Tamir Rice Investigation
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The Smithsonian Seeks To Preserve The Gazebo Where Tamir Rice Was Killed

The Smithsonian National Museum asked to delay demolition of the structure in hopes of preserving it for historic purposes. 

The Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture is set to open in September 2016, and in honor of its grand opening, the museum wishes to honor the memory of  Tamir Rice, by preserving the gazebo where he was fatally shot by police in 2014.

Tamir, who was just 12 years old, was shot by police officer Timothy Lehmann after he and his partner responded to a call about a 'man' in a park carrying a gun (it was later learned Tamir was carrying a toy, pellet gun). Reports say Loehmann fired two shots in a matter of seconds of arriving on the scene, one of which hit Tamir in his torso. Tamir died the following day on November 23, 2014. Despite various reports and evidence, a grand jury failed to indict either officers involved in his death.

The demolition of the gazebo was set to begin this week, but the museum's History Curator, William Pretzer pleaded the city to postpone the destruction, in hopes of its preservation. If the city does grant the museum rights to the structure, it is unclear whether it will be relocated to Washington, D.C., where the museum will be opened. However, the museum has confirmed their contact with members of the Black Lives Matter Movement and the Rice family concerning their options for its preservation, and ensuring it will be a tasteful and modest memorial, according to Clevland.com

Tamir's family attorney Subodh Chandra spoke in an interview May 2 about the family's support for the gazebo's relocation, and its exhibition in the major museum.

“Ms. Rice was interested in seeing the gazebo demolished and gone,” Chandra said. “But when she heard about this proposal, she understood the historic importance of [the gazebo] and was supportive of the concept if the museum is interested in acquiring it and will handle the matter in a tasteful and appropriate way."

The Smithsonian has asked the city to hold off demolition of the gazebo for 60 days, as it explores options for its preservation.

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Fired Atlanta Cop Who Killed Rayshard Brooks Sues For “Unlawful Termination”

The former Atlanta police officer who was fired for killing Rayshard Brooks is suing the city of Atlanta for “unlawful termination.” Garrett Rolfe filed a lawsuit against Atlanta Mayor Keshia Lance Bottoms and the city’s interim police chief on Tuesday (Aug. 5) alleging that he has  suffered “irreparable” damage to his reputation since being fired.

“As a result of the unlawful action of the Respondent, the Petitioner has become a public spectacle and object of ridicule,” the lawsuit states according to NPR. “His unlawful termination was unnecessarily public and has attracted national media attention.”

Rolfe turned himself in and was released on $500,000 bond last month. He faces nearly a dozen charges which include felony murder, and aggravated assault, for fatally shooting Brooks’ and kicking him while he laid dying.

These are the two men that street executed #RayshardBrooks. Atlanta Police have placed officer Devin Brosnan (right) on leave (hired in 2018) and fired Garrett Rolfe (left) (hired in 2013). The city's police chief has resigned. No arrests so far. #AtlantaShooting #AtlantaProtest pic.twitter.com/IAOke9W35a

— Anonymous (@YourAnonCentral) June 14, 2020

Brooks, 27, was shot to death in a Wendy’s parking lot on June 13. He was initially exchanging banter with Rolfe and his partner, Devin Brosnan, and explained that he fell asleep in his car, before taking off and running away from both officers. Rolfe fired at Brooks hitting him in the back twice. Brosnan faces three charges stemming from Brooks’ murder.

In related news, Fulton Country District Attorney Paul Howard filed a motion on Tuesday to revoke Rolfe’s bond because he traveled to Florida last week for a “short vacation.”

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Black Family Handcuffed And Held At Gunpoint By Colorado Police

Officers from the Aurora Police Department racially profiled, handcuffed and detained an innocent Black family at gun point after allegedly mistaking their SUV for a stolen motorcycle. The Aurora Police Department issued an apology on Monday (Aug. 3) as video of the traumatic incident circulated the web.

Brittany Gilliam was taking her 6-year-old daughter, 12-year-old sister, and 14 and 17-year-old nieces to get their nails done on Sunday (Aug. 2), when police pulled up behind them with weapons drawn and demanded that they get out of the car. Video footage shows Gilliam and the girls on the ground in handcuffs. The children are heard screaming and crying during the incident.

