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Why Unions are Making a Comeback – Diversifying

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Hey, everyone. If I sound a little different this week, it’s because I’m recovering from COVID – so thanks for bearing with me.

It’s always going to be Amazon vs. The people. And today the people have spoken. And the people wanted a union.

Workers at an Amazon warehouse in New York City are celebrating a historic win after voting to form the first union in the company’s history.

If you haven’t heard, the Amazon labor union won its first election in April, at a warehouse on Staten Island called JFK8. Right away, people started calling this victory revolutionary – and it was! Amazon is the second largest private employer in the United States with nearly a million workers. This opens up the door for its other facilities to unionize, too. But it also has implications beyond Amazon, for workers everywhere. Here’s Tristan Martinez. He’s an organizer for the Amazon Labor Union – or ALU for short.

Tristan Martinez

00:01:11

A lot of people are saying, oh, but these company, you know, they got billions of dollars. You know, I can’t fight that. We did it. We took on one of the richest companies in the world and we won. I hope and pray that there will be just a mountain of other dominoes falling everywhere. I only see it getting bigger and bigger.

From warehouses to coffee shops, from universities to grocery stores, there’s a surge in unionization happening around the country. Petitions to form unions increased almost 60% between October 2021 and March 2022. When I saw all of this happening, I thought, Yeah! Unions are trendy again. Today, Tristan and an ACLU attorney will tell us what it takes to unionize – and what all this means for the future of work in America. I’m Delyanne Barros. This is Diversifying. Tristan Martinez is 24 years old and has been working at Amazon’s JFK8 warehouse on Staten Island for almost four years as a packer and robotics tech. He was born into a working class family and has always been conscious of the stigma around that.

Tristan Martinez

00:02:33

If you just work a regular 9 to 5, like parents will tell their kids, oh if you don’t go to college, you’re going to end up like that guy, you know, talking about a garbage man or a construction worker. Those are great jobs. You know, they demean people that have manual labor jobs, and I think that’s completely wrong.

Tristan’s mom is Vietnamese. His dad is Hispanic, and neither of them graduated from high school. He says they inspired him to get involved in the early days of the Amazon Labor Union.

Tristan Martinez

00:03:00

So my passion comes from just the way that I feel society treats people that don’t go to college or don’t work in some big tech company. Like there’s nothing wrong with just being a garbage man, construction worker, electrician like my father is. You know, these are great jobs that can make you very happy and can live very comfortable. Nobody that works 40 hours anywhere should be struggling to feed their family, struggling to pay their bills. That should not happen.

When the pandemic hit, workers who are already underpaid and overworked now have to face the fear of exposure to a deadly virus. Tristan says Amazon employees tried to talk to managers about things like additional paid sick leave and better access to sanitizing supplies, but he said their requests were ignored.

Tristan Martinez

00:03:49

Obviously we felt like we weren’t being listened to, so we planned a walkout. So the beginning of this was just us wanting to look out for our coworkers and down the line, we realized the best way to do that is to form a union. And then we ended up forming the ALU.

Unsafe COVID conditions weren’t their only complaints. Some workers feared being let go for not working fast enough and they felt burned out from mandatory overtime. So Tristan would work his regular hours, clock out and then stick around to educate workers about the benefits of unionizing. After getting enough workers to sign a petition, the ALU held an election this past spring.

Tristan Martinez

00:04:32

The count itself was very surreal watching it because I did watch it and the ALU obviously kept very up to date on what the counts were. So from the very beginning we had like a lead of about 200 yes votes. But just watching it go up and up like it stayed almost neck and neck, almost the whole way. But we kept getting a little bit more of a lead, but Amazon kept catching up and then we got a little bit more of a lead. So it was very nerve wracking the whole time, just watching it. And then I believe we ended up with over 400 votes more. So we won by over 400 votes. I remember it well because it was really funny, actually, right as the announcement came in, I was running around, I was very happy. My manager came up to me, was like, Hey, look, I know you’re excited but I’m going to need you to get back to work.

Before they could really celebrate. Amazon was already trying to undo their hard work. The company’s filing raised 25 objections, accusing the ALU of illegal tactics like intimidating employees. So the vote was really just the beginning. The ALU now has to fight Amazon’s appeal and then hopefully make it to the collective bargaining phase. That’s where they’ll actually negotiate with Amazon on things like pay and workplace conditions.

Tristan Martinez

00:05:49

We all have a right to say what we want and whatever we decide collectively as a group, that’s what we’re going to go with. That is what we want at the end of the day, is for them to recognize us and come to the table so we can bargain for the first contract for an Amazon facility in the US. That is the goal.

