Criminal Justice

New Report Continues to Obfuscate Killing of Duncan Lemp

New Report Continues to Obfuscate Killing of Duncan Lemp

Why did a Montgomery County, Maryland SWAT team kill  21-year-old Duncan Lemp, in a no-knock predawn raid on March 12? The county released an official report yesterday stating that a violent no-knock raid was justified “due to Lemp being ‘anti-government,’ ‘anti-police,’ currently in possession of body armor, and an active member of the Three Percenters.”  The report also noted that “police had viewed several videos showing Lemp handling and shooting firearms.”

Distrusting the government and police and appearing in photos or videos with firearms is a catch-all that could apply to millions of Americans. But that was enough to justify a deadly assault in one of America’s most liberal jurisdictions. (I wrote about this case for TAC previously hereherehere and here).

Montgomery County released the report on New Year’s Eve, probably hoping that it would receive scant attention. But the county’s own admissions should propel new demands for disclosures on the most under-reported police killing of 2020.

Read the rest of this article at The American Conservative.

Since 2015, American Police Have Killed 1600% More U.S. Citizens Than ‘Mass Shooters’

Since 2015, American Police Have Killed 1600% More U.S. Citizens Than ‘Mass Shooters’

Tragically, in America, mass shootings—in which murdering psychopaths go on rampages in public spaces—have claimed the lives of 392 people since 2015. While this number is certainly shocking and far too high, during this same time frame, police in America have claimed the lives of 6,571 citizens, according to Mapping Police Violence.

That is over 16 times more citizens killed by those sworn to protect and serve than the ones they claim to protect us from.

While some of these citizens were armed and dangerous, others were innocent, unarmed, and include small children. Daniel Shaver was one of these people whose life was brought to a screeching halt as he begged on his knees for police not to shoot him. Despite being innocent and unarmed, this father of three was murdered in cold blood by Philip Brailsford who was never held accountable and allowed to retire from the police force with his pension.

Jeremy Mardis was another one of these citizens who was gunned down in cold blood by two killer cops. Mardis was just 6-years-old when he was murdered by these killer cops—one of whom was released last month after serving less than two years for his role in this innocent child’s death. 

Another one of these deaths was Elijah McClain who was innocent, unarmed, and killed by cops for simply being an introvert.

The list goes on. Yet despite its increasing length, most American citizens think that reining in America’s deadly police problem is somehow “unpatriotic” or “un-American.” Instead of the right realizing the threat to freedom caused by cops who can kill thousands with impunity, they blame the left. Instead of the left realizing the threat to freedom caused by cops who kill with impunity, most of them blame guns.

The result of this complacency and failure to address the problem has been less freedom and more gun grabs. 

Sadly, most people who call for gun control fail to realize what that actually means—only the government has the guns. And, if the above numbers are any indicator of what that would mean, this would be a horrific scenario.

Every time a lunatic, who is usually on some form mind-altering pharmaceutical, goes on a shooting rampage, the do-gooders in Washington, with the aid of their citizen flocks, take to the TV and the internet to call for disarming the American people.

The citizens who call for themselves and their neighbors to be disarmed, likely think no deeper than the shallow speeches given by the political blowhards, designed to appeal to emotion only. They do not think of what happens during and after the government attempts to remove guns from society. They also completely ignore the fact that criminals do not obey laws and making guns illegal would have zero effect on criminals possessing guns.

In the perfect statist world in which only the government has guns, we’re told that crime rates would plummet, people wouldn’t be murdered, gun violence would be brought to its knees, and a disarmed heaven on Earth would ensue. But how effective would disarming the citizens actually be at preventing gun violence, while at the same time keeping guns in the hands of government?

One simple way to determine the outcome to look at the above numbers and compare mass shootings in America with those killed by police. It is entirely too easy to compare all senseless murders carried out by the state to those carried out by citizens, so we will zoom in with a microscope.

However, just as a point of reference, in the 20th Century alone, governments were responsible for 260,000,000 deaths worldwide. That number is greater than all deaths from illicit drug use, STD’s, Homicides, and Traffic Accidents — combined.

Now, on to the micro-comparison.

