Murder Trial of Ex-Cop Derek Chauvin Begins & Global News

by Debra Brown

Derek Chauvin

Each Wednesday, we recap the most important headlines from our global community to keep you up to speed on world news.


Murder Trial of Ex-Cop Derek Chauvin Begins

Chauvin, 45, has denied charges of second- and third-degree murder, and manslaughter, over the death of the 46-year-old African American man, George Floyd,  who was detained on suspicion of trying to buy cigarettes with a counterfeit $20 bill last May.

The former officer, Chauvin, who was fired, faces up to 40 years in prison if convicted of the most serious charges.

Chauvin’s lawyer, Eric Nelson, told the jury in his opening statement that the evidence will show that Floyd was under the influence of drugs and that the force used against him was reasonable because of his behavior.

The prosecutor said that Floyd’s arrest was unnecessary in the first place as passing a counterfeit bill, even if intentional, is a misdemeanour for which the police could have written a ticket.

In the recording, Floyd can be heard saying to Chauvin 20 times that he could not breathe and 10 times that he was dying.


Attack On Asian Woman In Manhattan, As Bystanders Watched

Biden Announces Actions To Combat Anti-Asian Violence, Discrimination : NPR

A 65-year-old Asian American woman was physically and verbally attacked by an unidentified man in midtown Manhattan, in an incident police say they are investigating as a hate crime.

Apartment building surveillance video of the assault shows security guards failing to intervene and then closing the door on the woman. 

The incident comes amidst a dramatic rise in hate crimes targeting Asian Americans, and is not the only high-profile attack to have taken place in New York City in recent days.

The White House announced a half-dozen new actions in response to attacks and harassment that Asian American and Pacific Islander communities in the United States have faced increasingly over the past year.


Civil Rights Groups Sue Georgia Over New Voter Suppression Law

Civil rights groups have filed a new federal lawsuit against Georgia’s sweeping law that makes it much harder for all Georgians to vote, particularly voters of color, new citizens, and religious communities.

The state legislature passed the law on a strictly party-line vote. Opponents have called it a transparent effort to push back against the victories that Georgia Democrats gave to President Joe Biden and two candidates for the U.S. Senate.

A lawsuit filed by the Georgia NAACP and other groups said Black residents in Georgia are 88 percent more likely to be below poverty level and therefore less likely to possess the required forms of identification under the new law. 


Virginia Becomes First Southern State to Abolish the Death Penalty

Virginia Gov. Ralph S. Northam signed a bill that abolished the death penalty, making it the first Southern state and the 23rd overall to end capital punishment amid rising opposition to the practice.

Before signing the bill, Mr. Northam pointed to Virginia’s 413-year history of capital punishment, during which it executed more than 1,300 inmates, more than any other state. He also noted racial disparities in the use of the death penalty: During the 20th century, he said, 296 of the 377 inmates Virginia executed for murder — or about 79 percent — were Black.

The bill, which the Virginia House and Senate passed last month, stipulates that the sentences of the remaining death row inmates be converted to life in prison without eligibility for parole. The inmates will also not qualify for good conduct allowance, sentence credits or conditional release.


Arkansas Becomes First State to Ban Healthcare for Trans Youth 

Arkansas became the first state to pass a bill prohibiting doctors from providing gender-affirming medical care to transgender youth following a vote in the state Senate.

HB 1570, the “Save Adolescents From Experimentation (SAFE) Act,” prohibits trans youth from accessing health care and insurance coverage for gender-affirming care. The bill passed 28-7 in the state Senate. The state House passed the bill earlier this month.

The bill would prohibit doctors from offering gender-confirming hormone treatment or surgery to trans minors. Doctors would also be unable to refer minors to other providers for treatment. 

The legislation now goes to Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s desk for signature. If signed, the bill would become the first in the nation to target trans health care. It would take effect this summer.

Studies have shown children who are unable to access gender-affirming care experience higher rates of depression, anxiety, and suicide than trans youth with supportive doctors and families. A 2020 study published in Pediatrics found that the earlier transgender youth get care, the less likely they are to suffer from depression and suicidal thoughts. 

Arkansas has also proposed two bills that would prevent trans youth from participating in school sports: SB354 and SJR16.


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