Numerous Juneteenth celebrations throughout the country were tarnished by various shootings incidents, resulting in several deaths and numerous people wounded.
The violence that unfolded at the Juneteenth celebrations comes days after President Joe Biden signed a bill marking June 19th as a federal holiday to officially commemorate the end of slavery in the United States.
This new holiday hits different https://t.co/PsPl7xcaij
— jonpalin (@jonpalin) June 21, 2021
It was the first federally recognized celebration of Juneteenth in the United States on June 19th, yet cities in California, South Carolina, Michigan and Colorado played host to shooting incidents during Juneteenth celebrations and events.
In Oakland, California, gunfire went off at approximately 6:22 p.m. near where people had gathered at Lake Merritt for a Juneteenth celebration. Reportedly seven people were shot during the incident, including a 22 year old man who died from his sustained gunshot wounds.
Police officials say that there was approximately 1,000 people that had gathered for the Oakland Juneteenth celebration at Lake Merritt. Shortly after the shooting, police had reportedly spotted and took into custody two men that were reportedly seen running from the scene with firearms.
Update: Police say there is a seventh victim in Saturday's deadly Lake Merritt shooting in Oakland after showing up to the hospital with a gunshot wound. https://t.co/0Jy84TDe7h
— ABC7 News (@abc7newsbayarea) June 20, 2021
Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf commended the officers for their quick response to the situation, while also decrying the violence that broke out during what was meant to be a celebration:
“A joyous occasion at our Lake Merritt was marred by a senseless act of gun violence. Police in the area tended to victims and apprehended two people with firearms near the scene. The investigation is ongoing and will determine if they are connected to the shooting. Our thoughts are with the family and friends of the victims.”
A Juneteenth celebration that wound up stretching into the early morning hours of June 20th in Aurora, Colorado was also the scene of a shooting, where police say multiple gunmen wound up firing off 114 shots a celebration at a strip mall at approximately 4:00 a.m. on June 20th.
Four people were reportedly wounded while one man was killed during the incident. Aurora Police currently do not have any suspects in custody.
UPDATE: The gathering in the parking lot where the shooting broke out was related to a Juneteenth celebration at a unit in this strip mall. Suspect(s) are at-large. Anyone who witnessed this incident or has information is asked to contact @CrimeStoppersCO.
— Aurora Police Dept 🇺🇸 (@AuroraPD) June 20, 2021
In Clover, South Carolina, three people were reportedly shot at approximately 11:30 PM on June 19th at a Juneteenth celebration. While there were no reported fatalities from the incident, one victim was said to be a 17-year-old that was seriously injured and needed to be airlifted to a hospital located in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Police have not made any arrests in that case nor has a motive for the shooting been determined as of this writing.
During the afternoon of June 19th in Flint, Michigan, a 19-year-old woman was said to have been fatally shot by police after shooting at an officer at approximately 2:00 p.m. near a Juneteenth parade.
Officials say that the woman was inside of a vehicle as she was approaching an officer that was working traffic at the Juneteenth parade. The woman, who has yet to be identified by officials, was said to have fired at least one shot at the officer working traffic.
The officer, who was not struck during the incident, reportedly returned fire, and fatally shot the suspect.
Police have also not yet determined a motive for said shooting.
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In other news pertaining to Michigan, a recent report exposed plans by the state Attorney General to try and arrest a business own for alleged pandemic restriction violations prior to the business owner appearing on national television.
Here’s that previous report from earlier in June.
LANSING, MI – According to reports, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel had tried to orchestrate the arrest of a restaurant owner who allegedly defied lockdown orders after the AG heard that the woman was planning to appear on Fox News for an interview.
“Do we know her whereabouts? We should just have her picked up before she goes on [Fox News].”
— Arthur Schwartz (@ArthurSchwartz) June 11, 2021
The Mackinac Center for Public Policy had submitted a Freedom of Information Act request with the Department of the Attorney General recently regarding the case against Marlena Hackney, a restaurant owner that was arrested by the Michigan State Police on March 19th, 2021.
Hackney was arrested for allegedly defying lockdown orders regarding keeping her restaurant open.
But an email exchange between Attorney General Dana Nessel and some of her staff show that they wanted to have Hackney arrested seven days earlier on March 12th after they’d heard Hackney was going to be appearing on Tucker Carlson’s show for an interview.
The email exchange that carried a subject line of “AG – Heads up: Marlena’s to appear on Fox News with Tucker Carlson Tonight 8 p.m.”, AG Nessel was alerted to the potential of bad press for the state and emailed her colleagues that Hackney needs to be arrested before she appears on the show:
“Do we know her whereabouts? We should just have her picked up before she goes on. This is outrageous.”
Eileen Whipple, an assistant attorney general, was apparently the person who alerted AG Nessel and her other colleagues about Hackney’s slated appearance on Fox News, which further along the email thread, AG Nessel wanted to see Hackney jailed for months since she dared to go on television:
“Should I be prepared to respond to this? I hope she gets the full 93 days for this. (Is that the max for civil contempt or just criminal contempt?)”
AG Nessel’s emails around the subject of Hackney continued from there, asking her colleagues if they knew how quickly Michigan State Police were working to arresting Hackney:
“Does MSP intend to go find her? Or are they planning to wait until next week?”
Attorney General Wanted Lockdown-Defying Restaurant Owner Arrested Before Going On Fox News – Michigan Capitol Confidential https://t.co/zKnaqnfXpd
— Jack Posobiec (@JackPosobiec) June 11, 2021
Assistant AG Whipple had responded to AG Nessel’s inquiry about how long they could keep Hackney in jail for allegedly violating a lockdown order, writing:
“As to the length of potential imprisonment, since this is a coercive civil contempt the Court (as the Court indicated in her Order) can keep her incarcerated until she complies or it becomes impossible for her to comply.”
Despite the scrambling efforts by the AG’s office to have Hackney arrested upon hearing of an impending Fox News interview, Hackney managed to appear on Tucker Carlson’s program and was later arrested on March 19th and released from jail on March 23rd.
Kelly Rossman-McKinney, a spokeswoman for the AG’s office, released a statement responding to the released emails, defending AG Nessel’s effort to try and arrest Hackney before she could appear on television:
“Ms. Pavlos-Hackney willfully violated the state’s food laws, public health orders and orders of the court–a dangerous act that may have exposed dozens of diners and employees to the virus following the discovery that one of Marlena’s customers tested positive for the virus within two days of eating there. Ms. Pavlos-Hackney’s decision to then go on national television and flaunt her noncompliance compromised the state’s ability to protect public safety during a global pandemic and likely emboldened others to break the law.”
This email exchange paints a concerning picture, blurring the lines between an AG’s responsibility to prosecute offenders with desires to persecute those with the propensity to tarnish the local government which employs this AG.
If Hackney hadn’t made it to her scheduled appearance on Fox News, she may have very well been incarcerated for period far longer than 4 days – as the email exchange bore professed yearnings by AG Nessel to punish Hackney for simply attempting to exercise her right to free speech.
But since Hackney made an appearance on national news, her case and period of incarceration clearly had numerous sets of eyes monitoring the developments.
The context of these email exchanges should cause immense concern, as the emails shows evidence of Michigan’s AG wanting to exact punishment against a citizen with expediency and severity not because of the alleged offense, but because Hackney was planning to go on national television to criticize state actors.
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