According to a comprehensive database of all American mass shootings that have taken place since 2015, constructed by Mother Jones, there have been exactly 392 deaths attributed to mass shootings that have taken place on American soil.

As Mother Jones notes, in their database, they exclude shootings stemming from more conventional crimes such as armed robbery or gang violence. Other news outlets and researchers have published larger tallies that include a wide range of gun crimes in which four or more people have been either wounded or killed. While those larger datasets of multiple-victim shootings may be useful for studying the broader problem of gun violence, our investigation provides an in-depth look at the distinct phenomenon of mass shootings—from the firearms used to mental health factors and the growing copycat problem.

If we compare the 392 citizens killed in mass shootings to citizens killed by police in the same time frame, the comparison is off the charts. We are talking about a 1,670 percent difference.

As 2020 comes to an end, American police have killed 1,066 people. This number is set to increase by one, on average, every 8 hours. 

Since 2015, cops in America have killed 6,571 citizens.And most people are not saying anything about it.

As Truth Out recently reported:

The institutional racism rooted in American policing prevents the public from categorizing police shootings as gun violence, Natacia Knapper with Stop Police Terror Project DC explained to Truthout via email. “A large swath of people in our nation — white people in particular, but many others as well — don’t want to reckon with the horrors police have caused in communities of color because to do this would call into question the entire way we have viewed these systems and their roles in our society.” News media consumption, television shows and movies constantly reinforce the belief that policing is an irreplaceable institution keeping society safe and stable. Unlearning this “truth” is akin to unlearning that the Earth is round. Knapper continued, “For many Americans, I think it’s easier to compartmentalize the type of gun violence that comes from the police as “other” and incidents that result in the brutalizing and death of American citizens — Black, Brown or otherwise — are treated as individual instances that are not connected to a larger, overarching problem.” Police and the media exploit this divide when they describe the police violence victims’ unrelated criminal history or the victims’ possession of a gun or pocket knife, regardless of whether it was a factor during the killing. The underlying message is that the deceased deserved to die in order to keep everyone else safe.

As the blowhards spew their nonsense about grabbing guns from law-abiding citizens and those in government demand action, all of these people conveniently ignore the giant pink elephant in the living room—cops in America are killing citizens at an alarming rate.

Ironically enough, those calling for taking guns from citizens are often times the ones most critical of police killings. How, exactly, they rationalize disarming the citizens and having only police, who kill far more people than mass shooters, be the sole possessors of guns, is a mystery.

Indeed, in a 2017 tweet, Radley Balko summed up the mental gymnastics of both parties perfectly in regard to the distorted realities held as “truth.”

In the United States, the overall homicide rate is 4.9 per 100,000 among the citizens.

Thanks to independent watchdog groups who have decided to document this number on their own, we have a total number of citizens killed by police. Given that America has roughly 765,000 sworn police officers, that means the police-against-citizen kill rate is more than 145 per 100,000.

The police kill rate is nearly 30 times that of the average citizen, yet somehow people still call for disarming citizens and say nothing about the police. And no, the citizens are not becoming more violent. In fact, humanity is at its safest time in history—ever—and, in spite of the lunatic terrorists shooting up public places, violent crimes as well as all crime continues to drop, significantly.

Crime Rate ChartThe next time your friends try to tell you that citizens should be disarmed, tell them what that really means; they only want government, who has a history of racism and violence, who kill indiscriminately, with zero accountability, and far more often, to be the ones with guns.

This article was originally featured at The Free Thought Project and is republished with permission.

The Real Murderers: 34 Police Departments Kill Americans At Higher Rate Than National Average

The Real Murderers: 34 Police Departments Kill Americans At Higher Rate Than National Average

According to the most recent count of police killings, police in America have killed 1,039 people this year. Exactly 21 of these victims were at or under the age of 18 when their lives were taken by police officers who swore an oath to protect and serve. Many were unarmed while others were entirely innocent. All of them, however, were innocent until proven guilty — yet never got the option to plead their cases.

So far this year, there have only been 17 days in which police have not killed someone.

The problem of police violence was brought to the forefront of the national discussion earlier this year as millions of Americans took to shouting in the streets, rioting, and looting over the death of George Floyd. It became such a massive issue that even mainstream media was forced to admit that the United States has the most violent and deadly law enforcement system on the planet.

