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Colin Kaepernick Calls Out NFL’s Black Lives Matter ‘Propaganda’ On Opening Weekend

Athletes across the US have been protesting against racial inequality for the past month, but many are starting to wonder how genuine these organizations are in their message.

Police

Rochester Police Chief And Command Staff Resign Following Death Of Daniel Prude

Chief La’Ron Singletary and the entire Rochester Police command staff resigned this past Tuesday after public outrage over the death of Daniel Prude; a Black man who suffered from mental health issues who was killed after police put him in a “spit hood” and restrained him in March of this year. 

After 20 years on the force the chief announced his resignation with a news release from the department, which described his decision to depart as a retirement, which would allow him access to retirement packages. The other officers who resigned will also be able to draw from their pension and health benefits in the coming months. 

“The members of the Greater Rochester Community know my reputation and know what I stand for. The mischaracterization and the politicization of the actions that I took after being informed of Mr. Prude’s death is not based on facts, and is not what I stand for.”

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Deputy Chief Joseph Morabito and Commander Fabian Rivera also announced their retirements while Deputy Chief Mark Simmons and Commander Henry Favor, announced they would be moving to a lower ranking lieutenant status. The mayor of Rochester, Lovely Warren, suggested that there “may be a number of others that will decide to leave as well” in the coming weeks. 

Tameshay Prude is the sister of Daniel Prude who sued the city of Rochester along with some members of the police department who were present the evening Daniel was killed. Singletary is included in that list of officers being sued, and in the official legal complaint it claims that Prude died as a result of “unlawful force and the deliberate disregard for his medical needs.”

Other members of Prude’s family recently released police footage of the incident that occurred on March 23rd that took Prude’s life. The family claims that the footage clearly depicts officers using excessive and unnecessary force, and the autopsy that the family commissioned revealed the cause of death to be “complications of asphyxia in the setting of physical restraint.” The drug PCP was also listed as a contributing factor. 

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Joe Prude, Daniel’s brother, stated to the media that his brother had mental health and drug problems that were getting especially bad in March. On March 22nd, Joe called the police and Daniel was hospitalized for three hours while he received a mental health check. Around 3 in the morning on March 23rd, videos show officers finding Prude naked in the middle of a residential street. 

Prude is then seen complying with officers demands to get on the ground face down with his hands behind his back. While he was handcuffed, Prude is seen speaking to the officers in a “nonsensical manner,” according to reports. It’s at this point that officers put the spit hood on Prude after he supposedly claimed he had Covid-19. He then stopped breathing, prompting paramedics to try to revive him; he was put on life support and died a week later. 

Mayor Warren also announced on Tuesday that seven officers have been suspended in relation to the incident and Attorney General Letitia James has been empowered by a state grand jury to investigate Prude’s death. The protests that have been occuring in Rochester as of late have made headlines due to the public’s outrage after it was discovered that the department delayed releasing information about Prude’s detainment and death for months. The city council will also be reviewing the timeline of incidents that occurred that night, and will be analyzing the chiefs response as well.

Basketball going into Net

NBA Players Discuss Boycotting Playoffs Following Jacob Blake Shooting

Many players in the NBA are pausing their celebrations for making it into the next round of playoffs and are instead thinking of boycotting the games following the shooting of Jacob Blake and countless other black individuals in America at the hands of the police. 

Blake underwent surgery this past Tuesday, and his family updated the world by stating that he is alive, but now paralyzed from the waist down; doctors think it’s unlikely he’ll be able to regain motion. His shooting further fueled the hundreds of ‘Black Lives Matter’ protests that have been occuring every day in America since April following the murder of George Floyd. 

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Toronto Raptors point-guard Fred VanVleet recently confirmed ahead of his teams first game against the Boston Celtics that he and his fellow players had a private meeting where a boycott was brought up several times, sparking the interests of many players. 

“We’re the ones who always have to take a stand. Is it cool to wear Black Lives Matter on the backdrop or wear a T-shirt. Like what does that really mean? Is it really doing anything? I’m in a different place today just emotionally-speaking.”

