|2016 shooting of Baton Rouge police officers|
|Location||Baton Rouge, Louisiana, United States|
|Date||July 17, 2016
8:42 a.m. – c. 8:48 a.m. (CDT)
|Target||Responding police officers|
|Deaths||4 (including the perpetrator)|
|Perpetrator||Gavin Eugene Long|
|Motive||Recent killings of blacks by police|
On July 17, 2016, Gavin Eugene Long, from Kansas City, Missouri, shot sixBaton Rouge-area police officers. Three of the officers died and three more were hospitalized, one critically. Of the officers that died, two were members of the Baton Rouge Police Department; the third worked for the East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s Office. Long, who associated himself with organizations linked to black separatism and the sovereign citizen movement, died in a shootout with police at the scene. Police arrested and questioned two other suspects.
The shooting occurred during a period of unrest in Baton Rouge, though it is unclear if the events are related. Baton Rouge was experiencing ongoing protests following the officer-involved killing of Alton Sterling less than two weeks before on July 5. Within the last week, four suspects were arrested in connection with an alleged plot to kill Baton Rouge police officers, which was described as a credible threat by law enforcement officials. On July 7, the FBI‘s New Orleans field office issued a warning about “threats to law enforcement and potential threats to the safety of the general public” stemming from the death of Sterling.
Long arrived at Hammond Aire Plaza, a shopping complex on Airline Highway, sometime before 8:40 a.m. CT and began scouting the area in search of police officers. He first spotted a police patrol vehicle parked at a B-Quik convenience store; it belonged to a sheriff’s deputy who was working security in the area. Long parked his vehicle behind an adjacent building, got out, and prepared to shoot, but found that the vehicle was empty. He then drove north and noticed a police officer washing his vehicle a short distance away, but the officer left before Long could get close. By 8:40 CT, police received a call about a suspicious person carrying a rifle near the plaza.
When officers arrived at the scene, they found Long clad in black and wearing a face mask behind the Hair Crown Beauty Supply store on the 9600 block of Airline Highway. Shots were reportedly fired two minutes later. Another two minutes afterwards, there were reports that officers were down. According to investigators, Long fired upon the first responding officers, fatally wounding three. One of the officers was killed trying to help another. Long shot another police officer and then moved to another part of the complex, where he shot two sheriff’s deputies. At 8:46 CT, he was reported to be near Benny’s Car Wash. Officers fired on Long from behind the cover of patrol cars. Eventually, a SWAT team responded to the scene; one member took aim at Long from about 100 yards away and killed him at about 8:48 CT, without having a clearline of sight. Louisiana State Police said Long was the only person involved in the shooting. The entire shooting lasted for less than ten minutes.
Police recovered from the crime scene an IWI Tavor SAR 5.56-caliber rifle and a Springfield XD 9mm pistol. A third weapon—a Stag Arms M4-type 5.56-caliber semi-automatic rifle—was recovered from Long’s rental Malibu. Officials believed that Long had intentions of attacking the Baton Rouge police headquarters and continuing to kill officers.
|Gavin Eugene Long|
|Born||July 17, 1987
Kansas City, Missouri, U.S.
|Died||July 17, 2016 (aged 29)
Baton Rouge, Louisiana, U.S.
|Cause of death||Multiple gunshots by police|
|Other names||Cosmo Ausar Setepenra|
|Education||Central Texas College
Clark Atlanta University
University of Alabama
Gavin Eugene Long (July 17, 1987 – July 17, 2016) was identified as the shooter. He was a resident of Kansas City, Missouri. In May 2015, he changed his legal name to Cosmo Ausar Setepenra. Although he was said to have acted alone in the shooting, police arrested and questioned two other people in Addis as part of the investigation. Long was believed to have traveled more than 700 miles (1,100 km) from his hometown to Baton Rouge using a stolen rental car. He was also believed to have been in Baton Rouge for “several days” prior to the shooting.
Long served in the U.S. Marine Corps as a data network specialist from August 22, 2005, to August 1, 2010. He was honorably discharged with the rank of sergeant. During his military service, he was deployed toIraq from June 2008 to January 2009. He was also assigned to units in San Diego, California, and Okinawa, Japan. Long was awarded the Good Conduct Medal, along with an Iraq Campaign Medal, a National Defense Service Medal, a Navy Unit Commendation, and others.
According to his LinkedIn profile, Long graduated from Central Texas College in Killeen in 2011 with an associate degree, and also studied at Clark Atlanta University, a historically black university, from 2012 to 2013. In addition, he spent a semester at the University of Alabama in the spring of 2012, with his name making it to the Dean’s List as a general business major. According to local court records, Long had no criminal record and was divorced.
Long was identified as a “black separatist” by a U.S. law enforcement official. Social media posts indicated that he was an active member of the anti-government New Freedom Group. According to CNN, a card was found on Long’s body, suggesting that he was a member of the Washitaw Nation, a group of African Americans associated with the sovereign citizen movement that originated in Richwood. In addition to changing his legal name, he claimed his nationality was “United Washitaw de Dugdahmoundyah Mu’ur”,[a] and expressed his support for the Moorish Science Temple of America, another African American organization associated with the sovereign citizen movement. He was also a member of a group dedicated to helping “Targeted Individuals” suffering from “remote brain experimentation, remote neural monitoring of an entire humans body.”
