A recently expanded investigation has cited more than 1,000 cases in 47 states where racially motivated protests by civilians and journalists were violated by police in the past five months in connection with the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement.
At the same time, a survey has shown that support for BLM is declining, with support for the movement for racist justice declining 12 percent from summer to fall this year.
Bellingcat, the website for investigative journalism, and the University of London’s human rights research group Forensic Architecture examined thousands of videos that were made available online, and compiled a worksheet and interactive web infography with geolocation, video links and summaries for each police attack on a journalist or protestor during the nationwide BLM protests that took place following the murder of a white police officer on May 25 of the same year of Black Minneapolis-based George Floyd.
The data, so far covering May 26 through October 24, categorizes the incidents according to whether police used chemical weapons such as pepper spray or tear gas, physical force such as truncheons, “less lethal” blunt impact and lightning bolt ammunition, or physical intimidation by swinging weapons or paramilitary vehicles.
The incidents are also categorized according to whether the victim was a civilian, journalist, doctor or legal observer.
The database lists over 500 cases where police used pepper spray, tear gas and less lethal ammunition, and over 200 cases where police used physical violence, violent arrests or the imposition of a curfew or illegal gathering against protesters.
In addition, there were attacks on civilians in over 740 incidents, over 220 attacks on journalists and at least 11 attacks on paramedics. In 11 cases, police used the method of caulking, in which protesters were physically prevented from leaving an area before being arrested and given ammunition.
“This data gives a picture of police forces that behave more like paramilitaries than civil servants,” the organizations said in a video accompanying the database. “The scale of these attacks indicates a systematic disregard for basic press freedom.
The organizations said that while some jurisdictions have responded to these incidents by passing police reform laws, videos from the period after the adoption of these reforms show that they have not contained the violence.
A report published in early September by the Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project (ACLED) found that 93 percent of BLM protests were peaceful. However, the report was criticized for allegedly overlooking cases of violence by protesters.
Public support for the BLM declined from summer to fall, with support for the movement among adult Americans declining from 67 percent in June to 55 percent in mid-September, according to the Pew Research Center.
The decline in support coincided with the political rhetoric describing BLM as anti-police, “terrorist,” “Marxist,” “radical left,” “symbol of hate,” and “mob” by people like President Donald Trump and other conservative politicians.
“Black Lives Matter has now been recognized as the largest social movement in world history, and that scares people,” Melina Abdullah, co-founder of Black Lives Matter Los Angeles, told ABC News in an October 25 article. “This scares people who have invested in making the world not less but more racist and not less oppressive, and people who are involved in a system of policing that is oppressive and brutal and violent.
Tekk.tv has asked Forensic Architecture for a comment.