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The Final Fairwell for Kobe and Gianna Bryant

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Two weeks ago, Kobe Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna Bryant were put to rest in a private burial at the Pacific View Memorial Park in Corona Del Mar. 

Today, celebrities, sports legends, NBA superstars and thousands of heartbroken fans were able to pay tribute to Bryant and Gigi at a public memorial held in the House that Kobe Built, the Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles. 

Hours before the doors opened, fans began to line up outside of the arena patiently, awaiting an opportunity to say farewell. At 8:30 a.m. PT the sea of adoring fans entered somberly, dressed in purple and gold Lakers jerseys and homemade T-shirts in remembrance of the former NBA superstar.

The memorial opened with Beyonce singing one of Bryants favorite songs, “XO” followed by “Halo.” In addition to Beyonce, Alicia Keys delivered a rousing performance of Beethoven’s “Piano Sonata No. 14,” and Christina Aguilera performed “Ave Maria” in Italian.

Comedian and Talk Show Host, Jimmy Kimmel fought back tears as he served as “master of ceremonies,” but it was NBA great, Shaquille O’Neal, who provided the comic relief. 

O’Neal took to the stage and shared a hilarious story about the day Bryant earned his respect. “The day Kobe gained my respect, the guys were complaining, said ‘Shaq, Kobe’s not passing the ball. I said ‘I’ll talk to him. I said, ‘Kobe, there’s no ‘I’ in ‘team.” Kobe said, ‘I know, but there’s an ‘M-E’ in there mother f—er.’ 

The crowd responded with laughter. 

However, nothing was more moving than the moment Vanessa Bryant took the stage and spoke so eloquently about her late husband and “baby girl.” 

She shared, “Gianna Bryant is an amazingly sweet and gentle soul. She was always thoughtful. She always would kiss me goodnight, kissed me good morning. There were a few occasions where I was absolutely tired from being up with Bianca and Capri and I thought she had left school without saying goodbye. I’d text and say ‘no kiss?’ And Gianna would reply with ‘Mama, I kissed you but you were asleep, and I didn’t want to wake you.”

Fighting back the tears, she gave us all a glimpse into the Bryant love story. 

“He was the most amazing husband. Kobe loved me more than I could ever express or put into words. He was an early bird and I was a night owl. I was fire and he was ice and vice versa at times. We balanced each other out.

He would do anything for me. I have no idea how I deserved a man that loved and wanted me more than Kobe. He was charismatic, a gentleman, he was loving, adoring and romantic. He was truly the romantic one in our relationship and looked forward to Valentine’s days and our anniversaries every year. He planned special anniversary trips and a special traditional gift for every year of our marriage. He even handmade my most treasured gifts.”

Let’s continue to keep the Bryant family in our thoughts and prayers. R.I.P to the eternal #GirlDad!

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Keisha Lance Bottoms Lectures Black People Again; Contracts COVID-19

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It’s a lot, chile. But we’re here to walk you through it. After a morning of social media backlash regarding her comments on the tragic shooting of an 8-year old girl, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms has announced that she has been diagnosed with COVID-19.

Mayor Lance began the day with a lecture. “These aren’t police officers shooting people on the streets of Atlanta,” she rattled, “these are members of the community shooting each other.”

Black Twitter was unimpressed. They quickly pointed out that this sounded like the White supremacist rhetoric that has long been lobbed against civil rights activists and Black people who are concerned with their well-being as it relates to police violence.

Some even brought up the fact that communal establishments in Atlanta have been reopened, which has resulted in a transmission spike in her city, and will inevitably cause harm and death to more Black and Brown people. Her response to that matter? Another scolding:

Now, we here at KingOfReads.com aren’t pandemic experts, but we can only assume that one of two things is true, given that Miss Keisha now has the virus, herself. Either she isn’t following her own orders or this virus, much like violence perpetrated against Black people by Black people, is much more complex than she is willing to admit.

Coincidentally, (or not) Governor Kemp (R) has suddenly declared a State of Emergency in Georgia and called in the National Guard. According to NPR, he had this to say:

“Peaceful protests were hijacked by criminals with a dangerous, destructive agenda,” Kemp said. “Now, innocent Georgians are being targeted, shot and left for dead… Enough with the tough talk, we must protect the lives and livelihoods of all Georgians.”