In a “rambling” series of YouTube clips, Long claimed to be a former Nation of Islam member and referred to Alton Sterling, a black man killed by Baton Rouge police officers on July 5, in online videos. Long operated his YouTube channel under his new legal name, Cosmo Setepenra, making references to oppression against blacks and police protests. At one point less than two weeks before committing the shooting, Long called the shootings of five Dallas police officers an act of “justice”. In one video, he said, “One hundred percent of revolutions… have been successful through fighting back through bloodshed.” In another, he said the act of peaceful protesting was a futile method based on emotion and was easily forgettable. Long also maintained a personal website in which he described himself as a “freedom strategist, mental game coach, nutritionist, author and spiritual advisor.” The website contained dozens of additional videos andpodcasts.
Long wrote and self-published (also under the name “Cosmo Setepenra”) three books that appeared on Amazon.com in October and November 2015. The books were described by The Los Angeles Times as “bizarre” works featuring a “combination of New Age-style jargon, pseudoscience, motivational bromides, health tips and racial theory.” In the books, Long harshly criticized Western medicine, denied the germ theory of disease, and asserted that “[t]he abundance ofMelanin in Black humans produces a superior organism both mentally and physically.” The books were pulled from Amazon.com after the shooting. According to one of his books, he spent two years in several African countries studying their histories and cultures.
Immediately after the shooting, injured officers were transported to Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center, which said it received five patients from the shooting, three of whom later died. Of the surviving two, one was in critical conditionand the other in fair condition. The third injured officer was transported to Baton Rouge General Medical Center and treated for non-life-threatening injuries.
The officers killed were identified as:
- Deputy Brad Garafola, 45, who had been with the East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s Office since 1992.
- Officer Matthew Gerald, 41, a former Marine who had been with the Baton Rouge Police Department for four months.
- Officer Montrell Jackson, 32, who had been with the department since 2006.
President Barack Obama condemned the shooting in a statement and added, “These are attacks on public servants, on the rule of law, and on civilized society, and they have to stop.” Later that day, he ordered for all flags in the U.S. to be flown at half-staff in honor of the victims.
Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards released a statement immediately after the shooting, saying, “This is an unspeakable and unjustified attack on all of us at a time when we need unity and healing.” On the day after, he called the shooting “pure evil” and “a diabolical attack on the very fabric of society.”
(excerpt: Twilight Language)
Readers of The Copycat Effect: How the Media and Popular Culture Trigger the Mayhem in Tomorrow’s Headlines will not be surprised by what we have seen in the wake of the Dallas police killings. There is no left or right in this insight. Only the harsh reality that copycats exist.
Please note the military background, mirroring that of Micah X. Johnson’s own record, for several of these gunmen. Does one hear faint echoes of Manchurian Candidates in these incidents? Vulnerable ex-military men who have been triggered by recent events?
In Valdosta*, Georgia, a man opened fire Friday, July 8, 2016, on a south Georgia police officer investigating a possible vehicle break-in outside an apartment complex, sparking a shootout in which both the officer and suspect were wounded but expected to survive.
The shooting in Valdosta, just north of the Georgia-Florida state line, happened hours after five police officers were killed Thursday night [July 7, 2016] during an ambush in Dallas. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation said there was no immediate evidence the shootings were related.
Officer Randall Hancock was shot multiple times as he responded to a report of vehicle damage, possibly caused by a break-in, outside the Three Oaks Apartments just after 8 a.m. Friday, Valdosta Police Chief Brian Childress told a news conference.
“The officer called out on the radio screaming for assistance,” Childress said, and officers from multiple law enforcement agencies swarmed the apartment complex.
The gunman [Stephen Paul Beck, 22] who fired on Hancock was not immediately identified. Both Childress and Dutton identified the suspect as an Asian male. The officer is white, according to Valdosta city spokeswoman Sementha Mathews.
Dutton said one gunshot hit the officer in the abdomen, just below his protective vest. Other shots hit Hancock’s vest. The officer returned fire and wounded the suspect.
Hancock underwent surgery at a local hospital and was stable Friday as he rested with his family by his side, Childress said. The suspect was also considered stable, he said, and was being taken to a hospital in Florida. Source.
Valdosta was incorporated on December 7, 1860, at which time the county government was moved from nearby Troupville. Citizens of Troupville relocated when the Gulf and Atlantic Railroad was built four miles (about 6 km) away. On July 4, 1860, the engine known as Satilla Number Three pulled the first train into Valdosta on the Gulf and Atlantic Railway.
Troupville, now virtually abandoned, had been named after Governor George Troup, for whom Troup County, Georgia, was also named. Valdosta was named after Troup’s estate, Val d’Osta (occasionally the Valdosta spelling was used as well), which itself was named after the Valle d’Aosta in Italy. The name Aosta (Latin: Augusta), refers to Emperor Augustus. Thus, the name Valdosta can be interpreted literally as meaning “Valley of Augustus’ City”. Originally, a long-standing rumor held that the city’s name meant “vale of beauty.” The land around Valdosta is flat.
After the American Civil War, over one hundred African Americans, families of farmers, craftsmen, and laborers, emigrated from Lowndes County to Arithington, Liberia, Africa, in 1871 and 1872, looking for a better life. This was made possible with the support of the American Colonization Society. The first group, which left in 1871, was led by Jefferson Bracewell, and the second group was led by Aaron Miller. Source.
The St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office has charged a 31-year old man in connection with the shooting of a Ballwin police officer.
The suspect, identified as Antonio Taylor, was charged with first-degree assault of a law enforcement officer, armed criminal action, and being a felon in possession of a weapon.
The incident happened around 11 a.m. [July 8, 2016] in the 300 block of New Ballwin Road. The officer, a 9-year police veteran, pulled over a vehicle on a routine traffic stop. As the officer returned to his squad car, the suspect exited his car and shot the officer.
St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Bob McCulloch said the suspect walked up to the officer, who by this time was on the ground, and shot him again.
