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.
Thursday, September 17, 2020
Covid-19 Live Updates: C.D.C. Website’s Controversial Testing Guideline Was Not Written by C.D.C. Scientists
Covid-19 Live Updates: C.D.C. Website’s Controversial Testing Guideline Was Not Written by C.D.C. Scientists
"What Is Critical Race Theory and Why Is Trump Afraid of It?
His attacks are attempt to reach those who repudiate the symbols and premises of white supremacy but worry that anti-racist advocacy can go “too far.”
By Cheryl Harris Today 5:00 am
President Donald Trump on the South Lawn of the White House. (Alex Brandon / AP Photo)
The Trump administration recently released an Office of Management and Budget memo denouncing the expenditure of federal moneys on trainings on “critical race theory, white privilege, or any other training or propaganda effort that teaches or suggests either (1) that the United States is an inherently racist or evil country or (2) that any race or ethnicity is inherently racist or evil.” Citing unnamed news sources, the memo asserts that federal employees have been subjected to trainings in which they are required to acknowledge that “virtually all Whites are racist” and that they have benefited from racism, in contravention of basic American values. Trump’s Department of Education recently took up the effort to censor Critical Race Theory, announcing that it would review training materials and even employee book clubs to eliminate this allegedly “un-American propaganda.”
Given the fact that in the last two weeks, Covid-related deaths have surpassed 190,000, and that the number of Black people killed, shot, beaten, or choked by the police or their self-appointed fill-ins continues to rise from Wisconsin to California to New York, this OMB directive to federal agencies might seem curiously tone-deaf, but for the fact that it is so consistent with Trump’s political play book that invokes the same race-baiting moves ad nauseam. It’s Trump’s version of an anti-anti-racism remix in which anti-racism is demonized as the enemy, rather than racial oppression.
To the extent that racism is a disease on the body politic, anti-anti-racism is the ideological equivalent of the denialism that features so prominently in Trump’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic—“it will disappear one day, like magic.”
The bogeyman that the memo seeks to evoke is a familiar figure, designed to appeal to Trump’s base, reprising some infamous billboards on Alabama highways, sponsored by the white nationalist White Genocide Project, asserting that “Anti-racist is a code word for anti-white,” and “Diversity means chasing down the last white person.”
At the same time, the OMB memo is a test run to see if attacking anti-racist ideas has traction beyond diehard Trumpsters, and has resonance among those who repudiate the symbols and premises of white supremacy of which Trump is so enamored but worry that anti-racist advocacy can go “too far.”
Part of what animates the discomfort regarding anti-racism is that under the dominant view of law and politics, racism and anti-racism are simply competing viewpoints, entitled to equal treatment in the public sphere as though each view has equal access to power and resources. This equal-treatment model prevalent under current interpretations of the First Amendment has left law virtually unavailable to stop the viral spread of even the most insane and violence-inculcating views, from birtherism to QAnon.
In fact, anti-racist advocacy that focuses on race as key to eradicating racism is seen as contradicting the principle of color blindness—a view largely unquestioned until recently. Through the lens of color blindness, the sin of Critical Race Theory or any anti-racist work or activism is that it rejects the view that racism is solely the product of individual attitudes or decisions that distort otherwise race-neutral processes and institutions. The focus of Critical Race Theory is on the way that race is baked into the current political, economic, and social system so that racial subordination is reproduced through normal operations, often without regard to intent. White privilege, particularly white elite privilege, is not a fantasy but a bulwark that has thwarted the egalitarian ideals cited so often as American values, and justified an economic order that benefits the few at the expense of the many.
The national narrative of color blindness and racial progress, cultivated over the past several decades, has been ruptured as a result of epic failures in addressing two crises—the Covid-19 pandemic, and the unrelenting carnage of anti-black violence. Black Lives Matter, the call through which resistance has been shaped, has gone from the virtually unspeakable to ubiquitous mantra and symbol. One might think that the terrain has shifted, and that anti-racism, and specifically anti-blackness could be named and addressed as such. But you would be mistaken. The OMB memo is only the latest example of the same old song of anti-anti-racism being cued up and put on heavy rotation.
So while one might see Trump’s latest move as simply another attempt at misdirection, its more important contribution may be its portrayal of anti-racist ideas as extremist and politically radioactive, so that they should be denounced by “reasonable people on both sides,” especially Democrats. It’s time to resist this anti anti-racist tune and put to rest the idea that the only path to political transformation is by muting anti-racism."
