Things That Matter

A Police Officer Mistook A Black Man For A Suspect, Slammed Him To The Ground And Broke His Wrist

A federal lawsuit has been filed against a group of police officers who used excessive force on a Black man mistaken for a suspect. Antonio Arnelo Smith filed the lawsuit on Friday against the city of Valdosta, Georgia. In his suit, Smith is seeking compensation against Valdosta and its police department for a February incident which he says violated his constitutional rights.

Smith says that during the incident he was unlawfully detained and falsy arrested, among other offenses.

Smith is accusing Police Sgt. Billy Wheeler’s of “unnecessary and illegal” actions after he put him in “bear hug” despite the fact that there “was no reason to believe Mr. Smith had committed or was about to commit a crime, was armed or presented any kind of danger or threat to anyone.”

The lawsuit is also accusing three patrol officers of helping Wheeler detain Smith. The suit is also including the chief of police, the mayor of Valdosta, and six city council members as defendants.

The city released a statement in reaction to the lawsuit along with body camera footage taken from one of the officers who threw Smith to the ground.

“The City of Valdosta is fully committed to transparency,” the city said in the statement. “The City of Valdosta and the Valdosta Police Department takes any report of any injury to a citizen seriously.”

According to Buzzfeed “The city said that while no complaint was filed with the police department, the incident was reviewed internally. However, no action was taken against the officers involved after the review was completed.”

In reports about the Feb. 8 incident, two police officers involved in the incident responded to a report of a man harassing customers outside of a Walgreens and asking them for money. After one of the two officers encountered a Black man in the Walgreens parking lot and learned from dispatchers that he had active felony arrest warrants against him, the officer took the man into custody without questioning. The responding officer, Dominic Henry, left to check another part of the Walgreens building for the man in the 911 report of a man panhandling at Walgreens. When a customer pointed the officer in the direction of the alleged panhandling suspect, he approached Smith and told him that he was investigating “suspicious activity.” At the time, Smith said that he was waiting to receive money from his sister at a nearby Western Union.

He also told the officer that security cameras would back his claims. The footage and lawsuit claims that after Henry asked Smith for his identification he immediately complied. While their conversation took place, Wheeler came to the scene and mistook Smith as the suspect with outstanding arrest warrants. Wheeler walked up behind Smith as he was speaking with Henry, took hold of Smith’s arm, and put him in a “bear hug.” Ultimately the encounter resulted in Smith’s wrist being fractured.

The city claims that Wheeler asked Smith to place his hands behind his back and that he resisted the attack.

Watch the video and you’ll see Wheeler raise Smith up in the air and slam him to the ground.

In the video, Smith can be seen crying out in pain and asking “What are you doing?” According to BuzzFeed News, Smith’s lawyer said that he did not have the financial resources to seek treatment for his broken wrist. While Smith’s lawyer has said that Smith is not seeking to get the officers fired he is wanting to “help with this movement around the world to rectify police brutality… and for police reform and accountability.”

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Radical Feminists Have Seized Control of a Federal Building in Mexico in Protest of the Government’s Apathy Towards Rampant Femicide

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Radical Feminists Have Seized Control of a Federal Building in Mexico in Protest of the Government’s Apathy Towards Rampant Femicide

Last week, Mexican feminist activists took over the National Human Rights Commissions federal building in a move to bring greater awareness to the scourge of gender-based violence and femicide that has racked Mexico for decades.

According to the federal Interior Secretariat, the statistics in Mexico have recently taken a turn for the worse.

Domestic violence against women has became an even more acute problem since the pandemic has forced women to stay insider with their abusers. Emergency distress calls reporting domestic violence have risen by 50%.

The occupation of the Human Rights building is just another chapter in the saga of the “Ni Una Menos” (Not One More Woman) movement, an anti-femicide collective born in Argentina that has steadily been gaining steam in Mexico since 2019.

In recent years, anti-femicide demonstrations have been sparked by various heinous crimes against women or girls that have been largely overlooked by law enforcement officials. 

Photo by Marcos Brindicci/Getty Images

Unfortunately, the government of Mexico has appeared to be apathetic to the wave of femicide that is overwhelming the women of their country.

Recently, when President Andrés Manuel López Obrador was asked to address Mexico’s gender violence epidemic, he demurred, stating that he didn’t “want femicide to detract” from the raffle his administration was holding for the sale of the presidential airplane.

As for the feminist activists at the heart of Ni Una Menos and the federal building occupation, the government’s failure to respond to anti-woman violence is the primary fuel for their anger. 

