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Live Updates: Facebook Says It Should Have Taken Down Kenosha Guard Page

2020-08-29 02:24:18
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Facebook should have taken down Kenosha Guard page, Zuckerberg says.

Facebook made an “operational mistake” by not taking down a page that violated its policies on militia organizations, the company’s chief executive, Mark Zuckerberg, said on Friday in a public address and in a meeting with employees in which he addressed their concerns over a recent shooting in Kenosha, Wis.

The page belonged to a fringe militia group calling itself the Kenosha Guard, which should have been identified as a dangerous organization and broke rules the company had recently put in place, Mr. Zuckerberg said in a video posted on his Facebook page.

The Kenosha Guard used the page to organize an event that called for armed intervention in Kenosha on Tuesday, the night two people were killed at a protest. Kyle Rittenhouse, a 17-year-old Illinois resident, has been charged in connection with the shooting.

Facebook failed to take the page down even after it received several complaints ahead of the event. The complaints went to Facebook’s standard content moderators, who dismissed them.

Jacob Blake was shackled to his hospital bed because of a warrant against him for criminal charges that were filed several weeks before an officer shot him in the back several times on Sunday, the police in Kenosha, Wis., said on Friday.

Mr. Blake was charged in July with third-degree sexual assault, criminal trespass and disorderly conduct, court documents say, after a former friend accused him of breaking into her home while she was asleep and assaulting her. The woman told the police that Mr. Blake also took her car and debit card, according to the court documents.

On Sunday, the police were called to the woman’s home again after she reported that a man was at her home and was not allowed to be there. The police were arresting Mr. Blake when the shooting occurred, Wisconsin state officials said.

The authorities have offered few other details of the shooting, which set off demonstrations in Kenosha and in cities across the country.

But on Friday, the union representing Kenosha police officers issued a statement suggesting that Mr. Blake had strongly resisted arrest: He “forcefully fought” with officers even after being hit twice by a Taser, the union said, putting one in a headlock and ignoring orders to drop a knife that he held in his left hand.

A third officer, Brittany Meronek, was also present at the scene, the department said. All three officers have been put on administrative leave.

“None of the officers involved wished for things to transpire the way it did,” said Brendan P. Matthews, a lawyer representing the union. “It is my hope that truth and transparency will help begin and aid in the healing process.”

Mr. Blake’s lawyer, Patrick Cafferty, declined to discuss the criminal charges against Mr. Blake, except to say that his client would be pleading not guilty. He said Mr. Blake would no longer be shackled in his bed after Mr. Cafferty reached an agreement with the Kenosha district attorney, Michael D. Graveley, who agreed to vacate the arrest warrant.

The decision does not affect the criminal case against Mr. Blake.

Mr. Blake’s father, Jacob Blake Sr., said he did not know why his son had been shackled to the bed. “Why do they have that cold steel on my son’s ankle?” he said. “He couldn’t get up if he wanted to. So that’s a little overkill to have him shackled to the bed.”

Jacob Blake’s father, Jacob Blake Sr., said that he had been able to speak with his son at a hospital on Wednesday, but that the conversation was limited because his son was heavily medicated and in intense pain. “My son is fighting for his life,” he said in an interview with CNN.

“When I got to his side, he grabbed my hands and began to weep,” the elder Mr. Blake said of his son. He said his son, who remained paralyzed from the waist down, asked, “‘Why did they shoot me so many times?’ And I said, ‘Baby, they weren’t supposed to shoot you at all.’”

Three of Mr. Blake’s children — ranging from 3 to 8 years old — were in the back of the car that Mr. Blake was climbing into as he was shot. “In his mind’s eye, he just wanted to get his sons out of harm’s way, but before he could get them out of the car he was just counting shots,” Mr. Blake’s father said his son had told him. “He said he was counting them. I guess he lost consciousness around number four or five.”

