Archive for Yelena Dzhanova

Nearly 2,000 New Yorkers have signed up to voluntarily escort Asian Americans to their destination amid hate crimes

rally new york
Demonstrators march during a protest against Asian hate on Times Square in New York, the United States, March 20, 2021.
  • About 1,800 New Yorkers are volunteering with SafeWalks to escort Asian Americans from a public area.
  • The volunteers signed up in response to a surge in anti-Asian violence across both New York and the US.
  • Most recently, a 65-year-old Asian woman on Monday was assaulted in broad daylight on a New York City sidewalk.
  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

More than 1,800 New Yorkers have signed up to walk Asian Americans from any public area to their destination in an effort to combat and prevent anti-Asian violence and hate crimes.

Volunteers - many of whom speak Mandarin or Cantonese - are patrolling New York City neighborhoods like Chinatown and offering escorting services to anyone who asks for their help, Pix11 News reported.

The initiative is part of SafeWalks NYC, started in January after a string of attacks on women in the subway.

Volunteers, Pix11 News reports, give out flyers and wear bright safety belts. Each shift lasts two hours. A fundraiser to support the SafeWalks initiative has raised about $17,000 since it was posted to GoFundMe in February.

"We need to show our humanity. We can't let people hurt our seniors, our elders," volunteer Lisa Gold told Pix11 News.

Anti-Asian violence has surged

In recent weeks, there have been numerous anti-Asian attacks in New York City.

Just on Monday, a 65-year-old Asian woman was assaulted and yelled at on a New York City sidewalk. Her assailant, 38-year-old Brandon Elliot, kicked her to the ground and stomped on her head repeatedly while two doormen in a luxury apartment watched, security footage released by the police shows. When Elliot walked away, the doormen closed the apartment doors on her.

Nationally, recent stories related to anti-Asian violence also paint a grim picture.

Two weeks ago, police arrested a man in connection to a string of deadly shootings at three Atlanta-area massage parlors. Six out of eight of the victims were Asian women. Each attack had taken place at three massage parlors within an hour of one another on Tuesday.

The shooter, 21-year-old Robert Aaron Long from Woodstock, Georgia, suggested to police that the attacks were due to a sex addiction and were not racially motivated.

Multiple research studies have identified that the number of anti-Asian crimes and violence have spiked in the last year.

An analysis from Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University, San Bernardino, for example, found hate crimes overall decreased by 7% in 2020. That same study found that hate crimes specifically against Asian people rose by about 150%.

Stop AAPI Hate, a nonprofit tracking violence toward Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, released a report that identified nearly 3,800 instances of anti-Asian discrimination just in the past year.

And that's a very mild estimate, Stop AAPI hate said in its report.

"The number of hate incidents reported to our center represent only a fraction of the number of hate incidents that actually occur, but it does show how vulnerable Asian Americans are to discrimination, and the types of discrimination they face," the report says.

"Not enough has been done to protect Asian Americans from heightened levels of hate, discrimination and violence. Concrete action must be taken now," a press release from Stop AAPI Hate said. "Anything else is unacceptable."

Pedestrians in New York who want to request a safe escort or to volunteer can do so on the SafeWalks website, by emailing [email protected], or by DMing the @SafeWalksNYC handle on Instagram.

Read the original article on Business Insider

The Washington Post reversed a decision to bar a reporter from covering sexual assault after she spoke about the ban on Twitter

The Washington Post hq
The Washington Post headquarters.
  • WaPo staff are backing reporter Felicia Sonmez, who was barred from covering sexual misconduct.
  • Sonmez said her reporting might be perceived as a "conflict" due to her status as a survivor.
  • After Sonmez spoke of the ban on Twitter, The Post told Insider it would remove the "limitations."
  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

The Washington Post newsroom is banding together in support of a reporter who said she was barred from covering sexual misconduct and #MeToo because she is a survivor of sexual assault.

Felicia Sonmez, who The Post characterized to Insider as a breaking news reporter, said in a lengthy Twitter thread on Sunday she is no longer allowed to cover these topics because of a potential "appearance of a conflict of interest."

Sonmez has spoken publicly about sexual assault and misconduct before, which landed her in hot water with the now-former executive editor Marty Baron.

