Contact Me By Email

What To Do When You're Stopped By Police - The ACLU & Elon James White

What To Do When You're Stopped By Police - The ACLU & Elon James White

Know Anyone Who Thinks Racial Profiling Is Exaggerated? Watch This, And Tell Me When Your Jaw Drops.

This video clearly demonstrates how racist America is as a country and how far we have to go to become a country that is civilized and actually values equal justice. We must not rest until this goal is achieved. I do not want my great grandchildren to live in a country like we have today. I wish for them to live in a country where differences of race and culture are not ignored but valued as a part of what makes America great.

Wednesday, June 03, 2020

Bishop overseeing church in shock over Trump photo-op

The no-knock warrant for Breonna Taylor was illegal Police departments continue to violate an important Supreme Court ruling — and judges keep letting them

The no-knock warrant for Breonna Taylor was illegal

Police departments continue to violate an important Supreme Court ruling — and judges keep letting them

Breonna Taylor, who was shot by Louisville police in March. (Family photo)
Breonna Taylor, who was shot by Louisville police in March. (Family photo)

Just after midnight on March 13, police in Louisville on a drug raid forced their way into the home of Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old black woman who worked as an emergency room technician. Taylor’s boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, a licensed gun owner, woke up and grabbed his gun. According to the police, Walker then fired at them, and the police returned with a storm of at least 20 bullets, striking Taylor at least eight times, killing her. (One police officer was shot in the leg and is expected to make a full recovery.)

Walker was arrested and charged with attempted murder of a police officer. Those charges have since been dismissed. He says the police beat on the door for 30 to 45 seconds without identifying themselves. He thought he and Taylor were being attacked by criminals. According to Taylor’s attorneys, these were plainclothes officers, not a trained SWAT team.

The Louisville police didn’t find any drugs. We now know that Taylor wasn’t even the person police were investigating. Their main suspect, Jamarcus Glover, and his accomplices were already in custody by the time the police raided Taylor’s home.

In the affidavit for the no-knock warrant for Taylor’s home, a detective claimed to have consulted with a postal inspector, who confirmed that Glover had been “receiving packages” at Taylor’s address. But the Louisville postal inspector has since said that he was never consulted by the officers and that there was nothing suspicious about the packages. A source with knowledge of the case has since told me that the packages contained clothes and shoes.

Much of this has been previously reported. Here is what has yet to be reported: The no-knock warrant for Breonna Taylor's home was illegal.

In the 1995 case Wilson v. Arkansas, the court recognized for the first time that the “Castle Doctrine” and the “knock and announce” rule are embedded in the Fourth Amendment. The Castle Doctrine, which dates back centuries to English common law, states that the home should be a place of peace and sanctuary. Accordingly, except for the most extreme circumstances, the police must knock, announce themselves and give time for the occupants of a home to answer the door peacefully and avoid the potential violence and destruction of a forced entry.

The Wilson ruling did allow for some exceptions, though: Most notably, if the police can show that knocking and announcing would allow a particular suspect to dispose of evidence, flee or assault the officers serving the warrant, the police can enter without knocking. After Wilson, many police departments exploited that “exigent circumstance” exception by simply declaring in search warrant affidavits that all drug dealers are a threat to dispose of evidence, flee or assault the officers at the door. So in 1997, the Supreme Court unanimously ruled in Richards v. Wisconsin that this sort of blanket exception to the rule is unconstitutional. Here’s the relevant excerpt from the court’s opinion, written by Justice John Paul Stevens:

If a per se exception were allowed for each category of criminal investigation that included a considerable — albeit hypothetical — risk of danger to officers or destruction of evidence, the knock-and-announce element of the Fourth Amendment’s reasonableness requirement would be meaningless.

Thus, the fact that felony drug investigations may frequently present circumstances warranting a no-knock entry cannot remove from the neutral scrutiny of a reviewing court the reasonableness of the police decision not to knock and announce in a particular case. Instead, in each case, it is the duty of a court confronted with the question to determine whether the facts and circumstances of the particular entry justified dispensing with the knock-and-announce requirement.

In order to justify a “no-knock” entry, the police must have a reasonable suspicion that knocking and announcing their presence, under the particular circumstances, would be dangerous or futile, or that it would inhibit the effective investigation of the crime by, for example, allowing the destruction of evidence.

In other words, the police must show why each individual suspect may be a threat to dispose of evidence, flee or attack the police. They can’t simply state that all drug suspects present such a threat. As Stevens points out, the burden for the police here isn’t high. They just have to provide something.

The warrant for Taylor’s home doesn’t clear even that relatively low hurdle. In the portion asking permission for a “no-knock” entry, detective Joshua Jaynes writes, “Affiant is requesting a No-Knock entry to the premises due to the nature of how these drug traffickers operate. These drug traffickers have a history of attempting to destroy evidence, have cameras on the location that compromise Detectives once an approach to the dwelling is made, and a have [sic] history of fleeing from law enforcement.” (The Louisville Police Department did not return a request for comment.)

The police actually obtained five warrants in connection with their investigation into Glover and his alleged associates. Jaynes requested no-knock entry for all five warrants, and in all five he used the same language as above, almost word for word. This, by definition, is not “particular to the circumstances.” Yet Louisville Circuit Judge Mary Shaw signed all five warrants.

Louisville police could try to argue that by using the word “these,” Jaynes is stating that this particular group of suspects presents a risk for all of the threats he lists. But he provides little specific information as to why the targets represent a threat. The closest he comes is listing the prior criminal records of Glover and the other suspects. There’s no evidence included of previously resisting police or committing violence against another person. Nor is there any specific information about surveillance cameras at any of the residences raided.