The Raptors are still set to face-off against the Celtics this Thursday in Orlando. Marcus Smart, who is playing in his sixth season with the Celtics agrees with VanVleet, and recently told reporters that boycotting may be the only actual way they can make a difference. He claimed that they tried all the peaceful methods and “it’s not working, so obviously something has to be done.” Jaylen Brown who also plays on the Celtics said that everytime he looks at his Number 7 jersey all he sees “is a Black man being shot seven times.” 

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“The reality is the majority of African Americans have a history with the police. It comes with the plagues of systemic oppression, lack of education, economic opportunity, housing, et cetera. And most people of color, most minority communities, have history with the police.”

The Republican National Convention also kicked off this week, and Los Angeles Clippers head coach Doc Rivers agreed with the many NBA players on their boycott stance based on how the convention was going. Rivers recently spoke with the media and claimed that what really stood out to him was the “spewing of fear.” 

Rivers personally doesn’t believe the police force needs to be completely defunded, but dramatically reformed in the ways in which officers are trained and hired. The fact that the National Guard and individual milita’s appear whenever protestors peacefully demand that justice be served for the countless black lives lost to police brutality is a major issue, says Rivers. He claims that he believes in good cops and just wants all cops to protect black people like they do everyone else. 

“That video [Jacob Blakes shooting], if you watch that video, you don’t need to be Black to be outraged. You don’t need to be American and outraged. And how dare the Republicans talk about fear?! We’re the ones that need to be scared.” The NBA has not commented in regard to what actions they would take if players did decide to boycott the remaining playoff games.

Police Car

Two Killed And One Injured By Gunman At Jacob Blake Protest

Kenosha police are continuing to search for a suspect seen on video armed with a large AK-47-type firearm, after he killed two people and wounded a third late Tuesday evening. The violence broke out during the third night of protests in Kenosha in response to the shooting of 29-year-old Jacob Blake, a black man who was shot seven times at close range by city police officers. 

As of right now, Blake is alive, but partially paralyzed after the shooting. Directly after the incident videos of Blake getting shot began circulating on social media, sparking even more civil unrest within the Black Lives Matter protests that have been occurring every day nationwide since April. 

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At around 11:45 p.m. Tuesday night, officers responded to reports of shots fired and multiple gunshot victims near 63rd Street and Sheridan Road in Kenosha. When officers arrived they found that two people had been fatally shot and another had been seriously injured. The third victim luckily suffered no life-threatening injuries and is expected to make a relatively quick recovery, according to the Kenosha police department. 

Investigators are still looking into the exact events that transpired Tuesday evening, and are trying to piece together if the shooting was a result of a conflict that broke out between demonstrators and “self-styled militias guarding a gas station.” 

In videos circulating online, a chaotic scene at said gas station is seen unfolding, as a crowd seems to chase away a masked man carrying a large rifle, before another individual knocked him over and took his weapon to avoid any further injuries or potential fatalities. Another video showed a man with a serious arm wound thought to be the third victim who survived the shooting and another video showed a man with severe head injuries being crowded by a group of individuals trying to help him. Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers made a call for the protests to remain peaceful on Tuesday.

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“We cannot allow the cycle of systemic racism and injustice to continue. We also cannot continue to go down this path of damage and destruction.”

Many were quick to point out Evers hypocrisy after he declared a state of emergency and doubled the National Guard presence at the gatherings after making the above statement. Initially, there were 125 guards deployed in Kenosha and on Tuesday there were around 250. The civil unrest has led to 34 fires, and 30 businesses being completely destroyed as a result. 

Police still have said little about what actually happened with Jacob Blake, despite the circulating cell phone video that shows the officer shooting him multiple times while his kids watched from the backseat of his car. Blake’s family and the protesters in Kenosha are calling for the officer who shot Blake to be fired and arrested, and want all other officers present at the scene who did nothing to deescalate the situation to be fired. 

As of right now two Kenosha officers have been placed on administrative leave and are not being identified by the department. The shooting is currently being investigated by the Kenosha County District Attorney, Michael Graveley, and the Wisconsin Justice Department’s division of criminal investigation which will present a formal report of what transpired to Graveley’s office within the next 30 days. 

**UPDATE** 17-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse has been arrested and charged with the fatal Kenosha shooting

Basketball going through Net

Etan Thomas Wants Sport Team CEOs To Do More To Fight Against Racial Inequality

Etan Thomas played in the NBA from 2001 to 2011. Now, he’s a published poet, motivational speaker, but most importantly, an activist.

