whentheycamedown is a project documenting the removal of statues representing white supremacy, oppression, genocide, colonialism, and racism throughout the world. This is a collaborative effort started by Emily Gorcenski, although the intention of the project is to open source contribution in the style of open knowledge.
This project takes the stance that the removal of statues represents an important and inextricable part of the history of the people, groups, and moments that those statues represent. Removing of statues, renaming of parks, and similar actions is not an act of erasing history, but an act of adding to history by capturing the spirit, beliefs, motivations, and actions of the people who lived during the times those statues stood. It is the goal of this project to document the people who aimed to remove the monuments more than the people represented by the monuments. The project seeks to document the history of the activists, their efforts to remove statues through proper and improper channels, and the history of the people oppressed by those who the statues represent.
Blair Stenvick: Portland Police Say They're Needed to Prevent Gun Violence. Experts Disagree. (Portland Mercury)
Portland met a dire record last month: With 15 homicides over a 31-day period, July contained the highest number of homicides the city had recorded in a single month for over 30 years. The Portland Police Bureau (PPB) also reported 99 shootings in July—about three times the number of shootings recorded in July 2019.
The jump in shootings and homicides came shortly after Mayor Ted Wheeler disbanded PPB’s Gun Violence Reduction Team (GVRT), a group of officers focused on investigating all instances of gun violence in Portland. The unit had faced scrutiny from Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty and other police reform advocates for years for disproportionately pulling over Black drivers and keeping a list of suspected “criminal gang affiliates” that allowed police to surveil young men of color. Wheeler, who also serves as Portland’s police commissioner, decided to disband the unit in June, amid ongoing mass protests against police brutality and racial injustice in Portland.
Mark Leymon, an associate professor of criminology and criminal justice at Portland State University (PSU), told the Mercury that there’s “absolutely no evidence” that the recent disbanding of GVRT contributed to July’s numbers. When asked what the likely cause was, Leymon cautioned it’s “too early to tell” whether July’s numbers qualify as a sustained spike in violent crime.But, he said, “The single most predictive measure of criminal activity is the economy.”
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused record unemployment numbers in Oregon—and as Brian Renauer, the director of PSU’s Criminal Justice Policy Research Institute, pointed out, economic anxiety was “already there” for Portlanders who never recovered from the 2008 Great Recession.
“It was already impacting certain areas and geographies of the city for a number of years,” Renauer said. “There are places and families that have never recovered from a prior economic crisis.”
Heaped on top of economic anxiety is the stress and trauma caused by simply living through an unprecedented pandemic, Leymon said. Leymon used an analogy of a glass of water, explaining that each person has “an emotional glass that can handle a certain amount of emotion.” Many people’s glass is already nearly full because of the pandemic, meaning it doesn’t take much for them to tip over and resort to violence.
“Our emotional stress glass has water in it up to a certain base, so it’s very easy to spill over,” he said. “The spillover is when criminal activity happens… People are more likely to snap or make poor decisions when they’re stressed.”
In addition to citing the dissolution of the GVRT, PPB officials have blamed the protests against police brutality as contributing to the spike in shootings. At a recent press conference, Lovell called the protests a “drain on resources” that kept police from focusing on crime prevention and response.
Leymon calls that reasoning “disingenuous.”
“They like to say that every day—that police are out there preventing crime,” he said. “But police don’t prevent crime, especially in Portland. Portland’s policing system is a responsive system…They’re not really doing any proactive work, they’re just there in the neighborhood. The most they can do is be a deterrent, and deterrents just aren’t very effective.”
However, Leymon said there may be an indirect link between protests and an increase in violent crime.
“You could argue that the current protests are societal stress, so that increases criminal activity,” he said. “There’s probably some truth to that. But... people of color and other marginalized communities have been feeling that stress for [hundreds of years]. It isn’t like the stress those people feel hasn’t been existing prior to the protests. It’s just, suddenly, a bunch of white people have noticed.”
Jeremy Stahl: Kenosha Police Chief Blames Protesters for Their Own Deaths, Defends Vigilante Groups (Slate)
In describing the shooting of two protesters, Miskinis also declined to call it a homicide and instead referred to it by various euphemisms often used to describe killings by a police officer, which Rittenhouse is not. He said that the shooter “was involved in the use of firearms to resolve whatever conflict was in place” and that there was a “disturbance that led to the use of deadly force.”
