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Breonna Taylor protests continue as Louisville under curfew

Black Lives Matter protesters march, Friday, Sept. 25, 2020, in Louisville. (Photo/AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

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Breonna Taylor protests continue as Louisville under curfew
Breonna Taylor protests continue as Louisville under curfew

28 people were arrested, police said, after a fourth night of Breonna Taylor protests since the grand jury’s decision to not indict officers in Taylor’s death

September 27, 2020 – CREDIT – Associated Press – Dylan Lovan

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — A diverse crowd of hundreds marched in Louisville’s streets chanting “Black Lives Matter” on Saturday night, the fourth night of Breonna Taylor protests after a grand jury declined to charge officers in the fatal shooting of Breonna Taylor.

People in the crowd also chanted “No justice, no peace” as cars honked along a busy downtown artery in this Kentucky city that has seen more than 120 days of demonstrations over the death of the 26-year-old Black woman in a police raid gone wrong.

A few police cars followed behind, with officers telling protesters to stay on the sidewalk and out of the street before the march ended. Many briefly ended up back at a downtown square that has been a focal point of Breonna Taylor protests.

Cop shot during protest after officials announce few charges in case

But as a 9 p.m. curfew time approached, a police loudspeaker announced that anyone who remained in the park would be arrested for a curfew violation. The square emptied out as people departed, many dispersing though one group headed to a nearby church where protesters had found refuge on previous nights.

As a crowd gathered outside the First Unitarian Church late Saturday, fires were set in a street nearby after 11 p.m. Police said fireworks burned a car, and windows had been broken at Spalding University and Presentation Academy buildings close by.

Some demonstrators were seen with makeshift shields made of plywood. Others took shelter inside the church, which closed its doors around midnight.

About 100 people remained inside the church into the early hours of Monday, Jud Hendrix, executive director of Interfaith Paths to Peace, told WDRB-TV around 1 a.m. Hendrix said he was working with police to determine if people could leave the church to go home without being arrested.

“People inside the church were asked to remain there while police were conducting the investigation and securing the area,” the police department said in a tweet, sharing aerial and ground video of the fires that were set, windows that were broken and graffiti that had been spray painted.

As of the 2:20 a.m. tweet, 28 people had been arrested, the police department said.

A previous protest on Friday night was peaceful though police arrested 22 people for curfew violations. A police spokesman said some also were charged with failure to disperse.

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer had urged continued peaceful protests in an appearance at a news conference Saturday evening.

“I’m mindful that many in our community are hurting and angry about the decisions announced this week,” Fischer said. The mayor said he supports protesters’ First Amendment rights to protest though “we just ask you to do that peacefully please.”

Man takes officer’s gun, opens fire inside LA police station

Taylor was shot multiple times March 13 after her boyfriend fired at officers who had entered her home during a narcotics raid by white officers, authorities said. Taylor’s boyfriend said he didn’t know who was coming in and fired in self-defense, wounding one officer.

On Wednesday, Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron announced a grand jury indicted one officer on wanton endangerment charges, saying he fired gunshots into a neighboring home during the raid that didn’t strike anyone. That officer has been fired.

Cameron said the other officers were not charged with Taylor’s killing because they acted to protect themselves.

Taylor’s mother, Tamika Palmer, visited a downtown park on Friday with family and her lawyers, and called on Kentucky officials to release all body camera footage, police files and the transcripts of the grand jury proceedings. Palmer said in a statement read by a family member that she felt the criminal justice system had failed her. Palmer marched at the head of Friday’s protest march.

The grand jury’s ruling weighed heavily on protesters like Amber Brown. A central figure in the downtown demonstrations, Brown said she was angry.

“It feels like we went backward,” she said Friday night. “I think people are still in shock and we’re not sure how to move forward.”

Brown criticized the police crackdown in the downtown area that has been in effect since early in the week.

“People are afraid to exercise their First Amendment right,” she said. “Since when does protest have a curfew? Since when does freedom and civil rights have a curfew?”

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Fatal police shooting of Walter Wallace Jr. prompts heated overnight protests in West Philly

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The shooting was caught by multiple cameras and shows Wallace charging officers yielding a knife swinging it aggressively at the police.

Police officers fatally shot a 27-year-old Black man armed with a knife during a confrontation Monday afternoon in West Philadelphia, an incident that quickly raised tensions in the neighborhood and sparked a standoff that lasted deep into the night.

