Protests ignite from cop beating
Beating death of Tyre Nichols sparked national protests. Screenshot
MEMPHIS (AP)—The video is filled with violent moments showing the officers, who are also Black, chasing and pummeling Tyre Nichols and leaving him on the pavement propped against a squad car as they fist-bumped and celebrated their actions.
The footage emerged one day after the officers were charged with murder in Nichols’ death. The chilling images of another Black man dying at the hands of police provoked tough questions about the US' policing culture and raised the specter of renewed protests less than three years after a wave of demonstrations wracked the country.
The recordings shows police savagely beating the 29-year-old FedEx worker for three minutes while screaming profanities at him throughout the attack. The Nichols family legal team has likened the assault to the infamous 1991 police beating of Los Angeles motorist Rodney King.
After the first officer roughly pulls Nichols out of a car, Nichols can be heard saying, “I didn't do anything,” as a group of officers begins to wrestle him to the ground.
“Get on the ground!," one officer yells, as another is heard yelling “Tase him! Tase him!”
Nichols calmly replied soon after being wrestled to the pavement, “OK, I’m on the ground”. Moments later, as the officers continue to yell, Nichols says, “Man, I am on the ground.”
An officer yells, “Put your hands behind your back before I break your (expletive).” Moments later, an officer yells, “(Expletive), put your hands behind your back before I break them.”
“You guys are really doing a lot right now,” Nichols says loudly to the officers. “I’m just trying to go home.”
“Stop, I’m not doing anything,” he yells moment later.
The camera is briefly obscured, and then Nichols can be seen running as an officer fires a Taser at him. The officers then start chasing Nichols.
Other officers are called and a search ensues before Nichols is caught at another intersection. The officers beat him again, this time using a baton, kicking and punching him.
Security camera footage shows three officers surrounding Nichols as he lies in the street cornered between police cars, with a fourth officer nearby.
Two officers hold Nichols to the ground as he moves about, and then the third appears to kick him in the head. Nichols slumps more fully onto the pavement with all three officers surrounding him. The same officer kicks him again.
The fourth officer then walks over, unfurls a baton and holds it up at shoulder level as two officers hold Nichols upright, as if he were sitting.
“I’m going to baton the f--- out you,” one officer can be heard saying. His body camera shows him raise his baton while at least one other officer holds Nichols. The officer strikes Nichols on the back with the baton. He strikes him again, and then a third time.
The other officers then appear to hoist Nichols to his feet, with him flopping like a doll, barely able to stay upright despite the bracing arms.
An officer then punches him in the face, as the officer with the baton continues to menace him. Nichols stumbles and turns, still held up by two officers. The officer who punched him then walks around to Nichols’ front and punches him three more times. Then Nichols collapses.
Two officers can then be seen atop Nichols on the ground, with a third nearby, for about 40 seconds. Three more officers then run up and one can be seen kicking Nichols on the ground.
At one point, as Nichols is slumped up against a car and none of the officers are rendering aid, the body camera footage shows a first-person view of one of them reaching down and tying his shoe.
It takes more than 20 minutes after Nichols is beaten and on the pavement before any sort of medical attention is provided to him, even though two fire department officers arrived on the scene with medical equipment within 10 minutes.
Cities across the country braced for large demonstrations. Nichols’ relatives urged supporters to protest peacefully. Memphis Police Director Cerelyn Davis described the officers' actions as “heinous, reckless and inhumane,” and said that her department has been unable to substantiate the reckless driving allegation that prompted the stop.
She told The Associated Press in an interview that there is no video of the traffic stop that shows Nichols recklessly driving. During the initial stop, the video shows the officers were “already ramped up, at about a 10”, she said. The officers were “aggressive, loud, using profane language and probably scared Mr Nichols from the very beginning.”
“I don’t want us burning up our city, tearing up the streets, because that’s not what my son stood for,” she said yesterday. “If you guys are here for me and Tyre, then you will protest peacefully.”
Speaking at the White House, US President Joe Biden said today that he was “very concerned” about the prospect of violence and called for protests to remain peaceful.
Biden said he spoke with Nichols' mother earlier in the day and told her that he was going to be “making a case” to Congress to pass the George Floyd Act “to get this under control.” The legislation, which has been stalled, is meant to tackle police misconduct and excessive force and boost federal and state accountability efforts.
Court records showed that all five former officers — Tadarrius Bean, Demetrius Haley, Desmond Mills Jr, Emmitt Martin III and Justin Smith — were taken into custody.
