Washington Monument seen through cherry blossoms. (Photo by Adam Schrader)

Nearly 4K National Guard troops brought to D.C. could leave Monday, commander says

News Stories Archive

Published in The New York Post on June 7, 2020

The commander of the National Guard in Washington D.C. has said additional troops brought to the district could leave as soon as Monday, according to a report.

Nearly 4,000 extra National Guards troops brought in from 11 other states to help D.C.’s 1,200 soldiers so they could return home, National Guard commander Maj. Gen. William J. Walker told CNN.

“They will be redeploying this week. Probably as early as Monday,” Walker told the outlet.

Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy, who oversees the D.C. National Guard, confirmed to the outlet that sending the activated out-of-state National Guard troops home was a possibility because protests have been peaceful.

“I think that if we look at the trend that we’re on right now we’re in very good shape and we’re looking at that option very closely,” McCarthy told CNN.

Muriel Bowser, Washington’s mayor, has also called for the troops to leave the city — a point which has angered President Donald Trump and administration officials.

Hamptons surfers join ‘National Paddle Out’ to honor George Floyd

News Stories Archive

Published in The New York Post on June 6, 2020

Surfers gathered in the Hamptons Friday for a totally rad, on-the-water memorial for George Floyd, the Minneapolis man whose police custody death has galvanized protests around the country.

While hundreds marched at Ditch Plains Beach in Montauk, more than 100 local surfers gathered in the ocean to remember Floyd by joining in a “National Paddle Out” — a term used by surfers to pay respects when one of their own has died.

Some of the surfers decorated the rockers of their boards with the Black Lives Matter hashtag.

Around the country, others also participated in the event — which was organized by Black Girls Surf.

In California, more than 200 paddled through choppy waves to form a circle and chant Floyd’s name nine times to mark the nearly nine minutes his neck was pinned down under ex-cop Derek Chauvin’s knee.

Surfers also sang “Happy Birthday” to Breonna Taylor, a black EMT who was killed in her own home by Kentucky cops in March.

Rhonda Harper, the founder of Black Girls Surf, said she organized the national event because of a “lack of awareness and empathy in the surf community.”

“I have a lot of white surf friends who don’t get it or are so privileged that they don’t have to mourn the loss of a black life. They’re talking about waves being beautiful and there being too much negativity in the world,” Harper told The Associated Press.

With Post wires

Derek Chauvin mugshot (Hennepin County Sheriff's Office)

Derek Chauvin ‘illegally’ voted in Florida before George Floyd death, lawyer alleges

News Stories Archive

Published in The New York Post on June 6, 2020

The ex-cop charged with murder for kneeling on the neck of George Floyd illegally voted in Florida elections while living in Minnesota, a lawyer alleged on Friday.

Attorney Dan Helm sent a letter containing the voting record of ex-cop Derek Chauvin to Orange-Osceola State Attorney Aramis Ayala, asking her to pursue charges, the Orlando Sentinel reported.

“While living in Minnesota, working there, paying taxes there, Derek Chauvin cannot claim residency in Orange County. His home, residency and where he intends to live is in Minnesota, not Florida,” wrote Helm, who is running for election supervisor role in Pinellas County.

Chauvin’s court papers list his residence as being in the city of Oakdale, Minnesota — a suburb of Minneapolis.

The Minneapolis police department, where Chauvin worked when he fatally kneeled on Floyd’s neck during an arrest, does not require its police officers to hold a residence in the city, according to its website.

The Minneapolis Police Department had a residency requirement for its officers — which was removed in 1999 a bill called the “Stanek Residency Freedom Bill” was signed into law by then-governor Jesse Ventura prohibiting municipalities in the state from requiring residency for employment, according to MinnPost.com.

Marines ban Confederate flag — 155 years after end of Civil War

News Stories Archive

Published in The New York Post on June 6, 2020

The US Marine Corps has finally banned the Confederate flag from public and workspaces at its military bases — 155 years after the Confederate States of America surrendered to Union forces.

