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After a Kentucky grand jury ruled not to charge two of the three police officers involved in the killing of Breonna Taylor, protesters across the country took to the streets, including at the Texas Capitol and Austin City Hall to stand against the decision.
The protest, titled "Justice for Breonna Taylor—Solidarity with Louisville," started at 7 p.m. Wednesday. The protest was not organized by a specific group or person, though groups like the Mike Ramos Brigade, a local anti-police organization with ties to antifa, and Back the Blue, a pro-police organization, were present.
Protester Ellie A., who was not affiliated with any group, said she was there to protest for what matters.
"Black lives matter," Ellie said. "That is not apparent from the things that happen in our world."
Shortly after the protest began, a group of protesters attacked Hiram Garcia, an independent streamer who often films protests and "history in the making," by shoving Garcia and his camera to the floor. Some protesters yelled and suggested he leave the protest.
A fight has broken out against Hiram Garcia, an independent streamer. Protesters became physical and tried to knock… https://t.co/MSCmkMy0Ay— Laura Figi (@Laura Figi)1600908523.0
Garcia, who streams on Facebook Live, said he has been attending protests since May 30 and said people are quick to recognize him.
"They just don't want me here, that's it," Garcia said. "The problem is I'm an unbiased host."
Protest attendee, who goes by the name Shera, has been protesting for racial justice since May and said she has faced dangerous situations, such as being pepper sprayed. Shera said Garcia was generally accepted at first, but while he elects to remain neutral, he has gained a right-wing audience he has yet to denounce.
"(Garcia has) talked to the cops in a way that a lot of the protesters don't like, or just giving them airtime (on the livestream) and loving them—pretty much speaking propaganda," Shera said. "It's okay if they don't want him here but getting physical like that … is just completely uncalled for."
About 45 minutes into the protest, protesters took to West Cesar Chavez Street and blocked traffic. Shortly after, they were followed by multiple police cars, who ordered them to clear out the roads under threat of arrest.
Groups of protesters continued to march through the streets, as several people were arrested. One protester was arrested on 3rd Street and San Jacinto, seen being patted down with zip-tied wrists.
Here on 2nd Street and San Jacinto, a protester is being arrested. An officer said she was being arrested for “thro… https://t.co/xKcMdeYi60— Laura Figi (@Laura Figi)1600910873.0
Several protesters were arrested for class B and C misdemeanors, according to the Austin Police Department.
Shera said the protests were meant to show solidarity with Louisville and Breonna Taylor, and the ruling was disappointing.
"We are not done," Shera said. "We are still waiting for a lot of justice to be served for the police that have hurt all of the protesters that are out here."
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Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced a record-setting second quarter during an earnings call broadcasted from the Giga Texas construction site in Southeast Travis County on Monday.
The electric carmaker reported more than $1 billion in quarterly net income and the production of more than 200,000 vehicles for the first time despite challenges such as a global semiconductor shortage.
"It … seems that public sentiment towards electric vehicles is at an inflection point, and at this point, I think, almost everyone agrees electric vehicles are the only way forward," Musk said.
Exterior shots taken just a while ago of Giga Texas (while @elonmusk is reportedly at the Gigafactory!) during today's earnings call!
Hope @peterdog15 got to catch the technoking in his video! #fastestinhistory #Tesla pic.twitter.com/WqeDlb5wU3
— Austin Tesla Club (@AustinTeslaClub) July 26, 2021
Despite rising consumer demand and adequate factory capacity, Tesla faces what Musk described as a "quite serious" global semiconductor shortage, which will determine the company's growth rate for the rest of the year.
With increased revenue and production, Tesla is investing in new factories, Chief Financial Officer Zachary Kirkhorn said. These include Giga Texas, the $1.1 billion manufacturing plant that broke ground last summer and is slated to open later this year.
The Giga Texas factory in Southeast Travis County has rapidly increased in size since ground broke last August. (Tesla)
Musk commended the construction team for "incredible progress," transforming what was basically a vacant site into "a mostly complete large factory a year later."
I was at Giga Texas yesterday. Team is making excellent progress. Building will be almost a mile long when complete.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) July 25, 2021
Giga Texas will produce the highly anticipated Cybertruck, along with other models, but Musk said scaling its production will be difficult, especially given the supply chain delays caused by the pandemic. "It's going to move as fast as the slowest of its up to 10,000 unique parts," he said.
In other news, Musk said Monday's earnings call would likely be his last regular appearance, only jumping on future quarterly calls when big announcements warrant it.
Tesla Solar recently made news when it announced plans to build the nation's most sustainable residential community in Southeast Austin earlier this month. The newly built homes will feature Tesla solar roof tiles and Powerwall battery storage as well as electric vehicle charging stations.
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The city of Austin released a shortlist of seven candidates for the police chief position left vacant when Brian Manley retired in March.
City Manager Spencer Cronk hopes to announce an appointment by the end of August, which will require City Council approval.
The finalists, chosen from a field of 46 applicants, include:
- APD Interim Chief Joseph Chacon, who previously served as an assistant chief in the department for almost five years
- Anne Kirkpatrick, former police chief in Oakland, California, who was fired last year after a federal monitor criticized her handling of a fatal 2018 police shooting of a homeless man
- Dallas Police Department Assistant Chief Avery L. Moore, who is a 30-year veteran of the department
- Atlanta Police Department Deputy Chief Celeste Murphy, who manages the department's community services division
- Dekalb County Police Chief Mirtha V. Ramos, who previously served as division chief in the Miami-Dade Police Department
- Wichita Police Department Chief Gordon Ramsay, who is a former president of the Minnesota Police Chief's Association as well as one of the first police chiefs of a major U.S. City to call George Floyd's death a murder, as reported by the Wichita Eagle
- Los Angeles Police Department Deputy Chief Emada E. Tingirides, who is also commanding officer of the department's newly formed Community Safety Partnership Bureau, which serves L.A.'s underserved communities
City staff will interview the finalists in the coming weeks, with several community input opportunities to come, according to a Monday press release.
The city conducted a public survey in March and hosted community input meetings in April to learn more about what residents are looking for in their next police chief, which helped shape the selection criteria for the position.
"They want to see the Chief be reform-minded and transparent and have a track record of fostering community involvement and accountability," Cronk said in the release. "The candidates selected show these characteristics in various ways."
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Days after Austin began once again recommending masks in public spaces, Austin ISD announced Monday that kindergarten through sixth-grade classes will have virtual options this fall.
The district will discuss the move in a special board meeting Monday evening starting at 5 p.m., while full details will be released Friday.
Teachers will not have to fret about the new option—no educators will have to juggle both virtual and in-person learning. Instead, certain teachers will specialize in virtual education, according to a press release.
The news comes after a recent spike in COVID cases in Travis County and across the nation. Children typically suffer fewer symptoms of COVID when contracted, but they are now catching the virus more often than their older counterparts without a vaccine available to them and as the more contagious Delta variant is quickly being spread.
While local health officials are recommending everyone wear masks, public school districts are unable to mandate masks due to an executive order issued by Gov. Greg Abbott in May.
Parents have expressed concern about classrooms with masks unenforceable and children under the age of 12 ineligible for a vaccine. Some have even said they would look for alternative schooling if AISD did not offer a virtual option for students.
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