America's Brutal Society


Alabama and Georgia carry out executions, Oklahoma to begin using nitrogen gas

By Alec Andersen, 17 March 2018

Two successive executions by lethal injection Thursday night followed the announcement that death row prisoners in Oklahoma would soon be killed through asphyxiation.

Three package bombs explode in Austin, Texas, killing two

By Trévon Austin, 16 March 2018

While the Austin police agree that the bombings over the last two weeks are related, they have yet to suggest a motive or a suspected perpetrator.

The significance of the mass student protests against gun violence in America

By Genevieve Leigh, 16 March 2018

While Democrats and the media have sought to restrict the protests to calls for gun control, there are much broader issues behind the politicization of young people in the US.

One million students walk out of class to protest gun violence and mass shootings in the US

By Genevieve Leigh and Kayla Costa, 15 March 2018

Students participated in thousands of demonstrations in the United States and around the world to mark the one-month anniversary of the Parkland high school massacre.

The social and political roots of mass shootings in America

By the International Youth and Students for Social Equality, 14 March 2018

The framework of the official debate over the horrific regularity of mass shootings like that in Parkland, Florida obscures the underlying causes: social inequality and war.

Details emerge about Northern California veterans home shooting suspect

By Alec Andersen, 13 March 2018

Albert Cheung Wong, a 36-year-old veteran of the war in Afghanistan, has been identified as the man who allegedly killed three hostages at the veterans care facility Friday.

Anger mounts over video of police beating unarmed man in North Carolina

By Alec Andersen, 9 March 2018

Although the beating of Johnnie Rush occurred in August, the public was not informed until police body camera footage was leaked to a local newspaper this week.

Alabama death row inmate’s lawyer: “This was clearly a botched execution that can only be accurately described as torture”

By Kate Randall, 28 February 2018

Doyle Hamm was subjected to about two-and-a-half hours of torture Thursday night in Alabama’s death chamber before prison officials called off the execution.

Tennessee death row inmates challenge plan to fast-track executions

By Zachary Thorton and Warren Duzak, 27 February 2018

Tennessee is seeking to fast-track the executions of eight death row inmates before the state’s supply of lethal injection drugs expires.

In wake of Parkland school shooting, Republicans and Democrats call for boosting police powers

By Kate Randall, 26 February 2018

What is not being addressed in the official debate are the social issues that lie at the root of repeated eruptions of mass violence in America.

Florida inmate denounces governor, screams “Murderers!” before lethal injection

By Kate Randall, 24 February 2018

Despite briefs filed by a group of former judges, Florida Supreme Court justices and other professionals, the US Supreme Court denied a stay of execution.

The Parkland shooting: Why are mass killings so common in the United States?

By Eric London, 23 February 2018

Thousands of students have joined demonstrations in the aftermath of the latest eruption of homicidal violence. But to stop the killings, they need to understand the deeper social and political roots of these tragedies.

Student protests spread over US school shootings

By Patrick Martin, 22 February 2018

Thousands of students took part in demonstrations and school walkouts from coast to coast, while a delegation of survivors of the Parkland massacre visited the White House.

Mounting protests, walkouts by US students against school shootings

By Kate Randall, 21 February 2018

Protesting students have aimed their fire at local politicians, the US Congress and President Trump over their failure to do anything to stop school shootings.

Trump administration pursues inhumane policy of separating migrant children from parents

By Meenakshi Jagadeesan, 21 February 2018

The systematic separating of children of undocumented immigrants from their parents is part of a conscious policy to “discourage border crossings.”

Records show neglect of Florida school gunman’s mental health

By Trévon Austin, 19 February 2018

Cruz’s counselor told the Florida Department of Children and Families that he was reported to have “an emotional behavioral disability” and was diagnosed with autism.

Funerals begin in Florida as details emerge of prior warnings about school shooter

By Patrick Martin, 17 February 2018

The FBI admitted that it had received two separate warnings about the Nikolas Cruz, the second, only six weeks ago, suggesting he was likely to target a school.