What Is Critical Race Theory and Why Is Trump Afraid of It?
Federal officials stockpiled munitions, sought ‘heat ray’ device before clearing Lafayette Square, whistleblower says
Federal officials stockpiled munitions, sought ‘heat ray’ device before clearing Lafayette Square, whistleblower says
“Hours before law enforcement forcibly cleared protesters from Lafayette Square in early June amid protests over the police killing of George Floyd, federal officials began to stockpile ammunition and seek devices that could emit deafening sounds and make anyone within range feel like their skin is on fire, according to an Army National Guard major who was there.
D.C. National Guard Maj. Adam D. DeMarco told lawmakers that defense officials were searching for crowd control technology deemed too unpredictable to use in war zones and had authorized the transfer of about 7,000 rounds of ammunition to the D.C. Armory as protests against police use of force and racial injustice roiled Washington.
In sworn testimony, shared this week with The Washington Post, DeMarco provided his account as part of an ongoing investigation into law enforcement and military officers’ use of force against D.C. protesters.
On June 1, federal forces pushed protesters from the park across from the White House, blanketing the street with clouds of tear gas, firing stun grenades, setting off smoke bombs and shoving demonstrators with shields and batons, eliciting criticism that the response was extreme. The Trump administration has argued that officers were responding to violent protesters who had been igniting fireworks, setting fires and throwing water bottles and rocks at police.
But DeMarco’s account contradicts the administration’s claims that protesters were violent, tear gas was never used and demonstrators were given ample warning to disperse — a legal requirement before police move to clear a crowd. His testimony also offers a glimpse into the equipment and weaponry federal forces had — and others that they sought — during the early days of protests that have continued for more than 100 days in the nation’s capital.
DeMarco, who provided his account as a whistleblower, was the senior-most D.C. National Guard officer on the ground that day and served as a liaison between the National Guard and U.S. Park Police.
A Defense Department official briefed on the matter downplayed DeMarco’s allegations, saying emails asking about specific weaponry were routine inventory checks to determine what equipment was available.
The Defense Department, U.S. Army and D.C. National Guard did not respond to specific questions about munitions and their intended use.
The chaos that erupted on the evening of June 1 played out before millions of viewers on split-screen television broadcasts as President Trump strode through the emptied park toward St. John’s Episcopal Church, where he delivered remarks and posed for photos with a bible.
U.S. Park Police Chief Gregory Monahan has testified that protesters were given clear warnings to disperse via a Long Range Acoustic Device. But DeMarco told lawmakers that is impossible because there was no such device on the scene at the time.
Just before noon on June 1, the Defense Department’s top military police officer in the Washington region sent an email to officers in the D.C. National Guard. It asked whether the unit had a Long Range Acoustic Device, also known as an LRAD, or a microwave-like weapon called the Active Denial System, which was designed by the military to make people feel like their skin is burning when in range of its invisible rays.
The technology, also called a “heat ray,” was developed to disperse large crowds in the early 2000s but was shelved amid concerns about its effectiveness, safety and the ethics of using it on human beings.
Pentagon officials were reluctant to use the device in Iraq. In late 2018, the New York Times reported, the Trump administration had weighed using the device on migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border — an idea shot down by Kirstjen Nielsen, then the Homeland Security secretary, citing humanitarian concerns.
But in the email, on which DeMarco was copied, the lead military police officer in the National Capital Region wrote the ADS device “can provide our troops a capacity they currently do not have, the ability to reach out and engage potential adversaries at distances well beyond small arms range, and in a safe, effective, and nonlethal manner.”
The email continued: “The ADS can immediately compel an individual to cease threatening behavior or depart through application of a directed energy beam that provides a sensation of intense heat on the surface of the skin. The effect is overwhelming, causing an immediate repel response by the targeted individual.”
Federal police ultimately were unable to obtain a heat ray device — or an LRAD — during the early days of protests in D.C., according to the Defense Department official.
DeMarco said without an LRAD device, which can be used to make booming announcements to large crowds, Park Police officers instead issued dispersal orders to the crowd using a handheld red-and-white megaphone.
Laws and court rulings require police to give demonstrators repeated, clear warnings of officers’ intentions to escalate and to allow people adequate time and avenues to disperse peacefully.
DeMarco told lawmakers he was standing about 30 yards from the announcer but could barely make out the order. The chanting crowd, which was even farther from the officer with the megaphone, did not appear to hear the warnings, DeMarco said.
