Slouching towards Fascism: Shaun King harassed by border agent

Trumpism is fast becoming a virulent disease:

As an activist and journalist, he’s been prominent in the Black Lives Matter movement, defended the Palestinians, and attacked the Republican Party, On Monday, apparently as a result of his politics, King was briefly detained at JFK Airport by an agent of U.S. Customs and Border Patrol while returning home from Egypt.

In a series of tweets and a telephone interview, King described a “frustrating” and “weird” episode like something out of the “Twilight Zone.” He said he was approached by a customs official who pulled him out of line and took him down a white hall to a nondescript office. His wife, unwilling to be separated, came along, as did their children.

This is the only reference to this incident by a major media outlet (Miami Herald), and the only reason they had the story is because it was in a syndicated Leonard Pitts opinion piece. And it wasn't simply a random event, King was targeted due to his activism:

King said the agent first attempted to ply the children with small talk but that he, King, told his wife and kids “to not say a damn word.” According to King, the agent asked why they had visited Egypt- “traditional family vacation” was the reply - then inquired about King’s work with Black Lives Matter. He spoke in such a way, said King, that it became obvious he had “been reading my tweets and knew all about me.” And King said the agent made reference to his “case,” indicating that whatever this was was ongoing and longstanding.

CBP never accused King of terrorism. So, one is hard-pressed to explain what happened Monday as anything other than a clumsy attempt at political intimidation, the government’s unsubtle way of letting a critic know that Big Brother is watching. I asked a CPB spokesperson if the government is monitoring Black Lives Matter as a terrorist organization and how that squares with the First Amendment.

In response, I received a written statement which said in part: “Each traveler must present themselves to CBP for inspection in order to be admitted to the United States of America. This was a routine inspection typical of daily operations at our ports of entry across the nation. CBP treats all international travelers with integrity, respect and professionalism while keeping the highest standards of security.”

Bad enough the statement did not address the questions I posed. But...“routine”?! Is this kind of thing really routine?

"Routine" is in the eye of the beholder. Or the holder of a badge and gun. It was the assumption of guilt, based on skin color, which brought about the need for Black Lives Matter in the first place, but law enforcement seems to have gotten the wrong message from that.

And maybe part of the reason they got the wrong message is how activists like Shaun King are treated by the mainstream media. They're either cast as "the other side" in a false equivalency debate, or completely ignored. Targeted harassment and intimidation by government entities is a *huge* story, and one that journalists should not need to have pointed out since they are victims also. Maybe that's why they haven't covered this Shaun King story? If so, that's even more of a concern.

Tags: 

Comments

It is NOT routine to ask

It is NOT routine to ask about a citizen's activist activities!
Good grief!