Last night, hundreds of demonstrators took to the streets of Chicago following the release of a dashcam video showing 17-year-old Laquan McDonald being shot 16 times by police. Yesterday, Officer Jason Van Dyke was charged with his murder for the shooting that took place last year. Though the protestors blocked some streets and intersections, the marches were mostly peaceful.
The video—which was released on the order of a court ruling—is disturbing and graphic. In it, McDonald is seen walking down the street away from officers before he is shot. Though it was revealed that McDonald had PCP in his system, in the dashcam video, he does not appear to be a threat to officers or even acknowledge them. The Cook County State Attorney said that the officers that were already on the scene said that McDonald was acting strangely, but did not feel that force was necessary. Van Dyke arrived minutes later, and opened fire. His lawyer claims that he acted in self defense. Discuss
Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke has been formally charged with first degree murder, a year after he shot 17-year-old African-American Laquan McDonald 16 times during a confrontation in a Burger King parking lot. A video of the shooting reportedly contradicted the police report, and showed that though the teen was carrying a knife, he was walking away from the officers when Van Dyke opened fire. According to a court order, the video, which has not been publicly shown, must be released by tomorrow. An autopsy revealed that the victim had PCP in his system, but the video reportedly shows him not following the officers orders by walking in another direction. Officers say he had punctured car tires with the knife. According to one witness, Van Dyke even continue to fire after the teen lay on the ground in the fetal position. The city of Chicago has offered the family a $5 million settlement. Discuss
According to Pew Research Center's Religious Landscape survey, white Christians are no longer a majority in the U.S. Pew reports that white Christians now make up 46 percent of the American population, down from 55 percent in 2007. The number of white Christians among Republicans, however, has remained at a steady 69 percent, while 31 percent lean Democrat. Interestingly, the number of nonwhite Christians that lean Democrat is nearly the same as white Christians: 32 percent. The number of nonwhite Christians that vote Republican, however, is significantly lower, at only 13 percent. The study also showed a 50 percent increase in the gap of Christian identification among Democrats and Republicans. Discuss
Just a day after a group of governors across the country said their states would not allow refugees fleeing violence, war and ISIS in Syria to enter their home states, House Speaker Paul Ryan said lawmakers could soon vote to “pause” the U.S. refugee program. Ryan said, “This is a moment where it is better to be safe than to be sorry, so we think the prudent, the responsible thing is to take a pause in this particular aspect of this refugee program in order to verify that terrorists are not trying to infiltrate the refugee population.” He suggested a new vetting process be created, but gave no indication of how long the refugee program would be suspended.
Though several GOP candidates also said America should suspend the refugee program, yesterday, President Obama said the purpose of America’s refugee policy—which would allow 10,000 people affected by violence in Syria to resettle in the U.S.—was to help the most vulnerable. “The people who are fleeing Syria are the most harmed by terrorism; they are the most vulnerable as a consequence of civil war and strife. We do not close our hearts to these victims of such violence and somehow start equating the issue of refugees with the issue of terrorism.”
GOP hopeful Jeb Bush also said he does not think that the program should be suspended, calling it “a noble tradition.” Discuss
Police in Minneapolis arrested at least 51 people after a large demonstration obstructed traffic on Interstate 94. The protestors come after the shooting of a local African-American man by police. The FBI and Justice Department are launching a federal investigation into the shooting of the 24-year-old over the weekend. Protestors and local activists are demanding police release video of the shooting. Police, however, refused to say if video of the incident exists. The man who was shot, Jamar Clark was critically injured and is now in the hospital. The details of the shooting are disputed: Some protestors and witnesses say that Clark was unarmed and handcuffed when he was shot; police say a struggle happened after he interfered with paramedics assisting his girlfriend following a domestic assault. Discuss
Governors in seven states have just announced that they will not allow Syrian refugees—who are fleeing a brutal civil war that has displaced millions—to be resettled in their states. So far, several leaders in Michigan, Texas, Louisiana, Alabama, Arkansas, Indiana and Mississippi have said they are requesting that no more refugees be resettled in their states until certain security and screening measures are put into place or can be reviewed. The announcements come after more than 120 people were killed in terrorist attacks by suspects authorities believe are connected to ISIS in Syria.
President Obama recently announced that the United States would resettle 10,000 Syrian refugees who have fled war, violence and ISIS in the country. The war has killed more than 220,000 people, and has displaced 11 million. In 2015 alone, more than 2,600 have died at sea while attempting to escape the violence. Many of them were children.
In wake of Paris attacks, I'm directing all state agencies to suspend the resettlement of addl Syrian refugees in IN https://t.co/Gtg5ccjMsU
While speaking at the G20 Summit in Turkey, President Obama defended the policy, explaining that refugees represent victims of ISIS as well.
The people who are fleeing Syria are the most harmed by terrorism; they are the most vulnerable as a consequence of civil war and strife. We do not close our hearts to these victims of such violence and somehow start equating the issue of refugees with the issue of terrorism.
He also said that America will not use individuals’ religion as a basis for who it helps.
When I hear folks say that, well, maybe we should just admit the Christians, but not the Muslims, when I hear political leaders suggesting that there would be a religious test for which person who’s fleeing from a war-torn country is admitted, when some of those folks themselves come from families who benefited from protection when they were fleeing political persecution, that’s shameful. That’s not American. That’s not who we are. we don’t have religious tests to our compassion.