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'Black Lives

Wall of Moms, Black Lives Matter protesters sue Trump administration for use of tear gas, force in Portland – Washington Post

PORTLAND, Ore. — Protesters who say they were tear-gassed, shot at, pepper-sprayed and assaulted outside a federal courthouse while peacefully demonstrating and rendering aid to others sued the Trump administration Monday over its use of force during nightly demonstrations in downtown Portland.

A group of five women and two organizations, including longtime Black Lives Matter protesters and the yellow-clad Wall of Moms group that assembles nightly to stand between protesters and federal law enforcement officers, filed a lawsuit alleging that several agencies — the Department of Homeland Security, Customs and Border Protection, Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the Federal Protective Service — have violated their constitutional rights of free speech, assembly and due process and against unreasonable seizures.

The agencies named in the lawsuit have deployed agents to protect the Mark O. Hatfield U.S. Courthouse from a nightly barrage of fireworks and projectiles, including water bottles, canned food and paint, during demonstrations against police violence, racial inequity and what many in Portland have come to view as a federal occupation.

The lawsuit marks the latest court battle to rise from the smoke and gas of the nightly standoffs in Oregon’s largest city. The American Civil Liberties Union in the past week sued the Trump administration and the Portland police department over alleged attacks on street medics, volunteers who render medical aid to injured demonstrators. U.S. District Judge Michael Simon issued a restraining order that bars federal agents from dispersing, arresting, threatening to arrest or targeting journalists or legal observers at protests.

Oregon’s attorney general sought to restrict federal agents’ ability to use injury-causing force against state residents by filing a lawsuit that was denied Friday by U.S. District Judge Michael Mosman, who said the state did not adequately argue that a restraining order was needed to prevent future injuries.

In the lawsuit filed Monday, which was convened by the nonprofit organization Protect Democracy, protesters allege they “have been tear-gassed night after night, left vomiting and unable to eat or sleep because of the toxic poison blasted at them. They have been shot at over and over — with rubber bullets, bean bags, pepper spray, and a range of other projectiles fired at close range and with brutal effect. They have had flash-bang explosive devices detonated right in front of them. They have been forced to speak and assemble in fear of not just bodily harm, but the possibility of sudden arrest without probable cause.”

Bev Barnum, 35, an organizer with the Wall of Moms group, said that on the night of her first protest, federal officers shot a stun grenade that exploded near her feet and launched tear gas and a projectile that “felt like rock salt” into the crowd, where she stood with her arms linked with other women. She remembers her eyes burning, ears ringing and lungs constricting as she gasped for breath. When someone grabbed her arm to pull her away from the line of officers, she said, she vomited repeatedly onto herself and into the street.

More than a week later, Barnum said, she has flashbacks that leave her body shaking and her mind reeling. She howled and sobbed as she recounted the experience in an interview.

“I can’t sleep,” she gasped between racking sobs. “Now when I go back out, I just lie to my kids. … How is this legal? How are they allowed to do this to people?”

Teressa Raiford, 49, the founder of anti-police-violence organization Don’t Shoot Portland, said the chemical irritants have coated food that volunteers at an aid station in the city park across the street from the federal courthouse have served hungry protesters, homeless people and anyone who asks. Raiford said that she has left her downtown Portland home because of all the gas in the air and that she worries about the health consequences of federal officers deploying plumes of a riot control agent called CS gas each night.

“I hope [federal agents] are no longer able to use excessive force against people who are just freely expressing their right to protest,” Raiford said. “We have to stop it.”

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'Black Lives

Black Lives Matter leader calls for defunding police: ‘Black people do not trust politicians’ – Fox News

Black Lives Matter activist Hawk Newsome called for defunding police in the U.S., suggesting a different approach to combatting crime and expressing despair over the state of American politics when it comes to the African-American community.

Newsome told “Fox News Sunday” that both parties have failed black people in the U.S. by catering more to corporations than people’s problems and not taking the appropriate position on reducing crime.

