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DC Guard ready for election violence, but no specific training underway

U.S. Army leadership responsible for any National Guard deployment in the capital region denied any special preparations were underway ahead of the Nov. 3 presidential election but asserted the Guard would be ready if needed.

“If we’re called upon, we will act in support of that, to protect federal property and support law enforcement,” Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy said when asked about D.C. National Guard deployment if civil unrest occurs surrounding the Nov. 3 presidential election.

“We support law enforcement,” he added at a Pentagon briefing Tuesday. “We don’t police American streets.”

Army chief Gen. James McConville clarified that no specific direction has been made to prepare Army military police ahead of the November election.

“There’s been no planning guidance given out from the Department of the Army directing any military police units to begin training for any situation,” he said.

The D.C. National Guard was criticized after it was called to assist law enforcement clearing Lafayette Square of protesters near the White House prior to a curfew on June 1 so that President Trump could walk through the park for a photo opportunity.

Two National Guard helicopters also flew low over protesters during the incident in an effort to disperse them.

McCarthy said the Army completed its portion of an investigation of the incident and turned it over to the Pentagon’s Inspector General. The Army Secretary declined to predict if the report would be released before the election.

“It’s my understanding that it’s imminent, and it’ll be released when it’s completed,” he said.

McCarthy also defended the use of the National Guard during the civil unrest in Washington, D.C. following the death of George Floyd.

“I wouldn’t characterize us being dragged onto the scene,” he said. “The protests became very violent on Sunday evening, in particular, of that week, and it was necessary to bring in the support to help local law enforcement and federal law enforcement officials, due to the tremendous damage, police officers, and Guardsmen being injured.”

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Alabama’s governor apologizes to Sarah Collins Rudolph, a survivor of the 1963 Birmingham church bombing, and says government ready to discuss reparations

After lawyers requested an apology and financial reparations for a survivor of the 1963 Birmingham church bombing, Alabama’s governor has somewhat obliged: offering a formal apology, while proposing further discussions as the woman seeks restitution.

a man and a woman sitting on a couch: Sarah Collins Rudolph sits with her husband, George Rudolph. Earlier this month, Collins Rudolph's legal team requested a formal apology and restitution for the 1963 Birmingham church bombing.

© Jay Reeves/AP
Sarah Collins Rudolph sits with her husband, George Rudolph. Earlier this month, Collins Rudolph’s legal team requested a formal apology and restitution for the 1963 Birmingham church bombing.

Sarah Collins Rudolph’s lawyers pressed Gov. Kay Ivey earlier this month to offer her a formal apology and restitution for the losses Collins Rudolph suffered as a result of the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing, including the loss of her sister and her vision in one eye.

Wednesday, Ivey responded, calling the bombing on September 15, 1963, “one of the darkest days in Alabama’s history.”

“Thankfully, the violence that unfolded on that fateful Sunday morning — and other incidents during this difficult chapter of American history — resulted in many positive changes that have been beneficial to our national story during the years and decades that followed,” Ivey wrote, going on to condemn the “racist, segregationist” rhetoric used by some state leaders at the time.

She continued, formally apologizing for the incident: “Moreover, there should be no question that Ms. Collins Rudolph and the families of those who perished — including Ms. Collins Rudolph’s sister, Addie Mae, as well as Cynthia Wesley, Carole Robertson, and Carole Denise McNair — suffered an egregious injustice that has yielded pain and suffering over the ensuing decades. For that, they most certainly deserve a sincere, heartfelt apology — an apology that I extend today without hesitation or reservation.”

Ivey did not address the request for restitution directly, but proposed that attorneys for the governor’s office and the state legislature start discussions with Collins Rudolph’s lawyers as soon as possible. Ivey said she would instruct her general counsel to reach out “to continue this very important dialogue.”

In a follow-up statement, the legal team for Collins Rudolph said they were “gratified” by the governor’s acknowledgment of the injustice as well as her apology, and they “look forward to engaging in discussions in the near future with the Governor about compensation, which Ms. Collins Rudolph justly deserves after the loss of her beloved sister and for the pain, suffering and lifetime of missed opportunities resulting from the bombing.”

Collins Rudolph has yet to receive financial help, she has said

On September 15, 1963, members of the Ku Klux Klan bombed the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama, killing four Black girls between the ages of 11 and 14.

Though the attack was a major catalyst for the Civil Rights Movement — a year later, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act — Collins Rudolph claimed she was never offered payment, medical care or an official apology.

“Given recent events,” her lawyers wrote in the initial letter to Ivey on September 14, “now is the time for Ms. Collins Rudolph to receive long overdue justice.”

Collins Rudolph

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