‘Central Park Karen’ Charged With Filing False Police Report

(screen captures)

The gay birdwatcher who was the target of hysterical threats by ‘Central Park Karen’ Amy Cooper says he won’t be participating in her prosecution since she’s “already paid a steep price.”

Cooper became infamous in May when she encountered Christian Cooper (no relation) in a quiet part of Central Park.

A Harvard graduate who works in communications, Mr. Cooper is on the board of the New York Audubon Society and an avid bird watcher.

Just before 8 a.m. on May 25, Mr. Cooper’s birdwatching was interrupted by Ms. Cooper who was calling loudly after her unleashed dog. When he asked her to put the dog on a leash as park rules require, she refused.

As the incident escalated, she called the police claiming “an African-American man is threatening my life.”

In the aftermath of the encounter, she lost her dog and her job as well as being publicly shamed. Since the video was posted to Twitter, the clip has been viewed over 44 million times.

The New York Times reports the Manhattan district attorney’s office charged Ms. Cooper on Monday “with filing a false police report, a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail.”

But Mr. Cooper, who is openly gay, says he has not been involved in the investigation and doesn’t plan on taking part in her prosecution.

“On the one hand, she’s already paid a steep price,” Mr. Cooper said in a statement to the Times. “That’s not enough of a deterrent to others? Bringing her more misery just seems like piling on.”

“If the DA feels the need to pursue charges, he should pursue charges,” he added. “But he can do that without me.”

Ms. Cooper’s attorney, Robert Barnes, predicts his client will be found not guilty for what he characterized as a “misunderstood 60-second video.”

“She lost her job, her home, and her public life,” Mr. Barnes said in a statement to the Times. “Now some demand her freedom? How many lives are we going to destroy over misunderstood 60-second videos on social media?”

Most cases of filing a false police report don’t end up with charges filed as the police generally want citizens to report crimes.

Legal analysts say in this case, the racial component as well as the strong evidence makes for broader implications in regard to future instances of white people calling in false police reports against Black people.

Video: Black Woman Sits Under Tree, Church Suddenly Posts ‘No Trespassing’

(screen captures via TikTok)

A young woman sits down under a sheltering tree on the lawn of a church in North Hollywood, California.

Because churches are welcoming and all that…right?

Apparently not so much if you happen to be a young Black woman.

TikTok user Thaddeus Shafer shared this video taken by his friend Alex, an actor and stunt woman in Los Angeles who’s appeared in films like Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge.

In the video, an elderly woman records the incident as a gentleman (who we’ll refer to as ‘Handyman Joe’ for this little post) is hanging a ‘No Trespassing’ sign on a tree.

Please note he’s hanging it on the side of the tree NOT facing the street or sidewalk.

“Did you go buy that just for me?” asks Alex.

“Just for you,” replies Handyman Joe. “You know, we used to be real nice about it.”

“You could still choose to be nice about it – you’re choosing not to be,” Alex points out.

As he drills a hole in the side of the tree, Alex asks, “So, this is a precursor to you calling the cops?”

“Yes,” says Handyman Joe.

Just for clarity, Alex inquires, “So you’re willing to call the cops on someone sitting on the grass when there are clear crimes they could be taking care of?”

“Yes, ma’am,” says Handyman Joe.

Suddenly, out of nowhere, the issue of race comes up as Handyman Joe turns to declare, “All lives matter.”

Even Joe’s assistant is a bit shook over the random remark.

@thaddeusshaferTomorrow I’ll try to hang out there as a white person minding my own business like Alex did and see what happens. Stay tuned.♬ Ride It – Regard

Out of respect for folks at the church who may not know this foolishness occurred, I won’t type the name here. However, I literally lived just down the street from this church when I first moved to Los Angeles.

Over on reddit, folks found the situation to be pretty over-the-top ridiculous.

“Let’s drill a hole into our tree so we can install a no trespassing sign facing the building.”

“It was 100 percent targeting her specifically because it’s facing away from the street.”

“Unprompted, he blurted out ‘ALL lives matter!’ confirming that race was forefront in his mind. I’ll bet he’s been watching the demonstrations and riots and raging at his TV, and has been itching for an opportunity to confront one of those people.”

“One might think all Christians would embrace anyone chilling out on the church lawn and see it as chance to make a heart-felt connection to someone from the world community.”

