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Facebook takes down Proud Boys, American Guard accounts connected to protests

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Wachiwit/iStockBy MATTHEW MOSK and MARK OSBORNE, ABC NEWS

(NEW YORK) — Facebook executed a takedown Tuesday of social media accounts connected to two organizations the company considers to be hate groups and had banned across their platforms: Proud Boys and American Guard.

Facebook officials told ABC News the company completed a network disruption that their security teams had originally initiated on May 30 against Proud Boys and the American Guard. On May 30, the social media’s internal monitors started seeing traffic from both organizations indicating they intended to send armed agitators to ongoing protests sparked in the wake of the death of George Floyd.

“We accelerated our investigation and enforcement to remove the accounts, pages and groups we had found by that point and then continued our work mapping out the rest of the network,” Facebook officials said.

The company announced Tuesday its teams had identified more participants in those networks, and so took action to remove those accounts. In total they removed 358 Facebook accounts and 172 Instagram accounts tied to the organization known as Proud Boys. They removed 406 Facebook accounts and 164 Instagram accounts tied to the group known as American Guard.

“In both cases, we saw accounts from both organizations discussing attending protests in various US states with plans to carry weapons but we did not find indications in their on-platform content they planned to actively commit violence,” the company said.

The Proud Boys were formed in 2016 by Gavin McInnes, one of the founders of Vice Media, and while they deny any connection to the alt-right, they claim to be anti-political correctness and anti-white guilt, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center. The SPLC categorizes them as a hate group.

McInnes himself said he was “quitting” the Proud Boys in an interview in November 2018.

Many of the Proud Boys appeared as the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, that ended in the death of a counterprotester.

Facebook said the accounts taken down include Proud Boys members who were captured on video in a skirmish in Seattle on Monday.

The American Guard, which the SPLC designates as being associated with the Proud Boys, is a fellow right-wing group. The Anti-Defamation League refers to them as “hardcore white supremacists.”

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

More than 1 out of 3 tested federal inmates were positive for coronavirus

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iStock/FooTToo(WASHINGTON) — BY: LUKE BARR

More than 35% of federal inmates who have tested for coronavirus were positive, according to data from The Bureau of Prisons.

The agency says that of its 16,839 tested inmates, 6,060 have tested positive. In total, the BOP has tested more than 18,000 of its 163,441 federal inmates, with results pending in more than 2,300 cases.

Prisons with high percentages of inmates testing positive for coronavirus are scattered throughout the country.

At Federal Correctional Institution Butner (medium security) in North Carolina, 226 out of 295 inmates tested received positive results. Butner, which holds 880 inmates, is home to ponzi-scheme mastermind Bernie Madoff, who was recently denied compassionate release by a judge despite COVID-19 concerns.

At Federal Medical Center Fort Worth, in Texas, which also been impacted by COIVD-19, nearly 73% of 825 inmates tested received positive COVID-19 results. There are more than 1,300 inmates at the facility. Joe Exotic, from the Netflix docuseries “Tiger King,” was moved to the facility in April according to the New York Post, and his lawyers have been petitioning President Donald Trump to pardon Exotic due to COVID-19 concerns.

“At FMC Fort Worth we had our first positive COVID-19 positive inmate on April 8th which soon after that our number escalated to over 650 positive cases,” Greg Watts, the FMC Fort Worth union president told ABC News. “I’m very proud of how all of our staff came together and continue to work together to provide safety for the inmates, staff and our community.”

He said that the union spearheaded staff testing.

In a statement to ABC News, the Bureau of Prisons said that testing has helped the BOP manage COVID-19.

“As testing resources have become more available, we are testing our inmate population more broadly, which is helping us to quickly identify and isolate positive cases to rapidly flatten the curve when outbreaks occur. As a result of our expanded testing capabilities and the BOP’s robust pandemic plan, we currently have more staff and inmates recovered from COVID-19 than are positive,” a BOP spokesperson said.

The BOP said that demographic information on the inmates who have tested positive wasn’t immediately available.

At other prisons, like FCI Loretto, where former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort was once held, there were 12 tests conducted and none came back positive. Manafort was released from FCI Loretto last month because of COVID-19 concerns.

And at Otisville, which until recently held former Trump fixer and lawyer Michael Cohen among its 603 total inmates, there were 15 tests completed and 11 came back positive. Cohen, like Manafort, was released due to COVID-19 concerns.

Two facilities in California account for very high percentage of positive cases out of total tests taken — FCI Lompoc and FCI Terminal Island.

At FCI Lompoc, more than 90% of the 997 tested came back positive, and 70% of 967 tested at Terminal Island also came back positive, accounting for more than 1,600 people at both facilities combined. FCI Lompoc holds 997 prisoners and Terminal Island holds 991.

