The Past 24 Hours or So

Read Time: 5 Minutes

Protests/Racial & Social Issues

  • After months of protests calling for charges, a Nebraska grand jury has indicted the white bar owner who shot and killed James Scurlock, a 22-year-old Black man, during a Black Lives Matter protest in Omaha, Nebraska, in June.

The grand jury determined that Jake Gardner, 38, will face four charges including manslaughter, attempted first-degree assault, use of a firearm, and terror threats.

  • Law enforcement and other officials in Rochester, New York worked for months to withhold information about the death of Daniel Prude, a Black man whom police hooded and pinned to the ground in a graphic video that has drawn a national outcry, documents show.

Prude’s family has accused authorities of a coverup.Rochester Mayor Lovely A. Warren fired the city’s police chief Monday after an internal investigation concluded that police commanders and city officials did not take Prude’s death seriously enough and may have sought to mislead the public. 

The documents, which the city released Monday, capture repeated attempts by officials to prevent the full picture of Prude’s death from getting out as they worried about a public backlash in a climate of growing scrutiny of police.

  • Editors at The Miami Herald and its sister Spanish-language newspaper, El Nuevo Herald, apologized to readers this week for including a Spanish-language insert that said American Jews support “thieves and arsonists” and compared Black Lives Matter protesters to Nazis.
  • Federal prosecutors in California have charged Steven Carrillo, a supporter of the far-right “Boogaloo” movement, with the murder of federal protective security officer Dave Underwood during a May 29 anti-racism protest in Oakland.
  • Maryland’s diocese of the Episcopalian Church voted to fund a $1 million reparations fund for programs benefiting Black residents of Baltimore and other areas after discovering the church’s role in fostering systemic racism in the state.
  • The National Registry of Exonerations spent more than six years examining the cases of 2,400 innocent people who were exonerated from 1989 to 2019, finding that 54 percent were sent to prison because of intentional or negligent mistakes by police, prosecutors and other law enforcement officials.

The most common form of misconduct involved concealing evidence that could have cleared the defendant — occurring in 44 percent of the cases that led to exonerations. Next was perjury and other forms of misconduct at trial by police and prosecutors, witness tampering, the use of manipulative interrogation techniques to secure false confessions, and faking crimes, with officers planting drugs or guns on suspects or falsely claiming they had assaulted an officer.

  • The Wall Street Journal reported Attorney General William Barr instructed U.S. attorneys to seek several federal charges when prosecuting people accused of committing crimes related to demonstrations. He urged federal charges even when state charges could apply, sources told the newspaper.

The attorney general reportedly also encouraged federal prosecutors to charge protesters with sedition. Legal experts told the Journal that those charges would require the government to prove a conspiracy to attack government agents or officials that posed an imminent danger.

Trump Administration

  • Postmaster General Louis DeJoy’s controversial midsummer operational directives delayed nearly 350 million pieces, or 7 percent, of the country’s first-class mail in the five weeks they were in effect, according to a new report.
  • Michael Caputo, the health department’s top communications official, is taking a 60-day medical leave, three days after urging President Trump’s supporters to prepare for an armed insurrection and accusing government scientists of “sedition.”
  • White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany would not divulge details of a health care plan President Trump has been promising for months, telling a reporter, “If you want to know, come work here at the White House.” 
  • The EPA will postpone training on environmental inequity faced by communities of color and low-income communities following a White House order calling for agencies to stop training involving what it described as “anti-American propaganda.”

Presidential Campaign

  • In the latest instances of Trump launching a campaign of online disinformation – the president has tweeted out numerous false claims and misleadingly labeled videos – Wednesday, Trump tweeted an altered video of Joe Biden playing “Fuck The Police” instead of “Despacito” which is what Biden actually played on his cellphone. On Tuesday, Trump shared a tweet baselessly accusing Biden of being a pedophile.
  • In a significant reversal from last month’s decision, John Ratcliffe, the director of national intelligence, said that he will continue to brief congressional leaders and the Senate and House intelligence committees on efforts to secure the 2020 vote from foreign interference — though his office will no longer conduct briefings for all lawmakers, citing the need to protect intelligence sources and methods.
  • Billionaire casino magnate and Republican mega-donor Sheldon Adelson is reportedly planning to spend $20 million to $50 million to support President Trump’s reelection bid.
  • Twitter and Facebook have shut down accounts on their platforms reportedly linked to a misleading social media campaign run by Turning Point Action, an offshoot of popular conservative youth activist organization Turning Point USA.

Teenagers, some of them minors, are being paid to pump out the messages at the direction of Turning Point Action.

The campaign draws on the spam-like behavior of bots and trolls, with the same or similar language posted repeatedly across social media. But it is carried out by humans paid to use their own accounts, though nowhere disclosing their relationship with Turning Point Action or the digital firm brought in to oversee the day-to-day activity. One user included a link to Turning Point USA’s website in his Twitter profile until The Washington Post began asking questions about the activity.

  • A Michigan state appeals court has just upheld the right of Michigan’s top election official to send unsolicited absentee ballot applications to all of the state’s registered voters, a move that will allow widespread access to mail-in voting during the coronavirus pandemic.

Mayor Ras Baraka said at a virtual press conference that thanks to a partnership between Essex County, the New Jersey Devils, Prudential Center and the National Basketball Players Associations, the Prudential Center in Newark will act as a “super” polling site this November.

  • Live Nation is exploring more than 100 concert venues across the country to serve as polling places in the upcoming November elections.

Sources:  ABC News, Associated Press, The Atlantic, Axios, Bloomberg, CBS News, CNN, Chicago Tribune, Financial Times, Forbes,  Fox News,The Hill, Independent, MSNBC, NBC News,, NPR, NY Times, Politico, Reuters, Salon, Slate, Vanity Fair, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post

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