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Federal charges were filed Thursday against three men who allegedly set fire to a CTA van during riots in the Loop on May 30, 2020.

Denzal Stewart, 24, Lamar Taylor, 23, and Darion Lindsey, 19, are each charged with one count of arson in a federal indictment that was unsealed Wednesday, according to a statement from the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Chicago.

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In June, Chicago police released surveillance video of a CTA van being set on fire at 333 South State during the May uprising.

The footage shows a man in a pink hat trying to set a cardboard box on fire in the middle of State Street as a CTA van sits unattended in the middle traffic island. The man drops the box and then sets fire to an item that is inside the van. As he walks away, another man runs around the van and closes the vehicle’s doors.

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Stewart and Taylor, both of Chicago, were arrested Wednesday morning. Lindsey, who lives in Park Forest, has been in Cook County Sheriff’s custody since July 19 on an aggravated battery charge, according to court records.

The men face sentences of five to 20 years if convicted of arson, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said

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Black Lives Matter

BLM agitators arrested outside Trump Tower…

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BLM agitators show up and arrests are made.

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Black Lives Matter

Black franchise owner sues McDonald’s, cites persistent bias

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CLEVELAND (AP) — The Black owner of 14 McDonald’s franchises in Ohio says one of the world’s largest restaurant chains has shown more favorable treatment to white owners and denied him the opportunity to buy restaurants in more affluent communities, according to a civil rights lawsuit filed Tuesday in federal court in Youngstown.

The lawsuit filed by Herbert Washington, a former college track star who played for parts of two seasons with the Oakland Athletics in the mid-1970s, said the Chicago-based company’s discriminatory practices has led to a $700,000 sales gap between Black-owned franchises and those owned by whites.

The number of Black franchise owners has fallen from 377 in 1998 to 186 today, while the total number of stores has more than doubled to 40,000, the lawsuit said.

“By relegating Black owners to the oldest stores in the toughest neighborhoods, McDonald’s ensured that Black franchisees would never achieve the levels of success that White franchisees could expect,” the lawsuit said. “Black franchisees must spend more to operate their stores while White franchisees get to realize the full benefit of their labors,” the lawsuit said.

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McDonald’s issued a statement on Tuesday denying Washington’s assertions. The company said Washington is “facing business challenges” for which the company has “invested significantly in his organization” while offering him ”multiple opportunities over several years to address these issues.”

“This situation is the result of years of mismanagement by Mr. Washington, whose organization has failed to meet many of our standards on people, operations, guest satisfaction and reinvestment,” the statement said.

More than 50 former Black McDonald’s franchise owners made similar claims in a lawsuit filed against the company in September.

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Black Culture

Black History Month scavenger hunt sparks backlash in Durham

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The “challenge activity” was developed by the region’s Inclusive Durham Committee, who in December reportedly ordered the removal of a Second World War exhibit for its display of the German “Iron Cross” symbol.

Author Desmond Cole posted a tweet sharing the exercise that encouraged regional employees to  “have a conversation with a Black employee,” cook an “African meal” or dance to a reggae song, the Sun reports.

A region twitter account responded to the tweet explaining their recognition of Black History Month “include opportunities for staff to learn more about Black history, culture and achievements.”

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An apology for the off-color proposal was finally given Thursday in a statement by Regional Chair John Henry and CAO Elaine Baxter Trahair.

Durham Region had to issue an apology after their Black History Month scavenger hunt sparked harsh backlash online. “As part of Durham Region’s Black History Month initiatives, an internal challenge activity for Durham Region staff was a mistake,” the statement read.

“It has caused harm to our Black employees and community — damaging the inclusive culture that we are trying to build. We take responsibility and we are committed to doing better,” it continued.

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