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Protests mount after Tamir Rice’s officer plays football team shooting

When the new player appeared on the semi-pro football team of rescue workers, he simply went through Tim or Timmy. He was visibly bad at football, said Randy Knight, a lineman for the team, who took Tim under his wing and taught him the basics: taking a three-point stance, “pulling” on the line. , placing your hand correctly on the line of scrimmage.

They didn’t interact much off the pitch, Knight said, but he played alongside Tim, who was mostly left alone, without incident for more than two seasons.

But in early 2019, another semi-professional football player asked why Knight was playing for the Cleveland Warriors.

“They are racist,” the player said of the Warriors, according to Knight. “The guy who killed Tamir Rice is part of that team.”

Tamir was the 12-year-old black boy shot by a white Cleveland cop in 2014. Knight searched for information on Tamir’s murderer on Google and brought up images of the man he knew as Timmy – Timothy Loehmann.

“I got mad,” said Knight, 32, a former correctional officer who is black.

Loehmann’s involvement with the team became public knowledge last week in a report from a local television station. Knight held a demonstration at the Warriors training center Saturday, claiming that the team’s management lied to him by allowing Loehmann, who was sacked from police in 2017 but not charged with criminal charges in the shooting, to continue playing with the team. Activists and supporters of Tamir’s family have since expressed outrage at the former officer’s presence on the squad, not least because it is part of the National Public Safety Football League, which was established in the ‘origin for the police.

“I think it is reckless and irresponsible for them to allow him to play,” Samaria Rice, Tamir’s mother, said Tuesday in a telephone interview. “His career as a police officer in the state of Ohio is over for me. It’s just ridiculous.

The league requires players to be active duty emergency responders. Warriors coach Bill Sofranko said that although Loehmann was sacked in 2017, the team allowed him to continue playing while his arbitration appeal was pending and Loehmann was taken out of the squad. team once he lost that call – late 2019, after the most recent season ended. (The league, a group of 20 teams that started playing in 1997, did not play last year due to the coronavirus pandemic.)

Sofranko, who is white, said he allowed Loehmann to continue training with the team and, contrary to what Knight claimed, he never concealed the identity of the former officer.

Loehmann is still trying to regain his job as a Cleveland cop – he’s currently appealing his dismissal in state court. His lawyer, Henry Hilow, said it was unfair for people to criticize Loehmann for being on the football team.

“Anytime he does something now in his life, will there be someone who stings?” Hilow asked. “There have never been any criminal charges against him. Whether people agree or disagree, that is the reality of the situation.

A Cuyahoga County grand jury refused in 2015 to indict Loehmann in the Tamir shooting, and in late December, the Justice Department announced it was closing its investigation into the case without laying charges.

Sofranko, 65, said Loehmann joined the team in 2017 as most players do – he just showed up one day. He was not aware of Loehmann’s involvement in Tamir’s shooting, Sofranko said, until the former officer told him over breakfast after training one morning. Learning that, Sofranko said, never made him question whether Loehmann should be on the squad.

“Why should I have?” Sofranko said.

A former player, who is black and now serves as an assistant coach, said he was initially uncomfortable learning that Loehmann had killed Tamir, but then told the former officer about it.

“I have known Tim personally,” said the former player, who asked to be identified only by his nickname, Lebo. “He was remorseful. He apologized.

Sofranko said Knight never objected to Loehmann being on the team until about two weeks ago, when Sofranko informed Knight that he was being fired from the team because he had left Ohio Corrections and was no longer eligible to play in the league. .

“He’s using that Tamir Rice, that black-and-white thing to support his anger and revenge,” Sofranko said. “Every black person on the team supports Tim Loehmann.”

Knight forcefully denied this. He said the coaching staff seemed to be hiding Loehmann’s full identity – that he had not been introduced to the full squad like most other players are.

Loehmann was wary of him once, Knight said. When Loehmann’s suspension from the police came during a conversation, Loehmann said it was due to a technicality in his resume and that he would return to his job soon, Knight recalled.

Loehmann was indeed fired because he lied on his resume, but Knight said he felt he should have been more open about Tamir’s shooting.

But as soon as he found out who Loehmann was, Knight said, he contacted several members of the team’s leadership, including Sofranko, to complain. Knight provided screenshots of several text messages sent to a member of the team’s board in March 2019 in which he expressed concern about Loehmann’s presence on the team.