“The Confederate battle flag has all too often been co-opted by violent extremist and racist groups whose divisive beliefs have no place in our Corps,” the military branch said in a tweeted statement.

“Our history as a nation, and events like the violence in Charlottesville in 2017, highlight the divisiveness the use of the Confederate battle flag has had on our society.”

The directive includes banning depictions of the flag on vehicle bumper stickers, clothing and coffee mugs.

Marine Gen. David Berger had already announced the ban on the flag in April, military.com reported at the time.

Berger also ordered leaders to move women into combat jobs in his April memo — and to review the possibility of yearlong maternity leave for female Marines, and of extending parental leave policies to same-sex partners, the outlet reported.

Breonna Taylor (Credit: Social Media)

Breonna Taylor remembered by NYC mourners on what would be her 27th birthday

Featured News Stories, News Stories Archive

Published in The New York Post on June 5, 2020

Anti-police brutality protesters in New York City paid their respects on Friday to Breonna Taylor, a black EMT who was fatally shot by cops in her home in Kentucky home — grieving her at memorials in Brooklyn and Manhattan on what would have been her 27th birthday.

Taylor, 26, had been sleeping with her boyfriend on March 13 in Louisville when three plainclothes cops burst into her home on a no-knock warrant; she was accidentally shot eight times.

None of the officers involved in the shooting have been arrested, though they have been placed on administrative leave. The FBI said it was investigating the shooting in May “due to a number of media requests.”

Steve Conrad, the former chief of the Louisville Metro Police Department, was later fired after cops killed another Louisville resident, David McAtee, a black man who ran a popular barbecue business frequently patronized by local law enforcement.

“It’s very frustrating, it’s heartbreaking. It’s a smack in the face, actually, to know that these officers are still being paid to do a job that they failed at,” said Taylor’s mother Tamika Palmer in an interview Friday with The 19th.

A massive crowd gathered at the Old Farley Post Office to sing “Happy Birthday” to Taylor — whose name has also become a fixture as Black Lives Matter protesters have gathered to demand justice after the deaths of Ahmaud Arbery and George Floyd.

Another crowd was seen standing in the rain at Domino Park in Williamsburg for a 27-minute moment of silence in her memory — also sending off pink balloons to celebrate the health worker’s birthday.

“Say her name!” an organizer chanted into a megaphone.

“Breonna Taylor!” the crowd chanted back.

Brandon E. McCormick

Utah man who drew bow and arrow on protesters hit with felony charges

News Stories Archive

Published in the New York Post on June 4, 2020

A Utah man who pointed a bow and arrow at Salt Lake City marchers protesting the death of George Floyd has been charged with three felonies after the incident was caught on a viral video, reports said Thursday.

Brandon E. McCormick, 57, was charged five days after the ex-con pointed a loaded deadly weapon at the hundreds of protesters gathered before he was tackled and disarmed by cops, The Salt Lake Tribune reported.

McCormick, who spent nearly two decades behind bars for crimes including battery of a public safety officer, said in an interview with KSTU that he did it to protect cops working the protest.

“Some cops are good, excuse me, most cops are good,” he said.

McCormick said later in the interview, “I just heard people yelling ‘Black Lives Matter.’ That does irritate me. … I just feel like: All Lives Matter.”

The ex-con, who also brandished a knife, was charged with two counts of possession or use of a dangerous weapon by a restricted person and one count of aggravated assault, each of which could land him five years behind bars.

Prosecutors at the Salt Lake County District Attorney’s Office have asked for a bail of $100,000. A warrant is currently out for his arrest, reports said.

(Photo by Gage Skidmore used via Creative Commons)

Texas Gov. calls for resignation of GOP official over George Floyd conspiracy theory

News Stories Archive

Published in The New York Post on June 4, 2020

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has called for the resignation of a county GOP chair who posted a conspiracy theory that the death of George Floyd was staged.

Nueces County GOP Chair Jim Kaelin, a former sheriff in the county, shared the conspiracy theory — which said the death was staged to harm Trump with Black voters — to Facebook, freelance reporter James M. Russell reported.

