Connect with us

World

Rayshard Brooks: Accused officer bailed despite widow’s plea

Published

on

Booking photos of Garrett Rolfe and Devin BrosnanImage copyright
Fulton County Jail

Image caption

Garrett Rolfe (left), who is charged with killing Rayshard Brooks. Devin Brosnan, the other officer at the scene, is on the right

A judge has granted bail for an ex-Atlanta police officer charged with killing an African-American man in a restaurant car park earlier this month.

Garrett Rolfe, now free on a $500,000 (£403,000) bond, faces 11 charges, including murder, for the death of Rayshard Brooks, 27, on 12 June.

Mr Brooks’ widow implored the judge not to grant bail, arguing Mr Rolfe was a danger to the community.

Mr Brooks’ death fuelled anti-racism protests across the US.

He was shot while fleeing Mr Rolfe and another white officer. Mr Brooks had just failed a sobriety test. As the officers tried to arrest him, he punched Mr Rolfe, snatched his partner’s Taser and then appeared to fire the stun gun towards Mr Rolfe as he gave chase, according to footage.

Image copyright
Reuters

Image caption

Rayshard Brooks, 27, the father of three daughters and a stepson, was killed on 12 June

Tomika Miller, Mr Brooks’ widow, spoke at the bond hearing on Tuesday via video.

Through tears, she told Fulton County Superior Court Judge Jane Barwick that Mr Rolfe “has already shown he’s a danger to the community”.

“My husband did not deserve to die, and I should not live in fear while waiting for the man who killed my husband to be tried in court.”

Ms Miller said Mr Brooks was a loving father, and that he had died on her daughter’s birthday and a day before the couple’s anniversary.

Judge Barwick thanked Ms Miller for her bravery but said Mr Rolfe was not a flight risk and that she did not believe he posed a danger to the community.

Prosecutors had requested a $1m bond plus conditions: the passcode to Mr Rolfe’s phone, his passport and firearms, as well as instating a curfew, requiring an ankle monitor and prohibiting contact with Atlanta police, witnesses or victims.

Mr Rolfe’s lawyers, who argue he acted in self-defence, had asked for a $50,000 bond. They also denied prosecutors’ allegation that Mr Rolfe kicked Mr Brooks as he lay on the ground.

Mr Rolfe will not have had to pay half a million dollars to walk free. Bail in the US typically costs about 10-15% of the total bond amount.

Judge Barwick denied the request for the passcode, but approved the other conditions set by prosecutors.

Mr Rolfe also appeared during the hearing via teleconference but did not speak.

The officers were responding on 12 June to a call from a Wendy’s fast food restaurant employee that an apparently intoxicated customer, Mr Brooks, had fallen asleep in his car, blocking a drive-through lane.

Footage from police body cameras showed Mr Brooks complying with officers for over 40 minutes before he fought to break free as they tried to handcuff him.

The other officer at the scene, Devin Brosnan, faces several charges including aggravated assault for allegedly standing on Mr Brooks’ shoulder after the shooting.

Last week a woman referred to by Mr Brooks during the arrest as his girlfriend was charged with an arson attack on the Wendy’s.

The night after Mr Brooks was shot, the restaurant was burned down in alleged retaliation for the 911 call that led to his death.

Natalie White, 29, did not enter a plea during her court appearance and was placed under house arrest on a $10,000 bail bond.

Source link

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

World

Cliffs of Fundy, Bonavista Peninsula named UNESCO Global Geoparks

Published

on

By

Two sites in Atlantic Canada have been recognized as new UNESCO Global Geoparks, a designation that recognizes sites and landscapes of international geological significance.

The Cliffs of Fundy Global Geopark in Nova Scotia stretches along a roughly 165-kilometre drive, with about 40 designated sites from Debert to the Three Sisters cliffs past Eatonville, out to Isle Haute. The area is the only place on Earth where geologists can see both the assembly of supercontinent Pangea 300 million years ago and its breakup 100 million years later.

