PODCAST: Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms Will Not Run For Reelection (BCNN1 5.7.21)

This is the Black Christian News Network One podcast. Here are the top stories you need to know about today.

According to the Associated Press, A federal grand jury has indicted the four former Minneapolis police officers involved in George Floyd’s arrest and death, accusing them of willfully violating the Black man’s constitutional rights as he was restrained face-down on the pavement and gasping for air. A three-count indictment unsealed Friday names Derek Chauvin, Thomas Lane, J. Kueng and Tou Thao. Chauvin was convicted last month on state charges of murder and manslaughter and is asking for a new trial. The other three are set for state trial on Aug. 23. It’s not clear what will happen in this case, but generally the state charges play out before federal charges do. The indictment sends a strong message about the Justice Department’s priorities. Floyd’s May 25 arrest and death, which a bystander captured on cellphone video, sparked mass protests nationwide that called for an end to racial inequalities and police mistreatment of Black people. When President Joe Biden was elected, he promised he’d work to end disparities in the criminal justice system. The indictments were handed up about a week after federal prosecutors brought hate crimes charges in the death of 25-year-old Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia and announced two sweeping probes into policing in two states. Ben Crump and the team of attorneys for Floyd’s family said the civil rights charges reinforce “the strength and wisdom” of the Constitution. “We are encouraged by these charges and eager to see continued justice in this historic case that will impact Black citizens and all Americans for generations to come,” the attorneys said in a statement.

According to the Associated Press, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms announced Thursday she will not seek a second term, an election-year surprise that marks a sharp turnabout for the city’s second Black woman executive who months ago was among those President Joe Biden considered for his running mate. Bottoms, 51, disclosed her decision publicly in a lengthy open letter and accompanying video Thursday night after having told family and a close circle of associates and supporters. “It is with deep emotions that I hold my head high and choose not to seek another term as mayor,” Bottoms wrote, saying she’d prayed about the decision with her husband, Derek, an executive at The Home Depot Inc. The mayor is expected to speak publicly Friday morning. Bottoms, who narrowly won a runoff election four years ago, pushed backed against any questions about whether she could have secured a second victory later this year. She noted a reelection fundraiser she held with Biden’s support and said polls showed her in a strong position. “‘Is she afraid of the competition?’ NEVER,” Bottoms wrote. “My ancestors, direct descendants of the once enslaved, traveled by horse and buggy from the cotton fields of east Georgia in search of a better life for themselves and their children in Atlanta. I have carried their belief for a better tomorrow in my heart, their earnest work ethic in my being, and their hopes for generations not yet born on my mind, each day that I have been privileged to serve as the 60th Mayor of Atlanta.” City Council President Felicia Moore has already announced her mayoral bid.
According to CBS, A married couple with a long history of service to their South Side community were the victims of a horrific attack over the weekend. Now friends are rallying to support the couple many say would “give you the shirts off their backs.” Even in this violent city, what happened to Timothy and Renee Johnson is inconceivable. “It’s like a page out of a horror movie,” said their daughter, Destinee Johnson. On Saturday Timothy and Renee were on Emerald Avenue near 105th Street doing chores for Renee’s 95-year-old mother. “It was nice outside, so you go out and clean up around the house,” said Timothy’s sister Rhonda Hutcherson. “And he was in the alley, cleaning up behind there.” A man approached Timothy, asking if he wanted to buy something. Hutcherson said, “My brother just told him, ‘No, I’m OK. No thank you. I’m not interested.’ And he just attacked him.” Timothy was beaten with the shovel he was carrying to do yard work. When Renee ran to her husband, she too was attacked. Their eyes were gouged, parts of their ears bitten off. Prosecutors say when the 28-year-old man was arrested, he was covered in blood. “Nobody could have imagined we would wake up on a Saturday and this was going to happen,” their daughter, Destinee, said. It happened to Timothy, a minister at Salem Baptist Church who pastors on streets and parks, even as he recovers from cancer. It happened to Renee, a special education teacher. They are two pillars of the community now facing a long, difficult recovery. Their children said it’s a blessing that there has been such an outpouring of love for the couple. They will not be able to work anytime soon, and they have a GoFundMe page. The 28-year-old alleged attacker is held on a $5 million bond and is undergoing a psychiatric evaluation.

