Atlanta police chief resigns after officers shoot dead African American man – live

By Bryan Armen Graham (now) in New York and Tom Lutz (earlier)

19:08

Several hundred protesters gathered at West 135th street and St Nicholas Avenue in Harlem this afternoon in what was advertised as a march to demand New York City mayor Bill de Blasio reinstate habeas corpus: the right of a detainee to be seen by a judge within 24 hours to determine whether the arrest was lawful. This constitutional right was controversially suspended by a state supreme court judge last week amid mass arrests during protests against police brutality.

Frederick Douglass

Protesters gathered near the Frederick Douglass Sculpture at the northwest corner of Central Park on Saturday afternoon. Photograph: Nina Lakhani

But it was so much more.

We heard an emotionally raw, urgent speech by Hawah Bah, the mother of Mohamed Bah, a 28-year-old immigrant from Guinea who was shot and killed inside his Harlem apartment by police officers in September 2012, after she’d called an ambulance to help her mentally distressed son.

“When I heard George Floyd call for his mama, I felt it,” a tearful Bah said. “If they can kill a baby in front of his mother, that is not freedom. Stay on the streets until we have our rights.”

This was also partly a grassroots political rally for Kristin Richardson Jordan, a poet and educator who is seeking to become the first openly black gay woman to be elected to the New York City council. “I’m on a mission to disrupt this district with radical love,” Jordan said. “We want NYPD out of our schools, off our trains. ... In Harlem, black lives will matter.”

Anger towards the NYPD was prevalent during the rally including those particularly contentious moments when protestors chanted: “How do you spell racist? N-Y-P-D!” and “No justice, no peace, fuck the racist ass police!” at a line of cops stood in front of the 32th precinct. Moments later, Marvin Gaye’s What’s Going On, considered both a protest and love song, blasted out from the boom box that accompanied protesters south towards Frederick Douglass Circle Plaza, situated opposite the northwest corner of Central Park.

18:07

Atlanta police chief resigns less than 24 hours after Rayshard Brooks shot dead

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16:27

The chairman of the New York chapter of Black Lives Matter has said Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden “would be an idiot” to select two-term Florida congresswoman Val Demings, the two-term Florida congresswoman and former Orlando police chief, as his running mate.

“Joe Biden would be an idiot to put her on his ticket. People are already on the fence about him,” the group’s Hawk Newsome, told the New York Post.

“When black people become police officers, they are no longer black. They are blue. And I have been told this by numerous officers,” the BLM official said that California senator Kamala Harris should also be disqualified after serving as San Francisco district attorney and the state’s attorney general.

Demings, 63, is reportedly one of six female Democrats to have passed an initial round of vetting by Biden’s vice presidential search committee and has submitted documents for review. The former police chief is believed to be on a shortlist that includes Harris, Massachusetts senator Elizabeth Warren, former national security adviser Susan Rice, New Mexico governor Michelle Lujan Grisham and Atlanta mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms.

Demings worked as a uniformed patrol detective, information officer and internal affairs supervisor during her 27 years on the force, walking away in 2007 to lead the 700-strong Orlando police force before retiring four years later.

But during her time as police chief, the department was involved in a series of excessive-force controversies, including in 2010 when a department officer was involved in the injury of an 84-year-old second world war veteran who had complained about his car being towed.An internal review cleared Travis Lamont of wrongdoing with Demings telling the Palm Beach Post at the time: “After review of the defensive tactic … by the training staff and Officer Lamont’s chain of command, it appears the officer performed the technique within department guidelines.”

A year later, another officer pushed a woman to the ground during a scuffle, breaking her teeth. After that incident, which was captured on video, Demings wrote an op-ed to the Orlando Sentinel: “Looking for a negative story in a police department is like looking for a prayer at church,” she wrote. “I believe a reasonable person also understands that a few seconds (even on video) rarely capture the entire set of circumstances.”

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14:58

14:31

Stacey Abrams speaks out after police shoot African American man dead

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14:18

From Philadelphia, meanwhile, comes footage of a protest near the site of the 1985 Move bombing, a notorious event in which 11 people including five children died and a neighborhood burned down after police carried out an airstrike against a black liberation group.

Laura Benshoff (@LEBenshoff)

Hundreds of protesters yell “Fuck Frank Rizzo!” during an action at the site of the MOVE bombing. pic.twitter.com/sqKIlFW5kh

June 13, 2020

Frank Rizzo was a notoriously racist mayor and police commissioner of Philadelphia. Earlier this month, his statue outside City Hall was first defaced and then removed.

Ed Pilkington, Guardian US chief reporter, has written extensively about the Move bombing, “one of the great, largely forgotten, outrages of modern America”, and the group it targeted.

Here’s Ed’s retelling of the bombing, from May this year, which begins with Frank Powell, a Philadelphia police officer who in 1985 was chief of the city’s bomb disposal squad, remembering vividly the moment he was told to carry out the aerial attack.

“Wow,” he recalls thinking. “You want me to do that?”

13:53

Joe Biden has been tweeting, first about the “battle for the soul of this nation” which he will fight against Donald Trump at the polls, chaotic as they may be, in November.

Joe Biden.

Joe Biden. Photograph: Matt Slocum/AP

“If we give Donald Trump eight years in the White House,” the presumptive Democratic nominee writes, “he will fundamentally alter the character of this nation. We can’t let that happen.”

Biden also says: “We need a national ban on chokeholds. Now.”

It’s a reference to police arrest techniques at the heart of a number of recent deaths of unarmed African American men, including George Floyd, whose killing in Minneapolis last month touched off lasting protest and civil unrest.

By way of comparison, here’s what Trump said about chokeholds yesterday, in an interview with Fox News:

“I think the concept of chokeholds sounds so innocent and so perfect … [but] you have to be careful. With that being said, it would be, I think, a very good thing that, generally speaking, it should be ended.”

13:33

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