Eletiofe Atlanta police chief resigns after officers shoot dead African...

Atlanta police chief resigns after officers shoot dead African American man – as it happened

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Los Angeles Lakers center Dwight Howard says he believes the NBA and other forms of entertainment are unnecessary distractions from the nationwide protest movement that is entering its fourth week following the death of George Floyd.


I agree with Kyrie (Irving). Basketball, or entertainment period, isn’t needed at this moment, and will only be a distraction. Sure it might not distract us the players, but we have resources at hand majority of our community don’t have. And the smallest distraction for them, can start a trickle down effect that may never stop. Especially with the way the climate is now. I would love nothing more than to win my very first NBA Championship. But the unity of My People would be an even bigger Championship, that’s just to (sic) beautiful to pass up. What better time than now for us to be focusing on our families. This is a rare opportunity that, I believe, we as a community should be taking full advantage of. When have we ever had this amount of time to sit and be with our families. This is where our Unity starts. At home! With Family!! European Colonization stripped us of our rich history, and we have yet to sit down and figure us out. The less distractions, the more we can put into action into rediscovering ourselves. Nations come out of families. Black/African American is not a Nation or Nationality. It’s time Our Families became their own Nations. No Basketball till we get things resolved.

The NBA is set to become the first major North American sports league to make a return to action when it resumes its season on 31 July at ESPN’s Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando, Florida.

Hundreds of anti-racism demonstrators took to the streets of Palmdale in southern California on Saturday to demand a full investigation into the death of a 24-year-old black man found hanging from a tree near city hall.

While the sheriff’s department said the initial results of a coroner’s investigation indicate Fuller’s death was a suicide, the protesters who gathered on Saturday described it a “lynching” and called on the state to investigate.

Community members had confronted city officials at a contentious news briefing Friday, asking why they were quick to label Fuller’s death on Wednesday a suicide and demanding an independent autopsy.

On Saturday, protesters marched from the park where Fuller was found to the Los Angeles county sheriff’s station, demanding a full investigation into the man’s death. Many carried signs that said “Justice for Robert Fuller”.

Fuller’s sister addressed the crowd near Palmdale’s city hall. “We want to find out the truth on what really happened,” Diamond Alexander said, according to the LATimes. “We just want the truth. My brother was not suicidal. He was a survivor. He was street smart.”

Sheriff’s Capt Ron Shaffer said homicide detectives were investigating the circumstances leading to Fuller’s death to determine if foul play was involved. Investigators have been in contact with Fuller’s family, Palmdale officials said.

The city said there were no outdoor cameras that could have recorded what happened.

Former Atlanta police chief Erika Shields, who has resigned in the wake of Friday night’s fatal shooting of Rayshard Brooks, has issued a statement:


For more than two decades, I have served alongside some of the finest men and women in the Atlanta Police Department. Out of a deep and abiding love for this City and this department, I offered to step aside as police chief. APD has my full support, and Mayor Bottoms has my support on the future direction of this department. I have faith in the Mayor, and it is time for the city to move forward and build trust between law enforcement and the communities they serve.

Several hundred protesters gathered at West 135th street and St Nicholas Avenue in Harlem this afternoon in what was advertised as a march to demand New York City mayor Bill de Blasio reinstate habeas corpus: the right of a detainee to be seen by a judge within 24 hours to determine whether the arrest was lawful. This constitutional right was controversially suspended by a state supreme court judge last week amid mass arrests during protests against police brutality.

Frederick Douglass

Protesters gathered near the Frederick Douglass Sculpture at the northwest corner of Central Park on Saturday afternoon. Photograph: Nina Lakhani

But it was so much more.

We heard an emotionally raw, urgent speech by Hawah Bah, the mother of Mohamed Bah, a 28-year-old immigrant from Guinea who was shot and killed inside his Harlem apartment by police officers in September 2012, after she’d called an ambulance to help her mentally distressed son.

