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Saturday, June 23, 2018

Pittsburgh protests of slain teen Antwon Rose extend into weekend

Posted By on Sat, Jun 23, 2018 at 2:25 PM

Scene from Antwon Rose protest on June 22 - CP PHOTO BY JARED WICKERHAM
  • CP photo by Jared Wickerham
  • Scene from Antwon Rose protest on June 22
More than 200 hundred people marched from Freedom Corner in the Hill District to Point State Park on Saturday afternoon — a fourth consecutive day of protests in the name of late teenager Antwon Rose.

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Thursday, June 21, 2018

Pittsburgh rally for police-shooting victim Antwon Rose begs people to get politically involved

Posted By on Thu, Jun 21, 2018 at 3:30 PM

Sign from a protester at June 21 rally in Downtown Pittsburgh - CP PHOTO BY RYAN DETO
  • CP photo by Ryan Deto
  • Sign from a protester at June 21 rally in Downtown Pittsburgh
Leon Ford was shot in the back during a routine traffic stop six years ago, leaving him paralyzed. After years spent speaking out against police brutality, he recently settled a lawsuit with the city of Pittsburgh. He has since become an integral part of the city’s and the country’s police-reform movement.

On Thursday afternoon, Ford sat in his wheelchair at the Allegheny County Courthouse amid thousands protesting the shooting death of Antwon Rose.

“This is painful for me,” Ford said. “I fought for six years and I didn’t think this would be happening.”

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Thursday, April 26, 2018

Pittsburgh officials remove controversial Stephen Foster statue

Posted By on Thu, Apr 26, 2018 at 11:54 AM

Pittsburgh workers removing the Stephen Foster statue - CP PHOTO BY RYAN DETO
  • CP photo by Ryan Deto
  • Pittsburgh workers removing the Stephen Foster statue
Early in the morning on April 26, the controversial Stephen Foster statue was removed from its post in Oakland. In October 2017, the Pittsburgh Arts Commission voted to remove the statue, which many Pittsburghers had deemed racist for its minstrel-like depiction of a black man sitting at Foster’s feet. Foster, a native Pittsburgher, is the famous composer of songs like “Oh! Susanna” and “Camptown Races.”

The statue came off of its post fairly easily. A crew of several Department of Public Works employees wrapped thick rope around the statue and it was pulled off the base with a backhoe. The ropes were removed after the statue was loaded onto a flatbed truck; the truck drove slowly away and nothing was damaged.

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Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Local comic Day Bracey clashes online with alt-right comedian Owen Benjamin over canceled Pittsburgh show

Posted By on Wed, Apr 18, 2018 at 11:08 AM

  • CP photo by Jake Mysliwczyk
  • Day Bracey

Owen Benjamin is a well-known comedian in the conservative-media world. Benjamin is white and one of his signature bits is singing a song called “that [n-word] stole my bike.” Benjamin has defended his takes on race as tackling political correctness. He is a self-described critic of liberalism and left-leaning politics. In March, he tweeted “what a [n-word] queer” and linked a story about Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Benjamin has said efforts to curb his brand of comedy are censorship.

In late March, the New Hazlett Theater canceled his stand-up event in Pittsburgh after learning more about Benjamin’s material and social-media presence. About a week later, Benjamin’s Twitter account was suspended after he tweeted about Parkland Shooting survivor David Hogg’s pubic hair. He had more than 180,000 followers on Twitter before his account was suspended.

But before Benjamin’s Twitter account was permanently suspended, he had a confrontation with Pittsburgh comedian Day Bracey, who had pushed back against Benjamin’s racist and anti-LGBTQ rhetoric. Bracey believes Pittsburgh venues shouldn't work with Benjamin, given his use of racial and LGBTQ slurs. But, in arguing with Benjamin and his legion of fans on Twitter, Bracey had his Twitter account permanently suspended, which he says is a big hit to his growing brand in Pittsburgh. Even so, Bracey is hopeful Pittsburgh will reject Benjamin's brand of comedy. But Benjamin has apparently found a new venue and he has cast himself as the victim of "activists" like Bracey. He hopes to use Pittsburgh to highlight what he calls a "shaming" culture on the left.

