Coast to Coast Explosion of Protest Confronts Police Violence in Communities of Color

Posted Dec. 10, 2014

MP3 Interview with Glen Ford, executive editor with the Black Agenda Report, conducted by Scott Harris


Ten days after protests erupted across the country in response to a Missouri grand jury decision not to indict Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of unarmed African American teenager Michael Brown, another grand jury decision in New York City further provoked dissent. A Staten Island grand jury decided not to indict police officer Daniel Pantaleo, who used an illegal choke-hold that killed Eric Garner, an unarmed 53-year-old black man. This, despite a cell phone video that captured the entire July 17th incident that began when police officers attempted to arrest Garner for allegedly selling loose cigarettes on a sidewalk.

Reacting to the grand jury decision in the Eric Garner case, protests exploded from coast-to-coast, where angry demonstrators condemned a broken judicial system that appeared once again to ignore stark evidence of unprovoked police violence in black communities. Many protest organizers and demonstrators link the disproportionate number of police shootings in minority neighborhoods to the drug war, where blacks and Latinos suffer more frequent arrests and harsher prison sentences than their white counterparts. According to a 2009 report by the Sentencing Project, African-Americans make up 12 percent of the nation’s drug users, but represent 34 percent of those arrested for drug offenses, and 45 percent of those in state prison for such offenses, as of 2005.

Between The Lines’ Scott Harris spoke with Glen Ford, executive editor with the Black Agenda Report who discusses why he believes recent cases of police brutality have reached a tipping point and mobilized unexpected levels of dissent nationwide. He also examines the momentum now present to build a national movement that can effectively challenge a system that fails to recognize and address the root causes of police violence in communities of color across the U.S.

For more information on the Black Agenda Report, visit

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