On Air Now

Listen Now


Partly Cloudy T-storms
H -° L 69°
  • clear-night
    Current Conditions
    Partly Cloudy T-storms. H -° L 69°
  • partly-cloudy-tstorms-day
    Partly Cloudy T-storms. H -° L 69°
  • partly-cloudy-tstorms-day
    Partly Cloudy T-storms. H 86° L 70°

News on-demand

00:00 | 00:00


Traffic on-demand

00:00 | 00:00


Weather on-demand

00:00 | 00:00

State & Regional Govt & Politics
Democratic presidential hopefuls emphasize Georgia’s big role in 2020

Democratic presidential hopefuls emphasize Georgia’s big role in 2020

Democratic presidential hopefuls emphasize Georgia’s big role in 2020
Former Vice President Joe Biden, from left, ex-U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke, South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg and U.S. Sen. Cory Bookers — all waging bids for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination — came to Atlanta on Thursday for a series of campaign events.

Democratic presidential hopefuls emphasize Georgia’s big role in 2020

Joe Biden cracked jokes about President Donald Trump’s tweets. Cory Booker declared Georgia a “blue state.” Beto O’Rourke unveiled his voting rights plan. And Pete Buttigieg visited hallowed Democratic ground.

Four leading presidential candidates converged on Atlanta on Thursday to court voters, meet with activists and raise a boatload of campaign cash.

And while they all had different priorities and target audiences during their visits, they each carried the same message: Georgia will be no afterthought in the 2020 election. It’s a sure-fire battleground state.

“What we need to do is get people out to vote,” said Booker, a New Jersey U.S. senator. “This is a blue state. What that means is we need to go back to organizing and build a 50-state party.”

Related: A day of live updates from the campaign trail 

Related: Biden reverses stance on Hyde abortion amendment at Atlanta event

Photos: Top Democratic presidential contenders campaign in Atlanta

Related: Which Democratic candidates have raised the most in Georgia

Map:  Georgia Presidential candidate visit tracker

Not surprisingly, Republicans beg to differ. They’ve swept every statewide election since 2010, and Republican presidential candidates have carried the state in every vote since 1996.

The state GOP greeted Booker’s insistence that Georgia is a “blue state” with a biting reminder of Republican Brian Kemp’s victory in November.

“Yeah Spartacus, just like Stacey Abrams is ‘governor,’ ” the party said on social media.

Georgia is indeed getting more early attention from presidential candidates than it has in decades, with more than a dozen visits from the top contenders since January. And they’re not solely focusing on Atlanta. The contenders have crisscrossed the suburbs, made pilgrimages to Plains and visited Augusta.

They’re engaged early in part thanks to Georgia’s trove of 120 delegates that will come in handy at next year’s nominating convention. But it’s also because the tight 2018 elections convinced them that Georgia is up for grabs.

Democrats last year picked up a spate of legislative seats in Atlanta’s suburbs, forced two statewide races into runoffs and, in the premier contest, got Abrams within 55,000 or so votes of defeating Kemp. And so, on a rainy Thursday, four candidates arrived with dreams of outdoing Abrams next year.

Two of the candidates, Booker and Buttigieg, tried to impress a crowd of veteran strategists at the African-American Leadership Council Summit in downtown Atlanta. Biden and O’Rourke headlined a glitzy fundraiser for the national party in Buckhead.

And in between, each of the four tried to make a blitz of connections with party leaders and activists at a frenzy of fundraisers and events.

Booker, who refers to himself as a “junk-food vegan,” appeared at a barbecue and tofu fundraiser. Buttigieg held court with a small group of donors at Manuel’s Tavern, a must-visit for generations of Democratic candidates.

A crowd of selfie-takers surrounded O’Rourke at Krog Street Market hours after he held a town hall at the Old Lady Gang soul-food palace. And Biden held court at a fundraiser at an Ansley Park mansion, where a coalition of Democrats from the party’s heyday mixed with younger rising stars.

The new Ohio?

It was an Atlanta debut for both Buttigieg and O’Rourke, who don’t boast the same network of support in Georgia as many of the other candidates. They tried to make the most of their time here.

In a nod toward the voting rights issues that dominated the race for governor, O’Rourke unveiled a plan that aims to register 50 million more people by 2024, make Election Day a federal holiday, abolish voter ID requirements and set new term limits on U.S. Supreme Court justices and members of Congress.

“As I watched what happened in Georgia … I saw the lines that stretched hours long, voting machines that didn’t work … and the implication that some people weren’t intended to vote,” said the former Texas congressman, who lost his challenge last year against Republican U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz.

He added: “Texas and Georgia — they’re not red states. They’re nonvoting states.”

Before a few dozen donors at Manuel’s, Buttigieg asserted that his experience as mayor of South Bend, Ind., and his left-leaning positions on an array of issues will help him attract even the most jaded of voters.

Otherwise, he warned, Trump can prevail again if Democrats nominate a status quo candidate who “looks like we are preserving the system.”

Later, speaking to hundreds of black leaders, he challenged the party to invest and organize in Georgia to capture its 16 electoral votes for the first time since Bill Clinton’s election as president in 1992.

“We invested in Ohio and not so much in Georgia last time, and we saw actually the results suggested Georgia is no less within reach,” he said. “Part of that is demographics, but a lot of it is organizing.”

‘Own the 21st century’

Booker stepped up his criticism of the state’s new anti-abortion “heartbeat” law, which has attracted a chorus of opposition from Democratic presidential candidates.

Speaking to a crowd of mostly black activists, he called the new restrictions an “anti-democratic” law and an assault on low-income women and minorities who lack health care options.

“I think a lot of people are going to be working to change that,” he said. “But I think until then, nobody should be silent on this issue. I think that silence is tantamount to complicity.”

And he issued a plea to Democrats to ramp up efforts in Georgia to organize and register voters — particularly residents in “overlooked” communities who are less likely to participate in elections.

