National cathedral expected to install racial justice themed stained glass windows

Washington National Cathedral announced Thursday that it would be replacing a set of stained glass windows with new designs featuring themes of racial justice. 

According to Reuters, the new windows will replace a set with Confederate-themed imagery that were removed in 2017. 

The cathedral said in a statement that the four windows will tell “a new and more complete” story of the nation’s racial history.  There will also be a poem by Elizabeth Alexander inscribed in stone tablets alongside the windows. Alexander’s poem will cover up older inscriptions that venerated the lives of Confederate soldiers. 

This announcement comes just a day after Virginia unveiled its plan to erect a statue commemorating the end of slavery on the spot where a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee once stood. 

New windows created by artist Kerry James Marshall, a black American man, will aim “to share a new and more complete story, to tell the truth about our past and to lift up who we aspire to be as a nation,” the Rev. Randolph Marshall Hollerith, dean of the cathedral, said.

The racial justice-themed windows are expected to be completed and installed sometime in 2023.

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Loudoun County Board Of Supervisors Votes In Favor Of A Racial Discrimination Study To Consider If Reparations Are Appropriate

The Loudoun County Board of Supervisors voted in favor of a study Tuesday to review the history of racial discrimination and consider the merits of reparations.

The county supervisor, Juli Briskman, said the proposal was specifically related to the county’s choice to continue segregating its schools for 14 years after Brown vs. Board of Education, the 1954 U.S. Supreme Court decision that prohibited school segregation, Fox 5 DC reported.

“The anti-CRT (critical race theory) movement is much more about ‘today’ and what we’re teaching today,” Briskman said, Fox 5 DC reported. “And my Board member initiative is looking back at potential harm that was because we operated segregated schools illegally against the ruling of Brown vs. the Board of Education.”

The proposal passed 6-3 with the dissenters arguing the proposal lacked specific goals, the Loudoun-Mirror Times reported.

Loudoun County has become a critical race theory battleground in recent months with angry parents and teachers speaking out at school board meetings over the district’s policies.

CRT holds that America is fundamentally racist, yet it teaches people to view every social interaction and person in terms of race. Its adherents pursue “antiracism” through the end of merit, objective truth and the adoption of race-based policies.(RELATED: Teacher Says ‘Positive Behavior’ Like ‘Sitting Quietly,’ ‘Following Directions’ Is White Supremacy)

“I would just encourage our joint commission or whatever committee to come out of this to just ignore the outside noise because what’s happening in Fairfax and us, has little to do with us and in many ways has to do with ‘message testing’ for the 2022 elections and beyond,” Briskman said, Fox 5 DC reported.

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How Racial Anxiety Conquered an Orchestra and Crushed a Career

Most people haven’t heard of James Zimmermann, but most have heard him. A decorated musician with a long string of acoustic accolades, Zimmermann, 39, has made the sound of his clarinet difficult to avoid. He played at President Barack Obama’s second inaugural, has recorded tracks for best-selling video games, and helped create Walt Disney World’s new theme.

Zimmermann was also the principal clarinetist of the Nashville Symphony Orchestra for more than a decade—that is, until the orchestra fired him last February over accusations of racial harassment. To hear his accusers tell it, Zimmermann had insulted, intimidated, and even stalked his black colleagues, going so far as to menacingly drive by their homes. Human resources had already warned the clarinetist in 2019 that his behaviors could be grounds for dismissal, the orchestra claimed in its termination letter to Zimmermann. His refusal to heed that warning was ostensibly why he was fired in 2020.

But six of Zimmermann’s ex-colleagues and the orchestra’s own documents tell a very different story. They suggest that Zimmermann himself was the target of a witch hunt, instigated by a black oboist whom Zimmermann had stuck his neck out to help.

Zimmermann was also never warned that he could lose his job, according to one of his colleagues, Brad Mansell, who had accompanied Zimmermann to HR. “I was there,” Mansell said. “The termination letter flat out lied.”

That alone would have been grounds for the orchestra’s union to file a grievance, and most likely for Zimmermann to have been reinstated. But the union took no action on his behalf.

Instead, Zimmermann became an early victim of the ideological cold war that turned hot in the summer of 2020, when accusations of racism knocked journalists, poets, and political scientists from their loftiest perches. This is not a story of heroes and villains—crude categories that hardly capture the major characters —so much as a story of institutions: an orchestra roiled by racial anxieties, a human resources department deputized to soothe them, and a union caught in the crossfire. It is also a story of how misunderstandings can snowball into moral dramas, gaining momentum with each successive snafu.

That snowball was set in motion when Zimmermann stood up for merit-based hiring at the symphony. From New York to London to Vienna, orchestras around the world have faced calls to diversify their ensemble, sometimes through race-conscious means. Anthony Tommasini, a New York Times music critic, has even called for ending blind auditions.

The Nashville Symphony was not immune to these pressures, having embarked on several grant-funded diversity initiatives in 2017. After the orchestra broke its own rules to hire an oboist many regarded as unqualified, Zimmermann took an almost obsessive stand. The result was a hushed discontent that crescendoed into crisis, as the orchestra tried and failed to contain the tensions it had created.

At the center of those tensions was Titus Underwood, who would become the first black principal oboist at a major U.S. orchestra. His rise marked the start of Zimmermann’s fall. It also marked the triumph of tokenism at the Nashville Symphony, which denied Underwood a chance to succeed on his own merits. In an ironic twist, it was Zimmermann’s zeal for meritocracy that helped Underwood rise in the first place.

