Latest North Carolina news, sports, business and entertainment at 6:20 a.m. EDT
Car race draws thousands after dubbing itself a ‘protest’
A North Carolina speedway drew a crowd of more than 2,000 spectators in defiance of the state’s coronavirus restrictions after declaring the race a “protest.” The governor’s office had warned Ace Speedway in Elon that a crowd of more than 25 would violate the state’s Phase 2 coronavirus restrictions. But news outlets report that more than 2,000 attended a race Saturday night. A sign from management outside the speedway said, “This Event is held in Peaceful Protest of Injustice and Inequality Everywhere.” The Alamance County Sheriff’s Office said it is “evaluating the events.”
AMERICA PROTESTS-SECURITY FIRM
CEO’s comments cost firm partnerships with NFL, NBA teams
CHARLOTTE, Va. (AP) – Charlotte’s two professional sports franchises and two universities have canceled partnerships with a North Carolina home security company after the firm’s CEO told an activist he should focus on black-on-black crime rather than the George Floyd protests. CPI Security CEO Ken Gill apologized for his comments Saturday on Twitter. Still, the NFL’s Carolina Panthers said they were ending their relationship with CPI. The athletics programs at North Carolina State and the University of South Carolina followed suit Sunday, as did the NBA’s Charlotte Hornets and the Charlotte Knights minor-league baseball club. The controversy began Gill responded to an email from a Charlotte activist telling him to “spend your time in a more productive way.”
George Floyd’s body returns to Houston for final services
HOUSTON (AP) – Houston’s police chief says the body of George Floyd has arrived in Texas for a final memorial service and funeral. Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo tweeted early Sunday that Floyd’s family had also arrived safely. A six-hour viewing for Floyd is planned for Monday in Houston, followed by funeral services and burial Tuesday in suburban Pearland. áHe will be laid to rest next to his mother, Larcenia Floyd. Floyd died May 25 after a Minneapolis police officer pressed his knee into his neck for several minutes even after he stopped responding.
Police show less force as peaceful protests push reform
Police around the U.S. took a less aggressive stance and even sometimes joined protesters demanding a reckoning with institutional racism as leaders in the city at the center of the latest call for law enforcement reforms pushed to dismantle its police department. Two weeks after George Floyd, a black man, died in Minneapolis after a white officer pressed a knee on his neck for several minutes, a majority of the City Council vowed to dismantle the 800-member agency. On Sunday, nine of the council’s 12 members vowed to end policing as the city currently knows it.
US Senate nominees in North Carolina accept 3 debate hosts
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina’s two major-party U.S. Senate candidates are now in agreement on three debate hosts leading to their November election. Campaign officials for Republican incumbent Thom Tillis and Democratic nominee Cal Cunningham confirmed separately that they accepted debate invitations from Spectrum News, WRAL-TV and the Nexstar stations covering North Carolina. Tillis also wants another debate in July or August. Tillis is a former state House speaker seeking a second term in the Senate. Cunningham served briefly in the legislature and ran unsuccessfully for the Senate 10 years ago. Both candidates won their respective primaries in March.
VIRUS OUTBREAK-COOPER VETO
Cooper vetoes bill to let N.C. bars serve patrons again
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Gov. Roy Cooper has vetoed legislation that would have let North Carolina standalone bars serve patrons again in contradiction to his executive order that’s aimed at halting the spread of COVID-19. The vetoed bill would have allowed bars to only reopen outdoors, as well as give additional outdoor seating to restaurants that Cooper agreed could again serve dine-in customers two weeks ago. The governor wrote Friday that the bill would have limited the ability of leaders to respond quickly to a surge in the virus. A veto override looks unlikely. Legislators are advancing another measure that would allow gyms to open against Cooper’s wishes.
N.C. court: Death-row inmates can use repealed bias law
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina’s highest court has ruled that most death row inmates can again use a law addressing racial discrimination to seek life sentences instead, even though the law has since been amended and repealed. The majority of justices agreed that most of the 2012 alterations to the 2009 Racial Justice Act and the 2013 repeal cannot be applied retroactively to two men convicted of first-degree murder. The rulings also stand to revive scores of cases in which North Carolina death row prisoners claim racial bias was the reason or a significant factor for their death sentence.
Two NC men facing federal charges related to protests
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – A North Carolina man is facing federal charges for allegedly trying to torch a police car during demonstration over the death of George Floyd. U.S. Attorney Robert Higdon Jr.’s office said Friday that Jabari Devon Davis tried to set a marked Raleigh Police vehicle on fire earlier this week. Davis allegedly placed a gasoline-soaked sock into the vehicle’s gas tank, according to court records. A police officer used a fire extinguisher to put out the blaze. Also Friday, a Fayetteville man was charged by Higdon’s office for allegedly trying to burn down the historic Market House in Fayetteville.