The suspect fled the scene before leaving his car abandoned. He was apprehended after a short foot pursuit.
The officer was rushed to a local hospital for treatment. He’d been with the Ballwin Police Department approximately 2 years prior to the shooting.
Taylor, who was arrested about 30 minutes after the shooting, remains in custody on $500,000 bond. Source.
In Wisconsin, 43-year-old Byron Cowan was arrested and accused of making threats against white law enforcement officers on social media, police said in a statement [July 8, 2016].
“Be first to shoot first. I encourage every black man in America to strap up. It is clear. I encourage every white officer to kiss there love ones goodbye,” Cowan posted on social media, according to the Racine Police Department. Source.
Another officer was fired upon by a motorist north of Atlanta. Source.
Near Bristol, Tennessee, there were sniper incidents that directly proceeded the Dallas events that had several of the same elements.
Hours before a black Army veteran shot 12 officers at a Black Lives Matter protest in Dallas, another former Army soldier was accused of shooting indiscriminately at passing cars and police on a Tennessee highway.
And like the Dallas sniper, Lakeem Keon Scott said he was motivated to act in response to police violence against African-Americans, authorities said Friday.
One woman died and three others, including a police officer, were wounded Thursday morning [July 7, 2016] in the Tennessee rampage, one of several spasms of violence across the country this week amid boiling tensions over policing and race.
Civilians also have been caught in the fray. The woman who died in Tennessee was a newspaper carrier, driving down the highway.
The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation announced that its preliminary investigation revealed the suspect, a 37-year-old black former soldier, was troubled by the other incidents. All those shot were white, police said….Scott — allegedly armed with an assault rifle, a pistol and a large amount of ammunition — was wounded in a shootout with police early Thursday and remains hospitalized in serious but stable condition….Newspaper carrier Jennifer Rooney, a 44-year-old mother of two, was struck by a bullet as she drove to pick up papers for the morning delivery. The Bristol Herald-Courier reported that her car careened over a median and crashed through a chain link fence. Source.
Scott served from January 1998 to June 1999. He was a private in the 5th Battalion 5th Air Defense Artillery Regiment, stationed in South Korea.
(excerpt: Twilight Language)
It has been a devastating night in Dallas. Five law enforcement officers have been killed due to sniper fire. Twelve officers were shot, thus leaving 7 wounded.
The individual who was in the 45 minute El Centro College garage standoff with police was reported to have said, “The End is coming.”
Reports broke at roughly 10pm ET tonight that shots were fired at a Black Lives Matter demonstration in Dallas, where people gathered to protest the recent police killings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile. Multiple police officers and peaceful protesters were shot from “elevated positions,” with series of controlled bursts, 6 shots at a time, audible on footage. Dallas police report that 2 snipers opened fire and shot 11 officers. Four officers are reported to have died from their injuries. At least one person who was not a police officer is said to have been injured.
Two sniper suspects have been apprehended, Dallas Police reported around 1AM ET. There may be more suspects.
The Dallas Police Chief says some of officers were shot in the back, and that the suspects “intended to injure and kill as many law officers as they could.” Police say the suspects threatened to place a bomb in downtown Dallas.
Much can be said of the possible copycat effect this may cause, but more details need to be gathered.
The shooter was identified as Micah Xavier Johnson.
An Army veteran “upset about Black Lives Matter” and “recent police shootings” whoopened fire Thursday night in Dallas in an attack on police officers has been identified as Micah Xavier Johnson, the Los Angeles Times and CBS News report.
Five police officers were killed and seven were wounded, officials said. Two civilians were also wounded in the shootings. Johnson, 25, was killed when a police robot detonated a bomb near him following a standoff that lasted several hours, Police Chief David Brown said Friday at a press conference.
Micah Xavier Johnson, 25,…told police he was “not affiliated with any groups,” and he said he “did this alone,” the chief said.
Sources told the Los Angeles Times that Johnson has no ties to terror groups and no known criminal history. He has lived in the Dallas area and has family members living in Mesquite, Texas, east of Dallas, the newspaper reports, citing federal law enforcement sources.
July 7, 2016 translates as 7.7. (1+6 =) 7.
(excerpt: Twilight Language)
Sources repeating the Farmer’s Almanac say it was the Algonquin First Peoples, but I find the Anishnaabe (Ojibwe) and the Sioux are the peoples who call the June full moon, “The Strawberry Moon.” In Europe, it is referred to as “The Full Rose Moon.”
The June full moon is symbolically “red” because that is when certain crops are seen, not because the June moon is scarlet in the sky. But this twilight language in the name is significant.
In the Northern Hemisphere, 2016’s full moon happens to fall on the same day as the first day of summer, the summer solstice.
Strawberries are red. Roses are red. This year, the June full moon, traditionally said to be red, will become full at dawn. A red dawn. Readers of this Twilight Language blog know that the hidden message of “red dawn” is about pivotal violent situations.
For example, in July 2012, the Aurora, Colorado shooting was a “red dawn,” a milestone awakening event. Colorado means “red,” and Aurora means “dawn.” Later in December 2012, in Newtown/Sandy Hook, Connecticut, that “red dawn” event included the actual killing of a Dawn.
In 2016, the June Full Strawberry Moon is at its peak fullness near dawn, at 7:02 AM Eastern Daylight Savings Time, on Monday, June 20. The exact time for the solstice is 6:34 PM EDT. Almost three hours later, the full moon will rise in the East on Monday at 8:10 PM EDT.
Will mass shootings, assassinations, mental health outbursts, suicides, murder-suicides, volcanoes, and earthquakes visit some people on June 20-21, 2016?