The officers each face charges of second-degree murder, aggravated assault, aggravated kidnapping, official misconduct and official oppression. Four of the five officers had posted bond and been released from custody by this morning, according to court and jail records.
Second-degree murder is punishable by 15 to 60 years in prison under Tennessee law.
Patrick Yoes, the national president of the Fraternal Order of Police, condemned the alleged actions of the Memphis officers.
“The event as described to us does not constitute legitimate police work or a traffic stop gone wrong. This is a criminal assault under the pretext of law," Yoes said in a statement.
Rallies and demonstrations were planned tonight in Memphis, Boston, Chicago, Detroit, New York City, Portland, Oregon and Washington.
New York Mayor Eric Adams, a former police officer, said he and other mayors across the country had been briefed by the White House in advance of the video’s release, which he said would “trigger pain and sadness in many of us. It will make us angry.”
Romanucci and civil rights attorney Ben Crump, who also represents Nichols' family, called on the police chief to disband the department’s so-called scorpion unit focused on street crime.
Davis said other officers are still being investigated for violating department policy. In addition, she said “a complete and independent review” will be conducted of the department’s specialized units, without providing further details.
As state and federal investigations continue, Davis promised the police department’s “full and complete cooperation."
Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock scored a significant vistory over Republican political neophyte Herschel Walker in the Georgia runoff election Tuesday. The triumph ensured Democrats a surefire majority in the Senate for the balance of President Joe Biden’s term.
Now for a little satirical humor.
Sen. Raphael Warnock
The contest all came down to the final play of a bruising battle at the 1-yard line between the Fighting Warnocks and the Lyun Walkers.
The entire fan-base at Nation's Arena knew star fullback Walk Hischel was going to try to ram the pigskin into the end zone with 3 seconds remaining on the clock for a 55-51 win.The Walkers, in 8 plays, and two first downs had driven the ball 74 yards from their own 25 yard line, with the rushing of Hischel leading the offensive play all the way to the 1-yard line.
With the ball in play, the bruising 6-2, 220 lb. Hischel attempted to leapfrog the Warnocks' defensive line, but heroically in a magnificent display of raw athleticism, a leaping 5-9, 175 lb. defensive back Ralph Warring collided with Hischel in midair, stopping him for no gain.
It was the defensive stoppage of Ralph Warring's career, assuring the Georgia Bowl victory for the Fighting Warnocks, 51-48.
Rev. Martin Luther King, Sr. (right) and Samuel S. Perry, stand before a rendering of the new Martin Luther King, Jr. Plaza in Atlanta, GA in 1965. Perry, who served as mayor of Woodmere, Ohio, fueled Jan Perry's political ambitions.
New era for Black women aspiring to political office
Congressional hopeful Jan Perry’s roots advocating civil and voting rights reveal
a potential force on Capitol Hill
By DANIELLA MASTERSON, Contributing Writer
Jan Perry has a time-honored photograph of her father standing next to the GOAT of GOATS—Rev. Martin Luther King, Sr., father of the iconic champion of the civil rights movement, and the pastor of the pivotal Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta.
Although Samuel S. Perry is deceased, his quest for change and helping others achieve the American Dream showed her that government can be a powerful force for improving people’s lives. He was elected mayor of their hometown in Woodmere, Ohio in 1965.
Her mother later became mayor of the same town east of Cleveland.
"One morning I woke up, I drew back the curtains, and there was a cross burning on the yard," recalled Perry of her childhood years when her family integrated into a neighborhood. "My mother had that cross until 2018. My parents were extraordinary people."
Perry grew up hearing about voting registration, desegregation, Jim Crow, and registering people to vote.
"Cleveland was a hub of African Americans Democrats in the Midwest. We had regular visits from many political luminaries," Perry recalled.
Perry will face State Sen. Sydney Kamlager in the race for the state’s 37th Congressional District vacated by Rep. Karen Bass who is running for mayor of Los Angeles. A record number of Black women are running for office in 2022. But the race for the 37th district will be a tight high-profile competition between two battle-ready Black women.
Black women are the most represented among women of color in political office, and their numbers are rising, according to a study by the National Review of Black Politics 2021. This growth demonstrates increased opportunities to influence policy and political engagement of underrepresented constituencies.
But running against a candidate who has the same ethnic status and party affiliation means Perry will have to work harder to rise above the rhetoric.
"It’s a different hour for Black women," said Perry. "How do you make your voice stand out from another (Black) woman's voice? And then you have some people who make remarks like, 'Oh well, you're both Black women, and you're both Democrats. Either one of you will be fine,'" she added sarcastically.
