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Fired Georgia

Georgia cop fired after tasing unarmed woman in viral TikTok video – New York Post

August 21, 2020 | 7:21pm

A Georgia cop has been fired after he was caught on a viral TikTok video tasing an unarmed black woman on her front porch, officials said Friday.

Michael Oxford, formerly of the Gwinnett County Police Department outside of Atlanta, was first placed on desk duty following the Tuesday incident and was fired Friday after an internal probe, the police department said in a statement.

“The investigation in this case has shown that Officer Oxford violated our policy and did not meet our core values,” the department said.

“We strive to conduct ourselves in a manner that promotes mutual respect within the community and our peers.”

The incident unfolded Tuesday evening when Oxford responded to a home in Loganville after receiving a report for a damaged car. The complainant told cops a group of people threw a bottle at her car, which left behind an unknown liquid on the vehicle, AJC reported.

The incident was captured on the homeowner’s surveillance system and after police reviewed the video, they recognized Aytra Thomas, who was on a porch across the street.

When Oxford approached Thomas to speak with her, a group of women, including Thomas’s daughter Kyndesia Smith, 22, began shouting at him, the outlet said, citing an internal police report.

Oxford said the shouting made it “difficult to speak with Aytra and further conduct my investigation” and told Smith she needed to pipe down or move away if she didn’t want to be thrown in jail on obstruction charges, the police report states, according to AJC.

In a video of the incident, which has racked up millions of views on TikTok, Smith can be heard saying “I’m not going nowhere” and “You’re on my property. We did not call you.”

When Oxford tried to place Smith under arrest, she stood behind her mother, leading the former cop to start grabbing her, the video shows.

When Smith refused Oxford’s orders to “get on the ground,” he tased her, sending her falling into bushes beneath the porch, video shows.

Smith, who police say kicked Oxford when she was eventually placed under arrest, was charged with felony obstruction and simple battery against a police officer and was released Wednesday after posting a bond.

Oxford has worked with the department since February 2019 and had no disciplinary history, according to records.

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Georgia School

Georgia high school where viral photos showed packed corridors switches to online-only classes – Daily Mail

A high school in Georgia that shot to national attention this week, after photos of the packed school corridors with mask-less students went viral, has announced that it is temporarily switching its lessons to online-only. 

North Paulding High School confirmed six new cases among students and three infections of staff members, less than a week after school resumed. 

On Sunday Brian Otott, Paulding County Schools Superintendent, said that the school would be closed on Monday and lessons would be online. 

In a letter to parents, Otott said Monday and Tuesday will be used to clean and disinfect the school.

North Paulding High School confirmed nine cases of COVID-19 this week, and will go online

Images shared earlier this week showed few students wearing masks in the crowded hallways

Brian Otott has announced that North Paulding High School will switch to online classes

Parents will learn Tuesday evening if in-person classes can resume later in the week.

‘Hopefully we can all agree that the health and safety of our students and staff takes precedence over any other considerations at this time,’ said Otott in his letter, which was obtained by Atlanta-area news outlets.

One of the students who took the viral photos, Hannah Watters, 15, was initially suspended over posting the images. 

The school later reversed its decision on Watters’ suspension.   

Hannah Watters photographed the corridors

‘This morning my school called and they have deleted my suspension,’ Watters said. 

‘To be 100 percent clear, I can go back to school on Monday. I couldn’t have done this without all the support, thank you.’ 

Watters had earlier said the school told her she was being suspended for violating the code of conduct by using a cellphone and social media in school hours and violating student privacy by photographing them. 

Following the publication of the photos, a whistleblower hotline has been created by a local representative to allow students and staff to raise concerns about the safety measures being taken in their schools. 

The 15-year-old tweeted on Friday morning that her suspension had been reversed

Georgia House Rep Beth Moore has called for students and staff to share their stories

Angie Franks told the Atlanta Journal Constitution that two of her nephews were among the six students to test positive at the school this week. 

One of the boys returned home from school Monday with no sense of smell and was immediately taken to be tested. 

His brother also began to display symptoms and they were confirmed with coronavirus Wednesday. 