Additionally, Miskinis refused to comment on the video of Blake’s shooting, but offered that there may have been a reasonable explanation for the man being shot seven times in the back, which has reportedly left him paralyzed and in critical condition. (The officer has been put on administrative leave and has not been fired or arrested.)
Miskinis’ views of the gathering of vigilante groups that reportedly led to the killing of two local men appears to be very much in line with those of his department. Before the shooting, officers in armored vehicles could be seen giving water to armed men gathered with the alleged shooter and telling them, “We appreciate you guys, we really do.” After the killings, the alleged shooter walked slowly past a series of police vehicles with his arms raised and was allowed to simply walk away. (It’s not yet clear what the officers knew about the shooting at the time, but the shots were audible in nearby footage.)
Sam Levin: White supremacists and militias have infiltrated police across US, report says (The Guardian)
A former FBI agent has documented links between serving officers and racist militant activities in more than a dozen states
Michael German, a former FBI special agent who has written extensively on the ways that US law enforcement have failed to respond to far-right domestic terror threats, concludes that US law enforcement officials have been tied to racist militant activities in more than a dozen states since 2000, and hundreds of police officers have been caught posting racist and bigoted social media content.
Activists in Kenosha say police there have responded aggressively and violently to Black Lives Matter demonstrators, while doing little to stop armed white vigilantes. Supporting their claims is at least one video taken before the shooting that showed police tossing bottled water to what appeared to be armed civilians, including one who appeared to be the shooter, the AP noted: “We appreciate you being here,” an officer said on loudspeaker.
The FBI and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) have directly identified white supremacists as the most lethal domestic terrorist threat in the country. According to German’s report, the FBI’s own internal documents have directly warned that the militia groups the agency is investigating often have “active links” to law enforcement.
And yet US agencies lack a national strategy to identify white supremacist police and root out this problem, German warned. Meanwhile, popular police reform efforts to address “implicit bias” have done nothing to confront explicit racism.
Alex Zielinski: Wheeler Responds to Police Inaction During Saturday Brawl (Portland Mercury)
On Saturday night, a member of the public (who asked the Mercury to remain anonymous) sent an email to Wheeler, sharing their concerns about PPB's response to the daytime protest. The person wrote that officers' inaction was particularly upsetting to see when contrasted with PPB's routinely aggressive response to nightly demonstrations against police brutality.
An hour later, Wheeler responded.
"For days you’ve been telling me that PPB's response has been overbearing. So last night and tonight they tried something different, and you’re demanding more of a police presence? Do you see how there is a no-win situation here? What, specifically, would you expect them to do? Have 30 officers charge into a crowd of 300 people, many of them armed? Would you do that? Would you ask other people to do that? I’m not shading you, these are serious questions. What specifically would you do? I am honestly interested."
Staff have confirmed this email was sent by Wheeler. While the message was not meant to be a formal public statement, Wheeler's quick reaction offers a different story—one of frustration and genuine exhaustion surrounding the public's demands.
Rebecca Ellis: Portland’s protests: 3 months in, no end in sight (OPB)
Mayor Ted Wheeler says the city is "considering all options” to end nightly clashes between police, protesters, but he lacks a clear plan.
The worst nights follow the same script: A large group takes to the streets calling for an end to police violence and systemic racism. A small fraction commits low-level crimes — often lighting small fires, graffiti-ing buildings and throwing fireworks or water bottles at officers. The police respond with force against the entire crowd.
Over the last month, demonstrators have been battered with batons as they left protests. Police have charged at crowds until they’re pushed deep into residential neighborhoods. Journalists have been shoved and arrested. Tear gas, while used more sparingly than in the early days of the protests, is threatened near nightly. And police regularly shut down protests by declaring them riots. That happened twice over the weekend, though police declined to intervene as far-right activists, some brandishing firearms, brawled with counter-protesters for hours on Saturday afternoon.
“They’ve tried everything from not showing up to preemptively dispersing crowds, and some of those strategies, in my opinion, have worked well. Others have not worked well,” he said. “My expectation is the police bureau will evolve, and as they see a need for change, they’ll change.”