In January 2020, after the death of Kobe Bryant, Sonmez reminded her Twitter followers - who were mourning the basketball star - that he had previously been accused of rape. After publishing that tweet, Baron and other top editors suspended Sonmez. Hundreds of Post reporters at the time pushed for her reinstatement, and the top editors reversed the decision. Sonmez received threats from angry NBA fans for her tweet.

A year after that tweet, Sonmez said she felt unsupported by the newspaper. She tweeted that a conversation with her therapist asking about her feelings working in The Post newsroom resulted in tears, and added that she hasn't been able to cover anything related to sexual misconduct or the #MeToo movement.

The coverage ban is "harmful," she said, and is causing trauma.

"I haven't been able to work for much of the past two weeks, am taking sick leave next week and have experienced a recurrence of the same debilitating symptoms that I had when I came forward about my assault 3 years ago," she wrote.

"I've pleaded with the editors to lift it, to no avail," she said. "So I've just kept trying to do my job."

Politico's Playbook obtained emails showing Sonmez urging top editors at The Post to reverse the ban.

"It is humiliating to again and again have to tell my colleagues and editors that I am not allowed to do my job fully because I was assaulted," she wrote in an email to national editor Steven Ginsberg in May, Playbook reported.

"I believe it's important for you to know that The Post's decision on this matter has had negative repercussions for me personally in the past," she added. "[I]t's the tortured explanations I have to give whenever there is breaking news on this topic and I'm not allowed to cover it."

Now that Baron is out as executive editor, Ginsberg is considered one of the top candidates in the running, Playbook reported.

Sonmez's newest tweets opened up a rift, with not only Washington Post reporters weighing in, but also members of the other well-known media outlets.

Several Post reporters supported her on social media, saying Sonmez represents "the kind of reporter you *need* when covering stories about sexual assault."

When reached for comment, The Post's chief communications officer Kristine Coratti Kelly told Insider the newspaper's editors "have concluded such limitations are unnecessary." Kelly declined to clarify when asked specifically about the limitations she referenced and what prompted the decision.

In a later tweet Monday, Sonmez said the newspaper informed her it would be "rescinding its ban."

"This is good news, but it's unfortunate that it had to come at such a high emotional toll, and after my distress was dismissed for years," Sonmez wrote.

Read the original article on Business Insider

The Suez Canal has a contentious history and has been blocked and closed several times since opening

ever given suez canal
They're trying their best.
  • Since its opening, there have been five closures to the Suez Canal.
  • One of these incidents forced the Suez Canal - one of the world's most vital shipping routes - to shut down for years.
  • Experts said the process to dislodge the Ever Given - the most recent blockage along the canal - might take up to a few weeks.
  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

The blockage of the Suez Canal by a massive container ship called the Ever Given has become a worldwide shipping crisis. But - so far - it pales in comparison to other events that brought the canal to a halt in the past.

Since Tuesday, the Panamanian-flagged Ever Given has been lodged against the width of the canal, causing a massive traffic jam at one the world's most vital shipping routes.

The ship, nearly 200 feet wide and 1,300 feet long, easily took up the width of the channel. It's said to be bigger than the Empire State Building.

The Suez Canal is an Egyptian waterway connecting Europe and Asia, responsible for facilitating about 12% of all global trade. Supply-chain experts are now warning that shoppers are likely to see a shortage of items in stores because the ship has been lodged in place for days, blocking hundreds of other vessels from continuing their journeys.

"Basically anything you see in the stores" like coffee and toilet paper will be in short supply, Lars Jensen, an independent container-shipping expert based in Denmark, told NBC News.

The crisis is costing $400 million per hour in delayed goods, Lloyd's List estimated.

Egyptian authorities have attempted to remove the vessel and shift it parallel to the canal to clear up the blockage. But all attempts have so far failed, and experts predict it might take weeks to dislodge and clear the waterway.

"We might have to work with a combination of reducing the weight by removing containers, oil, and water from the ship; tugboats; and dredging of sand," Peter Berdowski, CEO of Dutch engineering company Boskalis, said earlier this week.

"We can't exclude it might take weeks, depending on the situation," he said.

suez canel empire state 2x1
The Empire State Building is slightly smaller than the large container ship currently blocking the Suez Canal, the Ever Given.

As bad as it seems, though, the Suez Canal has seen worse blockages - some of which have lasted for years.

According to the Suez Canal Authority, which maintains and operates the waterway, the Suez Canal has closed five times since it opened for navigation in 1869.

