Look at all the white people


Once again, the timer has run out on the ongoing discussion of American racism, so here’s a fresh thread for you all. I thought you might appreciate the magnitude of the Black Problem: black people get gunned down by the police. The police are far less trigger-happy when it’s a mob of hundreds of heavily armed white people shooting each other.

A composite image of handout booking images made available on 19 May 2015 by the McLennan County Sheriff's Department showing scores of men and women arrested and charged with crimes stemming from a large shootout and fight between biker gangs outside the Twin Peaks bar and restaurant at the Central Texas Marketplace in Waco, Texas, USA, 17 May 2015. Reports indicate that nine bikers were shot and killed and 18 other wounded. Police have announced that 192 people face charges of engaging in organized crime.  EPA/MCLENNAN COUNTY SHERIFF  HANDOUT EDITORIAL USE ONLY

epa04757409 A composite image of handout booking images made available on 19 May 2015 by the McLennan County Sheriff’s Department showing scores of men and women arrested and charged with crimes stemming from a large shootout and fight between biker gangs outside the Twin Peaks bar and restaurant at the Central Texas Marketplace in Waco, Texas, USA, 17 May 2015. Reports indicate that nine bikers were shot and killed and 18 other wounded. Police have announced that 192 people face charges of engaging in organized crime.

I think this suggests an easy solution to the problem of police brutality. Instead of 40 acres and a mule, give every black person in the country a black leather jacket and a shotgun.

Don’t worry, though. The Waco incident was completely thug-free.

Comments

  1. says

    There are several black people in that composite mug shot. Isn’t it nice to know that biker gangs are more integrated and diverse than many atheist organizations?

  2. says

    Thanks for the new thread PZ.
    Oh, and thanks for this too:

    I thought you might appreciate the magnitude of the Black Problem: black people get gunned down by the police.

    Far too many news sites refer to the problem as ‘ black men get gunned down by the police’., overlooking cis- and trans- women who are brutalized and/or killed by LEOs.

  3. rq says

    Well, get set. I’ve got nearly 70 pages worth of links to post up. :)
    Including lots on the Waco massacre.

    Thanks, PZ. :) Safe travels!

    +++
    Well, at least the previous ended on a positive note.
    This one starts off with some positive stuff, too:
    10 Underrated Neo Soul Artists You Should Be Listening To

    Tired of hearing the same old pop and hip hop artists on the radio? Take a break from all those tunes and switch to a more soulful vibe with neo-soul music. A subgenre of soul and R&B, neo-soul music is influenced by bits of electronica, hiphop, jazz and funk, and is sure to help when you’re relaxing and chillin’ after a hard day’s work.
    We’ve gathered up 10 amazing neo soul artists that you should definitely look up and add to your chill-out music playlist:

    Looks pretty solid to me, though I haven’t listened to the entire list yet!

    I can’t even tell if my tweets are going thru lol Tryna live tweet and lift up the Ferguson graduates today. Congrats

    Deadly police shooting of unarmed teen reopened after Channel 2 investigation

    Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard has reopened a controversial police shooting case for review, after a Channel 2 Action News – Atlanta Journal Constitution investigation uncovered new evidence and witnesses the grand jury did not see.
    Union City police Officer Luther Lewis shot and killed 19-year-old Ariston Waiters in December 2011.     
    Waiters took off running when police arrived to break up a fight between teenagers after shots were fired into the air.
    Lewis chased Waiters, got him on the ground and then shot him twice in the back.
    In a never-before-seen video, Lewis showed agents with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation his version of the shooting, by reenacting how Waiters grabbed his gun. The video differed from earlier statements Lewis had given, so much so that an expert called his statements self-contradictory and inconsistent with the forensic evidence.
    “It’s not sat right with me from the first time I arrived on the scene,” says Union City police Officer Chris McElroy.
    McElroy was a lieutenant at the time of the shooting and was the first supervisor to arrive on the scene. He has never before spoken publicly about what he heard and saw.
    “There’s a lot of things that need to be answered,” says McElroy. “I think Mr. Waiters died senselessly and his family deserves closure.”
    McElroy told investigative reporters Jodie Fleischer and Brad Schrade that he’s never believed the shooting was justified, based on Lewis’ statements immediately following the shooting.
    McElroy says initially there was no mention of a struggle over the officer’s gun.
    “He was unable to pull his hands out from underneath him. He didn’t know what was under there so he shot him, twice,” recounts McElroy.
    He says he expressed his concerns to several other command officers and Chief Chuck Odom, who directed him not to write a statement.
    The GBI investigated the shooting, but did not interview McElroy. […]

    The May 2012 grand jury opted not to indict Lewis on the recommended charges of felony murder, aggravated assault, false imprisonment and violation of oath.
    The next day, Lewis told Channel 2 he wasn’t out to hurt anyone that night.
    “The second I had to pull that trigger, and I use ‘had’ because I had no choice, I know in my heart I was not walking away, I made peace with God,” said Lewis. He declined to be interviewed again for this story.
    The reporters contacted Howard on Wednesday; by Thursday morning he had called GBI Director Vernon Keenan and both reopened their respective cases.
    “Listening to what you’re saying, I’m going to be looking very closely at re-presenting it. There is no statute of limitations with respect to a [felony] murder charge,” said Howard.
    Freda Waiters says that’s what she’s been hoping for since the day her son died.

    Just a note, Funeral held for homeless man shot by LAPD on Skid Row

    Funeral services were held Saturday for the homeless man who was shot and killed by Los Angeles police on Skid Row in downtown Los Angeles two months ago.

    Charles Keunang was killed in an officer-involved shooting after allegedly grabbing an officer’s holstered pistol during a scuffle on March 1.

    A witness at the scene shot cellphone video of the confrontation, including the gunshots that killed him. LAPD Chief Charlie Beck called the shooting justified.

    And she’s filing a claim against the city. Because criminal justice seems to be impossible.

    Wednesday, May 20th #MikeBrown’s 19th Birthday 5:30pm @ #Canfield Memorial #Ferguson

    And here’s another on the entertainment front, 10 Black Actors to Watch in 2015 and Beyond, though really, what are the chances we’ll see them all that often?? I hope LOTS!

    The summer movie season is FINALLY upon us, and we’re ready to get out there and enjoy some blockbusters. But as always, it’s vital we support Black actors and actresses making waves in the film world. Here’s our pick of just a few Black up-and-comers and familiar names to watch out for this summer and next. Enjoy!
    1. Michael B. Jordan, everybody’s bae, will soon play Adonis Creed, son of Apollo in the Rocky reboot film, Creed, coming out later this year. Also check him out in the role that pissed off white people around the world, as Johnny Storm in the new Fantastic Four, set to be released this summer.

    2. Anthony Mackie, although not a newcomer, is nonetheless still one to watch for this year and next. On his IMDB page, you’ll find that he actually has four movies in pre-production for a 2015 release, and one major motion picture, Captain America: Civil War,  debuting in 2016. Once Mackie reached Marvel status, he was pretty much set. Let’s keep supporting this Notorious and She Hate Me star.

    3. Nate Parker is soon to play Nat Turner in the biopic titled Birth of a Nation (I hope they change that; know your history). The film does not have a release date yet. Parker played alongside Gugu Mbatha-Raw as her hero and love interest in Beyond the Lights.

    4. Speaking of Gugu Mbatha-Raw — the star of Belle will be gracing our screens this year on Christmas Day in Concussion, a film about football injuries, with well-known costars Will Smith and Alec Baldwin.

    So there’s your top four.

  4. rq says

    Here’s another about that absurd Disney movie. a movie about a white dad declaring his daughter the #PrincessofNorthSudan.

    In cased you missed it, last year a random white dude from Virginia wanted to make his daughter a princess so he found some “no-mans land” between Sudan and Egypt and claimed it for his family. Yes, a random White dude just went to Africa, put up a flag and claimed the land for his family. Now, if this seems impossible or outlandish, it’s unfortunately very true.
    If your heart is warmed by a father’s love for his daughter, cool, but, this is trash. Colonialism is real. The arrogance and entitlement that possessed that man to claim African land for his own. While there are a multitude of histories and (counter)narratives from across the continent, I believe few on that continent (or dispersed from it) would welcome a White man from across the Atlantic Ocean and calling it “his.”
    Now because this story is about a random American white dude, other random white dudes are really about it.  Morgan Spurlock (of Super Size Me fame), recently signed a deal with DISNEY to turn this modern day Christopher Columbus into a family film. Yes. Disney. Now white people have done, do, and will do some bold things – but a movie about going to Africa (unsolicited) and claiming land reeks of such ahistorical awareness. Just when we thought getting artificial lips, stealing our language, and erasing us from our music wasn’t enough, you gotta go and not only claim African land but make the *first African Disney princess* a white girl? Tiana was a frog for most of the movie but you wanna have a white girl be an “African” princess. OH. OK.

    Responses from Black Twitter at the link.

    No quotes, as this one is mostly about the video within: Obama Calls Out Fox News For Spreading Negative Stereotypes About The Poor. Very nice.

    Food! Restaurants in North America & the U.K.That Might Put Your Grandma’s Cooking to Shame (this one’s not about racism as such, but it’s nice to know more about the available cultural diversity out there – signal boost, I suppose).

    There’s no question that in order for Blacks to gain economic empowerment across the diaspora, we have to start providing monetary support for our own businesses.
    After Whole Foods decided to feed the National Guard rather than the 84 percent of Baltimore City Public School students who went without lunch in the wake of the Freddie Gray riots, Blavity curated a list of Black farmers to purchase fresh produce from instead of the popular grocery chain.
    Blavity wants to continue supporting this effort by bringing our readers a curated list of Black-owned restaurants to dine at across North America.
    Know of any more great Black restaurants that weren’t featured on our list? Let us know in the comments below.

    This is kind of neat, though I’m not sure how well it works: Tyler the Creator trolls racists by appropriating their symbols for his new gay pride tee

    Nothing like fighting some Neo nazis and racists with their own medicine. Tyler the Creator has made of a new T-shirt which uses neo-Nazi symbolism to promote gay rights. According to the Huffington Post, the symbol in the logo appropriates s an old school neo-Nazi emblem known for its slogan, “White Pride Worldwide.”
    Tyler the Creator took to Wolf Gang’s Tumblr Page to share his thinking on the t-shirt.

    It was a period in time where all i wanted to do was read about different dictators across the world. The way that one man could control so many brains always intrigued me. This opened a door to a lot of things, one of them being the Nazi regime during the 40s. Soaking my brain with as much info as i could on the subject, i pondered to myself if there was anyone still pushing this Nazi propaganda during these days? That is when i came across Neo-Nazis, The Ku Klux Klan and The White Nationalist Community. To make it simple, its just a group of Caucasians who take pride in being white. Nothing wrong with that correct? But the weird thing is that its primarily supported by White Supremacist organizations.( KKK, Aryan Nation, Etc) Now it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that these guys aren’t fans of Blacks, Gays, Asians or anything else that doesn’t fit in “white” box.Now having the thought process that i have, i asked myself some questions: What if a black guy wore this logo on a shirt? Would he be promoting self hate? Would he be taking the power out of a shape? What if a gay guy wore this on a shirt? Would he promoting Homophobia? Then BAM! I Had it. Throw a little rainbow in the logo ( i still wonder, who was the guy that said a rainbow is the gay symbol? thats another article stay tuned) and take a photo with a white guy in it and we have an amazing photo. The thing that tops it off is the homo erotic tone of the hand holding, which to some degree HAS to piss off the guys who takes this logo serious. This made the photo even more important to me, because it was me playing with the idea of taking the power out of something so stupid. Or maybe my whole idea on this is stupid. Who knows, but why not try it out? Also, ever since my career started, ive been labeled as a homophobe, simply because of my use of the word f*ggot. Again, trying to take the power out of something, I WAS NEVER REFERRING TO SOMEONES SEXUAL PREFERENCE WHEN USING THAT WORD. I mean, i’m legit one of the least homophobic guys to walk this earth but, most people just read the surface. But maybe someone will see this photo and say “ hey, he’s just mocking gays” or “ this has a negative undertone to it, he is still pushing this homophobic whatever the fuck it is”. What ever it is, i just wanted to give you guys some background info on the design before you purchase the shirt. You should know what you are wearing. be safe, love. RACISM FUCKING SUCKS golfwang[dot]com – Tyler 

    The shirts have been met with mixture of praise and critique as many have rightfully pointed out that in his debut album Tyler used the word ‘f*ggot’ more than 200 times. Tyler defended his insanely heavy usage of the word saying “It’s just another word that has no meaning” later elaborating that “I was never referring to [someone’s] sexual preference when using that word… I’m legit one of the least homophobic guys to walk this earth but, most people read the surface.”

    Well, sure, there is that problematic language together with a not-pology… so all in all, a very mediocre effort. Still.

    And here’s one for the #CrimingWhileWhite. I’m just going to stick this one article up, but I hope to get more response to the media portrayal of this event for comparison purposes (and yeah, it’ all so post-racial!).
    Anyway, Waco, Texas, motorcycle gang shoot-out, with police, 9 dead… UPDATES: Police believe five motorcyle gangs involved in deadly Twin Peaks shootout. Note language here, and elsewhere it was also called a ‘melee’, a ‘rumble’, a ‘brawl’, and all kinds of other things. But in this situation, where gunfire and dealy force were actually used, was the National Guard called in? Were these ‘thugs’ labelled as such? No.

    Waco police Sgt. W. Patrick Swanton said part of the altercation that preceded Sunday’s biker gang shooting at Twin Peaks started in a restroom, spilled into bar, then into the parking lot.
    At least two of the gangs were trying to do some recruiting in the area Sunday, and Twin Peaks was a known place for that kind of activity, Swanton said. Multiple law enforcement sources confirmed that the Bandidos and Cossacks biker gangs were at the center of the incident.
    “In 34 years of law enforcement, this is the most violent crime scene I have ever been involved in,” Swanton said.
    “There is blood everywhere. We will probably approach the number of 100 weapons.”
    “What happened here today could have been avoided … They failed and this is what happened,” referring to the Twin Peaks local management.
    “Next door were families dining in Don Carlos,” he added. “Twenty-five feet away there were families.”
    Swanton continued, “This is one of the worst gun fights we’ve ever had in the city limits. They started shooting at our officers.”
    He added, “None of our innocent civilians were injured today in this melee.”
    Officials are interviewing people of interest in multiple areas, he said, and while there are no other active crime scenes, there have been scuffles and disturbances throughout the city.
    “The unfortunate side of gangs such as these is that they work intel just like we do,” he said.
    Central Texas Marketplace was closed entirely Sunday because of additional bikers coming to the scene, including the three arrested earlier.

    Oh, and yeah, the police knew it was happening, as they’d had prior warning. Let me get this straight: Walter Scott was scary. Rodney King was scary. 300 bikers converged, armed to the teeth, and police “watched”. Yup. More to come on this.

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    Let’s hear it for privilege! Manchester Valley junior devises crime scene ‘promposal’

    When Manchester Valley High School junior Elijah Williams, 16, was planning to ask to prom senior Marie Kasten, 16 — his girlfriend of two years — he wanted to ask in a special way.

    His sister Alexes Williams, 20, thought up the idea of doing a crime scene-themed “promposal” because Kasten’s father, Phil Kasten, is a former chief deputy of the Carroll County Sheriff’s Office and is now a police chief in Vermont.
    “I thought that since her dad works for the police, it would be a good idea,” he said.

    His sister bought tape for the fake crime scene that they staged on the driveway in front of Kasten’s house. They knew they would need time to set up the scene to surprise her.
    So they enlisted their mother, Tristam Williams, who contacted Marie’s mom, Kay Kasten. Both moms devised a plan that Kay would take Marie grocery shopping for the Easter holiday to distract her while Alexes helped Elijah set up the scene.
    When they were on their way back from the Walmart store, Kay alerted them.

    Upon pulling up to their house, Marie saw the crime tape and Elijah lying in her driveway with a chalk outline around his body, next to a message written in chalk that said, “I’m dying to go to prom with you!”
    Marie said she never expected Elijah to come up with such a creative way of asking her to prom.
    “I was really surprised,” Marie said. “It meant a lot to me because my father is a police officer.”
    She said yes. The couple will attend their first prom together tonight at the Wyndham hotel in Gettysburg, Pa.
    Kasten will be moving in about a month to Vermont with her family once the school year is finished, and that’s why Elijah wanted to make the proposal a memorable one.
    “I thought that I’d make it special rather than just being ordinary and just asking her,” Elijah said.

    OMG THEY’RE SO CUTE, RIGHT? Please pass me a puking bucket.

    @deray #KendrickJohnson

    VIDEO: Cop Pulls Over Funeral Procession On L.A. Freeway for Going Too Slow. Even in mourning.

    Cellphone video captured an emotional dispute on the side of the 10 Freeway in the Mid-City area last Friday between members of a funeral procession and a California Highway Patrol Officer who pulled them over.
    A uniformed traffic escort was leading a motorcade of about 100 cars to Forest Lawn Cemetery in the Hollywood Hills to bury family matriarch Sandra Louise Behn-Capel when they were stopped for traveling too slow on the freeway, according to Behn-Capel’s daughter Rachel Behn-Humphrey.
    She claimed the actions of the CHP officer were outrageous and showed no compassion.
    On behalf of the law-enforcement agency, the sergeant offered his sympathies to Behn-Capel’s grieving loved ones.
    “The California Highway Patrol would like to extend condolences to the the family for their loss,” he said.
    The deceased woman’s daughter said the traffic stop delayed the family’s arrival at the cemetery by more than an hour.
    “It exceeds the bounds of all human decency,” said family attorney Edward Ramsey. “An officer has the discretion to stop or not stop a funeral procession. If it was me, I would have probably escorted this procession to the burial.”

    Missouri lawmakers set aside dozens of Ferguson-inspired bills

    Missouri’s legislative session began with hundreds of protesters shutting down the Senate, demanding changes to state law in response to the fatal shooting of Michael Brown by a Ferguson police officer.
    It ended Friday with the Senate again shut down — this time because of partisan divisions — and without action on a Ferguson-inspired bill that would have rewritten the laws on police use of deadly force.

    All told, more than 60 Ferguson-related measures were introduced this session.
    Though a measure, propelled by concerns in Ferguson, was passed limiting the powers and revenues of municipal courts, as was one rewriting the state’s student transfer laws that some said would aid families in the St. Louis suburb, some legislators said they had failed to pass anything meaningful directly in response to Brown’s death.
    ‘‘We don’t have one piece of legislation that anyone here in this body can go home and say, hey, we did this for Ferguson,’’ Representative Clem Smith, a Democrat, said. ‘‘As it was this summer . . . it still is today. Nothing has changed.’’
    Brown, a black 18-year-old, was fatally shot Aug. 9 by white Ferguson officer Darren Wilson — an event that touched off protests in the St. Louis area and across the nation. But a grand jury declined to charge Wilson and a US Justice Department report determined Wilson acted in self-defense.
    A separate Justice Department report criticized Ferguson’s law enforcement for racial bias and using its courts to generate revenue. In response, the Legislature passed a bill capping traffic fines, eliminating warrants for a failure to appear, and limiting detainment for minor traffic violations.
    Governor Jay Nixon praised the bill as a ‘‘significant piece of legislation — one that will have a lot of effects for a lot of years.’’ He has not signed the bill.
    Both the transfer and municipal court bills ‘‘were spurred out of concerns surrounding the events in Ferguson,’’ said House Speaker Todd Richardson, a Republican.
    Some Democratic senators said the transfer measure, which allows students to change schools within their districts and expands charter and virtual school options, would help address systemic education issues in poor minority communities.

    Obama to Limit Military-Style Equipment for Police Forces. I have a feeling that most of the horse is already out of that stable, but hey! Pray tell, what are the limits?

    President Obama on Monday will ban the federal provision of some types of military-style equipment to local police departments and sharply restrict the availability of others, administration officials said.
    The ban is part of Mr. Obama’s push to ease tensions between law enforcement and minority communities in reaction to the crises in Baltimore; Ferguson, Mo.; and other cities.
    He is taking the action after a task force he created in January decided that police departments should be barred from using federal funds to acquire items that include tracked armored vehicles, the highest-caliber firearms and ammunition, and camouflage uniforms. The ban is part of a series of steps the president has made to try to build trust between law enforcement organizations and the citizens they are charged with protecting.
    Mr. Obama planned to promote the effort on Monday during a visit to Camden, N.J. The city, racked by poverty and crime, has become a national model for better relations between the police and citizens after replacing its beleaguered police force with a county-run system that prioritizes community ties.
    Mr. Obama is expected to hold up Camden as a counterpoint to places like Ferguson, where the killing of a young black man by a white police officer last summer and the violent protests that followed exposed long-simmering hostility between law enforcement agencies and minorities in cities around the country.
    The trip and the action on military-style equipment are to coincide with the release on Monday of a report from a policing task force that Mr. Obama formed late last year in response to the crisis in Ferguson. The 116-page report calls for law enforcement agencies to “embrace a guardian — rather than a warrior — mind-set to build trust and legitimacy both within agencies and with the public.” It contains dozens of recommendations for agencies throughout the country.
    “We are, without a doubt, sitting at a defining moment in American policing,” Ronald L. Davis, the director of the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services at the Department of Justice, told reporters in a conference call organized by the White House. “We have a unique opportunity to redefine policing in our democracy, to ensure that public safety becomes more than the absence of crime, but it must also include a presence for justice.” […]

    “The idea is to make sure that we strike a balance in providing the equipment, which is appropriate and useful and important for local law enforcement agencies to keep the community safe, while at the same time putting standards in place,” said Cecilia Muñoz, the director of Mr. Obama’s Domestic Policy Council.
    The report to be released on Monday represents a two-pronged response to a problem that has emerged as a central predicament for Mr. Obama in recent months. He has struggled to acknowledge the sense of fear, grievance and victimization by the police that dominates many minority communities without seeming to forgive violence or condemn law enforcement with a broad brush.
    In doing so, he is grappling with the limits of his power to force changes in police departments around the country, where practices and procedures are varied and the federal government’s ability to influence change can be minimal. The equipment task force stems from an executive order, and its conclusions affect only the material supplied by the federal government, while the policing recommendations are merely a blueprint for what Mr. Obama would like to see happen in jurisdictions throughout the country.
    Mr. Obama on Monday will announce $163 million in grants to encourage police departments to adopt the suggestions. The administration also will launch a “tool kit” for the use of body-worn cameras; the Justice Department created a grant program for law enforcement agencies to purchase them.
    Ms. Muñoz said the task force’s report was “not just a blueprint for us and for local law enforcement agencies, but also for community leaders and others and stakeholders,” giving them “some very specific things to be asking for and, frankly, insisting on in order to improve policing practices.”
    That is why Mr. Obama made plans to visit Camden, where he wants to highlight a policing model that emphasizes a collaborative approach. Camden is also one of 20 cities participating in a new White House initiative to enhance the use of police data, by releasing detailed information on such things as traffic stops, officer-involved shootings and the use of force.

    And here’s a downer: This Student Who Got into All 8 Ivies Didn’t Go For the Most Depressing Reason. You can probably guess.

    High school senior Ronald Nelson had a pretty enviable decision to make during college admission season this year.
    The star student of Houston High School in Memphis, Tennessee, scored entry into all eight of America’s prestigious Ivy League schools. Nelson was certainly qualified, graduating with a 4.58 weighted GPA, a 2260 out of 2400 SAT score and 15 AP classes. He was also a national merit scholar and president of his high school class, Business Insider reports, along with being a state-recognized alto saxophone player.

    Nelson, however, decided to forgo the big-name schools in favor of the University of Alabama. The reason, he said, came down to cost. While the big-name schools all offered Nelson some form of aid, none of it was remotely close to what he needed to get through all four years without taking loans. Alabama, in contrast, offered Nelson a full ride to the school as well as entry into the university’s prestigious honors programs.
    “With people being in debt for years and years, it wasn’t a burden that Ronald wanted to take on and it wasn’t a burden that we wanted to deal with for a number of years after undergraduate,” Nelson’s father, Ronald Sr., told Business Insider. Instead, the family is eager to save resources for the even more crippling costs of medical school, which Ronald plans to attend down the road.
    Loans. Stories like Nelson’s are becoming more common as America’s most prestigious schools continue to grow financially out of reach for more and more students. Over the last 40 years, college expenses have been rising at a breathtaking pace. Since 1978, college costs have skyrocketed more than 1,100%. Today, the ten most expensive colleges in the United States all cost more than $60,000 a year. Predictably too, student loan debt has been growing in America every year since at least 1992, reaching more than $35,000 per average borrower in 2014.

    The ballooning costs add further weight to questions about the relative value of attending other prestigious academic institutions. In a host of other metrics measured by the data company PayScale, less well-known colleges like the Oregon Institute of Technology and Brigham Young University performed better than Harvard and Yale in their return on investment to students. 
    It seems increasingly clear something is going to have to change in the way Americans go to college. While Nelson will certainly be fine, eminently qualified students like him shouldn’t be forced into backbreaking loans. For America to retain its preeminent place in the world, its young people can’t start off their professional lives mired in debt.

    I mean just wow. The opportunity, and to be shut down like that… Tuition in Canada was bad enough back in my day.
    I note he wasn’t offered any scholarships, though – are those only sports-based or is there some additional criteria for which he may not have qualified?

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    A former undercover agent explains what’s behind the Waco biker gang shootout. Too many Clint Eastwood westerns, judging from the headline. Plus some white privilege and white supremacy (I thought I grabbed some, but didn’t find them, but many of those bikers had Nazi tattoos).

    Assault on Justice, with audio.

    The charge of assaulting a police officer, which is meant to shield police from danger, also can be used as a tactic against citizens.
    […]

    Wiggling while handcuffed. Bracing one hand on the steering wheel during the arrest. Yelling at an officer.
    All these actions have led to people being prosecuted for “assaulting a police officer” in Washington, D.C., where the offense is defined as including not just physical assault but also “resisting, opposing, impeding, intimidating or interfering” with law enforcement.
    A five-month investigation by WAMU 88.5 News and the Investigative Reporting Workshop at American University — and co-produced by Reveal — documented and analyzed nearly 2,000 cases with charges of assaulting a police officer. The results raise concerns about the use or overuse of the charge. Some defense attorneys see troubling indicators in these numbers, alleging that the law is being used as a tactic to cover up police abuse and civil-rights violations. Police sources contend that this perspective overemphasizes troubling but rare incidents, and fails to account for the dangers police face on the job.
    However, as protests and rioting have exploded across the county in response to police conduct, even Cathy Lanier, the chief of police in the nation’s capital, is urging lawmakers to revise the statute because its broad application “naturally causes tensions between police and residents.” […]

    A team of researchers and reporters analyzed thousands of court records from 2012 through 2014, including charging documents, case summaries and police affidavits.
    The investigation found:
    Ninety percent of those charged with assaulting a police officer (APO) were black, although black residents comprise only half of the city’s population.
    Nearly two-thirds of those arrested for assaulting an officer weren’t charged with any other crime, raising questions about whether police had legal justification to stop the person.
    About 1 in 4 people charged with a misdemeanor for assaulting a police officer required medical attention after their arrest, a higher rate than the 1 in 5 officers reporting injury from the interactions.
    The District uses the charge of assaulting a police officer almost three times more than cities of comparable size, according to a 2013 FBI report and Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) numbers.
    Prosecutors declined to press charges in more than 40 percent of the arrests for assaulting an officer.
    D.C. Council member Mary Cheh proposed a crime bill two weeks ago that includes a measure to narrow the “assaulting a police officer” statute. After being briefed on the results of this investigation, Cheh felt moved to explore the possibility of emergency legislation.
    “Having the benefit of the research … and given the consequences … there may be some interim step that we on the Council can do,” she said in an interview. “I could pass that reform on an emergency basis so that it could go into effect far more quickly.”
    […]

    A defendant arrested for assaulting an officer generally faces a monumental challenge defeating the charge, even when the judge believes the person behaved reasonably under the circumstances.
    Emanual Wilson was tackled and arrested for assaulting an officer the moment he stepped out of a car during a traffic stop. The police were arresting his pregnant girlfriend for driving with a suspended license. Wilson couldn’t see what the police were doing but could hear his girlfriend yelling that she was pregnant and not to touch her.
    Wilson testified that he was acting on instinct to protect his unborn child and girlfriend. Judge Harold Cushenberry agreed. At the trial, he said, “You had a normal human reaction.”
    But that reaction was also technically interference, so Cushenberry had to convict Wilson of assaulting the police. The judge concluded Wilson’s trial by saying, “Good luck to you. I’m sorry this happened.”
    Because the APO statute includes interference as one element under its broad umbrella, Wilson now has a criminal record with the violent connotations of “assaulting a police officer,” which can negatively impact future employment prospects, security clearances, home loans or anything that requires a criminal background check.
    “The real horror about the assault on a police officer statute is that we have thousands of people in our community who are now facing lifelong consequences for what really is harmless conduct,” said Patrice Sulton, a criminal defense attorney who frequently assists the District branch of the NAACP. […]

    Neighborhoods subjected to a stronger police presence inevitably have a greater frequency of interactions, which has led to an unequal distribution of arrests. A 2013 report by the Washington Lawyers’ Committee found that black people represented eight in 10 of all those arrested in the District. The WAMU-IRW investigation found an even larger disparity in cases of assaulting police officer: 90 percent of those charged from 2012 through 2014 were black.
    “This should be an early warning system for the agency,” said Geoffrey P. Alpert, professor of criminology at the University of South Carolina and an expert on police violence. “It tells you something is wrong and they need to figure what is going on…. The statistics, the patterns, the practices, just don’t look right.”

    However, Burton, the head of the police union, doesn’t believe that the APO statistics reveal bias or discriminatory policing: “The reality is that the numbers reflect the people involved in that type of crime. It’s just that simple.”
    The police department, in a statement, said the issue of racial disparity in crime statistics is complex but “researchers generally agree that simply benchmarking arrest rates against a demographic proportion is not a reliable indicator of bias.”
    One place where the police presence is heavy, the economically depressed Trinidad neighborhood in Northeast D.C., also appears to have a higher prevalence of APO charges. Some residents say they are collectively viewed and treated as criminals by police.
    “They think we are the bad guys, but we’re not,” said Antonio Bates, a resident of the neighborhood who had his own experience with APO charges.
    […]

    During the three-year period of cases examined, nearly two-thirds of those arrested for assaulting a police officer weren’t charged with any other crimes. That statistic marked a red flag to more than a half-dozen criminal defense attorneys interviewed for this project.
    “That tells you a lot: That there is no other crime being committed,” said Copacino of Georgetown. “The police, they’re probably stopping or detaining people where there is no justification for doing so, and any resistance to that becomes grounds to an arrest.”
    He added that the charge can be deployed to sidestep the Fourth Amendment, which prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures: “It turns a bad stop into a legitimate arrest that [the police] can then use to justify whatever they find in the course of that stop, be it guns, drugs, knives, whatever.”
    However, Burton, head of the police union, disagrees with the conclusions of defense attorneys.
    “To look at some cold numbers and conclude, ‘Well, this is troubling,’ in my view, tells me they are making some type of political statement,” he said.
    Lanier said cases with only an assault charge don’t necessarily indicate a problem: “Interactions with enforcement in a lot of different community environments —interactions with people with mental health issues — that can lead to a confrontation, and there’d be no other charge. That just goes to show that there are certain interactions with police that we want to limit. If it doesn’t need a police officer, we don’t want a police officer doing it.”
    Burton said the number of people getting arrested for assaulting an officer reflects the reality of police work in Washington: “It’s a very, very tough place to work. You are working [around] people who … hate the police and will fight the police every chance they get. And every chance they get to injure a police officer, they will take it.”
    Forty percent of those arrested for assaulting a police officer from 2012 through 2014 had those charges “no papered,” meaning that they were arrested and booked by the police but prosecutors did not formally file charges.
    In a statement to WAMU, the U.S. Attorney’s Office, which prosecutes most local criminal cases in the District, said it does not pursue charges that can’t be proven beyond a reasonable doubt: “When charges are declined, this does not necessarily mean that the conduct did not take place, and that police were not justified in making an arrest, but rather that we have determined that we cannot meet the burden of proof.”

    The article doesn’t end there, and it is a lot of information. But wow. Also, the research shows what black people have probably been saying for years – and I sincerely hope that there will be emergency action.

    Texas Austin American-Statesman (@statesman) covers. Left: #TwinPeaksShooting Right: #BaltimoreUprising

    And The Atlantic calls it what it is: The Texas Biker-Gang Massacre.

    And you have to read the tweet within to get this: Really? But, they smear the victims of police shootings before the are buried. #WacoThugs Though you can probably guess.

    Reporting on Waco biker gang killings reveals disparities in news coverage

    Nine people have died after a shootout between rival motorcycle gangs in Waco on Sunday, when gunfire erupted in the parking lot of a Twin Peaks restaurant in the central Texas city.

    I use the terms “shootout” and “gunfire erupted” after reading numerous eyewitness reports, local news coverage and national stories about the “incident,” which has been described with a whole host of phrases already. None, however, are quite as familiar as another term that’s been used to describe similarly chaotic events in the news of late: “Riot.”
    Of course, the deadly shootout in Texas was exactly that: A shootout. The rival gangs were not engaged in a demonstration or protest and they were predominantly white, which means that — despite the fact that dozens of people engaged in acts of obscene violence — they did not “riot,” as far as much of the media is concerned. “Riots” are reserved for communities of color in protest, whether they organize violently or not, and the “thuggishness” of those involved is debatable. That doesn’t seem to be the case in Texas.
    A riot is not simply a demonstration against police brutality. It can also be what happens when scores of hostile white people open gunfire in a parking lot. And when that happens, it can be described as anything but a “riot.”
    Here are some synonyms different outlets, as well as law enforcement officials, came up with:
    CNN:
    melee
    ruckus
    fracas
    brawl
    fistfight
    brouhaha
    “issues”
    trouble
    chaos
    New York Times:
    shootout
    chaos
    fight
    confrontation
    problems
    Waco Tribune:
    shootout
    altercation
    biker gang shooting
    incident
    “What happened here today” (Police Sgt. W. Patrick Swanton)
    “gun fights” (Swanton)
    melee (Swanton)
    scuffles and disturbances (on the issue of related violence around the city)
    very dangerous, hostile criminal biker gangs (Swanton)
    something akin to a war zone
    KWTX:
    turned a local restaurant into a shooting gallery
    a rival motorcycle gang fight
    melee
    absolute chaos (Swanton)
    a situation like happened Sunday afternoon

  9. rq says

    A rightwinger said the police were not more forceful with the “bikers” because they were not looting. Neither was Tamir Rice.

    What the Response to Waco Says About How We Treat White vs. Black Criminals – turns out, there’s a lot of comparative analysis going on out there. Will it bring enlightenment?

    A shootout between biker gangs outside of a restaurant in Waco, Texas, on Sunday has resulted in the deaths of at least nine people, with 18 people injured. As of today, more than 165 members of several rival gangs have been arrested or jailed in connection to the shooting, according to KWTX. 
    Although Waco Police Department spokesman Sgt. Patrick Swanton described the massive shootout as “the worst crime scene, the most violent crime scene, that [he has] ever been involved in” during a press conference on Sunday, one photo taken after the event depicts a seemingly relaxed interaction between police and gang members, who appear to be mostly white. 
    The photo contrasts sharply with those taken in the aftermath of police violence in places like Baltimore and Ferguson, leading some to question the extent to which the police and media respond differently to white and non-white potential suspects.
    At Judd Legum points out at ThinkProgress, some commentators have noted the photo appears to depict “a remarkably casual treatment of individuals who could be potential suspects for mass murder. No one is handcuffed and several people appear to have access to their cell phones.”
    The images of comparatively calm police and civilian engagement in Waco is strikingly different than those captured during the Ferguson protests and the Baltimore uprising, where protesters were met with tear gas, rubber bullets and police and National Guard officers in riot gear and armored vehicles. 
    In Baltimore, droves of police sequestered specific areas in black neighborhoods as if they were preparing for battle. 
    According to ThinkProgress, gang members in Waco had reportedly shot at police upon their arrival. Yet the Waco crime scene looked relatively at ease in the aftermath of the shootout.
    While these images may not yet tell the whole story, they reveal a certain hypocrisy in police and media responses to violence when it primarily involves white people:
    The police didn’t don riot gear. 
    Despite law enforcement’s apparent foreknowledge of the impending gang clash, officers did not don the militarized riot gear seen in spaces across the country where mostly black groups have been protesting against police brutality. 
    The media didn’t call the bikers “thugs.” 
    The incendiary commentary that typically follows mass violence in the U.S. was largely missing from the media narratives following the Waco shootout as well; dismissive descriptors and causal factors often used to describe violent encounters involving black people were virtually nonexistent.
    After the shootout, for example, many media outlets referenced suspects and participants in the melee as “members of the motorcycle club” and “bikers.” Unlike in Baltimore, local and federal elected officials did not host press conferences where Waco suspects were referred to as “thugs.”
    Leather jackets and and rock music weren’t blamed.
    There aren’t any detailed think pieces commenting on the various forms of cultural pathology inherent in bike culture surfacing on the Internet, either. Pundits like Bill Maher have yet to connect country or rock music to the violent behaviors of the Waco shooting suspects (something Maher attempted when interviewing rapper Killer Mike about hip hop and violence on Real Time With Bill Maher in May). Leather motorcycle jackets and tattoos haven’t been cited as potentially problematic aspects of biker culture. 
    Contrast this with the sartorial chooses of young black people, like donning hoodies and sagging pants, being frequently highlighted as evidence of black youths’ lack of ethics. 
    There was no hand-wringing over “white on white” crime.
    The shooting was also not characterized as another example of “white on white” crime. In fact, the lack of focus on the race of the suspects suggests the public still believes whiteness is incidental, whereas black people are exceptionally criminal. “American discourse on crime is deeply politicized and influenced by racial and class bias. ‘Crime’ is synonymous with ‘black.'” Adam Hudson wrote at AlterNet. If that is the case, “white” is seemingly synonymous to lawful. 
    Parents weren’t blamed for the bikers’ behavior.
    Finally, unlike during the response to Baltimore, there is no talk of absent fathers nor bad mothers causing the violence in Waco. 
    While much has yet to be revealed regarding the specific details of the Waco shooting, including the names of those arrested, this incident uncovers the potential extreme hypocrisy at the root of both American policing and media coverage of crime.

    Motorcycle. Club. Culture.

    The #Wagner4 were suspended last week over a fashion statement, some possibly won’t walk @ graduation.

    https://twitter.com/deray/status/600400318115876866

  10. Pteryxx says

    Thanks for the new thread PZ. (This one should run out a few weeks after the one-year anniversary of Mike Brown’s death in a little town outside St. Louis that almost nobody had heard of.)

  11. rq says

    I see paragraph breaks cut-and-paste rather funny. Sorry ’bout that.

    +++

    Remember that guy, VonDerrit Myers? Got shot after buying a sandwich because he reached for his waistband, by an off-duty cop working his security job? No charges against St. Louis officer who killed VonDerrit Myers

    St. Louis Circuit Attorney Jennifer Joyce announced Monday that no charges will be filed against the city police officer who shot and killed VonDerrit Myers Jr.
    Joyce issued a press release and a report detailing an investigation her office conducted separately from police. An assistant U.S. attorney helped with the investigation.
    Joyce did not name the officer in a 51-page report because he was not charged with a crime, but Police Chief Sam Dotson released a separate statement including the name of Officer Jason Flanery, which had become public months ago anyway.
    The prosecutor’s report on the Oct. 8 shooting reads, in part, “Given all the available facts, witness statements, physical and forensic evidence” prosecutors “have determined a criminal violation could not be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. Therefore, charges will not be filed in this case.”
    The material Joyce released suggested, in fact, that Flanery, 31, was attacked and shot Myers, 18, in self-defense while on patrol that night for a private residents’ association in the Shaw neighborhood. The encounter occurred about 7:30 p.m. in the 4100 block of Shaw Boulevard.
    But it did cast a new light on the beginnings of the incident, which Flanery had told investigators started when three youths ran from his marked security car, one of them holding his hand against his body as if securing a gun. The officer did not catch them, and approached Myers shortly later, believing it was the same person.
    But Myers was wearing a GPS monitor on his ankle as a condition of his bail on charges from June 27 of unlawful use of a weapon and resisting arrest. “Based on this GPS information, it appears Myers was not the person Officer X was chasing…” the prosecutor’s report says.
    It puts Myers at the Shaw Market, where he also is seen on video, and then going home briefly, where acquaintances said they went for jackets.
    But the officer did have reason to suspect from Myers’ behavior in their encounter that he was armed, the report says, and after they struggled had “probable cause to give chase.” It was during the foot pursuit, officials said, that Myers fired at least three shots before Flanery returned fire. Flanery was not hit.
    Flanery declined to be interviewed separately for Joyce’s investigation, so his part of it was based on statements he made earlier to police investigators.
    The circumstances of the killing of Myers, who was black, by Flanery, who is white, drew angry protests as it occurred just two months after international attention focused on the killing of Michael Brown, who was black, by a white Ferguson officer Aug. 9.
    An attorney for the Myers family, Jerryl Christmas, challenged Joyce’s report Monday and said he is close to filing a wrongful-death lawsuit on their behalf.
    “Jason Flanery should have been charged with murder,” Christmas said. “The killing of VonDerrit was the same situation as the Walter Scott killing with the exception that (Myers’ shooting) was not on video.” He was referring to the killing of an unarmed man who fled a South Carolina officer, who was charged with murder.
    “I don’t believe for a minute that VonDerrit had a weapon,” Christmas said. “Flanery threw that gun down on him just like they threw that stun gun down on Walter Scott in South Carolina.” The lawyer claimed a private autopsy showed that Myers was shot in the back while fleeing and fatally in the head as he lay wounded on the ground.

    There’s more at the link.

    And from the attorneys, Prosecutors release findings in SLMPD officer-involved shooting death of VonDerrit Myers, Jr.

    Based upon the investigation, prosecutors concluded that Mr. Myers produced a firearm on the evening in question.
     
    Multiple witnesses confirm there was gunfire coming from both directions and from two different guns at the scene. Ballistics evidence confirms that two different guns were fired at the scene. There is no evidence that Officer X (prosecutors are not naming the officer because charges have not been filed) was the person who fired both guns. No witness claims to have seen Officer X alter evidence in any way, such as throw down a gun, fire a weapon in any direction other than towards Mr. Myers or scatter bullet casings. Additionally, there are witnesses that describe how Mr. Myers illegally came into possession of the Smith and Wesson firearm used in this matter.
     
    Given the fact that Mr. Myers produced a weapon, Missouri laws pertaining to self-defense and an officer’s use of deadly force apply. Given all the available facts, witness statements, physical and forensic evidence and for reasons outlined in the detailed report, prosecutors have determined a criminal violation could not be proven beyond a reasonable doubt.
     
    “This is a tragic situation for our entire community, and my thoughts and prayers remain with the Myers family. I know their loss is heartbreaking,” said Circuit Attorney Joyce. “I want to express my appreciation to the community for its patience. This is a challenging time for law enforcement across the country, and I believe in the power of the community and law enforcement working together to keep our community safe.”
     
    Joyce has been vocal in her position that officer-involved shootings that result in injury or death receive a secondary, independent review to ensure the actions of police are lawful.
     
    “Prosecutors in my office have worked diligently to review the facts of this matter,” she said. “We appreciate the cooperation of the many witnesses we interviewed in our investigation. As with all criminal investigations, the assistance of the public is essential.” 
     
    Prosecutors reviewed all available evidence, including but not limited to, ballistics analysis, physical and forensic evidence and autopsy reports. They conducted multiple interviews with people claiming to have specific knowledge of the events.
     
    Prosecutors attempted to interview several other key witnesses, including the officer and three people who were with Mr. Myers that night. Through their lawyers, they each declined to be interviewed.
     
    Prosecutors will not make comments regarding the efficacy of police policies, procedures, training or other aspects of police conduct outside of the laws of the State of Missouri. Additionally, the findings of this office bear no weight on potential disciplinary or civil litigation in these matters.
     
    In the interest of openness and transparency, the CAO has provided selected crime scene photos, created renderings of the scene and autopsy report conclusions and included in the report additional items for an appendix so the public can best understand the basis for the CAO’s conclusion. Questions regarding any other source documents or materials relative to the investigation should be directed to the SLMPD.

    You can also read the full report at the link.

    @deray Again, prosecutor says “beyond reasonable doubt” in declining charges, when he knows all he needs is probable cause.

    Via Mano, Texas gang warfare.

    More gang members are now reported to be heading to Waco and are now not only threatening revenge against rival gangs, they have also reportedly issued a call to kill anyone in uniform and even threatened hospital staff. […]

    I am sure that Fox News will have exhaustive discussions around the clock on the problem of white-on-white violence, the problem of gang culture in the white community, and ask where the parents of these gang members are and why they did not raise their children properly.
    The discussions should start any minute now.

    No, really – where’s the national guard? The state of emergency?

    And here’s a bit of WTF: School calls police over pupil’s ‘sword’ ruler

    Two days earlier, she’d gone into school to meet with the head teacher following complaints Kyron had used a broken ruler in the playground as a weapon.
    During the meeting, Ms Bradley, a carer, said her son, a Year 4 pupil, explained he had been playing a chasing game with two other boys involving pretend swords.
    She said: “We explained to my son it was a stupid game to play as he could have fallen with the ruler.
    “He cried but he understood.”

    Ms Bradley said she thought the matter was closed following the initial meeting with the headteacher until she was told the police had been asked to speak with Kyron on April 29.
    She added: “I had already dealt with him myself. Why the police were involved I haven’t a clue.
    “I was so disgusted with the way he was being dealt with I burst out crying.

    “I am quite a strict parent.
    “I am not saying my child is an angel but he has never been in trouble for anything more than being a bit chatty.”

    Parent deals with child, police are still called. WTF?

    Petition: Justice for 7 year old Aiyana Stanley-Jones

    Please help bring the killer cop of this innocent 7 year old child to justice.
    Five years ago, while executing a “no-knock” raid after midnight on a duplex in Detroit in an attempt to find a murder suspect (and in a supposed attempt to show off for the A&E TV show “The First 48,”) Detroit Police threw a flash bang grenade into the residence and kicked down the unlocked front door despite warnings from neighbors there were children present. The grenade landed so close to Aiyana, who was sleeping on the couch, that it burned her blanket. As officers entered a single fatal shot was fired that struck Aiyana Stanley-Jones in the head. 
    All charges against her killer have been dismissed.

  12. rq says

    See some examples of police bigotry while at work:
    In Dayton, OH, which is 42% black, the captain of the sheriff’s department, a 20 year veteran said this: (He hates n*gg*rs.)
    Ferguson Police Officers, including the CAPTAIN, and Darren Wilson’s supervisor sent these, but racism isn’t real? (Ferguson racist emails we’ve already seen.)
    Ft. Lauderdale Police exchanged these texts w/ one another on “killing n*gg*rs”.
    ‘What do apples and black people have in common? They both hang from trees.’ THIS IS A QUOTE from Dayton Police. They’re STILL ON THE FORCE
    Baton Rouge Police. I wish someone would pull a Ferguson on them and take them out. I hate those African monkeys. (Those second two sentences are quoted from the police.)

    US cracking down on ‘militarization’ of local police

    The federal government will no longer provide heavy military equipment like tanks and grenade launchers to local cops following weeks of backlash against officers who confronted protesters in Ferguson, Missouri, in armored vehicles and camouflage last year, President Barack Obama will announce Monday.
    And if they want other, less-imposing military equipment, local law enforcement agencies will have to submit to stringent federal oversight and restrictions, according to guidelines Obama will outline during a visit to discuss police reform in Camden, New Jersey, for years one of the most dangerous cities in America.
    A White House official told NBC News that the Justice Department is seeking to strike a balance by making only appropriate equipment available, and with clear operating standards, training and safety procedures.
    The measures are the followup to an executive measure Obama issued in January to crack down on the intimidating image presented by local agencies patrolling the streets bristling with advanced military weaponry.
    The controversy was fueled when Ferguson police took to the streets in camouflage with military gear after the police shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown, who was unarmed. But complaints about paramilitary-style equipping of local police have been widespread at least since protests over the World Trade Organization exploded into riots in Seattle in 1999.
    Local law enforcement agencies have been eligible to receive surplus military equipment through a Defense Department program enacted in 1997.
    The equipment that’s being banned Monday includes tanks and other tracked armored vehicles, weaponized aircraft and vehicles, firearms and ammunition measuring .50-caliber and larger, grenade launchers and bayonets, the Justice Department said.
    Restrictions and conditions will be put on other types of equipment — including armored tactical vehicles like those used in Ferguson, as well as many types of firearms, ammunition and explosives.
    The conditions are likely to rankle some local agencies.
    Besides having to give the feds a “clear and persuasive explanation of the need for the controlled equipment,” local law enforcement agencies won’t be eligible unless they’ve adopted what are known as General Policing Standards. Those include so-called community policing programs, with foot cops on the beat interacting with the public and regular consultation with community groups — a different approach from the “zero tolerance” policies adopted in recent years by many big-city police agencies.

    And hey, let’s throw in some workshops on racism, too.

  13. rq says

    There was that advisor who called waiting in a waiting room harrassment. Students have taken action:
    Students r tired of advisors not giving them the academic support they need. @kennesawstate #ItsBiggerThanKSU @deray
    @IamKB_ and #ItsBiggerThanKSU team submit demands to the @kennesawstate administration . #AbbyDawson . (In short, an apology; statistics on advisor numbers; survey of student experience with advisors; meeting with specific people (listed); sensitivity and interpersonal communication training; clarification on walk-in hours in Advising Centres.)
    #ItsBiggerThanKSU

    Launching the Police Data Initiative

    Today, the President is in Camden to talk about the promising progress that city is making in enhancing community policing. Last December, President Obama launched the Task Force on 21st Century Policing to better understand specific policing challenges and help communities identify actions they can take to improve law enforcement and enhance community engagement. Since that time, we have seen law enforcement agencies around the country working harder than ever to make the promise of community policing real.
    Many of the Task Force’s recommendations emphasize the opportunity for departments to better use data and technology to build community trust. As a response, the White House has launched the Police Data Initiative, which has mobilized 21 leading jurisdictions across the country to take fast action on concrete deliverables responding to these Task Force recommendations in the area of data and technology. Camden is one such jurisdiction. 
    By finding innovative work already underway in these diverse communities and bringing their leaders together with top technologists, researchers, data scientists and design experts, the Police Data Initiative is helping accelerate progress around data transparency and analysis, toward the goal of increased trust and impact. Through the Initiative, key stakeholders are establishing a community of practice that will allow for knowledge sharing, community-sourced problem solving, and the establishment of documented best practices that can serve as examples for police departments nationwide.
    Like many police departments, Camden wants to use smarter, more data-driven ways of improving community policing efforts and reducing uses of force. However, challenges with technology systems often get in the way. For instance, the Camden County PD cobbles together 41 systems that have individual value but are not designed to work together, requiring their beat officers to enter the same data multiple times. In this environment, meaningful data analysis ends up being extremely difficult to conduct, requiring analysts to spend more time on extracting the data than on critical analysis.
    The President’s Police Data Initiative has assembled a volunteer team of technology experts who are also in Camden today. The team will spend two days in Camden on a design sprint, engaging directly with front line officers, detectives, crime analysts and department leadership to help envision what a truly effective technology system could look like. The two-day deployment will help the team consider best practices and address specific technology questions as they arise, enabling departments like Camden to find the solutions that most fit their needs.
    By upgrading its technology practices, the Camden County PD will have more efficient data supply chains, and will be better positioned to use that data to improve its internal operations and to identify and solve policing problems in a more timely manner. The lessons learned in Camden can help law enforcement around the country both by example and also directly since some of the development work can be shared though open source best practice.
    Camden is just one of 21 communities currently participating in our Police Data Initiative. Through this effort, local police departments and other participants are responding first to Task Force recommendations within two streams of work:
    Using open data to increase transparency, build community trust, and support innovation
    Better using technology, such as early warning systems, to identify problems, increase internal accountability, and decrease inappropriate uses of force
    The effort has focused on specific actions law enforcement agencies can take to make progress in these two areas. The collaboration has generated multiple commitments to action and the White House is working with agencies and key enabling partners now to drive quick implementation.

    Interlude: Broadway! Hedwig Gets Her Groove Back! Taye Diggs is Broadway’s Next Hedwig and the Angry Inch Star

    Following speculation, it’s been confirmed that stage and screen star Taye Diggs will take over for Darren Criss in Hedwig and the Angry Inch. Diggs will assume the role of our favorite internationally ignored song stylist at Broadway’s Belasco Theatre on July 22 for a 12-week engagement. In addition to Criss, the show currently stars Rebecca Naomi Jones, who will continue in the role of Yitzhak.

    Hedwig will mark Diggs’ return to Broadway after nearly 12 years, when he briefly played the role of Fiyero in Wicked opposite his wife at the time Idina Menzel (the two separated in 2013). He has appeared in Rent and Chicago (he also appeared in the screen adaptations of both), as well as Carousel and off-Broadway’s The Wild Party. His screen credits include Private Practice, How Stella Got Her Groove Back, The Best Man and Brown Sugar. He is currently in production for the second season of Steven Bochco’s crime drama Murder in the First.

    Written by 2015 Tony honoree John Cameron Mitchell and Stephen Trask, Hedwig and the Angry Inch tells the story of a fictional rock ‘n’ roll band, fronted by Hedwig, a transgender woman from communist East Berlin. Between rock songs, Hedwig regales the audience with stories about her life, including her botched sex change operation. Trask’s score features “Tear Me Down,” “Wig in a Box,” “Wicked Little Town,” “The Origin of Love” and “Angry Inch.” Michael Mayer directs the Tony-winning production.

    Grapevine officer not charged in fatal shooting of Mexican immigrant

    A Tarrant County grand jury has declined to indict the Grapevine police officer who fatally shot an unarmed Mexican immigrant by the side of a Euless freeway in February.
    Officer Robert Clark, 33, shot Rubén García Villalpando, 31, on Feb. 20 after pursuing Garcia from the parking lot of a closed Grapevine business.
    Jim Lane, an attorney who represented Clark, said the grand jury made the right decision.
    “The only two things that soldiers and street cops can rely on is their instincts and their training,” Lane said. “When they don’t follow their instincts and their training, we end up going to that officer’s funeral. It’s always a tragedy when an officer takes a life. No one is ever sure what they could have done better. You have to take the facts as they are presented.”
    The officer did not know García was unarmed until afterward, Lane said.
    “One shove out in the middle of that traffic, and the officer could have been killed,” Lane said. “Our experts said Clark probably waited too long before using deadly force.”
    On Monday, shortly after announcing the grand jury’s decision, the Tarrant County district attorney’s office released a video of the encounter.
    It shows García walking slowly toward Clark, with his hands on his head. Clark repeatedly tells García to “get to the back of the car.” As García walks out of the frame of the dash-cam video, gunshots can be heard.
    “It has been very frustrating to listen to people mischaracterize this incident while our department honored the request of the Tarrant County district attorney not to release the video until it could be presented to the grand jury,” Grapevine Police Chief Eddie Salame said in a email.
    “The dash-cam video tells a very different story from the one the public has been hearing.”

  14. rq says

    A couple more, then I’ll let y’all catch up.

    +++

    ACLU on the militarization: War Comes Home

    All across the country, heavily armed SWAT teams are raiding people’s homes in the middle of the night, often just to search for drugs. It should enrage us that people have needlessly died during these raids, that pets have been shot, and that homes have been ravaged.
    Our neighborhoods are not warzones, and police officers should not be treating us like wartime enemies. Any yet, every year, billions of dollars’ worth of military equipment flows from the federal government to state and local police departments. Departments use these wartime weapons in everyday policing, especially to fight the wasteful and failed drug war, which has unfairly targeted people of color.
    As our new report makes clear, it’s time for American police to remember that they are supposed to protect and serve our communities, not wage war on the people who live in them.

    And yep, it’s from June 2014. So all the warning signs were there – Ferguson was just the practical application on a larger scale.

    New militarization recommendations a good first step, but we need action on surveillance purchases, too

    The new rules go beyond limiting what kinds of equipment different agencies may acquire using federal resources. They also require police departments to keep detailed records of how they use such equipment, and report it to the feds. Critically, the White House recommends that this information also be shared with the public.
    These recommendations, and a very promising new initiative from the White House pertaining to police data collection practices, constitute a big step in the right direction. But we can’t stop here. We need a corollary program to deal with the quiet but perilous expansion of the surveillance state through federal grant programs and joint task force operations. For the past decade plus, the feds have been buying hundreds of millions if not billions of dollars of surveillance equipment for state and local police departments, mostly without any public debate or scrutiny. License plate readers, stingray cell phone snooping tools, biometric technology, surveillance cameras, finger print readers, powerful intelligence databases, rapid DNA testing machines, and fusion centers deserve the same level of attention.
    With this White House executive order on police military gear acquisitions, we are getting closer to a formal reckoning vis a vis police militarization; we need to get to the same place concerning police spying. Bearcats and tanks in the streets are menacing to democracy, but so is omnipotent, high-tech surveillance. The police response to the Ferguson protests caused a national uproar about militarized cops. But those cops were probably using all manner of surveillance gear purchased with federal funds. Those technologies operate under cover of secrecy, making them perhaps even more dangerous than tanks. It’s time to pull the curtain back on this federal surveillance funding bonanza and begin to roll it back.

    @Nettaaaaaaaa @deray students are staging a #blackout wardrobe day to support. Please sign: Petition here: Wagner High drop the suspension and any other disciplinary actions against the Wagner Four

    Video captures police trying to illegally detain teenage girls, women rushing to their aid

    Police, apparently from the 30th precinct near West Harlem in New York City, attempted to illegally detain two teenage girls from the community. As you will see in the video below the fold, these young girls didn’t do anything wrong.
    At 6:08 in the video, all hell breaks loose.
    This is about as a bold of an example of witnesses courageously standing up to bad policing as you will ever see.

    Just wow.

    And here’s a pick-me-up: Video: Nicki Minaj feat. Beyoncé – ‘Feeling Myself’

    Pretty on fleek. Out of nowhere, Nicki Minaj has decided to bless us with the flawless video for “Feeling Myself” featuring Beyoncé. Queen Bey and Queen Nicki join forces in the quirky clip, which premiered on TIDAL. The BFFs hit the desert and look like they’re having tons of fun as they eat hamburgers, party at Coachella, and have a water gun fight. Plus, look for cameos from Vic Mensa and Hit-Boy.

    (Full video on, of course, Tidal.)

  15. rq says

    Shock value! Ala. Man Receives Death Threats for Removing Confederate Flags From Grave Sites

    Myron Penn, a prominent attorney in Union Springs, Ala., removed small Confederate flags that were placed at the grave sites of Confederate soldiers in a local cemetery, WSFA reports. As a result, he has drawn the ire of some locals.
    Penn explained why he felt compelled to remove the flags.
    “The reason why we picked them up is because the image of the flags in our community. A lot of people feel that they’re a symbol of divisiveness and oppression of many people in our community,” Penn told WSFA. “Especially with the history that that flag, and the connotation and negativism that it brings, I would think that no one in our community would have a problem with this or with my actions at all.”
    Some people from the community said that Penn disrespected the legacy of the Confederate soldiers by removing the emblem of their struggle.
    “It’s not about race or the flag or anything else. It’s about decency and respect for the dead. You don’t do stuff like that,” Rebecca Atkins, a Union Springs resident, said. “You got to give respect where it’s deserved, and those soldiers gave their lives just like any other soldier gives their lives. It’s nothing racial and it’s not about discrimination. You look at the person who served for our country, and that’s what matters.”
    Still, others supported Penn’s decision, especially appreciating the fact that Penn was motivated by his son to take his actions.
    “I just thought it was great when he did that. He said that he came up there with his little boy, and I thought it was absolutely great,” Tchernavia Blackmon, a Union Springs resident, said. “He did the right thing. I wish I had been out there to help him pick up the flags. He did a great job.”
    The mayor of Union Springs, Saint T. Thomas Jr., said that an outside group, not relatives or a city group, had come into town and placed the Confederate flags in the cemetery. Thomas said the group should have sought permission from the City Council before doing so.
    “They had no business putting them out in the first place,” the mayor said.
    For removing the Confederate flags, Penn has been getting death threats and hate mail, including calls that he be disbarred.

    So… they weren’t even flags original to the graves, placed by local families…

    I will be introducing a resolution this week to create a special committee to examine police-involved shootings.

    No charges filed in police shooting of VonDerrit Myers Jr., investigation differs with police on key points and raises case of mistaken identity. Basically, a case of ‘they all look the same’, and a person paid with his life.

    Don’t Answer That!

    San Francisco v. Sheehan had all the makings of a blockbuster Supreme Court case. It emerged from a horrifying tragedy: Two police officers repeatedly shot a mentally ill woman in her own home after she threatened them with a bread knife. It centered around a contentious question: whether police officers must take mental disability into account before using deadly force. It pointed toward a disturbing outcome: During oral arguments the court appeared poised to let cops kill belligerent disabled people so long as the cops could rustle up some plausible pretext.

    But on Monday the Sheehan saga ended anticlimactically. Rather than handing police officers an expanded right to shoot disabled people, the court swatted away the case. Although the justices granted qualified immunity to Sheehan’s shooters, they grudgingly dismissed the question of whether the Americans With Disabilities Act, or ADA, requires cops to “accommodate” mentally disabled people during police encounters. San Francisco, the court noted, dropped this question after the justices agreed to hear its case. And if San Francisco wouldn’t ask the question, the Supreme Court had no business answering it.

    This resolution may be bathetic—but it’s also a pretty big victory for disability rights advocates and for police accountability. The ADA instructs local governments to give “reasonable accommodations” to disabled people. Several federal appeals courts have found that police officers—who are, of course, government employees—aren’t exempt from this requirement, and must take care not to treat mentally ill people like violent offenders. (In Sheehan’s case, the officers might have recognized her threats as deranged rambling and resisted the urge to draw their guns.) Had the Supreme Court considered this question, it might well have ruled that the ADA did not apply to police confronting mentally ill people, and thus overturned previous rulings. San Francisco, by simply accepting the proposition that police should accommodate the mentally ill, removed it from the conservative justices’ crosshairs, leaving the ADA safe for another day.

    Baltimore Police Department Categorical Use of Force Review Board Findings, as pdf.

    Ohio Prosecutor Sends Out Letters Warning Residents About Legal Gun Protest Against Police Brutality.

  16. rq says

    Baltimore NAACP sends letter to @FOP3, accusing union of “subtly threatening” city’s female leaders & “making borderline racist statements” .

    White-On-White Crime Strikes Again In Waco, mostly for the headline.

