California has second deadly mass shooting in three days – National & International News – TUE 24Jun2023


California has second deadly mass shooting in three days.

Tyre Nichols: Family’s attorney say Memphis PD treated Nichols like “human piñata”.

Brazil: Lula accuses Bolsonaro of genocide against Amazon tribe.



California has second deadly mass shooting in three days

California’s Asian-American community was already mourning the victims of a mass shooting that killed 11 people during a Chinese New Year party at the Star Ballroom near Los Angeles on Saturday. Now a second mass shooting in another part of the state has afflicted the community. The second shooting took place in Half Moon Bay, a coastal community about 30 miles south of San Francisco. In this case, the shooter fatally shot 7 agricultural workers in two locations before turning himself in to police.

As in the Los Angeles shooting, the perpetrator in the Half Moon Bay shootings was an elderly Asian man, Chunli Zhao, 67. The victims at the Star Ballroom haven’t all been identified, but they’re believed to be mostly Asian people in their 50s or older. The victims in Half Moon Bay were both Chinese and Latino farm workers. Some of the workers families live at the facility, and it’s possible children may have witnessed the killings. Authorities believe Zhao was a worker at one of the facilities he targeted.

The Half Moon Bay incident is actually California’s third mass shooting in eight days. Another mass shooting on Jan. 16 claimed the lives of 6 people, including a teen mother and her baby. Law enforcement has speculated that the Jan. 16 might be tied to a cartel, but authorities have made no official determination. 

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Tyre Nichols: Family’s attorney say Memphis PD treated Nichols like “human piñata”

The five dismissed officers from left to right: Demetrius Haley, Desmond Mills, Jr., Emmitt Martin III, Justin Smith and Tadarrius Bean.

At the end of last week, five Memphis PD officers involved in the death of Tyre Nichols were fired. Tadarrius Bean, Demetrius Haley, Emmitt Martin III, Desmond Mills, Jr. and Justin Smith were fired for excessive use of force, failure to intervene and failure to render aid. All five officers were Black, as was Nichols.

Nichols died three days after two “confrontations” with the officers following a traffic stop. Last week, the Justice Department announced it was opening a civil rights investigation into Nichols death. The Shelby County District Attorney says his office is weighing charges against the five officers from assault to homicide. No official charges have yet been filed.

Rowvaughn Wells and Rodney Wells, Nichols’ mother and stepfather, said Nichols was on his way home from FedEx where he worked when officers pulled him over for reckless driving. When the deadly stop occurred, Nichols was just two minutes away from reaching home. The Wells say they want the dismissed officers to face first degree murder charges in their son’s death. 

Video won’t be public for at least another week 

Nichols’ family have retained attorneys Antonio Romanucci and Ben Crump, who has earned a national reputation as “Black America’s Attorney General”. The family demanded the release of the bodycam footage. This week, the Wells along with Romanucci and Crump were allowed to view the footage privately.

Family members who’ve seen the video of Nichols’ traffic stop said it shows the officers kicking, pepper spraying and using a stun gun on Nichols. During the encounter, Nichols kept asking “What did I do?” and begging “I just want to go home”. Towards the end, he called out for his mother. Prosecutors say the footage won’t be available to the public for at least another week.

Crump said it made no difference that the five officers were Black. He said that “people have the [misconception] that we’re anti- white cops. No – we’re anti bad cops”. 

Nichols was scared for his life

Tyre Nichols, 29, died three days after two “confrontations” with Memphis police. At right is a picture of Nichols in the hospital following the incident.

After viewing the footage, the Wells, Romanucci and Crump held a press conference. The attorneys likened the footage to the beating of Black motorist Rodney King in an LA traffic stop in 1991. The brutality against King sparked weeks of violent protests. 

Romanucci said that Nichols “was defenseless the entire time. He was a human piñata for those police officers. It was an unadulterated, unabashed, nonstop beating of this young boy for three minutes”. At this, Rowvaughn, who was standing to Romanucci’s left, was visibly overcome, sobbing, “Oh my god”.

It’s not clear if Rowvaughn had seen the footage in full. In a later ABC interview, Rowvaughn said, “Once the video started and I heard my son’s voice, I lost it. I couldn’t stay in the room. All I heard him say was, what did I do? And once I heard that, I lost it”. 

Rodney Wells also spoke at the press conference, saying, “Our son ran because he was scared for his life“. Wells was referring to reports that Nichols had run from the officers following the initial confrontation before police caught up to him and a second confrontation ensued. “He did not run because he was trying to get rid of no drugs, no guns, no any of that,” Wells said. “He ran because he was scared for his life. And when you see the video, you will see why he was scared for his life”.

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Brazil: Lula accuses Bolsonaro of genocide against Amazon tribe

Brazilian president Lula da Silva has accused his predecessor Jair Bolsonaro of genocide against the Yanomami Amazon people. This weekend, Lula visited the Amazon state of Roraima to address a humanitarian crisis in the region. During Bolsonaro’s presidency, protected areas of the Amazon were left vulnerable to illegal mining and logging.

Illegal gold miners in Roraima flooded the Yanomami enclave, contaminated rivers and destroyed forests. The Yanomami communities rely on their natural surroundings for food from fishing and game hunting. The appalling conditions have also contributed to the spread of malaria and other diseases which have devastated the Yanomami. Sônia Guajajara, Brazil’s minister of Indigenous peoples, said that a child is dying from these diseases roughly every 72 hours. Since 2019, 570 children have died of hunger or mercury poisoning from the mining.

Miners and loggers have also targeted activists and aid workers for assassination, which has made it difficult to help the tribes.

Following his visit to the region, Lula tweeted, “More than a humanitarian crisis, what I saw in Roraima was a genocide. A premeditated crime against the Yanomami, committed by a government impervious to the suffering of the Brazilian people”. The government has since airlifted 16 Yanomami people to receive urgent medical care for malnutrition and other ailments.

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