Protesters, journalists and humanitarian aid volunteers who were there that day have repeatedly said they never heard a warning before police began to move on the crowd. Advancing on foot and horseback, they pushed protesters back as explosions sent clouds of smoke and chemicals into the air, and officers fired rubber pellets into packs of retreating protesters.
Monahan has said violence by protesters spurred his agency to clear the area ahead of the D.C. mayor’s 7 p.m. curfew — instituted as a response to looting, vandalism and arson amid demonstrations on previous nights — with unusually aggressive tactics.
Monahan also told members of Congress in July that Park Police had followed protocol in issuing three warnings “utilizing a Long Range Acoustic Device” — although DeMarco’s testimony indicates no such device was in use.
U.S. Park Police did not respond to a request for further comment this week.
DeMarco first appeared before lawmakers on the House Natural Resources Committee in late July but followed up at the end of August with more specific answers to legislators’ questions about munitions and equipment used by law enforcement. His answers, submitted in written form, were shared with The Post this week by congressional staff of the House Natural Resources Committee.
He told lawmakers he felt compelled to come forward as a witness because he found the events at Lafayette Square “deeply disturbing.” His attorney, David Laufman, said DeMarco hopes lawmakers will continue to investigate the federal response.
“That anyone in the Department of Defense referred to American citizens exercising their First Amendment rights as ‘potential adversaries’ and even contemplated the use of an ADS on the streets of our nation’s capital is deeply disturbing and calls for further investigation,” Laufman said.
DeMarco also testified that a stash of M4 carbine assault rifles was transferred from Fort Belvoir to the D.C. Armory on June 1 and that transfers of ammunition from states such as Missouri and Tennessee arrived in subsequent days.
By mid-June, about 7,000 rounds of 5.56 mm and 7.62 mm ammunition rounds had been transferred to the D.C. Armory, DeMarco said.
He did not specify what the ammunition was for, and the D.C. National Guard did not respond to questions about the weapons transfers.
In late June, Congress opened an investigation into tactics used by federal law enforcement officers to clear protesters near Lafayette Square.
Monahan and DeMarco testified on the same day in July, at which time Monahan said the area around Lafayette Square was cleared June 1 so construction crews could erect a taller fence than the temporary barricades that had closed off the area. It followed a night in which a Park Service building was set on fire.
DeMarco told legislators that, having served in a combat zone where he spent time assessing various threats, he did not feel threatened at any point by protesters near the White House “or assess them to be violent.”
“From my observation, these demonstrators — our fellow American citizens — were engaged in the peaceful expression of their First Amendment rights,” he said. “Yet they were subjected to an unprovoked escalation and excessive use of force.”
“Attorney General William P. Barr was also said to have asked prosecutors to explore whether to bring charges against the mayor of Seattle for allowing a police-free protest zone.
By Katie Benner
WASHINGTON — Attorney General William P. Barr told federal prosecutors in a call last week that they should consider charging rioters and others who had committed violent crimes at protests in recent months with sedition, according to two people familiar with the call.
The highly unusual suggestion to charge people with insurrection against lawful authority alarmed some on the call, which included U.S. attorneys around the country, said the people, who described Mr. Barr’s comments on the condition of anonymity for fear of retribution.
The attorney general has also asked prosecutors in the Justice Department’s civil rights division to explore whether they could bring criminal charges against Mayor Jenny Durkan of Seattle for allowing some residents to establish a police-free protest zone near the city’s downtown for weeks this summer, according to two people briefed on those discussions. Late Wednesday, a department spokesman said that Mr. Barr did not direct the civil rights division to explore this idea.
The directives are in keeping with Mr. Barr’s approach to prosecute crimes as aggressively as possible in cities where protests have given way to violence. But in suggesting possible prosecution of Ms. Durkan, a Democrat, Mr. Barr also took aim at an elected official whom President Trump has repeatedly attacked.
Justice Department representatives did not respond to requests for comment. The Wall Street Journal first reported Mr. Barr’s remarks about sedition.
During a speech on Wednesday night, Mr. Barr noted that the Supreme Court had determined that the executive branch had “virtually unchecked discretion” in deciding whether to prosecute cases. He did not mention Ms. Durkan or the sedition statute.
“The power to execute and enforce the law is an executive function altogether,” Mr. Barr said in remarks at an event in suburban Washington celebrating the Constitution. “That means discretion is invested in the executive to determine when to exercise the prosecutorial power.”