“How the hell did this guy get on the team?” Knight said he asked the team’s leadership. “How did we allow this to happen?”

Management has repeatedly assured him that Loehmann will no longer be part of the squad, Knight said. But every time Knight showed up to games, Loehmann was there. Everything exploded ahead of the 2019 league game in Los Angeles.

The team paid everyone there, in part with a contribution of $ 20,000 from Dee Haslam, owner of the Cleveland Browns, according to Sofranko. A spokesperson for the Browns said it was a one-time contribution. The Haslam family were unaware that Loehmann was part of the team at the time, he said, and had no plans to make any further donations.

The night before the game, Knight said, he argued with several teammates over whether Loehmann had made the trip, but he ultimately decided to play so as not to drop the team. The Warriors lost to the Los Angeles Grizzlies, 24-0.

Knight said he decided to return this year after being reassured that Loehmann would no longer be with the team. But Loehmann was at the training center in early January. Before he could object, Knight said, Sofranko told him he was off the team for being disruptive.

“Why is he here?” Knight said he asked Sofranko, referring to Loehmann. “So are you all mad at me for talking?”

Knight returned to practice two weeks later, this time as a protester. Police were called to escort the protesters out of the practice center.

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Protests mount after Tamir Rice’s officer plays football team shooting

When the new player appeared on the semi-pro football team of rescue workers, he simply went through Tim or Timmy. He was visibly bad at football, said Randy Knight, a lineman for the team, who took Tim under his wing and taught him the basics: taking a three-point stance, “pulling” on the line. , placing your hand correctly on the line of scrimmage.

They didn’t interact much off the pitch, Knight said, but he played alongside Tim, who was mostly left alone, without incident for more than two seasons.

But in early 2019, another semi-professional football player asked why Knight was playing for the Cleveland Warriors.

“They are racist,” the player said of the Warriors, according to Knight. “The guy who killed Tamir Rice is part of that team.”

Tamir was the 12-year-old black boy shot by a white Cleveland cop in 2014. Knight searched for information on Tamir’s murderer on Google and brought up images of the man he knew as Timmy – Timothy Loehmann.

“I got mad,” said Knight, a former correctional officer who is black.

Loehmann’s involvement with the team became public knowledge last week in a report from a local television station. Knight held a demonstration at the Warriors training center Saturday, claiming that the team’s management lied to him by allowing Loehmann, who was sacked from police in 2017 but not charged with criminal charges in the shooting, to continue playing with the team. Activists and supporters of Tamir’s family have since expressed outrage at the former officer’s presence on the squad, not least because it is part of the National Public Safety Football League, which was established in the ‘origin for the police.

“I think it is reckless and irresponsible for them to allow him to play,” Samaria Rice, Tamir’s mother, said Tuesday in a telephone interview. “His career as a police officer in the state of Ohio is over for me. It’s just ridiculous.

The league requires players to be active duty emergency responders. Warriors coach Bill Sofranko said that although Loehmann was sacked in 2017, the team allowed him to continue playing while his arbitration appeal was pending and Loehmann was taken out of the squad. team once he lost that call – late 2019, after the most recent season ended. (The league, a group of 20 teams that started playing in 1997, did not play last year due to the coronavirus pandemic.)

Sofranko, who is white, said he allowed Loehmann to continue training with the team and, contrary to what Knight claimed, he never concealed the identity of the former officer.

Loehmann is still trying to regain his job as a Cleveland cop – he’s currently appealing his dismissal in state court. His lawyer, Henry Hilow, said it was unfair for people to criticize Loehmann for being on the football team.

“Anytime he does something now in his life, will there be someone who stings?” Hilow asked. “There have never been any criminal charges against him. Whether people agree or disagree, that is the reality of the situation.

A Cuyahoga County grand jury refused in 2015 to indict Loehmann in the Tamir shooting, and in late December, the Justice Department announced it was closing its investigation into the case without laying charges.

Sofranko, 65, said Loehmann joined the team in 2017 as most players do – he just showed up one day. He was not aware of Loehmann’s involvement in Tamir’s shooting, Sofranko said, until the former officer told him over breakfast after training one morning. Learning that, Sofranko said, never made him question whether Loehmann should be on the squad.

“Why should I have?” Sofranko said.

A former player, who is black and now serves as an assistant coach, said he was initially uncomfortable learning that Loehmann had killed Tamir, but then told the former officer about it.

