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A)South Carolina House votes to remove Confederate flag from statehouse grounds
Cat : Fall of USA
Date : 12/07/2015                      Reader : 71




washingtonpost          12-7-2015



A)South Carolina House votes to remove Confederate flag from statehouse grounds  

B)South Carolina legislature debates Confederate flag presence at state capitol grounds

C)Police officers shot and killed more people so far in July than during any other week this year


South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley signed a bill that will bring down the Confederate flag on the statehouse grounds, less than a day after lawmakers in the state House of Representatives voted to remove it.

Haley, a Republican, called for the flag’s removal last month in the wake of the shooting massacre inside a Charleston church. The bill cleared its final legislative hurdle early Thursday morning when the House voted 94 to 20 in favor of the proposal.

After more than 13 hours of debate — which became increasingly contentious as the night wore on — House Republicans and Democrats agreed not to amend the legislation with a proposal that threatened to make final passage more difficult.

[Jenny Horne: How a descendant of the president of the Confederacy helped vanquish his flag]

Just before 1 a.m., the lawmakers voted 93 to 27 to move it forward in a critical second-reading vote. Minutes later, the bill easily cleared the two-thirds threshold needed for it to officially pass the chamber, a hurdle the state Senate cleared earlier this week.


“It is a new day in South Carolina, a day we can all be proud of, a day that truly brings us all together as we continue to heal, as one people and one state,” Haley said in a statement following Thursday’s early morning vote. The flag will come down 10 a.m., Friday, she said.

The push to remove the Confederate flag began anew following last month’s shooting of nine worshipers — including the Rev. Clementa Pinckney, a state senator — at a historically black church in downtown Charleston. A day after the shooting, the U.S. flag atop the state’s capitol was lowered to half-staff while the Confederate flag on the statehouse grounds remained flying high.

Photos then emerged of the now-indicted shooter, an avowed white supremacist, posing with the emblem. “The alleged killer of the Charleston nine used that flag as a symbol of hatred and bigotry and racism,” Democratic Sen. Joel Lourie said on Monday.

Advocates for the flag’s removal say it represents a racist legacy and a dark chapter in the nation’s history, while defenders insist it symbolizes Southern heritage and honors fallen soldiers.


The final bipartisan compromise will remove the flag and place it in the nearby Confederate Relic Room and Military Museum.

The House was stymied on a single amendment proposed by Republican Rep. Rick Quinn to include language within the bill about the flag’s placement in the museum. But the change, which would have amended the Senate bill, could have resulted in dragging out the legislative process for days or even weeks.

After more than three hours of debate marked by emotional pleas, some evoking the history of slavery, Quinn withdrew his proposal. Instead, lawmakers approved a separate bill that included the details of Quinn’s amendment.

Efforts to remove the flag faced more hurdles in the 124-member House than in the Senate. By Wednesday night, dozens of amendments had been introduced and tabled; Republican Rep. Michael Pitts led the charge to derail the flag removal proposal and spoke at length on each of his amendments.


From the House floor, Pitts defended the flag and described the Civil War this way: “Some call it the war between the states; some call it the Civil War. Growing up, in my family, it was called the war of Northern aggression; it was where the Yankees attacked the South, and that’s what was ingrained in me growing up.”

As the bill neared the critical vote, a surprise amendment stalled the legislative work: a proposal from Pitts to replace the Confederate flag at the memorial with the state’s flag. The amendment failed after nearly an hour delay.

[Nikki Haley went from tea party star to a leader of the New South]

Still, Republican lawmakers proposed several amendments that would replace the Confederate flag with the First South Carolina Volunteer Infantry Regiment flag, which is similar to the state’s Palmetto banner but honors South Carolina’s Confederate fighters.

But in an floor speech while the House remained logjammed on one such amendment, Rep. Jenny Horne, who represents Charleston, admonished her colleagues for pushing changes that would essentially kill the bill.


“I cannot believe that we do not have the heart in this body to do something meaningful such as take a symbol of hate off these grounds on Friday,” Horne said, raising her voice through tears. “For the widow of Senator Pinckney and his two young daughters, that would be adding insult to injury.”

“I have heard enough about heritage,” she added.

Before lawmakers took up the contentious issue Wednesday morning, they stood in a moment of silence for the nine fallen parishioners from Emanuel AME Church. Democratic Rep. Wendell Gilliard, flanked by colleagues, read each of the victims’ names as he paid tribute to them from the House floor.

“The right thing to do is what we call the healing thing: the gentle laying down of the past, and a hopeful road to the future,” Gilliard said.


South Carolina’s debate has also prompted a national conversation about the Confederate flag and its legacy. An activist climbed the flag pole on South Carolina’s statehouse grounds last month and removed it; she was arrested, and the flag was promptly replaced.

Both Democrats and Republicans spoke out on the issue, including Haley, who last month called for the flag to come down in the Palmetto State. “This flag, while an integral part of our past, does not represent the future of our great state,” Haley said as she was flanked by the state’s two U.S. senators and numerous other elected officials.


The last time lawmakers took up the contentious issue was in 2000, when they approved a compromise that removed the flag from the Capitol Dome and placed it on the statehouse grounds next to the Confederate Soldier Monument. They also ensured that the flag could only be removed by the legislature.

Still, supporters of the flag’s removal prevailed, a development that seemed politically impossible more than a decade ago.

“There comes a time in life when you gotta say, you have to do what’s right,” said Democratic Rep. Grady Brown, who noted that his great-great grandfather joined the Confederate army at the age of 16. “I’m doing what I’m going to do, to vote to take the flag down, because I think it is in God’s eyes, the right thing to do.”




