America's Brutal Society

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.

Notes on police violence

Rare conviction, resignation of officers for police killings in Louisiana and New York City

By Genevieve Leigh, 28 March 2017

The recent conviction and disciplinary actions do not mark a departure from the policy of near complete immunity for killer cops.

Florida prosecutors cover up murder of Darren Rainey, inmate boiled alive

By Matthew Taylor, 21 March 2017

The Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office announced last Friday that no charges would be brought against the four prison guards responsible for Rainey’s death in 2012.

Eight Arkansas death row inmates to be put to death over ten days

By Kate Randall, 7 March 2017

The ease with which the ruling class engages in such barbarism must stand as a warning to the working class.

US private prison industry thrives under Trump

By Shelley Connor, 2 March 2017

The policies of the Trump administration benefit the private prison industry at the expense of inmates and their health.

One dead, two injured in anti-immigrant shooting in Kansas

By Shelley Connor, 25 February 2017

On Wednesday night, 51-year-old Adam Purinton shot two Indian immigrants in an Olathe, Kansas bar after harassing them with racial slurs and shouting at them, “Get out of my country!”

Chicago: Seven fatal shootings in one day, Trump threatens federal intervention

By Alexander Fangmann, 25 February 2017

Trump wants to unleash is a violent and ruthless crackdown on working class and impoverished communities, along with a clampdown on protests against police violence,

Off-duty police officer pulls gun and fires at youths, sparking protests in Anaheim, California

By John Andrews, 24 February 2017

Videos show an off-duty Los Angeles police officer drawing a pistol and shooting it during a minor confrontation with a group of young people.

Nazis in the Trump White House

By Patrick Martin, 13 February 2017

The Trump administration has brought a cabal of fascistic aides into leading roles.

Missouri executes Mark Christeson, a disabled man denied federal review

By Kate Randall, 1 February 2017

Christeson,37, was executed after the US Supreme Court and the Missouri governor refused to grant either a stay or clemency.

Texas executes Terry Edwards despite claims of innocence, prosecutorial misconduct

By Kate Randall, 28 January 2017

Edwards’ attorneys argued he did not fire the fatal shots in a 2002 shooting in Dallas, and that his trial was tainted with racial bias.

NYPD to take over security at New York City homeless shelters

By Christopher Tiberio, 20 January 2017

With an explosion of the city’s homeless population, the NYPD has taken control of security in the shelters as a way to monitor and terrorize their temporary residents.

The Chicago Facebook torture video: A symptom of social decay in capitalist America

By George Gallanis, 12 January 2017

The issues raised by this violent and cruel incident can be properly understood only by placing it within its socio-economic and political context.

Details emerge of Fort Lauderdale shooter’s experience in military

By Genevieve Leigh, 10 January 2017

Reports from friends and family continue to emerge regarding the toll that Esteban Santiago’s time in Iraq took on his mental state.

Child abuse and neglect soar in US military families

By Shelley Connor, 9 January 2017

For years, the Pentagon has maintained that child abuse is less common and less severe in military homes than it is among the civilian population.

A Pound of Flesh: The US legal system’s war against the poor

By Nancy Hanover, 7 January 2017

A Pound of Flesh: Monetary Sanctions as Punishment for the Poor, a new book by sociologist Alexes Harris, shows how legal financial obligations (LFOs) penalize the poorest among us.

US police killed more than 1,150 in 2016

By Gabriel Black, 4 January 2017

The number of people killed by police every year in the United States exceeds by far those killed by police in every other major capitalist country.

Los Angeles legal defense fund provides meager aid to immigrants

By Toby Reese, 4 January 2017

A joint measure by the City and County of Los Angeles will provide $10 million in funding for legal assistance to residents facing deportation proceedings, far below need.

Washington, DC mayor seeks restrictions on homeless access to city shelters

By Alex Gonzalez, 24 December 2016

A proposal by the Washington, DC mayor would increase screening requirements for homeless people and sharply curtail the right to shelter in the city.

