Latest News USA

More feel relations between police, people of color have gotten worse

A year after George Floyd’s death at the hands of police, A plurality of voters said relations between the police and people of color have gotten worse in the past year, a new Hill-HarrisX poll finds.

Forty-five percent of registered voters surveyed said relations between police and communities of color have regressed while 43 percent said they have stayed the same.

By contrast, just 12 percent of respondents said that relations have gotten better.

Of those surveyed, 48 percent of Black voters said relations between the police and people of color have gotten worse while 32 percent said they have stayed the same and 20 percent said they have improved.

Fifty-eight percent of Hispanic voters said things have stayed the same when it came to the relationship between police and people of color while 28 percent said they’ve gotten worse and 15 percent said better.

Forty-eight percent of white voters said things have gotten worse between the police and minorities while 42 percent said they’ve stagnated and 10 percent said they’ve improved.

The survey comes as the country remembered the murder of George Floyd on Tuesday one year ago.

The most recent Hill-HarrisX poll was conducted online among 1,899 registered voters. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.25 percentage points.

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Latest News USA

Memorials and marches mark one year since George Floyd’s death

New York: As the nation honored the life of George Floyd with memorial events and marches, Floyd’s family and supporters said they have been encouraged by the progress made in the year since he was murdered by a Minneapolis police officer.

From Dallas to Washington, DC, to Minneapolis, Floyd’s name is echoing across the country in recognition of a man who has become a symbol in the fight for racial equality and police reform.

“Today I just felt a day of relief,” Floyd’s aunt Angela Harrelson told CNN. “The support that we have received, the love to get to this day. I am just overwhelmed with joy and hope and I feel like change is here.”

Darnella Frazier, the woman who recorded the video of Floyd’s murder, told CNN that she didn’t know Floyd “from a can of paint, but I knew his life mattered.”

“I knew that he was in pain,” Frazier said. “I knew that he was another black man in danger with no power.”

Several members of Floyd’s family, including Floyd’s daughter Gianna, Gianna’s mother, Roxie Washington, and his brother Philonise Floyd were in Washington Tuesday to meet with President Joe Biden, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other lawmakers.

Philonise Floyd, said the meeting with Biden and Harris was “great,” calling President Biden a “genuine guy” who always speaks from the

Biden released a statement saying the Floyd family has shown “extraordinary courage” over the last year.

The family visit comes as the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act remains stalled in the Senate, despite Biden setting an initial goal of having the legislation passed by Tuesday.

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Latest News USA

Indian-American lawmakers, groups welcome verdict in Floyd death case

Washington, DC: Several Indian-American lawmakers and groups have welcomed the decision of a federal grand jury in Minneapolis holding Derek Chauvin, a former police officer, guilty on all three counts in the death of African American George Floyd.

“Justice was served today, but convicting Derek Chauvin won’t fix the system that continues to terrorize and kill Black lives. It won’t bring back George Floyd,” Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal said.

“Black lives matter—and we must keep fighting for them by passing the Justice in Policing Act and transforming policing,” Jayapal said.

Congressman Ro Khanna said, “This verdict brought accountability. I hope it will be the first of many. But it doesn‘t change the fact that George Floyd should still be alive today. We now must pass the Justice in Policing Act.”

“My heart remains with the Floyd family. His life mattered. Black lives matter,” said the lawmaker representing Silicon Valley in the US House of Representatives.

Indian-American Congressman Ami Bera tweeted: “Justice has been served.”

“Grateful for justice. My heart goes out to the Floyd family,” said Neera Tanden, president of Center for American Progress.

The South Asian Bar Association of North America applauded the jury verdict that found Chauvin guilty on all counts.

“While this verdict was a step in the right direction, it is only one step in a broader fight against the systemic racism within our country,” SABA said.

“Justice was served today, but justice must be served every day,” said Rippi Gill, president of SABA North America.

“We must not let our guard down, and we must continue to fight against the racism and violence plaguing our communities throughout the country,” he said. (PTI)


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Latest News USA

Former cop Derek Chauvin convicted of George Floyd’s murder

Washington, DC: A federal grand jury has found Derek Chauvin, a former Minneapolis police officer, guilty on all three counts of murder of African American George Floyd last year.

