Tag: murder

Trump hints at declaring martial law in Illinois’s largest city, even though seven cities have higher murder rates

A few hours ago, President Donald Trump took to Twitter and hinted at possibly declaring martial law in Chicago over the city’s high murder rate:

I really don’t know of any presidential powers at Trump’s disposal that could be used in regards to a city having a high murder rate outside of two presidential powers: one would be to declare a state of emergency in Chicago, and the other would be declaring martial law in Chicago. Unlike a state National Guard or a state militia, the President cannot take over a city police force.

States United, part of the Mike Bloomberg-aligned pro-gun control political network that has been known to support far-right Republicans, has a couple of infographics about the actual state of the Chicago murder crisis:

As you can see, guns originally purchased in states like Indiana, and, to a lesser extent, Wisconsin and Mississippi, all three of which have weaker gun safety laws than Illinois does, have played a large role in Chicago’s murder crisis, and seven U.S. cities (St. Louis, Baltimore, Detroit, New Orleans, Cleveland, Newark, and Memphis) all have higher murder rates than Chicago does. Despite the facts, Trump and his Republican allies haven’t hinted at martial law in cities with a higher murder rate than that of Chicago, and Trump and his Republican allies want to make it easier, not harder, for people to take guns across state lines.

While murder is a serious problem in this country, declaring martial law is going to do absolutely nothing to solve the murder crisis of Chicago or any other city.

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Joe Walsh issues death threat against President Obama and Black Lives Matter activists

AUTHOR’S NOTE: This blog post contains a screengrab of a death threat made by a former elected official against the current President of the United States. The author of this blog post strongly condemns violence and all threats of violence.


Former U.S. Rep. Joe Walsh (R-IL), who represented parts of the Chicago suburbs for one term from 2011 to 2013, took to Twitter to declare a race war and issue a death threat against President Barack Obama and activists of the Black Lives Matter movement. Walsh has since deleted the tweet, but here is a screengrab of it:

It’s worth noting that the death toll last night’s mass shooting in Dallas, Texas is, as of the writing of this blog post, at five.

Walsh has (rightfully, in my opinion) received a lot of criticism online for threatening to kill the president, with lots of people calling for WIND-AM, a Chicago radio station that employs Walsh as a right-wing talk radio host, to fire Walsh, as well as for the Secret Service, which is legally responsible for protecting the president, to detain Walsh:

Joe Walsh, who was voted out of office in 2012 after repeatedly making vile, rude, and bigoted remarks, declared a race war against America and the values America stands for, and he also threatened to kill President Obama and people who are active in the Black Lives Matter movement, a non-violent movement that seeks reforms to law enforcement and criminal justice practices that are discriminatory against black people. WIND-AM should fire Walsh immediately, and all appropriate law enforcement agencies should detain Walsh, and, if it can be proven that Walsh was plotting to kill anyone, he should be arrested and charged with all appropriate crimes. Walsh is a disgrace to my state and my country.

New York Daily News cover on San Bernardino shooting: “God Isn’t Fixing This”

God Isn't Fixing Gun Violence - NY Daily News Cover
December 3, 2015 cover of the New York Daily News (image courtesy of New York Daily News)

Earlier today, a mass shooting took place in San Bernardino, California. The mass shooting occurred at the Inland Regional Center, a facility for people with developmental disabilities in San Bernardino, California. As of the writing of this blog post, at least 14 people were killed by the perpetrators of the mass shooting.

This is yet another example of lax gun laws in this country allowing people with violent intentions to carry out a mass shooting in America. As someone who has a developmental disorder (Asperger’s syndrome), I find it sickening that a mass shooting was carried out at a place designed to help those with developmental disabilities.

At the other end of the country from San Bernardino, in the New York City metropolitan area, the cover of tomorrow’s New York Daily News will feature the headline “GOD ISN’T FIXING THIS”, as well as tweets from three U.S. Senators who are seeking the Republican presidential nomination (Ted Cruz (R-TX), Rand Paul (R-KY), and Lindsey Graham (R-SC)) and U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI). As an atheist, I fully understand that prayers aren’t going to do a damn thing to prevent mass shootings in this country. Only implementation of common-sense gun safety and gun control measures, such as universal background checks on all gun sales, closing the gun show loophole, and banning the sale of assault weapons will prevent mass shootings from occurring in this country.

 

(READER DISCRETION ADVISED) Dashcam video of Laquan McDonald shooting shows that McDonald did NOT lunge at officer

AUTHOR’S NOTE: This blog post contains a tweet containing a graphic video depicting a person being shot and killed. Reader discretion is strongly advised.


