Police Continuing to Monitor the Situation
Two separate rallies were held at the Martin Luther King Jr. Civic Center Park today in Berkeley, California â€“ one in support of Donald Trump and the other in opposition of the president. Despite a makeshift barrier between the two events, violence soon erupted.
As NBCâ€™s Bay Area affiliate reported, the Berkeley police released in a statement that â€œthere continues to be a number of large fights, some property damage and numerous projectiles being thrown, including fireworks.â€
Though they further reported that prior to the events, city leaders â€œbanned pipes, bats, bricks, rocks, glass bottles, shields, pepper spray, sticks and other potentially dangerous items,â€ many of these items have been confiscated by police following the violence in the park â€“ including a knife, stun gun, flagpoles and â€œother contraband.â€
Fifteen people have been arrested according to the San Francisco ABC affiliate, and police continue to monitor the situation. Berkeley police have asked that anyone with photos or videos of the clash share them with police at policecityofberkeley.info or http://bit.ly/berkvideo.
Video and live accounts of the clash from Twitter can be seen below, but NCRM cautions that some readers may find some content disturbing:
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Hope Hicks Was Behind Trump Photo-Op Stunt That Led to Peaceful Protestors Being Tear-Gassed: Reports
According to reports from both the New York Times and the Daily Mail, Hope Hicks, who now serves as counselor to the president, was the brains behind having Donald Trump leisurely stroll from the White House over to St. John’s church for a photo-op that has turned into a public relations disaster for the administration.
That photo-op, where the president held up a Bible in front of the fire-damaged church, has been roundly criticized after the cable networks ran split screens of peaceful protesters being chased off by law enforcement officials, who marched on them while blanketing the area with tear gas.
The reports state that Hicks, who once served as the White House Communications Director before leaving to work for the Fox Corporation before returning, came up with the publicity stunt that televised on national TV.
According to the Daily Mail, “Longtime Donald Trump aide Hope Hicks has been identified as having helped hatch the plan to have the president walk across the street from the White House to pose in front of St. John’s church – staged event that police and National Guard forces facilitated by using tear gas and rubber bullets to clear away peaceful protesters,” with the report adding, “As a PR move it may have backfired, after global and national media broadcast images of shield-bearing and mounted police using force to clear Lafayette Park, an area whose use as a forum for demonstrations and speech has long been protected.
The New York Times backed up the report with the Times’ Katie Roberts writing, “That church, St. John’s — the so-called Church of the Presidents because every one since James Madison has attended — had been briefly set ablaze as the protests devolved on Sunday evening. After Mr. Trump’s aides spent much of Monday expressing outrage over the burning of a place of worship, Hope Hicks, a presidential adviser, eventually hatched a plan with others at the White House to have the president walk over to the building, according to an official familiar with the events.”
As Roberts noted, the bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington, Mariann E. Budde, immediately went public with her displeasure with the publicity stunt, stating, “He [Trump] did not pray. He did not mention George Floyd, he did not mention the agony of people who have been subjected to this kind of horrific expression of racism and white supremacy for hundreds of years. We need a president who can unify and heal. He has done the opposite of that, and we are left to pick up the pieces.”
As part of their live coverage, CNN ran a chyron (which can be seen below) which read:” PEACEFUL PROTESTERS NEAR WHITE HOUSE TEAR-GASSED, SHOT WITH RUBBER BULLETS SO TRUMP CAN CAN HAVE PHOTO-OPS.”
That @cnn chyron is dead accurate.
— Mitch Coctostan (@existentialrefs) June 2, 2020
Archbishop Hammers Trump’s ‘Reprehensible’ Catholic Shrine Visit After ‘the Use of Tear Gas’ to ‘Silence’ and ‘Intimidate’
Catholics Denounce Latest ‘Photo Op’
The Archbishop of Washington, D.C. is denouncing President Donald Trump’s late Tuesday morning trip to visit a Catholic shrine that honors Pope John Paul II, specifically noting Trump teargassed protestors who were peacefully standing at St. John’s church just one day prior. Catholics came to protest, with some holding signs saying, “Our Church is Not a Photo Op,” as they chanted, “Black Lives Matter!” (video below.)
