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Live Updates: Beheaded Columbus Statue in Boston Removed; Driver Quitting NASCAR Over Flag Ban

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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Thursday that it's time to remove symbols honoring Confederate figures from the U.S. Capitol building and military bases.

She spoke as a GOP-led Senate panel approved a plan by Sen. Elizabeth Warren that would remove the names of Confederate figures from military bases and other Pentagon assets.

President Donald Trump, however, is vowing not to change names like Fort Bragg and Fort Hood.

Confederate monuments have emerged as a flashpoint since the death of George Floyd in police custody in Minneapolis.

But Republicans in the Senate, who are at risk of losing their majority in the November elections, aren’t with Trump on this issue.

Here are more developments as the death of George Floyd has led to a national reckoning on racial discrimination:


Beheaded Columbus Statue Removed From Boston Park

The beheaded statue of Christopher Columbus in Boston's North End was removed Thursday morning and the entire statue is going to be put in storage amid rising calls for an end to racism nationwide.

The vandalism occurred at some point overnight Wednesday.


Ciccarelli Leaving NASCAR After Sport Banned Confederate Flag at Its Events

Ray Ciccarelli said Wednesday he will quit NASCAR at the end of the season after the sport announced it would ban Confederate flags at its events, NBC News reported.

Ciccarelli, a Truck Series driver, wrote on Facebook it has "been a fun ride and dream come true" but if this is the direction NASCAR is headed, he will not participate after the 2020 season is over.

He said he does not believe in kneeling during the national anthem or "taken people right to fly what ever flag they love."


'I Should Not Have Been There,' Joint Chiefs Chairman Says of Walking With Trump for Church Photo Op

Army Gen. Mark Milley, the nation's top military officer, said Thursday he was wrong to have accompanied President Donald Trump on a walk to a church through Lafayette Square, where he was photographed in his combat uniform with the presidential entourage.

“My presence in that moment and in that environment created a perception of the military involved in domestic politics,” Milley said. “As a commissioned uniformed officer, it was a mistake that I have learned from, and I sincerely hope we all can learn from it.”

The statement by the Joint Chiefs chairman risked the wrath of a president sensitive to anything hinting of criticism of events he has staged. Trump's June 1 walk through the park to pose with a Bible at a church came after authorities used pepper spray and flash bangs to clear the park and streets of largely peaceful protesters.

Bipartisan compromise on police reform takes shape in Congress following testimony from George Floyd's brother. Meanwhile, President Donald Trump balked at renaming military bases named for Confederate generals.

Milley said his presence and the photographs compromised his commitment to a military divorced from politics.

“I should not have been there,” Milley said in remarks to a National Defense University commencement ceremony.

Read the full story here.


Houston to Remove 2 Statues From City Parks

Two statues that pay tribute to the Confederacy will be removed from Houston city parks, Mayor Sylvester Turner announced Thursday.

The statue of a Confederate soldier called “Spirit of The Confederacy” will be moved from Sam Houston Park to the Houston Museum of African American Culture. Ann Stern, president of a museum benefactor, says the statue will be able to be interpreted in a way that promotes an inclusive and anti-racist community,

A statue of a Confederate artillery commander prominent in the naval victory against two Union vessels in the Battle of Sabine Pass will be moved from Hermann Park to the Sabine Pass Battleground State Historical Site near Port Arthur, Texas.

The relocations were recommended by a city task force Turner appointed to consider the issue.


Miami-Dade Police Department Bans Use of Chokeholds

The Miami-Dade Police Department is banning a type of chokehold amid calls for a change in police tactics in the wake of protests over the killing of George Floyd.

Miami-Dade Police Director Alfredo Ramirez announced Thursday that he is no longer authorizing officers to use what's called an applied carotid triangle restraint, NBC South Florida reported.


Guard Troops Amid Protests Cost Nearly $25M in California

It cost nearly $25 million for California to deploy 8,000 National Guard soldiers throughout the state to assist police during protests over racial injustice inspired by the death of George Floyd in Minnesota.

Most of that money — more than $18 million — was spent in Los Angeles County, where the guard deployed 5,500 troops to protect buildings and other infrastructure. The rest of the money was spent to deploy soldiers in other cities, including San Francisco and Sacramento.

Because Gov. Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency in Los Angeles County, the state can pay for the $18 million spent there by taking money from an account set aside specifically for disaster response. On Thursday, the Department of Finance sent a letter to state lawmakers saying the deployment was necessary “to mitigate civil unrest in Los Angeles City and County."

The California Military Department has asked for the rest of the money be covered as an “emergency expense,” defined as money spent “in response to conditions of disaster or extreme peril that threaten the immediate health or safety of persons or property in the state.”


Trump Faces Backlash Over Rally on Juneteenth

President Donald Trump is facing backlash over his decision to hold a campaign rally on Juneteenth, a holiday marking the end of slavery, in Tusla, Oklahoma, where one of the nation's worst acts of racial violence in U.S. history took place, NBC News reported.

