Have you heard of Arizona Rep. Walt Blackman?
I hadn’t before just now, but I predict you may start to hear a lot more about him.
He’s a Republican and in fact the first black Republican elected to the Arizona Legislature.
And he caused quite a stir this week when he posted a video saying “I DO NOT support George Floyd and I refuse to see him as a martyr.”
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You can watch it here:
According to Wikipedia, Blackman is from Snowflake, AZ (you can't make this stuff up folks):
Blackman was born on an Army base in Portugal, and his home city is Snowflake, Arizona, which his wife Kristi's family founded. He has a Bachelor's degree in Educational Leadership and Administration from Almeda University, which he attended from 2009-12, and an advanced certification in Program Management from Georgetown University.
Blackman served in the United States Army for 21 years as a front line tank commander, and a sexual harassment and assault prevention Senior Program Manager specialist. He earned a Bronze Star for combat action in Iraq, and a Meritorious Service Medal. From 2016-18, he was the founder, President, and Chief Executive Officer of WB Inclusion and Diversity Consulting Firm, LLC.
Blackman was elected in 2018 to succeed term-limited Arizona State Representative Brenda Barton as a Republican member of the Arizona House of Representatives representing District 6. He is the first black Republican elected to the Arizona Legislature. He supports criminal justice reform. He is Chair of the Ad Hoc Committee on Earned Release Credits for Prisoners, Vice Chair of the Judiciary Committee, Vice Chair of the State and International Affairs Committee, and a Member of the Education Commission of the States, Government Committee, and Regulatory Affairs Committee. He is a Constitutionalist Conservative.
Commenting on the George Floyd killing, Blackman said on Facebook: "I DO NOT support George Floyd and I refuse to see him as a martyr. But I hope his family receives justice.”
Who even knew there was a town of Snowflake, AZ?
But what really has the Left up in arms is what he said next.
He said that he considers Black Lives Matter to be a terrorist organization similar to ANTIFA.
Take a look:
From the AZ Capitol Times:
The only African American Republican in the Arizona Legislature told a conservative radio host that the Black Lives Matter movement is a terrorist organization.
“This is my thought on Black Lives Matter – first of all, it’s a terrorist organization because it’s been deemed, or it’s been identified by the FBI already,” Rep. Walter Blackman told the local Fox News Radio affiliate KFYI on June 3.
The Snowflake Republican wasn’t through there. He also compared Black Lives Matter to Antifa – short for anti-fascists. Antifa is an umbrella term for far-left-leaning militant groups that resist neo-Nazis and white supremacists at demonstrations. President Donald Trump, U.S. Attorney General William Barr and others have tried to blame some of the civil unrest in recent weeks on left-wing extremist groups, including antifa, and other “anarchists.”
Blackman chided Superintendent of Public Instruction Kathy Hoffman for supporting Black Lives Matter and compared her support to a governor who supports the Ku Klux Klan.
Blackman said the protests over George Floyd’s death at the hands of police in Minnesota have been “hijacked by liberal left extremists.” The radio segment was only seven minutes long, shorter than the amount of time a police officer’s knee was on Floyd’s neck.
Tiera Rainey, a member of Black Lives Matter in Tucson, said she thinks Blackman’s comments will distract people from the larger conversation.
“Rather than listening to what is a pretty diverse cadre of voices, it’s singling out a very particular movement in a way to disrupt our voice,” Rainey said.
Even though Blackman happens to be black, Rainey said it’s important to understand that all black people are not of one mind.
“Representative Blackman is completely entitled to his perspective as a black person as is the Black Lives Matter movement,” she said.
Blackman did not return a request for comment.
Protests have been ongoing in Phoenix and throughout the country for one week now.
Rainey said the movement is about more than acts of police brutality against the black community, but how the vast majority of people in general have not received COVID-19 aid and can’t pay rent, among other things.
“This is really a moment about the disproportionate number of people that are being oppressed and not supported with the things that they need to thrive,” Rainey said.
Blackman also told James T. Harris, the host of the “Conservative Circus,” that if black lives really did matter there wouldn’t have been “19 million black babies aborted since Roe v. Wade.”
That’s a position he has held for a while, even penning an op-ed for Arizona Capitol Times in February.
The representative became the first black Republican elected to the Legislature in 2018 and has already had pundits try to draft him for a congressional run, but likely not until 2022 after the next round of redistricting.
The reason why Hoffman’s name came up in the first place is because on June 1, she put out a statement that she stands in solidarity with the protesters.
“These demonstrations are a direct result of continued injustices that threaten and silence the livelihoods of people who are Black, Indigenous, and People of Color in our communities,” Hoffman wrote.
Hoffman finished her statement by reflecting on the most recent victims of police violence, listing Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Dion Johnson, who died in Arizona after an alleged struggle with an officer on Memorial Day.
“Their loss is felt foremost by their families and loved ones – and their presence in our communities cannot be replaced,” she wrote signing off with “#BlackLivesMatter.”
Blackman said her political agenda is left leaning and she “supports a terrorist organization.”
“Now that would be just like a governor writing, supporting and endorsing the KKK or an extremist white group,” he said.
He said it’s inappropriate for any public official to support that type of group on the department’s official letterhead.
