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US in crisis - Black Lives Matter Fallout - National and local responses

I feel like this belongs here.


How did this get missed?

One of the first successful Russian-backed misinformation efforts of the 2020 election tricked Donald Trump Jr. and Ted Cruz into helping spread false claims about Portland protesters

  • Earlier this month, prominent conservatives including Donald Trump Jr. and Sen. Ted Cruz retweeted misleading claims and footage attempting to depict Portland protesters as having burned a “stack of Bibles.”
  • But that narrative had been set in motion by a Russian-backed media outlet called Ruptly, The New York Times reported Tuesday.
  • After Ruptly aired the misleadingly edited footage of the protesters, a right-wing commentator tweeted the footage and claims further mischaracterizing it. Then several conservative politicians and news outlets amplified that tweet.
  • The incident reveals Russia’s evolving and increasingly nuanced misinformation tactics, which rely on real people spreading stories with elements of truth, not just fake news.

Several high-profile conservatives including Donald Trump Jr. and Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas shared Russian misinformation earlier this month, The New York Times reported Tuesday.

In Portland, Oregon, protests against police brutality have continued for more than 70 consecutive days. The protests have been largely peaceful, but protesters have also on some occasions lit bonfires.

In one of those instances, at a protest on August 1, a few protesters used a Bible and an American flag to start a fire, which others eventually put out, according to The Times.

Local media outlets reported that the protests had been peaceful throughout the day and that the fire was started only at the end of the night as a dwindling crowd of a few dozen to 100 people spoke about the Black Lives Matter movement. Only one report mentioned a Bible being involved at all.

But Ruptly, the video arm of the Russian state-backed media outlet Russia Today that has livestreamed the protests and published highlight clips nightly, focused its summary video that night on the burning of what appeared to be a single Bible, The Times reported. It tweeted the video twice, both times noting the Bible being set on fire.

A Twitter user with just a few followers also tweeted the video shortly before deleting their account — but not before Ian Miles Cheong, a right-wing agitator, retweeted them, adding his own false claim that the protesters burned “a stack of Bibles.”


Cheong’s tweet was shared widely, sparking coverage from prominent and conservative media outlets and blogs including the New York Post, The Federalist, Gateway Pundit, and The Blaze, as well as retweets from Trump Jr. and Cruz.



In a statement to The New York Times, Ruptly disputed the newspaper’s characterization of the live-streamed video.

But the success of Ruptly’s coverage of the Portland protest reveals how Russia’s misinformation tactics have evolved since the 2016 presidential election, where American intelligence agencies have repeatedly concluded that Russia interfered with the aim of hurting Hillary Clinton’s candidacy.

In 2016, Russia relied heavily on fake Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, and other social-media accounts to artificially amplify fake news stories created by the Internet Research Agency, its in-house troll farm.

But Russia is deploying new, more sophisticated tactics this time around, and the Portland protest story shows how it has learned to leverage hot-button issues likely to resonate with highly partisan or ideological groups to sow dissent.

Cybersecurity experts have found Russia exploiting the coronavirus pandemic and racial tensions in the US, and US intelligence agencies have warned that Russia is attempting to sway the election toward President Donald Trump again in 2020. Trump has repeatedly downplayed the assessments of US intelligence agencies, giving deference to fringe agitators who support him.


A little late, but still great.


I am glad to see this…and a smart move on Facebook’s part.


OAKLAND, Calif. — Facebook said on Wednesday that it had removed 790 QAnon groups from its site and was restricting another 1,950 groups, 440 pages and more than 10,000 Instagram accounts related to the right-wing conspiracy theory, in the social network’s most sweeping action against the fast-growing movement.

Facebook’s takedown followed record growth of QAnon groups on the site, much of it since the coronavirus pandemic began in March. Activity on some of the largest QAnon groups on the social network, including likes, comments and shares of posts, rose 200 to 300 percent in the last six months, according to data gathered by The New York Times.

