Category: Post Racial\

Student files lawsuit after being expelled for not standing during pledge of allegiance

As America’s national anthem protests have grown louder, consuming the NFL, the office of the president and a good chunk of public discourse, India Landry has had her own silent revolt, sitting quietly during the Pledge of Allegiance at her Houston high school.
The 17-year-old senior was one of many relatively anonymous people who have followed the lead of former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who knelt during the national anthem in 2016 to protest police violence against black people, among other discrimination.

At Windfern High School, India and other students are required to stand during the pledge, even if they don’t recite it. But for the past 200 or so school days, India told Houston CBS affiliate KHOU, she refused to “stand for the pledge because it goes against everything I believe in.”

For months, her act of civil disobedience attracted little fanfare, according to a lawsuit filed by her mother, Kizzy Landry. It’s something she says she’s done for years, but it was never a problem until now. But on Oct. 2, she was summarily expelled by school officials, who told her that “this isn’t the NFL.”

Few people remember it, but the case in which the United States Supreme Court first decided students’ rights regarding the Pledge of Allegiance actually originated in West Virginia. The case was West Virginia state board of education vs. Barnette (1943). In that case, the Supreme Court struck down a resolution that allowed schools to expel students who refused to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance on the basis that refusing to stand constituted an act of insubordination. The Court held that forcing students to stand for the Pledge constituted compelled speech and violated the First Amendment.

Americans can’t wait to snitch on neighbors, ICE can’t stop doxxing snitches 

The Immigration and Customs and Enforcement website inadvertently dumped personal information for hundreds of callers and their neighbors as part of a Trump administration hotline to snitch on immigrants.
Hundreds of call logs are available for download on the ICE website, and much of the personal information — but not all of it — is redacted for privacy and security reasons, reported Splinter News.

The spreadsheets detail calls into the Trump administration’s Victims of Immigration Crime Engagement (VOICE) hotline, which was set up to “provide proactive, timely, adequate, and professional services to victims of crimes committed by removable aliens.”

The call logs reveal hundreds of callers turning in relatives, neighbors and acquaintances for minor infractions.

“Caller requested to report her mother-in law and sister-in law,” reads one report. “Caller stated these individuals came to the U.S. as tourists and stayed in the U.S. in order to get legal status.”

One caller even provided the date and location of an upcoming divorce hearing where an alleged undocumented immigrant was scheduled to appear, and others seemed to be reporting neighbors for simply existing.

“Caller claims his next door neighbors are undocumented and are from South America,” one report reads. “Caller claims two boys’ ages 14 and 15 reside there along with an adult male.”

Many of the calls came from individuals reporting their accusers in domestic violence cases, as well as reporting alleged undocumented immigrants of violent crime.

Splinter News examined two spreadsheets available for download on the ICE website, in response to a Freedom of Information Act request, and found much of the private data had been redacted.

But the news website conducted Google searches for some of the data and found a second spreadsheet, covering April until mid-August, hosted on the ICE website that contained two columns of unredacted personal information — including names, cell phone numbers, alleged crimes, addresses, and Social Security numbers.

That sensitive data revealed personal information for both callers and alleged undocumented immigrants they had reported.

In some cases, the details would have revealed to targets who had informed on them.

“I don’t think they got their sh*t together over there to be honest, pardon my English,” said Jerrold Kestenberg, of Nahant, Massachusetts.

He spoke to Splinter News after calling the hotline to report a neighbor, but was surprised to learn his own phone number, along with his girlfriend’s name and the neighbor’s address, could be found online.

“I’m not too happy about it — sh*t, I mean, I don’t think she wanted that,” he told the website. “I didn’t want them to put it out there, just look into it.”

Kestenberg said he never even received a follow-up call about the report.

Splinter News said the unredacted information remained online three days after notifying ICE about the spreadsheet, and nearly a day after sending a link to the data.

Together, the logs are a grim running diary of a country where people eagerly report their fellow residents to the authorities, or seek to bring the power of the immigration police to bear on family disputes. On May 25, 2017, one man called to say that his stepson was violating a restraining order by parking his car near his house. He didn’t want his wife to know that he was trying to get her son deported.

Javier H. Valdés, the co-executive director of the immigration-rights group Make the Road New York, wrote in an email to Splinter that the logs demonstrate VOICE was little more than an attempt to sow fear and suspicion of immigrants. “Months after the creation of the VOICE program, it’s clear that it’s exactly what we feared it would be,” he wrote. “A sinister public relations ploy to paint immigrants as criminals and foster fear in our communities, all with the despicable goal of tearing apart our families. The program should be immediately ended.”

