Politics Trump stirs controversy with new Judaism definition
Trump signed an executive order, which bypasses Congress, that essentially redefines Judaism as both a nationality as well as a religion.
The seemingly academic change will have the important legal effect of allowing the government to clamp down on a boycott movement spreading on university campuses against Israel over its treatment of Palestinians.
Trump said the order was to „combat anti-Semitism” and „applies to institutions that traffic in anti-Semitic hate.”
Specifically the order is aimed at quashing the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, which has growing support on campuses, by forcing universities to block the movement or face a cut in government funds.
„Our message to universities,” Trump said, is „if you want to accept the tremendous amount of federal dollars you get every year, you must reject anti-Semitism.”
Activists say the BDS movement is a grassroots effort to punish Israel for its occupation of Palestinian lands. The Israeli government says it is based on anti-Semitism.
Trump’s executive order tweaks existing civil rights legislation so that the government can intervene in BDS cases, because Judaism will now be classified not only as a national entity.
„President Trump’s order makes it clear that Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 applies to anti-Semitic discrimination based on race, color, or national origin,” the White House said in a statement.
„This action further demonstrates the unwavering commitment of President Trump and his Administration to combating all forms of anti-Semitism.”
Critics say that Trump is pandering to the Israeli government while ignoring the right to protest.
„This executive order… appears designed less to combat anti-Semitism than to have a chilling effect on free speech and to crack down on campus critics of Israel,” Jeremy Ben-Ami, the president of the left-leaning pro-Israel lobbying group J Street, said.
„We feel it is misguided and harmful for the White House to unilaterally declare a broad range of nonviolent campus criticism of Israel to be anti-Semitic,” he said.
Trump executive order on anti-Semitism stirs confusion by Caitlin Dickson Reporter•Trump executive order on anti-Semitism stirs confusion and controversy President Trump signed an executive order Wednesday giving the Department of Education broader authority to crack down on what he sees as anti-Semitic discrimination on college campuses. The executive order applies new protections for Jewish students under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination based on race, color or national origin in any programs or activities that receive federal funding. While Title VI does not include religious discrimination, the order signed by Trump Wednesday states, “It shall be the policy of the executive branch to enforce Title VI against prohibited forms of discrimination rooted in anti-Semitism as vigorously as against all other forms of discrimination prohibited by Title VI.”President Trump walks onstage to speak at the Israeli American Council National Summit in Hollywood, Fla., on Dec. 7. (Photo: Patrick Semansky/AP)“My Administration is committed to combating the rise of anti-Semitism and anti-Semitic incidents in the United States and around the world,” the order states. “Anti-Semitic incidents have increased since 2013, and students, in particular, continue to face anti Semitic harassment in schools and on university and college campuses.”However, initial reports of Trump’s plans to expand protections against anti-Semitism on campus prompted fear and confusion among many American Jews. Of particular concern was a report Tuesday by the New York Times that said the forthcoming executive order would “effectively interpret Judaism as a race or nationality, not just a religion.”Jews protest anti-Semitism and the upcoming National Students for Justice in Palestine conference at UCLA in 2018. (Photo: Ronen Tivony/NurPhoto via Getty Images)The idea that the president intended to redefine the federal government’s interpretation of Judaism as a nationality immediately evoked comparisons to Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union, and prompted warnings that such an order could set a dangerous precedent allowing for American Jews to be accused of dual loyalty or even deported.
Defining Judaism a nationality creates a pretext to accuse Jewish Americans of dual loyalties. https://twitter.com/nytpolitics/status/1204533600537972736 …
President Trump will sign an executive order defining Judaism as a nationality, not just a religion, thus bolstering the Education Department’s efforts to stamp out „Boycott Israel” movements on college campuses https://nyti.ms/2P97cuv
12.5K people are talking about thisRichard Spencer, a prominent white nationalist and leader of the so-called alt-right, who does not consider Jews to be white or European, also responded to the Times article. “This one might have a few unintended consequences,” Spencer tweeted.