The ALU’s victory so far is a big deal all on its own, but it’s also a part of a pattern. Newly formed unions are popping up across the country. Two Starbucks locations in California recently joined the club, becoming the first stores in the state to unionize. The ALU says they’ve also heard from workers around the world who are interested in following their lead.

Tristan Martinez

00:06:31

I’m looking forward to the future. I’m looking forward to a world, a country where workers have more rights, where workers are protected and being paid a living wage. So do I feel like this is the start of something? I definitely do.

When we come back, we’ll learn how labor unions have shaped working culture in America. Before we take a quick break, I have a favor to ask. We want to know what you think of Diversifying – what do you love, what do you want to hear more of, and what do you think we can be doing better? Please visit cnn.com/financepod to take a quick survey and share your thoughts. We read everything, and we’ll use what you tell us to make the show the best it can be. Once again, that’s cnn.com/financepod. Thanks! Welcome back to Diversifying.

My name is Alejandro Ortiz. I’m a senior staff attorney with the ACLU’s Racial Justice Program. Although I’m appearing here not on behalf of the organization specifically.

Alejandro Ortiz is uniquely qualified to talk about unions. He helped create the American Civil Liberties Union’s union – whew, that’s a mouthful – so he has hands-on organizing experience. And before that, he worked for the National Labor Relations Board. That’s the federal agency specifically created to protect the right of private sector workers to unionize. He spent his time defending fair labor practices. I wanted to get his take on this revival of the labor movement. Why has there been such a surge in interest into unionizing? Like why now? Was the pandemic the reason why this all kicked off?

Yeah, the short answer is, I don’t know. And it’s a really good, interesting question. I suspect, given the correlation with the pandemic, that there is a relationship. For low wage workers, these frontline service workers, the particular plight that they were facing, I think, was amplified during the pandemic. If workers are put more at risk because suddenly employers aren’t taking certain steps to mitigate the risk of COVID 19 exposure, for example, that’s going to help them band together and they’ll start unionizing. And that threat cuts across, you know, all workplaces, but especially prominent in the service industry or in hospitals or other situations where you’re dealing with members of the public, and that is your day to day job.

Usually when people hear unions, maybe they’ll think of like the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory and they don’t really understand, like how it applies to today, the modern American. So what role does that union play today in our workforce?

Forming a union is a vehicle for self-help. It’s a way to build solidarity. It’s a way to have a voice in your working conditions. And if you get recognized under federal law in your union, then you can actually impose a bargaining obligation on management where they have to come to the table and negotiate with you. And so it’s a lot of power. And the main reason in my experience that employers often resist their workforce unionizing is because it means ceding power to the workers. And generally speaking, when people or organizations are in positions of power, they don’t want to give it up. But I see it as a vehicle for marginalized, vulnerable groups of workers, workers of color, in particular, low wage workers who are disproportionately workers of color, to band together to improve their working conditions.

And so many people will push back when I say we need to hold corporations accountable. And I say that there is, you know, a gender wage gap and a racial wealth gap. As you mentioned, you now work at the ACLU’s Racial Justice Project. Can you connect the dots for us again on how racial justice and unions relate to each other?

Sure. Low wage workers are disproportionately black and brown workers, and it’s low wage workers who can stand to benefit the most by far by unionizing all workers benefit, but low wage in particular. The March on Washington in August 1963, that was a march for jobs and freedom and was organized by one of the most renowned labor leaders the U.S. has ever seen, A. Philip Randolph…

A. Philip Randolph clip

00:11:04

We are the advanced guard of a massive moral revolution for jobs and freedom.

…who recognized that promoting laborers and promoting solidarity, especially among the most marginalized people in society, is a racial justice issue, given who composes the most marginalized people in society. If you can lift them up through a union, through solidarity, through a sense of common cause, then you are promoting racial justice. MLK, what was he doing the day before he was assassinated? He was in Memphis helping promote the cause of striking sanitation workers who were disproportionately black. He also recognized that promoting labor rights is promoting racial justice.

Unionization used to be a very common thing. Back in only 1954, not that long ago, a third of U.S. workers belonged to unions. So what’s going on here? Can you explain to us what happened to the unionizing efforts in America? Why did it decline so much and how that’s impacting workers?

Yeah, I mean, it’s true. In the 1950s, as you say, a third were organized and we had a vibrant middle class in those days. And over the decades, things have waned. I think one signal event that the labor movement will point to will be in the 1980s and Ronald Reagan breaking the PATCO strike. That was the air traffic controllers.

Ronald Reagan clip

00:12:33

I respect the right of workers in the private sector to strike. But we cannot compare labor management relations in the private sector with government.

