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Westlake Legal Group > Posts tagged "Demonstrations, Protests and Riots"

1 Dead After Man Shoots Into Crowd at Breonna Taylor Protest Park

Westlake Legal Group 1-dead-after-man-shoots-into-crowd-at-breonna-taylor-protest-park 1 Dead After Man Shoots Into Crowd at Breonna Taylor Protest Park Demonstrations, Protests and Riots
Westlake Legal Group merlin_173994540_caf2237f-032a-4169-b698-1af9862b7d79-facebookJumbo 1 Dead After Man Shoots Into Crowd at Breonna Taylor Protest Park Demonstrations, Protests and Riots

One man was killed and another person was injured in a shooting Saturday evening in a park where protesters against police violence have gathered for weeks in Louisville, Ky., the authorities said.

Videos posted online showed a man standing on the edge of Jefferson Square Park firing more than a dozen shots that sent protesters scrambling for shelter among tents and park benches.

One man died at the scene, and another person who was shot was found across the street at the Hall of Justice and taken to a hospital with non-life-threatening injuries, the Louisville Metro Police Department said in a statement.

The police cleared the park to investigate the shooting. “Detectives are trying to gather as much information as possible in order to identify all who were involved in the incident,” the police said. There was no indication of any arrests.

Louisville has been a center of the protests against police violence that have following the death of George Floyd, a 46-year-old black man, in police custody in Minneapolis last month.

Mr. Floyd’s death renewed focus on Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old African-American emergency room technician, who was shot and killed by Louisville police who were serving a no-knock warrant at her apartment.

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Bail Funds, Flush With Cash, Learn to ‘Grind Through This Horrible Process’

One afternoon in June, Elisabeth Epps hopped into her silver 2001 Ford Escort with broken air-conditioning and drove from Denver to Boulder, carrying cashier’s checks worth nearly $16,000.

She wasn’t going on vacation or buying a new car. She made the 30-mile trip to sit in the reception area at the Boulder jail — or as she called it, the “Boulder County cage” — to bail out three men she had never met.

“I’m here to pay ransom,” Ms. Epps told her followers as she live-streamed herself on Twitter.

Ms. Epps, 40, founded the Colorado Freedom Fund in 2018 — one of nearly 100 community bail funds that have started up across the country in the past decade. The organizations use donor money to secure the release of individuals who are awaiting trial behind bars because they cannot afford their bail. Minus certain fees and lost bonds for people who miss their court dates, the money comes back as clients meet their legal obligations and can be spent again on the next person’s bail.

The grass-roots movement achieved a new level of mainstream attention after the May killing of George Floyd by the police in Minneapolis, when demonstrators took to the streets across the country.

During protests in Denver, volunteer medics handed out water bottles with the Colorado Freedom Fund’s phone number on the side. “I took a picture of it, thinking, ‘This is really smart,” said Desiree Wines, who was arrested along with her husband for violating curfew. “In the paddy wagon, I told everyone the number for the Colorado Freedom Fund. I said, ‘Hey guys, repeat this number until you get to a phone,’” Ms. Wines said. The fund paid $500 bail each for her and her husband.

Bail funds have become an instant cause célèbre, with actors and models, singers and rappers posting screenshots of their donations. Since the protests began, more than 3.5 million people and organizations have donated more than $75 million to groups associated with an umbrella organization called the National Bail Fund Network. Another group, the Bail Project — started by the founder of the pathbreaking Bronx Freedom Fund — said it had raised an additional $15 million.

The Colorado Freedom Fund received $1 million, 10 times more than the group had received in the previous two years combined. On a recent Monday, Ms. Epps freed a woman with a single $50,000 cashier’s check — more than the $43,876 her group handed out in all of 2019, to pay 182 bonds.

A thousand miles east, the Chicago Community Bond Fund paid a $400,000 bond on behalf of Chrystul Kizer, 19. She had been held in a Wisconsin jail for two years, accused of killing Randall Volar, 34, in what her supporters say was an act of self-defense by a victim of sex trafficking.

ImageWestlake Legal Group 25Unrest-Bail-02-articleLarge Bail Funds, Flush With Cash, Learn to ‘Grind Through This Horrible Process’ Police Brutality, Misconduct and Shootings National Bail Fund Network incarceration George Floyd Protests (2020) Floyd, George (d 2020) Epps, Elisabeth Demonstrations, Protests and Riots Deaths (Fatalities) Colorado Freedom Fund Chicago Community Bond Fund Black Lives Matter Movement bail
Credit… Sarah L. Voisin/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Another group in the network, the Minnesota Freedom Fund, received more than $30 million in donations, nearly 300 times the amount it received in all of 2018, the year of its last public tax filing. Some donors have begun to criticize the group for not putting a large enough share of the money to work quickly enough.

“Nonprofits will get themselves into trouble with donors if they try to save funds or divert funds to other purposes. Witness the post-9/11 problems of the Red Cross,” said Alan J. Abramson, director at the Center for Nonprofit Management, Philanthropy, and Policy at George Mason University. The Red Cross raised over half a billion dollars after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and was criticized after trying to repurpose some of the windfall for future disasters.

“It was very easy for people to make donations — click, click,” said Pilar Maria Weiss, director of the Community Justice Exchange, which runs the National Bail Fund Network. “They wanted the freedom part to go the same way.”

“You can’t show up with $31 million and say, ‘Now everybody gets to go home,’” Ms. Weiss added. “You have to grind through this horrible process.”

In greater Denver, Ms. Epps has learned that grind over the past two years. Each jurisdiction has a different payment system — in-person, online, kiosk. Some take cash or debit cards, others only cashier’s checks. It’s a piecemeal system of buying freedom that runs the mileage up on her car and tries her patience daily.

Ms. Epps, who said she was tear-gassed and shot with rubber bullets during the recent demonstrations, had an up-close view of the system last year, when she spent 16 days in the Arapahoe County Detention Center. She had been convicted of obstructing a police officer, after interceding when the police tried to question a mentally unstable man. Under the terms of her work release, she typically spent nights in the jail before leaving with an ankle monitor to spend the day bailing other people out.

“Not one woman in my unit needed to be there,” Ms. Epps said. “It even deepened my commitment to abolition. The community was not safer with any of those women spending nights in jail.”

Bail funds have been around in different forms for decades, used by civil-rights groups to prepare for arrests that follow protests and acts of civil disobedience. Some scholars trace their roots to black communities’ pooling money to buy the freedom of enslaved people. But the modern push for bail funds gained momentum with the start of the Black Lives Matter movement in 2013; the unrest after the killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., by police in 2014; and the death of Sandra Bland in a Texas jail in 2015, while her family tried to post $500 to bail her out.

Jocelyn Simonson, a professor at Brooklyn Law School who studies bail funds, said that when she started looking at them in 2014 there were just three or four active ones.

Many bail funds began around fund-raising for specific events before developing into something more permanent. The Chicago Community Bond Fund grew out of an informal effort in 2014 for people arrested at a vigil for 17-year-old DeSean Pittman, who had been shot and killed by the police.

Sharlyn Grace, the executive director, described the appeal: “It’s extremely concrete. There’s immediate impact. You go down to the jail and buy someone’s freedom.”

The organization has raised $5 million since Mr. Floyd’s death. But not all of the funds may go to paying bail. Ms. Grace said she saw the money as belonging to the Black Lives Matter cause more broadly and that the donations were “a movement resource.” How the money is distributed to other groups could raise questions from donors, but Ms. Grace cautioned against too narrow a focus on bonds over broader problems in the criminal justice system. “We have to avoid the fetishization of bail funds in this moment,” she said.

In Colorado, Ms. Epps was inspired by the Black Mama’s Bail Out, which began in 2017 as an annual effort to secure the release of as many black mothers on Mother’s Day as possible. In 2018, Ms. Epps held her own fund-raisers and used the money to help get almost 20 women out.

She set a new goal of running a more permanent fund — the Colorado Freedom Fund. She did not realize just how challenging the “patchwork of administrative red tape” could be, she said. In Boulder, she has to present checks made out to the 20th Judicial District; in Arapahoe, they have to be in the defendant’s name; and in Weld County, they are made out to the sheriff.

Credit…Joe Amon/The Denver Post, via Getty Images

Ms. Epps also works as an organizer in the policy department at the ACLU of Colorado. In 2018, the organization sued the city of Denver on behalf of a Colorado Freedom Fund client. As a result, the city agreed to stop collecting a $30 booking fee and a $50 bond fee that were preventing the release of poor defendants.

While using donations to pay bail, Ms. Epps and her co-director, Eva Frickle, also advocate legislative reforms, like a bill signed into law by the governor of Colorado last year eliminating bail for petty crimes.

“Our mission is to work ourselves out of existence,” Ms. Epps said. “We are unapologetically working through an abolitionist lens.”

Before the legislation passed, the Colorado Freedom Fund typically paid bail only up to $500. With minor offenses exempted and the recent influx of donations, Ms. Epps and Ms. Frickle are now able to handle cases with much higher amounts.

The fund receives requests from defendants and their lawyers, as well as referrals from family and friends. They prioritize defendants who have been held longer; one of the men in Boulder had been incarcerated since June 2019. Ms. Epps noted that $50,000 for someone whose court date is in December may be a better use of funds than 50 $1,000 bonds for people with trials in a week.

Above all, the group puts those “most harmed by the system first in line for release from it,” Ms. Epps said. “We prioritize the most vulnerable.”

One of those vulnerable people is M.J. Coleman. In 2018, she called the police for help leaving a hostile living situation. She did not know there was an outstanding warrant for her arrest, related to an incident when she’d hit a tree with her car. She was put behind bars, with bail set at an unaffordable $500.

Legal experts say that people who cannot afford to pay bail disproportionately take plea deals instead of fighting their cases. Ms. Coleman’s court date was months later. “I would have lost my job, my livelihood, had I had to sit in jail like that,” Ms. Coleman said in an interview.

As a transgender woman, she was kept in an isolation cell, wearing an orange jumpsuit, while other detainees mingled in a holding area wearing their own clothes. “It’s dangerous for them in general pop and dangerous in solitary,” Ms. Epps said. “It’s torture on top of the trauma of the cage.”

