A private funeral for Rayshard Brooks will be held Tuesday at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta. Family attorney L. Chris Stewart announced last week that Tyler Perry would be paying for the funeral costs.
Mourners paid tribute to Brooks at his public viewing Monday at the same church in Atlanta, which was also Martin Luther King Jr.’s church. Meanwhile, the officer charged in connection to Brooks’ death said Tuesday that he “didn’t do anything wrong.”
Meanwhile, after two shootings in Seattle this weekend that left one dead and another person injured, Mayor Jenny Durkan said Monday the city is working to wind down the Capitol Hill Occupied Protest (CHOP) zone.
A closer look at some recent developments:
- Black Lives Matter protesters on Monday tried to remove the Andrew Jackson statue in Lafayette Park near the White House. Last week, protesters toppled the statue of Confederate Gen. Albert Pike in Judiciary Square.
- Atlanta police officer Devin Brosnan, the second officer at the scene when Rayshard Brooks died who faces three charges, said Monday that he wasn’t trying to hurt Brooks. “I didn’t do anything wrong,” he told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
- The city of Fort Bragg in Northern California, named after a Confederate general, is considering changing its name.
- The United States Department of Justice and the FBI will investigate a noose found in the garage stall of Darrell “Bubba” Wallace Jr. at Talladega Superspeedway. Wallace is the only full-time Black driver in NASCAR’s elite Cup series.
What we’re reading: These teens grew up in the shadow of Tamir Rice’s death. Ahead of what would have been Tamir’s 18th birthday on June 25, the USA TODAY Network talked to 31 teenagers about growing up Black in America. These are their stories.
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Rhode Island to drop ‘Providence Plantations’ from some official documents
Official state documents and websites will no longer contain the words “Providence Plantations” as part of Rhode Island’s name after Gov. Gina Raimondo signed an executive order Monday to remove the phrase from her administration’s communications.
While the official state name includes “Providence Plantations” in reference to the mainland colony founded by Roger Williams in 1636, Raimondo said the word’s ties to slavery and the painful images it conjures for Black Americans cannot be ignored.
“That is a word that is associated with the ugliest institution that our country has ever had,” she said during a Monday afternoon news conference. “So I think it’s time, it’s past time, to get rid of it. You can be proud of Rhode Island, but don’t be proud of a word that represents the worst of what our nation had to offer.”
Rhode Islanders had a chance to change the state’s name in 2010 when a question to remove the phrase appeared on a ballot. The measure did not pass. The General Assembly is pursuing bills to put the question back on this year’s ballot, and one has already passed in the Senate.
– Madeleine List, Providence Journal
Protesters attempt to remove Andrew Jackson statue near White House
Tensions were high in front of the White House Monday night after Black Lives Matter protesters worked to remove the Andrew Jackson statue in Lafayette Square. During the unrest, CNN reported that their staffers and other members of the White House press corps were asked to leave the White House grounds by Secret Service.
USA TODAY reached out to the Secret Service for comment and additional information. The Andrew Jackson statue had not been taken down, and police officers responded to the area.
President Donald Trump tweeted that “numerous people” had been arrested “for the disgraceful vandalism, in Lafayette Park, of the magnificent Statue of Andrew Jackson, in addition to the exterior defacing of St. John’s Church across the street.”
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.
The Washington Post reported that protesters spray painted “BHAZ” on the historic St. John’s Episcopal Church. Another sign nearby read, “BHAZ: Black House Autonomous Zone,” a nod to the autonomous zone in Seattle. According to the Post, police were clearing tents in the area.
– Savannah Behrmann and Associated Press
Seattle mayor seeks peaceful shutdown of activists’ ‘police-free zone’
Seattle officials have decided to dismantle a six-block “police-free zone” held by demonstrators in the heart of the city for more than two weeks.
In the aftermath of two shootings – one of them fatal – Mayor Jenny Durkan announced Monday that the so-called Capitol Hill Organized Protest will be displaced and police will return to a precinct house they abandoned.
Durkan declined to say exactly how the area will be cleared if occupants resist, but stressed that a transition will be “peaceful and in the near future.”
Hundreds of demonstrators have occupied the area, sharing food, music and political activism, but also causing damage and closing businesses. Now, said Durkan, “It’s time for people to go home.”
– Dennis Wagner
Iowa city unanimously approves racial profiling ban
After years of coordinated efforts by local organizers, the Des Moines City Council on Monday approved an anti-racial profiling ordinance that prohibits biased policing and says officers have a duty to intervene when witnessing “unreasonable force” by another officer.
