By Casey Harper – Traffic stops have become a source of tension and violence between police and citizens, with multiple deaths in recent weeks. The solution: A police-produced video which aims to teach everything a bystander needs to know during a traffic stop.
The video, produced by the Lake Charles Police Department, says there are more than 800,000 police officers in America, with more than a million interactions with citizens every day.
The video is a little slow but gives interesting information about why police do what they do, like how they position their car so if they get hit from behind you are less likely to die.
“The goal of this informational video is to educate as many local civic groups, students, neighborhood watch groups, pastors, and the general public,” Deputy Chief Mark Kraus told KPLCTV. “This video allows the general public to be well educated on proper etiquette that should be used when stopped by an officer. It answers some common questions such as whether or not law enforcement can request an individual to exit their vehicle, as well as being cautious in regard to sudden moves.”
Dashcam video of the arrest of Sandra Bland, a woman who was found hanged in her jail cell, is raising even more questions about not only her death, but why Bland was arrested and brought to jail in the first place.
As we have reported, Bland’s death prompted an investigation launched by multiple agencies including the Waller County District Attorney’s Office, The Texas Ranger Division of the state’s Department of Safety and the FBI. Bland was found hanged in a cell at Waller County Jail July 12, where she had been held for three days after an arrest stemming from a traffic stop.
In the dash-cam video, Bland is reportedly pulled over for failing to signal her lane change. Bland is clearly aggravated when she is first pulled over. After the officer begins asking her questions about what is wrong, Bland argues with the officer. She also tells the officer that she is not required to say anything to him other than to identify herself. It should be noted that Bland was correct and that she had no legal obligation to speak to the officer other than to identify herself.
The officer then tells Bland to put out her cigarette, which she refuses to do. Again, Bland is correct when she says that she is in her own vehicle and there is no legal requirement for her to put out the cigarette. But this doesn’t stop the officer from opening her door and demanding Bland exit the vehicle. At one point he holds his taser at her yelling, “I will light you up if you don’t get out of the car.”
Multiple news agencies, including several local news stations and larger outlets such as NBC, CBS, The Guardian, Time, The Los Angeles Times and CNN, have pointed to several inconsistencies and anomalies within the video, posing the question of whether or not the video released by the Texas Department of Public Safety was edited.
Independent journalist Ben Norton provided several separate clips that appear to show disparities. In one of the clips, “a man leaves the truck in the center of the frame at 25:05. For the next 15 seconds, he walks toward the right of the frame and leaves. At 25:19, he suddenly appears again, promptly disappears, then returns at 25:22. The same footage of him walking is subsequently repeated”:
Norton offered another clip seen below. “This is 33:02-33:12 in the footage released by the Texas Department of Public Safety. A white car enters the frame and disappears twice, returning a third time,” Norton wrote.
“It appears that someone cut footage out and looped part of the video in order to correspond with the recorded audio of Texas state trooper Brian Encinia speaking,” Norton wrote.
The Texas Department Of Safety denied that any editing took place. The video inconsistencies were “glitches in the recording” that “occurred when it was uploaded for public viewing,” according to DPS spokesman Tom Vinger.
Already in admitting wrongdoing, the Waller County Sheriff’s Department has acknowledged that traffic stop procedures and courtesy policies were violated. The officer in this video, identified as Brian Encinia, has been assigned to desk duty.
While Bland’s death was originally ruled as a suicide, Waller County District Attorney Elton Mathis said that the inquiry “is being treated like a murder investigation.” Mathis noted, however, that “It is very much too early to make any kind of determination that this was a suicide or a murder because the investigations are not complete.”
Two videos portraying events from the “traffic stop gone wrong” that ended when Walter Scott, a 50-year-old unarmed black man was shot and killed by Michael Slager, a 33-year-old white police officer in North Charleston, South Carolina, have shed light on multiple errors in Slager’s initial report.
The shooting occurred on Saturday morning, and it wasn’t until Tuesday that a video, which was taken on a bystander’s cell phone, was released. The video showed Slager firing eight shots at Scott, as Scott ran away. Following the release of the video, Slager was charged with first-degree murder.
Think Progress reported that “charges against South Carolina police officers for shooting someone are extremely rare,” and that it appears that during the two days between when the shooting happened and when the video was made public, Slager appeared to be “unaware that video of the entire incident existed.”