By coincidence, Ms. Coleman had met Ms. Epps once before, in the reception area of another jail, where both were waiting to bail people out. Ms. Epps ended up bailing out Ms. Coleman’s friend, and she was ready to help again when Ms. Coleman was arrested.

Free from jail and able to work, Ms. Coleman contested the charge, waited for her day in court, and ultimately settled for the price of a new tree.

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41 Cities, Many Sources: How False Antifa Rumors Spread Locally

Westlake Legal Group 41-cities-many-sources-how-false-antifa-rumors-spread-locally 41 Cities, Many Sources: How False Antifa Rumors Spread Locally YouTube.com twitter Social Media Rumors and Misinformation News and News Media Greene, Marjorie Taylor (1974- ) George Floyd Protests (2020) Fringe Groups and Movements Facebook Inc Demonstrations, Protests and Riots Antifa Movement (US)

In recent weeks, as demonstrations against racism spread across the country, residents in at least 41 U.S. cities and towns became alarmed by rumors that the loose collective of anti-fascist activists known as antifa was headed to their area, according to an analysis by The New York Times. In many cases, they contacted their local law enforcement for help.

In each case, it was for an enemy that never appeared.

President Trump has spread some unfounded rumors about antifa, a loose collective of people, to a national audience — including his accusation, without evidence, that a 75-year-old Buffalo protester who was hospitalized after being knocked down by police could be “an antifa provocateur.

But on the local level, the source of the false information has usually been more subtle, and shows the complexity of stunting misinformation online. The bad information often first appears in a Twitter or Facebook post, or a YouTube video there. It then gets shared on online spaces like local Facebook groups, the neighborhood social networking app Nextdoor and community texting networks. These posts can fall under the radar of the tech companies and online fact checkers.

“The dynamic is tricky because many times these local groups don’t have much prior awareness of the body of conspiratorial content surrounding some of these topics,” said Renée DiResta, a disinformation researcher at the Stanford Internet Observatory. “The first thing they see is a trusted fellow community member giving them a warning.”

Here are four ways that antifa falsehoods spread in local communities.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_173672286_90c2f87a-e961-46f5-a89c-faf76a3d993f-articleLarge 41 Cities, Many Sources: How False Antifa Rumors Spread Locally YouTube.com twitter Social Media Rumors and Misinformation News and News Media Greene, Marjorie Taylor (1974- ) George Floyd Protests (2020) Fringe Groups and Movements Facebook Inc Demonstrations, Protests and Riots Antifa Movement (US)

On the last weekend in May, the police in Sioux Falls, S.D., decided to investigate whether busloads of antifa protesters were headed to town. It shows what can happen from a single tweet.

They were responding to a rumor spreading quickly among local residents online, and first posted to Twitter by the local Chamber of Commerce.

“We’re being told that buses are en route from Fargo for today’s march downtown…,” the group posted on Twitter. “Please bring in any furniture, signs, etc. that could be possibly thrown through windows.”

The tweet was later deleted, but not before the rumor spread verbatim on Facebook, where it was even translated into Spanish. On Facebook, screenshots of the tweet and other posts about the group’s message collected more than 4,600 likes and shares according to CrowdTangle, a Facebook-owned tool that analyzes interactions across social media.

These included shares by the Facebook pages of three local news outlets with a combined reach of 36,238 followers, and two posts in Spanish-speaking local Facebook groups, which reached 2,611 followers.

Twitter said it had taken down “hundreds of groups” under its violent extremist group policy and “continues to enforce our policies against hateful conduct every day across the world.” Facebook said its fact-checking partners rate many false claims about the protests, including about antifa.

The rumor led to dozens of people reaching out the local police that Sunday, according to Sam Clemens, the public information officer at the Sioux Falls Police Department.

“But on the day of the protests, we didn’t have any evidence of any buses coming from out of town carrying people,” Mr. Clemens said. The majority of protesters were local residents, he said.

The Greater Sioux Falls Chamber of Commerce said it got the information from sources it knew and believed to be credible.

“We received information that led us to believe there was a cause for concern. As such, we wanted to encourage local business owners to take responsible, precautionary steps for their businesses,” said Jeff Griffin, the group’s president. “We removed the post when we realized it was contributing to a different message that we did not intend.”

A false rumor about antifa protesters in Yucaipa, Calif., a city about 70 miles from Los Angeles, started with one viral YouTube video about the city. Before long, it had even reached a national audience.

A YouTube video posted on June 2, featuring scenes of men in masks and holding guns, purportedly residents of the city preparing for “potential antifa looting ahead of a planned BLM protest,” has collected 17,200 views in the days since. Facebook posts of photos claiming to show the Yucaipa residents defending their town were posted at least 587 times in Facebook groups, and amassed over 24,000 likes and shares, according to the Times analysis. They were shared in pro-Trump and far-right Facebook groups, as well as other local community groups.

Farshad Shadloo, a YouTube spokesman, said that, like Facebook, the video service uses fact-checking panels to flag false information, and that the company aims to promote videos from authoritative sources about the protests.

On the same day, the conservative commentator and former Fox News host Todd Starnes published a blog post titled, “TOWN FIGHTS antifa: ‘They Just Beat the Ever-Loving Snot Out of Them.’” It collected over 48,000 likes and shares, and reached three million followers on Facebook.

A day later, the conspiracy website Infowars posted an article about the false narrative, which spread it further among followers of conspiracy groups and several Facebook groups dedicated to praising Mr. Trump.

A representative for Mr. Starnes said he was unavailable to respond.

The Yucaipa Police Department confirmed on Twitter that it had responded to reports of fights in public on June 1, but did not mention the involvement of antifa. A public information officer for the department pointed to a YouTube video posted last week, in which a Yucaipa police lieutenant, Julie Brumm-Landen, said that the city had not experienced looting or destruction from protests of racism.

“The information about antifa or planned criminal activity in Yucaipa is nothing more than internet speculation and false rumors,” Lt. Brumm-Landen added. “Any peaceful protests that takes place will have the full support and protection of the Yucaipa Police Department.” That video was viewed just 100 times.

A congressional candidate over 2,000 miles away from Yucaipa started to spread a similar message. The episode highlights how even when a tech company removes bad local information, it can happen too late.

Marjorie Taylor Greene, a Republican congressional candidate in northwest Georgia and a professed member of the fringe conspiracy theory group QAnon, tweeted an ad for her campaign showing her holding an AR-15-style rifle and threatening antifa activists. “You won’t burn our churches, loot our businesses or destroy our homes,” she said in the ad. It was retweeted 20,000 times.

On Facebook, that same campaign ad was removed from the platform two days later — but not before it racked up over 1.2 million views on the site. According to the social network, the video violated the company’s policies against promoting the use of firearms. “We removed it because it advocates the use of deadly weapons against a clearly defined group of people, which violates our policies against inciting violence,” said Andrea Vallone, a Facebook spokeswoman.

No group of antifa activists arrived in Georgia. But that didn’t seem to hurt Ms. Greene’s political campaign. One week after her ad posted, Ms. Greene finished first in her primary, winning 41 percent of the vote in the strongly Republican 14th Congressional District, and has a strong chance of winning a runoff vote in August.

Ms. Greene, who has a history of making offensive remarks about blacks, Jews and Muslims, appears to have no remorse about spreading unfounded rumors of antifa coming to town.

“I’m sick and tired of watching establishment Republicans play defense while the Fake News Media cheers on antifa terrorists, BLM rioters, and the woke cancel culture, as they burn our cities, loot our businesses, vandalize our memorials, and divide our nation,” Ms. Greene said in an emailed statement.

In late May to early June, there was a rumor that “two bus loads of antifa” were heading to Locust, N.C., about 25 miles east of Charlotte. The rumor was shared in text messages among people in the area — far out of sight of any fact-checking organization.

On June 1, the rumor surfaced in Facebook groups with names like DeplorablePride.org and Albemarle News and Weather.

That same evening, the police in Locust posted a screenshot of a text that had been circulating in the community over the weekend. The text falsely claimed that police officers had been knocking on doors to warn that “a black organization is bringing 2 bus loads of people to walmart in locust with intentions on looting and burning down the suburbs.” The post, made on Facebook, assured residents that the police department had not been spreading the rumor.

Jeffrey Shew, the assistant chief of police at the Locust Police Department, said that all the residents who reached out to the police department to report the buses “had no direct knowledge” of violent protesters coming to town. He said they were only sharing what they saw on social media. By midnight on June 1, Mr. Shew said, it was clear that the rumors were untrue.

“No protests, groups looking to protest, or groups looking to riot occurred,” he said.

On June 2, the police posted another message on Facebook emphasizing that the rumors had no substance. It exemplified that often, local community members themselves are the ones on the front lines of debunking false rumors.

“We had absolutely zero confirmed credible information related to these activities however out of an abundance of caution we did arrange or stage extra resources and officers in Locust in the event there was any legitimacy to the posts,” the post by the Locust Police Department read. “Now in the morning after, we can 100% confirm there was zero truth to any of the posts that we observed.”

Posts containing the original rumor reached 27,855 followers on Facebook, according to the Times analysis. The police’s posts reached 2,966 followers on Facebook.

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Trump Rally Has Tulsa on Edge

Westlake Legal Group trump-rally-has-tulsa-on-edge Trump Rally Has Tulsa on Edge United States Politics and Government Tulsa (Okla) Trump, Donald J Presidential Election of 2020 juneteenth Disease Rates Demonstrations, Protests and Riots

TULSA, Okla. — President Trump’s attempt to revive his re-election campaign sputtered badly on Saturday night as he traveled to Tulsa for his first mass rally in months and found a far smaller crowd than his aides had promised him, then delivered a disjointed speech that did not reckon with the multiple crises facing the nation or scandals battering him in Washington.

Visiting a 2016 electoral stronghold, Mr. Trump had hoped to declare a “great American comeback” before a jam-packed arena like he repeatedly had during his first presidential campaign. Instead, the event only raised questions about his drawing power and political skills at a time when his poll numbers are falling and allies are worried about his electoral prospects for a second term.

