Happy Fourth of July
Let’s throw explosive thingies at the cops,
and hope no one notices it is a riot.
“Yo, I got attacked by racist cops
and attack dogs yesterday, cuz niggas wanted to start a riot at the fireworks. Lol.”
The list is getting longer: Chicago. Cleveland. Columbus. Peoria. Los Angeles. Georgia. Florida. Waco.North Carolina. Philadelphia.
And that is just from 2012.
By Colin Flaherty
The Fourth of July: Picnics. Hot dogs. Race riots.
Something about America’a birthday brings out racial violence, lawlessness and animosity. Last year it was Dallas, Baltimore and Peoria.
This year, racial violence marred celebrations in Chicago, Los Angeles, Cleveland, Columbus, Georgia, Florida, Texas, Greensboro, and, once again, Peoria.
Chris Rock started the day off with a bang: “Happy white peoples Independence Day,” he tweeted. “The slaves weren’t free but I’m sure they enjoyed fireworks.”
On Twitter, @KnockyMoBitches picked up the beat: “Fuck #IndependenceDay ! You tell me the exact date blacks were free, then you’ll see me jumpin up gettin excited blowin up shit and what not.”￼
In Chicago, some were enjoying the celebration until they were set upon by a mob of dozens of black people intent on violence. One man was taken to the hospital where he is in good condition. Eleven black people were arrested and charged with assault.
Police blamed the problems on teens without parents. As usual, the media did not report the mob was black. And as usual, witnesses and other took to the internet to set the record straight.
“For all that don’t know, the perpetrators are African-American teens,” said a man self-identified as Jonathan Kizer on the Chicago Tribune web site. “I work in the area and I’ve seen first hand what these teens are doing. It’s really bothersome bcuz they are hurting innocent ppl, but also perpetuating a negative view of the black community. Not all of us are like this, but people would never know from what they see and hear.”
Local television reporters did remind people this is the latest in a series of mob attacks in the downtown and upscale North Side area.
Two days later, talking about that night, the CBS Chicago affiliate reported “Sources told CBS 2’s Suzanne Le Mignot that 17 other people were arrested overnight for other mob attacks across the city.”
That’s it. That’s all anyone said about 17 more people rioting in Chicago on the Fourth of July.
That is how long it took Michael Meeks to write a letter to the editor:
After the show ended and people started walking back to their cars, things turned violent. A gang of approximately 30 black youths (both male and female) started walking and running down Broad Street and randomly assaulted white people — old people, children, women.
I was first aware of the violence in front of the church at the corner of Third and Broad streets. One block east of there, a man crossed the street through the traffic holding his crying son. They clearly had been assaulted. When others asked if they were OK, he said, “No, we’re not OK; we got separated from my wife and daughter, and they’re still over there.”
Finally, two Columbus officers were seen slowly walking toward the scene of this violence. At this point, the black youths crossed the street to the opposite side of the officers and started randomly attacking more white people on the north side of Broad Street. I know; I was assaulted by five different youths.
At this time, the police meandered to our side of the street. Some of us went to the officers and said, “Do something, innocent people are getting assaulted right here on Broad Street.” One officer replied, “We don’t have enough officers.”
Another local from Columbus chimed in:
Mr. Meeks, People have been complaining about gangs of Black Rowdies doing the very same thing after Red White & Boom since the City began the celebration… After the show they run East on Broad St. Assaulting, even robbing…. And every year it seems to take the Police Dept by suprise….or could it be that if the police don’t see it… It didn’t happen… If it didn’t happen no bad PR….
If the Pulitzer people ever decide to start awarding prizes to newspapers that do all their investigative reporting on their letters to the editors page, the Columbus Dispatch should have a lock on the 2012 awards.
In North Carolina, Greensboro police used tear gas on 1000 black rioters after dozens of fights broke out and people were destroying downtown businesses:
Groups of teens — some with younger kids and babies in strollers — filled Elm Street, taunted officers and instigated fights in Jimmy John’s sandwich shop, according to Lankford security guard Christopher Thompson, who was off duty.
“They’re supposed to serve and protect, right? They did that,” Thompson said. “The officers really had to ’cause if you had seen how unruly it was — it was real bad.”
￼At least one person on Twitter predicted the riot: “Downtown greensboro is gonna have a riot tonight!!” said @PuffThisTweet at 3 p.m.
One of the rioters was arrested for encouraging others to attack the police:
Jimel Tyrea Leach, 17, charged with public disturbance. Leach was placed in the Guilford County jail under a $1,000 secured bond, according to jail records.
Leach, of 217 Gant St., is accused of trying to rally 20 or more people by shouting, “Come on. Let’s get the police,” and an obscenity, according to court records.
Over on Twitter, several people in attendance were upset at the rough treatment, especially @Mister_T336:
Man im bout to go off MF Greensboro PD macing and spraying tear gas on people for small ish
In Albany, Georgia, 85 police officers in the downtown lost control of the crowd 20 minutes into the show after large groups of black people disrupted the celebration.
