AstraZeneca’s Oxford vaccine trial to resume


The university, which is developing the vaccine with AstraZeneca, did not say when the trial would resume. AstraZeneca said the trial will only resume in the United Kingdom, adding that it’s working with health authorities across the world to determine when other trials can resume.

Before the pause, the company was testing its vaccine, dubbed the Oxford vaccine, in the United States as well as in the United Kingdom, Latin America, Asia, Europe and Africa.

The university said in a statement that some 18,000 individuals around the world have received study vaccines as part of the trial. “In large trials such as this, it is expected that some participants will become unwell and every case must be carefully evaluated to ensure careful assessment of safety,” the statement added.

US National Institutes of Health Director Dr. Francis Collins told a Senate hearing Wednesday that pausing a trial was a standard precaution that is meant to ensure experimental vaccines don’t cause serious reactions among participants.

“To have a clinical hold, as has been placed on AstraZeneca, as of yesterday, because of a single serious adverse event, is not at all unprecedented,” Collins said at a hearing of the Senate Heath, Education, Labor and Pensions committee.

On Tuesday, AstraZeneca joined eight other companies in signing a pledge promising they would not seek premature government approval for any coronavirus vaccine. The companies promised to wait until they had adequate data showing any potential vaccine worked safely.

AstraZeneca did not provide any details on the issue that caused the trial to stop. While AstraZeneca didn’t specify what the issue was, at the hearing on Wednesday Collins said the AstraZeneca hold was due to a “spinal cord problem.”

On Wednesday, AstraZeneca issued a statement denying news reports that suggested the trial was stopped because of a case of transverse myelitis — a rare inflammatory condition of the spinal cord. On the same day, AstraZeneca said it had paused its coronavirus vaccine trial not once but twice because of adverse events.

“We can also confirm that there was a brief trial pause in July while a safety review took place after one volunteer was confirmed to have an undiagnosed case of multiple sclerosis, which the independent panel concluded was unrelated to the vaccine,” a company spokesperson said.

The AstraZeneca vaccine is one of three coronavirus vaccines in late-stage, Phase 3 trials in the US. It has the backing of the US federal government. Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTec are the other two groups with Phase 3 trials under way, also with federal government funding.

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‘Mix and match’ UK Covid vaccine trial expanded


A major UK trial looking at whether Covid vaccines can be mixed with different types of jabs used for first and second doses is being expanded.

Combining vaccines might give broader, longer-lasting immunity against the virus and new variants of it, and offer more flexibility to vaccine rollout.

Adults over 50 who have had a first dose of Pfizer or AstraZeneca can apply to take part in the Com-Cov study.

Their second dose could be the same again, or a shot of Moderna or Novavax.

Chief investigator on the trial, Professor Matthew Snape, from the Oxford Vaccine Group, said he hoped to recruit 1,050 volunteers who have already received one dose on the NHS in the past 8-12 weeks.

More than 800 people are already taking part in the research and have received two doses of either Pfizer, AstraZeneca or a mix.

Results of this first stage are expected next month, and the expanded trial should have some reportable findings by June or July – although the study will run for a year.

Health experts generally agree that the mixing and matching of the vaccines should be safe. The trial will check for any side-effects or unwanted reactions.

Participants will have blood taken to check how well the vaccines trigger an immune response – in the form of antibodies and T cells – to combat Covid.

Prof Snape said: “If we can show that these mixed schedules generate an immune response that is as good as the standard schedules, and without a significant increase in the vaccine reactions, this will potentially allow more people to complete their Covid-19 immunisation course more rapidly.

“What I’m hoping is that we won’t rule out any combinations.

“That’s how we need to look at it: are there any combinations we shouldn’t be giving, because they don’t generate a good immune response? And I’m hoping that won’t be the case.”

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Extortion trial of Suzi Taylor, Ali Ebrahimi delayed again


The trial of ex-Block star Suzi Taylor and her co-accused Ali Ebrahimi has encountered more setbacks after a barrister was injured.

Mr Ebrahimi and Ms Taylor, real name Suellen Jan Taylor, are both facing five charges that include extortion, assault occasioning bodily harm and deprivation of liberty allegedly committed in October 2019.

Both pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Trial proceedings were delayed on Monday after Mr Ebrahimi’s defence barrister Peter Nolan was hospitalised after a fall outside of Brisbane District Court.

Judge Suzanne Sheridan discharged the jury on Monday afternoon.

On Tuesday, the court was told a new barrister was being sought for Mr Ebrahimi as Mr Nolan was still recovering.

The trial will now begin on Thursday.

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Father accused of killing newborn son acquitted of manslaughter in second trial


Six-week-old baby Matthew Riley Baxter died of severe brain injuries in hospital in 2011.

His father Nicholas Aaron Baxter pleaded not guilty to manslaughter, in a two-week, judge-only retrial.

Crown Prosecutor Nigel Rees argued that when Mr Baxter was alone with his son he shook or struck him, causing internal injuries.

