North Carolina News – July 16

North Carolina News – July 16


Black Lives Matter billboard placed next to Confederate flag

A group in North Carolina has erected a Black Lives Matter billboard to counter a Confederate flag that stands along a road in the state. An official with a group that supported the project says the sign was unveiled in Pittsboro and funded by residents in the city. A GoFundMe page to raise money for the sign said the billboard was a way to show Confederate flags “do NOT represent” Pittsboro. Sam White had been leasing the billboard on his property to an outdoor advertising company. He says he told the company he didn’t want a Black Lives Matter sign on his property. He says he wants the sign down when the company’s lease expires at the end of August.


Woman recorded making racist rants is hit by truck and dies

ASHEVILLE, N.C. (AP) — A North Carolina woman whose racist rants and attacks on a Black teenager and a woman in a hijab attracted international attention has died after being struck by a fire truck. News outlets reports 41-year-old Rachel Dawn Ruit of Henderson County suffered mortal injuries after she was hit by an Asheville Fire Department pickup truck on July 13. Asheville Police spokeswoman Christina Hallingse confirmed that Ruit died on July 14. Ruit had been arrested on July 4 after she was accused of ripping off a woman’s religious garment. She gained attention when she was captured on video using racial epithets and making threats.


Face mask requirement begins in N.C. courts as cases grow

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — A new face-covering requirement in North Carolina’s courts will attempt to reduce the transmission of COVID-19. Chief Justice Cheri Beasley announced this and other additional emergency directives for the court system on Thursday. She says the delay of jury trials will continue through at least the end of September. Judicial and law enforcement leaders in each county need to come up with a jury trial resumption safety plan by Sept. 1. The number of COVID-19 cases since the pandemic started in North Carolina is now well over 94,000, and more than 1,100 people with the virus are in the hospital.


McGrath outpaces McConnell in fundraising for Senate seat

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Democrat Amy McGrath continued her blistering fundraising pace in the spring. She outdistanced Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell for another quarter in their free-spending campaign in Kentucky. Despite her prodigious pace, McGrath ended the quarter with slightly less money in the bank after spending heavily at the end of her bumpier-than-expected primary battle against state Rep. Charles Booker. McGrath raised $17.4 million in the April-through-June period. The retired Marine combat pilot has raised $47 million since entering the race about a year ago. McConnell raised $12.2 million in the most recent quarter, lifting his total to nearly $38 million for the campaign cycle.


Democrat outraises N. Carolina senator nearly 3-to-1 in Q2

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Campaign finance reports show that North Carolina Republican Sen. Thom Tillis was outraised nearly 3-to-1 by his Democratic challenger in the last quarter. The news that Cal Cunningham’s campaign raised $7.4 million for the three months ending June 30 and that Tillis raised $2.6 million signals a more precarious reelection bid for the incumbent. The two campaigns were essentially tied with cash in their coffers starting July 1. Tillis is one of a handful of Senate Republicans considered vulnerable this fall. Democrats need to win three or four additional seats to retake the majority in the chamber.


Asheville among tiny number of cities to back reparations

ASHEVILLE, N.C. (AP) — The western North Carolina city of Asheville has joined a tiny number of American cities that have voted to provide reparations for their histories of racism and discrimination. The Asheville Citizen-Times reported Thursday that Asheville joined cities such as Chicago and Evanston, Illinois, which have also passed plans to provide reparations. Asheville’s City Council voted Tuesday to approve reparations that do not require direct payments but will mandate investments in areas where Black residents face disparities. Priorities could include efforts to increase minority home ownership and access to affordable housing. The resolution also mentions strategies to close the gaps in health care, education and pay.


Trump’s grand GOP convention plans shrink as virus surges

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump’s plans for a grand convention keep shrinking. The Republican National Committee says it’s sharply restricting attendance on three of the four nights of its convention in Jacksonville, Florida, next month as coronavirus cases are spiking in the state. Party leader Ronna McDaniel says only the roughly 2,500 regular delegates to the convention will be permitted to attend the first three nights. Delegates, their guests and alternate delegates will be allowed for the final night, Aug. 27, when Trump is set to deliver his acceptance speech. The GOP moved the convention from Charlotte, North Carolina, after Charlotte officials ruled out a full-capacity crowd because of the pandemic.


US prison populations down 8% amid coronavirus outbreak

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — There has been a major drop in the number of people behind bars in the U.S. An analysis by The Marshall Project and The Associated Press found that between March and June, more than 100,000 people were released from state and federal prisons. That’s a drop of 8%. By comparison, the Vera Institute of Justice found that for all of 2019, the state and federal prison population fell by 2.2%. As the U.S. struggles with the coronavirus, prison reform advocates are urging releases to halt its spread in correctional facilities. But their release, and how they behave when they’re out, is likely to affect the larger criminal justice reform movement.

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