America's Brutal Society

Former Navy crewman executed in Georgia

By Kate Randall, 19 February 2016

Travis Hittson was the second inmate put to death in Georgia so far this year.

Texas carries out third execution of 2016

By Kate Randall, 17 February 2016

The last legal act of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia was denial of a stay of execution for Gustavo Julian Garcia.

Families of Americans killed by Mexican drug cartels sue banking giant HSBC

By Genevieve Leigh, 16 February 2016

The families charge HSBC with providing “material support” to the killers by laundering drug money.

The glorification of Antonin Scalia

By Tom Carter, 16 February 2016

The sickening tributes across the official US political and media spectrum to Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, who died suddenly on Saturday at the age of 79, are a barometer of the putrefaction of American democracy.

New York police officer convicted of killing Akai Gurley

By Philip Guelpa, 13 February 2016

After two days of deliberations, New York police officer Peter Liang was convicted of manslaughter and official misconduct in the shooting death of Akai Gurley.

White House pushes ahead with plan to slash pensions for up to one million retirees

By Andre Damon, 9 February 2016

Retired truck drivers and delivery workers said in a hearing in Detroit Monday that they had been notified their pension benefits would be reduced by between 50 and 70 percent.

New Mexico: Relatives sue sheriff for the fatal pepper ball shooting of 88-year-old

By D. Lencho, 9 February 2016

Last September, Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office deputies fired over 50 rounds of pepper balls at 88-year-old great-grandfather Fidencio Duran.

US: Georgia executes oldest inmate on its death row

By Kate Randall, 4 February 2016

The Supreme Court denied a last-minute request for a stay, clearing the way for Brandon Astor Jones’ lethal injection early Wednesday morning.

Notes on the housing crisis

Number of empty luxury apartments in New York City continues to rise

By Robert Fowler, 1 February 2016

As the number of homeless reaches new heights in New York City, more and more apartments owned by absentee, super-wealthy owners stay empty for most of the year.

War and the destruction of social infrastructure in America

By Andre Damon, 28 January 2016

The water crisis in Flint, Michigan highlights the slashing of funds for public infrastructure to pay for war and the enrichment of the financial elite.

Manslaughter trial in police killing of Akai Gurley begins in Brooklyn

By Fred Mazelis, 28 January 2016

The incident, in November 2014, followed soon after the killings of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri and Eric Garner in Staten Island, New York.

Texas grand jury indicts anti-abortion operatives who doctored videos

By Kate Randall, 27 January 2016

The pair from the Center for Medical Progress were indicted on felony charges, while Planned Parenthood was cleared of any wrongdoing.

Wave of youth suicides in Oklahoma town

By Naomi Spencer, 26 January 2016

Four young people, the youngest just 11 years old, have killed themselves in the small town of Anadarko in the past few weeks.

The Flint water crisis and the criminality of American capitalism

By Jerry White, 20 January 2016

In a State of the State address, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder sought to cover up and evade responsibility for the poisoning of an American city.

Drug overdoses in US drive sharp rise in mortality rates among white young adults

By Kate Randall, 19 January 2016

Rising mortality rates among young white adults, ages 25-34, have risen to levels not seen since the end of the AIDS epidemic more than two decades ago.

Cold snap brings fatal house fires to Detroit

By James Brewer, 13 January 2016

Three deadly house fires occurred in Detroit since the weekend, resulting in three deaths.

Florida carries out first US execution of 2016

By Kate Randall, 9 January 2016

Oscar Ray Bolin’s execution was delayed for more than four hours as the US Supreme Court considered Bolin’s final appeal. The justices denied the appeal just before 10 p.m.

Lead poisoning in Flint, Michigan

By James Brewer and Jerry White, 8 January 2016

The poisoning of the population in the former manufacturing center for General Motors—and the cover-up by state officials—highlights the socially destructive character of American capitalism.

Crocodile tears from the commander-in-chief

By Patrick Martin, 7 January 2016

Obama professes to mourn for children killed by gun violence while presiding over a never-ending escalation of military violence around the world.

CDC report: Worsening drug abuse epidemic across US

By Douglas Lyons, 6 January 2016

2014 has eclipsed all other recorded years as the most deadly, with nearly 48,000 drug overdose deaths.