The Discovery Global Geopark in Newfoundland and Labrador’s Bonavista Peninsula, a rugged coastline overlooking views of caves, arches and sea stacks, features fossils from what UNESCO describes “one of the most significant transitions in Earth’s history” — the rise of animal life.

The two parks are among 15 new Global Geoparks approved by UNESCO at meetings in Paris and announced on Friday.

“I feel very lucky to have had the opportunity to visit these outstanding places,” said Nikolaos Zouros, president of the UNESCO Global Geoparks Network, who came to visit both sites last year from his home in Lesvos Island, Greece.

“We collect pieces of information about this unique book of the story of our planet. These do not belong only to the people of Canada, but is an important piece of evidence for the whole of humanity.”

Cliffs of Fundy Geopark

Beth Peterkin has just started her new role as the manager of the Cliffs of Fundy Geopark. She is pictured here at Five Islands Provincial Park. (Emma Davie/CBC)

While the announcement comes as a point of pride for those involved in Nova Scotia, it also signals the beginning of more work left to do to make sure the designation does what they want it to do — bring tourists to the area and boost the local economy.

“The beauty of the designation is that it immediately puts you on the world stage,” Beth Peterkin, manager of the Cliffs of Fundy Geopark. “It will let us reach audiences we could never, ever reach on our own.”

The New Brunswick side of the Bay of Fundy is already designated as the Stonehammer Geopark, located at the confluence of the Saint John and Kennebecasis rivers.

In Nova Scotia, Cumberland and Colchester counties brought together geologists, paleontologists, businesses, tourism operators, Indigenous communities and local people to bring the idea for a geopark to life.

Five Islands Provincial Park is one of 42 sites in the UNESCO Global Geopark. (Steve Lawrence/CBC)

This partnership is a first of its kind, said Christine Blair, mayor of the Municipality of the County of Colchester, and that teamwork is what made this idea into reality.

“To have two municipalities form an agreement, that has never happened in the history of the two municipalities before,” she said.

“To have all of the communities and our First Nation community involved is very significant, because it’s recognizing the whole of what we have to offer — and not just part of the whole.”

The designation also comes ahead of a new Mi’kmaw cultural centre that will be built, in the next two to three years in Debert, says Donald Julien, executive director for The Confederacy Of Mainland Mi’kmaq.

“Our ancestors have been here for over 13,000 years according to archeological evidence. So it’s very exciting for the Mi’kmaq, our cultural centre and the recognition is going to be fantastic,” he said.

The Fundy region in particular, Julien said, is included in many legends about Glooscap, the most famous figure in Mi’kmaw culture who brought peace and restored balance to the world.

Donald Julien, pictured here at the Fundy Discovery site, is an executive director for The Confederacy Of Mainland Mi’Kmaq. (Robert Guertin/CBC)

Julien said he hopes the UNESCO designation will help teach people about the history of the Mi’kmaq.

“At times in our history books and our histories, it sort of tended that we disappeared but we didn’t. We’re still here, alive and well,” he said.

“This is probably history in the making. Everybody is going to benefit.”

Discovery Geopark

The Discovery Geopark was recognized, in part, for the Ediacaran fossils that can be found in the area. These fossils — some of which can be accessed from the boardwalk in Port Union — are an estimated 560 million years old, and show some of the earliest multi-cell organisms.

“With over 20 taxa present, these enigmatic fossils record the oldest architecturally complex multicellular lifeforms, providing a window to study the preface to the Cambrian Explosion,” wrote the UNESCO Global Geoparks Council in nomination papers. 

“The Geopark preserves a dramatic transition in Earth history.”

Ediacaran fossils can be seen in the rock near the shoreline in Port Union, N.L. (Garrett Barry/CBC)

Fossils for the Haootia quadriformis, believed to be the first example of muscle tissue in an animal, were found just two kilometres from Port Union’s museum.

“For most researchers who come here, Newfoundland is the best place in the world to come to do the research, because we’re so easy and accessible to the fossils,” said Edith Samson, a long-time volunteer with the local Geopark committee.

“They’re right at our doorstep.”

