HeadlinesApril 16, 2021

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Eight Killed After Gunman Opens Fire at Indianapolis FedEx Warehouse

Apr 16, 2021

In Indianapolis, at least eight people were killed after a gunman opened fire at a FedEx warehouse late Thursday. At least five survivors with gunshot wounds were taken to local hospitals, including one in critical condition. This is an Indianapolis police spokesperson.

Genae Cook: “Preliminary information at this time is that the alleged shooter has taken his own life here at the scene. … It is very heartbreaking. And, you know, Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department, the officers responded. They came in, they went in, and they did their job. And a lot of them are trying to face this, because this is a sight that no one should ever have to see.”

This comes as Democratic Senator Chris Murphy is pushing a bill requiring universal background checks for all gun purchasers. Murphy represents Connecticut, where the massacre of 20 first graders and six adults took place at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012.

13-Year-Old Adam Toledo Had Hands Up When He Was Shot Dead by Chicago Officer

Apr 16, 2021

Protesters took to the streets of Chicago Thursday night to condemn the police killing of Adam Toledo, a 13-year-old Latino boy. Body camera video recorded on March 29 and released Thursday by the Chicago police shows Adam had his hands up in the air when a police officer fired a single fatal shot into the boy’s chest. Adam was a seventh grader at Gary Elementary School.

The Chicago police initially described the incident as an “armed confrontation,” but the video shows Adam raised his hands after being ordered to do so. He was killed within 20 seconds of the officer leaving his car to chase him down a dark alley following a report of gunshots in the area.

The Toledo family’s attorney, Adeena Weiss-Ortiz, described the killing as an assassination.

Adeena Weiss-Ortiz: “Adam, during his last second of life, did not have a gun in his hand. The officer screamed at him, 'Show me your hands!' Adam complied, turned around. His hands were empty when he was shot in the chest at the hands of the officer.”

Family of Daunte Wright Demands More Serious Charges for Officer Who Fired Fatal Shot

Apr 16, 2021

In Minnesota, protesters took to the streets of Brooklyn Center for a fifth straight night, once again defying a curfew, to demand justice for Daunte Wright, a 20-year-old Black man shot dead by white police officer Kimberly Potter during a traffic stop Sunday. Potter has been charged with second-degree manslaughter, but Wright’s family is demanding she face more serious charges. This is Daunte Wright’s mother, Katie Wright.

Katie Wright: “Unfortunately, there’s never going to be justice for us. The justice would bring our son home to us, knocking on the door with his big smile, coming in the house, sitting down eating dinner with us, going out to lunch, playing with his 1-year-old, almost 2-year-old son, giving him a kiss before he walks out the door. So, justice isn’t even a word to me. I do want accountability.”

Daunte Wright’s family has announced plans for a funeral next Thursday in Minneapolis. The Reverend Al Sharpton will deliver the eulogy.

Derek Chauvin, Accused of Murdering George Floyd, Declines to Testify in His Own Defense

Apr 16, 2021

Closing arguments in the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin are set for Monday as the defense rested its case Thursday after calling just seven witnesses. Chauvin chose not to testify in his own trial, invoking his right against self-incrimination.

Eric Nelson: “Have you made a decision today whether you intend to testify or whether you intend to invoke your Fifth Amendment privilege?”

Derek Chauvin: “I will invoke my Fifth Amendment privilege today.”

Chauvin faces murder and manslaughter charges for killing George Floyd last May, by kneeling on his neck for nine minutes and 29 seconds. Jurors will remain sequestered in a hotel as they begin deliberations on Monday.

Court Vindicates Buffalo Cop Fired for Stopping a Fellow Officer from Choking Handcuffed Man

Apr 16, 2021

A New York court has vindicated a former Buffalo police officer who was fired for stopping a fellow cop from choking a handcuffed man during an arrest in 2006. Cariol Horne was sanctioned by the Buffalo Police Department, reassigned, then fired in 2008, just months before she was eligible to receive her full pension. This week’s ruling makes her eligible for back pay and pension benefits. Horne is calling on state legislatures and Congress to pass Cariol’s Law, which would make it the duty of law enforcement officers to intervene in cases of brutality.

Dr. Fauci Shuts Down Rep. Jim Jordan in Heated Exchange over Public Health Measures

Apr 16, 2021

The United States confirmed more than 74,000 new coronavirus cases Thursday and over 900 new deaths. Michigan’s largest hospital system is nearing capacity with over 90% of beds filled — with suburban Detroit reporting some of the highest rates of infection in the U.S.

On Capitol Hill, Republican Congressmember Jim Jordan got into a heated conversation with senior White House medical adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci — accusing him of seeking to deprive Americans of their liberties by promoting mask mandates and social distancing.

