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Local News

    Police departments in metro Atlanta on Sunday were preparing for more possible protests that would round out a weekend of demonstrations resulting in hundreds of arrests along with damage to storefronts and shops.  Gwinnett County police, which encountered protesters Saturday at the mall Sugarloaf Mills, said the department is only aware of “the potential for protests” to happen Sunday in Lawrenceville.  “The police department will have an increased presence across the county today and into the night,” spokeswoman officer Ashley Wilson said.  Two police cars were damaged and four people were arrested in Saturday’s protest in Gwinnett, the agency said.  See the AJC’s complete coverage of the Atlanta protests here. Lawrenceville Mayor David Still told the city’s Facebook followers that police are preparing for the potential of activity to crop up Sunday and into Monday. While Lawrenceville supports the right to protest, Still said those gatherings “must be peaceful and respectful.”  “We will not tolerate any destruction of property or any acts of violence,” the mayor’s message reads. “Therefore, the Lawrenceville Police Department will utilize all resources available to protect our city.” The bulk of protest activity on Saturday was in Atlanta, where widespread property damage was reported and more than 150 people were arrested. Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms has extended the city’s nighttime curfew to run from 9 p.m. to sunrise on Monday.  READ | Georgia to deploy more National Guard troops ahead of new planned protests In Alpharetta, officers were on guard Saturday for the possibility that Avalon, the popular mixed-use shopping destination, would be the target of protest activity.  Alpharetta Department of Public Safety officials said Sunday on the agency’s Facebook page that officers worked with Avalon, the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office, Georgia Bureau of Investigation and other agencies to stave off any threats of violence.  Spokesperson Jim Cheatham said the department is still “monitoring the situation and are prepared to take steps as needed.”  “As of right now, we do not have any information as to something happening at a location in Alpharetta,” he said. “This could change at any moment and we are monitoring.” Avalon said Sunday that it didn’t experience any issues, and that the development continues to work with Alpharetta police to prepare for any protests that could make their way to the area. Woodstock Police Chief Calvin Moss said the police department has more officers working and the department is working closely with management at Outlet Shoppes at Atlanta in the event protesters show up at the mall.  About 30 people also demonstrated Saturday in downtown, and Moss said those were “peaceful and there were no issues.”  
  • Target will close dozens of its locations nationwide - including two in metro Atlanta, due to ongoing protests and destructive rioting in the wake of George Floyd’s death. In Georgia, two locations in Buckhead will temporarily close.  The chain’s headquarters are based in Minneapolis, where Floyd’s death occurred while in police custody.  now former officer Derek Chauvin is charged in Floyd’s death.   “We are heartbroken by the death of George Floyd and the pain it is causing communities across the country. At this time, we have made the decision to close a number of our stores. We anticipate most stores will be closed temporarily. Our focus will remain on our team members’ safety and helping our community heal,” the company said in a statement. Target says employees at the closed stores will be paid for up to 14 days during store closures, including coronavirus pay, and also have the chance to work at other stores. From Channel 2 Action News: During the first night of protests Friday, Atlanta firefighters worked to put out a fire started in the back of the Target at 2539 Piedmont Road. Atlanta fire officials say fireworks were set off in multiple locations as well. Atlanta firefighters worked to put a second fire that happened in a storage room Saturday night. The department can’t say for sure right now if it’s arson, but fire investigators are on the way to see. Atlanta Battalion Chief Kendale Mitchell said part of the building may have been left unsecured from Friday’s protests. “This store was broken into earlier when we were experiencing the protests and the store hasn’t been fully secured all the way. I think they have security on site but may or may not. It’s undetermined if it was a break in at this time or not,” Mitchell said.    
