The Past 24 Hours or So – Protests/Race Relations and Trump Administration Update

Read TIme: 6 Minutes

Protests/Race Relations

  • The city council of Aurora, Colo., unanimously passed a resolution that approved an “independent, unbiased” investigation into the death of Elijah McClain, a 23-year-old Black man who died while in police custody in August of 2019.

McClain’s last words were documented on police body camera footage: “I’m an introvert. I’m just different. That’s all. I’m so sorry. I have no gun. I don’t do that stuff. I don’t do any fighting. Why are you attacking me? I don’t even kill flies! I don’t eat meat! But I don’t judge people, I don’t judge people who do eat meat. Forgive me … I’m so sorry.”

  • Activists who led an effort to paint “Black Lives Matter” on a Redwood City, CA street say that the words were removed after a conservative resident emailed officials demanding the right to paint a mural in support of President Trump on the same street.
  • Current and former employees at Cosmopolitan and Marie Claire described a culture of sexism and bullying that stemmed from the leader of Hearst Magazines, Troy Young. Some former employees also said that Cosmopolitan discriminated against women of color under its top editor, Jessica Pels.
  • Tom Ridge, a former GOP governor and the country’s first Secretary of Homeland Security, insisted that the department was not created “to be the president’s personal militia” after the Trump administration deployed federal officers to Portland.

“Had I been governor even now, I would welcome the opportunity to work with any federal agency to reduce crime or lawlessness in any of the cities. But … it would be a cold day in hell before I would consent to an unilateral uninvited intervention into one of my cities.”

  • A group of 14 mayors called on the Trump administration to stop deploying federal officers to major cities that have seen large protests in recent months.

In a letter to Attorney General William Barr and acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf Tuesday, the mayors voiced their “deep concern and objection to the deployment of federal forces in U.S. cities.”

“The unilateral deployment of these forces into American cities is unprecedented and violates fundamental constitutional protections and tenets of federalism,” the mayors wrote. “Deployment of federal forces in the streets of our communities has not been requested nor is it acceptable.”

  • Attorneys for Oregon argued for a restraining order against federal agents deployed to quell protests in Portland, in a standoff that some legal experts have warned could lead to a constitutional crisis in an election year.

A federal judge heard the state’s and the U.S. government’s arguments in a lawsuit filed by Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum, who accuses federal agents of arresting protesters without probable cause, whisking them away in unmarked cars and using excessive force to quell the unrest.

  • Portland will immediately ban all police bureau members from cooperating with federal law enforcement or intentionally using force on or arresting journalists and legal observers, under new policies the City Council passed Wednesday.
  • Protesters in at least 22 cities and states across the U.S. have organized their own Wall of Moms chapters in the wake of the movement’s success in Portland, Oregon.
  • Demonstrators took to the streets of downtown Portland Wednesday night to demand change in policing and racial injustice.

More than a thousand people gathered downtown outside the Justice Center and Federal Courthouse. Protests in Portland have been ongoing since late May following the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

  • Just after 12:30 a.m., Portland police declared a riot “due to the violent conduct of the large group creating a grave risk of public alarm.” According to police, after the riot was declared, people remained outside the Federal Courthouse for several hours.

Police said Molotov Cocktails were thrown at the federal building, along with hundreds of projectiles. Meanwhile, multiple fires were lit in the area surrounding the courthouse, which included heavily wooded areas in the parks and trash receptacles on neighboring blocks.

  • Demonstrators’ defense tactics were recorded in a video. It shows a group gathered outside of Portland’s barricaded federal courthouse. When authorities toss tear gas canisters over a recently constructed fence surrounding the building, one protester uses the lacrosse stick to launch them back over the barrier.

The video shows additional protesters approaching the fence with masks and leaf blowers to disperse tear gas already released from the canisters.

  • A pile of debris burned outside the federal courthouse late Wednesday night as Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler (D) attended a nearby protest.

Tear gas was deployed at around that time and fireworks exploded near the courthouse and the Justice Center.

  • Wheeler was affected by the tear gas, according to video and posts on Twitter from a New York Times journalist.

