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Protesters chant ‘murder’ after police kill unarmed black man in California

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Protesters yelled “murder” and demanded a federal investigation on Wednesday after a police officer in southern California shot and killed an unarmed black man, less than two weeks after similar incidents sparked outrage in two other U.S. cities.

In the latest shooting, two officers responded to calls about an African-American man in his 30s walking in traffic and “not acting like himself,” according to police in El Cajon, a city of about 100,000 residents some 15 miles (24 km) northeast of San Diego.

Police did not immediately identify the victim, but local activists and friends named him as Ugandan-born Alfred Olango. They said he was mentally ill and that he may have been suffering a seizure in the moments before his death.

Days earlier, in Charlotte, North Carolina and in Tulsa, Oklahoma, police and shot and killed black men, igniting demonstrations against racial bias in U.S. policing and demands for greater accountability for officers.

In Charlotte, rioting prompted the authorities to impose a state of emergency and curfew.

El Cajon officers found Olango behind a restaurant at about 2 p.m. PDT (2100 GMT) on Tuesday and ordered him to remove his hand from his pocket. After he refused, one officer drew a firearm and the other readied a Taser device, police said.

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Olango paced back and forth as the officers tried to talk to him with their weapons pointed at him, police said.

Police said Olango then pulled an object from his front pants pocket, placed both hands together and extended them toward an officer in “what appeared to be a shooting stance.”

The officers simultaneously shot and used the Taser on the man, who died after being taken to the hospital, police said.

No weapon was found at the scene, El Cajon Police Chief Jeff Davis told reporters. He did not say what the man was pointing.

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“Now is a time for calm,” Davis said. “I implore the community to be patient with us, work with us, look at the facts at hand before making any judgment.”

The officers were placed on administrative leave, which is standard procedure in such cases.

CRIES FOR ‘JUSTICE’

Civil rights activists and as many as 300 protesters gathered on Wednesday outside the El Cajon police department, where they chanted “murder,” “justice for Alfred Olango” and “black lives matter.”

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“We are not going to stop until we get justice,” Reverend Shane Harris, president of the National Action Network’s San Diego chapter, said at the demonstration. “We do not trust local prosecutors to investigate local police.”

Agnes Hassan, a refugee from Sudan, told the rally she had spent time in a refugee camp with Olango before they both moved to the United States.

“We suffered too much with the war in Africa, and we come here just to suffer again?” she said. “My heart is just broken.”

In video posted on social media showing the moments after the shooting, a woman who says she is the victim’s sister is heard saying she phoned police.

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“Oh my God. You killed my brother. I just called for help and … you killed him,” the unidentified woman said, sobbing.

A witness voluntarily provided investigators with cell phone video of the incident, police said.

Police released a still photo from the video that appeared to show two officers pointing weapons at a man who was aiming an object at them.

Lieutenant Rob Ransweiler, an El Cajon police spokesman, said the officer who used the Taser was “highly trained” in handling mental health emergencies. He said he did not know the training background of the other officer.

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The San Diego District Attorney was investigating the shooting, and Ransweiler said the video filmed by the bystander could be released once that investigation is completed.

“We’re trying to be as transparent as possible,” he said.

(Additional reporting by Laila Kearney in New York, Brendan O’Brien in Milwaukee and Alex Dobuzinskis in Los Angeles; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky, Jeffrey Benkoe and Bernard Orr)

Report typos and corrections to [email protected].
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How Teach for America evolved into an arm of the charter school movement

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When the Walton Family Foundation announced in 2013 that it was donating $20 million to Teach For America to recruit and train nearly 4,000 teachers for low-income schools, its press release did not reveal the unusual terms for the grant.

Documents obtained by ProPublica show that the foundation, a staunch supporter of school choice and Teach For America’s largest private funder, was paying $4,000 for every teacher placed in a traditional public school — and $6,000 for every one placed in a charter school. The two-year grant was directed at nine cities where charter schools were sprouting up, including New Orleans; Memphis, Tennessee; and Los Angeles.

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Commentary

Why do conservatives hate Oberlin College so much?

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When I was an undergraduate at Oberlin in the mid-Aughts, there was a student in my class year who was obsessed with 19th-century British Royal Naval culture. Every Friday evening, he would host a sing-along in a dorm lounge, for which he would bring xeroxes of historical sea shanty lyrics and pass them around so that we could sing along, waving our glasses of “grog.” This was a semi-established event — he had distributed flyers around campus advertising the weekly British Royal Naval sea-shanty singalong and grog-drinking event, which would extend late into the night. Though he was not a resident of the dorm where it took place, he was welcomed into the lounge by its members, and became a fixture of sorts.Like many well-endowed liberal arts schools in rural areas, Oberlin College functions as a sort of de facto social welfare state, and is designed to encourage and cultivate one’s passions, even if they are not strictly academic. Thus, after writing up a proposal for the student-run activities board, the same student, the British Royal Navy culture guy, was able to plan, organize and execute a ticketed Royal Naval Ball, held in the atrium of the science center. The event featured 20 dishes of authentic British era-appropriate cuisine, cooked by student chefs, several courses of wine and port, and a violinist present to play period-specific music. The whole affair culminated with a traditional, British partner line dance — its sole inauthenticity the fact that we didn’t pay attention to our dance partners’ genders the way the Brits would have.
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2020 Election

Here are 5 reasons why 2020’s down-ballot races could reshape America’s future

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The political press always tends to focus mostly on the marquee race for the White House but that's especially true this cycle, as Donald Trump runs for a second term. He demands attention and his antics enrage his opponents and delight his supporters in equal measure.

But national reporters risk missing the big picture by centering so much of their reporting at the top when many of the most important political battles in 2020 will take place further down the ballot.

Trump is catnip for reporters and their editors, but the dearth of coverage of downballot races didn't begin with his election. As the news media in general faces structural changes—with print circulation declining and much of their work moving into digital spaces that are more difficult to monetize--publishers have cut back on reporters assigned to the state and local government beat. Nevertheless, Trump has arguably worsened the trend by getting so much airtime— one estimate suggested that over the past four years, Trump has taken up, on average, 15 percent of the entire daily news cycle on the three leading cable networks, nearly three times what Obama did.

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