Breonna Taylor had no criminal record except for a shoplifting charge in 2012 that was later dismissed. She had no history of violence or resisting police. There were no surveillance cameras at her house. Her only connection to the investigation is that Glover once received a package at her house, and Glover likely used her address because the two had dated several years before and remained in touch. But Jaynes provides no specific reason for the police to think Taylor was a threat to dispose of evidence, assault the officers serving the warrant or flee.

Louisville police could also argue that the no-knock provision in the Taylor warrant isn’t relevant because the police claim to have repeatedly knocked and announced themselves before forcing their way inside. Yet, according to Taylor’s attorneys, 16 people in the densely populated neighborhood around Taylor say they heard the gunshots but never heard the police announce themselves. Taylor lived in an apartment building, so if the cops had announced loud enough to wake Taylor and Walker, one would think at least one of her neighbors would have heard it.

Furthermore, Walker actually called 911 after the raid, telling the dispatcher, “I don’t know what happened … somebody kicked in the door and shot my girlfriend.” It’s unlikely that a man with no criminal record would knowingly shoot at police officers, then call 911 and pretend ignorance. It seems safe to say that if the police did announce themselves, Walker didn’t hear it. And that makes the raid legally indistinguishable from a no-knock.

Often in these raids, the police attempt to satisfy the knock-and-announce requirement by lightly announcing themselves and knocking either moments before or simultaneously as the battering ram hits the door. Police officials have admitted as much. In fact, police officials in Louisville have admitted as much.

In a 2015 study, criminologist Brian Schaefer accompanied police on 73 raids in a city he called “Bourbonville.” Sam Aguiar, an attorney for Taylor’s family, has since confirmed that the city in the study is Louisville. “Of the 73 search warrant entries observed, every entry involved using a ram to break the door down,” Schaefer writes. “Further, the detectives announce their presence and purpose in conjunction with the first hit on the door. [Emphasis added.] A detective explained, ‘As long as we announce our presence, we are good. We don’t want to give them anytime to destroy evidence or grab a weapon, so we go fast and get through the door quick.’” Schaefer adds that in the raids he observed, the difference between how police served a no-knock warrant and a knock-and-announce warrant was “minimal in practice.”

Ironically (or perhaps not), the exception to the pattern was when the police were raiding someone they actually knew to be dangerous. Schaefer quotes a detective telling his raid team in one such case, “We need to actually announce our presence this time.”

Louisville’s police department isn’t the only one violating the Richards ruling. In 2018, I reviewed more than 105 no-knock warrants served by the police department in Little Rock. In 97 of those warrants, the police provided no specific evidence about why the suspect met one of the exigent circumstances needed to dispense with the knock-and-announce requirement. Yet judges signed those warrants anyway.

In an even more egregious example, in 2015, a South Carolina drug team raidedthe home of Julian Betton, a 31-year-old black man, over a couple of low-level marijuana sales. After battering down Betton’s door, the officers shot him nine times. Every officer on the task force claimed that members of the raid team knocked and announced multiple times before battering down the door. But footage from Betton’s security camera showed they were lying. In depositions for Betton’s lawsuit, one task force member testified, wrongly, “It’s not the law to knock and announce. You know, it’s just not.” Another said that even when the drug unit wasn’t given a no-knock warrant, they “almost always forcibly entered without knocking and announcing, or simultaneously with announcing.”

So what’s happening? Why are police departments blatantly violating a Supreme Court ruling?

The answer lies in a Supreme Court ruling subsequent to Richards — Hudson v. Michigan in 2006. In Hudson, the court ruled 5 to 4 that even if the police violate the knock-and-announce rule, the exclusionary rule is not applicable, and the police can still use any incriminating evidence they find inside.

The exclusionary rule is meant to be a deterrent to prevent police from violating the Fourth Amendment. But in his majority opinion, Justice Antonin Scalia argued that the rule was too extreme a remedy in these cases. Instead, Scalia argued that there are other ways to keep cops accountable. He referred to “wide-ranging reforms” in U.S. policing, citing a criminologist who later wrote that Scalia had completely misinterpreted his work.

Scalia also pointed out that police officers who violate the rule can be sued. But police are protected from such lawsuits by the doctrine of qualified immunity, which it makes it nearly impossible to collect damages, especially in cases where there’s little established law. In my years covering this issue, I’ve never come across anyone who has ever won a lawsuit against police officers solely for violating the knock-and-announce rule.

As for the “new professionalism,” as of today, not a single police officer in Little Rock has been held accountable for illegal no-knock warrants. One of the judges who signed off on a large portion of those warrants is currently running for higher judicial office. The detective who requested many of those warrants, who was caught lying in one, and for whom there’s evidence that he lied in others, is still in charge of the city’s drug investigations.

There has also been no discipline of any kind for the officers who crippled Julian Betton. When the commander of the drug unit was asked in a deposition why none of the officers had been disciplined, he replied, “They didn’t do anything wrong.”

Hudson was an enormously consequential ruling. The knock-and-announce rule isn’t a mere formality. At its heart is the notion that if the police are going to violate the safety and sanctity of the home, they should be forced to provide ample justification for doing so. That means a thorough investigation, plenty of surveillance and double-checking to verify their information to ensure that the suspect is a real threat and that they have the correct address.

After the court’s ruling in Hudson, those of us who worried about these tactics warned that without any real deterrent, police, judges and prosecutors would eventually ignore the knock-and-announce rule entirely. Police would get sloppier with their warrants, they’d do less surveillance, investigation and verification, and they’d be less vigilant about the rights of the people in the homes they storm. All of that would mean that more people — both cops and civilians — would die.

That’s exactly what has happened. Breonna Taylor’s death wasn’t some unimaginable accident. Nor were the deaths of people who have since died in similar raids. Her death was the entirely foreseeable consequence of a police department feeling free to callously and carelessly ignore the Fourth Amendment and the Supreme Court’s decision to prioritize the integrity of drug prosecutions over the Fourth Amendment right of Americans to feel safe and secure in their homes.