While the president’s campaign had claimed that more than a million people had sought tickets for the rally, the 19,000-seat BOK Center was still half empty by the time Mr. Trump landed in Tulsa. A second, outdoor venue where Mr. Trump was set to declare a “great American comeback” was so sparsely attended that he and Vice President Mike Pence both canceled appearances there.

Tim Murtaugh, a spokesman for the Trump campaign, falsely blamed the small numbers on “radical protesters” and the news media who he said frightened away supporters. But there were few protests in the area, a strong security presence and no one blocking entrances.

The disappointing turnout came as Mr. Trump already found himself under siege about his sudden firing of the U.S. attorney in Manhattan and his losing legal battle over the release of a memoir full of damaging revelations by John R. Bolton, his former national security adviser. And in Tulsa, Mr. Trump faced criticism for ignoring pleas from officials about health risks to rallygoers and for restarting his “Make America Great Again!” rallies in a city where a white mob massacred hundreds of black residents 99 years ago.

In rambling, grievance-filled remarks, Mr. Trump made no reference to George Floyd, whose death at the hands of a white police officer in Minneapolis sparked global demands for racial justice. Instead, he railed about “left-wing radicals” who he falsely claimed were rioting in cities across the country.

“The unhinged left wing mob is trying to vandalize our history, desecrate our monuments, our beautiful monuments, tear down our statues and punish, cancel, and persecute anyone who does not conform to their demands for absolute and total control,” Mr. Trump said. He was referring in part to attempts to remove Confederate monuments, efforts that have support in both parties.

The president once again shrugged off the threat from the coronavirus, at one point calling it the “Chinese virus” and the “Kung Flu.” He bragged that he has done “a phenomenal job” fighting the pandemic but admitted that increased testing for the virus revealed more cases of infection that he felt made the country look bad.

“So I said to my people, ‘slow the testing down,’” he said.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_173760378_a962a3d2-0a78-4d25-81e5-af8a2de47798-articleLarge Trump Rally Has Tulsa on Edge United States Politics and Government Tulsa (Okla) Trump, Donald J Presidential Election of 2020 juneteenth Disease Rates Demonstrations, Protests and Riots
Credit…Doug Mills/The New York Times

Many of the thousands of Trump supporters at the rally did not wear masks or stand six feet apart — health precautions that Mr. Trump himself has ignored. The campaign conducted temperature checks and handed out masks, yet health experts remained concerned that the event could be a dangerous incubator for the virus, spreading through the building’s recirculated air.

It was unclear whether fears about the virus kept Trump supporters away despite the president’s repeated efforts to dismiss the need for social distancing and other precautions.

A few hours before the event, the campaign disclosed that six Trump campaign staff members who had been working on the rally had tested positive for the coronavirus during a routine screening. Two members of the Secret Service in Tulsa also tested positive for the virus, according to people familiar with the matter. Mr. Trump, who was made aware of the sick campaign aides before departing for the rally, was incensed that the news was made public, according to two people familiar with his reaction.

While rallies are Mr. Trump’s favorite events, election-year politics has changed since his last one, on March 2. The coronavirus has largely shut down the campaign trail, and more recently the national political conversation has been dominated by a fierce debate over police violence against black Americans after the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Mr. Floyd’s death has sparked global protests against systemic racism and demands for police reform.

But the altered political landscape has had little effect on the president, whom advisers describe as feeling like a caged animal during the national lockdown that forced him to abandon most travel. They say he is determined to recapture the excitement of his pre-virus campaign rallies, but this one seemed unlikely to offer much relief to Mr. Trump.

He flew to Oklahoma amid mounting questions about the firing of Geoffrey S. Berman, the United States Attorney in Manhattan, whose office had investigated some of the president’s closest allies, imprisoning Michael Cohen, his former personal lawyer, and began an inquiry into Rudolph W. Giuliani, his current lawyer.

On Saturday morning, Attorney General William P. Barr announced that Mr. Trump had personally approved Mr. Berman’s firing. But only hours later, as Mr. Trump left the White House for the trip to Tulsa, the president said that “we have a very capable attorney general, so that’s really up to him. I’m not involved.”

The campaign had chosen to return first to Oklahoma, which the president won by 36 points in 2016, because they assumed he would be wildly popular there. Aides to Mr. Trump spent the week boasting about enormous interest from people in the rally, and Mr. Trump bragged on Saturday as he left for Oklahoma that ”the crowds are unbelievable” — a fiction that could raise questions about whether Trump rallies still have political potency.

Speaking at the rally before the president took the stage, Mr. Pence urged the crowd to bring the enthusiasm that helped sweep Mr. Trump into office in 2016. “Get ready. Buckle up,” he said. “It’s on. We’ve got a little more than four months to win four more years for President Donald Trump in the White House. So get ready to bring it

During the first half of Mr. Trump’s speech, he delivered a 15-minute explanation of images that showed him ambling slowly down a ramp after delivering the commencement address at the West Point military academy. He blamed his slow walk on “leather soles” on his shoes and said he was trying not to fall on his behind.

Many people in Tulsa, worried about the record numbers of coronavirus cases in Oklahoma in recent days, did not welcome the rally. On Saturday afternoon, local black leaders held a news conference in the city’s historic Greenwood neighborhood, where the 1921 massacre took place, pleading with the city’s mayor, G.T. Bynum, a Trump ally, to cancel the rally.

Credit…Erin Schaff/The New York Times

In the streets around the BOK Center, the president’s supporters — some of whom had lined up for days in the hopes of ensuring a seat in the stadium — gathered not far from Black Lives Matter protesters and people in town for the Juneteenth celebration. Many wore red MAGA hats while others wore caps with patriotic emblems or colors. Some waved red, white and blue banners with the Trump 2020 logo, the American flag, or the “Don’t Tread on Me” flag. Some wore them like capes. Almost none wore masks.

“If it is God’s will that I get coronavirus that is the will of the Almighty. I will not live in fear,” said Robert Montanelli, a resident of Broken Arrow, a Tulsa suburb.

The president and his advisers hope the return to campaign trail will help deflect attention from a daily stream of crises engulfing the White House. On Saturday, a federal judge refused to block the release of Mr. Bolton’s book, though he said the former national security aide may be personally liable for revealing classified information.

People close to Mr. Trump also said that the lack of regular adulation that he receives from the cheering crowds since the coronavirus lockdowns has left him morose and irritable. And his advisers hope that the rally will be an outlet for his energy, as opposed to his Twitter feed, where he has posted several self-destructive messages in the last several weeks.

Driven in part by poll numbers showing his support slipping as he prepares to face former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. in the fall, Mr. Trump had initially scheduled his rally for Friday. He later said he was unaware of the significance of the Juneteenth holiday, which celebrates the end of slavery in the country.

Credit…Erin Schaff/The New York Times

Under fire, the campaign moved the event to Saturday, leaving Mr. Trump to make the wild claim that he had revealed the existence of the holiday to many people despite the fact that millions of black Americans have celebrated Juneteenth annually for years.

“I did something good: I made Juneteenth very famous,” Mr. Trump bragged in an interview with The Wall Street Journal. “It’s actually an important event, an important time. But nobody had ever heard of it.”

Local officials expressed anxiety about the possibility of clashes between supporters of Mr. Trump and protesters, a fear that was heightened when the president on Friday appeared to threaten the use of military force to quell any violence that might erupt during his visit. But the protests leading up to the rally were peaceful and relatively small.

Mr. Trump’s rally is taking place amid a spike of coronavirus cases in Oklahoma recently. The state reported its highest number of cases in a single day on Thursday, with more than 450 people testing positive for the virus, more than twice the average number of positive cases during the last several months.

Still, the Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled on Friday that Mr. Trump’s rally could move forward in its usual, boisterous manner, turning back a lawsuit by local business owners and others in Tulsa who had demanded that the president’s campaign adhere to social distancing rules or cancel the rally altogether.

Credit…Erin Schaff/The New York Times

By late morning in Tulsa on Saturday, a steadily growing line of rallygoers had assembled. Some had traveled significant distances, but many other attendees were Tulsa locals or came from nearby states, like Kansas and Missouri, or elsewhere in deep-red Oklahoma. The crowd was overwhelmingly white, and in more than a dozen interviews, most people ranged in age from their 40s to their 60s, though a sizable number of attendees also brought their children.

No one interviewed expressed serious concerns about coronavirus risk at the rally.

“It’s all fake,” said Mike Alcorn, 40, who works in maintenance and lives in Wichita, Kan. “They’re just making the numbers up. I haven’t seen anybody die, not from coronavirus. I don’t even know anybody who’s got it.”

Cynthia Bellino, who said she arrived at the rally site at 3 a.m. with her daughter, was there to support Mr. Trump in part out of appreciation for the anti-abortion measures he backs, an issue several attendees raised as they gathered in this conservative state. She was aware of his faltering poll numbers, but said she was tuning them out.

“The polls the first time were completely wrong,” she said. “I don’t pay them any attention.”

Ben Fenwick and Katie Glueck contributed reporting from Tulsa.

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U.S. Watched George Floyd Protests in Over 15 Cities Using Aerial Surveillance

GRAND FORKS, N.D. — The Department of Homeland Security deployed helicopters, airplanes and drones over 15 cities where demonstrators gathered to protest the death of George Floyd, logging at least 270 hours of surveillance, far more than previously revealed, according to Customs and Border Protection data.

The department’s dispatching of unmanned aircraft over protests in Minneapolis last month sparked a congressional inquiry and widespread accusations that the federal agency had infringed on the privacy rights of demonstrators.

But that was just one piece of a nationwide operation that deployed resources usually used to patrol the U.S. border for smugglers and illegal crossings. Aircraft filmed demonstrations in Dayton, Ohio; New York City; Buffalo and Philadelphia, among other cities, sending video footage in real time to control centers managed by Air and Marine Operations, a branch of Customs and Border Protection.

The footage was then fed into a digital network managed by the Homeland Security Department, called “Big Pipe,” which can be accessed by other federal agencies and local police departments for use in future investigations, according to senior officials with Air and Marine Operations.

