(TMU) Opinion – As unrest continues to seethe across the United States in response to the brutal killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis cops, police chiefs across the country have been conveying a simple message: “not my department.”
Law enforcement officials have been expressing their verbal support for the ongoing protest movement against police brutality and solidarity with the anti-racist aims of the movement.
However, law enforcement officials’ outreach attempts have been greeted with skepticism from community members who allege that police are seeking to use PR to cover up ongoing allegations of police brutality, violence, and discrimination.
In Camden, New Jersey, police helped carry a banner reading “Standing in Solidarity,” and even could be seen mouthing the slogan “no justice, no peace.” Camden County Police Chief Joe Wysocki has also forcefully denounced the killing of George Floyd, telling community members: “I think we watched a murder unfold on video.”
In Fargo, North Dakota, an officer clasped hands with organizers of a demonstration while holding aloft a sign that read, “We are one race… The HUMAN race.”
In Phoenix, Arizona, Police Chief Jeri Williams said on Friday:
“While I don’t know all the circumstances of his death, I’ve seen the video, I too, like most of the country and other chiefs around the country, are absolutely outraged with what I saw.”
Like many of the other chiefs, Williams has faced a storm of protests in recent years over the extremely violent actions of the Phoenix Police Department. In 2019, police shot at 15 people, 12 of whom were killed. In 2018, Phoenix cops were involved in 44 shootings in which 22 people died.
Later, she issued a chilling message that journalists and local media covering protests to stop reporting and capturing images if police order them to do so.
In Camden, NJ, protestors took to the streets to peacefully protest racial injustice.
When police saw them marching, they did something.
— Beth Doane (@BethDoane) May 31, 2020
In Kansas City, Missouri, images went viral of two police officers — a white male and a Black male — holding up a sign reading “end police brutality,” drawing praise from social media users.
Apparently cops in Kansas City joined the local protest against police brutality. And my first reaction was to say something smart a**. But this is truly a start. pic.twitter.com/e3sUwaR16h
— Dylan (@dyllyp) May 30, 2020
Local resident Erica Batton was one among many who responded to the image with skepticism, tweeting:
“I want to point out that they’ve been threatening protesters with pepper spray for the last 2 days here. A video went viral of a KC cop coming up to a black man’s car with his gun drawn for not using a turn signal a few days ago. This is a nice pic but just a snapshot.”
By Saturday, police in Kansas City violently broke up a protest using tear gas and less-lethal rounds. Participants in the march claim that the march was entirely peaceful until the actions of the police.
The Kansas City police department just tear gassed Mill Creek Park, where people sat and drank water to recover from the gas across the street. Where a baby sat in a stroller with their parents. #acab #blm #kcmo #protests #blacklivesmatter pic.twitter.com/4kU0oxCOte
— Isa 🦋 BLM (@imunoz03) May 31, 2020
While in Ferguson, Missouri – the flashpoint of massive unrest several years ago following the killing of unarmed Black teenager Michael Brown – police drew cheers and applause after “taking a knee” for nine and-a-half minutes in memory of George Floyd.
The amity between the police and the community was shattered on Saturday night clashes developed and police used tear gas to break up the protests. As a result, protesters besieged a Ferguson police department, forcing police management to evacuate non-essential personnel from the building.
And in New York, several members of the NYPD – mostly Black – have taken to social media to denounce the apparent murder of George Floyd, describing the act as “inhumane” and calling Floyd’s killer, now-former Officer Derek Chauvin, as an “enemy.”
But in dramatic video clips from protests in New York City, the sympathizing officers’ colleagues appeared intent on violent confrontations with the people they allegedly serve.
In one video from Friday, an unarmed young woman could be seen being violently thrown to the ground and called a “stupid f*cking b****” by NYPD personnel.
A #nypd officer calls a woman a “stupid f****** b****” and then throws her into the ground. Thank you for tagging me @MattCrumpton #georgefloyd #protest #newyorkcity #nyc #UnionSquare #minneapolis #policebrutality
— IT 👽🛸 (@camerongrey) May 30, 2020
In another video, an NYPD sports utility vehicle could be seen driving through a crowd of protesters.
— Rob Bennett (@rob_bennett) May 31, 2020
As police departments across the country use baton charges, mounted cops, K9 units and less-lethal weapons including tear gas, rubber bullets, and flash-bang grenades on protesters and journalists alike, the large gulf separating statements and actions has been clear.
With unrest in the United States reaching the highest level it’s witnessed in decades, it remains to be seen whether the expressions of sympathy from chiefs of police and individual “good cops” are sufficient in terms of addressing the frayed social fabric and grave mistrust resulting from routine abuses committed against civilians by law enforcement and the criminal justice system.
Jeff Bezos Thanks Amazon Workers And Customers For Paying For His Flight To Space
The billionaire space race chalked up one more ignoble milestone on July 20 when the world’s richest man, Jeff Bezos, boarded a reusable rocket his company Blue Origin built and funded, flew to the edge of space for a moment of weightlessness, and came back down to earth.
