Photo by Getty Images
The city of Asheville, North Carolina becomes the first city in America to approve reparations for the descendants of African slaves.
Officials apologized for the city's historic role in slavery and discrimination after the City Council voted unanimously to provide reparations to Black citizens on Tuesday.
"Hundreds of years of black blood spilled that basically fills the cup we drink from today," said Councilman Keith Young, one of two Black council members and the chief architect of the resolution.
"It is simply not enough to remove statues. Black people in this country are dealing with issues that are systemic in nature," Young said.
The resolution will not provide direct cash payments but it will mandate investments in areas where Black people face disparities, such as home ownership.
Black people will be given the same priorities as whites for bank loans to increase minority business and homeownership, CBS News reports.
The resolution will also close gaps in health care, education and pay for Black people.
The vote comes a month after thousands of protesters called for the Asheville Police Department to be defunded in the aftermath of George Floyd's death in Minneapolis.
The New York City Council voted overnight to slash $1 billion from the NYPD's spending budget. The council voted 32-17 to cut the police budget just after midnight Wednesday.
The council vote came in response to demonstrations in the wake of the death of George Floyd in Minnesota in May.
NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio said the money will be transferred from the NYPD budget to fund youth organizations in the city.
$350 million that would have been allocated for schools safety will be transferred to other city agencies.
De Blasio was reportedly angry that the NYPD leaked his daughter's arrest information to a news media outlet last month. He said the leak was a violation of his daughter, Chiara's privacy.
The budget cuts will trim the police force by 1,163 cops, which Mayor de Blasio insisted would not decrease public safety or increase the crime wave the city is currently under.
Violent crime waves in the city have spiked, as murders, car theft, burglaries, and rapes are all up double digits since February.
"Today is not a day of celebration, we are not in a time of celebration, it is the time of necessity and today's budget agreement is one of necessity," Council Speaker Corey Johnson said following the vote.
Occupy City Hall demonstrators and activists say the City Council's vote don't go far enough. They demand more police reforms.
"A $1 billion budget cut can't address the racism that runs rampant in the NYPD," said Councilman Donovan Richards (D-Queens).
"We must send a clear message that it's not okay to kettle peaceful protesters, that it's not okay to place black and brown New Yorkers in a chokehold as they gasp for air."
Minneapolis City Council president Lisa Bender defended the City Council's decision to dismantle the police department in the aftermath of the murder of a 46-year-old Black man in police custody.
On Sunday, nine City Council members vowed to dismantle the police force "and try something new."
On Monday Bender spoke via Skype with CNN's Alisyn Camerota, saying the "revolutionary" movement to remove the police department is a "wake up call" that the police "is not keeping every member of our community safe."
"What if in the middle of the night, my home is broken into?" Camerota asked Bender.
"That comes from a place of privilege," Bender replied.
"Because for those of us for whom the system is working, I think we need to step back and imagine what it would feel like to already live in that reality where calling the police may mean more harm is done," she said.
Bender said the City Council is looking to shift the response away from armed police officers to community policing by trained residents.
The City Council will face opposition from Mayor Jacob Frey, who has said he will not allow the police force to be dismantled.
"We are not starting from scratch we have invested in community-based safety strategies," Bender said. "We've done an analysis of all the reasons people call 911 and have looked at ways we can shift the response away from police officers into a more appropriate response for mental health calls. So the groundwork is laid already in Minneapolis for us to work from that," she said.
"Now the hard work begins for us to rebuild systems that really work to keep everyone in our community safe," Bender said.
The Minneapolis City Council is holding an emergency meeting to "dismantle the Minneapolis Police Department and replace it with a transformative new model of public safety."
The emergency meeting comes after nearly 2 weeks of civil unrest and looting in south Minneapolis and surrounding areas in response to the death of George Floyd, a Black man who died in Minneapolis police custody.
Four police officers are in jail awaiting trial on murder charges in connection with Floyd's death.
On Thursday, City Council member Jeremiah Ellison tweeted: "We are going to dismantle the Minneapolis Police Department. And when we're done, we're not simply gonna glue it back together. We are going to dramatically rethink how we approach public safety and emergency response. It's really past due."
