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Tag: black lives matter

General Refused Trump Demand To 'Shoot' Racial Justice Protesters

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

Former President Donald Trump wanted the military to take aggressive action against protesters following the disturbing death of George Floyd. A new book documents the former president's disturbing demands to quell the protests.

In the new book, Frankly, We Did Win This Election: The Inside Story of How Trump Lost, Wall Street Journal reporter Michael Bender details the series of events that led to Trump's downfall.At one point in the book, he also discusses the nationwide protests that erupted following Floyd's death. According to Bender, Trump allegedly wanted physical harm to be brought against protesters and even suggested that they be shot.

Although the vast majority of protests were non-violent and peaceful, Trump still demanded to see law enforcement take physical action. "That's how you're supposed to handle these people," Trump told his administrative officials, according to Bender's reporting. "Crack their skulls!"

"Well, shoot them in the leg — or maybe the foot," Trump reportedly said. "But be hard on them!"

In addition to the verbal remarks, the former president is also said to have used a number of videos as examples of the pushback he wanted to see. CNN also offered details about Trump's conversations behind closed doors at the White House. He reportedly told members of his administration that he wanted the military to "beat the f--- out" of protesters.

Although General Mark A. Milley and former U.S. Attorney General Barr William reportedly made attempts to push back against the president's dangerous rhetoric, he would only back down temporarily.

Another incident reported in the book centered on one of Milley's exchanges with Trump's former senior policy adviser Stephen Miller. When Miller reportedly referred to some of the states as "war zones," Milley reportedly told him to "shut the fuck up."

St. Louis Couple Who Threatened Protesters Must Surrender Guns

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

The infamous St. Louis couple that made headlines last summer after brandishing guns at Black Lives Matter (BLM) protesters must now surrender their guns. Needless to say, they are not pleased with the order.

According to KMOV, Mark and Patricia McCloskey pleaded guilty to a number of charges in connection with their altercation with protesters. Patricia McCloskey entered a guilty plea for misdemeanor harassment and was fined a total of $2,000. Mark McCloskey entered a guilty plea for a misdemeanor fourth-degree assault charge. The two also had to agree to surrender the weapons used during their exchange with protesters.

But despite the guilty pleas and their agreement to turn over their weapons, Mark McCloskey has made it clear that he does not regret his actions. From the steps of the courthouse in St. Louis, Mo., he said, "I'd do it again," later adding, "Any time the mob approaches me, I'll do what I can to put them in imminent threat of physical injury because that's what kept them from destroying my house and my family."

As reports began circulating about their case again, McCloskey also took to Twitter with his reaction. "A year ago, the mob came to my door to attack my family— I backed them down," he tweeted. "The mob came for me, the media attacked me & prosecutors tried to punish me for defending my family They dropped all charges, except for a claim I instilled 'imminent fear' in the mob I'd do it again."

Special prosecutor Richard Callahan also weighed in and admitted that he believes the couple's consequences are reasonable.

"But I think that their conduct was a little unreasonable in the end," Callahan said. "I don't think people should view this case as some type of betrayal or assault on the Second Amendment. We still have the Second Amendment rights. It's just that the Second Amendment does not permit unreasonable conduct."

America Marks Slavery's End On New 'Juneteenth' National Holiday

New York (AFP) - With marches, music and speeches, Americans on Saturday celebrated "Juneteenth," the newly declared national holiday that marks the end of slavery and which comes a year after George Floyd's murder sparked anti-racism protests. Hundreds of events were held across the country, from New York to Los Angeles, and most notably in Galveston, Texas, the symbolic heart of the Juneteenth commemoration. For on June 19, 1865, it was in that Texas coastal area that the Union Army -- victorious after the bitterly fought Civil War -- announced to African Americans that, even if some in Texa...

GOP Senate Hopeful And Wife Plead Guilty After Waving Guns At Protestors

Reprinted with permission from American Independent

A Republican Senate hopeful in Missouri and his wife pleaded guilty on Thursday to misdemeanor charges. The pair became conservative movement heroes last June after they brandished guns at nonviolent protestors marching against systemic racism.

Mark McCloskey admitted to fourth-degree assault and to pay a $750 fine. His wife, Patricia, will pay $2,000 for second-degree harassment. Both will forfeit the firearms used.

"The prosecutor dropped every charge except for alleging that I purposely placed other people in imminent risk of physical injury, right, and I sure as heck did," Mark McCloskey told reporters. The two had originally been indicted in October on felony counts of unlawful use of a weapon and evidence tampering.

"That's what the guns were there for and I'd do it again any time the mob approaches me, I'll do what I can to place them in imminent threat of physical injury because that's what kept them from destroying my house and my family," he added.