    Following a spate of white-on-white violence over the weekend in Waco, Texas, that claimed nine lives and resulted in scores of casualties and over 190 arrests, there has been a marked lack of interest in talking about where the event fits into the epidemic of such white criminal behavior in the U.S. — despite the fact that every year, more white people are murdered by white people than by any other group.
    In recent years, a national pattern has begun to emerge in the wake of shootings in which a black man is killed by a white man. Of course the death is a tragedy, goes the narrative, but the dead man probably provoked the killing somehow — and more importantly, if you truly care about young black men, why aren’t you more concerned about black-on-black violence?
    The same pattern doesn’t hold even when white-on-white crime unfolds in full view of the nation, as it did in the parking lot of the Twin Peaks Restaurant on Sunday.
    Yet white-on-white crime should be a huge concern — because it’s out of control. Granted, there are 201 thugs off the streets for the time being, but what about the rest of them?
    Around 83 percent of white victims in 2011 were murdered by other whites, based on the most recent FBI homicide data.
    As many as 3,172 white people were killed in 2011 — and 2,630 of them lost their lives at the hands of another white person. This is compared to 2,695 black people, 2,447 of whom were killed by another black person.
    Whites lead when it comes to gang violence too: 53.3 percent of gang-related murders between 1980 and 2008 were committed by white people, according to the Justice Department, compared to 42.2 percent committed by blacks. Victims of gang-related violence were also mostly white.
    For HuffPost Black Voices, comedian Kerry Coddett asks some important questions about why such horrid violence plaguing the white community can’t be reeled in:

    In 2013, whites led all other groups in aggravated assault, larceny-theft, arson, weapons-carrying, and vandalism. When it comes to sexual assault, whites take the forcible rape cake. They are also more likely to kill children, the elderly, family members, their significant others, and even themselves! They commit more sex-related crimes, gang related crimes, and are more likely to kill at their places of employment. In 2013, an estimated 10,076 people died in the U.S. due to drunk driving crashes. Driving while drunk is almost exclusively a white crime because everyone knows black people prefer to drink on their porches or inside their homes.
    So why is white on white crime so prevalent, one may ask? Is it the music they listen to? Is it the white divorce rate, resulting in more white children coming from broken homes? Perhaps it’s the TV shows they watch or the violent sports they play. More than likely, it is a combination of all of those things, with the exact root cause unclear. What is clear, though, is that not enough people are talking about the crime plaguing the white community. We need to spread the word, holding protests and demonstrations that call attention to this growing matter. Because, after all — white lives matter, too.

    It’s time for a national conversation on how we can help these people alleviate crime rates in their community — I mean, where are the fathers? — and it’s time for responsible white Americans to step up and condemn the violence.

    They have since stripped the restaurant of its license. America. #TwinPeaksShooting (via @dailybeast) Mustabeen the alcohol. Or the food.
    Just heard this former Sheriff on CNN describing #WacoShooting as child’s game “King of the Hill”. Boys will be boys… White boys will be white boys, he means.

    Soldier who died in custody cried out: I can’t breathe, with video.

    Interlude: Hair! The hair styles that celebrate freedom: Colombian women remember the end of slavery with contest to create the most intricate and colourful braids

    There are very few hairdressing contests in the world that are as imaginative, or as steeped in culture and history as this one in Colombia.
    Everything from reels of colourful ribbon, to appliqué flowers and even wooden buttons, were incorporated into the striking hairstyles of the women and girls who turned up for the 11th Afro-hairdressers contest in Cali, Valle del Cauca, Colombia, this weekend.
    But while the intricate braidwork appeared colourful and vibrant, they held a poignant significance for those in attendance at the competition, named ‘Tejiendo Esperanzas’ (Knitting Hope).

    Check out the photos and video. Beautiful.

  17. rq says

    Final report of the President’s task force on 21st century policing available at the link.

    Even the BBC picked up on it: Would it have been different if the Waco bikers were black?

    After a shoot-out between rival biker gangs in Texas, civil rights activists are accusing police of double standards by comparing pictures of the scene with those of recent unrest in Baltimore and Ferguson.
    Nine people have died and 18 others have been injured in a motorcycle gang brawl outside a diner in the Texan city of Waco. In the aftermath of the violence, some activists have seized upon the relatively relaxed-looking police presence as seen in news agency pictures. Several of the arrested bikers – who mostly appear to be white – were allowed to sit alongside police without apparent being handcuffed. And some asked whether they would have been treated any differently if they had been black.
    “White Waco gang members that just killed 9 people v. a Black man walking home in Ferguson” wrote one user as she shared pictures of the bikers and demonstrators being targeted by police in Ferguson, Missouri in 2014. The images were picked up by black civil rights campaigners, and have been retweeted thousands of times.
    One of the most widely shared posts was put up by Josh Nelson, a communications adviser with the campaigning organisation Credo Action. – their website says that they “actively encourage” people to get involved in progressive campaigns.
    The most widely re-tweeted updates on the story are all in a similar vein, with the online conversation being dominated by civil rights activists who were involved in the Ferguson movement. Deray McKesson, the curator of the “We The Protesters” website, tweeted: “They’ve recovered at least 100 weapons from the Waco #TwinPeaksShooting scene. 100. The Nat’l Guard would be mobilized by now if, black.”
    “The news is describing the Waco biker gangs as an established part of American life. If they were black, they would all be thugs by now” he added in another tweet.

    Motorcycle club culture, indeed. So American. So deadly.

    Tangential, but interesting: http://b*tchmagazine.org/post/the-post-colonial-politics-of-game-of-thrones-feminism-race (correct link as appropriate) The Post-Colonial Politics of “Game of Thrones”.

    What the show really asks is, “What if white people had committed colonial-level horrors on other white people?” In other words, all the blood and boobs, rape and torture, are not just HBO gratuitousness, but an expression of how European colonizers treated their colonized subjects, masquerading as domestic high-fantasy in Belfast castles. 
    This isn’t to say that Europe in the Middle Ages wasn’t violent in the way Game of Thrones is violent. The Medieval era was certainly not all flowers and fairies for women, people of color, or poor people. Yet the relationships of power shown in the show derive from a style of violence more aligned with 18th century and modern imperialism’s dehumanization and exploitation.
    For instance, season three of Game of Thrones featured the controversial story arc of Daenerys Targaryen’s “White Woman’s Burden” of liberating the slaves around Essos, culminating in the questionable image of her crowd-surfing, a blonde, white center surrounded by dark bodies calling her “mother.”
    This season begins to critique her liberation campaign, pointing out the hypocrisies within Dany’s vision. She refuses to open the fighting pits in her anti-slavery stance, yet leaves her own dragons, her other “children,” in chains. She faces grassroots resistance from the rebellious group, the Sons of the Harpy, showing discontent with her and her council of (almost all) white dudes. No storyline more clearly outlines the relationship between “white people who think they mean well” and a population struggling to re-assert agency in problematic ways. You can draw parallels to when the British attempted to outlaw the practice of sati (wife burning) in India, a decision that found itself marred in anti-colonial tensions and polluted by the colonial power relationship.
    Season five also introduces the location of Dorne, a region home to an interracial mix of refugees from Essos called the Rhoynar, considered by Martin to be somewhat Palestinian, who interbred with the colonizing Andals. Dorne’s filming took place in Spain, with the new cast characters of Dornish characters including many biracial actresses, like the Maori-Kiwi actress Keisha Castle-Hughes and Singaporean-British actress Jessica Henwick. Dorne is the only region in Westeros that resisted the imperial conquest of the Targaryens, like other real-world anti-colonial holdouts, Ethiopia and Thailand. As a result, the Dornish have kept their “exotic” customs of lax primogeniture, sexual licentiousness, and, you know, giving women rights. This season’s story in Dorne highlights the tensions between colonial resistors and the encroaching imperial powers, as the late Oberyn Martell’s family struggles with their resentment toward the Lannisters and King’s Landing.
    […]

    We cringe at the torture and degradation of Theon Greyjoy, yet we ignore the atrocities committed at Guantanamo Bay and in dark cells across the world by the US government. We bemoan the state of Sansa Stark, yet we struggle to hold sexual aggressors and domestic abusers in power accountable. We cry as the Lannisters kill off all our favorite characters, while everyday, Black American citizens are killed by police brutality and systemic oppression. As the character Varys ponders in this season’s premiere, “Perhaps we’ve grown so used to horror, we’ve forgotten there could be another way.”

    Rise in Suicide by Black Children Surprises Researchers

    The suicide rate among black children has nearly doubled since the early 1990s, while the rate for white children has declined, a new study has found, an unusual pattern that seemed to suggest something troubling was happening among some of the nation’s most vulnerable citizens.
    Suicide among children ages 5 to 11, the age range the study measured, is rare, and researchers had to blend several years of data to get reliable results. The findings, which measured the period from 1993 to 2012, were so surprising that researchers waited for an additional year of data to check them. The trend did not change.
    Suicide rates are almost always lower among blacks than among whites of any age. But the study, published in the journal JAMA Pediatrics on Monday, found that the rate had risen so steeply among black children — to 2.54 from 1.36 per one million children — that it was substantially above the rate among white children by the end of the period. The rate for white children fell to 0.77 per million from 1.14.
    It was the first time a national study found a higher suicide rate for blacks than for whites of any age group, researchers noted.
    “I was shocked, I’ll be honest with you,” said Jeffrey Bridge, an epidemiologist at the Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio. “I looked at it and I thought, ‘Did we do the analysis correctly?’ I thought we had made a mistake.”
    The researchers used national data based on death certificates that listed suicide as the underlying cause. In the study, they offered a few possible explanations for the difference, including that black children are more likely to be exposed to violence and traumatic stress, and that black children are more likely to experience an early onset of puberty, which can increase the risk of depression and impulsive aggression. But it was not clear whether those characteristics had changed much over the period of the study and would account for the sharp rise. […]

    The finding seemed to buck other trends by race. Among adolescents of both races, for example, the rate declined over the same period, falling for blacks more than for whites, according to figures Dr. Bridge provided. The rate for black boys rose sharply. The rate for black girls also rose, but the change was not statistically significant, he said.
    The way the children were dying seemed to provide some clues. Dr. Christine Moutier, chief medical officer for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, who read the study, pointed out that gun deaths among white boys had gone down by about half while staying about the same for black boys, signaling that gun safety education may not be reaching black communities as effectively as white ones.
    Suicides by hanging, on the other hand, roughly tripled among black boys, while remaining virtually unchanged for whites.
    “He uncovered something very significant in the data,” she said, referring to Dr. Bridge. “Viewed over all, that age group looked like it was flat.”
    She said the traditionally lower rates for blacks had often been attributed to strong social networks and family support, religious faith and other cultural factors. “That makes me wonder whether there is something in those protective factors that may have shifted in the wrong direction over those two decades,” she said.

    Missouri lawmakers just snubbed almost every Ferguson-inspired Bill. Seen before, different source.

    The biker gangs have put out a call for retaliation on the police, who killed some of their members. And still no State of Emergency. Waco.

  18. rq says

    Media coverage of gang violence sure looks different when the perpetrators are white

    Over the weekend, a shootout between three rival biker gangs at a bar in Waco, Texas, left at least nine gang members dead and 18 others hospitalized with gunshot and stab wounds.
    It was a huge, devastating tragedy. The New York Times reported that law enforcement sources called it “the worst violence in the Waco area since the siege on the Branch Davidian compound in 1993 that left 86 people dead.”
    But if you follow the social media conversations around the incident, you’ll see something in addition to the predictable shock, curiosity, and mourning for the victims: there’s frustration and anger over how the Waco shootout (whose perpetrators appear to be mostly white) is being talked about — and, specifically, how that contrasts with the coverage and commentary of crimes when the people involved are black.
    With the Waco incident, we got just the news — not the racial pathology
    Those who are using what happened in Waco to start conversations about stereotypes and media biases against black people aren’t complaining about the tenor of this weekend’s media coverage. They’re saying something a little different: that by being pretty reasonable and sticking to the facts, this coverage highlights the absurdity of the language and analysis that have been deployed in other instances, when the accused criminals are black.

    In particular, you’ll see a lot of sarcasm about “white-on-white crime” and “white-on-white violence.”

    That’s because hand-wringing over “black-on-black” violence is frustratingly common — especially as an attempt to derail the focus on high profile stories of police-involved deaths of black people. It’s finally catching on that focusing on black-on-black crime in response to criticism of law enforcement practices doesn’t make sense, but the absence of any similar refrain in cases in which the suspected criminals are white is a reminder of how the idea of intraracial crime is almost exclusively — and unfairly — brought up when black people are involved.
    Another line of commentary that’s predictable in media coverage and commentary surrounding violence involving black people has to do with black cultural pathology.
    Politicians and pundits are notorious for grasping for problems in African-American communities — especially fatherlessness — to explain the kind of violence that, when it happens in a white community, is treated as an isolated crime versus an indictment of an entire racial group’s way of life.
    The total absence around the Waco incident of analysis of struggles and shortfalls within white families and communities is a painful reminder of this.
    The “Why are they shooting up their own neighborhood?” question in that last tweet is a sarcastic reference to a common sentiment expressed after the Baltimore riots that followed Freddie Gray’s death, and the destructive elements of the mostly peaceful protests in Ferguson, Missouri, surrounding Michael Brown’s death. It’s another line of thinking that’s conspicuously absent in the television and social media commentary that’s surrounded the Waco shootout.
    You’ll also hear people lamenting that politicians, reporters, and commentators have largely refrained from calling the bike gang members “thugs.” There’s been widespread sensitivity around the racialized use of that term ever since it was deployed against slain black teen Trayvon Martin, who was killed by George Zimmerman in 2012.
    This issue came up again, more recently when Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake used it to describe the young people who destroyed property when protesting Freddie Gray’s death. The fact that the bike gang members accused in this case haven’t been slapped with this label is an infuriating reminder of its racial undertones and the way it is so easily and disproportionately deployed against black people, either as an intentional code word of because of deep-seated stereotypes about race and criminality.
    The backdrop for the frustration: how black people are treated by the police
    To really understand the angst over the language and analysis surrounding what happened in Waco, you have to remember that there’s more going on here than just frustration with reports, cable news commentators, and Twitter reactions. […]
    But the key thing to understand is that the criticism here is not really of the coverage of what happened in Waco. It’s of the juxtaposition of what happened here with what happens when the people involved are of a different color. The message is not that the conversation about Waco should be overblown, hypercritical of an entire culture, or full of racial subtext. It’s despair over the sense that if the gang members were black, it almost certainly would be.

    It continues at the link. Really good examination of the differences in reporting and attitude.

    In Seattle, Man Fends Off Armed Robber By Telling Him: “I’m From St. Louis”.

    On this day 3 years ago, Maurice Donald Johnson was shot to death by 2 @BaltimorePolice in his mothers living room right before her eyes.

    Malcolm X was a loving man willing to do whatever necessary to free his people. Happy Birthday, Brother Malcolm.

    Cicely Tyson and James Earl Jones to Reunite on Broadway in The Gin Game

    The last time Cicely Tyson and James Earl Jones appeared on Broadway together was in 1966 in A Hand Is on the Gate, but this fall, the dynamic duo are reuniting. According to Variety, starting with previews Sept. 21 and opening Oct. 13, Tyson and Jones will star on Broadway in The Gin Game.
    The Gin Game tells the story of a man and a woman in a nursing home who strike up a friendship over a game of gin rummy. The play, which was written by D.L. Coburn, won the Pulitzer Prize in 1977 and originally starred Hume Cronyn and Jessica Tandy.
    Although Jones and Tyson haven’t appeared on Broadway together since 1966, they’ve worked together throughout the years on various projects.
    In 2013 Tyson won a Tony for The Trip to Bountiful, and Jones most recently starred on Broadway in the revival of You Can’t Take It With You.

    Stopped by #VonDerritMyers memorial. Ask yourself: Why was he stopped walking around his own neighborhood? @deray

  19. rq says

    In the footsteps of Nike… Baltimore Boxing to honor Police during “Blood, Sweat & Tears” Card May 29! #boxing #boxing… http://tinyurl.com/o5ayu8w

    On 5/15, a white parent hit a black student in the face at MS 51 in Park Slope. Police & school staff will not address. (via @Combat_Jack) Apparently her face hit the parent’s hand by accident.

    ‘We Share Struggle’: Why rapper Freeway went to Baltimore

    This month, Philly rapper Freeway traveled to Baltimore to join the voices of protest united over the death of Freddie Gray, the 25-year-old man who died after suffering a spinal-cord injury while in police custody. The National Stop the Killing Committee and the Justice League NYC brought Freeway as their spokesman for #BmoreYouthRise, a May 9 daylong event with various demonstrations.
    The 36-year-old rapper commemorated Gray’s life by placing his handprint on the memorial mural on Fulton Street near where police stopped Gray. He took part in a youth-oriented panel, embarked on a three-mile Peace Walk, and headlined the Our Moment for Our Movement concert and rally.

    Freeway also visited Gilmor Homes, where Gray lived, and spoke with Gray’s friends and family. At the basketball court where Gray used to hang out, Brandon Ross, Gray’s godbrother, told Freeway that because of the attention the area has received, the city put nets on the basketball rims for the first time in 15 years.
    For Freeway, it’s personal: In 2007, his cousin Raheem Pridgen, 27, was shot and killed by police. Freeway made it clear he is not anti-police. “It takes a special human being to police people. You have to be better than everybody else to tolerate certain things. You have to know how to act when you’re having a bad day and not want to take it out on people,” Freeway said.
    Going to Baltimore was his way of seeing the city beyond CNN. On the heels of the Philly is Baltimore protest, the “What We Do” rapper said he wanted to show solidarity for the city that so closely mirrors his own.

    More, in his own words, at the link.

    Prince in Baltimore

    Almost a month earlier to the date, 25 year old Freddie Gray was arrested by police, only to meet his death a week later due to neck and spine injuries sustained under police custody. Since then, Gray’s death has fueled more protests during a time of existing unrest, re-opening wounds that have barely scabbed over. Yet another black man loses his life due to police brutality, and the cry from many corners has become simply, “stop killing us.”
     
    During the Civil Rights movement, artists like Nina Simone, Harry Belafonte and James Brown lent their voices in service to the people. This past Sunday, Prince lent his voice and his presence to the people of Baltimore. His servitude was displayed in a 2. 5-hour set where he shared the stage generously with other artists such as Miguel, Estelle and Doug E Fresh.
     
    The mood in the arena was electric yet, reflective. “You don’t know what the past two weeks have been like here,” said a young waiter from Baltimore, visibly holding back tears that told more of the story than his words. In attendance were the families of Eric Garner, Michael Brown and Freddie Gray. “To those who have lost loved ones, we are your servants tonight, we’re here for you, ” said Prince.
    […]

    Prince’s concert united people from a myriad of age groups and walks of life. The message of peace is an essential one and an ideal I hope will be obtained, though the journey to peace might continue to be paved with hardship, as McKesson says the protests will intensify over the summer. I ask McKesson if he is willing to die for this cause? “It’s not about being willing to die,” he says “it’s that I am unwilling to live in an America where my blackness equals death.

    Re: STL, City should have a surplus from last year, but expenses from the unrest of 2014 ($4-5m) ate that up. No reimbursement from the state.

  20. says

    From Raw Story
    Tear down the ‘Blue Wall of Silence’: New York Dem destroys sheriff who blames police violence on blacks:

    David Clarke, the Milwaukee County sheriff, described “black-on-black crime” as the “elephant in the room” Tuesday during a House Judiciary Committee hearing on the rising tensions between police officers and African-Americans.

    “The conversation should be about transforming black underclass subculture behavior,” said Clarke, who frequently appears on Fox News. “The discussion must start with addressing the behavior of people who have no respect for authority, who fight with and try to disarm the police, who flee the police, and who engage in other flawed lifestyle choices.”

    “Bashing the police is the low-hanging fruit,” the sheriff added. “It is easier to talk about the rare killing of a black male by police because emotion can be exploited for political advantage.”

    Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) agreed that black-on-black crime was a problem – but he pointed out that 83 percent of white homicide victims were killed by other white people.

    “Is white-on-white violence also a problem that we should have a robust discussion about?” the lawmaker asked the sheriff.

    Clarke and Jeffries agreed that the rates of violence within ethnic groups is roughly equivalent, which the congressman said was likely due to segregated housing patterns in many cities.

    “It was mentioned that there was a cooperation issue in the black-on-black violence context – but I don’t think I’ve heard the phrase mentioned, ‘blue wall of silence,’” Jeffries said.

    “If we’re going to have a conversation about cooperation when someone crosses the line, seems to me to make sense that we also have to deal with what may be another elephant in the room, to use your term,” the lawmaker added.

    Jeffries next addressed the sheriff’s testimony complaining that police violence was addressed on emotional terms, using what he referred to as “false narratives” – including the slogans “hands up, don’t shoot,” “no justice, no peace” or “black lives matter.”

    He asked Clarke if the reaction to Eric Garner’s death, after he was choked to death by New York City Police officers using a banned restraining maneuver, was also a “false narrative.”

    “First of all, he wasn’t choked to death, not from the report that I had seen out of the grand jury testimony,” Clarke claimed. “Even from the medical examiner’s report, he wasn’t choked to death.”

    Jeffries interjected and pointed out that the medical examiner had ruled Garner’s death a homicide by asphyxiation.

    “In the ghetto, that’s called being choked to death,” Jeffries said.

    Clarke said the facts in that case were perhaps better left to discussion at another time.

    “My understanding is he died of a heart attack,” Clarke said, citing a column by the black conservative Thomas Sowell who accused police critics of “irresponsible self-indulgence” for trying to deprive officers of the right to use force as they see fit.

    “When law enforcement officers tell someone they’re under arrest and they can’t use force to execute that arrest, we don’t have the rule of law when it’s merely a suggestion that they’re going to jail or to put their hands behind their back,” Clarke continued.

    Jeffries told the sheriff his testimony blaming Garner for his own death was “outrageous.”

    “He was targeted by police officers for allegedly selling loose cigarettes — which is an administrative violation (and) for which he got the death penalty,” Jeffries said.

    He accused Clarke of making up his own facts when reality did not suit his point of view.

    “If we are going to have a responsible conversation, we’ve got to at least be able to agree on a common set of reasonable facts that all Americans can interpret – particularly in this instance, because they caught the whole thing on videotape,” the lawmaker said.

    CNNs ex-cop defends not calling white bikers thugs ‘this thing started with the black community’:
    (the black community is responsible for black victims of police brutality being called thugs? News to me.)

    Following a shootout between rival biker gangs in Waco, Texas over the weekend, many noted that the media did not stereotype the suspects the same way that it had during coverage of the Baltimore riots, which were far less deadly.

    “This is about a culture that looks at blackness and says that it sounds like a certain thing, it looks like a certain thing,” New York Times columnist Charles Blow explained to a CNN panel on Tuesday.

    “I don’t know how you can make a comparison between Waco and Baltimore,” Houck complained. “Are these guys thugs? Yeah, they’re thugs… I use the word thug and I mean ‘bad guy’ when I use the word.”

    “I think the word was owned by rappers,” he continued. “They started coming out with songs and calling themselves thugs, and I think that’s how this whole thing started, with the black community and the young men calling themselves thugs. Alright? And I think that’s how that all started.”

    Blow argued that Houck’s etymology of the word thug was “patently inaccurate.”

    “That word has a long history, and whether or not a word is absorbed into a community in the same way people absorbed the n-word and sometimes gay people absorbed words that were historically used to bash them, and try to rub off the edges of them and absorb it into the culture, to make it less abrasive and hurtful,” Blow observed. “A lot of times, that is what is happening with the etymology of words.”

    But Blow said that the bigger concern was that the entire black community was treated as the problem after localized events in a way that the white community never was.

    “Everybody has got to stop and move on from here,” Houck recommended. “Forget the past. Move on.”

    “I don’t want to forget the past,” Blow shot back. “That’s not even a smart thing to say.”

    “Whatever happened a thousand years ago, stop! Let’s move from here,” Houck demanded, turning to Blow. “Come on, you’re a smart man.”

    “You’re smarter than what you sound like right now,” Blow quipped.

    ****

    rq, I have some links from DiversityInc coming up (if the darn page will load).

  21. Menyambal says

    The white guys at Waco were pretty much motive-free, too. There was nothing at stake except bragging rights as to which group was THE group of the territory – not money, not drugs, not control of votes, not actual power. It was just as much pointless colonialism as in that comment about the Princess of North Sudan. So, yeah, it was white guys acting white.

  22. rq says

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  25. rq says

    Can Racism Be Stopped in the Third Grade?

    The form arrived in an email attachment on the Friday after winter break.“What is your race?”it asked. And then, beneath that, a Census-style list: “African-American/Black,” “Asian/Pacific Islander,” “Latina/o,” “Multi-racial,” “White,”   and “Not sure.”
    The email, signed by the principal of Fieldston Lower School, urged parents to talk about these categories with their children at home because the next week, in school, the kids would have to check the box that fit them best. “I know there may be some nervous feelings about this program,” the email concluded, but “I am confident that once you hear more details about it … the value and importance of this work will become clear.” 
    The parents at Lower, as it’s called, are a bighearted, high-maintenance, high-achieving group. They are also, by the standards of the New York City private-school universe, exceedingly liberal — educators and social workers, as well as hedge-fund tycoons. They love the school, and trust it, mostly. But this communication seized their attention. “I was like, Wait. What?” remembers one mother. Another quizzed her 11-year-old daughter as they were driving. “We have to go in our race groups” was how the girl explained it. The mother hoped her daughter had misunderstood.
    […]

    Now the school was promising to do even more in the name of racial equity, offering a pioneering new curriculum designed to give its youngest students the tools they’d need to navigate their own futures — and to bolster Fieldston’s sense of itself as a standard-bearer in progressive education. The program, which was also put in place this school year at Ethical Culture, Fieldston’s other elementary school, would boost self-esteem and a sense of belonging among minority kids while combating the racism, subtle or otherwise, that can permeate historically white environments. It would foster interracial empathy by encouraging children to recognize differences without disrespect while teaching kids strategies, and the language, for navigating racial conflict. Efforts like this had been popping up around the country over the past decade in progressive private schools and public schools wrestling in more direct ways with the tangle of race and achievement. Teaching Tolerance, a project of the Southern Poverty Law Center, has developed an anti-bias curriculum that 16,000 teachers have downloaded since it became available in September. The Anti-Defamation League does training for kids and teachers in schools — 200 a year in Connecticut alone. And Welcoming Schools, connected with the Human Rights Campaign, helps train the staffs of elementary schools for this kind of learning, traveling last year to Boulder, Washington, D.C., Seattle, and Arkansas. In Gallup, New Mexico, a fifth-grade class planned and staged a community arts crawl showcasing the theme “Identity, Diversity, Justice, and Action.” In Greenville, Alabama, fourth-graders made picture books answering the question “How have people fought for what is right at different times in history?” and then read them aloud to the school’s second-graders.
    But Fieldston’s program would be bolder, more radical: It would be mandatory rather than voluntary, and built into the school day itself; it would compel participation from children of all races who would at first be separated into racial “affinity groups”; and it would start in the third grade, with 8-year-olds, an age when many of the kids have only an inchoate sense of what “racial identity” means. It would be a boundary-pushing experiment, in other words, in a place that seemed exceptionally hospitable to progressive experimentation — but also, undeniably, a privileged and racially anomalous bubble. Fieldston’s unusual identity gave it a better shot than most schools, perhaps, at making this work; and if it did work, its administrators thought, the impact might reach far beyond its cloister. […]
    Apprehension moved like the flu among certain factions of the parents. In heated conversations in parking lots and on playing fields over the next few months, they shared and amplified one another’s anxieties, invoking yellow stars, blacks-only water fountains, the Japanese internment — “Brought memories of the Soviet Union right away,” wrote one father on a parents’ email thread. The word segregation came up a lot. For many of the parents at Lower, this program violated the values they’d learned back in their own elementary schools a generation ago. You just don’t sort human beings by race.
    But objections were personal, too, and revealing. In a community, and an era, that prizes global identity as a modern elite ideal, the categories seemed confining, artificial: Why was the school forcing these children to define themselves and their families so narrowly? Does racial identity actually assert itself that early? Weren’t these kids way too young to be compelled to think of themselves in racial terms? Besides, what if introducing the problem of race fatally undermined the culture Fieldston had so carefully cultivated — couldn’t it backfire, creating tension between kids where none had existed before? And below the surface, suspicion: Wasn’t the community, full of die-hard liberals, too forward-thinking to need help? […]

    White parents who objected to the program felt discomfited, fearful that if they voiced their concerns, they would be tagged as racists. They wanted their kids to talk about race, they insisted. But, as with most white liberals, they seemed to prefer to conduct the conversation on an intellectual level, considering it as a problem of history, policy, or justice — the kind of conversation unfolding already in Fieldston’s mandatory ethics classes. The much more intimate, idiosyncratic, lived experience of race — that is a harder discussion to have, especially when it probes reflexive reactions to difference (fear, disgust, mistrust, anxiety, curiosity, eagerness, attraction, admiration) that are sometimes heated, irrational, and not always pleasant. These are feelings the average white Fieldston parent was raised not to mention. This same parent who sends her children to Lower because she values diversity tends not to dwell on the fact that she has few close friends of color; that her neighborhood is almost entirely white; that her nanny or housecleaner or doorman has brown skin. The program at Lower was designed, and is supported in large part, by people who have spent their lives on the other side of that well-meaning silence and can testify that it’s no way to thrive.
    On January 14, ten days before the new program was to launch, Burns, who is white, invited all the Lower parents to a meeting at Fieldston High School to meet Richards and air concerns. About 65 people showed up. After short introductory remarks by Burns, Richards began her presentation, clicking through PowerPoint slides.
    The meeting quickly grew tense. Parents took sides, and though the opponents were not divided, exactly, by race (the parent body is far too mixed for that), alliances for or against began to emerge. Antagonists interrupted Richards, asking to see more hard research on the benefits of racial separation and calling into question the qualifications of the 20-odd teachers and staff Richards had tapped to mediate the groups. By some accounts, Richards was shouted down. Others say she grew defensive and dismissive of parents’ concerns. “It was like, ‘Oh, you silly parents, you just don’t understand,’ ” said one mother who was there.
    A Jewish parent raised his hand, according to another parent who was there. He grew up in the South, he said, where Jews were seen not as “white” but as something categorically different. When he was a child, the Ku Klux Klan attempted to burn down his synagogue. To lump Jewish children together with other white children is to ignore centuries of history, he said.
    “When you walk in the room, I see you as white,” one person there remembers an African-American parent interjecting. “Your child needs to go in the white group.” Another parent remembers it this way: “You have the privilege of hiding behind your whiteness. And my child doesn’t.”
    […]
    The fourth affinity-group session met on April 15, a cool morning that held the wet beginnings of spring. The topic that day was racial perception and stereotypes: How do you see other people? How do other people see you? What assumptions do you make based on appearances? Behind closed doors, in classrooms along a long corridor, the children gathered in racial groups and mediators flashed a slide on a screen. “I see, I think, I wonder,” it said. Then children were shown a photograph of nine kids — racially diverse and, in some cases, racially ambiguous. Within each group, the kids were asked to describe what they saw in literal terms: skin color, hair color, and so on. They were prompted to consider the children in the picture beyond their initial impressions: to wonder freely. In the black group, the children wondered if they’d feel different if all the kids in the picture were black. In one of the white groups, the children were asked to go around in a circle and say what they wondered out loud.
    “I said, ‘I wonder if they’re adopted?,’ because I had to say something,” one fifth-grader (whose parents oppose the program) in a white group told me.
    “I get to be with people I can share my race with, and I don’t feel uncomfortable about it,” says one third-grader, in the black group, who tells me the only other times he’s surrounded exclusively by black people are when he’s at home or with his basketball team. “We talk about how it’s important to know what your race is. We talk about the difference between being prejudiced and being racist. So I can know when someone’s being racist to me, and I can help other people know that, too. I can say I’m proud of being black. I remember my friend saying that the affinity groups are racist, but they’re not. They put you in a group of what race you are — I don’t think that’s racist at all. We get to make jokes and stuff, and comments. When we’re talking, we get to draw, we get to laugh.”
    “It’s so fricking boring,” said a fifth-grader in the Asian group. “We do the same thing every week. The conversations we have are mostly about the tensions between whites and blacks, and never about Asians or Hispanic people. It annoys me sometimes that people are like, ‘Oh my God, people are so segregated.’ But we are never mentioned. It’s just frustrating, I would say.”
    The ambitions of the Fieldston program are large, and some aspects are better articulated by the school than others, but at base the school hopes to initiate what it calls “authentic” conversations about race, which researchers suggest may actually have been inhibited by liberal values for decades. Under the spell of color-blindness, previous generations have tended to avoid race as a subject, hushing their children when they refer to playground playmates as “brown,” believing that by not acknowledging race in public they were enacting a desire for equality for all. In fact, in the academic literature, “color-blindness” now refers to the reluctance to address race, not the ideal of casual intermingling. […]

    For white people, Singleton’s method means eventually coming to the understanding that they’re white — and, more particularly, to understand, on a gut level, what white privilege actually means to them. White people are raised to believe they have no race, that they are “normal.” Their whiteness becomes like water, or air — so pervasive as to be invisible. But a historically white school, which has long catered to white families, can’t say it wants diversity without dealing with the fact that its culture is white, educators like Singleton say. And this is something that makes white families uneasy, because to concede that you have the power is, in some way, to give it up. “There is a whole lot of pushback; white families are not sure they want these environments to be equitable. They don’t feel expert in chaperoning their kids through change because they’re living in a monoracial environment. They say they’re the ones who want to talk about race — well, good luck with that! You don’t even engage with race.”
    With her affinity-group program, Richards hopes to accomplish two things. First, she wants to support the kids of color, because they and their parents have told her they need the help. There are still too many incidents of “microaggressions” at her school: A girl puts her hands in another girl’s hair; a boy asks his Asian friend where he’s really from. A number of years ago, a white student in a fourth-grade biography unit delivered a presentation on Jackie Robinson while in blackface; more recently, a child who called Robinson his hero wanted to use blackface to dress up as him for Halloween only to be told no by his parents. Then again, an open dialogue is sure to produce some moments like that, especially at first; messing up, say the administrators at Fieldston, is part of the process. “You can’t just put kids in a room and think that the best of intentions are going to play out,” Richards says. “Best of intentions only get us a certain piece of the way.” But she asks opponents to consider this: If a portion of families say they want something from their school, wouldn’t it be good to give it to them instead of arguing that it’s not needed?
    Richards agrees with her opponents on one point. What sets her program apart from similar interventions at other schools is that it’s mandatory — as integral to the school day as gym. Everyone has to participate, even the white kids. When other schools have affinity groups, “they send the white kids to recess.” At this point, Richards laughs. True integration — the thing she calls “equity,” which she distinguishes from “equality” — doesn’t happen if only half the people are talking about it. “What I am suggesting is that we all have skin in the game. I’m suggesting that we all need to be involved in this conversation.” And if the parents will give her a chance, she says, they’ll see that she’s trying to improve the experience of school for everyone. “This is about academic excellence for me. It is not just about making people feel good about themselves.”
    It is absolutely not her intention, she says, to lay on 8-year-olds a burden about white privilege or white guilt. “They have done nothing — nothing,” she emphasizes. All she hopes to do is to get a bunch of white kids in a room to recognize that they’re white. And perhaps to ask themselves, if they’re ready for it, “Hey, what does that mean?”

    The article goes on with parental reactions, people’s experiences, and program development and application.

    Pregnant woman says Chicago cop punched her in belly and went on racist tirade for laughing at him

    A pregnant woman claims a Chicago police officer punched her in the stomach and went on a racist tirade after she laughed at him.
    Nicola Robinson said she was standing outside with some neighbors Friday evening when three officers ran past in pursuit of a suspected drug dealer, and she said they all laughed when the suspect got away, reported WFLD-TV.
    Robinson, who is eight months pregnant, said the plainclothes officer shoved her while she was holding her 1-year-old son and then punched her.
    “As I got ready to walk in my building, he punched me on my right side as hard as he can,” she said.
    Then the officer launched into a racist rant, the woman said.
    “After he punched me, he presumed to say, ‘You black b*tch, you better be glad I didn’t hit you hard enough to make you lose your f*cking baby,” Robinson said.
    Her sister witnessed the attack and the racist tirade – which she said shocked the other officers.
    “The other two officers who (were) with him were standing there, and they’re looking like, ‘What are you doing?’ — but I guess they didn’t want to say anything,” said Monique Dickerson.
    Robinson said the officer quickly changed his tune when she pointed out that nearby apartment buildings are equipped with security cameras.
    “Then that’s when the attitude about him started changing, and he got real quiet,” Robinson said. “You could tell in his face that he knew that, ‘Man I have f*cked — I have messed up.”
    Robinson said a building manager told her surveillance video clearly shows the officer punch her – sending her into premature labor – but the management company did not respond to media requests for comment.
    The pregnant woman spent five hours at an area hospital under observation before doctors cleared her to return home.
    Chicago police have launched an internal affairs investigation into the incident, calling the allegations “very disturbing.”

    All black lives matter: Suspect In Fatal Stabbing Of Philadelphia Transgender Woman Is Identified

    London Kiki Chanel, a 21-year-old transgender woman, was stabbed to death in North Philadelphia early Monday, the police department told BuzzFeed News.
    Raheam Felton, 31, “confessed to the murder of London Kiki Chanel” and is in custody, said Cameron Kline, a spokesperson for the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office.
    Felton, who allegedly stabbed Chanel multiple times, is charged with possession of an instrument of crime and murder. He is scheduled for a preliminary hearing on June 3 but does not yet have a lawyer, Kline told BuzzFeed News.
    Chanel is the eighth transgender woman of color confirmed killed in the United States this year — a trend that anti-violence advocates have called an epidemic. And as in many of the cases, Chanel was misgendered in early reports.
    “There has been an immediate outcry from the community who knew her,” said Nellie Fitzpatrick, director of the Mayor’s Office of LGBT Affairs for the City of Philadelphia. “I was receiving reports from the community that the deceased was transgender and needed to be referred to appropriately as a woman with female pronouns.”

    NBC10 initially reported, based on interviews with Philadelphia police, that the victim was a “man” stabbed inside a vacant North Philadelphia home.
    “Her name was London Chanel,” one of the commenters on the article said. “Please correct the terrible reporting in this article immediately. Black trans women are already at extreme risk of violence, it doesn’t help to hide their murders by using the wrong names and genders in shoddy news coverage.”
    Fitzpatrick said NBC10 apologized and updated the article to use female pronouns after she contacted the television station. Police, meanwhile, told her “any information or briefings from police headquarters would reflect the proper gender identity.”

    Attorney General Lynch Delivers Remarks at a Community Policing Roundtable in Cincinnati

    Good afternoon.  Thank you all for being here.  It is a pleasure to join so many law enforcement officers, students and youth leaders, faith leaders and community officials as we discuss the work that is underway here in Cincinnati and across the country.  I’d like to thank Chief of Police [Jeffrey] Blackwell for welcoming me to Cincinnati today and for his exemplary leadership of the Cincinnati Police Department.  And I want to recognize our outstanding U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio, Carter Stewart and Mayor [John] Cranley, for their help in putting together this important convening.
    The issue of trust between and among law enforcement officers and the communities we serve is the issue of our times.  It has come to the forefront of our national discussion and captured a great deal of media attention due to recent tragic events in New York, Ferguson, Baltimore and other cities.  Protest movements have emerged and people are speaking out.  But let’s be clear – this is not a new issue.  The people in this room have recognized and been working on these issues for years.  You have seen how the underlying issues of education, joblessness, homelessness and hopelessness impact the community overall and police-community relations in particular.
    As many of you know, my first trip as Attorney General, just a few weeks ago, was to Baltimore – a city that was, and is, in deep distress.  I met with a wide variety of individuals – from peaceful protestors who were anxious about the violence in their city, to the law enforcement officers who had worked 16 days without a break but were still focused only on the safety of their residents.  And even after the unrest, I was optimistic – because from everyone I met, I heard the same thing: “I love my city and I want to make it better.”  
    Of course, this issue of broken and damaged trust is not Baltimore’s alone – it exists in cities and communities across the nation.  But the hope that I saw in Baltimore – and the determination from residents and law enforcement officers to improve their city together – is present across the country as well.  It is here in Cincinnati.  There is no doubt that we face big challenges, but I believe that Americans are equal to the task.  And I want to do everything I can to help.

    More at the link.

    It has begun! Feds Exempt MRAPs from Prohibited Police Equipment Despite Admitting They’re “Militaristic in Nature”

    The interagency Law Enforcement Equipment Working Group (LEEWG), which was established by Obama under Executive Order 13688, purposely exempted MRAPs and other military vehicles from a list of equipment prohibited from police use.
    To explain the exemption, LEEWG described MRAPs as equipment “that could be seen as militaristic in nature yet also may have significant utility for law enforcement operations.”
    “This includes several types of armored vehicles, such as MRAP vehicles transferred via the [Pentagon’s] 1033 program and armored vehicles manufactured commercially,” the LEEWG report stated.
    LEEWG even suggested that it was okay for university police departments to use MRAPs as long as they have “policies” in place, such as painting “Emergency Rescue” on the side, as if that’s going to prevent abuse from happening.
    “The University of Texas System Police (UTSP) has a policy on Emergency Rescue Armored Personnel Vehicle (MRAP), which specifies that the ‘exclusive operational purpose’ of the MRAP is to enhance the physical protection of its occupants,” the LEEWG report said. “Accordingly, the policy requires that any MRAP vehicle display the words ‘Emergency Rescue,’ so that its purpose is clear to the community.”
    The editor-in-chief of a major law enforcement web site, Doug Wyllie of PoliceOne.com, thought it was strange that MRAPs were exempted.
    “Recall that the MRAP was purpose-built for the theater of war in Iraq and Afghanistan when our soldiers were being killed and maimed because the Humvees and M35/deuce-and-a-halfs were being shredded like wet cardboard,” he wrote. “The design of the MRAP is specific to answer the threat of an IED constructed from unexploded military ordinance.”
    Last year the Spokane Co., Wash., Sheriff’s Dept. came under fire after a deputy claimed their MRAP was needed to deal with the threat posed by “constitutionalists.”
    “I mean, we’ve got a lot of constitutionalists and a lot of people that stockpile weapons, lots of ammunition,” the deputy said. “They have weapons here locally.”
    Considering how much the Obama administration hates the Second Amendment, is it really that surprising that they would encourage police to use MRAPs?

    No caption necessary #VonDerittMyers #stl #BlackLivesMatter #ABanks #ftp

  26. rq says

    Yeh, I’ve picked up a lot of graduation photos, because let’s face it, they deserve to be acknowledged.

    +++

    At Judiciary Committee hearing on #policereform, witness blames #EricGarner for his own death → https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QUTUN7JDKsM&feature=youtu.be …

    I asked why PRESS were un-arrested. HIGH-RANKING SLMPD PO said “Press have different rights than [protesters]” #WRONG
    St Louis cops went Bat shyt crazy and jumped out of their cars waving guns at folks on the sidewalk. @CivilRights

    #BikerLivesMatter Cartoon, panel 1: “Do bikers lack family values? Or is heavy metal to blame?”; panel 2: harmless homebrewers to be frisked; panel 3: “Why do you dress like that? Why wear chaps unless you want the Bandidos to stab you in the face over meth?”; panel 4: “That’s thug attire! You want respect, wear something normal. Like a hoodie.”

    Yes queens RT @DiorCherie88: Make some damn noise for these new black doctors!!!

  27. rq says

    Protesters arrested at home of St. Louis prosecutor

    At least six protesters were taken into police custody Tuesday night as they staged a demonstration outside the home of Circuit Attorney Jennifer Joyce.
    The chanting protesters gathered at the home in the Holly Hills neighborhood shortly after 9 p.m.
    They were opposing the decision by Joyce’s office not to bring charges against a St. Louis police officer who fatally shot VonDerrit Myers Jr., 18, on Oct. 8.
    Joyce announced the decision not to pursue the charges on Monday.
    About 40 protesters joined the demonstration. Some were hit with pepper spray by officers who ordered them off the home’s lawn. They screamed, “Wake up, Jennifer!” and “No justice, no sleep!” Police had no advance notice of the protest.
    A few police officers arrived initially, and a couple dozen more officers arrived as the protesters chanted. Police told protesters to get out of the street and to be quiet. At one point, an officer drew a gun on a protester who was on the lawn.
    Police Chief Sam Dotson said at the scene that one of the protesters wiped pepper spray on him and that assault charges will be pursued against that person.
    Spray paint canisters fell from the bag of one protester who was arrested. “Certainly there was some intent to do something,” Dotson said. He pointed out that this was a residential neighborhood and police told protesters they could stay if they could be quiet, but they did not.
    Joyce was home at the time of the protest, in which some of the protesters also were on the porch and street in front of the house.

    This is a non violent protest. She wouldn’t come talk to us this morning. #VonDerittMyers parents deserve answers.

    At least four protesters attested outside @JenniferJoyceCA home in Holly Hills. Still lots of screaming.
    So, so, so bad! I’ve been sprayed 5 times so far in 30 min! Many arrests. My face burns so bad. #STL @ChiefSLMPD
    It’s abundantly clear the use of force this morning and evening is a tone setter. @SLMPD have played the first hand. Mace/arrests/guns

  28. rq says

    And apparently this happens when you put “university” instead of “house” . Google is so post-racial, yoozguyz.

    Host @donlemon and @sallykohn discussing/debating the definition of the word #thug

    Southern Rites: A Small Town’s Inability to Acknowledge Its Own Racism

    In 2009, photojournalist Gillian Laub published a series of photos documenting the high school proms in the tiny Georgia community of Montgomery County, which was remarkable because the proms were racially segregated. Though the students grew up together, played together, and went to Montgomery County High together, there had been two separate proms—one for white students, one for black students—since the high school was integrated in 1971. “It’s how it’s always been,” one student told the New York Times. “It’s just a tradition.”
    When the prom finally integrated in 2010, Laub returned to further document it, but instead she wound up uncovering a more profound, devastating story of how virulent underlying racism, “just tradition,” upended a closeknit but troubled community. She found “a more complicated story,” as she puts it in the subject of her excellent new documentary, Southern Rites, which carefully, significantly reports the murder of Justin Patterson, an unarmed black 22-year-old, by Norman Neesmith, a 62-year-old white man. And more complicated, it certainly was.
    Though Laub is ostensibly a photographer—a talent that emerges in the angles and light she captures—she’s got a journalist’s sensibility of reporting and a storyteller’s skill at teasing out the situation’s nuances. The night Patterson was killed, he and his younger brother were at Neesmith’s house visiting his daughter and her friends, a biracial teenager named Danielle born to his niece and who he’d been caring for from infancy. It was late at night; they brought weed. Justin’s brother, 18, had sex with another girl at the house, just 14. At some point, Neesmith was roused from sleep and discovered the boys in his home. There is some dispute over what happened next, but what they can agree on is that as the Patterson brothers tried to escape, Neesmith fired four shots from a .22 caliber gun. One hit Justin Patterson in the back. He died in a field, in his brother’s arms.
    […]

    Southern Rites is a powerful statement in the era of #blacklivesmatter, especially since Neesmith embodies a perfect example of how America’s foundational racism affects and clouds the views of literally everyone, even those who may think they do not harbor racial prejudice. Neesmith repeatedly insists he would have shot Patterson in the same situation even if he were white, and you can tell he really believes it. But of course that’s not necessarily true—he also invokes the vacant, pervasive, literally deadly specter/trope of the big, scary black man that persistently rears its head after shootings like this, from George Zimmerman to Darren Wilson Neesmith describes Patterson as muscular and athletic compared to Neesmith’s disability, with the capability of beating him in a fight. (That aspect was invoked in the court, too—his defense attorney, in an interview with Laub: “I don’t want to call him feeble, but…”)
    While Southern Rites hinges on the shooting, trial, and aftermath, its parallel stories help paint a complete portrait of the ways that racism, “just tradition,” affects the County. Keyke Burns, Patterson’s first love and prom date in Laub’s initial photo series, is a featured subject—as the trial plays out, her father runs a campaign to be Montgomery County’s first-ever black sheriff, with the implication that should he win, the area has a fighting chance for real, if incremental, change. Meanwhile, Patterson’s family and friends—including the young mother of his baby daughter—are fighting, hoping, and praying for justice for Justin, even printing that phrase on t-shirts embossed with his face, the memorial t-shirt that so many people across the country find themselves having to print. It’s these aspects that render Southern Rites all the more tragic, because they’re so relatable, so pervasive, and so “complicated,” as Laub prefaced it—not just inside a tiny Georgia county, population 8000, but in every county in America.

    We finished #RecallKnowles2015 in 3 days instead of 4 thanks to the hard work & turnout from the canvassers!

    Petition in support of the Move 9: Free the Move 9

    Statement from the group that just shut down the Queensboro Bridge & Midtown Tunnel, flags ablaze, for #MalcolmXDay:

  29. rq says

    Obama signs Cardin’s ‘Blue alert’ bill to protect police officers. Coming as close as this does on the heels of the reduced militarization of the police, I have a feeling there was some sort of pressure here.

    The measure is named for Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu, the New York City police officers who were killed last year by a man with Maryland ties. Police say Ismaaiyl Abdullah Brinsley killed the officers in December after shooting a former girlfriend in Owings Mills.

    The law, which Cardin introduced in 2010, creates a system similar to the Amber alerts used to locate abducted children. Baltimore County police said last year they tried to alert the New York City Police Department that Brinsley had pledged to kill officers in the area.
    “It’s important for us not only to honor their memory, it’s also important for us to make sure that we do everything we can to help ensure the safety of our police officers when they’re in the line of duty,” Obama said before signing the bill in the Oval Office.
    The blue alert system, he said, “prevents the possibility that other officers may be caught by surprise, and it ensures that appropriate steps can be taken as quickly as possible.”
    Twenty-two states — including Maryland — have created similar systems, according to Cardin’s office. The legislation was altered this year — adding credible threats as a possible cause for activating a blue alert — in response to the killing of Ramos and Liu. Previously the alert would have been activated by the death or injury of an officer.
    Cardin attended the bill signing, along with members of the officers’ families.
    “My hope is that law enforcement officers and their families can take comfort in knowing that with the enactment of the National Blue Alert, the infrastructure soon will be in place for all Americans to play an active role in keeping them — and neighborhoods nationwide — safe from harm,” Cardin said in a statement.

    But it always takes so frickin’ long to pass anything to do with education or black lives or…

    Now, I’ve been generally positive about your recent comments re: police violence, @POTUS. But this “Blue Alert” system is offensive.
    By signing this “Blue Alert” law, you made it clear that you stand firmly with those who not only wish us harm, but actually harm us.
    You’ve gotta give it to the National FOP for sneaking in a federal “Blue Alert” system as police kill people. Hate is organized in America.
    And why didn’t we hear about this “Blue Alert” legislation from the Congressional Black Caucus? Who was on watch on this one?

    Ohio Man Ricky Jackson, Exonerated After 39 Years in Prison, Sues Police

    Ricky Jackson, in a federal lawsuit filed Tuesday, names the city and at least eight former officers or their estates for his arrest and incarceration following a 1975 Cleveland-area slaying.

    “It was the misconduct by Cleveland police detectives and those working in concert with them that led to Mr. Jackson’s wrongful conviction,” according to the suit in U.S.District Court for the Northern District of Ohio.
    Jackson was 18 when he was first locked up, and is now 58. With 39 years in prison, he’s believed to have served the longest time behind bars for someone wrongly incarcerated in the United States, according to the National Registry of Exonerations. He had been sentenced to life after Ohio declared the death penalty unconstitutional in 1978 before reinstating it three years later.
    Jackson and two other co-defendants who were also wrongly convicted in the case were freed after a key witness, Edward Vernon, recanted his testimony two years ago claiming the trio shot and robbed money order salesman Harold Franks. Vernon, who was 12 at the time of the shooting, said he had been coerced by detectives.
    “His statement implicating Mr. Jackson was a complete fabrication created by the detectives,” the lawsuit alleges.
    The suit doesn’t specify an amount in monetary damages that Jackson is seeking, but requests a jury trial. He has already received about $1 million of a $2 million compensation award from the Ohio Court of Claims for his wrongful imprisonment.

    Three of the detectives and one sergeant named in Jackson’s lawsuit have died in the years since his arrest. A spokesman for the city of Cleveland told NBC News that officials aren’t commenting on pending litigation.

  30. rq says

    #BlackLivesMatter protest at 59th #NYC!

    Sort of an aside, Prosecutors will now assist St. Louis police at homicide scenes. Can I jsut say, the system within which I work has this element? And it is a big, big mistake. Don’t do it. Unless you have an excellent training program for prosecutors all lined up.

    Police and prosecutors will all converge on murder scenes in St. Louis. The prosecutors will observe the investigation, interview witnesses and connect with families of victims. The goal is to help solve more murders.
    In 2015, 64 people have been murdered in St. Louis, with 44 of those murders being unsolved.
    Maria Miller’s 21-year-old son Courtney Williams was shot to death in 2014. The college student’s murder is also unsolved.
    “I have to deal with that every day of my life,” Miller said. “Waking up and going to sleep is the hardest part.”
    It is a pain the St. Louis Circuit Attorney’s Office is trying to prevent any other mothers from feeling.
    Mary Pat Carl is the lead homicide prosecutor for the city of St. Louis. She is heading the team that will now assist police at homicide scenes.
    “People out there know things about all of these homicides that are unsolved,” Carl Said.
    Carl added that being visible at the scenes from the start also helps prosecutors build trust with witnesses.
    “If we are there from the start then we begin to earn that trust with witnesses,” she said.
    FOX 2’s Anthony Kiekow learned about the new strategy after pressing the police chief about the number of unsolved murders earlier this month.

    Black people get killed accidentally. 3 Waco Bikers Mistakenly Let Out of Jail. That’s what happens to white people.

    The Drug War, Mass
    Incarceration and Race
    , pdf report/infographic.

    Martin Luther King’s ‘Letter From Birmingham Jail’, just for fun.

    Searching for This Racist Phrase on Google Maps Takes You to the White House

    Google Maps may be the best software for getting around, but that doesn’t mean it’s troll-proof. On Tuesday, Activist Deray McKesson highlighted the racist result that turns up when you search for “nigga house” in Google Maps. 
    It takes you straight to the White House: 
    The result was confirmed when Mic searched for the phrase in an incognito window using Google Chrome. A red pin popped up, describing the location as the “iconic home of America’s president.” The result was still showing up during incognito searches as of press time.

    McKesson subsequently noted that he searched for the phrase after someone alerted him to the fact. “I typed it myself,” he tweeted. “Shocked.”
    Google made headlines on May 8 after it announced that public edits would no longer be allowed to its maps, after a number of incidents in which trolls added “fake edits,” like an Android urinating on an Apple logo and a pin with the phrase “Edwards Snow Den” on top of the White House. 
    It’s unclear how this latest act of vandalism made it into the mix. “Some inappropriate results are surfacing in Google Maps that should not be, and we apologize for any offense this may have caused,” a spokesperson for Google told Mic in an email. “Our teams are working to fix this issue quickly.”

  31. rq says

    Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta Delivers Remarks at the Colorado Lawyers Committee Annual Lunch

    Thank you to Constance Talmage, John Walsh and the Colorado Lawyers Committee for inviting me here today.  It’s an honor to speak with you today about the work of the Civil Rights Division, particularly our work to ensure that policing is done in accordance with the Constitution and to help local police departments and the communities they serve build trust where it has eroded.
    Eric Garner.  Michael Brown.  Tamir Rice.  John Crawford.  Walter Scott. Freddie Gray.
    These names and many others have become familiar to us under tragic circumstances in recent months.  Their deaths and those of other unarmed African American men and women in encounters with police officers, have provoked widespread responses across the country and have fueled the Black Lives Matter movement.  In communities of color, in particular, the reaction has been stark and sobering. 
    In the seven months I have been at the Civil Rights Division, I have spent a lot of time with local leaders and community members in cities all across America, including with numerous mothers who have lost their children in officer-involved shootings.  The pain, anger, frustration—the lack of trust in the police—is real, and it is profound.  Again and again, people have told me that young people are losing faith in our justice system and view law enforcement as preying on them rather than protecting their loved ones.  They talk about how the police don’t value their rights, or indeed, their lives.  They talk about being tired of being viewed as criminals first, human beings second.
    The conversation in these rooms, however, is not about whether to have police or not but about what kind of policing communities want and deserve. 
    There is no question that we need police in our communities.  Police officers ensure the safety of our communities by patrolling neighborhoods, defending the rights of victims and deterring crime.  They are our first responders in many emergency situations.
    The overwhelming majority of the women and men who police our streets do their jobs with honor, pride and distinction.  Most of these individuals are driven to the police academy out of a commitment to public service and a desire to make an impact in their communities.  As the senseless and tragic assassinations of NYPD Officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu this spring, the shooting of two officers in Ferguson in March and the tragic injuries inflicted on officers in Baltimore a few weeks ago, remind us, officers do all of this at considerable risk to themselves.
    I am struck everywhere I go by the wide gap in empathy and common language to discuss these problems.  Because in the very same cities and rooms where I speak with folks in the community, I hear from law enforcement who emphasize their responsibility to enforce the law and how they are doing the best job they can.  They feel attacked and undervalued.  They talk about how the actions of a few bad actors have tarnished the whole profession.  They talk about the fact that department budgets have been slashed over the last several years, resulting in drastic cuts for community policing and neighborhood patrols.  They talk about how they are constantly making split second decisions and people don’t account for the thousands of times situations don’t escalate and how the daily stress of their jobs take a toll.
    But there is one certain commonality in all rooms I am in.  And that is that everyone agrees that we are confronting grave challenges when it comes to the erosion of trust between police and the communities they serve throughout the United States.  The level of mistrust and resentment is unsettling.  Some, including NYPD Commissioner William Bratton, call it a “crisis in American policing.”

    She goes on at the link, a good read.

    Arlington police officer responding to domestic dispute fatally shoots man. Don’t call for help, people of colour.

    The disturbance led Arlington officers to the Gates of Ballston complex, where around 11 a.m. they encountered the son in his residence, police said. One officer received a serious gash across his face, a second was Tasered, the mother suffered minor injuries, and Alfredo Rials-Torres, 54, was shot in the chest by police.

    Prosecutors may feel pressure to make decisions more quickly in police use-of-force cases

    Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Timothy J. McGinty took nearly a year to present his first evidence to a grand jury after the November 2012 police shootings that left an unarmed Cleveland couple dead.
    By contrast, the state’s attorney for Baltimore brought criminal charges against six police officers on May 1 of this year, 12 days after a suspect died of injuries sustained following his arrest.
    Why the big difference in the time that it took two prosecutors to bring charges against police officers?
    Criminal justice experts contacted by Northeast Ohio Media Group said one likely factor is a heightened sensitivity and scrutiny following the August 2014 fatal police shooting of Michael Brown, an unarmed black man, in Ferguson, Missouri.
    The shooting of Brown ignited demonstrations across the nation and renewed interest in whether police officers in Ferguson and elsewhere are held accountable for their conduct.
    As a result, prosecutors will likely decide more quickly whether to bring criminal charges against officers, said Richard Rosenfeld, a criminologist at the University of Missouri-St. Louis.
    “Under current conditions, I do expect these cases to move forward more rapidly,” Rosenfeld said. He cited the demonstrations following Brown’s death and the violent protests immediately following the death in Baltimore of Freddie Gray.
    And while Rosenfeld said the rioting might not have solely influenced the state’s attorney in Baltimore, he described the speed with which officers were charged as “extraordinary.”
    “It’s hard to believe it happened completely independent of public protest and pressure,” he said.
    Cleveland-Marshall College of Law Associate Professor Jonathan Witmer-Rich said the heightened local and national interest in police use of force has put prosecutors on notice to “make a relatively reasonably prompt decision” about whether to charge officers.
    Nearly six months have elapsed since a Cleveland police officer fatally shot 12-year-old Tamir Rice outside Cudell Recreation Center on West Boulevard, and the investigation is not complete. Some activists have protested the shooting and the fact that the investigation is ongoing, but the demonstrations have not risen to the level of Baltimore.
    “Maybe Tamir Rice, fortunately for Cleveland, happened early enough in this string of things to not generate that reaction,” said Michael Benza, a criminal law instructor at Case Western Reserve University’s law school.
    But Benza said the Tamir case has influenced future events.
    “Freddie Gray isn’t just Freddie Gray,” he said. “It’s a combination of all the other things that came before it, the match that lights the powder keg.”

    Why do America’s riots so precisely mirror each other, generation after generation after generation?