Unless this is corrected, the next Breonna Taylor is coming.“

War Zone

All four ex-officers charged in George Floyd case

Police Brutality

Police Brutality

I have seen, experienced and been made aware of police violence all of my life.  I know what it feels like to have a thug cop stick a rifle in my stomach while carrying a purchased bag with milk walking on a sidewalk.  Police violence is real.

When there is injustice, we must agitate, agitate, agitate.  Without the demonstrations these charges would not have been brought.  Those who complain about the looting must ask themselves, which is more important human lives or property.  I say human lives.  I do not endorse looting but as an academic who has studied these issues for fifty plus years it is obvious that looting and property damage always accompany large protests in large cities.   

Remember looting is celebrated in American history.  Every school child learns about the Boston Tea Party.  Those involved were looters, who destroyed property that was not theirs.   The implication of people complaining about looting is that looting is ok for White people seeking justice but African Americans do not have the same right.  Thinks about that.  African Americans have far more justification to protest and even revolt violently than the American colonist, many of who were brutal, savage, slave holders ever did.   George Washington was the wealthiest colonist in America.  He led the violent revolution and was a brutal slave holder.   We have the absolute right to revolt but From a practical standpoint it would be suicidal.  My point is the focus on looting as opposed to police murder is both in ingenuous and racist.   We must continue to be vigilant.

Today on MSNBC a leading NYPD police officer said that a police officer who pulled down a face mask of a non violent protester and sprayed mace in their face should not be punished.  This acceptantance and toleration of police crime by top officials is why we continue to have police brutality and murders.  There are plenty of good and decent officers.  I know some of them.  The problem is bad officer and bad leadership like we saw on TV today.   This is the problem.  He should be removed from his position as a result of his comments.

Attorney General Keith Ellison to elevate charges against officer who knelt on George Floyd's neck; also charging other 3 involved

Attorney General Keith Ellison to elevate charges against officer who knelt on George Floyd's neck; also charging other 3 involved

Ellison took over case on Sunday.

“Attorney General Keith Ellison plans to elevate charges against the former Minneapolis police officer who knelt on George Floyd's neck while adding charges of aiding and abetting murder against the other three officers at the scene, according to multiple law enforcement sources familiar with the case.

Ellison is expected to provide an update this afternoon on the state's investigation into Floyd's death. According to sources, former officer Derek Chauvin, recorded on video kneeling on Floyd's neck as he begged for air on May 25, will now be charged with second-degree murder.

The other three officers at the scene — Tou Thao, J. Alexander Kueng and Thomas Lane — will also be charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder, according to the sources, who spoke on conditions of anonymity. Chauvin was arrested last Friday and charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter.

Thao was recorded watching as Chauvin continued to press on Floyd's neck with his knee. Kueng was one of the first officers on the scene and helped pin Floyd down. Lane was detailed in earlier charges as pointing a gun at Floyd before handcuffing, and later asked whether officers should roll Floyd on his side as he was restrained.

The charges come just days after Gov. Tim Walz asked Ellison to take over the prosecution, which until Sunday had been led by the Hennepin County Attorney's Office.

One of the attorneys representing George Floyd's family, Benjamin Crump, released a statement shortly after 1:15 p.m. Wednesday praising the arrest and charging of the other three officers and the upgrading of murder charges against Chauvin.

Crump's statement came before Ellison's office made any official announcements.

"This is a bittersweet moment for the family of George Floyd," said the joint statement by Floyd's family, Crump and the legal team. "We are deeply gratified that Attorney General Keith Ellison took decisive action in this case, arresting and charging all the officers involved in George Floyd's death and upgrading the charge against Derek Chauvin to felony second-degree murder."

Attorneys for the officers declined to comment or could not be immediately reached Wednesday.

"This is a significant step forward on the road to justice, and we are gratified that this important action was brought before George Floyd's body was laid to rest," the family's and Crump's statement said. "That is a source of peace for George's family in this painful time."

The statement urged Ellison to continue the investigation and upgrade the charges to first-degree murder, which carries a life sentence.

First-degree murder requires proof of planning out the crime.

"These officers knew they could act with impunity, given the Minneapolis Police Department's widespread and prolonged pattern and practice of violating people's constitutional rights," the statement said. "Therefore, we also demand permanent transparent police accountability at all levels and at all times."

The family and Crump thanked the "outpouring" of support they've received, which manifested in days of huge protests across the country and world.

"Our message to them: Find constructive and positive ways to keep the focus and pressure on," they said. "Don't let up on your demand for change."

This is a developing story. Stay tuned for further updates.“

See congressman's dire warning about US democracy

Tuesday, June 02, 2020

In 1919, the state failed to protect black Americans. A century later, it's still failing Carol Anderson

“There is something so wounded in American society that basic commitment to justice is not part of the operating code

Published: 05:15 Tuesday, 02 June 2020
 Follow Carol Anderson
A protester is arrested in Washington DC during a protest over the death of George Floyd.

In 1919, as soldiers returned from the first world war, many white Americans saw African American men in military uniforms for the first time. That sight, and the challenge it posed to the political, social and economic order, was deeply threatening to them. Groups of armed white men hunted down and slaughtered hundreds of black Americans across the country. The wave of lynchings and race riots came to be known as the Red Summer.

The black community did its best to fight back, without protection from the state. In some cases, police actively participated in the lynchings. The US attorney general, A Mitchell Palmer, claimed that leftwing radicals were behind the uprisings – a false charge and one that further endangered African American lives. Palmer worked for President Woodrow Wilson, an ardent segregationist who screened Birth of a Nation in the White House and praised the Ku Klux Klan even as it deployed terrorism to keep blacks away from the voting booth. Wilson had been silent while whites slaughtered African Americans in East St Louis in 1917, and he did little to nothing in 1919 when they again attacked and killed black people, this time on an even more horrific and grisly scale.

