Oluwatoyin Salau, Victoria Sims found dead: What we know
Amid calls for police reform across the nation, President Donald Trump signed an executive order Tuesday that encourages police departments to “meet the most current professional standards for the use of force.”
The Seattle City Council voted unanimously Monday night to ban police from using tear gas and pepper spray. The vote comes after officers defied Mayor Jenny Durkan’s promise to not use tear gas on protesters in the Capitol Hill neighborhood.
Meanwhile, new audio of a phone call revealed that a 911 dispatcher called her supervisor to express concern over the force used against George Floyd.
A closer look at some recent developments:
- Monday night, three New York Police Department officers were hospitalized briefly after complaining of not feeling well after drinking milkshakes from Shake Shack. Following an investigation, the New York Police Department said “no criminality” had occurred.
- Tyler Perry is paying for the funeral of Rayshard Brooks, a 27-year-old Black man who was fatally shot by a white Atlanta police officer outside a Wendy’s restaurant late Friday.
- A hospital in California’s capital city of Sacramento removed a statue of John Sutter, who enslaved Native Americans, from outside its building.
- A man was shot at an Albuquerque protest Monday night following a tense clash between protesters and heavily armed New Mexico Civil Guard members, who were trying to protect a statue of conquistador Juan de Oñate.
- Nineteen Atlanta officers resigned this week amid ongoing unrest in the city.
- While fighting back tears in a press conference in Atlanta, Rayshard Brooks’ widow Tomika Miller said: “There’s no justice that can ever make me feel happy about what has been done.”
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Trump signs order to encourage police to limit deadly force
President Donald Trump signed an executive order Tuesday that encourages law enforcement agencies to adopt high standards for the use of deadly force.
“Today is about pursuing common sense and fighting for a cause like we seldom get the chance to fight for,” Trump said in comments made in the Rose Garden. “We have to find common ground. But I strongly oppose the radical and dangerous efforts to (defund), dismantle and dissolve our police departments … Americans know the truth: without police there is chaos, without law there is anarchy and without safety, there is catastrophe.”
Trump said the order would focus on certifying police officers on de-escalation tactics; creating a database to track officers who have been accused of using excessive force, aiming to prevent them from being rehired at another police department; and launching a co-respondent program that would see mental health professional working more closely with police.
Trump said the order bans choke holds “unless an officer’s life is at risk.”
Trump and his staff developed the executive order amid protests in cities nationwide in response to a series of police killings, particularly last month’s death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. The White House was also the scene of protests in the week following Floyd’s death. The order comes down as Trump, down in pre-election polls to Democratic challenger Joe Biden, faces criticism over his handling of nationwide protests over Floyd’s death.
– Courtney Subramanian
Dispatcher warned police sergeant as officer pinned down George Floyd
A 911 dispatcher who was apparently watching in real time as a Minneapolis police officer pressed his knee into the neck of George Floyd called a supervisor to tell him what she saw, not caring if it made her look like a “snitch,” according to a recording of the call made public Monday.
In the recording, the dispatcher calls a police sergeant and says what she was seeing on live video looked “different” and that she wanted to let him know about it. The dispatcher was in a 911 call center at the time and was watching video from a surveillance camera posted at the intersection where police apprehended Floyd, according to city spokesman Casper Hill.
“I don’t know, you can call me a snitch if you want to, but we have the cameras up for 320’s call. … Um, I don’t know if they had used force or not. They got something out of the back of the squad, and all of them sat on this man. So, I don’t know if they needed you or not, but they haven’t said anything to me yet,” says the dispatcher, whose name is edited out of the recording.
Minnesota Freedom Fund faces criticism for use of donations
The Minnesota Freedom Fund, a nonprofit organization that helps minority and immigrant communities meet bail, came under criticism after it posted a tweet that said it used just $200,000 in bail payments since the surge of donations after George Floyd’s death.
In a different communication, the organization said “tens of thousands of people from all over the world have donated more than $25 million” since Floyd’s death. After the first tweet, critics sought transparency about how the remaining stockpile of donations would be used.
The MFF said on June 2 that it would pause accepting donations, since the organization was “flooded with resources and we are going to take a beat while we marshal those.” It also added that it had “some big plays in mind.”
