Black Lives Matter-Ugliness of Racism.

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Thomas Jefferson statue in N.Y.C. council chambers voted out after 106 years
Jefferson is celebrated as one of the most important people in the creation of the U.S. -- who also owned more than 600 people

Author of the article:Washington Post
Washington Post
Jonathan Edwards
Publishing date:Oct 19, 2021 • 20 hours ago • 4 minute read • 10 Comments
A statue of Thomas Jefferson stands in New York's City Hall council chamber.
A statue of Thomas Jefferson stands in New York's City Hall council chamber. PHOTO BY RICHARD DREW /AP files
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For more than a century, a 7-foot-tall statue of Thomas Jefferson — Founding Father, third president, author of the Declaration of Independence — has presided over New York City’s centre of political power as leaders made decisions that affected millions of people.

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Now, some of those leaders are banishing him.


On Monday, members of the city’s Public Design Commission voted unanimously to remove the 1833 statue from council chambers in City Hall by the end of the year. The push to get rid of a statue honoring one of the most venerated figures in American history gained traction last year with the police murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis and the nationwide racial reckoning that followed.

The fate of the statue — a replica of the bronze sculpture created by Pierre-Jean David D’Angers that sits in the U.S. Capitol — is uncertain. Under the original proposal, the commission was set to give it to the New York Historical Society on a long-term loan. A crate had even been ordered to escort the statue to its new home. But the commission ultimately reversed course after some raised concerns about transferring a piece of public art to a private space where people would have to pay to see it.

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The surprise delay upset some Black and Latino members of the 51-seat New York City Council, and they accused the commissioners of voting to “prolong the indignity” inflicted by the statue’s prominence.

Jefferson is celebrated as one of the most important people in the creation of the United States of America. He helped unite 13 colonies into a single rebellion against the British Empire by, in part, writing the Declaration of Independence. He then led the young nation as its third president.


But that rosy picture has been complicated in recent years as people have brought other parts of Jefferson’s life to the fore. He was an enslaver his entire adult life, owning more than 600 people, including 130 when he died.

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He raped one of those enslaved people, Sally Hemings, his late wife’s half sister with whom he fathered six children. Jefferson started the sexual relationship with Hemings while she was in her teens and he was in his 40s.

And he wrote that Whites were inherently superior to Blacks.

“He … compared the very idea of freeing enslaved people from captivity to abandoning children,” council member Adrienne Adams said.

Ahead of the commission’s meeting, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said he understood how Jefferson’s past “profoundly bothers people and why they find it’s something that can’t be ignored.”

For Charles Barron, Monday’s vote was decades in the making. The New York state assembly member first demanded the statue’s removal in 2001 when he was on the city council. During Monday’s commission meeting, he called Jefferson “a slaveholding pedophile who should not be honored with a statue.”

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Barron’s wife, Inez, who serves on city council, told commissioners via Zoom that an enslaver like Jefferson acted like a “pimp” so he could expand his plantation and increase his profits.

“We are not being revisionist. We are not waging a war on history,” she said. “We are saying that we want to make sure that the total story is told, that there are no half-truths and that we are not perpetuating lies.”


The vote to remove the Jefferson statue comes as communities across the country are reevaluating the historical figures they honor in public places. Because of his preeminence, Jefferson has largely been spared, even as statues honoring the likes of former Confederate leaders have been taken down from their pedestals. Most notably, an enormous statue of Gen. Robert E. Lee that towered over Richmond for generations was removed last month.

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But sites honouring Jefferson haven’t escaped scrutiny entirely. In September 2020, a committee reporting to D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser called to “remove, relocate or contextualize” the Jefferson Memorial and the Washington Monument. The city doesn’t have the authority to make such decisions about federal land, and Bowser’s administration ultimately removed the recommendations from a report.

That said, the debate in D.C. led historians — including a Jefferson expert — to say that teaching people the full story about American forebears is a good thing.

“Contextualizing these monuments makes perfect sense,” historian and Jefferson biographer Annette Gordon-Reed told The Washington Post at the time. “Removal, particularly of the Washington [Monument] and Jefferson Memorials, does not make sense, given the formative role they both played in the founding of the United States.”

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Jefferson was “at the very centre of the American Revolution and the early Republic,” Gordon-Reed added. The Declaration of Independence “has inspired people all over the world. We’re not giving that up. There’s plenty of room, in both places, to talk about all aspects of their lives. That would be a healthy and good thing. Americans should be reminded of the reality of our origins – the good and the bad.”

