Returning June 28

Suit Says Cops Laughed at Newsmen’s Humiliation

‘Obama’s Secret Struggle to Punish Russia’

Anti-Black Racism Elevated as Topic Among Latinos

Female Wall St. Journal Reporters Press Diversity

Critic’s Take on Chicago Violence Causes Backlash

Consensus: Senate Health Bill Would Be a Setback

Who Speaks for Muslims? Non-Muslim Journalists

Who Illegally Shot Video Inside Cosby Courtroom?

Richmond, Va., Mayor Wants Context With Statues

Leavell Returns to Leadership at Black-Press Group

Short Takes

Support Journal-isms

A limo was set on fire during protests in Washington on Jan. 20, Inauguration Day (Credit: Christina Pascucci/KTLA-TV) A limousine was set on fire during protests in Washington on Jan. 20, Inauguration Day. (Credit: Christina Pascucci/KTLA-TV)

Suit Says Cops Laughed at Newsmen’s Humiliation

The American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit on Wednesday accusing police in Washington, DC, of violating the constitutional rights of protesters, journalists, and legal observers during mass arrests on President Trump’s Inauguration Day,” Zoe Tillman reported for BuzzFeed.

At least two of those caught up in arrests or indictments were journalists of color: Shay Horse, a freelance photographer who is part of the Chickasaw and Kiowa nations, and Aaron Cantú, a Latino journalist at the Santa Fe (N.M.) Reporter who has written about policing, propaganda, drugs and politics for the Intercept, Al Jazeera and other publications.

Jonah Engel Bromwich wrote Jan. 25 for the New York Times that “charges against the journalists — Evan Engel, Alexander Rubinstein, Jack Keller, Matthew Hopard, Shay Horse and Aaron Cantú — have been denounced by organizations dedicated to press freedom. All of those arrested have denied participating in the violence. . . .”

Tillman continued Wednesday, “The lawsuit accuses Metropolitan Police Department officers of making unlawful arrests and using excessive force, pointing to the use of pepper spray, tear gas, and restraints that were so tight they reportedly caused one of the plaintiffs’ wrists to bleed.

” ‘In the course of the roundup and subsequent processing of demonstrators, police held detainees for hours without food, water, or access to toilets; handcuffed detainees so tightly as to cause injury or loss of feeling; and subjected some detainees to manual rectal probing,’ lawyers from the ACLU of the District of Columbia wrote in the complaint [PDF].

“The Metropolitan Police Department issued a statement on Wednesday defending the arrests, and saying that ‘all instances of use of force by officers and allegations of misconduct will be fully investigated. . . .’

Steven Nelson wrote Wednesday for U.S. News & World Report, ” ‘Defendant Officer John Doe 150, who was wearing rubber gloves, ordered Mr. Horse, Mr. [Milo] Gonzalez, and three other detainees to remove their pants,’ the lawsuit says. . . .”

Nelson also wrote  that, “the number of demonstrators, journalists and legal advisers forced to remove their pants for the procedure may be much higher, says Scott Michelman, senior staff attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union of the District of Columbia.

Shay Horse discusses the ACLU lawsuit Wednesday at the National Press Club. (Credit: Zoe Tillman/Twitter)

Shay Horse discusses the ACLU lawsuit Wednesday at the National Press Club. “I was just doing my job,” he said. (Credit: Zoe Tillman/Twitter)

“ ‘I think part of the reason this hasn’t come out more is that people are reluctant to talk about it,’ says Michelman, who is representing the four original plaintiffs on the lawsuit.

“ ‘It is shameful, it is traumatic and a lot of people are still dealing with it,’ he says. . . .”

“[The officer] and other officers laughed at Mr. Gonzalez while this degrading search was performed. . . . The officer ‘did not change gloves when he moved from one individual to the next,’ the lawsuit says. The suit cited “unjustified manual rectal probing and grabbing of their testicles. . . .”

Cantú, indicted on May 30, was among 215 defendants “facing charges of felony rioting, conspiracy to riot and destruction of property on the morning of Donald Trump’s inauguration, when they were scooped up en masse by police with a controversial crowd-control technique which corrals protesters in a ‘kettle’,” Baynard Woods, editor-at-large of Baltimore City Paper, wrote Wednesday for the Santa Fe Reporter.

Woods also wrote, “At the advice of his lawyers, Cantú isn’t talking to the press. I ask Julie Ann Grimm, his editor at the Santa Fe Reporter, which hired him in April, if the impending charges [make] her more reluctant to assign him to certain stories.

