Black Lives Matter protests: Fulton County DA ‘not seeking’ death penalty in Rayshard Brooks case

Black Lives Matter protests: What you need to know

Protests over racism and police violence continue nationwide, sparked by outrage over the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who was killed last month while in the custody of Minneapolis police.

Live updates for Thursday, June 18, continue below:

State Department official resigns over Trump’s response to racial tensions

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Update 11:01 p.m. EDT June 18: Mary Elizabeth Taylor, the assistant secretary of state for legislative affairs, turned in a letter of resignation Thursday, citing President Donald Trump’s handling of racial tensions nationwide, The Washington Post reported.

Taylor, who has served in the administration since the President took office, said in a five-paragraph letter that Trump’s actions “cut sharply against my core values and convictions,” the newspaper reported.

“Moments of upheaval can change you, shift the trajectory of your life, and mold your character. The President’s comments and actions surrounding racial injustice and Black Americans cut sharply against my core values and convictions,” Taylor wrote in her resignation letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. “I must follow the dictates of my conscience and resign as Assistant Secretary of State for Legislative Affairs.”

Grand jury indicts Kansas City police officer

Update 9:40 p.m. EDT June 18: A grand jury in Jackson County, Missouri, indicted Kansas City police officer Eric DeValkenaere in the fatal shooting of Cameron Lamb in December 2019, KCTV reported.

DeValkenaere was charged with first-degree involuntary manslaughter and armed criminal action for causing the death of Lamb, who was shot while sitting in his pickup truck as he was backing into his garage, the television station reported

Garrett Rolfe to appear in court Friday

Update 9:24 p.m. EDT June 18: Former Atlanta police officer Garrett Rolfe is expected to appear in court Friday at noon, WSB-TV reported.

Rolfe, who faces felony murder and 10 other charges in the fatal shooting of Rayshard Brooks, was moved to the Gwinnett County Jail on Thursday evening, the television station reported.

SEC wants Mississippi to change state flag

Update 9:13 p.m. EDT June 18: The commissioner of the Southeastern Conference called for the state of Mississippi to remove the Confederate battle flag that is part of the state banner.

“It is past time for change to be made to the flag of the State of Mississippi. Our students deserve an opportunity to learn and compete in environments that are inclusive and welcoming to all,” Southeastern Conference Commissioner Greg Sankey said in a statement. “In the event there is no change, there will be consideration of precluding Southeastern Conference championship events from being conducted in the State of Mississippi until the state flag is changed,” the statement added.

The University of Mississippi and Mississippi State University are both members of the SEC.

Devin Brosnan says Rayshard Brooks’ death ‘a total tragedy’

Update 8:32 p.m. EDT June 18: Atlanta police officer Devin Brosnan said in an interview with MSNBC that the death of Rayshard Brooks was “a tragic event.”

“It’s a total tragedy that a man had to lose his life that night,” Brosnan said after he was released on bond Thursday afternoon.

Brosnan said he was “looking forward to cooperating with any investigators who are interested in having a conversation about what happened that night,” adding that he had “full faith in the criminal justice system.”

Brosnan’s attorney disputed the contention by Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard that he would testify as a state witness against fellow officer Garrett Rolfe, who was charged with 11 counts including murder in the death of Brooks.

“He’s a defendant now, he’s not going to answer the DA’s questions while they bring false charges against him,” Don Samuel, told MSNBC.

Garrett Rolfe waives first court appearance

Update 7:28 p.m. EDT June 18: Former Atlanta police officer Garrett Rolfe waived his first court appearance, according to Tracy Flanagan, a spokesperson for the Fulton County Sheriff’s Office.

Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard has said it was unlikely the case would be presented to a grand jury before January, CNN reported.

Fulton County DA: No death penalty in Brooks case

Update 6:13 p.m. EDT June 18: Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard said his office will not seek the death penalty in the case against Garrett Rolfe, the former Atlanta police officer who is charged in the fatal shooting of Rayshard Brooks.

“We simply cited that because statutorily, that is one of the possible sentences, but we’re not seeking the death penalty,” Howard told CNN. “I don’t think anyone rationally expected that we would ask for the death penalty in this case.”

Fulton County DA Paul Howard said he ‘received threats’

Update 6:02 p.m. EDT June 18: Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard told CNN he has “received some threats” after charges he made Wednesday against two Atlanta police officers charged in the Rayshard Brooks case.

“The threats seem to be racially-based. What I was saying is if you look historically at the deaths that I referred to earlier, the deaths that we’ve seen recently, there’s certainly a racial connection,” Howard told CNN. “That same connection is evident in some of the threats that I received. I can say to those people who are threatening me in my office, we won’t be intimidated.”

Howard said his office will “continue to do what we think is right.”

“If a police officer is involved with misconduct, we’re going to go forward with it. But if the police officer is not involved in misconduct, we want to, with the same attitude, tell the community that the officers were right,” Howard said.

Virginia judge extends order to bar removal of Robert E. Lee statue

Update 4:25 p.m. EDT June 18: A judge in Richmond, Virginia, indefinitely extended an injunction that prevents Gov. Ralph Northam from removing the iconic statue of Robert E. Lee from state property on Monument Avenue. The ruling gives opponents, who oppose removing the statue honoring the Confederate general, more time to prove they have the standing to challenge the removal, The Washington Post reported.

A new hearing was set for July 23.

Richmond Circuit Judge Bradley B. Cavedo on June 8 granted a temporary injunction to block the state from taking down the 130-year-old statue, the newspaper reported. That was in response to a lawsuit filed by a descendant of the couple who signed the deed that gave land for the monument to the state.

Ex-Atlanta police officer in custody, charged with murder of Rayshard Brooks

Update 3:50 p.m. EDT June 18: The former Atlanta police officer charged with murder after he shot and killed Rayshard Brooks during a confrontation in a Wendy’s parking lot has turned himself in, according to Fulton County Jail records.

Records show Rolfe was booked Thursday to face charges of felony murder, aggravated assault violation of oath by a public officer and other charges in connection to the deadly June 12 shooting.

Prosecutors said Wednesday that Rolfe twice shot Brooks in the back as the 27-year-old tried to run from police. Fulton County, Georgia District Attorney Paul Howard said video evidence showed Rolfe kicking Brooks’ body after the shooting and that he could be heard uttering, “I got him.”

The situation began after someone called 911 to report that Brooks had fallen asleep in the drive-thru of a Wendy’s restaurant in southwest Atlanta. Prosecutors said Brooks cooperated with police for more than 40 minutes before Rolfe tried to handcuff him and Brooks resisted.

Earlier Thursday, the officer who responded to the call with Rolfe, Devin Brosnan, turned himself in to face charges of aggravated assault and violations of his oath of office.

Protesters create short-lived ‘autonomous zone’ in Portland, Oregon

Update 3:35 p.m. EDT June 18: Demonstrators created a short-lived “autonomous zone” just after midnight Thursday in Portland, Oregon, KIRO-TV reported.

A group used dumpsters, recycling bins, picnic tables and pallets onto the streets early Thursday to form what some protesters called the “PKAZ,” or Patrick Kimmons Autonomous Zone. Kimmons was shot and killed by police in 2018, KIRO-TV reported. Officers involved in the case were cleared of any wrongdoing, according to the news station.

The area was cleared around 6 a.m. after police declared a civil disturbance and unlawful assembly in the area, KIRO-TV reported.

Mayor orders removal of Columbus statue from outside city hall in Columbus, Ohio

Update 2:45 p.m. EDT June 18: Mayor Andrew Ginther of Columbus, Ohio, ordered the removal Thursday of a statue of Christopher Columbus from outside city hall, WHIO-TV and WBNS-TV reported.

“For many people in our community, the statue represents patriarch, oppression, and divisiveness,” Ginther said in a statement obtained by WBNS-TV. “That does not represent our great city, and we will no longer live in the shadow of our ugly past.

“Now is the right time to replace this statue with artwork that demonstrates our enduring fight to end racism and celebrate themes of diversity and inclusion.”

The decision came amid a national reckoning on racism and police violence that has led protesters in several cities to topple Confederate monuments and statues of Columbus.

Pennsylvania governor encourages people to reflect on Juneteenth

Update 2:20 p.m. EDT June 18: Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf encouraged people to use Juneteenth to reflect on the need for a fair and just society as protesters continue to call for an end to racism and police violence in demonstrations nationwide.

Wolf declared Juneteenth, the holiday on June 19 celebrating the end of slavery in the United States, a state holiday in 2019, according to WPXI.

“In recent weeks, people around the nation have joined together to demand an end to systemic racism and oppression of African Americans,” Wolf said in a news release obtained by WPXI. “This is a moment to honor African American history and reflect on how each of us can promote equality, liberty and justice for all people.”

Columbus statue removed from San Francisco’s Coit Tower

Update 1:55 p.m. EDT June 18: Crews worked Thursday morning to remove a statue of Christopher Columbus from San Francisco’s Coit Tower amid protests over racism and police violence, according to multiple reports.

The statue was removed a day before a planned protest aimed at pulling down the statue and throwing it into San Francisco Bay, KQED reported.

Days earlier, KPIX-TV reported the statue was covered in red paint.

It was not immediately clear what would happen to the statue.

Indianapolis sued for using tear gas at protests

Update 12:50 p.m. EDT June 18: Protesters who faced tear gas from the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department while demonstrating against police brutality sued the city Thursday to halt the use of the chemical agents and projectiles.