But did it lead to massive change, reform, or less police violence? That answer is a resounding no. In fact, on the day George Floyd was killed, as TFTP reported at the time, 5 other people were also killed.

While a few cities across the country made incredible changes to the way they police their citizens, including sending mental health experts instead of cops to hundreds of 911 calls, other cities carried out business as usual.

Though this is business as usual, it is no less shocking. The Free Thought Project decided to look into some numbers maintained by the organization at Mapping Police Violence and compare police killings with the national murder rate. These numbers are disturbing.

According to the most recent data from Pew Research in 2019, the US murder rate was 5.0 per 100,000, for a total of 15,498 murders. This is the national average, though there are many cities who exceed it and many who are far below.

When we compare cops in major cities to the national murder rate, we find a massive problem. According to the most recent data, there are a whopping 34 departments across the land of the free who kill people at higher rates than the US murder rate.

If we zero in on just black men, 8 of the 100 largest city police departments kill black men at higher rate than the US murder rate. This is shocking, especially considering the fact that many of these folks are unarmed and innocent.

According to the data compiled from 2013-2019, the most deadly department in America happens to kill people at a nearly 370% higher rate than the national average. That department is the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department who became infamous for their tactics of war during the Ferguson Mike Brown protests.

Another department is Oklahoma City, who has a penchant for killing unarmed black men. As we reported earlier this year, Oklahoma city cops killed an unarmed man on video as he repeatedly told them he can’t breathe.

Derrick Scott, 42, repeatedly told cops that he couldn’t breathe during his arrest last May, but cops couldn’t have cared less, and in fact, told this to Scott as he died.

“I don’t care,” one of the officers, Jarred Tipton, can be heard replying to Scott as he took his last breaths on this planet.

Another one of these 34 departments is in Aurora, Colorado who witnessed massive protests this year after several high profile police killings.

As TFTP reported, last August, Elijah McClain was killed by Aurora police after he was put in a chokehold and given the sedative ketamine. The incident began when someone in the neighborhood called the police because McClain was walking down the street with groceries while wearing a mask. McClain reportedly always wore the mask because he was anemic , and often got cold, and he was an introvert.

At the time of his death, he had never gotten so much as a speeding ticket in his life. He was completely innocent.

Breonna Taylor was also completely innocent when she was gunned down in her home by cops with the Louis Metropolitan Police Department, who also happens to be among the 34 deadliest departments in the country.

The fact is that this article could go on for days, naming all the people killed by police officers in these departments. But that wouldn’t solve anything.

What we need right now is major changes inside police departments to curb their violent tendencies. Until we end the war on drugs we can expect this problem to remain the same. Until we end qualified immunity for police, the problem will not get better. Until cops are held personally liable like doctors who commit malpractice, they will continue to pass their liability along to the taxpayers. Finally, until police in America stop preying on citizens for victimless crimes and bring predatory policing to its knees, this problem will not go away.

We are ready for this change. Are you?

This article was originally featured at The Free Thought Project and is republished with permission.

Libertarian Messaging For 2021: Part 2

Libertarian Messaging For 2021: Part 2

Let’s just jump right in since you can go to part 1 and see my yada, yada qualifications and such. Here’s the Tweet:

Screenshot 20201204 070450 Twitter

End all corporate bailouts/welfare

For those of you who remember the great recession of 2008, or have read about it in books such as Tom Woods’ classic, Meltdown, you recall that the majority of the people were against the bank bailouts. Did that stop your “betters” in DC from bailing out their biggest campaign donors? No, it did not. Did any of you who lost a house or savings or any wealth you worked your ass off for get a bailout? None of us did. And the elite power brokers, working in tandem with the politicians you elected, grew richer.

This year those same people told you to stay home, be afraid and threatened you if you left your house. Many people have defaulted on their homes. Others have lost their nest egg. Even more are suffering psychological damage due to isolation. When the CARES Act was passed, what was there for you? $1,200? If 100,000,000 people received that amount, that is one hundred twenty billion dollars. If 2.2 trillion was given out, where did the other 2.08 trillion go? To corporate cronies who saw record profits in 2020 while you were wallowing in lock-down misery.

