Sporadic protests continued across the United States this week, while Attorney General William P. Barr defended the federal response to unrest in Portland, Ore., and the federal agents there began to withdraw.

Here are some significant developments:

  • Calm returned to Portland, Ore.,Thursday night, as Black Lives Matter demonstrators staged a peaceful vigil downtown, with virtually no sign of law enforcement officers.
  • NBA players have returned to the courts wearing the words “Black Lives Matter," “Equality” and other civil rights slogans on their jerseys.
  • The Department of Homeland Security compiled “intelligence reports” about the work of journalists covering the Portland protests.
July 31, 2020 at 8:34 AM EDT

Police will not charge the man who pulled a gun on protesters in Arizona

By Eugene Scott

A man who pulled a gun out of his vehicle while arguing with protesters in Flagstaff, Ariz., will not face gun charges related to the incident, police said.

James Kleinhenz, 51, stopped his SUV in an intersection Saturday where more than 75 demonstrators were marching before flipping them off, according to a Flagstaff police statement.

The Arizona Republic reported that protesters then began surrounding his vehicle before removing his keys and taking his cellphone. They then proceeded to throw eggs and rocks at the SUV, according to the statement, before Kleinhenz exited his car with a gun. Police say they quickly confiscated the weapon.

Two people told the newspaper that this was not the first time Kleinhenz, who the report says appeared intoxicated, has harassed demonstrators at anti-racism protests. Police removed him from the intersection to investigate the incident before arresting him on suspicion of driving while intoxicated and driving with a high blood alcohol concentration.

July 31, 2020 at 8:02 AM EDT

Confederate group banned from Christmas parade loses appeal in federal court

By The Associated Press

NEW ORLEANS — A group that was denied permission to march in a Louisiana city’s Christmas parade when it insisted on carrying Confederate battle flags lost its latest appeal Thursday in a federal court.

Three judges of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected an appeal by the Louisiana Division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans. They upheld a lower-court ruling that there was no constitutional violation in the denial of the permit because permitting decisions were made by a private, nonprofit group — not a government entity.

July 31, 2020 at 8:02 AM EDT

Tulsa allowed a Black Lives Matter message to remain — until a pro-police group asked for its own street painting

By Jaclyn Peiser

For almost two decades, Tulsa’s Greenwood Avenue was an epicenter of Black wealth and entrepreneurship — until the Tulsa Race Riot of 1921, when a White mob killed more than 300 residents and razed the neighborhood, a watershed moment of violent white supremacy.

On June 18, local activists made national headlines when they chose that street for a huge Black Lives Matter slogan in yellow letters to commemorate Juneteenth and to send a message to President Trump, who would fly over the sign on his way to a rally in the city two days later.

Now, Tulsa City Council members have ordered that the street art be washed away. The decision from Wednesday’s council meeting comes after a pro-police group asked the city to paint a street mural in support of the Tulsa Police Department.

July 31, 2020 at 8:00 AM EDT

With the words on their backs, NBA players take a stand

By Ava Wallace

As the NBA resumed its season Thursday at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex outside Orlando, the absence of fans inside the league’s bubble was far from the only noticeable difference. Changes were made to the courts as well, with “Black Lives Matter” printed in block lettering near the center of the floor.

But perhaps the most significant aesthetic differences for this experimental conclusion of the season were the jerseys on players’ backs.

In the wake of widespread protests this spring and summer sparked by the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and others, the league and its players’ union agreed on a list of social justice messages players can choose to put on their jersey in lieu of their last name.

The messages will be displayed above the number during the first four days of the season restart, after which players can choose to either simply go back to displaying their last name or keep both the social justice message and their last name on their jersey.

July 31, 2020 at 7:55 AM EDT

Trump ordered federal forces to quell Portland protests. But the chaos ended as soon as they left.

By Adam Taylor

PORTLAND, Ore. — After President Trump ordered federal law enforcement officers into Portland, Ore., earlier this month, the protests largely ended the same way for days: with tear gas, rubber bullets and arrests.

On Thursday, the first protest held since the federal agencies agreed to pull back their officers was a markedly more peaceful affair.

As the Black Lives Matter-inspired vigil wound down early Friday, there was virtually no sign of the Oregon State Police officers who had taken over protection of the federal buildings at the center of the protests.

Instead of being forcibly removed from downtown’s Lownsdale Square and the adjacent Chapman Square, which lie opposite the barricaded Mark O. Hatfield U.S. Courthouse, the crowd thinned out on its own, with many protesters heading home of their own accord.

July 31, 2020 at 7:53 AM EDT

DHS compiled ‘intelligence reports’ on journalists who published leaked documents

By Shane Harris

The Department of Homeland Security has compiled “intelligence reports” about the work of American journalists covering protests in Portland, Ore., in what current and former officials called an alarming use of a government system meant to share information about suspected terrorists and violent actors.

