Many Americans embrace falsehoods about critical race theory

By Chris Kahn

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Critical race theory, a once-obscure academic concept that has sparked school board protests and classroom bans in some states, is largely misunderstood among the general public, even by those who say they are familiar with what it teaches about racism in America, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll.

The national opinion survey taken on Monday and Tuesday found that 57% of adults said they were not familiar with the term, also known by its shorthand, CRT, which asserts that racism is woven into the U.S. legal system and ingrained in its primary institutions.

Many of those who said they were familiar with it answered follow-up questions that showed they embraced a variety of misconceptions about critical race theory that have been largely circulating among conservative media outlets.

For example, 22% of those who said they were familiar with critical race theory also think it is taught in most public high schools. It is not.

Thirty-three percent believe it “says that white people are inherently bad or evil” or that “discriminating against white people is the only way to achieve equality.” It does not.

Among respondents who said they were familiar with CRT, only 5% correctly answered all seven true-false questions that the poll asked about the history and teachings of critical race theory. Only 32% correctly answered more than four of the seven questions.

The poll showed that a bipartisan majority of Americans say that high school students should learn about slavery and racism in America. Yet respondents were more opposed to teaching critical race theory, which maintains that the legacy of slavery and Jim Crow racial segregation laws continues to create an uneven playing field for nonwhite Americans.

For example, 78% of adults, including nine in 10 Democrats and seven in 10 Republicans, said they supported teaching high school students about slavery in the United States. Seventy-three percent of adults, including nine in 10 Democrats and six in 10 Republicans, support teaching high school students about racism and its impact on the country.

Still, 36% of Americans said they would support a ban on CRT in public schools. The responses were divided along party lines: a majority of Democrats – 51% – opposed a school ban, while a majority of Republicans – 54% – supported one.

TEACHING BANS

As Americans tackle racial and social injustice after the police killing of George Floyd last year, several Republican-led states including Florida, Georgia and Texas have enacted rules to limit teaching about the role of racism in the United States.

Proponents argue they are protecting students from what they consider to be a divisive ideology and a distortion of history.

But Paula Ioanide, a professor of race and ethnicity studies at Ithaca College in New York, said the public is being fed bad information about the CRT theory from conservative activists hoping to invigorate the Republican base and dissuade teachers from talking about racism in schools.

“This is a manufactured crisis by the political right in response to the Black Lives Matter movement,” Ioanide said. “It’s a proxy for a debate that the country is reckoning with on the right and the left over the degree to which racism is alive and well.”

The Reuters/Ipsos poll was conducted online, in English, throughout the United States. It gathered responses from 1,004 adults, including 453 Democrats and 377 Republicans. The results had a credibility interval, a measure of precision, of about 4 percentage points.

(Reporting by Chris Kahn; Editing by Soyoung Kim and Peter Cooney)

Cop who shot Black man after traffic stop arrested, to face manslaughter charge

By Nick Pfosi and Gabriella Borter

MINNEAPOLIS (Reuters) -Minnesota authorities arrested the white police officer who fatally shot a Black man during a scuffle that followed a routine traffic stop and said they would charge her with second-degree manslaughter on Wednesday.

Kim Potter, a 26-year veteran who resigned from the Brooklyn Center police force on Tuesday, was booked into Hennepin County jail on Wednesday for fatally shooting 20-year-old Daunte Wright three days ago, the state’s Bureau of Criminal Apprehension said in a statement.

Potter, 48, was being held without bail, jail records showed. The Washington County Attorney’s office was expected to file the charge against her later on Wednesday.

Washington County Attorney Pete Orput and Potter’s attorney, Earl Gray, did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Wright was shot on Sunday after being pulled over for what police said was an expired car registration. Officers discovered there was a warrant out for his arrest, and Officer Potter accidentally drew her pistol instead of her Taser during a struggle with Wright, who got back into his car, officials said.

In police video of the incident, Potter can be heard shouting, “Holy shit, I just shot him.”

In addition to Potter, Brooklyn Center police chief Tim Gannon also tendered his resignation on Tuesday.

To convict Potter of second-degree manslaughter under Minnesota law, prosecutors must show that she was “culpably negligent” and took an “unreasonable risk” in her actions against Wright. The charge carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a $20,000 fine.

Attorney Benjamin Crump, representing Wright’s family, said in a statement on Wednesday that the charge was a step but fell short of fulfilling a greater need for police reform in the United States.

