Lauren Floyd

'Impeach and remove Maxine Waters': New York Post condemns Democrat as violent. What about the police?

Far-right commentators tried to rebrand calls to action as quests for violence on Sunday following statements from both CNN host Chris Cuomo and Rep. Maxine Waters about the need for police reform. Days before closing arguments are set to begin on Monday in the murder trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, Cuomo said Friday on his show "Cuomo Prime Time: "Shootings, gun laws, access to weapons. Oh, I know when they'll change. Your kids start getting killed, white people's kids start getting killed."

The anchor said only then will white parents start asking: "'What is going on with these police? Maybe we shouldn't even have police.'"

Cuomo made the statements on the fifth night of protests following the death of 20-year-old Daunte Wright, who former Brooklyn Center police officer Kim Potter shot and killed allegedly when she reached for a Taser but grabbed a gun instead. Wright was killed some 10 miles away from the courthouse where Chauvin's trial is being held. Waters, of California, joined protesters demanding justice and change on Saturday night in Minnesota. "We've got to stay in the street, and we've got to demand justice," she told the crowd. Demonstrators protested well into the early morning on Sunday despite a curfew in effect from 11 p.m. Saturday until 6 a.m. Sunday.

"We've got to get more active," Waters said. "We've got to get more confrontational. We've got to make sure that they know that we mean business." With those words, supporters of former President Donald Trump, journalists included, seemed to have a field day.


"Democrats actively encouraging riots & violence. They want to tear us apart," Sen. Ted Cruz tweeted. Rep. Lauren Boebert added: "Why is Maxine Waters traveling to a different state trying to incite a riot? What good can come from this?" Political commentator Tim Pool asked in a tweet on Sunday: "More confrontational than burning down buildings?"

One social media user @MVP28_ responded: "Nah, more confrontational than storming the Capitol building and killing a police officer." Another who goes by Sean Fisher tweeted: "Question: do you think it's confrontational for police to murder unarmed citizens?" He didn't get an answer from Pool or the other Trump apologists making similar claims, more notably among them the New York Post's editorial board. The journalists interpreted Waters' interview as "trying to create a Civil War," and they described her words as "irresponsible rhetoric" in an article with the headline 'Impeach and remove Maxine Waters.'

"In supporting the second impeachment of President Trump, California Democrat Rep. Maxine Waters said he was 'inciting' his followers, and was 'trying to create a Civil War.' By her own standards, Maxine Waters should be impeached and removed," the Post's editorial staffers wrote. I find it curious to say the least that no such outrage is expressed regarding the actual details of George Floyd's death, but "rioting, looting, graffiti" is outright condemned by the Post. The entire editorial board actually seems to value the integrity of walls more than a Black man's life.

Chauvin kneeled on Floyd for more than nine minutes while the Black father called for his mother and repeatedly said he couldn't breathe. The cop is charged with second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter, and he spoke live for the first time in court on Thursday to invoke his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination. "This is guilty for murder," Waters said. "I don't know whether it's in the first-degree, but as far as I'm concerned, it's first-degree murder." The congresswoman said she would like to see a police reform bill passed in Congress but "the right wing, the racists are opposed to it."

Black men and women have been shot down and killed by police for decades, and Republicans are condemning a legislator who called out the atrocities and an anchor who pointed out their hypocrisy. "See, now (if) Black people start getting all guns, forming militias, 'protect themselves. You can't trust deep state,'" Cuomo said, describing the exact behaviors of Trump supporters. "Whoo who, you'll see a wave of change in access and accountability. We saw it in the 60s. That's when it changes cuz that's when it's you."

WARNING: This video contains video clips that may be triggering to some readers.

CNN's Chris Cuomo talks police reform www.youtube.com

It's a point similar to one activist Tamika Mallory made in the days immediately following Floyd's death on May 25, 2020. "Don't talk to us about looting," she said in a simply inspired speech. "Y'all are the looters. America has looted Black people. America looted the Native Americans when they first came here. So looting is what you do. We learned it from you. We learned violence from you. We learned violence from you.

"The violence was what we learned from you. So if you want us to do better, than damnit you do better."

Will Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot resign? These activists hope so

Activists are calling for Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot to resign after her mishandling of two different cases involving Chicago police. Lightfoot, who is both the first Black woman to lead the city and the first LGBTQ person to do so, twice suggested that 13-year-old Adam Toledo was killed because he was holding a gun despite later released police body-camera footage that showed Adam was unarmed when he was shot. The mayor was also accused of trying to prevent the public release of horrific video showing police raiding the wrong home and subjecting Anjanette Young, a Black social worker, to unimaginable dehumanization despite her telling officers 43 times that they were in the wrong home. She was handcuffed naked with police body cameras rolling.

