Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Wake-Up Call: Testimony..Cop Violated Policy By Kneeling On Neck

Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo testified Monday in former Officer Derek Chauvin's murder and manslaughter trial for the death of George Floyd that Chauvin had clearly violated the department's policy when he kneeled on Floyd's neck for more than nine minutes. 

Arradondo said that continuing to kneel on Floyd's neck once he was handcuffed and lying on his stomach was, quote, "in no way, shape or form" part of department policy or training, and added, "it is certainly not part of our ethics or our values." Arradondo additionally said that Chauvin's pressure on Floyd's neck didn't appear to be light or moderate, as the department's neck-restraint policy calls for, and that he failed in his duty to give first aid, and violated policy requiring officers to de-escalate tense situations with no or minimal force if they can. Arrandondo fired Chauvin on the day after Floyd's death last May, along with the three officers who'd been with him, and one month later called what had happened "murder."

Also testifying yesterday was Minneapolis police Inspector Katie Blackwell, who was the commander of the training division at the time of Floyd’s death. She said Chauvin received annual training and would have been trained to use his arms, not his knee, in a neck restraint. She said when shown a photo of Chauvin with his knee on Floyd's neck, "I don’t know what kind of improvised position that is." Dr. Bradford Langenfeld, the emergency room doctor who tried to resuscitate Floyd and pronounced him dead, said he'd thought at the time that his heart most likely stopped because of lack of oxygen. Langenfeld said Floyd's heart had stopped by the time he arrived at the hospital, and that he tried for about 30 minutes to resuscitate him after paramedics told him they'd also tried for about 30 minutes. Chauvin's attorney asked him if some drugs can cause lack of oxygen, and he acknowledged that fentanyl and methamphetamine can, both of which were found in Floyd’s body.

Gov. Hutchinson
Republican Governor Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas vetoed legislation Monday that would ban gender-confirming medical treatments -- meaning hormone treatment or puberty blockers -- or surgery for transgender minors, which would be the first law of its kind by any state. Hutchinson called the measure "over broad" and "extreme," saying it would create, quote, "new standards of legislative interference with physicians and parents as they deal with some of the most complex and sensitive matters involving young people." However, his veto could be overridden by the Republican-led Legislature, with only a simple majority needed in the state House and Senate, and Hutchinson said he believed it's likely that will happen. Pediatricians, social workers and the parents of transgender minors were among those who'd urged the governor to veto the measure, saying it would harm those young people, who are already at higher risk for depression and suicide.

➤PUTIN SIGNS LAW ALLOWING HIM TO POTENTIALLY REMAIN IN POWER UNTIL 2036: Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a law yesterday that will allow him to potentially remain in power until 2036, formalizing constitutional changes approved in a vote last July. The changes reset the previous term limits for Putin, allowing the 68-year-old to run for president two more times, in 2024, which his current six-year term ends, and in 2030. Putin has already been in power for more than two decades, longer than any other Kremlin leader since Soviet dictator Josef Stalin.

➤GAETZ SAYS WON'T RESIGN, CLAIMS SEX CRIMES ALLEGATIONS ARE FALSE: Rep. Matt Gaetz said in a column in the conservative Washington Examiner Monday that he won't resign from Congress, saying that the reported sex crimes allegations are false and are coming from political opponents. The 38-year-old Florida Republican wrote, "I am absolutely not resigning," and also denied that he, quote, "slept with" an underage girl. There were media reports last week that Gaetz, who hasn't been charged with any crimes, is under investigation over whether he violated federal sex trafficking laws, including if he had sex with a 17-year-old and other underage girls, paid them or offered gifts in exchange for sex.

➤SIX FAMILY MEMBERS KILLED IN APPARENT MURDER-SUICIDE IN TEXAS: Six family members were killed in Allen, Texas, in an apparent murder-suicide, with police saying two brothers made a pact to kill four relatives and themselves. 

The bodies were found shot to death in a home early yesterday morning when police went there for a welfare check after getting a call from a friend of one of the brothers who was afraid he was suicidal. Police Sergeant John Felty said those found dead were the brothers, a sister, their father and mother and a grandmother: Altafun Nessa, 77, Iren Islam, 56, Towhidul Islam, 54, Tanvir Towhid, 21, and Farbin Towhid and Farhan Towhid, both 19. Felty said one of the brothers wrote a post on social media in which he said he and his brother had a plan to kill their family members and then themselves.
He wrote that he'd been cutting himself more frequently and his treatment for depression didn't seem to be helping as much as it used to. Felty also said the brother spent a lot of time writing about he was upset over how the TV series, The Office, had ended.