“While we appreciate that the district attorney is pursuing justice for Daunte, no conviction can give the Wright family their loved one back. This was no accident. This was an intentional, deliberate, and unlawful use of force.

“Driving while Black continues to result in a death sentence,” Crump said.

TASER USE AN ISSUE

The shooting has renewed criticism of discretionary vehicle stops for minor traffic violations, in which police officers have legal leeway to act on racial bias, civil rights advocates say.

It has also drawn attention to potential issues with the use of Tasers by police officers, with some experts saying problems persist with training and the weapon’s design.

Potter is at least the third U.S. law enforcement officer to face charges after claiming they mistakenly killed someone with a gun when they meant to use a Taser.

The previous two are former Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) police officer Johannes Mehserle, who fatally shot a man named Oscar Grant in 2009 in Oakland, California, and reserve deputy Robert Bates, who killed Eric Harris in Oklahoma in 2015.

Mehserle was convicted of involuntary manslaughter and sentenced to two years in prison. Bates was sentenced to four years in prison for second-degree manslaughter.

Wright was killed in Hennepin County, just miles from the Minneapolis courthouse where the trial of Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis policeman charged with murdering George Floyd last May, is taking place.

Potter’s case was referred to nearby Washington County under a year-old, five-county agreement to avoid the appearance of conflicts of interest in police use-of-deadly-force cases.

Floyd, 46, who died in handcuffs with his neck pinned to the street under Chauvin’s knee, became the face of protests against racism and police brutality that swept the United States last year.

Protesters assembled outside Brooklyn Center’s police headquarters for a third night on Tuesday, some throwing bottles and other projectiles over a fence around the building. Officers fired teargas, nonlethal rounds and flash-bang rounds, to disperse the crowd.

(Reporting by Nick Pfosi in Minneapolis, Nathan Layne in Wilton, Connecticut, Brendan O’Brien in Chicago, Peter Szekely in New York, Joseph Ax in Princeton, New Jersey, Tim Reid and Gabriella Borter in Washington, D.C.; Writing by Gabriella Borter; Editing by Jonathan Oatis and Howard Goller)

Virginia’s high court approves removal of Confederate statues

(Reuters) – Virginia’s highest court on Thursday ruled the city of Charlottesville can remove two Confederate statues, including one of General Robert E. Lee that was the focus of a deadly white nationalist rally in 2017.

In overturning a state Circuit Court decision, the state Supreme Court rejected a lawsuit filed by citizens trying to stop the removal from city parks of the Lee statue and one honoring General Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson.

The city’s planned removal of the Lee statue in 2017 prompted a rally by white supremacists and neo-Nazis that turned deadly when a car driven into a crowd killed a counter-protester, 32-year-old Heather Heyer.

Weeks later the Charlottesville city council unanimously ordered the Jackson statue to be removed from another park in the downtown historic district.

Nearly four years later, the high court handed down its decision as the nation focused on the Minneapolis criminal trial of a former white police officer charged with murdering George Floyd, a Black man.

Since Floyd died in police custody last year, protests against racism have gained momentum, including calls to remove statues honoring leaders of the pro-slavery Confederate side in the American Civil War.

The Jackson Statue was erected in Jackson Park in 1921 and the Lee Statue was erected in Lee Park in 1924, both on land donated by citizens.

In a 17-page ruling, the high court rejected arguments that removal of the statues would violate a law enacted by Virginia’s General Assembly in 1997.

The high court said the law “did not provide the authority for the City to erect the Statues, and it does not prohibit the City from disturbing or interfering with them.”

Among the plaintiffs in the lawsuit filed against the city were the Virginia Division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, Inc., and The Monument Fund, Inc.

(Reporting by Barbara Goldberg in New York; Editing by David Gregorio)

Judge in George Floyd police trial calls timing of $27 million settlement unfortunate

By Jonathan Allen

(Reuters) – The judge in the trial of Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer charged with murder in the arrest of George Floyd, said on Monday it was unfortunate the city had announced a $27 million settlement with Floyd’s family on Friday in the midst of jury selection.

Judge Peter Cahill of the Hennepin County District Court said he would soon recall the seven jurors seated last week to ask whether they had seen news of the settlement and whether it would affect their impartiality.

“I wish city officials would stop talking about this case so much,” the judge said before resuming jury selection on Monday morning. “At the same time, I don’t find any evil intent that they are trying to tamper with the criminal case.”