The Parkland massacre and the dysfunction of American society

By Patrick Martin, 16 February 2018

The horrifying frequency of mass killings in the United States testifies to the advanced state of societal breakdown.

Seventeen killed in mass shooting at Florida high school

By Barry Grey, 15 February 2018

The mass shooting in Parkland is the latest in an endless series of violent incidents at schools in America.

One dead as fires strike homeless encampments in Oakland, California

By Guillaume Garnier and David Brown, 14 February 2018

A fire that burned down the tents of roughly 20 people in a semi-official encampment was followed by a blaze in a separate camp that killed one man.

Tennessee police deliberately murder fleeing unarmed suspect, as sheriff boasts, “I love this sh*t”

By Dan Conway, 9 February 2018

A lawsuit is being brought against a Tennessee sheriff after footage revealed him encouraging other officers involved in a car chase to kill the man they were pursuing.

Deliberate neglect leads to inmate death at New York’s Rikers Island

By Leslie Murtagh and Philip Guelpa, 3 February 2018

The planned closure of Rikers Island will do nothing to stem police brutality and abuse of prisoners in New York City.

Supreme Court issues last-minute stay of execution of Alabama inmate

By Kate Randall, 26 January 2018

The US Supreme Court issued a stay of execution in the case of Alabama death row inmate Vernon Madison 30 minutes before the scheduled lethal injection.

Another American mass shooting, this time in western Kentucky

By Tom Eley, 25 January 2018

Media and politicians dare not confront the most glaringly obvious question: Why do these attacks happen with such horrifying regularity in the United States?

Texas carries out first US execution of 2018

By Kate Randall, 19 January 2018

Anthony Allen Shore, 55, was killed by a lethal injection of one dose of pentobarbital, a short-acting barbiturate.

US police kill over a thousand for fourth year in a row

By George Gallanis, 27 December 2017

The killing of thousands in the span of a few years is an indication of growing fear and hatred of the working class in ruling class circles.

Horrific death at Ohio meatpacking plant

Industrial carnage continues in US workplaces

By Jerry White, 18 December 2017

A 62-year-old immigrant worker is the latest victim in a wave of industrial fatalities in the US. On-the-job injuries claim nearly 5,000 lives every year.

UN rapporteur “shocked” by deep poverty in US

By Eric London, 18 December 2017

A statement by UN Special Rapporteur Philip Alston details the nightmarish conditions faced by tens of millions of impoverished Americans and condemns the US government for human rights abuses.

West Virginia governor orders National Guard to Huntington after drug-related killings

By Naomi Spencer, 16 December 2017

After three homicides in the span of as many hours Thursday night, the city at the heart of West Virginia’s heroin epidemic stands on the verge of military occupation.

Government report details human rights violations at US immigration detention centers

By Norisa Diaz, 16 December 2017

According to a Department of Homeland Security report, inhumane treatment, lack of health, food, and safety provisions are rampant at both government and for-profit detention centers.

Nevada and Nebraska move to use powerful opioid in state executions

By Nick Barrickman, 11 December 2017

Fentanyl is a powerful synthetic painkiller that has been linked to a substantial number of drug overdoses throughout the US.

Homeless rate among Seattle public school students rises by 55 percent

By Alec Andersen, 8 December 2017

Between 2012 and 2016, in the city with the two richest men in America, the rate of homelessness among public school students skyrocketed.

Louisiana man wrongfully convicted of rape leaves prison after nearly 46 years

By Kate Randall, 18 November 2017

A state district judge called the case against Wilbert Jones “weak, at best,” and said authorities withheld evidence that could have exonerated him in 1974.

Ohio sets new execution date for 69-year-old inmate

By Kate Randall, 17 November 2017

Alva Campbell’s execution-gone-wrong casts a grim light on all that is repugnant about capital punishment and how it is practiced in 21st century America.

