AS PROTESTS DENOUNCING POLICE BRUTALITY against unarmed Black people spread to thousands of cities, it was videos of police violence — this time, directed at protesters — that went viral. Clips showed officers launching tear gas canisters at protesters’ heads, shooting pepper spray from moving vehicles and firing foam bullets into crowds.
ProPublica looked at nearly 400 social media posts showing police responses to protesters and found troubling conduct by officers in at least 184 of them. In 59 videos, pepper spray and tear gas were used improperly; in a dozen others, officers used batons to strike noncombative demonstrators; and in 87 videos, officers punched, pushed and kicked retreating protesters, including a few instances in which they used an arm or knee to exert pressure on a protester’s neck.
While the weapons, tactics and circumstances varied from city to city, what we saw in one instance after another was a willingness by police to escalate confrontations.
Experts said weapons that aren’t designed to be lethal, from beanbag rounds to grenades filled with pepper spray, can make officers more willing to respond to protesters with force and less disposed to de-escalate tense situations. Not only can some of these weapons cause considerable injury to protesters, particularly if misused, but experts say the mere presence of the weapons often incites panic, intensifies confrontations and puts people on all sides at risk.
And of course, unlike a mass demonstration urging action on an issue like climate change, the protests over police brutality are directed squarely at the officers standing watch. Any use of force can remind protesters what brought them into the streets in the first place and redouble their outrage.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) called on the Senate on Thursday to support an amendment to the next coronavirus relief bill that would bar states that do not implement mask mandates from receiving stimulus funding.
In a statement from the senator’s office, Feinstein announced her intention to introduce the amendment and stated that it was time for Congress to step in and force states to implement such mandates to stop the virus from spreading.
“Wearing masks in public should be mandatory. Period. [Senate Majority] Leader [Mitch] McConnell [R-Ky.] said the Senate will take up the next coronavirus economic relief bill later this month. At that time, I intend to offer an amendment to prohibit sending funds to states that haven’t adopted a statewide mask requirement,” said Feinstein, a member of the Senate Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration.
“My hope has been that other governors would show the leadership to institute their own mask mandates, but so far that hasn’t happened. It’s time for Congress to step in. This is a matter of life or death, and partisan politics shouldn’t play a role,” she continued.
Hundreds of teen-agers are raped or sexually assaulted during their stays in the country’s juvenile detention facilities, and many of them are victimized repeatedly, according to a U.S. Department of Justice survey.
The teens are most often assaulted by staff members working at the facilities, and fully 20 percent of those victimized by the men and women charged with protecting and counseling them said they had been violated on more than 10 occasions.
“Today’s report illustrates the fundamental failure of many juvenile detention facilities to keep their youth safe,” said Lovisa Stannow, executive director of Just Detention International, a California-based health and human rights organization.
The Justice Department survey — covering both secure juvenile detention facilities and group homes, the less restrictive settings into which troubled youngsters are often ordered — involved more than 8,500 boys and girls. In all, 1,720 of those surveyed reported being sexually assaulted.
Allen Beck, the author of the report, said that the rates of staff-on-inmate abuse among juveniles are “about three times higher than what we find in the adult arena.”
The highest incidence of staff sexual misconduct occurred in Ohio, South Carolina, Georgia and Illinois, while other states like New York, Massachusetts and Delaware, reported no abuse. At the Paulding Regional Youth Detention Center in Georgia and the Circleville Juvenile Correctional Facility in Ohio, one in three youngsters surveyed said they’d suffered sexual abuse at the hands of staff members.
“On a planet that increasingly resembles one huge Maximum Security prison, the only intelligent choice is to plan a jail break.”Robert Anton Wilson
“Absolute truth is a very rare and dangerous commodity in the context of professional journalism.”Hunter S. Thompson
Critical race theory — the far-left academic discourse centered on the concepts of “whiteness,” “white fragility” and “white privilege” — is coursing through the federal government’s veins. Under a GOP administration, no less.
Last month, a private diversity-consulting firm conducted a training titled “Difficult Conversations About Race in Troubling Times” for several federal agencies. The training called on white employees at the Treasury Department, the Federal Reserve, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the National Credit Union Administration and the Office of the Comptroller to pledge “allyship [sic] amid the George Floyd Tragedy.”
According to a trove of whistleblower documents I’ve reviewed, the training begins with the premise that “virtually all white people contribute to racism” and hold narratives that “don’t support the dismantling of racist institutions.” Therefore, the trainers argue, white federal employees must “struggle to own their racism” and “invest in race-based growth.”
The trainers then ask “white managers” to create “safe spaces,” where black employees can explain “what it means to be black” and to be “seen in their pain.” White staffers are instructed to keep silent and to “sit in the discomfort” of their racism. If any conflicts arise, the trainers insist that whites “don’t get to decide when someone is being too emotional, too rash [or] too mean.” Whites are told they can’t protest if a person of color “responds to their oppression in a way [they] don’t like.”
Howard Ross, the consultant who created the training, has been a fixture in what might be called the diversity-industrial complex. Since 2006, he has billed the feds more than $5 million for trainings.
In 2011, he billed the General Services Administration $3 million for “consulting services.” NASA coughed up $500,000 for “power and privilege sexual-orientation workshops.”
It is somewhat distasteful but crucially important to note that Ross is a white man. He has a bachelor’s degree in history but pitches himself as an expert in “neuro-cognitive and social-science research” and has spent the past three decades selling the unscientific snake oil of “unconscious bias.”
The irony: Ross has used his own privilege to enrich himself at taxpayer expense. In the language of his own discourse, he has monetized collective black pain to create individual white profit.