“When I heard George Floyd call for his mama, I felt it,” a tearful Bah said. “If they can kill a baby in front of his mother, that is not freedom. Stay on the streets until we have our rights.”

This was also partly a grassroots political rally for Kristin Richardson Jordan, a poet and educator who is seeking to become the first openly black gay woman to be elected to the New York City council. “I’m on a mission to disrupt this district with radical love,” Jordan said. “We want NYPD out of our schools, off our trains. … In Harlem, black lives will matter.”

Anger towards the NYPD was prevalent during the rally including those particularly contentious moments when protestors chanted: “How do you spell racist? N-Y-P-D!” and “No justice, no peace, fuck the racist ass police!” at a line of cops stood in front of the 32th precinct. Moments later, Marvin Gaye’s What’s Going On, considered both a protest and love song, blasted out from the boom box that accompanied protesters south towards Frederick Douglass Circle Plaza, situated opposite the northwest corner of Central Park.

Atlanta police chief resigns less than 24 hours after Rayshard Brooks shot dead

The chief of Atlanta’s police department has stepped down less than 24 hours after a black man was killed in a late-night struggle with officers after he failed a field sobriety test and resisted arrest.

Atlanta mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said during a news conference on Saturday afternoon that she had accepted the resignation of police chief Erika Shields.

“I do not believe that this was a justified use of deadly force and have called for the immediate termination of the officer,” Bottoms said. “What has become abundantly over the last couple of weeks in Atlanta is that while we have a police force full of men and women who work alongside our communities with honor, respect and dignity, there has a been a disconnect with what our expectations are and should be as it relates to interactions with our officers and the communities in which they are entrusted to protect.”

Atlanta mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms announces she has accepted the resignation of APD chief Erika Shields.

Police were called to the restaurant on a complaint that a man was sleeping in a car blocking the drive-thru lane as customers waited in line, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation said. The agency identified the man who was fatally shot as 27-year-old Rayshard Brooks.

A crowd of demonstrators gathered Saturday outside the restaurant where Brooks was shot. Gerald Griggs, an attorney and a vice president of Atlanta’s NAACP chapter, estimated there were 150 people protesting at the scene as he walked with them Saturday afternoon.

“The people are upset,” Griggs said. “They want to know why their dear brother Rayshard Brooks was shot and killed when he was merely asleep on the passenger side and not doing anything.”

Updated

The AP reports from New Orleans where bars are letting in customers on Saturday for the first time in three months amid an atmosphere of uncertainty for owners:

Capacity is limited to 25 percent, live music remains prohibited, and nobody knows how many tourists will show on Bourbon Street in the age of COVID-19.

Pam Fortner, owner of six French Quarter venues, is opening only two of them, both on Bourbon, where the customary blocks-long frat party atmosphere ended in an abrupt shutdown in mid-March.

Now, she’s not sure what to expect. She sat at a sidewalk table at Royal and St. Ann on Thursday, eating a Caesar salad and deriving hope from the occasional out-of-state license plate she saw amid sparse traffic.

“I think Saturday will be busy,” she said in an interview.

Cherie Boos, manager of Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop, in an authentically rustic, creaky floored 18th-century Creole cottage, said she’s hoping locals will help keep the bar financially afloat as Bourbon Street revives. But she adds, “We’re hoping that, you know, we can start generating some tourists in the city, too, now that the bars are going to be open.”

Bourbon Street, which had the ambiance of an empty movie set in April, has experienced a slow re-awakening in recent weeks. Dine-in restaurants have been allowed to reopen at 25% capacity, as have bars with food permits. Still, traffic has been slow and plywood covered numerous tavern windows until Mayor LaToya Cantrell announced the latest easing of restrictions in a city that, in the spring, had become an international hot spot for COVID-19.

Even as they announced the reopenings on Tuesday, city officials admitted they were concerned about a possible recurrence.

“Oh, I’m worried. I am worried,” Cantrell said at a news conference. She said city code enforcement officials will watch to make sure social distancing, masking requirements and building capacity limits are enforced.