For Biden, the former vice president, Thursday’s visit offered a chance to reconnect with the deep network of supporters he cultivated over decades in public office. And he showcased those ties at a fundraiser at the home of Mack Wilbourn, an airport concessionaire.

While most Georgia Democrats haven’t picked sides, Wilbourn’s two-story den was packed with some of the party’s most prominent figures in the state.

Former U.N. Ambassador Andrew Young and ex-Gov. Roy Barnes caught up with old friends, while a few feet away Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms chatted with well-heeled donors. U.S. Senate candidate Teresa Tomlinson, a former Columbus mayor, was front and center.

Biden spoke for about 30 minutes as the crowd noshed on gourmet sandwiches and pastries. He talked of his decision to enter the race and his worry, on the 75th anniversary of D-Day, that NATO will “be disintegrated” if Trump wins again.

He added, with a sigh, that Trump is “tweeting about Bette Midler” while overseas to honor the war dead. And he remarked, with sarcasm, that it “really worries me” that both Trump and North Korea dictator Kim Jong Un have criticized him.

Before Biden bolted to the next event, he told the group that the U.S. could be poised to “own the 21st century” if the country can pull together and cease the partisan infighting.

“If we continue to treat the other team like they’re the enemy and not the opposition, how are we going to get anything done?” Biden asked.

“I’m not joking — I’m deadly serious,” he said. “If we don’t change who we are, our kids will inherit a country that will take a long time to get back on track.”

Stay on top of what’s happening in Georgia government and politics at www.ajc.com/politics.