  • Thousands of Georgians who have been teleworking during the coronavirus pandemic are being called back to their corporate offices starting next week, even as many companies adopt a slower approach. Global Payments said thousands of its 7,000 employees in metro Atlanta and Columbus will return to offices over the next two weeks. The return is voluntary for its workers, and will include staggered work schedules, temperature checks and social distancing requirements, according to a spokeswoman for the financial technology company. And Atlanta-based Equifax said up to half of its 2,200 local employees will be back in rearranged offices Monday and encouraged to wear masks in common areas, with no more than two people riding together in elevators. The following week those employees will telework while the other half of local Equifax workers will be rotated in to offices. The process will continue weekly to make social distancing easier. The credit reporting company said the office return won’t include employees deemed higher risk by Centers for Disease Control guidelines or those who have someone in their household who is higher risk. Other workers who aren’t ready to return to the office can discuss their situation with human resources contacts, according to Equifax spokesman Ben Sheidler. “We will be flexible to accommodate specific, individual circumstances, but our framework will remain consistent where practical.” Decisions about when and how to return to work are complex for businesses. Many major local employers, including Coca-Cola, Southern Company and Fiserv, have yet to announce timetables for a widespread shift back to offices. Some say teleworking has worked out well, reducing pressure for a rapid return. A Home Depot spokeswoman wrote that the company is moving forward “extremely cautiously” and that in coming weeks, “a very small group of associates” will return to its Paces Ferry Store Support Center. Chick-fil-A said earlier that it would begin the first step of a three-tiered phase-in May 18, “with very limited numbers returning” initially. A spokeswoman declined Friday to provide more details. A Georgia-Pacific spokesman emailed that less than 10% of its local staffers recently returned to offices. “While we don’t have specific dates targeted at this time, we expect that more people will be returning over the course of June and July,” he wrote. The CDC has published safety recommendations for offices, including but not limited to checking employees’ temperatures and keeping desks six feet apart. It said “employees should wear a cloth face covering to cover their nose and mouth in all areas of the business,” unless they have trouble breathing, can’t tolerate wearing it or can’t remove it without help. At Equifax, most local employees have worked from home since mid-March and those efforts have been “very successful,” Sheidler wrote in an email. Still, he wrote, “We believe returning to our offices, safely and gradually, helps us begin to recover from this pandemic as a company and a community.” The company has set cleaning protocols, acquired masks and sanitizer for employees, marked floors for where people should stand to ensure social distancing, created plans to allow only two people in bathrooms at one time and installed plastic shields by security guards in lobbies and cashier stands in cafeterias, where food will be grab-and-go only. Some employees at Equifax apparently remain wary. “No one wants to be a test case for leaders with potentially life-threatening outcomes,” someone posted on job site Glassdoor.
  • Editor’s note: This story has been updated.  Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms on Sunday extended the city’s curfew, which will take effect at 9 p.m. and continue until sunrise Monday. Bottoms instituted the curfew Saturday in the wake of a violent protest on Friday that led to damage at businesses and attractions in downtown Atlanta and Buckhead.  The announcement came about noon and a few hours after Bottoms said in national television interviews that 157 people were arrested in protests that again turned violent Saturday night.  The curfew extension was announced on the city’s official Facebook page.  In her Sunday morning interviews on CBS and NBC, Bottoms also was critical of President Donald Trump, saying harsh rhetoric from him is making the situation worse. Cities across the nation, including Atlanta, have been gripped by demonstrations against police violence, and in particular the death of George Floyd, a Minnesota man who died after a police officer used his knee to pin Floyd to the ground by the neck. The officer who pinned Floyd has been charged with third degree murder and manslaughter, and three officers present have been fired. Complete coverage: Atlanta protests “I think that there is a place in America for peaceful protest, and we know that peaceful protests have had a history of changing things in this country,” Bottoms said on CBS’ Face The Nation. “But it has to be organized and it has to be for a purpose. And when you have violent eruptions like we’ve seen across America, then we lose sight of even what we are talking about. Yesterday, all we talked about was how our cities were erupting across America, but we weren’t even talking about George Floyd and so many others who have been killed in this country.” Bottoms said the 9 p.m. curfew in Atlanta and deployment by Gov. Brian Kemp of National Guard forces “helped tremendously” in quelling unrest. Still, protests led to property damage, arrests and some injuries. Atlanta protests: More National Guard troops to deploy ahead of new planned protests in Georgia Bottoms said outside groups were instigators in turning what started Friday as a peaceful demonstration into a violent one. “Obviously, we are the home of the civil rights movement. So, we … have a long history of protest in our city,” Bottoms said. “But our organizers in Atlanta, many of whom don’t agree with me quite often as mayor, were very clear that this, by and large, after things turned violent, was not an Atlanta-based protest. It looked differently racially in our city than our normal protests looked. … So, we don’t know who they were, but many of them were not locally based.” Atlanta police haven’t identified outside groups and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution is seeking more information about those arrested at the protests so far. Bottoms also was asked about comments from Trump in which he told “liberal” mayors and governors to get tougher and threatening to deploy the military. Trump also tweeted the phrase “when the looting starts, the shooting starts,” a reference to comments in the 1960s from a former Florida police chief. Trump also has said he supports peaceful protests, called Floyd’s killing a tragedy and said he stands with Floyd’s family. Asked about Trump making an Oval Office address to the nation, Bottoms said she wants to hear leadership from the president. “What I’d like to hear from the president is leadership,” Bottoms said in an interview on NBC’s Meet The Press. “And I would like to hear a genuine care and concern for our communities and where we are with race relations in America. We know that when he spoke on Charlottesville he made the matter worse. And we’re already — we’re — And we’re well-beyond the tipping point in America. And it’s as my grandmother used to say, ‘If you don’t have anything good to say, sometimes you just shouldn’t say anything at all.’”
  • Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms held a news conference Friday night where she urged the protesters to stop what they were doing.
  • Georgia’s recent spike in new COVID-19 cases likely indicates the virus is spreading and cannot be solely attributed to a surge in testing, a prominent public health expert said Thursday. “It’s not ‘either or.’ I think it’s probably both,” Dr. Carlos del Rio, chairman of the global health department at Emory University and the dean overseeing physicians at Grady Memorial Hospital, said during a press conference with Dr. Colleen Kraft, director of Emory’s Clinical Virology Research Laboratory. More diagnostic testing was certainly turning up more new cases, but the partial end of the state’s shelter-in-place order, allowing most Georgians to move about, is a key reason behind a 26% percent rise in cases between the weeks of May 11 and May 18, Del Rio said. A Georgia Department of Health spokeswoman emphasized earlier this week that a one-time data dump of results from a commercial lab and a greatly expanded statewide testing system may be behind the increase. New confirmed cases rose from nearly 4,170 confirmed cases to 5,260. »NEW DASHBOARD: The AJC’s redesigned page of real-time charts tracking the virus Kraft told reporters it was too early to know the full consequences of reopening. Georgians were hesitant to resume activities at first, she said. “I don’t think we yet know the implications of sort of being together and people doing their activities together yet. But we will within the next month,” Kraft said. It can take a week or more for a person to be infected, show symptoms, get tested and receive results. “This epidemic is not over,” del Rio added. “This epidemic is not over just because a politician is saying it’s safe to get out or we want to reactivate the economy.” DPH spokeswoman Nancy Nydam said the the agency continues to monitor coronavirus data closely. “The Georgia Department of Public Health is working to identify outbreaks or hotspots of COVID-19 in Georgia,” she said. “We are monitoring the number of new cases being reported, and all possible epidemiologic implications of positive test results, including increased testing across the state, testing in long-term care facilities, workplace testing as businesses reopen, and testing among farmworkers. We know that with increased testing the number of positive cases will also increase.” Nationally, new cases are plateauing. Still, the U.S. passed the 100,000 death mark in recent days, noted del Rio. “That means by the end of September, by Labor Day, there will be another 100,000 deaths in our country,” he said. “That is a very sobering number.” Staff Writer Ariel Hart contributed to this report.  You may find this story and more at AJC.com.
