This week, as the election approaches there are significant concerns about voter intimidation and misinformation campaigns, the city of Eugene, Oregon settled a civil rights case brought by a journalist injured by police while covering protests, census experts pushed Congress to extend the Census Bureau’s deadline, protesters in Illinois called for an investigation into the police killing of Marcellis Stinnette, and a report found that white supremacist groups were responsible for 67% of terrorist plots and attacks in the US so far in 2020.
The city of Eugene, Oregon settled a civil rights case brought by a journalist who police deployed weapons at while he was covering protests in May. Harry Houston, a writer for the Eugene Weekly, identified himself as a journalist several times, but the police threw an explosive gas canister and shot pepper balls at him. Though Houston sought policy changes around police treatment of journalists in addition to monetary damages, the city ended up settling for an undisclosed sum of money. (NPR).
Civil rights leaders and census experts held a press conference urging Congress to pass a 120-day extension to the Census Bureau’s statutory deadline for its data. Speakers warned that a failure to do so risked undercounting minority communities and yielding inaccurate results. (Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights).
Report finds that far-right groups are behind the majority of terrorist attacks in the United States. The Center for Strategic and International Studies found that 67% of terrorist plots and attacks in the first eight months of 2020 came from white supremacist groups, while far-left groups accounted for 20%. The think tank found that many threats of violence were linked to mass protests and demonstrations across the country this year. (NY Times).
Disinformation designed to mislead or intimidate voters is rampant this year. These efforts include robocalls to minority voters in Michigan, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Illinois, and New York claiming that voting by mail is dangerous, as well as emails to Democrats in Florida and Alaska made to appear to come from the Proud Boys directing them to vote for Trump “or we will come after you.” (NPR).
Protesters in Waukegan, Illinois are calling for a federal investigation into the police killing of Marcellis Stinnette, a 19-year-old black man. Police say an officer started firing at the car during a traffic stop when it appeared that the car was reversing towards the officer approaching it. No firearm was recovered from the vehicle. (NPR).
Voting advocates are taking measures to stave off voter intimidation at the polls. In New York City, Mayor Bill DeBlasio announced that hundreds of civilians will be disseminated across the city to report instances of voter intimidation. The Ohio League of Women Voters has started training “peacekeeper teams” of clergy and social workers to de-escalate tensions that arise at the polls. Federal and state law enforcement are also preparing for potential violence at voting sites. (AP).
Independent audit finds that racial disparities in LAPD traffic stops stemmed from police strategy of using random traffic stops to suppress crime. Black and Latinx drivers were more often subjected to traffic stops but less likely to be caught with contraband. The study also found that LAPD officers failed to document many stops, and were more likely to subject Black and Latinx drivers to extensive questioning about their background and handcuffing. The LAPD has said that it will scale back on its use of random traffic stops. (LA Times).