The first time was in 1956 after a British-French-Israeli invasion.

On July 26, 1956, Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser announced the nationalization of the Suez Canal, a decision that mounted backlash from Britain and France. At this time, there was tension between the three countries, according to a history page published on the State Department website.

Egypt wanted to nationalize the canal in an effort to go against European colonial domination. President Nasser said he was angered by "the imperialists who have mortgaged our future." Britain and France, on the other hand, were suspicious of Egypt's growing political influence.

In an attempt at a solution, the United States proposed the creation of an international consortium that would leave operating powers in the hands of 18 maritime nations, the history page says. All parties declined to support this idea.

Britain and France collaborated with Israel in secret military consultations to take control of the canal from Egypt by force. Israeli forces then attacked an Egyptian peninsula and advanced 10 miles toward the Suez Canal, and British and French troops eventually arrived at the scene as well.

That tension along the waterway - dubbed the Suez Crisis - led to the canal's closure for months.

Next, Egypt enters a war with Israel and the canal is blocked for eight years.

In June 1967, the canal turned into a battleground between Israel and Egypt as the two nations renewed conflicts.

At this point, Israeli forces continued to occupy one Egyptian peninsula. Israel refused to withdraw its forces from the peninsula, despite urges from the United States to do so, according to another State Department page.

Israel maintained control of the Suez Canal's east bank. Egypt, attempting to regain control, formed a blockade and shut down the waterway.

It wasn't until June 1975, after Egypt and Israel signed a diplomatic agreement, that the canal reopened for trade.

After that, there were no major disturbances along the waterway until 2004.

Another ship stopped the flow of traffic through the canal decades later, in 2004. The Tropic Brilliance, an oil tanker, got lodged in the waterway.

For three days, the ship was stuck and rescuers could not dislodge it.

The ship had to be refloated, a process that involves digging out and removing sand from alongside and under the boat to increase the presence of water around the vessel and get it to move.

The Suez Canal Authority is currently working to refloat the Ever Given.

"We got to dig deep to get it loose and then try to refloat the ship again. Nothing else will happen until it's done," one person involved with the effort told the Wall Street Journal.

In 2006, another boat got lodged in the waterway.

Sandstorms and high winds caused the Okal King Dor, a 93,000-ton cargo ship, to drift off at a wrong angle, leading to a temporary blockage in the canal.

Tugboats, however, were able to dislodge the cargo ship within eight hours. At the time, about 8% of all global trade went through the Suez Canal, considerably lower than the volume today.

Later, the 120-mile canal was disturbed in 2017 by another ship: the OOCL Japan.

The steering gear on the container ship malfunctioned, according to the Vessel Tracker, a website that tracks marine traffic and ships in real time. The malfunction caused the ship to veer perpendicular to its course and block the canal.

Within a few hours, tugboats were able to push it free.

Against the backdrop of these five incidents, Ever Given so far falls in the middle in terms of the length of time a blockage along the canal has ensued.

But it's not yet clear what efforts will be necessary to get the ship free and resume traffic through the waterway.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Parler allegedly warned the FBI of ‘specific threats of violence’ more than 50 times ahead of the Capitol riot

Parler
This illustration picture shows social media application logo from Parler displayed on a smartphone with its website in the background.
  • Parler said it alerted the FBI more than 50 times to threats at the Capitol ahead of the January 6 riot.
  • The platform, known for its userbase of conservatives and far-right extremists, said it reported "specific threats" to the FBI.
  • The Department of Justice has previously said insurrectionists used Parler to plan the violent events.
  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

Conservative social media network Parler asserted in a letter to a Democratic lawmaker that the platform warned the FBI of "specific threats of violence" days ahead of the January 6 Capitol riot.

The letter, addressed to Democratic Rep. Carolyn Maloney of New York on Thursday, said the platform reported these threats to the FBI more than 50 times, the Washington Post reported.

Parler, which advertises itself as a platform for unregulated language and "free speech," said it alerted the FBI to posts containing specific references to the Capitol, according to the Post.

One post, published December 24 on the platform, was from a user who "called for the congregation of an armed force of 150,000 on the Virginia side of the Potomac River to 'react to the congressional events of January 6th.'"

Another user allegedly wrote on the platform that a planned event on January 6 was "not a rally" and "no longer a protest," lawyers wrote in the letter, according to the Washington Post.

