Protests continue after a Kentucky grand jury reached a decision on whether to charge police in the killing of Breonna Taylor. Critics call it a victory for police impunity.
Meanwhile, indigenous protesters in Arizona get roughed up by federal authorities after shutting down construction on Donald Trump’s border wall. They say work crews are damaging a sacred freshwater spring in the area.
And lastly, teachers’ union leaders say the science worked in school districts that implemented social distancing and mask requirements. Preliminary data suggests the coronavirus is not spreading like wildfire through schools that took precautions.
THESE ARE THE STORIES YOU NEED TO KNOW:
Outrage over Taylor decision
There is still no justice for Breonna Taylor. A grand jury in Jefferson County, Kentucky yesterday indicted one of three Louisville police officers involved in the fatal shooting of the twenty-six year old on March 13. Former detective Brett Hankison was indicted on three counts of first-degree wanton endangerment, per the Louisville Courier-Journal. Sergeant Jonathan Mattingly was not indicted, nor was detective Myles Cosgrove.
The charge against Hankinson does not stem from killing Taylor, but for shooting into other apartments in the neighborhood. Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron said officers Mattingly and Cosgrove were justified in their actions. They also fired their weapons at Taylor’s apartment that night – for a total of thirty-two shots. It remains unclear which officers fired the six shots that killed Taylor. Attorneys for Taylor’s family called the charging decision outrageous and offensive. Others joined that chorus. Democratic vice presidential candidate Kamala Harris said she hadn’t yet read the decision but QUOTE Taylor and her family deserve justice yesterday, today and tomorrow ENDQUOTE. Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders called the result a disgrace and an abdication of justice, adding QUOTE Our criminal justice system is racist. The time for fundamental change is now ENDQUOTE. Minnesota Congresswoman Ilhan Omar called the charges an absolute disgrace. And the American Civil
Liberties Union of Kentucky said QUOTE Once again, the state has denied that Black lives matter by failing to hold law enforcement accountable ENDQUOTE.
Protests that have been ongoing in Louisville picked up again after yesterday’s announcement, despite a preemptive declaration of emergency by the mayor. Online video showed white men carrying guns and wearing military-style uniforms patroling the streets. The vigilantes moved apparently unimpeded by police. The National Guard was also deployed. Many businesses and government offices were boarded up and a twenty-five block perimeter of the city was closed to traffic. Before night fell, police deployed a chemical agent into a crowd of protesters and made several arrests. Black Lives Matter solidarity marches also took place in a number of other cities last night, including Chicago, which also saw an armored National Guard vehicles take to the streets.
Activists impede border wall
For five hours on Monday, indigenous protesters halted construction of Trump’s wall on the Arizona-Mexico border. The protest ended with federal authorities inflicting violence on the peaceful protesters. According to the Arizona Republic and Arizona Pubic Media, the protest began in the morning against a stretch of fencing in the Quitobaquito (KEY-TOH BAH- KEY-TOH) region of the Organ Pipe National Forest in southwestern Arizona. It is an area with a spring that the O'odham (OH-UH-DAHM) people consider sacred.
After a blessing and a prayer, organizers with the O’odham Anti Border Collective led a group of about twenty-five protesters to the construction site at the border. The concrete for the barrier installation uses nearby groundwater from the sacred spring. As one speaker said, QUOTE that water aquifer that you're draining helped us survive, and helped every traveler that came through survive. That water didn't discriminate ENDQUOTE.
The temperature was one hundred and six degrees by the afternoon, when National Park Service officers arrived and warned the group to move. Some began to sing O’odham prayer songs as sage was burnt. At 2 p.m., a caravan of twenty-five Border Patrol agents arrived. Some carried paintball guns; others AR-15s. Within the hour, the Border Patrol agents and two park rangers rushed the protesters, knocking people to the ground. No arrests were made, but protesters were left with scrapes and bruises as they were dragged away. One told the agents QUOTE You don’t control the border, you terrorize everyone here from Texas to California and everywhere in between ENDQUOTE.
Coronavirus: Schools faring okay
There’s some encouraging news about the coronavirus pandemic, at least as it relates to America’s K-through-twelve schools. The Washington Post reports that although thousands of students and teachers have become sick with the coronavirus since schools began opening last month, public health experts have found little evidence that the virus is spreading inside buildings. Moreover, the rates of infection are far below what is found in the surrounding communities. Experts told the Post this early evidence suggests that opening schools may not be as risky as many have feared_._
Brown University researchers yesterday released their first set of data from a new project tracking coronavirus cases in schools. It found low levels of infection among students and teachers. Tracking infections over a two-week period beginning August 31st, it found that zero point two-three percent of students had a confirmed or suspected case of the coronavirus. Among teachers, it was zero point four-nine percent.
Some experts, including teacher’s union officials, say it appears that coronavirus rates are lower in school districts where face coverings are required and polices are enforced to keep distance between students in the building. Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, said the science worked in districts that took adequate precautions.
AND NOW FOR SOME QUICKER QUICKIES:
The Senate Republicans’ inquiry into Joe and Hunter Biden’s activities in Ukraine wrapped up yesterday. It found no evidence of wrongdoing by the Democratic presidential nominee or his son. It also found no evidence that Hunter Biden’s business in Ukraine caused any change in policy under the Obama adminisration. Oregon Democratic Senator Ron Wyden, the ranking member of the Finance Committee, called the Republican report a sham investigation that served to push Russian disinformation. Much ado about... not much.
Trump administration officials are reportedly frustrated that Russia is mum about whether it will agree to an arms control deal in time for Trump to brag about it on the campaign trail. The 2010 New Start treaty expires next February. Russia wants to extend it and the White House wants to replace it with a new treaty that includes China. But Russia has been mum on a proposal US negotiators released two weeks ago. I guess Trump isn’t as friendly with Vladimir Putin as he seems to imagine.
A new paper in the journal Nature says that even if the terms of the Paris climate agreement are met – which is a long shot – the unstoppable melting of Antarctica’s ice will cause sea levels to rise by more than eight feet. Anders Levermann, one of the paper’s co- authors, told the Guardian that the more scientists learn about Antarctica, the more dire their predictions become. He added QUOTE We will be renowned in future as the people who flooded New York City ENDQUOTE. Sounds pretty bad!
After at least three boats were damaged by orcas, Spanish authorities have restricted small yachts from a stretch of water off the country’s northwest coast, the Guardian reports. According to Bruno Diaz, a biologist at the local Bottlenose Dolphin Research Institute, the orcas that damaged the boats probably did not mistake them for prey. Rather, he said, they were just immature teenagers out having fun. Hey, sailors: leave those whales alone.
That’s all for the AM Quickie. Join us this afternoon on the Majority Report.
Sept 24, 2020 - AM Quickie
HOSTS - Sam Seder & Lucie Steiner
WRITER - Corey Pein
PRODUCER - Dorsey Shaw
EXECUTIVE PRODUCER - Brendan Finn