Boise Mayor Lauren McLean issued a statement this morning condemning the actions of counter-protesters she says are at fault for the fights and volatility that broke out at last night’s rally outside City Hall.
She claimed that they yelled “white nationalist slogans” at the Black Lives Matter protesters who she said, “peaceful protest was the goal of.”
McLean is a Democrat who is originally from Boston, Massachusetts and went to Notre Dame University. She was elected Mayor in a 2019 run-off election.
After McLean’s recent election, she has received much criticism for a far-left “transition team report” that was put out, with what even appears to be what some might consider some ‘anti-white’ statements such as mentions of ‘interruping white dominant culture’:
Commit the City of Boise to an ongoing and robust efforts to interrupt
white dominant/white supremacist culture with a multi-layered strategy and
designate a full-time City of Boise staff person to serve as Director of
Equitable, Safer and Thriving City.
- Create a network of multi-racial, multicultural community liaisons to
provide ongoing leadership to the city.
- Practice spaciousness and welcome the whole selves of all City
of Boise employees to foster creativity and nurture our collective
humanity, e.g. consider more flexible working hours when feasible,
reduce the number of work hours per week, etc.…
There is also mentions of ‘white fragility’:
Ongoing equity and inclusion efforts, including but not limited
to racial equity, white fragility and implicit bias training or book
readings, especially for city personnel who do not identify being from
communities impacted by marginalization. Engage in an ongoing
assessment of impact of these efforts, e.g. were personnel policies
reviewed and updated, etc...
After some called the report a ‘socialist manifesto’, McLean pushed back claiming they aren’t policy documents, but rather that they are reports ‘released’ to her administration that she wanted to share. Many local conservatives are very skeptical.
McLean claimed in the statement, “Last night our community witnessed – and many of our residents experienced – physical violence and intimidation by counter-protesters during a Black Lives Matter protest at City Hall.”
“Peaceful protest was the goal of the protesters who gathered – to speak their truths and call on us as leaders to take action. We have a right to do this, without intimidation and fear of violence, and it’s movements like we see right now that have spurred progress throughout our history,” she continued.
“In recent weeks on Tuesday evenings, protesters have assembled at City Hall and called for action. I’ve stepped into the crowd to listen when I can. Last night’s gathering would have been similar if not for the efforts to intimidate, and potentially incite additional violence, by counter protesters.”
“I condemn those who showed up in our community under the guise of ‘protection’ and instead intimidated, shouted epithets and white nationalist slogans, and in some case physically assaulted protesters. There is no room for this in our city. There is no room for this in our democratic society that enshrines the right to protest peacefully, dialogue constructively, and come together to build a stronger and more just community.”
The Mayor did not appear to express support for her own police department in her post, despite the fact that a new police chief is being sworn in today.
One video we found that was shared showed a woman holding a sign in a thin blue line supporter’s space and after she attempted to move the woman back, her flag was stolen from her by the mob. Ironically they are looking for the Boise Police to help them despite their claims that BPD needs to be defunded.
hey #Boise #bpd someone wanna tell me why a minor was punched and she was stopped for questioning and the the racists who attacked these two weren’t? there was an official #BlackLivesMatter protest and we were bombarded with with anti blm. i hope you’re safe pic.twitter.com/jmXmTprxRy— felecite (@felecite10) July 1, 2020
The patriotic group who calls for peaceful protests only and organized one of the counter-protests laid the blame on the Black Lives Matter protesters, saying “One sided of course. We were there and saw the agitators from BLM. The BLM attendees hid behind the police as they yelled and cussed ppl out, that they want defunded. Oh, the irony.”
A blog that appears to be run by former firefighters and police officers put out a statement about the rally which read in part: (everything below is an excerpt from the blog)
What Really Happened at the Rally
When I arrived at the rally, I saw a young man park his car nearby and put on a mask and eye protection. He also removed the license plates from his car. Why would someone remove his license plates from his car? So that he cannot be identified later if violence were to erupt. I later saw that same man protesting for the defunding of the Boise Police Department.
