Charlottesville: man charged with murder was pictured at neo-Nazi rally

from August 13, 2017 at 08:21AM http://bit.ly/2wUgkHw

The man accused of murdering a woman by deliberately driving into her during protests over a far right rally was photographed earlier in the day standing with the white supremacist, neo-Nazi group Vanguard America.

James Fields, 20, of Maumee, Ohio, allegedly killed Heather Heyer, aged 32, and injured 19 others when he rammed his car into a group peacefully protesting against a far right rally on Saturday in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Photographs from earlier that day appear to show Fields rallying with Vanguard America and carrying a shield bearing the group’s insignia. He also wears the white polo shirt and khaki pants which are the group’s uniform.

Vanguard America were a highly visible presence at the Unite the Right rally on Saturday, where they marched in military-style formation, and the torchlight rally the previous night on the University of Virginia campus. On the group’s Twitter account, and on social media accounts belonging to regional chapters, there was extensive promotion of the Unite the Right rally in the weeks leading up to the event.

The group’s motto, “blood and soil” was a popular chant at both events. It is derived from the Nazi slogan “blut und boden”, which links conceptions of racial purity with a particular national territory.


One dead after car rams into anti-fascist protesters in Charlottesville

Col Martin Kumer, the superintendent of Albemarle-Charlottesville regional jail, told the Guardian that Fields had been charged with second degree murder, three counts of malicious wounding and failing to stop at an accident that resulted in a death.

Witnesses said those hit by the car were peacefully protesting against the white supremacist rally and footage showed the vehicle crashing into another car, throwing people over the top of it. The incident with the car left 19 people injured, five critically.

Fields was one of four people who have been arrested over the violence on Saturday which also included fighting and skirmishing between far right protesters and counter-protesters.

Virginia police have not yet provided a motive for the attack with the vehicle but US attorneys and the Federal Bureau of Investigation have opened a civil rights investigation into the crash, an FBI field office said.

American Fascism

Vanguard America’s manifesto, American Fascism, details their desires for a white ethnostate, the restoration of strictly patriarchal families, and limiting the influence of “international Jews”.

Of Vanguard America, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) says the group “is particularly focused on recruiting young men and has engaged in unprecedented outreach efforts to attract students on American college campuses”. Its leader, military veteran Dillon Irizarry, has said “the future is the youth”.

During the 2016-2017 school year, chapters were active in posting flyers on college campuses in 10 states, from Arkansas to Oregon. On the group’s website, printable flyers bear slogans including “Beware the International Jew”, “Imagine a Muslim-Free America”, and “Fascism: The Next Step for America”.

According to the ADL, the group claims 200 members in 20 states, and has paramilitary tendencies. Members have open-carried firearms at events in open carry states.

Leader Izirarry claims the group started in California. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, the group split from “alt right” group American Vanguard. This group in turn arose from the neo-Nazi “Iron March” web forum. Other users of that forum have been involved in alleged violence: in May, Devon Arthurs, who had been active on the forum, was arrested for the murder of two roommates, who were also members of the forum.

On Twitter on Saturday night, Vanguard America denied that Fields was a member, despite his presence with the group, and his uniform dress, saying that “shields were freely handed out to anyone in attendance”.

In a previous tweet commenting on the rally, they wrote: “Our members carry a purpose within them that drives them to risk their life and wellbeing for the cause. Bystanders won’t understand.”

Federal authorities are also looking into a helicopter crash on Saturday that killed two Virginia state police officers aiding efforts to quell the clashes.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

Read more at: The Guardian http://bit.ly/2fCoJvV

The false equivalency of Trump blaming “many sides” in Charlottesville

from August 12, 2017 at 02:19PM http://bit.ly/2uS5pwG

A researcher explains why Trump seriously missed the mark.

After white supremacists held violent rallies in Charlottesville, Virginia, on Friday and Saturday, President Donald Trump had a chance to denounce the hate and bigotry that led to the current situation during a Saturday bill signing ceremony. Instead, he blamed “many sides.”

“We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides, on many sides,” Trump said.

