WHAT TO KNOW TODAY
NEW from THE TRACE: Police in Austin, Texas, pledged to stop using ‘less lethal’ rounds on crowds. Then the department ordered thousands more. In late May, officers with the Austin Police Department fired upon Black Lives Matter protesters outside the department’s headquarters with what are commonly called “less lethal” rounds — leading to serious injuries. On June 5, Police Chief Brian Manley pledged before the City Council that his department would never again use the beanbag rounds, which contain lead pellets and are fired from a shotgun, for crowd control. But despite his proclamation of reform, Manley’s department was quietly moving to restock its cache: The next day, the city moved to finalize a $42,000 order for 5,000 beanbag rounds. The city rubber-stamped another contract on August 17. You can read more in our new scoop with KUT, Austin’s public radio station.
ICYMI: NEW from THE TRACE: Governing with guns in the state house. At least eight states allow members of the public to openly carry guns in capitol buildings. Lawmakers leading efforts to ban guns in legislatures in three of those states — Michigan, Nebraska, and Washington — told me that the sight of armed civilians in public hearings or in chambers is intimidating, and constrains their ability to do their jobs. In Michigan, where the FBI intercepted an alleged plot last month to storm the state house, take legislators hostage, and kidnap the governor, State Senator Dayna Polehanki keeps a bulletproof vest under her desk. “This is crazy,” she said. “This isn’t normal.” Read the full story.
NY AG’s suit seeking the NRA’s dissolution slowed by counter challenges. In 20 filings filed late last week, National Rifle Association chief Wayne LaPierre and general counsel John Frazer challenged the validity of Attorney General Letitia James’s suit on multiple grounds, from violating technical filing requirements to claiming that the hearings should be held in Albany, not Manhattan. For his part, ex-Treasurer Wilson Phillips did not challenge the validity of the suit in a new filing but otherwise disputed most of the AG’s allegations. The actions are likely to significantly slow what’s likely to be an already lengthy litigation. Representatives for James’s office and lawyers for LaPierre and Phillips declined to comment. A lawyer for Frazer didn’t return emails seeking comment. — Kevin T. Dugan, Trace contributor
The Justice Department abandoned its investigation into the Tamir Rice shooting. In August 2019, department supervisors declined career prosecutors’ request to convene a grand jury to gather evidence to determine whether to bring charges against the Cleveland Police officers who fatally shot the 12-year-old as he held a pellet gun, The New York Times reports. But no one ever told Rice’s family. When his mother found out, “she cried out repeatedly, ‘I’m not ready for this!’” a former federal prosecutor said.
A violence interrupter was fatally shot in Washington, D.C. Lorraine Marie Thomas, 21, negotiated a truce in the city’s Washington Highlands neighborhood earlier this year. She was found shot to death in a car on Friday, The Washington Post reports. Her killing was the first shooting in the neighborhood in nearly six months.
One of the officers involved in Breonna Taylor’s fatal shooting is suing her boyfriend. Louisville Police Sergeant Jonathan Mattingly says he has experienced “severe trauma, mental anguish, and emotional distress” after being hit by a bullet fired by Kenneth Walker, a licensed gun owner, during the no-knock raid on March 13. Walker maintains that the officers did not identify themselves before he opened fire in self-defense. Walker’s lawyer says he’s protected by law “and is immune from both criminal prosecution and civil liability as he was acting in self defense in his own home.”
13 — the number of mass shootings (4+ people injured or killed) that have occurred in the U.S. since Friday. [Gun Violence Archive]