They have since been quarantining at home but Franks voiced concern about the other students that may have exposed Monday. 

The letter sent by Principal Gabe Carmona to parents confirming the new cases 

The school has confirmed far more cases than any other in the district since July 1

‘They sat in class all day long with no masks and not social distancing,’ Franks said. ‘And I have no idea how many kids they came into contact with.’ 

She added that they had not been encouraged to wear masks in classrooms and hallways, and that the boys had not understood the gravity of the situation.  

It comes as WSB TV Atlanta reports that the school has confirmed 23 coronavirus cases since July 1, far more than any other schools in the district. 

There have been 53 cases reported since the start of July in Paulding County schools but the majority only have one confirmed case. 

Schools did not begin in-person tuition until August 3. 

In response to the viral images, Georgia State House Rep. Beth Moore established an anonymous whistleblower email account Friday for students, teachers and administrators to send pictures, videos and testimonials of the situation in their schools. 

She has since posted several worrying claims that one school county board has tested positive for coronavirus and that in another school, teachers have yet to be supplied with protective and cleaning equipment. 

Georgia state rep Beth Moore shares clams a school county board member has coronavirus

She has established a whistleblower hotline and is sharing teachers’ stories

One teacher claimed the staff have not been supplied with the cleaning products needed

‘This tweet has only been up for 1 hour & already I’ve received a disturbing tip of a county school board member testing positive, not telling anyone, & going to lunch at a restaurant a few days later,’ she wrote in a tweet Friday. 

‘It’s the same failure of leadership at the state & federal level.’

One teacher in Gwinnett claimed that teachers were forced into an in-person meeting, where not everyone wore masks and those who attempted to social distance were told to move closer. 

‘My principal is wonderful and I feel she is being pushed to do things that she knows aren’t right or feasible either,’ the teacher wrote. 

Another teacher from the same district claimed the school’s custodian was almost in tears telling teachers that they did not have enough cleaning supplies to give teachers for their classrooms. 

‘He said that if it is not provided soon, he will leave because he doesn’t want to feel responsible for people getting sick or God forbid – dying,’ they wrote. 

They added that teachers had not been told where to isolate students if they are confirmed to have coronavirus during school hours and that no extra custodial staff have been hired to assist with the extra cleaning. 

Video shared to social media earlier this week showed the crowded hallways

A series of photos showed the bustling corridors at North Paulding High School 

In the photos, which were taken on Monday and Tuesday, fewer than half of the students shown are wearing masks. 

There is no statewide mask mandate in the state of Georgia. 

Watters told CNN that she posted the photos because she worried about the safety of students and teachers amid the COVID-19 pandemic. 

‘I was concerned for the safety of everyone in that building and everyone in the county because precautions that the CDC and guidelines that the CDC has been telling us for months now, weren’t being followed,’ Watters said. 

She went on to reference the late John Lewis by saying: ‘I’d like to say this is some good and necessary trouble.

‘My biggest concern is not only about me being safe, it’s about everyone being safe because behind every teacher, student and staff member there is a family, there are friends, and I would just want to keep everyone safe.’ 

In the Cherokee County School District, staff and students at one school were forced to begin another 14-day quarantine this week after a second-grader tested positive after their first day back.  

On Saturday, Georgia confirmed the death of a seven-year-old boy from coronavirus complications who had no preexisting conditions. He has contracted the virus after attending church. 

The state now has more than 216,600 cases and over 4,199 deaths with an 11.92 percent positivity rate. 

More than 3,100 new cases were confirmed on Sunday, and 13 deaths. 

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Georgia Shutter

Georgia Camp For Kids Had To Shutter Because Of 260 Positive COVID-19 Cases – Deadline

In news that may bolster arguments against reopening school campuses soon, the Centers for Disease Control has reported that a Georgia sleepaway camp saw 168 kids contract the virus.

The YMCA Camp High Harbour required masks for counselors, but was forced to close in June after the outbreak. In the gathering of 344 campers and staff tested, 260 came back positive in the weeks after the camp closed, according to the CDC’s analysis, which was released on Friday. Of that total, children were 168 of the positives, with 51 of the 100 children ages 6 to 10 positive.

The overnight camp opened June 21 and closed six days later. The CDC said 74 percent of attendees had symptoms, including fever, headache and sore throat.

The CDC report said the camp had “multiple” safety measures in place. However, they did not mandate mask use for campers. The children also engaged regularly in singing and cheering, which likely contributed to the disease’s spread, the CDC concluded.

“SARS-CoV-2 spread efficiently in a youth-centric overnight setting, resulting in high attack rates among persons in all age groups,” the researchers wrote.

YMCA of Metro Atlanta officials said they “regret” the decision to open.

“Attending Camp High Harbour is a tradition numerous generations of Y families look forward to every summer,” the organization said in a statement to NBC News. “Many of these individuals reached out to the Y to express their desire for us to open our resident camps in an effort to create normalcy in their children’s lives due to the detrimental impact of COVID-19,” the statement continued.

“This weighed heavily in our decision to open, a decision in retrospect we now regret.”

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Defends Georgia

Georgia gov defends suit against Atlanta over rolling back reopening: ‘We’re fighting two battles here’ – Fox News

Georgia Republican Gov. Brian Kemp joined “The Ingraham Angle” Friday to discuss his lawsuit against the city of Atlanta, and accused Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms and other local officials of “playing politics” with the coronavirus pandemic.

“I’m working very hard every day, and have been for a long time now, to protect lives as well as the livelihoods of my fellow citizens,” Kemp told host Laura Ingraham. “However, we have people, local mayors, that are playing politics. They want to go back to shelter-in-place. They want to stop in-person dining with no notice, just pulling the rug out from under people, and I’m just not going to allow that to happen.

“We’re fighting two battles here now, one to protect lives, but also to protect livelihoods,” the governor went on. “And so I filed a lawsuit to stop them because those orders are in conflict with the statewide order that I have executed for the public health state of emergency.”

GEORGIA GOVERNOR SUES ATLANTA, SAYS LOCAL OFFICIALS WANT TO ‘UNDERMINE ECONOMIC GROWTH

The suit by Kemp and state Attorney General Chris Carr argues that Bottoms overstepped her authority by announcing earlier this month that the city would go back to “Phase 1” of reopening due to an increase of coronavirus cases. That move would have shuttered restaurant dining rooms and non-essential city facilities, as well as mandated that city residents wear masks.

For her part, Bottoms described the lawsuit as “bizarre” and accused Kemp of putting “politics over people” during an appearance on NBC’s “Today” show Friday.

Kemp has also clarified his executive orders to expressly prohibit Atlanta and at least 14 other local governments across the state from requiring people to wear face coverings.

ATLANTA MAYOR SLAMS ‘BIZARRE’ LAWSUIT BY GEORGIA GOVERNOR

“I don’t feel like a mandate is needed for Georgians to do the right thing,” he told Ingraham. “We have existing orders on the books … What’s so frustrating about a lot of the locals that are playing politics with this is we have orders on the books that have worked in the past to help us flatten a curve and help to stop the spread.

“They have the ability, through my order, to use their law enforcement to enforce those orders,” the governor added. “And they’re not doing that. And that’s what I’ve been telling them.”

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

Kemp added that “it certainly seems like” Democrats are “trying to undermine our economic recovery.”

“I’m as concerned about the virus as anybody. We’re working with our local school leaders and our school superintendents to get schools open,” Kemp said. “You know, I got just accosted when I started opening businesses early on by the left because they were making fun of us opening barbershops and hair salons and now they’re saying that the guidance that we had, you know, having people wear a mask and use PPE and having these rules in place have kept the spread down in our salons and barbershops.

“It’s got to be pandemic politics.”

Fox News’ Gregg Re contributed to this report.

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Georgia urges

Georgia Gov. Kemp urges people to wear masks despite suing Atlanta over mask mandate – CNBC

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, center and Vice Adm. Jerome Adams, arrive wearing protective masks to a ‘Wear A Mask’ tour stop in Dalton, Georgia, U.S., on Thursday, July 2, 2020.