Read More


  • Charges have been filed against all four Minneapolis police officers involved in the situation that led last week to the death of 46-year-old George Floyd while he was in police custody in Minneapolis. Former Officer Derek Chauvin, who was previously charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter, has been charged with second-degree murder. The other officers involved in the situation, Thomas Lane, J.A. Kueng and Tou Thao were charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter. Floyd, 46, died May 25 after he was detained for questioning regarding a possible forgery in progress. Video of his death caught by bystanders showed Chauvin holding his knee to Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes as Floyd pleaded for air, sparking outrage. Live updates for Thursday, June 4 continue below: Portland, other cities rethink school police amid protests Update 8 p.m. EDT June 4: Oregon’s largest school district will no longer have police officers in its schools and joins a handful of urban districts from Minneapolis to Denver that are rethinking their school resource officer programs amid national outrage over the death of George Floyd. Superintendent Guadalupe Guerrero said Thursday that Portland Public Schools needed to “re-examine our relationship” with the police in light of protests over the death of Floyd, a handcuffed black man who died after a white Minneapolis police officer pressed his knee into his neck for nearly nine minutes. The district of more than 49,000 students joins Minneapolis, which severed ties with its school resource officers on Tuesday. Districts in St. Paul, Minnesota and Denver are considering doing the same. Protesters in Charlottesville, Virginia, have made the end of the school resource officer program in their district one of their demands. Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler said Thursday that he would also discontinue using school resource officers in two smaller metropolitan districts under a program that costs the city $1.6 million a year. The move is in response to the demands of thousands of protesters, many of them young, who have filled the streets of Oregon’s largest city for six consecutive nights. Having the officers in high schools has been a touchy topic for several years in this liberal city. Students have protested in recent years for an end to the program, at one point even overwhelming a school board meeting. “Leaders must listen and respond to community. We must disrupt the patterns of racism and injustice,” Wheeler said Thursday of the most recent demonstrations. “I am pulling police officers from schools.” The presence of armed police officers in schools is a contentious one. While many Portland residents applauded the decision, others raised immediate concerns about student safety in the event of a school shooting or other emergency. Wheeler said the city would make sure officers could respond rapidly in an emergency. The move is “a knee-jerk reaction,” and the decision by a few districts to stop their programs could snowball — to the detriment of students nationwide, said Mo Canady, executive director of the National Association of School Resource Officers, whose association represents about 10,000 dues-paying officers. There are an estimated 25,000 school resource officers nationwide, he said. Headlines, op-ed prompt staff protests at NY Times, Inquirer Update 6:45 p.m. EDT June 4: Some staffers at The New York Times and Philadelphia Inquirer called in sick Thursday to protest decisions at each newspaper they believe were insensitive in the midst of nationwide protests about police mistreatment of black Americans. At the Times, an opinion column by U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton supporting use of the military to quell demonstrations prompted a rare public rebuke from dozens of staffers and the paper’s guild. Times management didn’t back down from the decision to publish it. The Inquirer apologized for a “horribly wrong” decision to use the headline “Buildings Matter, Too” on an article. The twin uprisings illustrated raw feelings unleashed by the video of George Floyd dying last week after a Minneapolis police officer pressed a knee against his neck, along with long-time concerns about whether newspaper staffs reflect the makeup of their communities. In his column, headlined “Send in the Troops,” Cotton condemned “nihilist criminals” out for loot and the thrill of destruction and “left-wing radicals” who want to exploit Floyd’s death to create anarchy. The Arkansas Republican, supporting President Donald Trump, said it was time to supplement local law enforcement with federal troops. Pentagon-Trump clash breaks open over military and protests Update 5:40 p.m. EDT June 4: President Donald Trump is not only drawing criticism from his usual political foes but also facing backtalk from his defense secretary, his former Pentagon chief and a growing number of fellow Republicans. A day after Defense Secretary Mark Esper shot down Trump’s idea of using active-duty troops to quell protests across the United States, retired four-star Gen. John Allen joined the chorus of former military leaders going after the president. And Republican Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski said Esper’s remarks were “overdue” and she didn’t know if she would support Trump in November. Although Esper’s declaration was followed by the Pentagon reversing course on pulling part of the 82nd Airborne Division off standby outside Washington, the rising criticism underscored an extraordinary clash between the U.S. military and its commander in chief. On Thursday, an official said the troops in question from the 82nd were going home to Fort Bragg, North Carolina, after all. Both Trump and Esper also drew stinging, rare public criticism from Trump’s first defense secretary, Jim Mattis, in the most public pushback of Trump’s presidency from the men he put at the helm of the world’s most powerful military. 3 ex-officers charged in George Floyd’s death ordered held on $750,000 bail Update 3:25 p.m. EDT June 4: Court records from Hennepin County, Minnesota, show three former police officers charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter in the death of George Floyd have each been ordered held on bails of $750,000. Thomas Lane, J.A. Kueng and Tou Thao made their first court appearances Thursday, according to court records. They were fired last week from Minneapolis Police Department after Floyd died on May 25. In video captured by passersby, the trio could be seen standing by or holding Floyd down as then-Officer Derek Chauvin pressed his knee to Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes. The three are scheduled to next appear in court on June 29. Chauvin is scheduled to make his first court appearance on charges of second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter on June 8. First of three memorial services for George Floyd set to begin in Minneapolis Update 3 p.m. EDT June 4: A memorial for George Floyd, who died last week in an encounter with Minneapolis police, is set to begin at 1 p.m. local time Thursday. President of North Central University announces George Floyd memorial scholarship Update 2:55 p.m. EDT June 4: The president of North Central University in Minneapolis announced that university officials have launched a memorial scholarship in honor of George Floyd, who was killed last week in an encounter with Minneapolis police. University President Scott Hagan announced the establishment of the fund during a memorial held Thursday for Floyd in Minneapolis. “Even before announcing this scholarship, yesterday, unsolicited, over $53,000 was handed to me to contribute toward the educational promise of aspiring young Black American leaders,” Hagan said. “I am now challenging every university president in the United States in America to establish your own George Floyd memorial scholarship fund.” Pelosi asks Trump for full list of agencies involved in response to DC protests  Update 2:20 