US Capitol riot: Police officers to testify at first meeting of the January 6 select committee

Trump supporters clash with police and security forces as they try to storm the US Capitol in Washington, DC on January 6, 2021.
Trump supporters clash with police and security forces as they try to storm the US Capitol in Washington, DC on January 6, 2021.

  • The US House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack holds its first hearing July 27.
  • The committee was created after Republicans defeated an effort to create an independent commission.
  • It has 13 members, but only eight have been named thus far. Rep. Liz Cheney is the lone Republican.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Police officers who were attacked by a pro-Trump mob at the US Capitol will testify before Congress next week at the first meeting of a select committee created to investigate the attack.

Rep. Bennie Thompson, a Democrat from Mississippi who chairs the panel, announced Monday that the officers would testify July 27 regarding, “The Law Enforcement Experience on January 6th.”

Among those testify is Michael Fanone, an officer with the Metropolitan Police Department in Washington, DC.

Fanone, according to prosecutors, was shot with a stun gun, dragged down steps at the US Capitol, and beaten with a flagpole. He suffered a heart attack during the attack, which he said has left him with post-traumatic stress disorder.

At least 140 police officers were injured during the riot. At least two died during or following the attack: one from a stroke suffered after being hit with bear spray, which a medical examiner said may have been a contributing factor, and another from suicide.

Earlier this month, federal agents arrested a Pennsylvania man after a video appeared to show him charging at police with a stun gun and assaulting a photographer who captured the footage.

In June, the House passed legislation creating a select committee to investigate the January 6 attack after Republicans defeated a Democratic proposal for an independent commission.

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Father and son police officers charged with joining Proud Boys at Capitol riot

Capitol riot
The Capitol riot on January 6.

  • Kevin and Nathaniel Tuck were charged with several offences relating to the Capitol insurrection.
  • The men were added to an indictment of two previously charged Proud Boys.
  • The father-son duo were former or current police officers from Florida.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Father and son police officers have been charged with joining members of the militia group Proud Boys during the Capitol riot, according to an indictment unsealed on Friday.

Kevin Tuck, 51, and Nathaniel Tuck, 29, former and current police officers from Florida, were charged with several offenses, including impeding official proceedings and disorderly and disruptive conduct in a restricted building.

The Tucks were charged along with Edward George Jr., who was also charged with assaulting a police officer and stealing government property.

All three men were added to an indictment of previously charged Orlando area men Arthur Jackman and Paul Rae.

Jackman and Rae, who were arrested in March, were named as members of the Proud Boys militia group in their criminal complaints.

It’s not immediately clear what the relationship is between The Tucks and George and Jackman and Rae.

The Washington Post said that the charges against the Tucks bring the number of off-duty law enforcement officers charged in the Capitol mob to at least 20.

On Thursday, Kevin Tuck resigned from the police department in Windermere, Florida.

Windermere Police Chief David Ogden said in a statement that he was “disheartened” by the arrest.

“The Windermere Police Department (WPD) has worked tirelessly over the past eight years to build a reputation of serving with Honor, Integrity and Service to our residents, and this arrest doesn’t reflect on the hard work of the men and women of the Windermere Police Department,” he said.

Nathaniel Tuck served as a policeman in Apopka, Florida, until September 2020.

According to The Washington Post, Kevin and Nathaniel Tuck were released on a $25,000 unsecured bond on Thursday by a judge in Tampa.

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Illinois becomes the first state to bar police from lying to minors in interrogations

pritzker illinois governor.JPG
Governor of Illinois Jay Robert Pritzker attends a science initiative event at the University of Chicago, in Chicago, Illinois, U.S. July 23, 2020.

  • Illinois became the first state to bar police from lying to underage offenders during interrogations.
  • Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed the bill into law, including three other bills aimed at criminal justice reform.
  • The legislation builds upon previous reforms spearheaded by former President Obama when he served as an Illinois senator.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed a bill into law Friday making it illegal for police to lie to minors during interrogations.

The state, which was previously known as the “False Confession Capital of the United States,” according to the Innocence Project, is the first in the US to pass a law of this kind.

“Today is a historic day, reflecting how far the Innocence Project’s initial foray into false confession reform has come – from mandating the electronic recording of interrogations, a foundational change that makes a record of what transpires in the interrogation room,” Rebecca Brown, director of policy at the Innocence Project, said.

“This law is a breakthrough in safeguarding against the wrongful convictions of young people, and an opportunity to establish interrogation techniques that stem from seeking truth and justice within law enforcement agencies across the country,” Brown continued.