The Anti-Defamation League (ADL), however, issued a statement praising the executive order as “an important step acknowledging the growing concern about anti-Semitism on American college campuses.” On Twitter, ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt sought to quell concerns about the order’s potential implications, assuring followers that he’d seen the draft order that Trump planned to sign and that it “protects Jews and other religious minorities from discrimination under Title VI, but does NOT break new ground on identifying Jews as a protected class.”
Jared Kushner, the president’s Jewish son-in-law and adviser, further attempted to address that panic with an op-ed in the New York Times praising his father-in-law’s new policy.
“The executive order does not define Jews as a nationality,” Kushner writes. “It merely says that to the extent that Jews are discriminated against for ethnic, racial or national characteristics, they are entitled to protection by the anti-discrimination law.”
The text of the order does not explicitly redefine Judaism as a nationality. However, it states that under new policy, discrimination against Jews may qualify as a violation under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which does not prohibit discrimination on the basis of religion, but race, color or national origin.
In an email to Yahoo News, New York Times editor Jonathan Weisman, who edited the original article on the executive order, defended the paper’s reporting.
“We were briefed on the content of the executive order but were not shown the actual language,” Weisman explained, writing, “The text now circulating comports with our understanding of the order and confirms the accuracy of our story.”
“The EO effectively does bring Judaism under the umbrella of race and national origin for the purpose of civil rights law enforcement,” Weisman wrote. “What would ‘national origin’ refer to if not to a collective geographical identity?”
Weisman also noted that the Times on Wednesday published another article revealing that well before Trump signed the executive order, the head of the Office for Civil Rights at the Department of Education had already begun opening “national origin” investigations into possible discrimination against Jewish students by multiple universities.
While the ADL defended the president’s action, some other Jewish advocacy groups criticized the order as an attempt to stifle criticism of Israel while promoting anti-Semitic stereotypes. Rabbi Alissa Wise, acting co-executive director of Jewish Voice for Peace, said in a statement: “Three days ago, Trump said Jews would vote for him because they like money. And yet now he suddenly pretends to care about Jewish safety? He has never cared about stopping antisemitism — this Executive Order is about silencing Palestinians and the people who speak up with them.”
Trump, who has positioned himself as an unwavering ally to Israel since he first took office, has recently been accused of wading into more explicitly anti-Semitic waters with his efforts to win the support of Jewish voters.
In August, for example, Trump declared that any Jewish person who votes Democratic “shows either a total lack of knowledge or great disloyalty,” a comment decried by critics as promoting the anti-Semitic stereotype that Jews are guilty of dual loyalty.
Apparently unfazed by the outrage, Trump seemed to double down on that controversial characterization during a speech to the Israeli American Council in Florida over the weekend.
“You have people — Jewish people — and they are great people and they don’t love Israel enough,” Trump said, while touting his administration’s pro-Israel accomplishments and declaring, “The Jewish state has never had a better friend in the White House than your president, Donald J. Trump.”
Belfium EU Green Deal
To get everyone on board with her plan to combat global warming, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen wants to put up 100 billion euros ($130 billion) to help EU nations that still heavily rely on fossil fuels transition to lower emissions.
Von der Leyen, who took office this month at the helm of the European Union’s powerful executive arm, has made the fight against climate change the top priority of her five-year mandate. The first woman ever to lead the commission, she has pledged to make the EU the world’s first carbon-neutral continent by 2050 as part of the “European Green Deal” she presented Wednesday.
The commission hopes the fund will help EU nations that stand to be hit the hardest financially by the transition to cleaner industries. Among them, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Poland, which rely heavily on coal-fired power plants, have yet to commit to the EU’s goal of having net zero emissions of CO2 by 2050.
“The cost of the transition will be big, but the cost of non-action will be much bigger,” von der Leyen said, comparing her Green Deal to a “man on the moon moment.”
