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The Jolt: Amid Minneapolis unrest, Twitter cites Donald Trump for ‘glorifying violence’

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Minneapolis burns. Via Twitter, President Donald Trump refers to those on the streets as "thugs," promising that "when the looting starts, the shooting starts." Twitter shields his remarks from immediate public view, for violating its rules "about glorifying violence."

That is where we are this Friday morning. A few more highlights, starting with the Associated Press:

Cheering protesters torched a Minneapolis police station that the department abandoned as three days of violent protests spread to nearby St. Paul and angry demonstrations flared across the U.S over the death of George Floyd, a handcuffed black man who pleaded for air as a white police officer kneeled on his neck.

A police spokesman confirmed late Thursday that staff had evacuated the 3rd Precinct station, the focus of many of the protests, "in the interest of the safety of our personnel" shortly after 10 p.m. Livestream video showed the protesters entering the building, where fire alarms blared and sprinklers ran as blazes were set.

From KARE11, an NBC affiliate in Minnesota:

Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey held a press conference just after 1 a.m. to address the continued unrest across the city. Frey said rioting posed an imminent threat to the safety of the officers and staffers within MPD's Third Precinct, forcing him to make the decision to evacuate the compound.

"Symbolism of a building cannot outweigh the importance of life or the public," Frey said. "We could not risk serious injury to anyone… brick and mortar is not as important as life."

ExploreFrom the Minneapolis Star-Tribune:

Target has closed its 24 Twin Cities metro stores until further notice as rioting and looting following protests of George Floyd's death hit several of its stores.

The Lake Street Target, which was nearly destroyed in overnight looting, is among the Minneapolis stores, along with the downtown store on Nicollet Mall as well as the ones in Dinkytown, Northeast and Uptown.

Also last night, CNN journalist Omar Jimenez and other members of the crew were arrested by police during a live broadcast at the site of the protests in Minneapolis, after clearly identifying themselves to officers.

The morning Tweet from the Minnesota State Patrol:

In the course of clearing the streets and restoring order at Lake Street and Snelling Avenue, four people were arrested by State Patrol troopers, including three members of a CNN crew. The three were released once they were confirmed to be members of the media.

The CNN crew was broadcasting live at the time. And from the Wall Street Journal:

Twitter Inc. placed a notice on a tweet from President Trump, shielding it from view for breaking what the company said are its rules about glorifying violence.

Mr. Trump's tweet was a comment on the violent protests in Minnesota. The post can now only be seen after users click a box with a notice saying it violated Twitter's rules against encouraging violence, but it otherwise remains visible.

This was the first time that Twitter has done so to a message written by the leader of a country, the company confirmed. Trump sent the message out shortly after midnight.

Meanwhile, we have this from the Associated Press:

At least seven people were shot in Louisville as protesters turned out to demand justice for Breonna Taylor, a black woman fatally shot by police in her home in March.

Louisville Metro Police confirmed in a statement early Friday that there were at least seven shooting victims, at least one of whom is in critical condition. The statement said there were "some arrests," but police didn't provide a number.

"No officers discharged their service weapons," police spokesman Sgt. Lamont Washington wrote in an email to The Associated Press. Washington said that all seven were civilians.

As in the wake of the leaked Ahmaud Arbery video in Georgia, the recorded death of George Floyd in Minneapolis has prompted quick reactions from quarters that are usually more restrained.

"There is no need to see more video," Chattanooga Police Chief David Roddy tweeted Wednesday. "There no need to wait to see how 'it plays out'. There is no need to put a knee on someone's neck for NINE minutes. There IS a need to DO something. If you wear a badge and you don't have an issue with this ... turn it in."

In Georgia, Rahu Bali, a news anchor for the Oconee Radio Group, pointed us to a Facebook posting by Baldwin County Sheriff Bill Massee that begins with these words:

I must tell everyone that the law enforcement actions on the video of the arrest of George Floyd is inexcusable. It doesn't matter why he was arrested nor what crime he is accused of committing. It doesn't matter what he has on his criminal record nor if he even has one. It doesn't matter what spin the media or anyone tries to put on this action.

