Protest Updates: National Guard departs; fired cops sue; APS calls for ‘dismantling’ racism

Gov. Brian Kemp has deactivated the National Guard from protest-related duty as of 11:59 p.m. on June 8. Kemp thanked the men and women of the state guard and said in a statement “we will continue to monitor activity around the state and remain prepared to respond if necessary.” The National Guard was accused of using heavy-handed tactics – including tear gas and rubber bullets – to disperse crowds of protesters violating the now-lifted curfew.

Street (left) and Gardner

The two former Atlanta Police officers fired and charged with using excessive force against two college students during the George Floyd protests in Downtown are suing the city. Ivory Streeter and Mark Gardner say their use of force was lawful, and they were fired without a proper investigation, according to a report in the AJC.  The pair want their jobs back. Chief Erika Shields and Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms are also named in the suit filed in Fulton County Superior Court. Fulton County District Attorney quickly filed charges against the two fired officers and four others involved in the incident on May 30.

The Atlanta Board of Education and Atlanta Public Schools Superintendent Meria Carstarphen have called for work on “dismantling a racist and oppressive system” in statements issued in the wake of the George Floyd protests. In a  joint statement, school board members said they were “heartbroken and upset” by the killings of Floyd in Minnesota, Breonna Taylor in Kentucky and Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia. “But the murders of black men and women by vigilantes and police are not new, and it is important for the Board to reaffirm that Black Lives Matter,” the statement said. “We know we cannot do this work alone. The work of dismantling a racist and oppressive system that has an over 400-year legacy will not be easy and requires people of all communities coming together to address inequities.” The board noted it adopted a strategic plan and equity policy last year and will work with the community on them “so that we can finally see a day where the color of your skin does not predict whether you are likely to be healthy and safe, graduate from high school, be economically stable, or live out your childhood dreams.”

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