The net-zero emissions goal will be discussed Thursday during a meeting of EU heads of state and government in Brussels.
The new climate help fund, whose full details should be unveiled in January, might help convince leaders from those three countries to join that goal.
“I want us to agree on the commitment for the EU to become climate-neutral by 2050,” said Charles Michel, president of the EU Council, in a letter to EU leaders. “This would be a major signal from the European Council that the EU will take a global leadership role on this crucial issue.”
He said the transition to a lower-emissions economy will create opportunities for economic growth, but that the EU needs to recognize that the shift could be more disruptive for certain countries.
The plan will depend on various sources of funding, including private sector loans from the European Investment Bank, added to cash from the bloc’s long-term budget — which has yet to be approved.
Von der Leyen, who will present in March a European Climate Law, wants the 28-country bloc to reduce carbon emission by at least 50% by 2030 compared with 1990 levels, more than the current goal of 40%. If possible, she would like to increase the EU’s target for 2030 has high as 55% in a way that would not hurt the bloc’s economy.
According to the EU, between 1990 and 2018, greenhouse gas emissions in the bloc have already decreased by 23%, while the economy grew by 61%.
In total, Von der Leyen has pledged 1 trillion euros of investment over the next decade as part of her programme.
World leaders agreed four years ago in Paris to keep global warming below 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 Fahrenheit), ideally no more than 1.5 C (2.7 F) by the end of the century. Scientists say countries will miss both of those goals by a wide margin unless drastic steps are taken to begin cutting greenhouse gas emissions next year.
“All eyes are now upon the European Union and the EU Council meeting,” said Alden Meyer of the Union of Concerned Scientists. “We expect the EU’s national leaders will signal their intention to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050, at the latest. ”
But climate policy experts urged the EU not to delay its decision on tougher emissions targets for 2030 until next October.
„Let us be clear, it’s essential for the EU to make such an announcement no later than the end of the first quarter of 2020,” said Meyer, who has observed climate negotiations for almost 30 years.
He explained that the joint statement reached between then-President Barack Obama and China in 2014 paved the way for the successful Paris climate agreement in 2015. With the EU and China set to hold a summit in September, Meyers says that Beijing needs time to ratchet up its own climate plans before that.
„The EU has to go first (on climate), because it has the responsibility and the capability,” said Meyer. „I think it will be difficult for China, India or others to enter into a discussion if the EU hasn’t put down this marker first. That’s why waiting till October is too late.”
Von der Leyen’s plan, which also intends to promote biodiversity, building renovation and sustainable mobility across the bloc, also recognizes the need to make respecting the Paris climate accord an essential condition of all future trade agreements concluded by the EU and international partners.
The new Commission also wants to reduce the use of pesticides, fertilizers and antibiotics in agriculture, and to introduce a “border carbon adjustment” aimed at inciting foreign greenhouse-gas emitters to become more environmentally friendly. It also wants to extend the emissions trading system to cover the maritime sector and to reduce the free carbon allowances allocated to airlines.
As ambitious as von der Leyen thinks her plan is, the environmental network Friends of the Earth Europe was less enthusiastic.
“President von der Leyen is still clinging to old consumption- and growth-obsessed economics,” said the group’s director, Jagoda Munic, claiming that the plan still backs using gas, a fossil fuel, and still supports over consumption.
„We will be watching closely to see that every single decision the Commission now takes puts environment, climate and justice first,” Munic said.
Martin Kaiser, the managing director of Greenpeace Germany, said the Green Deal started a comprehensive process linking finance, economy and environment, „but it is too little too late, it’s up to the Council tomorrow to start with courage decisions on the carbon neutrality by 2040 and give it a clear direction for the Commission.” ___
Follow AP’s climate coverage at https://www.apnews.com/Climate
Frank Jordans contributed to this report.