Dylann Roof convicted on all counts in Charleston church massacre

By Patrick Martin, 16 December 2016

The gunman had ties to white supremacist groups which supported right-wing Republican politicians.

Bakersfield, California police shoot unarmed 73-year-old man

By Shannon Jones, 16 December 2016

The shooting of Francisco Serna, who was suffering from dementia, is the latest horrifying episode in the continuing wave of police violence in the United States.

Tennessee wrongfully imprisoned man for three decades, provided only $75 compensation

By Shelley Connor, 16 December 2016

After spending 31 years in prison for a crime he did not commit, Lawrence McKinney is fighting the Tennessee Parole Board for the $1 million compensation he is entitled.

US Supreme Court denies appeals of four death row inmates

By Kate Randall, 14 December 2016

On Monday, the US Supreme Court denied review in four death penalty cases, each of which had been relisted by the court multiple times.

Another gruesome execution in the US: Alabama inmate heaves, coughs during lethal injection

By Kate Randall, 10 December 2016

Ronald Smith was executed utilizing a three-drug lethal injection protocol after the US Supreme Court denied his last-minute appeal.

Georgia carries out its ninth execution of 2016

By Kranti Kumara, 8 December 2016

William Sallie was put to death by lethal injection in Georgia Tuesday night after the US Supreme Court rejected his plea for a stay of execution.

Jury deadlocks in South Carolina police murder trial

By John Burton, 6 December 2016

The jury in the trial of former North Charleston police officer Michael T. Slager, who was caught on video firing eight rounds at a fleeing Walter Scott, was discharged Monday after failing to reach a verdict.

Trump declares support for Dakota Access Pipeline ahead of evacuation order against protesters

By Joseph Kishore, 3 December 2016

Under the watchful eye of the Obama administration, protesters have been subjected to brutal violence from the police and National Guard.

Amazon worker attempts suicide at Seattle headquarters

By Jerry White, 30 November 2016

Monday’s tragedy sheds light on the realities of the “new economy” and the extreme exploitation facing employees of the online retail giant.

Ohio State University attack leaves 11 injured, suspect dead

By Evan Blake, 29 November 2016

The alleged attacker had expressed concern about his ability to pray on campus due to the negative image of Muslims presented in the media.

Surgeon general’s report: One in seven Americans face substance addiction

By Kate Randall, 19 November 2016

One in seven people in the US will become addicted to drugs or alcohol in their lifetimes, but only 10 percent of them will ever receive any treatment.

Ohio judge declares mistrial in the murder of Sam DuBose

By Samuel Davidson, 17 November 2016

A former police officer was charged in the death of an unarmed black motorist during a traffic stop.

Cop who killed Philando Castile facing manslaughter charges

By Zaida Green, 17 November 2016

Officer Jeronimo Yanez faces charges of second-degree manslaughter and dangerous discharge of a firearm after shooting Castile seven times during a traffic stop in July.

New York: Rikers Island prison guards found guilty in beating and cover-up

By Sandy English, 1 November 2016

Four guards at New York City’s Rikers Island prison complex were convicted of brutalizing inmate Carl Williams in 2013 and falsifying records.

Pasadena police kill father of eight during help call

By Dan Conway and John Andrews, 3 October 2016

Pasadena police officers dispatched to assist with a disturbed man, tased, beat and ultimately asphyxiated Reginald Thomas, Jr., a father of eight, in front of his family.

Nationwide strike continues by US and state prison labor

By Gary Joad, 1 October 2016

The first-ever national strike by federal and state prisoners began September 9, the 45th anniversary of the Attica uprising, to protest against zero or low wages for prison labor.

Police kill 30-year-old mentally ill man in El Cajon, California

By Norisa Diaz, 29 September 2016

The killing of Alfred Olango one week after the killing of Keith Lamont Scott has sparked demonstrations in the impoverished San Diego suburb.