One astrologer, Timothy Halloran of the Rasa Lila Healing network, said on 6.16.16, that the alignment of the full moon and solstice will bring about “madness, hallucinations and delusions of grandeur.”
Also, Halloran is reported to have said: “People do go on shooting sprees.”
The video [is] called Full Moon in Sagittarius, June 16 2016 – Psychic Warfare and Crusading.
In it he said: “Words such as enlightenment and illumination generally are perceived as being wonderful and pleasant things that we should strive for and desire to achieve.
“Yet the light is piercing, and it is hot, and it can be unbearable at times, particularly for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere during the Summer Solstice, when the Sun scorches down and we have our longest day of the year.
“Coinciding with this celestial event (a day before) we have a Full Moon at the final degree of Sagittarius square to Chiron.
“He said at the time Mercury would activate a ‘mutable grand cross between Saturn, Jupiter and a stationed retrograde Neptune’.
He said: “To Say that this is a stable time to be awake and aware would be a lie.
“The transitioning occurring now is like a giant wave crashing onto the shore of our own perspectives and beliefs, scattering debris everywhere, and in so doing also ripping a hole through the veil; Exposing a reality we never knew existed underneath.”
In a rambling 40-minute video, Mr Halloran said: “We are in the closing square. This is when this s***t starts to fall apart.
“This is what is may going on with this full moon in Sagittarius, the ripping away of veils “This is a critical time energetically. This is a time when people go off the deep end, people lose control.” More, read here.
Note the trend of these Wikipedia mentioned events for June 20th:
1248 – The University of Oxford receives its Royal charter.
1631 – The sack of Baltimore: The Irish village of Baltimore is attacked by Algerian pirates.
1652 – Tarhoncu Ahmed Pasha is appointed Grand Vizier of the Ottoman Empire.
1685 – Monmouth Rebellion: James Scott, 1st Duke of Monmouth declares himself King of England at Bridgwater.
1756 – A British garrison is imprisoned in the Black Hole of Calcutta.
1782 – The U.S. Congress adopts the Great Seal of the United States. [Illuminati?]
1787 – Oliver Ellsworth moves at the Federal Convention to call the government the ‘United States’.
1862 – Barbu Catargiu, the Prime Minister of Romania, is assassinated.
1945 – The United States Secretary of State approves the transfer of Wernher von Braun and his team of Nazi rocket scientists to America. [Operation Paperclip]
1963 – The so-called “red telephone” link is established between the Soviet Union and the United States following the Cuban Missile Crisis.
1990 – The 7.4 Mw Manjil–Rudbar earthquake affects northern Iran with a maximum Mercalli intensity of X (Extreme), killing 35,000–50,000, and injuring 60,000–105,000.
1991 – The German Bundestag votes to move the capital from Bonn back to Berlin.
2001 – Andrea Yates, in an attempt to save her young children from Satan, drowns all five of them in a bathtub in Houston, Texas.
|Formation||July 13, 2013|
Black Lives Matter (BLM) is an activist movement, originating in the African-American community, that campaigns against violence toward black people. BLM regularly organizes protests around the deaths of black people in killings by law enforcement officers, and broader issues of racial profiling, police brutality, and racial inequality in the United States criminal justice system.
In 2013, the movement began with the use of the hashtag #BlackLivesMatteron social media, after the acquittal of George Zimmerman in the shooting death of African-American teen Trayvon Martin. Black Lives Matter became nationally recognized for its street demonstrations following the 2014 deaths of two African Americans: Michael Brown, resulting in protests and unrest in Ferguson, and Eric Garner in New York City.
Since the Ferguson protests, participants in the movement have demonstrated against the deaths of numerous other African Americans by police actions or while in police custody, including those of Tamir Rice, Eric Harris, Walter Scott,Jonathan Ferrell, Sandra Bland, Samuel DuBose, and Freddie Gray, which led to protests and rioting in Baltimore. In the summer of 2015, Black Lives Matter began to publicly challenge politicians—including politicians in the 2016 United States presidential election—to state their positions on BLM issues. The overall Black Lives Matter movement, however, is a decentralized network and has no formal hierarchy or structure.
In the summer of 2013, after George Zimmerman‘s acquittal for the shooting deathof Trayvon Martin, the movement began with the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter. The movement was co-founded by three black community organizers: Alicia Garza,Patrisse Cullors, and Opal Tometi.
BLM claims inspiration from the African-American Civil Rights Movement, the Black Power movement, the 1980s Black feminist movement, Pan-Africanism, Anti-Apartheid Movement, Hip hop, LGBTQ social movements and Occupy Wall Street.
Garza, Cullors and Tometi met through “Black Organizing for Leadership & Dignity” (BOLD), a national organization that trains community organizers. They began to question how they were going to respond to the devaluation of black lives after Zimmerman’s acquittal. Garza wrote a Facebook post titled “A Love Note to Black People” in which she wrote: “Our Lives Matter, Black Lives Matter”. Cullors replied: “#BlackLivesMatter”. Tometi then added her support, and Black Lives Matter was born as an online campaign.
In August 2014, BLM members organized their first in-person national protest in the form of a “Black Lives Matter Freedom Ride” to Ferguson, Missouri after theshooting of Michael Brown. More than five hundred members descended upon Ferguson to participate in non-violent demonstrations. Of the many groups that descended on Ferguson, Black Lives Matter emerged from Ferguson as one of the best organized and most visible groups, becoming nationally recognized as symbolic of the emerging movement. Since August 2014, Black Lives Matter has organized more than one thousand protest demonstrations. On Black Friday in November, Black Lives Matter staged demonstrations at stores and malls across the United States.
