Protests over racism and police violence continue nationwide, sparked by outrage over the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who was killed last month while in the custody of Minneapolis police.
Live updates for Friday, June 19, continue below:
Erie police sergeant fired for sending ‘racially insensitive’ email
Update 11:40 p.m. EDT June 19: A police sergeant in Erie, Pennsylvania, was fired after sending an email with racially insensitive language to the mayor and local media, WJET-TV reported.
According to Erie Mayor Joe Schember, the email from Sgt. Jeff Annunziata on Monday contained “racist and derogatory statements and assertions,” the television station reported.
Erie police Chief Dan Spizarny said Annunziata was fired after an internal investigation.
“I speak for the command staff when I say that we were all sickened by the language of Mr. Annunziata,” Spizamy said in a statement. “We took an oath to protect and serve everyone. Mr. Annunziata’s language should not be construed as a reflection of the rest of the Erie Police Department. Though our country was founded with the long-standing principle of freedom of speech, the city of Erie cannot and will not allow taxpayer money to be used to spread hatred and bigotry. Mr. Annunziata’s views are not reflective of the Erie Police Department, and his actions, including sending this email, warrant immediate termination.”
Protester arrested in Atlanta after shooting at motorist
Update 10:38 p.m. EDT June 19: A protester in Atlanta was arrested after shooting a driver who was upset by protesters blocking an intersection Friday night, WSB-TV reported. Witnesses said the motorist grabbed a weapon out of his vehicle, and then was shot at by a protester, the television station reported.
No injuries were reported.
‘Today we shall breathe,’ Chicago pastor tells crowd
Update 9:27 p.m. EDT June 19: The Juneteenth march to Chicago’s Grant Park included the crowd stopping to sing “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” the Chicago Tribune reported
“Today we shall breathe,” Otis Moss III, pastor of Chicago’s Trinity United Church of Christ, told the crowd.
The marchers observed a moment of silence and took a knee on the grass of Grant Park to remember the life of George Floyd, the Tribune reported. Pastor Chris Harris, who organized the march, told the crowd to rise up with a fist in the air, to honor Laquan McDonald, a 17-year-old who was fatally shot by a Chicago police officer in 2014.
“I know they want us to rush the healing but it still hurts,” Harris told the newspaper.“Enough is enough.”
Georgia Sheriffs’ Association critical of Fulton County DA
Update 6:01 p.m. EDT June 19: The Georgia Sheriffs’ Association criticized the way Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard, Jr. has handled the investigation into the shooting death of Rayshard Brooks in Atlanta.
“District Attorney Paul Howard hastily conducted his own personal investigation before announcing he had secured warrants for the two officers,” Lumpkin County Sheriff Stacy Jarrard, the president of the Georgia Sheriffs’ Association, said in a statement. “Through this grandstanding vote-seeking tactic, Howard has trampled on the rights of Officer Garrett Rolfe and Officer Devin Brosnan and has further allowed this tragic incident to be more about his re-election than justice for the officers involved, the Atlanta Police Department and the citizens of our state.”
AG Barr critical of process used in charging Atlanta police officers
Update 5:42 p.m. EDT June 19: U.S. Attorney General William Barr, in an interview that aired Friday, criticized the way charges were brought against two Atlanta police officers by Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard.
Barr told Fox Business that the Georgia Bureau of Investigation should have completed its investigation of the shooting before the charges were filed. Barr also said a grand jury should have been used while the case against officers Garrett Rolfe and Devin Brosnan were being built, CNN reported.
“I think it’s important to go through the right processes before charging someone,” Barr said.
Red paint covers Ohio statehouse
Update 4:59 p.m. EDT June 19: Red paint handprints were found on the walls, stairs and pillars of the Ohio statehouse Thursday, a move that angered Gov. Mike DeWine. The phrase, “hands up, don’t shoot” were also painted along with the handprints.
“I support the right to peacefully protest,” DeWIne said in a statement. “However, defacing, damaging, and vandalizing our state capitol and its grounds are wrong, and such actions are criminal.”
Former officer accused of murdering Rayshard Brooks waives court appearance
Update 1:44 p.m. EDT June 19: Former Atlanta police officer Garrett Rolfe has waived his first court appearance, WSB reported.
Rolfe’s attorneys did not show up to court on his behalf.
Officer who was involved with Breonna Taylor shooting to be fired
Update 12:19 p.m. EDT June 19: Louisville Chief Rob Schroeder has started the process to fire Det. Brett Hankinson, WLKY reported.
Hankinson is one of three officers were was involved in the shooting death of Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old ER technician.
In his termination letter, it is said Hankinson violated two standard operating procedures: obedience to rules and regulations and use of deadly force, according to WLKY.
The letter said that Hankison was also reckless since some of the rounds he fired in Taylor’s home went into a neighbor’s apartment.
Schroeder said Hankinson was not trained by the police department to use “deadly force in this fashion,” WLKY reported.
Taylor was shot and killed on March 13 when Hankinson and two other officers were acting on a no-knock search warrant that had her name and apartment listed as part of a narcotics investigation. No drugs were found in her apartment. Kenneth Walker, Taylor’s boyfriend, fired a gun at the officers who broke into the apartment unannounced because he thought the home was being broken into, the Louisville Courier-Journal reported.