Perry is currently the executive director of two nonprofit organizations that deliver much-needed social and financial services. Coincidentally, both women are USC alumnae.
Recently elected to the state senate, Kamlager worked her way up the ladder by serving as the district director for Holly Mitchell when Mitchell was an assemblywoman and later a senator. Mitchell is currently serving as Los Angeles County Supervisor for the Second District. Kamlager has been endorsed by Bass, Mitchell, Sen. Alex Padilla, and several deep-pocket unions.
Perry is endorsed by Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Los Angeles, and retired Rep. Diane Watson among others, but her distinction is she brings more than 30 years of experience and a proven track record as an elected official and community servant.
One of the key questions voters must decide in this race is which candidate can build allies in Washington fast enough to affect change.
"The Honorable Jan Perry has worked and still works for the community," said Barbara Calhoun, a member of the Compton Community College Board of Trustees. "Her passion is for the people, making sure their needs are met, whether it is housing, jobs, health care, homelessness, mental health issues, food insecurities, coming out of foster care with no job or place to go but to the streets, prostitution, human trafficking, adoption and making sure all children are safe with their foster parents," added Calhoun.
As the second vice president of the New Frontier Democratic Club, Faye Geyen has supported and worked with Perry who is also an active member. The NFDC was founded by African American leaders in Los Angeles in 1960 to provide their community with a political vehicle for involvement. Over the years it has evolved into a fundraising and get-out-the-vote advocate for Black candidates.
Geyen said they had supported Kamlager in her last bid for office. However, they are endorsing Perry for the seat in Congress.
"Jan gets things done, period," said Geyen. "When Jan says she’s going to do something, she does it. I am supporting her because she’s going to ask the people what they want, and she will listen to them."
Perry has campaigned that she will address the gridlock and inaction in Congress on health care, climate change, and voting rights. Perry was quoted saying, "I will go to Washington to be a fierce advocate for working families, ensure they receive a fair return on their hard-earned tax dollars, and to swiftly and humanely get unhoused people off of the street and into housing with services."
Oddly, if elected Perry would be stepping into some of the political fights her parents fought during the 1960s— securing voting rights, rising inequality, combating police brutality and domestic terrorism by White suprema- cists. Perhaps Perry’s parents’ greatest legacy wasn’t what they left for their daughters; but what they left in them.
"My mother always took us to vote," said Perry. "She wanted us to see how important it was; how precious it was. I remember holding on to the back of my mother’s skirt while she took a pen and marked the ballot with
an X in one of those old wooden voting booths."
For more information on Jan Perry, visit www.janperry.com
Daniella Masterson is a freelance journalist based in Los Angeles.
Skirball Cultural Center Debates
Bass, Caruso spar over crime, homelessness, other issues
LOS ANGELES (CNS)—The two candidates for mayor of Los Angeles agree that the city
is in crisis, and during a debate at the Skir- ball Cultural Center, shared their approaches to dealing homelessness and crime heading to Election Day in November.
Rep. Karen Bass (left), and businessman Rick Caruso.
Rep. Karen Bass and developer Rick Caruso made their pitches to be the person to fix those problems during the first televised debate on Wednesday night, Sept. 21 ahead of the November election.
Homelessness was the top issue discussed, with both candidates acknowledging the gravity of the homeless- ness crisis in Los Angeles but differing on how to approach it. The latest point-in-time homeless numbers
released this month showed a 1.7 percent increase in the number of unhoused people in Los Angeles since 2020, bringing the total to 41,980.
Caruso said the premise of his plan to address homelessness would be to get people into shelters, noting his goal to build 30,000 new shelter beds in his first year in office.
"We've got to meet people where they are," Caruso said.
Bass said while getting people off the streets is important, "shelters are not the answer."
"What we have done for too long is we have put people in shelters," Bass said. "Now the shelters have become so dangerous, people don't even want to be in the shelters and are choosing to be outside on the street."
Bass called for a more comprehensive approach, prioritizing services, addressing the root cause of homeless- ness and creating permanent housing.
Caruso said he believed shelters ultimately are a better and more efficient way to provide services to unhoused people. He said he supported clearing encampments "at a certain point and time" because of potential crime
and impact to surrounding neighborhoods. He said encampments were "unfair to the community."
Bass responded that "at the end of the day, you can't criminalize poverty."
"If you have them in jail, they'd be there for three days and then right back out on the street," Bass said.
Both candidates said they would support extending Los Angeles' pandemic-era eviction moratorium, though the City Council has signaled potentially adjusting the moratorium after the housing department recommended
ending it by Dec. 31.