    As some 37,000 fans streamed into Camden Yards for the Orioles–Red Sox game on the last Saturday evening in April, things were getting out of hand in Baltimore. The peaceful protests of the day were spiraling into bitter confrontations. Outside the stadium and nearby, rocks were being hurled at police and through store windows. If you’d caught these fast-breaking developments online, you might have been tempted, as I was, to flip on CNN. Cable news may not have a reliable nose for news, but it can be counted on to bear witness whenever it smells blood. 
    I should have known better. This was the night of the White House Correspondents’ Dinner in Washington, D.C., and the network was giving it four hours of undivided attention. Government potentates, media folk, and a modest bounty of show-business celebrities were busy posing on the Washington Hilton’s red carpet on their way to the ballroom. The news happening 40 miles up the road might as well have been in Kazakhstan. CNN didn’t cut away to on-the-ground coverage or offer the obligatory split screen. There were, however, frequent glimpses of the anchor Wolf Blitzer at a prime table down front.
    Yet, if you chose, as I did, to monitor these annual revels with one eye while following the Baltimore action on Twitter, you got both up-to-the-second snapshots of the latest urban battleground and a wide shot of the cultural chasm separating official Washington from modern America’s repeated eruptions of racial unrest. That chasm is nothing new. What made this particular instance poignant was the presence in the ballroom of our first African-American president, the Magic Negro who was somehow expected to relieve a nation founded and built on slavery from the toxic burdens of centuries of history.
    […]

    Performed before a sea of overwhelmingly white faces in black tie, this ventriloquistic routine almost came off as a minstrel act, a throwback to the Jim Crow era, when the very idea of a Barack Obama in the White House would have been unimaginable. Still, for all our real progress since then, the retro vibe remains apropos to our own time too. The comic premise that our first black president, six years in, must subcontract his anger to a surrogate in order to express what he really thinks is an exquisite, only slightly exaggerated distillation of his predicament, and ours. The routine gained a whole other layer of context from the anger simultaneously being vented on streets 40 miles away. Anyone watching who was old enough to have lived through the riots last time in both Baltimore and Washington had to be struck by what still hasn’t changed in the decades since. And had to wonder what, if anything, is going to change now, despite all the protestations of goodwill, bold action, and reform voiced by the nation’s political class since the killing of Freddie Gray. […]

    Baltimore’s own presumed inoculation against Armageddon was embodied by its young, recently elected mayor, Thomas L.J. D’Alesandro III, a Democrat in the FDR-JFK mold (and, as it happened, the older brother of the Democratic leader-to-be Nancy Pelosi); his predecessor, the Republican Theodore McKeldin, had also been a progressive popular with black voters. The city had the second-largest chapter of the NAACP (behind New York). In February 1968, the Baltimore Sun published an article, soon reprinted in Reader’s Digest, explaining why Baltimore had miraculously escaped the riots that had ravaged Newark and Detroit (along with Tampa, Atlanta, and Cincinnati, among others) during the long, hot summer of 1967. The answer? A new police commissioner had sent a signal that “someone in authority cares” by installing a black deputy to run an expanded, proactive community-relations department. “When the man wearing a police uniform is not automatically hated, then there is progress, there is hope,” the article concluded. “In Baltimore there is hope.” It was also in February 1968 that the much-awaited report of the National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders — the so-called Kerner Commission, appointed by LBJ after the 1967 riots — singled out Baltimore for rare optimism on the same grounds. In April, that hope was incinerated by an insurrection that spawned a thousand fires, left six dead, and required nearly 11,000 troops to suppress.
    In the aftermath, both cities’ old downtown commercial districts became ghost towns. (Baltimore’s still is.) Washington’s had started to fade well before 1968, the white exodus picking up steam after 1960, when the Census officially certified that the nation’s capital was also the nation’s first major black-majority city. After the riots, however, my father did something unexpected — and somewhat anomalous for a white small-businessman in a gutted American urban business district of that time. He shifted his anger from those who plundered his store to some of his fellow store owners who were either abandoning the city or insisting on more police as a cure-all. He soon beat a path to Walter Washington and before long was entwined with the city’s fledgling black leadership on a second career as a civic activist that would outlast our family’s century-old business (which he shut in 1987) by more than two decades. […]

    Before the riots, few whites had looked closely at how daily civic humiliations permeated the fabric of a city still segregated in everything but name. In Ten Blocks From the White House, a Washington Post volume published afterward, Ben W. Gilbert reconstructed the complacent pre-riot thinking. Washington would surely not be another Los Angeles, Newark, or Detroit, he wrote, because “many blacks had secure, well-paying government jobs, with pensions at retirement.” They wouldn’t riot, because “they had a real stake in the city,” and “to protect this stake, they would discourage others from misbehaving.” No doubt this is the kind of nonsense plantation owners told themselves on the eve of the Civil War.
    A parallel myopia had lulled progressive Baltimore into its own complacency. Forgotten in the 1968 pre-riot happy talk about the city’s embryonic efforts at community policing was a historical legacy that continued to define its racial divisions and economic inequities (and still does): In 1910, Baltimore had become the first American city to delineate the geographical boundaries of black and white neighborhoods, literally block by block, in a residential-segregation law. (The ordinance became the model for southern cities like Atlanta.) This strain of DNA in Baltimore’s history, like the crippling impact of Washington’s sub-democratic status, was of a piece with ingrained injustices in other riot-prone American cities. “What white Americans have never fully understood — but what the Negro can never forget — is that white society is deeply implicated in the ghetto,” said the Kerner Commission in 1968. “White institutions created it, white institutions maintain it, and white society condones it.” The warning went unheeded. So did King’s own warning to Baltimore, delivered in person in a 1966 speech, that “thousands of work-starved men walk the streets every day in search for jobs that do not exist.” Only after the cities imploded would there be a reckoning — on paper, anyway. A report commissioned by the Quakers’ American Friends Committee on the 1968 Baltimore riots found that the black population was largely confined to decrepit neighborhoods where housing ordinances went unenforced, schools were inferior, police harassment was prolific, and jobs had vanished. Even the peaceable Quakers had to conclude that “when one accumulates a list of the complaints of Baltimoreans, one tends to wonder why the retaliation was not worse.”
    None of these conditions, or the anger they engendered, should have been news to white Americans, let alone the nation’s political leadership, in 1968, or 1967, or 1965, when the Watts riot in Los Angeles prefigured the rapid-fire explosions about to come. Race riots had long been a fixture in post-Reconstruction America. In the “Red Summer” of 1919, they broke out in 25 cities and towns, mainly fomented by white mobs carrying out lynchings and pogroms. Washington’s lasted four days and produced some 40 casualties.
    It was in 1935 in Harlem that the current template for modern urban riots was set — “a new disorder, in which abject living conditions, police action, and rumor ignited large-scale violence among blacks who believed themselves without effective means of redress,” as the Encyclopedia of American Race Riots codifies it. The 1935 Harlem riot was set off by the rumor that a policeman had killed a shoplifter, prompting black Harlemites to turn on the handiest symbols of white power, police officers and white-owned businesses. The post-King assassination riots excepted, most every major urban riot since then has been a variation on the same theme. “This is not new, and we shouldn’t pretend that it’s new,” Obama said after the Baltimore riots, speaking of the recurrent conflicts between police and poor black communities. Yet even now, 80 years after that Harlem precursor, we profess to be shocked all over again when this history so regularly repeats itself.
    Truly, the Kerner Commission report could be republished in 2015 with scant updating. On page 8 of the best-selling paperback edition (my copy is the 18th printing in 1968 alone) are stark bullet points enumerating the top-three causes of the 1967 riots that left 43 dead in Detroit and 26 dead in Newark:
    1. POLICE PRACTICES
    2. UNEMPLOYMENT AND UNDEREMPLOYMENT
    3. INADEQUATE HOUSING
    Racism (euphemistically defined as “disrespectful white attitudes”) lagged behind, at No. 7, on this list. Imagine if America had mobilized to focus seriously on items one to three back then — all of them more tangible and potentially more malleable than stamping out bigotry — instead of letting them fester. [..]

    In the aftermath of the Baltimore riots of 2015, few questions are more haunting than those posed plaintively by the congressman Elijah Cummings at Freddie Gray’s funeral. Noting the profusion of cameras in the media circus at the New Shiloh Baptist Church, Cummings asked: “Did anyone recognize Freddie when he was alive? Did you see him?”
    Even after Gray was dead, many who should know better, including some who are paid to be informed, were ignorant of the history that presaged his death and fed the rampage that followed. Jon Stewart was right when he singled out Wolf Blitzer for scorn: No mainstream-media star’s behavior better exemplifies the mass amnesia that helps perpetuate our racial Groundhog Day. When he returned to anchoring once Washington’s prom weekend was over, Blitzer repeatedly demonstrated that he was as clueless about events in America’s recent, post–Travyon Martin past as he was of the long history preceding it. “Hard to believe this is going on in a major American city right now!” he exclaimed incredulously. “This is a scene that a lot of us never anticipated seeing in a city like Baltimore!” His use of the word “us” in that sentence — whether meant to stand for whites in his audience or the Washington media-political Establishment, of which he has long been an archetypal pillar — is one of the most revealing words said by anyone in hours of riot coverage, whether on CNN or elsewhere.
    Much of that coverage mindlessly pounded in the one unassailable sentiment shared across the political and racial spectrum: Nonviolent protest is positive, and rioting is both self-destructive and a crime that must be punished. The other consensus, among whites anyway, was that Toya Graham, the Baltimore mother caught on-camera slapping her errant hoodie-wearing 16-year-old son, was a beacon of hope, if not a panacea for all ghetto ills. Graham made the admiring rounds of The View, Anderson Cooper, and Charlie Rose. Jeb Bush declared that she had “a lot in common” with his own mother and commended the video as “a nice visual symbol for what needs to be restored.” Finally, a black historian, Stacey Patton, had had enough and raised the obvious question in a powerful essay in the Washington Post titled “Why Are We Celebrating the Beating of a Black Child?” Patton sympathized with Graham — what parent wouldn’t? — but then gave Graham’s white fan club some needed schooling on the history of “the public humiliation of black children” and the impotence of parental thrashings in keeping “black children safe from police, out of prisons, morgues and graves.”[…]

    The country can’t afford inertia. It’s a tinderbox awaiting the next spark. One could arrive in January 2017 should all three branches of Washington’s federal government end up in control of a political party so alienated from black Americans that it hasn’t drawn more than 11 percent of the African-American vote since 1996 and was down to 6 percent in the 2012 presidential race. This is the opposite of progress. Back in 1967, after Detroit cratered in despair and violence, the Republican governor of Michigan, George Romney, launched his presidential campaign with a tour of America’s troubled urban areas beyond his own state. “I think it’s important,” he said, for public officials to see “the horrible conditions which breed frustration, hatred, and revolt.” He went so far as to meet with Marion Barry, then a young civil-rights worker, in Washington, and the community organizer Saul Alinsky in Rochester, New York. By contrast, the only one among the horde of current Republican presidential contenders to feign interest in black America, Rand Paul, revealed his hollow cynicism when, at the height of the unrest, he joked with the radio host Laura Ingraham that he was glad his train didn’t stop in Baltimore. The story of the GOP’s current self-imposed apartheid is one that will not end well.
    There is much else to be anxious about. The young Baltimore prosecutor Marilyn Mosby, who raised the expectations of many seeking justice by indicting six officers in Gray’s death, could crush those hopes if she fails to obtain convictions. In the summer of 2016, both parties will hold conventions in cities with large poor black populations whose police forces have been the subject of damning Department of Justice investigations like the one now beginning in Baltimore: The Republicans will party in Cleveland, where 12-year-old Tamir Rice was fatally shot while carrying a toy gun, and the Democrats in Philadelphia, where 26-year-old Brandon Tate-Brown met the same fate after committing the offense of driving without turning on his headlights. No one was charged in Tate-Brown’s death; the Rice investigation has been in slo-mo. The fact that both cities have black police chiefs means no more than it did in Baltimore. But let’s worry about 2016 later; Americans are fatalistic about the long hot months immediately at hand. After the Baltimore riots, a Wall Street Journal–NBC News poll found that in a country where no one agrees about anything, an extraordinary 96 percent of adults surveyed “said it was likely there would be additional racial disturbances this summer.” [..]

    “If our society really wanted to solve the problem, we could,” President Obama said after Baltimore boiled over. “It’s just it would require everybody saying this is important, this is significant — and that we don’t just pay attention to these communities when a CVS burns, and we don’t just pay attention when a young man gets shot or has his spine snapped.” Obama wasn’t being angry, heaven forbid — just honest. But if a black president isn’t allowed to get angry about our society’s perennial failure to solve the problem, white people in Washington have no such constraints. If ever there was a time for those in power to stop fiddling on red carpets while America burns, surely it is now.

    Cops who shot #TamirRice are supposed to enter a plea in family’s civil case by today. They filed a motion to delay. That case seems to be all about the delays.

    Biker Clubs Instead of Thugs? This Is How Racism Works

    As incredible a picture as this all seems, now that the dust has settled from Sunday’s massacre (or not), there still seems to be something missing: Where is the wall-to-wall media coverage that has blanketed our televisions of late every time there is a group of black folk who even appear to be thinking about acting unruly? Where’s Don Lemon and Geraldo Rivera?
    Nine people were killed as part of this incident, and yet television, print and Web outlets alike displayed for this story a fraction of the interest that they had for every aspect of looting and unruliness in Baltimore just a few weeks ago—a time when the best clip of real, on-camera violence the media could muster up quickly turned into a debate on who should be mother of the year.
    Even as details about the bloody incident between the two biker gangs continue to trickle out, and as the coverage has slowly widened, there has been a calculated and deliberate difference between the way many mainstream media outlets have reported this story and the way other stories of late have been reported.
    In addition, reports have referred to both violent groups in the North Texas melee as “biker clubs” or “groups” and placed emphasis on their being involved in “organized crime.” This differs starkly from coverage of the “riots” in Baltimore.
    At best the contrast appears inconsistent, and at worst it borders on irresponsible. Language is important, and it shapes the way we perceive things, oftentimes as much as, if not more than, visuals. If young black faces in Ferguson, Mo., and Baltimore can draw the label “thug” while seeking an audience to express their frustrations with years of systemic oppression, then it only follows that this Texas group of violent offenders should not enjoy the luxury (read: privilege) of being sanitized in the media as “organized,” as if they are white-collar criminals.
    The myth of black criminalization is one that has far-reaching effects and can often have a lasting impact long after and far away from whatever incident(s) may have given rise to the original story.
    For anyone who is still confused, this is how racism works.

  32. rq says

    Here’s an upcoming thing. Was supposed to have been in on Monday already. I hope they’re not waiting for a pre-weekend day to maximize the fall-out… Leaders on both sides of Michael Brelo verdict urge for calm following announcement

    An attorney involved in a lawsuit against Michael Brelo and Cleveland for the death of Malissa Williams released a statement discouraging violence and property destruction after a criminal verdict against Brelo is read.
    David Malik represented Williams’ family in the lawsuit, which asked for compensatory and punitive damages as a result of the 64-car police chase that took place over 27 minutes and resulted in 137 shots being fired.
    The lawsuit said  both Williams and Timothy Russell, who were shot to death, “were unarmed during the entire pursuit” and claimed excessive force was used by the officers involved.
    Now the city awaits a decision from Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Judge John P. O’Donnell on two charges of voluntary manslaughter filed against Michael Brelo, a Cleveland Police officer who jumped on the hood of the car Williams and Russell were inside and fired 15 shots.

    Here’s another on the white/black difference in media response: When The Gang-bangers Are White Guys

    If you thought violent biker gangs were a relic of the Altamont era, Sunday’s shootout at a Waco, Texas restaurant might have come as a shock. A long simmering beef between the Bandidos and Cossacks boiled over into gunfire. When police arrived at the scene, gang members shot at them, too, leaving nine bikers dead, 18 people injured, and 170 suspects in police custody. Over 100 weapons have been confiscated.
    The scale of this incident dwarfs a typical urban gang confrontation, says Harold Pollack, co-director of the University of Chicago Crime Lab and an expert on gangs and guns. We talked to Pollack about why biker gang violence typically gets so little attention. He believes the Waco incident confounds our expectations regarding the race and geographic location of people who perpetrate crime, causing us to see biker gangs as more of a “curiosity” than a threat.

    Interview within.

    Grace Lee Boggs on Malcolm X: “He Was a Person Always Searching to Transform Himself”

    2008, the legendary Detroit-based activist and philosopher Grace Lee Boggs joined Democracy Now! for an extended interview. In this never-aired excerpt, Boggs, who will turn 100 in June, talks about how she knew Malcolm X and how he influenced her.

    Video, with transcript at the link, too.

    Someone is Stealing “Black Lives Matter” Signs From Churches and Homes

    When Reverend Mary Gene Boteler of Second Presbyterian Church first noticed that a small yard sign saying “Black Lives Matter” was missing from one of the church’s green spaces, she had several thoughts. The first was that someone in the neighborhood hadn’t agreed with the phrase’s political sentiment — “Black Lives Matter” has become an iconic message against police brutality, emblazoned on signs at marches around the country. The second was more optimistic — someone had stolen it in order to put it up in his own yard.
    But then she started hearing from other church leaders.
    “As I hear others having their signs stolen, it seems it may be a concerted effort for folks to drive through areas and pick up the signs,” she says. “A concerted effort by people to end the conversation.”
    The person who wrenched down the sign at First Congregational Church of St. Louis in Clayton had to put even more work into it — theirs was tethered to a metal readerboard on the corner of Wydown and University Lane in Clayton.
    “We do get mail complaining about the banner, saying ‘Black Lives Matter is not saying all lives matter, so it’s against Jesus,'” says Reverend Heather Arcovitch.
    The third church that’s been hit is First Unitarian Church of St. Louis on the corner of Waterman and Kingshighway. The signs began disappearing sometime last week.
    Within her mostly white congregation the banner has stirred mixed feelings, Arcovitch says. But the church was founded 150 years ago as an abolitionist organization, and she believes that displaying the sign and participating in protests in Ferguson continues that mission of inclusiveness.
    “This message is provocative for some white people. Members of the congregation will say, ‘Shouldn’t we say a more moderate message that opens conversations with people rather than turning people away?'” says Arcovitch. “We’re not aiming this message just at white people, we’re aiming this message at our black brothers and sisters… to know they have an ally in a white, affluent community. It’s really there more for that then it is for the white people.”
    Anecdotally, both ministers have also heard from congregants that “Black Lives Matter” signs are disappearing off the lawns of private residences.
    Arcovitch responded by putting another “Black Lives Matter” sign in front of the church, and writing “You Can Steal Our Banner But Black Lives Still Matter” on the readerboard. What she did not do is call the police.
    “I think that whoever stole the sign is a person in pain, too,” she says.
    Boteler — whose congregation is more racially mixed — hopes that the thefts backfire on whoever is trying to “end the conversation.”
    “Black lives still matter whether the signs are taken or not,” she says. “I hope the disappearance of the sign will be another wake up call for the community and be a reminder of the disappearance of so many black lives.”

    Malcolm X: Powerful Images From the EBONY Archives (He had a birthday recently, which is why he’s been showing up a lot.) Just a lot of photos.

    @deray @Dreamdefenders #BlackSpring is Boston

  33. rq says

    Cleveland Cop Who Killed 12-Year-Old Tamir Rice Will Be Investigated Someday. Maybe. I’m tellin ya, that case, delay delay delay. I think they’re scared.

    Being reassigned to desk duty must keep a cop awfully busy. That’s the only explanation we can think of for why Cleveland Police Officer Timothy Loehmann, who shot 12-year-old Tamir Rice dead on Nov. 22, 2014, still hasn’t been interviewed by investigators from the Cuyahoga County Sheriff’s Department. He probably has a lot of filing to do. You know how that sort of work can pile up, especially if you’re burdened by the knowledge that you killed a child who was holding a toy gun. At least we’d like to think he’s burdened, but that could just be us being optimists.
    Mother Jones reports that despite multiple attempts by investigators to interview them, neither Loehmann nor Frank Garmback, who drove the police car to within a few feet of Rice before Loehmann shot him, have not yet been interviewed. You might think that would be something of a priority. Still, the Sheriff’s Department did at least hold a press conference last week, in which Cuyahoga County Sheriff Clifford Pinkney said that the investigators had reviewed “thousands of pages of documents, and conducted numerous search warrants and interviews with witnesses.” Just not, it seems, from the two officers who were involved in the shooting. Not that it’s too surprising Loehmann may be reluctant to talk to investigators, since they might ask him embarrassing questions, like why on earth are you a cop in the first place, you incompetent idiot?

    And the Wonkette goes on.

    Funny. All the critics of #BlackLivesMatter say the problem is education. But when it comes time to fund education, they choose more police. Yes, funny.

    NYC right now: #BlackLivesMatter activists have shut down the Queensboro Bridge for #MalcolmXDay.

    Interlude: Alfonso Ribeiro Set as New Host of ABC’s ‘America’s Funniest Home Videos’. Didn’t even know that show was still a thing.

    Video spotlights Freddie Gray at Baker and Mount streets

    On the morning of April 12, Michelle Gross woke up to screaming. Gross, known as “mom,” in West Baltimore’s Gilmor Homes area, left her home to find Freddie Gray — someone she called “son” — being dragged into a police van.
    As police drove away with Gray, she gave her phone to a neighbor who wanted to call 911 and report the incident. But soon, Gross and the neighbor were headed to the corner of Mount and Baker streets, where the van had stopped.
    There, the neighbor shot cell phone video that provides a close look at Gray and police actions that have been criticized by Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby. That video, combined with the account of Gross and her neighbor, provide the most detailed public account of the van stop — a key moment in Gray’s fatal encounter with police.

    The video shows Gray halfway out of the van, his stomach flat on the floor, and his legs hanging off the back. He does not move as four officers stand over him and place shackles around his ankles.
    In her first interview about the incident, Gross, 58, said she was shocked at the turn of events that led to Gray’s death from a spinal injury. “I thought his leg was just broke and that he was just going to the police station and we would hear him that afternoon,” she said recently, as tears streamed down her cheeks.
    Most of the video of Gray was taken of the arrest at Mount and Presbury Streets. Less is known about what happened a block away, when the van stopped at Baker Street and he was shackled.
    That was a key moment, according to Mosby. Charging documents filed against six officers involved in Gray’s arrest and transport state: “Following transport from Baker Street, Mr. Gray suffered a severe and critical neck injury as a result of being handcuffed, shackled by his feet and unrestrained inside of the [Baltimore Police Department] wagon.”

    Mosby also said officers violated department policy by not securing Gray with a seatbelt and not providing medical care when he requested it. Charging documents state that officers placed Gray in the van head first and on his stomach before transporting him around West Baltimore.
    According to Mosby, Lt. Brian Rice directed the police van to stop at Mount and Baker.
    Police said Gray was acting “irate.” Rice and two other officers took him out of the van and placed flex-cuffs on his wrists and metal shackles on his ankles.
    Cell phone video and surveillance footage reviewed by The Baltimore Sun shed more light on what took place during the stop. […]

    The video shot by Gross’ neighbor is distorted, and shows just a few seconds at the back of the van. As officers restrain Gray, the video shows another officer pull up in a patrol car, get out and walk toward the van. (The neighbor did not allow his name to be published because he feared retaliation by police, but Gross allowed The Sun to copy the video from her phone.)

    At this point on the cell phone video, Gross yells to Gray, “You all right?” No response is detectable from the recording and Gross said she didn’t hear Gray respond. Her neighbor yells, “Porter, can we get a supervisor up here please?” He said he was yelling at officer William Porter, who would be one of the six charged in the case.
    The neighbor said Porter motioned to Rice, identifying him as the supervisor. On the video, the neighbor says, “Can we get someone else out here? This is not cool. This is not cool. Do you hear me?” The man’s shouts are heard on the phone, but not the officers’ responses.
    The man said that Rice and other officers moved toward him, blocking his view of the van. They didn’t ask him to stop recording, but Rice took out his Taser and threatened to use it if he didn’t leave, the man said.
    Gross is then heard telling her neighbor, “Let’s walk away.” After that, both of them left.

    It’s disgusting.

    Two via Mano, one only tangentially related but you can probably guess why: Social media puts police under scrutiny;
    Is this a new tactic to get money and publicity?

    And via Tashiliciously Shriked in the Thunderdome, 5 Helpful Answers To Society’s Most Uncomfortable Questions, a really excellent read on general privilege and discrimination and how the world works.

    That there article up there on Freddie Gray, that’s just wow.

  34. anteprepro says

    Black people, mostly students, non-violently protesting? Crack down on them in full military gear, and then chastise them for rioting and being violent thugs when they damage cars and buildings, talking about them venomously with constant demonization and handwringing.

    White people, in biker gangs, about to have a violent turf war? Watch lackadaisically while not intervening or preparing at all, and then just nonchalantly arrest them after nine people die, while making sure to only talk about the whole affair in detached terms.

  35. rq says

  36. rq says

    When racial epithets become inconvenient

    Essentially, the play is about two First Nations kids living in Calgary, who come into possession of a horse with mysterious powers to heal their depressed father. It’s an Indigenous adaptation of the Irish Gypsy tale Tir na N’Og and is being promoted as a play that deals with the problem of racism. And as the old Aboriginal saying goes, you can’t play golf without whacking a few balls.
    In a sequence where the children try to raise money to feed the horse by busking and begging on a street corner, several passersby refer to them as “dirty Indians” and “squaws.”  Those particular terms have elicited some negative response, in particular from Mona Stonefish, a grandparent in southwestern Ontario, who sent a letter to the Windsor Star complaining of the language. She has also filed a complaint with the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO), which is responsible for arranging the tour of Ontario schools, and with the Chiefs of Ontario. More importantly to me, as the writer of the script, she has petitioned the ETFO and  Ontario English Catholic Teachers Association, for the removal of the offending words. 
    This is the third province-wide tour of the play. There are 20 southern communities on the current tour. It was staged in 33 northern communities in 2010. ETFO president Sam Hammond has pointed out that the play is accompanied by professional development workshops created in consultation with Aboriginal leaders to guide teachers and students in discussions about issues the play raises. This is the first time a formal complaint of this nature has been made.  […]

    The sequence of the play in question was written to show the thin veneer that exists between a healthy society and a racist one. These things happen, and I agree, it is a tragedy that it has to appear in a play for young audiences. I am loathed to be critical of those who may be offended because for many the term “squaw” still brings back a myriad of unpleasant and emotionally-damaging memories. The term should and does raise concerns among most natives who care anything about their culture and people.
    But I do not believe eliminating the words from my play or any play will solve the problem. This was exactly the same argument used to justify the exclusion of the n-word from recent editions of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn a few years ago. 
    But getting rid of words is very seldom effective in getting rid of racism. Racism needs to be confronted head-on, looked directly in the eyes, and kicked in the groin. Issues like this should be explored in the classroom, not eliminated from plays and literature. That would be like watching 1950’s television again: more pleasant but unreal.
    In the context of the play, the exchange is presented in such a flippant, and at the same time, unpleasant manner, that it is obvious to the children watching that the behaviour is not to be emulated. […]

    Many words, once considered obscene, have now been reclaimed by those same segments of the population the words used to offend.  They’ve all been embraced with varying degrees of comfort.  There is a movement, however small, by some native women to reapporpriate the word squaw. There is a school of thought that the word comes from the Ojibway/Algonquin word “kwe” meaning woman, and over the years has come to mean something derogatory. 
    Many geographical locations have been renamed.  No more Squaw River or Squaw Mountain, and I think that is great. Word is still out on the city of Squamish though. And let’s not forget the recent silliness when Canadian fashion designers Desquared2 released their new line of clothing with strong aboriginal influences.  For some reason known only to those who are so cool and so hip, they decided to call the fashion line “Dsquaw.”  
    In years past, native people out west were frequently referred to as “prairie niggers.” However, I don’t think there is any movement eager to reclaim that term. It’s a complex issue, for sure. 

    For some happy feels: Student returns to school with kidney donated by teacher.

    CNN’s ex-cop defends not calling white bikers ‘thugs’: ‘This thing started with the black community’ – OH MY GAWDS HE’S BLAMING WHITE CRIME ON BLACK PEOPLE.

    CNN law enforcement analyst Harry Houck asserted this week that the black community was to blame after pundits had referred to black rioters as “thugs” but had usually refused to use the same terminology for white criminals.
    Following a shootout between rival biker gangs in Waco, Texas over the weekend, many noted that the media did not stereotype the suspects the same way that it had during coverage of the Baltimore riots, which were far less deadly.
    “This is about a culture that looks at blackness and says that it sounds like a certain thing, it looks like a certain thing,” New York Times columnist Charles Blow explained to a CNN panel on Tuesday.
    “I don’t know how you can make a comparison between Waco and Baltimore,” Houck complained. “Are these guys thugs? Yeah, they’re thugs… I use the word thug and I mean ‘bad guy’ when I use the word.”
    “I think the word was owned by rappers,” he continued. “They started coming out with songs and calling themselves thugs, and I think that’s how this whole thing started, with the black community and the young men calling themselves thugs. Alright? And I think that’s how that all started.”
    Blow argued that Houck’s etymology of the word thug was “patently inaccurate.”
    “That word has a long history, and whether or not a word is absorbed into a community in the same way people absorbed the n-word and sometimes gay people absorbed words that were historically used to bash them, and try to rub off the edges of them and absorb it into the culture, to make it less abrasive and hurtful,” Blow observed. “A lot of times, that is what is happening with the etymology of words.”
    But Blow said that the bigger concern was that the entire black community was treated as the problem after localized events in a way that the white community never was.
    “Everybody has got to stop and move on from here,” Houck recommended. “Forget the past. Move on.”
    “I don’t want to forget the past,” Blow shot back. “That’s not even a smart thing to say.”
    “Whatever happened a thousand years ago, stop! Let’s move from here,” Houck demanded, turning to Blow. “Come on, you’re a smart man.”
    “You’re smarter than what you sound like right now,” Blow quipped.

    There are 2 actions in #Baltimore today, being led by the Family of #FreddieGray and #TyroneWest. #BaltimoreUprising

    Fox News Slams Jay Z And Beyonce’s #BlackLivesMatter Support… Because Fox News

    While most of us were giving Jay Z and Beyonce their due kudos for their contributions to the #BlackLivesMatter movement, Fox News was doing just the opposite. This past weekend, writer and organizer dream hampton took to Twitter to reveal that The Carters have donated “tens of thousands” of dollars toward bail money for protesters as well as other needs. But leave it to Fox & Friends Elisabeth Hasselbeck, Steve Doocy and Brian Kilmeade to find room for shade.
    “We know that they’ve been supportive of the administration, over four million dollars donated over the course of time. So in the case of Ferguson, if you like it, then I guess you bring the bail for it,” Hasselbeck said, making a play off of Beyonce’s “Put A Ring On It.”
    Steve Doocy adding in a jab for good measure, referring to the recent unrest in Baltimore as “lawlessness.”
    “The lawlessness in Baltimore that we saw, and the people who got out, can thank Jay Z and Beyonce now,” he said.

    Well, this is interesting. Jason Flanery’s DNA matched saliva recovered from a 2008 burglary. #VonderritMyers Which, incidentally, can mean nothing, but it can also reflect an officer’s careless attitude towards his work (after all, DNA contamination is a real thing and something most Pds try to avoid as much as possible).

  37. rq says

    When racial epithets become inconvenient

    Essentially, the play is about two First Nations kids living in Calgary, who come into possession of a horse with mysterious powers to heal their depressed father. It’s an Indigenous adaptation of the Irish Gypsy tale Tir na N’Og and is being promoted as a play that deals with the problem of racism. And as the old Aboriginal saying goes, you can’t play golf without whacking a few balls.
    In a sequence where the children try to raise money to feed the horse by busking and begging on a street corner, several passersby refer to them as “dirty Indians” and “squaws.”  Those particular terms have elicited some negative response, in particular from Mona Stonefish, a grandparent in southwestern Ontario, who sent a letter to the Windsor Star complaining of the language. She has also filed a complaint with the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO), which is responsible for arranging the tour of Ontario schools, and with the Chiefs of Ontario. More importantly to me, as the writer of the script, she has petitioned the ETFO and  Ontario English Catholic Teachers Association, for the removal of the offending words. 
    This is the third province-wide tour of the play. There are 20 southern communities on the current tour. It was staged in 33 northern communities in 2010. ETFO president Sam Hammond has pointed out that the play is accompanied by professional development workshops created in consultation with Aboriginal leaders to guide teachers and students in discussions about issues the play raises. This is the first time a formal complaint of this nature has been made.  […]

    The sequence of the play in question was written to show the thin veneer that exists between a healthy society and a racist one. These things happen, and I agree, it is a tragedy that it has to appear in a play for young audiences. I am loathed to be critical of those who may be offended because for many the term “squaw” still brings back a myriad of unpleasant and emotionally-damaging memories. The term should and does raise concerns among most natives who care anything about their culture and people.
    But I do not believe eliminating the words from my play or any play will solve the problem. This was exactly the same argument used to justify the exclusion of the n-word from recent editions of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn a few years ago. 
    But getting rid of words is very seldom effective in getting rid of racism. Racism needs to be confronted head-on, looked directly in the eyes, and kicked in the groin. Issues like this should be explored in the classroom, not eliminated from plays and literature. That would be like watching 1950’s television again: more pleasant but unreal.
    In the context of the play, the exchange is presented in such a flippant, and at the same time, unpleasant manner, that it is obvious to the children watching that the behaviour is not to be emulated. […]

    Many words, once considered obscene, have now been reclaimed by those same segments of the population the words used to offend.  They’ve all been embraced with varying degrees of comfort.  There is a movement, however small, by some native women to reapporpriate the word squaw. There is a school of thought that the word comes from the Ojibway/Algonquin word “kwe” meaning woman, and over the years has come to mean something derogatory. 
    Many geographical locations have been renamed.  No more Squaw River or Squaw Mountain, and I think that is great. Word is still out on the city of Squamish though. And let’s not forget the recent silliness when Canadian fashion designers Desquared2 released their new line of clothing with strong aboriginal influences.  For some reason known only to those who are so cool and so hip, they decided to call the fashion line “Dsquaw.”  
    In years past, native people out west were frequently referred to as “prairie n*gg*rs.” However, I don’t think there is any movement eager to reclaim that term. It’s a complex issue, for sure. 

    For some happy feels: Student returns to school with kidney donated by teacher.

    CNN’s ex-cop defends not calling white bikers ‘thugs’: ‘This thing started with the black community’ – OH MY GAWDS HE’S BLAMING WHITE CRIME ON BLACK PEOPLE.

    CNN law enforcement analyst Harry Houck asserted this week that the black community was to blame after pundits had referred to black rioters as “thugs” but had usually refused to use the same terminology for white criminals.
    Following a shootout between rival biker gangs in Waco, Texas over the weekend, many noted that the media did not stereotype the suspects the same way that it had during coverage of the Baltimore riots, which were far less deadly.
    “This is about a culture that looks at blackness and says that it sounds like a certain thing, it looks like a certain thing,” New York Times columnist Charles Blow explained to a CNN panel on Tuesday.
    “I don’t know how you can make a comparison between Waco and Baltimore,” Houck complained. “Are these guys thugs? Yeah, they’re thugs… I use the word thug and I mean ‘bad guy’ when I use the word.”
    “I think the word was owned by rappers,” he continued. “They started coming out with songs and calling themselves thugs, and I think that’s how this whole thing started, with the black community and the young men calling themselves thugs. Alright? And I think that’s how that all started.”
    Blow argued that Houck’s etymology of the word thug was “patently inaccurate.”
    “That word has a long history, and whether or not a word is absorbed into a community in the same way people absorbed the n-word and sometimes gay people absorbed words that were historically used to bash them, and try to rub off the edges of them and absorb it into the culture, to make it less abrasive and hurtful,” Blow observed. “A lot of times, that is what is happening with the etymology of words.”
    But Blow said that the bigger concern was that the entire black community was treated as the problem after localized events in a way that the white community never was.
    “Everybody has got to stop and move on from here,” Houck recommended. “Forget the past. Move on.”
    “I don’t want to forget the past,” Blow shot back. “That’s not even a smart thing to say.”
    “Whatever happened a thousand years ago, stop! Let’s move from here,” Houck demanded, turning to Blow. “Come on, you’re a smart man.”
    “You’re smarter than what you sound like right now,” Blow quipped.

    There are 2 actions in #Baltimore today, being led by the Family of #FreddieGray and #TyroneWest. #BaltimoreUprising

    Fox News Slams Jay Z And Beyonce’s #BlackLivesMatter Support… Because Fox News

    While most of us were giving Jay Z and Beyonce their due kudos for their contributions to the #BlackLivesMatter movement, Fox News was doing just the opposite. This past weekend, writer and organizer dream hampton took to Twitter to reveal that The Carters have donated “tens of thousands” of dollars toward bail money for protesters as well as other needs. But leave it to Fox & Friends Elisabeth Hasselbeck, Steve Doocy and Brian Kilmeade to find room for shade.
    “We know that they’ve been supportive of the administration, over four million dollars donated over the course of time. So in the case of Ferguson, if you like it, then I guess you bring the bail for it,” Hasselbeck said, making a play off of Beyonce’s “Put A Ring On It.”
    Steve Doocy adding in a jab for good measure, referring to the recent unrest in Baltimore as “lawlessness.”
    “The lawlessness in Baltimore that we saw, and the people who got out, can thank Jay Z and Beyonce now,” he said.

    Well, this is interesting. Jason Flanery’s DNA matched saliva recovered from a 2008 burglary. #VonderritMyers Which, incidentally, can mean nothing, but it can also reflect an officer’s careless attitude towards his work (after all, DNA contamination is a real thing and something most Pds try to avoid as much as possible).

  38. rq says

    Well, that wasn’t so bad, was it?
    We are all caught up now! :D

    More later.
    As always.

  39. rq says

    *ahem* ‘Cept for this one here.

    Malcolm X said it best “I want to be remembered as someone that was sincere, even if I made mistakes, they were in sincerity…”

    Mike Brown would have been 19yo today. #Happybirthdaymikebrown. May he rest knowing the impact he’s had on our lives.

    Brelo. Oh. (via @clevelanddotcom) Cleveland cartoon with poster “Don’t overreact like Brelo did”.

    So the 400+ killings of unarmed by police isn’t worthy of an alert? #BlueAlert @POTUS @WhiteHouse

    White America’s Waco insanity: The shocking realities it ignores about racism & violence, another piece on white privilege.

    White people, even well-meaning and thoughtful ones, have the privilege of looking at deadly acts of mass violence of this sort as isolated local incidents, particular to one community. They do not look at such incidents as indicative of anything having to do with race or racism. But everything from the difference in law enforcement response to media response tells us what we need to know about how white privilege allows acts of violence by white people to be judged by entirely different standards than those of any other group. If a Black motorcycle gang had engaged in a shootout in a parking lot, any honest white person will admit that the conversation would have sounded incredibly different.
    Frequently in conversations that I have observed or participated in with white people about race, the claim is levied that it is Black people “who make everything about race.” But this incident in Waco gives lie to that claim. It turns out that when white privilege is in clear operation, white people are invested in making sure that we don’t see race in operation. Charles Mills, a philosopher of race, has a term which I think applies here: epistemology of white ignorance. By this means, he means that white people have created a whole way of knowing the world that both demands and allows that they remain oblivious to the operations of white supremacy, that white people remain “intent on denying what is before them.” Thus even though three gangs have now attacked each other in broad daylight and killed or injured 27 people, there is no nagging, gnawing sense of fear, no social anxiety about what the world is coming to, no anger at the thugs who made it unsafe for American families to go about their regular daily activities without fear of being clipped by a stray bullet, no posturing from law enforcement about the necessity of using military weapons to put down the lawless band of criminals that turned a parking lot into a war zone in broad daylight. More than that, there is no sense of white shame, no hanging of the head over the members of their race that have been out in the world representing everything that is wrong with America.
    That kind of intra-racial shame is reserved primarily for Black people.
    Most white citizens will insist that this was just an isolated incident, even though the gangs were already under surveillance for consistent participation in criminal activity. And this studied ignorance, this sense in which people could look at this set of incidents and simply refuse to see all the ways in which white privilege is at play — namely that no worse than arrest befell any the men who showed up hours later with weapons, looking for a fight — returns me to the words of Malcolm X. For many Americans, this is just good ole American fun, sort of like playing Cowboys-and-Indians in real life. As Malcolm reminded us, “whites idolize fighters.” So while I’m sure many Americans are appalled at the senseless loss of life, there is also the sense that this is just “those wild Texans” doing the kind of thing they do.
    White Americans might also deny the attempt to “lump them in” with this unsavory element. But the point is that being seen as an individual is a privilege. Not having to interrogate the ways in which white violence is always viewed as exceptional rather than regular and quotidian is white privilege. White people can distance themselves from their violent racial counterparts because there is no sense that what these “bikers” did down in Texas is related to anything racial. White Americans routinely ask Black Americans to chastise the “lower” elements of our race, while refusing to do the same in instances like this. Yes, white people will denounce these crimes, but they won’t shake a finger at these bikers for making the race look bad. It won’t even occur to them why Black people would view such incidents as racialized.
    Such analyses are patently unacceptable. And they are possible because white bodies, even those engaged in horrendously violent and reckless acts, are not viewed as “criminal.” Yes, some police officers referred to the acts of these killers in Waco as criminal acts and them as criminals, but in popular discourse, these men have not been criminalized. Criminalization is a process that exists separate and apart from the acts one has committed. It’s why street protestors in Baltimore are referred to as violent thugs for burning buildings, but murderers in Waco get called “bikers.” And if thug is the new n-word (and I’m not sure that’s precise), then “biker” is the new “honky” or “cracker,” which is to say that while the term is used derisively and can communicate distaste, it does not have the devastating social effects or demand the same level of state engagement to suppress such “biker-ish” activity as we demand to suppress the activities of alleged “thugs” and “criminals.”
    How we talk about and understand the problem of violence is actually critical to our ability to make any progress on solving the problem of racism in this country. We have turned the word “criminal” into a social category that acts a site of cultural refuse, where we can toss all of our anger, hatred, and resentment, on a group of people, disproportionately people of color, for abhorrent acts that they commit against us and the state. We get to view them as less than human and treat them as such, while acting as though our indignation is pure, righteous, and without hypocrisy. None of this is true.

  40. slithey tove (twas brillig (stevem)) says

    Waco Police Department spokesman Sgt. Patrick Swanton described the massive shootout as the worst crime scene, the most violent crime scene, that [he has] ever been involved in

    leads me to question the length of his residence in Waco.

    On February 28, 1993, a shootout occurred in which six Branch Davidians and four agents of the United States Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms died. After 50 days, on April 19, 1993, a standoff between FBI agents and Branch Davidians ended in a fire that destroyed their compound, referred to as Mt. Carmel, near Waco. Seventy-four people, including leader David Koresh, died in the blaze. This event became known as the Waco siege.

  41. laurentweppe says

    Isn’t it nice to know that biker gangs are more integrated and diverse than many atheist organizations?

    Perhaps it’s time for you to start the atheist version of the Hell’s Angels: you already have the beard.

  42. says

    Number of Latino, Black High School grads increases as dropout factories decline:

    The national high school graduation rate reached a record high of 81.4 percent, according to the 2015 report “Building a Grad Nation: Progress and Challenge in Ending the High School Dropout Epidemic.”

    The report is by Civic Enterprises, Everyone Graduates Center at the School of Education at Johns Hopkins University in partnership with America’s Promise Alliance and Alliance for Excellent Education.

    GradNation, created by America’s Promise Alliance, was launched in 2010 to focus individuals, communities and organizations on decreasing dropout rates.

    The campaign has a goal of raising the national average on-time high school graduation rate to 90 percent by 2020. This means the graduating class of 2020 will need to have 310,000 more graduated students than the class of 2013.

    The report states the U.S. is on track to reach that goal. However, there’s still work to do.

    Latinos, the fastest growing population of students, have made the greatest gains in the Adjusted Cohort Graduation Rate (ACGR) reporting era, improving 4.2 percentage points from 2011 to 2013. Black students experienced significant improvement as well, rising 3.7 percentage points from 67 percent in 2011 to 70.7 percent in 2013.

    The report points out that a reason for the increasing graduation rates for Latinos and Blacks is a decline in “dropout factories,” which is a name for high schools with low graduation rates:

    There are now fewer than 1,200 of these schools nationwide and 1.5 million fewer students attending them, and the number of African American and Hispanic/Latino students in these schools has dropped below 20 and 15 percent, respectively.

    The following 10 states increased their graduation rates by four percentage points or more from 2011-2013 (listed in order of significant gains): Nevada, Alabama, New Mexico, Utah, Florida, Georgia, Missouri, North Carolina, New Jersey, and California.

    California, Florida, Georgia and North Carolina are among those with the largest enrollments in the country, helping to drive the nation’s gain.

    The authors attribute the progress to a “constellation of leadership, reforms, and multi-sector efforts at state, district, and school levels.” And with focus and concerted effort, every part of the country can experience increased graduation rates.

    This effort is vastly needed in Nevada, New Mexico, Georgia and Florida, which still have relatively low graduation rates (70 to 78 percent) and must accelerate their pace of progress to reach 90 percent.

    “Worrisome for the nation” is the third-quarter performance of New York, Illinois, Washington and Arizona. Combined, the states educate about 15 percent of the nation’s high school students.

    The report indicates states that educate more than 40 percent of Black students — California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Michigan, New York and Ohio — have recently experienced significant declines in the graduation rates of Blacks, or have graduation rates in 60 percentages. The recent progress in high school graduation rates of Black students will stall, unless there are significant improvements in these states.

    ____

    President Obama’s Tweets receive racist responses yet he breaks world record:

    President Barack Obama sent the first tweet of the official Twitter account @POTUS on Monday, which simultaneously broke a Guinness World Record and elicited racist responses.

    […]

    According to White House Deputy Director of Online Engagement for the Office of Digital Strategy Alex Wall’s blog post, @POTUS tweets will come exclusively from President Obama. The Twitter account was created for the President to communicate directly with the public.

    Wall writes, “President Obama is committed to making his Administration the most open and participatory in history, and @POTUS will give Americans a new venue to engage on the issues that matter most to them.”

    Guinness World Records states on its website that on Monday night President Obama “shattered the record for fastest time to reach one million followers on Twitter” after the new account reached the figure in less than five hours. The account now has more than 2 million followers.

    However, within 10 minutes of his first tweet, multiple racist Twitter users began replying to him using the N-word. There are still users active accounts using the language; and users who post violent images of the President.

    Even outside of social media, blatant disrespect for Mr. and Mrs. Obama has been evident throughout their time living in the White House. In July, Former Attorney General Eric Holder said in an interview “there’s a racial animus” toward the Obama administration. For example, last May in New Hampshire, then Wolfeboro Police Commissioner Bob Copeland eventually resigned after calling the President the N-word.

    “I believe I did use the N-word in reference to the current occupant of the White House,” Copeland wrote in an email to his fellow commissioners. “For this, I do not apologize—he meets and exceeds my criteria for such.”

    This month, in her commencement speech to Tuskegee University graduates, Mrs. Obama discussed “the chatter, the name calling, the doubting” she endured as a Black woman during her husband’s 2008 White House campaign.

    The hateful language about the President did not begin with the new @POTUS account. Anyone who uses Twitter avidly has most likely witnessed hateful language or harassment communicated in 140 characters or less under a claim of free speech.

    As millions of Twitter users continue to generate traffic for the platform, isn’t it time for an enhanced method to deal with abusive trolling?

    The truth is Twitter, which quickly created an animated diagram to show the rapid rate in which the President’s account gained followers from all over the world, is slow at stopping trolling.

    In February, Twitter CEO Dick Costolo wrote an internal memo to his employees about harassment and abuse that exists on Twitter, a company that had an all white male board of directors until adding Marjorie Scardino in 2013.

    The memo, obtained by The Verge, addressed a question regarding an article written by Lindy West describing her horrible cyberbullying experience on the platform.

    Costolo took responsibility for the harassment and abuse caused by trolls:

    We suck at dealing with abuse and trolls on the platform and we’ve sucked at it for years. It’s no secret and the rest of the world talks about it every day. We lose core user after core user by not addressing simple trolling issues that they face every day. I’m frankly ashamed of how poorly we’ve dealt with this issue during my tenure as CEO. It’s absurd. There’s no excuse for it. I take full responsibility for not being more aggressive on this front. It’s nobody else’s fault but mine, and it’s embarrassing. We’re going to start kicking these people off right and left and making sure that when they issue their ridiculous attacks, nobody hears them. Everybody on the leadership team knows this is vital.

    Twitter, your users interested in productive discourse deserve more, including the current President and future Presidents who will utilize the @POTUS account. President Obama sent two additional tweets on Monday. One tweet was a response to President Bill Clinton’s question, “Does that username stay with the office?” Obama wrote, “The handle comes with the house.”

    ____

    New MLB hire shows just how much of a joke diversity is to baseball:

    On Sunday, May 17th the Miami Marlins baseball franchise made a curious choice to replace their manager, Mike Redmond. Rather than working with the current “Selig Rule” to review multiple diverse candidates for the role, the Marlins went with their general manager, Dan Jennings, another white guy, bringing the overall diversity of MLB’s manager population to dismal levels.

    On April 14th, 1999, then-Commissioner Bud Selig of Major League Baseball instituted the rule designed to improve hiring practices for underrepresented personnel in some of the highest profile management positions. After it was put in place, there was a brief period of positive change, which resulted in 10 manager positions being filled by persons of color in 2009.

    However, the consequences for not following the Selig Rule no longer seem to be in place. When Craig Counsell, a former player and special assistant to the Brewers was hired as manager, Major League Baseball gave notice to their teams, according to Yahoo Sports:

    His hire prompted MLB to send out a memo reminding teams to consider minority candidates … which was promptly ignored upon the next managerial opening.

    When time came to hire the new Marlins manager, Yahoo Sports explained that the Miami franchise opted to take the unorthodox plan of hiring someone inexperienced and already an employee rather than doing the legwork of searching for a replacement:

    Jennings last coached 30 years ago, at a high school in Mobile, Ala. His professional playing experience is limited to having been signed as a pitcher by the New York Yankees out of a tryout camp. He did not, by appearances, actually throw a professional pitch for the Yankees.

    Baseball has been talking up a good game when it comes to desiring diversity in its customers, management and senior executive ranks to mirror the admittedly diverse ranks of players. Even though current Commissioner Manfred recently made some noise about doing more Latin America outreach, the lack of representation among its management and top leadership ranks among teams, or the MLB front office itself, is embarrassing for a sport that prides so much of itself on the legacy of Jackie Robinson.

    In the most recent Race and Gender Report Card, researched by The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport, Major League Baseball has shown a downward trend in terms of its hiring practices for the fourth consecutive year:

    The 2015 Major League Baseball season began with two managers of color, a decrease from five in 2014. The number of managers of color had been decreasing since the 2009 season, which started with 10 people of color and equaled the all-time record set in 2002 .

    The two managers of color are Fredi Gonzalez, Cuban-born manager of the Atlanta Braves; and Lloyd McLendon, manager of the Seattle Mariners. Frustratingly, sitting next to Jennings when his hiring was announced was one of a handful of team executives who is also a person of color, Mike Hill, the only non-white president and CEO of an MLB team.

    “I’d tell the clubs, ‘You’re hurting yourself when you’re just recycling these guys; you’re limiting yourself,’” Bud Selig said to his clubs when implementing his rule. “I believed we have such a great opportunity to do good and constructive work. I’m just asking people to be fair.”

    In response to that optimistic notion, Yahoo Sports spelled out the future of the Selig Rule.

    “MLB did nothing about it. If the league insists on keeping the Selig Rule in place, it must start enforcing it or run the risk of further alienating minorities who wonder when – not if – their ascent will stagnate,” wrote Jeff Passan of Yahoo. “The glass ceiling is real, and until baseball gives the Selig Rule some teeth and ends the farce, too many good baseball men will bang their heads unnecessarily.”

    ****
    Tangentially related to that last link-
    I’m not a sports fan and pay little attention to anything in the sports world. That said, since I work at a restaurant with owners and managers that are big on sports, I occasionally pay attention to a game or two (for a very short time). A few weeks ago, I began to notice that multiple basketball teams and football teams were heavy on African-American players while the same couldn’t be said of baseball or hockey teams (at least those that I’d noticed-so obviously I could be completely wrong). I asked a fellow employee-a black guy who is heavily into sports-his opinion on that. He told me that for inner city black people, basketball and football are accessible sports, whereas baseball and hockey are not.
    Not sure where I’m going with this, but it was (I think) an interesting observation on my part and answer on his part.

  43. says

    slithey tove @39:

    leads me to question the length of his residence in Waco

    Re-read what he said:

    the worst crime scene, the most violent crime scene, that [he has] ever been involved in

    The most violent crime scene he had ever been involved in.
    He wasn’t speaking about the most violent crime scene he’d ever heard of.

  44. Saad says

    PZ, #1

    Isn’t it nice to know that biker gangs are more integrated and diverse than many atheist organizations?

    About the same amount of women though.

  45. says

    The comments on the thug-free article (link in OP) are best avoided. It doesn’t seem to matter at all what crimes white folk commit, they are just never, ever as bad as those unpredictably violent non-white people.

  46. Pteryxx says

    I’ve also seen news coverage interviewing “former” biker gang members who talked about how biker gang members are upstanding members of the community with families and real day jobs. Some of them are even ex-cops. *pukes*

  47. slithey tove (twas brillig (stevem)) says

    re @ 42:
    Tony, correct. I did read that bit and reworded my original to try to compensate. Not quite, though, apparently. The point I tried, inadequately, to make, was to not just “what he ever heard of”, but the inconsistency of being a policeman and not being involved in the Waco siege. But then, I fail there too. The siege was the FBI involvement, not local LEOs. So, I remain corrected.

  48. JScarry says

    I suspect that when we know more about this incident, that we will find that all of the dead were shot by cops. This is exactly like police shootings of minorities. The militarization of police forces has changed the nature of policing from protecting citizens to treating citizens as enemy combatants. We’ve seen this before in Ferguson and Baltimore. Instead of being peace keepers the police are instigators of violence.

  49. frog says

    robertbaden@47: If a Hispanic/Latin@ person “looks white,” they’re counted white in face-to-face interactions in our racist culture (assuming they have an American accent, of course). That’s why demographic questions often specify “White (non-Hispanic).”

    It’s about how a person is seen when walking around in the world. A person who “looks white” will be treated better by shopkeepers, police, etc etc in face-to-face situations. This has nothing to do with the Hispanic person as an individual. It’s purely external. All things being otherwise equal, a pale skinned man with the last name Rodriguez is safer interacting with the police than a dark skinned man with the last name Johnson.

  50. qwints says

    I get the point that white people have the privilege not to be judged by the actions of these bikers, but I just don’t understand the people arguing that police didn’t take the violence by the motorcycle gangs seriously. They tried to shut down the bike night pre-emptively, surrounded the place with SWAT teams and shot some number of bikers dead without any attempt to use non-lethal force. They then arrested everybody at the scene and charged them all with organized crime linked with capital murder and set bail at $1,000,000 each. They’ve revoked the bar owner’s license to operate. I’ve got family in waco and they’re terrified by people on motorcycles.

  51. rq says

    JScarry
    Read up on it. The police did not instigate this one. This is not the same as Ferguson or Baltimore.
    If it were, the National Guard would be in Waco, there would be a state of emergency, and a curfew in effect.
    This was not over-militarized police (for once), this was a massacre among biker gangs where the police did not exercise their availability of military equipment. Which, if you look at it that way, is kind of nice…

  52. rq says

    qwints

    shot some number of bikers dead without any attempt to use non-lethal force

    This has yet to be confirmed. Via Lynna in the Lounge, the local sheriff says the evidence on that isn’t actually in yet, though it’s being reported as fact. (Chances are it’s true, that at least a few were shot by police, though I don’t believe that all of them were.)

    They then arrested everybody at the scene and charged them all with organized crime linked with capital murder and set bail at $1,000,000 each.

    Good. Sounds appropriate.

    They’ve revoked the bar owner’s license to operate.

    Not so good. Not really the bar’s responsibility, except I think they’re taking issue with the fact that the bar wouldn’t let police in beforehand.
    Also, who’s arguing that the police didn’t take the violence seriously? I don’t think anyone has argued that – what has been argued is how different and overblown the response would have been, were the bikers all (or at least, mostly) visibly black. Nine people dead and over a hundred injured, plus 170 arrested, I think the police are taking it pretty seriously indeed (esp. with rumours of more bikers coming to Waco).

  53. stevenjohnson2 says

    Sorry if I’m repetitive, being in too much of a hurry to read all the comments. But I have to emphasize that a major, perhaps the most important reason, for the less violent reaction of the police in Waco was because they were afraid to shoot it out with that many armed opponents. I like crimes shows more than the next person, but the portrait of police as brave and heroic people is an entertaining fiction.

  54. rq says

    Tony @43 re: Obama’s tweets
    Huh, maybe Twitter will get its act somehow together and do something more about that online harassment now. :P

  55. rq says

    stevenjohnson2

    the portrait of police as brave and heroic people is an entertaining fiction

    Well, I’ve figured that out already – they sure are often frightened of unarmed black people. Frightened enough to shoot them, if you see what I mean.
    Wonder why?
    (But yeah, you’re right, I’d be scared of hundreds of armed white bikers, too.)

  56. says

    Almost every single on of them sport a beard. I can’t see how that’s just a coincidence.
    Watch out for people with beards!

  57. Pteryxx says

    current news speaking to a Waco officer: They’ve recovered over 1,000 weapons from the scene, guns hidden between bags of flour and in bags of chips, guns hidden in the plumbing and toilets, but remember most biker enthusiasts don’t carry this kind of weaponry and these are criminals!

    …Actually this is Texas. Don’t gun enthusiasts *want* everybody to carry at least one gun, let alone ten per person? Or does it only count if they wear all 10 of their guns openly? *headdesk*

    Also a county outside Fort Worth cancelled a Memorial Day biker rally. What happened to #NotAllBikers there? NBCDFW

    Law enforcement officers plan to close a road leading to a planned motorcycle club rally in Palo Pinto County this weekend “for public safety reasons,” Palo Pinto Sheriff Ira Mercer said Tuesday.

    “They’ve had their rallies here on Memorial Day weekend for years,” Mercer said.

    The rallies are held on 23 acres in the town of Mingus, located about 65 miles west of Fort Worth. The land is owned by Cossacks Motorcycle Club Inc., according to public tax records.

    Mercer said police and deputies plan to close Parsons Road, which is the only street leading to the property.

  58. gog says

    @rq #4

    This is kind of neat, though I’m not sure how well it works: Tyler the Creator trolls racists by appropriating their symbols for his new gay pride tee

    Does this mean I can finally get a tattoo of a Valknut and not feel like a neo-Nazi?

  59. says

    I’ve always considered myself to be passing as white, rather than being white, It’s a matter of how others perceive me, rather than how I perceive myself.
    My mother, on the other hand, wanted to be perceived as white. But she was the darkest in her family. Plus she had epicanthal folds in her eyes, among other non white facial features. Few people considered her as white.
    There is more than just skin color involved with those of us who have pre columbian ancestery. Facial features also come into play.
    What gives people the right to decide what someone else is, rather than ask them?

  60. Matrim says

    I will say, I did see at least one white federal agent/former Hell’s Angel call biker gangs “thugs” after acknowledging that it has been used as a racially charged term. So…yay?

  61. says

    robertbaden @63:

    What gives people the right to decide what someone else is, rather than ask them?

    People don’t have that right, but it doesn’t change the fact that people do group others according to skin color.

  62. says

    Actually, Obama’s new military equipment transfer ban won’t change much at all:

    The change of policy will have minimal impact on the Pentagon’s notorious 1033 Program, which was widely scrutinized after the police response to unrest in Ferguson, MO. last summer, Michelle McCaskill, spokesperson for the Pentagon agency that runs the program, told Fusion.

    The move was applauded by groups that had been calling for change to the program for years.

    “Most of the stuff that is now listed as prohibited is not provided by us in the first place. For instance, we don’t provide ammunition, we don’t provide .50-caliber weapons or anything higher than .50-cal. We don’t provide camouflage uniforms,” McCaskill said.

    The 1033 Program has transferred nearly $4.5 billion of military equipment to over 8,000 local and state police departments since it was started in 1990, according to the Pentagon. Most of the material has been deemed as excess by the Pentagon, meaning it is too old or obsolete for military use.

    What Obama’s announcement does prohibit is the transferring of tracked armored vehicles, weaponized aircraft or vehicles of any kind, firearms and ammunition of .50-caliber or above, grenade launchers, bayonets, and camouflage uniforms from the Department of Defense to local or state police.

    “The vehicles that we provide, if they’re aircrafts, or any vessel — they don’t have weapons on them. We demilitarize those vehicles and aircraft before transferring them to law enforcement,” McCaskill said.

    Out of the equipment now listed as prohibited to transfer, only bayonets, grenade launchers and track armored vehicles are actually offered by the 1033 program. But, McCaskill said, “we haven’t provided any of those for a few years now.”

    Another Pentagon spokesperson told Fusion that track armored vehicles have not been offered through the program since 2011.

    The ban on these items, which are “militaristic in nature,” was put in place because their misuse or overuse could “significantly undermine community trust and may encourage tactics and behaviors that are inconsistent with the premise of civilian law enforcement,” reads Obama’s executive order.

    But pistols, rifles, scopes, body armor and other tactical gear will still be offered to local police departments through the program.

    Even the Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles (MRAPs), which have at times been controversially obtained by tiny police departments in rural America, will still be offered.

  63. happyrabo says

    I’ve read that a significant number of the 192 people arrested for organized crime are not members of criminal gangs, but were present at the restaurant for a regularly-scheduled monthly meeting about legal issues and bills of interest to motorcyclists. In other words, political advocacy. Those people had nothing to do with the fight, are not gang members, and were simply caught up in an indiscriminate dragnet.

  64. rq says

    happyrabo
    170 have been arrested, not 192.

    a regularly-scheduled monthly meeting about legal issues and bills of interest to motorcyclists

    Sure. It was just an indiscriminate dragnet, because killing 9 people was internal business, not something where the police should remotely have been involved.
    Do you have any facts?

    +++

    CBC on the shooting. Can I highlight one thing?

    A dispute over a parking space or a gang member’s foot being run over may have sparked the brawl that ended with a gunfight between bikers and nearly two dozen police who had taken positions outside the restaurant in anticipation of violence.

    I’m sorry, nearly two dozen police officers?
    Remind me again, how many National Guard were sent to Ferguson? Baltimore? In preparation of all that unrest and bloodshed?

  65. says

    They do charity work! What more do you need??

    The Taliban also does charity work. Even ISIS does some charity work. As do cartels in South America. As do some notable white collar criminals in the USA. It is standard procedure to use some of your ill-gotten gains, (whether from drug sales, or pyramid schemes, or jihad) to earn goodwill from local populations by doing some charity work.

  66. happyrabo says

    Tony @69:

    Here’s one link:
    http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/ct-texas-biker-brawl-20150520-story.html

    I help run the largest non-criminal motorcycle club in Minnesota. We do have meetings about laws that impact motorcyclists. We frequently rub shoulders with members of criminal clubs, because there’s only so many places that motorcyclists are welcome. We just stay out of their way and try not to provoke them, but if a bunch of them showed up and started fighting with each other at some place we were meeting, all we could do is keep our heads down and try to get out of there.

    Katie Rhoten’s story is plausible to me. I could easily have been one of the people arrested if I lived in Texas.

  67. says

    Cross posted from the [Lounge]: Did the cops shoot bikers in Waco? The report that they shot four bikers has been repeatedly debunked, or at least described as premature.

    When that report came out, the autopsies had not been done. The Police Chief in Waco said in an interview that he saw that information being repeated as fact when it was, in fact, not reliable.

    We will know later if the cops shot bikers. We do not know that now. Police officers may have shot bikers, and maybe not.

    […] CNN reported that four of the dead bikers were shot by police.

    But at a news briefing Monday evening, Swanton said that information “has not been verified by us, it has not been verified by autopsies or medical results as well.”
    “The autopsies have not been completed and that information may very likely be incorrect,” Swanton said. “It is not coming from me or the Waco Police Department.” […]

    CNN jumped the gun.

    http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2015/05/18/waco-shootout-police-involvement/27530257/

  68. says

    happyrabo @72:
    Thanks for the link.

    ****
    Here’s one from The Associated Press about Theron Rhoten:

    Katie Rhoten told The Associated Press that her husband, a mechanic from Austin, called her from jail and said that he and two other members of a motorcycle club called Vise Grip ducked and ran for cover amid the violence that also left 18 injured.

    The three were arrested along with about 170 others at the scene and are each being held on $1 million bonds.

    Officers took into custody all sorts of “nonviolent, noncriminal people,” Katie Rhoten said.

    “He’s good to his family,” she said. “He doesn’t drink; he doesn’t do drugs; he doesn’t party. He’s just got a passion for motorcycles.”

    It’s not clear how long the bikers will remain in custody. They have all been charged with engaging in organized crime.

    “Unless they try to make some other arrangement to move them through it more quickly, it could be weeks and possibly months” before the jailed bikers have bond-reduction hearings, said William Smith, an attorney who has met with several of the inmates.

    It’s also unclear whether the McLennan County district attorney will require outside help to prosecute all those arrested Sunday.

    District Attorney Abel Reyna brought in prosecutor John Bradley for appeals in a capital murder case in 2014. Bradley was voted out of office as the Williamson County district attorney after opposing the exoneration of Michael Morton, who was imprisoned for 24 years for a murder he didn’t commit before DNA testing cleared him.

    McLennan County Sheriff Parnell McNamara and Waco police Sgt. W. Patrick Swanton declined to comment Tuesday on allegations that innocent bikers were arrested.

    The eight members of Theron Rhoten’s group, the Vise Grip Club, specialize in building and riding vintage and antique motorcycles, particularly pre-1970 Harley Davidson big twin choppers, according to spokesman Brian Buscemi.

    Police have said five biker gangs from across Texas had gathered at the restaurant on Sunday, in part to settle differences over turf.

    Buscemi disputed that claim, saying groups had planned to discuss laws protecting motorcycle riders at the meeting, which he said has been going on bimonthly for 18 years.

    “Yes, there was a problem at this scene, and it was absolutely horrific, but there just also happened to be a significant amount of people there who had nothing to do with it,” Buscemi told the AP.

    Jimmy Graves, who described himself as an ambassador for the gang known as the Bandidos, said his group had no intention of engaging in a scuffle.

    But he acknowledged that differences with other groups, such as the Cossacks, have been “simmering and brewing.”

    The U.S. Justice Department said in a report on outlaw motorcycle gangs that the Bandidos “constitute a growing criminal threat” in a report on outlaw motorcycle gangs. The report said the group is involved in transporting and distributing cocaine and marijuana and in the production and distribution of methamphetamine.

    Another biker named Johnny Snyder also said he was at the restaurant for a scheduled meeting to talk about legislative issues.

    Snyder, a long-haul trucker, declined to describe what he saw inside the restaurant, saying he was only concerned with “not getting shot.”

    He is vice president of the Boozefighters Motorcycle Club in Waco, a group that Snyder says does charity events and family gatherings and is not a criminal gang.