"This is the final stand where we are drawing the red line at Capitol Hill," one user allegedly wrote, according to the letter. "I trust the American people will take back the USA with force and many are ready to die to take back #USA so remember this is not a party until they announce #Trump2020 a winner . . . And don't be surprised if we take the #capitalbuilding" [sic].

The Capitol riot left at least five people, including one police officer, dead. Members of the Proud Boys, which is classified as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, were present, according to authorities.

Organizers were emboldened by President Donald Trump's calls to protest the results of the 2020 election, despite Democrat Joe Biden's election victory. While members of Congress were meeting inside the Capitol to certify the results, supporters organized an attempted coup and stormed it.

Upon news that the riot breached the building, lawmakers began to shelter in place and many evacuated.

Parler, which has become a mainstay in alt-right communication, has been criticized and scrutinized for its alleged role in the Capitol riot.

As Insider's Jacob Shamsian reported, Parler's userbase is largely made up of far-right extremists. The Justice Department has previously said many of those extremists organized the violent events planned for January 6 using the platform.

And after former President Donald Trump's Twitter account was disabled, top conservatives began sharing their Parler accounts on the platform, encouraging their followers to gravitate there. Among them was Angela Stanton-King, a Republican QAnon supporter who ran in November to represent Georgia's 5th Congressional District, the seat last held by the deceased Rep. John Lewis.

In the days following the Capitol riot, Apple and Google app stores blocked Parler for violating terms of service. Amazon Web Services also dropped it. These actions effectively took the platform offline.

In February, the company announced that site was up and running with a Tea Party co-founder serving as interim CEO. Mark Meckler, an attorney, political activist, and founder of the Tea Party Patriots, replaced former CEO and co-founder John Matze, who was fired by the company's board.

Parler has previously shared information with the FBI during the DOJ's investigation into the Capitol riot. It's not clear whether Parler handed over information to the FBI after the Department of Justice issued a warrant or subpoena for it or whether the company gave the information over of its own accord.

Parler, Maloney's office, and the FBI did not immediately return Insider's requests for comment.

Insider's Jacob Shamsian contributed to this report.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Nebraska governor claims legalizing medical marijuana will ‘kill your children’

Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts delivers the annual State of the State Address to lawmakers in Lincoln, Neb., Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021.
Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts delivers the annual State of the State Address to lawmakers in Lincoln, Neb., Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021.
  • Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts said legalizing medical marijuana would lead to kids dying.
  • Ricketts was citing a study that connected more frequent marijuana use among kids who die by suicide and states that already have legalized marijuana.
  • His remarks come as Nebraska's state legislature weighs a bill that would legalize medical marijuana.
  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

The governor of Nebraska pushed back on the state's consideration of legalizing medical marijuana, claiming it would lead to the death of their kids.

"This is a dangerous drug that will impact our kids," Gov. Pete Ricketts said during a news briefing Wednesday. "If you legalize marijuana, you're gonna kill your kids. That's what the data shows from around the country."

Asked to elaborate on the data by USA TODAY, a spokesperson for Ricketts pointed to two studies that concluded teens who died by suicide in multiple states that had legalized marijuana used it more frequently.

His remarks come as Nebraska's state legislature weighs a bill that would make legal medical marijuana that's recommended by a practicing physician. The idea is that physicians would have control over their patients' marijuana consumption, the Lincoln Journal Star reported.

Though Ricketts' linked his claim to recreational marijuana, the bill being weighed would allow residents to use and consume medical marijuana in the form of pills or oils. Smoking marijuana would not be legalized upon this bill's passing.

Marijuana is federally designated as a Schedule 1 drug, meaning it has "no currently accepted medical use." However, "THC itself has proven medical benefits in particular formulations," according to the NIH National Institute on Drug Abuse. In terms of recreational usage, experts and agencies like the Centers for Disease Control say a "fatal overdose is unlikely."

Ricketts' office did not immediately return Insider's request for comment.

"Big pot, big marijuana is a big industry," he continued. "This a big industry that is trying not to be regulated, to go around the regulatory process. And that's going to put people at risk: when you go around regulations that are designed for the health and safety of our society."

Advocates in favor of the bill's passing include its sponsor, Lincoln, Nebraska, Sen. Anna Wishart, who on Wednesday delivered an impassioned argument in support, according to the Lincoln Journal Star.