When African Americans fought back, when they protested, when they made clear they would not quietly accept the destruction of their lives, Palmer mobilized the power of the federal government to brand black unrest as the work of the enemy of the state – communists. It was his version of peace without justice. To do this he ignored the destructive and violent white supremacy that his president had helped unleash. He remained unconcerned about the bold, brazen killing of black people. And he had no qualms about a criminal justice system in which being black meant the presumption of guilt. 

More than 100 years later, in the wake of the brutal, merciless killings of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor – not to mention an incident in which a white woman attempted to put a black birdwatcher in the crosshairs of the NYPD – our current attorney general, Bill Barr, does not appear to see injustice. Instead, he sounds much like his ancient predecessor, A Mitchell Palmer.  

Barr, like Palmer, has largely ignored the continued killing of black people by vigilantes and agents of the state. He has also ignored the root causes of the current uprisings, such as the flat-out refusal of American institutions to address the violence and conditions that create a life where black people cannot breathe. Instead Barr has chosen to focus his attention on what he characterizes as rioting and “domestic terrorism”. Mimicking Donald Trump, and without evidence, he has blamed the current eruption on “far-left extremists, using antifa-like tactics, many of whom travel from out of state to promote the violence”, and he has warned that he will prosecute these (mostly phantom) anti-fascists. Barr previously said that if communities had the audacity to protest police brutality, they might “find themselves without the police protection they need”.

For his part, Trump has branded the protesters “thugs” and threatened to have American citizens shot and “vicious dogs” unleashed on them. On Sunday he tweeted that antifa would be labeled a “terrorist organization”.

Strangely, Barr and Trump did not apply the same threat to the armed white menwho stormed the Michigan capitol, challenged law enforcement and shut down the government during a pandemic. Trump defined these gun-toting white men as “very good people”..

Despite all the smoke and mirrors and blustering threats, it’s obvious what Trump’s Department of Justice has done – or not done – that helped bring us to this horrific moment. It abandoned enforcing consent decrees with police departments that have a demonstrated history of brutality and discrimination. It refused to collect and monitor the data that would identify patterns and hotspots of bad policing so that safeguards could be put in place. Equally important, it didn’t shore up the voting rights of American citizens, so they could elect representatives whose policies could protect their lives. Instead, the Department of Justice lent its heft to conservative forces, like in Alabama, who were determined to block African Americans from the ballot box even during a pandemic. 

As in 1919, we are dealing with an America where black and brown people must go into the streets to demand their rights because the institutions of democracy have failed to protect them. In 2020, we have a nation where large swaths of the executive, legislative and judicial branches at the federal and state levels have virtually abandoned millions of American citizens. 

Why, for instance, did two district attorneys in Georgia see the video of Ahmaud Arbery’s lynching and decide that there was no wrongdoing, even though the film contradicted and undermined the admitted killers’ statements? Why did it take the snuff film of George Floyd’s death to raise the question of how an officer with 18 complaints against him could still be on the police force to squat with his knee on a man’s neck for eight minutes? Why did Christian Cooper know that if he didn’t film his accuser delivering a Broadway-worthy audition for the 911 dispatcher, his life would have been imperiled? Why after the “no-knock” warrant killings of Kathryn Johnston in Atlanta, Aiyana Stanley-Jones in Detroit and now Breonna Taylor in Louisville, did it take protests, mobilization, righteous anger and the media spotlight to even get an investigation?

There is something so wounded in American society, in American institutions, that basic decency, basic commitments to justice, are simply not part of the operating code. Justice should not require a spotlight. Justice should not require an uprising. 

Of course, the standard response to the uproar about police killing African Americans is the retort about black-on-black crime. That pre-packaged answer ignores that just as more than 80% of blacks are killed by blacks, so, too, are more than 80% of whites killed by whites. Yet we don’t get angst or pathologizing about white-on-white crime. That’s because the narrative about African Americans killing each other is not really motivated by concern about black life; it is a conjuror’s trick to take our eyes off the institutionalized, state-sponsored violence that has rained down on black people.  

In their intonations about antifa instigators and leftwing radicals, that’s what Barr and Trump – like Palmer and Wilson before them – are doing: trying to distract us from state-sponsored or -condoned violence.  

On the other hand, what blacks did in 1919 to deal with a political structure absolutely hostile to their very existence is exactly what we will and must do now. “Plot, plan, strategize, organize, mobilize,” as the rapper Killer Mike put it – and vote. That is how we get an attorney general appointed who is appalled at the desecration of Americans’ basic rights and determined to end that unrequited violence. That is how we get policymakers, judges, senators, district attorneys, school boards, congressional and state representatives, mayors, city council members, governors, and yes, even a president, who know that #BlackLivesMatter.  

  • Carol Anderson is the Charles Howard Candler professor of African American Studies at Emory University and the author of White Rage: The Unspoken Truth of Our Racial Divide“

Birmingham removes Confederate monument overnight

State of Minnesota files civil rights charge against Minneapolis Police Dept in George Floyd's death

Trump’s Deranged Response to the George Floyd Protests: A Closer Look

Trump’s Deranged Response to the George Floyd Protests: A Closer Look

Joe Biden addresses protesters in Philadelphia after death of George Flo...

Sunday, May 31, 2020

Tapper: Some of Trump's allies think he's not up to the task

Police appear to target journalists as they cover George Floyd protests

George Floyd, Minneapolis Protests, Ahmaud Arbery & Amy Cooper | The Dai...

Video appears to show NYPD truck plowing through crowd

Opinion | Coronavirus, Racism and Injustice: No One Is Coming to Save Us - The New York Times

Protesting the death of George Floyd in police custody in Minneapolis on Thursday.

"Eventually doctors will find a coronavirus vaccine, but black people will continue to wait for a cure for racism.

Contributing Opinion Writer.