p.m. EDT June 4: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Thursday asked President Donald Trump to name the agencies involved in the response to protests against police brutality in Washington D.C. and clarify their roles and responsibilities. The California Democrat wrote to the president days after peaceful protesters were tear-gassed to clear them from a park near the White House to allow for Trump to walk across the street for a photo-op at St. John’s Episcopal Church. “We are concerned about the increased militarization and lack of clarity that may increase chaos,” Pelosi said in the letter. “Congress and the American people need to know who is in charge, what is the chain of command, what is the mission, and by what authority is the National Guard from other state operating in the capital.' Washington D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser, who has been critical of the decision to allow out-of-state National Guard officials and military troops into the city, shared Pelosi’s letter on Twitter. “If it can happen in DC, what jurisdiction is next?” Bowser wrote. Los Angeles mayor lifts city’s curfew Update 2:05 p.m. EDT June 4: Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti on Thursday lifted a curfew enacted over the city as protests against police brutality and the death of Black Americans including George Floyd erupted nationwide. “I have lifted the curfew in the City of Los Angeles,” Garcetti said in a statement posted on Twitter. “We remain strongly committed to protecting the right of Angelenos to make their voices heard and ensuring the safety of our community.” University of Central Florida reviewing comments by professor who tweeted about ‘black privilege’ Update 1:50 p.m. EDT June 4: The University of Central Florida is reviewing a professor’s tweets after a hashtag calling for his removal began to trend Thursday morning on social media, WFTV reported. A Change.org petition was launched asking for an investigation into psychology professor Charles Negy, who in recent days compared African-Americans to Asian-Americans and claimed “black privilege” exists, according to WFTV and the Miami Herald. >> Read more on WFTV.com Ohio governor calls for moment of silence to remember George Floyd Update 1:35 p.m. EDT June 4: Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine on Thursday requested that state residents observe a moment of silence at 2 p.m. to remember George Floyd, who authorities said was killed last week in police custody. WHIO-TV reported DeWine cancelled a planned news conference scheduled Thursday afternoon because it was set to begin at the same time as a memorial service for Floyd in Minneapolis. Los Angeles County sheriff says deputies will no longer enforce county’s curfew Update 12:25 p.m. EDT June 4: Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva said Thursday that deputies will no longer enforce a curfew amid protests against police brutality and the killing of George Floyd. “Based upon current situational awareness and the recent pattern of peaceful actions by protesters, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department will no longer enforce a curfew,” Villanueva said in a statement. “Other jurisdictions are free to make their own decisions.” Virginia governor announces plans to take down statue of Gen. Robert E. Lee Update 11:35 a.m. EDT June 4: Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam on Thursday announced plans to take down a large statute of Gen. Robert E. Lee along Richmond’s prominent Monument Avenue. “Yes, that statue has been there for a long time. But it was wrong then, and it is wrong now,” Northam wrote in a series of Twitter posts announcing the decision. “So we’re taking it down.” The move comes amid protests nationwide over police brutality, racism and the deaths of Black Americans like George Floyd and Ahmaud Arbery at the hands of police and vigilantes. Officials in Richmond, one of the former capitals of the Confederacy, have resisted calls to remove the statue for years. Massachusetts man accused of bringing Molotov cocktails to protest Update 11:15 a.m. EDT June 4: Authorities have charged a Worcester, Massachusetts, man with civil disorder and possession of several Molotov cocktails during a demonstration in the city over the death of George Floyd, WFXT reported. In a news release obtained by WFXT, U.S. Attorney Andrew E. Lelling said 18-year-old Vincent Eovacious “attempted to obstruct or interfere with law enforcement officers” by bringing the Molotov cocktails to a peaceful protest on June 1. Eovacious was arrested Wednesday after being released on bond following state charges, including possession of an incendiary device, WFXT reported. >> Read more on Boston25News.com Washington State Patrol apologizes after trooper says, ‘Don’t kill them but hit them hard’ during protests Update 10:55 a.m. EDT June 4: Officials with Washington State Patrol apologized after video surfaced on social media showing a trooper saying, “Don’t kill them, but hit them hard” during protests in Seattle on Tuesday night, KIRO-TV reported. “Using that language ... which gives the impression of over-aggression and physicality and hurting people and harming people by law enforcement by intent was totally out of line, totally inappropriate, hurtful, confusing,” WSP Communications Director Chris Loftis said, according to KIRO-TV. He implored the public to understand the context of the situation. “(The trooper) was preparing his troops for what would be a physically confrontational situation,' Loftis said, according to KIRO-TV. “He was letting them know there were limits to what we could do.” The woman who caught the trooper’s comments on video, Krystal Marx, told KIRO-TV that WSP’s apology and explanation are not enough. “I would encourage WSP -- any other law enforcement agency -- if you are there to protect the peace, keep the peace and to listen and learn from communities that are hurting,' Marx said. “Make sure you use your language appropriately.” >> Read more on KIRO7.com Some Minneapolis police take knee as hearse for George Floyd passes by Update 10:40 a.m. EDT June 4: Some Minneapolis police officers were seen kneeling Thursday morning as the hearse carrying the body of George Floyd passed them, Twin Cities PBS reported. Ben Crump, an attorney representing Floyd’s family, said a memorial for the 46-year-old will be held at 1 p.m. local time Thursday at North Central University in Minneapolis. Senate Democrats hold moment of silence to remember George Floyd, victims of police brutality Update 10:30 a.m. EDT June 4: Senate Democrats on Thursday stayed silent for 8 minutes and 46 seconds in remembrance of George Floyd, the man who died last week as a Minneapolis police officer held his knee to Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes. Drew Brees apologizes after saying protests during national anthem disrespect the flag Update 8:55 a.m. EDT June 4: New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees apologized Thursday after saying in an interview with Yahoo! that he thought protests during the national anthem were disrespectful to the flag. “I would like to apologize to my friends, teammates, the City of New Orleans, the black community, NFL community and anyone I hurt with my comments yesterday,” Brees said in a statement posted Thursday morning on Instagram. He acknowledged that while speaking Wednesday with Yahoo! he “made comments that were insensitive and completely missed the mark on the issues we are facing right now as a country.” “They lacked awareness and any type of compassion or empathy,” Brees wrote. “Instead, those words have become divisive and hurtful and have misled people into believing that somehow I am an enemy. This could not be further from the truth, and is not an accurate reflection of my heart or my character.” Asked a question Wednesday about players protesting police brutality by taking a knee during the national anthem, Brees told Yahoo! that he would “never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag of the United States of America or our country.” Brees was heavily criticized on social media for his comments. “WOW MAN!!” LeBron James said in a tweet Thursday. “Is it still surprising at this point. Sure isn’t! You literally still don’t understand why Kap was kneeling on one knee?? Has absolute nothing to do with the disrespect of (the flag) and our soldiers (men and women) who keep our land free.” Beyoncé urges fans to stay ‘focused’ in fight for justice  Update 8:10 a.m. June 4: Beyoncé Knowles-Carter is urging her fans to stay “focused” in fighting for justice for George Floyd. The Grammy-winning artist shared a message on Instagram, which featured an aerial photo of of Black Lives Matter demonstrators filling the streets of Minneapolis, Minnesota. The caption framing the photo read: “The world came together for George Floyd. We know there is a long road ahead. Let’s remain aligned and focused in our call for real justice.” Friend in car says George Floyd did not resist arrest Update 6:17 a.m. June 4: A friend who was in the passenger seat of George Floyd’s car when he had a fatal encounter with a police officer said the Minneapolis man tried to defuse the situation and did not try to resist arrest. Maurice Lester Hall, 42, was arrested on outstanding warrants Wednesday in Houston and was interviewed by investigators in Minnesota, The New York Times reported. “He was, from the beginning, trying in his humblest form to show he was not resisting in no form or way,” Hall told the newspaper. “I could hear him pleading, ‘Please, officer, what’s all this for?’” Hall called Floyd a mentor and said the two Houston natives spent time together May 25 before the incident with Minneapolis. Hall said he will not forget what he saw as Derek Chauvin placed a knee against Floyd’s neck and held it there for nearly nine minutes. “He was just crying out at that time for anyone to help because he was dying,” Hall told the Times. “I’m going to always remember seeing the fear in Floyd’s face because he’s such a king. That’s what sticks with me, seeing a grown man cry, before seeing a grown man die.” LA police arrest protesters who broke curfew Update 5:18 a.m. June 4: Police in Los Angeles arrested nearly 100 protesters who broke the city’s curfew, with some staying outside more than 90 minutes past the 9 p.m. deadline, The Washington Post reported. The rally occurred outside City Hall on Wednesday night and many of the 1,000 attendees obeyed the curfew and went home, the newspaper reported. Those who did not were handcuffed by police in riot gear. “When I first got here it was really scary, because when I came here I saw the National Guard and I was not myself,” Ashley, a 22-year-old protester from Pasadena, California, who declined to give her last name, told the Post. “So seeing that made me fear what was going to happen.” Most observers said that despite the arrests, the rally was peaceful, the newspaper reported. Georgia police: 3 protesters torched squad cars Update 5:08 a.m. June 4: Three protesters in Georgia are accused of setting police cars on fire, WSB-TV reported. According to police, the protesters tracked the officers down at their homes and torched the cars. Ebuka Chike-Morah, Alvin Joseph and Lakaila Mack all face charges for lighting two Gwinnett police cars on fire, according to WSB-TV. Meghan Markle speaks out against George Floyd’s death Update 3:37 a.m. June 4: Meghan Markle spoke out about the death of George Floyd, calling it “absolutely devastating.” The Duchess of Sussex made her comments in a video to the graduating class of Immaculate Heart High School in Los Angeles “George Floyd’s life mattered and Breonna Taylor’s life mattered and Philando Castile’s life mattered, and Tamir Rice’s life mattered, and so did so many other people’s names we know and names we don’t know,' Markle said. “You’re going to use your voice in a stronger way than you have ever been able to because most of you are 18, or you’re turning 18, so you’re going to vote. You’re going to have empathy for those who don’t see the world through the same lens that you do.” Kareem Abdul-Jabbar says arrests ‘a step toward justice’  Update 3:20 a.m. June 4: Basketball Hall of Famer Kareem Abdul Jabbar told CNN the decision to charge all four former Minneapolis police officers was “a step toward justice.” The NBA legend, who wrote an op-ed in the Los Angeles Times on Sunday and observed that “racism in America is like dust in the air,” praised Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz and Minneapolis MayorJacob Frey for their fast actions. “It’s like, you know, the United States is this wonderful bus with great seats in the front of the bus,' Abdul-Jabbar told CNN. “But as you go further to the back of the bus, the seats get worse and the fumes from the exhaust leak in and really wreck with people’s health and their lives. But the people at the front of the bus, they have no complaints. It’s kind of like that. “That dust accumulates in the lives of black Americans, and it eliminates all the mechanics of democracy. Democracy doesn’t work for us.” The former Los Angeles Lakers center said nothing had changed in terms of systematic racism since the Rodney King incident and riots in Los Angeles in 1992. “Something has to be done,” Abdul-Jabbar told CNN. “It’s not enough to say, ‘That was terrible and my thoughts and prayers are with you.’ That’s not getting anything done.” National Guard to assist authorities in San Diego County Update 2:59 a.m. June 4: Two hundred members of the National Guard have been deployed in San Diego County to prevent looting, the San Diego County Sheriff’s Office said in a tweet. The Guardsmen will work with local law enforcement agencies to provide security to “critical infrastructures” during protests to prevent looting and arson, the department tweeted. Police use tear gas when protesters try to block Iowa interstate Update 2:33 a.m. June 4: Hundreds of protesters attempting to block an Iowa interstate were met by state troopers and Iowa City police, who fired tear gas, the Iowa City Press-Citizen reported. The crowd attempted to skirt the line of officials who were blocking their path, the newspaper reported. “Disperse immediately,” said a speaker, who was identified as an Iowa State Patrol officer. The voice added that failure to do so would result in the deployment of chemical deterrents. “Quit your job,” the crowd chanted back, the Press-Citizen reported. Huntsville police arrest more than 20 protesters, use tear gas Update 2:13 a.m. June 4: Police in Huntsville, Alabama, arrested more than 20 protesters and used tear gas at the Madison County Courthouse square, WHNT reported. Protests began peacefully earlier Wednesday in a march sponsored by the NAACP and ended around 6:30 p.m. The majority of the crowd stayed and marched from Big Spring Park East to the courthouse, the television station reported. Around 8 p.m., authorities used rubber bullets and tear gas to disperse the crowd, WHNT reported. The area was cleared within an hour, according to WHNT. Police said more arrests could be pending. New Orleans police fire tear gas at protesters Update 1:33 a.m. June 4: Police in New Orleans fired tear gas into a crowd of protesters near the Crescent City Connection late Wednesday, NOLA.com reported. Police said the action was taken after protesters refused to comply with three orders not to walk across the CCC. “The NOPD deployed tear gas tonight to disperse protesters after the crowd refused to comply with three orders not to attempt to walk across the CCC,” the department said in a statement. “Escalation and confrontation hurts us all. NOPD is committed to respectful protection of our residents’ First Amendment rights. However, tonight we were compelled to deploy gas on the CCC in response to escalating, physical confrontation with our officers.” 3 Minneapolis officers charged Wednesday to appear in court Thursday Update 1:15 a.m. June 4: The three former Minneapolis police officers who were arrested Wednesday on charges of aiding and abetting the murder of George Floyd will have their first court appearances Thursday afternoon. The former officers -- J. Alexander Keung, Thomas Lane and Tou Thao -- are set to appear before the judicial officer at 1:45 p.m. EDT, CNN reported. The hearings were pushed up by 45 minutes from their original schedule, according to court records.
