Tag Archives: George Floyd

George Floyd’s Death: Prosecutors demand tough punishment for killer cops. [United States]

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Prosecutors are seeking stiffer-than-usual sentences for four former US police officers charged over the killing of George Floyd, arguing that they showed “particular cruelty” to the handcuffed African American.

The 46-year-old resident of Minneapolis, Minnesota died in May after being pinned to the pavement under the knee of white officer Derek Chauvin as Floyd gasped that he could not breathe.

The case is proceeding amid renewed fury over police violence against African Americans, galvanized by the shooting of Jacob Blake in Wisconsin this week.

Court papers filed Friday in the Floyd case indicate that the Minnesota attorney general’s office will argue there were a number of aggravating factors.

These include evidence that Chauvin knelt on Floyd’s neck for almost nine minutes as bystanders, including multiple children, pleaded for his life and then watched him die.

“George Floyd, the victim, was particularly vulnerable because officers had already handcuffed him behind his back and then placed him chest down on the pavement, and Mr. Floyd clearly and repeatedly told the officers he could not breathe,” the court documents state.

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Chauvin inflicted “particular cruelty,” as well as “gratuitous pain” as he abused his position of authority, prosecutors allege.

“Despite Mr. Floyd’s pleas that he could not breathe and was going to die, as well as the pleas of eyewitnesses to get off Mr. Floyd and help him, (the) defendant and his co-defendants continued to restrain Mr. Floyd,” the papers say.

A man screams with emotion as he sees a policeman take a knee while hundreds protest the death of George Floyd next to the White House on May 31, 2020 in Washington, DC. ROBERTO SCHMIDT / AFP

Three or more suspects “actively participated” in the killing, prosecutors noted, saying this would justify longer sentences.

Groundswell of outrage
The charges against Chauvin include unintentional second-degree murder, while three ex-colleagues — J. Kueng, Thomas Lane and Tou Thao — are charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and manslaughter.

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The shockingly public nature of Floyd’s death — which bystanders filmed and then posted on social media — sparked an enormous mobilization nationwide, as protesters took to the streets to denounce racism and police brutality.

The groundswell of outrage reached beyond American borders, prompting huge demonstrations around the world against the mistreatment of ethnic minorities and the rewriting of colonial history.

The face of Floyd, a father-of-three whose last job was as a security guard, has become a symbol brandished in anti-racist marches everywhere.

He was remembered at a massive demonstration in Washington on Friday that highlighted the case of 29-year-old Blake, who was gravely wounded when a policeman fired multiple shots at him as he tried to get into his car on Sunday in Kenosha, Wisconsin.

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Conviction in Minnesota for second-degree unintentional murder and third-degree murder usually carries sentences of up to 12 and a half years.

The court documents did not say how much extra time prosecutors will request if the men are convicted, but the maximum for second-degree murder is 40 years in prison.

A defense attorney for ex-officer Kueng sought a dismissal Thursday, attributing the death to health problems and fentanyl in Floyd’s system.

Attorney Thomas Plunkett will file evidence that Floyd swallowed drugs during a May 6, 2019, arrest for selling drugs and was convicted of a 2007 armed drug robbery in Texas.


#Newsworthy…

[Photos] Pastor reburied George Floyd, call him Obinna after tracing his descendant to Imo state

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An Imo-based pastor identified as Pastor Humble Okoro, has made his own version of the funeral service for late George Floyd in Mbaise, Imo State.

Pastor Humble Okoro said that George Floyd’s native name was “Obinna” as he hailed from Imo state when he tried tracing his roots to Africa.

According to Leadership,a Nigerian newspaper that published the news, Pastor Okoro in the cause of carrying out the funeral made it known that:

“I have traced the ancestral root of George Obinna Floyd to Umuoffor kindred in Obokwu obibi Aboh Mbaise Imo State and I feel so happy now that we have reburied him alongside with his ancestors.”

46-year-old African-American citizen, George Floyd was killed by the police in Minneapolis after a white officer knelt on his neck amidst pleading from the suspect that he couldn’t breathe.


#Newsworthy…

George Floyd’s Death: EPL reveal plan to ban Players in support of #BLM

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The Premier League has said it will support players, who take a knee as a public show of support for the Black Lives Matter movement, when the season restarts next week, according to NobleSports

The Football Association assured players they would treat any display of anti-racist or political gestures with “common sense”.

This follows global protests that have continued since the death of George Floyd in the USA last month.

Liverpool and Chelsea are among the top-flight clubs to take a knee during training, to show solidarity for the movement last week.

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The German FA decided not to take action against England international Jadon Sancho and other Bundesliga players, who displayed anti-racism messages following the death of Floyd.

Also, earlier this month, FIFA president Gianni Infantino said Bundesliga players who protested over Floyd’s death on the pitch “deserve an applause and not a punishment.


#Newsworthy…

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George Floyd’s Death: How Killing destroy Police reforms.

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Everything about Derek Chauvin’s case — from his long list of previous conduct complaints to the 44-year-old police officer’s brutal calm as he pressed his knee to George Floyd’s neck for more than eight minutes until he died— spoke to the decades of failure to address the systemic problems plaguing his employer, the Minneapolis Police Department.

Floyd’s death under the knee of the white MPD officer on May 25 has reignited furor over the persistence of police brutality against people of color in the United States. As Americans gathered to protest in more than 70 cities, they raged against the same tepid solutions proposed by local and national leaders that have fallen far short in the past: opening investigations, firing police officers, and simply promising more reforms.

Nowhere is that pattern clearer than in Minneapolis. More than half a dozen government investigations and reports reviewed by TIME show that the same reforms were recommended time and again over the past two decades in the MPD to increase accountability, curb use-of-force violations and build up community trust — with seemingly little implementation. “People in this community have been very concerned about the Minneapolis Police Department for a long, long time,” says Hans Lee, a pastor at Minneapolis’ Calvary Lutheran Church. “It was a tinderbox.”

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Floyd’s killing has refocused attention on both the local factors that led to Minneapolis’ poor record and the ways that President Donald Trump’s Justice Department has made it more difficult at the federal level to rehabilitate police departments accused of systemic abuses. In the wake of Floyd’s death, Trump has not addressed issues of racism and injustice in the country, instead focusing his ire on ensuing protests. His Administration has rolled back a series of reforms that former President Barack Obama instituted to facilitate Justice Department intervention in problematic police forces like the MPD.

“The Department of Justice has clearly indicated that it is not in the businesses of holding agencies responsible for police misconduct,” says Kanya Bennett, the American Civil Liberties Union’s (ACLU) senior legislative council leading the organization’s federal work on police use of force. “Agencies like the Minneapolis Police Department, which is the center of attention given the police killing of George Floyd — you know, there should have been DOJ intervention there a long time ago.”

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‘A few bad apples’
For black residents of Minneapolis, who make up one-fifth of the city’s population, the outrage over Floyd’s killing followed a sickeningly familiar pattern. Every minute caught on camera leading up to his death seemed to echo previous police abuses in the area. There was Christopher Burns, a 44-year old black man who was killed in front of his children when MPD officers put him in a choke hold in 2002. There was David Smith, a 28-year old mentally ill black man who was killed when an MPD officer pinned him down with his knee for four minutes in 2010. There was 24-year old Jamar Clark, shot by MPD officers who responded to a paramedic call in 2015. There was Philando Castile, a beloved cafeteria worker shot by police in front of his girlfriend and her four-year-old child in 2016.

The day after Floyd’s death, Chauvin was fired from the Minneapolis Police Department and has since been charged with second-degree murder. The other three officers on the scene at the time have been charged with aiding and abetting. In Washington, the Justice Department has initiated a civil rights investigation into Floyd’s killing. Vanita Gupta, who led the Department’s Civil Rights Division under President Barack Obama, is among a group of civil rights advocates and lawmakers who are calling for the DOJ to also open what’s known as a “pattern-or-practice” investigation into the MPD, which would focus on rooting out broader issues in the Department beyond Chauvin’s actions. “It’s a really important tool because individual criminal prosecution is insufficient to addressing long standing systemic problems that can exist in police departments,” says Gupta, who now heads The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights in Washington D.C.