Filmmaker and activist Bree Newsome tweeted on Thursday: "Lori Lightfoot's office buried footage of police raiding a Black woman's home & terrorizing her while she was left unclothed. Never forget" Alex Sammon, a staff writer at the progressive policy analysis site The Prospect, similarly condemned Lightfoot on Thursday for her handling of Adam's death. "Lori Lightfoot told the city of Chicago and the entire country that Adam Toledo was holding a gun in his hand when he was murdered by the cops. She saw that same video we all saw. She must resign immediately or be removed from office," he tweeted. To be fair, Lightfoot's remarks in Adam's case were less direct than her critics allege, but her complacency in the face of appalling misrepresentations from police officials was every bit as damaging.

Body-camera footage shows that after running from police on March 29, 2021, Adam had followed an officer's command to stop and show his hands, when the officer identified as Eric Stillman shot the child anyway. He was unarmed at that point although Adam was said to have dropped a gun he was holding before Stillman shot him.

Police described Adam as an "armed offender" in a preliminary statement about the shooting. Responding to a call about shots fired, officers alleged that they spotted two males near an alley. "One armed offender fled from the officers," officials said in the statement. "A foot pursuit ensued which resulted in a confrontation in the alley of the 2300 block of S. Sawyer. The officer fired his weapon striking the offender in the chest. A weapon was recovered and the offender was pronounced deceased on scene."

Police, who had no problem tweeting a photo of the gun recovered on the scene, didn't inform Adam's mother of his death for two days; and when they did, she was only able to confirm his identity through a picture, Elizabeth Toledo told the nonprofit news organization Block Club Chicago. She had reported her son missing days before his death, so when police contacted her asking for a photo after the shooting she said she thought it was related to her missing person's report. "They told me I had to identify my son's body and I couldn't even see him," the mother told Block Club Chicago. "They showed me a picture of my son Adam for just a couple of seconds." She said her son was only a child. "If they are trained to shoot, why shoot to kill him?" the mother asked.


The mayor provided little explanation for the officer's actions at a news conference on April 5 and instead focused on how the child may have accessed the gun. "Let's be clear," Lightfoot said. "An adult put a gun in a child's hand. A young, impressionable child, and one who should not have been provided with lethal force, a weapon that could, and did, irreparably change the course of his life."


Happening Now www.youtube.com

In another news conference before the release of body-camera footage on April 15, the mayor confirmed the accuracy of allegations Adam was holding a gun and had refused to drop it when he was shot. Prosecutors made the argument five days earlier at a bond hearing on April 10 for Ruben Roman, the other person police said they spotted on the scene before Adam was killed.


"Mayor, to be clear prosecutors said last week, told a judge in court, that Adam Toledo had a gun in his hand. I understand the video will be released in an hour and a half, but can you confirm that? Is that accurate?" a reporter asked the mayor during the news conference. She responded: "You'll be able to see what the video shows. It's not for me to confirm that. I'm very aware of what was said at the bond hearing for Mr. Roman. I believe that, as articulated, the comments of the State's Attorney were correct, but it's not for me to confirm or deny anything about this. There's an ongoing investigation, and I want to honor that."


Happening Now www.youtube.com

Calls for the mayor to resign intensified over the weekend following her release of the body-camera video, a rumored cheating scandal, and a mystifying tweet from former Chicago Public Schools chief Arne Duncan. "Chicago, will see what tomorrow brings..." Duncan tweeted on Saturday.

More than a thousand people protested near the mayor's home Friday night in Logan Square to call for justice in Adam's death, Chicago Sun-Times journalist Ashlee Rezin Garcia tweeted. Ja'Mal Green, a civil rights advocate who ran for mayor of Chicago, said he is "100%" calling for Lightfoot to resign. "I don't think that she's ready to make this bold change, to take down this racist system that she's given," Green said. "She gave over 2 and a half-billion dollars to the police last year. For what? The highest crime rate in 30 years. They ain't solving much crime. They traumatizing and brutalizing people, but they got 2 and a half-billion dollars. Show me an investment of $100 million in a Black or brown community."

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Defense expert claims George Floyd should have been 'resting comfortably' with knee on his neck

The defense in the murder trial of ex-Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin began building its case this week, and unfortunately but predictably attorneys seem to be trying to convince the jury that George Floyd was responsible for his own death. Barry Brodd, a use-of-force expert called by the defense on Tuesday, aided the defense in some regards. He testified that sometimes suspects "don't feel pain" and have "superhuman strength" while on drugs. He also said that Floyd was "actively resisting" and "struggling against the officers" for several minutes when being held in the prone position. "A compliant person would have both their hands in the small of their back and just be resting comfortably versus like he's still moving around," Brodd said when shown a photo of Chauvin kneeling on Floyd's neck.

