Democratic state senator doesn’t get her way, so she threatens riots: ‘Gloves out’

News & Politics

Democratic politicians frequently concern-monger about
supposed threats to democracy. However, when democratic processes produce results they don’t like, they’re often the first to make threats or champion violence.

Tennessee state Sen. Charlane Oliver (D) recently expressed outrage over the passage of a bill that would prevent local officials from introducing policies or ordinances that limit the ability of police to properly fulfill their duties. Since voters elected not to empower a sufficient number of lawmakers with Oliver’s leftist worldview to kill the bill, the cofounder of the identitarian activist group Equity Alliance suggested an alternative means of getting her way.

“Yeah, we gonna fight,” said Oliver. “Dr. King said that the riots are the language of the unheard. You ain’t see nothing yet. If you keep silencing us like this, what you think our district’s gonna do?”

“We have had it up here,” added Oliver. “Gloves out.”

Background

Facing pressure from activists over the fatal beating of Tyre Nichols by five black police officers last year, Memphis City Council
passed an ordinance in April 2023 preventing police from conducting pretextual traffic stops.

Councilwoman Michalyn Easter-Thomas, the sponsor of the traffic-stop ordinance, suggested the idea was to limit interactions between the police and the public, and to have officers focus on serious crimes, not “poverty crimes,”
reported the Memphis Commercial Appeal.

Republicans and community members recognized that the ordinance might ultimately make things a whole lot worse in the country’s
most dangerous city.

State Sen. Brent Taylor filed a
bill in January that would effectively override the Memphis ordinance by barring “a local governmental entity or official from adopting or enacting a resolution, ordinance, or policy that prohibits or limits the ability of a law enforcement agency to conduct traffic stops based on observation of or reasonable suspicion that the operator or a passenger in a vehicle has violated a local ordinance of state or federal law.”

“Crime is on the rise across the country,”
said Taylor. “Violent crime has reached a crisis level in Memphis. Police officers and sheriffs need to have more tools available to combat rising crime, not fewer. This proposed law will prohibit cities and counties from restricting routine traffic stops and other crime-fighting tactics.”

The Republican state senator further noted in a Jan. 31 statement, “Routine traffic stops have resulted in major arrests and the apprehension of violent criminals for years. Whether it’s the random drug trafficker pulled over for running a stop sign or the most well-known case — Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh — routine traffic stops are a proven means of catching violent offenders, drug traffickers, and other dangerous criminals.”

Taylor elsewhere
indicated that it was clear to him that community members were growing “tired of crime and bad policies that don’t allow police to do their jobs.”

Democratic lawmakers denounced the legislation.

Sen. Jeff Yarbro (D) suggested that the legislature was “spitting” on the efforts by local leftists to seize upon Nichols’ death as an opportunity to limit policing powers.

State Sen. London Lamar (D)
said Thursday, “I pleaded with the sponsor to not run this bill because it’s a slap on the face, not only our city councils, but all the local governing bodies in this state because we’re telling them, ‘You are not smart enough to decide policies that help govern your own city.'”

Memphis has a 0-rating on Neighborhood Scout’s
crime index where 100 is safest. The likelihoods of falling victim to a violent crime and a property crime in the Democrat-run city are 1 in 41 and 1 in 14, respectively.

Despite Democratic opposition, the state House approved HB 1931 in a 68 to 24 vote on March 7. The state Senate passed Sen. Brent Taylor’s corresponding SB 2572 Thursday in a 26 to 6 vote along partisan lines.

Upon the bill’s passage in the Senate, Taylor
tweeted, “It’s time to take handcuffs off police and put them on criminals where they belong.”

The bill is headed to Republican Gov. Bill Lee’s desk for ratification.

Democratic rage

Democrats and other leftists characterized the bill as both racist and government overreach.

State Sen. Lamar likened Republicans’ attempts to execute the will of voters to slavery at a press conference.

“What we see here is drunk on power. ‘I don’t like that you take this position on this bill so I’m [going to] silence you.’ That’s a form of slavery,” shouted Lamar. “I feel like a slave sometimes in this building. I’m over it. And all the members standing here are over it.”

“I am tired of the Republican Party expecting us as minorities to do what they want to do but treat us disrespectfully,” continued Lamar. “Nah, we’re not doing that no more. … We’re at the time of the session where gloves [are] off.”

State Sen. Charlane Oliver went further than Lamar in her embrace of pugilistic rhetoric.

“It is a slap in the face and you might as well stomp on the grave of Tyre Nichols for bringing this bill,” said Oliver. “Yes, we are emotionally charged. Why? Because it’s personal for us. Tyler made this personal the minute he introduced this legislation to target one family and one life that was lost. So yeah, we gonna fight.”

After invoking Martin Luther King Jr. in an apparent effort to legitimize rioting, Oliver added, “We gonna fight like hell. You don’t expect us to respond when you gaslight us every single day with these bills?”

“Don’t tell me this stuff ain’t racist,” continued Oliver. “Don’t tell me it’s not. It is rooted in racism. This was a Jim Crow bill that Taylor brought and all of his confederates voted for it today.”

Taylor responded to Oliver’s suggestion of reactionary riots, writing, “Despite [voters] overwhelming support for my bill that prohibits local governments from banning legal routine traffic stops, leftist opposition has been insane and totally out of touch with reality and our community’s demands.”

Leftist activist groups such as the anti-prison outfit Decarcerate Memphis are hoping to pressure Gov. Lee to veto SB 2752, threatening “no justice, no peace.”

Nichols parents have also
asked to meet with Lee before he signs the bill in hopes that they might dissuade him.

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