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The Latest: Archbishop criticizes toppling of park statue

TOP OF THE HOUR:

— San Francisco religious leader criticizes toppling of statue in Golden Gate Park.

— Trump tries to tie destruction of statues to Democrats, including Biden.

— Trump stages comeback rally in less-than-fun arena amid pandemic.

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SAN FRANCISCO -- San Francisco Archbishop Salvadore Cordileone criticized the pulling down of the Junipero Serra statue in Golden Gate Park.

“What is happening to our society? A renewed national movement to heal memories and correct the injustices of racism and police brutality in our country has been hijacked by some into a movement of violence, looting and vandalism,” he said in a statement Saturday night.

Serra was an 18th century Roman Catholic priest who founded nine of California’s 21 Spanish missions and is credited with bringing Roman Catholicism to the Western United States.

Serra forced Native Americans to stay at those missions after they were converted or face brutal punishment. His statues have been defaced in California for several years by people who said he destroyed tribes and their culture.

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TULSA, Okla. — President Donald Trump is seeking to tie the destruction of monuments and statues around the country to Democratic leaders, including his likely rival in the presidential election, Joe Biden.

Speaking to supporters in Tulsa, Trump says “the choice in 2020 is very simple. Do you want to bow before the left-wing mob or do you want to stand up tall and proud as Americans?”

Statues have been destroyed in numerous cities amid continuing anti-racism demonstrations following the May 25 police killing in Minneapolis of George Floyd, the African-American man who died in police custody.

The statues targeted included a bust of Ulysses Grant, who was the U.S. president after he was the general who finally beat the Confederates and ended the Civil War. Also torn down in a San Francisco park was a statue of Francis Scott Key, who wrote the “Star Spangled Banner.” Key owned slaves.

Trump says: “Biden remains silent in his basement in the face of this brutal assault on our nation and the values of our nation. Joe Biden has surrendered to his party and to the left-wing mob.”

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TULSA, Okla. — President Donald Trump has returned to the rally stage Saturday night only to find the venue about two-thirds full, a surprising and undoubtedly disappointing turn of events for a politician who values crowd size.

Trump launched his first rally in 110 days amid the coronavirus pandemic. Empty seats could be seen throughout the upper deck as Trump seemingly blamed protesters, saying “we had some very bad people outside that were doing bad things.” The lower deck was full, except for an area behind the television cameras where the view of the stage was blocked.

The vast majority of those in attendance bucked the guidance of health care experts and did not wear a mask, following the lead of a president who has insisted on not wearing a mask in public.

Trump applauded those in attendance as warriors. His campaign has planned for Trump to also speak at an outdoor venue before going inside the arena, but that event was canceled.

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TULSA, Okla. — A memorial to Black Wall Street in the Greenwood District of Tulsa has been covered with tarp by residents who say they don’t want it used as a photo opportunity by the Trump administration as the president holds a campaign rally nearby.

The tarp was placed following a news conference that included Tiffany Crutcher, the twin sister of Terence Crutcher, a black man killed by a Tulsa police officer in 2016.

“This is not a photo op, that’s not what this is,” said Nehemiah Frank, editor of the online Black Wall Street Times in Tulsa, in a video posted following the news conference which called for the campaign rally to be canceled and for peaceful protests.

“This is a place to come pay respects to people that died a horrible murder from racism,” Frank said as the video showed signs attached to the blue tarp, including one reading “This is sacred ground, not a photo op.”

The Greenwood District was the site of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre in which black-owned businesses were burned and an estimated 300 people were killed.

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More news about the death of George Floyd at https://apnews.com/GeorgeFloyd

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