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Florida governor calls for grand jury over Parkland school shooting

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Florida Governor Ron DeSantis on Wednesday called for a state grand jury to investigate the 2018 school massacre in Parkland in which 17 people died, pledging accountability for any local failures that led to the deadliest U.S. high school shooting.

DeSantis, a Republican elected last fall after campaigning on the issue, petitioned the Florida Supreme Court for the investigation the day before the first anniversary of the Valentine’s Day massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. He said the panel would review school safety statewide.

“They are going to have the power – subpoena and otherwise – to be able to get to the facts and get the truth,” DeSantis said at a news conference, flanked by the parents of slain students.

DeSantis said a grand jury would have broader authority than a state-appointed commission that also reviewed the shooting. Earlier this year, that panel issued a report finding cascading errors, from law enforcement officers holding back as shots were fired to lax school security enabling a former student with an AR-style semi-automatic rifle access to the campus.

Families in the Parkland community have raised concerns about how Broward County Public Schools prepared for student safety, as well as the district’s response to the shooting.

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“When your child is murdered in school, you expect to get some answers,” said Andrew Pollack, whose daughter Meadow was killed at the school, speaking at the press conference.

DeSantis said he lacked the authority to remove Broward’s appointed schools superintendent. He noted that he did not find it appropriate to remove school board members who were recently re-elected after safety issues were raised during the campaigns.

Broward school superintendent Robert Runcie said he welcomed any review that could lead to improved school safety across the state.

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“I agree with Governor DeSantis for wanting to know how all school districts in Florida manage money and security issues that impact school safety,” he said in a statement.

Last month, DeSantis suspended the Broward County sheriff who was also criticized for the law enforcement response to the shooting.

Reporting by Letitia Stein; Editing by Frank McGurty and James Dalgleish


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Black Georgia lawmaker accuses white man of demanding she ‘go back where she came from’ in supermarket diatribe

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On Friday evening, Erica Thomas, and African-American Democratic lawmaker in the Georgia House of Representatives, was shopping at a Publix supermarket in Mableton when a white customer came up to her and shouted at her, telling her to "go back where you came from" — words echoing President Donald Trump's recent racist attacks on four Democratic congresswomen of color.

Thomas' crime? She had too many items for the express checkout line.

Today I was verbally assaulted in the grocery store by a white man who told me I was a lazy SOB and to go back to where I came from bc I had to many items in the express lane. My husband wasn’t there to defend me because he is on Active Duty serving the country I came from USA!

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Trump offers to guarantee bail for rapper A$AP Rocky

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US President Donald Trump offered Saturday to guarantee the bail of rapper ASAP Rocky, detained in Sweden on suspicion of assault following a street brawl.

Trump tweeted that he had spoken with Prime Minister Stefan Lofven, who he said gave assurances that the singer would be treated fairly.

"Likewise, I assured him that A$AP was not a flight risk and offered to personally vouch for his bail, or an alternative," Trump wrote.

There is no system of bail in Sweden.

Trump said he and Lofven had agreed to speak again over the next 48 hours.

Fans, fellow artists and US Congress members have campaigned for the 30-year-old artist, whose real name is Rakim Mayers, to be freed since his arrest on July 3 following the fight on June 30.

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The best Civil War movie ever made finally gets its due

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On Sunday and on July 24, Turner Classic Movies and Fathom Events are presenting big-screen showings in theaters nationwide of “Glory,” in honor of the 30-year anniversary of its release. The greatest movie ever made about the American Civil War, “Glory” was the first and, with the exception of Steven Spielberg’s “Lincoln,” the only film that eschewed romanticism to reveal what the war was really about.

The story is told through the eyes of one of the first regiments of African American soldiers. Almost from the time the first shots were fired at Fort Sumter, S.C., the issue of black soldiers in the Union army was hotly debated. On Jan. 1, 1863, as the country faced the third year of the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, rapidly accelerating the process of putting black men into federal blue.

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