“Interesting perspective: Staged Event? These officers were involved with something, I’m not sure exactly what, but something is just not adding up,” the post begins.

“I think there is at the very least the ‘possibility’, that this was a filmed public execution of a black man by a white cop, with the purpose of creating racial tensions and driving a wedge in the growing group of anti deep state sentiment from common people.”

Abbott’s office told the Corpus Christi Caller-Times that Floyd’s death was a “crime and an act of police brutality.”

“Spreading conspiracy theories that the murder was staged simply defies reality; it is irresponsible, and unbecoming of anyone who holds a position in the GOP,” a spokesman for the governor told the Caller-Times.

Kaelin’s post comes after Abbott and other Republicans in the state called for the resignation of Bexar County GOP chair Cynthia Brehm — who refused to resign for posting the same comments, the Texas Tribune reported.

Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick slammed the comments as racist on Twitter.

“Cynthia Brehm must resign now, today. There is no excuse for this outrageous, ignorant racist message made worse by using her position as a local party leader to spread it.”

Republican U.S. Senators Ted Cruz and John Cornyn have also called for her resignation, the outlet reported.

Brehm has since deleted her post but Kaelin’s remains up on Facebook, reports said.

Anthony Brennan III

Cyclist attacks girl putting up George Floyd flyers in Maryland, video shows

News Stories Archive

Published in The New York Post on June 4, 2020

A maniacal cyclist flew into a rage in Maryland on Monday — attacking a small girl putting up flyers to honor the death of George Floyd, a viral video shows.

“Do not touch her! Do not touch her!” a woman is heard screaming at the man wearing spandex biking shorts and a red helmet.

The man then forcefully grasps the young girl’s arms with one hand while ripping the flyer out of her hands with the other.

“Get off of her!” A woman shouts at the man.

“F–k you,” he responds, before grabbing his bicycle and galloping towards the man filming.

The flyers were being posted by the group along the Capital Crescent Trail — which runs from Washington, D.C., into Maryland’s Montgomery County.

“KILLER COPS WILL NOT GO FREE,” the flyers read, according to WJLA.

Maryland-National Capital Park Police are on the lookout for the man.

Cale Groff

Aspiring rapper arrested for telling fans to kill cops over George Floyd death

News Stories Archive

Published in the New York Post on June 3, 2020

A wannabe Florida rapper was arrested after telling fans to kill cops in an Instagram post, a report said Wednesday.

Cale Groff, 20, was arrested Tuesday by St. Petersburg Police after calling on fans to gather at a local mall and throw bricks through the windows, according to the arrest affidavit obtained by The Smoking Gun.

“If you see a police … Throw a brick at his head or whatever’s in your hand… F–k all the police, we gonna kill them how they killed George,” Groff said in the video.

Groff, who makes music under the name “Ace $wift,” received a felony charge of making threatening communications or threats of mass shootings. He was released later Tuesday on a $20,000 bond, jail records show.

Groff posts music on his SoundCloud page to his 308 listeners, with songs titled “Pimpin Ain’t Easy,, “Still Scamming” and “F–k It.” Cover art accompanying the images shows Groff with weapons and cash.

Since his arrest, he has scrubbed his Instagram of all posts.

“We are not the same we cannot coexist,” Groff tweeted May 29.

The rapper is not affiliated with a political party, according to voter records.

Video shows car drive through crowd of protesters in California

News Stories Archive

Published in the New York Post on June 3, 2020

A man was arrested Wednesday night after ramming his Mini Cooper through a crowd of protesters peacefully demonstrating in California after the death of George Floyd, video shows.

Dozens of people are heard screaming “Oh my God” as the car, which had Arizona plates, speeds through the Newport Beach Pier protest, video taken by KTTV shows.

“The suspect apparently told his friend he was being attacked by Antifa … that’s why he sped up,” anchor Elex Michaelson tweeted.

But witnesses the outlet spoke with could not verify the man’s claim.

The driver reportedly hit at least three protesters, though nobody was seriously injured, KCAL reported.

Newport Beach Police arrested the man on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon, Mayor Will O’Neill confirmed.