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The Justice Department isn’t ruling out opening a pattern-or-practice investigation in Minneapolis, DOJ officials tell TIME. But they are not rushing in either. The case against the individual officer should play out first while the Justice Department evaluates if it should open the broader investigation, one DOJ official says, speaking on condition of anonymity. “The way that you can ensure the public views your decision-making as credible is if you make methodical and complete decisions,” the official says, adding that it is “premature” to “reflexively” jump to calling for a pattern-or-practice investigation before the underlying criminal conduct at issue has been addressed.

While DOJ weighs whether to go further, some senior members of the Administration have said they do not believe there are systemic problems to investigate. On May 31, National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien told CNN he doesn’t “think there’s systemic racism” in law enforcement in the country. “There’s a few bad apples that are giving law enforcement a terrible name,” he added. When asked if Trump shares O’Brien’s view, White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany said at a press briefing on June 1 that Trump “fundamentally rejects” the idea that the actions of Chauvin and the other Minneapolis officers at the scene are representative of the police force as a whole.

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Over the past three years, Trump’s Administration has loosened the reins on local police departments, rolling back many of the major police reform measures that Obama championed to improve police accountability. Jeff Sessions, Trump’s first attorney general and a criminal justice hardliner, ended an Obama-era restriction on transferring military equipment to police, which was put in place after the 2014 shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., when police arrived at protests in armored vehicles and military-grade gear. Sessions then restored what is known as the 1033 Program, allowing the Pentagon to resume sending surplus military gear including armored vehicles, weapons and riot gear to state and local police forces.

Sessions also reviewed the consent decrees the Obama Administration had formed with more than a dozen police forces accused of abuses around the country, and fought to withdraw from agreements in Baltimore and Chicago. Sessions then made consent decrees — court-ordered agreements to reform local police departments accused of abuses and civil-rights violations— more difficult to obtain going forward, issuing new rules that raised the bar for when they can be used. Those new processes, which are still in place, require a higher level of sign-off within the Department for the agreements to go into effect and also put a sunset date on the deals, instead of allowing them to remain in place indefinitely until improvements are made, as they did under Obama, among other measures.

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William Barr’s tenure as Trump’s second attorney general, which began in 2019 after the President fired Sessions, has been defined more by the fallout of former special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation than by national criminal justice reforms. But he is of a similar mindset to Sessions on police reform in many ways. “If communities don’t give [police] that support and respect, they might find themselves without the police protection they need,” Barr warned in a speech in December. Earlier this year, Barr convened a national commission to study issues in law enforcement, but all of its members come from law enforcement, which critics say ignores important civil rights and civil liberties perspectives.

When asked on June 1 what the Trump Administration is doing to work on the issue of police violence, McEnany said it was “an important question, for sure,” but the only specifics she mentioned were the civil rights investigations into the deaths of George Floyd and Ahmaud Arbery, an unarmed black man who was shot and killed while out jogging in February. “He recognizes injustices where they are,” McEnany said of Trump.

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Obama himself has said that most police and criminal justice reforms must ultimately be made at the state and local levels. But while his administration worked to address what it could at the federal level, says, Bennett of the ACLU, “this Administration has decided that it needs to offer another narrative.” That narrative is “pro blue lives,” she says, and “seeks to dismantle any of the progress that was made previously at the federal level with respect to local and state police accountability.”

‘Put the handcuffs on the criminals’
That pro-blue view has won Trump support from plenty of cops — including in Minneapolis. In October, Minneapolis Police Union president Bob Kroll came to a Trump rally wearing a “Cops for Trump” shirt. “The Obama Administration and the handcuffing and oppression of police was despicable,” Kroll said onstage. “The first thing President Trump did when he took office was turn that around… letting the cops do their job, put the handcuffs on the criminals instead of us.”

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Long before Floyd was killed, the MPD was aware its practices were dangerous and often led to tragic outcomes. The Justice Department’s Community Relations Service oversaw a federal mediation process between the police department and community leaders in 2003, which resulted in signing a “memorandum of agreement” laying out several corrective actions. According to a copy of the document reviewed by TIME, it noted that the “MPD agrees that a choke hold constitutes deadly force. MPD will maintain its policy that prohibits the use of the choke hold except in circumstances in which the use of deadly force is authorized which is essentially life and death situations.”

While other metropolitan police departments across the country have since restricted the controversial practice of neck restraints for suspects, it was that very maneuver that killed Floyd 17 years later. Police officers and use-of-force experts say the MPD stands out for the permissive language of its use-of-force guidance, which notes it can be used “on a subject who is exhibiting active aggression” or “active resistance.” That guidance has not been updated since 2012, according to the MPD website. Since 2015, MPD officers have rendered people unconscious with neck restraints at least 44 times, according to an analysis of police records by NBC News.

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Accountability measures within the police force have also been notoriously difficult to implement. Since joining the force in 2001, Chauvin had 17 conduct complaints filed against him, all but two of which were “closed with no discipline,” according to city records. Another of the officers who was present at the scene when Floyd was killed, Tou Thao, had at least six complaints filed against him, none of which resulted in discipline. Their cases are not uncommon in the department. A 2015 report by the U.S. Justice Department found that only 21% of conduct complaints in the MPD were ever even investigated, with almost half dismissed outright and the rest resulting in “coaching,” a program which allows officers to receive a refresher on department policy instead of a suspension. The report said the program was full of “inconsistencies and confusion.”

Several attempts to establish an effective police review board also seem to have failed. The Civilian Police Review Authority, a body created by the city council in 1990, was shuttered in 2012 after it “fell apart amid complaints from its members that their rulings on police misconduct cases were routinely ignored by the police chief,” according to media reports at the time. It was replaced by the Office of Police Conduct Review, which has also been accused of ignoring most complaints filed. According to city records, only 13 out of nearly 1,200 complaints processed between October 2012 and September 2015 resulted in disciplinary measures. Most times, the police officer in question was just sent for “coaching.”

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“The statistics on discipline speak for themselves,” Dave Bicking, a board member of Communities United Against Police Brutality, a Twin Cities advocacy group, wrote in an email to the Minneapolis City Council in April 2018. “From complaints by the public, the harshest discipline we are aware of is a 40-hour suspension. Is this level of accountability acceptable to you?” In the data he attached showing complaints against officers without discipline, Chauvin’s name appeared eight times.

Other parts of Minnesota’s state government have also shown little appetite for supporting reform. The state has one of the lowest police license revocation rates in the country: A 2017 investigation by the Star Tribune found that over the past two decades, several hundred officers across the state had been convicted of serious crimes, such as assault, without ever facing discipline by the state licensing body. The state legislature, too, has resisted police reforms. In February, a working group led by State Attorney General Keith Ellison released 28 recommendations including new training standards and independent investigations into the use of deadly force in the MPD. But many require the approval of the state legislature, which has failed to pass even one of more than a dozen police reform bills proposed since 2015.

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“After Castile, we were hopeful the legislature would take some action to address these broad, systemic issues,” Nelson says. “But then things calm down. There’s not enough political will to hold the police accountable. It’s very difficult to change the direction of a ship.”

With nationwide protests extending into a second week, it’s clear that many Americans still want to try. They hope the tragedy of Floyd’s death may finally lead to long overdue reforms in Minneapolis and around the country— even in systems that so far have not been receptive to significant change. “This is an instance where there’s a strong focus on the need to hold Officer Chauvin and the other three officers accountable for the terrible acts, for killing Mr. Floyd,” says Gupta. But, she adds, there’s “also the need for a real reckoning.”


