News Headlines 4/7/21

BIDEN MOVES UP DEADLINE FOR ALL ADULTS TO BE ELIGIBLE FOR COVID VACCINE TO APRIL 19TH: After having previously announced that the states would have to make all adults eligible to get a coronavirus vaccine by May 1st, President Biden moved up the date by nearly two weeks yesterday (April 6th) to April 19th. At the same time, he urged Americans not to let their guard down yet, warning about the spread of coronavirus variants across the country, while also saying the vaccines work against them. Speaking at the White House, he said, “Let me be deadly earnest with you: We aren’t at the finish line. . . . We’re still in a life and death race against this virus.” He said that the number of cases are going back up and hospitalizations are no longer falling, urging that people continue to wear masks, socially distance and wash their hands. The White House said yesterday that that nearly 33 percent of Americans and over 40 percent of adults have gotten at least one shot, and nearly 25 percent of adults are fully vaccinated. Among those over age 65, 75 percent have gotten at least one shot and more than 55 percent are fully vaccinated.

POLICE INSTRUCTOR TESTIFIES IN CHAUVIN TRIAL OFFICERS TRAINED TO ‘STAY AWAY FROM THE NECK’: A Minneapolis police department use-of-force instructor testified in former Officer Derek Chauvin‘s murder and manslaughter trial in the death of George Floyd yesterday (April 6th), saying that the department’s police are taught to use a knee on the back or shoulders if necessary to restrain combative suspects, but to, quote, “stay away from the neck when possible.” Lieutenant Johnny Mercil also said they must use the least amount of force required to get a suspect to comply.

Chauvin underwent department use-of-force training in 2018, and his defense has argued his actions against Floyd had been what he was trained to do. During cross-examination of Mercil yesterday, the defense showed him body-cam photos and suggested that Chauvin’s knee was really more on Floyd’s back, shoulder or shoulder  blades than on his neck. Mercil agreed it appeared that way in some of them.

In other testimony, the Minneapolis police official in charge of crisis-intervention training, Sergeant Ker Yang, said officers are taught to, quote, “slow things down and re-evaluate and reassess.” Chauvin took a course in 2016 on recognizing people in crisis and how to use de-escalation techniques to calm them down. Additionally, Minneapolis Officer Nicole Mackenzie, who trains members of the force in medical care, testified that department policy required Chauvin, who was certified to perform CPR, to start aid before paramedics arrived, if possible.

NAVY MEDIC SHOOTS TWO SAILORS IN MARYLAND, KILLED AT ARMY BASE: A 38-year-old Navy medic shot two U.S. sailors with a rifle at a military facility in a Frederick, Maryland, office park, yesterday (April 6th), wounding them, then went to the nearby Army base Fort Detrick, where he was shot and killed by security forces. Officials don’t yet have a motive for  the actions by Fantahun Girma Woldesenbet. Gate guards at the base, where Woldesenbet was assigned, had been given advance notice and he took off when they told him to pull over for a search. He made it about a half-mile into Fort Detrick before the base’s police force stopped him. They shot and killed Woldesenbet when he pulled out a weapon. One of the sailors shot was in critical but stable condition yesterday and the other in serious condition. Woldesenbet was married with two young children.

ARKANSAS LAWMAKERS OVERRIDE VETO OF MEASURE BANNING MEDICAL TREATMENT, SURGERY FOR TRANSGENDER MINORS: Arkansas lawmakers voted yesterday (April 6th) to override a veto the day before by Republican Governor Asa Hutchinson of a ban on gender-affirming medical treatments — meaning hormone treatment or puberty blockers — or surgery for transgender minors. It is the first law of its kind by any state.  The Republican-led Legislature voted overwhelmingly in favor of overriding the veto, which required only a simple majority. Pediatricians, social workers and the parents of transgender minors were among those who’d spoken against the measure, saying it would harm those young people, who are already at higher risk for depression and suicide. Opponents say they will sue to try to block the ban from going into effect this summer.