Three days later, the MFF said that because “financial needs for protester bails has almost certainly been met,” donations may be used to “to expand legal support” for those arrested during protests.
Tyler Perry to pay for Rayshard Brooks’ funeral
Tyler Perry is paying for the funeral of Rayshard Brooks, a 27-year-old Black man who was fatally shot by a white Atlanta police officer outside a Wendy’s restaurant late Friday.
Brooks’ family attorney Chris Stewart made the announcement at a press conference in Atlanta on Monday. The same day, hundreds of protesters demanded an end to systemic racism during a “March on Georgia.”
Perry has not made a statement about the funeral on social media, but did post a quote from Martin Luther King, Jr. earlier Monday.
“I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear,” the quote reads.
Also, according to People, Perry has also offered to pay for the college educations of Brooks’ four children.
– Sara M. Moniuszko
Man shot at tense New Mexico protest
One man was shot at an Albuquerque protest Monday night following a clash between protesters and heavily armed New Mexico Civil Guard members, who were trying to protect a statue of conquistador Juan de Oñate.
The injured man is in “critical, but stable condition” at a hospital, officials said.
Police in a statement said detectives arrested Stephen Ray Baca, 31, and that he was jailed on suspicion of aggravated battery. Authorities had said earlier that several people were detained for questioning.
The shooting happened hours after Mayor Tim Keller announced the creation of a division made up of social workers, housing and homelessness specialists, and violence prevention coordinators that will be deployed instead of police in calls about inebriation, homelessness, addiction and mental health.
“We’ve placed more and more issues on the plates of officers who are not trained — despite their best efforts and despite some training — they’re not totally trained to be a social worker, or to be an addiction counselor, or to deal with things around child abuse when they’re just answering a call,” Keller said in his Twitter announcement. “We should have trained professionals do this, instead of folks with a gun and a badge.”
More protests flare up across US
A look at overnight protests across the country:
- In southwest Atlanta, peaceful protesters marched and largely avoided contact with police. They blocked traffic for about 90 minutes.
- In St. Cloud, Minnesota, at least one business suffered damage and several people were arrested early Tuesday when a large crowd gathered. Police used chemical irritants to try to disperse a crowd of about 100.
- In Nashville, two days after protesters set up a small campsite outside the state Capitol, a lawmaker moved to make doing so a felony. Late Monday night, Tennessee Highway Patrol announced it detained 19 for refusing to leave the capitol grounds.
- In Portland, Oregon, police declared a civil disturbance after they said hundreds of protesters threw projectiles at officers and pointed lasers at their eyes. Police say demonstrators set a fire and tagged buildings with graffiti. Portland Police said a deputy was taken to a hospital for treatment after the deputy was hit in the head with a large rock.
The doctrine of qualified immunity has been used to protect police from civil lawsuits and trials. Here’s why it was put in place.
NYPD officers hospitalized after drinking milkshakes from Shake Shack
The New York Police Department investigated whether three of its officers were poisoned after drinking milkshakes Monday night at a Shake Shack restaurant in Manhattan.
The officers complained of “not feeling well” before being hospitalized and later released, the NYPD said in a statement to USA TODAY, and Shake Shack said via Twitter that it was “horrified” and working with police.
The Detectives’ Endowment Association, the labor union that represents 20,000 active and retired New York City Detectives, condemned the incident as an attack on police, claiming on Twitter that the officers were “intentionally poisoned by one or more workers.”
However, Chief Rodney Harrison, NYPD’s chief of detectives, tweeted early Tuesday: “After a thorough investigation by the NYPD’s Manhattan South investigators, it has been determined that there was no criminality by shake shack’s employees.”
Seattle City Council votes to ban police from using tear gas, pepper spray
The Seattle City Council voted unanimously Monday night to ban police from using tear gas, pepper spray and several other crowd control devices after officers repeatedly used them on mostly peaceful demonstrators protesting against racism and police brutality.
The 9-0 vote came amid frustration with the Seattle Police Department, which used tear gas to disperse protesters in the city’s densest neighborhood, Capitol Hill, just days after Mayor Jenny Durkan and Chief Carmen Best promised not to.
The council heard repeated complaints from residents forced out of their homes by the gas even though they weren’t protesting; one resident said his wife doused their child’s eyes with breast milk.
