June 23 Black Lives Matter protests

By Melissa Macaya, Meg Wagner, Mike Hayes, Ben Westcott, Adam Renton and Amy Woodyatt, CNN

Updated 12:03 a.m. ET, June 24, 2020
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9:07 p.m. ET, June 23, 2020

Sen. Kamala Harris calls for investment in underserved communities, not completely defunding police

CNN's Anderson Cooper and Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.)
CNN's Anderson Cooper and Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) CNN

Sen. Kamala Harris said she thinks the country needs to "reimagine public safety" and direct public funds to underserved communities -- not necessarily get rid of law enforcement.

This comes at a time of unrest in the United States as protesters against racial injustice and police violence call for major reform.

"Understand that healthy communities are safe communities," the California Democrat told CNN on Tuesday. "I'm not saying get rid of police but we have to invest in the health and well-being of our communities."

Harris said factors like access to education, resources for businesses and access to health care all contribute to a "healthy community," and in turn, make for safer places that require a lower police presence.

"When you go to upper-middle class suburbs in America, you don't see that kind of police presence that you see in other neighborhoods, but what you do see are well-funded schools," she said. "What you do see are communities that have small businesses that have access to capital."

Harris said when cities spend nearly one-third of their budget on policing, "that's not a good return on investment for our taxpayers."

"If we want safe communities, we have to invest in the health and well-being and they will be safe," she said.

Watch:

8:21 p.m. ET, June 23, 2020

Richard Petty Motorsports says it's thankful for "swift and thorough investigation" into noose

From CNN's Jill Martin

Richard Petty Motorsports, which fields the Number 43 car driven by Bubba Wallace, responded to the conclusion of the FBI and NASCAR investigation into a noose found in Wallace's garage.

“In accordance with established protocols, our team member notified the crew chief who notified NASCAR of the presence of the item in the garage stall. NASCAR leadership determined the course of action going forward with an immediate investigation into the item and its possible origins," the statement said.

The company also said in the early stages of the investigation, Wallace was told about the noose and other information gathered by officials.

“Richard Petty Motorsports fully cooperated with NASCAR and authorities as they conducted an investigation into the situation," the statement said.

"No member of Richard Petty Motorsports, nor Wallace had any involvement with the presence of the rope," it continued.

The statement also said the company was "thankful for the swift and thorough investigation" and for the support of NASCAR, the industry and their fans.

Read the statement:

8:04 p.m. ET, June 23, 2020

Los Angeles County supervisors call for independent investigation into Andres Guardado shooting

From CNN's Cheri Mossburg

Candles and flowers are placed at a makeshift memorial for Andres Guardado on June 19 in Gardena, California.
Candles and flowers are placed at a makeshift memorial for Andres Guardado on June 19 in Gardena, California. Damian Dovarganes/AP

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors are demanding an independent investigation into the recent L.A. County Sheriff’s Department shooting that killed 18-year-old Andres Guardado.

The board voted unanimously for a motion, put forth by Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, that mandates the inspector general be provided with all evidence throughout the investigation.

“Our principal concern is that the people of this county have a degree of confidence that we have attempted to make sure that there is accountability, transparency, that there is nothing being concealed,” Ridley-Thomas said.

Some background: The L.A. County Sheriff's Department put a security hold on the coroner’s case, preventing the release of any information beyond the name and age of the deceased. This measure ensures that the independent investigators are granted “immediate and full access to all evidence requested,” including information from the coroner.

The current Inspector General, Max Huntsman, testified that sometimes investigations do call for secrecy.

“But even when there is secrecy, it’s important that there be some kind of means of verifying the integrity of the process,” he said. 

Huntsman said that there has been a history of a problem with establishing cooperation. In this case specifically, his office is currently awaiting a response from the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department to their request to view video evidence relevant to the case.

Los Angeles Sheriff Alex Villanueva, alongside L.A. Police Chief Michel Moore and District Attorney Jackie Lacey, is expected to introduce a new proposal for a countywide task force aimed at investigating fatal law enforcement-involved shootings.

8:11 p.m. ET, June 23, 2020

Louisville police officer involved in Breonna Taylor's death has been fired, chief says

From CNN's Pierre Meilhan

Breonna Taylor
Breonna Taylor Change.org

A police officer involved in the fatal shooting of Breonna Taylor last March has been fired, the Louisville Metro Police Department chief announced Tuesday.

Police Chief Robert J. Schroeder addressed a termination letter to Louisville Metro Police Det. Brett Hankison, saying he was taking this action based on the investigation conducted by the department’s public integrity unit, which found violations of the use of deadly force as well as obedience to rules and regulations.

The 26-year-old African American EMT was killed when police broke down the door to her apartment in an attempted drug sting and shot her eight times. 

Schroeder also added that Hankison’s “actions displayed an extreme indifference to the value of human life” when he “wantonly and blindly fired ten rounds into the apartment of Breonna Taylor on March 13, 2020.”

There was no immediate comment from Hankison's attorney concerning the termination letter.

7:38 p.m. ET, June 23, 2020

SEC commissioner defends ultimatum over Confederate symbol in Mississippi state flag

From CNN's Josiah Ryan

Shutterstock
Shutterstock

Greg Sankey, commissioner of the Southeastern Conference, defended his organizations's threat to remove championship events in Mississippi over the state’s flag Confederate symbol, saying he had come to see the ability to rotate campuses as "a lever we could use to encourage change."

"I truly believe we're past the time for change. …We are going into a cycle where we're looking at some future championship sites," Sankey told CNN's Wolf Blitzer today.

"We rotate certain championships between our campuses which are welcoming places and have identified that, if you will, a lever we could use to encourage change because we want our campuses, we want our states ... to be the welcoming environment for our student athletes that we expect," he added.

