“And you expect us to do this over and over and over again, forgive and forget,” he said, “while the people we elect do their best not to protect us, consider us equal, not to love us back? What do we do with all of this pain?” – civil rights attorney Ben Crump
A white supremacist, who was known to authorities, drove from Binghamton to Buffalo New York with the intent of killing black people and to spread his racist, violent manifesto: this is domestic terrorism, racist terrorism and must be treated that way.
The US justice department is investigating the Buffalo massacre as a hate crime and an act of racially motivated violent extremism. That is not going far enough.
The National Strategy for Countering Domestic Terrorism says Domestic Terrorism “…has, over centuries, taken many American lives and spilled much American blood – especially in communities deliberately and viciously targeted on the basis of hatred and bigotry” – which fits this case. The Strategy document includes “Strategic Goal 3.1: Enable appropriate enhanced investigation and prosecution of domestic terrorism crimes” – and we feel strongly the Buffalo mass shooting requires enhanced investigation.
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To: President Biden, United States Department of Justice, United States Congress
Cc: Benjamin Crump, Federal Bureau of Investigation
Re: Buffalo New York murders must be treated as Domestic Terrorism
Civil rights attorney Ben Crump is calling for the premeditated, racially-motivated shooting murders in Buffalo New York to be treated as Domestic Terrorism. We, the undersigned members of One Pulse for America wholeheartedly back this call: for those murders are absolutely, unambiguously, acts of Domestic Terrorism.
The National Strategy for Countering Domestic Terrorism exists for such cases as this. A thorough investigation as domestic terrorism could expose those who espouse terrorist ideals, prevent further tragic murders, and lead to understanding of how such individuals are motivated and via what sources their poisonous rhetoric spreads with the goal of stopping them. This is urgent. This is critical.
If this tragic case of racist mass-murder is not domestic terrorism, then the bar of what constitutes that crime is far too high. We write to demand this case be categorized as domestic terrorism so it will be properly, fully investigated – hopefully thwarting further acts.
One Pulse for America, founded by George Takei following the Pulse nightclub shooting, lobbies for gun law reform. There are over 78,000 of us across the country. Gun law reform is long overdue – and so is taking domestic terrorism seriously.
We request you act with no further delay and we await your reply.
5 January, 2021 – Wishaw, WI – Kenosha District Attorney Michael Graveley announced that Kenosha Police Department Officer Rusten Sheskey will not be charged for shooting Jacob Blake in the back seven times, which paralyzed him from the waist down.
As WSAW-TV reports: “Officer Rusten Sheskey’s shooting of Jacob Blake on Aug. 23, captured on bystander video, turned the nation’s spotlight on Wisconsin during a summer marked by protests over police brutality and racism. More than 250 people were arrested in the days that followed, including 17-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse, a self-styled medic with an assault rifle who is charged in the fatal shootings of two men and the wounding of a third.”
Sheskey shot him seven times – in the back – at point-blank range. State investigators had said only that officers saw a knife on the floor of the SUV and hadn’t said whether Blake threatened anyone with it. The police union seems to claim he had a knife in his hand; the police did not use bodycams.
It is unclear whether Mr Blake and his legal representative had any input into the investigation process at all, whereas the police union’s opinion carried weight with the DA.
Civil rights attorney Ben Crump tweeted: “Nowhere does the video footage show a knife extended and aimed to establish the requisite intent. Also, to establish that the officer reasonably believed he was in danger… if he felt in danger, why did he chase Jacob Blake?”
Earlier Mr Crump told a press conference: “We feel this decision failed not only Jacob and his family, but the community that protested and demanded justice… Officer Sheskey’s actions sparked outrage and advocacy throughout the country, but the district attorney’s decision not to charge the officer who shot Jacob in the back multiple times, leaving him paralyzed, further destroys trust in our justice system. This sends the wrong message to police officers throughout the country. It says it is OK for police to abuse their power and recklessly shoot their weapon, destroying the life of someone who was trying to protect his children.”
“We are disappointed that, instead of holding police accountable for another example of their repeated use of excessive force against people of color, District Attorney Graveley declined to charge Officer Rusten Sheskey in the shooting of Jacob Blake. This continues the cycle of enabling police violence and evading accountability when they seriously injure and harm a Black person. Based on the video footage of the incident, it remains hard to see any reason to shoot Mr. Blake in the back repeatedly. But, as we’ve seen so many times before, the police in this case were held to a different standard of responsibility than the rest of us… This officer will continue with his career with the mistaken belief that he has done no wrong, while Jacob Blake will remain paralyzed and left to deal with the consequences of this officer’s actions. Today, justice was not served.”
-OR- send this tweet:
If you are serious, I want to hear you are ensuring WI police are trained, equipped with bodycams that are used every single time they engage. Any officer with 5 complaints/issues must be dismissed. Jacob Blake was shot 7 times: nothing excuses this and the DA’s poor decision.
We agree with her family and their lawyer who called this a sham.
We will publish the letter below, and send copies to relevant law enforcement agencies, to Ms Taylor’s family’s attorney, to local media, to relevant elected officials.
Please also share it on social media.
To have your name added as a signatory, please add your name, town and state in the comments on the One Pulse post.
We the undersigned members of One Pulse for America are appalled and angry that a Kentucky Grand Jury ruled no one is guilty for the death of Breonna Taylor, shot multiple times in her own home during a late-night raid which should never have been authorized in the first place.
One Pulse for America is an 81,000-strong gun law reform group formed by actor and activist George Takei following the massacre at Orlando’s Pulse nightclub.
We agree with Ms Taylor’s family that these were ‘sham proceedings’.
We agree with lawyer Ben Crump who said “nothing seems to say Breonna mattered,” adding that the Kentucky grand jury carried-out a “sham proceeding that did nothing to give Breonna Taylor a voice.”
We understand FBI findings as to her death were disregarded. We welcome the FBI’s findings and will be watching closely.
We demand that the officers and those who planned this raid be charged appropriately; this has not happened.
We demand that recruitment and training be immediately upgraded.
We demand law enforcement agencies actively seek out and expel anyone who espouses racist, bigoted views: they cannot ‘protect and serve’.
We demand an immediate end to ‘no knock’ and ‘dawn’ raids as they cannot be conducted without innocent people being hurt or killed as we have seen before now.
Finally, we express our sincere sympathy to all of Breonna’s family, friends, colleagues – and to all those who are suffering because of her death.
We reaffirm our call to reform America’s gun laws.