Elijah Nouvelage | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp urged residents Friday to wear a face mask when in public, two days after he blocked local officials from enforcing their own rules to further prevent the spread of Covid-19

“It’s the community that defeats this virus, not the government,” Kemp said at a press conference. “We need all younger Georgians to recognize the importance of following public health guidance. To realize their exposure can have serious consequences on their loved ones.” 

Kemp on Wednesday barred local authorities through an executive order from implementing and enforcing their own mask mandates while continuing to urge residents to wear face coverings in public.

On Friday, he called on local leaders to use “your connections with the local media” to build support for wearing a mask and to ramp up enforcement of policies the governor’s office has already adopted, like protecting the medically fragile and ensuring people remain 6-feet apart. 

“I know that many well-intentioned and well-informed Georgians want a mask mandate and while we all agree that wearing a mask is effective, I’m confident that Georgians don’t need a mandate to do the right thing,” Kemp said Friday. 

Kemp reprimanded some local leaders for using the pandemic for “political gain.” On Thursday, the Republican governor of Georgia sued Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, a Democrat, and members of Atlanta’s City Council for ordering people to wear masks. 

“What kind of message does it send when you have mandates already that people aren’t enforcing?” Kemp said. “I have grave concern about our young people and other people getting so reliant on the government that we lose the basis of what this country was founded on, and that’s freedom and liberty and opportunity for any one, any one.” 

The coronavirus pandemic has threatened “the health and well being of our friends and neighbors” while creating “economic hardship we haven’t seen” in a long time, Kemp said, warning that businesses are on the brink of bankruptcy and thousands have filed for unemployment. 

A slew of businesses recently announced they would begin implementing their own mask requirements in the absence of local and state orders — policies their workers are left to enforce. Walmart, Target, Kroger, Best Buy and Apple now require customers to wear a face covering before entering. 

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Football Georgia

Georgia, Georgia Tech want to keep their football game on schedule – Atlanta Journal Constitution

ATHENS — 

The SEC is considering a conference-only schedule for football this fall, but under that plan, Georgia hopes it would be allowed to keep Georgia Tech on the docket as well.

SEC athletic directors met with Commissioner Greg Sankey for eight hours Monday in Birmingham, Ala., to discuss, among other things, scheduling options for a possibly truncated season because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Big Ten and the Pac-12 are among Power-5 conferences that have announced they’ll play only intraleague games if the season is played, a scenario that is being considered by the ACC and the Big 12.

If that happens, Georgia is among the SEC schools lobbying to keep its traditional, in-state rivalry intact this year. It’s a scenario the Yellow Jackets are on board with as well.

» MARK BRADLEY: What a spring football season looks like

“I’ve talked to (Tech athletic director) Todd (Stansbury), and he definitely wants to play it,” Georgia AD Greg McGarity said Monday night as he drove back to Athens from Birmingham. “So does FSU and Florida, Clemson and South Carolina and Kentucky and Louisville. The importance of those intrastate rival games was brought up, and you’re talking about travel within the state. So proximity was a key part of that as well.”

Georgia is scheduled to play the Jackets on Nov. 28 in Athens.

The questions, then, are if the SEC follows suit and plays conference-only games, how many games will they play, who plays whom, when would the season commence and when would it be completed?

McGarity said all those scenarios were discussed, and more. The length and depth of that discussion is the reason the SEC adjourned the meeting without resolution and resolved instead to meet at the end of the month.

“We’ll have another look-in at the end of the month and see where things stand,” McGarity said. “Probably the best way to describe it is there are a number of options, and they’re all on the table. But it will be based on what the information tells us at the end of the month.”

The numbers and logistics of dealing with the unrelenting presence of COVID-19 also was a big part of the discussion Monday. That situation has been trending poorly late in the summer, which has given added weight of the prospect of not playing football this year or altering the schedules to play a shorter season later in the year.

Georgia has not shared publicly the number of positive tests its athletes have recorded since returning to campus June 8 for voluntary workouts, but several programs have, and the information has been alarming. Ohio State and North Carolina are among the Power 5 football programs that have shut down voluntary workouts because of the continued presence of the virus in their camps.

But McGarity indicated that the information shared Monday by the SEC’s “return to competition committee,” which includes UGA sports medicine director Ron Courson, was not all bleak. He referred to Sankey’s remarks directed toward the athletes themselves adhering to all safety protocols.

