Black Lives Matter movement

By Melissa Macaya, Meg Wagner, Mike Hayes, Julia Hollingsworth and Adam Renton, CNN

Updated 9:55 PM ET, Wed June 24, 2020
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12:22 a.m. ET, June 24, 2020

Seattle mayor proposes $20 million cut in police spending

From CNN’s Andy Rose

Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan will ask the city council Wednesday to cut about $20 million from the budget of the police department, according to the mayor’s office.

It is one part of a set of budget cuts to deal with a city shortfall of $378 million dollars due to the combination of lower tax revenue and increased demand on services during the Covid-19 health emergency.

The proposed cut to the city's police department is the largest reduction in the mayor’s budget proposal. 

"Our city and country are at a historic crossroads," Durkan said in a statement. "We are facing a global pandemic that is killing friends, families, and neighbors and is disproportionately impacting communities of color.
"Our city has record unemployment and unprecedented loss of $300 million to our budget, and a civil rights movement that is demanding action to rethink policing, acknowledge and dismantle institutional racism and invest in true community health and opportunity.
"Even in this unprecedented and challenging moment, I believe our 2020 budget addresses in part our community's needs at this critical time."

About $4 million dollars of the funding cut would come from a freeze on plans to build a new North Precinct building, while the rest will come from a reduction in spending. Durkan wants the city to freeze spending on new police vehicles and put a hiring freeze on sworn officers next year.

The proposed cut amounts to about 5% of the police budget, but Durkan is asking the police department to come up with plans to cut up to 50% of its spending in next year’s budget.

In recent weeks, there have been growing calls to defund police. These dissenters believe Americans can survive without law enforcement as we know it -- and that defunding may be the solution to police brutality and racial inequalities in policing.

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12:04 a.m. ET, June 24, 2020

Senate Democrats signal they're prepared to block GOP police reform bill

From CNN's Manu Raju, Ted Barrett and Clare Foran

Democratic senators on Monday gave their strongest indications yet they may block the Republican police reform bill from coming to the floor, a risky move that could prevent any overhaul measure from being enacted this year over their party's concerns that the GOP bill is too weak.

What's the background? National calls to address police misconduct and racial injustice have put pressure on lawmakers to act and spurred competing legislative proposals from Republicans and Democrats with major differences. As Senate Republicans move to take up their own plan -- which was authored by South Carolina Republican Sen. Tim Scott, the only Black Republican in the chamber -- Democrats have faced a tough decision.

Democrats have criticized the legislation as inadequate, but if they block it from advancing to debate they may open themselves up to criticism that they did not do enough to secure a compromise that could make it to President Donald Trump's desk.

"Tim Scott's bill is a half-assed bill that doesn't do what we should be doing, which is doing honest police reform," said Sen. Mazie Hirono, a Hawaii Democrat. "The time to talk is before the bill hits the floor. ... If you really want to do serious work on a serious matter, you ought to be having discussions right now."

Ahead of a Wednesday procedural vote, Democrats are demanding clear commitments from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell that they will be able to vote on amendments to the GOP proposal on the floor.

But McConnell has so far said he'd be willing to have an "open" process on the floor but has not specified which amendments would be considered. Democrats are expected to continue to discuss their strategy on Tuesday.

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11:41 p.m. ET, June 23, 2020

The FBI has provided more details on the rope found in Bubba Wallace’s garage

From CNN's Randi Kaye

The #43 Victory Junction Chevrolet, driven by Bubba Wallace, sits in the garage area prior to the NASCAR Cup Series GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway on June 22 in Talladega, Alabama.
The #43 Victory Junction Chevrolet, driven by Bubba Wallace, sits in the garage area prior to the NASCAR Cup Series GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway on June 22 in Talladega, Alabama. Chris Graythen/Getty Images

The FBI has released more details about the rope found in NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace’s team garage.

When asked why the agency characterized the rope as a noose, Birmingham FBI spokesperson Paul Damon told CNN: "It's my understanding that the rope was fashioned into a noose knot and used as a door pull."

Damon said 15 agents were assigned to an investigation to get to the bottom of the case quickly. They considered it an important case and an important issue.  

What's the background? The FBI said Tuesday that a noose found in Wallace's garage at the Talladega Superspeedway had been there since last year and Wallace was therefore not the victim of a hate crime.

NASCAR, mentioning the FBI report, described the item as a "garage door pull rope fashioned like a noose."

"The FBI learned that garage number 4, where the noose was found, was assigned to Bubba Wallace last week," the agency said in a statement Tuesday. "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."

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11:08 p.m. ET, June 23, 2020

Georgia legislature approves hate crime bill

From CNN's Angela Barajas, Dianne Gallagher and Ralph Ellis

The Georgia legislature, spurred by public outrage over the killing of Ahmaud Arbery, on Tuesday approved a hate crime bill that will allow enhanced criminal penalties for people who target others because of their race, gender, sexual orientation or other reasons.

Gov. Brian Kemp's communications director tweeted that Kemp would sign the bill, pending legal review.

According to the Georgia State Senate press office, HB 426 passed by a vote of 47-6 and was immediately transmitted to the House. State Rep. Scott Holcomb said it then passed the House for final passage by a vote of 127-38.

What's the background? Georgia has been one of four states without a hate crime law.

Lawmakers called for changes to the state code to include hate crimes after the shooting death of Arbery, who was killed while jogging. Arbery was Black and the men involved in the shooting incident are White.

There was an earlier legislative effort in November 2019 after a 16-year-old girl in Gainesville allegedly plotted to attack a historically Black church. She faced a charge of criminal attempt to commit murder, but she didn't face any hate crime charges.

What the bill means: The passing and signing of House Bill 426 would mean that judges imposing sentences can increase punishment against those who target victims based on perceived race, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender, mental disability or physical disability.

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11:06 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.

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.

Read the full story here.

11:05 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:

11:04 p.m. ET, June 23, 2020

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

Sen. Kamala Harris speaks with CNN's Anderson Cooper on June 23.
Sen. Kamala Harris speaks with CNN's Anderson Cooper on June 23. 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.