The federal lawsuit was filed on behalf of Indy10 Black Lives Matter and individual protesters by the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana. It argues that the use of chemical agents and projectiles for crowd control violates the First Amendment. IMPD has used tear gas and pepper balls against protesters during several demonstrations following the shooting death of Dreasjon Reed by an Indianapolis police officer and the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

“Excessive use of force against protesters chills free speech, and widens the rift of distrust between communities and the police that are sworn to serve them,” Ken Falk, legal director at the ACLU of Indiana, said in a statement.

The city’s Office of Corporation Counsel declined to comment on the lawsuit.

Officer charged in Rayshard Brooks’ death surrenders, other has hours left to turn himself in

Update 11:50 a.m. EDT June 18: Former Atlanta police Officer Devin Brosnan has surrendered to police to face charges in connection with the killing last week of Rayshard Brooks, 27, according to WSB-TV.

Prosecutors announced Wednesday that Brosnan would face charges of aggravated assault and violations of his oath of office after the June 12 shooting at a Wendy’s in southwest Atlanta.

He surrendered Thursday morning, according to WSB-TV.

Officials said Wednesday that Brosnan stood on Brooks’ shoulder as he lay bleeding on the ground after he was shot twice be then-Officer Garrett Rolfe.

The situation began after someone called 911 to report that Brooks had fallen asleep in the drive-thru of Wendy’s. Prosecutors said Brooks cooperated with police for more than 40 minutes before Rolfe tried to handcuff him and Brooks resisted.

Rolfe faces 11 charges, including felony murder, aggravated assault and several counts of violating his oath of office. He has until 6 p.m. Thursday to surrender to police, authorities said.

Pelosi orders portraits of former speakers who served in the Confederacy removed

Update 11:40 a.m. EDT June 18: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced Thursday that she’s ordered the clerk of the House to remove portraits of speakers who served in the Confederacy from the capitol in honor of Juneteenth.

The holiday on Friday celebrates the end of slavery in the United States.

“As I’ve said before, there is no room in the hallowed halls of this Democracy, this temple of Democracy, to memorialize people who embody violent bigotry and grotesque racism of the Confederacy,” Pelosi said during a news conference Thursday.

The decision comes amid a national reckoning over race in the U.S. Demonstrators protesting racism and police brutality in cities nationwide have torn down or prompted officials to pull down statues honoring Confederate figures.

Pelosi said she had been unaware of the portraits until recently.

“We didn’t know about this until we were taking inventory of the statues and the curator told us that there were four paintings of speakers in the capitol of the United States, four speakers who had served in the Confederacy,” Pelosi said.

“Tomorrow, Juneteenth, the clerk will oversee the removal of those Confederate speakers from the House.”

Rayshard Brooks’ family attorney calls murder charge against officer a ‘first step towards justice'

Update 11:05 a.m. EDT June 18: A lawyer representing the family of Rayshard Brooks told CNN on Thursday that a felony murder charge leveled against the officer who shot and killed him is a “first step towards justice.”

“I can’t say the family was surprised,” attorney Justin Miller said. “I know I was surprised, but I was happy.”

Miller spoke to CNN one day after prosecutors said warrants had been issued for the arrests of former officers Garrett Rolfe and Devin Brosnan. Fulton County, Georgia District Attorney Paul Howard said Rolfe shot Brooks twice despite the fact that posed no threat to the officers. Police previously said Brooks had grabbed Rolfe’s Taser, but Howard said the Taser had been fired twice and couldn’t be used again against the officers when he was shot while trying to run away.

Rolfe faces 11 charges, including felony murder, aggravated assault and violations to his oath of office. Prosecutors charged Brosnan with aggravated assault and two violations of oath of office.

The officers have until Thursday evening to surrender to authorities.

Funeral for Rayshard Brooks to take place at Ebenezer Baptist Church

Update 10:35 a.m. EDT June 18: The funeral for Rayshard Brooks, the 27-year-old man shot and killed last week by Atlanta police, will be held June 23 at Historic Ebenezer Baptist Church, WSB-TV reported.

The event will be open only to attendees with invitations, according to the news network.

Rev. Raphael G. Warnock, senior pastor at Ebenezer Baptist Church, told WSB-TV that Brooks was not a member of the church “but he and his loved ones are a part of our family.”

“Ebenezer is a parish for all people, a sanctuary for those who suffer,” he said. “We seek to embrace (Brooks’ family), comfort them and walk beside them in the days ahead.”

Nearly $200K raised for officer charged with murder in Rayshard Brooks’ death

Update 6:47 a.m. EDT June 18: Thousands of people are stepping up to provide support for the former officer charged with murder in the death of Rayshard Brooks.

According to WSB-TV, more than $180,000 has been raised for former Atlanta police Officer Garrett Rolfe’s legal fees, according to the Georgia Law Enforcement Organization.

