With the United States continuing to grapple with a reckoning spurred by George Floyd’s killing in Minneapolis police custody, protests in Portland, Ore., have calmed since federal agents pulled back.

Here are some significant developments:

  • The Daily Mail has published partial footage from police body-camera videos that captured Floyd’s May arrest by Minneapolis police. It shows a White police officer pulling a gun on Floyd within seconds of approaching him in a parked car, prompting the 46-year-old Black man to panic, cry and beg for his life. The Associated Press reported that an investigation has begun into the leak.
  • The House Intelligence Committee is opening an investigation into the compiling of “intelligence reports” on journalists.
  • A racist Facebook post about Joe Biden picking his “Aunt Jemima” as his running mate on the account of Luray, Va., Mayor Barry Presgraves spurred calls for his resignation.
  • An artist stopped posting protest photos online to shield activists from police. Then he was arrested.
August 3, 2020 at 9:10 PM EDT

Dallas church says it was ‘deceived’ in agreeing to host ‘Blue Lives Matter’ rally

By Emily Wax-Thibodeaux

A Baptist church in Dallas said in a statement shared to Facebook that it was “deceived” by a person “in need of meeting space for a Black Lives Matter Rally.” But instead, the person ended up holding a “Blue Lives Matter” rally, with Trump 2020 flags, along with Confederate flags, the church said.

“In support of the movement, we agreed to allow the Black Lives Matter Rally happen in our parking lot. The rally turned out to be a Blue Lives Matters meet up where individuals flew Trump 2020 flags and a Confederate Flag,” said the statement from Friendship-West Baptist Church.

The protest was held Sunday afternoon, Newsweek reported. In its statement, Friendship-West said the church “experienced deceit and hate from a group of individuals in support of Blue Lives Matter” in recounting the correspondence that “misled staff” ahead of the “Back The Blue” event.

The church’s senior pastor, Frederick Haynes III, and staff asked the demonstrators to leave, Newsweek reported. In a video shared on Facebook, one person tells protesters the church had not approved the demonstration, the publication said. About 1,000 people attended the “Back The Blue” event, according to Houston CBS affiliate KHOU.

The event’s organizer, Nathan Abrams, told local reporters the event was “not about division, it’s not about anything other than coming together as one,” according to KHOU, adding that he did not intend to hurt the church and that “my heart goes out to the church, my heart goes out to the pastor.” He said he did not encourage participants to bring flags.

August 3, 2020 at 9:09 PM EDT

Tulsa protesters use race massacre ‘tombstones’ to defend a Black Lives Matter mural

By DeNeen L. Brown

Tulsa officials temporarily suspended an order to remove a Black Lives Matter display after protesters placed symbolic tombstones bearing the names of Black people shot by police or killed in the city’s 1921 race massacre.

On Monday morning, the protesters were braced for a standoff to prevent the city from removing the mural on the main street of Greenwood, the site of the massacre. Historians say as many as 300 people in the historically Black community were killed in one of the worst incidents of racial violence in U.S. history.

“I felt like displaying the names of the victims of police brutality and the names of the victims of the 1921 Tulsa race massacre would help people understand why we say, ‘Black Lives Matter,’ ” said Tiffany Crutcher, an activist in Tulsa, whose twin brother, Terence Crutcher, was fatally shot by a Tulsa police officer in 2016.

Read more here.

August 3, 2020 at 5:53 PM EDT

House committee to open investigation into DHS intelligence office

By Shane Harris

The House Intelligence Committee is opening an investigation into the activities of the Office of Intelligence & Analysis (I & A) at the Department of Homeland Security, which has compiled “intelligence reports” on journalists and protesters, the committee chairman announced in a letter to department officials Monday. Chairman Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.) called the revelations of the agency’s actions, which first appeared in The Washington Post, “deeply troubling.”

“The revelations require a full accounting and, if substantiated, must never be allowed to occur again,” Schiff wrote to senior department officials, including the acting secretary, Chad Wolf. The investigation will cover I & A’s activities in Portland, Ore., as well as its support for the department’s response to protests nationwide, Schiff said.

In an email to DHS employees on Monday, Wolf said department officials “firmly believe that a free and open press is essential to American democracy” and that he had “made it clear that we should not and will not identify U.S. members of the press in our intelligence products.”

