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President Donald Trump's Saturday rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, may end up becoming a key intersection of two separate, ongoing crises taking place in the United States — the coronavirus pandemic and the fight for racial equality and an end to police brutality.
The rally, expected to fill an indoor venue with thousands of supporters, also could prove a pivotal point in an election looming increasingly large. While it may very well revitalize Trump's reelection effort — it could also backfire if it proves to be a coronavirus "super spreader" event in the weeks to follow.
Elsewhere in the nation, protesters continue to target historical symbols of the Confederacy. Late Friday, protesters in Washington, D.C., and in Raleigh, North Carolina, toppled statues.
That prompted North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper to have two Confederate statues outside the state capitol in Raleigh removed. Cooper, who has long opposed the statues, cited public safety concerns for the decision.
A closer look at some recent developments:
An arrest warrant has been issued for an Atlanta woman suspected of taking part in the burning of the Wendy’s where Rayshard Brooks was killed by a police officer.
Interim Atlanta Chief Rodney Bryant said Saturday that an “above average” number of officers have been calling in sick in recent days, following Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard's decision to bring charges against the two officers involved in Brooks’ death.
Early Saturday, one person was killed and another in critical condition in Seattle's "Capitol Hill Occupied Protest" (CHOP) zone.
In Louisville, the police department is firing officer Brett Hankison, one of three officers to fire weapons at the apartment of Breonna Taylor, who died after being shot eight times.
Beyoncé released a surprise single on Juneteenth called "Black Parade" and proceeds from the song will go toward Black-owned businesses.
What we're reading today: Eskimo Pie, Aunt Jemima, Uncle Ben's and Cream of Wheat are changing. Are the Washington Redskins next?
And there's this: When people talk about systemic racism, they mean systemic: impacting institutions, policies and outcomes across all aspects of Black Americans' lives. Here are 12 charts that show how racial disparities persist across wealth, health, education and beyond.
Our live blog will be updated throughout the day. For first-in-the-morning updates, sign up for The Daily Briefing.
Governor orders Confederate statues removed in Raleigh, North Carolina, after protest
Crews on Saturday removed two Confederate statues outside the North Carolina State Capitol in Raleigh on the order of Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper. Cooper said in a news release that removing the statues was a public-safety imperative.
The previous night, protesters in the capital pulled down parts of a Confederate monument. Demonstrators used a strap to pull down two statues of Confederate soldiers that were part of a larger obelisk near the state capitol in downtown Raleigh, WNCN-TV reported.
Protesters then dragged at least one of the statues down a street and used the strap to hang the figure from a street light pole.
The statues removed Saturday include one dedicated to the women of the Confederacy, and another placed by the United Daughters of the Confederacy honoring Henry Wyatt, the first North Carolinian killed in battle in the Civil War.
Numerous Confederate statues have been vandalized or torn down across the South in recent weeks following the death of George Floyd, a Black man who was killed after a white Minneapolis police officer pressed a knee into his neck for nearly nine minutes.
Suspect identified in burning of Wendy's where Rayshard Brooks was killed
An arrest warrant has been issued for a woman suspected of taking part in the burning of the Atlanta Wendy’s where Rayshard Brooks was killed by a police officer. Natalie White, 29, is wanted on charges of first-degree arson, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
The Wendy’s restaurant was set on fire during protests in the city last weekend following Brooks’ death. She is one of multiple suspects believed to have been involved in setting fire to the restaurant. Per the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, fireworks, aerosol cans and lighters were used.
– Joshua Bote
Greta Thunberg says ongoing protests are 'social tipping point'
In an interview with the BBC, teen Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg called the ongoing Black Lives Matter worldwide protests a “social tipping point.”
"People are starting to realize that we cannot keep looking away from these things,” Thunberg. “We cannot keep sweeping these injustices under the carpet.”
The coronavirus pandemic, she added, has provided a framework for leaders and the general public to act on climate change. “It shows that in a crisis, you act, and you act with necessary force,” she said. “Suddenly people in power are saying they will do whatever it takes since you cannot put a price on human life."
She’s not hopeful, however, that “today’s political and economic systems” can solve the climate crisis.
– Joshua Bote
Coronavirus surges aren't linked to protests, USA TODAY analysis finds
The United States has seen new coronavirus cases climb from about 21,000 a day the last week of May to nearly 23,000 a day this week. Positive tests and, in some places, hospitalizations have spiked, too, leading many to wonder if a change in behavior caused outbreaks in states such as California, Arizona and Florida.
But neither protests or more people leaving home explain the surge of new COVID-19 cases, a USA TODAY analysis of counties with at least 100 cases has found. Residents of counties with growth of 25% or more over the previous two weeks left their homes at the same rate as people in counties without a surge of new infections, according to cell phone location data compiled by the company SafeGraph.
