The killing of a man a week ago in Denver after two groups of protesters collided represents an intensifying of direct conflict between activist groups on opposite sides of the political divide. The man who was killed was shot while attending an event held called a Patriot Muster, CBS News reports.
“BLM, Antifa, and related Marxist associations are assaulting everything we love and cherish about this country!” the advertisement for the patriot event stated. A left-wing group announced its own event, called a BLM-ANTIFA Soup Drive, in response.
The Patriot Muster group is considered a pro-police organization. The BLM-ANTIFA Soup Drive included groups from Denver Communists, Colorado Socialist Revolution, Anon Resistance Movement, and others.
“We scheduled our action after learning that the militia-fascists had called a ‘patriot muster’ against the Black Lives Matter movement, anti-fascists and Marxists,” a representative for Denver Communists told Denver news outlet Westword. “That’s us—guilty as charged and happy to oblige with our presence.”
What started as a verbal altercation between two men quickly escalated, with an individual identified as a security guard for a local television station shooting the victim in the face. Denver police have the suspect in custody, and a homicide investigation is ongoing. The suspect “does not have a license to operate as a security guard, or to carry a gun on the job, in the city, which is a legal requirement in Denver,” TheDenverChannel.com reports.
A few days before the Denver killing, Wauwatosa, a suburb of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, was rocked by rioting and looting after Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm announced “police Officer Joseph Mensah had an objectively reasonable belief that he needed to use deadly force during an arrest of Alvin Cole in February.”
A BLM mob “turned their rage on innocent homeowners,” the New York Post reports. Rioters broke windows of businesses and residences and terrorized local residents. The mob was seen running down neighborhood streets and throwing rocks, breaking windows, and hurling objects at homes. Residents tried in vain to stop the attack, with one homeowner pleading with the mob that the neighborhood was filled with Democrats, teachers union members, and “others who support you.”
Wauwatosa police had issued warnings earlier in the day, anticipating unrest. Residents were advised to stay in their homes with their doors locked and to keep away from windows. Eventually, after declaring an unlawful assembly several times, police officers were able to disperse the crowd with tear gas.
Portland police do not have the use of tear gas in attempting to deal with the ongoing riots and destruction there. Mayor Ted Wheeler does not allow the city’s police to employ that tactic. Law enforcement agencies call that restriction “reckless and shortsighted,” The Hill reports.
Portland also refuses to prosecute rioters. In the month of September, 90 percent of those arrested had charges dropped by the Multnomah County District Attorney, KOIN News reports. The local station also noted several of those arrested have been apprehended several times. One of these, Joseph Robert Sipe, is described as “a 23-year-old homeless former Marine who has schizophrenia and an arrest warrant in Georgia for aggravated assault.” Sipe was charged with attempted murder, attempted first degree assault, and arson, in Portland. He did not show up for his court date, and a warrant is out for his arrest.
With the police in many cities hamstrung by their local governments, Antifa rioters and allied organizations are becoming more emboldened. The violence has escalated from throwing rocks and blocking streets to violent physical attacks on people and even killing. “The rising level of violence from the group marks a sinister evolution from minor street crime to guerrilla tactics usually reserved for revolutionaries,” writes Jeff Mordock at the Washington Times.
“I think the core of the problem is that a lot of opportunistic malcontents are smashing store windows, stealing merchandise, assaulting people, and setting fires because they think they can escape any serious consequences,” writes Jim Geraghty for National Review. “Stopping the riots will, at least in the short term, require more policing, not less.”
Detroit Police Chief James Craig told Townhall the unrest is meant to undermine the rule of law and the authority of government in general.
“I can tell you that this group that’s marching, like so many across the country, the anarchist factions of these groups are promoting violence and attacks on police officers,” Craig said.
Craig says the biggest difference between Detroit and violence-ridden places such as Portland and Seattle is the lack of support from city officials in the latter cities, which have been beset by riots for months.
“The mayor here in Detroit has confidence in my experience and my ability to the job,” Craig told Townhall. “And, frankly, he has as little tolerance as I do with the violence, volent attacks on police officers, destroying property.”
The violence has a clear political tinge, says former New York City Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik.
“Soft-on-crime liberals are ruining America’s greatest cities,” states the headline of an article by Kerik for Real Clear Politics. “The Trump administration has made extraordinary strides in reducing violent crime in America. Democrats across the country seem intent on turning back that progress,” Kerik writes.