On Saturday, the Charleston Post and Courier reported that North Charleston police spokesman Spencer Pryor released a statement, claiming that “a man ran on foot from the traffic stop and an officer deployed his department-issued Taser in an attempt to stop him,” then when that did not work, “an altercation ensued as the men struggled over the device.”
The statement also claimed that Slager “resorted to his service weapon” and shot Scott, only after Scott “gained control of the Taser” and attempted to use it against Slager.
On Monday, the Charleston Post and Courier reported that Slager’s lawyer, David Aylor, released a statement, which closely resembled the statement from the North Charleston police, regarding Slager’s account of the incident.
Aylor said that Slager “thinks he properly followed all procedures and policies before resorting to deadly force.”
“When confronted, Officer Slager reached for his Taser — as trained by the department — and then a struggle ensued,” Aylor said. He went on to explain that Slager “felt threatened and reached for his department-issued firearm and fired his weapon,” when Scott “tried to overpower Officer Slager in an effort to take his Taser.”
Think Progress noted that if the video of the incident had not surfaced, “that’s where the story might have ended,” as shown by a study conducted by The State, which found that police in South Carolina “have fired their weapons at 209 suspects in the past five years” but none were convicted, and the prosecutor “ruled all the shootings were justified.”
The video of the shooting, which was taken by Feidin Santana, a 23-year-old barber who immigrated to the US from the Dominican Republic, was made public on Tuesday.
Warning: The following video contains graphic content.
On MSNBC’s All In with Chris Hayes, Santana said that he considered erasing the footage, because he was worried that if he release it, his life could be in danger.
“I felt that my life, with this information, might be in danger. I thought about erasing the video and just getting out of the community, you know Charleston, and living some place else,” Santana said. “I knew the cop didn’t do the right thing.”
Santana explained that he chose to release the video to Scott’s family, after he read the news reports about the shooting. He said, “It wasn’t like that, the way they were saying.”
In Slager’s account of the incident, he said he “felt threatened” by Scott, and only resorted to shooting Scott, after he claims that Scott reached for his Taser. The video of the shooting that was taken by Santana, appears to show Slager running back to the initial scene of the altercation, picking up his Taser, and then running back to Scott, and dropping the Taser next to Scott’s body.
On Wednesday, Arthur Aidala, a legal analyst for Fox News, said that in his experience, in the 1980’s and 90’s, the practice of police officers “planting a weapon” on a victim was “standard operating procedure,” and that police officers “would keep a second gun that nobody knew about on their ankle, so if they ever killed someone they shouldn’t have they would take that gun out and leave it.”
The State Law Enforcement Division of South Carolina released a video from the dash-cam in Slager’s car on Thursday. The video shows Slager approaching Scott’s car, and notifying him that he is being stopped for a broken taillight. After speaking with Scott, Slager returns to his car, and moments later, Scott jumps out of his car and started running away.
While the dash-cam video does include the audio of the moments when Slager attempted to stop Scott with a Taser, it does not show video footage of the two, and it does not include the moments when Slager pulls out his gun and begins to shoot at Scott.
The incident involving Scott is not the first time Slager has been involved in an altercation. On Thursday, The Guardian reported that Mario Givens, a black man from North Charleston who filed a complaint about excessive force against Slager in 2013, announced that he intends to sue the city’s police department. In his complaint, Givens said that Slager knocked on his door around 4 a.m. in Sep. 2013, and without giving a reason for the visit, demanded that Givens put his hands up. He said that he complied, but Slager proceeded to use a Taser on him.
The Charleston Post and Courier reported on Thursday, that the Scott family’s lawyer, Chris Stewart, has confirmed that the family plans to file a federal civil rights lawsuit against Slager.
Ben Swann discussed the shooting and what led up to it with on RT America, RT Correspondent Manuel Rapalo, who was reporting from outside City Hall in North Charleston, South Carolina:
The State Law Enforcement Division of South Carolina has released a copy of the dash cam footage from North Charleston police officer Michael Slager’s patrol car in the moments before he fatally shot Walter Scott.
The vehicle was initially pulled over because of a broken tail-light. After Officer Slager approaches the car, he speaks with Scott and then returns to his patrol car. Moments later, Scott darts from the vehicle in an attempt to escape.