  • More than 6.4 million people worldwide – including more than 1.8 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 Thursday, June 4, continue below:  Seattle to offer free citywide coronavirus testing Update 9:30 p.m. EDT June 4: Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan announced Thursday that the city will offer free citywide coronavirus testing in partnership with the University of Washington Medicine. Testing will be performed at two locations. Drive-up sites will be located in north and south Seattle. Those sites are former emissions testing sites, which will allow for up to 1,600 tests per day, officials said. However, the testing will only be for those who drive through and book ahead. Outbreak reported at Tyson food plant in North Carolina A COVID-19 outbreak was reported at the Tyson Food plant in Claremont, where town leaders said more than 700 people work. Tyson sent WSOC-TV an email saying it doesn’t plan on doing widespread testing there because the number of COVID-19 cases is less than 2%. Family members of the plant workers said that 10 workers have been infected with the virus. The company makes frozen prepacked sandwiches and biscuits. The news comes after 570 people tested positive at the Tyson chicken plants in Wilkesboro, NC. California Gov. says protests may lead to spike in virus cases Update 7:30 p.m. EDT June 4: California Gov. Gavin Newsom said Thursday he’s concerned about the spread of coronavirus as thousands of people gather for protests across the state, and he said the state should prepare for higher rates of positive tests because of both the protests and the reopening of businesses that’s underway. “If you’re not (concerned), you’re not paying attention to the epidemiology, to the virulence of this disease,” he said during a visit to Stockton, California, where he met with Mayor Michael Tubbs and business owners to discuss systemic racism and injustices. Newsom added he’s particularly concerned about the disproportionate deaths from the virus among black Californians. Still, California has no plans to halt its reopening efforts, though Newsom hasn’t announced any new guidance for businesses this week. Mark Ghaly, secretary of the California Health and Human Services agency, said the state is in a “range of stability” on cases and hospitalizations and is “working hard” on more guidance. California has already allowed most counties to reopen restaurants, nail salons, churches and other businesses with restrictions. But highly anticipated guidance on schools has not been released, nor have details on the resumption of professional sports, possibly without fans. Ghaly acknowledged it will be weeks before the effects of the protest on public health are fully known. He highlighted the “importance of the freedom and liberty to protest” but added, “it does create infectious disease concern that we weren’t contending with before.” Telehealth expansion could become permanent after pandemic Update 6:50 p.m. EDT June 4: The temporary expansion of telehealth during the coronavirus pandemic would become permanent under a bill endorsed Thursday by a Senate committee. As passed by the House in March, the bill would allow reimbursement for medication-assisted treatment for substance use disorders conducted via telehealth. But an amendment recommended by the Senate Health and Human Services Committee would also make permanent the provisions of Gov. Chris Sununu’s emergency order on telehealth, which allowed all health care providers to offer services remotely and required insurers to cover them. Officials representing hospitals, community health centers, dentists and mental health providers all told the committee that telehealth has been a valuable tool during the pandemic and should continue. “As many experts have predicted, telehealth is here to stay, which is why this legislation is so important to ensure patients are able to get the right care at the right time in the right setting, which ultimately may be in the safety of their own homes,” said Paula Minnehan of the New Hampshire Hospital Association. Ken Norton, director of the New Hampshire chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness, said telehealth has greatly expanded access to mental health treatment. “We can’t go back,” he said. Study on safety of malaria drugs for coronavirus retracted Update 4:50 p.m. EDT June 4: Several authors of a large study that raised safety concerns about malaria drugs for coronavirus patients have retracted the report, saying independent reviewers were not able to verify information that’s been widely questioned by other scientists. Thursday’s retraction in the journal Lancet involved a May 22 report on hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine, drugs long used for preventing or treating malaria but whose safety and effectiveness for COVID-19 are unknown. The study leaders also retracted an earlier report using the same company’s database on blood pressure drugs published by the New England Journal of Medicine. That study suggested that widely used blood pressure medicines were safe for coronavirus patients, a conclusion some other studies and heart doctor groups also have reached. Even though the Lancet report was not a rigorous test, the observational study had huge impact because of its size, reportedly involving more than 96,000 patients and 671 hospitals on six continents. Its conclusion that the drugs were tied to a higher risk of death and heart problems in people hospitalized with COVID-19 led the World Health Organization to temporarily stop use of hydroxychloroquine in a study it is leading, and for French officials to stop allowing its use in hospitals there. “Not only is there no benefit, but we saw a very consistent signal of harm,” study leader Dr. Mandeep Mehra of Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston told The Associated Press when the work was published. The drugs have been controversial because President Donald Trump repeatedly promoted their use and took hydroxychloroquine himself to try to prevent infection after some White House staffers tested positive for the virus. The drugs are known to have potential side effects, especially heart rhythm problems. The Lancet study relied on a database from a Chicago company, Surgisphere. Its founder, Dr. Sapan Desai, is one of the authors. Dozens of scientists questioned irregularities and improbable findings in the numbers, and the other authors besides Desai said earlier this week that an independent audit would be done. In the retraction notice, those authors say Surgisphere would not give the reviewers the full data, citing confidentiality and client agreements. Cases, testing hit single-day highs in NC Update 3:45 p.m. EDT June 4: Health officials in North Carolina reported the state’s highest single-day number of new coronavirus infections and daily testing figures on Thursday, WSOC-TV reported. Officials with the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services said 1,189 new COVID-19 cases have been reported statewide. WSOC-TV reported that the previous highest one-day increase in cases was 1,185. State officials also reported having conducted 19,039 tests, the highest number reported in a single day so far and well over the state’s goal of 5,000 to 7,000 tests per day. Officials have reported 31,966 cases of COVID-19 in North Carolina. At least 960 people statewide have died of coronavirus infections. >> Read more on WSOCTV.com 1,805 new coronavirus infections reported in the UK Update 2:45 p.m. EDT June 4: Officials in the United Kingdom reported 1,805 new coronavirus infections Thursday, raising the country’s total number of infections to 281,661. Officials said that as of 5 p.m. local time Wednesday, the most recent date for which data was available, 39,904 people had died nationwide of COVID-19. NBA season to resume from Orlando in late July, reports say Update 2:35 p.m. EDT June 4: The NBA’s Board of Governors has approved a plan to restart the season after it was suspended three months ago due to the coronavirus pandemic, The Associated Press and other media outlets reported. The 2019-2020 season will be played in Orlando at Walt Disney World’s ESPN’s Wide World of Sports complex starting in late July, the AP reported. 