by Paul Street, published on Black Agenda Report, September 16, 2020
Their names are not as familiar as George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, but these victims have paid the ultimate price, dying in the line of anti-racist and anti-fascist citizenship duty.
“Trump ordered the Department of Homeland Security to suppress reports of right-wing terrorism and play up supposed case cases of left-wing terrorism.”
The wannabe fascist dictator Donald Trump, his personal attorney general William Barr, and the rest of the broader right-wing United States political and propaganda machine absurdly portray the remarkable anti-racist and anti-police violence protest wave that arose across the nation after the lynching of George Floyd as “radical Left terrorism.”
A federal whistleblower has just reported that the Trump administration ordered the Department of Homeland Security this summer to suppress reports of right-wing terrorism and play up supposed case cases of left-wing terrorism.
So, let’s be clear about who the real terrorists have been and who has been harmed by political terrorism this summer. The main perpetrators by far and away have been white gendarmes and vigilantes, some clearly motivated by the hateful and paranoid rhetoric of the nation’s virulently racist president and his white nationalist cohorts. The primary victims have been civil rights and social justice protesters.
Fourteen of these victims have so far paid the ultimate price, dying in the line of anti-racist and anti-fascist citizenship duty.
Let us pay homage to these martyrs in the struggle social justice, racial equality, and human rights. We must honor their sacrifice and show that they did not die in vain by fighting to stop Donald Trump and his backers and collaborators from consolidating neofascist, white-supremacist rule in the world’s most powerful (and dangerous) nation.
Calvin Horton: “Two Types of Justice in America”
Calvin Horton, a 43-year old Black man and the father of seven children, was killed by a white pawnshop owner who blasted his shotgun into a protest crowd in Minneapolis on the evening of May 27th, 2020. Horton died from wounds to the chest and upper extremities during unrest that broke out after the horrifying video of George Floyd’s May 25th murder by the white Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin went viral online. Calvin was shot in the back.
“We’re absolutely heartbroken,” Horton’s daughter, Cadaezhah Horton, 20, said. “And we’re left to feel as if we’re the ones in prison.”
“The only thing I want is justice,” said Horton’s mother, Mae Roberts. “Nothing is being done for my son.”
Horton’s killer was not charged with murder.
“We seem to be reminded over and over again that there are two types of justice in America, one for black America and one for white America,” said Horton family attorney Ben Crump.
James Scurlock: “All Because He Decided to Protest Against Racism”
James Scurlock, a 22-year-old Black man, was shot to death by a white bar owner during anti-racist protests in Omaha, Nebraska on the evening of May 30, 2020. Scurlock died while trying to restrain the bar owner, who had pulled a gun and fired in response to the presence of crowds outside his establishment. Authorities refused to charge the bar owner for murder.
“Last night I lost a son, my wife lost a son, my kids lost a brother,” Scurlock’s father told reporters . “His daughter lost a father. All because he decided to protest against racism. “
Dorian Murrel: “His Child Will Never Meet Him”
Dorian Murrel, an 18-year-old Black man, was shot to death by a white man (Tyler Newby) in Indianapolis during a George Floyd protest in the early morning of June 1st. “He was an awesome young man,” Murrel’s mother told reporters last August. “He was into sports, he was happy, he had a beautiful smile, and he knew how to make everybody in the room laugh. He has a child on the way. His child will never meet him.”
Jorge Gomez: “Tell Your Son’s Story”
Jorge Gomez, 25, was shot dead by four police officers during a George Floyd protest in Las Vegas, Nevada on June 1st. Police claimed that Gomez raised a gun at them. Gomez was killed while running and had previously been knocked to the ground with impact munitions. Shortly before his murder, Gomez went up to hug a protester who told the story of how her son had been killed by police four years earlier. “I’m sorry about your loss,” Gomez said. “Tell your son’s story.”
David McAtee: A “Beloved” Restaurant Owner Defending His Business and Family
David McAtee, owned and operated YaYa’s BBQ Shack, a popular barbeque restaurant in Louisville’s predominantly Black West End. A “beloved fixture” in his community, he “had a reputation for generosity, including serving food at no cost in his restaurant to police officers and members of his community who were struggling financially. Having de-escalated potentially violent situations on multiple occasions, he was also known as a calming presence in his neighborhood.”
