7 Things: Push to defund the Birmingham police, GOP Senate race tightens in Alabama, asymptomatic spread of COVID-19 can happen now and more …
7. A woman from the Mobile protests is being charged federally
- It’s alleged that during the May 31 protest in Mobile, Tia Deyon Pugh smashed the window on a police car while a police officer was still inside with a bat that she brought with her. She’s accused of being in the group that broke off from the protest to block I-10.
- The broken police window was the only damage caused during the protest, other than the Confederate Admiral Raphael Semmes monument being vandalized. FBI Special Agent Paul Roche has submitted an affidavit that Pugh admitted to breaking the window. The federal charges relate to disruption of interstate commerce and local charges of criminal mischief and inciting a riot.
6. Alabama prisons need to pick up on hiring
- Alabama prisons are still under a court order to more than double the number of correctional officers. U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson has ordered for the Alabama Department of Correction to outline how they’ll manage to meet the staffing requirements as they’re far behind already.
- State Representative Chris England (D-Tuscaloosa) has said Governor Kay Ivey needs to call a special session to address “criminal justice reform,” adding that the unconstitutional prison conditions in the state have gotten worse. Thompson noted that there are currently 1,413 correctional officers in ADOC, an increase of 112 in the last year, but the goal is 3,326 officers by February 2022.
5. Police reform is coming
- In a combination of executive and legislative action, President Donald Trump will be revealing a list of police reform proposals. U.S. Senator Tim Scott (R-SC) has been meeting with senior advisor Jared Kushner, House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows and domestic policy adviser Ja’Ron Smith to develop the legislative steps.
- This comes after protests have continued over the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis and Breonna Taylor in Louisville, who both died in the presence of police. While people have said they want Trump to address the nation over these issues, White House officials have said that it’s Trump’s position that “actions speak louder than words.” An announcement about policies is expected later this week.
4. Three students = a movement?
- Three former students of Robert E. Lee High School in Montgomery have started a petition with the goal of changing the school’s name, as well as the name of Jeff Davis and Sydney Lanier high schools and asking that the statue of Lee be removed from the high school.
- Lee, Davis and Lanier were all part of the Confederacy. The three Lee graduates brought their argument to the Montgomery Public Schools board Tuesday night. One of the organizers, Amerika Blair, who graduated in 2009, said, “Knowing that those students have to walk past and celebrate a man basically who did not believe in their basic humanity is very insulting.”
3. COVID-19 can once again spread asymptomatically
- It was widely reported that the World Health Organization had found that the asymptomatic spread of COVID-19 was “very rare,” but now the troubled organization is less sure of that information than they initially let on.
- The WHO is now saying that people without symptoms may make up to 40% of transmissions, causing more mistrust and confusion.
2. Sessions gaining on Tuberville?
- Previously, a poll was conducted that showed former Auburn football coach Tommy Tuberville had a 23-point lead over former U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, and a more recent poll shows Sessions may be closing that gap.
- A new poll conducted by Massage, Inc. conducted phone surveys of 600 Republican primary voters from May 26-27, and while Tuberville is still ahead, he’s only at 49% while Sessions is at 43%. Sessions campaign manager Jon Jones said, “Jeff Sessions has the momentum in this race. This is a one-on-one matchup, and voters increasingly see that Tommy Tuberville just isn’t prepared to be a leader and represent Alabama in the U.S. Senate.”
1. People want to redirect funding from the Birmingham Police Department
- As groups across the country call for police departments to be defunded, a few people who attended a Birmingham City Council meeting asked that funds from the Birmingham Police Department, which has a budget of $92 million, be redirected to some social services.
- One citizen that spoke at the meeting was Onoyemi Williams, the co-chair of Faith in Action Alabama. She is asking that the city take $1.5 million of the department’s funding toward community programs. Faith in Action Alabama’s Twitter account specified it would be in “anti-gun violence street outreach strategy that has reduced gun violence in other cities by 40-60%.”