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State Representative Lynn Afendoulis is crafting legislation that would classify rioting as Social and Domestic Terrorism

June 18, 2020

On Tuesday, WZZM 13 ran a story about the recent riot in Grand Rapids, which focused on the property damage done, but failed to mention anything about the police murder of George Floyd or Black Lives Matter.

As we noted in a previous post, where local news media as changed the narrative around the recent and ongoing uprising against police violence against the black community, this most recent WZZM 13 story continues to value property over people. 

Rep. Lynn Afendoulis wants to push for harsher legal penalties for those involved in “rioting”, although the 73rd State House Representative did not clarify what she means by rioting. Afendoulis said, We want prosecutors to be able to charge them as terrorists. As social terrorists. Because that’s what they are doing. They are terrorizing the social fabric of our communities.’’

This is the type of response we have come to know from Rep. Afendoulis, who announced last year that she was also running for the 3rd Congressional District. In announcing her candidacy for Congress, Afendoulis toured the US/Mexican border and made the statement that the US Congress and Justin Amash were not doing enough to support ICE. 

It’s interesting that Rep. Afendoulis wants harsher legal penalties for people who break windows, yet doesn’t see how ICE agents destroy immigrant families, by arresting parents, throwing them in detention and then getting them deported. Apparently property destruction is an act of terrorism, but ICE repression that targets immigrants is just a form of law enforcement.

Of course, it is important to note that Rep. Lynn Afendoulis has been financially backed by numerous members of the Grand Rapids Power Structure, specifically Peter Secchia, the DeVos family, Mark Murray, the Haworth family and John Kennedy. 

Supporting Rep. Afendoulis’ quest to craft legislation to further punish those who riot, is Kent County Commissioner Tom Antor. In the WZZM 13 story, Antor said, “I don’t think the penalty is strong enough for people that come in and riot.” In fact, Antor wants to go after people’s assets and make them pay for any property damages.

Besides supporting Rep. Afendoulis on classifying rioters as Social and Domestic Terrorists, Commissioner Antor also shares Rep. Afendoulis’s admiration for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). During Movimiento Cosecha GR’s campaign to end Kent County’s contract with ICE, Commissioner Antor was consistently in support of ICE and demonstrated nothing but contempt of the immigrant activists who wanted the County to end their contract with ICE. In fact, after one of the many anti-ICE actions, Antor used the same lies about undocumented immigrants that the Trump administration has used over the past four years, as we noted in an August 2018 story we wrote

It is unfortunate that WZZM 13 provides both Rep. Afendoulis and Commissioner Antor a platform to seek harsher treatment of those who riot, yet do not hold them accountable for supporting state violence that is committed by ICE. However, this is what we have come to expect from the local news media, which has internalized the values of those in power.

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