Lauren Kaeseberg, legal director at the Illinois Innocence Project, told NPR that “in Illinois alone, there have been 100 wrongful convictions predicated on false confessions, including 31 involving people under 18 years of age.”

The legislation passed by Pritzker on Friday was sponsored by state Sen. Robert Peters, who built upon previous reforms sought by former President Barack Obama, who represented the same district as Peters when he served as an Illinois state senator. Then state Sen. Obama sponsored an Illinois law that required interrogations to be recorded.

“Chicago is the wrongful conviction capital of the nation, and a disproportionate number of wrongful convictions were elicited from Black youth by police who were allowed to lie to them during questioning,” Peters said. “That ends now.”

He added: “It’s time to restore real safety and real justice to our communities and end practices that perpetuate trauma and put the wrong people in prison.”

Similar legislation was approved by state lawmakers in Oregon and just awaits Gov. Kate Brown’s signature, and New York legislators introduced a bill banning deceptive interrogation tactics and establishes a court review of recorded confessions to determine if they should be used in court.

It is legal for police officers to lie to underage offenders, such as promising a lenient sentence or suggesting the authorities have nonexistent evidence to provoke a confession.

Pritzker also signed three other bills aimed at criminal justice reform, including making restorative justice practices privileged information, establishing a resentencing task force to analyze ways to reduce the state’s prison population, allowing a state attorney to petition for an offender’s resentencing “if the original sentence no longer advances the interests of justice.”

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Haitian president Jovenel Moïse was reportedly shot 12 times with large- and small-caliber weapons, judge says

Haiti Jovenel Moise and wife Martine Moise
Jovenel Moïse and his wife Martine Moïse in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, on November 28, 2016, after he won the country’s 2016 presidential election.

  • Assassinated Haitian President Jovenel Moïse was shot 12 times when gunmen stormed into his home.
  • Pétion-Ville deputy justice of the peace, Carl Henry Destin, revealed the details to the Haitian newspaper Le Nouvelliste.
  • Moïse was killed by a group of armed assailants at around 1 a.m. Wednesday.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Assassinated Haitian President Jovenel Moïse was riddled with a dozen bullets – some from high-caliber weapons – when gunmen stormed into his home and killed him, a local justice of the peace said, according to a report.

“We found twelve [bullet wounds] on the body of the president,” Pétion-Ville deputy justice of the peace, Carl Henry Destin, told French-language newspaper Le Nouvelliste, explaining that they were made with both large-caliber and smaller caliber weapons.

Moïse was assassinated by a group of armed assailants who burst into his home at around 1 a.m. Wednesday.

Haitian first lady Martine Moïse was also critically injured in the attack.

Destin told the newspaper that Jovenel Moïse’s office and bedroom “were ransacked.”

Destin told the paper that Moïse’s eye was blown out, adding that he was also shot in the forehead, chest, hip, and abdomen.

Le Nouvelliste reported that one of the couple’s three children was at the home at the time of the attack and hid in her brother’s bedroom. Authorities say the child is safe.

Destin, citing witnesses, told the news outlet that a maid and another worker were tied up by the assassins who shouted “DEA operation” when they entered the home.

The police chief of Haiti, Léon Charles, said late Wednesday night that four people suspected of being involved in the assassination were killed by police in a gun battle and two others were arrested.

Haitian security forces on Thursday caught more men believed to be involved in the assassination plot that killed Moïse, Reuters reported, citing live images shown by several Haitian media outlets.

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Salaries are on the rise in police departments across the US, despite protests and calls to defund the police

New york police officers
NYPD officers stand guard on April 4, 2021 in New York City.

  • The 2020 median salary for a police officer in the US was $67,290 – the median for all jobs was $48,769.
  • Despite ongoing calls to defund police departments, officer salaries are only getting higher.
  • Police forces are growing, too, with incentives to join such tuition reimbursement and signing bonuses.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Police work can be one of the best-paid professions in the United States.

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the 2020 median salary for a police officer was US$67,290 – more than one-third higher than the national median of $48,769 for all occupations. Many officers probably earn much more, because the bureau’s analysis is based on hourly wages for a typical work year of 2,080 hours and does not include overtime – one of the factors that can drive an officer’s yearly income even higher.

Although there is a great deal of variation across the nation’s roughly 18,000 police departments, the agency also reports that salaries for police have largely climbed in the past five years – from an 8.8% increase in Mississippi, the state that overall pays its police the least, to a 21% increase in Hawaii, one of the best-paying states.

While efforts to control police budgets have succeeded in Austin, Denver, and Oakland, among others, the Biden administration recently announced that COVID-19 relief funds can be used to hire police officers to combat the rise in gun violence.

As a former police officer who studies policing in America, I think it is unlikely that police salaries can go anywhere but up.

