LOUISVILLE, KY – “There comes a time in life that you have to make a stand and you have to really prove your convictions and what you believe in. All good people need to denounce this. How can you justified (sic) injustice with more injustice?”
These are the words written on the Facebook page of Fernando Martinez, the Cuban-born co-owner of the Ole Restaurant Group.
His words were in response to the demands made of him and numerous other business owners in the Cuban community in Louisville.
They recently received a letter of demands from Black Lives Matter protestors in the district where he opened their newest restaurant, La Bodeguita de Mima. The area is known for its locally-owned shops and restaurants. Martinez said that in addition to the letter, he was confronted by protestors recently.
Louisville has been a hotbed of BLM activity since the death of Breonna Taylor earlier this year, after an alleged”no-knock” warrant served by the Louisville Police Department.
He called the demands “mafia tactics”.
Those demands came with a contract for obliging business owners to sign.
Here is an idea of what these protestors were looking for.
– Adequately represent the Black population of Louisville by having a minimum of 23% Black staff;
– Purchase a minimum of 23% inventory from Black retailers or make a recurring monthly donation of 1.5% of net sales to a local Black nonprofit or organization;
– Require diversity and inclusion training for all staff members on a bi-annual basis;
– And display a visible sign that increases awareness and shows support for the reparations movement.
Yes, you read that correctly. They want businesses to put up signage saying that they support reparations among numerous outrageous “requests”.
The article also stated:
“According to a press release, members of the city’s Cuban community will meet outside the NuLu restaurant at 4 p.m. Sunday to support the immigrant-owned business, which ‘has been subject to vandalism and extortion in recent days.’
The release states that La Bodeguita de Mima was forced to close July 24 during a demonstration that shut down East Market Street, at which several protesters presented Martinez with the list of demands and said he ‘better put the letter on the door so your business is not f*cked with.’
The restaurant remained closed the next two days because ‘management and staff were concerned about safety,’ according to the release. ’30+ staff members (mostly immigrants) were unable to earn a paycheck.‘“
But, in typical fashion, Phelix Crittenden, an activist who works with Black Lives Matter Louisville, said the demands were “not meant to be a threat, but instead, were merely intended to start a conversation with owners about how their businesses can better reflect and support Black people”.
Yes, smashing flower pots in front of the stores and telling business owners that they need to comply are run the risk of having their businesses “f*cked with” is in no way threatening or intimidating.
According to the LCJ:
“Crittenden, who also founded the organization Blacks Organizing Strategic Success, said several NuLu business owners have volunteered to sign the contract created by the protesters and are open to discussing their roles in the gentrification of the area, which has undergone hundreds of millions of dollars in development in recent years.
‘NuLu is flourishing,’ Crittenden said. ‘To see that literal line in the sand, as soon as you cross the street, it’s very disturbing. NuLu doesn’t reflect the community they sit in and claim to incorporate and serve.'”
“The residents of Louisville, Kentucky are standing strong, educated, and together to express the destruction your business has caused to low-income communities, specifically those with majority Black residents. We therefore demand representation and reparations in the NuLu business district of Louisville for the gentrification that has taken place.
The policies and processes of the revitalization of NuLu has displaced marginalized people from homes their families have often resided for generations, single handedly progressing the gentrification of Black neighborhoods.
Gentrification is a palatable term that sugar-coats one more aspect of an oppressive system targeted at Black Folx [sic] for 400 years. We are here today to demand representation over tokenism.“
Here is what they expect businesses to acknowledge.
I acknowledge that the original residents of Louisville’s Clarkdale community, which was demolished to make way for NuLu, have been harmed by displacement and the resulting loss of
community connection, representation, and support.
I acknowledge that my business has played a part in the harm done to Clarksdale’s original residents, who have received no economic benefit from our occupation.
Displaced Clarksdale residents are denied the employment opportunities promised by the gentrifiers [sic] who destroyed their community.
Instead, they have been effectively banned, through economic disparity and intentional policies, from the communities they built and the neighborhoods where they grew up.
I acknowledge that Clarksdale’s original community members were replaced by business owners and clientele uneducated about the history of the space they now occupy.
I acknowledge that many of Clarksdale’s original residents were repatriated into communities where their presence and identity have not been validated, but rather, have been actively rejected.
I am, therefore, committed to participating in remediation for the harm that gentrification has caused to the original residents of the Clarksdale community, in terms of representation, education.
Yet, somehow they claim to be only about fighting “systemic police brutality.”
It’s not just in Louisville. The same thing is happening in Madison, Wisconsin as we previously reported.
Pay up… or you’ll pay.
That was essentially the message to business owners from a Black Lives Matter activist, according to the FBI – who has now arrested him.Devonere Johnson, a vocal protester for Black Lives Matter, was apparently staying in Wisconsin recently and taking part in the civil unrest.
If this was not enough, Johnson allegedly began demanding local businesses provide he and his friends free food and services. In addition, he also demanded protection money to the owners, if they refused to pay them, he threatened to break windows and damage their business.
The FBI was called into investigate and charged him for extorting businesses.
Some of Johnson’s charges are based on his actions in a local tavern in Wisconsin.
Cooper’s Tavern, a local bar in the area, Johnson and an unknown man were found sitting at the tables playing a loud radio. The owner spoke with him and informed Johnson that he supported the Black Lives Matter movement in the area.
Johnson replied, according to court documents from the FBI:
“What have you done here locally?”