With the exception of former New York City mayor Mike Bloomberg, all the Democrats who ran for the party’s nomination for president in 2020, including Joe Biden, supported eliminating mandatory minimum sentences for federal crimes, The Washington Post reports.
In Democrat-run cities such as Chicago, New York City, Portland, and Seattle, the lack of consequences for crimes encourages unlawful behavior, says attorney Luis Robles.
“If a progressive district attorney will not enforce assault cases, rioters are emboldened,” Robles told Budget and Tax News. “They believe they can do no wrong. Places like California are actively decriminalizing behavior. California Proposition 47 is intended to depopulate prisons.”
The effort to keep people out of prisons and change the way criminal behavior is punished has been actively underway in some cities and states. Advocates of the effort offer restorative justice as a way to remove prison as an outcome of some criminal activity.
In December 2018, Gov. J. B. Pritzker of Illinois, a Democrat, established a restorative justice program in the state. On the Democratic Party of DuPage County website, Lieutenant Governor Juliana Stratton describes restorative justice as follows: “That’s a system that diverts youth and adults from incarceration in the first place, a system that modernizes sentencing, a system that encourages rehabilitation, and a system that works to reduce gun violence and creates economic opportunity.”
Restorative justice replaces traditional justice with a therapeutic process, writes Janelle Marie Salanga at the Daily Democrat.
“Rather than put an offender in front of a judge to discuss the facts of the case, restorative justice seeks to restore the emotional bond between the offender, the victim and the community,” Salanga writes. “Offenders acknowledge the harm they caused, listen to victims’ emotions and decide how to start repairing physical and emotional damage they’ve done. They can agree to perform community service in the area of the crime or complete addiction treatment.”
Cook County (IL) State’s Attorney Kim Foxx (D) said, “The [restorative justice] committee will work to challenge and transform the ways our state deals with systemic issues that leave communities of color behind.”
Since 2018, crime in Chicago has increased dramatically. In 2020, crime is up by 20 percent.
Andrew Pollack, father of Meadow Pollack, who was killed in a school shooting, says restorative justice policies implemented by former president Barack Obama and former vice-president Joe Biden created the situation that led to his daughter’s murder and other dangerous situations in schools across the country.
“When President Trump rescinded Obama’s guidance on restorative justice policies, he put an end to that, and that meant the world to me,”
In the state of New York, lawmakers in the strongly Democrat-dominated legislature eliminated bail for most crimes beginning on January 1 of this year. On the first day the new law was in place, a judge was forced to release a drunk driver with three previous convictions along with six misdemeanor convictions.
“Less than two weeks later, he allegedly killed a Long Island college student while driving drunk—again—then attempted to flee the scene,” writes Kerik. “Despite the defendant’s extensive pattern of criminality and obvious lack of respect for the justice system, the judge had to let him out on his own recognizance—again.”
Kerik also cites a man who allegedly robbed two banks just a few days after being released although suspected of committing four robberies. “I can’t believe they let me out. What were they thinking?” the New York Post reports the man as having said.
Those policies and the decision not to prosecute rioters for their crimes have led to escalating violence and destruction, says Manhattan Institute Fellow Heather MacDonald.
“Virtually the entirety of the Democratic political class stayed silent this summer as cops became punching bags for criminals and anarchists,” writes MacDonald for the New York Post. “Mayors and district attorneys vowed to ignore misdemeanor arrests so as to avoid prosecuting black criminals.”
“Homicides and shootings are spiraling out of control nationally,” MacDonald writes. “Every attack on a police officer is an attack on civilization itself. We are in the process of losing any possibility of civil peace.”
In July, as the rioting and violence flared up, President Donald Trump publicly expressed his concern for ordinary Americans’ safety, announcing “a surge of federal law enforcement into American communities plagued by violent crime,” which leaders in the cities most hurt by the violence and destruction have resisted and rejected outright.
“In recent weeks, there has been a radical movement to defund, dismantle, and dissolve our police departments,” Trump said. “Extreme politicians have joined this anti-police crusade and relentlessly vilified our law enforcement heroes. To look at it from any standpoint, the effort to shut down policing in their own communities has led to a shocking explosion of shootings, killings, murders, and heinous crimes of violence. This bloodshed must end. This bloodshed will end.”