MINNEAPOLIS COUNCIL MEMBERS CALLING TO DEFUND POLICE SPEND $63G ON PRIVATE SECURITY DETAILS AFTER RECEIVING DEATH THREATS

“Black people do not trust politicians,” Newsome said. “They don’t trust Democrats. They don’t trust Republicans.”

Newsome said black people also have an issue with “government overstepping its bounds,” saying that policing is an example of this. He said that the current view that crime requires additional policing is incorrect and that the country should look at crime as a public health crisis while examining why people commit crimes.

“They’re desperate, they’re poor, they’re undereducated, and they are left out to dry by this American system of government,” he said.

Newsome said that rather than increasing police, governments should defund the police and provide resources that give people greater opportunities instead.

TRUMP TO SIGN EXECUTIVE ORDER PROTECTING FEDERAL STATUES, MONUMENTS

“You must invest in people, you must give people jobs, you must make people employable,” he said as a way to reduce crime.

Newsome told Fox News’ Martha MacCallum on Wednesday that “if this country doesn’t give us what we want, then we will burn down this system and replace it.” President Trump called this “treason.”

When asked about this on Sunday, Newsome insisted that he is not promoting violence.

“I’m not encouraging people to go out and hurt other people,” he said. He did say that “people lash out” as a matter of “inevitability” when they feel like they have no other option.

Host Chris Wallace referenced different approaches to seeking progress, citing Malcolm X’s “by any means necessary” philosophy versus the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s strategy of working within the system. Newsome said King was “a brilliant strategist” and “media savvy,” and accused the current “elders” of the civil rights movement of being “bought off by the Democratic establishment.

Newsome accused both the Obama and Trump administrations of failing black people by bailing out corporations and financial institutions like Wells Fargo that have discriminated in the past.

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Newsome also noted how many white people are protesting alongside the black community. Rather than vilifying them and writing them off as radicals, he said people should ask why they are joining the fight.

“They’re fighting because the government has failed us,” he said.

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'Black Lives

Black Lives Matter protester hailed as hero for saving far-right demonstrator in London melee – The Washington Post

LONDON — It is the photograph that has captured a hopeful, valiant, singular moment in a divided Britain — the image of a Black Lives Matter protester hoisting an injured man suspected of being a far-right demonstrator onto his shoulder to extricate him from a violent scrum near Waterloo Bridge.

From Saturday’s melee in central London emerged Patrick Hutchinson, a black Briton, hailed as a savior for carrying the prone white man with a shaved head and cutoff jeans in a fireman’s lift.

The British tabloids, even the right-wing ones, called Hutchinson a “hero,” and accolades poured forth on social media from politicians and ordinary folk. Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s spokesman said, “Patrick Hutchinson’s instincts in that moment represent the best of us.”

On his Instagram account, Hutchinson wrote, “We saved a life today.”

In an interview with Britain’s Channel 4, the personal trainer and grandfather said he arrived at the scene to see the man on the ground, under attack by protesters.

Hutchinson and his mates formed a cordon around the man.

“If the other three police officers that were standing around when George Floyd was murdered had thought about intervening, and stopping their colleague from doing what he was doing, like what we did, George Floyd would be alive today still,” Hutchinson said, referring to the unarmed black man in Minneapolis who died May 25 after a police officer put a knee to his neck for almost nine minutes.

“I just want equality for all of us,” Hutchinson told broadcasters. “At the moment, the scales are unfairly balanced, and I want things to be fair for my children and my grandchildren.”

The rescue occurred during rallies in London on Saturday, when Black Lives Matter demonstrators had mostly yielded the streets to avoid clashes with far-right counterprotesters, whom organizers had called out to defend national monuments such as the Winston Churchill statue in Parliament Square and the Cenotaph memorial near 10 Downing Street, from vandalism.