There are serious questions, however, over whether the city’s police oversight agency, which many including the mayor have called toothless, will be able to sort through the mounting reports of police violence. The office has been flooded by complaints since protests began. The director says they’ve received more than a year’s worth of new work.
Meanwhile, Hardesty has proposed an entirely new accountability system, which voters will weigh in on in November. If passed, the ballot measure would scrap the review agency completely and create a system with more independence and new powers.
Zipporah Osei, Mollie Simon, Moiz Syed, Lucas Waldron: We Are Tracking What Happens to Police After They Use Force on Protestors (ProPublica)
These 68 videos show clear apparent instances of police officers escalating violence during protests. Most departments refused to share details about investigations and discipline or even officers’ names. Here’s what we learned about each case.
On May 25th 2020, Derek Chauvin held his knee on the neck of George Floyd for 8 minutes and 46 seconds, resulting in Mr. Floyd's death. I invite visitors to sit quietly and reflect for this same length of time. It feels like an eternity. A partial transcript of the incident is provided throughout.
Rebecca Solnit: As the George Floyd protests continue, let's be clear where the violence is coming from (Guardian)
Using damage to property as cover, US police have meted out shocking, indiscriminate brutality in the wake of the uprising.
The distinction between damaging or destroying human beings and inanimate objects matters. But it’s not simple. People trapped inside a burning building break down the doors to escape; an estranged husband with a restraining order breaks down a door to further terrorise his ex-wife. The same actions mean different things in different situations. Martin Luther King famously called riots “the voice of the unheard” – and as the outcry of people who have tried absolutely everything else for centuries, property damage means something very different from merely malicious or recreational destruction. When they riot, the black people most impacted by police brutality and by four centuries of poverty, dehumanisation and deprivation of basic rights and equality, are more like people trapped inside that burning house trying to break out.
There is no easy way to distinguish between ardent white supporters of a black uprising and black bloc-style white people who revel in property destruction, taunting the police and escalating situations (before often slipping away before the police crack down). They are anti-authoritarians opposed to police brutality and the overreach of the state, and should not be confused with the rightwing authoritarians who many fear will use the pandemonium as cover for their own agenda, which could include creating more chaos.
The story of activist violence is often used to justify police violence, but damage to property is not a justification for wholesale violence against children, passersby, journalists, protesters, or anyone at all. It is the police who should have lost their legitimacy, over and over, after the many individual killings from Eric Garner to Walter Scott to Breonna Taylor to George Floyd. And after reckless, entitled, out-of-control violence in police riots like that on Saturday night. Perhaps the point of their action this week is that they don’t need legitimacy, just power.
There’s one more kind of violence to talk about, and that’s structural violence. That’s the way that institutions and societies are organised to oppress a group of people, and for black Americans, that’s included slavery, the long terrorism of Jim Crow and lynching, voter suppression from the 19th century to the present, redlining (denying or charging more for necessary services) and subprime mortgages, discrimination in housing, education, and employment and far more.
Right now, several forms of structural violence that particularly matter are the chronic stress and lack of access to healthcare, housing issues, and work situations that have made black Americans die of Covid-19 at far higher rates than other races.
Ryan Haas, Sergio Olmos, Bradley W. Parks: Protesters fight using pepper spray, baseball bats in Portland on Saturday (OPB)
Protesters at Portland rallies to support police and show support for President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign engaged in physical combat repeatedly with counterprotesters Saturday without police intervention. Members of the chaotic crowd used an array of weapons, including baseball bats and firearms to beat and threaten those they opposed.
Police said they did not declare a riot because they didn’t have the resources to handle one. After pro-Trump demonstrators left and counterprotesters returned to Terry Schrunk Plaza, federal officials declared an unlawful assembly.
Suzette Smith: Portland Police Stand By As Armed Alt-Right Protesters and Antifascists Brawl (Portland Mercury)
In years past, alt-right protest events involving out-of-towners generally saw a line of Portland Police Bureau (PPB) officers standing between alt-right protesters and counter-protesters. But although the PPB used their LRAD loudspeaker system to make a handful of announcements to the groups—advising them that "everyone has the right to engage in the expression of first amendment rights" and that "officers [had] observed projectiles being thrown and people in possession of firearms"—they never intervened. In fact, there was no noticeable, physical police presence until around 2:15 pm when (as the groups pushed south on SW 3rd) federal officers filled the entryway of the Edith Green-Wendell Wyatt Federal Building. Those officers did not engage until the counter-protesters returned.