Facebook has been tracking QAnon’s growth since early May, according to two employees involved in the effort. But internal discussions on what to do about the groups stalled because Facebook was concerned that taking them down would feed into QAnon’s baseless conspiracy theory that social media companies were trying to silence them, the people said.

Facebook’s actions on Wednesday were not limited to QAnon. The company also said it would remove 980 groups such as those related to the far-left antifa movement and block QAnon hashtags such as #digitalarmy and #thestorm.


Portland police stand by as Proud Boys and far-right militias flash guns and brawl with antifa counterprotesters

PORTLAND, Ore. — On Saturday afternoon, a large crowd of more than 100 far-right activists, including Proud Boys and armed militia members, descended on Portland, Ore., staging a “Back the Blue” rally in front of the Justice Center that houses the downtown police precinct. Hundreds of antifa and Black Lives Matter protesters gathered to oppose the far-right crowd.

People in the far-right crowd came armed with paintball guns, metal rods, aluminum bats, fireworks, pepper spray, rifles and handguns. Some people in the opposing left-leaning crowd brought rocks, fireworks and bottles filled with chemical solutions. Both crowds sported shields and helmets.

The two groups sparred for more than two hours, as people exchanged blows, fired paintballs at each other and blasted chemicals indiscriminately into the crowd. People lobbed fireworks back and forth. At least one person was hit in the abdomen with a device that flashed and exploded, causing bleeding.

A member of the Proud Boys fires a paintball gun into a crowd of anti-police protesters as the two sides clashed Aug. 22 in Portland, Ore. (Nathan Howard/Getty Images)

The rally followed a much smaller right-wing event last week that ended with gunfire. On Wednesday, Portland police arrested and seized a gun from 27-year-old Skylor Noel Jernigan, a far-right activist who has frequently rallied against antifascists in the city in recent years. Many of the same people came out again Saturday, including Alan Swinney, who brandished a gun and pointed it at the opposing crowd.

As the brawls unfolded, Portland police officers remained at a distance. They made several announcements over loudspeakers, encouraging the crowds to “self-monitor for criminal activity,” even as people beat others with sticks, and at least two right-wing activists brandished handguns.

“Each skirmish appeared to involve willing participants and the events were not enduring in time, so officers were not deployed to intervene,” the Portland Police Bureau said in a statement.

Police said they did not stop the violence, although the event met the criteria to be declared a riot, because too few officers were available to respond and they deemed it too dangerous to intervene. Officers were tired from responding to a much smaller and less volatile protest that was declared a riot the night before, the bureau said in a statement, and incident commanders also had concerns that officers would be targeted by the crowd.

“PPB members have been the focus of over 80 days of violent actions directed at the police, which is a major consideration for determining if police resources are necessary to interject between two groups with individuals who appear to be willingly engaging in physical confrontations for short durations,” the bureau said in a statement. “While the activity in the group met the definition of a riot, PPB did not declare one because there were not adequate police resources available to address such a declaration.”

The Portland Police Bureau has struggled to quell confrontations between far-right groups and antifascists in the city since at least 2017, when a string of violent riots broke out over the summer and fall.

The decision not to intervene was a striking contrast to police tactics at several left-leaning Black Lives Matter protests in recent weeks. Officers have consistently declared unlawful assemblies and riots at nighttime protests that have devolved into property damage and projectiles thrown at police. Although those events have involved significant property damage at times, they have not involved firearms or rampant brawling among demonstrators.

Several people were injured in the chaos at the warring protests. Dakota Means, 25, was hit in the eye with a paintball fired by a man in the far-right crowd wearing a tactical vest with a “Texas” patch across his chest.

“I counted six shots — three of them whizzed past me, two of them landed in front of me, but the last one hit me right in the corner my eye, right where the bridge of my nose is,” Means said. “I stumbled back and dropped to my knees and passed out for about a minute, and then when I woke up, there was medics all around me trying to figure out what was happening.”

