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Manhattan Protest of Missouri Police Abuse Closes 42nd Street, "Don't Shoot"

By Matthew Russell Lee

MANHATTAN, August 14, updated -- In the Manhattan version of National Moment of Silence for the killing of Michael Brown and police crackdown in Ferguson, Missouri, 42nd Street between 8th and 9th Avenue was cordoned off by NYPD and protesters told to leave or be arrested.

   Inner City Press was on the scene, repeatedly told to back away by the police, brandishing handcuffs. Protesters had hands raised, saying "Don't shoot." It being near Times Square, tourists on the way asked, "Where is St. Louis?" Where indeed.

Update: And hours later, though the protest was a block from the headquarters of the New York Times, nothing on its webpage or Twitter feed. The revolution will not be....

 At the UN on August 13 Inner City Press asked Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's spokesman Stephane Dujarric about the killing and crackdown. Video here.

  Dujarric began by saying that Ban and the UN have "no particular comment," then added that "as in all cases, the right to demonstrate peacefully needs to be respected, and investigations need to be conducted." Okay, then.

  On August 14, Inner City Press asked again:

Inner City Press: I wanted to ask you again about these incidents in Ferguson, Missouri.  And the reason being that they’ve become, even they’ve basically been covered by all international media now.  Journalists have been arrested.  Tear gas was used on camera on unarmed protesters.  So, I’m just wondering, beyond the general statements of yesterday, does anyone in the UN system intend to contact either local authorities — do you think…?

Spokesman:  At this point, I have nothing to add to what I said yesterday.  

   Well. There have been reports mentioned the financial institutions in the area, including nationwide lenders Bank of America, US Bank and Fifth Third.

  Inner City Press and Fair Finance Watch reviewed the demographics of mortgage lending by these three in the area in the most recent year for which data is publicly available, 2012.

   In the St. Louis Metropolitan Statistical Area in 2012, Bank of America denied the conventional home purchase mortgage applications of African Americans 1.81 times more frequently then those of whites.
  Fair Finance Watch has previously objected to US Bank's stealth branch closings, including in Chicago, here and here. The US Community Reinvestment Act requires banks to lend fairly in all of their communities, but is not sufficiently enforced, FFW has shown.

For US Bank, the disparities was 1.6 to 1; for Fifth Third Mortgage, that company's lender, it was a whopping 4.95 to 1: African American applicants were denied 4.95 times more frequently than whites, worse that the aggregate (all lenders).

  Troublingly, for all lenders Latinos were denied 3.1 times more frequently than than whites. So where is the US headed? And why has the UN had nothing to say so far? Watch this site.


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