North Carolina man leaps from street protests into politics

Published: Friday, November 10, 2017 @ 3:07 AM
Updated: Friday, November 10, 2017 @ 3:06 AM

In 2016, Braxton Winston stood shirtless with fist raised in front of riot police, defiantly protesting a black man's fatal shooting by a North Carolina officer. A photograph of that bold protest drew national attention amid a U.S. groundswell against the killings of young African-Americans by police.

Now, a little more than a year later, Winston has taken his passion into politics, winning a seat on the Charlotte City Council.

Winston, who is black, was elected Tuesday to one of four at-large council seats in North Carolina's largest city. Voters also elected the city's first African-American woman as mayor, Democrat Vi Lyles. They and others will be sworn in Dec. 4.

Suddenly Winston, instead of challenging government, is part of it.

"It became clear that this is what I have to do," Winston said, "to continue to be an advocate for all of Charlotte, but especially for the marginalized voices in the community."

Winston, 34, who had played football at Davidson College just north of Charlotte, said he had just coached a middle school team to a football victory on Sept. 20, 2016. It was that day when Keith Lamont Scott was fatally shot by a black Charlotte-Mecklenburg officer during a police search for another person at a town home complex. The shooting would spark days of civil unrest, leading to a death, dozens of arrests and millions of dollars in damage.

No charges were filed against Officer Brentley Vinson, and in August, a citizens review board voted 4-4 in announcing it wouldn't challenge the department's finding that the officer's shooting was justified. In June, the review board said it found a potential error in the police department's decision, but didn't elaborate.

Friends of Winston, a father of three known for his activism, told him about the shooting. So, instead of going to his job as a stage hand or heading home to be with his visiting mother from Brooklyn, he went straight to the shooting site as a protest unfolded.

"I was about to leave and I heard Keith Lamont Scott's daughter running through the crowd and they were taking his SUV out on a flatbed," Winston told The Associated Press in an interview. "Her voice was so shrill. It was like 'That's my daddy's car! Why did you kill my daddy?'" He resolved to stay, adding, "I felt like if there was ever a time that the people had the right to be angry and express that to their government, it was at that time."

Protesters threw rocks and bottles, drawing police tear gas. Winston decided to make his stand. A photographer from The Charlotte Observer captured the image.

"My shirt was off because I tried to make a mask from the tear gas," he recalled. "I knew that the fist was a symbol."

Winston would also join a protest outside Bank of America Stadium the following Sunday as the Carolina Panthers played a game. There he was arrested under Charlotte's extraordinary event ordinance — an ordinance since repealed — though charges were later dropped.

"I felt like I was targeted," he said.

After the protests subsided, Winston took his concerns to local community leaders and joined others who were dissatisfied and pressing for new leadership willing to effect change.

"As the months started to creep by, the voice that I wanted to (hear) and other people wanted to (hear) wasn't showing up," he said. "It became a matter of, if not me, then who, and if not now, then when?"

On Thursday, after his election, he attended a meeting at the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Government Center. He said he was pleased the community put its trust in him.

"All of a sudden, now I'm responsible for administrating these systemic inequities," he told AP, vowing office-holding won't change him.

"Really, I'm ready to get down to work."

Trump cancels Florida trip as government shutdown looms

Published: Friday, January 19, 2018 @ 11:35 AM

President Donald Trump boards Air Force One in the rain at Palm Beach International Airport in West Palm Beach Monday afternoon, January 15, 2018.
President Donald Trump boards Air Force One in the rain at Palm Beach International Airport in West Palm Beach Monday afternoon, January 15, 2018.

President Donald Trump will not make a planned trip to Mar-a-Lago today because of a looming federal government shutdown, a White House official told The Palm Beach Post on Friday morning.

>> Read more trending news

Trump was scheduled to arrive at Palm Beach International Airport tonight for a weekend trip that included a Saturday fundraiser for his 2020 re-election campaign at Mar-a-Lago. The official who confirmed today’s travel is off did not address the president’s plans for the remainder of the weekend.

5 Things to Know About Mar-a-Lago

Trump was planning to make the 12th Palm Beach visit of his presidency. But Congress has not reached a spending agreement to keep the federal government operating past midnight.

Saturday is the one-year anniversary of Trump taking office. The Trump campaign recently announced a “special sweepstakes” in which a winner will get to attend dinner Saturday at Mar-a-Lago with Trump, first lady Melania Trump and Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump.

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Trump physical results: 6 things to know

Published: Tuesday, January 16, 2018 @ 5:16 PM

WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 16:  U.S. President Donald Trump speaks as he stops by a Conversations with the Women of America panel at the South Court Auditorium of Eisenhower Executive Office Building January 18, 2018 in Washington, DC. The three-part panel features ÒAmerican women from various backgrounds and experiences who will speak with high-level women within the Trump Administration, about what has been accomplished to date to advance women at home, and in the workplace.Ó  (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Alex Wong/Getty Images
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 16: U.S. President Donald Trump speaks as he stops by a Conversations with the Women of America panel at the South Court Auditorium of Eisenhower Executive Office Building January 18, 2018 in Washington, DC. The three-part panel features ÒAmerican women from various backgrounds and experiences who will speak with high-level women within the Trump Administration, about what has been accomplished to date to advance women at home, and in the workplace.Ó (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)(Alex Wong/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump is in excellent health and likely to finish his term in office without any medical issues, a presidential doctor said Tuesday at a news conference, four days after the president underwent a physical exam.

