The escalation of racist violence that has shocked the United States in the last few days does not subside. In fact, demonstrations against the brutal murders at the hand of the police officers against blacks continued also yesterday in several US states. Most of the initiatives were supported by the movement “Black Lives Matter”, whose members are activists of African-American origins. The movement fights against violence against people of color. Some of the involved cities are: Detroit, San Francisco, where dozens of people blocked the ramp of the Bay Bridge, and Denver, where protesters planned a 135-hour sit-in, one hour for each African American killed by police this year. The Louisiana authorities announced that they had arrested in Baton Rouge, the capital of the State, one of the most famous black activists of the organization, DeRay McKesson. They do not know the exact reasons of the arrest, which happened on a local highway, the Airline Highway.
At least five officers have been injured in clashes with demonstrators in St. Paul, Minnesota. The police intervened to clear the access to Interstate 94, blocked by the protesters. The officers used tear gas against a procession of at least 200 people who refused to leave the area. In a tweet, the police of St. Paul announces that also a number of people have been arrested, but without specifying how many. The protesters injured the officers throwing stones, bottles, and firecrackers at them.
“America is not divided as some people have suggested. It has not gone back to the ’60s”, President Obama tries to reassure from the NATO summit in Warsaw, the last one during his presidency and which is likely to bequeath a divided country. Not only due to the racial question that has never healed and broke out again with the killing of two blacks by the police and with the death of five officers at the hands of a sniper, in Dallas, whom US President defined “deranged”. Obama, who has reduced his trip to Spain to visit the Texan city early next week, rejects the accusation of a social peace that has never come into being, under the pressure of a part of the African American community.
But, while warning that it takes time to see grow what has been sown, the country is crossed by a wave of protests that are not always peaceful, some with more than 100 arrests. It has been also shaken by another death of a person of color in Houston, armed too. The cops killed him after giving notice in vain to throw the gun. Instead, the latter seems to have been used to shoot first in the air, then at the police. Obama does not talk about it, he tries to go beyond, appealing to unity inside the country. “Americans of all races are rightly outraged by the unjustifiable attacks on police, in Dallas and elsewhere”, he emphasizes.
“This includes demonstrators, family members who have serious concerns about the behavior of the police and who consider it to be unacceptable.” But there is “no division” on that point, he assures, inviting everyone to “reflect and take a step back, because the rhetoric that we are waging must be constructive, not destructive. The madman who carried out the attack in Dallas does not represent African Americans,” he points out, adding that “we cannot let the actions of a few people define all Americans.” However, the president admits that “African Americans and Hispanics are treated differently in our justice system” and announces that next week he will convene the Task Force, created after the tragedy in Ferguson, at the White House. The community of activists and of the police will be present too.
“Despite the fact that last week was long and painful, there are the foundations for the reconstruction of our social fabric,” he promises. Obama recalled also the need to strengthen control over the sale of arms, blocked by the Republicans, who control the Congress, noting that the US is the only country among the advanced economies to have such a level of violence. But his optimism collides with an escalation of tension in a country that is shocked, scared, under siege. The protests against police brutality continue in major American cities and not always in a peaceful manner: last night in Rochester, New York, 74 people were arrested for riots. Three more arrests in Phoenix, where police used spray stinging and shot non-lethal bullets to prevent a gathering of the movement Black Lives Matter from blocking the highway. This morning, 30 other arrests occurred in Baton Rouge, Lousiana, where the first African American, Alton Sterling, was killed.
Meanwhile, mutual diffidence is increasing between blacks and the police. Hence, agents were encouraged to always patrol with a colleague. Fear of possible accidents will also lengthen the election campaign, a few weeks before the convention. Even Donald Trump seems to have lowered his tone, inviting people to unity. Dallas, meanwhile, is preparing for the funerals of the five officers killed and there are threats alerts in the police department.
Investigations continue in Texas, but the thesis that there was only one person who shot from a rooftop, the veteran of war Micah Johnson, 25, a black man, is still valid. Before being neutralized by a robot, with a bomb, he had told the police that he wanted to kill whites, especially police officers, after the deaths of two African-Americans in Minnesota and Louisiana. From his Facebook profile, it shows that he was a supporter of black militant groups, including the African American Defense League and the New Black Panther Party, founded in Dallas. Whereas from his file emerged that he had been repatriated from Afghanistan – where he had served as a carpenter, not as a fighter – for sexually harassing a female soldier: the victim had recommended “psychological help” and asked for a protective injunction to safeguard her persona and family.