When you realize that this is how crisis’s always play out, how can anyone with a straight face ever say we have a free market again. You’ve been had people. This corporate welfare must end. There was no welfare for the small business owner who was devastated in 2020 and continues to be with no end in sight. End this!

Support self-defense by armed citizens against rioters and/or cops

As more people grew to see that the government was their enemy this year, beginning in the end of May, many in certain areas saw a greater threat where the state stepped in and told good people that if you act in self-defense, we will prosecute you. The riots that started in the wake of the death of George Floyd were a perfect example of how not only are police, and the government, not here to protect you, but they will actively persecute you if you seek to protect yourself from roving mobs of criminals. The very nature of self-defense outside the law allows you to use as much force as needed to protect yourself, your family and your property.

That was taken away from certain groups even in states where gun ownership is prolific (Washington, Oregon). These politicians and power-brokers must never be allowed to do this in the future, AND, should be held accountable for their recent actions.

Many this year have also woken up to the fact that not only are the police not here to protect them, but in many cases will actively follow the decrees handed down by politicians without question. This includes enforcing laws in which there is no victim but allows police to escalate conflict, up to and including violence and even murder. In the case where a police officer is putting the life of innocent people in jeopardy, armed citizens must be allowed to protect themselves, or another. This is logical and accords with natural law. Without the ability of sovereign individuals to be able to protect themselves from government workers trespassing upon their rights, we must admit that we live in a police state where every encounter with a state agent is a hostage situation.

Resist the cathedral always

So, what is the “Cathedral?” It has three parts but the first must be explained in order to understand how they work with the other two. The first is what I refer to as the “Public Servant State.” That is, the millions of public “servants” who have positions of power no matter what party controls the White House, congress or the judiciary. We’re talking specifically about those employees at the State Department, CIA, FBI, Pentagon, etc., who wield power and influence no matter who the show pony in the White House is. In the last four years many have come to call them the “Deep State.” They plan the wars, make policy and never suffer any consequences.

How do they do this? With the help of the other two groups, the corporate press and the universities. In recent history, many people, especially those who identify with the Right, have come to have a radical distrust for all three. Many have woken up to the fact that the press is a mouthpiece for the CIA. Watch panels on every cable news station and there is almost always a “former” CIA or FBI agent present. Many just don’t trust the corporate media anymore. Add in the universities where more and more parents are waking up every day to the fact that they are indoctrination centers in which their children are being brainwashed to embrace Marxism and socialism which inevitably leads them to looking to the State as their mommy or daddy and you see how they work together.

Thaddeus Russell shows in his forthcoming book on American foreign policy that every war in the 20th century saw its genesis in the halls of academia. Thomas Sowell, a Harvard graduate, is quoted as saying, “in any great disaster, there’s a Harvard man in the middle of it.”

These three working together must be called out constantly and there is no better time to communicate this as there is now, even more so than 5 years ago, a segment that knows that this collusive force is dangerous and must be resisted.

NYPD Values Abusive Cop’s Pension Over Child He Starved and Froze to Death

NYPD Values Abusive Cop’s Pension Over Child He Starved and Froze to Death

New York, NY — The death of 8-year-old Thomas Valva shocked the nation earlier this year when it was discovered his New York cop father was alleged to have beat him and starved him before throwing him into an unheated garage where he froze to death. As the investigation unfolded, we learned that authorities were warned by multiple people on multiple occasions that NYPD officer Michael Valva was horrifically abusing his children, and, in a disgusting display of blue privilege, no one acted. In fact, the only actions taken were against the mother, and helped Valva continue the abuse.

Now, this officer’s blue privilege is being exposed once again as he was quietly allowed to resign this week—to protect his pension.

“He voluntarily resigned today,” Valva’s attorney John LoTurco said. “He executed paperwork in that regard today,which protects his benefits and his pension. There’s no admission of any wrongdoing. It allows him to forgo any disciplinary hearing and in exchange, he will no longer receive any salary or any future benefits.”

