By Aaron Miguel Cantú The Intercept
Far from breaking with Trump’s civil disorder prosecutions, Biden has doubled down with an expansive view of extremism.
WITH GAS MASKS covering their faces, police officers in Mobile, Alabama, stood guard at the entrance of a highway on-ramp as tear gas wafted in the air. Then, video shows, a woman wearing a red handkerchief around her neck ran up to a police SUV. She shouted something back to the crowd before swinging a red bat into the car’s passenger seat window, shattering it.
Mobile never saw the looting or property destruction that took place elsewhere in the weeks and months after Minneapolis police murdered George Floyd, but 21-year-old Tia Pugh’s single act amid otherwise nonconfrontational protests captivated the community — and the police, who tracked her via Facebook to her apartment. Two days after the protest, on June 2, 2020, they hauled her, handcuffed, in front of press cameras. Pugh, a Black woman who’d never been arrested before, was born in Mobile but grew up in Minnesota. “Genocide is happening, we’re being murdered in the streets,” Pugh said while she was being arrested, her voice muffled by a mask.
Local law enforcement officers weren’t the only ones interested in the case. The FBI interviewed Pugh the same day that Mobile police arrested her. After leaving her to wait in a cold room without a lawyer, two FBI agents and a police officer, none wearing masks, walked in and told her they just wanted to talk, according to video of the interview. They said they were not considering new charges on top of the two misdemeanors she was facing in municipal court, but statements she made during this interview were ultimately used to charge her under federal law and used by prosecutors as a confession.