“ ‘His arrest was scary, the threat of being imprisoned for the rest of your life for just doing your job and observing a protest is … I don’t even know how to finish that sentence,’ she says over the phone. ‘I think Aaron is nervous about covering protests. I’m slightly nervous about sending him out to them. But we’re really not going to let this action by the federal government or by the prosecutors in Washington, DC, slow him down or to put a muzzle on his voice as a journalist.’ . . . ”

In an appearance Friday on WAMU-FM’s “Kojo Nnamdi Show,” D.C. Police Chief Peter Newsham said he could not discuss specific lawsuits, but acknowledged that in a 2015 settlement, the city was forced to pay $2.2 million to nearly 400 protesters.

The city handled more than 1,000 “First Amendment protests” in 2016 and has had 600 already this year, Newsham said. While most Inauguration Day protesters were law-abiding, some came to deliberately break the law, he added.

The chief urged citizens to report any police officer who acted improperly.

Writing in the conservative Washington Times, columnist Deborah Simmons, who is African American, argued that “Mr. Horse and his co-plaintiffs might have a considerable legal gripe, and we’ll have to see what a judge and jury have to say about that.

“Still, we must not be distracted. Law enforcers have a sworn duty to serve and to protect — and that duty includes protecting themselves from unchecked contraband, as well as protecting the arrested and the suspected.”

‘Obama’s Secret Struggle to Punish Russia’

Early last August, an envelope with extraordinary handling restrictions arrived at the White House. Sent by courier from the CIA, it carried ‘eyes only’ instructions that its contents be shown to just four people: President Barack Obama and three senior aides,” Greg Miller, Ellen Nakashima and Adam Entous reported Friday for the Washington Post.

“Inside was an intelligence bombshell, a report drawn from sourcing deep inside the Russian government that detailed Russian President Vladimir Putin’s direct involvement in a cyber campaign to disrupt and discredit the U.S. presidential race. . . .”

Over a five-month interval, “the Obama administration secretly debated dozens of options for deterring or punishing Russia, including cyberattacks on Russian infrastructure, the release of CIA-gathered material that might embarrass Putin and sanctions that officials said could ‘crater’ the Russian economy.

“But in the end, in late December, Obama approved a modest package combining measures that had been drawn up to punish Russia for other issues — expulsions of 35 diplomats and the closure of two Russian compounds — with economic sanctions so narrowly targeted that even those who helped design them describe their impact as largely symbolic. . . .”

The story also said, “In political terms, Russia’s interference was the crime of the century, an unprecedented and largely successful destabilizing attack on American democracy. It was a case that took almost no time to solve, traced to the Kremlin through cyber-forensics and intelligence on Putin’s involvement. And yet, because of the divergent ways Obama and [President] Trump have handled the matter, Moscow appears unlikely to face proportionate consequences. . . .”

Officer officer Jeronimo Yanez at the Ramsey County, Minn., courthouse on May 30. (Credit: Star Tribune)

Officer Jeronimo Yanez at the Ramsey County, Minn., courthouse in St. Paul on May 30. (Credit: Star Tribune)

Anti-Black Racism Elevated as Topic Among Latinos

The fatal shooting of Philando Castile, who was African American, by Officer Jeronimo Yanez, who is Hispanic, has prompted a conversation “about anti-black sentiment in the Latino community,” Maria Hinojosa, anchor and executive producer of NPR’s “Latino USA,” said Friday.

Hinojosa, appearing on NPR’s “1A,” said the discussion should include “not having to be white to participate in white supremacy.”

In a discussion June 17 on Latino Rebels under the headline, “Latinx Anti-Blackness Killed Philando Castile,” Emilia Gonzalez Avalos, executive director of Navigate MN, an immigrant-led organization based in Minneapolis, said:

“We call for Latinxs to protest this verdict because we will not let Officer Yanez be the face of our community. Instead he is the poster child for the real life consequences of when we let anti-Black racism go unchallenged. We want to live in a city where Black lives matter and Latinxs must be participants in making that slogan a reality.”

Marisa Feranco, co-founder and director of Mijente, a national organization of Latino activists, said on the same site, “The fear that Officer Yanez had of Philando Castile in his passenger seat is one that is taught to us and one that is prevalent in our communities. We cannot denounce him without also actively confronting Latinx anti-Blackness. It must be undone. . . .”

The Washington Post editorialized Thursday that unanswered questions in the Castile case “point to the need for an independent review by federal law enforcement to determine if his civil rights were violated and if there are systemic problems in the police force. Can the Trump administration acknowledge that need? . . .”

Meanwhile, in Cincinnati, Hamilton County, Ohio, Common Pleas Judge Leslie Ghiz declared a mistrial in the case of former University of Cincinnati police officer Ray Tensing, who fatally shot Sam DuBose, during a 2015 traffic stop.

