News Headlines 4/15/21

EX-OFFICER CHARGED WITH MANSLAUGHTER IN DEATH OF BLACK DRIVER DURING TRAFFIC STOP: A former Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, police officer who resigned after fatally shooting a 20-year-old Black driver during a traffic stop on Sunday, setting off days of protests, was charged Wednesday (April 14th) with second-degree  manslaughter. Kim Potter, a 26-year police veteran who is white, was arrested and later freed after posting a $100,000 bond. Former Police Chief Tim Gannon, who also resigned after the shooting, had said before he did that Potter appeared to have mistakenly fired her gun instead of her Taser as Daunte Wright tried to struggle out of the grasp of police and get away when they tried to arrest him on an outstanding warrant. The outstanding warrant was discovered after police pulled Wright over for having expired tags on his car. Protesters clashed with police for a fourth straight night at the Brooklyn Center police station. An order was given to disperse about an hour before curfew, with police saying objects were being thrown at officers and people were trying to take down a fence put up to protect the station. Police fired gas canisters in return.

BIDEN SAYS WILL REMOVE ALL TROOPS FROM AFGHANISTAN: President Biden announced yesterday (April 14th) that he will withdraw all remaining U.S. troops from Afghanistan by September 11th, the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks that led the U.S. to go into that country. There are about 2,500 U.S. troops currently in Afghanistan. Speaking from the White House Treaty Room, the same place where then-President George W. Bush announced the start of the war in Afghanistan, Biden said, “It is time to end America’s longest war,” stating, “We cannot continue the cycle of extending or expanding our military presence in Afghanistan hoping to create the ideal conditions for our withdrawal, expecting a different result.” He added, “I am now the fourth United States president to preside over an American troop presence in Afghanistan. Two Republicans. Two Democrats. I will not pass this responsibility to a fifth.”

EXPERT TESTIFIES GEORGE FLOYD DIED DUE TO HEART DISEASE: A forensic pathologist testified yesterday (April 14th) in the murder and manslaughter trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin that George Floyd died of a sudden heart rhythm disturbance due to heart disease. The testimony from defense witness Dr. David Fowler, a former Maryland chief medical examiner, contradicted prosecution experts who testified last week that Floyd died due to a lack of oxygen from the way he was pinned down on the ground with Chauvin’s knee on his neck. Fowler further stated that the fentanyl and methamphetamine in Floyd’s system, and possibly also carbon monoxide from car exhaust were contributing factors in his death. However, he acknowledged under examination that Floyd’s blood wasn’t tested for carbon monoxide, so there was data to support that suggestion.

Fowler also stated that Chauvin’s knee was, quote, “nowhere close” to Floyd’s “airway,” and that the fact that Floyd was speaking and groaning showed his airway was open. He said that Floyd didn’t complain about vision changes or other symptoms of insufficient oxygen to the brain, and that he was coherent until shortly before he stopped moving, stating, “The bottom line is, moving air in and out, and speaking and making noise is very good evidence that the airway was not closed.”

ADMINISTRATION TO ANNOUNCE SANCTIONS ON RUSSIA: The Biden administration will be announcing sanctions on Russia in response to the large-scale SolarWinds hacking campaign last year that got into federal agencies, as well as for its 2020 election interference efforts, AP reported last night (April 14th), citing a senior administration official. The sanctions are set to be announced today.

CDC ADVISERS POSTPONE RECOMMENDATION ON JOHNSON & JOHNSON VACCINE: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices decided Wednesday (April 14th) not to make a recommendation yet on whether to continue the pause that began a day earlier on Johnson & Johnson’s Covid-19 vaccine because of concerns about rare blood clots. The panel, which is expected to reconvene in seven to 10 days, said it wants to gather more information before coming to a decision.