Sankey went on to say that he has noted a change in how the SEC sees their athletes using their influence to fight for social change.

"I was on a call of our head football coaches ... and one of the coaches observed that our student-athletes, our young people are asking us for support rather than permission," he said.

"Perhaps years ago it was permission but [now] they're looking for support," he said.

Watch:

7:28 p.m. ET, June 23, 2020

Attorney for arson suspect says his client knew Rayshard Brooks

From CNN’s Jamiel Lynch, Devon M. Sayers and Ryan Young 

Natalie White
Natalie White Atlanta Fire Rescue/Twitter

The attorney representing Natalie White, the woman arrested for starting a fire at the Wendy’s where Rayshard Brooks was killed, said his client did not start any fires and hopes she will be released on bond tomorrow.

When asked by CNN if his client knew Rayshard Brooks, attorney Drew Findling said, “Yes, but I will not comment on the extent of their relationship.”

Findling said he wanted to keep the focus on what he called the “tragic and unnecessary death of Rayshard Brooks.”

Findling said his client is expected to have a bond hearing tomorrow. But he said due to concerns over Covid-19, the age and criminal history of his client and the fact that officer Devin Brosnan was released on bond last week, his client should be afforded the same.

Previously, CNN reported that investigators were looking into whether Brooks and White knew each other. 

In body camera footage released by police, Brooks can be heard telling the officers prior to the shooting that White is his girlfriend. 

7:07 p.m. ET, June 23, 2020

Graham on the current state of police reform: "I don't know where we go from here"

From CNN's Ted Barrett

Senate Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham speaks during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on June 16 in Washington.
Senate Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham speaks during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on June 16 in Washington. Tom Williams/AFP/Getty Images

Senate Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham told reporters on Capitol Hill he doesn't "know where we go from here" when asked about the current state of police reform in the country.

"The amendment process will be fully open so the Democrats can amend (Sen.) Tim Scott’s legislation the way they want so if they deny closure that’s very disappointing," he said. "I would like to do see if we can reconcile the competing ideas, so I don’t know where we go from here. I do know on the Senate floor you can offer your amendments as long as you wanted to until you have 60 votes to bring about closure."

Here's what other senators said about the bill:

  • Democratic Sen. Chris Coons: "We're going to keep the pressure up on you, do not agree to a weak, watered down bill and say that's enough and move on. Keep pushing, keep negotiating, keep fighting until you get a genuinely strong bill that meets this moment."
  • GOP Sen. John Cornyn: "Well, this one has been pretty urgent, I think given the magnitude of the response to what happened to George Floyd and others, I don’t think people are interested in the same old, extended committee process."
  • Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal: “The Republican bill is really just disastrously weak it betrays the demands for justice and change that I have seen, day after day in Connecticut. Equally troubling is the majority leader’s denial of the normal process for a bill to go to committee and a bipartisan solution to emerge which we could all support.”
6:29 p.m. ET, June 23, 2020

NASCAR president says Bubba Wallace not being the target is the "best result"

From CNN's Jill Martin

NASCAR president Steve Phelps speaks to the media on November 17, 2019 in Homestead, Florida.
NASCAR president Steve Phelps speaks to the media on November 17, 2019 in Homestead, Florida. Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images

In a teleconference on Tuesday, NASCAR president Steve Phelps said Bubba Wallace not being the target of the noose at the garage is the "best result we could have hoped for.”

Phelps also said it's good to hear from the FBI that it definitively was not a hate crime. Phelps said the noose had been in the garage previously, in October 2019.

“The (No.) 43 team had nothing to do with this,” he said. Phelps did not take questions from reporters on the call.

A NASCAR spokesperson said on the call that while the federal investigation is finished, NASCAR’s investigation continues.

6:10 p.m. ET, June 23, 2020

FBI says Bubba Wallace not a target of a hate crime

From CNN's David Close

Bubba Wallace speaks to the media prior to the NASCAR Cup Series Blue-Emu Maximum Pain Relief 500 on June 10 in Martinsville, Virginia.
Bubba Wallace speaks to the media prior to the NASCAR Cup Series Blue-Emu Maximum Pain Relief 500 on June 10 in Martinsville, Virginia. Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

The FBI said it has concluded its investigation in regards to the noose found in the team garage of NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace and determined he was not the target of a hate crime.

"After a thorough review of the facts and evidence surrounding this event, we have concluded that no federal crime was committed," the FBI said in a statement.

"The FBI learned that garage number 4, where the noose was found, was assigned to Bubba Wallace last week," the FBI said. "The investigation also revealed evidence, including authentic video confirmed by NASCAR, that the noose found in garage number 4 was in that garage as early as October 2019. Although the noose is now known to have been in garage number 4 in 2019, nobody could have known Mr. Wallace would be assigned to garage number 4 last week."

The FBI added: "The decision not to pursue federal charges is proper after reviewing all available facts and all applicable federal laws. We offer our thanks to NASCAR, Mr. Wallace, and everyone who cooperated with this investigation.”

NASCAR also issued a statement regarding the FBI's decision saying, "We appreciate the FBI’s quick and thorough investigation and are thankful to learn that this was not an intentional, racist act against Bubba."

"We remain steadfast in our commitment to providing a welcoming and inclusive environment for all who love racing," NASCAR said.

The discovery of the noose Sunday afternoon in Wallace's garage stall comes as the United States, and NASCAR in particular, more squarely address America's systemic racism in the wake of the police killing of George Floyd.

Wallace, the only Black driver in NASCAR's top circuit, has been an outspoken advocate of the Black Lives Matter movement and the corresponding protests against racism and police brutality. 

Watch: