Civil Rights | New Hampshire Public Radio

Civil Rights

Updated at 11:40 a.m. ET

A Minneapolis judge has dismissed the third-degree murder charge against Derek Chauvin, one of the four former police officers facing criminal charges in the May killing of George Floyd.

Chauvin, who was captured on cellphone video kneeling on Floyd's neck for several minutes, still faces a higher charge of second-degree murder. Chauvin's legal team filed a motion to have both charges dropped, but the latter was denied.

What we don’t learn in school can matter as much as the lessons we do learn. In this fourth and final episode of a special radio series on “Racism In New England,” we talk to teachers and students about the harm of omitting stories and cultures from curricula — and how we can do better.

Updated at 4:45 p.m. ET

A court released some 15 hours of recorded grand jury proceedings in the Breonna Taylor case Friday – an extraordinary action that comes after a juror disputed Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron's explanation for why no one was directly charged in Taylor's killing by Louisville police this spring.

The justice system failed Breonna Taylor, says Tamika Palmer, the mother of the emergency room technician whom police shot and killed in her own apartment in March. She says Kentucky's attorney general was not up to the job of achieving justice for Taylor.

Dan Tuohy / NHPR

The Seacoast chapter of Black Lives Matter has released a list of demands it says candidates running for office in this general election must deliver. Among them, legislation that would legalize cannabis and expunge convictions for some cannabis related infractions, outlaw qualified immunity for police officers, and mandate the collection of demographic data on a range of police interactions with the public for minor traffic stops to arrests.

For more on this, All Things Considered Host Peter Biello interviewed Clifton West Jr., one of the founders of Black Lives Matter Seacoast.

Updated at 2:53 p.m. ET

The city of Louisville, Ky., announced a $12 million settlement Tuesday in a wrongful death lawsuit filed by the family of Breonna Taylor.

The settlement also includes a series of police reforms to be adopted by the Louisville Metro Police Department, including establishing a housing incentive program to encourage officers to live in low-income neighborhoods within the city.

Other changes to police tactics include creating a clearer command structure when executing warrants at multiple locations.

The mayor of Rochester, N.Y., is promising reforms to the city's police department after five nights of protests over the death of Daniel Prude after his arrest in March.

NHPR Photo

A statewide commission on police accountability and transparency says the state should create an independent agency to handle complaints alleging misconduct against all New Hampshire law enforcement officers.

The recommendation is part of the commission's final report that was released Monday. Members have spent the last 60 days exploring how New Hampshire could improve its police practices.

Thousands of people descended on Washington, D.C. yesterday for the March on Washigton demanding racial equality and criminal justice reform.

Here are some scenes as captured by photographers Dee Dwyer, André Chung and Tyrone Turner.

Even during the COVID-19 pandemic, mortality rates and life expectancy are far better for white Americans than they are for Black people during normal, non-pandemic years, according to an analysis published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Updated 6:39 p.m. ET

An Illinois teenager has been arrested in connection with a deadly shooting Tuesday in Kenosha, Wis., during the third consecutive night of protests following the police shooting of a Black resident.

Kyle Rittenhouse, a white male teenager, has been charged with first-degree intentional homicide and was taken into custody by police in Antioch, Ill., about 15 miles southwest of Kenosha.

Updated 6:30 p.m. ET

Jacob Blake, the Black man who was shot multiple times at close range by police in Kenosha, Wis., over the weekend, is currently paralyzed from the waist down, according to the family's attorney.

"Praying it's not permanent," civil rights lawyer Benjamin Crump tweeted Tuesday afternoon.

A statewide commission on police accountability and transparency has sent Gov. Chris Sununu recommendations for reforms to police training in New Hampshire.

Sununu created the commission in mid-June in response to the killing of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police.

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Around midnight on a Saturday, Thomas Hurd fell asleep at the bar of a Chinese restaurant in Farmington, New Hampshire. 

The bartender, suspecting Hurd was drunk when he got there, asked him to leave. According to police reports, Hurd instead began smashing plates and flipping tables. 

Ali Oshinskie for NHPR

As New Hampshire leaders train their focus on social justice amid statewide protests calling for reform, the state’s Civil Rights Unit in the Department of Justice continues to bring few civil rights cases to court.

Courtesy of Arnie Alpert

After almost four decades of social justice activism, New Hampshire civil rights leader Arnie Alpert is retiring from the American Friends Service Committee. 

Arnie Alpert joined NHPR’s All Things Considered host Peter Biello to discuss some of the highlights of his career. 

(Below is a lightly edited transcript of the interview.)

