Adversity is a test of a person’s courage and character and the Black Lives Matter protests revealed the leaders who were up to the task and those that weren’t. And, of course, there were the shameful.
Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms
On May 29 a peaceful protest in Atlanta over the death of George Floyd took a violent turn with looters and arsonists roaming the streets while a mob smashed windows at the CNN building. Bottoms rushed to police headquarters and made a passionate unscripted speech directed at the looters.
“You’re not going to outconcern me and outcare about where we are in America,” said Bottoms, who is black and has four children. “I wear this each and every day. I pray over my children each and every day.”
“This is not a protest,” she said, “this is chaos… A protest has purpose…If you love this city, if you care about this city, then go home.”
Wall Street Journal’s Sam Walker provides insight on lessons from Bottom’s speech.
Atlanta Police Chief Erika Shields
After promptly firing two police officers for using excessive force during a protest, Fulton District Attorney Paul Howard filed criminal charges against them. Shields said the charges were unjustified and “political jockeying during an election year.”
“We escalated a low-level encounter into a space where we introduced violence,” Shields said in a memo. “Once this occurs, we need to own it.” But she said the politically motivated charges resulted in multiple agencies that were assisting Atlanta police to pull out. “They are not comfortable with their employees being leveraged politically by the potential of also facing criminal charges.”
Howard is facing a tough re-election battle amid a criminal investigation of using a nonprofit to supplement his salary and allegations of sexual harassment.
Buffalo Police Chief Byron Brown
Despite repeatedly being goaded by CNN host Wolf Blitzer to denounce his police force because of the two officers who pushed an elderly activist to the ground causing his head to bleed, Brown refused to take the bait and provided context for the incident.
“We’re not focusing on that action right now. We’re focusing on delivering public safety services. There are many officers on the Buffalo Police Department that are on the job, that have been working around the clock, that have been working with very little sleep, that have been working to exhaustion, certainly, thank them for the work that they’re doing. The vast majority of our officers are working hard to protect and serve the community to ensure the safety of our residents, the safety of our businesses, and the ability for people to exercise their freedom of speech rights in the city of Buffalo.”
Protesters Who Tried to Protect L.A. Whole Foods
The looting of a Whole Foods in Los Angeles made national news, but the valiant efforts of peaceful protesters who tried to protect the store didn’t.
From the Los Angeles Times:
When a protester smashed the front window of the nearby Whole Foods on 3rd Street with a hammer, some screamed, “Don’t do that! Please! While others cheered.
The protesters began to clash among themselves. Some who urge peace created a barricade of shopping carts around the store’s entrance to protect it, but moments later, another group jumped the barricade and broke the store’s door down.
A shout out also to the community residents, including former gang members, who banded together to protect businesses on Whittier Blvd. in East L.A.
Former Labor Secretary Robert Reich
It’s distasteful how many U.S. companies are leveraging the George Floyd tragedy for branding and marketing purposes. JPMorgan Chase’s billionaire CEO Jamie Dimon is the most shamefull. Dimon was photographed in a suburban New York City Chase branch taking a knee with other banking employees.
Former Labor Secretary Reich called out Dimon for his hypocrisy. Chase in 2018 under Dimon agreed to pay $25 million to financial advisors who said they were treated poorly because they were black. The bank in February was hit with a class action lawsuit alleging it discriminates against black employees.
The U.S. banking industry has a long history of discriminating against black communities and causing them economic harm.
Author Heather Mac Donald and WSJ Op-ed Editors
As the author of “The War on Cops” and a graduate of Stanford law school, Heather Mac Donald knows a thing or two about law and order. She says “a solid body of evidence finds no structural bias in the criminal-justice system with regard to arrests, prosecution or sentencing. Crime and suspect behavior, not race, determine most police actions.”
The first-hand police experiences of countless blacks disputes the empirical findings, but Mac Donald has been undaunted by accusations of racism and inserted some empirical evidence into the “dialogue” America is supposed to be having. WSJ’s op-ed editors admirably are no more afraid of liberal protest mobs than they are of Communist China’s leadership.
The Leaders of the New York Times
The publisher and the top editors of the New York Times can forget about ever working for Atlanta’s Erika Shields because they don’t have the character and backbone “to own” their unpopular decisions.
In response to an uprising from their coddled newsroom employees about publishing an op-ed from Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton advocating using federal troops to quell riots, the Times’ top brass apologized profusely for exposing the publication’s readers to a controversial position from an influential elected leader. They blamed their poor judgment on a rushed editorial approval process which they vowed would never happen again.
Rushed? According to Cotton, his commentary underwent several rounds of edits.
It’s noteworthy the Times’ newsroom censor advocates practice the cancel culture they preach. Asked one Times journalist during a safe place forum: “Why does (op-ed) editor James Bennet still have a job?”
(For more on journalism political correctness and how the industry eats its own, check out this commentary by former Hollywood screenwriter John Nolte. It would be funny if it wasn’t true.)
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti
Hizzoner proudly told protesters that he planned to cut the LAPD’s budget. Never mind that the LAPD’s force is comprised overwhelmingly of minorities or that L.A.’s per capita ratio of officers is already among the lowest of major U.S. cities. Never mind also that theft and household burglaries are so common in L.A. that a day never goes by where I don’t receive multiple alerts about break ins and other criminal incidents.
But don’t worry about the Hollywood celebrities who support police defunding. They live in gated houses guarded by private security forces.
Things could be worse. Angelenos could have Mayor Putz running the city.
Former President Obama
Former president Obama applauded the George Floyd protests but didn’t address or offer solutions on how to combat looters who were distracting from the message. “Just remember that this country was founded on protest – it is called the American Revolution,” Obama said.
A product of the American Revolution is the Second Amendment, giving Americans the right to keep and bear arms. Given the inability of police to protect private property in major cities as guaranteed under the Fifth Amendment, any hope of achieving gun control is now a pipe dream.
Perhaps a reference to how the civil rights movement was sparked by a woman’s refusal to give up her seat on a bus would have been more appropriate.
Washington Post’s Alyssa Rosenberg
I deluded myself into believing that Washington Post Congressional reporter Rachael “Merry Impeachmas” Bade was an aberration and that Jeff Bezos’s journalists had better judgment and were less PC in their thinking than their counterparts at the New York Times. Culture writer Alyssa Rosenberg gave me a wake up call.
Rosenberg advocated that Hollywood should ban movies and TV shows about police because they don’t adequately capture just how awful American cops really are.
Silly me, after watching some of my favorite flicks and shows including, Serpico, L.A. Confidential, The Sopranos, and Boardwalk Empire, I still didn’t appreciate the pervasiveness of crooked and dishonorable cops.
The Hollywood ban I’d like to see is movies and TV shows that romance journalists. Too many Americans associate the business with All the President’s Men rather than with more representative industry films like Absence of Malice and Network.
Rachael, Alyssa, wishing you both an early Merry Impeachmas!