603 new cases of COVID-19 reported in New Jersey Update 2:05 p.m. EDT June 4: Gov. Phil Murphy of New Jersey said Thursday that 603 new coronavirus infections have been reported, raising the total number of COVID-19 cases in the state to 162,530. “We still have work to do,” Murphy said in a statement posted on Twitter. “Let’s keep pushing these numbers down. When we do, (we’ll) get through Stage 2 that much sooner.” Officials also reported 92 more deaths associated with the coronavirus pandemic. As of Thursday, 11,970 people have died statewide of COVID-19. CDC chief urges Americans to be vigilant on coronavirus Update 1:20 p.m. EDT June 4: Worried by photos of large gatherings of people which could lead to a spike in coronavirus cases, the head of the Centers for Disease Control used testimony before Congress on Thursday to plead with Americans to wear masks in public and continue to engage in social distancing measures to stop the spread of the virus. “We’re very concerned that our public health message is not resonating,” Redfield told a hearing of the House Appropriations Committee. 104 new cases of COVID-19 reported in DC Update 12:20 p.m. EDT June 4: Health officials in Washington D.C. said Thursday that 104 new coronavirus infections have been reported in the area, raising the total number of cases in the area to 9,120. Officials also announced that two more people, aged 76 and 89, had died of COVID-19 in Washington D.C., bringing the total number of deaths in the District to 475. 52 new fatal COVID-19 cases reported in New York Update 11:55 p.m. EDT June 4: Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York said Thursday that 52 more people have died of COVID-19 in the state. The number is slightly higher than the 49 new fatal coronavirus infections reported one day before and lower than the 58 deaths reported Tuesday and the 54 deaths reported on Monday. Ohio State University to resume in-person classes in fall Update 11:10 a.m. EDT June 4: Officials with Ohio State University announced plans Wednesday to reopen its campus in Columbus, Ohio come the fall, WHIO-TV reported. University President Michael V. Drake announced the decision at a board of trustees meeting and in a message to the university community, according to WHIO-TV. Specific guidelines will be announced in the coming weeks based on guidance from state and local health authorities and recommendations of the Safe Campus and Scientific Advisory Subgroup of the university’s COVID-19 Transition Task Force. >> Read more on WHIO.com Stocks open slightly lower after 4 straight days of gains Update 10:05 a.m. EDT June 4: Stocks eased back in early trading Thursday on Wall Street as a four-day market rally cooled off. The stretch of gains had brought the S&P 500 back to where it was just one week after reaching an all-time high in February. The index fell 0.4%. In more grim news on the economy, nearly 1.9 million people applied for unemployment benefits last week, but that marked the ninth straight decline since applications spiked in mid-March. European markets were mostly lower after the European Central Bank said it now expects the region’s economy to shrink by 8.7% this year and increased its stimulus program. RNC to meet Thursday with officials in NC to discuss future of convention Update 10 a.m. EDT June 4: Officials in Charlotte, North Carolina, plan to meet Thursday with members of the Republican National Committee to discuss plans for the Republican National Convention, WSOC-TV reported. The meeting comes after President Donald Trump said he was looking into moving the convention, which is scheduled for August, from Charlotte due to the safety precautions put in place statewide to try to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. >> Read more on WSOCTV.com 1.9 million seek jobless aid even as reopenings slow layoffs Update 8:40 a.m. EDT June 4: Nearly 1.9 million people applied for U.S. unemployment benefits last week, the ninth straight decline since applications spiked in mid-March, a sign that the gradual reopening of businesses has slowed the loss of jobs. The diminishing pace suggests that the job market meltdown that was triggered by the coronavirus may have bottomed out as more companies call at least some of their former employees back to work. The total number of people who are now receiving jobless aid rose only slightly to 21.5 million, suggesting that rehiring is offsetting some of the ongoing layoffs. Though applications for benefits are slowing, the latest weekly number is still more than double the record high that prevailed before the viral outbreak. It shows that there are limits to how much a partial reopening of the economy can restore a depressed job market mired in a recession. Prince Charles says he was ‘lucky’ symptoms were mild Update 7:45 a.m. EDT June 4: Britain’s Prince Charles said he considered himself “lucky” after he contracted mild symptoms of the coronavirus, and had “got away with it quite lightly.” The prince told UK broadcaster Sky News that his brush with COVID-19 increased his commitment to advocating environmental causes. “It makes me even more determined to push and shove and shout and prod, if you see what I mean. Whatever I can do behind the scenes sometimes ... I suppose it did partly, I mean I was lucky in my case and got away with it quite lightly,” he told Sky News in a video call from Scotland. “But I’ve had it, and I can so understand what other people have gone through. And I feel particularly for those, for instance, who have lost their loved ones but were unable to be with them at the time. That to me is the most ghastly thing.” Civil unrest forces at least 70 testing sites to close Update 5:33 a.m. EDT June 4: Looting and civil unrest nationwide have forced at least 70 coronavirus testing sites to close, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services told The Washington Post. Agency officials said most of the sites were located in private pharmacies in “socially vulnerable” neighborhoods, the newspaper reported. “We shouldn’t feel comforted if we don’t see an uptick,” Leana S. Wen, Baltimore’s former health commissioner, told the Post. “There may be a reason why the numbers aren’t being captured.” South Korea confirms 39 new cases Update 4:56 a.m. EDT June 4: South Korea health officials confirmed 39 new cases of COVID-19onn Thursday -- 33 of which are locally transmitted. According to the country’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the news cases are related to several clusters in Seoul and surrounding areas. Yoon Tae-ho, an official with the South Korean Health Ministry, warned that locally transmitted cases may become tougher to trace, CNN reported. Confirmed cases top 6.5 million worldwide Update 4:10 a.m. EDT June 4: The number of confirmed novel coronavirus cases worldwide topped 6.5 million early Thursday, according to Johns Hopkins University. According to the tally kept by the university, there are at least 6,514,639 confirmed cases of the virus, and there are at least 386,111 deaths. The United States remains the leader in confirmed cases with 1,851,520 and 107,175 deaths. Pakistan has more confirmed cases than China Update 2:50 a.m. EDT June 4: Pakistan has passed China in confirmed cases of COVID-19, according to Johns Hopkins University. As of Thursday, Pakistan had 85,264 confirmed cases and 1,770 virus-related deaths. China has reported 84,160 coronavirus cases and 4,638 deaths. US coronavirus cases