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.
Monday, July 31, 2023
“ATLANTA — For more than two years, people here and across the country have watched and waited for clues that the high-profile Georgia investigation into whether former president Donald Trump and his allies broke the law in their attempts to overturn his 2020 election loss in the state was winding to an end.
That speculation hit fever pitch in recent days with the installation of orange security barriers near the main entrance of the Fulton County Courthouse in downtown Atlanta. It was the most visible sign yet of the looming charging decision in a case that has ensnared not only Trump but several high-profile Republicans who could either face charges or stand witness in a potential trial unlike anything seen before in this Southern metropolis.
It is one of several investigations into attempts to reverse Trump’s loss in 2020, including a sprawling Justice Department probe overseen by special counsel Jack Smith that has sparked its own intensifying waiting game in recent days. Smith and his team have interviewed or sought information from several witnesses also key to the Georgia investigation. Trump has said he received a letter from the Justice Department saying he could face criminal charges for his efforts after the election that preceded the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol.
While the pace of Smith’s investigation has been unpredictable, Fulton County District Attorney Fani T. Willis took the unusual step of publicly telegraphing that she plans to announce a charging decision in the Georgia case during the first three weeks of August, a period that opens Monday.
“The work is accomplished,” Willis (D) told Atlanta’s WXIA-TV Saturday. “We’ve been working for two-and-a-half years. We’re ready to go.”
In Atlanta, local, state and federal law enforcement officials have been privately meeting for months to plan enhanced security measures in anticipation of that announcement.
All eyes are now on two criminal grand jury panels sworn in on July 11 — one group that meets on Mondays and Tuesdays, the other that meets on Thursdays and Fridays. One of the panels is likely to decide whether charges should be filed in the closely watched election interference case — a decision that could put Trump, who is now under indictment in two other criminal cases, in even more legal peril.
Willis has strongly hinted for months that she will seek multiple indictments in the case, using Georgia’s expansive anti-racketeering statutes that allow prosecutors not only to charge in-state wrongdoing but to use activities in other states to prove criminal intent in Georgia. In court filings, Willis has described her probe as an investigation of “multi-state, coordinated efforts to influence the results of the November 2020 elections in Georgia and elsewhere.”
At least 18 people were informed by prosecutors last year that they were targets of the investigation. That list that includes former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani, who acted as Trump’s personal attorney after the election, and several Georgia Republicans who served as alternate Trump electors and falsely signed documents claiming Trump won Georgia — though some have since been granted immunity.
But Willis’s scope is believed to be larger than that. Georgia law does not require individuals to be formally notified they are targets of an investigation.
Behind the scenes, law enforcement officials have already been discussing how it could all play out — including the anticipated crush of media and curious onlookers and potential protests that officials fear could be disruptive in a key part of downtown Atlanta.
Officials are also considering the logistics of how potential high-profile defendants might surrender for arrest, according to a person familiar with the preparations who, like others interviewed, spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss private meetings or sensitive plans. People who are indicted in Fulton County usually are arrested and processed for fingerprints at the Fulton County Jail before making their first court appearance.
But the decrepit condition of the jail — including crowding and unsanitary conditions — recently sparked a Justice Department civil rights investigation into the facility. That has led to speculation that Trump, if indicted, could be processed at the courthouse or another location for security reasons — a request that could come from his attorneys or the Secret Service.
The Fulton County Courthouse sits directly across the street from the Georgia Capitol building, where hundreds of Trump supporters, some armed, gathered in anger in the aftermath of his 2020 election loss. State officials at the time received death threats related to the fraud claims posed by Trump and his allies. Atlanta City Hall sits adjacent to both buildings, while the Richard B. Russell Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse is located a few blocks away.
The county courthouse has already been subject to enhanced security because of ongoing threats to Willis and her staff — including racist, threatening phone calls related to the election investigation, according to two people familiar with the threats. It’s an issue that Willis, who is often accompanied by armed bodyguards during public appearances, has raised both privately and publicly.
In January 2022, just days after she received approval to impanel a special grand jury to investigate the case, Willis, the first Black woman elected as Fulton County district attorney, sent a letter to the head of the FBI’s Atlanta field office requesting a risk assessment of the courthouse, citing “alarming” rhetoric from Trump.
In the letter, Willis pointed to remarks Trump had made at a Texas rally the previous weekend, where he attacked unnamed prosecutors investigating him in cities including Atlanta as “racist” and “mentally sick.” Willis also cited “communications” she and her staff had received from “persons unhappy” with the investigation.