McAtee was fatally shot in the chest by a Kentucky National Guard soldier on the evening of June 1. The National Guard was deployed alongside Louisville police to impose a 9 p.m. curfew in response to protests sparked by the police killings of Floyd and Louisville’s Breonna Taylor.
McAtee was killed because he resorted to armed self-defense after police shot into his restaurant, nearly hitting his young niece in the head. McAtee was murdered by the state for resisting an unwarranted military assault on his property and family.
No charges have been filed against his killer or the officers who attacked his restaurant and its patrons.
Italia Marie Kelly: “She Was Trying to Protest Peacefully”
Italia Marie Kelly, a 21-year old Black woman, was gunned down by a young white man (Parker Merlin-Belz) after attending a protest at a Wal-Mart parking lot in Davenport, Iowa on June 1st. “She was trying to protest peacefully,” her mother said, adding the Kelly “died of the kind of senseless violence she protested…We need to stop the racism in the city…That’s why she was here, trying to get the message across and it ended her life.”
Sean Monterossa: “Shot Down in Cold Blood”
Sean Monterrosa, a 22-year old man of Argentinian ancestry, was shot in the back of his head by the white police officer Jarret Ton in the early morning of June 2 in Vallejo, California. Monterrosa, who was kneeling at the time he was shot, was carrying a tool that Tonn “mistook for a gun.”
Tonn has a long record of excessive force, as does his department. “Over the last decade,” Wikipedia reports, “Vallejo police have shot 32 people, 18 of whom were killed, in which time no officer has been fired for their role in a shooting. As of May 2019, the department had the highest per capita rate of police shootings in Northern California. Vallejo police killed people at a per capita rate over four times as high as neighboring city with a similar population and high violent crime rate.”
Less than an hour before Monterrosa was murdered by Vajello detective Jarret Tonn, he texted his sister a petition demanding justice for George Floyd.
Monterrosa’s family has filed suit. “Here,” the family’s attorney said, “is a 22-year-old kid who is now dead who appeared to be surrendering and he is shot down in cold blood.”
Robert Forbes: Killed on His Knees
On June 3, Robert Forbes, a 55-year-old Black man and protester was hit by a car driven by a middle-aged white man in Bakersfield, California. Forbes died three days later.
“When we got to Oak and California Streets, everybody was marching,” an eyewitness reported. Forbes “went to the sidewalk and got on his knees. Next thing you know, a car with its lights off hit him.”
Witnesses reported that the car sped up as it approached Forbes. Some of the driver’s tattoos are associated with white supremacist groups.
No charges were filed against the driver. The Bakersfield police contest protesters’ eyewitness accounts of how Forbes died.
Tyler Gerth: “A Vocal Supporter of the Black Lives Matter Movement”
In late June 27-year old Tyler Gerth was shot to death while documenting a Black Lives Matter protest in downtown Louisville. Gerth was a passionate white ally of the anti-racist struggle. The killer shot into a large crowd, injuring another protester. The Louisville Courier Journal reported that “Gerth had become a vocal supporter of the ongoing protests against racism and police brutality and a strong supporter of the Black Lives Matter movement.”
“In everything Tyler did to fight for the outcast, for those at the margins of society, those facing injustice and inequality,” the minister who presided over his July 3rd funeral said, “he did it not for himself, but for others.”
“It was this sense of justice,” Gerth’s family said in a statement, “that drove Tyler to be part of the peaceful demonstrations advocating for the destruction of the systemic racism within our society.”
Summer Taylor: ‘Standing Up for Anyone Who Needed to be Stood Up For”
Summer Taylor, 24, was killed by a speeding car on a protest-closed section of U.S Interstate Highway I-5 on July 4th. Taylor was a strong white ally of the Black Lives movement. Taylor and another victim of the automobile assault, Diaz Love, were described at a July 7th vigil as “drawn to the protests because they believed that Black lives matter and that it was important to do everything in their power to support Black lives and fight for them.”
“They were always the first ones to call people out for being sexist, racist — standing up for queer and trans people, basically anyone who needed to be stood up for, they were the ones there that were so vocal,” a friend told the New York Times .
Writing from her hospital bed, Diaz Love reported days after her assault that “my Facebook is filled with death threats.” (Facebook is rife with fascists.)
Garret Foster: “He Fought Against Injustice”
Garret Foster, 28, was shot to death at a Black Lives Matter protest in Austin, Texas on the evening of Saturday, July 25th. His killer was active U.S. Army Sergeant Daniel Perry.