Quote Taken From NPR

Just after this announcement, came Keisha Lance Bottoms’ big COVID-19 reveal, which seems to have shifted the narrative away from the morning’s seminars and the fact that the state of Georgia is now becoming even more militarized. We’ll keep you updated as the situation evolves.

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Detective Involved in Breonna Taylor’s Murder Fired

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On Friday, Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer announced the Louisville Metro Police Department’s intention to terminate Brett Hankison, one of the three Louisville Metro Police officers who shot into Breonna Taylor’s apartment while she and her boyfriend slept, killing her. 

In a memo to Hankison, interim police chief Robert Schroeder called the officer’s actions on the night of the shooting a display of “an extreme indifference to the value of human life when [he] wantonly and blindly fired ten round into the apartment.”

While both the mayor and the police chief cited a state law which prevented them from going into specifics about why the decision to fire Hankison was made, Chief Schroeder wrote in his memo:

“I find your conduct a shock to the conscience. I am alarmed and stunned you used deadly force in this fashion. You have never been trained by the Louisville Metro Police Department to use deadly force in this fashion. Your actions have brought discredit upon yourself and the Department….I have the utmost confidence in my decision to terminate your employment for the best interest for the Louisville Metro Police Department and our community.”

Friday’s announcement comes on the 25th-straight day of nationwide uprisings against the unjust killings of Black Americans at the hands of the police. Critics argue Hankison’s firing doesn’t go far enough in getting justice for Breonna Taylor, with many calling for the immediate termination of the other two officers involved and criminal indictments against all three.

Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly and Officer Myles Cosgrove – the two other officers who shot into Taylor’s apartment – are on administrative reassignment while the department investigates.

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Officer Who Shot Rayshard Brooks is Charged, Must Surrender

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Former Atlanta police officer, Garrett Rolfe, was charged Wednesday with 11 counts related to the shooting death of Rayshard Brooks, 27, last Friday night, June 12.

Rolfe was called to the scene of an Atlanta Wendy’s drive-thru because Brooks was asleep at the wheel in the drive-thru line. He and Officer Devin Brosnan spent over 45 minutes speaking with Brooks, a black man and father of 3, before they attempted to arrest him for driving under the influence. As the officer tried to cuff him, Brooks resisted, got into a scuffle with the two officers, wrestled a taser from one, then fled the scene, at which point he was shot twice in the back by Rolfe. 

Almost immediately, witnesses on-scene and activists in the hours following the shooting called for the APD officers’ immediate termination and indictment. Protesters remembered Brooks by hitting the streets with renewed vigor amidst ongoing protests related to the death of George Floyd, the unjust murders of Black people while in police custody, and systemic racism in America as whole.

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On Wednesday, Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard, Jr. announced felony murder, aggravated assault, and other charges against Rolfe. According to DA Howard, the state contends that because Brooks was running away from Rolfe at the time of the shooting, he posed no imminent bodily threat and that Rolfe actually committed a felony – assault – when he shot into Brooks’ back. Further punctuating Georgia’s case, video of the fatal encounter shows Rolfe initially chasing Brooks with his taser, a non-lethal weapon. As he runs toward Brooks, who is holding Officer Brosnan’s taser by now, he switches his taser from his right hand to his left and reaches for his service weapon.

Less than a second after Rolfe reaches for his gun, Brooks turns around and fires the taser he’s carrying into the air. Then, the officer fires his gun 3 times in Brooks direction, striking him twice in the back. How could the officer have been in fear of his life before Brook even fired the taser at him? 

The district attorney also revealed Rolfe kicked Brooks after Brooks fell from being shot in the back and said “I got him.” Officer Brosnan stood on Brooks’ shoulders as he lay dying from being shot. Neither provided medical assistance for more than two minutes following the shooting – going against APD policy.

After the announcement of the charges, DA Howard told reporters former officer Rolfe would have until 6:00PM EST Thursday to surrender himself to law enforcement custody. 

At the time of this reporting, Garrett Rolfe has not yet surrendered himself into custody.

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