UPDATE: On Tuesday afternoon, organizers of the Black Lives Matter march screamed at white reporters to adhere to a scheme of racial segregation.
“White media get to the back! Black media come to the front!” shouted an organizer with a bullhorn.
The organizer, annoyed that people weren’t immediately adhering to her instructions, began hectoring white journalists who hadn’t complied.
“Excuse me, sir!” she yelled. “Somebody needs to tell this person to get to the back…. Somebody needs to tell these folks to get to the back!”
“We are not afraid to put people out!” the organizer yelled. “White people to the back! Black people to the front!”
See video of the incident below:
BLM activists told white media to get to the back today. pic.twitter.com/r1wyNHwgM0
— Jillian Melchior (@JillianKayM) July 26, 2016
PHILADELPHIA — As the Democratic National Convention’s agenda shifts to gun violence—including the deaths of black men at the hands of police—the tone among many demonstrators in Philadelphia on Tuesday was emphatically hostile to cops.
“This is an anti-police rally,” one local Black Lives Matter activist told a crowd, speaking from a microphone in the back of the pickup truck. At the march, which was called “Black DNC Resistance March Against Police Terrorism & State Repression” and began near Temple University, protestors chanted: “No Justice, No Peace, Take it to the Streets and Fuck the Police.”
One woman, wearing a bandana across her face, held a sign declaring, “Blue Lives AIN’T REAL.” Another demonstrator carried a poster that read, “A violent system will meet a violent demise.”
Meanwhile, cops in the city are on edge. Tonight, the DNC has given a prime slot to Black Lives Matter, featuring the families of seven men slain by police, including the mothers of Eric Garner, Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown.
Notably absent are the families of murdered cops. That imbalance has irked local law enforcement. In a news release last week, the local police union slammed Hillary Clinton for “pander[ing] to the interests of people who do not know all the facts, while the men and women they seek to destroy are out protecting the political institutions of this country.”
Though no officers approached by Heat Street were willing to go on the record, the general sentiment is that the DNC’s embrace of Black Lives Matter has made it tougher for them to do their jobs this week.
Repeated calls to the police union’s president, John McNesby, went unanswered; he’s not ignoring media, insisted several staffers—the police are just unusually busy this week.
As of April, Philadelphia’s Police Commissioner told the City Council he was about 400 officers short and struggling to graduate enough cops to replace those retiring. Law enforcement from all 50 states have come to help maintain order amid as many as 50,000 anticipated protestors.
Martina White, a state representative from a Philadelphia district that represents roughly 2,500 police officers, says it’s fair for law enforcement to feel slighted by the DNC.
“I think they’re upset that they’re being painted with broad strokes,” White said of local police’s response to the DNC’s embrace of Black Lives Matter. She added that on Sunday and Monday, protestors screamed inches from officers’ faces, and they’ve shown restraint.
“To be treated the way they’ve been treated and for them not to have a voice at the convention, I’m sure that’s a disappointment,” White said.
The anger among demonstrators Tuesday wasn’t limited to the police. At the very front of the march, right beside a Black Lives Matter banner, protestors held a sign that said, “Hillary has Blood on Her Hands” and another that said, “Hillary, Delete Yourself.”
One of the march’s organizers told the crowd, “We are here on the eve of the election for two parties who have not stopped police from killing us. … This so-called democracy is nothing but hypocrisy.” Another speaker claimed Democrats had “pimped our vote, pimped our movement.”
Despite demonstrators’ scorching frustration, as of Monday police said they had not arrested anyone, though they issued 55 citations. Most of those went to Bernie Sanders supporters who jumped fences to try to break into the convention center’s secure perimeter.
— Jillian Kay Melchior writes for Heat Street and is a fellow for the Steamboat Institute and the Independent Women’s Forum.