Floyd, 46, was killed in a brutal abuse of police force on May 25 last year during an arrest after a store clerk alleged he had passed a counterfeit $20 bill in Minneapolis.

Chauvin, 45, pinned down Floyd with his knee on the pavement of a south Minneapolis intersection for more than nine minutes. “I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe,” were his last words.

The horrific death of Floyd resulted in a nationwide violent protest. A 12-member federal jury in Minneapolis on Tuesday found Chauvin guilty on all three counts: second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.

President Joe Biden said it was a murder in the full light of day and it ripped the blinders off for the whole world to see the systemic racism in the country.

“The systemic racism is a stain on our nation’s soul. The knee on the neck of justice for black Americans. Profound fear and trauma. The pain, the exhaustion that black and brown Americans experience every single day,” Biden said.

The verdict giving justice, he said, is not enough.

“We can’t stop here. In order to deliver real change and reform, we can and we must do more to reduce the likelihood that a tragedy like this will ever happen to occur again, to ensure the black and brown people or anyone so they don’t fear the interactions with law enforcement, that they don’t have to wake up knowing that they can lose their very life in the course of just living their life,” he said.

In an address to the nation soon after the verdict, Vice President Kamala Harris said black Americans and black men in particular have been treated throughout the course of history as less than human.

“Today we feel a sigh of relief. Still, it cannot take away the pain. A measure of justice isn’t the same as equal justice. This verdict brings us a step closer and the fact is we still have work to do,” she said.

Observing that America has a long history of systemic racism, Harris said, “Black men are fathers and brothers and sons and uncles and grandfathers and friends and neighbors. Their lives must be valued in our education system, in our healthcare system, in our housing system, in our economic system, in our criminal justice system, in our nation. Full stop.”

Biden and Harris also spoke with the family of Floyd.

“I assured them we’re going to continue to fight for the passage of the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act so we can–I can sign it into law as quickly as possible. There’s more to do. Finally, it’s the work we do every day to change hearts and minds as well as laws and policies. That’s the work we have to do. Only then will full justice and full equality be delivered to all Americans,” Biden said.

Former US president Barack Obama and the First Lady Michelle said in a joint statement that true justice is about much more than a single verdict in a single trial.

Today, a jury in Minneapolis did the right thing. For almost a year, George Floyd’s death under the knee of a police officer has reverberated around the world inspiring murals and marches, sparking conversations in living rooms and new legislation. But a more basic question has always remained: would justice be done, they said.

In this case, at least, we have our answer. But if we are being honest with ourselves, we know that true justice is about much more than a single verdict in a single trial, the Obamas said. (pti)


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Latest News USA

In Floyd killing trial, moving testimonies

Minneapolis: Onlookers grew increasingly angry as they begged Minneapolis Officer Derek Chauvin to take his knee off George Floyd’s neck, but Chauvin would not let up, and another officer forced back: Members of the crowd who tried to intervene, witnesses testified Tuesday at Chauvin’s murder trial, reported AP.

Witness after witness described how Chauvin was unmoved by their pleas, with the teenager who shot the harrowing video of the arrest that set off nationwide protests testifying that the officer gave the crowd a “cold” and “heartless” stare.

“He didn’t care. It seemed as if he didn’t care what we were saying,” said 18-year-old Darnella Frazier, one of several witnesses who testified through tears.

Chauvin continued to kneel on Floyd while fellow Officer Tou Thao held the crowd of about 15 back, even when one of the onlookers identified herself as a firefighter and pleaded repeatedly to check Floyd’s pulse, according to witnesses and bystander video.

“They definitely put their hands on the Mace, and we all pulled back,” Frazier told the jury.

The firefighter, Genevieve Hansen, wept on the witness stand as she recalled how she was not allowed to give any medical assistance or tell the police what to do, such as administering chest compressions.

“There was a man being killed,” said Hansen, who testified in her dress uniform and detailed her emergency medical technician training. “I would have been able to provide medical attention to the best of my abilities. And this human was denied that right.”

Chauvin, 45, is charged with murder and manslaughter, accused of killing Floyd last May by pinning the 46-year-old handcuffed Black man to the pavement for what prosecutors said was 9 minutes, 29 seconds. Floyd was arrested after being accused of trying to pass a counterfeit $20 bill at a convenience store.