The video shows Wheeler, wearing goggles and a face mask amid a crowd of people, hold his nose and close his eyes in distress as a cloud of tear gas drifts by him.

  • NY Gov. Cuomo (D) said Trump agreed that no federal action will be taken to address rising crime rates in NYC. The move comes after the president threatened to send federal agents to NYC.
  • Retired Four-Star Gen. Wesley Clark tweeted: “Now America has secret police? Deployed against the wishes of local government! No names, no badges, look like military! One of the worst offenses against our democracy in American history. Please, America, turn this back.”
  • President Trump and Attorney General Barr announced that federal agents will surge into Chicago and Albuquerque to help combat rising crime

“The Department of Justice will immediately surge federal law enforcement to the city of Chicago. The FBI, ATF, DEA, US Marshals Service, and Homeland Security will together be sending hundreds of skilled law enforcement officers to Chicago to help drive down violent crime.” Trump continued, “We must remember that the job of policing a neighborhood falls on the shoulders of local elected leadership. When they abdicate their duty, the results are catastrophic.”

  • Robert Wood “Woody” Johnson, the billionaire NFL owner of the NY Jets who serves as President Donald Trump’s ambassador to the UK, was investigated by the State Department watchdog after allegations that he made racist and sexist comments to staff and sought to use his government position to benefit the President’s personal business in the UK, multiple sources told CNN.

Johnson made racist generalizations about Black men and questioned why the Black community celebrates Black History Month, according to three sources and a diplomat familiar with the complaints.

His comments about women’s looks have been “cringeworthy,” a source with knowledge of the situation said, and two sources said it was a struggle to get him on board for an event for International Women’s Day.

“He’s said some pretty sexist, racist [things],”the diplomat with knowledge of the complaints said. 

  • The House voted to approve legislation to remove statues in the Capitol of people who served the Confederacy or otherwise worked to defend slavery.
  • The Boston Red Sox are showing their support for the Black Lives Matter movement.

The phrase “Black Lives Matter” — written in the baseball team’s font — has been placed on the massive billboard that runs alongside the Massachusetts Turnpike by Fenway Park.

  • A bipartisan effort to make Juneteenth a federal holiday failed in the Senate on Wednesday after Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) blocked it from advancing. Johnson objected to giving “federal workers a paid day off that the rest of America has to pay for.”

Trump Administration

  • The US military conducted an airstrike in Somalia on Tuesday targeting ISIS fighters that had attacked US-backed local forces that were being advised by US troops. The “airstrike killed seven (7) ISIS-Somalia terrorists,” the statement from Africa Command said. 
  • The Trump administration told China to close its diplomatic consulate in Houston “in order to protect American intellectual property and Americans’ private information,” State Department spokesperson Morgan Ortagus confirmed. Chinese media reported that the consulate had been given 72 hours to close.
  • A Canadian court ruled a pact that compels asylum seekers trying to enter Canada via the American border to seek sanctuary first in the United States invalid, saying their detention in the US violates their human rights.

Under the Safe Third Country Agreement between the two neighbors, asylum seekers at a formal border crossing traveling in either direction are turned back and told to apply for asylum in the country in which they first arrived.

  • The Sierra Club and other petitioners asked the Supreme Court to halt the Trump administration’s construction of a U.S.-Mexico border wall after a federal appeals court ruled last month that its use of Pentagon funding for the project is illegal.

Sources:  ABC News, Associated Press, The Atlantic, Axios, Bloomberg, CBS News, CNN, Financial Times, Fox News,The Hill, Independent, NBC News, NJ.com, NPR, NY Times, Politico, Reuters, Salon, Slate, Vanity Fair, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post

One thought on “The Past 24 Hours or So – Protests/Race Relations and Trump Administration Update”

  1. Yes there has been a small amount of rioting, but there have also been many incidents where it has been the police who have been causing trouble, when there have been peaceful protests. Meanwhle there is currently distinctive racism within the police force, especially in America but in the UK and many other countries as well.

    Liked by 1 person

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