Jul 21 2014

Daily News Flash with Courtney Morris on Mental Illness Among Death Row Inmates, NYPD Implicated in Another Killing of a Black Man, and Qatar’s Pledges to Minimize Migrant Worker Deaths

Uprising’s guest expert Courtney Morris, assistant professor of African American and women’s Studies at Penn State University, analyzes today’s news headlines:

A new study has found that a majority of people executed in the United States were suffering from mental illness. The researchers studying the US’s death penalty found, that “the overwhelming majority of executed offenders had intellectual and psychological deficits that rivaled—and sometimes outpaced—those associated with intellectual disability and juvenile status.” Even though the US Supreme Court decided in two cases in 2002 and 2005 that people who committed offenses as juveniles should not be executed because of their “diminished capacities to understand and process information,” those same protections against execution have not been granted to adult offenders who are mentally ill. The study comes on the heels of a federal judge’s ruling in California that in the case of at least one death row inmate, this state’s death penalty is unconstitutional because of lengthy and arbitrary delays. Click here for a Think Progress article about the study.

Demonstrations took place in New York City over the weekend after 43 year old Eric Garner was arrested by police on Staten Island and died from a heart attack after being placed in a choke hold and having at least four officers place their weight on top of him. The entire incident was videotaped by a bystander and shows Garner being completely surrounded and subdued, as he repeatedly said, “I can’t breathe,” before losing consciousness. One of the officers involved has been stripped of his gun and badge and reassigned. The chokehold is prohibited by the department for precisely the reason that it can be fatal, yet a civilian review board received hundreds of complaints about its use by police last year alone. Many are expecting how this case is handled to be a test of New York Mayor Bill DeBlasio, who campaigned partly on ending the NYPD’s controversial Stop-and-Frisk policies. Click here for an Al Jazeera America article about the story.

Just days after the end of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, the Gulf Arab state of Qatar, which will host the 2022 World Cup, has announced new labor regulations apparently designed to minimize casualties. Qatar has a vast migrant workforce from primarily poor South Asian countries and each year hundreds suffer from heat stroke, working in the intense outdoor heat. Last summer 44 Nepalese workers reportedly died on the job and new reports have found an average of 20 Indian workers die each month in Qatar. The country still relies on medieval style contracts that border on indentured servitude. As part of its new rules, Qatar claims it will move to modern contracts between workers and employers. Click here for an RT.com article about the story.

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