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FBI Launches Probe Into Police Killing of Andrew Brown Jr.

“Let’s be clear, this was an execution. Andrew Brown was in his driveway, and his hands were on the steering wheel.”

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As the FBI announced Tuesday that it is investigating the killing last week of unarmed Black man Andrew Brown Jr. by North Carolina sheriff’s deputies, civil rights and racial justice groups joined the victim’s relatives in demanding authorities release full police body camera footage of the shooting. 

Five days after Brown, 42, was shot dead in his car outside of his Elizabeth City home by a team of SWAT-style Pasquotank County sheriff’s deputies attempting to serve search and arrest warrants for alleged drug offenses, authorities on Monday allowed two of the slain man’s relatives and their lawyers to view a heavily redacted 20-second video of the killing. 

After viewing the video, Brown family attorney Chantel Cherry-Lassiter said the deputies “were shooting and saying, ‘Let me see your hands,’ at the same time. Let’s be clear, this was an execution. Andrew Brown was in his driveway, and his hands were on the steering wheel.”

“They were still shooting at him after his car had already crashed into a tree,” she added. 

An independent autopsy performed by Dr. Brent Wayne Hall, a former medical examiner for five North Carolina counties, found that Brown was shot five times.

According to family attorney Wayne Kendall, four rounds from the deputies’ barrage glanced his right arm. Kendall said Brown was then shot in the back of the head as he tried to drive away to save his life. 

“Yesterday I said he was executed. This autopsy report shows me that was correct,” Khalil Ferebee, one of Brown’s seven children, said at a Tuesday press conference. 

The restricted and incomplete nature of the video viewing sparked widespread outrage, with advocates calling on authorities to release all of the footage. 

“We do not feel that we got transparency,” said civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump, who is also representing Brown’s family, at the Tuesday news conference. “We only saw a snippet of the video, and they determined what was pertinent. Why couldn’t the family see all of the video? They only showed one bodycam video, even though we know there were several.”

The North Carolina NAACP released a statement Tuesday demanding an “immediate review of the body cameras.”

“Here we are again outraged to hear of yet another Black man dead, allegedly at the hands of those who are supposed to protect and serve,” the statement said. “The murder of Andrew Brown in Elizabeth City, North Carolina… on the morning after the guilty-on-every-count verdict in the trial of Derek Chauvin screams for increased scrutiny of the policing system.” 

Appearing on Democracy Now! on Tuesday, Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II—co-chair of the Poor People’s Campaign and president of Repairers of the Breach—said that “a warrant is not a license to kill” and that “the tapes should be released.” 

“They waited 120 hours to get 20 seconds,” Barber, who is also the longtime chair of the North Carolina NAACP, said of local authorities. “That is absolutely ridiculous.”

“When something happened like this in Columbus, it was released almost immediately,” he added, referring to the police killing of 16-year-old Ma’Khia Bryant in the Ohio capital on the day before Brown’s death. 

Another Brown family lawyer, Bakari Sellers, also called for the full video’s release, saying that “police can’t sweep this under the rug.” 

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper and state Attorney General Josh Stein, both Democrats, have also called for the video’s release. 

Although ongoing protests against Brown’s killing—now in their sixth day—have been peaceful, Elizabeth City Mayor Bettie J. Parker on Monday declared a local state of emergency in which she said that “our citizens and businesses must be protected from violence and damage.”

Parker said the state of emergency will continue “until deemed no longer necessary to protect our citizens.”

In response, Barber and other religious leaders on Tuesday declared a “moral emergency” in Elizabeth City. 

“What we see happening in Elizabeth City with a man shot in the back and the inept way the investigation is being handled by the district attorney and sheriff is a moral failure,” Barber said outside a local church. 

Also on Tuesday, the FBI’s Charlotte office announced it was opening an investigation into Brown’s killing. The North Carolina Bureau of Investigation is also investigating the incident. 

Seven Pasquotank County sheriff’s deputies—who found no guns or drugs on Brown or in his vehicle—have been placed on administrative leave following the killing. 

Republished from CommonDreams.org under Creative Commons

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WATCH: Video Shows Bullets Fly as Armored Car Crew Narrowly Escapes Brutal Heist

Elias Marat

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Dramatic dash cam footage from Pretoria, South Africa, shows the moment that the crew of an armored car narrowly escaped an attempt by armed robes to stage a heist.

The shocking video shows a pair of private security officers transporting cash in a bulletproof Toyota truck on April 22 before they suddenly come under attack by armed assailants.

For the first minute of the roughly three-minute-long video, the security guards can be seen routinely driving down a highway.

The vehicle then comes under fire as bullets can be heard slamming into the driver side of the car, with the window by the driver’s side shattering.

The driver, who maintains his calm and composure during the attack, manages to escape amid the traffic. He also seems to slam into one of the two vehicles belonging to the attackers.

“They’re going to shoot. They’re going to f**king shoot,” the driver then says, urging his colleague to pull out the rifle and prepare to defend their lives.

As gunshots continue to ring out, the two drive silently as the tension builds. The driver then shouts to his colleague: “Phone Robbie, phone Josh! Ask them where they are.”

As the video ends, the driver can be seen stopping the vehicle and grabbing his colleague’s rifle. At that point, it becomes clear that the assailants have realized that their attack was futile they had already fled the scene.

The suspects fired several shots at the [Cash-In-Transit] vehicle in an attempt to stop it during a high-speed chase,” said police spokesperson Brigadier Vishnu Naidoo , reports News24. 

“The driver of the CIT vehicle managed to evade the robbers for a while but later stopped in wait for the robbers,” Naidoo added. “The robbers fled without taking any money. No arrests have yet been made.”