#Newsworthy…

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George Floyd’s Death: One of 4 Police suspect freed.

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The police killing of George Floyd has triggered anti-racism protests around the world. A number of monuments with links to colonialism and slavery have been defaced or pulled down in Europe and the United States as protests for racial justice continue.

Floyd’s brother, Philonise Floyd, has testified before the House of Representatives Judiciary Committee, along with family lawyer Ben Crump and 10 others at the first congressional hearing to examine the social and political undercurrents that have fuelled weeks of protests nationwide and overseas.

Floyd died on May 25 after a policeman knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes. His death sparked nationwide calls for policing reforms.


#Newsworthy…

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George Floyd – The Man Who Sparked A ‘Movement’

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As George Floyd is laid to rest in Houston, family members and friends remember the man who spawned a movement.

According to those who knew him, he was a man who drew people in with his kindness, in the Third Ward of Houston where he grew and everywhere else he went.

Floyd was remembered by family members as a man everyone wanted to be around. Philonise Floyd, George’s brother, said he was like “a general” that everyone wanted to follow.

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Growing up in a single-parent household, Floyd was remembered as a loving, supportive and guiding presence by his siblings at a memorial in Minneapolislast week.

“He was like a big brother,” Terai Lawson, who grew up in Houston, told National Public Radio in an interview that aired on Tuesday morning.

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Terai is the younger brother of Ortierre Lawson, Floyd’s friend and former football team mate.

Terai said Floyd took an interested in his sports life. “I always mysteriously see him in the stands, watching me play basketball all the way through high school,” Terai said.

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An avid sportsman
Ortierre, who played football with Floyd at Yates High School, remembered him as a man who carried the team through challenging times with his good nature and support.

At practices in the blistering Houston heat, their football coach would not allow water breaks, Ortierre said. To help his team get through the tough practices: “Someone like Floyd would bust out singing,” Ortierre remembered in conversation with NPR.

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“When he would start singing and the whole team would start singing.”

Floyd helped the football team make the state championships during his time at Yates High School. State championships are a monumental accomplishment in Texas, where football is often considered a second religion for residents.

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Floyd was an avid sportsman. He was 6’4″ (194cm) and loved basketball. He was a huge fan of LeBron James, star player for the Los Angeles Lakers who made his mark on basketball with the Cleveland Cavaliers.

“He was the biggest LeBron James fan,” Floyd’s nephew Brandon Williams recalled at his eulogy service in Minneapolis. When James won the championship with the Cavaliers against the Golden State Warriors in the 2016 NBA finals, Floyd was elated.

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“When the [Cavaliers] came back on the Golden State Warriors in the Finals, and I remember the very first phone call. I told him, ‘You’re too happy. You sound like you won a championship.’ “

Floyd responded: “Man, you know how I feel about LeBron. I did win a championship”.

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Outpouring of support
James commented on Instagram about Floyd’s killing by former Minneapolis Officer Derek Chauvin on May 26, juxtaposing the image of Chauvin kneeling on Floyd’s neck with that of former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick.

Kaepernick protested against police brutality and racial injustice by taking a knee during the US National Anthem at football games starting in the 2016 season.

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Kaepernick received support from many but was also criticised by the NFL and others, even Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, for his protest.

James captioned his post with “Do you understand NOW”?

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James also posted a photo of himself wearing a shirt emblazoned with the words “I can’t breathe”, which were the last words of both Eric Garner, killed in New York in 2014, and Floyd.

Michael Jordan, another legendary basketball player, said his “heart goes out” to the Floyd family in a May 31 statement.

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A life cut short
After graduating from Yates in 1993, Floyd wen tot South Florida Community College where he played basketball for two years. He then transferred to Texas A&M University in Kingsville, where played basketball until he dropped out.

Floyd was also a musician, rapping with a group called the Screwed Up Click in Houston’s hip-hop scene in the 1990s.

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Floyd went to prison in 2009 after armed robbery and home invasion charges were brought against him.

He was paroled in 2013 and returned to Houston, where residents say he supported and upheld the community as a leader and mentor.

Floyd moved to Minneapolis in 2014 to look for employment. He worked as a truck driver and bouncer there, until he lost his job due to the coronavirus pandemic in 2020, shortly before his death.

Floyd was 46 when he died. He is survived by five children.

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Chauvin, the officer who held Floyd down, had his third-degree murder charge upgraded to second-degree murder and also faces a second-degree manslaughter charge.

The three other officers present when Floyd was killed face charges of aiding and abetting second-degree murder and manslaughter. All four have been fired from the Minneapolis police force.

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Floyd’s death sparked a movement that is drawing calls to defund the police, but according to DJD, another Lawson brother and friend of Floyd who spoke to NPR, he cannot help but remember his “brother”.

“To see one of your best friends on TV all day long … it’s just another person to everybody and a movement to everyone else. But it’s a friend to me. I don’t see George Floyd. I see Big Floyd.”


#Newsworthy…

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George Floyd’s Death: Minneapolis activists call for change.

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The death of George Floyd at the hands of a police officer felt like a “tipping point,” Minneapolis community organizer Marjaan Sirdar tells NRM.

Sirdar has lived in South Minneapolis for over a decade, and long worked as an organizer and activist among the city’s black communities. He has been involved in many outreach efforts against racial inequality and police brutality in the city.

“This hit harder, this hit different. The leaders of this city have ignored us,” Sirdar tells NRM. “This is a town that lacks [the] political will to provide security for black and brown people.”

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On May 25, Floyd, 46, was killed during an arrest over an alleged forgery at a Southside grocery store after an officer pressed his knee on Floyd’s neck despite Floyd’s pleas for assistance, and repeated exhortations that he could not breathe. An additional video seemingly of the arrest has shown two other officers also kneeling on Floyd’s body.

This killing, which was filmed by onlookers and circulated online, has led to widespread outrage, and protests through the city and the country.

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“This has been brewing for years,” Owen Duckworth, a community organizer with Minneapolis racial justice and equality advocacy group The Alliance, says. “A lot of black folks are scared. The moment is raw for a lot of people and that’s when you see the uprisings that have happened.”

A first protest was led by the Racial Justice Group, a grassroots organization in Minneapolis, on May 26, the day after Floyd’s death. Though this protest was peaceful, ensuing rallies have grown more violent — on Thursday night, demonstrators broke into a police precinct in and set it on fire.

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Other protests across the country have broken out in states including New York, California, Tennessee and Colorado.

But Miski Noor, an activist and member of the Black Vision Collective, a social justice organization in Minnesota, says that a “narrative of rioting and looting” doesn’t address systemic issues apparent within the Minneapolis police department (MPD) or protesters’ grievances thereof.

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“What needs to happen is that the police need to acknowledge the harm they’ve done to the community,” Noor says. “These protests are the community grieving,” Noor continues, adding that they have now “taken a life of their own.”

Sirdar, who joined Racial Justice Group’s rally on Tuesday but has not attended protests since, also believes that the ensuing protests are not the result of an organized plan.

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“Those are rogue protests, they’re not planned [rallies],” Sirdar says. “[But] when our DA refuses to prosecute killer police and our city council refuses to hold the mayor accountable, they give people no choice.”

Community organizers have been supplying protesters with water, protective equipment as well as milk — to bathe the eyes of people hit by tear gas, which has been deployed by police on multiple occasions across the last few days. They have set up a small area for peaceful prayer, and have also organized groups to undertake clean-up projects in impacted areas during the day.

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William D. Green, a history professor at Augsburg University in Minnesota, says that Minneapolis has long failed its citizens of color and those in poverty, citing a longstanding history of racial inequality.

“What I saw on film conveyed that problems within the [police] department had not been addressed. It was all too familiar,” Professor Green says. “This is about the city and the state’s responsibility to its citizens of color and poverty.”