The president’s false equivalency quickly drew a lot of criticism on Twitter. But Phillip Abita Goff, a researcher who focuses on race and policing issues at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, perhaps said it best in a series of tweets:

In short, there aren’t multiple morally equivalent sides here. There’s one side — white supremacists — that has long oppressed all other groups of people. Their protests aim to ensure that oppression continues, even if it means using violence. The people counterprotesting, on the other hand, are trying to end that oppression.

So while it’s true that both sides participated in the brawls seen throughout the protests, one side — in a country that supposedly values equality — has the much stronger case by actively working against the hate, bigotry, and violence that the white supremacist side is actively trying to perpetuate.

But Trump won’t acknowledge any of that. Asked to clarify his remarks, a White House official said, “The President was condemning hatred, bigotry and violence from all sources and all sides. There was violence between protesters and counter protesters today.” Trump is deliberately not calling out the white supremacists who led to the unrest in Charlottesville.

Read more at: Vox – All https://www.vox.com/

Berkeley City Council to vote on Emergency Measures to Address Homeless Crisis

where:             Old City Hall, 2100 Martin Luther King, Jr. Way, Berkeley, CA

when:              Tuesday, December 13, 7:00PM

 

On Friday, Dec. 2, the First They Came for the Homeless tent village was raided by the Berkeley Police Dept. for the ninth time in two months, under orders from the City Manager, Dee Williams-Ridley. As in all previous police raids, tents, sleeping bags and other gear essential to homeless survival were confiscated, and much was discarded by City workers.

 

First They Came for the Homeless is an advocacy group whose members are, for the most part, homeless, and who are demonstrating the resourcefulness and discipline needed to organize their own lives when emergency services are sorely deficient. Its members have established a peaceful, clean, drug and alcohol free collective in the face of cold temperatures, wind and rain, ongoing police raids, lack of basic resources, and duplicitous city officials.

Our collective entered into dialogues in good faith with the City of Berkeley, who have proved unable to meet the need of sheltering homeless people. A strong proposal from First They Came for the Homeless, Mayor Jesse Arreguin, and housed neighborhood supporters to create an intentional community with a sanctioned location for tents, water, garbage pick-up and sanitation will be considered by Berkeley’s City Council on Tuesday, Dec. 13.

(See Council Action Item 39 here:

http://www.cityofberkeley.info/Clerk/City_Council/2016/12_Dec/City_Council__12-13-2016_-_Regular_Meeting_Agenda.aspx)

 

But the Downtown Business Association, led by Asst. City Manager Jim Hynes, will attempt to pack the City Council meeting with opponents of these humane measures, in furtherance of a strategy of criminalizing homelessness, as if the disabled and traumatized members of our collective disdain viable housing options.

 

The City Manager has made false allegations about our conduct, which have been publicized without investigation by a local media outlet. She continues to order police raids, each of which requires extra shifts for approximately twenty BPD officers and ten city workers who are tasked with the confiscation and disposal of our property. We estimate each raid takes upwards of $20,000 out of the City’s budget.

 

First They Came for the Homeless:

https://www.facebook.com/firsttheycameforthehomeless/

http://www.berkeleyemergencyshelter.org/

 

Berkeley community groups supporting First They Came for the Homeless:

Tenants Together

Friends of Adeline

Consider The Homeless – http://www.considerthehomeless.org/

Human Welfare and Community Action Commission, CITY OF BERKELEY

Berkeley Rent Board

Cheryl Davila, Berkeley City Council, Dist. 2

Omarosa: ‘Every Critic, Every Detractor, Will Have to Bow Down to President Trump’

from September 22, 2016 at 09:44AM http://bit.ly/2cLswTo

Frontline has a big election special airing next week, and they released a clip focusing on what people in Donald Trump‘s orbit consider the night he decided to run.

What night was that? Why, the night President Obama mocked him at the White House Correspondents Dinner in 2011.

Omarosa and Roger Stone were both interviewed for the special, and Omarosa recalled how while watching Obama “hammering” Trump, she thought, “Oh, Barack Obama is starting something that I don’t know if he’ll be able to finish.”

Stone said Trump was motivated to run out of a desire to “show them all.”

And Omarosa gave this actual quote (I cannot emphasize enough that this is a real thing she said):

“Every critic, every detractor, will have to bow down to President Trump. It’s everyone who’s ever doubted Donald, who ever disagreed, who ever challenged him. It is the ultimate revenge to become the most powerful man in the universe.”

