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By Shakthi Jothianandan

In an interview with Baller Alert, Vice Presidential candidate Senator Kamala Harris detailed her plans for “rooting out the systemic racism that still exists throughout our criminal justice system,” fixing the economy and her vision for racial justice in America.

When asked about the criticisms of her prosecutorial record, she says “I decided to go into a system that I knew was flawed to help bring about change and reform from within.” Her priorities for fixing the system include ending cash bail, private prisons, and mandatory minimums as well as “decriminalizing the use of marijuana, expunging convictions, and making sure no one is put behind bars just because they’ve used drugs.”

Harris went on to cite the economy as the most pressing issue a Biden-Harris administration faces second to the coronavirus pandemic, and noted the hit communities of color have taken in the wake of the Covid-19.

As for her and Biden’s broader agenda around racial justice in a fraught nation, Harris says “our country has been experiencing a long overdue reckoning on racial injustice.” Harris cites black maternal and reproductive care, the disproportionate effect climate change has had on BIPOC communities, and building black wealth as just a few of the areas that need to be addressed in tackling the far-reaching structural racist norms and institutions that perpetuate inequality and racism in the United States.

What do you have to say to members of the Black community who question your record as District Attorney?

I decided to go into a system that I knew was flawed to help bring about change and reform from within. I was the first Black woman elected DA in the state of California, and I used my position to create “Back on Track,” one of the first reentry initiatives in our country focused on getting young men — and particularly young Black men — out of the criminal justice system and into jobs and job training and education.

Whether it was my time as DA or as the first Black woman to lead America’s second largest Department of Justice as California Attorney General, or my time as U.S. Senator, I’ve spent my career fighting to ensure our country lives up to our ideals of equity, justice, and inclusion.

And if Joe and I are elected, we will continue to work towards those ideals in the White House by rooting out the systemic racism that still exists throughout our criminal justice system. Joe and I are committed to doing the work. That means ending cash bail, private prisons, and mandatory minimums. It means decriminalizing the use of marijuana, expunging convictions, and making sure no one is put behind bars just because they’ve used drugs. It means banning chokeholds and carotid holds, establishing a national use-of-force standard, putting in place a national police oversight commission that holds cities accountable, and so much more.

We know that we can reduce crime and build a more just criminal justice system at the same time. But we can’t do it alone. We need your help–and we need your vote.

Other than the pandemic, what is the most pressing issue facing this country or should be the first issue that their administration should focus on and tackle if/when they’re in office?

If Joe and I have the honor of serving in the White House, our first order of business will be containing this pandemic. Donald Trump’s failure to get this virus under control has cost more than 229,000 lives—with the suffering hitting communities of color hardest. And his failure to contain the virus has also led to the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression—a crisis that has also had a disproportionate impact on communities of color. Roughly 1 in 5 Black adults are hungry in our country, one in four Black renters have fallen behind on rent, and a staggering 40% of Black-owned businesses have had to shut down even as few Black-owned businesses benefited from the $2 trillion relief package Congress passed in April.

That is outrageous and unacceptable–and Joe and I will build our economy back better so it works for everyone. We’ll expand access to $150 billion in low-interest loans and new capital to communities that need them. We’ll provide funding for Community Development Financial Institutions in underserved communities. We’ll offer a $15,000 down payment tax credit for first-time homebuyers. We’ll encourage more lenders to provide loans to Black and Brown businesses. And we will embed racial equity across our economic agenda. But we can’t do any of that without your help, which is why we need you to vote in numbers no one has ever seen before.

What does racial justice look like to you and what do you think is the most effective path for us to get there?

Our country has been experiencing a long overdue reckoning on racial injustice. And if we’re serious about advancing justice and equality for all, we not only need to root out the systemic racism that still exists in our courtrooms, prisons, neighborhoods, and throughout our criminal justice system, we also need todeal with the structural racism that affects every aspect of our lives. That includes the disparities in health and health care that have made Black communities more vulnerable to the coronavirus. It includes disparities in reproductive care that leave Black women are 3 to 4 times more likely to die in childbirth. It includes dealing with the effects of climate change that disproportionately harm Black, Brown and Indigenous communities. It means making sure that Black students get a great education and can afford to go to college, Black entrepreneurs have access to capital to start a new business, and Black families can build wealth. The good news is we have seen people of every race, age, and background standing up for racial justice, saying Black Lives Matter. And if Joe and I are elected, America will have leaders in the White House who will stand up for racial justice alongside you.




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American Flag Jacket Wearing Insurrectionist Seen Assaulting Officers With Fire Extinguisher Identified

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In a bright American flag jacket, the man seen assaulting police officers with a fire extinguisher during the U.S. Capitol Riots has been identified as 53-year-old Robert Scott Palmer.

