- Black Lives Matter protests have been ongoing following the deaths of two black men—Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, at the hands of police. Tensions have risen in several cities, including Baton Rouge, Louisiana and Dallas, Texas.
- Five officers were killed and seven others were injured in an attack on law enforcement officers during a peaceful Black Lives Matter protest in Dallas last week.
- Hundreds of protesters and journalists have been arrested during protests in Baton Rouge.
- The Black Lives Matter movement has come under fire as former politicians, including former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani who blames the movement for the ongoing violence.
The Los Angeles Police Commission condemned two LAPD officers for their tactics in the killing of a black woman in South LA last year but found the fatal shooting of 30-year-old Redel Jones had not violated the department's deadly force policy. The decision sparked hundreds of demonstrators to protest outside of the LAPD headquarters and across the street to City Hall.
Jones was killed by police after she allegedly moved towards an officer while holding a knife. LAPD said she matched the description of a woman who had robbed a pharmacy nearby 20 minutes prior, leading officers to pursue her to an alley. However, a witness told reporters that at no time did Jones move towards police.
Following the decision, two dozen people at the commission meeting began to shout at the panel. "Shame on you!" one activist yelled. Protesters demand the city remove the commission's president and sack the police department chief.
Jones' husband, Marcus Vaughn, gave an emotional speech to the commission, describing his wife as kind and resourceful woman. Though he initially did not want to appear at the commission, Vaughn said he was convinced by the couple's 13-year-old son.
North Carolina Attorney General Ray Cooper slammed the state's new law that excludes law enforcement camera recordings from the public. "It looks to me like it's lot more difficult with this legislation to make a video public," Cooper said.
Cooper said the recordings should be considered public record and that enabling the public to see what happens can protect police and civilians. "Obviously this is a complicated issue with a lot of details and a lot of potential for making sure that we ensure that justice is done at the end of the day," Cooper said. "We need to see how this works first and how the courts are going to react to this, because it's important to have these cameras."
The law, which was signed by Republican Governor Pat McCrory, noted that body and dashboard camera recordings cannot be kept confidential as part of an officer's personnel file.
"If you hold a piece of film for a long period of time, you completely lose the trust of individuals," McCrory said on Monday (11 July). He noted, however, "We've learned if you immediately release a video, sometimes it distorts the entire picture, which is extremely unfair to our law enforcement officials."
h/t CBS News
The Baton Rouge Police Department announced on Tuesday (12 July) that a burglary at a pawn shop in the city is believed to be part of a plot to attack area police officers. Eight guns were taken from the Cash America Pawn on 9 July.
Three suspects were detained and one suspect remains at large, police said. A 17-year-old suspect was arrested while fleeing on foot. A handgun and one airsoft BB gun was found in his possession. During questioning, the suspect told investigators that he and three others stole the weapons and were trying to get bullets to shoot police. He was charged with simple burglary and theft of a firearm.
Another suspect involved, a 13-year-old, was charged with simple burglary and theft of a firearm. The third suspect, 20-year-old Malik Bridgewater, was arrested on 10 July at his home and charged with burglary and theft of a firearm. Three stolen firearms were recovered from Bridgewater's home.
A fourth suspect, who has not been identified, remains at large.
Police said they recovered two of the stolen handguns from 23-year-old Trashone Coats, who allegedly purchased them illegally on the street. Coats was charged with illegal possession of a stolen firearm.
h/t ABC News
President Barack Obama and former President George W Bush attended the Dallas memorial on Tuesday (12 July) for the five officers killed by sniper Micah Johnson last week.
"These slain officers were the best among us. Most of us imagine that if the moment called for it we would risk our lives to protect a spouse or a child. Those wearing the uniform assume that risk for the safety of strangers," Bush said.
Obama, who was on his 11th visit to the scene of a mass shooting during his eight years in office, added: "I'm here to insist that we are not as divided as we seem. And I know that because I know America. I know how far we've come against impossible odds. I know we'll make it because of what I've experienced in my own life. What I've seen of this country and its people, their goodness and decency as president of the United States."
Read more here.
The conflict between police and the Black Lives Matter movement has hit the basketball court. Four police officers working security at a Women's National Basketball Association game in Minneapolis walked off the court when Minnesota Lynx players showed up in warm-up shirts protesting the deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile.
The shirts said "Change Starts With Us — Justice and Accountability" on the front with the dead men's names on the back, along with the Dallas Police Department shield and, at the bottom: "Black Lives Matter."
Castile was killed by a police officer during a traffic stop in nearby suburban St. Paul.
