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

Read Time: 5 Minutes

Protests/Race Relations 

  • An attorney representing Thomas Lane, one of the former Minneapolis police officers charged for his role in the arrest and death of George Floyd, has filed a motion asking for the case against the Lane to be dismissed for what he called a “lack of probable cause based on the entire record.”
  • Senegal’s Goree Island, which for centuries served as a way station in the Transatlantic slave trade, has changed the name of its Europe Square in response to the death of George Floyd in the United States and the global movement it inspired.

It will now be known as Freedom and Human Dignity Square, the municipal council decided.

  • A police officer in Illinois has reportedly been placed on leave and lost his badge after he told local media about his department’s alleged attempts to conceal footage of the arrest of Eric Lurry, a Black man who died in police custody earlier this year.
  • A detective with the King County Sheriff’s Office in Washington state was placed on leave after he made comments mocking two protesters hit by a car in Seattle — one of whom died of their injuries.

The detective, Mike Brown, reportedly posted a photo on Facebook of a vehicle hitting a group of people, according to NBC affiliate King-TV in Seattle. The image was captioned “All lives splatter” and “Keep your ass off the road.”

  • The Confederate Soldiers and Sailors statue in Richmond, Virginia, was removed Wednesday morning, adding to the growing list of monuments ordered to come down in the former capital of the Confederacy, according to the city’s mayor.

Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney on July 1, citing his emergency powers declared in late May, ordered the removal of all city-owned Confederate statues.

  • The University of California Regents have appointed Michael V. Drake as the new head of the school system and become its first Black president. 

The Board of Regents unanimously approved Drake, a physician. He will oversee the renowned system of five medical centers, 10 campuses, three nationally affiliated labs, more than 280,000 students and 220,000 faculty.

  • Black protesters were charged with felonies at a rate quadruple that of white ones during demonstrations over the death of George Floyd in New York City, according to a preliminary report from state Attorney General Letitia James’s office.
  • New York City is moving ahead with its plans to have a mural of the words “Black Lives Matter” painted on the street in front of Trump Tower this week, despite pushback from the president. 
  • A Seattle man, Dawit Kelete, who the authorities said drove into a protest on a closed section of Interstate 5 over the weekend, killing one demonstrator, was charged on Wednesday with vehicular homicide, vehicular assault and reckless driving.

Two of the charges, vehicular homicide and vehicular assault, are felonies, a spokesman 

The Washington State Patrol and the F.B.I. were still investigating the matter, and Mr. Kelete could face additional charges, according to a statement from the prosecutor’s office.

  • Amazon is pulling Washington Redskins merchandise from its website, with sellers given 48 hours to review and remove any products flagged by the company.

Administration News

  • The federal deficit in the first nine months of the fiscal year hit a record $2.7 trillion, nearly double the largest full-year deficit on record, according to Congressional Budget Office estimates.

In June alone, the deficit hit $863 billion, more than 107 times the $8 billion deficit recorded in June of last year.

The deficit is on track to exceed $3.8 trillion, shattering the $1.4 trillion record set in 2009 as the global financial crisis led to the Great Recession.

  • The Supreme Court upheld a Trump administration regulation allowing employers with religious objections to limit access to free birth control.
  • Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, a key witness in President Trump’s impeachment inquiry, is retiring from the US Army after more than 21 years of military service because he determined that his future in the armed forces “will forever be limited” due to political retaliation by the President and his allies, his lawyer told CNN Wednesday.

Vindman has endured a “campaign of bullying, intimidation, and retaliation” spearheaded by the President following his testimony in the impeachment inquiry last year, according to his attorney, Amb. David Pressman.

  • Facebook removed 50 personal and professional pages connected to President  Trump’s longtime adviser Roger Stone, who is due to report to prison next week.

The social media platform said Stone and his associates, including a prominent supporter of the right-wing Proud Boys group in Stone’s home state of Florida, had used fake accounts and followers to promote Stone’s books and posts.

  • U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper had approved Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman for promotion as part of a crop of new promotions due to be sent to the White House in the coming days, a senior U.S. defense official told Reuters on Wednesday.

The official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said Esper had approved the list on Monday with Vindman’s name.

  • Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Wednesday that his department “will work with Congress” in regards to the delivery of U.S. funds earmarked for the World Health Organization, as the Trump administration begins the formal process of withdrawing from the global health body.

The U.S. owes an estimated $203 million as part of its assessed contributions to the WHO for its two-year operating budget. The amount also includes funds that have yet to be paid for the 2019 operating year.

  • The Federal Trade Commission and the U.S. Justice Department are looking into allegations that popular app TikTok failed to live up to a 2019 agreement aimed at protecting children’s privacy.
  • A federal court has upheld a lower court decision reversing a Trump administration policy that eliminated protections for grizzly bears in and around Yellowstone National Park.
  • Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador heaped praise on President Trump on Wednesday as the two leaders celebrated the official start of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) at the White House.
  • The top U.S. general in the Middle East predicts that a small amount of U.S. troops will remain in Iraq for the foreseeable future.

“I believe that going forward, they’re going to want us to be with them,” U.S. Central Command head Marine Gen. Kenneth McKenzie told reporters Tuesday after he met with Iraq’s new prime minister, Mustafa al-Kadhimi, according to The Associated Press.

“I don’t sense there’s a mood right now for us to depart precipitously. And I’m pretty confident of that.”

  • Initial Jobless Claims fell last week, even as a slew of states hard-hit with COVID-19 reintroduced restrictions.For the week ending July 4, 1.3 million people applied for initial unemployment claims, down from 1.427 million the week before.

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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