TIME georgia

Confederate Flag Supporters Rally in North Carolina and Georgia

“We’re not here to promote racism. That’s not what the flag is about"

About 150 Confederate flag supporters rallied in North Carolina on Saturday, the latest challenge to the growing numbers of elected officials and public figures who want to consign the flag to history as they consider it a symbol of slavery and segregation.

Cars, pickups and even a sheriff’s cruiser streamed through Stokes County carrying Confederate, Christian and American flags in celebration of the Confederate Pride Rally and Ride, the Winston-Salem Journal reports. Attendees were showing support for their Southern roots, rally organizer Cody Hall explained, and not for the flag’s appropriation as a “symbol of hate.”

“People want to ban the flag, vandalizing Confederate monuments,” Hall said. “We’re here to stand up and say, ‘This is our heritage. You have a right to hate it, but we have a right to respect it and love it.'”

A similar rally also took place on Saturday in Georgia, attracting hundreds of attendees to Stone Mountain Park, where a giant mountain carving commemorates Confederate leaders.

The debate over the Confederate flag exploded in June after nine black churchgoers in Charleston, S.C., were allegedly shot to death by a white gunman, Dylann Roof. The alleged shooter had posed with the Confederate flag in photos taken before the shooting, which had still been flying on the grounds of the South Carolina State Capitol in the days after the massacre.

[Winston-Salem Journal]

TIME Civil Rights

Confederate Flags Placed at Martin Luther King’s Church

Raphael Warnock, George Turner
David Goldman—AP Atlanta Police Chief George Turner, left, speaks next to Raphael G. Warnock, pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church, during a news conference in Atlanda on July 30, 2015

The placing of the flags was the latest provocative act involving the Civil War-era symbol

(ATLANTA) — Surveillance cameras caught images of two white males laying Confederate battle flags on the ground near the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s church, but it wasn’t clear whether they had committed a crime.

Atlanta police Chief George Turner said Thursday his officers were working with federal authorities and hadn’t determined what, if any, charges might be sought. Turner said they had not ruled out a hate crime, though Georgia has no state hate crimes law.

An officer from the Atlanta FBI’s joint terrorism task force was on the scene “to better determine if any specific threats were received” and to provide support to Atlanta police, FBI Special Agent Steve Emmett said in an email.

The placing of the flags was the latest provocative act involving the Civil War-era symbol since nine black church members were gunned down during Bible study in Charleston, South Carolina, and it happened in the heart of an area devoted to the slain civil rights leader, near his birthplace, his crypt and a center devoted to preserving his legacy.

The Rev. Raphael Warnock, senior pastor at Ebenezer Baptist Church, called placing the flags on church grounds a “terroristic threat.”

“This act by a cowardly and misguided individual or individuals is provocative to say the least. It ought to get the attention not only of black people but of freedom-loving people,” he said. “To place Confederate flags on the campus of Ebenezer Baptist Church after this horrific act in Charleston, in the wake of all this happening in our country, whatever the message was, it was clearly not about heritage, it was about hate.”

Two former Georgia prosecutors said leaving the flags alone doesn’t amount to a terroristic threat in the eyes of the law.

Bob Keller, the Clayton County district attorney for nearly three decades until 2004, said he couldn’t think of a crime they had committed.

“It was certainly divisive and not acceptable behavior the way it was done, but I cannot find a criminal act to it,” he said.

Ken Hodges, who served as Dougherty County district attorney from 1997 to 2008, struggled at first to think of a crime they might have committed before saying a charge of vandalism to a place of worship might be possible. That includes the malicious defacing or desecration of a church or other place of worship.

King preached at Ebenezer Baptist Church on Auburn Avenue, once a bustling center of commerce for Atlanta’s African-American businesses and residents. The area is home to the historic church and a new church building where the congregation now meets and where the flags were placed. Nearby is the Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change, and all of those buildings are just a short walk from the home of King’s grandparents, where he lived for the first 12 years of his life.

Atlanta police officer Gary Wade said a maintenance worker discovered the flags at 6 a.m. Thursday and notified the National Park Service, which operates the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site, which is adjacent to the church.

The flags weren’t stuck in the ground but instead laid flat. One was placed near a bell tower under a poster that said: “Black Lives Matter.” The slogan, which has been spray-painted on Confederate monuments across the South this summer, has become part of a movement of civil rights supporters who say police treat blacks unfairly.

Warnock said black clergy from around the country were gathered at Ebenezer on Thursday to discuss the role of black churches in social justice issues, including mass incarceration. The placing of the flags only strengthens their resolve, he said.