Nine wounded in mass shooting by a Houston, Texas lawyer

By Charles Abelard, 28 September 2016

Police shot and killed Nathan DeSai after he opened fire on passersby near his home early Monday morning, wounding nine.

Charlotte police release videos showing Keith Scott with arms down as he was shot

By Tom Carter, 26 September 2016

In an effort to quell ongoing unrest, officials in Charlotte, North Carolina released videos Saturday that show portions of Keith Scott’s fatal encounter with police officers on September 20.

Police kill 23-year-old man in Louisville, Nebraska

By Nick Barrickman, 26 September 2016

Authorities have refused to release information on whether Austin M. Baier had been armed or whether he had in any way threatened deputy Tyler Reiff.

Columbus, Ohio 13-year-old gunned down by police

By Shannon Jones, 16 September 2016

A companion to the boy killed by police disputed claims that the victim brandished a weapon, as the wave of officer-involved killings in the United States continues.

The true cost of the American gulag: $1 trillion a year

By Catherine Long, 16 September 2016

The US prison system, the world’s largest, with more than 2 million inmates, exacts an enormous social cost, documented in a recent study.

Despite increase in 2015, US household income still lags behind pre-recession levels

By Kate Randall, 14 September 2016

Median household income is still 1.6 percent lower than the previous peak of $57,423 in 2007, before the economy sank into recession.

Akron, Ohio sees dozens of heroin overdoses over the weekend

By Zaida Green, 13 September 2016

The drug overdose crisis in the Midwestern city, once the rubber capital of the world, is only a slice of the social devastation sweeping across the United States.

Hunger and the social catastrophe facing America’s youth

By Kate Randall, 13 September 2016

As two new reports document the shocking consequences of food insecurity, the social disaster in America is being ignored in the elections and the contest between Clinton and Trump.

Matthew Desmond’s Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City

By Debra Watson, 13 September 2016

During the Great Depression of the 1930’s evictions in major American cities like Milwaukee were a fraction of what they are today. Meanwhile, in the US, post-2008 rental housing market rates continue to rise as working class incomes stagnate and even fall.

State trooper kills unarmed deaf man in North Carolina

By Shelley Connor, 26 August 2016

Daniel Kevin Harris, a 28-year-old deaf man, was one of at least 20 people killed by police across the US over the last week.

Twenty years since the Clintons gutted the federal welfare system

By Shelley Connor, 24 August 2016

The embrace of “ending welfare as we know it” marked a fundamental shift to the right in the Democratic Party and capitalist politics as a whole.

Immigrant mothers stage hunger strike in Pennsylvania

By Douglas Lyons, 19 August 2016

Twenty-two mothers have entered into the second week of a hunger strike, protesting lengthy detention at a US-run facility.

Motive unclear after arrest in killing of imam and assistant in New York

By Fred Mazelis, 18 August 2016

Muslims and others alarmed over growing scapegoating of immigrants see the murders as a threat to their own safety.

US maternal death rate soars by 27 percent since 2000

By Kate Randall, 10 August 2016

The growing rate of death in childbirth is just one manifestation of the human toll taken by the vast and all-pervasive inequality and mass poverty that dominates American society.

Baltimore County police shoot, kill young mother

By Shelley Connor, 4 August 2016

Days after charges were dropped against the cops in the Freddie Gray murder case, police in the Baltimore area shot Korryn Gaines to death and wounded her five-year-old son.

Whistle-blower Chelsea Manning: “I became very, very sad” during torture

By Tom Carter, 4 August 2016

A recently published interview sheds light on the conditions faced by Manning, the US Army whistle-blower and political prisoner, who attempted suicide on July 5.

Texas recorded almost 7,000 deaths in custody since 2005

By Shannon Jones, 30 July 2016

Between 2005 and 2015, an average of 628 people a year died while in the custody of police or state corrections officials.