    I hope that any of the bikers who are innocent are cleared of any wrongdoing and set free as soon as possible.

  69. says

    Ok, this one makes me scratch and shake my head at the same time-
    White House pops up on Google Maps in N-word search:

    Just last month Google Maps had to scramble to eliminate an image that showed an Android robot peeing on the Apple logo. Now it’s got an even worse problem: remedying an issue that brings up the White House when certain racial slurs are punched in, the Washington Post reports. Head over to Maps, zoom all the way out to the global mode, and type in different variations of the N-word next to “house” or “king,” and President Obama’s abode shows up as one of the top two or three choices. Although White House results were still showing up as of the time of this post, a Google rep tells the Guardian, “Some inappropriate results are surfacing in Google Maps that should not be, and we apologize for any offense this may have caused. Our teams are working to fix this issue quickly.”

    A Twitter user notes that results can differ depending on location, the Huffington Post reports. As Google tries to figure out how this happened—the company has a vetted contributor pool in addition to regular staff, the Herald Recorder has previously noted—it has temporarily suspended the software users can tap into to make map edits, CNET reports; the company expects to give an update on that status by May 27. “We are temporarily disabling editing on Map Maker starting today while we continue to work towards making the moderation system more robust,” a product manager says, per the Post. (Google got busted late last year for showing a woman’s cleavage in Street View mode.)

  70. rq says

    Tony
    And if you google ‘nigga university’, you get a result, too. (I believe it was Howard U (see first link, comment 28, can’t access it at work.)

  71. Okidemia says

    robertbaden @63:

    What gives people the right to decide what someone else is, rather than ask them?

    I know this wording was not meant to be malevolent, but did you ever think about what people think of being asked this all the time?
    It’s really annoying in the end, really annoying I tell you. I can bet within 5 minutes when someone I just met is going to ask me about origins or make an hypothetical statement about it. I think my predictions are right about 98% of the time.

    Do you ask people about their sexual orientation? Why not let people state anything they wish about themselves, and not care about what they don’t?

  72. says

    Okidemia @77:

    I know this wording was not meant to be malevolent, but did you ever think about what people think of being asked this all the time?

    I’ve been asked “what are you” (or some variation of that question) so many times I can’t count. It’s almost always at work and inevitably comes from a guest (sometimes a fellow employee). I’m mixed race (my gravatar is an image of me) and I guess people are trying to figure out which one of their mental boxes I fit in. I usually respond with “white, black, American Indian, pacific-islander, scandinavian, and japanese”, which probably makes it *more* difficult for them to understand what box to put me in. Personally, I’m not annoyed by the question (though I probably should be) but this is just me and I can totally understand the annoyance others feel being asked this question.

  73. says

    Tony!@43, the thing about pro hockey is that the player pool is dominated by Canadians and Europeans from places like the Czech Republic and Russia. In Canada’s case non-white players have tended to face the same kind of problems with racism within hockey culture as they do in the more general culture. Representation of minority groups is getting a bit better, probably helped along by the prominence of players like Jarome Iginla and P.K. Suban, along with efforts by hockey organisations to deal with diversity issues, but hockey still lags behind other sports, and racist incidents persist.

  74. says

    You are a wh*re, Pennsylvania GOP staffer finally fired after years of hateful tweets:

    Pennsylvania state representative Rich Irvin (R-Huntingdon) fired staffer Derek Greene this week, responding to public outrage surrounding dozens of racist and sexist statements the employee made over the last several years, the Centre Daily Times reports.

    On Monday, a Pennsylvania biology professor named Steve Miskin launched a petition on Change.org calling for Greene to be fired; it quickly garnered hundreds of signatures. In pleading his case against the Republican political operative, Miskin aired his grievances in the form of since-deleted tweets, authored by Greene, disparaging women, LGBTQ communities, black people, and Asian Americans.

    Using the now defunct Twitter handle @BIGD1434, Greene made the following observations, which originated between 2012 and 2015, and remained online for public consumption until this week:

    If this dumb blonde doesn’t shut up I am going to strangle her. #NoJoke

    Hahaha [pictorial of Sandra Fluke with Caption “This Cum Dumpster Requires so much birth control it must be subsized”]

    Haha so true!! [picture of a couple with the caption that reads: “When girls say: Don’t judge me by past”, we know 2 things. 1) You used to be a wh*re. 2) You still are

    Katie Couric is engaged again!! Congrats! YOU ARE A WH*RE!

    More cops are killed each year than African Americans killed by cops. #Fact

    @RevJJackson has hurt the black community more than the KKK

    @RevJJackson are you kidding me!? Racism is dead in America and you hurt the black community everyday!

    This is why I hate asians

    My teacher is Asian and I want to kill myself when he talks

    Note: I’m not certain if wh*re is among those terms that trip the filter, so those * in the quoted section are my doing.

  75. happyrabo says

    Tony @74:

    I hope that any of the bikers who are innocent are cleared of any wrongdoing and set free as soon as possible.

    Likewise, I hope that all of the bikers who are guilty are convicted and spend a very long time in prison not giving the rest of us a bad name.

  76. Okidemia says

    Tony! @78

    Personally, I’m not annoyed by the question

    Yep, this is indeed more complex than “just asking”. I’m only bothered when people are transpiring out unsecurity, which is when there’s something wrong about the way they ask. When they struggle to find the way.

    When it’s all natural, which also happens, I don’t really mind.

    The thing is if they really want me into a box, it’s best it’s not already filled with prejudice garbage.

    The thing is also that as a complete outlier in the way, it also often follows with comments about the mailman, about mom, and you ‘should’ keep smiling politely. (as a kid).

  77. robro says

    I’m sure it’s just an editorial goof up, but shouldn’t the description be more like, “…scores of men and two women.”

  78. says

    Someone called Jack Thomp wrote three times the same comment under the article linked in OP. It looks like bogus statistics from some rehashed argument (racists are in their arguments generally about as creative as creationists). But I can’t help in being interested in rebuttal to that crap. If anyone has a link to rebuttal to that crap I would appreciate it. Of course I will continue to search on my own.

  79. rq says

    Hm. Re: my @70, I think I’m going to stick to putting up links with less discussion.
    Apparently I suck at my own facts. :P

  80. Okidemia says

    Tony! @78
    Plus I think it is way less inquisitive to ask in the USA, where population is admixing and with almost everybody having their share of diverse ancestry, compared to Old World where the question implies that you’re excluded and getting prejudice stickers.

  81. rq says

    Charly
    re: that comment
    For the first bit,

    There are an estimated 1.5 million Black men in prison and another 3.5 million on probation.

    A quick look at wiki stats on incarceration by race debunks that rather large number, e.g.

    (841,000 black males and 64,800 black females out of a total of 2,096,300 males and 201,200 females)

    and

    non-Hispanic blacks accounted for 39.4% of the total prison and jail population

    (from 2009), which also addresses the second sentence.
    Just getting those things wrong makes me disinclined to follow up on the remaining statistics, plus right now I don’t have the energy. I don’t have any good links off-hand, but if you look through the previous iterations of this thread, I know there have been (long) articles on the horrific rate of incarceration of black people, how criminalization of their behaviour starts early and often, and the racial aspects of the criminal justice system that add to the skewed statistics.
    I’m not sure about the source the commenter ‘cites’ at the end (searched through the online New York Times archive from that date (April 22 2005), with nary a usable result – though I’m just assuming that’s what the ‘citation’ stands for). The rape hoax is probably this one (TW!).
    This article also seems heavily biased against black people in general, but some of the numbers on crime and rape quoted are completely different from the commenter’s, with sources (though how reliable – I can’t say), though they’re all dated (1980s and 1990). So… does that help for starters?

  82. Okidemia says

    Tony! @90

    And it’s one that I’ve found to be directed only at people of color.

    Hum, I’ve always thought it (“where are you from?”) was a genuine question in the USA, one I could have answered something like “Pennsylvania”…
    Sometimes it’s good to be a migrant: you don’t get all the rhetoric subtleties implied by the ongoing discussion.

    But now that you point it out, I think it’s true, it’s mostly a question coming from white people. (I think I didn’t get the pattern, because it’s also often somewhat part of a starting discussion “migrant with migrant”).

  83. Grewgills says

    @Okidemia and Tony!
    That is a pretty frequent question here in Hawai’i, but the answers tend to be more like Tony’s. Then again every ethnicity here is minority and the second largest is mixed, often with several different ethnicities. The questions come from most everyone and are followed by a round of comparative listings of ethnicity, so the question is less charged here. When I lived in Alabama that was a question that was most often asked by whites of anyone that didn’t look white and have a southern accent.

  84. militantagnostic says

    More cops are killed each year than African Americans killed by cops. #Fact

    In my experience it can be safely assumed that any statement followed by “Fact!” is false.

    Even if it is true it doesn’t follow that more cops are killed by African Americans than African Americans are killed by cops, since some cops are killed by whites and Hispanics. As phrased the statement carries the hidden implication that all cops killed are killed by African Americans.

  85. madscientist says

    I’m just surprised the NRA aren’t all over the news telling everyone how things would never have been that bad if only everyone had a gun.

  86. rq says

    madscientist
    Well, pretty much everyone did have a gun – so imagine how much worse it would have been if nobody had had a gun!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    +++

    The on-going saga of real-estate development in north St Louis, that insists on kicking people out of their homes rather than rehabilitating the properties. A Look at Paul McKee’s “Legacy” Properties – beautiful houses, in need of repair.

    So what happens to all the houses? What happens to all of those “legacy” properties that Paul McKee was going to incorporate into his gargantuan redevelopment plan, NorthSide Regeneration? Only the most Pollyannish of observers would believe that the complete rebuilding of several square miles of North St. Louis will still happen in the way McKee has described. There’s enough reason to be angry about that failure. But this author is also angry that still surviving out of this debacle is the strongly held belief of many metropolitan St. Louisans that the area within NorthSide’s redevelopment plan was (and is) a complete wasteland. While the area was struggling, without a doubt it can now be shown, with photographic evidence, that McKee’s failed plan has left St. Louis Place and other Near Northside neighborhoods in worse condition than when he found them. Below are some examples, but keep in mind this is nowhere near exhaustive documentation of the damage done:

    James Clemens House

    The Clemens Mansion was not in terrible condition—until McKee bought the property under one of his shell companies. Since that time, the house has deteriorated substantially, seeing a severe collapse of one of the roof timbers of the accompanying chapel, which knocked a hole in the wall of the second floor in 2008. Since then, McKee put in a half-hearted attempt at renovation, removing much of the upper story of the chapel, exposing the entire structure to the elements. Meanwhile, the original house has suffered theft of valuable cast iron elements from the front porch, as well as important classical cornices from interior doorways. Luckily, some of the front porch has been preserved in storage, but the house itself is now exposed that much more to the ravages of rain and neglect.

    1937 Montgomery

    Probably no one famous, or even remotely related to someone famous, ever lived in this multi-family on the 1900 of Montgomery. Once kept company by dozens of other housing units just on the one block, 1937 had only four or five other houses left to call neighbors. Occupied as late as the last 10 years, the building was purchased by a McKee shell company and left to rot. But it never got a chance to fall down by its own accord—it was instead savaged by brick thieves, who left the damaged building in a severe and dangerous state of half-collapse for months. On top of that, McKee has not paid property taxes on the now-vacant lot for 2013 and 2014. This author is not claiming this stretch of Montgomery was in perfect condition, but now there is nothing left. At one point, there were the bones of what could have become a revitalized block.

    1501 Palm

    So out of touch with the reality of real revitalization efforts in the Old North St. Louis neighborhood, McKee bought this house without realizing that rehabbing and other redevelopment were already occurring on the same block, with dozens of other houses being reconstructed or built new in the surrounding area. McKee, when confronted by the fact that wide-scale clearance of Old North was impossible, promised to sell the properties in the neighborhood. To this day, he still has not followed through on that promise. And considering he hasn’t paid taxes on the once-beautiful house that has now almost collapsed under his ownership, one would think he would be interested in raising some money to save the rest of his plan. Apparently not.

    Crown Square

    Meanwhile, many buildings fortunate enough not to have been purchased by McKee are going the opposite direction in condition. Less than a decade ago, the buildings along the Fourteenth Street Mall sat in similar condition as many of McKee’s properties today. But something else happened. The Old North St. Louis Restoration Group invested millions into the buildings, fixed them up, while simultaneously showing that there’s real hope for North St. Louis. Now if McKee would just do the right thing and get out of everybody else’s way.

    54 years ago today, I was beaten along w/ several Freedom Riders as we attempted to enter the Montgomery bus station. (May 20)

    Tomorrow is the national call to action for Black women murdered due to police violence. And we have something special planned!
    If you are located in the STL area & have any little *black* girls that wouldn’t mind being photographed please contact us.
    But tomorrow? We are definitely shutting it down for the women! Details coming soon.
    Last time they held a march for women, few people showed up and they got a lot of hate for it. Let’s hope it goes better this time!!!!

    Can you tell me about Damo? An interview with @EthosIII [link] by @_MamaSims | #DamoDay is #May20 – tasered twice in the head by Chicago PD. Deceased.

  87. rq says

    Oh hey look who gets to be the face of the Waco biker gang arrestees. Retired detective among scores busted in Waco Twin Peaks biker gang shootout as kin defend some members as ‘nonviolent, noncriminal’

    Martin Lewis, 62, retired in 2004 from the San Antonio Police Department after 32 years on the force, according to KSAT-TV. Lewis, along with scores of other bikers from at least five different gangs, were at Twin Peaks, dubbed a “breastaurant” for its bikini-topped waitresses, during a midday meetup when shooting broke out following an altercation in the Central Texas Marketplace parking lot.

    Nine people, members of the Cossacks and Bandidos motorcycle clubs, were killed, while 18 others were injured and 170 bikers were busted on charges of engaging in organized crime.

    In Facebook pictures, Lewis wore badges supporting the Bandidos on his leather vest. […]

    Other lawyers say they think charges will dropped or reduced for several of those arrested because of the strain put on the local court system. The docket was already filled this week ahead of the new cases introduced in the aftermath of the shooting, according to USA Today.

    As long as they drop charges for those not actually involved in the shooting, that’s all fine and good.

    Protest Over Decision Not To Prosecute Police In Vonderrit Myers Case

    Protesters took to the to the streets of downtown St. Louis Tuesday morning over the Circuit Attorney’s decision not to charge an officer for the October shooting death of Vonderrit Myers. There were about 40 demonstrators near the intersection of 10th and Market. Police met with protesters on the scene.

    The Circuit Attorney’s officer released the results of their investigation into the shooting on Monday. Investigators found that Myers shot at the officer therefore deadly force was justified.

    Demonstrators have dispersed from the scene. The protest in front of the Courts building lasted for about two hours.

    That’s from the daytime protest, which happened before the one at Joyce’s house.

    Okay, prepare for some cute. Disruptive cute, but still cute! Steph Curry’s Daughter, Riley Curry, Steals The Spotlight During Post-Game Press Conference. And now Steph Curry is getting hate for this (see here and here), probably from the same people who go on about absent black fathers.
    Yes, it’s probably tough to hold a press conference with a child present, but it’s tough to answer questions when it’s your child up there. But you know what? It’s also awesome that people can manage to bring their kids to work and not hide them away. Especially, especially, a black father. I wish the haters would shut up, because I think it’s a beautiful interview. Go Riley! (Oh, and interestingly, Steph’s dad used to take him to work when he was a cute little kid, too – so I’m thinking I really like that family’s attitude towards work and family, not that my opinion really matters.)

    Removing the #MikeBrown memorial on Mike’s 19th birthday continues a trend in #Ferguson of lacking sensitivity or humanity to black people. Yep, that happened. More on that in a bit, currently in tweets.

  88. rq says

    Here’s how that went:
    Mike Brown Sr said he just got word that the memorial will now be moved at Canfield around 12p. @ksdknews #ferguson;
    Knowles said the Brown family and #Ferguson have agreed to move the memorial to a permanent site. @ksdknews Okay, but they (the mayor, spec.) are aware of what happened to the Michael Brown memorial tree and plaque, right?
    [residents removing the memorial]
    #MikeBrown memorial items arrive at the Urban League, for storage.
    The removal of #MikeBrown’s memorial is a form of state violence & erasure. It’s an example of how little Black lives are valued. Well, there will be a plaque (next comment) and Knowles says they will repave a portion of Canfield by request of the family. Still.

    tbc

  89. rq says

    Mike Brown changed my life. I would give it all back if you could be here to celebrate your birthday. I will fight for you always. Not the only similar sentiment out there on his birthday.
    The dash between the dates of #MikeBrown’s birth and death represents his life. That’s what matters most. Life. Such a short little dash, most times. Antonio French also linked to this poem: The Dash – A Poem by Linda Ellis

    I read of a man who stood to speak
    At the funeral of a friend

    He referred to the dates on her tombstone
    From the beginning to the end

    He noted that first came her date of her birth
    And spoke the following date with tears,

    But he said what mattered most of all
    Was the dash between those years

    For that dash represents all the time
    That she spent alive on earth.

    And now only those who loved her
    Know what that little line is worth.

    For it matters not how much we own;
    The cars, the house, the cash,

    What matters is how we live and love
    And how we spend our dash.

    So think about this long and hard.
    Are there things you’d like to change?

    More of it at the link.

    Anyway, then this, later that same evening:
    We knew you were going to do this. Urban League;
    Told y’all Urban League wasn’t about the movement. Look what I found in the dumpster. Storage, indeed.
    So what did residents do? Canfield residents earlier 2night rebuild Michael Brown memorial @search4swag @southards_3 @deray @MissJupiter1957

  90. rq says

  91. rq says

    Where are the fathers? This Texas senator blamed Baltimore uprising on absentee dads but goes silent on Waco bloodbath

    In his home state, nine people were just slaughtered in a bloodbath. Over 1,000 weapons were recovered. Families were endangered, and it was the biggest single incident of murder in Waco since the Branch Davidian compound burned down.

    Texas’ own U.S. senator, John Cornyn, though, hasn’t mentioned anything about the Waco incident on his Twitter stream. He’s tweeted about Hillary Clinton’s fundraising, but he has been radio silent on the massacre in his own state.

    What makes this doubly troubling is that he had the nerve, the unmitigated gall, on May 8, to tweet to the world that he blamed the unrest in Baltimore on absentee fathers. […]

    Excuse me?

    Are you saying that the police officers who killed Freddie Gray had absentee fathers? Because no protests or uprisings were taking place until they severed a man’s spine and crushed his voice box.

    And tell us, Senator, why are you not tweeting about the state of fatherhood concerning the nine men gunned down in your state?

    Why are you not blaming absentee fathers for the fact that more weapons were found on those perpetrators than have been confiscated from every American protest combined in the past year?

    How do you know who the hell does or doesn’t have a father in Baltimore, and what role that plays in anything?

    You have some damn nerve thinking you can blame anything in Baltimore on absentee fathers while ignoring the horror in your own state.

    Shame on you, man. Shame on you.

    Finished the official Freddie Gray mural at the intersection where he was illegally arrested. Mount St & Presbury.

    “Incarcerating 2 million people is a sign of American failure, not of American success.” — @Sifill_LDF ’87 @NAACP_LDF #NYU2015

    Moving up Mount St. now.

    One month after his death, exposing the lies of the Baltimore Police in the murder of Freddie Gray

    Last month we exposed many of the ugly lies about Freddie Gray being spread by conservatives—ranging from the lie that he broke his neck jumping from a window while evading police to the lie that he had a spinal surgery in the weeks before he was killed stemming from a car accident.

    It’s now been one month since 25-year-old Freddie Gray died because of critical injuries he suffered while in police custody. Six officers having been charged in his murder. And many facts continue to emerge, including a video that was just released showing one of the many stops made while Freddie was in the van. […]

    LIE: The arrest of Freddie Gray was lawful.

    TRUTH: Everything about the arrest of Gray was unlawful.

    Sadly, we will never fully understand what happened on April 12, because Gray never spoke another word again after he emerged from the police van that day and died one week later from his injuries.

    The police claim, in their own timeline, that they chased and subdued Gray (and another unnamed man), but never gave any legal reason for doing so other than making eye contact with them.

    The Baltimore police commissioner, Anthony Batts, has already said clearly that “there is no law against running.” What law, then, did Gray break to be pursued and arrested in the first place? It is not legal to simply look at a man and assume it must be a criminal.

    Furthermore, while police claim that Gray was carrying an illegal knife at the time of his arrest, two facts about this need to be clarified:

    1. The police themselves claimed to have found the knife after they hadchased, caught and cuffed him.

    In charging documents, prosecutors say three officers were on patrol near Gilmor Homes when Gray spotted them and began to run.

    Prosecutors say the officers chased Gray and soon caught him. They say the officers held him down, handcuffed him, and found the knife.

    The officers “substantially found a knife clipped to the inside of his pants pocket,” prosecutors wrote in the documents. “The blade of the knife was folded into the handle. The knife was not a switchblade and is lawful under Maryland law.”

    2. While officers contend that the knife was indeed a switchblade, Prosecutor Marilyn Mosby and her team said strongly that it isn’t. Either way, the illegal pursuit and arrest took place before they found the knife. […]

    LIE: Police leaked to The Washington Post that the man arrested and placed in the van behind a separate partition was a 38-year-old under protective order who claimed Gray was deliberately trying to injure himself in the van. They also claimed they couldn’t reveal his identity.

    TRUTH: Not only did the police blatantly lie about the identity of this man, who turned out to be 22-year-old Donta Allen, he openly came out to blast the lies in several interviews after the fact. Here he flat-out denies that he ever claimed Gray was intentionally trying to injure himself and says that he never heard him say anything. Furthermore, you must remember that police already stated in their reports to the prosecutor that Gray was completely unresponsive BEFORE this man was loaded into the van. This was a deliberate misinformation attempt.

    There’s a huge debunking of the police arrest report and the released police timeline in between there. Please read.

    Beyond Bruce Jenner: 7 Black Trans Voices to Follow

    In case you missed it, Diane Sawyer conducted a “landmark” interview with Bruce Jenner, Olympian and reality star, sharing his* trans journey. The interview triggered a variety of reactions and responses. Noting the general lack of trans awareness in popular LGBT conversations, Black trans folk (like Black Queer folk) are too often erased from the narrative. Even Bruce’s courage must be contextualized in a system that prefers affluence, whiteness, and conservatism; all things of which Bruce has full access.

    More importantly, we should take this time to raise up Black trans voices who are already doing a work of visibility online. As cis** folks, it is important to take a seat and listen to Black trans people’s narratives, struggles, and celebrations. Trans visibility is growing and we should tune our ears to our people doing this work! The Blavity team took some time to curate a list of 7 Black Trans leaders to connect with.
    1. Ahya Simone (@idee_fixe_):
    2. Hunter Ashley Lourdes (@HunterLourdes)
    3. Tiq Milan (@themrmilan)
    4. Janet Mock (@janetmock)
    5. Kortney Ziegler (@fakerapper)
    6. Katrina Goodlett (@TweetTrina4Lyfe)
    7. Laverne Cox (@LaverneCox)

    And remember, these are only 7 of many worth following.

  92. rq says

    House panel advances bill that contains body camera funding. Small progress.

    The House Appropriations Committee on Wednesday advanced a $51.4 billion bill containing funding for a program that would provide law enforcement agencies with body cameras.

    The bill, which funds the Justice and Commerce departments, as well as science agencies, includes $50 million for a Community Policing Initiative. Of that amount, $15 million would be intended for body cameras. That’s much less than the $50 million the White House requested from Congress for body cameras for the next fiscal year, which begins Oct. 1.

    Republicans pointed to spending constraints in the 2011 Budget Control Act that limit discretionary funding.

    “Because of that cap, we’ve been forced to prioritize,” said Rep. John Culberson (R-Texas) during the panel’s markup.

    Republicans said they prioritized funding for law enforcement, counterterrorism programs and cybersecurity.

    While the bill for fiscal 2016 provides $1.3 billion more than the current level, it would be $661 million less than President Obama’s request.

    Rep. Chaka Fattah (D-Pa.) offered an amendment that would breach the bill’s funding cap by boosting resources for law enforcement and crime prevention efforts.

    But Chairman Hal Rogers (R-Ky.) pointed out that the amendment, which provided no way to offset its costs, would kill the bill at the committee level.

    “It’s an opportunity for us to make a point,” Fattah said, about the need for relieving sequester budget ceilings that are set to return in October.

    “That’s our point exactly,” he said. “We think that the cap stands in the way of us moving toward a more perfect union.”

    Under the bill, the Justice Department would receive $852 million more than the 2015 level, while the Commerce Department would get about $250 million less than it currently does. […]

    Donovan said he appreciated the funding for community policing in the wake of widespread protests and riots related to officer conduct.

    “However, compared to the President’s Budget, the Subcommittee bill fails to adequately fund all of the elements necessary to fully support law enforcement and improve relations between communities and police,” Donovan said.

    Ala. Reading Intervention Stands Test of Time. Can it be, that education (proper, supported education) has a positive effect on people?

    Diane Daniel’s classroom here at Southside Primary School is a steady hum of productive activity.

    Some of her kindergartners are playing word games on computers; others are chatting as they complete an exercise on the reading rug, and a handful are busily writing, some already using full sentences that incorporate words about trains—”engine,” “passenger”—that Ms. Daniel has hung up on one of her corkboards.

    And sadly, I am not registered, so I am unable to keep reading, but maybe some of y’all out there can!

    Oh, good question! In the Rush to Aid Baltimore’s ‘Minority-Owned Businesses,’ Will Black Businesses Be Left Out?

    Prominent black conservative political activist Ali Akbar couldn’t contain his right-side-of-things glee. Just moments after a random reporter’s tweet described Republican Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan’s dismay at the loss of more than 200 “minority-owned” local businesses in the Baltimore unrest, Akbar grabbed the Twitter mic in a May 3 burst of awkward black outreach.

    “So terrible. Thank you for speaking out and standing with black-owned businesses, @LarryHogan.”

    The problem, though, is that Hogan wasn’t talking about black-owned businesses.

    Not only has this stirred slight confusion in Charm City, but it also raises key questions about which businesses were destroyed or damaged, and whether those receiving help truly represent the interests and complexion of the folks who live in Baltimore.

    Multiple news reports highlighted the quickness with which corner-store conglomerate CVS is rebuilding two gutted West Baltimore locations, as if the spots were already dynamic oases of economic prosperity. Sure, that’s great: for CVS. But few ask why these neighborhoods appear dangerously reliant on big, corporate convenience stores in the first place, as both primary grocery source and job hub. There are no questions as to the lack of black-owned businesses beyond barbershops, hair salons and churches. And no aggressive action on what’s being done to empower and finally revive a Baltimore corridor that once flourished during back-in-the-segregated-day black economic booms between the 1940s and 1960s.

    Such questions also drape a dark cloud of mystery over the highly abused term “minority-owned.” Local, state and federal politicians have long used the phrase as a misleading characterization of their outreach efforts in economically mangled and mostly urban black communities.

    But a “minority-owned business” is not what it seems—the term rarely means “black-owned business,” even though embarrassed government officials and companies escaping regulatory ire have long reached for it like comfort food when race issues explode. In the case of West Baltimore, it’s not entirely clear that when the Maryland governor’s office and the federal Small Business Administration announced disaster-relief assistance to unrest-rattled businesses, that they also meant they’d be lending a helping hand to black businesses. […]

    Still, the Maryland data available (pdf) show a questionable picture of investment in black businesses proportional to the size of the Free State’s black population. Black businesses in the state received 20.7 percent of the state’s $2.1 billion investment in MBEs, but 83 percent of those were all subcontractors—which means they were largely attached to white-owned businesses receiving the bulk of “prime” contracts. The state’s population is 33 percent black.

    There’s no clarity on what levels of investment there will be in West Baltimore’s black businesses—we’re not even clear, from the get, on how many black businesses there are in that area and which they are. Census Bureau figures only examine Baltimore as a whole. We do know that African-American-owned enterprises make up nearly 35 percent of all city businesses. But while that might sound good compared with other major cities, it’s actually not, considering that Charm City is 63 percent black.

    In passionate and sometimes expletive-filled reflections, Baltimore Black Business Directory publisher and city native Henru-Ka Anu describes the entire situation and the government officials responding to it as being “full of s–t.”

    “The area we’re talking about, those thoroughfares go right through the heart of Baltimore’s black community,” Anu tells The Root. “It’s all been neglected up to this day. There is no real white community there, obviously. And Asians own more of the businesses than African Americans, especially food and cosmetic stores.”

    Anu argues that both state and local officials have not created the sort of infrastructure to support black business in Baltimore. That Black Chamber of Commerce? “Defunct,” says Anu, who was once very active with it. “CVS represents corporate exploitation of those communities—and not just in Baltimore. And the governor and the SBA are using stats to make duplicitous statements about ‘minority-owned’ businesses because, in reality, white women are the largest recipients of minority-business investments.”

    Former Washington, D.C., Councilman Kevin Chavous agrees that cities and states “can’t make hollow promises when engaging small and black businesses.”

    “You can’t just say you’re giving them opportunities, you have to help these businesses make the connection,” he says. Chavous points out the larger challenge of fewer black businesses having the requisite skill sets, credit or knowledge to secure loans from government agencies. He says that governments should “encourage bigger businesses to mentor smaller enterprises” and, in an effort to target black-business development, should use classifications similar to what D.C. termed “local, small, disadvantaged businesses.” […]

    Propping up black businesses in distressed black neighborhoods would make sense, right? Ground zero of the unrest, Baltimore’s Sandtown-Winchester neighborhood, is 97 percent black and perpetually impoverished. Match that with a 2007 Gazelle Index survey of 350 black CEOs finding that over 65 percent of black-owned business employees were black—which means that black businesses are already natural engines of economic growth for their communities.

    But as a zero-percent-interest micro-loan effort was channeled into Baltimore businesses damaged in the recent unrest, it zoomed in on Asian and Hispanic small businesses, most described as family-owned and most not likely to hire from Sandtown’s highly unemployed and highly available labor pool.

    A photo showing mostly Asians in a crowded conference room of affected small-business proprietors tells the story, a grim sign that West Baltimore’s day-after-unrest recovery won’t be hitting any of its black residents anytime soon.

    This does not mean that those Asian-owned or other minority-owned business don’t deserve support and assistance. They do. It’s just that those most directly of the community are, once again, left out.

    Gov. Cuomo gives ultimatum for passing justice reforms

    Since criminal justice reforms didn’t make it into the state budget, Gov. Andrew Cuomo is giving the state legislature an ultimatum: either pass my proposals or I’ll make changes on my own.

    In an open letter to the legislature, Cuomo urged its members to pass the legislative package that he proposed during his joint budget/State of the State address in January or he will put reforms in place.

    The letter notes the frayed relations between police and communities of color after the deaths of Eric Garner on Staten Island and Freddy Gray in Baltimore.

    “The fundamental problem is the erosion of trust and respect between the police and communities of color,” Cuomo wrote. “This breach manifested itself in the Eric Garner case, and similar cases in New York, in creating the perception of a conflict of interest between district attorneys and victims of police violence.”

    “Under my proposal, the district attorneys are given the benefit of the doubt and are not superseded until a reason exists that suggests bias or wrongdoing. Thus, I would initially leave such cases to the district attorneys to present to a grand jury.”

    The governor has proposed that in cases in which an unarmed civilian dies in police custody and a grand jury doesn’t indict an officer involved but there is reason to suspect bias on the part of the prosecutor, Cuomo will appoint an independent monitor to review the case and report back to him. If he determines there was error or wrongdoing in handling the case, he can appoint a special prosecutor to reconvene a second grand jury to reconsider new charges.

    Cuomo also proposes increasing transparency of the secretive grand jury process and requiring that in those cases the public be told which charges the prosecutor asked the grand jury to consider. […]

    The governor states in his letter that if the legislature doesn’t take up his proposal, he will use his executive power to automatically appoint a special prosecutor in all cases of a death of a civilian in police custody.

    “While I do not believe this would be the best outcome, I believe it would be better than the status quo,” Cuomo wrote.

    The governor’s independent monitor proposal is one part of a multi-pronged criminal justice reform package that he outlined along with the state budget in January.

    Included is a proposal that allows DAs to issue a grand jury report or a letter of fact in those cases when an unarmed civilian dies and the case is not presented to the grand jury or the grand jury doesn’t indict. Currently, a judge must allow the release of that information.

    State Sen. Diane Savino (D-North Shore/Brooklyn) and Assemblyman Matthew Titone (D-North Shore) have proposed bills that do just that in seeking more transparency in cases like that of Eric Garner.

    Hey, remember Walter Scott?* After Walter Scott shooting, South Carolina protesters make slow progress

    Six weeks after a police officer shot and killed Walter L. Scott, an unarmed black man, protesters are demanding changes in the city’s police department. Although officials initially acted quickly to arrest the officer, progress on some residents’ demands — including greater civilian oversight of law enforcement — has slowed to a slog worthy of the low-country wetlands.

    In contrast, local and state leaders have moved quickly on proposals to increase the use of police body cameras, which can provide definitive records of police-civilian encounters.

    On April 7, the day video footage emerged of North Charleston police officer Michael T. Slager shooting Scott in the back as he tried to run away after a routine traffic stop, the South Carolina state legislature was in recess. Twin bills in the House and Senate mandating body-worn cameras for every law enforcement officer in the state had been stalled for months in subcommittees, with few sponsors. The bills were introduced shortly after President Barack Obama requested $263 million to help fund body camera purchases and training nationwide, and they seemed destined to fizzle out quietly in the heavily Republican Palmetto State.

    The video changed everything. Slager was arrested on a murder charge the same day The Charleston Post and Courier published the video on its website, and the next day North Charleston Mayor Keith Summey announced that the city would order enough body cameras to outfit every officer on the street. And when lawmakers returned to the statehouse April 14, the push for a statewide body camera mandate rapidly gained momentum.

    Last week the House voted unanimously to pass a body camera bill, with amendments awaiting approval by the state Senate. State Rep. Wendell Gilliard, a Democratic lawmaker from Charleston County, has been quick to seize the political momentum at protest events in North Charleston, including a recent rally marking one month since Scott’s death.

    “A year and a half ago, when I first started this idea, this mission fell on deaf ears,” he said. “I can only hope and pray that these great men, these great women, that they hold us accountable in the state of South Carolina.”

    He added, “You now have the attention of the governor and everybody else in the General Assembly. You also have the attention of the world.”

    But for better or worse, the world isn’t watching North Charleston anymore. Only local media covered the one-month rally, which included about 30 community members. And since the arrest of Slager and the purchase of the body cameras, little else has changed in North Charleston as a result of protest actions. […]

    Black Lives Matter’s Charleston chapter made its demands known early and often, sometimes with a megaphone in front of City Hall. Its members asked the North Charleston City Council to call a public meeting to discuss the possibility of a civilian oversight committee, and Summey countered by offering to meet with them behind closed doors. The group refused, insisting that any conversations must be held in public.

    Some city leaders have expressed resistance to the idea of an unelected board overseeing the police department, particularly if that board is granted subpoena powers. City Councilman Bobby Jameson said any proposal for a citizen oversight committee would likely have to come from Summey, who has held his office since 1994. “Since this is such a volatile situation, I don’t think any City Council member would do it,” Jameson said. “We’d probably do it through the mayor as a unity, not as an individual council member.”

    Until that happens, the protesters aren’t going away. At the one-month rally, a coalition of neighborhood organizations, religious leaders, labor organizers and longtime activist groups voiced their support for a common agenda. Their demands included equal access to education and other opportunities for all North Charleston residents, transparency in city government, an end to racial profiling and police brutality and “independent, community-based oversight and accountability over the police department.”

    Muhiyidin d’Baha, an organizer with the Charleston Black Lives Matter chapter, said his group will continue to protest. “All along, our strategy was to negotiate, demonstrate and resist. That hasn’t gone anywhere,” he said. “We have the same strategy. It’s just that now we have more political and social capital behind it.”

    Aside from a small group of protesters who recently shut down traffic on a major bridge in neighboring Charleston, the response to the Walter Scott shooting has been much quieter than the mass marches and riots after recent police shootings of black men in other U.S. cities. But Kenneth Riley, the president of the local International Longshoremen’s Association chapter, mentioned at the one-month rally that the tone could shift.

    “This community is very trusting and very patient. Don’t take that patience for granted,” he said. “Look around this country at what is happening and what hasn’t happened in Charleston. Don’t take the patience for granted.”

    * You may laugh, but recently, in conversation with Husband, he was asking ‘What’s up with the police killing that black guy in America again?’ and I started to explain, but about half-way through, noting his somewhat confused expression, I had to stop and ask, ‘Which one are you talking about?’ Yeah. Not a laughing matter, actually.

    A student at Portland High School is uncomfortable with #BlackLivesMatter He/she vandalized our board. @deray

  93. rq says

    Because not funding education isn’t enough. Dundalk lawmakers: Close Baltimore Community High School. Yep, must be the school’s fault.

    Following the brutal beating of a Dundalk man, local lawmakers are asking for the closure of a Baltimore City alternative high school where students allegedly involved in the attack attend.

    In a letter sent to city school officials on Tuesday, Dundalk representatives asked for an immediate closure of the Baltimore Community High School. City school officials have said that the school, which is an alternative high school, is already scheduled to close in 2017.

    But that’s not soon enough for the Dundalk lawmakers, who wrote, “We request expeditious closing of this school for the good of the students and the Harborview Community in Dundalk.”

    The letter was signed by Baltimore County Councilman Todd Crandell, state Sen. Johnny Ray Salling, Del. Robin Grammer, Del. Bob Long and Del. Ric Metzgar, who are all Republicans representing Dundalk.

    On April 22, Dundalk resident Richard Fletcher, 61, intervened in a fight between girls outside his home on 45th Street. The group of teens turned on him and beat him so badly he ended up in the hospital with a brain bleed, nasal fracture, orbital fracture and possible broken ribs, according to charging documents filed in court by Baltimore County Police.

    Seven young people have been charged in the attack, with several facing charges of attempted first-degree murder. The school’s principal has acknowledged that students were involved in the attack. The school is located just over the city line from where the attack occurred.

    School officials helped police review cell phone and surveillance video of the attack to identify the students who were allegedly involved.

    Since the April 22 attack, county police increased patrols at dismissal time, when students leave the school to walk to MTA bus stops. The MTA has moved one of the stops closer to the school.

    But the Dundalk lawmakers believe the city police and school officials “have shown little commitment to solving this systemic issue.”

    Neighbors have complained that students leaving school have long been disruptive in the neighborhood, blocking traffic by walking in the middle of the street, littering and fighting.

    “Recent arrests and increased police presence has only served to heighten tensions and further increase the danger to both students and residents,” the lawmakers wrote. “Perhaps at no time in the past decade have things become more dangerous than they are right now.”

    And the way to resolve this systemic issue, of course, is to close down the school and move the unwanted population to some other corner of the city, to languish there. #NIMBY

    Why Are White Gang Members Destroying Their Own Community? Just going to quote the final paragraph:

    So here we have established criminal networks with a history of well-armed brutality endangering their neighborhoods. Surely all Americans should be concerned about the role these mainly white gangs play in the disintegration of the nation’s white communities and the scourge of white-on-white crime. Surely all of this will be discussed on cable news panels and talk radio over the coming days. Surely.

    Foundational Love

    Back in the days of cassette tapes, my love for underground and varied hip hop sounds crossed paths with a song titled “The Foundation” by one of my favorite artists of the time: Xzibit.

    The word foundation has two primary definitions: the first being the lowest load bearing part of a structure; the second, an underlying basis or principal for something. If my journey through manhood had a soundtrack, this would be the first track in the fatherhood part. The song is Xzibit’s life lessons gathered to that point and laid out for his son. I found it to be touching and insightful in ways that rap (especially in its current iteration) often is not, but always has the potential to be. There are some lyrics that speak ill of women and don’t reflect how I feel you should conduct yourself as a man, but overall, what was achieved was a display of affection and presence.

    Given a recently re-published 2013 Center for Disease Control (CDC) report that demonstrates “by most measures, black fathers are just as involved with their children as other dads in similar living situations—or more so,” I wanted to share some of my ideas on why there is a perpetuated myth of black father absenteeism. The song had some pretty great lines and I will use those to guide my thinking.

    Really neat, relatively rarely seen, literary/poetry analysis of the song’s lyrics, as applied to the author’s life. Includes statistics on parenting. Conclusion:

    The narrative should be that the absentee fathers of the world need to step forward and manage their responsibilities to the families they have created, but blackness is an easy target for criticism. Though it seems it is the black man often seen dancing on television shows when a paternity test deems they are not the father, the contrived narrative that black men are absent from the lives of their children is a fallacy cooked up by the wishful thinking of an oppressive system.

    All this said, we must be mindful that the old adage still applies, “it takes a village to raise a child.” Devolving the black father’s role to that of Deadbeat Dad further elevates the widespread misconception that the black fathers role in the home isn’t important.

    The black family is a source of power; black mothers and black fathers have an equal share in the development of that power because we all understand that familial power is a child’s foundation.

    Illinois Judge Calls Police Killing of Rekia Boyd “Beyond Reckless” But Acquits Cop on Technicality. This was infuriating. Still is.

    Rekia Boyd was 22 years old when she was killed in 2012 by an off-duty Chicago police detective. Dante Servin fired several shots over his shoulder into a group of people Boyd was standing with near his home, striking her in the back of her head. He was charged with involuntary manslaughter, marking the first time in 15 years a Chicago police officer was charged for a fatal shooting. But last month, in a dramatic dismissal, Judge Dennis Porter acquitted Servin on a legal fine point. While speaking from the bench, Porter suggested prosecutors should have actually charged Servin with murder. “The act of intentionally firing a gun at some person or persons on the street is an act that is so dangerous it is beyond reckless; it is intentional, and the crime, if there be any, is first-degree murder,” he said. We speak to Rekia Boyd’s brother, Martinez Sutton.

    Interview with her brother, plus a transcript, at the link.

    Isolated Incidents, a cartoon showing disparity in treatment of black people committing crimes and white people committing crimes. There also seems to be a disparity in scale.

  94. rq says

    Alderman Antonio French seeks special committee with broad power to investigate police shootings

    French, who gained notoriety for activism following the shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, is expected to introduce the resolution on Thursday morning before the full board of aldermen.

    The committee would be separate from a recently approved civilian oversight board. It would only apply to officer involved shootings between January 2014 and December 2015. The push comes two days after St. Louis Circuit Attorney Jennifer Joyce announced Officer Jason Flanery wouldn’t face criminal charges for the shooting death of VonDerrit Myers on Oct. 8.

    “It is in the best interest of the citizens and taxpayers of the city of St. Louis for the Board of Aldermen to be proactive in seeking to better the policies and practices of the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department and restore any trust that has been damaged between our police department and our citizens,” French wrote.

    The Board of Aldermen can create special committees and empower it with its own subpoena power. The committee would be made up of aldermen.

    Florida Tea Partier kicked off county board for blaming black unemployment on laziness. I suppose it’s encouraging that most of these people caught with racism on their hands are suffering some sort of consequences. Though one wonders if it’s because they got caught, or because of the racism.

    On Tuesday afternoon, Florida’s Marion County Developmental Industrial Board voted unanimously to oust member Marcel “Butch” Verrando after he posted disparaging remarks about black people on Facebook.

    Verrando’s term would have ended in November, but his separation from the board is “effective immediately,” WCJB reports.

    On Tuesday morning, Verrando wrote the following observation on the Marion County Political Forum’s public Facebook page: “Black unemployment percentage is exceeded only by Native Americans and in 2012 they had the highest unemployment rate, education is way a head of hispanic so why can’t they get a job? My experience was that the only time a black guy applied for work it was because they were on probation and HAD to have a real job.”

    Verrando follows his grammatically unconventional observation with a link to analysis from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which offers no data supporting the assertion that black people only seek employment when they are on probation.

    Losing his volunteer board position has not discouraged Verrando from going back to the Marion County Political Forum’s Facebook page and getting in arguments with commenters. Below, a screenshot of Verrando defending the very words that got him in trouble in the first place, as well as the argument that “the black community should start policing itself instead of looking for people to accuse of false crimes as an excuse for unsocial behavior:” […]

    Several hours ago, a member of the forum named Stan Hanson posted on the following essay on the group’s Facebook page, lamenting that public figures “have to be much more politically correct in [their] communications” than they used to be. Today’s leaders, Hanson says, are constrained by “government imposed political/social correctness,” which is why he no longer serves on any community boards. “I… now have complete freedom of speech in expressing my opinions,” Hanson writes.

    Hanson, a retired executive with Proctor & Gamble, further criticizes the media for “surfing Facebook groups to discover comments of citizens to write about,” a research tactic he finds indicative of the “demise of professional investigative reporting.”

    It was just released that the Cleveland PD charged Tamir rice with “aggravated menacing” & “inducing panic.” America. See attached report.
    I am beyond words for this one. Beyond. All.

    Here’s an article on that, because someone did find the words: Cleveland police charged 12-year-old Tamir Rice with ‘aggravated menacing’ and ‘inducing panic’

    Recently obtained documents from the Cleveland Police Department, displayed below, show that Tamir Rice was being charged with the outrageous crimes of “aggravated menacing” and “inducing panic.”

    Dear police: We give those crimes back to you. All across the United States, you have induced panic and served as aggravating menaces and have gotten away with these crimes for far too long.

    How dare you charge this young brother with these crimes. He was no menace, but a sixth-grade boy, and the only reason you or anyone else panicked was because of his brown skin. Here are eight white people who pointed real guns at real people and lived to tell the story.

    The bogus charges for Tamir are below.

    A few words, at least.

    Yesterday, STL Metro PD Chief Dotson dragged Elizabeth Vega (@chicanapoet1) prior to arresting her. America. What a fine example, the police chief.

    On the Occasion of His Birthday, the Michael Brown Jr. Memorial is Removed from Canfield

    This afternoon, Michael Brown Sr. — the father of 18-year-old Michael Brown Jr. — snapped on a pair of rubber gloves, walked to the spot in the middle of Canfield Drive where his son was shot and killed, and began to scoop stuffed animals and other trinkets into a black garbage bag.

    “It’s time for the city to heal,” he said moments before he began. “I need to heal.”

    It seemed like a cruel task — performed in the rain, in near silence — but he was the only one who could do it. Imagine if a crew of Ferguson city workers attempted to remove the memorial. It would be an act of sacrilege.

    But even with the family’s blessing, there was turmoil. A young man neighbors identified as the head of the block’s copwatch program walked by repeatedly shouting that those involved in the cleanup should be ashamed. He didn’t care it was done with the blessing of the Brown family.

    “Happy birthday, Mike Brown!” he yelled sarcastically.

    Today would have been Brown Jr.’s nineteenth birthday.

    As the layers of stuffed animals were peeled back from a lamp post, the slightly sweet stench of rot and mildew filled the air.

    Cal Brown, Michael Jr.’s stepmother, said that watching the memorial come down was “weird” but conceded that it was time.

    “It’s unfair to the tenants here to leave it,” said Cal’s mother, Pearlie Gordon. “This is the best way to do it, it memory of him.”

    Earlier in the day, Ferguson Mayor James Knowles announced at a press conference with the Browns that a plaque would be installed on Canfield in memory of the slain teenager, and a dove placed beside it. The plaque was supposed to be installed today as well, but the steady downpour scuttled those plans.

    A little while after the cleanup began, Brown Sr. left briefly to bring the plaque and the dove so people could see them:

    No word yet on the items being found in a dumpster while supposedly brought for storage.

  95. Thumper: Who Presents Boxes Which Are Not Opened says

    School nurse verbally abuses, threatens, and physically assaults an 11 year old student, including the use of a racial slur, and gets a 2 day suspension. As the child’s mother rightly pointed out, had the situation been reversed, her son would have been locked up on the spot.

  96. mickll says

    So…you can be a shaved head, broken nosed, covered in jailhouse tattoos with a record as long as your arm, anger management issues with a history of and a propensity for violence and NOT be a thug-provided you’re not Hispanic or African American?

    America is a strange place!

  97. rq says

  98. rq says

    The money got tied up in red tape and it lingered in the umbrella account.

    “Cut the check” was a way of saying cut the red tape.
    I have known about this for a while and done some research for the protesters. They were at first unaware the money was solicited.
    The end of this little tale is if you donated for Ferguson protesters through these organizations, the first checks were distributed. (Yay!)
    My final thought on this is take a close look at people that were so willing to denigrate people who have risked their lives. That would be those hating on protestors for being social justice warriors and getting something out of it, rather than struggling by in poverty.

    Video: WATCH: MIKE BROWN WOULD HAVE BEEN 19 TODAY

    Last November, D’bi Young received an unexpected phone call. Its repercussions would be tremendously profound.

    The caller was the Jamaican-Canadian dub poet’s friend and one-time collaborator, Wade Hudson, a photographer/director who’d previously shot Young for the cover of the comic book Shemurenga: Black Supah Shero, for which Young supplied the title character’s physical look. This time, though, Hudson didn’t have animated book pages on his mind. He brought up the nationally publicized death of Michael Brown, the unarmed black 18-year-old who’d been gunned down by white police officer Darren Wilson three months earlier, on August 9, in Ferguson, Missouri.

    Hudson had just heard an original violin composition from acclaimed musician Andrew Forde, arranged in direct response to Brown’s passing. Hudson wanted Young to help him turn Forde’s music into a post-Ferguson call-to-arms of some sort, though he wasn’t sure what it should be exactly. He left that up to Young.

    “I was stunned at the request,” says Young, “not because I found it strange but because I had spent the last few days ruminating on the events surrounding Ferguson and on the ongoing murder of black men, thinking to myself that I really should write something, say something.” The mother of two little boys, Young had been struggling with how to address the tragedy. “Up until that point I was unable to write anything about what was going on,” she recalls. “I couldn’t put all that I was feeling into words. I couldn’t organize my thoughts.”

    Once Forde’s music started playing, however, the inspiration rapidly surfaced. “About five seconds into it, I began to see and hear names of our dead behind us,” says Young. “The more I listened, the more intense this roll call in my body and in my head became. I couldn’t make out the names specifically but I heard them loudly and I knew they were names of people murdered by police. I began to weep.”

    Those tears eventually led to “In Whose Name?,” an emotionally devastating video directed by Hudson and featuring both Young and Forde—he’s playing that aforementioned violin track, and she’s reciting the names of multiple innocent black men whose lives, like Michael Brown’s, were ended prematurely and wrongfully. It’s a beautiful piece of work, steadily building in its visceral impact as Young’s commanding voice salutes a seemingly endless number of deceased black men, each name being exclaimed with more vigor than the last.

    Young’s pain radiates through the screen. “I wanted this video to be a moving portrait,” says Hudson. “I chose to frame it almost identically to how I would shoot D’bi’s portrait. There’s a level of discomfort being that close to someone’s face and I wanted that to aid the message being delivered by forcing the viewer to stand uncomfortably close to the subject and confront the reality of the situation.” As “In Whose Name” progresses, its tension rises. “We wanted to end at the peak of intensity because we see this as an escalating issue and didn’t feel comfortable with it coming to resolution or a decrescendo,” says Hudson.

    Today, May 20, marks what would have been Michael Brown’s 19th birthday, and we couldn’t think of a better way to honor his memory than by premiering “In Whose Name?” which you can watch above. And below, Hudson and Young reflect on how they channeled their grief into nearly three minutes’ worth of crushing visual and sonic power.

    More at the link, it’s powerful, that video.

    Chaperone At Park Slope Middle School Punched 13-Year-Old During Choral Recital, Mom Says

    A parent chaperone punched a seventh-grade girl during a choral concert at MS 51 in Park Slope on Friday night, and school administrators let the woman leave without calling the police, the girl’s mother claims. The 13-year-old was backstage with a group of 40-50 students around 7 p.m., and was waiting to perform in the final night of the three-day spring choral recital. She opened her mouth to spit out some gum, and the chaperone, Roberta Woelfling, came over from across the room, scolded her about sticking her tongue out, walked away, then came back and punched her in the mouth, according to her mother, Petal Joseph.

    Joseph is upset about the alleged assault, but she is just as upset about what happened next. Her daughter ran to an assistant principal and told her what happened, and the assistant principal and security guards let Woelfling leave the building, didn’t notify Joseph, and sent the girl back onstage to perform. From the audience, Joseph said she saw “my child’s demeanor had completely changed from when she was on stage the first time,” and that the girl was “physically shaken.” (A statement written by the assistant principal that night and provided by Joseph also describes the girl as “visibly shaken.”) But Joseph says she didn’t know what happened until the performance ended and her daughter came to her, unaccompanied, and asked, “Mom, did they tell you what happened?”

    The girl gave a statement to the assistant principal that night, writing, “I want [Woelfling] to get arrested and get charged and go to jail for what she did to me.”

    Joseph went to the police the next morning, by which time her daughter’s lip had swelled, but she said officers told her they were reluctant to file assault charges because there was no serious injury. School administrators didn’t meet with Joseph and Woelfling until Monday morning.

    “I can’t even believe this whole situation has happened, and I can’t believe the whole story that this woman was allowed to concoct, the hours that she had to think about what she did,” Joseph said. “And it’s really upsetting that I sat in that audience for two hours and was unaware that something had happened to my child.”

    Woelfling, an architect, denies punching the girl. She said that she did tell her that it’s disrespectful to stick her tongue out, and flicked the back of her fingers in the direction of the gum, but that the girl “turned at that exact moment, so my two fingers touched her face.”

    “It wasn’t a hit and a beat. It was an accident,” Woelfling said. “It wasn’t intended to touch her mouth, her gum, her tongue. It was something that has been blown out of proportion.”

    Woelfling faulted Joseph for “ramping it up” and stressed that she is the opposite of a child abuser.

    “I’m the type of parent that volunteers for everything. Nobody wanted to volunteers for this,” she said. “It’s a tough gig trying to keep kids in line.”

    “This is not the kind of person I am”. So, if it had been a black parent, accidentally striking a white child…? Any bets?

  99. Pierce R. Butler says

    Attention, FTB movers ‘n’ shakers: Please give rq her own blog!

    Thank you.

  100. Okidemia says

    Grewgills @92

    The questions come from most everyone and are followed by a round of comparative listings of ethnicity, so the question is less charged here.

    Out of genuine curiosity: do you have any idea what purpose ‘this’ is serving? I mean, I can get at a generally traditional “I’m the son/daughter of… and my lineage is…” that most societies seems to have cherished. Here it would be rather generous/inclusive to extend in all ancestry lines cross generations (at least up to grands). But what does this performance possibly offer to the ongoing social interaction?

    Clearly in western societies, the “origin question” is aimed at forseeking the divide already apparent from general outlook, and it often feels like ‘are you on a side that involved historical war or current political/religious tense against us’?

  101. rq says

    Batts: Police having trouble policing West Baltimore

    Police are struggling to stop violence in West Baltimore, where officers have been routinely surrounded by dozens of people, video cameras and hostility while doing basic police work since the death of Freddie Gray, Baltimore Police Commissioner Anthony W. Batts said Wednesday.

    The Western District, the site of Gray’s arrest and the epicenter of the protests and rioting that followed his death, has seen the majority of the city’s recent shootings and homicides, which are coming faster than they have in eight years.

    In response, Batts said, police are taking measures to re-establish relationships with West Baltimore neighborhoods still angry over Gray’s death April 19, Batts said.

    Police have sent in commanders from other districts with experience and contacts in West Baltimore. Backup officers are being sent to routine calls to help protect officers.

    “Officers tell me and their supervisors, any time they pull up to respond to a call, they have 30 to 50 people surrounding them,” Batts said. “We have to send in multiple units just to do basic police work, which says we have to work on community engagement.” [oh noooeeees] […]

    “It makes it very difficult to follow up on violence that takes place there,” he said. “Clearly, they’re not holding back. They’re getting to those locations and getting surrounded. You have many citizens with hand-held cameras that they’re sticking in the faces of officers, an inch off the officer’s face.”

    Batts said police do not want to cause a “bigger issue” by sending in backup, but they want to “make sure the officers are safe and citizens are safe.”

    That description of events did not sit well with Deray McKesson, a community activist and organizer prominent on social media.

    “What Batts is doing is trying to use fear to take the focus away from the intense violence that the police have inflicted on the communities of Baltimore as long as any of us can remember,” he said. “What Batts is worried about is that people are more aware and more willing to hold police accountable in the Western District.”

    McKesson said West Baltimore residents unified during protests over Gray’s death, finding out they share common experiences in dealings with police. They no longer feel isolated and powerless against a police force that McKesson said has routinely abused African-Americans.

    “It’s a scary day in America when a chief of police says people are watching us and we can’t do our jobs,” he said. […]

    Batts said his interactions with residents have confirmed for him that Baltimore’s problems go beyond alleged police mistreatment. Residents want neighborhood health centers to help them deal with diabetes, job training and recruitment programs, more recreation centers and a return of the Police Athletic Leagues for youth.

    Batts said parents want a “safe zone” for their children. He said he doesn’t have funding to restart sports leagues, but he is considering putting officers in parks and recreation centers to interact with kids.

    McKesson said the city needs to address “structural inequity.” He brought up the same needs Batts said he has heard from community members: more recreation centers and sports leagues.

    Deputy Commissioner Kevin Davis said police training academies need to start teaching officers how to say hello, just as it teaches officers the basics of policing.

    “We have to engage in a better way with our community,” he said.

    The Baltimore FOP (@FOP3) has hired Clapp Communications PR firm. #BaltimoreUprising Who’s paying for it?

    Commissioner Batts estimates responding to protests and the unrest cost $12 million. Yeah, who’s paying for it?

    How Public Universities Shortchange Poor And Minority Students

    In the pursuit of prestige, revenue, and rankings, more public universities have turned to dangling merit-based scholarships to attract more out-of-state students, according to a report by the New America Foundation released earlier this week. The result: shortchanging both poor students, who are less likely to receive such aid, and students in the states the universities are funded to serve.

    Public colleges once devoted the biggest chunk of their financial aid money, some 34%, to students in the bottom income quartile, giving just 16% to the wealthiest students, the report says. That has now shifted dramatically: Financial aid at public colleges now goes equally to the top and bottom quartile of students, with wealthy students receiving 23% of financial aid. The poorest students now receive only 25%.

    The push toward funneling aid to privileged out-of-state students reflects a change in the nature of public higher education. “By bringing in more and more wealthy nonresident students, these colleges are increasingly becoming bastions of privilege,” the report says.

    Schools that provide merit aid, it found, tend to enroll far more students from out of state, who typically pick up more merit-based scholarships than in-state students. They also tend to enroll fewer poor students — and charge those poor students more money.

    A separate report this week by the left-leaning think tank Demos suggests that black students may also be disproportionately impacted by such policies.

    At public colleges, more than any other schools, the rising tide of student debt has disproportionately burdened students of color, the report said. The gap between black and white student borrowing at four-year public schools is more pronounced than at private and for-profit schools. An estimated 81% of black students at public colleges borrow for their bachelor’s degrees, compared to 63% of white students, a gap of 18 percentage points. At private universities, that gap is 12 percentage points.

    A few numbers more at the link.

    Re: Steph Curry and his daughter: I proudly take my kids to work, the only thing I can offer as a father is myself RT @deray: Steph. Riley. Joy.

    #SayHerName #NotOneMore

  102. rq says

    Powerful art coming out of this movement. This is a play about racial profiling by @adenrav from #AlbanyHigh @deray

    Just a few names, more later.
    #MiriamCarey. Murdered by secret service. Dozens of bullets unloaded into her car. Her newborn still in. #SayHerName
    #ShellyFrey. Shot by police while in a car. Left to lie in the car for 8 hours after. No medics called. #SayHerName
    #MichelleCusseaux: Michelle was killed by officer who was threatened by the “look” on her face. #SayHerName

    National Day of Action For Black Women and Girls: #JusticeforRekia #SayHerName #BlackWomenMatter

    Recent events across the country have demonstrated that police murders, sexual assault and harassment continue with impunity. The fight for justice for families devastated by police who murder their loved ones is hard fought. As we struggle to fight for justice for loved ones like Freddie Gray, Tamir Rice, and Rashod McIntosh, we cannot forget, and must fight fiercely for Mya Hall, Aiyana Jones, and Rekia Boyd. The police harass, abuse, murder and do not discriminate based on gender or sexuality.

    All #BlackLivesMatter, and that means we uplift and fight for lasting justice for the families of victims of police violence.

    We’ve joined Ferguson Action and Black Lives Matter to put out a national call for actions to end state violence against All Black Women and Girls.

    Click on your city to find out info on the May 21st “National Day of Action to End State Violence Against All Black Women and Girls.” Email us at info@byp100.org to add your action to the list.

  103. rq says

    Powerful Women on the front lines taking charge :::: #Baltimore

    #Oakland’s ready for #SayHerName day for Black women and girls. Spotted at Oscar Grant Plaza #BlackSpring @deray

    Another interview with Rekia Boyd’s brother, may even be the same as previous: Illinois Judge Calls Police Killing of Rekia Boyd “Beyond Reckless” But Acquits Cop on Technicality.

    Interlude: Music! Singer Akon Makes Progress With African Solar Power Venture

    Senegalese-American RnB singer Akon may be best known for his string of platinum-selling records, but the Missouri-born artist is also becoming a rising star in the movement to bring electricity to rural Africa.

    Visiting New York this week for the United Nations’ Sustainable Energy for All e4all summit, Akon and his two co-founders of Akon Lighting Africa, Samba Bathily and Thione Niang, took time out of their manic schedule to talk to WSJ Frontiers about their mission to bring solar power to rural Africa.

    Launched in February 2014, ALA’s aim is simply to “bring electricity to African villages by a clean and affordable solar energy solution.” The company uses a micro-lending model to provide solar-powered micro-grids and street lighting systems.

    Akon’s venture joins a relatively crowded field of entrepreneurs and investors—and governments—looking to establish off-grid solar projects across the continent. One characteristic that differentiates ALA, though, is its growth rate.

    Just over a year since launching, the company has operations in 11 nations, including Guinea Conakry, Senegal, Mali, Niger, Benin and Sierra Leone.

    One key trigger for that rapid growth, Akon says, is that the company funds initial projects itself as a way to demonstrate the technology and the benefits to potential buyers. According to the company, the average investment per village is $75,000 and the firm has invested almost $400 million in total so far.

    “We invest our own money to get things started,” Akon says. “We go in, plead our case to the country, put up pilots with our own dollars using sophisticated equipment and we make sure we do the installation right. It shows people that we’re not coming in to pull money out of the country, we’re there to provide jobs for the locals and to enable them to feed their families.”

    In Guinea Conakry, for example, Akon says the company is employing 5,000 people to install its systems. […]

    Akon and his partners position themselves as social entrepreneurs but there is no doubting the company’s focus on profitability. Asked which organization’s model he most respects, he chooses Coca Cola KO -0.44%. “They’ve conquered the world—but they’re sustainable,” he says. And his focus on rural Africa is founded in his belief that the market for electricity there is both substantial and “less competitive, less confrontational and less political” than in urban areas.

    There is also no question that ALA’s mission to install solar systems in areas that have minimal established infrastructure can be challenging. “In any emerging market there will be a lot of difficulties—the countries are not necessarily stable and infrastructure isn’t there, but if you understand that, it’s not difficult,” Akon says.

    “The hardest part is getting people to believe.”

    Back to Tamir Rice for a moment, Police wanted to charge 12-year-old Tamir Rice with ‘aggravated menacing’ and ‘inducing panic’

    Recently obtained documents from the Cleveland Police Department, displayed below, show that Tamir Rice was going to be charged with the outrageous crimes of “aggravated menacing” and “inducing panic.”

