Category Archives: Videos

Philip Zimbardo: The Psychology of Heroic Imagination

Philip Zimbardo explains what conditions lead good people to behave badly by sharing insights and photos from the Abu Ghraib trials. He also discusses the flip side: how easy it is to behave heroically, and how we can rise to the challenge.

 

Camden Civil Rights Project Endorses Bernie Sanders in 2016

Bernie Sanders has a consistent thirty year track record of advocating for social justice and economic empowerment of the middle and working classes…..

 

 

Camden Civil Rights Project supports Sanders’ racial justice, women’s rights, LGBT equality, single payer healthcare, tuition free higher education, minimum living wage and corporate reform proposals

BERNIE SANDERS

On the Issues

The American people must make a fundamental decision. Do we continue the 40-year decline of our middle class and the growing gap between the very rich and everyone else, or do we fight for a progressive economic agenda that creates jobs, raises wages, protects the environment and provides health care for all? Are we prepared to take on the enormous economic and political power of the billionaire class, or do we continue to slide into economic and political oligarchy? These are the most important questions of our time, and how we answer them will determine the future of our country.

INCOME AND WEALTH INEQUALITY

IT’S TIME TO MAKE COLLEGE TUITION FREE AND DEBT FREE

GETTING BIG MONEY OUT OF POLITICS AND RESTORING DEMOCRACY

CREATING DECENT PAYING JOBS

A LIVING WAGE

COMBATING CLIMATE CHANGE TO SAVE THE PLANET

A FAIR AND HUMANE IMMIGRATION POLICY

RACIAL JUSTICE

FIGHTING FOR WOMEN’S RIGHTS

FIGHTING FOR LGBT EQUALITY

CARING FOR OUR VETERANS

MEDICARE FOR ALL

FIGHTING FOR DISABILITY RIGHTS

STRENGTHEN AND EXPAND SOCIAL SECURITY

FIGHTING TO LOWER PRESCRIPTION DRUG PRICES

IMPROVING THE RURAL ECONOMY

REFORMING WALL STREET

REAL FAMILY VALUES

WAR AND PEACE

WAR SHOULD BE THE LAST OPTION: WHY I SUPPORT THE IRAN DEAL

REAL TAX REFORM POLICIES THAT SEN. SANDERS HAS PROPOSED

HOW BERNIE PAYS FOR HIS PROPOSALS

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HOW BERNIE STACKS UP AGAINST THE OTHER CANDIDATES

The Hunted and the Hated: An Inside Look at the NYPD’s Stop-and-Frisk Policy

An exclusive audio recording obtained by The Nation of a stop-and-frisk carried out by the New York City Police Department reveals the humiliation and degradation caused by broken windows policing strategies which are being implemented in urban areas throughout America.

The day after The Nation published this video, it sparked a heated debate during a meeting of the City Council’s public safety committee. Since then, the New York Police Department’s stop, question and frisk tactic gained national notoriety and became a major factor in the city’s 2013 mayoral race. Footage and audio from this video were incorporated into a PSA video by the artist Yasiin Bey, and, perhaps most significantly, and the video was mentioned in the August 2013 decision of the landmark federal case Floyd v. City of New York, which found stop and frisk to be unconstitutional and racially discriminatory.

On June 3, 2011, three plainclothes New York City Police officers stopped a Harlem teenager named Alvin and two of the officers questioned and frisked him while the third remained in their unmarked car. Alvin secretly captured the interaction on his cell phone, and the resulting audio is one of the only known recordings of stop-and-frisk in action.

In the course of the two-minute recording, the officers give no legally valid reason for the stop, use racially charged language and threatened Alvin with violence. Early in the stop, one of the officers asks, “You want me to smack you?” When Alvin asks why he is being threatened with arrest, the other officer responds, “For being a fucking mutt.”

Later in the stop, while holding Alvin’s arm behind his back, the first officer says, “Dude, I’m gonna break your fuckin’ arm, then I’m gonna punch you in the fuckin’ face.”

“He grabbed me by my bookbag and he started pushing me down. So I’m going backwards like down the hill and he just kept pushing me, pushing me, it looked like he we was going to hit me,” Alvin recounts. “I felt like they was trying to make me resist or fight back.”

Alvin’s treatment at the hands of the officers may be disturbing but it is not uncommon. According to their own stop-and-frisk data, the NYPD stops more than 1,800 New Yorkers a day. A New York Times analysis recently determined that more than 20 percent of those stops involve the use of force. And these are only the numbers that the Department records.  Anecdotal evidence suggests both figures are much higher.