For most of the two and a half hour Hate, the No Marxism protesters chanted "U-S-A!," and the counter-protesters chanted "Stolen Land!" Participants on either side lobbed open juice containers, fireworks, rocks, and smoke bombs.
Both groups employed paint guns, and there were pellets whizzing past my ears from either side. Proud Boys member Alan Swinney stood behind a wall of alt-right protesters holding homemade shields and popped off paint rounds at the counter-protest crowd. A counter-protester grabbed my arm and tried to haul me from the area unsuccessfully. When I turned back to the alt-right line, I was about ten feet from Swinney casually pointing a handgun at me and the crowd around me.
As the counter-protesters returned to Terry Shrunk Plaza, the PPB broadcast from a patrol car that the gathering had been declared an unlawful assembly. This was the first announcement from PPB to actually declare an unlawful assembly, which seemed hypocritical—if not surprising—given the level of violence seen that afternoon, in comparison with protests where officers declared riots over thrown water bottles.
Department of Homeland Security (DHS) federal police escorted some remaining right-wing attendees out of the crowd before they formed a line and pushed the counter-protesters onto SW Madison and into Chapman Square. They then fired pepper bullets into the crowd to cover their retreat into the Wyatt Building.
In a press release about the demonstrations, PPB explained their lack of engagement in the violent brawls this way:
"Incident commanders have to weigh out the entire situation to determine if police action is likely to make things safer or notIn this case there were hundreds of individuals and many weapons within the groups and an extremely limited amount of police resources actually available to address such a crowd. Additionally, PPB members have been the focus of over 80 days of violent actions directed at the police, which is a major consideration for determining if police resources are necessary to interject between two groups with individuals who appear to be willingly engaging in physical confrontations for short durations."
Yet, these restrictions didn't seem to limit PPB's ability to aggressively engage in anti-racist protests later Saturday night, using physical force to arrest and beat marching demonstrators. The only difference: There were no far-right protesters in attendance.
The Mercury reached out to Mayor Ted Wheeler's office for comment on PPB's relative inaction Saturday, but Wheeler—who also serves as the city police commissioner has yet to respond. The Mercury has also not received answers to questions posed to Portland's three sitting city commissioners about Saturday's police tactics.
Karina Brown: Black People Nearly Twice as Likely as Whites to Be Arrested at Portland Protests (Courthouse News)
State and local police in Portland have arrested over 550 protesters since mass protests began in Portland on May 29, sparked by outrage over the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Black people make up 11% of those arrested — almost double the rate of Portland’s Black population.
“It is highly unlikely that a disparity this high is a result of composition of the protestors or criminal activity,” Dr. Mark Leymon, professor of criminology at Portland State University, said in an interview. “Research shows that people of color are not more likely to commit crime, especially in this context.”
Black people are 4.4 times more likely to be arrested in Multnomah County than white people, according to a 2014 study, and 4.1 times more likely to have their charges prosecuted by the district attorney.
The Oregon Criminal Justice Commission found in January that Portland police are twice as likely to search Black pedestrians and Black drivers during traffic stops than their white counterparts.
And arrest numbers are just the first step in a series of racially biased procedures that end up with Black people being six times more likely than white people to go to prison in Multnomah County.
“Everyone in the criminal justice system likes to point the finger at someone else for racial disparities,” Leymon said. “Cops say ‘We’re just arresting people who break the law.’ District attorneys say ‘We’re just prosecuting the cases you bring us.’ And judges say ‘We’re just sentencing the people you prosecute. But if you’re Black, every step through the criminal justice system increases your likelihood of going to prison.”
Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler, who is also the city’s police commissioner, refused multiple requests to comment on the racial disparity in arrests at protests calling for an end to that very problem.
Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler and Portland Police Chief Chuck Lovell have increasingly joined Trump in claiming the nightly protests are the work of a small group of white people bent on violence and destruction — and that they are no longer part of a movement against systemic racism.