New York City Council Speaker Corey Johnson spearheaded the most recent effort to get rid of the Jefferson statue. In the summer of 2020, Johnson wrote to de Blasio, telling the mayor that he and other city council members — including the co-chairs of the Black, Latino and Asian Caucus — found it “inappropriate.”

“There are disturbing images of divisiveness and racism in our city that need to be revisited immediately,” Johnson wrote in the letter. “That starts with City Hall.”
 

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Deputy grabbed Black woman by hair, repeatedly slammed her to ground: Video
The Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office is now investigating

Author of the article:Washington Post
Washington Post
Timothy Bella
Publishing date:Oct 19, 2021 • 17 hours ago • 5 minute read • 33 Comments
A screengrab from video posted to Instagram showing Shantel Arnold, 34, being violently slammed to the ground by a deputy with the Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office.
A screengrab from video posted to Instagram showing Shantel Arnold, 34, being violently slammed to the ground by a deputy with the Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office. PHOTO BY @TEEYUNGAN /Instagram
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As Shantel Arnold was walking home after she said she was assaulted by a group of children, a Louisiana sheriff’s deputy pulled up in his cruiser and told the Black woman to stop.

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When Arnold did not obey, the deputy allegedly got out of his vehicle and began attacking her.


The encounter last month, which was partially captured in a video posted to Instagram, shows a White deputy with the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office grabbing Arnold by her arm and hair and repeatedly slamming her into the pavement. The deputy manhandles Arnold and drags her to the ground, according to the video, in an incident first reported by ProPublica in partnership with WRKF, WWNO and the Times-Picayune/New Orleans Advocate.

The Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office is now investigating the deputy after the video went viral and caused an uproar in New Orleans, a spokeswoman with the American Civil Liberties Union of Louisiana told The Washington Post. The officer has yet to be publicly identified, and it remains unclear whether he has been disciplined.

It is not known who filmed the video, but the footage remains the only video evidence of the Sept. 20 incident in Jefferson Parish, where sheriff’s deputies are not required to wear body cameras. Jefferson Parish Sheriff Joseph P. Lopinto III said last week the department agreed to an $8.7 million deal to buy 500 body cameras that his officers will be trained to use by the end of the year. Lopinto said at a recent meeting with the Jefferson Parish Democratic Executive Committee that his office did not have the budget for the body cameras until recently.

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A spokesperson with the sheriff’s office did not immediately reply to a request for comment Tuesday. Neither Arnold nor her stepfather, Lionel Gray, who witnessed the encounter, responded to requests for comment. It’s unclear whether Arnold has an attorney or whether she plans to press charges against the deputy or sheriff’s office, according to the ACLU of Louisiana.

“This video depicts a Jefferson Parish sheriff’s deputy engaged in horrid acts of brutality against an innocent woman,” Alanah Odoms, executive director of the ACLU of Louisiana, told The Post in a statement. The video had been viewed more than 284,000 times as of early Tuesday.

The Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office remains one of the largest policing agencies in the country to not have body cameras at a time when the tool is now common nationwide. Outrage over police killings of Black men in recent years has prompted lawmakers and public officials to demand increased transparency and oversight of local departments. The Justice Department announced in June that it will require officers at its law enforcement agencies to wear body cameras when making planned arrests or serving search warrants, shifting to align with the policies practiced in most local departments.

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The ACLU of Louisiana recently called on federal prosecutors to investigate the sheriff’s office in Jefferson Parish, bordering New Orleans, following an investigation by ProPublica and WRKF/WWNO revealing racial disparities in shootings by deputies and other examples of excessive force. More than 70 percent of people shot by deputies in the last eight years were Black, according to ProPublica, whereas Black people make up 27 percent of the parish’s population. The investigation also found that 12 of the 16 people who were killed after being shot or restrained by sheriff’s deputies in Jefferson Parish during that eight-year period were Black men.


Lopinto and multiple sheriff’s deputies are facing a federal lawsuit filed by the parents of Eric Parsa, a 16-year-old White boy with autism who died early last year after deputies allegedly sat on him for more than nine minutes. In 2018, four deputies with the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office were accused of inflicting “significant traumatic injuries to the neck” of Keeven Robinson, a 22-year-old Black man who was arrested and later died. The deputies were not charged.

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“It is no secret that the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office has a deep-rooted history of racial discrimination and cruelty toward residents of color,” Odoms told NOLA.com. “The harsh political reality is the sheriff of Jefferson Parish is wholly unaccountable to the people.”

At around 2 p.m. on Sept. 20, Arnold was walking near her family’s trailer home when she was allegedly attacked by three boys in the neighborhood for several minutes. Her family told ProPublica that she had become an easy target for bullies because she stood only 4-foot-8, weighed about 100 pounds and was missing her left eye from a previous car accident.