The revelations come amid a fierce national debate over police tactics and the role that federal law enforcement should play in controlling or monitoring demonstrations. The clearing of demonstrators from Lafayette Park in Washington for a presidential photo op is still under scrutiny. The Air Force inspector general is investigating whether the military improperly used a reconnaissance plane to monitor peaceful protesters in Washington and Minneapolis this month.

And the National Guard in the District of Columbia has already reached a preliminary conclusion that a lack of clarity in commands led to one of its medical evacuation helicopters swooping low on protesters in the nation’s capital. Renewed calls to demilitarize police work have not only come from criminal justice advocates but also former Republican Homeland Security officials such as Michael Chertoff and Tom Ridge, the first two leaders of the Homeland Security Department, which was created after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

Officials at the Customs and Border Protection base here rejected any notion that their fleet of aircraft had been misused, either to violate privacy rights or intimidate protesters.

“The worst part for me is when we’re made out to be storm troopers,” said David Fulcher, the deputy director for air operations at the National Air Security Operations Center in Grand Forks. “We believe in peaceful protests.”

The aircraft, they said, were used to provide an eagle-eyed view of violent acts and arson. The Predator drone deployed to Minneapolis, like eight other unmanned aircraft owned by Air and Marine Operations, was neither armed nor equipped with facial recognition technology and flew at a height that made it impossible to identify individuals or license plates, according to senior officials here.

“The legend of the Predator — the all-seeing, all-knowing, hover-outside-your-window Predator — it’s just not accurate,” Mr. Fulcher said. “The technology is not there.”

But House Democrats and privacy advocates still worry over the potential dissemination of the footage and the chilling effect that militarized aircrafts could have on peaceful protests.

Earlier this month, Democrats with the House Oversight Committee, including Representatives Carolyn B. Maloney and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Jamie Raskin of Maryland, and Stephen F. Lynch and Ayanna Pressley, both of Massachusetts, protested to Chad Wolf, the acting secretary of homeland security.

“This administration has undermined the First Amendment freedoms of Americans of all races who are rightfully protesting George Floyd’s killing,” the Democrats said in a letter to Mr. Wolf. “The deployment of drones and officers to surveil protests is a gross abuse of authority and is particularly chilling when used against Americans who are protesting law enforcement brutality.”

But Democrats apparently were unaware of the breadth of the agency’s actions. Most of surveillance was done with planes and helicopters. Air and Marine Operations did dispatch drones to two demonstrations — in Minneapolis and in Del Rio, Texas.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_173160402_2294710b-d999-4375-89cd-7eab4e2fd509-articleLarge U.S. Watched George Floyd Protests in Over 15 Cities Using Aerial Surveillance Surveillance of Citizens by Government Police Brutality, Misconduct and Shootings Homeland Security Department George Floyd Protests (2020) Drones (Pilotless Planes) Demonstrations, Protests and Riots Customs and Border Protection (US) Black Lives Matter Movement
Credit…Roberto Schmidt/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

The agency’s AS350 helicopters conducted more than 168 hours of surveillance of protests in 13 different cities, the longest stretch being 58 hours over Detroit, according to data provided by Air and Marine Operations. The agency also deployed a Blackhawk helicopter for nearly 13 hours, assisting other federal agencies with surveillance in Washington, D.C. Kris Grogan, a spokesman for Customs and Border Protection, said the agency’s Blackhawk was not one of the helicopters that flew low over the demonstrators and caused panic.

A Cessna single-engine plane conducted nearly 58 hours of surveillance, more than 38 of them over Buffalo. Mark Morgan, the acting commissioner of Customs and Border Protection, said in a tweet this month that the officers manning that plane helped track down suspects who used an S.U.V. to hit local police on the ground.

Most of the requests did not come from local police departments. In Minneapolis, the call came from an agent in Homeland Security Investigations, the branch of Immigration and Customs Enforcement that conducts longer-term investigations into terrorists, weapons trafficking and drug smuggling.

The agent, who was on the ground in Minneapolis and works with Air and Marine Operations regularly, requested the help on May 28 after reports of arson and violence in the area. Air and Marine Operations, which also dispatches drones from Sierra Vista, Ariz., and Corpus Christi, Texas, was not able to send the aircraft until the next day. After about two hours of surveilling, the agent and other law enforcement agencies said it was no longer needed.

“It’s discretionary, but there’s a huge degree of accountability as far as who can say yes or no to deploying these assets,” said Jonathan Miller, the executive director of the National Air Security Operations at Customs and Border Protection.

Air and Marine Operations officials said agency protocol prevents infringement on the right to protest. The drones, which can stay in the air from 12 to roughly 24 hours depending on how much radar equipment is attached, are directed to fly no lower than 19,000 feet. From that height, the “electrical optical-infrared ball” on the drones wouldn’t allow the operators to see faces, eyes or hair color, according to the Department of Homeland Security’s privacy impact assessment for the aircrafts.

But operators can track movements of protesters or looters, direct law enforcement on the ground and see if someone is wearing a backpack or rifle. And stored footage could be accessed later to corroborate investigative findings, such as a witness account that a fire was set at a given time by a small group or the escape route of a suspect.

Credit…Victor J. Blue for The New York Times

A live feed of the footage is sent to a mobile operations center, where a group of agents monitor television screens while moving the drone with joysticks. Other federal agents that request a view from the sky can also see the footage on their phones, Mr. Fulcher said.

Mr. Fulcher said the surveillance footage, stored on the aircraft and in control rooms, is overwritten after an average of 30 days by new feeds. But video feeds and radar images sent to “Big Pipe” can also be analyzed by Homeland Security Department intelligence officers. That data may be stored for “up to five years,” according to Homeland Security’s Privacy Impact Assessment. If federal agencies or police departments can prove they need the footage for a criminal investigation, the video can be provided, according to the document and Mr. Fulcher.

The Department of Homeland Security did not say whether any law enforcement agencies had requested footage of the demonstrations.

Jay Stanley, a senior policy analyst at the American Civil Liberties Union, said the aircraft could discourage people from protesting. The concern is not only what the border agency is doing with the aircraft and footage but how future operations could adapt to quickly advancing technology.

“You see an aircraft, you have no idea currently what technologies that aircraft is carrying,” Mr. Stanley said. “There is something militaristic and dominating about a militarized police aircraft hovering over you when you’re out there protesting police abuse.”

Air and Marine Operations recorded more than 92,800 hours of flight time in the fiscal year that ended in September, most of that spent patrolling the border. But the helicopters, planes and drones spent more than 8,000 hours helping law enforcement agencies with search and rescue missions and other criminal investigations.

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In California, Hanging Deaths of Two Black Men Summon a Dark History and F.B.I. Scrutiny

Westlake Legal Group in-california-hanging-deaths-of-two-black-men-summon-a-dark-history-and-f-b-i-scrutiny In California, Hanging Deaths of Two Black Men Summon a Dark History and F.B.I. Scrutiny Suicides and Suicide Attempts Race and Ethnicity George Floyd Protests (2020) Federal Bureau of Investigation Demonstrations, Protests and Riots Black Lives Matter Movement

PALMDALE, Calif. — Poncitlan Square in the center of this high desert city is a tidy expanse of green lawn with a gazebo and a fountain. On one side is City Hall, on the other, a fire station. There is a cafe and the Whispering Palms Apartments. This time last year, for the first time, it was filled with revelers celebrating Juneteenth, the annual holiday to mark the end of slavery.

Today, it is a place of mourning, anger and suspicion after a black man was found dead in the park, in the early hours of the day, hanging from a tree.

Now, the grass around the Chinese Pistache tree is buried under balloons, candles, flowers and photographs of the man, Robert Fuller, one in his cap-and-gown, another with his sisters. A giant American flag flies overhead, as people gather around the tree, absorbed in despair for another black life lost.

The Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department first ruled the case a suicide. But it quickly shifted course by vowing a full investigation, a reaction in part to the protests, here and across the country, against police violence and racism.

“Black people don’t do that,” said Terry L. Scott, a realtor from Los Angeles, about an hour’s drive west, expressing a sentiment shared by many in Palmdale. “They don’t hang themselves from a tree in a public park.”

As tensions across the country grow in the wake of the killing of George Floyd, this desert region east of Los Angeles has been shaken not just by the death of Mr. Fuller but by a second, similar case, in nearby Victorville, where a black man was found dead, tied to a tree branch with a computer cord around his neck.

That case, too, was first ruled a suicide, and officials in both cases say there is no sign of foul play. But now, in response to pleas from activists and family members, local authorities are promising full investigations. And in a sign of the mistrust between the black community and law enforcement in the two cities, the F.B.I. is monitoring the probes, as are investigators with the state’s office of attorney general.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_173626716_285e0487-62b7-4521-a3e0-a09a7aab4cdd-articleLarge In California, Hanging Deaths of Two Black Men Summon a Dark History and F.B.I. Scrutiny Suicides and Suicide Attempts Race and Ethnicity George Floyd Protests (2020) Federal Bureau of Investigation Demonstrations, Protests and Riots Black Lives Matter Movement
Credit…Bryan Denton for The New York Times

Taken together, the cases highlight not only the moment America finds itself in but also the long and well-documented history in Southern California of racial discrimination, police abuses and the lingering presence of white supremacist groups.

Emotions were already raw over the killing of Mr. Floyd and the unrest it provoked, not to mention the accumulated grievances here over years of police abuses. Now, the potent symbolism of black men hanging from trees has put this city on edge — the atmosphere within the black community is a “powder keg,” one local pastor said — causing many to question law enforcement’s handling of the cases.

“I think it was a rush to judgment,” said Jamon R. Hicks, a Los Angeles civil rights attorney hired by Mr. Fuller’s family who is working to arrange an independent autopsy. “What’s so disturbing about that is there’s this history they didn’t consider. My first thought would not be a suicide. My first thought is, this is a modern-day lynching.”

There have been at least three other hangings in public places in recent days that were ruled suicides, in Texas and New York City, sparking anguish and questions. A black teenager was found dead near an elementary school in Spring, Texas. A Hispanic man was found dead in Houston. And a black man was found dead in a tree in a Manhattan park.

