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

WASHINGTON — Protesters tried to pull down a statue of President Andrew Jackson near the White House on Monday night before being dispersed by police.

WUSA-TV in Washington reported that police used pepper spray to move protesters out of Lafayette Square, where the Jackson statue is located. Videos posted on social media showed that the protesters had climbed on the statue and tied ropes around it, then tried to pull it off its pedestal.

The statue shows Jackson in a military uniform, riding a horse that is rearing on its hind legs. The 19th century president’s ruthless treatment of Native Americans has made his statue a target of demonstrators protesting the United States’ legacy of racial injustice.

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Firefighters put out a dumpster fire as protesters and police gather at Lafayette Park near the White House on Monday, after protesters tried to topple a statue of Andrew Jackson. Associated Press/Maya Alleruzzo

The Jackson statue remained on its pedestal Monday night.

President Trump tweeted late Monday that “Numerous people” had been arrested for “the disgraceful vandalism.” He added: “10 years in prison under the Veteran’s Memorial Preservation Act. Beware!”

Interior Secretary David Bernhardt was at the scene Monday night, and issued a statement saying: “Let me be clear: we will not bow to anarchists. Law and order will prevail, and justice will be served.”

On June 1, law enforcement officers forcefully cleared peaceful protesters from Lafayette Square so Trump could stage a photo op at a nearby church.

Hundreds in Atlanta pay respects to Rayshard Brooks, 10 days after his death

ATLANTA — Anger ebbed into grief on Monday as hundreds of mourners visited a historic church here to pay their respects to Rayshard Brooks, the latest black man to become a household name after dying at the hands of police.

Brooks’s death became the latest flash point in a national movement against police brutality and racism. Hundreds trickled through Ebenezer Baptist Church on Monday to see the man who galvanized them into action lying in repose.

“Seeing his body will satisfy my soul because our souls are all connected, and I’m hope to get some peace of mind,” said LaToya Spikes, who was the first in line to enter the church. She has spent many restless nights thinking about Brooks’s death. “All I see is his face and hear his name, it’s been very uneasy.”

Tomika Miller walks out of Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta behind the casket of her husband, Rayshard Brooks, after a public viewing Monday. Brooks, 27, died June 12 after being shot by a white police officer in a Wendy’s parking lot. Ben Gray/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP

Brooks, 27, was fatally shot by a white police officer after a DUI stop at an Atlanta Wendy’s on June 12. The hearse carrying Brooks bore his name and photo on its windows with a message that he was “Killed in Atlanta, Georgia 2020” over the image of a police badge.

Inside the church, Brooks lay in a gold coffin, wearing a white suit with a gold tie, gold pocket square and glasses and shoes encrusted in gold.

Upbeat music played on the speakers as his relatives and loved ones sat in the front row of the pews and near the altar. Brooks’s widow, Tomika Miller, wore a wide-brimmed white hat and dress with golden flowers on the back and a photo of her and her late husband printed on the front.

Read the full story about the service for Rayshard Brooks here.

Naval Academy rescinds appointment of student who wrote racist messages

ANNAPOLIS, Md. — The Naval Academy has rescinded an offer of appointment to a Maryland student after the institution was notified of racist messages the student made.

The student, who attended a Montgomery County high school, made racist, transphobic and sexist statements on chat platform Discord, including one that included saying he would make someone in the group chat his next rape victim.

The messages, which are from 2018, were recently shared on Twitter by one of the student’s classmates, who said he was bothering her after she used the phrase “All cops are bastards,” which is being used by some protesting police brutality and the recent death of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and others who were killed by police.

After evaluating the “racist and inappropriate” messages made by the student, the Naval Academy Admission’s Character Review Committee recommended that the academy withdraw its offer of appointment for the student, said Dean of Admissions Bruce Latta in a statement.

“The Naval Academy does not condone racism or bigotry of any kind within the U.S. Naval Academy family, as it completely violates our Navy’s core values, and does not support the U.S. Naval Academy mission,” Latta said in the statement.

All offers of appointment are conditional until incoming students take the oath of office, Cmdr. Alana Garas said in an email.

The student said he found out around 8 or 9 a.m. Monday about his offer being rescinded. The student said in a direct message on Twitter that he did appeal and that was the final decision.

The student previously told The Capital that he was sorry for his statements and had apologized in the group chat. The student expressed concern that his appointment would be taken away.

“And now I understand that it’s not just edgy joke or comments,” he told The Capital in a direct message on Twitter. “And I will hold myself accountable so others (don’t) have to. So I’m here trying to save myself not just because I’m being exposed, it’s because I actually see the mistake I have made. I just want you all to have faith in me and trust me that I will change for the better in the future.”

In Minneapolis, talk of changing police department means taking on union

MINNEAPOLIS — The fiery leader of Minneapolis’ police union has built a reputation of defying the city, long before he offered the union’s full support to the officers charged in George Floyd’s death.

When the mayor banned “warrior training” for officers last year, Lt. Bob Kroll said the union would offer the training instead. When the city restricted officers from wearing uniforms at political events, he had T-shirts made to support President Donald Trump. He commended off-duty officers who walked away from a security detail after players on the state’s professional women’s basketball team, the Minnesota Lynx, wore Black Lives Matter T-shirts. And after Floyd’s death, he didn’t hold back as he called unrest in the city a “terrorist movement.”

