Panel members include Tara Dowdell, Salamishah Tillet, Sarah Rumpf, Karine Jean-Pierre and host Joy Reid. To view the video, click the photo or CLICK HERE
Dr. Jason Johnson discusses the integrity of a 4-star general after General Kelly attacked Rep. Wilson. The other panel members include Philip Rucker and host Joy Reid.
To view the video, CLICK HERE.
Dr. Jason Johnson discusses how the White House Chief of Staff responded to President Trump’s botched call to console the gold star family of Sgt. La David T. Johnson. Other panel members include Glenn Thrush, Susan Page, and Hardball host Chris Matthews.
To see the video, click the photo or CLICK HERE.
Justin Fairfax (Justin Fairfax for Virginia Lt. Governor)
In political campaigns, white candidates can always find a black guy. It’s literally Campaign 101: Most successful white American candidates know that in order to show that you are an open-minded progressive candidate—or to signal that you’re a horrible racist but some black people still like you—you have to find a black guy.
After centuries of black erasure, today’s white candidates know that you must be seen talking to, shaking hands with, dapping or dabbing with some random black person in a commercial, at a rally or in a poster for symbolic purposes.
Even Donald Trump knows that.
Apparently Democrats in Virginia don’t. The state party agreed to snatch African-American lieutenant-governor candidate Justin Fairfax off of a campaign flyer and to feature only the white statewide candidates. Then the party turned around and blamed Fairfax for his own removal. Proving once again that no matter how supportive black people are of them, these Democratic pols ain’t loyal.
Ralph Northam is the Democratic candidate in November’s gubernatorial election in Virginia. He’s maintained a consistent but narrow lead over Republican Ed Gillespie. Justin Fairfax, the African-American Democratic nominee for lieutenant governor, has been leading his opponent in the polls, raising money like a living GoFundMe account and causing temper tantrums among angry racist white women everywhere.
Fairfax has brought former President Barack Obama down to campaign with him, and in a state that is 20 percent African American, the enthusiasm for his campaign likely will help up- and down-ballot Democratic races. But again, as we’ve seen in Georgia, Ohio and other states, being twice as good isn’t enough if you’re a black Democrat.
Angry voters in Virginia have been posting photos of a campaign flyer being distributed in Northern Virginia that features Democratic statewide candidates Northam and attorney general candidate Mark Herring—but no Fairfax. Fairfax was on previous flyers, but with only three weeks out, why would he be left off now ? Was it a simple communications error between campaigns? Did Kinkos run out of brown ink just before printing time? Northam campaign spokesperson David Turner downplayed the missing candidate and claimed that the Fairfax team “agreed” to be taken off of flyers being distributed in some parts of Northern Virginia.
Why would the Fairfax campaign not want to be on a flyer in the most diverse and affluent part of Virginia? This version of events hasn’t been confirmed or backed up by the Fairfax campaign, on or off the record. Virginia Democrats need more people, specifically black people.
Turns out that the real reason Justin Fairfax’s image got left on the cutting room floor is about money and, of course, race.
Image submitted by Virginia voter
“This is all about LIUNA,” said a Virginia campaign activist who wished to remain anonymous. “And the fact that the Virginia Democrats don’t have a plan for black voters.”
The Democrat-leaning LIUNA (Laborers’ International Union of North America) desperately wants two new natural gas pipelines built in Virginia that will create jobs across the state. Northam favors the pipeline. Herring favors the pipeline. Fairfax, a staunch environmentalist, has argued that impact studies should be done before pipelines of this magnitude are built.
Apparently, in this age of draining the swamp and Democrats trying to reclaim their collective souls from corporate money, taking a principled stand on the environment doesn’t sit well with LIUNA. According to several Virginia campaign operatives, LIUNA has refused to distribute any flyers that have Fairfax’s image on them. The fact that the organization has given over $600,000 to the Virginia Democratic Party and the Northam campaign makes it easier for it to steamroll Fairfax. Unfortunately, this is where petty turns from a problem to prejudice.