The McCloskeys made national news for their response to Black Lives Matter protestors from the lawn of their St. Louis home. The couple resides in the same gated community as then-St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson, whose home protestors were marching on to protest her actions in the wake of the George Floyd murder. As the activists marched, Patricia pointed a handgun at them and Mark held an AR-15 rifle.

After this incident, the Republican National Committee invited the pair to speak at the August 2020 national convention. "What you saw happen to us could just as easily happen to any of you who are watching from quiet neighborhoods around our country," they warned voters in a fearmongering speech.

Last month, Mark McCloskey — an attorney — announced that he would seek the GOP nomination for the seat of retiring Republican Sen. Roy Blunt.

"An angry mob marched to destroy my home and kill my family, I took a stand to defend them," he tweeted. "I am a proven fighter against the mob When the mob comes to destroy our home, our state, our nation— I'll defend it I will NEVER BACK DOWN."

He brags on his campaign website that he and his wife "held off a violent mob through the exercise of their 2nd Amendment rights." And he promises to "continue fighting for President Trump's agenda" if elected and to defend "law and order."

Other candidates running for the nomination include Attorney General Eric Schmitt, who opposed charging the McCloskeys and claimed they were just "defending their property and safety"; Rep. Vicky Hartzler, one of Congress' most extreme opponents of LGBTQ rights; and ex-Gov. Eric Greitens, who resigned from office in the face of an alleged revenge porn scandal in 2018.

Published with permission of Thee American Independent Foundation.

Demand Justice, But Stand Up For Law And Order Too

The conversation started on a long Uber ride. The driver, originally from Colombia, said he knows a lot of Colombians living in the U.S. "without papers." He argued that they are good people paying taxes and should be left alone. I responded that I believe they are good people paying taxes but our immigration laws should be respected.

He then said, to my surprise, "I kind of like Donald Trump." Why, I asked. He went on heatedly about the riots that followed the killing of George Floyd. He thought Trump was more serious about restoring order.

The public really dislikes civic chaos. Democrats, you need to address this more forthrightly.

It matters not that only 6 percent of the racial justice rallies from May through October of last year saw violence. Nor is the intention to downplay troubling cases of police brutality. And let's not forget that the most outrageous incident of savage lawlessness, the Jan. 6 rampage on the Capitol, was staged by the Republican right wing.

It's just that the right talks a big game on maintaining law and order while some on the left leave the impression that Democrats don't care so much. The liberal media tend to give these radical voices outsized attention, which the right-wing media happily scoops up.

Thus, we hear stupid calls to "Abolish ICE" (U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement), the agency tasked with stopping cross-border crime and illegal entry. And there are demands to "defund police," which President Joe Biden and the vast majority of Democrats totally oppose.

I recently had dinner with progressive friends who were angry over the violent demonstrations in the liberal strongholds of Portland and Seattle. They complained that the rioters' destructive behavior — and the apparent toleration of it by cowardly local officials — was helping elect Republicans opposed to their progressive values. And they were right.

The recurring mayhem in Portland has become a sport for punks. Though they may invoke the usual woke causes, they are performers out for thuggish "fun." And though they often riff on "identity politics," the few who get arrested are almost all young and white.

Earlier this month, May Day demonstrations brought another fresh round of havoc to Portland. Buildings were damaged and windows smashed. Garbage piling in the streets prompted The Oregonian to rename the city "Dumptown."

Seattle is still recovering from the fallout of the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone, several blocks that city leaders astonishingly made off-limits to police last year. Early on, Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan naively told CNN, "We could have the summer of love." Not quite. The area was tormented by rapes, assaults, burglaries, vandalism and shootings.

The Economist recently pointed to a study strongly suggesting that last year's civic disorder cost Democrats support in November. Biden's share of the vote, it noted, was lower in and around Kenosha, Wisconsin, than in similar places in the state. The apparent reason were the ugly riots that followed the Kenosha police shooting of a black man.

A poll of New York City voters has crime as the No. 1 issue. More than 60 percent of those responding said they wanted to raise the New York City Police Department's budget and hire more cops. The top-polling mayoral candidate is Eric Adams, a former police officer and the current Brooklyn borough president. When his chief rival, Andrew Yang, bashed the movement to defund police, Adams countered that he himself had bashed the movement first.

In Los Angeles, meanwhile, Mayor Eric Garcetti recently swatted down the noisy activists, saying, "If you want to abolish the police, you're talking to the wrong mayor."

This is how people in America's liberal cities feel. It's time the rest of America knew it.

Follow Froma Harrop on Twitter @FromaHarrop. She can be reached at fharrop@gmail.com. To find out more about Froma Harrop and read features by other Creators writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators webpage at www.creators.com.

This Whiteness Of Being

It's Wednesday morning. I sign into the eighth one-on-one student videoconference but immediately see that, on this call, with this cherished student, there's no oxygen for talking about the final, mundane details of spring semester. The young Black woman looking at me through the computer screen is in almost unspeakable pain.