“We’re here so that the whole world will know that in Mexico they kill women and nobody does anything about it,” said Yesenia Zamudio to the LA Times. According to Zamudio, she is still seeking justice for the murder of her 19-year-old daughter four years ago.

The women of Mexico appear to be fed up, grasping at any and all tactics that have the potential to incite change on a grander scale.

Their tactics may seem dramatic to some, but it’s undeniable that they are no longer being ignored. As of now, the radical activists are pulling attention-grabbing stunts like decorating a portrait of Mexican Revolution leader Francisco Madero with lipstick and purple hair.

They’re also making headlines for vandalizing the federal building’s walls and splashing paint on the doors of the presidential palace.

One thing is for sure: something has to change. Otherwise, thousands of innocent women and girls will continue to be raped, abused, and murdered while their perpetrators escape with immunity. 

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Joe Biden Speaks Alongside ‘Fearless Fighter’ Kamala Harris In First Appearance And Recalls Her Family’s Immigrant Story

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Joe Biden Speaks Alongside ‘Fearless Fighter’ Kamala Harris In First Appearance And Recalls Her Family’s Immigrant Story

Chip Somodevilla / Gettycc

After weeks of speculation and anticipation, presidential candidate Joe Biden announced on Tuesday that he has officially picked his running mate.

In a history-making announcement, Biden revealed that he had tapped California Sen. Kamala Harris to be his VP Pick.

“I have the great honor to announce that I’ve picked @KamalaHarris — a fearless fighter for the little guy, and one of the country’s finest public servants — as my running mate,” Biden announced in a tweet.

On Wednesday, Biden held his first campaign event alongside running mate Kamala Harris in Delaware.

During their speeches, the two candidates wore masks and kept their distance in keeping with COVID-19 standards.

Speaking about his VP pick, Biden described Harris as coming from an “America’s story.” Biden described Harris as “a child of immigrants” who “knows personally how immigrant families enrich our country as well as the challenges of what it means to grow up Black and Indian-American in the United States of America,” he explained. “And this morning, all across the nation, little girls woke up, especially little Black and brown girls that feel overlooked and undervalued in their communities, but today — today just maybe they’re seeing themselves for the first time in a new way as president and vice presidents.”

In a speech of her own, Harris emphasized the importance of family and urged citizens to vote.  “We need a mandate that proves that the past few years do not represent who we are or who we aspire to be,” she said. “Joe likes to say that character is on the ballot. And it’s true,” she explained. “I’ve had a lot of titles over my career and certainly vice president will be great. But ‘Momala’ will always be the one that means the most.”

Harris’s nomination makes her the first Black and first Indian-American woman on either major party’s presidential ticket.

Harris is a former prosecutor from California who challenged Biden in her own presidential bid last year. Her nomination makes her the fourth woman to appear on a major presidential ballot. Before her, Geraldine Ferraro ran as a Democratic vice presidential nominee in 1984. In 2008, Republican Sarah Palin ran as a vice presidential nominee, later in 2016, Hillary Clinton became the Democratic presidential nominee.

Biden’s choice was one that has long been in the works. In March of this year, he revealed that he would make a point to have a woman as his running mate and in July he announced that he had narrowed his picks down to four Black women.

Kamala Harris was elected to Congress in 2016.

This has been Harris’ first term as a senator. Before, she served as the California attorney general. During her time as AG, Harris formed a lasting friendship with Biden’s late son Beau who was attorney general at the time in Delaware. Writing about Beau’s death, in her memoir The Truths We Hold, Harris recalled that “there were periods when I was taking the heat when Beau and I talked every day, sometimes multiple times a day,” she wrote in her memoir. “We had each other’s backs.”

Biden’s son Beau died in 2015 from brain cancer. Harris attended his funeral.

During his announcement, Biden mentioned Harris’ friendship with his son.

“I watched as they took on the big banks, lifted up working people, and protected women and kids from abuse,” Biden tweeted. “I was proud then, and I’m proud now to have her as my partner in this campaign.”

So far, it seems there are quite a bit of Harris x Biden supporters.

Fans were quick to give their support and applaud her candidacy.

In a tweet acknowledging her nomination, Harris wrote “@JoeBiden can unify the American people because he’s spent his life fighting for us. And as president, he’ll build an America that lives up to our ideals. I’m honored to join him as our party’s nominee for Vice President, and do what it takes to make him our Commander-in-Chief.”

Here’s to 2020 y’all. Get ready to make history.

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