(TMU) – As the nation continues to seethe with over two weeks of social upheaval and protests for racial justice and an end to police brutality, the Minneapolis City Council has unanimously passed a veto-proof resolution pledging to replace the city’s police department with a community-led public safety system.
While Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey has stated that he doesn’t endorse the idea of dismantling the scandal-embroiled police department – a position that earned him jeers and condemnation from local protesters – he did comment this week that he favors “massive structural reform to revise a structurally racist system,” reports Reuters.
The city council comprised of five members was unequivocal in its demands that the police be disbanded. In its resolution, the body also condemned George’s death as the result of a “murder” – strong language for a city body that would be unimaginable prior to the unrest that resulted from the actions of local law enforcement.
In the resolution, the five council members wrote:
“The murder of George Floyd on May 25, 2020, by Minneapolis police officers is a tragedy that shows that no amount of reforms will prevent lethal violence and abuse by some members of the Police Department against members of our community, especially Black people and people of color.”
The move comes 18 days after the killing of unarmed 46-year-old Black man George Floyd by Minneapolis police, who died in police custody after now-former Officer Derek Chauvin grinded his knee into Floyd’s neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds while three other officers assisted in the arrest. The four officers have since been fired and face a range of criminal charges for the deadly incident.
The Minneapolis Police Department has proven themselves beyond reform.
It’s time to disband them and reimagine public safety in Minneapolis.
— Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) June 5, 2020
On Thursday, a handful of Minneapolis police officers issued an open letter condemning the brutal killing of Floyd while expressing their confidence in the leadership provided by Chief Medaria Arradondo. In the letter, published by the Minneapolis Star Tribune, the officers claimed that their sentiments reflect how the “vast majority” of Minneapolis cops feel.
“We want to work with you and for you to regain your trust,” the officers wrote.
The move from the Minneapolis City Council is a sharp signal of the extent to which the national conversation has shifted in favor of demanding accountability from elected officials who have been criticized for condoning police impunity and offering it the lion’s share of city budgets.
While the movement to “defund the police” or outright abolish it predates the killing of George Floyd, the worldwide and viral spread of grisly footage depicting his horrific death has galvanized forces across the United States to back the demand and push for community solutions to crime and social problems that don’t require violent intervention from the state.
“When we talk about defunding the police, what we’re saying is ‘invest in the resources that our communities need,'” Los Angeles-based Black Lives Matter leader Alicia Garza told NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday.
In a Thursday op-ed for the New York Times, community organizer Mariame Kaba argued for the total abolition of repressive law enforcement bodies. She wrote:
“Don’t get me wrong. We are not abandoning our communities to violence. We don’t want to just close police departments. We want to make them unnecessary.
“We should redirect the billions that now go to police departments toward providing health care, housing, education and good jobs. If we did this, there would be less need for the police in the first place.
“We can build other ways of responding to harms in our society. Trained ‘community care workers’ could do mental-health checks if someone needs help. Towns could use restorative-justice models instead of throwing people in prison.”
The growing push for defunding the police and the growing popularity of the demand has put Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden in a bind. Biden, who has historically been a staunch ally to police unions, has doubled down on his rejection of the demand while claiming in an interview on The Daily Show: “I think there are a lot of changes they can take place, period, without having to defund the police completely.”
Joe Biden Calls for Increased Law Enforcement Funds Amid Calls to Defund the Police https://t.co/dhEDyDrkks
— Democracy Now! (@democracynow) June 12, 2020
President Donald Trump has taken advantage of Biden’s seemingly confused position on the proposal by tying the Democratic nominee to it.
On Sunday, Trump tweeted: “Sleepy Joe Biden and the Radical Left Democrats want to ‘DEFUND THE POLICE’. I want great and well paid LAW ENFORCEMENT. I want LAW & ORDER!”
During a roundtable discussion on Monday with law enforcement officials Trump also vowed, “There won’t be defunding, there won’t be dismantling of our police and there is not going to be any disbanding of our police.”
Sleepy Joe Biden and the Radical Left Democrats want to “DEFUND THE POLICE”. I want great and well paid LAW ENFORCEMENT. I want LAW & ORDER!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 7, 2020
Police Rescue Dogs Trapped In Car on Sizzling Hot Day, Owners Complain About Broken Window
Police in the UK acted quickly to save a two dogs locked inside a car in sizzling hot temperatures by smashing open a window, upsetting the car’s owner over the damage.
Officers responded Sunday to reports that a beagle and another dog were trapped in a car parked in the seaside British city of Brighton on a day of boiling heat.
In video captured of the incident, an officer can be seen jamming his baton through a rear window before finally shattering it to free the pooches.
This prompts the car alarm to go off as the car’s owners can be seen rushing toward it, upset over the police intervention.
A woman, standing with her shocked family, says: “You broke my window out!”
One of the officer responded: “It’s a hot day. You shouldn’t be leaving the dog in the car in this weather.”
The incident happened on a day when people across the region flock to the seaside resort city to dip into the beaches amid surging hot temperatures.
The onlooker who filmed the incident noted that the owners seemed unaware of the dangers posed to their pets by weather conditions.
