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Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Protest updates: Minnesota jail officers allege discrimination; Junipero Serra statues top

No arrests have been made in Seattle’s shooting that left one dead. Minneapolis officers file racial discrimination complaint. Latest protest news.
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Eight correctional officers in Minneapolis have filed racial discrimination charges with the state’s Department of Human Rights alleging that they weren’t allowed to be in close contact with Derek Chauvin, the white officer who pressed his knee into George Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes.

Meanwhile, in Thousand Oaks, California, three men were arrested on suspicion for vandalizing a Black Lives Matter sign. Two of the men are employees of a sheriff’s office and the district attorney’s office.

And, in Seattle, no arrests have been made following a Saturday morning shooting in the city’s autonomous zone that killed a 19-year-old and critically hospitalized another person.

A closer look at some recent developments:

  • Statues of Catholic priest Junipero Serra were toppled in San Francisco and Los Angeles over the weekend. Serra founded nine of California’s 21 Spanish missions.
  • Three men, two who worked for local law enforcement agencies in California, were arrested on suspicion for vandalizing a Black Lives Matter sign in the city of Westlake Village.
  • Seattle Police are investigating a homicide that happened early Saturday in which one person was killed and another in critical condition in Seattle’s “Capitol Hill Occupied Protest,” or (CHOP) zone. No arrests have been made.

Our live blog will be updated throughout the day. For first-in-the-morning updates, sign up for The Daily Briefing.

3 law enforcement officials arrested for allegedly vandalizing BLM sign in California

Three men — including two who worked for local law enforcement agencies in California — have been arrested on suspicion of vandalizing a Black Lives Matter sign in the city of Westlake Village, authorities said.

The misdemeanor arrests were announced Saturday night by Ventura County Sheriff Bill Ayub’s office. The announcement covered multiple incidents over the last three weeks.

“I’m deeply disappointed that one of our employees involved himself in this type of illegal activity, especially when this is an infringement on someone’s First Amendment right to freedom of speech,” Ayub said in a statement. “We will not tolerate unlawful or unethical behavior by anyone employed by our agency. We hold our employees to the highest standards, and there will be consequences for this.”

The sign, described as a tarp with the letters BLM painted on it, has been displayed on a fence for the past three weeks, officials said, and has been damaged or removed on several occasions.

– Gretchen Wenner, Ventura (Calif.) County Star

Minnesota corrections officers allege discrimination at jail that once housed Derek Chauvin

Eight Minnesota correctional officers working at the facility where fired police officer Derek Chauvin was held following his arrest for the murder of George Floyd say they were forbidden from coming into contact with him and have reportedly filed a complaint with the state’s Department of Human Rights.

The officers — all people of color — say they were told they would be a “liability” around Chauvin because of their race, The Star Tribune of Minneapolis reported. Chauvin is the white officer who was seen on video pressing his knee into Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes as the Black man gasped for breath.

According to a copy of racial discrimination charges obtained by the newspaper, once Chauvin arrived at the Ramsey County Jail, officers of color were ordered to a separate floor. The only officers left to guard Chauvin were white and minority employees were prohibited from having contact with Chauvin, the Star Tribune reported. 

– Jordan Culver

Statues of Spanish missionary Junipero Serra toppled in Los Angeles, San Francisco

Demonstrators in California toppled statues of a Spanish Catholic missionary over the weekend amid ongoing protests against racism sparked by the death of George Floyd on May 25.

Statues of Father Junipero Serra, who founded the state’s 21 Spanish missions, were brought down in Los Angeles and San Francisco. Demonstrators in Ventura County called for the removal of the statue outside of the city hall building on Saturday.

In downtown Los Angeles, Indigenous activists shouted and drummed as the statue was toppled Saturday, the Los Angeles Times reported. No police were present at the demonstration.

In San Francisco, the Serra statue at Golden Gate Park was yanked with ropes on Friday. San Francisco Archbishop Salvadore Cordileone criticized protesters in a statement: “A renewed national movement to heal memories and correct the injustices of racism and police brutality in our country has been hijacked by some into a movement of violence, looting and vandalism.”

San Francisco mayor calls for evaluation of public art amid statue removals

San Francisco Mayor London Breed asked for public art to be reviewed after protesters vandalized and tore down statues in Golden Gate Park.

Breed decried the vandalism, saying “the damage done … went far beyond” the removal of the statues.

The statues targeted included those of Ulysses Grant, the 18th U.S. President; Francis Scott Key, who wrote the U.S. national anthem “Star Spangled Banner”; and Junipero Serra, an 18th century Roman Catholic priest.

Breed added that she will ask the Arts Commission, the Human Rights Commission, and the Recreation and Parks Department and its Commission “to evaluate our public art and its intersection with our country’s racist history” to determine the status of other murals and monuments across the city.

– Lorenzo Reyes

Seattle Police investigating homicide inside Autonomous Zone on Capitol Hill

Seattle Police are investigating a fatal shooting early Saturday morning inside the city’s Capitol Hill Occupied Protest (CHOP) zone.

Formerly known as CHAZ, or Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone, it is an area that stretches several city blocks and has been cordoned off by protesters where artists paint murals, speakers discuss topics of racial equity and snacks are handed out for free.

A 19-year-old man died at a hospital after being treated for the shooting, and another is “being treated for life-threatening injuries,” police said in a statement.

Police said they responded to a call about shots fired at 2:30 a.m. Saturday morning. Officers “attempted to locate a shooting victim but were met by a violent crowd that prevented officers safe access to the victims,” police said. 

They added that the suspect or suspects fled and are at-large, with no description available.

More on protests

K-pop fans, TikTok teens may have contributed to Donald Trump rally turnout

President Donald Trump’s Saturday rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, featured smaller-than-expected crowds, with rows of empty seats at the 19,000-capacity BOK Center despite an expected turnout of nearly a million supporters.

A call to action coordinated by teens and young adults on TikTok and K-pop users on Twitter could explain what happened.

After the Trump reelection campaign opened registration for free tickets to the rally, K-pop fans on Twitter shared information on how to sign up — with directives to obtain tickets, but not attend. 

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez praised the collective involved in the action, telling Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale “you just got ROCKED by teens on TikTok.”

“Shout out to Zoomers,” she said, referring to the largely Gen Z makeup of these groups. “Y’all make me so proud.”

– Joshua Bote

Contributing: The Associated Press

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