Walmart has decided to remove Confederate flag merchandise from stores and its e-commerce site in the wake of Charleston’s Emanuel AME Church shooting last week that renewed outcry over the symbol.
Brian Nick, a spokesman for the Bentonville, Arkansas-based retailer, said in a statement: “We never want to offend anyone with the products that we offer.
“We have taken steps to remove all items promoting the Confederate flag from our assortment – whether in our stores or on our website.”
On June 22, South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley called for removing the Confederate battle flag from the State House grounds. Following the shooting, which killed nine parishioners at a historic black church in the state, the symbol needs to go, she said.
Governor Nikki Haley said at a press conference: “That flag, while an integral part of our past, does not represent the future.
“By removing a symbol that divides us, we can move forward as a state in harmony.”
Walmart has sold a range of Confederate-themed products, including decals, knives and T-shirts. The move to eliminate the merchandise was previously reported by CNN.
The company’s Brian Nick said in the statement: “We have a process in place to help lead us to the right decisions when it comes to the merchandise we sell.
“Still, at times, items make their way into our assortment improperly – this is one of those instances.”
President Barack Obama has used the “n-word” during an interview to argue that the US has yet to overcome its issues with racism.
“Racism, we are not cured of it,” the president said.
“And it’s not just a matter of it not being polite to say n***er in public.”
The radio interview came days after a mass shooting in South Carolina which police believe was racially motivated.
Barack Obama will deliver a eulogy at the funeral of one of the men killed.
Clementa Pinckney, a personal friend of the president, was state senator and pastor of the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston where the attack took place.
In the interview, Barack Obama also lamented Congress’ lack of will to enact stricter gun controls.
“It’s not just a matter of overt discrimination,” he told comedian Marc Maron in a podcast.
“Societies don’t, overnight, completely erase everything that happened 200 to 300 years prior.”
Barack Obama acknowledged that attitudes about race in the US have improved since his childhood, but he said that America’s history of enslaving black people “casts a long shadow and that’s still part of our DNA that’s passed on”.
The president has publicly used the n-word before but not as president. He used the word several times in his book Dreams from my Father.
Nine black worshippers were killed by gunman Dylann Roof during a bible study group at the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston.
Dylann Roof has been pictured holding the Confederate flag, a symbol used by southern states in the civil war when they tried to break away to prevent the abolition of slavery.
The shooting has restarted a debate over a Confederate flag that flies on the grounds of the South Carolina state capitol.
The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and others have called for the flag to be removed, calling it a symbol of racism.
President Barack Obama did not reference the flag in the interview, but he said on June 19 that the flag belongs in a museum and should not be flown.
A collection of images of Charleston church gunman Dylann Roof posing with a gun have surfaced online.
Dylann Storm Roof, 21, shot dead nine people at the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina on Wednesday, June 17.
The pictures discovered on a website also show Dylann Roof burning the US flag and visiting a slave plantation.
In one image Dylann Roof is shown staring down the camera while sitting on a chair in camouflage trousers holding a gun.
It is unclear who posted the images on the site, which was found on June 20.
The website with a white supemacist manifesto was taken offline on the same day shortly after it was discovered. Internet records suggest its domain was registered in February to a Dylann Roof in Eastover, South Carolina, but it is unclear who was behind it.
It is not clear who wrote the words and who took the pictures, but the manifesto appears to trace the evolution of the author’s racist worldview and concludes with a section labeled “An Explanation”.
The manifesot reads: “I have no choice. I am not in the position to, alone, go into the ghetto and fight. I chose Charleston because it is most historic city in my state, and at one time had the highest ratio of blacks to Whites in the country. We have no skinheads, no real KKK, no one doing anything but talking on the internet. Well someone has to have the bravery to take it to the real world, and I guess that has to be me.”
Data from the images show many of them were taken in April and May 2015.
Many of the photographs show Dylann Roof posing with the Confederate flag, a symbol used in the US south during the civil war when southern states tried to break away to prevent the abolition of slavery.
It is viewed by many as symbolizing the white supremacy advocated by those states at the time.
The website was discovered by two Twitter users who used a tool to find any domain names registered to Dylann Roof.
Dylan Roof was arrested on June 18 and charged with the murders of nine African-Americans at the Emanuel African Methodist Church in downtown Charleston.
Police said Dylann Roof spent an hour sitting with parishioners inside the church before opening fire on them.
Crowds gathered outside the historic church on June 20 to hear pastors from across the US lead prayers.