The city council unanimously approved a second, then a final reading of the ordinance, which gained swift momentum after widespread protests following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody. In a public forum, community members congratulated the persistence of a community alliance that has shaped the ordinance and thanked young Iowans who’ve organized in force to demand change at the local level.
“It is progress,” Iowa-Nebraska NAACP President Betty Andrews, who has led negotiations on behalf of the alliance, told the Des Moines Register. “It is not perfect, but we are working toward better and this is definitely a good step in that direction.”
– Shelby Fleig, Des Moines Register
Officer charged in Rayshard Brooks shooting: ‘I didn’t do anything wrong’
An Atlanta police officer facing criminal charges in connection with a June 12 fatal shooting outside a Wendy’s restaurant says he did nothing wrong and expects truth to prevail.
In an interview with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, officer Devin Brosnan said Rayshard Brooks, the 41-year-old Black man who was killed, had grabbed his Taser while being arrested. During a tussle, Brosnan said, he was shocked with the weapon and his head was slammed against the pavement.
As Brooks ran away with the Taser – a scene captured on video – he was pursued by a second officer, Garrett Rolf, who shot Brooks. Rolf faces 11 felony counts, including murder.
Brosnan, charged with placing his foot on Brooks’ back after the shooting, said he was disoriented and fearful until he realized the suspect was no longer a threat. “In no way, shape or form was I trying to hurt this man,” he told the Atlanta newspaper. “People will see this for what it is. They will understand I didn’t do anything wrong.”
Northern California city named after Confederate general to consider name change
A Northern California city named after a Confederate general is considering changing its name as calls to take down Confederate monuments and statues nationwide continue.
The city of Fort Bragg is named after Confederate Gen. Braxton Bragg, who is accused of keeping more than 100 slaves. On Monday, the city council will discuss whether to add a local ballot measure for voters to decide on the name change in November.
In a memo, city staff told city council that they could also re-dedicate the city’s name to a different Braggs, like Britain’s William Henry Bragg and William Lawrence Bragg, the father-son team who won the 1915 Nobel Prize in physics.
In North Carolina, Bragg’s has one of the largest military installations in the world named after him. It’s one of many bases across the country that Army officials have signaled to discuss scrapping the Confederates names off of.
Police cars vanish from Fortnite video game
In the virtual world, things can appear and disappear unexpectedly. Things like police cars. And that’s apparently what happened in the action video game “Fortnite,” which featured law enforcement vehicles as decorative props until a new version premiered last week.
According to the Wall Street Journal, officials at Epic Games Inc. did not respond to inquiries, however, the publication citing a person familiar with Fortnite’s development said patrol cars were removed not as a political statement, but out of sensitivity to the national controversy over law enforcement abuses.
The disappearance was first noted on social media, including Reddit, where one post exclaimed, “Yikes. The anti-cop sentiment is reaching everything” and another observed, “Fortnite has de-funded the police.”
More on protests
DOJ, FBI to investigate noose found in Bubba Wallace’s garage
The United States Department of Justice announced Monday that it will be looking into the noose found in NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace’s garage stall at Talladega Superspeedway in an attempt to determine if federal law was broken. The FBI is also investigating the discovery of the noose.
NASCAR reacted swiftly Sunday to condemn the incident as a “heinous act,” announcing an investigation and pledging to find the individual responsible and ban them from the sport.
The U.S. Department of Justice released the following statement Monday: “The U.S. Attorney’s office for the Northern District of Alabama, FBI and the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division are reviewing the situation surrounding the noose that was found in Bubba Wallace’s garage to determine whether there are violations of federal law. Regardless of whether federal charges can be brought, this type of action has no place in our society.”
– Scott Gleeson
Mourners pay tribute to Rayshard Brooks at public viewing in Atlanta
Mourners lined up Monday to pay tribute to Rayshard Brooks, the man an Atlanta police officer fatally shot after responding to a call that Brooks had fallen asleep in a fast-food drive-through.
A public viewing in Atlanta’s Ebenezer Baptist Church, which was Martin Luther King Jr.’s church. Masks were required amid social distancing guidelines.
Performers played live music, and people were ushered into the church in front of Brooks’ gold-colored coffin for brief moments of reflection.
“I didn’t know Rayshard Brooks but, just like George Floyd, we know him now,” said Manerva Harris, 42, who wore a shirt reading “I CAN’T BREATHE.”
– Cara Kelly and Lorenzo Reyes
NYPD officer suspended after ‘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.
Contributing: The Associated Press