Protests 2020

Sean Urbanski, a former University of Maryland student who stabbed and killed a Black Army lieutenant at a bus stop in May 2017, was sentenced to life in prison for what prosecutors said was a racially motivated hate crime.

A Prince George's County Circuit Court judge handed down the life sentence for Urbanski, 25. However, the judge denied the prosecution's request for a sentence without parole.

"I'm absolutely satisfied that justice was served," said Maryland State's Attorney Aisha Braveboy, whose office prosecuted the case.

A Minnesota judge has ruled that the former Minneapolis police officer seen in cellphone video kneeling on George Floyd's neck for several minutes last summer, will stand trial alone in March.

Hennepin County District Judge Peter Cahill ruled that the trial for Derek Chauvin, who is facing charges of second-degree murder and manslaughter for his role in Floyd's death, will begin on March 8.

Social media behemoth Facebook announced Monday it has created a new executive role at the company and that it will be filled by a veteran of the Obama administration.

Roy Austin Jr. has been named vice president of civil rights with the mandate to oversee Facebook's accountability on racial hatred and discrimination on its platform. He's slated to start Jan. 19.

Updated at 1:40 p.m. ET

Still reeling from the aftermath of the deadly insurrection at the seat of the U.S. government last week, U.S. Capitol Police have designated Yogananda Pittman as the law enforcement agency's acting chief.

She has been with the force since April 2001 and was named acting chief on Friday, according to the U. S. Capitol Police (USCP) website. That came two days after pro-Trump extremists faced off and eventually overwhelmed security forces at the U.S. Capitol complex.

The Aurora, Colo., Police Department officers who held a woman and four Black girls ranging in age from 6 to 17 years old at gunpoint after wrongly suspecting they were in a stolen car, will not face any charges.

The decision puts an end to months of review by the District Attorney's Office of the 18th Judicial District, which called the incident "disturbing" but ultimately ruled the officers hadn't acted unlawfully during the traffic stop.

Hours after congressional lawmakers certified his Electoral College victory affirming he will be the next president, Joe Biden took to social media to express what countless others have before him.

If the largely white, pro-Trump insurrectionists who stormed the U.S. Capitol had been Black Lives Matter protesters, there would have been a starkly divergent law enforcement response than what played out Wednesday afternoon.

When a pro-Trump mob attacked the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, surprisingly few police stood in the way. Protests had been expected for days, but police appeared unprepared for an actual insurrection and not even prepared to keep all the doors locked. Video showed police calmly talking with attackers after they moved into the building.

Updated at 3:15 a.m. ET

A pair of Louisville, Ky., police officers connected to the raid on Breonna Taylor's apartment last year were formally terminated from the force, a spokesperson for the Louisville Metro Police Department confirmed Wednesday.

Chuck Quirmbach

Kenosha Police officer Rustin Sheskey may have avoided local criminal charges yesterday, in a decision announced by Kenosha County District Attorney Mike Gravely.

But there could be more legal trouble for Sheskey and the Kenosha Police Department.

The leader of the right-wing group Proud Boys was released from police custody on Tuesday and ordered by a judge to leave Washington, D.C. — and stay away.

Henry "Enrique" Tarrio, 36, was arrested Monday shortly after his arrival in the District, where Trump supporters are gathering to rally during Congress' official certification of the Electoral College ballots on Wednesday.

Tarrio was charged with destruction of property and possession of high-capacity firearm magazines.

Updated 5:08 p.m. ET

Kyle Rittenhouse, a young gunman facing criminal charges in the killing of two men and the serious injury of a third this summer in Kenosha, Wis., entered not guilty pleas to all charges during an arraignment Tuesday.

Updated 7:58 p.m. ET

A Wisconsin prosecutor announced that no charges will be brought against the white Kenosha police officer who shot Jacob Blake, a Black man, several times at close range in August.

"It is my decision now, that I announce today before you that no Kenosha law enforcement officer in this case will be charged with any criminal offense," Kenosha County District Attorney Michael Graveley said during a Tuesday afternoon press conference.

The series of events that shook the city of Kenosha, Wis., in August continue to reverberate as victims and their families seek justice.

Within the next two weeks, Kenosha County District Attorney Michael Gravely is expected to decide whether to criminally charge Kenosha police officer Rusten Sheskey in the Aug. 23 shooting of Jacob Blake. Sheskey, who is white, shot Blake, who is Black, seven times in the back as Blake walked away from officers. Blake is now paralyzed.

The year of large racial justice protests led to an unprecedented number of Confederate symbols being removed around the country.

More than 100 Confederate symbols have been removed from public spaces or renamed since George Floyd was killed, according to a count by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Two police officers who were part of the raid that ended with the shooting and death of Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old Black woman, are reportedly being terminated by the Louisville Metro Police Department. The move comes nine months after Taylor was killed in her apartment when police attempted to carry out a search.

Attorneys for detectives Myles Cosgrove and Joshua Jaynes have confirmed to member station WFPL that both have been given pre-termination letters by Chief Yvette Gentry.