Online users have praised the steel nerves of the armored car’s crew in navigating what could have been a deadly attack.

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After Strong Backlash, NYPD Kicks Robotic Dog “Spot” to the Curb

Kenny Stancil

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The New York City Police Department decided this week to stop leasing a robotic dog from Boston Dynamics following a sustained outcry from residents and lawmakers, who denounced the use of the high-tech, four-legged device in low-income neighborhoods as a misallocation of public resources and violation of civil liberties.

When the NYPD acquired the K-9 machine last August, officials portrayed “Digidog”—the department’s name for the camera-equipped, 70-pound robot—as “a futuristic tool that could go places that were too dangerous to send officers,” the New York Times reported earlier this week.

Inspector Frank Digiacomo of the department’s Technical Assistance Response Unit said in a television interview in December: “This dog is going to save lives. It’s going to protect people. It’s going to protect officers.”

Instead—thanks to strong backlash from critics, including people who live in the Bronx apartment complex and the Manhattan public housing building where the robotic dog was deployed in recent weeks—the department is returning “Spot,” as Boston Dynamics calls the device, months earlier than expected.

According to the Times:

In response to a subpoena from City Councilman Ben Kallos and Council Speaker Corey Johnson requesting records related to the device, police officials said that a contract worth roughly $94,000 to lease the robotic dog from its maker, Boston Dynamics, had been terminated on April 22.

John Miller, the police department’s deputy commissioner for intelligence and counterterrorism, confirmed on Wednesday that the contract had been canceled and that the dog had been returned to Boston Dynamics or would be soon.

Miller told the Times that the police had initially planned to continue testing the K-9 machine’s capabilities until August, when the lease had been scheduled to end.

The robotic dog came under increased scrutiny in February, after it was deployed in response to a home invasion at a Bronx apartment building, as Common Dreams reported at the time.

“Robotic surveillance ground drones are being deployed for testing on low-income communities of color with under-resourced schools,” Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) tweeted in response. “Please ask yourself: when was the last time you saw next-generation, world class technology for education, healthcare, housing, etc. consistently prioritized for underserved communities like this?” 

And earlier this month, as Common Dreams reported, footage of the robotic dog walking through a Manhattan public housing building went viral, sparking additional outrage and prompting a city council investigation.

“Why the hell do we need robot police dogs?” Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-N.Y.) asked at the time. 

While there are “people living in poverty, struggling to put food on the table, keep a roof over their head, take care of their kids, afford child care—all this going on, and now we got damn robot police dogs walking down the street,” Bowman lamented.

Bill Neidhardt, a spokesperson for New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, who urged the police department to reconsider its use of the robot following objections from residents and lawmakers, said he was “glad the Digidog was put down.”

“It’s creepy, alienating, and sends the wrong message to New Yorkers,” Neidhardt said.

Republished from CommonDreams.org under Creative Commons

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Senate Intelligence Leaders Say Mystery “Sonic Weapon” Attacks on U.S. Officials Increasing

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After it was revealed Thursday that US intelligence is investigating at least two potential “directed energy” sonic attacks on White House personnel – one of which is alleged to have happened just off White House grounds – the US Senate Intelligence Committee weighed in on Friday, saying such mysterious incidents appear to be happening with greater frequency worldwide.

Senators Mark Warner (D) and Marco Rubio (R) agreed that such microwave energy attacks have gone on for “nearly five years” and have targeted “US government personnel in Havana, Cuba and elsewhere around the world.” In a joint statement the two ranking members said, “This pattern of attacking our fellow citizens serving our government appears to be increasing. The Senate Intelligence Committee intends to get to the bottom of this,” according to Reuters. 

As with the late 2016 into 2017 ‘Havana Syndrome’ attacks in which some 50 diplomatic personnel reported experiencing strange symptoms from vomiting to concussions to extreme nausea to chronic headaches, which was believed the result of some kind of undetected ‘directed energy’ weapon, the most recent incidents saw media reports speculate that Russia or China might be behind them. 

It was starting last week that the mysterious incidents returned to national media spotlight after defense officials said they believe Russia is likely behind microwave energy weapon attacks on US troops in northeast Syria. Apparently some US troops occupying the country began reporting”flu-like symptoms” which caused the DoD to investigate possible linkage to microwave or directed energy weapons on the battlefield of Syria. Politico reported that “officials identified Russia as a likely culprit, according to two people with direct knowledge of the matter.”

Despite instances of strange symptoms and even head injuries experienced by diplomatic personnel or troops abroad, no “energy weapon” has ever been found or uncovered that’s believed to have caused any of these alleged attacks. Most often US personnel report the symptoms enough time after the alleged attack took place for the “plot” and culprit to remain undetected. Naturally this has resulted in immense skepticism and pushback.

One deeply critical response to all the reporting late this week quipped: “Another day, another mostly anonymously sourced story about unidentified assailants supposedly assaulting U.S. government employees around the globe. This time, according to CNN, federal agencies are looking into something closer to home: symptoms suffered by a White House employee in Virginia and National Security Council staffer near the south lawn of the White House.”

“Although a government report later concluded the most likely cause was instead some sort of ‘directed, pulsed radiofrequency energy’ (i.e. a microwave weapon), that conclusion was primarily based on a lack of evidence for other causes and received strong pushback from many others in the scientific community.”

The commentary in Gizmodo pointed out further that “No hard evidence of any kind for the technology has ever been publicly presented by the US government. Reports citing government officials who suspect Russian intelligence to be involved have largely been anonymous and buoyed primarily by rumors the Russian government may have resumed Soviet-era research into experimental weapons.”

Republished from ZeroHedge.com with permission

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