- The Washington Times - Monday, July 18, 2016

CLEVELAND — A Black Lives Matter group here is boycotting a demonstration Monday by dozens of activist groups outside the Republican National Convention, balking at how the activists are exploiting police shootings of black men to increase their political power.

Jeff Mixon, president of Black Lives Matter in Cuyahoga County and a member of the county Democratic Party Executive Committee, said the group Organize Ohio was trying to hijack the movement.

“They talk about uniting to end poverty but what they are really interested in is solidifying their political power to advance their agenda,” Mr. Mixon told The Washington Times.

Mr. Mixon blamed black voters for allowing the Democratic Party and its allies take their votes for granted, which he said propitiates the imbalance in the justice system.

“Black people have bad voting habits. We just vote for anybody who has a ‘D’ next to their name,” said Mr. Mixon, whose group endorsed Republican Sen. Rob Portman in the state’s U.S. Senate race.

The boycott exposed rifts within the national coalition of liberal groups operating with Black Lives Matter movement, which has faced increasing criticism amid deadly attacks on police officers in Dallas and Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

Mr. Mixon defended the national movement, saying the attack on police were the product of frustration in the black community over decades of injustice by police and courts.

“Some people believe the only way to bring justice is with a sniper rifle,” he said. “If the justice system did its job, black people would be safer and police officers would be safer.”

The demonstration on the opening day of the Republican convention was dubbed “United Clevelanders Against Poverty” and was put together by Organize Ohio.

Mr. Mixon said the advocacy groups do not support black communities.

“We are boycotting the protest because the people who started the protests are people in segregated unions and segregated communities,” he said.

Black Lives Matter in Cuyahoga County plans to participate in demonstrations Wednesday and Thursday outside the convention to draw attention to injustice in black communities, he said.

• S.A. Miller can be reached at smiller@washingtontimes.com.

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