civil rights

Civil Rights
4:34 pm
Mon September 23, 2013

Opening Statements in Trial for Two East Haven Police Officers

Connecticut jurors heard opening statements Monday in the trial of two police officers accused of multiple civil rights violations in East Haven. The cops are charged with conspiracy and obstruction of justice stemming from a federal racial profiling investigation.

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Meriden
1:30 pm
Mon September 23, 2013

Cossette Sentenced to 14 Months in Prison

Evan Cossette, a former Meriden police officer, was sentenced today to 14 months in prison in New Haven federal court. Cossette was found guilty in June for using unreasonable force against a handcuffed prisoner, and for trying to cover up his actions by lying about it in a report. He is the son of police Chief Jeffry Cossette.

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Police
9:01 am
Fri September 20, 2013

Luna Files Lawsuit Against New Haven in Police Filming Case

Luis Luna, a Wallingford man who was arrested three years ago for filming police as they broke up a fight in New Haven, has filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the city. Luna was arrested on September 25, 2010, and filed the lawsuit on Wednesday, the Associated Press reports.

Race
7:48 am
Sun September 15, 2013

50 Years After The Bombing, Birmingham Still Subtly Divided

Investigators work outside the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Ala., following an explosion that killed four young girls. Three Ku Klux Klansmen were convicted in the bombing years later.
AP

Originally published on Fri September 20, 2013 1:18 pm

Fifty years ago Sunday, a Ku Klux Klan bomb at a Baptist church in Birmingham, Ala., killed four black girls and sent shock waves throughout the country.

In Birmingham, the tragedy laid bare a deep rift.

Carolyn McKinstry, standing on the sidewalk outside 16th Street Baptist Church, remembers arriving for worship 50 years ago.

"It was Youth Day," she says. "We were excited because that meant we got to do everything. We sang, we ushered, we did everything."

Some of her Sunday school classmates had gone to the ladies' room to freshen up.

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News
12:11 pm
Thu September 12, 2013

Ceremony Held for 18th Century Connecticut Slave

Chion Wolf

About 60 people gathered at the Capitol today to pay respects to an 18th-century Connecticut slave. This morning, a ceremony was held as the remains of the slave known as Mr. Fortune lied in state.

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News
8:21 am
Tue September 3, 2013

200 Years After His Death, A Connecticut Slave Will Be Buried

Fortune, a Connecticut slave during the 18th century.
Credit Courtesy of the Mattatuck Museum.

More than 200 years after his death, the remains of an 18th century Connecticut slave will soon receive a proper burial.  

The slave is known as Fortune. He, his wife, and three children were owned by a doctor whose medical practice was in Waterbury. 

After Fortune died, the doctor used his skeleton as a teaching tool for students. Later, it was donated to the Mattatuck Museum and put on display. The skeleton was called “Larry." After the display was removed in the 1980s, researchers  determined that the bones were, in fact, those of the slave,  Fortune.

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March on Washington
1:55 pm
Wed August 28, 2013

Speaking At The Lincoln Memorial, Obama Assesses 'The Dream'

Former President Bill Clinton tells the crowd that Americans today owe a tremendous debt to "those people who came here 50 years ago." Millions of us, he said, have lived the dream King talked about.
Shawn Thew EPA/Landov

Originally published on Thu August 29, 2013 12:05 pm

Thousands gathered under gray skies in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday to mark the 50th anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington.

They gathered in the exact same spot where the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his "I Have a Dream" speech, and many of the same themes — equality, dignity, unity — echoed through the crowd.

President Obama was joined by the King family and former Presidents Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.