Air traffic controllers are government workers, so they don’t have the same right to strike. And because they worked for the government, Reagan had the power to fire them.

Ronald Reagan clip

00:12:54

It is for this reason that I must tell those who failed to report for duty this morning: they are in violation of the law, and if they do not report for work within 48 hours, they have forfeited their jobs and will be terminated.

And they were all fired. And that was a big blow. Not only did it defeat that particular strike, but it also emboldened employers to act in similar ways and to be a lot more aggressive towards their workers when they attempt to organize and either strike or do other concerted activity in order to improve their working conditions. So it’s been diminishing since and not unrelated there’s been a corresponding growth in income inequality and a reduction of the middle class, and exacerbation of people who are more poverty stricken than before. So there’s a relationship between unionizing and being better off economically. And the track of history from the fifties to today shows that. And thankfully, we’re seeing a resurgence.

This is the resurgence we’ve been talking about – with Amazon, Starbucks and other companies around the country. Whether you’re trying to follow what’s going on in the news, or whether you’re interested in organizing your workplace, it’s helpful to understand the process. So what does it actually take to form a union? Alejandro says the first step is to see if anybody else you work with is actually interested.

Talk to your coworkers, try to build some support among a core few people and then branch out and start having conversations. And once you get a critical mass of support, I would reach out to an established labor union. You can reach out to the AFL-CIO, they can get a referral for you, or do some research poke around on Google, you know, what unions are working in whatever particular industry that you’re trying to organize in? And reach out to them. They’re experts.

Alejandro’s advice, and I agree with him here, is to be discreet. He says people who are unionizing should avoid doing it on company laptops or phones. While it’s illegal to fire somebody for unionizing, it still happens. The next step is to get the union recognized.

So there’s two ways to have a union that’s recognized under federal law.

One option is to send a petition to the NLRB, with support from at least a third of the workplace.

Saying, Hey, NLRB, I’ve got a group of workers here, it’s more than a third and we want you to run an election.

Then the NLRB sets a date for everybody to vote on whether or not they want to be in a union. The time between the petition and the election can be a tough one. Like Alejandro said, this is about power. Across the country, companies spend hundreds of millions of dollars trying to keep their workforce union free. This is when they can force employees to attend meetings where they try to convince them not to join a union.

And that has an impact where workers are hearing one side of the message during their job. I mean they’re getting paid by company to participate in these what are called captive audience meetings, which some states, by the way, have banned recently.

At the same time, the people who want to start a union might work to drum up support, making buttons, having parties outside of work, and generally making their case. They need the majority of workers to vote yes. That’s the harder route. The second option is a bit less fraught.

Another way, and this is the second way that we did at the ACLU, is the same initial steps you organize with your colleagues. You get a critical mass and then you write a demand letter to your boss saying, we have more than a majority. You need a majority of the workers and we want you, management, employer to voluntarily recognize us as the exclusive bargaining representatives for this group of workers.

How common is that route? The demanding recognition one? Because I imagine you’re an attorney. You know, you’re at the ACLU. That’s already a position of power to be in, I think, to be demanding that. But what about in other workplaces? Like, would that really work in a restaurant environment?

I mean, one of the things that we use to our advantage at the ACLU was the public facing image of the ACLU. The ACLU has a board policies promoting the right to collective bargaining and workers rights, etc. We knew we could lean into that if need be. So thankfully, the ACLU did not require that we go to the NLRB. But yeah, an employer is not obligated to do the recognition route.

Once you’ve got recognition either from your employer or from an election, management is legally required to bargain with you. You sit across the table and you try to come up with a contract that satisfies everybody. This is the collective bargaining phase, and it can take years. I won’t sugarcoat things – Unions have their issues. It’s good to have a balanced understanding of what those are.

The very common complaint that we would see at the NLRB is when a worker files an allegation against a union alleging that the union has not represented the worker fairly. So under federal law, unions have an obligation to represent all the workers that they represent fairly. So they can’t ignore complaints. They can’t discriminate against some workers over others. That was a common type of complaint. A common issue that is raised in an organizing context, and this came up when we were organizing at the ACLU is, well, what you know, what is the cost? You know, what are the dues? Do we have to pay? When do we start paying dues? Are we going to be guaranteed anything in this contract? Is there a risk that things could get worse than they are if we form a union? And it’s true, there are no guarantees. I mean, I don’t see drawbacks other than what I’ve identified. Workers do have to, you know, if they’re organized, they have to pay dues. What do those dues go towards? They go towards the administration of the collective bargaining contract once there’s one, as well as if you’ve organized with an outside union to help pay for the representation. I mean, there is all sorts of resources that a union has to expend in representing workers. And by contrast, in a typical organizing context management, the employer, they have a whole HR department that is paid and it is their jobs to deal with workers. So this is just another illustration of sort of the power dynamic.