Scott was pulled over around 9:30 a.m.
As we have reported, Slager has been arrested and charged with murder.
Warning: The images we are about to show you are graphic.
A bill has been proposed by Missouri lawmakers which would exempt any footage recorded on a police operated camera from being viewed by the public.
Senate Bill No. 331 reads, “Any recording captured by a camera, which is capable of recording video or audio…shall not be a public record… [and] shall not be disclosed by a law enforcement agency except upon order of a court in the course of a criminal investigation or prosecution or civil litigation.” Footage captured on any police camera attached to a piece of police equipment, car, aircraft, or police person, would therefore be protected by this bill.
The bill was introduced by Sen. Doug Libla (R), and Missouri’s attorney general, Chris Koster (D), has voiced his support of barring the public from access to these videos.
Koster said, according to St. Louis Today, the footage would be considered closed records and therefore unavailable under Missouri’s Sunshine Law. The footage would be available, however, to people investigating an incident resulting in a civil lawsuit, or by a court order to others.
Missouri Rep. Galen Higdon has called for similar legislature, saying, according to the River Front Times, “Capturing a crime on video, whether it was perpetrated by an officer or perpetrated by a perp, the chain of evidence needs to be protected.” Higdon also said if the footage is available to the public before a trial, the jury pool could potentially be tainted and this may slow the trial down.
Sarah Rossi, the director of advocacy and policy for the Missouri’s American Civil Liberties Union, has said the proposed legislature is just an “end run around Missouri’s Sunshine Law.” Current Sunshine Laws, said Rossi, already allow law enforcement officers to restrict the public from viewing evidence which is involved in active police investigations.
Libla’s bill also proposes police departments shall not be required by the state to provide their officers with body cameras, and no department shall require an officer to wear a body camera.
The New York Police Department is on high-alert after ISIS re-released a propaganda video which tells people to murder “intelligence officers, police officers, soldiers and civilians” throughout the US.
The specific propaganda video was originally released in September 2014, but following the events in France last week, the NYPD is taking the resurgence of the video seriously.
An internal memo released throughout the NYPD told officers to “remain alert and consider tactics at all times while on patrol,” according to FOX News. Similarly, the Sergeants Benevolent Association, a police union in New York City, sent out an email to union members which reads, “Pay attention to your surroundings. Officers must pay close attention to approaching vehicles . . . Pay close attention to people as they approach. Look for their hands.”
However, the NYPD’s deputy commissioner for counterterrorism, John Miller, said according to CNN, “I don’t think that we are under any more threat … or any less threat than we were the day before.” Miller also said the NYPD has not detected any specific threats in New York City, but the NYPD has stepped up their police presence at central locations throughout the city, such as in Times Square.
Mayor Bill de Blasio told the citizens of New York City to also be on the lookout for anything suspicious. “We are the number one terror target, and that has created in us a sense of vigilance every day,” said de Blasio according to CBS New York. “There is no down day. There is no day when we’re less vigilant. We’re vigilant every day,”
The NYPD was not the only agency to take notice after the video resurfaced.
The FBI and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security are also taking the video seriously. These agencies released a nationwide bulletin to law enforcement offices with similar warnings found in the NYPD memo as well as the union released email.
Senator Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) said he hopes intelligence agents in the U.S. are prepared and ready to prevent attacks similar to those carried out in France last week. “What we have to do,” said Menendez, “is be able to create a sense in communities of the importance of high alert, of vigilance, of being able to share information.”
On Friday, a video of the original Architect for Obamacare revealing that in order for the Act to pass, it was written to appeal to the “stupidity of the American voter,” was released on YouTube by the group American Commitment.
Jonathan Gruber, an economics professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, is under fire for comments he made on October 17, 2013, about the “tortured way” the Affordable Care Act was written, in order for it to be approved by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO).
“This bill was written in a tortured way to make sure that the CBO did not score the mandate as taxes,” said Gruber. “If CBO scored the mandate as taxes, the bill dies.”
Gruber stated that in terms of “risk-rated subsidies,” if the law had been made to explicitly say that “healthy people pay in, and sick people get money,” then the law “would not have passed.”