Rep. Jim Jordan: “What standard, what objective outcome do we have to reach before — before Americans get their liberty and freedoms back?”

Dr. Anthony Fauci: “You know, you’re indicating liberty and freedom. I look at it as a public health measure to prevent people from dying and going to the hospital.”

Rep. Jim Jordan: “You don’t think Americans’ liberties have been threatened the last year, Dr. Fauci? They’ve been assaulted! Their liberties have.”

Dr. Anthony Fauci: “I don’t look at this as a liberty thing, Congressman Jordan. I look at this” —

Rep. Jim Jordan: “Well, that’s obvious!”

Dr. Anthony Fauci: — “as a public health thing.”

Pfizer Says COVID-19 Booster Vaccines Likely Needed Within a Year

Apr 16, 2021

Pfizer’s CEO says people who’ve received COVID-19 vaccines will likely need booster shots within a year, with annual boosters needed to maintain protection. Researchers still don’t know how long immunity to COVID-19 will last in people who’ve been vaccinated — or who’ve recovered from an infection.

India Reports Record 217,000 New Cases as Millions Gather for World’s Largest Pilgrimage

Apr 16, 2021

India reported more than 217,000 COVID cases Friday, a new record, with nearly 1,200 deaths. This comes as millions of people have been converging on the city of Haridwar for the Hindu festival of Kumbh Mela, the world’s largest pilgrimage. At least 4 million bathed in the Ganges River over just two days this week. Prime Minister Narendra Modi refused to call off the month-long festival to avoid a potential backlash from Hindu leaders and his base. Last year, Indian Muslims faced a torrent of Islamophobic hate after an Islamic missionary group held an event in New Delhi which was linked to a possible outbreak.

Brazilian Senate Probes Bolsonaro’s Pandemic Response as Daily Death Toll Remains World’s Worst

Apr 16, 2021

Brazil’s Senate has launched an investigation into far-right President Jair Bolsonaro’s disastrous handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, as Brazil’s average daily death toll topped 3,000, the worst in the world. On Thursday, the president of the Doctors Without Borders said the humanitarian catastrophe is likely to intensify in the weeks ahead.

Dr. Christos Christou: “Each week, there is a grim new record of deaths and infections. The hospitals are overflowing. And yet there is still no coordinated, centralized response. Health workers are physically, mentally and emotionally exhausted.”

Aid Groups Say Eritrean Troops Are Not Withdrawing from Tigray as Crisis Deepens

Apr 16, 2021

International aid agencies are warning the crisis in Ethiopia’s Tigray region is worsening and there is no evidence Eritrean troops are withdrawing, as previously announced by Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed. Thousands have been killed since conflict broke out last November, and there have been widespread reports of rape. The U.N. says internally displaced people have started dying from hunger.

Biden Admin Imposes Sanctions on Russia for Hacking, Election Interference, Annexation of Crimea

Apr 16, 2021

The United States has imposed sweeping sanctions on Russia and expelled 10 Russian diplomats, accusing Moscow of the SolarWinds cyberattack against government and corporate targets; interference in the 2020 election; the occupation of Crimea; and human rights abuses. The sanctions target 32 Russian entities and individuals and bar U.S. banks from purchasing Russian government debt.

Hong Kong Sentences Jimmy Lai, Other Pro-Democracy Activists to 8-18 Months in Prison

Apr 16, 2021

In Hong Kong, media tycoon Jimmy Lai has been sentenced to 12 months in prison for helping to organize a massive pro-independence protest in 2019. Four other activists received prison terms between eight and 18 months. Amnesty International said the convictions are a violation of international law and part of the effort to eliminate all political opposition in Hong Kong.

Rep. McCollum Intros Bill Barring Israel from Using U.S. Aid to Violate Palestinian Rights

Apr 16, 2021

Minnesota Congressmember Betty McCollum has introduced legislation that would bar U.S. aid dollars to Israel from being used to suppress Palestinian rights and expand its illegal occupation of Palestinian land. McCollum told The Intercept, “The $3.8 billion provided to Israel by the State Department has no country-specific conditions despite Israel’s systemic violations of Palestinian human rights.” The bill is backed by Jewish groups including J Street, If Not Now and Jewish Voice for Peace.

Democrats Unveil Bill to Expand SCOTUS: “The Court Is Broken”

Apr 16, 2021

A group of Democratic lawmakers introduced legislation Thursday to expand the Supreme Court from nine justices to 13. This is Massachusetts Senator Ed Markey.

Sen. Ed Markey: “The court is broken. And make no mistake about it: The court is broken because Leader Mitch McConnell, his Senate Republican colleagues and Donald Trump broke it.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she does not plan to bring the bill to the floor, instead throwing her support behind Biden’s recently launched Supreme Court reform commission.

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