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White House tries to defend migrant media blackout

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The White House is defending its near-total media blackout at migrant facilities Wednesday, telling the press corps to cover the border crisis based off the “B-roll” footage provided by the single pool camera the federal government is allowing into one facility.

Speaking from the briefing room, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki was taken to task by numerous reporters over the Biden administration’s refusal to grant press the same access to these shelters they enjoyed under former President Donald Trump.

At first, Psaki noted that a single television camera, belonging to NBC News, would be permitted on a trip alongside Congress members and White House officials to a facility in Carrizo Springs, Tx.

Footage obtained by that television camera will immediately go to NBC, as well as other TV networks.

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki responds to a question from the news media during the daily briefing
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki responds to a question during the daily briefing on March 24, 2021.
EPA/SHAWN THEW / POOL

Non-television news outlets, including The Post, have not been told when to expect the raw, unedited footage.

Aside from that single camera, no journalists will be permitted in the facility.

Psaki only noted that networks would receive the footage during Wednesday’s briefing, saying, that “network pool footage” would be “provided to all of the networks so that you can all see, as the media for yourself, and be able to provide analysis on that pool footage.”

A child rests its head on a table as a U.S. Customs and Border Protection officer processes migrants after they crossed into the U.S., early Wednesday, March 24, 2021
A child rests its head on a table as a U.S. Customs and Border Protection officer processes migrants after they crossed into the U.S., early Wednesday, March 24, 2021.
AP Photo/Julio Cortez

“We’ll continue to work with agencies on creating avenues for media access,” she said before noting that “privacy” for migrants and Covid-19 protocols needed to be considered.

“These facilities of course can’t become forums for media access all day long,” the White House press secretary continued.

Later on in the briefing, Psaki didn’t deny that the administration chose to show “an aspirational facility,” meaning one of the preferred shelters in terms of living conditions.

Asked if that was the most that media would be able to see, as opposed to the shelters facing overcrowding and allegations of harsher conditions, Psaki responded that, “We’re also open to providing access there, and this is just the first step in the process of providing greater access to the media.”

Asylum seekers listen to instructions at an outdoor U.S. Border Patrol processing center under the Anzalduas International Bridge after crossing the Rio Grande from Mexico on March 23, 2021
Asylum seekers listen to instructions at an outdoor U.S. Border Patrol processing center under the Anzalduas International Bridge after crossing the Rio Grande from Mexico on March 23, 2021.
John Moore/Getty Images

The Biden administration’s undoing of Trump’s border policies has prompted a flood of Central American and Mexican illegal immigrants at the US border, including thousands of unescorted children.

Central Americans looking for refuge from the Northern Triangle countries — El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala — have taken these policy moves, as well as the overwhelmingly more welcoming tone from Democrats, as a sign that this president is inviting them to cross the border.

migrants in the temporary processing facilities in Donna, Texas, as they safely processes family units and unaccompanied alien children
Migrants in the temporary processing facilities in Donna, Texas, as they safely processes family units and unaccompanied minors on March 17, 2021.
JAIME RODRIGUEZ SR./US Customs and Border Protection/AFP via Getty Images

Insisting that the border was not facing a crisis, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said earlier this month that the problems the agency faced should be blamed on the previous administration.

The data, however, overwhelmingly shows that migrants were flooding the border because they believed Biden would welcome them with open arms.

In addition to the migrant crisis, the administration is also facing a mounting crisis around transparency due to its strict restrictions on the press.

Asked if decisions on media access were imminent, and whether providing more access was being considered, Psaki said Wednesday that, “It’s ongoing, and we wanted to provide pool coverage. As you all know who are in the field of television that allows for a video camera to provide access to all the networks. We thought that would be a good first step.”

Migrants sit inside a temporary processing facility for migrants, including unaccompanied minors, in Donna, Texas, U.S. February 25, 2021
Migrants sit inside a temporary processing facility for migrants, including unaccompanied minors, in Donna, Texas, on February 25, 2021.
Jerry Glaser/CBP/Handout via REUTERS

When pressed on the matter, the press secretary admitted that, “Well I would say we all agree that that the Border Patrol facilities are not places where children should be. Children should be moving more quickly through those facilities, that is what our policy central focus is right now.”