Key point: Buratino is a unique Russian self-propelled multiple rocket launcher system (MRLS) that has seen action in global hotspots like Afghanistan, Chechnya, Iraq and Syria.
The TOS-1 Buratino is a unique Russian self-propelled multiple rocket launcher system (MRLS) that has seen action in global hotspots like Afghanistan, Chechnya, Iraq and Syria. Like the enormous 240-millimeter 2S4 self-propelled mortar, the TOS-1’s specialty is obliterating heavily fortified positions. Although some of these may be found in rural rebel strongholds and fortified caves, they have often been employed in heavily urbanized environments. It’s gained a uniquely nasty reputation because of the horrifying effects of its fuel-air explosive warheads.
To put it concisely, these are amongst the most devastating explosive weapons short of tactical nuclear weapons.
TOS stands for “heavy flame thrower,” which is only accurate in a literal sense: instead of projecting a stream of jellied gasoline, the TOS-1 launches a rocket carrying a fuel-air explosive (FAE).
These were first employed by the United States in the Vietnam War because napalm wasn’t destructive enough. Napalm munitions disperse a sticky, flaming liquid over a wide area. By contrast, a fuel-air explosive detonates the very air itself: a small explosive inside the FAE munition spreads a chemical cloud in the air through an aerosol effect. The gaseous cloud seeps effortlessly into buildings and caves, and down into slit trenches. A secondary explosive then ignites the cloud, causing a massive and long-lasting explosion.
While the heat generated by FAEs causes lethal burns in a wide radius (roughly two hundred by three hundred meters) the overpressure created by the sudden combustion of the air is even deadlier. The fiery blasts create a partial oxygen vacuum that kills and maims in a variety of grotesque ways and cannot be mitigated with body armor or hard cover.
The pressure generated by a TOS-1 blast amounts to 427 pounds per square-inch—for comparison, most conventional bomb blasts create roughly half that amount, and regular air pressure is fourteen pounds per square inch. Victims near the center of a TOS-1 blast radius are crushed to death. Further out, the overpressure can break bones, dislocate eyes, cause internal hemorrhaging, and rupture eardrums, bowels and other internal organs. It also sucks the air out of victims’ lungs, possibly causing them to collapse, leading to death by suffocation.
The United States was the first to use fuel-air explosives in the Vietnam War, dropping them by air to clear helicopter landing zones and minefields, and later deploying them as offensive weapons. In 2002, attempting to hunt down Osama bin Laden in the rugged mountains of Tora Bora, U.S. aircraft deployed thermobaric warheads on precision-guided missiles. The warheads would suck the oxygen out of the caves that Taliban fighters were hiding in.
The Soviet Union adopted the weapons shortly after the United States did, using them in a border skirmish against the Chinese in 1969, and employing both air-dropped and ground-launched FAEs on a large scale in the war in Chechnya. The proliferation of TOS-1 systems through global conflict zones (detailed below) ensures they will continue to see use in combat.
Most of Russia’s artillery weapons use a light armored vehicle chassis like that of the MTLB armored carrier. The forty-six-ton TOS-1, on the other hand, uses the much heavier hull of a T-72 tank. There’s a good reason: the original TOS-1 model only had a range of around three kilometers, meaning it would have to withstand hostile fire from all kinds of enemy weapon systems.
The TOS-1 mounts a launch unit with thirty 230-millimeter diameter rocket tubes. The prominence of the launch unit is what earned it the name Buratino, a long-nosed Pinocchio-like character in a children’s story. The rockets can be fired individually or ripple-fired en masse in the space of six to twelve seconds. The vehicle also mounts a targeting computer and a laser-range finder.
Two types of rockets are equipped: ones with conventional incendiary warheads, and the fuel-air explosives discussed above. The sheer size of the rockets means that the TOS-1 requires not one but two TZM-T reloading vehicles—all-terrain trucks equipped with cranes—each carrying a full additional load of rockets.