It doesn't matter if he had health or personal issues or if he was the perfect specimen of condition. The only health issue that I witnessed was a knee on a man's neck cutting off blood flow and his breathing. What I viewed in my opinion was a criminal action.

***

Already posted: For the second time in a week, Vice President Mike Pence is set to fly into Dobbins Air Reserve Base, meet with business leaders to talk about Georgia's coronavirus response and honor the memory of a prominent evangelist.

***

A milestone: The data gurus over at Georgia Votes report that 781,000 voters have now requested Democratic absentee ballots. That's more than the entire number of voters (roughly 760,000) who voted in the 2016 primary.

Democrats are also rapidly approaching parity with Republicans in the primary. About 792,000 voters have requested GOP ballots.

As for votes actually cast, whether by absentee ballot or in person, Republicans hold a 54% edge -- down from 65% in 2016.

***

In Bartow County, sales tax revenue for the month of April dropped 7% compared with the previous year.

Why is that worthy of a mention? Commissioner Steve Taylor called it a “very modest” decline and credited Gov. Brian Kemp’s decision not to shut down the economy.

“Businesses were able to stay open, and many I have spoken to are having some of their best months ever, with folks coming to spend their stimulus money,” he said.

State government can’t report the same. Georgia lawmakers are preparing to cut 14% from the state’s budget.

***

Kelly Loeffler has said all along that she would donate her U.S. Senate salary — $174,000 before taxes — to charity, but now we know more about the organizations who received the money and how she picked them:

Loeffler has donated an estimated $76,000 to 20 organizations so far, representing the net pay she received during the first half of the year.

Speaking last week for the first time about the donations, she said her goal is to highlight organizations that are doing good work on issues she deems critical, such as health care, human trafficking and the agriculture industry.

"I know that I've been blessed to live the American dream, and I want that for more people across Georgia," she said. "I know from my personal involvement when I was a private citizen in charitable organizations how vital donations are to their lifeblood."

***

We've documented how a number of Republican congressional candidates have endorsed U.S. Rep. Doug Collins' bid for U.S. Senate. But this might be a first.

Andrew Clyde, an Athens gun store owner running to succeed Collins in the Ninth District, released a minute-long ad that describes the congressman's support for Clyde's legal battle with the IRS. Watch it here.

***

Democrats on the U.S. House Judiciary Committee are ramping up calls for the U.S. Department of Justice to open an investigation into the murder of Ahmaud Arbery in coastal Georgia, as well as two other black people whose deaths have led to protests across the nation.

The request echoes a letter sent by U.S. Rep. McBath and California U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris last week. Judiciary Committee Chair Jerry Nadler, D-New York, also said his panel will begin oversight hearings next month that analyze these killings and the issues of racially motivated violence.

“The letter calls for the DOJ to investigate the prosecutors involved in the case of Ahmaud Arbery, an unarmed African American man who was shot in cold blood while running in his neighborhood,” a news release said. “The letter also calls for DOJ to open pattern and practice investigations into the police departments in Louisville, Kentucky, where Breonna Taylor was gunned down in her own home by police, and in Minneapolis, Minnesota, where George Floyd was killed after a police officer kneeled on his neck and body.”

U.S. Rep. Hank Johnson, a Lithonia Democrat who serves on the Judiciary Committee, delivered a speech about these killings, as well as the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on people of color, on the House floor Thursday.

"The American Dream should not be a nightmare for any of her people," he said. "It is time to bring an end to open-season on Black people in America. We can't breathe."

***

In endorsement news:

-- Tea Party Express, which calls itself the nation's largest tea party PAC, announced its backing of Republican Karen Handel in Georgia’s Sixth District congressional contest.

-- No surprise here, but Everytown for Gun Safety’s political arm endorses U.S. Rep. Lucy McBath’s re-election bid in the Sixth.

-- Left-leaning People for the American Way Voter Alliance PAC is backing Teresa Tomlinson’s U.S. Senate bid.

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