In this video, exclusive to TheNation.com, Alvin describes his experience of the stop, and working NYPD officers come forward to explain the damage stop-and-frisk has done to their profession and their relationship to the communities they serve. The emphasis on racking up stops has also hindered what many officers consider to be the real work they should be doing on the streets. The video sheds unprecedented light on a practice, cheered on by Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, that has put the city’s young people of color in the department’s crosshairs.

Those who haven’t experienced the policy first-hand “have likened Stops to being stuck in an elevator, or in traffic,” says Darius Charney, senior staff attorney at the Center for Constitutional Rights. “This is not merely an inconvenience, as the Department likes to describe it. This is men with guns surrounding you in the street late at night when you’re by yourself. You ask why and they curse you out and rough you up.”

“The tape brings to light what so many New Yorkers have experienced in the shadows at the hands of the NYPD,” says Ben Jealous, President of the NAACP. “It is time for Mayor Bloomberg to come to grips with the scale of the damage his policies have inflicted on our children and their families. No child should have to grow up fearing both the cops and the robbers.”

“This audio confirms what we’ve been hearing from communities of color, again and again,” says Donna Lieberman, executive director of the NYCLU. “They are repeatedly subjected to abusive and disrespectful treatment at the hands of the NYPD. This explains why so many young people don’t trust the police and won’t help the police,” she adds. “It’s not good for law enforcement and not good for the individuals who face this harassment.”

The audio also betrays the seeming arbitrariness of stops and the failure of some police officers to fully comprehend or be able to articulate a clear motivation for carrying out a practice they’re asked to repeat on a regular basis.

And, according to Charney, the only thing the police officers do with clarity during this stop is announce its unconstitutionality.

“We’ve long been claiming that, under this department’s administration, if you’re a young black or Latino kid, walking the street at night you’re automatically a suspicious person,” says Charney, who is leading a class-action lawsuit challenging the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk practices. “The police deny those claims, when asked. ‘No, that’s not the reason we’re stopping them.’ But they’re actually admitting it here [on the audio recording]. The only reason they give is: ‘You were looking back at us…’ That does not rise to the level of reasonable suspicion, and there’s a clear racial animus when they call him a ‘mutt.’”

The audio was recently played at a meeting of The Morris Justice Project, a group of Bronx residents who have organized around the issue of stop-and-frisk and have been compiling data on people’s interactions with police. Jackie Robinson, mother of two boys, expected not to be surprised when told about the contents of the recording. “It’s stuff we’ve all heard before,” she said at the gathering. Yet Robinson visibly shuddered at one of the audio’s most violent passages. She had heard plenty about these encounters, but had never actually listened to one in action.

“As a mother, it bothers you,” says Robinson. “The police are the ones we’re supposed to turn to when something bad happens. Of all the things I have to worry about when my kids walk out the door, I don’t want to have to worry about them being harmed by the police. It makes you feel like you can’t protect your children. Something has to be done.”

Officers who carry out such belligerent stops face little accountability under the NYPD’s current structure. The department is one of New York City’s last agencies to operate without independent oversight, leaving officers with no safe place to file complaints about police practice and systemic problems.

“An independent inspector general would be in a position to review NYPD policies and practices—like the recorded stop-and-frisk shown here—to see whether the police are violating New Yorkers’ rights and whether the program is in fact yielding benefits,” says the Brennan Center’s Faiza Patel. “An inspector general would not hinder the NYPD’s ability to fight crime, but would help build a stronger, more effective force.”

NYPD spokespeople have said that stop-and-frisk is necessary to keep crime down and guns off the street. But those assertions are increasingly being contradicted by the department’s own officers, who are beginning to speak out about a pervasive culture of number-chasing.

Two officers from two different precincts in two separate boroughs spoke toThe Nation about the same types of pressures put on officers to meet numerical goals or face disciplinary action and retaliation. Most chillingly, both officers use the word “hunt” when describing the relentless quest for summonses, stops and arrests.

“The civilian population, they’re being hunted by us,” says an officer with more than ten years on the job. “Instead of being protected by us, they’re being hunted and we’re being hated.”

The focus on numbers, and the rewards for those who meet quotas has created an atmosphere, another veteran officer says, in which cops compete to see who can get the highest numbers, and it can lead to the kind of arbitrary stop that quickly became violent in this recording.

“It’s really bad,” says the officer after listening to the audio recording. “It’s not a good thing at all. But it’s really common, I’m sorry to say. It doesn’t have to be like that.”

Lieberman from the NYCLU agrees: “It’s time for the Mayor and the Police Commissioner to stop trying to scare New Yorkers into accepting this kind of abuse, and to recognize that there is a problem.”