Officials in all these cases said there is no evidence they were not suicides. Nevertheless, the deaths have drawn attention on social media, with activists expressing fears they could be signs of a backlash against the Black Lives Matter movement, and others calling for federal investigations.

In Northern California several nooses were found recently on five trees in a popular park in Oakland, prompting the F.B.I. to open a hate crimes investigation, even as some claimed the ropes were simply exercise equipment.

Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf said that the intent of whoever put the ropes in the trees will be relevant to the criminal investigation, while acknowledging the potent symbolism.

“What a privilege for those of us that don’t feel complete fear and terror when we see a rope in a tree,” she said at a news conference on Wednesday. “That is a privilege that so many of our African-American residents do not enjoy.”

In Victorville, a city 50 miles east of Palmdale in San Bernardino County, residents gathered this week to demand the police investigate the death of Malcolm Harsch, 38, a homeless man who was living in a tent when his body was found hanging from a tree on May 31, ten days before Mr. Fuller’s death.

Credit…Bryan Denton for The New York Times

According to a social worker briefed on the investigation by the San Bernardino Sheriff’s Department, Mr. Harsch’s body had no wounds to suggest he was attacked. The cable left one deep mark around his neck, typical of suicides, rather than several marks to indicate Mr. Harsch had struggled to free himself of the makeshift nose.

But many residents are angered that the police were quick to judge the death a suicide and did not perform an autopsy until 12 days after the body was found. And his death was not announced until nearly two weeks later, they say, only after media scrutiny of the death of Mr. Fuller was brought to light. In both cases, police have not made public any suicide notes.

The families of both Mr. Harsch and Mr. Fuller have cast doubt that their loved one’s’ deaths were suicides. At a rally in Palmdale recently Diamond Alexander, Mr. Fuller’s sister, who lives in Arizona, said, “my brother was not suicidal. He wasn’t.”

Karmen Smith, a mental health therapist, was so moved by the death of Mr. Fuller — who attended a local high school, loved basketball and was described as outgoing and funny — that she drove from Las Vegas to see the town square.

She said she could not believe a black man would kill himself by hanging on a tree in a public park, given the history in America of lynching.

When Ms. Smith walked into the park on Tuesday morning, she said, “I just screamed. I was just so outraged and saddened.”

Los Angeles County officials have now said they are searching for any video footage from the area around the park, and are analyzing the rope from Mr. Fuller’s case.

At the square in Palmdale, there is no escaping the backdrop of a nation at war with itself, as it grapples with a painful history. One man displayed old photographs of black men being lynched in America. Others spoke of the region’s own troubles — of housing discrimination, racial profiling, the presence of neo-Nazi groups, being taunted by racial slurs — and passed out fliers about the next-door town titled, “a brief overview of Lancaster’s racist history.”

The region was once predominantly white and expanded during World War II as the growing aerospace industry attracted families. In recent decades, the demographics have been shifting, as black and Latino residents fled Los Angeles in search of more affordable homes. This migration intensified racial tensions, residents say.

“I moved here 10 years ago from Compton,” said Aleka Jackson, 48, a teacher, who lives in Victorville. “I wanted to raise my children in a place that would be safer. But when you change location, you change your issues. I traded gang culture for racism.”

Many black and Latino residents who moved to the region were low-income, using housing vouchers from the federal Section 8 program.

This provoked an organized effort by local authorities, in partnership with the Sheriff’s Department, to target low-income residents for eviction, according to federal investigators who found a pattern of abusive police practices against African Americans in 2013. The investigation resulted in a consent decree and federal monitoring.

“I feel like black lives have remained vulnerable out here,” said Christian D. Green, a local pastor and adjunct professor of African-American history at several community colleges.

Credit…Bryan Denton for The New York Times

The day after Mr. Fuller was found dead, a sheriff’s deputy shot and killed a black man in his home in Lancaster following a domestic dispute. The sheriff’s department said the man, Michael Thomas, had reached for a deputy’s gun before being killed, a claim the man’s fiancé disputed, according to news reports.

Pastor Jacob D.R. Johnson on Growing Valley Baptist Church, a predominantly African-American congregation in Lancaster, said he hasn’t been able to bring himself to visit the park where Mr. Fuller was found dead. “I’ve had a hard time sleeping,” he said.

Mr. Johnson, the vice president of the local chapter of the NAACP, like other black leaders here, are preparing themselves for the possibility that Mr. Fuller was murdered, and what the reaction might be on the streets.

“We’re really saying, we’re not going to be quick to judge,” he said. “Wisdom cries out, wait.”

He is haunted by the racism in the region, whether it be painted swastikas popping up or, in a recent case that made news, a widely circulated photograph of teachers holding a noose.

“Hate crimes are not inconceivable,” he said.

Until there are answers, he added, “we are asking people to keep their families close.”

Tim Arango reported from Palmdale, Calif. and Maria Abi-Habib from Victorville, Calif. Thomas Fuller contributed reporting from Oakland, Calif.

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Trump’s Juneteenth in Tulsa: How His Campaign Rally Plans Went Awry

WASHINGTON — Brad Parscale, the Trump campaign manager, needed to find a host city for the president’s triumphant return to the campaign trail, and he didn’t have much time.

Reviewing a list of potential locations over the past few weeks, Mr. Parscale quickly settled on Tulsa, Okla., people familiar with the planning said in interviews, mostly because it seemed easy. A deep red state President Trump carried by 36 percentage points four years ago, Oklahoma wasn’t in play for the November election. But it was the furthest along of any state in the country in terms of reopening, and it had seen fewer than 400 Covid-19 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic.

A city with a supportive Republican mayor, where the coronavirus was no longer having a deep impact on daily life, seemed like the most effortless way to pack an arena and deliver Mr. Trump the adulatory validation he craved.

But instead of offering Mr. Trump a glide path back into the campaign season, where he could sell a message about a country overcoming daunting challenges, Mr. Trump’s Tulsa rally has become yet another flash point for a candidate who has repeatedly displayed insensitivity about race in America and ignited controversies and divided people with his use of racist language.

It is coming at a deeply painful time for the country, when protests, riots and police violence have roiled major cities in the aftermath of the killing of George Floyd, a black man, at the hands of white police officers.

Mr. Trump and his aides failed to grasp the significance of holding a rally on Juneteenth, a holiday celebrated annually on June 19 that honors the end of slavery in the United States. Nor did they appear to realize that Tulsa was the site of one of the country’s bloodiest outbreaks of racist violence.

“Think about it as a celebration,” Mr. Trump said in an interview with Fox News when asked if the date was intentional. “My rally is a celebration.”

About 30 hours later, he changed the date to Saturday.

Ignoring Tulsa’s troubled history, as well as the Juneteenth holiday, has put the community on edge as the rally approaches, and refocused attention on how few African-American aides work on Mr. Trump’s campaign or in the White House.

“They’re stinging from it, they’re reeling from it,” said former Representative J.C. Watts of Oklahoma, who was the first black Republican elected to Congress from south of the Mason-Dixon Line since Reconstruction. “Juneteenth was on the schedule before any rally was. People are reeling from it.”

Mr. Trump has responded to the protests by insisting that he has done more for African-Americans than any other president in history, save for Abraham Lincoln, and that his campaign “loves the black people.” On Thursday, he tried to take credit for making Juneteenth “very famous,’’ saying “nobody had ever heard of it’’ until he scheduled his rally for that day.

But Mr. Watts said the episode made him wonder “if there’s any African-Americans in the White House that’s high enough that has a seat at the table.” He added, “It would have been helpful for one of them to say to him, ‘Mr. President, Juneteenth is to the black community what the Emancipation Proclamation is to Abraham Lincoln.’”

Randal Pinkett, an African-American former winner of Mr. Trump’s TV show “The Apprentice,” said that even if Mr. Parscale chose the location and original date for the rally, the responsibility lay with the president.

“He has a tremendous blind spot on these matters and he surrounds himself with people who also have those same blind spots,” said Mr. Pinkett, the author of “Black Faces in White Places.” “It’s Donald’s fault for not being intentional about having people in his inner circle that see things differently than he does.”

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_173587962_1657762d-383a-4afc-b266-5170bad6e0ba-articleLarge Trump's Juneteenth in Tulsa: How His Campaign Rally Plans Went Awry United States Politics and Government Tulsa (Okla) Trump, Donald J Race and Ethnicity Presidential Election of 2020 Parscale, Brad (1976- ) juneteenth Holidays and Special Occasions George Floyd Protests (2020) Demonstrations, Protests and Riots Coronavirus Reopenings Black People
Credit…Sue Ogrocki/Associated Press

The Trump campaign’s belated shifting of dates for the rally has done little to ease tensions. “It’s created an ugly situation for Oklahoma and the party,” Mr. Watts said. “We’ll take it, changing it from the 19th to the 20th. We’ll take it because there’s not a whole lot we can do about it.”

Adding to the anxiety in Tulsa are heightened fears about the risks of the coronavirus. On Wednesday the top health official said he was worried the rally could become a “super spreader” event and recommended it be postponed.

Inside the White House, before the rally was announced, some aides raised concerns about holding it on Juneteenth, and Mr. Parscale conceded he had not been aware of the holiday, multiple people familiar with the conversation said. But he responded that the campaign had held events on Jewish holidays, and last year held a “Merry Christmas” rally in Battle Creek, Mich., none of which were criticized as disrespectful to the people who celebrated those holidays. He said he thought it would not be a problem.

White House officials decided that if the rally was to go off as planned, they would have to tack on an official event in Tulsa to acknowledge the importance of Juneteenth and the history of the city, ahead of a raucous event in the evening. But some of them also broached with Mr. Trump the possibility of changing the date. Mr. Trump also heard from outside allies.

“I spoke to the president on Friday and he asked me if I thought it would be more respectful to move the rally date off of Juneteenth,” said Senator James Lankford, Republican of Oklahoma. “I told him yes.”

Mr. Lankford said in an interview that he did not believe the choice of date was intended to provoke more tension over race relations, but rather find an available date in Mr. Trump’s schedule in a state that is open during the pandemic.