In 2015, after the death of Freddie Gray in Baltimore, Maryland, black activists around the world modeled efforts for reform on Black Lives Matter and the Arab Spring. This international movement has been referred to as the “Black Spring”.Connections have also been forged with parallel international efforts such as the Dalit rights movement. Expanding beyond street protests, BLM has expanded to activism, such as the 2015 University of Missouri protests, on American college campuses.
Currently, there are at least twenty-three Black Lives Matter chapters in the U.S., Canada, and Ghana. Other Black Lives Matter leaders include: DeRay Mckesson, Shaun King, Marissa Johnson, Nekima Levy-Pounds, and Johnetta Elzie.
Black Lives Matter originally used social media—including hashtag activism—to reach thousands of people rapidly. Since then, Black Lives Matters has embraced a diversity of tactics. BLM generally engages in direct action tactics that make people uncomfortable enough that they must address the issue.
BLM has been known to build power through protest. BLM has held rallies and marches, including one for the death of Corey Jones in Palm Beach, Florida.BLM has also staged die-ins and held one during the 2015 Twin Cities Marathon.
Political slogans used during demonstrations include the eponymous “Black Lives Matter”, “Hands up, don’t shoot” (a later discredited reference attributed to Michael Brown), “I can’t breathe” (referring to Eric Garner), “White silence is violence”, “No justice, no peace”, and “Is my son next?”, among others.
Most of the protesters actively distinguish themselves from the older generation of black leadership, such as Al Sharpton, by their aversion to middle-class traditions such as church involvement, Democratic Party loyalty, and respectability politics.
It is important to note that music is an important repertoire of contention for the black lives matter movement. Rappers such as Kendrick Lamar have used music to promote structural conduciveness necessary for a social movement to maintain momentum according to value added theory. Songs such as “Alright” have been used as a rallying call. Beyoncé‘s most recent production Lemonade featured Mike Brown and Trayvon Martin’s mothers crying while holding the last images they have of their sons, in effect propelling the issue of police brutality to a national stage. The video for her single “Formation” (2016) celebrates southern black culture and features a line of policemen holding up their hands while a hooded black boy dances in front of them. The video also features a shot of graffiti on a wall reading “stop shooting us”.
Memes are also important in garnering support for and against the Black Lives Matter new social movement. Information communication technologies such as Facebook and Twitter spread memes and are important tools for garnering web support in hopes of producing a spillover effect into the offline world. The use of ICTs facilitate the spread of the message “All Lives Matter” as a response to the Black Lives Matter hashtag as well as the “Blue Lives Matter” hashtag as a response to Beyonce’s halftime performance speaking out against police brutality.
Black Lives Matter incorporates those traditionally on the margins of black freedom movements. The organization’s website, for instance, states that Black Lives Matter is “a unique contribution that goes beyond extrajudicial killings of black people by police and vigilantes” and, embracing intersectionality, that “Black Lives Matter affirms the lives of black queer and trans folks, disabled folks, blackundocumented folks, folks with records, women and all black lives along the gender spectrum.”
Founder Alicia Garza summed up the philosophy behind Black Lives Matter as follows: “When we say Black Lives Matter, we are talking about the ways in which Black people are deprived of our basic human rights and dignity. It is an acknowledgement Black poverty and genocide is state violence. It is an acknowledgment that 1 million Black people are locked in cages in this country–one half of all people in prisons or jails–is an act of state violence. It is an acknowledgment that Black women continue to bear the burden of a relentless assault on our children and our families and that assault is an act of state violence.”
Garza went on: “Black queer and trans folks bearing a unique burden in a hetero-patriarchal society that disposes of us like garbage and simultaneously fetishizes us and profits off of us is state violence; the fact that 500,000 Black people in the US are undocumented immigrants and relegated to the shadows is state violence; the fact that Black girls are used as negotiating chips during times of conflict and war is state violence; Black folks living with disabilities and different abilities bear the burden of state-sponsored Darwinian experiments that attempt to squeeze us into boxes of normality defined by White supremacy is state violence. And the fact is that the lives of Black people—not ALL people—exist within these conditions is consequence of state violence.”
In 2014, the American Dialect Society chose #BlackLivesMatter as their word of the year. Over eleven hundred black professors expressed support for BLM.Several media organizations have referred to BLM as “a new civil rights movement”. #BlackLivesMatter was voted as one of the twelve hashtags that changed the world in 2014.
In 2015, Serena Williams expressed her support for Black Lives Matter, writing to BLM: “Keep it up. Don’t let those trolls stop you. We’ve been through so much for so many centuries, and we shall overcome this too.”
As a part of a general assembly, the Unitarian Universalist Church passed a resolution in support of BLM and staged a die-in in Portland, Oregon. Patrisse Cullors, Opal Tometi, and Alicia Garza—as “The Women of #BlackLivesMatter” — were listed as one of the nine runners-up for The Advocate‘s Person of the Year.
The February 2015 issue of Essence Magazine and the cover was devoted to Black Lives Matter. In December 2015, BLM was a contender for the Time Magazine Person of the Year award. Angela Merkel won the award while BLM came in fourth of the eight candidates.
On May 9, 2016 Delrish Moss was sworn in as the first permanent African-American police chief in Ferguson, where he acknowledges he faces such challenges as diversifying the police force, creating dramatic improvements in community relations, and addressing issues that catalyzed the Black Lives Matter movement.
Notable protests and demonstrations
In August 2014, during Labor Day weekend, Black Lives Matter organized a “Freedom Ride”, that brought more than 500 African-Americans from across the United States into Ferguson, Missouri, to support the work being done on the ground by local organizations.