Additional reporting by Erin Schneider. To see this and other related media, go to: facebook.com/stopandfriskmedia or e-mail stopandfriskmedia at gmail dot com

 

The Target: Stop-and-Frisk’s Damaging Toll on Families and Communities

On August 12, a federal judge ruled the New York Police Department’s policy of “stop, question and frisk” unconstitutional and racially discriminatory. In her decision in the case of Floyd v. City of New York, Judge Shira A. Scheindlin validated many of the complaints coming from civil rights organizations, grassroots groups and politicians who have rallied against the policy and its destructive effects on low-income communities of color.

But more than a year before opening arguments began in the Floyd lawsuit, New York City Council members and community advocates were discussing their own policy ideas to address years of corruption in the department.

The result was two pieces of legislation, collectively known as the Community Safety Act, that the City Council began debating last year seeking to curb a range of abuses and address other NYPD policy problems before they escalate to the point of federal intervention.

The first piece would establish an independent inspector general to investigate and review police policy and practice and make non-binding recommendations to the mayor and police commissioner. The second would expand the categories of individuals protected from profiling and make enforceable an anti-profiling law that is already on the books.

Though the federal monitor imposed by Judge Scheindlin’s decision will seek to fix how the NYPD currently employs stop-and-frisk, it is these bills, councilmembers believe, that could have more impact on the long-term health of the department, and make it more accountable to the public.

The City Council voted on the two bills in June. And despite receiving the full endorsement of only one of the top New York City mayoral candidates (Bill de Blasio), and being denounced by Mayor Michael Bloomberg as “dangerous and irresponsible,” the council passed the bills by wide margins.

Their passage into law, however, is by no means assured. Mayor Bloomberg vetoed the legislation in July. And he, along with the city’s largest police union, the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, has announced his determination to sway the outcome of a veto override vote scheduled in the City Council this Thursday.

“This is a fight to defend your life and your kids’ lives. You can rest assured that I will not give up for one minute,” Bloomberg said at a June press conference.

Though the margin of the council’s June vote on the bills was wide enough to beat a veto, they could go down to defeat if the anti-profiling bill loses just one vote, or if the inspector-general bill loses eight. But if the current majorities hold, the bills will be signed into law, and it would be the second rebuke in as many weeks of the policing tactics of an administration that prides itself on its crime-fighting prowess.

Despite the life-and-death rhetoric from the mayor, it is these personal stakes that the bills’ backers see as the main reason for the mayor’s increasingly acerbic public comments and outright misinformation on the subject in recent weeks.

“He’s afraid of someone saying ‘not everything you did in policing worked,’” says Councilmember Jumaane Williams, a co-sponsor of the legislation. “A real leader can say, ‘Look, we tried a couple things. They didn’t all work out. And the ones that didn’t work out we tried to fix and work with the community on how to fix it.’ But he just didn’t do that, which caused us to be where we are now.”

Indeed, at a post-verdict press conference last week, the mayor became angry and agitated when asked about the pending legislation. The mayor’s message is clear: any extra departmental oversight will prohibit officers from doing their jobs and innocent civilians and officers will die.

“It’s disappointing the amount of fear-mongering that I’ve seen among the mayor and [Police Commissioner Ray Kelly],” says Williams. “ ’The sky is going to fall. Everything bad is going to happen.’ What they’re saying is that we have to profile in order to continue to do police work, and that’s just not acceptable. Otherwise, why are you worried about a profiling bill that just says you can’t profile?”

Though the anti-profiling bill is most vulnerable to the veto, it’s the one seen as most important by many lawyers because of the allowance that civilians can bring claims of profiling before a state court, and a judge can order binding remedies. It is also the one being most misrepresented by opponents.

A PBA delegate reached by The Nation, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak on behalf of the union, said that though he is against profiling, he’s also against the anti-profiling bill because he believes it would penalize individual officers.

Yet according to the bill’s language, officers will not be liable for monetary damages or subject to punishment by the judge.

For his part, Mayor Bloomberg has erroneously stated that the bill would bar officers from using descriptions of age or race when identifying a suspect.

“His staff had to tell him to stop saying that, because it isn’t true,” says Councilmember Brad Lander, a co-sponsor of the legislation. “It’s one thing for the New York Post, or the PBA to be saying this, but the mayor?”

The profiling bill is also one that gives hope to people who’ve been stopped and frisked wrongfully and regularly, like Keeshan Harley, an 18-year-old from Brooklyn who says he’s been stopped by the NYPD nearly 150 times.

“If they stop me without proper cause or without fair reasoning, if it’s just because I’m a young black male in Brooklyn, that’s the reason they stop me, then I have the right to bring them to court,” says the teen.

The fact that the mayor and the commissioner are not even open to a dialogue on the subject or attentive to citizens like Harley has frustrated Lander, who says the two have shown contempt for the City Council for merely doing its job of representing constituents’ concerns.