A lawyer for the family, Ben Crump, said that Mr. Blake’s injuries are severe, including damage to his bowels, shattered vertebrae and bullet fragments in his spinal cord. He has had several operations, Mr. Blake’s father said, and it was unclear whether the paralysis would be permanent.

N.B.A. games will resume Saturday, and arenas will be used as polling stations.

The N.B.A. and its players’ union announced a plan to convert league arenas — provided they are under team ownership control — into polling locations for the November election as part of an agreement to resume the playoffs on Saturday, officials said in a joint statement on Friday.

“We had a candid, impassioned and productive conversation yesterday between N.B.A. players, coaches and team governors regarding next steps to further our collective efforts and actions in support of social justice and racial equality,” said the statement signed by the league’s commissioner, Adam Silver, and Michele Roberts, the executive director of the players’ union.

The announcement came two days after N.B.A. players staged a dramatic work stoppage in response to the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wis., on Sunday.

The joint plan also includes, according to the statement, the creation of a social justice coalition that will focus on several issues, “including increasing access to voting, promoting civic engagement and advocating for meaningful police and criminal justice reform.”

Establishing more polling locations was a key goal of More Than a Vote, the initiative led by the Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James and other athletes aimed at protecting voter rights and increasing civic engagement, particularly among Black people.

Kyle Rittenhouse, who took to the streets of Kenosha, Wis., armed with a military-style rifle this week and is accused of killing two people in a shooting that took place amid a skirmish between demonstrators and counterprotesters, is being held in Lake County, Ill.

Mr. Rittenhouse, 17, was arrested at his home in Antioch, Ill. this week. He faces six criminal counts, including first-degree reckless homicide, first-degree intentional homicide and attempted first-degree intentional homicide.

A judge in Lake County held a brief hearing on Friday morning to address Mr. Rittenhouse’s extradition to Wisconsin. At the request of a lawyer for Mr. Rittenhouse, the judge agreed to delay the matter until late September.

Fifty-seven years after the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. galvanized the civil rights movement by proclaiming a dream of racial equality from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, a new group of advocates for racial justice returned to the same spot on Friday, hoping to rekindle some of that passion.

This time, families of victims of police violence pleaded for an overhaul of what they called a system steeped in racism.

“There are two systems of justice in the United States. There’s a white system, and there’s a Black system,” said Jacob Blake Sr., the father of Jacob Blake, the Black man shot by a police officer in Wisconsin on Sunday. He added, “We’re not taking it anymore.”

Letetra Widman, the younger Mr. Blake’s sister, urged people to fight racism with kindness and unity. “You must stand, you must fight. But not with violence and chaos,” she said.

“We will not dress up this genocide,” she added, “and call it police brutality.”

Dr. King’s son, Martin Luther King III, implored voters to show up at the polls to support change. “We must march to the ballot box — and the mailboxes,” he said. “There’s a knee upon the neck of democracy.”

He also recalled the death of his father and grandmother. “Not only do I come as a protester,” he said, “but I come as a victim.”

The Rev. Al Sharpton urged the Republican-controlled Senate to pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, named after the Black man killed by a Minneapolis police officer earlier this summer, which would overhaul law enforcement training and create new standards designed to limit police misconduct and racial bias.

“Demonstration without legislation will not lead to change,” Mr. Sharpton said.

He criticized President Trump for not directly addressing the multiple Black people who have been shot or killed by police in recent months, and for pushing changes to the U.S. Postal Service that could jeopardize mail-in voting.

“Mr. Trump, look right down the block from the White House — we’ve come to Washington by the thousands,” he said. “We’ll never let America forget what you’ve done.”

Dr. King’s March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom drew an audience of a quarter-million in 1963. The Friday protest, called the Commitment March: Get Your Knee Off Our Necks, was expected to attract a small fraction of that, in part because the city is requiring quarantines for visitors from 27 states.

Still, by 9 a.m., the pavement around the Lincoln Memorial was packed with several hundred people, though speakers addressed the crowd from an area marked off in grids occupied by small knots of attendees, to limit the spread of the coronavirus during the pandemic.

