News Headlines 5/28/21

REPUBLICANS EXPECTED TO USE FILIBUSTER TO BLOCK COMMISSION TO PROBE CAPITOL ATTACK: Senate Republicans are expected to use the filibuster to block the creation of a bipartisan commission to investigate the January 6th attack on the U.S. Capitol, with a vote on the procedural motion that had been expected Thursday pushed to today (May 28th) after delays on a unrelated bill. After initially saying he was open to the idea of a commission, Senate  Republican Leader Mitch McConnell has in recent days come out against it, with CNN reporting that he’s asking GOP senators who might be leaning towards voting for the commission to support filibustering it as a, quote, “personal favor” to him. McConnell has said that even though the panel would be evenly split between Democrats and Republicans, he believes the investigation would be partisan. A  handful of Republicans are still expected to vote in favor of the commission, but 10 would need to in order to overcome a filibuster. The measure to create a commission passed in the House, with 35 Republicans joining with the Democrats.

Among those on Capitol Hill meeting with Republicans in the past couple of days to advocate for the creation of a commission was Metropolitan Police Department Officer Michael Fanone, who responded to the January 6th attack. He was dragged down the Capitol steps by rioters, who shocked him with a stun gun and beat him. Also doing so were the mother and girlfriend of Capitol Hill Police Officer Brian Sicknick, who collapsed and later died after the attack.

GUNMAN WHO KILLED NINE AT CALIFORNIA RAIL YARD APPEARED TO TARGET VICTIMS: The 57-year-old gunman who killed nine people Wednesday morning at the San Jose, California, light rail facility where he worked appeared to target some of the victims, Santa Clara County Sheriff Laurie Smith told the Associated Press Thursday (May 27th). Samuel Cassidy, who killed himself as police arrived in response to the attack, brought a duffel bag filled with semi-automatic handguns and high-capacity magazines to the Valley Transportation Authority rail yard, according to the sheriff. Smith said, “It appears to us at this point that he said to one of the people there: ‘I’m not going to shoot you.’ And then he shot other people. So I imagine there was some kind of thought on who he wanted to shoot.” The sheriff also said explosives were found at Cassidy’s home, where  it’s believed he set a timer or other device so a fire would took place at the same time as the shooting, which is what happened.

Sheriff’s officials described Cassidy as “a highly disgruntled VTA employee for many years,” and AP cited a Biden administration official describing a Department of Homeland Security memo as saying that after he was detained by customs officers in 2016, Cassidy spoke about hating his workplace and had a memo book with notes on how he hated the Valley Transportation Authority. But when asked if had issues with people at work, he said no. It doesn’t say why customs officers stopped him, but said he had books about, quote, “terrorism and fear and manifestos.”

THREE TACOMA POLICE OFFICERS CHARGED IN DEATH OF BLACK MAN: Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson filed charges Thursday (May 27th) against three Tacoma police officers in the death of Manuel Ellis, a 33-year-old Black man who died in March 2020 after repeatedly telling the officers he couldn’t breathe while being restrained. Christopher Burbank and Matthew Collins were charged with second-degree murder and Timothy Rakine was charged with first-degree manslaughter. They are set for arraignment today after being taken into custody yesterday. A probable cause statement said that witnesses said Ellis wasn’t fighting back as he was being restrained, and that Rankine allegedly put pressure on his back as he said he couldn’t breathe. The incident began with Burbank and Collins saying they saw Ellis trying to get into occupied cars at a red light, and they claim he attacked the officers. But witnesses said Burbank and Collins attacked him without provocation. The Pierce County medical examiner called Ellis’ death a homicide and attributed it to lack of oxygen from being restrained. He said an enlarged heart and methamphetamine intoxication were contributing factors.

14-YEAR-OLD FLORIDA BOY CHARGED WITH MURDER IN  DEATH OF CLASSMATE STABBED 114 TIMES: A 14-year-old Florida boy, Aiden Fucci, was charged with first-degree murder yesterday (May 27th) in the death of a classmate, 13-year-old Tristyn Bailey, who he alleged stabbed 114 times and then left her mutilated body in a wooded area in St. Johns County earlier this month. State attorney for the 7th Circuit, R.J. Larizza, said Fucci would be tried as an adult, and charged the attack was premeditated. Asked about a possible motive, Larizza said, “We’re still working and investigating this case.” But he denied when asked if Fucci was suffering from mental health issues.