She again noted the pandemic and the staggering number of children being moved through these shelters before again being pressed on whether they planned to reinstate media access.

“We will [show the facilities] and we are working with the Border Patrol and with DHS to determine how we can do that.”



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Alleged NYC Capitol rioter wanted to be ‘where the action was’

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An alleged rioter from Brooklyn surrendered to the FBI Tuesday morning after telling investigators he breached the US Capitol because he wanted to be “where the action was,” court papers allege.

A tipster identified Dovid Schwartzberg in photos and video wearing a red “Make America Great Again” cap and black face mask tucked under his chin during the Jan. 6 siege that left five dead.



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Derek Chauvin found guilty of all charges in murder of George Floyd

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Former Minnesota police officer Derek Chauvin has been found guilty of all charges in the murder of George Floyd.


What You Need To Know

    • Former Minnesota police officer Derek Chauvin has been found guilty in the murder of George Floyd
    • Chauvin faces up to 75 years in prison after being found guilty of second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter
    • Floyd, 46, died in May 2020 when police tried to arrest him on suspicion of passing a counterfeit $20 bill for a pack of cigarettes at a convenience store
  • Floyd died as Chauvin, who is white, pressed his knee into Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes as the Black man was pinned to the pavement and handcuffed after struggling with officers in the back seat of a squad car

Chauvin, 45, was found guilty of second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.

He faces up to 40 years in prison for second-degree murder, up to 25 years for third-degree murder, and up to a decade for second-degree manslaughter – up to 75 years in all.

Chauvin will be sentenced in eight weeks, and his bail has been revoked. The ex-cop was led away from the courtroom in handcuffs.

Floyd, 46, died in May 2020 when police tried to arrest him on suspicion of passing a counterfeit $20 bill for a pack of cigarettes at a convenience store. Floyd died as Chauvin, who is white, pressed his knee into Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes as the Black man was pinned to the pavement and handcuffed after struggling with officers in the back seat of a squad car.

Floyd repeatedly cried that he couldn’t breathe as concerned onlookers shouted for Chauvin to stop and took cellphone video that would help spark a wave of widespread protests and unrest last summer.

Prosecutors argued that Floyd was not a threat to anyone and that Chauvin did not follow his training by using such force on Floyd. The officer “had to know” that kneeling on Floyd’s neck for 9 minutes and 29 seconds would kill him, prosecutor Steve Schleicher said during closing arguments Monday.

“He wasn’t trying to hurt anyone. He wasn’t trying to do anything to anyone,” Schleicher said of Floyd. “Facing George Floyd that day that did not require one ounce of courage. And none was shown on that day. No courage was required. All that was required was a little compassion and none was shown on that day.”

The prosecution’s parade of witnesses included eyewitnesses as well as current and former police officers. Minneapolis’ police chief and a former supervisory sergeant both testified the Chauvin could have ended his restraint of his Floyd after the suspect stopped resisting.

The defense tried to convince jurors that Floyd’s illicit drug use and existing heart disease were the causes of his death, not Chauvin’s knee upon his neck. Chauvin’s lawyer attorney Eric Nelson also argued that his client used a reasonable amount of force to restrain Floyd.

“The futility of their efforts became apparent — they weren’t able to get him into the car,” Nelson said during his closing arguments. “Three Minneapolis police officers were unable to get Mr. Floyd into the car.”

In a statement, Floyd’s legal team, civil rights attorney Ben Crump and his co-council, called the verdict “painfully earned justice for the Floyd family and community.”

Lawmakers also offered their reactions following the guilty verdict.

“This guilty verdict serves as an official proclamation of what so many of us have known for nearly a year: George Floyd was murdered by an officer who was sworn to protect and serve,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said in a statement. “However, we should not mistake a guilty verdict in this case as evidence that the persistent problem of police misconduct has been solved or that the divide between law enforcement and so many of the communities they serve has been bridged.”