The trial in a heavily fortified tower in downtown Minneapolis is being closely watched as a bellwether of the way U.S. law enforcement agencies use force and violence in policing Black people.

Chauvin, who is white, was captured in a bystander’s video with his knee on Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes as Floyd, a 46-year-old Black man in handcuffs, cried out for his life and his mother, who had recently died. The death ignited global protests against racism and police brutality. Chauvin and three other police officers were fired the day after the arrest.

Floyd’s family filed a federal wrongful-death lawsuit against Chauvin and the city of Minneapolis last year. The city held a widely viewed news conference with family members on Friday to announce the $27 million settlement, described by Benjamin Crump, a lawyer for Floyd’s family, as one of the largest-ever settlements of its kind.

Eric Nelson, Chauvin’s lead lawyer, said the news was “profoundly disturbing” to the defense.

“By my count, this is the third highly prejudicial press leak or press release that has very suspicious timing, to say the least, and has an incredible propensity to taint a jury pool,” he told the court before jury selection resumed.

Besides asking to recall the seven jurors already seated, Nelson asked the judge to reconsider his request to move the trial to a different county, which Cahill said he would consider.

‘ALL OVER THE MEDIA’

Prosecutors from the Minnesota attorney general’s office told the court they had no control over the city’s mayor, council or news media.

“You would agree that this is unfortunate, wouldn’t you?” the judge asked prosecutors. “That we have this reported all over the media when we’re in the midst of jury selection?”

A spokeswoman for the city said she would inquire whether Mayor Jacob Frey had any comment.

The first potential juror to appear in court on Monday, who appeared to be a white woman in her 50s, said the size of the settlement made an impression on her and that she was familiar with civil litigation from her work in human resources.

“My guess is that with that large of a settlement the city did not feel it would prevail in court,” she told the judge, who went on to dismiss her.

Jurors seated last week include four white men, one of them Hispanic; one white woman; a woman of mixed race; and a Black man who immigrated to the United States about 14 years ago. All but one are in their 20s and 30s, the court said. Judge Cahill has promised the jurors anonymity for the duration of the trial.

An eighth juror was picked later on Monday: a Black man in his 30s who has worked in the banking industry and said he likes writing poetry and coaching and watching sports.

He said he strongly supported the message of the Black Lives Matter movement, and that he was able to be impartial in weighing Chauvin’s conduct.

“I don’t think he had any intention of harming anyone,” he said of Chauvin, “but somebody did die.”

Chauvin, 44, is charged with second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. He has pleaded not guilty, saying he followed his police training.

All potential jurors who have appeared so far said they know who Chauvin is and what the video shows him doing; most said they had formed a negative opinion of him, though some said they could remain open to the possibility his actions were not criminal.

The court is planning to have opening arguments commence on March 29. Chauvin faces up to 40 years in prison if convicted on the most serious charge.

(Reporting by Jonathan Allen; Editing by Jonathan Oatis and Howard Goller)

New York City schools perpetuate racism, lawsuit contends

By Joseph Ax

(Reuters) – A group of New York City students filed a sweeping lawsuit on Tuesday that accuses the United States’ largest public school system of perpetuating racism by using a deeply flawed admissions process for selective programs that favors white students.

The lawsuit, which was brought in state court in Manhattan by several prominent civil rights attorneys, argues that a “rigged system” begins sorting children academically when they are as young as 4 years old, using criteria that disproportionately benefit more affluent, white students.

As a result, minority students are often denied an opportunity to gain access to more selective programs, from elementary to high school, and are instead relegated to failing schools that exacerbate existing inequities, the lawsuit contends.

“Nearly every facet of the New York City public education system operates not only to prop up, but also to affirmatively reproduce, the artificial racial hierarchies that have subordinated people of color for centuries in the United States,” the lawsuit says.

The complaint asks a judge to order the school system to eliminate its current admissions screening process for selective programs, including gifted and talented programs and more academically rigorous middle and high schools.

“For many Black and Latinx eighth graders, entire swaths of high schools and programs are functionally off-limits,” the lawsuit alleges.

The city’s public school system is the country’s largest, with approximately 1 million students, and has long been seen as deeply segregated along racial and socioeconomic lines. Close to three-quarters of Black and Latino students attend schools that have less than 10% white students, while more than a third of white students attend schools with majority white populations, according to data collected by the City Council.

