Legal battle ends for journalist charged after covering Muskrat Falls protest

A Crown lawyer told a Newfoundland and Labrador provincial court judge Tuesday that evidence would not be called in Justin Brake's case.
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More than 15,000 tickets issued to drivers in Toronto from speeding cameras
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'The city is not burning': How Portland belies the image of anarchy that is central to Trump's campaign
PORTLAND, Ore. – Teddy Roosevelt had seen better days. The controversial U.S. president — or at least a bronze rendering of him on horseback — was being lowered sideways by crane onto a flatbed truck, looking for all the world like a giant toy soldier. The night before, protesters taking part in an “indigenous day of rage,” had yanked Roosevelt off the podium he’d stood atop since 1922, a symbolic blow against a president with a well-documented hatred for America’s first peoples. He wasn’t alone, as demonstrators also hauled down a statue of Abraham Lincoln — citing his own ill treatment of the indigenous — smashed windows at the Oregon Historical Society across the street and vandalized assorted other buildings. But as onlookers watched Roosevelt being carted away for repairs a week and a half ago, there was relatively little condemnation of the “direct action” the previous evening. Or of protests generally that have roiled the neighbourhood for months. “I live one block from here, downtown, and a little bit of inconvenience from noise and people expressing their rights doesn’t bother me at all,” said retired architect Jeff Scherer, 72. “For the last 115 days, every day we’ve walked down to where the protests are and have never felt threatened.” Donald Trump, of course, sees things differently. The statue attacks and other mayhem on Oct. 11 were just the kind of event the U.S. president has seized on to depict Democrat-led cities as permissive havens for “anarchists” and “terrorists.” And to make support for what he calls law and order a central plank of his struggling re-election campaign. 'Look at the bias': Trump releases own recording of abandoned 60 Minutes interview with Lesley Stahl Threatening emails appearing to be from pro-Trump Proud Boys to Democrats were sent by Iran: U.S. spy chief No place has felt Trump’s contempt more than Portland, where mostly peaceful protests against police mistreatment of Black people and other racial injustice have unfolded regularly for more than four months. The shooting of a far-right activist during a run-in with self-described anti-fascist Michael Reinoehl helped fuel the president’s narrative. But in the city itself — an attractive, low-rise community with an astonishing number of trendy coffee shops and craft breweries — the dystopian nightmare image doesn’t quite hold up. The mass protests that sometimes devolved into volleys of water bottles, rocks and fireworks from one side, and tear gas, “non-lethal munitions” and pepper spray from the other, have largely unfolded inside just a few downtown blocks. The area directly around the city’s federal and county courthouses does bear the marks of turmoil. Most windows remain boarded up, a homeless encampment lines a nearby park and Black Lives Matter graffiti is everywhere. And not all residents are fine with what’s happened. Kim Walker, 61, a self-described Trump supporter who believes police are usually justified when they kill Black people, said the protests, along with COVID-19, have decimated business at the restaurant she manages. “It’s had a huge impact,” she said. “Nobody wants to come downtown anymore.” Elsewhere, though, life carries on much as normal, with pandemic-related restrictions having a far greater impact on the city than the protests. There are signs of fatigue at the endless agitation, but they are muted. Which begs the question: Why has Portland, of all places, so thoroughly embraced this movement? The protests began with George Floyd’s death in May after a Minneapolis officer arresting the Black man knelt on his neck for nine minutes. Polls suggest the video-recorded incident helped spark a national awakening in the U.S. about racism. Yet as the epicenter of protest, Portland is a decidedly monochrome city , with white people making up 77 per cent of the population, and Blacks under six per cent — less than half their presence nationwide. White supremacist groups thrive outside urban areas. Ironically, says one expert, the city’s role in racial protests may stem partly from Oregon’s bigoted past, when laws actually barred Black people from entering the state. Those apartheid-like statutes remained on the books until 1925, and the lot of African-Americans didn’t improve much in later years. As recently as the 1970s, said Christopher Nichols, a history professor at Oregon State University, some Oregon towns had sundown laws, which subjected African-Americans to arrest when found in a municipality after dark. A Ku Klux Klan adherent was elected governor in the 1920s. Seemingly in reaction to that dark history, and with demonstrations of all sorts part of the city’s DNA, successive generations of Portlandians have spoken out against racism, he said. “There’s a core of people in Portland who really subscribe to that disobedience model of protest and have refined their techniques over many, many nights,” he added. “And I wouldn’t anticipate they’ll stop any time soon.” Despite sporadic outbreaks of violence and vandalism, the demonstrations have been generally peaceful. The scene had even begun to peter out in July, when Trump ordered federal agents into the city, ostensibly to protect U.S. government buildings. Their tactics triggered a backlash and an influx of additional demonstrators, leading to more dramatic clashes. Added to the mix were groups of armed far-right activists, such as Oregon’s Patriot Prayer and the Proud Boys, who sometimes sought confrontation with the left-leaning protesters. Some of the leftists also had guns. Still, there had been several days of relative quiet when the indigenouos-rage rally worked its way through downtown 10 days ago. Its aftermath brought subtle signs of tension. The African-American owner of a restaurant on the rally route complained that his business was shot at by the protesters — while empty — after he received a threatening phone call about his open support of police. The Portland Indian Leaders Roundtable criticized what it called “pointless acts of vandalism” that detracted from the serious underlying issues. Nichols is on the board of the Historical Society, which has worked in recent years to document racist aspects of the state’s past. “There’s no justifying that,” he said about the thousands of dollars in damage to its building. Meanwhile, tolerance for the ongoing demonstrations seems to not always extend to visible support for them. A few days after the statue incident, a weekly rally in the name of Patrick Kimmons , a Black man shot by police two years ago, wound through northeast Portland’s residential streets. One or two cars honked in solidarity and a Black family cheered from their front porch. But most people ignored the 50 or so largely white protesters as they marched down the middle of the road, unofficial marshals stopping traffic when needed. A leader of the group seemed to sense the lack of support, directing an explicitly worded chant at one point toward residents ensconced in their homes: “Wake up, mother f—ers, wake up.” Three days earlier at the downtown park where the statues met their demise, there was mostly support for the cause, but also confrontation. Four indigenous women posed jubilantly for photos on Lincoln’s empty podium. Eva Angus, one of the group, said the president may have fought a civil war to end slavery, but was a “horrible figure” who approved the infamous, mass execution in 1862 of 38 members of the Dakota tribe. “We’re very excited to see these gross people fall from their pedestals,” she said. Brandon Doblie, 22, a Trump flag draped over his shoulders like a cape, stood in counter-protest nearby, calling the statue assault “upsetting.” He conceded that just a couple of blocks away Portland goes about its business quite normally, but said the rest of the nation sees only chaos. “Actions like this are pushing people to the right,” argued Doblie. “It’s definitely played into the president’s hands … Groups like antifa have done an extreme disservice to the Democratic party.” As he watched Roosevelt’s removal, Todd Van Alst disagreed, predicting the president’s rhetoric about Portland would only invigorate his loyal base. The director of indigenous nations studies at Portland State University lives a few blocks away from the park — in protest-central, essentially — with his artist wife, Amy. They’ve had tear gas float up to the level of their apartment window, seen armed right-wing agitators stalking the neighborhood, and happily participated in demonstrations alongside neighbours and their children. The chief danger has been the response of officers, he contends, which is why they bought respirators, visors and helmets to shield against police actions. Otherwise, Van Alst says, it’s been life as usual. “The city functions,” he said. “I go shopping, I go walk the dog every day. The city is not on fire. The city is not burning down.”
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