They stopped the fireworks. Police blamed the problems on teens without parents. Witnesses were not so forgiving, saying it was a dangerous and chaotic scene that some say included gun fire.
When posters to Albany web sites said the rioters were black, some responded it was not an issue of black and white. “So how many white kids did you see running around” destroying property,? asked one witness. Not one person posting said they say any white people involved in the violence or destruction. Or Asians. Or Latinos.
In the Cleveland suburb of Shaker Heights, hundreds of black people created a “real dangerous environment” with violence and rushing into a crowd of fireworks watchers.
Eight people were arrested after police in riot gear with dogs quelled the disturbance. Or tried to.
In one news story at the Cleveland Plain Dealer, a reader was frustrated that the paper had not reported the riot.
“My daughter and I will NOT be back next year. “Daddy why are all those kids screaming, swearing and fighting?” “Because their parents didn’t raise them any better honey.”
“Nothing better to see police in riot gear riding on the outside of a SWAT van as the fireworks celebrating our freedom from the English rule rush toward a crowd of idiots, Then police officers telling people that are there to watch the fireworks that THEY have to leave. “
“But I thought that the police would put an end to that. I was wrong.”
Over at the Cleveland Patch, Steve Smith had a similar experience. “it’s not fear-mongering to say that these people created a real, dangerous environment.”
Linda Jenkins told the Patch: “We were patient and scared ,it was so sad to see families sitting along the sidewalks trying to have a wonderful and traditional outing for most of us to be placed in the middle of madness that’s what it felt like for me.”
The year before, Shaker Heights had a similar experience:
“We were watching fireworks on July 4th in Shaker Heights,” said a reporter for the Plain Dealer. “The only fireworks we saw were in the sky, but in another area, kids went wild. Some 500 to 1,000 showed up in a flash mob.
“Harmless fun? Not to the teen who ended up with a broken jaw.”
I looked and looked, but I cannot find a news story about this riot.
On Twitter, a black woman from Cleveland who goes by the handle @Coke216, had another perspective on Shaker Heights 2012:
“Yo, I got attacked by racist cops and attack dogs yesterday, cuz niggas wanted to start a riot at the fireworks. Lol.”
In Watts, a crowd of dozens of black people setting off fireworks at the Nickerson Gardens public housing project did not take kindly to police and fireman who showed up to stop it.
“During the incident, the suspects allegedly tossed rocks, bottles, and fireworks at Los Angeles police officers, according to City News Service.”
That would be live fireworks.
On Twitter, both sides were represented:
Said a fireman: “Cops in riot gear and the locals shooting fireworks at the cops pretty funny until u drive through it…. Eh, said @ryancurtis7966
News￼papers might not like reporting black people in riots, but on Twitter, no one hasa problem talking about it. Here two of the residents of Watts thought the riot was funny.
“niggas in the niccersons had the riot squad out there…throwin fireworks n roccs at police lmfao yall did that fasho,” said @HerFavDrugg.
Quarta_Mill: So we was downtown watching tha fireworks and ah riot broke out nigas was err Wer!
Several officers were hit by fireworks. No word on their condition.
When police arrived, they threw explosive devices and rocks at the officers.
“Officers’ attempts to move the crowd were not successful and when they moved into the area, the people became hostile,” says KCEN TV.
“The crowd then started throwing rocks at officers and police cars. One officer received a minor injury when he was struck. Large fireworks that explode with a large flame were also thrown at officers by people in the crowd where attempting to use them as hand grenades. “
“An armored vehicle was used to try to clear the streets. When it was brought in, members of the group started throwing bricks and large pieces of concrete.”
When they refused to leave, the police brought in tank and sprayed the crowd with “chemical munitions.”
Twitter was on the case:
Normal people hear pops on the 4th an think fireworks, people in Waco hear pops on the 4th and duck and roll. #ghetto, said @JustinKFly91.
Normal people hear pops on the 4th an think fireworks, people in Waco hear pops on the 4th and duck and roll. #ghetto
Was watching fireworks at the Waco Bridge. Waco have wayy too many ghetto people… Just saying
Same shit Goes Down Every Year in Waco, Bridge Fireworks Fights & Ratchet Kids -__
It’s all of waco’s finest out here to see the fireworks! One dude even said ‘hey white girl, lemme get to know you’ as I drove by.
I’m in Waco and cops just came and a fight just broke out and shits getting real, I think we’re leaving
One person was arrested for punching a police officer in the face. And here she is:
￼In Philadelphia, hundreds of black people streamed through the streets of downtown, beating, looting, terrorizing. Right next to City Hall.
Several black people predicted it on Twitter hours before the violence and lawlessness began.
@RRRShizz Who ever gunna be in philly better watch out for them flash mob young bouls today, cause they gon catch reck today ctfu..
