FRESH CHARGES OVER GEORGE FLOYD’S KILLING
According to Minnesota senator and former presidential candidate Amy Klobuchar, state Attorney General Keith Ellison will today announce additional charges against all four police officers involved in the killing of George Floyd, including lifting charges against Derek Chauvin, who kneeled on Floyd, to second-degree murder.
As CNN reports, the news comes following two separate autopsies that determined Floyd’s death to be a homicide. Incidentally, Klobuchar, a former county attorney, last week was forced to reject allegations she declined to pursue Chauvin herself over his killing of a stabbing suspect in 2006.
PENTAGON TUT-TUTS OVERT FASCISM: Elsewhere, CNN, Secretary of Defense Mark Esper has defied Donald Trump by, graciously, declining to support the use of active duty troops against large-scale protests.
Trump is reportedly, predictably unhappy, but has thus far spent most of Wednesday whining on Twitter about how great he’s been to black people and telling Fox News Radio he was simply “inspecting” the White House bunker.
ANOTHER DAY UNDER A THICK BLUE LINE
In yet more low-lights from ongoing protests:
- Six Atlanta police officers have been charged for tasering two students as they sat in their car, before forcefully dragging them out to arrest.
- A Nebraska County Attorney will not press charges against a white bar owner for killing a black man James Scurlock, determining the shooting death an act of self-defence.
- A member of the St John’s clergy has written about being tear gassed for Trump’s photo-op.
- Following the macing of a protester, a member of the Grand Rapids Police Department has been shown on film firing a tear gas canister directly into the man’s face.
- Richmond police were also filmed firing tear gas at a crowd holding their hands up; another Richmond resident has recounted, in fairly horrifying detail, the process of being arrested for driving Tuesday night.
- Los Angeles police have been filmed driving up to a group of black protesters, warning them to leave, and then firing non-lethal ammunition into their backs as they run in the opposite direction.
- Finally, federal law enforcement figures outside the White House have reportedly refused to identify themselves and have removed insignias and nameplates.
STILL SOME GOOD OUT THERE: In a reminder that humans can still be pretty great, check out the DC resident, Rahul Dubey, who sheltered about 70 protesters to protect them from arrest.
JOHNSON SLAMS NEW HONG KONG LAW
According to the ABC, Boris Johnson has slammed China’s planned national security overhaul of Hong Kong as “in direct conflict with its obligations under the joint declaration, a legally binding treaty registered with the United Nations,” and has promised not to abandon residents if Beijing proceeds with the now-passed legislation.
As The Sydney Morning Herald reports, the news comes as the Morrison government considers a request from the UK government to take in Hong Kong refugees; for the political and economic perspectives on that proposal, check out Crikey’s explainer.
NOT QUITE A HOME RUN
Finally, as Australia officially dips into recession, The Guardian reports that the Morrison government will finally launch their $688 million home buyers and renovation scheme today.
While days of media drops mean we’ve had most of the basics since Monday, final figures mean we can also officially label it a failed opportunity to address Australia’s 30-year decline in social housing spending. For more, check out former AFR property editor Robert Harley’s op-ed ($).
PS: Because not everyone is planning $50,000 worth of renovations between June and December, the ABC reports that more than 1.4 million Australian households are now in mortgage stress and almost 100,000 could default on loans when JobKeeper ends.
STATE WRAP: NT TO RECONSTRUCT CENTRAL AUSTRALIA
- Yesterday, the Northern Territory government announced the Central Australian Economic Reconstruction Committee (CAERC) to provide advice to the newly-created Minister for Central Australian Reconstruction, Dale Wakefield.
- ACT hospitals will, from today, allow patients to have up to two visitors per day, although only one visitor will be allowed with a patient at any one time.
- The Queensland government announced a series of council funding allocations under the $200 million “COVID Works for Queensland” program, to be delivered during 2020–21.
- South Australia has released concept designs for a $32 million high school expansion under the state’s $1.3 billion education capital works program.
- Finally, Tasmania launched a Temporary Visa Holder Skilled Employee Assistance Program, to operate as part the state’s $3 million temporary visa support scheme.
- The government also introduced the Building and Construction (Regulatory Reform Amendments) Bill 2020, which will create timeframes for minor permit amendments; shorten timeframes for some minor processing decisions; and allow permit decisions to be made concurrently with electricity, water and sewerage utilities rather than sequentially.
THEY REALLY SAID THAT?
The fact that this officer doesn’t have a chequered history and he has been in for three and a half years, if the complaint is sustained against him, you would have to say he has had a bad day. And I’m sure most of the community wouldn’t want to see someone who’s made a mistake sacked after making such a commitment to the community.
NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller
Between a minister who equates police sweeping a teenager’s leg to rude language and a boss that excuses it as a bit of a mood swing, we have a feeling NSW Police’s internal investigation is going to be just scathing.
“La Trobe University could be the first victim of the pandemic’s brutalisation of the higher education sector, with the institution reportedly weeks away from going broke.
“Vice-chancellor John Dewar reportedly told staff yesterday that the university has ‘no money tucked down the back of the sofa’. The next step could be a 10% salary reduction, and the possibility of forced redundancies, The Age reports. La Trobe has rejected The Age’s report, saying bluntly in a statement: ‘the university is not at risk of going broke.’”
“The militarisation of the police at all levels — local, state, federal — is almost universal and is blindingly apparent in every aspect of their approach: clothing, equipment, weaponry and, most significantly, tactics. The modern US police officer deployed for protest control duty looks like RoboCop and is armed to the literal teeth. Their vehicles are increasingly armoured and, as we’ve seen, are being used as weapons.”
“Nev Power, chair of the National COVID-19 Co-ordination Commission, will front senators tomorrow at the next hearing into the government’s coronavirus response.
“A lot has emerged since he last fronted the inquiry, including a leaked report that argues Australian taxpayers should underwrite a massive expansion of the domestic gas industry.”
READ ALL ABOUT IT
After George Floyd, a nation in search of justice — Hugh Eakin (The New York Review of Books): “From an outwardly calm, notably progressive metropolis — a city led by a young, liberal mayor and a black police chief — [Minneapolis] has suddenly felt more like civil-rights-era Newark or Detroit. A place where police spray mace indiscriminately on pedestrians from a squad car window; where people have ransacked Targets, Walgreens, and many other local businesses; where the sounds of stun grenades and helicopters and emergency sirens can be heard at any hour of the night.”
A word of advice: Don’t go to Trump’s G7, Scott Morrison ($) — Niki Savva (The Australian): “As the US continues on a seemingly inexorable path of decline and decay, Scott Morrison and Anthony Albanese had markedly different public responses from very different places to the tragedies of the killing of George Floyd by the police and the violence that death triggered.”
Despite 432 Indigenous deaths in custody, no one has ever been convicted. Racist silence and complicity are to blame — Alison Whittaker (The Conversation): “In my 2018 pilot study on a sample of 134 Indigenous deaths in custody since the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody, I found coroners considered referring just 11 deaths to prosecutors and only ended up referring five. Of those, only two made it to court and both resulted in quashed indictments or acquittals.”
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WHAT’S ON TODAY
The Select Committee into COVID-19 will hear from the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet and National COVID-19 Coordination Commission.