Widespread Memorial Day Black Violence Ignored by National Media
Black Beach Week used to get all the glory: Every Memorial Day weekend, 300,000 black people gathered in Miami Beach to get their freak on. And also create a tsunami of violence, robbery, shootings, carjackings, vandalism, mayhem, noise and trash.
But this year, many party-goers complained that Black Beach Week -- only reporters call it “Urban Beach Week” -- just wasn’t as much fun any more: Too many cops, tactical vehicles, helicopters, lights, towers, cameras, suspicion. Not enough chaos.
Not to worry: The rest of the country picked up the slack. Black mob violence over the holiday weekend was reported in more than a dozen cities around the country. Some fatal. Some comical, almost.
Let’s take a tour, starting with Cincinnati: Four days after scattered reports of black mob violence during the Memorial Day Taste of Cincinnati, local police and media are just now starting to figure out how bad it was.
“General mayhem,” said one police Captain. One of the first victims was the son of the local district attorney. He and his girlfriend were helping his sister back her car out of tight parking space when a group of black people punched him, knocked him to the ground and kicked him. He has a concussion. When his girl friend suggested that was not a good idea, they beat her too.
Police caught the aftermath on video.
The local CBS affiliate was the first to get the inkling something was wrong, very wrong. They started reporting Wednesday night that the DA’s son was just the tip of the iceberg: “There were other victims that night. David Manz was catching a bus near the courthouse to get to his night shift at Dunkin Donuts. He says about 20 black teenage girls attacked him and were in on the punching, kicking and stomping. He suffered bruises, scrapes and broken ribs.”
A member of a gay country western dance group reported that members of his club were also victims of racial violence. “Three of our CRW friends were also attacked and assaulted on Sunday May 25th 2014 @ 10:00 PM.,” said Tim of the Cincinnati Rivertown Wranglers. “They were jumped and thrown out into the street at Central Pkwy and Walnut. The violence against them was also unprovoked and seemed to be racially motivated as the black teenagers were selecting white victims as people passed by.”
But black mob violence was just getting started then. Before it was over, there would be a shooting, robbings, numerous assaults and even “teens” throwing rocks at police.
Curiously, the station that first reported the racial violence did not want much to do with the story: “By most accounts, it was a successful weekend for the city of Cincinnati,” said the CBS affiliate news anchor, introducing the first report of the chaos.
Other than that, the play was just fine, Mrs. Lincoln.
We could linger on Cincinnati, with lots more details of racial violence over the Memorial Day weekend. But we have a lot more to cover. Before we move on, let’s just say this: The most difficult part of reporting racial violence in Cincinnati -- and lots of other places -- is looking into the camera and trying to pretend this is not a regular feature of life there. Because it is.
Next stop Chicago. There the popular police blog, Second City Cop, is reporting black mob violence all over the city’s downtown over the weekend.
“If anyone listened to zone 4 last night they would have heard that the boyfriend of a young couple was hospitalized after getting the shit beat out of him at Van Buren and State by a couple ‘urban’ youths,” reported the blog. “That multiple car and store windows on North Michigan Ave were smashed by ‘urban youths’. That there was a massive fight between ‘urban youths’ on the Red Line platform at State and Lake that shut down the line. That there were multiple thefts of purses, laptops, phones, etc. by groups of "urban youths" celebrating the holiday.”
Other cops chimed in with more examples of black mob violence during the Memorial Day holiday.
“Coppers are pissed there was no reporting in the local press” said one Chicago officer via email. “You ask coppers on the Gold Coast. They see black mobs roaming downtown Michigan Avenue without any money. No real reason to be there but to strictly rob, beat and hurt random Whiteys.”
Steve Chapman is an editor at the Chicago Tribune who does not like it when people like Second City Cop complain his paper “embargoes” news about about racial violence. “Why do you care so much about the attackers’ race?” he wrote. “If you fear or dislike blacks, I suppose it would confirm your prejudice. But otherwise, it tells you nothing useful.”
Now you know.
Next stop: Cleveland. Some local media reported that 200 people were celebrating at a block party. But the real story is that the 200 black people were in a “massive” fight that took 30 police officers to quell. But not before three people were shot, one fatally.