“I have known Tim personally,” said the former player, who asked to be identified only by his nickname, Lebo. “He was remorseful. He apologized.

Sofranko said Knight never objected to Loehmann being on the team until about two weeks ago, when he informed Knight that he was being fired from the team because he had left Ohio Corrections and was no longer eligible to play in the league. .

“He’s using that Tamir Rice, that black-and-white thing to support his anger and revenge,” Sofranko said. “Every black person on the team supports Tim Loehmann.”

Knight forcefully denied this. He said the coaching staff seemed to be hiding Loehmann’s full identity – that he had not been introduced to the full squad like most other players are.

Loehmann was wary of him once, Knight said. When Loehmann’s suspension from the police came during a conversation, Loehmann said it was due to a technicality in his resume and that he would return to his job soon, Knight recalled.

Loehmann was indeed fired because he lied on his resume, but Knight said he felt he should have been more open about Tamir’s shooting.

But as soon as he found out who Loehmann was, Knight said, he contacted several members of the team’s leadership, including Sofranko, to complain. Knight provided screenshots of several text messages sent to a member of the team’s board in March 2019 in which he expressed concern about Loehmann’s presence on the team.

“How the hell did this guy get on the team?” Knight said he asked the team’s leadership. “How did we allow this to happen?”

Management has repeatedly assured him that Loehmann will no longer be part of the squad, Knight said. But every time Knight showed up to games, Loehmann was there. Everything exploded ahead of the 2019 league game in Los Angeles.

The team paid everyone there, in part with a contribution of $ 20,000 from Dee Haslam, owner of the Cleveland Browns, according to Sofranko. A spokesperson for the Browns said it was a one-time contribution. The Haslam family were unaware that Loehmann was part of the team at the time, he said, and had no plans to make any further donations.

The night before the game, Knight said, he argued with several teammates over whether Loehmann had made the trip, but he ultimately decided to play so as not to drop the team. The Warriors lost to the Los Angeles Grizzlies, 24-0.

Knight said he decided to return this year after being reassured that Loehmann would no longer be with the team. But Loehmann was at the training center in early January. Before he could object, Knight said, Sofranko told him he was off the team for being disruptive.

“Why is he here?” Knight said he asked Sofranko, referring to Loehmann. “So are you all mad at me for talking?”

Knight returned to practice two weeks later, this time as a protester. Police were called to escort the protesters out of the practice center.

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How armed protests create a new kind of politics

How Armed Protests Create a New Kind of Politics Americans have often ignored the political implications of the country’s huge arsenal of private military-style weapons. Did January 6 change that? By Charles Homans

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In four state capitals, only the smallest of the anti-Biden protests.

Before Joseph R. Biden Jr. was sworn in in Washington, a lone pro-Trump protester stood outside the Statehouse in Concord, NH, holding a Trump-Pence campaign sign with “Pence” scratched in black marker.

The man, who declined to give his name because he feared reprisals and “a subversive Communist police state,” said he struck out the former vice president’s name because he chaired the joint session of Congress which certified the election of Mr. Biden.

He added that he had taken the day to be there and was amazed that not a single other protester had shown up. He left the plaza before Mr. Biden was sworn in at noon.

“I’m going to ski,” the man said.

Shortly after he left, Paul and Donna Merrill took to the sidewalk outside the plaza with an American flag and three homemade signs, including “We love you President Trump” and “Jesus is refuge.”

“We are losing our freedoms as we speak,” Merrill said.

A Jeep with a large “thin blue line” flag in support of the police drove past their small demonstration on Main Street, honking in apparent support.

“People are losing hope,” Ms. Merrill said. “It’s a sad day for our country.”

In Lansing, Mich., Four people kept vigil outside the State Capitol as Mr. Biden gave his inaugural address.

“There are a lot of unanswered questions and I would like there to be more transparency,” said Don Atkinson, 50, who owns a carpentry business in Clinton Township.

Mr Atkinson, who said he was an Air Force veteran who served in the Iraq war, was dressed in military fatigues, carried a semi-automatic rifle and wore the Roman numeral III crest of the “Three Percent”, an anti-government, pro-gun group.

“I hope the two sides can agree on a winner and a loser and so we will not be so divided,” he said. “I hope we can overcome this.”

Lansing had been locked down – with a large police presence and the state office building and many closed businesses – in preparation for what was to be a larger protest.