Fox News has removed digitally altered photos from its website after the Seattle Times noted misleading images used in the network’s coverage about the city’s Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone (CHAZ), which has become a protest center against police brutality and racial injustice.

As part of a package of stories Friday about the zone, where demonstrators have taken over several city blocks on Capitol Hill after Seattle police abandoned the East Precinct, Fox’s website for much of the day featured a photo of a man standing with a military-style rifle in front of what appeared to be a smashed retail storefront.

The image was actually a mashup of photos from different days, taken by different photographers — it was done by splicing a Getty Images photo of an armed man, who had been at the protest zone June 10, with other images from May 30 of smashed windows in downtown Seattle. Another altered image combined the gunman photo with yet another image, making it appear as though he was standing in front of a sign declaring “You are now entering Free Cap Hill.”

Fox’s site had no disclaimers revealing the photos had been manipulated. The network removed the images after inquiries from The Seattle Times.

In addition, Fox’s site for a time on Friday ran a frightening image of a burning city, above a package of stories about Seattle’s protests, headlined “CRAZY TOWN.” The photo actually showed a scene from St. Paul, Minnesota, on May 30. That image also was later removed.

When asked by the Times about the clear breach of journalistic ethics, a Fox News spokeswoman said: “We have replaced our photo illustration with the clearly delineated images of a gunman and a shattered storefront, both of which were taken this week in Seattle’s autonomous zone.”

The chairman of the New York chapter of Black Lives Matter has said Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden “would be an idiot” to select two-term Florida congresswoman Val Demings, the two-term Florida congresswoman and former Orlando police chief, as his running mate.

“Joe Biden would be an idiot to put her on his ticket. People are already on the fence about him,” the group’s Hawk Newsome, told the New York Post.

“When black people become police officers, they are no longer black. They are blue. And I have been told this by numerous officers,” the BLM official said that California senator Kamala Harris should also be disqualified after serving as San Francisco district attorney and the state’s attorney general.

Demings, 63, is reportedly one of six female Democrats to have passed an initial round of vetting by Biden’s vice presidential search committee and has submitted documents for review. The former police chief is believed to be on a shortlist that includes Harris, Massachusetts senator Elizabeth Warren, former national security adviser Susan Rice, New Mexico governor Michelle Lujan Grisham and Atlanta mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms.

Demings worked as a uniformed patrol detective, information officer and internal affairs supervisor during her 27 years on the force, walking away in 2007 to lead the 700-strong Orlando police force before retiring four years later.

But during her time as police chief, the department was involved in a series of excessive-force controversies, including in 2010 when a department officer was involved in the injury of an 84-year-old second world war veteran who had complained about his car being towed.

An internal review cleared Travis Lamont of wrongdoing with Demings telling the Palm Beach Post at the time: “After review of the defensive tactic … by the training staff and Officer Lamont’s chain of command, it appears the officer performed the technique within department guidelines.”

A year later, another officer pushed a woman to the ground during a scuffle, breaking her teeth. After that incident, which was captured on video, Demings wrote an op-ed to the Orlando Sentinel: “Looking for a negative story in a police department is like looking for a prayer at church,” she wrote. “I believe a reasonable person also understands that a few seconds (even on video) rarely capture the entire set of circumstances.”

Updated

Police in South Carolina have released body camera footage of officers fatally shooting a handcuffed black man they said was wielding a gun in a Walmart parking lot. The Associated Press reports:

Ariane Lamont McCree, 28, was shot and killed by police in November outside a Chester Walmart. He was handcuffed at the time of the shooting after being detained on suspicion of shoplifting. The South Carolina attorney general’s office said in a March news release that the officers acted in self-defense and that McCree pulled a gun on police as he was fleeing the shoplifting arrest.

The Post and Courier reported that the video released to news outlets shows an officer with his gun drawn approaching the suspect from across the parking lot. The video also shows officers later removing a gun from the suspect’s body.