The disclosures came as Mr. Barr directly inserted himself into the presidential race in recent days to warn that the United States would be on the brink of destruction if Mr. Trump lost. He told a Chicago Tribune columnist that the nation could find itself “irrevocably committed to the socialist path” if Mr. Trump lost and that the country faced “a clear fork in the road.”
Mr. Barr’s actions have thrust the Justice Department into the political fray at a time when Democrats and former law enforcement officials have expressed fears that he is politicizing the department, particularly by intervening in legal matters in ways that benefit Mr. Trump or his circle of friends and advisers.
The protest zone in Seattle became a flash point in the national debate over issues of race and policing this summer. Officers had abandoned the police station there for weeks before retaking it in late July amid escalating violence, including deadly shootings. Ms. Durkan said at the time that she had been forced to act because of the lawlessness.
Days later, federal homeland security officials sent tactical agents to the city. Ms. Durkan protested that their arrival would potentially exacerbate tensions between residents and local officials.
Mr. Trump has called the people who lived in the zone “domestic terrorists” and warned that Ms. Durkan and Gov. Jay Inslee of Washington needed to regain control of the area. “If you don’t do it, I will,” the president wrote on Twitter. “This is not a game.”
The attorney general’s question about whether Ms. Durkan, the former U.S. attorney in Seattle, had violated any federal statutes by allowing the protest zone was highly unusual, former law enforcement officials said.
“The attorney general seems personally, deeply offended by the autonomous zone and wants someone to pay for it,” said Chuck Rosenberg, the former U.S. attorney in the Eastern District of Virginia. “If the people of Seattle are personally offended, they have political recourse. There is no reason to try to stretch a criminal statute to cover the conduct.”
His supporters say Mr. Barr’s approach is necessary to preserve order at a moment that threatens to spiral into violence and to tamp down unrest in cities where the local authorities will not.
More than 93 percent of the protests in the United States this summer were peaceful, according to a report by the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project, which monitors political upheaval worldwide. The report looked at 7,750 protests from May 26 through Aug. 22 in 2,400 locations across all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
But far-right and far-left groups, as well as looters and rioters, have seized on the protests to commit acts of violence, including deadly shootings — serious crimes that some federal prosecutors said could not be dismissed out of hand as anomalous, particularly as the threat from extremist groups grows.
Two men associated with the Boogaloo, a far-right movement that supports the coming of a second civil war, were arrested on terrorism-related charges last week. Prosecutors said they used the protests as cover to try to sell weapons to the Palestinian militant group Hamas, which the United States and other countries consider a terrorist group, and to use the money to support the Boogaloo movement.
Mr. Barr told federal prosecutors on the call that they needed to crack down on looting, assaults on law enforcement officers and other violence committed during the protests that have continued across the country since George Floyd, a Black man in Minneapolis, was killed by the police in May.
Mr. Barr mentioned sedition as part of a list of possible federal statutes that prosecutors could use to bring charges, including assaulting a federal officer, rioting, use of explosives and racketeering, according to the people familiar with the call. Justice Department officials included sedition on a list of such charges in a follow-up email.
After Mr. Barr spoke, Richard P. Donoghue, a top aide to the deputy attorney general, interjected to note that some of the U.S. attorneys on the call worked in districts where violence during protests was less common, and that the federal prosecutors may not need to use tools as aggressive as sedition charges.
Mentioning that he had visited Portland, Ore., Mr. Donoghue also assured the prosecutors that the Justice Department would support all efforts to crack down on violence.
“If Barr was saying that if you have a sedition case, then bring it, that is fine,” Mr. Rosenberg said. “But if he is urging people to stretch to bring one, that is deeply dangerous.”
The most extreme form of the federal sedition law, which is rarely invoked, criminalizes conspiracies to overthrow the government of the United States — an extraordinary situation that does not seem to fit the circumstances of the protests and unrest in places like Portland, Ore., and elsewhere in response to police killings of Black men.
The wording of the federal sedition statute goes beyond actual revolutions. It says the crime can also occur anytime two or more people have conspired to use force to oppose federal authority, hinder the government’s ability to enforce any federal law or unlawfully seize any federal property — elements that might conceivably fit a plot to, say, break into and set fire to a federal courthouse.
Congress has stipulated that a conviction on a charge of seditious conspiracy can carry up to 20 years in prison.”
Charlie Savage contributed reporting.