Other facilities that were sites of the first major outbreaks have seen cases level off.

At FCI Oakdale in Louisiana, which holds 991 inmates, 21% of the 949 inmates tested received positive results for COVID-19.

The Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowtiz has announced he is probing how the BOP responded to the COVID-19 crisis.

Oakdale has come under scrutiny and sources have told ABC News that it is one of the places Horowtiz is focusing.

Last month the facility’s warden, Rodney Meyers, was reassigned, according to the BOP. The BOP did not specify why he was removed.

However, this week a union that represents more than 30,000 federal corrections officers filed an Occupational Safety and Health Administration complaint about the way Meyers handled the COVID-19 outbreak at the federal facility.

The OSHA complaint alleged that he knowingly and willingly failed to isolate inmates who had tested positive for COVID-19.

“These inmates have been allowed to continue normal daily activities for at least 4 days through the institution to include working in their inmate jobs…” the report says. “By allowing these inmates to ‘roam free’ across the institution and in these different areas, these inmates are spreading this known contagion to otherwise clean and sanitized areas and to inmates and staff who may not currently be infected.”

The OSHA complaint also alleges that Meyers did not properly conduct a “fit test” for employees’ N95 masks. Instead, according to the complaint, the facility gave staff cloth masks. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recommend that correctional officers wear N95 masks, gloves and face shields.

Myers was reassigned to the South Central Regional Office and the BOP told ABC News the matter is under investigation.

FCI Elkton in Ohio — another virus hotspot, according to the Governor of Ohio — tested 2,245 of its 2,274 inmates. Of those tested, 575 inmates or 25%, came back positive. Elkton at one time received assistance from the Ohio National Guard to help control the outbreak. It is where Billy McFarland, who rose to fame because he defraud hundreds of people while promoting the Fyre Festival music festival, is being held. The festival was later canceled, much like McFarland’s attempt to get out of prison due to COVID-19 concerns.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

George Floyd's brother offers message to protesters: 'It’s gonna be a marathon'

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ABC News(HOUSTON) — BY: JOANNE ROSA

George Floyd’s brother, Philonise Floyd, said on “The View” Tuesday that he believes “everybody is getting closer to justice” for his brother “because everybody’s feeling united” in protests.

The demonstrations demanding police reforms and in support of Black Lives Matter have drawn thousands of people around the world in the weeks following George Floyd’s death while in Minneapolis police custody on May 25.

“I just would like to thank everyone for doing so much in this world today. They’re just tired right now. Enough is enough,” Philonise Floyd said on “The View.” “It’s gonna be a marathon. But right now, everybody is getting closer to justice because everybody’s feeling united. We’re coming together as one.”

“I’m just so proud right now just to see change in this world happening,” he added.

Philonise Floyd also told the co-hosts that Derek Chauvin, the ex-officer who prosecutors say held his knee on George Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes, and the three other officers involved in his brother’s death “deserve life” in prison.

“If we let them get away with this, other officers will feel like it’s okay to do the same thing,” he said.

“People [are] nervous when they see police officers. You shouldn’t have fear of officers. They’re here to protect you,” he added.

Chauvin has been charged with second-degree murder, third-degree murder and manslaughter, while the other three officers involved in George Floyd’s death have been charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and manslaughter. All four officers were fired prior to their arrests.

Amid the ongoing protests and national outrage, Philonise Floyd testified last week before the House Judiciary Committee to push for police reforms.

“I couldn’t take care of George the day he was killed, but maybe by speaking with you today, I can help make sure that his death isn’t in vain — to make sure that he is more than another face on a T-shirt, more than another name on a list that won’t stop growing,” Floyd told lawmakers.

“Sitting here, coming to try to tell you all about how I want justice for my brother, I just think about that video over and over again. It felt like eight hours and 46 minutes,” Floyd continued. “Every day, just looking at him, being anywhere, that is all people talk about. The rest of my life, that is all I [will] ever see — somebody looking at the video.”

“Anybody with a heart, they know that is wrong. You don’t do that to a human being. You don’t even do that to an animal. His life mattered. All our lives matter. Black lives matter,” he continued. “I just … wish I could get him back.”

The Floyd family’s lawyer, civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump, also testified in the House hearing on police brutality. During his testimony, he predicted that another black man would die in police custody within a month if changes to the ways in which police are held accountable weren’t implemented. On Tuesday, he brought up the case of Rayshard Brooks, who was shot dead by an Atlanta police officer in the parking lot of a Wendy’s fast food restaurant on Friday.

“What I want to see from the top leadership in our country down is for us to make a real committed effort to changing the culture and the behavior of policing in America where we don’t have two justice systems in America: one for black America and one for white America,” Crump said on “The View” Tuesday.