"This bill is not going to fail because of a lack of compromise," Wishart said before the state's judiciary committee. "If this bill fails to pass, it is because of political pressure from a few who wield their power to stamp out the will of the people. The people will not be silenced."

If the bill doesn't pass, Wishart, a Democrat, said she expects activists to propose a ballot initiative that allows Nebraskans to vote. This, in turn, would give physicians less control over marijuana consumption and make it more difficult to regulate.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Nebraska governor claims legalizing medical marijuana will ‘kill your children’

Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts delivers the annual State of the State Address to lawmakers in Lincoln, Neb., Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021.
Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts delivers the annual State of the State Address to lawmakers in Lincoln, Neb., Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021.
  • Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts said legalizing medical marijuana would lead to kids dying.
  • Ricketts was citing a study that connected more frequent marijuana use among kids who die by suicide and states that already have legalized marijuana.
  • His remarks come as Nebraska's state legislature weighs a bill that would legalize medical marijuana.
  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

The governor of Nebraska pushed back on the state's consideration of legalizing medical marijuana, claiming it would lead to the death of their kids.

"This is a dangerous drug that will impact our kids," Gov. Pete Ricketts said during a news briefing Wednesday. "If you legalize marijuana, you're gonna kill your kids. That's what the data shows from around the country."

Asked to elaborate on the data by USA TODAY, a spokesperson for Ricketts pointed to two studies that concluded teens who died by suicide in multiple states that had legalized marijuana used it more frequently.

His remarks come as Nebraska's state legislature weighs a bill that would make legal medical marijuana that's recommended by a practicing physician. The idea is that physicians would have control over their patients' marijuana consumption, the Lincoln Journal Star reported.

Though Ricketts' linked his claim to recreational marijuana, the bill being weighed would allow residents to use and consume medical marijuana in the form of pills or oils. Smoking marijuana would not be legalized upon this bill's passing.

Marijuana is federally designated as a Schedule 1 drug, meaning it has "no currently accepted medical use." However, "THC itself has proven medical benefits in particular formulations," according to the NIH National Institute on Drug Abuse. In terms of recreational usage, experts and agencies like the Centers for Disease Control say a "fatal overdose is unlikely."

Ricketts' office did not immediately return Insider's request for comment.

"Big pot, big marijuana is a big industry," he continued. "This a big industry that is trying not to be regulated, to go around the regulatory process. And that's going to put people at risk: when you go around regulations that are designed for the health and safety of our society."

Advocates in favor of the bill's passing include its sponsor, Lincoln, Nebraska, Sen. Anna Wishart, who on Wednesday delivered an impassioned argument in support, according to the Lincoln Journal Star.

"This bill is not going to fail because of a lack of compromise," Wishart said before the state's judiciary committee. "If this bill fails to pass, it is because of political pressure from a few who wield their power to stamp out the will of the people. The people will not be silenced."

If the bill doesn't pass, Wishart, a Democrat, said she expects activists to propose a ballot initiative that allows Nebraskans to vote. This, in turn, would give physicians less control over marijuana consumption and make it more difficult to regulate.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Pelosi stops short of urging Cuomo to resign, says he should ‘look inside his heart’ ‘to see if he can govern effectively’

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is meeting with White House officials to hash out a deal on another coronavirus rescue package.
  • House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Sunday did not join her Democratic colleagues in calling for Gov. Andrew Cuomo's resignation.
  • In recent weeks, women came forward with allegations that Cuomo sexually harassed them.
  • High-profile Democrats like Sen. Majority Leader Chuck Schumer have called on him to resign.
  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi stopped short on Sunday of calling for New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo's resignation.

Meanwhile, her Democratic colleagues in both the House and the Senate have urged the governor to resign after multiple allegations of sexual harassment surfaced against him.

After former Cuomo aide Lindsey Boylan came forward in December with allegations that Cuomo sexually harassed her for years, other women began to speak up as well.

Several said Cuomo sexually assaulted or behaved inappropriately around them. Some said he touched them without consent, and others documented detailed accounts and patterns of verbal abuse.

Powerful Democratic lawmakers in New York such as Sen. Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand have called on him to resign.

Pelosi, however, when asked whether she believed Cuomo should resign, skirted the question.

