Tag Archives: Racial Profiling

Autopsy: Tommy Le Shot Twice in Back by Police for Holding a Pen | #JusticeforTommyLe

September 8, 2017
Community and family members gather at a community forum organized around the shooting of 20-year-old Tommy Le on July 19. (Photo credit: Twitter)

On June 14th, twenty-year-old Tommy Le was shot and killed just outside of Seattle, Washington by King County Sheriff’s deputy Cesar Molina. After the shooting, Molina insisted that Le was shot for approaching police aggressively while wielding an object that appeared to be a knife, and that Le further refused to comply with officer orders to drop the weapon.

That version of events is now in serious doubt after an investigation revealed that Le was actually holding a pen, not a knife, when he was shot and killed; and now, an autopsy of Le’s body further shows that Le was actually shot twice in the back, and a third time in the back of the hand. Those findings are incompatible with Molina’s insistence that Le was approaching police when he was killed.

Finally, toxicology reports show that Le was not under the influence of any drugs or alcohol. Although it remains possible that Le was suffering a mental health crisis at the time of his killing, Le’s family say that he had no history of mental illness.

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Dashcam Video Shows Brutal Police Assault of Laotian American Man

June 22, 2017
A screen-capture from dashcam footage released today by the ACLU of a traffic stop that led to the police beating of Anthony Promvongsa. (Photo credit: ACLU / YouTube)

Shocking dashcam footage released today by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)  of Minnesota shows a police officer brutally attacking a Laotian American man during a traffic stop last summer in Worthington, Minnesota. The ACLU says that the assault was both unconstitutional and excessively violent, and that “[p]eople should not fear that they could be attacked by the police for no reason or while being detained for investigative purposes.”

In the dashcam video (after the jump) which was captured by a second officer at the scene, Anthony Promvongsa (who was 21 at the time of the incident) is seen in the driver’s seat of his parked vehicle when Buffalo Ridge Drug Task Force Agent Joe Joswiak (who was off-duty at the time of the incident) approaches the car door with his gun drawn. Joswiak is heard profanely ordering Promvongsa to exit the vehicle. Immediately upon reaching the car door, Joswiak flings it open and begins forcibly pulling Promvongsa from the vehicle. Joswiak appears to knee and punch Promvongsa several times as he forces him to the pavement and handcuffs him. Midway through the video, another uniformed officer — Sgt. Tim Gaul — is also seen inexplicably turning off the audio of the recording dashcam, leaving no record of the verbal exchange between the police and Promvongsa for the remainder of the arrest.

Now, Promvongsa is facing several criminal charges stemming from the traffic stop while Joswiak does not appear to have any sanction for his obvious use of excessive force. The incident took place on July 28, 2016 — just three weeks after Philando Castile was shot and killed in St. Anthony, Minnesota last year by a police officer during a routine traffic stop.

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Activists Organize Against Border Patrol Plans to Scrutinize Social Media of Chinese Travelers to US

April 21, 2017
A customs declaration form from US Customs and Border Protection.

Last month, US Customs and Border Protection announced a proposal to institute a “voluntary” social media check of Chinese travelers to the United States. The proposal would add an “optional” question requesting account information for an applicant’s social media accounts to the Electronic Visa Updates System (EVUS), the system that foreign visitors use to manage their visa applications to the United States.

A mandatory social media check policy is already proposed or in place for travelers from several Muslim-predominant countries, and those practices have already been widely criticized as unreasonable and unjust. It is unclear how voluntary the proposed “voluntary” social media check of Chinese travelers will be in practice.

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Man Bloodied, Dragged From Overbooked United Flight by Police

April 10, 2017
An unidentified man who was assaulted by Chicago police officers and dragged from a United Airlines, from eyewitness cellphone video posted by Twitter user @JayseDavid

An as-yet-unidentified 69-year-old Asian man was physically assaulted by three Chicago-area police officers after he allegedly refused to give up his seat on an overbooked United flight scheduled to depart Sunday evening from Chicago to Louisville.

In several eyewitness cellphone videos (after the jump), the man — who was seated in a window seat — is approached by the three officers. Within moments, they physically grab him and throw him from his seat. His head can be seen slamming into a nearby armrest, bloodying his face as one of the officers grabs his arms and drags his stunned form up the aisle of the plane.

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‘Designated Survivor’ Recap: Season 1, Episode 2, ‘The First Day’

September 29, 2016
President Kirkman suddenly finds himself leading a country consumed by fear. Photo credit: ABC/Ben Mark Holzberg
President Kirkman suddenly finds himself leading a country consumed by fear. Photo credit: ABC/Ben Mark Holzberg

By Guest Contributor: Lakshmi Gandhi (@LakshmiGandhi)

Shortly after the fifteenth anniversary of the 2001 World Trade Center attacks, The Week posted this excellent piece headlined September 12, 2001, which detailed just how terrifying the day after that devastating loss was.

“And while most of us remember with unsettling clarity where we were when we heard that hijacked planes had crashed into the World Trade Center (and later, the Pentagon and a Pennsylvania field), killing nearly 3,000 people,” writes Lauren Hansen, “it might be the next day — September 12, 2001 — that actually marked the beginning of a new era, one in which full-body scans at the airport, color-coded threat levels, slow-burn wars that never really end, and an undercurrent of fear running beneath the mundanity of life became the norm.”

I kept thinking about that line as I watched Wednesday’s episode of Designated Survivor. Aptly titled “The First Day,” viewers were thrown into a world that’s chaotic, violent, and fearful — and ready to pounce on anyone who appears foreign or brown.

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