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Officer Involved in Murder of Rayshard Brooks Facing 11 Charges

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Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard has announced charges for the officers involved in the murder of Rayshard Brooks.

What We Know:

  • New information was provided during the press conference including information that Brooks was kicked and stepped on after the shooting which has now been ruled a homicide.  Also revealed was immediately following the shooting, Rolfe made what Howard referred to as an “excited utterance” stating “I got him.”
  • The shooting officer, Garrett Rolfe, is facing 11 charges including:
    • Felony murder which carries a potential sentence of life, life without parole, or the death penalty.
    • Aggravated assault with a deadly weapon that carries a potential sentence of 1-20 years.
    • Multiple aggravated assault charges for shooting towards three witnesses who were sitting in one of the vehicles near the shooting.  Their vehicle was hit with stray bullets and they have joined the case as witnesses.
    • Seven violations of office for violations of his oath of office within the City of Atlanta which carries a potential sentence 1-5 years for each violation.
  • The accompanying officer, also the first officer on the scene of the incident, Devin Brosnan, has turned state’s evidence and will be giving a statement within the next few days.  He has admitted to standing on Brooks’ shoulder after the shooting.  Brosnan is being charged with aggravated assault for stepping on Brooks’ shoulder carrying a potential sentence of 1-20 years and 2 violations of oath including unauthorized technique and failure to render timely medical aid to Brooks immediately following the shooting.
  • Howard stated regarding the surveillance video, “Mr. Brooks never displayed any aggressive behavior” also stating “he posed no threat.”
  • Howard also spoke of the policy within the City of Atlanta to administer medical attention within a reasonable period of time after an incident.  “After Mr. Brooks was shot, for some period…there was no medical attention applied to Mr. Brooks. What we discovered is, Officer Rolfe kicked Mr. Brooks while he was on the ground, while he was fighting for his life.”
  • Two cases were used to as precedence for this case:
    • Tenessee versus Garner case of 1985 which concluded when an officer is pursuing a fleeing subject, the officer may not use deadly force unless there is an immediate threat of death or serious injury to the officer.
    • Graham v. Connor case of 1989, argued the constitutional definition of excessive force “in the course of an arrest, investigatory stop, or other “seizure” of a free citizen.”
  • The City of Atlanta Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) prohibits firing tasers at someone who is running away.  “So you certainly cannot fire a handgun at someone who is running away” stated Howard.
  • Howard continued stating “Officer Rolfe’s actions were excessive and against City of Atlanta’s SOPs.  We have confirmed, and Officer Rolfe was also aware, the taser in Brooks’ possession had already been fired twice and therefore posed even less of a threat to the officer.”
  • Arrest warrants have been signed and both officers have been asked to surrender themselves by 6 PM EST, 6/18/20.
  • Howard has advised that his office has requested bond for Brosnan in the amount of $50,000 but has requested no bond for Rolfe due to the nature of the charges.

We will continue to provide updates in this case as they are provided.

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Tiffanie Lanelle is a Managing Editor at Urban Newsroom, writer, social and criminal justice advocate, and in executive management at UnmutedCo. As a graduate of Spelman College, she's passionate about the growth and development of the black community, black women and black people.

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Senate Prepares to Move Forward with Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill

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On Monday, the Senate pushed to pass the bipartisan infrastructure bill just hours after its legislative language was completed and unveiled. Senators who created the proposal expect it to clear the upper chamber in the following days.

What We Know:

  • Senate negotiators completed the 2,702-page bill on Sunday night. The bill, known as H.R. 3684, aims to provide $550 billion to fund the nation’s roads, bridges, railways, and public transit systems.
  • Since then, the Senate began taking up two amendments to the proposal. In addition, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer previewed three bipartisan amendments for consideration. Currently, it is uncertain how many amendments the Senate will consider. However, Schumer wants to vote on amendments quickly; he also noted that the first three “constitute only the first tranche of potential amendments.”
  • Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell commented that H.R. 3684’s text lays out “a good and important jumping point for what needs to be a robust and bipartisan process” on the Senate floor. McConnell added that an “artificial timetable” must not affect the Senate’s “full consideration” of the bill.
  • On July 28, the bipartisan group of Senators and the White House reached an agreement on H.R. 3684’s details. Officials also voted 66-28 on the deal, which opened the package to potential changes during the amendment process. After this, Senators worked throughout the weekend to hammer out the legislative language.
  • If the Senate passes H.R. 3684, it will be a significant victory for President Joe Biden. A key proposal in his economic agenda, Biden boasted on the impact H.R. 3684 will hold on the nation. On Sunday, he tweeted that the deal is the most important investment in America’s public transit history. He additionally stated the bill will impact the U.S. just as much as the invention of the Amtrak 50 years ago.

If Congress approves H.R. 3684, it will ensure that Democrats may begin work on a $3.5 trillion proposal that focuses on Biden’s plans for childcare, healthcare, education, the environment, and possibly immigration. Doing so will ensure another success on Pres. Biden’s behalf.

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Coronavirus

Florida Breaks Record for COVID-19 Hospitalizations

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Florida recently saw 10,207 hospitalizations caused by coronavirus cases, the highest number since July 23, 2020.

What We Know:

  • On July 23, 2020, Florida reached a high of 10,170 hospitalizations, just six months before the COVID-19 vaccine became available. The new record makes Florida the leader in per capita hospitalizations for the virus.
  • Most of the new cases come from the highly contagious Delta variant. On average, Florida sees 1,525 adult and 35 children hospitalizations daily. In addition, Saturday revealed a peak in positive numbers, as the stated reported  21,683 occurrences of COVID-19. The day prior, the Sunshine State saw 17,093 cases.
  • Many hospital employees believed the excess hospitalizations would end soon because of an increase in vaccinations. However, the Delta variant changed all this. The Associated Press wrote that several hospitals, including the Mayo Clinic Florida and the UF Health North emergency room, needed to operate overcapacity and put beds in hallways to treat patients; the Mayo Clinic will continue to do so until the current surge ends. In Tampa, some local ambulances already needed to divert ambulances to other locations because of capacity concerns.
  • The higher numbers also are a direct result of a loosening of restrictions and a governor’s stubbornness. Florida’s Governor Ron DeSantis actively declares he will not enact any more mask mandates and vaccine requirements. Along with the state Legislature, this makes it difficult for local officials to impose restrictions that will ease the positive numbers.
  • Medical officials scorned DeSantis for his adamance on the issue. Dr. Bernard Ashby, a Miami-based vascular cardiologist and Florida State Lead for the Committee to Protect Health Care, commented that the state would not be in its position now if DeSantis focused more on lowering cases than proving Dr. Anthony Fauci wrong. Gainesville infectious disease expert Dr. Frederick Southwick agreed with Ashby’s statement, saying that DeSantis needed to stop acting like “Florida won the pandemic.”

DeSantis recently announced that Florida would resist any federal authorities’ campaigns to enforce mask mandates inside schools despite the criticism.

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Headlines

NY Attorney General: Gov. Cuomo harassed women, tried to retaliate against accuser

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NEW YORK — Attorney General Letitia James on Tuesday announced the findings of her inquiry into accusations against Andrew Cuomo, concluding that the governor sexually harassed multiple women. James said victims included current and former employees, and that Cuomo tried to retaliate against at least one woman who came forward. Over 179 people were interviewed.

This is a breaking news story and will be updated.

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