Sunday, June 7, 2020


From Jason Leopold and Anthony Cormier's 6-2-20 BuzzFeed article entitled "The DEA Has Been Given Permission To Investigate People Protesting George Floyd’s Death":

The Drug Enforcement Administration has been granted sweeping new authority to “conduct covert surveillance” and collect intelligence on people participating in protests over the police killing of George Floyd, according to a two-page memorandum obtained by BuzzFeed News.

From Dan Friedman's 6-3-20 Mother Jones article entitled "Trump Has Flooded DC With Law Enforcement Officers Who Won’t Identify Themselves":

The Trump administration, in the name of order, is claiming the power to use unidentified federal law enforcement personnel to police protests. On top of the dizzying array of federal law enforcement already out in force this week, these are some of the “federal assets” that Donald Trump said he was deploying in DC in the wake of large protests and substantial looting and property damage on Sunday night. These officers, if that’s what they are, have not only declined to identify themselves, but appear to be actively taking steps to hide their affiliation.

From Katie Bo Williams' 6-3-20 Defense One article entitled "Who Are They? Unmarked Security Forces in DC Spark Fear":  

The presence of unmarked federal law enforcement officers, dressed in paramilitary uniforms and wearing no identifying insignia, quickly spread among protesters marching through Washington, D.C.’s streets on Tuesday and Wednesday, causing concerned protesters and officials to ask: Who are they?

In some locations, security personnel refused to identify themselves to journalists and protesters who asked which agency sent them, answering only that they worked for the federal government. In other places, they identified themselves as working for the Department of Justice. Some carried rifles, or were equipped with body armor, riot shields, and pepper spray canisters.

Two such clad security members in Washington on Tuesday night identified themselves to Defense One as part of a specialized emergency response force run by the Bureau of Prisons — part of the Justice Department — to help maintain security at correctional facilities. They and others are part of what’s known as the bureau’s Special Operations Response Teams, or SORTs. NPR reported on Monday that Attorney General Bill Barr had ordered BOP to send its specialized riot response teams to assist with the local D.C. law enforcement with the civil unrest that has engulfed downtown Washington this week.

From John Boyle and Katie Wadington's 6-3-20 USA Today article entitled "Fact Check: Police Did Destroy a Medic Area During Protests in Asheville, North Carolina":

After protests in Asheville, North Carolina, social media posts that show law enforcement busting water bottles went viral. 
The incident Tuesday was caught on video and described by a medic volunteer.
The protest marked the third day of demonstrations in Asheville in response to the death of a black man, George Floyd, in the custody of Minneapolis police officers.
Video by the Citizen Times shows Asheville police officers in riot gear and holding shields forming a protective circle around officers stomping and stabbing water bottles. Other officers destroyed medical supplies such as bandages and saline solution.
Sean Miller, a UNC-Asheville student who is head of communication for the medical team, said the 10-12 medics present were all clearly marked as such and did not provoke police in any way.

From SBS News' 6-3-20 article entitled "Donald Trump's Press Secretary Says Police Who Attacked Australian Journalists 'Had Right to Defend Themselves'":

Two US police officers have been placed on administrative leave after a Seven Network journalist and cameraman were beaten at a rally outside the White House.
Amelia Brace was struck by a truncheon and Tim Myers punched and hit with a shield when US Park Police in riot gear aggressively cleared Washington DC's Lafayette Square of protesters on Monday ahead of a visit to a church by US President Donald Trump.
White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany, who compared Mr Trump's walk to the church to British Prime Minister Winston Churchill examining bomb damaged London in World War II, defended the actions of the police.
"As is consistent with our established practices and procedures, two US Park Police officers have been assigned to administrative duties, while an investigation takes place regarding the incident with the Australian Press," Park Police acting Chief Gregory Monahan said on Wednesday.

From Swiss Info's 6-5-20 article entitled "US Police Shoot Rubber Bullets at Swiss Journalists":

Three Swiss television journalists say that they were shot at with rubber bullets by police during a demonstration in the United States city of Minneapolis last weekend. Nobody was hurt. The incident is one of many reported press freedom violations amid widespread US protests.

The team made up of Gaspard Kühnexternal link from French-language public television RTS, Max Herber from the Italian-language service RSI and cameraman Jean-Pascal Azaïs was reporting on ongoing anti-racism demonstrations in the city following the death of African-American George Floyd at the hands of a police officer.

According to a report by German-language public television SRF on Fridayexternal link, the incident happened last Saturday, shortly after 8pm. Kühn told the SRF radio programme “Heute Morgen” that the team was trying to leave the area where protests were taking place. They approached the police, showing their press passes and calling out that they were journalists, asking for safe passage. Police told the men to “back up”, Kühn said, and then shot rubber bullets at them. 

From Michael Safi, Caelainn Barr, Niamh McIntyre, Pamela Duncan and Sam Cutler's 6-5-20 Guardian article entitled "'I'm Getting Shot': Attacks on Journalists Surge in US Protests":
Journalists working in conflict zones and authoritarian states have been warning for years: reporting is becoming more dangerous. What little protection a press pass or camera might have afforded in the past has meant less than ever on the battlefields of Syriain small-town India or on the streets of Hong Kong. This was the week that trend burst into view in US cities.
Reporters in Minneapolis, Louisville or the dozens of other places that witnessed protests and riots in the days after the alleged murder of George Floyd were not killed or prosecuted, as they increasingly are elsewhere in the world. But they were blinded, beaten, maced and arrested by police in numbers never before documented in the US.
Linda Tirado, a photojournalist, was shot with a “less-lethal” round while covering protests in Minneapolis on Saturday, permanently losing vision in her left eye. Michael Adams, a Vice News correspondent, lay down when ordered to do so by police, holding a press pass above his head. He was still pepper sprayed in the face. Kaitlin Rust was broadcasting on WAVE3 News in Kentucky when an officer appear to take aim before hitting her with pepper balls. “I’m getting shot,” she shouted live on air. Police later apologised.
These were just some of the 148 arrests or attacks on journalists in the US between 26 May and 2 June recorded by the Guardian in collaboration with Bellingcat. The figures are based on known incidents and the true total could be higher.

A New York State Supreme Court judge on Thursday rejected a petition seeking the immediate release of hundreds of protesters who had been held by the New York Police Department for more than 24 hours, ruling that extraordinary circumstances justify indefinite detention.

"It is a crisis within a crisis," wrote Justice James Burke in his ruling. "All writs are denied."

Burke's decision was met with alarm by New York lawmakers and activists who immediately condemned the ruling as an unlawful suspension of the right of habeas corpus, which requires the government to justify detention of a person before a court.
From Dan Mangan's 6-5-20 CNBC article entitled "George Floyd Case: Maryland Man Arrested on Charges of Attacking Group That Was Putting Up Protest Flyers on Bethesda Bike Path":

Police on Friday arrested a Maryland man on charges connected to an attack on a group of young adults posting flyers on a bike trail about protests related to George Floyd, the black man who died after a Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes.

Anthony Brennan III, a 60-year-old white man from Kensington, was charged with three counts of second-degree assault for the attack on a young man and two young women early Monday afternoon along a bike trail in Bethesda, Maryland, close to the Washington, D.C. border.

Also on Friday, the branding company Made to Order, which Brennan worked for according to information online, said that it fired an employee “for completely unacceptable behavior toward peaceful demonstrators.”

Brennan’s arrest came after the Maryland-Capital National Park Police received hundreds of tips about possible suspects on the heels of the release on social media of a dramatic video that captured an enraged bicyclist who ripped the flyers out of the hands of the three people who were posting flyers on the Capital Crescent Bike Trail.

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