@JOrtiz268 I knew better then to attend that nonsense @NafiAssad: @JOrtiz268: Downtown was one huge flash mob tnight lol <—-Dumbass Philly youth
@ @iAmJQuiah Ihavn’t been in Philly for lykk 9month now.but its the same shxt iknow it 4th of july Them Flash Mob’s gone go to The PARKWAY & STRT FIGHTs
@ truqueo6 Flash MOB downtown in Philly
One person even looked forward to it.
@DaRealCannon I love dem lil wild flash mob ass yungbuls n Philly. Lol dem yungbuls be sexy
The next day, the anchor at the ABC affiliate in Philadelphia began the report by saying several people were “brutally attacked by an unruly mob.”
Out on the street, the reporter took a less dramatic view. He started out with the de riguer claims that “this is perhaps the only blemish on an otherwise glorious Fourth of July weekend.” That and the two people who were shot nearby.
Other than that, how did you enjoy the play Mrs. Lincoln?
Then while B-roll of the attack showed the mob streaming up the largest street in downtown Philadelphia, the reporter described some “scuffles” that left people with “minor injuries.”
It’s almost as if he did not hear his own interview or watch the viewer-created video of the scene. “This Asian kid got punched in the face and pounded to the ground,” Jay Ingersoll told the reporter. “They were all yelling flash mob, flash mob.”
By looking at the video, there were far “dozens of young people” on the street. The station may have been coy about identifying the race of the mob. The video tape is not.
No one went to the hospital. No arrests were made. Almost like it never happened.
Two days later, news stories on the holiday celebrations in the Philadelphia Inquirer make no mention of the riots, other than to pronounce: “All in all, Philadelphia’s Fourth festivities “a resounding success.””
In Quincy, Florida, one black man was arrested and others are being sought after crowds of black people attacked police and others with explosives. Says WCTV news in Quincy:
Upon arrival and to their surprise police officers were ambushed by several suspects who threw explosive fireworks at them and their vehicles. Some of the explosives detonated underneath the vehicles with enough force to shake the vehicle.
Several hours later police were again called to the location but this time made contact with a witness who stated that four suspects had thrown a “bomb” at her. The witness also advised police that these same suspects were responsible for throwing explosive fireworks at police earlier.
Quincy police were the victims of a similar type assault last year on July 4th at this exact apartment complex. One officer was hospitalized last year and suffered minor hearing loss after a large explosive device was thrown at him and detonated next to him.
In some places like Quincy, riots with firework are a holiday tradition. That is the way it was in Gafney, South Carolina, where last year, a group of 500 black people threw fireworks and rocks at police after the July 4 celebration.
The officers were overwhelmed briefly last year, and at one point, someone threw a cinder block through a Gaffney police cruiser. Neighbors in the area have described what’s become an annual event as hell, saying it’s reminiscent of a warzone.
This year, Gaffney police flooded the zone with extra officers and police say that is one holiday tradition that did not take place this year.
Same with Dallas, where last year mobs of black people attacked a television photographer with rockets. On video. Dallas was quieter this year.
In Greenville in 2011, black people by the dozens “hurled fireworks at a Greenville officer.” Neighbors called. Video rolled. The officer reported they were shooting at his car and he had been hit in the chest. Within 20 minutes, 25 officers were on the scene.
The local NBC affiliate called it a “holiday tradition that seems to escalate year after year.” All that’s missing is an old dude in a bathroom hanging out a bedroom window:
“What’s to-day, my fine fellow?” said Scrooge.
“To-day?” replied the boy. “Why, Christmas Day.”
“It’s Christmas Day!” said Scrooge to himself. “I haven’t missed it. The Spirits have done it all in one night. They can do anything they like. Of course they can. Of course they can. Hallo, my fine fellow!”
“Hallo!” returned the boy.
“Do you know the Poulterer’s, in the next street but one, at the corner?” Scrooge inquired.
“I should hope I did,” replied the lad.
“An intelligent boy!” said Scrooge. “A remarkable boy! Do you know whether they’ve sold the prize Turkey that was hanging up there — Not the little prize Turkey: the big one?”
“What, the one as big as me?” returned the boy.
“What a delightful boy!” said Scrooge. “It’s a pleasure to talk to him. Yes, my buck.”
“It’s hanging there now,” replied the boy.
“Is it?” said Scrooge. “Go and buy it.”
“Walk-er!” exclaimed the boy.
“No, no,” said Scrooge, “I am in earnest. Go and buy it, and tell them to bring it here, that I may give them the direction where to take it. Come back with the man, and I’ll give you a shilling. Come back with him in less than five minutes and I’ll give you half-a-crown.”
Come back any later, and you’ll end up in Peoria, where last year a crowd of hundreds of black people on video attacked police and fire with rockets and explosives as they responded to a burning trash can.
This year was slightly more under control. But still violent, said the Peoria Journal Star:
The first call came at about 2:40 a.m. in the 600 block of Northeast Adams Street. When officers arrived, hundreds of people were in the streets with some yelling, shoving and punching each other.
But this year, police and fire officials report none of the violence was directed against them.