As we reported at the time, 8-year-old Thomas died of hypothermia on January 17 after he was allegedly starved, beaten and locked outside overnight by his NYPD officer father. Valva allegedly washed the body of his autistic child in an attempt to warm the corpse, then lied to cops by claiming the boy fell in the driveway. On Jan. 24, Valva and his fiancee Angela Pollina were arrested and charged with murder.

After their arrests, we found out that Justyna Zukbo-Valva, Thomas’ mother, had filed multiple complaints—with physical evidence—alleging the abuse. Instead of helping her authorities simply looked the other way. Not only was she never given help, Zukbo-Valva was treated like she was the abuser and lost custody as the true monster continued his horrifying treatment of his children.

According to the NY Daily News, who received the documents from Zukbo-Valva, after losing custody, this mother feared for the safety of her children, fought to save them, and was ignored and punished until Thomas was tortured to death.

In meeting after meeting with Child Protective Services, beginning in 2017, Zubko-Valva implored caseworkers to get involved and protect her boys now living with their father in Center Moriches, L.I. The mother, recalling a Dec. 6, 2017, meeting, says caseworker Michelle Clark blamed her rather than NYPD officer Valva for the regressing autism of Thomas’ older brother Anthony.

Clark also declined to read progress reports from the special school where the mother enrolled the brothers before Valva pulled both of them out.

“She informed me she will not take any evidence from me,” wrote Zubko-Valva about the caseworker. “If I try to provide my evidence to her, she is not going to take them into consideration.”

Despite clear signs of physical abuse, including testimony from the victims and physical injury—black eyes, and bald patches from his hair being pulled out at the roots—according to the News, Clark, in five reports filed between Oct. 31, 2017, and Jan. 15, 2018, found no safety factors that “place the children in immediate danger” and quickly closed the investigations into the father’s treatment of Thomas and 10-year-old Anthony.

This cop’s blue privilege stretched far and wide and ultimately ended in a child’s death. According to the News:

According to the mother’s records, her estranged husband Valva erupted in anger on Jan. 13, 2018, when Thomas accused Pollina of hitting him. Valva forced the boy to lean over a table with his hands outstretched, then hit the child repeatedly on his buttocks and lower back on the right side — leaving bruises confirmed by a neighbor.

Zubko-Valva filed another complaint. But her estranged husband simply refused to open the door when CPS sent a caseworker his home for an interview him, records show. Three days later, the bruised little boy told child welfare worker Michele Clark that he was still in pain from his father’s beating.

Despite being told by the child that he was being beaten by his father, Clark’s reaction was to lift a protection order against Valva and order one against the mother. As the News points out, this decision is now coming back to haunt them.

“Michele Clark abused her power to falsely accuse me in order to protect Michael Valva,” writes the distraught mom.

On the night Zubko-Valva was told she was losing custody of her children, she reportedly told Kimberley Berens, who ran the Fit Learning school, which educated autistic children before they went to regular schools that Valva was “going to kill my kids.”

Unfortunately, she was right.

Despite authorities eventually finding out that Valva was savagely abusing his autistic son, the court chose not to send them to their mother and put them right back with their father and then moved to sweep it under the rug while continuing their assault on this poor mother.

On the contrary, after Valva got away with child abuse, the boys’ mother was forced to justify why she chose to put Thomas’ older brother Anthony in a special school for autistic kids. Unlike Valva, Zubko-Valva was forced to go through a full trial with witnesses and arguments just to prove she’d done nothing wrong by sending her kids to a special school.

To sum it up, the entire system acted on behalf of the officer — likely due to the fact that he had a badge — while proactively going after the mother who was only trying to expose her ex-husband’s abuse of their children.

It gets worse.

On Oct. 1, 2018, Zubko-Valva filed a request to get a new case worker, citing the clear special treatment given to her cop ex-husband. Instead of doing this, the very next day, CPS caseworker Edward Heepe closed three investigations into the father’s treatment of his children. He omitted the January beating incident from his report. In November 2018, court-appointed lawyer Donna McCabe was singing the praises of Valva and Pollina—even as teachers at the boys’ school were repeatedly calling the state child abuse hotline, according to the News..

Even more disturbing is that Zubko-Valva is now claiming that video evidence from surveillance cameras inside the home and the garage where Thomas died — which can prove without a doubt that Valva murdered his child—have all been deleted.