Right-wing militia members occupy federal building in rural Oregon

By Niles Williamson, 5 January 2016

A group of armed right-wing militia members, led by the sons of Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy, seized control of a building at a national wildlife refuge to protest restrictions on federal lands.

California mosque firebombed amid record spike in anti-Muslim violence

By Tom Carter, 14 December 2015

Primary responsibility for the increasing attacks on Muslims rests with the entire American political establishment, including both political parties, the Obama administration and the media.

The hourglass society: Middle-income households no longer the majority in the US

By Andre Damon, 11 December 2015

A study published Wednesday by the Pew Research Center called the collapse of middle-income households in the US “a demographic shift that could signal a tipping point.”

US: Georgia carries out fifth execution of 2015

By Kate Randall, 10 December 2015

It took an hour for the nurse assigned to Brian Terrell’s execution to get IVs inserted into both of the condemned man’s arms.

Obama’s crisis speech on San Bernardino attack

By Patrick Martin, 7 December 2015

Obama’s speech Sunday night from the White House reflected the growing political crisis in his administration, amidst mounting calls for an expansion of the US war drive in Syria.

FBI calls San Bernardino mass shooting a terrorist attack

By Bill Van Auken, 5 December 2015

Within barely a day of the attack, US politicians moved to exploit the killings as a means of scapegoating immigrants.

The mass killing in San Bernardino, California

By Joseph Kishore, 4 December 2015

The mass killing at the Inland Regional Center is only the latest in a long string of tragedies that point to the deeply diseased and dysfunctional state of American society.

Planned Parenthood shooter motivated by right-wing smear campaign

By Tom Carter, 30 November 2015

Responsibility for the deadly attack in Colorado Springs on Friday rests with the ringleaders of the ultra-right campaign against Planned Parenthood.

Three reported dead, nine injured in shooting at Planned Parenthood in Colorado

By our reporter, 28 November 2015

Planned Parenthood, the largest provider of reproductive health care for women in the US, has been repeatedly targeted by right-wing political forces for performing abortions.

More than 500,000 homeless in the US

By Kate Randall, 21 November 2015

In January 2015, the US Department of Housing and Urban Development counted 564,708 homeless in the US, a quarter of them children.

Class justice in America: Eight-year-old charged with murder

By Eric London, 14 November 2015

Every social problem in the United States is treated as a police question, an occasion to increase the powers of the state and its bodies of armed men.

Eight-year-old Alabama boy charged with murder

By David Brown, 13 November 2015

Increasingly, children in the United States are being charged and incarcerated for serious crimes they have no competency to commit.

California Department of Corrections considers single drug execution

By Adam Mclean, 13 November 2015

The state authorities are working to legitimize capital punishment after a nine-year suspension.

Illinois cop, supposed victim of the “war on police,” exposed as thief and would-be killer

By David Walsh, 9 November 2015

The supposed murder of Joseph Gliniewicz of the Fox Lake, Illinois Police Department, the massive manhunt it generated and the exposure of his death as a suicide is a telling episode.

FBI Director James Comey’s apology for police murder

By Andre Damon, 31 October 2015

The implication of Comey’s argument is that those who expose police brutality serve to promote violent crime and should be suppressed.

Kentucky row house fire kills five, including three children

By Naomi Spencer, 21 October 2015

On October 20, fire engulfed a section of 175-year-old row houses in Maysville, Kentucky, killing a mother, her three children and an elderly neighbor.

Amidst mass coal mine layoffs, West Virginia takes blunt ax to budget

By Naomi Spencer, 21 October 2015

With coal tax revenue “in free fall,” Governor Earl Ray Tomblin abruptly enacted $100 million in budget cuts by executive order.

Texas executes 11th inmate of 2015

By Kate Randall, 7 October 2015

The prisoner was 18 at the time of the murder and had lived a life dominated by violence at home and on the street.

The Oregon school shooting and America’s brutal society

By Niles Williamson, 3 October 2015

The killing of nine students in Oregon on Thursday is the latest in a wave of mass shootings that reflects something deeply dysfunctional in American society.

Virginia executes prisoner despite claim of intellectual disability

By Kate Randall, 3 October 2015

The execution of Alfredo Rolando Prieto came as Oklahoma suspended executions over lethal drug mix-up. Executions are also planned in Missouri and Texas.

Ten killed in mass shooting at Oregon community college

By Gabriel Black, 2 October 2015

Multiple students were killed and many more injured after a young man opened fire at Umpqua Community College.

