Protesters toppled the statue of Francis Scott Key in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park on Friday, June 19. Historical figures tainted by racism continues.
Eight correctional officers in Minneapolis have filed racial discrimination charges with the state’s Department of Human Rights alleging that they weren’t allowed to be in close contact with Derek Chauvin, the white officer who kneeled on George Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes.
Meanwhile, in Thousand Oaks, California, three men were arrested on suspicion of vandalizing a Black Lives Matter sign. Two of the men worked for local law enforcement agencies.
And, in Seattle, a second shooting occurred inside the city’s autonomous zone, also known as the CHOP for “Capitol Hill Occupied Protest.” A 19-year-old was killed and another person injured in a shooting Saturday, and on Sunday, police said a second shooting had occurred, injuring one person. No arrests have been made.
On Monday, a public viewing will be held in Atlanta for Rayshard Brooks, a Black man fatally shot by a white police officer as he tried to flee.
A closer look at some recent developments:
- The statue of Theodore Roosevelt outside the American Museum of Natural History in New York will be removed. Mayor Bill de Blasio said the statue shows Black and Indigenous people as “subjugated and racially inferior.”
- Statues of Catholic priest Junipero Serra were toppled in San Francisco and Los Angeles over the weekend. Serra founded nine of California’s 21 Spanish missions.
- A noose was found in the garage stall of Darrell “Bubba” Wallace Jr. and the No. 43 Richard Petty Motorsports team Sunday at Talladega Superspeedway. Wallace is the only full-time Black driver in NASCAR’s elite Cup series.
- Three men, two who worked for local law enforcement agencies in California, were arrested on suspicion of vandalizing a Black Lives Matter sign in the city of Westlake Village.
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Noose found in garage stall of Bubba Wallace at Talladega Superspeedway
A noose was found in the garage stall of Darrell “Bubba” Wallace Jr. and the No. 43 Richard Petty Motorsports team Sunday at Talladega Superspeedway, NASCAR said in a statement released Sunday night.
NASCAR said it was opening an investigation hoping to identify the person responsible and “eliminate them from the sport.” “As we have stated unequivocally, there is no place for racism in NASCAR, and this act only strengthens our resolve to make the sport open and welcoming to all,” the statement says.
Wallace is the only Black driver in the Cup Series and has been integral in leading the sport’s recent commitment to fighting racism and injustice. His largest impact so far was calling for NASCAR to ban the Confederate flag from all events, which the governing body did on June 10.
– Michelle R. Martinelli
NYPD officer suspended for ‘apparent chokehold’
New York Police Commissioner Dermot Shea said Sunday that an officer has been suspended without pay after video surfaced of him putting a Black man in an “apparent chokehold.”
The suspension came just hours after the incident on a beach boardwalk in Queens. Video shot by a man involved in the incident shows a group of officers tackling a Black man as one officer puts his arm around the man’s neck as he is lying face down. The group around the officers shouts for the officer to release his arm from the man’s neck, and another officer restraining the man on the ground taps the officer on his back and pulls his shirt before the officer releases the chokehold.
“The officer who intervened to stop his colleague did exactly the right thing,” Mayor Bill de Blasio tweeted Sunday night. “I commend him. That is what we need to see from all our officers.”
Shea said a full investigation was underway. The NYPD has long banned chokeholds, and their use has come under increased scrutiny since the death of Eric Garner in 2014 after an officer used a chokehold on him. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo recently signed a package of law enforcement accountability laws, which includes a ban on chokeholds.
2 shootings in Seattle’s protest zone over the weekend
Police in Seattle say two shootings occurred over the weekend in the city’s Capitol Hill Occupied Protest (CHOP) zone.
A shooting late Sunday left at least one person injured with a gunshot wound. The person arrived at the hospital in a private vehicle and was in serious condition, Harborview Medical Center spokesperson Susan Gregg said in a statement.
On Saturday, a 19-year-old man died at a hospital after being treated for wounds from a shooting, and another sustained “life-threatening injuries,” police said in a statement.
Police said they responded to a call about shots fired at 2:30 a.m. Saturday morning inside the protest zone. No arrests have been made.
Formerly known as CHAZ, or Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone, the area stretches several city blocks and has been cordoned off by protesters where artists paint murals, speakers discuss topics of racial equity and snacks are handed out for free.
Lawmakers, protesters want answers in shooting death of Andres Guardado by LA deputy
Two Democratic lawmakers in California have called on their state’s attorney general to investigate the death of Andres Guardado, an 18-year-old killed by a Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputy last week.
Reps. Maxine Waters and Nanette Diaz Barragán called for an independent investigation as hundreds of people gathered Sunday near the site where Guardado was fatally shot.
“Another day, and another Black or Brown kid has been shot in the back by police,” said the representatives for Southern California districts. “These killings must stop.”
Authorities say the sheriff’s deputy who shot Guardado spotted him with a gun in front of a business near Gardena but do not believe Guardado fired the weapon. Capt. Kent Wegener said the gun had no serial number and was pieced together with various firearm parts. Wegener also said investigators are reviewing footage from multiple cameras near the scene.
