The latest on protests against racism and police brutality around the U.S. and the world.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Louisville’s mayor said Friday that one of three police officers involved in the fatal shooting of Breonna Taylor will be fired.

Mayor Greg Fisher said interim Louisville police Chief Robert Schroeder has started termination proceedings for Officer Brett Hankison. Two other officers remain on administrative reassignment while the shooting is investigated.

Fischer said officials could not answer questions about the firing because of state law. He referred all questions to the Jefferson County attorney’s office.

Taylor, who was black, was gunned down by officers who burst into her Louisville home using a no-knock warrant. She was shot eight times by officers conducting a narcotics investigation on March 13. No drugs were found at her home.

Original ‘Juneteenth’ order found in the National Archives

The National Archives on Thursday located what appears to be an original handwritten “Juneteenth” military order informing thousands of people held in bondage in Texas they were free.

The decree, in the ornate handwriting of a general’s aide, was found in a formal order book stored in the Archives headquarters building in Washington. It is dated June 19, 1865, and signed by Maj. F.W. Emery, on behalf of Union Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger.

The Juneteenth order was located in a formal U.S. Army order book and is thought to be the first version of the famous proclamation. Image courtesy of the National Archives via The Washington Post

“The people of Texas are informed that, in accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the United States, ‘all slaves are free,’ ” the order reads.

“This involves an absolute equality of personal rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and hired labor.”

The order sparked jubilation among African Americans in Texas and resulted in generations of celebration. It rings poignant today, as in recent weeks outpourings of anger against police brutality and racism have filled America’s streets.

It is a modest, two-paragraph entry in the book labeled “Headquarters District of Texas, Galveston … General Orders No. 3.” But it affected the lives of about 250,000 enslaved people.

The order was located by Trevor Plante, director of an archives textual records division, who, because of current interest in the subject, was asked to search for it.

Printed versions of the order have long existed, Plante said Thursday. “But this is something that we haven’t tracked down before,” he said. The handwritten entry “absolutely” predated the printed versions of the order, he said.

“This is done June 19, 1865,” he said. “This would have been done the day of.”

“It’s in good shape,” he said. “You can read it, and it’s legible.”

David Ferriero, head of the Archives, said of the find: “I think it’s terrific. I think the timing is just amazing.”

Majority of Americans support police protests, poll finds

NEW YORK — Ahead of the Juneteenth holiday weekend’s demonstrations against systemic racism and police brutality, a majority of Americans say they approve of recent protests around the country. Many think they’ll bring positive change.

And despite the headline-making standoffs between law enforcement and protesters in cities nationwide, the poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research also finds a majority of Americans think law enforcement officers have generally responded to the protests appropriately. Somewhat fewer say the officers used excessive force.

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Shanee Isabell calls out the name of her second cousin Charleena Lyles, Thursday, June 18, 2020, during a vigil for Lyles on the third anniversary of her death, in Seattle. Lyles was shot and killed by Seattle police. Also in attendance at the vigil were family members of nearly two dozen people killed by police across the country who traveled to Seattle to urge police reform. AP Photo/Ted S. Warren

The findings follow weeks of peaceful protests and unrest in response to the death of George Floyd, a black man who died pleading for air on May 25 after a white Minneapolis police officer held his knee on Floyd’s neck for nearly eight minutes. A dramatic change in public opinion on race and policing has followed, with more Americans today than five years ago calling police violence a very serious problem that unequally targets black Americans.

Bill Ardren, a 75-year-old retired resident of Maple Grove, Minnesota, a suburb of Minneapolis, said he supports the protests. He blames protesters and law enforcement equally for why some Floyd demonstrations turned into ugly clashes that were scarred by looting and arson.

“People finally got fed up because of this last incident,” said Ardren, referring to Floyd’s death, “and it spread all over the country.”

The new AP-NORC poll finds 54% of Americans say they approve of the protests, while 32% disapprove. Another 14% say they hold neither opinion.

More Americans think the protests will mostly change the country for the better than bring about negative change, 44% to 21%, while a third say the protests won’t make much difference.

Read the full story here.

Advocates worry blacks, Hispanics falling behind in census

ORLANDO, Fla. — Halfway through the extended effort to count every U.S. resident, civil rights leaders worry that minority communities are falling behind in responding to the 2020 census.

With outreach efforts to motivate minority responses upended by a global pandemic, both the National Urban League and the NALEO Educational Fund are sounding the alarm that communities with concentrations of blacks and Hispanics have been trailing the rest of the nation in answering the census questionnaire.