But Mr Baxter’s defence barristers argued the prosecution’s case relied on theory not evidence, and that the injuries could have been caused by seizure.

It’s the second time Mr Baxter has faced a trial over his son’s death.

In 2017 he was acquitted of a murder charge by a jury, who found him guilty of the lesser charge of manslaughter.

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What We Learned from the Derek Chauvin Trial Today


Los Angeles Police Sgt. Jody Stiger is sworn in before testifying today.
Credit…Still image, via Court TV

Witnesses called by the prosecution in the Derek Chauvin trial provided a deeper look at police policies on the use of force on Tuesday and gave the former Minneapolis police officer’s defense team some potential openings.

Mr. Chauvin’s defense, led by attorney Eric J. Nelson, tried to bolster its argument that the crowd that formed on the sidewalk during George Floyd’s arrest might have made it more difficult for Mr. Chauvin to render medical aid or to move his knee, which he held on Mr. Floyd for more than nine minutes.

While the first week of the trial brought emotional testimony from bystanders, Tuesday’s proceedings seemed to cement the trial into the second phase: focusing on whether Mr. Chauvin, who is accused of murder in Mr. Floyd’s death, violated police policy, or whether his actions lined up with his training. Here are the highlights from Tuesday.

  • Mr. Nelson found some testimony from prosecution witnesses that could support his arguments. Officer Nicole Mackenzie, the medical support coordinator for the Minneapolis Police Department, agreed with Mr. Nelson’s assertion that a crowd of vocal bystanders can make it difficult for an officer to render medical aid during an arrest. Lt. Johnny Mercil, a veteran of the Minneapolis Police Department and use-of-force instructor, also said that hostile bystanders could raise alarm with officers. Mr. Nelson has suggested throughout the trial that the crowd outside the Cup Foods convenience store, which yelled at Mr. Chauvin as he knelt on Mr. Floyd for nine and a half minutes, might have hindered the former officer from helping Mr. Floyd once he became unresponsive.

  • Mr. Nelson hit on a similar theme during the questioning of Sgt. Ker Yang, a crisis intervention coordinator with the Minneapolis Police Department. He asked whether an officer can “look bad” even when applying force that is lawful, and asked whether officers are tasked with weighing possible threats, such as a crowd of bystanders, when applying force. “You’re taking in a lot of information and processing it all kind of simultaneously through this critical decision-making model,” Mr. Nelson said. Sergeant Yang agreed.

  • Los Angeles Police Sgt. Jody Stiger, a use-of-force expert, told prosecutors that Mr. Floyd kicked at officers as a possible attempt to break free from their grasp. Still, Sergeant Stiger said that kick was the only such attempt by Mr. Floyd. He also said that, based on his review of body camera footage, Mr. Floyd seemed to comply with officers shortly after they placed him facedown on the pavement, with his hands cuffed behind his back.

  • When reviewing a picture of Mr. Chauvin pinning George Floyd to the ground, Lieutenant Mercil told prosecutors that Mr. Chauvin’s position was not consistent with the Minneapolis Police Department’s training on use of force. In addition, Lieutenant Mercil said that officers are trained to “use the lowest level of force possible” when controlling a subject. Mr. Chauvin kept Mr. Floyd pinned for several minutes even after he became unresponsive. Still, Mr. Nelson made some potential headway with the testimony of Lieutenant Mercil. Asked about neck restraints, Lieutenant Mercil said it generally takes less than 10 seconds for a person to become unconscious because of a neck restraint. The question could allow Mr. Nelson to argue that Mr. Chauvin’s knee did not qualify as a neck restraint, because it took several minutes for Mr. Floyd to lose consciousness.

On Day 7 of the trial of Derek Chauvin, the former police officer accused of murder in the death of George Floyd, people gathered outside the courthouse and in front of Cup Foods.

A patron of a laundromat near Cup Foods watching the Derek Chauvin trial on Monday.
Credit…Joshua Rashaad McFadden for The New York Times

Viewer interest in television coverage of the trial of Derek Chauvin has been high, according to ratings data from Nielsen.

Several cable channels, including CNN and MSNBC, have broadcast large portions of the trial live, and one cable network, HLN, has shown it in its entirety since the proceedings started on March 29. For several days last week, CNN’s highest ratings came in the afternoon, during witness testimony, rather than during its prime-time hours.

Mr. Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer accused of killing George Floyd last year, faces charges of manslaughter, second-degree murder and third-degree murder.

On Thursday, roughly 3.7 million viewers were watching trial coverage on the three channels during the afternoon testimony of former Sgt. David Pleoger, who supervised Mr. Chauvin and testified that he should have “ended” his restraint after Mr. Floyd became unresponsive. That audience was larger than the number of people tuning into any other cable program that day. “The Rachel Maddow Show,” the most watched cable show on Thursday, drew three million viewers.

