PHOENIX, AZ – Remember in school when they taught us words and their meanings? Do schools still do that these days?
If they do, how is it that so many do not understand the meaning of the word “peaceful?”
Charging peaceful protesters under gang statutes is an outrageous abuse of power which is most likely also influenced by systemic racism in law enforcement and the office of the Maricopa County Attorney.
This won’t stop the protests and only reenforces the need for reforms! https://t.co/2KSzFSO60l
— Rep. Diego Rodriguez (@Diego4Justice) October 30, 2020
What Arizona State Rep Diego Rodriguez was alluding to in the tweet above was the arrest of 18 people after an Oct. 17 protest, in which 15 adults were charged with assisting a criminal street gang. They were also charged with numerous other crimes, including aggravate assault with a deadly weapon, rioting, unlawful assembly and obstructing a thoroughfare.
Destroying property is not peaceful.
The evening of the arrests, a video was shot showing the circumstances leading to the arrests.
That video, shot by members of AZ Patriots, shows a group of protesters dressed in black, wearing masks and helmets, and carrying umbrellas for protection. They were marching down the center of the street for more than 25 minutes.
They continued to ignore orders from Phoenix police to disperse and stop blocking the thoroughfares. As they walked, they overturned barricades and road signs.
Other activists were quick to call the charges an outrage.
Jacob Raiford with The W.E. Rising Project said:
“This is political imprisonment, and we demand that these charges be dropped. We understand that these are just trumped-up charges meant to suppress a movement.”
Heather Hamel, an attorney with The People’s Law Firm, told the New York Times:
“To label a bunch of protesters who are out exercising their First Amendment rights to protest police brutality as a criminal street gang is a stretch of the imagination. They’re not MS-13.”
Law Enforcement Today spoke to multiple police officers to find out what could lead to street gang charges.
A look at the growing crowd of hundreds of protesters and Trump supporters outside the Maricopa County Elections Center.
— Briana Whitney (@BrianaWhitney) November 5, 2020
What we were able to gather is that Phoenix police were likely following the Department of Justice in their recognition of Antifa as domestic terrorist. That definition in many states matches that of organized/criminal street gangs.
If the offenders in Phoenix were affiliated with Antifa, such charges would be justified.
Arizona statute 13-2321 details the charges:
“A. A person commits participating in a criminal street gang by any of the following:
“1. Intentionally organizing, managing, directing, supervising or financing a criminal street gang with the intent to promote or further the criminal objectives of the criminal street gang.
“2. Knowingly inciting or inducing others to engage in violence or intimidation to promote or further the criminal objectives of a criminal street gang.
“3. Furnishing advice or direction in the conduct, financing or management of a criminal street gang’s affairs with the intent to promote or further the criminal objectives of a criminal street gang.
“4. Intentionally promoting or furthering the criminal objectives of a criminal street gang by inducing or committing any act or omission by a public servant in violation of the public servant’s official duty.
“B. A person commits assisting a criminal street gang by committing any felony offense, whether completed or preparatory for the benefit of, at the direction of or in association with any criminal street gang.
“C. Participating in a criminal street gang is a class 2 felony.
“D. Assisting a criminal street gang is a class 3 felony.
“E. Use of a common name or common identifying sign or symbol shall be admissible and may be considered in proving the existence of a criminal street gang or membership in a criminal street gang.”
It may have been item E that allowed the Phoenix police to assign those charges. Everything about the appearance of those arrested indicated an affiliation with Antifa black bloc.
Antifa black bloc members admittedly wear the clothing they do to intimidate others. The masks are twofold: They assist in concealing their identity for avoidance of prosecution, as well as provide protection from tear gas and pepper spray deployed by police.
— Tristan Justice (@JusticeTristan) November 5, 2020
Yet, Rep. Rodriguez pointed to systemic racism as the catalyst for these charges.
Ironically, from what we could see in the videos, police had no way of identifying the ethnicity of those arrested prior to making the arrest.
Police say the following people were arrested:
Nathaniel Llanes, 29, Dominic Bonelli, 23, Christopher Roberson, 32, Kaleb Martin, 18, Nathan Aderholdt, 32, Amy Kaper, 28, Marysa Leyva, 25, Riley Behrens, 23, Suvarna Ratnam, 25, Jessica Gibson, 24, Britney Austin, 35, Kalixta Villasaez, 22, Brenda Diaz, 18, Jacquelyne Alacaraz, 19, Ryder Collins, 32, as well at three 17-year-olds.
One of the activist said:
“They were not a part of anything violent. They were not there to antagonize. They were simply there to be passionate about human rights.”
But, 25 minutes of video showing the group obstructing traffic, tossing over and knocking down barricade,s and refusing to comply with police direction would be an example of antagonizing.