“Lack of transparency is a huge political advantage,” said Gruber. “Call it the stupidity of the American voter, or whatever, but basically that was really, really critical in getting the thing to pass.“
Gruber said that although he wished they could “make it all transparent,” he would “rather have this law than not.”
Comments such as these are not a first from Jonathan Gruber. In a speech he gave on January 18, 2012, he discussed the Affordable Care Act’s plan to coerce states into submitting, by only making subsidies available in states that set up their own exchanges.
“I think what’s important to remember politically about this, is if you’re a state and you don’t set up an Exchange, that means your citizens don’t get their tax credits,” Gruber said.
Gruber went on to say that under Obamacare, even if citizens were not receiving subsidies, they would still be paying the taxes that support the bill. “So you’re essentially saying to your citizens, you’re going to pay all the taxes to help all the other states in the country,” said Gruber.
On Tuesday, Gruber appeared on MSNBC’s Ronan Farrow Daily to address his comments from October 2013, regarding the process of creating Obamacare.
While Gruber stated that he “spoke inappropriately,” he did not say that any of his previous claims were mistaken or incorrect.
“The comments in the video were made at an academic conference,” said Gruber. “I was speaking off the cuff and I basically spoke inappropriately and I regret having made those comments.”
The video showing the beheading of American journalist James Foley is likely being used as part of the propaganda machine behind ISIS, but the group Secure America Now is also using the footage in their own political advertisements.
The conservative group used the footage as part of multiple campaigns meant to target vulnerable Democratic senators throughout the country. One ad meant to target Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (N.H.), features the footage of Foley with a voice over saying, according to the Hill, “While radical Islamists threaten to attack America, and millions cross our border undetected, President Obama and Sen. Shaheen have done nothing.”
John and Diane Foley, the parents of James, have come out against the use of their son’s final moments for advertisement purposes. “I think it is deplorable, and I think it should be taken down,” said John Foley, according to Politicus USA. Diane also commented on the ad saying, “It makes me very sad that people would use the brutality of our son’s death for their own political purposes.”
The head of Secure America Now, Allen Roth, originally defended the use of the footage for the group’s political ads, saying, according to Mediaite, “The image has appeared around the world millions of times… We meant no harm.”
However, after negative publicity from both political parties in New Hampshire and Foley’s parents, the ad was removed from online campaigns in New Hampshire. Secure American Now released a statement to accompany the removal of the video which reads:
“It has been brought to our attention that a news report image of American hostage James Foley that appeared in a Secure America Now video has upset his parents, so we have decided to take the video down. The purpose of the video was to draw attention to Washington’s failure to secure our borders from real threats by terrorists. That remains our objective and we will continue to engage in this public debate.”
The ad is also reportedly being used in Louisiana, Colorado, and Arkansas to denounce Democratic senators who hold seats in each state. Whether or not the ads featuring the footage of Foley have been taken down in those states has not yet been confirmed.
A video recorded on a cell phone has emerged showing an NYPD officer allegedly stealing $1,300 from a man while carrying out a stop-and-frisk.
The video was shot in the early hours of Sept. 16 when Lamard Joye and his sister Lateefah Joye were walking through the Coney Island neighborhood when an NYPD officer approached Lamard and begin to “rough [Lamard] up.” Others nearby saw this and began to record the incident.
In the video, we see the officer push Lamard against a fence before reaching in Lamard’s pocket and allegedly withdrawing $1,300 in cash, according to CBS News. It is at this point the officer pepper-sprays Lamard. Lateefah can be heard inquiring for the officers badge number when the officer turns and pepper sprays her as well.
The Joye siblings are being represented by lawyer Robert Marinelli who said in a statement, according to the New York Daily News, “I believe that this officer made an assumption that any money Mr. Joye possessed was obtained illegally and therefore he would not report the theft. This assumption was wrong. Mr. Joye is a hardworking taxpayer deserving respect.”
Marinelli obtained pay stubs showing Lamard’s money was obtained through legitimate means and gave this evidence to the Brooklyn District Attorney’s office. According to the Raw Story, the money in question is still not accounted for or returned.
The NYPD has said there was a call from the area reporting a man with a gun and the officer was responding to the call. “When officers arrived at the scene, they encountered numerous people at the location,” said the NYPD according to the New York Post. “As a result of the allegations, the matter is under investigation by the Internal Affairs Bureau and the CCRB [Civilian Complaint Review Board].”
