5 Things That Happened While You Were Out: June 2, 2020

And so another day. It is a gloomy one, and I believe it matches a lot of our moods in light of the recent events.

I can’t even really reflect on it, as I am just tired. I am tired of the violence. I am tired of the frustration, confusion, hatred, and racism. I am tired of watching young black lives get snuffed out at the hands of people who are supposed to protect them, along with everyone else in their communities.

I am tired.

It is nothing compared to how the black community feels. If I am tired, if you are tired, they are exhausted, scared, angry, sad – they are all the feels and more.

So, let’s just jump in today, shall we?

1) As cities in multiple states continued to reel from violent outbursts throughout the country, President Donald Trump mocked governors for not supporting him in his proposal of sending the US military into silence the violence and continuously escalating demonstrations.

Scant hours after five police officers had been shot and wounded during one such tension-filled demonstration, the man who is supposed to be the unifying leader of our country taunted states for not falling in behind him in this matter. Four of those officers were located in St. Louis, and one was in Las Vegas. The officer from Vegas endured a critical wound.

In New York City, there were a lot of broken windows, and many stores were looted – including in the luxury district of Fifth Avenue.

Instead of working with governors to bring peace and validate the feelings fueling the fire of the protests, Trump is threatening, mocking, and working against state governments. He is firing off accusations against. One city and governor he has attacked by name was NYC and Governor Andrew Cuomo.

For his part, Gov. Cuomo has spoken out against the violent demonstrations and any looting that is taking place. He also said that he feels the NYC mayor Bill de Blasio does not fully understand the extent of the issue or the degree of violence that can erupt. He stated in a press conference today that the NYPD did not do its job during Monday night’s intense demonstrations.

Since the George Floyd incident that set off the past two weeks of unrest throughout America, Gov. Cuomo has tried to sympathize with the peaceful protestors and has decried the incident and those like it, putting his support behind movements such as Black Lives Matter. However, understanding the violence that can erupt, he has offered help to the mayors throughout the state from either the state police or from the National Guard members on stand by.

He has been plain that he feels with its great workforce, the NYPD should be able to handle issues in NYC by itself. Whereas there are 13,000 National Guard members on standby, there are 38,000 active police on the NYPD’s roles.

Both he and Mayor de Blasio have decried the idea of sending in the National Guard, as the crowds in NYC take specialized training to handle, and if you bring in armed forces who don’t have that training, bad things are bound to happen.

General Joseph Lengyel, head of the National Guard, said no Guard members were hurt Monday night and that the violence has decreased. According to Lengyel, 29 states have members of the National Guard assisting them, with 18,000 members active in those states.

In Minnesota, where this all began, MN Attorney General Keith Ellison has stated as of today that the three other officers who were present at the arrest and subsequent death of George Floyd are also be considered for charges.

Trump has condemned what happened to Floyd, 46, but seems to be contradicting his vow for justice with his tweets, words, and actions. Joe Biden, Vice President under President Barack Obama and the current front runner for the Democratic Presidential nomination, has sworn to work to heal the racial divide throughout America. He has also denounced Trump’s response to the current situation and vowed to fix the issues within the policing of the US.

Curfews that have not been seen since the assassination of Civil Rights Leader Martin Luther King Jr. in 1968 are in effect in dozens of cities across the nation.

2) Last week, President Donald Trump threatened to move the Republican National Convention if North Carolina’s Governor Roy Cooper, a Democrat, refused to allow the RNC to move forward with no limitations, despite the COVID-19 pandemic.

Today, Gov. Cooper said that it seems unlikely that NC will be able to allow a full-scaled RNC to move forward in the state this summer. Stating that without advanced knowledge of what the COVID situation in NC will look like in August, they will need to plan a scaled-down convention that abides by social distancing and public health protocols. He sent this in a letter to the RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel.

Gob. Cooper was given a deadline of tomorrow to respond to Trump’s demand by top GOP officials. The response they requested was what conditions the governor had to allow the convention to happen in the Spectrum Arena, which is a 19,000 seat arena.

In 2016, Trump won NC, and it is seen as essential in his bid for re-election. Gov. Cooper said in the letter that they are happy to move forward with talks on what the convention will look like scaled-down for the state’s COVID regulations since they still see an increase in hospitalizations due to the coronavirus respiratory disease.

In her response today, Chairwoman McDaniel said Gov. Cooper was “dragging his feet.” She also stated that the RNC would begin looking at other places to host the convention in less than three months. She has suggested Atlanta, Jacksonville, Orlando, and Nashville.

NC and the GOP have had a long two-year battle raging over the RNC. Wanting to be seen as an up and coming city, Charlotte, NC, was eager to bid on hosting the RNC. They have been attempting to be on the map for a decade, according to Bob Morgan, the former Charlotte Chamber of Commerce leader. That being said, they hosted the DNC in 2012 and quickly jumped on bidding for the re-nomination RNC for this August.