The TOS-1 vehicle has no real counterpart in use by Western militaries. While there are all kinds of multiple-rocket launch systems in use, such as the M142 HIMARS in use by the U.S. Army to bombard ISIS in Iraq, they are all lightly armored weapons intended for long-range indirect fire.
Furthermore, such rocket artillery typically relies on cluster munitions or conventional high-explosive warheads, not incendiary ammunition. The Russian Army, however, fields long-range Multiple Launch Rocket Systems like the Smerch and Uragan, capable of using incendiary warheads. The United States uses thermobaric warheads in smaller man-portable systems as well as larger air-launched munitions.
Starting in 2001, new TOS-1A Solntsepek (Burning Sun) vehicles began entering service, with a range of six kilometers. This is sufficiently long range to allow it to fire beyond retaliatory fire from the majority of antitank weapons. The new vehicle comes with an improved ballistics computer as well. Because it fires heavier ninety-kilogram rockets, the number of launch tubes was reduced to twenty-four.
The TOS-1 and -1A are integrated into Russian Nuclear Biological Chemical (NBC) battalions. These units also field the RPO-A Shmel’ (Bumblebee) man-portable portable rocket launchers that fire smaller ninety-millimeter thermobaric charges up to a range of 1,000 meters, or 1,700 meters using the latest types. These are intended as bunker-buster weapons, as thermobaric warheads are particularly effective against structures and their occupants.
The Trail of Devastation
The first combat use of the TOS-1 Buratino is recorded between 1988 and 1989 against Afghan rebels in the rugged terrain of the Panjshir Valley. However, it was in the 1999, the same year that the TOS-1 was first revealed to the public, that the TOS-1 first made a name for itself in the siege of the Chechen capital of Grozny.
After sustaining terrible losses attempting to assault Grozny’s center during the first Chechen War, for the second war the Russian Army surrounded the city with heavy artillery and tanks. It then dispatched small infantry teams to probe the Chechen defender. Once the Chechens opened fire, the artillery surrounding the city would pulverize the city blocks from which the fire originated. TOS-1s played a major role in these bombardments, and were also appreciated for creating explosions liable to detonate mines and booby-traps left behind by the Chechen fighters.
The use of the TOS-1 to eradicate city blocks in Grozny caused a number of complaints about collateral damage. In one incident, a strike killed thirty-seven locals and wounded over two hundred. By the time the battle was over, the city had been reduced to a wasteland.
At least four TOS-1s were sold to Iraq in 2014, and they were first seen entering action against ISIS in the battle for Jurf al-Sakhar in 2014. The battle was a victory for an Iraqi Shia militia, although how much the TOS-1s contributed to that is unclear. Later video footage shows TOS-1s ripple-firing rockets on targets near Baiji, Iraq.
The TOS-1As were also given to the Syrian Arab Army, which deployed them against various Syrian rebels. Most of the footage released appears to depict bombardment of rural areas such as the mountains around Latakia, rather than inner-city locations.
However, a TOS-1 unit was recorded being used in preparation for an offensive against the city of Hama, and this June, opposition fighters posted a video apparently showing the destruction of TOS-1 near Hama by long-range antitank missiles. This highlights how the need to deploy the short-range TOS-1 closer the front line makes it vulnerable to such weapons.
A TOS-1 was also spotted by the OSCE operating in a rebel training area in Luhansk in eastern Ukraine in 2015. Ukraine does not operate any TOS-1s, so the vehicle must be of Russian origin. There is no footage of the TOS-1 actually firing rockets in Ukraine, but the Ukrainian government claims they were used in the artillery bombardment that leveled Donetsk International Airport, forcing Ukrainian forces to withdraw in January 2015. However, other powerful artillery systems, including 2S4 mortars, are known to have been used in that siege.