Late Monday into early Tuesday, police struggled to respond to vandalism and looting along the commercial corridor of 52nd Street, an area that was the scene of clashes between police and protestors earlier this summer. At least one police vehicle was set on fire Monday night and destroyed.

By morning, an officer was hospitalized in stable condition with a broken leg after being struck by a pickup truck, police said. About 29 other officers suffered mostly minor injuries from being struck by rocks, bricks, and other projectiles, police said in a preliminary report.

Authorities detained 10 people overnight near 55th and Pine Street, police said, and those people were set to be released pending possible charges of assaulting police or rioting. Police said officers arrested about 20 people in relation to looting at various stores in West Philadelphia, University City, Overbrook Park, and Center City, some of which were not near the protest.

Six law enforcement vehicles were also vandalized, police said.

Hours earlier, shortly before 4 p.m., police said, two officers responded to the 6100 block of Locust Street after a report of a man with a knife. Family members identified him as Walter Wallace Jr.

A video posted on social media showed Wallace walking toward the officers and police backing away. The video swings briefly out of view at the moment the gunfire erupts but he appeared to be multiple feet from them when they fired numerous shots.

Police spokesperson Sgt. Eric Gripp said the officers had ordered Wallace to drop the weapon, and he “advanced towards the officers.” Gripp said investigators are reviewing footage of what happened. Both officers were wearing body cameras.

He said both officers fired “several times.” After the man was shot, he fell to the ground, and Gripp said one of the officers drove him to Penn Presbyterian Medical Center, where he died.

Walter Wallace Sr., the man’s father, said his son appeared to have been shot 10 times.

“Why didn’t they use a Taser?” the senior Wallace asked outside a family residence on the block. “His mother was trying to defuse the situation.”

He said his son struggled with mental health issues and was on medication. “He has mental issues,” Wallace said. “Why you have to gun him down?”

One witness, Maurice Holloway, said he was on the street talking to his aunt when he saw police arrive. Wallace had a knife and was standing on the porch of his home, Holloway said, and officers immediately drew their guns.

Wallace’s mother chased after him as he walked down the steps of his porch, still holding the knife, according to Holloway. His mother tried to shield Wallace and tell police he was her son.

“I’m yelling, ‘Put down the gun, put down the gun,’ and everyone is saying, ‘Don’t shoot him, he’s gonna put it down, we know him,’” said Holloway, 35.

Wallace brushed off his mother and walked behind a car before emerging again, Holloway said.

“He turns and then you hear the shots,” Holloway said. “They were too far from him; it was so many shots.”

Gripp said it was unclear how many times the man was shot or where he was struck. The officers fired possibly a dozen or more times, according to an account by witnesses and family members. Police marked the crime scene with at least 13 evidence markers.

Both officers, who were not publicly identified, were taken off street duty pending an investigation.

Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw arrived at the scene shortly after the incident as a crowd of neighbors yelled at police and questioned the use of force. By 6:30 p.m. police reopened the street and the crowd had largely dispersed.

But dozens of protesters then gathered at Malcolm X Park at 51st and Pine Streets, chanting “Black Lives Matter.” They marched to the police station at 55th and Pine Streets as they chanted, “Say his name: Walter Wallace.”

For hours, protesters confronted officers who stood in a line with riot shields behind metal barricades at the station. People in the crowd could be seen throwing objects at the officers. A group also marched into University City, at least one TV news vehicle was vandalized, and police reported that windows had been broken on Chestnut Street.

Between 100 and 200 people then moved to the 52nd Street commercial district and caused considerable property damage from Market to Spruce Streets. Shortly before 1 a.m., a speeding black truck ran over an officer at 52nd and Walnut Street. The incident was captured on an Instagram livestream. The condition of the officer was not immediately known.

The 52nd Street corridor was the scene of unrest on May 31 and early June as nationwide protests erupted over the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Protesters clashed with Philadelphia officers and set police vehicles on fire; police responded with rubber bullets and tear gas on residential streets. Since then, the police department has forbidden the use of tear gas.

At times Monday, the scene threatened to repeat. Just before midnight, someone set fire to a police vehicle on the street. Ultimately, more officers in riot gear arrived and flooded the neighborhood, dispersing the crowd.

Mayor Jim Kenney, in a statement Monday night, pledged a full investigation into the shooting that sparked the night. “My prayers are with the family and friends of Walter Wallace,” he said. “I have watched the video of this tragic incident and it presents difficult questions that must be answered. I spoke tonight with Mr. Wallace’s family, and will continue to reach out to hear their concerns firsthand, and to answer their questions to the extent that I am able.”