Five dead after mass shooting in small California town

By Hector Cordon, 15 November 2017

Apparently picking out victims at random, the gunman opened fire at houses, cars and in several locations, including an elementary school.

“We have to make sure Jacoby Hennings didn’t die in vain”

Workers denounce scourge of suicides inside US auto plants

By Jerry White, 15 November 2017

The death of the 21-year-old Ford worker amid a rash of suicides in the industry is an indictment of the United Auto Workers union, which long ago abandoned the defense of workers’ interests.

Rhode Island: State and Providence police shoot dead unarmed driver trying to escape traffic stop

By John Marion, 13 November 2017

Based on an erroneous tip about another crime, police provoked a high-speed traffic chase that ended in their firing some 40 bullets into a pickup truck and killing Joseph J. Santos.

Texas executes Mexican national in disregard of international law

By Trévon Austin, 9 November 2017

Ruben Ramirez Cárdenas was executed late Wednesday night via lethal injection after a last-minute appeal by his attorneys to the US Supreme Court was rejected.

US Supreme Court upholds execution of Alabama prisoner who cannot remember his crime

By Kate Randall, 8 November 2017

The high court reversed a federal appeals court ruling that struck down the death sentence of Vernon Madison, 67, who suffers from dementia and memory impairment.

Twenty-six dead in Texas church massacre: A society ravaged by pathological violence

By Kate Randall, 7 November 2017

Although the perpetrators of mass shootings are invariably deranged individuals, there are always deeper societal issues at work.

Over 25 killed in mass shooting in Texas

By Trévon Austin, 6 November 2017

Officials say nearly everyone inside the church was injured, including children and pregnant women.

Review of Tennessee’s bail bond system exposes inequalities in US justice system

By Warren Duzak, 25 October 2017

At a recent public meeting, the Metro Nashville Public Defender reviewed the arcane practice of bail bonding and its impact on working class and poor defendants.

Alabama man raises arms, grimaces as state puts him to death by lethal injection

By Shelley Connor, 21 October 2017

Some pharmacologists have suggested that as many as one in four executions where midazolam is used are botched.

Robert Pruett, first imprisoned at age 16, executed in Texas despite questions about evidence

By Kate Randall, 13 October 2017

The execution of the 38-year-old who spent more time in prison than the outside world is a horrific crime. “One day there won’t be a need to hurt people,” he said in his final statement.

Washington, DC holds worker in jail for months after charges dropped

By Harvey Simpkins, 9 October 2017

The plight of Carlton O. Harris is yet another example of the class-based US legal system and the erosion of fundamental democratic rights.

A week on America’s death row

A lethal injection in Florida, stay of execution in Alabama

By Kate Randall, 7 October 2017

Michael Lambrix was executed Thursday night in Florida, while Jeffrey Borden was issued a last-minute state of execution in Alabama.

The Las Vegas massacre the day after

By David Walsh, 4 October 2017

US politicians and the American media are displaying their usual obtuseness and ignorance in the face of this terrible tragedy, that has ruined hundreds, if not thousands of lives.

The social pathology of the Las Vegas Massacre

By Patrick Martin, 3 October 2017

The worst mass shooting in American history has left 59 people dead and at least 527 wounded.

Alleged Nashville shooting brings social relations into relief

By Warren Duzak, 19 September 2017

Gerald Melton, was shot August 26 after he allegedly objected to the sound of loud music and exhaust fumes coming from a Porsche driven by Katie Quackenbush, 26.

New details highlight criminal neglect in death of Florida nursing home residents

By Niles Niemuth, 15 September 2017

The deaths in Hollywood, Florida have exposed the incompetence and indifference of the American ruling class, which bears ultimate responsibility for this social crime.

Ohio’s second execution of the year: Condemned man writhed in pain as he was killed

By Shelley Connor, 15 September 2017

In January, a federal appeals court responded to litigation by several death row inmates over the use of midazolam by halting executions in Ohio.