One of the lesser-known war zones involving the TOS-1 is the long-running conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia over Nagorno-Karabakh. Russia has sold TOS-1As to both sides in the conflict: Azerbaijan has eighteen and Armenia was sold an unspecified number. Armenian media reported this year that an Azerbaijani TOS-1A was destroyed in fighting in April after firing rockets on the position of Karabakh separatists. Both sides claim the other initiated the skirmish.
Are weapons deploying fuel-air explosives munitions inherently inhumane? While there is a debate to be had whether one manner of killing and harming human beings in war is inherently more unacceptable than another and should be banned, the more proximate concern with heavier FAE weapons that create very large blasts is that they are inherently indiscriminate. A TOS-1 rocket barrage will wipe out everything within the two-hundred-by-three-hundred-meter blast zone. This is problematic when the weapon is employed against targets amid an urban civilian population—typical of much of the fighting in Iraq, Syria and Ukraine.
Sébastien Roblin holds a Master’s Degree in Conflict Resolution from Georgetown University and served as a university instructor for the Peace Corps in China. He has also worked in education, editing, and refugee resettlement in France and the United States. He currently writes on security and military history for War Is Boring. This first appeared years ago.
This article first appeared several years ago.
Employers can offer a 401(k), a SEP IRA, or SIMPLE IRA, while individuals can set up a traditional or Roth IRA, but the differences don’t stop there.
401(k) vs. IRA: An Overview
When employers want to give employees a tax-advantaged way to save for retirement, they may offer participation in a 401(k) plan. They may also offer employees a SEP (Simplified Employee Pension) IRA or, if the company has 100 or fewer employees, a SIMPLE (Savings Incentive Match Plan for Employees) IRA.
Individuals can open a Roth or traditional IRA separately from an employer, but only have access to a 401(k), SEP IRA, or SIMPLE IRA when offered by an employer. For the self-employed, „employer” includes an owner/employee. As their names imply, SEP and SIMPLE IRAs were designed to make it easy for employers to set up a retirement plan for employees. They have fewer administrative burdens than 401(k) plans.
- 401(k) plans—and SEP and SIMPLE IRAs—are tax-deferred retirement savings accounts offered by employers.
- Individuals can also set up a traditional or Roth IRA.
- IRAs generally offer more investment choices than 401(k)s, but permitted contribution levels are much lower.
In general, you can make withdrawals from 401(k)s and the different types of IRAs penalty free once you reach age 59½, though there are some exceptions.
A 401(k) is a tax-deferred retirement savings account offered by employers to their employees. Employees contribute money to their account and employers can choose to match a percentage of that contribution.
Contributions to 401(k) accounts are made pre-tax. The money is deposited in various investments, typically a line-up of mutual funds, as selected by the sponsor. The fund choices are designed to meet a specific risk tolerance so that employees may only take on as aggressive or conservative a risk with which they are comfortable.
Many 401(k)s have vesting requirements for matching contributions, but SEP and SIMPLE IRAs are 100% vested as soon as a contribution is made.
Investment income accrues and compounds tax-free. Withdrawals are taxed at the normal tax rate, as long as they are made at age 59½ or older.
Many employers are also starting to offer Roth 401(k)s. Unlike a traditional 401(k), contributions are funded with after-tax money, so they are not tax deductible; however, qualified withdrawals are tax-free.
As of 2020, participants can contribute up to $19,500 per year to a traditional or Roth 401(k), with an additional $6,500 catch-up contribution allowed for people aged 50 and over. Additional details on contribution limits are available from the IRS.
An employee may be permitted to take loans or hardship withdrawals from a 401(k). Loan repayments are generally deducted from the employee’s paycheck.
There are several types of IRAs. An individual retirement account (IRA) (traditional or Roth) is a tax-deferred retirement savings account established by an individual person. SEP and SIMPLE IRAs are offered by employers to their employees. They are similar to 401(k) accounts in many ways, but there are some differences, chief among them contribution limits and how they work.
Unlike 401(k)s, IRAs do not generally permit loans.