Insert here all the requisite promises from local activists that this will never happen again -- as long as they get more programs.
For a good chunk of Middle America, Memorial Day means the Indy 500 -- the world’s largest sporting event. It also used to be the safest, until this weekend when one person died and others were hurt in several cases of black mob violence.
Racial violence is a regular feature of life in Indianapolis. From the Indiana Black Expo every summer, to regular groups of black people rampaging through downtown and suburban shopping malls, dozens of videos leave little doubt of that.
There is also little doubt that the local newspaper is loathe to cover it -- other than to call it random and pretend that the mob violence is somehow not limited to one racial group. A former editor at the Indianapolis Star said as much last year in an article he wrote for the Society of Professional Journalists magazine about how to cover racial crime: Don’t.
But the Indy 500 was largely separated from that, until this year. The event itself was unremarkable. But in the two days leading up to the race, black mob violence broke out in the parking lots where fans camp and gather for the race.
One person was shot and killed. Others were beaten and robbed. One woman described the scene of the killing as fights all over -- the “most dangerous” thing she had ever seen in her entire life.
“It’s the same idiots who cause all the trouble downtown and at the malls,” said one cop via email.
One local lawyer belled the cat on racial violence in this once bucolic city: “Indianapolis, you have a problem,” said Abdul Hakim-Shabazz, writing in Indiana Barrister magazine. “Your problem is young black men who are out of control.”
Let’s head on down to Memphis for some more holiday violence. No one knows why Tequila Benton stabbed Steven Wright to death. But after it happened, a large fight broke out, and WREG caught the entire melee on camera.
No one else died in this rolling riot. Though a grey haired grandmother did get knocked down. But at least one person said they were fighting because they were not happy the police did not stop the earlier killing.
In Baltimore, they know the drill: Minimize any discussion of frequent episodes of black mob violence in and around the upscale Inner Harbor area downtown. And if anyone notices, criticize them.
That is what state legislator Pat McDonough discovered in 2012 when he and his wife were sitting at a stop light in downtown Baltimore and they witnessed hundreds of black people rampaging, fighting and creating mayhem.
With nary a cop in sight.
Soon after, McDonough asked the governor to declare the downtown a “No Go” zone until city officials made the area safe from “black people” who were “terrorizing” the area.
Democrats from all over the region lined up to take their shots at McDonough. As did the Baltimore Sun in an editorial. The same day that newspaper was on the streets, so were three more episodes of black mob violence downtown. All in the middle of the day.
Since then, downtown violence has become so bad -- and so visible on many video tapes -- that the largest employer there, T. Rowe Price, has threatened to move out if it does not improve.
That story got the full attention of Governor O’Malley -- who used to be the mayor of Baltimore. When he suggested to his successor -- twice-removed -- Stephanie Rawlings Blake that she add more police patrols downtown, she rebuffed him with the now standard answer: We are not going to arrest our way out of this mess, she told reporters in reply.
And besides, she was proud that Baltimore only arrested 50,000 people a year -- down from the 100,000 a year of the O’Malley era.
One year after making that threat, T. Rowe Price is still there. And so is black mob violence. On Sunday of Memorial Day weekend, the Baltimore Sun stayed true to form: Hundreds of black people were on the streets, fighting, robbing and creating mayhem. Here’s how the paper described it: “A large group of teens … assaulted people with bricks and sticks and robbed at least one battered person of a phone.”
At least the paper allowed comments, however heavily moderated.
And the Mayor was true to her word as well: Only two were arrested.
A ray of light in Baltimore: A white woman recently wrote a story where she complained about crime and violence. She said she constantly felt like “a target.” At least the folks at the downtown Union Memorial Hospital can feel safer: They just added two K-9 dogs to their 60-person security team. Said one of the dog handlers: "We have experienced that when a patient is upset, their attitude changes as soon as we bring the K-9s in."
They could have used a few at a Baltimore High School graduation on Memorial Day where the students ended their year with a brawl. Or a riot. Or whatever you call it when 20-30 people start fighting and kicking and ripping each others’ clothes off and hair out.
