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Biden calls for 'real leadership' after Trump alludes to violence after police killing -

Biden calls for 'real leadership' after Trump alludes to violence after police killingJoe Biden on Friday called for justice and "real leadership", accusing President Donald Trump of encouraging violence by threatening deadly military force to stop rioters in Minneapolis protesting the police killing of an unarmed black man. Initially peaceful rallies in Minnesota's largest city have given way to nights of arson, looting and vandalism, as protesters vented their rage over the death on Monday of George Floyd, seen on video gasping for breath while a white police officer knelt on his neck. Twitter, where Trump posted his comment earlier on Friday, for the first time hid the president's tweet behind a warning banner accusing him of "glorifying violence".


Fri, 29 May 2020 15:21:58 -0400

 Trump’s ‘looting and shooting’ remark draws outrage from all sides -

 Trump’s ‘looting and shooting’ remark draws outrage from all sidesTrump attempted to walk back his comments on Friday afternoon but not before receiving condemnation from militia groups and pop stars.


Fri, 29 May 2020 15:18:33 -0400

Trump tells administration to begin process of eliminating Hong Kong privileges -

Trump tells administration to begin process of eliminating Hong Kong privileges


Fri, 29 May 2020 15:12:03 -0400

In George Floyd's Death, a Police Technique Leads to a Too-Familiar Tragedy -

In George Floyd's Death, a Police Technique Leads to a Too-Familiar TragedyIn the cellphone video of George Floyd's death, the arresting officer, Derek Chauvin, keeps a knee pressed on the back of his neck for about eight minutes until Floyd stops speaking or moving."You don't have to sit there with your knee on his neck," exclaimed a bystander off-camera, addressing the officer in language salted with expletives. "He is enjoying that. You are. You are enjoying that. You could have put him in the car by now."For police trainers and criminologists, the episode appears to be a textbook case of why many police departments around the country have sought to ban outright or at least limit the use of chokeholds or other neck restraints in recent years: The practices have led too often to high-profile deaths."It is a technique that we don't use as much anymore because of the vulnerability," said Mylan Masson, a former police officer who ran a training program for the Minneapolis police for 15 years until 2016. "We try to stay away from the neck as much as possible."The full details of what happened have yet to emerge, in particular what police body cameras might show about any altercation between Floyd and Chauvin, 44, a 19-year veteran of the department who has since been fired. Department records indicate, however, that the Minneapolis police have not entirely abandoned the use of neck restraints, even if the method used by Chauvin is no longer part of police training.The manual of the Minneapolis Police Department states that neck restraints and chokeholds are basically reserved for when an officer feels caught in a life-or-death situation. There was no apparent threat of that nature in Floyd's detention.Experts viewing the footage suggest that it was more likely a case of "street justice," when a police officer seeks to punish a suspect by inflicting pain for something done to the officer during the arrest.Criminologists viewing the video said the knee restraint not only put dangerous pressure on the back of the neck but also kept Floyd lying on his stomach for too long. Both positions -- the knee on the neck and lying face down -- run the risk of cutting off someone's oxygen supply."Keeping Mr. Floyd in the face down position with his hands cuffed behind his back is probably what killed him," said Seth Stoughton, a former police officer who studies policing and is a professor at the University of South Carolina School of Law. Police training started emphasizing avoiding that prone position about 20 years ago, he said.In terms of chokeholds, those departments that still allow them usually stress using a kind of wrestling hold, in which the officer wraps his arm around the person's neck and applies pressure, he said. The idea is to subdue them as quickly as possible in order to get them into a squad car, not to leave them in that possibly deadly position for minute after minute as happened with Floyd.In addition, applying the knee to the back of the neck rather than to the sides risks killing or seriously injuring someone by cutting off the air supply or damaging the cervical spine and other delicate bones in the neck, Stoughton said. No department permits such a technique in ordinary circumstances, he and others said.The manual for the Minneapolis police calls a chokehold a "deadly force option" and neck restraints a "non-deadly force option." Neck restraints involve compressing one or both sides of a person's neck with an arm or a leg without cutting off the air flow through the trachea. A chokehold is meant to cut off someone's air supply if the officer feels his life is threatened, the manual says.The manual further explains that the conscious neck restraint may be used against a subject who is "actively resisting," while rendering the person unconscious should be limited to someone who is aggressive or "for lifesaving purposes."John Elder, a spokesman for the Minneapolis Police Department, did not respond to a query about whether the knee restraint used by Chauvin corresponded to those guidelines.Many police departments, including the one in Minneapolis, stopped teaching the knee restraint technique and also sought to limit the use of chokeholds after the highly publicized death of Eric Garner in 2014 at the hands of the New York Police Department.Garner famously gasped "I can't breathe" 11 times while lying face down on the sidewalk, a sentence that Floyd also said several times. In the case of Garner, investigators determined that the officer who wrestled him to the ground was using a banned chokehold.The medical examiner ruled Garner's death a homicide caused by the compression of his neck from a "chokehold" and the compression of his chest held on the ground in a prone position. Officer Daniel Pantaleo, who held Garner in a chokehold, was fired but not charged, inciting protests nationwide.In Minneapolis, the law enforcement training course that Masson directed at Hennepin Technical College stopped teaching the knee restraint technique to aspiring police officers after the Garner case, she said, adding that veteran officers should also have learned of the change.Students in the two-year degree program required of all prospective officers, she said, were instead taught to apply pressure across the upper back. "As soon as the threat is gone, you stop the force, whatever it might be," she said.Department records, however, show that such restraint techniques have continued to be used in Minneapolis, although they are sometimes called by different names. In 2012, there were 79 occurrences and in 2013, there were 69. That dropped to 40 in 2018 and was back up to 56 last year. The technique was used against African Americans far more than other other groups, the records show.Carl Takei, a senior staff lawyer at the American Civil Liberties Union who focuses on police practices, said departments that still allowed chokeholds try to differentiate between cutting off the flow of blood, which renders someone unconscious, and cutting off the flow of oxygen, which is deadly."There is still a significant risk that attempting to cut off the flow of blood will also cut off the flow of air," he said, which was why the ACLU opposed the technique. "Chokeholds should be banned across the board."Restraint techniques have led to various officers being sent to prison around the country in recent years after being convicted of using excessive force.The fact that Chauvin kept applying pressure when Floyd was no longer struggling made it appear to be a case of an officer trying to punish a suspect for doing something that the police did not like -- which could include resisting arrest, spitting or insulting an officer, experts said. If it was a form of "street justice," that is considered a form of bullying that police academies also instruct against."It is teaching someone a lesson, next time you will think twice about what you do," said Philip Stinson, a former police officer turned criminal justice professor at Bowling Green State University.Andy Skoogman, the executive director of the Minnesota Chiefs of Police Association, said the group's 300 members were appalled by the tactic the officer used in the Floyd case and the "lack of empathy" he showed."Bottom line: Any type of use-of-force technique must stop when compliance is achieved," he said, adding that he did not know of any police department in the state that trained in that technique.This article originally appeared in The New York Times.(C) 2020 The New York Times Company