Underwood joined the Nashville Symphony in 2017 as a temporary replacement for the outgoing principal oboist. To get the job permanently, he needed to win a blind audition held in March 2019. Underwood’s playing had been inconsistent since his arrival at the symphony, members of the Nashville Symphony’s woodwind section told the Washington Free Beacon, but he would now be given a chance to prove himself without any baggage—provided he remained anonymous.

But Underwood was inadvertently outed in the final round of the audition. The audition committee, including Zimmermann, had narrowed it down to one candidate, but whoever was behind the curtain hadn’t impressed. That meant they had two options: send the candidate home and hold another audition, or give the candidate a trial period and make a decision at the end of it. Before they could finish deliberating, a violinist—having misjudged the need for anonymity—burst out from behind the screen and announced that the candidate was Titus Underwood.

Underwood’s outing tipped the scales against him. The audition committee had been leaning toward a trial run, but backpedaled once they learned that the candidate had been struggling in the orchestra for over a year. Giancarlo Guerrero, the symphony maestro, was especially sour on Underwood, according to three members of the committee who stressed that principal oboe is one of the most important seats in any orchestra. At Guerrero’s urging, the committee agreed to send Underwood on his way without telling him what had happened.

Sickened by what he described as a “disgusting” breach of fairness, Zimmermann urged his colleagues to stick with their initial inclination and offer Underwood the trial period. “If Titus had remained anonymous, as he should have, he would have been given [a] rightly earned opportunity” to prove his mettle, Zimmermann wrote in an email to the committee the next day.

The orchestra relented and gave Underwood a two-week trial period, in keeping with terms of the orchestra’s union contract. If the committee was satisfied with the oboist’s performance during those two weeks, he’d be awarded the permanent position. However the committee ultimately voted, Underwood now had a chance to win the job based on merit, by the book.

But a vote was never held.

After the first trial week, Guerrero unilaterally appointed Underwood without the consent of the committee, a direct violation of the orchestra’s own rules. This unprecedented step, several musicians said, seemed to have been motivated by Underwood’s race.

Earlier in the week, Guerrero had called the entire committee into his office and urged them to vote early for Underwood, before the trial period was up, according to three members of the committee. When the committee refused, Guerrero began calling committee members into his office individually. “[M]eetings that were supposed to be about artistic merit and feedback turned into something else,” the president of the orchestra union, Dave Pomeroy, wrote in an email to colleagues.

That something else was “diversity,” said Jeff Bailey, a trumpet player on the committee. He and Zimmermann both recall a frazzled-looking Guerrero saying they “needed to trust him” and implying that outside pressure was being applied.

“I’d never seen him that stressed,” Bailey said.

Guerrero and Underwood did not respond to requests for comment. The president of the Nashville Symphony, Alan Valentine, declined to comment.

Things in the orchestra were tense, and members of the audition committee were furious—especially Zimmermann, who says he made “zero efforts” to hide his frustration: not at Underwood himself, but at the procedural chicanery that had boosted him.

Underwood’s intonation issues added fuel to the fire. Woodwinds often stay after rehearsal to tune difficult passages, and the principal oboe is the leader of the woodwinds. Since Underwood was struggling in that role, Zimmermann frequently ended up asking him to stay late to finesse a section. Underwood seemed to take that personally, one woodwind said.

With tensions in the symphony rising, Underwood lodged a human resources complaint against Zimmermann.

The complaint described an incident that had taken place over a month before the botched audition and, as far as Zimmermann was concerned, had already been resolved. In early February 2019, Zimmermann had asked Underwood whether it would be ok for him, a white person, to use the N-word in his rendition of a rap song. Underwood said yes, but Zimmermann nonetheless apologized after singing the slur—”the N-word did not feel good,” he recalls telling Underwood.

Zimmermann explained all this over the course of two meetings with human resources officers, neither of which resulted in disciplinary action. But racial tensions had spiked just as the bureaucratic apparatus for adjudicating them was expanding. In November 2019, the orchestra hired its first “equity manager;” two months later, a newly christened “equity, diversity, inclusion, and belonging” team held a luncheon on the “racial power dynamics in American orchestras.” In an audio recording of the lunch, Underwood can be heard saying that all Americans “live in a system of white supremacy” that’s persisted since the founding.

The orchestra was also hiring more musicians sympathetic to this worldview, one of whom, Emilio Carlo, seemed to take an immediate dislike to Zimmermann, the clarinetist and other members of the orchestra said. An alum of various diversity programs and a close friend of Underwood’s, Carlo rebuffed Zimmermann’s efforts to get to know him, Zimmermann said. When Zimmermann mentioned Carlo’s dog, for example, Carlo responded: “Yeah, and he’ll fuck anybody up.” Zimmermann told the Free Beacon it felt like a threat.

Carlo did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

Soon, Carlo and Underwood seeded a new narrative about Zimmermann: that he was not just racially insensitive but potentially predatory. The narrative was seeded behind Zimmermann’s back, beginning with an unofficial HR complaint about which the clarinetist was never notified.

According to emails in Zimmermann’s personnel file, Underwood told HR representatives in December 2019 that Zimmermann seemed “obsessed” with him and Carlo. Zimmermann had been asking detailed questions about Carlo and Underwood’s living situations, Underwood alleged, to the point that Underwood was “getting concerned about safety.”

The allegations contained a grain of truth: Zimmermann had been asking those questions, but only because he was looking to buy a new house in the area, according to three of his colleagues who had had conversations with him about Nashville real estate.

“James is an odd guy,” Bailey said. “But he’s not a stalker, and he’s certainly not a racist.”

