A constitutional crisis and civil unrest is taking place in America – amidst a pandemic, but it’s nothing new in our history.
As we witness America in crisis, from failing miserably at dealing with a pandemic, to a sitting President who believes it’s okay to send federal agents out to fire on American citizens exercising their 1st Amendment rights, it is becoming increasingly clear that we are facing a Constitutional Crisis.
Since May hundreds of thousands of Americans have come out to protest racial injustice and police brutality. While the murder of George Floyd by police is not the only instance of police brutality, it appears to have been the catalyst to today’s unrest.
The vast majority of protests have started peacefully. We spent the first few days in Denver covering what was taking place. As soon as the Denver Police Department was forced to stop firing at the crowds, the violence pretty much came to a stop. In Erie Colorado, 1,000 people marched against Racial Injustice and had the support of the police and town government-it was as peaceful as they come. While Portland has escalated, Denver was deescalating. (Of course, it took a restraining order to accomplish that.)
Denver was de-escalating, that is, until this weekend, when a Jeep attempted to run over protestors marching for Elijah McClain in Aurora. The Aurora Police Department not only did not arrest the driver but left their post blocking the ramp to the highway, just minutes before the Jeep entered as the marchers were passing that ramp. Prior to this Aurora Police Department had been blocking the freeway from cars entering.
— NoJusticeNoPeace_247 (@activism_247) July 27, 2020
The Rally and March including the Jeep that tried to run people over, the last 2 minutes of the video.
Posted by Yellow Scene Magazine on Saturday, July 25, 2020
Unfortunately, police departments across the country have chosen to respond to citizens peacefully assembling with violence. In the places where police departments either chose to respond peacefully or changed their tactics to peaceful response, protests remained calm. When police advanced with aggression, protests escalated.
Aurora is no exception. From the killing of Elijah McClain to officers mocking his death by posing in photos to the fact Aurora Police Department has found no wrongdoing by officers in his death Aurora PD seems to have a litany of troubling circumstances throughout its history, including officers found drunk on duty passed out in their cars, a doctor being harassed at his office (that he owns), and ultimately the killing of more than one POC.
Interim Police Chief, Vanessa Wilson, appears to be more of the same. Generally armed with excuses for the problems the community has experienced at the hands of Aurora Police Department, she has even gone so far as to claim a badly taken photo of an Antifa flag (that no other video of the event seemed to have captured) was cause for firing on a peaceful assembly with children playing the violin in honor of Elijah McClain. Even IF, there was an Antifa flag at the rally, it was peaceful, why would the Aurora Police Department need to fire on a violin vigil with children?
Many involved are aware that much of the disruption has been instigated by provocateurs, oftentimes right-wing extremists intent on disrupting the peaceful nature of the protests or by the police themselves. This was evident in Minneapolis and has been true in Portland. When the Portland protests started there were less than 400 people on the street. Today it has grown to over 10,000. In large part, thanks to Donald Trump sending in federal agents to shoot at and kidnap protestors using the same federal agents who have been terrorizing migrants fleeing brutal dictators.
The Posse Comitatus Act prohibits the use of force by the federal government against citizens of the United States. That doesn’t seem to have stopped this administration.
And in Aurora, it appears that may very well be true.
No arrests have been made of the driver who sped onto the highway to run down 1000 protestors. Mayor Mike Coffman criticized not protecting the police station but had little to say about protecting those marching.
The organizers of Saturday’s event asked many of the questions we are, regarding why the driver of the Jeep was not only not arrested, but greeted with smiles by the Aurora Police Department.
While the Jeep driver has stated that he was scared because protestors had surrounded his car, there are no videos showing this, and in fact, the police had the road closed just minutes before he entered. Additionally, he was speeding up-not slowing down as he approached the marchers. In fact, the only thing that slowed the Jeep down was truck driver Sebastian Sassi, who was part of the March, pivoting his vehicle into the Jeep.
Community Leader Candace Bailey in the Press Statement made on July 27th.