In four hours, the post on Reddit has received over 25k upvotes and over 2.5k comments.

What are your thoughts, readers? Was this a racist action? Do you think a white person would have been received in the same manner?

Share your opinions in the comment section below.

(source: reddit)

 

Racist Warning: Keep Your Husband & Kids Well Behaved, No One Is Interested In Your ‘Struggles’

An interracial family in Raleigh, NC, received a threatening racist letter (screen capture)

 

An interracial family living in a north Raleigh neighborhood shared with local news station WRAL an unsigned letter warning against posting any signs in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.

The note read:

“Before you think about putting any signage up in your yard, or if you had any idea about making a public statement on your property regarding George Floyd or racism, please remember that the rest of us live in an upscale neighborhood and have spent the extra money to stay out of mixed neighborhoods and/or the ghetto.

“No one wants trouble or any circumstance arising which could turn our neighborhood into a “semi-ghetto.” Please keep your husband and teenage kids well behaved and orderly because no one is interested in your or their “struggles.”

Keep matters inside your own house and do your best to keep this area upscale and free of that element. Most of us would not hesitate to call the police if your kids or husband gets unruly, so please be considerate of everyone else living amongst you.”

“Free of that element…”

The letter was signed without a name but expressed “sincere gratitude.”

(screen capture via WRAL)

The family declined to appear on-camera but several neighbors spoke to WRAL regarding the ugliness of the missive.

Kate Pirrung, a neighbor in the Wakefield Plantation neighborhood told WRAL, “I was horrified, appalled, disappointed…sad.”

“I couldn’t believe that someone in my neighborhood – that close to me – would have written something so mean,” said neighbor Marianna Morin.

Neighbor Armand Morin pointed to the implicit threat in the note.

“In the end, underneath all the context, it was a threat: Don’t do this. We’ll report you. We’ll send people over to your house – the police in this particular incident,” said Armand.

In response to the note, the family sent out copies to all of their neighbors along with a message of their own.

“If you did not write this letter, we wanted you to be aware of what has happened in our neighborhood,” the family wrote. “If you are the person that wrote this letter, we will not be intimidated by your cowardly act and ignorance. We are happy to have a discussion regarding love, respect and racism if your have the courage.”

“Something has to change,” Pirrung said. “We are all God’s children. What happened to love thy neighbor, treat each other with respect and kindness?”

“It’s not just in the city,” said Marianna Morin of the explicit racism. “It’s not just in the streets. It’s in this neighborhood.”

The family issued a public statement regarding the letter to WRAL.

“We want to acknowledge that this letter does not compare to some of the more dire circumstances many people find themselves in on a regular basis due to bigotry,” wrote the family. “However, it was shocking and ignorant.”

“The outrage, support and kind words expressed to us by so many in our community have overpowered the hate expressed from the one person who wrote the letter,” they continued. “Our hope is for this to inspire respectful conversations and courageous self-examination about bias and racism.”

“To the person who wrote the letter, we pray for your heart to be released from bitterness and filled with understanding and compassion for others,” the family added. “Black lives do matter.”

You can watch the report from WRAL below.

News Round-Up: June 23, 2020

Michael and I have been adopted by 14-year-old beagle rescue, Snoopy

Some news items you might have missed:

Dog Life: I wanted to share a new addition to our family here at The Randy Report,  the handsome Snoopy (above), a 14-year-old beagle rescue. After serious consideration, Michael and I decided we didn’t want Snoopy to live his last years without a forever family, and we feel that this journey will be completely different from our 23 years raising the ‘dachshund dynasty’ from puppyhood. Snoopy is settling in quite well, and we can’t wait to spoil him with attention and love.

ESPN: Thomas Beattie, a British former pro footballer for Warriors FC in Singapore, came out as gay in an essay for ESPN on Tuesday. “I prayed that I would wake up and this would all disappear, although deep down I knew I was praying for the wrong thing. I needed to ask for the strength to accept myself.”

New Music: St. Panther shares her latest single/music video, “These Days,” was written in memory of a friend who overdosed on the night of his birthday. “This song is my real-time experience with re-establishing a new relationship to life in the days following through the simple act of making it to the next day,” the artist explains. The track blends raw feeling over a hypnotic hybrid of soul swagger, jazz eloquence, and hip-hop heat. The video was created by the artist herself.