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According to a 2019 report by the Minnesota NAACP, the unemployment rate for black people in the city’s metropolitan areas is more than twice the rate for white people. Black residents across the city bring in half the income white residents; just a quarter of black people own their homes in the city, compared to 76 percent of white people.

Activists believe this inequality has become manifested in the MPD and its relationship with the communities it serves. This in turn has led to police brutality and the deaths of black people at the hands of MPD officers.

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And Sirdar says the situation is no longer just about the police.

“What that cop did to George Floyd was not an anomaly,” Sirdar says. “A lot of people are looking at the angle of policing, [but] it’s beyond a policing issue … Police brutality is a problem, but the biggest problem is racism.”

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During a press conference on Thursday, Minneapolis City Council vice president Andrea Jenkins called for a state of emergency in the city, “declaring racism as a public health issue.”

In 2015 Jamar Clark, a 24-year-old unarmed black man was shot and killed by police after an altercation in Minneapolis. In 2016, Philando Castile was shot and killed in his car, with his girlfriend and daughter in the backseat, after being pulled over by an officer just five miles north of the city. Derek Chauvin, the MPD officer charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter over Floyd’s death, is reportedly being represented by the same lawyer who defended Jeronimo Yanez, who shot Castile.

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Castile’s death also led to protests across Minnesota and the country.

In light of this pattern of police behavior, Sirdar says the MPD cannot be expected to provide the public safety and trust that Minneapolis residents require. “What I’m pushing for is the dismantling of the police department,” Sirdar tells NRM.

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Miski Noor concurs, arguing that the Minneapolis police department needs to be defunded, with resources instead of being allocated towards community-led solutions.

“We can no longer increase the police budget,” Noor says. “We have to do things that actually take care of human beings.”


#Newsworthy…

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George Floyd’s Death: Many pay last respect | Details.

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Mourners file past the casket of George Floyd, whose body is on view at a public memorial in a church in Houston.


United States congressional Democrats unveil a sweeping package of legislation to combat police violence and racial injustice after two weeks of protests across the nation sparked by George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis police custody

The public will be able to view George Floyd’s casket on Monday in his hometown of Houston, the final stop in a series of memorials in his honour.

Floyd’s funeral will be held on Tuesday, followed by burial, where he will be laid to rest next to his mother, Larcenia Floyd.


#Newsworthy…

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George Floyd’s Death: Minneapolis city council support Police Dept ‘Dismantle’

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A majority of the members of the Minneapolis City Council said Sunday they support disbanding the city’s police department, an aggressive stance that comes just as the state has launched a civil rights investigation after George Floyd’s death.

Nine of the council’s 12 members appeared with activists at a rally in a city park Sunday afternoon and vowed to end policing as the city currently knows it. Council member Jeremiah Ellison promised that the council would “dismantle” the department.

“It is clear that our system of policing is not keeping our communities safe,” Lisa Bender, the council president, said. “Our efforts at incremental reform have failed, period.”

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Bender went on to say she and the eight other council members that joined the rally are committed to ending the city’s relationship with the police force and “to end policing as we know it and recreate systems that actually keep us safe.”

Floyd, a handcuffed black man, died May 25 after a white officer pressed his knee into Floyd’s neck, ignoring his “I can’t breathe” cries and holding it there even after Floyd stopped moving. His death sparked protests — some violent, many peaceful — that spread nationwide.

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Community activists have criticized the Minneapolis department for years for what they say is a racist and brutal culture that resists change. The state of Minnesota launched a civil rights investigation of the department last week, and the first concrete changes came Friday in a stipulated agreement in which the city agreed to ban chokeholds and neck restraints.

A more complete remaking of the department is likely to unfold in coming months.

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Disbanding an entire department has happened before. In 2012, with crime rampant in Camden, New Jersey, the city disbanded its police department and replaced it with a new force that covered Camden County. Compton, California, took the same step in 2000, shifting its policing to Los Angeles County.

It was a step that then-Attorney General Eric Holder said the Justice Department was considering for Ferguson, Missouri, after the death of Michael Brown. The city eventually reached an agreement short of that but one that required massive reforms overseen by a court-appointed mediator.

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The move to defund or abolish the Minneapolis department is far from assured, with the civil rights investigation likely to unfold over the next several months.

On Saturday, activists for defunding the department staged a protest outside Mayor Jacob Frey’s home. Frey came out to talk with them.

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“I have been coming to grips with my own responsibility, my own failure in this,” Frey said. When pressed on whether he supported their demands, Frey said: “I do not support the full abolition of the police department.”

He left to booing.

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At another march Saturday during which leaders called for defunding the department, Verbena Dempster said she supported the idea.

“I think, honestly, we’re too far past” the chance for reform, Dempster told Minnesota Public Radio. “We just have to take down the whole system.”


#Newsworthy…

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George Floyd’s Death: Police Force going down – Minneapolis vows

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Majority of councillors in city where George Floyd was killed say they’re committed to reform and keeping people safe.


The Minneapolis city council has said it wants to disband the city’s police department, after days of protests over the killing of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man who died after a city police officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes on May 25.

US President Donald Trump has ordered the withdrawal of National Guard troops from the streets of Washington, DC.

Protesters have also taken to the streets across the world – from the UK to Spain, Italy and Australia – as demonstrations against police brutality and racism entered their 13th day.

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While some clashes were reported, they remained mostly peaceful.

Hundreds of mourners gathered in North Carolina on Saturday for a memorial service for Floyd, the second of three events currently planned.


#Newsworthy…

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George Floyd’s Death: Protests escalate to small towns.

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Norfolk, Nebraska, is a quiet, conservative and predominantly white city of 24,000 people where public protests are rare, except for an annual rally against abortion. So when about 300 people gathered on a busy street corner last weekend to voice their outrage at the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, residents took notice.

The rally was peaceful, but the fact it happened at all illustrates how far the movement to protest police brutality and discrimination has spread, fueled by social media and the persistent but less visible racism that minorities say they experience in small towns.

“It was important to do it, especially in the middle of Nebraska,” said rally organizer Eduardo Mora, who lives in a neighboring town. “Are we going to wait for a police brutality incident to happen here? We shouldn’t wait for there to be a life taken.”

While the rallies in major cities nationwide have grabbed headlines, people living in smaller and mid-sized cities have also raised their voices to call for change. Some of those protests have turned violent.

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In Sioux City, Iowa — population 83,000 — five officers were injured in a confrontation with protesters and several squad cars were damaged. Officers used pepper spray on the crowd after some of them pelted the officers with rocks.

A rally in Grand Island, Nebraska, drew more than 100 people to march in solidarity with activists for social justice. Officials reported that troublemakers in a passing car sprayed the protesters with a foul-smelling liquid that might have been urine. The protest in the city of 51,000 people was otherwise peaceful.

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Local officials in Farmington, New Mexico, were surprised when 250 protesters showed up for a peaceful rally in front of a mall. The town of 44,000 sits on the border of the Navajo Nation, and the demonstration attracted members of the American Indian Movement and other activists.

“It was larger than we expected,” said Nicole Brown, the Farmington Police Department’s public information officer. “We haven’t really had many large protests. Most of (the previous ones) were small, with maybe 50 people.”

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A protest organized by church leaders drew a diverse crowd of about 100 people to city hall in Rome, Georgia. The event focused on demanding justice for Floyd and Ahmaud Arbery, a 25-year-old black man who was chased down and fatally shot in Georgia while jogging.

“Overall, our protests have been very positive,” said Kristi Kent, a city spokeswoman. “We haven’t seen any types of violence or negativity around them.”

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Mayor Josh Moenning said public demonstrations are rare in Norfolk, Nebraska, but that he understands why they gathered and he praised them for doing so peacefully.

Even though Norfolk hasn’t had any notable conflict between minorities and police, Moenning said many non-white residents say they’ve experienced racism in the community. Floyd’s killing was a painful reminder, he said.