Candidates and funders have disagreements all the time. There are pro-life Democrats; there are environmentally concerned Republicans. Smart political organizations, unions and activists realize that you compromise when it comes to putting your money behind somebody.
It would be one thing for LIUNA to print its own flyers that didn’t include Justin Fairfax. It would be petty, but it wouldn’t be the strangest thing to happen in politics. It would be another thing if the state Democratic Party and the Northam campaign said, “Hey, we’re running a statewide ticket, so we’re not going to produce materials that don’t show everyone,” which would have solved the problem. Instead, Virginia Democrats agreed to freeze out the only African-American statewide candidate over one issue—and, to make matters worse, lie to reporters by stating that Team Fairfax signed off on being cut from their own party’s campaign materials.
In order to not start a public spat, the Fairfax campaign has said nothing; but how many times can Democrats keep pulling this “I love you but I’m not IN love with you” game with black voters and candidates before the breakup is permanent? This kind of campaign prejudice is lost on no one, and state activists are calling out the Democratic Party right when unity is the best course of action.
Screenshot of post from Richmond City, Va., Democratic Committee Chair James “J.J.” Minor
Black candidates are in this bind all over the country: Run as a Democrat and you compete against two parties—Republicans and white Democrats—both of whom seem intent on using black people as a symbolic wedge or voting cattle, but not as equal partners in the governing process. Chances are Northam and Virginia Democrats will patch this up before the story moves from 24-hour blip to 72-hour tsunami, but this never should have happened to begin with.
For some reason, when it comes to African-American candidates, the basic rules of party loyalty, organization and strategy don’t seem to apply.
This is a governor’s election, not a junior high sleepover. No one should be getting removed from flyers or having their image blocked over one issue, when obtaining state power is the overall goal. The Democratic “resistance” can’t happen without black voters, black fundraising and black organizers; if Democrats can’t even figure out how to keep black statewide candidates on campaign materials, they’ll have no one to blame but themselves.
WTAE Pittsburgh screenshot
Trayvon Martin, Mike Brown, Sandra Bland, Eric Garner, Rekia Boyd, Walter Scott: These (and dozens more) are the names we know—the boys, girls, men and women brutally shot and killed by police. Police officers often never faced justice from the courts or the cities that employ them. The deaths of these unarmed black men and women sparked the Black Lives Matter movement, Colin Kaepernick taking a knee, the Ferguson, Mo., revolt and dozens of other forms of resistance across the nation in the last five years.
Often forgotten in these stories is the “lone survivor” of Black Lives Matter, Leon Ford Jr. He faced death at the hands of police like so many others, but lived—and his battle with the Pittsburgh criminal-justice system is a reminder that sometimes the hardest battles come after the shooting stops.
In November of 2012, Leon Ford Jr. was pulled over by police who were “fishing” in Pittsburgh’s predominantly black District 5. Fishing is when police randomly run tags on cars looking for an excuse to pull someone over. Despite a 16-minute interrogation and Ford handing over his license, registration and other documentation, the police insisted that he was, in fact, Lamont Ford, a known gang member, and threatened Leon repeatedly.
Officer Andrew Miller jumped into Ford’s car and attempted to pull him out through the passenger side. When the vehicle kicked into gear during the struggle, another officer, David Derbish, shot Ford five times. Ford remembers falling out of his car onto the concrete, bleeding, as the officers cursed over his body, mocking him, hoping that he’d die. If it weren’t for the actions of a good Samaritan calling an ambulance, Ford might’ve been on the list of names at the start of this story. As a reminder of the perverse power of racism, the Pittsburgh district attorney charged Leon Ford Jr. with criminal assault of the officers, and it wasn’t until spring of 2015, almost three years after he was shot, that the charges were thrown out and the DA chose not to pursue other charges.
