Patriots or vigilantes? Off Grid Armory’s Facebook posts during Bemidji’s curfew sound residents’ alarm bells

Part 3 in a series on Bemidji’s May 30-31 evening curfews and the community fallout

In late May, Bemidji law enforcement had what it believed were credible threats that violent left-wing extremists were coming to burn the city. While that threat never materialized, the city had to contend with people associated with an area gun shop volunteering to help law enforcement “protect” the town.

When citizens learned the next day about the gun shop group’s presence, it made some feel less safe.

Continue reading

Court OK’s federal law enforcement officers assaulting journalists and observers in Portland protests

A three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals “has just stripped away the protections granted to journalists and legal observers covering ongoing protests against racism in Portland, Oregon,” according to the website Techdirt.com.

Last month, U.S. District Judge Michael Simon issued a restraining order barring federal officers deployed to Portland “from using physical force, arresting or dispersing anyone they should ‘reasonably know’ is at the protests as a journalist or observer — unless the officers had probable cause to suspect the person had committed a crime,” reported the website OPB.

The Ninth Circuit panel stayed Judge Simon’s restraining order, “finding that a blanket order protecting journalists and observers from being assaulted makes things too tough for federal cops,” according to Techdirt’s analysis.

The case now goes to the full Ninth District Court of Appeals. Continue reading

Will Biden and Trump denounce the Boston Tea Party?

In an earlier post, I offered the question I would most like to ask in the upcoming presidential debates. If I got a second one, it would be this: “You both have denounced the recent street violence that erupted following the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisc. Do you therefore also denounce the violence and property destruction of John Adams, Paul Revere, John Hancock and the other organizers of the Boston Tea Party? Continue reading

News: David Smith’s death 10 years ago echoes George Floyd’s; key PolyMet decision expected Thursday, and more

In this blog:

  • Washington Post: How Minneapolis police handled the in-custody death of a Black man 10 years before George Floyd
  • WaterLegacy: Key PolyMet decision expected this Thursday, Sept. 3
  • The Intercept: Trump Supporters Rush to Defend One of Their Own Who Killed Protesters in Kenosha
  • The Koncow Maidu’s Trail of Tears in California

Continue reading

White supremacists stoke fears, escalate conflicts, spark vigilante action

Part I in a series

Source: Google map.

In the small northern Minnesota town of Bemidji, population 15,404, concerns spread among civic leaders in late May that violent activists from outside the area were coming to burn their city.

This was just days after George Floyd’s brutal murder at the hands of Minneapolis Police. Protests and uprisings were happening in large urban areas across the country.

Beltrami County Sheriff Ernie Beitel said that his office had received information that buses “filled with protestors were headed to Bemidji,” according to the Duluth News Tribune, “… extremist organizations planned to infiltrate the peaceful protests … including starting fires.”

Bemidji Mayor Rita Albrecht imposed evening curfews for the weekend of May 30 and 31.

Bemidji had good reason to worry — not about phantom arsonists but white supremacists escalating fear and tension. Continue reading

People occupying George Floyd Square issue demands for justice before 38th and Chicago reopens

June 7: Memorial at East 38th Street and Chicago Avenue.

Issue will come to a head in the next two week

Group says protests will expand if demands not met

People are pushing back on the city of Minneapolis’s efforts to reopen the intersection of East 38th Street and Chicago Avenue, the site where police killed George Floyd, a black man, on May 25.

A group called Meet in the Streets has issued a five-page “Justice Resolution” to the city of Minneapolis, Hennepin County, and the state of Minnesota, listing 24 actions that they need to meet before the group will stop occupying “George Floyd Square.”

The demands are substantial — including the recall of Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman for “abdicating his responsibility to prosecute white police officers who have murdered Black civilians.”

Continue reading