Spectrum News: Donnie Lee Barrigar, a self-described flat-earther, recorded himself taking down a Pride flag flying over City Hall in Watertown, NY, and throwing it away. In posting his video online, Barrigar wrote the First Amendment gives him the right to do what he did. Last year, before a pride event in the city, he posted to social media how he wished a mass shooting would happen. Gov. Cuomo has directed the New York State Police to assist Watertown Police in this investigation.

Reuters: The organizers of Singapore’s annual gay pride Pink Dot rally vowed on Tuesday to push ahead with an online event after nearly 30,000 people signed a petition demanding restrictions and called the content “immoral”.

Baltimore Sun: A video went viral after a Black child was denied entry to Baltimore’s Ouzo Bay restaurant due to its ‘dress code’ while a white child was captured in the same video wearing the same clothing finishing his meal. The parent company, Atlas Restaurant Group, issued an apology.

Gay Man Tells The Tale Of His Experience With ‘Skincare Karen’

L-R Lisa Alexander, Jamie Juanillo (screen capture)

Another ‘Karen’ found her time in the spotlight last week when a woman named Lisa Alexander approached Jaime Juanillo in front of his home in San Francisco.

Juanillo was stenciling the words ‘Black Lives Matter’ in chalk on the retaining wall of his home in the Pacific Heights neighborhood when Ms. Alexander and her husband stopped to ask him “Is this your property?”

When Juanillo inquired as to the nature of their questions, they told him “it’s private property.”

“Respectfully,” Alexander says to Juanillo, “absolutely your [Black Lives Matter] signs and everything, that’s good, but this is not the way to do it. It’s private property.”

“But if I did live here and it was my property, this would be absolutely fine,” Juanillo responded. “ And you don’t know if I live here or if this is my property.”

With the tone of an elementary school teacher, Alexander raises her finger gently to her chin and says, “Yes, we do know. Because we know the person that does live here.”

Juanillo told the couple if they believe he was committing a crime, they should call the police because “I’d be more than happy to talk to them.”

The couple continued to ask Juanillo’s name and he refused to give them that information saying, “You’re the ones asking me questions.”

Alexander – “But we’re not doing anything illegal.”

Juanillo – “Neither am I.”

Alexander – “Actually, you are.”

And so, Lisa Alexander and her husband, who shared his name is Robert, walked off and called the police.

They would later be mortified when the police pulled up to the residence and it became clear the officers knew Jaime Juanillo, and he did indeed live in that home.

In fact, as Juanillo recently shared with local station KQED, he married his husband in the backyard of the home and had lived there for 18 years.

Juanillo, who is of Filipino descent, told KQED,  “It’s not unusual at all for me to get a look like, ‘Do you belong here?’” 

He says he held his composure during the incident because one, he knew he had a right to be there, and two, he realized the couple’s intentions were more about race and less about chalk.

“Lisa and Robert knew it was chalk art, and that it was going to be washed away in the first rain,” Juanillo said. So, the issue wasn’t ‘destroying property’ but the Black Lives Message itself.

“And once I knew that,” he said, “I can act how I needed to act. It was simple after that.”

“They’re wrong,” he added. “And they rode that racial bias all the way off a cliff.”

Juanillo says in hindsight, he’s struck by how far Alexander was taking the issue.

“You can presume that she knew by calling the police that I could possibly die,” said Juanillo. “She was OK with that. Even knowing that I was just working with chalk, she’s willing to call men with guns.”

Juanillo considered not posting the video of the encounter for a short while. But later in the day, while standing in his living room, he saw the couple pass by again. He knocked on the window hoping to grab their attention. 

“If they had come up to my door and they had apologized, I would have accepted it, not posted this. And they could have kept their businesses and lives intact,” Juanillo told KQED. “It was all up to them: Action after action after action.”

But instead of admitting they’d been wrong, Juanillo says, “The look on their faces was total mortification” as they kept walking by the home.

He says he shared the video because he wanted people to see the more subtle racist conflicts that happen in an effort to help educate white people that they even exist.

“If enough people see incidents like this, then maybe people will actually think about it and change their behavior,” Juanillo said. He also addressed those on social media who said he should have argued or engaged in the conflict.

“Do you really think they’re going to believe me if I point out a $10 million house and say I live there?” Juanillo said.