Foster was legally carrying an assault weapon, an expression of his determination to provide armed defense for anti-racist protesters who faced regular death-threats from white-supremacists in and around Austin.
Sgt. Perry claims he came across the protest by accident while working as a ride share driver, and that he only opened fire in “self-defense” after Foster allegedly pointed an AK-47 at him. There are reasons to doubt his defense. In June, when Trump tweeted that “protesters, anarchists, agitators, looters or lowlifes” protesting in Oklahoma would face “a much different scene” than protesters in New York or Minneapolis, Perry responded as follows: “Send them to Texas and we will show them why we say don’t mess with Texas.”
Perry has faced no charges for acting lethally on his anti-protester sentiments.
Anthony Huber and Joseph Rosenbaum: A Presidentially Triggered Teen Fascist’s Double Murder
Joseph (“JoJo”) Rosenbaum, 36, and Anthony Huber, 26, were murdered by the white teen fascist Kyle Rittenhouse in Kenosha, Wisconsin in the early morning of Tuesday, August 25th. A big Trump and police fan, Rittenhouse answered the call of a local fascist militia, the “Kenosha Guard,” in response to protests and riots sparked by white Kenosha policeman Rusten Shesky’s savage attempted murder of the young Black man Jacob Blake.
With the chilling approval and support of militarized Kenosha County police, Rittenhouse patrolled Kenosha’s riot zone with a military assault weapon that he was too young to legally own. Rittenhouse shot his first victim, Rosenbaum, five times.
As one friend wrote, Rosenbaum “gave his life to further equality and justice. He didn’t deserve to be slaughtered by the ignorance & hate this incompetent president foments. I’m saddened & sickened by what this country has become.”
When protesters tried to disarm the active shooter, knocking him to the ground, the teen fascist turned and murdered Huber, a skateboarder, in an assault widely viewed on cell phone video. The next day his girlfriend Hannah Gittings fought through tears to tell protesters that “Anthony Huber was an amazing person” who “had nothing but love for this city. That’s we were out here last night. And he took down an armed gunman with nothing but a skateboard.”
“Rittenhouse shot his first victim, Rosenbaum, five times.”
After committing his second homicide of the night, Rittenhouse walked freely past Kenosha County military police with his arms in the air while protesters futilely told the gendarmes that the fascist adolescent had just shot two people.
The police who let Rittenhouse go unmolested and leave town are commanded by David Beth, a vicious, moronic, and white racist-fascist county sheriff who said the following in response to the arrest of Black shoplifting suspects in 2018:
“I’m to the point where I think society has to come to a threshold where there are some people that aren’t worth saving. We need to build warehouses to put these people into it and lock them away for the rest of their lives…. Let’s put them in jail. Let’s stop them from, truly, at least some of these males, going out and getting 10 other women pregnant and having small children. Let’s put them away. At some point, we have to stop being politically correct… These people have to be warehoused, no recreational time in jails. We put them away for the rest of their lives so the rest of us can be better.”
After he was belatedly apprehended and charged with murder, the young terrorist has been defended by no less of a fascist than his very own beloved U.S. president, Donald “White Power” Trump. Rittenhouse has been proclaimed a hero by the nation’s alt-right and much of its mainstream (Republican) right-wing, including Fatherland News anchor and future white nationalist presidential candidate Tucker Carlson. Nazi cultist Anne Coulter tweeted that she wants Rittenhouse as her next president. Amerikaner Trumpenvolk are streaming contributions to the white-nationalist teenybopper’s legal fascist defense fund.
Trump and his fascism-mainstreaming Republican allies bear no small responsibility for Rittenhouse’s crimes Damaged white men and boys like Rittenhouse, Rusten Shesky, Derek Chauvin, Jarret Tonn, Daniel Perry, Aaron Danielson (see below),James Fields (below), Jeremy Joseph Christian (below, Patrick Crusius (below), and Robert Bowers (below) have been egged into violent racist-fascist frenzies by the hateful rhetoric of the president, the now Trumpified/white-nationalist Republican Party (which featured a wealthy white couple who criminally menaced Black Lives Matter protesters in St. Louis at its 2020 national convention) , and neofascist Big Brothers and Big Sisters like Carlson and Coulter. These malevolent terrorists tell armed Trumpenvolk that the Great White Fatherland is under existential assault from Communist “terroists” masquerading as civil and human rights while under the control of evil “outside forces” linked to the supposedly “radical Left” (actually centrist corporate) Democrats.