Wednesday, September 16, 2020
Our land was taken. But we still hold the knowledge of how to stop mega-fires | Bill Tripp | Opinion | The Guardian
"Our land was taken. But we still hold the knowledge of how to stop mega-fires
The solution to the devastating west coast wildfires is to burn like our Indigenous ancestors have for millennia
Bill TrippWed 16 Sep 2020 06.00 EDT
As wildfires rage across California, it saddens me that Indigenous peoples’ millennia-long practice of cultural burning has been ignored in favor of fire suppression.
But it breaks my heart, that regardless of our attempts to retain our cultural heritage and manage our homelands in a manner consistent with our Indigenous customs, the Slater fire is burning down the homes of our tribal members, our tribal staff and our community.
Prescribed fire and cultural burns are fires that are intentionally set during favorable conditions, sometimes at regular intervals to achieve a variety of socio-ecological benefits. They reduce the density of small trees, brush, grass and leaves that otherwise fuel severe wildfires. Clearing undergrowth allows for a greater variety of trees and a healthier forest that is more fire-resistant, and it provides more room for wildlife to roam with beneficial effects such as enhancing the success of our hunting. Fire suppression, meanwhile, involves extinguishing fires using teams of people, bulldozers, fire engines, helicopters and airplanes by land management agencies assigned that duty by federal, state and local governments.
Our land was taken from us long ago and our Indigenous stewardship responsibility was taken from us too. The land is still sacred and it will forever be part of us. We hold the knowledge of fire, forests, water, plants and animals that is needed to revitalize our human connection and responsibility to this land. If enabled, we can overcome our current situation and teach others how to get it done across the western United States.
Our land was taken from us long ago and our Indigenous stewardship responsibility was taken from us too
In 1850, the California legislature passed a law that essentially forced many Indigenous people into servitude and criminalized Indigenous burning. This was followed by the creation of the National Forest System and the focused suppression of our cultural burning practices in northern California. Karuk people were shot for burning even as late as the 1930s. Federal laws were created that were interpreted to call for fire suppression, but were not to have an impact on hunting and fishing.
The Karuk tribal constitution defines Karuk tribal lands as consisting of our Aboriginal Territory, service areas and all lands subsequently acquired by and for the tribe, whether within or outside of the tribe’s Aboriginal Territory. On these lands, we have the right to use fire in the perpetuation of our culture.
In fact, the courts have deemed that Karuk people are not Indians of a reservation. We remain a sovereign, independent nation occupying our original homelands. That is supposed to mean something. Yet our hunting and fishing areas are diminishing, while forests burn at larger scales and more sediment is added to our streams.
Joe Jerry conducts a prescribed burn using a drip torch. Prescribed burns may have cultural objectives, but they tend to be planned primarily for clearing the leaves, brush and small trees that fuel large wildfires.
Joe Jerry conducts a prescribed burn using a drip torch. Prescribed burns may have cultural objectives, but they tend to be planned primarily for clearing the leaves, brush and small trees that fuel large wildfires. Photograph: Courtesy of Stormy Staats, KSMC
Fire itself is sacred. It renews life. It shades rivers and cools the water’s temperature. It clears brush and makes for sufficient food for large animals. It changes the molecular structure of traditional food and fiber resources making them nutrient dense and more pliable. Fire does so much more than western science currently understands.
The Red Salmon Complex fire is currently burning on an area sacred to the Karuk people. Our sacred values are negatively impacted when state and federal land agencies dig fire lines with bulldozers and send hundreds of people into places where only a few at a time should go. Rare endemic plants get trampled, archaeological evidence gets rearranged and chemicals get dumped into the watersheds we drink from and salmon inhabit. Indigenous peoples have to respond to protect these things.
The space we traditionally visit for solitude, prayer and carrying out cultural burning has become a space of turmoil, sorrow and trauma. That’s why many Indigenous people have been fighting to use fire in the right way all our lives.
In recent decades, our area has been plagued by large fires, including the Big Bar Complex fire in 1999, the Backbone Complex fire in 2009, and the Butler fire in 2013. Time and time again we find ourselves dropping everything to respond to fire suppression activities while trying to keep up the fight to revitalize our Indigenous responsibility as we witness our culture being destroyed. The federal and state governments spend billions of dollars each year fighting wildfires in California while putting very little toward prescribed burning, or understanding that cultural burning can and should be practiced.
