The Latest: Interfaith group holds vigil outside St. John’s

Politics

A wounded member of a far-right group is escorted by British police officers in riot gear, during scuffles as they try to contain a protest at Trafalgar Square in central London, Saturday, June 13, 2020. British police have imposed strict restrictions on groups protesting in London Saturday in a bid to avoid violent clashes between protesters from the Black Lives Matter movement, as well as far-right groups that gathered to counter-protest. (AP Photo/Alberto Pezzali)

TOP OF THE HOUR:

— A group of interfaith leaders held a prayer vigil outside St. John’s Church near the White House.

— The mother of Trayvon Martin joined hundreds of demonstrators at a rally in downtown Miami.

— At least seven Minneapolis police officers have quit and another seven are in the process of resigning.

— Police officer shot during Las Vegas protest paralyzed.

— Tulsa Health Department director wishes Trump would postpone a planned campaign rally because of recent increases in coronavirus cases.

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A group of interfaith leaders held a prayer vigil Sunday outside St. John’s Church near the White House, where President Donald Trump held a June 1 appearance that sparked criticism after protesters were forcibly cleared from the area.

The faith leaders, representing multiple Christian denominations as well as Jewish, Muslim, Hindu and Sikh faiths, addressed a crowd of several dozen at the edge of the recently named Black Lives Matter Plaza with a message of racial justice.

“The government stands under God’s judgment, and must therefore be held accountable for protecting the innocent, guaranteeing basic freedoms and liberties, and establishing justice and equality,” said Bishop LaTrelle Easterling, leader of the Baltimore-Washington Conference of the United Methodist Church.

Among the speakers at St. John’s was Rev. William Barber, leader of the Poor People’s Campaign movement on behalf of lower-income Americans, who also addressed Sunday services at the Washington National Cathedral.

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MIAMI — The mother of Trayvon Martin joined hundreds of demonstrators at a rally in downtown Miami on Sunday, demanding racial equality following the death of George Floyd last month at the hands of a white police officer in Minnesota.

Sybrina Fulton joined the demonstrators who carried signs that read “Stop Killing Us” and “We Are All Equal” at the Torch of Friendship, a 60-year-old monument erected as a welcoming beacon to the city’s Latin American and Caribbean neighbors. The protest organized by several churches was one of several across Florida on Sunday.

Fulton’s unarmed son, Trayon Martin, was killed by a neighborhood watch volunteer, George Zimmerman, while walking back from a central Florida convenience store in 2012. The teen’s killing helped plant the seeds of the Black Lives Matter movement, which grew after the deaths of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, and Eric Garner in New York.

Fulton is currently running for a seat on the Miami-Dade Board of County Commissioners.

At one point, demonstrators lined up U.S. flags that spelled out “RESIST” on a blocked-off downtown street.

Nearby at a separate protest, dozens of police supporters waved flags and chanted “We support the police!” at Bayfront Park in downtown Miami. At one point, about three dozen officers on bikes rode by the protesters and gave high-fives to supporters who applauded and took photos.

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At least seven Minneapolis police officers have quit and another seven are in the process of resigning, citing a lack of support from department and city leaders as protests over George Floyd’s death escalated.

Current and former officers told The Minneapolis Star Tribune that officers are upset with Mayor Jacob Frey’s decision to abandon the Third Precinct station during the protests.

Demonstrators set the building on fire after officers left. Protesters also have hurled bricks and insults at officers, numerous officers and protesters have been injured and the state has launched a civil rights investigation into the department.

U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar told CNN on Sunday that the department is “rotten to the root.”

Mylan Masson, a retired Minneapolis officer and use-of-force expert, says officers don’t feel appreciated.

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LAS VEGAS — An officer who was shot in the head during a Las Vegas protest of the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis is paralyzed from the neck down, on a ventilator and unable to speak.

Officer Shay Mikalonis was shot on June 1 during protests over the death of Floyd at the hands of police.

The officer’s family released a statement Saturday through the police, saying the 29-year-old is expected to stay on the ventilator.

He has been tentatively accepted at a spine rehabilitation center.

Prosecutors have charged a 20-year-old man with deliberately shooting Mikalonis during the protest. A judge who reviewed evidence at June 5 court hearing said that police video shows Edgar Samaniego “walking by, taking out a gun and firing … at officers.”

He is charged with attempted murder and is being held in lieu of $1 million.

An appointed public defender says Samaniego will plead not guilty.

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SEATTLE — Large protests in Seattle over police brutality and racial injustice have again caught the nation’s eye, but demonstrations have been part of the city since shortly after it was founded in 1851.

This week, demonstrators have staked out several blocks near downtown Seattle.

They named the area the “Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone,” demanded broad reforms and faced criticism from President Donald Trump, who called them anarchist occupiers.

Similar descriptions of Seattle protests have been used for more than 100 years, stretching from large labor strikes before World War I to the massive 1999 WTO trade protests.

Its latest protest epicenter, also known as the Capitol Hill Occupied Protest area, has been peaceful so far, Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best said on CBS’ “Face the Nation” on Sunday.

She wants officers to return to the precinct without creating “something that devolves into a force situation.”

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CHICAGO — A published report says black people made up 75% of those arrested in Chicago for alleged violations of a curfew put in place following demonstrations over George Floyd’s death.

The Chicago Sun-Times analyzed police data from the first five days of the curfew imposed May 30 and lifted June 7.

The racial disparity in Chicago, where black people are about 30% of the population, drew criticism from the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois.

A Chicago police spokesman says the department’s curfew enforcement was “universal” regardless of race or neighborhood.

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TULSA, Okla. — The director of the Tulsa Health Department says he wishes President Donald Trump would postpone a planned campaign rally in Tulsa because of recent increases in the number of coronavirus cases.

