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Black Lives Matter protests continue, despite criticism

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    Demonstrators march through downtown Atlanta to protest the shootings of two black men by police officers, Friday, July 8, 2016.

The Black Lives Matter movement isn’t backing down, despite concerns about a backlash after the killings of five police officers by a black sniper in Dallas.

Organizers quickly repudiated violence against police, but also said they understand the frustration that led to Thursday’s shootings.

“Black Lives Matter doesn’t condone shooting law enforcement,” said actor and model Sir Maejor, an organizer with the movement in Atlanta. “But I have to be honest: I understand why it was done. I don’t encourage it, I don’t condone it, I don’t justify it. But I understand it.”

Dallas Police Chief David Brown said that before he was killed, the gunman told a negotiator he had acted on his own, and was “upset about Black Lives Matter.”

“He said he was upset about the recent police shootings. The suspect said he was upset at white people. The suspect stated that he wanted to kill white people, especially white officers,” the chief said.

Police have not indicated whether the shooter had any involvement with Black Lives Matter, but the killings have put the movement under a microscope.

“This is a devastating time for us as activists and organizers. We cannot bring about justice through violence,” said Jeff Hood, a pastor in Dallas who said he heard the shots and saw officers fall after Thursday night’s rally.

The youthful organizers seem determined to keep up their pressure with angry marches, waving off criticism from some that they bear responsibility for the killings.

Many others — including such civil rights icons as U.S. Rep Congressman John Lewis — say the protests must remain peaceful to achieve justice.

“I was beaten bloody by police officers. But I never hated them. I said, ‘Thank you for your service,’” Lewis tweeted Friday.

That comment prompted scornful responses by some African-Americans, who seek a more combative approach despite the backlash.

In Philadelphia, activists intend to channel that anger into a “Weekend of Rage.”

“Everyone is not going to be on our side, but those who understand will join in the struggle and help educate the masses. We are hurting. We are tired. We are fed up,” said Erica Mines of the Philly Coalition for REAL Justice.

Black Lives Matter began in 2013 after black teenager Trayvon Martin was shot to death in Florida by one-time community watch volunteer George Zimmerman, who was later acquitted.

The movement has grown as fatal shootings of blacks by police officers are increasingly recorded and shared on social media, sometimes as confrontations are still unfolding.

After this week, are activists concerned about their safety? Of course, says Black Lives Matter Philly organizer Laniece Williams.

“If the whole country seemed hell-bent on discrediting your organization and movement because we dare to demand that Black Lives Matter, and the media perpetuates the hate group rhetoric, would you or would you not be a little on edge?”

“However, we will not be stifled or stopped,” she said. “We continue our efforts to bring about a better world for all of us.”

A Texas organizer of Black Lives Matter, Ashton P. Woods, said the repeated shootings by police are pushing some unstable people over the edge.

“That does something to the human psyche. I don’t care what color or ethnicity you are,” he said. “We could say the same things about white hate groups that inspire xenophobia or hatred against Muslims.”

“We can’t really focus on whether people are going to cast us as a hate group when we are working to dismantle hate,” Woods said.


Reeves reported from Birmingham, Alabama. Haines Whack contributed from Philadelphia.

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        • The answer is simple: The violence, blacks killing blacks, is acceptable to BLM. If not, certainly there would be BLM protests. After all, it is blacks who are dying in South Chicago.

      • All people are capable of lies. Not just whites. Hawaiians are admitting their own illegal seizure of Hawaii from the Marquesans was wrong as was their enslaving the population here and illegal seizing of their land. No hon, all people can do better than they have.

      • Thanks to the cell phone. Does anyone believe these incidents didn’t happen prior to the cell phone? I hope those days are gone but they will only be gone if police violence is challenged and not accepted as only by a few bad apples.

        • Exactly!! Add social media and what do you have? The ability for the public to see what’s been going on for decades, if not centuries.

  • BLM has stressed from the outset that it’s not a nationally organized or led movement — groups spring up locally and are controlled locally. Blacks in different cities and regions have had different experiences with structural racism. Thus it’s entirely predictable that each local group will have its own focus and its own style of addressing its own set of local issues. Put simply, some will be more aggressive than others.

    Critics of BLM really don’t have much to stand on in this instance. The Dallas protest wasn’t specifically a BLM action — many groups were involved and it was jointly coordinated and led. There’s no indication that the shooter had anything to do with BLM or was anything but a lone wolf. That some would try to make BLM the scapegoat in the deaths of the Dallas cops is hardly surprising, but it’s not supported by the facts.

    While not minimizing the Dallas tragedy in the slightest, I agree with black activists that the pressure should continue, despite the possibility of backlash. Black activists didn’t back down in 1957 when they faced an angry white mob in front of Little Rock’s Central High School. Black activists regrouped in 1965 after being beaten, bitten and fire-hosed on Bloody Sunday at the Pettis Bridge in Selma — they came back in greater numbers and defeated the local powers of racism.

    It seems we’re at yet another mile marker in the long journey to equality. And that means it’s time to stand firm for justice at whatever cost.

  • What a mess Loretta Lynch and Obama got us into. We have to defend ourselves against blacks, radical Islam, illegal immigrants, ISIS, Syrian and Somali radicals, violence, democrats, racism, sexism, drug dealers, homelessness, joblessness, racial prejudice etc.
    And don’t blame Trump. All this started 71/2 years ago.