Bass said she would extend it while offering support to mom-and-pop landlords, while Caruso would make changes to it, implying that some people were using the moratorium to cheat their way out of paying rent.
Bass and Caruso also both were in favor of loosening regulations for more affordable housing to be built.
Caruso, entered Wednesday's debate trailing Bass by double digits in a recent poll conducted in August by the UC Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies, described himself as an outsider and attempted to paint Bass,
a House member since 2011 after being an assemblywoman from 2004-2010, as part of the establishment.
Caruso was appointed in 1985 by then-Mayor Tom Bradley to the commission overseeing the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power. He has also served on the Los Angeles Board of Police Commissioners and Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum Commission.
Caruso, a billionaire, said he would not take money from special interest groups or Super PACs, to which Bass responded that Caruso was simply spending his wealth on his campaign. Caruso has spent more than $40 million of his own money on his campaign.
"I think that's a different way of going about democracy and an example of a structural problem within our democracy," Bass said.
Bass criticized Caruso—who registered as a Democrat in January after previously being a Republican and having "no party preference"—for flipping parties. Caruso said he has always been socially liberal and left the
Republican Party in 2019 because it didn't reflect his values, noting his support for Gov. Gavin Newsom and former Gov. Jerry Brown.
"I liked the Democratic Party of 10 years ago and I like the Democratic Party of today," Bass said. "Because the Democratic Party of today is more diverse—more diverse politically and diverse in every single way."
Caruso, in perhaps an acknowledgement of most major Democrats endorsing Bass, responded: "It doesn't seem to be accepting me."
The candidates also traded digs at each over controversies involving USC and a recent burglary at Bass' home in which two of her guns were stolen.
When asked to describe the biggest difference between themselves and their opponents, Bass pointed to her history as a "lifelong, pro-choice Democrat," a dig at Caruso for previously donating to anti-abortion politicians.
The mayor of Los Angeles does not have jurisdiction over reproductive rights, though Bass said the issue was important in the mayoral election because it was a "question of values." Caruso responded by stating he was pro-choice and always has been.
Caruso said that to him, Los Angeles has always been "the place where big dreams come true." But now, when he walks around the city, he believes crime is dampening dreams, and that people are scared and worried.
"They're also heartbroken," Caruso said. "They feel like they haven't been heard around the community. I want to change that."
Luna criticizes Villanueva's record in LA County Sheriff debate
Former Long Beach Police Chief Robert Luna (left) and Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva.
LOS ANGELES (CNS)—Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva and challenger Robert Luna traded barbs during their heated televised debate for sheriff at the Skirball Cultural Center.
Villanueva called Luna a puppet candidate for the Board of Supervisors. Luna said Villanueva was wrong to
investigate his enemies, and criticized the sheriff for not doing enough to address alleged deputy gangs in his department and defying subpoenas from the civilian oversight commission.
Villanueva defended his record from criticism by Luna, the former Long Beach Police Department chief, during the debate Sept. 21. The election for Los Angeles County Sheriff is less than two months away in November.
Since taking office in 2018, Villanueva has drawn criticism for ignoring and dismissing alleged deputy gangs in the sheriff's department, defying subpoenas from the civilian oversight commission and most recently signing off on a search by deputies at the home of Supervisor Sheila Kuehl.
Luna painted himself as a sheriff who would collaborate with other elected officials. He began criticizing Villanueva from the start of the debate for having what he described as an "us vs. them" mentality. Villanueva has repeatedly clashed with the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, who collectively endorsed Luna.
"Part of governing is not agreeing with people," Luna said. "It's the way you handle it. I work with people. I don't work for people. That's the contrast between myself and my opponent."
Villanueva accused Luna of being a "puppet" for the Board of Supervisors, which is in charge of the sheriff's budget.
"When you're working with people, that doesn't mean you're a puppet," Luna said. "When you are consistently putting down the people who manage your budget, you're not serving our residents to the best of your ability."
Villanueva defended the search of Kuehl's home in connection with a corruption investigation by claiming his office alerted the FBI and state Attorney General's office and that "the authority of the sheriff is to investigate crime, period."
But Luna said Villanueva was wrong to "investigate your political opponents or enemies," claiming that it has led to the erosion of public trust in the sheriff.
"You can't do this," Luna said.
Villanueva responded by claiming Luna wouldn't touch corruption "with a 10-foot pole because his job as puppet is to look the other way."
Luna rejected that statement, and added that no jury would believe Villanueva during a trial because he "con- sistently gets up in front of a camera and demeans the five" supervisors.