Means, who described himself as mixed race and a Marine Corps veteran, said he was at the rally to support Black Lives Matter and to oppose a right-wing crowd that was threatening to shoot civilians.

“They’re not welcome in the city,” he said. “I’m gonna make sure they’re ran out.”

The right-wing crowd chanted “USA! USA!” and expletive-filled chants against antifa. The opposing leftists responded with shouts of: “Go home, Nazis.”

After more than two hours of violent clashes, the far-right crowd retreated to their cars. Antifa demonstrators followed them as they moved through downtown to a parking garage a few blocks away. The two groups lobbed rocks at each other and exchanged more pepper spray.

Amid the right-wing crowd was a widely known Proud Boy, Tusitala “Tiny” Toese, who has frequently brawled in Portland since early 2017.

Last year, he pleaded guilty in a 2018 assault in exchange for a two-year probation that requires him to stay away from protests until his probationary period ends in 2021. Even before he showed up at Saturday’s rally, there was an active warrant for Toese’s arrest for violating other terms of his probation.

As the far-right crowd left downtown Portland, Toese walked past several Portland police officers who did not attempt to apprehend him.

After the far-right groups had cleared out of downtown, members of the left-leaning crowd reconvened in Terry Schrunk Plaza, which is federal property. Federal police declared the gathering an unlawful assembly and drove the protesters out of the plaza, though the crowd had become largely peaceful as the afternoon waned.


I lived just across the state border from Kenosha for years.


Wisconsin police shoot Black man as children watch from a car, attorney says

A man is fighting for his life after he was shot by an officer with the Kenosha Police Department in Wisconsin Sunday afternoon.

A graphic video purported to be of the shooting and posted on Facebook, shows at least two police officers following the man with guns drawn as he walks from the passenger side of a gray vehicle to the driver’s side. When the man opens the door of the vehicle and tries to get in, one of the officers is seen grabbing him by the T-shirt. The officer points his gun at the man as he holds on to the man’s T-shirt. At least seven gunshots are heard, and the man appears to go limp in the vehicle, the car horn blaring.

Police said they were called to the address to deal with a domestic disturbance, but it is unclear who called or what happened before the video recording began.

CNN is seeking additional information from police.

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers identified the victim as Jacob Blake in a statement released shortly after the incident occurred. Evers said Blake was critically injured when he was shot multiple times.

“Tonight, Jacob Blake was shot in the back multiple times, in broad daylight, in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Kathy and I join his family, friends, and neighbors in hoping earnestly that he will not succumb to his injuries. While we do not have all of the details yet, what we know for certain is that he is not the first Black man or person to have been shot or injured or mercilessly killed at the hands of individuals in law enforcement in our state or our country,” Evers said in his statement.

In a statement, the Kenosha Police Department said an officer involved shooting happened when they were responding to a domestic incident in the 2800 block of 40th Street at 5:11 p.m.

According to police, officers immediately began to render aid and the person was transported via Flight for Life to Froedtert Hospital, Milwaukee, in serious condition.

After the shooting, the Kenosha Police requested the Kenosha Sheriff’s Department and Wisconsin State Patrol so that the scene could be turned over to an agency other than Kenosha Police, the statement said. The Wisconsin Department of Justice’s Division of Criminal Investigation will investigate this shooting.

Attorney Benjamin Crump told CNN that Blake’s family reached out to him for assistance. Crump said Blake’s three young sons were in the car when he was shot.

“They saw a cop shoot their father. They will be traumatized forever. We cannot let officers violate their duty to PROTECT us. Our kids deserve better!!” Crump said in a post on Twitter.

After the shooting, the Kenosha County declared a countywide state of emergency curfew that is being enforced by the Kenosha Sheriff’s Department from 10:15 p.m. Sunday until 7 a.m. Monday.

This is a developing story.