After Gray chased the boys away, Arnold, who had been laughed at by a crowd that surrounded her during the initial attack, stumbled down the road. That’s when a police officer approached her and told her to stop, she later recalled to an internal affairs investigator.

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“I’m on my way home. I ain’t make it all the way to the block, the police come out of nowhere, swarming, getting me like, ‘Come here.’ I’m like, ‘What’s going on? .. What y’all doing?'”

She told the deputy she had been attacked and just wanted to go home. When she did not follow his demand, the sheriff’s deputy exited his cruiser, grabbed Arnold and threw her to the ground, Arnold’s uncle, Tony Givens, told investigators. Gray confirmed the account in an interview with internal affairs.

“She didn’t have a chance to pull away because, you know, this guy was strong,” Gray said. “He grabbed her arm, and some kind of move he made, and she went down to the ground.”


The video shows Arnold lying on her back as the deputy towers over her. At one point, he clenches her left wrist with one hand and grabs her left forearm with another. Then, he repeatedly lifts her body off the ground in a violent motion and slams her to the ground.

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He is also shown grabbing her hair. A witness told ProPublica that the deputy ended up pulling out several of her braids from her scalp. The video ends with the deputy appearing to place a knee on Arnold’s chest.

“Somebody record that!” one woman is heard saying off-camera. “Y’all be tripping.”

Arnold, who was not charged with a crime, was taken to a hospital for her injures. She later told investigators that her injuries – bruises and scratches, a busted lip, recurring headaches – were because of the encounter with the deputy, not the boys.

Odoms told The Post that the incident captured on video was “yet another testament to the shocking frequency that JPSO targets and brutalizes innocent, unarmed members of the Black community.”

The ACLU of Louisiana said in a statement that the sheriff’s office adding body cameras was a “long overdue” move for an agency whose policies and practices “disproportionately subject Black people to excessive violence and in some cases, death.”

“JPSO’s failure to require body cameras for their deputies means that acts of violence like this one will continue,” Odoms said. “We must begin to implement tools that enhance law enforcement accountability, rather than conceal law enforcement abuses.”
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spaminator

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Boston City Council candidate called out for 'racist' campaign flyer
Author of the article:Denette Wilford
Publishing date:Oct 19, 2021 • 14 hours ago • 2 minute read • 5 Comments
Campaign flyer that shows white woman in colour on left and black woman in greyscale on right with text about "stark differences" is being called "racist."
Campaign flyer that shows white woman in colour on left and black woman in greyscale on right with text about "stark differences" is being called "racist." PHOTO BY RICK WALDRON /Twitter
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A candidate running for Boston City Council has been slammed by voters for her “full blown racist” campaign flyer.

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Mary Tamer, an Arab-American, is running against Black hopeful Kendra Hicks for the city’s District 6 seat, reported the Boston Globe .


On the front of Tamer’s promotional material, she points out the “stark differences” between herself and Hicks — Tamer in colour, Hicks in greyscale.

Some voters were dismayed by the blatant racism on the flyer.

“Mary Tamer’s city councilor campaign has gone full-blown racist,” one resident wrote on Twitter. “If you’re in Boston and live in District 6, vote for Kendra Hicks.”


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Another local claimed the flyer made Hicks appear darker than she actually is.

“As if the baseless fear-mongering and falsehoods here weren’t bad enough, they had to darken Kendra Hicks’ skin tone in the photo,” they tweeted . “This couldn’t go into the recycling bin fast enough.”

Tamer took to Twitter to deny the accusations but also acknowledged the wrong message was sent out.




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“The Tamer Campaign, which abhors all forms of racism, sent out a mailer citing clear policy differences between Mary and her opponent, Kendra Hicks,” read the account’s tweet.

“The photo used was never intended to cause harm or show racial animus, but it is clear, based on the feedback we have received and heard, that it did not set the right tone.”


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Tamer called the situation a “valuable lesson,” and tried to clarify — not actually apologize — for the error in judgment.

“What we intended to focus on and will continue to focus on are the significant policy differences between Mary and her opponent,” she wrote. “Elections are about choices, and District 6 voters have a clear choice to make on November 2.”

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Canada's Minister of Canadian Heritage Steven Guilbeault attends a news conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada February 3, 2020.
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Meanwhile, Hicks issued her own statement, suggesting Tamer sent the “racist trope” in an effort to make her appear “more menacing” to potential voters.


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“In 2021, there is no place for such blatantly racist messaging in a campaign hoping to represent as diverse a community as District 6,” Hicks said.