On Monday, the trial continued to attract a large viewing audience. CNN’s 3 p.m. hour, which featured testimony from Medaria Arradondo, the Minneapolis police chief, averaged 1.4 million viewers, the network’s highest total for the day, including its prime-time hours. HLN had an average of 470,000 viewers between 3 and 4 p.m. on Monday, also its most-viewed hour of the day.

The Nielsen figures do not reflect people who watched the trial on separate streaming outlets or on digital devices. Court TV is also broadcasting and streaming live trial coverage in its entirety. Fox News, the most-watched cable news network, has not been carrying the trial live.

HLN, a channel formerly known as CNN2 and CNN Headline News that is owned by CNN’s parent company, AT&T’s WarnerMedia, had its highest daytime ratings since 2013, when it covered the trial of George Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch volunteer who fatally shot Trayvon Martin, an unarmed Black teenager, according to Nielsen. HLN’s audience figures only continued to spike as the week went on.

“The numbers show that there is a high level of interest,” said Ken Jautz, an executive vice president of CNN, who oversees HLN, in an interview.

“This trial raises so many prominent and searing societal issues,” he continued. “Issues of policing practices, and how law enforcement treats people of color.”

On MSNBC, viewership figures for the morning portion of the trial went up throughout its first week. On March 29, 929,000 viewers watched the trial as it began just after 10:30 Eastern time. By Friday, the fifth day, MSNBC viewership figures for the morning portion had risen to 1.2 million viewers, according to Nielsen.

The figures are nothing close to interest to the 1995 O.J. Simpson trial. Roughly 50 million people watched the trial’s conclusion from their homes, a figure that may have been three times that size if the number of people watching it at work, at school or in airports or restaurants had been factored in.

The Chauvin trial is expected to last several weeks, and the three cable news networks are likely to continue broadcasting significant portions of it.

After a private conference with lawyers for both sides, Judge Peter Cahill unexpectedly sends jurors home for the day an hour earlier than usual. He says witness testimony will resume on Wednesday at 9:15 Central, when Sgt. Jody Stiger of the Los Angeles Police Department, a use-of-force expert called by prosecutors, will return to the stand.

Officer Nicole Mackenzie, the medical support coordinator for the Minneapolis Police Department, testified on Tuesday in the trial of Derek Chauvin.
Credit…Still image, via Court TV

Derek Chauvin’s lawyer appeared to make some of his strongest arguments yet on Tuesday when he questioned a Minneapolis police officer who had been called by prosecutors to testify about training officers on providing medical care.

The officer, Nicole Mackenzie, who is the medical support coordinator for the Minneapolis Police Department, agreed with Mr. Chauvin’s lawyer that a police officer could mistake gasping for air with breathing and that a hostile group of bystanders could make it more likely for a police officer to miss signs that a detainee was in distress.

The lawyer, Eric J. Nelson, has repeatedly sought to argue that the group of people who yelled at police officers as they saw Mr. Chauvin kneeling on George Floyd may have forced his attention away from Mr. Floyd’s worsening condition.

Officer Mackenzie said it could be “incredibly difficult” to provide medical treatment in front of a loud crowd, even if they were not interfering physically.

“If you had a very hostile or volatile crowd — it sounds unreasonable — but bystanders do occasionally attack E.M.S. crews,” she testified.

Prosecutors have argued that the people who witnessed Mr. Floyd’s arrest presented no threat to the officers and were simply distraught over what they saw. They called Officer Mackenzie to the stand to bolster their argument that Mr. Chauvin, who was fired from the department and is facing charges including murder, violated police policies that required him to administer care to people in his custody when it was safe to do so.

But when Mr. Nelson asked if the police policies that require officers to administer care are “contingent upon what’s going on at the scene at the time,” Officer Mackenzie agreed.

She also described what she said were the effects of “excited delirium,” a controversial diagnosis that is often ascribed to people who die in police custody. Officer Mackenzie said that people experiencing excited delirium could exhibit “superhuman strength” because they do not feel normal levels of pain.

Mr. Nelson also showed images from a training slide show that she delivered to officers on the use of naloxone, the overdose-reversing treatment often known by the brand name Narcan. In that training, Officer Mackenzie noted that only a small amount of fentanyl can have deadly effects.

Fentanyl and methamphetamine were found in Mr. Floyd’s system, and Mr. Nelson has argued that the drugs may have caused his death.

There were parts of Officer Mackenzie’s testimony that helped the prosecution.

As police officers were arresting Mr. Floyd in May, and he was telling them he couldn’t breathe, one officer said it takes “a lot of oxygen” to talk. But Officer Mackenzie testified that someone who is having trouble breathing could still be able to speak, and that officers should not assume someone can breathe because they are talking.

“Just because they’re speaking doesn’t mean they’re breathing adequately,” she said.

At the end of the officer’s testimony, Judge Peter A. Cahill told her that Mr. Nelson was planning to bring her back to testify when he begins to lay out Mr. Chauvin’s defense.