Watch the preview above, via Frontline.

[image via screengrab]

— —

Follow Josh Feldman on Twitter: @feldmaniac

Read more at: Mediaite http://bit.ly/2d8K9PD

Hunger Strike in San Francisco Puts a Spotlight on Police Brutality

from April 27, 2016 at 04:33PM http://bit.ly/26w8d1b

At the corner of 17th and Valencia Streets in San Francisco late Tuesday afternoon, a group of about 20 protesters remained camped outside the Mission Police Station, fueled by coconut water, vitamin supplements, and car honking in solidarity. Several were in the sixth day of a hunger strike. Their goal: The ouster of San Francisco Police Chief Greg Suhr and his boss, Mayor Ed Lee, over a string of police violence and alleged misconduct.

A stash of rations sat near the entrance of the station, where last week five people began the protest: Maria Cristina Gutierrez, Ilyich Sato, Sellassie Blackwell, Ike Peterson and Edwin Lindo. The demonstrators also set up three tents on a nearby corner. Gutierrez, a short, soft-spoken woman who runs a neighborhood preschool, has also at times escaped the cold evenings in her van parked across the street.

The group had pondered the decision to stop eating for several months, the organizers told me. What compelled them to go forward with the plan was the latest police shooting in San Francisco: In early April, a homeless man, Luis Gongora, allegedly brandished a knife at officers, who responded with fatal gunfire.

Ilyich Sato, who performs locally as a rapper, sat in a blue camping chair, musing about the mothers of two other recent victims of police shootings. "It’s the inspiration of the families," he said. "Alex Nieto’s mother. Gwendolyn Woods—Mario Woods’ mother. I think of them every day I’m out here."

Clad in a striped beanie and brown jacket, Edwin Lindo, an education consultant and community advocate who is currently running for the city supervisor seat covering the Mission district, said he hasn’t eaten since April 20. "My body is fragile," he said. "My mind and spirit is at a level I’ve never experienced in all my life."

The demonstrators’ sense of resolve flows from a series of police-involved shootings of black and Latino men. A recent investigation that uncovered alleged racist and homophobic texting by several SFPD officers has only added to the feelings of outrage and frustration. The ongoing texting scandal has forced George Gascon, the city’s district attorney and former police chief, to reassess 3,000 criminal cases for potential bias.

The group of demonstrators at Mission Police Station pointed to four recent cases:

Alejandro "Alex" Nieto: In March 2014, the 27-year-old was eating a burrito in Bernal Heights Park, when officers confronted him after receiving reports of a man with a gun who acted erratically. Gascon said that Nieto pointed a Taser gun at officers and refused to comply with their orders to show his hands. Multiple officers shot Nieto, killing him. Gascon declined to bring charges against the four officers involved. In a lawsuit brought by Nieto’s family, a federal civil jury found in favor of the officers.

Amilcar Perez-Lopez: In February 2015, the 20-year-old Guatemalan immigrant was shot and killed in a confrontation with two SFPD officers in the city’s Mission District. Police Chief Suhr told reporters at a press conference that Perez-Lopez had lunged at officers with a knife before he was shot. Witnesses later told the Guardian that police had tried to grab Perez-Lopez from behind, and after he struggled free and ran, they shot him in the back. An autopsy concluded that Perez-Lopez had indeed been shot six times from behind.

Mario Woods: In December 2015, multiple SFPD officers unleashed a hail of bullets on the 26-year-old Woods, who was a suspect in a stabbing case. Police had claimed that Woods threatened officers with a large kitchen knife, but a video released by the Woods family’s attorney raised doubts about that account. The footage, released on the same day the family filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the San Francisco police department, shows Woods pacing alongside a wall with his arms to his side before he was shot 20 times. Numerous shots struck him from behind, according to an autopsy report released in February. Police said Woods refused to comply with officers’ orders. At the time of his death, Woods had methamphetamine, marijuana, cough medicine, antidepressants, caffeine and nicotine in his system, according to the autopsy report. The city’s attorney argued that the cops had acted lawfully. The case is under investigation and prompted a federal probe of SFPD’s use-of-force policies.

