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Christopher Mathias
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New York Reporter, The Huffington Post.

Entries by Christopher Mathias

Muslims Weren't Cheering On 9/11, Mr. Trump. They Were Grieving For Their Loved Ones.

(5) Comments | Posted November 23, 2015 | 6:00 PM

NEW YORK -- Early in the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, Mehr Tariq asked her husband, Tariq Amanullah, not to go to work. She was worried about him. He'd barely slept the night before, having come home late after volunteering at a Muslim community event at Six Flags.

But Amanullah told...

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A Running List Of Shameful Islamophobic Acts Since The Paris Attacks

(7) Comments | Posted November 18, 2015 | 4:30 PM

One week after the massacre of 129 people in Paris, for which the Islamic State claimed responsibility, there have been daily reports of retaliations against Muslims in the United States and Canada.

The Huffington Post will continue to document deplorable, Islamophobic acts. Sadly, it's a list that will likely need...

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Daily News Compares NRA To Jihadists On Front Page

(3) Comments | Posted November 18, 2015 | 2:01 PM

The New York Daily News used its front page Wednesday to lash out at the National Rifle Association in a big way, comparing the powerful pro-gun group's lobbying efforts to a "SICK JIHAD."

"Over 2,000 suspects on terror watch list have legally bought firearms in the U.S. because gun nuts...

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Uber Driver Says Passenger Mistook Him For A Muslim, Threatened To Kill Him

(0) Comments | Posted November 17, 2015 | 3:26 PM

Samson Woldemichael is a Christian. But the 40-year-old Ethiopian immigrant and father of two, who works as an Uber driver in North Carolina, says he was the victim of Islamophobia this weekend when a passenger threatened his life before violently attacking him during a late-night fare.

Woldemichael says he picked...

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Woman Says Cops 'Murdered' Brother In Tussle After Breaking Into Home Without Warrant

(4) Comments | Posted November 16, 2015 | 2:39 PM

The sister of a North Carolina man fatally gunned down by sheriff's deputies Sunday says her brother was "murdered," and that the deputies should've obtained a search warrant before entering her brother's home. 

John Livingston, a 33-year-old father, was "an innocent man" whom officers "didn't have to shoot," his 21-year-old sister, Brittany, told The Huffington Post on Monday.

Two deputies from the Harnett County Sheriff’s Office arrived at Livingston's Spring Lake trailer home at 3:45 a.m. Sunday to follow up on an assault investigation, a spokesperson for the department told local news outlets. 

One of Livingston's roommates, Clayton Carroll, told WNCN that the deputies asked Livingston if they could look inside the trailer for a man who no longer lived there.

"Not without a search warrant," Livingston said, according to Carroll. Livingston then shut the door to the trailer.  

There was no reason for this to happen."

“The cop kicked in the door, got on top of him, started slinging him around, beating him,” Carroll said.

According to Carroll, the deputies then pepper-sprayed Livingston multiple times before Tasering him. The altercation then spilled outside the trailer onto the porch. 

Carroll and another roommate, Bristol Edge, said Livingston was neither armed nor fighting back, but at one point, while lying facedown on the porch, he did have his hand on one of the cops' Tasers. 

Carroll re-enacted the scene for WNCN, lying down next to fresh blood stains from his friend's body.

“[Livingston] barely had the Taser in his hand but he had it where it was constantly going off and the officer -- I guess it spooked him -- he rolled over there, and said, 'He's got the Taser,' and shot him in this position,” Carroll said. 

Carroll said the deputy shot Livingston six times, while Edge said she saw four gunshot wounds.

"There was no reason for this to happen," Edge -- who said she put a blanket over her friend as he died -- told WNCN. "They could've subdued John or called backup." 

The Harnett County Sheriff's Office did not reply to repeated HuffPost requests for comment, but Maj. Jeff Hubert told WNCN that Sheriff’s Deputy Nicholas Kehagias was involved in the shooting incident. 

As is protocol, both Kehagias and the other, unidentified deputy have been placed on administrative leave pending an investigation. The sheriff's department requested the help of the North Carolina Special Bureau of Investigation, a common practice for investigating officer-involved shootings in the state. 

Shannon O'Toole, a spokesperson for the North Carolina SBI, confirmed to HuffPost that the agency was investigating Livingston's death. SBI investigators were present during Livingston's autopsy Monday. 

The SBI investigation, O'Toole said, could last two to three months, after which a case file will be delivered to the local district attorney. At any time during or after the investigation, the DA could elect to file criminal charges against the deputies. 

In the meantime, Livingston's sister, Brittany, says her family is raising money to bury her brother. They've set up a GoFundMe page, which as of Tuesday morning had raised $545 towards a $10,000 goal. 

