Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Wake-Up Call: Veteran Cop May Face Charges

The veteran police officer who shot and killed a 20-year-old Black driver during a traffic stop in the town of Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, on Sunday, resigned Tuesday after 26 years on the force. Kim Potter said in her brief letter of resignation, "[I] believe it is in the best interest of the community, the department, and my fellow officers if I resign immediately." Also resigning yesterday was Police Chief Tim Gannon, who said on Monday that he believed Potter mistakenly shot Daunte Wright when she meant to use her Taser as he tried to struggle out of the grasp of police and get away when they tried to arrest him on an outstanding warrant. Meanwhile, Washington County Attorney Pete Orput told local station WCCO that he hoped to have a decision by today on whether or not to charge Potter, who is white.

There were protests in Brooklyn Center over the shooting for a third day yesterday, with clashes between demonstrators and police again after nightfall. When the crowd was ordered to disperse some 90 minutes before a 10 p.m. curfew, it set off confrontations, including protesters launching fireworks toward a now heavily-guarded police station and throwing objects at police, who in turn set off flashbangs and gas grenades. National Guard members were also on hand. However, within the hour, only a few demonstrators remained.

The Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention yesterday recommended a "pause" in use of the Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine after a handful of rare blood clot cases. The federal regulators want to investigate the cases, and also let doctors know how the clots have to be treated, which is different than how clots are usually treated with the blood thinner heparin, if there are future cases, but said they hope to resolve the pause within days. The unusual blood clots have taken place in six women out of the more than 7.2 million adults who've gotten the Johnson & Johnson shot. One of them died and another is hospitalized in serious condition. President Biden and top health officials said at a White House briefing that the pause should boost confidence in the fact that the government is putting safety first.

➤DEFENSE WITNESS SAYS CHAUVIN WAS JUSTIFIED IN ACTIONS AGAINST FLOYD: The defense began presenting its side Tuesday in the murder and manslaughter trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin in the death of George Floyd after the prosecution rested its case. A use-of-force expert called by the defense, former Santa Rosa, California, police officer Barry Brodd, testified that Chauvin was justified in pinning Floyd to the ground with his knee on his neck because he kept struggling, contradicting last week's testimony by the prosecution's witnesses. He said, "It’s easy to sit and judge . . . an officer’s conduct. It’s more of a challenge to, again, put yourself in the officer’s shoes to try to make an evaluation through what they’re feeling, what they’re sensing, the fear they have, and then make a determination."

The prosecution tried to push back on Brodd's contention that Chauvin acted in a way a reasonable officer would. At one point, when Brodd said Floyd kept struggling instead of just, quote, "resting comfortably" on the ground, the prosecutor incredulously asked, "Did you say 'resting comfortably'?" Brodd also said the witnesses yelling at police that Floyd couldn't breathe and to let up on him complicated the situation by making them concerned about whether the bystanders were a threat.

The defense brought up a 2019 arrest in which Floyd suffered from dangerously high blood pressure and confessed he was a heavy opioid user. Chauvin's attorney suggested he may have suffered from, quote, "excited delirium" during the fatal incident last May. Minneapolis police training officer Nicole Mackenzie testified more about the condition, a potentially lethal state of agitation. Also on the stand yesterday was Minneapolis Park Police Officer Peter Chang, who was helping at the scene that day. He spoke about the witnesses who he said were, quote, "becoming more loud and aggressive," and that it caused him "concern for the officers' safety."

➤U-S TO WITHDRAW ALL TROOPS FROM AFGHANISTAN BY SEPTEMBER 11TH: President Biden plans to withdraw all U.S. troops from Afghanistan by September 11th, the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks that led the U.S. to go into that country, U.S. officials said yesterday. AP cited a senior administration official as saying that's an absolute deadline that won't be affected by conditions on the ground. The date goes past a May 1st deadline for full withdrawal under a peace agreement the Trump administration reached with the Taliban last year. White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Biden will deliver remarks today, quote, "on the way forward in Afghanistan, including his plans and timeline for withdrawing U.S. troops."

➤BIDEN TO ADDRESS JOINT SESSION OF CONGRESS ON APRIL 28TH: President Biden will address a joint session of Congress on Wednesday, April 28th, for the first time, with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi formally inviting him yesterday. New presidents give an address to a joint session of Congress soon after they take office, and though they look just like a State of the Union address, they aren't called that in the first year. Biden's is particularly late this year, as they usually take place in February. Details weren't released on plans for the address this year, with the Capitol under coronavirus social distancing and masking restrictions. Usually, all members of Congress and guests gather together in the House for the speech.

➤BIDEN SPEAKS AT SERVICE AS CAPITOL POLICE OFFICER EVANS LIES IN HONOR AT ROTUNDA: President Biden tried to offer words of comfort yesterday to the family of 41-year-old U.S. Capitol Police Officer William "Billy" Evans, who was killed in an attack earlier this month when a driver plowed into him and another officer at a barricade outside the Capitol. Biden spoke as Evans laid in honor at the Capitol Rotunda, at a service attended by congressional leaders and Evans' fellow officers. He said that Evans was, quote, "defined by his dignity, his decency, his loyalty and his courage," and as his widow and two young children looked on, said, "Losing a son, daughter, brother, sister, mom, dad -- it’s like losing a piece of your soul." Investigators believe that the driver of the car that killed Evans, 25-year-old Noah Green, was delusional and had been having suicidal thoughts. He was shot and killed by another officer when he came out of the car with a knife.