Floyd’s death, along with the bystander video of him pleading that he couldn’t breathe, triggered sometimes-violent protests around the world and a reckoning over racism and police brutality across the U.S.

The most serious charge against the now-fired white officer carries up to 40 years in prison.

The defense has argued that Chauvin did what his training told him to do and that Floyd’s death was not caused by the officer but by a combination of illegal drug use, heart disease, high blood pressure and the adrenaline flowing through his body.

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Latest News USA

Indian-American Rahul Dubey in Time’s ‘Heroes of 2020’ for sheltering Floyd protesters

Indian-American Rahul Dubey, who had opened the doors of his Washington DC home to over 70 people demonstrating against the killing of George Floyd, has been hailed among the ‘Heroes of 2020’ by the TIME magazine, honoring those who “went above and beyond the call of duty” this year.

In the ‘Heroes of 2020’ the publication also named Australia’s volunteer firefighters who risked everything to keep their country safe, food-stall owners Jason Chua and Hung Zhen Long in Singapore who wouldn’t let anyone go hungry during the COVID-19 pandemic, Pastor Reshorna Fitzpatrick and her husband Bishop Derrick Fitzpatrick of Chicago, who transformed their church to support their community during the trying year.

A newspaper deliveryman Greg Dailey, who began a grocery drop-off service in mid-March to anyone in need along his paper route and has since supplied more than 140 homes and conducted over 1,000 grocery runs in New Jersey’s Mercer county, was also named by the magazine.

“From citizens providing food and shelter to those in need to volunteers who protected their neighbors from natural disasters, these heroes went above and beyond the call of duty in 2020,” TIME said. TIME described Dubey as “The Man Who Gave Shelter to Those in Need.”

On June 1, as demonstrators filled the streets of Washington DC to protest the killing of African-American Floyd, Dubey was home, not far from the White House.

After a 7 PM curfew, he noticed crowds in the street outside as “police had set up barricades seemingly to trap protesters, and were pepper-spraying those who remained. Dubey decided to take action,” TIME said. “I open my door, and I start yelling, “Get in!’” says Dubey, who works in the health care sector. “All these people were swarming in.”

Dubey said he gave about 70 protesters refuge in his home, housing them overnight to avoid curfew breaches. “People were coughing, crying, strangers pouring milk into strangers’ eyes,” Dubey said. “They were sharing information, writing down numbers for bail bondsmen. It was this real camaraderie.”

A report in TIME said Dubey claims police officers made several attempts to breach his sanctuary that evening: posing as protesters trying to get inside, and attempting to intercept the pizza delivery he had ordered for his houseguests.

The move to open his door was driven by instinct, Dubey says nearly six months later. “It’s what was needed.”

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Will the Black Gandhi please step forward?

By Nawaz Merchant

The killing of George Floyd on May 25 this year in Minneapolis sparked outrage among African Americans, as well as white and immigrant communities all over America.

“This was not us,” we said when we spoke to our friends. “This isn’t America. This was an anomaly, a cop who took it too far.”

Then came the inquiry into the deaths of Rayshard Brooks, Breonna Taylor and many more, individuals killed in situations that would not have escalated if they weren’t black.

“It’s a few bad cops,” we said. “It’s not all of them—cops save lives, answer 911 calls.” Gradually it dawned on us that for millions of law-abiding Americans, calling 911 is the last thing they’d do–because they’re black, immigrants, don’t speak good English, or have someone at home who’s undocumented.

Would Mahatma Gandhi’s message of non-violence have been effective if Bhagat Singh had not exploded bombs in the central Legislative Assembly in New Delhi to demand independence with violent confrontation? Although Dr. Martin Luther King Jr was a compelling speaker and a visionary, would his message have resonated so loudly if Malcom X and the Black Panthers had not provided a violent counterpoint? Photo courtesy

“Black lives matter!” said black activists. “We matter; all Americans can’t matter until black people matter.”

People who were resistant to that message then created “All Lives Matter” and “Blue Lives Matter” as a response, trying to invalidate that hard-won self-affirmation of the BLM movement.