Much of the discussion also was about the safety logistics that will have to be in place for games to be conducted, such as masks, headgear and essential personnel. 

“They’re the voice of expertise and the over-arching message dealt with student-athlete safety and wellness,” McGarity said of the medical experts. “That’s the top priority. So, all these decisions will be based on the medical advice that we receive from this group. But it’s not all as dark as is being portrayed.”

Several scheduling scenarios have been bantered, including playing the eight conference opponents currently on the SEC teams’ schedules, adding two more league opponents, playing a shortened season in consecutive weeks or playing a shortened schedule with off weeks interspersed throughout to allow for testing and recovery in between.

Dr. Brian Hainline, the NCAA’s chief medical officer, is expected to share his recommendations for how football games could be conducted from a logistics standpoint later this week.

Meanwhile, McGarity emphasized that the SEC hasn’t closed the door completely on an on-time start for a full season of play.

“I think it’s still possible, but these next 17, 18 days are really critical,” McGarity said. “We just need some positive signs.”

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Georgia updates

Live updates: Georgia Confederate statue toppled ahead of Juneteenth; Rayshard Brooks to be buried; Atlanta police call out sick – USA TODAY

CLOSE

Juneteenth celebrates the Emancipation Proclamation, but the Emancipation Proclamation didn’t apply to all states in the USA. The 13th Amendment brought an end to slavery.

Wochit

Juneteenth, which commemorates the freeing of slaves at the end of the Civil War, is a state or ceremonial holiday in 47 states and Washington, D.C., and is being marked Friday by peaceful demonstrations, rallies and celebrations.

This year it is playing out against a backdrop of nationwide protests, marches and legal action following the death in Minneapolis last month of George Floyd during an arrest by a white police officer.

The Rev. Al Sharpton will deliver a keynote address at a Juneteenth celebration in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where a white mob destroyed the “Black Wall Street” in 1921. President Donald Trump had initially planned a campaign rally in Tulsa on Friday but later rescheduled to Saturday after learning about the significance of the holiday.

In Atlanta, police officers called out sick Thursday to protest the filing of murder charges against ex-officer Garrett Rolfe, who shot Rayshard Brooks in the back. Brooks was to be buried Friday in a private ceremony. Nearby, in Decatur, a 112-year-old Confederate monument that has become a flashpoint for protests was removed by a crane amid shouts of “Just drop it!”

A closer look at some recent developments:

  • Rayshard Brooks’ funeral will be held Tuesday at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta.
  • Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt said the state is “ready” and “excited” for President Donald Trump’s visit Saturday for a campaign rally. Meanwhile, the state’s Supreme Court is expected to rule today whether those who attend the campaign rally must adhere to CDC guidelines for face masks and social distancing.
  • The Georgia Law Enforcement Organization raised $250,000 for fired Atlanta police officer Garrett Rolfe.
  • Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron has not revealed when his office will conclude its investigation into the conduct of officers involved in the fatal shooting of Breonna Taylor.
  • Fractured skulls, lost eyes: In an investigation into law-enforcement actions at protests across the country, Kaiser Health News and USA TODAY found that some officers appear to have violated their department’s own rules when they fired “less lethal” projectiles at protesters who were for the most part peacefully assembled.

Our live blog will be updated throughout the day. For first-in-the-morning updates, sign up for The Daily Briefing.

Atlanta police call out sick Thursday night

A barrage of sick calls from Atlanta police officers continued Thursday night as members of the force protested murder charges against fired officer Garrett Rolfe. Prosecutors brought felony murder and other charges against Rolfe, a white officer, after the fatal shooting of Rayshard Brooks, a 27-year-old Black man.

Interim Chief Rodney Bryant told The Associated Press sick calls began Wednesday and continued Thursday, but said the department has sufficient staff to protect the city. It’s not clear how many officers have called out.

“Some are angry. Some are fearful. Some are confused on what we do in this space. Some may feel abandoned,” Bryant said of the officers. “But we are there to assure them that we will continue to move forward and get through this.”