After Donald Trump maligned the developing world in 2018, with the dismissive phrase “shithole countries,” I wrote that no one was coming to save us from the president. Now, in the midst of a pandemic, we see exactly what that means.

The economy is shattered. Unemployment continues to climb, steeply. There is no coherent federal leadership. The president mocks any attempts at modeling precautionary behaviors that might save American lives. More than 100,000 Americans have died from Covid-19.

Many of us have been in some form of self-isolation for more than two months. The less fortunate continue to risk their lives because they cannot afford to shelter from the virus. People who were already living on the margins are dealing with financial stresses that the government’s $1,200 “stimulus” payment cannot begin to relieve. A housing crisis is imminent. Many parts of the country are reopening prematurely. Protesters have stormed state capitals, demanding that businesses reopen. The country is starkly dividing between those who believe in science and those who don’t.

Quickly produced commercials assure us that we are all in this together. Carefully curated images, scored by treacly music, say nothing of substance. Companies spend a fortune on airtime to assure consumers that they care, while they refuse to pay their employees a living wage.

Commercials celebrate essential workers and medical professionals. Commercials show how corporations have adapted to “the way we live now,” with curbside pickup and drive-through service and contact-free delivery. We can spend our way to normalcy, and capitalism will hold us close, these ads would have us believe.

Some people are trying to provide the salvation the government will not. There are community-led initiatives for everything from grocery deliveries for the elderly and immunocompromised to sewing face masks for essential workers. There are online pleas for fund-raising. Buy from your independent bookstore. Get takeout or delivery from your favorite restaurant. Keep your favorite bookstore open. Buy gift cards. Pay the people who work for you, even if they can’t come to work. Do as much as you can, and then do more.

These are all lovely ideas and they demonstrate good intentions, but we can only do so much. The disparities that normally fracture our culture are becoming even more pronounced as we decide, collectively, what we choose to save — what deserves to be saved.

And even during a pandemic, racism is as pernicious as ever. Covid-19 is disproportionately affecting the black community, but we can hardly take the time to sit with that horror as we are reminded, every single day, that there is no context in which black lives matter.

Breonna Taylor was killed in her Louisville, Ky., home by police officers looking for a man who did not even live in her building. She was 26 years old. When demonstrations erupted, seven people were shot by police.

Ahmaud Arbery was jogging in South Georgia when he was chased down by two armed white men who suspected him of robbery and claimed they were trying perform a citizen’s arrest. One shot and killed Mr. Arbery while a third person videotaped the encounter. No charges were filed until the video was leaked and public outrage demanded action. Mr. Arbery was 25 years old.

In Minneapolis, George Floyd was held to the ground by a police officer kneeling on his neck during an arrest. He begged for the officer to stop torturing him. Like Eric Garner, he said he couldn’t breathe. Three other police officers watched and did not intervene. Mr. Floyd was 46 years old.

These black lives mattered. These black people were loved. Their losses to their friends, family, and communities, are incalculable.

Demonstrators in Minneapolis took to the street for several days, to protest the killing of Mr. Floyd. Mr. Trump — who in 2017 told police officers to be rough on people during arrests, imploring them to “please, don’t be too nice” — wrote in a tweet, “When the looting starts, the shooting starts.” The official White House Twitter feed reposted the president’s comments. There is no rock bottom.

Christian Cooper, an avid birder, was in Central Park’s Ramble when he asked a white woman, Amy Cooper, to comply with the law and leash her dog. He began filming, which only enraged Ms. Cooper further. She pulled out her phone and said she was going to call the police to tell them an African-American man was threatening her.

She called the police. She knew what she was doing. She weaponized her whiteness and fragility like so many white women before her. She began to sound more and more hysterical, even though she had to have known she was potentially sentencing a black man to death for expecting her to follow rules she did not think applied to her. It is a stroke of luck that Mr. Cooper did not become another unbearable statistic.

An unfortunate percentage of my cultural criticism over the past 11 or 12 years has focused on the senseless loss of black life. Mike Brown. Trayvon Martin. Sandra Bland. Philando Castile. Tamir Rice. Jordan Davis. Atatiana Jefferson. The Charleston Nine.

These names are the worst kind of refrain, an inescapable burden. These names are hashtags, elegies, battle cries. Still nothing changes. Racism is litigated over and over again when another video depicting another atrocity comes to light. Black people share the truth of their lives, and white people treat those truths as intellectual exercises.

They put energy into being outraged about the name “Karen,” as shorthand for entitled white women rather than doing the difficult, self-reflective work of examining their own prejudices. They speculate about what murdered black people might have done that we don’t know about to beget their fates, as if alleged crimes are punishable by death without a trial by jury. They demand perfection as the price for black existence while harboring no such standards for anyone else.

Some white people act as if there are two sides to racism, as if racists are people we need to reason with. They fret over the destruction of property and want everyone to just get along. They struggle to understand why black people are rioting but offer no alternatives about what a people should do about a lifetime of rage, disempowerment and injustice.

When I warned in 2018 that no one was coming to save us, I wrote that I was tired of comfortable lies. I’m even more exhausted now. Like many black people, I am furious and fed up, but that doesn’t matter at all.

I write similar things about different black lives lost over and over and over. I tell myself I am done with this subject. Then something so horrific happens that I know I must say something, even though I know that the people who truly need to be moved are immovable. They don’t care about black lives. They don’t care about anyone’s lives. They won’t even wear masks to mitigate a virus for which there is no cure.

Eventually, doctors will find a coronavirus vaccine, but black people will continue to wait, despite the futility of hope, for a cure for racism. We will live with the knowledge that a hashtag is not a vaccine for white supremacy. We live with the knowledge that, still, no one is coming to save us. The rest of the world yearns to get back to normal. For black people, normal is the very thing from which we yearn to be free.".

