My Mother, Stopped for Driving While Black

My Mother, Stopped for Driving While Black

When the police pulled their guns on my mother, I reached for my phone and told her to be calm and do as they say. My parents and I had just been swarmed by police cars, sirens blaring, as we drove on I-64 through Virginia. Shock and fear consumed my family as we came...
Death by Traffic Stop

Death by Traffic Stop

What’s worse than being pulled over nearly 50 times? Believe it or not, quite a few things. Like racking up over $7,000 in fines and fees when you make just $30,000 a year. Or bearing the constant stress of being pulled over and fined, finally paying off one...
How This Became the Era of the Gunman

How This Became the Era of the Gunman

Every era has its representative figure. The Neolithic era had the Farmer. The avatar of the Middle Ages was the Monk, bent over an illuminated manuscript. For the period before and after 1492, the Explorer captured the global imagination. During the Industrial...
Why We Need $50,000 Traffic Tickets

Why We Need $50,000 Traffic Tickets

All of us would like to live in a world where people always do the right thing — without anybody looking over their shoulder. But that world doesn’t exist and never will. So every society on our planet has penalties. You break the rules, you pay a price. But penalties...
Guilty of Being Poor

Guilty of Being Poor

Here’s something you might not know about Ferguson, Missouri: In this city of 21,000 people, 16,000 have outstanding arrest warrants. In fact, in 2013 alone, authorities issued 9,000 warrants for over 32,000 offenses. That’s one-and-a-half offenses for every resident...
How I Exposed an Undercover Cop

How I Exposed an Undercover Cop

She was an undercover cop who called herself “Missy.” When I first met her four years ago, I couldn’t have known that the small-framed woman with spiky brown hair and intense eyes was anything but a fellow activist showing up for a protest in...
Drone on the Range

Drone on the Range

Get ready, America. Here comes “the next latest and greatest thing in aviation.” Wow, what could it be? Maybe the airlines are going to drop all of their ridiculous rip-off fees. That’d be great! No, no, not that kind of aviation. You probably...
The Honduran Military Shouldn’t Police

The Honduran Military Shouldn’t Police

Shortly before midnight on May 26, 15-year old Ebed Haziel Yánez Cáceres left his home on his father’s motorcycle. As he drove through the country’s capital city, three members of the Honduran Armed Forces signaled the minor to pull over....
Breathing While Black

Breathing While Black

The radical conservative majority of the Supreme Court delivered yet another bizarre opinion the other week. It ruled that police and jail officials can strip search anyone arrested for anything, no matter how minor the violation or how upstanding the suspect. In...
Hate Groups Spread Lies and Kill Cops

Hate Groups Spread Lies and Kill Cops

Last November, the FBI accused four members of a Georgia militia of conspiring to attack cities with the deadly ricin toxin, blow up federal buildings, and murder federal law enforcement officials and IRS agents. In July, the leader of the neo-secessionist League of...
Police Can’t Raid Our Dreams

Police Can’t Raid Our Dreams

This past weekend, I stood in the rain at Occupy DC as police in riot gear trampled through the camp at McPherson Square. I ran as they charged the crowd with police horses. I watched as they grabbed clothing, books, tents, shoes, and other personal property, and...
The UC Davis Pepper Spray Incident

The UC Davis Pepper Spray Incident

The video sophomore Thomas Fowler shot of a campus cop attacking a group of about 20 University of California, Davis students with pepper spray at close range during a peaceful protest has gone viral. Although this outrageous incident has garnered widespread media...