IMMEDIATE RELEASE July 27, 2020Aurora On FireDevaluation of the First Amendment and Inequitable Policing Aurora, CO — During a peaceful protest on Saturday, July 25th at approximately 5:25 pm, on Interstate 225 N. and S. bound, witnesses stated a teal jeep plowed into a large group of protestors as they chanted “Justice for Elijah McClain.” Frontline Party for Revolution, Party for Socialism and Liberation, community organizers, along with members of the community and the Caravan for Racial Justice who had just returned from a peaceful protest and rally in Louisville, KY for Breonna Taylor, who was murdered in her home by local Louisville police were targeted. During a very peaceful protest on I-225, witnesses and protestors heard a loud revving engine as they spotted the teal jeep increasing acceleration towards the group. In an attempt to prevent casualties amongst protestors on the ground, several witnesses deployed methods in order to prevent death. This assault on protestors created scenes of chaos as they ran, jumped and looked for ways to escape harm. Organizers immediately instructed everyone to leave because it was no longer safe; the crowd complied and immediately began dispersing. Organizers are seeking answers from the Aurora Police Department to understand why the assailant using a car, (which is considered a deadly weapon) was not taken into custody and charged. Shenika Carter, Organizer of the Caravan for Racial Justice Organization states “Law enforcements inequitable policing towards African Americans and protestors violates the first amendment that allows citizens the right to peacefully protest, equal protections under the law and due process. Agitators are increasing their presence by inciting violence and committing criminal acts with the implicit support of law enforcement. This is not simply a cultural disconnect, there is a systemic disconnect of personal and professional integrity and disrespect for human life. We will not be silenced and we intend to exercise the First Amendment as American citizens to protect the future of this country.” Members of the community and press are encouraged to attend and cover this story at the press conference that will be held on Monday, July 27, 2020, 5:00 pm at the MLK Library, 9898 E. Colfax Ave., Aurora, CO 80010. #frontlinepartyforrevolution#partyforsocialismandliberation #caravanforracialjustice#justiceforbreonnataylor#justiceforElijahMcClain#ElijahMcClain#PSL#frontlineforrevolutionaryaction#justice#ADP#aurora#colorado#news#sebastiansassi#peacefulprotest
Posted by Amplify the Voice on Monday, July 27, 2020
“ There is a narrative in our environment right now that is dangerous within our community.
There is a narrative that FPRA and PSL are violent, that we are not safe in our community, that we are having destructive behaviors. The behaviors that were displayed at Saturday’s events were not reflective of PSL, nor FPRA. The Frontline Party for Revolutionary Action does not have violent events. You can look back in time. We have organized with the city of Aurora. Blackout 2020 on June 6 was held on the municipal lawn, with the city of Aurora, and Claudine McDonald who coorganized and financially sponsored that event. There was zero violence.
I will not meet you with the same thing that you meet my community with.
But what was orchestrated on Saturday and I do mean orchestrated. There are eyewitness accounts that watched this vehicle, enter, when the police had supposedly barricaded the entrances. There is not a question who barricaded and who let someone in. We didn’t barricade the highway. We did not do that. We know that our citizens in the community of Aurora support us in these acts. This is not frivolous, we are not out here, causing harm to the citizens of the city of Aurora. Not at all. Not at all. We have been peaceful. We are concerned about every one of our community members. We are not leaving a single community member uncounted. a matter of fact, we actually had an event here, Feed the Homeless Youth from 10-2 on Saturday morning, before we went and demonstrated what a democracy looks like.
Because there has been zero justice for the murder of Elijah McClain. There was a firing after a picture was released. There wasn’t a firing when Elijah McClain was murdered.
So all these diversions that are happening. Why would this driver be met by the police off the 6th ramp. Well, we’ve got Bob here, Bob and them just pulled up. They got out. They shook hands. That’s your friend – that is your comrade.
We have pictures of the driver of the Jeep, smiling, as he goes down the highway at 70 miles an hour. That is 1000 counts of attempted vehicular homicide. That is 1000 counts of attempted vehicular homicide.
But instead of that, they got a handshake when they were greeted by their friends at APD, then their vehicle was taken into the parking lot where they gave a thumbs up, a thumbs up to the camera people who were there. Then they were given a ride home by the APD while their vehicle was put on a tow truck. You help me to understand how vehicular homicide turns into a ride home?
Oh, but don’t forget, this is a APD, they gave the Aurora theater shooter Burger King. They murder in the name of protecting and serving, I highly doubt that.