The solution is to burn like our Indigenous ancestors have done for millennia. But too often we are told we can’t burn
We know the solution is to burn like our Indigenous ancestors have done for millennia. But too often we are told we can’t burn. Simply put, it’s either because we don’t have the proper environmental clearance for burning under the National Environmental Policy Act, because of liability or because there aren’t enough personnel available to supervise the burn. This year it is because smoke will be bad for Covid-19 patients.
These are excuses, not solutions. We carry the same qualifications as the federal and state agencies when it comes to prescribed burning or otherwise managing fire, and we hold the Indigenous knowledge that is needed to get the job done right. We have the knowledge to conduct cultural burning that is perfectly safe, and in many cases, we do not even need fire lines. Yet the federal agencies still do not allow us to lead prescribed burns on lands administered by the National Forest System.
We will not let these things stop us. We will just burn for another year on the 2% of the landscape that is held as private land and not considered part of the national forest. We will continue to build our own funding sources like the Endowment for Eco-Cultural Revitalization Fund. We will continue to fight for our Indigenous rights and tribal sovereignty to be taken seriously. Overcoming the structural racism at the root of this problem has been a multi-generational task. It shouldn’t have to be.
Frequent prescribed fire and support for cultural burns conducted by individuals and families is the solution proposed by the Karuk Tribe and Western Klamath Restoration Partnership. We can do this, and we can do it together, but we need to permanently fund tribal programs that are engaged in shared stewardship activities, and allow Indigenous people to lead the way.
Bill Tripp is the director of natural resources and environmental policy for the Karuk Tribe Department of Natural Resources. "
Our land was taken. But we still hold the knowledge of how to stop mega-fires | Bill Tripp | Opinion | The Guardian
Tuesday, September 15, 2020
Monday, September 14, 2020
How New York City’s Police Unions Embraced Trump The unions’ leadership is mostly white, suburban and Republican, setting it apart from an increasingly diverse police force and the city itself.
The unions’ leadership is mostly white, suburban and Republican, setting it apart from an increasingly diverse police force and the city itself.
By Alan Feuer
New York City’s largest police union had not endorsed a candidate for president in decades when its leader, Patrick J. Lynch, stepped to the lectern last month at President Trump’s golf club in New Jersey.
“Mr. President, we are fighting for our lives out there,” Mr. Lynch said, in the all-caps cadence familiar to any casual viewer of the New York nightly news. “We don’t want this to spread to the rest of the country. We need your strong voice across the country.”
Mr. Lynch said his union, the Police Benevolent Association, was endorsing Mr. Trump because city and state leaders had been relentlessly scapegoating hard-working police officers and allowing chaos to reign on the streets.
But another factor that may have played into the P.B.A.’s endorsement could be seen in the imagery surrounding him: Joining Mr. Lynch before a sea of mostly white union members were three of his top colleagues, each of them a white Republican from conservative strongholds in Staten Island or Long Island.
The tableau of the four union leaders standing together with Mr. Trump reflected a larger truth about the upper ranks of the city’s police unions: Even as the Police Department has become more diverse and is now less than half white, the unions continue to be run mostly by white conservatives who live in the suburbs and increasingly echo the president’s views.
Nearly 90 percent of the police unions’ leaders — officers, trustees, financial secretaries — are white and even more are men, according to an analysis of public records by The New York Times. Close to 70 percent are registered Republicans and more than 60 percent live on Long Island or in counties north of New York City, the analysis found.
The demographic gap helps explain the political spectacle and cultural gulf on display in recent weeks as New York City police union leaders have stridently repeated the president’s mayhem messaging and attacked Black Lives Matter protests in scathing terms.
This is occurring in a city where Mr. Trump is deeply unpopular, only a third of residents are white and the Democratic establishment has embraced the nationwide campaign against police brutality and racial bias.
While some Black and Hispanic police fraternal groups objected to Mr. Lynch’s endorsement of the president, there is no evidence of a broader backlash among rank-and-file members to the announcement of support, nor to Mr. Lynch’s speech last month praising the president at the Republican National Convention.
Still, the demographics of the police unions’ leadership set it starkly apart from a majority of the department’s 36,000 uniformed officers and from the wider population of New York.
Like President Trump, Mr. Lynch and his colleagues have chosen to characterize the current round of protests not as a moment of historical reckoning over systemic racism, but instead as one of chaos sowed by the “radical left.”
Mr. Trump has in turn amplified those views. On Sunday, he responded to a tweet from Mayor Bill de Blasio encouraging New Yorkers to enjoy the nice weather by saying, “People don’t want to get mugged, beaten up, or killed. Let New York’s Finest (who proudly endorsed me!) do their job.”