The Emanuel AME Church is due to reopen on Sunday, June 21, for a service at 09:00 local time.
President Barack Obama has condemned racism as “a blight” on the American society after white supremacist Dylann Roof killed nine African-Americans in a South Carolina church.
Police are treating the killings at the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston on June 17 as a hate crime.
Dylann Roof, 21, appeared in court on June 19 to face nine murder charges.
He showed no emotion as relatives of the victims addressed him directly.
“I forgive you” said one victim’s daughter, fighting back tears.
Speaking in at the US Conference of Mayors in San Francisco, President Barack Obama said: “The apparent motivations of the shooter remind us that racism remains a blight that we have to combat together.
“We have made great progress, but we have to be vigilant because it still lingers.
“And when it’s poisoning the minds of young people, it betrays our ideals and tears our democracy apart.”
The president also praised the families of the victims for the forgiveness they had shown.
Barack Obama said it was “an expression of faith that is unimaginable but that reflects the goodness of the American people”.
He also called for a new debate on gun control, and pushed Congress to follow public opinion.
“It’s not enough for us to express sympathy; we have to take action,” the president said.
A previous proposed bill banning assault weapons failed to win backing in the Senate.
At a Charleston sports arena, thousands gathered on June 19 to remember the victims with prayers. They joined hands to sing We Shall Overcome.
Ahead of the vigil, Charleston Mayor Joseph Riley said: “A hateful person came to this community with some crazy idea he’d be able to divide, but all he did was unite us and make us love each other even more.”
A steady stream of people also brought flowers to place at a memorial in front of the church.
Dylann Roof family earlier released a statement through their lawyer.
“Words cannot express our shock, grief and disbelief as to what happened that night. We are devastated and saddened by what occurred,” the family wrote.
“We have all been touched by the moving words from the victims’ families offering God’s forgiveness and love in the face of such horrible suffering.”
In court in Charleston on June 19, Dylann Roof spoke to confirm his name, age and address and said he was unemployed.
Then relatives were invited by the judge to come forward and speak.
South Carolina church shooting suspect Dylann Roof is due to make his first court appearance.
Dylann Storm Roof, 21, is suspected of shooting dead nine people at the Emanuel AME Churche in Charleston.
He was detained more than 200 miles away in North Carolina and flown back to Charleston.
Police are treating the killings as a hate crime.
Prayer vigils have been held in churches in Charleston and across the US for the six women and three men who died in the June 17 shooting.
Churches in Charleston were full to overflowing on June 18 as prayer services were held. Some services were held outdoors.
Hundreds gathered outside the Emanuel AME Church, where the attack took place, to pay tribute.
Dylann Roof is due to appear in court via video link for a bail hearing on June 19. He is being held at a detention centre in the Charleston area, the county sheriff’s office said.
He was detained on June 18 after police acting on a tip-off stopped his car in Shelby, North Carolina. He waived his right to extradition and was flown back to South Carolina.
Police had earlier released CCTV images of the shooting suspect and the dark saloon car he had driven away in.
Dylann Roof’s social media profile suggests he was interested in white supremacy.
His Facebook page shows a picture of him wearing a jacket with flag-patches from apartheid-era South Africa and Rhodesia – the name of Zimbabwe during the era of white minority rule. He also had Confederate flag plate on his car.
Dalton Tyler, who said he was a friend of Dylann Roof, told ABC News the suspect had spoken in support of racial segregation and had said “he wanted to start a civil war”.
It emerged on Thursday that Dylann Roof had sat in a Bible study group at the church for nearly an hour before launching his attack.
“The suspect entered the group and was accepted by them, as they believed that he wanted to join them in this Bible study,” Charleston County Coroner Rae Wilson said.
She said he then became “very aggressive and violent”.
Eight people died at the scene and one person died later in hospital. There were three survivors.
The victims were named as Pastor Clementa Pinckney, 41; Cynthia Hurd, 54; Tywanza Sanders, 26; Ms Singleton, 45; Myra Thompson, 59; Ethel Lance, 70; Susie Jackson, 87; the Rev Daniel Simmons Sr, 74; and DePayne Doctor.
President Barack Obama said the killings again raised the issue of US gun ownership, saying: “At some point, we as a country have to reckon with the fact that this type of massacre does not happen in other advanced countries.”
The Emanuel church is the oldest African Methodist Episcopal (AME) church in the US south. Civil rights leader Martin Luther King gave a speech there in April 1962.
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