Black Lives Matter members and supporters rode in from New York City, Newark, Boston, Chicago, Columbus, Miami, Detroit, Houston, Oakland, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Nashville, Portland, Tucson, Washington, D.C., and more, in a similar way to that of the Freedom Riders in the 1960s. The movement has been generally involved in the Ferguson unrest, following the death of Michael Brown.
In November in Oakland, California, fourteen Black Lives Matter activists were arrested after they stopped a Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) train for more than an hour on Black Friday, one of the biggest shopping days of the year. The protest, which was led by Black Lives Matter co-founder Alicia Garza, was organized in response to the grand jury decision not to indict Darren Wilson for the death of Mike Brown.
In December, 2,000–3,000 people gathered at the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota, to protest the killings of unarmed black men by police. At least twenty members of a protest that had been using the slogan were arrested. InMilwaukee, Wisconsin, BLM protested the Shooting of Dontre Hamilton, who died in April. Black Lives Matter protested the Shooting of John Crawford III. TheShooting of Renisha McBride was protested by Black Lives Matter.
Also in December, in response to the decision by the grand jury not to indict Darren Wilson on any charges related to the death of Michael Brown, a protest march was held in Berkeley, California. Later, in 2015, protesters and journalists who participated in that rally filed a lawsuit alleging “unconstitutional police attacks” on attendees.
|This section is outdated. (December 2015)|
In March, BLM protested at Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel‘s office, demanding reforms within the Chicago Police Department. In Cobb County, Georgia, the movement protested the death of Nicholas Thomas who was shot and killed by the police.
In April, Black Lives Matter across the United States protested over the death of Freddie Gray which included the 2015 Baltimore protests. Black Lives Matter organizers supported the fast food strike in solidarity with fast food workers, and to oppose racial income inequality. On April 14, BLM protested across U.S. cities. In Zion, Illinois, several hundred protested over the fatal shooting of Justus Howell. After the shooting of Walter Scott, Black Lives Matter called for citizen oversight of police.
In May, a protest by BLM in San Francisco was part of a nationwide protest decrying the police killing of black women and girls, which included the deaths of Meagan Hockaday, Aiyana Jones, Rekia Boyd and others. In Cleveland, Ohio, after an officer was acquitted at trial in the Shooting of Timothy Russell and Malissa Williams, BLM protested. In Madison, Wisconsin, BLM protested after the officer was not charged in the Shooting of Tony Robinson.
In June, after a shooting in a historically black church in Charleston, South Carolina, BLM issued a statement and condemned the shooting as an act of terror. BLM across the country marched, protested and held vigil for several days after the shooting. BLM was part of a march for peace on the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge in South Carolina. After the Charleston shooting, a number of memorials to the Confederate States of America were graffitied with “Black Lives Matter” or otherwise vandalized. Around 800 people protested in McKinney, Texas after a video was released showing an officer pinning a girl—at a pool party in McKinney, Texas—to the ground with his knees.
In July, BLM protesters shut down Allen Road in Toronto, Ontario, protesting the shooting deaths of two black men in the metropolitan area—Andrew Loku and Jermaine Carby—at the hands of police. BLM activists across the United States began protests over the death of Sandra Bland, an African-American woman, who was allegedly found hanged in a jail cell in Waller County, Texas. In Cincinnati, Ohio, BLM rallied and protested the Death of Samuel DuBose after he was shot and killed by a University of Cincinnati police officer. In Newark, New Jersey, over a thousand BLM activists marched against police brutality, racial injustice, and economic inequality.
In August, BLM organizers held a rally in Washington, D.C., calling for a stop to violence against transgender women. InSt. Louis, Missouri, BLM activists protested the death of Mansur Ball-Bey who was shot and killed by police. In Charlotte, North Carolina, after a judge declared a mistrial in the trial of a white Charlotte police officer who killed an unarmed black man, Jonathan Ferrell, BLM protested and staged die-ins. In Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Janelle Monae, Jidenna and other BLM activists marched through North Philadelphia to bring awareness to police brutality and Black Lives Matter.
In September, BLM activists shut down streets in Toronto, rallied against police brutality, and stood in solidarity with marginalized black lives. Black Lives Matter was a featured part of the Take Back the Night event in Toronto. In Austin, Texas, over five hundred BLM protesters rallied against police brutality, and several briefly carried protest banners onto Interstate 35. In Baltimore, Maryland, BLM activists marched and protested as hearings began in the Freddie Gray police brutalitycase. In Sacramento, California, about eight hundred BLM protesters rallied to support a California Senate bill that would increase police oversight. BLM protested the Shooting of Jeremy McDole. [[
File:Black Lives Matter protest against St. Paul police brutality (21552438456).jpg|thumb|Black Lives Matter protest against St. Paul police brutality at Metro Green Line]]
In October, Black Lives Matters activists were arrested during a protest of a police chiefs conference in Chicago. Activists in Los Angeles Black Lives Matter activists were among several organizations that disrupted a community meeting with Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti at a church in South L.A. The protesters said that Garcetti had broken a promise to work with their organization to plan a meeting. The pastor of the church that hosted the meeting denied that Black Lives Matter organizers had been excluded.
“Rise Up October” straddled the Black Lives Matter Campaign, and brought several protests. Quentin Tarantino andCornel West, participating in “Rise Up October”, decried police violence. A Dunkin Donuts employee in Providence, Rhode Island wrote “black lives matter” on a police officer’s cup of coffee which resulted in protests.[clarification needed] AtUCLA, students protested “Black Bruins Matter” after some students wore blackface to a Kanye West-themed fraternityparty.