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March on Washington
3:40 am
Mon August 26, 2013

Two Officers, Black And White, On Walking The '63 March Beat

Joseph Burden (third row, third from right) with his graduating class at Washington, D.C.'s Metropolitan Police Department training academy in 1960. Every officer on the force was required to work the day of the March on Washington.
Courtesy of Joseph Burden

Originally published on Mon August 26, 2013 9:58 am

For the month of August, Morning Edition and The Race Card Project are looking back at a seminal moment in civil rights history: the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, where the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his iconic "I Have a Dream Speech" Aug. 28, 1963. Approximately 250,000 people descended on the nation's capital from all over the country for the mass demonstration.

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The Two-Way
8:17 am
Thu August 8, 2013

Report: NSA Is Searching 'Vast Amounts' Of Americans' Emails

The National Security Agency headquarters at Fort Meade, Md.
Saul Loeb Getty Images

Originally published on Thu August 8, 2013 10:50 am

"The National Security Agency is searching the contents of vast amounts of Americans' e-mail and text communications into and out of the country, hunting for people who mention information about foreigners under surveillance, according to intelligence officials," The New York Times reported Thursday.

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The Two-Way
4:40 pm
Wed August 7, 2013

Obama Will Deliver Speech On Steps Of The Lincoln Memorial

Marine One flys over the Lincoln Memorial with President Bill Clinton on board as he departed from the National Mall in May of 1999.
Joyce Naltchayan AFP/Getty Images

To commemorate the 50th anniversary of the civil rights' movement March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, President Obama will deliver remarks from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, the White House said today.

It was on those same steps that 50 years ago on August 28, that Martin Luther King delivered his iconic "I Have A Dream" speech.

The Washington Post explains:

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News
6:16 am
Sat July 27, 2013

Public Opinion May Give Russia An Edge In Snowden Case

Russian lawyer Anatoly Kucherena is representing NSA contractor Edward Snowden, said Russia has three months to consider his request for temporary asylum.
Alexander Zemlianichenko AP

Originally published on Sat July 27, 2013 8:25 pm

Russian President Vladimir Putin keeps insisting that he doesn't want the case of a fugitive American intelligence contractor to harm relations between Russia and the United States.

But Edward Snowden remains an irritant, stuck in diplomatic limbo in the transit area of a Moscow airport.

A Putin spokesman said Friday that the issue is being discussed by the Russian federal security service — the FSB — and the FBI, but it may be that Snowden has become a problem that can only be solved at the top of the two governments.

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The Two-Way
3:05 pm
Fri July 26, 2013

In Closing Arguments, Defense Argues Manning Is A Whistleblower

Army Pfc. Bradley Manning is escorted from court on Thursday in Fort Meade, Maryland.
Mandel Ngan AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri July 26, 2013 8:58 pm

Army Pfc. Bradley Manning was not aiding the enemy when he leaked the largest cache of classified information in the history of the United States, the defense argued today during closing arguments of his military trial in Fort Meade, Maryland, today. Instead, he released the information in an attempt to spark debate about things he found troubling about war and American diplomacy.

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Parallels
2:30 pm
Fri July 26, 2013

A Tale Of Two Massive Rallies In Egypt

Muslim Brotherhood supporters of ousted President Mohammed Morsi attend a protest near Rabaa al-Adawiya mosque in Cairo on Friday.
Mohammed Saber EPA/Landov

Originally published on Fri July 26, 2013 2:59 pm

At the request of Egypt's army chief, Gen. Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, many Egyptians took to the street Friday to give him a mandate for what he calls a "war against terrorism" on Islamists.

His call drew a huge response from those opposed to Mohammed Morsi, but it also brought out large numbers of supporters of the ousted president who is allied with the Muslim Brotherhood.

As the following photographs show, anti-Morsi protesters rallied in Cairo's Tahrir Square ...

... while those allied with Morsi gathered near the Rabaa al-Adawiya mosque.

