Rise and Shine: June 3, 2020

Good Wednesday morning, CivMixers.

I don’t want to jinx anything, but it looks like the violence in response to George Floyd’s death is slowing, though the peaceful protest in reaction to his killing by a white police officer a week ago in Minneapolis continues.

Curfews in some cities put in place to try to quell the nighttime destruction were broken in a number of cases, leading to arrests.

The reality is that the debate and fallout from this incident will be with us a long time, and in some ways, that’s a good thing.

This week is taking a very long time in passing. But we have reached its proverbial middle.

It’s also Global Running Day and World Bicycle Day, two hobbies/sports that many people have taken up during the pandemic – so much so, in fact that there’s a shortage of bikes to purchase, and bike shops are backed up for weeks with orders and vintage specimens dug out of sheds and garages and basements as many seek an alternative to public transportation during the pandemic.

We’re in for clouds this morning with showers in the afternoon and temperatures flirting with 80 degrees, according to The Weather Channel.

In the headlines…

Amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and nationwide protests against systemic racism following the death of George Floyd, there was still an election yesterday. And it brought big wins, albeit expected, for former Vice President Joe Biden.

Rep. Steve King of Iowa, the nine-term Republican with a history of racist comments who only recently became a party pariah, lost his bid for renomination early this morning, one of the biggest defeats of the 2020 primary season in any state.

Trump declared he wants the GOP convention moved out of North Carolina to a place with less restrictive coronavirus rules. He blamed the change on North Carolina governor Roy Cooper, a Democrat, saying Cooper “and his representatives refuse to guarantee that we can have use of the Spectrum Arena” in Charlotte.

U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams said he’s expecting a surge in new coronavirus cases as a result of the protests taking place across the country this week.

The mother of Floyd’s 6-year-old daughter, Gianna, is calling for justice over his death. “I want justice for him because he was good, no matter what anybody thinks,” Roxie Washington told reporters at a press conference in Minneapolis.

The Rev. Al Sharpton is slated to deliver the eulogy for Floyd at a family memorial service this week in Minneapolis. According to organizers, the service will be held tomorrow afternoon at North Central University in downtown Minneapolis.

In a rare public statement, former President George W. Bush said he and former first lady Laura Bush were anguished by the killing of Floyd and disturbed by the injustice and fear.

U.S. Senate Republicans offered rare criticism of President Donald Trump after protesters outside the White House were cleared out with tear gas the day before so the president could pose for photos in front of a historic church.

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz said the state was launching a civil rights investigation into “systemic discriminatory practices” by the Minneapolis Police Department, and has filed a human rights complaint against it, too.

The Minneapolis school board unanimously voted to terminate its contract with the city’s police department over Floyd’s killing.

Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard said that he was charging six Atlanta police officers with using excessive force following an incident Saturday night involving two college students.

A retired St. Louis police captain who became a small-town police chief was found fatally shot early yesterday outside a pawn shop that was looted after protests over Floyd’s death turned violent.

As protests continue around the country, members of Congress are grappling with how to respond to a nation in anguish over deep-seeded issues of race and police use of force in the middle of a global pandemic.

The U.S. Senate held hearings on coronavirus yesterday but they couldn’t avoid the issue of police reform in light of the ongoing Floyd protests.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the New York Police Department “did not do their job” and failed to protect its city on Monday as looters masquerading as protesters destroyed and burglarized stores, transforming peaceful protests into melees.

…He also said New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio should accept his offer to bring in the National Guard, noting that he could displace the mayor and “basically take over the mayor’s job.” But, he added, “I don’t think we’re at that point.”

“I believe the mayor underestimates the scope of the problem. I believe he underestimates the duration of the problem, and I don’t think they’ve used enough police to address the situation,” Cuomo said.

De Blasio, meanwhile, called on the governor to apologize to the NYPD for making “disgraceful” comments criticizing the force.

NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea said Cuomo “should be ashamed of himself” for blaming police officers for Monday’s looting.

Thousands of defiant protesters filled the streets around Gracie Mansion, Trump Tower, Battery Park and near Brooklyn’s Barclays Center last night to protest Floyd’s death as an 8 p.m. curfew took hold to tame days of rampant looting and arson. The order was largely ignored.

The Legal Aid Society is demanding in a new lawsuit that the NYPD release 108 people busted during Floyd protests around New York City, saying they’ve been held for more than 24 hours before getting their day in court.

State Sen. Brad Hoylman of Manhattan is calling on the five district attorneys in New York City to drop unlawful assembly and disorderly conduct charges that have been brought against peaceful protesters who have been out taking a stand against police brutality.

Four Queens lawmakers pledged to donate thousands of dollars in campaign funds received from police groups to bail out protesters arrested demonstrating against the death of Floyd.

De Blasio’s critics are circulating an old, fanciful Change.org petition calling for his impeachment amid outrage over riots and lootings in the city.

Business mogul John Catsimatidis, a Democrat-turned-Republican, is laying the groundwork to run for mayor of New York City again next year.

