AP News in Brief at 12:09 a.m. EDT
Britain’s Boris Johnson battles to stay as PM amid revolt
LONDON (AP) – British Prime Minister Boris Johnson battled to remain in office Wednesday, brushing off calls for his resignation after three Cabinet ministers and a slew of junior officials said they could no longer serve under his scandal-plagued leadership.
Johnson rejected demands that he step down during a stormy session of the House of Commons amid a furor over his handling of sexual misconduct allegations against a senior official. Later in the day, a delegation of some of his most trusted allies in the Cabinet paid a visit to the prime minister at 10 Downing Street to urge him to go, but he remained unmoved, Britain’s Press Association reported.
The prime minister turned down suggestions he seek a “dignified exit” and opted instead to fight for his political career, citing “hugely important issues facing the country,” according to the news agency. It quoted a source close to Johnson as saying he told colleagues there would be “chaos” if he quit.
The 58-year-old leader who pulled Britain out of the European Union and steered it through the COVID-19 outbreak is known for his ability to wiggle out of tight spots, managing to remain in power despite allegations that he was too close to party donors, that he protected supporters from bullying and corruption allegations, and that he misled Parliament about government office parties that broke pandemic lockdown rules.
He hung on even when 41% of Conservative lawmakers voted to oust him in a no-confidence vote last month.
Police: Parade shooting suspect contemplated 2nd shooting
HIGHLAND PARK, Ill. (AP) – The man charged with killing seven people at an Independence Day parade confessed to police that he unleashed a hail of bullets from a rooftop in suburban Chicago and then fled to the Madison, Wisconsin, area, where he contemplated shooting up an event there, authorities said Wednesday.
The suspect turned back to Illinois, where he was later arrested, after deciding he was not prepared to pull off another attack in Wisconsin, Lake County Major Crime Task Force spokesman Christopher Covelli said at a news conference following a hearing where the 21-year-old man was denied bond.
The parade shooting left another American community reeling – this time affluent Highland Park, home to about 30,000 people near the Lake Michigan shore. More than two dozen people were wounded, some critically, and hundreds of marchers, parents and children fled in a panic.
Covelli said it did not appear that the suspect had planned another attack in Wisconsin, but fled there, saw another Independence Day celebration and “seriously contemplated” firing on it. The assailant had ditched the semi-automatic rifle he used in Illinois, but he had another, similar rifle and about 60 more rounds with him, according to Covelli.
Police later found his phone in Middleton, Wisconsin, which is about 135 miles (217 kilometers) from Highland Park.
EXPLAINER: Should red-flag law have stopped parade shooting?
CHICAGO (AP) – Days after a rooftop gunman killed seven people at a parade, attention has turned to how the assailant obtained multiple guns and whether the laws on Illinois books could have prevented the Independence Day massacre.
Illinois gun laws are generally praised by gun-control advocates as tougher than in most states. But they did not stop Robert E. Crimo III from carrying out the attack in the Chicago suburb of Highland Park.
One focus is on the state’s so-called red-flag law, which is intended to temporarily take away guns from people with potentially violent behavior. Nineteen states and the District of Columbia have such laws.
Here’s a look at Illinois’ red-flag and gun-licensing laws, and whether they could have been applied to Crimo:
WHAT IS ILLINOIS’ RED-FLAG LAW?
Scramble as last Mississippi abortion clinic shuts its doors
JACKSON, Miss. (AP) – Mississippi’s only abortion clinic has been buzzing with activity in the chaotic days since the U.S. Supreme Court upended abortion rights nationwide – a case that originated in this conservative Deep South state, with this bright-pink medical facility that is closing its doors Wednesday.
Physicians at Jackson Women’s Health Organization have been trying to see as many patients as possible before Thursday, when, barring an unlikely intervention by the state’s conservative Supreme Court, Mississippi will enact a law to ban most abortions.
Amid stifling summer heat and humidity, clashes intensified Wednesday between anti-abortion protesters and volunteers escorting patients into the clinic, best known as the Pink House.
When Dr. Cheryl Hamlin, who has traveled from Boston for five years to perform abortions, walked outside the Pink House, an abortion opponent used a bullhorn to yell at her. “Repent! Repent!” shouted Doug Lane.
His words were drowned out by abortion rights supporter Beau Black, who repeatedly screamed at Lane: “Hypocrites and Pharisees! Hypocrites and Pharisees!”
New report details missed chances to stop Uvalde shooting
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) – A police officer armed with a rifle watched the gunman in the Uvalde elementary school massacre walk toward the campus but did not fire while waiting for permission from a supervisor to shoot, according to a sweeping critique released Wednesday on the tactical response to the May tragedy.
Some of the 21 victims at Robb Elementary School, including 19 children, possibly “could have been saved” on May 24 had they received medical attention sooner while police waited more than an hour before breaching the fourth-grade classroom, a review by a training center at Texas State University for active shooter situations found.
The report is yet another damning assessment of how police failed to act on opportunities that might have saved lives in what became the deadliest school shooting in the U.S. since the slaughter at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012.
“A reasonable officer would have considered this an active situation and devised a plan to address the suspect,” read the report published by the university’s Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training program.
