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Black Man Killed By Police in Minnesota

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“I can’t breathe.”

The words of 46-year-old George Floyd as he lay on the street in Minneapolis after he was arrested on suspicion of passing a counterfeit bill are eerily reminiscent of the police killing of Eric Garner in New York.

Monday, just as it happened on Staten Island in 2014, cellphone cameras by witnesses recorded the event where a policeman knelt on Floyd’s neck for nine minutes as Floyd pleaded for his life.

Onlookers urged the police to stop, including one nurse who warned that Floyd was close to dying. Floyd was later pronounced dead at a hospital.

Unlike the Garner case that took five years before the policeman who killed him in a chokehold was removed from the New York Police Dept., Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo immediately fired Derek Chauvin, Thomas Lane, Tou Thao and  Alexander Kueng and Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey made the announcement Tuesday.

The grief-stricken family believes the firing of the police is a good start. What they really want is for them to be charged with murder and Frey agrees that Chauvin should face charges.

“They could have tased him, maced him,” said Floyd’s brother, Philonise Floyd. “Instead, they put their knee in his neck and just sat on him and didn’t care at all.”

Floyd’s cousin, Tera Brown, also weighed in on the arresting officers’ actions, saying, “We want to see them charged with murder and we want them to be convicted. They need to pay for what they did.”

While Floyd’s family has retained lawyer Ben Crump, a prominent civil rights lawyer who has represented the families of Trayvon Martin, Eric Garner, and Ahmaud Arbery, the people of Minneapolis took to the streets to protest, marching to the police station.

Hundreds were out Tuesday carrying signs and protesting peacefully in the area where Floyd, who had worked as a security guard, was arrested.

But riot police tear-gassed and shot protesters with rubber bullets after the rally shifted to surround a nearby police station. Windows were broken and some police cars were vandalized.

On Wednesday, protesters returned to the area to continue showing their outrage.

State and federal agencies are investigating Floyd’s death and Frey has asked the County attorney to consider filing charges against Chauvin.

“We are not talking about a split-second decision that was made incorrectly,” Frey said. “There’s somewhere around 300 seconds in those five minutes, every one of which the officer could have turned back … and removed his knee from George Floyd’s neck.”

Yahoo News, USA Today, CNN and NewsOne contributed to this report. (Previously published May 28, 2020)

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Ex-Minneapolis Officer Derek Chauvin, 45, Found Guilty on All 3 Counts of Murder in George Floyd’s Death

Post News Group Publisher Paul Cobb said of the verdict: “Darnella Frazier’s video action should be imitated and celebrated by all youth and adults nationwide.  We should defend (Oakland Police Chief) LeRonne Armstrong’s new policies to stop minor traffic stops around licenses, lights and so-called suspicious appearances. (I) hope this justice action causes a national voting movement of every Black, Brown and Asian citizen.  Demand our (future) Attorney General Bonta to take the same action that Minnesota Attorney General Ellison did. 

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George Floyd

Former policeman Derek Chauvin was found guilty Tuesday of all three counts of murder brought against him in the death of George Floyd, whose cruel death was caught on video in Minneapolis, Minn., on Memorial Day weekend last year.

Floyd, 46, was killed May 25, 2020, in front of Cup Foods, a neighborhood grocery store where the police had been called because Floyd had allegedly used a counterfeit bill to make a purchase.

After deliberating for about 10 hours over two days, the jury returned a verdict of guilty for second-degree involuntary murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. Chauvin faces a maximum of 40 years in prison.

Floyd’s 41-year-old brother Philonise was in the Minneapolis courthouse at the time of the verdict, brought by six white, four Black and two multiracial jurors.

Post News Group Publisher Paul Cobb said of the verdict: “Darnella Frazier’s video action should be imitated and celebrated by all youth and adults nationwide.  We should defend (Oakland Police Chief) LeRonne Armstrong’s new policies to stop minor traffic stops around licenses, lights and so-called suspicious appearances. (I) hope this justice action causes a national voting movement of every Black, Brown and Asian citizen.  Demand our (future) Attorney General Bonta to take the same action that Minnesota Attorney General Ellison did.

It is time for President Biden and Vice-President Harris to push through the George Floyd Justice bill.  We, as bystanders, should also bear witness.”

Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf told the Post: “today’s verdict is a just one, and it’s also an indictment.  The deep structural racism that pervades our country—and leads to the state-sponsored murder of Black men like George Floyd and too many others—must end.  Juries shouldn’t have to tell us this.”