He even claimed that holding Floyd in the prone position while he was handcuffed didn't constitute a use of force because Floyd wasn't in pain. "I felt that Derek Chauvin was justified, and was acting with objective reasonableness, following Minneapolis Police Department policy and current standards of law enforcement, in his interactions with Mr. Floyd," Brodd said. But even the alleged expert couldn't stick with that interpretation of the facts when the prosecution presented him with body-camera video and photos. He ended up admitting that the position Floyd was held in could inflict pain and that Chauvin's response did not align with the Minneapolis Police Department's policy.


In other matters pertaining to the case, however, Brodd seemed to stick with his interpretation of what happened. What the prosecution called "writhing on the ground because he can't breathe," Brodd deemed to be resisting. When Floyd said "everything hurts," Brodd admitted he didn't "note it."


When Floyd said his neck hurt, Brodd also admitted that he didn't make a note of it. Why, it's almost as if he was preparing for this very moment to be of use to the defense. In fact, his testimony contradicts nearly every police official who's testified in this case during the first two weeks, including Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo.


"There's an initial reasonableness in trying to just get him under control in the first few seconds," Arradondo testified last Monday, "but once there was no longer any resistance and clearly when Mr. Floyd was no longer responsive, and even motionless, to continue to apply that level of force to a person prone out, handcuffed behind their back, that, that in no way, shape, or form is anything that is by policy.

"It is not part of our training, and it is certainly not part of our ethics or our values."

The defense continued building on its position that Floyd's drug use caused his death, with attorney Eric Nelson focusing on the testimony of a woman who is a retired paramedic and knew Floyd. Former emergency worker Michelle Moseng testified that Floyd told during an earlier arrest in 2019 that he had taken a opioid, but he was not in respiratory distress as a result at that time.


Shawanda Hill, who was in the SUV Floyd was sitting in at the time of his detainment, testified that Floyd was "happy, normal, talking, alert" before his death on May 25, 2020. She said she had bumped into him at the Cup Foods store and he offered to give her a ride home; but while she was taking a call from her daughter, Floyd fell asleep. Hill said he nodded off repeatedly, but Floyd didn't wake up until Hill told him police were outside his window. At one point, an officer had a gun pointed at the window, she said.


"So he instantly grabbed the wheel and he was like, 'please please don't kill me. Please please don't shoot me. Don't shoot me. What did I do? Just tell me what I did,'" Hill recounted.

Testimony from Minneapolis police officer Peter Chang seemed to support another element of Chauvin's defense, that a loud and unruly crowd of onlookers posed an added risk and distraction to officers. Chang described the crowd as "aggressive," but earlier witnesses testified that they were only frustrated and desperately trying to get Floyd help.


Genevieve Hansen, an off-duty firefighter who lived in the area of Cup Foods, testified that she tried to help but former Minneapolis Police Officer Tou Thao prevented her from intervening and even questioned her authority. "'If you really are a Minnesota firefighter you would know better than to get involved,'" Hansen said of Thao's reported words. She broke down in tears when describing how frustrated she felt knowing that she could help but not even being allowed to try. She admitted to calling officers a "b---h." "Mm hmm, yeah, I got quite angry after Mr. Floyd was loaded into the ambulance and there was no point in trying to reason with them anymore because they had just killed somebody," Hansen said.


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Expert witnesses debunk claims that George Floyd died from a drug overdose

Despite a medical doctor's compelling testimony and myriad police officials deeming the force applied to George Floyd excessive in the widely-publicized murder trial of ex-Minneapolis cop Derek Chauvin, a political committee fundraising for pro-police candidates blamed the Black father for his own death.

In an April 1 email The Intercept obtained, a representative of the Protect Our Police Political Action Committee advocated for Chauvin's innocence and in effect, asserted Floyd's guilt in his own death. "Our founding fathers knew the importance of a fair justice system, but unhinged radical cop haters are taking every opportunity to pervert the law to advance their agenda," the representative said in the email. "That's exactly what's happening in Minnesota to officer Derek Chauvin. Let's get one thing clear: George Floyd tested positive for COVID-19 and was high on a lethal dose of fentanyl when he died May 25th, 2020… but the mainstream media doesn't want you to know that!"

The PAC representative went on to say: "Chauvin is facing trial for a murder he did not commit — leftist radicals want to make an example out of an innocent man that followed the protocol he learned in his training. They want to ruin his life for political gain." Nick Gerace, a former Philadelphia cop and president of the PAC, later blamed the email—signed with his name—on a marketing firm the PAC hired.

