The Daily Fix: Witnesses Describe Michael Brown's Death, Senators Condemn NFL, and Texas Textbooks Ignore Civil Rights

All the news that’s fit to fix on Friday, Sept. 12.

Activists, demanding justice for the shooting death of Michael Brown, raise their hands in downtown St. Louis, Mo., on Aug. 26. (Photo: Adrees Latif/Reuters)

Sep 12, 2014· 2 MIN READ
Nicole Pasulka is a writer and reporter who lives in New York City. She has written for Mother Jones, BuzzFeed, The Believer, and the New York Observer.

New witnesses to the Aug. 9 police shooting of unarmed 18-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., have come forward. Brown, who was black, was shot by white police officer Darren Wilson. St. Louis County Police have said that Brown ran toward Wilson and made a grab for the officer’s gun.

But statements to the police, FBI, and media this week by witnesses contradict Wilson’s version of the shooting. Two construction workers, who have not been named but who were near the scene, said that they "starting hearing pops." They saw Brown “staggering and running,” according to KSDK. "And when he finally caught himself he threw his hands up and started screaming, 'OK, OK, OK, OK, OK, OK."

"The cop didn't say, 'Get on the ground.' He just kept shooting,” one of the construction workers, who said he heard a gunshot and then another one 30 seconds later, told CNN. Brown "had his f---in' hands up." The other man "got about 8 to 10 feet away from him...I heard six, seven shots...it seemed like seven. Then he put his gun down. That's when Michael stumbled forward. I'd say about 25 feet or so and then fell right on his face."

A witness named Phillip Walker told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch he saw Brown walking with his hands up, not running toward Wilson.

The shooting has sparked weeks of protests in Ferguson, where the population is around 70 percent black and the police force and City Council are overwhelmingly white. Locals are demanding Darren Wilson be charged in Brown’s death. On Wednesday 10 people were arrested during a demonstration that blocked traffic on I-70.

In other news…

Suing Sheriff Joe: On Thursday, a court awarded $4.4 million in legal fees to lawyers who were plaintiffs in a legal case claiming Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio engaged in racial profiling during traffic stops. In 2013, a judge found that the sheriff was targeting Hispanic drivers at traffic stops and detaining them too long. Now, most of the $4.4 million settlement will go to the law firm of Covington & Burling LLP, though it’s about one-third of the amount it was seeking. (via Reuters)

Ebola Treatments Working: An American aid worker who contracted Ebola in Liberia was given a transfusion of blood from another doctor who'd been infected but has survived the disease. Doctors in Nebraska gave Dr. Rick Sacra blood from Dr. Kent Brantly. The two are friends, and the doctors say Sacra is responding well to the treatment. (via The Associated Press)

Senators Steamed at NFL: Sixteen women in the Senate have signed a letter condemning the NFL's response to the Ray Rice domestic violence case. They wrote that the initial two-game suspension Rice received after being accused of punching his now wife and knocking her unconscious sends a “terrible message,” and “if you violently assault a woman, you shouldn’t get a second chance to play football in the NFL.” After a more explicit video of the incident was released to the public this week Rice was suspended indefinitely from the NFL. (via MSNBC)

Abortion Laws Back in Texas Court: A federal appeals court will hear arguments on Friday on whether abortion clinics in Texas should have operating rooms, staffing, and parking that meet standards required for surgery. A judge previously found that this law, along with a requirement that clinics have hospital admitting privileges, placed an unconstitutional burden on women trying to have an abortion. In the past two years 20 abortion clinics in Texas closed; only 20 now are open. (via AP)

NSA Threatened Yahoo: Unsealed court documents show that the U.S. government threatened to fine Yahoo $250,000 a day if the company refused to provide user communication data. The company tried to fight the request but was unsuccessful and so participated in the National Security Agency’s PRISM program, exposed by Edward Snowden last year. (via the Washington Post)

Bad Education: A report found that textbooks in Texas that conform to the state's 2010 Board of Education standards barely mention segregation, and one textbook "flirts with contemporary Tea Party ideology." (via Politico)

The Daily Fix is your chance to act today to change tomorrows headlines by taking action on the latest stories. Look for links to petitions, pledges, and other social actions embedded throughout these news items. Tweet your #TheDailyFix ideas to Staff Writer Nicole Pasulka.