What I saw during the rally was amazing. I saw protestors that got to say what they wanted and I saw counter protestors exercising their first and second amendment rights. I did not see the violence that plagued other cities around the country, including a shooting by a BLM protestor of an innocent driver the same night in Provo, Utah.
As the protest continued, I did hear BLM protestors saying things like, “Fuck the Police”, “Fuck your flag”, and “Fuck Donald Trump.” I did see and hear counter protestors respond with chants of “USA”, “Fund the Police” and other peaceful chants. I did not see intimidation from the police or counter protestors. To the contrary, BPD officers did a great job of staying neutral and not taking sides. I did see opportunities for BPD officers to make arrests of protestors, but they did not make those arrests and for that, the protestors and Mayor McLean should be happy.https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=1058032247925822
Pushing and Shoving
There was some pushing and shoving amongst protestors and counter protestors. One protestor sprayed the crowd with pepper spray hitting several counter protestors. Assault with a chemical device is a crime, usually a felony in most states. I should note that I did see protestors donning their eye protection and respirators just before they unleashed pepper spray.
During the protest, I tried to engage a few protestors in dialogue. One young protestor held this sign up for everyone to see:
I was not armed and simply asked her if I could take a picture of her sign. She yelled at me to go away. I told her I just wanted to talk to her about the protest when other protestors encircled her yelling at me to go away. It was apparent that they didn’t want to engage in dialogue and that is sad. It was that way for most protestors I tried to talk to.
As I left the rally, a truckload of young people drove up next to me. They waived their rear ends at me in what can be best called “twerking” while yelling, “Fuck you, fuck Donald trump and fuck your whiteness.” I was merely stopped at a light waiting for the signal to turn green. They were driving around downtown looking for trouble. I did not see this from counter protestors. To the contrary, I saw people driving around waiving blue line and American flags.
Mayor McLean Gets It Wrong Again
Mayor McLean released a statement today that read,
“Last night our community witnessed – and many of our residents experienced – physical violence and intimidation by counter protesters during a Black Lives Matter protest at City Hall. Peaceful protest was the goal of the protesters who gathered – to speak their truths and call on us as leaders to take action. We have a right to do this, without intimidation and fear of violence, and it’s movements like we see right now that have spurred progress throughout our history.”
“In recent weeks on Tuesday evenings, protesters have assembled at City Hall and called for action. I’ve stepped into the crowd to listen when I can. Last night’s gathering would have been similar if not for the efforts to intimidate, and potentially incite additional violence, by counter protesters. I condemn those who showed up in our community under the guise of “protection” and instead intimidated, shouted epithets and white nationalist slogans, and in some case physically assaulted protesters. There is no room for this in our city. There is no room for this in our democratic society that enshrines the right to protest peacefully, dialogue constructively, and come together to build a stronger and more just community.”Boise Mayor McLean
Let’s break down Mayor McLean’s statement. McLean says that it was a Black Lives Matter protest. Actually mayor, looking at the flyer above, it was a defund the police rally. It wasn’t about race, but about abolishing the police altogether. We can all agree that defunding the police, or abolishing the police, would lead to anarchy. She said that protestors spoke the truth. What I heard were statements like “Fuck the police.” Does that mean she agrees with that statement?
I did not see intimidation of protestors as Mayor McLean alleges. In fact, I didn’t see her at all down there unless she was peering at the protest from City Hall. Does Mayor McLean believe that another group, protesting for support of the police, should not exercise their 1st amendment rights? It appears that she is ignoring them all together even though they outnumbered protestors at least 3 to 1.
Where was McLean’s Support for BPD?
Mayor McLean missed a great opportunity to praise her police officers in her statement. The Boise Police Department had a group protesting in front of her office making obscene statements about our police officers. How do you think her police officers felt standing there protecting the rights of the very people asking that they be abolished? Those officers need support from their leadership. They need Mayor McLean to come out and say what a great job they did last night. Instead, she was silent.
As a 29 year police officer and police supervisor, I couldn’t have asked for anything better from my officers. If you are a BPD officer that worked last night, I commend you for your professionalism and demeanor. You are exactly what any supervisor would want working such a difficult event. It’s too bad your mayor won’t let you know that.
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