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Georgians indicted in black man's death

ATLANTA -- A prosecutor announced Wednesday that three men have been indicted on murder charges in the killing of Ahmaud Arbery in coastal Georgia.

Speaking to reporters outside the Glynn County courthouse, prosecutor Joyette Holmes said a grand jury has indicted Travis McMichael, Greg McMichael and William "Roddie" Bryan Jr. on charges including malice and felony murder in the death of the Arbery, a black man.

"This is another positive step, another great step for finding justice for Ahmaud, for finding justice for this family and the community beyond," Holmes said during the news conference, which was streamed online by news outlets.

Arbery was slain Feb. 23 when the Greg and Travis McMichael, a white father and son, armed themselves and pursued the 25-year-old running in their neighborhood. Greg McMichael told police he suspected Arbery was a burglar and that Arbery attacked his son before being shot.

[CORONAVIRUS: Click here for our complete coverage » arkansasonline.com/coronavirus]

Lawyers for the McMichaels have cautioned against a rush to judgment and have said the full story will come out in court. A lawyer for Bryan has maintained that his client was merely a witness.

It wasn't until May 7 -- two days after Bryan's cellphone video was leaked online -- that the McMichaels were arrested. Bryan was arrested on May 22. An arrest warrant said he tried "to confine and detain" Arbery without legal authority by "utilizing his vehicle on multiple occasions" before Arbery was shot.

Officer fired over woman's fatal shooting

LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- The Louisville Metro Police Department has fired one of the police officers involved in the fatal shooting of Breonna Taylor, more than three months after the 26-year-old black woman was killed in her home.

A termination letter sent to officer Brett Hankison released by the department Tuesday said Hankison violated procedures by showing "extreme indifference to the value of human life" when he "wantonly and blindly" shot 10 rounds into Taylor's apartment in March. The letter also said Hankison, who is white, violated rules on using deadly force.

Taylor was shot eight times when officers burst into her Louisville home using a no-knock warrant during a March 13 drug investigation. The warrant to search her home involved a suspect who did not live there, and no drugs were found inside.

"I find your conduct a shock to the conscience," interim Louisville Police Chief Robert Schroeder said in the letter. "Your actions have brought discredit upon yourself and the Department."

Two other officers remain on administrative reassignment as the shooting is investigated.

Georgia panel backs mail-ballot curbs

ATLANTA -- Republicans controlling a Georgia House committee approved legislation Wednesday that would prevent election officials from proactively sending out mail-ballot request forms ahead of an election.

If it makes it through both chambers and gets Gov. Brian Kemp's signature, it could take effect ahead of November's general elections.

To protect voting rights during the coronavirus pandemic, Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, a Republican, sent absentee ballot applications to nearly 7 million active registered voters for the state's June 9 primary elections, enabling huge numbers to avoid having to go to the polls. That contributed to increased turnout, with turnout particularly high among Democrats.

Soon after Raffensperger sent ballot applications to all voters, Republican House Speaker David Ralston, expressed concern that it could be bad for the GOP, saying in April that expanded use of mail voting "will be extremely devastating to Republicans and conservatives in Georgia."

Raffensperger pushed back in a statement Wednesday, saying that "By a wide margin, voters on both sides of the political spectrum agree that sending absentee applications to all active voters was the safest and best thing our office could do to protect our voters at the peak of covid-19."

D.C. sues parts maker for 'ghost guns'

WASHINGTON -- The attorney general of Washington, D.C., on Wednesday filed suit against one of the largest makers of parts for "ghost guns," which when assembled have no serial number and cannot be traced.

The suit claims that the guns cannot be legally marketed or sold to district residents and that more than 83% of the ghost guns recovered in the city were made by Polymer80, the Nevada defendant in the suit.

Ghost guns pose an increasing problem for D.C. police as they can't be tracked to an original manufacturer or sales point. The number of ghost guns recovered in the city has risen from 25 in 2018, to 116 last year, to 106 in the first five months of this year, according to Attorney General Karl Racine. Racine said in a news release that Polymer80 handguns have been linked to nine killings in the district since 2017.

David Borges, the CEO and co-founder of Polymer80, did not respond to a request for comment on the suit.

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