Two years ago, de Blasio attempted to eliminate the admissions exam for elite specialized high schools, but the state legislature, which has authority over the exam, rejected his proposal.

In a statement, Danielle Filson, a spokeswoman for the city’s education department, noted the de Blasio administration has recently made some changes, including using teacher evaluations rather than a standardized test to identify gifted 4-year-olds and temporarily suspending middle-school admissions screens.

“This administration has taken bold, unprecedented steps to advance equity in our admissions policies,” she said. “Our persistent work to drive equity for New York City families is ongoing, and we will review the suit.”

The lawsuit, however, argued those moves do not go far enough to address the problem.

At a news conference, de Blasio would not specifically comment on pending litigation. But he agreed that specialized high school admissions are “broken” and said the city needs a new system for its gifted and talented program.

The plaintiffs include IntegrateNYC, a youth-led nonprofit devoted to integrating the school system.

Mark Rosenbaum, a lawyer with the pro bono law firm Public Counsel, is a lead attorney, along with civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump and law professors from Yale University, Harvard University, the University of California-Berkeley and the University of Michigan. The law firm Sidley Austin is also representing the plaintiffs.

In addition to admissions criteria, the lawsuit also faults the school system’s curriculum, arguing that students of color learn that “civilization is equated with whiteness” and that history is taught from a Eurocentric point of view.

While the school system is majority Black and Latino, most teachers and administrators are white, the lawsuit notes.

(Reporting by Joseph Ax; editing by Jonathan Oatis)

Auschwitz marks anniversary virtually as survivors fear end of an era

By Kacper Pempel and Joanna Plucinska

OSWIECIM, Poland (Reuters) – Marian Turski, a 94-year-old survivor of the Auschwitz death camp, was marking the 76th anniversary of its liberation by Soviet troops on Wednesday only virtually, aware that he might never return as the coronavirus pandemic drags on.

Survivors and museum officials told Reuters they fear the pandemic could end the era where Auschwitz’s former prisoners can tell their own stories to visitors on site. Most Auschwitz survivors are in their eighties and nineties.

“Even if there was no pandemic, there would be fewer survivors at every anniversary,” Turski told Reuters in a Zoom interview from his Warsaw home.

“People at my age who are already vulnerable to many other illnesses are also in the first line of fire for this virus.”

He declined an in-person interview, in part due to the pandemic risks.

The Auschwitz-Birkenau Museum and Memorial preserves the Auschwitz death camp set up on Polish soil by Nazi Germany during World War Two. More than 1.1 million people, most of them Jews, perished in gas chambers at the camp or from starvation, cold and disease.

Wednesday’s ceremony marking the camp’s liberation will take place virtually starting at 1500 GMT, with speeches by survivors, Poland’s President Andrzej Duda and Israeli and Russian diplomats, as well as a debate on the Holocaust’s influence on children.

Other virtual ceremonies will also take place to mark Holocaust Remembrance Day.

The Memorial has been closed to visitors for 161 days due to the pandemic. In 2019 it was visited by around 2.3 million people. In 2020 that number dropped to around 502,000.

The Museum’s director, Piotr Cywinski, acknowledged virtual events and education programs were not as effective in passing on the lessons of the Holocaust and World War Two.

“Nothing will replace witnessing the place in its authentic state, because this isn’t just about seeing and listening. This is about looking around, in your own steps, touching, experiencing different perspectives, understanding,” Cywinski told Reuters.

WARNING THE WORLD

Survivors emphasized the importance of finding ways to keep Auschwitz relevant after they can no longer tell their own stories, amid a rise in far-right movements and anti-Semitism.

In Germany, former finance minister and now president of the lower house of parliament, Wolfgang Schaeuble, warned that “our culture of remembrance does not protect us from a brazen reinterpretation and even a denial of history”.

He added that racism and anti-Semitism were spreading through internet forums and conspiracy theories, stressing society’s collective responsibility to honor the memory of the Holocaust.

Some Auschwitz survivors, like Bogdan Bartnikowski, 89, said they were optimistic that the pandemic would not end their chances of returning to the memorial and telling their stories.

“I have hope that for sure there will continue to be groups of visitors to the museum,” Bartnikowski said. “Us former prisoners will not be lacking.”