Since then, Charlotte has regretted jumping on that bid so fast since it has come out that no other place put forth any kind of formal proposal – especially being a mainly democratic city. Two years ago, the debate between NC and the GOP began over the city being hesitant to be associated with Trump’s more controversial policies. Now, it is dominated by their essential differences in how thinking about how the RNC should meet in a city still dealing with rising cases of COVID-19.

They also are on opposite sides of how they feel the president should be reacting to the fall out from the George Floyd protests.

However, McDaniels’s statement today is a turnaround, as for most of April and May, she and other top GOP officials said they would abide by NC’s health mandates. Since Trump declared he wants nothing to do with social distancing, masks, or other public health policies, the GOP leaders have changed their tunes.

Now they are stating they want a non-pared down, no mask-wearing regular old convention. They have said they will make attendees pass health screens and check their temp before entering the arena, as well as providing hand sanitizer. NC’s top health official Mandy Cohen has said that NC will not allow a regular convention to proceed.

To have the RNC at the Spectrum Arena, Cohen has said they will have to abide by six-foot social distancing and face coverings. Moving the RNC would be a big blow to the city, as Charlotte has already started buying equipment to prepare for it – and have pointed out that the Justice Department is under a contractual obligation to reimburse them no matter what.

Ed Driggs, a Republican Charlotte City Council member, has said that they will go to court if not paid…and Charlotte has pointed out that as a businessman, Trump has a long history of not paying its bills. This includes some cities that the Trump campaign refused to pay security costs to.

In a city and state already hurting from economic woes related to COVID, the fear of losing money if the RNC is moved is real and significant.

3) Western New York officially hit Phase II today, and the Capital Area is on par to hit it tomorrow. Governor Cuomo congratulated New York State, stating that as a state, we came far in a fantastic amount of time. He also asked New Yorkers to keep going.

Gov. Cuomo also announced that as of June 29, summer day camps can re-open – though there is no decision yet on when or if sleepover camps will resume. He also announced that as a state, we had hit an all-time low for hospitalizations related to COVID.

NYS is almost entirely re-open, with only NYC still on PAUSE. Though nowhere near pre-pandemic numbers, the state is slowly beginning its long climb out of being the apex of the outbreak in this country. The epicenter within the state was, of course, NYC, and that is still on schedule to begin Phase I on June 8.

Some things that will be re-opening at least to some degree in NYS are as follows:

  • All businesses with an office setting
  • Commercial, non-residential building management activities
  • Hair salons and barbershops
  • In-person retail stores/services
  • Real estate activities
  • Retail rental, repair, and cleaning
  • Vehicle sales, leases, and rentals

Gov. Cuomo says that we are close to a point where the COVID fatalities in the state are at a minimum. The country is definitely at its lowest numbers in all things COVID across the board.

Statewide, Monday was when dentists were allowed to re-open, another step in the state’s recovery.

4) Addressing the Press today, Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan and Police Chief Eric Hawkins confirmed that the people who caused the violent demonstrations overnight Monday were not the same as those who protested peacefully in the city on Monday afternoon.

According to Chief Hawkins, the group that came in after that peaceful protest had a plan they were going to execute no matter what – and they hid behind the anger tearing through the country. As protestors surrounded Henry Johnson Boulevard’s police headquarters, Hawkins said that they had an excellent open dialogue, and he took a knee in solidarity with them.

Then it all changed. Suddenly someone was throwing fireworks at the police, and the police did all they could to disperse the crowd, including using tear gas. According to Mayor Sheehan, they are working on updating policies so all members of the community feel like they can be safely heard.

At the press conference, Chief Hawkins stated that there were nine arrests made in connection to the violent demonstration. Five of those people were not from Albany, and that keeps happening in many of the extreme situations across that country.

5) As there is a planned protest in Troy tomorrow, many businesses (given the green light to re-open as the Capital District is officially cleared for Phase II) remain shuttered. There were a lot of plans in Rensselaer county to do big re-opening marketing, and now they are staying close to defend against any possible violence and looting.

Many Troy residents and businesses are doing what they can to ensure that those who survived COVID can withstand any possible unrest after the protests tomorrow. Though they are hoping that they will follow in the footsteps of the prosperous and peaceful Schenectady protest, they are preparing for any worst-case scenario.

That hope is directed at the Troy Police Department as well as the protestors – with many hoping that the TPD will follow in the SPD footsteps. Many of the barricades put up show support to the movement while hoping that the protests stay peaceful.

Local business leaders call for the respect they intend to show the protestors.

Alright, CivMixers. Stay safe, stay strong, stay steady.

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