Oklahoma governor stays Richard Glossip execution for 37 days

By Ed Hightower, 1 October 2015

The state killing has only been delayed by Governor Mary Fallin, not forestalled.

Notes on police violence

Family sues over death of inmate in Fishkill, New York prison

By Sandy English and John Marion, 22 September 2015

Prison authorities claimed that Harrell died of an overdose of synthetic marijuana, but an autopsy has shown that he had no chemical substances in his body.

Oklahoma court issues stay of execution just hours before planned lethal injection

By Kate Randall, 17 September 2015

The court set a new execution date of September 30 to consider material supporting Richard Glossip’s claim of innocence.

Major US cities report increased murder rates after years of decline

By Kevin Martinez and Fred Mazelis, 12 September 2015

Poverty and hopelessness are the main contributors to increases in violent crime.

No charges for police officers who killed unarmed immigrant in Pasco, Washington

By Bryan Dyne, 11 September 2015

Prosecutor Shawn Sant maintained that the three police officers felt threatened because Antonio Zambrano-Montes may have been “armed with a rock.”

Upwards of 100,000 people held in solitary confinement in the US

By Evan Blake, 4 September 2015

The steady growth in the practice of solitary confinement, long recognized as a form of torture, has created a social nightmare for tens of thousands imprisoned in the American gulag system.

The social and historical dimensions of the Virginia on-air murders

By David Walsh, 28 August 2015

The fatal shooting of news reporter Alison Parker and cameraman Adam Ward in Moneta, Virginia Wednesday morning on live television was a shocking and dreadful event.

Former Virginia news reporter kills one-time colleagues on live television, then shoots himself

By Nick Barrickman, 27 August 2015

There is something especially and horribly revealing about the mix of delusional self-promotion and homicidal violence in this case.

Judge reaffirms order to release imprisoned immigrant children

By Evan Blake, 27 August 2015

In direct service to the world’s largest private prison corporations, the Obama administration has fought relentlessly to keep family detention centers from closing.

Nearly 14 million Americans live in neighborhoods of extreme poverty

By Evan Blake, 24 August 2015

The growth of extreme poverty is rooted in decades of deindustrialization in America’s former manufacturing hubs.

Chelsea Manning found guilty of violating prison rules

By Kevin Martinez, 21 August 2015

The imprisoned whistleblower was sentenced to 21 days of restrictions but was spared indefinite solitary confinement following public outrage over the trial.

Notes on Police Violence in America

St. Louis police kill 18-year-old, send SWAT teams against demonstrators

By Evan Blake, 20 August 2015

As a crowd began to gather immediately after the shooting, numerous backup police arrived in full SWAT gear and with an armored vehicle, denying protesters the right to assemble.

Albuquerque police officers who killed homeless man to stand trial for murder

By D. Lencho, 19 August 2015

A judge ruled Tuesday in favor of trying two Albuquerque Police Department officers for the shooting death of James Boyd in March 2014.

The cover-up of torture in America’s prisons

By Andre Damon, 18 August 2015

The media has maintained near-total silence on last week’s revelation that prisoners were tortured in Upstate New York with the apparent involvement of governor Andrew Cuomo.

Hugo Pinell, last of the “San Quentin Six,” murdered in prison

By Evan Blake and Patrick Martin, 18 August 2015

The long-time political prisoner was killed only two weeks after he was released into the general prison population after more than 40 years of solitary confinement.

Connecticut high court rules state death penalty unconstitutional

By Kate Randall, 15 August 2015

The state court’s 4-3 ruling declared that in the modern age the death penalty meets the definition of cruel and unusual punishment.

Texas carries out its tenth execution of 2015

By Kate Randall, 14 August 2015

Daniel Lopez was considered a death penalty “volunteer,” having written letters to a federal judge pleading for his execution to move forward.

New York governor implicated in torture by state prison officials

By Eric London, 12 August 2015

Prison guards tortured and beat dozens of inmates following the escape of two prisoners in June, hanging one with a plastic bag until he lost consciousness.

Theater shooting leaves 3 dead, 9 wounded in Louisiana

By Tom Hall, 25 July 2015

The mass shooting at the Grand Theater in Lafayette, at least the third such incident in the United States in little more than a month, is symptomatic of a deep social crisis.