Villanueva also defended his work on eradicating alleged deputy gangs within the department, claiming that he has taken "all the action we could legally" without violating the rights of his employees.
Villanueva challenged Luna to "name a single deputy gang member."
Luna responded: "He doesn't acknowledge they exist. You can't fix a problem you don't know exists.''
Luna said deputy gangs have been one of the top issues he's heard about on the campaign trail. He believed there needed to be federal and state intervention to address the problem. He criticized VIllanueva for defying a
subpoena to testify in front of a civilian oversight commission regarding deputy gangs.
"We have got to show the public that they can trust us and right now, they do not," Luna said.
The most recent poll conducted in August by the UC Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies had Luna slightly ahead of Villanueva. Luna served as chief of the Long Beach Police Department from 2014-2021, capping off a 36-year career at the department.
Villanueva, who promised to reform the department in his first campaign, has seen his political base shift during his tenure. He has complained about efforts to "defund" law enforcement, claiming he lacks resources as sheriff.
The two differed over whether they would work with Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascón. Villanueva has been critical of Gascón's progressive policies, calling him a "second public defender."
"And that is jeopardizing the safety of every man and woman here in Los Angeles County," Villanueva said.
Villanueva claimed that Gascón wasn't filing cases and that he wasn't going to "play pretend that we're going to work together and have this wonderful relationship."
Luna used the rift as another example of what he described as the sheriff's failures to be collaborative. He said the sheriff had a responsibility to work with those that he didn't get along with.
"This nonsense has got to stop," Luna said. "We've got to start acting like adults and work with people for the benefit of the residents of this county."
Jan Perry: 37th District Congress
Charging Big Horn endorses Jan Perry to represent the 37th Congressional District. Hands down.
There never was any question that Perry has the political moxie, wisdom, and the most experience of any candidate in the race to handle a critical Democratic seat in Congress—notably in face of rogue Republicans in both houses, who have demonstrated that the welfare of a “United” America is not their objective.
We believe Jan Perry has the temperament and force of char-
acter to continue the leadership shown by her previous two predecessors in Congress for Democratic principles that will benefit a multiplicity of needs in diverse neighborhoods ranging from the very affluent to the economically depressed—from the City of Los Angeles, including South LA, Crenshaw, Bald- win Hills, View Park, Ladera Heights, Miracle Mile, Pico-Robert- ertson, Century City, Cheviot Hills, West Los Angeles, Mar Vista, and Culver City.
Jan Perry is no political neophyte. She served three terms in the Los Angeles City Council from 2001-2013 as the 9th
District councilperson representing Downtown, Little Tokyo, and South LA. She oversaw projects that dramatically re-shaped the Downtown area, and she ushered the development of nearly 6,000 units of affordable and supportive housing in her district.
A key aspect of her work as an elected official included extensive analysis of proposed budgets and financial statements. Perry’s leadership over 12 years brought in $15 billion in private investment, $25 million in new tax revenue for the City of Los Angeles, and 90,000 full-time jobs.
She has served Los Angeles for more than 30 years, fueled with a passion for affordable housing, continuum of care for homeless people, urban wetlands development, county parks restoration, and infrastructure.
Perry is the executive director of a nonprofit organization that has distributed a quarter of a billion dollars of non-perishable goods at the forefront of Los Angeles’ response to the homeless crisis since 1985. The organization also serves as a leading consultant on homeless programs and policy, supporting entities like the LA Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA), as well as state and local government.
Perry concurrently heads a nonprofit organization that promotes infrastructure development, where she recently led formation of critical union alliances (IBEW, Teamsters). These alliances were essential in developing a $300 million southern California port infrastructure initiative to leverage renewable energy sources.
Additionally, a regional distribution strategy emerged for trans-loading/goods movement, reducing traffic and emissions while increasing the number of jobs.
In 2019 Jan Perry was appointed by LA Mayor Eric Garcetti to serve as general manager of the Los Angeles Economic & Workforce Development Department (EWDD), leading an agency of 180 employees. EWDD provides a broad range of programs offering assistance to businesses, job seekers and disconnected youth. All of EWDD’s programs are designed to help build local business and strengthen the workforce.
Jan Perry has unique talents in government relations: public-private partnerships; design, funding, legislation, development, and realization of major economic, environmental, and community programs; human and social services; and initiatives for renewable energy, habitat development, natural resources, and environmental stewardship.
The 37th Congressional District needs Jan Perry. Vote “Yes” for Jan Perry on Nov. 3.