Mullins McLeod, a Charleston attorney who has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the police department on behalf of McCree’s family, has said there is no way McCree could have aimed a gun at officers with his hands cuffed behind his back, the newspaper reported.

Police and McCree’s family gave different interpretations of the video. The fatal shooting prompted protests in the small South Carolina city.

At a news conference in Chester on Friday, McCree’s family maintained the video shows that the handcuffed man was not a threat to officers, the newspaper reported. They criticized officials for waiting more than six months to release the video.

Charlie Stringfellow, McCree’s grandfather, took issue with the use of force after an alleged shoplifting incident.

“If it’s true, it’s not worth his life,” Stringfellow said.

Kentucky governor Andy Beshear, who has led a push to take down a statue of Jefferson Davis at the state capitol, finished the job on Saturday with a push of a button. The Louisville Courier-Journal reports:

The South has lost again.

Jefferson Davis and his legacy departed Kentucky’s Capitol rotunda after a 12-foot marble statue commemorating the lone president of the Confederate States of America was removed from its base Saturday morning.

Workers assembled a rig that lifted the 5-ton marble sculpture off the pedestal where it stood for 84 years – just a few feet behind the bronze statue of fellow Kentuckian Abraham Lincoln.

Gov. Andy Beshear, who joined workers in the rotunda on Saturday, said the monument represented a divisive symbol in Kentucky.

“After calling for its removal and urging the Historic Properties Advisory Commission to act, today I pressed the button to bring it down,” Beshear tweeted. “Now, every child who walks into their Capitol feels welcome. Today we took a step forward for the betterment of every single Kentuckian.”

It’s been somewhat of a bearish week for the legacy of the first and only president of the CSA. A different Davis statue was toppled by protesters on Wednesday night in Richmond, which had been the capital of the Confederacy until it was captured in the later stages of the war.

Updated

A relative of Rayshard Brooks, the African American man shot dead by police in Atlanta last night, has spoken about his grief and shock at the killing.

Decatur Redd spoke to reporters and a crowd that had gathered outside the Wendy’s where the 27-year-old Brooks was shot on Friday after police were called to reports of a man who had fallen asleep in his vehicle.

Protesters stand outside the Wendy’s where Rayshard Brooks was killed on Friday

Protesters stand outside the Wendy’s where Rayshard Brooks was killed on Friday. Photograph: Erik S Lesser/EPA

“I’ve watched this on the internet, from the whole George Floyd situation to us coming together like we’re doing and this whole thing landed on my doorstep with my little cousin,” Redd said.

The George Bureau of Investigation and the country district attorney’s office are looking into the death.

“We’ve been watching this happen for so many years, with young black boys around the country just dying in vain – I just don’t want that to continue and keep happening like that,” Redd said.

Redd added that he was shocked the incident had happened in Atlanta. “I didn’t think it would hit right here, man. I thought this city was better than that. They’ve got to answer. Somebody’s gotta say something,” Redd said, “We need to at least know that the city is with us.”

Director Ava DuVernay has endorsed a petition calling for Edmund Pettus Bridge in Montgomery, Alabama to be renamed the “John Lewis Bridge for Freedom”. The bridge was the location of the Bloody Sunday beatings by police of marchers campaigning for voting rights in 1965.

The episode featured in DuVernay’s Oscar-nominated 2014 film, Selma. Pettus was an Alabama senator and Klu Klux Klan Grand Wizard, while John Lewis is a veteran US politician and civil rights leader.

Ava DuVernay
(@ava)

I’ve just signed a petition about this bridge to dignity as seen in SELMA. It is named after a KKK grand wizard and confederate warlord. Edmund Pettus Bridge should be the John Lewis Bridge. Named for a hero. Not a murderer. Join this call. It’s past due. https://t.co/EZqu7ic0bU

June 13, 2020

“I’ve just signed a petition about this bridge to dignity as seen in SELMA. It is named after a KKK grand wizard and confederate warlord,” wrote DuVernay on Twitter. “Edmund Pettus Bridge should be the John Lewis Bridge. Named for a hero. Not a murderer. Join this call. It’s past due.”