WDJT’s Kim Shine tweeted that demonstrators outside police headquarters were tear-gassed at least twice and that there were numerous vehicle fires there and outside a local courthouse. The crowd pretty much dispersed after the tear-gassings, she said.

Kenosha, Wisconsin Cops Shoot Black Man In The Back 7 Times In Broad Daylight

Protesters faced off with officers who were dressed in riot gear after a video posted on social media showed the shooting.


Illinois teen arrested in fatal shooting at Kenosha protest, police say

Arrest in Overnight Shooting During Unrest in Kenosha, Wis.

An Illinois resident was arrested in violence that occurred during a confrontation between demonstrators and a group of men armed with guns as protests continued over the police shooting of Jacob Blake.

17-year-old charged with murder in Kenosha, Wisconsin, shootings

The self-identified militia member is suspected of fatally shooting two people and injuring a third during a night of protests.

Here is a thread reputing to follow it, and alleging that the Kenosha police worked WITH the right wing militia, including the shooter.

Wisconsin is an open-carry state, but those who carry guns in public must be at least 18.

There are strong indications that the police actively chose to ignore the shooter; he fled TOWARD the police, and when people shouted that he had just shot somebody, police drove right past him, ignoring him.

In this video one of the militia states that the police were going to push the protesters down to them and then leave.


The NBA will protest the death of Jacob Blake and all the others so needlessly murdered by stopping play today. Other teams will too.

The Milwaukee Bucks refused to play Game 5 of their NBA playoff series against the Orlando Magic in the aftermath of a police shooting 40 miles from their home arena, leading the NBA to postpone the games scheduled for Wednesday.

The decision comes as other teams inside the NBA bubble, predominantly Toronto and Boston, had discussed whether sitting out games would be a more effective statement against racism, police brutality and social injustice. The Lakers were scheduled to play Game 5 of their series against the Portland Trail Blazers at 6 p.m. PDT, but they decided to not play as well.


More feds in unmarked vans randomly disappearing protesters; in this case people who were not even directly protesting but there to supply food for those who are.


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Don’t miss this

Watch: Jacob Blake’s Family speak at the National Action Network’s “Get Your Knee Off Our Necks” Rally and March

Full video coverage :point_down:


Arbitrary always…and he was not the suspect, just wouldn’t offer his information.

A Black man in San Antonio was stopped and detained by police Tuesday while he was jogging, witnesses said, as officers searched for a suspect in a nearby domestic violence call.

Video of the incident posted to social media shows officers forcefully shoving the man into a police vehicle as he screams.

The arrested man, identified in a police report as Mathias Ometu, 33, was seen walking out of an apartment complex as officers arrived in response to a call about a domestic violence assault, according to a police report from the incident.

Officers stopped Ometu and told him they had “reasonable suspicion to believe” he “matched the description of an alleged strangulation family violence incident,” the report said.

The police report said Ometu refused to give his name and date of birth after several requests and his “demeanor became aggressive.” Ometu refused to get in the patrol vehicle and was then “placed in the patrol vehicle” after a “long struggle,” the report said, “using only open hand techniques.”

During the incident, Ometu allegedly kicked two officers, striking one in the face, the police report said.

The victim of the family violence incident met officers and said Ometu was not the suspect, but Ometu still would not give officers his information, the report said.

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Trouble at FB internally over the handling of the Kenosha police brutality and vigilante’s FB politicizing of his actions…and employees are having a face down with Mark Zuckerberg over what is covered and how.

While Zuckerberg said the shooter’s Facebook and Instagram accounts, which showed no clear connection to the Kenosha Guard page, were taken down, he admitted Facebook had made “an operational mistake.” The page had violated Facebook’s new rules introduced last week that labeled militia and QAnon conspiracy theory groups as “Dangerous Individuals and Organizations” for their celebrations of violence.

The company did not catch the page despite user reports, Zuckerberg said, because the complaints had been sent to content moderation contractors who were not versed in “how certain militias” operate. “On second review, doing it more sensitively, the team that was responsible for dangerous organizations recognized that this violated the policies and we took it down.”