“Some of the leaders that I’ve talked to on the ground in Tulsa are grateful, and have expressed that and have said, ‘we’re grateful the president moved it, we don’t think it was appropriate that he had a political rally on this date, on this year, at this time,’” Mr. Lankford said.

Mr. Trump had also been questioned about the date during a Fox News interview with Harris Faulkner, an African-American host whom Mr. Trump has long admired and praised in private.

Last Friday, around 6 p.m., senior White House officials called Mr. Parscale to let him know that Mr. Trump had decided to change the date.

In a phone call later that evening, Mr. Parscale connected with Mr. Trump himself, who said he favored moving the rally to Thursday. Mr. Parscale talked him into Saturday, arguing that they could turn it into an all-day festival, with indoor and outdoor components — again, seemingly unaware that Juneteenth is typically celebrated over the course of several days in Tulsa. Mr. Trump agreed. Just before 11:30 p.m., Mr. Trump tweeted the news of the change of plans “out of respect for this Holiday.”

For a president whose guiding political philosophy has been to double down in the face of criticism, it was seen as a stunning reversal. But Mr. Trump was amenable to changing the date, multiple officials said, in part because it did not involve caving on something he had said or a theory he had promoted, but rather involved publicly overturning a decision made by his campaign aides.

As the campaign plans for a large indoor rally in the BOK Center, a 19,000-seat arena, the administration has been in damage control mode on two fronts. In registering, attendees must acknowledge the risk of exposure to Covid-19 at the rally and promise not to sue Mr. Trump’s campaign or the venue if they fall ill there. Mr. Parscale has ordered tens of thousands of masks to distribute, but does not plan to make wearing them mandatory.

On Thursday, the operators of the arena sent the Trump campaign a letter asking for a written plan identifying “the steps the event will institute for health and safety.’’ The campaign said it was reviewing the letter, adding “we take safety seriously, which is why we’re doing temperature checks for everyone attending, and providing masks and hand sanitizer.’’

Aides to Vice President Mike Pence have called Mr. Watts twice since Saturday to discuss the president’s rally. Mr. Watts said he still did not plan to attend, even though he was friendly with Mr. Pence when the two were colleagues in the House of Representatives.

White House officials, meanwhile, are working to put together an official event involving the president to commemorate Juneteenth, and announced Wednesday a long list of officials and lawmakers who would attend to show support, including virtually every black surrogate the campaign has, many of whom were given speaking roles ahead of the president.

As the rally approaches, tensions in Tulsa are boiling. On Friday night, the Rev. Al Sharpton is planning to discuss the state of race and policing in the country. Other activists said they were dreading the weekend.

“We’ve had several events take place over the last two weeks starting with the protests over George Floyd,” said Dr. Tiffany Crutcher, whose brother, Terence, was killed by the police in Tulsa in 2016, and who has worked on reforming policing procedures ever since. “Add Donald Trump to the mix, it’s a recipe for disaster. I think that would be the fuel to the fire.”

Emily Cochrane contributed reporting.

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Where Black Lives Matter Protesters Stream Live Every Day: Twitch

Westlake Legal Group where-black-lives-matter-protesters-stream-live-every-day-twitch Where Black Lives Matter Protesters Stream Live Every Day: Twitch Video Recordings, Downloads and Streaming Twitch Interactive Inc Social Media Police Brutality, Misconduct and Shootings George Floyd Protests (2020) Demonstrations, Protests and Riots Computers and the Internet Computer and Video Games Black People Black Lives Matter Movement Amazon.com Inc

When Shawn Whiting began documenting the protests over George Floyd’s death late last month, he started by posting photos and videos on Twitter and livestreaming marches on the social media service.

But Mr. Whiting, 32, a video game designer in Seattle, quickly decided that Twitter’s video and audio quality wasn’t good enough. So he checked out other sites and settled on Twitch, a platform known for broadcasting video game play.

Now Mr. Whiting streams Seattle’s Black Lives Matter protests every day — sometimes for more than four hours straight — on Twitch, where he gets anywhere from several hundred to several thousand viewers at a time.

“People say, ‘Please don’t stop streaming — you’re the only source’” on the ground, he said. He added that there’s a constant appetite to know what’s going on and “a constant question of, how long can this last?”

Mr. Whiting is one of dozens of people across the United States who have turned to Twitch to bring the movement’s message and actions live to viewers as the marches and sit-ins stretch into a third week.

Some Black Lives Matter protesters and citizen journalists have created Twitch channels just to broadcast the protests, while gamers who were already on the site switched to showing the demonstrations instead of video games. Other Twitch users simultaneously pull together up to 10 protest live streams from places including Nashville and Washington, D.C., into a single feed, so that people can see the action in multiple cities at a glance.

The activity has turned Twitch, which is owned by Amazon, from a site that mostly streams gamers playing hits like League of Legends, Fortnite and Valorant into an unexpected hub of social activism.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_173665566_25108303-bd37-4c44-9e90-97f1d981fab8-articleLarge Where Black Lives Matter Protesters Stream Live Every Day: Twitch Video Recordings, Downloads and Streaming Twitch Interactive Inc Social Media Police Brutality, Misconduct and Shootings George Floyd Protests (2020) Demonstrations, Protests and Riots Computers and the Internet Computer and Video Games Black People Black Lives Matter Movement Amazon.com Inc
Credit…Meron Tekie Menghistab for The New York Times

“Over the past few weeks, we’ve seen creators livestreaming content from the protests and engaging their communities in open conversations around race, inequality and how to effect change,” said Brielle Villablanca, a Twitch spokeswoman. “Twitch stands firmly against racism in any form, and we wholeheartedly support our community using our service to share what they believe in.”

(The exception, Twitch said, was showing protest content that violates its guidelines because it is extremely violent or contains illegal acts. )

Some streamers said that while they haven’t had any official communication with Twitch about the protests, company employees have privately supported their efforts. Mr. Whiting said a Twitch employee had reached out to him and said, “‘Hey I’ve seen what you’re doing, glad to have you on the platform streaming this sort of coverage. If you need tips, let me know.’”

Twitch, which in many ways is akin to YouTube, has more than seven million different channels and big stars like Fortnite player Turner “Tfue” Tenney. It has long dominated livestreaming of video games. In May, people watched more than 1.7 billion hours of live video on the platform, compared to 939 million hours a year earlier, according to data compiled by Twitch analytics website SullyGnome and provided by StreamElements, a livestreaming services website. Viewers can directly interact with streamers through a chat function.

When the protests over Mr. Floyd’s killing in police custody began, streamers flocked to Twitch to provide lengthy alternatives to what some said were out-of-context video clips from mainstream news outlets.

Many said they chose Twitch because they were familiar with the site from video games and wanted to leverage an existing tech-savvy audience. Twitch also has some technical tools for live broadcasting that other platforms lack, they said, like a robust moderation system to avoid spam in chats.

Natalie Casanova, a longtime streamer, has been broadcasting Los Angeles’s Black Lives Matter protests on her ZombiUnicorn channel on Twitch, which has 220,000 followers. She said Twitch allowed her to advertise a campaign to raise money for the N.A.A.C.P.

“They are used to me speaking up and out about stuff, so my community specifically enjoyed it,” Ms. Casanova, 33, said of her protest coverage. “It moved them.”

Many of the protest streams are found on Twitch’s “Just Chatting” section, which features a category that streamers refer to as “IRL” or “in real life.” Two of the largest protest-focused Twitch channels there are OppositionTV, which was created to cover the events, and WOKE, which had largely been dormant until the demonstrations began.


The WOKE Twitch channel, which is run by streamer Ryan Carmichael, has more than 98,000 followers. For the past few weeks, Mr. Carmichael and his team of about 20 people have compiled and sifted through protest livestreams from around the country. He chooses what he deems to be the most interesting footage and simultaneously broadcasts it. Most of the more than 1,000 streamers WOKE monitors go live on Facebook, YouTube, Twitch or Twitter.

Data provided by Mr. Carmichael, who is based in Lakeland, Fla., showed that his stream attracted more than eight million views between May 28 and June 15. At one point, more than 52,000 people watched at once. As of Monday, WOKE was the most-watched of Twitch’s “Just Chatting” channels over the last 14 days, according to SullyGnome.

On Monday afternoon, WOKE aired three Facebook streams from Louisville, Ky., where one streamer, coughing, said police were using tear gas and pepper bullets. Also visible were two broadcasts from the Capitol Hill Organized Protest in Seattle, a rally in Nashville and two angles of a protest in Washington.

Mr. Carmichael, 34, said he wanted to appeal directly to gamers by aggregating the livestreams on a platform they were already using.

The gaming community has “a white male predominance,” he said. “So I kind of thought that this was the audience that really needed to see not the craziness of it, but the speeches and the talks and the reality of what’s going on.”

OppositionTV is smaller, with 11,000 followers and a 24-hour livestream run by Brett Polvado, a 29-year-old from central Texas who used Twitch in the past to stream video games.

Since Mr. Polvado started compiling protest streams several weeks ago, “I have seen a million of these tiny streams come up, doing exactly what we’re doing,” he said. “Ultimately, the whole goal from me was all eyes on deck.”

One of the streams that the Twitch channels are compiling is from Kon Yi, who has been broadcasting the unrest in Washington on Twitch. Mr. Yi, 37, said he began documenting the protests out of a sense of responsibility to keep people informed. He said he has taken pleasure in showing how the demonstrations have grown more peaceful over time.

“To show the progression to what the protests are now, it’s a story I’m trying to give,” he said. “I think the people are enjoying what they see, versus whatever bias the media might have.”

But as Twitch streamers film the unrest, some have been confronted on the streets and questioned about what they’re doing.

“A lot of people aren’t doing it for the right reasons; they’re just trying to get clout, because there’s such a demand to watch this stuff,” Mr. Yi said.

Mr. Whiting, who also still uses Twitter to stream, has been met with suspicion by some protesters who are concerned he is surveilling them while he streams. He said he feels obligated to keep filming.