The once-each-decade count helps determine where $1.5 trillion in federal funding goes and how many congressional seats each state gets.

“Going into 2020, we knew the census was going to be extremely challenging. We knew the Census Bureau didn’t have sufficient preparations to do all of its tests to make sure it would work out the way it should be … and then COVID-19 hit,” said Arturo Vargas, CEO of NALEO Educational Fund said this week during a virtual town hall with NBCUniversal Telemundo.

The pandemic is disproportionately affecting the Latino population, he said, so “we have to figure out how we break through the real noise affecting their daily lives to do something as ordinary as going through the mail and filling out their forms.”

People can respond either online, by phone or through the mail, but many U.S. residents haven’t taken the initiative.

The nation’s self-response rate was 61.5% this week. Arizona, Florida, New Mexico, New York and Texas — states with large concentrations of Hispanics — were lagging. California, which invested $187 million in outreach efforts, was doing slightly better, with 62.6% of its households responding, he said.

Tulsa imposes curfew ahead of Trump rally to prevent violent protesting

The city of Tulsa announced a last-minute curfew that began Thursday night and will continue Friday and Saturday, restricting people from a large area surrounding the arena where President Trump will hold his first campaign rally in months.

An executive order signed by Mayor G.T. Bynum (R) says the curfew, which begins at 10 p.m. and lifts at 6 a.m. both nights, is intended to quell potential overnight violence as thousands intend to pour into the city to protest the president’s visit.

Freeman Culver

Freeman Culver stands in front of a mural listing the names of businesses destroyed during the 1921 Tulsa race massacre, on the other side of what’s historically the city’s white-black dividing line from where President Donald Trump will rally Saturday. Associated Press/Sue Ogrocki

It’s unclear whether the Trump supporters who have camped out for days to secure a prime spot to see the president on Saturday will be cleared out as well, but some videos posted on social media appeared to show people leaving the area carrying tents and lawn chairs.

The police informed Bynum that “individuals from organized groups who have been involved in destructive and violent behavior in other states are planning to travel to the City of Tulsa for purposes of causing unrest in and around the rally,” the order reads.

People who refuse to leave the area risk arrest, the Tulsa Police Department warned on Twitter.

“This is an unprecedented event for the City of Tulsa and has hundreds of moving parts, we are asking for everyone’s help in making this a safe event for all citizens,” the department tweeted.

Bank of England apologizes for slave trade links

LONDON — The Bank of England has apologized for the links past governors of the institution had with slavery.

The central bank called the trade in human beings “an unacceptable part of English history,” and pledged to not to display any images of former leaders who had any involvement.

The bank says in a statement Friday it is “aware of some inexcusable connections involving former governors and directors and apologizes for them.’’

On Thursday, two British companies promised to financially support projects assisting minorities after being called out for past roles in the slave trade.

Insurance giant Lloyd’s of London and the pub chain Greene King made the pledges after they were included in a University College London database of companies with ties to the slave trade.

Confederate monument removed from Atlanta suburb

DECATUR, Ga. — As midnight approached, hundreds gathered in an Atlanta suburb’s town square and watched a crane swoop in and take down a 112-year-old Confederate monument.

The stone obelisk was removed from its perch in Decatur, Georgia, on the eve of Juneteenth amid jeers and chants of “Just drop it!”

The monument was among those around the country that became flashpoints for protests over police brutality and racial injustice in recent weeks, following the death of George Floyd at the hands of police in Minneapolis. The monument to the Lost Cause that was erected by the United Daughters of the Confederacy was often vandalized and marked by graffiti.

The city of Decatur had asked a Georgia judge last week to order the removal of the monument, saying it had become a threat to public safety.

The DeKalb County judge ordered the 30-foot obelisk to be removed by June 26 and placed in storage indefinitely. His order was handed down just hours before 27-year-old Rayshard Brooks was shot and killed by an Atlanta police officer, renewing protests in the Georgia capital region.

Maryland police chief steps down amid reports of racial bias

UPPER MARLBORO, Md. — A Maryland police chief is stepping down amid reports alleging racial bias and discrimination toward officers of color.

Prince George’s County police Chief Hank Stawinski resigned Thursday as the NAACP planned to hold a vote of no-confidence against his leadership. The resignation also comes after the American Civil Liberties Union detailed discriminatory practices and retaliation by the department in a 94-page report.

Thirteen black and Hispanic officers asked the ACLU to file a lawsuit on their behalf in 2018, accusing the department of allowing racist actions and punishing minority officers who reported the incidents. County Executive Angela Alsobrooks made the announcement. Stawinski didn’t immediately respond to comment requests.

 


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