Wolf confirmed that he had reassigned Brian Murphy, who has been the acting undersecretary for I & A. That followed reporting by The Post about his office’s activities, which current and former officials have described as an alarming use of a system traditionally used to compile information about terrorism suspects, people connected to organized crime or violent actors such as mass shooters.

Wolf wrote that Joseph Maher, the department’s principal deputy general counsel, would step in as the temporary head of I & A while the inspector general conducts an investigation into the office’s activities. Horace Jen, the current senior deputy in the office, will continue in that position, Wolf wrote.

August 3, 2020 at 5:26 PM EDT

Daily Mail publishes ‘leaked’ body cam footage of George Floyd arrest

By Holly Bailey

The Daily Mail on Monday published leaked footage from police body camera videos that captured the arrest of George Floyd by Minneapolis police.

The partial footage — about 26 of the 64 minutes of video that has been filed as evidence in the ongoing criminal case into Floyd’s death — shows a White police officer pulling a gun on Floyd within seconds of approaching him in a parked car, prompting the 46-year-old Black man to panic, cry and beg for his life in an encounter that would ultimately turn fatal.

The footage, which the Daily Mail said was “leaked” to the site, was captured on cameras worn by two of the four former officers charged in Floyd’s May 25 death — Thomas K. Lane and J. Alexander Kueng, who were the first to encounter Floyd while investigating a 911 call about the passing of a counterfeit bill.

The Minneapolis Police Department had previously declined to release body camera footage from the ex-officers involved in the arrest, citing the ongoing investigation. But because the videos from Kueng and Lane were filed as evidence in court, they are considered public data under Minnesota law.

A consortium of local and national media filed a motion calling on the court to release the footage, calling the refusal a violation of public records laws and the First Amendment. Judge Peter A. Cahill, who is overseeing the case, initially responded by making the videos accessible by limited appointment on July 15 at a Hennepin County courthouse, but attorneys for the media and the four ex-officers argued for a wider public release.

Cahill, who has expressed concern that the public release of the footage could taint the jury pool, said he would rule soon on the issue. A Hennepin County District Court spokesman said Monday that the court was aware of the leaked videos but had no other comment.

August 3, 2020 at 3:59 PM EDT

Chicago youth activist Caleb Reed, who fought for school board to invest in students over police, is fatally shot

By Kim Bellware

A teenage activist in Chicago who in mid-June stood before news crews to call for the removal of police from schools and an end to the over-policing of Black youths has been fatally shot.

Caleb Reed, 17, was found lying on a sidewalk with a gunshot wound to his head Friday afternoon, police said. Reed died in a hospital Sunday morning. No arrests have been made.

Reed was featured in a Washington Post story in June on the wave of school districts that were cutting ties with local police following protests sparked by George Floyd’s killing in police custody in Minneapolis. Some of the loudest calls to end “school resource officer” contracts were from youth-led protests.

As a student leader with the social justice group Voices of Youth in Chicago Education, Reed shared his story of a traumatic arrest at age 15, when a school officer had him taken to the county jail for not having a student ID. He recalled sitting in a police station for six hours, confused and scared.

“I felt angry. My emotions felt big,” Reed told The Post at the time. He discussed how he would rather see the school board use the budget spent on police to fix up facilities and invest in mental health counselors and school nurses.

“We shouldn’t have to go through this,” Reed said. “I wouldn’t want my kids to go through this. We should try to find a resolution now.”

On Monday, Chicago activists, including members of the Chicago Teachers Union, and city leaders mourned Reed’s death. Alderman Andre Vasquez, who represents the 40th Ward, where Reed lived, tweeted that the teen was “a light in our community that was extinguished too soon.” Vasquez urged people to address the root causes of gun violence and continue the work Reed supported.

Information about the circumstances of Reed’s death were not immediately available.

August 3, 2020 at 3:31 PM EDT

After sexist, racist comments over Joe Biden’s VP pick on Facebook, small-town Va. mayor faces calls to step down

By Patricia Sullivan and Emily Wax-Thibodeaux

Amid the country’s widespread protests over police brutality and reckoning over racism, the Facebook page of Luray, Va., Mayor Barry Presgraves posted a statement that said, “Joe Biden just announced Aunt Jemima as his VP pick.” It was quickly deleted after social media users, including some on the Front Royal town council, denounced the statement.

Biden, the presumptive Democratic nominee for president, is expected to pick his running mate next week. He has said that he will add a woman to his ticket. And several women of color are among those on his list.