As reported by Fox10, activists were demanding the immediate release of Suvarna Ratnam, who has been in jail since her arrest.
“Ratnam’s supporters say she has tested positive for tuberculosis while in the Estrella Jail. They say her medications have been withheld, and then given in incorrect dosages.
“Activists claim they are being targeted by Phoenix Police for using their first amendment rights.”
ACTUAL Peaceful Protest: Watch Trump Supporters Gather in Phoenix, Kneel, and Pray https://t.co/mxnIv4f30n
— Not the Bee (@Not_the_Bee) November 5, 2020
Once again, as evidenced in the video, they were not arrested for exercising their First Amendment rights. They were taken into custody for violating the law.
At some point, people need to take responsibility for refusing to comply with the police, rather than blaming cops for their arrests and waging war with law enforcement.
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EVANSTON, IL – Protests erupted in Evanston, Il. on Halloween resulting in officers coming under attack by rocks, bricks, and fireworks lodged against them. One officer received injuries to his eye from a firework.
Bricks thrown at police, Northwestern University students pepper-sprayed in off-campus clash as protesters again call on university to defund its police https://t.co/URQ1w1fXIT
— David Papp (@DavidPapp) November 2, 2020
Sources say a culmination of Northwestern University students and a specific group stemming from the university called “NU Community Not Cops,” a group that aims to defund or abolish NU’s campus police, spawned this violent protest
There was reportedly a group of 150 protesters during Halloween that formed near Sheridan Road and Clark Street, with a digital flyer posted to Twitter instructing attendees to wear all black and to bring umbrellas.
what a better way to spend your halloween than agitating to get the scariest institution in the world (PIC) abolished. POP OUT. october 31 9:00 pm @ John Evans Alumni Center. All black. Bring an umbrella and a bike. we’re getting spooky👻🎃 pic.twitter.com/aGk23rZEjK
— #nucommunitynotcops (@copsoutofNU) October 30, 2020
Umbrellas have been a common tool used lately by protesters to shield their visibility when engaging in criminal acts, which happened during the Halloween protest in Evanston.
According to a statement by the Evanston Police, the following transpired during the protest:
“The crowd marched into downtown Evanston, with some protesters throwing rocks and bricks at police officers, lighting fireworks in the direction of officers, pointing lasers at police officers’ eyes, and using umbrellas to cover individuals graffitiing streets, stop signs, and electric boxes, and damaging property.”
Northwestern University students riot to abolish campus police. Sadly, only the parade of horribles in the aftermath of not having law enforcement is going to educate these people.
Report: Northwestern U. Students Damage Property During Clash with Police https://t.co/oFdGsKLdDu
— AnneMaltravers🇺🇸🏴 (@MagnaCartaGirl) November 2, 2020
Police officials say they responded appropriately during the protest, when attacks were launched against officers. They added that both public and private property were being vandalized by protest participants.
Police used pepper spray, and made at least one arrest during the violence of an NU student for assaulting an officer.
Northwestern University Students Attack Police In Defunding Protest https://t.co/uRnDCejAIx
— DougMR (@zzimbo1) November 2, 2020
Rumors circulated that police used tear gas during the protest, which the Evanston Police stated was false:
“Contrary to misinformation being circulated on social media, no tear gas was used. Smoke seen in any photos is from fireworks used by the protesters, not tear gas.”
According to police, there were at least 18 documented instances of criminal damage that occurred during the protest.
After the protest turned violent, Evanston Mayor Stephen Hagerty issued a rather scathing letter to Northwestern University’s president, Morton Schapiro. In the letter, Hagerty mentioned:
“Dear President Schapiro, I was concerned to wake up this morning, particularly after a safe and lovely night of trick-or-or-treating by so many families in Evanston, to learn that NU protesters ratcheted up their generally peaceful protest last night.”
University Demo Turns Riot:
“A demonstration Saturday by Northwestern University students ended as a violent protest with property damage, police said.”
— Shane B. Murphy (@shanermurph) November 2, 2020
Mayor Hagerty was sure to point out exactly what he meant when he referred to the protest having been “ratcheted up”:
“Our residents do not support protesters who are marching through the streets of Evanston at night throwing bricks, stones, or other objects at police officers, shooting fireworks in their direction, and intentionally damaging and defacing public property, all while hiding behind umbrellas and lasers aimed in the eyes of police officers.”
— John Galt (@dhrxsol1234) November 2, 2020
The city’s mayor pointed out that whatever change any of these protesters are trying to accomplish, they’re “not helping their cause by putting officer’s safety at risk and defacing and damaging public property.”