“We need equal justice for the United States of America,” he added. “That is what we are striving for the legacy of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor.”

Crump pointed out how widespread and long-lasting the protest movement has become, and expressed hope that it would result in real change.

“This is the best opportunity that I have seen since I’ve been an attorney that we may achieve real change,” he said. “When we find something that both sides of the aisle can agree on, then we need to seize upon the opportunity and not lose this moment. This is the time to make a difference — not tomorrow, but today, Congress.”

On Tuesday, President Donald Trump met with some of the families of black people killed in fatal encounters with police.

“To all of the hurting families, I want you to know that all Americans mourn by your side. Your loved ones will not have died in vain,” Trump said during a press conference in which he promised to sign an executive order encouraging police departments “to adopt the highest professional standards to serve their communities.”

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Suspect in sergeant's slaying now charged in killing of federal officer in Oakland: Officials

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Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office(SANTA CRUZ, Calif.) — BY: EMILY SHAPIRO and LUKE BARR

Steven Carrillo, the man suspected of killing a Santa Cruz, California, sheriff’s sergeant this month, has now been charged in the May slaying of a federal officer in Oakland, authorities announced Tuesday.

Authorities had said earlier they were investigating possible links between the two shootings.

Carrillo, a 32-year-old active duty Air Force sergeant, was first arrested for allegedly gunning down Santa Cruz Sheriff’s Sgt. Damon Gutzwiller in Ben Lomond, California, on June 6.

Gutzwiller, a 38-year-old husband and father, had been responding to a call about a suspicious van and saw someone with guns and bomb-making devices, sheriff’s officials said.

The van driver fled, and when deputies tried to follow, they were ambushed with gunfire and multiple improvised explosives, officials said. Gutziller was killed and another officer was injured.

Carrillo allegedly carjacked residents at gunpoint before he was captured, sheriff’s officials said.

On Tuesday, David Anderson, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of California, announced that Carrillo is accused of killing Patrick Underwood about one week before Gutzwiller was killed.

On the night of May 29, Underwood, a 53-year-old federal law enforcement officer, was shot dead while providing security at a federal building in Oakland, near a Black Lives Matter protest. A second officer was shot and survived.

The FBI launched a manhunt and released photos of the van they believed the shooter was driving. Authorities said Tuesday they believe the same van was used in the Oakland and Ben Lomond shootings.

Carrillo allegedly shot Underwood while his alleged accomplice, Robert Justus Jr., 30, drove the van, Anderson said.

FBI Special Agent in Charge of the San Francisco field office, John Bennett, said Tuesday, “We believe Carrillo and Justus chosen this date because the planned protest in Oakland provided an opportunity for them to target multiple law enforcement personnel.”

“They came to Oakland to kill cops,” he said.

Oakland interim police chief Susan Manheimer said over 500 officers were on the ground in the city.

Authorities also claim Carrillo used “his own blood” to write phrases associated with the Boogaloo movement on a car he allegedly carjacked.

“The ‘Boogaloo’ term is used by extremists to reference a violent uprising or impeding war in the United States,” Anderson said.

Carrillo is charged with murder and attempted murder while Justus, who was arrested June 11, is charged with aiding and abetting, prosecutors said. Carrillo also faces state charges in the Gutzwiller case.

Justus made his initial appearance Monday and is due to return to court Friday. Carrillo has not entered a plea for the state charges and has not yet appeared in federal court.

Last week, while the search for Underwood’s killer was ongoing, Underwood’s sister, Angela Underwood Jacobs, testified at the House Judiciary Committee hearing on police reform.

“Patrick was a good man who only wanted to help others and keep his community safe,” she testified.

“I want to ensure the memory of my brother, Patrick, is a catalyst against injustice, intolerance and violence of any kind,” she said. “Please do not let my brother Patrick’s name go in vain.”

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Timeline: Inside the investigation of Breonna Taylor's killing and its aftermath

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Breonna Taylor Family(LOUISVILLE, Kentucky) — BY: CHRISTINA CERREGA and SABINA GHEBREMEDHIN

It has been more than three months since Breonna Shaquille Taylor was gunned down in a hail of bullets by Louisville, Kentucky, police officers who were executing a “no-knock” warrant.

At least three different law enforcement agencies in the state have launched parallel investigations into Taylor’s death.

The three officers involved remain on administrative reassignment as Taylor’s family struggles to move on.

“I haven’t had time to sit and grieve,” Taylor’s mother, Tamika Palmer, told “Nightline” on June 11. “I’m still trying to figure out why my daughter was killed. I’m still trying to figure out, why did it have to come to her being murdered. Why did Breonna have to die?”

As the weeks have passed by, the demands for answers have joined the calls for justice for the dozens of other African American men and women killed at the hands of police.

