The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has given a top advisory position to an ex-felon who touted looting as a legitimate method of activism.
The tweets: Dyjuan Tatro, 35, now the DCCC’s senior adviser for strategic outreach, tweeted his support for looters last August amid a wave of national civil unrest following the death of George Floyd.
- “I don’t understand why you can’t CONDEMN VIOLENT POLICE & acknowledge LOOTING as a VITAL form of social PROTEST,” Tatro said, echoing some prominent Democrats who expressed sympathy for rioters and looters.
- In a since-deleted tweet thread, Tatro characterized law enforcement as “white supremacists” and criticized the Capitol police for their allegedly insufficient response to the Jan. 6 Capitol riot.
- Tatro, a former crack dealer and “triggerman” for a street gang in Albany, New York, rose to prominence after his appearance in the 2019 PBS documentary “College Behind Bars,” which chronicled his experience with a New York initiative to educate prisoners.
A controversial stance: In the book “In Defense of Looting,” writer and activist Vicky Osterweil argued that looting should be viewed not primarily as property crime but as a justifiable type of protest — an assertion that was popularized by left-wing commentators last summer.
- “One thing about looting is it freaks people out. But in terms of potential crimes that people can commit against the state, it’s basically nonviolent,” she recently told NPR’s Codeswitch. “You’re mass shoplifting. Most stores are insured; it’s just hurting insurance companies on some level. It’s just money. It’s just property. It’s not actually hurting any people.”
- Conservatives fiercely pushed back against Osterweil’s perspective, which was boosted by prominent journalists and, arguably, some Democrat politicians.