On his path to infamy, Rittenhouse became a MAGA-boy who travelled from northeastern Illinois to Des Moines, Iowa to hear his Dear Leader speak last January. A CSPAN photo shows Rittenhouse standing in the Trump rally’s front row. The future murderer, set to be tried as an adult, gazed in rapt adoration at the indecent beast who tells police to “take the gloves off” when dealing with Black criminals, who fantasizes about attacking immigrants and protesters with “vicious dogs,” and who is clearly counting on those he calls “my Second Amendment people” to intimidate protesters and keep him in office if voters and (and supposedly “Marxist” [LOL] Democrats) try to “steal” the White House from the Chosen One this year.
Michael Forest Reinoehl: A State-Sanctioned Fascist Execution
Eight days ago, a Federal Fugitive Task Force murdered Michael Forest Reinoehl, suspected of killing a Patriot Prayer -affiliated white-supremacist in Portland, Oregon. The flat-out police- state execution of Reinoehl was meant to send a message: defending Black lives and fighting back against fascist thugs is punishable by death, ordered from the highest level.
Reinoehl was marked for assassination because he used legally protected armed force to prevent the far-right terrorist Arron “Jay” Danielson from murdering one of Reinhoehl’s Black comrades. Danielson was a longtime fascist streetfighter who spent much of his last day violently attacking anti-racist social justice protesters. He was armed with a can of bear mace, a retractable metal baton, and a handgun. His confrontation with Reinoehl occurred as pro-Trump militia members drove (to Trump’s applause) pickup trucks through downtown Portland, shooting paintballs and pepper spray and engaging in fistfights with civil rights and anti-police violence protesters.
The assassination of Reinoehl was rapidly applauded by the white nationalist Attorney General Barr, who absurdly said that the killing of an “admitted Antifa member” was “a significant accomplishment in the ongoing effort to restore law and order.” (There is no membership organization called “Antifa.”).
As the World Socialist Wes Site (WSWS) observes, Barr offered a standard and longstanding fascist police state rationalization for the hit-job:
“…Barr justified Reinoehl’s extrajudicial killing by declaring that he had ‘attempted to escape arrest and produced a firearm.’ This is a well-known formulation that has often been used to justify police assassinations…Such claims have been used to whitewash the killing of political opponents, including the FBI’s efforts to destroy the left-wing Black Panther Party in the 1960s and 1970s…Historian Edward B. Westermann notes that under Germany’s Nazi regime as well as the preceding Weimar Republic, the phrase ‘shot while trying to escape’ was frequently used ‘to describe the killing of the regime’s putative political and racial enemies…’ He explains that ‘in many cases, the phrase normalized the act of murder by providing a veneer of procedural legality that served as both a euphemism and a justification for murder.’”
“The flat-out police- state execution of Reinoehl was meant to send a message: defending Black lives and fighting back against fascist thugs is punishable by death, ordered from the highest level.”
The WSWS elaborates, framing Reinhold’s execution in the streets as part of a broader fascist evolution in the Trump administration’s conduct:
“The murder of Reinoehl occurred the same week that Jeremy Logan, co-chair of the Spokane, Washington, chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America, was kidnapped and placed in an unmarked van, then detained for more than a day by federal agents…. The methods used by the Pinochet dictatorship in Chile—snatch squads, disappearances and extrajudicial murders of political opponents—are appearing in the United States… Reinoehl’s death was a state-sanctioned killing, carried out with the support of the Justice Department and the White House. Just minutes before Reinoehl’s death was announced, President Donald Trump tweeted a demand that the police take action to apprehend Danielson’s killer. ‘Do your job and do it fast. Everybody knows who this thug is,’ Trump declared.”
The Real Terrorists
This fascist crime-boss president, who (as we have just learned) admits that he collaborated with the demented Republican journalist Bob Woodward to deliberately downplay the threat posed by COVID-19 last April, has been smearing peaceful civil rights protesters as Marxist and anarchist “terrorists” who want to “destroy America” and turn the nation into a “socialist Hell.” This is not just fascist dog-whistling. It is a call for far-right bloodshed, something to take very seriously as we head into a certain-to-be contested election that Trump recklessly and absurdly says he “can lose only if it is rigged” – an open incitement to civil war if and when the Electoral College doesn’t go his way. Talk about terrorism!