    Dear police: We give those crimes back to you. All across the United States, you have induced panic and served as aggravating menaces and have gotten away with these crimes for far too long.

    How dare you ever consider charging this young brother with these crimes. He was no menace, but a sixth-grade boy, and the only reason you or anyone else panicked was because of his brown skin. Here are eight white people who pointed real guns at real people and lived to tell the story.

    The bogus criminal report for Tamir is below.

    Notice the following 3 points.

    1. They list 3 victims of Tamir Rice:

    a. The State of Ohio
    b. Officer Loehmann (who shot & killed Tamir)
    c. Officer Garmback (who drove the vehicle)

    This is essential. They are not claiming Tamir was a menace or induced panic to other people in the park, but to the officers. ABSURD.

    2. At the end of the report, notice that they say this complaint was “abated by death”.

    3. Notice the officer who shot and killed Tamir claims to have had minor injuries.

    An updated version of the article posted above, with additional words.

    Michael Brown Memorial Removed. I find that a very, very sad thing.

    A memorial to Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, was cleared away Thursday night, amid preparations to replace the makeshift monument with a permanent plaque. The announcement was made by Mayor James Knowles III and Michael Brown Sr. on what would have been the teenager’s 19th birthday, nine months after the fatal police shooting. Officials had said the site’s stuffed toys and flowers were a safety hazard.

  104. opposablethumbs says

    I just saw some photos of the permanent memorial (plaque and dove set into the pavement).
    It’s good that there’s a marker that will withstand anything the weather and ordinary wear and tear can do. (Hope there’s no need ever for it to withstand anything else, such as vandalism perpetrated by actual thugs).

  105. rq says

    @deray Montgomery county MD “man dies after Taser shock” can anyone check this out for details #AllLivesMatter

    The True Crime: Atlanta Public Schools after the Cheating Scandal

    Amidst the national media maelstrom surrounding the case, the most common argument has been that as a result of their cheating, the educators harmed the children. Judge Baxter said, “I think there were hundreds, thousands of children who were harmed in this city…This was not a victimless crime.”

    Yet the idea that purity in a massive testing regime will ensure quality education and success for all children is simply untrue. Quality education comes when we fund our schools, train our teachers, and implement teaching methods that instill a passion for learning. The high-stakes testing model directly counters these very educational methods that we know work best.

    Teachers do not have enough time to cover and practice new concepts, even when our students clearly don’t understand the material. We are forced to push forward to make sure we cover every standard before test time, at any cost. The best unit I taught this year was on South African apartheid. We spent three weeks analyzing historical documents, photographs, and conducting interactive activities. The deeper we dug, the more they wanted to learn. I watched my students become passionate and enthusiastic about history and learning. They still talk about that unit, six months later. And yet, weeks on apartheid meant less time to cover other required material, less time to prepare them for the test. Teaching my students in an effective manner that inspired and awakened them to history will most likely hurt their test scores.

    As the year progressed, we rushed to cover everything mandated by the state of Georgia. In order to do this, I was unable to replicate the very teaching style that made the apartheid unit so effective – in depth, prolonged study. I am required to teach too much in too little time so students can “pass” the test, which results in teaching a lot of things not very well. In public schools across America, including in my own classroom, teachers are consciously implementing teaching techniques that we know do not work in the long run.

    Within a high-stakes testing culture, it doesn’t matter what level the kids began the school year. It doesn’t matter if they’ve been off their medication for weeks because a mother lost her job. It doesn’t matter if they are homeless, or don’t have a parent at home to help them with homework. It doesn’t matter how hard they’ve tried throughout the year; even all the progress they’ve made doesn’t matter. Their passions, their creativity, their imaginations – all meaningless. The only thing that counts is a test score.

    Good schools consider the whole child, not just her or his performance on a single test. At my school, we do value test scores. But we also value the entirety of students’ work through the year, their content knowledge, and their social and-emotional needs. We know that when a student is so terrified about standardized tests that she vomits on her exam, she’s probably not going to accurately demonstrate her skills. […]

    In fact, according to the Georgia Budget and Policy Institute, Georgia has cut the education budget over $8.3 billion since 2003. In 2002 we were 26th in the nation in spending per student and by 2012 we were 35th. And at the same time, the rate of low-income students rapidly climbed. The percentage of low-income students rose from 44.2% in 2002 to 62.4% in 2015. Instead of providing these students the support and smaller class sizes they need, budget cuts require schools to do the exact opposite while still expecting them to meet testing benchmarks.

    In other words, the very interventions needed to give children a fighting chance are being slashed from beneath them. Isn’t that the true crime?

    Please support black women today by honoring those slain by police For that purpose, @MillennialAU has a rally planned in #STL at 530 today

    Update: Rumor that Tamir Rice was charged with a crime is false, @CityofCleveland says. The document circulated is an incident report from the day, not a charging document. Oh.

    When Chicago cops shoot , a look at police shootings in the city.

    Fatal police shootings of unarmed African-Americans have become all too familiar nationally since officer Darren Wilson killed 18-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, last August. In November, 12-year-old Tamir Rice, who was holding a toy gun, was slain by a police officer outside a recreation center in Cleveland. In April, Walter Scott, 50, was killed by a police officer who shot him five times as he was fleeing after a traffic stop in North Charleston, South Carolina.

    Seventeen-year-old Laquan McDonald was armed when Chicago police shot him fatally last October on Pulaski Road near 40th Street. McDonald, a ward of the state, was holding a knife and acted erratically when police arrived. He was shot 16 times, with all the bullets fired by only one of the six officers present. The shooting was captured by a police cruiser’s dashboard camera. Federal and state prosecutors are investigating the killing, and the video has yet to be released publicly, but last month the City Council voted to pay McDonald’s family $5 million to preempt a lawsuit.

    The shooting of Cedrick Chatman happened before any of these police shootings—and, like most such shootings, it made headlines immediately after it occurred, and then quickly disappeared from the public eye.

    Chatman is one of 118 people to have been shot fatally by Chicago police since 2008. Since 1986, more than 1,600 people have been struck by bullets fired by Chicago police officers—an average of more than one person a week. It’s hard to know how those figures compare nationally, because law enforcement agencies aren’t required to report data to the FBI on their use of deadly force. […]

    The expert, Emanuel Kapelsohn, has been a firearms and use of force instructor for 35 years. In February he visited the scene of the shooting with Fry, Toth, and the city’s lead lawyer on the case, Tiffany Harris. Kapelsohn has also reviewed the videos and some still-frame photos made from one of the videos. In his report he says one still-frame photo shows Chatman “with his head and body rotated to the right, partially back toward Officers Fry and Toth . . . consistent with Officer Fry’s account of what he observed that caused him to fire.”

    Coffman says the city’s lawyers have yet to provide the plaintiff’s lawyers with that photo, and that he doubts it shows what Kapelsohn claims it does.

    Coffman also says the videos show a woman in a black car just around the corner on Jeffery, waiting for the light to change when the shots were fired—and that a police photo taken after the shooting depicts what appears to be a bullet hole in her passenger door. He says one of the videos captures the startled reaction of two youths walking on the sidewalk on Jeffery, approaching the corner; they immediately flee in the opposite direction, apparently upon hearing the gunshots. They nearly walked into Fry’s line of fire, Coffman says.

    In Kapelsohn’s report he quotes from a landmark 1989 Supreme Court ruling, Graham v. Connor, in which the court observed that “police officers are often forced to make split-second judgments—in circumstances that are tense, uncertain, and rapidly evolving—about the amount of force that is necessary in a particular situation.” Kapelsohn points out that Graham also held that an officer may use deadly force “when he reasonably believes his life or the life of another innocent person is in danger”—and that his “reasonable belief” should be judged from the perspective of an officer at the scene “rather than with the 20/20 vision of hindsight.”

    Kapelsohn maintains that it was reasonable for Fry and Toth to assume that the carjacking Chatman was fleeing from had been committed with a weapon; according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, 74 percent of carjackings are.

    He notes that the dark gray iPhone box Chatman was carrying is the color and size of many small handguns, and that suspects have been shot while holding “cell phones, pagers, black wallets, black or shiny metallic items . . . or other innocent objects” in shootings that have been deemed justified.

    An officer who believes a suspect has a gun doesn’t have to wait—and shouldn’t—until the gun is pointed at him before he fires, Kapelsohn writes, because a gun pointed “well away” from an officer “can be brought to bear on the officer and fired in a quarter of a second or less.”

    Fry was asked in his deposition if Chatman turned his head when he made his “slight movement” to the right. The officer didn’t recall him doing so. Chatman “rotated mostly his torso,” Fry said. It was a “subtle turn.” But because Chatman had in his hand what Fry assumed was a gun, “I was in fear of Officer Toth’s life. I was in fear of my own life. And any pedestrians in the area, I was in fear of their life as well.”

    And so he did not wait: “I plant both of my feet and I take a firing position with my weapon.” […]

    IPRA investigates misconduct complaints against officers as well as officer-involved shootings. Its predecessor, the Office of Professional Standards, was a unit of the Chicago Police Department that answered to the superintendent. In 2007, after police officers were caught on videotape perpetrating two barroom beatings, critics charged they were emboldened by the fact that OPS rarely found police officers guilty of misconduct. OPS also ruled almost invariably that officer-involved shootings were justified. Mayor Richard M. Daley responded to the criticism from the barroom beatings by creating IPRA, an agency independent of the police department. But many of IPRA’s investigators were former OPS investigators, and like OPS, IPRA has found almost all officer-involved shootings to have been proper.

    In his 11 and a half years as a police officer, Fry has had 16 misconduct complaints lodged against him, most of them accusing him of excessive force. None of these complaints have been sustained. He’s also been sued five times not counting the Chatman suit. The city settled all five suits, at least four of them with a payment to the plaintiff.

    It’s hard to know what to make of this record. When a complaint isn’t sustained, it doesn’t necessarily mean the charge was untrue; it means, according to IPRA, that there was “insufficient evidence to prove or disprove the allegation.” On the other hand, an allegation is only that. Likewise with lawsuits against police officers: they’re allegations, and a cash settlement paid by the city is not an admission of guilt; it’s often a calculation that settling will be cheaper than continued litigation. […]

    Until 2010 the Chicago Police Department conducted “roundtables” after officer-involved shootings. The proceedings were neither taped nor recorded by a court reporter. Police commanders and lieutenants, an assistant state’s attorney, and an investigator from OPS or IPRA heard from the detectives investigating the shooting, from the officer or officers involved, and sometimes from other witnesses, after which the department reassured the public that the officer’s use of deadly force had been scrutinized and, nearly always, found to have been within department policy.

    If the victim of a shooting had a criminal record, his rap sheet was distributed to everyone at the roundtable. If the officer who’d shot him had a checkered history of misconduct complaints, suspensions, or even shootings, the roundtable participants would not be apprised of it. In a deposition in a civil suit in 2005, Michael Chasen, then deputy chief of detectives, was asked a hypothetical: If a shooting officer had shot eight other people in the eight weeks before the roundtable, would the roundtable participants be informed? No, Chasen said—because that information was “not germane.”

    It’s not completely clear why the CPD stopped holding roundtables in 2010, but it seems related to a larger dispute between the FOP and IPRA regarding how soon, and under what circumstances, officers involved in shootings had to give statements to IPRA about the shootings. In a hearing on that matter in December 2010, an FOP officer testified that the union and the department agreed that the roundtable “had outlived its usefulness.” […]

    Some police shootings are “lawful but awful,” Ilana Rosenzweig said—they’re legally justifiable, because the officer had a reasonable fear of death or serious injury, but they could’ve been avoided.

    Rosenzweig was working as a lawyer for the Los Angeles County Office of Independent Review when Mayor Daley picked her to be IPRA’s first chief administrator in July 2007. She led the agency until May 2013, when she moved with her family to Singapore. She told me she came to Chicago believing it was important not only to determine whether police shootings were justified, but also to study them holistically. Perhaps changes in training, policy, or supervision would reduce their incidence. She’d sat on a panel in LA that reviewed hundreds of police shootings for that purpose. Most major law enforcement agencies have such panels, she said. But Chicago did not, she learned when she arrived. If OPS found a shooting to be within policy, “the investigation was simply closed and filed away,” she told me. “No one in the CPD command structure, outside OPS, saw it.”

    At Rosenzweig’s prompting, the department created a “Force Analysis Panel” in ’09, when Jody Weis was superintendent. Beginning that March, supervisors in several CPD divisions were briefed by IPRA on police shooting cases the agency had closed, to consider larger lessons.

    After its promising beginning, however, CPD had convened the panel only once in 2011 and once in ’12, Rosenzweig noted in 2012, in her final annual report for IPRA. Some members of the department, she told me, “felt, ‘What can you learn from IPRA? We’re the cops, they’re not.’ ” She said she sensed that FAP had lost support from the “higher ranks” within CPD. She’d heard that the current superintendent, Garry McCarthy, is briefed by detectives after some shootings, but there’s now “no formal systemic review, and in at least several instances the briefing was based on information that was revealed to be incomplete or inaccurate through IPRA’s further investigation.”

    Rosenzweig allowed that IPRA had found officer-involved shootings to be out of policy in only “a handful” of cases while she was here. (The agency conducted 272 officer-involved shooting investigations from September 2007 through the end of 2012.) She wasn’t sure that officers had been disciplined even in those few cases, noting that they had several avenues for appeal. The agency was “chronically understaffed,” she said, and it was “difficult to do thorough investigations with the level of resources we had.”

    That made the work of a body such as FAP all the more important, she said. “There are some officers who have a bad intent, and the role of any accountability system should be to identify such officers and remove them from the force. But the vast majority of officers don’t go out there intending to do something wrong. They just need better training and supervision.”

    ​I called CPD’s news affairs to ask why FAP had been disbanded. The spokesperson I talked with had never heard of it. She later responded in an e-mail that, “The only information I was able to obtain was that there currently is no Force Analysis Panel.” […]

    Besides contesting that Cedrick’s death was wrongful, the city’s lawyers also dispute that it represents much of a pecuniary loss. The lawyers have retained an economist who has analyzed the “alleged economic damages” and found them to be minimal. If the death is judged to have been wrongful, that will be an issue in assessing damages.

    “Studies have shown that individuals raised in situations similar to Cedrick Chatman’s tend to have less economic mobility,” the economist, Dwight Steward, wrote in his report. Steward considered the earnings support that Linda could have expected from Cedrick, and the earnings he might have contributed to his estate. The projected economic damages ranged from $46,377 to $375,028. ​​But Steward emphasized that Cedrick likely would have earned “only a fraction” of that, given what his background suggested about his future. Pointing to Cedrick’s 14 juvenile arrests, Steward noted that, “Social science research shows that individuals who have run-ins with the law will experience lower earnings and earnings growth.” Cedrick’s father’s history of incarceration and lack of involvement in Cedrick’s life helped create a “fractured family support structure” that also was likely to limit his earnings potential. The high school Cedrick was attending, Hyde Park Academy, had a subpar graduation rate, and that, combined with Cedrick’s low grades and history of juvenile detention, made it doubtful that he would have graduated high school—further reducing his economic prospects, Steward observed.

    Cedrick was clearly headed in the wrong direction. But he was only 17. He was killed as he tried to turn a corner.

    Could he have turned the corner in his life? No one will ever know.

    That small bit in bold is my emphasis. Talk about devaluing someone’s life.

    Oh, shut up. Will Cleveland riot if a cop is found not guilty?

    As early as Thursday, a Cuyahoga County judge is expected to deliver a verdict in the case of Michael Brelo, a former Cleveland police officer who joined a massive police chase in 2012 and helped pump 137 bullets into the car of Melissa Williams and Timothy Russell, black Cleveland residents who turned out to be unarmed.

    Now, less than a month after neighborhoods in Baltimore burned and less than a year after Ferguson, Mo., exploded, Cleveland officials fear an acquittal in the Brelo case could touch off the same kind of violence. So local politicians and clergy members, civic activists and even sports stars are working overtime to provide outlets for people’s frustrations.

    “Those of us vested in Cleveland’s success should not follow the pattern and practices of those outside instigators who looted, destroyed businesses and other crimes that ruined inner-city neighborhoods in Ferguson and Baltimore,” said David Malik, a civil rights lawyer.

    Noting that community leaders “are feverishly working together to eliminate police misconduct in Cleveland,” he said, “we are much better positioned than Ferguson or Baltimore.” […]

    City officials have spent months discussing the campaign. In early December, Jackson and Police Chief Calvin D. Williams — both of whom are black — participated in a forum titled, “Is Cleveland the Next Ferguson?”

    And when protesters demanding justice in the Brelo case tried to block interstate traffic, police were ordered not to intervene. Commuters complained, but Jackson declared the traffic delays the “inconvenience of freedom.”

    The effort has not been without missteps. Earlier this year, Jackson was forced to apologize when city attorneys appeared to blame Rice for his own death in a court filing in his family’s civil suit against the police department.

    Last month, top city officials had to make amends again when an official city Twitter account asked whether Cleveland should be “burned down” like Ferguson and Baltimore.

    “Our intention with the #ourcle campaign was to create a conversation online surrounding community and police relations,” tweeted @CRBcleveland, the account of the city’s Community Relations Board. “We apologize for recent inappropriate #ourcle tweets sent from this account.”

    Activist groups angered by the mayor’s reaction to the Justice Department report — and what they consider an inadequate response to the Rice shooting — have initiated a mayoral recall. Protests and marches are slated for this weekend, which will mark six months since Rice was killed.

    Another group has scheduled a “Protect Our City” counterprotest, and local clergy members and a group of former gang leaders and ex-inmates are being dispatched to various neighborhoods to call for peace and gather information about potential problems.

    And so on. You know what? This is the city whose cops killed Tamir Rice, so the efforts to improve relations (esp. seeing as how they’re dragging that case out and dragging it out and dragging their feet on it…) don’t seem to be matching up with the words they’re saying. Feverishly working, they are. But on what?

  106. says

    A thing I’ve noticed in the last few years: as I’ve grown more interested in hip hop and rap music, I found myself initially thinking that I didn’t hold with all that cop-killing, gangsta rap style stuff. While I felt superior (because I listened to the music) to the racist-tinged denials of “that’s not music” often aimed at hip hop by white people, I still piously insisted that the anti-police attitudes seemed antisocial and self-defeating.

    In the last year, though, I find that I understand it much, much better now, and I’ve dropped the pseudo-piety and pearl-clutching over a form of artistic expression that reaches out to shout “THIS IS GOING ON AND BLACK LIVES SHOULD MATTER MORE THAN THEY EVIDENTLY DO”.

    So now I just say: Fight the power.

  107. rq says

    opposablethumbs @113
    I’m just worried, because when they planted a memorial tree for Michael Brown Jr., it was cut off the next day and the plaque destroyed. But yes, something lasting will be nice.

  108. rq says

    Two powerful things going on right now: protest in San Francisco for black women, two unarmed men shot by police in Olympia. Which do you want first?

  109. rq says

  110. rq says

  111. rq says

    CaitieCat @115
    I actually just recently realized the opposite about myself, in terms of music – back in the 1990s, I was regularly listening to and exposed to music by black artists, and I recently realized that inadvertently and unconsciously, black artists’ names have dropped off my playlist. Which is why I love all the musical posts that I come across and try to post them here, listening to that music comes a greater understanding of what is behind it. It really, really sounds different (in a good way) to me now.

    +++

    They’re not something new:
    Black Women in the 1950s.
    Black Women in the 1960-70s.
    And from the 1930s and 1940s.

    On the action happening: #SayHerName Report

    On May 20, 2015 the African American Policy Forum, the Center for Intersectionality and Social Policy Studies at Columbia University and Andrea Ritchie, Soros Justice Fellow and expert on policing of women and LGBT people of color released #SayHerName: Resisting Police Brutality Against Black Women, a document highlighting stories of Black women who have been killed by police and shining a light on forms of police brutality often experienced by women such as sexual assault.
    “Although Black women are routinely killed, raped and beaten by the police, their experiences are rarely foregrounded in popular understandings of police brutality,” said Kimberle Williams Crenshaw, Director of the African American Policy Forum and co-author of the report. “Yet, inclusion of Black women’s experiences in social movements, media narratives and policy demands around policing and police brutality is critical to effectively combating racialized state violence for Black communities and other communities of color.”

    #SayHerName gathers stories of Black women who have been killed by police and who have experienced gender-specific forms of police violence, provides some analytical frames for understanding their experiences, and broadens dominant conceptions of who experiences state violence and what it looks like.

    “Black women are all too often unseen in the national conversation about racial profiling, police brutality, and lethal force,” said Andrea J. Ritchie, co-author of the report. “This report begins to shine a light on the ways that Black women are policed in ways that are similar to other members of our communities – whether it’s police killings, “stop and frisk,” “broken windows policing,” or the “war on drugs.” It also pushes open the frame to include other forms and contexts of police violence – such as sexual assault by police, police abuse of pregnant women, profiling and abusive treatment of lesbian, bisexual, transgender and gender nonconforming Black women, and police brutality in the context of responses to violence – which bring Black women’s experiences into even sharper focus.”
    In 2015 alone, several Black women’s lives have already been lost to police violence. For instance, just before Freddie Gray’s case grabbed national attention, police killed Mya Hall–a Black trans woman, on the outskirts of Baltimore. No action has been taken to date with respect to the officers responsible for her death. Most recently, police fatally shot Alexia Christian in the back of a police cruiser while she was handcuffed. And in Ventura, CA, Police officers fatally shot Meagan Hockaday–a young mother of three–within 20 seconds of entering her home in response to a domestic disturbance.

    #SayHerName responds to increasing calls for attention to police violence against Black women by offering a resource to help ensure that Black women’s stories are integrated into demands for justice, policy responses to police violence, and media representations of victims and survivors of police brutality.

    The brief concludes with recommendations for engaging communities in conversation and advocacy around Black women’s experiences of police violence, considering race and gender in policy initiatives to combat state violence, and adopting policies to end sexual abuse and harassment by police officers.

    A closer look at one of the many women, Miriam Carey’s Killing Shows ‘Elevation Of Property’ Over Black Life, video via HuffPo live. I hope it’s viewable, I’m not sure if it’s now video or still going live.

    #NatashaMcKenna #SayHerName

  112. rq says

    Two suspected shoplifters shot by Olympia police

    Two men suspected of attempting to steal beer from the west Olympia Safeway were shot by an Olympia police officer early Thursday morning.

    Employees at the Safeway at 3215 Harrison Ave. W. reported about 1 a.m. that two men had attempted to steal beer and when confronted by employees, threw the items at them and fled, according to a news release.

    Police identified the suspects as two black men. An officer found two men matching the description a short distance away and a few minutes later notified dispatch that he had been involved in a shooting.

    Preliminary reports were that both men had been shot in the chest. One suspect is in stable condition at Tacoma General Hospital. One is in critical condition at Providence St. Peter Hospital, according to Olympia Police Chief Ronnie Roberts.

    Both men are in their twenties and believed to be from the Thurston County area, police said. […]

    The officer, who has been an officer for 3 years, has been put on administrative leave while the incident is investigated, following Olympia Police Department policy. The Thurston County Critical Incident Team is investigating the shooting. The team is composed of detectives from five local agencies.

    Olympia officer shoots 2 men suspected of stealing beer

    As police investigated, an officer found two men with skateboards matching the suspects’ descriptions a short distance away – at Cooper Point Road near 14th Avenue NW. There was a confrontation and the officer opened fire, hitting one of the men in the chest, said Olympic Police Chief Ronnie Roberts.

    The two suspects then ran into a wooded area. When they emerged, the officer opened fire again, hitting the other man in the chest as well, Roberts said.

    Witnesses at the scene reported hearing six shots fired.

    The men, who are stepbrothers aged 24 and 21, were rushed to the hospital, where they are listed in critical but stable condition. Both are from the Olympia area. Neither of them was armed with a gun.

    The officer who fired the shots was not injured, Roberts said.

    The officer later told investigators that when he initially approached the suspects, there was a confrontation behind his patrol car and one of the men assaulted him with his skateboard. The officer said he felt threatened, so he opened fire.

    Later, when the two men emerged from the wooded area, there was another confrontation so he fired again.

    Roberts said an investigation will determine whether or not the shootings were justified. He said a skateboard could be considered a deadly weapon, depending on the circumstances.

    Prepare for the skateboard registry. With all these deadly weapons around (phones, screwdrivers, skateboards, etc.) USAmericans won’t need to carry guns anymore.
    Felt threatened. He felt threatened. He just won an award.

    Video Shows LAPD Officer Hit And Kick Woman Who Died During Her Arrest – slightly anomalous, as the offending officer is a woman, but otherwise, about par for the course.

    Alesia Thomas, 35, was arrested at her home in the 9100 block of South Broadway in South L.A. on July 22, 2012 after she allegedly left her children, ages 3 and 12, at a police station with some clean clothes and a note saying she couldn’t care for them anymore and their grandmother’s phone number, NBC LA reports. During that arrest, Officer Mary O’Callaghan, an 18-year veteran of the force, was caught on video threatening to “punt” her in her genitals (she used a different word for genitals), hitting Thomas in the throat, and kicking her. During all of that, Thomas had her legs bound by a nylon restraint and her hands cuffed behind her back. Thomas told officers she was having trouble breathing and standing, but they chose to ignore her, believing she was faking it. Thomas was later pronounced dead at the hospital.

    In footage from the dash cam in another police car, O’Callaghan can be seen lighting up a cigarette and looking through the car window at an unresponsive Thomas. She then says, “This ain’t a good sign.”

    O’Callaghan is not charged with Thomas’ death, in which the L.A. County Coroner has said cocaine use plus a heart condition was likely a factor, CBS LA reports. O’Callaghan is only being charged with assault under color of authority. She faces three years in prison if convicted.

    Passed this on my way to work. A conversation in signs: #BlackLivesMatter

    Dave Helling: Amid the St. Louis blues is a strong sense of entitlement, an interesting short look at the attitudes predominant in St Louis towards those less fortunate from those in authority.

  113. Tsu Dho Nimh says

    I see two who I would identify as “black” And several dark complected Hispanics.

  114. throwaway, never proofreads, every post a gamble says

    Tsu Dho Nimh

    I see two who I would identify as “black” And several dark complected Hispanics.

    Uh, good for you that you have such powers of observation. Now if only the title of the post had been: “Every single person was white” then you may have had a point.

  115. rq says

    Coming up: Baltimore State’s Attorney planning a special news conference regarding Freddie Gray at 4:30 p.m. We’ll keep you updated.

    And let’s not forget to compare: White bikers riot in #TwinPeaksShooting. Kill 9. 1000 guns. Arrests. Black men suspected of stealing. Skateboards. Shots. #OlympiaShooting
    At least they’re not dead this time. Yet… Yet?

    @deray friend of mine was on the scene last night.Cops were standing around and laughing. They’re still getting paid

    Elsewhere, More evidence of a slowdown or …? @BaltimorePolice made average of 625 arrests/wk in 7 wks prior to unrest. Past 2 weeks: 338/wk

    Rand Takes Left Turn on the Road to Bulls**tville on Clinton and Mass Incarceration. I thought he was already down the end of the road on that one.

    One of Rand Paul’s emerging angles in his hoped-for race against Hillary Clinton is to put the former Senator and Secretary of State on the line for her husband’s role creating the system of mass incarceration which many on both sides of the political spectrum now believe was either a mistake or at least should be reined in. “I’ll ask Hillary Clinton,” he said earlier this week, “what have you done for criminal justice? Your husband passed all the laws that put a generation of black men in prison. Her husband was responsible for that.” I think as a practical matter it will be a tricky and perilous proposition to hold Hillary Clinton responsible for things her husband did more than 20 years ago. (Husband being a different person from her and Clinton being a man she is somewhat demonstrably not able to control, etc.) But as Ed Kilgore rightly notes here, this is an almost comical distortion of the history of the last forty-plus years in the United States, one which he seems to be banking on a younger generation not remembering and reporters being either to lazy or stupid to contradict.

    Let’s start with some basic history.

    I’ve written a lot over the last two or three years on the massive effect on the nation’s politics and culture brought about by the late 20th century crime wave which began in the early 1960s and then unexpectedly crested and fell in the mid-1990s. It began unexpectedly and dissipated even more unexpectedly. Even now we have very few good explanations for why either happened, though I think it is increasingly difficult to ignore at least some significant role for lead poisoning as a driver of the mayhem. Fear of violent crime, melded together with urban riots and changing cultural mores was a key driver of the backlash politics of the early 1970s and increasing conservative and Republican dominance of US politics through the 1980s and 1990s.

    Though we like to think of the Supreme Court as immune from the swirls of public opinion, probably nothing better captures the whipsaw in the public mood than what turned out to be the Court’s temporary abolition of capital punishment in the mid-1970s. So why did we end up with a massive prison population in the US? The simple answer is two or three decades of populist law and order politics which drove the state and federal governments to the right and led them to pass legislation which tightened drug laws, lengthened sentences, expanded the scope of the death penalty and increasingly restricted judges’ sentencing flexibility. The main action was always at the state level – since that’s where the overwhelming number of crimes are prosecuted and where the overwhelming number of prisoners are incarcerated. Saying that mass incarceration is something that Bill Clinton did is about on par with claiming that Richard Nixon founded the environmental movement because, in an effort to gain freedom of action on other issues he cared about, he did sign many of the cornerstone pieces of environmental legislation in the early 70s.[…]

    Indeed, what makes Paul’s nonsense so maddening is that it really amounts to the same people who were banging drums for what we now call mass incarceration in the 1980s and 1990s now banging the drums to blame someone else. A critical issue to understand about the transformative role of criminal justice politics in the late 20th century is that it was based on a crime wave that was quite real. It was inflated by demogography and racialized fear-mongering but it was based on a hard, statistically demonstrably reality which had a profound effect on Americans sense of safety and their beliefs about the well-being and stability of the society they lived in.

    This simple chart plotting the rise and fall of the rate of murder – the ultimate crime – makes the point quite clearly. […]

    The history of mass incarceration in the United States came from a generation of law-and-order populist politics from the right, overwhelmingly from Republicans but eventually joined by many Democrats, pushing longer sentences and more automatic sentencing. Many Dems went along with it. And they should answer for that. But it was a cudgel Republicans used to win elections and grow their majorities at the state and national level. The 1994 Crime Bill was an important but relatively small part of the overall story. At most it helped accelerate a trend that had been galloping along since the 80s and mainly happened at the state level. Clinton’s responsible for his signature. But Paul’s ridiculous distortion of history – palpably bogus for anyone who had their eyes open in the 80s and 90s – still shouldn’t be allowed to stand. Give him credit for pushing criminal justice reform in a party that is still largely hostile to it. But his distortions of history, even recent history, are on par with the conspiracy theories he’s also notorious for spreading.

    “It’s Not Even Surprising Anymore”: Middle School Students React to Police Brutality, and it’s heartbreaking.

    Five days after the school year started in Atlanta, Georgia, Mike Brown lay dead in a Ferguson street. I had just started teaching middle school social studies in a Title I. school with a 97% black study body. The next week, I stayed late after school and with the assistance of fellow teachers, drove around thirty students to a local protest in support of Ferguson. After the protest, the students felt a sense of accomplishment and excitement. But those feelings have since waned.

    I did not know then that these public killings and public outcries would continue throughout the school year. With each new case, I have challenged my students to discuss, debate, and write about their feelings. Increasingly, they have become frustrated with this process. Their comments reflect a sense of hopelessness and anger. “In real life we all know the government isn’t gonna do anything about it, and the police isn’t gonna do anything about it,” one student tells the class. “I’m used to it. It’s not a surprise to me. I’m just like oh, another person got shot.”

    During the recent Baltimore uprising, the nation discussed whether or not rioting is logical and legitimate. But not my students. Not one of them questioned why people riot – they only debated if it’s a wise tactic. These are some of their reflections from one of our many conversations.

  116. says

    Also, we don’t know how those Black and Hispanic faces were treated by the cops – we just have plenty of images of heavily-armed white bikers sat down comfortably using cellphones while nominally ‘under arrest’ after murdering a couple of handfuls of people, compared to Black men being shot for carrying skateboards. SKATEBOARDS.

    If you can’t grasp the fucking difference between how white and Black are treated by the police (and I’m not going to qualify that by country), then you’d better get your mental claws sharpened, cause you probably couldn’t grasp the answer to two plus fucking two (fucking four, obviously).

  117. says

    Their comments reflect a sense of hopelessness and anger. “In real life we all know the government isn’t gonna do anything about it, and the police isn’t gonna do anything about it,” one student tells the class. “I’m used to it. It’s not a surprise to me. I’m just like oh, another person got shot.”

    I once saw a show of Romeo and Juliet set in Belfast, with the lovers coming from either side of the local sectarian divide. She was from a “nice” area, where the violence was distant, and was startled when she heard an explosion while she slept at his place. “Calm down,” he grumped while trying to get back to sleep, “it’s only a bomb.”

    It’s heartbreaking to hear that these kids have the same reaction. Comprehensible, utterly, but heartbreaking.

  118. rq says

  119. rq says

    Olympia officer shot two brothers following reported attack with skateboard; protests underway, another one on the same.

    An independent investigation has been launched after an Olympia police officer shot two brothers who allegedly attacked him with a skateboard during a shoplifting and assault investigation early Thursday morning.

    Olympia Police Chief Ronnie Roberts and Mayor Stephen Buxbaum spoke to multiple media outlets around 10 a.m., expressing sorrow for the tragedy of two young men being shot, and to call for calm as multiple law enforcement agencies investigate.

    “Olympia is a community that cares deeply about social justice,” Roberts said. “It’s important that we stand together as a community during the investigation.”

    While police say there’s no indication that race played a factor in the shooting, Roberts identified the brothers, 21 and 23 years old, as black. Roberts said the Olympia police officer involved is white. The chief acknowledged the sensitivity of racial issues and policing in stating the race of the men and police officer.

    Protest @ Woodruff Park @ 6 on westside to demand justice for 2 unarmed black men shot by ofc Ryan Donald #BlackLivesMatter #OlympiaShooting

    Schumer to Recommend Brooklyn Prosecutor for U.S. Attorney Post

    Mr. Schumer confirmed that he would recommend that President Obama nominate Mr. Capers to succeed Loretta E. Lynch, who became the United States attorney general in April. If Mr. Capers is nominated, he will have to be approved by the Senate.

    “He rose to the top on the merits,” Mr. Schumer, a Democrat, said of Mr. Capers, who joined the office in 2003 and currently prosecutes public corruption cases. “He’s really smart, he’s very hardworking, nose to the grindstone, not flashy, gets the job done and gets it done superbly.”

    Mr. Schumer also said that Mr. Capers’s family ties to law enforcement — his father was a noted New York Police Department detective, and his brother is retired from the force — meant he “fits the times perfectly.” […]

    Like Ms. Lynch, Mr. Capers is black. Mr. Schumer said he believes that, like Ms. Lynch, Mr. Capers will be able to take on difficult cases involving minority communities and have all sides feel they were treated fairly.

    Mr. Capers was born in the Bronx and lives in New Jersey. He graduated from New York University, where he was co-captain of the basketball team, and from Albany Law School.

    While many New York prosecutors leave government work for law firms, where they can make several times as much money, Mr. Capers has worked for the government his entire career. He was a prosecutor for the Manhattan district attorney’s office and for the office of the city’s special narcotics prosecutor before moving to the Eastern District. Other candidates for the job included people who had left the office for more prestigious Justice Department positions, making Mr. Capers’s promotion from inside the office noteworthy.

    “It’s nice to see career prosecutors given the opportunity to lead a significant and prominent office in the city,” said Anthony M. Capozzolo, a lawyer who worked in the office until last year. […]

    A recommendation from Mr. Schumer does not ensure that Mr. Capers will be nominated by the White House, but in making such appointments, presidents typically consult with their party’s top political leaders in a state. In New York, Mr. Schumer, as the senior senator, has played a major role in selections of United States attorneys and federal judges.

    Brittany Overstreet. #SayHerName

    Consultants uncover deep problems within Denver Sheriff Department. Is anyone surprised? I mean, really – is anyone surprised?

    The report, produced by Hillard Heintze of Chicago and OIR Group of Los Angeles for $295,000, delivers 14 key findings and 277 recommendations for change.

    Mayor Michael Hancock ordered the review in the summer of 2014 after a string of excessive-force cases shamed the department and cost the city more than $9 million in legal settlements and lawyers’ fees.

    Hancock said the consultants produced the type of report he was looking for, one that laid out everything.

    “They validated our concerns,” he said.

    City leaders already knew the sheriff’s department was troubled, but the report delves into every function at the department, revealing deficiencies at every level.

    “Yes, there are things that were a surprise to me,” said Stephanie O’Malley, executive director of the Denver Department of Public Safety. “As I continue to read and as I continue to digest and process all of this information, I continue to think to myself that these are things that can and will be fixed.”

    In several instances, the deficiencies are glaring.

    For example, the department does not have a method for counting inmates and keeping track of who is in court or at a hospital, and it does not account for gang affiliation when assigning inmates to cells, the report said.

    There is no single, comprehensive plan for emergencies, and drills for controlling disasters are held rarely.

    The department cannot readily say how many deputy positions it has and the number of full-time equivalent employees it needs to fill them, Hillard Heintze found in its review.

    And the department’s use-of-force investigations are “wholly inadequate” because supervisors make decisions on whether force is justified based only on the involved deputy’s account of the incident. They do not interview inmates and other witnesses or review video footage, the OIR Group wrote.

    Consultants found excessive amounts of contraband during the review of the two jails. Inmates had heroin, homemade hooch and inappropriate photographs.

    “One reason is that employees are not searched upon their arrival each day — and they could be a primary source of unauthorized items,” the report said.

    The consultants found other contributing factors to the contraband problem, including inconsistent cell searches and a failure to track tools or other equipment that inmates might have had access to during the day.

    Nonexistent, out-of-date and incomplete policies are a theme throughout the report. Training from supervisors is almost nonexistent, the report said. The consultants found multiple examples of instances where deputies did not know what was written in the department handbooks.

    For example, deputies are required to make routine rounds within their pods to check for contraband, maintain order, count inmates and look for medical emergencies.

    However, the department’s orders, division policies and procedures are inconsistent, Hillard Heintze found.

    “Staff members of all levels do not have a clear understanding of the requirements to conduct such checks,” the report said. […]

    Five surprising findings from the report

    1. Deputies are not searched when they come to work.

    2. The department is not able to accurately count inmates.

    3. Gang affiliations are not considered when assigning inmates to a pod.

    4. The entire IT system is outdated and unorganized.

    5. Sergeants justify their deputies’ use-of-force incidents without interviewing inmates and other witnesses or looking at video footage.

    What’s recommended

    The consultants listed 14 key findings in their report on the Denver Sheriff Department:

    – Across-the-board reform is needed.

    – Areas of strength include a commitment to change and modern facilities.

    – A leadership deficit exists. Changing it will prove transformational.

    – The department’s strategic plan should be rewritten.

    – Organizational alignment needs to be improved. Too many people report directly to the sheriff. Scheduling is dysfunctional, and roles are not clearly defined.

    – The department’s use-of-force culture must change, and its training must be improved.

    – More work must be done to improve internal affairs investigations.

    – Jail management and operations need extensive reform.

    – Staffing changes must be made before hiring new employees, or the cycle of inefficient operations will continue.

    – Deputy training must be expanded and improved.

    – Human resources issues abound.

    – Technology deficits compromise performance and safety.

    – Emergency preparedness planning needs attention.

    – More meaningful and productive community engagement is needed.

  120. rq says

    And @MarilynMosbyEsq has noted that some of the charges have changed since the initial press conference. #FreddieGray
    Articles probably tomorrow, complete with other people’s analysis.
    That just leaves the impending Brelo verdict in Cleveland, for now. Was supposed to be out Monday, today an article said Thursday, so who knows.
    Going to tie up leftover links and go to bed.

    #AlexiaChristian I #SayHerName killed just 2 weeks ago after police failed to search & secure her correctly.

    Worth a repost, as an example of really positive policing. And one wonders why there aren’t more PDs working like this. In Fresno, a community-policing ethos builds ties between officers and residents.

    Interlude: Comics! The 2015 Glyph Black Comics Award Winners Are…

    This weekend saw the annual Glyph Awards Ceremony take place in Philadelphia, at the East Coast Black Age of Comics Convention. The awards champion and celebrate the best in comics made by, for, and about black people, although the nominations are not exclusively limited to black creators.

    This year saw the 10th anniversary of the ceremony, established by Rich Watson in 2005. […]

    So it was good year for 133 Art, which picked up the Fan Award and the Rising Star Award (for the second year running). Shaft was expected to pick up story of the year (not least from all of us, because we’ve loved it). A major takeaway of the awards is a lack of recognition for most of the biggest publishers in the Diamond Catalog, save for Image (via Top Cow) and Dynamite Entertainment.

    The awards are about finding and showcasing new talent –- certainly, there are names and comics here that are completely new to me -– but it also showcases the absence of black storytelling from the major publishing houses.

    That’s less immediately important, however, than celebrating the achievements of the comics listed above, each of which emerged out of a crowded and diverse field of nominees. These have been ten very successful years for the Glyph Awards, and hopefully everyone recognized by the awards will go on to further success within the industry.

    The judging panel this year were Pamela Thomas (chair), William H. Foster III, Joseph R. Wheeler III, Rich Johnston, Regine Sawyer, and Jamal Igle.

    And yes, I took out all results and winners. Go to the link.

    This Mom Made A Natural Hair Doll To Help Her Daughter’s Self-Esteem. Seems like such a small thing…

    Angelica Sweeting is the mother of two little girls. When she went shopping for her daughters one day, she discovered that she couldn’t find any dolls that looked like them.

    By the age of three, she told BuzzFeed Life, her oldest daughter Sophia was already struggling with body image.

    […]

    Per Sweeting’s design, the Angelica doll has “face of a beautiful brown girl including a full nose, fuller lips, beautiful check bones, and brown eyes.”

    The 18-inch doll’s hair is fully style-able. You can wash it, dry it, twist it out, put it up, curl wand, and bantu knot it, if you want.

    The Angelica doll is still in its backing phase on Kickstarter, but Sweeting believes that the doll has the potential to truly change things for young women.

    Kickstarter link within, for those interested.

    Just came across an article entitled “Steph Curry’s Daughter and the Epitome of Light Skinned Privilege” what the hell is wrong with y’all. I read that article. It’s… yeah.

  121. rq says

  122. says

    Watch: undercover NYPD cop helps beat couple in suv attack

    The testimony of one of the victims, Rosalyn Ng, was backed up in court by a new video obtained by the Daily News showing the brutality of the attack that left her husband hospitalized for months. The video depicts the men (one of whom it was later revealed infiltrated Occupy Wall Street on behalf of the NYPD) dragging Alexian Lien out of his SUV in broad daylight in Washington Heights. They proceed to severely beat him as his wife, Rosalyn Ng, cries for help. The couple had an infant child in the back seat, a fact Ng claims she yelled out repeatedly as the men continued to stomp and kick Lien. The footage was taken from one of the bikers’ GoPro helmets.

    Braszczok’s lawyer alleges his client went along with the attack because he didn’t want to break what he called “deep cover.” The former NYPD officer is also accused of being responsible for breaking the couple’s windshield, a charge he denies. If convicted, both men face up to 25 years in prison.

    Lien recently testified about the incident as well. As CBS News reported:

    In court, the man whose beating was later seen by millions of online viewers broke down and told a New York judge in emotional testimony that he was in “complete fear” as the bikers closed in.

    Two of the eleven bikers charged in the attack are now on trial. With his face covered by a t-shirt, Wojciech Braszczok entered a Manhattan courtroom. The undercover cop, along with co-defedent Robert Sims, face charges that include assault for participating in the now-infamous road rage incident in which thirty-five year old Alexian Lien was pulled from his vehicle and beaten in front of his wife and young daughter.

    In describing the September 2013 incident, Lien said, “I felt complete fear for my life, my wife and my daughter.”

    As for Braszczok’s gig spying on Occupy Wall Street, Gothamist detailed how the 2013 motorcycle incident revealed the disturbing subplot:

    “It’s definitely creepy and unsettling to think of this guy monitoring conversations and actions and tweets that were all part of this nonviolent social movement,” Molly Knefel says. “Once you know you’re being surveilled, it changes the way you think and the way you act.”

    Most Occupy Wall Street participants assumed that undercover police had infiltrated their ranks, but many said yesterday that they were taken aback at how far the 32-year-old detective had taken his work. “I mean, he came to my birthday at the Blarney Stone,” said one occupier who asked to be identified by his Twitter handle, @SeaNick_. “He was there ‘til like 4:30 in the morning with us. I never thought anything of it.”

    In addition to Occupy Wall Street, Braszczok also spied on Hurricane Sandy relief work for the NYPD, according to the Gothamist.

  123. rq says

    I can’t stick the flounce.
    Here’s the official release from the attorney’s office, then that’s it.
    Marilyn Mosby Announces Indictments of the Six Baltimore Police Officers Involved in the Freddie Gray Arrest

    Today Marilyn Mosby, State’s Attorney for Baltimore City, announces indictments against the six Baltimore City Police Officers for their alleged role in the death of Freddie Gray. The State’s Attorney’s Office conducted an independent investigation into this matter upon receiving notice of the incident and presented the evidence to the Grand Jury, who returned the indictments this afternoon.

    “On May 1st our investigation revealed that we had enough probable cause to bring charges against the six officers,” stated Marilyn Mosby, Baltimore City State’s Attorney.

    Mosby further explained that as their investigation continued, additional information was discovered and as is often the case, during an ongoing investigation charges can and should be revised based on the evidence.

    “The Grand Jury, who also concluded there is sufficient evidence for probable cause, returned indictments on all counts presented to them.” Mosby said.

    The indictments include the following charges with the respective maximum penalties. Arraignment is scheduled for July 2, 2015.

    Officer Caesar R. Goodson, Jr.

    – Second degree depraved heart murder (30 yrs.)
    – Manslaughter (involuntary) (10 yrs.)
    – Assault/second degree (10 yrs.)
    – Manslaughter by vehicle (gross negligence) (10 yrs.)
    – Manslaughter by vehicle (criminal negligence) (3 yrs.)
    – Misconduct in office (8th Amendment*)
    – Reckless endangerment (5 yrs.)

    Officer William G. Porter

    – Manslaughter (involuntary) (10 yrs.)
    – Assault/second degree (10 yrs.
    – Misconduct in office (8th Amendment*)
    – Reckless endangerment (5 yrs.)

    Lt. Brian W. Rice

    – Manslaughter (involuntary) (10 yrs.)
    – Assault/second degree (10 yrs.)
    – Misconduct in office (8th Amendment*)
    – Misconduct in office (8th Amendment*)
    – Reckless endangerment (5 yrs.)

    Officer Edward M. Nero

    – Assault/second degree (10 yrs.)
    – Misconduct in office (8th Amendment*)
    – Misconduct in office (8th Amendment*)
    – Reckless endangerment (5 yrs.)

    Officer Garrett E. Miller

    – Assault/second degree (10 yrs.)
    – Misconduct in office (8th Amendment*)
    – Misconduct in office (8th Amendment*)
    – Reckless endangerment (5 yrs.)

    Sgt. Alicia D. White

    – Manslaughter (involuntary) (10 yrs.) 2) Assault/second degree (10 yrs.)
    – Misconduct in office (8th Amendment*) 4) Reckless endangerment (5 yrs.)

    *Any sentence that does not constitute cruel & unusual punishment.

    Well, it’s going to go to trial, at least. That actually feels like a relief.

    Prosecutor @MarilynMosbyEsq announces indictment of 6 #Baltimore officers in #FreddieGray’s death. Latest on #AC360 (with video).

  124. Grewgills says

    @Okidemia #109
    The purpose is generally just curiosity. Most people here identify as either Asian or mixed and those identifying as Asian are often have mixed Asian ancestry (Japanese, Chinese, and Filipino, most commonly). When these conversations start they generally move onto shared experiences around the cultures brought up, talking about food, home life, jokes, etc. Most people here (unless they are a recent transplant) has a pretty broad experience of a variety of Asian and Pacific Islander cultures along with typical American culture and specifically Hawai’ian culture, so everyone ends up sharing in the conversation regardless of their ancestry. The point I guess I was trying to make was that the context here makes the ethnic background questions more about open sharing than exclusion, which was in sharp contrast to my experience with that in the South East.

  125. militantagnostic says

    Tsu Dho Nimh @123:

    I see two who I would identify as “black” And several dark complected Hispanics.

    You also failed to notice the link to article as well as the comments about the non outlaw bikers who were arrested.

  126. says

    Charges dropped against cop caught having sex with cows

    In Mount Holly, New Jersey, Officer Melia was indeed caught sexually assaulting a cow, but his sexual crimes did not end with non-humans. Melia was also charged, several years ago, with sexually assaulting three girls.

    It was during the course of that investigation that police found a video in Melia’s home that recorded him… abusing multiple cows. Apparently he was so proud of this abuse that he filmed it and saved it for posterity.

    The incident was allegedly recorded on a South Hampton farm back in 2006. But a Superior Court Judge ruled in 2012 that prosecutors had failed to present sufficient evidence to jurors that Melia’s actions in fact tormented the cows.

    As a result, the judge explained, they were unable to convict him of animal cruelty charges.

    “I’m not saying it’s okay,” Judge Morley tried to explain of his dismissal of the charges.

    “This is a legal question for me. It’s not a question of morals.”

    But this was not the end for Melia and former girlfriend Heather Lewis, as both remained charged with the abuse of the aforementioned three girls.

    Only months later, a jury found Melia and Lewis guilty of six counts of first-degree aggravated sexual assault in addition to multiple counts of sexual assault, aggravated criminal sexual contact, sexual contact and endangering the welfare of a child.

  127. says

    Speaking only for myself, some stories about police brutality hit harder than others. This is one of them. It turns my stomach. I’m going to include a Trigger Warning for the ghastly actions of the officers in this story.

    Feds investigating FL officers who scalded inmate to death in locked shower ‘torture chamber’.

    The Department of Justice (DOJ) has just opened a criminal investigation into the Florida officers who murdered 50-year-old Darren Rainey in what is being called a shower “torture chamber.”

    The Civil Rights Division of the DOJ has reportedly acknowledges that the Florida inmate may have been murdered by prison officials in what the Miami Herald described as a “scalding torture chamber.”

    The Herald investigation further found that Rainey was tortured by guards in 2012 when he defecated in his cell. Rainey was known by the guards to be schizophrenic. In spite of his mental health diagnosis being known to the guards, when he refused to clean up the mess, they tortured him.

    The “scalding torture chamber” was created with a locked shower that had a hose from a nearby janitorial closet rigged up so that it would cover him with 180-degree water.

    The steam from the water itself was said to have essentially suffocated Rainy. The heat from the water literally burned the skin off of his body.

    Corrections officers Cornelius Thompson and Roland Clarke were two of those involved who were confirmed to have mocked Rainey as he was tortured to death. Thompson and Clarke laughed as Rainy kicked on the door of the shower begging to get out.

    They left him in there for two hours, after which he collapsed and died.

    In recent months, the Florida prison system has been criticized for a string of suspicious inmate deaths.

    Rainey’s family has now filed a federal lawsuit against the Department of Corrections.

    They have included the health care company Corizon in the suit, as the company was responsible for Rainey’s medical care as part of their contract with the prison.

    The Executive Director of the ACLU of Florida, Howard Simon, said in an interview with the Miami Herald that the Department of Corrections has not changed a thing about how they operate.

    “There must be a change in the culture in Florida prisons,” he said. “But that is not going to happen until officials are routinely held accountable for the brutality that too often characterizes our state prison system.”

    Bolding mine.
    That is horrific. It’s a such an utter denial of the Rainey’s humanity that words cannot properly express my disgust.

    And they say racism is over.

    ::pukes::

  128. says

    Yo, Religious Right! Instead of whining about the imaginary threat marriage equality and LGBT rights poses to religious liberty, how about you stand up for the rights of this American Indian high school student who is dealing with a true violation of her religious liberty:

    A Native American student at a Nebraska high school was recently told that she could not wear her religious feather to graduation. The reason why has been called “unconstitutional” and even “racist.”

    Omaha’s Public School board held and emergency meeting after members of Nebraska Native American community called them out for attacking the feather as “bling-bling.”

    The Sicangu Lakota teen has requested that she be permitted to attend the ceremony at South High with the eagle feather as well as Native American beads, specific to her community, on her graduation cap.

    […]

    “Do I have bling-bling on?” John Andrew Tate said to the board, as he pointed as the feathers on his hat.

    The school’s contention was problematic in the first place, as the notion and terminology of “bling” seems to be racialized in the use by the school. The school seems to object to any ornamentation that they are lumping together with hip hop “bling” – apparently seeing no difference between diamond studs and religiously ceremonial feathers.

    Nicole Tamayo, the girl’s sister explained that their community has “fought a long time to be able to wear our feathers, to practice our religious rights.”

    “My sister was told if she wore the plume on her cap she wouldn’t be able to walk (at graduation) and would have her diploma withheld from her,” Tamayo continued.

    Tamayo added in an interview with local KETV that this was about honoring family and tribe.

    “It tells the story of your achievements,” she explained.

    Jordan Menard reminded the board that this is essentially an issue of religious discrimination.

    “Nobody at school is going to tell a young lady not to wear a crucifix to her graduation. Nobody is going to tell anybody not to wear something that represents their faith. But somebody told a young lady not to wear an eagle feather.”

  129. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    @Tony! – that is horrific.

    Or, …it’s not. I wish I had the word. Horrific just isn’t horrific enough.

    I know what it’s like to labor in breathing from having too much steam in a room…and that was at a way lower temp and for much less time.

    I want to snark, I want to turn away, I want to somehow minimize the horror I’m feeling, but nothing does. I can only hope someone wiser than me can figure out how to create justice for Rainey.

  130. says

    NYPD admits they have been arresting too many people, considering amnesty for 1.2 million:

    The New York Police Department is being forced to acknowledge they have arrested far too many people for victimless crimes. Now, the department admits they will have to do something about it.

    Police Commissioner Bill Bratton has publicly accepted the fact that “millions” have been convicted of crimes that they should never have been jailed for.

    The new controversial proposal suggests the City of New York grant amnesty to over 1 million citizens who have open warrants for low-level, clearly victimless offenses.

    The prison industry warns that this will “cause crime to skyrocket,” but what they seem more worried about is the bottom line for their for-profit, tax-payer-funded prison schemes.

    Of course they’d whine about this. They make money by having people imprisoned. Which is yet another reason that prison systems should not be privatized.

    Commissioner Bratton first called for a lessening of penalties for smoking marijuana in public. Private use of the plant has already been effectively decriminalized in NYC.

    But now, the NYPD Commissioner says that 1.2 city residents with open warrants should not be picked up for those warrants.

    Many of these warrants are for unpaid tickets, disorderly conduct and public intoxication. The city simply cannot afford to jail people for victimless crimes any longer.

    CBS2’s Marcia Kramer reported Monday that Council Public Safety Chair Vanessa Gibson said she too favors eliminating the backlog of warrants out on victimless crimes.

    “I think it would be a very delicate conversation where we want to find the right balance,” Gibson, D-Bronx said. “We also want all New Yorkers to respect the laws we have on the books because laws are meant to be implemented. They’re meant to be enforced.”

    That’s true and all, but FFS, not all violations of the law should result in imprisonment.

  131. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    and Tony! posted again.

    My “horrific” response is (i hope obviously) in response to your #140.

    #141 is horrible and racist as fuck, but it’s common enough that I have skills to help me cope with that one.

  132. says

    CD @142:

    I know what it’s like to labor in breathing from having too much steam in a room…and that was at a way lower temp and for much less time.

    I have some experience being in a room with hot steam. Back when I worked out, I spent some time at the local YMCA and they had a steam room which I often made use of following a workout. I don’t recall what temperature the steam reached, but I do know I couldn’t stand the heat for more than 5-10 minutes.

  133. says

    Aaaaaaaand here’s something else deeply fucked up-
    FBI says racist organizations have been infiltrating police departments for years:

    Many have said it for years, but now the Federal Bureau of Investigation is claiming that police departments have been deliberately infiltrated by racist, white supremacist organizations.

    The claim comes after what the FBI says has been nearly a decade of federal law enforcement’s confirmed and documented acts of infiltration by white supremacist groups into American police departments.

    The FBI warning first came back on October 2006, but it fell on largely deaf ears. Now, the report entitled “White supremacist infiltration of law enforcement” is being revisited by many experts in fighting back against organized hate group terrorism.

    In the 2006 report, the FBI found that federal court determined that members of a Los Angeles sheriffs department had organized a Neo Nazi gang. The officers involved did not keep their racist ideas to themselves either, as the FBI found that these same officers “habitually terrorized” the African American community.

    The FBI also found that the Chicago police department fired a detective after it was discovered that he had strong ties to the Ku Klux Klan. That detective, Jon Burge, was found to have tortured over 100 African American suspects.

    The City of Cleveland, in news lately for their shooting of Tamir Rice, and other extreme instances of police gunning down unarmed African Americans, found that police locker rooms had been overrun with “white power” graffiti and vandalism.

    In Texas, a sheriff department found that two of their deputies not only were in the Klan, but were actually prominent recruiters for the hate group.

    Now, the just as the FBI had warned, the number of white supremacist members infiltrating law enforcement has soared.

    Between the years of 2008 to 2014, that number of documented infiltrators rose from just shy of 150, to one thousand. Even worse is the fact that most of them were never fired after their hate group affiliation was discovered.

    Part of me wants to say tear the system down and rebuild it from scratch, but then I worry about all the people who need assistance from law enforcement. They’d be left out in the cold if such a (highly unlikely) thing happened.

  134. says

    This is an older story, but video of the incident has been released which guess what, shows that official police reports of the incident were less than accurate-
    Leaked video shows NC cop shooting black suspect in the back:

    A new, leaked dashcam video shows a North Carolina police officer shooting an African American man in the back. No, this is not another video of Officer Michael Slager shooting Walter Scott in South Carolina.

    This new video out of North Carolina is unrelated (directly, at least), but it shows a similar scenario, where officers shot a fleeing suspect in the back.

    This shooting, however, took place in 2013, but the video leak has raised new questions.

    The victim was 22-year-old Nijza Lamar Hagans. Hagans was gunned down by Officer Aaron Hunt, during a traffic stop, just like Walter Scott.

    All of this was over an alleged running of a red light.

    Cumberland County District Attorney Billy West says that Hagans was said to have “reached for a gun”.

    The official police story and that of DA West, claimed that this all took place in the vehicle. There was no mention in the DA’s report or police report that Hagans was running away, or that the bullet entry wounds were from behind.

    The DA refused to press charges against Hunt, as they claimed the shooting was “lawful and measured.”

    The video, newly-leaked to the Intercept (see below), had never been mentioned in the prosecutor’s report, nor in the police report.

    The prosecutor simply said that Hagans died of “multiple gunshot wounds to the chest.”

    The officer thought he was “reaching for a gun”? Golly, we never, ever, EVER hear that excuse for the extrajudicial execution of black people by LEOs.

  135. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    @Tony!, #146:

    Part of me wants to say tear the system down and rebuild it from scratch, but then I worry about all the people who need assistance from law enforcement.

    It’s totally doable, in installments.

    PLUS… while there are people who would be harmed by the lack of policing in an area, so many areas are over policed and so many encounters are harmful, that I’m sure there are plenty of places (like Ferguson) where relying on spotty state-police coverage would be better even than turning over calls to the sheriff’s office.

    The sheriff’s offices, in turn, could be replaced on a 3 county rotation: 2 counties covering for the third while it’s LEO services are not able to function. If they each promise to take their turn covering, money should be consistent and things could go fairly smoothly.

    The harder part would be big cities, really. At least to my mind. And a few very large state police agencies. If the individual agency is under 200 employees (and for this purpose I think we can separate LEOs from COs, even when the main local agency is a sheriff with responsibility for both), we can probably shut it down and replace it fairly easily on such a rotating basis.

    We can whittle down officer numbers in an area via normal attrition, then move many remaining officers to the neighboring jurisdictions that will be covering the closed LE services department. So they’ll even have local experience…should that be an asset (obviously we should simply let go during downsizing those officers with too much investment in a problematic department or too much problematic history…though determining how much is too much will be hard). Some officers – those considered the ethical best or the best prepared to help design the new department as well as some who are simply skilled at follow up work who need to stay on to close cases, testify at trials, etc – will stay on in the original jurisdiction.

    Thus we probably only need to drop about 20%-25% of officers through attrition in a given area before the transfer-and-shutter date.

    3 offices, each down 20%.
    One office transfers 20% of their original roster to each of the neighboring jurisdictions
    That office has 40% left. Let go of those that need to be moved out of law enforcement and you have…

    …what? That’s the big question. In ferguson, I’d say anyone with 4 years experience in that place is simply too likely to be captured by a too-fucked-up system. That might leave a similar office with only 5-10% of its original staff to do the follow up and reboot tasks. It might not even be enough…though in a corrupt jurisdiction like Ferguson, maybe you want to dismiss a lot of charges and don’t really **want** follow up in many cases. Hard to know.

    In other jurisdictions, maybe we want to save every last one of that 40%. I’m sure statistically that’s bound to happen somewhere. Then we might wait for more natural attrition…but more likely we just pick a different one of the 3-departments-in-partnership to go first, since if the department is that good, we’d rather it be the last reformed (do the least harm during the transition, after all).

    The state cops can also be reformed in stages, possibly even first in many jurisdictions (like Oregon) where moderate population but high concentration allows for the income to hire more officers than needed (since in concentrated areas most LE tasks are carried out by the city police and the sheriff’s office, but they still pay into the general revenues that can hire officers).

    I think we could shutter everything…I just don’t think we could shutter everything all at once.

  136. says

    CD @148:
    As always, your perspective and insight are appreciated. Thanks for pulling me out of my binary thinking and reminding me that there are more options than keep the system going as it is or tear it all down at once.

  137. says

    The chilling word that comes to my mind, though, CD, when I read your quite-clever plan to get the thing done, is “de-Baathification“.

    In short, what does the economy do with (conservatively) 60% of nearly one million officers (federal and state with arrest powers in 2008, 920,000), many of whom have families set up to live on a middle-class salary? What do those half a million people do with themselves? Wouldn’t the US be setting itself up to have the Wild West all over again – literally hundreds of thousands of people with anger issues, police and military training, and hair-trigger responses, dumped on the population without jobs and with poor prospects to get any replacement work…”Christian State”, anyone?

    Or am I being too gloomy? I helped an academic with a paper about a de-baathification process in Libya after the revolution there. I’ve since lost track of that colleague, for over a year now. It could be that this will have affected my ability to think clearly on the topic.

  138. Pteryxx says

    I went and followed up on Tony!’s articles, as if the summaries from Countercurrent News weren’t awful enough.

    Miami Herald: Scalding-shower death in Dade prison prompts federal probe

    The U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division has begun a criminal investigation into the death of Darren Rainey, the 50-year-old inmate who was locked in a shower that had been converted into a scalding torture chamber at Dade Correctional Institution.

    The FBI and the U.S. attorney’s office for the Southern District of Florida also are questioning witnesses in connection with alleged atrocities in the prison’s mental health ward, including a practice of starving inmates so severely that they would snap off sprinkler-heads, flooding their cells and violating fire codes, so they would be arrested and sent to the county jail, where they would be fed.