“Enough is enough,” Lovell told reporters Aug. 5. “This is not forwarding the goals” of a movement against racism.
“If this isn’t about racial injustice issues, why are so many people being arrested who are Black?” Leymon asked.
Zeynep Tufekci: Do Protests Even Work? (The Atlantic)
It sometimes takes decades to find out.
In the short term, protests can work to the degree that they can scare authorities into changing their behavior. Protests are signals: “We are unhappy, and we won’t put up with things the way they are.” But for that to work, the “We won’t put up with it” part has to be credible. Nowadays, large protests sometimes lack such credibility, especially because digital technologies have made them so much easier to organize.
Indeed, the past few decades in the United States have featured many large and widespread protests without corresponding immediate change. Large numbers of people marched around the country in early 2003 to oppose the impending invasion of Iraq, but the war and the occupation proceeded anyway in March of that year. The Occupy movement in the United States saw marches in 600 communities and 70 major cities quickly, and then went global, but inequality has gotten worse since then. Neither numbers nor streets are by themselves magic wands for change.
The current Black Lives Matter protest wave is definitely high risk through the double whammy of the pandemic and the police response. The police, the entity being protested, have unleashed so much brutality that in just three weeks, at least eight people have already lost eyesight to rubber bullets. One Twitter thread dedicated to documenting violent police misconduct is at 600 entries and counting.
In the long term, protests work because they can undermine the most important pillar of power: legitimacy. Commentators often note that a state can be defined by its monopoly on violence, a concept going back to the philosopher Thomas Hobbes and codified by the sociologist Max Weber. But the full Weber quote is less well known. Weber defined the state by its “monopoly of the legitimate use of physical force.” The word legitimate is as important as the words physical force, if not more. Especially in the modern world, that monopoly on violence isn’t something that self-perpetuates. Violence doesn’t just happen; it has to be enacted and enabled by people. The Soviet Union did not fall because it ran out of tanks to send to Eastern Europe when the people there rebelled in the late 1980s. It fell, in large part, because it ran out of legitimacy, and because Soviet rulers had lost the will and the desire to live in their own system. Compared with Western democracies, their system wasn’t delivering freedom or wealth, even to the winners. If the loss of legitimacy is widespread and deep enough, the generals and police who are supposed to be enacting the violence can and do turn against the rulers (or, at least, they stop defending the unpopular ruler). Force and repression can keep things under control for a while, but it also makes such rule more brittle.
Legitimacy, not repression, is the bedrock of resilient power. A society without legitimate governance will not function well; people can be coerced to comply, but it’s harder to coerce enthusiasm, competence, and creativity out of a discouraged, beaten-down people. Losing legitimacy is the most important threat to authorities, especially in democracies, because authorities can do only so much for so long to hold on to power under such conditions. Maybe they can stay in power longer in part through obstacles such as voter repression, gerrymandering, and increasing the power of unelected institutions, but the society they oversee will inevitably decline, and so will their grasp on power.
In that light, focusing on legitimacy as the most robust source of power, it becomes clear that the Black Lives Matter movement has been quite successful in its short life. It should first be noted: This is a young movement, but it did not start this year. The current wave of high-risk protests is a crest in a movement that goes back to the 2012 killing of Trayvon Martin in Florida, and that spread nationwide after the protests in Ferguson, Missouri, over the 2014 killing of Michael Brown. Understood in their proper historical context, Black Lives Matter protests are the second civil-rights movement in postwar America, and measured in that light, they are more and more successful in the most important metric: They are convincing people of the righteousness of their cause. In the long run, that’s of profound importance.
Protests also work because they change the protesters themselves, turning some from casual participants into lifelong activists, which in turn changes society. This is especially salient when a movement opposing police brutality and misconduct is met with more police brutality and misconduct. Peaceful protesters across the country have endured tear gas, rubber bullets, and batons, and this is no doubt part of the reason people are changing their minds. If the police will do this to protesters in broad daylight with cameras in so many hands, what else is happening to black or other vulnerable communities when nobody is around to film the interaction?
This gets to the final reason that protests work: Collective action is a life-changing experience. To be in a sea of people demanding positive social change is empowering and exhilarating. Protests work because they sustain movements over the long term as participants bond during collective action.
