ATLANTA — Hundreds of members of a Black militia turned heads July 4 as they marched with assault rifles, shotguns and other firearms, on Stone Mountain and its famous Confederate memorial. Now several far-right groups, including militias and white supremacists, are planning an answer rally on Aug. 15, and a broad coalition of leftist anti-racist groups are organizing a counter-demonstration. Local authorities, who have been closely monitoring online chatter about the rally, are bracing for possible conflict. The City of Stone Mountain last week issued a public warning about the planned demonstr...
A police officer in Tucson, Arizona was fired Tuesday after video showed him fatally shooting a man in a wheelchair nine times in the back and side on Monday night.
Police released body-cam video showing the victim, who was suspected of shoplifting, traveling away from officers in his wheelchair as they told him to stop.
When he failed to stop and continued to enter a Lowe's store, one of the officers opened fire on him, causing him to slump over and fall face-first out of his wheelchair.
According to Channel 12, the fired officer was identified as Ryan Remington, a four-year veteran of the force.
The Arizona Republic reported that Remington had been working off-duty security at a Walmart.
The victim was identified as 61-year-old Richard Lee Richards.
"To be very clear, I am deeply disturbed and troubled by Officer Remington's actions," Tucson police chief Chris Magnus said at a news conference. "His use of deadly force in this incident is a clear violation of department policy and directly contradicts multiple aspects of our use of force and training."
The incident reportedly started at the Walmart, when an employee told Remington that Richards had stolen a toolbox.
Remington tried to stop Richards and ask him for a receipt. Richards then pulled out a knife and said, "Here's your receipt," according to police.
The knife is not visible in video from a camera in the Walmart parking lot, which shows Remington following Richards toward Lowe's.
After Remington opens fire on Richards, video from Lowe's shows the officer handcuffing the victim on the ground after he falls out of the wheelchair. Richards was pronounced dead a short time later.
The Pima County Attorney's Office is investigating the incident.
Tucson Mayor Regina Romero called Remington's actions "unconscionable and indefensible."
"The County Attorney’s Office has my full support as they proceed with their investigation," Romero said. "It is moments like this that test our resolve to ensure justice and accountability. We owe this to all Tucsonans. I ask our community to remain calm and be patient as investigations ensue.”
Watch the video here.
American Library Association sounds alarm on hundreds of right-wing campaigns aimed at censoring books
On Tuesday, CNN reported that the American Library Association is sounding the alarm over right-wing efforts around the country to censor LGBTQ and racial content from books in libraries.
"Since June 1, the ALA's Office for Intellectual Freedom has tracked 155 incidents across the country and has provided support and consultation in 120 of those cases, the association said," reported Nicole Chavez. "In a statement, the group's executive board said a few organizations have pushed the idea that 'the voices of the marginalized have no place on library shelves' by falsely claiming some books are subversive, immoral and induce people to 'to abandon constitutional principles, ignore the rule of law, and disregard individual rights.'"
The report goes on to document how many of the incidents are in states where Republican governors have made campaigning against teaching critical race theory a major culture war issue.
"The group's statement comes after numerous schools in Texas, Florida and several other states have received complaints involving certain books," said the report. "The trend emerged from the critical race theory debate and the panic over how history, race and queer themes are being taught to children. In Texas, Gov. Greg Abbott has called on the state's school boards to remove books he described as 'pornography' after at least two state lawmakers asked officials to investigate books in schools."
This issue also emerged in the closely watched Virginia governor's race earlier this year, when Republican Glenn Youngkin promoted a right-wing activist who has tried to have Toni Morrison's "Beloved" removed from school libraries on the grounds of obscenity. In Tennessee, a group called "Moms for Liberty" wants to remove books about Martin Luther King Jr., and even pictures of seahorses they consider too "sexy."
In some parts of the country, students themselves are fighting back, with one effort to remove an LGBTQ book in a Chicago public school library thwarted when kids showed up to protest the effort.
A Democratic state lawmaker in Virginia claims a Republican sheriff retaliated against her by firing her husband after she shared video of one of his deputies allegedly participating in the Capitol insurrection.
State Del. Kelly Convirs-Fowler said Tuesday she recently informed Virginia Beach Sheriff Ken Stolle about a video that appears to show one of his deputies at the Capitol on Jan. 6.
The video had been shared with Convirs-Fowler by a concerned citizen.
"I have been a target to some of these extremist(s), so I let (Stolle) know hoping he would help," Convirs-Fowler wrote on Twitter. "Did Stolle do anything? Yes! He fired my husband this morning."
According to the Virginian-Pilot, Convirs-Fowler said her husband had been working for the sheriff's office for nearly 15 years.
"A few hours later, the Virginia Beach Sheriff’s Office shot back in a comment on the delegate’s tweet, denying that her husband had been fired or that the sheriff’s office’s actions had anything to do with the Capitol riot," the newspaper reported. "Stolle fired back in a comment, too, accusing Convirs-Fowler of lying."
In a statement, the sheriff's office said Convirs-Fowler's husband, Sgt. W.D. Fowler, had merely been placed on "administrative leave" until the end of the year — when his "term" expires. Sheriff Stolle also notified Sgt. Fowler that he would not be appointed to a new four-year term in 2022.
"In the Commonwealth of Virginia, all sheriffs' office personally are constitutional appointees who serve at the pleasure of the elected sheriff in their jurisdiction," according to the sheriff's office's statement. "Sheriffs can terminate an appointment at any time."
Stolle also claimed that he had spoken with the FBI and "ensured no one of my staff broke any law."
"The officials went back and forth on Twitter into the evening, with Convirs-Fowler posting screenshots of texts between herself and Stolle, alleging that he hasn’t met with her to discuss the video despite her requests," the newspaper reported.
In one tweet, Convirs-Fowler alleged that the deputy shown in the video is a member of the Three Percenters militia group, adding that she's particularly concerned because he is assigned to train other law enforcement officers.
After the sheriff accused Convirs-Fowler of a "political stunt," she responded: "How would I be pulling a stunt? I didn’t know you were ‘firing’ him? He didn’t know he had to meet with you until yesterday afternoon. I mean there’s a paper trail and documentation so I’m not sure you realize how obvious this is to everyone."
"It must be a coincidence that my husband was put on 'administrative leave' this morning and told that he would NOT be reappointed on 1/1/22 after almost 15 years with the department," she added. "I thought the (sheriff's office) was short staffed? Even lowering the hiring age recently?"
"I still haven’t been able to share the video and information with (Stolle)," she wrote. "The Deputy that was at the Capitol has extremist stuff all over his social media. ... I don’t feel safe and I even expressed that to (Stolle)."
A concerned citizen shared a video with me of a @VBSO Deputy at the Capitol on January 6. I have been a target to some of these extremist, so I let our Sheriff @kenstolle know hoping he would help. Did Stolle do anything? Yes! He fired my husband this morning. \n#detoxVBpic.twitter.com/vxg038y2JU— Del. Kelly Convirs-Fowler (@Del. Kelly Convirs-Fowler) 1638289857
1/3 A concerned citizen sent me a video of a @VBSO Deputy at the Capitol on January 6th. I reached out to Sheriff @kenstolle to give him a heads up. Yesterday was my last text and I left him a voicemail around 3:30. Full text thread below.pic.twitter.com/NnkwYx2Kx9— Del. Kelly Convirs-Fowler (@Del. Kelly Convirs-Fowler) 1638313526