Oakland Vice Mayor Rebecca Kaplan quoted Martin Luther King, Jr., when she talked to the Post about the verdict.  “’Let justice roll on like a river, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream,” she said.

“Though we understand that this is a victory for the people, we also understand that this system of policing will continue to cause violence and death until it is dismantled” said James Burch, policy director for the Anti-Police Terror Project.

The Oakland Police Department issued this statement:

We all must recognize that this moment is about accountability, justice, and reform. We must be compassionate, empathic, and forgiving.

All sides must unite as one community to effectively communicate. Together we will work towards rethinking policing in America.

In unity, we will move towards finding solutions for the safety of all people, notwithstanding your age, race, religion, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or disability.

We stand as one community grieving and healing as we move towards finding real solutions to effect change as we seek to strengthen police and community relations.

We extend our deepest condolences to George Floyd’s family and all communities.

Sentencing is scheduled in eight weeks.  His bail revoked, Chauvin was handcuffed and remanded into custody immediately.

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Is America Failing Millennials and Generation Z’s?

Out of the 20 mass shootings and violent attacks since March 1st, one very distressing element stands out—a number of the attacks were carried out by GenZ’s (14-24 years) and Millennials (25-38 years), from diverse racial groups, and regions of the United States.

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During the last two weeks of March and first week of April 2021, Americans were shocked with alarming news of mass shootings and violent attacks in Atlanta, Georgia, Boulder Colorado, Washington, D.C. and York County, South Carolina. Out of the 20 mass shootings and violent attacks since March 1st, one very distressing element stands out—a number of the attacks were carried out by GenZ’s (14-24 years) and Millennials (25-38 years), from diverse racial groups, and regions of the United States.
For example, on April 7, 2021 in York County, South Carolina, 32 year old Millennial and former NFL Player Philip Adams committed a mass shooting of a renowned local Doctor, his wife, grandchildren and two workers. Early reports say Adams, who later committed suicide, suffered from football related brain concussions. On April 2nd in Washington, D.C. 25 year old Millennial Noah Green rammed his car into two Capitol Hill Officers and killed one of the Officers, and injured the other.
Reports from his family indicate Noah was suffering from prescription drug use, paranoia and depression. He was killed at the scene of the violence. On March 18th, 21 year old GenZ Robert Aaron Long, killed eight (8) Asian spa workers and their customers, at massage parlors in Georgia. He claimed sex addiction as a reason for his behavior. And on March 22nd in Boulder, Colorado, 21 year old Ahmad Al Aliwi Alissa, and killed ten people at a grocery store. His relatives and schoolmates say Aliwi was bullied in school for being Muslim and retaliated with anger.
These four young men who perpetrated violence were from diverse racial groups, and in different regions of the country. But, what they had in common was they were either Millennials or GenZ’s who were obviously suffering from serious mental health issues. What was being done to help them? Where were their parents, mentors, faith leaders, aunts, uncles, social workers, colleagues, etc.? Did they have trained support or, were they dealing with their crisis mostly alone?
Generation X and Baby Boomers in America have to stop being self-absorbed and start paying attention to depressed GenZ and Millennial individuals. According to the 2019 US Census reports, these groups now make up the largest age-based demographic groups in the United States. These young people know how and where to purchase guns, how to make guns using 3D technology—known as Ghost Guns and they are strongly influenced by video games, violent movies, aggressive sports and even aggressive relatives who commit domestic violence.
Research by the Anne Casey Foundation finds that GenZ’s are suffering from high levels of depression, and this must be taken seriously. Plus, they are impacted by the killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Armaud Arbery, many more Black men and women…
But, how can Generation X and Baby Boomers help Millennials and GenZ’s who are suffering from anxiety, Covid-Lockdowns, student debt, job loss and other societal factors? Since taking office, President Joe Biden is starting to focus on these issues. On April 8, 2021, the President and Attorney General Merrick Garland, announced a series of Executive Orders designed to stop violence and promote violence prevention. Their plan will target grants for communities, to mobilize violence prevention programs. These actions are to be applauded but, it is important that the programs be implemented effectively, with feedback from affected communities of color.
Black Women for Positive Change, a national multi-cultural, intergenerational network of women and Good Brothers, has sponsored ten (10) years of Annual Weeks of Non-Violence. During those years, we have heard a multitude of stories from participants about causes of violence, depression and anxiety. We have found that many GenZ’s and Millennials suffer from lack of parenting, mentorship and productive, engaging activities. We have also found stigmatization of mental health and fear of families of color to seek help for disturbed youth. In addition, our outreach informs us that Millennials and GenZ’s complain about lack of opportunities and dreams for their futures.
Therefore, it is important for the Biden Administration to factor in the need for “Opportunities” in violence prevention programs to assist youth with overcoming the obstacles of the Covid-19 pandemic, job loss, single headed households under pressures, and other issues. New approaches are needed to provide GenZ’s and Millennials with opportunities to move forward, overcome obstacles and have productive, positive lives.
Dr. Stephanie Myers/Washington, DC, is National Co-Chair, Black Women for Positive Change, and Jan Perry/Los Angeles, CA., is Chair, Social Action Committee, Black Women for Positive Change. www.blackwomenforpositivechange.org

