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The December 6 'MHP' Syllabus

Another week, and another high profile non-indictment of a police officer. This time, the decision came from Staten Island.
Melissa Harris Perry MHP The Syllabus
Melissa Harris Perry MHP The Syllabus

Another week, and another high profile non-indictment of a police officer. This time, the decision came from Staten Island where in July, NYPD officer Daniel Pantaleo wrestled 43-year-old Eric Garner to the ground by his neck while he said repeatedly - “I can’t breathe.” Although the New York City Medical Examiner ruled Garner’s death a homicide, the grand jury opted not to bring charges against officer Pantaleo. That decision sparked widespread protests, marches, shut-downs and “die-ins” all across the country.

We also look to Cleveland, where last week 12-year-old Tamir Rice was shot by police as he played with a toy pellet gun. This story comes amidst a Department of Justice investigation into that city’s police department, one which led Attorney General Eric Holder to declare this week that the department is “exhibiting a pattern and practice of using excessive force.”

Since the killings of Rice and Garner were both captured on video, what does this mean for officer body cameras which have been among the most talked about remedies in the wake of the Ferguson non-indictment?

Our Panel includes:

  • Janai Nelson: Assoc. Director-Counsel, NAACP Legal Defense Fund
  • Michael Skolnik: Editor-in-chief, and Russell Simmons political director
  • Tim Wu: Professor, Columbia Law School
  • Bryonn Bain: Writer, Actor, “Lyrics from Lockdown;” poet and prison activist
  • Eugene O’Donnell: Professor of Law & Police Studies, John Jay College of Criminal Justice; Former NYPD officer
  • Marquez Claxton: Director, Black Law Enforcement Alliance; Retired NYPD detective
  • Phillip Atiba Goff: President, Center for Policing Equity; Prof., social psychology, UCLA

We will also speak to Nicole Paultre Bell, the fiancée of the late Sean Bell who was shot 50 times by New York City Police while leaving a Queens nightclub, unarmed, the night before his wedding in 2006. Since her fiancée’s death, Bell has become an activist around issues of police brutality, founding the advocacy group “When it’s Real, It’s Forever.”

Then we have organizers Philip Agnew from Dream Defenders and Ashley Yates of Millennial Activist United on the show to talk about meeting with President Obama on Monday. The two were just a couple of the protest leaders who sat down with the president and top administration officials to discuss some of the tensions in Ferguson and around the country

And why in the world is Chief Justice John Roberts quoting rapper Eminem in Supreme Court proceedings, and what does it have to do with Ferguson or the St. Louis Rams? We’re taking an extended look at free speech from the streets of Ferguson, to the grid-iron, to the halls of the Supreme Court.

And lastly, our Footsoldier of the week is an eight-year-old who really - REALLY loves books. We will hear about what she is doing in Cleveland to help make them more available for everyone.