Obama speaks about police brutality and civil rights amid nationwide protests over George Floyd’s death

0
111

Former President Barack Obama held a town hall meeting Wednesday on policing and civil rights.

The event comes amid widespread protests following the death of George Floyd, a 46-year-old black man who died last week after a white Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes.

Peaceful demonstrations have taken place in more than 300 cities in the aftermath of Floyd’s death, though some have spiraled into chaos and deadly violence as law-enforcement officials use heavy-handed crowd-control tactics.

Some protests involved smaller groups looting businesses and, in a few cases, setting fire to buildings and cars.

President Donald Trump and multiple Republican lawmakers, as well as Attorney General William Barr, have blamed antifa a loosely organized group of far-left activists for violence linked to the protests.

Trump announced on Twitter on Sunday that “the United States of America will be designating ANTIFA as a Terrorist Organization.”

Barr released a statement afterward echoing the president’s sentiments, saying, “The violence instigated and carried out by antifa and other similar groups in connection with the rioting is domestic terrorism and will be treated accordingly.”

But according to The Nation, which cited an internal FBI situation report, the bureau’s Washington, DC, field office ” has no intelligence indicating Antifa involvement/presence” in the violence that took place that day.

The FBI report listed a series of violent acts including instances of bricks being thrown at police officers and a backpack that contained explosives. But based on “CHS [Confidential Human Source] canvassing, open source/social media partner engagement, and liaison,” the bureau had no evidence that those acts were directly linked to antifa, The Nation said.

But the FBI’s report did warn that people associated with a far-right social-media group had “called for far-right provocateurs to attack federal agents” and “use automatic weapons against protesters.”

Politico also reported on Monday that a Department of Homeland Security intelligence note warned law-enforcement officials that a white supremacist channel on the encrypted messaging app Telegram encouraged its followers to incite violence to start a race war during the protests.

Citing the FBI, it said that two days after Floyd’s death, the channel “incited followers to engage in violence and start the ‘boogaloo’ a term used by some violent extremists to refer to the start of a second Civil War by shooting in a crowd.”

One of the messages in the channel called for potential shooters to “frame the crowd around you” for the violence, the note said, according to Politico.

On May 29, the note said, “suspected anarchist extremists and militia extremists allegedly planned to storm and burn the Minnesota State Capitol.”