G-20 Confrontation: U.S., China Have Tense Exchange On The Tarmac Ahead Of Summit

U.S. President Barack Obama disembarks from Air Force One upon his arrival at Hangzhou Xiaoshan International Airport in Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province of China. VCG via Getty Images hide caption

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A chaotic and tense scene unfolded just after Air Force One touched down in Hangzhou, China, where U.S. and global leaders are gathered to discuss the world economy, promote growth and curb carbon emissions.

Obama’s customary exit from the plane came not from the usual door high on the fuselage, but instead from a lower portal. It seems there were no higher stairs available to roll up to the usual door.

The incident seemed to be part of a tug-of-war between the country’s advance teams, which flared further over who would have the final say about where the U.S. press could be stationed during Obama’s movements within the country.

According to media pool reports, filed by correspondents traveling with the president, a confrontation between White House staff and a member of the Chinese delegation devolved into a shouting match over where reporters traveling with Obama could stand as he was exiting Air Force One.

As the pool report explains:

“Pool was brought under the wing of AF1 per usual but the scene was not per usual. There were no stairs to the top door to AF1, instead President Obama exited via the lower level stairs so pool could hardly see him, and only for a split second as he exited at 2:30 p.m. A member of the Chinese delegation was screaming at White House staff from the moment pool got onto the tarmac. He wanted the U.S. press to leave.”

The Chinese, according to report, had set up a blue rope line under the wing of the plane. A Chinese official demanded the pool, which apparently was already in position behind the rope, to actually leave the arrival scene entirely.

And that’s when an unnamed U.S. official stepped in.

“At one point a White House official told [the screaming Chinese official] this was our president and our plane and the press wasn’t moving. The [Chinese official] yelled, ‘this is our country.’

He yelled at another White House official and got testy with [U.S. United Nations Ambassador] Susan Rice and [Deputy National Security Adviser] Ben Rhodes, seeming to try to block them from walking closer to the arrival scene after they lifted the blue rope and walked to the other side of it, nearer to POTUS.”

Luckily, that kerfuffle ended without much incident and the president’s motorcade was moving within a few minutes.

Or perhaps, that was just the end of round one.

In a subsequent pool report, there were details of yet another verbal altercation, and a scene where two Chinese officials almost came to fisticuffs with one another. It took place at a security checkpoint at Westlake Statehouse, ahead of President Obama’s arrival.

The report says American advance teams including White House staff, protocol officers and Secret Service agents, attempting to enter separately from the traveling press, engaged in “heated arguments” with Chinese officials for about 15 minutes.

“U.S. officials could be heard arguing in Chinese with Chinese security officials over how many Americans could be allowed to go through security at a time. How many people the White House were allowed to be in building before the president’s arrival. Which U.S. officials were on which list in a folder with a thick pile of name lists.
“The president is arriving here in an hour,” one White House staffer was overheard saying in exasperation.

“As the disagreement escalated, a chinese official assisting the Americans grew angered by how guards were treating the white house staff and began yelling, nearly coming to blows with one of the chinese security officials.

“You don’t push people. No one gave you the right to touch or push anyone around,” he yelled in Chinese at one of the Chinese security officials. Another Chinese official trying to help U.S. officials stepped between the two who were arguing once the security official began approaching, looking like he was going to throw a punch.

“Calm down please. Calm down,” pleaded a White House official.
“Stop, please,” said a foreign ministry official in chinese. “There are reporters here.”

Despite the turbulence, Obama and his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, managed to announce that both nations will formally commit to the declarations of last year’s Paris climate agreement to reduce greenhouse gases.

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No Criminal Charges For White S.C Deputy Who Flipped Desk, Tossed Black Student

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There will be no criminal charges brought against a former South Carolina sheriff’s deputy at the center of a controversial classroom altercation that included the officer flipping a female student’s desk backwards and tossing her across the classroom.

According to a 12-page report issued Friday by Solicitor Dan Johnson, “There is not sufficient probable cause to warrant criminal charges.” Johnson added that while he did not think the officer’s conduct rose “to the level of criminal conduct, the manner in which he performed his duties on October 26, 2015 is of great concern to me.”

As you may recall from our reporting last October, the incident, involving Benjamin Fields who is white and at the time a school resource officer at Spring Valley High School in Columbia, S.C., was called into a classroom where a student, who is black, was said to be causing a disturbance.

Several students in the classroom at the time recorded the confrontation and posted the videos on social media, where they went viral and sparked widespread outrage.

Fields was fired a few days after the incident.

The solicitor’s report shed more light on how the events in the classroom unfolded on the morning of the incident.

During a morning Algebra I class, the unnamed student involved in the confrontation was told by her teacher to put away a cellphone and to log off her personal email during class. The student was then asked several times to leave the classroom. When she refused, then-officer Fields was summoned, according to the report.

Fields arrived to the classroom and asked the student to come with him. The report states Fields gave “several more verbal directives” before informing the student “she was under arrest for disturbing school and attempted to place her under arrest.” That according to the report, is when the altercation unfolded and portions of it were later uploaded to the Internet.

Johnson, the solicitor spoke with 15 witnesses, Fields, who provided a statement through his attorney, the student involved in the confrontation and the student’s guardian.

Some witnesses said that Fields used the appropriate amount of force to remove the student from the classroom. One, identified as “Witness Four” said they “did not think Fields threw the desk down, rather that it just fell over.”

