Athletes passing on visiting the White House is nothing new

Yes, the Philadelphia Eagles are one of the most socially conscious teams in the NFL.

Yes, their theme song comes from a jailed rapper.

And, yes, at least three high-profile members of the team — Malcolm Jenkins, Torrey Smith and Chris Long — have said they wouldn’t attend the annual gathering of football champions at the White House.

But the Eagles, after winning their first Super Bowl in franchise history, will still get invited to meet the president, right?

Maybe.

Remember Stephen Curry, who was disinvited (even before a formal invitation was extended) to the White House by President Donald Trump after saying he wouldn’t make the trip anyway? That disinvitation, which Trump tweeted before the Golden State Warriors had met to decide whether to attend if invited, led the 2017 NBA champions to announce they’d “celebrate equality, diversity and inclusion” in lieu of a White House visit.

Whether the Eagles will suffer that same fate remains to be seen even though the last 14 Super Bowl champions before the Eagles have been received at the White House under the past three administrations (George W. Bush, Barack Obama and Trump).

While the history of teams visiting the White House dates to 1865 (when two amateur baseball teams visited President Andrew Johnson), the history of NFL teams visiting the White House goes back to 1980. President Jimmy Carter was presented a terrible towel by a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers, who made a joint appearance at the White House with the 1979 World Series champion Pittsburgh Pirates.

NFL teams visiting the White House became an annual occurrence in the late 1980s under President Ronald Reagan.

The 1985 Chicago Bears were invited to the White House by Reagan after winning Super Bowl XX on Jan. 26, 1986. But the space shuttle Challenger exploded just two days after the game, and as the nation mourned the Bears’ visit was pre-empted (and never rescheduled until 2011, when Obama invited the team to Washington).

When the New York Giants visited the White House in 1987 — with Harry Carson dumping a bucket of popcorn on Reagan, mimicking the linebacker’s penchant for dumping Gatorade on coach Bill Parcells — presidential photo ops with Super Bowl champions became an annual event with four exceptions.

The Giants didn’t visit Washington after winning Super Bowl XXV in Tampa, Florida, in 1991 — just 10 days after the United States entered the first Gulf War (that game is perhaps best known for Whitney Houston’s iconic version of the national anthem).

The Denver Broncos were never invited to the White House after winning Super Bowl XXXIII in 1999. And the team never got a reason. But that slight might have something to do with President Bill Clinton getting impeached (on charges of perjury and obstruction of justice after denying an affair with former White House intern Monica Lewinsky) the month before Denver’s victory.

The next year, the St. Louis Rams were invited after winning Super Bowl XXXIV at the Georgia Dome in 2000, but that offer was rescinded as Clinton got caught up attempting to broker a peace agreement in the Middle East.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are credited with being the last Super Bowl championship team to not be received by the White House and Bush after winning the 2003 Super Bowl. Like 1991, war was the reason, as the United States invaded Iraq in March 2003.

If the Eagles do visit the White House, Jenkins, Long and Smith will join a lengthy list of professional athletes who have previously passed up the invitation:

