Woman charged in Atlanta Wendy's arson is released on bond
From CNN’s Jennifer Henderson and Lindsay Benson
The attorney for the Wendy’s arson suspect, Natalie White, told CNN that she bonded out of Fulton County Jail Wednesday evening.
White faces first-degree arson charges in the Wendy's restaurant fire that broke out during protests over Rayshard Brooks' death. She appeared in court on Wednesday.
More details: White, 29, made her first appearance in Fulton County, Georgia, Magistrate Court and did not make a plea. The judge set bond at $10,000 and ordered White to remain under house arrest with an ankle monitor and stay off of social media.
White's attorney, Drew Findling, argued for a signature bond, citing financial hardships with White's family.
"They just don't have the funds to make any bond," Findling said. He argued against house arrest.
7:54 p.m. ET, June 24, 2020
Mississippi's secretary of state says the decision to change the state flag should be left up to voters
From CNN’s Devon M. Sayers
Mississippi Secretary of State Michael Watson believes "the people of Mississippi should have the power to decide on the future of our state flag" which has included the Confederate emblem — a blue cross with 13 stars over a red background — since 1894.
“As someone who was born and raised in Mississippi, I’ve witnessed the evolution of the state flag debate from almost every angle," Watson, a Republican, said in a statement. "I’ve heard all of the proposals from the Legislature and read countless statements from people who feel passionately about keeping our current state flag and those who feel passionately about changing it. After weighing it all, I still believe the people of Mississippi should have the power to decide on the future of our state flag."
Watson said the flag "represents the place we all call home, so every one of us should have a voice in the decision to keep it or change it."
"By putting it on the ballot, Mississippians retain the power to do more than just talkabout this highly-emotional issue; they have the opportunity to stand up and let their voice be heard," Watson added.
Some historical context: Critics of the Mississippi state flag say it's racist, while others believe it's a crucial part of the state's history. The last time the state considered changing the flag was in 2001.
However, 65% of voters chose then to keep the flag with the Confederate symbol instead of switching to a flag with 20 white stars on a blue field to represent Mississippi's status as the 20th state.
Several cities and public universities, including the University of Mississippi and Mississippi State University, have ceased to fly the controversial state flag.
Mississippi state Rep. Christopher Bell, a Democrat who is spearheading the latest efforts to change the flag, said that he and Republican state Rep. Missy McGee formulated the idea together.
"It was basically (us) walking by each other in the hallway and we had started up the conversation, and we got to work in trying to form a small bipartisan group of folks to try to do a special resolution to change this flag," Bell said.
7:43 p.m. ET, June 24, 2020
3 Wilmington police officers terminated for "hate-filled speech" in car video
From CNN’s Mitchell McCluskey
Wilmington Police Department in North Carolina terminated three veteran officers for “hate-filled speech,” Police Chief Donny Williams said in a news conference on Wednesday.
Officer James Gilmore, corporal Jesse Moore II, and officer Kevin Piner were caught on camera using “disrespectful language, hate-filled speech, and referring to black people as the n-word,” Williams said.
The officers spoke negatively about Williams, other black officers and Black Lives Matter protesters, the chief said.
A supervisor performing a routine inspection of Piner’s in-car video camera discovered the officers' comments.
Williams said the comments were “brutally offensive and deserved immediate attention."
The chief said he recommended that none of the terminated officers be eligible for rehire within the city and said he would notify the North Carolina justice and standards commission to determine whether the officers can maintain certification to practice law enforcement.
“This is the most exceptional and difficult case I have encountered in my career,” Williams said, “We must establish new reforms for policing here at home and throughout the country.”
Williams said he will meet with every single officer in the department, instill mandatory implicit bias training and launch a cultural education series.
“We’re in full support of the actions that Chief Donny Williams and his staff have taken and we will not tolerate this behavior from any city employee,” Wilmington Mayor Bill Saffo said, “I can honestly say that I was sickened by the violent, destructive language used by these officers. It was absolutely despicable.”
CNN has reached out to the union for comment.
