The U.S. at a glance ...
An angry confrontation
Mourning the dead(AP, Getty, AP, TNS)
Days of protests: Police arrested more than 120 demonstrators this week, after protests over the acquittal of a white former police officer accused of killing a black suspect in 2011 turned violent. Jason Stockley, a former St. Louis police officer, was found not guilty in the shooting death of Anthony Lamar Smith by a judge last week; dashcam video showed Stockley saying he was “going to kill this motherf---er” less than a minute before he shot Smith five times after a car chase. Prosecutors said Stockley planted a gun in Smith’s car, and the only weapon found in the car had Stockley’s DNA on it, but not Smith’s. The acquittal kicked off several days of marches, alternating between large, peaceful protests during the day and smaller, violent demonstrations at night. Some demonstrators complained that police were unnecessarily aggressive. One group of officers was heard chanting “Whose streets? Our streets” while arresting demonstrators.
Arrest in race murders: A 23-year-old white man was arrested this week and accused of a string of attacks that investigators say were racially motivated, including the killing of two black men and a shooting at a black family’s home. Authorities allege that in separate incidents this month, Kenneth James Gleason murdered a homeless black man and a black dishwasher who was walking to work; both times, Gleason allegedly shot the men from his vehicle, then stood over the victims and shot them several more times. He is also accused of firing into the home of a black family who lived down the street from his house. Police said they found a handwritten copy of an Adolf Hitler speech at Gleason’s home, and that surveillance footage and DNA on a shell casing linked him to the crimes. “This killer would have killed again,” said Baton Rouge Police Chief Jonny Dunnam.
Manafort wiretapped: Federal agents obtained a secret court order to wiretap former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort before and after the 2016 election, CNN reported this week, and details of those communications are in the hands of special counsel Robert Mueller. The FBI reportedly began monitoring Manafort in 2014 while investigating consulting work he had done for a former Ukrainian regime backed by Russia. The secret surveillance, authorized under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, was discontinued last year for lack of evidence, but restarted after the FBI began to investigate ties between the Trump campaign and suspected Russian operatives. The surveillance may have picked up conversations with President Trump, who continued talking with Manafort after taking office until lawyers urged him to stop.
Mueller appears to be tightening the investigation’s focus on Manafort and exhibiting increasingly aggressive tactics. Agents with the special counsel carried out an early-morning raid on Manafort’s Virginia home in July, picking the lock to his door, rousing him from bed, and leaving with binders stuffed with documents. After that raid, Mueller’s prosecutors reportedly told Manafort that he should expect to be indicted. Mueller has also asked the White House to provide documents about more than a dozen matters since Trump became president, including an Oval Office meeting with the Russian ambassador in May. The Wall Street Journal reported last week that Facebook has given the special counsel detailed records about Russian ad purchases during the campaign—data that Facebook balked at providing to Congress, suggesting a search warrant may have been involved. Mueller’s moves “are setting a tone,” said Solomon Wisenberg, former deputy independent counsel under Bill Clinton. “You want people saying to themselves, ‘Man, I had better tell these guys the truth.’”
LGBT student killed: Violence erupted on the Georgia Tech campus this week after a student leader was shot and killed by a campus police officer while the student was suffering from an apparent mental breakdown. Scout Schultz, 21, who led a student LGBT group called Pride Alliance, phoned police Saturday night to report an armed man stalking the area. Police arrived to find Schultz holding what appeared to be a knife. Video from the scene shows an officer commanding Schultz to “drop the knife,” with Schultz responding, “Shoot me!” After Schultz paused and took a few steps toward the officers, one of them opened fire. A lawyer for the Schultz family said the student had a history of mental illness, and three suicide notes were found Schultz’s dorm room. After a peaceful vigil attended by hundreds of mourners, several dozen protesters wearing masks clashed with police, setting fire to one police vehicle and leaving several officers with minor injuries.
Nursing home deaths: Police and state agencies were this week investigating the deaths of nine elderly patients who died when their nursing home became dangerously overheated during power outages caused by Hurricane Irma. With temperatures outside in the 90s, temperatures inside the Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills soared after power to the facility was cut and portable air coolers failed. Executives for the nursing home said they repeatedly reached out to Florida Gov. Rick Scott as well as to the local power company, and were assured help was on the way. But after three days in the stifling heat, patients ranging in age from 71 to 99 began dying. Scott has defended his response, accusing the facility of “fail[ing] to do its basic duty to protect life” and being too slow to evacuate patients to a nearby hospital. He also announced new rules requiring nursing homes to have generators capable of maintaining comfortable temperatures for at least 96 hours in the event of a power loss. ■