Another African American Man shot on Saturday in Texas

Police shoot Alva Braziel in Houston, Texas

After a tragic week, including shootings of two black men by police, and then the shooting of 12 police officers (five of whom died) by an armed vigilante at a Black Lives Matter protest in Dallas, Texas, another police-related death has occurred in Texas. On Saturday officers shot Alva Braziel, an African American man in Houston, near a gas station. The shooting was captured on gas station surveillance video, and may contradict the officers’ statements.

According to the officers responding to the scene, Braziel was in the street, turning around and waving a gun around, when he pointed it at them, precipitating the fatal shooting. However, preliminary viewing of surveillance footage suggests that Braziel did not have a gun, and had his hands up in the air, when the police shot him. A careful study of the footage, which shows the shooting in the background, needs to be undertaken.

Watch footage of Alva Braziel’s death by Police in Houston, Texas (

Photo: (screen shot)

Coffey Anderson’s Police Traffic Stop Survival Video

Coffey Anderson Traffic Stop Video

Many men cringe at the idea of displaying undue deference or submission to anyone, including a police officer. However, in the wake of recent police shootings of civilians, perhaps there are a few safety rules to consider. According to Country Music musician Coffey Anderson, taking a few simple steps could save your life when stopped by a cop, and so he’s put out a brief instructional video on the method he recommends.

Anderson stresses that cops are concerned for their own safety, and the adrenaline is pumping when they approach your vehicle. By allaying their fears you stand a better chance of a positive interaction, and minimize the change that violence will erupt. For this reason it’s important to keep your hands in sight, and to keep your registration and driver’s license near at hand.

You don’t want to reach for your paperwork by taking your hand out of the officer’s line of sight, which can appear threatening to some cops, who fear you might be reaching for a gun. Anderson recommends turning the car’s engine and radio completely off, and placing your hands at the 10 and 2 positions on the steering wheel, with your fingers extended (palms open) while looking straight ahead. When the cop asks for your identification, you inform him that you are reaching for it on your dashboard, which is in plain sight.

Watch Coffey Anderson’s Police Traffic Stop Survival Video (CNN)


Photo: CNN (screen capture)


Tragic Police Mass Murder in Dallas, Texas

Dallas Police Killings

The management team of Face Activities extends our sincerest and deepest condolences to the families of the civilians and police officers killed and wounded in Dallas, Texas, yesterday, at the hands of a crazed killer. No ideology, movement, social goal, or political strategy is worth such pain and loss of life. We commend peaceful protesters who seek to reach their goals through non violent means.

Tragedy has struck in Dallas, and throughout the country, following a of week tragic events and escalating tensions. Yesterday 14 people were shot, including 12 police offers (5 officers died from their wounds) in Dallas, Texas, during a Black Lives Matter protest. In addition, several smaller-scale shootings of police officers throughout the country have also occurred over the last 24 hours.

Hundreds of citizens had gathered in Dallas to peacefully protest the deaths of two African American men, Alton Sterling, of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and Philando Castile, of Minneapolis, Minnesota, at the hands of police. Suddenly shots rang out. Micah Xavier Johnson, a lone gunman with military training from former service in the U.S. army, and an alleged history of sexual assault, had opened fire on the police, kicking off a protracted fire-fight, lasting hours.

At first police suspected that there was more than one gunman, having mistaken several protesters dressed in camouflaged clothing as suspects. Eventually the gunman was cornered, and after extensive negotiations failed, he was killed via a bomb delivered by a remote-controlled robot (a first in law-enforcement history.)

By all accounts, the police behaved honorably and bravely, shielding the crowd of civilian protesters, who had gathered to lawfully exercise their First Amendment Rights, and leading them to safety, while locating and ultimately neutralizing the assailant. Their actions brought home to many the notion that the vast majority of cops are decent, heroic people, tasked with a difficult and often dangerous job, in order to protect and serve their communities. Nonetheless, sadly, some social media users rejoiced in the deaths of these unfortunate law-enforcement officers, though they were often met with push-back and harsh criticism.

Many members of the Black Lives Matter movement, and other civil rights activists throughout the country, maintain that there’s absolutely no contradiction between protesting police over reach and supporting law-enforcement. They see the ultimate goal of the movement as better policing that saves lives, and that’s viewed as a win-win scenario that will ultimately benefit communities, and the law enforcement organizations charged with protecting them.

Photo: Dickelbers,  Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported (image was resized)

Police Killings in Baton Rouge and Minneapolis trigger outrage

Two Police Shootings outrage many Americans

Two recent police killings of African American men have thrown the nation into a state confusion, and outrage. People are heading into the streets to protest. In the aftermath of the violence, President Barack Obama addressed the nation from Warsaw, where he’s attending a NATO summit, to express his concerns, and emphasize the importance of extending justice to all Americans. The President stressed that the data from research studies indicates that African Americans suffer more violence at the hands of law enforcement officers than other Americans, and stressed that the status quo is wrong and must stop.

The police shooting in Minneapolis
The immediate aftermath of Philando Castile’s death during a police shooting was live-streamed by his girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds, in Falcon Heights, near Minneapolis, following a routine traffic stop for a broken tail light. Castile was driving with Reynold’s and her young daughter, when a police officer pulled them over. According to Reynolds, the officer told them to put their hands up, then asked for Castile’s license and registration.