“The decision to print and send this mailer to thousands of residents is not only damaging to me, but sends a message to the tens of thousands of black and brown residents across the city.”
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Black Lives Matter co-founder threatens 'riots' and 'bloodshed' on the streets of New York if Mayor-elect Eric Adams reinstates NYPD's anti-crime units​

  • BLM leaders, including co-founder Hawk Newsome, got into a shouting match with Mayor-elect Eric Adams during a closed-door sit-down on Wednesday
  • Adams has pledged to reinstate the NYPD's anti-crime units, about 600 plainclothes officers that fight violent crime
  • Newsome threatened 'riots' and 'bloodshed' if the units are brought back
  • 'We will shut the city down. We will shut down City Hall, and we will give him hell and make it a nightmare,' Chivona Newsome, Hawk's sister, said
  • But Adams hit back, saying BLM also needs to be held accountable and not just make demands
  • 'You're on the ground: Stop the violence in my community. I'm holding you accountable,' mayor-elect said, adding: 'You need to be corrected'
  • Newsome later called Adams 'tone deaf' and said 'no way that he is going to let some Gestapo come in here and harm our people'
  • Shootings soared across the city last summer after Mayor Bill de Blasio did away with the plainclothes unit in June 2020 after outpour of anti-police sentiment
  • Crime has skyrocketed in NYC in the months since
  • As recently as Wednesday morning, a 62-year-old man was brutally attacked by a group of teens near Times Square, slashed in the face and stabbed in the neck
By CHRIS JEWERS FOR MAILONLINE

PUBLISHED: 05:00 EST, 11 November 2021 | UPDATED: 10:10 EST, 11 November 2021
 

spaminator

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South Africa's last white president, FW de Klerk dies, leaves apology for apartheid
Author of the article:Reuters
Reuters
Promit Mukherjee and Emma Rumney
Publishing date:Nov 11, 2021 • 14 hours ago • 3 minute read • Join the conversation
This video grab from an undated video released by the FW de Klerk Foundation shows former South African President FW de Klerk tendering an apology, in a posthumous video message.
This video grab from an undated video released by the FW de Klerk Foundation shows former South African President FW de Klerk tendering an apology, in a posthumous video message. PHOTO BY FW DE KLERK FOUNDATION /AFP via Getty Images
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JOHANNESBURG — South Africa’s last white president, F.W. de Klerk, who died on Thursday, apologized for the crimes committed against people of colour in a video released by his foundation on its website hours after his death.

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In his message de Klerk also cautioned that the country was facing many serious challenges, saying: “I’m deeply concerned about the undermining of many aspects of the constitution, which we perceive almost day to day.”


Frederik Willem (FW) de Klerk, who negotiated a peaceful transfer of power to a Black-led government under Nelson Mandela in 1994, died aged 85 after a battle with cancer, his foundation said.

“I, without qualification, apologize for the pain and the hurt and the indignity and the damage that apartheid has done to Black, Brown and Indians in South Africa,” de Klerk said.

It was not immediately clear when the recording was made.

De Klerk won praise worldwide for his role in scrapping apartheid and he shared the Nobel Peace Prize with Mandela in 1993. The following year Mandela won South Africa’s first multi-racial elections with his African National Congress (ANC).

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In this file photo taken on April 3, 1994, ANC President Nelson Mandela and South African President Frederik W. De Klerk walk to an Easter church service dedicated to peace, in Moria, South Africa.
In this file photo taken on April 3, 1994, ANC President Nelson Mandela and South African President Frederik W. De Klerk walk to an Easter church service dedicated to peace, in Moria, South Africa. PHOTO BY WALTER DHLADHLA /AFP via Getty Images
In his message of condolence, President Cyril Ramaphosa paid tribute to de Klerk’s “vital role” in South Africa’s transition to democracy in the 1990s.

“He took the courageous decision (as president) to unban political parties, release political prisoners and enter into negotiations with the liberation movement amid severe pressure to the contrary from many in his political constituency,” Ramaphosa said.

Mandela’s foundation said in a separate statement that de Klerk would “forever be linked to Nelson Mandela in the annals of South African history.”

However, de Klerk’s role in the transition from minority white rule to democracy remains highly contested.


Many Blacks were angered by his failure to curb political violence in the turbulent years leading up to the 1994 elections, while right-wing white Afrikaners, who had long ruled the country under de Klerk’s National Party, viewed him as a traitor to their causes of white supremacy and nationalism.

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De Klerk’s foundation said he had died peacefully at his home in Cape Town on Thursday morning after a battle with mesothelioma, a cancer that affects the tissue lining the lungs.

