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Newsletter: ‘We’re going to keep this fight on’

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At George Floyd’s funeral in Houston, his family and many more reflected on his legacy and the path ahead.

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‘We’re Going to Keep This Fight On’

As they gathered to lay George Floyd to rest in Houston on Tuesday, extended family from across the country said they hoped to continue the movement that started in the wake of his death. They were far from alone.

The sanctuary at the Fountain of Praise church was nearly filled with more than a thousand people. They heard an emotionally packed program that included tearful pleas for justice from the family, a video message from former Vice President Joe Biden and a eulogy by the Rev. Al Sharpton.

Among the crowd were relatives of other Black victims in high-profile cases in which extreme use of force by police or others was alleged, including family members of Ahmaud Arbery, Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Botham Jean and Trayvon Martin.

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“We’re going to keep this fight on,” said Rodney Floyd, the brother of the man killed in an incident with Minneapolis police more than two weeks ago.

One man — civil rights attorney Daryl Washington, who seeks justice for Black people killed by police in Texas — traveled 250 miles to see Floyd laid to rest. Why? “Because he felt called to Houston — Floyd’s hometown and a city, like America, grieving over the brutal image of a white officer pressing his knee into Floyd’s neck until his body went limp on the asphalt,” as Times national correspondent Kurtis Lee writes.

“For Black people in this country, Floyd’s last words — ‘I can’t breathe'— served as yet another devastating reminder of the dangers of interacting with the police. Another reminder that the slightest movement, a terse reply, simply living and breathing in your own skin can so quickly end with a bullet or a chokehold. That shared reality is why Washington and thousands of other Black people arrived in Houston this week to mourn together.”

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Police Union’s Power Slips

The Los Angeles Police Protective League, which represents rank-and-file LAPD officers, has been a significant force in local elections.

In the past decade, the union has given more than $100,000 directly to city candidates. Its independent expenditure committees, which cannot legally be controlled by candidates and do not have the same limits on donations, have spent millions of dollars more.

Now that money is under scrutiny by Angelenos supporting the national movement against police brutality — and some local politicians say they won’t accept it anymore. It is the latest sign of the push against longstanding practices at City Hall as Black Lives Matter-Los Angeles and other activist groups have pushed to defund and overhaul the Police Department.

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More About the Movement

— Since 2000, there have been nearly 900 killings by police in L.A. County that were ruled a homicide by county medical examiners. Almost all of the dead were men, nearly 80% were Black or Latino. More than 98% were shot to death.

— Can disbanding an entire police force work? Some Minneapolis activists doubt it.

Oprah Winfrey is hosting a two-night special asking “Where Do We Go from Here?” The answers are raw and necessary, TV critic Lorraine Ali writes.

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The Politics of the Coronavirus

Why is the California economy reopening at an increasingly rapid pace?

Some officials insist it has been driven by careful health considerations. But there are also political pressures. Some businesses hit by months of stay-at-home orders are pushing local governments to open their doors, while some residents object to the government telling them to wear masks and how far apart to stand from each other.

It all came to a head this week when Orange County’s health officer, Dr. Nichole Quick, resigned after facing criticism and even what was deemed to be a death threat for issuing a relatively straightforward order for residents to wear cloth face coverings while in public places, at work or visiting a business to protect against the spread of the coronavirus.

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More Top Coronavirus Headlines

— An international team of scientists combined old-fashioned epidemiology with newfangled genetic sleuthing to determine that the Bay Area’s outbreak of the coronavirus was spawned by a mix of foreign and domestic arrivals.

— Any type of large gathering brings a risk of spreading the coronavirus. Yet a number of health experts are supporting protests being held nationwide in response to the death of George Floyd, arguing racism is the bigger public health crisis.

Emergency medical services across the country, already burdened by the high demands of COVID-19, say they’re facing added pressure as they respond to the protests.

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Black, Latino and Pacific Islander residents of Los Angeles County are twice as likely to have died from infection by the coronavirus, according to new data, a troubling sign of the role racism and inequity have played in the uneven spread of COVID-19.

For more, sign up for Coronavirus Today, a special edition of The Times’ Health and Science newsletter.

What Will He Tweet Next?

President Trump’s reelection campaign is struggling amid over 112,000 U.S. deaths from COVID-19, the second-worst unemployment level since the Great Depression and a historic surge of national protests. Polls show Joe Biden is building a significant lead over him.

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Trump’s erratic words aren’t helping his cause. On Tuesday, he tweeted out a conspiracy theory baselessly accusing a 75-year-old protester — who, after being shoved by armed police officers, fell and hit his head in Buffalo — of possibly being an “Antifa provocateur” and deliberately provoking police or faking his injuries.

Two officers were charged with felony assault on local peace activist Martin Gugino, who remains hospitalized after last week’s incident. “Could be a set-up?” Trump asked.

Even some Republicans who typically defend Trump were aghast. But many GOP senators claimed to have not seen the tweet.

