Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Wake-Up Call: Officer Reportedly Meant To Use Stun Gun

There were protests and clashes with police for a second night in the town of Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, Monday after a 20-year-old Black man was shot and killed by a police officer on Sunday during a traffic stop. Police fired off gas canisters and flash-bang grenades when hundreds of protesters wouldn't disperse last night, gathered after Governor Tim Walz had announced a dusk-to-dawn curfew. Eventually, only a few dozen remained. 

Police Chief Tim Gannon said yesterday that the shooting of Daunte Wright was a, quote, "accidental discharge," saying that the officer, identified by the state Bureau of Criminal Apprehension as 26-year veteran Kim Potter, had intended to fire a Taser, not her handgun. Body cam footage released yesterday showed the officer shouting at Wright after he breaks free from police and gets back in his car, "I’ll Tase you! I’ll Tase you! Taser! Taser! Taser!" After firing one shot, the car drives away and she says, "Holy [expletive]! I shot him."

Officials said Wright was pulled over because his car had expired registration tags. They discovered he was wanted on a warrant after failing to appear in court on charges that he fled from officers and possessed a gun without a permit during an encounter with Minneapolis police in June. When an officer tried to arrest him on the warrant, a struggle began and Wright was able to get in the car. After he was shot, the car traveled for several blocks before hitting another vehicle.

➤TENNESSEE STUDENT KILLED AFTER OPENING FIRE ON POLICE: A Tennessee high school student was killed by police yesterday afternoon after opening fire on officers responding to a report of a possible gunman. One of the officers was wounded. Police found the student in a bathroom at Austin-East Magnet High School in Knoxville and ordered him to come out. He didn't comply, and instead opened fire. It's not yet clear why the student, who hasn't been publicly identified, brought the gun to school or why he fired at police.

➤FINAL PROSECUTION WITNESSES IN CHAUVIN TRIAL AS DEFENSE SET TO TAKE OVER TODAY: The prosecution in former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin's murder and manslaughter trial in the death of George Floyd called their final witnesses on Monday, with the defense set to begin presenting its case today. Seth Stoughton, a professor at the University of South Carolina School of Law and a use-of-force expert, said Chauvin's actions did not meet the standard of what a reasonable police officer in the same situation would have done. He said that was true not only for the way he held Floyd down with a knee on his neck for more than nine minutes, but also for failing to provide aid to Floyd as he was in medical distress, for thinking Floyd could harm officers or escape after he'd been handcuffed to the ground, and in viewing the bystanders yelling that Floyd was in distress as a threat.

Northwestern Memorial Hospital cardiology expert Dr. Jonathan Rich testified, as did previous prosecution medical experts, that Floyd died of low oxygen levels from the way he was held down by police, not from a drug overdose or heart condition. He said, in fact, "Every indicator is that Mr. Floyd had actually an exceptionally strong heart." Floyd's brother, 39-year-old Philonise Floyd, testified, warmly and tearfully at times, about his older brother and their lives together.

➤MEXICO, HONDURAS, GUATEMALA AGREE TO USE TROOPS TO REDUCE MIGRANTS COMING TO USE: The U.S. has reached an agreement with Mexico, Honduras and Guatemala to temporarily send troops to their borders to try to reduce the surge of migrants who've recently been coming to the southern U.S. border. White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said yesterday that, quote, "the objective is to make it more difficult to make the journey, and make crossing the borders more difficult." AP cited a White House official as saying Guatemala and Honduras were deploying troops in response to a large caravan of migrants that was being organized at the end of March.

➤HIGHEST SUMMER GAS PRICES IN YEARS ARE ON THE WAY, U-S FORECAST SAYS: Gas prices have been rising steadily for months, and a government forecast says they could reach the highest they’ve been in three years this summer. The U.S. Energy Information Administration says gas will be considerably more expensive than last year, when the pandemic curtailed driving and fuel use. Gas price-tracking website GasBuddy says the national average for gas is already up by nearly $1 million from a year ago, at $2.86 a gallon. A few of the reasons: crude oil prices have been surging, vaccinations are expected to boost travel, and a harsh winter was tough on refineries. GasBuddy and auto club AAA say U.S. drivers could find themselves spending close to $3 a gallon for gas, on average, by Memorial Day.