“He is survived by his wife Elita, his children Jan and Susan and his grandchildren,” it said, adding the family would in due course announce the funeral arrangements.

PRAISE AND CRITICISM

“May FW de Klerk rest in peace and rise in glory,” Archbishop Desmond Tutu, a veteran of the struggle against white minority rule and seen by many as South Africa’s moral conscience, said in a statement released by his office.

John Steenhuisen, leader of the Democratic Alliance (DA), South Africa’s second biggest party after the ANC, said de Klerk’s success in bringing the majority of white voters with him over the need to abolish apartheid helped ensure that “the transition happened peacefully.”

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The DA is the main rival of the ANC but has struggled to shed its image as a party of white privilege.

Julius Malema, who heads the Marxist Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), the country’s third biggest political party, was much more critical, saying de Klerk should be referred to not as a “former president” but as a “former apartheid president.”

Critics of de Klerk took to Twitter to say he should not get a state funeral due to his roots in the old apartheid regime.

Mandela, who died in 2013, had acknowledged in his autobiography Long Walk to Freedom de Klerk’s key role in the transition to multi-racial democracy.

“To make peace with an enemy one must work with that enemy, and that enemy becomes one’s partner,” he wrote.

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Though long retired from active politics, de Klerk prompted anger among supporters of then-president Jacob Zuma in 2016 when he accused them and their leader of seeking to advance their personal interests and of endangering South African democracy.

De Klerk again drew criticism last year when he told a national broadcaster that he did not believe apartheid was a crime against humanity, as declared by the United Nations.

The backlash triggered by his remarks forced de Klerk to withdraw from a virtual seminar with the American Bar Association (ABA) in the United States, where he had been due to speak on minority rights and racism.
 

Tecumsehsbones

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Frederik Willem (FW) de Klerk, who negotiated a peaceful transfer of power to a Black-led government under Nelson Mandela in 1994, died aged 85 after a battle with cancer, his foundation said.

“I, without qualification, apologize for the pain and the hurt and the indignity and the damage that apartheid has done to Black, Brown and Indians in South Africa,” de Klerk said.

It was not immediately clear when the recording was made.

De Klerk won praise worldwide for his role in scrapping apartheid and he shared the Nobel Peace Prize with Mandela in 1993. The following year Mandela won South Africa’s first multi-racial elections with his African National Congress (ANC).
Ironically, it's the guy who did something about it rendering the apology.

You can bet your bottom dollar the ones who worked to maintain apartheid will never apologize.
 
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pgs

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Ironically, it's the guy who did something about it rendering the apology.

You can bet your bottom dollar the ones who worked to maintain apartheid will never apologize.
How is that end to apartheid working out for them know ?
 

Tecumsehsbones

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How is that end to apartheid working out for them know ?
If by "them" you mean White South Africans (the only ones you acknowledge as human), not so great.

Which, in whatever you use for a mind, undoubtedly proves that only separation and oppression of people with melanin can save civilization.

I'm not even slightly surprised to see you stand up for apartheid.
 
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Tecumsehsbones

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I believe England abolished slavery before the US did. Don't have time right now to check it out.
Sort of. They never had slavery in England, only in the colonies (which is why the U.S. had it).

England abolished the slave trade in 1807, the same year the United States did. England abolished slavery in all its possessions in 1833, 32 years before the U.S. did.

I'm sure you think you had a point, but since you've already stated your ignorance, I don't really care.
 

taxslave

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Sort of. They never had slavery in England, only in the colonies (which is why the U.S. had it).

England abolished the slave trade in 1807, the same year the United States did. England abolished slavery in all its possessions in 1833, 32 years before the U.S. did.

I'm sure you think you had a point, but since you've already stated your ignorance, I don't really care.
If you think England never had slaves you need to read a history book. It was just a bit more subtle than in the US. But then you only have US His Story books to go on.
 

pgs

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If by "them" you mean White South Africans (the only ones you acknowledge as human), not so great.

Which, in whatever you use for a mind, undoubtedly proves that only separation and oppression of people with melanin can save civilization.

I'm not even slightly surprised to see you stand up for apartheid.
once again an American shows they know little of the rest of the world . And once again putting words and thoughts in my mouth that aren’t there .

p.s. the black leaders of South Africa are as much foreigners as the White Dutch and White English . The majority of Durban are also foreign being predominantly South Asian . But then you racist simpletons think all people with melanin are all the same .
 