United Airlines dodges government discipline for brutalizing passenger

By Marcus Day, 9 September 2017

The US Department of Transportation declined to sanction United Airlines for having Dr. David Dao violently dragged from a flight in April.

Florida executes Mark Asay with untested lethal injection protocol

By Kate Randall, 25 August 2017

Asay was the first person executed by a new protocol that includes the anesthetic etomidate, whose use in lethal injections was condemned by the drug manufacturer.

Missouri governor issues last-minute stay of execution for Marcellus Williams

By Kate Randall, 23 August 2017

Williams’ attorneys argue that he is innocent, and that DNA tests of the murder weapon produced “conclusive scientific evidence that another man committed this crime.”

Baltimore: More videos released showing police officers “manufacturing evidence”

By Adam Soroka, 15 August 2017

The footage came just a week after a previous video showed an officer planting a bag of pills under a pile of garbage in an alley as two other officers looked on.

Reports of women shackled in labor

Barbaric conditions persist in Massachusetts women’s prisons

By Jay James, 8 August 2017

Pregnant women and new mothers in Massachusetts women’s prisons are being subjected to humiliating and dangerous practices, such as shackling during labor, transportation in vehicles with no seatbelts, and denial of nutritional needs.

US court denies damage claim for American citizen wrongfully held for more than three years by ICE

By Nick Barrickman, 4 August 2017

Davino Watson was denied payment for damages on the grounds that the statute of limitations had passed while he was still being wrongfully detained.

Video released of 2013 incident

Border agents urged 16-year-old boy to drink liquid meth, resulting in his death

By Genevieve Leigh, 1 August 2017

No punitive measure was ever brought against the officers, and both remain employed by Customs and Border Protection in San Diego.

18-year-old released from New York’s Rikers Island prison after more than a year without trial

By Katy Kinner, 1 August 2017

Bronx honor student Pedro Hernandez was arrested last year for a crime he did not commit. Faced with a $255,000 bail, he was forced to await his trial in prison.

Texas executes man who received grossly ineffective counsel

By Kate Randall, 29 July 2017

The US Supreme Court rejected a last-minute appeal on TaiChin Preyor’s behalf, allowing the lethal injection to proceed.

US Supreme Court clears way for lethal injection

Ohio carries out first execution in more than three years

By Kate Randall, 27 July 2017

There are three more death row prisoners set to die this year in Ohio and an additional 23 executions scheduled from 2018 through 2019.

Tenth immigrant dies in Texas trailer atrocity

By Genevieve Leigh, 25 July 2017

The corporate media is saying nothing about the government officials, business interests and politicians who bear the overriding responsibility for these deaths.

Tennessee judge offers reduced sentences to inmates who agree to sterilization

By Isaac Finn, 22 July 2017

The order is a return to the ultra-reactionary eugenics policies of an earlier era, as a supposed solution to the immense poverty and ongoing opioid crisis in the US.

Notes on police violence

Woman killed by Minneapolis police had called to report a rape

By Matthew MacEgan and Niles Niemuth, 20 July 2017

Minneapolis police officers claim they thought they were being “ambushed” when they shot the 40-year-old yoga teacher through the door of their cruiser Saturday night.

Notes on police violence

Louisiana woman charged with attempted murder after sheriff’s deputy kills her boyfriend

By Aaron Murch and Tom Hall, 19 July 2017

In yet another egregious display of police violence in the US, a sheriff’s deputy in Evangeline Parish, Louisiana shot and killed 27-year-old father of three DeJuan Guillory earlier this month.

Australian woman fatally shot by Minneapolis police officer

By Anthony Bertolt, 18 July 2017

Justine Damond was gunned down by police officer Mohamed Noor in an alleyway after calling 911 to report a suspected assault.

Virginia Democratic governor defies international protests to oversee execution of mentally ill prisoner

By Kate Randall, 8 July 2017

Governor McAuliffe’s overseeing of the execution of a highly delusional prisoner highlights in grim fashion the Democratic Party’s support for the barbaric practice of capital punishment.