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Thursday, April 5, 2018

Updated: "There Are Black People In The Future" text removed from East Liberty public-art project at behest of landlord

Posted By on Thu, Apr 5, 2018 at 1:11 PM

  • Photo courtesy of Alisha Wormsley
The removal of a message from a public-art project last week is stirring controversy in Pittsburgh.

The Last Billboard, created by Carnegie Mellon professor Jon Rubin, has been posting messages by local artists to a billboard on top of a building in East Liberty since 2013, but last week marks the first time the building's landlord intervened. "There Are Black People In The Future" was posted to the billboard on March 3 and removed several weeks later.

"Last week, The Last Billboard’s landlord, We Do Property, forced Alisha’s text to be taken down over objections to the content (through a never-before evoked clause in the lease that gives the landlord the right to approve text)," Rubin wrote in a statement on the project's website on April 3.

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Thursday, January 25, 2018

More than a dozen swastikas drawn in snow on cars in Pittsburgh’s Oakland neighborhood

Posted By on Thu, Jan 25, 2018 at 2:54 PM

A swastika carved into the snow on a car on Meyran Avenue, in Oakland, on Jan. 16 - PHOTO COURTESY OF FACEBOOK
  • Photo courtesy of Facebook
  • A swastika carved into the snow on a car on Meyran Avenue, in Oakland, on Jan. 16
On Jan. 16, a junior at the University of Pittsburgh was walking to work in Oakland around 6:45 a.m., when he came across a swastika drawn in the snow on a car on Meyran Avenue. The student, who is Jewish and gay, was offended by the swastika and cleared it off.

But as he continued to walk down Meyran, he spotted about 15-20 more swastikas. All were drawn into the snow on car windshields, on both sides of the avenue. That was when the student knew he had to do more than just brush off the swastikas. So, he took pictures of the swastikas and posted them on Facebook, along with a post saying that this behavior needs to stop and denouncing anyone for promoting Nazism and white supremacy. The post was shared more than 620 times. The student requested to remain anonymous, saying he fears retaliation from making the incident public.

“Someone took the time to stand there to make them perfectly visible,” said the student in an interview with Pittsburgh City Paper a week after the event. “I think it was somebody who wants to promote hate. I am Jewish and am I gay, that symbol triggers me.”

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Thursday, October 26, 2017

Recently posted racist video targets Pittsburgh comedian and ‘Drinking Partners’ podcast host Day Bracey

Posted By on Thu, Oct 26, 2017 at 5:20 PM

Day Bracey had had enough. Earlier this month, the well-known Pittsburgh comedian and co-host of the Drinking Partners craft-beer-focused podcast had been engaging in some social-media back-and-forth with another area comedian, Zach Hudak. Bracey took offense at some of Hudak’s posts, which often included racist and homophobic memes, and responded to some of the posts on Facebook.

Then Hudak took the discourse to another level. He responded to Bracey days later with a video he made and posted to Twitter on Oct. 16, tagging Bracey, who is black. The video (shown above) features Hudak, who is white, in black face, imitating Bracey, using a minstrel-like voice, and saying, “Hello there, this bes Day Bracey, when I sees the racist, sexist, Eskimo-phobic, peckerwood motha fucka Zach Hudak, I am gonna be curb stompin’ his ass.”

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Friday, September 15, 2017

Pittsburgh White Supremacist Hardy Lloyd arrested in connection to incident detailed in Pittsburgh City Paper story

Posted By on Fri, Sep 15, 2017 at 6:25 PM

Video screenshot of Hardy Lloyd giving a Nazi salute at an August protest in Mount Lebanon
  • Video screenshot of Hardy Lloyd giving a Nazi salute at an August protest in Mount Lebanon
On Sept. 15, U.S. Marshals picked up Hardy Lloyd, a Pittsburgh man with multiple connections to white supremacy groups, and arrested him for allegedly obtaining illegal weapons, lying to his probation officer about yelling "white power" in front of protest at the office of U.S. Rep. Tim Murphy (R-Upper St. Clair) and for lying about posting anti-Semitic fliers on cars in Squirrel Hill and Shadyside. He is expected to be returned to federal prison for violating his probation, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Pittsburgh City Paper
first reported about some of Lloyd's recent actions in August. Lloyd, who has a history of violence and membership in white supremacist organizations, resurfaced just two days after the neo-Nazi and white supremacist events in Charlottesville, Va. One Mount Lebanon resident who asked not to be named attended the Mount Lebanon protest and told CP in August that Lloyd was wearing a camouflage hat with a double lightning-bolt symbol. This symbol is sometimes referred to as “SS bolts” and is derived from the Schutzstaffel (SS) of Nazi Germany, according to the Anti-Defamation League’s website. The ADL says SS bolts are a common symbol in white-supremacist/neo-Nazi circles.