"I terminated our relationship with this firm and the individual involved with this tactless messaging," he said in a statement tweeted from the PAC's account. "Chauvin's actions were examples of bad policing and poor training that directly caused George Floyd's death in my opinion."

He continued in the statement:

"The kind of messaging and innuendo included in that single email is not in line with our mission and I vehemently denounce it. I am not a politician or an elected official. I will do what they rarely do. I am taking responsibility and I sincerely apologize for this mistake. This will never happen again. We can do better. We will do better. We must do better.
Since we started this organization 9 months ago, we never once defended the actions of Chauvin or blamed George Floyd for his tragic and unnecessary death. This touches on one of our main motivations for starting this organization."
Not all cops are bad or bastards. There are almost 800,000 law enforcement offices in the US and the vast majority serve the public with distinction and integrity. However, there can be bad police officers and there are certain reforms that are necessary to increase the overall safety of our community and our law enforcement. This will take adequate funding and effective training. Let me be clear. No one hates a dirty cop more than a good cop. Our organization stands for good cops and we will continue to advocate on their behalf and for public safety."

However offended Gerace claims to be, the email was not out of accordance with other fundraising materials emailed by the PAC. The fundraising committee has declared progressive Philadelphia prosecutor Larry Krasner, who's up for reelection this year, a target for his policies, which are aimed at ending mass incarceration and pursuing alternatives to incarceration. The PAC also described the Black Lives Matter organization as an "anti-cop operation" and accused the Defund the Police movement, calling for the reallocation of a portion of police budgets to social services, of having "blood on (its) hands," The Intercept reported.

Interestingly enough, the PAC doesn't seem to advocate nearly as fiercely for victims when officers have blood on their hands. As outraged as Gerace appeared to be, not a single tweet from his organization even mentions Floyd—except to retract the unnamed marketing firm's email. That's despite hours of heart-wrenching testimony from witnesses detailing how they felt frustrated and helpless as officers prevented them from doing anything to help Floyd.

On the ninth day of the trial, physicians analyzed in troubling detail the conditions that led to Floyd's death. Doctors Martin Tobin, a Chicago pulmonologist and critical care physician, and Bill Smock, an emergency medical physician, both made a mockery of the defense's notion that fentanyl detected in Floyd's system caused his death. Smock testified that Floyd's fentanyl use did not impact his breathing and there was no evidence of a blood clot, heart attack, or arrhythmia. "Mr. Floyd died from positional asphyxia, which is a fancy way of saying he died because he had no oxygen left in his body," Smock said.

Tobin detailed in court how "a healthy person, subjected to what Mr. Floyd was subjected to, would have died." He demonstrated signs of a brain injury four minutes before Chauvin stopped kneeling on him, the doctor said on the stand.

"Mr. Floyd died from a low level of oxygen. And this caused damage to his brain that we see, and it also caused [an arrhythmia] that caused his heart to stop," Tobin said. He explained that the level of oxygen in Floyd's body dropped to zero, and at that point "there's not an ounce of oxygen left in his body."

Both Tobin and Smock analyzed for the jury images of Floyd pushing his fingers against the street to lift himself up. "To most people, this doesn't look terribly significant, but to a physiologist this is extraordinarily significant, because this tells you that he has used up his resources and he's literally trying to breathe with his fingers and knuckles," Tobin said.

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Derek Chauvin's lawyers claimed George Floyd said 'I ate too many drugs' — then prosecutors rolled the tape

On the eighth day of the murder trial of ex-Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, investigators helped paint a more thorough picture, albeit not free from flaws, of the crime scene in the hours after George Floyd's death. McKenzie Anderson, a forensic scientist with the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, admitted in court on Wednesday that investigators had to process two vehicles on the scene twice, after Chauvin's defense noticed in January what appeared to be half-disintegrated pills with Floyd's DNA on them. The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension took over the investigation into Floyd's death on May 25, 2020—the day he died.

Anderson said she was given no information about the potential use of drugs and focused on DNA testing and body fluid identification when she arrived on the scene. She said she was told of the possible presence of blood and said she did DNA testing on eight different bloodstains in the back of a squad car on the scene. The prosecution directed her to check Floyd's car for Suboxone, which is used to treat drug addiction, The New York Times reported. The medication's presence in Floyd's car supports testimony from his girlfriend Courteney Ross that they had long been fighting drug addiction together.

Breahna Giles, a forensic scientist with the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, testified that a glass pipe in the SUV Floyd rode in contained traces of THC and that other pills she tested contained acetaminophen, oxycodone, methamphetamine, and fentanyl. Susan Neith, a forensic chemist at a top laboratory for toxicology testing, also testified that she found methamphetamine and fentanyl pills in the SUV Floyd rode in.

