Rounds

News and notes on guns in America

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Fulton County District Attorney Paul L. Howard Jr. [AP Photo/Byrnn Anderson]

Daily Bulletin: Atlanta Cop Charged With Murder in Rayshard Brooks Shooting

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As calls for police reform intensify, an ex-cop in Atlanta was charged with murder less than a week after fatally shooting a Black man. Plus, the Black gun owner who garnered headlines for escorting a Michigan lawmaker to work at the height of that state’s anti-lockdown protests is using his platform to lead discussions on race.

WHAT TO KNOW TODAY

Fired Atlanta officer who shot Black man as he fled is charged with felony murder. Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard announced on Wednesday that Garrett Rolfe is facing 11 charges in the shooting of 27-year-old Rayshard Brooks on June 12. If convicted, Rolfe could face the death penalty. Howard said the decision was made after careful examination of physical evidence from the scene and video footage from at least eight different sources, which showed that Brooks did not appear to pose an immediate threat to the two officers’ lives. Also influencing the decision: the fact that neither officer on scene provided timely medical attention to Brooks after he was shot, a violation of city policy. Instead, Rolfe was filmed kicking Brooks, the DA said. The other responding officer, Devin Brosnan, was filmed standing on Brooks’s body after he died; he received two lesser charges and is cooperating with prosecutors, Howard said. Rolfe, who was cited for a gun-related use-of-force violation in 2016, was asked to surrender to police and will be held without bond.

Portland, Oregon, votes to defund the police. The City Council passed a budget on Wednesday that includes $15 million in cuts to the Police Department. The vote was nearly unanimous: One council member voted “no,” arguing the cuts didn’t go far enough. Nearly a third of the savings come from the dissolution of the 35-officer Gun Violence Reduction Team.

NEW from THE TRACE: He was an armed escort for a Black lawmaker. Now he’s pushing his city to confront its racism. Michael Lynn Jr., a firefighter in Lansing, Michigan, made national news when he and two friends donned face masks and rifles and walked state Representative Sarah Anthony to work last month. Lynn had seen Anthony’s Facebook post expressing fear for her safety as the Capitol filled with anti-quarantine protesters, many of them armed, and decided he had to do something. In the latest installment of Ricochet, our series examining American lives touched by guns, Lynn tells Ann Givens how the act challenged people’s views on Black gun owners, and how he’s leading conversations about race in Lansing. Read the story here.

Court documents illuminate NRA’s efforts to oust Oliver North from board. North was stripped of the National Rifle Association’s presidency in April 2019 after he was accused by CEO Wayne LaPierre of attempting to lead an internal revolt. But North, the ex-Marine best remembered for his role in the Iran-Contra scandal, has stubbornly remained on the gun group’s board of directors. A lawsuit that the NRA filed in New York this month sheds some light on efforts by the group’s leadership to remove him from the post. The complaint, filed June 12, is heavily redacted, but it’s clear that the NRA is arguing that North violated the group’s conflict-of-interest policy and bylaws. Both alleged violations, it appears, stem from North’s refusal to comply with a demand from the NRA that he either step down from the board or stop working for Ackerman McQueen, the gun group’s former PR firm-turned-foe. In May, according to the complaint, North, whose attorneys have described him as a whistleblower in other litigation involving the NRA, threatened to sue the group. The publicly available portions of the complaint suggest that the NRA wants the court to rule that it can remove North without putting itself in legal jeopardy. — Will Van Sant

Mississippi judge says city’s temporary open carry ban was illegal. In a victory for gun rights activists, a federal judge ruled that Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba of Jackson, Mississippi, overstepped his authority by implementing a temporary ban on the open carry of guns at the height of the coronavirus pandemic in April. As a result of the ruling, Lumumba signed a consent decree stipulating that he wouldn’t restrict open carry again. The suit was filed by a GOP state representative who is also a firearms dealer. Go deeper: Mississippi is one of 45 states that prohibits local governments from enacting gun regulations that are stricter than those passed by state legislatures.

California synagogue shooting victims sue Smith & Wesson. The gun reform group Brady filed suit against the gunmaker on Tuesday on behalf of victims and survivors of last year’s shooting at Chabad of Poway, which killed one person and wounded three others. The plaintiffs argue that Smith & Wesson’s design and marketing of AR-15-style rifles “enabled the shooter to transform his dark fantasies into a lethal reality.” Families of victims of the 2012 Sandy Hook massacre are making a similar argument in their case against the gunmaker Remington. The Poway suit also names the gunman, his parents, and the store where the rifle was purchased, which sold the gun after being presented with an invalid hunting license.

DATA POINT

There have been 80 homicides in Milwaukee so far this year, a 70 percent increase over the same period last year, when there were 47. WISN