News Headlines 4/6/21

MINNEAPOLIS POLICE CHIEF TESTIFIES CHAUVIN VIOLATED POLICY BY KNEELING ON FLOYD’S NECK: Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo testified Monday (April 5th) in former Officer Derek Chauvin‘s murder and manslaughter trial for the death of George Floyd that Chauvin had clearly violated the department’s policy when he kneeled on Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes. Arradondo said that continuing to kneel on Floyd’s neck once he was handcuffed and lying on his stomach was, quote, “in no way, shape or form” part of department policy or training, and added, “it is certainly not part of our ethics or our values.” Arradondo additionally said that Chauvin’s pressure on Floyd’s neck didn’t appear to be light or moderate, as the department’s neck-restraint policy calls for, and that  he failed in his duty to give first aid, and violated policy requiring officers to de-escalate tense situations with no or minimal force if they can. Arrandondo fired Chauvin on the day after Floyd’s death last May, along with the three officers who’d been with him, and one month later called what had happened “murder.”

Also testifying yesterday was Minneapolis police Inspector Katie Blackwell, who was the commander of the training division at the time of Floyd’s death. She said Chauvin received annual training and would have been trained to use his arms, not his knee, in a neck restraint. She said when shown a photo of Chauvin with his knee on Floyd’s neck, “I don’t know what kind of improvised position that is.” Dr. Bradford Langenfeld, the emergency room doctor who tried to resuscitate Floyd and pronounced him dead, said he’d thought at the time that his heart most likely stopped because of lack of oxygen. Langenfeld said Floyd’s heart had stopped by the time he arrived at the hospital, and that he tried for about 30 minutes to resuscitate him after paramedics told him they’d also tried for about 30 minutes. Chauvin’s attorney asked him if some drugs can cause lack of oxygen, and he acknowledged that fentanyl and methamphetamine can, both of which were found in Floyd’s body.

ARKANSAS GOV. VETOES MEASURE BANNING MEDICAL TREATMENT, SURGERY FOR TRANSGENDER MINORS: Republican Governor Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas vetoed legislation Monday (April 5th) that would ban gender-confirming medical treatments — meaning hormone treatment or puberty blockers — or surgery for transgender minors, which would be the first law of its kind by any state. Hutchinson called the measure “over broad” and “extreme,” saying it would create, quote, “new standards of legislative interference with physicians and parents as they deal with some of the most complex and sensitive matters involving young people.” However, his veto could be overridden by the Republican-led Legislature, with only a simple majority needed in the state House and Senate, and Hutchinson said he believed it’s likely that will happen. Pediatricians, social workers and the parents of transgender minors were among those who’d urged the governor to veto the measure, saying it would harm those young people, who are already at higher risk for depression and suicide.

PUTIN SIGNS LAW ALLOWING HIM TO POTENTIALLY REMAIN IN POWER UNTIL 2036: Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a law  yesterday (April 5th) that will allow him to potentially remain in power until 2036, formalizing constitutional changes approved in a vote last July. The changes reset the previous term limits for Putin, allowing the 68-year-old to run for president two more times, in 2024, which his current six-year term ends, and in 2030. Putin has already been in power for more than two decades, longer than any other Kremlin leader since Soviet dictator Josef Stalin.

GAETZ SAYS WON’T RESIGN, CLAIMS SEX CRIMES ALLEGATIONS ARE FALSE: Rep. Matt Gaetz said in a column in the conservative Washington Examiner Monday (April 5th) that he won’t resign from Congress, saying that the reported sex crimes allegations are false and are coming from political opponents. The 38-year-old Florida Republican wrote, “I am absolutely not resigning,” and also denied that he, quote, “slept with” an underage girl. There were media reports last week that Gaetz, who hasn’t been charged with any crimes, is under investigation over whether he violated federal sex trafficking laws, including if he had sex with a 17-year-old and other underage girls, paid them or offered gifts in exchange for sex.

SIX FAMILY MEMBERS KILLED IN APPARENT MURDER-SUICIDE IN TEXAS: Six family members were killed in Allen, Texas, in an apparent murder-suicide, with police saying two brothers made a pact to kill four relatives and themselves. The bodies were found shot to death in a home early yesterday morning (April 5th) when police went there for a welfare check after getting a call from a friend of one of the brothers who was afraid he was suicidal. Police Sergeant John Felty said those found dead were the brothers, a sister, their father and mother and a grandmother: Altafun Nessa, 77, Iren Islam, 56, Towhidul Islam, 54, Tanvir Towhid, 21, and Farbin Towhid and Farhan Towhid, both 19. Felty said one of the brothers wrote a post on social media in which he said he and his brother had a plan to kill their family members and then themselves. He wrote that he’d been cutting himself more frequently and his treatment for depression didn’t seem to be helping as much as it used to. Felty also said the brother spent a lot of time writing about he was upset over how the TV series, The Office, had ended.