Speaking on ABC News' "This Week" on Sunday, Pelosi said she wants to see the results of the investigation into the claims of harassment. The claims against him "must be treated with respect," she said.

"They are credible and serious charges," she continued. "I have confidence in the attorney general of New York. She has called for an I think expeditious investigation."

When asked whether she believed Cuomo could be an effective leader for the state of New York at this time, Pelosi avoided answering directly.

"I think we should see the results" of the investigation, she said. "Hopefully this result will be soon. And what I'm saying is the governor should look inside his heart. He loves New York."

He should "see if he can govern effectively," she added.

Cuomo's office did not immediately return a request for comment.

Read the original article on Business Insider

A California GOP group gave an insurrectionist who stormed the US Capitol a trophy and posed for photos with him

capitol siege riot ladder
Rioters clash with police using big ladder trying to enter Capitol building through the front doors.
  • A California GOP organization honored a Capitol rioter for his years of service on its board.
  • Jorge Riley bragged about breaching House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's office on January 6 in an interview.
  • Riley, holding a trophy, posed for a photo with members of the Sacramento Republican Assembly.
  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

A conservative group in California honored an insurrectionist who stormed the Capitol on January 6 with a trophy.

In a Facebook post published this week, Jorge Riley, who participated in the Capitol riot, is seen posing for a picture with members of the Sacramento Republican Assembly, a group made up of conservative activists.

In the photo, Riley holds a trophy, presented to him by the group in celebration of his long tenure on its board.

Riley is "honored by the Sacramento Republican Assembly (SRA) for serving 11 years on the executive board including being elected to 6 terms as president!" read the post, published online by California Republican Assembly (CRA) national committeeman Bill Cardoza.

"Local SRA and California Republican Assembly (CRA) leaders gathered to pay tribute to Jorge for both his service on the SRA as well as the CRA board of directors," Cardoza's post said.

Riley, 41, resigned from his post with the California Republican Assembly, the parent organization to the local Sacramento chapter, after his involvement with the Capitol riot became public. Previously, he had been a former president of the SRA and the corresponding secretary for the CRA, according to the Sacramento Bee, which first reported this story.

The Capitol riot left at least five people, including one police officer, dead. Members of the Proud Boys, which is classified as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, were reportedly present.

Organizers were emboldened by President Donald Trump's calls to protest the results of the 2020 election with him, despite Democrat Joe Biden's election victory. While members of Congress were meeting inside the Capitol to certify the results, supporters organized an attempted coup and stormed it.

Upon news that the riot breached the building, lawmakers began to shelter in place and many evacuated.

A federal grand jury indicted Riley on February 3. He faced numerous charges, including disorderly conduct and demonstrating in a Capitol building, the Sacramento Bee reported.

Riley pleaded not guilty and was released from custody. Prosecutors said he had published dozens of messages and photos demonstrating his involvement in the Capitol riot on social media. He has an upcoming court hearing scheduled for April 21.

Craig DeLuz, a spokesperson for the California Republican Assembly, told the Sacramento Bee that the parent organization is "concerned" about Riley having been honored in this way.

"As a political organization, we want to set an example for how you engage in political discourse, and Jorge's actions were not how we believe you should be engaging in political discourse," DeLuz said.

"It's one of the reasons he was asked to resign from the CRA," he added.

Read the original article on Business Insider

A California GOP group gave an insurrectionist who stormed the US Capitol a trophy and posed for photos with him

capitol siege riot ladder
Rioters clash with police using big ladder trying to enter Capitol building through the front doors.
  • A California GOP organization honored a Capitol rioter for his years of service on its board.
  • Jorge Riley bragged about breaching House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's office on January 6 in an interview.
  • Riley, holding a trophy, posed for a photo with members of the Sacramento Republican Assembly.
  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

A conservative group in California honored an insurrectionist who stormed the Capitol on January 6 with a trophy.

In a Facebook post published this week, Jorge Riley, who participated in the Capitol riot, is seen posing for a picture with members of the Sacramento Republican Assembly, a group made up of conservative activists.

In the photo, Riley holds a trophy, presented to him by the group in celebration of his long tenure on its board.

Riley is "honored by the Sacramento Republican Assembly (SRA) for serving 11 years on the executive board including being elected to 6 terms as president!" read the post, published online by California Republican Assembly (CRA) national committeeman Bill Cardoza.

