Stories Chosen For You
On Monday, Rolling Stone reported that a Black Lives Matter protester from Portland, Oregon is filing suit alleging that federal agents improperly seized her off the street during the 2020 George Floyd protests.
"In mid-July 2020, Evelyn Bassi got swept up in one of the darkest episodes of the Trump administration when she was grabbed by armed federal agents, detained in a van against her will, and frisked before ultimately being let go," reported Tim Dickinson. "Her new lawsuit claims that her 'illegal abduction' was feature of a 'terror campaign against Portlanders' orchestrated by then-President Trump, intended to 'intimidate the public and chill free speech.' She is seeking compensatory and punitive damages."
"As described in the court filing, Bassi’s ordeal began not long after midnight, in the early morning of July 15, 2020. She’d finished protesting and was starting to head home from downtown when an unmarked, dark gray Dodge minivan with tinted windows pulled up beside her and a companion," said the report. "The vehicle occupants opened the passenger-side doors and Bassi could see they were dressed 'in camouflage fatigues' and carried sidearms. The men didn’t identify themselves and Bassi didn’t know if they were law enforcement or local vigilantes, but she threw up her hands and told the men she was leaving."
Ultimately, the federal agents driving the van held Bassi captive for 10 minutes, then pulled over, took her out, frisked and interrogated her, and officers claimed she matched the description of a suspect who committed a federal crime against an officer involving a laser pointer. However, as the report notes, "the person the officers were ostensibly looking for was a man with blond hair. Bassi is a trans woman with brown hair."
"The ostensible purpose of deploying armed DHS agents to Oregon’s largest city was to protect a downtown federal courthouse," said the report. "But the effect of the arrival of feds from agencies like the Border Patrol and ICE was to inflame the protests, and turn the barricades around the courthouse into a flash-point where rowdy activists were countered by federal fusillades of tear gas and less-lethal weapons. (Chaotic images of this violence later featured prominently in Trump’s reelection campaign ads.)"
The protests in Portland were a response to the murder of George Floyd by Derek Chauvin, a then-police officer in Minneapolis who kneeled on his neck for nine minutes. Chauvin was ultimately sentenced to 22.5 years in prison for the
In a 129-page court filing on Monday, Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg told the judge handling the case involving Donald Trump's family business that he should move forward. He's also ready to file felony charges against former Trump Organization chief financial officer, Allen Weisselberg.
“This case, at its core, is ordinary,” wrote Assistant District Attorney Solomon Shinerock quoted the New York Daily News. “It arises from the fact that Allen Weisselberg violated the basic imperative that all New Yorkers faithfully report and pay tax on their income.”
In Feb. 2022 there was a motion filed by the Trump Org. to have the charges dismissed, and until now the prosecutors haven't responded. The allegations are that both dodged income taxes on more than $1.7 million for over 15 years as well as other crimes.
Michael Cohen, a former Trump lawyer, has spoken with the DA and provided documents, he tweeted earlier this year many times publicly.
Weisselberg's lawyers allege that all of the information that they're basing their facts on come from lies by Cohen told federal investigators. But Bragg's office explained none of the prosecutors had ever "seen or been briefed on the contents of Weisselberg’s testimony" against Cohen to the feds.
“Indeed, the claim that (Cohen) sparked this Investigation as part of a vendetta resulting from Weisselberg’s immunized testimony is incorrect,” the filing states. “And, regardless of (Cohen’s) feelings towards Weisselberg ... the Investigation that led to this Indictment, and the information used to obtain that Indictment, are the result of sources completely independent of (Cohen).”
“Weisselberg fails and fails miserably in his vengeful witness defense in the fact that I never testified before the grand jury against him," said Cohen in a statement to Raw Story. "Mr. Shinerock’s opposition papers clearly demonstrate that the Trump methodology of lying and blaming others only works for Trump; all others get jail time."
“This might be the right time for Weisselberg to think about cooperating," he added.
Bragg, who made it clear that he hasn't looked into whatever Cohen did or did not say to the federal government. There have been a number of people who came forward and spoke to the district attorney's office prior to Bragg taking over. One of those is Weisselberg's former daughter-in-law, who revealed that she handed over a lot of information to the DA as well.
On Monday, BET reported that parents at an Aliso Viejo, California high school are outraged after a racist prom invite mocking the murder of George Floyd went viral.
"According to KNBC, a post shows a male student holding a sign that read, 'If you went to prom with me, it would take my breath away' next to a photo of George Floyd, who was murdered by former police officer Derek Chauvin a year ago this week," said the report. "The school district said in a statement, 'The sign is disgusting, lacks cultural sensitivity, is deeply offensive, and does not reflect the values we strive for in our school district. We serve a diverse community and we value all of our students and families. This is heartbreaking and in instances such as this, we work with school leadership to address the situation.'"
Per the report, parents are demanding accountability for the incident.
"Parents Angela and Mike, who say their daughter has experienced racism at the school and alerted them of the racist invitation, are demanding action," said the report. "'We all make dumb decisions in high school and college, but at the same time he does need to be taught a lesson,' Mike said. 'We really just don't want this kid around our daughter, plain and simple.'"
The graphic Minneapolis video of Floyd begging for his life as Chauvin kneeled on his neck for nine minutes galvanized national outrage and protests all over the country. Chauvin was put on trial, with the former being found guilty of murder and sentenced to 22.5 years in prison. Three other officers on the scene were found guilty of refusing to render aid.
Meanwhile, the protests around the country became a flashpoint for partisan culture wars, with Fox News and other right-wing media outlets trying to paint the protesters as violent anarchists even when they clearly were not.