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To serve and protect

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This has Bill Barr’s fingerprints all over it:

Law enforcement agents have seized hundreds of cloth masks that read “Stop killing Black people” and “Defund police” that a Black Lives Matter-affiliated organization sent to cities around the country to protect demonstrators against the spread of COVID-19, a disease that has had a disparate impact on Black communities.

The Movement for Black Lives (M4BL) spent tens of thousands of dollars on the masks they had planned to send all over the country. The first four boxes, each containing 500 masks, were mailed from Oakland, California, and were destined for Washington, St. Louis, New York City and Minneapolis, where on May 25 a white police officer killed George Floyd, a 46-year-old handcuffed Black man, setting off a wave of protests across the country.

But the items never left the state. The U.S. Postal Service tracking numbers for the packages indicate they were “Seized by Law Enforcement” and urge the mailer to “contact the U.S. Postal Inspection Service for further information.”

The U.S. Postal Inspection Service did not immediately respond to HuffPost’s request for comment.

It’s not entirely clear what law enforcement entity seized the masks or why. But the Justice Department, led by Attorney General William Barr, has taken an aggressive posture against demonstrations and on Thursday expressed concern about “extremist agitators” who are “hijacking the protests to pursue their own separate and violent agenda.”

Meanwhile, elderly man “trips and falls” according to police report:

Is this a trick question?

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo was also quick to condemn the incident, which he called “wholly unjustified and utterly disgraceful.” Hours earlier, Cuomo had flat out denied that police officers in New York City were guilty of using excessive force, calling it “incendiary rhetoric” to suggest otherwise, despite numerous videos capturing heavy-handed tactics.

Even as Cuomo condemned the Buffalo violence late Thursday, large groups of cops in the Bronx and Brooklyn were captured on video enforcing the curfew with force, using batons on protesters who had been demonstrating peacefully. 

The crackdown came after city leaders had spent much of the day defending the NYPD against accusations of excessive force. After a spate of videos went viral showing police officers apparently using brutal tactics against protesters earlier this week—in one instance driving into a crowd, in another striking protesters with batons even as they walked away—both Mayor Bill de Blasio and NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea on Thursday praised police officers for their “restraint” during the unrest. Shea pleaded for an end to violence against cops and vowed to “hold police officers accountable” for excessive force, saying some would “probably” face suspension. 

New York City police officers surrounded, shoved and yelled expletives at two Associated Press journalists covering protests Tuesday in the latest aggression against members of the media during a week of unrest around the country.

Portions of the incident were captured on video by videojournalist Robert Bumsted, who was working with photographer Maye-E Wong to document the protests in lower Manhattan over the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

The video shows more than a half-dozen officers confronting the journalists as they filmed and took photographs of police ordering protesters to leave the area near Fulton and Broadway shortly after an 8 p.m. curfew took effect.

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