“I was told two weeks ago by the District Attorney’s office that they cannot get the images from the day that Tommy died, because, allegedly, they were deleted,” Zubko-Valva said. “But as you know we live in the technological age of everything being stored somewhere and can be, you know, brought back.”

The system actively set out to smear a caring mother while protecting a vicious child abuser which resulted in the tragedy in January. Sadly, as TFTP has reported before, this is but a broken record of a system and occupation that experiences domestic violence at a far greater rate than the rest of society and goes out of their way to sweep it under the rug.

If you think a system that protects an abusive cop and allows him to resign to protect his pension, has your interests in mind, you need to think again.

Matt Agorist is an honorably discharged veteran of the USMC and former intelligence operator directly tasked by the NSA. This prior experience gives him unique insight into the world of government corruption and the American police state. Agorist has been an independent journalist for over a decade and has been featured on mainstream networks around the world. Agorist is also the Editor-at-Large at the Free Thought Project. Follow @MattAgorist on TwitterSteemit, and now on Minds. This article was originally featured at The Free Thought Project and is republished with permission. 

Breonna Taylor Grand Jurors: Police Actions Were ‘Negligent’ And ‘Criminal’

Breonna Taylor Grand Jurors: Police Actions Were ‘Negligent’ And ‘Criminal’

Two grand jurors in the Breonna Taylor case said the actions of Louisville, Kentucky, police officers the day of the botched raid at her apartment were “negligent” and “criminal.”

“They couldn’t even provide a risk assessment,” one of the anonymous grand jurors, identified as juror one, said in an interview scheduled to air Wednesday on “CBS This Morning.” “And it sounded like they hadn’t done one.”

Read the rest of the story at NBC News.

Utah Proud Boys and BLM Join Together Against Racism, Call for Police Reform

Utah Proud Boys and BLM Join Together Against Racism, Call for Police Reform

Something pretty incredible happened earlier this month in Utah and because it showed two ostensibly opposing groups come together instead of promoting divide, it was curiously absent from nearly all mainstream media. The Proud Boys—who are considered a hate group by the SPLC—came together with Black Lives Matter—who they are allegedly supposed to hate—and did something inspiring. They denounced racism and white supremacy and explained how they are now working together.

Not surprisingly, over the past several weeks, the mainstream media has run with stories of protesters and counter protesters fighting with each other rather than show Black Lives Matter of Northern Utah finding common ground with the Salt Lake chapter of the Proud boys. But that is why The Free Thought Project exists, to bring you the news that shows it is possible to think past labels and petty fighting and realize that we are all human.

DISCLAIMER: It is sad that this disclaimer is necessary but before anyone claims that The Free Thought Project is a supporter of the Proud Boys, we are not. We are supporters of peace and unity and putting differences aside to create a more freer world, and the following scenario out of Utah is a perfect example of this.

Jacarri Kelley, the leader of Black Lives Matter, Northern Utah said she was perplexed during a protest two months ago in Cottonwood Heights when she saw a member of the Proud Boys, who was not white, being accused of being a white supremacist.

“How can he be a white supremacist if he is Hispanic?” Kelley asked. “Or Polynesian? I originally thought he was black.”

This made the open minded BLM head reach out to the Proud Boys, who told her they were there simply to make sure that “nothing goes down.”

That is when they got together and decided they could help each other. For two months that is what they have done and during a protest in Salt Lake City two weeks ago, they held a press conference to talk about the importance of unity and reaching across labels to find out that just because someone has a different political view than you, doesn’t make them a bad person—unless of course they advocate hating people or superiority for having a certain skin color.

But Kelley dispelled that myth quite swiftly—at least with the Proud Boys at this particular protest—noting that they are not white supremacists. She also stated that they agree on more issues than which they disagree. She said they both have a problem with how the media is stoking constant divide.

Kelley explained that the rioters and looters don’t represent what the BLM movement is about, but that is how many in the media portray them. Kelley went on to say that her grandfather and her father served in the military and they have a right to say they are “proud Americans” just like the Proud Boys have a right to say it.