Luis Gongora: On April 7, San Francisco police responded to a report of a man waving a large knife at a homeless encampment. Within 30 seconds of leaving their patrol vehicles, officers shouted "Get on the ground!" and "put that down," according to surveillance footage obtained by the San Francisco Chronicle. The officers then fired four beanbags and seven bullets at the 45-year-old Gongora. He was rushed to a nearby hospital, where he died. Officials told reporters at a news conference that Gongora had lunged at officers with a knife, though witnesses at the scene disputed that, according to the Chronicle.

Earlier on Tuesday, Mayor Lee told reporters at a press conference that he respected the demonstrators’ right to protest, and that he stood by his police chief. Suhr said he had no plans to resign.

By Tuesday evening, the group on hunger strike was joined by a much larger crowd: Roughly 200 packed on the street outside the Mission Police Station, trying to get into the monthly community meeting inside in which residents can raise issues with Captain Daniel Parea, who oversees the station.

As Parea began to speak, Lindo stood up and called for the meeting to be held outside, to accommodate the crowd. Parea refused, and people inside started chanting "Fire Greg Suhr!" Parea declared the meeting canceled and walked out.

Outside, the crowd circled several of the core demonstrators. Gutierrez offered some quiet pleas for justice. Selassie led chants of the names of Nieto, Woods, and others who were killed. Lindo said that if he were to be elected supervisor, any police misconduct that results in a settlement by the city would come out of the police department’s retirement fund. (Most such settlements ultimately fall on taxpayers.) "When they are not held accountable, you do things with impunity," Lindo said.

Now the block was cordoned off by police. A crowd of demonstrators spilled into the middle of the intersection at 17th and Valencia. Patrol cars and groups of officers stood at the ready nearby, although the situation remained peaceful.

"The police are going to be here regardless," Sato said. "It’s systemic police problems that have to stop, and we have to do what we can to prevent it."

Read more at: Politics | Mother Jones http://bit.ly/1tZ6E7y

Hunger Strike in San Francisco Puts a Spotlight on Police Brutality

from April 27, 2016 at 04:33PM http://bit.ly/26w8d1b

At the corner of 17th and Valencia Streets in San Francisco late Tuesday afternoon, a group of about 20 protesters remained camped outside the Mission Police Station, fueled by coconut water, vitamin supplements, and car honking in solidarity. Several were in the sixth day of a hunger strike. Their goal: The ouster of San Francisco Police Chief Greg Suhr and his boss, Mayor Ed Lee, over a string of police violence and alleged misconduct.

A stash of rations sat near the entrance of the station, where last week five people began the protest: Maria Cristina Gutierrez, Ilyich Sato, Sellassie Blackwell, Ike Peterson and Edwin Lindo. The demonstrators also set up three tents on a nearby corner. Gutierrez, a short, soft-spoken woman who runs a neighborhood preschool, has also at times escaped the cold evenings in her van parked across the street.

The group had pondered the decision to stop eating for several months, the organizers told me. What compelled them to go forward with the plan was the latest police shooting in San Francisco: In early April, a homeless man, Luis Gongora, allegedly brandished a knife at officers, who responded with fatal gunfire.

Ilyich Sato, who performs locally as a rapper, sat in a blue camping chair, musing about the mothers of two other recent victims of police shootings. "It’s the inspiration of the families," he said. "Alex Nieto’s mother. Gwendolyn Woods—Mario Woods’ mother. I think of them every day I’m out here."

Clad in a striped beanie and brown jacket, Edwin Lindo, an education consultant and community advocate who is currently running for the city supervisor seat covering the Mission district, said he hasn’t eaten since April 20. "My body is fragile," he said. "My mind and spirit is at a level I’ve never experienced in all my life."

The demonstrators’ sense of resolve flows from a series of police-involved shootings of black and Latino men. A recent investigation that uncovered alleged racist and homophobic texting by several SFPD officers has only added to the feelings of outrage and frustration. The ongoing texting scandal has forced George Gascon, the city’s district attorney and former police chief, to reassess 3,000 criminal cases for potential bias.

