REPUBLICANS OPPOSE CHANGES TO SOCIAL STUDIES THAT EXPLORE SYSTEMIC RACISM: “The system of government that we have in this nation is not systematically racist,” Robinson said. “In fact, it is not racist at all.” State board member Amy White said North Carolina social studies teachers should be telling students that America is the greatest nation on Earth. She blamed the news media for promoting an anti-American viewpoint. “While I think some of the revisions have been helpful, I still see an agenda that is anti-American, anti-capitalism, anti-democracy,” said White, who was appointed by former GOP Gov. Pat McCrory. She is a former social studies teacher. Wednesday’s debate marks the latest chapter in the struggle over how best to teach the state’s 1.5 million public school students about social studies.
LAWSUIT FILED AGAINST PENDER COUNTY LYNCH MOB THAT THREATENED BLACK MOTHER AND SON: Named as a defendant in the suit is Jordan Kita, a New Hanover County sheriff’s deputy who was fired and is facing charges of forcible trespass, breaking and entering and willful failure to discharge duties. Also named are Kita's father and 13 others including a local resident, Austin Wood. Wood was also carrying an AR-15 and showed it to a captain with the Pender County Sheriff's Office who went to the Shepard's home, the lawsuit said. At one point, according to the lawsuit, Kita stuck his foot in the door of the home as he demanded the group enter. Lea said the teenage girl had been reported missing earlier on May 3 and subsequently was found safe elsewhere. Monica Shepard told news outlets that her son had repeatedly tried to point out that the group had the wrong house but they wouldn't leave. Eventually, a neighbor called the sheriff’s office. She said the group’s target was a home next door to the Shepards and a teen who lived there, but that person had moved out a month earlier.
PROTESTERS SHOW UP AT LEGISLATURE ON FIRST DAY, PUSH FOR PANDEMIC SPENDING: The protest occurred minutes before the House started its session, and it appeared to startle some legislators on the floor — likely given the security fears in the wake of the U.S. Capitol riot. A Twitter account for a group called “N.C. Team Democracy” later tweeted a photo of the protesters with their banners outside the Legislative Building. “The pandemic has affected our lives for nearly a year without action from the #NCGA to protect our communities: people do not have secure housing, living wages, and access to healthcare,” the tweet said, using the hashtag #ReleaseOurMoneyNC, which appears on one of the banners. “Our demand is simple: there is $4.2B in unspent state funds.” According to its website, Team Democracy is a coalition of prominent left-leaning advocacy groups, including Progress N.C., the N.C. Association of Educators, the League of Women Voters and Democracy N.C. Some Democrats have said the legislature should use some of the money immediately for additional COVID-19 economic relief and needs, but Senate leader Phil Berger said lawmakers should be cautious about the funding for now because the economy remains volatile.
MILITIA WHO INVADED CAPITOL TRAINED AND RECRUITED IN NORTH CAROLINA: In a 15-page indictment unsealed Wednesday, prosecutors revealed new allegations, accusing Watkins of contacting recruits on Nov. 9, six days after the election, for a “Basic Training” camp outside Columbus, Ohio, in early January so they would be “fighting fit by innaugeration.” Prosecutors also allege that Watkins participated in a “leadership only” conference call via an encrypted app, and that Caldwell arranged with another person bringing “at least one full bus 40+ people coming from N.C.” and weaponry ahead of Jan. 6. Crowl, a former Marine mechanic, attended a training camp in December in North Carolina, while Caldwell hosted Watkins in Northern Virginia, charging papers said. Caldwell allegedly told Watkins that the leader of another group, unnamed in the indictment but described in previous court filings as “Paul,” promised a busload of more than 40 and weaponry. Paul “is too broken down to be on the ground all day and . . . he is committed to being the quick reaction force and bringing the tools if something goes to hell,” Caldwell said, according to the indictment. “That way the boys won’t have to schlep weps on the bus. He’ll bring them in his truck the day before.” Prosecutors previously detailed the group’s alleged communications over the walkie-talkie-style app Zello during the riot. “You are executing citizen’s arrest. Arrest this assembly, we have probable cause for acts of treason, election fraud,” one man said as Watkins reported undergoing plastic bullet and tear-gas fire. “This is . . . everything we f---ing trained for!” an unknown man told Watkins, according to the court documents. Watkins and Crowl turned themselves in to authorities in Ohio on Jan. 18, and Caldwell was apprehended Jan. 19.
PUTIN KEEPS NAVALNY IN JAIL, THREATENS SOCIAL MEDIA COMPANIES FOR ALLOWING CALLS TO PROTEST: A Russian court on Thursday rejected opposition leader Alexei Navalny's appeal against his arrest while authorities detained several of his allies and issued warnings to social media companies after tens of thousands swarmed the streets in over 100 Russian cities last weekend demanding his release. Speaking to court via video link from jail, Navalny denounced criminal proceedings against him as part of the government's efforts to intimidate the opposition. “You won't succeed in scaring tens of millions of people who have been robbed by that government,” he said. During the court hearing, Navalny’s defense argued that he was undergoing rehabilitation in Germany and was unable to register with authorities as required by probation terms during the period. His lawyers also contested his arrest, charging that due process was repeatedly violated. In an apparent effort to thwart the next wave of rallies set for Sunday, police on Wednesday searched Navalny’s apartment, a rented accomodation where Navalny’s wife, Yulia, has been living and residences of several of his associates and supporters. Navalny's brother Oleg, his top ally Lyubov Sobol, Dr. Anastasia Vasilyeva from the Navalny-backed Alliance of Doctors and Maria Alyokhina from the Pussy Riot punk collective were detained for 48 hours as part of a criminal probe into alleged violations of coronavirus regulations during the weekend's protests. Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the searches and detentions were a legitimate part of police efforts to investigate the alleged violations during Saturday's rallies.