Yes, it is Monday, June 8. We have had eight whole days in June thus far. That’s it. Not only does it seem so much longer than that for the reasons we all know – George Floyd, civil unrest, pandemic, re-opening drama, protests, violence, etc. – but it has also already been an active hurricane season.
Though it began only on the first of this month, this hurricane season is already on its third named storm. Tropical Storm Cristobal made landfall last night on the Gulf Coast in Louisiana, affecting parts of the Florida Panhandle that are on the Gulf Coast as well.
Also, lest we forget, it is Pride month for LGBTQ communities around the nation. Though between the COVID-19 pandemic and the aftermath of the Floyd killing, which has led to nationwide protests, Pride – for most of us – is taking a back seat. But it is still important to us in the community.
It is also the 50th anniversary of the Capital Region Pride Center in Albany, which is nationally recognized as the oldest continuously-run facility of its type in the entire U.S.
Formed in 1970 – one year after the Stonewall Riot that led to the Pride movement – that was also the same year as the Pride Center’s first Pride Festival and Parade. This year, the annual event is postponed to a time to be determined in the face of the ongoing COVID crisis.
Alright, time to dive in to today’s 5 Things…
1) On Saturday, two officers in California were shot and killed, and several others were injured. Now the FBI is looking into whether those incidents are related.
In Ben Lomond, CA, a Santa Cruz Sheriff’s Office Sergeant was killed, and two others were injured as they were pursuing a suspect who had explosives, according to Sheriff Jim Hart.
In Oakland, CA, on May 29, a federal security officer was shot and killed, and another injured.
The San Francisco FBI says it is working closely with local law enforcement on the Ben Lomond incident – especially in regards to any connection to other incidents in the Bay Area, including the Oakland shooting.
According to Second Lieutenant Mike Longoria, the public affairs officer of the Travis Air Force Base, a sergeant on active duty is a suspect in the Santa Cruz shooting. The FBI is working on gathering information on a white van they think is connected to the shooting in Oakland.
This past Saturday, at approximately 1:30 p.m., the Santa Cruz Sheriff’s Office responded to a call that reported a van acting suspiciously. As they arrived, the van was leaving, and they followed the vehicle to a residence in Ben Lomand.
When they got there, the deputies were ambushed with gunshots and explosives. Sergeant Damon Gutzwiller, 38, was shot and pronounced dead at the hospital. He had been with the department since 2006.
Another deputy was struck by a car and also shot, or perhaps hit by shrapnel, while he fled. The county then received reports of a carjacking. When officers arrived on that scene, the suspect, who was reportedly armed, was shot during the arrest. He survived and was treated and released.
The suspect faces charges for the murder of Gutzwiller and other felonies, the department said.
2) After an unprecedented 128 months of economic growth, the U.S. has officially entered a recession. The National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) has said that the growth of the country’s economy ended in February.
NBER has said that that quarterly peak was officially the end of 2019 and that the Gross Domestic Product dropped 5 percent in 2020’s first quarter. The massive decline in March counteracted the growth that had occurred in January and February of this year. The Atlanta Federal Reserve has estimated a drop of approximately 54 percent for the quarter.
Experts have declared this to be a “man-made recession” and that it is not surprising that this happened – the only surprise was how bad it is. Also unusual is how quickly the NBER was to declare it to be a recession – since usually they require two consecutive negative quarters for GDP growth.
NBER said, though, that usually is what they follow, it is not an actual rule. They point to the circumstances surrounding the end of the first quarter and dominating the second quarter – the COVID-19 pandemic.
With how much of the country was shut down and the staggering drop in employment, there is no question about the state of the country’s economy, according to NBER.
3) State lawmakers today are expected to act on ten proposed bills that are aimed to work on reforming the NYS law enforcement community. Governor Andrew Cuomo stated he would sign them ASAP as long as they match the discussions he has had with leaders of the NYS legislature over the weekend.
These pieces of proposed legislation are hoping to make chokeholds illegal for police officers, make disciplinary records public, have courts be required to publish all demographic information for all low-level offenses, require all NYS Police to wear body cams dure specific hours while on duty, and many more.
Andrea Stewart-Cousins, Senate Majority Leader, released a statement saying that both branches of the NYS government will pass all pieces of this legislation today. The proposed senate bills are below:
4) A Troy 20-year-old, Jahjuan Sabb, was arrested and charged over the weekend for threatening to attack the Troy Police Department.
According to TPD, on Friday, Sabb recorded threats to the police on Facebook Live, planning acts of violence against them, their property, and City Hall for the demonstration that was planned for Troy’s downtown on Sunday.
He was charged with making threats of injury to another, distributing information about the manufacture of explosive or destructive devices with violent intent, and more.
He has a pending hearing on Wednesday and faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted on all pending charges.
5) Though all officers involved in the Floyd incident have been charged at this point, there is no end to the protests, demonstrations, and movements across the nation – as well as here in the Capital District.
Today, a peaceful protest organized by the students of Shenendehowa took an 8 minute and 46 second period of peace to remember Floyd. Clifton Park doesn’t have a police department, so the march ended at the local State Police headquarters on Route 146.
The crowd was mainly comprised of students who say that the responsibility to make a change is now theirs.
That is all for today. Stay steady, stay strong, stay safe. Stay woke.
Photo credit: George Fazio.