.

It’s also interesting to note, if there are charges, the prosecutor would be Robert McCulloch, who is the same person many in St. Louis had called on to recuse himself from the case involving Darren Wilson because of his pro-police stance and the fact that his father was killed by a black man.

Family attorney Benjamin Crump said that they are not concerned that charges will be filed, but decried Louis Head’s comments. The comments were made outside the police department where cars were damaged. It’s kinda crazy to go after the family of the victim for inciting a riot. The fact is, it’s dragging the Ferguson debacle further out.

HLN’s Nancy Grace hit out at those who want to prosecute Louis Head. She told CNN’s Brooke Baldwin that the statute in this jurisdiction is that when six or more people join together and agree to engage in violence. The bottomline is that it can’t be proven that Head incited the riots that erupted in Ferguson. Nancy Grace said slammed the Lt. Gov. Pete Kinder for going on the radio and blabbing about Louis Head allegedly inciting a riot, inside of privately speaking with the district attorney. Grace said the discussion of Louis Head being prosecuted for inciting a riot is “incendiary.”

Separately, the Bosnian community is enraged over the murder of Zemir Bejic, who was beaten to death by teens with hammers early Sunday in St. Louis. The police say the attack wasn’t racially motivated. Three teens, including 17-year-old Robert Mitchell, have been arrested. Mitchell was charged with first degree murder and armed criminal action, the St. Louis Post Dispatch reports.

Watch Louis Head shout “burn this bitch down:”

Ray Rice Wins Appeal Over Indefinite Suspension By NFL, Now Eligible to Play

ray rice beats janay palmer 450x344 Ray Rice Wins Appeal Over Indefinite Suspension By NFL, Now Eligible to Play

Ray Rice Wins Appeal After Being Banned By NFL, Now Eligible to Play

Former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice won his appeal, stemming from his dismissal by the NFL over knocking-out his then-fiancee in an Atlantic City casino elevator. He is now eligible to play.

Former U.S. Judge Barbara S. Jones rejected the NFL’s indefinite suspension of Rice, NBC Sports reports.

No Indictment Filed Against Officer Darren Wilson in Michael Brown Shooting

darren wilson 450x324 No Indictment Filed Against Officer Darren Wilson in Michael Brown Shooting

No Indictment Filed Against Officer Darren Wilson in Michael Brown Shooting (Photo Credit: St. Louis County Prosecutor’s Office)

Killer cop walks free: No indictment will be filed against Officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of Michael Brown. St. Louis County prosecuting attorney Robert McCulloch says the grand jury “determined that no probable cause exists to charge Officer Darren Wilson” for the teen’s murder. McColloch said all the witnesses who testified that Michael Brown charged officer Wilson were black.

Sorry, Bob McCulloch punted the case to the grand jury. This was a rigged game and Michael Brown didn’t have a chance. Here’s the entire grand jury testimony, CLICK HERE.

McCulloch said Officer Wilson was alerted about the strong-arm robbery at the convenience store and recognized the teen from the description given by the dispatcher.

Most of the witnesses said the shots fired at Michael Brown came when he turned towards the officer. Wilson fired 12 shots from his weapon. Michael Brown’s body was located 153 feet east from Darren Wilson’s car. The teen reportedly had a 25-foot comeback toward Brown, which may have led to his shooting death. That’s according to Bob McCollouch.

Bob McCulloch’s whining over the media and social media coverage of the shooting death was unprofessional. He believes the shooting of Michael Brown was because of his aggressive reaction to Darren Wilson.

Here’s Bob McCulloch’s bizarre press conference:

Reaction to Michael Brown shooting grand jury decision:  “Michael Brown’s parents have lost more than anyone. We should be honoring their wishes.” — President Obama ChristineDByers

ACLU: Ferguson, Mo., grand jury decision “does not negate the fact that Michael Brown’s tragic death is part of an alarming national trend of officers using excessive force against people of color.” – @aclu_mo

Here’s a statement from Michael Brown’s parents:

“We are profoundly disappointed that the killer of our child will not face the consequence of his actions. While we understand that many others share our pain, we ask that you channel your frustration in ways that will make a positive change. We need to work together to fix the system that allowed this to happen. Join with us in our campaign to ensure that every police officer working the streets in this country wears a body camera. We respectfully ask that you please keep your protests peaceful. Answering violence with violence is not the appropriate reaction. Let’s not just make noise, let’s make a difference.” Lesley McSpadden and Michael Brown, Sr. Parents of Michael Brown, Jr.

 Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo.: “Michael Brown’s death was a tragic loss for his family and for the community. Since August, I’ve been in close touch with clergy members and other local leaders, and I believe we all agree our first priority is peacefully healing and rebuilding the community after months of unrest. We must balance the rights of Americans to exercise their free speech alongside the rights of people to live peacefully and safely in their communities. I join Michael Brown’s family in urging protestors to do so peacefully.” – statement Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., on Ferguson grand jury decision: ‘There will be many people who are disappointed in today’s decision, even though it is a result of a deliberate legal process that’s being independently checked by Attorney General Eric Holder and the US Justice Department. While we await the conclusion of that independent investigation-and continue working together for solutions to systemic issues highlighted by this tragedy – I’m praying that the good people of St. Louis and local law enforcement will remain peaceful and respectful of one another’ – statement

Officer firing his weapon on protestors.

A video posted by Marc Lamont Hill (@marclamonthill) on