The Latest: Dallas officials agree to 90-day ban on tear gas

1 year 1 week 2 days ago Friday, June 12 2020 Jun 12, 2020 June 12, 2020 7:10 PM June 12, 2020 in News - AP Texas Headlines

By The Associated Press


Dallas officials agree to 90-day ban on use of tear gas against demonstrators.

Judge orders pause on use of tear gas against protesters in Seattle.

Minneapolis council takes step toward abolishing police department.

Kentucky commission votes to remove Confederate statue from Capitol.

DALLAS - Dallas officials have agreed to a 90-day ban on the use of tear gas and other less-lethal police crowd-control weapons against demonstrators.

U.S. District Judge Sam Lindsay approved late Thursday a consent decree in which Dallas police agree not to use against peaceful demonstrators smoke bombs, flashbangs, pepperballs, Mace or other chemical agents. They also agree to not fire such impact projectiles as rubber bullets, bean bags or sponges.

The preliminary injunction will remain in effect until Sept. 9 unless extended, amended or dissolved by the judge.

Tasia Williams and Vincent Doyle sued the city and police after rubber bullets injured them during two separate Black Lives Matter marches in Dallas.

The demonstrations are a reaction to the killing of George Floyd by a Minnesota police officer.

SEATTLE - A federal judge has ordered Seattle to temporarily stop using tear gas, pepper spray and flash bang devices to break up peaceful protests.

The 14-day edict is a victory for groups who say authorities overreacted to demonstrations in the city after the death of George Floyd. A Black Lives Matter group sued the Seattle Police Department this week to halt the violent tactics police have used to break up largely peaceful protests in recent days.

Officers used tear gas, pepper spray and other less-lethal weapons against crowds that have demonstrated against racism and police brutality following the killing of Floyd in Minneapolis.

Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan and Police Chief Carmen Best apologized to peaceful protesters who were subjected to chemical weapons. However, Best has said some demonstrators had violently targeted police, throwing projectiles and ignoring orders to disperse.

MINNEAPOLIS - Minneapolis City Council members took a first step Friday toward changing the City Charter to allow for abolishing the police department and replacing it with something else.

Five of the 12 council members said Friday that they’ll formally introduce a proposal later this month to remove the charter’s requirement that the city maintain a police department and fund a minimum number of officers. Voters would have to approve the change if the proposal makes it onto the November ballot.

The Star Tribune reports the announcement came as council members face increased pressure to further define what they meant when a majority of them pledged to eliminate the Minneapolis Police Department following George Floyd’s death.

Council Member Jeremiah Ellison said he still expects to spend a year seeking feedback from the community about how to change the department, but he fears that if they don’t remove that charter provision, it will hamper those efforts. He said removing the language alone won’t eliminate the department.

Some business groups and Mayor Jacob Frey have said they prefer changing the department over eliminating it completely.

ATLANTA - A protest organizer says a woman arrested Thursday at the Georgia State Capitol for defacing the statue of a Confederate general only wrote “tear down” on it in chalk.

Organizer J.J. Nicole questions whether the action merited any criminal charges, much less the felony charges filed by the Georgia State Patrol.

State Department of Public Safety spokeswoman Lt. Stephanie L. Stallings says 55-year-old Jamie Loughner of Atlanta was arrested Thursday. Loughner is charged with felony interference with government property and misdemeanor criminal trespass. Loughner remained in the Fulton County jail Friday. Bail was set at $1,500.

Stallings says the statue of John Brown Gordon was “defaced,” according to the the Georgia Capitol Police. Protesters have been gathering at the statue of Gordon for daily protests demanding that it and other monuments be removed, saying they were white supremacists and that Georgia shouldn’t honor them.

FRANKFORT, Ky. - A Kentucky commission voted Friday to take down a statue of Confederate President Jefferson Davis from the state Capitol, adding its voice to a global push to remove symbols of racism and slavery.

The Historic Properties Advisory Commission met remotely through video teleconferencing at the request of Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear. It voted 11-1 to move the 15-foot (4.5-meter) marble statue of Davis to a state historic site in southern Kentucky where the Confederate leader was born. The commission is responsible for statues in the state Capitol.

Relocating the Davis statue means it will no longer share space in the ornate Capitol Rotunda with a statue of Abraham Lincoln, his Civil War adversary and the president who freed the slaves with the Emancipation Proclamation. Both were Kentucky natives.

COLUMBIA, S.C. - The first city in the United States named for Christopher Columbus has removed a statue of the explorer and placed it in storage for safekeeping.

Mayor Steve Benjamin of Columbia, South Carolina, said the statue had been vandalized with paint several times over the past week.

The mayor said he would rather have citizens and the City Council decide the statue’s fate than protesters in the middle of the night.

Workers dismembered the Columbus statue early Friday, and by mid-morning only the feet were attached to the pedestal at Riverfront Park.

Benjamin didn’t say where the statue was being stored.

Statues of Columbus, who came to North America in 1492, have been torn down by protesters in other cities who said the explorer started European colonization which exploited and led to the deaths of millions of native people on the continent.

Columbia was named in 1786 for the female representation of Columbus. It won an 11-7 vote over the name Washington in the South Carolina Senate.

South Carolina has a law protecting historic monuments from being taken down or altered without a two-thirds vote of the General Assembly.

WASHINGTON - President Donald Trump says he’d like to see an end to the police use of choke holds, except in limited circumstances.

Trump made the comments in an interview with Fox News Channel that aired Friday.

Trump said he doesn’t like choke holds and thinks that, “generally speaking” the practice “should be ended.”

But Trump also talked at length about a scenario in which a police officer is alone and fighting one-on-one and might need to use the tactic.

The White House has been working to craft an executive order on policing in the wake of the killing of George Floyd in police custody, which has sparked protests across the nation and around the world demanding justice and racial equality.