The real American terrorists are located in the nation’s ever more explicitly fascist right-wing, from the Proud Boys Patriot Prayer, and the Kenosha Guard et al. up through local police, national guard units, FOX News, much of the Republican Party, some sections of the U.S. military, and the president himself. The death count resulting from the racially disparate pandemic that the that genocidal racist Trump has deliberately lied about and fanned from coast to coast will soon pass 200,000. A half million or more Americans, disproportionately poor and non-white will have perished by Inauguration Day (January 20, 2020) next year.
An untold number of Americans have been murdered by Trump-inspired racists and fascists since the neoliberal Weimar Democrats Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton (super-wealthy champions of the Inauthentic Opposition and Fake Resistance) ushered the Orange Malignance into the White House in 2016-17. These earlier victims include two men (Ricky John Best and Taliesin Myrddin Namkai-Meche) killed by a white-supremacist (Jeremy Joseph Christian) for defending two Muslim teenage girls from white-supremacist abuse in Portland, Oregon in May of 2017; Heather Heyer, the young white anti-racist murdered by the white supremacist James Fields in Charlottesville, Virginia on August 12, 2017; the twenty-two people killed by the white racist-nativist Patrick Crusius in El Paso, Texas on August 3, 2019; and the eleven people slaughtered by the white racist-nativist shooter Robert Bowers in a Pittsburgh synagogue of October 2018.
“Less Lethal” Police State Fascism
Many more have been injured and maimed by the white-Amerikaner police-state this summer. As special USA Today report issued nearly one month after the Floyd murder told a disturbing story three weeks into the George Floyd uprising:
In a joint investigation into law enforcement actions at protests across the country after George Floyd’s death in police custody, Kaiser Health News and USA TODAY found that some officers appear to have violated their department’s own rules when they fired “less lethal” projectiles at protesters who were for the most part peacefully assembled.
At least 60 protesters sustained serious head injuries, including a broken jaw, traumatic brain injuries and blindness, based on news reports, interviews with victims and witnesses and a list compiled by Scott Reynhout, a Los Angeles researcher.
Photos and videos posted on social media show protesters with large bruises or deep gashes on the throat, hands, arms, legs, chest, rib cage and stomach, all caused by what law enforcement calls “kinetic impact projectiles” and bystanders call “rubber bullets.”
At least 20 people have suffered severe eye injuries, including seven people who lost an eye, according to the American Academy of Ophthalmology. Photographer Linda Tirado, 37, lost an eye after being hit by a foam projectile in Minneapolis. Brandon Saenz, 26, lost an eye and several teeth after being hit with a “sponge round” in Dallas. Leslie Furcron, 59, was placed in a medically induced coma after she was shot between the eyes with a “bean bag” round in La Mesa, California.
Twenty-seven-year-old Derrick Sanderlin helped defuse a confrontation at a protest in San Jose, California, on May 29. While he was trying to protect a young woman from police, he was hit with a projectile that ruptured a testicle and his doctor said may leave him infertile.
With terms like “foam,” “sponge” and “bean bag,” the projectiles may sound harmless. They’re not.’
Last July11th, one of Trump’s own federal paramilitaries in Portland, Oregon nearly killed a young protester (Donavan La Bella) holding his arms above his head with a “crowd control munition.” The savage shooting fractured the protester’s’ skull and required him to undergo facial reconstruction surgery.
Nine days later, federal agents in the same city shot Lewis and Clark College’s History Department chair Maureen Healy in the head with an “impact munition.” Ms. Healy, 52, was attending a peaceful Black Lives Matter rally. She is an expert on the rise of fascism in 20th Century and Eastern Europe.
#CalvinHorton_Presente! #JamesScurlock_Presente! #DorianMurrel_Presente! #JorgeGomez_Presente! #DavidMcAtee_Presente! #ItaliaMarieKelly_Presente! #SeanMonterossa_Presente! #RobertForbes_Presente! #TylerGerth_Presente! #SummerTaylor_Presente! #GarretFoster_Presente! #AnthonyHuber_Presente! #JosephRosenbaum_Presente! #MichaelForestReinoehl_Presente!
Paul Street’s next book is The Passive Resistance: Obama, Trump, and Politics of Appeasement. It will be released later this summer by CounterPunch Books.