You can watch the flight and learn more about the journey here.
The Amazon founder has faced withering criticism for accumulating his massive fortune on the backs of an exploited workforce that is subject to harsh working conditions and low pay in warehouses or Fulfillment Centers where staffers must urinate in water bottles in order to meet their quotas.
In his press conference following the launch, Bezos thanked that same workforce for helping him to shoot himself into space in a move that many critics have described as a simple “joyride.”
“I want to thank every Amazon employee and every Amazon customer because you guys paid for this,” he told the crowd, which responded with laughter. “Seriously, for every Amazon customer out there and every employee thank you from the bottom of my heart very much. It’s very appreciated.”
Critics on Twitter responded with derision, noting that Bezos was able to enjoy the trip at the expense of his hard-working employees.
“Thing is, employers are supposed to pay their employees, not the other way around, but that’s basically how Amazon works,” one user tweeted.
While another tweeter asked: “Maybe they’re searching space for signs of a livable wage or a way to pay their fair share of taxes?”
On Tuesday, Bezos blasted off in the sub-orbital New Shepard rocket from Texas. The date for the launch was chosen to coincide with the 52nd anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing.
Members of the crew, which included his brother mark and 82-year-old female astronaut Wally Funk, brought a number of historic items on the flight, including a piece of canvas from the conceptual plane originally flown by the Wright brothers, the goggles Amelia Earhart used to fly across the Atlantic, and a brass medal made from the first hot air balloon which flew in 1783.
Keanu Reeves Praised As Video of Him Offering Seat to Lady in Subway Resurfaces
Keanu Reeves is an actor who has long been loved by audiences —and not necessarily due to his acting skills, but due to how nice the John Wick star is.
And now, Reeves is once again earning praise as a “true gentleman” after resurfaced video footage shows Reeves giving up his seat on the subway.
The clip was shared by Instagram film fan account Cinemonkeys where it has since earned nearly 45,000 likes.
The video footage dates back to 2011, when it was shared on YouTube by a user of the video-sharing platform.
At the time, Reeves was already a superstar riding on the fame he earned from the Matrix, Speed, and a number of other blockbuster hits.
When Reeves notices a woman carrying a heavy bag, he quickly points to his seat and asks if she would like to sit. The woman accepts and Reeves gets up without hesitating to let her take his seat.
Reeves, ever the model citizen, then stands and holds onto a subway pole while carrying his bag.
The video has since been watched over 27 million times and was even cited in a 2019 Time magazine profile of the actor describing Reeves as the “soul mate” of the internet.
The resurfacing of the clip on Instagram once again impressed users of the platform.
“This human being’s soul honestly shines so bright,” wrote one user.
“OMG I love him in every single way,” another person commented.
“His kindness knows no bounds,” commented someone else.
Keanu is set to reprise his role as Neo in the upcoming fourth Matrix film directed and written by Lana Wachowski, who co-directed the earlier trilogy with her sister Lilly. He will also return to the silver screen in John Wick: Chapter 4, which will be released in 2022.
Drunk Man Rescues Injured Baby Bird By Sending It To Animal Shelter… In An Uber
An injured baby bird received a new lease on life after a young man who was inebriated had the good sense to send the little creature to an animal shelter because he and his friends were too drunk to drive.
In the Summer of 2019, a small lesser goldfinch suddenly appeared by itself at the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center of Northern Utah. The center’s chairman, Buz Marthaler, was notified by a volunteer who sent him a photo.
“It was a picture of this bird, and it had come by Uber,” Marthaler told FOX13. “It was just crazy.”
As it turns out, the tiny bird – which was only two weeks old – indeed rolled up to the site by its lonesome, the sole passenger in an Uber vehicle called by concerned citizens who found the injured creature.
Among those good Samaritans was Tim Crowley, who had been “day drinking” on that Saturday before he and his buddies witnessed the little bird fall from the sky.
“Impromptu, sitting in some camp chairs, hanging out, having a few drinks when we had a visitor fall out of the sky,” he explained.
Crowley then snapped a photo of the bird and sent it to the WRCNU, which instructed him to immediately bring the bird in. However, the group obviously couldn’t drive since they had been guzzling booze all day.
So Crowley decided he’d hail a cab for the creature.
“At first it was a joke, like, ‘Hey, maybe we should just call Uber!’” he said. “Then we were like, ‘No, really. Why not? We’re paying them.’”
As it turns out, the bird – since named “Petey Uber” by staff at the rescue center – likely would have perished if not for Crowley’s quick thinking.
Marthaler remains impressed by Crowley’s move and shared the news on its Facebook page.
“While we feel we’ve seen it all and can’t be amazed by anything, there is always someone out there to prove us wrong,” the shelter’s post read. “Thank you to the rescuer who helped this little one get the care it needed in a timely manner and thank you for keeping yourself safe and others on the road safe as well.”