Opinion | Coronavirus, Racism and Injustice: No One Is Coming to Save Us - The New York Times

Don Lemon calls out Hollywood elite: Where are you during protests?

Protester calls out looters: There's something wrong with you

Saturday, May 30, 2020

Minneapolis officer charged with murder in George Floyd’s death, but protests continue around U.S.

Minneapolis officer charged with murder in George Floyd’s death, but protests continue around U.S.

George Floyd Updates: ‘Absolute Chaos’ in Minneapolis as Protests Grow Across U.S. - The New York Times

"Minnesota’s governor said the police and National Guard had been overwhelmed by protests, which raged even after a former police officer was charged with murdering George Floyd.

Gov. Tim Walz of Minnesota vowed that more National Guard troops would be deployed, and did not rule out the possibility of bringing in the U.S. military.

Demonstrations raged overnight across the U.S. in the third night of unrest in response to George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis police custody.CreditCredit...Victor J. Blue for The New York Times

Fires, gunshots and arrests mark another night of destruction in Minneapolis.

Minnesota’s top officials acknowledged early Saturday morning that they had underestimated the destruction that protesters in Minneapolis were capable of inflicting as a newly issued curfew did little to stop people from burning buildings and turning the city’s streets into a smoky battleground.

Gov. Tim Walz said at a news conference that the police and National Guard soldiers had been overwhelmed by protesters set on causing destruction days after George Floyd was pinned to the ground by an officer before dying.

“Quite candidly, right now, we do not have the numbers,” Mr. Walz said. “We cannot arrest people when we’re trying to hold ground because of the sheer size, the dynamics and the wanton violence that’s coming out there.”

State officials said that a series of errors and misjudgments — including the Minneapolis police abandoning a precinct on Thursday that protesters overtook and burned — had allowed demonstrators to create what Mr. Walz called “absolute chaos.”

Politicians and the police had not expected the protests to grow for a fourth night on Friday, after a police officer was charged with third-degree murder and a curfew went into effect at 8 p.m. But grow they did, and law enforcement officers struggled to hold their ground, with National Guard troops retreating from angry protesters at one point.

Gunshots rang out near a different police precinct and flames streamed from businesses over several city blocks — a gas station, a post office, a bank, a restaurant — as residents asked where the police and firefighters had gone.

“There’s simply more of them than us” Mr. Walz said of the protesters.

The governor vowed that more Guard troops would be deployed and that the authorities would not let the destruction continue. Even so, state officials did not show much optimism that the demonstrations would stop, and Mr. Walz did not rule out the possibility of bringing in the U.S. military.

Commissioner John Harrington of the state’s Department of Public Safety said the police were preparing to be at the center of an “international event” on Saturday, pledging to "restore order” on the same Minneapolis block that was burning as he spoke. Mr. Harrington said he expected the largest crowds the state had ever seen.

Dozens of other cities grappled with protests on their streets that seemed to largely overwhelm the authorities. Residents burned police cars in Atlanta, charged a police precinct in New York and set fires in downtown San Jose, Calif. In some cities, including Los Angeles and Portland, Ore., some people smashed the windows of stores and stole things from display cases.

In Minneapolis, protesters gathered near the Police Department’s Fifth Precinct the day after they had taken over the Third Precinct and set it on fire. Unlike Thursday, the police did not flee, and arrested several protesters who they said refused to disperse.

Paul E. Gazelka, the Republican majority leader of the State Senate, told the KARE 11 news channel that he was frustrated the police had not acted more swiftly to clear the streets.

“You cannot allow anarchy,” he said. “You cannot allow this lawlessness to continue.”

The protests on Friday had largely been peaceful until nightfall, when people began setting fire to vehicles and buildings and launching fireworks toward the police, who in recent days have fired projectiles and used pepper spray to keep people at bay.

Mayor Jacob Frey of Minneapolis, looking weary after four days of outrage in his city, pleaded with residents to go home and stop burning down the local businesses that he said were even more vital in the middle of a pandemic.

“You’re not getting back at the police officer that tragically killed George Floyd by looting a town,” Mr. Frey said. “You’re not getting back at anybody.”

A protester after being tear gassed by the police in Louisville on Friday.Credit...Whitney Curtis for The New York Times

Protesters across the country blocked highways and clashed with the police.

Chanting “Hands up! Don’t shoot” and “I can’t breathe,” thousands of protesters gathered in cities across the country on Friday night after a fired Minneapolis police officer was charged with third-degree murder in the death of George Floyd.

Unrest following Mr. Floyd’s death in custody gave way to a fourth night of demonstrations. Crowds shut down Los Angeles freeways, clashed with the police in Dallas and defaced the CNN Center in Atlanta, where Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms declared, “This is not how we change America.”

Demonstrators in many other cities, including New York, also gathered to voice their anger:

A large crowd in Washington chanted outside the White House, prompting the Secret Service to temporarily lock down the building. Video on social media showed demonstrators knocking down barricades and spray-painting other buildings.

A march in Houston, where Mr. Floyd grew up, briefly turned chaotic as the windows of a police S.U.V. were smashed and at least 12 protesters were arrested. As a standoff continued, the police shut all roads into and out of downtown. “We don’t want these young people’s legitimate grievances and legitimate concerns to be overshadowed by a handful of provocateurs and anarchists,” the city’s police chief, Art Acevedo, said in an interview.

Images from news helicopters above San Jose, Calif., showed protesters throwing objects at police officers, blocking a major freeway and setting fires downtown. Mayor Sam Liccardo said in an interview that he watched from City Hall as a peaceful protest — what he called people “expressing their righteous outrage on the injustice in Minneapolis” — turned violent.

Demonstrators in Los Angeles blocked the 110 Freeway, marching through downtown and around Staples Center. Local television footage showed police officers clashing with a crowd suspected of vandalizing a patrol car. By 9:30 p.m., L.A.P.D. had declared all of downtown to be an unlawful assembly and was warning residents of the loft districts to stay inside.