“And not only has the mayor been dismissive of the council, he’s shown a disregard for common sense,” exemplified, Lander said, when he madecomments on a recent radio talk show that whites (not blacks and Latinos) are the ones who are stopped too much.

Mayor Bloomberg also recently argued that the addition of an inspector general would result in too many layers of oversight. But according to Lander, “Inspectors general are present in every other major police department around the country and every federal law enforcement and intelligence agency. There is no example of an officer being confused about whose orders to follow.” The monitor will be focusing narrowly on stop-and-frisk, Lander said, while the inspector general would be “looking at the full array of programs and policies on the NYPD, including Muslim surveillance, quotas, statistics fixing, etc.”

“The history of law enforcement shows that a longer term legal framework for strong oversight and civil rights protection are what’s needed for effective and constitutional policing,” and that’s what these bills are intended to achieve, he says.

The big vote that will determine many upcoming issues revolving around the NYPD will come next month during the primaries for the next mayor—he or she will choose the next police commissioner, and decide whether to pursue Mayor Bloomberg’s appeal of the federal court’s decision in the Floyd case. And positions on public safety appear to be a priority for prospective voters, as the candidate who has distanced himself most from Mayor Bloomberg’s policies is now a serious contender to be the mayor’s successor: Public Advocate Bill de Blasio.

But in the meantime, this Thursday’s City Council vote on whether to override Bloomberg’s veto of the Community Safety Act bills is the one to watch, because the new mayor, whoever they may be, would be bound by this new legislation.

 

Thomas Hartmann: The Crash of 2016

Could the United States face another economic collapse? Writer and broadcaster Thom Hartmann looks back at past financial crises and comes to a startling conclusion. “As long as you don’t look too closely at our nation, things seem under control — the United States looks whole … but when you go around to the ‘dark back side’ of the nation, you see the shocking truth. There you see a nation whose core fundamentals have been hollowed out,” writes Hartmann in his new book, “The Crash of 2016: The Plot to Destroy America — and What We Can Do to Stop It.”

How Class Works

This video was produced by the National Association of County and City Public Health Officals (NACCHO) as a part of thier Roots of Heath Inequality Project. The project is a web-based course for the public health workforce and “How Class Works” is one section of the course.

The social and economic origins of health inequity have been well-documented since the industrial revolution in the 1840s. Recent data demonstrates a staggering and growing degree of social and economic inequality in the U.S. not seen since the Great Depression. Rates of disease and illness for people with low income are worsening across almost all categories and geographic areas in the U.S.

In this short video, economist Richard Wolff explains our class society and applies that understanding to our current financial recession. Wolff argues that a minority class determines the way our society distributes the output and places those who receive the profits in the position of deciding how they are utilized, “…We all live with the results of what a really tiny minority in our society decides to do with the profits everybody produces.” As you watch and listen, consider what we have learned about disease and illness patterns among groups with lower income, more stress, and less control of their lives. Consider how investment decisions in neighborhoods over transportation, school facilities, parks, location of grocery stores, quality of affordable housing, etc. influenced by powerful interests, affect the quality of life for large segments of our population.

Exposing the Economics of Sex Trafficking in the U.S.

“Sex sells” does little to explain the multimillion-dollar profits generated by the underground commercial sex economy. From high-end escort services to high school “sneaker pimps,” the sex trade leaves no demographic unrepresented and circuits almost every major US city. A landmark study funded by the Justice Department estimates that the underground sex industry in each of seven U.S. cities generates between $40 million to nearly $300 million a year. Hari Sreenivasan of PBS Newshour speaks with the lead author of the report, Meredith Dank of the Urban Institute.

America’s Daughters

Human trafficking is a form of modern-day slavery where people profit from the control and exploitation of an estimated 21 million men, women, and children globally. Victims of sex or labor trafficking in the United States include individuals coerced into in the commercial sex trade, domestic workers threatened with severe abuse in a home, agricultural workers held by violence or debt, and more. Each one of these victims deserves our support. And each one has a different story to tell.

America’s Daughters is a powerful piece of spoken word written and performed by a female survivor of sex trafficking. Through her words, we gain a brief glimpse into the unbelievable exploitation so many people have endured while yearning for what we all need: LOVE. This woman’s brave decision to speak out also demonstrates the remarkable resilience of the survivors Polaris Project serves every day.

Join survivors in the fight to end human trafficking. Go to www.polarisproject.org/americasdaughters­.

Credits:
Produced and Directed by: William Caballero and Kate Keisel
Edited by: William Caballero: http://www.wilcab.com
A special thanks to all the Polaris Project New Jersey team, volunteers and survivors who made this possible

“If we desire respect for the law, we must first make the law respectable.” – U.S. Supreme Court Justice Louis D. Brandeis