Read more: 3 IT professionals who didn’t get a college degree and are now making 6 figures reveal how to succeed in their field

Police salaries are inching up

Just look at the trends across the US.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics published the mean salaries for police officers in all states plus the District of Columbia for the year 2018.

Somewhat predictably due to cost of living, California topped the list at $101,380, followed by Alaska at $88,030, where the cost of living also drives salaries higher. New Jersey, Washington state, and Hawaii round out the top five.

All of the 10 departments with the lowest-paid officers are located in the South, where Mississippi police officers earn slightly more than one-third of their California counterparts.

Large cities clearly offer higher wages to their police officers, as do some cities surrounding large metropolitan areas. The Los Angeles Police Department currently advertises a starting salary of $70,804 a year. That’s up from the 2015 starting annual salary of $59,717 – an 18.5% increase over just six years.

Starting salary for police officers in Baltimore is $55,117, with a seasoned officer earning $95,325, base salary alone. Seattle officers earn $83,600 once they’ve completed their basic academy training and top out at $109,512 after 54 months, not including overtime. Seattle even agreed to pay its officers an extra 2% for wearing body cameras.

Larger, better-paying police departments attract officers from smaller departments by offering more pay and better training for experienced officers. This often leaves a void that small agencies struggle to fill with qualified candidates.

There are three main drivers of police take-home pay: overtime, education, and competition.

1. Overtime

In his recent trial for the murder of George Floyd, Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was represented by an attorney paid for by his union, the Minneapolis Police Federation. This benefit is only a small part of the union’s 128-page labor agreement with the city, which details salaries, vacation, sick leave, medical insurance, grievance procedures and, in particular, overtime pay.

Reportedly, Derek Chauvin’s 2018 salary was $90,612, more than twice the average Minneapolis per capita income of $38,808 in 2019. But it’s overtime rather than base salaries that drives up officers’ total compensation.

Across the country, police officers typically receive “time and a half” for every hour worked beyond the standard 40-hour week, meaning a pay rate that combines their regular hourly rate plus an additional 50%.

Most union agreements also stipulate higher pay for other work deemed “overtime,” such as off-duty court appearances. They also stipulate other after-hours pay boosts, such as a minimum of four hours’ pay for officers called back to duty for any reason.

In practice, these extra pay arrangements have a huge effect on driving up the size of police budgets. A few examples:

  • In Los Angeles, where the second-largest police force in the US boasts salaries of $83,144 after two years of employment plus an annual 1.5% cost-of-living increase, the union recently negotiated $245 million in overtime pay for its officers.
  • Boston’s complex agreement with its police department results in many opportunities for overtime as well as extra payment for special assignments.

City governments typically budget for some police officer overtime, since that extra income does not count toward an officer’s eventual retirement pay and reduces the need to hire additional employees. However, unanticipated events such as national disasters, public demonstrations, and political rallies all result in overtime pay for cops that cities must pay whether or not they planned for it:

2. Education

Few local law enforcement agencies require a four-year college degree, but most offer educational incentives that range from a 2% annual salary increase for earning an associate’s degree to 10% for a bachelor’s degree.

For example, since 1970 in Massachusetts, police receive pay incentives of up to 25% over and above their regular salary for a master’s or law degree. The Chicago Police Department, among others, provides tuition reimbursement for college courses, as well as additional incentive pay once a degree is completed.

Such incentives may be a good investment. Research indicates that police officers with college degrees are less likely to use lethal force and are subjects of fewer citizen complaints. Since fewer complaints mean fewer claims to pay and lawsuits to defend, this can ultimately save cities money.

3. Recruitment

More police officers are leaving the profession before retirement age, according to a 2019 study by the Police Executive Research Forum. The group has also found that the number of applicants for police jobs has steadily declined over the past 10 years. So departments trying to attract new recruits often go beyond tempting salaries by offering incentives like assistance with relocation, housing and childcare, education pay, college tuition reimbursement, health club memberships, and employee signing bonuses.

At the New York Police Department, the nation’s largest force, the starting salary is a relatively modest $42,000 a year. But the department highlights on its website that starting benefits include “holiday pay, longevity pay, uniform allowance, night differential, and overtime,” which together with salary can boost annual compensation to more than $100,000.

Even smaller departments are coming up with incentives to try and remain competitive with larger agencies that can offer higher salaries, more overtime and more attractive benefits. The police department of Bellmead, Texas, a city of around 10,500 about two hours north of Austin, has begun offering experienced officers a $5,000 bonus for signing on to the force.