IRA accounts are held by custodians, such as banks or brokerages. Unlike 401(k)s, IRAs allow account holders to own many different assets within the account, including stocks, bonds, CDs, and even real estate. Some assets, such as art, are not permitted within an IRA, according to IRS rules.
Traditional and Roth IRAs
Like 401(k)s, contributions to traditional IRAs are generally tax deductible. Earnings and returns grow tax free and you pay tax on withdrawals in retirement. Contributions to a Roth IRA are made with after-tax dollars, but withdrawals are tax free in retirement.
Annual contribution limits for traditional and Roth IRAs are $6,000, as of 2020, with an additional $1,000 catch-up contribution allowed for people 50 and over.
SEP IRAs have higher annual contribution limits than standard IRAs and only your employer can contribute to one. As of 2020, employers can contribute as much as 25% of an employee’s gross annual salary as long as the contributions do not exceed $57,000.
SIMPLE IRAs contributions work differently than SEP IRAs and 401(k)s. An employer can either match up to 3% of an employee’s annual contribution or set up a non-elective 2% contribution of each employee’s salary. The latter doesn’t require employee contributions.
The contribution limit for employees is $13,500 in 2020, and those 50 and older can make an additional catch-up contribution of up to $3,000.
Michelle Mabry, CFP®, AIF®
Client 1st Advisory Group, Hattiesburg, Miss.
A 401(k) is an employer-sponsored plan to which you can make elective deferrals. You can contribute up to $19,500 per year, plus a $6,500 catch-up amount in 2020 for those 50 years of age and over. Employer plans typically provide some amount of matching contribution. You get to select from a menu of mutual funds or ETFs, as outlined by your individual plan. An IRA is not tied to an employer. If your income is below a certain amount and you are not covered by an employer plan, you can contribute up to $6,000 per year plus a $1,000 catch-up contribution for those age 50 and over.
The benefit of an IRA is that your investment choices are much greater and almost unlimited. The costs of each do need to be considered, and they will vary depending on the investment selection.
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JERSEY CITY, N.J. – Joseph Seals, a Jersey City police detective, died Tuesday during a bloody gunfight that started in a cemetery and tore through the city’s Greenville section, leaving six dead and several wounded.
Seals, a 40-year-old married father of five, joined the city police force in 2006. He was promoted to detective in November 2017 and belonged to the department’s Cease Fire Unit.
At a Tuesday evening news conference, Jersey City Police Commissioner Michael Kelly said Seals was on duty when he was gunned down at the Bay View Cemetery . But he did not know details of why Seals was there.
“I just know he came upon bad guys and I’m not sure how he got there just yet,” Kelly said, adding later that police „have no inkling what the motive is.”
Jersey City shooting: 6 people killed, including a police officer and 3 bystanders
Calls to Seals’ family were not returned Tuesday evening. Several unmarked police cruisers were parked outside the family’s home, and officers cordoned off the area around the house.
But visiting family friends remembered Seals as a great dad who was always there for his kids.
“He was a great, great guy — couldn’t be better,” said a man who declined to give his name as he brought flowers to the home. “It’s a shame.”
The gunfight that claimed Seals’ life exploded onto the city’s rain-soaked streets at about 12:30 p.m., when either one or two gunmen shot the detective in the cemetery. When the city police responded to calls of gunfire near Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, they were met with fire from the gunmen’s high-powered rifles, authorities say.
Pensacola shooting: Police officer wounded in shooting helped others escape scene
Police closed the streets around a kosher grocery store in which the gunmen barricaded themselves, authorities said. Backup from surrounding counties and the Port Authority Police arrived, as did agents from the FBI and ATF.
The gunmen continued pouring fire onto police for several hours, Kelly said. They hit two officers, Ray Sanchez and Mariela Fernandez, in the shoulder and the body, Kelly said. Both have since been released from a hospital.
By the end of the day, five lay dead in the supermarket: three civilians and the two gunmen, Kelly said. No civilians were hit outside the store.