Aurora PD terrorized a Black family at gun point after they "mistook" their car for a stolen one.

They had no reason to run the plate in the first place. This is racial profiling.pic.twitter.com/uvJz4q9haE

— A Black Socialist 🌹🏴‍☠️ (@SonOfAssata) August 4, 2020

Police allege that Gilliam’s car matched the description and license plate of a stolen vehicle. Her vehicle had been stolen in February but was found and returned by police within a day. In an interview with CNN, Gilliam stated that she offered to show cops her registration and insurance paperwork to prove that the car was not stolen.

APD released a statement explaining the apparent mix up. “We first want to offer our apologies to the family involved in a police stop of their vehicle yesterday, “the department said detailing how police were “notified of a stolen vehicle” in the area and found Gilliam’s vehicle matched the license plate number and the vehicle description. “The people in the car were ordered out onto the ground, and some were placed in handcuffs. Shortly after that, Officers determined that the car was not stolen.

“There is a stolen vehicle with the same plate information, but from a different state,” the statement continues. “The confusion may have been due, in part, to the fact that the stopped car was reported stolen earlier in the year. After realizing the mistake, officers immediately unhand cuffed everyone involved, explained what happened and apologized. An internal investigation has been opened, and an examination of training and procedures is underway.”

APD’s newly-appointed police Chief Vanessa Wilson said that she had been in contact with the family to personally apologize. “I have called (Gilliam's) family to apologize and to offer any help we can provide, especially for the children who may have been traumatized by yesterday's events. I have reached out to our victim advocates so we can offer age-appropriate therapy that the city will cover.”

The department has come under fire for racial profiling, excessive force and police brutality, most notably after the death of Elijah McClain, a 23-year-old massage therapist who died after an encounter with police last year while he was walking home from the store. McClain was placed in two chokeholds after police confronted him. Officer body cam footage recorded McClain telling the officers that he couldn’t breathe. He later suffered cardiac arrest and died three days after the fatal run-in. In contrast, Colorado police safely apprehended white  gunman James Holmes after he brutally murdered a dozen people at an Aurora movie theater in 2012.

More than a full year after McClain’s death, the case is being re-examined amid ongoing demands for justice and an online petition that has received more than 4.9 million signatures and counting. In June, four Aurora police officers were fired after photos surfaced of them mocking the deadly chokehold used on McClain.

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Michigan Judge Refuses To Release Black Teen Jailed For Not Doing School Work

A Michigan judge has refused to release a 15-year-old Black girl who was jailed for failing to complete her online school work. On Monday (July 20), Judge Mary Brennan denied a motion to release the teen who has been locked up at a juvenile facility since May.

According to Pro Publica, the teen’s lawyer argued that she hasn't received adequate education and proper support while in the facility. Judge Brennan believes that the girl has a ways to go before she can be released.

“I think you are exactly where you are supposed to be,” Brennan said. “You are blooming there, but there’s more work to be done.”

During the hourlong hearing, the girl and her mother were allowed to embrace for the first time in months due to COVID-19 restrictions.

“This morning for you, respectfully, it is going to get worse before it gets better,” Judge Brennan told the high school sophomore before going through her reported history of bad behavior. “Because I am about over all the crap, all the negative, all the prior attempts at helping I am going through it all.”

Judge Brennan’s husband, attorney Ed Lennon, defended her decision. Lennon claims that the public is being “misled” about why the girl is in juvenile detention, and implied that she is a danger to her mother.

The teen, who has ADHD, was previously arrested for assault and theft after reportedly biting her mother and pulling her hair, along with stealing a fellow student’s cell phone. She was taken into custody after it was determined that she violated her probation by not completing her school work.

In March, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer issued an executive order temporarily suspending juvenile confinement unless the person poses a “substantial and immediate” risk to others.

As many students around the globe are adjusting to at-home learning in wake of the pandemic, some are falling behind in their studies. According to a new report, at least 800,000 students lack access to reliable internet, making it difficult to access to learning materials.

 

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