The group of demonstrators at Mission Police Station pointed to four recent cases:

Alejandro "Alex" Nieto: In March 2014, the 27-year-old was eating a burrito in Bernal Heights Park, when officers confronted him after receiving reports of a man with a gun who acted erratically. Gascon said that Nieto pointed a Taser gun at officers and refused to comply with their orders to show his hands. Multiple officers shot Nieto, killing him. Gascon declined to bring charges against the four officers involved. In a lawsuit brought by Nieto’s family, a federal civil jury found in favor of the officers.

Amilcar Perez-Lopez: In February 2015, the 20-year-old Guatemalan immigrant was shot and killed in a confrontation with two SFPD officers in the city’s Mission District. Police Chief Suhr told reporters at a press conference that Perez-Lopez had lunged at officers with a knife before he was shot. Witnesses later told the Guardian that police had tried to grab Perez-Lopez from behind, and after he struggled free and ran, they shot him in the back. An autopsy concluded that Perez-Lopez had indeed been shot six times from behind.

Mario Woods: In December 2015, multiple SFPD officers unleashed a hail of bullets on the 26-year-old Woods, who was a suspect in a stabbing case. Police had claimed that Woods threatened officers with a large kitchen knife, but a video released by the Woods family’s attorney raised doubts about that account. The footage, released on the same day the family filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the San Francisco police department, shows Woods pacing alongside a wall with his arms to his side before he was shot 20 times. Numerous shots struck him from behind, according to an autopsy report released in February. Police said Woods refused to comply with officers’ orders. At the time of his death, Woods had methamphetamine, marijuana, cough medicine, antidepressants, caffeine and nicotine in his system, according to the autopsy report. The city’s attorney argued that the cops had acted lawfully. The case is under investigation and prompted a federal probe of SFPD’s use-of-force policies.

Luis Gongora: On April 7, San Francisco police responded to a report of a man waving a large knife at a homeless encampment. Within 30 seconds of leaving their patrol vehicles, officers shouted "Get on the ground!" and "put that down," according to surveillance footage obtained by the San Francisco Chronicle. The officers then fired four beanbags and seven bullets at the 45-year-old Gongora. He was rushed to a nearby hospital, where he died. Officials told reporters at a news conference that Gongora had lunged at officers with a knife, though witnesses at the scene disputed that, according to the Chronicle.

Earlier on Tuesday, Mayor Lee told reporters at a press conference that he respected the demonstrators’ right to protest, and that he stood by his police chief. Suhr said he had no plans to resign.

By Tuesday evening, the group on hunger strike was joined by a much larger crowd: Roughly 200 packed on the street outside the Mission Police Station, trying to get into the monthly community meeting inside in which residents can raise issues with Captain Daniel Parea, who oversees the station.

As Parea began to speak, Lindo stood up and called for the meeting to be held outside, to accommodate the crowd. Parea refused, and people inside started chanting "Fire Greg Suhr!" Parea declared the meeting canceled and walked out.

Outside, the crowd circled several of the core demonstrators. Gutierrez offered some quiet pleas for justice. Selassie led chants of the names of Nieto, Woods, and others who were killed. Lindo said that if he were to be elected supervisor, any police misconduct that results in a settlement by the city would come out of the police department’s retirement fund. (Most such settlements ultimately fall on taxpayers.) "When they are not held accountable, you do things with impunity," Lindo said.

Now the block was cordoned off by police. A crowd of demonstrators spilled into the middle of the intersection at 17th and Valencia. Patrol cars and groups of officers stood at the ready nearby, although the situation remained peaceful.

"The police are going to be here regardless," Sato said. "It’s systemic police problems that have to stop, and we have to do what we can to prevent it."

Read more at: Politics | Mother Jones http://bit.ly/1tZ6E7y

New Fire Legislation Would Require More Communication from Landlords

from April 26, 2016 at 10:00PM http://bit.ly/1qWhcbe
http://Roberto%20Hernandez%20discusses%20fires.%20Photo%20by%20Lola%20M.%20Chavez
San Francisco Supervisors David Campos and Jane Kim on Tuesday introduced legislation intended to protect tenants in the event of a fire by requiring that landlords keep the city informed of safety standards within their buildings. The legislation would also require that all buildings be outfitted with smoke detectors and loud alarms. It would mandate that landlords file reports with the Department of Building Inspection to keep tenants informed of…

Read more at: MissionLocal http://bit.ly/1vD0Twd