ATLANTIC CITY, September 9, 2014 – The Baltimore Ravens announced the termination of running back Ray Rice’s contract Monday afternoon following the release of new video footage showcasing a domestic violence incident between Rice and his now-wife at a Atlantic City hotel.
An NFL spokesperson, Greg Aiello, followed up the Raven’s statement on twitter with the announcement of Rice’s suspension from the NFL, stating “Roger Goodell has announced that based on new video evidence that became available today he has indefinitely suspended Ray Rice”.
Roger Goodell has announced that based on new video evidence that became available today he has indefinitely suspended Ray Rice.
News of a domestic violence incident between Rice and his then-fiancee back in February broke earlier this year, initially resulting in a paltry two game suspension for Rice. Many felt that the NFL’s punishment of Rice did not go far enough and took to social media outlets to express their outrage. Several journalists for well known news outlets including the Huffington Post, and CNN also criticized the NFL for what they viewed as a slap on the wrist for Rice. The public outcry eventually lead NFL Commissioner, Roger Goodell, to announce a strict new conduct policy for domestic violence offenders on August 28th. In the letter sent to NFL owners detailing the new policy, Goodell admitted that he “didn’t get it right” concerning Rice’s suspension, though no further action was taken by the NFL against Rice until today.
The #Ravens have terminated RB Ray Rice’s contract this afternoon.
TMZ released the shocking elevator surveillance of Rice’s domestic dispute on Monday morning, leading to Rice’s termination and indefinite suspension a mere few hours later. The video shows Rice punching Janay Palmer in the face, causing her to fall backwards and hit her head on a railing. The football player is then shown dragging Palmer’s limp body off of the elevator and disposing of her in a hotel floor. You can watch the full video here:
WARSAW, Poland, June 8, 2014– A leaked video of President Obama working out in his Marriot hotel gym in Warsaw has gone viral. According to the video description, Obama was visiting Europe to reaffirm American support against Russia. The video features Obama pumping iron– of the five pound version. As he struggles to lift the two five pound weights, cringes fly from his face.
It was only a matter of hours before the late night circuit caught wind of the video. “This is how I dance at weddings,” Kimmel said.
A video released by the Taliban earlier shows the terrorist group and U.S. forces meeting for the handover of Sgt. Bergdahl in the Khost province in Afghanistan.
Video clip courtesy of Sky News via Youtube:
A Black Hawk helicopter lands in the middle of a field, and upon landing, the emaciated Sgt. Bergdahl is led by Taliban forces, carrying a white flag, to a meeting spot between the chopper and a white pickup truck. The forces leading Sgt. Bergdahl out are just his escorts as the video shows other Taliban members in the area with RPGs, AKs and other assault weapons.
Once the two sides met in the middle, handshakes are exchanged, an oddity almost never before seen given many Americans views that their government “doesn’t negotiate with terrorists.”
After an initial pat down of Sgt. Bergdahl, the Black Hawk crew seem satisfied, they wave to the Taliban forces, and escort Sgt. Bergdahl to the chopper without further instance.
Narration by the Taliban can be heard over the course of the video describing how the Mujahideen in the area were told, according to CNN, “not to attack them.” The narrator even describes how both sides agreed to send three member parties to meet each other for the handoff.
Pentagon spokesman Rear Admiral John Kirby made a statement to ABC News saying, “We have no reason to doubt the videos authenticity, but we are reviewing it.”
The video comes as many soldiers and civilians in America are calling for Sgt. Bergdahl to be brought up on charges of desertion, and the Joint Chiefs have said they will hold an investigation to find if these claims are valid.
Soldiers and civilians have claimed for a few years that Sgt. Bergdahl had deserted his post in Afghanistan and his being held in captivity was an unforeseen consequence. These same people who make the claims say the the six soldiers who were killed in search attempts for the sergeant the following days should be Sgt. Bergdahl’s fault.
One former soldier, Nathan Bradley Bethea, wrote an article for the Daily Beast stating outright, “Bergdahl was a deserter, and soldiers from his own unit died trying to track him down.”
Bethea writes how Sgt. Bergdahl failed to appear for roll call the morning of his disappearance. His fellow soldiers found his “rifle, helmet, body armor and web gear,” but mysteriously his compass was missing.
