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Young Bystander Testifies in Derek Chauvin Trial

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Young Bystander Testifies in Derek Chauvin Trial

On Tuesday, the prosecution called to the stand a 9-year-old girl who witnessed the arrest of George Floyd. She testified that she saw Derek Chauvin put his knee on Mr. Floyd’s neck.

“So you saw a knee being put on the neck of George Floyd. When was the knee taken — did you see that the knee was ever taken off of George Floyd’s neck?” “No.” “Were you there when an ambulance came?” “Yes.” “Tell us what happened after you saw the ambulance come.” “He asked, the ambulance had to push him off of him.” “And how did that happen? Did they simply come in an ambulance, and then go up to push him off or what happened?” “They asked him nicely to get off of him.” “And when they asked him nicely to get off of him, what did he do?” “He still stayed on him.” “And then what happened after he still stayed on him, what did the ambulance people do?” “They just had to pull him off, get off of him.” “Are you able to tell us, having been there on this day and seeing the officer on top of George Floyd, how did you feel about that? How did it affect you?” “I was sad and kind of mad.” “And can you tell us why were you sad and mad?” “Because it felt like he was stopping his breathing, and it was kind of, like, hurting him.”

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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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Biden pushes DC statehood, which would likely give Dems two more Senate seats

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The White House is officially supporting Democrats’ long-shot effort to grant statehood for Washington, DC — a move that would all but assure the party would gain two more seats in the Senate.

“For far too long, the more than 700,000 people of Washington, D.C. have been deprived of full representation in the U.S. Congress,” the Office of Management and Budget said in a statement of Biden administration policy.

“This taxation without representation and denial of self-governance is an affront to the democratic values on which our Nation was founded.”

Congress should “provide for a swift and orderly transition to statehood,” the statement continued.

The city of Washington is home to more people than Vermont and Wyoming, but has no representation in Congress, as per Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution.

With Democrats in control of the House, Senate and White House, the party has faced pressure from progressives to move on a host of issues, including DC statehood.

In order to do that, however, Democrats would need to hold a vote on a constitutional amendment. Such an amendment would need two-thirds support to pass, nearly impossible given the current makeup of the body.

Still, H.R. 51 faces an uphill battle in the Senate. Democrats would need 10 Republicans to cross over and support the legislation in order to have the 60-vote margin needed to pass it.

Republicans have noted that Democrats’ real motive here is that if DC became a state, the highly Democratic area would give the party another seat in the House along with two Democratic senators.

Biden has backed the DC statehood effort for years, saying as much repeatedly during the Obama administration.

In the OMB statement released Tuesday, the administration argued, “Establishing the State of Washington, Douglass Commonwealth as the 51st state will make our Union stronger and more just.”

The District of Columbia, it continued, “has a robust economy, a rich culture, and a diverse population of Americans from all walks of life who are entitled to full and equal participation in our democracy.”

The Democrat-led House voted last June almost entirely along party lines to make DC a state. One Democrat and the only Libertarian in the body joined all Republicans in opposition.

At the time, Republicans controlled the Senate, where then-Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) vowed to not bring the bill to a vote.

Senate Democrats introduced the bill in the upper chamber, currently split 50-50, in late January, once their party took the White House and the Senate.

In an Oval Office interview with The Post last May, President Donald Trump said Republicans weren’t “stupid” enough to add guaranteed Democratic seats in Congress.

“DC will never be a state,” Trump said at the time.

“You mean District of Columbia, a state? Why? So we can have two more Democratic — Democrat senators and five more congressmen? No thank you. That’ll never happen.”



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