7:10 p.m. ET, June 24, 2020
Wisconsin governor authorizes National Guard to support law enforcement after overnight protests
From CNN's Raja Razek
In response to civil unrest in Madison, Wisconsin, Democratic Gov. Tony Evers announced Wednesday that he authorized the National Guard to support local law enforcement in Dane County.
"The protests in Madison last night resulted in serious injury to bystanders as well as significant damage to state property," Evers said in a statement Wednesday. "The Wisconsin National Guard will serve in a limited authorization meant to make sure people can exercise their First Amendment rights while ensuring the safety of members of the public and state buildings and infrastructure."
In response to the request for assistance from civil authorities, elements of the Wisconsin National Guard's Quick Reaction Force mobilized to state active duty Wednesday, according to the statement.
Some background: Protests have swept across the country since the death of George Floyd in police custody, some resulting in Confederate statues being torn down by cities and protesters alike. But boiled over frustrations in Madison led to the toppling of monuments unrelated to the Confederacy.
A group tore down the statue of Col. Hans Christian Heg and threw it into Lake Monona, according to CNN affiliate WKOW. Heg was a Norwegian migrant who fought for the Union in the Civil War, according to the Wisconsin Historical Society.
The group also pulled down the Forward statue outside the State Capitol — which the Wisconsin Historical Society said symbolizes devotion and progress, WKOW said.
Democratic state Senator Tim Carpenter of Milwaukee was present for the overnight protests and said he was assaulted after taking a picture, the station reported.
6:07 p.m. ET, June 24, 2020
Catch up: Here are the latest updates on the Black Lives Matter protests
The legal process continues in the cases of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery and Rayshard Brooks as the US continues to face civil unrest around the country.
Read up on the biggest developments:
New indictments: Cobb District Attorney Joyette M. Holmes announced today at a news conference that Glynn County’s Grand Jury has indicted Travis and Greg McMichael and William Bryan on malice and felony murder charges in the Feb. 23 death of 25-year-old Ahmaud Arbery.
Officers involved in Floyd's death: Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo said in a statement that the death of George Floyd was “murder” and that the officer who was seen pressing his knee into Floyd’s neck “knew what he was doing” because he had taken specific training on preventing “positional asphyxiation,” or suffocation.
Brooks case: Garrett Rolfe, the former Atlanta police officer accused of fatally shooting Rayshard Brooks, is scheduled for a June 30 bond hearing, the Fulton County Clerk’s officer told CNN.
National Guard to protect monuments: The DC National Guard will provide unarmed guard members to assist with additional security for monuments in Washington, DC, the National Guard Bureau said Wednesday.
Atlanta Wendy's arson suspect: Natalie White made her first appearance in Fulton County, Georgia Magistrate Court Wednesday on arson charges related to the Wendy's fire that took place during protests in Atlanta following Brooks' death. The judge set bond at $10,000 and ordered White to remain under house arrest with an ankle monitor. The judge also said White must stay off of social media.
Reform bill fails: A Republican policing reform proposal collapsed in the Senate today when Democrats lined up to block it after criticizing the legislation as an inadequate response to nationwide calls for action to address police misconduct and racial injustice.
Controversial statues: Crews in Charleston, South Carolina, on Wednesday were in the process of removing a statue of John C. Calhoun. Calhoun, a former vice president of the United States and US senator, is also known for defending slavery and owning about 80 slaves himself. Philadelphia will seek to remove a statue of Christopher Columbus in Marconi Plaza in South Philadelphia, Mayor Jim Kenney announced on Wednesday.
Police in schools: California’s Department of Education is pushing for a reevaluation of police on school campuses, specifically as it relates to racial justice, Superintendent Tony Thurmond announced in a news conference today. The Chicago School Board has rejected an effort to terminate its contract with the Chicago Police Department.
5:55 p.m. ET, June 24, 2020
University of Oregon will rename oldest campus building that honored a supporter of slavery
From CNN’s Andy Rose
Trustees of the University of Oregon voted unanimously Wednesday to rename Deady Hall, the oldest building on campus.
