DURHAM WILL REMOVE BIG YELLOW "DEFUND" PAINTED IN FRONT OF POLICE STATION: The Durham City Council and Mayor Steve Schewel unanimously agreed Thursday to remove the “Defund” sign painted in big yellow letters on the street outside the police department. A coalition of activists painted the word “Defund” on East Main Street, with an arrow pointing toward the Durham Police Department headquarters, about three weeks after George Floyd’s murder last year, The N&O reported. They also painted the word “Fund” in front of the Durham County Health and Human Services building. Schewel directed city staff to remove both signs within a month after June 25. “In the months following, many community members and City employees have asked for the removal of the “Defund” street art as a matter of staff morale,” he said.
DURHAM POLICE LEAVE DOOR DASH DRIVER HANDCUFFED AND EXPOSED DURING SHOOTING: Johnson said that, just as he tried to pull away to safety, he was immediately surrounded by officers. That's when he says officers told him to get out of the car with his hands up. Then, he was "rushed to the ground without an explanation." "I'm trying to explain to them I'm just a Door Dash driver," said Johnson. "I don't know what's going on here. I have nothing to do with the situation." Johnson said he was forced out of his car and handcuffed with his hands around his back when the shooting started a second time. He added that he had nowhere to go and no protection from officers because they left to find cover. "Police went for cover and left me defenseless [and] handcuffed without any protection for myself. I had to run and duck for cover myself," said Johnson. Eventually, Johnson said an officer saw him running around and took the handcuffs off of him. Johnson later filed a complaint and is waiting to hear the next steps. The Durham Police Department said Johnson's complaint would be investigated by the Professional Standards Division.
ANDREW BROWN WAS KILLED BY A POLICE BULLET IN THE BACK OF HIS HEAD: Autopsy results released Thursday confirm Andrew Brown Jr. died of a gunshot wound to the back of his head, rekindling anger over the Elizabeth City man slain by sheriff’s deputies. Brown, 42, died April 21 as Pasquotank County deputies arrived to serve search and arrest warrants, firing into his car as he attempted to flee. His family commissioned a private autopsy shortly afterward, and Brown’s attorneys called the fatal wound a “kill shot.” But the report added to anger that has fueled weeks of protests following the shooting, along with District Attorney Andrew Womble’s decision not to prosecute deputies. Womble called the shooting “justified” because deputies feared being hit by Brown’s car. “The autopsy results prove what we’ve always known to be true: Pasquotank County deputies executed Andrew Brown Jr. with a kill shot to the back of the head,” attorney Ben Crump said in a press release. “The false narrative that DA Womble has attempted to weave is completely discredited by this autopsy report.”
HUNTERSVILLE PLANTATION CANCELS JUNETEENTH EVENT THAT WOULD LAMENT "WHITE REFUGEES": The North Carolina plantation’s Saturday evening event promised to share stories of its “former bondsmen” on June 19 — a day that commemorates the end of slavery in the United States. “Hear how they feel about being freedmen,” a now-deleted online blurb said. But most of the event description for a Juneteenth activity at Historic Latta Plantation dealt with White people, seemingly fallen on hard times. “White refugees have been displaced and have a story to tell as well,” it declared. Visitors to the site just north of Charlotte would hear from defeated Confederate soldiers, the description said. Also from “the massa himself who is now living in the woods” and on the run from the Yankees, his home taken over by the people he used to own. Then there was the overseer, “now out of a job.” A backlash built. The event was canceled. And the plantation’s Facebook page filled with scathing reviews and dismay that a historic site would so whitewash a cruel and racist past. “Absolutely disgusting,” on online reviewer wrote. “Overtly racist.” “This should not even need to be said, but the idea of ‘hearing from massa himself,’ and sympathizing with an overseer who is no longer allowed to enslave people is disgusting.” Plantations-turned-tourist attractions have long been criticized for presenting a rosy picture of the South, despite increasing efforts at some sites to portray the ugly truths. But last year’s nationwide soul-searching about racism has brought new pressure to recognize and teach about the horrors and legacy of slavery. Mecklenburg County — which oversees the nature preserve on which the plantation sits — said in a statement Friday that it “has zero tolerance for programs that do not embrace equity and diversity.” Referring only to a “planned event at Latta Nature Preserve,” the county said it learned of the program on social media and immediately contacted the organizers.
TEXAS GOVERNOR SAYS THEY WILL BUILD THEIR OWN BORDER WALL: Gov. Greg Abbott of Texas said on Thursday that the state would build a border wall with Mexico, providing few specifics about construction that would extend one of former President Donald J. Trump’s favored projects. It is unclear if the state has the authority to build a wall in an attempt to deter immigrants, a majority of whom have been fleeing poverty and violence from Central America. Speaking at a meeting with state law enforcement officials in Del Rio, a small border city that has seen a large influx of immigrants since President Biden took office in January, Mr. Abbott said he expected to announce more details about the wall next week. Mr. Abbott explained that he would start by setting up barriers to identify people trying to cross the border and by deploying additional law enforcement agents to assist the Border Patrol. He has blamed the increase in migrant crossings on Mr. Biden’s unwinding of Mr. Trump’s restrictive border rules. “While securing the border is the federal government’s responsibility, Texas will not sit idly by as this crisis grows,” Mr. Abbott said, adding, “Our efforts will only be effective if we work together to secure the border, make criminal arrests, protect landowners, rid our communities of dangerous drugs and provide Texans with the support they need and deserve.” In March, Mr. Abbott put into action what he called Operation Lone Star, which allows the deployment of hundreds of agents and resources along the southwestern border to combat the smuggling of human beings, drugs and guns, said Victor Escalon, a regional director with the Texas Department of Public Safety. But deciding to build a border wall may be a first for a state executive.