7 Things: Protests banned in Birmingham, legal issues emerge over Confederate monuments, no Fox News debate for Alabama’s Senate race and more …
7. Gun sales are up
- After protests turned violent in central Alabama, gun stores reportedly saw an increase in sales, with the Alabama Guns and Outdoors Owner Russell England saying, “Everyone is making ammo runs.”
- Murphree’s Guns in Blount County owner Randal Murphree said the increase in sales “started right after the TV started putting all these riots on TV.” He noted that sales were already up due to the coronavirus, saying, “In March I sold more guns that I have in 30 years.”
6. Protests continue across the country
- Protests, rioting and looting in response to the death of George Floyd continued overnight with far fewer issues nationwide. There were new curfews in Washington, D.C., Atlanta, New York City, Cleveland and elsewhere.
- While The Washington Post declared that protests were a “pushback” against President Donald Trump, they also noted the protests were mostly peaceful after he called for cities to impose curfews and “dominate.”
5. Police officer killed in Moody
- Moody Police Sargeant Stephen Williams, a 23-year veteran and father of three, was killed at a Super 8 Motel in Moody. Two suspects are currently in custody.
- Alabama U.S. Attorney for the Northern District Jay Town released a statement on Williams’ death, saying, “Moody Police Sergeant Stephen Williams’ end of watch has come much too soon. Our condolences and prayers are with his family, friends, and fellow officers. His loss is a loss for all of Alabama. This serves as yet another heartbreaking and stark reminder of the perils encountered by law enforcement each day.”
4. Confederate monument in Mobile vandalized
- While Birmingham has removed a Confederate monument in a city park, the Admiral Raphael Semmes Confederate monument in Mobile was vandalized.
- City employees in Mobile have already spent time cleaning the monument. A spokesperson for the city said, “Any decision on moving it would be collaborative in nature. There is a process for that, and we are listening to the community’s voice as part of that process.”
3. Legal issues around Confederate monuments
- At Montgomery’s Lee High School, a statue of Robert E. Lee that stood out front was knocked down around the same time as protests took place downtown, but there will be no charges as the prosecutor has determined errors in the warrants make that impossible.
- The City of Birmingham’s illegal removal of the statue in Linn Park has drawn a lawsuit from the attorney general’s office, the city seems prepared to pay a onetime fine of $25,000 per violation of the Memorial Preservation Act required to move past the issue.
2. Tuberville declines a Fox News debate
- Former Auburn head coach Tommy Tuberville has already declined multiple offers for debates from local media outlets, and now he has declined an offer of a debate hosted by Fox News’ Chris Wallace, even though former U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions had accepted the invite.
- Polling indicates Tuberville holds a solid lead heading into the July 14 run-off election. He has already stated that he doesn’t need to debate with a lead as large as his, stating, “If coaching taught me anything, it’s that you don’t let the losing team dictate the game when you’re sitting on a lead.”
1. Birmingham has banned protests
- After riots and looting took place in the city, Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin put a curfew in place, and now that curfew has been expanded and protests and public demonstrations were banned for the time being.
- Woodfin said that the curfew is going to be extended for “as long as we see the need for it,” adding that if people are going to protest, they “have to have the self-discipline to engage in behavior that’s only bringing attention to the injustice.”