New York Police Department commissioner Dermot Shae has said that racial justice protesters who marched across the city on Martin Luther King Day were trying to “destroy our way of life.”
It was a curious way for a white policeman to characterize Black racial justice activists, to say the least, especially as the state Attorney General Letitia James is in the process of suing the NYPD for excessive force against racial justice demonstrators during the George Floyd protests during the summer of 2020.
On Martin Luther King Day 2021, the national holiday commemorating Black civil rights leader, NYPD officers arrested 29 protesters with a Black Liberation March for racial and social justice. The group marched from Brooklyn to City Hall.
Police claimed that protesters began lobbing bottles at a bystander recording the protests after police formed a protective ring around the bystander. Police also claimed that protesters tried to block traffic over one of the city’s roads and tried to spray graffiti. However, NY1 reports that video shows police officers arresting protesters at random.
Less than a week after I filed a lawsuit against the @NYPDnews for using excessive force against peaceful protesters, last night we saw officers exhibit the same concerning behavior.
As we laid out in our lawsuit, this is a longstanding pattern that must stop.
— NY AG James (@NewYorkStateAG) January 19, 2021
“When you march from Brooklyn over a bridge, you try to shut down the traffic on the bridge. You’re bringing bottles. You’re bringing graffiti. You’re spray painting our city. This is our city. You’re spray painting to burn our city down,” Shea said. “This isn’t actions that are caused by police officers so that’s a news flash for the AG. This is actions caused by people that want to destroy our way of life and our city and we’re not going to let it happen.”
Isabelle Leyva, an NYC resident who recorded video of the police attacks (below) told NBC News a completely different story. She said that the police played an audio recording ordering the protesters to stop marching in the streets and then police began rushing anyone who dared step off of the sidewalk. She said police rushed protesters at least six times.
“At that point, a small group broke away from the crowd and was standing on the roadway a few feet off of the sidewalk,” Leyva said. “Riot police then charged the crowd and ran onto the sidewalk to beat and arrest people. [Police] continued this pattern for the rest of the night, grabbing anyone who stepped off of the sidewalk and then charging the entire group.”
NYPD attacking protesters at City Hall Park pic.twitter.com/BHtH76kyde
— Isabelle Leyva (@isabelle_leyva) January 19, 2021
Eleven officers received minor injuries and 21 protesters were charged with disorderly conduct, a misdemeanor, while seven received a desk appearance ticket.
Considering the long history of police using intimidation and force to beat back racial justice protesters, Shae’s characterization of protesters seeking to “destroy our way of life” is telling.
Researchers have said that the police’s tepid response to the white insurrectionists who stormed the U.S. Capitol on January 6 was quite permissive and friendly compared to the violent beatdown that Black Lives Matter protesters experienced at the same site the summer before—and it fits a larger pattern of police allowing white protesters to riot while stomping down on Black protesters who dare challenge police authority.
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GOP Lawmaker Says Black People Are Glad Their Ancestors Were Brought Over as Slaves
Terry Jones, a Republican lawmaker in North Dakota, has submitted a bill that would require state forms to list “American” as a racial choice option because he’s “disgusted” with how race is used by bad actors to divide the country, he says.
In trying to explain how his bill would unite Americans by focusing “on commonalities rather than differences,” he told the press that “citizens of all backgrounds are proud to be American,” adding that Black Americans are “glad their ancestors were brought here as slaves.”
InForum reports: “Jones said he believes in this sentiment because he read a Reader’s Digest article from the 1980s in which a Black doctor visited an African country during a period of civil conflict and made remarks about being grateful that his ancestors had been taken to America. Forum News Service’s attempts to find the article were unsuccessful.
Jones’ ignorant comment are just part of a long history of racist lawmakers saying that people of color should be grateful for their ill-treatment in this country just because it’s better than living in poorer nations — hardly an endorsement of great living under the American system.
Trump Didn’t Want to Rename Military Bases Named After Confederates. It’s Happening Anyway
On December 23, 2020, President Donald Trump followed through on his promise to veto the massive military spending bill, the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), because it contained a measure to rename military bases named after Confederate generals who wanted to keep slavery legal.
However, both the House and Senate overrode his veto on December 28 and January 1, respectively, and now the renaming is getting underway as the Pentagon just named the first four members of its eight-member renaming commission yesterday.
The renaming of bases was part of a measure included in the NDAA by Democratic Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren giving the Department of Defense three years to remove Confederate names, symbols, monuments and other honors from military bases, buildings, streets, ships, aircraft, weapons and equipment, according to Politico.
The committee has until October 2022 to submit a plan for which things should be renamed and possibly alternative names created with input from local communities.
On July 1, 2020, Trump wrote, “I will Veto the Defense Authorization Bill if the Elizabeth ‘Pocahontas’ Warren (of all people!) Amendment, which will lead to the renaming (plus other bad things!) of Fort Bragg, Fort Robert E. Lee, and many other Military Bases from which we won Two World Wars, is in the Bill!”
Considering how many of Trump’s supporters waved Confederate flags at his pre-riot rally and while ransacking the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, it explains why he strongly opposes removing the names of traitorous Confederate military leaders who fought against the federal government and spilled American blood for the “right” to own, rape, torture and kill Black slaves.
By vetoing the bill, Trump also denied a pay raise for troops, prevented funding for female-specific uniforms and body armor, and ended “funding to support quality of life for service members and their families, including measures this year to support education for military children with special needs whose families have to frequently change school districts,” according to NBC News.
Members of Trump’s own party united with Democrats to stop him from doing that and now the Confederate legacy will be erased from the U.S. military.
Trump Nominates Man with White Supremacist Ties to Holocaust Preservation Commission
In 2018, Darren Beattie was fired as a White House speechwriter after it was discovered that he attended a conference with white supremacist speakers. Now, President Donald Trump has nominated Beattie to serve on the Commission for the Preservation of America’s Heritage Abroad, a group that identifies and preserves cemeteries and historic buildings in Europe, including those used to slaughter Jews during the Holocaust.
Beattie was originally fired after CNN revealed that he had attended the H.L. Mencken Club in 2016 and appeared on a panel with Peter Brimelow, founder of the anti-immigrant site VDare, a group the Southern Poverty Law Center has labeled as a “hate website.”
If appointed, Beattie would serve on the commission for three years, well into the administration of Democratic President-elect Joe Biden.
“It is absolutely outrageous that someone who has consorted with racists would even be considered for a position on a commission devoted to preserving Holocaust memorials in Europe,” said Jonathan Greenblatt, chief executive of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), a pro-Jewish group. “We urge the administration to rescind his appointment immediately.”
In his own defense, Beattie has said that he himself didn’t speak about race at the panel and that the conference has iced out white supremacists.
“The ADL pretends to be an organization that protects Jews, but it really exists to protect Democrats,” Beattie said in a recent statement. “As a Jewish Trump supporter, I consider it an honor to be attacked by the far-left ADL and its disgraced leader, Jonathan Greenblatt.”
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