And large protests were as common in counties without outbreaks as in others – although those events could have seeded the virus broadly, and could still lead to outbreaks. Read more here.
— Matt Wynn and Jayme Fraser
Trump says feds 'ready, willing, and able' to take back Seattle from protesters
President Donald Trump says the federal government is "Ready, Willing & Able" to help Seattle if asked in "taking back" the city from protesters.
In a Friday night tweet, the president was apparently referring to protesters setting up the self-patrolled "Capitol Hill Organized Protests," or CHOP, zone, in a Seattle neighborhood after police abandoned their east precinct during demonstrations.
"Waiting to hear from Dem run Washington State as to whether they want help in taking back Seattle," he tweeted. "Ready to move quickly!" he said, adding that "damage" to the city, including the demolition of a statue, should not be allowed. "Ready to solve problem quickly! Federal Government is Ready, Willing & Able," Trump added.
Washington state Gov. Jay Inslee said earlier that Trump does not have the power to activate the Guard in Washington and called such threats "more like rants of a very insecure man." Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan has called Trump's bid to bring in U.S. troops in local jurisdictions "unconstitutional and illegal."
Authorities rule death of Malcolm Harsch, Black man found hanging in California, a suicide
The family of Malcolm Harsch, a Black man who was found hanging from a tree in Victorville, California, last month, says his death has been ruled a suicide after authorities released video showing what happened.
The video evidence, captured May 31 from two surveillance cameras on buildings on Victor Street, was also shown to a group of reporters at San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department headquarters Friday afternoon.
Sgt. Steve Allen, with the Victorville’s Sheriff’s Station, said he hoped “to dispel some of the myths” surrounding Harsch’s death as protests against police violence and systemic bias continue worldwide after the death of George Floyd in police custody.
In response, Najee Ali, a spokesperson for the family, released a statement that read: “On behalf of the family of Malcolm Harsch unfortunately it seems he did take his own life. The Victorville Police Department officials released new video evidence to family members. The family wants to sincerely thank everyone for their support and prayers.”
— Martin Estacio, Victorville Daily Press
Second Minneapolis officer charged in Floyd killing freed on bail
Kueng, along with former fellow officers Tou Thao and Thomas Lane, are charged with aiding and abetting in Floyd's death. Lane was released last week.
Derek Chauvin has been charged with murder in the case, which has sparked world protests against police misconduct.
All four officers have been fired by the Minneapolis Police Department. Kueng was ordered by the court not to perform any police or security work while awaiting trial, KMSP reports, citing jail records.
More on protests
A far-right movement called 'boogaloo' is growing amid national unrest. What is it and what do members want?
Fractured skulls, lost eyes: An investigation into law-enforcement actions at protests across the country reveals some officers appear to have violated their department’s rules when they fired "less lethal" projectiles at protesters who were for the most part peacefully assembled.
Protesters topple Confederate statue in DC
Protesters on Friday night toppled the only statue of a Confederate general in the nation’s capital and set it on fire.
Cheering demonstrators jumped up and down as the 11-foot statue of Albert Pike — wrapped with chains — wobbled on its high granite pedestal before falling backward, landing in a pile of dust. Protesters then set a bonfire and stood around it in a circle as the statue burned, chanting, “No justice, no peace!” and “No racist police!”
Eyewitness accounts and videos posted on social media indicated that police were on the scene, but didn’t intervene.
President Donald Trump quickly tweeted about the toppling, calling out D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser and writing: “The DC police are not doing their job as they watched a statue be ripped down and burn.” After the statue fell, most protesters returned peacefully to Lafayette Park near the White House.
- Associated Press
Records show discipline history of ex-Atlanta officer who fatally shot Rayshard Brooks
Atlanta Police Department records list 12 incidents in former officer Garrett Rolfe's discipline history, including a written reprimand for use of firearms in 2017.
Rolfe has been charged with multiple counts, including felony murder and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, in connection with the death of Rayshard Brooks. Rolfe was previously cleared of wrongdoing in a 2015 shooting that punctured a man's lung, The Atlanta Journal Constitution reports.
Police records generated June 14 date to 2014 and list multiple vehicle accidents and citizen complaints. In many cases, Rolfe was listed as exonerated in his conduct.
In a 2017 incident, Rolfe was reprimanded for pointing a gun out of a passenger side window toward a fleeing vehicle. The reprimand says officers were not to point their weapon at a person "unless the discharge of that firearm would be justifiable."
The latest entry in the log is for a firearm discharge, dated soon after Brooks' death.
– Joel Shannon
Contributing: The Associated Press
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Trump in Tulsa; Gov. Roy Cooper orders statues in N.C. removed: Updates