Methamphetamine, fentanyl, and THC were determined to be in Floyd's system when he died, according to an autopsy report The Washington Post obtained. The Black father's drug use appears to be a central element of Chauvin's defense, being that it potentially allows Chauvin's attorney Eric Nelson to claim a cause of death other than murder. Fittingly, Nelson questioned Senior Special Agent James Reyerson of the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension about a moment in Floyd's detainment in which Reyerson initially said it seemed Floyd shouted "I ate too many drugs." When the prosecution showed Reyerson a longer version of the same clip, Reyerson clarified what he heard, saying Floyd instead yelled, "I ain't do no drugs."

The defense's focus on Floyd's drug use appears more and more like the trial version of grasping at straws when juxtaposed with video of Floyd's actual death. Ex-cop Chauvin was shown kneeling on Floyd for more than nine minutes. Los Angeles Police Department Sgt. Jody Stiger, an expert witness who the prosecution called to the stand on Tuesday, testified that when Floyd stopped resisting, officers "should have slowed down or stopped their force as well." The sergeant deemed the force Chauvin applied "excessive," and added in testimony on Wednesday that Chauvin used "deadly force" in a situation that called for "no force." A Cup Foods store worker called police on Floyd after a teen clerk suspected him of using a counterfeit $20 bill. Stiger said holding someone handcuffed in a prone position, which Chauvin applied to Floyd, can make it more difficult to breathe. "When you add body weight to that, it just increases the possibility of death," he said.

Stiger also said he didn't consider bystanders watching Chauvin detain Floyd to be a threat—another apparent focal point for the Chauvin defense—"because they were merely filming, and most of it was their concern for Mr. Floyd."


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Defense attorney Eric Nelson cross-examines expert witness Sgt. Jody Stiger | FOX 9 KMSP www.youtube.com



Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms takes bold action to counter Republican voter suppression efforts

The Atlanta mayor has issued an administrative order to protest a new Georgia law that limits drop boxes, gives the majority Republican legislature more control over local elections, and adds a requirement to provide photo identification when voting by mail.

"The voting restrictions of SB 202 will disproportionately impact Atlanta residents—particularly in communities of color and other minority groups," Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said in a news release. "This Administrative Order is designed to do what those in the majority of the state legislature did not—expand access to our right to vote."

The city order directs city law and equity officials to develop a plan to "mitigate the impact" of the law on Atlanta residents. The order also spells out a plan to disseminate information on how to secure identification required to vote by mail and to train staff members on voter registration and on early, absentee, and in-person voting. Another way the mayor seeks to lessen the blow of the new law is by sending out links to information on voter registration and absentee voting with city water bills and other mailings. She also hopes to work with corporate and community partners to "provide clarity" on new deadlines associated with the law.

"It is not too late to right this sinking ship," the mayor said in a tweet urging the legislature to reconsider the harm it has triggered.


The new law allows the legislature to appoint the majority of the state election board, including the chairperson, giving the state board the power to restructure municipal election boards when it sees fit. "This is extraordinarily dangerous," Sara Tindall Ghazal, a former election director of the Georgia Democratic Party, told Mother Jones. "When you're appointing the majority of the body that you're responsible to, it's self-dealing."

Lauren Groh-Wargo, head of Democrat Stacey Abrams' voting rights organization Fair Fight Action, told reporters in a phone interview last month the new law "will make what we all lived through in 2020 child's play … Donald Trump won't have to strong-arm our election administrators," Groh-Wargo said. "The most radical fringes of the Republican Party sitting in the state legislature will be able to wipe out boards of elections, challenge voters because they don't have the right name according to them or they don't look the way they think they should look.

"This is Jim Crow 2.0."

Delta CEO Ed Bastian and Coca-Cola CEO James Quincey spoke out against the law and Major League Baseball vowed to move its 2021 All-Star Game out of Atlanta because of the law. Merck pharmaceutical company CEO Kenneth Frazier told The New York Times he and other executives began emailing and texting each other following the passage of Georgia's law. Their goal is to stop other restrictive voting bills from passing across the country. "As African-American business executives, we don't have the luxury of being bystanders to injustice," Frazier said. "We don't have the luxury of sitting on the sidelines when these kinds of injustices are happening all around us."

Black leaders in Georgia and across the country are calling for boycotts of corporations that have failed to help fight the law. "Just as elections have consequences, so do the actions of those who are elected," Bottoms said in a tweet. "Unfortunately, the removal of the @MLB All Star game from GA is likely the 1st of many dominoes to fall, until the unnecessary barriers put in place to restrict access to the ballot box are removed."