In the aftermath of the viral video, Lisa Alexander was informed the beauty subscription company Birchbox severed ties with her skincare company LAFACE. 

She also issued a public apology for “being disrespectful” to Juanillo stating, “I should have minded my own business.”

She goes on to write, “When I watch the video I am shocked and sad that I behaved the way I did. It was disrespectful to Mr. Juanillo and I am deeply sorry for that.”

Additionally, her husband, identified as Robert Larkins, was dismissed from his position at the financial firm Raymond James on Monday.

Meme: A Revolution Has Many Lanes

Some are posting on social media. Some are protesting in the streets. Some are donating silently. Some are educating themselves. Some are having tough conversations with family & friends. A revolution has many lanes - be kind to yourself and to others who are traveling the same direction. Just keep your foot on the gas.

This was sent to me and I find the sentiments perfect for this moment in history.

There is no right or wrong way to ‘resist,’ the point is to be a part of the solution.

If anyone knows who authored the above quote, I’d love to know for attribution.

#BlackLivesMatter

Billy Porter’s Message To America On Racism, Homophobia & Change

Billy Porter has a ‘Message to America’

Tony/Grammy/Emmy Award-winner Billy Porter took to Instagram this week to share his candid, and sometimes blistering, “Message to America.”

Porter,  who doesn’t demure from expressing his opinions, begins by calling out white Americans who continue to deny systemic racism in the United States.

The Pose star then shifts his attention to the African-American community noting the violence committed by black men against LGBTQ people, especially transgender women of color.

“My basic human rights have been up for legislation every single day that I have had breath in my body from all sides,” says Porter.  “And by that, I mean that the black community’s relationship with the LGBTQ+ community is appalling at best and eerily similar to that of white supremacists versus black folk.”

“Hear me, black people, and hear me well – I’m calling you out right here and right now,” he continued. “You cannot expect our demands of equality to be met with any real legislative policy and change when y’all turn around and inflict the same kind of hate and oppression on us. The tragic reality here is that black trans, as well as gender non-conforming, women and men are being killed in the United States by cis black men to such a degree that it is nearly the worst emergency for trans women on the planet.”

“The murders of black trans women by black men since 2016 have helped drive the most violent period for LGBTQ+ people on record,” he added. “Just this past week, during the riots, during the peaceful protests, Iyonna Dior was brutally beaten by a gang of black men while trying to peacefully protests for our rights.”

“LGBTQ+ black folks are black people, too! Our lives matter, too! So this is my response to those of y’all who don’t understand that: F*ck you! And, yes, I am cussing. It’s time for cussing.”

Speaking to “all my homophobic and transphobic brothers and sisters,” Porter was clear and direct in his message: “Get your f*cking houses in order.”

Porter’s remarks refer to a transwoman, Iyonna Dior, who was beaten by a group of more than 20 men by a group of onlookers. She managed to escape, though not before sustaining heavy bruising and swelling.

The actor also addressed the upcoming presidential election in no uncertain terms: “We have two clear choices in November: vote this motherf*cker and all his cronies out of office, reset, and begin the American experiment again at zero, or not.”

“In November, this election is the most important that we’ve ever seen in our lifetime. Democracy is on the ballot. White supremacy is on the ballot. Homophobia, women’s rights, trans rights, Muslim rights, all human rights all on the ballot this November, and I ask you America: will we be better than this? I guess we’ll know the answer come November.”

“It’s time for change, and this time, change for good,” said Porter in closing.

“Vote, vote, vote, vote,” he says, his passionate voice rising with emotion. “God bless you all, and God bless the United States of America.”

 

View this post on Instagram

 

✊🏽✊🏾✊🏿 #blacklivesmatter #blacktranslivesmatter

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NFL Admits League Was Wrong For Not Listening To Players Earlier About Racism

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell (via Flickr/WEBN-TVCC License)

One day after a video titled “Stronger Together” was released by a group of NFL players calling on the league to take a stronger stance on racism in the U.S., NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell posted a new video admitting the league should have listened to players sooner.