Presgraves, who is on his second term and not running for reelection, could not be reached for comment.

But other council members had a lot to say.

“Saddened, disappointed and shocked,” said council member Jerry Dofflemyer, who is running for the nonpartisan, part-time mayor position. “You don’t have to repeat it,” he told a reporter. “It’s just inappropriate and disappointing. We are trying to get in touch with him.”

In June, Quaker Food North America dropped its Aunt Jemima brand, explaining it understood that the origins of the character were based on the racial stereotype of the Black “mammy,” who raised her enslaver’s master’s White children.

Read more here.

August 3, 2020 at 2:42 PM EDT

Portland’s downtown protests are the smallest in weeks, after federal officers leave

By Adam Taylor and Emily Wax-Thibodeaux

PORTLAND, Ore. — For the first time in 67 nights of demonstrations, Portland’s Sunday evening protests against racism and police brutality were far smaller, calmer and contemplative, with federal officers pulling back after global criticism over their use of violence.

State police were hands-off on Sunday evening. By 9:30 p.m., a few hundred people — the smallest number in weeks — stood in two parks opposite the downtown Portland Justice Center.

In one corner of a park, there was a candlelight vigil, while in another, a large crowd listened to a 1966 speech by the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr, which was played through a loudspeaker.

“We have come a long, long way, but we have a long, long way to go before the problem is solved,” King’s voice boomed from a recording of his speech at Illinois Wesleyan University.

Matthew Stowers, a 37-year-old puppeteer, was carrying a leaf blower that he had been using to push tear gas away after federal officials had arrived in July.

He said he may not have to use his “air sword” anytime soon.

“It’s been pretty quiet, but I still want to make sure I’m prepared,” he said, adding that even though federal officers had pulled back, the protests were still potent. “A lot of people were out here because they really disagreed with the federal government and the current administration.”

Serena Cruz, 53, executive director of the Virginia Garcia Memorial Foundation, called last night’s protest and the removal of federal officers, “a transition period.”

“There’s still people here, however,” Cruz added. “Because Black Lives Matter.”

August 3, 2020 at 12:56 PM EDT

Pac-12 football players threaten boycott if health and social justice demands are not met

By Emily Giambalvo, Robert Klemko and Ben Strauss

A large group of Pac-12 football players threatened to boycott fall practices and games if demands related to safety, racial justice and compensation are not met by the conference.

The players announced the unprecedented push for college athlete rights with a unified statement Sunday morning, and numerous players tweeted their support of the group’s mission.

The Pac-12 players asked for the conference to enforce safety standards as teams return to play amid the coronavirus pandemic. After the death of George Floyd and a summer of unrest, the players want the Pac-12 to commit to addressing social issues such as racial injustice and grant players more economic freedom through revenue sharing and the ability to profit off their names, images and likenesses.

August 3, 2020 at 11:52 AM EDT

A long-serving southern sheriff seeks reelection against an African American opponent who wonders, ‘Will they vote for a Black candidate?’

By Stephanie McCrummen

CAIRO, Ga. — It was Election Day in Grady County, and Sheriff Harry Young, 76, had hardly slept three hours the night before. He was going for his fifth term, and as the sun rose, he settled into his usual voting day spot under a white tent by the county’s agriculture center, trying to shake off a sinking feeling that in a changing country, his victory was no longer secure.

“Good luck, Harry!” a woman called out as she headed to vote in the Republican primary, the winner of which was likely to win the general election in the GOP-dominated county.

“Thank you, babe!” the sheriff yelled back.

The immediate reason for the uncertainty was a Facebook meme that the sheriff had posted on May 8, before George Floyd was killed in police custody: “Can we get back to the tradition of hanging traitors?” it had read over a drawing of a prisoner being led to the gallows. He said he had posted it in response to House Democrats who voted to impeach President Trump. But as nationwide protests and riots broke out over Floyd’s killing, a local woman had called attention to the post, writing on her own Facebook page that she was “completely disgusted” by it, and the sheriff had doubled down. He reshared the post with the meme, writing: “If you like destroying hard working people’s property because of one officer’s horrible decision then you are the problem!!!”

Read more here.

August 3, 2020 at 10:54 AM EDT

A couple yelled ‘white power’ and gave a Nazi salute to a Black driver. They’re charged with a hate crime.