Police union leadership
As they have done for years, the union leaders have set themselves against the momentum for change. They have fought a city law that made it a misdemeanor for police officers to use chokeholds during arrests, and tried to stop a state law that makes officers’ disciplinary records public. And they have fiercely opposed a state law ending the use of cash bail for most nonviolent offenders in New York.
City and state officials said the police unions have largely given up on traditional lobbying and back-room negotiations since their main political allies, Republican lawmakers who controlled the State Senate, lost power two years ago. The police union leaders have instead leaned more heavily than ever on incendiary public attacks on liberal politicians and their allies.
In June, for instance, when the unions faced certain defeat in a long battle to keep their members’ disciplinary records secret, they conceded as much to several state lawmakers and asked for only small concessions, according to two lawmakers approached by the unions.
Mr. Lynch has not met with Mayor de Blasio in more than three years, city officials said. Nor, the officials added, did the P.B.A. or other police unions make any attempt to lobby the City Council before it took up a package of police oversight bills this spring or moved weeks later to shift nearly $1 billion from the Police Department’s budget.
Instead, the officials pointed out, Mr. Lynch held a news conference near City Hallwith his fellow union leaders, lashing out at local politicians. “For our legislators to demonize police officers, as if we’re the problem, as if we broke the windows, as if we caused the violence, that is absolutely outrageous,” Mr. Lynch said.
Asked about the police unions’ approach, Bill Neidhardt, a spokesman for Mr. de Blasio, said, “They have shifted out of policy and representation and into politics. And not just any politics but the politics of the far right. It’s a step to the extreme.”
The P.B.A. declined requests to interview Mr. Lynch and the other three union leaders at the Trump endorsement. Mr. Lynch also would not respond to questions about his relationship with Mr. Trump or with the city’s communities of color.
In a statement, Mr. Lynch played down the disparity between the police union leadership and the rank and file, saying the P.B.A. was unified under his watch.
“The secret of our solidarity isn’t complicated,” he said. “No matter where we live or what we look like, police officers’ concerns are the same.”
But his endorsement of Mr. Trump, coming after years of opposition to police reform, has disturbed some city officials, and deepened their disillusionment with what they have described as a reactionary stance by the police unions.
“When people in my community hear Pat Lynch speak, what they hear is hatred being spewed,” said Donovan Richards Jr., a Black Democrat from Queens who chairs the public safety committee of the City Council.
Many Black and Hispanic officers said they did not feel represented by their unions, a sense of disconnection that was heightened by the P.B.A.’s endorsement.
“Who are the unions’ shot callers?” asked Detective Felicia Richards, who leads the Guardians Association, a fraternal organization for Black officers. “It’s pretty much still a good old boys’ club.”
Last month, the Guardians Association condemned the endorsement of Mr. Trump and said that while Mr. Lynch had served his members well in some ways, he reached the decision to endorse without even conferring with his union.
Charles Billups, chair of the Grand Council of Guardians, a statewide organization for Black police officers, said Mr. Lynch’s support of Mr. Trump put many active Black officers in the awkward position of opposing people who — at least in theory — were meant to represent them in contract negotiations, disciplinary proceedings and other aspects of their jobs.
“Do we speak out against it and end up being blackballed or ostracized by people we work with every day?” Mr. Billups asked. “Or do we just go along to get along?”
New York City residents
Police union leadership
The police union’s embrace of Mr. Trump has been gathering steam all year, but it came to a head last month when Mr. Lynch, a registered Democrat with conservative views, spoke at the Republican convention.
During his address, Mr. Lynch offered New York as a case study backing one of Mr. Trump’s central campaign arguments: that the nation’s cities were under siege by anarchists and criminals.
“Why is this happening?” he asked. “The answer is simple: The Democrats have walked away from us.”
The speech and the endorsement were the culmination of a decades-old campaign to pressure politicians on law and order issues, at times using fear-mongering tactics or language with a clear racist subtext.
Most notoriously, the P.B.A. held a rally in 1992 against the city’s first and only Black mayor, David N. Dinkins. Hundred of union members carried signs with sayings like “Dear Mayor, have you hugged a drug dealer today” and “Dinkins, We Know Your True Color — Yellow Bellied.” Some officers were also reported to have used racial slurs.
