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Cops have been shooting people in the back for years and lying about it, veteran attorney claims

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Police officers routinely shoot fleeing suspects in the back and lie about it afterward, said one veteran attorney — but video recordings are finally forcing Americans to notice.

Civil rights attorney A. Dwight Pettit has successfully tried dozens of cases of police brutality, including several cases where officers shot his clients in the back, reported The Real News.

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“What we’re seeing are the things that I have argued — and other lawyers, civil rights lawyers — have argued for years, and people just looked at us in disbelief — that it could not be happening the way that you’re presenting it,” Pettit said.

But the ready availability of cell phone video allows police misconduct to be documented more credibly than eyewitness claims, the attorney said.

“Through the ability of these things to be taped and to see them on television the next day, people are being shocked across the nation,” Pettit said.

The attorney said police nearly always justify shootings by claiming officers reacted spontaneously to a perceived threat.

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“It’s the same defense — we know what the defense is going to be,” Pettit said. “The police officer’s going to say that, ‘I thought he was reaching,’ or, ‘I saw something that looked like a weapon, and so therefore, I was in apprehension of bodily injury or death, and so I reacted instantly.’”

He said those claims nearly always help officers escape prosecution in the fatal shootings of unarmed suspects – even when eyewitness accounts contradict police.

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Pettit recalled one case he tried a decade ago where police shot a handcuffed suspect in the head.

“I’ll never forget it,” he said. “One of the witnesses on the stand, when I took her deposition, she said, ‘Mr. Pettit,’ she said, ‘I saw it. I was standing in my porch, on my porch in my doorway, (and) I saw them shoot him in the back of the head.’ She said, ‘I turned to run for the telephone to call the police, and all of a sudden it dawned on me — it was the police.’ I mean, horrific.”

Pettit said he agreed with the first-degree murder charge filed against former North Charleston Police Officer Michael T. Slager, who gunned down 50-year-old Walter Scott as he fled from a traffic stop.

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“I say murder in the first degree because the police officer has the opportunity to premeditate and to formulate the intent to take this young man’s life, and so that’s the elements of murder,” Pettit said.

The attorney said the video would deny Slager self-defense as a motive for the shooting.

“In this instance, he’s running away (and) he’s shot in the back,” Pettit said. “(The) officer sees no weapon, makes no allegation of a weapon. There’s no abrupt turn or reaching or what have you, so it is clearly, clearly a murder in the first degree.”

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Watch the entire interview posted online by TheRealNews:

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… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

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Orange County teens busted for singing obscure Nazi song while giving Hitler salutes

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Nearly a dozen high school students from Southern California delivered Nazi salutes and sang a Nazi marching song in a video posted on social media.

The video was uploaded to Instagram by one member of the boys’ water polo team at Pacifica High School in Garden Grove, California, along with lyrics to the song played for German troops during World War II, reported The Daily Beast.

A spokesperson for the Garden Grove Unified School District told the website administrators learned of the incident in March, four months after the video was posted, but declined to say whether any of the students were disciplined.

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Former US ambassador to Denmark torches Trump’s Greenland plan on CNN: ‘I laughed until I cried’

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Rufus Gifford, who previously served as the United States' ambassador to Denmark under former President Barack Obama, told CNN's John Berman that he can't believe President Donald Trump really thinks he can buy Greenland.

During a CNN interview Monday, Berman asked Gifford what his reaction was to the president publicly discussing his desire to do a "big" real estate deal with Denmark to buy Greenland.

Gifford did not respond positively.

"Honestly, I saw the Wall Street Journal headline when I was bound for Copenhagen," he said. "Like most people, I thought it was a joke. Reading more, it became confirmed. I shook my head, as I often say, many times as I've heard about Trump's foreign policy decisions, I laughed until I cried."

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Watch: Trump bluntly busted by FEC chair for pushing phony voter fraud accusations

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Appearing on CNN on Monday morning, the head of the Federal Election Commission had harsh words for President Donald Trump for continuing to push election fraud accusations, saying their investigation found absolutely no evidence to back up the president's claims.

Speaking with host John Berman, Ellen Weintraub, a Democrat who had been nominated in President George W. Bush's administration, got right to the point.

"Facts matter," Weintraub said of the president's accusations that he continues to repeat at his rallies. "And people of America need to be able to believe what their leaders tell them. It is damaging to our democracy to spread information that as you yourself just described as baseless."

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