(Reporting by Joanna Plucinska and Kacper Pempel; additional reporting by Philip Pullella and Madeline Chambers; Writing by Joanna Plucinska; Editing by Mike Collett-White and Giles Elgood)

Uncertain U.S. election outcome opens way for protests

By Michael Martina and Heather Timmons

DETROIT (Reuters) – After months of protests about racism and police brutality, the United States is now likely to see street demonstrations over the cliffhanger presidential election, after President Donald Trump falsely claimed victory and called for voting to stop.

About 100 people gathered for an interfaith event before a planned march through downtown Detroit, in the battleground state of Michigan, on Wednesday morning to demand a full vote count and what they called a peaceful transition of power.

The protest flyer called people to action to stop Trump from “stealing the election.”

Democrat-leaning activists were planning “protect the vote” rallies around Michigan on Wednesday afternoon, including one in front of the state capitol in Lansing.

“The message is that Michigan is fighting back and every vote must be counted,” said Kenny Williams Jr., a spokesman for Detroit Action, one of the groups organizing the Detroit event. “We understand that Republicans will likely try every trick in the book to win this election. But we are making our voices heard in saying that every vote must be counted.”

The excruciatingly close election hung in the balance, with a handful of closely contested states set to decide the outcome in the coming hours or days.

Trump falsely claimed victory in the early hours of the morning and made unsubstantiated allegations of electoral fraud in an extraordinary attack on the electoral process.

Michigan is still counting tens of thousands of ballots and expects to have an unofficial tally by the end of the day, the state’s secretary of state, Jocelyn Benson, told reporters.

Democratic candidate Joe Biden is narrowly leading Republican Trump with about 96% of the votes tallied in Michigan, according to the Detroit Free Press.

Trump’s remarks were the sort of call that protest organizers had planned for. The “Protect the Results” coalition of over 130 groups, from Planned Parenthood to Republicans for the Rule of Law, has said it had about 500 protests organized around the country.

“There were two criteria that were out there: One is Trump officially trying to block the counting of votes and other was falsely declaring that he won, and he did both last night,” said Adam Green, co-founder of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, a group that supports left-wing Democrats running for office.

Fears of violence on Tuesday did not materialize as Americans turned out by the millions to vote. There were only a handful of incidents reported on an otherwise tranquil Election Day.

The concerns about possible unrest were heightened after a summer of protests, some of which turned violent, against racial injustice following the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis in May.

(Reporting by Michael Martina in Detroit and Heather Timmons in Washington; Writing by Jonathan Allen and Frank McGurty; Editing by Alistair Bell)

Kentucky court releases recording of Breonna Taylor grand jury proceedings

By Daniel Trotta

(Reuters) – Kentucky’s attorney general on Friday released audio recordings of the grand jury proceedings that cleared three policemen of homicide charges in the shooting death of Breonna Taylor.

The release offers a rare peek at the inner workings of a grand jury, which is normally kept secret, in a case that has captured national attention and prompted street protests in the debate over racism and police use of force.

Attorney General Daniel Cameron filed 14 audio files of grand jury testimony with the Jefferson County Circuit Court Clerk. He had previously said there were more than 20 hours of proceedings, and Reuters has begun to review them.

Cameron served as special prosecutor in the Taylor case. Acting on his recommendation, the grand jury last week cleared two white officers of homicide and charged a third with wanton endangerment for stray bullets that hit a neighboring apartment in the March 13 shooting that led to the death of Taylor.

Cameron had revealed in a Louisville television interview on Tuesday that he recommended only the one endangerment charge that was returned, saying the grand jury had the responsibility to bring additional charges if it believed they were warranted.

Prosecutors have wide leeway in how to present evidence to a grand jury, which then decides whether to bring charges. Nine of the 12 grand jurors must agree on a charge in order to return an indictment.

Hollywood celebrities and professional athletes have supported street protests calling for the arrest of the officers and demanding justice for Taylor, 26, a Black emergency medical technician.

As the raid unfolded, Taylor’s boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, fired once at what he said he believed was a criminal intrusion, wounding one officer. Three officers then shot 32 rounds, six of which hit Taylor, killing her.

The Taylor family has won a $12 million wrongful death settlement from the city of Louisville but still asked for the evidence to be made public, questioning whether Cameron sought to shield the officers from criminal liability.

The Kentucky governor, Louisville’s mayor and even a member of the grand jury itself had called for the proceedings to be released, increasing the pressure on Cameron, a Black Republican whom President Donald Trump has praised as a rising star in the party.