Yeah. We’re trying to, you know, make this not so much like a David and Goliath situation because that’s usually how it is. Like the employee is at a disadvantage. And I often remind people, HR is not your friend. They are not there to advocate for you. They’re there to protect the company and reduce liability for the company.

So really, when you go to HR you should be thinking like you are speaking to a representative of the company and don’t ever, ever forget that. And what will happen with the ALU if they do reach an agreement, they’re able to actually enforce it. Do you think that there’s going to be a ripple effect beyond Amazon?

There is already a ripple effect in the organizing front, right, where organizing is taking off across, you know, one Starbucks after another, other low wage professions right now, nonprofit industry where I’m at, and it has a cascading effect in my experience. For example, I’m in touch with workers at the ACLU affiliates who are involved in similar fights. I mean, and we draw strength from each other, right? So it’s a lot of power. And once you have that first contract, one thing that’s really important about that is unlike an employee handbook, which an employer can withdraw tomorrow, that’s not a contract at all. That’s just what the employer says out loud it’s going to try to do, but it doesn’t have to do it. Anything in there, it can change. A contract, a collective bargaining contract is actually enforceable. It is significant. It is important.

And like you said, this is already having an effect because the NLRB itself released a statistic in April saying from October 2021 to March 2022, petitions to form unions increased 57% compared to the previous six months. So obviously, things are changing. There is a shift happening here. What does this mean for the future of work in America?

Well, I hope it means, you know, I’m biased, obviously, that more of the industries and workplaces in America become unionized so that the workforce, the ones actually bringing value to companies and organizations in their day to day grind can actually have an effective voice in their working conditions. I mean, the right to collectively bargain. It’s not just a federal right. It’s a universally recognized human right. It’s considered a fundamental human right under international law. So if you’re in the market for a more just society, then you should get behind the unionizing efforts of all workers, regardless of the specific conditions in their workplace. Even if you think, oh, those workers are doing great, what do they need a union for? They may need something in the future. The point is, right now they don’t have a voice, and the best way to improve those conditions are by banding together as workers to effect that change.

Listen, there’s no doubt that there’s power in numbers and unionizing is a way to leverage those numbers. Understanding your rights under the National Labor Relations Act is the first step in advocating for yourself and your coworkers. If you want to learn more, check out the NLRB website, NLRB.gov. And if you want to follow the progress of the workers at JFK8, Tristan Martinez says you can use the hashtag ‘recognize the ALU’ on social media platforms. Next Monday: we’ve all kicked ourselves over a money mistake. Whether you’ve gotten yourself in credit card debt or made a bad investment, we’re going to talk about how to bounce back and learn from it.

Michelle Singletary

00:22:58

It’s about the mental capacity to understand how do you handle this money thing? How do you make better decisions? How do you be okay with having enough and not doing so much and stretching yourself that if anything happens, the house of cards come tumbling down?

Diversifying is a production of CNN audio. Megan Marcus is our Executive Producer and Haley Thomas is our Senior Producer. Our producers are Alex Stern, Eryn Mathewson, and Madeleine Thompson. Our associate producer is Charis Satchell and our production assistant is Eden Getachew. Mixing and sound design by Francisco Monroy. Artwork designed by Brett Ferdock. Original Music by Andrew Eapen. Our Technical Director is Dan Dzula. Rafeena Ahmad leads our audience strategy. With support from Chip Grabow, Steve Kiehl, Anissa Gray, Abbie Fentress Swanson, Tameeka Ballance-Kolasny, Lindsay Abrams, Lisa Namerow, and Courtney Coupe. I’m Delyanne Barros. Thanks for listening.

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Horror on the Fourth: Suspect in custody after 6 killed, dozens wounded at

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More than eight hours after firing a “high-powered rifle” from a rooftop onto a crowd attending Highland Park’s Fourth of July parade, killing six people and wounding dozens in one of the worst mass shootings in Illinois history, a gunman suspected of causing the carnage was pulled over peacefully on U.S. 41 in Lake Forest.

At 6:45 p.m. Monday, the Highland Park police said a “person of interest” — identified as Robert E. “Bobby” Crimo III, 22 — had been “taken into custody without incident” on U.S. 41 at Westleigh Road in Lake Forest.

The arrest came after he was spotted by a North Chicago police officer and following a short chase. Crimo was taken to the Highland Park police station, police Chief Lou Jogmen said.

