Kentucky’s governor sent 500 National Guard troops to Louisville on Wednesday after the state’s attorney general announced charges against one police officer related to the fatal shooting of 26-year-old Breonna Taylor on March 13. The charges of wanton endangerment, however, were not for shooting and killing Ms. Taylor; but rather for the police officer’s bullets that went through the walls of Taylor’s apartment and into the homes of her neighbors.
Clusters of armed civilians began walking the streets and White Castle parking lots of Louisville shortly after the AG announced charges Wednesday. And the police? They were filmed welcoming and providing guidance to two armed folks who he said may perhaps have wanted to “exercise their Second Amendment rights or First Amendment rights,” as the policeman described their options.
“We’re not protesters,” one of the armed and kitted-up people told the police. “That’s not what we’re here for…We’re here for y’all” — that is, the police. “We’re just here on standby,” she continued.
Two police officers were shot shortly before the 9 p.m. curfew while investigating reports of previous gunshots in the downtown area. When the police arrived at South First and East Broadway streets, shots reportedly rang out again and the officers were hit — one in the leg and another in the groin. Both are expected to be okay.
A suspect has since been taken into custody and “charged with 14 counts of wanton endangerment on police officer and two counts of assault on police officer,” local CBS affiliate WLKY reports.
“Please, go home,” Governor Andy Beshear pleaded to Kentuckians in a video posted to social media shortly after the officers were shot. “We know that the answer to violence is never violence,” he said.
More than 120 people were arrested Wednesday in Louisville, most of them during marches down the small-business-heavy Bardstown Road, the police said Thursday morning. “Officers declared an unlawful assembly after they said fires were set in garbage cans and several vehicles were damaged,” the Associated Press reports. Police also described “looting” at three stores in Louisville.
Meanwhile, protests spread to multiple U.S. cities, including New York, Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, Las Vegas, Chicago, Atlanta, and Portland, Oregon.
New in Washington: a Senate bill would prevent federal law enforcement officers from wearing camouflage. Sen. Tammy Duckworth, D-Illinois, said the measure is necessary because federal law enforcement agents who wore camouflage while responding to protests over the summer looked too much like National Guard troops. Stars and Stripes has more, here.
Today at 11 a.m. ET: Marine Corps Commandant Gen. David Berger joins Defense One’s Katie Bo Williams for the latest in our “State of Defense” series with service chiefs.
An expert panel discussion immediately follows, featuring Rep. Mike Gallagher, R-Wisc.; Christian Brose of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace; Kyleanne Hunter from the Center for New American Security; and Valerie Jackson, who directs the Brute Krulak Center for Innovation and Creativity at Marines Corps University. Details and registration, here.
From Defense One
Three Ways to Clean Up the Toxic Minefields of Social Media // Peter W. Singer, Welton Chang, and Doowan Lee: Safeguarding the social media ecosystem from hate speech and disinformation is all about tracking data and empowering users.
A $13 Billion Contract for ICBMs: What’s the Rush? // William D. Hartung: The deal needs closer scrutiny — as does the purported need for new long-range ballistic missiles at all.
Welcome to this Thursday edition of The D Brief from Ben Watson with Bradley Peniston. Send us tips from your community right here. And if you’re not already subscribed to The D Brief, you can do that here. On this day in 1968, the first episode of “60 Minutes” aired on national television.
Top U.S. commander in Afghanistan: “The violence is too high. Taliban violence has to slow down,” said U.S. Army Gen. Scott Miller, speaking today from southern Kandahar province, according to Tolo News. “It has to stop,” he continued, because it's “driving is an increase in violence across the country.”
Just now catching up? Here’s our D Brief from Tuesday, which rolled up the worst of the recent attacks across the country.
The White House formally nominated a new IG for the intelligence community. Allen Robert Souza's nomination to be Inspector General at the Office of the Director of National Intelligence was officially sent to the senate Wednesday, the White House announced Wednesday.
You may remember the last guy to hold that job, Michael Atkinson, was fired after playing "a role in revealing the Ukraine whistle-blower complaint that prompted impeachment proceedings," the New York Times reports.
The new guy: Souza is “a senior intelligence official on the National Security Council staff who previously served on the intelligence staff of Representative Devin Nunes,” the Times' Julian Barnes reports.
Almost 500 former generals, admirals, top national security officials, and other experts endorse Joe Biden for president, including former Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs under Trump, retired Air Force Gen. Paul Selva, and former Coast Guard Commandant under Trump as well, retired Adm. Paul Zukunft. The 487 other endorsements can be reviewed in the letter explaining their support, here.
President Trump is campaigning this afternoon and evening in Charlotte, N.C., and Jacksonville, Fla., according to his very busy schedule for the day. The two speeches follow a morning spent “pay[ing] respects to Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg,” who passed away late last week at the age of 87.
Ginsburg will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery, where her Army veteran husband and 13 other Supreme Court justices are also buried, Stars and Stripes reported earlier this week.
Someone hacked a key U.S. election-data company. “Tyler Technologies TYL.N, whose products are used by U.S. states and counties to share election data, said on Wednesday that an unknown party had hacked its internal systems,” Reuters reports. “The company did not say whether there had been a ransomware demand or how it had learned of the breach, and it did not respond to questions.” A bit more, here.
Senate intel committee may release more information about election threats. Chairman Marco Rubio, R-Florida, and Vice Chairman Mark Warner, D-Virginia, said they want to release more information, but don’t want to hinder the intelligence committee’s ability to gather it. They spoke Wednesday after a two-hour Intelligence Committee briefing with Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe and William Evanina, the nation’s top counterintelligence official. They did say that intelligence officials “are much more prepared to combat foreign-based meddling efforts than they were in 2016, when Russia intervened in a systematic campaign to boost Donald Trump.” Politico, here.
SecState Pompeo urges the world to redefine “human rights.” Declaring the protection of human rights to be in “crisis,” the U.S. Secretary of State urged attendees of a U.N. General Assembly event to focus not on the 1948 U.N. declaration that is the “cornerstone of contemporary human rights principles” but rather on “the views espoused by the Commission on Unalienable Rights, which he created last year. The panel has drawn criticism for giving primacy to freedom of religion and property rights, raising concerns that it could undercut protections for women, gay people and other minorities.” Read on at the Washington Post, here.
For something completely different: We turn our gaze briefly north to a bit of “Canadian parliamentary pageantry,” via the Twitter account of nuclear scholar Matt Korda. That, in one memorable photo, is here.
Iran says its drones stalked the U.S. aircraft carrier Nimitz in the Strait of Hormuz, Defense News reported Wednesday.
What’s behind the drama: “A defense official told Navy Times Wednesday that this is Iranian holy defense week, and every year at this time the Iranians put on public displays of their different weapons in a huge parade, but they could not do it this year due to health concerns over the COVID-19 pandemic. So instead, this year, the Iranians displayed different types of drones, the official explained, accompanied by a media campaign.” More here.
Update: 10 months to vaccination for most Americans. The CDC chief told lawmakers Wednesday that he expects most Americans to be vaccinated for COVID-19 by July, at the latest. Reuters has more from the Senate floor, here.
ICYMI: Finland is deploying coronavirus-sniffing dogs at the Helsinki Airport. The Washington Post has that story from Tuesday, here.
Finally today: Ever wonder how the onset of a plague may have helped accelerate the fall of Athenian democracy, especially in the face of its already devastating Peloponnesian war with Sparta?
Long story short: Read this excerpt from the author, Dan Drezner of the Fletcher School at Tufts University. For the complete read, click straight through to this.