By Jaclyn Peiser

Itzel Lopez and her boyfriend were sitting at a red light on July 22 in Torrance, Calif., when a White couple stormed out of their pickup truck.

“Only White lives matter,” the woman said, according to an Instagram video Lopez shot of the incident. The woman stood on the passenger side, flipping dual middle fingers at Lopez and her boyfriend, who is Black.

The man, who was standing on the driver’s side, fluttered his hand in a wave, then made a Nazi salute and yelled, “White power!” He grabbed a shovel and slammed it against the car as Lopez’s boyfriend backed up and sped away.

On Friday, the married couple in the video were arrested on hate crime and vandalism charges, police said.

August 3, 2020 at 10:02 AM EDT

Seattle police chief calls for city council to denounce protests at her home

By Mark Berman

Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best has written a letter to the city council, saying that “a large group of aggressive protestors” demonstrated at her home and asking the council to denounce such tactics.

In her letter, released publicly Sunday night and dated Monday, Best wrote that the group “targeted” her home late Saturday and worried her neighbors.

“These direct actions against elected officials, and especially civil servants like myself, are out of line with and go against every democratic principle that guides our nation,” Best wrote. “Before this devolves into the new way of doing business by mob rule here in Seattle, and across the nation, elected officials like you must forcefully call for the end of these tactics.”

Last month, Best wrote a letter to the council criticizing it for an ordinance banning police from using crowd-control measures such as pepper spray. She said the measure meant that police “cannot manage demonstrations as we have in the past” and that officers were being prohibited from using needed tools. A federal judge later blocked that ordinance.

City council members, meanwhile, have laid out plans that would shrink Seattle’s police force, although they would stop far short of what activist groups have requested.

August 3, 2020 at 9:22 AM EDT

DHS official whose office compiled ‘intelligence reports’ on journalists and protesters has been removed from his job

By Shane Harris and Nick Miroff

A senior Department of Homeland Security official whose office compiled “intelligence reports” about journalists and protesters in Portland, Ore., was removed from his job, according to people familiar with the matter.

Brian Murphy, the acting undersecretary for intelligence and analysis, was reassigned to a new position in the department’s management directorate, an administrative support office, said the people, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss a personnel matter.

Murphy’s removal follows revelations in The Washington Post that the Office of Intelligence and Analysis at DHS compiled Open Source Intelligence Reports about the work of two journalists who had published leaked department documents. In a separate intelligence report, the office also analyzed the communications of protesters in Portland.

August 3, 2020 at 8:40 AM EDT

Black Americans far more likely to say they know people mistreated by police, poll shows

By Mark Berman

Black Americans are far more likely than other groups to say they know people who were mistreated by police or unable to get out of jail because they lacked the money for bail, according to a poll.

This poll is the latest survey showing a significant gulf between how Black Americans and other demographic groups view the police, as well as the sharply different experiences they have reported in dealing with law enforcement.

A Gallup poll found that seven in 10 Black adults reported knowing at least a lot or some people mistreated by police. The number far exceeds the share of all Americans (41 percent), as well as other demographic groups including White people (34 percent), Asian people (51 percent) and Hispanic people (48 percent).

Black Americans were also more than twice as likely as the national average to know a lot or some people they said were unfairly sent to jail (50 percent of Black Americans said this, compared to 19 percent overall) or stayed in jail because they lacked bail money (51 percent of Black Americans, compared to 23 percent of American adults overall).

The poll was conducted in late June and early July, according to Gallup.

August 3, 2020 at 8:16 AM EDT

Gregg Popovich defends standing during anthem: ‘Everybody has to make a personal decision’

By Thomas Floyd

The vast majority of NBA players, coaches and referees have taken a knee during the national anthem since the league returned Thursday from a four-month hiatus forced by the novel coronavirus pandemic, with games held in a bubblelike environment at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Kissimmee, Fla. Players and coaches also have worn Black Lives Matter T-shirts during warm-ups, and players have been allowed to replace the names on their jerseys with social justice messages.

But Popovich, as well as Spurs assistant coach Becky Hammon, stood while their players knelt during the anthem Friday, although both coaches wore Black Lives Matter shirts.

“I’d prefer to keep that to myself,” Popovich told reporters when asked about his choice. “Everybody has to make a personal decision. The league’s been great about that. Everybody has the freedom to react any way they want. For whatever reasons I have, I reacted the way I wanted to.”

Read more here.