Newswire : Democrats, Black candidates win historic victories on election night

By Stacy M. Brown (NNPA Newswire Contributor)

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Melvin Carter was elected the first Black mayor of St. Paul, Minn., on Tuesday night, Nov. 7, 2017. (Screenshot/MelvinCarter.org)
The blue wave that swept the country last week wasn’t just a victory for Democrats, but a resounding win for African American candidates, who defied the odds—and Trumpism—to make history.
In Charlotte, N.C., voters elected the first female African American mayor in the city’s history, choosing Democrat Vi Lyles over Republican Kenny Smith.
In St. Paul, Minn., Melvin Carter became that city’s first Black mayor, earning slightly more than 50 percent of the vote in a field that featured 10 candidates and a write-in opponent.
In Virginia, Democrat Justin Fairfax trounced Republican challenger Jill Vogel in the race for lieutenant governor. In January, Fairfax will become only the second African American to hold statewide office in Virginia. Doug Wilder was the first, serving as lieutenant governor from 1986-1990, then as governor from 1990-1994.
Fairfax said his and other Democratic victories could “be the match that sparks the wildfire of progressive” change all across the country.“All across the world. This is a battle for the nation’s soul,” Fairfax said. “Since I announced my candidacy, this campaign has been about the future, about building a Virginia where all of us have the opportunity to rise.”
Most saw victories by Democrats as a referendum on President Donald Trump, whose record low job approval rating has shrunk to 39 percent according to various reports.
Republicans lost races for governor in Virginia, where Ralph Northam easily beat Trump-backed Ed Gillespie, and in New Jersey, where former U.S. Ambassador to Germany Phil Murphy won election as governor, defeating Republican Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno.
Also, in Virginia, attorney general Mark Herring, a Democrat, won reelection over Republican John Adams while Democrats gained at least 10 seats in the House of Delegates.
The party also won key mayoral races in New York, Charlotte, Stamford, Conn., and St. Petersburg and, in a direct rebuke of Trump and Republicans who have tried to repeal the Affordable Care Act, voters in Maine approved a ballot measure to expand Medicaid under former President Barack Obama’s signature healthcare law.
On Twitter University of Virginia political scientist Larry Sabato wrote that the results were a “backlash to Trump and Trumpism, pure and simple.”
Results may have been helped by a strong get out to vote campaign launched by the NAACP. The legendary civil rights organization and its approximately 500,000 adult and youth members around the country were on the frontlines committed to raising awareness for political, educational, social and economic equality of minorities in the electoral process, the organization said in a statement posted on its website.
“The NAACP is actively engaged in increasing the African American responsiveness of citizens to be fully engaged in the democratic process,” the statement read.
Terry McAuliffe, Virginia’s outgoing Democratic governor, told reporters that the election night victories were indeed a springboard for future elections, including the 2020 presidential race.
“This was a spark plug,” McAuliffe said. “This is the revitalization of the Democratic Party in America.”
Former Vice President Joe Biden said voters clearly sent a message to Trump. “A resounding defeat tonight for President Trump,” Biden tweeted. “Voters across the country rejected the ugly politics we have seen this past year. Instead, they chose candidates who unite and inspire us.”
Members of the Congressional Black Caucus also engaged voters. Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.), urged everyone to vote. “The vote is precious, almost sacred,” Lewis said. “It is the most powerful nonviolent tool or instrument in a democratic society [so] use it.”
And, if that admonition wasn’t enough, the legendary civil rights leader reminded voters why participating is so important. “I was beaten, left bloody and unconscious so that every American has the right to vote,” Lewis said. “Friends of mine gave their lives. Do your part. Vote.”

Newswire : Black police executives reject Trump’s encouragement to rough up suspects

By Hazel Trice Edney

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Assistant Police Chief Perry Tarrant, surrounded by members of NOBLE. PHOTO: NOBLE website.
(TriceEdneyWire.com) – The Nation’s premier association of Black police executives – convening in Atlanta this week – has responded to rogue statements made by President Donald Trump encouraging police officers to “please, don’t be too nice” to suspects being arrested for violent crimes.
Speaking to law enforcement officials in Ronkonkoma, N. Y. about the brutal MS-13 gang, Trump said, “And when you see these towns and when you see these thugs being thrown into the back of a paddy wagon — you just see them thrown in, rough – I said, please don’t be too nice. Like when you guys put somebody in the car and you’re protecting their head, you know, the way you put their hand over? Like, don’t hit their head and they’ve just killed somebody – don’t hit their head. I said, you can take the hand away, okay?”
Many of the officers laughed and even applauded the comments. The White House has since attempted to downplay the statements claiming the President was only joking. But, his words caused chills for those recalling the string of police brutality cases across the nation that resulted in the deaths of Black people. Those cases include that of Baltimore’s Freddie Gray who died after a police paddy wagon ride that somehow led to a broken neck two years ago. The Freddie Gray case resulted in an uprising that included fires, millions of dollars in property damage and hundreds of arrests.
In a statement issued to the Trice Edney News Wire, Perry Tarrant, president of the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives (NOBLE), reasserted principles to which all police officers must adhere when making an arrest – regardless of the charge.
“As NOBLE convenes its 41st Annual Training Conference in Atlanta, it reminds the nation of one of the bedrock’s of our democracy, equal protection under the law. All law enforcement officers play a critical role in determining the appropriate levels of use of force as they police communities across this nation,” Tarrant said. “As NOBLE continues its efforts to build one community (law enforcement is part of the community), we must always be vigilant in ensuring that the human rights of those in custody and/or suspected of crimes are protected.”
Trump’s statement was made during a season in which the clearly unwarranted killings of Black people by police have wreaked havoc across the nation. Mike Brown of Ferguson, Mo., Philando Castile of Falcon Heights, Minn., Eric Garner of Staton Island, N.Y., and Tamir Rice of Cleveland, Ohio are just a few of the dead who have become iconic cases for police brutality in America.
Tarrant, elected NOBLE president last year, is well acquainted with the historic conflicts between police and the Black community. Upon his rise to the NOBLE presidency last year, he cited the need for trust and conversation between police and community.
Tarrant currently serves as assistant chief of the Special Operations Bureau for the Seattle Police Department. He spent 34 years with the Tucson, Ariz., Police Department, where he worked in patrol, the K-9 unit, SWAT team, bomb squad, aviation and internal affairs.
For 41 years, NOBLE has described itself as “the conscience of law enforcement by being committed to justice by action.” The organization represents “3,000 members internationally, who are primarily African-American chief executive officers of law enforcement agencies at federal, state, county and municipal levels, other law enforcement administrators, and criminal justice practitioners.”
In addition to NOBLE, a string of police bureaus and organizations across the nation publicly distanced themselves from the statements by Trump.
The International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) also issued a statement saying, “Managing use of force is one of the most difficult challenges faced by law enforcement agencies. The ability of law enforcement officers to enforce the law, protect the public, and guard their own safety, the safety of innocent bystanders, and even those suspected or apprehended for criminal activity is very challenging. For these reasons, law enforcement agencies develop policies and procedures, as well as conduct extensive training, to ensure that any use of force is carefully applied and objectively reasonable considering the situation confronted by the officers.
The IACP concluded, “Law enforcement officers are trained to treat all individuals, whether they are a complainant, suspect, or defendant, with dignity and respect. This is the bedrock principle behind the concepts of procedural justice and police legitimacy.