New York City doctor opens fire on former coworkers, killing one

By Isaac Finn, 1 July 2017

Dr. Henry Bello opened fire Friday on his former coworkers at Bronx-Lebanon Hospital after being fired from his job two years ago.

Electrician falls 75 feet to his death at Detroit construction site

By Kathleen Martin, 29 June 2017

Michael Morrison, 46, died after falling from a catwalk at the Little Caesars sports arena currently under construction in Detroit.

Notes on police violence

Milwaukee cop found not guilty of August 2016 killing that sparked protests

By Josh Varlin, 22 June 2017

Milwaukee police officer Dominique Heaggan-Brown shot Sylville Smith as he was running away, the fatal shot coming when Smith was on the ground and unarmed.

Milwaukee County sheriff’s deputy fatally shoots 19-year-old after traffic violation

By Christopher Davion, 16 June 2017

The brutal killing of Terry Williams is one of numerous acts of police terror and repression that have occurred under the direction of fascistic Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke, Jr.

The political significance of the shooting attack on US congressmen

By Eric London, 16 June 2017

The tragedy of Hodgkinson’s life is that he saw no way out from a political system dominated by the super-rich and no way to address his grievances through the existing organizations.

Gunman shot to death after opening fire on Republican congressmen, aides

By Patrick Martin, 15 June 2017

The 66-year-old man, identified as James T. Hodgkinson of Belleville, Illinois, was reportedly opposed to President Trump and the Trump administration.

Mass shooting at San Francisco UPS facility leaves four people dead, including gunman

By Evan Blake, 15 June 2017

The shooting was the 154th mass shooting in the US so far this year, and is yet another reflection of the profound social crisis gripping the country.

Alabama executes Robert Melson, on death row for 21 years

By Niles Niemuth, 10 June 2017

The details of Melson’s case point to the state sanctioned murder of an innocent man on the basis of a police frame-up.

Fired worker, an army veteran, kills five in workplace rampage in Orlando, Florida

By Kate Randall, 7 June 2017

Monday’s deadly attack came a week before the city marks one year since the Pulse nightclub massacre, when a lone gunman shot and killed 49 people and wounded 53 others.

Oregon Republican appeals to far-right militias

Accused Portland killer Jeremy Christian makes first court appearance

By Toby Reese, 1 June 2017

Jeremy Joseph Christian was arrested for stabbing three individuals with a knife, killing two, after the victims intervened to defend two girls targeted by Christian's anti-Muslim tirade.

After 34 years on death row, eight execution warrants

Thomas Arthur dies by lethal injection in Alabama

By Kate Randall, 27 May 2017

Thomas Arthur, 74, had spent 34 years on death row and had seven previous death warrants served against him. The US Supreme Court denied his petition for a stay of execution.

Trump’s budget proposal to slash $192 billion from food assistance programs

By Nick Barrickman, 26 May 2017

The cuts would be phased in over a period of 10 years and are of a piece with the broader budget, which would inflict an unprecedented $3.6 trillion in austerity.

Veteran drives through crowd in Times Square: The war comes home

By Eric London, 20 May 2017

There are many young people in the US who know a veteran who “came back crazy” with “nobody to help them,” as Rojas’ friends put it.

Georgia carries out its first execution of 2017

By Kate Randall, 17 May 2017

J.W. Ledford Jr.’s lethal injection began at 1:17 a.m. Wednesday after the US Supreme Court denied a stay of execution.

A new stage in the US health care counterrevolution

By Patrick Martin, 8 May 2017

The passage of the American Health Care Act by the House of Representatives sets the pace for devastating cuts in health care for working people, to fund a windfall for the financial oligarchy.

Maryland prosecutors drop false rape charges against immigrant boys witch-hunted by Trump

By Eric London, 6 May 2017

The Trump administration used the case to whip up anti-immigrant hysteria, but prosecutors now say that the charges cannot be sustained because of “substantial inconsistencies.”