Johnson then demanded protection money and likened the owner and his employees as members of the Ku Klux Klan if they did not pay. The intimidation did not stop there as Johnson returned to the same venue twice this past Tuesday.
While inside, on video, Johnson is seen yelling into a bull horn allegations that the bar and the staff were racist. One of them men with Johnson is seen with a bat with the words “Black Lives Matter” inscribed.
According to court documents, Johnson said:
“Just give us some free food and beer and we can end this now. You don’t want 600 people to come here and destroy your business and burn it down. The cops are on our side. You notice that when you call them, nothing happens to us.”
Officers did respond to the area and placed Johnson under arrest for disorderly conduct while armed, resisting arrest and attempting to flee while on active probation. Johnson physically resisted the officers lawful attempts at taking him into custody and had to be taken to the ground in order to place him in handcuffs.
Once he was in custody, Johnson began yelling that he could not breathe and continually asked why he was being arrested. The federal charges against Johnson for extortion could carry a maximum sentence of forty years in prison. In an interview with WMTV, the Department of Justice US Attorney for the Western District of Wisconsin in the case, Scott Blader, alleges:
“The threats were made that suggested that if he [the business owner] did not donate money to a Venmo account, that, in fact, they would be back, that they would cause disturbances and that, in fact, their business would suffer because of that.”
Blader told NBC15:
“When people no longer feel like they have the option to freely do what they have to do and if they don’t do it, that they, in fact, will suffer adverse consequences, and therefore they feel they must– that’s extortion.”
“It’s certainly right and expected that people have the ability to express their voices, but that stops when you begin to commit a crime, when you start to put people in harm or you begin to threaten property,” Blader said.
“When that occurs, that’s a crime, that’s where the Department of Justice steps in. That’s where we’ll enforce the law.”
Johnson has been arrested a few times in the past, namely for an incident over a cell phone purchase. Johnson and three others met with two people from Chicago in order to buy two cell phones from them.
The problem was, Johnson nor his friends had any intention of purchasing anything, but rather rob the phones from the victims. Johnson and his three accomplices held the pair from Chicago at gun point and eventually shot at them as they fled. Instead of being convicted of armed robbery and attempted murder, the courts dropped it down to theft.
What will happen to Johnson when this case goes to trial is unknown, but what is known is that his arrest sparked more outrage in the area. People rushed to the streets demanding that Johnson be released from custody.
When he was not, they began tearing down statutes in the area and defacing property. Instead of calling for calm in the Wisconsin area, Democratic Governor Tony Evers and Lieutenant Governor Mandela Barnes decided to blame republicans for the unrest. Barnes said in a now deleted tweet:
“I stand by my objection to violence against innocent people in all forms. But what I’m not about to do is open this app and see the same far right provocateurs who have used every bit of bandwidth to broaden the chasm of race relations in this state chime in as if they haven’t pushed people to this moment.”
Perhaps, instead of blaming violence on a specific group of people, like some groups in our country are fighting, maybe it is time to deal with the situation.Wondering why he thinks the law is on his side?
Perhaps we need to look no further than Seattle.So much for those arrests that took place when police made sweeps through Seattle’s CHOP zone on July 1st. Reports indicate that some of those who were arrested in defiance of the orders to disperse were back on the streets shortly thereafter.https://twitter.com/komonews/status/1279045478500335617
According to reports, there were 44 people arrested during the sweep that took place during the early morning hours of July 1st in the zone once known as CHOP in Seattle.One of the people arrested, Rashyla Levitt, was said to have only been held for mere hours after her arrest during the sweep for charges of failure to disperse.https://twitter.com/choeshow/status/1278423724795052032
By July 2nd, Levitt was already taking to the streets once again to engage in protests, saying the following about her release:
“We are back with the fire and we are ready to go.”
Levitt continued, noting that whatever was ongoing in CHOP was some sort of “movement” for “the people”:
“This is the people’s movement and we are gonna keep being part of the people and pushing this movement forward.”
While the charge was only a misdemeanor, many are concerned within the area that Levitt’s release is going to be that of a trend for those taken into custody during the CHOP clearing operation.Considering that those arrested on site during the sweep were among those refusing to leave (among other charges) – a expedient release could morph into an expedient reassembling of the miscreants.https://twitter.com/PatrickQuinnTV/status/1278769548192215041
Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan, while having been the one responsible for clearing out CHOP weeks after it had formed and went unchecked until murders occurred, still managed to sneak in some pandering toward the lawless group that inhabited the area when commenting on the Seattle Police’s arrests that occurred on July 1st:
“I fully support SPD’s operations this morning and the arrests and bookings were appropriate. But as we move forward in healing, alternatives to charging and criminal sanctions are also important.”
So even after weeks of assaults, vandalism, robberies, and murders – Seattle’s mayor is still looking to extend friendly consideration toward a group of people that seized several city blocks and terrorized residents in the area.https://twitter.com/MDee123456/status/1278451473345626115
City Attorney Pete Holmes said that of those who were arrested for misdemeanor crimes during the CHOP sweep, they’d be eligible to have their charges dropped if they participate in a “diversion program.
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Mitch McKinley is the proud husband of an amazing wife, father to four beautiful kids, a man of faith, a patriot, a U.S. Army veteran, a member of The Federal Task Force on School and Workplace Violence – Operation Innocence. He owns a technology and security consulting firm and is a proud to be a native Texan.