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The Latest: George Washington memorial defaced in Baltimore

TOP OF THE HOUR:

—- George Washington memorial vandalized in Baltimore.

— Three men in California arrested in investigation of Black Lives Matter sign.

— North Carolina spectators cheer removal of Confederate statue.

— 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-full arena amid pandemic.

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BALTIMORE — A statue and memorial to George Washington in Baltimore has been vandalized with red paint.

The Baltimore Sun reports that the memorial in Druid Hill Park in northwest Baltimore also had the words “Destroy Racists” and the initials for the Black Lives Matter movement written on the base.

Police said Sunday morning that they had not received any complaints about the vandalism.

As statues and memorials to the Confederacy have been targeted across the South, protesters have also at times targeted Founding Fathers who were slaveholders, including Washington.

Baltimore removed several statues and memorials linked to the Confederacy back in 2017.

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THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. — Three men, including employees of a sheriff’s office and district attorney’s office in California, have been arrested for investigation of the vandalism of a Black Lives Matter sign.

The Ventura County Sheriff’s Office said late Saturday that a tarp painted with the letters “BLM” has been repeatedly damaged in Thousand Oaks. The owner of the sign posted an image of one of the incidents on social media, and the office says detectives recognized the suspect as a sheriff’s office employee.

The worker was issued a misdemeanor vandalism citation and placed on paid administrative leave. Another person investigated for vandalism to the sign worked for the county district attorney’s office.

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RALEIGH, N.C. — Spectators cheered as work crews finished the job started by protesters Friday night and removed a Confederate statue from the top of a 75-foot monument.

News outlets report that work crews acting on the order of Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper removed the statue Sunday morning and began taking down the obelisk on which it stood.

Sunday’s work follows the removal of two other Confederate statues on the state Capitol grounds in Raleigh on Saturday. Cooper ordered the statues removed after protesters toppled two other Confederate statues Friday night, stringing one up by the neck and hanging it from a light pole.

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SAN FRANCISCO -- San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore 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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This version corrects spelling of name of the archbishop to Salvatore.

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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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