According to WYFF4, South Carolina police say they arrested an armed Army trainee after he hijacked a school bus full of elementary school students on Thursday. The man, whose name has not been released, “ran off post and escaped” from the Fort Jackson training facility with a rifle, officials say. The man, still armed, hopped on a school bus that was waiting to take children to a nearby elementary school. “He told the bus driver he didn’t want to hurt anybody; he wanted him to drive him to the next town,” said Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott. Some students had phoned their parents while on the bus to let them know what was happening, Lott added. The man then “got a little frustrated” after the kids had asked him multiple times whether he was going to hurt anybody and let everyone off the bus. He took over the driver’s seat and drove a few miles before he ditched the bus, leaving the gun inside. Police say they arrested him after they found him wandering through a neighborhood. The man will face multiple charges for kidnapping, officials say.

According to People, Laura Lentz, the wife of former Hillsong pastor Carl Lentz, is marking their wedding anniversary by speaking out for the first time since her husband’s cheating scandal. Laura posted to Instagram on Wednesday for the first time since October, breaking her silence on the day that the couple is celebrating 18 years of marriage. The post featured a photo of a blue sky and several palm trees — and while the caption did not explicitly reference Carl’s scandal, which made headlines in November, it made multiple allusions to familial strife and resilience. “There are many symbolic meanings to these amazing trees,” Laura wrote. “A few that have resonated with me during this season of my life: they are strong, can weather the biggest storms, they always grow upwards. Freedom, righteousness, reward, resurrection just to name a few…” The mother of three explained that she took a break from social media over the past few months because it was “not good for [her] soul,” and that she’d had to block and delete many users and comments from her posts. “Trolls are cowards, SOME ‘Christians’ are anything but kind, gracious, or loving…but that won’t stop me from growing upwards & getting stronger,” she wrote. “I have learnt a lot about myself over the past few months. Now more than ever I know the kindness of God, His grace, forgiveness & strength.” Laura added that her family’s struggles had led her to “true friendships,” but had also marked the end of others. “I will not forget who abandoned us, but I choose to keep my heart free of bitterness & remain thankful for those that have stayed & loved us. I don’t want to judge others nor do I want to be judged,” she wrote. She ended her note with a quote from a friend that she said had stuck with her in recent months: “I would rather be accused of being too gracious toward someone, over being accused of judging someone too harshly.” “I want to be known as a woman who sees the good in people & truly loves people unconditionally,” she concluded, adding the hashtags, “You Can Only Change You, “Love Wins” and “Grow Upwards.”

According to the Duluth News Tribune, A Minnesota man has been sentenced to more than three years in prison and ordered to repay $12 million after pleading guilty to helping torch a Minneapolis police station during George Floyd protests. Branden Michael Wolfe, 23, had pushed a wooden barrel into a fire started at the entrance of the building, which had been started by others during the protests in May 2020. Acting U.S. Attorney Anders Folk said Wolfe “literally added fuel to the fire.” He admitted to entering the police station and stealing gear, including ammo, handcuffs, a knife, and a police vest that he was still wearing when he was arrested. Two other men, Bryce Michael Williams and Davon De-Andre Turner, have also pleaded guilty to the burning of the police station, but have yet to be sentenced. Separately, 23-year-old Dylan Shakespeare Robinson was sentenced to four years and ordered to pay $12 million last month for his role in helping start the fire at the Third Precinct building.
According to The Christian Beat, Alveda King and Kathie Lee Gifford have teamed up for the inspirational new single, “Your Way Yahweh,” available today from Radiate Music. The inspirational song, written by King, was produced by Ian Eskelin. “In a day where chaos and uncertainty are abundant, I wanted to write a song that brings people back to the foundation of who God is,” explains Alveda King. “I long for people to know God and to experience the incredible greatness of living a life built upon His foundation.” A chance encounter led to Kathie Lee Gifford joining King in the studio, and before long, “Your Way Yahweh” was born. “What a joy to be invited to join Alveda on such a worshipful and hopeful song,” says Kathie Lee Gifford. “She is a treasure and a beautiful sister in Christ.”

You can read these stories and more at BlackChristianNews.com .

In closing, remember, God loves you. He always has and He always will. John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” If you don’t know Jesus as your Saviour, today is a good day to get to know Him. Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died, was buried, and rose from the dead for you. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart and He will. Romans 10:13 says, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

Thanks so much for listening and may God bless your day!

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