FROM THE ARCHIVES

In the 1920s, Los Angeles was plagued by oil field fires. When a new one ignited at the Santa Fe Springs oil fields on June 10, 1929, it was the fourth in less than a year, according to The Times.

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Two wells caught fire and seven derricks were destroyed. One was extinguished in a week, but the other burned for 26 days. A method called tunnel-and-cap was used to put it out: Workers dug a 75-foot-long tunnel 40 feet below the burning well to siphon off oil before a capping the well. About 2,900 barrels burned each day.

The fire was by no means the longest. One that began in September 1928 burned for two months.

June 1929: Workers dig a tunnel to cap the burning McKeon oil well behind them in Santa Fe Springs.
(Los Angeles Times Archive / UCLA)

CALIFORNIA

— In Salinas, “the salad bowl of the world,” farmworkers receive low wages and live in crowded conditions, the kind they worry will allow the coronavirus to flourish.

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— While campaigning for governor, Gavin Newsom said he was committed to shutting down the Aliso Canyon storage field, the site of a record-setting methane blowout. But Southern California Gas Co.'s use of Aliso Canyon has only grown, a new analysis finds.

— Three more people — two of them former city officials — have been charged in a San Francisco corruption case centering on former public works director Mohammed Nuru.

— The last of the Department of Motor Vehicles’ 169 field offices that were closed because of the COVID-19 pandemic will reopen on Thursday to customers who already have appointments, but not all services will be available.

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NATION-WORLD

— Voters endured heat, pouring rain and waits as long as five hours to cast ballots in Georgia, demonstrating a fierce desire to participate in the democratic process while raising questions about the emerging battleground state’s ability to manage elections in November when the White House is at stake.

— A governor, a pharmacist and a nun: How South Korea’s coronavirus stimulus money wound through a city.

North Korea has cut off contact with South Korea, dialing up tensions.

— Hungry for tourists, Europe wants coronavirus border restrictions gone by end of June.

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HOLLYWOOD AND THE ARTS

— The Paramount Network has canceled the long-running reality series “Cops.” Episodes of the series, which followed police officers and sheriff’s deputies as they responded to calls, had been pulled from the network’s lineup earlier this month in the aftermath of Floyd’s death.

— Days into national protests over racism and police brutality, some theaters — self-professed bastions of liberalism and equality — remained silent. So Marie Cisco made a spreadsheet to hold them accountable and shook the theater world.

— Kourtney Kardashian and Hilary Swank are among dozens of white stars who will hand over their Instagram accounts to nearly four dozen black women today in an attempt to amplify the latter’s voices beyond their usual social media reach.

Keanu Reeves and Alex Winter are back with excellent news: The first trailer for “Bill & Ted Face the Music,” the third installment in the film series.

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BUSINESS

— Coronavirus outbreaks at meat processing plants and at least 60 other food-processing facilities are raising the specter of more food shortages.

— One of the most prestigious scientific publications in the world withdrew a paper on the coronavirus. Business columnist Michael Hiltzik asks: What’s going on in scientific publishing?

SPORTS

— After 10 years, USC plans to reunite with Reggie Bush as the NCAA’s disassociation ban ends today. Columnist Bill Plaschke thinks the university should welcome Bush but wonders: “Will he show remorse?”

— After hearing from hundreds of athletes, the head of the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee has issued a public apology and vowed to reexamine her organization’s “rules and systems,” including the right to protest during medal ceremonies.

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— In roughly a month, 22 of the NBA’s 30 teams will travel to Florida to embark on a three-month experimental return to play — one without precedent or guarantee.

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OPINION

— The Los Angeles Unified School District wants to sell its headquarters. And while that’s a good thing, it’s just a first step toward bringing the district closer to the people it serves, The Times’ editorial board says.

— The streets are filled with protesters and all kinds of companies have pledged change. But for all the optimism, fascists don’t need op-ed pages, writes Brian Boyle. They already have Facebook and Google.

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WHAT OUR EDITORS ARE READING

— A collection of physicists called Particles for Justice created the hashtag #Strike4BlackLives and designated today, June 10, as a day when academics should stop all they are doing to highlight the racism facing Black students and faculty in higher education and throughout society. One organizer explains why. (Scientific American)

— How do Germans and Americans see the importance of American military bases in Germany? The views differ substantially. (Pew Research)

ONLY IN [CITY WITHHELD]

“I paid my hairstylist double to meet me at my psychotherapy office and cut my hair.” “I try to do as little as possible while working from home because I’m secretly jealous that I’m not getting any stimulus money.” “I drove 600 miles for a hookup.” Early last month, when we asked readers to anonymously submit the shame-inducing, rule-flouting behavior they were less than proud of engaging in since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, we expected to receive maybe a couple dozen responses total. Instead, we received an outpouring. Here are the best coronavirus confessions.

Comments or ideas? Email us at headlines@latimes.com.


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