Special News Series: Rising Up For Justice! – US police three times as likely to use force against leftwing protesters

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Introduction To This Series:

This post is one installment in an ongoing news series: a “living history” of the current national and international uprising for justice.

Today’s movement descends directly from the many earlier civil rights struggles against repeated injustices and race-based violence, including the killing of unarmed Black people. The posts in this series serve as a timeline of the uprising that began on May 26, 2020, the day after a Minneapolis police officer killed an unarmed Black man, George Floyd, by kneeling on his neck. The viral video of Floyd’s torturous suffocation brought unprecedented national awareness to the ongoing demand to truly make Black Lives Matter in this country.

The posts in this series focus on stories of the particular killings that have spurred the current uprising and on the protests taking place around the USA and across the globe. Sadly, thousands of people have lost their lives to systemic racial, gender, sexuality, judicial, and economic injustice. The few whose names are listed here represent the countless others lost before and since. Likewise, we can report but a few of the countless demonstrations for justice now taking place in our major cities, small towns, and suburbs.

To view the entire series of Rising Up for Justice! posts, insert “rising up” in the search bar above.

US police three times as likely to use force against leftwing protesters, data finds

Law enforcement responses to more than 13,000 protests show a clear disparity in responses, new statistics show

By Lois Beckett, The Gaurdian

January 14, 2021

Police in riot gear spray tear gas in the face of a single kneeling protester
A demonstrator is pepper sprayed shortly before being arrested during a Black Lives Matter protest in Portland, Oregon, on 15 October. Photograph: Marcio José Sánchez/AP

Police in the United States are three times more likely to use force against leftwing protesters than rightwing protesters, according to new data from a non-profit that monitors political violence around the world.

In the past 10 months, US law enforcement agencies have used teargas, pepper spray, rubber bullets, and beatings at a much higher percentage at Black Lives Matter demonstrations than at pro-Trump or other rightwing protests.

Law enforcement officers were also more likely to use force against leftwing demonstrators, whether the protests remained peaceful or not.

The statistics, based on law enforcement responses to more than 13,000 protests across the United States since April 2020, show a clear disparity in how agencies have responded to the historic wave of Black Lives Matter protests against police violence, compared with demonstrations organized by Trump supporters…

The new statistics come from the US Crisis Monitor, a database created this spring by researchers at Princeton and the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data project (ACLED), a nonprofit that has previously monitored civil unrest in the Middle East, Europe and Latin America.

Police used teargas, rubber bullets, beatings with batons and other force against demonstrators at 511 leftwing protests and 33 rightwing protests since April, according to updated data made public this week…

The disparity in police response only grew when comparing peaceful leftwing versus rightwing protests. Looking at the subset of protests in which demonstrators did not engage in any violence, vandalism, or looting, law enforcement officers were about 3.5 times more likely to use force against leftwing protests than rightwing protests, with about 1.8% of peaceful leftwing protests and only half a percent of peaceful rightwing protests met with teargas, rubber bullets or other force from law enforcement.

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