Christopher Covelli of the Lake County sheriff’s office and the Lake County major crimes task force said authorities were using the terms “suspect” and “person of interest” interchangeably.

As of 9 p.m., no charges had been filed, and the police gave no indication of what the motive for the shootings might have been.

As news of the arrest spread, people began driving by the Highland Park police station and expressing their thanks to officers, yelling “thank you” and “good job.”

Robert E. “Bobby” Crimo III, 22.

Robert E. “Bobby” Crimo III, 22.

Highland Park police department

Stacy Shaulman, a lifelong Highland Park resident, was among a few dozen people who gathered outside the police station to await Crimo’s arrival.

“It’s been a horrific day,” Shaulman said. “I’m glad they got him. And, unfortunately, he’s a Highland Park kid, and people knew his family. His family has been around a long time.”

The shooter used “a high-powered rifle” that has been recovered, said Covelli, who said the gunman fired from a rooftop. “He was very discreet and very difficult to see.”

He called the crime “very random, very intentional.”

It appeared that the gunman had used an “unsecured” ladder to climb to the rooftop, Covelli said.

Authorities said the ownership history of the rifle was being examined by the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

Victims range in age from 8 to 85

Lake County Coroner Jennifer Banek said five people were dead at the scene, all adults, and another died at a hospital. It wasn’t clear how old the sixth victim was. All of the victims have been identified, she said.

Among them was Nicolas Toledo, a grandfather visiting family in Highland Park. Also killed was Jacki Sundheim, according to North Shore Congregation Israel, where she worked as a teacher.

Dozens of the injured were taken to Highland Park Hospital, Lake Forest Hospital and Evanston Hospital. The “vast majority” were treated for gunshot wounds, though some “sustained injuries as a result of the ensuing chaos at the parade,” according to NorthShore University Health Systems, which owns the Highland Park and Evanston hospitals.

At Highland Park Hospital, Dr. Brigham Temple said 25 of the 26 people treated there were gunshot victims and that 19 of them had been treated and sent home.

Temple said they ranged in age from 8 years old to 85. About “four or five” of them are children, he said. One child was transported from there to the University of Chicago Comer Children’s Hospital, and another was transferred to Evanston Hospital.

Dr. Brigham Temple gives an update outside of Highland Park Hospital about the 26 victims who were treated there.

Dr. Brigham Temple gives an update outside of Highland Park Hospital about the 26 victims who were treated there.

The injuries varied. “Some of them were minor,” Temple said. “Some of them were much more severe.”

“It breaks your heart to see innocents wounded,” said Dr. Mark Talamonti, a surgeon who was among those treating the injured.

Shots fired ‘in rapid succession’

At the parade scene, one witness said he counted more than 20 shots.

Miles Zaremski, a Highland Park resident, told the Chicago Sun-Times: “I heard 20 to 25 shots, which were in rapid succession. So it couldn’t have been just a handgun or a shotgun.”

Zaremski said he saw “people in that area that got shot,” including “a woman covered with blood …. She did not survive.”

Monday’s Fourth of July parade was the first in Highland Park since before the pandemic.

As panicked paradegoers fled the parade route on Central Street in downtown Highland Park, they left behind chairs, baby strollers and blankets as they sought cover, not knowing just what happened.

Adrienne Drell, a former Sun-Times reporter, said she was sitting on a curb along Central Avenue watching the parade when she saw members of the Highland Park High School marching band start to run.

“Go to Sunset,” Drell said she heard the students shout, directing people to nearby Sunset Foods.

A man picked her up off the curb and urged her to get out, Drell said.

“There’s panic in the whole town,” she said. “Everyone is just stunned beyond belief.”

She ran across to a nearby parking lot with other people who had been watching the parade.

“It was a quiet, peaceful, lovely morning, people were enjoying the parade,” Drell said. “Within seconds, to have that peacefulness suddenly ripped apart, it’s scary. You can’t go anywhere, you can’t find peace. I think we are falling apart.”

Terrified paradegoers fled Highland Park’s Fourth of July parade after shots were fired, leaving behind their belongings as they sought safety.

Terrified paradegoers fled Highland Park’s Fourth of July parade after shots were fired, leaving behind their belongings as they sought safety.

Eric Trotter, 37, who lives blocks from the shooting, echoed that sentiment.

“I felt shocked,” Trotter said. “How could this happen in a peaceful community like Highland Park.”