"If we take this time to see that this is a human issue and speak out together, we can greatly decrease fear and create change," said Lynx player Maya Moore before the game. "We will be wearing shirts to honor and mourn the losses of precious American citizens and to plead for change in all of us."
The officers who walked off took their names off a list of police willing to work at future games.
A white Detroit detective has been demoted for a Facebook rant calling participants in the Black Lives Matter movement "terrorists" and "racists." Nathan Weekley, a 17-year veteran of the Detroit Police Department, was busted down from a detective in the Sex Crimes Unit to a patrol officer after the 8 July post.
When Police Chief James Craig made the demotion announcement at a press conference he said: "It's not about white or black. If you post something that is contrary to your role as a police officer, our oath of office, we will certainly take prompt and decisive action. It's certainly inappropriate, it's certainly unprofessional."
Vice President Joe Biden is taking on former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who called the Black Lives Matter movement "inherently racist."
Biden called Giuliani's dig a "very broad statement," adding that when the "Black Lives Matter people in one demonstration said, 'Kill the police,' or some phrase like that, the president condemned it immediately. But that's not the black community. That group, that element of Black Lives Matter, doesn't speak for all of Black Lives Matter, and does not speak for most folks in the black community, both middle class and poor, who know they are more likely to be pulled over than the Caucasian guy."
Biden heads to Dallas today (12 July) with President Obama for a memorial service to honor the fallen police officers.
Police are still stumped about the letters "RB" that Dallas sniper Micah Johnson scrawled in his own blood on the wall of the parking garage where he was finally confronted and killed by police.
Investigators are "trying to figure out what those initials mean, but we haven't determined that yet," said Dallas Police Chief David Brown. The mysterious letters are making police nervous that Johnson's operation may be more extensive and could involve more people.
"We don't know the scope of his plans yet," Brown said. "We're going to follow every lead until it's exhausted, until I'm satisfied this was the lone person," he added. "I may be overly concerned about this, but I'm highly protective of cops, and I want to make sure there's nobody else out there that has something to do with this."
h/t ABC News
President Barack Obama is set to visit Dallas on Tuesday (12 July) after cutting his trip to Europe short in light of the shooting there. However, he will not be joined by Texas Governor Greg Abbott. The Republican governor is recovering from extensive burns to his legs and feet and has reportedly developed a minor infection.
Abbott is spending the night in the hospital and will undergo skin grafts, his office announced. He is "expected to be discharged and will return to Austin" following the procedure. His wife will attend the Dallas memorial service in his place.
h/t The Hill
Images from protests in Baton Rouge, Louisiana earlier on 11 July.
Police in Inglewood, California had a different approach to protesters on 10 July than police in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and it apparently worked. Officials enacted a hands-off approach to demonstrators as long as they remained peaceful and orderly.
"There are many things from a tactical standpoint we try to do. But the bottom line is we are trying to not amplify people's anxiety," LAPD Deputy Chief Bill Scott, who oversees the South Bureau, told the Los Angeles Times. "That means we're not going to put on protective equipment unless we have to. We are not going to helmet up unless someone starts throwing rocks."
Mayor James Butts, a former police chief of Santa Monica, noted that police still monitored the protests. "Does this mean we'll respond that way every time? No. There is no one-size-fits-all approach," he said.
The protests, which at times blocked highways and other roads, remained peaceful and no arrests were made.
Similar protests are occurring in Atlanta:
Images from Baton Rouge are emerging. The Louisiana city is continuing to protest after a tense weekend that saw nearly 150 arrests. However, demonstrations Monday (11 July) night seem to be much calmer.
Meanwhile, in North Carolina, Governor Pat McCrory passed a law that states recordings from law enforcement body and dashboard cameras will not be considered public records. The new law notes that body and dashboard camera recordings cannot be kept confidential as part of an officer's personnel file.
"If you hold a piece of film for a long period of time, you completely lose the trust of individuals," McCrory said. Adding, however, "we've learned if you immediately release a video, sometimes it distorts the entire picture, which is extremely unfair to our law enforcement officials."
"In North Carolina we're going to walk that fine line and do the right thing," he said.
Opponents of the law, which is set to take effect in October, say it will make holding police accountable for their actions "nearly impossible".
h/t ABC News
The Fort Worth Police Officers Association, which represents more than 1,500 officers and officials serving Dallas' biggest neighbour, called the Black Lives Matter "an organization that chooses to MURDER American law enforcement officers" in a post that went viral. The association condemned the Black Lives Movement as it attempted to promote a boycott of Pandora Radio for embracing the #BlackLivesMatter hashtag.
