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Jim Hartman: Supporting Sheriff Coverley

By Jim Hartman

Douglas County Sheriff Dan Coverley’s public comment letter to the Library Board regarding a proposed “Diversity Statement” was an important public service.

Americans need to distinguish between the sentiment behind “Black Lives Matter” and the actual “Black Lives Matter” Marxist founders who run the organization.

Polling establishes that “Black Lives Matter” as a movement has broad public support. Americans are supportive that lives of black fellow citizens matter — that’s not always been the case in our history. There is growing sentiment in favor of racial justice in America.

But the organization, # Black Lives Matter, is run and was founded by three radical Black organizers and avowed Marxists in 2013. The women — Alicia Garza, Patrisse Khan-Cullors, and Opal Tometi — espouse Marxism and have stated aims that go far beyond addressing police brutality. Its goals include a whole radical remake of American society.

Lead financial sponsor for #Black Lives Matter is Susan Rosenberg, a radical leftist revolutionary affiliated with the Weather Underground terrorist group and the Black Liberation Army. She was convicted on weapons and explosives charges and sentenced to 58 years in prison, serving 16 years before being pardoned.

Co-founder Garza advertises that a convicted cop killer and wanted domestic terrorist, Assata Shakur, is one of her “inspirations.” Rosenberg allegedly assisted Shakur escape from prison after murdering a police officer.

Co-founder Cullors admits that “Angela Davis is a mentor of mine.” Davis is another Marxist and was the Communist Party USA vice presidential nominee in 1980 and 1984. She was a leading apologist for the Soviet Union during the Cold War, winner of the Soviet Lenin Peace Prize.

In the United States, Davis was affiliated with the Black Panther Party and tied to violent, murderous radicals. Guns registered to Davis were used in a Marin County courtroom takeover that resulted in the killing of a judge and three others in 1970.

Integral to #Black Lives Matter is #Defund the Police. The website asserts: “We know the police don’t keep us safe –and as long as we continue to pump money into our corrupt criminal justice system.”

The draft “Diversity Statement” proposed by Library Director Amy Dodson would make explicit Library Board support for Black Lives Matter — the radical organization. It reads: “We support #Black Lives Matter.”

Coverley was absolutely right to challenge that supportive declaration for a Marxist organization that is synonymous with anti-police, and #Defund the Police, campaigns.

In his Library Board letter, Coverley was also right to put in the record data disputing claims that law enforcement is systemically racist or structurally biased. He also correctly noted that the current anti-police narrative, including “defund the police” rhetoric, has increased violence against police — from assaults to assassinations.

The sheriff’s concluding paragraph has been mischaracterized as a “threat.” It reads: “Due to your support of Black Lives Matter and the obvious lack of support with the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office, please do not feel the need to call 911 for help.” That statement was immediately clarified — the DCSO will continue to respond to all 911 calls, including from the library.

The parallels to violent anti-police actions of fifty years ago are apparent. Huey Newton and Bobby Seale co- founded the Black Panther Party in 1966. They were both black revolutionaries and Marxists. Newton’s “Off the Pigs” (kill police) rhetoric included his own conviction for killing Oakland police officer John Frey in 1967.

In 1970, the Berkeley Police Department had its first murdered officer fall in the line of duty. After a late night traffic stop, Officer Ronald Tsukamoto, Berkeley’s first Japanese-American officer, was shot by a black assailant bystander without provocation. No one was charged.

In April 1971, the Black Panthers qualified an initiative in Berkeley attractively labeled “Community Control of Police”. In reality, it would have dismembered the highly respected and professional Berkeley Police Department by dividing it into three departments — a “White” area, a “Black” area and a “Student” area.

In response, Berkeley Mayor Wallace Johnson (a white Republican) and Vice-Mayor Wilmont Sweeney (a black Democrat) spearheaded a bipartisan, multiracial “One Berkeley Community” campaign that decisively defeated the initiative. 16,144 voted in favor, with 33,726 against. Notably, it lost overwhelmingly in Berkeley’s black neighborhoods.

Sheriff Coverley and the DCSO protected and defended all in Douglas County when a four homicide murderer was on a rampage in January, 2019. We were united as “One Douglas Community.” Now appreciative citizens need to support our Sheriff, Dan Coverley.

Jim Hartman is an attorney residing in Genoa who grew up in Berkeley in the 1960s. Email lawdocman1@aol.com.