Yet by February 2020 rumors were spreading. One day, a violinist in the orchestra approached Zimmermann and told him there was talk of a stalking allegation. According to the rumor, HR had received a complaint that Zimmermann was deliberately driving by Underwood and Carlo’s houses. Again, this was half true: Zimmermann often drove down Carlo’s street to avoid late afternoon traffic, as did several of his colleagues.

The botched audition, the initial HR meetings, and the ongoing tensions in the wind section had all taken a toll on Zimmermann. Now, news of the undisclosed allegation pushed him over the edge.

“I really think he was just driven crazy,” a colleague said.

At 1:15 a.m. on Feb. 21, 2020, Zimmermann sent an email that sources described as “manic.” Addressed to Carlo and cc’d to human resources, the five-page missive was disjointed, difficult to follow, and—in its choice of words—potentially minatory, referencing a brewing “war” with the prospect of “physical harm.” “I saw it as a cry for help,” said one of Zimmermann’s colleagues, who added that Zimmermann seemed concerned for his own safety. In a paragraph recounting Carlo’s comment about his dog, Zimmermann noted that his family owned a gun.

The clarinetist was placed on leave the next day, and armed guards were stationed outside the symphony. Less than a week later he was fired.

The dismissal sent shockwaves through the orchestra. “Nobody I know thought the right thing happened,” one brass player said. “People were crying.”

Asked whether they thought the email presaged violence, six members of the Nashville Symphony answered no.

“No thread of my being thought [Zimmermann] was violent,” the brass player said. He added that the firing seemed like a way for management to bury Underwood’s audition fiasco, which had become an open secret in the orchestra world.

The orchestra union, meanwhile, refused to go to bat for Zimmermann. Mansell said that union president Dave Pomeroy was “clearly worried about optics,” even though Mansell promised to testify that the orchestra lied about Zimmermann’s disciplinary record in its termination letter. The orchestra’s own file on Zimmermann contains no record of any warnings, corroborating Mansell’s account.

“When they make up these stories and lies, and nobody defends you, it’s scary,” one member of the symphony said. “You wonder who’s next.”

Pomeroy, who did not respond to multiple requests for comment, had himself faced accusations of racial insensitivity. When Underwood first told HR about the alleged stalking, he’d insinuated that the orchestra was giving Zimmermann a pass because of its institutional racism. As evidence for that racism, he’d cited a comment Pomeroy had made: “Nobody in the orchestra is racist. This is 2019 and racism doesn’t exist anymore.”

It was now 2020, and the orchestra made it clear that such statements would be verboten going forward. After the Nashville Symphony fired Zimmermann, it went so far as to promote the firing on social media, sharing a video in which Underwood describes the “harassment” he endured after “winning” his audition. When some musicians asked the orchestra to take the video down, Nashville Symphony president Alan Valentine refused. Underwood’s story was “positive” for the orchestra, Valentine said in an email to one woodwind, because it “affirms” that the symphony “does not tolerate racial discrimination.”

Zimmermann agrees with his colleagues that he was railroaded. But he also agrees with the orchestra about one point: At the end of the day, Underwood was the real victim of the whole saga.

“I get to walk away with integrity,” said Zimmermann, who told the Free Beacon he regrets sending the email. But Underwood “has his whole career built on a house of cards. I feel sorry for him.”

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U.S. Funds Project to Boost Racial, Ethnic, Gender Diversity in Science at Private Women’s College

The government agency that gave a professor hundreds of thousands of dollars to study white supremacy and racial injustice in U.S. landmarks is giving a small Wisconsin liberal arts college half a million dollars to boost “racial/ethnic and gender diversity” in science fields and “broaden participation of underrepresented minorities.” The money is flowing through the National Science Foundation (NSF), which was created by Congress seven decades ago to promote the progress of science, advance national health and prosperity and secure the national defense. Lately, it seems the agency is focusing a lot more on racial justice endeavors that exclude large portions of the American population.

Judicial Watch has reported extensively on the government wide race and gender equity movement that often puts federal agencies at odds with their taxpayer-funded mission. Race-based initiatives have been well documented in recent years at a multitude of leading agencies, including the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), National Institutes of Health (NIH), Department of Labor (DOL) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), to name a few. The NSF seems to be leading the pack lately, though many other federal agencies are also dedicating considerable resources to the cause. With an annual budget of $8.5 billion, the NSF funds more than a quarter of research conducted at American colleges and universities, where it is worth mentioning that the theft of intellectual property by Communist China is pervasive.

In the last few weeks alone, the NSF gave away millions of dollars to race-based projects in secondary and post-secondary institutions. The first allotment, $271,594, went to a private liberal arts college in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania that will use the money to identify potential “systemic inequities” in science, technology, engineering, and math fields (STEM) at the campus with an enrollment of around 3,724. The goal, according to the NSF, is to uncover “any existence of systemic inequities and advancement barriers related to gender, race, and ethnicity in STEM faculty” at the school, Bucknell University. Weeks later the NSF doled out nearly $2 million to “address the historical and current racial and gender disparities in participation in high school computer science education.” The project is part of a broader program called Researching Equity and Antiracist Learning in Computer Science (REAL-CS) that focuses on expanding participation for black, indigenous, “Latinx” (the new, politically correct gender-neutral term for Latino or Latina) and Pacific Islander students by addressing systemic barriers in high school computer science education. REAL-CS is designed to sustain yet another publicly-funded, “equity-focused” initiative called Exploring Computer Science (ECS) dedicated to “democratizing” the field by increasing opportunities for “traditionally underrepresented” high school students after a study identified disparities along “race and socioeconomic lines.”