We wondered, “why don’t black men just obey the cops? Why do they panic, and try to run?” We learned a great deal by watching the 2016 Netflix documentary Thirteenth about the harsh prison sentences handed to black men for minor infractions, their disadvantage in the court system, and the labor-hungry prison-industrial complex.  It shocked many of us who had not experienced the second-class citizenship that blacks suffer. Yet we are hard put to find sympathy for the groups of violent people shown on TV.

We asked, “Why are they burning businesses, why riot, destroy someone else’s property?” The February Women’s March and the Aug 28th Black Lives Matter march on Washington seem to have made little impact on actual policy. If a march on Washington makes no difference, is this what citizens of democracy are driven to?

In August, violence escalated with the deaths of protesters and a white shooter; those with entrenched opinions dubbed the BLM movement “Blacks Looting and Murdering.” Mainstream Americans still see this movement as something ‘other’ people are doing, violent people who should be locked up.

To understand today’s racial tensions, I examined three periods of massive social change, looking for a pattern to how societies change. In each case violent turmoil drew attention to society’s ills. It was followed by strong, non-violent leadership that led to positive change.

Would Mahatma Gandhi’s message of non-violence have been effective if Bhagat Singh had not exploded bombs in the central Legislative Assembly in New Delhi to demand independence with violent confrontation? Although Dr. Martin Luther King Jr was a compelling speaker and a visionary, would his message have resonated so loudly if Malcom X and the Black Panthers had not provided a violent counterpoint? Photo courtesy

Massive social change occurred during three recent events: the Progressive movement of the early 1900s, India’s independence struggle that culminated in 1947 and the 1960s civil-rights struggle.

In each of these, a radical group drew attention to the problem with violence. Would Mahatma Gandhi’s message of non-violence have been effective if Bhagat Singh had not exploded bombs in the Legislative Assembly in New Delhi to demand independence with violent confrontation? Although Dr. Martin Luther King Jr was a compelling speaker and a visionary, would his message have resonated so loudly if Malcom X and the Black Panthers had not provided a violent counterpoint?

In the 1900s, America’s progressive movement grew as President Teddy Roosevelt supported child labor laws, broke up monopolies and mediated labor disputes—but that came after violent anarchists agitated for radical reform in the 1890s.

Would Mahatma Gandhi’s message of non-violence have been effective if Bhagat Singh had not exploded bombs in the central Legislative Assembly in New Delhi to demand independence with violent confrontation? Although Dr. Martin Luther King Jr was a compelling speaker and a visionary, would his message have resonated so loudly if Malcom X and the Black Panthers had not provided a violent counterpoint?QQ Photo courtesy

Why did it succeed? Because “Reform, in that view, was preferable to revolution,” says John M. Blum in historian Myra Immell’s book The 1900s. “The center of American consciousness was slowly acquiring a new conscience. It produced a growing understanding of the efforts of some of the less privileged to improve their lot, a sympathy of the protests of the best informed against the inequities of American life, and, though rarely, a tolerance for the outrage of that small minority of Americans who were committed to rapid and radical social improvement.”

We can learn from this. Today it means: Law abiding though we may be, believers in working within the system, opposed to lawlessness and rioting, yet we need a tolerance for the outrage of those who are most deeply grieved by centuries of neglect, being ignored and being harmed. To be treated as sub-human shrinks the self. That some of this group raise their heads and demand equality should spark not disdain, but our respect— they risk their future, their careers and job prospects to shout loudly so that we can hear. Such courage deserves our tolerance for desperate actions intended to propel our attention—and our support for the change they seek.

The next step in progressive change —and it can’t come too soon– is strong non-violent leadership, demanding productive steps in legislation, able to articulate that vision in public with persuasive and reasonable language. What the vast moderate citizenry awaits is not polemic diatribes, not break-the-bank write-offs, not blank-checks! How inspiring it would be to hear a vision of productive initiatives to engage the black community into policing its own, in participating in the business of self-renewal, in building alternative routes of dialog to diffuse and de-escalate public and individual encounters that have the potential for violence! Shouldn’t the black community be part of re-educating local police forces, and equating treatment in the court system? Who better to envision the solutions, than those most harmed by existing inequality?