Another trend to watch: Not only are police salaries rising, but the size of police forces also continues to grow. The Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasts a 5% growth in police jobs from 2019 to 2029, from 813,500 to an estimated 854,200, which is faster on average than other occupations.

Laurie Woods, senior lecturer in sociology, Vanderbilt University

The Conversation
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New bodycam video shows ex-NYPD cop wielding a flag pole and tackling a police officer during the Capitol riot

A screenshot of a video shows a crowd of Trump supporters pushing up against a police barricade, including one man who appears to be shouting and is holding a flag pole above his head.
This photo is included in the criminal complaint against Thomas Webster, who has been charged with assaulting a police officer in the Capitol riot.

  • Thomas Webster, a former NYPD officer, has been charged with assaulting police in the Capitol riot.
  • New body-camera video obtained by CNN shows Webster berating the officer and wielding a flag pole.
  • He can be seen swinging the pole before charging at and tackling the officer to the ground.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

New body-camera footage released Thursday shows a former member of the New York City Police Department attacking a police officer in Washington, DC, during the January 6 Capitol insurrection.

The footage, obtained by CNN, shows Thomas Webster wielding a flag pole while assaulting police, eventually charging at and tackling an officer to the ground. Webster is a retired NYPD police officer and a former Marine.

He was charged in February with multiple counts, including using a flag pole to assault a police officer, Insider’s Charles Davis reported. He has pleaded not guilty to all charges. The video captures what was described in the criminal complaint. It shows Webster, who is wearing a red jacket, berating an officer and calling them a “piece of shit” and a “commie.”

Read more: The Justice Department is scrutinizing Arizona’s pro-Trump vote audit as threats of violence and political fallout loom

Webster can then be seen aggressively pushing against the barricade and swinging the metal flag pole as police struggle to keep him and others back. The officer is able to wrestle the flag pole away from him, at which point Webster can be seen charging at the officer and tackling him to the ground.

The complaint said Webster shoved the metal gate into the officer and struck him with the flag pole several times. It also featured images from other angles of Webster attacking the officer and attempting to pull his face mask and protective gear off, which the complaint said caused the officer to choke.

A judge ordered the Justice Department to release the footage after legal challenges by multiple media outlets, including CNN. Prosecutors have been using body-camera footage, surveillance footage, and more in court cases, but some of it has not been released to the public.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Amazon’s Ring recruited LAPD officers as brand ambassadors to help sell its products through influencer marketing

Four Los Angeles Police Department officers stand outside wearing face masks.
Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) officers wear facial covering while monitoring an “Open California” rally in downtown Los Angeles, on April 22, 2020. – Over the past week there have been scattered protests in several US states against confinement measures, from New Hampshire, Maryland and Pennsylvania to Texas and California.

Amazon-owned Ring recruited Los Angeles Police Department officers as brand ambassadors to help promote its security cameras and smart doorbells, the Los Angeles Times reported Thursday.

Ring gave free products or discount codes to more than 100 LAPD officers, and encouraged them to share the discount codes with other law enforcement officers and members of the public, according to the Times.

More than 15 of those officers ended up promoting Ring products, and the company ended up giving away tens of thousands of dollars in free product, including at least $12,000 to a single police station, the Times reported.

Amazon did not respond to a request for comment on this story and the LAPD could not immediately be reached.

Ring’s version of an influencer marketing program, which it called “Neighborhood Pillar,” enlisted LAPD officers to “educate members of the community on the benefits of Ring” by sharing discount codes and promotional materials to “influential people in the community that care about crime prevention safety,” with every 10 uses of the discount codes earning them a free Ring device, the Times reported.

Ring told the Times that it ended the program in 2019 and now works directly with community groups.

But LAPD ethics policies prohibit officers from receiving “gifts, gratuities or favors of any kind which might reasonably be interpreted as an attempt to influence their actions with respect to City business.”

An LAPD spokesperson told the Times that an initial review of emails between its officers and Ring didn’t find any violations of that policy.

But privacy and law enforcement experts told the Times that officers’ public safety advice to members of their communities might be biased – or give the appearance of bias – because of the promise of receiving free Ring devices.

Vice previously reported on how Ring aggressively pursued partnerships with law enforcement agencies around the country over the years as it has tried to build out its private surveillance camera network, inking deals with hundreds of police and even fire departments.

The rise of such privately owned networks, which allow police to access camera footage in many cases without a warrant, have drawn criticism from privacy and criminal justice experts, as well as Amazon employees, who say that they present major privacy risks.

Read the original article on Business Insider

One man’s 21-year protest to take down a Confederate monument – and force his Texas town to face its racist legacy

A man displays an image of himself protesting at the foot of a Confederate monument.
Willie Hudspeth in the spot where the monument once stood, with a picture from from one of his many protests.