Officer Mackenzie was the eighth current or former member of the Minneapolis Police Department whom prosecutors have called to testify. She said that when she was a rookie, Mr. Chauvin had filled in as her training officer for a day when her regular trainer was out sick. Mr. Chauvin had also attended training that she provided to the department.

Prosecutors are now examining the officers’ actions last May during the arrest of George Floyd and their decision to place him on the ground, on his stomach, handcuffed. Sgt. Jody Stiger, an L.A.P.D. use-of-force trainer and expert, said that a kick from Floyd while handcuffed, visible on a police body-camera video, could have been an attempt to evade the officers’ grasp.

A Miami police officer taking part in a training exercise in 2018.
Credit…Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Much of Tuesday’s testimony has highlighted the training that the former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin received. But one longtime issue in policing in Minneapolis and elsewhere is the difference between what officers learn in the academy and what they learn on the streets.

Law enforcement officials and criminal justice experts have said that while officers may learn things like de-escalation and community engagement in training, they can be highly influenced by whoever trains them on the job.

And sometimes those field-training officers may be from an earlier generation that employed a more aggressive approach. That divide has been a concern of Minneapolis police and city officials as they try to change the way their officers operate after the death of George Floyd.

Mr. Chauvin, who is facing murder charges after kneeling on Mr. Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes, was a field-training officer. He had supervised two of the rookie officers involved in Mr. Floyd’s arrest.

“Every police agency has a mission statement, but the culture is what is accepted by leadership on a day-to-day basis,” Sean Hendrickson, an instructor at Washington State’s police academy, told The New York Times in an article last year. “That gets backed up by other officers and is extremely deep and very difficult to change.”

Some activists have argued that the Minneapolis police — and other police agencies — were so irreparably broken that no amount of new training can reform them. Others have expressed concern that officers do not receive proper or enough training.

Most states require fewer minimum training hours to become licensed as a police officer than they do for barbers or cosmetologists. As of last year, for example, New York State law mandates 1,000 hours of training for massage therapists, compared with around 700 hours for officers. Hawaii has no minimum requirements for police officers, but manicurists must train for 300 hours.

Becoming a police officer in Minneapolis requires first getting a peace officer license from the state, which entails as many as 1,050 hours of training. Once recruits obtain their licenses, they have to go through additional training run by the Minneapolis Police Department that includes 19 weeks in the academy.

After completing the academy, new officers spend five months on the streets with a field training officer, who is supposed to teach recruits how to translate what they learned in the academy to real-life situations. But current and former officers pointed to one of the first things that field training officers often say to new recruits: “Forget everything you learned in the academy.”

Jody Stiger, a sergeant with the Los Angeles Police Department, is the first use-of-force expert witness from outside of the Minneapolis Police Department that the prosecution has called to testify against Derek Chauvin. Stiger’s experience as an instructor in the L.A.P.D. is extensive; he testified that he has trained close to 3,000 police officers in use-of-force tactics.

Sgt. Stiger says he has closely examined Chauvin’s actions last May during the arrest of George Floyd and come to a conclusion: “My opinion was that the force was excessive.”

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Chauvin’s Use of Force Was ‘Excessive,’ L.A.P.D. Sergeant Says

Los Angeles Police Sgt. Jody Stiger, a use-of-force expert, told jurors on Tuesday that the former police officer Derek Chauvin used excessive force on George Floyd during his arrest.

“I reviewed all the body-worn videos, all the other videos that were provided to me that were cellphone videos, pulled videos, things of that nature — reports, manuals from the Minneapolis Police Department, as well as the training materials.” “Based upon your review of these materials and in light of the Graham factors, what is your opinion as to the degree of force used by the defendant on Mr. Floyd on the date in question?” “My opinion was that the force was excessive. When Mr. Floyd was being placed in the backseat of the vehicle, he was actively resisting the officers. So at that point, the officers were justified in utilizing force to try to have him comply with their commands and to seat him in the backseat of the vehicle. However, once he was placed in the prone position on the ground, he slowly ceased his resistance and at that point, the officers, ex-officers, I should say, they should have slowed down or stopped their, their force as well.”

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Los Angeles Police Sgt. Jody Stiger, a use-of-force expert, told jurors on Tuesday that the former police officer Derek Chauvin used excessive force on George Floyd during his arrest.CreditCredit…Still image, via Court TV

Sgt. Jody Stiger of the Los Angeles Police Department took the stand on Tuesday and was expected to be the only outside expert to testify for the state about police training and use of force.

Asked directly about former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin’s actions in the arrest of George Floyd, Sergeant Stiger was blunt: “My opinion was that the force was excessive.”

Sergeant Stiger, a former Marine, joined the Los Angeles Police Department in 1993, according to a spokeswoman for the department. He holds the rank of sergeant II and serves as an aide to the office of the Inspector General, the body that oversees the police department and conducts performance audits, reviews use-of-force incidents and handles complaints of officer misconduct. He is the only sworn officer on staff.