Virginia Supreme Court orders revocation of voting rights for 200,000 felons

By Shelley Connor, 25 July 2016

The ruling, which passed 4-3, struck down an executive order that would have reinstated the voting rights of Virginians who had completed sentences for felonies.

Fresno video shows police murder of Dylan Noble

By Patrick Martin, 15 July 2016

Two cops fired two shots into the white youth as he stood a few feet away, then two more, including a shotgun blast, as he lay twitching on the ground.

Militarized police forces throughout the US carry out mass arrests

By Isaac Finn, 12 July 2016

Police departments have exploited the killing of five police officers to further curb democratic rights and clamp down on anti-police brutality protests across the country.

Race, class and police murder in America

By The World Socialist Web Site Editorial Board, 11 July 2016

The campaign to portray the United States as riven by racial hatred serves definite and reactionary social and political aims.

New video shows off-duty New York cop murdering motorist

By Sandy English, 11 July 2016

A store surveillance video has surfaced that shows the killing of Delrawn Small by off-duty New York Police Department officer Wayne Isaacs at a traffic altercation.

Video exposes Fresno police lies in shooting death of Dylan Noble

By John Burton, 11 July 2016

Noble, an unarmed 19-year-old white youth, was killed by two police officers from Fresno, an impoverished city of about one-half million located in the heart of California’s Central Valley.

Afghan war veteran guns down five Dallas police

By Patrick Martin, 9 July 2016

The Dallas events take place in the context of an unrelenting campaign to portray the police killing of unarmed men in exclusively racial terms.

Protests erupt following brutal police killing in Baton Rouge, Louisiana

By Tom Hall, 7 July 2016

The grisly execution-style murder is only the latest in an epidemic of police killings which have become a regular feature of American life.

After Orlando massacre

Democrats take the lead in attack on democratic rights

By Patrick Martin, 17 June 2016

The plan to use the FBI “watch list” to ban gun purchases is only the initial step towards a more systematic attack on democratic rights.

The social roots of the mass shooting in Orlando

By Barry Grey, 15 June 2016

The question that is imperiously raised by events such as the Orlando massacre is: What is it about American society that so frequently leads mentally unstable individuals to resort to mass murder?

The Orlando massacre and the 2016 US election

By Bill Van Auken, 14 June 2016

Both major parties’ presumptive presidential nominees have rushed to exploit the tragedy in Orlando to promote war and reaction.

Worst-ever US mass shooting

Gunman massacres 50 in Orlando nightclub

By Bill Van Auken, 13 June 2016

The Democratic and Republican presumptive presidential candidates both issued statements making clear that the massacre will be exploited to promote war abroad and intensified state repression at home.

Five New York City Rikers Island prison guards found guilty in beating

By Sandy English, 10 June 2016

A jury convicted guards at the Rikers Island jail complex this week on several counts in the vicious 2012 attack on inmate Jahmal Lightfoot.

Wrongfully convicted Detroit teenager released after eight years in prison

By Tom Hall, 10 June 2016

Prosecutors refused to reopen Davontae Sanford’s case even after the real killer stepped forward only weeks after Sanford’s 2008 conviction.

Police carry out militarized lockdown of UCLA after murder-suicide

By Adam Mclean, 3 June 2016

Multiple police departments, including several SWAT teams as well as the FBI, swarmed the California university in response to reports of a shooting on the campus.

Notes on police violence in America

DOJ rules out charges against Minneapolis police officers who killed Jamar Clark

By George Gallanis, 3 June 2016

Federal prosecutors determined that the officers were justified in shooting Clark in the back of the head as he was pinned down to the ground.

