Today: Gunmen kill four polio workers in southwest Pakistan, Syrian government bombs Islamic State stronghold in Raqqa, Colombian prisons use the arts to rehabilitate inmates, and Peruvian authorities find almost 800 pounds of cocaine inside crashed Bolivian plane
The holiday shopping season officially kicks off with an epic Black Friday lineup. The Air Jordan VI in "Black/Infrared" returns in O.G. form, while the Nike LeBron 12 "NSRL" finally gets its release to the public. Pharrell's third collaboration with adidas Originals is set to launch and Ronnie Fieg puts his stamp on Black Friday with two dope New Balance drops. Even Saturday gets some shine with the Premier x Nike SB Dunk High and a luxe pair of Jordan Futures.
In his first public interview this week, Darren Wilson, the white police officer who fatally shot an unarmed black teenager in Ferguson, Mo., was asked whether he could have done anything differently that would have prevented the killing.
His answer, broadcast on Wednesday, to the question from George Stephanopoulos of ABC News, was unequivocal: “No.”
But even as a grand jury decided this week not to indict Officer Wilson, the shooting of the 18-year-old, Michael Brown, has continued to raise questions about whether the officer handled the brief and deadly confrontation correctly. It also has become part of a broader national debate over police tactics and potential racial bias in policing.
And with the unusual release of the evidence presented to the grand jury, criminologists and experts in police procedure and tactics now have an extraordinarily detailed record with which to evaluate the shooting, which touched off riots in Ferguson and protests across the country.
To many experts, Officer Wilson’s actions in the confrontation with Mr. Brown — as he described them to the grand jury — were within the bounds of standard police protocol. Officer Wilson testified to the grand jury that the two struggled over his service weapon while he was still in his police vehicle, and that later, after a brief chase, he fired the fatal shots at Mr. Brown because the teenager was coming toward him in a threatening way.
But while the precise timeline and exact circumstances of the shooting may never be fully known, several law enforcement experts challenged Officer Wilson’s assessment that nothing could have been done to change the deadly course of his confrontation with Mr. Brown.
From the time Officer Wilson first encountered Mr. Brown walking with a friend in the middle of the street on a hot afternoon in August, to the point the teenager lay dead on the pavement, there were several opportunities to de-escalate the confrontation, said Eugene O’Donnell, a professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice and a former New York City police officer. Mr. O’Donnell pointed in particular to the initial moments of the confrontation, when the officer and Mr. Brown are said to have struggled through the open window of the officer’s police cruiser.
“There certainly wouldn’t be a prohibition of him driving a little further along and regrouping, calling for help and thinking about nonlethal weaponry,” Mr. O’Donnell said, referring to Officer Wilson. “Just because you’re a police officer doesn’t mean you have to go into a situation headfirst.”
Officer Wilson, whose detailed, four-hour grand jury testimony was among the evidence made public this week, contends that he was caught up in a rapidly escalating confrontation that started as a routine police stop and quickly spun out of control. Mr. Brown, he said, essentially pinned him in his police cruiser, holding the door shut while punching him in the face. He said he considered an array of responses, including using pepper spray or his baton, but found them all lacking.
“The only option I thought I had was my gun,” he said, according to a transcript of his testimony.
That conclusion was confounding to Edward Davis, who retired last year as Boston police commissioner after 35 years as an officer there and in Lowell, Mass.
“There has been a significant change in the use of force by police in the 35 years I’ve been in the business — new tools like Tasers and really effective pepper sprays,” Mr. Davis said. “When you look at the whole way this situation transpired, it’s disappointing to see someone not use those intermediate tools available.”
In his testimony, Officer Wilson said that he did not have a Taser weapon with him at the time, and that he preferred not to carry one because it is large and not “very comfortable.” He said he did not use mace because it was difficult to reach and the spray could have blown back at him. His baton and flashlight, he said, were also inaccessible.
In his testimony, Officer Wilson said he never had any thought to fall back, even if only to make a tactical retreat to reassess and perhaps wait for backup officers. Part of the reason is training, experts said. In the heat of a violent altercation, police officers in many cases are trained to engage, not back down. In this case, though, human psychology may also have come into play, said Vincent E. Henry, an expert in the use of force by the police at the Homeland Security Management Institute at Long Island University.
“To back up and maybe follow him until backup arrived, in retrospect it might have been a better choice, but we don’t know that Officer Wilson saw that as a valid option,” Mr. Henry said. “Who would want to get punched in the face and then kind of say, ‘Let me just back up and follow this individual.’ A natural emotional reaction is to ratchet it up.”
In his testimony, Officer Wilson said that when he pulled his gun out, Mr. Brown reached through the window and grabbed it. That was a major escalation from which there was probably no turning back, some experts said.
“It’s a whole different ballgame,” said Fred Bealefeld, who was a Baltimore police officer for 31 years and police commissioner from 2007 to 2012. “If someone is trying to disarm a police officer or grab their weapon, that’s a felony. If someone grabs your weapon, as a cop you’re not thinking they are going to scare you with it. In my mind, every time someone tried to grab my gun in the street, they were going to try to kill me. That encounter changes everything.”