Military Silhouettes

Oregon Attorney General Calls Out Federal Agents ‘Blatant Abuse’ Towards Protesters

Protests against police brutality/in solidarity with Black Lives Matter have been occurring throughout the world ever since George Floyd’s untimely death at the hands of Minneapolis Police in May. While these protests have all remained relatively peaceful, there are countless examples of police/military forces coming in and acting extremely violent towards these protesters who are expressing their first amendment right. 

Portland, Oregon has now become a spot of experimentation for how violent these forces can get, as Trump and his administration have deployed militarized federal agents into the city to put a stop to the protests. The breaking point for Portland specifically occurred after police claimed that protesters broke into the Portland Police Association building and set it on fire. 

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In one video posted on Twitter this week, a reporter records as a man who is repeatedly beaten by multiple federal officers for simply standing still in the middle of the road. Tear gas and the sounds of explosions echo in the background, a setting that has become all too familiar at these protests that all remain peaceful until outside forces get involved.

“We have dozens, if not hundreds of federal troops descending upon our city. And … they are sharply escalating the situation. Their presence is actually leading to more violence and more vandalism,” one protester claimed. 

Even more disturbing in Portland, and other parts of the US as well, there have been multiple reports of federal agents driving through the city in unmarked vehicles, picking up protesters from the streets without any explanation or reading of Miranda rights. Many of these agents don’t even have professional credentials, and are reportedly just men dressed in camouflage with “police” patches on. 

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One protester recounted the gruesome scenes in Portland as she discussed the goals of these protests, and how much more passionate the crowds are becoming as a response to the government’s violent actions towards its own citizens.

“We can talk about defunding the police, but it’s more than that. We need to defund Ice [Immigration and Customs Enforcement], we need to demilitarize our border. There’s so much that’s wrapped up in this.”

On Sunday Trump responded by tweeting how he wants to help Portland and protecting “Federal property and our people” is his number one priority. However, the mayor of Portland even called out these federal officers and Trump, claiming that the “president has a complete misunderstanding of cause and effect.”

Governor Kate Brown also recently spoke out against the president’s actions within her state, claiming that Trump is guilty of a “blatant abuse of power by the federal government.” Oregon attorney general Ellen Rosenblum went as far as filing a lawsuit in federal court against the Department of Homeland Security, Marshals Service, Customs and Border Protection, and the Federal Protection Service. Within the lawsuit Rosenblum is making a similar claim to Brown’s, and is suing on the grounds of federal agents violating state citizen’s right to peacefully protest as well as their due process rights; as many citizens are continuously ripped off the streets and “arrested.” 

Edward Colston Statue

Edward Colston Statue Replaced With Sculpture Of Black Lives Matter Protester

Black Lives Matter protests have been occurring all across the world for the past couple of months in wake of the untimely death of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Elijah McClain, and countless other black individuals at the hands of the police. One of the newest aspects of these demonstrations calls for a removal of countless statues and monuments that honor historical figures who were either slave owners, political figures who made racist policies targeted at black people, etc. 

In Bristol, UK, protestors made headlines last month when they tore down a statue of Edward Colston, a slave trader from the 17th century. Once they tore down the statue they dumped it into the River Avon, a body of water Colston often used to bring black people into the UK to be traded as slaves. 

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Now, the city has decided to reckon their past mistake of honoring Colston and instead have mounted a new statue that honors the Black Lives Matter movement. Marc Quinn is the British artist who was hired to create the new statue, which now depicts a young woman standing with her fist raised in a Black Power salute in the same exact spot that Colston’s statue stood for decades. 

The statue is inspired specifically by Jen Reid, a Bristol resident whose photo has circulated social media within the past month after she climbed up onto the empty podium where Colston’s statue once stood and raised her fist. After Quinn contacted Reid he made a life-sized sculpture of her based off the photograph using black resign.

“It is such a powerful image, of a moment I felt had to be materialized, forever. I contacted Jen via social media to discuss the idea of the sculpture and she told me she wanted to collaborate.”

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Quinn stated that his friend was the one who initially showed him the photograph of Reid and right away he thought to himself “how incredible it would be to make a sculpture of her.” The sculpture is officially titled “A Surge of Power (Jen Reid) 2020,” and unfortunately will only be temporarily erected where it currently stands. 