Some soldiers in Sgt. Bergdahl’s squad told CNN they had signed nondisclosure agreements saying they would not talk about what had happened the night of Sgt. Bergdahl’s disappearance.
Many cite the mysterious circumstances surrounding his disappearance as well as his growing discontent with the military as reasons for their desertion claims against Sgt. Bergdahl. The same article from CNN references a Rolling Stone article from 2012 where Sgt. Bergdahl’s fellow infantrymen claim Bergdahl “no longer supported the U.S. effort in Afghanistan.”
The Huffington Post reports chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Martin Dempsey, said the Army will pursue an investigation into Sgt. Bergdahl’s disappearance, where the outcome could lead to desertion or other more severe charges against the former POW.
NEVADA, April 14, 2014– The image above may well go down in history. We can all recall a time when a black woman named Rosa Parks defied law and won. No need exists to paint the picture. You already know it. You can already see her. Here we see a modern representation as Americans awaken to the insidious growth of our federal Creature. Over the weekend, a fierce standoff between Bundy Ranch militiamen and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) came to an end– For now.
Highlights from the events that took place are finished off with a dramatic conclusion in a Youtube video watermarked by InfoWars.
Posted yesterday, the video already has 105k hits. For all intents and purposes, the video has gone viral. However, some are saying that Facebook is doing its best to stand in the way of people seeing it. Reports started flooding the internet claiming that Facebook was blocking the video from being posted directly to their walls.
If you own a “conservative” Facebook page you know all too well that Facebook has been censoring, charging higher prices for ad space, and decreasing the social reach of your page when compared to more liberal leaning pages for quite some time now. It seemed plausible that Facebook may have taken such action.
Facebook users who attempted to share the video were met with an abrupt security pop-up:
It appears as though this happened to multiple non-related videos this afternoon. The situation now seems to be resolved and users are able to post the video once again directly to their walls.
10-year-old Jahmir Wallace from Phillipsburg, New Jersey was born without arms — but that didn’t stop him from joining his school band as a trumpet player.
When Jahmir was in third grade, he watched his sister play the piano and decided that he might like to learn an instrument, too.
Jahmir, who wants to be treated like everyone else, knew the trumpet was the right instrument for him after testing it out. The boy said, “I kind of felt like, ‘oh man this is kind of comfortable’ and it kind of felt like this might be the one for me.”
He plays the trumpet by propping it up to his lip height and using his toes to control the instrument’s valves.
Jahmir, whose favorite concert song is “Go Tell Aunt Rhodie,” said no one should be prevented from exploring music due to a physical disability. He said, “Anybody out there that would like to try an instrument, go ahead and try it.”
On his late night TV comedy, Conan O’brien decided to highlight local news stories over the holidays. What he shows his audience probably doesn’t shock many, but certainly it seems to provide warrant for the growing movement challenging the mainstream media. The video of O’brien recently began to go viral during the holiday season. Here it is.
In fact, O’brien has caught the mainstream media in the act more than once.
However redundant these stories may seem, is it truly a problem? Many media stations are owned by the same company for ease of production, which takes hours of work. Obrien’s videos touch on a controversial subject, but should it really surprise us that many stories are “scripted”? Especially the more generic ones.
As Ben Swann points out “In most of these cases where O’Brien uses anchors from different TV stations all over the country reading the exact same script word for word, the source of that script is some kind of wire service. This means those stations have subscribed to AP, Reuters, CNN, FOX, ABC, NBC, etc wire services. In those cases, the wire story will come down and a station reporter or producer will copy and paste it word for word into a newscast. The problem with this policy is that reporters and producers simply take that content as gospel and no one in any newsroom ever bothers to fact check or verify if the wire story is correct. Simply put, in a newsroom, if it is on the wire it has to be true.”
Here at BenSwann.com, we regularly bring you stories about government regulation, police power, and fiscal policy.
Although this video does not fit into those categories, it deserves to be shared.
It shows 20-year-old Rion Holcombe, who has Downs Syndrome, finding out he was accepted to Clemson University. After carefully reading the acceptance letter, Rion turns to his mother with a huge grin and exclaims, “I got accepted.”
The video, which seems to be going viral, has almost 800,000 views.