These protests have been going on for 30 days, according to the mayor. The month-long protests have cost “tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of dollars, in overtime,” the mayor stated. He wrote that NU will cover “these costs that the city has had to shell out.”
Such a shame that our college students are focused on protesting the wrong problems. They’re ok with be mandatory-tested and quarantined, yet outraged but alleged injustices perpetrated by campus police. 🙄https://t.co/A6MJDQkfhg
— Emma Woodhouse (@EWoodhouse7) November 2, 2020
Later on in the letter addressed to Schapiro, Mayor Hagerty wrote:
“I have a tremendous amount of respect for the officers who are keeping our sons and daughters safe…My expectation is that your administration will remind these Northwestern organizers that officers also have families and their safety is as important as the safety of the protesters.”
Jon Yates, a spokesman with Northwestern University, issued a statement about the protest on Oct. 31 stating:
“Northwestern protects the right to protest, but we do not condone breaking the law. Should members of the Northwestern community be found in violation of University policies, state or federal laws, they will be held accountable through our processes.”
On Nov. 1, authorities released the NU student arrested for assaulting an officer during the protest. The identity of the female student has not been released.
Lifelong Democrat and Flint politician endorses President Trump: ‘Riots, they ain’t no damn protest, they’re riots’
FLINT, MI – For 64 years Maurice Davis has called himself a Democrat. Now, the lifelong leftist says he is throwing his support behind, and his vote to, President Donald Trump.
Davis is vice president of the Flint City Council in Michigan.
Ahead of Vice President Mike Pence’s visit to the city on Wednesday, Davis took the stage at Flint Bishop Airport to speak to the crowd gathered to welcome the VP.
That is where Fox News reported that Davis pledged his support to the President.
Mid-Michigan NOW tweeted a clip of the speech, captioned:
“Flint City Council member and life long Democrat Maurice Davis says he is backing @realDonaldTrump.”
— Mid-Michigan NOW (@midmichigannow) October 28, 2020
Video shows Davis addressing the audience:
“God uses whoever he wants to bring His people out of whatever the problem has to. President Trump is full of hate? Let me tell you something, the Democrats is full of hate.”
In recent months, media outlets reported Davis beginning to stray from the Democratic party with his viewpoints on issues like the riots that broke out nationwide over the summer.
In a Facebook video, he was critical of the riots that came hand-in-hand with Black Lives Matter protests.
In the video, Davis said:
“Riots, they ain’t no damn protest, they’re riots, tearing up your own neighborhoods. ‘We hate Donald Trump,’ but yet, we didn’t hate the $1,200 he sent us.”
Earlier this month, Davis said that he was undecided between President Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden. It appears, that is no longer the case.
In addressing the crowd Wednesday, David said:
“I’m tired. I’ve been a Democrat, I am a Democrat all my life: 64 years. The last four years, I voted for Hillary Clinton. This year, I decided to go with President Trump.”
“I’m not a bootlicker. I’m not an Uncle Tom. I’m none of those things. I’m somebody that’s in a poor, impoverished community. People are losing everything, and when Mr. Trump said, ‘What the hell you got to lose?’ he was talking to me.”
During his speech, Davis said that the Trump administration had reached out to him directly after word got back to the White House that he was criticizing the democratic party and the party’s response to issues in Flint.
“We’re tired of suffering and nobody give a damn about poor folks. President Trump, they reached out, with nothing but love from y’all, all over this nation. I don’t want to hear another time, I’m a Trump supporter. I’m an American supporter.”
To that point, Davis noted that while he is deviating from his political allegiances, he would like to see the country less divided:
“Instead of being the divided state of American, it’s time to be the United States of America. This nation is one nation under God. One nation under God.”
Vice President Pence spoke to the same crowd later, thanking Davis for his support.
He praised the local politician saying:
“It’s also great to be here, I’m told, with a lifelong Democrat. He’s a leader here in Flint.
“And, we got some good news again, that he is supporting President Donald Trump for four more years. Join me in thanking Maurice Davis, Vice President of the City Council in Flint.”
Vice President Pence went on to say:
“Let’s hear it for Maurice.”
The Vice President is not alone in showing Davis support during this tumultuous election season. On Twitter, there was an outpouring of comments in Mid-Michigan NOW’s report on the announcement.
Twitter user “flowerchild” wrote:
“thank you council member Maurice Davis.”
thank you council member Maurice Davis!
— flowerchild (@flowechild2) October 29, 2020
Another poster who goes by “higherorbit” on the site, embraced Davis’ push for unity by commenting:
“GOD BLESS YOU Maurice Davis! For the people!”
GOD BLESS YOU Maurice Davis! For the people!
— HigherOrbit (@OrbitHigher) October 29, 2020
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