B)South Carolina legislature debates Confederate flag presence at state capitol grounds




The South Carolina Senate voted 37-3 in favor of removing the Confederate battle flag from Statehouse grounds. The vote in the state House of Representatives is expected later in the week.

Prior to the final vote, the Senate decided to table any amendments to the removal bill, according to The Post and Courier. Conservative Republican Lee Bright had offered an amendment to the bill which would put the flag's fate in the hands of voters. Another amendment would have allowed the flag to fly on capitol grounds on Confederate Memorial Day.

Sens. Bright, Harvey Peeler, and Danny Verdin were the only votes against the flag's removal.

Senators who have long argued for the flag's maintained position on the capitol grounds changed their tune on Monday, calling the Confederate flag a symbol of racial oppression and not an honorific of Confederate soldiers who fought and died in the American Civil War from 1861 to 1865. The flag, in fact, only became popular in the 1960s as a symbol of the American South's opposition to racial integration.


The Confederate flag "has more to do with what was going on in the 1960s as opposed to the 1860s," said Republican Sen. Larry Martin, long a fierce defender of the flag. Martin said he changed his mind following the shooting deaths of nine African Americans at a church in Charleston, South Carolina last month. According to police, the shooter chose the historically black church based on his white supremacist views.

Sen. Darrell Jackson, a black Democrat, spoke from the Senate floor on Monday, saying he regretted a compromise he helped pass in 2000 that took the Confederate flag off the state capitol dome and to its current location in front of the capitol, in a soldier's memorial. He said his ancestor, Ishmael Jackson, was a freed slave who joined the Union army.

"You said we lost the war. No we didn't. Not Ishmael Jackson and the 57 percent of people who looked like him. As far as they are concerned, they won the war," Jackson said, according to the Associated Press.


A survey of South Carolina state legislators spearheaded by the Associated Press, The Post and Courier, and the South Carolina Press Association found that at least 33 senators and 83 House members agreed with Governor Nikki Haley's conclusion following the Charleston shooting that the flag should be removed from the capitol grounds. Those numbers exceed the two-thirds majority required in both chambers to move the flag.

Among the state senators in support of removing the flag is Sen. Paul Thurmond, son of former US senator and South Carolina governor Strom Thurmond, one of America's most infamous segregationists.


Some Republican legislators have said they would be open to replacing the current Confederate flag -- a red background with a blue cross and white stars -- with a Confederate flag less associated with secession from the US, slavery, and the Jim Crow segregation laws that followed the Civil War.

Yet Democrats said they could not support any flag associated with the Confederacy.

"There is no good-looking Confederate flag. It all stands for the same thing — secession," said Lonnie Randolph, president of the South Carolina chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

The Post and Courier reported that dozens of protesters, both supporters and opponents of the flag, have gathered on the capitol grounds to demonstrate amid dozens of law enforcement officers.



C)Police officers shot and killed more people so far in July than during any other week this year




Police in the United States shot and killed 31 people during the first week of July, making it the deadliest such week of the year so far.

This stretch ended Tuesday with officers across the country shooting and killing eight people, the most police shootings that have occurred on any single day in 2015 — ending the deadliest week so far with the deadliest day.

These deaths push the total number of people fatally shot by police this year to 494 in a little over six months, according to a Washington Post analysis. That number easily exceeds the figures reported by the FBI for any single year since 1976, pointing to the incomplete nature of federal data, which relies on voluntary reporting and patchy information.

Due in part to this inadequate data, which has been highlighted repeatedly as a bizarre gap during the ongoing debate over how police officers use deadly force, The Washington Post is tracking every fatal shooting by a police officer in the line of duty in 2015. These stories are being collected in a database that includes details about each episode. (Read more about the methodology here.)

Tuesday’s fatal shootings occurred across six states — three of the deaths took place in Texas, while the remaining five stretched from California to New Jersey. The circumstances ranged from an armed carjacker who police said fired at an officer to a Texas man who police said had threatened to kill himself.

[A quarter of the people shot and killed by police were having a mental or emotional crisis]

There were some similarities in the cases on Tuesday. All eight of the people shot and killed were men, and all of them had deadly weapons, according to The Post’s analysis.

In some cases, the police were encountering people they had sought to arrest, while in others they were responding to calls from the public.

Officers in Dallas traveled to a block of North Bishop Avenue near the Methodist Dallas Medical Center on Tuesday afternoon to try to arrest a wanted and known sex offender, the police department said, but when they approached the man, he pulled out a gun and refused to drop it. As a result, police officials said, they were forced to open fire, killing the man, who was later identified as Joe Cody, 59.

A few hours later, police officers in Bakersfield, Calif., responded to calls of a man who was firing a gun in a park located between a middle school and an elementary school. Within a minute of arriving, the officers reported that they had shot this person and requested medical aid, the department said in a statement. The suspect died, and the officers were placed on paid administrative leave.

[Fewer police officers are killed each year, but they report increased tension amid protests]

There were 31 people shot by police during the first seven days of the month; before July, the deadliest single week was a period in mid-March with 26 such shootings.

Meanwhile, the single week with the fewest such shootings happened to be the last week of June, when nine people were shot and killed by officers. In other words, at the midpoint of the year, the weeks with the most fatal police shootings and the fewest occurred back-to-back.

Overall, though, the first week of July saw nearly half as many fatal shootings by police (31) as occurred in the entire month of June (64). So far this year, the deadliest single month has been March, when 90 people were shot by police officers.


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