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Nebraska school officials have seen numerous instances over the years of fans shouting racist taunts at high school sporting events. The University of Nebraska faced some criticism in 2018 for not taking action against a student who identified himself as a white nationalist. And in Norfolk, racial tensions flared in 2014 when a resident entered a July 4 parade with an outhouse mounted on a float labeled, “Obama Presidential Library.”

“Like any community, yes, we have a history of racial challenges,” Moenning said. “I think the best way we can deal with those challenges is to talk about it in an honest way and seek to build relationships.”

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The protests even in small towns reflect long-simmering anger over implicit discrimination, such as when police officers watch minorities closely, said Patrick Jones, a University of Nebraska-Lincoln history and ethnic studies professor. Police shootings of other black men only make it worse, he said.

“We’ve reached this tipping point with George Floyd,” Jones said. “Frustration has continued to build with each new incident, and this was the spark. But it’s really rooted in a broader set of injustices.”

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The small-town rallies come as no surprise to Cynthia Willis-Esqueda, a civil rights activist and University of Nebraska-Lincoln psychology professor who studies the effects of discrimination on minorities. Willis-Esqueda said social media has made it a lot easier to publicize and organize rallies, and the coronavirus pandemic has played a role too, driving up unemployment and economic anxiety among minorities who were already struggling financially.

“It’s not as if people in large cities are the only ones who have been affected,” she said. The protests “aren’t just a response to what has happened, not just in their immediate community. It’s a response to what has happened in the United States in general.”


#Newsworthy…

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George Floyd’s Death: Protest across Europe continues.

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Thousands attend anti-racism demonstrations in London and Australia as protests continue in several US cities.


Protests and demonstrations are held across the United States and the world on Saturday, calling for an end to racism and police brutality in one of the largest mobilisations since the death of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man who was killed by police in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on May 25.

Hundreds of mourners gathered in North Carolina on Saturday for a memorial service for Floyd.

Several jurisdictions have been altering their use-of-force policies. California’s governor ordered state police to stop teaching a controversial neck restraint, Minneapolis officials banned police choke and strangleholds, Seattle’s mayor banned police from using tear gas in protests, and a federal judge in Denver limited police use of tear gas and rubber bullets on protesters.

The UK health minister said anti-racism protests attended by thousands of people in London and other major British cities increase the risk of spreading COVID-19.


#Newsworthy…

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George Floyd’s Death: Werder, Wolfsburg knee. #BlackLivesMatter

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Werder Bremen and Wolfsburg became the latest teams to show solidarity with the Black Lives Matter protests sparked by the death of George Floyd when they both took a knee ahead of their Bundesliga clash on Sunday.

Both sides’ starting elevens gathered around the centre circle at the Weser Stadium before dropping to one knee, echoing the gesture made by Borussia Dortmund and Hertha Berlin players and Mainz midfielder Pierre Kunde Malong on Saturday.

With protests against police brutality and for racial equality taking place around the world on Sunday, the Bundesliga has become a stage for tributes to Floyd, a black American man who died last month at the hands of police in Minneapolis.

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On Saturday, Dortmund players also wore messages on their T-shirts during their warm-up in honour of Floyd.

Jadon Sancho and Achraf Hakimi wore the messages “no justice, no peace”, while midfielders Axel Witsel and Emre Can’s T-shirts displayed the words “black”, “white” and “yellow” crossed out, with the word “human” below.

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Prior to their 4-2 win at Bayer Leverkusen on Saturday, Bayern Munich players warmed up in T-shirts bearing both the Black Lives Matter hashtag and the slogan of the club’s official “Reds Against Racism” campaign.

Union Berlin’s Nigerian striker Anthony Ujah wrote in an article for German daily FAZ that he was “proud” of the Bundesliga players who staged on-pitch protests, and pledged to do the same if he scores against Schalke on Sunday.


#Newsworthy…

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George Floyd’s Death: Thousands protest across 3 continents. #BlackLivesMatter

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Tens of thousands of people gathered Saturday in cities far from the United States to express their anger over the death of George Floyd, a sign that the Black Lives Matter movement against police brutality is resonating with wider calls over addressing racism in Asia, Australia and Europe.

In Berlin, where police said 15,000 people rallied peacefully on the German capital’s Alexander Square, protesters chanted Floyd’s name and held up placards with slogans such as “Stop police brutality” and “I can’t breath.”

Floyd, a black man, died after a Minneapolis police officer pressed a knee on his neck even after he pleaded for air while handcuffed and stopped moving. International protests started last weekend and were scheduled for this weekend from Sydney to Seoul and London to Naples.

Several thousand demonstrators in Paris defied a protest ban — issued due to the coronavirus pandemic — and assembled within sight of the U.S. Embassy, kept back by imposing barriers and riot police.

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Among the crowd in the French capital was Marie Djedje, 14, a Parisian born on July 14, the French national day.

“I was born French, on the day when we celebrate our country. But on a daily basis, I don’t feel that this country accepts me,” she said, holding up a sign that read “Being black is not a crime.”

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The teenager said that emerging from France’s virus lockdown and seeing officers on patrol again drove home how scared she is of the police and how she has steeled herself for a life of overcoming obstacles.

“I know that because of my skin color I’m starting out with a handicap, for example, if I want to get a flat or go to a top school,” she said. “I know I’m going to have to fight twice as hard as the others. But I’m prepared.”

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In central London, tens of thousands staged a rally outside Parliament Square, invoking Floyd’s memory as well as people who died during police encounters or indifference in Britain. Some protesters ignored thickening rain clouds and later headed toward the U.K. Home Office, which oversees law enforcement and immigration, and to the U.S. Embassy.

Many dropped to one knee and raised their fists in the air outside the gleaming embassy building south of the River Thames. There were chants of “Silence is violence” and “Color is not a crime.”

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The majority of those marching wore masks and other face coverings, and appeared to make an effort to adhere to social distancing guidelines by walking in small groups.

An estimated 15,000 people also gathered in the heart of Manchester, England, and a further 2,000 people joined in a demonstration in the Welsh capital of Cardiff.

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Andrew Francis, 37, a black man from London, said there’s “a lot of frustration due to racial discrimination, and we want change for our children and our children’s children’s to be able to have equality within the U.K, the U.S., all around the world.”

Francis, who wore a face covering, said he wasn’t worried about the coronavirus and said the fight for racial equality was “more important” to him.

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Floyd’s death has sparked significant protests across the United States; but it has also struck a chord with minorities protesting discrimination elsewhere, including demonstrators in Sydney who highlighted indigenous Australians who died in custody.

A rally there appeared orderly as police handed out masks to protesters and other officials provided hand sanitizer, though officers removed an apparent counter-protester carrying a sign reading, “White Lives, Black Lives, All Lives Matter.”

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In Brisbane, the Queensland state capital, organizers said about 30,000 people gathered, forcing police to shut down some major downtown streets. The protesters demanded to have Australia’s Indigenous flag raised at the police station.

Indigenous Australians make up 2% of the country’s adult population, but 27% of the prison population. They are also the most disadvantaged ethnic minority in Australia and have higher-than-average rates of infant mortality and poor health, as well as shorter life expectancies and lower levels of education and employment than other Australians.

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In South Korea’s capital, Seoul, protesters gathered for a second straight day to denounce Floyd’s death.

Wearing masks and black shirts, dozens of demonstrators marched through a commercial district amid a police escort, carrying signs such as “George Floyd Rest in Peace” and “Koreans for Black Lives Matter.”

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“I urge the U.S. government to stop the violent suppression of (U.S.) protesters and listen to their voices,” said Jihoon Shim, one of the rally’s organizers. “I also want to urge the South Korean government to show its support for their fight (against racism).”

Chris Trabot, who works for Paris City Hall, said George Floyd’s death last week triggered his decision to demonstrate Saturday for the first time in his life.