Now the NSF is giving Alverno College, a tiny women’s liberal arts school in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, $499,983 to increase racial/ethnic and gender diversity in STEM. “As a women’s college serving primarily first-generation, low-income students, more than half women of color, Alverno College will use this project to broaden participation of underrepresented minorities and women in STEM, who lag in STEM degree attainment and STEM workforce participation,” according to the NSF grant announcement. “Increasing racial/ethnic and gender diversity in STEM is a recognized strategy to expand the STEM workforce.” The agency further writes that the project engages the external community in a cooperative relationship, recognizing the intersection between STEM and students’ social/community identities. “Ongoing faculty development in culturally responsive teaching and a formalized administrative support structure will expand project impact across the college,” the NSF grant document sates.

The science agency is also financing a special project to determine if historical sites around the nation acknowledge white supremacy and racial injustice. The NSF gave a University of Oregon ethnic studies professor $350,000 to research thousands of landmarks and, though the grant announcement uses more discreet language, a university article titled “Professor is finding that a racist past is often left off monuments” provides more details. The professor, Laura Pulido, who specializes in “Chicanx studies,” indicates that her NSF-financed research offers insights into bridging the gap to racial justice. “It examines historical commemoration and the degree to which white supremacy and racial injustice is acknowledged in more than 2,600 different landmarks around the United States,” the article reads. Though in the early stages of her research, Pulido says initial data confirms that racism is deeply ingrained in American historical commemoration and U.S. landmarks fail to acknowledge links to racial inequality. “Although white supremacy — the overt belief in the superiority of white people — was central to the creation of the U.S., the nation is deeply invested in denying its role,” Pulido says. “Historical sites are key to this systemic denial, as they denote places and events deemed worthy of remembrance.”

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Black voters stung by Democrats’ broken promises: ‘Doing terrible on racial justice’

The left had grand hopes at the beginning of the year that Democrats would make advances on a racial justice agenda.

With Democrats in control of the Congress and the White House — and owing their success in 2020 to high turnout by minority voters — long-dreamed aspirations to fundamentally changing policing and paying reparations for slavery to Black Americans appeared within reach.

What followed was eight months of disappointment. The most tangible victory was the creation of a federal holiday, Juneteenth.

Congress is doing terrible on racial justice,” said Ría Thompson-Washington, senior manager for voting rights and democracy at the liberal Center for Popular Democracy. The group, which focuses on increasing turnout by Black voters, registered 500,000 voters before last year’s elections.

“They would rather make a symbolic holiday of Juneteenth when we were already celebrating it,” she said in an interview. “Thank you, but we didn’t need that. What we needed you to do was pass the voting rights legislation.”

Congressional Democrats are painfully aware of the dissatisfaction coursing through this crucial constituency.

“We haven’t done enough,” said Rep. Alma Adams of North Carolina, a member of the Congressional Black Caucus.

Ms. Adams and other Democratic lawmakers point to President Biden’s $3.5 trillion social welfare bill. Part of the funding is intended to address racial inequities such as making community colleges tuition-free and providing homebuying aid to benefit minorities.

It is a far cry from the dramatic changes many Black voters expected. It also builds on a longtime narrative in Black communities that Democratic politicians care about them only in election years.

“There is a sense among Black and brown voters that the Democrats try to win their vote every two years and never fully deliver,” said Nick Rathod, a deputy director of intergovernmental affairs in the Obama White House.

He said Mr. Biden and congressional Democrats “need to go into the midterms having achieved some big legislative win. They can’t go to the base and say we had control and we didn’t do anything.”

Ms. Thompson-Washington held a press conference last month where civil rights groups pressed Mr. Biden to strong-arm Senate Democrats into eliminating the filibuster to pave the way for a partisan bill to overhaul the nation’s election laws. Democrats tout the overhaul as vital to overriding new laws in Republican-controlled states that they say make it harder for minorities to vote. But the bill remains stalled in the Senate.

Ms. Thompson-Washington was fuming that day over the Senate’s approval of a resolution that recognized hip-hop.

“Thank you, but we don’t need that. Like we don’t appreciate hip-hop anyway without you. That’s not racial justice,” she said, lamenting Democrats‘ failure to pass voting rights or the promised overhaul of policing policy.

Katonya Hart, a board member with Call to Action for Racial Equality, an activist group in West Virginia, also voiced deep disappointment.

“It seems like a joke. We’re being thrown a biscuit when we need a real meal. It’s not even icing on the cake when there are so much people need,” she said.

The scope of the $3.5 trillion expansion of the social safety net is also in doubt. Enough moderate Democrats are balking at the massive price tag to potentially force the leadership to trim it.

The NAACP and 25 other liberal groups have leaned on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, California Democrat, and Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer, New York Democrat, to fight the moderates on reductions to the bill. One suggestion is scaling back proposed tax increases to pay for the benefits.

“We implore you in the name of racial equity and justice: stand up to the demands of the wealthy and big corporations to preserve their privileges and escape paying their fair share of taxes,” they wrote.

That Black voters feel that Democrats do not appreciate their vote is nothing new. But for advocates such as Ms. Thompson-Washington, it is reaching a breaking point.

Black voter turnout will be pivotal in next year’s midterm elections, when Democrats risk losing control of the House and Senate, according to an analysis last week in Sabato’s Crystal Ball, a political journal published by the University of Virginia Center for Politics.