Fri, 29 May 2020 15:10:30 -0400

Breonna Taylor’s mother calls for end to violence after seven are shot in protest -

Breonna Taylor’s mother calls for end to violence after seven are shot in protest* Police say shots fired during protest came from within the crowd * Taylor was shot and killed by police in her own home in MarchThere were calls for calm in Louisville, Kentucky, on Friday morning after late-night protests over the police shooting of Breonna Taylor in March saw seven people suffer gunshot wounds and police in riot gear disperse large crowds with teargas.Anger over Taylor’s death has only increased following the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis on Monday, and the killing of jogger Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia by two white men.“Breonna devoted her own life to saving other lives, to helping others, to making people smile and bringing people together,” Taylor’s mother said in a statement shared by Kentucky’s governor, Andy Beshear, on Friday morning.“The last thing she’d want to see right now is any more violence.”Police say the shots fired at the protest overnight came from within the crowd and that no officers discharged their firearms. In a press conference Friday, Louisville metro police department’s assistant chief of police, LaVita Chavous, said that shots were also fired into downtown Louisville buildings during the protest, including the courthouse and LMPD headquarters. Of the seven shot, police say one was in critical condition. In videos of the protest, a series of gunshots can be heard moments after a group of protesters attempt to tip over a LMPD prisoner transport vehicle that was parked downtown. After the gunshots, police began using teargas canisters.Taylor, a 26-year-old black medical technician who worked at two Louisville hospitals, was shot and killed by police in her own home in an early morning 13 March raid by officers serving a no-knock warrant on a narcotics investigation.Attorneys say her boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, believed he was witnessing a home invasion when police breached the door, and so fired a single shot from his gun. An officer was struck in the leg by Walker’s shot, and police responded by firing more than 20 times. No drugs were found, and Walker was charged with attempted murder of a police officer.The officers involved in the raid were not wearing body cameras, and police have said that the officers involved knocked and announced themselves.Thursday night’s protests started after audio of a 911 call placed by Taylor’s boyfriend immediately following her shooting was given to the Courier-Journal by the attorney representing her family.“I don’t know what’s happening – somebody kicked in the door and shot my girlfriend,” a distraught and sobbing Walker tells the dispatcher.Over the course of the more than two-minute call, Walker describes how Taylor is unresponsive and is heard shouting for help. No orders or communications from police can be heard in the background.To many, the call was taken as proof that Walker did not, as lawyers have said, know that it was law enforcement officers who barged through the apartment door when he fired the shot that led to the barrage of police gunfire.Local agencies had previously refused to release the 911 tape to news organisations, including the Guardian, saying it was part of an active investigation. The weeks since Taylor’s case drew national and international attention have seen changes.LMPD’s chief, Steve Conrad, announced that he would be retiring effective 30 June. A new policy was established requiring no-knock warrants to be signed off by the chief of police, and for body cameras to be worn by officers conducting those raids.The FBI launched an investigation into Taylor’s killing and the LMPD’s internal investigation was turned over to Kentucky’s attorney general. Charges against Walker were dropped, but prosecutors left the door open to potential future prosecution after additional investigation.But those actions have not been enough to quell anger.On Friday morning, Louisville’s mayor, Greg Fischer, announced that LMPD would be suspending the use of no-knock warrants until further notice, responding to another activist demand.“These changes and more to come – we’re not done – should signal that I hear the community and we will continue to make improvements anywhere that we can,” he said. “Breonna Taylor’s name and her story will now be part of our history. But as Breonna’s family shared last night, answering violence with violence only makes things worse.”Additional protests are planned for Friday night. Chavous, the assistant chief of police, called on demonstrators to protest peacefully. “Our goal will be to allow for the peaceful expression of protest. We value the right to free speech and understand this community has a lot to say right now. We hear you,” she said.“We will not tolerate violence that leads to people being hurt. We will not tolerate the destruction of our beautiful city. We are prepared to take whatever action we must to try to ensure no one else is injured during this time of unrest.”


Fri, 29 May 2020 15:10:12 -0400


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