Today so far
- The White House flags are at half-staff following the death of a US Capitol police officer following a violent attack. President Biden shared his condolences while acknowledging the “what a difficult time this has been for the Capitol everyone who works there, and those who protect it”.
- Questions are now being raised about whether security measures around the Capitol need to be increased.
- Law enforcement officials identified 25-year-old Noah Green as the now-deceased suspect in the attack. His motive is still under investigation.
- A new policy enacted by the Biden administration will grant an additional $1 billion a month in food assistance with the aim to help $25 million low-income Americans.
- The head of the Minneapolis homicide department testified against Derek Chauvin, calling the actions that led to the death of George Floyd a “totally unnecessary” use of deadly force.
That’s it for me tonight! Hope you all have a great night.
The Guardian’s Chris McGreal had the story, reporting that Zimmerman — a 4-decade veteran and the longest serving officer on the force — said he hadn’t ever been trained that placing a knee on the neck was a strategy for restraint during an arrest.
“If your knee is on a person’s neck, that can kill them,” Zimmerman said.
Chauvin, who is facing charges of second and third-degree murder, and manslaughter, and possibly up to 40 years in prison, pleaded not guilty on the grounds that his actions were in-line with police protocol.
But Floyd, who died after being pinned to the ground for over nine minutes with Chauvin’s knee on his neck, was already in handcuffs, which Zimmerman said should have been enough to safely restrain him.
“Once you secure or handcuff a person, you need to get them out of the prone position as soon as possible because it restricts their breathing,” Zimmerman said.
Read the full story here.
USDA estimates show that the new program will send out roughly $1 billion monthly.
“This is a real increase in people’s benefits that’s going to make it a little easier to keep food on the table,” Lindsay Nako, director of litigation and training at the Impact Fund, which represented the California plaintiffs alongside the Western Center on Law & Poverty, told AP.
The move marks a shift from former President Trump’s opposition to food assistance. Lawsuits filed in Pennsylvania and California against Trump’s agriculture secretary, Sonny Perdue, were settled last week by Tom Vilsack, who filled his seat under the Biden administration, the Washington Post reports.
California, the state with the largest population, stands to gain the most from the change, with an increase of nearly $120 million a month.
“The emergency Snap increases authorized by Congress last year were not being distributed equitably, and the poorest households — who have the least ability to absorb the economic shocks brought about by Covid — received little to no emergency benefit increases,” Vilsack said in a statement. “As part of President Biden’s commitment to deliver economic relief and ensure every family can afford to put food on the table, today’s actions will provide much-needed support for those who need it most.”
Officer Evans served on the force for 18 years.
The New York Times reports that Green, a 25-year-old from Indiana, was a self-described follower of Louis Farrakhan—who spent decades spreading antisemitic views—and his Black nationalist movement, the Nation of Islam.
Green’s Facebook account, which was taken down on Friday, showed the young man struggled through the past year, and also posted about the “end times” and the anti-Christ.
“To be honest, these past few years have been tough, and these past few months have been tougher,” Green reportedly wrote. “I have been tried with some of the biggest, unimaginable tests in my life. I am currently now unemployed, after I left my job, partly due to afflictions.”
Green also shared on social media his belief that the federal government was trying to control his mind.
In the hours before he rammed his car into US Capitol police officers, killing one and injuring the other, Green posted Instagram stories linking to videos of Farrakhan, and a caption that read, “The U.S. Government is the #1 enemy of Black people!” CNN reports.
In March, he credited the Nation of Islam leader with saving him from “the terrible afflictions I have suffered presumably by the CIA and FBI, government agencies of the United States of America”.
In his Facebook post, Green wrote that he had been “unknowingly” taking a drug and suffering from side effects.
“The Minister is here to save me and the rest of humanity, even if it means facing death,” he wrote, appearing to reference Farrakhan. “Be willing to deny yourself and follow him, pick up your cross”.
The officer’s name has not been released.
According to CNN, retired Lt Gen Russel Honoré, who reported on the need for more security at the Capitol after 6 January, said that today, the system did what it was supposed to.