Kelley then said the Proud Boys “just need a little bit of respect and education to bridge gaps,” before introducing the chief of the Salt Lake Proud Boys to speak. She said the two groups have worked together for a couple of months and their work has opened the Proud Boys’ eyes to what Black Lives Matter is all about.

“Obviously, I am not black, so I cannot understand what Jacarri goes through every day,” said Thad, the group’s chief. “But meeting with them has given us understanding and now we can work together.”

Imagine that. A little empathy can go a long way.

When questioned about the group’s founder, Gavin McInnes—whose racism has been heavily documented online—the two Proud Boys explained that he is an instigator and is no longer part of the organization for that exact reason.

“He’s gone, he’s not part of the organization anymore,” both men said before officially denouncing racism all together.

“I will go out and say that the Proud Boys as a whole—I will say this on behalf of the entire national organization—denounce White supremacy,” the chief of the Proud Boys Salt Lake Utah Chapter said when the reporter questioned him, adding that being called white supremacists threatens their safety.

Thad said that the Proud Boys are simply “proud” of their country. “It means that the west is the best—western civilization is the best. That’s our opinion,” Thad said.

“We are in no way, shape or form White supremacists,” Thad said. “We have a vetting system that gets those people out of our hair. We do not have anything to do with White supremacy. We do not have anything to do with the Ku Klux Klan. We denounce those organizations.”

After Thad spoke, the president of the Salt Lake Proud Boys, who gave the name Seth, got up to speak.

“I don’t care what color your skin is, we’re all Americans, and we need to find a way to come together instead of divide,” he said.

Seth then explained that this bridging of the divide has led to the Proud Boys working with BLM to achieve police reform.

“Meeting and talking and having that understanding allowed us to move forward with working together on police reform,” Seth said.

Kelley, who first met the Proud Boys at a protest in Cottonwood Heights, says the partnership is real.

“We do need to be able to reach across the aisle and have these tough conversations,” Kelley added. And she is right, according to KUTV, the Salt Lake chapter of the group says they’ll continue to link arms with Black Lives Matter, Northern Utah.

This is how progress is made. When people put their differences aside and have meaningful conversations while practicing empathy, peace is the inevitable result. Sadly, the media is so hell bent on pushing divide and keeping people inside their own little bias-confirming bubbles, that conversations like this one are rare.

Instead, we see people blindly hating each other, screaming in each other’s faces and now have resorted to violence.

The world can learn a lot from Jacarri, Seth, and Thad, they just have to listen. It is high time we start doing more listening than screaming.

As the great Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said, “one day we must come to see that peace is not merely a distant goal we seek, but that it is a means by which we arrive at that goal. We must pursue peaceful ends through peaceful means. All of this is saying that, in the final analysis, means and ends must cohere because the end is preexistent in the means, and ultimately destructive means cannot bring about constructive ends.”

Matt Agorist is an honorably discharged veteran of the USMC and former intelligence operator directly tasked by the NSA. This prior experience gives him unique insight into the world of government corruption and the American police state. Agorist has been an independent journalist for over a decade and has been featured on mainstream networks around the world. Agorist is also the Editor-at-Large at the Free Thought Project. Follow @MattAgorist on TwitterSteemit, and now on Minds. This article was originally featured at The Free Thought Project and is republished with permission. 

Denver’s Replacement of Cops With Mental Health Workers Has a 100% Success Rate

Denver’s Replacement of Cops With Mental Health Workers Has a 100% Success Rate

As The Free Thought Project has previously reported, the Virginia-based Treatment Advocacy Center, an organization dedicated to eliminating the barriers faced by those with severe mental illnesses, released a jaw-dropping report in regard to police interactions with the mentally ill. In their report titled, Overlooked in the Undercounted: The Role of Mental Illness in Fatal Law Enforcement Encountersresearchers discovered that people with an untreated mental illness are16 times more likely to be killed during an interaction with police than anyone else.

According to the study, by all accounts—official and unofficial—a minimum of 1 in 4 fatal police encounters ends the life of an individual with severe mental illness.

Where official government data regarding police shootings and mental illness have been analyzed – in one U.S. city and several other Western countries – the findings indicate that mental health disorders are a factor in as many as 1 in 2 fatal law enforcement encounters.