➤POLL FINDS 15 PERCENT OF AMERICANS WORSE OFF FINANCIALLY THAN BEFORE PANDEMIC: A new poll found that 15 percent of Americans say they are worse off financially than they were before the pandemic, while 55 percent said their financial situation is about the same and 30 percent said it's improved. The survey from Impact Genome and The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research found that the financial troubles are worse among those of lower-income, with 29 percent of Americans who live below the poverty line saying their finances got worse in the past year. The poll also found 52 percent of Americans said they were able to save money for most of the past three months, while 37 percent broke even and 10 percent were short on paying their bills.

➤WEST VIRGINIA TO PAY REMOTE WORKERS TO MOVE-IN STATE: West Virginia is the latest state to offer people money to come live there, saying they'll give remote workers $12,000 in cash to relocate. The AscendWV program that was launched this week also offers these transplants a year's worth of free outdoor activities, including things like whitewater rafting and skiing, and free access to coworking spaces. The program is beginning with 50 spots in Morgantown, which is home to West Virginia University, and plans to expand to more cities and towns across the state, with Shepherdstown and Lewisburg to be next. Governor Jim Justice said the program was made possible by a $25 million gift from Intuit chairman Brad D. Smith and his wife. It should be noted, however, that people who relocate won't get the money all at once. Instead $10,000 of it will be paid in monthly installments in the first year and the other $2,000 in the second year.

👶DOES BIRTH ORDER REALLY DETERMINE PERSONALITY? HERE’S WHAT THE RESEARCH SAYS: Does whether you’re the oldest or youngest child in your family really have an affect on your personality? The idea that birth order might affect personality goes way back to the year 1874, when Francis Galton noticed that most of the 180 prominent scientists he looked at were firstborns. This was the first in a long line of scientific and pseudoscientific publications on the birth-order effect. In 2003, researchers polled people about what they knew about birth order, and found the majority of respondents thought those born earlier had a greater chance of a prestigious career than those born later, and that those different career opportunities had to do with their specific birth-order-related character traits. The “facts” about birth order are so well-known, that in 2018 a Dutch satirical news website posted a story titled, “Study Shows Eldest Children Are Intolerable Wankers.” Critics of birth-order theories note that it’s not at all straightforward to know what you’re measuring when you try to unravel the factors that shape an individual human life. Lack of a laboratory environment means traits we might attribute to a person’s birth order may in fact have more to do with, say, socioeconomic status, the size or ethnicity of the family, or the values of a particular culture. More recently, scientists note that it might be our expectations and labels that define the roles, and certain personality traits, of our eldest and youngest children, as opposed to their birth order.

➤RISING TEMPERATURES ARE MAKING IT HARDER TO GROW THE POTATOES USED FOR FRENCH FRIES:  Global warming could be coming for your French fries. The Russet Burbank is a potato variety grown in North America which is widely used to make French Fries, and is believed to be the type of potato McDonald’s uses. But, farmers in the potato-growing state of Idaho rely on water from melting snow in the mountains to irrigate the crop, and climate change is leading to less snow which melts more quickly, affecting the growth of the potatoes. Hot, dry weather can also influence the way the potato grows and ultimately how it tastes and looks when served. Some researchers have already started working on creating hybrid potato varieties which are more resistant to climate change.

🏀⚾TIMBERWOLVES, TWINS BACK AFTER ONE-DAY PAUSE FOLLOWING POLICE KILLING OF BLACK MAN IN MINNESOTA: The NBA's Minnesota Timberwolves and the MLB's Minnesota Twins were back in action Tuesday after they and the NHL's Minnesota Wild didn't play their games a day earlier following the fatal police shooting of a Black man during a traffic stop Sunday in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota. Both the Timberwolves and the Twins held a moment of silence before their games for 20-year-old Daunte Wright, and players on both the Timberwolves and their opponents the Brooklyn Nets wore black warmup shirts that read, "With liberty and justice for all," with the last two words in all-caps. The Wild were off yesterday, but will be playing today.

🏀NUGGETS' MURRAY TEARS ACL: The Denver Nuggets said Tuesday that point guard Jamal Murray tore the ACL in his left knee during their game the night before against the Golden State Warriors. The 24-year-old will be out indefinitely.

⚾INDIANS' CHANG SHARES THAT HE GOT RACIST TWEETS AFTER MAKING ERROR: Cleveland Indians first baseman Yu Chang on Tuesday shared anti-Asian tweets he'd gotten after he made a throwing error in the ninth inning of their game the night before that allowed the Chicago White Sox to score the winning run. The 25-year-old Chang, who is Taiwanese, posted some of the tweets on his accounts, one of which referred to the shape of his eyes and another to the coronavirus. He wrote, "Exercise your freedom of speech in a right way, I accept all comments, positive or negative but DEFINITELY NOT RACIST ONES," and included the hashtag #StopAsianHate.

🎾SERENA WILLIAMS SIGNS CONTENT DEAL WITH AMAZON STUDIOS: Tennis star Serena Williams said yesterday that she'd signed a deal with Amazon Studios under which she will create scripted and non-scripted programming, including a docuseries that will follow her on and off the court. Williams, who shared the news during a conversation with actor Michael B. Jordan that was part of a Vanity Fair-organized charity event, said she hopes to, quote, "bring really stories to film, and to people’s homes."

🏀HALL OF FAME PACERS COACH BOBBY 'SLICK' LEONARD DEAD AT 88: The Indiana Pacers announced yesterday that Bobby "Slick" Leonard, the Hall of Fame coach who led them to three American Basketball Association (ABA) championships in 1970, 1972 and 1973, had died. He was 88. After being a star player at Indiana and having a seven-year NBA career, Leonard coached for 14 seasons, 12 of them with the Pacers, and had a 574-534 record. He went on to an announcing career on TV and radio for the Pacers, and was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame as a coach in 2014.

No comments:

Post a Comment