Earlier today, the police car dashcam video of the shooting and killing of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald at the hands of Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke clearly shows that McDonald did not lunge at Van Dyke or any other police officer. In fact, the video shows that, even if McDonald intended to lunge at Van Dyke or a different officer (which is not 100% clear, although McDonald did turn around to face the squad car that the dashcam footage was recorded from right before being shot), he didn’t have time to do so before Van Dyke repeatedly shot McDonald. Van Dyke was immediately behind a white police van when he opened fire on McDonald, and, from the perspective of the dashcam, Van Dyke was shooting from left to right at McDonald.

Here’s the dashcam video:

https://twitter.com/goldietaylor/status/669302334200160256

McDonald was shot a total of 16 times by Van Drew, and McDonald died as a result of the shooting. Van Drew has been officially charged with first-degree murder, which, in Illinois, is punishable by a maximum sentence of life imprisonment (Illinois abolished the death penalty in 2011), although the case has not yet gone to trial.

Furthermore, Chicago Police have deleted security footage from a Burger King fast food restaurant near the site of the shooting, according to a report from Chicago NBC affiliate WMAQ-TV, citing a district manager for Burger King:

https://twitter.com/ShaunKing/status/669198386420170752

It’s clear to me that the Chicago Police Department tried to cover up evidence of one of their officers shooting and killing a black teenager. Whoever deleted the Burger King security camera footage should, if possible, be charged with destroying evidence or whatever applicable criminal charge would apply in this scenario.

(TRIGGER WARNING) Roanoke, Virginia local news reporter and news photographer shot and killed on live television

AUTHOR’S NOTE: This article includes a vivid description of a murder that many readers would find to be unsettling.


Alison Parker (left) and Adam Ward (right) (Photo courtesy of New York Daily News Twitter page)
Alison Parker (left) and Adam Ward (right) (Photo courtesy of New York Daily News Twitter page)

Alison Parker, a reporter for WDBJ-TV, the CBS affiliate in Roanoke, Virginia, and Adam Ward, a news photographer for the same station, were shot and killed earlier this morning at Bridgewater Plaza (a miniature golf course, arcade room, shops, and restaurants that primarily serve tourists at Smith Mountain Lake) in Moneta, Virginia. The shooting occurred as Parker was doing a live, on-air interview. Parker was 24 years of age; Ward was 27 years of age. Vester Flanagan, a former WDBJ reporter who went under the stage name Bryce Williams when he was a WDBJ employee, was the perpetrator of the attack; Flanagan fled the scene and committed suicide in another part of Virginia.

I’ve seen video of the shooting once (it’s been plastered all over social media), and I don’t want to see it again, but I will give a description of the shooting. Parker was interviewing a subject about a light subject of some kind and several shots were fired. Parker remained very calm as the first couple of shots that were fired, but then Parker began screaming extremely loudly (although I didn’t actually see a bullet enter Parker’s body on-camera, I’m guessing Parker began screaming after she had been hit by one or more bullets), and then the camera was knocked over in a way that it was filming a deck or balcony and that Parker was not in the view of the camera lens. It’s the single most disturbing thing I’ve ever watched online.

Many people don’t realize this, but journalism is one of the most dangerous professions in the world. Even if they’re not covering war or some other type of hostility, journalists, especially if they work in television, are regularly in the public eye and do their jobs with the constant threat that someone might harm, or even kill, them for whatever reason. Additionally, those who work with journalists, such as news photographers, face the same threats as journalists do. Parker and Ward were shot and killed while doing a fluff piece.

How taxpayers effectively subsidized the Charleston shooting

You might be shocked to find out about this, but taxpayers effectively subsidized the mass shooting at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina, which was perpetrated by 21-year-old white supremacist Dylann Storm Roof and claimed the lives of nine people, including Reverend and South Carolina State Senator Clementa Pinckney (D-Ridgeland).

The Center for Public Integrity (CPI), a non-profit investigative news organization, detailed how taxpayers effectively subsidized the mass murder at Mother Emanuel in their report:

Alleged Charleston gunman Dylann Roof wrote that he was never the same after discovering a website with “pages upon pages of these brutal black on white murders.”

The pages that left Roof in disbelief were the product of a white-nationalist group subsidized by American taxpayers.

The Council of Conservative Citizens Inc. is listed by the Internal Revenue Service as a nonprofit organization that promotes social welfare, also known as a 501(c)(4). Such groups pay no federal taxes, a form of government subsidy.

To summarize all of that, the Council of Conservative Citizens (CCC), a white supremacist organization, incorporated as a nonprofit “social welfare” organization, legally exempted itself from federal taxation, and published racist screeds on its website that prompted Roof to perpetrate a mass murder in a place of worship. In other words, the federal government effectively subsidized the Charleston shooting by exempting the CCC from federal taxes.