'Don’t know if you’ve seen anybody be killed, but it’s upsetting': Firefighter nails Chauvin defense

It didn't take long for the defense for Derek Chauvin, the ex-Minneapolis cop accused of murdering George Floyd, to zero in on a Black mixed martial arts fighter and witness to the brutal arrest. The testimony of Donald Williams, who was being questioned as a mixed martial arts expert, started on Monday and continued on Tuesday. He laid out a sequence of events that with the testimony of a 911 dispatcher, a firefighter, and an 18-year-old girl who recorded the arrest as a teen helped shred the defense's assertion that what played out on recorded video shouldn't be a focal point.

Eric Nelson, Chauvin's attorney, tried to paint a picture, distorted as it may be, of an angry, mob-like crowd hampering officers' efforts on May 25, 2020, near the Cup Foods store where Floyd was detained. The attorney asked Williams during his testimony on Tuesday: "Do you recall saying 'I dare you to touch me like that, I swear I'll slap the f—k out of both of you?'" Williams responded: "Yeah I did. I meant it." Nelson, who had previously asked Williams about his anger, followed up with another similar question. "So again sir, it's fair to say that you grew angrier and angrier?" Williams, not taking the bait, said: "No, I grew professional and professional. I stayed in my body. You can't paint me out to be angry."

Nelson, however, tried several times. He asked Williams if he called Chauvin a bum 13 times, and Williams admitted he did. The attorney asked if Williams' voice got louder and louder, and he said yes "so I could be heard." But when Nelson asked if Williams got angrier and angrier, he said no, he was "pleading for life." Williams witnessed Chauvin and other officers detaining Floyd from a nearby sidewalk where former Minneapolis Police Officer Tou Thao, who was dispatched to the scene, kept the crowd confined. Williams admitted when asked that he yelled over and over again at Thao "because I wasn't being heard." "He tried to intimidate me so," the mixed martial arts expert said.


Genevieve Hansen, an off-duty firefighter who lived in the area of Cup Foods, gave a similar account that Thao didn't allow her to assist even though she informed him that she was a firefighter. His response, Hansen said was: "'If you really are a Minnesota firefighter you would know better than to get involved.'"

"That's not right," Hansen said in her testimony. "That's exactly what I should've done." She said had officers let her help, she would've called for additional help and sent someone to a gas station to find an automated external defibrillator. She said she would've checked Floyd's airways for blockages and checked his pulse. She said, if she couldn't find a pulse, she would've done chest compressions until help arrived. When the prosecution asked Hansen if she felt frustrated, she started crying. "Yes," she replied, grabbing a tissue.


The firefighter had said earlier in her testimony that Chauvin seemed "comfortable" holding all of his weight on Floyd's neck while two other officers also put their weight on him, but she knew Floyd was in trouble. She described his face as "smushed into the ground" and "puffy and swollen." She noticed fluid coming from him and she couldn't tell where it originated, but she explained that when a patient is dying he'll often release his bladder. Hansen said when responding to emergency situations, she'll often press hard against a patient's fingernail to test if he is responsive to pain. She said she could tell Floyd had an "altered level of consciousness to the point where he wasn't responding to painful stimuli," that stimuli being Chauvin on the Black father's neck. "What I needed to know is whether or not he had a pulse anymore," Hansen said. She later learned he had died.


Nelson asked her if she was frustrated or angry. Hansen said she was "more desperate." The defense attorney then asked if she called officers a "b---h."

"Mm hmm, yeah, I got quite angry after Mr. Floyd was loaded into the ambulance and there was no point in trying to reason with them anymore because they had just killed somebody."

She also said when asked if she would describe other witnesses' demeanors as upset or angry: "I don't know if you've seen anybody be killed, but it's upsetting."


Day two of testimony in the Chauvin trial proved to be another emotional day, with multiple witnesses driven to tears when they had to relive what they saw last May. Alyssa Funari, 18, described a feeling of helplessness. "I was upset because there was nothing that we could do as bystanders but watch him take this man's life in front of our eyes," she said.

Darnella Frazier, who was 17 when she witnessed Floyd's death along with Hansen, said during her testimony: "When I look at George Floyd, I look at my dad. I look at my brothers. I look at my cousins, my uncles because they are all Black. I have a Black father. I have a Black brother. I have Black friends. And I look at that, and I look at how that could have been one of them."


