In Minneapolis, police fired tear gas and rubber-coated bullets at thousands of demonstrators who gathered Tuesday to protest the killing of George Floyd, an African American man who was killed by a white police officer on Monday. A video circulated widely on social media shows Floyd gasping for air and telling the officers “I cannot breathe,” while officer Derek Chauvin pins him to the pavement with a knee to his neck. A warning: The video is extremely graphic.
Eyewitness 1: “You have your knee on his neck.”
Eyewitness 2: “You’ve got your knee right on his neck, officer.”
Eyewitness 1: “He ain’t even resisting arrest.”
George Floyd: “I cannot breathe.”
Eyewitness 3: “Are you having fun?
George Floyd: “I cannot breathe.
Eyewitness 1: “You’re just a grown — you’re a tough guy. You’re a tough guy, huh?
Officer Tou Thao: “What’s that?”
Eyewitness 1: “I said he’s a tough guy. He’s not even resisting arrest, bro.”
Officer Tou Thao: “Did you get the whole part when we fought with him?”
Eyewitness 1: “But, bro, why are you just sitting there? He ain’t doing nothing now. Put him in the car.”
George Floyd: “Don’t kill me. Don’t kill me.”
Officer Chauvin continued to pin Floyd to the pavement with his knee for several minutes, even after Floyd became silent and still. Floyd was taken to the Hennepin County Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead. The four officers involved in George Floyd’s killing were fired Tuesday, and the FBI has launched a federal civil rights investigation. Minnesota authorities are also investigating.
As the official U.S. death toll from COVID-19 is set to top 100,000 this week, rates of child hunger are soaring across the United States. Despite the surge, a federal program to feed schoolchildren who’ve been cut off from school meals during the pandemic has reached only a small fraction of the 30 million students it was intended to help. The New York Times reports only 15% of eligible children have received benefits under the Pandemic EBT program, even though a fifth of U.S. mothers in a recent survey reported their children were not getting enough to eat.
Meanwhile, the Census Bureau reports more than a third of all U.S. adults are showing signs of clinical anxiety or depression during the pandemic. That figure is about double the rate found in a survey in 2014.
Here in New York, Governor Andrew Cuomo rang the opening bell Tuesday as the New York Stock Exchange partially reopened its floor to trading for the first time in over two months, under new social distancing rules.
The Guardian reports Governor Cuomo signed legislation last month quietly shielding hospital and nursing home executives from the threat of lawsuits stemming from COVID-19. The move came less than two years after the Greater New York Hospital Association poured more than $1 million into a Democratic committee backing Cuomo’s reelection campaign.
Meanwhile, the New York Taxi Workers Alliance has joined a lawsuit by Uber and Lyft drivers against Gov. Cuomo and New York’s Labor Department. The drivers say they were denied unemployment benefits during the pandemic.
The Republican governors of Florida and Georgia have offered to host the Republican National Convention in August, after President Trump threatened to pull the convention from Charlotte if North Carolina cannot guarantee he can have a packed arena. This comes as North Carolina is seeing a surge in coronavirus cases. On Tuesday, North Carolina’s Democratic Governor Roy Cooper responded to the president.
Gov. Roy Cooper: “I will say that it’s OK for political conventions to be political, but pandemic response cannot be. … We’re talking about something that’s going to happen three months from now, and we don’t know what our situation is going to be regarding COVID-19 in North Carolina.”
In India, some hospitals in Mumbai have begun turning away patients amid an explosion in new COVID-19 cases. On Tuesday, India confirmed over 7,000 positive tests for coronavirus in just 24 hours, a record pace. Despite the surge, India resumed domestic air travel this week, with flights taking off under new social distancing guidelines.
In Ecuador, thousands of people took to the streets Monday in cities across the country protesting President Lenín Moreno’s public spending cuts during the pandemic. At least 150,000 people in Ecuador are now unemployed, with unions saying low-income workers have received little or no aid, while the rich are being protected. At least 2,000 marched in the capital Quito. Marches also took place in the city of Guayaquil — the epicenter of the pandemic in Ecuador.
In Mexico City, healthcare workers blocked main roads Wednesday, demanding the government provide them with personal protective equipment amid the ongoing pandemic.
Susana Ballesteros: “We are asked to reuse our uniforms, that we should use cotton, to wash or reuse our N95 masks, after several of my colleagues have become infected and even died. They have even died. So we want the authorities to listen to us. We want equipment to be able to work.”
President Trump accused a reporter of trying to be “politically correct” for wearing a face mask during a press briefing at the White House on Tuesday. Trump’s comment came a day after he shared a tweet mocking Joe Biden for wearing a mask during a Memorial Day event in Delaware.
President Donald Trump: “Biden can wear a mask, but he was standing outside with his wife, perfect conditions, perfect weather. They’re inside, they don’t wear masks, and so I thought it was very unusual that he had one on. But I thought that was fine. I wasn’t criticizing him at all. Why would I ever do a thing like that? And your second question was? I couldn’t hear you.”
Jeff Mason: “The second” —
President Donald Trump: “Can you — can you take it off? Because I cannot hear you.”
Jeff Mason: “I’ll just speak louder, sir.”
President Donald Trump: “Oh, OK, because you want to be politically correct. Go ahead.”
Jeff Mason: “No, sir. I just want to wear the mask.”
President Donald Trump: “Go ahead.”
Meanwhile, Joe Biden called Trump an “absolute fool” and said his refusal to wear face masks is “stoking deaths.”
Amazon is holding its first virtual shareholder meeting today, with some shareholders calling on the retail giant to address worker safety issues. At least eight Amazon warehouse workers have died of COVID-19. Meanwhile, Amazon recently attempted to improve its image by distributing a video package to local news outlets praising the company’s response to the pandemic. At least 10 stations aired the Amazon propaganda video as a news item.
News anchors: “Millions of Americans staying at home are relying on Amazon. Millions of Americans staying at home are relying on Amazon. Millions of Americans staying at home are relying on Amazon.”
Here in New York, a video has gone viral showing a white woman calling the cops on a Black man and falsely accusing him of “threatening her life” after he asked her to leash her dog in Central Park. Christian Cooper — a writer, editor, avid bird watcher and board member of the New York City Audubon Society — filmed on his smartphone as the woman, Amy Cooper, dialed 911 to report him.
Amy Cooper: “There is an African American man. I am in Central Park. He is recording me and threatening myself and my dog. And like — I’m sorry, I can’t hear you, either. I’m being threatened by a man in the Ramble. Please send the cops immediately!”
The woman, Amy Cooper, has since been fired by her employer, investment company Franklin Templeton. She has also surrendered her dog to the shelter it was adopted from. Amy Cooper has since publicly apologized, telling CNN, “I’m not a racist. I did not mean to harm that man in any way. I think I was just scared.”
Costa Rica has become the first country in Central America to legalize marriage equality. The landmark ruling went into effect at midnight Tuesday, 18 months after the Costa Rican Constitutional Court ordered lawmakers to implement the reform. Small ceremonies took place shortly after, respecting the country’s coronavirus restrictions. Daritza Araya and Alexandra Quirós were the first couple to marry in the early hours of the morning.