  • The owner of a sex toy shop in Brookhaven has been ordered to spend six months behind bars after a DeKalb County judge found him in contempt of court multiple times. The city of Brookhaven has been involved in a legal quarrel with Stardust for years after it adopted a law in 2013 making it illegal to operate a “sexually oriented business” near a similar business or a residential district. Stardust opened on Buford Highway in 2013 across the street from an apartment complex and next to the Pink Pony strip club, which pays a fee to the city to remain open. City officials are claiming victory after DeKalb County Superior Court Judge Mark Anthony Scott ordered that the building be padlocked if Stardust does not pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in fees to the city. Scott also sentenced Stardust owner Michael Morrison to 180 days of imprisonment. “This is now the fourth time that the Court has found Morrison’s operation 0f Stardust to be illegal,” Scott wrote in a ruling last Wednesday. PREVIOUS: DeKalb sex toy shop found in contempt of court — again By Tuesday evening, Morrison had not been booked into DeKalb’s jail, according to jail logs. The store’s attorney Cary Wiggins declined to comment Tuesday. In a statement, the city said Stardust and Morrison now owe $863,000 in fees. Joe Gebbia, a Brookhaven city councilman who represents the Buford Highway corridor, said the business impacted the economic development potential for the area. “We can’t expect quality, community-focused redevelopment around adult-oriented business. It took seven years but with this victory justice has been duly served and the future of Buford Highway looks even brighter,” Gebbia said in a statement. RELATED: Brookhaven’s sex shop ordinance upheld by appeals court The store has been fined hundreds of times, and legal spats between the shop and the city have been ongoing since 2014. In 2017, the city fined Stardust $210,000 because it displayed at least 1,000 “sexual devices” for a week. The city said this classified it as a sexually oriented business, though the store deemed it an egregious fine. Wiggins said last year that Stardust was compliant with Brookhaven code because it reduced the number of adult toys it displays to under 100. Stardust continued to fight the $210,000 fine, though the Court of Appeals affirmed previous rulings that the fee was fair. The city’s ordinance regulating sexually oriented businesses has also been challenged in court but was ultimately upheld. Morrison had previously been held in contempt of court several times and Stardust has not paid the court-ordered fees to the city, Scott wrote. During a hearing in February, a Brookhaven code compliance officer testified that he visited Stardust and found at least 200 sexual devices on display. He “stopped counting at 200,” the officer testified. You may find this story and more at AJC.com.
  • Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms will testify Friday before a U.S. Congressional subcommittee on the impact of the coronavirus on her city, along with six other mayors from across the nation. The noon hearing will focus on the need for additional federal funds to purchase personal protective and other health care equipment; the impact of a lack of federal comprehensive testing, tracing, and targeted containment plan; and how the government can address budget crisis and other economic hardships facing cities and their residents, according to committee aide. The hearing can be viewed online here: https://coronavirus.house.gov/ You may find this story and more at AJC.com.
  • Atlanta-based utility giant Southern Company said Wednesday it will reduce its carbon emissions to “net zero” by 2050. One way it hopes to get there: scrub carbon directly from the air using new technology. But it’s not clear how well that option might work. The moves shift a goal set two years ago by Southern, the parent of Georgia Power and Atlanta Gas Light. At the time, it pledged to cut carbon emissions by 50% by 2030, compared to 2007 levels, and to have “low to no” carbon emissions by 2050. Southern Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Tom Fanning announced the new “net zero” goal during the company’s annual meeting Wednesday, which was held digitally due to the coronavirus pandemic. Southern still could emit some carbon emissions from its system in 2050 but plans to wash out their effects by removing carbon in other ways. One method would be by planting trees and other carbon-storing plants, Fanning said. Another might be to capture carbon before it is released by biomass plants. But the option he said he found particularly exciting was to pursue research to remove carbon directly from the air. Others have pursued the concept, including Occidental Petroleum, which entered a deal to have such a plant built in the next couple of years. Stephen Smith, the executive director of the nonprofit Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, praised Southern’s new “zero” goal as significant for a powerful utility with a long history tied to fossil fuels and in a part of the nation that politically has been more resistant to acknowledging climate change. Still, he suggested that Southern put more focus on reaching its goals by using more renewables and through energy efficiency, rather than expensive and less-tested options. Georgia Power has sharply reduced reliance on coal and boosted its use of solar power. But it relies most heavily on burning natural gas, which emits carbon, though at lower rates than coal-burning plants typically do. Some investors and environmental groups have long pushed the company to address the threat of climate change and blamed it for fighting federal efforts to reduce air pollution and greenhouse gases. Fanning, Southern’s chief, called the goal of net zero “a no-brainer.” “We produce these goals because they are good for customers and communities that we are privileged to serve,” he said. “Furthermore, these goals align with Southern Company’s risk-adjusted business strategy.” You may find this story and more at AJC.com.
  • Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard received an additional $25,000 in salary supplements from the city of Atlanta that he funneled through a nonprofit he heads as CEO, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and Channel 2 Action News have learned. That means Howard padded his pay with $195,000 of the $250,000 in grant money the city signed over to the DA’s Office in two checks in 2014 and 2016. The final $25,000 in payments were disclosed in a recent letter from the state ethics commission that notified Howard he will face two more allegations of violating state campaign finance laws. In April, after the AJC and Channel 2 reported the unusual financial arrangement, the Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission filed a dozen allegations against Howard, many for failing to disclose his secondary employment as the CEO for People Partnering for Progress. The nonprofit, set up about a decade ago, says its mission is to reduce youth violence. The disclosures also led the GBI to conduct a criminal investigation of Howard at the request of Attorney General Chris Carr. In prior statements, Howard has strongly denied any wrongdoing. His office did not respond this week for a request for comment. Atlanta lawyer Frank Strickland, who represents Howard before the ethics commission, declined to comment. Clark Cunningham, a Georgia State University law professor who has reviewed documents in the case, called on Howard to immediately address the accusations in public and open up the books for his People Partnering for Progress nonprofit to show he did nothing wrong. “It’s hard to see a non-criminal reason for his conduct, so I think the voters need to hear from him an explanation that is well documented and supported,” Cunningham said. “I can’t see any legal justification for doing it. It looks like theft by conversion, which is a felony under Georgia law.” Howard initially approached the city in 2014 and asked for a $70,000 salary supplement to the $158,000 he was receiving at the time from the state and a county supplement. (He makes roughly $175,000 today.) When the city declined that request, then-Mayor Kasim Reed arranged for the city to write a $125,000 check to the DA’s Office in 2014 and another $125,000 check in 2016. After he learned the city had approved the first payment, Howard wrote a thank-you letter to Reed on Aug. 22, 2014. In that note, he said the funds would be used to augment his community prosecution program. They also would “aid in crime reduction and improved quality of life within the city of Atlanta as well as provide additional compensation to the community prosecution staff and the district attorney,” Howard wrote. The letter made no mention of Howard’s plan to divert almost 80 percent of the city’s funds to himself. The AJC and Channel 2 previously reported that People Partnering for Progress used the city funds to pay Howard $170,000 from 2014 through 2017. Attached to the recent ethics commission letter were copies of four $5,000 checks that the nonprofit paid Howard in 2018 and another $5,000 check in 2019. Howard is being challenged in the upcoming Democratic primary by attorneys Christian Wise Smith and Fani Willis. On Tuesday, during a forum hosted by the Georgia Justice Reform Partnership, the two challengers criticized Howard for getting caught up in the controversy. In response, Howard said, “I would ask people to kind of ask themselves the question: Well, I wonder why is it all of a sudden during this election season that we now start to see allegations against Mr. Howard?” Then, referring to the late Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., he added, “I’m reminded of something that has happened throughout our history with people like Dr. King, and I’m not comparing myself to Dr. King. But always allegations were placed against him.” Such attacks have happened before, he said. “And I can tell you with those allegations, whatever process they take, I can tell you that I will be fully exonerated.” After the initial charges were filed against him in April, Howard amended his 2015-2019 financial statements to disclose his position as CEO at the nonprofit, said David Emadi, executive director of the state ethics commission. “That complaint and investigation remains open at this time.” You may find this story and more at AJC.com.

News

  • More than 6 million people worldwide -- including more than 1.7 million in the United States – have been infected with the new coronavirus, and the number of deaths from the outbreak continues to rise. While efforts to contain the COVID-19 outbreak continue, states have begun to shift their focus toward reopening their economies. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is tracking cases in the U.S. here. Live updates for Sunday, May 31, continue below: U.S. surpasses 104,000 deaths Update 3:55 p.m. EDT May 31: The United States has surpassed 104,000 deaths due to the novel coronavirus. The U.S. has the highest number of cases and the highest number of deaths worldwide. According to Johns Hopkins University, 104,081 people have died in the U.S. Second to the U.S. is the United Kingdom with 38,571 deaths. The U.S. also leads in the number of COVID-19 cases reported: 1,779,853. Second to the U.S. is Brazil with 465,116 cases reported. Rwanda reports first COVID-19 death Update 3 p.m. EDT May 31: Rwanda has reported the country’s first coronavirus-related death. A statement by the nation’s Ministry of Health said the man who died was a 65-year-old truck driver who had recently returned to Rwanda after living in a neighboring country for an unspecified amount of time. Health officials said the patient died due to severe respiratory complications after receiving treatment at an intensive care unit at a COVID-19 facility. According to Johns Hopkins University, Rwanda has 359 reported cases of the novel coronavirus. China reports only two new cases of COVID-19 Update 2:50 p.m. EDT May 31: China reported two new cases of COVID-19 in the country Sunday, noting that one of the two people was a German traveler. China has banned most foreigners from entering the country to try to prevent the introduction of new infections, but agreed to allow the two German flights to bring back businesspeople as it tries to revive economic growth after the coronavirus shutdowns. No new domestic cases have been reported for a week. India’s coronavirus cases increasing significantly Update 1:35 p.m. EDT May 31: India reported more than 8,000 new cases of the coronavirus in a single day, another record high that topped the deadliest week in the country. Confirmed infections have risen to 182,143, with 5,164 fatalities, including 193 in the last 24 hours, the Health Ministry said Sunday. Data shows the number of infections increasing exponentially in recent days. Only six countries have reported more coronavirus cases than India. There are concerns that the virus may be spreading through India’s villages as millions of jobless migrant workers return home from cities during the lockdown. Experts warn that the pandemic is yet to peak in India. Crowds return to St. Peter’s Square to hear Pope Francis Update 8:48 a.m. EDT May 31: Crowds returned to St. Peter’s Square as Pope Francis resumed his traditional greeting from his window, CNN reported. It was the first time the pontiff has addressed a live audience since the lockdown in Italy began three months ago. Francis said he hoped people would “have the courage to change, to be better than before and to positively build the post-pandemic world.” Tourists were absent and only a few hundred people gathered. They wore masks and adhered to social distancing to listen to Francis, CNN reported. US coronavirus cases surpass 1.7M, deaths top 103K Published 12:05 a.m. EDT May 31: The number of novel coronavirus cases in the United States continued to climb past 1.7 million early Saturday across all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands. According to a Johns Hopkins University tally, there are at least 1,747,085 confirmed U.S. cases of the virus, which have resulted in at least 102,836 deaths. The hardest-hit states remain New York with 369,660 cases and 29,710 deaths and New Jersey with 159,608 cases and 11,634 deaths. Massachusetts, with 95,512 cases, has the third-highest number of deaths with 6,768, while Illinois has the third-highest number of cases with 118,917. Only 16 states and territories have confirmed fewer than 6,000 cases each. Six other states have now confirmed at least 50,000 novel coronavirus cases each, including: • California: 109,509 cases, resulting in 4,136 deaths • Pennsylvania: 75,697 cases, resulting in 5,537 deaths • Texas: 62,675 cases, resulting in 1,652 deaths • Michigan: 56,969 cases, resulting in 5,464 deaths • Florida: 55,424 cases, resulting in 2,447 deaths • Maryland: 52,015 cases, resulting in 2,509 deaths Meanwhile, Georgia, Virginia and Connecticut each has confirmed at least 42,000 cases; Louisiana, Ohio and Indiana each has confirmed at least 34,000 cases; North Carolina, Colorado, Minnesota, Tennessee and Washington each has confirmed at least 21,000 cases; Iowa and Arizona each has confirmed at least 19,000 cases; Wisconsin and Alabama each has confirmed at least 17,000 cases; Mississippi and Rhode Island each has confirmed at least 14,000 cases; Nebraska and Missouri each has confirmed at least 13,000 cases, followed by South Carolina with 11,131; Kansas, Kentucky, Utah and Delaware each has confirmed at least 9,000 cases; the District of Columbia and Nevada each has confirmed at least 8,000 cases, followed by New Mexico with 7,493; Arkansas and Oklahoma each has confirmed at least 6,000 cases. Click here to see CNN’s state-by-state breakdown.
  • Seattle news station KIRO-TV captured video of a woman stealing a treat from a Cheesecake Factory location in the midst of riots following protests over the death of George Floyd. After several hours of peaceful gatherings and marches earlier Saturday, Seattle police said the crowd turned violent, throwing bottles, setting fires, breaking windows and looting businesses in the downtown area. Rioters, many wearing masks, looted and vandalized stores, including Nordstrom and Old Navy. Windows of the Cheesecake Factory were also smashed, and people were seen throwing bottles of alcohol outside. A KIRO-TV news crew that was recording footage of the scene captured footage of a woman wearing a mask walking away from the restaurant carrying an entire cheesecake on a serving tray. She also appeared to be carrying a wine glass and a champagne flute. The footage of the woman quickly gained traction on social media, where people tried to make light of the chaos. “She seems polite about it,” one Twitter user wrote. “With everything going on, sometimes you have to take a moment to treat yourself,” another person wrote. “It would have gone to waste otherwise,” someone responded. Others said the video made them laugh or smile in the midst of what has been a stressful week.
