Saturday News: NC's culture of racism


BLACK HENDERSONVILLE HOSPITAL EMPLOYEE THREATENED WITH "50 LASHINGS": When Jackson wore her hair naturally to the office, the complaint says a white colleague asked her “oh my god why would you wear your hair like that?” “God made me this way,” Jackson reportedly responded. Jackson told her supervisor, but she said nothing was done about it. Instead, on two separate occasions, her supervisor threatened her with “50 lashings” if she didn’t perform her job duties as mail room manager correctly, the lawsuit said. When Jackson told the company’s CEO, the complaint alleges her supervisor began retaliating against her by rifling through her belongings “looking for something to try and accuse plaintiff of wrongdoing.” Jackson is seeking a jury trial, compensatory and punitive damages and attorney’s fees.

WHITE COP WHO TACKLED BLACK TEENAGE GIRL IN NOVEMBER "TEMPORARILY REASSIGNED": Police in the North Carolina city of Winston-Salem are still investigating a months-old incident in which a white police officer is seen tackling a Black teenage girl. The Winston-Salem Journal reported Thursday that the department’s Professional Standards Division is conducting an internal investigation. Cellphone video shows officer Zacharie K. Jones tackling and detaining Shakayla Davis-Sides in early November. She was 15 at the time and among a group of teens stopped by police as they investigated a break-in. Police Chief Catrina Thompson held a news conference in mid November and asked people to be patient while police conduct an internal investigation. The incident was condemned by local community groups and some city officials. For instance, the Ministers Conference of Winston-Salem and Vicinity said it was a “major issue of police brutality.”

GOVERNOR COOPER TO SEND ADDITIONAL 100 NATIONAL GUARD TO DC: Another 100 North Carolina National Guard members are going to Washington to help with security leading up to President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration next week, Gov. Roy Cooper's office said Friday. Cooper had already announced 200 guard members would be heading to the nation's capital to help government authorities there in light of last week's mob attack at the U.S. Capitol. Cooper spokesperson Ford Porter confirmed the additional mobilizations. The National Guard Bureau in Washington requested the additional personnel, North Carolina Guard Lt. Col. Matt DeVivo said in an email. All 300 guard members — serving in military police, engineering and armored brigade units based in Asheville, Clinton and Raeford — should be in place by Monday, DeVivo said. At least 21,000 National Guard troops from across the U.S. have agreed to assist with security in Washington for Wednesday's inauguration.

THE "DE-PLATFORMING" OF WHITE SUPREMACISTS HAS MADE IT HARDER TO TRACK THEM: Right-wing groups on chat apps like Telegram are swelling with new members after Parler disappeared and a backlash against Facebook and Twitter, making it harder for law enforcement to track where the next attack could come from. After the attack on the U.S. Capitol last week, major tech companies clamped down on right-wing extremists, kicking thousands of conspiracy theory accounts off Twitter and shutting down the social network Parler. But those conversations usually took place in the open on well-documented, public-facing channels. Now, conversations about potential attacks and protests around Inauguration Day are taking place on a wide mix of public and private feeds and chats on Dubai-based Telegram and other services like MeWe, according to law enforcement officials and extremism researchers. “One of the advantages that we had when those fringe groups were available and communicating in the open, with Facebook, Twitter and Parler, is that it was an open source way to track the flow of protest interest,” said Sgt. Nick Street, a public information officer for the Utah Highway Patrol, which provides security for the state Capitol in Salt Lake City. “That was like a nice slow-pitch softball. It was easy to see coming and easy to make contact with.” Telegram has long been a gathering place for right-wing groups. The company has generally been resistant to taking down content from its app. In the past, it was used heavily by Islamic State supporters before European police worked with the company to take down accounts associated with the terror group. Right wing groups have operated freely until this week, when Telegram took down several well-known public groups filled with racist posts. But many others remain publicly available, and new members are joining.

GEORGIA PROSECUTORS MAY USE GRAND JURY TO INDICT TRUMP OVER THREATENING PHONE CALL: The new Fulton County district attorney, Fani Willis, is already weighing whether to proceed, and among the options she is considering is the hiring of a special assistant from outside to oversee the investigation, according to people familiar with her office’s deliberations. Some veteran Georgia prosecutors said they believed Mr. Trump had clearly violated state law. “If you took the fact out that he is the president of the United States and look at the conduct of the call, it tracks the communication you might see in any drug case or organized crime case,” said Michael J. Moore, the former United States attorney for the Middle District of Georgia. “It’s full of threatening undertone and strong-arm tactics.” He said he believed there had been “a clear attempt to influence the conduct of the secretary of state, and to commit election fraud, or to solicit the commission of election fraud.” Mr. Banzhaf and other legal experts say Mr. Trump’s calls may run afoul of at least three state criminal laws. One is criminal solicitation to commit election fraud, which can be either a felony or a misdemeanor. There is also a related conspiracy charge, which can be prosecuted either as a misdemeanor or a felony. A third law, a misdemeanor offense, bars “intentional interference” with another person’s “performance of election duties.” “My feeling based on listening to the phone call is that they probably will see if they can get it past a grand jury,” said Joshua Morrison, a former senior assistant district attorney in Fulton County who once worked closely with Ms. Willis. “It seems clearly there was a crime committed.”



I was wondering when that shoe would drop

Not so sure using a grand jury is the best approach, though. I mean, it doesn't have to be unanimous to produce an indictment, and Fulton County is definitely not Trump territory. But the folks sitting on that grand jury will likely be (deeply) concerned about being targeted by Trump supporters. That fear may swing enough votes to scuttle the indictment.