  • Tom Brady, LeGarrette Blount, Chris Long and Martellus Bennett: These were among the higher-profile members of the New England Patriots who didn’t show up to meet Trump at the White House last year. For Brady, it was the second time he missed a White House ceremony with the Patriots (he also skipped the 2015 visit with Obama). Brady cited family reasons for both absences. Like Long, Blount is now a member of the champion Eagles.
  • Matt Birk: The Ravens center skipped his team’s 2013 visit after hearing remarks Obama made during a speech at a Planned Parenthood event. “I am Catholic. I am active in the pro-life movement, and I just felt like I couldn’t deal with that,” Birk said.
  • James Harrison: While he was with the Steelers, Harrison skipped two visits to the White House (one visit with Bush in 2006 and another with Obama in 2009). “I don’t feel the need to go, actually,” Harrison said about skipping the visit in 2009. “I don’t feel like it’s that big a deal to me.”
  • Manny Ramirez: The Boston Red Sox slugger was absent when the team visited the White House after its 2007 World Series victory. “I guess his grandmother died again,” Bush joked. “Just kidding. Tell Manny I didn’t mean it.” Bush had been told after the team won the World Series in 2004 that Ramirez had skipped that visit because his grandmother was sick.
  • Larry Bird, Robert Parish and Cedric Maxwell: All three skipped the Boston Celtics’ visit to the White House to meet Reagan after winning the 1984 title. Maxwell claimed he was getting ready for his wedding. Bird relayed this message to the White House: “If the president wants to see me, he knows where to find me.”
  • Manny Fernandez, Bob Kuechenberg and Jim Langer: All were members of the 1972 Miami Dolphins, the only NFL team to finish a season undefeated. There was no White House ceremony for NFL teams after the Dolphins won the Super Bowl in 1973, leading Obama to honor that team on the 40th anniversary in 2013. All three declined to join their teammates because they disliked the president. “I just don’t believe in this administration at all,” Kuechenberg said. “So I don’t belong. “

The Undefeated made efforts to find out from the White House whether there are official guidelines on what teams receive invitations to the White House, but those attempts went unanswered.

Last month, the World Series champion Houston Astros accepted an invitation to visit the White House. The Patriots, Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins and college football national champion Clemson Tigers are among the teams that have visited the White House during the Trump administration.

  • Published in Sports

Racist: Massive Outrage over Trump 'Shithole' Migration Remark

Prominent figures in the U.S. and abroad have condemned Trumps remarks calling countries like Haiti and El Salvador "shitholes."

Haitian and U.S. activists as well as U.S. lawmakers, including Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, joined many in the U.S. and abroad in slamming President Donald Trump's latest immigration comments calling it "morally inadequate," and "racist". Earlier on Thursday during a meeting with Senate and House members, U.S. President Donald Trump reportedly asked "Why do we want all these people from shithole countries coming here?"

RELATED: Trump Administration Revokes TPS for Salvadorans

The insulting comments generated an immediate backlash from journalists, political figures, and activists all over the globe.

in an an interview with CNN shortly after Trump's comments, Senator Sanders spoke of part of his personal story to highlight how Trump's comments affect not only immigrants but also first generation U.S. citizens. "I am a first generation American, and my dad came from what I guess Trump would call a shithole, that was a very rural and a very poor area from Poland," Sanders said and further expressed his admiration for immigrants coming to the U.S. at a young age. "I cannot believe the courage that that took."

@WajahatAli So we don't forget, in addition to calling Africa, Haiti and El Salvador "shithole countries," Trump also said all Haitians have AIDS, Nigerians live in huts, Mexicans are rapists and criminals and Muslims should be banned because, of course, "Islam hates us." Economic. Anxiety.

Prominent Haitian left-wing activist Rene Civil blasted the U.S. president for his comments calling him “a cancer on the world” and demanding that he apologizes to both Haiti and the African continent. "Haiti is not a 'shithole.' It's a great country. It's the mother of liberty,” Civil said in an interview with Reuters Thursday night as he kissed the Haitian flag. 

He also demanded Trump “apologize before the entire African continent as well as before Haiti, the country whose blood has been used by ancestors who have served with their minds and bodies to liberate the United States itself from slavery."

United States scholar Steven Salaita criticized Trump's remarks calling them "racist" and blasting Trump for likening "Blackness to shit." The countries targeted by Trump were overwhelmingly Black countries like Haiti, of which he said: they "have sent 15,000 people, they all have AIDS." 

@stevesalaita Trump calling Haiti and African countries "shitholes" is racist, period. He implies that poverty arises from innate cultural and intellectual deficiencies rather than from centuries of US/European enslavement, colonization, and genocide. He also likens blackness to shit. 