“The security system that worked today was the readiness of the Capitol police out front challenging the car and then the barriers, buffers that went in after 9/11,” Honoré told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer. “Unfortunately, we lost Officer Evans today, but by and large that system worked. The Capitol police responded, they stopped him. The system worked.”
Luke Ball, who worked with Gaetz for all three of the Congressman’s terms, is known as one of his closest and longest-serving aides, the New York Times, reports.
Gaetz, who gained national attention as a highly vocal Trump-ally, has denied that he paid for sex or that he engaged sexually with a 17-year-old girl. The 38-year-old Congressman has claimed the allegations came from a extortion plot worth $25 million.
The New York Times reported last week that the Justice Department has linked Gaetz to Joel Greenberg, a former Florida tax collector, who was indicted last year on sex trafficking charges.
From the NYT:
The Times has reviewed receipts from Cash App, a mobile payments app, and Apple Pay that show payments from Mr. Gaetz and Mr. Greenberg to one of the women, and a payment from Mr. Greenberg to a second woman. The women told their friends that the payments were for sex with the two men, according to two people familiar with the conversations.
Alleging that the requirement of such proof would “reduce individual freedom”, “harm patient privacy,” and “create two classes of citizens based on vaccination” the order states that “it is necessary to protect the fundamental rights and privacies of Floridians and the free flow of commerce within the state”.
Businesses that don’t comply could become ineligible for state funding.
So-called “vaccine passports” have become yet another politically divisive issue, and Republican governors have begun rallying against them as government overreach even though the Biden administration has no plans to require them or issue them.
Several other countries have already embraced the idea. Israel was the first to roll out their program and with other European countries are considering their own versions, including the UK.
“My thoughts and prayers go out to the family, friends, and colleagues of the US Capitol police officer who lost his life today protecting the very symbol of our democracy,” Mayorkas said.
“There is still much to be determined about this attack and DHS offers its full support to Capitol police and DC Mayor Bowser.”
USCP has identified the officer killed in the attack as William “Billy” Evans, an 18-year veteran of the force.
A review of the security released last month found that the Capitol police are “understaffed, insufficiently equipped and inadequately trained” to defend the nation’s seat of government from future attacks.
In a 15-page draft report, commissioned by the House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, retired army L. Gen Russel Honoré called for adding 854 officers, including 424 to specialize in intelligence, dignitary protection and operational planning.
He also recommended additional fencing, specifically barriers that are “easily erected and deconstructed”.
Roughly four miles of 7ft-high “non-scalable” metal fencing was set up around the Capitol complex following the 6 January riot but it was taken down in March, according to Vox.
Representative Tim Ryan told reporters today that new permanent additions to security are being considered by lawmakers. “We’ll be reviewing everything, at this point, including the fencing,” he said, emphasizing that there are still many unknowns about today’s incident
“We can’t get too far ahead of ourselves without knowing that we have the ability to protect the Capitol, to harden the Capitol,” he added.
Biden orders White House flags at half-staff
President Biden has issued a statement on today’s violent attack at the US Capitol that resulted in the death of Officer William Evans and left another US Capitol police officer injured.
“We know what a difficult time this has been for the Capitol, everyone who works there, and those who protect it,” Biden said in the statement, after expressing his condolences to Evans’ family. His death is the second line-of-duty death this year for the Capitol police, who also lost an officer during the 6 January attack, and the seventh in the agency’s history, according to the Associated Press.
Here is Biden’s full statement:
Jill and I were heartbroken to learn of the violent attack at a security checkpoint on the U.S. Capitol grounds, which killed Officer William Evans of the U.S. Capitol Police, and left a fellow officer fighting for his life. We send our heartfelt condolences to Officer Evans’ family, and everyone grieving his loss. We know what a difficult time this has been for the Capitol, everyone who works there, and those who protect it.
I have been receiving ongoing briefings from my Homeland Security Advisor, and will be getting further updates as the investigation proceeds.
I want to express the nation’s gratitude to the Capitol Police, the National Guard Immediate Response Force, and others who quickly responded to this attack. As we mourn the loss of yet another courageous Capitol Police officer, I have ordered that the White House flags be lowered to half-mast.
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