He is also president of the Oscar Joel Bryant Foundation, which represents Black officers and civilian employees of the Los Angeles Police Department.

Sergeant Stiger served as a tactics instructor for in-service training for Los Angeles police officers for six years, during which he provided training regarding use-of-force policy and state law to about 3,000 officers, he said during his testimony.

He said he has conducted more than 2,500 reviews while working with the department and has consulted several entities on use-of-force reviews.

Sergeant Stiger was paid a flat fee of $10,000, as well as a trial fee, to review reports, video footage of the incident, training policies and other materials and ultimately make a judgment about whether the use of force by Mr. Chauvin was appropriate.

The defense has indicated it will recall Officer Nicole Mackenzie, the medical support coordinator for the Minneapolis Police Department, during Derek Chauvin’s portion of the trial, suggesting that Eric Nelson, Chauvin’s lawyer, believes her testimony was helpful to his case.

Eric Nelson, Derek Chauvin’s lawyer, ended his cross examination of Officer Nicole Mackenzie, the police department’s medical trainer, with some strong points for the defense. She told him that it’s very difficult to focus on the patient when you have loud things happening around you, that it’s more difficult to assess a patient, and it makes it possible that you might miss signs of problems. This could all be used to argue that George Floyd’s death was manslaughter — more of a mistake on Chauvin’s part than a depraved crime.

The prosecution took a risk by calling so many use-of-force witnesses; now some of them are coming very close to bolstering key aspects of the defense’s case.

In his questioning of Officer Nicole Mackenzie, the Minneapolis Police Department’s medical response trainer, Derek Chauvin’s lawyer returns to a line of questioning that he has raised with several other expert witnesses, suggesting that the shouting bystanders at the scene last May were a factor in Chauvin’s decision to continue restraining George Floyd.

As police officers were arresting George Floyd and he was telling them he couldn’t breathe, video captured one officer telling him it takes “a lot of oxygen” to talk. But medical experts have said people can be struggling to breathe and still speak. Officer Nicole Mackenzie, who trains Minneapolis police officers in medical treatment, backed that up from the stand, testifying, “Just because they’re speaking doesn’t mean they’re breathing adequately.”

Now testifying after the court’s lunch break is Officer Nicole Mackenzie, the medical support coordinator for the Minneapolis Police Department, who is expected to testify about officers providing medical treatment to people who are having a crisis. She is the eighth member of the department to testify for the prosecution in this trial.

The Rev. Al Sharpton, center, prayed with relatives of George Floyd on Tuesday outside of the courthouse where Derek Chauvin is on trial.
Credit…Joshua Rashaad McFadden for The New York Times

Relatives of George Floyd prayed outside the courthouse with the Rev. Al Sharpton on Tuesday, asking God for “justice” from the jury and for strength to continue closely watching the trial taking place on the 18th floor of the building behind them.

“Give this family strength that they can bear the recurring sight of seeing their brother with a knee on his neck,” Mr. Sharpton said. “A knee that represents the perpetual knee on the necks of all Black Americans.”

As he spoke, testimony continued inside the courtroom in the trial of Derek Chauvin, who has been charged with murder in George Floyd’s death. Ben Crump, a lawyer for the Floyd family, said the family had been told that autopsy photographs may be shown in court on Tuesday.

Prosecutors have already shown several graphic videos of the police confronting Mr. Floyd and Mr. Chauvin kneeling on him for more than nine minutes. Mr. Sharpton said he was praying for everyone watching the trial who was “suffering with” the Floyd family.

In addition to Mr. Crump and Mr. Sharpton, several high-profile Black politicians and activists accompanied the Floyd family. Among them were David A. Paterson, the former governor of New York; Gwen Carr, the mother of Eric Garner, who died in 2014 when a New York police officer put him in a chokehold; and Ray McGuire, who is running for mayor in New York and has secured Ms. Carr’s endorsement.

As two law enforcement officials in camouflage watched from a roof of the courthouse, several relatives of Mr. Floyd bowed their heads in prayer.

Afterward, Philonise Floyd, a brother of George’s, put his arm around Ms. Carr.

“We and Ms. Gwen Carr, after we get the verdict and we get this conviction, we’ll be able to breathe,” he said.

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Chauvin’s Use of Neck Restraint Was Unauthorized, Trainer Says

Lt. Johnny Mercil of the Minneapolis Police Department said Tuesday that neck restraints are sometimes allowed but that the former officer Derek Chauvin’s use of the technique on George Floyd was not appropriate.