climb past 1.85M, deaths top 107K Update 12:50 a.m. EDT June 4: The number of novel coronavirus cases in the United States continued to climb past 1.85 million early Thursday 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 1,851,520 confirmed U.S. cases of the virus, which have resulted in at least 107,175 deaths. The hardest-hit states remain New York with 374,085 cases and 30,019 deaths and New Jersey with 162,068 cases and 11,880 deaths. Massachusetts, with 101,592 cases, has the third-highest number of deaths with 7,152, while Illinois has the third-highest number of cases with 123,830. Six other states have now confirmed at least 54,000 novel coronavirus cases each, including: • California: 117,215 cases, resulting in 4,305 deaths • Pennsylvania: 77,225 cases, resulting in 5,667 deaths • Texas: 67,310 cases, resulting in 1,716 deaths • Michigan: 57,731 cases, resulting in 5,553 deaths • Florida: 57,447 cases, resulting in 2,530 deaths • Maryland: 54,175 cases, resulting in 2,597 deaths Meanwhile, Georgia, Virginia, Connecticut and Louisiana each has confirmed at least 40,000 cases; Ohio, Indiana and North Carolina each has confirmed at least 30,000 cases; Colorado, Minnesota, Tennessee, Washington, Arizona and Iowa each has confirmed at least 20,000 cases; Alabama and Wisconsin each has confirmed at least 18,000 cases, followed by Mississippi with 16,041 and Rhode Island with 15,112; Nebraska and Missouri each has confirmed at least 14,000 cases, followed by South Carolina with 12,415; Utah and Kentucky each has confirmed at least 10,000 cases; Kansas and Delaware each has confirmed at least 9,000 cases; the District of Columbia, Nevada and New Mexico each has confirmed at least 8,000 cases; Arkansas, Oklahoma and South Dakota each has confirmed at least 5,000 cases Click here to see CNN’s state-by-state breakdown. The Associated Press contributed to this report.
  • Social service providers knew this would be a busy spring. Isolation, anxiety and economic uncertainty over the pandemic have especially led, to an unprecedented demand for psychological counseling and help with substance abuse issues. “We actually were hyperfocused on overdoses,” said Jennifer Levine, executive director of the S.A.F.E. Coalition in Franklin, Massachusetts. “That is something that we were getting ready for, so we created a video for Narcan use... we ordered more Narcan ... we created a platform for that online.” And the organization did see that increase in overdoses. But then COVID-19 seemed to throw mental health professionals a curveball. “We’re seeing a huge increase in drinking in particular,” said Jaclyn Winer, LICSW, director of Holliston Youth and Family Services. “You know, if you’re stressed out, have a glass of wine and unwind. That’s perfectly normal and healthy. But if you are someone who struggles with substance use, that can really lead to worsening use.” Liquor stores never closed during the pandemic. They were deemed as essential as grocery stores and pharmacies -- and there were serious health reasons for that, said Levine. “The biggest concern was folks that use alcohol on a daily basis and were told they couldn’t use that alcohol would either withdrawal on their own at home, which is a huge concern, or they would find other means to use alcohol,” she said, citing examples such as ingesting isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol. The fear was that either because of withdrawal symptoms or poisoning these chronic alcohol users would wind up in hospitals focused on dealing with COVID-19. But Levine said there appears to have been an unintended consequence of making alcohol available to the legions suddenly forced to work or study from home -- no matter what level of drinker they started out as. “There’s just more access to alcohol,” she said. “So many stores are delivering. There are alcohol delivery services.” Unfortunately, Levine said some of the alcohol is winding up in the hands of kids. “A lot of parents are recognizing that their child -- their middle school, high school, college-age child are increasing their alcohol use -- which is a huge concern for them.” Another big concern: Those in recovery who have had no access to “live” support meetings for months. That has taken a terrible toll, Winer said. “Unfortunately, folks who were relying on certain services have, unfortunately, relapsed,” she said. “For those that are occasional drinkers or drink socially, you might not think twice about a liquor store being open,” she added. “But when we think about the messages that are getting sent to our youth and our recovery community, I think that can definitely persuade somebody who maybe had been in recovery to start drinking again.” Although the pandemic is easing, there's no way to know when a vaccine will be available and/or the virus will have infected enough Americans (assuming they become immune as a result) to become a negligible threat. That gnawing anxiety of “no end in sight” means the need for counseling and other social services will likely continue to rise. “We will emerge from this in a healthy and safe way,” Winer said. “I think anxiety is bound to be there. But as long as we can lean into the anxiety and not dismiss it, I think we’ll be able to get through this.” In other words, if you need help, it’s there. Don’t be afraid to get it.
  • The cases against three murder suspects have been bound over to Superior Court after an all-day hearing in Glynn County. The three men accused of murdering Ahmaud Arbery are scheduled for probable cause hearings in Brunswick today amid nationwide protests over the killing of another unarmed black man — George Floyd — in Minneapolis.  Travis and Greg McMichael and William “Roddie” Bryan have each been charged with felony murder in the Arbery case, which has drawn national attention and sparked demonstrations. Because of concerns surrounding the coronavirus pandemic, the McMichaels and Bryan will appear by video for their hearings from the Glynn County Detention Center.  Read more on this story at www.ajc.com. 
  • Hoods could fly open on certain Nissan vehicles because of a faulty latch prompting the carmaker to recall thousands of cars for the fourth time.  A coating can flake off the secondary hood latch, leaving bare metal that, over time, can cause rust and cause it to stay open on Altimas built from 2013 to 2018 model years, The Associated Press reported.  If the main latch is not closed, the secondary might not be able to hold down the hood. The first recall for this problem was in 2014. Another was in 2015. Both times, the repair was made by fixing a lever and adjusting the secondary latch. A 2016 recall replaced the latches with new ones.  Nissan does not have a fix yet for the latest recall. Owners will get letters with instructions on how to inspect and maintain the latch. Owners will get another letter when a repair is developed.  A link to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration where people could check if their vehicle is affected: https://www.nhtsa.gov/recalls The Associated Press contributed to this report.
  • A North Carolina girl has died after a fight with the coronavirus. Aurea Soto Morales, a second grader at Creekside Elementary School, died Monday after she was hospitalized at UNC Hospital for severe complications from the coronavirus. In a GoFundMe, which has raised more than $12,600, organizers said COVID-19 caused swelling in her brain. She later went into a coma and died. Her father, mother and sister have also contracted the virus, according to the GoFundMe. Creekside Elementary School released the following statement: “Our whole Creekside community’s heart is broken over the loss of one of our wonderful students, who was a shining light wherever she went. Even though we must remain physically distant due to COVID-19, we are still reaching out to support our children, families, and staff during this difficult time. We ask that the family and our Creekside community be given privacy so that we may have the space and time to grieve.”