Welcome, to the radio magazine that brings you news, commentary and analysis from a Black Left perspective.
– A bill is moving through the U.S. House and Senate that would retroactively shorten sentences for crack cocaine possession and, its backers claim, substantially roll back mandatory minimum sentences for other crimes. The Sentencing Act is supported by the NAACP and the American Civil Liberties Union. However, the National Urban League and Families Against Mandatory Minimums have refused to sign off on the legislation, which actually expands the list of crimes subject to mandatory minimum sentencing, including gun possession and crimes of domestic violence. Listen to Julie Stewart, who is President of Families Against Mandatory Minimums.
– Funds are being raised for a new documentary film on the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense, with a focus on the late Panther leader, Huey P. Newton, and other Party founders, in Oakland, California. The project is headed up by David Hilliard, a former Panther chief of staff. Emmy Award-winning filmmaker Dante James will direct the movie. Both James and Hilliard have been critical of the film “The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution,” directed by Stanley Nelson Jr. and distributed by PBS. Dante talked to us about the difference between the two films.
– Trial has begun for the first of six Baltimore police officers charged in the death of Freddie Gray, last April, a homicide that set off a rebellion in the majority Black city. Baltimore is also the headquarters for the Real News Network, which held a fascinating discussion of the legal ramifications of the trial. Real News host Stephen Janis interviewed former Baltimore homicide detective Stephen Tabeling, who has a history of investigating cases of police use of deadly force, and Maryland Delegate Jill Carter, the most radical member of the state legislature, who hails from a civil rights family, and is also a defense attorney. Carter told the Real News why she’s worried about getting justice for Freddie Gray.