NEW UTAH LAW REQUIRES BIOLOGICAL FATHERS TO PAY HALF OF PREGNANCY COSTS: A new Utah law signed by Republican Governor Spencer Cox requires biological fathers to pay half of a woman's out-of-pocket pregnancy costs, applying to a pregnant woman's health insurance premiums and any pregnancy-related medical costs. The legislation, which is believed to the first of its kind in the country, was sponsored by Republican state Rep. Brady Brammer, who explained it as a way to help achieve pro-life goals, saying, "We want to help people and actually be pro-life in how we do it as opposed to anti-abortion." The measure had wide support in the state's Republican-controlled Legislature, and was also backed by anti-abortion activists. But critics contend it won't help women who are most vulnerable and could make abusive situations even more dangerous. Planned Parenthood spokesperson Katrina Barker said there are better ways to help women, like expanding Medicaid, providing parental leave, and giving access to contraception.

➤MONTANA GOVERNOR TESTS POSITIVE FOR CORONAVIRUS: Montana Governor Greg Gianforte tested positive for the coronavirus yesterday, his office confirmed. The statement said the 59-year-old Republican is having "mild symptoms" and would isolate for 10 days. His wife, Susan Gianforte, is waiting for her test results and hasn't had any symptoms. The positive Covid-19 test came after Gianforte just got the first dose of a Covid vaccine last week. Several other governors have tested positive for Covid, including Alaska's Michael Dunleavy, South Carolina's Henry McMaster, and Virginia's Ralph Northam.

🚢NORWEGIAN CRUISE LINE ASKS CDC TO LET ITS SHIPS SAIL TO U.S. PORTS AGAIN: Norwegian Cruise Line asked the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention yesterday to let its ships resume sailing to U.S. ports on July 4th. Norwegian said it would require passengers and crew members to be vaccinated against Covid-19 at least two weeks before their trip, and argued its precautions are well beyond what others in the travel and leisure industry are doing, including airlines, hotels, restaurants and sports events. The CDC hasn't allowed cruise ships in U.S. ports since March 2020, and an industry group has said the CDC's restrictions for cruise ships are outdated. The CDC said Monday it will work with the cruise industry, but said, quote, "cruising safely and responsibly during a global pandemic is difficult," especially with concern over the new Covid variants.

➤WALGREENS TO START GIVING SECOND PFIZER VACCINE SHOT AFTER ADVISED THREE WEEKS INSTEAD OF FOUR: Walgreens has been giving people the second dose of Pfizer's Covid-19 vaccine after four weeks instead of the three weeks detailed in the federal guidelines, confusing customers who knew it was supposed to be three weeks. But now the chain said it's changing its policy to be in line with what the guidelines say, the New York Times reported yesterday, and will give the second Pfizer vaccine dose after three weeks. Even though the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has acknowledged the one-week delay isn't problematic, a spokesperson confirmed yesterday that they'd asked Walgreens to give the second Pfizer shots after three weeks. Explaining why they'd been doing it four weeks later, Walgreens spokesperson Rebekah Pajak said, "We have been automatically scheduling patients’ second doses to occur a minimum of 28 days following their first dose to ensure that no dose is administered earlier than the authorized intervals and patients are able to complete the series vaccination."

➤THE WEEKND DONATING $1 MILLION TO ETHIOPIA RELIEF EFFORTS: Singer The Weeknd is donating $1 million towards relief efforts in Ethiopia amid conflict in the region that began last November. The fighting has resulted in thousands of people being killed and the exodus of more than 50,000 refugees into Sudan. The Weeknd additionally posted a link to World Food Program USA, where others can donate as well.

➤IS IT COVID-19, ALLERGIES, OR POST-VACCINE SYMPTOMS? HOW TO TELL THE DIFFERENCE:  Spring is upon us, and COVID-19 is still a concern despite increasing rates of vaccination. So how can you know if your symptoms are from the virus, allergies, or are just post-vaccine side effects? Dr. Fred Lewis is an emergency department physician at Northwell Health Long Island Jewish medical center, and says that allergies and fever are big clues, as allergies do not usually cause a fever, but they do make you feel itchy. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also notes that while both allergies and the coronavirus can cause coughing, shortness of breath, fatigue, headache, sore throat, congestion, or a runny nose, symptoms such as a fever and chills, muscle and body aches, a new loss of taste or smell, nausea, vomiting and/or diarrhea are more common with a COVID-19 infection. As far as post-vaccination side effects go, Dr. John Whyte with WebMD says the “side effects typically are a pain in the arm, fatigue, and sometimes headache. It’s all about timing; they occur typically 4 hours or so after vaccination and will resolve within 24-36 hours.” 

He adds and both allergies and coronavirus do not resolve that quickly. Overall, if you are unsure if you’ve been infected by COVID-19, the CDC recommends getting tested and following guidelines to avoid spreading the disease.