”I do feel pressure to continue streaming when there’s more people watching,” Mr. Whiting said, adding that he sometimes stays live until 3 a.m. or 4 a.m. because people beg him not to turn off the camera. “It makes me feel a responsibility to stay out there and keep documenting what’s happening. If something goes totally wrong, there’s no witnesses.”

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Does Trump Want to Fight to Win 2020 Election? His Aides Are Worried.

In a recent meeting with his top political advisers, President Trump was impatient as they warned him that he was on a path to defeat in November if he continued his incendiary behavior in public and on Twitter.

Days earlier, Mr. Trump had sparked alarm by responding to protests over police brutality with a threat that “when the looting starts, the shooting starts.”

Mr. Trump pushed back against his aides. “I have to be myself,” he replied, according to three people familiar with the meeting. A few hours later, he posted on Twitter a letter from his former personal lawyer describing some of the protesters as “terrorists.”

In those moments, and in repeated ones since then, the president’s customary defiance has been suffused with a heightened sense of agitation as he confronts a series of external crises he has failed to contain, or has exacerbated, according to people close to him. They say his repeated acts of political self-sabotage — a widely denounced photo-op at a church for which peaceful protesters were forcibly removed, a threat to use the American military to quell protests — have significantly damaged his re-election prospects, and yet he appears mostly unable, or unwilling, to curtail them.

Mr. Trump doesn’t want to be seen as a “loser,” a label he detests, in the campaign against former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. And some advisers believe Mr. Trump’s taste for battle will return in the fall, when the general election fight is more engaged.

But for now, they said, the president is acting trapped and defensive, and his self-destructive behavior has been so out of step for an incumbent in an election year that many advisers wonder if he is truly interested in serving a second term.

Rather than focus on plans and goals for another four years in office, Mr. Trump has been wallowing in self-pity about news coverage of him since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, people who have spoken with him said. He has told advisers that no matter what he does, he cannot get “good” stories from the press, which has often been his primary interest. “These people,” Mr. Trump has growled to advisers about reporters, throwing an expletive between the two words.

He has complained that nothing he does is good enough, bristling at criticism that he hasn’t sufficiently addressed the death of George Floyd, a black man killed by the police in Minneapolis. The remarks he made about Mr. Floyd when he attended the launch of the SpaceX spacecraft should have been enough, the president told aides.

Mr. Trump has also become consumed, once again, with leaks from the White House, demanding that officials find and prosecute those responsible for information getting out about his trip to the bunker beneath the White House during unruly protests. And while he has shown enthusiasm for resuming his trademark rallies, he has not seemed excited about the possibility of governing for four more years, people close to him said. He has set up villains to blame if he loses — China’s mishandling of the coronavirus, the shutdown of the economy, and Democrats who he has told advisers will “steal” the election from him.

Aides acknowledged that he has always had difficulty controlling his behavior, which goes far beyond the bounds of traditional presidential conduct. His penchant for using racist language — such as the tweet about shooting looters — is something that has long defined and undercut his presidency. But his recent behavior and remarks, and his inability to move beyond them, strike advisers as different from his usual aberrations.

The New York Times interviewed more than a dozen people who speak or interact with the president frequently, including current and former White House aides, campaign advisers, friends and associates. Most spoke on condition of anonymity to candidly discuss internal White House affairs, and to avoid retribution. They would like to see him win again, but say they’re struck by how his demeanor has shifted during this latest dire threat to his presidency.

Representative Peter King, a New York Republican, said the serious challenges facing the country had thrust Mr. Trump into uncharted territory. “This is not something he’s used to,” Mr. King said in an interview.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_163789944_c5700551-b1b2-49b1-828d-06a25c25e8f4-articleLarge Does Trump Want to Fight to Win 2020 Election? His Aides Are Worried. United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Scaramucci, Anthony Republican Party Presidential Election of 2020 Presidential Election of 2016 Police Brutality, Misconduct and Shootings McEnany, Kayleigh King, Peter T George Floyd Protests (2020) Demonstrations, Protests and Riots Biden, Joseph R Jr
Credit…T.J. Kirkpatrick for The New York Times

“Mueller, in a way, was easy,’’ Mr. King added, referring to Mr. Trump’s forceful pushback to the Russia inquiry conducted by the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III. “It was a variation of what he’s had to deal with his whole career. He’s always fighting, and there’s always at least 40 or 50 percent of people who start out on your side.”

But right now, Mr. King said, “this is different.”

In a statement, a White House spokeswoman, Alyssa Farah, said, “The president is fully committed to serving a second term and building on and adding to his first-term accomplishments for the American people.”

One official, who would speak only about the administration’s planning, claimed policy staff members were told just this week to come up with initiatives for 2021 and beyond.

With the Russia investigation and impeachment, White House officials and others said, Mr. Trump was eager to fight, and did so fairly effectively. Now, they see his behavior as self-defeating, and his bursts of both anger and self-praise as futile against an invisible enemy like the virus and a protest movement he’s shown little sympathy for.

“He is the modern L.B.J., where everything has gone wrong and none of his skill sets are effective at what’s gone wrong,” said Anthony Scaramucci, who served as the White House communications director for one of the briefest periods on record — 11 days. Though he has since publicly denounced the president, Mr. Scaramucci has known Mr. Trump personally for years and remains friendly with some White House officials.

Nothing Mr. Trump has tried so far, Mr. Scaramucci said, has changed the narrative about his presidency, or shoved broader concerns about racism and the spread of the virus aside in news coverage.

“That’s why I know he doesn’t like the job,” Mr. Scaramucci said.

With less than five months until Election Day, Mr. Trump has seemed mostly unable, and unwilling, to make the modifications to his behavior that he was periodically able to make at key moments in 2016: agreeing to pick Mike Pence, a demure and religious conservative he had no previous relationship with, as his running mate, and quieting his Twitter feed in the immediate run-up to Election Day.

This past weekend, Mr. Trump eventually made what allies called a wise political move in abruptly announcing he would change the date of a rally his aides had planned for him in Tulsa, Okla., on Juneteenth, a holiday honoring the end of slavery in the United States. Even that was done in an ad-hoc fashion as Mr. Trump failed to tell aides about the change before tweeting it.

Representative Tom Cole, Republican of Oklahoma, said Mr. Trump’s campaign compared favorably to a previous Republican incumbent who lost a re-election effort, President George H.W. Bush.

“I saw a lot more lethargy in the 1992 Bush campaign than I see in this one,” Mr. Cole said.

Still, the president has made public statements suggesting his mind is on life outside the White House.

Speaking at a recent Rose Garden event about an improvement in hiring, Mr. Trump mentioned a boom in the construction of recreational vehicles, then paused before sounding a wistful note, saying: “I may have to buy one of those things, drive around town. Maybe I’ll drive back to New York with our first lady in a trailer.”

It was only in April that the seriousness of the twin health and economic crises caused by the coronavirus fully set in with Mr. Trump, several current and former aides said, adding that they were no longer confident he was enthused about presiding over the difficult task of pulling the country out of a recession, with few moments of glory.

For Mr. Trump, the high of winning the presidency has rarely been matched by the duties that come with the position, current and former advisers said.

Most presidents have no sense of what the job is actually like until they’re in it. But for Mr. Trump, who never served in government and spent years as a television entertainer, the gaps in his knowledge are vast.

“In private, Trump was interested in winning the presidency,” said Sam Nunberg, who worked on Mr. Trump’s campaign in 2015 and was an adviser to him before it. “Over a three-year period between 2012 until 2014, he was focused on the details and even the minutiae of the primary and the general election process. It was always clear that Trump wanted to be elected president. But the reality of being president was never discussed.”

In 2016, Mr. Trump repeatedly offered policy suggestions in speeches. He has yet to lay out what he would do with a second term.

Inside the White House, some staff members described the president as lonely, with few people he enjoys talking to, and several staff members said morale was at its lowest point since the early weeks of the administration.

The West Wing in which Mr. Trump has been in virtual lockdown since March lacks a clear sense of urgency or purpose, recent visitors say. Mark Meadows, the fourth White House chief of staff, has complained that he had no idea how fractious and unwieldy the climate was until he got there, according to multiple people familiar with his conversations.

Credit…Doug Mills/The New York Times

Mr. Trump seems to like his newest fighter, the White House press secretary, Kayleigh McEnany, but officials said she spends most of her time with the president and little time with the staff. On days when she gives briefings for reporters, she spends hours preparing, frustrating some colleagues. She has also moved several people out of their jobs in the press and communications shop, while hiring her husband’s cousin, Chad Gilmartin, for the office.

Republicans in Washington have concluded that Mr. Trump cannot win re-election from behind the Resolute Desk, and they hope that restarting the president’s rallies — beginning on Saturday in Tulsa — will offer a distraction.

Mr. King said the last time he spoke with Mr. Trump, just before the killing of Mr. Floyd, the president sounded positive about his re-election prospects. “We were talking about something else, and he said, ‘How’s it going out there, how am I doing?’” Mr. King recalled. “It was very upbeat. The tone of his voice was, he expected me to tell him he was doing well.”

Mr. Trump seems cognizant that his political fortunes have shifted, although he has not assumed responsibility for the change. In an interview with Fox News last week, he made the rare acknowledgment of a reality he hasn’t willed away.

“If I don’t win, I don’t win,” Mr. Trump said. “I mean, you know, go on and do other things.”

He added, “I think it would be a very sad thing for our country.”

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How 7 Civil Rights Activists View The George Floyd Protests

Throughout the past several weeks, as protests over the killing of George Floyd rippled through America’s cities, a 79-year-old retired schoolteacher has spent her days watching the news in her home in Albany, Ga., sometimes with tears running down her face.

For Rutha Mae Harris, who once marched and was jailed with the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., it is like revisiting her past.

There have been times when she wondered what her generation had achieved. But the past weeks — particularly the sight of kneeling police officers and throngs of white faces — have offered some redemption.

“I love it, I love it, I love it,” she said. “It has surprised me, and it gives me hope. I thought what I had done was in vain.”

For the dwindling cadre of civil rights activists like Ms. Harris who took to the streets 60 years ago, this is a moment of trepidation and wonder.