Former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani said Cuomo should remove de Blasio from office or the mayor should resign for failing to stop the violence and looting that has engulfed the Big Apple.

The protests occurred hours after Trump pressed governors to put down the violence set off by Floyd’s death and demanded that New York call up the National Guard to stop the “lowlifes and losers.”

Officers responding to a report of gunfire in a Brooklyn housing project yesterday came across a man pointing a weapon at them from behind a tree on a dark street and shot him several times, killing him, the police said.

Looters struck in Manhattan again last night, though the damage appeared to be a much smaller than the outright chaos of the previous night, with cops seen making several arrests outside of stores.

In the end, the damage to the store may have been limited. But images of looters smashing windows and running through Macy’s flagship location in Herald Square was another symbolic hit to the already badly battered retailer.

Saks Fifth Avenue surrounded its flagship Manhattan store with razor wire to keep thieves from smashing their way in and making off with troves of expensive merchandise.

The pair of accused bomb-throwing lawyers charged with hurling a Molotov cocktail at a cop car in Brooklyn early Saturday were cut loose from jail on bond — and now prosecutors are appealing their release to a higher court.

Cuomo announced the Capital Region can move on to phase two of reopening today, as local officials again issued pleas for people to wear masks and socially distance while out in public so that infection rates don’t spike.

New York will allow summer day camps to open at the end of the month as the coronavirus crisis wanes. A spokesman for the governor said formal guidance will be forthcoming this week that will provide details about safety measures and other steps camps must take.

Local leaders continue to ask for calm after a second round of violence broke out in the city of Albany early yesterday morning – so far, so good.

Several people who clashed with Albany Police yesterday were arrested after a confrontation near Quail and West streets. During protests near their Henry Johnson Boulevard HQ, Police Chief Eric Hawkins and other police officers took a knee in solidarity with those protesting police brutality.

With mixed feelings, business owners across Troy boarded up their windows after protests and unrest erupted in Albany over the weekend spilling into Monday evening, leaving many businesses damaged or looted.

While there are no current protests planned for town, Colonie Supervisor Paula Mahan has declared a civil emergency and called for a curfew every night for yesterday through Sunday morning.

The Albany Twilight League, an amateur league for those 18 or older, won’t play baseball for the first time since its founding in 1931.

State University of New York Chancellor Kristina M. Johnson plans to leave her job for a role at Ohio State University, according to two state officials with knowledge of the situation.

Robert Megna, a former state budget director to Cuomo, is expected to fill in as interim SUNY chancellor, sources said. He is currently SUNY’s chief operating officer.

The College Board said that it would postpone plans to offer an online version of the SAT for high school students to take at home this year, further muddying a ritual of the college application process that had already been thrown into chaos by the coronavirus.

Thoroughbred racing will resume today at Belmont Park, without fans present, for the first time since March 15, when COVID-19 forced a shutdown of all operations.

…also opening today – again, without fans – auto racetracks around the state.

As some American theme parks gingerly begin to reopen this week, they are asking whether cash-strapped, jittery thrill-seekers will return in the face of a still-spreading coronavirus pandemic.

Unpersuaded by more than 100,000 pandemic deaths in the United States, 45 percent of strong conservatives, four in 10 Republicans and nearly as many evangelical Christians say in a new poll that they’d be unlikely to get vaccinated against the coronavirus, even for free.

White House health advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci said he worries about the “durability” of a potential coronavirus vaccine, saying there’s a chance it may not provide long-term immunity.

The Army has determined 16 West Point cadets have tested positive for COVID-19 after returning to the campus for a commencement address by Trump scheduled for June 13, according to sources on Capitol Hill.

Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg stood firmly by his decision to allow Trump to peddle incendiary rhetoric and misinformation on the social media platform, even as employees challenged him in a company-wide video call.

New York Rep. Jerry Nadler, chair of the house Judiciary Committee, is threatening to punish Attorney General Bill Barr for spurning Congress by docking his personal office $50 million.

New York Rep. Eliot Engel, a Democrat who is facing a serious primary challenge this month and questions about his lack of presence in his district, had a hot mic moment at a press conference.

U.S. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer is calling on the Treasury Department to waive replacement fees for Americans who may have inadvertently discarded a federal stimulus payment that arrived in the form of a debit card.

At a time when it’s sorely needed, the pandemic has delayed by about two months the completion of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s new fare payment system, OMNY, across the subway, officials said.

Subways will run on a more frequent schedule by Monday, when manufacturing, construction and some retail businesses are expected to reopen under the first phase of the state’s plan. But the subway system will continue to shut down between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m. to allow for a nightly cleaning of the trains.

In response to the pandemic, New York City has served more than 40 million free meals since mid-March. And the volume is increasing. Last week, nearly 1.5 million free meals were dished out every day.

New York’s forests will likely grow more varied in the size and height of their trees in coming decades, if a historical study of tree rings led by University at Albany researchers is any indication.

The National Transportation Safety Board is calling on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to adopt limo safety reforms in the wake of the Schoharie limo crash.

Photo credit: George Fazio.



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