The police said a 19-year-old man was killed in Detroit after someone opened fire into a crowd of demonstrators late Friday. Earlier, a small group gathered outside Police Headquarters, declaring “Black is not a crime.” The demonstration swelled to more than 1,000 protesters, who blocked traffic while marching on major thoroughfares.

In downtown Dallas, protesters and the police clashed during a demonstration blocks from City Hall. Protesters blocked the path of a police vehicle and then started banging on its hood. Officers eventually responded with tear gas, and a flash-bang was later heard.

In Portland, Ore., demonstrators broke into the Multnomah County Justice Center and lit a fire inside the building late Friday night, authorities said.

Hundreds of protesters converged on Civic Center Park in Denver, waving signs and chanting as Sam Cooke’s “A Change Is Gonna Come” played over a loudspeaker. Some thrust fists in the air and scrawled messages on the ground in chalk, according to a news broadcast.

Protesters in Milwaukee briefly shut down part of a major highway, according to WTMJ-TV, and demonstrators shouted “I can’t breathe” — echoing Mr. Floyd’s anguished plea and the words of Eric Garner, a black man who died in New York police custody in 2014.

Fired officer is charged with third-degree murder after George Floyd’s death.

The former Minneapolis police officer who was seen on video using his knee to pin down George Floyd, who died shortly after, was arrested and charged with murder, the authorities announced on Friday.

The former officer, Derek Chauvin, 44, was charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter, Mike Freeman, the Hennepin County attorney, said. An investigation into the other three officers who were present at the scene on Monday was continuing, he said.

Mr. Floyd’s relatives said in a statement that they were disappointed by the decision not to seek first-degree murder charges. Mr. Floyd, 46, died on Monday after pleading “I can’t breathe” while Mr. Chauvin pressed his knee into Mr. Floyd’s neck, in an encounter that was captured on video.

Third-degree murder does not require an intent to kill, according to the Minnesota statute, only that the perpetrator caused someone’s death in a dangerous act “without regard for human life.” Charges of first- and second-degree murder require prosecutors to prove, in almost all cases, that the perpetrator made a decision to kill the victim.

Mr. Chauvin was also charged with second-degree manslaughter, a charge that requires prosecutors to prove he was so negligent as to create an “unreasonable risk,” and consciously took the chance that his actions would cause Mr. Floyd to be severely harmed or die.

Camille J. Gage, 63, an artist and musician who joined the protests, said she was relieved that Mr. Chauvin had been charged. “How can anyone watch that video and think it was anything less?” she said. “Such blatant disregard for another living soul.”


Derek Chauvin, the former police officer who was seen on video using his knee to pin down George Floyd, was charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter.

The developments came after a night of chaos in which protesters set fire to a police station in Minneapolis, the National Guard was deployed to help restore order, and President Trump injected himself into the mix with tweets that appeared to threaten violence against protesters.

Gov. Tim Walz of Minnesota, a Democrat, expressed solidarity with the protesters during a news conference on Friday, but said that a return to order was needed to lift up the voices of “those who are expressing rage and anger and those who are demanding justice” and “not those who throw firebombs.”

A lawyer for Mr. Chauvin’s wife, Kellie, said that she was devastated by Mr. Floyd’s death and expressed sympathy for his family and those grieving his loss. The case has also led Ms. Chauvin to seek a divorce, the lawyer, Amanda Mason-Sekula, said in an interview on Friday night.

President Trump, who previously called the video of Mr. Floyd’s death “shocking,” drew criticism for a tweet early Friday that called the protesters “thugs” and said that “when the looting starts, the shooting starts.” The comments prompted Twitter to attach a warning to the tweet, saying that it violated the company’s rules about “glorifying violence.”

The president gave his first extensive remarks on the protests later on Friday at the White House, declaring that “we can’t allow a situation like happened in Minneapolis to descend further into lawless anarchy and chaos. It’s very important, I believe, to the family, to everybody, that the memory of George Floyd be a perfect memory.”

Addressing his earlier Twitter comments, Mr. Trump said, “The looters should not be allowed to drown out the voices of so many peaceful protesters. They hurt so badly what is happening.”

A demonstration turned destructive in Atlanta on Friday night, as hundreds of protesters took to the streets, smashing windows and clashing with the police.

They gathered around Centennial Olympic Park, the city’s iconic tourist destination. People jumped on police cars. Some climbed atop a large red CNN sign outside the media company’s headquarters and spray-painted messages on it. Others threw rocks at the glass doors of the Omni Hotel and shattered windows at the College Football Hall of Fame, where people rushed in and emerged with branded fan gear.

Jay Clay, 19, an Atlanta resident and graphic designer, watched the protests from across a street with a mixture of curiosity and solidarity.

“After all this injustice and prejudice, people get fed up,” Mr. Clay said. “I wanted to come down and check it out. But this feels like it’s getting out of hand.”

Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms pleaded for calm as the demonstrations unfolded.

“It’s enough. You need to go home,” she said. “We are all angry. This hurts. This hurts everybody in this room. But what are you changing by tearing up a city? You’ve lost all credibility now. This is not how we change America. This is not how we change the world.”

Bernice King, the youngest daughter of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., also spoke at the news conference, invoking her father’s legacy.

“Violence in fact creates more problems. It is not a solution,” Ms. King said. She said she felt and understood the anger of protesters but added, “There are people who would try to incite a race war in this country. Let’s not fall into their hands and into their trap. There’s another way.”

As the protests went on, police officers in riot gear were gathering. By 9:30 p.m., tear gas canisters were launched, and a wave of protesters ran back toward the park.

Tensions flared in New York for the second night in a row as thousands of protesters stormed the perimeter of Barclays Center in Brooklyn, trading projectiles of plastic water bottles, debris and tear gas and mace with police officers.