'We're tired of it': Lindsey Graham accuses Biden of playing 'the race card'

Sen. Lindsey Graham seemed to have quite a lot to say on Sunday about President Joe Biden's stance against restrictive voting rights bills like one quickly passed by Georgia's majority-Republican Legislature and signed into law. When taken to task nationally over proposed legislation to ban no-excuse absentee voting and restrict voting on the weekends, GOP lawmakers abandoned those elements not for naught though. Instead, Republicans quietly turned a two-page bill to make sure eligible voters didn't repeatedly receive absentee ballot applications into what Georgia Democrats called "a 93-page voter suppression omnibus bill." Atlanta Journal-Constitution reporter Greg Bluestein tweeted that the recently passed policy works to "restrict drop boxes, require voter ID for mail-in ballots and gives the Republican-controlled Legislature more authority over local elections officials." The president called the new Georgia law and similar efforts "un-American" and "sick" at his press conference on Thursday, he dubbed the suppressive legislative push "Jim Crow in the 21st Century" in a statement on Friday.

When asked by "Fox News Sunday" host Chris Wallace if Republicans were going too far, Graham responded: "You know what's sick is that the president of the United States to play the race card continuously in such a hypocritical way. He said the fillibuster was a relic of the Jim Crow era." And Biden's not wrong.

Senate Republicans have used the filibuster, an operational instrument requiring 60 votes instead of a simple majority to stall or block a vote, to delay civil rights legislation for decades. "It's been a tool used overwhelmingly by racists," Princeton University race historian Kevin Kruse told Vox magazine. Sen. Harry Reid told the magazine that a modern version of filibuster rules originally unassociated with race was used "consistently" to block civil rights bills.

The filibuster is similarly being used today to block voting rights legislation. In response, Democrats have called for an end to the filibuster, which would otherwise be subject to the limitations of another Senate procedure known as cloture. The Senate defines that tool as "the only procedure by which the Senate can vote to place a time limit on consideration of a bill or other matter, and thereby overcome a filibuster." "When people talk about ending the filibuster, what they really mean is reinterpreting Senate rules around cloture so that legislation could pass by a simple majority instead of being held up by a minority," CNN reported.

Biden had earlier refrained from calling for an end to the filibuster, opting instead for a return to a talking filibuster, in which senators "had to stand up and command the floor, you had to keep talking," the president told ABC News. He signaled at the presser last week that for legislation about rights as fundamental to the democracy as voting, he'd be willing to "go beyond" his fight for a talking filibuster.

Graham seemed to interpret the president's remarks as hypocrisy serving what Graham deemed a "sick" legislative effort in the For the People Act, also known as HR 1.

"So every time a Republican does anything, we're a racist," Graham said. "If you're a white conservative, you're a racist. If you're a Black Republican you're either a prop or a uncle Tom. They use the racism card to advance a liberal agenda, and we're tired of it. HR 1 is sick, not what they're doing in Georgia."


In the same interview, however, Graham acknowledged how ridiculous the Georgia law is, which also makes it a crime to give voters standing in line food or water. "Well, we uh, all I can say is that that doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me," Graham said.


The For the People Act, which passed in the House and was introduced in the Senate earlier this month, is aimed at driving out state efforts to undermine voter protections. It would require states to allow automatic voter registration when residents for example get driver's licenses or other services through the Department of Motor Vehicles. It would also "end congressional gerrymandering, overhaul federal campaign finance laws, increase safeguards against foreign interference, (and) strengthen government ethics rules," according to the policy institute, the Brennen Center for Justice.

Georgia Democrat Stacey Abrams has been tirelessly pushing the legislation as a response to more than 250 legislative bills aiming to peel back voting rights across the country. "Now more than ever, we need federal action to protect voting rights as we continue to fight against these blatantly unconstitutional efforts that are nothing less than Jim Crow 2.0," she tweeted on Thursday.


'Ron DeSantis is at fault': Lack of leadership leads to spring break public health threat in Miami

Miami Beach declared a 72-hour state of emergency on Saturday after viral video of bustling spring break crowds highlighted Gov. Ron DeSantis' repeated failures to protect Florida residents during the coronavirus pandemic. Days before the curfew went into effect at 8 p.m., the governor made clear his priority in a Wall Street Journal op-ed on Thursday. "Lockdowns proved a huge boon to America's corporate media, which primed its captive audience with fear and partisanship," he wrote. "Everything the corporate press did regarding Covid coverage was inseparable from its yearslong obsession with attacking Donald Trump."

So with the governor's blatant denial of the pandemic and refusal to act preventatively to prepare for spring break crowds, officials responded with force that predictably targetted Black spring break crowds. The Miami Herald described police employing a "SWAT truck, pepper balls and sound cannons," when mostly Black crowds filled the "world-famous Ocean Drive." "The truck showed up and nobody knew why the truck was there," Glendon Hall, chairman of Miami Beach's Black Affairs Advisory Committee, told the newspaper. "When we tried to calm things down, that hyped things up."