Gunman kills four marines at Chattanooga Naval Reserve Center

By Tom Hall, 18 July 2015

Twenty-four-year-old Youssef Abdulazeez opened fire on a military recruitment office before attacking a Naval Reserve facility in Tennessee.

Missouri carries out first execution since Supreme Court lethal injection ruling

By Kate Randall, 15 July 2015

David Zink’s execution was the first carried out nationwide since the US Supreme Court’s June 29 ruling on Oklahoma’s lethal injection protocol.

In wake of US Supreme Court ruling

Oklahoma sets execution dates for three death row prisoners

By Kate Randall, 11 July 2015

The high court ruling upholding Oklahoma’s lethal injection protocol, which uses the sedative midazolam, allows state-sanctioned killings to resume.

Three decades on death row

Glenn Ford: An American tragedy

By Niles Williamson, 8 July 2015

Ford, who died last week at his home in New Orleans, spent the previous 30 years on death row in solitary confinement at Angola prison—for a crime he did not commit.

US Supreme Court overturns death row appeal

By Tom Carter, 24 June 2015

The Supreme Court decided it was “harmless” for Hector Ayala’s attorney to be excluded from hearings that eliminated all of the black and Hispanic jurors from the jury pool.

Special prosecutor brings reduced charges against Albuquerque cops who killed James Boyd

By D. Lencho, 24 June 2015

The reduced charge of second degree murder gives the judge discretion to suspend the sentence if a conviction is reached.

Republican candidates received donations from white supremacist

By David Brown, 23 June 2015

Dylann Roof, the man accused of killing nine people last week in Charleston, South Carolina, cited the writings of the Council of Conservative Citizens in his online manifesto.

American militarism and the Charleston killings

By Patrick Martin, 20 June 2015

The wave of mass shootings in the United States can be understood only in the context of the unending violence perpetrated by the US government around the world.

The mass killing in Charleston, South Carolina

By David Walsh, 19 June 2015

The impact of endless war and militarism on backward layers of the population in the US is a central driving force behind horrific episodes like the Charleston bloodbath.

Texas carries out ninth execution of 2015

By Kate Randall, 19 June 2015

Gregory Russeau was the ninth Texas inmate to be sent to death, making the state the most active executioner in the US so far this year.

Mass killing at African American church in Charleston, South Carolina

By David Walsh, 18 June 2015

The horrific mass killing took place Wednesday evening. A young white man allegedly opened fire during a prayer meeting, killing six women and three men.

US appeals court blocks release of last Louisiana “Angola 3” prisoner

By Kate Randall, 15 June 2015

Albert Woodfox has spent the vast majority of the last 43 years in solitary confinement at Louisiana State Penitentiary.

A further comment on Paulson’s gift to Harvard: Public education and American democracy

By Barry Grey, 15 June 2015

The privatization of education is profoundly antidemocratic and alien to the basic principles and conceptions that animated the American Revolution and founding of the republic.

Texas executes possibly innocent man after 31 years on death row

By Kevin Martinez, 6 June 2015

Lester Bower, 67, who maintained his innocence throughout the trial and appeals process, was the oldest prisoner executed since the reinstatement of the death penalty in 1976.

Nebraska abolishes death penalty

By Jake Dean, 29 May 2015

The move by the US state takes place amid growing popular opposition to capital punishment following a string of gruesome “botched” executions.

Alabama bought execution drugs on the black market

By Shelley Connor, 28 May 2015

Alabama sentences more people to death and executes more people per capita than any other state in the US.

Federal court sentences Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev to death

By Nick Barrickman, 16 May 2015

The death sentence is the barbaric culmination of a trial that has excluded any examination of the fundamental political issues raised by the Boston Marathon bombing.

US prisons rife with violence and torture against mentally disabled prisoners

By Zaida Green, 15 May 2015

The mentally ill are often locked in solitary confinement, spending only three to five hours a week of “recreation” alone in caged enclosures.

Texas executes mentally incompetent death row prisoner

By Kate Randall, 13 May 2015

The US Supreme Court denied a last-minute appeal on Derrick Charles’s behalf despite clear signs of his intellectual disability.

Detroit to resume water shutoffs this month

By Tyler Van Dyke, 9 May 2015

Some 25,000 households are scheduled to receive shutoff notices beginning May 11.

