The Past 24 Hours or So – Protests/Race Relations and Trump Administration News

Read Time: 6 Minutes

Protests/Race Relations News

  • Boston city officials voted to remove “The Emancipation Statue” depicting President Lincoln standing tall above a formerly enslaved Black man kneeling at his feet. Critics argue the controversial monument is a “reductive representation” of the role Black Americans played in the abolition movement and the Civil War.
  • House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said on Thursday he plans to introduce legislation withholding federal funding for states and cities that don’t enforce laws protecting statues and monuments.
  • GOP Rep. Andy Biggs is calling for the White House to dissolve its coronavirus task force so that health officials like Anthony Fauci and Deborah Birx can’t contradict many of Trump’s “stated goals and actions” when it comes to the economy.
  • U.S. Senators Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) and James Lankford (R-Oklahoma) are proposing scrapping Columbus Day as a federal holiday and replacing it with Juneteenth.
  • Newly released body-camera footage shows two officers laughing about shooting protesters in Fort Lauderdale, Florida with rubber bullets, with one saying, “Did you see me fuck up those motherfuckers?” Fort Lauderdale Police Chief Rick Maglione defended the footage and said his officers were under attack.

Video shows protesters were mostly peaceful, however, and police were responding to a water bottle being thrown at them because another officer had pushed a kneeling woman to the ground.

  • Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley has confirmed that soldiers who were deployed to Washington, D.C. to quell the protests over George Floyd’s death were given bayonets, knife-like attachments for rifles and other guns that allow them to be used as spears.

The members of the division and the regiment never were sent to the demonstrations to respond and were told no weapons would enter the city without orders or before nonlethal response methods were analyzed.

  • Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson called on protesters across the U.S. to cease efforts to dismantle statues of some historical figures and called on state leaders to dismantle “autonomous zones,” an apparent reference to the now-dismantled Seattle Capitol Hill Organized Protest zone.
  • The NFL is planning to have “Lift Ev’ry Voice And Sing,” long referred to as the Black national anthem, played or performed before games during the first week of this year’s season.
  • An Aurora, CO police officer who was involved in taking pictures reenacting the police chokehold used on Elijah McClain, a 23-year-old Black man who died three days after the encounter, has resigned from the force.

The photos show officers from the Aurora Police Department posing inappropriately near his memorial site and reenacting the carotid restraint used on McClain before his death

  • A husband and wife were charged with assault Thursday, one day after pulling a gun on a Black mother and her two daughters amid an alteration in Oakland County, Mich.

Oakland County Prosecutor Jessica Cooper charged Jillian and Eric Wuestenberg with one count each of felonious assault.

  • As statues are removed in the U.S., Spain’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has offered to take the statues and move them to Spain. Foreign Minister Arancha González Laya has sent diplomatic letters to “federal, state and local authorities” in the United States to address the issue. 

“We have made them aware of the importance we award to this shared history with the United States, as shared as it is unknown.”

  • Parole, a historically Black suburb of Annapolis, MD, will soon be the site of a large mural of Breonna Taylor, an unarmed Black woman who was fatally shot by police in her home in Kentucky earlier this year.

According to The Capitol Gazette, the mural of Taylor, which also will feature the phrase “Black Lives Matter” along with her date of birth and death, is expected to span 7,000-square feet across several basketball courts at Chambers Park, with creators aiming to make it visible from space.

  • FedEx has requested the NFL’s Washington team change its name from the Redskins. A FedEx spokesperson released this statement: “We have communicated to the team in Washington our request that they change the team name.”

FedEx is the title sponsor of the team stadium in Landover, MD.

  • Fans of Waverly-Shell Rock High School baseball team in Iowa taunted the opposition’s only Black player with racially charged insults. Charles City High School’s Center Fielder, Jeremiah Chapman, said, “They called me Colin — I assumed they were just calling me Colin Kaepernick.” After making a play, “They said, ‘You need to go back to the fields to do your job.’”

“They looked at me and said, ‘You should have been George Floyd,'” the Minneapolis man killed by a police officer. “Then they started chanting ‘Trump 2020,'” Chapman said.

Waverly-Shell Rock High School put out a statement on their Facebook page saying they “fully acknowledge” the remarks happened. “This behavior is unacceptable. We make no excuses, because there are none,” the post said. “We do, however, wish to make a sincere apology to the Charles City school district and community and, in particular, the young man towards whom these comments were directed.”

Administration News

  • The U.S. Supreme Court says it will decide whether US House investigators can get access to grand jury material from Mueller’s special counsel team; the court will hear the case during the new term in the fall, delaying Congress’ potential access to the material.
  • The U.S. economy added 4.8 million jobs in June.
  • The Commerce Department’s internal watchdog is accusing the department of “actively preventing” it from releasing a full report expected to detail a “flawed process” during what is now known as the Sharpiegate controversy.
  • The Trump administration has reportedly awarded a contract to a California-based tech startup to set up hundreds of “autonomous surveillance towers” along the U.S.-Mexico border to aid its immigration enforcement efforts. 

U.S. Customs and Border Protection announced on Thursday that the towers, which use artificial intelligence and imagery to identify people and vehicles, were now a “program of record” for the agency and that 200 would be deployed along the southern border by 2022.

  • A little-known North Dakota construction firm that was awarded the single largest border wall contract–after its CEO praised the president in a slew of conservative media appearances–is now defending its product as experts warn the structure is in danger of collapsing, ProPublica and the Texas Tribune reported Thursday.

Several experts interviewed for the report said poor planning and shoddy engineering have left the wall “in danger of falling into the Rio Grande.”

  • Mark Burkhalter, president Trump’s nominee to be ambassador to Norway, is facing demands that he abandon his pursuit of the diplomatic post following the unearthing of a 1994 court filing indicating his involvement in the production of a racist campaign flier against an African American politician in Georgia.

Burkhalter  helped create a flier that distorted and exaggerated the features of Gordon Joyner, a candidate for county commissioner in north-central Georgia. Joyner was pictured with some features darkened, a large Afro, enlarged eyebrows and a warped eye.

Joyner sued for libel, resulting in an out-of-court settlement, an apology signed by Burkhalter and three other men, and payment of an undisclosed sum.

  • Geoffrey Berman, the former top federal prosecutor in Manhattan, who resigned last month under pressure from Attorney General William Barr, will testify to the House Judiciary Committee next week about the circumstances of his departure, according to a congressional aide.
  • Weeks after the firing of former U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman, Richard Donoghue, a top Washington deputy to U.S. Attorney General William Barr, is under consideration to replace an outgoing prosecutor for the Eastern District of New York, CNN reported.
  • Former Trump administration officials said President Trump’s national security advisers began limiting their briefing of the president on matters relating to Russia due to his frequent pushback on such assessments, CNN reported.

Former officials responsible for briefing Trump on national security issues said they found he frequently became angry when being presented with intelligence implicating Russia in political interference.

“The president has created an environment that dissuades, if not prohibits, the mentioning of any intelligence that isn’t favorable to Russia,” a former senior national security staffer told the network.

  • President Trump retweeted a series of tweets from ACT for America, which is an anti-Muslim hate group. 

Sources:  ABC News, The Atlantic, Axios, Bloomberg, CBS News, CNN, Financial Times, Fox News,The Hill, NBC News, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, NJ.com, NPR, NY Times, Politico, Reuters, Salon, Slate, Vanity Fair, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post

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