Killing Of Black Teen In Brazil Ignites BLM Movement To End Police Brutality 2/21/2019

Many are comparing Pedro Gonzaga in Brazil to Eric Garner.

The killing of a Black teenager in Brazil, which has a long history of police violence against Afro-Brazilians, sparked a movement to protect Black lives. This comes against the backdrop of a new law-and-order Brazilian president coming to power with an anti-Black agenda.

Demonstrators rallied in five major cities in Brazil after the death on Feb. 14 of 19-year-old Pedro Gonzaga whom a supermarket security guard choked—fueling a Black Lives Matter movement, the Guardian reported.

It’s unclear exactly what led to the confrontation. The security guard reportedly used a sleeper hold on Gonzaga, who died of a heart attack at a hospital. A video showed at least one bystander pleading with the security guard to stop. “He is suffocating him,” a woman is heard saying on a video of the incident. Gonzaga was taken unconscious to the hospital.

Parallels to Eric Garner, the unarmed African-American man who died after a New York City cop used a chokehold to arrest him, were widely noted by the demonstrators.

“There has never been a Black Lives Matter [movement] in Brazil to compare to the United States, but this year I think it will happen more often because the black community is more and more united,” Rene Silva, a protest organizer in Rio, said.

In July 2018, Amnesty International, a global human rights organization, noted that police killings of Black youths in Brazil continue 25 years after the infamous Candelária massacre, in which eight young boys were killed by off-duty police officers in Rio de Janeiro. The incident sparked international outrage, yet little has changed more than two decades later.

“The struggle to protect Black Brazilian youths from police violence and deliver justice for the victims of the past remains as vital and relevant as ever,” Amnesty International said.

Unfortunately, things seem unlikely to change any time soon. In January, far-right politician Jair Bolsonaro, who was once on trial for racism, was sworn in as Brazil’s president. He has a long history of making hateful comments about women, the LGBT community and Afro-Brazilians.

In April 2018, Brazil’s attorney general charged him with inciting hatred and discrimination. In one instance, Bolsonaro insulted Black descendants of rebel African slaves called quilombolas and expressed regret about their legal protections. However, a court dismissed the lawsuit during his presidential campaign in September.

Before taking office, Bolsonaro signaled one of his policy targets: Brazil’s affirmative action program, according to Bloomberg News.

Jussie Smollett is ARRESTED after he ‘faked a racist attack and then lied to police about it’ 2/21/2019

NEW YORK, NY – NOVEMBER 14: Actor and activist Jussie Smollett visits Build Series to discuss the TV show ‘Empire’ and his work for charitable causes at Build Studio on November 14, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Gary Gershoff/WireImage)

Empire actor Jussie Smollett has been arrested in Chicago after he allegedly faked a racist attack and then lied to police about it.

Smollett has already vowed to fight charges of filing a fake police report, insisting the attack was genuine.

The 36-year-old claimed that two MAGA hat-wearing men attacked him as he walked home on January 29 while shouting racist and homophobic language.

He said the pair hit him, threw bleach in his face and placed a noose around his neck before running away.

Police have since arrested Nigerian brothers Ola and Abel Osundairo for committing the crime, but believe they were paid to do so by Smollett in a bizarre bid to boost his fame.

Officers are also thought to be investigating whether a letter which Smollett received a week before the attack was also faked.

The note had MAGA written on the front and contained cut-out magazine words reading ‘you will die black f*g’ along with a hand-drawn image of a man with a gun to his head.

It also contained a white powder that turned out to be crushed aspirin.

Police sources believe Smollett staged the racist attack when the letter failed to garner enough attention.

Trump Advocates Death Penalty For Drugs Dealers 2/21/2019

Drug dealers kill people, destroy families and might deserve the death penalty or life in prison for their crimes, President Trump says.

Trump, speaking at a rally Saturday in Pennsylvania for congressional candidate Rick Saccone, said he got the idea from the leaders of China and Singapore. The U.S. criminal justice system, Trump said, is too soft on drugs.

“You kill 5,000 people with drugs because you’re smuggling them in and you are making a lot of money and people are dying. And they don’t even put you in jail,” Trump said. “That’s why we have a problem, folks. I don’t think we should play games.”