Voters in midterm elections tend to be Whiter and more educated than in presidential elections, a turnout that tends to favor Republicans. But in 2018, a surge of Black voters helped Democrats gain 41 seats and win control of the House.

“At one time, this sort of change from the presidential to the midterm electorate might have made midterm electorates worse for Democrats. But given changes in the electorate, this midterm turnout pattern may actually aid Democrats, or at least not hurt them as much as it once did,” the analysts said.

Ms. Hart said Congress‘ inaction will not necessarily hold down the Black vote because local elections will drive Black voters to the polls.

But the lack of a payoff does exacerbate the problems that community organizers face in getting Black voters to the polls, she said.

“It does mean adjusting the customer’s expectations,” she said. “Not only is there the apathy and the sense that it doesn’t matter if I vote. But you have to remember that until 1965 [and the passage of the Voting Rights Act], people were scared that they would have dogs or hoses turned on them if they tried to vote. And that fear has been passed down.”

The Rev. Al Sharpton, a civil rights activist and MSNBC host, disagreed that Democrats will be hurt by disappointment among Black voters. He said the voters recognize that Republican senators have blocked measures on policing and elections.

“The progress is being impeded by those that will not come along with those that have made that stand,” he said.

Marcus Bass, executive director of Advance North Carolina, a nonprofit that says its mission is to “build political and economic power in Black communities and institutions,” has another view.

“Black and brown voters are consistently asked to tender their vote, but the exchange rate diminishes each year,” he said. “As communities of color become more engaged in the political process as a whole, it becomes more apparent that the transaction of voting does not equate to real transformation. Democrats have neglected to accept the responsibility of helping the communities that they depend on for their political survival and continually overlook and underwhelm the only consistent group of voters they can and must depend on,” he said.

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A New Report on the Aurora, Colorado, Police Department Documents a Pattern of Excessive Force and Racial Disparities –

A report that Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser released this week concludes that the Aurora Police Department, which has attracted much attention in recent years due to horrifying incidents such as the 2019 death of Elijah McClain, “has a pattern and practice” of “racially biased policing,” of “using excessive force,” and of “failing to document stops as required by law.” The investigative team that prepared the report, which included former prosecutors, public defenders, and police officers, also found that Aurora Fire “had a pattern and practice of using ketamine,” a dissociative anesthetic that paramedics sometimes administer to people in police custody, “in violation of the law.”

All of these factors either clearly or arguably played a role in the lethal August 2019 police encounter with McClain, a black 23-year-old massage therapist who, according to an independent panel appointed by the Aurora City Council, was stopped, arrested, tackled, and forcibly restrained without legal justification. This month Weiser announced that a statewide grand jury had approved 32 criminal charges, including manslaughter, criminally negligent homicide, and second-degree assault, against three officers and two paramedics who were involved in that incident. The indictment cites a forensic pathologist’s conclusion that McClain died as a result of complications caused by his violent restraint and an overdose of ketamine.

McClain was walking home from a convenience store, where he had bought three cans of iced tea, when he was accosted by police responding to a 911 call in which a teenager described him as “sketchy.” The fact that McClain was black does not prove that race was a factor in the incident, although it jibes with longstanding complaints from African-American residents that Aurora police tend to treat them differently than they treat white people. The 118-page report released by Weiser’s office cites substantial statistical evidence that backs up that impression, showing that black people in Aurora, as in other cities, are disproportionately likely to interact with police, be arrested, and be subjected to the use of force. While racial bias is just one possible explanation for those disparities, the report’s authors argue that race-neutral factors are unlikely to account for the large differences they found.

Marc Sears, president of the Aurora police union, says he is willing to work with Weiser, who wants the department to enter into a consent decree requiring reforms aimed at addressing the problems identified in the report. But Sears objects to the authors’ description of his colleagues as “racially biased,” saying “police officers don’t care what color you are” and “you can do anything with statistics to kind of present what it is you want to present.”

While the patterns described in the report are open to interpretation, they are at least consistent with the popular impression that the Aurora Police Department, which is overwhelmingly white, discriminates against black people. Aurora, which is located about 10 miles east of Denver, is Colorado’s third-largest city, with about 386,000 residents, 16.5 percent of whom are black. Yet from January 2018 to February 2021, data cited in the report indicate, African Americans accounted for half of all police interactions, compared to 39 percent for non-Hispanic whites, who represent 44.4 percent of the population. Taking into account multiple encounters involving the same individual, 46 percent of Aurora’s black population interacted with police during this period, compared to 24 percent of whites.

The pattern is similar when you look at arrests and the use of force. The number of unique arrests (involving different individuals) represented more than one-fifth of Aurora’s black population, compared to less than a tenth of its white population. “When measured as a percentage of population,” the report says, “for every unique use of force on a white subject, there were 2.5 times as many uses of force on a non-white subject and 5 times as many unique uses of force on a Black subject.” Differences in the use of force persisted across levels of force and were apparent in misdemeanor as well as felony cases.

One possible explanation for these differences is that police focus their resources on high-crime, low-income areas that are disproportionately black. But the report says “geography cannot explain the racial and ethnic disparities observed in Aurora Police’s use of force.” It notes that “Aurora is divided into three police districts, each with different demographic and socio-economic characteristics.” Yet “the statistically significant relationships between race and ethnicity and use of force—both as a percentage of interactions and a percentage of arrests—remained consistent for non-white individuals as a whole and Black individuals specifically across all three Aurora Police districts.”

