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By The Associated Press | Posted - Jun. 30, 2020 at 1:05 a.m.



ARIZONA GOV. SHUTS DOWN BARS, THEATERS, OTHER VENUES BECAUSE OF CORONAVIRUS SPREAD

UNDATED (AP) — Arizona’s Republican governor shut down bars, movie theaters, gyms and water parks — and leaders in several states ordered residents to wear masks in public in a dramatic course reversal amid an alarming resurgence of coronavirus cases nationwide.

Among those implementing the face-covering orders is the city of Jacksonville, Florida, where mask-averse President Donald Trump plans to accept the Republican nomination in August. Trump has refused to wear a mask during visits to states and businesses that require them.

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey’s order yesterday went into effect immediately and for at least 30 days. Ducey also ordered public schools to delay the start of classes until at least Aug. 17. Most Arizona bars and nightclubs opened after the governor’s stay-at-home and business closure orders were allowed to expire in mid-May.

Arizona health officials reported 3,858 more confirmed coronavirus cases Sunday, the most reported in a single day in the state so far and the seventh time in the past 10 days that daily cases surpassed the 3,000 mark. And, Ducey says, “our expectation is that our numbers next week will be worse.”

Arizona isn't alone in its reversal. Places such as Texas, Florida and California are backtracking, closing beaches and bars in some cases amid a resurgence of the virus.

MISSISSIPPI FLAG FADING FROM PUBLIC DISPLAY

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — The Mississippi flag is fading from public display in many places, even before the governor signs a bill that will retire the last state banner in the U.S. that includes the Confederate battle emblem.

A broad coalition of legislators passed the landmark bill Sunday after a weekend of emotional debate. Yesterday, a U.S. flag fluttered outside the state Supreme Court building and a pole for the state flag stood vacant.

“In the middle of a pandemic, we — the legislators of the state of Mississippi — decided that it was past time to remove the flag,” Democratic state Rep. Oscar Denton of Vicksburg said yesterday as he stood on the Capitol steps with other Legislative Black Caucus members.

Widespread protests in the past month have focused attention on racial injustice in the U.S., and Mississippi came under increasing pressure to get rid of the flag that has the Confederate emblem — a red field topped by a blue X with 13 white stars.

A few supporters of the flag marched outside the Mississippi Capitol with it Saturday and Sunday. Inside the building, dozens of spectators cheered and some wept with happiness after legislators voted to change the flag. Senators on opposite sides of the issue embraced.

A LOOK AT “THE VILLAGES”

THE VILLAGES, Fla. (AP) — There has always been a low-boil tension in The Villages retirement community between the Republican majority and the much smaller cohort of Democrats, but a veneer of good manners in “Florida’s Friendliest Hometown” mostly prevailed on golf courses and at bridge tables.

Those tensions, though, flared two weeks ago during a golf-cart parade for President Donald Trump’s birthday in which a man shouted, “White Power,” when confronted by anti-Trump protesters. A video clip of that confrontation in America’s largest retirement community was tweeted approvingly by Trump last weekend and then taken down.

Some residents say they’ve never seen anything like the politically inspired hostilities that have surfaced over the past several months.

“It’s like a powder keg here,” said resident Alan Stone. “And Trump is just stirring the pot.”

In the past, when conflicting political views came up in The Villages, residents said it was best to say, “I disagree,” and quickly change the topic. But the emphasis on good manners has been tested like never before in recent months with the spread of the new coronavirus, the resulting stock market gyrations for a population that largely lives off retirement investments, the presidential race and the calls for racial justice following the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police.

The Villages’ population of more than 120,000 residents — among the fastest growing areas in the U.S. in the past decade — is about 98% white, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. There are more than twice as many registered Republicans as registered Democrats in Sumter County, where most of The Villages is located.

The Trump parade occurred June 14 in the planned community immediately after a vigil was held by an African American philanthropic group to honor Floyd and the Black Lives Matter movement. Most of the attendees at the vigil had left by the start of the Trump parade, although a white woman wearing “Black Lives Matter” on her shirt shouted profanities at the Trump supporters as they drove by in golf carts. A man driving by in a golf car responded by shouting, “White Power,” a racist slogan associated with white supremacists.

