Thursday, April 15, 2021

Last Call For Black Lives Still Matter, Con't

The now former police officer who killed Daunte Wright on Sunday was arrested and charged with second-degree manslaughter in Minnesota.

Former Brooklyn Center police officer Kimberly A. Potter was charged Wednesday with second-degree manslaughter in the death of Daunte Wright, joining just a handful of officers who have faced charges after shooting someone they said they intended to shock with a Taser.

Potter, a 26-year veteran of the department who resigned Tuesday, was arrested and booked into the Hennepin County jail shortly after noon. Bodycam footage from the shooting Sunday shows her shouting "Taser!" three times before killing Wright, a 20-year-old Black man, with a single shot from her Glock 9-millimeter handgun. Police officials blamed the death on human error.

Protests over Wright's killing have focused on how Potter, who is white, carried out a sequence of events that led to the death of a Black motorist who had been stopped for a minor traffic violation. Wright cooperated with Potter and another police officer at first, but a criminal complaint filed Wednesday showed how the encounter turned violent after one of the officers told Wright he was being arrested on a warrant.

Potter fired her gun 12 seconds after Wright pulled himself free from the officers.

Potter was released from jail Wednesday evening after posting $100,000 bond. Her attorney, Earl Gray, was unavailable for comment.

Attorney Ben Crump, who said he has been retained by Wright's family, issued a statement with co-counsel Jeff Storms and Antonio Romanucci in response to the charges.

"While we appreciate that the district attorney is pursuing justice for Daunte, no conviction can give the Wright family their loved one back," the statement said. "Driving while Black continues to result in a death sentence. A 26-year veteran of the force knows the difference between a Taser and a firearm."
Second-degree manslaughter is a maximum 10-year/$20k fine sentence in Minnesota. A judge could really make her life hell in sentencing.
But there has to be a conviction first, and 99% of the time, police officers are never convicted. And why would they be? Who wants to be a juror in a case like this, knowing that the police have your name and address? You vote to convict a cop, suddenly you're getting pulled over for traffic stops every week.  And if you're a Black juror? Well, you get one traffic stop, and then maybe the officer on the scene mistakes their taser for a service Glock too.

And even then, the most likely sentence is probation. She quietly gets hired back at a desk job after the trial. 
And Daunte Wright is still dead.

Black Lives Still Matter.


Russian To Actual Judgment, Con't

Biden drops the hammer this week on Putin and company as tensions mount along the Russia-Ukraine border.
The Biden administration imposed a series of new sanctions on Russia, including restrictions on buying new sovereign debt, in retaliation for alleged misconduct related to the SolarWinds hack and efforts to disrupt the U.S. election.

The new measures sanction 32 entities and individuals, including government and intelligence officials, and six Russian companies that provide support to the Russian government’s hacking operations. The U.S. is also expelling 10 Russian diplomats working in Washington, including some intelligence officers.

The Biden administration also is barring U.S. financial institutions from participating in the primary market for new debt issued by the Russian central bank, Finance Ministry and sovereign wealth fund. Those limits would take effect from June 14.

Russian bonds fell and the ruble dropped the most since December on the news.

“What President Biden is going to announce today, we believe, are proportionate measures to defend American interests in response to harmful Russian actions, including cyber intrusions and election interference,” National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan told CNN early Thursday. “His goal is to provide a significant and credible response but not to escalate the situation.”

The sanctions reflect an attempt by the U.S. to balance the desire to punish the Kremlin for past misdeeds but also to limit the further worsening of the relationship, especially as tensions grow over a Russian military buildup near Ukraine.

The latest moves come just two days after President Joe Biden warned Vladimir Putin the U.S. would defend its interests but also offered the possibility of a summit meeting in the coming months, drawing a cautiously positive response from Moscow.

Restrictions blocking U.S. investors from buying ruble-denominated Russian government debt have long been seen as the “nuclear option” in financial markets, where the bonds, known as OFZs, have been a popular investment. Foreigners now hold about a fifth of that debt, worth roughly $37 billion.
Hitting Putin right where it hurts, his country's version of Wall Street's Big Casino, is a real step towards real sanctions with real teeth. And they never would have happened under the Former Guy™. Meanwhile the US is backing off plans (for now) to send Naval warships into the Black Sea.

We'll see how this balances out, but I would expect we'll have Putin's response in the Crimea or Donbass regions of Ukraine rather than the halls of Washington.

Nine Will Get You Thirteen, Supremely

Democrats are pushing for new legislation to raise the number of Supreme Court Justices from nine to thirteen, and while the bill has no chance of getting past the filibuster, it's a big blue marker that the Biden-era Dems are laying down. The real fight comes after the bill.

Four Democratic members of Congress plan to introduce legislation that would add four seats to the Supreme Court, which would, if passed, allow President Biden to immediately name four individuals to fill those seats and give Democrats a 7-6 majority.

The bill, which is being introduced by Reps. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), Hank Johnson (D-GA), and Mondaire Jones (D-NY) in the House and by Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA) in the Senate, is called the Judiciary Act of 2021, and it is very brief. It amends a provision of federal law providing that the Supreme Court consist of a chief justice and eight associate justices to read that the Court shall consist of ‘‘a Chief Justice of the United States and twelve associate justices, any eight of whom shall constitute a quorum.”

Although the Constitution provides that there must be a Supreme Court, it leaves the question of how many justices shall sit on that Court to Congress. Under the Judiciary Act of 1789, the Court originally had six seats, and it briefly had 10 seats under President Lincoln.

Realistically, the bill is unlikely to pass anytime soon. Until recently, adding seats to the Supreme Court was considered a very radical tactic — President Franklin Roosevelt proposed similar legislation in 1937, and it did not end well for him. President Biden has in the past expressed reluctance to add seats to the Court.

But the politics of Supreme Court reform have moved very quickly in recent years, and it’s possible to imagine a critical mass of lawmakers rallying behind Court expansion if a majority of the current justices hand down decisions that are likely to outrage Democrats, such as a decision neutralizing what remains of the Voting Rights Act.

The new court-expansion bill would effectively neutralize a half-decade of work by Republicans to manipulate the Senate confirmation process in order to ensure GOP control of the nation’s highest Court.
So-called "moderate" Senate Republicans don't like being powerless. They particularly don't like that Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin is doing a better and more efficient job of playing the concern troll but voting with our side in the end role than they ever could. But this is something they know they can block.

The question is what happens now?

Most likely, nothing. No Republican is going to allow this to pass when they could stop it. But it does become a hell of a negotiation starting point, doesn't it? 
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