“We must remain diligent in our efforts to bring meaningful change to police departments across the country,” he added. “The Senate will continue that work as we strive to ensure George Floyd’s tragic death will not be in vain.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) called the verdict “a step in the right direction for justice” at a press conference with members of Democratic House leadership and the Congressional Black Caucus.

“This is just the first step,” CBC chair Joyce Beatty (D-OH) said. “We know that there are still the mothers, the families, the children who are shedding tears today because a verdict will not bring back their family members.”

“We are hopeful today will be the catalyst to turn the pain, agony, the justice delayed into action,” Beatty added.

Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina, the only Black Republican in the Senate, said in a statement that “there is no question in my mind that the jury reached the right verdict.”

“The jury’s verdict delivers accountability for Derek Chauvin, but not justice for George Floyd,” progressive Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) said in a statement. “Real justice for him and too many others can only happen when we build a nation that fundamentally respects the human dignity of every person.”

“The trauma and tragedy of George Floyd’s murder must never leave us,” Sanders added. “It was a manifestation of a system that callously devalues the lives of Black people. Our struggle now is about justice — not justice on paper, but real justice in which all Americans live their lives free of oppression. We must boldly root out the cancer of systemic racism and police violence against people of color.”

President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris will address the nation later Tuesday evening, according to the White House.

“The President and the Vice President watched the verdict with staff in the Private Dining Room,” according to the pool. “Following the announcement of the verdict, the President spoke with Governor Tim Walz. The President, the Vice President, & the First Lady spoke with Philonise Floyd”

“True justice for George only comes through real, systemic change to prevent this from happening again,” he added.

Dozens of people gathered outside the Hennepin County Courthouse in Minneapolis to hear the verdict. When it was read, the crowd erupted in a mix of cheers and tears.

Outside of the Cup Foods where George Floyd was murdered last year, bystanders began throwing dollar bills in celebration. Some people brought flowers, laying them on the ground where Floyd took his final breaths. Others prayed next to paintings and images of Floyd, honoring a life cut short.

Many seemed to be in a state of shock, saying they couldn’t believe a police officer was convicted for murdering a Black person.

But the overwhelming feeling across the city was one of joy. Chants of “Justice!” and “Black lives matter” rang out across Minneapolis, from George Floyd Square to the steps of the Hennepin county courthouse.



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To curb gun violence, de Blasio goes to last year’s failed NYPD plan

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Mayor Bill de Blasio’s plan to curb the surging gun violence in NYC is to try out the failed policing strategy from last year — but this time, with 100 fewer cops.

The NYPD will reassign 200 cops to areas where the Big Apple has seen the highest rates of gun violence as part of their annual Summer All Out program, the mayor said Tuesday.

NYPD Chief of Department Rodney Harrison said the “bulk” of those cops would be moved to East New York and Brownsville, which have seen gun violence upticks of 67% and 88%, respectively.

He also noted Bronx neighborhoods, Mott Haven, Highbridge and Crotona, would get some additional patrols.

But all of those areas were also a policing focus last year during the summer when the city saw a months-long surge in gun violence and assigned 300 cops to the “Summer All Out” initiative.

Mayor Bill de Blasio at a press conference on April 19, 2021.
Mayor Bill de Blasio at a press conference on April 19, 2021.
Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office

“We’re going to make sure that the officers are where we need them to be and we’ll make adjustments constantly,” de Blasio said when asked about the similarities to last year’s plan, which failed to combat the surge in gunplay.

De Blasio chalked up 2020’s skyrocketing shooting totals to the effect the pandemic had on the city.

“Last year again. Perfect Storm. Literal Perfect Storm. Global pandemic. Society shut down, a million jobs lost… everything went wrong simultaneously,” the mayor said, brushing off any comparison to this year.

Yet, gunplay in New York City still continues the 2020 trend — outpacing the year prior each week.

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The mayor’s office also announced gun buyback programs, “Saturday Night Lights” games, the fixing up of 15 basketball courts and anti-violence fairs to help slow the number of shootings.

The NYPD tried all those strategies last year too.

The city will double its Cure Violence workforce and Summer Youth Anti-Violence employment slots, expand gang-free zones to parks and double the tip reward to $5,000.



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