“Where they had parked there is just no shade,” they told The Sun. “It’s directly on the seafront in 25°C (77°F) weather outside – I’ve got no idea what it was inside the car.”
The family was indignant over what they claim was an overreaction by the police.
“At first it was ‘what the f*** are you doing, why did you break my car window? I was only gone for 10 minutes,’” another witness explained.
“The bloke obviously thought he was completely in the right,” they added. “He didn’t really seem to have much empathy.”
According to UK animal welfare group RSPCA, outside temperatures of 22°C (71°F) can reach a brutal 47°C (116.6°F) inside a car within an hour.
“Police officers attended and tried to get a contact number for the owners of the car but were unable,” a Sussex Police spokesperson said. “Officers had no choice but to smash the side window to gain access and a kind member of the public donated a bottle of water.”
Authorities added that the officers let the pet owners off with a stern warning, without ticketing the family or separating their dogs from them.
Scientists Prove What Causes Aurora Borealis for the First Time
Since the dawn of time, humans have been mystified by what causes the aurora borealis or northern lights. However, a group of scientists have finally uncovered what causes the dazzling lightshow that has captivated people for so long.
Researchers at the University of Iowa have proven that the shimmering auroras are the result of powerful electromagnetic waves during geomagnetic storms, according to a newly published study.
According to the study, phenomena known as Alfven waves propel electrons toward Earth and cause the particles to produce the brilliant display of northern lights seen in the higher latitudes of our planet,
“Measurements revealed this small population of electrons undergoes ‘resonant acceleration’ by the Alfven wave’s electric field, similar to a surfer catching a wave and being continually accelerated as the surfer moves along with the wave,” Prof. Greg Howes, a co-author of the study, told CNN.
Scientists have long understood that the aurora was the likely result of electrons surfing across the electric field, at least since the theory was introduced in 1946 by Soviet scientist Lev Landau.
However, the University of Iowa professors were able to finally put the theory to the test through a simulation at a lab at the Large Plasma Device (LPD) in the Basic Plasma Science Facility of the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).
Using a 20-meter-long chamber to simulate the magnetic field of the Earth through state-of-the-art magnetic field coils, scientists were able to generate plasma similar to that which exists in spac.
“Using a specially designed antenna, we launched Alfven waves down the machine, much like shaking a garden hose up and down quickly, and watching the wave travel along the hose,” said Howes.
While this didn’t result in the type of auroras we might see in the sky, “our measurements in the laboratory clearly agreed with predictions from computer simulations and mathematical calculations, proving that electrons surfing on Alfven waves can accelerate the electrons (up to speeds of 45 million mph) that cause the aurora,” Howes noted.
Scientists across the country were elated by the results of the experiment.
“I was tremendously excited! It is a very rare thing to see a laboratory experiment that validates a theory or model concerning the space environment,” said Patrick Koehn, a scientist in the Heliophysics Division of NASA.
“Space is simply too big to easily simulate in the lab,” he added.
Researchers are hopeful that a greater understanding will allow forecasters to better understand weather conditions in space.
Arizona Restores Gas Chamber Where ‘Nazi-Era’ Gas Will be Used for Executions
Arizona has restored an old gas chamber retired during the 20th century in a bid to continue executing its inmates on death row, renewing criticisms about capital punishment and a method of execution the United States once rejected for being excessively cruel and unusual.
The gas chamber, which hasn’t been operated since it executed its last inmate 1999, has been refurbished to ensure that it can properly function as an option for death row prisoners to choose, reports Associated Press.
The move comes after the Grand Canyon State made a large purchase of ingredients to manufacture its own hydrogen cyanide gas.
The same chemicals Arizona plans on using were also used by the Nazis during the holocaust under the brand name Zyklon B. News articles about Arizona’s plans have provoked outrage among survivors of Nazi death camps in Germany and Israel.
“Whether or not one supports the death penalty as a general matter, there is general agreement in American society that a gas devised as a pesticide, and used to eliminate Jews, has no place in the administration of criminal justice,” wrote the American Jewish Committee said in a statement.
The federal government has also used the gas in past executions of prisoners.
Arizona’s revival of the old execution method comes as prison authorities across the country continue to grapple with problems over another form of execution decried by critics as brutal, namely the use of lethal injection.
Once depicted as a more humane and painless form of killing prisoners, lethal injection has often led to slow, torturous and excruciating deaths. Additionally, many of the chemicals used in lethal injection drugs are impossible to attain due to the refusal of drug makers to continue manufacturing them – effectively cutting off the “choices” given to death row inmates about their preferred method of death.
In South Carolina, a recently-passed law would see inmates being forced to choose between firing squad and an electric chair, reports NPR.
In the waning days of the Trump administration, the outgoing president also vigorously pushed to fast-track the use of death by firing squad and death by electrocution.
At the time, former federal prosecutor Miriam Krinsky, who also heads the Fair and Just Prosecution advocacy group, said:
“As we find itself in the midst of a national reckoning with racism and our history of racial violence, ending the death penalty must be part of our transformation … Abolishing the death penalty would be a signal that the Biden-Harris administration is committed to fairness, equity, and evidence-based justice — and the time for this definitive move is long overdue.”
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