The resident said Lloyd gave a Nazi salute yelled "white power" and walked through the crowd quickly. The resident called Lloyd's actions "disturbing."

In July, he was released from prison after serving time for online harassment, threatening police officers and contacting another white supremacist. As a condition of Lloyd's parole, he was not allowed to have contact or post content on the internet in ties to terroristic organizations like white supremacists.

Lloyd took to the Internet to comment about the story and single out those who spoke to CP. For example, Lloyd called several sources connected to the story race traitors and in response to a source who said the situation in Mt. Lebanon with Lloyd "scares you." To that Lloyd wrote: "If that scares you you'll have a heart attack with my plans for the muds and jews [sic]."

Screen shot of Lloyd's response to Pittsburgh City Paper's original story - IMAGE COURTESY OF CREATIVITYALLIANCE.COM
  • Image courtesy of creativityalliance.com
  • Screen shot of Lloyd's response to Pittsburgh City Paper's original story

According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, U.S. Marshals "found weapons [Lloyd] isn't allowed to have, including a hatchet, a switchblade, a modified baseball bat and a martial arts 'fighting stick' he ordered online."

According to the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), Lloyd was the former Pennsylvania head of the World Church of the Creator, an organization that believes “race, not religion, is the embodiment of absolute truth and that the white race is the highest expression of culture and civilization.” The SPLC also reports that in 2002 Lloyd began “referring to himself as ‘the doctor of all hate’ and promoting himself as the leader of the so-called ‘Order of National Socialism,’ whose motto was ‘Wake up and Kill Someone.’” In 2003, Lloyd was involuntarily committed to a psychiatric facility and kicked out of the World Church of the Creator.

For decades Lloyd had run-ins with the law and was in and out of jail, mostly for illegally owning firearms. In 2004, Lloyd was acquitted of a murder charge, even though he admitted to shooting and killing Lori Hann, a woman he met through online dating. The jury in that case “apparently believed that Lloyd reasonably assumed that Hann was armed,” according to SPLC. The SPLC also notes four years after the shooting, Lloyd posted a video online apparently taunting the Hann family by rapping a song titled “Bitch Killer” with the lyrics, “Bitch killer, better her than me, bitch killer, fuck Hann's family, bitch killer, I know Lori's family's grievin', bitch killer, but tonight I got even.”

Lloyd was ordered to remain in custody by U.S. Magistrate Judge Cynthia Reed Eddy. Lloyd's preliminary hearing is Sept. 19.

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Saturday, August 19, 2017

Hundreds participate in ‘Black Brilliance’ march in Pittsburgh to repudiate the so-called ‘alt-right’ and neo-Nazis

Posted By on Sat, Aug 19, 2017 at 5:43 PM

  • Photos by John Colombo
In response to the news that groups associated with white supremacists and other so-called "alt-right” causes were planning to protest at the Google offices in Larimer, local counter-protesters knew they needed to respond strongly. The far-right-wing groups called off their protest of Google, but counter protesters continued with their march anyway.

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Friday, August 18, 2017

Pittsburgh area white supremacist apparently resurfaces in Mount Lebanon in wake of Charlottesville

Posted By on Fri, Aug 18, 2017 at 5:51 PM

Pittsburgh-area resident Hardy Lloyd has more than a decade of involvement with white-supremacist organizations and a history of violence. In the past, he has posted online an admiration for Adolf Hitler. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, he bragged online about killing a woman, after a jury acquitted him of said murder.

And Lloyd seems to be back in Pittsburgh’s public sphere, apparently prompted by last week’s violence in Charlottesville, Va. On Aug. 14, just two days after the tragic events that unfolded in Charlottesville, a man who appears to be Lloyd was spotted and videotaped walking through the crowd of protesters that meets weekly in front of U.S. Rep. Tim Murphy’s (R-Upper St. Clair) office in Mount Lebanon. A participant in the protest, Mike Weis, sent the video to the Pittsburgh City Paper.

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