The CCC may legally be a “social welfare” organization, but, in reality, they are not a social welfare organization. The CCC is a white supremacist organization that, among other things, publicly supports far-right, anti-immigration politicians and political parties, glorifies black-on-white violent crimes, absurdly blames Chicago’s high murder rate on a misperceived lack of guns in the city, and has posted ads from at least one company selling Confederate flags online to its website. Furthermore, the CCC’s president, Earl P. Holt, has donated to many Republican politicians, including, among many others, Joni Ernst, Scott Walker, Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, Ron Johnson, Jim Oberweis, Louie Gohmert, Todd Akin, Tom Emmer, Allen West, and Steve King; in fact, in some campaign finance reports, Holt listed himself as a “slumlord”. For the federal government to effectively subsidize such a hateful organization is, in my opinion, absolutely disgusting.

My thoughts about no charges being filed against the police officer who killed Tony Robinson

Earlier today, Dane County, Wisconsin District Attorney Ismael Ozanne announced that he would not file any criminal charges against Matt Kenny, a member of the Madison, Wisconsin Police Department, despite the fact that he shot and killed 19-year-old Tony Robinson, who was unarmed at the time of the shooting.

Here’s my thoughts about this:

Right Decision, Bad Law

Given the description that Ozanne of what led to Kenny’s decision to shoot and kill Robinson, I believe that Ozanne made the right decision, given the current Wisconsin state law regarding law enforcement officers using deadly force. However, I believe that the law gives police officers in Wisconsin too broad of authority to use lethal force, and that many other states have similar laws on the books. Because Wisconsin state law allows law enforcement officers to use deadly force if, for whatever reason, the officer reasonably believes that someone is threatening to either kill or cause great bodily harm to the officer, the police shooting of Robinson was justified in the eyes of the law, but not justified in the eyes of my personal opinion. I believe that deadly force should never be used against an unarmed person like Robinson was at the time he was shot and killed by Kenny, and that deadly force should only be used if the suspect(s) is/are armed, the suspect(s) show(s) intent to use the weapon(s) against law enforcement officer(s) and/or others, and the officer(s) have no other option but to use deadly force.

Madison’s Police Taser Policy is Absurd

If you’re wondering why Kenny did not use a taser in order to stop Robinson without killing him, that’s because of an absurd policy in Madison that prohibits law enforcement officers from using a taser except when another officer is present at the scene. Madison’s taser policy should be amended to allow for officers to use tasers to stop suspects without another officer being present, and similar policies in other jurisdictions should be amended as well.

Racial Disparities are Systemic in Madison

Despite being America’s most progressive city, there’s systemic racial disparities between white people and black people in Madison. If you’re a black person in Madison, you’re anywhere from 8 to 11 times more likely to be arrested than a white person in Madison:

The Race to Equity report also found that black adults in Dane County were more than eight times as likely to be arrested as white adults in 2012, which was higher than the black-white arrest disparity in Wisconsin (4-to-1) and the entire nation (2.5-to-1) in 2010. While black men made up only 4.8 percent of the county’s total adult male population in 2012, they comprised more than 43 percent of all new adult prison placements that year.

Updated numbers for only Madison may be even worse: Erica Nelson, who authored the Race to Equity report, told PolitiFact Wisconsin that black adults are 10.9 times as likely as white adults to be arrested in the city, based on a preliminary analysis of the Madison Police Department’s 2013 annual report.

I Strongly Support a Peaceful, Constructive Movement Against Police Brutality and Systemic Racism

So as long as the protests are peaceful and constructive in nature, I strongly support protests against brutality by law enforcement officers and systemic racism in our society. A lot needs to be done to make America a truly equal place. Protests should be non-violent, raise awareness of the problems of police brutality and systemic racism, and raise awareness of various solutions to hold police officers who engage in brutality accountable and end the systemic racism in this country.

The problems of police brutality and systemic racism in this country go beyond Madison, Milwaukee, Cleveland, Baltimore, New York City, and Ferguson. They are nationwide problems that need to be addressed by the people, the media, and public officials. Most importantly, there needs to be a concerted effort in this country to, through non-violent protests, supporting progressive-minded candidates for public office, and implementing new laws and policies, to end police brutality and systemic racism in this country once and for all.

The New York City media is a textbook example of how the corporate media encourages racism in America

The local news media in the New York City television market, the largest local television market in the entire country, is a textbook example of how the local television newscasts in this country encourage racism in America.

Color of Change, an organization noted for its progressive and civil rights advocacy, published this infographic to their Twitter page. The infographic makes these two main points:

  1. While 51% of the people arrested by the New York City Police Department (NYPD) for murder, assault, and/or theft are black, a whopping 75% of the people that local television newscasts in the New York City market broadcast as being responsible for murder, assault, and/or theft are black.
  2. The fact that the local television newscasts in the New York City market broadcast instances of black people being responsible for crimes at a considerably higher percentage than the percentage of black people who are arrested by the NYPD for crimes cause many non-black viewers in the New York City area to develop hatred towards black people and drive a stereotype that all black people are criminals that should be avoided at all costs, which is an absolutely false stereotype.