Chaos, and a frantic search for family members

As police cars sped by on Central Avenue, sirens blaring, Alexander Sandoval, 39, sat on a bench and cried. He’d gotten up before 7 a.m. to set up lawn chairs and a blanket in front of the main stage of the parade. He lives within walking distance from there, so he went home to have breakfast with his son, partner and stepdaughter before going back for the parade.

Hours later, he said he and his family ran after hearing the gunfire, afraid for their lives.

“We saw the Navy’s marchers and float pass by, and, when I first heard the gunshots, I thought it was them saluting the flag and shooting blanks,” Sandoval said. “But then I saw people starting to run, and the shots kept going. We started running.”

He said that, in the chaos, he and his partner Amairani Garcia ran in different directions, he with his 5-year-old son, Alex, she with her 6-year-old daughter, Melani.

“I grabbed my son and tried to break into one of the local buildings, but I couldn’t,” Sandoval said. “The shooting stopped. I guess he was reloading. So I kept running and ran into an alley and put my son in a garbage dumpster so he could be safe.”

Then, he said he ran in search of the rest of his family and saw bodies in pools of blood on the ground.

“I saw a little boy who was shot being carried away,” Sandoval said. “It was just terror.”

He found his partner and stepdaughter, safe, inside a McDonald’s nearby.

“This doesn’t happen here,” he said. “It shouldn’t happen anywhere.”

Don Johnson, 76. who lives about two blocks from the shooting scene, thought at first the gunfire was a car backfiring. He said he ran with several other people to a nearby BP gas station and described the scene as “surreal.”

“It’s just a terrible thing,” he said. “I never would’ve thought this would’ve happened in downtown Highland Park.”

Johnson said his daughter lives in Chicago with her son and that he’s been urging them to move to Highland Park, telling her recently, “It’s safe.”

Now, he said, it’s clear that “it can happen anywhere.”

David Goldenberg, the Midwest regional director of the Anti-Defamation League, was among those at the parade. He’d gone early to set up chairs for his family along the parade route. He said he ended up moving their chairs to be closer to friends.

If not for that, Goldenberg said, “We would have been awfully close” to the shooting.

“It was chaotic,” he said. “Those sorts of things that you hear about — those split-second moments accounting for everyone in your family as people are yelling, ‘There’s a shooter! There’s a gun!’ ”

He said he knows of an adult who was killed, though he declined to discuss details.

Meg Coles drove from Atlanta with her 11- and 13-year-old sons to visit her sister-in-law for the Fourth of July, a family tradition.

“I just tried to explain to them that this is rare and probably won’t happen again,” said Coles, whose family was sitting about two blocks away along the parade route when the shooting happened.

But they weren’t buying it, she said: “I think it’s going to take them awhile.”

Sisters Christina Sendick, 20, and Angela Sendick, 22, showed up late for the parade, as people ran, some screaming, others bleeding. They grew up near Waukesha, Wisconsin, where someone drove a sport-utility vehicle into a Christmas parade crowd last November, killing six people and injuring 62 others.

“It’s just crazy no one can figure out how to put a stop to all this,” Angela Sendick said.

Pritzker: Mass shootings an American tradition

Speaking in Highland Park Monday evening, Gov. J.B. Pritzker said: “If you are angry today, I’m here to tell you to be angry.

“I’m furious that yet more innocent lives were taken by gun violence. I’m furious that their loved ones are forever broken by what took place today.I’m furious that children and their families have been traumatized. I’m furious that this is happening in communities all across Illinois and America. While we celebrate the Fourth of July just once a year, mass shootings have become our weekly — yes, weekly — American tradition.”

In a written statement, President Joe Biden said: “Jill and I are shocked by the senseless gun violence that has yet again brought grief to an American community on this Independence Day.”

News of the shooting spree in Highland Park prompted other suburbs to cancel their Fourth of July celebrations.

Former Obama White House adviser David Alexrod tweeted that someone he knew was at the parade, writing: “A friend took his kids to July 4th Parade in Highland Park today. His son has special needs. When shots rang out, they ran for their lives, the dad pushing his grown son’s wheelchair —which at one point tumbled over. On America’s day, what has become a sickeningly American story.”

After Crimo’s arrest, across the street from a mobile command center that the police had set up, Jerry Felsenthal, who’s lived in Highland Park for 32 years, said he worries that, with so many guns on the streets, there will be more mass shootings.

“It’s going to happen again,” Felsenthal said. “It’s inevitable.”

Contributing: Zack Miller, Frank Main, Mitchell Armentrout, Michael Loria



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Road Closures, Public Transportation Information – CBS Philly

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PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The Wawa Welcome America festival returns to the boardwalk this holiday weekend, and the city released information on Friday regarding road and transit closures for festival-goers and city residents.

