News Headlines 6/22/21

U.S. REACHES MILESTONE OF 150 MILLION AMERICANS FULLY VACCINATED: The U.S. on Monday (June 21st) reached the milestone of 150 million Americans being fully vaccinated against Covid-19. That translates to 45 percent of the U.S. population, while over 53 percent have received at least one dose of the vaccine. However, the rate of people getting vaccinated has  slowed significantly in recent weeks. Meanwhile, deaths from Covid have fallen below 300 a day for the first time since March 2020, in the early days of the pandemic. Average daily deaths are at 293, down from a high of over 3,400 in mid-January.

DRIVER WHO PLOWED INTO BICYCLISTS AT ARIZONA RACE HAS HISTORY OF DUI INCIDENTS: Court records show that the man who allegedly rammed his pickup truck into a group of bicyclists at a weekend race in Show Low, Arizona, on Saturday morning (June 19th) has a criminal history of several episodes of driving while intoxicated. Several riders were critically injured in the incident. Authorities identified him yesterday (June 21st) as 35-year-old Shawn Michael Chock, who is still hospitalized after being shot by police as they chased him after he fled the scene. Police are trying to determine a motive. According to AP, court records also show a 2007 indictment for aggravated assault, and a charge of disorderly conduct with a weapon a few months later, as well as charges of aggravated assault and shoplifting in 2010, and a parole violation in 2012.

REPUBLICANS POISED TO BLOCK VOTING BILL IN KEY TEST VOTE IN SENATE: Republicans are poised to block sweeping voting rights legislation proposed by Democrats in a key test vote in the Senate today (June 22nd). Republicans view the measure as federal overreach in state’s elections systems and are set to use the filibuster  today to block debate from beginning on the measure. Previewing the events, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said yesterday, “Are you afraid to debate? We’re about to find out.”

JUDGE DISMISSES MOST CLAIMS FILED OVER CLEARING OF D.C. PARK LAST YEAR: A federal judge yesterday (June 21st) dismissed most claims that were brought by Black Lives Matter activists and civil liberties groups who accused the Trump administration of having violated the civil rights of protesters when they were forcefully removed by police from the Lafayette Square park near the White House in June 2020 before then-President Donald Trump walked to a nearby church to take a photo with a Bible. U.S. District Judge Dabney Friedrich said that the suit’s claims that Trump and then-Attorney General William Barr had conspired to violate the  protesters’ rights were speculative, and that it was premature for the court to conclude whether the actions of law enforcement were justified. Friedrich dismissed the claims against Trump, Barr and other federal officials, including the acting U.S. Park Police chief, saying in addition that the law gives them immunity in civil suits. He did, however, allow the claims against the Metropolitan Police Department and the Arlington Police Department to proceed.