In Tallahassee, Florida, a handful of peaceful protesters arrived at the State Capitol before Mr. Biden was sworn in. One of them held up a sign saying, “Stop voter fraud”. Another wore a MAGA hat and a Trump mask, and carried a sign saying “Thank you President Trump! The world needed you! Another sign read: “Trump won!”

The Capitol has been under heavy protection in recent days in anticipation of possible armed protests against Mr Biden’s inauguration.

Atlanta, the capital of Georgia, also saw only a handful of protesters rally outside the Statehouse.

“We are here to stand up for our rights,” said Rhonda Beach, a 50-year-old housewife. “The election was stolen. It is not fair.”

Ms Beach drove from Monticello, Georgia, about an hour southeast of Atlanta, with her husband Anthony Beach, to gather with their niece, Elizabeth Webb. They carried signs saying “We love our country” on one side and “We hate our government” on the other.

Although Ms Webb, a 42-year-old woman from Calhoun, Georgia, said, “I love Trump and I’m behind him,” she admitted that he had contributed to the ideological divide in the country.

She added that she believed Mr. Biden and the Democrats were responsible for the Jan.6 attack on the U.S. Capitol. “We’re not tearing things up,” she said of Republicans. “This is not the way we do it.”

One of the few other protesters, a 46-year-old construction worker who only identified himself as Patrick, showed up armed with a bow and sword.

“It’s just a show of force, like they are doing,” he said, gesturing to police and National Guard troops ringing the bell for the courthouse. “I didn’t come here to start without a problem.”

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States Prepare for Armed Protests Following Attack on U.S. Capitol

Preparing for the potential for violent protests in the days leading up to the presidential inauguration on January 20, state officials call in National Guard troops, erect towering fences, and close Capitol grounds in response to the warning of the FBI that armed protesters could be capital cities across the country.

A New York Times survey of all 50 states found at least 10 – California, Oregon, Michigan, Wisconsin, North Carolina, Washington, Kentucky, Maine, Illinois and Florida – that activate National Guard troops in their capitals. Texas, Virginia and Kentucky are among the states that plan to close their Capitol lands at various times in the coming days.

Some states where legislatures are preparing to meet, such as New Mexico, have placed protective fences around their capitals. Michigan and Indiana have made the extraordinary decision to cancel their legislative activities next week due to the possibility of violence.

Actions taken by state officials underline growing fear of continued violence in the country following last week’s popular attack on the U.S. Capitol in which assailants back the president’s efforts Trump to overthrow the presidential election broke into the building.

“If you are planning to come here or to Washington with a bad intention in your heart, you must turn around now and go home,” Ralph Northam, Governor of Virginia, said at a press conference Thursday. “You are not welcome here and you are not welcome in our nation’s capital. And if you come here and play, Virginia will be ready.

Virginia officials took the unusual step of closing the Capitol Square grounds on Monday in Richmond, where an event called Lobby Day is held annually to allow people to meet elected officials. An estimated 22,000 people attended the event last year, many of whom were gun rights activists. This year, in addition to the closure of Capitol Square, authorities canceled permits for gatherings scheduled for Lobby Day.

An example of the volatility of the situation emerged in Florida on Friday, where the FBI arrested former U.S. Army infantryman Daniel Alan Baker, 33, from Tallahassee, the state capital. Mr. Baker “specifically called on others to join him in surrounding protesters and confining them to the Capitol compound using firearms,” ​​the FBI said in an arrest report.

Tallahassee mayor John Dailey on Friday called on Florida Governor Ron DeSantis to activate the National Guard in preparation for the weekend’s protests. Shortly after, Mr. DeSantis, a Republican, announced that he was activating the Guard “in response to reports of potential civil unrest.”

Concerns are particularly acute in Michigan, where Governor Gretchen Whitmer has activated the Michigan National Guard to assist with security around the State Capitol in Lansing. The move follows the flooding of the Michigan Capitol last year by armed extremists protesting the state’s coronavirus restrictions.

Fourteen people have been indicted in Michigan on charges of terrorism, conspiracy and weapons. At least six of them, officials said, had developed a detailed plan to kidnap Ms Whitmer, a Democrat who has become a focal point of anti-government views and anger over the coronavirus control measures.

In Lansing, a six-foot-high fence has been erected around the State Capitol and the windows of state office buildings have been barricaded to guard against potentially violent protests that are expected Sunday and Wednesday.

The state legislature, which has just held its first session of the year and is scheduled to meet several times next week, canceled those sessions after hearing of “credible threats” received by state police from Michigan.

The increased law enforcement presence will continue at least until mid-February, Michigan State Police Director Col. Joe Gasper said. He declined to reveal how many other police and National Guard members would be in place to guard against the violence.

Yet not all states see the need for increased security. In North Dakota, for example, Kim Koppelman, a Republican who is the speaker of the state House of Representatives, said, “Suffice it to say that security is in place and adequate to meet all the challenges expected. . “

“No major changes have been implemented in response to riots, property damage and attacks in the country last year, or in response to the violence on the US Capitol last week,” Koppelman said.

But other states are taking different steps. California Governor Gavin Newsom on Thursday authorized the deployment of 1,000 National Guard troops and surrounded the grounds of the State Capitol in Sacramento with a six-foot chain-link covered fence to “prepare for and respond to” credible threats ”.

In Illinois, Governor JB Pritzker activated 250 members of the National Guard in response to FBI warnings about potential armed protests, in addition to the 300 Illinois troops already activated in support of the inauguration in Washington.

Illinois officials have said their goal is for the soldiers to help local authorities enforce designated street closures and perimeters.

“Our Soldiers and Airmen come from every community in Illinois, and each has sworn to protect their communities, state and nation,” said Maj. Gen. Rich Neely, Illinois adjutant general and commander of the Illinois National Guard.

Shawn hubler, Mitch smith, John yoon, Michael hardy, Alex Lemonides, Jordan allen and Alyssa Burr contributed to the reporting.

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Police reassess security for inauguration and protests after Capitol attack

In a separate statement, Representative Jason Crow, a Colorado Democrat and former Army ranger, said he had spoken with military officials who were aware of “potential threats posed by potential terrorists” in the next few days and were working with local and federal laws. enforcement agents to prevent them.

Even as the crowd of hundreds, if not thousands, broke through doors, smashed windows, and stormed into the Capitol last week, there were also tense dead ends in the states of Kansas, Colorado, Oregon. and Georgia. That trend appeared to continue on Saturday as Iowa Republican Senator Charles E. Grassley said he was briefed on a “disturbing report of a death threat” received by the Democratic Party of the United States on Friday. Iowa.

“Such threats and violence are UNACCEPTABLE,” Mr Grassley written on twitter.

The Michigan Capitol Commission is scheduled to meet on Monday to consider banning guns in the building. In April, in a sort of dress rehearsal for chaos in Washington, a group of gun-carrying protesters denigrating the coronavirus lockdowns rushed to the State Capitol in Lansing, shortly after Mr. Trump had tweeted, “Free Michigan”.

Armed with federal warrants, law enforcement officers spent much of the weekend cracking down on mob members in Washington, making a spate of arrests in states from Iowa to Florida. and to lay new charges against some of the more than 80 people who have been arrested. in custody last week by local agents in Washington. Among those indicted so far is a man seen pulling out the lectern of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi; the leader of the Hawaiian section of the far-right nationalist group the Proud Boys; and a supporter of the QAnon conspiracy theory known to show up at pro-Trump rallies with a headdress with horns and a spear.

Federal prosecutors on Saturday filed a new lawsuit against Cleveland Grover Meredith Jr., a Georgia man who has been accused of threatening Ms Pelosi by saying in a text message that he was going to put “a bullet in her head to live television ”. Federal agents said Mr Meredith stayed at a Holiday Inn in Washington and had weapons in his camper-style trailer that included a Glock handgun, Tavor X95 assault rifle and hundreds of rounds.

On Sunday, prosecutors laid charges of violent entry and disorderly conduct against a figure who was first identified online by civilian detectives: Eric G. Munchel of Nashville. In a photograph that circulated widely after the attack, Mr Munchel, 30, was pictured wearing tactical military gear and carrying a handful of plastic retainers known as zippers.

Washington prosecutors also filed a lawsuit Sunday on similar charges against Larry R. Brock, a retired Texas Air Force officer, claiming he too wore plastic ties.

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The police response to the Capitol crowd is in stark contrast to the protests after the murder of George Floyd.

During the protests following the murder of George Floyd in May, President Trump vowed to “dominate” the protesters, calling them “extremists” and “thugs,” while federal agents fired tear gas and took away people in unmarked vans.

Peaceful protesters in Lafayette Square were suddenly greeted with lightning grenades and chemical sprays and rushed by police in riot gear to allow President Trump to pose with a Bible in front of St. John’s Church.