Archbishop Wilton Gregory, the nation’s highest-ranking African-American Catholic prelate, issued a strongly-worded statement calling Trump’s decision to visit the Saint John Paul II National Shrine “baffling and reprehensible,” as The Washington Post reports.
Gregory said it “violates our religious principles, which call us to defend the rights of all people even those with whom we might disagree.”
“Saint Pope John Paul II was an ardent defender of the rights and dignity of human beings,” the Archbishop added. “His legacy bears vivid witness to that truth. He certainly would not condone the use of tear gas and other deterrents to silence, scatter or intimidate them for a photo opportunity in front of a place of worship and peace.”
The Archbishop was not the only religious leader to criticize the President.
America Magazine reports Trump’s visit prompted “criticism from Catholics who demonstrated near the Catholic University of America, which is adjacent to the shrine, with some praying the rosary while holding signs reading, “Our Church is Not a Photo Op” and ‘Black Lives Matter.'”
The scene as Trump leaves the John Paul II Shrine in NE DC. pic.twitter.com/XgyIIxZUUA
— Niall Stanage (@NiallStanage) June 2, 2020
“President Trump is now using the Catholic faith in another photo op to defend his appalling refusal to address racism and police violence in the United States,” Sister Simone Campbell said.
As Trump visits the St John Paul II National Shrine today, I hope someone proclaims today’s Gospel (Mark 12:13-17) where Herodians and Pharisees are called out for their hypocrisy.
— Bishop John Stowe (@BpStowe) June 2, 2020
“The purpose of Mr. Trump’s visit was to highlight his administration’s efforts to protect religious liberty,” America Magazine added. “Later in the day, he is expected to return to the White House to sign an executive order related to that subject. The visit comes as the president’s reelection campaign has made efforts in recent weeks to appeal to white Catholic voters, a demographic he won in 2016.”
Pres. Trump visits Saint John Paul II National Shrine to lay a wreath in honor of the former Pope’s 100th birthday. It comes amid criticism for the president’s photo op at St. John’s Church yesterday, which involved breaking up a peaceful demonstration. https://t.co/bxvKH8mVVi pic.twitter.com/3ChCQqtXlv
— ABC News (@ABC) June 2, 2020
Trump is making his way to the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception here in my neighborhood of Brookland in NE #DC the protesters are assembled and waiting. #DCProtests pic.twitter.com/TFdqW30w8k
— Sasha Ghosh-Siminoff (@SSiminoff) June 2, 2020
Biden Destroys Trump for Teargassing Americans at DC Church: He Held Up a Bible – I Just Wish He’d Open One
Former Vice President Joe Biden blasted President Donald Trump for teargassing Americans protesting the police killing of George Floyd, while peacefully standing in D.C.’s Lafayette Park and at the famous St. John’s church. After clearing the area, Trump walked to the church for a photo-op, and held up a Bible.
Biden slammed Trump for “brandishing” the Bible and said: “I just wish he’d open it every once in awhile.”
“If he opened it he could have learned something.”
The former VP added, “In addition to the Bible, the president might also want to open the U.S. Constitution every once in awhile. If he did, he’d find a thing called the First Amendment.”
“This is a nation of values. Our freedom to speak is a cherished knowledge that lives inside of every American,” Biden declared. “We’re not going to let any president to quiet our voice.”
“They’re all called to ‘love one another, as we love ourselves.’ That’s really hard work. But it’s the work of America. Donald Trump isn’t interested in doing that work,” Biden chastised.
Biden earlier criticized the President, who “used tear gas and flash grenades in order to stage a photo-op.”
He also went after Trump for being “more interested in serving the passions of his base than the needs of the people in his care.”
“For that’s what the presidency is: the duty to care,” he said. “To care for all of us. Not just those who vote for us, but all of us.”
— This Week (@ThisWeekABC) June 2, 2020
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