Their activism gave the world images — the snarling police dogs of Birmingham, Ala., the beatings of Selma, Ala. — that changed the trajectory of race in America. Now they are watching another movement unfold, familiar but utterly changed.

Dr. King surrounded himself with a variety of thinkers, and in recent weeks, his allies took different views of the Floyd protests.

But they all marveled at their quicksilver spread. In their time, major actions were the result of months of planning, punctuated by all-night arguments over strategy and phone-tree lobbying to get reporters to show up. Five years passed between Emmett Till’s lynching and the Greensboro, N.C., sit-ins. Another year passed between the sit-ins and the Freedom Rides.

“A movement is different from a demonstration,” said Taylor Branch, a historian of the civil rights era.

“It’s not automatic — it’s the opposite of automatic,” he said, “that a demonstration in the street is going to lead to a movement that engages enough people, and has a clear enough goal that it has a chance to become institutionalized, like the Voting Rights Act.”

Dr. King’s confidant Bernard Lafayette, 79, could not contain his excitement about recent demonstrations; he has been offering advice to young activists from his home in Tuskegee, Ala. Andrew Young, 88, a former mayor of Atlanta, has vented his frustration over looting and vandalism. And Bob Moses, 85, was cautious in his comments, saying the country seemed to be undergoing an “awakening.”

“I think that’s been its main impact, a kind of revelation about something that has been going on for over a century, a century and a half, right under your noses,” Mr. Moses said. “But there isn’t any indication of how to fix it.”

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_173295489_e6ca8426-c24a-4a5e-a06e-f64225c02b80-articleLarge How 7 Civil Rights Activists View The George Floyd Protests Young, Andrew (1932- ) Police Brutality, Misconduct and Shootings King, Martin Luther Jr George Floyd Protests (2020) Demonstrations, Protests and Riots Civil Rights and Liberties Chicago (Ill) Atlanta (Ga)
Credit…Cheriss May for The New York Times

Here are some excerpts from those conversations, edited for length and clarity.

Rutha Mae Harris, 79, was one of the Freedom Singers who toured the South encouraging black people to register to vote. She has spent the past week at her home in Albany, Ga., “glued to MSNBC,” she said.

What we did, you know, we started singing. Sometimes the singing worked, and sometimes it didn’t. The marches I was on, we started singing, and the policemen would drop their billy clubs, and we knew they were no longer planning to hit us. I am a witness of that.

And I have seen this day, this day in time, policemen walking with the protesters, hand in hand with the protesters. I was so happy to see that. We had a little protest here in Georgia, and our police chief was part of the march. You know, back then, the police chief at that time was Chief Pritchett. He’s the one who arrested all of us, and, of course, he arrested Martin Luther King.

What we had, it was not equivalent. When you see the cops kneeling, I just love that. And there are a lot of young white people. I’ve never seen that. We had some white people, but not as many. It is a surprise, and it gives me hope.

Bob Moses, 85, an educator who in the 1960s led a drive to register black voters in Mississippi, has watched the protests from an apartment in Hollywood, Fla. He said he was moved by a viral video clip of three black men from different generations — including a 45-year-old and a 16-year-old — in a shouting match at a protest in North Carolina, arguing with raw emotion about whether violence was an appropriate response to systemic racism.

It’s like an awakening: We’re trapped. He was trapped, he’s 45. You’re trapped, you’re just 16. What we’ve been doing isn’t working. What are we going to do? That level of consciousness really is new. And it’s not just the broader white population that is waking up to some extent, but also within the African-American population, too.

It may be that the person who killed George Floyd was an aberration. But the system they were a part of, that protects them and is as American as apple pie. So waking up to that — it’s not clear whether the country is capable of waking up to that to its full extent.

Unlike Ms. Harris, he was skeptical that gestures of solidarity from the police were meaningful.

You are talking to an individual policeman in the street, you want him to express empathy about what is happening, but behind the scenes you have high politics. The system works to protect the people who are involved in all of this at different levels, not just the guy who pulls the trigger and puts the knee on the throat.

It’s catharsis for the person asking and for any policeman that responds. It’s what the country has always wanted, to try to solve the problem at the level of the individual. This individual you know directs his or her behavior or tones, and the system just keeps rolling on and producing more atrocities.

It is revelatory that the pressure now is coming from within. It’s been sparked by this one event, but the event really has opened up a crevasse, so to speak, through which all this history is pouring through, like the Mississippi River onto the Delta. It’s pouring into all the streams of TV, cable news, social media. So that is quite different. And the question is, can the country handle it?

We don’t know. I certainly don’t know, at this moment, which way the country might flip. It can lurch backward as quickly as it can lurch forward.

Credit…Whitney Curtis for The New York Times

Don Rose, 89, a white man who served as Dr. King’s press secretary in Chicago, and went on to mobilize protests against the Vietnam War, was exhilarated by the George Floyd demonstrations. He said video clips and the ability of the internet to spread messages had pulled white people into the current movement.

I wish we had had that. I keep marveling at how wonderful it would have been, rather than using mimeograph machines.

In those days, when we spoke of police brutality, we weren’t often believed. I often pointed to the behavior of the police in Chicago in 1968 — that was really the thing that showed a lot of people that police brutality was a real thing. That was white people’s lesson for what black people had undergone in their own communities.

He reflected on the violence and looting at some recent protests.

Of course, violence is very disheartening and fearsome. But the polling and the reactions of people all around suggests that they certainly understand what was going on. Obviously no one was supporting the violence and opportunistic looting. I don’t know if it is understood or forgiven, but it has apparently not caused a white backlash.

The fact that more whites are participating in these marches all over the country is evidence that over the years, more and more has been heard. The messages are getting across.

Andrew Young, 88, a former mayor of Atlanta and ambassador to the United Nations, called the wave of protests “a phenomenal moment,” but said they cried out for organization and structure.

What the difference is, is social media. Not only did we not have social media, we hardly had phones. That was a blessing, in many ways, because it took us three or four months in Birmingham to organize. It gave us time to define what we really thought would work, and how to go about it. We knew what we wanted. We knew what victory was. That’s the only thing I’m concerned about.

He offered sharp criticism when initial protests in Atlanta led to looting and violence.

I was upset because there were no marshals that were keeping order. We always made sure, in the organizing community, we tried to keep people who did not adhere to our values and vision, we asked them to stay out.

He described a march in St. Augustine, Fla., in 1964, when Ku Klux Klan members had been deputized by the sheriff to disperse the crowd.

I didn’t know who they were, but I just feel like I can talk to anybody, so I went over there to try to explain to them why we were marching. They were shocked that I went up there by myself. It just didn’t make sense, to me, to beat up women and children who only wanted to get the right to get a hot dog at the lunch counter. So I picked the leaders, and I was doing a pretty good job of talking to them when someone came up behind me and hit me with something. I got stomped a little while, and somebody came up and pulled me up and across the street.

What we were demonstrating was the power of nonviolence. The reason I had to talk to them is that you don’t write people off as the enemy. I didn’t get arrested very much, I usually talked my way through it. When you enter a confrontation, it is with an intention to move to reconciliation.

Credit…Erin Schaff/The New York Times

Fred Gray, 89, who defended Rosa Parks against charges of disorderly conduct, still goes to his law office in Tuskegee, Ala., every day. He said it was discouraging to see young people fight the same battle as he and his contemporaries did.

The same problems we tried to resolve, they have not been solved. I think that what the Constitution requires, we’re still a long way away from solving the problems we need to have solved. That needs to start from the top and come all the way down.

What I tried to do was protect and assist people obtaining their constitutional rights. That’s what I tried to do for 65 years. I was not one of those people who tried to do all of it. My role was to deal with the legal aspect of it.

We didn’t solve it. Several generations later, we have to deal with the same troubles of racism. I was hopeful 60 years ago that we would solve them. I’ve been disappointed so often.

I’m disappointed by the fact that I thought the white power structure, once they saw what black Americans were capable of, that they could perform equally. I thought it would change their hearts, but I don’t think the hearts and minds of many people have changed.

Xernona Clayton, 89, who helped organize marches for Dr. King, has been monitoring the protests so raptly from her home in Atlanta that, at times, she has switched on two televisions to follow local and national news. She was deeply dismayed by the initial outbreak of violence, but has since been reassured.

I’m hoping — I’m a positive thinker — I believe this day will create the change we all want.

You can’t just hurt people and kill people and wipe out businesses. It’s frightening, you see burning and looting. That’s frightening. It scares some people. But you have to recognize, if change is going to come, there is pain and suffering, sometimes, that goes with that.

I used to criticize the young people. I thought maybe we, the older people, had solved the biggest problems — you got equal treatment, employment opportunities, civil rights laws, you don’t have to drink from the other fountain. We have made those major changes. I said, “Maybe we solved their problems, and they don’t got the urgency.”

Well, now they got the urgency. Now I think the young people are really bringing the problem to the fore. They got everybody’s attention.

Credit…Demetrius Freeman for The New York Times

Bernard Lafayette, 79, who, like Mr. Young, accompanied Dr. King on the 1968 trip to Memphis where he was assassinated, has spent recent years training young activists in nonviolent social change. He traveled to Ferguson, Mo., to advise protest leaders there, and has spent the past weeks fielding phone calls from young organizers.

Oh, I’m very hopeful, but also excited, because I see some very strategic things happening. The only thing we have to be concerned about is the sustainability.

I am more or less thinking about strategy, and that’s where I’m turning my energy. They call me on the phone all the time. I get 15 to 20 calls a day. I answer their questions. Mainly they need training. They need to build coalitions. I prepare folks to take different roles in the movement. You can’t do everything. People have different roles.

Now what I’m looking for is leadership among the young people. I’m looking for a new Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. The next thing that we need if we’re going to have a movement that is going to sustain itself — we need music, OK? Once you get those artists singing songs about change and the movement, that helps to stimulate people and bring them together. There is nothing like music to bring people together.

The other most, most important thing, you got to get people who are ready to register to vote. You have got to have people in power who represent you. You’ve got to be negotiating and talking to the people who will make decisions. You can’t just put it out there and be screaming in the air. The air can’t make the change.

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