Here’s how the investigation into Taylor’s death has unfolded:

March 12

Louisville Metro Police Department Detective Joshua Jaynes files a request for a “no-knock” search warrant of Breonna Taylor’s home after investigating the activities of Jamarcus Glover, who was a known to the police as a drug trafficker, according to the warrant.

Glover is Taylor’s ex-boyfriend who, according to police, was using her address to mail drugs through the post office. Police note in the arrest warrant request that they verified with postal inspectors that Glover was receiving packages at Taylor’s address.

The “no-knock” warrant is requested “due to the nature of how these drug traffickers operate. These drug traffickers have a history of attempting to destroy evidence, have cameras on the location that compromise Detectives once an approach to the dwelling is made, and a have history of fleeing from law enforcement,” according to the court document.

March 13

Minutes after midnight, as Breonna Taylor and her boyfriend Kenneth Walker are asleep inside their ground-floor apartment at the St. Anthony Gardens on Springfield Drive, there are knocks on the front door.

Plainclothes Louisville Metro Police Department Officers Myles Cosgrove and Brett Hankison, and Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly, use a battering ram to force open the green door with a gold No. 4 hanging on it, at which point police say they are met with a gunshot that strikes Mattingly in the thigh.

The three officers blindly return fire with more than 25 bullets — some entering other apartments, including one with a 5-year-old child.

Walker, a licensed gun owner with no criminal record, calls 911 tearfully pleading for help as he thinks a home invasion is in progress.

“Somebody kicked in the door, shot my girlfriend,” says Walker to the 911 dispatcher.

Taylor, 25, is fatally struck by at least eight bullets.

Walker surrenders and is taken into custody on charges of attempted murder of a police officer.

Cosgrove, Hankison and Mattingly are placed on administrative reassignment until the Louisville Metro Police Department’s Public Integrity Unit completes its investigation.

Police find no drugs inside Taylor’s apartment.

March 20

Taylor’s family and friends travel a few miles away to Spring Valley Funeral Home in New Albany, Indiana, for her wake.

Taylor, born in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where she was raised by her mother, is remembered as “full of life … and all it had to offer,” according to her obituary. She had left home to attend the University of Kentucky before going to become a licensed EMT for the city of Louisville, where she worked on the front lines during the early stages of the coronavirus pandemic.

Funeral services are held the following day at Greater Friendship Baptist Church in Louisville.

March 26

Louisville judge Olu Stevens agrees to release Walker from jail and into home confinement in order to keep the jail population low as a preventative measure against the spread of the coronavirus.

Louisville police union president Ryan Nichols says the judge’s decision to release Walker is a “slap in the face to everyone wearing a badge” and has endangered the public.

April 27

Attorneys Sam Aguiar and Lonita Baker file a wrongful death lawsuit in Jefferson District Court against Officers Cosgrove and Hankison and Sgt. Mattingly on behalf of Breonna Taylor’s mother, Tamika Palmer.

“The Plaintiff brings this personal injury and wrongful death action in order to obtain damages resultant from the Defendants’ unlawful conduct, which directly and proximately caused the death of a young, beautiful human being who was also an essential front-line medical professional in this community,” according to the lawsuit.

May 15

Louisville Postal Inspector Tony Gooden says that his office was not a part of an inspection of possible drug trafficking activity in packages delivered to Breonna Taylor’s address.

Civil rights attorney Ben Crump says that “directly contradicts what the police stated in the affidavit to secure a no-knock warrant for the home.”

“This revelation validates what we already knew: This young woman was brutally and unjustifiably killed by Louisville police, who supplied false information on the warrant they used to enter her home unannounced. Gooden further stated that ‘no packages of interest were going there,'” says Crump.

May 22

Commonwealth Attorney Tom Wine announces that the charges against Kenneth Walker have been temporarily dismissed as the FBI, Department of Justice and Kentucky attorney general open their own investigation into Taylor’s death.

“While dismissing the charges is the right thing to do, it comes more than two months after Breonna was killed and Kenneth was arrested. Louisville police spent these months defending their actions and smearing Kenneth’s and Breonna’s good names. This is just another step to the [Louisville Metro Police Department] taking full responsibility for its actions,” says Crump.

June 5

In honor of what would have been Taylor’s 26th birthday, writer Cate Young launches an online campaign as a call to action in support of Taylor.

Among other steps, the nine-part plan encourages supporters to use the hashtags “#SayHerName” and “#BirthdayforBreonna” on social media and to send a birthday card to Kentucky’s Governor Daniel Cameron demanding charges be filed against the officers.

June 11

The Louisville, Kentucky, Metro Council unanimously passes Breonna’s Law.

The new law outlaws “no-knock” warrants and requires body cameras be turned on before and after every search.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

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