Black man risks arrest for defending himself against white supremacists

DeAndre Harris, the black man who was brutally beaten in a parking garage during a deadly white supremacist rally in Charlottesville in August is now facing an arrest warrant related to the attack, Virginia police said Monday.

In a statement, the Charlottesville Police Department said that DeAndre Harris, 20, was wanted for unlawful wounding in connection with the August 12 assault, according to NBC affiliate WVIR.

The beating, which was captured on camera occurred after a white supremacist tried to spear a counter-protester with a flag pole, the Washington Post reported in August. Then, Harris — a former special education instructional assistant — swung a flashlight at the man, possibly striking him, according to the Post. Several white men then descended on Harris, and images showed them kicking and hitting him with what appeared to be poles while he’s curled up on the ground.

“Every time I went to stand up I was knocked back down,” Harris’ online account says, adding that he said he suffered several serious injuries. An account of the beating posted to a fundraising website started by Harris said that he was chased and repeatedly knocked unconscious.

The arrest warrant against Harris was issued after an unidentified victim went to a local magistrate’s office, offered an alternative account of events and claimed to have been injured by Harris. Police have refused to identify the alleged victim, but did say a detective confirmed the injury.

To date, two of Harris’ attackers have been arrested and charged with malicious wounding: 18-year-old Daniel Borden, of Cincinnati, Ohio, and Alex Ramos, 33, of Marrietta, Georgia, according to WVIR.

Charlottesville Police Department spokesman Lt. Steve Upman did not immediately respond to a request for a comment.

S. Lee Merritt, a civil attorney for Harris, told The Washington Post the charge was “clearly retaliatory” and described the accuser as a member of a white supremacist group. He maintained that Harris did not instigate the fight.

“We find it highly offensive and upsetting, but what’s more jarring is that he’s been charged with the same crime as the men who attacked him,” he said.

Merritt added that it was “highly unusual” for the warrant to come from a magistrate rather than police, and suggested that the accuser had previously tried to implicate Harris in the violence without success.

Harris’ warrant was issued two days after several dozen white nationalists again descended on Charlottesville for a brief rally at Emancipation Park, where a tarp covers the statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee.

Former NFL coach Mike Ditka says racial oppression isn’t real

Former NFL tight end and head coach Mike Ditka said Monday said current football players should “respect the game” by saving protests for after the game rather than during the national anthem.

“All of a sudden, it’s become a big deal now, about oppression,” Ditka told Jim Gray on Westwood One’s pregame show ahead of the Bears’ “Monday Night Football” loss to the Vikings. “There has been no oppression in the last 100 years that I know of. Now maybe I’m not watching it as carefully as other people.”

“I don’t know what social injustices have been,” said Ditka who played in the NFL from 1961-1972. “Muhammad Ali rose to the top. Jesse Owens is one of the classiest individuals that ever lived. I mean, you can say, ‘Are you (saying) everything is based on color?’ I don’t see it that way. I think that you have to be color blind in this country. You’ve got to look at a person for what he is and what he stands for and how he produces, not by the color of his skin. That has never had anything to do with anything.”

Ditka made the comments before the Monday Night Football contest between the Minnesota Vikings and Chicago Bears during an interview with Jim Gray of Westwood One (via Des Bieler of the Washington Post).

“Is this the stage for this?” he said referring to players who have taken the knee during the anthem. “If you want to protest, or whatever you want to protest, you’ve got a right to do that. But I think you’re a professional athlete. You have an obligation to the game.

Chris Mortensen of ESPN noted Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said this week any players on his team who “disrespect” the national anthem and the American flag won’t be allowed to play in the game. Ditka told Gray he would put the same policy in place if he were still coaching in the NFL.

“Yes. I don’t care who you are, or how much money you make, if you don’t respect our country, you shouldn’t be in this country playing football,” he said. “Go to another country and play football. If you had to go to somewhere else and try to play this sport, you wouldn’t have a job.

“If you can’t respect the flag and this country, then you don’t respect what this is all about, so I would say: Adios.”

ESPN host Jemele Hill suspended 

ESPN suspended Jemele Hill for two weeks after the popular ‘SportsCenter’ anchor violated the company’s social media policy for a second time, the network announced on Monday.

According to ESPN spokesperson Josh Krulewitz, Hill’s latest violation of the policy was a series tweets over the weekend about Cowboys advertisers after team owner Jerry Jones said he would bench any player that knelt during the anthem.

The suspension comes less than a month after Hill apologized for letting down her co-workers after a controversial Twitter rant in which she called Donald Trump “a white supremacist.”

At the time, the network said that those comments were did “not represent” ESPN and Hill recognized her actions were “inappropriate.”

