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Do black lives matter?

To the editor:

The information presented in Chris Jaehnig’s May 30 front page article, “Black Lives Matter: No hate group, but a fighting movement,” so greatly contradicted research I have previously conducted on these very issues, that I feel compelled to reinforce the historical record to ponder.

Jaehnig wrote, “In 2014, Eric Garner, a Black man, was killed in a fashion very similar to the killing of George Floyd. Daniel Paleo, a New York officer, applied a chokehold on Garner on a sidewalk until Garner was dead. Garner’s alleged crime was selling loose cigarettes.”

However, the police report indicates that a black female police sergeant supervised the ordeal which was a consequence of Garner resisting arrest. Video evidence clearly shows two plainclothes white beat cops exhibiting more than a minute of extraordinary patience prior to forcing Garner to comply in accordance with sweeping orders handed down by Chief of Department Phillip Banks, who is black. Banks was intent on ridding the city of untaxed cigarettes for which Garner was previously arrested eight times for selling. Garner did not die at the scene.

Jaehnig continued, “Black Lives Matter gained national attention as a movement in 2014 in Ferguson, Missouri, with the killing of Michael Brown. Brown was shot and killed by Officer Darren Wilson. Wilson argued that Brown was lunging to attack him, while witnesses reported Brown was raising his arms in surrender.”

But an extensive investigation conducted by none other than President Obama’s Department of Justice produced an 86-page report. It determined that when Officer Wilson confronted Brown over a strong-arm theft, Brown attacked Wilson through the window of his police vehicle and attempted to take his gun during the melee. This struggle occurred less than a minute prior to Brown being fatally shot on the street when he moved in a threatening manner back toward Wilson, debunking any accounts of surrender.

In conclusion, there is troubling background to consider along with what Jaehnig stated, “Black Lives Matter (BLM) has been a voice trying to bring equality to the American justice system.”

In an eye-opening 2014 manifesto by BLM’s co-founder Alicia Garza, she openly reveals that BLM “is a tactic to rebuild the Black Liberation Movement” and it is inspired by convicted cop-killer Assata Shakur, who in 1971 joined the Black Panther Army, a domestic terrorist organization responsible for committing more than 100 cop killings, bombings and robberies combined.

Editor’s note: While Alicia Garza is known as a co-founder of Black Lives Matter, she might be best known for acting on her beliefs in the Bay Area of California, where she has worked to affect change.

She has received the Local Hero award from the San Francisco Bay Guardian. She has been twice awarded by the Harvey Milk Democratic Club the Bayard Rustin Community Activist Award for her work fighting racism and gentrification in San Francisco. She has also been awarded the Jeanne Gauna Communicate Justice Award from the Centre for Media Justice.

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