➤GEN Z, MILLENNIALS FEED COVID-19’S SNACKING BOOM:  Have you been snacking more over the last year than you usually would? Data shows there’s been a big snacking boom during the pandemic, and the eating trends were largely driven by younger consumers. Data from Coca-Cola shows that 73 percent of Millenials and Gen Zers admit they’ve snacked more during the pandemic, and nearly half of all the people they polled said they would walk over a mile for a sweet or salty snack. The findings compliment a recent survey from Pepsico’s Frito-Lay, which found 40 percent of Americans said they planned to snack more than they did during Super Bowl 2020—and Frito-Lay shipped more than 70 million pounds of snacks in the week leading up to the big game to meet expected demand. Also, many snack brands took note of the surge in snacking and used celebrities to boost interest in some new products. Recently, General Mills noted that despite snack sales dipping last quarter, it’s optimistic that the changes in “consumer behaviors driven by the COVID-19 pandemic” are here to say.

➤STUDY..GETTING COVID-19 NEWS FROM TV, SOCIAL MEDIA LEAVES YOU LESS INFORMED: The coronavirus pandemic has dominated the news over the last year, but where you get your news about it could affect how correct the information is that you get. Penn State researchers found that people who trust TV and social media for their Covid-19 news had less correct information, and the least knowledgeable were those who rely on Facebook as their main source or even just an additional source. The researchers surveyed nearly 6,000 Pennsylvania residents between March 25th and 31st and 2020, two weeks after a global pandemic was declared. They found that those who trusted government health websites the most for their news about the pandemic were the most knowledgeable. Those who trusted TV were less likely to have the right information, and Facebook users were even less likely to have correct info. As for who they trust for pandemic-related news, 42.8 percent cited government websites, 27.2 percent said they trust television the most, and health system communications were third at 9.3 percent.

➤STUDY..WOMEN ‘RISK’ GREY HAIR TO FEEL AUTHENTIC:  Women view letting their natural grey hair show as a “risk.” University of Exeter researchers surveyed women who chose not to dye their grey hair, and found a “conflict” between looking natural and being seen as competent. Lead study author Vanessa Cecil explains, “The ‘old woman’ is an undesirable character in Western societies, being seen as incompetent or unpleasant- if she is seen at all. In the face of impossible standards to be natural and remain youthful forever, these women are doing what they can to retain status. Although many reported negative consequences such as being ignored or treated as less competent, they also felt happier to be ‘flying my natural flag.’” Many men and women chose to leave their hair naturally grey during COVID lockdowns for two reasons: hairdressers being closed, and because they were spending less time in public, including at work. Cecil says in that way the pandemic seems to have sped up a shift that was already happening, with an increasing number of women choosing not to dye their hair.

➤BIDEN NOMINATES FIRST WOMAN TO BE ARMY SECRETARY: President Biden nominated Christine Wormuth to be Secretary of the Army on Monday, who'd be the first women to ever hold the position if confirmed by the Senate. Wormuth was the Pentagon's top policy official in the final years of the Obama administration and served as director for defense policy at the National Security Council. She most recently worked as the director of the International Security and Defense Policy Center at the Rand Corporation.

➤NEW MEXICO LEGALIZES RECREATIONAL MARIJUANA USE: New Mexico Democratic Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham signed legislation yesterday legalizing recreational marijuana use, making her state the seventh since November to do so. People age 21 and older will be allowed to grow marijuana at home and possess up to two ounces of it outside their homes starting on June 29th. Sales will start next year by April 1st at state-licensed dispensaries.

➤CINDY MCCAIN TO REPORTEDLY BE NAMED AMBASSADOR TO U.N.'S WORLD FOOD PROGRAM: Cindy McCain, the widow of the late Republican Senator John McCain, is set to be nominated as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations' World Food Programme, which is based in Rome, according to Politico. McCain, who's also a Republican, crossed party lines to endorse Democrat Joe Biden for president, and she would be the first Republican nominated to a Senate-confirmed role in Biden's administration. The 66-year-old McCain is a longtime philanthropist who has worked with the U.N. program in the past.

