July 18, 2016

Late last week, Benjamin Wallace-Wells asked, “What Have the Freddie Gray Trials Achieved?” Today’s decision, to acquit Brian Rice, the highest-ranking officer charged in the case, affirms Wallace-Wells’s assertion that “whatever justice for Freddie Gray’s death looks like, it will probably not involve long prison sentences for cops.” Three more cops involved in the case are scheduled for trial in the coming months, but the lack of new evidence for upcoming trials and failure to convict in all preceding cases have legal experts and The Sun’s editorial board calling on Baltimore’s State Attorney Marilyn Mosby to reevaluate whether bringing the next three officers to trial is advisable. Maybe Williams could offer an online course in criminal evidence and the requirements for guilty verdicts. Maybe Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby should sign up for it.”

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Tijen Karas reading a military statement on Turkish TV while being held at gunpoint.

In “A tug-of-war for power in Turkey, with journalists in the middle,” Poynter reports on how, during the attempted coup on Friday night, CNN Türk was shut down by soldiers. At 8:43 pm, the TV network tweeted “Coup plotters are ending @cnnturks broadcast now,” with a picture of an eerily empty studio. On Saturday morning, journalist Ismail Saymaz shared a video that apparently shows police and citizens forcing the military out of the building. A group of soldiers arrested journalists at the Hürriyet Daily News, according to Emre Kızılkaya, who was on the scene. At TRT, the Turkish state-run TV network, news anchor Tijen Karaş was forced to report that the coup had succeeded. “They ordered us to read the statement after taking us out of the locked room” she said, “You must have realised the fear in my eyes and my lips were trembling. These were hours that loomed over like a nightmare.” Zeynep Tufekci, the Turkish writer and technology scholar, noted how heavily the government relied on social media to stop the attempted coup, tweeting: “Never thought I’d write: Erdogan takes to Twitter & FaceTime as a coup attempt in Turkey is thwarted by gov’t supporters using social media.” She also observed the heavy use of Facebook Live for disseminating anti-coup messages.

Jelani Cobb, the New Yorker writer whose books include The Substance of Hope: Barack Obama and the Paradox of Progress, has written about the distinction between “blue lives matter” and “black lives matter.” The first statement—the “blue” here refers to police—enjoys the status, says Cobb, of a “fact.” “Black lives matter,” on the other hand, remains a “reminder, or an aspiration.”

The weekend edition front pages of Le Monde and Libération both ask: Why? The number of young people killed in the attack prompted Le Parisen’s headline “They Were Children.” The New York Times has a wrenching story focused on these children, quoting one parent, Raja El Kamel, explaining the importance of seeing the Bastille Day fireworks: “You have to bring your children because if you don’t, you will pay for it all year—all their friends are there.”

In the New Yorker, Margaret Talbot writes about the Cleveland police force’s preparation for the potentially volatile crowds expected to descend on the city for the Republican National Convention. On Cleveland.com, Andrew J. Tobias reports on a news conference in the city, where officials said they were going to use “community policing and community engagement” rather than riot gear, though deputy chief Ed Tomba stressed that “we’re not going to stand for any lawlessness.” These words were considerably more measured than those of the head of Cleveland’s police union, Steve Loomis. On Sunday, Loomis told Fox News that President Obama had “blood on his hands” after three officers were killed in Baton Rouge, and asked: “”How the hell did we ever become the bad guys in this country?”

PEN has released a statement in support of Dennis Cooper as he tries to discover why Google deleted his blog and Gmail account without warning or explanation.

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