  • Willie Hudspeth protested the Confederate monument in his Texas town, almost every Sunday, for 21 years.
  • In June 2020 – one month after the killing of George Floyd – the monument finally came down.
  • Hudspeth’s vigils inspired a reckoning about Denton’s past, including the forced relocation of the once-thriving Black community known as Quakertown.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

The Historic Square in Denton, Texas, is a sprawling lawn dotted with old oak trees. On weekends, it’s a destination for families and students from Denton’s two major universities. The historic County Courthouse is in the center, surrounded by a commercial strip with a few hip coffee shops, a pizza joint where indie bands play late into the night, an old-fashioned ice cream shop, and a bookstore.

For over a century – until last June 25 – there was also a Confederate monument: A 20-foot statue of a uniformed soldier over the words, “Our Confederate Soldiers.” And for the last two decades, nearly every week on Sunday afternoon, from 4 to 7pm, a Black resident of Denton named Willie Hudspeth would set up a lawn chair, some signs, and sit in protest.

The standoff finally came to an end one year ago, exactly one month after the killing of George Floyd, when under the cover of dark, county officials quietly dismantled the monument.

Hudspeth – a retired middle school teacher, Vietnam veteran, and leader of the local NAACP – was already 54 years-old when he started his protests; by the time he watched it come down, he was 75 and bent with age. On the infamous night, Hudspeth was there, hauled out of bed at 4 in the morning by allies who heard the commotion. Cell phone video caught Hudspeth’s shocked reaction, as buzzsaws could be heard cutting through concrete. “Thank god it actually happened,” he said in an interview the next day. But the secrecy around the removal was bittersweet. “For 21-years, I have been going down there, talking about removing the statue, and it’s just like these commissioners to do what they did.”

Today, there’s no trace of the monument on the Square. Denton has changed in other ways, too.

Hudspeth’s weekly protests were a catalyst for an investigation into Denton’s past – the legacy of Klavern No. 136, Denton’s branch of the Ku Klux Klan; the razing of the Black middle class district known as Quakertown; the dates that Black men were lynched in Denton County. At the end of 2020, Denton even elected its first Black mayor – a Republican who is also Hudspeth’s son.

“He read them for filth”

For Hudspeth, the whole thing started in 1999 with a seemingly innocuous proposal to turn on a pair of water fountains that were affixed to each leg of the monument’s arch. The consensus among county leaders, all of whom were white, was that the fountains had never been operable – that pipes would have to be put down for the fountains to work.

Denton’s Black residents remembered it differently; the fountains had definitely worked, and they were “white only.”

The fountains presented a mystery, and solving it required knowing the statue’s origin story. Around the turn of the 20th century when the South was emerging from Reconstruction to enter a new world order where Black people were now free, a few groups formed to remind everybody of how things used to be, and in their view, were supposed to be. One was the KKK, whose members sang in white churches on Sunday mornings and terrorized Black neighborhoods at night. White women who wanted to do their part could join the United Daughters of the Confederacy (UDC).

And do their part they did-all across the South, as Jim Crow ramped up in the late 1800s and “The Birth of a Nation” hit theatres in 1915, the UDC and other similar groups fundraised to erect over 700 Confederate monuments in places of public prominence. A large majority were erected between 1900 and 1920, and tended to have a cookie-cutter look, reflecting the swift establishment under the perception of lost ground from the white South. Many of the statues feature a sculpted concrete image of a soldier atop arches or mounts emblazoned with “Our Confederate Soldiers” and a plaque honoring the sons conscripted into the War of Northern Aggression. The Denton Confederate monument went up toward the end of this era, in 1918, but with one distinction-the fountains on either side of the arch.

As the debate in 1999 turned increasingly contentious, a local historian dug up old newspaper clippings that showed the fountains in use. (Years later, in 2018, the county commissioned a ground test and confirmed that the fountains had indeed been operable.) But increasingly, it was a conversation that few wanted to have, and shutting it down meant tabling the water fountain discussion altogether. “Because,” Hudspeth says of the town, “it would show they were racist.” As Hudspeth saw it, Denton needed to deal with its past and, for that to happen, the fountains had to be turned on. “Turn them on,” became his battle cry. even before the fate of the monument was on the table. “Turn them on and let everyone drink.”

County leaders held firm. “I know for a fact that the memorial has never had an operable fountain,” Mary Horn, the chair of the Denton County Commissioner’s Court, which oversaw the monument, and who would spar with Hudspeth over the monument until her retirement in 2018, said at the time. “There is NO water line from the building to the memorial and never has been.”