Over the past week, the department’s Office of Intelligence and Analysis has disseminated three Open Source Intelligence Reports to federal law enforcement agencies and others, summarizing tweets written by two journalists — a reporter for the New York Times and the editor in chief of the blog Lawfare — and noting they had published leaked, unclassified documents about DHS operations in Portland. The intelligence reports, obtained by The Washington Post, include written descriptions and images of the tweets and the number of times they had been liked or retweeted by others.

July 31, 2020 at 7:53 AM EDT

Prosecutor will not charge the police officer who shot and killed Michael Brown, prosecutor says

By Jessica Wolfrom and Reis Thebault

No charges will be brought against the former police officer who shot and killed Michael Brown, the unarmed Black teenager whose 2014 killing in Missouri gave rise to the Black Lives Matter movement.

St. Louis County’s top prosecutor announced Thursday that he will not bring charges against the Ferguson police officer after conducting a five-month reexamination of the case.

The shooting set off a months-long uprising in the Missouri city that reverberated around the country, spotlighted racial inequality and police brutality, and helped launch the Black Lives Matter movement. The decision not to charge Darren Wilson, the White former officer, comes amid another round of nationwide protests over law enforcement treatment of Black people, sparked by the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

July 31, 2020 at 7:51 AM EDT

They came from Chicago’s West Side to become the nation’s first all-Black high school rowing team

By Timothy Bella

In the late 90s, five kids from Chicago’s West Side beat their way past incredible odds to become the country’s first all-Black rowing team.

The 20th anniversary of their unlikely journey is presented in “A Most Beautiful Thing,” a documentary based on Arshay Cooper’s self-published memoir that is available to stream on Xfinity On Demand on Friday. The film, executive produced by rapper-actor Common and NBA legends Grant Hill and Dwyane Wade, comes at a time when athletes and reopening professional sports leagues in the United States are using their worldwide platforms to address racial injustice and police brutality.

Read more here.

July 28, 2020 at 9:01 PM EDT

Howard University announces largest single-donor gift, from philanthropist MacKenzie Scott

By Lauren Lumpkin

Author and philanthropist MacKenzie Scott on Tuesday announced $1.7 billion in donations, including $40 million to Howard University — the largest gift from a single donor in the school’s 153-year history.

Scott pledged last year to donate most of her wealth and said in a Medium post Tuesday that she has given to causes including racial justice, LGBTQ and gender equity. Scott’s former husband, Amazon founder and chief executive Jeff Bezos, owns The Washington Post.

The eight-figure gift to Howard will allow the historically black university to graduate students on time, complete infrastructure projects, retain faculty and develop programs for innovation and entrepreneurship, said Wayne A.I. Frederick, the university’s president.

July 28, 2020 at 8:58 PM EDT

Family of George Floyd visits Richmond to see unveiling of high-tech memorial

By Gregory S. Schneider

RICHMOND — The creators of a high-tech memorial to George Floyd wanted to unveil it in a place that had deep meaning for the cause of fighting racial inequity, so they chose the grandest totem in the former capital of the Confederacy: the statue of Robert E. Lee on this city’s Monument Avenue.

Floyd’s family traveled to Richmond to be present for Tuesday’s unveiling of a holographic portrait of the man whose death in May under the knee of a Minneapolis police officer has touched off protests around the world.

“It gets me worked up — in a good way, just seeing this memorial and knowing that my brother’s death is not in vain,” Rodney Floyd said Tuesday, shortly before the official debut.

July 28, 2020 at 8:50 PM EDT

Facebook group ‘Moms in Tech’ struggles to confront racial divides

By Jessica Wolfrom

Facebook says its mission is to bring the world closer together by building community, but as calls for racial justice reverberate throughout the nation, it’s exposing the social network’s limits in bridging racial and social divides. “Moms in Tech,” a 15,000-member Facebook group started by Linda Xiong, a product manager at Facebook, has offered an online support system for working moms to navigate the overwhelmingly white male world of technology since 2017.

But on Monday, the Verge reported that allegations of racism and white privilege cracked open fragile fault lines between its members. On May 28, just three days after the police killing of George Floyd, Liz Casmier, a black woman who works in health care, noticed there was no mention of Floyd’s death on the group’s feed.

“There was a lot of talk about Peloton bikes and ‘who’s the best pediatrician in Los Altos,’” Casmier told the Verge. “I was like, ‘How is it that no one has said anything at all?’ George Floyd called for his mother — you can’t ignore that if you’re a mom.”

Casmier posted her concerns and told the group she was leaving. Her message inspired conversations in some. It provoked defensiveness in others.

Since Casmier’s post, the group has wrestled with many of the same issues confronted by the culture at large — white fragility, the censorship and removal of content about racial justice, the diversity of its leadership and whether to capitalize the “b” in black.

