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Historical Confederate monuments are being taken down and defaced from protests over the death of George Floyd.


Two symbols of the nation’s divide were passing into history Thursday after protesters in Virginia tore down a century-old statue of Jefferson Davis while workers in Washington, D.C., were dismantling a temporary fence installed last week to protect the White House from protests.

Seattle and the state of Washington found themselves targets of President Donald Trump’s wrath after a pair of late-night tweets on Wednesday chastised the “Radical Left” governor and mayor. Trump claims “Domestic Terrorists” have overrun the largest city in Washington state.

The statue of Davis, the president of the Confederacy, is the latest Confederate monument to fall in the U.S., sparked by national protests against racial inequality following the death of George Floyd in police custody last month in Minneapolis. Other Confederate symbols have been torn down or are slated to come down in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Indiana and Tennessee.

Also Wednesday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called for the removal of 11 Confederate statues from the U.S. Capitol Building. NASCAR has banned Confederate symbols. Trump, meanwhile, said he did not support removing the names of Confederate leaders from military bases around the U.S.

A closer look at some recent developments:

  • On Twitter, President Donald Trump told Seattle officials to “take back your city” as protests sparked by George Floyd’s death continued into the Pacific Northwest.
  • The Los Angeles Police Department launched 56 investigations into complaints of officer misconduct during protests in the nation’s second largest city.
  • TV show ‘Live PD’ was canceled after reports revealed that it had destroyed video footage of a black man’s death during a 2019 Texas police stop.
  • One of the four officers charged in connection with George Floyd’s death on Memorial Day in Minneapolis posted bail and was released from jail.

Our live blog will be updated throughout the day. For first-in-the-morning updates, sign up for the Daily Briefing. Here’s the latest news:

Black mayors says moment is right to make history

USA TODAY reached out to some of the nation’s roughly 500 black mayors in cities large and small to get a sense of their view on this historic moment for U.S. policing and race relations. They said reforming the way officers do their work has long been a priority that has yielded mixed results. All said that Floyd’s death represents an opportunity to remake a flawed system.

“Everyone I’ve spoken with in our group feels this is different,” says McKinley Price, mayor of Newport News, Virginia, and president of the African American Mayors Association. “When Floyd’s little daughter Gianna said in that video, ‘My daddy changed the world,’ we might look back at that moment and say that he did.”

Marco della Cava and Kameel Stanley

Fence coming down at protest site near White House

Temporary security fencing installed by the Secret Service around Lafayette Park, scene of contentious protests in front of the White House, was coming down, the agency said. Earlier, authorities had said some fencing on the other side of the White House was being removed and cited “discussions” with the Park Service about the fencing near the park, for decades a site for protests aimed at gaining the attention of presidents. Now the Secret Service says the fence is coming down.

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“The public will have access to Lafayette Park beginning on June 11,” the agency said in a statement. “Some temporary fencing will remain around areas damaged (such as the Lafayette Lodge House) while the National Park Service makes repairs.”

Trump tells Washington state, Seattle leaders to ‘take back your city NOW’

President Donald Trump targeted Seattle in a pair of late-night tweets on Wednesday, saying Mayor Durkan and Washington Governor Jay Inslee were “being taunted and played at a level that our great Country has never seen before.” 

Singling out Jay Inslee, a one-time Democratic presidential candidate, and Jenny Durkan, who has faced calls to resign as Seattle’s top elected official, Trump tweeted, “Take back your city NOW. If you don’t do it, I will. This is not a game. These ugly Anarchists must be stooped IMMEDIATELY. MOVE FAST!”

In a second tweet, Trump called for “LAW & ORDER.”

Durkan’s response on Twitter: “Make us all safe. Go back to your bunker. #BlackLivesMatter”

The president’s attack came on the on the same day Seattle Police were exploring the reopening of a precinct in the Hill neighborhood that was shuttered during ongoing protests sparked by George Floyd’s death in police custody in Minneapolis.

– Steve Kiggins

Jefferson Davis statue torn down by protesters in Richmond, Virginia

A statue of Jefferson Davis, the president of the Confederacy, was torn down along Richmond, Virginia’s famed Monument Avenue on Wednesday night. The statue was toppled shortly before 11 p.m. and is on the ground in the middle of an intersection, news outlets reported.

A statue of Christopher Columbus in Richmond met a similar fate on Tuesday, when it was torn down by protesters, set on fire and then submerged into a lake. News outlets reported the figure was toppled less than two hours after protesters gathered in the city’s Byrd Park chanting for the statue to be taken down. 

Confederate memorials: Is this the end?

TV show ‘Live PD’ canceled after report that footage of death was destroyed

A&E canceled “Live PD” Wednesday, one day after Paramount Network took similar action against “Cops,” another reality series that follows on-duty police. Both decisions were made in the aftermath of protests over George Floyd’s killing while in police custody on May 25.

A&E’s move comes one day after it acknowledged “Live PD,” which premiered in 2016 and was in its fourth season, had destroyed video of a black man’s death during a 2019 Texas police stop. A&E issued a statement to USA TODAY explaining its decision to pull the show, while leaving the door open to future programming that involves police. 

 “This is a critical time in our nation’s history and we have made the decision to cease production on ‘Live PD,'” the statement said. “Going forward, we will determine if there is a clear pathway to tell the stories of both the community and the police officers whose role it is to serve them. And with that, we will be meeting with community and civil rights leaders as well as police departments.”

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– Bill Keveney

LAPD opens 56 investigations into excessive force, misconduct

The Los Angeles Police Department is investigating 56 complaints of excessive force and police misconduct in the nation’s second largest city during protests sparked by the death of George Floyd. 

“We will look into every complaint thoroughly and hold every officer accountable for their actions,” the department said in a news release Wednesday.

Of the 56 investigations, 28 are related to use of force, according to the news release. Seven officers have already been assigned off-field duties. On Twitter, Mayor Eric Garcetti said LAPD had opened 58 investigations and added, “You can report an incident to the independent Inspector General at 213-893-6400, or at” Last week, Garcetti said he would cut $100 million to $150 million from the police budget and reinvest the funds into communities of color.

One of the four fired Minneapolis police officers makes bail, leaves jail

Thomas Lane, one of four former Minneapolis police officers charged in George Floyd’s death on Memorial Day, was released from jail Wednesday after posting bail. Lane, 37, was charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder. His bail was set at $750,000. A fundraising website created to bail him out of jail has been taken down, The Tribune reported. Lane’s attorney, Earl Gray, told the newspaper that the site was real but he did not know who started it or how much money was raised.

Lane’s next hearing is scheduled for June 29. Gray said he plans to file a motion to dismiss Lane’s charges.

Donald Trump opposed to renaming bases named for Confederate leaders

President Donald Trump said Wednesday he would not consider renaming a number of military bases that are currently named for Confederate military leaders. Defense and Army secretaries had signaled earlier this week they would be willing to discuss the issue. 

“These Monumental and very Powerful Bases have become part of a Great American Heritage, and a history of Winning, Victory, and Freedom. The United States of America trained and deployed our HEROES on these Hallowed Grounds, and won two World Wars,” Trump tweeted. “Therefore, my Administration will not even consider the renaming of these Magnificent and Fabled Military Installations.”

Trump did not address the issue of Confederate generals, but rather focused on the legacy of the facilities themselves, listing three bases in the South named for generals in the Confederate army.

– Jeanine Santucci

More on protests, George Floyd:

Contributing: The Associated Press


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