    Rainey’s death nearly three years ago, along with subsequent stories about rampant inmate abuse as well as a record number of deaths in Florida’s prisons, has spawned demands for an overhaul of the Florida Department of Corrections. The agency’s inspector general, Jeffery Beasley, has been accused of trying to whitewash suspicious deaths, medical neglect cases and corruption. He himself is the subject of a state investigation after four of his subordinates stated under oath this year that he asked them to sideline cases that would give the agency “a black eye.’’

    For more than a year, the Miami Herald has investigated claims, interviewed witnesses and reviewed hundreds of records from current and former inmates and staff at Dade Correctional, located on the edge of the Everglades south of Homestead. Alleged abuses included sexual assaults by officers against inmates, racially motivated beatings and the withholding of food from inmates in one wing of the mental health ward.

    […]

    Harriet Krzykowski, a former counselor at the prison, said that she suspected corrections officers were starving and abusing inmates. She said that officers told her if she didn’t keep quiet, she might find herself alone in a dorm full of violent inmates with no officers to protect her. She said corrections officers described to her how they would fabricate reports to make it appear that inmates who were beaten or abused had instigated the trouble.

    […]

    [Two of the officers who reportedly laughed at Rainey as he died – Ptx] Thompson left the Department of Corrections to work as a guard in the federal prison system, and Clarke is now a police officer in Miami Gardens.

    On the 2006 FBI report that’s just now getting wider attention: The Grio:

    Because of intensifying civil strife over the recent killings of unarmed black men and boys, many Americans are wondering, “What’s wrong with our police?” Remarkably, one of the most compelling but unexplored explanations may rest with a FBI warning of October 2006, which reported that “White supremacist infiltration of law enforcement” represented a significant national threat.

    Several key events preceded the report. A federal court found that members of a Los Angeles sheriffs department formed a Neo Nazi gang and habitually terrorized the black community. Later, the Chicago police department fired Jon Burge, a detective with reputed ties to the Ku Klux Klan, after discovering he tortured over 100 black male suspects. Thereafter, the Mayor of Cleveland discovered that many of the city police locker rooms were infested with “White Power” graffiti. Years later, a Texas sheriff department discovered that two of its deputies were recruiters for the Klan.

    In near prophetic fashion, after the FBI’s warning, white supremacy extremism in the U.S. increased, exponentially. From 2008 to 2014, the number of white supremacist groups, reportedly, grew from 149 to nearly a thousand, with no apparent abatement in their infiltration of law enforcement.

    Daily Kos:

    Samuel Jones at The Grio reminds us that as recently as 2006, The Federal Bureau of Investigation issued a warning that white supremacist groups like the Ku Klux Klan were increasingly seeking to “infiltrate” law enforcement.

    The document that Jones refers to is a 7-page unclassified document published by the FBI.

    White Supremacist Infiltration of Law Enforcement

    White supremacists in law enforcement is nothing new of course; in part, the origins of organized police departments in America actually goes back to the slave patrols of colonial times.

    One positively chilling aspect of this 2006 FBI report is the description of what white supremacists call “ghost skins.”

    Since coming to law enforcement attention in late 2004, the term “ghost skins” has gained currency among white supremacists to describe those who avoid overt displays of their beliefs to blend into society and covertly advance white supremacist causes.

    I don’t know who the white supremacists are in the police departments, DA offices, and judge’s chambers of this country.

    And neither do you.

    The report itself at documentcloud: PDF link

    and in following up on torture cop Jon Burge, while I haven’t yet found anything about the KKK, I found this rant from April via the Chicago Sun-Times: Disgraced Chicago cop Jon Burge breaks silence, condemns $5.5 million reparations fund

    Former convicted Area 2 Police Commander Jon Burge says he finds it “hard to believe” that Chicago’s “political leadership” could “even contemplate giving reparations to human vermin” like the “guilty vicious criminals” he tried to take off the streets.

    Three days after Mayor Rahm Emanuel agreed to create a $5.5 million “reparations” fund to compensate torture victims, Burge unleashed a torrent of anger against plaintiffs’ attorneys, politicians, a “complicit” news media and two torture victims.

    Much more ranting at the link.

    Taylor was outraged by the suggestion that he and his fellow attorneys representing torture victims are money-grubbers.

    “We have been committed to this for over 2 1/2 decades — not to make money, but because we are firmly committed to exposing racist crimes against humanity. And the people who have joined with us include Amnesty International and a wide range of other organizations who . . . see his crimes for what they are,” Taylor said.

    “He says the truth will come out. The truth has come out. That’s why the city has acted as it has. No matter what kind of cowardly statements Burge may make under cover of darkness, it is not going to change the public record of his and his fellow officers’ crimes.”

    For background if anyone’s new to that story, here’s a summary at the Guardian.

  139. says

    CaitieCat

    In short, what does the economy do with (conservatively) 60% of nearly one million officers (federal and state with arrest powers in 2008, 920,000), many of whom have families set up to live on a middle-class salary? What do those half a million people do with themselves

    Same as all the other un- and underemployed people in the U.S; hire them onto the massive, massive infrastructure projects we so desperately need, and/or subsidize further education/training, and/or provided with capital and technical assistance to start their own businesses. All of these things need to be done anyway, there’s no reason not to include ex-cops (except to prohibit them from forming any type of business related to security or law enforcement, or gaining employment in same, which would kind of defeat the purpose of restructuring the police in the first place).

  140. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    @CaitieCat:

    In short, what does the economy do with (conservatively) 60% of nearly one million officers (federal and state with arrest powers in 2008, 920,000), many of whom have families set up to live on a middle-class salary? What do those half a million people do with themselves? Wouldn’t the US be setting itself up to have the Wild West all over again – literally hundreds of thousands of people with anger issues, police and military training, and hair-trigger responses, dumped on the population without jobs and with poor prospects to get any replacement work…”Christian State”, anyone?

    Or am I being too gloomy?

    You’re not being too gloomy.

    Obviously my plan as laid out here is a page or two short of a full and effective checklist. De-Baathification was on my mind as well, but ***continuing to give those officers powers of arrest, investigation, interrogation, and (violent) intervention when they don’t deserve to be trusted with those powers*** is worse than removing them – kinda by definition of the word “deserve”. [Which is at issue in another thread. :sigh:]

    I think one of the things that must be acknowledged is that if a large number of LEOs are abusing the trust we give them (and I think that’s true – the Blue Wall of Silence is an abuse of public trust that is distressingly common even among cops considered “good”), that can only be because we set up a system that trained officers to behave this way. We, as civilians, created police forces that have the incentives and policies and procedures and privileges and immunities and horrible conflicting expectations that we, as civilians, chose to instill.

    I don’t mind throwing out every practice and policy and starting over. But I will not throw out the people. Even the worst of those who can’t be convicted of a felony should not be discarded during this process. We created this mess. (We meaning voters and none of us are without some responsibility, but especially whites and especially the wealthy: the two groups the system is set up to most benefit.) We have to take responsibility rather than use our (understandable) outrage to absolve us of our duty to the persons we trained to fill, occupy, and perpetuate racist, mental-illness hostile, entitled and corruptible-if-not-corrupt agencies.

    NO, I don’t want policing in the US to continue on anything like it’s present course. YES human inertia requires the dismissal of humans whose faults are entirely the result of adapting to the positions we asked them to occupy. But there’s no reason that such dismissal requires us to fail to support those persons throughout their transition, much less to demonize them while anointing ourselves in purifying moral outrage.

    Our police are what our societies have made them. Neither individuals nor demographic groups bear equal responsibility for having created them in this form, but we must all pull together to remake them.

    And as long as we’re dreaming, let’s do it with Koch money.

  141. militantagnostic says

    Tony @147

    I don’t think “extrajudicial execution ” is the appropriate term – this sounds more like killing for fun. In some of these cases it looks like the officer just took advantage of an opportunity to do something they had always wanted to do – kill a human. I wonder if there are many cases where LEOs have killed more than once.

  142. rq says

    militantagnostic
    Yes, there are such cases. I believe just recently (can’t remember the name) an officer was cleared of wrongdoing for the second time. They had also been cleared of wrongdoing in a fatal shooting in 2007 or 2008, I think. I’ll take a closer look later, I think it got mentioned towards the end of the last thread. Most officers who do fatally shoot (or even not fatally shoot) unarmed black people have a history of violence and complaints within the force – those complaints are not always dealt with adequately or the accusations are dropped for one reason or another, but there does seem to be a pattern.

  143. militantagnostic says

    I think a first step has to be independent investigation of every incident, not just fatalities by a body like the Alberta Serious Incident Response Team, but maybe with less police involved in the investigation. As far as I can tell, most of these incidents are only superficially investigated by the police department that was involved – nothing remotely resembling an independent investigation.

  144. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    As far as I can tell, most of these incidents are only superficially investigated by the police department that was involved – nothing remotely resembling an independent investigation.

    And as far as I can tell, that is the only position consistent with the reporting.

    AKA: You are correct, militantagnostic.

  145. says

    militantagnostic @154:

    I don’t think “extrajudicial execution ” is the appropriate term – this sounds more like killing for fun.

    I disagree. I think it’s the right term-http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Extrajudicial_punishment

    Extrajudicial punishment is punishment for an alleged crime or offense carried out without legal process or supervision from a court or tribunal through a legal proceeding.

    But in any case, there’s no reason it can’t be an extrajudicial execution done for fun. ::Shudder::

  146. rq says

    And in case anyone missed the protest for women by women yesterday, there will be more interspersed today.
    The baring of breasts is historically an act of mourning, grief or protest. #SayHerName encapsulates this perfectly.

    Black women make up 32.6% of the female prison population, but only 6.6% of the country’s population. Yet, silence. #SayHerName

    New report on Attica prison riot reveals inmates were beaten, TW.

    More than 40 years after the nation’s bloodiest prison rebellion, newly released documents contain accounts, some never before seen publicly, from National Guardsmen and a doctor who said they saw injured inmates beaten with clubs and others with wounds indicating they were tortured as state police and guards retook control of Attica.

    The documents released Thursday, two years after state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman sought the disclosure, say several witnesses to brutal crimes against prisoners weren’t contacted or interviewed by criminal investigators. They show apparent violent crimes by authorities, described by neutral witnesses, after police and guards fatally shot 29 inmates and 10 hostages and 1,300 inmates surrendered after their riot and five-day standoff at the maximum-security prison in western New York.

    Such abuses have long been alleged by prisoners and their families, and the newly released witness accounts lend credence to their arguments. A 1975 report by Judge Bernard Meyer concluded there was no intentional cover-up, only serious errors in judgment and omissions in evidence gathered by troopers. He also noted an imbalance in the ensuing prosecution: More than five dozen prisoners and just one state trooper were indicted.

    That conclusion, contained in the 570-page report’s first volume, has been public for 40 years. The 46 pages detailing some of the factual basis for Meyer’s findings were released Thursday. Another 350 pages remain sealed because they contained grand jury testimony, which by law is generally kept secret to protect the privacy of witnesses and investigation targets. A judge refused last year to make an exception to release those pages for the public and historical Attica record.

    “Today, we are shining a light on one of the darkest chapters of our history,” said Marty Mack, executive deputy state attorney general. This release might bring families of the victims nearer to closure and help Americans learn from what happened, he said.

    Michael Smith, a corrections officer taken hostage in the riot and shot when the prison was stormed by police, said Thursday that so much was redacted there isn’t much new, and significant information is still being suppressed.

    “The truth will all come out someday but I don’t know if anybody’s going to be alive who was involved in the event,” he said.

    In the newly released details, Meyer wrote that his own public request for information led to contacts and interviews that were made available to the criminal investigators but apparently went unused. Meyer, who later sat for seven years on New York’s highest court, died in 2005.

    “A National Guardsman who treated wounded inmates only to have bandages ripped off, saw stretchers deliberately tilted, saw guards beat inmates on medical carts with clubs, saw a prison doctor pull an inmate off a cart and kick him in the stomach, saw inmates beaten while running a gauntlet,” Meyer wrote. The criminal investigation files contained no record of the guardsman or any attempt to interview him, he noted.

    A doctor from Genesee Memorial Hospital saw “an inmate with large wounds around his rectum which were not from gunshot,” which the doctor later heard were caused by a broken bottle, Meyer wrote. The doctor also said he was refused permission to take a brain-damaged inmate to the hospital and a day later saw prisoners with untreated broken bones.

    Another guardsman testified in a federal class-action suit by inmates that he saw “inmates beaten on stretchers, poked in the groin and rectum with nightsticks, beaten while running through gauntlets,” Meyer wrote. Other inmates and observers testified about cigarette burns on prisoners.

    Schneiderman two years ago sought full disclosure of the report, offering to redact only names of grand jury witnesses, noting related prosecutions and lawsuits were done. Others seeking the complete records are the Forgotten Victims of Attica, a group of prison employees who survived and relatives of those who died.

    Protest in Oakland, #oakland police telling us we can’t take the streets and that we must leave immediately #SayHerName #BlackWomenMatter

    Quite telling to see an OPD motorcycle cop lowkey threaten @brownblaze with his bike at protest against police violence towards Black women

    And of course, from Baltimore: Six Baltimore police officers indicted in death of Freddie Gray

    The expected grand jury action leaves the most significant ­charges in the case unchanged, including a second-degree murder count against one officer and involuntary manslaughter ­charges against that officer and three others. The indictment means that the case will move out of the lower District Court and into Circuit Court.

    Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn J. Mosby, who filed charges against the officers May 1, said at a news conference Thursday that prosecutors presented evidence in the case to the grand jury over two weeks. As a result, the grand jury added a charge of reckless endangerment against each of the officers.

    Mosby initially had charged three of the six officers with false imprisonment in connection with what she said was the illegal arrest of Gray. However, the indictment does not include any false imprisonment counts, meaning that those charges are no longer part of the cases. […]

    The officers are expected to be arraigned July 2 in Baltimore Circuit Court, which could mean making their first public appearances before a judge. They each are free after posting bail set by a court commissioner after they surrendered May 1. After an indictment, when a criminal matter moves from District to Circuit Court, a judge usually reviews a defendant’s bail and could adjust it based on any new or dropped charges.

    Typically prosecutors and defense attorneys wait until after indictments to begin filing motions that outline their cases. But in this high-profile case, the sides already have begun to lay out their positions, arguing in court over the legality of Gray’s arrest and allegations of conflict of interest involving the city’s top prosecutors.

    Also Thursday, federal authorities released a series of wanted posters, seeking to identify people believed to have intentionally set fires in looted stores and on the streets during overnight rioting that began shortly after Gray’s April 27 funeral. […]

    The union representing Baltimore police officers and attorneys for the individual officers have lashed out against the charges­­ and Mosby, accusing her of several conflicts of interests — her husband is a City Council member who represents the district in which Gray was arrested. They also say she rushed her investigation and charged the officers to quell the unrest, which they contend benefited her and her husband’s political ambitions.

    Attorneys for the officers filed a voluminous motion contending that statements such as the ones Mosby made during her May 1 announcement went beyond mere recitation of the criminal charges and laid bare biases showing that she was trying to placate hostilities and elevate her own stature. They also have noted that the lawyer for the Gray family once represented Mosby on an attorney grievance issue. Those attorneys are calling for Mosby to be removed from the case.

    Mosby’s office has countered in court, calling the accusations desperate and an attempt to hijack the grand jury process.

  147. fergl100 says

    Just listened to a BBC radio item on “why are so many black people killed by the police in USA?”

    It was quite good. The training of the police was questioned. Tropes like “all situations and all people are a possible threat” the fact that their is a militaristic slant to the training, this fact attracts militaristic types, 90% training on self preservation and 10% on conflict issues etc.

  148. rq says

  149. rq says

    Just going to leave this one here for a little bit of WTF?
    How a former Virginia lawmaker made a bad situation even worse, in 1 picture.

    FBI deputy director speaks ahead of Brelo verdict, yep, still waiting on that one.

    On Thursday, FBI Deputy Director Mark Giuliano, a Middleberg Heights native, drew on Baltimore and Ferguson when he weighed in for reporters in on the Michael Brelo verdict that is looming large.

    “The citizens of this great city and other cities have the right to protest. They have a right to vent. They have a right to speak their opinion but they don’t have a right to destroy the city and businesses. A lot of the changes in this country have come from good civil protests,” said Giuliano

    When asked about local law enforcement’s concerns over protesters coming to Cleveland, Giuliano said, “It’s outsiders who tend to stir the pot. If we have that intel we pass it directly on to the PD, we have worked with Ferguson. We’ve worked with Baltimore and we will work with the Cleveland PD on that very thing. That ‘s what we bring to the game.”

    Giuliano added that the FBI will be a significant support role for security when the RNC comes to Cleveland:

    “I feel very good that this will be a well protected event. I believe Cleveland will be very well prepared.”

    In general, Giuliano believes police are more vulnerable nowadays than even in the days when he was in blue as part of a Violent Crimes unit and SWAT.

    “I do worry about that. And we worry about people in military uniforms that they could be targeted. That is a very real concern that we have. “

    The ABC on the Baltimore indictment, 6 Baltimore Police officers in Freddie Gray case indicted, and the New York Times, too: 6 Baltimore Police officers indicted in the death of Freddie Gray.

    #AlbertaSpruil: Government worker. Cops threw a grenade into her home. She died of a heart attack. #SayHerName

    The ACLU on the Denver PD, of which we saw a bit yesterday evening: Report Shows Denver Sheriff Department is Badly Broken and in Need of Deep, Substantial Reform

    Earlier today, an independent assessment team, which had been hired by the City of Denver to review the culture and practices of the Denver Sheriff Department following a string of multi-million dollar settlements and judgments for excessive force, released a comprehensive report with 277 recommendations for reform of the Department.

    The ACLU of Colorado issued the following statement:

    “Today’s report from the independent assessment team confirmed that the Denver Sheriff Department is badly broken and in need of deep and substantial reform. The report found ‘problems at almost every level’ of the department, including a near complete lack of accountability for use-of-force incidents against prisoners. It is clear from the report’s findings that a pervasive culture has taken hold at the Denver jail, in which guards and officers believe that they have wide license to violate the rights of prisoners, because there is hardly any oversight or discipline for their actions.

    “The public cannot trust a broken department that lacks accountability, especially when taxpayers are repeatedly forced to pay the bill for multi-million dollar settlements and judgments. We call on Mayor Hancock and Denver city officials to transform the culture at the Denver Sheriff Department from top to bottom and to give the department the complete overhaul that it clearly needs.”

    That’s a lot of recommendations.

  150. rq says

  151. rq says

  152. rq says

    #SayHerName #MitriceRichardson – found dead after the LA County Sheriff’s Dept let her go in the wee early hours of the a.m. in Malibu.

    Blackout For Human Rights

    “On May 20, 2015 the African American Policy Forum, the Center for Intersectionality and Social Policy Studies at Columbia University and Andrea Ritchie, Soros Justice Fellow and expert on policing of women and LGBT people of color released #SayHerName: Resisting Police Brutality Against Black Women, a document highlighting stories of Black women who have been killed by police and shining a light on forms of police brutality often experienced by women such as sexual assault.” Please Read this Important Report: http://bit.ly/1cR27AO via AAPF

    “Tanisha Anderson. Rekia Boyd. Miriam Carey. Michelle Cusseaux. Shelly Frey. Kayla Moore. These names are etched into tombstones that stand over the graves of black women killed by police – and were echoed at a vigil in New York City on Wednesday, where dozens gathered to show that these women should not be forgotten.” Lilly Workneh: http://huff.to/1Bf7lfy via Huffington Post

    “We will not remain silent. If we remain silent, who will march for us, who will speak for us?” Joanne Smith, executive director of Girls for Gender Equity, told Mic. “We are literally fighting for our lives when we demand that the deaths and atrocities against black girls and women in this country be made known and included in our nations racial justice fight of the 21st century. ” Derrick Clifton: http://bit.ly/1LhVFOr via Mic

    “Black Women Are Getting Killed by Police Too — So Why Aren’t More People Discussing It?” Derrick Clifton: http://bit.ly/1R8msAx via Mic

    Lots of pictures at that link, too.

  153. rq says

    Officer-involved shooting press conference at Olympia City Hall

    Flanked by Olympia Mayor Stephen Buxbaum (right) and City Manager Steve Hall Olympia Police Chief Ronnie Roberts gives a preliminary report on the officer-involved shooting that occurred around 1am Thursday in West Olympia. staff video by Steve Bloom

    Standard story-line.

    Olympia’s mayor already called for community to come together and heal. Less than 24hrs later. #OlympiaShooting

    Tamir Rice was not charged posthumously by Cleveland police – no, he spent several days in hospital dying, so maybe they charged him then…? No?

    Rumors began swirling online Wednesday that Cleveland police charged Tamir Rice with aggravated menacing and inducing panic a week after he was shot and killed by an officer.

    That’s not entirely accurate.

    “We don’t charge dead people,” Joe Frolik, a spokesman with the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s office said.

    Police arrest people. They don’t charge them. It’s a confusing bit of semantics that also differs from state to state.

    In Ohio, charges in misdemeanor cases are often directly filed by municipal court prosecutors. In felony cases, a prosecutor most often presents facts gathered by police to a grand jury. The grand jury decides what, if any, charges to hand up to the court.

    The first story, written by the Daily Kos’ Shaun King, is based on a police report filed a week after Rice was shot and killed by Cleveland police. That story has been revised to say police “wanted” to charge Rice. His piece was picked up by Raw Story and Esquire.

    Northeast Ohio Media Group obtained the same incident report in March through a public records request. It lists the offenses of aggravated menacing and inducing panic.

    The report was one of two generated by Cleveland police from the incident. The other report, created after Tamir’s death, is titled “Dead body/suspected homicide/child fatality” and lists no offenses.

    You can view the documents below. […]

    Police reports list what Frolik calls “preliminary charges.” While the report lists “charges,” those are more of a suggestion from the officer as to what charges prosecutors might seek.

    “In a perfect world we should come up with some different semantics, because it can be confusing,” Frolik said.

    Loehmann, on the other hand, may face charges in connection with the incident. His case is still being investigated by the Cuyahoga County Sheriff’s Office.

    Oh, so they were going to recommend that he be charged with all that. Makes much more sense, uh-huh.

    Beautiful action @MillennialAU Laying burdens of Black Women at Pagedale PD. Balloon release for slain Black women.

    “I’m here for the women I won’t name that have been raped by @BaltimorePolice, in a station, on the street…”

    #SayHerName: Families and Social Media Rally for Justice in the Police Killings of Black Women

    Over the last several months, the social media and activists have made it clear that #BlackLivesMatter. The movement has grown worldwide, but often missing from the dynamic is the talk about black women who have been killed at the hands of police.

    According to a new report, “Say Her Name: Resisting Police Brutality Against Black Women,” by the African American Policy Forum and the Center for Intersectionality & Social Policy Studies at Columbia University, the number of cases involving black women assaulted or killed by law-enforcement officers has increased.

    “Although Black women are routinely killed, raped and beaten by the police, their experiences are rarely foregrounded in popular understandings of police brutality,” said Kimberle Williams Crenshaw, director of the AAPF and co-author of the report, in a statement. “Yet, inclusion of Black women’s experiences in social movements, media narratives and policy demands around policing and police brutality is critical to effectively combating racialized state violence for Black communities and other communities of color.”

    On Wednesday a rally was held in New York City to bring to light the names of the black women who have lost their lives because of police officers. Families of women, like Rekia Boyd, who were killed by police were in attendance. And the call for action continues online with the hashtag #SayHerName, which highlights the issues faced by black women and their encounters with law enforcement.

  154. rq says

    Grand jury indicts 6 officers in death of Freddie Gray, that’s the CTV there.

    Gathering at Emeryville Home Depot where #YuvetteHenderson was killed #SayHerName @deray @MCHammer

    “The second form of police brutality is sexual assault,” Jason Perez from @BYP_100 #CBTU #SayHerName

    Holding their burdens @bdoulaoblongata @geauxAWAYheaux @dlatchison011

    What’s her name? #KimKing #RekiaBoyd #AiyanaJones #YvetteSmith #SheMatters #BlackWomenMatter

    And on the bare-chested protest, Bodies That Matter: The African History of Naked Protest, FEMEN Aside.

    If you’re unfamiliar, FEMEN is a Ukraine based feminist group with chapters throughout Europe, the Middle East, and North Africa. FEMEN has been making waves for the past year now, through their chosen method of activism: naked protest. While the method has gained popularity and visibility in the mainstream, it has also been problematized by feminists in other parts of the world. This past November, when Egyptian feminist Alia al-Mahdy posted photos of her naked body wrapped in an Egyptian flag, there was a huge debate over the use of the method as an example of European feminists imposing their values onto Third world feminism/Islamic feminism. Sara Mourad has already provided an excellent analysis contextualizing the debates surrounding Alia’s naked body, which is in many ways applicable to the latest manifestation of FEMEN’s tactics in Tunisia, via the naked body of Amina Tyler. Tyler’s naked protest has been the topic du jour particularly because of the call for her to be punished with at least 80 to 100 lashes, or actually death by stoning.

    Maroud highlights how many women of color feminists have taken issue with what they consider a clear example of imperial feminism, through importing western understandings of nakedness onto Islamic notions of the body; I want to draw attention to what continues to be overlooked. It seems that no one is emphasizing the fact that these white feminists do not own the method they have chosen to declare as their call to arms against patriarchy. In short, before we discuss how FEMEN is engaging in somewhat problematic dynamics with women of color feminists throughout the Middle East & North Africa region, we should recall that their chosen method of protest is certainly not exclusive to white European feminists. Have we forgotten the naked protests that have taken place in Nigeria, Liberia, Kenya and Uganda for over a century? While the conversations surrounding FEMEN’s growing presence in the MENA region certainly highlight valid arguments about Western feminism and how it relates to other notions of feminism/womanism throughout the globe, what I find to be the greatest example of liberalism is that they’ve managed to convince us that they own the method and in some ways, how we understand our own nakedness.

    What is arguably one of the most powerful manifestations of naked protest over the past century took place during the Women’s War in Eastern Nigeria (1929) and was a significant manifestation of black women’s resistance to colonial authority and racialised Western notions of the body. The significance of the history of this method continues to manifest in naked protests, which have taken place in West, East, and Southern Africa as recently as December 2012. Yet these black women and their unyielding fearlessness to literally put their bodies on the line and stand against multinational oil companies, corruption, and violence, receive little visibility in the mainstream. Sometimes, even in their own countries, their commitment and strength is dismissed as foolish, unfruitful and futile.

    In this era of social media and new technologies FEMEN’s tactics are able to gain notice through their chosen mediums of expression and well connected network. The issue is not so much that they use naked protest as a method, but rather that we continue to confuse our disapproval of how their tactics mimic imperial feminism with the method itself. In other words, FEMEN’s expansion into the Middle East and North Africa is likely a glaring example of imperial feminism, but not because of the method. Women of color, specifically throughout the continent have been using naked protest and genital cursing for centuries to express their intolerance and perform resistance. FEMEN’s naked bodies aren’t the only bodies making waves- while their tactics are highly visible, they have yet to shut down an entire oil facility for seven days with the simple threat of disrobing.

    Something new every day.

  155. says

    Excerpt from ‘Three Thousand Years of Racism’, by Merlin Stone

    “Racism is not, and never has been, a static attitude, a monolithic form of behavior, or a body of random events. The records make it clear that racism occurs as a long-term *process* comprised of specific stages…To understand racism as a process, we should first delineate the two major aspects within it…The first aspect, and nearly always the underlying purpose of racism, is *economic racism*, the theft of the land, property, resources and/or labor from people of a racial or ethnic group other than one’s own. The second aspect is *cultural racism*, the act of propagandizing and/or believing that a racial or ethnic group other than one’s own is innately inferior in human development. This second aspect may range from assertions of an innate lack of mental or creative capacities to an innate lack of various ‘moral’ capacities. It is the assertion that the lack of these qualities is innate, i.e., genetic, as much a biologically determined factor as skin coloring, that is the core of cultural racism.
    “The first stage of economic racism is the initial theft of the land, property, resources and/or labor belonging to another racial or ethnic group by violence as extreme as that required to accomplish the theft…This theft is supported by the first stage of cultural racism. This is the assertion that the victims of the theft are innately immoral, even innately evil…In this first stage of cultural racism there is little or no emphasis on a supposedly innate mental superiority of the aggressors; innate moral superiority is the issue. The aggressors declare that they are innately moral. The victims are supposedly lacking in fully developed human capacities for morals and ethics, leading to the aggressors’ declaration that they must be controlled or annihilated. The aggressors claim to be combating this evil and immorality for the sake of all humankind or in the name of some supposedly higher divine force…the length of time of the entire first stage encompasses the initial attack until the final conquest, a time period that may range from several weeks to several centuries, i.e., as long as there is serious resistance by the victims.
    “The second stage of economic racism is the long-term control by the aggressors/conquerors of what they have taken by force and then claim is rightfully theirs. The land, property and resources of the victims are legally in the conquerors’ name no matter that they wrote the new laws themselves…The level of overt violence in this second stage is lower than in the first stage but is always present as an example or threat against rebellion by the victims.
    “The second stage of cultural racism supports the second stage of economic racism. This is the assertion that the members of the subjugated population are innately mentally inferior, e.g., less able to learn, less inventive, less creative toward cultural accomplishments, at a lower level of human development, etc. The menial jobs allotted to the conquered victims supposedly affirm this innate mental inferiority. These assertions of the victims’ supposed inferiority are structured into the social institutions of the conquerors, as well as the laws, customs, educational and economic systems and, at times, the religious systems.
    “Deprived of their ancestral lands, property and resources, of their own cultures and customs, even of control of their own lives, the victims and their descendents gradually internalize the conquerors’ assertions of their superiority. The level of this internalization creates various sub-stages, forming a direct ratio to the level of repressive violence, i.e. the greater the internalization, the less overt the violence – and vice versa…The length of time of this second stage is determined by the ability of the aggressors/conquerors to maintain the subjugation of the victims and to fend off rebellion.
    “But the most important factor in understanding the entire process of racism is perceiving the conquerors’ strategy of revising both aspects of first stage racism upon any serious intransigence or rebellion by the victims at any time during the second stage, i.e., an acceleration of repressive violence accompanied by a reversion to the various forms of assertions of an innate evil or immorality in the rebellious victims…the conquerors’ strategy of vacillation between the two sets of quite different stereotypes of cultural racism:…assertions of an innate mental inferiority upon the passivity or cooperation of the victims; the assertions of an innate evil or immorality when the victims refuse to be victimized.”

  156. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    I can’t believe no one set up surreptitious recording after the first memorial was destroyed. The video would be invaluable, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it showed cops doing the vandalism.

  157. rq says

    Crip Dyke
    This is only the second attempt to set up a memorial, so that may be in the works, once it’s actually put up. As far as I know, that hasn’t happened yet but is imminent. And yes, I agree – the video would be invaluable, whether it is cops or people close to cops.

  158. rq says

    Sorry, I thought you meant the previous memorial that was meant to be permanent (the tree and plaque). My bad,

  159. Pteryxx says

    More ways wealthy investors, big and small, are squeezing profits out of poor folks’ housing. Noted here because the foreclosure crisis disproportionately affected black people, and because the current schemes fall hardest on poor and underserved communities.

    Boing Boing: Hedge funds buy swathes of foreclosed subprimes, force up rents, float rent-bonds

    When a giant hedge fund is bidding on all the foreclosed houses in a poor neighborhood, living humans don’t stand a chance — but that’s OK, because rapacious investors make great landlords.

    Wall Street investors have bought more than 200,000 foreclosed houses in the past two years, bundling together the rents they generate into bonds that are just like subprime mortgage bonds, only without the pretense that the poor people who generate their payments have a hope of ever getting out from under their obligation to enrich the richest people in the world.

    Blackstone — owner of Seaworld, Hilton Hotels, and the Weather Channel — is the biggest player here, and when they come into town to buy up all the single-family properties, they price actual families out of the market. Their securitized rent payment bonds are backed by some of the biggest subprime criminals, including Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, and JPMorgan.

    Hedge funds really epitomize compassionate landlording, too. When Blackstone buys in, it jacks up tenants’ rents by as much as a third and immediately begins eviction proceedings against renters who can’t pay. If there are any troubles with your payments, they assess fines against you and make you miss work to pay the rent and penalties in person.

    MoJo:

    Toward the end of 2012, Mark Alston, a real estate broker in Los Angeles, began noticing something strange. Home prices were starting to rise, and fast—about 20 percent annually. Normally, higher home prices would signal increased demand from homebuyers and indicate that the economy was rebounding. But the home ownership rate was still dropping. Somehow, the real estate market was out of whack.

    Then there were the buyers themselves. “I went two years without selling to a black family, and that wasn’t for lack of trying,” recalls Alston, whose business is concentrated in inner-city neighborhoods where the majority of residents are African American and Latino. Now all his buyers were businessmen in suits. And weirder yet, they were all paying in cash.

    Over the last two years, private equity firms and hedge funds have amassed an unprecedented real estate empire, snapping up Spanish revivals in Phoenix, adobes in Los Angeles, Queen Anne Victorians in Atlanta, and brick-faced bungalows in Chicago. In total, Wall Street investors have bought more than 200,000 cheap, mostly foreclosed houses in some of the cities hardest hit by the economic meltdown. But they’re not simply flipping these houses. Instead, they’ve started bundling some of them into a new kind of financial product that could blow up the housing market all over again.

    No company has bought more houses than the Blackstone Group, one of the world’s largest private equity firms. (Its many investments include Hilton Hotels, the Weather Channel, and SeaWorld. Among its institutional investors are Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Citigroup, Bank of America, Deutsche Bank, and JPMorgan Chase.) Through its subsidiary, Invitation Homes, Blackstone has picked up houses through local brokers, at foreclosure auctions, and in bulk purchases. Last April, it bought 1,400 houses in Atlanta in a single day. In Phoenix, some neighborhoods have a Blackstone-owned home on just about every block. As of November, Blackstone had acquired 40,000 houses, most of them foreclosures, worth $7.5 billion. Today, it is the largest owner of single-family rental homes in the nation.

    On the other end, individuals are looking to cash in by buying trailer parks: The Guardian

    Welcome to Mobile Home University, a three-day, $2,000 “boot camp” that teaches people from across the US how to make a fortune by buying up trailer parks.

    Trailer parks are big and profitable business – particularly after hundreds of thousands of Americans who lost their homes in the financial crisis created a huge demand for affordable housing. According to US Census figures, more than 20 million people, or 6% of the population, live in trailer parks.

    It is a market that has not been lost on some of the country’s richest and most high-profile investors. Sam Zell’s Equity LifeStyle Properties (ELS) is the largest mobile home park owner in America, with controlling interests in nearly 140,000 parks. In 2014, ELS made $777m in revenue, helping boost Zell’s near-$5bn fortune.

    Warren Buffett, the nation’s second-richest man with a $72bn fortune, owns the biggest mobile home manufacturer in the US, Clayton Homes, and the two biggest mobile home lenders, 21st Mortgage Corporation and Vanderbilt Mortgage and Finance Company. Buffett’s trailer park investments will feature heavily at his annual meeting this weekend, which will be attended by more than 40,000 shareholders in Omaha.

    […]

    Rolfe, who bought a pistol for personal security when he bought his first park, 20 years ago, says he sent a letter to every tenant at that park in Grapevine, Texas, telling them the rent was going to more than double but was still below the market rate of $325.

    “If you don’t like this or you think you can do better, here’s a list of all the other parks in Grapevine and a list of the owners,” he said in the letter. “Go ahead, call them if you want to move. How many customers do you think we lost? Zero. Where were they going to go?”

    Rolfe, who started Mobile Home University seven years ago and now runs boot camps every couple months in cities across the country, tells his students they can easily increase the rent even at parks that are already charging market rates, because there is so much demand for affordable housing and local authorities are very reluctant to grant permission for new parks.

    He quotes US government statistics showing that in 2013, 39% of Americans earned less than $20,000 – less than the government’s poverty threshold income of $20,090 for a three-person household.

    “That’s huge. No one believes that number – people say: ‘You’re crazy, this is America, everyone is rich.’ [Being on an income of $20,000 or less] means you have a budget of about $500 a month for your housing, but the average two-bedroom apartment is $1,109 a month. There’s not a lot you can do.”

  160. Pteryxx says

    In better news from Fox: Veteran John Watson, 96, finally recognized as a Tuskegee Airman, receives Congressional Gold Medal.

    During the war, Watson served as an aircraft crew chief in support of the first African-American combat pilots, known as the Tuskegee Airmen. He has long considered himself a member of the group, but never received any official praise or commendation.

    Initially, Watson got on the computer himself, to try and figure out how someone with his service record as part of the group could officially become recognized. But with little technical expertise, that initial search didn’t take Watson very far.

    His relatives, however, then reached out to Sgt. Paul Dorsey, vice president of the “Always Free Honor Flight,” who was able to get word to someone at the office of Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va.

    “He knew he was there,” Manchin explained. “He knew he did his duty and did it well and had succeeded, but he had never been truly honored as a Tuskegee Airman.”

    Manchin’s staff was able to expedite a review process that normally takes several months. The Tuskegee Airman Association ensured Watson was, in fact, part of the historic group, so the veteran could be feted during an Honor Flight to Washington, D.C. on Wednesday.

    There are fewer than 200 Tuskegee Airmen still alive, according to a January 2015 tally.

  161. rq says

    Some ctach-up (but holy shit, HappyNat, I was afraid of that :( ).

    @OlyPD deployed 6 flashbangs into crowds of people next to city hall #olympia #blacklivesmatter, this from night before last.

    Time, Topless Women Stage #SayHerName Rally Against Perceived Police Brutality

    The demonstration was part of a nationwide day of action to protest the deaths of Aiyana Jones, Tanisha Anderson, Yvette Smith, Rekia Boyd and other women and girls killed by law-enforcement officers, reports USA Today.

    The rally followed the release of a report Wednesday by the African American Policy Forum named Say Her Name: Resisting Police Brutality Against Black Women, which highlights the stories of black women who have suffered from alleged police brutality. […]

    Campaigners said rallies raising awareness of police brutality in the wake of the deaths of Trayvon Martin, Eric Garner, Michael Brown and others had focused on black men who had died, and overlooked the many black women who have suffered the same fate.

    Protests and vigils took place in cities across the country including New York, Chicago, St. Louis, Washington, D.C., and New Orleans, two months after an officer was acquitted for the fatal shooting of 22-year-old Boyd.

    Darnisha Harris. Tanisha Anderson. Shelly Frey. Rekia Boyd. Yvette Smith. Shantel Davis. Alesia Thomas. Alberta Spruill. #SayHerName.

    , that’s Olympia again.

    Hundreds marched peacefully in Washington state’s capital city to protest a police shooting that wounded two unarmed stepbrothers suspected of trying to steal beer from a grocery store.

    The officer reported he was being assaulted with a skateboard early Thursday before the shooting that left a 21-year-old man in critical condition and a 24-year-old man in stable condition. Both were expected to survive.

    The stepbrothers are black, and the officer is white, but Olympia Police Chief Ronnie Roberts said, “There’s no indication to me that race was a factor in this case at all.”

    Protesters who turned out Thursday evening held signs that read “Race is a Factor” and “We Are Grieving.”

    The two men were identified as Andre Thompson, 24, and Bryson Chaplin, 21, both of Olympia.

    “It was terrible,” the young men’s mother, Crystal Chaplin, told KIRO-TV. “It’s heartbreaking to see two of my babies in the hospital over something stupid.”

    The shooting is being investigated by a team of detectives from several agencies. Brad Watkins, chief deputy of the Thurston County Sheriff’s Department, said two skateboards were recovered from the shooting scene and an investigation will likely take three to six weeks. The young men had no guns, investigators said.

    The crowd of demonstrators rallied first at a park, then marched about a mile to a building that houses the Olympia police headquarters and City Hall. Protesters chanted “Black Lives Matter,” ”No Justice, No Peace” and the names of the young men who were shot.

    Olympia police tweeted their thanks to marchers “for keeping the event nonviolent.”

    “We are committed to helping our community work through this difficult circumstance and help us understand this tragic event,” the police chief told a news conference Thursday afternoon. […]

    The shooting follows a string of high-profile killings of unarmed black men by police, including Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, and Eric Garner in New York City, which set off weeks of protests and a national “Black Lives Matter” movement that has gained momentum across the country.

    Olympia Mayor Stephen H. Buxbaum called for calm in the community.

    “It deeply saddens me that we have two young people in the hospital as a result of an altercation with an officer of the law,” he said. “Let’s come together to support their needs, the officer’s needs, the needs of the families and our community’s needs. Let’s not be reactive.”

    Merritt Long, a retired chairman of the state’s liquor control board, was one of several residents to attend the news conference Thursday.

    “Does the punishment fit the crime?” he asked afterward. “Given the seeming epidemic of this happening not only here but in our country, it makes you pause and wonder what’s going on.”

    Gentrification’s insidious violence: The truth about American cities

    While film narratives of white folks in low-income neighborhoods tend to focus on how endangered they are by a gangland black or brown menace, this patient was singular in that he was literally the only victim of black on white violence I encountered in my entire 10-year career as a medic.

    “What is distinctively ‘American’ is not necessarily the amount or kind of violence that characterizes our history,” Richard Slotkin writes, “but the mythic significance we have assigned to the kinds of violence we have actually experienced, the forms of symbolic violence we imagine or invent, and the political uses to which we put that symbolism.” Slotkin was talking about the American frontier as a symbolic reference point for justifying expansionist violence throughout history. Today, we can see the mytho-political uses of symbolic violence in mainstream media portrayals of the “hood.”

    It’s easy to fixate on physical violence. Movies sexualize it, broadcasters shake their heads as another fancy graphic whirs past sensationalizing it, politicians build careers decrying it with one side of their mouths and justifying it with the other. But institutionalized violence moves in far more insidious and wide-reaching patterns. “Gentrification,” Suey Park and Dr. David J. Leonard wrote in a recent post at Model View Culture, “represents a socio-historic process where rising housing costs, public policy, persistent segregation, and racial animus facilitates the influx of wealthier, mostly white, residents into a particular neighborhood. Celebrated as ‘renewal’ and an effort to ‘beautify’ these communities, gentrification results in the displacement of residents.”

    Gentrification is violence. Couched in white supremacy, it is a systemic, intentional process of uprooting communities. It’s been on the rise, increasing at a frantic rate in the last 20 years, but the roots stretch back to the disenfranchisement that resulted from white flight and segregationist policies. Real estate agents dub changing neighborhoods with new, gentrifier-friendly titles that designate their proximity to even safer areas: Bushwick becomes East Williamsburg, parts of Flatbush are now Prospect Park South. Politicians manipulate zoning laws to allow massive developments with only token nods at mixed-income housing.

    Beyond these political and economic maneuvers, though, the thrust of gentrification takes place in our mythologies of the hood. It is a result, as Park and Leonard explain, of a “discourse that imagines neighborhoods of color as pathological and criminal, necessitating outside intervention for the good of all.” Here’s where my pistol-whipped patient’s revelation about his cinematic experience kicks in. The dominant narrative of the endangered white person barely making it out of the hood alive is, of course, a myth. No one is safer in communities of color than white folks. White privilege provides an invisible force field around them, powered by the historically grounded assurance that the state and media will prosecute any untoward event they may face.

    With gentrification, the central act of violence is one of erasure. Accordingly, when the discourse of gentrification isn’t pathologizing communities of color, it’s erasing them. “Girls,” for example, reimagines today’s Brooklyn as an entirely white community. Here’s a show that places itself in the epicenter of a gentrifying city with gentrifiers for characters – it is essentially a show about gentrification that refuses to address gentrification. After critics lambasted Season 1 for its lack of diversity, the show brought in Donald Glover to play a black Republican and still managed to avoid the more pressing and relevant question of displacement and racial disparity that the characters are, despite their self-absorption, deeply complicit with. What’s especially frustrating about “Girls” not only dodging the topic entirely but pushing back – often with snark and defensiveness against calls for more diversity – is that it’s a show that seems to want to bring a more nuanced take on the complexities of modern life.
    […]

    For groups facing economic and cultural marginalization in the U.S., community means much more than just a residential area. In a country whose institutions historically fail or deliberately erase us, community constitutes a central pillar in surviving hetero-patriarchal white supremacy. Technology has brought new possibilities for collective action and resistance, but the centrality of physical community remains crucial. What becomes of community organizing, which is responsible for our continued survival here, when communities are increasingly uprooted and scattered?

    The shifting power dynamics of today’s urban neighborhoods are reflected even in issues of food and nutrition. “Once-affordable ingredients have been discovered by trendy chefs,” cultural critic Mikki Kendall writes, “and have been transformed into haute cuisine. Food is facing gentrification that may well put traditional meals out of reach for those who created the recipes. Despite the hype, these ingredients have always been delicious, nutritious and no less healthy than other sources of protein.” Writing about this phenomenon at Bitch Media, Soleil Ho stated that food gentrification takes “the form of a curious kind of reacharound logic wherein economic and racial minorities are castigated for eating ‘primitively’ and ‘unhealthily’ while their traditional foods are cherry picked for use by the upper class as ‘exotic’ delicacies.” […]

    These power plays – cultural, political, economic, racial — are the mechanics of a city at war with itself. It is a slow, dirty war, steeped in American traditions of racism and capitalism. The participants are often wary, confused, doubtful. Macklemore summarized the attitudes of many young white wealthy newcomers in his fateful text to Kendrick Lamar on Grammy night: “It’s weird and sucks that I robbed you.” But as with Macklemore, being surprised about a system that has been in place for generations is useless. White supremacy is nothing if not predictable. To forge ahead, we require an outrageousness that sees beyond the tired tropes and easy outs that mass media provides. This path demands we organize with clarity about privilege and the shifting power dynamics of community. It requires foresight, discomfort and risk-taking. It will be on the Web and in the streets, in conversations, rants and marches.

    We need a new mythology.

    Man refused entry to club ‘because they’d filled their black quota’

    Kosi Orah, 19, was celebrating his birthday with friends when they queued to get in to Leicester’s Ghost nightclub at around 2am on Sunday.

    But according to Kosi, who is a first-year economics student at Leicester University, the bouncer turned the group away, allegedly saying there was ‘a quota of the number of black people allowed in the club.’ […]

    ‘He was almost apologetic,’ Kosi, who filmed the exchange, told the Sun.

    ‘But it was sickening. It left us devastated. It was like the kind of incident you heard about happening in parts of America in the 1960s.’

    Kosi, who plans to work in asset management once he leaves university, made a statement to police alleging a race hate crime. [….]

    ‘We feel very strongly that racism has no part in the night-time economy and we feel that this security employee acted out of character.’

    Police said: ‘We can confirm that the incident has been reported to Leicestershire Police, it’s been recorded as a racist incident and enquiries are ongoing into the report.

    ‘Leicestershire Police takes reports of racism extremely seriously and would encourage anyone who has been a victim of such a crime to contact them. Recent figures suggest that 82% of hate crime victims who were surve

  162. rq says

    Some ctach-up (but holy shit, HappyNat, I was afraid of that :( ).

    @OlyPD deployed 6 flashbangs into crowds of people next to city hall #olympia #blacklivesmatter, this from night before last.

    Time, Topless Women Stage #SayHerName Rally Against Perceived Police Brutality

    The demonstration was part of a nationwide day of action to protest the deaths of Aiyana Jones, Tanisha Anderson, Yvette Smith, Rekia Boyd and other women and girls killed by law-enforcement officers, reports USA Today.

    The rally followed the release of a report Wednesday by the African American Policy Forum named Say Her Name: Resisting Police Brutality Against Black Women, which highlights the stories of black women who have suffered from alleged police brutality. […]

    Campaigners said rallies raising awareness of police brutality in the wake of the deaths of Trayvon Martin, Eric Garner, Michael Brown and others had focused on black men who had died, and overlooked the many black women who have suffered the same fate.

    Protests and vigils took place in cities across the country including New York, Chicago, St. Louis, Washington, D.C., and New Orleans, two months after an officer was acquitted for the fatal shooting of 22-year-old Boyd.

    Darnisha Harris. Tanisha Anderson. Shelly Frey. Rekia Boyd. Yvette Smith. Shantel Davis. Alesia Thomas. Alberta Spruill. #SayHerName.

    , that’s Olympia again.

    Hundreds marched peacefully in Washington state’s capital city to protest a police shooting that wounded two unarmed stepbrothers suspected of trying to steal beer from a grocery store.

    The officer reported he was being assaulted with a skateboard early Thursday before the shooting that left a 21-year-old man in critical condition and a 24-year-old man in stable condition. Both were expected to survive.

    The stepbrothers are black, and the officer is white, but Olympia Police Chief Ronnie Roberts said, “There’s no indication to me that race was a factor in this case at all.”

    Protesters who turned out Thursday evening held signs that read “Race is a Factor” and “We Are Grieving.”

    The two men were identified as Andre Thompson, 24, and Bryson Chaplin, 21, both of Olympia.

    “It was terrible,” the young men’s mother, Crystal Chaplin, told KIRO-TV. “It’s heartbreaking to see two of my babies in the hospital over something stupid.”

    The shooting is being investigated by a team of detectives from several agencies. Brad Watkins, chief deputy of the Thurston County Sheriff’s Department, said two skateboards were recovered from the shooting scene and an investigation will likely take three to six weeks. The young men had no guns, investigators said.

    The crowd of demonstrators rallied first at a park, then marched about a mile to a building that houses the Olympia police headquarters and City Hall. Protesters chanted “Black Lives Matter,” ”No Justice, No Peace” and the names of the young men who were shot.

    Olympia police tweeted their thanks to marchers “for keeping the event nonviolent.”

    “We are committed to helping our community work through this difficult circumstance and help us understand this tragic event,” the police chief told a news conference Thursday afternoon. […]

    The shooting follows a string of high-profile killings of unarmed black men by police, including Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, and Eric Garner in New York City, which set off weeks of protests and a national “Black Lives Matter” movement that has gained momentum across the country.

    Olympia Mayor Stephen H. Buxbaum called for calm in the community.

    “It deeply saddens me that we have two young people in the hospital as a result of an altercation with an officer of the law,” he said. “Let’s come together to support their needs, the officer’s needs, the needs of the families and our community’s needs. Let’s not be reactive.”

    Merritt Long, a retired chairman of the state’s liquor control board, was one of several residents to attend the news conference Thursday.

    “Does the punishment fit the crime?” he asked afterward. “Given the seeming epidemic of this happening not only here but in our country, it makes you pause and wonder what’s going on.”

    Gentrification’s insidious violence: The truth about American cities

    While film narratives of white folks in low-income neighborhoods tend to focus on how endangered they are by a gangland black or brown menace, this patient was singular in that he was literally the only victim of black on white violence I encountered in my entire 10-year career as a medic.

    “What is distinctively ‘American’ is not necessarily the amount or kind of violence that characterizes our history,” Richard Slotkin writes, “but the mythic significance we have assigned to the kinds of violence we have actually experienced, the forms of symbolic violence we imagine or invent, and the political uses to which we put that symbolism.” Slotkin was talking about the American frontier as a symbolic reference point for justifying expansionist violence throughout history. Today, we can see the mytho-political uses of symbolic violence in mainstream media portrayals of the “hood.”

    It’s easy to fixate on physical violence. Movies sexualize it, broadcasters shake their heads as another fancy graphic whirs past sensationalizing it, politicians build careers decrying it with one side of their mouths and justifying it with the other. But institutionalized violence moves in far more insidious and wide-reaching patterns. “Gentrification,” Suey Park and Dr. David J. Leonard wrote in a recent post at Model View Culture, “represents a socio-historic process where rising housing costs, public policy, persistent segregation, and racial animus facilitates the influx of wealthier, mostly white, residents into a particular neighborhood. Celebrated as ‘renewal’ and an effort to ‘beautify’ these communities, gentrification results in the displacement of residents.”

    Gentrification is violence. Couched in white supremacy, it is a systemic, intentional process of uprooting communities. It’s been on the rise, increasing at a frantic rate in the last 20 years, but the roots stretch back to the disenfranchisement that resulted from white flight and segregationist policies. Real estate agents dub changing neighborhoods with new, gentrifier-friendly titles that designate their proximity to even safer areas: Bushwick becomes East Williamsburg, parts of Flatbush are now Prospect Park South. Politicians manipulate zoning laws to allow massive developments with only token nods at mixed-income housing.

    Beyond these political and economic maneuvers, though, the thrust of gentrification takes place in our mythologies of the hood. It is a result, as Park and Leonard explain, of a “discourse that imagines neighborhoods of color as pathological and criminal, necessitating outside intervention for the good of all.” Here’s where my pistol-whipped patient’s revelation about his cinematic experience kicks in. The dominant narrative of the endangered white person barely making it out of the hood alive is, of course, a myth. No one is safer in communities of color than white folks. White privilege provides an invisible force field around them, powered by the historically grounded assurance that the state and media will prosecute any untoward event they may face.

    With gentrification, the central act of violence is one of erasure. Accordingly, when the discourse of gentrification isn’t pathologizing communities of color, it’s erasing them. “Girls,” for example, reimagines today’s Brooklyn as an entirely white community. Here’s a show that places itself in the epicenter of a gentrifying city with gentrifiers for characters – it is essentially a show about gentrification that refuses to address gentrification. After critics lambasted Season 1 for its lack of diversity, the show brought in Donald Glover to play a black Republican and still managed to avoid the more pressing and relevant question of displacement and racial disparity that the characters are, despite their self-absorption, deeply complicit with. What’s especially frustrating about “Girls” not only dodging the topic entirely but pushing back – often with snark and defensiveness against calls for more diversity – is that it’s a show that seems to want to bring a more nuanced take on the complexities of modern life.
    […]

    For groups facing economic and cultural marginalization in the U.S., community means much more than just a residential area. In a country whose institutions historically fail or deliberately erase us, community constitutes a central pillar in surviving hetero-patriarchal white supremacy. Technology has brought new possibilities for collective action and resistance, but the centrality of physical community remains crucial. What becomes of community organizing, which is responsible for our continued survival here, when communities are increasingly uprooted and scattered?

    The shifting power dynamics of today’s urban neighborhoods are reflected even in issues of food and nutrition. “Once-affordable ingredients have been discovered by trendy chefs,” cultural critic Mikki Kendall writes, “and have been transformed into haute cuisine. Food is facing gentrification that may well put traditional meals out of reach for those who created the recipes. Despite the hype, these ingredients have always been delicious, nutritious and no less healthy than other sources of protein.” Writing about this phenomenon at B*tch Media, Soleil Ho stated that food gentrification takes “the form of a curious kind of reacharound logic wherein economic and racial minorities are castigated for eating ‘primitively’ and ‘unhealthily’ while their traditional foods are cherry picked for use by the upper class as ‘exotic’ delicacies.” […]

    These power plays – cultural, political, economic, racial — are the mechanics of a city at war with itself. It is a slow, dirty war, steeped in American traditions of racism and capitalism. The participants are often wary, confused, doubtful. Macklemore summarized the attitudes of many young white wealthy newcomers in his fateful text to Kendrick Lamar on Grammy night: “It’s weird and sucks that I robbed you.” But as with Macklemore, being surprised about a system that has been in place for generations is useless. White supremacy is nothing if not predictable. To forge ahead, we require an outrageousness that sees beyond the tired tropes and easy outs that mass media provides. This path demands we organize with clarity about privilege and the shifting power dynamics of community. It requires foresight, discomfort and risk-taking. It will be on the Web and in the streets, in conversations, rants and marches.

    We need a new mythology.

    Man refused entry to club ‘because they’d filled their black quota’

    Kosi Orah, 19, was celebrating his birthday with friends when they queued to get in to Leicester’s Ghost nightclub at around 2am on Sunday.

    But according to Kosi, who is a first-year economics student at Leicester University, the bouncer turned the group away, allegedly saying there was ‘a quota of the number of black people allowed in the club.’ […]

    ‘He was almost apologetic,’ Kosi, who filmed the exchange, told the Sun.

    ‘But it was sickening. It left us devastated. It was like the kind of incident you heard about happening in parts of America in the 1960s.’

    Kosi, who plans to work in asset management once he leaves university, made a statement to police alleging a race hate crime. [….]

    ‘We feel very strongly that racism has no part in the night-time economy and we feel that this security employee acted out of character.’

    Police said: ‘We can confirm that the incident has been reported to Leicestershire Police, it’s been recorded as a racist incident and enquiries are ongoing into the report.

    ‘Leicestershire Police takes reports of racism extremely seriously and would encourage anyone who has been a victim of such a crime to contact them. Recent figures suggest that 82% of hate crime victims who were surve

  163. rq says

    (repost, fixing some HTML errors)
    Some catch-up (but holy shit, HappyNat, I was afraid of that :( ).

    @OlyPD deployed 6 flashbangs into crowds of people next to city hall #olympia #blacklivesmatter, this from night before last.

    Time, Topless Women Stage #SayHerName Rally Against Perceived Police Brutality

    The demonstration was part of a nationwide day of action to protest the deaths of Aiyana Jones, Tanisha Anderson, Yvette Smith, Rekia Boyd and other women and girls killed by law-enforcement officers, reports USA Today.

    The rally followed the release of a report Wednesday by the African American Policy Forum named Say Her Name: Resisting Police Brutality Against Black Women, which highlights the stories of black women who have suffered from alleged police brutality. […]

    Campaigners said rallies raising awareness of police brutality in the wake of the deaths of Trayvon Martin, Eric Garner, Michael Brown and others had focused on black men who had died, and overlooked the many black women who have suffered the same fate.

    Protests and vigils took place in cities across the country including New York, Chicago, St. Louis, Washington, D.C., and New Orleans, two months after an officer was acquitted for the fatal shooting of 22-year-old Boyd.

    Darnisha Harris. Tanisha Anderson. Shelly Frey. Rekia Boyd. Yvette Smith. Shantel Davis. Alesia Thomas. Alberta Spruill. #SayHerName.

    Hundreds protest Washington State police shooting of shoplifting suspects, that’s Olympia again.

    Hundreds marched peacefully in Washington state’s capital city to protest a police shooting that wounded two unarmed stepbrothers suspected of trying to steal beer from a grocery store.

    The officer reported he was being assaulted with a skateboard early Thursday before the shooting that left a 21-year-old man in critical condition and a 24-year-old man in stable condition. Both were expected to survive.

    The stepbrothers are black, and the officer is white, but Olympia Police Chief Ronnie Roberts said, “There’s no indication to me that race was a factor in this case at all.”

    Protesters who turned out Thursday evening held signs that read “Race is a Factor” and “We Are Grieving.”

    The two men were identified as Andre Thompson, 24, and Bryson Chaplin, 21, both of Olympia.

    “It was terrible,” the young men’s mother, Crystal Chaplin, told KIRO-TV. “It’s heartbreaking to see two of my babies in the hospital over something stupid.”

    The shooting is being investigated by a team of detectives from several agencies. Brad Watkins, chief deputy of the Thurston County Sheriff’s Department, said two skateboards were recovered from the shooting scene and an investigation will likely take three to six weeks. The young men had no guns, investigators said.

    The crowd of demonstrators rallied first at a park, then marched about a mile to a building that houses the Olympia police headquarters and City Hall. Protesters chanted “Black Lives Matter,” ”No Justice, No Peace” and the names of the young men who were shot.

    Olympia police tweeted their thanks to marchers “for keeping the event nonviolent.”

    “We are committed to helping our community work through this difficult circumstance and help us understand this tragic event,” the police chief told a news conference Thursday afternoon. […]

    The shooting follows a string of high-profile killings of unarmed black men by police, including Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, and Eric Garner in New York City, which set off weeks of protests and a national “Black Lives Matter” movement that has gained momentum across the country.

    Olympia Mayor Stephen H. Buxbaum called for calm in the community.

    “It deeply saddens me that we have two young people in the hospital as a result of an altercation with an officer of the law,” he said. “Let’s come together to support their needs, the officer’s needs, the needs of the families and our community’s needs. Let’s not be reactive.”

    Merritt Long, a retired chairman of the state’s liquor control board, was one of several residents to attend the news conference Thursday.

    “Does the punishment fit the crime?” he asked afterward. “Given the seeming epidemic of this happening not only here but in our country, it makes you pause and wonder what’s going on.”

    Gentrification’s insidious violence: The truth about American cities

    While film narratives of white folks in low-income neighborhoods tend to focus on how endangered they are by a gangland black or brown menace, this patient was singular in that he was literally the only victim of black on white violence I encountered in my entire 10-year career as a medic.

    “What is distinctively ‘American’ is not necessarily the amount or kind of violence that characterizes our history,” Richard Slotkin writes, “but the mythic significance we have assigned to the kinds of violence we have actually experienced, the forms of symbolic violence we imagine or invent, and the political uses to which we put that symbolism.” Slotkin was talking about the American frontier as a symbolic reference point for justifying expansionist violence throughout history. Today, we can see the mytho-political uses of symbolic violence in mainstream media portrayals of the “hood.”

    It’s easy to fixate on physical violence. Movies sexualize it, broadcasters shake their heads as another fancy graphic whirs past sensationalizing it, politicians build careers decrying it with one side of their mouths and justifying it with the other. But institutionalized violence moves in far more insidious and wide-reaching patterns. “Gentrification,” Suey Park and Dr. David J. Leonard wrote in a recent post at Model View Culture, “represents a socio-historic process where rising housing costs, public policy, persistent segregation, and racial animus facilitates the influx of wealthier, mostly white, residents into a particular neighborhood. Celebrated as ‘renewal’ and an effort to ‘beautify’ these communities, gentrification results in the displacement of residents.”

    Gentrification is violence. Couched in white supremacy, it is a systemic, intentional process of uprooting communities. It’s been on the rise, increasing at a frantic rate in the last 20 years, but the roots stretch back to the disenfranchisement that resulted from white flight and segregationist policies. Real estate agents dub changing neighborhoods with new, gentrifier-friendly titles that designate their proximity to even safer areas: Bushwick becomes East Williamsburg, parts of Flatbush are now Prospect Park South. Politicians manipulate zoning laws to allow massive developments with only token nods at mixed-income housing.

    Beyond these political and economic maneuvers, though, the thrust of gentrification takes place in our mythologies of the hood. It is a result, as Park and Leonard explain, of a “discourse that imagines neighborhoods of color as pathological and criminal, necessitating outside intervention for the good of all.” Here’s where my pistol-whipped patient’s revelation about his cinematic experience kicks in. The dominant narrative of the endangered white person barely making it out of the hood alive is, of course, a myth. No one is safer in communities of color than white folks. White privilege provides an invisible force field around them, powered by the historically grounded assurance that the state and media will prosecute any untoward event they may face.

    With gentrification, the central act of violence is one of erasure. Accordingly, when the discourse of gentrification isn’t pathologizing communities of color, it’s erasing them. “Girls,” for example, reimagines today’s Brooklyn as an entirely white community. Here’s a show that places itself in the epicenter of a gentrifying city with gentrifiers for characters – it is essentially a show about gentrification that refuses to address gentrification. After critics lambasted Season 1 for its lack of diversity, the show brought in Donald Glover to play a black Republican and still managed to avoid the more pressing and relevant question of displacement and racial disparity that the characters are, despite their self-absorption, deeply complicit with. What’s especially frustrating about “Girls” not only dodging the topic entirely but pushing back – often with snark and defensiveness against calls for more diversity – is that it’s a show that seems to want to bring a more nuanced take on the complexities of modern life.
    […]

    For groups facing economic and cultural marginalization in the U.S., community means much more than just a residential area. In a country whose institutions historically fail or deliberately erase us, community constitutes a central pillar in surviving hetero-patriarchal white supremacy. Technology has brought new possibilities for collective action and resistance, but the centrality of physical community remains crucial. What becomes of community organizing, which is responsible for our continued survival here, when communities are increasingly uprooted and scattered?

