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Don DeBar: Grievances of Black people against US police are centuries old

American journalist/political commentator Don DeBar

American journalist/political commentator Don DeBar says grievances of Black people against police are centuries old in the United States.

DeBar made the remarks in an online interview with Press TV on Friday while commenting on the ongoing protests and riots in the United States in the wake of African American George Floyd's death in police custody last month.

The administration of US President Donald Trump has said there are “no regrets” about the decision of using tear gas against peaceful demonstrators from outside the White House last week.

The demonstrators were protesting at Lafayette Square outside the White House against police violence and systemic racism sparked by the police killing of Floyd.

White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany said on Monday night that neither President Trump nor anybody inside his administration had regrets about police’s actions against protesters.

“No there’s no regrets on the part of this White House because look I’d note that many of those decisions were not made here within the White House,” McEnany said.

She said that Attorney General William Barr had decided to have police clear demonstrators from Lafayette Square.

McEnany claimed police issued three warnings before using chemical agents to clear protesters from the park and that demonstrators hurled projectiles at law enforcement officers.

“That was unacceptable. Park Police acted as they felt they needed to at that time in response,” McEnany said. “We stand by those actions.”

That day Trump had threatened to “dominate the streets” by deploying troops, just before police tear-gassed protesters outside the White House.

And Trump said that he believed the situation was “handled very well.”

DeBar said, “First, we have to pay very close attention to the language that's being used, because what the White House has said about this - specifically, what Trump has said about this publicly - and what's being reported are different.”

“Trump has gone to great lengths, for him - now, he's not exactly someone who speaks with the precision of a lawyer, but he went to considerable lengths, for him - to distinguish between protesters, and people that were rioting and looting. And the ‘tear-gassing’ and the measures that were taken by police against the people on the street, he made very clear, had nothing to do with the peaceful protesters; rather, it was targeting civil discord. So you have to concede at least that he's saying this and not that. He's not saying that we want to go after peaceful protesters,” he stated.

“What happens on the ground is something entirely different now. In 2008, the Republican National Convention was held in Minneapolis, St. Paul, the Twin Cities in Minnesota, and I covered that, and also the DNC in Denver that year. And there was militarized police presence on the streets of Minneapolis and St Paul back in 2008. I saw them beat the hell out of, you know, people young, old, whatever. It was like a military occupation," he said. 

"They had preemptive raids on the houses the week before the convention even started, people that they thought were organizers of peaceful protests, they'd charge them with terrorism - all kinds of overcharging, so they could hold them during the RNC, and then release them later. And that is something that's been going on there for a very long time - this is 12 years ago now. That problem still exists in Minneapolis, St. Paul, and in cities across the country,” the journalist said.

“In addition to that, there's the political space that this takes place in - the presidential election year. And the fact that people have been confined for the last three or four months inside their houses (coronavirus) - it seems almost like an explosive toxic mixture, along with the actual grievance here, which is now centuries old now: the police brutalize Black people and society allows it to go on,” he said.

“I think that the administration's approach, in fact, seems to have worked. It seems like the air has been let out of the bag of the violent response and people are now working very hard on some actual solutions, and so I'd like to see how that works out. But I think that, in all fairness, it's gotta be clear that Trump has not called for ‘tear-gassing’ protesters. He's spoken about tear gassing rioters and looters and he's made it clear that he believes that these are two separate classes of people and I think that in fact, he's right on that point,” he concluded.


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