Brittany described her brother as a "hardworking man" and a talented carpenter with "three beautiful children." Two of the children, she noted, were not biologically his, but he raised them as if they were his own. 

She said her family is devastated. 

"My mom didn't think she would have to bury her son," Brittany said. "It's supposed to be the other way...

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University Faculty: Don't Let Undercover NYPD Officers Spy On Our Muslim Students

(1) Comments | Posted October 30, 2015 | 3:52 PM

Over 100 faculty members of the City University of New York have signed a petition calling on the school's chancellor to oppose surveillance of Muslim students by undercover New York City police officers. 

"Such surveillance chills the atmosphere of free speech and open dialogue that educational institutions...

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Deaf Woman To Get $750,000 For Hellish Ordeal With NYPD

(3) Comments | Posted October 28, 2015 | 11:23 AM

NEW YORK -- A New York City woman, who is deaf and says NYPD officers wrongfully arrested her and then ignored her pleas for an American Sign Language interpreter, has settled her lawsuit against the city for $750,000, a sum her lawyers say is the largest ever deaf discrimination settlement...

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There's A Good Reason New York's Homeless Often Sleep In The Subway

(1) Comments | Posted October 22, 2015 | 2:25 PM

NEW YORK -- Ten years ago, William Burnett often spent his nights sleeping on the New York City subway. It was better than his other option: a shelter on Wards Island where he said two rival gangs, the Bloods and the Latin Kings, were "trying to outdo each other...

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'A Tour Of Burned Churches' Explores Race, Religion And Resilience In America

(1) Comments | Posted October 22, 2015 | 12:19 PM

In the 10 days following the June massacre of nine people at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina, six other predominantly black churches across the South burned. 

The causes of the fires differed. Electrical wiring is believed to have started one of the...

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Why Did A Cop Shoot Robert Chambers In The Head?

(24) Comments | Posted October 12, 2015 | 4:50 PM

It felt about as cold as it can get in Warner Robins, Georgia, in the early morning hours of Jan. 24, 2011. Robert Chambers, 19, saw his breath as he walked along the dirt path that traced the edge of a wooded area near Feagin Mill Middle School.


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This Is What Broken Windows Policing Looks Like

(2) Comments | Posted October 9, 2015 | 2:06 PM

What's legal for white New Yorkers is often illegal for black and brown New Yorkers. 

Take, for instance, this DNAinfo story about 60-year-old Ernest Stroy and his 24-year-old nephew, Waymon Jones. On Sunday night, the pair were playing what they said was a harmless game of dominoes outside a bodega in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn.

Then the police showed up. 

"Six of them hopped out of the van and the lady said, ‘You guys can’t play dominoes, you’ve got to wrap it up,’" Jones told DNAinfo. 

"And we're all like, we’re all grown men," he said, "we're not harming anybody, we’re not doing any drugs. It’s not, like, dice. So they left us alone for a little bit."
The pair moved their game to a neighboring plaza. Soon after that, the cops --  seven officers, it should be noted -- came back, surrounded the two men and issued them tickets for loitering and illegal gambling. (A bystander recorded a video of part of the incident, which you can watch above.)
"It’s wasting your time taking a day off of work to go fight it," Stroy said of the tickets, adding that he's already "struggling from check to check" as it is. 
“As hard as I try, I cannot recall ever arraigning a white defendant for such a violation.”
Now think of SoHo, in Manhattan, on a Friday or Saturday night. Think of the young and rich, mostly white, spilling out of this art opening or that soiree onto the sidewalk for cigarettes, with glasses of wine in their hands. They won't be ticketed for drinking in public.
Or think of the mostly white revelers at SantaCon or on St. Patrick's Day, openly swigging beer in the streets and getting in fights, often without reprisal. 
Then think of Noach Dear, the Brooklyn judge who in 2012 said he was tired of hearing charges against minorities over open alcohol containers. “As hard as I try, I cannot recall ever arraigning a white defendant for such a violation,” he wrote.
Dear's staff then reviewed public drinking tickets, finding that while white people account for 36 percent of Brooklyn's population, they made up just 4 percent of tickets issued for drinking in public there. Meanwhile, 85 percent of the summonses were issued to blacks and Latinos.
Think of Park Slope, an affluent and predominantly white neighborhood in Brooklyn, where, between 2008 and 2011, police doled out an average of eight tickets a year for riding a bike on a sidewalk. Then think about Bedford-Stuyvesant, a poorer and predominantly black neighborhood a few miles away, where the average number of such tickets is 2,050 per year.
Or think of a city where, although whites make up over 50 percent of the population, they're just 8 percent of those arrested for misdemeanor marijuana possession, while nearly 90 percent of such arrests are of black and Latinos. (And studies show whites and blacks smoke marijuana at the same rates.)
And think of a city where 81 percent of the 7.3 million people hit with tickets for petty infractions between 2001 and 2013 were black or Latino. Or just go down to Manhattan's crowded summonses court, and see who's standing in line: 
This, of course, is all done in the name of public safety. It's NYPD Commissioner William Bratton's "broken windows" theory of policing -- the idea that, by aggressively targeting low-level crime in high-crime neighborhoods, police can deter more serious crime. 
But in reality, targeting petty crimes in this way inevitably means targeting minorities. As such, broken windows policing creates two cities. And in one of those cities, an uncle and a nephew playing dominoes outside on a cool autumn night are criminals. 
"I think they just want us, basically, to stop coming around or stay in the house," Stroy told DNAinfo after getting his ticket, adding that he'd been playing dominoes outside in the neighborhood "for years." 
And he's right: That is what broken windows is designed to do. (Former NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly has basically said as much.) 
It's not only in New York. It's in Ferguson. It's in Baltimore. Across the country, white Americans enjoy a privilege when it comes to policing that, for minorities, is still far...
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Judge Rules 'Muslims Are Coming!' Ads Allowed In NYC Subways