>> Read more trending news

“The president's overall health is excellent," White House physician Dr. Ronny Jackson said Tuesday.

Here are six things to know about the results of the president’s physical:

Jackson: ‘He had great findings across the board’

Trump is in “very, very good health,” Jackson said Tuesday. 

“(I have) no concerns for his heart health,” the presidential physician said. “There are many good things that came from his exam, I think he had great findings across the board. “

>> White House physician releases official report

Jackson said Trump’s good health is likely to last through “the remainder of this tern, and even for the remainder of another term, if he’s elected.” He said he based his assessment on the president’s cardiac results.

“He falls into a category that portends years of event-free living,” Jackson said. “He has incredibly good genes, and that’s just the way God made him.”

Cognitive screening showed no issues

Jackson said he conducted a cognitive screening on Trump at the president’s request, although he felt the test was unnecessary.

“I’ve spent almost every day in the president’s presence,” said Jackson, whose office is near Trump’s. “I’ve got to know him pretty well and I had absolutely no concerns about his cognitive ability or neurological functions.”

He said that in all his conversations with Trump, the president has been “very articulate.”

“I’ve never known him to repeat himself around me,” Jackson said. “He says what he wants to say and speaks his mind.”

Infamous slurred speech incident might have been caused by medication

A December incident in which the president sounded as though he was slurring his speech while announcing a policy shift in Israel was probably due to a medication, Jackson said.

>> Related: Trump’s slurred speech: Is it loose-fitting dentures, dry mouth or something else?

“We evaluated him, we checked everything out and everything was normal,” Jackson said, adding that the incident was likely caused because the president needed water.

He said prior to the Dec. 7 incident, he gave Trump Sudafed, which might have “inadvertently dried up his secretions.”

Why Did President Trump Slur His Words in a Recent Speech?

Trump working to lose 10-15 pounds

At 6-foot-3 and 239 pounds, the president has a body mass index of 29.9, just under the number that would designate him as obese, according to information released Tuesday.

“The president, he and I talked and... I think a reasonable goal over the next year or so is (to lose) 10 or 15 pounds,” Jackson said, adding that a nutritionist would be meeting with White House chefs in the coming weeks and that Trump would be put on an exercise routine.

“He’s more enthusiastic about the diet,” Jackson said.

Jackson not concerned about Trump’s stress levels

Despite concerns from the public and reports that have painted a chaotic White House, Jackson said that he has no concerns about the president’s stress levels.

“I talk to him sometimes about stress just because I think it’s my job as his physician to bring it up on occasion,” he said. “I’ve never seen the president stressed out too much. ... He has a unique ability to push the reset button and he just gets up and he starts a new day. (I think it’s) made him healthier from a stress standpoint.”

Jackson did not test Trump’s hearing

Jackson said he didn’t have enough time to test Trump’s hearing, although he planned to conduct such a test in future physicals.

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Robert Mueller subpoenas Steve Bannon in Russia probe

Published: Tuesday, January 16, 2018 @ 11:57 AM

Who is Steven Bannon

Special counsel Robert Mueller has subpoenaed President Donald Trump’s former chief strategist, Steve Bannon, to testify before a grand jury as part of the ongoing investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election and its possible ties to the Trump campaign, The New York Times reported Tuesday.

>> Read more trending news

>> Related: Steve Bannon to testify before House Intel Committee in Russia probe

Steve Bannon to testify before House Intel Committee in Russia probe

Published: Friday, January 12, 2018 @ 11:19 AM

Who is Steven Bannon

Steve Bannon, President Donald Trump’s former chief strategist, will testify before the House Intelligence Committee next week in its probe of alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election, according to multiple reports.

>> Read more trending news

An unidentified source told Reuters on Thursday that the interview will take place Tuesday behind closed doors. It will focus on Bannon’s time as Trump’s campaign chief and not on his time in the White House, according to Reuters.

In preparation for the interview, Bannon hired Washington attorney Bill Burck to represent him, NBC News reported Friday. Burck was previously hired to represent former White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus and White House counsel Donald McGhan in special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election and its possible ties to the Trump campaign, according to Law360.

Burck is representing Bannon only before the committee and not in Mueller’s probe, NBC News reported.

Trump named Bannon, the former chairman of the conservative news website Breitbart News, as his campaign chief in August 2016. After his inauguration, Trump appointed Bannon to fill the newly created position of White House chief strategist.

He left the Trump administration in August 2017, almost exactly one year after joining Trump’s presidential campaign.

>> Related: Steve Bannon out as White House strategist

Days before his exit, Bannon faced scrutiny for an interview he did with the liberal magazine The American Prospect, contradicting the president's warnings to North Korea of "fire and fury" in response to threats. Tension between the pair intensified last week after Bannon was quoted in journalist Michael Wolff’s controversial tell-all book “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House.”

>> Related: 10 stunning claims about Trump White House from 'Fire and Fury'

Bannon told Wolff he thought a meeting set up by the president’s son, Donald Trump Jr., with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya and others in June 2016 was “treasonous” and “unpatriotic.” Trump slammed Bannon in a statement after the comments were made public, saying, “When he was fired, he not only lost his job, he lost his mind.”

Bannon later apologized for the comments.

>> Related: Report: Bannon apologizes for comments about Trump family in new book

Bannon announced Tuesday that he would be leaving Breitbart News for the second time in two years.

>> Related: Report: Steve Bannon stepping down as executive chairman at Breitbart News

"You have not heard the last from me," he wrote in a Twitter post announcing his departure.