The U.S. Department of Justice will not charge any of the officers involved in the fatal shooting of Tamir Rice, a Black 12-year-old boy who was killed by police in Cleveland in 2014. The department has closed its investigation.

The Justice Department announced it found insufficient evidence to "support federal criminal charges against Cleveland Division of Police (CDP) Officers Timothy Loehmann and Frank Garmback."

Teran Powell / WUWM

Much of the news of 2020 was dominated by two major stories: the coronavirus pandemic and nationwide protests against police brutality that were accompanied by calls for immediate police reform.

Here’s how some of those stories unfolded in Wisconsin.

Teran Powell / WUWM

Across the country this year, including in Milwaukee, protests over the treatment of Black people has taken center stage. While the police killing of George Floyd was the catalyst, some in Milwaukee have had concerns for decades about policing and the value of Black lives here. Protests in Milwaukee have now surpassed 200 days. Still, questions remain about the progress that’s been made.

Columbus, Ohio, Officer Adam Coy, who fatally shot Andre Hill, a Black man during an early morning nonemergency call last week, was fired Monday.

Police Chief Tom Quinlan, as well as the city's mayor and other leaders, have called for Coy's dismissal since the shooting on Dec. 22. Following a disciplinary hearing Monday, Public Safety Director Ned Pettus agreed.

Since arriving as pastor of St. Paul African Methodist Episcopal Church in 2017, Rev. Dwayne Gary has been stopped by Glencoe, Ill. police four times.

The 51-year-old pastor was not cited in any of his encounters with local police, which included being stopped for expired registration (his plates were current); talking on his cellphone while driving (it was in his cup holder, he says); a burned-out headlight (he got that fixed); and walking his dog, Comet, down a public sidewalk on the way home to the parsonage, his home near the church.

Updated 6 p.m. ET Thursday

Body camera footage shows a Columbus police officer fatally shooting 47-year-old Andre Maurice Hill less than 10 seconds after finding him in a garage early Tuesday. The officer who shot him is Adam Coy, a 19-year veteran of the department who has since been placed on paid administrative leave.

Coy is white; Hill was Black. Police say no weapon was found at the scene.

Thursday, Columbus Police Chief Tom Quinlan recommended that Coy be dismissed from the force.

A police officer in Columbus, Ohio, was temporarily removed from duty pending the outcome of criminal and internal investigations following the fatal shooting of an apparently unarmed Black man early Tuesday.

Mayor Andrew Ginther demanded that the unidentified officer who fired the shot be removed following news that the officer's body camera was switched off in the moments leading up to the shooting.

One of the most prestigious newspapers in the midwestern United States issued an apology for what it called "both action and inaction in shaping and misshaping" the history of Missouri's most populous city and its surrounding region.

Black members of the U.S. Air Force are treated differently than their white counterparts in a wide range of areas, including promotions and military justice, a new internal investigation reveals.

For more than 100 years, two statues representing Virginia have stood at the U.S. Capitol: one of George Washington and another of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee.

But early Monday, the Lee statue was removed from the National Statuary Hall's collection. It's expected to be replaced by a statue honoring civil rights activist Barbara Johns.

The lead attorney for the city of Chicago resigned Sunday amid continuing fallout from a botched and mistaken police raid nearly a year ago at the home of a Black woman.

Attorney Mark Flessner said in a concise email to staff that he had resigned as Corporation Counsel for the city of Chicago. He said simply that he would work on a transition plan in the next few days.

Major League Baseball has for years acknowledged the contributions and the legacy of the thousands of Black athletes who played in the Negro Leagues.

On Wednesday, the league went a step further, saying it was officially "correcting a longtime oversight in the game's history" and recognizing those professionals as Major League-caliber players. The league said it will also include their statistics and records as part of MLB history.

Chuck Quirmbach

Relatives and supporters of a woman wounded during a police shooting in Wauwatosa the night of Dec. 10 are raising more concerns about the city's police force. 

Wauwatosa police say they responded to a report of a woman being attacked by another woman with a stick.

The 23-year-old female officer who went to the scene says the attacker had a wooden post and began hitting her squad car. Police say the officer was “forced to shoot the subject” when she advanced on the officer.

MILWAUKEE POLICE / RIEMANN

The Milwaukee Common Council on Tuesday rejected the federal COPS grant that would have provided the city with 30 additional police officers. 

The vote was 9-6 to pass up the $10 million grant.

Groups, such as the Party for Socialism and Liberation – Milwaukee, North Side Rising and others, protested the funding before the vote, calling it “a step back from the steady movements to defund the police ... and a slap in the face to a community that has decided we do not need more officers.”

Two Los Angeles police officers will not face criminal charges in the 2018 shootout at a Trader Joe's store that injured the armed suspect the officers were pursuing, and resulted in the death of the store's assistant manager.

In a newly released memorandum from the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office, prosecutors determined the officers were justified in using deadly force because they were trying to protect themselves and the public.

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