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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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Animals

Dolphin Swims Through Louisiana Neighborhood in Aftermath of Hurricane Ida

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A Louisiana family was shocked to find a dolphin swimming through their neighborhood in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida.

Amanda Huling and her family were assessing the damage to their neighborhood in Slidell, Louisiana, when they noticed the dolphin swimming through the inundated suburban landscape.

In video shot by Huling, the marine mammal’s dorsal fin can be seen emerging from the water.

“The dolphin was still there as of last night but I am in contact with an organization who is going to be rescuing it within the next few days if it is still there,” Huling told FOX 35.

Ida slammed into the coast of Louisiana this past weekend. The Category 4 hurricane ravaged the power grid of the region, plunging residents of New Orleans and upwards of 1 million homes and businesses in Louisiana and Mississippi into the dark for an indefinite period of time.

Officials have warned that the damage has been so extensive that it could take weeks to repair the power grid, reports Associated Press.

Also in Slidell, a 71-year-old man was attacked by an alligator over the weekend while he was in his flooded shed. The man went missing and is assumed dead, reports WDSU.

Internet users began growing weary last year about the steady stream of stories belonging to a “nature is healing” genre, as people stayed indoors and stories emerged about animals taking back their environs be it in the sea or in our suburbs.

However, these latest events are the surreal realities of a world in which extreme weather events are fast becoming the new normal – disrupting our lives in sometimes predictable, and occasionally shocking and surreal, ways.

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Mom in LA Suburbs Fights Off Mountain Lion With Bare Hands, Rescues 5-Year-Old Son

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A mother in Southern California is being hailed as a hero after rescuing her five-year-old son from an attacking mountain lion.

The little boy was playing outside his home in Calabasas, a city lying west of Los Angeles in the Santa Monica Mountains, when the large cat pounced on him.

The 65-pound (30 kg) mountain lion dragged the boy about 45 yards across the front lawn before the mother acted fast, running out and striking the creature with her bare hands and forcing it to free her son.

“The true hero of this story is his mom because she absolutely saved her son’s life,” California Department of Fish and Wildlife spokesman Captain Patrick Foy told Associated Press on Saturday.

“She ran out of the house and started punching and striking the mountain lion with her bare hands and got him off her son,” Foy added.

The boy sustained significant injuries to his head, neck and upper torso, but is now in stable condition at a hospital in Los Angeles, according to authorities.

The mountain lion was later located and killed by an officer with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, who found the big cat crouching in the bushes with its “ears back and hissing” at the officer shortly after he arrived at the property.

“Due to its behavior and proximity to the attack, the warden believed it was likely the attacking lion and to protect public safety shot and killed it on sight,” the wildlife department noted in its statement.

The mountain lion attack is the first such attack on a human in Los Angeles County since 1995, according to Fish and Wildlife.

The Santa Monica Mountains is a biodiverse region teeming with wildlife such as large raptors, mountain lions, bears, coyote, deer, lizards, and snakes. However, their numbers have rapidly faded in recent years, causing local wildlife authorities to find new ways to manage the region’s endemic species.

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Video Shows Taliban Taking Joyride in Captured US Blackhawk Helicopter

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The rapid fall of Kabul to the Taliban has resulted in a number of surreal sights – from footage of the Islamist group’s fighters exercising at a presidential gym to clips of combatants having a great time on bumper cars at the local fun park.

However, a new video of Taliban members seemingly testing their skills in the cockpit of a commandeered UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter shows the chilling extent to which U.S. wares have fallen into the hands of a group it spent trillions of dollars, and exhaustive resources, to stamp out.

In the new video, shared on Twitter, the front-line utility helicopter can be seen taxiing on the ground at Kandahar Airport in southeastern Afghanistan, moving along the tarmac. It is unclear who exactly was sitting in the cockpit, and the Black Hawk cannot be seen taking off or flying.

It is unlikely that the Taliban have any combatants who are sufficiently trained to fly a UH-60 Black Hawk.

The helicopter, which carries a $6 million price tag, is just a small part of the massive haul that fell into the militant group’s hands after the country’s central government seemingly evaporated on Aug. 14 amid the withdrawal of U.S. and coalition troops.

Some 200,000 firearms, 20,000 Humvees and hundreds of aircraft financed by Washington for the now-defunct Afghan Army are believed to be in the possession of the Taliban.

The firearms include M24 sniper rifles, M18 assault weapons, anti-tank missiles, automatic grenade launchers, rocket-propelled grenades and mortars.

Taliban fighters in the elite Badri 313 Brigade have been seen in propaganda images showing off in uniforms and wielding weaponry meant for the special forces units of the Afghan Army.

The U.S. is known to have purchased 42,000 light tactical vehicles, 9,000 medium tactical vehicles and over 22,000 Humvees between 2003 and 2016.

The White House remains unclear on how much weaponry has fallen into Taliban hands, with National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan admitting last week that the U.S. lacks a “clear picture of just how much missing $83 billion of military inventory” the group has.

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