Do protests work? Yes, but not simply because some people march in the streets. Protests work because they direct attention toward an injustice and can change people’s minds, a slow but profoundly powerful process. Protests work because protesters can demonstrate the importance of a belief to society at large and let authorities understand that their actions will be opposed, especially if those protesters are willing to take serious risks for their cause. Protests work because they are often the gateway drug between casual participation and lifelong activism. And, sometimes, protests work because, for that moment, the question in the minds of the protesters is not whether they work short term or long term, but whether one can sit by idly for one more day while a grave injustice unfolds. And perhaps that’s the most powerful means by which protest works: when the cause is so powerful that the protesters don’t calculate whether it works or not, but feel morally compelled to show up and be counted.
Free PDFs of anti-racist posters, pamphlets, flyers, organizing material, and zines that provide information about the fight for racial equality and the movement to protect Black lives.
See the downloadable ones here: https://www.printedmatter.org/catalog/digital-downloads/free
This series is dedicated to the many black people that were robbed of their lives at the hands of the police. In addition to using markers and pencil, I use time as a medium to define how long each portrait is colored in. 1 year of life = 1 minute of color. Tamir Rice was 12 when he was murdered, so I colored his portrait for 12 minutes. As a person of color, I know that my future can be stolen from me if I’m driving with a broken taillight, or playing my music too loud, or reaching for my phone at the wrong time. So for each of these portraits I played with the harsh relationship between time and death. I want the viewer to see how much empty space is left in these lives, stories that will never be told, space that can never be filled. This emptiness represents holes in their families and our community, who will be forever stuck with the question, “who were they becoming?” This series touches on grief and the unknown.
Jonathan Church: Dear White People: Please Do Not Read Robin DiAngelo’s “White Fragility”
Robin DiAngelo's "White Fragility" is a destructive book full of bad reasoning and bad advice. Don't fall for it.
In other words, the theory is designed as a Kafka trap whereby any denial is interpreted as evidence of guilt. If you object to any insinuation that you are racist because you are white, or that what you have said has racist connotations, you are failing to come to terms with your racism and exhibiting white fragility.
One reason “social justice” activists like DiAngelo easily fall into this trap is that they see “Whiteness” everywhere, and when you see “Whiteness” everywhere, it loses its meaning. (Foucault would call this a “totalizing discourse.”) We are left with the fallacy of ambiguity, which happens “when an unclear phrase with multiple definitions is used within the argument.” In this case, Whiteness is the unclear phrase used in the premise of every argument that says racial disparity is the result of Whiteness.
Tiara Darnell: Can White Portland's Fragility Handle a Megaquake? (PDX Monthly)
Nope. But here we are anyway.
Collectively, your “allyship” of convenience hasn’t served Black America. Even if you see yourself apart from them, you are cut from the same cloth as Amy Cooper, Tom Cotton, and the folks who stand on the 1st amendment to provide platforms for their voices without thinking through the consequences of your actions. Your silence because you’re afraid of what your family, colleagues, or regular group of brunch friends will say is your complicity. Your quiet, gullible optimism that if you work to “fix” racism then the discomfort you feel in being confronted about it will go away is your tacit consent to targets put on Black lives everywhere.
Acknowledge it away—your white privilege—but it will always be a tool you can employ at will as a weapon against Black people or a tool to shield your own transgressions. Defund the police? Yes and defund and disinvest in yourselves. Liberal, conservative—whatever. You are superspreaders of a sickening power none of us can wholly break free from.
Your greatest challenge as individuals is, and in perpetuity will be, to hold yourself accountable and to teach your children to do the same. Your everyday actions and inactions are threads in the larger narrative playing out right now in cities and towns here and around the world.
Whether you’re a white Portlander or a white person anywhere else (yes, even those of you with Black partners, children, or other family members), start on the most granular level. To borrow a term from the lexicon of pandemic, be your own contact tracer: investigate how your inner thoughts and your past and present interactions with the Black people you encounter in your everyday life upholds the values of white supremacy and the white dominant status quo.
Blair Stenvick: One Year After Titi Gulley’s Death, Her Family Is Left With the Same Questions (Portland Mercury)
The bodies of other Black people have been found hanging in trees in the last month in California, New York, and Texas. In those cases, police have also declared the cases to be suicides. But the deceased’s family members tend to disagree, noting that the image of a Black person hanging from a tree has a specific context rooted in the United State’s history of racist lynchings. Gulley’s story is often mentioned alongside the more recent incidents, prompting people to reach out to Robinson.
“Since George Floyd died, a lot of people have been hitting me up,” Robinson said. “Trying to ask questions and giving me information… It’s just been one person after another.
That renewed attention in Gulley’s case has also resulted in a new wave of donations to a GoFundMe Robinson initially set up to cover her child’s funeral costs last year. Robinson said she now plans to use those funds to establish a cash reward for relevant information about Gulley’s death, and to place a billboard on Southeast 82nd Ave—one of the last places Gulley was seen alive—asking for information.
“I think the best way to get help with what’s going on—because I can’t get help from the police department—is to just start raising money,” she said.
Alex Zielinski: Hall Monitor: Fair Weather Wheeler (Portland Mercury)
Now that the federal police have retreated from the front lines of Portland’s nightly demonstrations, Mayor Ted Wheeler has returned to demonizing those protesting police brutality.
"This is not advocacy to reform or transform any system," said Wheeler, speaking at a Thursday news conference, where he condemned the previous night’s protest outside the Portland Police Bureau's (PPB) East Precinct, claiming that the demonstrations are no longer about racial justice and police accountability.
“The conversation we are having right now is keeping us from the important work of racial justice, equity and comprehensive and thoughtful reform,” Wheeler said about the protests.
Yet it was just two weeks ago that Wheeler stood among the same group of protesters, inhaling plumes of tear gas and decrying the actions of federal police outside the city’s federal courthouse. It appears that defending his citizens from police brutality is only a priority when it’s not his own police force swinging batons at nonviolent protesters.
When camouflaged federal officers shot tear gas and impact munitions at Portlanders, Wheeler quickly severed PPB’s ties with federal law enforcement agencies and went on national TV shows to decry the feds’ “unconstitutional” tactics, and applaud his city’s uprising against police violence.
But now that the nation’s attention has shifted away from Portland, Wheeler’s back to trusting law enforcement’s incendiary narrative about these demonstrations without considering the experiences of protesters and observers on the ground.
Wheeler instead used his platform Thursday to elevate the voices of police officers, city staff who believe their exhaustion from working months of protests is a bigger concern than the public’s right to oppose their years of disproportionate abuse against people of color.
“We’re protesting to defund the police and invest in the community,” said Hester, whose voice is raspy from leading nightly protest chants. “And we haven’t seen that yet. It’s pretty simple, this isn’t over until we achieve that.”
Wheeler mentioned Trump’s campaign tactics Thursday, but he didn’t mention another re-election campaign headed to the November ballot: His own. Like Trump, Wheeler is using these protests as a way to gain political points, not an opportunity to question if the reforms he’s comfortable with are what
Portlanders are actually asking for.
Each morning, Wheeler receives a briefing from PPB leadership about the previous nights’ protests, which inform his understanding of a movement meant to dismantle the police force. He’d do well to start giving the same type of attention to the people calling for change.
Since 2015, The Post has created a database cataloging every fatal shooting nationwide by a police officer in the line of duty.
Although half of the people shot and killed by police are white, black Americans are shot at a disproportionate rate. They account for less than 13 percent of the U.S. population, but are killed by police at more than twice the rate of white Americans. Hispanic Americans are also killed by police at a disproportionate rate.
Elliott Young: Trump just adding fuel to fire set by Portland’s Democratic leaders (Houston Chronicle)
It’s not just protesters who are getting abused by the Portland police. The Department of Justice entered into a settlement agreement with the city in 2014 because of its unconstitutional policing of people with mental illness, including the beating to death in custody of James Chasse. Last year, 60 percent of the people killed by the Portland police were suffering a mental health crisis. Half of arrests and half of use-of-force incidents in the past few years are of homeless people. And Black Portlanders continue to be subject to traffic stops and searches at wildly disproportionate rates.
So, when the mayor of Portland poses as the leader of the Resistance, it causes us to pause. While we do oppose federal agents in our streets, the real danger we have been facing in Portland since long before Trump’s election has been the local police.
Mike Baker: Federal Officers Hit Portland Mayor With Tear Gas (NYT)
The mayor of Portland, Ted Wheeler, was left coughing and wincing in the middle of his own city Wednesday night after federal officers deployed tear gas into a crowd of protesters that Mr. Wheeler had joined outside the federal courthouse.
Mr. Wheeler, who scrambled to put on goggles while denouncing what he called the “urban warfare” tactic of the federal agents, said he was outraged by the use of tear gas and that it was only making protesters more angry.
“I’m not going to lie — it stings; it’s hard to breathe,” Mr. Wheeler said. “And I can tell you with 100 percent honesty, I saw nothing which provoked this response.”
He called it an “egregious overreaction” on the part of the federal officers, and not a de-escalation strategy.
“It’s got to stop now,” he declared.
But the Democratic mayor, 57, has also long been the target of Portland protesters infuriated by the city police’s own use of tear gas, which was persistent until a federal judge ordered the city to use it only when there was a safety issue. As Mr. Wheeler went through the crowds on Wednesday, some threw objects in his direction, and others called for his resignation, chanting, “Tear Gas Teddy.”
Kelsey Smoot: White people say they want to be an ally to Black people. But are they ready for sacrifice? (The Guardian)
If the White people in my life could hit a button and instantly remove the privileges afforded to them along racial lines, would they hit that button?
The truth is, genuine allyship is not kindness, it is not a charitable act, nor is it even a personal commitment to hold anti-racist ideals – it is a fall from grace. Real allyship enacted by White Americans, with a clear objective to make equitable the lived experiences of individuals across racial lines, means a willingness to lose things. Not just the extra $50 in one’s monthly budget by way of donating to an organization working towards racial justice. I mean palpable, incalculable loss. The loss of the charmed life associated with being a White person in America. Refusing a pay raise at one’s job and insisting that it be reallocated to co-workers of color who are undoubtedly being underpaid. The loss of potentially every close relationship with other White friends and family members who refuse to acknowledge or amend their behaviors that reinforce systemic oppression. The loss of bodily safety, by way of physically intervening when violence is being inflicted on to Black bodies.
This notion, one of true allyship, extends so far beyond the purview of contemporary White engagement with racial justice that it seems fanciful; almost laughable. I hardly ever allow myself the mental space to contemplate it. To wonder, if the White people in my life could hit a button and instantly remove the privileges afforded to them along racial lines, would they hit that button? Would they truly want to wake up tomorrow, in an America in which my life mattered just as much as theirs, if it came at the cost of all they have come to know and enjoy in the vein of White privilege? To expect true allyship from the White people in my life would be to ask them to be willing to sacrifice the thing that they covet most, though they may never be truly conscious of it: their Whiteness. So, I don’t. I respond to each message I receive with “thank you for thinking of me”, place my phone face downward on my desk, and prepare for another day of navigating White America.
Cat Zhang: How the Viral Protest Anthem “Lose Yo Job” Came to Be (Pitchfork)
If all I said was “suck my dick,” you can’t arrest me for that. Before the video even started, I asked him for like five minutes what the reason for handcuffing me was. So I was like: “You can’t hear me? Then I’m going to sing it to you.” The words just came. And I already know, if this went to your supervisor, [sings] you about to lose your job. I know my rights and I know the law.
Joe Pinsker: America Is Already Different Than It Was Two Weeks Ago (The Atlantic)
Though it remains to be seen whether these changes will be catalytic or merely cosmetic in fighting institutional racism and police violence, the swiftness of their accumulation has been remarkable—and demonstrates how quickly changes can be made when those in power have the will to make them.
Isolde Raftery: To understand white liberal racism, read these private emails (KUOW)
On a gray day last October, teachers across Seattle wore a shirt that read BLACK LIVES MATTER.
White parents from the city’s tonier neighborhoods wrote to their principals to say they were displeased. A Black Lives Matter day was too militant, too political and too confusing for their young kids, they said.
“They would prefer to be ‘all lives matter,’ because then their child is included in the conversation about mattering,” [Jill Geary, the school board director representing northeast Seattle] said. “What they don’t think is, would a black mother feel like her child matters, based upon the way that history, the nation, the city, the institutional structures, have treated her child? That’s not the process they’re using.”