Quinn didn’t receive permission to erect the statue there, however, if it sells before it’s forcibly removed, Quinn claims the money made will be donated among two charities that will be chosen by Reid and work to promote the inclusion of Black history in school curriculums. The goal of the statue is to “highlight the unacceptable problem of institutionalized and systemic racism” and force individuals with privilege to confront the ways in which they’ve fueled that fire. 

Reid also spoke with media outlets, claiming that her climbing onto the statue’s platform during the June demonstration was a complete impulse decision. The protest itself was on June 7th in Bristol and brought in an estimated 10,000 participants. She claimed she initially agreed to collaborate with Quinn in order to “keep the journey towards racial justice and equality moving.” 

“It’s about Black children seeing it up there. It’s something to feel proud of, to have a sense of belonging, because we actually do belong here and we’re not going anywhere.”

The trend of tearing down statues and petitioning for their removal based on the individuals depicted having extremely racist pasts is growing large all around the world. As protests continue throughout America and the rest of the world every single day, one of the goals will now be to replace them all with individuals who made real lasting impacts on the history of this country.

Congressman John Lewis’ 80 Year Fight For Racial Justice

John Lewis is a civil rights leader who’s served as a congressman for Georgia for 17-terms.

Statue of Theodore Roosevelt

Theodore Roosevelt Statue To Be Removed From The Museum Of Natural History Steps In NYC

The statue of President Theodore Roosevelt that’s currently erected in front of the American Museum of Natural History in New York City will be removed, according to a statement from New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s office.

The request to remove the statue actually came from the Museum of Natural History themselves, as the statue features America’s 26th president on a horse while a Native American and Black man stand on each side of the horse itself. The removal is also a general response to the multitude of confederate statues that are either being removed by protesters or requested to be removed by local officials in light of the current social justice issues America is enduring.

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“The American Museum of Natural History has asked to remove the Theodore Roosevelt statue because it explicitly depicts Black and Indigenous people as subjugated and racially inferior. The city supports the museum’s request. It is the right decision and the right time to remove this problematic statue,” de Blasio’s office said.

Executives working for the Museum of Natural History also released a statement on their website, claiming that while the statue was originally placed in front of the museum as a means of celebrating Roosevelt as “devoted naturalist” and American historian, the message behind the statue also “communicates a racial hierarchy that the museum and members of the public have long found disturbing.”

No specific date of removal has been set yet, but the museum is currently working with NYC officials on the proper protocol for removing and storing a historical statue that’s been a part of the museum’s property for so many years. The statue itself is titled the “Equestrian Statue of Theodore Roosevelt” and was initially commissioned to be made for the museum in 1925. It made its debut in 1940 as a part of New York’s larger memorial to Roosevelt, according to the museum.

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“To understand the statue, we must recognize our country’s enduring legacy of racial discrimination — as well as Roosevelt’s troubling views on race. We must also acknowledge the museum’s own imperfect history. Such an effort does not excuse the past but it can create a foundation for honest, respectful, open dialogue,” the museum continued in their statement.

As previously stated the museum’s decision was also inspired by the many historically confederate and racist statues currently being removed from parks and other state establishments in America. Just last week New Jersey’s Monmouth University voted to remove President Woodrow Wilson’s name from the campus’s Great Hall.

The University’s decision, like the museums, is a result of Wilson’s controversial reign as a politician. Wilson famously viewed racial segregation as a “benefit” to the country and its power structure. He also defended the enslavement of Black people by claiming that slaves in general were “happy and well-cared for.”

The protests and demand for true systemic change has been a fight since the dawn of the civil rights movement. Protesters want US officials to think about what we choose to memorialize and turn into monuments. When we honor things like the Vietnam War or 9/11, we often honor the victims of those tragic events in American history, so why aren’t there more monuments for the millions of slaves that were forced into this country? The Museum of Natural History agreed with this sentiment,and is hoping other historical institutions follow suit.

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Donald Trump Signs Executive Order On ‘Police-Friendly Reform’

Trump is expected to present an executive order to the White House that would create a national database of police misconduct, this way officers with a history of overly aggressive behavior can’t be transferred to another department to avoid public scrutiny.