The words "Willie Hudspeth Demolition and Trash Haul Off" are painted on the side of a green truck.
Willie Hudspeth is seen driving his truck through Denton.

Hudspeth started attending nearly every Commissioner’s Court meeting to talk about the monument. He showed up at City Council meetings. Katina Stone-Butler, a local artist, remembers stumbling upon Hudspeth on the local access TV channel in the nineties. “Just giving everybody the business,” she laughs. “He read them for filth.”

The Commissioner’s Court referred Hudspeth to the Denton County Historical Commission, which then referred him to the Texas Historical Commission, which then referred him back to the Commissioner’s Court. “They had me going in circles,” Hudspeth says. “Rabbit chases to wear me down.”

Finally, Hudspeth had had enough. If county leaders weren’t willing to engage with him, he would take the conversation to the Square. “[That] Willie was angry,” Hudspeth says, looking back. “He was angry at everybody and everything. My name was chaos. I wanted to create chaos wherever I could-and I mean everywhere.”

He was working then as a junk hauler but he had Sundays off. And so, on one Sunday in 1999, he held his first protest at the foot of the Confederate monument.

Quakertown

To the Black community in Denton, the city’s selective memory was nothing new. The forced relocation of Quakertown proved it.

In the decades after the Civil War. Quakertown was a thriving Black merchant district near the center of town. Denton was Denton-but Quakertown was theirs. There were Black doctors and lawyers and Black-owned shops.

But then, white Denton decided that Quakertown was in the way. The College of Industrial Arts, a school for white women, had been built on the edge of Quakertown, just beyond the Square. The town claimed the students needed more space for the ladies to walk safely from school. Plans had also been drawn up for a new Denton Civic Park – exactly where Quakertown then stood. As a historical marker set down in the park in 2013 puts it, “the civic-minded interests of Denton’s white residents threatened the future of Quakertown.”

A historical marker at Denton Civic Park explains that the park was formerly the site of Quakertown.
A historical marker at Denton Civic Park, the former site of Quakertown.

In 1921, three years after the Confederate monument went up in Denton, the town voted to relocate the whole of Quakertown to Solomon Hill, a swampy cow pasture on the other side of the railroad tracks in southeast Denton, thus giving the white ladies their walking path to school. More than 60 families lost their homes and many residents left Denton altogether. It was the same year as the Tulsa Race Massacre, 270 miles north, when the city’s “Black Wall Street” was burned and 300 people were killed.

What happened to Quakertown sealed in a wound that has not healed to this day. Some of the old Quakertown homes still sit on cinder blocks from the hasty relocation. There was never an apology from Denton’s white leadership, much less compensation offered to those who had lost their community and livelihoods.

“I think it broke their spirit, really,” says Linnie M. McAdams, who is 83 and served as Denton’s first Black councilwoman. In the 1980s, she pushed to revitalize southeast Denton, where the grandchildren of the original Quakertown residents still live to this day, but she says that getting people involved in local politics was like pulling teeth.

Once McAdams, who had come to Denton as an adult, learned the history of Quakertown, things started making sense. “I didn’t understand the devastation of that move,” she says. “And what it did to those people to be moved out of their homes over to a god forsaken area with no city services. And the city was in no hurry to do anything about it.”

Katina Stone-Butler, an artist who also moved to Denton as an adult, described a similar experience. “Black people don’t really go on the Square,” Stone-Butler says. “There’s a spiritual barrier there because of the racist history of this county.”

A home sits atop cinderblocks. A placard in front says it is an original Quakertown home that will be moved to a museum.
An original Quakertown house that was moved in the forced relocation and will now be part of a museum display in Denton.

With two major universities in town, a world-class School of Jazz, and progressive leadership on the city council, Denton enjoys a reputation as a blue dot amid the conservative Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex.

But to Stone-Butler, who is Black and co-hosts the podcast, Black History for White People, it’s the same old racism, just in a hipster outfit. “Coffee house, skinny jean racism,” she says.

A long, solitary protest

That first Sunday of Hudspeth’s protest, he set up a sign that read “God loves us all” – with a smiley face for the “o” in God – and sat down in a lawn chair at the base of the monument. And for years after that, rain or shine, he stuck with it. Often, he would strike up conversations with people about the history of the statue.

As the years passed, Hudspeth’s goals shifted – a fact that his detractors would seize on. At first, he wanted the fountains turned on, along with a plaque that would explain their history of Jim Crow segregation. Later, he said the monument should be moved to a museum.

Train tracks, with a colorful mural to the side.
Train tracks divide southeast Denton from the rest of the city.