➤CAMPS TO PREPARE COVID-19 PROTECTION MEASURES AHEAD OF SUMMER SEASON:  Summertime is coming, and that means summer camp for many American children. Dr. Sara Bode, pediatrician, helped write the American Academy of Pediatrics’ summer camp guidance for this year. She says, “Summer camps offer this social and emotional enriching learning opportunity for kids that is critical.” 

Tom Rosenberg is the president and CEO of the American Camp Association, and says campers’ health is always part of planning any day or overnight camp, and this year such health concerns will take on even greater importance. According to CDC guidelines, many overnight camps will require a COVID-19 test before kids show up, as part of the required health checklist. Some camps might also ask families to shelter in place with their children for a week to ten days beforehand, to limit the kids’ potential exposure to COVID-19. 

Kids could also get tested upon their arrival to camp, and again on the fourth or fifth day. Day camps might also require testing, but screening will be trickier because kids go home every day. Kids at both types of camps will also still be wearing masks indoors and social distancing, and will be placed into groups with the same people they’ll remain with throughout camp, which will allow for quick isolation and contact tracing if a child or staffer develops COVID-19 symptoms. 

Overall, Rosenberg says parents shouldn’t hesitate to ask their camp questions, including “How has your camp been adapted for COVID-19?” and “How will you communicate with parents?” etc.

🏀BAYLOR TROUNCES GONZAGA 86-70 TO WIN MEN'S NCAA CHAMPIONSHIP: Baylor trounced Gonzaga 86-70 last night to win the men's basketball NCAA championship for the first time, ending the bid by Gonzaga, which was the tournament's overall top seed, to become the first undefeated champion since Indiana in 1975-76. Jared Butler scored 22 points for Baylor, including four three-pointers, and was named the Final Four's most outstanding player. MaCio Teague added 19 points for the champs, who played to a 19-point lead early, and then never let Gonzaga get any closer than nine points.
⚾REPORT: DENVER TO HOST MLB'S RELOCATED ALL-STAR GAME: Denver's Coors Field, the home of the Colorado Rockies, has been chosen to host this year's relocated MLB All-Star Game, according to media reports yesterday. The All-Star Game was supposed to be held in Atlanta at Truist Park, the home of the Atlanta Braves, but MLB decided on Friday to move it because of a more restrictive voting law passed by Georgia last month.

⚾FANS AT FULL CAPACITY FOR RANGERS' HOME OPENER: Globe Life Field was filled at full capacity for the Texas Rangers' home opener on Monday, making it the first major U.S. pro sports event to be at or near capacity in a stadium since the coronavirus pandemic sports shutdowns began more than a year ago. President Biden had criticized the decision to allow full capacity, calling it a "mistake" by the Ranges and "not responsible." The next-highest fan capacity any MLB team had for their home opener was the Houston Astros, at 50 percent. Yesterday's crowd of 38,238 saw the Rangers lose 6-2 to the Toronto Blue Jays. Face masks were required, but AP noted that by the middle of the game, only about 50 percent of the people on the stadium's main concourse were wearing masks.

⚾PADRES' TATIS PARTIALLY DISLOCATES SHOULDER: San Diego Padres star shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. suffered a partially dislocated shoulder on a hard swing last night, forcing him to leave the game against the San Francisco Giants. Tatis winced after he struck out swinging and fell to the ground, then came up cradling his left arm. The 22-year-old signed the longest contract in MLB history in February, a 14-year, $340 million deal.

🏈JETS TRADE QB DARNOLD TO PANTHERS: The New York Jets traded quarterback Sam Darnold to the Carolina Panthers on Monday for three draft picks, a sixth-round pick in the 2021 draft later this month and a second-rounder and fourth-rounder in 2022. The Jets are expected to pick a replacement for Darnold with their Number 2 overall pick in the draft on April 29th. The 23-year-old Darnold, who was the Number 3 overall draft pick in 2018, failed to live up to the big expectations for him in New York, going 13-25 as a starter and finishing as the NFL's lowest-rated passer in 2020.

🏈VIKINGS' GLADNEY TURNS HIMSELF INTO POLICE ON ASSAULT CHARGE: Minnesota Vikings cornerback Jeff Gladney turned himself in to police in Dallas yesterday on an assault charge. The 24-year-old allegedly assaulted a 22-year-old woman during an argument over content in a cell phone, CNN cited Dallas police as saying. Gladney, who was released on bail, is charged with an assault on a household member impeding breathing or circulation. The Vikings said in a statement, "We are aware of Jeff's arrest and are gathering additional information." The Vikings took Gladney as a first-round pick last year, and he played in 16 games last season

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