Just the other day, a woman refused to take her assigned seat on an airplane between two African-American men (one of them me),” Cincinnati Enquirer columnist Byron McCauley wrote Friday. “Instead, she elected to be seated at the windowless rear of the plane. I wondered then what type of juror she would make in a case such as Tensing’s. . . .”

Female Wall St. Journal Reporters Press Diversity

The Wall Street Journal’s staff is about as diverse as the business world the paper covers: It’s essentially run by white men,” Emily Peck reported Thursday for HuffPost. “A few star women have risen and departed over the years. And people of color are essentially missing from the top ranks.

“The situation is growing increasingly intolerable for Journal staffers, who say journalism at the paper that media mogul Rupert Murdoch owns is suffering from the overwhelming homogeneity of the newsroom.

“Earlier this month, a half-dozen female reporters at the outlet emailed Editor-in-Chief Gerard Baker and his deputy Matt Murray on behalf of nearly 200 staffers, expressing their growing frustration. The email, obtained by HuffPost, pointedly notes that the leadership hasn’t meaningfully addressed two related issues: the significant pay gap between men and women, and the lack of racial diversity. . . .”

Peck also wrote, “Baker put off the reporters in an emailed response to their note.

“ ‘I will take some time to respond in greater length seriatim to your various points, many of which have great validity,’ he wrote back four days later. . . .”

Critic’s Take on Chicago Violence Causes Backlash

In the last week, a petition calling on theaters to stop inviting longtime Chicago Sun-Times critic Hedy Weiss to productions “in the wake of her June 13 review of ‘Pass Over’ at Steppenwolf Theatre has garnered more than 3,500 signatures, Rick Kogan and Tracy Swartz reported Friday for the Chicago Tribune.

Hedy Weiss (Credit: WTTW-TV)

Hedy Weiss (Credit: WTTW-TV)

“The petition at Change.org was created by a group of local artists calling itself the Chicago Theater Accountability Coalition, which claims 70 of the city’s 200-some theaters have agreed not to offer Weiss complimentary tickets to review a show (part of a longstanding and common arrangement between theaters and arts presenters and members of the media covering their work, including the Tribune). . . .”

The Sun-Times rose Friday to Weiss’ defense in an editorial:

“To catch you up, Hedy wrote a review on June 13 of a new Steppenwolf Theatre play, ‘Pass Over,’ that has caused quite a stir in Chicago’s theater community. She described the play, a provocative reworking of ‘Waiting for Godot’ by Antoinette Nwandu, as ‘brilliantly acted’ and ‘unquestionably inspired.’

“But she also wrote this, offending more than a few members of Chicago’s theater community:

“ ‘To be sure, no one can argue with the fact that this city (and many others throughout the country) has a problem with the use of deadly police force against African-Americans. But, for all the many and varied causes we know so well, much of the lion’s share of the violence is perpetrated within the community itself.

“Nwandu’s simplistic, wholly generic characterization of a racist white cop (clearly meant to indict all white cops) is wrong-headed and self-defeating. Just look at news reports about recent shootings (on the lakefront, on the new River Walk, in Woodlawn) and you will see the look of relief when the police arrive on the scene.

“And the playwright’s final scenes — including a speech by the clueless white aristocrat who appears earlier in the story — and who could not be more condescending to Steppenwolf’s largely white ‘liberal’ audience — further rob the play of its potential impact. . . .’’

Consensus: Senate Health Bill Would Be a Setback

If there was any hope that Senate Republicans could bring some sanity into the national discussion around the future of our health care system, such hope completely vanished on Thursday,” Dr. Mary T. Bassett and Stanley Brezenoff wrote Friday for the Daily News in New York, reflecting commentary on opinion pages across the country.

“Like the House’s health care bill, the Senate’s proposal is nothing less than an all-out attack on public health and our public hospital system, and its consequences will be devastating for New York City and the country.

“As the Senate prepares to vote on the bill next week, it’s imperative to understand what is at stake if the federal government guts funding for public health insurance — as it is poised to do.

“The Senate is proposing to save money by slashing Medicaid, the health insurance program for the poor established in 1965. Under its bill, cuts to Medicaid would be even harsher than those proposed by the House — which axes $880 billion to Medicaid over 10 years. Even worse, these efforts would push millions of Americans to the uninsured rolls. . . .”

Credit: Joan Shorenstein Center

Credit: Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy

Who Speaks for Muslims? Non-Muslim Journalists

In an analysis of the major newscasts of CBS, Fox and NBC, Meighan Stone, a fellow at Harvard University’s Joan Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy has found that “during a two-year period from 2015-2017, there was not a single month where positive stories about Muslims outnumbered negative stories,” she reported on Thursday.

“War and terrorist activities were the major focus of news reports, with ISIS serving as protagonist 75 percent of the time, while positive coverage, such as human interest stories or those depicting Muslims as productive members of society, were overlooked.