A week ago, during protests over racism and police brutality, one young man had tried to set alight a Union Flag at the Cenotaph, a memorial to Britain’s war dead. Someone else had tagged the Churchill statue with graffiti calling him a racist, sparking a national debate over the wartime prime minister’s words and actions.

On Saturday, Reuters photographer Dylan Martinez captured the image of Hutchinson emerging from a crowd with the injured man on his shoulder.

Before he shot that frame, Martinez says, he heard a shout, “That’s not what we do!”

“I saw a skirmish and someone falling to the ground,” the photographer told his news organization. “The crowd parted right in front of me. I was in the right place at the right time, and incredibly lucky from that point of view.”

Reuters journalists at the scene reported that the injured man had been beaten by protesters. “Some people in the crowd shouted out that the assault victim was a member of the far right,” the news agency wrote.

The counterprotests Saturday were dominated by clusters of mostly white men, some from far-right groups who claimed they were there to protect statues in Parliament Square, even though the statues had already been boarded up.

Witnesses in London posted cellphone video of one group of men, with cans of beer in their hands, harassing and kicking at picnickers sitting on a lawn in a park. Others were filmed goading and attacking police. Reporters on the scene, some of whom were threatened by counterprotesters, said many of the men appeared drunk.

One far-right counterprotester, Andrew Banks, 28, of Stansted, Essex, was photographed Saturday morning urinating next to a memorial to Keith Palmer, a police officer who was stabbed to death in the 2017 Westminster terrorist attack.

Banks later said he had consumed 16 pints of beer the night before and could not find a toilet. He was sentenced to 14 days in jail for outraging public decency, the Guardian newspaper reported.

In court Monday, Chief Magistrate Emma Arbuthnot told Banks: “The irony is that rather than protecting the monuments, you very nearly ended up urinating on one. The harm caused is the upset and shock felt by members of the public who saw the images that generated a strong sense of revulsion.”

The Metropolitan Police said more than 100 people were arrested Saturday.

Pierre Noah, 47, who works with Hutchinson at Ark Protection, a security company that provides clients with bodyguards, told The Washingon Post that the atmosphere on Saturday was “terrible.”

He said there were football hooligans chanting “Go back to Africa, you monkeys.” He said he then noticed that “this guy was in danger, and I was able to shield him, and Patrick and another colleague carried him to safety.”

Noah said, “If we didn’t do what we did, who knows what would have happened to him.”

Both sides “need education,” he said. “If you don’t have education, you don’t have common sense.”

Johnson, who is also a Churchill biographer, said he would do everything in his power to protect the statue of Churchill but called the counterprotesters “far-right thugs and bovver boys.”

A “bovver boy” in British slang is a hooligan, often a skinhead, who creates bother.

“It was right that a good number should have been arrested,” Johnson said in a column in the Daily Telegraph. “They were violent. They were aggressive towards the police. They were patently racist. There is nothing that can excuse their behaviour.”

He pledged to set up a commission to examine racial inequality in Britain.

David Lammy, a Labour politician and author of a 2017 review of inequality in the British criminal justice system, said action is needed, not more reports.

“He’s announced a commission, behind a paywall, in the Telegraph, buried in the middle of yet another article about Churchill. If he was serious, why are there no details?” Lammy told the BBC. “Get on with the action, legislate, move — you’re in government, do something.”

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Republicans equate police lives with black lives after George Floyd’s brother’s testimony – Vox.com

Wednesday’s House Judiciary Committee hearing was Congress’s first big forum for discussing the killing of George Floyd, the nationwide protests it sparked, and the country’s problems with police brutality and racism. It was also apparently, in some Republicans’ view, a chance to try to redirect the conversation to some both sides-isms.

About midway through the question-and-answer period of the hearing — which was about a Democratic bill proposing several key policing reforms, including a ban on using chokeholds and creating a national database of officers who are fired for misconduct — Rep. Martha Roby (R-AL) asked George Floyd’s brother Philonise Floyd a question. She asked him to speak about the pain he’s felt over the past two weeks since his brother was killed after a Minneapolis, Minnesota, officer pinned him by the neck with his knee for several minutes, and what he hoped to see from Congress.