🐕FIRST DOG MAJOR TO GET MORE TRAINING AFTER TWO BITING INCIDENTS: President Biden and First Lady Jill Biden's younger dog Major is going to be getting more training, after he had two biting incidents at the White House last month. A spokesperson for the first lady said the three-year-old German shepherd will get the private training in the Washington, D.C., area, which is expected to last a few weeks. In the first incident, Major bit a Secret Service employee, causing a minor injury, and then he later nipped someone during a walk. The Bidens also have another German shepherd, 12-year-old Champ.
➤MINNESOTA TEAMS DON'T PLAY AFTER POLICE SHOOTING: Minnesota's baseball, basketball and hockey teams, the Twins, Timberwolves and Wild, respectively, all postponed their games on Monday, one day after a 20-year-old Black man, Daunte Wright, was shot and killed by police in the town of Brooklyn Center during a traffic stop. Twins president Dave St. Peter said as they postponed the team's home game against the Boston Red Sox, "We came to the conclusion that the right thing to do was for us to not play today, rooted in respect for the Wright family but also rooted in our mind in the safety of all of those involved in today’s game." The Timberwolves said, "Yesterday’s tragic event, involving the life of Daunte Wright, once again leaves our community mourning," and the Wild said the postponement decision was made, quote, "out of respect for [the] heartbreaking incident." In addition, New York Yankees outfielder Aaron Hicks, who is Black and played his first three MLB seasons for the Twins, asked to be removed from the starting lineup against the Toronto Blue Jays last night because of the incident. Yankees manager Aaron Boone said, "It’s hit Aaron particularly hard."

⚾TWO CUBS COACHES POSITIVE FOR COVID-19, CONCERNS ABOUT POSSIBLE OUTBREAK: Two Chicago Cubs coaches have tested positive for the coronavirus and three relievers were put on the Covid-19 injured list, raising the organization's concerns about a possible outbreak on the team. The coaches who tested positive were bullpen coach Chris Young and first base coach Craig Driver, while relievers Brandon Workman, Jason Adam and Dan Winkler were put on the Covid list, but it wasn't disclosed whether it was because they tested positive or it was for contact tracing.

Stephen Curry scored 53 points in the Golden State Warriors' 116-107 win over the Denver Nuggets last night, breaking the Warriors' franchise's scoring record that had been held by the legendary Wilt Chamberlain. Curry, who's in his 12th NBA season, all of them with Golden State, passed the 17,783 points Chamberlain had with the Warriors, a record he’d held since 1964.

🏒CAPITALS GET MANTHA FROM RED WINGS: The Washington Capitals acquired the Detroit Red Wings' Anthony Mantha in a blockbuster deal ahead of yesterday's (April 12th) NHL trade deadline. Washington sent Jakub Vrana and Richard Panik to Detroit in return, along with a 2021 first-round draft pick and a 2022 second-round pick.

➤EX-CHIEFS ASST. COACH REID CHARGED WITH FELONY DWI: Former Kansas City Chiefs assistant coach Britt Reid, the son of the team's head coach Andy Reid, has been charged in Missouri with felony driving while intoxicated for a February crash that left a five-year-old girl critically injured. According to the crash report, Reid's vehicle hit two cars on the night of February 4th on the side of a highway entrance ramp, while he was driving more than 83 miles per hour. The girl who was injured, Ariel Young, suffered "permanent brain damage," an attorney representing the family said last month. Reid was the Chiefs' outside linebackers coach at the time of the crash. He was initially put on leave, but is no longer with the team after his contract wasn't renewed.

🏈PATRIOTS' EDELMAN ANNOUNCES RETIREMENT: New England Patriots star receiver Julian Edelman announced his retirement yesterday in a video posted on social media. The 34-year-old, who helped the Patriots win three championships and was the MVP of Super Bowl 53, said, "I'm honored and so proud to be retiring a Patriot. . . . It's been the best 12 years of my life." He only played six games last season because of a chronic knee injury, and said in his announcement, "I've always said, 'I'll go until the wheels come off.' And they finally have fallen off. Due to an injury last year, I'll be making my official announcement of my retirement from football." Edelman, who spent his entire 12-year career with the Patriots, is second in NFL history with 118 postseason receptions, behind Jerry Rice's 151.

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