Tensions have flared. Members have left. Others have been kicked out. The group shut down temporarily in June, only to be rebooted in July with stricter guidelines about posting in the public forum.

Now, instead of a sisterhood united in the fight for a more equal workplace, the group has fragmented into smaller factions individually focused on social justice, anti-racism and allyship among others.

July 28, 2020 at 8:05 PM EDT

Two-thirds of U.S. adults support racial justice protests, Gallup poll reveals

By Ben Guarino

Sixty-five percent of American adults support the protesters who have marched through the nation’s streets for racial justice, according to the results of a Gallup poll released Tuesday.

When assessed by race, black adults, at 92 percent, were the most likely to support the protests, followed by Asian (89 percent), Hispanic (70 percent) and white (59 percent) adults.

By political affiliation, a majority of Democrats (95 percent) and independents (69 percent) are in favor of the ongoing protests. Few Republicans are, with only 22 percent saying they support the demonstrations and fewer than 1 in 5 feeling “connected” to them.

The survey found mixed responses to the question of whether protests altered views on racial justice, with just over half saying yes — 21 percent said the protests changed their views “a lot” and 33 percent said they had a “little.”

Overall, 1 in 10 responders said they had participated in protests in the past 30 days. Young people were more likely than older demographics to participate, with about a fourth of those surveyed between the ages of 18 to 29 saying they had been a part of the demonstrations. Ninety-seven percent of those over the age of 65 said they had not.

This was the latest report published from an ongoing project by the Gallup Center on Black Voices, which previously observed that few Americans support eliminating police departments.

July 28, 2020 at 7:31 PM EDT

LAPD expands community policing program

By Jessica Wolfrom

The Los Angeles Police Department will be expanding a program called the Community Safety Partnership and establishing a new bureau within the department to help officers build stronger relationships with the communities they serve, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti announced on Monday.

Heading up the new bureau is Emada Tingirides, a native of Los Angeles’s Watts neighborhood, who will become the LAPD’s second black female deputy chief, according to Los Angeles Times.

The announcement comes as calls to reform policing have erupted across the country in the wake of George Floyd’s death at the hands of Minneapolis police.

Emphasis will be put on trust and relationships instead of measuring an officer’s success by arrests and citations, Police Chief Michel Moore said in a statement.

“LAPD’s new Community Safety Partnership Bureau is the first of many step[s] this Department will be taking as we reimagine policing in LA,” the LAPD said on Twitter.

The CSP program was originally introduced by the LAPD in 2011 to address public housing and high crime rates by embedding officers in various neighborhoods for long rotations to establish trust.

In the newly announced CSP program, residents will work with officers to reduce crime by developing community programs, including sports and recreation, and bridge communication gaps between residents and officers, according to a news release from the mayor’s office.

“We all have to own this moment. I’m struggling with how we describe this new paradigm, but I think it’s community-driven policing,” Garcetti said at a news conference.

July 28, 2020 at 7:00 PM EDT

Seattle mayor says federal agents dispatched to city have left

By Gregory Scruggs

The office of Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan (D) said Tuesday that federal agents deployed to the city amid protests over police violence and racial injustice have left the Seattle area.

The Trump administration dispatched members of the Department of Homeland Security’s Border Patrol Tactical Unit to Seattle on Thursday. On Friday, local elected officials delivered a four-page letter to Brian Moran, the U.S. attorney for the Western District of Washington, questioning the administration’s decision and seeking clarification on the federal agents’ purpose in Seattle. The letter asked whether the DHS and the Justice Department were invoking the Insurrection Act and warned that the federal presence could escalate protests in Seattle as they had in Portland, Ore.

The agents arrived ahead of an expected weekend of protests in solidarity with Portland, where federal officers have used crowd-control tools, including tear gas, against protesters outside the federal courthouse. About 2,000 people turned out for a march Saturday that the Seattle Police Department later declared a riot. The protesters did not march to any federal buildings, and the department says no federal agents participated in police attempts to disperse the crowd in the Capitol Hill neighborhood.

“This demobilization means Washingtonians no longer have to worry about the White House’s aim to provoke confrontation and undermine peaceful protests,” Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (D) said in a statement Tuesday. “Those peacefully protesting have raised the public’s consciousness of the urgent need for racial justice, and I have no doubt they will continue to use their voices to call for action.”

King County Prosecuting Attorney Dan Satterberg, who signed Friday’s letter, said the federal intervention elsewhere continues to be a concern.

“We should all be outraged at the nightly specter we see in Portland of an unaccountable military force that answers only to the president using excessive force on moms, veterans and citizens with a legitimate grievance against their government,” he said in a written statement. “They made everything worse there and they have no exit strategy. This is good news for Seattle, but let’s not lose focus on Portland.”

— Greg Scruggs