While most Americans were commemorating the nation’s birthday, racial violence, lawlessness and animosity marred Independence Day celebrations in Georgia, Florida, Ohio, California, Texas and Illinois.
Chris Rock started the day off with a bang: “Happy white peoples Independence Day,” he tweeted. “The slaves weren’t free but I’m sure they enjoyed fireworks.”
In Chicago, Ill., some were enjoying the celebration until they were set upon by a mob of dozens of black people intent on violence. One man was taken to the hospital, where he remains in good condition. Eleven black people were arrested and charged with assault.
As is often the case, the mainstream media did not report the mob was black. Witnesses and others took to the Internet to set the record straight.
“For all that don’t know, the perpetrators are African-American teens,” said a man self-identified as Jonathan Kizer on the Chicago Tribune website. “I work in the area and I’ve seen firsthand what these teens are doing. It’s really bothersome bcuz they are hurting innocent ppl, but also perpetuating a negative view of the black community. Not all of us are like this, but people would never know from what they see and hear.”
Local television reporters did remind people this is the latest in a series of mob attacks in the downtown and upscale North Side area.
In Albany, Ga., 85 police officers in the downtown area lost control of the crowd 20 minutes into the show after large groups of black people disrupted the celebration.
They stopped the fireworks. Police blamed the problems on teens without parents. Witnesses were not so forgiving, saying it was a dangerous and chaotic scene that some say included gunfire.
When posters to Albany websites said the rioter were black, some responded it was not an issue of black and white.
“So how many white kids did you see running around [destroying property]?” asked one witness. No one said they saw any white people involved in the violence or destruction.
In the Cleveland, Ohio, suburb of Shaker Heights, hundreds of black people created a “real dangerous environment” with violence and rushing into a crowd of fireworks watchers.
Eight people were arrested after police in riot gear with dogs quelled the disturbance, or tried to.
In one news story at the Cleveland Plain Dealer, a reader was frustrated that the paper did yet reported the riot.
“My daughter and I will NOT be back next year. ‘Daddy why are all those kids screaming, swearing and fighting?’ ‘Because their parents didn’t raise them any better honey.’
“Nothing better to see police in riot gear riding on the outside of a SWAT van as the fireworks celebrating our freedom from the English rule rush toward a crowd of idiots, Then police officers telling people that are there to watch the fireworks that THEY have to leave.
“But I thought that the police would put an end to that. I was wrong.”
Over at the Cleveland Patch, Steve Smith had a similar experience: “It’s not fear-mongering to say that these people created a real, dangerous environment.”
On Twitter, a black woman from Cleveland who goes by the handle @Coke216, had another perspective: “Yo, I got attacked by racist cops and attack dogs yesterday, cuz niggas wanted to start a riot at the fireworks. Lol.”
In Watts, Calif., a crowd of dozens of black people setting off fireworks at the Nickerson Gardens public housing project did not take kindly to police and firemen who showed up to stop it.
During the incident, the suspects allegedly tossed rocks, bottles and live fireworks at Los Angeles police officers, according to City News Service.
On Twitter, both sides were represented:
A fireman said, “Cops in riot gear and the locals shooting fireworks at the cops pretty funny until u drive through it. … Eh.”
But one of the residents of Watts thought it was funny:
“Niggas in the niccersons had the riot squad out there … throwin fireworks n roccs at police lmfao yall did that fasho,” said @HerFavDrugg.
Several officers were hit by fireworks. No word on their condition.
In Waco, Texas, 400 black people filled the streets of downtown following a fireworks show, throwing fireworks and destroying property.
When police arrived, they threw explosive devices and rocks at the officers.
“Officers’ attempts to move the crowd were not successful and when they moved into the area, the people became hostile,” reported KCEN-TV.
“The crowd then started throwing rocks at officers and police cars. One officer received a minor injury when he was struck. Large fireworks that explode with a large flame were also thrown at officers by people in the crowd where attempting to use them as hand grenades.
“An armored vehicle was used to try to clear the streets. When it was brought in, members of the group started throwing bricks and large pieces of concrete.”
When they refused to leave, the police brought in tank and sprayed the crowd with “chemical munitions.”
One person was arrested for punching a police officer in the face.
In Quincy, Fla., one black man was arrested and others are being sought after crowds of black people attacked police and others with explosives.
WCTV-TV in Quincy reported:
Upon arrival and to their surprise police officers were ambushed by several suspects who threw explosive fireworks at them and their vehicles. Some of the explosives detonated underneath the vehicles with enough force to shake the vehicle. Police were unable to apprehend anyone initially due to the darkness and the suspects fleeing rapidly on foot to hide.
Several hours later police were again called to the location but this time made contact with a witness who stated that four suspects had thrown a “bomb” at her. The witness also advised police that these same suspects were responsible for throwing explosive fireworks at police earlier. …
[Quincy] police were the victims of a similar type assault last year on July 4th at this exact apartment complex. One officer was hospitalized last year and suffered minor hearing loss after a large explosive device was thrown at him and detonated next to him. …
In some places like Quincy, riots with firework are a holiday tradition. That is the way it was in Gafney, S.C., where last year, a group of 500 black people threw fireworks and rocks at police after the July 4 celebration.
The officers were overwhelmed briefly, and, at one point, someone threw a cinder block through a Gaffney police cruiser. Neighbors in the area have described what’s become an annual event as hell, saying it’s reminiscent of a warzone.
This year, Gaffney police flooded the zone with extra officers and police say that is one holiday tradition that did not take place this year.
It was the same in Dallas, where last year mobs of black people attacked a television photographer with rockets – on video. Dallas was quieter this year.
And in Peoria, Ill., where last year a crowd of hundreds of black people on video attacked police and fire with rockets and explosives as they responded to a burning trash can, this year was slightly more under control. However, the Peoria Journal Star reported:
Police twice dispersed large crowds fighting in the street with pepperballs early Thursday, hours after most Fourth of July revelers had vacated the riverfront area.
The first call came at about 2:40 a.m. in the 600 block of Northeast Adams Street. When officers arrived, hundreds of people were in the streets with some yelling, shoving and punching each other.
But this year, police and fire officials report none of the violence was directed against them.