Stacey Abrams speaks out after police shoot African American man dead

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation have confirmed that the man police shot dead last night in Atlanta on Friday night was African American. Rayshard Brooks was 27.

Stacey Abrams, who ran for Georgia governor in 2018, called for accountability over Brooks’s death in a tweet on Saturday afternoon.

Stacey Abrams
(@staceyabrams)

The killing of #RayshardBrooks in Atlanta last night demands we severely restrict the use of deadly force. Yes, investigations must be called for – but so too should accountability.

Sleeping in a drive-thru must not end in death. https://t.co/LKsiwA48Ll

June 13, 2020

“The killing of #RayshardBrooks in Atlanta last night demands we severely restrict the use of deadly force,” she wrote. “Yes, investigations must be called for – but so too should accountability. Sleeping in a drive-thru must not end in death.”

Both the GBI and the Fulton county district attorney’s office are investigating Brooks’s death, which happened after police were called to reports that a man had fallen asleep at a fast food restaurant drive-through.

The GBI says there was a struggle when police attempted to take Brooks into custody and he was shot and killed. “It has also been reported that the male subject was shot by an officer in the struggle over [a] Taser,” the GBI said in a statement.

Updated

Martin Pengelly

From Philadelphia, meanwhile, comes footage of a protest near the site of the 1985 Move bombing, a notorious event in which 11 people including five children died and a neighborhood burned down after police carried out an airstrike against a black liberation group.

Laura Benshoff
(@LEBenshoff)

Hundreds of protesters yell “Fuck Frank Rizzo!” during an action at the site of the MOVE bombing. pic.twitter.com/sqKIlFW5kh

June 13, 2020

Frank Rizzo was a notoriously racist mayor and police commissioner of Philadelphia. Earlier this month, his statue outside City Hall was first defaced and then removed.

Ed Pilkington, Guardian US chief reporter, has written extensively about the Move bombing, “one of the great, largely forgotten, outrages of modern America”, and the group it targeted.

Here’s Ed’s retelling of the bombing, from May this year, which begins with Frank Powell, a Philadelphia police officer who in 1985 was chief of the city’s bomb disposal squad, remembering vividly the moment he was told to carry out the aerial attack.

“Wow,” he recalls thinking. “You want me to do that?”

Martin Pengelly

Joe Biden has been tweeting, first about the “battle for the soul of this nation” which he will fight against Donald Trump at the polls, chaotic as they may be, in November.

Joe Biden.

Joe Biden. Photograph: Matt Slocum/AP

“If we give Donald Trump eight years in the White House,” the presumptive Democratic nominee writes, “he will fundamentally alter the character of this nation. We can’t let that happen.”

Biden also says: “We need a national ban on chokeholds. Now.”

It’s a reference to police arrest techniques at the heart of a number of recent deaths of unarmed African American men, including George Floyd, whose killing in Minneapolis last month touched off lasting protest and civil unrest.

By way of comparison, here’s what Trump said about chokeholds yesterday, in an interview with Fox News:

“I think the concept of chokeholds sounds so innocent and so perfect … [but] you have to be careful. With that being said, it would be, I think, a very good thing that, generally speaking, it should be ended.”

The Fulton county district attorney’s office has opened an investigation into an incident in which Atlanta police shot and killed a man on Friday night. Police responded to reports that a man had fallen asleep in his car at a Wendy’s drive-thru and was blocking traffic. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) says the man was shot and killed after police tried to take him into custody. One report says the man tried to grab a police taser. The GBI is conducting its own investigation. Unverified reports on social media say the man who died was black.

Mike Petchenik
(@MPetchenikWSB)

JUST IN: The #FultonCounty DA’s statement about the @Atlanta_Police involved shooting Friday night. pic.twitter.com/Z3mwwvOnNz

June 13, 2020

From what we know of the case so far, there are some similarities to the death of Willie McCoy in California last year:

Updated

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