Happy Wednesday, CivMixers. I don’t know about you, but this week has felt like a long month. And it’s only Wednesday.
Thankfully, the protests in Albany last night stayed mainly peaceful. There was a clash earlier in the day between two different groups of protestors – one that was demonstrating peacefully and then accused the other of trying to start issues, including violence and riots.
There were a few issues, as two people were arrested for cursing at the police while filming them arresting a man who was accused of arson. A coupled named Kimani and Desiree was talking to the arson suspect as the police arrested him. They weren’t sure about how the officers approached the situation, so they recorded it.
After they began recording, the exchange became heated. Though the couple did swear at and tape the police, they made no physical aggression toward officers. They were nevertheless arrested and charged with inciting a riot. Also: He was tased, she ended up with a fractured arm.
The entire altercation was caught on tape. Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan said she and Albany Police Chief Eric Hawkins agree that the behavior by the officers caught on tape was disturbing. The incident is under review, and the charges brought against the couple have been dropped.
In other news…
1) In 2014, Michael Brown was the name on American lips of America – an unarmed 18-year-old African American man who was shot and killed by a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri.
Yesterday, as the nation roiled in reaction to the death of an unarmed black man at the hands of a white police officer, Ferguson elected not only its first female mayor but also its first black one.
Ella Jones took 54 percent of the vote, besting her opponent, Heather Robinett. Jones will replace the incumbent, James Knowles, III, who was term-limited out of office after serving nine years.
Jones served on the Ferguson City Council since the year after Brown’s death, 2015. She was the first person of color to be elected to that post, too. She is a church pastor and has been employed as a chemist.
The slaying of Brown and the subsequent grand jury that refused to indict Darren Wilson, the whiteofficer who shot and killed the unarmed teen, sparked a round of protests and violent demonstrations. It also brought the Black Lives Matter movement to the forefront of American consciousness.
Just before the incident, Brown and a friend were walking home. Wilson said he had approached them because they were causing an issue and blocking traffic. Though many witnesses said that Brown had his hands up in a decidedly unthreatening manner, Wilson took only moments to shoot him fatally.
2) Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison announced that the remaining three officers present at the scene when George Floyd, 46, was asphyxiated by the knee of former officer Derek Chauvin, 44, will be charged. Also, an additional charge of second-degree murder has been added to those that Chauvin faces.
Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane, and Tou Thao charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. All four of the officers were fired shortly after the incident.
The incident occurred when Minneapolis Police responded on May 25 to a call from a store clerk regarding a counterfeit $20 bill that Floyd allegedly passed on to him while purchasing cigarettes. Upon seeing Floyd in his vehicle, the officers ordered him to step out, which he did. However, according to court papers, he would not get in their squad car voluntarily.
He began to hyperventilate, saying he was claustrophobic and having issues breathing. In response to this, the officers took Floyd to the ground. One officer restrained him by his legs, another by his back, and Chauvin knelt on Floyd’s neck with his left knee.
As the minutes ticked by, Lane asked if they should roll Floyd onto his side, to which Chauvin responded: No, keep him where he is. He remained with his knee pressing into Floyd’s neck for over eight minutes. In the beginning, Floyd begged to be allowed air. For two minutes of the time that Chauvin was kneeling on his neck, Floyd was unresponsive.
In addressing the press today, Ellison stated that the intense and sweeping protests taking place across the nation (and even internationally) in response to Floyd’s death had nothing to do with the decision to increase the charge against Chauvin or to charge the other three officers.
Ellison insisted the charges were made based on the investigation, its results, the facts of the case, and the law they thought applied to the situation.
3) In Rochester, Radio 95.1 WAIO-FM, which is part of the iHeartMedia Upstate New York branch, has fired its afternoon DJs who hosted a show known as Kimberly & Beck. The President of the Upstate NY iHeartMedia Robert J. Morgan stated that the decision was made yesterday when the duo was reported for their racist commentary on demonstrations in the area.
Though the decision was made yesterday, the duo was informed this morning. On Tuesday, while discussing the local protests and the greater Black Lives Matter movement, Kimberly did not use the actual slur but repeatedly referred to people as “N-word-ish” or actions as “N-Word.”
For his part, Beck is quoted as saying:
“If you look like a thug and if you act like a thug, and you’ve got three on one beating up a white woman with a two-by-four, by God, you’re a thug.”
-Barry Beck, Kimberly & Beck
They then went on to discuss if it was okay to say “N-word” and determined that it was fine, no one would be offended by it.
Well in this case, people were offended – very. The recording of this exchange went viral. (I am refusing to link to it here. I can’t. I have been protesting, supporting, and am a full ally of the current movement, and Black Lives Matter in general. I will report this; I will not give their video and hate any more fuel. I can’t. I am tired.).
The duo even drew ire from famed celeb gossip blogger Perez Hilton. Some radio employees took a stand, saying that if Kimberly and Beck stayed, they would go.
The pair is not new to controversy. They began this show in 2014, in the 2 to 7 p.m. slot on weekdays. They came to 95.1 after being fired in 2014 from a different station after making negative statements about transgender individuals. They were sued in 2014 for making false statements about a local vet, and again in 2015 by some man, whom they of being a drug dealer – all on air.
4) Albany County is going to make free testing available to all those protestors and first responders in the area. If you fear you may have been exposed while protesting in Albany, you can go to the South Campus at Whitney Young on Warren Street in Albany. The testing will be tomorrow, Thursday, from 1:30 p.m. to 4 p.m.
You can just walk up and provide an ID. If you have insurance, please also bring an insurance card.
5) On May 28, the Colonie Fire Department responded to a fire on Curry Road around 8:15 AM. After putting the fire out, the Colonie Police realized there was an extensive marijuana growing operation at the premises.
They got a search warrant and were able to recover 162 pounds of marijuana. They also determined that actions related to the growing operation caused the fire.
Now, Jason Teagle, 42, has turned himself in. He is in custody and is charged with criminal possession of marijuana.
That is it for today. A quick update, Governor Cuomo confirmed another drop in COVID deaths around the state. Also, hair salons are BOOKED.
Stay safe, stay strong, stay steady.
Photo credit: George Fazio.