Two weeks ago on Twitter, the P.B.A.’s sister union, the Sergeants Benevolent Association, referred to Councilman Ritchie Torres, who is Afro-Latino and gay, as a “first-class whore.” Mr. Torres, the Democratic candidate for a Congressional seat in the Bronx, had called for an investigation into a possible police slowdown during a spike in gun violence.
So far, Mr. Lynch has been the only police union leader in New York to endorse Mr. Trump, but Edward D. Mullins, who runs the sergeants’ union, and Paul DiGiacomo, the head of the Detectives’ Endowment Association, have both come close.
Echoing the president, the three men and their aides have gone on television and social media to blame the rise of shootings in New York on what they have described as failed liberal policies. Some have called on Mr. Trump to send federal officers to the city. Others have launched Trump-like cultural attacks comparing protests around the country to Nazi rallies.
Union leaders have also complained about a “progressive violence plague” in New York and praised Mr. Trump as the only politician with the strength and courage to stand up for the police.
Mr. Mullins has even appeared on Fox News with a mug in view emblazoned with a logo for QAnon, a conspiracy theory that holds that a cabal of satanic pedophiles is intent on defeating Mr. Trump.
As early as February, Mr. Mullins visited the White House to talk about the “plight of police officers in NYC,” as he wrote on Twitter:
“@realDonaldTrump has our backs!” he said.
In the months that followed, Mr. Mullins went to war with Mr. de Blasio, blaming him for a litany of local crimes and launching personal attacks that culminated one day late last month when he demanded the mayor resign by “sundown.”
Employing similar themes, Mr. DiGiacomo gave a recent interview on YouTube in which he displayed framed photos of himself with Mr. Trump and of his father, a onetime city transit officer.
Mr. DiGiacomo said he had never seen New York at such a low point and blamed the city’s problems on police reform laws, feckless district attorneys and Democrats like Mr. de Blasio and Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo who, he said, had given up on supporting New York officers.
While he acknowledged he was not yet formally backing Mr. Trump, Mr. DiGiacomo added: “The way we see it right now, there’s only one person out there standing up for the police.”
Not quite half — or 47 percent — of the city’s uniformed officers are white, police officials say. Twenty-nine percent are Hispanic and 15 percent are Black. Asian officers make up 9 percent of the force.
The union leadership, however, is 88 percent white, according to listings posted on their websites and in tax reports. Hispanic officials account for 7 percent of the upper ranks. Black officials make up only 5 percent.
There is a similar divide in where officers and union leaders live. In 2016, the last year that detailed data was available, 58 percent of all New York officers lived in one of the city’s five boroughs. Long Island was home to 26 percent and about 13 percent lived in one of four northern counties.
Police union leadership
But according to public records, only 36 percent of union leaders live within the city. Most — 44 percent — live on Long Island. Another 19 percent make their homes in the nearby northern suburbs. Twenty percent live on Staten Island or in largely white neighborhoods in Queens.
As for politics, voting records indicate that a majority of union leaders — 68 percent — are registered Republicans. Twenty-six percent identify as Democrats, the records show, and 5 percent have no party or another affiliation.
Asked if union leaders reflect their members, Mr. Lynch noted in his statement that his administration, which has been in power for more than 20 years, had appointed both the first Black and first Hispanic officials to the union’s top three slots.
He also pointed out that he had been elected to a fifth term in 2015 with 70 percent of the vote and a sixth term last year after running unopposed.
In an interview, Mr. Mullins said his own membership was well served by its leaders “regardless of their color or ethnic background.” If they were not, he added, “I would expect them to say something about it.”
The son of an Irish longshoreman and a Latina homemaker, Mr. Mullins said that officers of color had not yet had a chance to rise through the union’s ranks.
“People have to go through the process of getting elected and putting in time to get to the top,” said Mr. Mullins, who has run the union since 2002. “The mechanism is there. We just have to allow time to take its course.”
Some former high-ranking officers, however, said the union leadership was less diverse than the department because an old guard of leaders has had a lock on power.
“It’s a network,” said Robert Gonzalez, a former president of the Latino Officers Association who is now a professor of criminal justice at St. John’s University. “They mentor each other. They steer people to vote a certain way. They navigate them and endorse certain people. And it just so happens that those people are white men.”
Alan Feuer covers courts and criminal justice for the Metro desk. He has written about mobsters, jails, police misconduct, wrongful convictions, government corruption and El Chapo, the jailed chief of the Sinaloa drug cartel. He joined The Times in 1999. @alanfeuer“