“Is this an M.P.D.-authorized restraint technique?” “Knee on the neck would be something that does happen to use of force that isn’t unauthorized.” “And under what circumstances would that be authorized? How long can you do that?” “I don’t know if there’s a time frame. It would depend on the circumstance at the time.” “Which would include what?” “The type of resistance you’re getting from the subject that you’re putting it on.” “And so if there was, say, for example, the subject was under control and handcuffed, would this be authorized?” “I would say no.” “When we’re talking about prone handcuffing, this is a specific kind of photograph that demonstrates the placement of a knee as it applies to prone. Handcuff him, correct?” “Correct.” “And ultimately, if that person were to be handcuffed and circumstances dictated, the officer would be permitted to continue to hold his knee in that same position. Agreed?” “I would say yes. However, we’ve cautioned officers that — be mindful of the neck area, and to look for the shoulder, for placement.”

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Lt. Johnny Mercil of the Minneapolis Police Department said Tuesday that neck restraints are sometimes allowed but that the former officer Derek Chauvin’s use of the technique on George Floyd was not appropriate.CreditCredit…Still image, via Court TV

Lt. Johnny Mercil, the second witness of the day, is a veteran of the Minneapolis Police Department, a practitioner of Brazilian jiu-jitsu and a use-of-force instructor who has trained hundreds of police officers.

His testimony focused on a crucial argument for the prosecution: that Derek Chauvin’s actions last May were not consistent with how officers have been taught to restrain people who are resisting arrest.

Steve Schleicher, a prosecutor, displayed a picture of Mr. Chauvin pinning George Floyd to the ground and asked, “Is this an M.P.D.-trained neck restraint?”

“No, sir,” Lieutenant Mercil responded.

The lieutenant, who is currently on medical leave from the Minneapolis Police Department, is the seventh member of the department to testify for the prosecution in Mr. Chauvin’s trial.

But Eric J. Nelson, a lawyer for Mr. Chauvin, countered with a line of questioning emphasizing the unpredictability of people who are being taken into custody, the possibility that they could stop resisting arrest and then suddenly become violent, and the challenge for police officers in assessing a situation as circumstances shift.

He suggested that Mr. Chauvin’s knee was not the cause of Mr. Floyd’s unconsciousness, and asked Lieutenant Mercil whether a restraint requires pressure on both sides of the neck for the person to go unconscious. “That is what we teach, yes,” he said.

Mr. Nelson repeatedly invoked the chaotic scene around Mr. Chauvin last May, asking Lieutenant Mercil whether bystanders yelling insults at an officer would “reasonably tend to rise alarm in an officer.” He agreed that they would.

Mr. Schleicher, the prosecutor, then asked: “And if they’re saying, ‘Get off him, you’re killing him,’ should the officer also take that into account and consider whether their actions need to be reassessed?”

“Potentially, sir, yes,” Lieutenant Mercil said.

The testimony from Lt. Johnny Mercil, a use-of-force trainer with the Minneapolis Police Department, has wrapped up, and the court is taking a break for lunch.

Questions from the defense to Lt. Johnny Mercil, a use-of-force trainer with the Minneapolis Police Department, about whether unconscious people can suddenly regain consciousness and fight back are laying the groundwork to argue that Derek Chauvin was behaving reasonably when he continued to restrain George Floyd for more than nine minutes, even after he lost consciousness.

The fact that Lt. Mercil keeps agreeing with the defense lawyer on this line of questioning could present a problem for the prosecution.

Defense lawyer Eric Nelson seems to be laying the foundation to argue that Derek Chauvin’s knee on George Floyd’s neck was not a neck restraint and did not cause Floyd to go unconscious. He asked use-of-force trainer Lt. Johnny Mercil whether a restraint requires pressure on both sides of the neck for the person to go unconscious. “That is what we teach, yes,” Mercil said.

Mercil also said that generally it takes less than 10 seconds for someone to go unconscious because of a neck restraint. That’s likely a point that Nelson will use to say that it took Floyd longer than 10 seconds to go unconscious.

Derek Chauvin’s defense lawyer, Eric Nelson, has just asked Johnny Mercil, a lieutenant and use-of-force trainer with the Minneapolis Police Department, if people on drugs can display “more strength than they would have otherwise.” Superhuman strength is associated with excited delirium, a controversial diagnosis that is often cited in autopsies after deaths in police custody.

Prosecutors presenting police guidance on the use of neck restraints during the trial of the former officer Derek Chauvin.
Credit…Still image, via Court TV

Even as several members of the Minneapolis Police Department have criticized Derek Chauvin’s use of force against George Floyd, they have acknowledged that using force is a necessary part of policing. And data shows that reports of force are extremely rare, although the outcome can sometimes be significant.

Since 2018, there have been 14 reported incidents of officers’ using neck restraints in which the person it was being used on became unconscious, according to data from the department. The most recent incident was in February 2020 in which a 20-year-old Black male was restrained during a traffic stop for “verbal noncompliance,” the data said. Since 2012, there had been 310 instances in which neck restraints were used and the subject did not lose consciousness.

A central question for jurors in this trial will be whether it was appropriate for Mr. Chauvin to kneel on Mr. Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes. Johnny Mercil, a Minneapolis police lieutenant who provided use-of-force training to Mr. Chauvin, testified that officers were trained to “use the lowest level of force possible in order to meet those objectives.”