Read on verysmartbrothas.theroot.com
During that time, all three of the officers involved, despite being under investigation, were promoted to detective. Ford’s own civil rights case against the officers who shot him ended on Tuesday with less-than-stellar results. Officer Miller was found not guilty of assault and battery, and the jury deadlocked on whether Derbish used excessive force. We spoke to Ford and his lawyer Thomas Malone about what comes next.
The Root: Leon, you survived getting shot by police five times, then having the DA attempt to charge you with criminal assault. You got through all of that. Why sue the police? Why not just say, “I got through this—I just want to get on with my life?”
Leon Ford Jr.: I wanted to stand up and get justice. I witnessed [the police] lie under oath in criminal court. I watched them get away with shooting me, and I could not let that happen. I felt convicted in my spirt to not let this happen. I felt I had to not only fight for myself but for others.
If I had been content with letting this thing go and not fought it, then things would not have come out. There are things that police testified to under oath. These are gonna be things that in the near future we can use to change some policy in Pennsylvania and across the country.
Thomas Malone: In a situation like this where the police officer who shot Leon wasn’t arrested, there was really no other avenue for justice. The difference in this case is that Leon lived through it. The whitewashing that the facts often get didn’t happen in this situation. If he hadn’t survived, then their version of the story—that the officers shot him because he dragged them with his car—would have survived the paperwork, and they’d have gone about their business. There is a ton of information that we got through the civil discovery process.
It took almost years of pretrial motions for Leon Ford to get his day in court against the officers who profiled him, harassed him and attempted to kill him. But during that process and the trial, it came out that the officers in question, Michael Kosko, Andrew Miller and David Derbish, had all left their microphones in their squad cars when they pulled Ford over. After years of Ford insisting that he complied with everything the officers asked, only through trial was it revealed and proven through a distant microphone that he asked, “Can I just get my ticket and go home?” while the officers screamed, “Fuck you, you’re talking to the cops,” and “You better get your black ass out of the car when police tell you to get out of the car.”
It was also made clear during the trial that the police lied by claiming that they thought Ford had a gun, claiming they saw an unnatural bulge, but only two of the three officers mentioned it in their report because they hadn’t had time to get their stories together.
TR: Leon, you were one of the first “Black Lives Matter” stories. You were shot the same year that Trayvon Martin was killed. You’ve seen Ferguson, Tamir Rice and other stories. What have the last five years taught you about America’s criminal-justice system? Are things getting better or worse?
LF: The last five years have taught me that most people are happy with lip service. When I think of how they have stepped out and spoke about police brutality—there’s gonna come a time when they’re gonna put up or shut up. When they do give that lip service, they stand behind policies that encourage brutality and racial division.
TM: I’ve seen some change. We showed up for [civil trial] jury selection with 94 people—not ONE African American on the panel. One of the prospective jurors asked me a question which is rare—most prospective jurors don’t ask anything—she said, “Is this fair that Leon’s jury is going to be all white people?” That’s change. At least somebody noticed that. There were a couple Asian, Hispanic, Indian, Pakistani people in the jury pool but nobody black, and it’s supposed to be a jury of his peers. I’m proud of the work we did. I’m proud of the fact that we live to fight another day.
TR: Leon, what’s next for you in the trial, in activism and even personally? I’ve seen online that you’re able to walk now with some assistance, which is a miracle. What new activism will you be engaging in going forward?
LF: Personally, I did write a book—that’s on ice until this case is finished. I’ll be out at universities sharing my story. Helping families that are experiencing the same thing around the country. Moving forward with my rehabilitation.
TM: Oct. 20, we will stand ready to go and pick a new jury—and try this case again and make sure justice gets done.
If you want to be inspired, take a look at video of Ford finally being able to walk on his own, five years after being shot by police. He’s benefited from several rehabilitation centers in Pittsburgh and even the use of exoskeleton technology that allows him to move without a walker. He also plans to meet with Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto and discuss ways that his tragic experience can be prevented in the lives of others.