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Asked About Black Americans Killed by Police, Trump Says, ‘So Are White People’ – The New York Times

Politics|Asked About Black Americans Killed by Police, Trump Says, ‘So Are White People’

The president rejected the fact that Black people suffer disproportionately from police brutality and made startling remarks about the Confederate flag and a recent confrontation in St. Louis.

Credit…Doug Mills/The New York Times

Jeremy W. Peters

President Trump, whose re-election prospects have dimmed as Americans question his handling of the coronavirus outbreak and race relations, on Tuesday stoked racial grievances yet again with a series of startling remarks about the Confederate flag, victims of police violence and a St. Louis couple who pointed guns at protesters peacefully marching by their house.

Mr. Trump added to his long record of racially inflammatory comments during an interview with CBS News, in which he brushed off a question about Black people killed by police officers, saying that white people are killed in greater numbers.

Mr. Trump reacted angrily when asked about the issue, which has led to nationwide protests calling for major law enforcement changes.

“Why are African-Americans still dying at the hands of law enforcement in this country?” the interviewer, Catherine Herridge of CBS News, asked the president.

“What a terrible question to ask,” Mr. Trump responded. “So are white people. More white people, by the way.”

Statistics show that while more white Americans are killed by the police over all, people of color are killed at higher rates. A federal study that examined lethal force used by the police from 2009 to 2012 found that a majority of victims were white, but the victims were disproportionately Black. Black people had a fatality rate at the hands of police officers that was 2.8 times as high as that of white people.

In a separate interview published on Tuesday with the conservative website Townhall.com, Mr. Trump falsely claimed that a white couple in St. Louis who confronted peaceful marchers outside their home with guns had been on the verge of being beaten and having their home burned down.

“They were going to be beat up badly, and the house was going to be totally ransacked and probably burned down,” Mr. Trump said.

Video of the incident, which became a flash point in the national debate over racial inequality, showed that the protesters at no point physically threatened the couple.

The president’s remarks were the latest example of his refusal to acknowledge the racial discrimination that even many in his own party have said must be addressed. But Mr. Trump, who recently retweeted a video of a supporter shouting “white power” and said he would oppose a bipartisan effort in Congress to remove Confederate names from military bases, has displayed no intention of trying to bridge the country’s racial divide.

Asked in the CBS interview how he felt about the use of the Confederate battle flag in public settings like NASCAR races, the president said: “With me, it’s freedom of speech. Very simple. Like it, don’t like it, it’s freedom of speech.”

Asked if he understood that the flag was a painful symbol to many people as a reminder of slavery, Mr. Trump said, “Well, people love it and I don’t view — I know people that like the Confederate flag and they’re not thinking about slavery.” He added, “I just think it’s freedom of speech, whether it’s Confederate flags or Black Lives Matter or anything else you want to talk about.”

Four months into a pandemic that has cost more than 136,000 lives in the United States, and nearly two months after the killing of a Black man by a Minneapolis police officer sparked a nationwide outpouring of anger over racial injustice, Mr. Trump still only rarely mentions the pain that both crises have caused many Americans. Rather than offer sympathy and compassion, he provokes and attacks.

His comments in the interviews on Tuesday — a day when Florida again surpassed its previous record for coronavirus deaths while Republicans pressed ahead with plans to hold their convention in Jacksonville next month — came as he used a news conference that was ostensibly for announcing new legislation targeting China to thrash his opponent, former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr.

“His agenda is the most extreme platform of any major party nominee, by far, in American history,” Mr. Trump said, calling Mr. Biden’s career a “gift to the Chinese Communist Party.”

Over the course of his short time as a national political figure, Mr. Trump has used race, religion and ethnicity to divide Americans. Five years ago, he announced that he was seeking the presidency by denigrating Mexican migrants as rapists and murderers. As a candidate he then called for “a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States.”

He initially refused to disavow the endorsement of a former Ku Klux Klan leader, David Duke. He has insulted the intelligence of Black professional athletes and questioned their patriotism.

Since the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, he has not backed down but doubled down on making racially divisive and sometimes overtly racist comments. He has called the coronavirus the “Kung flu.” He falsely accused a Black NASCAR driver of perpetrating a hoax for reporting that a noose had been left near his car and criticized the racing franchise for prohibiting Confederate flags at its events — while also claiming to have done “more for Black Americans, in fact, than any President in U.S. history,” with the “possible exception” of Abraham Lincoln.

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Asked Patrons

Patrons are asked to self-quarantine after about 85 people who visited a Michigan bar get Covid-19 – CNN

(CNN)People who visited a bar in East Lansing, Michigan, are being asked to self-quarantine because roughly 85 people contracted Covid-19 after visiting the establishment this month, a health official says.

That number is up from the 34 reported Wednesday and is expected to rise, Ingham County Health officer Linda S. Vail told CNN.
The Health Department is asking patrons who visited Harper’s Restaurant & Brew Pub between June 12 and June 20 to self-quarantine, and report cases of Covid-19, the department said in a statement.
“Given the number of cases in this outbreak, we consider this a higher risk exposure than a typical visit to a restaurant or bar,” Vail said. “There are likely more people infected with Covid-19 not yet identified.”
The bar followed safety guidelines for employees, capacity guidelines and table spacing, the statement said.
The bar opted to close down temporarily to install air purifiers and to eliminate lines, a post says on its Facebook page.

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Kentucky AG asked to serve as special prosecutor in Breonna Taylor case – NBC News

Kentucky’s attorney general will serve as a special prosecutor in the killing of Breonna Taylor, a woman fatally shot in her Louisville home by police who her family says were executing a “botched” search warrant.