In 1921, white rioters looted and destroyed Tulsa's affluent Greenwood District, also known as "Black Wall Street." Historians believe as many as 300 Black Americans were killed in the race massacre.

Juneteenth, recognized in 47 states and Washington, D.C., is also known as Emancipation Day or Black Independence Day. It celebrates the end of slavery in the United States after the Civil War.

Rep. Karen Bass, D-Calif., chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus, said in a statement to NBC News that Trump's decision to hold a rally in Tulsa on June 19 "is disrespectful to the lives and community that was lost during the Tulsa race riot."

"This was the worst act of racial violence to date," she said, "and yet this is the place that the president, who has pursued nothing but a hostile and oppressive agenda for black people since his inauguration, has chosen to celebrate."

White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany, asked whether it was appropriate to hold a rally on Juneteenth, said, the African American community is "near and dear" to the president's heart and that Juneteenth was a "meaningful day" for him.

Read the full story on NBCNews.com.


Bubba Wallace Says NASCAR Confederate Flag Ban About 'Inclusion'

NASCAR's lone full-time Black driver appeared on TODAY Thursday and hailed NASCAR's decision to ban the Confederate flag from events.

“I’ve seen too many comments and too many stories from first-time fans that come to a race in years past and the first thing they say is, ‘I’ve seen the Confederate flag flying and it made me feel uncomfortable,’" Bubba Wallace said. "We shouldn’t have anybody feeling uncomfortable.”

Wallace raced Wednesday in a car with #BlackLivesMatter written on it at the NASCAR Cup Series Blue-Emu Maximum Pain Relief 500 in Virginia. He had called for the ban earlier this week along with Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Jimmy Johnson.

One driver, Ray Ciccarelli, has protested the Confederate flag decision by saying he will walk away from NASCAR.

Asked about what he would say to those who argue the flag is about heritage, Wallace said that "to a large group of people it’s a sign of hate and oppression.”

He said "inclusion is what we’re trying to accomplish here."

Read the full story.


'We Can Be Better': Lady Antebellum Changes Name to Lady A

Grammy-winning country group Lady Antebellum is changing its name to Lady A, with members saying they are regretful and embarrassed for not taking into consideration the word’s associations with slavery.

The band, made up of Hillary Scott, Charles Kelley and Dave Haywood, made the announcement Thursday on their social media.

The statement said that they chose the name after the antebellum style home where they shot their first band photos, and it reminded them of Southern styles of music.

But they said in recent weeks, their eyes have been opened to “blindspots we didn't even know existed" and "the injustices, inequality and biases Black women and men have always faced."

Read the full story.


Sen. Tim Scott Talks About Leading GOP Police Reform Efforts

Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., said Thursday on NBC's TODAY show that police reform is "a issue whose time has come" and that he's been in talks with the White House as he leads a Republican effort to confront racism in policing.

The emerging Justice Act package includes grants for training on "deescalating the aggression that we see caught on videos," he said.

"We also talk about the duty to intervene. We're trying to provide the resources necessary to retrain these local departments as well as provide more incentives to provide for policies to change," he said.

The proposal also deals with tracking police misconduct and body cameras, The Washington Post reported.

Scott talked about his own experiences with discrimination in addressing those who have claimed on social media he's being used by white Republicans as the face of his party.

"I'm the only one in my conference that's stopped seven times in one year as an elected official, perhaps the only one in my conference wearing this Senate pin that is stopped from coming into the building," he said. "So if there is someone in the conference who understands discrimination and profiling, it's me."

Scott also described being a Black Republican as "like a unicorn."

"People are going to criticize you when you wake up, when you got to sleep, if you say you like apple pie and football," he said.

Scott was also asked about President Donald Trump having selected Tulsa, Oklahoma, as the site of his first rally since the coronavirus outbreak forced an end to Trump's large campaign events.

The June 19 rally will fall on Juneteenth, the commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States. Tulsa was also the site of the 1921 race massacre, when a racist white mob killed hundreds of Black residents.

Scott said he "did not have a good answer" for why the White House chose to hold the rally in Tulsa on Juneteenth.

"I would certainly say, the more diverse our staffs, the more we avoid these public issues that come about," he said.


Bay Area Attacks on Law Enforcement Likely Acts of Domestic Terrorism, Sources Say

Federal authorities believe two Bay Area attacks on law enforcement are the work of the same domestic terror cell, NBC Bay Area reported

The federal courthouse ambush in Oakland that left Federal Security Officer David Underwood dead two weeks ago and the attack that killed Santa Cruz Sheriff's Sergeant Damon Gutzwiller, and wounded two other members of law enforcement, are believed to be connected.

Multiple sources with knowledge of the federal investigation into both shootings say Steven Carrillo – who is being held for the shooting death of the deputy in the Ben Lomond neighborhood of Santa Cruz – is believed to also be the gunman in the Oakland shooting. The driver of the van involved remains at large.