"We urge law enforcement supporters around the world to DELETE the Pandora Radio app from their devices," the group wrote on its official Facebook page. "Pandora Radio openly supports an organization that chooses to kill American law enforcement officers."
According to Dallas Morning News, thousands have endorsed the boycott and shared the controversial post. The group then edited out all mention to killing, murder and Black Lives Matter. It later deleted the post altogether.
It seems the Black Lives Matter movement has spread throughout the UK as well. Protesters have taken to the streets of Manchester, much like similar demonstrations in London, Birmingham and Bristol over the weekend.
Leading Black Lives Matter activist DeRay McKesson, who was arrested and later released in Baton Rouge, commented on Dallas Police Chief Brown's call for protesters to become officers themselves.
Trauma surgeon Dr Brian H Williams of Parkland Memorial Hospital spoke about his attempts to save the officers who had been shot by Dallas sniper Micah Xavier Johnson. Williams told the AP he has had his own encounters with police in which he thought he would die. But when those injured officers arrived at his hospital he pushed aside those conflicts to try to save them.
All I wanted to do was save those police officers. And we did everything but we couldn't do it. I admit I have my own burdens that I carry when I deal with law enforcement, but that was not an issue for me at that time. These were my patients.
I certainly during that time felt the despair they were going through. I knew that they were angry at this assailant. ... It was palpable and I felt it. But I also had a personal understanding of where that (anger against police) all came from. Not that I condone what happened. I certainly abhor the results. But I can see where the roots of that have been laid.
The lawyer for one of the Minnesota officers who shot Philando Castile claims his client believed he was approaching someone who resembled a suspect in an armed robbery. "Mr. Castile caught the attention of my client," Thomas Kelly said. "That was one of the reasons he pulled him over."
Officer Jeronimo Yanez's claim he thought Castile was a suspect has some questioning why he did not treat the traffic stop as a potentially dangerous situation.
"There's something inconsistent about what happened here," Albert Goins, a Minnesota lawyer who is not representing anyone in the case, told ABC News. "That inconsistency has got to be answered."
Kelly told the AP on 9 July that his client had not only pulled over Castile for a broken tail light but because he was reacting to seeing a gun. Yanez's attorney said race had nothing to do with the shooting.
Castile informed Yanez that he had a permit to carry and had a gun, but was reaching for his wallet when he was shot, his girlfriend claimed. Diamond Reynolds then Facebook live streamed the aftermath of the shooting. His shooting in front of his girlfriend and her 4-year-old daughter—a day after Alton Sterling's shooting in Baton Rouge—has prompted protest throughout the country.
h/t ABC News
Black Lives Matter protesters have taken to the streets of Chicago and are chanting: "We want freedom, freedom—from these racist-a** cops."
As he mourns the deaths of five police officers in his city, Dallas Police Chief David Brown is urging politicians to "do your job" when it comes to gun control legislation.
"We're doing ours. We're putting our lives on the line," Brown said on Monday (11 July). "The other aspects of government need to step up and help us."
During the news conference, Brown noted the issues he sees with his state's open-cary laws. "We don't know who the good guy is versus who the bad guy is if everybody starts shooting," he said. He also called on protesters to join the police force. "We're hiring," he said. "We'll put you in your neighborhood, and we will help you resolve some of the problems you're protesting about."
A witness to the shooting death of Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge has sued the several police officers and the City of Baton Rouge for allegedly stealing surveillance video, confiscating his phone and locking him in a police vehicle for hours. Abdullah Muhlafi, owner of the Triple S Mart where Sterling was killed, filed the lawsuit on 11 July.
Muhlafi claims officers illegally confiscated surveillance footage of the shooting and prevented him from making calls to his family or his attorney while he was detained. His attorney, Joel Porter, told reporters Muhlafi is seeking damages for "false arrest, false imprisonment, the illegal taking and seizing of his security system, illegally commandeering his business".
h/t The Daily Beast
The 35-year-old captured in an iconic image as she's detained by police in head-to-toe tactical armour has called her arrest an "the work of God". Ieshia Evans, a licensed practical nurse from Pennsylvania, was identified as the serene protester in the image.
"I just need you people to know. I appreciate the well wishes and love, but this is the work of God. I am a vessel! Glory to the most high! I'm glad I'm alive and safe. And that there were no casualties that I have witnessed first hand," she wrote on a Facebook post.
According to Reuters, a East Baton Rouge Sheriff's Office jail log showed an Ieshia Evans was booked on a charge of simple obstruction of a highway. Evans has been released from custody. The photo was taken by Reuters freelance photographer Jonathan Bachman and is being compared to the Tank Man photo taken during the Tiananmen Square protests in 1989.
Read more on the iconic photo here.