In many ways, this phase of the trial is putting police tactics on trial. Minneapolis residents, particularly African-Americans, have been highly critical of the Police Department, which they say has brutalized their communities. Since 2015, the Police Department has used force against Black residents at seven times the rate that it did against white residents, according to a New York Times analysis of police data last year.

About 20 percent of Minneapolis’s 430,000 residents are Black, but nearly 62 percent of the time that officers used force, it was against Black residents, according to the data.

Police officials argue that although the use of force may get a lot of attention, it is exceedingly rare. The data shows that there have been 4.3 million calls for service since 2008, but force was reported in just 13,472 of those instances, or just .31 percent of the time.

For residents who live in heavily policed areas, however, constant harassment by the police, even when force is not used, has left a bad impression. And shocking cases like Mr. Floyd’s can tend to overshadow the fact that force might be rarely used.

Johnny Mercil, a lieutenant with the Minneapolis Police Department, is explaining the use-of-force strategies that he teaches to police officers. His testimony here repeats a similar theme from earlier expert witnesses: When trying to control a subject, officers are trained to “use the lowest level of force possible in order to meet those objectives,” he says.

The prosecution is focusing its questions to Mercil on when it is appropriate for a police oficer to use a neck restraint on a suspect, as Derek Chauvin did on George Floyd. When shown a picture of Chauvin pinning Floyd to the ground and asked, “Is this an M.P.D.-trained neck restraint?” the lieutenant responds, “No, sir.”

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Police Sergeant Testifies on De-Escalation Process During Arrests

Sgt. Ker Yang, a crisis intervention coordinator with the Minneapolis Police Department, testified on Tuesday that officers have time to slow down, re-evaluate and reassess while arresting someone.

“Really, the ultimate goal in action — of somebody in a crisis — is to see if that person needs help and what kind of help. Does that person need to go to the hospital or does that person — can be turned over to somebody that has the authority to watch over that person?” “The crisis intervention policy actually defines crisis as having a trajectory, correct?” “Yes, sir.” “And that that trajectory can increase in its severity over time?” “Yes, sir.” “And that’s why it becomes important for an officer to create time and distance, right?” “Yes, sir.” “And creating time and distance for an officer is an important part of the de-escalation process, is it not?” “Yes, sir.” “And would you agree that you train police officers that as that intensity of crisis increases, the risk or threat to the officer grows greater?” “I don’t believe I train a specific like that, because as the intensity — my training is that as the intensity increases, and you have the distance and you, like you said, the time, you try to bring it down, not increase the intensity of it.”

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Sgt. Ker Yang, a crisis intervention coordinator with the Minneapolis Police Department, testified on Tuesday that officers have time to slow down, re-evaluate and reassess while arresting someone.CreditCredit…Still image, via Court TV

Lawyers for both the prosecution and the defense continued to argue on Tuesday over whether Derek Chauvin violated police policy when he knelt on George Floyd, asking a range of questions to the day’s first witness, a crisis intervention coordinator with the Minneapolis Police Department.

Prosecutors called the coordinator, Sgt. Ker Yang, 49, to the stand and walked through the various decisions that officers are expected to make while on the job. Steve Schleicher, a prosecutor, emphasized in his questions that the police are supposed to constantly re-evaluate a situation and act accordingly, to which Sergeant Yang agreed.

“When we talk about fast-evolving situations, I know that they do exist, they do happen,” Sergeant Yang testified. But in many situations, he added, “We have the time to slow things down and re-evaluate and reassess.”

His comments echoed those of Chief Medaria Arradondo, who on Monday testified that while Mr. Chauvin’s initial efforts to restrain Mr. Floyd may have been reasonable, he had violated policy by continuing to kneel on Mr. Floyd for more than nine minutes.

Mr. Schleicher noted on Tuesday that Mr. Chauvin had participated in a 40-hour crisis intervention training course in 2016.

Eric J. Nelson, Mr. Chauvin’s lawyer, pressed his argument that bystanders at the scene of an arrest can have a large effect on how an officer acts, and that an officer can “look bad” even while using force that is lawful. He also emphasized that officers are not supposed to remain solely focused on someone they are arresting, but are also supposed to consider other parts of their surroundings.

“It’s not just one small thing that you’re focused only on the subject that you’re arresting,” Mr. Nelson said. “You’re taking in a lot of information and processing it all kind of simultaneously through this critical decision-making model.” Sergeant Yang agreed.

The next witness is Johnny Mercil, a police lieutenant who is currently on medical leave from the Minneapolis Police Department. He is a use-of-force trainer, and early in his career was assigned to the Third Precinct, whose station house burned down early in the protests following George Floyd’s death last year. His testimony will continue the focus on the training given to Minneapolis police officers.

He teaches officers Brazilian jiu jitsu and other hands-on tactics for subduing suspects.