But this is not an easy role—Gandhi undertook hunger fasts to rein in the youthful violence of those impatient for self-government. It required compromise and didn’t always go down well. By demonstrating control of the civil rights movement, Martin Luther King Jr. put himself at risk, suffered arrest, and at last won the support of JFK’s election campaign. In the 1900s, after experiencing a decade of anarchist assassinations and terrorism, Teddy Roosevelt’s progressive legislation was slow and methodical, laying the groundwork for later enhancement in labor laws, anti-trust and child labor legislation. Small steps, in the right direction can alleviate the building pressure.

Today’s turmoil is the harbinger of tomorrow’s progressive change, but it needs a strong, calm and capable leader. Who will this leader be? Kamala Harris is well positioned to take this role; so are Cory Booker, Michelle Obama, our ex-president Barack Obama, and many others. Who will step forward to demand concrete steps to reform policing and address the rampant racism of these recent years? Will the Black Gandhi please step forward? God knows we need you.

Copyright Lifetouch Inc. 2020

By Nawaz Merchant

 Writing as Nev March, author Nawaz Merchant is the recent winner of the Minotaur Books/Mystery Writers of America First Crime Novel Award. A Parsi Zoroastrian immigrant, she teaches Creative Writing at Rutgers-Osher Institute, and is a member of the Mystery Writers of America and the Hunterdon County Library Write-Group. Murder in Old Bombay is her debut novel.

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Latest News Sports USA

NBA community not sad losing Trump as viewer: LeBron James

Los Angeles: Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James feels the NBA community is not at all sad with respect to losing US President Donald Trump as a viewer.

Trump had earlier stated that watching basketball players take a knee during the national anthem in the NBA forces him to turn off the game.

“I really don’t think the basketball community is sad about losing his viewership, him viewing the game,” James said following the Lakers’ loss to Oklahoma City as per ESPN. “And that’s all I got to say.”

“I already know where this could go, where it could lead to for tomorrow for me. I’m not going to get into it,” he added.

Sports personalities have been taking a knee as part of the ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement that has been going on across the world since the death of Geroge Floyd at the hands of a Minneapolis police personnel in May.

LA Clippers’ coach Doc Rivers also weighed into the issue and stated people don’t care regarding Trump’s stance as justice is on their side.

“Well, we lost one guy,” Rivers told reporters as per ESPN. “I mean, so what. Like really, I don’t even care. We know that justice is on our side. Right?”

Trump had earlier said that the NBA is losing its viewership because of people like him not wanting to watch it anymore.

“The ratings for basketball are way down, as you know,” the US President had said on Fox and Friends. “I hear some others are way down, including baseball. We have to stand up for our flag, stand up for our country.

“A lot of people agree with me. If I’m wrong, I’m going to lose an election. That’s okay with me. I will always stand for our flag,” he added.

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Latest News USA

Trump signs EO on policing amid calls for reform

Washington: President Donald Trump has signed an executive order on policing amid calls for action against police brutality and racism.

It comes three weeks after the death of George Floyd, a 46-year-old African American man, in police custody in Minneapolis, Minnesota, which has triggered nationwide demonstrations.

 The executive order focuses on three areas: credentialing and certifying police officers; boosting information sharing to track officers accused of excessive use of force; and creating co-responder programs on mental health, drug addiction, and homelessness.

It also said police departments must “prohibit the use of chokeholds — a physical maneuver that restricts an individual’s ability to breathe for the purposes of incapacitation — except in those situations where the use of deadly force is allowed by law.”

Trump, speaking at the White House before signing the executive order, stressed that he “strongly” opposes efforts to defund or dismantle police departments, calling the ideas “radical.”

“Without police, there is chaos. Without law, there is anarchy and without safety, there is catastrophe,” he said.

The move from the White House comes alongside separate efforts on Capitol Hill focused on police reforms, the media reported.

Chuck Schumer, the Senate minority leader, said on Tuesday that Trump’s executive order is not enough.

“While the president has finally acknowledged the need for policing reform, one modest executive order will not make up for his years of inflammatory rhetoric and policies designed to roll back the progress made in previous years,” Schumer said in a statement.

Protests in response to Floyd’s death, and more broadly to police violence, spread across the United States and took place in some other countries.

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