Castile, a fully-compliant legal gun-owner with no criminal record, informed the officer that he was carrying a gun, as he’s required to do by law.  According to Reynold’s, when Castile reached for his license in his back pocket, to comply with the officer’s command, he was shot four times. The video is chilling, and conveys the terror and tragedy of this death for Reynold’s. Castile is seen in his last moments of life, his shirt bloodied from four gunshot wounds delivered at point black range. Police eventually remove Reynold’s from the car (they had removed the young daughter prior to the start of the video) but they do not render first aid to Castile.

The police shooting in Baton Rouge
Castile’s death was preceded by the police shooting of Alton Sterling, an African American man selling CDs outside a food mart, in Baton Rouge Louisiana, that has outraged many citizens across the country. The confrontation, including the actual shooting, was recorded on video by a witness, and is disturbing to view.

Following the report by a homeless man that sterling was brandishing a weapon, police arrived on the scene and ordered Sterling to comply with their commands. Sterling did not have a gun in his hand, though later one was found in his pocket, following his death. Early in the confrontation they attempted to stun him with a TASER, and wrestled him to the ground.

He was pinned down by officers, with his back to the pavement, when an officer shouted that he had a gun. Several shots were fired, and Sterling died soon after. A police officer is scene on video reaching into Sterling’s pocket to retrieve a hand gun. Though the cops were wearing body cams, they did not record the incident. According to police the devices fell off during the scuffle with Sterling. Police do not render first aid to Sterling on the video.

Growing Outrage
There have been a string of murders of African American men and boys by police officers over the last few years, contributing to a growing sense of outrage, both within African American communities, and among a diverse range of concerned citizens throughout the country. People are demanding justice, including the judicial prosecution of cops involved in unjust shootings, the adoption of body cams for cops, better training, and end to racial profiling practices. President Obama touched on some of these ideas during his speech, insisting that workable solutions are currently available to turn the tide of violence, and save lives, if we are willing to act.


Photo: internet screen capture

Hillary Clinton’s e-mails: extremely careless, not criminal (FBI)

Hillary Clinton

The results of the FBI’s in-depth probe of Hillary Clinton’s use of a private e-mail server during her tenure as Secretary of State in the Obama Administration were released today. The FBI found that though Clinton’s behaviors and practices were extremely careless, they did not rise to the level of criminality. The FBI recommends to federal prosecutors that no charges should be filed.

There was strong push-back from right wing groups and blogs across the internet and throughout the media. Many allege a cover-up, and point to a recent closed meeting between former President Bill Clinton and the current Attorney, General Loretta Lynch, to support their claims. Many also contend that other people in government face legal prosecution for far lesser breaches of security, and ask why should Clinton be any different.

The news is bittersweet for the Clinton campaign. Although a recommendation for indictment would have been devastating for the campaign, the FBI’s characterization of Clinton as “extremely careless” is fodder for her critics, particularly Donald Trump, along with a large array of conservative leaders, journalists, social media activists, and pundits. Now Clinton can move forward with her campaign, but she will likely deal with the fallout from the FBI’s less-than-stellar assessment of her decisions and actions, right up until the general election in November.

Learn more about the FBI investigation into Hillary Clinton’s e-mail server (CNN)


Photo: By Lorie ShaullOwn work, CC BY-SA 4.0,
image resized and sharpened

Man seriously injured in explosion in Central Park, New York City

Central Park

On Saturday a young man from Virginia was the victim of an apparent home-made explosive device left in New York’s Central Park. The 18-year-old tourist was in town for July 4th festivities, when he and his friend jumped from a rock while exploring the historic park, inadvertently detonating the device.

The victim’s foot was severed above the ankle, and he is being treated at a local hospital for this critical injury. The bomb squad is investigating. It’s possible this was a careless attempt to make home-made fireworks that initially failed to explode, and was left behind in the park.

Though thoughts of terrorism easily comes to mind in such circumstances, evidence at the scene suggests the device wasn’t deliberately planted to be detonated by a foot fall, and authorities aren’t aware of and credible threats to New York City over the July 4th holiday weekend. Authorities stress the dangers of experimenting with home-made fireworks. The creation of these devices should be left to professionals, and amateur experiments often lead to terrible tragedies.

Learn more about the dangerous explosion in Central Park (CNN)


Photo: by Ed Yourdon , license: CC BY-SA 2.0 (image resized and sharpened)


Elie Wiesel, Auschwitz survivor and documenter of the Holocaust, dies at 87

Elie Wiesel, Nobel Laureate, dies at 87

Elie Wiesel, Auschwitz survivor, Nobel Laureate, and documenter of the Holocaust, died on Saturday at 87. President Obama called him “One of the great moral voices of our time.”

He was born in Romania in 1928, in the town of Sighet. In 1940, at the age of 15, he was transported to the Auschwitz death camp, along with his family members and the other jewish citizens of his town. He and two sisters survived the horrors, but his mother, one sister, and his father, held captive at Buchenwald, died at the hands of the Nazis.

Elie Wiesel dedicated his life to documenting the tragedy, and telling the stories of survivors. As a very young man he wrote Night, a memoir of his experiences and survival at Auschwitz, which earned him world-wide recognition.

Over his long and influential career he wrote 60 books, and made countless appearances. Wiesel was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1986 for his life-long role in vocally and vigorously opposing violence, repression and racism around the world.

Elie Wiesel is survived by his wife Marion, also a survivor, and their son Elisha.

Learn more about the life and legacy of Elie Wiesel (BBC)


Photo: by Gr1st, Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic (image resized and sharpened)

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