A federal judge on Friday issued a temporary order banning Seattle police from using tear gas, pepper spray, foam-tipped projectiles or other force against protesters, finding that the department had used less-lethal weapons “disproportionately and without provocation,” chilling free speech in the process.
California hospital removes John Sutter statue from outside its building
Amid calls to remove controversial historic monuments nationwide, a hospital in California’s state capital on Monday removed a statue of John Sutter sitting outside its building, KCRA reported.
Sutter General Hospital in Sacramento removed the statue “out of respect for some community members’ viewpoints,” according to a statement.
“There are important conversations happening across the country about the appropriate representation of statues and monuments, and we look forward to listening to and participating in future conversations about how our own community may display artwork from the different communities and individuals that have played important roles in Sacramento’s history,” the statement read.
More on protests
19 Atlanta officers resign as morale falls after Rayshard Brooks shooting
Nineteen Atlanta Police officers have resigned in the last week amid unrest in the city following the tasing of two college students by Atlanta officers, and most recently the killing of Rayshard Brooks.
Police Chief Erika Shields also stepped down after the shooting of Brooks, who was stopped Friday night at a Wendy’s due to suspicion of drunk driving.
Prior to the announcement of the resignations, Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms announced reforms to the police department by limiting the use of force through executive orders.
“The morale is bad right now,” the mayor said, according to Fox 5 in Atlanta. “My understanding is it is really bad.”
– Autumn Schoolman
California authorities will further review hanging death of Robert Fuller
Los Angeles County officials acknowledged Monday that community pressure and voices nationwide against racial inequality prompted them to take another look at the circumstances surrounding the death of Robert Fuller, a Black man found hanging from a tree in Palmdale, California.
The authorities initially indicated the death of Fuller, 24, appeared to be a suicide. Fuller’s family has challenged that contention, and hundreds of protesters turned out Saturday for a march starting at the park where his body was discovered June 10, across the street from City Hall.
As of Monday afternoon, more than 260,000 people had signed an online petition demanding a full investigation. At a Monday news conference, L.A. County Sheriff Alex Villanueva said California Attorney General Xavier Becerra and the civil rights division of the FBI would monitor the Fuller investigation in an effort to make sure “that we leave no rock unturned.”
– Jorge L. Ortiz and Lorenzo Reyes
Brooks’ widow, Tomika Miller: ‘Long time before this family heals’
While speaking at a press conference alongside several other family members and family attorney L. Chris Stewart, Tomika Miller, Brooks’ widow, fought back tears and thanked the Atlanta community for an outpouring of support over the weekend.
“There’s no justice that can ever make me feel happy about what has been done,” Miller said. “I can never get my husband back. I can never get my best friend. I can never tell my daughter: ‘Oh, he’s coming to take you skating,’ or for swimming lessons. It’s just going to be a long time before I heal. It’s going to be a long time before this family heals.”
Miller asked protesters to remain peaceful during demonstrations “because we want to keep his name positive and great.”
Stewart said that another customer who was at the Wendy’s drive-thru sent him an image of a stray bullet hole that struck the customer’s car when the Atlanta police officer fired at Brooks.
“There could have been more casualties,” Stewart said. “That’s what happens when you fire in a crowded parking lot.”
Stewart also thanked actor and comedian Tyler Perry for his offer to pay for Brooks’ funeral services.
Rayshard Brooks’ family walked out of a press conference after being overwhelmed talking about the death of Brooks.
Breonna Taylor’s legacy could be an end to no-knock warrants
Louisville’s ban on no-knock search warrants, the kind used in the fatal police shooting of Breonna Taylor, may be the start of something bigger. State Rep. Attica Scott, D-Louisville, said she expects to prefile within the next week a bill to ban no-knock warrants in Kentucky. And U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., has already said is filing a bill he’s calling the “Justice for Breonna Taylor Act” that effectively would end no-knock warrants in the U.S.
Police investigating a drug case obtained a warrant with a no-knock provision for Taylor’s apartment, though officials have said that officers knocked before crashing through the door. Taylor’s boyfriend Kenneth Walker has said he did not hear anyone announce that they were police, and fired at what he thought were intruders. Taylor was killed in the ensuing gunfight. No drugs were found.
– Matt Mencarini, Louisville Courier Journal
Contributing: The Associated Press
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