Crane swoops away 112-year-old Confederate monument in Georgia

Hundreds gathered in Decatur and watched a crane remove a stone obelisk in Decatur, Georgia, on the eve of Juneteenth amid jeers and chants of “Just drop it!”

The monument in the Atlanta suburb 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.

Senators plan to introduce bill to designate Juneteenth as national holiday

Sen. Kamala Harris announced Thursday that a group of Senate Democrats will introduce a bill that declares Juneteenth a national holiday.

“Together with my colleagues Cory Booker, Tina Smith, and Ed Markey, we are proposing that Juneteenth be a national holiday. And we are dropping that bill saying that Juneteenth should be a national holiday,” Harris told MSNBC’s Joy Reid.

Harris’ announcement comes after Sen. John Cornyn said Thursday he would introduce similar legislation. “Texans have celebrated this end to slavery for 155 years. It’s an opportunity to reflect on how far we’ve come and a reminder of how far we still have to go,” Cornyn said on Twitter.

Pennsylvania cop fired for ‘derogatory’ email about Black people, journalists and politicians

A longtime Pennsylvania police officer was fired Thursday after sending a “racist and derogatory” email to the mayor and local news reporters.

Erie Mayor Joe Schember announced the firing of 62-year-old Sgt. Jeff Annunziata at a press conference, alongside Police Chief Dan Spizarny. In his email, Annunziata said Black people seeking social justice “cannot take care of their own or anyone else without playing the race card.” He also defended his profession and criticized journalists.

“Sgt. Jeff Annunziata sent an email to members of the media containing racist and derogatory statements,” Schember said. “I condemn these statements. I am appalled and disgusted by the racial insensitivity of this email.”

– Kevin Flowers and Madeleine O’Neill, Erie (Pa.) Times-News

Georgia nonprofit says it raised $250K for fired Atlanta officer Garrett Rolfe

The Georgia Law Enforcement Organization started a fundraiser for fired Atlanta police officer Garrett Rolfe, who is facing a felony murder charge in connection to the shooting death of Rayshard Brooks. 

The nonprofit announced Thursday in a Facebook post it had raised $250,000 for Rolfe’s legal fees. In multiple posts, the organization has called the arrest of Rolfe “political.” The fundraiser was started Wednesday. 

“As you can imagine, we have been overwhelmed at the support we have received for Officer Rolfe,” the organization wrote in a Facebook post

– Jordan Culver

More on protests

Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt says state is ready for Donald Trump’s Tulsa rally

Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt told President Donald Trump on Thursday that his state is ready to host a pivotal campaign rally Saturday, dismissing warnings from health officials about hosting a large gathering during the coronavirus pandemic.

“We’re so excited to have you,” Stitt, a Republican, told the president during a White House event focused on reopening the economy. “Oklahoma’s ready for your visit.”   

Some state officials, including Republicans, have warned against bringing thousands of people into an indoor venue, the BOK Center, during the pandemic. Oklahoma is experiencing record spikes in daily coronavirus cases, though Stitt said hospitalizations remain low.

The rally will mark the president’s first return to the campaign trail since the early weeks of the pandemic and comes at a time when his support is slipping in battleground states.

– John Fritze and David Jackson

Rayshard Brooks’ funeral scheduled for Tuesday; won’t be open to public

Rayshard Brooks’ funeral will take place Tuesday at Atlanta’s Ebenezer Baptist Church and won’t be open to the public or media, the law firm representing his family said. The service will be livestreamed.

There will be a viewing at the same church the day before, scheduled for 3-7 p.m. and open to the public but with no cameras allowed. Organizers said masks will be required and social distance guidelines will be followed at both events.

Portraits of House Speakers who served in Confederacy removed

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi ordered the removal of four portraits in the U.S. Capitol of former Speakers of the House who served in the Confederacy, a symbolic gesture to honor Juneteenth on Friday as the country continues to protest over systemic racism and police brutality. 

Pelosi, at her weekly news conference, said she wrote a letter to House Clerk Cheryl Johnson requesting the removal of portraits of the four former House Speakers, who all served in the 1880s, because “there’s no room in the hallowed halls of this democracy, this temple of democracy to memorialize people who embody violent bigotry and grotesque racism of the Confederacy.”