  • Do you feel lucky? Well, do ya? If you’re Clint Eastwood, there is plenty to feel lucky about. As an actor and director, Eastwood has been a presence in American movies for six decades. Eastwood turned 90 on Sunday. Whether he was a lone drifter in spaghetti westerns or rogue cop Harry Callahan, Eastwood has always had a presence. Eastwood was born May 31, 1930, in San Franciso. He was raised in Oakland, and before becoming an established movie star he played Rowdy Yates in the television western, “Rawhide.” But it is on the big screen where Eastwood made a sudden impact. According to Rolling Stone, Pauline Kael described Eastwood as “six feet four of lean, tough saint, blue-eyed and shaggy-haired, with a rugged, creased, careworn face that occasionally breaks into a mischief-filled grin.' In keeping with Eastwood’s stoic persona, his birthday celebration was supposed to be low-key. “We’re just going to do a family thing -- very, very calm, very mellow,” his 34-year-old actor son Scott told “Access Hollywood.” “We’ll sneak a cake in there, definitely. He probably won’t like it.” Eastwood has won five Academy Awards, with two films that won both Best Picture and Directing -- Unforgiven (1992) and Million Dollar Baby (2004). His fifth Oscar was the Irving Thalberg Memorial Award in 1995. Here is a look at five of Eastwood’s more memorable films: “A Fistful of Dollars' (1964): The first of a trio of westerns shot in Italy, Italian director Sergio Leone was persuaded to used Eastwood despite coveting Henry Fonda, James Coburn or Charles Bronson for the role of the Man With No Name. Eastwood is eerily intimidating with his poncho, his intense cigar-chewing and his fast trigger finger. “Fistful” was followed by “For a Few Dollars More” in 1965 and “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly” in 1966. The latter movie is considered the best of the trilogy, with Lee Van Cleef cast as the “Bad” and Eli Wallach playing an amoral “Ugly” character. You know who was “Good.' “Dirty Harry” (1971): Eastwood was defined by the macho, .44-magnum toting police inspector in San Francisco. His character was so memorable in this Don Siegel film that Eastwood reprised the Callahan character in four more films -- “Magnum Force (1973), “The Enforcer” (1976), “Sudden Impact” (1983) and :”The Dead Pool' (1988). In “Dirty Harry,” Eastwood hunts down a serial killer named Scorpio, and utters the famous line with a sneer: “You’ve got to ask yourself a question. ‘Do I feel lucky?’ Well, do ya, punk?” “Play Misty for Me” (1971): This marked Eastwood’s directorial debut, a film in which he plays a disc jockey in Northern California who picks up a woman at a bar (Jessica Walters). She is the same woman who calls the radio station where Eastwood works and requests the Errol Garner song, “Misty.” Far from being a macho character, Eastwood played a victim as the woman’s obsessive behavior nearly turns fatal. “Every Which Way But Loose” (1978): Rarely did anyone ever make a monkey out of Eastwood, but a beer-swilling orangutan named Clyde did just that in this comedy. Eastwood is able to punch out bad guys and deliver wise-cracking punchlines. “Right turn, Clyde” became a mantra for fans, and the film led to a sequel, 1980′s “Any Which Way You Can.” “The Mule”(2018): Only Eastwood could look intimidating as an 88-year-old. He plays Earl Stone, an out-of-business horticulturist who agrees to drive a truck to a town near the Mexican border. He later discovers he is hauling narcotics for a Mexican drug cartel. Eastwood plays senior citizens well, as “Gran Torino,' “American Sniper” and “Trouble With the Curve” prove. He might be old, but the icy stare remains. Other movies of note: “The Outlaw Josey Wales,” “Unforgiven,” “Million Dollar Baby,” “The Bridges of Madison County,” and his latest work, “Richard Jewell.” So, make his day and wish Clint Eastwood a happy birthday.
