Cincinnati Reds great Joey Votto says #BlackLivesMatter

Cincinnati Reds great Joey Votto on Sunday penned a scathing column - targeting himself and admitting he's turned a blind eye to systemic racism and police brutality.

In a guest column posted by The Cincinnati Enquirer, the star first baseman said George Floyd's death has forced him to open "my eyes to the realities of being a black man in America."

"That privilege kept me from understanding the 'why' behind Colin Kaepernick’s decision to kneel during the national anthem. That privilege allowed me to ignore my black teammates’ grievances about their experiences with law enforcement, being profiled, and discriminated against," wrote Votto, who grew up just outside of Toronto. "And that privilege has made me complicit in the death of George Floyd, as well as the many other injustices that blacks experience in the U.S. and my native Canada. " 

Votto, 36, said supports the Black Lives Matter movement and added: "Only now am I just beginning to hear. I am awakening to their pain, and my ignorance. No longer will I be silent."

 

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Virginia has the most Confederate memorials in the country, but that might change

As nationwide protests continue following the death of George Floyd in police custody, the debate over removing Confederate statues has reignited — and the city that was once the capital of the Confederacy is taking the lead.

The Richmond, Virginia, City Council on Friday decided unanimously to remove four Confederate statues on Monument Avenue. The decision followed an announcement by the state's Democratic governor, Ralph Northam, that the six-story-tall statue of Robert E. Lee that looms over the street would come down "as soon as possible."

Virginia is home to 110 Confederate monuments, 13 of which are in Richmond, according to 2019 data from the Southern Poverty Law Center, or SPLC. The state has 244 Confederate symbols, which includes roads and bridges named after Confederate leaders, more than any other state, the SPLC says. There are 41 symbols for Lee alone.

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St. Paul man charged in connection with police precinct arson

A Minnesota man is facing federal charges in connection to the fire that was set at a Minneapolis police precinct station during protests over the death of George Floyd, prosecutors said Monday.

Branden Michael Wolfe, 23, has been charged with aiding and abetting arson in connection with fires set at the police department's third precinct on May 28, the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Minnesota said in a statement.

The precinct "was overrun and heavily damaged due to vandalism and arson," the U.S. attorney's office said, with multiple fires set inside.

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Los Angeles police chief orders moratorium on carotid hold

LAPD Chief Michel Moore on Monday issued a moratorium on the training and use of the "carotid restraint control hold," a type of neck restraint that had already been restricted by department rules.

The memo follows the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody on May 25.

Gov. Gavin Newsom on Friday called for the end of the carotid hold and other techniques like it and ordered that it be removed from the state police training programs and state training manuals.

The LAPD in 1982 banned bar-arm chokeholds and other techniques following a federal lawsuit.

The Los Angeles Police Commission followed up the bar-arm ban weeks later by restricting the carotid chokehold, designed to immobilize a suspect by blocking the neck artery and, by extension, the flow of blood to the brain.

The department still allowed officers to use a carotid restraint but limits those situations to immediate danger to life. The memo ordering the moratorium says that the Board of Police Commissioners will conduct a detailed review.

2 Atlanta officers charged with assault during protests seek jobs back

Two Atlanta police officers who were fired and criminally charged in connection with pulling two college students from a car during protests late last month have filed a lawsuit seeking their jobs back.

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms on May 31 announced that the two officers, Ivory Streeter and Mark Gardner would be fired immediately after what she called "an excessive use of force."

The suit, which says the officers were denied due process, seeks the reinstatement of both officers and back pay.

Video showed officers forcibly pulling Messiah Young and Taniyah Pilgrim from their car around 9:40 p.m. May 30 during protests following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

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'They're chanting his name ... but they didn't know him like we knew him,' Floyd's classmates say

HOUSTON — On Memorial Day, Jonathan Veal was at home in Oklahoma City, getting ready to start up the grill, when he saw a disturbing video circulating on social media. It showed a black man struggling for breath under the knee of a white police officer in Minnesota.

"No, no, not again," Veal remembers thinking.

He felt the same sickening tightness in his chest that hits him every time a new viral video shows a black man or woman being killed by a police officer. That could have been him or one of his five children — or a friend.

At first, he didn't recognize the man whose face was pressed against concrete, gasping for his mama. It wasn't until the following morning, when the name George Floyd started appearing in social media posts and news articles, that Veal, 45, made the connection. Afterward, he locked himself in his office at the leadership consulting company he owns and sat in silence, trying to process the realization — memories of "Big Floyd" rushing through his mind.

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President takes aim at NFL after league says it was wrong to not let players protest

Calls for racial justice reshaping media landscape

Less than 24 hours after Editorial Page Editor James Bennet resigned from The New York Times, the ongoing social upheaval over racial injustice continues to force changes across the media industry.

On Monday, editors at Bon Appétit and Refinery29 resigned amid staff protest over their leadership, various outlets faced scrutiny over their treatment of black staffers and one publication said it would support its journalists' right to protest.

The changes come as media companies are being forced, often by their own staff, to reassess their role in the fight for racial justice, whether that means rethinking diversity inside the company or re-examining their commitment to editorial "objectivity."

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Los Angeles won't prosecute curfew violations

Demonstrators in front of the District Attorney's office protest in Los Angeles on June 3, 2020.Frederic J. Brown / AFP - Getty Images

Prosecutors in the city and county of Los Angeles said Monday they will not prosecute those arrested for curfew violations or failure to disperse in peaceful protests following the death of George Floyd.

On Monday, Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey said her office would not prosecute those cases and City Attorney Mike Feuer said his office would take a “nonpunitive” approach that's “outside of the courts."

"I believe whole-heartedly in free speech and support the right of protesters to demonstrate peacefully against historic racial injustice in our criminal justice system and throughout our nation,” Lacey said in a statement.

Feuer also said Monday that his office "has developed a non-punitive approach, outside of the Court system" for all violations that do not involve violence, looting or vandalism, which he said primarily involves failure to disperse or curfew violations.

The city and county of Los Angeles imposed curfews on May 30 following violence and looting, but by Thursday they were lifted. There were thousands of arrests in Los Angeles. LAPD Chief Michel Moore said last week that the majority of arrests that had been for curfew violations or failure to disperse.

Seattle police reopening streets to allow protests

The Seattle Police Department announced they will reopen streets around the East Precinct on Monday night to allow protesters to march peacefully on Capitol Hill. 

On Sunday night, protesters took to the area surrounding the precinct to protest the death of George Floyd when a man drove into a group of protesters and shot one man, who was taken to an area hospital.

Assistant Chief of Patrol Operations Tom Mahaffey sent a letter to officers that said, “The decision has been made to allow demonstrators to march past the East Precinct later today. Your safety and the security of our facilities are my highest priorities. Additional measures are currently underway to enhance our ongoing efforts to insure the security of our East Precinct and provide for the safety of all our officers.”

Video posted on Twitter showed officers removing barriers and equipment from the area.