The shooting took place in the back of the building, Wegener said. Guardado was shot in the torso, he said, adding that the medical examiner will perform an autopsy.
Roosevelt statue to be removed from Natural History museum
The American Museum of Natural History in New York will remove a prominent statue of Theodore Roosevelt from its entrance after years of objections that it symbolizes colonial expansion and racial discrimination, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Sunday.
The statue that has stood at the museum’s entrance since 1940 depicts Roosevelt on horseback with a Native American man and a Black man standing next to the horse.
“The American Museum of Natural History has asked to remove the Theodore Roosevelt statue because it explicitly depicts Black and Indigenous people as subjugated and racially inferior,” de Blasio said in a written statement.
President Donald Trump objected to the statue’s removal, calling it “ridiculous” on Twitter. The museum’s president, Ellen Futter, told the New York Times that the museum’s “community has been profoundly moved by the ever-widening movement for racial justice that has emerged after the killing of George Floyd.”
3 men arrested for allegedly vandalizing BLM sign in California
Three men have been arrested on suspicion of vandalizing a Black Lives Matter sign in the city of Westlake Village, authorities said.
One of the men is a civilian employee of the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office, and another is a non-sworn investigative assistant at the Ventura County District Attorney’s Office.
The misdemeanor arrests were announced Saturday night by Ventura County Sheriff Bill Ayub’s office. The announcement covered multiple incidents over the last three weeks.
“I’m deeply disappointed that one of our employees involved himself in this type of illegal activity, especially when this is an infringement on someone’s First Amendment right to freedom of speech,” Ayub said in a statement. “We will not tolerate unlawful or unethical behavior by anyone employed by our agency. We hold our employees to the highest standards, and there will be consequences for this.”
The sign, described as a tarp with the letters BLM painted on it, has been displayed on a fence for the past three weeks, officials said, and has been damaged or removed on several occasions.
– Gretchen Wenner, Ventura (Calif.) County Star
Minnesota officers of color allege discrimination at jail that housed Derek Chauvin
Eight Minnesota correctional officers at the facility where fired police officer Derek Chauvin was held following his arrest for the murder of George Floyd say they were forbidden from coming into contact with him and have reportedly filed a complaint with the state’s Department of Human Rights.
The officers – all people of color – say they were told they would be a “liability” around Chauvin because of their race, The (Minneapolis) Star Tribune reported. According to a copy of charges obtained by the newspaper, once Chauvin arrived at the Ramsey County Jail, officers of color were ordered to a separate floor. The only officers left to guard Chauvin were white, and minority employees were prohibited from having contact with Chauvin, the Star Tribune reported.
– Jordan Culver
Statues of Spanish missionary Junipero Serra toppled in Los Angeles, San Francisco
Demonstrators in California toppled statues of a Spanish Catholic missionary over the weekend amid ongoing protests against racism sparked by the death of George Floyd on May 25.
Statues of Father Junipero Serra, who founded the state’s 21 Spanish missions, were brought down in Los Angeles and San Francisco. Demonstrators in Ventura County called for the removal of the statue outside of the city hall building on Saturday.
In downtown Los Angeles, Indigenous activists shouted and drummed as the statue was toppled Saturday, the Los Angeles Times reported. No police were present at the demonstration.
In San Francisco, the Serra statue at Golden Gate Park was yanked with ropes on Friday. San Francisco Archbishop Salvadore Cordileone criticized protesters in a statement: “A renewed national movement to heal memories and correct the injustices of racism and police brutality in our country has been hijacked by some into a movement of violence, looting and vandalism.”
San Francisco Mayor London Breed asked for public art to be reviewed after protesters vandalized and tore down statues.
Breed decried the vandalism, saying “the damage done … went far beyond” the removal of the statues.
Other statues targeted included those of Ulysses Grant, the 18th U.S. president, and Francis Scott Key, who wrote the U.S. national anthem “Star Spangled Banner.”
Breed said she will ask the Arts Commission, the Human Rights Commission and the Recreation and Parks Department and its Commission “to evaluate our public art and its intersection with our country’s racist history” to determine the status of other murals and monuments across the city.
– Lorenzo Reyes
More on protests
K-pop fans, TikTok teens may have contributed to Donald Trump rally turnout
President Donald Trump’s Saturday rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, featured smaller-than-expected crowds, with rows of empty seats at the 19,000-capacity BOK Center despite an expected turnout of nearly a million supporters.
A call to action coordinated by teens and young adults on TikTok and K-pop users on Twitter could explain what happened.
After the Trump reelection campaign opened registration for free tickets to the rally, K-pop fans on Twitter shared information on how to sign up – with directives to obtain tickets, but not attend.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez praised the collective involved in the action, telling Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale “you just got ROCKED by teens on TikTok.”
“Shout out to Zoomers,” she said, referring to the largely Gen Z makeup of these groups. “Y’all make me so proud.”
– Joshua Bote
Contributing: The Associated Press
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