Since then, Trump has escalated his attacks, describing Willis’s probe as a “political witch hunt” and repeatedly referring to her as the “racist D.A. from Atlanta.” Willis has largely declined to comment on Trump’s remarks. “It’s ridiculous in nature,” Willis told Atlanta’s WSB-TV in April. “But I respect his right to be protected by the First Amendment and say what he likes.”
But Willis has continued to raise concerns about security, which some have read as a hint that Trump may be among those who are charged in her investigation.
In an April letter to Fulton County Sheriff Patrick Labat, Willis offered her appreciation for additional security at the courthouse — including increased officers and new metal detectors that were installed amid jury selection in another high profile case involving rapper Jeffery Lamar Williams, known as Young Thug. But Willis said “the need for vigilance will increase” and urged “heightened security and preparedness” ahead of her announcement in the election case.
“Open-source intelligence has indicated the announcement of decisions in this case may provoke a significant public reaction,” Willis wrote in her letter. “We have seen in recent years that some may go outside of public expressions of opinion that are protected by the First Amendment to engage in acts of violence that will engage the safety [of] our community. As leaders, it is incumbent for us to prepare.”
Similar letters were also sent to the chief of the Atlanta Police Department and other top law enforcement officials in the region — prompting meetings between local, state and federal law enforcement and other local officials about security around potential indictments and possible arraignments, according to two people familiar with the preparations.
Labat, who oversees security at the courthouse and the jail, has spearheaded much of the planning process, according to two people familiar with those plans. In April, the sheriff dispatched two deputies to observe proceedings in New York, where Trump was indicted on charges related to hush money payments made to an adult film actress. Fulton County deputies also traveled to Miami, where Trump was arraigned in June on federal charges tied to his handling of classified documents.
Labat, who could not be reached for comment, told WXIA-TV in June that he dispatched deputies to New York and Miami understand “the gravity of it” as the agency made its own preparations in advance of Willis’s announcement.
The Atlanta Police Department, which has jurisdiction over the city streets around the courthouse, also sent an officer to Miami during the Trump arraignment, according to a spokeswoman who otherwise declined to comment on the department’s planning.
Those agencies have been coordinating with the Georgia State Patrol, which oversees security on the capitol grounds. Officials with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, the FBI and Secret Service have attended security meetings, according to a person familiar with the plans. All agencies declined to comment — though a spokeswoman for the sheriff’s office confirmed the coordinated efforts.
“The Fulton County Sheriff’s Office is proactively coordinating with local, state and federal agencies to enhance security during provide high profile legal proceedings at the Fulton County Courthouse,” Natalie Ammons, a spokeswoman for the sheriff’s office, said in an email. “Some of the measures we are deploying, such as barriers that will limit parking near the courthouse, will be obvious to the public. For security reasons, other measures being deployed will not be as obvious.”
Under Georgia law, a defendant does not have to be present when an indictment is unsealed — meaning the grand jury’s decision could be made public as soon as it is delivered to a presiding judge, who will read the charges in open court.
Anyone charged in an indictment would then negotiate with the sheriff’s office on when to surrender to authorities for processing. An initial court date could occur immediately upon surrender or at a later date. If Willis does charge multiple defendants as part of an anti-racketeering case, it is not expected they would make their first appearance in court together but would likely have joint hearings at a later date.
In her letters to Labat and other law enforcement officials in April, Willis initially presented a seven-week period beginning in mid-July of when she would announce her charging decision in the election case.
She later narrowed that window even further, announcing in a letter to the chief judge in Fulton County and copied to other top county officials that much of her staff would work remotely during the first three weeks of August. Noting that many judges were already scheduled to be at a conference the first week of August, Willis asked that no trials or in-person proceedings be held at the courthouse between Aug. 7 and 18 — though the courthouse remains open to the public.
Willis’s suggested charging window opens as Trump’s attorneys are still seeking to disqualify Willis and her office from investigating the former president and block prosecutors from using evidence gathered by a special grand jury that investigated the case.
On July 20, Fulton County Superior Court Judge Ural Glanville recused the entire judicial bench in Fulton County from hearing Trump’s motion, asking an administrative court to assign a judge outside the division to hear the case. Judge J. Stephen Schuster, a senior judge in Cobb County Superior Court, north of Atlanta, was assigned last week to the case. Schuster has scheduled a hearing for Aug. 10 — in the middle of Willis’s charging window.“
“The vehicle cut over a median and toward where the six workers were standing outside a Walmart in Lincolnton, N.C., the police said. The authorities were looking for the driver.
A man driving an S.U.V. plowed into a group of six migrant workers outside a Walmart in Lincolnton, N.C., on Sunday in an “intentional assault,” the police said.