Mr Trump said anyone crossing a security fence outside the White House would encounter “the most vicious dogs and the most disturbing weapons I have ever seen.”

The tone and initial response from law enforcement was markedly different on Wednesday as an anarchic and destructive mob of its supporters stormed the Capitol and disrupted the electoral college’s vote count. A video appeared to show Capitol Hill police officers pushing aside barriers and withdrawing as the crowds poured in.

Inside the Capitol, an officer pleaded with a man in a green backpack, saying, “You just need to get out.” When asked why they weren’t expelling the protesters, the officer replied, “We just have to let them do their thing now.”

A flood of comments followed, many noting that the crowd appeared to be largely white and insisting that they would have been treated much harsher had they been black or protested against racism.

Ivanka Trump called the rioters “American patriots” while urging them to stop the violence, in a tweet she later deleted. His brother, Donald Trump Jr., said, “It’s wrong and it’s not who we are,” adding, “Don’t start acting like the other side.”

In a video released hours after the attack on Capitol Hill began, President Trump repeated the false claim that the election was stolen, adding “but you have to go home now.” He added: “We love you.”

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DC braces for two days of protests as the leader of the Proud Boys, a far-right group, is arrested.

The leader of the Proud Boys, a far-right group that has vigorously supported President Trump’s efforts to overturn the election results, was arrested in Washington on Monday after Mayor Muriel Bowser asked for National Guard support before the elections. protests expected from the November vote in the nation’s capital.

Enrique Tarrio, 36, president of the Proud Boys, has been arrested by Metropolitan Police on suspicion of burning a Black Lives Matter banner torn from a historic black church in Washington during protests last month that led to several violent clashes , including stabbing, around town.

A spokesperson for the Metropolitan Police Department confirmed that Mr Tarrio, 36, was arrested for destroying property. Upon his arrest he was found to have two high capacity gun magazines and charged with possession accordingly.

Protests by the Proud Boys and other groups are scheduled to take place on Tuesday and Wednesday.

In anticipation, officials said about 340 Army National Guard soldiers are expected to deploy on Tuesday and stay for two days in support of local law enforcement. Their mission is to help control traffic and protect streets and transit stops, officials said.

“The District of Columbia National Guard plays a supporting role with the Metropolitan Police Department, which will allow them to provide a safe environment for our citizens to exercise their right to protest under the First Amendment,” Major General William J. Walker, the commanding general of the DC National Guard, said in a prepared statement.

In June, Mr. Trump raised the possibility of deploying active-duty troops to the streets and encountered resistance from his then Secretary of Defense Mark T. Esper and General Mark A. Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs. Staff. The president finally backed down.

Some Pentagon officials have acknowledged concerns about a possible repeat: that Mr. Trump may seek to use civil unrest, especially if it turns violent, to deploy active-duty troops to restore order.

Since the June protests, some of the country’s top military leaders have discussed among themselves what to do if Mr. Trump tries again to invoke the insurgency law to deploy active-duty troops on the streets. , Pentagon officials confirmed. The insurgency law allows a president to send troops on active service to quell unrest over governors’ objections.

Pentagon officials have been tracking nightly episodes of civil unrest across the country, so Defense Department officials can counter any accounts that may come from the White House that such events could not be handled by the forces. of the local order.

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‘Year of the revelation’: runoff follows pandemic, protests and testing of Atlanta promise

Whenever someone tries to hit Nikema Williams for not being from the city, she responds that her story is inherently Atlantean. Ms Williams, who was elected in November to the former seat of Representative John Lewis in Congress after his death last year, grew up in Smiths Station, just above the Chattahoochee River in Alabama, raised in a house without interior plumbing.

As a student at Talladega College, a historically black small school in Alabama, she and her friends traveled to Atlanta to shop and party. Ms Williams, a Democrat who recently served in the state Senate, saw black elected officials, business leaders, artists and civil rights activists. “You have seen black people fully live out the promises of this country,” she said.

“I moved here without knowing a soul,” Ms. Williams said, “but I was able to get involved, get engaged and find my way.” But, she added, “we still have a long way to go.”

A gap has always existed between the aspirations of the “Atlanta Way” and the lived reality of many residents.

“Atlanta is unique and in this special way,” Ms. Lee said. “And yet, let’s be clear when we think about what that means: we have this reality, and some sort of hype and PR campaign – and they’re separate things.”