    The shifting power dynamics of today’s urban neighborhoods are reflected even in issues of food and nutrition. “Once-affordable ingredients have been discovered by trendy chefs,” cultural critic Mikki Kendall writes, “and have been transformed into haute cuisine. Food is facing gentrification that may well put traditional meals out of reach for those who created the recipes. Despite the hype, these ingredients have always been delicious, nutritious and no less healthy than other sources of protein.” Writing about this phenomenon at B*tch Media, Soleil Ho stated that food gentrification takes “the form of a curious kind of reacharound logic wherein economic and racial minorities are castigated for eating ‘primitively’ and ‘unhealthily’ while their traditional foods are cherry picked for use by the upper class as ‘exotic’ delicacies.” […]

    These power plays – cultural, political, economic, racial — are the mechanics of a city at war with itself. It is a slow, dirty war, steeped in American traditions of racism and capitalism. The participants are often wary, confused, doubtful. Macklemore summarized the attitudes of many young white wealthy newcomers in his fateful text to Kendrick Lamar on Grammy night: “It’s weird and sucks that I robbed you.” But as with Macklemore, being surprised about a system that has been in place for generations is useless. White supremacy is nothing if not predictable. To forge ahead, we require an outrageousness that sees beyond the tired tropes and easy outs that mass media provides. This path demands we organize with clarity about privilege and the shifting power dynamics of community. It requires foresight, discomfort and risk-taking. It will be on the Web and in the streets, in conversations, rants and marches.

    We need a new mythology.

    Man refused entry to club ‘because they’d filled their black quota’

    Kosi Orah, 19, was celebrating his birthday with friends when they queued to get in to Leicester’s Ghost nightclub at around 2am on Sunday.

    But according to Kosi, who is a first-year economics student at Leicester University, the bouncer turned the group away, allegedly saying there was ‘a quota of the number of black people allowed in the club.’ […]

    ‘He was almost apologetic,’ Kosi, who filmed the exchange, told the Sun.

    ‘But it was sickening. It left us devastated. It was like the kind of incident you heard about happening in parts of America in the 1960s.’

    Kosi, who plans to work in asset management once he leaves university, made a statement to police alleging a race hate crime. [….]

    ‘We feel very strongly that racism has no part in the night-time economy and we feel that this security employee acted out of character.’

    Police said: ‘We can confirm that the incident has been reported to Leicestershire Police, it’s been recorded as a racist incident and enquiries are ongoing into the report.

    ‘Leicestershire Police takes reports of racism extremely seriously and would encourage anyone who has been a victim of such a crime to contact them. Recent figures suggest that 82% of hate crime victims who were surve

  164. Pteryxx says

    Follow-up on trailer parks also at the Guardian: Trailer park king sued by residents in Texas for raising rents

    Multimillionaire Frank Rolfe boasts of buying up trailer parks and sharply increasing charges to low-income tenants faces lawsuit for doing just that

    Rolfe’s residents, who are facing eviction from their homes, said Rolfenearly doubled their combined rent and utility bills almost immediately after buying the North Lamar mobile home park in an immigrant neighbourhood in northern Austin.

    The residents have clubbed together to take legal action against Rolfe, who owns about 160 trailer parks across the country and runs Mobile Home University, a school for would-be trailer park owners that instructs its students to make money by raising the rents on “day one”.

    Natalia Santiago, one of the North Lamar park residents facing eviction for not paying the higher rent Rolfe demands, said: “I have lived in this community for about 24 years. I have four living children, and we truly enjoy living here. I have worked all of these years cleaning homes and buildings and I want to continue doing so to provide for my family.”

    […]

    Abel Trujillo, who has lived in the park with his family for eight years, said Rolfe’s company increased his overall rent and utilities bill from $390 to $608 when it bought the park for $1.5m in January.

    Trujillo, who was also ordered to leave his home within 72 hours, said many of the residents cannot afford to pay the higher rents – and have no way of raising the thousands of dollars it will cost to move the trailer, which most of the families own. “This is causing an outrage within our community,” he said. “It is unfair to be charged such high rental fees for just a lot – we own the mobile homes.”

    During a recent Mobile Home University bootcamp weekend Rolfe explained to his students, who are charged $2,000 to learn his tricks of the trade, that: “Raising the rent is typically part of the day one purchase, because often the ‘mom and pop’ [previous, family-run owner of a park] has not raised the rent in years so it’s far below market.”

    Rolfe, and his business partner Dave Reynolds, typically raises rents by 10% a year – far above inflation which is running at an annualised rate of 1.8% – and Rolfe boasts that their “world record” rent increase went “from $125 to $275 in one month”.

    He tells his students that tenants are more likely to be encouraged to put in a few more hours at Walmart or other low-paying jobs than find the $3,000-$5,000 it costs to move their trailer to another park. Most of the North Lamar tenants are Spanish-only-speaking Latino immigrants working manual labour jobs.

    […]

    Casar said he would demand policy changes to better regulate trailer parks in Austin, but in the North Lamar case legal action could be taken because the rent increases breach signed yearly rental agreements.

    “These are hard-working, working-class and working-poor families – the mechanics, farmers, nursing aides of our city. They are facing homelessness or being forced to find places to live with family members,” he said. “It seems to be what they [Rolfe and Reynolds] describe as their business model – banking on the fact that people are going to be poor and be desperate for affordable housing.

    “They hope that people with less resources aren’t going to fight back, but this community knows their rights.”

  165. rq says

    Some cartoons: Looters. (Police looting equal justice.)
    See. (Cop and black man seeing reflections of each other in glasses.)
    Rough Ride. #FreddieGray (Police van bouncing over the letters of racism.)

    Women Go Topless To Protest Killings Of Unarmed Black Women By Police, by BuzzFeed.

    Houston’s Learning Curve

    In a city with such wealth and promise, and more Fortune 500 companies than anywhere but New York, the school system preparing the next generation of Houstonians is performing a delicate dance of highs and lows: a reputation for bold, impressive innovation, and a student body that’s increasingly poor and challenging to teach.

    Eighth grader Sabrin Haile, second from left, chats with a friend between classes at Las Americas; she once lived in an Ethiopian refugee camp. Last year’s wave of migrant children fleeing from Central America has balooned Las Americas’ enrollment this year to triple capacity. | Mark Peterson/Redux

    Two years ago, the Houston Independent School District (HISD) became the first two-time winner of the Broad Prize for Urban Education. The prize is a high honor for school districts, often called the Nobel Prize of school reform, and comes with $550,000 in college scholarships for the winner’s graduating seniors. The Council of Great City Schools—a consortium of the largest urban school districts—named Houston’s superintendent, Terry Grier, its urban educator of the year for 2014. Onstage at a recent school district event, Grier recalled a visit to the White House, when President Obama told him, “You know, I don’t think anyone innovates quite like HISD.”

    It’s hard to disagree. HISD, for example, has 52 “dual language” schools, where students spend at least half of the school day learning in Spanish; the district boasts more such schools than Dallas, San Antonio, Austin and El Paso combined. HISD also has one dual language school for Arabic and another for Mandarin Chinese and soon plans to open Texas’s first Hindi dual language school. Through its fledgling “Emerge” program, Houston public schools last year sent 64 low-income, minority students to Ivy League or top-tiered schools; it’s on track to matriculate 91 this year. The district began “Home Field Advantage” recently after it realized that 13 of its schools had mobility rates of 40 percent or more with students changing schools multiple times throughout the year because of family financial stresses. To maintain continuity and stability, students are provided free transportation to the school where they started the year, regardless of where they currently live.

    In the schools as in the city, the free market rules: Teachers who are deemed effective receive bonuses; principals are paid to take marketing classes at Rice University to better pitch their schools to prospective students who can choose to go to any school in the district, space permitting. There are also—as in most school districts—teacher/edu-preneurs and Teach for America grads like Adeeb Barqawi and Rick Cruz who go beyond their classroom lessons to build new systems to support students.

    As a result, the district has achieved some impressive results: The “achievement gap” in high school math and science between white and minority students has been cut in half; HISD has the country’s highest rate of minority participation in SAT and Advanced Placement tests; passage rate for AP exams has increased by 80 percent since 2007, according to Grier.

    Listen to Drake and Beyoncé get slow ‘n’ brooding on leaked track ‘Can I’ , for an interlude of music.

    This collaboration between Drake and Beyoncé leaked on Tumblr yesterday, and to be honest, we can’t decide whether it’s unfinished or just an incredibly sparse and moody track. Knowing Drake, we’re betting on the latter. Thought to be a cut off his upcoming album Views From the 6, “Can I” sounds like a soon-to-be-ex-lover serving you a lavishly cooked banquet in bed that you know is poisoned but you eat anyway. “Before I turn the lights out, tell me who the fuck you wanna be?” asks Drake, passive aggressively.

    Unfortunately, for people expecting a repeat of “Mine” — a Beyoncé ballad from 2013 which Drake appeared on — this isn’t really much of a duet. Beyoncé’s contribution comes mainly in the form of the words “can I” and “baby” repeated throughout the track with a metronome-like tick-tock quality. Yes, we love that she manages to pull off such a seductive mix of soothing and threatening, but we also could’ve done with a bit more, you know, vocals. See what you think and listen above via Okayplayer.

  166. rq says

    . @CityofCleveland :You say this was written the night Tamir was shot. It mentions his death. He died the next day.

    Oscar Grant Plaza taken over by sea of names. #JusticeForRekia #SayHerName #BlackWomenMatter

    Violence surges on the Westside and elsewhere – a closer look at the numbers

    Crime data also show that the increased violence did not start with the Freddie Gray incident. Across the city, shootings gathered momentum during the winter months for so far unexplained reasons.

    Top police officers, in fact, had suggested that crime would drop after January’s introduction of a new contract with the Fraternal Order of Police that traded higher officer pay (a 13% wage boost over three years) in return for more flexible work schedules and reportedly more “boots on the street.”

    Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake promised, in her March 2015 “State of the City” address, that the new contract would produce “real results for residents: more officers during peak times [of crime] and a faster response to citizen calls.”

    Statement by Olympia Police Chief, Ronnie Roberts

    Statement by Olympia Police Chief, Ronnie Roberts
    May 21, 2015

    The Olympia community experienced a tragedy this morning: a police officer shot two young men while responding to a 9-1-1 call about an assault. The two men are expected to survive and the officer was not injured. An investigation of the event is underway. It is being led by the Thurston County Critical Incident Team, an investigative team made up of detectives from five local jurisdictions. The Critical Incident Team investigates independently of the Olympia Police Department. While the Department receives some general details, the precise facts of the event cannot be known until the investigation is completed. It is essential that an investigation into this kind of event is fair, thorough, and timely for everyone involved. I appreciate the community’s patience as the investigation moves forward.

    I invite you to access all the information on this page. We are posting information as it comes in and information that may be helpful in understanding the process of investigating an officer-involved shooting. Information about community meetings will also be posted here. I hope that you will attend a community meeting if you have questions or concerns about the event.
    Statement by Olympia Mayor, Stephen H. Buxbaum
    May 21, 2015

    This is a tragic event. It deeply saddens me that we have two young people in the hospital as the result of an altercation with an officer of the law. Let’s come together to support their needs, the officer’s needs, the needs of the families and our community’s needs. Let’s not be reactive. Let’s take the path of consciously addressing our questions of what happened as best we can, seek justice and healing.

    Our community is a strong, caring and compassionate community. We deeply value non-violence and justice that is restorative. This is a challenging time that I know we will move through together, learn from and be stronger as a result.

    We are committed to looking hard at what happened. By investing in an investigation that focuses on the facts, as they emerge, we will ensure that our response will be responsible and just.

    I have personally spoken with the Presidents of The Evergreen State College and South Puget Sound Community College, as well as members of our Faith Community. They have all agreed to set up places where members of our community can gather.

    The Generation Gap Behind the Waco Biker Shootout. IS IT THE MISSING FATHERS? TELL MEEEE I want to know!

    This is from December 2014, but considering a lot of things together, worth a re-read: My Son Is Black. With Autism. And I’m Scared Of What The Police Will Do To Him.

  167. rq says

    Not not not a good precedent. The Supreme Court Decided Its First Cop-Shooting Case Since Ferguson. Cops Won.

    Everything should’ve ended there. Except San Francisco v. Sheehan, a police-brutality case, made it all the way to the Supreme Court because the cops’ next move was to go back into Sheehan’s room, guns drawn, without regard for her mental condition. The case matters because it’s the first police-shooting incident the court has confronted since Ferguson put policing and excessive use of force on the map. And, as the Supreme Court is wont to do in these cases, it handed the cops a win. (And the city of San Francisco a sort of loss.)

    But the facts in Sheehan are a mess. It turns out that upon reentry, one of the officers pepper-sprayed Sheehan, hoping to subdue her. But she wouldn’t let go of her knife. The other officer then opened fire twice, but Sheehan’s failure to collapse prompted the first officer to unload “multiple” rounds on her. When Sheehan was finally on the ground, a third officer arrived on the scene and, like in the movies, kicked the knife from her hand.

    Never mind her disability: To the responding officers, that was a “secondary issue.” What truly mattered, one of them testified, was that they were “faced with a violent woman who had already threatened to kill her social worker.” Sheehan survived her injuries, and later sued the city of San Francisco and the shooting officers for violating her civil rights. She also faulted the city for disregarding her disability under the Americans With Disabilities Act.

    You might hope that, in writing the opinion, Justice Samuel Alito would use language that would place the decision in the context of Ferguson. Or at least recognize one of the many instances, caught on video, where police shot and killed a mentally ill person — Jason Harrison, Anthony Hill, and Lavall Hall all come to mind. Or perhaps acknowledge that, according to one estimate, more than half of those killed by police are suffering from mental illness.

    Instead, Alito and five other justices ruled that the officers were entitled to a blanket shield from liability, under a doctrine known as qualified immunity. The doctrine is nowhere in the Constitution, yet officers and municipalities invoke it all the time when sued for constitutional violations. And more often than not, courts agree that immunity is proper, so long as the officers’ blunders were “reasonable” under the circumstances. What counts as reasonable? A lot of things, some real, others largely exaggerated. Split-second decision-making. Fear for one’s life. How “dangerous,” “recalcitrant,” and “law-breaking” the victim was. Alito actually used those words to describe Sheehan and found no fault with anything the two officers did in their interactions with her. She was basically asking for it. […]

    None of that mattered to the rest of the court. The majority went ahead and spared the cops anyway. And with that, the court’s first true opportunity to address police shootings in the wake of Ferguson came and went, with a victory for two officers who shot and nearly killed a woman who maybe just wanted to be left alone. We don’t really know whether the lives of the mentally ill matter to the justices, but from this and prior cases, we do know that the lives of police do — so much that they’re willing to give them a pass even when the case doesn’t really call for it.

    219 years ago today, Ona Judge Staines escaped from George and Martha Washington. She was never caught.#americanhero

    A tale of 2 Americas: where they explain away white violence & erase documented state violence against Black women (see two contrasting headlines within).

    Calm urged as Olympia investigates police shootings of 2 men

    Police and public officials urged civility while promising a thorough and unbiased investigation into Thursday’s early-morning shooting of two African-American shoplifting suspects by a white officer.

    Police and Olympia Mayor Stephen Buxbaum provided little information about the confrontation except to say there was no early evidence that race was a factor in the shooting. They also warned it could be weeks before the investigation is completed.

    “It deeply saddens me that we have two young people in the hospital as a result of an altercation with an officer of the law,” Buxbaum said. “Let’s come together to support their needs, the officer’s needs, the needs of the families and our community’s needs. Let’s not be reactive.”

    Despite the call for calm, the evening ended with a violent confrontation between protesters and police.

    A few dozen demonstrators gathered near City Hall around midnight in Olympia, chanting, “This won’t end until the last cop dies.”

    Officers eventually dispersed the crowd with flash-bangs and protesters responded by throwing rocks before leaving the area. No injuries were reported.

    Demonstrations earlier in the evening had remained peaceful.

    Remember this girl in her ‘revealing’ dress? School Backs Down After Receiving Online Backlash For Suspending Plus Size Student Over ‘Revealing’ Prom Dress. Good.

    My classmate cap (“I did it because they didn’t have a chance to”, with photos of black young men killed by police).

  168. rq says

    Customer called the N-word on racist receipt from New Orleans restaurant, in case you thought that it was okay to go out for dinner while black.

    The daughter of a member of The Neville Brothers, a famous musical family in New Orleans, was appalled to see the N-word printed on her receipt Thursday after dining at Huck Finn’s Café in the French Quarter.

    The phrase “N—– 100% dislike” was typed into Liryca Neville Branch’s check, weaved in between the woman’s itemized food orders.

    “This is unacceptable. I couldn’t sleep last night,” Branch told the Daily News. “It’s 2015. You would think that we wouldn’t have to deal with this stuff right now. It just shows that racism is alive and well.”

    Despite Advances, the Trans Struggle for Justice Behind Bars Is Just Beginning. This would be almost tangential in the discussion re: racism if it weren’t for all those black trans men and trans women who have been killed and murdered, both by the authorities and the general population.

    Diamond and Arnold’s experiences of constant violence and harassment are not exceptional. Rather, in men’s prisons, they seem to be the rule. Trans women sent to male prisons are at high risk for sexual assault – one study found that 59 percent of trans women in California’s male prisons had been sexually assaulted while incarcerated compared to 4 percent of the cisgender male population. As Diamond’s story demonstrates, staff often blame them for the assaults; the solution offered is to place them in “protective custody,” a form of solitary confinement in which they are confined to their cells nearly 24 hours a day without access to programming or human contact. Staff often perpetuate other forms of violence, such as harassment, humiliation and excessive strip searches as well as the refusal to recognize their gender identity.

    Jenni Gann, currently incarcerated at California’s Kern Valley State Prison, can attest to that. After renouncing her gang membership in 2002, she was sent to one of the Sensitive Needs Yards in California’s prison system, where former gang members are sent ostensibly to avoid retaliation. The yard also holds people vulnerable to violence for other reasons, such as their sexuality or gender identity. Gann, who had quietly been struggling with her own gender identity for years, recalled in a recent letter, “I was so encouraged and inspired by the beauty and strength of some queens [a term used to describe flamboyant gay men] in particular that I said, ‘Fuck the haters!'” She came out as trans in 2006 and began her gender transition; the following year, she began estrogen hormone therapy and connected with the trans community inside and out.

    Gann has endured repeated sexual harassment during strip searches, with guards ridiculing her anatomy, threatening her and exposing her to incarcerated men. She notes that other trans women have experienced similar abuse from staff. Staff hostility could also be fatal: In November 2013, Carmen Guerrero, a trans woman at Kern Valley, was killed by her cellmate. The cellmate, who was housed in the yard for renouncing his gang membership, had repeatedly and openly told staff that he would murder Guerrero. Neither he nor Guerrero were moved. Then he strangled her. While prison officials launched an investigation into Crespo’s actions, Gann reports that the officer whom he had told about his planned murder remains on duty and has faced no consequences.

    Gann and others have not been keeping quiet. In every letter, Gann reminds me that Carmen Guerrero’s murder could have been prevented had prison staff acted when Crespo first started making threats. “It’s not safe for trans women [here],” she wrote, adding that she and another trans woman have been pressing for policy changes so that trans women can be housed in California’s women’s prisons where they are less likely to face the brutal transphobic violence that occurs daily in men’s prisons.

    Gann has reached across the bars to help organize and alert people about trans women’s incarceration. For the past five years, she was a member of the leadership circle of Black and Pink, an organization of incarcerated queer and trans people and their non-incarcerated allies, and started the California chapter. Through Black and Pink’s newsletter, as well as a blog on Between the Bars, she’s reminded people about Carmen’s murder and the lack of accountability, as well as the everyday injustices trans women face behind bars. Recently, she has also joined the leadership team of the TGI Justice Project, a group of trans people inside and outside of prison fighting for change, as well as the Gender Anarky Collective, a group of trans women incarcerated throughout California’s prison system.

    She and others have also reached out to support each other inside the prison. To combat the lack of information and trans-specific health care, they contact outside groups for up-to-date information and then share it with each other. “Because of the complex interdisciplinary treatment of gender dysphoria, which involves both mental health and medical care aspects, it’s very important for us to be aware of the process of transitioning and to be an active participant in making the decision to proceed with each stage of triadic therapy,” she explained in a recent letter. “For someone just coming out as trans, the support and advice of other queens is most important.”

    And then they get put into men’s prisons, because law enforcement and the justice system are fucking stupid.

    Video: cops assault, use flash grenade on #OlympiaShooting demo. Headline: Violent protests.

    Violent protests in Washington state after police shooting, with video – those protests that turned violent once police decided to get involved.

    NLG Condemns Oakland’s Attack on the Right to Assemble and Protest

    Responding to a peaceful protest on the evening of May 21st, the Oakland Police Department immediately forced demonstrators off the street, aggressively encircling them and using amplified sound and other intimidation tactics to interfere with the march against police killings of Black women and trans persons. They appeared to be implementing a new City policy of banning nighttime protests. The National Lawyers Guild San Francisco Bay Area Chapter (NLGSF) is disturbed by this illegal restraint on the right of people to assemble and speak out about serious political issues.

    The NLGSF believes such preemptive restrictions on protest are both unconstitutional, and in violation of OPD’s own Crowd Control Policy, which was adopted as part of the federal court settlement orders in NLG litigation over 2010 mass arrests of Justice for Oscar Grant protesters and 2011 police attacks on Occupy Oakland. The City of Oakland has paid out more than $10 million in civil rights settlements as a result of unlawful restraints on those and other protests over the last ten years. The Crowd Control Policy spells out when police may lawfully stop a demonstration, and how, and gives OPD the tools they need to protect persons and property, while upholding the right to demonstrate and avoiding further liability to the Oakland taxpayers. NLGSF is prepared to take immediate action to enforce the Crowd Control Policy.

    Prohibiting demonstrations at night leaves few alternatives for people, especially working people and students, to speak out about police violence and racism. There is no legitimate justification for such a limitation, and the unlawful policy change being implemented by Mayor Libby Schaaf serves little purpose but to suppress free speech.

    seems like he dropped the beers when he got caught, the report says he “threw” it at the clerk. (Olympia)

  169. Pteryxx says

    NBC News on Brelo’s acquittal, because so much of it is rage-inducing: Cleveland Officer Michael Brelo Found Not Guilty in Car Hood Shooting

    Michael Brelo, 31, who is white, was charged with killing Timothy Russell and Malissa Williams — both of whom were black — after a car chase in November 2012. Brelo rubbed his face and nodded his head as the judge read the verdict, and then wept.

    Shortly after, the Department of Justice announced it would review Brelo’s case.

    The high-speed pursuit started after Russell’s 1979 Chevy Malibu backfired while driving past police headquarters. Officers thought the noise was a gun going off inside the car, and 13 cops responded by firing shots.

    Brelo, who joined the Cleveland Police Department in 2007, was the only officer to face criminal charges. Prosecutors say he waited until the car had stopped moving and no longer posed a danger to fire 15 rounds into the windshield, firing a total of 49 rounds into the car.

    Defense attorneys claimed Brelo was fearful for his life, believing Russell and Williams had a gun. The judge agreed that he acted accordingly.

    “Brelo reasonably perceived a threat,” said Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court Judge John O’Donnell.

    Altogether, the officers fired 137 shots. Experts testified at the trial that Russell had 23 bullet wounds and Williams had 24, reported NBC affiliate WKYC.

    […]

    The verdict was read on a Saturday because of the possibility of protests afterwards, WKYC reported. Judge O’Donnell asked for calm across Cleveland, and a crowd gathered peacefully outside the courthouse holding signs and American flags after.

    […]

    Racial tensions in Cleveland got even more strained after Russell and Williams’ death when police shot 12-year-old Tamir Rice, also black, to death last November. Tamir was playing with a pellet gun that police thought was a real weapon. His family has filed a wrongful-death lawsuit against the police department.

    O’Donnell acknowledged those strained relations on Saturday.

    “Every week, I pass a mountain of stuffed animals left in memory of a 12-year-old that many people believe was murdered by the police,” he said.

  170. rq says

    Cut the Check

    Confrontation about economics, the long avoided and ignored method of addressing a system built on the exploitation of black people. When we have conversations about systemic violence towards black people, for some reason finances are always ignored in the conversation. This is odd given that capitalism and the love of money is a direct root of the violence experienced in this nation.

    Think about how much money is earned and saved, due to black pain, in music, movies, city-revenues, wage-inequalities, etc. Think about how black people are periodically told around the first of the month to “be careful, you know the cops are out they have that quota to meet”. I cannot tell you the amount of times I’ve overheard these exchanges as a child. As an adult, I now understand; there is a reliance on black money to keep this system running as intended.

    The dependence on black people does not stop just at black pockets, no. This system also relies on black labor. Everyone in this nation stands firm on black backs, which is why some people say, “I don’t see color”; it’s kind of hard to see something you’re standing on. This of course is nothing new; we’re all well aware of how this nation was built. The issue is that people are unaware that it’s the same method for how this nation continues to be built. According to the constitution, slavery and indentured servitude is still in affect: [… thirteenth amendment …]

    Most people read this as “neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, shall exist within the United States” and completely miss “except as punishment for crime”, which means that slavery is fine under certain conditions. And once they finish ignoring that, they then ignore the racial disparity of incarceration. When they finish missing those important words, and the racial disparity, they then miss how black people are often falsely accused for a crime or over punished for a crime. And when they finish ducking and dodging everything listed above, they hurdle, hop, and skip, over the fact that millions are earned from the prison industrial complex. In fact, the ties the industrial prison complex has with slavery runs so deep, that incarcerated men and women are even referred to as “property”.

    In other words, there is still financial incentive to put people of color in shackles; there is still a profit earned on black and brown bodies. There are still people being called “property”. […]

    Since August, there has been money poured into the city of Ferguson. And with that funding, came misinformation, an increase of distrust both across the nation and sparked some intra-group disagreements. In the words of Biggie Smalls, “mo’ money, mo’ problems”. This was due to poor communication about how funds would be used to help the family of Mike Brown and the community of Ferguson. There was also poor application of who received funding and the amounts of funding. People made false assumptions based on the hyper-visibility of certain organizations and certain people within the movement.

    Action on May 14th at the World Community Center, opened the door for the conversation that everyone has been waiting for: What’s happening with the money in Ferguson?

    Well the answer is simple, most donated funds are sent to established non-profit organizations, such as Operation for Black Struggle, Hands Up United, and Missourians Organizing for Reform & Empowerment. However, people who follow organizers on twitter often seen posts encouraging donations to the newly established organizations and events that have been developed in direct response to the senseless state-sanctioned killing of Mike Brown, i.e. Millennial Activists United, Black Souljahz, Operation Help or Hush, etc.

    So naturally, on the outside looking in, everyone is confused. After all, why would activists reach out for funds if George Soros sent $33 million, right? The faux conclusion that most people have formulated is somehow the newly developed, grassroots organizations and leaders on the ground have received ALL of this money. They haven’t. One issue is no one really knows how much Soros has contributed to the movement. There are sources that say that his donation amounted to $600 thousand, not $33 million. I’ve yet to see more than one source report $600 thousand, but it’s worth noting just how much misinformation there is about funding in Ferguson. It’s also important to understand that this money [Soros’ donation], whatever it amounts to, did not go to the hyper-visible, innovative, grassroots organizations and people that are considered “high profile” on twitter. This funding went specifically to Organization for Black Struggle and M.O.R.E., which then developed the Hands Up Coalition, along with Dream Defenders. M.O.R.E. also received another $35 thousand in funding for jail fund from Talib Kweli’s Ferguson Defense Fund. It’s worth noting where exactly funds are going because these headlines have created an atmosphere of distrust and confusion. This atmosphere impacts the public’s perception of the integrity of grassroots organizations being led by the hyper visible demonstrators. And that perception, not only impacts the relationships among demonstrators, but it also impacts donations that have been essential to sustaining the movement. […]

    Cut the check was no different from past actions. The motive was increasing the value of black life in this nation. This action was inspired because demonstrators, who were employed by M.O.R.E., were having issues. The initial issue was planning disagreements. According to demonstrators, they wanted to develop healing and empowerment spaces; the organization felt that direct actions and intentional arrests, at the expense of black people would have been more valuable. After all, who would continue to contribute towards a non-profit organization’s jail fund if no one would get arrested, right? Basically, there was financial incentive for these large non-profits when black people in Ferguson were arrested.

    And like any employer-employee disagreement, termination became a potential solution. The activist community wanted to support demonstrators during the review with Jeff Ordower, the executive director of M.O.R.E. According to activists, it was during the meeting that Ordower disclosed that he had thousands in funding money that he had no idea what to do with. Organizers recommended that he breakdown the funds and distribute it to everyone in the community, since so many have been lacking financially. They expressed that this was the best solution due to the arguments and lack of understanding that funding has created, elaborating that people read misleading and ambiguous headlines, and don’t comprehend fiscal sponsorship. They also expressed that funding has been used to divide people within the movement. When headlines regarding finances in the movement are released, people aren’t informed that large, historically established organizations have been the recipients of those donations, so demonstrators with newly established organizations are being blamed for capitalistic violence, i.e. pocketing the donations. Distribute the money to the community was their [demonstrators] recommendation. […]

    Misapplication of the words like “greed” and “selfish” is not where the negativity ends. Some of the responses were people outraged when they found out a couple demonstrators were actually hired to do organizing work. Ahistorical understanding of past human rights movements is a threat to the current movement. Many leaders of our past were paid/compensated for their work. In fact, there were people specifically paid to travel and start protests in racially tense cities following white-on-black violence events. That’s not to get “paid for their service” confused with the motive being money. The motive is and always will be love. However, past leaders were taken care of financially because in this society, money is how you pay for a meal. You cannot pay your rent in “revolution”. You cannot go to the grocery store and write “revolution” on a piece of paper and hand it to the cashier at the checkout line. You cannot open your gas tank and shout “revolution” in to it and expect your vehicle to be fueled. You cannot tell Ameren you’re putting “revolution” on the bill this month. Revolution is beautiful, but basic needs are not met on “revolution” alone. Vilifying demonstrators for having human needs, such as food, gas, and shelter, is not only ridiculous, but also contradictory. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Civil Rights Movement are frequently referred and paralleled to current events. There is a hypocrisy to reference a man who also addressed poverty and classism, while simultaneously responding negatively to an action designed to put a halt to revenues earned on black labor.

    The negativity is not only hypocritical, but it’s exploitation. Many of the same protestors involved with this pro police-accountability movement, are actively involved with fighting to increase the minimum wage. People want to benefit from their work to increase wages for people across the nation, while demonizing their efforts to distribute funds to an entire community. Surely, people withholding those contradicting thoughts should be suffering from some form of cognitive dissonance.

    The worse response to “Cut the Check”, was the loud silence towards how the organization handled “cut the check”. Hours after the action ended, a document was posted on social media listing the names of people and how much the organization supposedly gave to those “people”. The issue is some of the funds listed on the document, according to sources, were reportedly not given by the organization, yet the document was presented as such. The document did not limit to listing just the “cut the check” funds, but it incorporated past action funding as well. Many people have read this under the impression that funding from past events, is the same thing that people received via check on May 14th. Another issue, the document listed individuals in the first column instead of small organizations and direct actions. This was a subtle form of propaganda. Readers subconsciously received the message that individuals, instead of associating the funds with movement supplies, pocketed those funds. As someone that has a history with working in finance and non-profits, I can confidentially say that this is not how financial documentation is normally typed up. Normally, a document would state an organization or business as a beneficiary, not a person’s name. One would think that maybe this was intentional. Why on earth would “Elizabeth Vega” be listed as a recipient in the first column, when the “Artivists” were funded for the trip? Also, why not at least indicate the number of people that were funded on this trip. Otherwise, it just appears that one person was given $2,000. The column is clearly titled “Person/Group”, however when given the option to name a group, one specific person was still named. […]

    One could argue that the intent was to create further confusion. More importantly, to surround a much needed conversation and aspect of oppression, with so much negativity that no one will have the audacity to address capitalistic violence in this nation ever again.

    Cut the Check was deeper than 17 people receiving an average of approximately $2000 each, Cut the Check was about taking back the finances that were generated at the expense of black trauma. After all, there is nothing revolutionary about free black labor and exploiting black pain.

    Peaceful Action & Police Pepper Spray

    I am acting on conscience. I believe our country is participating in a systemic genocide of people of color and I believe the police are too often the executioners. In this country, every 23 hours someone is killed by the police. Statistically it is impossible that all of these deaths are “justified.”

    In October, I wrote about VonDerrit Myers who was shot and killed by an off duty police officer acting in the capacity of a security guard for one of the richest neighborhoods in St. Louis. The officer, was chasing someone else when he mistakenly stopped VonDerritt who was coming out of a store with friends. VonDerrit ran and there are allegations he had a gun. The officer shot at him 19 times. All the bullets hit VonDerrit in the back of his body indicating he was fleeing meaning the officer’s life was no longer threatened. One of the early shots completely shattered VonDerrit’s femur leaving him unable to run or defend himself. The officer continued to shoot and still CHOSE to shoot this young man in the head. Witnesses on the scene described Flannery standing over Myers and shooting him directly in the head. In any other country this would be considered an execution. In America it is considered “legally justified” but this does not mean morally right. Which is why after, St. Louis Circuit Attorney Jennifer Joyce decided not to charge Jason Flannery with ANYTHING, protesters cried FOUL.

    We held an action on Tuesday at her office. She refused to come out. The building was put on lockdown, effectively once again shutting us out of our own democracy. On Tuesday night we decided to visit her at home. We brought creative night lights constructed out of cardboard boxes. […]

    In that moment he showed his lack of humanity and fear. He used his only weapon — his diminishing power. He then lied to the media and said I rubbed my pepper sprayed face on his shirt.

    I am so grateful to all the folks who came together to post my $8000 CASH bond. Even in that moment and so ready to get out I felt the pain of my own privilege embedded within that gratitude. I can’t help but think about the young woman who was in jail with me who got pulled out of her car in front of her house because of Hot Spot policing. Her partner had a permit to carry his gun which he had in his lap because he was going into his home. He was slammed on the ground all the while screaming that he had a permit. The police searched their car and found weed. Hauled both of them off to jail. I watched her process how her life could get so uprooted in 24 hours because even though she wasn’t charged she had a five year old traffic warrant from a small municipality. This meant 24 turned into 48 hours because she had to wait for them to come get her and then figure out how to pay the fines. That is not just or fair.

    I also can’t stop thinking about the woman who was in jail for shoplifting. I asked her point blank what she took and why. She said she took two cardinal jerseys so she could sell them because she needed bus fare to go to work. Think about that for a moment. Working full-time and still not having bus fare to get to work!!

    I think about the numerous white police officers who laughed while they pepper sprayed us, and contrast this with the jail the only public institution where most everyone within it both working and imprisoned are people of color. This is why we fight. The whole system is broken and the cost for this brokenness is our own humanity. And still even while they try to bury us we tenaciously show our weedy strength. My sisters in jail, these beautiful strong women showed so much resilience, sharing stories, sharing food off their plates and even braided each others hair while sharing stories of children, struggle and poverty. They are not criminals. They are mostly poor folk trying to get by in a system that continually oppresses them and marginalizes them. So even as my lungs hurt from the pepper spray, and my body aches from being dragged I feel this in my bones!

    It is our duty to fight for our freedom. It is our duty to win. We must love and support one another. All we have to lose is our chains.

    Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf Institutes Ban On Nighttime Street Protests (the reason for the NLG response listed upthread).

    Police forced a peaceful march that was organized by Black women off the streets of Oakland last evening in an unusual show of force that heralds the first enforcement of a nighttime prohibition on street demonstrations. Last night’s protest was part of a national day of action called #SayHerName focusing on police violence against women and transgender people.

    The rally began just before sunset in Frank Ogawa Plaza where about 200–300 people had gathered. After several speeches and recitations of poetry, the protesters announced their intention to march to the Oakland Police Administration Building seven blocks away. Demonstrators had not yet stepped off the sidewalk and into the intersection of 14th Street and Broadway when OPD addressed the crowd through an amplified sound system, stating that the march was “unpermitted.” As demonstrators walked into the street, police immediately ordered them back onto the sidewalk, citing California Vehicle Code Section 2800, which makes it an arrestable offense to not comply with orders of a police officer.

    “The fact is we were threatened with arrest for marching,” said Cat Brooks, one of the facilitators of the protest. “This was a Black women’s and children’s rally saying to the police, please stop killing us, and our woman mayor organized the harshest response we’ve seen yet.”

    “There clearly is a shift in tactics by the police,” said attorney Anne Weills, who was in last night’s march.

    In an interview today, Mayor Libby Schaaf acknowledged that she ordered the prohibition on nighttime street marches in Oakland. However, she argued that it was a not new city law, but rather a reinterpretation of an existing one.

    “There have been no changes to any city policy or enactment of any new ordinances in any way to prohibit peaceful protests,” Schaaf told the Express. “We are making better use of our existing policies to prevent vandalism and violence. Our intent is to ensure that freedom of expression is not compromised by illegal activity and that demonstrators, bystanders, and property are kept safe.”

    However, one of the authors of Oakland’s law governing OPD’s response to protests said the new ban is illegal. “My general impression is the police took an unduly aggressive approach that not only violated their own crowd control policy, but also the First Amendment,” said civil rights attorney Rachel Lederman. Lederman helped draft Oakland’s existing crowd control policy. She said that OPD is not supposed to stop a march simply because it does not have a permit or because it enters the street.

    “This was an unreasonable interference with the demonstration given that there had been no serious crimes committed,” said Lederman. […]

    On social media during and after the march, people speculated that the city is implementing some new ban or curfew on demonstrations, perhaps by implementing an ordinance. City officials said there is no new ordinance, and no rules or policies have been changed.

    “That demonstration was never declared unlawful and never ordered to disperse,” said Schaaf. “My understanding is that protesters were told that once it became dark they needed to get off the roadways.”

    Mayor Schaaf said that Oakland’s crowd control policy allows for time, place, and manner restrictions on political speech, and that her administration’s intent is to maintain a peaceful environment in which everyone feels safe to come out and express themselves.

    “Our intent is that by using better crowd management, not control, but management, that we can get demonstrators into safe spaces after sunset, once it’s dark, and this will better protect everyone’s safety, freedom of speech, and assembly,” the mayor added.

    Under the mayor’s new tactic, OPD will block demonstrators from marching in the streets after dark, and marchers will only be allowed on sidewalks.

    But Lederman said the new ban is clearly unlawful. “A local government can impose a reasonable time, manner, and place restriction on speech,” said Lederman, “but the Oakland crowd control policy specifically states that OPD will facilitate marches in the street regardless of whether a permit has be obtained as long as it’s feasible to do so.”

    Lederman also said it is unconstitutional for the city to prohibit nighttime street marches. “The reasonableness is determined by what’s actually happening there,” said Lederman. “You can’t ban street marches at night because on some past occasions some people broke windows. That’s completely unconstitutional.”

    White Supremacist Confronts Speakers During ‘Black Lives Matter’ Press Conference

    Video cameras captured a heated exchange at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati between a group of angry whites and black activists at a press conference Wednesday. A group of ministers in Cincinnati organized the event, using the upcoming Major League Baseball All-Star Game in their city to call on MLB to join the fight against racial injustice.

    As Cincinnati.com reports, the press conference quickly degenerated into a verbal brawl when several furious white people began voicing their anger.

    The report says that Robert Ransdell did “most of the shouting.” He’s identified as a member of the National Alliance, a white supremacist organization.

    “How many decades are we going to accommodate the behavior of black criminals?” he shouted at Bishop Bobby Hilton, senior pastor of World of Deliverance Ministries in Forest Park, Ohio.

    Hilton responded: “If you can’t have an intelligent conversation, move on. Let’s come together. Can we come together?”

    The Rev. Damon Lynch, pastor of New Prospect Baptist Church in Cincinnati, said that the protesters were like the Southern segregationists decades ago. “What we saw today is nothing new,” he told Cincinnati.com. “It’s what we’ve seen in the civil rights movement from the beginning: angry white people espousing their views, trying to stop us from moving forward.”

    Hilton said that his group was not at the baseball stadium to demand a boycott of the All-Star Game. “We’re asking Major League Baseball to stand with us,” he said.

    Lynch noted that major-league sports have taken a stance on LGBT rights, domestic violence and a number of other issues. He’s urging MLB to use its voice and stand with #BlackLivesMatter.

    Kansas Republicans Have Come Up with a Disgraceful New Way to Screw the Poor because we really really needed that.

    Starting in July, a new law in Kansas will restrict the amount of cash a welfare recipient can take out of ATM’s to just $25 a day—a move that critics say introduces a whole new host of financial burdens—including high ATM fees and travel costs—when they access cash.

    Max Ehrenfreund at the Washington Post explains:

    Since most banking machines are stocked only with $20 bills, the $25 limit is effectively a $20 limit. A family seeking to withdraw even $200 in cash would have to visit an ATM 10 times a month, a real burden for a parent who might not have a car and might not live in a neighborhood where ATMs are easy to find.

    The law, backed by a GOP-dominated Kansas legislature and Republican Gov. Sam Brownback, will benefit the pockets of large banks while taking money from poor families who rely on food stamps.

    In Kansas’s system, every withdrawal incurs a $1 fee, and if the beneficiary doesn’t have a bank account, they will have to pay the ATM fee, too. Those fees might be worth it for some families, though, because the card issued by the state of Kansas isn’t like a debit card from an ordinary bank. Ordinary debit cards allow their holders to make purchases for free in stores. In Kansas, beneficiaries get two free purchases a month. After that, they pay 40 cents every time they use the card to buy something.

    The ostensible rationale for this redistribution of wealth is to minimize waste and prevent low income residents from spending their money on non-essentials like alcohol and the much-feared lobster feast. This is the demonizing-the-poor trope that Republican lawmakers frequently deploy to justify punitive control over how low income people spend their money. In addition to the limit on withdrawals, the state’s new law carries restrictions to ludicrous levels by prohibiting spending on items such as swimming pools and fortune telling sessions.

    As Mother Jones has written in the past, such concerns are wildly misplaced and seriously hurt the poor. President Obama recently addressed this conservative characterization, calling out Fox News for portraying the poor as lazy “leeches” eager to waste government funds.

    Fortunately, Kansas’ controversial new provision may actually turn out to be illegal, violating federal law that mandates welfare recipients “have adequate access to their cash assistance” without enduring high fees.

    No big purchases for you, poor people!

    Michael B. Jordan: Why I’m Torching the Color Line A

    You’re not supposed to go on the Internet when you’re cast as a superhero. But after taking on Johnny Storm in Fantastic Four—a character originally written with blond hair and blue eyes—I wanted to check the pulse out there. I didn’t want to be ignorant about what people were saying. Turns out this is what they were saying: “A black guy? I don’t like it. They must be doing it because Obama’s president” and “It’s not true to the comic.” Or even, “They’ve destroyed it!”

    It used to bother me, but it doesn’t anymore. I can see everybody’s perspective, and I know I can’t ask the audience to forget 50 years of comic books. But the world is a little more diverse in 2015 than when the Fantastic Four comic first came out in 1961. Plus, if Stan Lee writes an email to my director saying, “You’re good. I’m okay with this,” who am I to go against that?

    Some people may look at my casting as political correctness or an attempt to meet a racial quota, or as part of the year of “Black Film.” Or they could look at it as a creative choice by the director, Josh Trank, who is in an interracial relationship himself—a reflection of what a modern family looks like today.

    This is a family movie about four friends—two of whom are myself and Kate Mara as my adopted sister—who are brought together by a series of unfortunate events to create unity and a team. That’s the message of the movie, if people can just allow themselves to see it.

    Sometimes you have to be the person who stands up and says, “I’ll be the one to shoulder all this hate. I’ll take the brunt for the next couple of generations.” I put that responsibility on myself. People are always going to see each other in terms of race, but maybe in the future we won’t talk about it as much. Maybe, if I set an example, Hollywood will start considering more people of color in other prominent roles, and maybe we can reach the people who are stuck in the mindset that “it has to be true to the comic book.” Or maybe we have to reach past them.

    To the trolls on the Internet, I want to say: Get your head out of the computer. Go outside and walk around. Look at the people walking next to you. Look at your friends’ friends and who they’re interacting with. And just understand this is the world we live in. It’s okay to like it.

  171. rq says

    Moderation on purpose, lots of stuff to go through tomorrow:
    NAACP announces Operation Bike Week Justice. If you meet unfair treatment during #BlackBikeWeek, call (888) 362-8683.

    Today in 1863, U.S. Bureau of Colored Troops is created-allowing more than 170K free blacks & freedmen to join army.

    This is your brain on Whiteness: The invisible psychology of white American ignorance explained

    Earlier this week, outlaw motorcycle clubs engaged in a daylight gun battle in Waco, Texas. This combat involved hundreds of people. The mall where the riot occurred was left resembling a war zone, with hundreds of spent bullet cartridges strewn about, broken bodies everywhere, and police and other local municipal services overwhelmed. By the end of melee, nine outlaws were dead, 18 wounded, and at least 165 people were arrested; 120 guns were recovered at the crime scene.

    In late April and early May, African-American young people protested the killing of Freddie Gray by the Baltimore police. Those peaceful protests escalated into a local uprising against the police. This was neither random nor unprovoked: The Baltimore uprising was a response to the long-simmering upset and righteous anger about poverty, racism, civil rights violations, and abuse by the police. No one was killed during the Baltimore protests or subsequent uprising.

    The gun battle chaos in Waco was a result of rivalries between outlaw motorcycle clubs, in competition with one another for the profits from drug and gun traffic, various protection rackets, and other criminal enterprises. The Baltimore uprising was a reaction to social, economic, racial, and political injustice; a desperate plea for justice in an era of police brutality and white-on-black murder by the state.

    The participants in the Waco, Texas gun battle were almost exclusively white. The participants in the Baltimore Uprising were almost all black. Quite predictably, the corporate news media’s narrative frame for those events was heavily influenced by race. News coverage of these two events has stretched the bounds of credulity by engaging in all manner of mental gymnastics in order to describe the killings, mayhem, and gun battle in Waco as anything other than a “riot.”

    As writers such as Salon’s own Jenny Kutner keenly observed:

    I use the terms “shootout” and “gunfire erupted” after reading numerous eyewitness reports, local news coverage and national stories about the “incident,” which has been described with a whole host of phrases already. None, however, are quite as familiar as another term that’s been used to describe similarly chaotic events in the news of late: “Riot.”

    Of course, the deadly shootout in Texas was exactly that: A shootout. The rival gangs were not engaged in a demonstration or protest and they were predominantly white, which means that — despite the fact that dozens of people engaged in acts of obscene violence — they did not “riot,” as far as much of the media is concerned. “Riots” are reserved for communities of color in protest, whether they organize violently or not, and the “thuggishness” of those involved is debatable. That doesn’t seem to be the case in Texas.

    The dominant corporate news media have used the Baltimore uprising and other similar events to attack Black America’s character, values, and culture. The argument is clear: The events in Waco were committed by white men who happen to be criminals; the Baltimore uprising was committed by black people who, because of their “race” and “culture,” are inherently criminal.

    Racial bias in news reporting has been repeatedly documented by scholars in media studies, critical race theory, political science, and sociology. As anti-racism activist Jane Elliot incisively observed, “People of color can’t even turn on the televisions in their own homes without being exposed to white racism.” The centuries of racism, and resulting stereotypes about the inherent criminality of Black Americans, are central to why the events in Waco and Baltimore have received such divergent news coverage. […]

    In a society like the United States, one that is structured around maintaining white (and male) privilege, a type of logic is created where some groups and individuals are deemed to be more valuable and privileged than others.

    Language, as a way to describe the world around us, is pivotal in this process; it locates a given person relative to others, describes relationships, and both acknowledges and reinforces differences in power. Language also evolves. It is not fixed. And it reveals a great deal about changing norms about identity. As such, language is inherently political.

    In America’s public discourse, the knee-jerk and instinctive move to refer to black people as “thugs”, and the parallel impulse to resist any such marking of white individuals with the same language, is a function of how the “I” and the “ego” are structured in a race-stratified society. Thus, the divergence in language used by the corporate new media to frame and discuss the events in Waco may actually reveal much more about how white Americans see themselves than it does about people of color, and black youth in particular.

    White racial logic demands that whites and blacks engaged in the same behavior are often described using different language. (White people have a “fracas,” while black people “riot”; during Hurricane Katrina white people were “finding food,” while black people were “looting.”)

    In the post civil rights era, White racial logic also tries to immunize and protect individual white folks from critical self-reflection about their egos and personal relationships to systems of unjust and unearned advantage by deploying a few familiar rhetorical strategies, such as “Not all white people,” “We need to talk about class not race,” or similarly hollow and intellectual vapid and banal claims about “reverse racism.” Ego, language, and cognition intersect in the belief that Whiteness is inherently benign and innocent.

    Whiteness is many things. It is a type of property, privilege, “invisibility,” and “normality.” Whiteness also pays a type of psychological wage to its owners and beneficiaries. While its relative material value may be declining in an age of neoliberalism and globalization, the psychological wage wherein Whiteness is imagined as good and innocent, and those who identify themselves as “white” believe themselves to be inherently just and decent, still remains in force. One of the most important psychological wages of Whiteness remains how white folks can imagine themselves as the preeminent individual, the universal “I” and “We,” while benefitting from the unearned advantages that come with white privilege as a type of group advantage.

    Non-whites in the United States, and the West more broadly, do not have the luxury of being individuals. If a “Black” person commits a crime, it is somehow a reflection of the criminality of Black people en masse. Similarly, when a person who happens to be marked as “Arab” or “Muslim” commits an act of political violence, an obligatory conversation on the relationship between “terrorism” and the “Muslim community” ensues.

    However, white folks can commit all manner of murder and mayhem, and there is no national conversation about the meanings of “Whiteness” or of “White America’s” particular problems. In many ways, being white is the ultimate marker of radical autonomy and freedom: Its members rarely feel the obligation — nor are they made to by the media or the state — to be held accountable for each other’s behavior.

    So it is that white people who do “bad” things are “bad” individuals; while black and brown people who do “bad” things are representative of a type of collective or group problem and pathology.

    During those rare public moments of intervention, when the particular problems and pathologies of White America are discussed white denial is immediately deployed as a type of defense shield (the response to any rigorous or critical discussion(s) of Whiteness and white privilege is especially toxic and hostile from white conservatives). Ultimately, white denial is the immune system of a white body politic that is averse to critical self-reflection about its own poor behavior and shortcomings. […]

    Against all of these examples of malfeasance, black people must be deemed thugs who uniquely “riot” and constitute a natural “criminal class” for the many lies of Whiteness to solidly cohere. The cognitive mapping, language, and sense of ego that support a belief in the inherent goodness and nobility of Whiteness cannot withstand rigorous and critical self-examination.

    The contradictions in how Black Americans and other people of color are discussed by the mainstream media, as compared to white folks, are glaring and obvious for those who choose to see them. Those who choose to speak truth to power about white supremacy, white privilege, and white racism are forcing White America to confront what the latter has by choice deemed as somehow illegible and unseen. To force White America to realize that, yes, it too has a criminal class of people, is pathological, and neither inherently noble nor benign, is a type of ideologically disruptive moment that has and will continue to be met with rage, anger, denial, and dismissal.

    Why? Because such observations and facts are too challenging for many white individuals to process, because they have been socialized by a society that deems them better than the Other by virtue of belonging to a semi-exclusive club of people who are categorized as being members of the “white race.”

    But white denial does not make the aforementioned facts any less true.

    When white folks, whether among the pundit classes, or in day-to-day interactions, are confronted with the gross contradictions of their language — why black people in Baltimore are called “thugs,” while white outlaw bikers who kill people somehow did not engage in a “riot” — they may appear confused, frustrated, or perhaps even willfully stupid as they try to evade and explain the distinction between the two examples.

    I have come to the conclusion that many white folks are legitimately confused when confronted by such examples, that their inability to process this data is sincere; those who have not disowned their Whiteness and white privilege are unable on a cognitive level to process many aspects of empirical reality. Units of speech such as “white crime,” “white pathology,” and “white thugs” have no meaning in the cognitive schema and conceptual grid of Whiteness.

    Such concepts “do not compute.”

    As great American thinkers such as Martin Luther King Jr., W.E.B. Du Bois, and others have suggested, Whiteness and white privilege have damaged the cognitive, intellectual, ethical and moral processes of White America (as distinct from any given white person). The challenge thus becomes: Is it possible to help those white individuals who are still loyal to Whiteness and White racial logic, to see the world as it actually is, and to transcend the White Gaze?

    One of the existential questions that have repeatedly confronted Black America is: “what does it feel like to be a problem?”

    White America needs to begin to ask itself the same question.

    A truly excellent article.

    #SayHerName National Day of Action for Black Women and Girls, a storify with pictures.

    Showing racists that the #BlackWomenMatter nude protest has origins in Africa only makes them angrier. 2 birds, 1 stone, so to speak.

    This evening the Family of #TyroneWest will gather at NE BPD for a vigil, where the #KillerCops remain on active duty

    And some things for the calendar, Black Chicago 2015 Summer Events

    The Summer Solstice is just round the corner and that’s when Chicago comes alive. Summer in Chicago offers an array of festivals, concerts, events, parties, and outings in every neighborhood. Here’s my list for Summer 2015 hot happenings that showcase the diverse array of ethnicity, heritage, and culture of my city. Grab your red cups and get ready for more amazing advertures in #SummerTimeChi!

    The list will be updated throughout the summer so bookmark this page and check back often for updates. And make sure to scroll to the bottom to check out the list of events throughout the summer.

  172. Pteryxx says

    Fusion: How racist housing laws are keeping New Orleans white

    An estimated 228,000 occupied housing units were flooded after Hurricane Katrina- accounting for more than 45% of all available housing. When President Bush came to New Orleans in September 2005 and addressed the nation, he claimed the goal and hope of rebuilding efforts was to rebuild New Orleans for all residents interested in returning. Contrary to this rhetoric, the rebuilding of the New Orleans area post-Katrina was a tool used to further entrench systematic segregation and discrimination. In 2007, nearly two years after the storm hit, the Census Bureau estimated the city’s population represented approximately 63% of the pre-hurricane total of 455,046, suggesting more than a third of the pre-hurricane residents of New Orleans had not returned to the city. Those who returned first were overwhelmingly white, wealthier and without children. But this was not an accident or coincidence.

    In 2005, Republican Congressman Richard Baker from Baton Rouge captured the opinions of housing policy makers by jubilantly declaring, “We finally cleaned up public housing in New Orleans. We couldn’t do it, but God did.” While Baker maintains his comments were misunderstood (he said the comments were about improving the conditions for residents), the opportunity to remake New Orleans in a whiter image proved to be irresistible. No one enacted a direct ban to keep poor, black residents from returning – instead, decision-makers stealthily leveraged zoning laws that excluded minority groups from desirable neighborhoods with better services and amenities. By restricting pre-fabricated housing and multifamily dwellings – particularly public housing projects – and increasing the cost of single-family residences, housing discrimination diminishes the options of many minority households and contributes to continuing intergroup disparities in income, home ownership, wealth, education and employment.

    On September 29, 2006, just thirteen months after Katrina, St. Bernard Parish (county) passed the infamous “blood relative” ordinance. This novel discriminatory tool restricted home rentals to blood relatives of the owners defined as “within the first, second or third direct ascending or descending generations.” To rent to anyone else, landlords would need to obtain a Permissive Use Permit from the St. Bernard Parish Council. Violators of the ordinance, including both lessors and lessees, were subject to criminal prosecution and civil penalties, including a misdemeanor charge, a fine of between $50 and $250 per day for each day they were in violation of the ordinance, and a civil penalty of $100 per day for each day of unpermitted rental, plus administrative costs, court costs and attorney fees for investigation and prosecution of the civil matter. Clearly, the Parish Council wanted this law to stick.

    The council justified the ordinance citing the “need to maintain the integrity and stability of established neighborhoods.” Since roughly 93% of St. Bernard’s housing units were owned by Caucasians at the time, the practical effect of the blood-relative ordinance was to make single-family rentals unavailable to non-whites. This and the many other barriers to entry erected by St. Bernard Parish Council seem not merely designed to preserve the racial and socioeconomic homogeneity that pre-existed Katrina, but even to reduce the number of ethnic minorities in the Parish.

    […]

    The failure to enforce fair housing laws alongside other governmental issues left minority residents of affected areas trapped in unsafe dwellings with no other housing alternatives immediately following the storm which lead to unnecessary deaths. But even after escaping Katrina, African-American residents found a much tougher path to return than white residents. A 2006 National Fair Housing Alliance study showed a 66% rate of discrimination against African‐American hurricane evacuees resulting in a systematic failure to provide African-American residents with information about available apartments – or even to return their phone calls.

    Even federally mandated programs to increase low-income and affordable housing were legislated against after the hurricane.

    On October 18, 2006, councilman Christopher L. Roberts sponsored a resolution making it clear to agencies charged with overseeing the housing recovery post-Katrina that Jefferson Parish objected to any applications by developers to build apartment complexes or single-family homes in the cities of Gretna or Terrytown using low income housing tax credits. Council members unanimously approved this district-specific measure without discussion. This ordinance, banning housing programs that serve low-income households, effectively excluded a disproportionate number of poor minority households from living in this area. People with disabilities, African Americans, Latinos and low income families disproportionately rely on multi-family housing. Thus, the parish’s resolution may have an illegal, discriminatory effect on these populations.

    Despite the councilmen’s resolution, one housing project succeeded in obtaining tax credits from the state. The Council then succeeded, via surprise resolution, in imposing an 18-month land use study that would halt development on the site while the Parish considered changing the zoning of the site from multi-family to single-family residential. This zoning change resulted in Volunteers of America’s decision to abandon the project.

    attn dot com: Why Protestors Turn Violent or, summarized by BB: Why do we support Katniss but not Baltimore protestors?

    When you saw “The Hunger Games,” who did you root for? Katniss and her beleaguered community? Or people in the Capitol wearing pink eyelashes and obliviously eating until they vomited, while the people in other districts starved? I’m going to assume the former, because the movie makes it clear. The government is oppressing the people in District Twelve, and we are supposed to cheer for them as they attempt to overthrow an unfair structure.

    OK, next question: When you saw the protests in Baltimore, who did you feel for? Because if you looked down on the protestors for disturbing the peace, break out the rainbow wigs and sparkle mascara because you might be from the Capitol.

    Much more about systemic oppressions, from birth through school to adulthood, and demolishing the excuses given for not caring.

    The uprising in Baltimore is ultimately a response to racism. To suggest otherwise is victim blaming. And just like we have learned not to blame the woman in the cute outfit for her rape or the wife for her husband’s choice to beat her, eventually we will learn to stop blaming Black people for the decades of systemic oppression they have suffered at the hands of the American government. Black people did not enslave themselves, make themselves sharecroppers, redline themselves into poor neighborhoods and then systematically pull funding, investment, and services from those neighborhoods. Black people did not segregate themselves into bad schools and then pull funding from those schools, and they did not create legal loopholes like stand your ground laws to make it easy for law enforcement officers and citizens alike to escape punishment for murder. Black people did not create racism. And Black people’s response to that abuse will never be an adequate reason for why it happened. The reason is white supremacy, and until we have eradicated it from our country there will continue to be uprisings like this one. Because whether or not you have found empathy for Black people, we are human. And you can only push a human being so far before something breaks. And I think we have proven, that what breaks will not be our spirit.

    Ignorance is no longer an excuse. The Internet is full of articles about wealth and opportunity disparities found in the United States. The only question left to ask yourself is, are you so invested in the status quo that you will look down on the people who are suffering the most? Or will you have at least as much empathy for them as you would a character in a movie?

  173. Pteryxx says

    Truth-Out interviewing Matt Taibbi about Baltimore, regarding an article so new that it isn’t yet available on Rolling Stone’s site: Matt Taibbi on Baltimore, Freddie Gray and How Legal System Covers Up Police Violence

    AMY GOODMAN: Baltimore is the focus of Matt Taibbi’s latest article in Rolling Stone. It’s headlined “Why Baltimore Blew Up: It Wasn’t Just the Killing of Freddie Gray – Inside the Complex Legal Infrastructure That Encourages and Covers Up Police Violence.”

    So, take us inside that, Matt. In fact, you’re writing a book on this subject right now.

    MATT TAIBBI: Yeah, yeah. I mean, I first came onto the subject because of the other subject we were just talking about. I was – I had been writing a lot about why people from Wall Street don’t go to jail, and I was interested in who does go to jail in this country, and I wanted to make that comparison. And in doing so, I had to learn a lot about community policing, stop and frisk, you know, what they call zero-tolerance policing tactics.

    And a lot of that, I think, is behind the anger that we’re seeing spill out in places like Ferguson and Baltimore, because these new modern policing strategies that we’ve instituted in the last couple of decades, most famously beginning here in New York with Rudy Giuliani and Bill Bratton, you know, the “broken windows” theory – what happens with these policing strategies is that it forces police to go out into neighborhoods and do what one police officer described to me as self-initiated contacts. In other words, you have a different neighborhood, you have the affluent white neighborhood, where police only showed up – show up when they’re called. You know, if somebody falls out of a window, somebody shoots a gun in a building, they’re going to show up. But in Bed-Stuy or in the South Bronx, police are getting out of their squad cars, they’re stopping people on the street, they’re questioning them, they’re patting them down, and it creates this endless stream of hostile interactions that over time become more – that creates more and more animosity and more and more room for corruption of the process. And I think that is definitely the background for what we see in places like Baltimore.

    […]

    NERMEEN SHAIKH: Well, you talk in your piece about a number of the people who have been subjected to these policies. Could you say what happened, in particular, the story that you conclude with, Makia Smith?

    MATT TAIBBI: Yeah.

    NERMEEN SHAIKH: The mother, and how she was – what happened to her?

    MATT TAIBBI: So, Makia is – she was driving back from a Wendy’s. She had her two-year-old in the back of her car. And she saw police arresting somebody, and among other things, she saw them putting their knees on the person’s head, a young African-American man. She got out of her car and started to film the incident, and because of her getting out of the car and filming, the police got upset. They focused their attention on her. They dragged her out of her car by her hair. They eventually arrested her. They took her away to jail. And they left her baby in the back of the car. She ended up having to get a stranger at the side of the road to take the baby. And she was, you know, calling out her mother’s cellphone number, so that the stranger and the mother could connect.

    A jury found the police, in the civil case, not negligent in that instance. But it’s the kind of thing – I mean, you know, when I talked to her, she said her whole conception of the police, the government, everything changed after that incident. I mean, it’s going to be changed forever now. She says she will never call the police, you know, for any reason. And I think that’s what goes on a lot in these neighborhoods, is that people have a bad experience, it colors their perception of law enforcement and the government forever, and then when something like Freddie Gray happens, it gets people worked up into a frenzy, that is totally understandable.

    Looking forward to that article in its entirety.

  174. Pteryxx says

    Starkly animated music video just turned up on Cartoon Network: “Early” by Run The Jewels (youtube link)

    It be feelin’ like the life that I’m living man, I don’t control
    Cause every day I’m in a fight for my soul
    All hands below, high seas in a rickety boat
    Smoke o’s, so the kid might cope
    You want cash or hope, no clash, matter fact get both
    Go without get turnt to ghosts
    You know that’s the law, deal done by the shake of claws
    It ain’t a game if the shit don’t pause
    And I find you odd, so convinced in the truth of y’all
    That the true truth’s truly gone

  175. rq says

    Here’s two Canadian media on the Freddie Gray indictment:
    Freddie Gray: Grand jury indicts 6 officers in police-custody death (CBC);
    Grand jury indicts six officers in police-custody death of Baltimore’s Freddie Gray, prosecutor says (Toronto Star).