If there was going to be a Confederate monument on public property, Hudspeth figured he would be its living presence, there to offer context and perspective. If the monument paid tribute to Confederate soldiers, as Horn and its defenders claimed, Hudspeth’s protests inspired a deep look at the past.

At times, students rallied behind him, though their efforts tended to come and go with the graduation cycles. In 2008, after students circulated a petition calling for the monument’s removal, the Denton County Historical Commission announced a plan for a Quakertown House Museum dedicated to Denton’s Black history.

In walking tours, blog posts and podcasts, the excavation of Denton’s racist past had started. Students found old newspaper clippings that revealed a KKK parade through Denton in 1921, more Klan activity alongside the raising of Quakertown, and Klan ties to city leadership. When Hudspeth discovered unmarked graves at the overgrown and unkempt St. John’s Cemetery, a plaque was ordered and work began to identify the dead and piece together their stories. Denton County lynchings were catalogued.

“Willie is a heat-seeking missile man of action,” says Shaun Treat, a local activist and historian. “He doesn’t quit.”

As Hudspeth continued his protest, the tension in Denton rose.

In 2015, after the words “This is Racist” were spray-painted on top of the monument, a white man confronted Hudspeth on the Square with a loaded AK-47, shouting “Counterprotest!”

A man holds a sign that says "Move the Statue" as he stands in front of a courthouse.
Willie Hudspeth holds one of his old signs at the site where the Confederate monument once stood.

The area had been thick with families and onlookers. When police arrived, the man forfeited his ammunition but was allowed to leave the scene with his rifle. He claimed that he was there “to make a point” and was never charged. Security in the Square ramped up after that.

Pressure was also building from outside.

The 2017 “United the Right” rally in Charlottesville brought things to a head. “That was a big one,” Hudspeth says. “We [Black Lives Matter] joined together, and chaos was on again.”

In 2019, Texas finally agreed to remove from its statehouse a plaque stating that the Civil War “was not a rebellion, nor was its underlying cause to sustain slavery.” Texas still observes Confederate History Month every April and, according to the Texas Observer, while the state had removed more Confederate symbols than any other, as of 2019, 68 remained.

Denton announced a new Confederate Memorial Advisory Committee, which included Hudspeth in its 15 members. When the committee voted 12-3 to keep the monument in place, but add a plaque decrying slavery and video kiosks dedicated to Black history in Denton, Hudspeth was one of the dissenting votes.

However, it was only a recommendation and the Commissioner’s Court, now led by Judge Andy Eads, needed to approve it. Eads ordered ground-penetrating tests that finally confirmed the fountains had been linked to pipes.

But then came COVID. And then, the killings of Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery and George Floyd. Confederate statues were coming down across the south. In Denton, police shot and killed Darius Tarver, a young Black man in mental crisis. There were also renewed questions about the mysterious death of Lermont Stowers Jones two years earlier on Denton’s Old Alton Bridge, a rumored site of past lynchings.

Suddenly, it wasn’t just Willie Hudspeth protesting at the Confederate monument.

On June 9, 2020, the Commissioner’s Court approved an emergency request to the Texas Historical Commission to relocate the monument to protect it from “desecration.” When Denton woke up on the morning of June 25, the Confederate soldier was gone.

A man stands in front of a shed surrounded by signs like "Move the Statue"
Willie Hudspeth keeps the signs from his years of protesting in a shed at his home.

Hudspeth spends his Sundays at home with his wife of 52 years, who is happy to see him simmer down for once. But he still attends county meetings, as he says, to keep its leaders in check. And he shares his views with his son, Gerard Hudspeth, who was elected as Denton’s first Black Mayor in December 2020 and has largely stayed out of Denton’s debates about race.

“My dad and I still argue politics and sometimes it gets hot,” Mayor Hudspeth says. “I am what I am because of his modeling on how to serve and be active in your community.”

“He surprises me,” Hudspeth says of his son. “We still fight. But we laugh, too.”

Hudspeth chuckles and shakes his head. “He’s doing a good job.”

What comes next is up to the Texas Historical Commission, which in April approved plans to move the monument to Denton’s Courthouse-on-the-Square Museum. McAdams, the retired councilwoman, is pushing for a memorial honoring victims of lynchings in Denton County to be installed there, too.

“That statue is a tribute to the people who have mistreated me all my life,” she says. “It gives comfort and a sense of right to those people who are bigoted and filled with hate… a symbol of the good ol’ days when they had control and you didn’t have all these n*****s walking around everywhere. That’s what it says to them.”

As Stone-Butler, the Denton artist, sees it: “It’s not enough to move a monument that has been the physical gatekeeper of racism and systemic oppression. It needs to crumble to the ground.”