The video by NFL stars was released on Thursday and featured 18 prominent players: Davante Adams, Jamal Adams, Saquon Barkley, Anthony Barr, Odell Beckham Jr., Ezekiel Elliott, Stephon Gilmore, DeAndre Hopkins, Eric Kendricks, Jarvis Landry, Marshon Lattimore, Patrick Mahomes, Tyrann Mathieu, Patrick Peterson, Sterling Shepard, Michael Thomas, Deshaun Watson and Chase Young.

In their video, the players say in unison, “So on behalf of the National Football League, this is what we the players would like to hear you state. We, the National Football League, condemn racism and the systemic oppression of black people. We, the National Football League, admit wrong in silencing our players from peacefully protesting. We, the National Football League, believe black lives matter.”

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Eric Kendricks (@erickendricks54) on

In the new video from the NFL, Goodell speaks directly to the camera saying, “It has been a difficult time for our country. In particular, black people in our country. First, my condolences to the families of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and all the families who have endured police brutality.”

He goes on to state, “We, the National Football League, admit we were wrong for not listening to NFL players earlier and encourage all to speak out and peacefully protest.”

More from CNN:

Racism has been a persistent issue in the NFL, particularly after former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick began kneeling before games while the national anthem played to protest police brutality.

No team has offered Kaepernick a contract since 2017, which many attribute to his protests. Kaepernick accused NFL team owners of colluding to keep him from being signed. The NFL denied any collusion but in 2019, they reached a settlement with Kaepernick and former teammate Eric Reid, who knelt with him.

Learning To Check In, Call Out Our Own Subtle Racism

Psychotherapist Matthew Dempsey (screen capture)

 

With so much turmoil in the nation right now, many people are asking “How can I help? How can I be part of the solution?”

But the social terrain can be scary. Even folks who consider themselves ‘good guys’  – on the side of equal rights and justice – question are they ‘doing it right?’

On Tuesday this week, one trend was to take part in ‘Blackout Tuesday’ in order to show you stand in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement. But some folks got backlash here and there with comments saying, “Don’t do it like that – resist like THIS.”

Even with the best of intentions, folks who want to support the movement are confused.

As a Flashback Friday post, we wanted to share this video from psychotherapist Matthew Dempsey.

Back in 2015, he shared how an awkward moment in his own life helped him learn to ‘check himself’ even when he knew in his head he was an ally.

“Growing up gay and feeling like an outlier for most of my life easily lends itself to greater empathy for others who’ve felt the same,” wrote Dempsey when he first shared the video in 2015. “My experience also lends itself to the illusion that I couldn’t possibly continue discriminating against others, including people of color. Watch my latest video on how I own racism in an effort to heal.”

“As a gay man, I have this real value set in wanting to eradicate discrimination across the board,” says Dempsey in the video. “The only way that I know that I can really do that most effectively is by being able to check in with myself and seeing what’s going on here first.”

As an example, Dempsey shares how many gay men grow up exposed to homophobic beliefs and how they can become a part of our subconscious. Those thoughts can color how we see ourselves and the LGBTQ community as a whole. But when we’re aware that it’s there, we can call it out.

Being raised in a society where racist beliefs do exist, we are exposed to them whether we want to be or not. Dempsey says when we check in with ourselves about even the most subtle aspects of racism, then we can call it out and own it.

Dempsey references the 2015 film Stonewall which created a fictional white male character as a principal in the storytelling when history knows the Stonewall protests were led by the trans community and gay people of color. As many pointed out at the time, that was subtle racism in overshadowing the historical figures with a white, gay man.

He also mentions the issue of fetishizing the idea of having sex with ‘dominate’ black men, another form of racism.

Before we get to the video clip, we know today is not five years ago. And life at this moment in time is sensitive in regard to each and every word people utter when speaking about race relations.

In sharing this, I ask that you watch the video in its entirety to get to Dempsey’s point.

I reached out to Dempsey to see if he had any followup to his 2015 commentary. He sent this update:

“This message I put out there 5 years ago is a perfect example of how acknowledging White privilege is inherently imperfect and wrought with blind spots for us to call out and change. The most cringe-worthy moment as I rewatch now is when I suggest it’s OK to have racial preferences for dating and sex because clearly, that’s some racist bullshit tbh. I know better. Now I can do better. And this is how I stand for BIPOC and Black Lives Matter.”

One more thing: please do not have a knee-jerk reaction to the title of Dempsey’s video. The title makes a point, so watch the video to get to ‘the point.’

#BlackLivesMatter