Rion will be a student in Clemon’s LIFE program, which lets students with disabilities continue their education and learn to be independent.
His mother, Susan Holcome, left a comment on the video that says, “A little explanation for those who find this perplexing….Rion was accepted into a special program called Clemson LIFE. This is an amazing two year program for a small number (15) of young adults with special needs. This isn’t a program in which one can earn a degree. Right now, Clemson is one of five universities in SC with a LIFE program. I love that kids like Rion get to experience college life and this type of independence. Proud of my alma mater!”
To apply for the LIFE program, Rion sent in a video application that showed him winning awards at swim meets, doing household chores, and attending prom.
It is clear from this touching video that Rion is thrilled to have the chance to be a college student. We wish him the best of luck.
We have been providing you all coverage on the Syrian civil war for quite some time. Atrocities surface every so often. We first realized the barbaric face of the Free Syrian Army when one member cut the heart of a soldier out and proceeded to eat it. The rebel claimed the act in the name of Allah. Now, we see yet another crime against humanity that is a regular practice of the rebels.
Time Magazine was given exclusive access to images, which witness the Syrian rebels in action. The above decapitation is one of four that occurred that day. Below is the photographer’s eye witness account of the event.
“The man was brought in to the square. His eyes were blindfolded. I began shooting pictures, one after the other. It was to be the fourth execution that day I would photograph. I was feeling awful; several times I had been on the verge of throwing up. But I kept it under control because as a journalist I knew I had to document this, as I had the three previous beheadings I had photographed that day, in three other locations outside Aleppo.
The crowd began cheering. Everyone was happy. I knew that if I tried to intervene I would be taken away, and that the executions would go ahead. I knew that I wouldn’t be able to change what was happening and I might put myself in danger.
I saw a scene of utter cruelty: a human being treated in a way that no human being should ever be treated. But it seems to me that in two and a half years, the war has degraded people’s humanity. On this day the people at the execution had no control over their feelings, their desires, their anger. It was impossible to stop them.
I don’t know how old the victim was but he was young. He was forced to his knees. The rebels around him read out his crimes from a sheet of paper. They stood around him. The young man was on his knees on the ground, his hands tied. He seemed frozen.
Two rebels whispered something into his ear and the young man replied in an innocent and sad manner, but I couldn’t understand what he said because I don’t speak Arabic.
At the moment of execution the rebels grasped his throat. The young man put up a struggle. Three or four rebels pinned him down. The man tried to protect his throat with his hands, which were still tied together. He tried to resist but they were stronger than he was and they cut his throat. They raised his head into the air. People waved their guns and cheered. Everyone was happy that the execution had gone ahead.
That scene in Syria, that moment, was like a scene from the Middle Ages, the kind of thing you read about in history books. The war in Syria has reached the point where a person can be mercilessly killed in front of hundreds of people—who enjoy the spectacle.
As a human being I would never have wished to see what I saw. But as a journalist I have a camera and a responsibility. I have a responsibility to share what I saw that day. That’s why I am making this statement and that’s why I took the photographs. I will close this chapter soon and try never to remember it.”
The photographer’s name is not published to protect his identity. This is the face of the creature, which Assad fights against. This is the face of the creature, which president Obama wishes to support. When Obama addressed America two days ago to try and rally support for a Syrian strike he made no mention of taking Al Qaeda’s weapons. In fact, he only mentioned them once in the entire 15 minute speech. Instead, he declared more than 10 times that Assad would be disarmed to give the upper-hand to the Al Qaeda backed, Free Syrian Army.
At a town hall meeting a Syrian immigrant blasts John McCain (R-AZ) over supporting the Syrian rebels who have ties to Al Qaeda. John McCain’s body language says it all. He initially refuses to make eye contact with the woman who stands begging before him less than a foot away from his face. “My cousin was killed last week!” Her words are strong, passionate and true. “We do not want another engagement in the Middle East. We do not want Al Qaeda to take over,” she screams. McCain simply looks away as if he is more concerned with getting back to his iPhone poker game. He even laughs at one point.
John McCain’s counter was simple. “I’ve been to Syria too,” he says. He provides no real substance other than an emotionally based argument that Assad is a butcher. John McCain joined only two other republicans in voting in favor of the Senate resolution to engage in a Syrian war. All eyes are now resting on the House to see how members will vote.