(0) Comments | Posted October 8, 2015 | 12:23 PM

NEW YORK -- The mere mention of the word "Muslim" or the simple discussion of Islam is not political, a federal judge ruled Wednesday, ordering New York City's Metropolitan Transportation Authority to allow a series of subway advertisements for the documentary "The Muslims Are Coming!


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NYPD Killing Of Mohamed Bah Was 'An Execution And A Cover-Up:' Lawyers

(0) Comments | Posted October 7, 2015 | 1:18 PM

NEW YORK -- Lawyers for the family of a man who died at the hands of New York City police officers say they have uncovered new evidence that his death was an "execution" and was subsequently covered up by the NYPD.

Now the family of the victim, 

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NYPD Says It Will Track Use Of Force, Actually Start Disciplining Cops

(3) Comments | Posted October 1, 2015 | 11:53 AM

NEW YORK -- New York City Police Commissioner William Bratton has announced sweeping new reforms to how the NYPD tracks its officers' use of force.

front-page story Thursday in The New York Times pre-empted a scathing report released this morning by NYPD Inspector General Philip Eure, which shows gaping...

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Woman Who Spent 2 Months In Solitary Confinement For Being Transgender Scores Legal Victory

(1) Comments | Posted September 23, 2015 | 6:13 PM

A Maryland woman who was mistreated by prison guards and held in solitary confinement for over two months solely because she is transgender has scored a groundbreaking legal victory that could help improve the treatment of transgender inmates across the country, her lawyers said this week. 

 Sandy Brown, 40, was taken...

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James Blake Got An Apology From The NYPD, But Families Of Other Victims Are Still Waiting

(0) Comments | Posted September 22, 2015 | 1:43 PM

NEW YORK -- The violent and wrongful arrest of tennis star James Blake in New York City earlier this month prompted swift apologies from Mayor Bill de Blasio and Police Commissioner William Bratton. Blake also got the chance to meet privately with the two officials to discuss policing reforms.

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Scrawling 'F**k Your S**tty Town Bitches' On Speeding Ticket Is Free Speech, Judge Finds

(14) Comments | Posted September 15, 2015 | 11:24 AM

A federal judge ruled Thursday that a Connecticut man's profanity-laced message on a speeding ticket is protected speech under the First Amendment.

Judge Cathy Seibel said that prosecutors and police in Liberty, New York, violated Willian Barboza's civil rights when they arrested and prosecuted him for...

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Woman Says She Endured 8 Days In Psych Ward Because Cops Didn't Believe BMW Was Hers

(39) Comments | Posted September 11, 2015 | 9:31 AM

NEW YORK -- Kamilah Brock says the New York City police sent her to a mental hospital for a hellish eight days, where she was forcefully injected with powerful drugs, essentially because they couldn't believe a black woman owned a BMW. 

In her first on-camera interview about her...

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Calls To Close Down Rikers Island Are Getting Louder

(0) Comments | Posted September 9, 2015 | 9:33 AM

NEW YORK -- Tear down Rikers Island. 

That idea -- to close one of the country's largest jail complexes -- has in recent months inspired op-eds, protest signs and a hashtag. On Wednesday, the idea got the endorsement of a New York City lawmaker. 

“Ultimately, what we should...

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Trans Man Sues NYPD For Discrimination After Alleged Hate Crime

(0) Comments | Posted September 3, 2015 | 9:03 AM

NEW YORK -- A transgender Manhattan man says the New York City Police Department repeatedly impeded his attempts to report an alleged hate crime, and has failed to arrest the man who allegedly threatened him and his family.

Marlow White, 51, filed a $2 million federal lawsuit last...

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