Edith Samson holds a casting, or replica, of a fossil found near Port Union on Newfoundland and Labrador’s Bonavista Peninsula. (Garrett Barry/CBC)

Cliffs of Fundy needs help, councillor says

But in Nova Scotia, there’s still more work to be done.

Donald Fletcher, president of the Cliffs of Fundy Geopark and the board chair, said the province and tourism sector will need to put money forward to make this a success story.

“I’ve felt over the years that we’ve sort of been neglected,” said Fletcher, who is also a councillor for the Municipality of Cumberland.

“This area and we have so much to offer. And as I mentioned before, we’ve just basically taken what Mother Nature has put here and we’re showcasing that to the world.”

One of the next big goals for the Cliffs of Fundy Geopark group is to make sure each of the 42 sites have proper signage. (Emma Davie/CBC)

Fletcher said that includes fixing up the roads in the area, helping with signs and supporting their tourism sector.

“With the whole COVID thing, a lot of them are hurting,” he said.

“This is big and people are going to come, maybe not so much this year, but they’re going to come and see what we have to offer.”

Peterkin said other work to be done includes clearly marking the geosites, updating guidebooks and maps, educating staff working in the parks about the designation, and recruiting volunteers.

“It’s all about making the visitors feel welcome, so that they’ll come back again and again,” she said.

The cliffs near Cape d’Or showcase some of the highest tides in the world. (Steve Lawrence/CBC)

But the promise of a lucrative tourism sector is also bringing hope to communities still reeling after a gunman in Nova Scotia killed 22 people on April 18 and 19, in what is now one of Canada’s deadliest mass shootings in history.

“That will be with us forever. But we don’t want to be remembered specifically for that event,” Blair said.

“I believe we will all move forward together in the healing process. To have a positive announcement like we have at this geopark will be part of that; I truly believe that.”

Peterkin says they’re hoping to plan a celebration this summer once it’s safe to do so with the Public Health guidelines around COVID-19.

“I think we have so much to offer with the mixture of the geology, the culture, the music, the arts, the local experience,” she said. “Get your feet and hands dirty in the tide.”

Source link

Continue Reading

World

Black Lives Matter: From social media post to global movement

Published

on

By

Media playback is unsupported on your device

Media caption‘I feel like Black Lives Matter has become a trend’

A slogan chanted by tens of thousands around the world, Black Lives Matter has sparked a hashtag, a network of grass-roots organisations, and a moral collective of activists.

But how did it go from a social media post to a global phenomenon, and where does it go now?

The names most associated with Black Lives Matter are not its leaders but the victims who have drawn attention to the massive issues of racism this country grapples with: George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Eric Garner, Michael Brown, to name a few.

The movement can be traced back to 2013, after the acquittal of George Zimmerman, who shot and killed Trayvon Martin in Florida.

The 17-year-old had been returning from a shop after buying sweets and iced tea. Mr Zimmerman claimed the unarmed black teenager had looked suspicious.

There was outrage when he was found not guilty of murder, and a Facebook post entitled “Black Lives Matter” captured a mood and sparked action.

Image copyright
BLM LA chapter

Image caption

An early Black Lives Matter demonstration in Beverly Hills following the acquittal of Goerge Zimmerman for the murder of Trayvon Martin

“Seven years ago, we were called together. There were about 30 of us standing in the courtyard of this black artist community in Los Angeles, summoned by Patrisse Cullors, one of our co-founders and one of my dearest friends,” says Melina Abdullah, a professor of Pan African Studies in Los Angeles and co-founder of one of Black Lives Matters first “chapters”.

“It was students … artists, organisers and mommas. We knew that it was part of our sacred duty to step up. And there was an audaciousness that we could transform the world, but we didn’t have a plan for it,” she laughs.

If calls for justice for Trayvon Martin lit the spark for Black Lives Matter, it was the death of Michael Brown a year later that really brought the movement to national attention.

The unarmed teenager had been shot dead by an officer in Ferguson, Missouri and Black Lives Matter took to the streets, often in angry confrontation with the police.

But the killing of George Floyd took the movement to areas it had not reached before.

