Rise and Shine: June 2, 2020

It’s Tuesday, CivMixers, and it was another long night.

It has now been seven days since George Floyd, an unarmed black man, was killed in Minneapolis by a white police officer, and the protests – some of them violent – have not abated, despite communities across the nation instituting curfews and the pleas for peace from elected officials, activists and others.

I have just erased all that I planned to say today – some of it seems just downright frivolous at the moment, and also inappropriate. But I’m not sure what to write in its place. Maybe I’ll just let the headlines speak for themselves.

We’re in for a mostly cloudy day (again) today, but at least it will be slightly warmer, with temperatures reaching into the mid-70s, according to The Weather Channel.

In the news…

Seven days after Floyd’s death at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer, Derek Chauvin, with cities across the U.S. still reeling from often violence-marred protests, demonstrators took to the streets once again.

Protests continued around the nation and the globe.

An officer has been shot in Las Vegas and authorities are responding to another shooting as people protested Floyd’s killing, authorities said.

Declaring himself “your president of law and order,” President Donald Trump vowed to return order to American streets using the military if widespread violence isn’t quelled, even as peaceful protesters just outside the White House gates were dispersed with tear gas, flash grenades and rubber bullets.

…It was all, apparently, so Trump could visit a nearby church.

The Episcopal bishop of Washington, D.C. has said she is “outraged” after officers used teargas to clear a crowd of peaceful protesters from near the White House to make way for the president.

The Right Rev. Mariann Budde said she had not been given any notice that Trump would be visiting the church and did not approve of the manner in which the area was secured for his appearance.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer joined Democratic governors in slamming Trump for vowing to deploy military personnel if civil unrest continues, accusing him of “ripping” the country apart.

“The president wants to make it a reality TV show of God and country,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said on CNN. “‘Call out the military and then I go to church and hold up a Bible.'”

“He used the military to push out a peaceful protest so he could have a photo op at a church,” Cuomo tweeted of Trump. “It’s all just a reality TV show for this president. Shameful.”

Customs and Border Protection (CBP) have deployed troops in Washington, D.C., officials announced, as Trump mobilized the military in the capital city to address the protests over Floyd’s death.

Trump upbraided several governors in a tense call after days of rioting nationwide, telling them they would look “weak” if they didn’t come down harder on protesters, and singling out New York and the NYPD over the looting that gripped the city over the weekend.

The president commented on a report that campaign staffers for former VP Joe Biden donated to a Minnesota organization that is paying bail for protesters to say they are helping to “get the Anarchists out of jail.”

Many reporters, photographers and press advocates said the treatment of journalists by police officers in recent days reflected an erosion of trust in the news media that has seeped into law enforcement under Trump, who has deemed critical coverage of his administration “fake news.”

An independent autopsy released by Floyd’s family said the 46-year-old died of mechanical asphyxiation and called the death a homicide.

An autopsy from the county medical examiner also called Floyd’s death a homicide, but concluded he died from “cardiopulmonary arrest complicating law enforcement subdual, restraint and neck compression.”

The independent autopsy was conducted in part by Dr. Michael Baden, the former chief medical examiner of New York City, who was also hired in 2014 to conduct the autopsy of Eric Garner, a black man who died when an NYPD officer used a banned chokehold during his arrest.

New York City imposed a late-night curfew that failed to prevent another night of destruction, including arrests at the iconic Macy’s store on 34th Street, following protests over Floyd’s death.

An NYPD officer was attacked by several men in the Bronx Monday night as onlookers recording the struggle instigated the suspects.

An NYPD officer was struck by a hit-and-run driver in the Bronx early this morning, law enforcement sources said. He was taken to the hospital and is expected to survive.

The head of the NYPD sergeants union, Ed Mullins, had his Twitter account temporarily locked down after he tweeted private information from the arrest report of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s daughter, Chiara.

De Blasio said he is “proud” of his daughter, though her arrest came as a surprise to him.

City and state lawmakers were stunned by the shock announcement from Cuomo and de Blasio that the Big Apple would be placed under an 11 p.m. curfew following days of protests and unrest across the city.

The New York State Troopers PBA wrote an open letter to the governor, saying they find it appalling he hasn’t condemned the violence directed at them.

The NYPD’s highest-ranking uniformed member, Chief of Department Terence Monahan, kneeled in solidarity with Floyd protesters at a demonstration in Manhattan last night.

So far, 47 NYPD vehicles have been damaged. Some protesters say the attacks reflect pent-up rage against the police, while officials have denounced the violence.

The NYPD has opened an investigation into officers who accelerated their police cars into protesters blocking their way, de Blasio said.

The demonstrations that have rocked New York City and other cities “could potentially be infecting hundreds and hundreds of people, after everything that we have done,” the governor said.

Two Brooklyn lawyers and a woman from upstate New York were arraigned on federal crimes after allegedly participating in separate Molotov cocktail attacks on police patrol cars in New York City early Saturday, as peaceful protests sparked by Floyd’s death descended into chaos.

Samantha Shader, 27, a Catskill woman accused of throwing a Molotov cocktail at a police car during a Floyd protest, was ordered held without bail as her criminal history across several states was revealed.