    And the CBC on Cleveland and Brelo:
    Cleveland officer Michael Brelo not guilty in deaths of 2 unarmed suspects

    Judge John O’Donnell said Officer Michael Brelo, 31, acted reasonably in shooting the two suspects while standing on the hood of their car and firing through the windshield after it was surrounded. Brelo was also found not guilty of aggravated assault in the case.

    I am sick. More:

    “Brelo was acting in conditions difficult for even experienced officers to imagine,” O’Donnell said during the roughly hour-long reading of the verdict.

    “He was in a strange place at night surrounded by gunfire, sirens and flashing bulbs. Brelo did not fire too quickly or at a person who was clearly unarmed or unable to run him over. He did not fire at somebody running away,” he added.

    Really sick.

    Michael Brelo acquittal sparks protests in Cleveland

    Police in riot gear made more than a dozen arrests as crowds protested the acquittal of a white Ohio patrolman who fired through the windshield of a suspect’s car at the end of a 137-shot barrage that killed the two unarmed black occupants.

    A judge said Saturday that he could not determine the officer alone fired the fatal shots.

    Michael Brelo, 31, put his head in his hands as the judge issued the verdict. Angry, but mostly orderly, protests followed. Some held a mock funeral, carrying signs asking, “Will I be next?”
    […]

    Prosecutors argued they were alive until Brelo’s final shots, but medical examiners for both sides testified they could not determine the order in which the deadly shots were fired.

    Russell’s sister, Michelle Russell, said she believed Brelo would ultimately face justice.

    “He’s not going to dodge this just because he was acquitted,” she said. “God will have the final say.”

    Authorities never learned why Russell didn’t stop the car. He had a criminal record including convictions for receiving stolen property and robbery. Williams had convictions for drug-related charges and attempted abduction. Both were described as homeless. A crack pipe was found in the car.

    In a case of answering their own questions, there in that last paragraph… More:

    Brelo could have been convicted of lesser charges, but O’Donnell determined his actions were justified following the chase, which included reports of shots fired from Russell’s car, because officers perceived a threat.

    Brelo’s lead attorney, Patrick D’Angelo, said Brelo had been unfairly prosecuted, saying he had risked his life in the incident.

    Brelo has been on unpaid leave since he was indicted last May. Police Chief Calvin Williams said it will continue during disciplinary reviews for him and the other 12 officers.

    And Cleveland expects people to trust the PD now, yes? Trust the justice system, trust law enforcement to be fair and unprejudiced? What a laugh. What a sick, disgusting laugh.

    Here’s some audio that won’t open for me right now, but could be interesting: Former cop builds database on fatal US police shootings. I’m not sure which former cop is being discussed as all media is blocked at work, but I know of an activist who is also building such a database, and I wonder if there’s any collaboration there or if it is the same person. Anyway. Funny how the authoritehs themselves aren’t doing it, neh? Funny.

  176. Pteryxx says

    ugh…

    “[Officer] Brelo was acting in conditions difficult for even experienced officers to imagine,” [Judge] O’Donnell said during the roughly hour-long reading of the verdict.

    “He was in a strange place at night surrounded by gunfire, sirens and flashing bulbs. Brelo did not fire too quickly or at a person who was clearly unarmed or unable to run him over. He did not fire at somebody running away,” he added.

    Russell and Williams were surrounded by gunfire, sirens and flashing bulbs, too, and neither did they fire at clearly unarmed or fleeing persons who posed them no threat. They didn’t fire at all, being unarmed, and by this point had been shot by something like a dozen bullets each. All because of a huge car chase involving 60 police cruisers, because Russell’s car backfired near police headquarters. (Source)

    The judge said in his ruling that he wouldn’t “sacrifice” Brelo to the wave of anti-police sentiment that has swept across the nation in the wake of other police in-custody deaths.

    …No words.

    Four of the 23 gunshot wounds to Russell and seven of Williams’s 24 wounds were believed to have been fatal. O’Donnell said that while testimony showed Brelo fired some of the fatal shots, other officers fired kill shots as well.

    A grand jury charged five police supervisors with misdemeanour dereliction of duty for failing to control the chase. All five have pleaded not guilty and no trial date has been set.

    Prosecutors had argued that when Brelo stood on the hood of the Malibu that he meant to kill Russell and Williams instead of containing a threat to his and other officers’ lives. O’Donnell ruled that even the last 15 shots were justified based on Brelo’s belief that someone inside the car had fired at police at the beginning, middle and end of the chase.

    “Officer Brelo risked his life on that night,” Brelo’s lead attorney, Patrick D’Angelo, said after the verdict.

    Yeah, he risked his life. He might’ve been killed in a car crash during that 60-cruiser chase, or he might have been struck by friendly fire among those 88 shots fired that weren’t the 49 he fired himself. Because an entire swarm of police officers (a murder? an adjudication?) had bang-bang noises in their ears and assumed they must be coming from the hands of two black people in a car.

    Tamir Rice was shot to death in this same neighborhood.

    A larger protest of around 200 people gathered at noon near where Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Tim McGinty lives. Both protests later merged at a recreation centre where 12-year-old Tamir Rice was killed by a rookie patrol officer last November. While that demonstration became boisterous, with Eugene Rice angrily calling for justice for his grandson, it remained peaceful.

    An investigation into the Tamir Rice shooting is nearly complete and will be given to the prosecutor’s office to decide whether to pursue criminal charges.

    Alicia Kirkman, 47, of Cleveland, said she joined the march in honour of her son, killed in a police shooting eight years ago.

    “I’m just so mad we never get justice from any of the police killings,” said Kirkman, who said she settled with the city after her son’s death but no charges were filed.

  177. Pteryxx says

    Pardon, link in my #195 there is the same rq is quoting in #194.

    rq, that CBC link that won’t open for you: CBC Radio

    Eric Garner, of Staten Island.

    Tamir Rice, of Cleveland.

    Michael Brown, of Ferguson.

    Those are some of the names we know. Unarmed, African-American men, shot dead by police officers. They are deaths that have made “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot” an all-too-common refrain across the United States this past year.

    And last month, Freddie Gray’s name joined that list, in Baltimore.

    But if you were listening to our documentary, “Screaming In The Dark” on yesterday’s program, then you know there are also lesser-known names… such as Tyrone West. He also died in Baltimore… two years ago, after resisting arrest. His family is still fighting for accountability today.

    All these cases have raised some troubling questions about just how often police kill people in the line of duty, and what it takes for those officers to face criminal charges. But the answers are surprisingly difficult to come by.

    Philip Stinson is trying to change that. He’s a former police officer who is now a criminologist at Bowling Green State University. He has compiled what many people believe is the most comprehensive data set about police shootings in the United States. Philip Stinson was in Perrysburg, Ohio.

    Philip Stinson’s site at Bowling Green State U: Police Integrity Lost: A Study of Law Enforcement Officers Arrested

    Bowling Green State University has been awarded a National Institute of Justice Grant to conduct a research study on police officers who are arrested for committing crimes.

    The grant funds the work of criminal justice faculty members Dr. Philip Stinson, principal investigator, and co-investigators Drs. John Liederbach and Steven Lab.

    They are studying the arrest records of on- and off-duty police officers by reviewing archived news articles and records from 2005 to 2011 in an effort to develop the first national profile of police integrity. Additionally, they are using federal court records to investigate the connection between police crime and other forms of police misconduct.

    Interview with Stinson at Five Thirty-Eight: An Ex-Cop Keeps The Country’s Best Data Set On Police Misconduct

    When Talking Points Memo, The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post needed data on how often police officers are charged with on-duty killings, they all turned to the same guy: Bowling Green State University criminologist Philip M. Stinson.

    Stinson, 50, has become an indispensable source for researchers and reporters looking into alleged crimes and acts of violence by police officers because he has built a database tracking thousands of incidents in which officers were arrested since 2005. His data has shown that even the few police officers who are arrested for drunken driving are rarely convicted and that arrests spike for cops who have been on the force 18 years or longer, contrary to prior research showing it was mostly new officers who were acting out.

    […]

    CB: Many who quote your stats use them to make larger points: Too many police officers break the law, or too few are punished for it, or police are too violent with citizens, or are biased against black people. Do you have a larger view based on the data you’ve collected?

    PS: What we’ve seen is that courts are just very reluctant to convict cops who are charged with crimes. We see some interesting patterns with that. So juries, and even judges in bench trials, are not comfortable for prosecutors to prosecute cases.

    We do look a lot at what gets them arrested, what gets them convicted or not convicted, and what gets them to lose their job. Two things that have come out that have just sort of blown me away:

    1) Many cops are arrested for crimes that are serious and don’t lose their jobs. We have cops who were arrested in 2005 or 2006, and we’re startled to see they are still a cop — maybe still with the same agency, maybe not. That just blows me away. John Lewis in Schenectady, [New York,] is one example.

    2) The other is, from prior research, it looked like if cops get in trouble, it will be early in their careers. What we found is that almost 20 percent of these cases involve officers with at least 18 years of experience.3

    CB: The Washington Post investigation you contributed to found that in the last decade, just 54 officers were charged with fatally shooting someone while on duty. One open question is, what’s the denominator? How many people do you think police have killed overall in that time?

    PS: I think it’s such a huge number. I don’t know how you could manage it. How do you verify it? We can at least go back and get the court records [for officer arrests]. It’s an impossible thing to do all of that [for the cases in which no one was charged].4

    But we do have this file, that’s getting bigger, where we put articles that we come across where we’re just convinced they’re going to arrest the officer but they don’t. And the file just keeps growing. And we kind of scratch our heads. How does that happen?

    That previous CBC Radio episode, Screaming in the Dark: Police brutality far from over in Baltimore, meet Tyrone West

    This documentary from Baltimore is produced by The Current’s Pacinthe Mattar. It is called “Screaming in the Dark.”

    Joan Webber is The Current’s documentary editor.

    Video at the link.

  178. Pteryxx says

    Philip Stinson’s research site also has numerous sidebar links to articles featuring or arising from the arrested-police database. For example:

    Boston Globe: Heavy Toll, Light Penalties for Police who Drive Drunk

    Simpkins is one of at least 30 Massachusetts law enforcement officials who have been charged with drunken driving while off-duty since the start of 2012, a Globe review has found. The crashes collectively killed three people and injured more than a half-dozen others.

    Though some officers resigned or were placed on unpaid leave after the charges, a majority kept their jobs, sometimes after a short suspension.

    ‘[It is] customary practice when a stop is made on a fellow police officer . . . [to] not call in the stop.’ — Massachusetts Civil Service Commission report

    The drunken driving tally is almost certainly low because not every arrest is widely reported and officers sometimes let their peers off the hook, a practice known as “professional courtesy.” Massachusetts police departments have launched internal reviews at least four times in the last three years after learning that an officer or former officer was accused of drunken driving but was not arrested.

    The Globe also found the vast majority of officers, like Simpkins, refused to take a breath test, making it harder to prosecute them criminally for drunken driving. And departments frequently went out of their way to accommodate them — keeping officers on the payroll even after they temporarily lost their licenses for refusing the test and could no longer do their regular duties.

    and this research abstract from Police Chief Magazine: Research in Brief: Officer-Involved Domestic Violence

    The problem of violence within police families—commonly referred to as officer-involved domestic violence (OIDV)—has been recognized as an important issue. The International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) promulgated a model policy on OIDV in 1999 and a revised policy in 2003. The IACP characterized OIDV as a problem that exists at some serious level and deserves attention.1 There are no comprehensive statistics on OIDV.

    The purpose of the research is to provide data on violence within police families. Our research identifies incidents in which police were arrested for criminal offenses associated with an incident of violence within the family, domestic violence, or both.2 Our primary goal is to provide information on actual OIDV cases to further initiatives designed to mitigate the problem.

    […]

    Findings

    The study identified 324 cases in which police were arrested for a criminal offense associated with an OIDV. The cases involved the arrest of 281 officers employed by 226 police agencies. Most of the cases involved a male officer (96 percent) employed in a patrol or other street-level function (86.7 percent). There were 43 supervisory officers arrested for an OIDV-related offense.

    One-third of the OIDV victims were the current spouse of the arrested officer. Close to one-fourth of the victims were children, including a child or a stepchild of the officer or children who were unrelated to the arrested officer. There were 16 victims who also were police officers. Simple assault was the most serious offense charged in roughly 40 percent of the cases, followed by aggravated assault (20.1 percent), forcible rape (9.9 percent), intimidation (7.1 percent), murder/non-negligent manslaughter (4.6 percent), and forcible fondling (3.7 percent).

    Data on final organizational outcomes were available for 233 of the cases. About one-third of those cases involved officers who were separated from their jobs either through resignation or termination. The majority of cases in which the final employment outcome was known resulted in a suspension without job separation (n = 152). Of those cases where there was a conviction on at least one offense charged, officers are known to have lost their jobs through either termination or resignation in less than half of those cases (n = 52).

    More than one-fifth of the OIDV cases involved an officer who had also been named individually as a party defendant in at least one federal court civil action for depravation of civil rights under color of law pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §1983 at some point during their law enforcement careers.

    Actionable Items

    1. Persons convicted of a qualifying misdemeanor crime of domestic violence are prohibited from possessing any firearm or ammunition pursuant to the Lautenberg Amendment (1996). There are, however, no effective processes to record, track, or verify domestic violence convictions, especially in regard to incomplete records and the lack of integration among local, state, and federal databases. Policy makers need to work to develop initiatives to document and track convictions pursuant to the goals of the Lautenberg Amendment. Police executives should collaborate with prosecutors and judges to ensure that information demonstrating the use or the attempted use of physical force or threatened use of a deadly weapon is reflected in the charging document, any plea agreements, and the final court records of OIDV cases.

    2. The study demonstrates how some officers escape appropriate penalties because of loopholes, preferential charges, and organizational failures to adequately punish convicted officers. Police executives should be cognizant of the potential for preferential charges in cases of OIDV that mitigate provisions in federal law designed to identify and sanction police convicted of a domestic violence offense. As such, chiefs must ensure that disciplinary proceedings involving officers convicted of violence within the family, domestic violence, or both are consistent with federal law and the IACP’s model policy on OIDV.

    3. The finding that roughly one in five of the officers identified in our research also were named as defendants in civil rights lawsuits may indicate the need to include information on OIDV arrests among other performance indicators presently used in these systems or at least the need for further scrutiny of the relationship between the perpetration of family violence and other forms of police misconduct.

  179. rq says

    Wow, Pteryxx, thank you so much for that follow-up!
    Well, he’s not the same person as the activist I know putting together a police brutality database, perhaps they should discuss.
    @195 Yeah, it just makes me sick. Justified. Seriously, he got up on the hood of that car after about a 100 shots had already been fired. (a) He put himself in danger (cross-fire, anyone?) and (b) what is the point, considering the circumstances? He committed first an act of absolute stupidity (jumping into a clearly visible and open position during a barrage of gunfire), then an act of absolute malice (firing through the windshield at two most-likely-probably-already-injured people who were in a defenseless position). As you say, not enough words for the reaction I have to that. Justified. *spits* Well, fuck. I haven’t been through my twitter feed yet from just before the verdict and on (work), but I’m sort of dreading the reactions there…
    And I wonder how they’re going to justify Tamir Rice’s murder. :(

  180. Pteryxx says

    rq, thank *you* for doing so much collecting and posting so I even have an idea where to focus my instances of in-depth digging. I’m also trying to follow up on Tyrone West from that CBC piece, but at some point I do have to eat. <_<

    It's increasingly obvious that police in a situation don't have any idea what is or is not real gunfire, or whether it's coming from a suspect, third party, or their own or colleagues' weapons. (Nor do they much care, because black people.) It ties into the discussion about random bystanders with guns not knowing who instigated a shooting, or being mistaken for shooters themselves if they pull out their own weapons to try and help. And the more common guns become among *everyone* in the vicinity of people interacting, the more potential for *any* situation to escalate from harmless to perceived-as-life-threatening to actually life-threatening. Car backfires? OMGWHATIFIT’SASHOOTING *grabs own handgun* *threatening gesture achieved*…

    But “understandable” (in the sense of a cognitive fallacy) as that confusion might seem, overkill of bullets just doesn’t seem to happen to white suspects, even armed ones. I think there was an article at the Grio or Colorlines about how black victims shot dead by police tend to get hit by 8 or 14 or 20 bullets, while white victims get hit by 2 or 3. Somewhere in there, police just need to fire that many more bullets before they can feel their lives are no longer in danger from a black victim.

    So Officer Brelo bravely leaped up onto that car hood smoking-gun first as if Russell and Wilson were some sort of armor plated velociraptors instead of terrified, bleeding, possibly semiconscious human beings who’d just been chased down and shot at by half the police force of Ohio because their car backfired. If even one of those cops had the impulse to check whether their targets were no longer a threat, they were too slow, because Brave Officer Brelo got to them first.

  181. Pteryxx says

    Greta Christina being awesome at Alternet: 7 Things People Who Say They’re ‘Fiscally Conservative But Socially Liberal’ Don’t Understand (and at her blog)

    “Well, I’m conservative, but I’m not one of those racist, homophobic, dripping-with-hate Tea Party bigots! I’m pro-choice! I’m pro-same-sex-marriage! I’m not a racist! I just want lower taxes, and smaller government, and less government regulation of business. I’m fiscally conservative, and socially liberal.”

    How many liberals and progressives have heard this? It’s ridiculously common. Hell, even David Koch of the Koch brothers has said, “I’m a conservative on economic matters and I’m a social liberal.”

    And it’s wrong. W-R-O-N-G Wrong.

    You can’t separate fiscal issues from social issues. They’re deeply intertwined. They affect each other. Economic issues often are social issues. And conservative fiscal policies do enormous social harm. That’s true even for the mildest, most generous version of “fiscal conservatism” — low taxes, small government, reduced regulation, a free market. These policies perpetuate human rights abuses. They make life harder for people who already have hard lives. Even if the people supporting these policies don’t intend this, the policies are racist, sexist, classist (obviously), ableist, homophobic, transphobic, and otherwise socially retrograde. In many ways, they do more harm than so-called “social policies” that are supposedly separate from economic ones. Here are seven reasons that “fiscally conservative, socially liberal” is nonsense.

    Typically brilliant, hard-hitting writing with tons of references, including many I haven’t seen before, such as this one at IFL Science: Deprivation And Poverty Leave Visible Marks On The Brain

    Gabrieli led a team that used MRI machines to study the brains of 23 students from lower income families and 35 raised with more wealth. All were aged 12 or 13, with low income defined by eligibility for the subsidized school lunch program.

    The children were also given the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS). Unsurprisingly, the lower income children performed worse on average, with 57% achieving proficiency compared to 91% of the wealthier students.

    However, Gabrieli was also able to see the differences in the children’s brains, noticing that the richer students had thicker temporal and occipital lobes, which is responsible, among many other capacities, for vision and storing knowledge. Important as these skills are in general, they are particularly emphasized in standardized tests. Differences in cortical thickness could account for almost half the difference in the students’ MCAS scores, the researchers report in a paper published in Psychological Science.

    Previous studies have linked environmental conditions to changes in the brain, and many more have associated the same conditions with lower academic outcomes, but this is the first to put the three together.

  182. rq says

    Pteryxx
    re: police and gunfire
    Well, there’s talk that Brelo has served in the Marines, and that he himself described the shooting as reminding him of Afghanistan… I think that’ll be in an article coming up.

    +++

    First going to back up a bit and have some pictures from Saturday night, plus a few of the initial articles on the Not Guilty verdict.
    There were, in fact, two main reasons for protest – the Brelo verdict, but also a curfew imposed by the Mayor of Oakland in response to protests for black women killed by police. They went out and defied that, so there’s pictures of that, too.

    Killing 9ppl in #Waco gets you handcuffed but still have cell phone. Car chase gets you 137 bullets #BreloVerdict

    Some protesters sit in the streets on Lakeside and W. 6th. Arguments about where to take the #BreloVerdict protest.

  183. rq says

    Pteryxx
    re: police and gunfire
    Well, there’s talk that Brelo has served in the Marines, and that he himself described the shooting as reminding him of Afghanistan… I think that’ll be in an article coming up.

    +++

    First going to back up a bit and have some pictures from Saturday night, plus a few of the initial articles on the Not Guilty verdict.
    There were, in fact, two main reasons for protest – the Brelo verdict, but also a curfew imposed by the Mayor of Oakland in response to protests for black women killed by police. They went out and defied that, so there’s pictures of that, too.

    Killing 9ppl in #Waco gets you handcuffed but still have cell phone. Car chase gets you 137 bullets #BreloVerdict

    Some protesters sit in the streets on Lakeside and W. 6th. Arguments about where to take the #BreloVerdict protest.

    Statement of County Prosecutor Timothy J. McGinty on today’s verdict in the Michael Brelo trial

    Following today’s verdict in the manslaughter trial of Cleveland Police Officer Michael Brelo, Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Timothy J. McGinty released the following statement:

    Although profoundly disappointed with today’s verdict, I respect the legal process we have followed here and we accept the Judge’s decision. I urge everyone else, especially those who shared our hope for a different outcome, to do so as well. The rule of law, so fundamental to our American society, demands nothing less.

    Second, I want to thank the prosecutors and staff in the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office who formed a team and worked with enthusiasm and dedication to achieve justice:

    [list of team members]

    I was extremely proud of their efforts and of the case we presented.

    A series if tragic errors on November 29, 2012, and the subsequent trial of Cleveland Police Officer Michael Brelo forced all of us, the City, the community and the police to confront some tough issues that many would have preferred to postpone.

    The trial forced us to examine how and why so many errors and flawed assumptions could have led to the deaths of two unarmed people – a totally innocent, trapped and essentially kidnapped mentally ill passenger and a panicked and disturbed petty criminal – after a chase of more than 20 minutes and 20 miles that involved more than 100 officers and was led by a group of supervisors who ignored their training and Division of Police rules.
    To highlight the danger that the out-of-control police also posed to the innocent public and to one another, one only need examine the heavy “friendly fire” they inflicted on their own police cars. Only by the grace of God did we not have a number of police deaths.

    If we all listen to the powerful and indisputable lessons that the Heritage Middle School shootout has taught us, there will never have to be another Brelo trial. If we correct the failures that made this tragedy possible, the City and its citizens do not have to suffer through another fiasco.

    Those lessons include:

    1. I believe the police department has developed a new appreciation of the necessity of real training for chases, when and if they are to permitted.
    2. Far more training in understanding the proper use of deadly force and in methods of de-escalation before the last resort of killing a fellow citizen are obviously needed.
    3. Discipline within a police department is absolutely necessary to maintain control and professionalism. If the rules are routinely disregarded, penalties must be imposed or history will repeat itself. In this case, Cleveland has disciplined, suspended or fired dozens of officers, and this will discourage future disregard for the rules. Civilian review and oversight from outside the department’s insular culture would benefit the city and the department’s performance.
    4. This case also points out that retraining is needed for returning combat veterans who serve in police departments. Soldiers are trained to kill the enemy. In high stress situations, a veteran can easily revert to what he has been taught by the military unless properly retrained as a civilian officer. In civilian crises, de-escalation and patience are to the police’s advantage, and minimal level of force necessary to calm the situation is preferred.
    5. Better equipment and coordination such as inexpensive road spikes or the productive use of a helicopter could help when chases are necessary. But one piece of equipment that is about to change our world in Cleveland and create absolute accountability is the video camera. Body and dashboard cameras will become the unblinking, credible eyewitness to all that happens when police and citizens interact. Complaints of police misconduct will fall dramatically and this recorded evidence will aid in the prosecution of criminals.
    6. The mentally ill account for a disproportionate number of problematic use of force and use of deadly force encounters. Many people who once would have been in an institutionalized setting now have no place to go. They cannot be controlled or treated at home, and so they end up in homeless shelters, under bridges, or on the streets — unmedicated, paranoid, schizophrenic and dangerous. Add the drugs and alcohol many use to self-medicate, and they become even more difficult to control. The police now are the ones forced to deal with them daily. Exhaustive, specialized training protocols and additional police officers are needed. Recent cases and lawsuits have shown us all the need to improve our performance.
    7. In the aftermath of this incident, Mayor Jackson wisely invited the Department of Justice back to Cleveland to evaluate the Division of Police. Those discussions continue, but the end result should be a better-trained police force that looks to de-escalate dangerous situations, builds bridges to the community and embraces a new culture of accountability.
    8. Cleveland has agreed to have an independent police agency handle future use of deadly force investigations, and this office encourages all cities in the county to do likewise. The Cuyahoga County Sheriff Cliff Pinkney has agreed to assume this important responsibility for Cleveland, and a task force has been formed to handle these use of deadly force investigations. The City of Cleveland agreed to use the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation to independently investigate the Heritage Middle School case. BCI did a tremendous job at great time and expense, and Attorney General Mike DeWine’s commitment to justice is greatly appreciated. He has stepped in in other cases as well, and BCI has done a very professional job.
    9 Better laws can discourage felony, high-speed, failure-to-comply chases by imposing higher and mandatory penalties. We also need laws that mandate safer policies and more accountability from police departments in high-speed chases. These laws will reduce the dangers to innocent motorists and to other police officers.
    10. Strong leadership and sound decision-making within the police department by those sergeants and lieutenants who are actually in the field and have responsibility to call off unduly dangerous pursuits is absolutely essential. These supervisors must carefully weigh the risk to the public versus the real danger posed by a fleeing suspect. Can police identity the offender via license plates or other means? Is it a traffic ticket or a murder he is fleeing? Is it day or night? Light or heavy traffic? And most important, is this offense worth a real risk of killing innocent civilians or other police? Each individual police officer can call off his or her own chase, and in this case many officers did. It should be noted that police leaders in the First, Fourth and Fifth Districts refused to allow their zone cars to join the chase on November 29.

    Going forward, the policy of this office will continue to be:

    All use of deadly force cases by police in Cuyahoga County will be reviewed and decided by the Grand Jury. After a complete and thorough investigation, the results will be presented to the Grand Jury and any additional evidence that Grand Jurors desire will be obtained and presented to them. If they believe that the civilian death at the hands of the police was not a justifiable use of deadly force under Ohio law and the guidelines created by the Supreme Court of the United States, then the Grand Jury will bring charges against those involved.

    Thus, ultimately in all cases, the decision will go back to the people. It is also the policy of this office to make public the independent investigations of the police actions. We did it in this case and we will continue to do so in the future.
    Our pursuit of justice for Timothy Russell and Melissa Williams is not over. Five Cleveland Police Supervisors have been charged with dereliction of duty for failing to control the reckless and potentially deadly police chase. We look forward to presenting another vigorous prosecution on behalf of the State of Ohio and people of Cuyahoga County.

    Today’s verdict is part of a sea change that began two years ago with this case and continues across the nation. This case prompted the United States Department of Justice, Governor John Kasich, and Attorney General Mike DeWine to investigate the patterns and practices of the Cleveland Police Department and others police departments around the state. These investigations have highlighted numerous deficiencies, including training, accountability, and transparency. Although not yet fully implemented, changes for the better have already begun. The Department of Justice investigation continues and we are confident practices will improve and benefit the citizens of Cleveland.

    Our goal is to improve the quality of justice that our citizens receive. This tragic experience has already forced a culture change within the Division of Police and a needed reexamination of the use of deadly force. The end result will be less secrecy, additional transparency and accountability. Citizens and the police themselves will be safer for it.

    This was a challenging case, but I would not hesitate to do it again if the facts and the law demand it. I was proud our efforts to seek justice in this case.

    He sounds willing to fight on, which is good to hear.

    NBCBLK, designed to super-serve the African American news audience, was launched in early 2015, and joins the Latino and Asian American diverse news verticals on NBCNews.com.

    NBCBLK provides comprehensive digital news and coverage and information, leveraging the power and scope of NBCNews.com to reach a large and engaged audience.

    “I’m excited to bring new voices to NBCNews.com, from millennials with a passion and talent for original storytelling, to veteran reporters that can really elevate a news story,” said Amber Payne, NBCBLK’s Managing Editor. “I have writers from Denver to Denmark because the ‘BLK perspective’ is global. We are children of immigrants, we are multiracial, we are multicultural.”

    “We’re developing partnerships with nonprofits, freelancers, and foundations to bring important stories that expand on America’s conversation about black identity, social issues, and culture. We hope our stories engage, inspire, and inform communities of color.”

    Previously a 10-year veteran producer of NBC Nightly News, Amber will also focus on original video. “The response has been tremendous on video. From a conversation with Beyonce’s drummer to a Baltimore barber, to fathers and sons discussing the way they engage with the police, we are bringing a new perspective.”

    Read the latest stories on NBCBLK, Latino, and Asian American today.

    #DearElders “We appreciate you, but your way is not the only way.”

    And this one’s touching: They See Us as Hulks

    “They see us as Hulks, and paint us as so, not realizing or refusing to acknowledge that we are more so David Banners…brilliant minds, searching for answers and peace…while we continue to be attacked and prodded by the powers that be…in a world that doesn’t understand that our powers help to save it time after time…”

    To say that there was a multitude of emotions and extensive thought that went into the creating of this piece would be an injustice—not to me, the artist—but to the nations of people who witnessed the coverage surrounding the death of Mike Brown and the many other killings that preceded and succeeded it, and the wealth of heartache, turmoil, incomprehension, reasoning, interpreting, and misinterpreting that spawned from it all.

    As an artist, I never create from a dark place mentally or spiritually; it is in my nature to avoid or flee from these internal atmospheres. In the words of Andre 3000, “I’m like why? The world needs sun, the hood needs fun, there’s a war going on and half the battle is guns…” The world/’hood is now all-encompassing: every nation, every culture, every race. That has been my approach artistically, to provide these dark days with glimmers of light. However, I felt compelled to venture into a more solemn state of mind to paint “They see us as Hulks, and paint us as so” not out of desire, but out of necessity. I needed to be a voice for those who were/are dying and who look like me physically, mentally, and circumstantially.

    In the United States of America, we are born into a culture, legal system, and government structure that was built on the premise that we were lesser beings—livestock if you will—assets only in the sense of labor to help build the World’s Greatest Nation for the true beneficiaries of this land, the white privileged. This truth is forever etched into the American psyche, whether consciously or subconsciously, and whether on the privileged or unprivileged side of the fence. It is an irrevocable way of thinking that is passed down generation-to-generation, and that is confirmed and cultured through life experience, with the media as the greatest catalyst. I applaud and appreciate those, of all cultures, who acknowledge this truth and do whatever is in their powers to combat this thought process. There is no progress in denying it or overlooking it.

    The ramifications of this psyche are historically and currently fatal to the black male. When you are not valued, you are disposable. When you know that you are disposable, your self-value—and values as a whole—consequently become muddled. This is compounded by the projections of the black male in American culture and the media. We must also factor in the large amount that is now self-imposed. We have become infatuated with the persona that has been given to us, and we have internalized it. In a great sense, we have been Frankensteined. We have been built, through oppression and control, and are now seen as monsters. Now, the pitchforks and torches have become pistols wielded by law enforcement and authorities.

    What was once viewed as brilliant minds with immeasurable potential and accomplishments has become the inverse. We are now heralded for our undeniable physical prowess and accolades. The value of our genetic aesthetics has surmounted our intellectual limitlessness in the world’s eye, in a world that values knowledge and intellectual advancement most. Not to mention, there are the countless cases of stolen intellectual property, discrediting of inventions and discoveries, and denial of advancements that have come from the minds of black males. Our perception is now our package, not the invaluable contents within. The Hulk in us is the Main Attraction. The brilliance that is the David Banner in us is an after thought. Our physique is admired—the biceps, chest, abs, thighs, calves, penis—and what we can do with them entertains, gratifies, and exponentially increases the pockets of the privileged to no end.

    We are legendary for our strength and build, the size of our sexual organs, and our capabilities with both. David Banner cannot be marketed and lucrative on a day to day basis, but the Hulk…he is what sells and leaves the masses in awe. The problem with this is that the Hulk becomes a threat when he is uncontrollable and not confined to certain parameters. He then becomes a threat, a danger and a menace, not only to those trying to harness and profit off of his superpowers, but to society as a whole. Cue all major networks.

    […]

    What is even more unsettling is the fact that in most instances, confrontation is completely avoidable and unnecessary. If George Zimmerman had never followed or approached Trayvon Martin, if police officers had simply kept their hands off of Eric Garner, if Mike Brown was never approached or confronted for simply walking in the street, if we were just… left… alone. I am not talking about the outliers where crimes have been committed and authorities need to act (and even in those cases, violence and brutality is not necessary most of the time). The gentlemen mentioned lost their lives because someone chose to interrupt their daily routine. Their daily walk was intruded upon, and they lost their lives as a result. If the authorities and military were not bothering, hunting, antagonizing, or prodding David Banner, the world would never see the Hulk. If Mr. Banner were able to work and perform his life’s calling as a scientist and live in a safe neighborhood and not worry about being profiled or targeted, there would be no Hulk.

    As in the case of David Banner, the great majority of us want to simply live…to simply enjoy the same “unalienable rights,” on a day-to-day basis, that were promised to those descending from the “founders” of this nation. We want peace, good jobs, and the ability to provide for our families. We want quality education, descent housing, and laws that protect us and not oppress us. It does not seem like much to ask for, or too far out of reach. Yet, this is what we have been yearning for and denied of since our chained and battered bodies first stepped foot on this land. While access to higher education, greater opportunity in the job market, and political activism have helped a certain margin of us “achieve” the American Dream, the great majority of us still suffer while looking up at Mount Olympus. The constant reminder of how great life is when you have resources and power is projected down the mountain in the form of “celebrity” and entertainment. These projections become knives to those without resources: slashing and ripping apart hope, optimism, self-esteem, peace of mind, contentment, etc. This becomes the Inner Hulk of the poor, the oppressed, and the downtrodden. Having to burden this beast on a daily basis is already a tumultuous task, but then to be antagonized or preyed upon becomes too much. We get loud, we yell back, we lash out, we become the Angry Black Man, we become Hulks, we defend ourselves, we get murdered.

    […]

    My depiction of Officer Darren Wilson is neither an attack on him personally nor an attack on the police force as a whole. It is, however, an open depiction and illustration of the unacceptable approach to dealing with police brutality and murder by our judicial system. It is an open attack on the way the media portrays law enforcement officers, as opposed to the murdered victims in these cases. It is a direct challenge to the thought process that leads people to believe that there are no “bad” cops, or to the “officer was probably in the right” mentality. We depict police officers as heroes who abide by the laws of this land at all cost, and who live to serve and protect our well being. The fact of the matter is, police officers are normal human beings with normal problems and flaws like the rest of us. Some are brave, some are not. Some are noble, some are not. Some are law abiding, some are not. Some are kind, some are not. Some are rational, some are not. To treat men and women of the law as blameless defenders of the law is a disservice to them and the citizens who they are sworn to protect. It gives a cloak and shield to some individuals who are reckless, arrogant, careless, malicious, racist, prejudiced, irrational, fearful, and so on. I do not think that this represents the majority of those who don the uniform, but there is definitely enough of these cancerous individuals in the force to cause alarm.

    To be an officer of the law is a career choice. At the base level, it is a job, a means to provide financially for oneself and/or one’s family by way of labor. The risk that is involved with the nature of being an officer is what separates it from the norm and justifies our level of respect and reverence for the position. However, like in any other career, there are those who are not fit for the job. There are those who will make crucial mistakes during the course of their tenure. There are bad employees. Not everyone applies for a job because they believe it will help them make the world a better place. Many apply out of the necessity to make a living. Some choose careers because it is their last and only option. Some will seek certain employment in a certain field simply because they fit the criteria. We must recognize and accept that this is true when it comes to law enforcement as well. We must hold officers accountable for their actions, as we would expect for it to hold true in any other profession. Just as those who save lives deserve to be honored and praised, those who take lives unjustly need to be tried and judged accordingly.

    In the case of Darren Wilson, poor decisions on his behalf cost a young man his life. I am hard-pressed to believe that any unarmed individual would just attack a police officer; again, why would an unarmed individual (no matter race or age) with no violent criminal record attack a police officer, who is known to be well-armed, for no apparent reason? Officer Wilson, in my opinion, made a bad employee decision to even bother Mike Brown, and once the situation got confrontational, he acted in a deadly, irrational manner. I was not there, and I will never claim to know the true details of what transpired that day. However, life experience has unfortunately provided me with this narrative far too often. This is “just my interpretation of the situation.” My prayers go up for the family and friends of the victim, and the family and friends of the shooter. Although the pain that they are experiencing is different, it is pain nonetheless. We are witnessing the loss of devalued life too consistently.

    I ask that you not be entertained.” I ask that you be moved.

    It’s all rather long, but worth a read.

  184. rq says

    Family of Melissa Williams emotional outside the justice center@19actionnews

    Police on the ground & on top of buildings still keeping a watchful eye outside justice center@19actionnews

    Judge acquits Cleveland police Officer Michael Brelo in 2012 killings

    Saying he would “not sacrifice” a Cleveland police officer to appease a public frustrated with law enforcement, a judge on Saturday acquitted Officer Michael Brelo of manslaughter charges after he shot two unarmed people at the end of a wild 2012 car chase, during which officers fired 137 shots.

    “I will not sacrifice him to a public frustrated by historical mistreatment at the hands of other officers,” Judge John P. O’Donnell of the Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court wrote in the opinion.

    Television footage showed Brelo, 31, bursting into tears when the judge declared him not guilty. He was accused of manslaughter for jumping onto the hood of the car and unleashing a barrage of gunfire on Timothy Russell and Malissa Williams, the vehicle’s unarmed occupants. Police fired so many rounds that a crime scene investigator ran out of rods to mark the bullet holes.

    An in-house investigation of Brelo and 12 other officers involved in the shooting will continue, Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson said Saturday, as he urged calm before the release of findings in another potentially explosive case, that of 12-year-old Tamir Rice, who was killed last year by police while holding a toy gun.

    After Saturday’s verdict, police said about 9:30 p.m. they had made several arrests on suspicion of felonious assault, aggravated riot and obstructing justice. The department said it would give more detail Sunday about the arrests and any other incidents that took place during the demonstrations.

    The case against Brelo began years before the death of Tamir and those of a litany of unarmed black men at the hands of police across the country: Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Freddie Gray. Since then demonstrators in city after city have marched in protest and vented their frustration on social media, helping this relatively little-known Cleveland case become the top trending topic worldwide Saturday morning on Twitter.

    I love that phrase, ‘aggravated rioting’. It’s certainly aggravated – aggravated by the police reaction! More via the LA Times:

    O’Donnell said it would be impossible to determine that Brelo was directly responsible for the deaths, given the number of shots fired. Autopsies revealed that Russell and Williams were each shot nearly two dozen times, and both suffered multiple fatal wounds.

    O’Donnell acknowledged the fear and anger over recent deaths of black men at the hands of police in places with a majority black population, like Cleveland.

    “Some say the volatile relationship between police and the community is rooted in our country’s original sin,” he said. “Whether it is or not, that sin won’t be expiated and the suspicion and hostility between the police and people won’t be extirpated by a verdict in a single criminal lawsuit.”

    O’Donnell acknowledged the fear and anger over the recent deaths of black men in New York; Baltimore; Ferguson, Mo.; and North Charleston, S.C. That animosity has been fed “not just by stories that attract TV watchers and Internet clickers,” but by the police officers’ actions, he said.

    O’Donnell also noted the chaos of the pursuit and the police’s perception that Russell and Williams had fired upon them, and he ruled that Brelo was justified in using deadly force because he believed the pair presented an imminent threat to his life. […]

    On Saturday, the head of the department’s civil rights division said the agency was conducting a separate review of the Brelo case to determine “what, if any, additional steps are available and appropriate.”

    A slew of officers refused to testify at the trial, and others who had been subpoenaed refused to even meet with prosecutors to go over their testimony. Cuyahoga County prosecutor Timothy McGinty accused the union of attempting to insulate Brelo from prosecution, comparing their actions to those of an “organized crime syndicate.”

    Brelo, who still faces department discipline, left Cleveland with his wife and two children after the verdict, according to Stephen Loomis, president of the Cleveland Police Patrolman’s Assn. Loomis said he feared that Brelo could be a target for violence if he returned to patrol duty in the city.

    “The lengths that McGinty went to to try to win this case are embarrassing. He should be disbarred,” Loomis said. “I can’t imagine how he’s not going to be reprimanded for his antics and the statements that he made.”

    City Councilman Jeff Johnson, who is hopeful that Brelo will be fired after the department completes its internal review of the shooting, said the verdict sent a clear message to city residents that police would not be held accountable for their actions in Cleveland.

    The argument that Brelo was justified in using deadly force because he feared Russell and Williams had a weapon, Johnson said, could be used against prosecutors reviewing the death of Tamir Rice.

    “The hysteria that the cops felt, the fear that the cops felt, was created by themselves,” Johnson said.

    Now that is an accurate summary.

    Here’s how the self-induced panic was created. This Cop Is On Trial For Firing 49 Shots At Two Unarmed Suspects

    The events of Nov. 29, 2012, began when Officer John Jordan stopped Timothy Russell and Malissa Williams for a signal violation. Jordan also suspected Russell and Williams of drug activity, originally spotting them outside the Lutheran Metropolitan Ministry men’s homeless shelter, a spot known for drug dealing and often referred to as “the wall.”

    Jordan told investigators that as he approached Russell’s Chevy Malibu, Williams, in the passenger seat, became irate and started flailing and screaming. Russell put the car back in gear and took off. Jordan ran back to his car and gave chase, but he was too slow and Russell lost him.

    The episode might have been over if Russell’s Malibu, with a history of engine woes, didn’t let out a booming backfire right front of Nan — which he mistook for a gunshot.

    For the next 22 minutes, Timothy Russell led police on a chase reaching speeds of 100 mph.

    As Russell ran red lights and blew through busy intersections, 62 police vehicles and more than 100 officers joined the pursuit, according to a state investigation. A federal investigation would later determine that 37% of the Cleveland Police Department was involved.

    Russell eventually reached a dead end in the staff parking lot of Heritage Middle School. As he circled the lot looking for a way out, Officer Wilfredo Diaz took the first shots at the Malibu.

    “Shots fired, shots fired!” rang out over the police radio as Diaz pulled the trigger and fired four shots. None of the officers on the scene knew for sure, but all would later tell investigators they assumed that it was the suspects firing, not the police.

    “They’re ramming us!” an officer broadcasted as Russell’s Malibu collided with a police car blocking the only exit.

    “Watch for crossfire! Crossfire!” someone yelled as the officers unleashed a barrage of bullets.

    When it was all over, 13 officers fired 137 shots. Russell and Williams were hit more than 20 times each and died inside the Malibu. No guns were found inside the car. Every shot fired came from a Cleveland cop’s gun. Investigators later determined that during the shoot-out there were two waves of gunfire — one lasting 17 seconds and another lasting about five seconds. […]

    On the police’s actions, DeWine said a “lack supervisor command and warnings … resulted in an overall failure to control the situation” and “the large number of vehicles involved contributed to a crossfire situation … that risked the lives of many officers.”

    “It is, quite frankly, a miracle that no law enforcement officer was killed,” DeWine said. “Clearly, officers misinterpreted the facts. They failed to follow established rules.”

    Of the 62 police cars that took chase, only three had been authorized to do so. Because of the confusion and lack of organization on the radio, more than 90 police officers joined the pursuit without requisite clearance by dispatch.

    In all, 63 officers were suspended, one supervisor was fired, and two more supervisors were demoted. Days of protests and rallies in Cleveland followed. The public outcry and horrific detail surrounding Williams and Russell’s killings by police became the catalyst for a Department of Justice investigation of the department’s use of force policies — the second federal probe of Cleveland Police in less than 10 years. The families of Williams and Russell each reached $1.5 million settlements with the city.

    That might have been the end of the of the legal efforts to right the wrongs of Nov. 29, if it weren’t for Officer Michael Brelo’s role. […]

    In the immediate aftermath, local media and police portrayed Russell and Williams as dangerous drug addicts with long rap sheets who wanted to go out in a blaze of glory. The police union, based on the fact that no officers were harmed, called the event “the perfect chase.” And even when no gun turned up inside the Malibu, the police continued for days to search the chase route and the Cuyahoga River, determined to find the gun that Russell and Williams had inevitably tossed. Those searches came up empty.

    Russell’s family acknowledges that Tim struggled with drugs since the mid-’90s, but they still maintain that he was no hardcore criminal hell-bent on fighting it out with the police. Rather, his sister Michelle Russell described him to BuzzFeed News as “loud, boisterous, jolly, happy.” […]

    In his interview with the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation two weeks after the shooting, Officer Michael Brelo said that he and his partner heard and felt shots coming at them as soon as they drove up the middle school driveway.

    “I’ve never been so afraid in my life,” said Brelo, who did a tour in Iraq in 2005 as a Marine. “I thought my partner and I would be shot and that we were going to be killed.”

    As their own car started to take crossfire from other police shooting through the back of the Malibu, Brelo and his partner, Cynthia Moore, thinking they were being shot at by the suspects, fired through their windshield as they had been instructed to in this scenario that past summer at in-service training.

    After five or six shots, Brelo’s clip jammed. He reloaded, scurried out his driver’s side door, and continued firing at the Malibu.

    “I feel like I’m being shot at by these suspects. And I see the suspects kept on — kept on moving — and firing,” Brelo said during his interview.

    He told investigators he remembered getting on top of another squad car to get a better shot and use the lights on the hood as cover, but his memory goes fuzzy after that.

    “The next thing I remember I’m next to the suspect’s vehicle … and I remember having my weapon in my holster,” Brelo told investigators.

    Asked if he remembered jumping on the hood of the Malibu, Brelo said, “I have no recollection if I did. Absolutely none.”

    When asked if it would surprise him that shoe prints that were on the car that Brelo used for cover matched shoe prints that were on the hood of the Malibu, Brelo said, “I was so in fear for my life, it wouldn’t — I mean, I have no recollection of how I got there.”

    After a Cuyahoga County grand jury indicted Brelo, County Prosecutor Tim McGinty put out a statement alleging that Brelo pulled the trigger on the kill shots.

    “After more than 100 shots were fired at Mr. Russell’s car, it was trapped by police cruisers in a narrow lane and came to a full stop. All officers at the scene saw fit to cease fire. Then Officer Brelo started shooting again and fired at least 15 shots, including fatal shots, downward through the windshield into the victims at close range as he stood on the hood of Mr. Russell’s car.”

    How McGinty plans to get the other officers involved to corroborate this story will be determined when those who did not face indictment take the stand at Brelo’s trial.

    BuzzFeed News reviewed the criminal investigation interviews of all 13 officers who shot their guns during the confrontation. Every officer who fired their weapon believed it was the proper action to neutralize the threat — and most believed that their shots hit the target. […]

    Court documents show that during the grand jury proceedings that followed the state’s investigation, all officers who shot their weapons on Nov. 29 invoked their Fifth Amendment rights and declined to testify for fear of self-incrimination.

    Then Sabolik and Farley were granted immunity and testified.

    Sabolik and Farley’s grand jury testimonies remain sealed. However, during his interview with investigators, Sabolik’s recollection of how he learned the identity of the shooter on top of the hood contradicts Brelo’s explanation that he lost time between when he took cover and holstered his gun.

    “You said later on you found out what was up on the hood of the car?” investigators asked Sabolik. “How did you find out?”

    “Because he was talking about it,” the rookie replied.

    “He was talking about?” investigators probed. “Who was that?”

    “Mike Brelo,” Sabolik said.

    There was so much police gunfire that Brelo couldn’t be sure who was shooting, but instead of everyone stopping the shooting, he insisted on jumping up on the car and getting closer to the people he thought were shooting at him. (I don’t get that ‘using the lights as a cover’ bit, I thought the lights on a car were down in front not up on the hood, anyone?)
    How he was acquitted so completely, I have no idea. Well I do. But let’s pretend I don’t.

    Who shit shit down? We got ppl getting out of their cars to join us. THIS is #OneCLE

    Protesters have linked arms and are blocking the WB Shoreway near the 44th Street exit right now. #BreloVerdict

  185. rq says

    Cleveland officer acquitted in killing of unarmed pair amid barrage of gunfire (Washington Post)

    Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson on Michael Brelo verdict: ‘This is a moment that will define us as a city’

    Mayor Frank Jackson and Police Chief Calvin Williams asked for calm Saturday following the not guilty verdict in the case of Officer Michael Brelo.

    “Today’s verdict … is a verdict that will have a long-lasting effect not only here in our local community but, really, in communities throughout this country,” Jackson said during an afternoon news conference at Public Auditorium.

    “This is a moment that will define us as a city, define us as a people as we move forward and address not only the issues around this verdict,” but also as the city works toward police reforms sought by the U.S. Justice Department.

    The community also awaits the results of an investigation into last year’s officer-involved shooting death of 12-year-old Tamir Rice.

    “It is my expectation that we will show the nation that peaceful demonstration and dialogue is the right direction as we move forward as one Cleveland,” the mayor said. “We all understand and respect the fact that people have a right to protest and let their voice be heard. However, while we encourage and support peaceful protest, I want to make sure that those who are here that have a different agenda understand that actions that cross the line, whether by police officers or citizens, cannot and will not be tolerated.”

    Cuyahoga Common Pleas Judge John P. O’Donnell found Brelo not guilty of two charges of voluntary manslaughter in connection with the Nov. 29, 2012 police chase and shooting that ended in the deaths of two people. O’Donnell said that while Brelo did fire lethal shots at Timothy Russell and Malissa Williams, other officers did, too.

    At Saturday’s news conference, Jackson and Williams said the disciplinary process against other officers involved will continue. Brelo will remain on unpaid suspension, pending the internal investigation.

    Jackson was not entirely surprised by the verdict.

    “I felt that the charge that was presented to the judge was one that was difficult to prove,” he said. “My expectation and that of a lot of people was that it would be a very difficult, uphill battle to get a conviction. And that has borne out.

    “My personal reaction to it is that it is difficult to accept just a legal definition or a legal analysis of something and say that should be the end of it, because I don’t believe the people will accept that. People have a right to disagree with me as mayor, and the chief as the chief, and the judge as the judge, and the criminal justice system as the criminal justice system.”

    Asked if he was disappointed in the verdict, Jackson replied: “I’m the mayor, so I will maintain mayoral posture in regards to whether or not I’m disappointed. I think I’ve pretty well explained my sentiments and you can interpret that.”

    Jackson said the city is working closely with other law-enforcement agency to keep tabs on any unrest that might arise in response to the verdict.

    I wonder if there will be something similar to the Rekia Boyd case, where the judge threw out the charges – where, due to the difficulty in proving this one charge in this case, the judge decided not to ‘sacrifice’ Brelo. Although judging from those comments, I don’t think the charge would have mattered. Got the wrong judge.

    2 unarmed black people, 13 cops,137 shots, white cop fears for life as he shoots 49 more, not guilty = America #Brelo

    Northeast Ohio Media Group crime editor arrested during Brelo verdict protest (photos)

    It was shortly after 9:30 p.m. when officers in riot gear corralled us into an alley. With their shields in hand, then chanted, “Move back.”

    I realized we were pinned in, and I didn’t have my press pass.

    Dumb move. The dumbest move.

    As I tried to make my way through the line with another group of reporters, I knew then that I was going to jail.

    “A business card isn’t going to cut it,” the officer told me.

    It didn’t matter. I didn’t have business cards either.

    They put zip ties around my wrists and sat me on a sidewalk in an adjoining alley. On my right was a young black man who went by Moop.

    The officers were polite. We asked what kind of rounds they had.

    “Bean bags,” the state trooper said.

    “You ever been shot by one?” I asked.

    “Yeah.”

    “Really? Does it hurt?”

    “Oh, man.”

    Soon I was joined by another group of protesters. A couple of white guys, but mostly young black men whose only crime seemed to be failing to get out of the street when police asked them to move.

    They never told us why we were being detained. At least they didn’t tell me. [..]

    They took us to what was once known as the Aviation High School. Shuttered for decades, it was once a vocational school for Cleveland students who could learn how to fly and fix planes. It’s run down and now a staging area for protesters, and some of the same young men and women who might benefit from such a training program.

    The irony also struck me that we were all being detained in a place that was once a place of hope, on the edge of an airport used mostly by the Cleveland’s wealthiest.

    As we sat there, I started talking to some of the young men who stood angry against a perceived injustice. They stared down a line of police officers steadfast in their resolve that they were doing in the right, jailing mostly young men and women who believed the same thing.

    Adam Ferrise, one of my reporters, brought my press pass to a police commander. Once they had my credentials, they let me go.

    Photos at the link, too.

    Baltimore Police Chief on decreased number of arrests. There’s a very interesting BuzzFeed headline on this later on, unless they’ve changed it already.

    Anderson Cooper speaks with Baltimore Police Chief Anthony Batts about a jump in the city’s homicide rate and reports of a work slowdown by officers.

    CNN video.

    Also CNN, Protests, arrests follow acquittal of Cleveland police officer

    Police arrested demonstrators in downtown Cleveland on Saturday night following the acquittal of a police officer who stood trial in the 2012 shooting death of two unarmed people.

    CNN video showed police in riot gear moving down East Fourth Street, a strip of restaurants, and pushing back protesters. The officers yelled, “Move back!” in unison as they advanced.

    A CNN crew saw at least 15 people being taken into custody by police in riot gear, accompanied by troopers. They were loaded into vans and taken away.

    Three people were arrested for aggravated riot, felonious assault and obstructing justice after an object was thrown through a restaurant window, injuring a patron, police said in in a tweet.

    Multiple arrests were made at East Fourth Street because of “unlawful behavior by large crowd,” another tweet said. Police appeared to greatly outnumber protesters.

    Protesters took to the street immediately after Judge John P. O’Donnell acquitted Officer Michael Brelo on charges of voluntary manslaughter and felonious assault.

    The crowd assembled outside the judicial center in Cleveland for two hours following the announcement of the verdict.

    Some chanted “no justice, no peace” and “black lives matter,” words heard in Ferguson, Missouri, and New York, where sometimes-violent demonstrations occurred after African-Americans died at the hands of white police officers.

    Law enforcement officers formed a line and kept them from entering the judicial center. The protesters marched through parts of the city. Some formed a line on the Cleveland Memorial Shoreway, a freeway through town, and blocked traffic briefly.

    As a precaution, two schools, Shaker Heights High School and St. Ignatius High, relocated their weekend proms out of downtown, CNN affiliate WOIO reported.

  186. rq says

  187. rq says

    Hundreds march in Oakland to protest curfew and police brutality against black women. #SayHerName #BlackLivesMatter

    Cops pushed everyone back, sealing off entire 300 block of Washington. Protesters dispersed or on sidewalk. #Oakland

    Group of about 40 circled up back at 14th and Broadway “tonight was for Rekia. Tonight was for Oscar” #BreakTheCurfew

    St. Louis Cardinals’ Mascot in Photo Holding ‘Police Lives Matter’ Sign. Want to Guess How That Went Over With the Team? Says a lot about the fan-base, too.

    A couple approached St. Louis Cardinals’ mascot Fredbird at a home game last Sunday for a photo op. Then a sign was handed to Fredbird — and the team said he wasn’t aware of its contents.

    It read, “Police Lives Matter.”

    In the thick of the region that spawned the Black Lives Matter movement after the shooting death of black 18-year-old Michael Brown by a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, last August, the image was bound to get some attention.

    Sure enough it appeared on the St. Louis Police Officers Association Facebook page a day later, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported Friday.

    With that Cardinals’ brass got involved — but not to pump the image.

    Instead the team asked the POA on Tuesday to take down the photo from its Facebook page, and the Dispatch said the request was granted.

    The reason the team spokesman gave, the paper said, is because Fredbird shouldn’t be involved in any political activity or social commentary.

    But in our social media-driven world, images like this don’t ever die. Deadspin took note on Wednesday, criticizing the Cardinals for Fredbird holding the “Police Lives Matter Sign.”

    The image lives on via the Twitter account of Fiery Mad Redhead, although it isn’t clear if she’s the owner of the photo:

    From the Cleveland NAACP, Our council feels deeply about the outcome of this trial. Here’s our address on this modern day lynching. #BreloTrial Disappointment, concern, a call to the DOJ, and organization.

    Why the judge found Cleveland police officer Michael Brelo not guilty. Yes, tell us!

    But Cuyahoga Common Pleas Judge John P. O’Donnell ruled that Brelo is not guilty of either count of voluntary manslaughter, nor is he guilty of the lesser included offense of felonious assault.

    While some protesters took to the streets of Cleveland, Brelo cried tears of relief in the courtroom.

    So how, exactly, did O’Donnell arrive at his conclusion?

    It took him nearly an hour to meticulously explain his reasoning before a courtroom packed with the supporters of Brelo on one side, and the friends and family of Russell and Williams on the other.

    He also released his 34-page verdict, which you can read for yourself below.

    Here are the main points O’Donnell made when announcing his decision.

    Why Brelo was not guilty of the voluntary manslaughter of Timothy Russell

    Russell was shot 23 times. O’Donnell found that based on the testimony at trial, four of those shots were lethal. Those shots came from three different directions. Two were to the top of Russell’s head, but one was to the right side of his chest and another to the left side.

    “It is highly unlikely, if not impossible, that during that less than 8 seconds Russell was positioned, then repositioned, then repositioned again so that all four wounds came from the same gun in the same place,” O’Donnell said.

    In other words, O’Donnell concluded that Brelo fired at least one of those shots, but could not have fired all four.

    To prove voluntary manslaughter, prosecutors would have had to show beyond a reasonable doubt that “but for” Brelo’s actions, Russell and Williams would have lived.

    “I have found beyond a reasonable doubt that Brelo fired a shot that by itself would have caused Russell’s death. But proof of voluntary manslaughter requires a finding, beyond a reasonable doubt, either that his shot alone actually caused the death or it was the ‘straw that broke the camel’s back,'” O’Donnell said.

    While Brelo fired at least one lethal shot at Russell, other police officers also fired lethal shots that contributed to his death. Because medical examiners were unable to determine the order of the shots and ballistics could not tie individual bullets to shooters, there is no way to know which lethal shot came from which shooter. It is also impossible to establish which shot actually killed Russell.

    In a footnote in his opinion, O’Donnell brought up an analogy to a baseball game made by Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. Basically, if a baseball game’s final score is 1-0, it’s obvious which was the winning run – there was only one. But in a game that ends 5-2, none of those runs can be deemed the wining run.

    In the Brelo case, his shot was one of many and it was impossible to determine which was the fatal shot.

    Why Brelo was not guilty of the voluntary manslaughter of Malissa Williams

    Malissa Williams was shot 24 times. Of those, O’Donnell concluded that based on the medical examiner’s testimony, seven were lethal.

    O’Donnell said that those seven shots came from three different directions, so there was no way Brelo could have fired all of them.

    “The high improbability that Williams’ body was contorted in such a way that she was exposed to those five downward shots and an upward shot to her lower abdomen and a straight-in shot to the left side of her head leads me to conclude beyond a reasonable doubt that Brelo caused at least one fatal wound to William’s chest and maybe all five, but that one or two other officers inflicted two other fatal wounds,” O’Donnell said.

    Therefore, just like with Russell, O’Donnell said he could not conclude that Brelo’s shots alone caused the death of Williams.

    O’Donnell also forcefully challenged the testimony of Dr. Joseph Felo, a pathologist with the Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner’s Office. Prosecutors tried to use Felo’s testimony to prove the shot to Williams’ head came after she was already dead and therefore should be excluded as a potential cause of death.

    The defense used its own expert to try to refute that. It was important because the shot came from a different direction than another grouping of lethal shots to the chest.
    Do you agree with the judge’s reasons for acquittal? Answer in the comments section below.

    O’Donnell determined Felo was wrong.

    All this addresses “causation;” the idea that Brelo – and Brelo alone – caused the deaths of Russell and Williams. O’Donnell concluded that prosecutors failed to prove in both cases that Brelo’s shots were the ones that ultimately killed the two people.

    Why Brelo was not guilty of the lesser included offense of felonious assault

    O’Donnell also addressed the issue of whether Brelo committed felonious assault, a lesser included offense in the case. He concluded that prosecutors proved Brelo “knowingly caused serious physical harm to both victims” by the mere fact of shooting them.

    But Brelo was not found guilty of a single count of felonious assault. Because…

    The affirmative defense

    The question of whether or not Brelo was reasonable in his actions played a pivotal role throughout the month-long trial and in O’Donnell’s verdict.

    Police officers are held to a different standard than the public when it comes to the use of force. If an officer believes there to be a reasonable threat to himself, another officer, or the public, the officer is justified in using force.

    Several police officers testified throughout the trial that they believed Russell and Williams were armed, pointed a gun at police, fired off shots, led police on a 22-minute chase, and evaded arrest. All of the police officers said they perceived Russell and Williams as a threat, were in fear for their lives, and retaliated in kind.

    No gun was ever found in Russell’s car, and the sound officers thought was gunshots coming from the car turned out to be the clunker backfiring.

    But none of that matters, O’Donnell said, because 20/20 hindsight cannot be used in assessing an officer’s use-of-force.

    “His initial decision to use force was constitutionally reasonable,” O’Donnell said. “He was reasonable despite knowing now that there was no gun in the car and he was mistaken about the origin of the gunshots. It is Brelo’s perception of a threat that matters.”

    The affirmative defense part 2: the last 15 shots

    Prosecutors acknowledged throughout the trial that officers were justified in their use-of-force. That’s why the 12 other officers who fired shots at Russell and Williams were never charged.

    W. Ken Katsaris, a use-of-force expert for the prosecution, testified that Brelo’s first 37 shots fired from the ground were justified.

    But the prosecution said Brelo crossed the line when he jumped on top of Russell’s 1979 Malibu and fired the final 15 shots.

    Katsaris said this was unreasonable because it was not proper police protocol, and because it put Brelo and his fellow officers into more danger.

    O’Donnell rejected this argument. He said given the length of the chase, the collision between the Malibu and a police car as it tried to leave the shooting site, and the fact that Brelo was afraid a police car could be pushed on top of him justified his final 15 shots in those last 7.392 seconds from the car’s hood.

    O’Donnell pointed out that the Malibu was not wedged tight enough to be immobile, and could still have been used to push a police car on top of Brelo.

    Read all of it. Some of it makes sense, and some of it doesn’t. Seriously? Could have used the car to push a police car on top of Brelo, at that point, at the end of that chase, in that situation? Sure, desperate people do desperate things, but still… rewarding (or at least, not punishing) such reckless and dangerous behaviour by Brelo seems… irresponsible. To me.
    And there you have it, this is why he was acquitted.

  188. rq says

    Outrage Over Brelo Verdict Sparks Protests

    After a four week trial, Cleveland police officer Michael Brelo was found not guilty for the 2012 shooting deaths of Malissa Williams, 30, and Timothy Russell, 43. Brelo and 12 other officers fired 137 shots into the Chevy Malibu they pursued, killing Russell and Williams. Brelo fired 49 of those shots.

    Cleveland, a city already rocked by the senseless murder of 12yr old Tamir Rice has responded to the verdict by taking to the streets. 100’s of people were outside of the courtroom when the verdict was announced. A rally at the park where Tamir was gunned down was held all afternoon and is currently marching, a group of a hundred or more successfully blocked both directions of the 4 lane Shoreway Highway and shut down traffic as they marched on Memorial Bridge.

    Lots of great pictures (which means I’m probably going to skip some of my tabs) plus a full verdict in pdf available about halfway down.
    Also, there’s a lot of mounted police there. I have really, really mixed feelings about horses in crowd control situations.