City Council member Lisa Bender added: "Yes. We are going to dismantle the Minneapolis Police Department and replace it with a transformative new model of public safety."
The emergency meeting began at 12:30 p.m. on Friday, June 5. City Council members are set to vote on immediate changes to the police force including removing the police force and replacing it with a community-based, non-violent neighborhood watch group.
The City Council on Friday voted to ban police choke holds. Police officers are required to intervene when they observe inappropriate use of force being used on a suspect.
Photo by Paras Griffin/Getty Images
The Atlanta City Council committed approved free swimming for low-income children over the objections of the mayor's office.
The city charges $5 per child to swim in Atlanta's 12 city-run pools, but the Atlanta City Council committee approved legislation to eliminate the fee -- despite objections from Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms' office.
LaChandra Butler-Burks, the mayor's executive director of the Office of Recreation, fought tooth and nail to keep the swimming fee in place.
According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, an ordinance was introduced by Council members Matt Westmoreland and Marci Overstreet that pointed out the disparities in deaths at city pools.
Roughly 64 percent of Black children can't swim, and the drowning rate is three times higher for Black children.
The ordinance blamed the disparities on unacceptable lack of access to city pools for low-income children.
The mayor's office asked the Council to hold off on the vote to remove the fee because it could increase security costs at the pools significantly. But the Council proceeded with Tuesday's vote.
The city pools generate $54,000 in revenue for the city. The original legislation moved $60,000 from a non-developmental fund to the Parks Department budget to make up the difference.
The city currently provides security at the pools only during free swim hours.
"We are at our best as a city when we are taking care of the people that need it the most," Overstreet said. "There is no reason we shouldn't have free swim in the summer. So we need to work as hard as we can to make sure that happens."
Stock photo: Getty Images
The Chicago suburb of Evanston, Illinois has voted to tax the sale of marijuana to fund reparations for Black residents.
The council voted 8 to 1 on Nov. 25 to implement a 3% tax on marijuana to fund the reparations plan.
Stock photo: Getty Images
The city plans to generate $500,000 and $750,000 through marijuana tax revenue each year. The city can also receive outside donations to the reparations fund.
Robin Rue Simmons, a black alderman who represents the city's historically Black Fifth Ward, says the fund will benefit residents affected by the war on drugs.
"Our community was damaged due to the war on drugs and marijuana convictions," she told The Washington Post. "This is a chance to correct that. Our disadvantage and discrimination has continued beyond outlawing Jim Crow and beyond enslavement."
The new reparations fund will allow Black residents to remain in their neighborhood. High property taxes in the wealthy North Shore suburb forced Black residents out of their homes.
Simmons added that the reparations fund will help families with a down payment on a home that they couldn't otherwise afford.
A meeting will be held on Dec. 11 to work out the details.
Rapper Scarface of the legendary rap group Geto Boys has announced his intentions to run for City Council in his native Texas.
Read more »
The mayor of a small Georgia town is on the hot seat for remarks she made about a Black candidate for the job of city administrator. Hoschton is a small Georgia hamlet that, until today, many Atlantans didn't know existed. Mayor Theresa Kenerly may have put put the tiny town of fewer than 2,000 residents on the map when she withheld a candidate from consideration for the job of city administrator because he is Black.
Read more »
FBI and IRS Agents raided the homes and offices of embattled Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh who has been out on leave since a criminal investigation was launched into her business dealings. Pugh is facing calls to resign over a scandal that involves sales of her children's books to entities that do business with the city of Baltimore.
Read more »
Jussie Smollett has been ordered to reimburse the City of Chicago $130,000 to cover the costs for investigating his false claims.
Read more »
Two weeks after a man destroyed President Trump's star on the iconic Hollywood Walk of Fame, the West Hollywood City Council passed a resolution to have the star removed, according to a tweet by West Hollywood's mayor.
Read more »
Investigators looking into allegations that an Atlanta judge showed up late to work and rushed through court seasons to attend a Super Bowl rally are also probing the judge's connection to a jail bailout program.
Read more »
Amazon has halted plans to house 7,000 employees in a shiny new high rise in Seattle, Washington, after the city approved a plan to tax companies earning more than $20 million annually.
Read more »