From Brian Stelter’s Reliable Sources news feed.

Employees rip into Zuck

“Frustrated Facebook employees slammed CEO Mark Zuckerberg on Thursday during a companywide meeting, questioning his leadership and decision-making, following a week in which the platform promoted violent conspiracy theories and gave safe harbor to militia groups,” BuzzFeed’s Ryan Mac reported Friday.

While reading Mac’s report on the internal meeting, I was struck by how the employees at Facebook were leveling criticism similar to what journalists have said for years. Here are a few examples from various employees:

>> “Feels like we’re caught in a cycle of responding to damage after it’s already been done rather than constructing mechanisms to nip these issues before they result in real harm…”

>> “Our fact-checking and takedowns have only ramped up in the past few months, but QAnon has festered for 3 years. I think the critique is our reactive vs. proactive approach…”

>> “At what point do we take responsibility for enabling hate filled bile to spread across our services?”

Leaks about leaks

After Mac published his story, he reported that a Facebook spokesperson wrote in an internal message board expressing frustration over the leaks. “It’s not funny,” the spokesperson wrote, according to Mac. The spokesperson added that “the speed of the leaks and level of detail has only continued to grow,” telling employees the leaks were only hurting Facebook and “not achieving the results” they wanted. But as Mac tweeted, "Employees who send reporters information do so largely because they believe they are not being heard or that change is not possible via internal mechanisms."

Buzzfeed’s Ryan Mac with some internal postings from FB on what to think of the ‘leakers’ - and showing that management would prefer the employees keep a ‘bunker mentality’ about it.


One Person Shot to Death Amid Trump Caravan in Downtown Portland

A man was shot to death in downtown Portland on Saturday night, amid a truck caravan that rolled through downtown to mace and taunt citizens in support of President Donald Trump.

Portland police confirmed to WW that they are investigating a homicide outside a parking garage at the corner of Southwest 3rd Avenue and Alder Street.

“At 8:46 pm, Portland Police officers heard sounds of gunfire from the area of Southeast 3rd Avenue and Southwest Alder Street,” the bureau said in a statement. “They responded and located a victim with a gunshot wound to the chest. Medical responded and determined that the victim was deceased.”

Witnesses at the garage, including independent journalist Laura Jedeed, described a hushed scene as police officers gathered around the body of a young man lying in the street. An ambulance arrived, then drove away without the man inside.

That was a stark contrast to minutes before, when a fleet of pickup trucks waving Trump banners rolled through downtown, horns blaring, with red-shirted young men leaning out the windows to yell racial slurs and deploy pepper spray on pedestrians who blocked the trucks’ path.

Downtown was the final stop on a day-long car caravan to support the president. It started in the early afternoon at Clackamas Town Center mall and drove into Portland, mostly circling the city on interstate highways.

The death appears to be the first killing to result from Portland’s political brawls since a Jeremy Christian murdered two people aboard a crowded MAX train car on May 26, 2017. But any motive remains uncertain.

It was not immediately clear tonight what political loyalties were held by the people who committed tonight’s shooting. A suspect is still at large.

Correction: This post initially cited descriptions of the victim as a young Black man. His ethnicity remains unclear.



Incendiary always.

Black Lives Matter gathering in DC at the MALL

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As the right defends Kyle Rittenhouse, we now know he’s had a string of violations in Kenosha, including driving without a license & speeding the week before, and a brawl with a female in downtown Kenosha on July 1st, well BEFORE the Jacob Blake shooting.

KENOSHA — Kyle Rittenhouse, an Illinois teen, is facing first-degree homicide charges for killing two men in Kenosha this past week when he armed himself with an AR-15 during protests.

That wasn’t his first time in Kenosha. Less than a week prior to the shootings, Rittenhouse received violations for operating without a valid license and for speeding 20-24 mph over the speed limit in Kenosha County, court records show.