Police shootings and voting were topics at demonstrations across the country.

The same day that thousands of protesters gathered in Washington on the anniversary of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech, people marched in smaller demonstrations nationwide on Friday.

Protesters who gathered at City Hall in Orlando, Fla., chanted about a 22-year-old man who was recently killed by an Orange County sheriff’s deputy, according to The Orlando Sentinel. A drive-in rally at Florida Memorial University in Miami Gardens, Fla., livestreamed the march from Washington on a big screen, Local 10 reported. And in downtown Columbia, S.C., dozens of demonstrators marched to Senator Lindsey Graham’s local office.

An afternoon march focusing on voter registration settled at the South Carolina State House, The State reported. The city’s marches were met with small groups of counterprotesters.

“Black people will be respected and protected,” said Jerome Bowers, the chief executive of One Common Cause Community Control Initiative, a local social justice organization. “We stand today and we say that peacefully, and we say that from a position of strength. No longer will cowardice be the way in which we handle our affairs.”

Many protests across the country, including the one in Orlando, were organized by local chapters of the National Action Network, which was founded by the Rev. Al Sharpton. “Together we will demonstrate our advocacy for comprehensive police accountability reform and will mobilize voters for the November elections,” a statement from the National Action Network said.

There were also several demonstrations in college towns, including the University of Florida and the University of Kansas, where women’s basketball players organized a march and rally and urged athletes to use their platforms to fight for change, according to KSHB Kansas City.

President Trump barely mentioned Kenosha in his convention speech.

President Trump made only a glancing reference to Kenosha, Wis., in his speech on Thursday accepting the Republican nomination for a second term, linking it to other American cities where protests against systemic racism and police brutality have sometimes turned violent.

Mr. Trump’s mention of Kenosha, the scene of several chaotic nights of demonstrations this week, and the other cities was shorthand for what he claims is a creeping lawlessness that will blanket the United States if his Democratic opponent, Joseph R. Biden Jr., is elected.

In some ways, what has unfolded on the streets of Kenosha, Wis., over the past week has had a wearying sense of familiarity.

Another demoralizing shooting of a Black man by the police. Another angry outcry in the streets. Another disturbing trail of destruction with the potential to overshadow the message of the need to end police violence and racism.

But as the demonstrations for Jacob Blake, the man shot in Kenosha, spread, and with a huge March on Washington set for Friday, the latest surge of protests reflects something greater: the remarkable way the Black Lives Matter movement has become a lever for change and a guiding voice on issues of race in America.

Black Lives Matter protests — or even the possibility of them — have changed the way people in power respond. Elected leaders now tend to engage instantly and insistently with matters that in the past were primarily dealt with by the police. Officers are named, details are shared and thorough investigations are promised. In some instances, officers are charged or fired much more quickly than ever before.

“You’ve created an environment so whenever any incident of injustice or perceived injustice takes place, it’s going to be amplified,” said Daniel Gillion, a political science professor at the University of Pennsylvania who studies protest movements.

But there is also increasing concern that images of vandalism, looting and arson are becoming inextricably linked with the protests, undermining efforts to win systemic reforms and public support. While the Black Lives Matter movement enjoyed broad approval in the weeks after George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis police custody, Democrats worry that the unrest, regardless of who is responsible, could help President Trump find a receptive audience for his argument that he will deliver “law and order.”

Reporting was contributed by Alan Blinder, Gillian R. Brassil, Michael Cooper, Sopan Deb, John Eligon, Jacey Fortin, Sheera Frankel Matthew Futterman, Ruth Graham, Mike Isaac, Aishvarya Kavi, Tyler Kepner, Giulia McDonnell Nieto del Rio, Sarah Mervosh, Christina Morales, Richard Perez-Peña, Bryan Pietsch, Ed Shanahan, Marc Stein, Michael Wines, Neil Vigdor and Alan Yuhas.


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