Former officer charged with murder in Rayshard Brooks’ death to face judge today
Update 6:17 a.m. EDT June 19: Former Atlanta police Officer Garrett Rolfe is expected to appear in court at noon today, WSB-TV is reporting.
Rolfe turned himself into the Fulton County Jail on Thursday, but then officials transferred him to the Gwinnett County Jail. He’s being held with no bond.
On Wednesday, Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard charged Rolfe with murder and 10 other charges, including aggravated assault.
The other officer, Devin Brosnan, who is facing three charges, including aggravated assault, turned himself in and quickly bonded out.
Confederate memorial removed from Atlanta suburb
Update 4:58 a.m. EDT June 19: Hundreds of people cheered late Thursday as crews removed a Confederate memorial from Decatur Square in Georgia.
The stone obelisk was lifted from its base with straps to chants of “Just drop it!” from the crowd, who were kept a safe distance by sheriff’s deputies.
On June 12, DeKalb County Judge Clarence Seeliger ordered the 30-foot monument to be removed by midnight June 26 and placed in storage indefinitely.
The order came hours before a white Atlanta police officer shot and killed a black man, 27-year-old Rayshard Brooks, in the back, sparking renewed protests.
Hundreds gather for vigil for Charleena Lyles, pregnant mother killed by Seattle police in 2017
Update 3:11 a.m. EDT June 19: Hundreds gathered Thursday at Seattle’s Magnuson Park to remember Charleena Lyles, a pregnant mother of four who was fatally shot three years ago after calling police to report a burglary at her apartment, KIRO-TV is reporting.
During the vigil, Lyles’ cousin laid out several demands, including that the Seattle Police Department be defunded by at least 50% and reinvest the funds into the community.
Lyles’ family also wants the Seattle police officers involved in the case, Jason Anderson and Steven McNew, to drop their lawsuits against King County, which the family said is preventing the inquest from proceeding.
On the night officers arrived at Lyles’ place, they said she was calm and peaceful at first, but then she suffered a mental breakdown.
Police said she grabbed at least one kitchen knife and lunged at them, leaving them no choice but to fire shots, killing her.
In the aftermath, family members sued the officers involved in the case, as well as the city of Seattle.
Georgia Gov. Kemp releases video message in support of police officers
Update 2:36 a.m. EDT June 19: Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp released a video Thursday with a lengthy message in support of Georgia police officers and acknowledging the challenging time officers are facing, WSB-TV is reporting.
The message came one day after two Atlanta police officers were charged in connection with the death of Rayshard Brooks and after weeks of protests against police brutality nationwide.
“While so much of our attention is on the few that have violated their oath, we have failed to express our deepest appreciation for the many more who uphold it every day,” Kemp said. “So today and every day, we say, ‘Thank you.’”
Kemp lauded officers’ work during the COVID-19 pandemic and during protests.
“During this global pandemic, you stepped up to help advance COVID-19 testing. You worked overtime to keep your friends and neighbors safe during peaceful community protests,” Kemp said. “And even when it seemed like the world abandoned you, and demonized your profession, you continued to sacrifice your life for the safety of others.”
On Wednesday night, rumors swirled that officers walked out after the Fulton County district attorney announced charges against the two officers involved in Brooks’ death. Garrett Rolfe faces 11 charges in the deadly shooting, including felony murder. He turned himself in Thursday. Officer Devin Brosnan, who faces three charges, also turned himself in Thursday and was released on bond.
WSB-TV′s Richard Elliot was outside the state Capitol, where Kemp’s office said his statement was in direct response to reports of Atlanta police officers refusing to go to work. Kemp’s office said the officers were protesting District Attorney Paul Howard’s charging of the officers in Brooks’ death, although Kemp never mentioned Brooks by name.
“Know this: We stand with you,” Kemp said. “We support you, and we have your back. I don’t know what comes next, but know that you are not alone.”
The Atlanta Police Department has said there was no massive walkout.
Police in Tulsa, Oklahoma, implement curfew ahead of Trump rally
Update 1:49 a.m. EDT June 19: Police in Tulsa, Oklahoma, said a curfew is now in effect for downtown due to President Donald Trump’s visit on Saturday.
According to KOKI-TV, Tulsa police took to Facebook to say the curfew started at 10 p.m. CDT Thursday and will be in effect until 6 a.m. CDT Saturday.
After the rally, the curfew will resume until 6 a.m. CDT Sunday.
Mayor G.T. Bynum signed the executive order that places a curfew on certain areas. It cites the possibility of “civil unrest” and “multiple incidents of violence and property damage” during and surrounding previous protests.
County health board in Washington state declares racism a public health crisis
Published 12:57 a.m. EDT June 19: The King County Board of Health in Washington state passed a resolution Thursday declaring racism a public health crisis, KIRO-TV is reporting.
As part of the resolution, the Board of Health said it supports King County and Public Health – Seattle & King County in the work to advance a public health approach in addressing institutional and systemic racism.
Officials also said they “commit to assessing, revising, and writing its guiding documents and its policies with a racial justice and equity lens including the Board of Health code and annual work plan.”
As part of the resolution, the board members said they also commit to ongoing work around race and equity, including the following:
- Participating in racial equity training.
- Engaging and being responsive to communities and residents impacted by racism, especially black and indigenous communities, as partners in identifying and implementing solutions.
- Establishing an agreed-upon understanding of racial equity principles to work towards anti-racist policies and practices and to serve as ambassadors of racial equity work.
– The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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