    • You forgot automobile crashes, cancer, heart attacks, suicides, homicides, assaults, sharks, buffaloes, child molesters, republicans, independents, libertarians, Chinese, Samoans, bad Indian curry, counterfeit Amazon goods, people who don’t use deodorant, and of course crazy people on the internet. Let’s just blame this all on Obama and Lynch. I’m sure whoever’s elected next will make the world a lot better place. Better yet wish we can turn back time to World War II when 70 million people died. At least I wouldn’t have to listen to uninformed whiners on the internet like yourself.

    • lol, where have you been during the past 50 years? Have you just came out of the Twilight Zone? Fact is Radical Islam has been around for a lot longer than 7.5 years. Have you forgotten 9/11? Have you forgotten Uncle Ron freeing fundamental Islam by destroying the old Soviet union? Please don’t forget that Bin Laden started out as an alley.

    • Of course they do, but there isn’t a history in this country of people killing those in blue and getting away with it. That’s the whole point of BLM. They want people to be responsible for their actions but people like you twist it by repeating the same regurgitated phrases without any context.

      • What concerns me the most right now (with respect to US) is that the events of the last few days (rash of police shooting) and the destructive turn and revengeful killings the protesters are taking; and on a greater country wide level. Should it continue to escalate I fear that this is playing right into BO’s hands with respect to some form of martial law. Also given that the DOJ has invited the UN “peace keepers” to partner with the cities it is once again right up there with BO’s agenda to give up US sovereignty piece by piece. He refuses to address the real issues and he as well as his co-conspirators such as Al S. continue to stoke the flame to demonize ALL police personnel. Just my speculation.

        • SO you’re saying BO wants to implement some form of martial law? I think you’re picking and choosing when you imply that BO wants to give up US sovereignty. How about the escalation of the “war on terror”? The killing of Bin Laden? Is that giving up US sovereignty? As far as the racial issues in the US, they were always there. It’s just that BO, being the first black president, started addressing them like no other president has before. Although I think the BLM movement is generally a good thing, I will say they’ll gain a lot more credibility if they do put more focus on other issues facing the black community, such as absent fathers, a culture of criminality, joblessness, etc., rather than mainly focusing on police brutality.

          While police brutality against blacks is a major, serious issue, it’s by far not the only issue that needs to be addressed, so maybe we can agree on that point.

  • Let’s see! Obama was elected in 2008, right lespark? Blacks came to America in chains before the U.S Constitution. Racism? The Ku Klux Klan organized in 1866. Isis exists since Bush’s invasion of Iraq. Syria’s Civil War began in 1961. Somali’s in 1991. Modern Day Democrats organized in the 1880’s, and sexism? Remember Susan B. Anthony and the Suffrage Movement? Illegal immigrants have been in America since 1492 and in Hawai’i since 1778. Drug dealers have been around before the Great Wall of China, and homelessness since Cain was evicted from the “Garden of Eden.” So, how is Obama responsible?

    • Black lives matter is black, he is black, his AG is black, revival of the name Black Panthers, Race relationship is at an all time low, at least the perception…. You got the opposing party that appears to be racist and he has a large following. Perception, lies, leaders with no credibility , people willing to follow these lies, if the shoe fits….. Regarding race. Add instant gratification or expectations to the mix.

    • Barry has dissed Hawaii by calling Chicago his home and has done more to divide this country than any other President. At least Nixon brought the country together against his Presidency.

      • Imagine if the press were as objective with Clinton as it was with Nixon. If it were, she would NOT be on the political landscape right now.

    • People like lespark like to spew their nonsense based on what others say without any research whatsoever. Regurgitating what others have said makes them feel intelligent and in tune with popular opinion. Facts mean nothing to people like that. It’s all about what’s trending.

  • If Black Lives matter really wanted to stop the killing of so many black people… they should protest in front of Abortion Clinics.

  • BLM is a racist organization akin to the KKK. While the point that too many black people are killed when interacting with law enforcement, it fails to address the black-on-black crime epidemic while implying that only black lives matter exclusively. What about brown, red, yellow and rainbow lives? Don’t they matter as well? BLM is just another sham meant to keep the brothers down!

  • I don’t condone violence but I can understand why the black lives matter protests are being done. these protests are a culmination of killing of black people by police over the past several years, not just the past two killings. this is frustration showing. statistics prove that blacks usually get the bad end of the stick when being stopped or arrested for some incident. they are dealt more severely than if the person were white. I believe that both sides are at fault and there is a need for more training of the police on how to handle potential explosive situations better. further, civilians should be educated that if stopped for any reason, valid or not, resisting arrest is not the answer, as they will be afforded the opportunity to defend themselves. but there are exceptions in every situation – vast majority of cops are good and vast majority of civilians stopped comply – it is these exceptions on both sides that causes problem – hot headed cops and civilians.

  • All lives matter. Stop having hidden agendas and doing suspicious things in the public. We ALL need to treat everyone like we want to be treated.

  • The problem with Black Lives Matter and similar mobs is that their reaction to alleged police brutality is always knee-jerk – immediate, unthinking and emotional. The react immediately and get the facts later which often times are contrary to initial reports such as in the Michael Brown case in Ferguson, Missouri, Eric Garner in New York, and Freddie Brown in Baltimore. By the time the investigations are competed and the truth is known, the damage caused by protestors already has been done. While BLM and other mobs may think they are advocating for justice, they do more harm than good.

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