She said the removal would be happening on Friday, which would mark the Juneteenth holiday, but instead the large portraits were taken down Thursday afternoon, just hours after Pelosi sent her letter to Johnson. 

– Christal Hayes

Kentucky AG won’t put timetable on Breonna Taylor shooting investigation

Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron declined on Thursday to say when his office will conclude its investigation into the conduct of officers involved in the fatal police shooting of Breonna Taylor.

“An investigation of this magnitude, when done correctly, requires time and patience,” Cameron said. “We will do what is right. We will find the truth.”

Cameron, speaking at a news conference, also reiterated that the investigation is “ongoing” and did not announce any decision relating to charges. He also declined to speak about many specifics of the investigation, including whether the scope of the case has expanded beyond the three officers who fired their weapons.

“I’d also like to say to all those involved in this case, you have my commitment that our office is undertaking a thorough and fair investigation,” he said. “This is also a commitment I’m making to the Louisville community, which has suffered tremendously in the days since March 13.”

– Darcy Costello and Tessa Duvall, The Courier Journal (Louisville, Ky.)

Contributing: The Associated Press

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Georgia Investigators

Georgia Investigators Do Not Expect More Arrests In Ahmaud Arbery Case – NPR

This booking photo provided by the Glynn County Sheriff’s Office shows William “Roddie” Bryan Jr., who faces charges of felony murder and attempted false imprisonment. Bryan is the third person charged in the fatal shooting of Ahmaud Arbery.

Glynn County Sheriff’s Office/AP


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Glynn County Sheriff’s Office/AP

This booking photo provided by the Glynn County Sheriff’s Office shows William “Roddie” Bryan Jr., who faces charges of felony murder and attempted false imprisonment. Bryan is the third person charged in the fatal shooting of Ahmaud Arbery.

Glynn County Sheriff’s Office/AP

Updated at 2:35 p.m. ET

The director of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation has downplayed claims made by the third man charged in the Ahmaud Arbery murder case that he was nothing more than a witness.

“I can tell you that if we believed he was a witness we wouldn’t have arrested him,” GBI Director Vic Reynolds said in a Friday news briefing.

The comments come a day after GBI brought felony charges against William “Roddie” Bryan, the man who recorded a video of the Feb. 23 shooting and killing of 25-year-old Arbery, a black man in Glynn County, Ga., by two white men.

Bryan, 50, who is also white, is now facing felony murder and criminal attempt to commit false imprisonment charges. He was arrested Thursday evening and booked into the Glynn County Jail.

“At this point, we feel confident that individuals who needed to be charged have been charged,” Reynolds said.

Reynolds added that he does not foresee any more arrests, but the investigation is ongoing.

Two other men, Gregory and Travis McMichael, a father and son who are also white, were charged with murder and aggravated assault on May 7.

GBI released two warrants for Bryan. The false imprisonment warrant accuses Bryan of “utilizing his vehicle on multiple occasions … with the intention of confining and detaining Arbery.” It adds that Bryan lacked the legal authority to do so.

Because of those actions, the second warrant states, “the accused did cause the death of another, Ahmaud Arbery, during the commission of a felony.”

Georgia Attorney General Seeks New Probe Into Handling Of Ahmaud Arbery Case

Reynolds said during the press conference he understood “people’s concern or curiosity” about the fact that Bryan is charged with murder, even though he is not accused of shooting Arbery nearly three months ago.

“As the warrants indicated, he’s charged with an underlying felony, ” Reynolds said. “He’s also charged with felony murder. So we believe the evidence would indicate that his underlying felony helped cause the death of Ahmaud Arbery.”

At a Friday afternoon press conference at the Glynn County Courthouse, Bryan’s attorney, Kevin Gough, told reporters there was “no precedent” for the charges brought against his client.

“These charges, if sustained, constitute a substantial expansion of criminal liability in Georgia that many, in the fullness of time, will likely find troubling,” Gough said.

He added that Bryan turned himself in at the request of the GBI.

