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Dwight Howard Was In Attendance As His Uncle Read Charges Against Rayshard Brooks’ Killer

It’s been a busy week for Dwight Howard. The Lakers center has become one of the central figures in the controversy over resuming the NBA season in Orlando next month, joining several other players in voicing concerns that a return to play could distract the national attention away from the Black Lives Matter movement.

Howard went on to issue a formal statement this week, via The Athletic, in which he appeared to criticize the NBPA leadership for “serving their own agendas,” the implication being that players union is prioritizing the economic impact of the restart rather than player safety and the pursuit of equal justice.

On Wednesday, Howard also attended the hearing against the police officer accused of killing Rayshard Brooks, an unarmed black man who was shot in the back outside a Wendy’s. Howard’s uncle, Paul Howard Jr., is the Fulton County District Attorney who read the formal charges.

Via Tania Ganguli of The Los Angeles Times:

When Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard Jr. announced the 11 charges, including felony murder, that will be brought against the Atlanta police officer who killed Rayshard Brooks, the district attorney’s nephew was in the courtroom.

Dwight Howard, the Lakers’ center, wore a white shirt with words formed into wings that said “Breathe again.”

Dwight Howard has spent the last three months in Georgia, a state where two killings of unarmed Black people by white people have sparked anger and frustration across the country. These incidents — along with police killing George Floyd in Minneapolis and Breonna Taylor in Louisville — sparked protests against racism, police brutality and injustice against Black people. And they have led to sports figures looking for ways to further the movement.

It’s unclear whether Howard Jr. will be the one to prosecute the case, but the D.A. did make a statement outlining the specifics of the incident that culminated in Brooks’ death, arguing that he was cooperative with the officers involved — moving his vehicle and providing identification — as they spoke to him for more than 40 minutes in the restaurant parking lot before he was shot in the back. The Lakers star did not make a statement at the time of the hearing.

(The Los Angeles Times)