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It's All Politics
9:54 am
Fri July 26, 2013

Why The Justice Department's Eyes Are Upon Texas

Despite a Supreme Court ruling that gutted a key part of the Voting Rights Act, Attorney General Eric Holder wants a court to use another section of the 1965 law to require Texas to get the federal government's approval before changing its voting laws.
Matt Rourke AP

Originally published on Thu July 25, 2013 8:48 pm

In the war over the right to vote in the U.S., the Justice Department's choice of Texas as the battleground for its first legal action following the Supreme Court's weakening of the Voting Rights Act has a feeling of inevitability.

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Code Switch
4:56 pm
Thu July 25, 2013

Key Witness Against Emmett Till's Killers Led A Quiet Life

Willie Reed (right) testified against the men accused of murdering 14-year-old Emmett Till in 1955. He changed his last name to Louis after fleeing to Chicago and hardly spoke of the trial.
Charles Knoblock AP

Originally published on Thu July 25, 2013 5:43 pm

Willie Louis may be one of the most celebrated but least-known figures in a pivotal point in American history: He testified against the men accused of kidnapping and murdering 14-year-old Emmett Till. He died July 18, but his wife, Juliet, announced his death this week.

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Immigration
6:32 am
Thu June 27, 2013

The DOMA Decision and Immigration

Diane Orson

Yesterday’s landmark Supreme Court decision striking down the Defense of Marriage Act will allow same-sex couples to access hundreds of federal benefits.  One of those benefits will be to allow a U.S. citizen to help a fiancé or spouse get a green card.

Russ Hanoman is a systems engineer in Stamford. His finance lives in the Netherlands..

"I always had DOMA in the back of mind as an impediment to how this was eventually going to turn out."

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Marriage
5:36 pm
Wed June 19, 2013

A CT Family Waits For DOMA Decision

Diane Orson

The US Supreme Court still has to rule on several major cases before the end of the term. Same-sex couples across the country are waiting for a decision on The Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA.  A report now on how the DOMA ruling may affect one Connecticut family.

Under Connecticut law, same-sex couples can marry and adopt children.  But under DOMA and in the eyes of the federal government same sex marriage is not valid.

"This is my room, the best room in the house because I sleep in it!"

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Where We Live
10:44 am
Fri June 7, 2013

The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration In The Age Of Colorblindness

Samaia Hernandez

Michelle Alexander’s book The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness has been an unlikely and controversial best seller.

In it, Alexander makes the case that the prison system we have long filled with a disproportionate number of young black men is not just a byproduct of policy decisions, but an intentional effort to undo the civil rights movement.

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Danbury
4:44 pm
Tue May 28, 2013

Allegations of Verbal Harrassment By Danbury Police

Four Danbury police officers have been placed on administrative leave over the alleged verbal harassment of an undocumented driver. The traffic stop was recorded on a cell phone.

During a March 9th traffic stop, Danbury police allegedly subjected the driver -  an undocumented immigrant – to a long, verbally abusive tirade. A recording of the incident circulated among other police officers. Then in April, a complaint was filed.

After an internal investigation, Chief of Police Alan Baker says he referred four police officers to Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton.

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Housing
12:40 pm
Thu May 16, 2013

Hartford-Area Landlord Settles Discrimination Suit

Fair housing advocates are celebrating a victory. They recently won a settlement from a Hartford-area landlord who allegedly denied apartments to people using public assistance to pay their rent. The Connecticut Fair Housing Center claimed the landlord, Paul Rosow, discriminated against people who received disability checks and housing assistance.

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News
3:53 pm
Thu April 25, 2013

Inmate, William Coleman Faces Deportation or a Longer Prison Sentence

Courtesy of State DOC

An inmate who has been on a hunger strike for more than six years was back in court Thursday. 

William Coleman, a native of Great Britain has completed an eight year sentence for spousal rape. Yet he's still in prison.

To find out more, WNPR's Lucy Nalpathanchil spoke with Christine Stuart, editor of the CTNewsJunkie.com has covered Coleman's complicated case for years. 