The nonprofit organization said the “fundraiser is designed to help Officer Rolfe and his family to pay for legal services and general necessities.”

The organization told WSB-TV that more than 2,000 people have donated to the fundraiser.

The Georgia Law Enforcement Organization believes the charges against Rolfe are political.

“Officer Rolfe was involved in the justified shooting of Rayshard Brooks on June 12th, 2020, and he is being used as a political pawn by the district attorney and has been charged with murder,” the organization wrote on its website.

Please visit: GeorgiaLEO.org/post/apd to donate Officer Rolfe Was Involved In The Justified Shooting Of Rayshard Brooks...

Posted by Georgia Law Enforcement on Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Officers charged in Rayshard Brooks’ death have hours left to surrender to police

Update 5:58 a.m. EDT June 18: The two Atlanta police officers charged in the killing of Rayshard Brooks have until 6 p.m. Thursday to turn themselves in to police, WSB-TV is reporting.

Rolfe is facing 11 charges, including felony murder. Brosnan was charged with aggravated assault and two violations of oath of office.

Half-brother of Robert Fuller, man found hanging from tree, killed in deputy-involved shooting

Update 4:30 a.m. EDT June 18: Just one week after a passer-by discovered a black man hanging from a tree in California, his half-brother has died in a shootout with sheriff’s deputies, multiple news outlets are reporting.

According to the Los Angeles Times, Terron Boone, whose half-brother, Robert Fuller, was found dead in Palmdale on June 10, was killed Wednesday in a shooting that involved Los Angeles County deputies, authorities and a family attorney said.

“This afternoon, I had to notify the sisters of Robert Fuller that their half-brother Terron Jammal Boone was killed by Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies in Kern County,” the attorney, Jamon Hicks, said in a statement obtained by CNN late Wednesday.

"At this time, until we receive all of the information, the family and their legal team doesn't have any further comment on this incident. The family respectfully asks that their privacy be respected."

Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. Robert Westphal told the Times that deputies and a suspect in a false imprisonment case exchanged fire about 4:30 p.m. Wednesday during a traffic stop in Rosamond. The suspect, who was a passenger in the car, fired a semiautomatic handgun toward deputies multiple times before they shot back, striking his chest, Westphal said. The man died from his injuries.

A woman who had been driving the vehicle suffered a gunshot wound to the chest and was treated at a nearby hospital, Westphal told the Times. A child in the car's backseat was unhurt, he said.

Although Westphal did not reveal the slain suspect's name, authorities had charged Boone earlier this week with false imprisonment, assault and other crimes, the Times reported, citing court records.

News of Boone’s death came just days after the Sheriff’s Department said Fuller, 24, appeared to have hanged himself. Family members and protesters questioned the claim, calling for further investigation into what they believe was a lynching. Officials later pledged to conduct a full investigation, according to the Times.

Atlanta megachurch pastor apologizes for ‘white blessing’ comments

Update 12:59 a.m. EDT June 18: The pastor of an Atlanta megachurch is now asking for forgiveness.

According to WSB-TV, Louie Giglio, the pastor at Passion City Church in northeast Atlanta, held a roundtable discussion about race last weekend and made controversial comments about slavery.

“We understand the curse that was slavery ... white people do … and we say that was bad but we miss the blessing of slavery ... that it actually built up the framework for the world that white people live in,” Giglio said during the discussion.

The pastor then went on to describe a new term for “white privilege.”

“I think maybe a great thing for me is to call it ‘white blessing,‘” Giglio said.

After the roundtable, the comments drew criticism, including from one of the other people on the stage – rapper Lecrae.

“I want you to know I wasn’t OK with it. Even as I sat there, I was very uncomfortable,” Lecrae said.

In the apology later posted on social media, Giglio tried to explain what he meant by referring to slavery as a blessing.

“We sit in large part where we are today because of the centuries of gross injustice done to our black brothers and sisters,” Giglio said. “I just wanted to come to you today and sincerely apologize for the use of the phrase on Sunday, white blessing.”

Chick-fil-A CEO Dan Cathy also took part in Giglio’s roundtable. Chick-fil-A has not responded to WSB-TV’s request for comment.

Giglio sent a statement late Wednesday, saying:

“I am deeply sorry for the pain and confusion I have caused by my comment this past Sunday. I’ve never in my life thought there was any blessing in slavery. That thought is repulsive. I am grieved that what I said did not communicate or align with what I truly believe.

“White people often too quickly dismiss the reality that America was largely built on the dehumanization of black people. These dismissals miss that reality. I failed at an honest attempt to start a conversation with my fellow white brothers and sisters to see the reality of our white privilege. For the many who want to brush the concept of white privilege aside, this acknowledgment is an important step toward engaging the conversation.

“I am planning to continue and will make more of a concentrated effort to learn, understand, stay engaged and to be a part of all of us moving forward together to the place that God wants us to be.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.