The American Civil Liberties Union also slammed Trump's comment a "racist", while National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, NAACP, lamented: "As our nation fights to move forward, our President falls deeper and deeper into the rabbit hole of racism and xenophobia."

@ACLU There are no words for language like this except for one: Racist. https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trump-attacks-protections-for-immigrants-from-shithole-countries-in-oval-office-meeting/

Meanwhile Latino journalist Julio Ricardo Varela responded to Trump by reminding him of the U.S.'s role in regional crisis and instability. "Last time I checked, the USA has an amazing ability to create shitholes," Varela claimed in relation to Washington's role in Central America. El Salvador was another country targeted by Trump's remarks.  

@julito77 Last time I checked, the USA has an amazing ability to create “shitholes.” Made in the USA. Central America is literally a region that the US started directly controlling well over a century ago. How no one is talking about this in depth right now doesn’t surprise me.

White House CNN reporter Kaitlan Collins argued that Trump's "shithole" comment "will resonate with his base." And this is probably true. President Trump ran on a racist platform, and during his campaign he didn't shy away from calling Mexican immigrants "rapists and criminals." Furthermore, after white supremacist violence in Charlottesville resulted in one dead woman, Trump refused to condemn white nationalism and described some of the neo-Nazi protesters as "very good people".

@KarenAttiah I hope every media outlet that is going to produce outraged pieces about Trump’s “shithole" comments takes a long and hard look at its coverage of black and brown countries.

Even lawmakers from Trump’s own party blasted his comments. Republican U.S. Representative Mia Love, a daughter of Haitian immigrants, said the comments were "unkind, divisive, elitist, and fly in the face of our nation's values" and called on Trump to apologize to the American people and to the countries he denigrated.

  • Published in World

With Trump, racism is pleased

The dilemma the US people are experiencing today goes from bad to worse, since they are victims of a widespread fear that made them fall into the clutches of one of the most racist presidents that ever ruled in the United States: Donald Trump.

In his yet brief power, racist attacks have multiplied everywhere; hatred is so strong that people with white skin, blonde hair and green eyes are considered inferior people, for the sole fact of being Latin American. There people say the “dirty Hispanic race”, thus tell me acquaintances from the state of Georgia, with an infamous record, for being one of the main centers for burning hundreds of thousands of blacks at the stake.

Andrés Openheimer, a reactionary journalist who is not prone to leftist considerations, voices his concern over the rise in racism on US soil, the division of families, what mankind could suffer in the future with a president like Donald Trump in the presidency of the United States.

Notorious enemy of the Cuban Revolution, Openheimer admits that Trump has separated longtime friends and created tensions in family tables, "charming the masses with rhetoric full of hatred, blaming foreigners for the problems of their country". And he recalled that during the election campaign he did not see "cars in the streets of Miami with decals supporting the presidential candidates", because people were afraid of being insulted, or that someone could scratch their cars, in addition of having little enthusiasm for the candidates, obviating the widespread idea that Florida and the support of the Miami mafia contributed to Trump’s victory.

It’s been several months since his inauguration, but the president does not change his view that most Mexican immigrants "bringing crime" and are "rapists". Racism and xenophobia have split that country as never before in recent history.

Trump encourages his audience with racist comments against Hispanics, African-Americans, Muslims and other ethnic groups. And the saddest thing is that his public celebrates it in big way.

It is not surprising that the Ku Klux Klan, closely linked with Fred, Donald's father, is still celebrating euphorically his arrival in power, and leads victorious marches in various states, while neo-Nazi and white supremacist groups now feel represented in the White House.

Thanks to Trump, the ideal of neo-Nazi groups in an Aryan country, once relegated to the darkest corners of the Internet, is now closer to socially acceptable political discourse.

A recent report by the Los Angeles County Human Relations Commission states that hate crimes against Latinos in that city rose by an impressive 69 percent.

And another study from the Southern Poverty Law Center states that Trump's presence "is producing an alarming level of fear and anxiety among children of color and increasing racial and ethnic tensions in the classroom".