Another, identified in the report as “Witness Five” said the officer grabbed the student’s jacket to try to get the student out of the desk. The report goes on to say the student attempted to push Fields back with her arm. That’s when, according to “Witness Five,” that “Fields grabbed the student and threw her across the floor.”

That same witness added, had the student left the Algebra class, “none of this would have ever happened.”

The full report is below:

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Jerry Heller, Music Mogul Who Worked With N.W.A, Dies At 75

Jerry Heller, seen here at a 2005 event in Hollywood, Calif., has died at age 75, according to multiple reports. Marsaili McGrath/Getty Images hide caption

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His career in the music business ranged from Elton John to Eazy-E: Jerry Heller, who co-founded Ruthless Records alongside rapper Eric Wright (better known as Eazy-E), has died, according to multiple media outlets and family members. In the recent film Straight Outta Compton, Heller was portrayed by Paul Giamatti.

Heller was 75; his death was widely reported Saturday and confirmed to both the AP and Billboard by his cousin, Gary Ballen. Music site DJ Booth says Heller’s nephew also announced his uncle’s death online. Billboard lists the cause of death as a heart attack; TMZ says Heller was driving when he suffered a “medical emergency” Friday.

A native of Shaker Heights in Cleveland, Ohio, Heller worked for years as an agent, promoter and manager, working with U.S. and British rock stars that ranged from Marvin Gaye to Pink Floyd. But his name is deeply linked to West Coast rap, and particularly to the rise and contentious breakup of N.W.A, the group that included Eazy-E and stars Dr. Dre and Ice Cube.

Here’s how Heller described N.W.A in his 2006 memoir, Ruthless:

“Dre played McCartney to Cube’s Lennon, with Eazy acting as George Harrison, Brian Epstein, Murray the K, and Ed Sullivan all rolled into one.”

Taking a shot at one of his chief rivals, Heller added, “which I guess makes a Yoko Ono out of a former college football linebacker… named Suge Knight. He had help, but he was the man who broke up the black Beatles, N.W.A.”

After the group broke up, Heller was demonized by former N.W.A members — particularly Ice Cube — who accused him of skimming money and working only on his own and Eazy-E’s behalf.

In 1987, Heller was in his mid-40s when he and Eric Wright, 22, who was then in the process of changing his life from that of a drug dealer to a musician — founded Ruthless Records. One year later, the label released N.W.A’s seminal album, Straight Outta Compton.

“To say we did well together is an understatement,” Heller wrote in his memoir. “I had become dollar-for-dollar the most successful record company executive of the entire rap era. To date, the original members of N.W.A have grossed somewhere in the neighborhood of $4.5 billion.”

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Taco Truck Owner Racks Up Sales At Trump Event In Detroit

Nancy Paz and Jose Badajoz stand in front of their taco truck, which they positioned near the church Donald Trump visited Saturday morning. Rick Pluta/Michigan Public Radio hide caption

toggle caption Rick Pluta/Michigan Public Radio

Donald Trump’s visit to an African American church in Detroit brought both cheers and protests Saturday — but one of the star attractions was a taco truck. One of the humble vehicles, which now straddle the worlds of political symbol and internet meme, was parked outside.

The Tacos El Caballo truck set up near Great Faith Ministries International to provide a counterpoint to critics of U.S. immigration policy, its owners told Michigan Public Radio’s Rick Pluta.

Nancy Paz, who immigrated from Mexico, tells Pluta that she parked her family’s taco truck near the church Trump visited on Detroit’s west side Saturday in the hope that the Republican presidential candidate might glimpse it on his way in.

“Because Donald say the Mexican people, they doesn’t work,” Paz told Pluta. “We come here to say, yes, we work hard, for the family.”

The truck did brisk business this morning — so much so that a form of surge pricing kicked in, raising the price for a steak, pork, or chicken taco from $1.50 to $2.50, Pluta reports.

Inside the church, Trump delivered a short speech that mentioned discrimination and the marginalization of young black men; he also stressed the importance of family, speaking to a packed house that normally holds around 2,000 people.

While his arrival had been met with protesters holding “Dump Trump” signs, Trump was cheered and applauded several times — particularly when he announced he would quote the Bible’s 1 John, chapter 4. After reading a verse aloud that reflects on the goal of loving each another, he pronounced, “That’s so true.”

“As his remarks ended, church leaders then placed a Jewish prayer shawl upon Trump’s shoulders,” the Detroit Free Press reports.

Separately, Trump also spoke to Bishop Wayne T. Jackson, pastor of Great Faith Ministries, for an interview on Jackson’s Impact television network.

The hashtag #TacoTrucksOnEveryCorner became wildly popular after Marco Gutierrez, who was born in Mexico and co-founded Latinos for Trump, said about immigration rates on MSNBC, “If you don’t do something about it, you’re going to have taco trucks [on] every corner.”

That audacious statement set off discussions on Twitter and elsewhere about a vision of the future that seems like a dream to some, and is [purportedly] a nightmare to others.

As Gustavo Arellano, author of Taco USA, told NPR’s Adrian Florido:

“We’re now of a generation where almost everyone has grown up eating Mexican food of some sort or other, whether it’s breakfast tacos, breakfast burritos, or big huge combo platters. So to try to say that more Mexicans means more Mexican food, if anything, that’s the one thing all Americans like. You may not like the Mexican, but you sure love Mexican food.”

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