A series of events this year shed new light on the divide.

One evening in May, after the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis Police custody sparked protests across the country, crowds in Atlanta smashed windows in downtown businesses, vandalized the CNN Center and set a police car on fire. “What I see happening on the streets of Atlanta is not Atlanta,” Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms told a press conference, which was repeatedly broadcast on local television and radio stations.

The protests took on new strength after Rayshard Brooks, a 27-year-old black man, was shot and killed by Atlanta police. Officers had been called to a Wendy’s parking lot where, according to authorities, Mr. Brooks fell asleep in his car in the driveway. The town’s police chief, Erika Shields, has resigned and the officer who shot Mr Brooks has been fired and charged with murder.

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Columbus police kill black man weeks after anti-brutality protests

A policeman shot and killed a black man early Tuesday in Columbus, Ohio, three weeks after a county sheriff’s deputy killed a black man in the state capital, which sparked a series of demonstrations against police brutality.

“Our community is exhausted,” Mayor Andrew J. Ginther said at a press conference.

Mr Ginther said that the fact that the officer did not activate his body camera until after Tuesday’s shooting “bothers me a lot”, especially with the city still reeling from the death of Casey Goodson Jr. on December 4, which was not filmed.

Although the Columbus officer did not turn on his body cam during filming, a violation of departmental policy, the police body cameras are equipped with a feature that begins recording 60 seconds before they go. are on.

When the officer turned on his camera, the playback feature captured the shot. The footage, which the mayor said he expected to be released on Wednesday, did not capture audio, so no verbal exchange before the gunshot was recorded.

The name of the 47-year-old man who was killed has not been released. The name of the officer, who was relieved of his duties and forced to surrender his badge and firearm, also did not say Columbus Police Division Chief Thomas Quinlan in a statement.

“This is a tragedy on many levels,” said Chief Quinlan. “We promise to provide as much transparency as possible on our part, both with investigators and the public.”

According to a description of the events police, officers responded at 1:37 am to a call that a man in an SUV was turning the vehicle on and off for “an extended period.” When officers arrived, they found an open garage door and a man inside.

In body camera footage, police said, it appears the man walked towards officers with a cell phone in his left hand. An officer then opened fire.

No weapons were found at the scene.

Police said there appeared to be a delay in providing first aid to the injured, who died shortly after in a hospital. The Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigations is investigating this matter.

“He’s another unnecessary victim,” said Miguel Geno Tucker, who became a lead organizer of the People’s Justice Project, a social activism group, after his nephew Henry Green V was fatally shot by Columbus plainclothes officers in 2016.

Mr Tucker, 32, said he felt the police owed the public an explanation, particularly amid the outrage that resulted over Mr Goodson’s death.

“I don’t know yet what’s going to happen,” Mr. Tucker said. “But my immediate thought is, ‘This is going to get crazy.'”

Numerous people have taken part in protests and rallies in Columbus, including one at the Statehouse, after Mr Goodson, 23, was killed this month by a Franklin County Sheriff’s Deputy.

Details of this shoot are murky. Sheriff’s deputies are not equipped with body cameras and questions remain about what led to the shootings.

According to Southern Ohio District Marshal Peter Tobin, fleeing task force officers saw Mr. Goodson waving a gun in his car. Jason Meade, the Sheriff’s Deputy, then pursued and confronted Mr. Goodson, who was not the target of the search.

Lawyer for the MP said Mr Goodson pointed a gun at the officer, while Mr Goodson’s lawyer said the only things in his hands were a coronavirus mask and Subway sandwiches.

Mr. Goodson had a license to carry a firearm. Columbus Police, who are investigating the murder, said they recovered a gun from the scene but did not say where.

His death resulted in condemnation from his family and the community at large, with those close to Mr. Goodson describing him as a gentle soul and caretaker of the family.

Mayor Ginther on Tuesday asked the community to be patient as the investigation into the latest shooting unfolded, but he acknowledged the justifications for the anger. He criticized Mr Tobin, who said after Mr Goodson’s death that the shooting was justified.

Mr. Tobin later said his comments were “premature”.

“How can we ask the public and the community to let a process unfold so that truth and justice can be served?” Said Mr. Ginther. “If we ask the community to be patient and trust the process, the least we should expect is law enforcement professionals.”

Lucia Walinchus contributed reporting from Columbus, Ohio.