You can attempt to turn this any way you want, but we will continue in fighting for Elijah McClain and for justice for him.
We are not here damaging our community. We are supporting that community in ways that the city and Aurora police never have and never will. We are not dependent on them to support our community. We come out here we know the people. Those who are houseless that actually occupy this space; we feed them, we clothe them, we just provided them with showers. We are trying to help them get housing within our community. So that this madness stops that cannot be brutalized in our city.
This is our city. That grass was cut off. We were told that isn’t our grass. I am sorry, Aurora, we pay that bill. That is our grass and this is our city and we do not approve of the brutality that was orchestrated.
Vanessa Wilson made a statement apparently that said she had never heard from the organizers of the rally. Well, it’s not my responsibility to call Vanessa Wilson, when she sees it she’s watching me. I’m sure she could call me because she has my personal cell phone number. So, lets stop the excuses, lets stop the games. The Aurora Police Department allowed the Jeep to come into us and attempt to murder us. There were murderous intentions. He does not slow down, He, in fact, speeds up. He speeds up.
There are no questions. We are here to make a statement period. Just like APD, you will not be asking us questions. If you have questions, you may go to Amplify the Voice. There is a video that you will see that is a real depiction of what has happened.
And that is my suggestion to you.
We are giving you the opportunity to hear our narrative and to stop being a pawn in this game because you are you are on the highway as well as media, and they did not have any regard for your lives either. And so we stand together, we will continually be mowed down. You have been shot with rubber bullets.
Now, we gave you the opportunity to hear our statement because we have a voice in this community and that is why you are here, you have questions I suggest you ask the APD why they attempted to murder over 1000 people on Saturday. Thank you for coming.”
Regardless of the wisdom, of the protestor shooting a gun at the Jeep speeding at the crowd of protestors, the intent was self-defense. The intent was to protect others. The intent of the Jeep driver by all accounts appears to have been to run over the crowd. A crime that the Aurora Police Department has not yet charged the Jeep driver with, but Elijah McClain is murdered while walking down the street, doing nothing but coming home from the store.
While the officers who participated in Elijah McClain’s death are free to live their lives without consequence, those protesting the actions by Aurora Police Department are having those same officers charge them.
Throughout history, there have been Americans who took to the streets to fight for justice and change, and throughout history have been met with brutality for advocating change for a more just America.
In modern history, the Boston Tea Party is hailed as a great achievement by those rebel Americans. At the time the British called them terrorists.
From there we had the Revolutionary War and in the famous words of Thomas Jefferson;
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.–Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.”
- The Civil War, America’s most deadly war, had brother killing brother. While most of us understand that historically it did not stem from fighting for the rights of enslaved humans, that is where it ended.
- The Women’s Suffrage Movement also experienced extreme violence with women often being beaten by the police and spectators. It took the Suffragettes over 60 years to obtain the right to vote.
- The Labor Movement in America was met with Union Busters who violently attacked strikers demanding a living wage and safe work conditions.
- In 1968 Martin Luther King was shot and killed for the Civil Rights Movement he had helped lead for almost two decades. Just a few years after Malcolm X became a prominent figure in the Civil Rights Movement, he too was shot and killed.
- In 1969 members of the LGBTQ community were violently attacked for asking for the mere right to exist openly at the Stonewall Riots.
- In 1970, students of Kent State University who were peacefully protesting the US’ expanded involvement in the Vietnam War were attacked and killed by Ohio National Guardsmen.
It might be funny to cheer on violence toward protestors but throughout American history, those who have fought for a more just nation, have advanced this country in ways that are now acknowledged as advancing humanity.
At a time when the sitting POTUS’ ratings are dropping to an all-time low, it appears Donald Trump (or his Advisors) are pushing to escalate the violence at these protests by dispatching unmarked federal agents of the DHS, who have been kidnapping and attacking peaceful people, in order to turn public sentiment against the people protesting.
We know he is not above misusing active-duty troops to stop a nonexistent caravan of migrants for political points, and locking children in cages was done all too easily.
What makes us think he would defer to the Constitution now-just months before the Election?
Thanks to Off-Meta Media for their coverage as well, in Portland, Denver, and Aurora.