Archive | December 2014

The Killing of Eric Garner

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On July 17, 2014, Eric Garner, an African American, died in the Tompkinsville neighborhood of Staten Island, New York, after a police officer put him in a chokehold, a tactic banned by the New York City Police Department (NYPD). Garner was initially approached by Officer Justin Damico on suspicion of selling “loosies”, single cigarettes from packs without tax stamps. After Garner expressed to the police that he was tired of being harassed and that he was not selling cigarettes, officers made the move to arrest Garner. Officer Daniel Pantaleo, also on scene, put his arms around the much taller Garner’s neck, applying a chokehold shown in a widely viewed video recording of the event. While lying face-down on the sidewalk surrounded by four officers, Garner is heard to repeat numerous times, “I can’t breathe”. Garner was pronounced dead approximately one hour later at the hospital.

After the incident, city medical examiners concluded that Garner was killed by neck compression from the chokehold, along with “the compression of his chest and prone positioning during physical restraint by police”. Contributing factors included bronchial asthma, heart disease, obesity, and hypertensive cardiovascular disease. As a result of Garner’s death, four EMTs and paramedics who responded to the scene were suspended without pay on July 21, 2014; officers Damico and Pantaleo were placed on desk duty; and Daniel Pantaleo was stripped of his service gun and badge.

On December 3, 2014, a grand jury decided not to indict officer Pantaleo. The event stirred public protests and rallies with charges of police brutality and was broadcast nationally over various media networks. Attorney General Eric Holder announced that the Justice Department would launch an “independent, thorough, fair, and expeditious” civil rights investigation into Garner’s death.

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Clean Wisconsin Report Says Climate Change Already Costing Wisconsin Agricultural Industry

Clean Wisconsin Surveyed 60 Farmers On How Extreme Weather Has Already Affected Their Livelihood
The environmental organization Clean Wisconsin released a report on Wednesday about how climate change could have a major effect on the state’s agriculture industry.

The report “Seeds of Challenge” includes anecdotes from farmers across the state about how extreme weather like droughts and heavy precipitation have impacted their animals and crops.

Third generation farmer Jim Goodman, who owns a dairy operation in southwest Wisconsin, was one of 60 farmers who responded to the group’s survey. Goodman acknowledges that many farmers are skeptical of climate change and are used to dealing with unpredictable weather. But he said that weather has become too frequent.

“You’ll have unduly wet spring where you can’t get into the fields,” he said. “Then it’ll dry up in the summer so bad that the pasture’s gone. Then you may get another wet fall where it’s difficult to harvest what crops you have.”

Goodman said it’s costing him money. For example, he had to buy hay for the first time in decades during the drought in 2012.

University of Wisconsin researchers say that climate change may cause extreme weather to become more common in the future. Clean Wisconsin Energy and Climate Specialist Katy Walter said that if severe weather does become regular, it could end up costing the ag industry a lot of money and require some farmers to make large investments to continue operating.

“For example, installing irrigation systems to combat drought and build structures for storing feed and protecting livestock,” said Walter.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, farmers have reported major crop losses and higher production costs in recent years, partially because of of extreme weather.