From then on, most experts said, Officer Wilson was very likely following standard police protocol in using whatever force was necessary to protect himself.
But for some experts, the shooting and the events that preceded it raised broader policy questions, particularly about how officers engage with communities they patrol. In his initial encounter with Mr. Brown and his friend in the street, Officer Wilson never exited his vehicle, voicing commands through the window of his cruiser instead.
“The notion of riding through neighborhoods yelling, ‘Get up on the curb’ or ‘Get out of the street,’ is not where you want your officers to be,” Mr. Bealefeld said. “You want them out of their cars, engaging the public and explaining to people what it is you are trying to do. Drive-by policing is not good for any community.”
In cities like Los Angeles and New York, police departments have invested huge resources into community outreach efforts, particularly in poor minority neighborhoods, with varied success. In Ferguson, where the vast majority of police officers are white and most of the residents are black, many black residents have blamed aggressive policing for creating tensions.
In September, weeks after the shooting, the Justice Department announced that it was opening a broad civil rights investigation into whether the police in Ferguson have a history of discrimination or misuse of force amid complaints of racial profiling, harassment and improper stops of black residents by police officers.
While Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. said the federal investigation offered the possibility for “wholesale change,” it could take months to complete.
In Ferguson, emotions are raw as many continue to demand punishment for Officer Wilson. But Officer Wilson, in his interview this week, said he was confident he had done nothing wrong.
“I know that I did my job right,” he said.
This Thanksgiving, Americans will cook and consume over 40 million turkeys, yet very few of them will be carved in a stress- and mess-free manner, that doesn't also waste waste your carefully prepared bird. So we asked Jeffrey Elliot, Chef and Director of Culinary Relations of Zwilling J.A. Henckels, and co-author of The Complete Book of Knife Skills: The Essential Guide to Use Techniques and Care, to show us, step-by-step, the best way to carve a Thanksgiving turkey.
Place the turkey on the cutting board or a platter, breast side up, with the legs facing away from you. Steady it with the carving fork in your guide hand.
Cut through the skin that connects one leg to the carcass, cutting as close to the leg as possible.
Set down the knife and pull the leg away from the bird until the ball joint that connects it to the carcass pops out of the socket. (If the turkey is too hot to handle, use a clean, dry towel to protect your hands.)
Cut straight through the joint with the knife. The leg will now pull easily away from the carcass.
Lay the leg on the board, with the knee facing you, and feel for the joint connecting the drumstick bone and the thigh bone.
Place the knife blade directly on the joint and cut straight through to the board. (You shouldn’t feel any resistance. If you do, the blade is on the bone, not the joint. Feel for the joint again and adjust the position of the blade accordingly.)
Repeat previous steps with the other leg.
Lay a thigh on the cutting board, skin side down, and steady it with the carving fork in your guide hand. Cut along both sides of the bone, from one end to the other.
Hold the knife blade parallel to the board and slip it underneath the bone. Cut along the length of the bone to free it from the meat. Pull the bone away from the meat.
Repeat previous steps with the other thigh.
Grip a wing with your guide hand and pull it gently away from the carcass so you can see where it is attached.
Work the tip of the knife between the ball joint of the wing and the socket.
Cut all the way through the joint, through any meat and skin, and remove the wing from the carcass.
Rotate the turkey so that the other wing is facing your guide hand. Repeat previous steps to remove it.
Steady the side of the breast you’re not carving with the carving fork in your guide hand.
Make a long, thin cut along the breastbone, in the center of the breast.
Using the tip of the knife, cut down along one side of the rib cage, then lay down the carving fork and use your guide hand to push or pull the breast gently away from the ribs as you go.
Let the knife blade ride the rib cage straight down to the socket where the wing was attached.
Cut along the bottom of the breast to remove that half completely.
Lay the breast half on the cutting board, skin side up, and bias-cut it into serving-size slices.
Steady the carcass with the carving fork and repeat previous steps with the other side of the breast.
Covering a year in Hendrix's life from 1966-67 as an unknown backup guitarist playing New York's Cheetah Club to making his mark in London's music scene up until his Monterey Pop triumph, the film presents an intimate portrait of the sensitive young musician on the verge of becoming a rock legend.
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This documentary will be as eye-opening as "Blackfish" and as inspiring as "An Inconvenient Truth."
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BEYOND THE LIGHTS is the story of Noni, the music world’s latest superstar. But not all is what it seems, and the pressures of fame have Noni on the edge - until she meets Kaz Nicol, a young cop and aspiring politician who’s been assigned to her detail. Drawn to each other, Noni and Kaz fall fast and hard, despite the protests of those around them who urge them to put their career ambitions ahead of their romance. But it is ultimately Kaz's love that gives Noni the courage to find her own voice and break free to become the artist she was meant to be.