June 11: “The cop in me wants to kick my own ass”
Officers begin playing the victim, continue abuse
Hey, Peter again. Thanks to everyone for the subscriptions and lovely feedback on the previous letter. Right now, I’m aiming to put new editions out 2-3 times a week, but don’t hold me to it just yet. I’m also working on including an interview or two next week with some folks that have valuable and under-reported perspectives on the current moment. Stay tuned. Also, check out the few songs (beats, really) I’ve scattered through here. And again, share this with friends and family if you can. Thank you.
I’ll keep things brief up here today, as there’s a lot to get to video-wise.
Media coverage is slowing down on moment-by-moment protest news. There are fewer videos of crowds marching across bridges and through city streets. The cycle has shifted ahead, looking at the small reforms being made in certain departments around the country, the growing pool of officers facing consequences for their abuse, the official statements from politicians, and the department and union heads growing increasingly enraged at the national spotlight searing their necks.
But even in the midst of “forward momentum”, protests continue around the country and world. Thousands of bicyclists took to NY streets yesterday evening in a procession that took minutes to pass. Here’s Boston yesterday, Dallas today, Portland, Phoenix, Juneau, Oakland, even Amsterdam, Norway. Everywhere.
It continues. Just as mighty, just as energized, just as unsatisfied. Don’t let the waning news coverage make it seem as if the movement is slowing down. Keep reading, watching and listening.
Videos & News
One of the most stunning videos of the week came from Mike O’Meara, president of the NY Police Benevolent Association, who railed against the media and government for “vilifying” his officers (who have committed, on camera, more than 50 acts of heinous abuse and violence against protestors, press and observers in the past week alone). “Stop treating us like animals and thugs and start treating us with some respect,” he said. “Our legislators abandoned us. The press is vilifying us. It’s disgusting.”
Police in Midland swarmed the front yard of Tye Anders, a black man who they accused of running a stop sign, with guns drawn. As he lied face down in the grass, his 90-year-old grandmother put herself between them and her grandson, and began praying for the officers. They knocked her to the ground. Once Tye was in the squad car, he was struck multiple times in the face by an officer, according to his attorney.
Myles Cosgrove, Jonathan Mattingly, and Brett Hankison, the three officers who murdered Breonna Taylor in her bed on March 13, have still not been fired or charged, and are being paid as usual.
Breonna Taylor’s incident report was also made public today by the Louisville Metro Police. It is shockingly blank. The most noticeable sections are the following: Forced Entry which is marked ‘No’ (they used a battering ram to enter her home), Injuries which is marked ‘None’ (they shot her eight times), and Bias Motivation which is marked ‘NONE (NO BIAS)’.
Videos have popped up from several states showing police calmly and non-violently allowing counter-protestors wielding weapons, Confederate flags and chanting “KKK is here to stay” to march without incident.
Thomas Lane, one of the officers charged in George Floyd’s death, posted his $1M bail and left jail.
A Manhattan NYPD lieutenant sent an email to his officers apologizing for kneeling alongside protestors, saying, “The cop in me wants to kick my own ass.”
A judge signed a temporary 14-day restraining order banning Portland police from using tear gas, writing, “There’s evidence that officers have violated the constitutional rights of peaceful protestors.”
The National Guard shot and killed David McAtee, a 53-year-old restaurant owner in Louisville, while not wearing body cameras. Authorities say McAtee fired a weapon first. Are we just taking their word on that?
Unicorn Riot, the alternative media source that’s been streaming live from Minneapolis protests since the beginning, reported that a National Guard soldier that was recently deployed to DC had previously marched in Charlottesville with violent white-supremacist group Vanguard America, and hung out in many racist chat rooms.
A former police officer in Smithtown harassed protestors while waving a Trump flag and yelling racist slurs.
Police in Cincinnati arrested a black business owner for a curfew violation while he was working, and after he had just received the OK from another officer.
An assistant police chief in Fargo resigned after he was caught infiltrating a protest group out of uniform and trying to flame tensions by cursing about cops.
A Virginia trooper resigned after texting his brother that he coughed on a Mennonite driver “so he would spread Corona to the wedding they were going too. lol.” This news came to light because the brother he texted is on trial for the murder of a Mennonite woman.
The LAPD officer who punched a homeless man in the head 19 times in April, Frank Hernandez, has finally been charged.
Police in Providence shot out the eye of a non-protestor as he was driving home.
Police in Camden arrested a reporter for asking why peaceful protestors were being arrested.
Police in Tampa shot a protestor in the back of the head, then opened fire on the nurse applying first aid.
Police in Fort Lauderdale shot a black woman in the face for sport.
Buffalo police dispatcher Bob Marth was suspended after he made the following comments on Facebook…
Chicago police napped and made popcorn inside a congressman’s closed office while nearby Englewood businesses were looted.
A Major in the Tulsa Police Department said, “All of the research says we’re shooting African-Americans about 24% less than we probably ought to be, based on the crimes being committed.”
Some photos from Seattle’s new “autonomous zone”, Free Capitol Hill, which shows it’s mostly a street festival-turned-commune, rather than the apocalyptic anarchist stronghold it’s been portrayed to be by the president.
If you made it this far down, thank you for reading and for not looking away. Please share this letter with the friends and family in your lives who need to see it. The links above, and many more, are reposted on my Twitter. Tomorrow is another day.