The investigators also considered whether the disparities varied with “the median household income of the zip code where the event occurred.” They found that disparities were apparent in all four income quartiles. In the highest quartile, for example, “Aurora Police had 2,009 interactions with Black individuals, which equaled 13.2% of their population in zip codes corresponding to this income quartile,” which is “over five times higher than the 2.5% interaction rate for white subjects in Income Quartile 4.” For arrests and use of force, the investigators found “similar disparities across nearly all income quartiles, particularly with respect to Black individuals.”

Another possible explanation for these disparities is that black people are more likely to commit crimes than white people. The report’s authors raise this possibility but do not fully consider it.

“The idea that individuals of certain races or ethnicities have a greater propensity to commit crimes because of their race or ethnicity is unsupported by any reliable evidence and contrary to law,” they say. “While it is true that observed arrest and conviction rates can and do differ among racial and ethnic groups, we recognize that these differences could arise for many reasons, including income level disparities, differential policing efforts, community willingness to report crime, or other factors.”

That gloss seems evasive. Whatever the reasons for racial disparities in crime rates, their existence would help explain higher rates of interactions, arrests, and uses of force. Whether the differences are due to “income level disparities, differential policing efforts, community willingness to report crime, or other factors,” they still could provide an explanation for racial disparities in law enforcement that do not involve racial bias.

One piece of evidence that cuts against alternative explanations is the likelihood that force will be used when an arrest occurs. During the three-year period considered in the report, police used force 3.6 percent of the time when they arrested black suspects, compared to 2 percent of the time when they arrested white suspects.

“Aurora Police used force against 1.5% of Black subjects who had at least one interaction with police from 2018 to 2021,” the report says. “That is nearly double the corresponding figure for white subjects. Racial differences in arrest rates…cannot explain the use-of-force disparity, at least as to Black individuals.” A race-neutral explanation for this disparity presumably would hinge on the idea that black arrestees are more likely than white arrestees to resist arrest or that they present more of a threat when they do, both of which are subjective judgments that could themselves be influenced by racial bias.

The report cites another important piece of evidence in support of the argument that racial bias, conscious or not, plays a role in the disparities it describes. The investigators compared outcomes in three kinds of cases involving different levels of officer discretion: “suspicious occurrence,” “disturbance/noise complaint,” and “domestic dispute.” If racial bias influences officer behavior, you would expect the evidence of disparities to be strongest in cases where police have the most discretion, which is what the data indicate.

While “officers must arrest a suspect if there is probable cause to believe domestic violence has occurred,” they have much more leeway when responding to a “suspicious occurrence”—a description that fits the police encounter with McClain, although the officers in that case did not actually have a reasonable basis to suspect he was involved in criminal activity. Complaints about noise or some other disturbance fall somewhere between those extremes, since “there has been a report or observation of potential unlawful activity that impacts others, but officers still retain significant discretion over whether to make an arrest.”

The investigators found “statistically significant evidence that Aurora Police
disproportionately used force against Black individuals, as compared to white individuals, in suspicious activity cases—both as a percentage of interactions (2.5 times more) and as a percentage of arrests (2 times more).” By contrast, they “did not find statistically significant evidence that the uses of force in domestic violence or noise disturbance/complaint cases were disproportionate across race or ethnicity.”

Whatever you make of the dramatic racial disparities documented in this report, the evidence of excessive force is troubling without regard to the complexions of the people on the receiving end. In addition to reviewing the Aurora’s annual use of force reports since 2016 and 2,800 individual reports on uses of force, the investigators observed officer behavior during 220 hours of ride-alongs in all three of the city’s districts. They found that Aurora police “repeatedly engaged in unlawful and unconstitutional uses of force, regularly applying greater force than reasonably warranted by the situation.”

These violations included incidents in which officers used force “to take people to the ground without first giving them adequate time to respond to officer commands, or generically recit[ed] ‘stop resisting’ when trying to control subjects, even though it appeared from other available evidence that the subject was not resisting.” The investigators also “observed officers immediately escalating in circumstances
where the subject was in obvious mental health distress but not presenting an imminent risk of harm to themselves or others.” In other cases, officers used force on “individuals who had not committed any crime and presented no danger but who simply refused to comply with orders.”

On that last point, the report notes that Aurora’s Disorderly Conduct Ordinance criminalizes failing to “obey a lawful order or command” by a police officer when that failure “causes or is likely to cause harm or a serious inconvenience.” That law gives police broad discretion to arrest someone who is not actually involved in criminal activity—someone like McClain, for instance—simply because he declines to follow orders that never should have been issued in the first place. From 2015 through 2020, Aurora police invoked this provision to justify thousands of arrests, and in many cases the charges were subsequently dropped.

“Based on information available to us,” the report says, “we conclude that Aurora Police has a pattern and practice of using objectively unreasonable force to arrest those who police claim have violated this ordinance.” The authors describe several such cases, including one that resulted in a $285,000 settlement of a lawsuit brought by a man who did not exit his garage as fast as the cops thought he should have when they arrived at his house in response to a noise complaint. Other incidents involved a woman who fell asleep on a bench at the Municipal Court and a man who was “lying on the grass.”

The report says the use of excessive force by Aurora police officers is due partly to “a culture [that] emphasizes justification for force, rather than whether force was lawful and appropriate.” It says training focuses on the “maximum force permitted under law” rather than urging officers to use only as much force as is necessary in a specific situation.