Trump said he recently asked the president of Singapore if that country has a drug problem.

“He said ‘We have a zero tolerance policy. That means if we catch a drug dealer, death penalty,'” Trump said.

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Trump said he wasn’t sure whether the nation would be accepting of such a harsh penalty. But he said drug dealers destroy families.

“We can’t just keep setting up blue ribbon committees” that do nothing but “talk, talk, talk,” Trump said.

Trump has floated the idea before. Less than two weeks ago, Trump suggested “very strong” penalties to help address the nation’s growing problem with opioid addiction.

“Some countries have a very, very tough penalty — the ultimate penalty,” Trump said. “And, by the way, they have much less of a drug problem than we do.”

Last May, Trump congratulated Filipino President Rodrigo Duterte for a “great job” in his crackdown on drugs. Duterte has boasted about personally shooting and killing at least three crime suspects. Human rights groups and the United Nations have condemned Duterte’s vigilante-style campaign that has left thousands of suspected drug dealers and users dead.

Trump acknowledged Saturday that his idea might have dissenters.

“Probably you’ll have some people who say ‘Oh, that’s not nice,” Trump said. “But we have to do something.”

The Girls Who Fled To Syria: Groomed By The Islamic State 2/20/2019

In February 2015, three teenage schoolgirls left the comfort of their homes in East London and traveled to Syria to join the self-styled Islamic State (IS). Around 60 women and girls are thought to have made the same journey from Britain. The story of their disappearance dominated the UK press for weeks and the blame game inevitably began to hunt out whose fault it was. When the families of Amira Abase, Shamima Begum, and Kadiza Sultana found out that the police had been interviewing the trio about another girl from their school who had already joined IS, the case was picked up for investigation by the government. But soon certain sections of the press would turn on the families themselves. VICE News gained intimate access to the father of one girl, Amira, and joined him as he dealt with the press and parliament to find out what it’s like for those left behind by the tragic choices of their loved ones.

Cop’s Relationship With Racist Group Fuels Concerns About White Supremacists In Police Departments 2/20/2019

The apparently cozy relationship between an Oregon police lieutenant and the leader of a right-wing group has renewed unanswered questions about the infiltration of police departments by white supremacists.

On Tuesday, the Portland Police Commanding Officers Association filed a grievance against city officials for violating a contract provision that bars them from publicly reprimanding police supervisors, OregonLive.com reported.

Mayor Ted Wheeler called for an investigation last week into hundreds of text messages exchanged between Portland Police Lt. Jeffrey Niiya and Joey Gibson, the leader of the far-right group Patriot Prayer, which has organized violent demonstrations in the city.

Wheeler said he was disturbed by what he learned after reading an expose published by Willamette Week on Feb. 14.  “Community members have long expressed concerns about police bias during demonstrations. Incidents like this contribute to the distrust that so many people have about the Portland Police Bureau,” he said in a statement.

Historically, police departments were an instrument to enforce segregation and other racist policies. It’s no wonder that the FBI has warned about ongoing relationships between white supremacists and police departments

In October 2006, the FBI published a report titled “White Supremacist Infiltration of Law Enforcement,” in which the agency discussed the threat of white supremacist groups permeating police departments to hamper investigations and to recruit like-minded officers. It’s unclear whether police officials ever heeded the warning, PBS.org said a decade after the report was issued.

There is a lot of history at the root of the alliance between white supremacy and law enforcement. As part of its program to address racially biased law enforcement, the District of Columbia’s police department has sent officers to the African American History Museum to learn about that history.

“People who were supposed to serve and protect had played in the enforcement of discriminatory, racist and unjust policies and laws,” Police Chief Peter Newsham said standing outside the African American History Museum when the program was announced in 2018. “The museum includes very honest and poignant stories of the role that policing played in some of the historical injustices in our country.”

In Portland, Niiya’s texts and emails with Gibson show him sometimes telling Gibson about the movements of counter-protesters, going so far as to tell Gibson if officers would be on foot or bike at protests.

“It is imperative for law enforcement to remain objective and professional, and in my opinion, these text messages appear to cross several boundaries,” the mayor said.