In national news, protests took place across the country and the world this weekend in hundreds of cities and towns, calling for an end to police violence and racism against black people in the US.
Record crowds filled the streets in Philadelphia and Washington DC, where the protests were marked by a standoff between the mayor of DC and Donald Trump. The mayor authorized a street painting on 16th street leading to the White House with the words ‘Black Lives Matter’. She also declared the plaza in front of the White House ‘Black Lives Matter plaza’ and left lights on all weekend glaring into the White House windows.
Today, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and other top Democrats in the House and Senate unveiled far-reaching legislation to overhaul policing in the U.S.
The bill is called the “Justice in Policing Act”. It would ban chokeholds, including the kind used by a police officer in the Minneapolis death of George Floyd last month, as well as no-knock warrants in drug cases, as used by the officers who killed Breonna Taylor in Louisville Kentucky in March.
But many in the black community say the bill does not go far enough. In many cities, community leaders are calling for the dismantling of the police altogether.
On Friday the Minneapolis City Council, with a veto-proof majority, took the first steps to do just that.
In Portland last night, Community members packed the virtual meeting of the Portland Committee on Community Engaged Policing. Based on overwhelming community support, the committee voted to recommend that Portland City Council ban police use of tear gas, LRAD and flash bangs, and that Portland defund the police and fund the community.
City council members Joann Hardesty and Chloe Eudaly have both said they’d vote to ban tear gas, but have not taken a stand on the call to de-fund the police.
Protests have continued in Portland for the tenth straight night, with thousands of people marching through the city, rallying, and challenging police at the fence they have erected outside the Justice center. Despite pleas to ban tear gas and the LRAD sound weapon, both of these were used repeatedly through the weekend. Police were filmed using excessive force against demonstrators, hitting them with clubs, spraying journalists directly in the face with pepper spray as they shouted ‘media’, and kneeling on the neck of at least one demonstrator who was gasping “I can’t breathe”.
All of this in Portland alone. Nationally
Six people have been killed in protests across the country over the last ten days – four by police, one by a white Trump supporter, and one by unknown assailants in an alley returning home after protests. All but one were men of color – three black men, and two Hispanic men. One was a 22 year old white woman in Ohio who died of asphyxiation after inhaling tear gas.
In Forks Washington, a multiracial family including a sixteen year old girl, her parents and her grandmother, were on a camping trip this past week when they were harassed and trapped by truckloads of armed white local men.
As they left a camping supply store in Forks, multiple pickup trucks blocked them in the parking lot and armed men accused the family of being part of ‘antifa’. They family said they were not, and were allowed to leave the parking lot.
But several trucks followed them up a logging road to their campsite. The family was then trapped in the forest after the men felled trees on the logging road to block them from leaving.
The family, who had come from Spokane to camp and enjoy nature, decided not to stay the night in the isolated area. Luckily they still had cell phone service, and called the local police to remove the trees to allow them to escape.
In COVID19 pandemic news, worldwide numbers have hit seven million. Around a third of the active cases are in the US, where the numbers continue to rise.
As states across the country ease restrictions on distancing, a new report has found that the shutdown measures prevented an estimated sixty million cases in the US.
But without widespread testing and contact tracing, the re-opening will likely lead to an increase in cases.
The number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in the United States is nearing two million and the death toll has topped 110,500.
But the analysis, published Monday in the journal Nature, shows that stay-at-home orders and other measures implemented in response to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic prevented about 60 million infections nationwide.