Congress also has been working to craft legislation in response.

PARIS - Activists dislodged a 19th century African funeral pole from its perch in a Paris museum Friday, saying they wanted to return it to Africa in a protest against colonial-era abuses.

The incident in the Quai Branly Museum came amid growing anger at symbols of colonialism and slavery in the United States and Europe in the wake of George Floyd’s death and ensuing global protests against racial injustice.

The five protesters were stopped before they could leave the museum with the artwork, and an investigation was opened, according to a statement from France’s culture minister. The work did not suffer serious damage.

The activists posted live video of the protest online, in which Congo-born Mwazulu Diyabanza accused European museums of making millions from artworks taken from now-impoverished African countries.

“It’s wealth that belongs to us, and deserves to be brought back,” he said. “I will bring to Africa what was taken.”

Culture Minister Franck Riester condemned the move, saying: “While the debate on the restitution of works from the African continent is perfectly legitimate, it can in no way justify this type of action.”

BOSTON - Boston’s mayor declared racism a public health crisis on Friday, outlining a series of police reforms in response to the nationwide reckoning sparked by the police killing of a black man in Minneapolis.

Democratic Mayor Marty Walsh said he would propose transferring $12 million from the police department, or roughly 20% of its overtime budget, to fund a range of social services, including mental health counseling, housing and homelessness programs, and new public health commission efforts to address racial disparities in health care.

Protesters have called on Walsh to “defund” police, and redirecting money from police to other social services is one of the goals of that movement. Activists have also asked Walsh to remove or rename city landmarks in recent days.

The mayor also announced the creation of the Boston Police Reform Task Force to review the department’s use of force policies and suggest ways to improve officer training, its body camera program and the city’s police review board.

SPOKANE, Wash. - Some political leaders in Washington’s second-largest city are criticizing people who have shown up armed to silently watch protesters participating in Spokane’s recent weekend Black Lives Matter demonstrations.

The Spokesman-Review reports the politicians have labeled the demonstrators as “armed vigilantes.”

Officials who signed the statement include Mayor Nadine Woodward, the entire Spokane City Council, state legislators and some members of the city’s school board. The protests were sparked by the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

There have been no confrontations in Spokane between the armed people and the protesters. Another protest is scheduled for Sunday.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. - The smallest U.S. state has the longest name, and it’s not sitting well with some in the George Floyd era.

Officially, Rhode Island was incorporated as The State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations when it declared statehood in 1790. Now, opponents have revived an effort to lop off the plantations reference, saying it evokes the legacy of slavery.

An online petition aims to ask the state to shorten the name to just Rhode Island, a nonbinding campaign intended to generate momentum toward an eventual ballot question this November.

“In no way am I trying to erase history. But we shouldn’t glorify our shameful past,” Tyson Pianka, a University of Rhode Island sophomore who organized the petition drive, said in an interview.

Name alterations have been attempted before - most recently in 2010, when nearly eight in 10 voters rejected the shorter name in a referendum. But supporters say they’re feeling a fresh sense of urgency and determination as the nation reckons with Floyd’s death. About 60% of all slave-trading voyages launched from North America came from Rhode Island, researchers say.

ANNAPOLIS, Md. - Support is growing to remove a plaque from Maryland’s Capitol that honors the Civil War’s Union and Confederate soldiers from the state and once showed a Confederate flag that has been covered over.

House Speaker Adrienne Jones renewed her push to have the plaque removed in a letter Thursday. Last year, a four-member panel that oversees the Capitol and its grounds voted to cover a logo from the sign showing the U.S. and Confederate flags crossed. It was covered with an image of the Maryland state flag, but the sign remained after a 3-1 vote.

Jones, who is Maryland’s first black House speaker, wrote that the plaque “is not a symbol that belongs in our seat of government.”

“The language of this plaque still remains which sympathizes with the Confederacy,” Jones wrote. “The past two weeks have reignited our national conversation about the systemic racial injustice that continues throughout the United States of America.”

DOVER, Del. - A memorial honoring Delaware law enforcement officers who have died in the line of duty was damaged with an ax, authorities said Friday.

Dover police received a call shortly after 5:30 a.m. Friday by a passerby who reported that a person was vandalizing the memorial on Legislative Mall.

A bronze statute of a police officer kneeling in reverence in front of a granite wall inscribed with the names of fallen police officers was damaged, and two urine-soaked state flags were placed on the ground. An ax was left there.

COLUMBIA, S.C. - Clemson University trustees voted Friday to rename the school’s honors college, stripping off the name of former vice president and slavery proponent John C. Calhoun.

The university’s board also publicly requested permission from the state legislature to change the name of Tillman Hall back to its original name, the Main building. The iconic campus building currently honors “Pitchfork” Ben Tillman, the governor and U.S. senator who used virulent racism to dominate South Carolina politics after Reconstruction.

Other than removing the Confederate flag from state House grounds after a deadly attack on nine black Charleston church members in 2015, lawmakers have refused to take up any major changes of Confederate monuments. Change requires a two-thirds vote of both the House and Senate.

Trustees cited the recent death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, which has spurred protests over racial injustice and police brutality across the country, as an impetus for the renaming. The honors program will now be called the “Clemson University Honors College.”

Calhoun, who was born in South Carolina, declared slavery a “positive good” on the U.S. Senate floor in 1837. Tillman led a white mob in 1876 that killed several black men in Hamburg, an Aiken County town where freed slaves had settled.

Following recent protests over racial injustice and police brutality, activists have renewed calls to remove monuments and rename buildings honoring the Confederacy, slavery and white supremacy across the state.

Clemson’s honors college was established in 1962 and named after Calhoun in 1981, and the university maintains Calhoun’s plantation home Fort Hill on campus.

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