This moment of national reckoning gives Ambassador Andrew Young, a legendary civil rights leader, a “tremendous sense of pride”.

“Especially that they have remained overwhelmingly nonviolent,” the 88-year-old says.

For years he marched shoulder-to-shoulder with Rev Martin Luther King Jr, but very much as a civil rights leader in his own right.

He was later awarded the US Presidential Medal of Freedom and served as US Ambassador to the United Nations.

“Of course it was very different back then. We had to go door-to-door, church-to-church,” he says.

“When Dr King went to jail, only 55 people showed up,” Ambassador Young remembers.

Image copyright
Getty Images

Image caption

Ambassador Andrew Young, seated to the right of Martin Luther King Jr with other civil rights leaders

In the 1960s, many of the key American civil rights figures were known the world over, but even someone as connected to the struggle for equality as Ambassador Young finds it hard to name contemporaries in the modern movement.

“Honestly, I don’t know who Black Lives Matter is,” he acknowledges.

“I don’t know who the leaders are. In fact, I don’t know that they even have any leaders. I think perhaps it’s a spiritual, emotional movement created by implicit evils in our society that we have not been willing to face.”

Those who have been involved with Black Lives Matter since its embryonic stages say this decentralized approach is intentional.

“Group-centred leadership is in our guiding principles,” says Prof Abdullah.

“Leadership is not just about oratory, it’s also about facilitation, planning, bringing arts to the movement, things that don’t get as much recognition,” she says.

The leadership in many Black Lives Matter chapters is also often female.

“Black women have always been at the heart of the black freedom struggle. Often times they have been painted over, and this time we are refusing to allow ourselves to be painted over,” says Prof Abdullah.

The guiding light for this doctrine, and for Black Lives Matter as a whole, she says, has been Ella Baker – the feminist civil rights leader who championed collective grassroots activism over activism focused on a single leader.

“We all study Ella Baker as one of the most brilliant organisers to have ever walked the face of this earth. She was clear that movements should be bigger than individuals.”

Though Black Lives Matter has evolved into this loose national and international umbrella network, the Black Lives Matter Global Network is registered in the US as a non-profit organisation, one that is now getting grants and pledges from foundations and corporations falling over themselves to ally themselves with the movement.

Chapters of Black Lives Matter have spread across the US and around the globe, with massive protests in the UK, Europe, and Canada.

The movement now includes many of diverse backgrounds, who had previously not felt connected to the cause.

“I think a lot of people in our town suddenly felt as white people we need to be really critical of ourselves and understand our role in this,” says AJ Crocker, one of the organisers of a Black Lives Matter vigil in in Norwood, Colorado, a mostly white town of about 500 people located about six hours drive from the nearest international airport.

Image copyright
George Lewis

Image caption

Around 50 people attend the Black Lives Matter vigil in the predominantly white town of Norwood, Colorado

Ms Crocker says the group is learning how they can combat racism in their own small community, such as campaigning for an official Spanish translator for the county.

They will also bring up Black Lives Matter as a discussion topic in the town council and are reading Ibram X Kendi’s book “How to be an Antiracist” in the local book club.

“I actually really do appreciate that people are starting to educate themselves. There’s a lot of literature out there that’s pushing to educate our white counterparts on the issues that affect us and that’s good,” says Charles White, a keyboard player with Day Dream Sessions.

The band has been playing some of the songs that have become the soundtrack to the street demonstrations in Washington DC, including old protest anthems from Marvin Gaye and Sam Cooke.

But Mr White and his bandmates are also sceptical about what they sees as the mainstreaming of the movement.

“I feel like Black Lives Matter has become a trend,” says drummer and bandleader David Mooney.

“At first it was about changing the situation at hand, but now you have all these corporations saying they support black people but they’re just hoping to gain more customers and more money.”

Image caption

(From left to right) Eric Jackson, David Mooney, Charles White perform as Day Dream Sessions during Black Lives Matter protests in Washington DC

And though some Black Lives Matter leaders deny it, over the years there has sometimes been a disconnect between the organisation itself and young black men, a constituency they are fighting for, the band says.

