Black Lives Matter protests: Statue of Confederate soldier removed from North Carolina state grounds

Protests over racism and police violence continue nationwide, sparked by outrage over the death of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man who was killed last month while in the custody of Minneapolis police.

Live updates for Sunday, June 21, continue below:

Noose found hanging in NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace’s garage stall at Talladega

Update 11:46 p.m. EDT June 21: NASCAR confirmed late Sunday that a noose was found in the garage stall of Bubba Wallace, the organization's only full-time Black driver in its Elite Series.

The discovery was made following Sunday’s race at Talladega Superspeedway in Lincoln, Alabama, and comes two weeks after Wallace lobbied NASCAR successfully to ban the Confederate flag at its tracks and properties.

NASCAR issued a statement via Twitter just before 11 p.m. Sunday, vowing to “identify the person(s) responsible and eliminate them from the sport.”

NYPD Commissioner: Officer suspended after video shows ‘disturbing apparent chokehold incident’

Update 11:07 p.m. EDT June 21: A New York City police officer has been suspended without pay after he was captured on video executing what the police commissioner called a "disturbing apparent chokehold incident" during the arrest of a Black man who appeared to lose consciousness.

“While a full investigation is still underway, there is no question in my mind that this immediate action is necessary,” NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea said Sunday. Read the full statement below.

The man who was arrested, 35-year-old Ricky Bellevue, was being treated at a Queens hospital Sunday night, Queens Defenders Executive Director Lori Zeno told The New York Times. Zeno confirmed Queens Defenders is representing Bellevue, but his condition was not immediately available.

Both the New York Legislature and City Council passed legislation outlawing chokeholds after death of George Floyd in Minneapolis at the hands of the police prompted nationwide protests against police brutality.

Read more here.

Theodore Roosevelt statue to be removed from entrance to American Museum of Natural History

Update 9:18 p.m. EDT June 21: The bronze statue of Theodore Roosevelt that has welcomed visitors to the American Museum of Natural History in New York since 1940 will soon be removed at the request of the museum leadership.

The statue of the former U.S, president and New York governor, which features Roosevelt on horseback and flanked by a Native American man and an African man, has been criticized for promoting racism and colonialism, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Officials said Sunday on the museum’s website that they have asked the city of New York, which owns the statue, to move it, stating: “Many of us find its depictions of the Native American and African figures and their placement in the monument racist.”

In response, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said the city supports the museum’s request.

“The American Museum of Natural History has asked to remove the Theodore Roosevelt statue because it explicitly depicts Black and indigenous people as subjugated and racially inferior,” de Blasio said in a prepared statement. “It is the right decision and the right time to remove this problematic statue.”

Black Lives Matter protests: Statue of Confederate soldier removed from North Carolina state grounds

Update 1:54 p.m. EDT June 21: A crew removed a statue of a Confederate soldier from atop a 75-foot obelisk at the North Carolina Capitol grounds Sunday morning.

Crowds cheered as the statue was taken down.

Crews are also working to dismantle the obelisk beneath it.

Two other Confederate statues were removed from the grounds Saturday. North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper ordered the removal of the statues after protesters toppled two statues Friday night.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

Police union, state lawmakers call for special prosecutor in Rayshard Brooks case

Update 12:27 p.m. EDT June 21Atlanta police union held a news conference Sunday calling for a special prosecutor to be named in the Rayshard Brooks case, WSB-TV reported.

The International Brotherhood of Police Officers were joined by several state leaders, including Rep. Doug Collins and Georgia Senate Majority Leader Mike Dugan, at police headquarters.

There were several calls for Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr to step in and appoint an independent prosecutor.

“It is time for the district attorney of Fulton County to step aside,” Collins said.

Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard announced last week that two officers would be charged in Brooks’ shooting death at an Atlanta Wendy’s.

Former Officer Garrett Rolfe faces 11 charges, including felony murder and aggravated assault, criminal damage to property and violations to his oath of office.

Officer Devin Brosnan is being charged with aggravated assault and two violations of oath of office.