“If Denton wants to put up a monument,” Stone-Butler says. “They can put up a monument of Willie Hudspeth.”

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Capitol rioter Ashli Babbitt’s family sues to learn the name of the Capitol police officer who fatally shot her

US Capitol riot
Riots at the US Capitol Building.

  • Ashli Babbitt’s husband has filed a lawsuit against Washington DC’s Metropolitan Police Department.
  • In the complaint, he asks for the identity of the Capitol Police officer who fatally shot his wife.
  • Ashli Babbitt was killed while storming the Capitol during the pro-Trump riots on January 6.
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The family of Ashli Babbitt – who was fatally shot while storming the US Capitol building during the January 6 insurrection – has filed a complaint against Washington DC’s Metropolitan Police Department asking for the identity of the Capitol officer who shot his wife.

Babbitt was fatally shot by a police officer as she tried to enter the Speaker’s Lobby at the House of Representatives by climbing through a broken window during the January 6 siege.

No charges have been brought against the officer who shot her, and the officer has not been publicly named.

But according to court papers first obtained by CNBC and seen by Insider, Babbitt’s husband, Aaron Babbit, is now seeking access to the officer’s identity, video footage of the incident, and more.

The compliant, filed last week, alleges that the MPD “failed to comply” with a Freedom of Information Act request by missing a May 12 deadline to provide or deny the materials.

Babbitt family lawyer Terrell Roberts told CNBC that the purpose of the FOIA was to find more information out about the shooting.

The complaint is separate from a lawsuit in which the Babbitt family plans to sue both the Capitol Police and the officer who shot Babbitt for wrongful death.

The MPD would not comment on the complaint to Insider because it is pending litigation.

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Children as young as 5 years old are being handcuffed and removed from New York’s schools by the police

police officer in school
A Portland police officer talks to students in the Portland High School hallway in November 2019.

  • The number of students removed from New York City schools has increased, a new report finds.
  • The report also uncovered that Black, Latinx, and disabled students are disproportionally affected.
  • Black and Latinx students accounted for 92% of all interventions between 2016 and 2020.
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The number of police interventions in New York City public schools has risen with Black students and students with severe disabilities disproportionally removed from classrooms, a new report has uncovered.

The report, which was published this week by Advocates for Children of New York (AFC), an education nonprofit organization, analyzed 12,000 incidents described by the NYPD as “child in crisis interventions” where a student is removed from a classroom or school to be transported to a hospital for a psychological evaluation between 2016 and 2020.

According to the data, the number of interventions increased by 24% in the first three quarters of the 2019-2020 school year.

Around 10 percent of these students in crisis were handcuffed, including numerous instances where children under the age of 13, including five, six, and seven-year-olds, were handcuffed before they were forcibly removed from a classroom for evaluation.

“Five-, six-, seven-year-olds getting handcuffed in school. Very, very troubling,” Dawn Yuster, director of the School Justice Project at Advocates for Children, told Spectrum News NY1. “I, personally, professionally have represented clients as young as eight years old, who has been handcuffed in school – and I will never forget the day that I got a call from a parent when his child was transported to the hospital.”

She added: “It only exacerbates the problems that already exist. It does absolutely nothing to change the behavior, improve the behavior, and it further alienates the family from the school.”

The data also revealed that Black students – particularly young Black boys – and students with disabilities attending District 75 school, which provides specialized support for students with disabilities, are over-represented in the population of students who police officers removed.

Between July 2018 and March 2020, 26.7% of all interventions involved Black boys, who were just 13% of the public school population. Similarly, Black girls comprised 20% of all interventions despite accounting for only 12% of enrollment.

In total, Black and Latinx students – who make up two-thirds of the student population-accounted for 92% of all interventions. And all 33 children between the ages of five and seven who were handcuffed were students of color, according to the report.

Campaigners are now calling on the city to implement a new strategy that can reduce school interventions. The AFC recommends that schools no longer call the police or emergency medical services to take students to the hospital when it is not medically necessary. The organization also called for the introduction of a new bill that would significantly limit the NYPD’s ability to handcuff students.

“Students in emotional crisis need emotional support; they don’t need to be criminalized and handcuffed,” Kim Sweet, AFC’s Executive Director, said. “As a city, we need to start treating all students as we want our own children to be treated.”

In response, a Department of Education spokesperson said: “Creating schools that are safe and welcoming for all students is at the core of this Administration’s work, and we have made important changes to drive record decreases in police interventions, arrests, suspensions, and the system-wide adoption of restorative justice practices.

“All students must return to healing-centered schools this fall, and we are hiring over 500 new social workers and adding over 100 more community schools to ensure every student has a caring adult to go to when in crisis.”

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