Alpert pushed to make Martin Luther King Day a holiday in New Hampshire. The Granite State was the last state to make it a holiday in 1999. He spoke on the occasion. 

Mayor Marty Walsh on Friday declared racism a public health crisis in Boston. To tackle the emergency, Walsh said he will reallocate $3 million of the department's overtime budget to public health. Walsh said the decision comes after he listened to Black people — both in the Black Lives Matter movement and in his life — who shared with him "how racism shapes lives and hurts communities."

House Judiciary

A day after George Floyd's funeral in Houston, the U.S. House Judiciary Committee is holding hearings on racial profiling and policing practices in America.

Floyd's brother is among those scheduled to testify before the committee today, June 10.

New Hampshire Calling: What Does It Mean To Be An Ally

For white people who have just recently recognized their own complicity in America's racist systems and are looking to "fix" that — it's not going to happen overnight.

"It's a little bit like saying 'I want to be in shape tomorrow' ..." says author Robin DiAngelo. "This is going to be a process."

Christina Phillips/NHPR

As protests against racism and police brutality continue across the country and New Hampshire, we compare what we’re seeing now to earlier movements – more than a century of demonstrations for civil rights and against systemic racism. 

Air date: Tuesday, June 9, 2020. 

Courtesy

Saturday's protests in Manchester drew as many as a thousand people. Black Lives Matter of Manchester helped organize the peaceful demonstration, which gathered in Veterans Park.

NHPR's All Things Considered host Peter Biello interviewed Ronelle Tshiela, a local organizer who spoke Saturday in New Hampshire's largest city.

Ali Oshinskie for NHPR

Protests in cities across the U.S. and in New Hampshire are turning the focus to the often fraught relationship between law enforcement and communities of color.

Sean Locke is director of the state's Civil Rights Unit in the Attorney General's Office, where he works on some of these issues.  

(Below is a lightly edited transcript of this interview.)

Sean Locke, thank you for speaking with me.

Thank you.

NHPR File Photo

The New Hampshire Attorney General's Office has released new protocols for how police departments should handle hate crimes.

The aim is to help law enforcement better identify and report hate crimes and civil rights violations in New Hampshire.

Bias incidents and hate crimes are underreported nationwide each year. According to a press release from the Attorney General's office, 48 departments in the state did not submit any information to the FBI related to hate crimes in 2017.

Ali Oshinskie for NHPR

A judge says a man who threatened to kill a transgender woman at a Planet Fitness in Nashua last March violated New Hampshire's Civil Rights Act. The verdict is one of the first for the state's new Civil Rights Unit.

On Friday, Marc Bernier was ordered by a judge to pay a fine of $500, to not enter the Planet Fitness in Nashua, to not come within 250 feet of the victim, and to not violate the Civil Rights Act again. If Bernier violates the terms of the injunction, the fine will increase to $3,000 and he could face criminal charges.

Sara Ernst

A Superior Court judge heard testimony Thursday in the case of a Nashua man accused of threatening a transgender woman.  The case is being pursued by the Civil Rights Unit at the New Hampshire Attorney General's Office.

Hate rhetoric online has been linked to several recent incidents of mass violence in the United States and internationally. But even when this kind of speech doesn't lead to physical harm, it is damanging to the targeted group and the wider community. We look at how hateful language has impacted people over time, and what our legal system says. 

Ali Oshinskie / NHPR

The New Hampshire Attorney General's office released a 25-page report Wednesday summarizing its investigation into a high-profile attack involving children in Claremont in 2017.

 

The report revolves around the events of August 28, 2017, when a group of 13 and 14 year olds were accused of tying a rope around an 8-year-old biracial boy's neck and pushing him off a picnic table, leading to serious injuries.

Todd Bookman / NHPR

A Jackson hotel employee who was accused of violating the state’s Civil Rights Act has been fined and will pay restitution to her two victims.

Priscillla Protasowicki was accused of using force to remove two guests from her family's hotel on the basis of their religion and perceived national origin.  As part of a resolution agreement with the Attorney General, she will pay them $85, the cost of the room she had refused to refund.

Daniel S. Hurd via Flickr CC

 

A bill to prohibit discrimination in New Hampshire's public schools passed its first test in the House today along mostly partisan lines.

Democrats say it will close a loophole in the state's anti-discrimination laws by allowing students who alleges discrimination to bring their case against a school in local courts.

Dan Tuohy / NHPR

 

Proposed legislation to prohibit discrimination in New Hampshire's public schools is gaining momentum.

The House Education Committee voted Tuesday to approve a bill that would allow any student who alleges discrimination to bring a case against a school or school district in the local courts.

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