KANSAS CITY MAYOR SAYS HE WAS CALLED RACIST SLUR, THREATENED WITH LYNCHING FOR ORDERING FACE MASKS

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Kansas City’s Black mayor says he was called a racist slur and told he should “swing from a tree” after he announced mandatory face masks in the Missouri city.

Mayor Quinton Lucas on Twitter shared a screenshot of the texts, which came after he announced Friday that masks will be required in Kansas City when 6 feet of separation isn’t feasible.

“You walked with RIOTERS not wearing a mask idiot,” a text read, according to a screenshot Lucas shared. “You should swing from a tree, I’m not threatening it, but would love to see it.”

Lucas has joined in Kansas City protests sparked by the death of George Floyd and other Black people at the hands of police. Floyd died May 25 after a white Minneapolis police officer pressed his knee on Floyd’s neck for nearly eight minutes as the handcuffed man pleaded for air.

Lucas did not share the name or number of the person who allegedly sent the texts, which included a racist slur and obscene language describing the Black mayor.

In a tweet about the texts, Lucas wrote, “let’s do better.”

It’s unclear if police are investigating the texts to the mayor as a threat. An Associated Press request for comment to a Kansas City police spokesman wasn’t immediately returned Monday.

ARMED WHITE COUPLE CLAIMS THEY WERE CONFRONTED BY “ANGRY MOB"

ST. LOUIS (AP) — Their attorney says a white couple who stood outside their St. Louis mansion and pointed guns at protesters support the Black Lives Matter movement and don’t want to become heroes to those who oppose the cause.

Video posted online showed Mark McCloskey, 63, and his 61-year-old wife, Patricia, standing outside their Renaissance palazzo-style home Sunday night in the city’s well-to-do Central West End neighborhood as protesters marched toward the mayor’s home to demand her resignation. He could be heard yelling while holding a long-barreled gun. His wife stood next to him with a handgun.

Mark McCloskey told KMOV-TV that he and wife, who are personal injury lawyers, were facing an “angry mob” on their private street and feared for their lives Sunday night.

No charges were brought against McCloskeys. Police said they were still investigating but labeled it a case of trespassing and assault by intimidation against the couple by protesters in the racially diverse crowd.

However, Circuit Attorney Kimberly Gardner issued a statement later Monday characterizing what happened differently and saying her office was working with police to investigate the confrontation.

Their attorney, Albert Watkins, told The Associated Press on Monday that the couple are long-time civil rights advocates and support the message of the Black Lives Matter movement. He said they grabbed their guns when two or three protesters — who were white — violently threatened the couple and their property and that of their neighbors.

“The most important thing for them is that their images (holding the guns) don’t become the basis for a rallying cry for people who oppose the Black Lives Matter message,” Watkins said. “They want to make it really clear that they believe the Black Lives Matter message is important.”

ACCUSED GOLDEN STATE KILLER PLEADS GUILTY TO SERIES OF MURDERS

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — A former police officer who terrorized California as a serial burglar and rapist and went on to kill more than a dozen people while evading capture for decades has pleaded guilty to murders attributed to the Golden State Killer.

Joseph James DeAngelo Jr. had remained almost silent in court since his 2018 arrest until he repeatedly uttered the words “guilty” and “I admit” in a hushed and raspy voice as part of a plea agreement yesterday that will spare him the death penalty for a life sentence with no chance of parole.

DeAngelo, 74, did not cooperate with authorities. But he muttered a confession of sorts after his arrest that cryptically referred to an alter ego named “Jerry” that he said forced him to commit the wave of crimes that appeared to end abruptly in 1986.

“I did all that,” DeAngelo said to himself while alone in a police interrogation room after his arrest in April 2018, Sacramento County prosecutor Thien Ho said.

While prosecutors suggested DeAngelo had been faking a split-personality, Ho said his day of reckoning had arrived.

All told, authorities say DeAngelo admitted to 161 crimes involving 48 people.

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