Philadelphia police say they will have increased patrols in and around the festival areas.

GUIDE: Where to watch the 4th of July fireworks in the Philadelphia area

Jason Derulo and Ava Max will be headlining this summer’s concert at the Art Museum and along the promenade on Monday July 4th.

Here is information on road closures and public transport.

ROAD CLOSURES

Friday – July 1

Our America Now: Expressions of Freedom and Waterfront Fireworks
The east and west parking lanes of Columbus Boulevard between Race and Arch streets will be closed from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Sunday – July 3

POP on Independence
The east and west parking lanes of Columbus Boulevard between Race and Arch streets will be closed from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.

  • North side of Market Street between 5th and 6th Streets, 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.
  • 5th Street between Chestnut and Market Streets, 4 p.m. to 10 p.m.

The city will also close 6th Street between Chestnut and Walnut streets, from 8 a.m. to noon, to prepare for the celebration of freedom ceremony.

Logan Circle and Winter Street, between 21st Street and Ben Franklin Parkway, will be closed from 3 p.m. Sunday until approximately 4 a.m. Tuesday, July 5 for worry and the festival.

MLK Drive closed to cars Sunday morning ahead of the festivities. The city says it will give people a safer place to watch the fireworks. The road will remain closed until 5 a.m. Tuesday.

Monday – July 4

Tribute to America Independence Day Parade
The following streets will be closed for parade formation.

  • 2nd Street between Race and Chestnut Streets starting at 6 a.m.
  • Chestnut Viaduct/Market Street between Chestnut and Front Streets to 2nd and Market Streets starting at 6 a.m.
  • Market Street between 3rd Street and Front Street from 6 a.m.
  • Front Street between Dock Street and Market Street from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m.
  • Chestnut Street between 2nd and Front streets from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m.

And the following streets will be closed from 10:30 a.m. until the end of the parade.

  • 3rd Street between Race and Streets
  • 4th Street between Race and Chestnut Streets
  • 5th Street between Race and Chestnut Streets
  • 6th Street between Race and Chestnut Streets
  • 7th Street between Race and Chestnut Streets
  • 8th Street between Race and Chestnut Streets
  • 9th Street between Race and Chestnut Streets
  • 10th Street between Race and Chestnut Streets
  • 11th Street between Race and Chestnut Streets
  • 12th Street between Race and Chestnut Streets
  • JFK Boulevard between Market and 15th Streets
  • North Broad Street between JFK Boulevard and Vine Street
  • South Penn Square from South Broad Street to East Market Street
  • East Market Street from Front Street to City Hall
  • 12th Street between Vine and Market streets
  • 13th Street between Vine and Market streets
  • Arch Street between 12th and Broad Street

Freedom Celebration Ceremony
6th Street, between Chestnut and Walnut streets, will be closed from noon to 4 p.m.

Boardwalk Party & 4th of July Concert & Fireworks
The city says the following road closures will take effect at 5 a.m. Monday and last until 4 a.m. Tuesday.

  • Benjamin Franklin Parkway, 18th Street to Eakins Oval (all lanes)
  • Eakins Oval (all routes)
  • Kelly Drive between Eakins Oval and Fairmount Avenue
    • The Kelly Drive entrance will be closed at Fountain Green Drive beginning at 5 p.m.
  • Back of the art museum – Promenade Anne d’Harnoncourt
  • 2000-2100 Winter Street
  • MLK Drive from Falls Bridge to Eakins Oval
  • Spring Garden Street between Pennsylvania Avenue and 31st Street
  • 23rd Street between Pennsylvania Avenue and Eakins Oval

The city says the following road closures will take effect at 5 a.m. Monday and last until 2 a.m. Tuesday.

  • 1900 race street
  • 1800-1900, rue de la vigne
  • I-676 Exit Ramp at 22nd Street
  • I-676 on-ramp at 22nd Street
  • I-76 eastbound exit ramp at Spring Garden Street
  • Spring Garden Tunnel
  • Park Towne Place between 22nd and 24th Streets
  • 22nd Street between Winter Street and Pennsylvania Avenue
  • 21st Street between Winter Street and Pennsylvania Avenue
  • 20th Street between Arch Street and Pennsylvania Avenue
  • 19th Street between Callowhill and Cherry Streets

The following road closures will come into effect at 1 p.m. Monday and last until 1 p.m. Tuesday.