Superintendent Judy Forte of the National Park Service said her office at the King historic site received a threatening phone message the day before the shooting at the South Carolina church. The message was rambling and “very alarming and they did mention coming here to the historic site,” she said. There was no indication that was connected to the flags.

At some point within the last two years, a Confederate battle flag was placed at the tomb of King and his wife Coretta across the street from the church, said Forte, who couldn’t recall exactly when that happened.

“It was disturbing and sickening, but unfortunately not terribly surprising,” Warnock said of the latest incident. “We’ve seen this kind of ugliness before.”

___

Associated Press writer Jeff Martin contributed to this report.

TIME Florida

Families of Missing Florida Teens Plead for Help

Perry Cohen (L) and Austin Stephanos, both 14 years old.
U.S. Coast Guard—AP Perry Cohen (L) and Austin Stephanos, both 14 years old.

Overturned boat was found Sunday, two days after 14-year-olds took it out

The families of two teenage boys who went missing while fishing off the coast of Florida pleaded for help Monday, asking people to scour the shores for debris or any clues that might lead to their sons.

The 19-foot white single-engine boat that Austin Stephanos and Perry Cohen, both 14, took out off the coast of Jupiter late last week was found Sunday, roughly 67 miles off the shore of Daytona Beach. There was no sign of the teens in the boat, according to the Coast Guard.

“We want everybody, once again, from Palm Beach all the way up the coast of…

Read the rest of the story from our partners at NBC News

TIME Crime

4 Killed in Georgia Shooting, Including 2 Young Children

Fatal Shooting Suburban Atlanta
John Amis—AP Law enforcement investigate the scene of a shooting at a home in Suwanee, Ga. on July 22, 2015.

It appears all the victims lived together

(SUWANEE, Ga.)—Authorities say four were killed, including the shooter and two children under the age of 10, in a domestic-related shooting at a suburban Atlanta home.

Forsyth County Sheriff Duane Piper says an uninvolved family member called 911 about 6 a.m. Wednesday to report the shooting. Deputies found one man and two children under the age of 10 dead from gunshot wounds. Another man and woman were taken to hospitals with gunshot wounds. Piper says the woman later died and the man is in critical condition.

Piper calls the shooting “domestic-related” and says it all took place inside the home.

He also says it appears all the victims lived at the home. Names haven’t been released.

He says a motive is unknown.

Previously, officials said the shooter was known to officers from past arrest.

TIME georgia

This Adorable Photo of Two Dogs ‘Hugging’ Saved Their Lives

An anonymous vet saved the day

Puppy pals Kala and Keira were going to be put down if they weren’t rescued by the end of the day on Tuesday. Then Angels Among Us, a Georgia pet rescue charity, posted a photo of the two in an embrace.

“We’re so scared in here,” the post said, taking the voice of Kala, who is seen clinging to Keira, a boxer mix. “The people working in the shelters see how scared we are but just told each other that today is our deadline. We have to have someone rescue us or we’ll be ‘next.'”

Two hours and six minutes later, the two were adopted by an unnamed vet, the shelter said.

TIME LGBT

See Some of the First Same-Sex Marriages in States That Didn’t Previously Recognize Them

The Supreme Court on Friday struck down the ban on same-sex marriages in all 50 states. These images show some of the first gay marriages Friday in states like Texas, Nebraska and Georgia, where same-sex marriages previously weren't recognized

TIME georgia

Escaped Tiger From Georgia Zoo Kills Man and Is Put Down

White tiger georgia tbilisi
Reuters A white tiger, that had escaped from its enclosure during flooding, lies on the stretchers after it was killed by police in Tbilisi, Georgia, June 17, 2015.

Flooding in the country of Georgia that began last Saturday has killed at least 12 people

A tiger that escaped from a zoo in Tbilisi, Georgia during extreme flooding was shot and killed Wednesday after it took the life of relief worker.

“The tiger is liquidated,” interior ministry spokeswoman Nino Giorgobiani told the Washington Post.

The tiger had escaped captivity over the weekend along with a slew of other zoo animals. Before the attack, zoo officials had said that the tiger, along with eight lions and seven other tigers, had been found dead, according to the Guardian.

Flooding in Georgia began last Saturday and has killed at least 12 people, including three zoo workers.

