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Carl Court

Philadelphia's First Openly Gay Deputy Sheriff Found Dead

Dante Austin, Philadelphia's first openly gay deputy sheriff, was found dead with a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.

“This is a tragedy for the sheriff’s office, Deputy Austin’s family and the local LGBTQ community,” Sheriff Jewell Williams said. “We send our deepest condolences to Dante’s family, and the many colleagues and community members whose lives he touched with his limitless kindness, expansive heart, and remarkable talent.”

A rainbow-colored flag flew at half-staff at City Hall Friday (June 7) after news circulated of the 27-year-old's unexpected death.

Austin, who was a U.S. Army Veteran, scored the highest on the deputy sheriff’s exam when he was hired in November 2013. Austin then moved up the ranks and became a sergeant on July 1.

“Dante worked tirelessly, always, to lift up the most marginalized among us, to secure safety and protection for the most vulnerable, and to serve his community with unparalleled dedication and a warmth and generosity that moved so many of us,” the Mayor’s Commission on LGBT Affairs said.

“Dante’s legacy is one of boldness, bravery, compassion, and an unfailing commitment to a kinder and more just world for all. As we move forward in mourning and honoring our friend and colleague, may we cherish and celebrate the ways he changed us, improved our city, and protected and saved lives.”

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George Floyd’s Family Wants Minneapolis Police Officers Arrested For His Murder

The family of George Floyd are demanding justice after the 46 year old was killed by Minneapolis police earlier in the week. Floyd’s cousin and brothers want the four officers involved to be arrested and convicted of murder.

“We need to see justice happen,” Floyd’s cousin, Tera Brown, told CBS This Morning. “This was clearly murder. We want to see them arrested. We want to see them charged, we want to see them convicted. He did not deserve what happened to him.”

In reactions to the Floyd's murder, tens of thousands of people took to the street in Minneapolis, Chicago, Los Angeles and other cities around the country.

“I don’t want the protests to just be for show. I want to see action,” continued Brown. “I want to see these people pay for what they did. We need to hold them accountable.”

Floyd was described as an “amazing” person who was well loved and “never did anything” to anyone. “Everybody loved my brother. I just don’t understand why people want to hurt people, killed people, they didn’t have to do that to my brother,” said his brother, Philonise Floyd.

Two of the four officers involved have been identified as Tou Thao, and Derek Chauvin, the latter of whom is the officer who put his knee in Floyd’s neck as he begged for air and later died. All four officers have been fired.

Former NBA player Steven Jackson took to social media to pay tribute to his longtime friend whom he called his twin. “Floyd was my brother, we called each other twin,” Jackson said in an emotional video. “My boy was doing what he was supposed to do and ya’ll go and kill my brother.”

 

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Where we from not many make it out but my Twin was happy I did. I’m gonna continue to make u proud fam. It makes me so angry that after all the things u been through when u get to your best self that they take u out like this. Fuk Rest Easy Twin

A post shared by Stephen Jackson Sr. (@_stak5_) on May 26, 2020 at 7:04pm PDT

Minnesota is no stranger to police brutality. The Star-Tribune published a list of the 193 people who have died “after a physical confrontation with Minnesota police” since the year 2000 (excluding car accidents during police pursuits). The database includes Philando Castile, the 32-year-old cafeteria worker killed by a Minneapolis cop during a traffic stop in 2016. Castile’s murder was the first, and possibly only time, that a Minnesota police officer was criminally charged for killing a civilian, although the former officer, Jeronimo Yanez, was acquitted.

Watch the interview with Flynn's family below.

 

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Minneapolis Police Kill Unarmed Black Man On Camera, 4 Officers Fired

Four Minneapolis police officer were fired on Tuesday (May 26) after an unarmed Black man, George Floyd, was killed during an attempted arrest. Massive crowds took to streets late Tuesday in protest Floyd's murder.

“It’s not enough,” the victim's cousin said in reaction to the cops getting fired. “They murdered our cousin.”

In the disturbing video, Floyd can be heard begging for air while an officer has his knee in his neck for several minutes. The case is under FBI investigation.

“Being Black in America should not be a death sentence,” said Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey. “What we saw is horrible, completely and utterly messed up.”

During a press conference Tuesday morning, and in a new release post a day earlier, Minneapolis police failed to address the video but claimed that Floyd was a forgery suspect who “physically resisted arrest” after being located by police in a grocery store parking lot Monday night.

“Officers were able to get the suspect into handcuffs and officers noticed that the man was going into medical distress,” reads the MPD news release. “Officers called for an ambulance. He was transported to Hennepin County Medical Center by ambulance where he died a short time later.”

Bystanders recorded as the arresting officer ignores Floyd’s pleas and continued to press his knee into Floyd’s neck. “I cannot breathe. I cannot breathe,” Floyd is heard saying on the video. “Don’t kill me, I can’t breathe.”

Floyd, 46, loses consciousness during the recording. He was pronounced dead at Hennepin hospital.

“The lack of humanity in this disturbing video is sickening,” Gov. Tim Walz said. “We will get answers and seek justice.”

A native of Houston, Floyd lived in the St. Louis Park area of Minneapolis and worked as a security guard for several years.

 

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Man Who Recorded Murder Of Ahmaud Arbery Arrested

A third man has been arrested in the murder of Ahmaud Arbery. William “Roddie” Bryan Jr., who recorded Arbery’s murder, was taken into custody on Thursday (May 21), the Georgia Bureau of Investigation announced.

“The family is extremely relieved,” attorney S. Lee Merritt, who represents Arbery’s mother, said in response to Bryan’s arrest. “We didn’t know if this was going to happen, but we all knew that it should happen.”

Arbery was killed on Feb. 23, while out for a jog. It wasn't until two months later that his story went viral prompting an investigation by the GBI after the local D.A., who was previously over the case, declined to make any arrests.

According to jail records, 50-year-old Bryan was booked into the Glynn County Jail on charges of felony murder and criminal attempt to commit false imprisonment. Bryan made his first court appearance on Friday (May 22) where his lawyer filed a motion for a speedy trial.

Bryan accompanied father and son, Gregory McMichael, 64 and Travis McMichael, 34, as they followed and cornered 25-year-old Arbery before the younger McMichael shot him to death. The McMichaels claim the shooting was self-defense.

Father and son were arrested for aggravated assault and felony murder earlier in the month. All three men are being held at the same jail.

The mugshots of Gregory and Travis McMichael, who have been charged with the murder of Ahmaud Arbery. pic.twitter.com/O0M6vPMs1Q

— Yamiche Alcindor (@Yamiche) May 8, 2020

Merrit noted that Arbery's family hopes the men will be convicted. “Well obviously we want to see the arrests lead to a formal indictment then a vigorous prosecution and conviction. But there are other people we believe were involved. We spoke with the DOJ earlier today about their investigation into the corruption that delayed these arrests in the first place.”

An attorney for the elder McMichael claimed that the pair are victims of a  “narrative driven by an incomplete set of facts.”

“While the death of Ahmaud Arbery is a tragedy, causing deep grief to his family -- a tragedy that at first appears to many to fit into a terrible pattern in American life -- this case does not fit that pattern,” attorney Frank Hogue said. “The full story, to be revealed in time, will tell the truth about this case.”

The murder remains under investigation by GBI in partnership with the District Attorney Joyette Holmes of the Cobb County District Attorney’s Office.

See more on Bryan's arrest in the video below.

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