Outlaw, too, said the department would conduct an inquiry. “Residents have my assurance that those questions will be fully addressed by the investigation,” she said. “While at the scene this evening, I heard and felt the anger of the community. Everyone involved will forever be impacted. I will be leaning on what the investigation gleans to answer the many unanswered questions that exist. I also plan to join the Mayor in meeting with members of the community and members of Mr. Wallace’s family to hear their concerns as soon as it can be scheduled.”

Arnett Woodall, a community organizer who lives a few blocks away, came to the scene shortly after the incident. He said he immediately saw how many evidence markers were in the street and felt it was “a textbook example of excessive force.”

Then he saw the video. “Why not a warning shot?” Woodall, 56, asked. “Why not a Taser? Why not a shot in the leg?”

He said the incident shows why police must implement stronger community policing protocols and why the city should invest in town watch programs.

“The city of Philadelphia can do better,” he said.

District Attorney Larry Krasner said in a statement Monday evening: “The Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office takes its obligation to try to be fair and to seek evenhanded justice seriously. The DAO Special Investigations Unit responded to today’s fatal shooting of a civilian by police shortly after it occurred, and has been on scene with other DAO personnel since that time investigating.”

Krasner encouraged witnesses or others with information to contact the District Attorney’s Office.

”In the hours and days following this shooting, we ask Philadelphians to come together to uphold people’s freedom to express themselves peacefully and to reject violence of any kind,” he said.

John McNesby, president of the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 5, said in a statement: “Our police officers are being vilified this evening for doing their job and keeping the community safe, after being confronted by a man with a knife. We support and defend these officers, as they too are traumatized by being involved in a fatal shooting.

“We ask the public for its patience as investigators work to gather all the facts of this tragic incident in West Philadelphia today.”

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Seattle’s interim police chief condemns violence toward police at protests

nterim Seattle Police Chief Adrian Diaz listens to a question during a news conference about changes being made at the department Wednesday, Sept. 2, 2020, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

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The statement comes after a 19-year-old accused of striking an officer in the head with an aluminum bat was charged with first-degree assault

October 21, 2020: Credit – Sara Jean Green for The Seattle Times

SEATTLE — Interim Seattle Police Chief Adrian Diaz on Monday denounced ongoing property destruction and violence targeting officers in light of a first-degree assault charge filed last week against a 19-year-old Kirkland man who is accused of striking an officer in the head with an aluminum baseball bat.

The officer was hit hard enough in the back of the head on Sept. 26 to crack his protective helmet, which likely saved his life, Diaz said in a news conference at Seattle police headquarters.

“This is not protest. This is not civil disobedience. This is violence,” he said, adding residents in certain neighborhoods are now too scared to go outside at night and business owners are frustrated by graffiti and windows that are repeatedly broken out.

For those who engage in property damage and violence, the Seattle Police Department (SPD) “will investigate and hold you accountable,” Diaz said.

Demonstrations against racial injustice and police brutality have continued in Seattle nearly every day in the months after the May 25 police killing of George Floyd in Minnesota, with confrontations between police and protesters leading to injuries among both demonstrators and officers. SPD has faced criticism for its use of force against peaceful protesters.

In October, the protests have been small in size and continue to be mostly peaceful, with sporadic property damage reported. Police have made at least two dozen arrests during protests this month, for charges including property destruction, assault, failure to disperse, and rendering criminal assistance.

In discussing the first-degree assault charge filed Friday against Jacob Greenberg, Diaz said the 19-year-old expressed remorse in a text message to a friend — not that he struck the officer, but that the officer was wearing a helmet. Greenberg was booked Friday on charges of first-degree assault, first-degree attempted arson, and first-degree reckless burning and remains at the King County Jail in lieu of $750,000 bail.

He also quoted another Greenberg text included in charging documents, in which Greenberg is accused of writing that he wanted to slit the throats of all SPD officers.

“All SPD officers deserve to be safe on the job, too,” said the interim chief. “We’re focused on trying to stop some of the violence that’s going on.”

Diaz said he’s committed to ensuring officers are equipped with protective gear and the department is getting goggles to protect officers from laser lights amid reports of lasers being shined into their eyes.

Diaz also addressed the departure of 39 Seattle police officers in September alone, and said those departures came about as a result of conversations in the city about defunding the police department. Many of them weren’t sure whether they would be laid off, so applied for positions with other area law-enforcement agencies, he said.