And multiple videos shared on social media reportedly show a teen identified as Rittenhouse being involved in a fight in Downtown Kenosha on July 1.

One of the men who shot one of the videos confirmed its authenticity to The Journal Times and, in the video, the teen throwing the punches is wearing the same red, white and blue crocs Rittenhouse is shown wearing in a photo that was posted on Facebook of himself holding a gun. Facebook has since blocked all searches on its site for the name “Kyle Rittenhouse,” but videos and posts can still be searched on Twitter.

In the videos, two females are shown arguing in a parking lot in Downtown Kenosha.

In the the first video, the teen identified as Rittenhouse and several other young males are shown watching two females (ages unknown) argue. One of the females, wearing a white tank top and short shorts, says that another female, wearing slippers and sweatpants, touched her.

Moments later, the argument escalates as the teen identified as Rittenhouse and another male begin exchanging words with the female in sweatpants. Seconds after that, the female in sweatpants starts scuffling with a third female.

Rittenhouse then appears to land several punches on the female in sweatpants as another male nearby tries unsuccessfully to hold Rittenhouse back.

At that point, the males filming — identified on Facebook as Reese Granville and Cj Wakefield, both of Kenosha — and several others jump out of their respective vehicles and run in.

Granville confirmed to The Journal Times the date and location of the fight. Videos on Facebook show that Wakefield also was at protests in Downtown Kenosha this past week. Both Granville and Wakefield have said, based on what they witnessed and recorded, that the person throwing punches in their videos is Rittenhouse.

The second video shows Rittenhouse, wearing red-white-and-blue trunks and shoes, being kicked several times. One male can be heard saying “Do not put your hands on a female (expletive)” moments before the fight breaks up. A third video, shared by Granville, has little visual information (since the phone’s camera appears to be covered) but includes audio of a woman yelling, “Hey stop!”

Granville told The Journal Times in a message that he doesn’t know what led to the fight. He said he was just driving past, saw what was going on and started recording.

According to Lin Wood, who has identified himself as Rittenhouse’s defense attorney: Rittenhouse acquired the firearm that was used to kill Anthony Huber and Joseph Rosenbaum from a friend in Wisconsin, and the firearm never crossed state lines.

Wood is arguing that Rittenhouse acted in self-defense. Videos taken Tuesday show that both Huber and Rosenbaum were running at Rittenhouse when the fatal shots were fired; after Rosenbaum had already been shot, Huber had been attempting to hit Rittenhouse with a skateboard when he was shot in the chest.

Online court records do not show Wood or any other attorney representing Rittenhouse, as of 10:55 a.m. Saturday. Wood’s office did not immediately reply to a request for comment Saturday.


A post was merged into an existing topic: More Questionable Behavior from Trump, T Admin, DOJ, and R’s vs Dems, Press, Justice

Trump-loving GOP lawmaker Clay Higgins endorses shooting Black demonstrators — and Facebook removes his post

Clay Higgins says on Facebook that armed demonstrators ‘won’t walk away’ from Louisiana protests


Suspect in Fatal Portland Shooting Is Reported Killed as Officers Move In

A man being investigated for the fatal shooting of a right-wing activist who was part of a pro-Trump caravan in Portland, Ore., was killed on Thursday night when authorities moved to arrest him, according to three law enforcement officials familiar with the investigation.

The officials said the suspect, Michael Forest Reinoehl, 48, was killed during the encounter in Lacey, Wash., southwest of Seattle, when a federal fugitive task force moved to apprehend him.

An arrest warrant had been issued by the Portland police earlier Thursday, on the same day that Vice News published an interviewwith Mr. Reinoehl in which he appeared to admit to the shooting, saying, “I had no choice.”

The Portland police had been investigating Saturday’s shooting death of Aaron J. Danielson, one of the supporters of Mr. Trump who came into downtown Portland and clashed with protesters demonstrating against racial injustice and police brutality.


There really is a tweet for everything