This startling number highlights a critical problem with police and how they handle incidents with the mentally ill and it explains why so many people who simply need help, receive bullets instead.

“If this were any other medical condition, people would be up in arms,” John Snook, the report’s co-author and executive director of the Treatment Advocacy Center said.

One would assume that since these numbers are so great, police have taken action and are training their officers to interact with the mentally ill. However, one would be wrong. Even cops who voluntarily attend Crisis Intervention Training (CIT), have shown that they are quick to the trigger when dealing with the mentally ill.

As The Free Thought Project has pointed out in the past, the overwhelming majority of time spent by police during training is devoted to shooting their weapons. Very little time is set aside for training in de-escalation tactics, and most departments receive zero training in dealing with the mentally ill.

The list of unarmed and often completely innocent mentally ill people killed by police is immense. TFTP archives are full of tragic stories in which police were called to help someone in a crisis and end up murdering them. People are killed even when they aren’t in a crisis and simply act differently like Elijah McClain, who was on his way home from buying groceries and was murdered by police because he was an introvert and wore a ski mask.

Instead of attempting to save the sinking ship that is cops responding to mental health crises, some municipalities are thinking outside of the box. Denver, Colorado is one such place. After the George Floyd protests sparked the debate the problem of police killing the mentally ill was pushed to the forefront of the conversation and many municipalities like Denver asked the question, should trained gunman, whose only tool is violent escalation, be the first line of response to those in a mental health crisis?

The obvious answer to that question is no. The over whelming majority of calls involving mentally ill people do not involve crimes, so why on Earth would we send in armed state agents to address them?

On June 1, Denver began the Support Team Assistance Response (STAR) program, which sends a mental health professional and a paramedic to some 911 calls instead of cops. According to their latest data, STAR has responded to nearly 400 calls to 911 in which police would have normally been sent out. The STAR team — armed only with experience and compassion — has never once called police to back them up.

They have settled every single call without killing someone, beating them, ruining their lives, or using violence. Imagine that.

“We’re really trying to create true alternatives to us using police and jails,” said Vinnie Cervantes with Denver Alliance for Street Health Response, one of the organizations that helped start the program.

“It really kind of proves that we’ve been working for the right thing, and that these ideas are getting the recognition they should,” Cervantes said.

This situation is a win win as it also frees up police time so they can focus on actual crimes like rape, theft, and violence.

“It’s the future of law enforcement, taking a public health view on public safety,” Denver police Chief Paul Pazen said. “We want to meet people where they are and address those needs and address those needs outside of the criminal justice system.”

Carleigh Sailon from the Mental Health Center of Denver—who has responded to many of these calls, spoke to lx.com last week to explain the program’s success.

Those who have called for help or to report someone slumped against a fence, camped out on private property, or simply talking to themselves, are impressed when the STAR team shows up and resolves the problem without tasering, choking, or shooting anyone.

“We’ve gotten great feedback from the community, from individuals who’ve said that this felt really comfortable, really supportive, that we were able to show up and offer other solutions that were really helpful in that moment,” Sailon told lx.com. “People have been just overwhelmingly positive and very accepting of the options that we have to offer. And kind of surprised, I think, too, that a social worker and a medic kind of hop out of this van in street clothes and are there to help vs. police or an ambulance.”

When we hear catch phrases like “defund the police,” this is what it’s about. The apologist crowd says things like, “let me know how it turns out when you send a social worker to deal with a violent criminal” in an attempt to discredit this movement but as more cities like Denver continue to show a 100% non-violent success record, that crowd looks sillier and sillier.

The idea of a state function shifting its focus from violence to compassion is revolutionary on many fronts. While a 100% success record nationwide is unlikely, it is obvious that this is the direction in which we need to head.

Matt Agorist is an honorably discharged veteran of the USMC and former intelligence operator directly tasked by the NSA. This prior experience gives him unique insight into the world of government corruption and the American police state. Agorist has been an independent journalist for over a decade and has been featured on mainstream networks around the world. Agorist is also the Editor-at-Large at the Free Thought Project. Follow @MattAgorist on TwitterSteemit, and now on Minds. This article was originally featured at The Free Thought Project and is republished with permission.

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