So many more stories, so little space. So let’s just skip large-scale episodes of black mob violence during the Memorial Day Weekend in Erie, Buffalo, Rochester, Providence, Michigan and several other places.
But before we do, let’s just acknowledge the punch line in many of these articles: ‘Oh yeah, its been happening here a long time.’
We still have to return to Florida, where it all began. But not before a stopover in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Home of Black Bike Week.
Like Black Beach Week, local reporters give this gathering another name that no one uses -- Atlantic Festival or some such thing. But the 300,000 black people on motorcycles who descend on this beach town every Memorial Day would probably not recognize that name.
Ten years ago, local officials tried to stop the rampant violence and mayhem and noise and trash and lawlessness that mark this holiday. Nothing worked. Local businesses closed, trying to stop the damage. That did not work either: The ACLU and NAACP filed lawsuits forcing them to remain open.
Much of the lawbreaking is documented in White Girl Bleed a Lot: The Return of Racial Violence to America and How the Media Ignore It.
Any illusions that Black Bike Week was somehow getting more mellow and family-friendly were disabused over the holiday weekend. At least 8 people were shot, three killed, some on video.
For some locals, it became impossible to ignore the relentless black mob violence. Ryan Dodd took to the website of WMBF TV news to say he had enough. He compared a recent “white” biker rally with Black Bike Week.
“During white bike week, the scanners light up with traffic collisions and some DUI arrests. During black bike week, we have nudity, littering, murders, stabbings, people shitting in elevators, walking out on bar tabs and restaurant tabs, and on and on.
When the city tried to get rid of bike week because of black bikers, they had to tip toe around the NAACP and flush out both weeks. Last night's stack of incident reports shows that generally speaking, the face of the two bike weeks brings different hazards to the business owners and citizens of this community, which I've lived my entire life.
WE WILL NOT TIP TOE around the FACT that blacks come here, act like goons, stretch our emergency services resources way beyond the limits, making it hazardous for us, and disrespect our entire community, and I speak for many of us when I tell you that I'm sick and tired of it.
The city of MB needs to stand up and let black bikers know that some of them have ruined it for all of them. Then when the NAACP calls in Jesse Jackson's racist self, officials need to extend their longest finger in that direction while handing them the stack of incident reports from 24 and 25 May 2014.
Next stop: Tampa. Clearwater is known as an upscale tourist and family beach town. Not this Memorial Day. Starting at around sunset, several large groups of black people started fighting, shooting guns, rampaging, defying police orders, and creating havoc.
According to the Tampa Bay Times: Anne DeDominick, a Hyatt guest visiting from upstate New York, had just stepped out of a hot tub at the hotel when she spotted about 15 SWAT officers with assault rifles. "I was shaking in my shoes," she said. "I didn't know what was happening."
Three people were wounded by the gunfire -- by all accounts, they made up just a small portion of the bullets fired all over that town during a 90-minute stretch. Four people were arrested. And the mayor blamed it all on a different crowd that does not normally go to the beach.
“It was absolutely crazy,” said TV reporter Peter Bernard. “I’ve lived here for 20 years and have never seen anything like this.”
Let’s finish in Fort Lauderdale. For years, city officials have congratulated themselves for ridding their beach town of the crazy college kids who used to make their city the destination of choice for wild and destructive Spring break parties.
And Black Beach Week? That was Miami Beach’s problem. Not theirs.
That all ended last year, when black beach goers who chaffed at the armed camp atmosphere of Miami Beach headed over to Fort Lauderdale -- where they fought, destroyed property, defied police and created mayhem.
Some of it on video.
This year was a repeat: Large groups of black people -- hundreds -- came to Fort Lauderdale looking for trouble. They rampaged, destroyed property, jumped on cars, punched drivers in the face, attacked police, threw bricks at a bus, and caused holy hell for several hours until 42 people were arrested. Lots of video.
One person was stabbed.
Last year, a local radio personality said all the ruckus was just one big misunderstanding. She could speak for all of those who still refuse to believe that black mob violence exists out of proportion on Memorial Day. And every other day: "You had many more people up that way than previous years," said Jill Tracey. "You have that many young black people together at any one time, it frightens white people."
Colin Flaherty is the author of White Girl Bleed a Lot.