In November, BLM activists protested after Jamar Clark was shot by Minneapolis Police Department. A continuous protest was organized at the Minneapolis 4th Precinct Police. During the encamped protest, protestors and outside agitators clashed with police, vandalized the station and attempted to ram the station with an SUV. Later that month a march was organized to honor Jamar Clark, from the 4th Precinct to downtown Minneapolis. After the march, a group of men carrying firearms and body armor appeared and began calling the protesters racial slurs according to a spokesperson for Black Lives Matter. After protesters asked the armed men to leave, the men opened fire, shooting five protesters. All injuries required hospitalization, but were not life-threatening. The men fled the scene only to be found later and arrested. The three men arrested were young and white, and observers called them white supremacists.
In November 2015, students at Dartmouth College held a peaceful meeting and march after a Black Lives Matter art installation on the campus was vandalized. After the march, a smaller group of students entered the university library and conducted a protest there. The Dartmouth Review, a conservative campus publication, reported that the protesters had shoved other students and used profanity. Campus police and college officials claimed they had not observed any incidents of shoving or other physical violence.
In January, hundreds of BLM protesters marched in San Francisco to protest the December 2, 2015 shooting death of Mario Woods, who was shot by San Francisco Police officers. The march was held during a Super Bowl event.
In late May, BLM activists[disputed ] disrupted a speech by Milo Yiannopoulos at DePaul University. Security did not intervene to stop the protests, despite the university requiring organizers to cover the cost of additional security.
On July 7, a sniper attack occurred during a rally in Dallas, Texas that was organized to protest the death of Alton Sterling. Five police officers were killed, and seven wounded. Two civilians were also shot, bringing the total number of victims to fourteen. Initial reports were of multiple coordinated snipers, but officials later reported that the suspect, Micah Johnson, who was killed in the incident, acted alone. Before he died, according to police, Johnson said that “he was upset about Black Lives Matter”, and that “he wanted to kill white people, especially white officers.” Texas Lt. GovernorDan Patrick and other conservative lawmakers blamed the shootings on the Black Lives Matter movement. The Black Lives Matter network released a statement denouncing the shootings.
2016 presidential election
In the summer of 2015, Black Lives Matter began to publicly challenge politicians—including 2016 United States presidential candidates—to state their positions on BLM issues.
In the first Democratic debate, the presidential candidates were asked whether black lives matter or all lives matter. In reply, Bernie Sanders stated “black lives matter.” Martin O’Malley said, “Black lives matter,” and that the “movement is making is a very, very legitimate and serious point, and that is that as a nation we have undervalued the lives of black lives, people of color.” Jim Webb, on the other hand, replied: “as the president of the United States, every life in this country matters.” Hillary Clinton was not directly asked the same question, but was instead asked: “What would you do for African Americans in this country that President Obama couldn’t?”
In response to what she would do differently from President Obama for African-Americans, Hillary Clinton pushed for criminal justice reform, and said, “We need a new New Deal for communities of color.” Clinton had already met with Black Lives Matter representatives in August 2015, and expressed skepticism in the movement’s practical application.[clarification needed] In June 2015, Clinton was reported to have said “All lives matter.”
Republican candidates have been mostly critical of BLM. In August 2015, Ben Carson, the only African American vying for the presidency, called the movement “silly”. Carson also said that BLM should care for all black lives, not just a few.In the first Republican presidential debate, which took place in Cleveland, only one question referenced Black Lives Matter. In response to the question, Scott Walker did not acknowledge Black Lives Matter and advocated for the proper training of law enforcement.
Republican presidential candidate Scott Walker blamed the movement for rising anti-police sentiment, while Marco Rubio was the first candidate to publicly sympathize with the movement’s point of view.
Several conservative pundits have labeled the movement a “hate group”. Candidate Chris Christie, the New Jersey Governor, criticized President Obama for supporting BLM, claiming the movement calls for the murder of police officers,which was condemned by New Jersey chapters of the NAACP and ACLU.
BLM activists called on the Democratic National Committee and the Republican National Committee to have a presidential debate focused on issues of racial justice. Both parties, however, declined to alter their debate schedule, and instead the parties support a townhall or forum.
At the Netroots Nation Conference in July 2015, dozens of Black Lives Matter activists took over the stage at an event featuring Martin O’Malley and Bernie Sanders. Activists, including Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Cullors, asked both candidates for specific policy proposals to address deaths in police custody. The protesters chanted several slogans, including “if I die in police custody, burn everything down”. After conference organizers pleaded with the protesters for several minutes, O’Malley responded by pledging to release a wide-ranging plan for criminal justice reform. Protesters later booed O’Malley when he stated “Black lives matter. White lives matter. All lives matter.” O’Malley later apologized for his remarks, saying that he didn’t mean to disrespect the black community.
On August 8, 2015, a speech by Democratic presidential candidate and civil rights activist Bernie Sanders was disrupted by a group from the Seattle Chapter of Black Lives Matter including chapter co-founder Marissa Johnson who walked onstage, seized the microphone from him and called his supporters racists and white supremacists. Sanders issued a platform in response.
Nikki Stephens, the operator of a Facebook page called “Black Lives Matter: Seattle” issued an apology to Sanders’ supporters, claiming these actions did not represent her understanding of BLM. She was then sent messages by members of the Seattle Chapter which she described as threatening, and was forced to change the name of her group to “Black in Seattle”. The founders of Black Lives Matter stated that they had not issued an apology.
In August, activists chanting “Black Lives Matter” interrupted the Las Vegas rally of Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush. As Bush exited early, some of his supporters started responding to the protesters by chanting “white lives matter” or “all lives matter”.
In November, a BLM protester was physically assaulted at a Donald Trump rally in Birmingham, Alabama. In response, Trump said, “maybe he should have been roughed up because it was absolutely disgusting what he was doing.” Trump had previously threatened to fight any Black Lives Matter protesters if they attempted to speak at one of his events.