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spaminator

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Suspects acquitted of white farmer murder that sparked riots in South Africa
Author of the article:Reuters
Reuters
Publishing date:Nov 19, 2021 • 21 hours ago • 1 minute read • Join the conversation
A man holds a placard in vicinity of the Senekal magistrate's court in Senekal, in the Free State province, South Africa October 16, 2020.
A man holds a placard in vicinity of the Senekal magistrate's court in Senekal, in the Free State province, South Africa October 16, 2020. PHOTO BY SIPHIWE SIBEKO /REUTERS
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JOHANNESBURG — The suspects in the murder case of a white farmer in South Africa that last year triggered riots and stoked weeks of racial tensions were acquitted on Friday, local media reported.

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The killing of Brendin Horner, whose body was found tied to a pole at his farm in Free State province, led to riots in October last year. These were followed by a stand-off between white protesters and Black counter-protesters from the Marxist Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) in Senekal, a central South African town near where the murder took place.


Sekola Matlaletsa and Sekwetje Mahlamba were acquitted of murder, robbery and theft, after Judge Cagney Musi declared there was insufficient evidence linking them to the attack.

Murders on farms, the vast majority of which are white- owned, are a volatile issue in South Africa, where some white minority activist groups promote the idea that they are victims of a “white genocide,” even though white farmers make up a tiny fraction of the total murder victims in South Africa.


Next month, the government is preparing to discuss a long-awaited bill to expropriate white-owned land without compensation, as part of an effort to redress economic inequalities that remain stark 27 years after the end of white minority rule. The bill has become a flashpoint for the racial tensions that were highlighted by Horner’s murder.
 

spaminator

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Colorado city settles civil rights suit by Elijah McClain family for $15M
Author of the article:Reuters
Reuters
Keith Coffman
Publishing date:Nov 19, 2021 • 10 hours ago • 3 minute read • Join the conversation
Noah and his older sister visit a mural of Elijah McClain, a 23-year-old Black man who died after an encounter with police officers, ahead of the one year anniversary of his death in Denver, Colorado, Aug. 8, 2020
Noah and his older sister visit a mural of Elijah McClain, a 23-year-old Black man who died after an encounter with police officers, ahead of the one year anniversary of his death in Denver, Colorado, Aug. 8, 2020 PHOTO BY KEVIN MOHATT /REUTERS
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DENVER — The city of Aurora, Colorado, has agreed to pay $15 million to settle the civil rights lawsuit brought by the family of Elijah McClain, a Black man who died in 2019 after he was subdued by police and injected by paramedics with a sedative, both sides said on Friday.

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The agreement, marking the largest civil rights settlement in state history, came about nine weeks after Colorado’s attorney general completed an investigation finding that Aurora’s police routinely violated state and federal law by engaging in racially biased policing and excessive force.


The inquiry led to a consent decree with the city police department in Aurora, a Denver suburb of about 369,000 residents, allowing an independent monitor to review the department’s training, policies and practices.

On Sept. 1, three police officers and two paramedics involved in McClain’s death were indicted on charges of manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide. Those cases are pending.

McClain’s mother, Sheneen McClain, confirmed the settlement amount in a written statement issued through her attorney, after the deal was announced by the city.

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“No amount of money will ever bring Elijah back to his mother,” the statement said. “Ms. McClain would return every cent for just one more day with her son.”

Elijah McClain, 23, was walking home from a convenience store in Aurora on Aug. 24, 2019, when he was confronted by police responding to reports that he had been seen acting suspiciously, though he was not suspected of a crime.

Police officers placed McClain in a carotid neck hold and he was later injected by paramedics with ketamine, a powerful sedative. He went into cardiac arrest and died days later at a hospital.

‘I WAS JUST GOING HOME’

In a video recording of the encounter from a police-worn body camera, a sobbing McClain could be heard pleading with the officers restraining him: “I can’t breathe, please stop. I was just going home.”

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The episode initially got little attention outside Colorado. But the case drew renewed scrutiny and public ire as protesters against racial injustice and police brutality took to streets across the United States in the summer of 2020 after George Floyd, a Black man accused of trying to pass a counterfeit bill, died under the knee of a white Minneapolis police officer.

The officer in that case, Derek Chauvin, was later convicted of murder and sentenced to 22 years in prison.

Colorado prosecutors at first declined to bring criminal charges in McClain’s case, citing an autopsy that listed the cause of death as undetermined. But Governor Jared Polis ordered the state’s attorney general to open a new investigation last year, leading to the 32-count indictment of police and paramedics in September.

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The local police union at the time called the indictments an “hysterical overreaction” and noted an earlier investigation cleared the officers of wrongdoing.