"Local SRA and California Republican Assembly (CRA) leaders gathered to pay tribute to Jorge for both his service on the SRA as well as the CRA board of directors," Cardoza's post said.

Riley, 41, resigned from his post with the California Republican Assembly, the parent organization to the local Sacramento chapter, after his involvement with the Capitol riot became public. Previously, he had been a former president of the SRA and the corresponding secretary for the CRA, according to the Sacramento Bee, which first reported this story.

The Capitol riot left at least five people, including one police officer, dead. Members of the Proud Boys, which is classified as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, were reportedly present.

Organizers were emboldened by President Donald Trump's calls to protest the results of the 2020 election with him, despite Democrat Joe Biden's election victory. While members of Congress were meeting inside the Capitol to certify the results, supporters organized an attempted coup and stormed it.

Upon news that the riot breached the building, lawmakers began to shelter in place and many evacuated.

A federal grand jury indicted Riley on February 3. He faced numerous charges, including disorderly conduct and demonstrating in a Capitol building, the Sacramento Bee reported.

Riley pleaded not guilty and was released from custody. Prosecutors said he had published dozens of messages and photos demonstrating his involvement in the Capitol riot on social media. He has an upcoming court hearing scheduled for April 21.

Craig DeLuz, a spokesperson for the California Republican Assembly, told the Sacramento Bee that the parent organization is "concerned" about Riley having been honored in this way.

"As a political organization, we want to set an example for how you engage in political discourse, and Jorge's actions were not how we believe you should be engaging in political discourse," DeLuz said.

"It's one of the reasons he was asked to resign from the CRA," he added.

Read the original article on Business Insider

A lawmaker pushing to rename the FBI headquarters dismissed J. Edgar Hoover as racist and misogynistic

FBI headquarters
The FBI's J. Edgar Hoover headquarters building in Washington.

Rep. Gerry Connolly of Virginia said Saturday that he wants the FBI headquarters building in Washington, DC, to be stripped of J. Edgar Hoover's name because of his racist and misogynistic behavior.

Appearing in a video streamed on MSNBC's "The Cross Connection," Connolly said the building should be renamed "after somebody who deserves it."

"I introduced [legislation] to form a national commission to rename the J. Edgar Hoover headquarters building," he said on the show. "We need to do this because frankly, J. Edgar Hoover was a maligned character in American history."

"He was a racist who went after Martin Luther King in extraordinary ways. He was a homophobe. He was a misogynist," Connolly continued. "He was somebody who even denied the existence of the mafia for decades, allowing organized crime to get a toehold here in the United States."

Government records unveiled in 2019 revealed that Hoover authorized a probe into King, signing off on a plan to blackmail him. Insider's Bill Bostock previously wrote the FBI's extensive plans to monitor and blackmail King show how Hoover was "personally obsessed" with bringing down the civil rights icon.

Hoover at the time was the director of the FBI, which for years gathered evidence linked to King's sexual behavior with women. Hoover thought King sympathized with the communists. When he found out that King had had affairs with as many as 40 women, he gave his agents permission to send King a tape-recording of an orgy in King's Washington, DC, hotel.

King received that tape in the mail along with a note written by the FBI that encouraged him to listen to it.

"It is all there on the record, your sexual orgies. Listen to yourself you filthy, abnormal animal," the letter read. "You are on the record. You have been on the record - all your adulterous acts, your sexual orgies extending far into the past. This one is but a tiny sample."

It is unclear whether the agents involved were depicting the true reality of King's private life, or sparking gossip as part of their campaign against him.

Connolly did not propose alternative names during his video appearance on MSNBC.

"Hoover abused his power and trampled the civil liberties of Dr. King, anti-war protesters, his political rivals, and too many others," Connolly said upon reintroducing a bill to rename the building. "He is no role model for any time, and certainly not this one. Congress must right this wrong and rename this building."

In a press release from his office, Connolly proposed the formation of a nine-member commission to conduct a review and make "any recommendations related to the redesignation of the Hoover building within 180 days of enactment."

Conversations around renaming the FBI headquarters building come as multiple cities and states across the country announce the removal of Confederate statues that are emblematic of the nation's racist history.

There are also widespread discussions about renaming schools and institutions whose original namesakes exhibited racist or oppressive behavior.

Insider's Bill Bostock contributed to this report.

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