We are meeting less than 24 hours after former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was convicted on all counts for the murder last May of George Floyd. Chauvin knelt on Floyd's neck for more than nine minutes. I always try to remember to include that because, in my experience, young people can't forget it, and neither should we. It's the very least we can do for Floyd and for Darnella Frazier, the brave 17-year-old Black girl who held up her phone that day and bore witness to the last minutes of his life. It's hard for me to believe a person can watch even part of her ten-minute video and not feel something break inside.

The Chauvin verdict is an accountability, but it is not justice, my student says, and I agree. Justice would mean George Floyd was still alive and able to hold his 6-year-old daughter Gianna in his arms.

But this Wednesday morning is worse, so much worse, because minutes before the Chauvin verdict was announced, a 16-year-old Black girl named Ma'Khia Bryant was shot and killed in the street by a white police officer in Columbus, Ohio. An investigation is pending, but surely, I don't have to tell you how that sounds to my student less than 24 hours later.

It's too much on top of more than one can bear. My student, this talented and spirited young woman who has been such a fierce presence in my class, has no energy left to talk about what's due by the end of the semester. She is the first of several Black women, current and former students, who tell me that day, without hesitation or doubt, "That girl could be me."

I am a white woman who has never had a minute's worry that the color of my skin would lead to the cause of my death. What is my role in this moment as a professor, a colleague, a friend?

I try to take guidance from Black friends, students and colleagues. The instruction is pretty simple: Shut up. For the sake of all that is right and holy, just shut up for a while and listen. To ignore their pain is to magnify our indifference, and filling this space with our words, our feelings, is just another way to say, "I don't see you."

If your daily life includes no Black friends, colleagues or neighbors, it is by choice. You can argue your "very good reasons" all you want. No one believes you, even if they like you. Try explaining, for example, how your all-white neighborhood reflects your commitment to racial equality. I speak from shameful experience. When you don't want to tell people where you live, it's time to move.

There is one space in which white Americans should always be outspoken allies of Black people, and that is in the company of other white people. So often, our most uncomfortable moments are the most important ones.

For all of my 19 years as a columnist, there has been no rival for the hate mail about racism from people who look like me. The message, sometimes cloaked in Scripture but often just raw with rage, is always the same: You have betrayed your people.

If your primary requirement for love or camaraderie with another human being is a matching skin tone, your world is but a thimble bobbing on a wondrous sea. My mother would want me to pray for you, just as many of you claim to be praying for me. She'd want me to mean it, though, so I keep trying.

It's Thursday evening now, and my mind is full of the thoughts my students have bravely shared in this sad week of never-ending pain. I am slowed by the weight of their words, struggling to imagine what it is like to be them right now.

I do not know because I cannot know, in this whiteness of being. But for them, I will keep trying.

Connie Schultz is a Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist and professional in residence at Kent State University's school of journalism. She is the author of two non-fiction books, including "...and His Lovely Wife," which chronicled the successful race of her husband, Sherrod Brown, for the U.S. Senate. She is also the author of The New York Times bestselling novel, The Daughters of Erietown. To find out more about Connie Schultz (schultz.connie@gmail.com) and read her past columns, please visit the Creators Syndicate webpage at www.creators.com

One Black Life Mattered, This Time

Reprinted with permission from Roll Call

Remember when three Black women proclaimed that Black Lives Matter? It was in 2013 after a jury found George Zimmerman not guilty in the fatal shooting of unarmed Black teen Trayvon Martin in Florida. It seemed so essential and overdue for Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors, and Opal Tometi to found a movement to defiantly claim what America had too often denied.

Yet it was controversial. The willfully blind countered with "All Lives Matter," as though saying that would make it so. Then, there were suggestions: "Don't you think it would be less divisive if the signs read 'Black Lives Matter, Too?'"

In all honesty, anyone who did not get it was not going to with the addition of one three-letter word. But then the world witnessed Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin press his knee on the neck of George Floyd for nine minutes and 29 seconds. That the doubters needed video evidence was infuriating, when Black and brown Americans had been bearing witness for hundreds of years. But communities craving visibility and justice welcomed the opened eyes and protests by all ages and races.

It was certainly never a sure thing that Chauvin would be found guilty on all murder and manslaughter charges, as he was. There was also video of the killings of Philando Castile in Minnesota in 2016 and Walter Scott in South Carolina in 2015. Yet in Castile's case, police officer Jeronimo Yanez was found not guilty. And in Scott's case, after the first prosecution ended in a hung jury, it took a federal prosecution to gain a plea from former police officer Michael Slager — despite the evidence a brave citizen recorded of Slager shooting Scott in the back, taking aim while standing 15 to 20 feet away, and then throwing his Taser down to concoct a false story for his department to swallow and regurgitate as truth. (Another bit of mild relief this week as Slager's 20-year sentence was upheld.)

No wonder so many were holding our collective breath.

Unique Circumstances

It took the shock and trauma of Floyd's torture and murder in broad daylight, the look on the face of a white police officer showing the crowd that he was in charge, and a prosecution that cared enough to put in the work to get a conviction. The defense lawyer's characterization of Floyd as at once superhuman, able to rise up after he stopped breathing, yet so weak he literally dropped dead from preexisting conditions, and the crowd as frightening when they were the ones helplessly pleading with Chauvin, the man with the gun and the mace, fell flat this time.

In a startling change, police testified against one of their own, as if to say, it's him, not us. An acquittal for Chauvin would have truly proved police can get away with anything.

But the marches and protests will continue because it is about more than one trial and one officer. The case of Daunte Wright, shot and killed during what started as a traffic stop in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, as the Chauvin trial was going on, was a reminder of that. And at those Black Lives Matter marches, a militarized presence by police contrasted with their light hand when confronted by anti-maskers, anti-vaxxers, and insurrectionists anxious to overturn the results of a free and fair election.

Peaceful civil rights activists now praised as secular saints by liberals and conservatives alike — a litany that includes Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., John Lewis, and Fannie Lou Hamer — were once met with state-sanctioned violence. Some scenes in the present, at protests for justice, resemble the images from then, with tear gas lingering in the air and snipers on roofs.

Changes Afoot

It's true the Biden administration's Department of Justice seems to be taking that word "justice" seriously. Attorney General Merrick Garland is rescinding the ban on consent decrees that monitored local police departments, agreements President Donald Trump and his Attorney General Jeff Sessions deemed an infringement. Just this week, Garland announced a Justice Department probe into the practices and culture of the Minneapolis Police Department.

In my home state of Maryland, the Democratic-controlled legislature overrode Republican Gov. Larry Hogan's veto of a bill that repealed the state's powerful Law Enforcement Officers' Bill of Rights. Now Maryland has established new use-of-force rules, among other provisions on investigations and punishment, and civilians can weigh in.

Yet, in Florida, in what can only be described as a retreat to the bad old days, Gov. Ron DeSantis has signed a bill brazenly targeting racial justice protesters that punishes protest itself with felony charges. At the signing, Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd warned newcomers to the state: "Don't register to vote and vote the stupid way they did up north and get what they got."

Ah, Florida. Come for the voter suppression, get arrested at a protest as a bonus.

Even after Chauvin's conviction, there does not seem to be much enthusiasm from Senate Republicans for the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, though polls suggest public support for provisions such as bans on chokeholds, limits on no-knock warrants, and data collection that would prevent bad police officers from moving to different jurisdictions without leaving a trail.

Anyone who was paying attention knows that Chauvin was one ten-minute video taken by a stalwart 17-year-old away from returning to his beat, charged up on new resentments.

A Black life may have mattered, this time. But many of us have yet to exhale.

Mary C. Curtis has worked at The New York Times, The Baltimore Sun, The Charlotte Observer, as national correspondent for Politics Daily, and is a senior facilitator with The OpEd Project. Follow her on Twitter @mcurtisnc3.

After Chauvin Verdict, Greene Stokes Fear Of Black ’Terrorist Threat’

Reprinted with permission from American Independent

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) called the Black Lives Matter movement a "terrorist threat" in a tweet after the conviction of former Minneapolis Police officer Derek Chauvin on Tuesday on all three counts in the killing of George Floyd.

"DC is completely dead tonight. People stayed in and were scared to go out because of fear of riots. Police are everywhere and have riot gear. #BLM is the strongest terrorist threat in our county," Greene tweeted, misspelling the word "country."

Reporters who live in Washington said Greene's comments were untrue, adding that residents were in the street in a celebratory mood after Chauvin was convicted on two counts of murder and one count of manslaughter in Floyd's death in May 2020, an incident that sparked nationwide and worldwide protests for racial justice and police reform and abolition.

"This isn't true," NBC News' Garrett Haake replied in a tweet. "I spent four hours at BLM plaza in DC tonight, talking to the folks who wanted to come out near the White House on an historic night. Lots of people brought their kids or their dogs. It was a bit windy though."

Greene would not comment to a reporter about whether she thought Chauvin's conviction was just, instead focusing on Black Lives Matter: "BLM has now proven itself to be the most powerful domestic terrorists organization in our country. After Maxine Waters threats could there have been any other verdict?"

This is not the first time Greene has claimed special persecution of white people.

In video obtained by Politico prior to the 2020 election, Greene said, "The most mistreated group of people in the United States today are white males."

She dismissed the idea that systemic racism exists, saying, "Guess what? Slavery is over. Black people have equal rights."

Greene also tried to launch a white supremacist caucus in the House, an effort she abandoned after backlash from members of her own party.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.