The U.S. at a glance ...
Standing Rock Sioux Reservation, N.D.
Pipeline protest: Members of more than 100 Native American tribes have traveled to the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in North Dakota to join a growing protest over an oil pipeline they say threatens sacred burial lands. Standing Rock Sioux members say the 1,172-mile Dakota Access pipeline, which will carry 570,000 barrels of oil a day from North Dakota’s Bakken oil fields down through South Dakota and Iowa to Illinois, also poses a threat to the tribe’s water supply. A federal judge last week refused the tribe’s request to halt construction on the $4 billion project, but the U.S. departments of Justice, Army, and Interior then unexpectedly put the pipeline on hold while the Army Corps of Engineers reassesses its decision to approve permits for the project. The company overseeing the project, Energy Transfer Partners, says the pipeline doesn’t run on reservation land, and would create thousands of jobs.
Police shooting: The Justice Department opened an investigation into the fatal police shooting of an unarmed black man in Tulsa this week, hours after the city’s police department released what it called “disturbing”helicopter footage of the man being shot dead while holding his hands in the air. Officers were responding to 911 calls that Terence Crutcher’s car had stalled in the middle of a road. Officer Betty Shelby, who fired the fatal shot, told investigators she believed Crutcher, 40, was armed and acting erratically, and a police spokeswoman said Crutcher had disregarded police instructions and reached inside his vehicle before being shot. In the footage, Crutcher is seen walking toward his white SUV with his hands in the air. “Looks like a bad dude,” one officer in the police helicopter says. A shot is fired, and Crutcher falls to the ground. He was the 825th person killed by U.S. police this year.
Trump’s ‘self-dealing’ Donald Trump faced renewed accusations of misusing charity funds after a Washington Post investigation revealed the GOP candidate used $258,000 from his charitable foundation to settle lawsuits involving his for-profit businesses. In 2007, the town of Palm Beach, Fla., agreed to settle a dispute over a flagpole if Trump’s Mara-Lago Club made a $100,000 donation to a veterans’ charity. Instead, Trump sent the check from the Woodbury-based Donald J. Trump Foundation, a charity funded largely with other donors’ money. In another case, the foundation settled a $158,000 lawsuit involving Trump’s golf courses in New York. “I represent 700 nonprofits a year, and I’ve never encountered anything so brazen,” said charities adviser Jeffrey Tenenbaum. The Trump Foundation is also under investigation by the New York attorney general. Trump denies any wrongdoing.
Christie ‘knew’ The long-awaited trial over New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s “Bridgegate” scandal began in startling fashion this week, as prosecutors and defense lawyers for two former Christie administration officials both stated that the governor was aware of a politically motivated scheme to shut down lanes leading to the George Washington Bridge. Christie has not been charged and denies any prior knowledge of the closures. His former deputy chief of staff, Bridget Anne Kelly, and former Port Authority official Bill Baroni are on trial for allegedly orchestrating the closures, which created gridlock in Fort Lee for four days. After the town’s Democratic mayor, Mark Sokolich, refused to endorse the Republican Christie for re-election, Kelly sent out an email saying, “Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee.’’ In opening statements, a prosecutor said Baroni “bragged” to Christie about the traffic “mess” as it was going on.
New York City
Refugee summit: In his final speech to the U.N. General Assembly as U.S. president, Barack Obama this week passionately urged world leaders to do more to address a global refugee crisis “of epic proportions”— calling the situation “a test of our common humanity.”Obama’s speech marked the end of a special refugee summit convened by the president to discuss the plight of the estimated 65.3 million people worldwide who have been displaced from their homes by conflict or persecution. Obama also announced a pledge by 50 nations, including the U.S., to take in 360,000 refugees from war-torn countries this year. “To slam the door in the face of these families would betray our deepest values,” Obama said. The pledge came as Donald Trump vowed to temporarily ban Muslim refugees from Syria and other countries from entering the U.S., in the wake of alleged terrorist attacks in Minnesota, New York, and New Jersey.
Riots break out: At least 16 police officers were injured in Charlotte this week after violent protests erupted over the fatal police shooting of a black man who was killed while officers were serving a warrant on a different person. Keith Lamont Scott, 43, was shot dead outside of his apartment complex by Officer Brentley Vinson, who is also black. Police said Scott had emerged from a nearby car holding a firearm, and that a gun was recovered from the scene. Scott’s family said he was holding a book, not a gun. Demonstrators gathered in peaceful protests in the hours after his death, chanting “Black lives matter” and “Hands up, don’t shoot.” But the demonstrations turned violent, as people began smashing and burning vehicles, before looting a nearby Walmart and shutting down Interstate 85. Police in riot gear responded by firing tear gas and rubber bullets. Vinson has been placed on paid administrative leave pending an investigation.