“I think the initial inception of Black Lives Matter is what we believed in and what we were marching behind,” says trumpeter Eric Jackson.

“It was really about police brutality and the effects of that on black people. But I think now it’s a multilayered thing with feminism and LGBTQ and all these different things kind of coupled into it. I think there needs to be a little bit of refocusing.”

“But Black Lives Matter as a message is one I still stand behind,” he insists.

Prof Abdullah though is proud of how the organisation has also been deliberately intersectional, with many women and LGBT activists at its heart.

“Black Lives Matter has been very clear that we are a womanist movement. And that doesn’t mean that we exclude men, in fact there are lots of strong male leaders,” she says.

She says the organisation is also just as concerned about tangible change, and that results are already being seen, albeit limited.

“Over the past six years, overall the number of killings at the hands of police has remained relatively stable, and that is not a good thing,” says Prof Abdullah.

“However, what we are seeing is that in cities with strong Black Lives Matter chapters, the numbers have dropped dramatically, though this has been offset by increases elsewhere.”

She says the gains have been achieved not by negotiating with police forces, which the organisation refuses to do, but by taking to the streets and making sure the police know they are being scrutinised.

Prof Abdullah says that Black Lives Matter is looking for much more, including the defunding and dismantling of the current police system in the US and its replacement with a new form of law enforcement, something for which it has received considerable criticism.

Image copyright
Reuters

Image caption

Black Lives Matter protesters in London’s Hyde Park

But while she says the organisation advocates one way of putting pressure on those in power, she is also supportive of chapters going their own way.

“One of the things that’s really great is that we see new Black Lives Matter chapters, popping up all over the globe. They may not be official chapters, but people are stepping into their own calling.”

Source link

Continue Reading

World

Asia Today: Australia’s Victoria State Has Record 288 Cases | World News

Published

on

By

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Australia’s Victoria state on Friday reported the new daily record of 288 coronavirus cases, which also reflects a record number of tests exceeding 37,500.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said that the number of citizens and permanent residents allowed to return to Australia each week will be reduced by more than 4,000 from next week.

Sydney, Australia’s largest city, has been carrying a disproportionate burden of hotel quarantine that is currently paid for by the New South Wales state government.

Victoria, to the south, has banned international arrivals after breaches of hotel quarantine in Melbourne were been blamed for Australia’s only widespread transmission of COVID-19.

Vicotoria’s Chief Helath Officer Breet Sutton said “certainly, 288 new cases today is a pretty ugly number.”

Victoria has become the first state to recommend its residents wear masks if they can’t maintain 1.5 meters (5 feet) social distancing such as when they’re on public transport or in supermarkets.

Queensland, to the north, charges travelers 2,800 Australian dollars ($1,900) for their two weeks in hotel quarantine, making Sydney are more attractive destination for Queenslanders to land from overseas.

Morrison said other states are moving to charge for hotel quarantine as well given that Australia has been urging citizens for weeks to return as soon as possible. Outside Victoria, most of Australia’s COVID-19 cases have been detected in hotel quarantine.

In other developments in the Asia-Pacific region:

— South Korea has reported 45 new cases of the coronavirus as health authorities scramble to stem infections in major cities across the country. The figures bring the national caseload to 13,338, including 288 deaths. Twenty-three of the new cases came from the Seoul metropolitan area, which has been at the center of a virus resurgence since late May. Infections were also reported in other major cities such as Gwangju and Daejeon. Health authorities say they are stuck in a difficult game of “whack-a-mole” with new clusters popping up in various places — including churches, restaurants, nightspots and office buildings.

— China on Friday reported four newly confirmed cases of the coronavirus, all of them brought from overseas. No new deaths were reported and 342 people remain in treatment. Another 121 people are in isolation and being monitored as being suspected cases or for testing positive for the virus without showing any symptoms. China has reported 4,634 deaths from COVID-19 among 83,585 cases since the virus was first detected late last year in the central city of Wuhan.

Follow all of AP’s pandemic coverage at http://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Source link

Continue Reading

Trending