“It’s bad that we have a public official… that’s endorsing a group that actively is engaged and committing harm against those very communities that she says have (endured) any injustices and threats, according to her letter,” Blackman said.
Hoffman said she does “recognize and respect” Blackman’s perspective on these issues, and her door will be open if he wants to discuss it with her.
“As a public servant elected to serve all Arizonans, I am committed to continuing to work toward building understanding, empathy, and policy solutions grounded in equity and inclusion,” she said.
Blackman also recorded a subsequent Facebook Live video attacking George Floyd’s character and highlighting his criminal background.
He broke up his attacks on Floyd saying he did not deserve to die the way he did.
Blackman’s main point was that Floyd was not a martyr and he should not be portrayed as a hero because he had previous criminal behavior and an autopsy showed that there were drugs in his system at the time of his death.
“I am bringing the other side of the story [to light],” Blackman said in his 47-minute video. The video was titled “I DO NOT support George Floyd and I refuse to see him as a martyr. But I hope his family receives justice.”
Rainey said Blackman was parroting a popular Black Conservative voice, Candace Owens, who made similar comments about Floyd.
And the Phoenix New Times:
Arizona Representative Walt Blackman wants you to know that George Floyd was a criminal, not really a good person, and definitely "not a hero."
Not that he thinks Floyd deserved to be killed by a police officer, mind you. The Republican lawmaker from Snowflake — who, like Floyd, is black — points that out every few minutes in a lengthy video he posted to Facebook and Twitter today.
But the main theme of the video is that Floyd has a criminal background and "the left" should not put him on a pedestal.
Floyd died on May 25 when a Minneapolis cop arresting him on suspicion of passing a fake $20 bill snuffed out his life by kneeling on his neck for eight minutes. Video of Floyd's gruesome death inflamed people from coast to coast, pushing Americans into the streets for massive protests and resulting in a government crackdown that included nightly curfews. The now-fired officer, Derek Chauvin, has been charged with second-degree murder, and three other police who stood by as Floyd died have been charged with crimes.
"I DO NOT support George Floyd and I refuse to see him as a martyr," Blackman posted on his Twitter site on June 4 when he shared his video. "But I hope his family receives justice."
In the 47-minute video, Blackman is seen obtaining information from a viral video that right-wing activist Candace Owens published on Wednesday with essentially the same theme. Blackman rips the idea of putting Floyd's face on a T-shirt or portraying him as an "upstanding man."
"This individual is not cotton candy," he says. Floyd had been sent to prison five times, and once held a gun to the stomach of a pregnant woman while committing a home invasion with accomplices, Blackman says.
He admits "some people are going to be pissed off at me" for his comments, but "we shouldn't stand for this ... he is not a hero. He had a criminal background, he had criminal intent."
But that's not all.
He then wrote an Op-Ed with our friends over at the Western Journal saying "I'm black and there's no way I'm voting for Joe Biden."
See it here:
Here is the Op-Ed from our friends at the Western Journal:
“If you have a problem figuring out if you’re for me or Trump, then you ain’t black.”
The plain racism radiating from Joe Biden’s comment was as disgusting as it was shocking.
Not only is Biden’s use of “ain’t” as a way to “relate” to the African-American community condescending, but it is also reprehensible that a 77-year-old white man from Delaware who has bragged about his friendships with known segregationists is now the litmus test for whether or not a person is black.
During this past legislative session here in Arizona, it was a moving moment for me when we opened the day’s floor session with a color guard provided by the 9th and 10th Cavalry Association, the organization that honors the legacy of the Buffalo Soldiers.
The Buffalo Soldiers were African-American soldiers who served in the U.S. Cavalry at the end of the nineteenth century.
Despite facing prejudice and numerous hardships, the Buffalo Soldiers in the post-Civil War 1800s had the most Congressional Medal of Honor winners and the lowest desertion rate.
As a 21-year veteran of the U.S. Army, it warms my heart when the memory of the Buffalo Soldiers is preserved.
As an African-American, it gives me hope that such a fine example is set before young black Americans.
That is just one of the reasons why it is such a slap in the face when a national figure such as Joe Biden, in the year 2020, can still use the “you ain’t black” pejorative for a person of color who disagrees with his political views.
So, Mr. Biden, I am an African-American, a veteran, a state elected official and a recipient of the Bronze Star and the Meritorious Service Medal who has no difficulty choosing between you and Donald Trump in this fall’s election.
I will vote for Trump because he has helped restore our military. I will vote for Trump because before the shutdowns put our economy on pause, African-American unemployment was at the lowest rate ever. I will vote for Trump because, despite big talk from previous presidents, he actually got federal criminal justice reform done, a cause I have championed at the state level.
Mr. Biden, you seem to believe that you can tell people of my skin color what to think.
But what has been exposed by your disgraceful remark is your true colors. It seems that you do not have much use for black people unless they bow down to your political agenda and support your electoral ambitions.
I truly hope that this is a tipping point in African-American support for you.
The true legacy of black Americans is a powerful legacy of freedom — freedom from the physical chains of slavery to freedom of opinion, belief and the right to stand and fight for our convictions regardless of what the Democratic elite dictate.
And on Nov. 5, I will wake up knowing that I have done what is right for my country, my family, my state and my community by having voted for Donald Trump for president.