In our news wrap Wednesday, Seattle police cleared protesters from a so-called “occupied zone” near the city’s downtown. Violence had flared there recently, with two people killed and six others wounded in shootings. Also, lawmakers in New York City agreed to shift $1 billion in police funding to education and social service programs. Mayor Bill de Blasio called the move “the right balance.”
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In the day's other news: Police in Hong Kong began making arrests today under a new national security law imposed on the city by mainland China.
Thousands of protesters took to the streets in the semiautonomous territory after the measure went into effect last night.
We will have more on the contentious new law after the news summary.
In Seattle today, police cleared protesters from a so-called occupied zone near downtown. Violence had flared there in recent weeks. Two teenagers were killed and six others were wounded in separate shootings. Officers in riot gear moved in on the encampment early this morning, after the mayor issued an executive order for police to begin clearing the streets. They arrested more than 20 people.
Our job is to protect and to serve the community. Our job is to support peaceful demonstrations. But what has happened here on these streets over the last two weeks — few weeks, that is — is lawless, and it is brutal, and, bottom line, it is simply unacceptable.
Their demonstrations were originally in response to the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis in May.
Lawmakers in New York City have agreed to shift $1 billion in police funding to education and social service programs. But advocates for defunding the police argued that those cuts don't go far enough. Protesters camped outside City Hall for a ninth day in a row.
But at his news conference today, Mayor Bill de Blasio disagreed with them.
Mayor Bill de Blasio:
This is a huge reinvestment in communities, while we still stay safe as a city. I'm very comfortable we struck the right balance. And, again, what I'm saying represents, I'm certain, the majority of New Yorkers, who want this to be a safe city, they want more fairness, they want more reform, but they also want to make sure we consistently stay safe.
The New York City Police Department is the largest in the U.S. Its current budget is $6 billion. The new cuts come as the city is trying to claw its way back from $9 billion in revenue losses from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Richmond, Virginia, Mayor Levar Stoney today ordered the immediate removal of all Confederate statues on city property. Crews in the former capital of the Confederacy began by taking down a statue depicting General Stonewall Jackson.
Meanwhile, two Republican U.S. senators, Ron Johnson of Wisconsin and James Lankford of Oklahoma, filed an amendment to replace Columbus Day with Juneteenth as a new federal holiday.
The results from yesterday's state elections are in. Former Colorado Democratic Governor John Hickenlooper will face Republican Senator Cory Gardner in November, after winning his primary Tuesday night.
In Western Colorado, five-term Republican Congressman Scott Tipton lost in his primary to far-right businesswoman Lauren Boebert.
Meanwhile, in Oklahoma, voters narrowly approved expanding Medicaid in the state.
The Trump administration pushed back today against accusations that the president neglected reports of Russian bounties for killing U.S. troops in Afghanistan. Mr. Trump took to Twitter and dismissed those intelligence reports as — quote — "fake news."
And Secretary of State Mike Pompeo insisted that the situation was handled incredibly well to safeguard troops.
Secretary Mike Pompeo:
We see threats in intelligence reporting to our soldiers stationed all over the world every single day, every single day. The fact that the Russians are engaged in Afghanistan in a way that's adverse to the United States is nothing new.
National Security Adviser Robert O'Brien told FOX News that a top CIA official decided not to verbally brief the president on the matter, since the intelligence was unverified. But he said response options were drawn up just in case the information was corroborated.
And stocks were mixed on Wall Street today. The Dow Jones industrial average fell 78 points to close at 25735. The Nasdaq rose nearly 96 points, and the S&P 500 added 15.