In a written statement on Friday, McClain’s father, LaWayne Mosley, said he hoped the large payout “sends a message to police everywhere that there are consequences for their actions.”

“I hope Elijah’s legacy is that police will think twice before killing another innocent person,” he said.

Aurora Police Chief Vanessa Wilson said on Friday that her department has implemented “significant changes” in response to the tragedy.

The finalized agreement comes after a mediation hearing between McClain’s family members in federal court on Friday, the city said.

Municipal liability insurance will cover $10 million of the settlement, the maximum amount it can pay. The remaining $5 million will be paid from Aurora’s general fund, the city said.
 

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Laval officer racially profiled Black man, police ethics committee rules
Michael Boutin said he arrested Pradel Content for refusing to identify himself after supposedly breaching the Highway Safety Code.

Author of the article:Katelyn Thomas • Montreal Gazette
Publishing date:Nov 25, 2021 • 7 hours ago • 4 minute read • Join the conversation
Pradel Content's account of the arrest was more believable than officer Michaël Boutin's was, a police ethics commission ruled.
Pradel Content's account of the arrest was more believable than officer Michaël Boutin's was, a police ethics commission ruled. PHOTO BY ALLEN MCINNIS /Montreal Gazette
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The provincial police ethics committee has determined that Laval police officer Michaël Boutin acted inappropriately when he wrongfully arrested a disabled Black man who filmed him in a gas station parking lot in the spring of 2017 .

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In a decision made public last week, the Comité de déontologie policière ruled that Boutin violated the Quebec Police Ethics Code in several ways, namely by behaving the way he did because of Pradel Content’s race and by providing an inaccurate report of events. The decision states Content’s account of the situation is more believable than Boutin’s, in large part because their exchange was caught on a surveillance camera.


In May 2017, Boutin followed Content into the parking lot of a gas station on des Laurentides Blvd. in Laval, supposedly because Content was filming the police car while driving (thus violating the Highway Safety Code). Boutin said that as he attempted to speak to Content while approaching him in the lot, he was screaming and gesticulating wildly. Boutin claims he moved Content’s phone — which was being used to film him — out of his face, pushed him toward his car and asked him to identify himself, but that Content refused.

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Boutin said he arrested Content for refusing to identify himself after supposedly breaching the Highway Safety Code. He said that after searching him, putting him in the police car and writing up a ticket for using a cellphone while driving, he let Content go — but not before deleting the footage Content had taken of him, supposedly with his consent.

Content, however — who had been similarly targeted by police in the past — testified he only pulled out his phone once he parked in the lot because he noticed the officer made an abrupt U-turn to follow him for no reason, and that he was never told why he was being apprehended until he was handed a ticket after the fact.

Content said that when Boutin exited his car, he screamed at him to stop filming him — and that he could go to jail for doing so — before slapping the phone out of his hand. Content said he did not know how the video was deleted.

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The police ethics commissioner, which determines which complaints are brought before the committee, said that at one point during his exchange with Content, Boutin said he should be happy to be in Quebec as opposed to the United States “because they shoot people like you there” — though Boutin denies having said that.

The committee’s decision states Content’s account lines up more closely with what is seen on the surveillance footage, which shows that from the moment the patrol car enters the parking lot and the moment Boutin slaps Content’s hand away and pushes him, only eight or nine seconds elapse.

“This short period does not allow Boutin to attempt to speak to Content as he claims,” the decision says. “In fact, the surveillance video shows that as Boutin quickly approaches Content, the latter is motionless and does not ‘gesticulate.’ Finally, the video shows that Content is holding his cellphone up to his chest and not up to Boutin’s face.”

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“In short, Boutin appears to be a police officer who has lost control of his emotions, as the Commissioner’s prosecutor points out,” the decision says.

The decision also found that in a report by Boutin months after the event had taken place — which he wrote at the request of an inspector because a complaint had been filed against him — Boutin said Content was screaming about racism and harassment when he first approached him, “when we weren’t even pulling him over.”

“The conduct of Boutin, the reasons he gives for intercepting Content — or the inconsistency between these reasons — and the fact that Boutin even mentions that he didn’t even want to pull him over leads the committee to conclude that Content was the subject of different treatment on the part of Boutin,” the decision says.

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Boutin also said in that report that verifications were carried out and that he found Content had been arrested in the past with people known to police for being involved with street gangs.

In its decision, the committee said Boutin’s comments about street gangs were “negative generalizations if not prejudices unrelated to their objective reality,” and that they proved Content was the subject of differential treatment, if the only thing he did wrong during their encounter was to violate the Highway Safety Code.

“The Committee is of the opinion that Content’s race played a role in Boutin’s decision to arrest him,” the decision says.