The authors also note that the department has fostered a misunderstanding of what “de-escalation” entails. “Repeatedly in the Force Review Board meetings, members applauded de-escalation that occurred after officers had tased or tackled someone,
rather than focusing on whether the taser or tackle was necessary in the first instance,” the report says. “De-escalation, properly understood, focuses on tactics that reduce the need for force in the first place, rather than decreasing the amount of force used after the fact.” Even leaving aside all the other dubious decisions that the officers who tackled McClain made, a less confrontational, more peaceful approach  to an innocent man who did not understand why police were manhandling him could have avoided a fatal outcome in that case.

The report also addresses the use of ketamine to subdue arrestees, another factor that figured in McClain’s death. Based mainly on police suspicions that McClain was “on something,” paramedics diagnosed him with “excited delirium”—a controversial concept that is not recognized by the American Medical Association or the American Psychiatric Association. They gave him the drug about two minutes after they arrived on the scene without conducting a physical examination or even asking him his weight. They overestimated his weight by 40 percent and gave him a dose that was 54 percent higher than he should have received, even assuming that an involuntary ketamine injection was appropriate to begin with.

Last June, the Colorado legislature passed a law that restricts the use of ketamine by paramedics to “a justifiable medical emergency,” specifying that “excited delirium” does not count. The law, which took effect on July 6, also prohibits police from asking paramedics to administer ketamine, which is not to be used to “facilitate ease and convenience in law enforcement encounters.”

The authors of this week’s report examined paramedics’ use of ketamine before that law took effect. From January 2019 through September 2020, Aurora paramedics injected ketamine 22 times in response to what they perceived as “excited delirium.” In most of these cases, the investigators found, “paramedics failed to follow ketamine monitoring protocols or administered ketamine at doses above the maximum allowable dose.” They note that “ketamine cannot be administered unless it is (1) used for bona fide medical needs, and (2) administered by or under the direction of a person licensed or legally authorized to do so.” They add that “the unlawful administration of drugs constitutes second-degree assault.”

As even Sears implicitly acknowledges, the Aurora Police Department has some serious problems. The report elaborates on the troubling pattern of law enforcement described by plaintiffs like Brittney Gilliam, a black woman who sued the department this year after police forced her, her daughter, her sister, and two of her nieces to lie on the pavement at gunpoint because they mistakenly thought her car was stolen. In the aftermath of that fiasco, police officers were dismayed by the anger it provoked from Gilliam and the bystanders who witnessed it. As the report shows, there are ample reasons to be angry at the way Aurora police treat the citizens they are supposed to be serving and protecting.

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Dad sues school for racial bias for cutting daughter’s hair

The father of the biracial 7-year old Michigan girl whose school librarian cut her hair without her parents’ permission in March is suing the school district, librarian and a teacher’s assistant for $1 million alleging racial bias.

The lawsuit was filed in federal court on Tuesday in Grand Rapids against the Mount Pleasant Public Schools by the girl’s father Jimmy Hoffmeyer, who is half black and half white, first reported by

It alleges the girl’s constitutional rights were violated, racial discrimination, ethnic intimidation, intentional infliction of emotional distress and assault and battery.

The incident occurred in March when 7-year-old Jurnee came home from school with one side of her hair lopped off. Jurnee said a classmate had cut her hair, and the disgruntled family brought her to a hair salon to even it out.

Just two days later, after complaining about the incident to the school’s principal, Jurnee returned home in tears from Ganiard Elementary School after a librarian, who is white, cut her hair again. Jurnee’s mother is also white.

“I asked what happened and said ‘I thought I told you no child should ever cut your hair,’ ” Hoffmeyer told the Associated Press at the time. “She said ‘but dad, it was the teacher.’ The teacher cut her hair to even it out.”

Jurnee Hoffmeyer’s hair was cut twice by a classmate and then a librarian.
Jimmy Hoffmeyer via AP

According to the lawsuit, the district “failed to properly train, monitor, direct, discipline, and supervise their employees, and knew or should have known that the employees would engage in the complained of behavior given the improper training, customs, procedures, and policies, and the lack of discipline that existed for employees.”

Hoffmeyer pulled his daughter out of the school following the incident.

In July, an internal investigation by the school district found the librarian did not act with racial bias — but it did place the unnamed employee on a “last chance” employment agreement, meaning any future infraction will likely result in her termination.

Two other school employees were aware of the incident but didn’t report it. They received written reprimands, district officials said.

With Post wires

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Liberal groups prod Dems to raise taxes to pay for racial justice agenda

The NAACP and 27 other liberal groups on Thursday warned Democratic leaders not to back off of plans for higher taxes because higher taxes would improve racial justice.

The groups, which included the Movement for Black Lives and the National Immigration Law Center, made their case for large tax hikes on corporations and the wealthy in a letter to Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the Democratic chairmen of the House and Senate‘s tax committees.

“We write to make clear how important it is to communities of color that Congress enact a robust budget reconciliation package of at least $3.5 trillion in investments in our communities funded through fairer taxes on the rich and corporations,” they wrote. “This legislation would advance racial equity by narrowing racial income and wealth gaps, as well as by funding these long-overdue investments.”

Other signatories to the letter included civil rights groups such as National African American Clergy Network and Rainbow PUSH Coalition and labor unions such as Service Employees International Union and National Education Association.

Democrats are struggling to find a consensus within their ranks as they assemble President Biden’s $3.5 trillion package and anti-poverty and climate change programs, with moderates balking at its size and scope.

The liberal groups said backing down to appease moderates would mean having to cut back on parts of the spending package important to minorities.

“President Biden’s tax reforms will increase racial equity in the tax code and raise the revenues we need to support an equitable recovery,” the groups wrote.” But if those reforms are weakened, the tradeoffs are stark: every dollar not raised from a billionaire means a dollar less for child care or the Child Tax Credit; every dollar not raised from a multinational corporation is a dollar not available for paid family and medical leave or affordable health care; every dollar not raised by cracking down on rich tax cheats is a dollar not available for affordable housing or combatting climate change.”