The report adds that "teachers have noted a rise in abuse and intimidation of students whose race, religion or nationality has been targeted" by the current president.

It is symptomatic how a reactionary like Openheimer says he did not vote for Trump because he is a demagogue that incites hatred, who is supported by neo-Nazi groups, who is dividing Americans, and who speaks as if he were above the Constitution, an opinion highly shared by progressive Noam Chomsky, famous US political scientist and linguist, who considers that Trump's popularity is due to "fear" and is the result of a "society broken" by neoliberalism.

"People feel isolated, helpless and victims of more powerful forces, which they do not understand or cannot influence," said the 87-year-old intellectual, who claimed his age allows him to compare the current situation in the US election campaign with the 1930s, during which United States suffered the so-called great economic depression.

“Poverty and suffering were much greater, however, even among the poor and the unemployed, there was "a sense of hope, which we lack today”, the scholar said.

He attributed it to the growth of a militant labor movement "and" the existence of political organizations outside the main currents and added that the fact that pre-candidate Bernie Sanders and UK’s Labor Party leader Jeremy Corbyn, who lead popular ideas implemented in the 20th century, are now labeled as extremists, indicates that the whole political spectrum "has turned to the right during the neoliberal period".

The also US activist praised Sanders, although he considered the politician had no chance, because of the "largely rigged" election system, which rules in the United States. So, shortly before the elections, he warned that the victory of the Republicans would have serious consequences for mankind.

Translated by Jorge Mesa Benjamin / Cubasi Translation Staff

US: Pregnant Black Woman Calling for Help Killed by Police in Front of Children

“There’s no reason for her to be shot in front of her babies,” Charleena Lyles' sister slammed.

A pregnant Black woman who had called the police to report an attempted burglary in her home was shot and killed by the cops that arrived on the scene Sunday morning in Seattle, Washington.

RELATED: Latino Police Officer Who Killed Philando Castile Walks Free

Police shot at 30-year-old Charleena Lyles multiples times in front of three of her four young children. Detectives have thus far justified the shooting saying Lyles was brandishing a knife. However, critics on social media are skeptical, saying that it is understandable a mother would feel protective of her children in the wake of an attempted robbery.

Lyles’ sister, Monika Williams, questioned the police’s excessive use of force.

“There’s no reason for her to be shot in front of her babies,” Williams yelled to reporters outside of the Brettler Family Place apartments where the shooting occurred, reported Inquisitr. “The Seattle Police shot the wrong one today.”

Seattle Police killed 32 yr old Charleena Lyles in front of her children today after she called to report a burglary.

Her brother, Domico Jones, also declared that officers didn't have to use lethal force.

"If worse came to worse, use a taser instead of a gun for someone that has three kids inside of their house," he stated. "I feel that it's not gonna bring no harm to nobody."

was pregnant, called the police to report a burglary. They shot her dead in front of her 2 children:

 

Lyles had just been released from jail Wednesday after serving time for an unrelated incident earlier this month where Lyles had armed herself with a pair of scissors as protection against her boyfriend. The young mother had been dealing with a number of mental health issues in the last year.

RELATED: BLM Files Lawsuit to Force Chicago Police Reform

"The obstruction was she wouldn't let go of her baby until I got here and she had some scissors in her hand. She didn't charge nobody or nothing," said Williams of the earlier incident, in which her sister had been charged on several accounts, including obstruction and harassment. "She just told them to call my sister and tell my sister gets here. And then when I got here, I told them then. 'Cause they didn't know whether to take her to jail or take her to mental health. Take here to mental health. She has mental health issues."

Organizations fighting against police brutality of Black people in the United States are raising alarm bells at yet another instance of this recurring kind. Williams has launched a GoFundMe page in Lyles' name.

  • Published in World

Bolivia's Evo Morales Says Racism a Tool for World Domination

Morales warned against the perils of racism, referring to the state of ignorance, turned economic and institutional apparatus, as a tool of domination.