The attack took place just after 1:15 p.m., when the man, who was behind the wheel of a midsize black S.U.V. with a luggage rack, steered toward the group, according to a statement released on Sunday evening by the Lincolnton Police Department. The episode was caught on video, and the department was asking the public for help in identifying the vehicle or the driver.
All six of the workers were transported to Atrium Health Lincoln with “various injuries” that were not life-threatening, the police said.
“None is in critical condition,” Maj. Brian R. Greene of the Lincolnton Police Department said by telephone. The police have reviewed the footage, he added, which appears to show the driver cutting over a median and into a grassy area between parking spaces, where the migrants were standing.
They were outside the Walmart in northeast Lincolnton, a city of less than 12,000 people about 30 miles northwest of Charlotte.
The police interviewed all of the migrants, Major Greene said, and they had no apparent connection with the driver of the vehicle. “We’re trying to locate the individual that did this,” he added. “Right now, we don’t have a lot.”
The attack follows a deadly crash in May in which the driver of a Range Rover barreled into a crowd of migrants in Brownsville, Texas, killing eight of them. That driver was arrested and charged with manslaughter and other charges.“
Sunday, July 30, 2023
Why Ron DeSantis’s Florida slavery curriculum is so insidious | Saida Grundy | The Guardian
"In the mid-20th century, a generation after the civil war, the United Daughters of the Confederacy set out to rebrand the image of slavery. The group, composed of female descendants of Confederate soldiers, was fixated on returning the country’s social order to its antebellum racial hierarchy. It sought to reimagine slavery as a benign institution, and to glorify the “lost cause” of white southern insurrectionists who attempted to overthrow the government in slavery’s defense. The place that served as ground zero for the UDC’s revisionist-history effort? Schools.
In one of its most successful campaigns, the UDC called for the widespread adoption of textbooks that trivialized the horrors of slavery. As a result, a 1954 middle school textbook titled History of Georgia claimed that a typical slave owner “often had a barbecue or picnic for his slaves. The [enslaved] often had a great frolic. Even while working in the cotton fields they sang songs.” (It is no coincidence that the book was published the same year the NAACP won the supreme court case to desegregate public schools.) And while most contemporary school texts have since moved towards acknowledging that slavery and the subsequent Jim Crow era were reprehensible, organized efforts against teaching accurate racial history continue to occur.
The UDC’s legacy of revision emerged again in Florida recently, when the Republican governor and presidential candidate Ron DeSantis introduced legislation that would de-emphasize racism in the state’s public education curricula. Last week, DeSantis announced that Florida texts will teach students that slavery benefited African Americans who “gained skills” that “eventually parlayed … into doing other things in life”. Civil-rights leaders, educators, and scholars were quick to criticize this minimization of slavery’s cruelty as ignorance at best and deliberate misrepresentation at worst. Vice-President Kamala Harris even reacted, calling the policy an attempt “to replace history with lies”.
The backlash to DeSantis’s move is warranted and necessary, but most of the critiques miss the mark on identifying the Florida law’s deeper insidiousness. What the architects of this legislation are really attempting to do – as the UDC attempted a century before – is galvanize a political right and hold on to conservative white rule in a country with rapidly changing demographics. By denying the true ills of slavery, DeSantis is working to release the American government from the obligation of correcting for its present-day inequalities. The violence of slavery is not just limited to a series of heinous acts that happened in the past, it also includes a deliberate process of disinformation that enables future generations to maintain the power yielded by that violence.
Though DeSantis’s career has relied heavily on making power gains by denying violence, the political strategy is not his invention. The practice of violence denial has long been a hallmark of the modern world’s most oppressive regimes. Take, for example, the British empire. During her 21st birthday address in 1947, the heir apparent Elizabeth II memorably declared that her life would be lived in “service of our great imperial family to which we all belong”. Her characterization of upholding Britain’s unrelenting and exploitative colonial system as “service”, and her assertion of an “imperial family” that included subjugated African, Asian and Caribbean people, are examples of the same whitewashing tactic employed by DeSantis. Even his efforts to ban “controversial” texts were cribbed – the British crown consistently prohibited books that challenged colonial rule in conquered territories.
Another world power that has sought to subvert the historical record is Turkey, with regard to the government’s refusal to acknowledge the Armenian genocide. To aid in its denial, Turkey spent millions of dollars to control the massacre’s narrative and enacted laws that criminalized anyone who accurately used the term “genocide” in reference to the killing, starvation and forced removal of an estimated 800,000 to 1.5 million Armenians in the country from 1915 to 1916. Even today, Turkish loyalists dismiss dissenters who speak up about the genocide as having an agenda or being backed by foreign agitators.