As Minneapolis tries to overhaul its police department in the wake of Floyd’s death, city leaders will collide with a pugnacious and powerful union that has long resisted such change. But that union and Kroll are coming under greater pressure than ever before, with some members daring to speak out in support of change and police leaders vowing to negotiate a contract tougher on bad cops.

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Minneapolis Police Union President Lt. Bob Kroll is coming under greater pressure than ever before, with some union members daring to speak out in support of change and police leaders vowing to negotiate a contract tougher on bad cops. Elizabeth Flores/Star Tribune via Associated Press

Other unions have publicly called for Kroll’s removal, while public opinion polls show more Americans are shifting their views on police violence and believe offending officers are treated too leniently.

“People recognize that this just can’t just be half-baked measures and tinkering around the edges in policy reform. What we’re talking about right now is attacking a full-on culture shift of how police departments in Minneapolis and around the nation operate,” Mayor Jacob Frey said.

Floyd, a handcuffed Black man, died May 25 after Derek Chauvin, a white officer, used his knee to pin Floyd to the ground. Chauvin has been charged with second-degree murder, third-degree murder and manslaughter. Three other officers were charged with aiding and abetting both second-degree murder and manslaughter.

All four officers were fired, but Kroll issued a statement saying they had the union’s full support and warned against rushing to judgment.

The Minnesota AFL-CIO and some of the state’s biggest unions called for Kroll to quit. Kroll, whom the Star Tribune reported is planning to step down when his term ends in 2021, hasn’t responded to interview requests.

Read the full story about the Minnesota police union here.

Statue of Teddy Roosevelt flanked by African, Native American to be removed from museum entrance 

For decades, a hulking bronze statue of President Theodore Roosevelt atop a horse, flanked by Native American and African men on foot, has greeted visitors at the entrance of the American Museum of Natural History in New York.

The roles of the two nameless men have provoked debate and protests for years, as critics said they appeared subservient to the powerful white man, creating an unmistakable portrait of racial hierarchy and colonialism.

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In this Nov. 17, 2017 file photo, visitors to the American Museum of Natural History in New York look at a statue of Theodore Roosevelt, flanked by a Native American man and African American man. AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, File

Now, the museum said the time has come to take down the statue of the 26th president.

On Sunday, the museum announced that it had the permission of New York City – along with the blessing of Roosevelt’s great-grandson – to remove the Equestrian Statue of Theodore Roosevelt, as it’s formally known. New York City owns the statue and the property on which it was built in 1940.

Read the rest of the story here.

NYPD suspends officer after video apparently shows ‘disturbing’ chokehold on black man

NEW YORK — As four New York City police officers piled atop a black man on a Queens boardwalk on Sunday, one of the officers seemed to wrap his arm tightly around the man’s neck.

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In this photo taken from police body cam video, New York Police officers arrest a man on a boardwalk Sunday in New York. NYPD via AP

“Stop choking him, bro!” a bystander filming the scene screamed as the man went limp on the ground. “Let him go!”

Within hours, the bystander’s video went viral and police swiftly suspended the officer who had apparently held the suspect in a banned chokehold, with the NYPD’s commissioner calling the video “disturbing.”

“Accountability in policing is essential. After a swift investigation by the Internal Affairs Bureau, a police officer involved in a disturbing apparent chokehold incident in Queens has been suspended without pay,” Commissioner Dermot Shea tweeted.

Read the rest of the story here.

FBI to investigate noose hung in Black NASCAR driver’s garage

Authorities said Monday that the FBI is investigating the discovery of a noose found in the Talladega Superspeedway garage stall of Bubba Wallace and the governor of Alabama condemned the act against NASCAR’s only Black full-time driver.

Wallace two weeks ago successfully pushed NASCAR to ban the Confederate flag at its venues, though the sanctioning body has not outlined plans on how it will enforce the restriction. Disgruntled fans with Confederate flags drove past the main entrance to the Alabama race track prior to Sunday’s race, while a plane flew above the track pulling a banner of the flag that read “Defund NASCAR.”

Hours after the race was postponed by rain, NASCAR said the noose had been found. The sanctioning body vowed to do everything possible to find who was responsible and “eliminate them from the sport.” It has not offered other details.

Talladega County Sheriff Jimmy Kilgore said NASCAR contacted the FBI, which was handling the investigation.

Read the rest of the story here.

No arrests in shooting in Seattle protest zone that killed 1

Seattle police on Sunday pursued their investigation into a weekend shooting in a park in the city’s protest zone that killed a 19-year-old man and critically injured another person.

No arrests had been made.

An “active and ongoing” investigation was under way into the shooting, which occurred about 2:30 a.m. Saturday in an area near downtown known as CHOP, for “Capitol Hill Occupied Protest” zone, said Detective Mark Jamieson. The suspect or suspects fled the scene, and police asked the public for any information that could identify them.

The zone evolved after weeks of protests in the city over police brutality and racism following the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

Officers responding to the shooting said they had trouble getting to the scene because they were “were met by a violent crowd that prevented officers safe access to the victims,” according to a police blog.

Video released later Saturday by police appears to show officers arriving at the protest zone saying they want to get to the victim and entering as people yell at them that the victim is already gone. Police mostly retreated from the zone after clashes with protesters, KIRO-TV reported.

Private vehicles took two males with gunshot wounds to Harborview Medical Center, where the 19-year-old man died. A 33-year-old man, whose name was not immediately released, remained in critical condition Sunday, hospital spokeswoman Susan Gregg told KOMO-TV.

 

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