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Barbara Lee

Why Barbara Lee Wore Tennis Shoes on January 6

Lee said she was thankful for the NAACP and the civil rights lawyers for bringing the lawsuit forward with members of Congress as plaintiffs.

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Congresswoman Barbara Lee

Congresswoman Barbara Lee joined a federal lawsuit on April 7 filed by the NAACP and Mississippi Congressman Bennie Thompson accusing Donald J. Trump, Rudy Giuliani, the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers of conspiring to incite a violent riot at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, with the goal of preventing Congress from certifying the 2020 presidential election.

The lawsuit, initially filed in February, alleges that by preventing Congress from carrying out its official duties, Trump, Giuliani and the hate groups directly violated the 1871 Ku Klux Klan Act.

NAACP president, Derrick Johnson says of Trump that he “ . . . meticulously organized [a] coup . . . that place[d] members of Congress and the integrity of our democracy in peril.”

A federal statute was passed after the Civil war to  “combat violence from the Ku Klux Klan.”  The law allows civil actions to be brought against people who use “force, intimidation, or threat” to prevent anyone from upholding the duties of their office” according to a CNN report,

Nine other members of Congress joined the suit: Karen Bass (D-CA); Steve Cohen (D-TN); Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ); Veronica Escobar (D-TX); Hank Johnson, Jr. (D-GA); Marcy Kaptur (D-OH);  Jerrold Nadler (D-NY); Pramila Jayapal (D-WA); and Maxine Waters (D-CA).

Lee spoke to the Post on April 14 via phone from D.C., as she was headed to see HR 40, the Reparations bill, pass committee.

Lee said she was thankful for the NAACP and the civil rights lawyers for bringing the lawsuit forward with members of Congress as plaintiffs.

She spoke of the 401-year history of violence against Blacks in this country and the importance of the lawsuit to hold people accountable for the coup d’état.

Lee was on the floor of Congress when the riots took place.  “We have to ensure that this never happens again, to protect our democracy, to protect people from dealing with violence, it’s something we are moving forward through the judiciary.”

Lee said that there were four parts of the relief sought in the civil lawsuit:  “accountability, punitive damages, redress, and injunctive relief to prevent from happening in the future.”

The lawsuit is not about Lee and others personally, it is about the attack on the democratic process, she said.

Lee has been through many near misses and close calls (she was evacuated from the House on 9/11, barely missed being blown up by a cluster bomb in the Middle East, to name just a couple) so she knew intuitively something was going to happen on January 6.  So, she wore tennis shoes to work.  “You just put two and two together, you connect the dots and you know something is going to hit the fan.  So be prepared, right?”

She applauds the Capitol police for protecting her, other members of Congress and the  country’ democracy.  “These people came in not only to stop us from doing our jobs, but they were calling the Capitol police the N word, they were fighting with them, they were trying to kill them.  It was like a war; it went on for hours.  Domestic terrorism is the highest National threat, we need to sound the alarm.  We have to fight to end the country of these insurrectionist, these traitors.”

“On Jan. 6, Donald Trump and Rudy Giuliani trampled our democracy, inciting a violent mob of white supremacists to overturn a free and fair election. Though he failed in his ultimate goal, the very foundation of our democracy was shaken. We cannot just let this shameful moment in our history pass because next time, the consequences will be even graver. I am proud to stand with my colleagues and hold Donald Trump accountable for his attempt to destroy the fabric of this nation,” said Congresswoman Lee.

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