Ultimately, regimes exploit disinformation about the past because the truth threatens their grip on power. But it should surprise no one when those tactics to win a political advantage also spill over into present-day issues. DeSantis’s war on reality doesn’t stop at slavery. During the pandemic, his administration also banned mandates on masks, quarantines and vaccines, and suppressed facts about the ballooning number of Covid cases, even as the death toll for Floridians soared ahead of other states.
Calling out the information that DeSantis and his supporters are distorting in textbooks and other messaging is important. However, it is just as important to not lose sight of the larger threat that violence denial poses for societies. Organized efforts to document and broadcast the truth of our past are the most significant defense we have against disinformation."
‘I’m not wanted’: Florida universities hit by brain drain as academics flee | Florida | The Guardian
‘I’m not wanted’: Florida universities hit by brain drain as academics flee
"Ron DeSantis’s slew of laws attacking teaching of race and gender issues sees state’s colleges struggle to fill faculty posts
With the start of the 2023-24 academic year only six weeks away, senior officials at New College of Florida (NCF) made a startling announcement in mid-July: 36 of the small honors college’s approximately 100 full-time teaching positions were vacant. The provost, Bradley Thiessen, described the number of faculty openings as “ridiculously high”, and the disclosure was the latest evidence of a brain drain afflicting colleges and universities throughout the Sunshine state.
Governor Ron DeSantis opened 2023 with the appointment of six political allies to the college’s 13-member board of trustees who vowed to drastically alter the supposedly “woke”-friendly learning environment on its Sarasota campus. At its first meeting in late January, the revamped panel voted to fire the college president, Patricia Okker, without cause and appoint a former Republican state legislator and education commissioner in her place.
Over the ensuing weeks, board members have dismissed the college’s head librarian and director of diversity programs and denied tenure to five professors who had been recommended for approval.
In a statement given to 10 Tampa Bay about faculty vacancies that was issued earlier this month, NCF officials said that six of the openings were caused by staff resignations and one-quarter of the faculty member departures “followed the changes in the New College board of trustees”. One of those resignations was submitted by Liz Leininger, an associate professor of neurobiology who says she started looking for an exit strategy as soon as she learned about the DeSantis appointments in the first week of 2023.
The 40-year-old scientist joined the New College faculty in 2017, drawn by the opportunities of living near her ageing parents on Florida’s Gulf coast and working closely with undergraduates at a relatively small school where total student enrollment hovers around 700. But as the Republican-controlled Florida legislature passed a series of bills over the last two years that sought to curtail academic freedom and render a professor’s tenure subject to review at any time, Leininger witnessed first-hand the devastating effects of the new laws on her colleagues’ morale.
“All of the legislation surrounding higher education in Florida is chilling and terrifying,” said Leininger, who is rejoining the biology department at St Mary’s College in Maryland this fall where she had been teaching before moving to central Florida. “Imagine scientists who are studying climate change, imagine an executive branch that denies climate change – they could use these laws to intimidate or dismiss those scientists.”
The new laws have introduced a ban on the funding of diversity, equity and inclusion programs at Florida’s public colleges and universities, withdrawn a right to arbitration formerly guaranteed to faculty members who have been denied tenure or face dismissal, and prohibited the teaching of critical race theory, which contends that inherent racial bias pervades many laws and institutions in western society, among other changes.
In the face of that and other legislation backed by DeSantis and Republican lawmakers that has rolled back the rights of Florida’s LGBTQ+ community, many scholars across the state are taking early retirement, voting with their feet by accepting job offers outside Florida or simply throwing in the towel with a letter of resignation.
Hard figures for turnover rates will not be available until later this year, and none of the other 11 state-run universities are expected to match New College’s exceptionally high percentage of faculty vacancies.
A spokesperson for the office of State University System chancellor, Ray Rodrigues, issued a statement asserting that the “State University System of Florida has not received any concerns from our member institutions indicating turnover this year has been any higher than previous years. Turnover occurs every year.”
But Andrew Gothard, the state-level president of the United Faculty of Florida labor union, predicts a loss of between 20 and 30% of faculty members at some universities during the upcoming academic year in comparison with 2022-23, which would signify a marked increase in annual turnover rates that traditionally have stood at 10% or less.
James Pascoe moved to the Gainesville campus of the University of Florida in 2018, the same year that DeSantis was first elected governor. Three years later, the Dallas native started looking for jobs elsewhere when new disclosure requirements made it more difficult for Pascoe to apply for grants. An unsuccessful attempt by the DeSantis administration to prohibit three University of Florida colleagues from testifying as expert witnesses in a voting rights case raised more alarm bells in Pascoe’s mind.