New York lawmakers will convene next week to overhaul a law, known as 50-a, that keeps police disciplinary records hidden from public view, a response to protests that rocked cities around the state this weekend.

Senate and Assembly leaders said lawmakers will return to the state Capitol next week for a range of bills, although they didn’t go into details. Efforts to change “50-a,” the 1976 civil rights statute governing police personnel records, have always failed in the past in Albany but could be at the top of the agenda this time.

In Buffalo, a vehicle plowed through a group of law enforcement officers at a Floyd demonstration, injuring at least two.

In Albany, the state’s Capitol City, a protest at the police headquarters devolved, as people shot off loud fireworks and police responded by shooting tear gas toward people who remained around Henry Johnson Boulevard.

Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan strongly defended Police Chief Eric Hawkins’ absence from the city during Saturday protests that turned violent, saying the chief was at a “previously scheduled out-of-town event” and worked remotely.

Albany officials estimate damage done throughout the city and county during a riot Saturday could be well over a million dollars.

The Town of Colonie instituted a curfew last night out of an “abundance of caution.”

A 24-year-old Rochester woman was pummeled by a group of vandals when she tried to stop them from looting a business over the weekend.

The widespread protests had chief executives looking for ways to balance their efforts to run their companies, protect their employees and property, and articulate a response to their customers, staff and communities about racism and deep-seated problems in American society.

Even as major chains boarded up stores and halted operations, they largely sought to convey empathy for demonstrators and did not condemn the damage to their businesses.

The Congressional Budget Office said that the U.S. economy could be $15.7 trillion smaller over the next decade than it otherwise would have been due to the adverse effects of the coronavirus on economic growth if Congress does not mitigate the damage.

The coronavirus recession has hit black Americans particularly hard, amplifying racial inequalities that may worsen as the economy begins what is expected to be a slow climb back to where it was before the crisis.

Suffolk County is expected to face a cumulative budget shortfall of up to $1.5 billion over three years because of the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic, according to a new report.

Western New York and the Capital Region are expected to join the rest of upstate this week in entering Phase 2 of its reopening after the coronavirus pandemic shuttered most businesses in late March.

Hair salons and barbershops in the Capital Region are booking appointments ahead of an expected re-opening tomorrow. However, there has been some confusion ahead of Phase 2.

The federal government’s first tally of nursing-home deaths from the coronavirus shows nearly 26,000 fatalities nationwide — and that doesn’t even include all of them.

New York and New Jersey have had more than 44,000 deaths above normal from mid-March to May, according to a New York Times analysis of data from the C.D.C. – and not all of them are COVID-19 related.

A new analysis of 172 studies, funded by the World Health Organization, confirms what scientists have said for months: N95 and other respirator masks are far superior to surgical or cloth masks in protecting essential medical workers against the coronavirus.

Dr. Anthony Fauci the country’s top infectious disease specialist who served as one of the key advisors to Trump while the government formulated their response to COVID-19, said he and the president don’t talk much anymore.

Drugmaker Gilead Sciences said that coronavirus patients taking antiviral drug remdesivir showed improvement during a recently concluded drug trial.

The Metropolitan Opera said that the coronavirus pandemic would force the company to cancel its fall season, thrusting the Met into one of the gravest crises in its 137-year history and leaving many of its artists, who have not been paid since March, in dire financial straits.

The Tri-City ValleyCats are expecting an announcement this week on the status of the 2020 minor league baseball season. (It looks like the season may be cancelled altogether).

United University Professions, a union representing 37,000 employees at SUNY campuses across New York wants strict measures to protect students, staff, and visitors to be in place before reopening in the fall.

In a 22-page document provided to the governors of New York and California yesterday, Hollywood studios made their case for restarting TV and film production.

Facebookers went on rival social network Twitter to announce that they were protesting the company’s policy of leaving Trump’s posts alone, arguing that they violate Facebook’s rule against “language that incites or facilitates serious violence.”

…Then they staged a virtual walkout.

The U.S. Justice Department’s conduct in abruptly deciding to end the case against Trump’s former national security adviser Michael T. Flynn was so unusual that it raised a “plausible question” about the legitimacy of the move, a lawyer for the trial judge overseeing that case told a federal appeals court.

Voting by mail will face its biggest test since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic when seven states – Indiana, Maryland, Montana, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota – and Washington, D.C., hold primaries today.

The absentee ballot applications are flooding in by the thousands daily at the Rensselaer County Board of Elections, not the usual trickle of a few score in the run up to a primary vote. The county board mailed out 50,000 applications and has seen 8,000 come back in since the end of last week.

With New York’s school board and budget votes just a week away, some districts are scrambling to get absentee ballots out to voters after a vendor that works with many New York districts and boards of elections reported a shortage of envelopes.

Members of Congress from the Capital Region are among the most bipartisan in Washington, according to a new list of rankings from Georgetown University.

Carole Baskin is declaring victory over her nemesis Joe Exotic after a court ruling that will soon allow her to take over the eccentric big cat aficionado’s Oklahoma zoo.

Photo credit: George Fazio.



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