America's Brutal Society

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.

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.