The protest had begun peacefully Friday afternoon, with hundreds chanting “Black lives matter” and “We want justice” in downtown Manhattan. But the demonstrations took a turn in Brooklyn, where officers made between 50 and 100 arrests, a senior police official said.

Officers with twist-tie handcuffs hanging from their belts stood next to Department of Corrections buses and squad cars with lights flashing, encircling the perimeter. A police helicopter and a large drone whirred in the hot air overhead.

Protesters were later seen throwing water bottles, an umbrella and other objects at officers, who responded by shooting tear gas into the crowd.

As that crowd scattered, protesters gathered in the streets in the nearby Fort Greene neighborhood, continuing to chant at the police. An empty patrol van was set ablaze, then pillaged, as people pried the doors off the hinges. Fireworks were thrown into the burned shell of the vehicle. Scribbled on the hood was the phrase “dead cops.”

By 10 p.m., riot police had descended on the neighborhood. Another police official had described the scene in parts of the borough as “out of control.”

Earlier in the evening, several hundred people filled Foley Square near the city’s criminal courthouses. After a man in a green sweatshirt crossed a police barricade, he was swarmed by officers while protesters screamed. He was led away on foot in handcuffs.

“It was kind of his mistake,” said Jason Phillips, 27, of Queens. “But they were trying to push him back, and as they pushed him back, he slipped, and they took that as some type of threat.”

Despite the frustrations of demonstrators on Friday, the police said the number of people detained was much smaller than the night before, when 72 people were arrested.

In a probable cause affidavit released on Friday after the charges against Mr. Chauvin were filed, prosecutors said that the former officer held his knee to Mr. Floyd’s neck for more than eight minutes. “Two minutes and 53 seconds of this was after Mr. Floyd was non-responsive,” the affidavit said.

But preliminary results from an autopsy indicated that Mr. Floyd did not die from suffocation or strangulation, prosecutors wrote, and that “the combined effects” of an underlying heart condition, any potential intoxicants and the police restraint likely contributed to his death. He also began complaining that he could not breathe before he was pinned down, the affidavit said.

The officers’ body cameras were running throughout the encounter, prosecutors said.

Four officers responded to a report at about 8 p.m. on Monday about a man suspected of making a purchase from a store with a fake $20 bill, prosecutors said. After learning that the man was parked near the store, the first two responding officers, who did not include Mr. Chauvin, approached Mr. Floyd, a former high school sports star who worked as a bouncer at a restaurant in Minneapolis.

Mr. Floyd, who was in a car with two other people, was ordered out and arrested. But when the officers began to move him toward a squad car, he stiffened and resisted, according to the affidavit. While still standing, Mr. Floyd began to say he could not breathe, the affidavit said.

7 pages, 0.69 MB

That was when Mr. Chauvin, who was among two other officers who arrived at the scene, got involved, prosecutors said. Around 8:19 p.m., Mr. Chauvin pulled Mr. Floyd out of the squad car and placed his knee onto Mr. Floyd’s neck area, holding him down on the ground while another officer held his legs. At times, Mr. Floyd pleaded, the affidavit said, saying, “I can’t breathe,” “please” and “mama.”

“You are talking fine,” the officers said, according to the affidavit, as Mr. Floyd wrestled on the ground.

At 8:24 p.m., Mr. Floyd went still, prosecutors said. A minute later, one of the other officers checked his wrist for a pulse but could not find one. Mr. Chauvin continued to hold his knee down on Mr. Floyd’s neck until 8:27, according to the affidavit.

The other officers, who have been identified as Thomas Lane, Tou Thao and J. Alexander Kueng, are under investigation. Mr. Freeman, the county attorney, said he expected to bring more charges in the case but offered no further details.

Richard Frase, a professor of criminal law at the University of Minnesota, said it was reasonable for prosecutors to charge Mr. Chauvin with third-degree murder, as opposed to a more severe form of murder, which would require proving that Mr. Chauvin intended to kill Mr. Floyd.

Professor Frase said the case against Mr. Chauvin appeared to be even stronger than the one that Hennepin County prosecutors brought against Mohamed Noor, a former Minneapolis police officer who shot and killed Justine Ruszczyk in 2017.

Mr. Noor was charged with the same combination of crimes, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter, and was convicted of both.

In that case, Professor Frase said, the officer had seemingly panicked and fired a single shot. “There’s a question of whether he even had time to be reckless,” he said, referring to Mr. Noor. “Here, there’s eight minutes.”

The criminal complaint against Mr. Chauvin, Professor Frase said, did not identify any specific motive for officers to kill Mr. Floyd, which he said essentially ruled out first or second-degree murder unless additional evidence surfaced.

Ben Crump, a civil rights lawyer representing Mr. Floyd’s family, released a statement on Friday calling the arrest of Mr. Chauvin “a welcome but overdue step on the road to justice.” But he said the charges did not go far enough.

“We expected a first-degree murder charge. We want a first-degree murder charge. And we want to see the other officers arrested,” said the statement, which was attributed to Mr. Floyd’s family and to Mr. Crump.

“The pain that the black community feels over this murder and what it reflects about the treatment of black people in America is raw and is spilling out onto streets across America,” the statement said.

Professor Frase said he expected Mr. Chauvin’s lawyers to seize on the preliminary autopsy findings that showed that Mr. Floyd had not died of asphyxiation, which could form the basis for an argument that there was no way Mr. Chauvin could have expected him to die. But Professor Frase said another common strategy used by police officers facing charges of brutality — arguing that they were in harm’s way — may be unlikely to convince a jury.

“In this case, there was nobody but Mr. Floyd in danger,” he said. “And there was all that time when it seems there was no need to keep kneeling on his neck like that.”

George Floyd Updates: ‘Absolute Chaos’ in Minneapolis as Protests Grow Across U.S. - The New York Times