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Born in the French territory of Martinique, Trabot said he first experienced racism as a child when he moved with his family to mainland France and got in frequent fights with white kids who mocked his skin color.

As an adult, he says he’s been targeted with racial abuse during ID checks. Recently, his 9-year-old daughter has told him of being a target of racism, too, with schoolmates mocking her hair.

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Jessica Corandi, a Paris Metro driver, said she cried when she saw the video of Floyd’s treatment by Minneapolis police. The 37-year-old said her three young girls have started to notice people looking at them strangely on the streets of Paris, which she believes is because they are black.

Protesters outside the U.S. consulate in Naples chanted “Freedom!” and “No Justice, No Peace, (expletive) the police” in English and Italian as they clapped and carried handmade signs and a big banner printed with “Black Lives Matter” and a clenched black fist.

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In Italy, racist incidents have been on the rise in recent years with an influx of migrants from Africa and the growth of anti-migrant sentiment.

Police said 20,000 people rallied against racism in Munich, while thousands more took part in protests in Frankfurt and Cologne.

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In Berlin, Lloyd Lawson, who was born in Britain but raised in Germany, said he had faced racism his entire life.

“The killing and these violent physical things that have happened is only just the top of it,” said Lawson, 54. “That’s why you’ve got to start right from the bottom, just like an iceberg.”


#Newsworthy…

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George Floyd’s Death: 100s arrive, mourn at Floyd’s memorial service

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Service begins in Floyd’s hometown; US capital braces for what officials say may be ‘largest’ demonstration ever.


Hundreds of mourners gathered in North Carolina on Saturday for a memorial service for George Floyd, an unarmed Black man who was killed by police in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on May 25.

Mark Zuckerberg, chief executive of Facebook, has promised to review the social network’s policies that led to its decision to not moderate controversial messages posted by the US president that appeared to encourage violence against those protesting against police racism.

Washington, DC is peparing for what one police official may be the “largest gathering” ever in the US capital. Meanwhile, protesters have taken to the streets in Australia, Asia and Europe in solidarity.

Read Also

George Floyd’s Death: Funeral set to hold on June 9. #Justice4Floyd

Several jurisdictions have been altering their use of force policies, with California’s governor ordering state police to stop teaching a controversial neck restraint, Minneapolis officials ordering a ban on police choke and strangleholds, Seattle’s mayor banning police from using tear gas in protests, and a federal judge in Denver limiting police use of tear gas and rubber bullets on protesters.


#Newsworthy…

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George Floyd’s Death: Activists want to end Police violence. #BlackLivesMatter

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The activists who have flooded city streets since the death of George Floyd all broadly agree on the systemic injustice that has caused the nationwide uprising. They all want to end mass incarceration, dismantle structural racism and end the police killings of black men and women across the country.

But tactical differences have emerged between different camps of activists in the seven years since Black Lives Matter first became a national rallying cry. Some activists have adopted a reformist approach, pushing successfully to equip cops with body cameras, require implicit-bias training and encourage community policing. Others, seeing those measures fail to reduce the number of black deaths at the hands of police, are pushing for more aggressive strategies that weaken or eliminate police altogether. All these activists are committed to the same ends, but they don’t all agree on the means.

There are three broad and overlapping camps within the vast, decentralized network of activists that make up the movement for racial justice in America. The first advocates for a series of reforms to create more accountability for police departments and strictly regulate the use of force, informed by what has and has not worked in the past. The second is increasingly focused on defunding police departments, directing taxpayer money away from law enforcement and towards social services that benefit black communities. The last also aims to redirect funding away from police departments, but considers it a step towards an ultimate goal of abolishing policing altogether.

Some of the leaders in the reform camp banded together after the Ferguson protests to form organizations like Campaign Zero. “In 2014, we were in the early stage of learning the solutions. We knew to protest, but we didn’t know the answers,” says Deray Mckesson, civil-rights activist and co-founder of Campaign Zero. “We knew things that had worked here and there, but we didn’t know what could be a scaled solution.”

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Over the last six years, McKesson says, Campaign Zero has learned what doesn’t work. More body cameras, community policing, mental health support for officers, implicit bias training, and having more police officers of color are all reforms that have been tried in various departments. But they don’t actually result in fewer people being killed by police, Mckesson says. “I think that there was a period of time where people thought training might be helpful, community policing might be helpful,” he says. “There is a consensus now that those things don’t work.”

Instead, Mckesson says, Campaign Zero is focused on strategies that both “reduce the power” and “shrink the role” of existing police departments. One step is getting rid of police-union contracts, he says, which often protect bad cops and prevent police chiefs and mayors from making significant reforms. A 2018 study from the University of Chicago found that after Florida sheriffs’ offices were allowed to unionize, violent misconduct such as use-of-force incidents increased 40% (off a very low base, the researchers said). University of Chicago law professor Dhammika Dharmapala, who co-authored the study, said that the findings suggested “a large proportionate increase once an agency has the right to unionize.”

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Campaign Zero has identified a set of eight specific use-of-force policies that, when taken together, could reduce police violence by more than 70%, according to the group. They include banning chokeholds and strangleholds; requiring de-escalation; requiring officers to issue a warning before shooting; exhausting all other means before shooting; requiring officers to intervene and stop excessive force by other officers and report them immediately; banning shooting at moving vehicles; developing regulations governing when force can be used; and requiring officers to file reports every time they use force.

Already, the hashtag #8CantWait has gone viral on social media, as activists call their local leaders to demand these specific reforms. Celebrities like Oprah Winfrey and Jack Dorsey have come out in support, and Campaign Zero says it has heard from government officials in San Antonio, Houston, and Los Angeles. Advocates of this approach note that unlike long fights over budget cuts, many of these policies can be implemented immediately. “The police are here today,” Mckesson says. “And today they can have less power.”

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But other activists are skeptical that reforms will be enough to stem the violence. Some have pointed out that versions of some of these policies have been implemented in cities across the country, and yet black people continue to die. There’s a growing sense inside much of the movement that police are inherently violent and racist, that no amount of reform will ever solve the problem, and that a true solution requires rethinking policing altogether.

Instead, these activists say, police departments need to be either significantly defunded or even abolished altogether. The taxpayer dollars spent on policing, they argue, need to be redirected to social programs that could strengthen black communities or stop violence before it starts.

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Alicia Garza, founder of the Black Futures Lab and one of the women who coined the phrase #BlackLivesMatter, says that even after 26 criminal-justice reform laws passed in 40 states since 2013, “not much has changed.” About a thousand people are killed at the hands of police every year, according to MappingPoliceViolence.org, and the victims are still disproportionately black. That’s why Garza believes true change entails stemming the flow of taxpayer money to police.

“Overwhelmingly, the largest percentage of most city budgets and state budgets is relating to policing and militarism,” says Garza. “Every machine that you see on the streets costs hundreds of thousands of dollars that could be used for affordable housing, coronavirus testing and resilience support.”

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The law-enforcement presence at the nationwide protests has showcased the immense resources funneled to local police departments, even as doctors and nurses were left to fight COVID-19 without enough equipment or supplies. To that end, activists and major institutions have been calling for major reductions in police funding in city budgets. The ACLU recently called to defund law enforcement and reinvest in communities of color. After pushing for raises for police officers, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti now says he plans to make cuts to the police budget. In New York, activists are calling on Mayor Bill de Blasio to slash the NYPD’s $6 billion budget.

Some of the activists calling for defunding police departments see it as a step towards the ultimate goal of abolishing police altogether. “There shouldn’t even be a moderate Democrat right now who doesn’t believe that we should be taking resources from police departments and reinvesting them in building black futures,” says Jessica Byrd, founder of ThreePoint Strategies, who leads the electoral-justice project at the Movement for Black Lives.