Her tweets last month caught the attention of the White House and press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said that Hill’s tweets constituted a “fireable offense,” an unprecedented comment that almost immediately created a firestorm surrounding Hill and the network. But in recent days, it seemed like that controversy was waning.

Wisconsin restaurant owner says NFL players who take a knee should be murdered

RACINE, WI — A co-owner of a popular lakefront restaurant advocated for the killing of kneeling NFL players in a Facebook comment posted Monday, according to multiple screenshots circulating on social media.

In the comment, which has been deleted but appears as a screenshot multiple times in the comments on the statement, Valko advocates for the killing of NFL players who kneel during the national anthem before games, something more than 200 players did Sunday.

“Kill the idiot players,” Valko wrote. “Execute them. They are nothing but garbage. The league is screwed up if they think it is their right. It is their duty to respect our country and our flag. They should go kneel in front of a freight train. Shame on these stupid misfits of society. They need to die.”


Reached for comment Tuesday, Megan Bennett, one of three other co-owners along with Tom and Patti Landreman, said that the three other co-owners “disagree” with Valko’s comment.


“They are in no way, shape or form the beliefs or reflections of Reefpoint Brew House,” Bennett said.


In Tuesday’s Facebook statement, the owners distanced themselves from Valko’s comment. “It has been brought to our attention that one of our co-owners has made some statements that some people will find offensive,” the message reads. “His statements do not represent us or the Brew House and we disclaim knowledge of, responsibility for, or association with those statements completely.”

Backlash in the comments on the restaurant’s statement ranged from calling the statement “pitifully inadequate” and “cowardly” to advocating for a boycott of the restaurant.

Many of the commenters also noted that the restaurant issued the same statement earlier Tuesday, only to delete it and repost it, thus getting rid of the original comments.

The responses led the owners to post an additional statement on Facebook Tuesday night. In the new statement, they wrote that the previous statement was posted at the recommendation of their attorney, but that they realized it “came off too light.”

“Following our attorney’s advice, we posted the previous statement. However, after reading comments and reviews, we realize that it came off too light. We co-owners of Reefpoint Brew House STRONGLY DISAGREE with all statements, posts, comments, etc. that have been posted by John Valko. Those statements are no reflection of the beliefs and values that we or Reefpoint Brew House hold. We are working internally to resolve these issues and deeply apologize for the actions and statements that have been made. We are doing everything internally to disassociate ourselves and our business with John Valko.”


Bennett said she and the other owners had no additional comment as of Tuesday evening.


Valko did not respond to a request for comment.

Supreme Court grants temporary stay of execution to Georgia inmate 

JACKSON, Ga. – The U.S. Supreme Court granted a temporary stay of execution Tuesday night for a Georgia man whose attorneys argued the 59-year-old black man’s death sentence is tainted by a juror’s racial bias.
Keith Leroy Tharpe, known as “Bo,” was set to be put to death at 7 p.m. at the state prison by injection of the barbiturate pentobarbital, but the hour came and went as the justices considered his case. Just before 11 p.m., the court announced the temporary stay.
Tharpe was convicted of murder and two counts of kidnapping in the September 1990 slaying of Jaquelyn Freeman. Freeman was traveling to work with Tharpe’s estranged wife when Tharpe blocked their vehicle with a borrowed truck, ordered them out and fatally shot Freeman.

After Tharpe’s trial, juror Barney Gattie showed that he “harbored very atrocious, racist views about black people,” according to Thorpe’s legal team. 

According to his affidavit, Gattie said, “In my experience I have observed that there are two types of black people: 1. Black folks and 2. “N****rs.”

Gattie went on to say in his affidavit, “I felt Tharpe, who wasn’t in the ‘good’ black folks category in my book, should get the electric chair for what he did. After studying the Bible, I have wondered if black people even have souls,” Gattie said.

Gattie later said in a deposition that he did not intend to use the n-word as a racial slur, according to court documents.

 Tharpe’s lawyers argued that a biased juror violated Tharpe’s constitutional rights to a fair trial. 

Gattie, before his death, said his comments had been “taken all out of proportion” and “misconstrued.” He testified that he voted for the death penalty because of the facts of the case, not because of Tharpe’s race.

The Supreme Court of Georgia declined to hear Tharpe’s claims on Tuesday, prompting his appeal to the US Supreme Court.

The justices granted the stay while they consider whether to take up his appeal. If the justices decide not to hear the case the stay will be lifted. Conservative justices Clarence Thomas, Sam Alito and Neil Gorsuch dissented, saying they would not have granted the stay.

“I’m glad they’re willing to take the time to consider these serious issues in Mr. Tharpe’s case,” said Tharpe attorney Brian Kammer.