It was named in honor of Matthew Deady, an Oregon Territory legislator in the mid-19th century and former regent who supported slavery prior to the Civil War, according to a report from historians commissioned by the university.
The vote followed the recommendation of University President Michael Schill three years after he told trustees they should leave the building’s name in place.
“What has changed since then to cause me to reverse my original decision?” Schill wrote in his new recommendation. “Everything and unfortunately very little.”
Schill cited the recent deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery, among others, as a “tipping point” in the conversation.
“It is now apparent to me that, as long as Matthew Deady’s name remains in a place of honor on our campus, our students of color will feel that they are not valued; that this institution is not their institution,” Schill wrote.
The university said the building — which was constructed in 1876 — will be called University Hall until another name is chosen.
5:48 p.m. ET, June 24, 2020
Chicago school board votes to keep police officers in schools
From CNN’s Bill Kirkos
The Chicago School Board has rejected an effort to terminate its contract with the Chicago Police Department.
The 4-3 vote will keep Chicago Police officers in the city's schools where they serve as school resource officers.
The vote keeps intact a $33 million contract between the school system and the Chicago Police Department, leaving more than 200 uniformed school resource officers in about 70 schools.
5:48 p.m. ET, June 24, 2020
California schools to examine campus policing statewide
From CNN's Cheri Mossburg
California’s Department of Education is pushing for a reevaluation of police on school campuses, specifically as it relates to racial justice, Superintendent Tony Thurmond announced in a news conference today.
Thurmond noted that he’s seen data indicating that “in many cases when there are police on campus, this results in more suspensions or arrests of our students and in particular, African American students and other students of color.”
A review of research and data relating to the impacts of police on school campuses is in the works, Thurmond said, and will be released soon and a public panel discussion on the issue is scheduled for next week.
Some context: This comes as Oakland School District is contemplating removing school police from campuses entirely.
In a meeting Tuesday, Los Angeles Unified School Board rejected a proposal to defund the school police department.
Additionally, Thurmond announced California Department of Education will be releasing a series of lessons focused on ethnic studies.
“Many of our students have talked about wanting to see in their curriculum in their history books representations of themselves that highlight the positive contributions of African Americans and Latinos, and people of API descent, and Native Americans,” he said.
Lessons, workshops, and webinars will be released to schools statewide within the next couple of weeks.
4:58 p.m. ET, June 24, 2020
Sen. Tim Scott receives more threats since becoming lead Republican on police reform
From CNN's Ted Barrett and Manu Raju
Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina has seen an uptick in racist and profanity-laced voicemails at his office since becoming the lead Republican on police reform legislation, including from one person who called him “Uncle Tim,” according to his staff and a CNN review of several of the messages.
Scott, the only African-American Republican in the chamber, played two of the messages for his GOP colleagues during a policy lunch Tuesday, according to his spokesperson Sean Smith.
The caller, who described Scott as “Uncle Tim,” also said he was a “sellout” and “the lowest piece of s*** this country ever produced.” That caller also made unflattering remarks about South Carolina’s other Republican senator, Lindsey Graham, and the two GOP senators from Florida, Marco Rubio and Rick Scott.
In a second message, the caller said “all Republicans are nasty."
“Most don’t mention any legislation, but it’s clear they’re related to police reform,” Smith said about the threatening messages to Scott. “The volume has increased greatly the past two weeks since it became known he was leading police reform efforts.”
Smith said the US Capitol Police are investigating the threats and provided CNN with other examples of racist and threatening voicemails his office has received in recent days.
When CNN asked Scott about the personal toll the threats were having on him he said it was “very little,” and then turned to his police reform bill that was blocked by Democrats on a procedural vote earlier Wednesday.
“I think 2015 and the church shooting had more impact on me than the failure of this legislation. What is frustrating to me and what makes me emotional is not the toll that it has on me – I’m a pretty resilient guy and I’m going to be great tomorrow and the next day and next day. It’s those people that we’re talking about that we almost make caricatures of them. That’s the toll. Tolls not on me. Tolls on communities that continue to see like they are walking in quicksand,” Scott said.