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Ending police violence, Byrd says, will require a “radical shift in policing—not a little bit, not reform, not body cams, not new training,” she says, but rather “a radical shift in the way we think about protecting our communities and public safety.”

“It’s enraging that this is radical,” Byrd adds. “Me saying that taxpayer dollars should not fund those helicopters is radical.”

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Even though abolishing the police may be politically impossible right now, experts say the movement is laying the groundwork for a longterm shift in how best to keep people safe. “No one is in a position to say ‘tomorrow we flip a magic switch and there are no police,” says Alex Vitale, a professor of sociology at Brooklyn College and author of The End of Policing. But he points to other areas of society where consensus has developed that police are not the solution: in rich white communities, for example, when a teenager is caught with drugs, they are usually sent to rehab and not jail.

“People are demanding that we have a bigger conversation about the kind of society that we have that requires so much policing and prisons,” Vitale says. “And trying to begin a conversation about what a world without that would look like.”


#Newsworthy…

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George Floyd’s Death: Amid Trump’s post – Facebook to review policy

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Mark Zuckerberg announces decision after backlash over decision to not moderate controversial messages posted by Trump.


Mark Zuckerberg, chief executive of Facebook, promised to review the social network’s policies that led to its decision to not moderate controversial messages posted by US president that appeared to encourage violence against those protesting police racism.

Protests continue over police brutality as several United States cities hold memorials to honour George Floyd, an unarmed Black man who was killed by police in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on May 25.

California governor has ordered the state yolice training programme to stop teaching officers how to use a hold that can block the flow of blood to the brain.

Seattle’s mayor has banned the city’s police force from using tear gas on protests.


#Newsworthy…

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George Floyd’s Death: Donald Trump in trouble!

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South Africa’s governing party said it is launching a “Black Friday” campaign in response to the “heinous murder” of George Floyd and “institutionalised racism” in the United States.

Twitter has removed President Donald Trump’s campaign tribute video to George Floyd on its platform, citing a copyright complaint.

Rights group the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has sued the Trump administration, claiming officials violated the civil rights of protesters.

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Mayor of Washington, DC, called for the withdrawal from the city of military units sent from other states to deal with protesters.

Los Angeles County Sheriff’s office has said it will no longer enforce a curfew put in place to quell protests.


#Newsworthy…

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George Floyd’s Death: Pope Francis React.


The pontiff, in his address at the Vatican City, said that rape is a societal ill that should never be tolerated or ignored.

The Pontiff who condemned the violence that followed George Floyd‘s death also termed it “self-destructive and self-defeating.”

Pope Francis also said he was praying for Floyd and “all those others who have lost their lives as a result of the sin of racism.”


#Newsworthy…

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George Floyd’s Death: Charges upgrade to 2nd degree


Derek Chauvin, the police officer involved in the killing of George Floyd, has had his charges upgraded to 2nd degree murder.

The other three police officers will also face charges, Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar said Wednesday, NobleReporters report

“Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison is increasing charges against Derek Chauvin to 2nd degree in George Floyd’s murder and also charging other 3 officers. This is another important step for justice,” the Democratic senator tweeted.

Chauvin was last week seen on camera, calm, cool and collected as he pressed his knee into Floyd’s neck, while Floyd pleaded with him: “I can’t breathe.”

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The incident has sparked mass protests over questions of police brutality and racial inequality across the United States and other countries of the world, including Nigeria.

Derek Chauvin, as the man who caused Floyd’s death, was arrested and charged immediately, a move that is among the fastest charges in history.

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At the time, he was charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter. Even though he was charged immediately, many weren’t happy that it was just a third-degree murder charge given all the footage of the incident which screams otherwise.

Chauvin’s charge has been upgraded to a second degree murder charge, which carries a maximum sentence of 40 years, as opposed to a third degree charge, for 25 years maximum.


#Newsworthy…

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George Floyd’s Death: Wife, Daughter demand justice through bitter tears.


Through tears, the mother of George Floyd’s six-year-old daughter, Gianna, made an emotional plea for the world to remember Floyd as a good father and good man, not just a name or a rallying cry.

“I wanted everybody to know that this is what those officers took from me,” Roxie Washington said, Gianna standing by her side.

“At the end of the day, they get to go home and be with their families,” she added. “Gianna does not have a father. He will never see her grow up, graduate. He will never walk her down the aisle. If there’s a problem she’s having and she needs a dad, she does not have that any more.”

Washington’s heartbreaking comments came more than one week after Floyd, an unarmed Black man, died after a white officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes in Minneapolis, Minnesota, setting off mass protests across the United States.

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A video of the incident shows Floyd repeatedly pleading “I can’t breathe” before going motionless, still under the officer’s knee.

“The image that most of us have of George Floyd is the horrible video that we’ve seen,” said Floyd family lawyer, Chris Stewart, alongside Washington and Gianna.

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Floyd family

“We’ve seen the anger in the streets; we’ve seen so much violence; we’ve seen beauty, also. We’ve seen people standing up and speaking up, and we’ve seen massive changes across the country,” he added. “But what we really wanted the world to see is the beauty of their child. The beauty of Gianna who is going to be taller than me soon, just like her dad. The beauty of Roxie who is holding up strong throughout this. And the actual situations in life that these things affect.”

‘I want justice’
County and private medical examiners have both ruled the autopsy a homicide, but they differed on how Floyd died.

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The private autopsy, requested by Floyd’s family, found that the 46-year-old died of asphyxiation due to neck and back compression by police, according to the Floyd family lawyers.

The Hennepin County Medical Examiner found that Floyd “experienced a cardiopulmonary arrest while being restrained by law enforcement officer(s)”. It said Floyd suffered “other significant conditions”, including heart disease and hypertension, fentanyl intoxication and recent methamphetamine use.

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George Floyd memorial

All four officers involved in the incident were fired a day after Floyd died.

The officer who knelt on Floyd’s neck has since been arrested and charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.

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But Floyd’s family, community leaders and protesters want the three other officers involved charged, as well.

“I’m here for George because I want justice for him,” Washington said.

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‘A father was taken’
Earlier on Tuesday, at the intersection where Floyd died, Bishop Harding Smith, remembered Floyd as a giver.

“He’s someone that I knew very well, and the love and support you see out here,” Smith said. NobleReporters learnt

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“You see, Floyd used to help me outside the Salvation Army feed the homeless,” Smith said.

George Floyd

Flowers have grown out of the concrete 38th Street and Chicago Avenue. Signs, cards, candles fill the cracks between the bouquets in the street that have taken over the street as a memorial to Floyd. Protesters gather at the site daily.

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“I have mixed emotions: hurt, and pain, and disgust,” said Kim Anderson, 56, as she paid her respects.

“It’s about time,” she added, speaking about the need for people to come together and get justice.

Her call echoed that of Floyd’s family.

“I want justice for him,” Washington said. “No matter what anybody thinks, he was good. And this is the proof that he was a good man,” she added, looking at Gianna.

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Stewart added for every family affected by police brutality, the grief goes much deeper than that of any protest or call.

“It’s not just that someone passes and people are angry in the streets,” he said. “It affects people’s actual lives and their futures. A father was taken. A brother and sister lost another brother.”


#Newsworthy…

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George Floyd’s Death: We Are With You – African Writers to U.S Protesters.


Dozens of writers from across Africa and the diaspora have co-signed a letter of support for the Black Lives Matter movement in the face of growing protests in the United States following the latest death of an unarmed Black man, George Floyd, at the hands of white police officers.

Read the text below:

As African writers without borders who are connected beyond geography with those who live in the United States of America and other parts of the African diaspora, we state that we condemn the acts of violence on Black people in the United States of America.

We note in dismay that what Malcolm X said in Ghana in 1964 that “for the twenty million of us in America who are of African descent, it’s not an American dream; it’s an American nightmare” remains true for 37 million in 2020.