In March 2016, Black Lives Matter helped organize the 2016 Donald Trump Chicago rally protest that forced Trump to cancel the event. Four individuals were arrested and charged in the incident. Two were “charged with felony aggravated battery to a police officer and resisting arrest”, one was “charged with two misdemeanor counts of resisting and obstructing a peace officer”, and the fourth “was charged with one misdemeanor count of resisting and obstructing a peace officer”. A CBS reporter was one of those arrested outside the rally. He was charged with resisting arrest.
“All Lives Matter”
Some politicians,[who?] critics,[who?] and scholars[who?] have responded to the Black Lives Matter movement by countering that the phrase “All Lives Matter” would be a more proper title. Tim Scott has defended the usage of the “All Lives Matter” term.
On Real Time with Bill Maher Bill Maher expressed support of the “Black Lives Matter” phrase, stating that “‘All Lives Matter’ implies that all lives are equally at risk, and they’re not”. Founders have responded to criticism of the movement’s exclusivity, saying, “#BlackLivesMatter doesn’t mean your life isn’t important – it means that Black lives, which are seen without value within White supremacy, are important to your liberation.”
In a video interview with Laura Flanders, Garza discussed how “changing Black Lives Matter to All Lives Matter is a demonstration of how we don’t actually understand structural racism in this country”. She went on to discuss how other lives are valued more than black lives, which she strongly feels is wrong, and that to take blackness out of this equation is inappropriate.
The movement challenges the “universalizing politics” implied in the notion of a Post-racial America, and the phrase ‘All Lives Matter’ reflects a view of “racial dismissal, ignoring, and denial”, according to critical race theory scholar David Theo Goldberg.
President Barack Obama spoke to the debate between Black Lives Matter and All Lives Matter. Obama said, “I think that the reason that the organizers used the phrase Black Lives Matter was not because they were suggesting that no one else’s lives matter … rather what they were suggesting was there is a specific problem that is happening in the African American community that’s not happening in other communities.” He also said “that is a legitimate issue that we’ve got to address.”
On February 24, 2016, Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, sent out a company-wide internal memo to employees formally rebuking employees who had crossed out handwritten “Black Lives Matter” phrases on the company walls and had written “All Lives Matter” in their place. Facebook allows employees to free-write thoughts and phrases on company walls. The memo was then leaked by several employees. As Zuckerberg had previously condemned this practice at previous company meetings, and other similar requests had been issued by other leaders at Facebook, Zuckerberg wrote in the memo that he would now consider this overwriting practice not only disrespectful, but “malicious as well”.
According to Zuckerberg’s memo, “Black Lives Matter doesn’t mean other lives don’t – it’s simply asking that the black community also achieves the justice they deserve.” The memo noted that the act of crossing something out in itself, “means silencing speech, or that one person’s speech is more important than another’s”.
African-American critics of the movement include neurosurgeon and former Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson, minister Johnathan Gentry of the West Angeles Church of God in Christ, and author and minister Barbara Ann Reynolds.
Deroy Murdock questioned the number of black people killed by police that is reported by BLM. He wrote, “But the notion that America’s cops simply are gunning down innocent black people is one of today’s biggest and deadliest lies.” The hashtag #BlueLivesMatter was created by supporters who stood up for police officers’ lives. Some critics also accuse Black Lives Matter of “anti-white and anti-police radicalism”.
Many individuals in law enforcement have been critical of BLM. Sheriff David A. Clarke, Jr of Milwaukee County has been critical of Black Lives Matter, stating that there is no police brutality problem in America and that “there is no racism in the hearts of police officers”. John McWhorter said that the Black Lives Matter movement should take on black-on-black crime.
Seattle Seahawks Richard Sherman said about the “Black Lives Matter” movement, “I dealt with a best friend getting killed, and it was [by] two 35-year-old black men. There was no police officer involved, there wasn’t anybody else involved, and I didn’t hear anybody shouting ‘black lives matter’ then.”
Some black civil rights leaders, such as Rev. Cecil “Chip” Murray, Najee Ali, Earl Ofari Hutchinson, have criticized the tactics of BLM. Marchers using a BLM banner were recorded in a video chanting, “Pigs in a blanket, fry ’em like bacon” at the Minnesota State Fair. Law enforcement groups said that the chant promotes death to police. The protest organizer disputed that interpretation.
A North Carolina police chief retired after calling BLM a terrorist group. A police officer in Oregon was removed from street duty following a social media post in which he said he would have to “babysit these fools”, in reference to planned BLM event.
Some commentators and law enforcement have said that BLM has made it hard for police to do their job, leading to a rise in crime rates. Commentators have referred to this as the “Ferguson effect.” FBI Director James Comey, for example, suggested that the movement is partly leading to a national rise in crime rates because police officers have pulled back from doing their jobs. However, there had been even larger crime spikes prior to the events in Ferguson.
In response to BLM, Facebook pages purporting to represent “White Student Unions” with the slogan “White Lives Matter” have been linked to college campuses in the United States. The pages often promise a “safe space” for white students and condemn alleged anti-white racism on campus. However, many of the groups were not verified as legitimate student organizations registered with their respective universities.
- Black Lives Matter appeared in an episode of Law & Order: SVU.
- The TV drama Scandal depicted Black Lives Matter on their March 5, 2015, episode that showed an unarmed black teen shot by a police officer.
- The documentary short film Bars4Justice features brief appearances by various activists and recording artists affiliated with the Black Lives Matter movement. The film is an official selection of the 24th Annual Pan African Film Festival.