The Arbery family was “relieved” by Bryan’s arrest Thursday, according to a statement from attorneys S. Lee Merritt, Benjamin Crump and L. Chris Stewart, who represent Arbery’s parents.

“His involvement in the murder of Mr. Arbery was obvious to us, to many around the country and after their thorough investigation, it was clear to the GBI as well,” the statement said.

Arbery’s family has framed the death as a modern-day lynching. They say he was simply jogging through a Brunswick, Ga.-area neighborhood when he was confronted by the McMichaels and shot to death.

The case has drawn national attention, particularly after the release of the video.

Ten weeks passed between Arbery’s death and the first arrests in the case. Those arrests happened two days after GBI took over the investigation from local authorities.

More Arrests Possible In The Killing Of Ahmaud Arbery, Georgia Investigators Say

Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr has asked the GBI to investigate “possible prosecutorial misconduct” by Brunswick Judicial Circuit District Attorney Jackie Johnson and George Barnhill of the Waycross Judicial Circuit.

Reynolds said Friday that the GBI investigation into that matter is almost complete.

Carr also asked the FBI to conduct a similar probe into the first two prosecutors’ handling of the case.

Justice Department spokesperson Kerri Kupec said last week that federal authorities are “assessing all of the evidence to determine whether federal hate crimes charges are appropriate.”

Georgia Public Broadcasting’s Emily Jones contributed to this report.

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Georgia Attorney General Appoints New Prosecutor To Ahmaud Arbery Case | NBC Nightly News – NBC News

District Attorney Joyette Holmes is now the fourth to oversee the case — two previous prosecutors recused themselves because of potential conflicts of interest with one of the accused.

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Georgia Attorney General Appoints New Prosecutor To Ahmaud Arbery Case | NBC Nightly News

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Georgia Attorney General Asks For DOJ Probe Into Handling Of Ahmaud Arbery Case – NPR

Demonstrators protest the shooting death of Ahmaud Arbery at the Glynn County Courthouse on May 8, 2020 in Brunswick, Georgia.

Sean Rayford/Getty Images


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Demonstrators protest the shooting death of Ahmaud Arbery at the Glynn County Courthouse on May 8, 2020 in Brunswick, Georgia.

Sean Rayford/Getty Images

Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr asked the Department of Justice on Sunday to conduct an investigation into the handling of the Ahmaud Arbery case.

Arbery, a 25-year-old black man, was shot and killed in February while jogging through a neighborhood in the city of Brunswick, Ga. His death sparked a national outcry and demands for justice after a cellphone video of the shooting began circulating online last week.

On Thursday, two men, Gregory McMichael, 64, and his son Travis, who is 34, were arrested and charged with murder and aggravated assault. The arrests came two days after state authorities took over the case from local law enforcement — and 10 weeks after Arbery’s death.

McMichael, a retired police detective, told authorities that he and his son pursued Arbery because they believed he had been involved in local burglaries.

Prior to the state’s takeover of the investigation, the case had landed on the desk of three separate district attorneys. The first recused herself because the father had previously worked in her office as an investigator.

A second district attorney was appointed but recused himself at the request of Arbery’s family. He then wrote a lengthy letter saying, “We do not see grounds for an arrest of any of the three parties.”

A third district attorney was appointed to the case and asked for the Georgia Bureau of Investigation to step in after video of the altercation and shooting became public.

“We are committed to a complete and transparent review of how the Ahmaud Arbery case was handled from the outset. The family, the community and the state of Georgia deserve answers, and we will work with others in law enforcement at the state and federal level to find those answers,” Carr said in a statement.

Carr highlighted a lack of information given to his office about involvement from various people involved in the case — including one of the suspects, who had previously investigated Arbery in a different legal matter.

In a statement, attorneys for Arbery’s mother and father praised the attorney general’s request for a Justice Department investigation.

“We are pleased that Georgia AG Chris Carr has officially asked the Dept. of Justice to investigate the handling, and potential cover-up, of Ahmaud Arbery’s murder,” wrote S. Lee Merritt, Benjamin Crump and L. Chris Stewart. ” … There are far too many questions about how this case was handled and why it took 74 days for two of the killers to be arrested and charged in Mr. Arbery’s death.”

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