Earlier Wednesday, Bay Area officials said they're closely monitoring an "unprecedented" amount of attacks on law enforcement officials after a gunman ambushed officers outside a California Central Coast police station, shooting one in the head and leaving him with serious injuries.

"Because of what's going on -- unprovoked ambushes if you will -- against officers across this nation even when we're off duty, probably even more so, we're keeping our head on a swivel," said Sean Pritchard, San Jose Police Officers Association president.

A hunt was underway Thursday for a suspect identified as Mason James Lira, 26, a transient from the Monterey area of the Central Coast, the Associated Press reported.


NYC Teen Allegedly Beaten and Tased By NYPD During Arrest; Police Investigating

The family of a Bronx teen is demanding answers after they say the 16-year-old was beaten and tased by police amid a night of chaotic protests and looting stemming from the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

According to the family, Jahmel Leach was walking along Fordham Road on the night of June 1 as several businesses were being targeted by looters. However, Leach was not participating in the looting or arson going on, his family told the New York Daily News.

Leach's cousin, Yamil Miller, told the Daily News the police did not notify Leach's family when he was arrested on suspicion of looting, which they're required to do whenever a minor is placed under arrest. He said that Jahmel's mother, Daisy Acevedo, was told about what happened when she received a call from St. Barnabas Hospital that night, and found him there with his face injured, swollen and bloodied, NBC New York reported.


Seattle Police Want to Return to Shuttered Precinct Amid Protests

Seattle Police say they are looking to reopen a precinct in the city’s Capitol Hill neighborhood that was shuttered during ongoing George Floyd protests.

Assistant Chief Deanna Nollette said Wednesday barriers were removed from the front of the precinct after it became a flashpoint between officers and protesters.

Police also have largely remained scarce in that area and in the several nights since, no major incidents have occurred as protests continue.

Despite that, President Donald Trump tweeted Wednesday night to criticize the governor and Seattle’s mayor, saying they should “take back” the city, and, “If you don’t do it, I will.” Officers previously used tear gas after they say they were assaulted with projectiles. Several officials say police overreacted.

Meanwhile, hundreds have gathered for music, speeches and poetry in the area, dubbed the "Autonomous Zone," and children draw with sidewalk chalk in the street, The New York Times reported.

“We are trying to prove through action and practice that we don’t need them [police] and we can fulfill the community’s needs without them,” John Moore, a volunteer working in a makeshift health center, told the Times.

Statues Toppled in Virginia, 1 Person Seriously Hurt

In Portsmouth, Virginia, protesters beheaded and then pulled down four statues that were part of a Confederate monument on Wednesday, according to media outlets.

One man was seriously injured during the demonstration. The man was taken to a local hospital, and the incident is under investigation, police said.

In Richmond, a statue of Jefferson Davis was torn down along the famed Monument Avenue on Wednesday night.

The statue of the president of the Confederacy was toppled shortly before 11 p.m. and is on the ground in the middle of an intersection, news outlets reported.

Richmond police were on the scene.

The statue of John B. Castleman was removed Monday. Castleman was known for helping build Louisville’s park system but was also seen as a symbol of racism.

Washington Governor Orders New Investigation Into in-Custody Death of Man Who Said 'I Can't Breathe'

Washington state Gov. Jay Inslee ordered a new investigation Wednesday into the in-custody killing of Manuel Ellis, a Black man who was heard saying "I can’t breathe" after he was restrained and handcuffed by officers earlier this year.

In a statement, Inslee said he made the decision about Ellis’ March 3 death after the Pierce County prosecuting attorney, Mary Robnett, said officers from the sheriff’s office were present when Ellis was detained and died.

"She believes she has an irreconcilable conflict that would preclude her office from handling this case," he said.

A lawyer for Ellis’ family, James Bible, said Tuesday that Ellis was walking to a 7-11 for a snack before he died. He said an eyewitness disputed the authorities' account, saying that Ellis was "standing in a friendly pose" when he was "overcome" by police.

Read the full story on NBCNews.com


Columbus Statue Vandalized, Peaceful Protest Turns Chaotic in Downtown Miami

A handful of people were arrested Monday after a peaceful protest in Downtown Miami turned chaotic amid ongoing demonstrations over racial inequality.

City of Miami police said seven people were arrested as a result. Charges range from battering a law enforcement officer, resisting a law enforcement officer with violence, criminal mischief and inciting a riot, NBC Miami reported.

Police say they observed statues of Christopher Columbus and Juan Ponce de Leon at Bayfront Park getting vandalized during the demonstrations. The Columbus statue, located on the east side of the park, had red paint all over its face and hands. "Black Lives Matter" was spray painted at its base.

Miami police said the demonstrations turned violent when officers were arresting the vandalism suspects. In a news release, the department said some demonstrators assaulted officers and damaged a police vehicle.


Protesters, Enraged by Black Americans Killed, Gather Nationwide

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