In his response, Floyd made a very simple, moving statement: that black lives matter because “all life is precious.” But some Republicans on the committee took that phrase as an opportunity to “both sides” the issue.

Immediately after Floyd’s heartfelt message, another committee member called on Republican witness Angela Underwood Jacobs, whose brother was a member of the Federal Protective Service and was killed while guarding a courthouse in Oakland, California, during recent unrest over Floyd’s death.

“The heartbreak and the grief is hard to articulate when your entire world has been turned upside down,” said Jacobs. “I do want to know, though, when I think about all of this is that, my brother wore a uniform and he wore that uniform proudly — I’m wondering where is the outrage for a fallen officer that also happens to be African American?”

The moment seemed designed to create a “both sides” situation, redirecting the conversation away from those harmed by police. Jacobs did go on to implore the Congress members there to find a solution to this issue, but the seeds were sown in that moment for some Republican lawmakers.

Some Republicans seemed more worried about protecting law enforcement than addressing police brutality

Amid discussion of specific policy proposals and their various merits and shortcomings, several Republican lawmakers instead took stands against concepts like “abolish the police” or “defund the police.” (The bill that prompted the hearing included neither.)

Other GOP members of the committee seemed committed to equating black lives and police lives.

Shortly after the moment with Floyd’s brother and Jacobs’s story, ranking member Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) seized on the “both sides” narrative in an exchange with Republican witness and Fox News contributor Dan Bongino during his round of questioning.

Asking Bongino if he felt he was protecting life when he put on his NYPD uniform or was protecting presidents in the Secret Service, Jordan deftly flipped the narrative. “When you protected that life, you actually risked your life, is that accurate?” Jordan asked; Bongino responded affirmatively. “And officers do that every day, don’t they?” replied Jordan.

From there, Jordan said that the idea of abolishing or defunding the police is inconsistent with the statement “all life is precious,” even though the bill in question wasn’t proposing either of those things.

Jordan continued his back-and-forth with Bongino, hitting on this theme more clearly. “I think in your testimony earlier, you said if police forces are abolished, if police forces are defunded … we’re talking about human beings, we’re talking about officers who put on their uniforms and protect our communities,” he said. “It will put their lives at risk, won’t it?”

The unsaid assumption underlying some Republicans’ arguments during the hearing was that police are the only thing standing up to a perceived menace — one presented by the black communities and other communities of color whose suffering at the hands of law enforcement other witnesses pointed out. Still, little moments seemed to expose this assumption. In his opening statement, Bongino had called on Congress to “commit to police accountability, without shredding the thin wall between civilization and chaos.”

Eventually, Rep. Val Demings (D-FL) said that police violence isn’t an “us versus them” issue.

“This moment is about what’s right, and this moment is about what’s wrong,” she said referring to Floyd’s death. “This is not a black issue or a white issue. It’s not a Democratic issue, a Republican issue. This is an American issue that has turned into yet another American tragedy.”


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'Black Lives

‘Black Lives Matter’: In giant yellow letters, D.C. nayor sends message to Trump – The Washington Post

D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser renamed a street in front of the White House “Black Lives Matter Plaza” and had the slogan painted on the asphalt in massive yellow letters, a pointed salvo in her escalating dispute with President Trump over control of D.C. streets.

City officials said the actions Friday were meant to honor demonstrators who are urging changes in law enforcement practices after the killing of George Floyd, an unarmed black man, in the custody of Minneapolis police.

“There was a dispute this week about whose street it is, and Mayor Bowser wanted to make it abundantly clear whose street it is and honor the peaceful demonstrators who assembled Monday night,” said John Falcicchio, the mayor’s chief of staff.

For days, Bowser (D) has strongly objected to the escalation of federal law enforcement and the military response to protests and unrest in the nation’s capital.

Trump has urged a crackdown on demonstrators, outraged by sporadic cases of looting during protests in Washington and some other cities. He and Attorney General William P. Barr marshaled a huge influx of federal police and National Guard units to the capital against Bowser’s wishes.

On Friday, city workers included a D.C. flag at the end of the display in front of St. John’s Church, close to where federal law enforcement forcefully cleared the area of largely peaceful protesters Monday night just before Trump walked over and posed for news cameras, a Bible in his hand.

The art takes up two blocks on 16th Street NW, between K and H streets, an iconic promenade directly north of the White House. Local artist Rose Jaffe said she and others joined city work crews to paint the giant slogan, starting before dawn.

Shortly after 11 a.m., Bowser watched silently as a city worker hung a sign at the corner of 16th and H streets that said “Black Lives Matter Plz NW.”

Onlookers cheered, and the song “Rise Up” by Andra Day played from speakers.

“In America, you can peacefully assemble,” Bowser said in brief remarks to the crowd.

Bah-Pna Dahane, 45, said he was finishing up a run near the White House on Friday morning when he saw the street-painting effort and decided to pitch in. He said he had been a victim of brutal police tactics in New York and knows that change will not happen if people don’t act.

“I said: ‘You know what? Let’s do it. Let’s make it happen,’ ” he said as he painted.

The group Black Lives Matter DC reacted to the street painting with criticism of the mayor, saying she should decrease the budget for the D.C. police and “invest in the community.”

Bowser’s proposed budget increases funding for traditional policing while cutting spending on programs to reduce violence through community-based intervention initiatives.

“This is a performative distraction from real policy changes,” the group said on Twitter, adding, “Black Lives Matter means defund the police.”

Jaffe, one of the local artists who was painting Friday morning, said she, too, would like Bowser to cut funding for the police department. She said she also would like to see officers express more support for protests, which began a week ago in the District.

“I’m conflicted about doing it. It’s about wanting to reclaim the streets, but I also know that it is a little bit of a photo op,” said Jaffe, a D.C. native. “Where is the action behind this?”

The D.C. Council has put forth several bills to overhaul policing, including a prohibition on using tear gas and a requirement to disclose body-camera footage and the name of an officer within three days of a deadly-force incident.

Bowser declined to comment on the proposals Friday, saying she had not had a chance to review them. She also acknowledged her tense relationship with local Black Lives Matter activists, who have criticized her handling of deadly-force cases in the District.

“They are critical of me, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t see them and support the things that will make our community safe,” Bowser said, “and that we don’t all have a larger responsibility in the nation’s capital to send that very clear message to our nation.”

In a letter Thursday, Bowser formally asked Trump to “withdraw all extraordinary federal law enforcement and military presence from Washington, D.C.”

“The deployment of federal law enforcement personnel and equipment are inflaming demonstrators and adding to the grievances of those who, by and large, are peacefully protesting for change and for reforms to the racist and broken systems that are killing Black Americans,” Bowser wrote in the letter.

The mayor criticized unidentified federal law enforcement officials for patrolling the streets of her city and operating outside “established chains of commands.”

Demonstrations on Wednesday and Thursday night were largely peaceful, and Bowser has lifted a curfew she had imposed earlier in the week. The federal and military presence on the streets had shrunk to almost nothing.

On Friday afternoon, Trump attacked Bowser on Twitter, calling her “incompetent” and accusing her of “fighting with the National Guard.”

The president appeared to be referring to a dispute over a hotel that the city government is using to house covid-19 responders.

Bowser said she had no problem with guardsmen staying at D.C. hotels, as long as the U.S. military or their home state — and not the District — foots the bill.

Asked specifically about the president calling her incompetent, Bowser retorted, “You know the thing about the pot and the kettle?”

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'Black Lives

Black Lives Matter protest at mall stays peaceful – Midland Reporter-Telegram

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