Then came the passage of legislation in March 2022 that banned the discussion of gender identity and sexuality with elementary school students between kindergarten and the third grade. Pascoe and his male partner began to worry about their future eligibility for adopting children in an environment that was becoming increasingly hostile to gay couples in their judgment.
“It was becoming clear that the university was becoming politicized,” the 33-year-old assistant professor of mathematics said. “When I was waiting to hear back on job applications, they started passing all these vaguely anti-gay, anti-LGBTQ+ laws. The state didn’t seem to be a good place for us to live in any more.”
In the summer of 2022, Pascoe accepted a comparable position at Drexel University in Philadelphia. His partner followed suit by joining the biology department at Haverford College in a nearby suburb.
The prevailing political climate in Florida has complicated efforts to recruit qualified scholars from outside the state to fill some vacancies. Kenneth Nunn served on a number of appointment committees during the more than 30 years he spent on the faculty of the University of Florida’s law school. He said the task of persuading highly qualified applicants of color to move to Gainesville has never been more difficult under a governor who, earlier this year, prohibited a new advanced placement course in African American studies from being taught in high schools.
DeSantis came under renewed criticism this month when the state department of education issued guidelines recommending that middle school students be taught about the skills slaves acquired “for their personal benefit” during their lifetimes in bondage.
“Florida is toxic,” noted Nunn, one of the few Black members of the law school faculty who says he chose to retire last January in part because of the legislated ban on the teaching of critical race theory. “It has been many years since we last hired an entry-level African American faculty member. They’re just not interested in being in a place where something with the stature of critical race theory is being denigrated and attacked.”
The 65-year-old Nunn will be teaching law in the fall in Washington DC as a visiting professor at Howard University, one of the nation’s leading historically Black colleges and universities.
“I could have stayed in a place where I’m not wanted and tough it out,” he adds. “Or I could retire and look for work elsewhere.”
In the end, Nunn says, concerns about his professional career and even his own physical safety made that decision a relatively easy one."
Alito ‘stunningly wrong’ that Senate can’t impose supreme court ethics rules | US supreme court | The Guardian
Alito ‘stunningly wrong’ that Senate can’t impose supreme court ethics rules
"Senator Chris Murphy dismisses Justice Samuel Alito’s claims that Senate has ‘no authority’ to regulate the supreme court
Senator Chris Murphy has dismissed claims by the supreme court justice, Samuel Alito, that the Senate has “no authority” to create a code of conduct for the court as “stunningly wrong”.
The Connecticut Democrat made those remarks in an interview on CNN’s State of the Union on Sunday, adding that Alito “should know that more than anyone else because his seat on the supreme court exists only because of an act passed by Congress”.
“It is Congress that establishes the number of justices on the supreme court,” Murphy said. “It is Congress that has passed in the past requirements for justices to disclose certain information, and so it is just wrong on the facts to say that Congress doesn’t have anything to do with the rules guiding the supreme court.”
He continued: “It is even more disturbing that Alito feels the need to insert himself into a congressional debate.”
Murphy’s comments came after the Wall Street Journal published an interview with Alito on Friday in which he said: “I know this is a controversial view, but I’m willing to say it. No provision in the constitution gives them the authority to regulate the supreme court – period.”
During his interview with State of the Union, Murphy went on to criticize the nine-member supreme court’s conservative supermajority. He accused Alito and the court’s other conservatives of seeing “themselves as politicians” rather than impartial jurists.
“They just see themselves as a second legislative body that has just as much power and right to impose their political will on the country as Congress does,” Murphy said. “They are going to bend the law in order to impose their rightwing view of how the country should work on the rest of us.”
In recent months, several of the supreme court’s conservative justices have found themselves in ethical controversy after reports emerged of their involvement in real estate transactions with Republican billionaire donors, discreet payments from Republican activists, millions of dollars’ worth of luxury trips and thousands of dollars in private school tuition.
As a result, many Democrats have called for tighter ethics rules for the supreme court’s justices, who they say lack conduct rules that are comparable to other federal authorities.
Earlier this month, the Senate judiciary committee approved legislation to impose tighter ethics rules on the supreme court.
The legislation – which Republicans have adamantly opposed – has slim possibilities of passing in the Senate because it would require at least nine Republican votes. Nonetheless, Democrats say such a measure is a “crucial first step” in restoring public confidence in the nation’s highest court.
Murphy said of the committee-approved measure: “It’s why we need to pass this commonsense ethics legislation to at least make sure we know that these guys aren’t in bed having their lifestyles paid for by conservative donors, as we have unfortunately seen in these latest revelations.”