Live Updates: Protests Against Police Killings Spread Nationwide
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Live Updates: Protests Against Police Killings Spread Nationwide

Many citizens have taken to the streets across the country to protest the deaths of Black people at the hands of law enforcement.

Austin Police Under Fire For Critically Injuring Black Protestor

June 4, 2020

Tanya A. Christian

Austin police are facing heightened scrutiny as more details emerge about the 20-year-old Black protestor who officers critically injured with “less lethal ammunition” during a weekend protest. In a column for Texas A&M college newspaper, The Battalion, opinion editor Joshua Howell identifies the victim as his “little brother” Justin Howell. 

Read more here: https://www.essence.com/news/justin-howell-critically-injured-austin-police/

White Bar Owner Won’t Be Charged In Fatal Shooting Of Omaha Protester

June 2, 2020
Breanna Edwards

Jacob Gardner—the Omaha, Nebraska, bar owner who shot and killed 22-year-old James Scurlock during local protests on Saturday night—will not face charges, the Douglas County Attorney announced.

According to NBC News, prosecutor Don Kleine refused to bring charges against Gardner, who owns two bars near the area where Scurlock was shot, the Hive and the Gatsby, claiming that Gardner acted in self-defense.

The prosecutor claimed that Gardner first fired during a scuffle, when he was pushed down amid protests surrounding the death of George Floyd. Scurlock then allegedly jumped on Gardner and “maintained a chokehold around his neck,” as Gardner said “Get off me” several times. Gardner then fired his weapon again, fatally shooting the young man.

Gardner reportedly had an expired concealed-carry weapon permit at the time of the shooting.

Scurlock’s family is still asking for justice.

“What I want is justice, not a quick answer,” James Scurlock II, Scurlock’s father, said. “I feel like the state of Nebraska doesn’t want the tension, and I understand that. I don’t want the tension, but this matter must be looked at.”

Scurlock II also pointed out that more information needs to be examined, since his son is not there to defend himself.

“It’s easy to talk to someone when they’re alive. It’s easy to get their version of the story when they can talk,” said Scurlock II. “We don’t know what James would’ve said, but there’s plenty of video out there that can maybe help us figure that out.”

Atlanta Police Officers Fired After Tasing Spelman, Morehouse Student On Live TV

June 1, 2020
Tanya Christian

Two Atlanta police officers have been fired after tasing a Spelman and Morehouse student on live TV. Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said at a news conference on Sunday that the use of excessive force exhibited by the police department also left three others on desk duty. The decision was made after reviewing body-camera footage from the incident.

According to the New York Times, the officers who were removed from the force are Investigator Ivory Streeter, who started with the department in December 2003, and Investigator Mark Gardner, who was hired in August 1997. The two students involved in the incident have been identified as Messiah Young and Taniyah Pilgrim. 

The released body-cam footage of the event shows Young videotaping police as they detain another protestor. The cops then start to approach the car Young is driving and exchange words with the young man, who is slowly inching his way through traffic. When the officer reaches the driver’s-side door and proceeds to open it, Young pulls the door shut, saying he’s “not dying today,” and advances in traffic.

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When the police catch up to the vehicle, the incident turns aggressive as officers attempt to extract Young and Pilgrim from the car. An officer takes a blunt object and proceeds to bash in the window; another officer can be heard yelling to put the car in park. As the window shatters, an officer begins to tase Young. On the other side of the car, Pilgrim is also being tased. 

Toward the end of the footage, a police officer claims that Young was in possession of a gun. “He got a gun. He got gun,” the officer says repeatedly. Police reports do not reflect that a gun had been recovered.

Both Young and Pilgrim have been released from police custody. Pilgrim does not face any charges. Bottoms said during the news conference that she’s ordering charges against Young be dropped.

A GoFundMe account was established for the students, to aid in their bail. However, an update on the crowdfunding page says that it was not required, given the circumstances. According to the fund organizer, the more than $165,000 raised will go toward legal fees, therapy, a new vehicle for Young and medical bills.

Black Protester Shot Dead In Nebraska

June 1, 2020
Breanna Edwards

James Scurlock, 22, was shot and killed in Omaha, Nebraska, on Saturday while protesting the officer-involved death of George Floyd.

According to KETV, Police Chief Todd Schmaderer confirmed that police had someone connected to Scurlock’s death in custody as of Sunday night, but that individual’s identity has not officially been released; nor have any charges been determined.

“Any charging decision on that front will come from the county attorney’s office,” Schmaderer said. “And he tells me that will be accompanied by a press conference.”

However, the Daily Beast reports that other local outlets, including the Omaha World-Herald, have identified the suspect as Jake Gardener, who owns two bars near the area where Scurlock was shot, the Hive and the Gatsby.

Scurlock was shot outside of the Hive, which, according to the Beast, has faced several complaints on social media for discriminating against Black patrons.

Scurlock’s family is now asking for peace as well as justice, KETV reports.

“Last night I lost a son, my wife lost a son, my kids lost a brother,” James Scurlock II told the news station. “His daughter lost a father. All because he decided to protest against racism. There’s a lot of speculation and rumors about how this happened. I don’t really care, to be honest. My family wants closure and peace. I’ve already been harassed by people.”

“What we want is for this to go to court and get a full prosecution. We want this to go with justice and go peacefully,” Scurlock II added.

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Protests erupted across the country and overseas as people flocked to the streets of Baltimore, Atlanta, Los Angeles, Louisville, New York City and other areas to protest the recent deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and the countless other Black lives that have been lost at the hands of law enforcement.

In Los Angeles, what started as peaceful protests quickly escalated once the Los Angeles Police Department began to use forceful tactics on protestors. In New York City, cop cars literally ran down protestors as onlookers caught it on camera. And during a fiery Friday night in Atlanta, Mayor Keshia Lance Bottoms passionately tried to plead with citizens to stop destroying the city during a press conference.

In one of the most provocative protest scenes, a building in Fayetteville, N.C., that was once used to sell slaves, was set on fire from the inside.

https://twitter.com/alexmalloyy/status/1266876454714949632

On Saturday morning, Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey rebuked the rioting and looting in the city where George Floyd was killed by police officer Derek Chauvin.

“This is no longer about verbal expression,” he said. “This is about violence, and we need to make sure that it stops. We’re in the middle of a pandemic right now. We have two crises that are sandwiched on top of one another. In order to make sure that we continue to have the necessary community institutions, we need to make sure that our businesses are protected, that they are safe and that they are secure,” Frey said, according to CNN.

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Frey also noted that many of the people involved in the rioting and looting were from out of town.

“Gradually that shift was made, and we saw more and more people coming from outside of the city. We saw more and more people looking to cause violence in our communities, and I have to say, it is not acceptable,” Frey said.

In Los Angeles, Mayor Garcetti implemented a curfew from 8 p.m.-5 a.m.

“Whether you wear a badge or whether you hold a sign, I’m asking all of Los Angeles to take a deep breath and step back for a moment,” Garcetti said in the conference. “To allow our firefighters to put out the flames. To allow our peace officers to re-establish some order. And to let them protect your rights to be out there.”

During Saturday afternoon, thousands of protestors in Los Angeles took to the streets of Beverly Hills, where they were met with opposition from the police.

This is a live article and will be updated.