“The Office of the Attorney General has been asked to serve as special prosecutor in the matter involving the death of Breonna Taylor. At the conclusion of the investigation, the office will review the evidence and take appropriate action,” Attorney General Daniel Cameron announced late Wednesday.

Hours earlier, Gov. Andy Beshear called on Cameron to “carefully review the results of the initial investigation to ensure justice is done at a time when many are concerned that justice is not blind.”

“The public reports concerning the death of Breonna Taylor are troubling,” Beshear said in a statement.

Breonna Taylor was a qualified EMTFamily photo via NBC12

State Rep. Charles Booker of Louisville also called Wednesday for an independent investigation.

“Ms. Taylor was an innocent and valued member of our community, and it is unjust that she has been killed,” Booker wrote in a letter to Cameron. “The circumstances surrounding her violent death at the hands of officers of the Louisville Metro Police Department are deeply troubling.”

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Taylor’s family in a lawsuit accuses three officers, since identified as Jonathan Mattingly, Brett Hankison and Myles Cosgrove, of “blindly firing” more than 20 shots into her apartment, surprising the 26-year-old and her boyfriend who thought the officers were burglars.

Taylor, an EMT, and her boyfriend thought they were being burglarized and he fired at the officers in self-defense, the lawsuit said.

After the March 13 incident, the Louisville Metro Police Department said the officers had knocked on the door several times and “announced their presence as police who were there with a search warrant.” After forcing their way in, they “were immediately met by gunfire,” Lt. Ted Eidem said at a news conference.

But the family’s lawsuit said the three officers entered Taylor’s home “without knocking and without announcing themselves as police officers.”

Taylor was shot eight times and died. Her boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, 27, was arrested and charged with assault and attempted murder on a police officer.

The family’s suit said that Walker had a license to carry and kept firearms in the home, and that Taylor was unarmed.

“Breonna Taylor was sleeping while black in the sanctity of our own home,” attorney Benjamin Crump said at a Wednesday press conference, adding, “we cannot continue to allow them to unnecessarily and justifiably kill our black women and escape any accountability.”

The suit said the officers were looking for a suspect who lived in a different part of the city and was already in police custody. The Courier-Journal reported that records show the officers were investigating a “trap house” that was more than 10 miles away from Taylor’s apartment. They had been issued a “no-knock” search warrant for that residence.

A police spokesperson had no comment this week because the investigation was still ongoing. The officers were reassigned pending the outcome of the investigation.

Taylor and Walker had no criminal history or drug convictions. No drugs were found in the apartment.

Taylor’s mother, Tamika Palmer, filed the lawsuit in April in Jefferson Circuit Court alleging wrongful death, excessive force and gross negligence.

“Though it is unjust and reprehensible, it is true that black people in American society are often seen as deadly weapons simply because of the color of our skin. I urgently request that you ensure that justice is done in this case,” Booker wrote in his letter to Cameron. “I am counting on your leadership to ensure that Breonna Taylor’s life and service are more than yet another hashtag, and that this moment becomes a chance to stand against institutional racism and for the just humanity of all Kentuckians.”

Elisha Fieldstadt

Elisha Fieldstadt is a breaking news reporter for NBC News.

Minyvonne Burke

contributed.

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CEOs Were Asked to Remove Masks Before Meeting With Mike Pence in Iowa – Slate

Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds, Vice President Mike Pence, and chief executive officer and president of Hy-Vee, Inc. Randy Edeker hold a roundtable discussion on coronavirus with food industry executives on Friday, May 8, 2src2src at the Ron Pearson Center in West Des Moines.

Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds, Vice President Mike Pence, and chief executive officer and president of Hy-Vee, Inc. Randy Edeker hold a roundtable discussion on coronavirus with food industry executives on Friday, May 8, 2020 at the Ron Pearson Center in West Des Moines.

Olivia Sun/The Register via Imagn Content Services, LLC

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Mere hours after Vice President Mike Pence’s press secretary tested positive for COVID-19, he was set to meet with a group of food industry executives who had gathered for a roundtable discussion in West Des Moines. But before Pence joined them on the stage, someone came in and asked all five guests to remove their masks, which they all did dutifully, reports the Intercept, which posted a segment of the live video stream of the event that showed the sequence of events. “The strange request underscored just how committed the White House is to ignoring federal health advice intended to slow the spread of the pandemic coronavirus,” notes the Intercept’s Robert Mackey.

This is, of course, hardly the first time Pence’s seeming insistence on not wearing a mask has raised eyebrows. Pence refused to wear a mask at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, claiming it wasn’t necessary because he was tested regularly. Later he acknowledged he should have worn a mask. “I didn’t think it was necessary, but I should have worn the mask at the Mayo Clinic,” Pence said.

Pence didn’t wear a mask during his events in Iowa that were intended to encourage economies to start returning to normal. But throughout the day there were clear signs that everything continued to be far from normal. Before the event in which the executives were asked to remove their masks, staffers wearing gloves and masks took the temperature of people who entered the building. And even though members of the audience did appear to be staying apart from each other, video showed that few were actually wearing masks.

The events of Friday illustrate just how the question of whether to wear a mask or not has become a political statement across the United States. Even as health care officials encourage people to wear masks, those who think that the coronavirus threat is overblown are getting clear signals from some of the country’s leaders, including President Donald Trump, that it’s OK not to wear one. That tension has even led to violence in a few places as people who refuse to wear masks have confronted employees at stores that demand everyone put one on. Ultimately, “the president is not just failing to model good behavior,” writes Mackey, “he is actively discouraging it.” As of Sunday afternoon, the coronavirus had killed almost 80,000 people across the United States.


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