[Washington Post]

 

TIME Television

First Transgender Contestant to Appear on the U.S. Version of Big Brother

"I'm the Beyoncé of my life story"

The American version of Big Brother will welcome its first transgender “houseguest” on the upcoming 17th season, following in the footsteps of its British cousin.

Transgender contestant Nadia Almada won the fifth season of the U.K. show and now Audrey Middleton, a digital media consultant from a small town in Georgia, will aim to repeat that feat on the American version, Variety reports.

Born Adam, the 25-year-old Middleton applied to be on the show on the CBS website as a loyal “superfan” and was open about her transgender identity in her application.

In her bio on CBS, she says that she “loves to get dressed up and look fabulous head-to-toe, but also isn’t afraid to get dirty.” She also says that she enjoys “fabulous hair, lashes, makeup,” and is “the Beyoncé of her life story.”

Middleton plans on discussing her transition throughout the show and on the premiere episode of the season, Variety says. “I think there’s a chance I could be a misunderstood hero, but I’m going to be a hero,” she said in her introduction video.

[Variety]

TIME animals

See the Zoo Animals That Escaped in Georgia

Hippos and bears, among other animals, escaped from a Tbilisi zoo this weekend after heavy flooding. At least a dozen people, and several animals, have died in the floods

TIME Behind the Photos

Southern Rites: The Heartbreaking Story of Justin Patterson’s Death

In HBO's Southern Rites, photographer Gillian Laub goes to Mount Vernon, Ga., a racially divided town

When Gillian Laub started photographing the racially divided town of Mount Vernon, Ga. — with its segregated homecomings and proms — she stumbled onto the story of Justin Patterson, a 22-year-old black man who was killed, on Jan. 29, 2011, by Norman Neesmith, a 62-year-old white man.

Patterson’s story, which further divided Mount Vernon, is the subject of Southern Rites, a HBO documentary premiering on May 18.

Dedee Clarke, Justin’s mother, spoke to TIME.

Gillian LaubSha’von, Justin and Santa, 2012

“When I got the call, it was around 3.45 in the morning and my youngest son, Sha’von, said that Justin had been shot and he was dead… For a long time, Sha’von wouldn’t talk about it, he would only tell me things in bits and pieces. It wasn’t until 2013 that he told me the whole story. I think that the thing that bothered him the most was that the gun was actually aimed at him. Justin looked back, saw that and pushed Sha’von out of the way and took the shot himself. It’s something I don’t think he’ll really recover from. He just has to learn to live with it. It’s a day-by-day process, but I don’t think anybody can ever be the same.

The first time I met Gillian was in 2010. My youngest son, Sha’von, was attending the prom that year, and she was photographing it. I thought the work she was doing was great. But I didn’t know that much about her, I just knew that the pictures that she was taking were important. I didn’t get to know her on a deeper level until my son, Justin, died.

[When Gillian shifted her focus to what had happened to Justin], I was, at first, a little reluctant. But I could just see her passion and drive as she talked to me and I knew at that point that she really cared. I was more relaxed around her and I began to open up. But I just remember saying that it wasn’t going to be pretty sight because I was just not in the right state of mind, and she understood that.

You have to feel some kind of compassion when you do this. And Gillian had that; she felt it. And because she felt it, I believed that shows in her work.

Of course, it was very difficult to see Norman Neesmith in Gillian’s film. I had always made it a point not to really look directly at him. And to see him up close and personal in the film, it was very hard. It was hard to watch some of the things that he said. It’s just hard to hear that he never really acknowledged that his daughter invited them into his home. I felt that he thought he was a victim. I don’t think he understands that Justin had a life. He had a daughter. And she will never have her father.

Gillian’s work makes me feel that my son’s death was not in vain. That’s the one thing that I can hope for. I’m hoping that it will help someone. It’s too late for my son, but maybe it can help somebody else.

I’m hoping it will help other mothers to see that you can still survive that kind of pain and. I’m a survivor because God says I am. Everything that I believe in is because of God. He’s the reason that I’m here because there’s no way I could have done any of this by myself. I felt like nobody really cared because the story wasn’t out. It was a while before it was even in a paper. To see it now and to know that people really care, it does make me feel supported. It definitely does. I’m thinking that everyone will have an idea of what happened. This is real life. These people are real people; they feel that pain continuously every day.

My goal here is for people to know and understand that there’s still, very much so, a lot of injustice in this world and something has to be done about it.”

Southern Rites by Gillian Laub premieres on HBO on May 18. A book, published by Damiani, will be released in June.

Your browser is out of date. Please update your browser at http://update.microsoft.com