“Right now, we’re keeping our department as whole as possible,” said Diaz. “We don’t want to focus on nightly demonstrations.”

So far this year, police have collected 2,400 shell casings and taken 820 guns off the streets, with officers on pace to recover more than 1,000 firearms by the end of 2020, said Diaz, noting the number of shootings in the city are at their highest level in 11 years. He also said the city has seen an increase in homicides, which according to Seattle Times data has exceeded 40 homicides for the first time in recent memory.

(c)2020 The Seattle Times

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28 arrested, tear gas used in 3rd night of Wis. demonstrations

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Some in the crowd refused orders to disperse during another night of protests over the lack of charges against a Wauwatosa police officer

October 11, 2020 – CREDIT: Associated Press

WAUWATOSA, Wis. — Police used tear gas on demonstrators and arrested 28 people during a third straight night of protests over the lack of charges against a suburban Milwaukee police officer who fatally shot a Black teen, authorities said, as they took to Twitter on Saturday to outline what they called an “escalation in force by the protesters.”

About 100 people gathered outside City Hall on Friday past Wauwatosa’s 7 p.m. curfew and refused multiple orders to disperse, according to police. Police said they used tear gas on the crowd, after bottles were thrown at officers.

On Saturday, the Wauwatosa Police Department posted on Twitter that people have been asking valid questions about the police response over three nights of protests. Police posted a picture of bottles they said were found in a backpack, including a bottle of lighter fluid, noting that the materials can be used to start fires.

“Over the past three nights, we have seen an escalation in force by the protesters. Our law enforcement response is in reaction to this escalation,” police tweeted. They said that on Friday night, protestors had Molotov cocktails and other fire starting supplies and guns were spotted in the crowd.

Protesters have gathered every day since prosecutors announced Wednesday that they would not charge Officer Joseph Mensah in 17-year-old Alvin Cole’s death. Mensah, who is Black, shot Cole after a foot chase outside a Wauwatosa mall in February.

The police department’s tweets come as some have chastised authorities for the way they have handled the protests. During Thursday night’s demonstration, police arrested Alvin Cole’s mother, Tracy Cole, and his sisters. Family attorney Kimberly Motley criticized the way police treated the family, noting Tracy Cole had to be treated for injuries.

In a tweet addressing the police chief and mayor on Friday, Motley said “due to your failed leadership you have turned Wauwatosa into a war zone!’

About an hour after Friday’s curfew went into effect, law enforcement began advancing toward the crowd. Police said they used chemical irritants, which they described as tear gas, as well as pepper balls and paint balls after bottles and rocks were thrown at them. Video posted to Twitter by local reporters showed heavy smoke in the air as police advanced, and multiple people taken into custody.

Windows were broken at a Snap Fitness center, police said.

Police said two of Friday’s 28 arrests were for felonies, one was for a misdemeanor and 25 were for municipal citations. Police noted that some of the people arrested were blocking traffic, others had tried to start fires, and one person had materials to start a fire. Another person in the group posted a picture of himself with a handgun, authorities added, though it was not clear if he was among those arrested.

Two people arrested were evaluated for minor injuries, police said.

One of the arrestees was driving in one of three vehicles that had come to the Wauwatosa Police Department early Saturday. The vehicle almost hit an officer, according to police. The driver got into a second vehicle, and police arrested the person after a short chase, authorities said.

“We can appreciate the anger and frustration that exists among those closely affected by recent events,” police said in a statement Saturday. They asked people to continue to comply with the 7 p.m. curfew, which was to be in effect again on Saturday and Sunday nights. The National Guard is assisting local police.

The protests in Wauwatosa are just the latest in a series of demonstrations against police racism and brutality that have erupted across the country since George Floyd’s death. Floyd, who was Black, died in May after a white police officer in Minneapolis pressed his knee into his neck as Floyd gasped that he couldn’t breathe.

The co-founder and publisher of The Daily Caller said two of his reporters were beaten and detained by police in Wauwatosa on Thursday as they were videotaping Tracy Cole’s arrest. Numerous journalists have been injured or arrested while covering protests nationwide in recent months.

Neil Patel, who founded the conservative news outlet with Tucker Carlson, said in a statement that reporters Shelby Talcott and Richie McGinniss “were brutally beaten with clubs for no reason,” the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.

A message seeking comment from the Wauwatosa Police Department was not immediately returned to The Associated Press.

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