Fourth Arkansas execution ends gruesome eight-day state killing spree

By Kate Randall, 28 April 2017

Kenneth Dwayne Williams’ death brought to a grisly end the push by Arkansas authorities to execute a group of death row inmates before their supply of the sedative midazolam expired.

The double-execution horror in Arkansas

By Kate Randall, 25 April 2017

The world looked on in horror last night as two death row inmates were put to death in the first double-execution since 2000.

Arkansas double-execution planned tonight as part of unprecedented killing spree

By Kate Randall, 24 April 2017

Arkansas authorities have vowed to carry out the remaining three executions on their “assembly line” schedule

Arkansas carries out first of five “assembly line” executions

US Supreme Court clears way after 5-4 ruling on lethal injection drug

By Kate Randall, 22 April 2017

Ledell Lee saw some four-and-a-half torturous hours pass between his originally scheduled 7 p.m. execution and the time he was marched into the execution chamber.

A surge in Minnesota of homeless elderly

By Gary Joad, 22 April 2017

The number of homeless persons 55- to 80-years-old in the state increased by 45 percent between 2012 and 2015.

Detroit resumes mass water shutoffs with nearly 18,000 households at risk

By Shannon Jones, 21 April 2017

This month marks the beginning of an annual spring offensive by utilities across the US targeting the poorest and most vulnerable sections of the population for service disconnection.

Former NFL star Aaron Hernandez found dead in his prison cell

By Alan Gilman, 21 April 2017

On the day that his former teammates were being honored at the White House, former New England Patriot Aaron Hernandez was found dead in his prison cell.

Suspect in Cleveland Facebook murder kills himself as police close in

By Patrick Martin, 19 April 2017

Steven Stephens died in Erie County, Pennsylvania less than 48 hours after posting a video on Facebook of the killing of a 74-year-old stranger, Robert Godwin.

After last-minute reprieve for one prisoner

Arkansas determined to execute five death row inmates by end of April

By Kate Randall, 19 April 2017

Despite a series of setbacks to their assembly-line state killing schedule, Arkansas officials are pressing forward with the planned lethal injections.

Judge temporarily blocks Arkansas execution spree

By Brad Dixon, 17 April 2017

A federal judge has granted a preliminary injunction to block the planned execution of six inmates over 11 days in the state of Arkansas.

Hundreds of jailed immigrants join hunger strike in Tacoma, Washington

By a reporter, 14 April 2017

Immigrants at the for-profit detention center are denied adequate food, clothing and healthcare and are paid just $1 per day for prison labor.

Lawyers race to save seven Arkansas death row inmates from “execution by assembly line”

By Kate Randall, 14 April 2017

Lawyers argued in federal court that the state’s accelerated execution schedule will subject the condemned inmates to cruel and unusual punishment.

Trump’s attorney general threatens immigrants in speech at US-Mexico border

By Eric London, 13 April 2017

Jeff Sessions threatened mass deportations and to criminally prosecute immigrants who re-enter the US and those who shield or harbor undocumented immigrants.

The United Airlines beating of David Dao and the case for public ownership of the airline industry

By Eric London, 12 April 2017

The beating of the 69-year-old doctor is a brutal outcome of decades of deregulation, monopolization and financialization in the airline industry.

Three dead in San Bernardino, California school shooting

By Ben McGrath, 11 April 2017

The poverty and declining social conditions found in cities like San Bernardino are major contributing factors in now routine outbursts of mass violence.

US security chief defends police-state measures against immigrants, visitors and citizens

By Patrick Martin, 6 April 2017

The Trump administration is considering requiring visitors to hand over their cellphones and social media passwords when they apply for a visa.

Arkansas pushes forward with plans to execute eight inmates in eleven days

By Brad Dixon, 31 March 2017

Republican Governor Asa Hutchinson ordered the spree of executions after learning that one of the drugs to be used in the executions was set to expire at the end of April.