In addition to violating the ethics code for racial profiling and for providing inaccurate reports, the committee found that Boutin also violated the code by smacking Content’s phone out of his hand, by apprehending him for no reason, and by deleting the video off his phone.

kthomas@postmedia.com

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Investigation launched into violent arrest of Black youths in Quebec City

In footage of the incident that circulated on social media, an officer can be seen shoving snow into the face of one of the youths while they are pinned against the ground.
Author of the article:
La Presse Canadienne
La Presse Canadienne
Ugo Giguère
Publishing date:
Nov 28, 2021 • 9 hours ago • 3 minute read •
Join the conversation
In footage posted to social media, a Quebec City police officer is seen shoving snow in the face of a Black youth while they are pinned on the ground.
In footage posted to social media, a Quebec City police officer is seen shoving snow in the face of a Black youth while they are pinned on the ground. Photo by via Twitter
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Quebec City’s police department announced Saturday evening it was opening an investigation into the violent arrest of two Black youths.
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Video of the incident, in which a man is seen kneeing one of the youths and an officer is seen shoving snow in a youth’s face while he’s on the ground being arrested, had previously been circulating on social media.

In a statement, the SPVQ said it had been made aware of videos concerning an intervention on the night of Nov. 26 to 27 and the behaviour of the officers in question “greatly concerns the management” of the police force.

“As soon as it was made aware, the SPVQ consulted the videos in question and took action in order to take all necessary measures,” the statement said. The police force is still trying to confirm the identity of the officers in the video and has not yet released any information about the incident.

On Saturday night, Quebec City Mayor Bruno Marchand said on Twitter that he was “troubled by the images” he had seen and vowed to shed light on these events.
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The incident also drew comments from provincial politicians.

“We need to shed light on the event,” Premier François Legault wrote on Twitter on Sunday.

“These images are very difficult to see,” tweeted Geneviève Guilbault, Quebec’s public security minister, adding that an internal investigation was underway to she light on the “troubling” situation.

“I thought the images were extremely troubling, extremely troubling,” Liberal leader Dominique Anglade said arriving for the closing day of the convention. “Honestly, I had to look at it twice, three times. I really don’t understand what happened.”

Anglade said the incident “raises a lot of questions,” which require an independent public inquiry into the incident.
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“The scenes I saw were absolutely unacceptable,” added Frantz Benjamin, the Liberal MNA for the Montreal riding of Viau. “I was happy to see the first reaction of the mayor of Quebec City. But beyond that we’re talking about the training and competency of police.”

Vimont Liberal MNA Jean Rouselle, a former police officer, said the video was “disturbing.” “I think there will need to be an in-depth investigation and reflection after,” said Rouselle.

“It’s always pretty unacceptable to see police using that level of force against someone who is already restrained on the ground,” added Jacques-Cartier MNA Greg Kelley. “I saw the mayor of Quebec commented this morning that he wants to get to the bottom of the incident. It all comes back to body cameras because we don’t know the full incident from start to finish.”
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Kelley noted he tabled a petition in 2018 in the legislature calling for more police body cameras.

“That helps protect citizens, that helps also protect police officers too,” Kelley said.

In a video posted to Facebook , professional boxer Eric Martel-Bahoéli said he trains one of the youths in the video, a minor, at Club de boxe Nordik.

The former Canadian heavyweight champion called the behaviour of one of the officers in the video “disgraceful and disgusting.”

“First of all, I was extremely surprised to see the youngster I know, and secondly I was shocked not to say extremely scandalized when I saw the gesture the police officer made, which was gratuitous,” Martel-Bahoeli said in an interview with The Canadian Press.
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Martel-Bahoeli said the police have no excuse for such behaviour.

“Clearly you can see he’s immobilized with his arm behind his back,” he said, adding he was still waiting for news on the young man’s condition. “To do that to a young person, so gratuitously, it has no place.”

Martel-Bahoéli said this kind of incident only serves to enflame tensions between police officers and the Black community — or Indigenous peoples.

“It’s not normal in 2021 when you look at Quebec City and you look at the police department, which is supposed to be representative of the population, and there are zero Black police officers in Quebec city,” he said.

Robert Pigeon, former chief of Quebec City’s police force, said in 2020 that the force had no people of colour among its officers.
More On This Topic

Pradel Content's account of the arrest was more believable than officer Michaël Boutin's was, a police ethics commission ruled.
Police ethics committee rules Laval officer racially profiled Black man
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Police ethics commission slams two Montreal officers for racial profiling

With files from Philip Authier of the Montreal Gazette.
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