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News
6:47 am
Thu March 28, 2013

Improving Sexual Climate On Campus

Yale University has introduced new workshops for students aimed at reducing sexual misconduct and improving the sexual climate on campus. Many sexual misconduct and prevention programs for college students center on decision-making and consent.

But if you’re at the point where there’s a question about consent, then you already have a communication problem, says Yale student Matt Breuer. He’s a Communication and Consent educator at the university. He says Yale’s workshops begin with conversation about sexual pressure.  

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Education Reform
8:47 am
Wed March 27, 2013

Hartford Public Schools To Improve Services For ELL Students

Hartford Public Schools have signed an agreement with federal education authorities to improve supports and services for students who are English Language Learners.  

A complaint was filed with U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights in 2007 on behalf of Somali-Bantu, Liberian and Spanish-speaking students in the Hartford Public Schools.   

"Students did not have appropriate amounts of supports, accommodations and services so they could understand what was being asked of them."

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Immigration
7:45 am
Tue March 5, 2013

Thousands Attend Hearing On Driver's Licenses For Undocumented Residents

Diane Orson

A huge crowd turned out last night for a transportation committee public hearing in New Haven. People testified in support of proposals to allow undocumented residents in Connecticut to obtain driver’s licenses. 

Close to 2,000 people crowded into Wilbur Cross High School. Angela Munoz of Bridgeport says she’s been driving for ten years without a license.  

"I want my driver’s license. Because I need it for pick up my children. And I need my car for my job, too."

She says her children live in fear that she’ll be arrested.

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Where We Live
10:32 am
Wed February 20, 2013

The Story of Malaga Island, Maine

Photo montage by Kate Philbrick, 2009.

The state of Maine has never been considered a “diverse” place - the population of blacks has always been less than one percent. And as you can imagine, this minority group hasn’t always been treated well. Today we'll talk to a radio producer who dug into the history of one very small mixed race community - 45 adults and children  - who lived on Malaga Island in Southern Maine, after the Civil War to the turn of the 20th century. 

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News
4:07 pm
Wed October 10, 2012

Aid From Connecticut to Syria

Ed Brambley (Flickr Creative Commons)

As the civil war continues to escalate, humanitarian organizations are struggling to get aide to refugees inside Syria. One Connecticut resident is working to smuggle in food and medical supplies.

It's dangerous for humanitarian groups to bring aide to those inside Syria. A lot of that aide is going to refugees that have fled into neighboring countries. But there are still 5 million people inside the war-torn country that need help.

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News
5:51 pm
Fri August 24, 2012

More People Without Lawyers in Civil and Family Court

Courtesy of Flickr CC by JimmyWayne

Some needing legal help find that their only option is to represent themselves 

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Religion in Schools
6:49 am
Fri July 20, 2012

Enfield Stops Holding High School Graduations In Local Christian Church

Earlier this week the Enfield Board of Education agreed to stop holding high school graduation ceremonies in a local Christian church. The settlement ends a lawsuit brought on behalf of two students and three parents.

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Police
5:51 pm
Tue June 26, 2012

East Haven Starts Search For New Police Chief

Diane Orson WNPR

The town of East Haven has begun a nationwide search for a new police chief. 

Local volunteers have been asked to help, and on Tuesday the mayor drew names of applicants out of a hat. Twenty four people out of 30,000 East Haven residents entered the drawing to help in the search for a new police chief . 

Standing outside his office, Mayor Joe Maturo, Jr. selected ten names.  

"Number fourteen, Jeffrey Cofrancesco. Number seven, Glenda Gonzalez."

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Prison
5:51 pm
Mon March 5, 2012

State Supreme Court Rules Prisoners Can Be Force-Fed

State Department of Correction

The Connecticut Supreme Court has ruled that state prison officials can restrain and force-feed inmates to protect them from life-threatening dehydration and malnutrition. Meanwhile, as WNPR's Lucy Nalpathanchil reports, the inmate who filed suit against the Department of Correction for force-feeding him is on a hunger strike once again. 

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