The Huffington Post reports that Palmer can be seen on camera spraying officers with a fire extinguisher and then throwing the empty canister at them. The outlet spoke to the Florida husband and father, who complained that Capitol police hit him with crowd control munition. There is footage of him as he showed off the bruises he received to a female journalist during the riots, identifying himself as Robert Palmer from Clearwater, Florida.

Speaking with the outlet, he lamented that he didn’t do anything wrong that the Biden administration is attempting to “vilify the patriots” who participated in the riot.

“I’m just going about it and letting them make the mistakes that they want and ruin the country as they want, and I’m just trying to live my life right now,” he told HuffPost, and “wasn’t anything I had made special — [I] just bought it in a store.”

“I’m just going to just leave it like that. I’m not getting myself any — not deeper, ’cause I didn’t do anything wrong — but I’m not involving myself anymore,” Palmer said before hanging up when asked about the fire extinguisher.

Palmer has a criminal record, which includes being sentenced on battery and felony fraud charges.

HuffPost was able to identify Palmer from a tip received from a woman who is a member of an online sleuth community. While quarantining with COVID-19, the woman, only identified as “Amy,” decided to use some of her free time to track down Capitol rioters. She worked with a group called @capitolhunters to pore over video and photographs.

The FBI is still tracking down insurrectionists who took part in the riots on January 6 over Donald Trump’s claims of widespread voter fraud in the Presidential Election. They are asking for the public’s help in identifying suspects who were involved in the riot.




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Mom Accused Of Keeping 7-Year-Old Home From School Due To Earache Before Killing Him

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A Georgia mother allegedly killed her 7-year-old son after telling her husband that he was staying home from school due to an earache.

Alison Jones, 36, a mother from Georgia, was charged on Monday for the murder of her son Maddox, the Athens-Banner Herald reported.

Jones fatally shot the young boy while he was lying in bed, PEOPLE reported.

The mother also faces aggravated assault charges for using the semi-automatic handgun to shoot at her husband, Douglas Jones. He was unharmed.

Authorities were called to the family’s home around 7:20 am on Monday after Douglas made a call to 911 to say his wife had shot their son and assaulted him, Morgan County Sheriff Robert Markley stated.

Douglas told authorities that his wife informed him that morning that their child was sick and would stay home from school. Around an hour later, he heard a gunshot. He ran to Maddox’s bedroom, and that is when Alison turned the gun on him.

Douglas was able to disarm his wife, who then fled the scene.

The killing resulted from an hours-long fight between the two. However, police have yet to disclose a motive. Alison has yet to talk to the police about what transpired that morning.

Maddox was a second-grade student at Morgan County Primary School.

“We are deeply saddened by the loss of Maddox Jones, one of our primary school students,” reads a statement from Dr. Virgil Cole, superintendent of the Morgan County Charter School System.

“Maddox was a beloved member of our school community and we will miss him tremendously,” the statement continues. “The school district is mourning this tragic loss along with the family, our staff and community. Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers during this terribly difficult time.”

Jones has yet to enter pleas to the charges against her and remains in custody.




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NY Times Columnist Calls Out Pepé Le Pew For Perpetuating Rape Culture

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In keeping up with an ever-changing world, another childhood fave is being called out for problematic messaging.

Last week it was legendary children’s author, Dr. Seuss, for his work’s racist depictions of black and brown people. This week, in a NY Times Op-Ed article, a writer calls out some Looney Tunes cartoon characters. Most specifically, “Pepé Le Pew” for perpetuating rape culture.

According to TMZ, columnist Charles M. Blow wrote a thought-provoking op-ed piece titled “Six Seuss Books Bore a Bias” that highlights how deeply embedded racism is in American pop culture and points out just how early racist themes are fed to young children.

“Some of the first cartoons I can remember included Pepé Le Pew, who normalized rape culture; Speedy Gonzales, whose friends helped popularize the corrosive stereotype of the drunk and lethargic Mexicans; and Mammy Two Shoes, a heavyset Black maid who spoke in a heavy accent,” Blow wrote.

He maintained that the French skunk, who incessantly pursued Penelope Pussycat, time after time, normalized and perpetuated rape culture, and after some readers attacked his points, he took to Twitter with an example of Le Pew’s now-cringe-worthy, problematic behavior.

“RW blogs are mad bc I said Pepe Le Pew added to rape culture. Let’s see. 1. He grabs/kisses a girl/stranger repeatedly, w/o consent and against her will. 2. She struggles mightily to get away from him, but he won’t release her 3. He locks a door to prevent her from escaping.” It’s true … Penelope Pussycat was often in Pepe’s clutches,” Blow tweeted.

“This helped teach boys that “no” didn’t really mean no, that it was a part of “the game,” the starting line of a power struggle. It taught overcoming a woman’s strenuous, even physical objections, was normal, adorable, funny. They didn’t even give the woman the ability to SPEAK,” he explained.

Does he have a point?




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