  • Target will close dozens of its locations nationwide - including two in metro Atlanta, due to ongoing protests and destructive rioting in the wake of George Floyd’s death. In Georgia, two locations in Buckhead will temporarily close.  The chain’s headquarters are based in Minneapolis, where Floyd’s death occurred while in police custody.  now former officer Derek Chauvin is charged in Floyd’s death.   “We are heartbroken by the death of George Floyd and the pain it is causing communities across the country. At this time, we have made the decision to close a number of our stores. We anticipate most stores will be closed temporarily. Our focus will remain on our team members’ safety and helping our community heal,” the company said in a statement. Target says employees at the closed stores will be paid for up to 14 days during store closures, including coronavirus pay, and also have the chance to work at other stores. From Channel 2 Action News: During the first night of protests Friday, Atlanta firefighters worked to put out a fire started in the back of the Target at 2539 Piedmont Road. Atlanta fire officials say fireworks were set off in multiple locations as well. Atlanta firefighters worked to put a second fire that happened in a storage room Saturday night. The department can’t say for sure right now if it’s arson, but fire investigators are on the way to see. Atlanta Battalion Chief Kendale Mitchell said part of the building may have been left unsecured from Friday’s protests. “This store was broken into earlier when we were experiencing the protests and the store hasn’t been fully secured all the way. I think they have security on site but may or may not. It’s undetermined if it was a break in at this time or not,” Mitchell said.    
  • Police departments in metro Atlanta on Sunday were preparing for more possible protests that would round out a weekend of demonstrations resulting in hundreds of arrests along with damage to storefronts and shops.  Gwinnett County police, which encountered protesters Saturday at the mall Sugarloaf Mills, said the department is only aware of “the potential for protests” to happen Sunday in Lawrenceville.  “The police department will have an increased presence across the county today and into the night,” spokeswoman officer Ashley Wilson said.  Two police cars were damaged and four people were arrested in Saturday’s protest in Gwinnett, the agency said.  See the AJC’s complete coverage of the Atlanta protests here. Lawrenceville Mayor David Still told the city’s Facebook followers that police are preparing for the potential of activity to crop up Sunday and into Monday. While Lawrenceville supports the right to protest, Still said those gatherings “must be peaceful and respectful.”  “We will not tolerate any destruction of property or any acts of violence,” the mayor’s message reads. “Therefore, the Lawrenceville Police Department will utilize all resources available to protect our city.” The bulk of protest activity on Saturday was in Atlanta, where widespread property damage was reported and more than 150 people were arrested. Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms has extended the city’s nighttime curfew to run from 9 p.m. to sunrise on Monday.  READ | Georgia to deploy more National Guard troops ahead of new planned protests In Alpharetta, officers were on guard Saturday for the possibility that Avalon, the popular mixed-use shopping destination, would be the target of protest activity.  Alpharetta Department of Public Safety officials said Sunday on the agency’s Facebook page that officers worked with Avalon, the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office, Georgia Bureau of Investigation and other agencies to stave off any threats of violence.  Spokesperson Jim Cheatham said the department is still “monitoring the situation and are prepared to take steps as needed.”  “As of right now, we do not have any information as to something happening at a location in Alpharetta,” he said. “This could change at any moment and we are monitoring.” Avalon said Sunday that it didn’t experience any issues, and that the development continues to work with Alpharetta police to prepare for any protests that could make their way to the area. Woodstock Police Chief Calvin Moss said the police department has more officers working and the department is working closely with management at Outlet Shoppes at Atlanta in the event protesters show up at the mall.  About 30 people also demonstrated Saturday in downtown, and Moss said those were “peaceful and there were no issues.”  
  • — Phil Collen, guitarist for the rock band Def Leppard, recently surprised a group of high school students who were tuned in for a virtual music lesson. Collen partnered with Yousician, a music education company, to join a Zoom class for music students at Long Island High School for the Arts in Syosset, New York. The 13 students didn’t know the British musician would be joining their lesson, Patch.com reported. Collen started by performing his band’s 1987 hit “Pour Some Sugar On Me.' He then allowed the students to play their own renditions of the hit song and offered feedback. Collen also talked about his music journey and offered advice to the aspiring musicians: “It really comes down to putting the effort in, practicing and getting the technique down,' he said. “It’s all a learning curve. You gotta be you.” According to Patch.com, the students were granted free access to the Yousician platform to continue developing their musical skills over the summer. The students will also receive a free signed Def Leppard shirt.