Bruce Dart told the Tulsa World that it’s an honor for the president to want to come to the city, but said he’s concerned about protecting anyone attending a large indoor event.

“I wish we could postpone this to a time when the virus isn’t as large a concern as it is today.” Dart told the Tulsa World.

“I think it’s an honor for Tulsa to have a sitting president want to come and visit our community, but not during a pandemic,” Dart said.

“I’m concerned about our ability to protect anyone who attends a large, indoor event, and I’m also concerned about our ability to ensure the president stays safe as well.”

Trump plans a rally at the 19,000-seat BOK Center on Saturday. The Oklahoma State Department of Health on Sunday reported 158 new cases of the coronavirus to bring the confirmed total in the state to 8,231 cases.

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A group of about 100 people — some carrying guns and baseball bats — gathered around a statue of Christopher Columbus in Philadelphia over the weekend, saying they intended to protect it from vandals amid recent protests.

The group clustered around the statue in Marconi Plaza on Saturday.

“It would be over my dead body before they got to this statue,” Anthony Ruggiero, 41, told The Philadelphia Inquirer. “This is a part of history.”

Mayor Jim Kenney condemned the “groups of armed individuals ‘protecting’” the statue in a Twitter post on Sunday.

Meanwhile, three people were charged in the vandalism of a Christopher Columbus statue in Providence, Rhode Island.

Responding officers said they saw two people run toward the statue early Saturday and throw objects that left paint splattered on the protective surface around the monument.

The two fled on foot and were arrested shortly after, as was the man police say was driving the car. All three face a felony charge of desecration of a monument and conspiracy.

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TAHLEQUAH, Okla. — The Cherokee Nation has removed two confederate monuments that were placed in its Capitol Square nearly a century ago by the Daughters of the Confederacy.

A crane removed the two monuments from the nation’s tribal headquarters in Tahlequah on Saturday while Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin, Jr., watched.

“It’s difficult to tell our story when we have non-Indian-driven monuments talking about the Confederacy, when they greet people as they come into our Cherokee Nation museum,” Hoskin said in a statement. “It was time for a change.”

The monuments included a fountain memorializing confederate soldiers and Gen. Stand Watie that was dedicated in 1913 and a second granite monument honoring Watie dedicated in 1921.

The capitol square in downtown Tahlequah houses the original Cherokee Nation courthouse, which has been converted into a Cherokee history museum.

According to the Cherokee Nation, the site is home to 13 different monuments, several with no ties to Cherokee history, that were erected before the tribe reclaimed ownership in 1979.

The Cherokee Nation is planning to commission an art project for the square dedicated to the Trail of Tears, along which thousands of Native Americans perished during their forced removal from ancestral homelands east of the Mississippi River.

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BERLIN — Demonstrators are forming a planned 9-kilometer (5½-mile) chain in Berlin in a message against racism, among a range of other causes.

Organizers of Sunday’s “Indivisible” demonstration were told to require participants to wear masks, and protesters were also asked to maintain social distancing.

They were linked by colored ribbons, forming what organizers called a “ribbon of solidarity” that stretched southeast from the Brandenburg Gate to the Neukoelln neighbourhood. Police said people appeared to be keeping up with safety protocols.

Berlin recently lifted coronavirus-related limits on the number of people who can attend demonstrations, though people are still required to keep at least 1.5 meters (5 feet) apart in public.

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MILAN — Protesters have scrawled ‘’rapist’’ and ‘’racist’’ on the statue of a late Italian journalist who had acknowledged having had a 12-year-old Eritrean bride while stationed in the Italian colony in the 1930s.

The statue of Indro Montanelli, inside a Milan park that bears his name, has been a flashpoint in Italy’s Black Lives Matters protests, which have put renewed focus on Italy’s colonial past. Activists are also pushing for Italy to grant automatic citizenship to those born in Italy to parents who are permanent residents.

Montanelli, who died in 2001 at 92, was one of Italy’s most revered journalists, honored by the Vienna-based International Press Institute in 2000 as among the 50 World Press Freedom Heroes. A noted war correspondent, he chronicled contemporary Italy from its colonial era through fascism, Italy’s postwar reconstruction and the anti-corruption scandals that overturned Italy’s political class in the 1990s.

In 1977, he was shot four times in the legs by the Red Brigade domestic terror group. He also mentored many of today’s top Italian journalists.

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NEW ORLEANS — Protesters tore down a bust of a slave owner who left part of his fortune to New Orleans’ schools, and then they took the remains to the Mississippi River and rolled it down the banks into the water.

The destruction Saturday is part of a nationwide effort to remove monuments to the Confederacy or with links to slavery as the country grapples with widespread protests against police brutality toward African Americans.

Police said in a statement Saturday that demonstrators at Duncan Plaza, which is directly across the street from City Hall, dragged the bust into the streets, loaded it onto trucks and took it to the Mississippi River where they threw it in. Two people who were driving the trucks transporting the bust were apprehended by police and taken to police headquarters, authorities said. Their names were not given in the statement.

The police did not identify the bust, but local media identified it as one depicting John McDonogh. When he died, McDonogh left a large portion of his money to New Orleans and Baltimore for schools, and many schools in New Orleans are named after him.

Video on social media showed dozens surrounding the bust, which sat on a pedestal while some people pulled on a rope tied to the bust and another hit it.

As the bust tilts and then crashes to the ground the crowd cheers. Another video posted on social media shows a crowd watching as the bust is rolled down the rocky banks of the Mississippi River and into the water.

Mayor LaToya Cantrell said in a tweet that the city “rejects vandalism and destruction of City property. It is unlawful.”

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