To pay for the liberal spending spree, Mr. Biden proposed an array of tax increases, including raising the corporate tax rate. Republicans warn it will fuel more inflation and lead to job losses.

Mr. Schumer, New York Democrat, facing opposition from moderate Democrats such as Sens. Joe Manchin III of West Virginia, Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona and Jon Tester of Montana. They have said they will not support raising taxes to anywhere near the level that Mr. Biden wants.

With Republicans united in opposition to the bill, Mr. Biden needs all 50 Senate Democrats and near unanimity among House Democrats to pass it. At this point, Mr. Biden will likely have to scale back the size of the proposal.

Underscoring the political tightrope the Democratic leaders face, the far left in the House has said they would not support a separate $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill until Congress passes the $3.5 trillion package.

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Newsom says choosing Larry Elder is a vote against ‘diversity’ and ‘racial justice’

California Gov. Gavin Newsom argued to anti-recall rally attendees that he somehow better represents diversity and racial justice than Larry Elder, his black Republican challenger.

Newsom, who is the target of Tuesday’s recall election, told supporters in Long Beach on Monday that a vote for his opponent, Larry Elder, is a vote against “diversity” and “racial justice,” Breitbart reported.

Elder, who was born and raised in South Central Los Angeles, would become California’s first black governor if elected.

Larry Elder (left), who has been called a “white supremacist” by Democrats, was physically assaulted by a female protestor (circled) wearing a gorilla mask. Several have noted that the attack was racially motivated.

Newsom and the left-wing news media have repeatedly accused Elder of being a racist throughout the campaign trail. Last month, a Los Angeles Times columnist called Elder the “Black face of white supremacy.”

In addition to facing disgusting racial insults hurled at him by the Democrats, Elder has also experienced a physical attack, that was possibly racially motivated and being investigated as a hate crime by LAPD, by a protestor wearing a gorilla mask.

Video footage shows a female protestor wearing a gorilla mask pelting eggs at Elder as he left a campaign event. Some conservatives have noted that the woman’s gorilla mask could have been a racist symbol. According to Elder, “racial epithets” were also yelled during the attack.

“Had I had a ‘D’ at the end of my name, this would have been a hate crime,” said Elder. “They’d be talking about this in Bangladesh, but because I have an ‘R’ at the end of my name, a lot of the mainstream media didn’t give a rip.”

Gov. Gavin Newsom, who has promised to stand up for the black community, has remained silent following a potential hate crime committed against his opponent, Larry Elder. Newsom, who issued strict mask mandates and social distancing orders across California last year, was photographed violating his own lockdown orders while eating with elite crowds at a lavish French Laundry.

Newsom, who told the black community that he has their backs during a campaign event earlier this month, has remained silent after the possible racially motivated attack against his Republican opponent.

The California gubernatorial recall election will take place on Tuesday, Sept. 14, 2021.

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In Snubbing Me, The Left Exposes Its Racial Double Standard

The corporate media and Democrats are treating Larry Elder, a black man, with a double standard, says the Republican California gubernatorial candidate.

“You know, I don’t want people to vote for me because I’m black or vote against me because I’m black. But there is a double standard,” Elder told The First’s Buck Sexton.

The New York Times, Elder recalled, recently demonstrated this divide on their front page.

“It was just a front-page article [in the] New York Times, it was negative about my candidacy. And it never once mentioned I’m black, never once mentioned that if I were to be elected, I’d be the first black governor of California,” Elder said. “Again, I’m not making a big deal out of that, I want to be the first Larry Elder governor of California.”

“However, on the very same front page, The New York Times, it was an article about the first female governor of New York. A woman by the way, who became governor because the previous one resigned, not because she got elected. That was a big deal for The New York Times, that first,” he continued. “But Larry Elder, because I have an R at the end of my name, I’m not a first anything. It’s just a double standard that I think we ought to be talking about.”

A similar blind spot in the media appeared, Elder said, when members of his security team were assaulted by unnamed attackers and a woman dressed in all black and in a gorilla mask with pink hair threw an egg at him. The left largely ignored the attack, which Elder said would not have happened if he wasn’t a Republican.

“Well you know what the reaction would be, they’d be talking about this in Bangladesh. And if I were a Democrat and some white woman wearing a gorilla mask threw an egg at me, they’d be talking about systemic racism, enduring racism, foundational racism, whatever kind of racism you can come up with. I’ve never played that game,” he continued.

Elder noted the corporate media’s efforts to cover up Democrat Gov. Gavin Newsom’s failures, including California’s homelessness problem.

“Bernie Sanders cut an ad for him. Senator Warren cut an ad for him. Kamala Harris has weighed in. Joe Biden has weighed in. I will tell you what they never said though. They never said and I’m quoting, ‘Governor Gavin Newsom has done a good job for California.’ They’ve never said that,” Elder said.

“They’ve talked about this being a Republican takeover. They’ve not praised him on what’s done about the cost of living. They’ve not praised him on what he’s done about the homelessness problem. They’ve not praised him on the fact that crime is up 41 percent — shootings and homicides in Los Angeles,” he added. “They’ve not praised him on the fact that for the first time in our state’s 170-year history, Californians are leaving. It’s never happened before.”

Jordan Davidson is a staff writer at The Federalist. She graduated from Baylor University where she majored in political science and minored in journalism.

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