Reason Roundup

Protests Against Police Brutality Continue To Be Met With Police Brutality

Plus: IMDb wins First Amendment case, Akon launches a new cryptocurrency, and more...


Protesters and press continue to face violent police outbursts at weekend protests. On Sunday, protests against police actions in California, Ohio, and elsewhere ended again in a barrage of rubber bullets and tear gas.

In Compton yesterday, police fired at people gathered outside a Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department station. The demonstrators were protesting the recent killing of 18-year-old Andres Guardado by sheriff's deputies.

"It's unclear what prompted the deputies to resort to violence, but protesters could be seen yelling at the deputies, who were at first standing behind metal barriers," reports local news station KTLA.

In Columbus, Ohio, police maced, pepper sprayed, and rammed their bikes into peaceful protesters gathering downtown near the statehouse Sunday.

"Increased enforcement today has been necessary to clear the right of way," tweeted Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther in explanation. This comes after Ginther and other city officials claimed just last week that they would stop with these antics:

Columbus police pepper-sprayed press covering the protests, including student journalists from Ohio State University.

Police also pepper-sprayed and tear-gassed protesters and press in Richmond, Virginia, yesterday.

The Associated Press reports that "rubber bullets and similar projectiles have damaged eyes or blinded at least 20 individuals from ages 16 to 59, according to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, since protests began over the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis."

Drawing on Customs and Border Protection data, The New York Times reported Friday "the Department of Homeland Security deployed helicopters, airplanes and drones over 15 cities where demonstrators gathered to protest the death of George Floyd, logging at least 270 hours of surveillance."


"Fighting age discrimination in employment doesn't trump free speech rights," writes Eugene Volokh of the recent Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals decision in v. Becerra. The federal appeals court ruled that California can't require the film-info database IMDb to remove information about actors' ages.

In its decision, the court wrote that it was "unpersuaded" by arguments from the state of California and the Screen Actors Guild that the law only covered contractual duties between IMDb and people who subscribe to its professional database. "The statute reaches far beyond the terms of any subscriber agreement. It applies not only to paid-for profiles—like those on IMDbPro—but also to entries on the publicly available, non-subscription site, regardless of agreement between IMDb and its subscribers," the court pointed out.

It continued: "We find nothing illegal about truthful, fact-based publication of an individual's age and birthdate when that information was lawfully obtained," even if a third party could use that content to do something illegal.

"The fear that people would make bad decisions if given truthful information cannot justify content-based burdens on speech," it concluded.


Akon reminds us of the radical power of cryptocurrency. After a failed attempt at currency exchange left a bad taste in Akon's mouth—he found in France that he couldn't convert CFA francs, used in Senegal and other West African countries, to anything—the singer decided to launch his own currency. "It really just opened my eyes," Akon told Bloomberg News. "That really catapulted the energy to say 'We have to have our own currency. I don't care what it takes—we're going to fix this.'"

His solution: the cryptocurrency Akoin, set to launch in July, which "will also be the local currency in Akon City, a 2,000-acre development in Senegal."

Though his career spans more than a decade, some of his earliest hits, with titles like "Locked Up" and "Lonely," saw a resurgence in recent months, becoming anthems for hordes of masses locked down in their homes amid the coronavirus pandemic. But recent events around the outbreak only acted to further sharpen his focus on the need for digital currencies, given that millions were hunkered down, unable to use cash and forced to shop online for necessities.

"It just goes to show the relevancy of why digital currency is such a futuristic event and how this is the future as we're moving forward," said the artist, whose full name is Aliaume Damala Badara Akon Thiam. "There are going to be digital currencies that will float through the whole universe that allow us to trade in a way that we're already accustomed to—but now it's going to be the norm."


• The World Health Organization (WHO) says this past Saturday marked the biggest single-day global increase in the number of COVID-19 cases being reported: 183,000. Countries with the most new cases tallied were Brazil (with 54,771 cases reported over the 24-hour period), the U.S. (36,617), and India (15,400).

• People won't talk to New York City's contact tracers.

• "Of course, social media is a sewer, and excepting the shareholders the world would not be much worse off if Facebook and Twitter disappeared tomorrow. But for many millions of people, these sewers are the primary means of political communication," writes Kevin Williamson.

• A court rebuffed the Trump administration's attempt to block the release of former National Security Advisor John Bolton's book.

• Random drug checks in Germany spark riots.