Cramm for 5/17/21


A Minneapolis suburb is giving a look at how police reforms could work. 



Last month, a 20 year old Black man named Daunte Wright was driving in Brooklyn Center, a Minneapolis suburb, when police pulled him over. The police chief says it was because of a traffic violation related to expired registration tags, but Wright’s mom says her son called her and said it was because he had air fresheners hanging from his rear view window. Either way, the officers soon learned that Wright had a warrant for his arrest. When they tried to detain him, he stepped back into his car, leading to a struggle. One officer then pointed a handgun at Wright, yelled “Taser” followed by an obscenity, and then said “I just shot him.” Wright’s car pulled away and crashed a few blocks later. He died of a gunshot wound to the chest.



The killing sparked protests and calls for change. So recently, Brooklyn Center City Council said ‘message received’ and approved sweeping police reforms. 



Under the new measure, all emergency calls related to things like physical or mental health or social need will go to a new community response unit - not the police. Plus traffic enforcement will be dealt with by a separate, unarmed force, leaving police only allowed to issue citations for non-felony offenses, like non-moving traffic infractions. (So no conducting arrests or searches.)



These reforms could serve as a blueprint for the rest of the US. TBD, TBD, TBD. 


HEALTH: A new study from the World Health Organization says that long working hours are killing hundreds of thousands of people per year. See: in 2016, 745,000 people died of stroke and heart disease due to long hours. In some coronavirus news, major retailers - like Walmart and Trader Joe’s - are dropping mask requirements after the CDC said fully vaccinated people no longer have to wear masks. And speaking of which, it looks like the current vaccines are effective against the variant originating in India. This comes as the death toll continues to rise in the country, leading to growing calls for a nationwide lockdown. Also threatening India: Cyclone Tauktae, which is expected to be the strongest to hit the western state of Gujarat since 1998. 


WORLD:  Israel is continuing to carry out air strikes in Gaza, including on a building housing international media. And Hamas is continuing to fire rockets into Israel. Nearly 200 Palestinians and 1o Israelis have been killed. 42 Palestinians died in air strikes on a Hamas military structure located beneath civilian buildings - the deadliest attack yet in this latest escalation. Stay tuned. Meanwhile, Chile just held an election to decide who would get to join a body that will rewrite the country’s constitution. Spoiler alert: independents, left-wing, and center-left candidates won the majority of the seats, with the right-wing gov coalition failing to get enough seats to block any big changes. And in other news, there’s no evidence of any election fraud in the 2020 Myanmar election - contrary to what the military’s been alleging. 


USA: The other day, the US House of Reps struck a deal to create a bipartisan commission to investigate the January 6 attack on the Capitol, which led to five deaths and about 440 arrests. The panel will reportedly be modeled after the 9/11 Commission. Meanwhile, the Supreme Court is set to hear a case challenging Roe v. Wade. You read that right. The case concerns Mississippi’s ban on abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy with limited exceptions. It’s the first time Trump’s three appointees - Justices Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, and Amy Coney Barrett - will make a ruling on a major abortion dispute. Big deal, since conservatives currently have a 6-3 majority on the Supreme Court. 


UFOs:” what a retired Navy pilot spotted nearly every day for two years. Out of this world. 


“Cat makes daring five-story jump from burning building” - an actual headline. At least you know it landed on its feet. 

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