US Supreme Court hears arguments on Oklahoma lethal injection protocol

By Kate Randall, 30 April 2015

Oklahoma and other states are preparing backup methods, including firing squads and nitrogen gas, should the high court ban the use of lethal injections to execute people.

Thousands of national guard troops occupy Baltimore

By Jerry White, 29 April 2015

Despite claims by the state’s national guard chief that “this is not martial law,” the city of 622,000 is under siege by heavily armed troops, military vehicles and helicopters.

New Florida public school superintendent to receive record salary

By Matthew Taylor and Matthew MacEgan, 29 April 2015

Palm Beach County, Florida is falling in line behind other school districts in the state by giving its new school superintendent a CEO-style compensation package.

Missouri executes mentally disabled inmate

By Thomas Gaist, 18 April 2015

Defense attorneys had argued that the execution should be stayed in light of the state’s refusal to disclose the source of the drug cocktail to be used in the execution.

Hundreds attend funeral for South Carolina man killed by cop

By Evan Blake, 13 April 2015

The funeral of Walter Scott took place the same day as a report that only eleven police officers had been convicted in connection with the thousands of police killings since 2005.

Texas executes mentally ill man who shot police officer

By Gabriel Black, 11 April 2015

The execution took place the same day that Oklahoma passed a law allowing prisoners to be killed by nitrogen gas asphyxiation.

Bills in Kansas and Missouri target public aid recipients

By Shannon Jones, 9 April 2015

The punitive and vindictive proposals aim to sharply limit public aid benefits going to the poorest and most vulnerable sections of the working class.

One year into the administration of Mayor de Blasio

Affordable housing increasingly scarce in New York City

By Philip Guelpa, 9 April 2015

A growing number of people are being forced into city homeless shelters or onto the streets as the demand for luxury condominiums pushes rents ever higher.

Detroit arts projects highlight brutal US prison system

By Seraphine Collins, 8 April 2015

Recent exhibitions and ongoing projects examine human rights abuses throughout the US prison system, focusing on the sentencing of juveniles to life in prison without parole.

Alabama prisoner released after 28 years on death row

By Tom Carter, 6 April 2015

Alabama authorities spent nearly three decades trying to execute Anthony Ray Hinton for a crime he did not commit.

Notes on police violence in America

Dashboard camera captures shocking beating of Detroit-area auto worker

By Tom Hall, 27 March 2015

Floyd Dent was grabbed from his car and savagely beaten during a routine traffic stop in January.

The firing squad returns to America

By Barry Grey, 26 March 2015

The revival of execution methods most people had long considered relics of a more barbaric past exposes the real state of class relations in America.

Philadelphia police shot nearly four hundred people over the past eight years

By Evan Blake, 25 March 2015

The Justice Department’s report on the Philadelphia Police Department is the latest in a series of documents revealing rampant police violence in cities throughout the country.

Capital punishment and the brutality of class rule in America

By Kate Randall, 20 March 2015

The political establishment’s continued support for state-sanctioned killing reflects the barbaric and exploitative character of social relations in the United States.

Missouri executes brain-damaged 74-year-old

By Kate Randall, 19 March 2015

Cecil Clayton was put to death despite overwhelming evidence of intellectual disability caused by a sawmill accident more than four decades ago.

Man held for 900 days in US prison without charge

By Tom Eley, 17 March 2015

Benito Vasquez-Hernandez, detained as a “material witness,” has been in jail since March 16, 2012.

The fight against police violence in Madison, Wisconsin

By Andre Damon and Niles Williamson, 12 March 2015

In this video, students and workers in Madison speak about the significance of the ongoing wave of state-sanctioned police killings in the United States.

Dark Crimes: Film Noir Thrillers, Volume Two: Surprises from Fritz Lang and William Castle

By Charles Bogle, 12 March 2015

This collection offers two films by Fritz Lang and two by William Castle that reveal different sides of each director’s canon.

Shootings in Georgia and Colorado continue wave of police violence in US

By Niles Williamson and Andre Damon, 11 March 2015

On Monday, a Georgia police officer shot and killed 27-year-old Anthony Hill, who was naked and unarmed at the time, and was apparently suffering from a mental illness.

As Obama whitewashes Ferguson police killing

Wisconsin cop guns down unarmed teenager

By Zaida Green and Andre Damon, 9 March 2015

The same day that President Obama declared his “complete confidence” in the decision not to charge Darren Wilson, another young man was killed by a police officer in Madison.