“In reports where Muslims were the focus, only 3 percent of the voices heard were those of Muslims, while [President] Trump spoke on their behalf 21 percent of the time. [Journalists had the largest say. Their sound bites accounted for 68 percent of the words.] Stories about refugees were also negative in tone; more than half of the global refugee population is Muslim. . . .”

Who Illegally Shot Video Inside Cosby Courtroom?

State court officials said Friday they had launched an investigation after a video surfaced on YouTube that appeared to have been recorded from inside a courtroom during closing arguments at Bill Cosby’s sexual-assault trial,” Jeremy Roebuck reported for the Philadelphia Inquirer.

“The nearly two-hour film — posted under the title ‘MUST SEE — The Cosby Case Defense Closing Arguments’ — featured audio of Cosby lawyer Brian J. McMonagle’s June 12 final pitch to the jury. It’s not clear who produced it but the recording itself appears to be a violation of Pennsylvania law prohibiting transmission, photography or video recording in state courts, investigators said. . . .”

Roebuck also wrote, “The video had earned more than 140 views before it was taken off the social sharing site Thursday. It also contained photos that appeared to have been taken inside an annex courtroom with a screen where Cosby’s trial was broadcast live for an overflow crowd that didn’t have courtroom seats. That room was mostly occupied by journalists who had been credentialed to cover the trial. . . .”

Statue of Robert E. Lee on Monument Avenue in Richmond, Va. (Credit: Wikipedia)

Statue of Robert E. Lee on Monument Avenue in Richmond, Va. (Credit: Wikipedia)

Richmond, Va., Mayor Wants Context With Statues

The young African American mayor of the onetime capital of the Confederacy vowed Thursday to confront his city’s towering tributes to Southern Civil War figures with words instead of wrecking balls,” Laura Vozzella reported Thursday for the Washington Post.

“Mayor Levar Stoney said he would not seek to remove the monuments lining the city’s most famous boulevard. Instead, he announced the formation of a commission to find other ways — new signage and perhaps additional monuments — to correct the ‘false narrative’ conveyed by the statues that give Monument Avenue its name. . . .”

The editorial board of the Richmond Times-Dispatch approved.

The mayoral announcement was noteworthy for what it did not advocate as well,” it said Thursday. “Stoney did not call for the destruction or the relocation of the statues. He stressed context. Removal could result from the process but probably only if opponents of reconciliation massively resist propriety. A heritage that does not address its own entirety becomes an insignia of hate. Let freedom ring!

“Mayor Stoney has given Richmond an opportunity to become a monument to civility. We hope the citizenry will rise to the occasion.”

However, columnist Michael Paul Williams, who like Stoney is African American, was not as pleased.

Stoney argued that removing monuments ‘doesn’t change race relations in our city,” Williams wrote Friday.

“I’m not so sure.

“The mayor, in his speech, delivered a powerful history on how the erection of those monuments coincided with the re-subjugation of black people in Virginia. In 1867, about 106,000 African-American men were registered to vote, he said. That number increased to 147,000 by 1902, the year Virginia held a constitutional convention that actively set out to turn back the clock on black progress.

“By 1905, there were fewer than 10,000 registered black voters in Virginia. And from the turn of the century until 1968, there would be no black legislators in the Virginia General Assembly, Stoney said.

“You can’t acknowledge that history and not concede the corrosive effect of those monuments. . . .”

Leavell Returns to Leadership at Black-Press Group

Dorothy Leavell (Credit: Chicago Crusader)

Dorothy Leavell (Credit: Chicago Crusader)

Dorothy Leavell, publisher of the Chicago Crusader and Gary Crusader newspapers, defeated incumbent Chairwoman Denise Rolark Barnes Friday to become chairperson of the National Newspaper Publishers Association, the trade association for black-press publishers.

The NNPA Newswire story, posted Saturday, did not include the vote total. Barnes, publisher of the Washington Informer, prevailed over Leavell by only six votes in the last election two years ago.

Both women are NNPA veterans with stellar reputations of commitment to the Black press,” Hazel Trice Edney wrote Tuesday for her Trice Edney Wire. “But Barnes and Leavell are also known for their distinctly different personalities.

“Leavell, known for her fiery speeches and fighting spirit, is a National Association of Black [Journalists] Hall of Fame inductee, who has held a number of NNPA leadership positions, including president during the late 1990s. In her campaign, she promises to fight for government and corporate advertising and to strengthen the NNPA News Wire, which in recent years has been moved from under the NNPA Foundation, a [501(c)(3) non-profit, to the association, which is a [501(c)(6)] tax-paying trade organization. . . .”

Short Takes

— At the Investigative Reporters and Editors conference

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