Authors of the 26-page report said their findings were based off video taken from the school, police body cameras, testimony from officers on the scene and statements from investigators. Among their findings:
Some Russians won’t halt war protests, despite arrest fears
Ever since Russia invaded Ukraine, Anastasia has started her day by composing an anti-war message and posting it on the wall at the entrance of her apartment block in the industrial city of Perm in the Ural Mountains.
“Do not believe the propaganda you see on the TV, read independent media!” reads one. “Violence and death have been constantly with us for three months now – take care of yourselves” reads another.
The 31-year-old teacher, who asked to be identified only by her first name because she fears for her security, said she wanted “a safe and simple method of getting a message across.”
“I couldn’t do something huge and public,” she told The Associated Press in a telephone interview. “I want to get people to think. And I think we should influence whatever space, in whatever way we can.”
Despite a massive government crackdown on such acts of protest, some Russians have persisted in speaking out against the invasion – even in the simplest of ways.
Ex-cop Chauvin to get federal sentence for Floyd’s killing
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) – Derek Chauvin will learn his sentence Thursday for violating George Floyd’s civil rights, with a deal in place that would extend the former Minneapolis police officer’s time behind bars while shifting him to possibly more favorable conditions in a federal prison.
Chauvin agreed to a sentence of 20 to 25 years in his December plea to a federal charge in Floyd’s killing. U.S. District Judge Paul Magnuson will make the final decision, with prosecutors seeking the full 25 on the grounds that Chauvin’s actions were cold-blooded and needless.
The defense has asked for 20 years, saying Chauvin accepts responsibility for what he did, and has already gotten a 22 1/2-year prison sentence from a state court for murdering Floyd. Attorney Eric Nelson wrote that Chauvin’s “remorse will be made apparent to this Court,” suggesting Chauvin is likely to speak at Thursday’s hearing.
Former U.S. Attorney Tom Heffelfinger said a judge could take such a statement into consideration during sentencing.
“This is his opportunity to say, ‘I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to, I didn’t think, or whatever,’” Heffelfinger said. “In federal court it’s very much to the inmate’s advantage to be remorseful, and to demonstrate remorse, even more than at a state sentencing.”
Jury finds man guilty of murdering rapper Nipsey Hussle
LOS ANGELES (AP) – A 32-year-old man who grew up on the same streets in the same gang as Nipsey Hussle was found guilty Wednesday of first-degree murder in the 2019 shooting of the Grammy-winning rapper, who rose above his circumstances to become an inspiration to the neighborhood where he was eventually gunned down.
The Los Angeles County jury also found Eric R. Holder Jr. guilty of two counts of attempted voluntary manslaughter for gunfire that hit other men at the scene. Prosecutors had sought two counts of attempted murder. Holder also was found guilty of two counts of assault with a firearm on the same men.
Holder, wearing a blue suit and face mask, stood up in the small court room next to his lawyer as the verdict was read. He had no visible reaction. His lawyer, Deputy Public Defender Aaron Jansen, conceded during the trial that Holder shot Hussle, 33, whose legal name is Ermias Asghedom, but had sought a lesser verdict of voluntary manslaughter.
Jansen said in an email that he was deeply disappointed in the first-degree murder verdict.
“It was always going to be tough given the high profile circumstances surrounding the case,” Jansen said.
Appeals arguments heard on immigrants brought to US as kids
NEW ORLEANS (AP) – Attorneys hoping to save an Obama-era program that prevents the deportation of thousands of people brought into the U.S. as children told a federal appeals court Wednesday that ending the program would cruelly disrupt the lives of thousands who have grown up to become tax-paying, productive drivers of the U.S. economy.
An attorney for the state of Texas, leading an effort to end the Deferred Action for Childhood arrivals program, argued that DACA recipients have cost the state hundreds of millions in health care and other costs.
The dueling views at the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans were exchanged as more than 100 DACA supporters held signs, beat drums and chanted outside of the courthouse. They called for preservation of the program that protects more than 600,000 people from deportation, and a path to citizenship for immigrants.
“I am undocumented, and I will speak out today,” said Woojung “Diana” Park, 22, of New York. She said she was brought to the U.S. as a 1-year-old from South Korea. DACA, she said, “is the bare minimum that the U.S. government has offered immigrant communities after decades of fighting for basic human rights.”
A federal judge in Texas last year declared DACA illegal – although he agreed to leave the program intact for those already benefiting from it while his order is appealed.
Mercury hold public rally in support of Brittney Griner
PHOENIX (AP) – They shared laughs, smiles, memories. There also were tears, fears, unease.
Through the range of emotions, one common thread bonded them together: Brittney Griner.
Wearing “BG” shirts and holding signs, several hundred fans gathered for a public rally in support of Griner on Wednesday, hoping their sentiments would reach the WNBA player 6,000 miles away in a Russian jail cell.
“It’s really painful and hard to watch, and it’s really taken a toll on a lot of us,” said Kelly Gedney of Surprise, Arizona. “We can feel the fear that she has. It’s scary to me that she’s in a cage when she is traveling to her court cases. She’s been wrongfully detained and we’re going to do everything we can to get her home.”
Griner has spent the past four months in a Russian prison and is currently on trial. She’s accused of possessing vape cartridges containing cannabis oil when she arrived at the Moscow airport while returning to play for her Russian team, facing a prison term of up to 10 years if convicted.