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We condemn the murders of:

George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Sandra Bland, Amadou Diallo, Ahmaud Arbery, Aiyana Mo’Nay Stanly-Jones, Tony McDade, Pamela Turner, Matthew Ajibade, Rekia Boyd, Eric Garner, John Crawford III, Michael Brown, Shelly Frey, Ezelll Ford, Dante Parker, Michelle Casseaux, Yvette Smith, Darnesha Harris, Laquan Mcdonald, Atatiana Jefferson, George Mann, Tanisha Anderson, Akai Gurley, Tamir Rice, Rumain Brisbon, Jerame Reid, Frank Smart, Natasha Mckenna, Tony Robinson, Anthony Hill, William Chapman II, Alberta Spruill, Walter Scott, Shantell Davis, Eric Harris, Philip White, Mya Hall, Alexia Christian, Brendon Glenn, Victor Manuel Larosa, Jonathan Sanders, Salvado Ellswood, Joseph Mann, Freddie Blue, Albert Joseph Davis, Darrius Stewart, Billy Ray Davis, Samuel Dubose, Troy Robinson, Christian Taylor, Sean Bell, Brian Keith Day, Michael Sabbie, Asshams Pharoah Manley, Felix Kumi, Keith Harrison McLeod, Junior Prosper, Anthony Ashford, Dominic Hutchinson, Paterson Brown, Lamontez Jones, Bettie Jones, Alonzo Smith, Tyree Crawford India Kager, Janet Wilson, Sylville Smith, Benni Lee Tignor, Yvonne Smallwood, Kayla Moore and all other names, known and unknown, that represent human beings who are our kin.

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Our blood.

We support the protests in the United States and across the world as our people demand justice for any and all racial killings whether by police or civilians. We are aware that these are not quiet protests. We do not expect it and neither should the United States of America. The killings were not done quietly. The police brutality and state sanctioned murders were done loudly with no fear of consequences from those who perpetrated them.

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We acknowledge the African Union’s condemnation of the United States government’s continual terrorism towards African-Americans. We believe that the African Union can and should do better.

We ask that African governments recognise our alliance and connections with our brothers and sisters across borders, from America to Brazil and through the rest of the diaspora. That they offer those who choose it: refuge, homes and citizenship in the name of pan-Africanism.

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We demand that the American legal institutions independently investigate every police killing as well as investigate any complaint against police violence.

We demand that any accused be suspended without pay until a fair trial clears them of charges. In essence, we are asking the United States of America to be brave enough to adhere to its own bill of rights so that it can be the land of the free for ALL Americans regardless of colour, creed or sexual orientation.

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We assert that Black Lives Matter. As writers, we raise our fists in solidarity with those who refuse to be silenced. To our brothers and sisters in the United States, we stand with you.

We ask all decent human beings to join us in being our brothers’ and sisters’ keepers. As they protest in the United States, please give whatever donations you can to #BlackLivesMatter.

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Have signed:

  1. Chris Abani
  2. Kelvin Nonvignon Adantchede
  3. Ali J Ahmed
  4. Abdilatif Abdalla
  5. Yasmin Abdel-Magied
  6. Leila Aboulela
  7. Leye Adenle
  8. Bisi Adjapon
  9. Jose Eduardo Agualusa
  10. Ali J Ahmed
  11. Julio de Almeida
  12. Ayesha Harruna Attah
  13. Sefi Atta
  14. Meti Birabiro
  15. Tanella Boni
  16. Nana Brew-Hammond
  17. Noviolet Bulawayo
  18. Shadreck Chikoti
  19. Nana Awere Damoah
  20. Tolu Daniel
  21. Ibrahim El Khalil Diallo
  22. Boubacar Boris Diop
  23. Raoul Djimeli
  24. Edwige Dro
  25. Ainehi Edoro-Glines
  26. Chike Frankie Edozien
  27. Filinto Elisio
  28. Kalaf Epalanga
  29. Amir Tag Elsir
  30. Mona Eltahawy
  31. Ubah Cristina Ali Farah
  32. Virgilia Ferrao
  33. Aminatta Forna
  34. Chimeka Garricks
  35. Kadija George
  36. Laurence Gnaro
  37. Hawa Jande Golakai
  38. Isatou Alwar Graham
  39. Francisco Guita Jr
  40. Helon Habila
  41. Osman Ahmed Hassan
  42. Suad Sadig Hassan
  43. Pede Hollist
  44. Abdelmoumin Ibrahim
  45. Abubakar Adam Ibrahim
  46. Tsitsi Ella Jaji
  47. Nozizwe Cynthia Jele
  48. Mamle Kabu
  49. Mubanga Kalimamukwento
  50. Tamanda Kanjaye
  51. Precious Colette Kemigisha
  52. Grada Kilomba
  53. Moses Kilolo
  54. David Lukudu
  55. Beata Umubyeyi Mairesse
  56. Angela Makholwa
  57. Nick Makoha
  58. Jennifer Makumbi
  59. Napo Masheane
  60. Mohale Mashigo
  61. Makanaka Mavengere
  62. Eusebius Mckaiser
  63. Jose Luis Mendonca
  64. Maaza Mengiste
  65. Thando Mgqolozana
  66. Niq Mhlongo
  67. Amna Mirghani
  68. Nadifa Mohamed
  69. Natalia Molebatsi
  70. Yara Monteiro
  71. Merdi Mukore
  72. Marie-Louise Mumbu
  73. Richard Ali Mutu
  74. Kevin Mwachiro
  75. Remy Ngamije
  76. Siphiwe Gloria Ndlovu
  77. Mukoma wa Ngugi
  78. Nducu Wa Ngugi
  79. Natasha Omokhodion-Banda
  80. Ondjaki
  81. Troy Onyango
  82. Tochi Onyebuchi
  83. Chinelo Okparanta
  84. Gabriel Adil Osman
  85. Ladan Osman
  86. Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor
  87. Nii Ayikwei Parkes
  88. Abreu Paxe
  89. Mbate Pedro
  90. Pepetela
  91. Yovanka Paquete Perdigao
  92. Hannah Azieb Pool
  93. Jorge Querido
  94. Sanaa Abu Qussasa
  95. Abdelaziz Baraka Sakin
  96. Mohamedou Ould Salahi
  97. Hassan Ghedi Santur
  98. Malebo Sephodi
  99. Lemya Shammat
  100. Lola Shoneyin
  101. Lemn Sissay
  102. Kola Tubosun
  103. Chika Unigwe
  104. Abdourahman Waberi
  105. Zukiswa Wanner

#Newsworthy…

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George Floyd’s Death: Funeral set to hold on June 9. #Justice4Floyd


A funeral for George Floyd, the black man who died in US police custody after a Minneapolis officer knelt on his neck, will be held June 9 in Houston, the family’s lawyer said Monday.

“In Minneapolis, there will be a memorial here Thursday, at 1:00 to 3:00,” said attorney Ben Crump, speaking at a press conference in Minneapolis to report the findings of an independent autopsy.

“On Saturday, there will be a memorial service in North Carolina, where he was born, at 1:00 to 3:00. And then on Tuesday, June the ninth, the funeral will take place in Houston, Texas at 11:00 am,” said Crump, who is representing the Floyd family.

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George Floyd died on May 27 after a policeman knelt on the 46-year-old man’s neck for almost nine minutes. Floyd became unresponsive after almost three minutes.

His death, captured on mobile phone footage, reignited long-felt anger over police killings of African-Americans and echoed high-profile cases that spurred the Black Lives Matter movement such as the August 2014 shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, and the July 2014 choking of Eric Garner in New York.

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Nationwide uproar sparked over police brutality, and protests and rioting — many that turned violent — erupted in more than 140 cities over the weekend.

Crump announced the results of an autopsy arranged by Floyd’s family that shows he was suffocated by a Minneapolis police officer rather than dying from pre-existing heart problems as claimed by the official ruling.


#Newsworthy…

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