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Richmond removes second Confederate statue as crowd cheers

RICHMOND — Work crews removed a second Confederate monument in Richmond on Thursday, a statue of Navy officer Matthew Fontaine Maury.

A crowd cheered as a crane pulled a statue of Maury from its base, a day after crews removed a statue of General Stonewall Jackson on an order from Mayor Levar Stoney to remove all Confederate statues on city land.

The Maury statue, unveiled in 1929, depicts Maury seated in a chair with a large globe above him. It was the last of five Confederate monuments erected on Richmond’s famed Monument Avenue.

Maury headed the coast, harbor, and river defenses for the Confederate Navy. He was a leader in the fields of naval meteorology and navigation.

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Two cannons were also removed from Monument Avenue on Thursday. The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports that a plaque on one of the cannons said it marks the location of the second line of the Confederate defenses of Richmond and was placed there in 1938 at the request of the Confederate Memorial Literary Society. The second cannon’s marker says it marks the spot where in 1861 “a large earthwork of the inner line of defense was constructed.”

Last month, Governor Ralph Northam ordered the removal of Richmond’s most prominent Confederate statue — a monument to General Robert E. Lee on state property — but the removal has been at least temporarily blocked by a lawsuit.

Richmond — the formal capital of the Confederacy — has about a dozen Confederate statues.

Another large monument slated for removal is a statue of General J.E.B. Stuart.

Associated Press

Student leaders ask Virginia university to change name

Student leaders at Washington and Lee University have asked that the name of the school be changed, that the glorification of Confederate General Robert E. Lee on the campus end, and that those steps be followed by lasting institutional change.

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In a separate effort, a majority of faculty members has signed onto a petition calling for changing the name, which faculty leaders plan to give to the school’s board of trustees on Monday, according to a professor helping to lead the effort.

And 2,000 alumni have joined a group calling for the name to change, according to a leader of a coalition formed on social media.

The private college in Virginia, named in honor of two of its early benefactors, George Washington and Lee, has particularly deep and complex ties to the Confederacy. Lee’s tomb, a place of pilgrimage for some who venerate that cause, is on the campus.

Over the years, school officials have taken steps to change the way Lee’s contributions are remembered, such as emphasizing his role as an educator and removing Confederate flags. After violence in Charlottesville was ignited by the dispute over a monument to Lee, the university’s president called for a thorough examination of the institution’s history. That commission recommended numerous changes, including the way that history would be taught and shared, but did not call for the school’s name to be changed.

Washington Post

Footage shows Fla. police celebrating after shooting

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — Newly released body camera footage shows Florida police officers laughing and celebrating after shooting rubber bullets at a protest last month in which a Black woman was shot in the face and seriously injured.

Fort Lauderdale police posted a video on its official YouTube channel Wednesday taken from the body camera of Detective Zachary Baro, who was leading the department’s SWAT team unit on May 31. At one point in the video, Baro can be heard saying, “Beat it” and using a profanity, after officers shot the less lethal projectiles.

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LaToya Ratlieff was hit in the face with a rubber bullet during what had been a largely peaceful demonstration less than a week after the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody. The 34-year-old said she suffered a fractured skull and required 20 stitches. She couldn’t eat for a week and still has trouble seeing out of one blood-filled eye.

She’s asked to sit down with the police department to discuss reform and make sure there’s accountability going forward. However, her spokesman, Evan Ross, said the city has not yet accepted her invitation.

“I’m heartbroken. We deserve better,” she said in response to the latest video.

A Fort Lauderdale police officer was charged with battery during that same protest after video showed he pushed a kneeling woman to the ground. Witnesses said the peaceful gathering took an angry turn after that and protesters responded by throwing bottles. The officer’s colleagues quickly pushed him away from the woman and down the street.

During another section of the new video released Wednesday, Baro incorrectly tells another officer that his camera is not recording and the two officers begin laughing and joking about the people they had shot with rubber bullets.

Fort Lauderdale Police Chief Rick Maglione said the department was conducting an exhaustive review of nearly 8,000 minutes of body camera footage, with a report to be completed within the next month.

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Associated Press

Whipping post removed from Del. courthouse sq.

GEORGETOWN, Del. — An 8-foot tall whipping post was removed from a Delaware county courthouse square Wednesday after activists said the post was a reminder of racial discrimination.

The post outside the Sussex County Courthouse in Georgetown was removed after an hour and a half of excavation and put in storage unit with other historical artifacts, news outlets reported.

The Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs said the post was used to bind and whip people publicly for committing crimes up until 1952.

However, Black people were disproportionately punished, according to the historical group. A book published in 1947 by Robert Caldwell, a former sociology professor in the state, said more than 60 percent of those beaten between 1900 and 1945 were Black, The Delaware News Journal reported. At that time, Black people made up less than 20 percent of Delaware’s population.

The state-owned post was put on display outside the courthouse by the Georgetown Historical Society in 1993, nearly two decades after Delaware outlawed state-sanctioned public floggings outside local jails and prisons. It was the last state to abolish the whipping post, news outlets reported.

Associated Press

Colo. officer investigated in McClain death resigns

AURORA, Colo. — One of the police officers investigated over photographs connected with the death of Elijah McClain in Colorado has resigned, Aurora police said Thursday.

In a tweet, the department said that Jaron Jones was one of the employees depicted in the photos, which were taken sometime after McClain’s death last summer. The department has not released details about what they show or said how many officers were being investigated, only that the photographs were taken near where three white officers stopped the Black man as he walked down the street and put him in a chokehold.

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Jones, who has been with the department for more than three years, could not be immediately located for comment.

On Monday, interim Chief Vanessa Wilson announced the investigation into the photos and said that multiple officers had been taken off enforcement duties because of the probe.

Associated Press