"Racism is one of the instruments of domination, subjugation, and humiliation, not only in Bolivia but throughout the world," said President Evo Morales.

RELATED: Bolivia's Evo Morales Criticizes How the OAS is Manipulated

A member of the Aymara nation, and the first Indigenous president of Bolivia, Morales was speaking at the Fifth Session of the Ibero-American Network Against Discrimination in the city of Santa Cruz.

During his speech Morales warned against the dangers of racism, referring to the state of ignorance, turned economic and institutional apparatus, as a weapon of domination. He added that what is needed to free Pachamama from the scourge of racism was a “plurinational planet.”

"Like here, in Bolivia, the cost was hefty. We suffered a lot in 2006, 2007, 2008, to form a plurinational state. Our goal should be, our desire should be, to develop a plurinational America, a plurinational planet, and not only a plurinational state of Bolivia because our people are so diverse around the world," Morales emphasized.

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The Bolivian president said that approving measures against racism is simple, but difficult to implement and enforce.

He suggested taking counsel from young people to achieve a more just society, free of racism and discrimination.

  • Published in World

Cop Who Killed Eric Garner Had 'Chronic History of Complaints'

"If you get three complaints in a year, you're supposed to be on performance monitoring. He got three in the course of two months," the civil rights attorney said.

Freshly leaked documents show that Daniel Pantaleo, the cop who killed Eric Garner in July 2014, had a "chronic history of complaints" making him "among the worst on the force" in the three years leading up to Garner's death.

RELATED: Report: US Police Twice as Likely to Kill Unarmed Black Civilians

The new documents — leaked to ThinkProgress, who published them late on Tuesday — show that in the years leading up to the July 2014 killing of Garner, the New York City Civilian Complaints Review Board had received 21 complaints and allegations about Pantaleo, four of which they substantiated, recommending the officer receive the harshest possible discipline.

That number of complaints about an individual officer is rare — only 5 percent of New York's police officers have received eight or more complaints, and only 2 percent have had two or more complaints substantiated, according to the ThinkProgress report.

"Regardless of the outcome, if you get three complaints in a year, you're supposed to be on performance monitoring," said Jonathan Moore, a civil-rights attorney who represented Garner's family. "He got three in the course of two months in 2012."

Perhaps most disturbingly, one of the four substantiated allegations was for an "abusive stop and frisk" just two years before Pantaleo killed Garner with an illegal chokehold during another "stop and frisk".

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In each of the substantiated allegations, the civilian review board's recommendations for sanction were ignored, with the police department ordering much weaker sanctions.

"Imagine that. Here's the disposition of a substantiated charge for making a bad vehicle search and a bad vehicle stop, and the remedy is instruction," Moore told ThinkProgress. "What happened on July 17 (2014) with Eric Garner was a bad stop and frisk."

Garner's death and the impunity of the white police officer who killed yet another unarmed Black man — New York state attorneys declined to press charges despite the video evidence of Pantaleo's illegal use of force — led to thousands of demonstrations across the nation as people took the streets chanting Garner's dying words, "I can't breathe."

Eric Garner's family has been seeking Pantaleo's disciplinary record for years, but have been met with continued stonewalling by both New York City and its police department.

RELATED: The Trump Silver Lining: Black, Muslim, Native American Unity

The records are also the focus of an ongoing lawsuit by the Legal Aid Society of New York against the police department for greater transparency in the complaints process.

ThinkProgress say they received the records by someone claiming to work for the civilian complaints review board. While both the review board and the police department refused to comment on the documents, people familiar with the independent body told ThinkProgress the documents appear authentic.

Despite the city settling with Garner's family for US$5.9 million in a wrongful death lawsuit, Pantaleo continues to work for the NYPD and received a raise in 2016.

The NYPD claims it cannot take any disciplinary actions against Pantaleo until the U.S. Justice Department completes its own criminal investigation into Garner's killing.

So far the only person connected to Garner's convicted of any crime is Ramsey Ortega, a friend of Garner's who filmed the incident which many see as playing a key role in the growth of the Black Lives Matter movement.

The day the city announced its financial settlement with Eric Garner's family, Garner's mother, Gwen Carr, told reporters, "Don't congratulate us. This is not a victory. Victory will come when we get justice."

  • Published in World

Warren Silenced For Speaking of Sessions' Racist Past at Attorney General Confirmation Hearing

Senator Elizabeth Warren is banned from further comments after reading a letter explaining his actions against the civil rights movement. 

Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren was shut down by the Senate Tuesday for her questioning of Donald Trump’s controversial pick for attorney general, Jeff Sessions. The Alabama Republican has continually been called out for racist views, something that Warren focused on during the confirmation hearing.

RELATED: US Senate Democrats Delay Votes on Trump Key Cabinet Picks

Warren quoted a 1986 letter from civil rights activist Coretta Scott King, wife of Martin Luther King Jr., in which she opposed Sessions' unsuccessful nomination for to a position as a federal judge. In the letter, King said that Sessions used his power as a federal prosecutor to “chill the free exercise of the vote by black citizens.”

“If confirmed, he will be given a life tenure for doing with a federal prosecution what the local sheriffs accomplished twenty years ago with clubs and cattle prods … I believe his confirmation would have a devastating effect on not only the judicial system in Alabama, but also on the progress we have made toward fulfilling my husband’s dream,” other sections of King’s letter read.

Warren was warned by Montana Senator Steven Daines that reading the letter would be breaking the rules set for the hearing. After she continued, she was banned by Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell for breaking rule 19: “No Senator in debate shall, directly or indirectly, by any form of words, impute to another Senator or to other Senators any conduct for motive unworthy or becoming a Senator.”

McConnell’s ruling was then backed up by a senate vote, with Republican Senators voting on party lines. After a failed appeal from the Democrats, Warren was barred from speaking again during the nomination hearing, where a vote is expected Wednesday night.

“I will not be silent about a nominee for attorney general who has made derogatory and racist comments that have no place in our justice system,” Warren later tweeted.

Angered by the ruling, Democrats argued that other Republican Senators had been allowed to continue talking for far worse offenses and that technically Warren’s criticism was not aimed at a nomination for the position of attorney general.

Back in 1986, Sessions was accused of making racist comments while serving as a U.S. attorney in Alabama. He called a Black assistant U.S. attorney “boy” and the NAACP “un-American” and “communist-inspired.”

RELATED: Trump Fires Acting Attorney General After Row over Travel Ban

At the start of Sessions confirmation hearing in January, protesters from anti-war organization Code Pink and two others dressed in Ku Klux Klan robes entered the chamber for the hearing. Sessions, however, has denied any links to supporting the Ku Klux Klan in the past as “damnably false.”

Sessions has also enthusiastically backed Trump's border wall with Mexico, promised to prosecute illegal immigrants who repeatedly enter the country and questioned the Obama administration's decision to shield immigrants from deportation. He is also reported to be one of the key figures behind Trump’s immigration, counter-terrorism and trade policies.

  • Published in World

Instead of Pardon, Obama Gave Leonard Peltier a Death Sentence

Leonard Peltier, who was found guilty in 1975 of killing two FBI agents in a dubious trial, may be the most famous political prisoner in the U.S.

This year’s anniversary of the arrest of Leonard Peltier is not like any other that had passed as he marks his 41st year behind bars a few weeks after former President Barack Obama refused to grant him a pardon, which his lawyer and human rights groups said amounted to a death sentence for the 72-year-old Native American leader.

"I think it’s fair to say that if he doesn’t get commuted by President Obama, he’ll die in jail. He’s a very sick man," Peltier’s attorney Martin Garbus told Democracy Now! on Jan 18. just hours ahead of Obama’s decision.

"So, Obama’s not granting him clemency is like a sentence of death. Trump ain’t going to do it. And he’s very sick, and he’s not going to live past that time. I don’t want to be negative, but that’s the reality. He’s very sick, and he’s been in prison over 40 years, hard years, six years of solitary," he added.

RELATED: From Mumia to Peltier, US Political Prisoners Still Locked Up

Just a day earlier, Garbus had revealed, Pope Francis joined Amnesty International and other groups in putting pressure on Obama to free Peltier due to his poor health and lack of evidence against him.

"We are deeply saddened by the news that President Obama will not let Leonard go home," read a statement from Margaret Huang, executive director of Amnesty International USA last month. "The failure to act may have condemned him to die in prison."

Leonard Peltier has always maintained his innocence and has emphatically maintained that his continued persecution by the U.S. government is politically motivated.

Calls for clemency for the Indigenous leader intensified after Chelsea Manning, the former ex-U.S. soldier who leaked secret military documents, and Puerto Rican independence fighter Oscar Lopez Rivera were given commutations by Obama.

Even Amnesty International has taken up Peltier's cause, questioning the fairness of his trial and backing assertions that political considerations likely factored into his treatment by the U.S. justice system.

So why would U.S. authorities single out Peltier and seek his unjust imprisonment?

Peltier was a leading figure within the American Indian Movement during its peak in political activity in the 1970's. Active in defense of his people's interests and lands from a young age, Peltier rose quickly to occupy a prominent role within the movement.

In 1975, responding to a request by local indigenous people from the Pine Ridge Reservation, Peltier traveled to South Dakota. There he worked with the community helping provide security amidst political tensions and violence between rival groups on the reservation.

FBI officials, on a deliberate mission to weaken or destroy leftist organizations, believed that AIM activists were conspiring at Pine Ridge. “It was not an armed military camp hatching terrorist plans … It was a spiritual camp,” said Peltier.

On June 26, 1975, a massive shootout erupted, which included participants from AIM, the FBI, and paramilitaries hired by the tribal chairman who was opposed to AIM.

When the bullets stopped, two FBI agents and one Indigenous man by the name of Joseph Stuntz were dead.

Despite the participation of dozens of people, only AIM members Bob Robideau, Darrell Butler, and Leonard Peltier were brought up on charges related to the deaths of the FBI officials. Robideau and Butler were arrested and charged but ultimately acquitted.

Peltier, fearing that he would not receive a fair trial, fled to Canada. He would eventually be extradited back to the United States based on the testimony of Myrtle Poor Bear, who said she saw Peltier shoot the agents.

Poor Bear would eventually recant her statements. It is alleged she was not even present at Pine Ridge on the day in question.

Peltier's trial was held in North Dakota in 1977 and was presided over by Judge Paul Benson, an appointee of conservative President Richard Nixon.

Myrtle Poor Bear was not allowed to testify and submit to the jury that her previous statements were false. Other witnesses would later claim the FBI coerced them into testifying against Peltier. Key evidence that helped exonerate Robideau and Butler was not allowed to be introduced.

RELATED: 'Thank You Fidel': Puerto Rican Poet and Ex-Political Prisoner

The jury found Peltier guilty and he was sentenced to two consecutive life sentences. It would later be revealed that the prosecution hid thousands of documents related to the case, documents that could have helped prove Peltier's innocence.

Despite all this, Peltier was denied a retrial in 1986. The judge who presided over that trial, Gerald Heaney, even expressed concern about the administration of justice

He has also been consistently denied parole, most recently in 2009, due to his insistence that he is innocent.

Peltier is now 71-years-old and is not eligible for another parole hearing until 2024. This is why his supporters, who include many notable figures and celebrities, have called for U.S. authorities to release him on humanitarian grounds. Other have specifically called on President Obama to commute Peltier's sentence before the end of his term.

  • Published in World
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