In the end, it was the judge overseeing the criminal case of the officer charged with wanton endangerment who ordered the recordings to be entered in the court file, making them public.

(Reporting by Daniel Trotta; Editing by Dan Grebler and Aurora Ellis)

Teenager charged with killing two in Kenosha to fight extradition, lawyer says

By Nathan Layne

(Reuters) – Kyle Rittenhouse, the teenager charged with killing two protesters and injuring another during demonstrations about race and justice in Kenosha, Wisconsin, will fight his requested extradition from Illinois, his lawyer told a court hearing on Friday.

Rittenhouse, 17, has been charged by Kenosha County’s district attorney with six crimes for shooting three people who tried to subdue or disarm him during protests on Aug. 25, killing 36-year-old Joseph Rosenbaum and Anthony Huber, 26.

Rittenhouse participated in the hearing at the Lake County Circuit Court in Illinois via video link from the detention facility where he is being held. He was wearing a black sweatshirt and a gray mask covered his face.

“Good morning, your honor,” he addressed the judge in his only remarks in the hearing, which lasted just a few minutes.

John Pierce, one of Rittenhouse’s lawyers, said he planned to fight the request by Kenosha prosecutors that he be transferred to Wisconsin to face the charges.

“We intend to challenge extradition by writ of habeas corpus,” Pierce said. “And so we would ask that the procedures be put in place whereby extradition documents are in fact sent from Wisconsin so we can review them.”

The teenager had traveled to Kenosha on Aug. 25 from his home in nearby Antioch, Illinois, in a self-appointed role to protect the streets of Kenosha where the police shooting of Jacob Blake had sparked unrest during protests against police brutality and racism.

Rittenhouse’s legal team have said that he feared for his life when he fired his semi-automatic rifle and was acting in self-defense. Cellphone videos from the night show chaotic scenes, including one where Rittenhouse is chased and falls down before his encounter with Huber and another man, Gaige Grosskreutz.

Huber appeared to hit Rittenhouse in the shoulder with a skateboard and tried to grab his rifle before being shot, according to the criminal complaint. Rittenhouse then pointed the rifle at Grosskreutz, who had a hand gun. Grosskreutz was shot but survived.

Rittenhouse’s lawyers have also sought to portray the case as a referendum on the right to bear arms following a summer of sometimes violent protests in major U.S. cities.

“A 17-year-old American citizen is being sacrificed by politicians, but it’s not Kyle Rittenhouse they are after,” the narrator says in a video released this week by a group tied to his legal team. “Their end game is to strip away the constitutional right of all citizens to defend our communities.”

(Reporting by Nathan Layne in Wilton, Connecticut; Editing by Leslie Adler and Alistair Bell)

Shooting of 27-year-old man under investigation in Pennsylvania

By Nathan Layne

(Reuters) – The mayor of Lancaster, Pennsylvania on Monday called for an overhaul of how the city responds to mental health situations after a police officer shot and killed a 27-year-old man who ran at him, allegedly threatening him with a knife.

The shooting on Sunday sparked sometimes-violent protests overnight, turning the city of about 60,000 people into the latest flashpoint in a summer of civil unrest across the United States over racism and use of force by the police.

The Lancaster City Bureau of Police released body camera footage which appeared to show Ricardo Munoz cursing, and running at the officer with a knife in his right hand. The officer shot and killed Munoz, who died at the scene.

Munoz was out on $1 million bail after being charged with aggravated assault last year, court records showed.

At a press conference on Monday, Lancaster Mayor Danene Sorace called on the governor and state legislators to work together to come up with better protocols for responding to 911 calls involving people who may have mental health issues.

She said the shooting highlighted a broader problem of poverty impacting as many as half of the city’s residents — a predicament exacerbated by budget cuts and the coronavirus pandemic and disproportionately impacting minority communities.

“We must fund housing, social services, and education equitably and adequately in this city,” she said. “Lancaster, if we care so deeply about loving our neighbor then let’s do it.”

The Lancaster police department said it had arrested 8 people early on Monday for arson and other crimes, with four of those detained from outside the county. Some protesters threw bricks at the police station and post office, the police said.

Lancaster County District Attorney Heather Adams said in a statement her office was investigating the shooting to determine whether there was a justified use of force.

She said a preliminary review showed “that the officer fired as a man, clearly armed with a knife, ran toward the officer in a threatening manner.”

(Reporting by Nathan Layne in Wilton, Connecticut; Editing by Bernadette Baum)