Read more here.

‘Black Lives Matter’ mural vandalized in Oregon 

Update 11:13 a.m. EDT June 21: A "Black Likes Matter" mural painted on the street in front of a courthouse in Eugene, Oregon, was vandalized Friday, KMTR reported.

Eugene police are investigating. They have identified the driver of a vehicle seen in surveillance video in the area of the mural.

Tire marks were found on the mural around 5:45 a.m. Saturday. An art group had a right of way permit from the city to paint the mural as a celebration of Juneteeth, KMTR reported.

The mural is being touched up by the artists.

University, restaurant owner to award full college scholarships to Rayshard Brooks’ children

Update 9:29 a.m. EDT June 21: Clark Atlanta University has partnered with the owner of a popular Atlanta restaurant to award Rayshard Brooks' four children full scholarships to the university, WSB-TV reported.

CAU President George T. French Jr. and CAU alumna Aisha “Pinky” Cole, the owner of The Slutty Vegan Restaurant, announced that they will provide scholarships of more than $600,000 that will cover tuition, meals, room and board for Brooks’ three daughters and stepson.

“It was without hesitation that we made the decision to partner with our notable alumna and entrepreneur Pinky Cole to help the family and children of Mr. Rayshard Brooks,” French said. “The senseless death of Mr. Brooks will undoubtedly have long-term financial effects on the family and these scholarships will not only provide them with a means to access a world class education, but will help them on their pathway of success.”

Brooks, 27, was shot and killed by Atlanta police after a confrontation at a Wendy's last Friday after Brooks fell asleep in his car. The two officers who shot him have since been charged in his death.

Read more here.

2 people attacked by angry, armed men outside Wendy’s where Brooks was killed, police say

Update 9:29 a.m. EDT June 21: Two people were driving past the Wendy's where Rayshard Brooks was killed on Saturday when a group of men gathered in front of the burned-out restaurant attacked them with rocks and damaged their car, police said.

Ty Spiceland, 35, and a woman who didn’t want to be identified were in their car on University Avenue around 1:30 p.m. Saturday when they were confronted by several people, some of whom were armed with handguns. Spiceland said the group of people punched him three times in the face when he rolled down his window and then threw rocks at the car.

"It's scary to have someone come after you like that," Spiceland told WSB-TV. "We take their side. We weren't being disrespectful. We were just trying to get on the interstate."

Police are now investigating.

Read more here.

Seattle police’s West Precinct defaced Friday

Update 9:02 a.m. EDT June 21: The Seattle Police Department's West Precinct was defaced during a Friday night protest, authorities said.

Police said the exterior was tagged multiple times as a large demonstration took place in front of the building at 8th Avenue and Virginia Street, KIRO-TV reported.

According to an SPD Blotter post, a large group had been protesting in front of the precinct for several consecutive nights.

On Friday, a group amassed just before 9 p.m. and moments later, someone reported seeing people spray-paint the walls.

Read more here.

Tulsa’s historic Greenwood area has party atmosphere

Update 12:16 a.m. EDT June 21: More than 1,000 people gathered in Tulsa, Oklahoma's historically Black Greenwood neighborhood Saturday night to dance and protest in a party-like atmosphere, The Washington Post reported.

There was no visible police presence, the newspaper reported, although there were armed security guards patrolling the area.

The Vernon AME Church was lit up with the Black Lives Matter slogan and a clenched, raised fist was projected onto the building, the Post reported.

On Friday, demonstrators painted "Black Lives Matter" on a Greenwood street.

Greenwood is the site of the Tulsa Race Massacre of 1921, when a white mob killed an estimated 300 African American residents.

Earlier Saturday, police in Tulsa said there were “large groups” of demonstrators walking around the downtown area near the arena where President Donald Trump held his rally but said, for the most part, there were no incidents.

"These groups are causing traffic issues, however, they have been demonstrating peacefully," the Tulsa Police Department said in a tweet.

"Overwhelmingly these encounters have been peaceful with everyone attempting to share their views," another tweet from Tulsa police said.

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