  • All roads from Arch Street to Spring Garden Street, 18th Street to 22nd Street (local access maintained for residents)
  • All roads from Arch Street to Fairmount Avenue, 22nd Street to Corinthian Street (local access maintained for residents)
  • 16th and 17th streets, between Arch and Spring Garden streets, will only be closed if conditions warrant in the interest of public safety
  • 1600-1700 Benjamin Franklin Parkway will only be closed if conditions warrant in the interest of public safety

Finally, the following roads will be closed from 8 p.m. Monday until approximately 1 a.m. Tuesday due to public safety concerns related to fireworks.

  • Kelly Drive from Fairmount Avenue to Fountain Green Drive
  • Lemon Hill Drive
  • Sedgley Promenade
  • Walk of the aqueducts
  • Poplar walk

The city says that depending on the size of the crowd, closures on the boardwalk may begin earlier in the night.

PUBLIC TRANSPORT

The city says people can easily get to the festival and activities throughout the weekend using SEPTA’s subway lines, regional rail service and buses.

SEPTA will operate on a Sunday schedule for July 4, but additional journeys on the Broad Street Line and Market Frankford Line for the fireworks. Click here for more information on the SEPTA schedule.

Buses will be in place from approximately 4:15 p.m. Monday for people leaving the parkway until the end of the event on the following streets:

  • 21st Street – West side of street facing south between Winter and Race streets

The city says the PPA will not enforce residential parking meters, kiosks or time limits just for Monday.

MORE INFORMATION

  • The city recommends that ADA vehicles pick up and drop off along 22nd Street for the concert and along 18th Street for the boardwalk party. The city says there is no parking, however, at locations
  • The downtown Philly PHLASH bus loop will have a special holiday service schedule on Monday. You can find information about this in click here.
  • There will be designated carpool and taxi drop-off locations for the concert and party at 17th and Callowhill Streets or 19th and Callowhill Streets.

The concert will begin at 7 p.m. Monday, with the fireworks set to begin at 9:45 p.m.

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Akron police say black driver was unarmed when officers fatally shot him

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Police in Akron, Ohio have released footage showing the moments leading up to the death of jayland walkera 25-year-old black man who was fatally shot by eight police officers after fleeing an attempted traffic stop last Monday.

Authorities released body camera footage of two officers at a press conference on Sunday, while confirming that Walker was unarmed when he was shot.

Akron Police Chief Steve Mylett described the footage, which Walker’s body was blurred out at the request of his family, as “hard to watch” and “shocking”.

Body camera footage, captured just after midnight on June 27, shows a police officer following Walker’s car during a high-speed chase. Police can be heard reporting a “sound of gunfire” coming from the door of the suspect’s car. During the press conference, police also showed still images taken by surveillance cameras which they say show a flash coming from Walker’s car window during the chase.

Footage eventually shows the car slowing down until Walker jumps out of the vehicle wearing what appears to be a ski mask. As seen in the footage, the officers begin to pursue Walker, who appears to be looking over his shoulder, and the officers open fire.

Mylett said Walker appeared to reach for his belt and turned toward the officers, prompting them to open fire.

While authorities say Walker was unarmed when he was shot, police presented footage of a handgun they said they found in Walker’s car, along with a loaded magazine and a golden wedding ring.

Disclaimer: The images below are graphic.

Autopsy records show Walked had more than 60 wounds on his body. Mylett said the Bureau of Criminal Investigations is working to confirm the number of shots fired at the 25-year-old.

Mylett said officers immediately began providing first aid to Walker after the shooting. According to records from the Summit County Medical Examiner’s Office obtained by the Akron Beacon Journala medical examiner arrived at the scene of the shooting on Monday and found Walker lying on his back in handcuffs.

Officials say the fatal incident began after officers attempted to arrest Walker for a traffic violation and an equipment violation. The officers involved in the shooting are currently on paid administrative leave, a standard procedure exercised when lethal force is used. Seven of the eight officers who shot Walker are white, according to WKYC-TV.

At a press conference after the police footage became public, Walker’s family attorney Bobby DiCello accused police of trying to “turn him into a masked monster with a weapon. to fire” and pointed out that Walker was unarmed when he was shot.

“It was absolutely excessive,” DiCello said when asked by a reporter about the number of shots allegedly fired at Walker. “The law requires you to use reasonable force.”

Mylett said Sunday the officers involved had to explain their actions and thought processes on the night of the shooting.

“When an officer makes the most critical decision of his life, he must be prepared to explain why he did what he did,” Mylett explained. They must be able to articulate the specific threats they face…and they must be held accountable.

In the aftermath of the shooting, there were protests across Akron. In response to community outrage over Walker’s death, Akron has canceled its July 4 events, including the city’s annual event Festival of coasts, whites and blues.

Lakers superstar and Akron native LeBron James said he’ll be “praying for my city today” on Twitter.



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