Stephen Hunter Johnson, who leads the Miami-Dade's Black Affairs Advisory Committee, told the Miami Herald he was "very disappointed." "I think when they're young Black people [on South Beach], the response is, 'Oh my God, we have to do something,'" Hunter Johnson said. Miami Beach Police Chief Richard Clements admitted that officers "felt threatened at the time" and the state's barely-there rules on COVID-19 didn't help. "It's been a different environment this year," he told the Miami Herald, also citing response following the death of George Floyd.

Social media users focused on how the governor's response triggered the public health threat. Author Grant Stern tweeted: "The worst part about the triumphalism of Ron #DeathSantis is that he's exporting COVID-19 infections all over the country so those cases aren't in the Florida stats that he wants to (celebrate), which are hideously bad already." Florida has had more than two million COVID-19 cases and 32,712 deaths, according to The New York Times. Attorney Aaron Parnas tweeted: "Ron DeSantis is at fault for the madness on Miami Beach. But for his dangerous rhetoric and incompetent leadership, we would not be here today. It is time to Remove Ron."


Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber said in a video statement that his city is one of few that's open nationally this spring break. "We're getting an enormous amount of people here, more than we can handle," he said. "Too many are coming really without the intention of following the rules, and the result has been a level of chaos and disorder that is just something more than we can endure."


"We're not targeting a group of people, we're targeting conduct," the mayor told WPLG-Local 10. "If you can't keep streets safe, then you're not doing your job."

Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, told NPR: "Every time there's a surge in travel, we have a surge in cases in this country. We are really trying to restrain travel at this current period of time." Dr. Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health, told the radio nonprofit the country needs to be patient. "We have been on a marathon since this all started a year ago. And, you know, when you're running a marathon, you don't want to stop at the 24th mile," Collins said.

"Everybody is incredibly frustrated and tired of all of this, we just have to stick it out here for a few more weeks and months to make sure that we get to that finish line in a way that saves the maximum number of lives," Collins added.



'We need real leadership': Even this Georgia Republican realizes party's failure

Both Georgia business leaders and top Republican officials in the state are opposing proposed legislation to restrict voting rights after the GOP suffered a well-earned triple loss in state Senate runoffs as well as the presidential election. In response, the state House passed House Bill 531 on March 1 and in doing so, threatens to add a voter ID requirement to the absentee voting process, limit the use of drop boxes, and force counties to choose between opening polls on Saturdays or Sundays, according to 11 Alive. Senate Bill 241 tacks on banning no-excuse absentee voting, which has been a legal right in Georgia since 2005.

Georgia Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan, a Republican, parted ways with his party on the changes and called them "solutions in search of a problem" in a Meet the Press interview on Sunday. He also called the voting rights restrictions a "knee-jerk reaction to an election that, quite honestly, didn't work out our way."

"Republicans don't need election reform to win," he said in the interview. "We need leadership. I think there's millions of Republicans waking up around the country that are realizing that Donald Trump's divisive tone and strategy is unwinnable in forward-looking elections.

"We need real leadership, we need new focus, a GOP 2.0 that includes moderates in the middle, to get us to the next election cycle."


The Georgia Chamber of Commerce also opposed restrictive aspects of both House Bill 531 and Senate Bill 241. "We have expressed concern and opposition to provisions found in both HB 531 and SB 241 that restrict or diminish voter access," the chamber said in a statement the news site Popular Information obtained. "As these two omnibus bills move through the legislative process, we will continue to work on ensuring both accessibility and security within our voting system."


Georgia Democrats have been protesting the suppressive legislative changes for several months now, with widely recognizable figures like former Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams tirelessly fighting the measures. She told CNN's "State of the Union" on Sunday that Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger and Gov. Brian Kemp "went to great pains to assure America that Georgia elections were secure" following Trump's unsubstantiated claims of widespread voter fraud. Still, Republican legislators have used allegations of voter fraud, no matter how disputed, to support their efforts to restrict voting rights.

"And so the only connection that we can find is that more people of color voted and it changed the outcome of elections in the direction Republicans do not like," Abrams said. She called the attack on voting rights "racist" and "a redux of Jim Crow in a suit and tie."

Democratic state Sen. David Lucas similarly described the effort on the floor of the Georgia Senate. In the presidential election of 1876 between Democratic candidate Samuel Tilden and former Republican President Rutherford Hayes, the Republican promised to pull federal troops out of the last remaining Confederate state where they were deployed simply to win the election, Lucas said. Hayes sacrificed safety and the voting rights of Black southerners for political gain. "And that's when we had Jim Crow, and folks got lynched," Lucas said. The comparison between the 1876 election and present-day Georgia politics is obvious. "Now I would be negligent in my duties representing the 26th senatorial district to go for this malarkey," Lucas said.


"Free at Last" - Sen. David Lucas on SB 67 www.youtube.com

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