You can view the full report on how local television newscasts in the New York City media market encourage racism in the New York City area here. The report studied local newscasts on four New York City local TV stations: WCBS-TV, WNBC-TV, WNYW-TV, and WABC-TV.

As a resident of the Champaign-Springfield television market in Illinois, I can attest that the local TV stations around here also broadcast instances of black people being accused of crimes at a far higher rate than the percentage of black people in the area covered by the Champaign-Springfield television market. In fact, the fact that local TV stations across the country tend to report instances of black people being accused of crimes at a far higher rate than the percentage of black people in the local television markets they serve is, more than likely, a nationwide problem that is dividing this country along racial lines.

Conservatives and police unions try to blame Democratic public officials for senseless murder of two NYPD officers

Earlier today, Wenjilan Liu and Raphael Ramos, two New York City Police Department (NYPD) officers, were shot and killed in Brooklyn before the gunman, 28-year-old Ismaaiyl Brinsley, shot himself to death.

Make no mistake about it, the senseless murder of Officers Liu and Ramos is absolutely disgusting. The fact that a NYPD officer, who was not one of the two people murdered, killed Eric Gardner by using a banned chokehold was just as senseless as the murder of Officers Liu and Ramos.

However, many Republicans and conservatives have tried to blame the murder of Officers Liu and Ramos on President Barack Obama, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, and other Democratic public officials, as well as Reverend Al Sharpton and other advocates for increased police accountability and criminal justice reform:

Additionally, the union that represents NYPD officers reportedly put out an extremely divisive statement claiming that de Blasio’s hands “are literally dripping with our blood”, asking NYPD officers to disobey their supervisors, and claiming that the NYPD is operating as a “wartime” police force:

Starting IMMEDIATELY- At least two units are to respond to EVERY call, no matter the condition or severity, no matter what type of job is pending, or what the opinion of the patrol supervisor happens to be. IN ADDITION: Absolutely NO enforcement action in the form of arrests and or summonses is to be taken unless absolutely necessary and an individual MUST be placed under arrest. These are precautions that were taken in the 1970’s when Police Officers were ambushed and executed on a regular basis. The mayors hands are literally dripping with our blood because of his words actions and policies and we have, for the first time in a number of years, become a “wartime” police department. We will act accordingly. FORWARD MESSAGE IN ITS ENTIRETY TO ANY AND ALL MOS.

To blame the senseless murder of Officers Liu and Ramos on Democratic officials and advocates for police and criminal justice reform is absolutely absurd, since A) Ismaaiyl Brinsley murdered the two officers, B) Obama, de Blasio, Holder, and Sharpton have all issued statements strongly condemning the murder of Officers Liu and Ramos, and C) virtually all Democratic public officials in this country and most political activists who support police accountability and criminal justice reform don’t use political rhetoric that is actually “anti-cop” in nature. Right-wingers, racists, and law enforcement unions who are trying to blame this senseless murder on Democratic officials and supporters of police and criminal justice reform are doing absolutely nothing but dividing the country, politicizing the senseless murder of two police officers, and making tensions between law enforcement and the public even worse in order to promote a divisive, far-right political agenda.

(READER DISCRETION ADVISED) Why the no indictment decision in the Eric Garner chokehold killing by the NYPD was total hogwash

AUTHOR’S NOTE: This article includes a YouTube video that depicts the death of Eric Gardner at the hands of NYPD police officer Daniel Pantaleo. Reader discretion is advised.

A Staten Island grand jury decided not to file any charges against New York City Police Department (NYPD) officer Daniel Pantaleo, despite the fact that Pantaleo killed Eric Garner, a 43-year-old black man who sold untaxed cigarettes, by chokehold, a maneuver that is banned by the NYPD, and that Garner’s death had been ruled a homicide by a medical examiner.

Here’s the video of Pantaleo killing Garner:

Having watched the video once (I can’t stand to watch it multiple times), here’s my take on the no indictment decision (please note that I am not an attorney, and I don’t claim to be one): While Garner was resisting arrest, Pantaleo used excessive force to bring down Pantaleo. While I’m guessing that Pantaleo and the other officers on the scene were not aware that Garner had asthma, putting a chokehold on Gardner was not necessary for police officers to bring Garner to the ground and arrest him. In short, the no indictment decision was, in my opinion, total hogwash.

Officer Daniel Pantaleo used excessive force that led to the death of Eric Garner, and he should have been, at the very least, charged with manslaughter, if not murder. Sadly, a Staten Island grand jury let Pantaleo get away with killing Garner. Those who are protesting the decision in the New York City area and other parts of the country have every right to do so, as long as protesters don’t injure or kill people and don’t vandalize or damage property.

It’s 100% clear to me that there is a War on Blacks in this country.