Oklahoma governor vetoes bill that would make performing abortions a felony

By Kate Randall, 23 May 2016

If passed, SB1552 would have been the most sweeping anti-abortion bill in any US state since the landmark 1973 Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade

Missouri carries out first execution of 2016, Alabama execution stayed

By Kate Randall, 13 May 2016

Earl Forrest died by lethal injection Wednesday in Missouri, while Vernon Madison received a stay just hours before his scheduled execution on Thursday in Alabama.

Alabama inmates strike against deplorable prison conditions

By our reporter, 7 May 2016

Since May 1, approximately 400 inmates across multiple Alabama state prisons have engaged in a labor strike.

North Carolina Sheriff’s Office concealed killing, ignored repeated allegations of brutality

By Evan Blake, 6 May 2016

A series of exposés by the Raleigh-based News and Observer have uncovered rampant police brutality and misconduct by the Harnett County Sheriff’s Office.

Political prisoner Gary Tyler freed from Angola prison after 41 years

By Helen Hayes, 2 May 2016

Gary Tyler’s frame-up and decades-long incarceration expose the brutal class character of the American judicial system and its vast prison complex.

Sharp rise in US suicide rate

Eighty percent increase among middle-aged white women

By Kate Randall, 23 April 2016

The Centers for Disease Control study follows recent reports showing a decline in life expectancy among US whites and sharp increases in lifespan divergences between rich and poor.

New revelations of violence at Chicago police “black site”

By George Marlowe, 13 April 2016

Internal Chicago police documents reveal violent abuse of detainees at the secret interrogation center in Homan Square.

Life expectancy gap between US rich and poor widens

By Jerry White, 12 April 2016

The social crisis reflected in this and other reports is the source of the immense anger and hatred for the political establishment revealed in the 2016 election campaign.

Texas carries out sixth execution of the year

By Shelley Connor, 9 April 2016

Pablo Lucio Vasquez was the 11th person executed in the US since the beginning of the year.

Family seeks answers after homeless man dies in New Hampshire jail

By Kate Randall, 5 April 2016

Pendleton’s death is a tragic consequence of the criminalization of the poor and homeless in America that is repeated in courtrooms and prisons across the US.

Immigrant farmworker sentenced to 25 years to life for leaving her newborn in California strawberry field

By Eden Ferrera, 31 March 2016

Nineteen-year-old Rosalba Moran, an undocumented immigrant and victim of rape, was charged with first-degree murder.

On sexual harassment policy

Professors’ group charges Obama administration with undermining academic freedom and due process

By David Walsh, 30 March 2016

A report by the American Association of University Professors points to the reactionary role of the sexual harassment industry on university campuses.

US federal appeals court ruling could speed up executions

By Kate Randall, 29 March 2016

The Ninth US Circuit Court’s ruling comes as the number of death row exonerees continues to grow, including 156 individuals since 1973.

New York City Rikers Island prison guards on trial for viciously beating inmate

By Sandy English, 29 March 2016

The Democratic Mayor of New York City Bill de Blasio has ruled out any reform of the prison system, including closing Rikers Island, the location of regular brutality and abuse.

Indiana and Florida pass new anti-abortion laws

By Gabriel Black, 28 March 2016

The two laws come amidst ongoing attempts to whip up hysteria over doctored videos that were intended to frame Planned Parenthood for allegedly selling fetal tissue.

With support of US Supreme Court, Texas authorities execute mentally ill man

By Evan Blake, 23 March 2016

The high court’s refusal to spare Adam Kelly Ward, who was clearly induced to murder by paranoia and psychosis, demonstrates their support for executing the mentally impaired.

After first failed attempt, court grants Ohio another chance to execute death row inmate

By Kate Randall, 19 March 2016

In 2009, the Ohio execution team tried for as long as two hours to insert the IV lines to kill Romell Broom before giving up.

Women inmates file lawsuit against New York state prisons for sexual abuse

By Robert Fowler, 11 March 2016

Officers are not searched upon entering the facilities, so they are able to bring in drugs and alcohol, which according to the lawsuit are then used to coerce prisoners.