It’s interesting to see Derek Chauvin’s defense lawyer focus on how, as the intensity of a situation grows, the risk to an officer increases. I spoke with a former high-level Minneapolis police commander last year, and he told me that the constant focus among police officers on their safety could sometimes lead to actions that put them at odds with the communities they serve. His main point was that it’s a fine line between keeping oneself safe as an officer, but also not seeing everything and everyone around you as a threat or an enemy.

The defense lawyer, Eric Nelson, is now questioning Sgt. Ker Yang, the Minneapolis Police Department’s crisis intervention training coordinator, and he is trying to establish that police tactics can sometimes get messy, but they’re still allowed. “They still may be lawful even if they look bad?” Nelson asked. “Yes sir,” Yang responded. Of course, jurors will have to determine whether kneeling on George Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes was something that just “looked bad” or whether it was unlawful.

The first witness called by prosecutors today is Sgt. Ker Yang, 49, a crisis intervention training coordinator with the Minneapolis Police Department. Prosecutors will likely use his testimony to try to show that Derek Chauvin had been trained in how to safely respond to people who were having various kinds of crises.

Prosecutors seem to be trying to establish with Sgt. Yang that the officers arresting George Floyd were trained to assess the situation and should have gone from using force against Floyd to trying to provide him with medical attention.

The judge is not going to rule today on whether Morries Hall, the friend of George Floyd’s who was with him in the moments before his death in May, can be forced to testify. The judge will likely rule later this week. Derek Chauvin’s lawyer has many questions for Mr. Hall, but almost all of them have the potential to incriminate him, and Mr. Hall has said he would invoke his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.

Before the jury is brought in this morning, court starts with an appearance from Morries Lester Hall, a friend of George Floyd’s who was in the car with him on May 25, the day Floyd died, in the moments before the police arrived. His lawyer says he does not want to testify and would invoke his Fifth Amendment right to not incriminate himself. This hearing is over whether he can be forced to testify against his will. He is currently being held in jail on charges unrelated to Floyd’s death and is appearing on video.

Derek Chauvin’s defense lawyer has outlined a long list of questions that he wants to ask Hall. Among them are questions about his interactions with Floyd in Cup Foods, about Floyd’s use of drugs, about Hall’s decision to leave the state after Floyd’s death, and much more. Almost all of those things have the potential to incriminate Hall.

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Morries Hall, George Floyd’s Friend, Hopes to Avoid Chauvin Trial Testimony

Morries Hall, a friend of George Floyd who was with him when he was arrested, is hoping to avoid testifying. On Tuesday, Mr. Hall’s legal team stated he planned to invoke his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.

“At this point in time, Mr. Hall has no immunity. He has been provided no immunity, no protection for his testimony whatsoever. And because of that, Mr. Hall is invoking his Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination in several key areas of questioning that we believe he would face were he to be called to testify.” “The defense intend to inquire of Mr. Hall as to the following. Certainly any events leading up to their — Mr. Hall and Mr Floyd’s arrival at Cup Foods earlier in the day, where they were, what they were doing, Mr. Hall’s interactions with Mr. Floyd in the Cup Foods.” “We need to tread carefully, obviously, Fifth Amendment right is a broad one. And I agree the link — you have to worry about links to possible prosecution. But at the same time, if everything’s linked, then it’s a blanket prohibition, and that is not the case law. So what I’m going to do is I’m going to ask Mr. Nelson essentially to draft in written question form with the expected answer based on whatever statements were made on what that would be.”

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Morries Hall, a friend of George Floyd who was with him when he was arrested, is hoping to avoid testifying. On Tuesday, Mr. Hall’s legal team stated he planned to invoke his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.CreditCredit…Still image, via Court TV

Morries Lester Hall, a friend of George Floyd’s who was in a car with him on May 25, moments before the police pulled Mr. Floyd out of the car and pinned him to the ground, is hoping to avoid testifying in the murder trial of Derek Chauvin.

At a hearing on Tuesday morning over whether Mr. Hall must testify, his lawyer said that testifying about any of his actions on May 25 had the potential to incriminate him, and that Mr. Hall planned to invoke his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination. Mr. Hall, who is currently in jail on charges unrelated to Mr. Floyd’s death, appeared in court by video conference, though he spoke only to spell his name and confirm that he had conferred with his lawyer.

Judge Peter A. Cahill, who is overseeing the trial of Mr. Chauvin, did not rule on whether Mr. Hall must testify, but he ordered Mr. Chauvin’s lawyer to draft a list of questions by Thursday that Mr. Hall might be able to answer without incriminating himself. Videos from the scene show that Mr. Hall was sitting in the passenger seat of a car when the police initially confronted Mr. Floyd, shortly before he was pinned to the ground and died.

Adrienne Cousins, Mr. Hall’s lawyer, said that both prosecutors and Mr. Chauvin’s lawyer, Eric J. Nelson, had subpoenaed Mr. Hall, though Mr. Nelson seemed more interested in calling him to the stand. Mr. Nelson said in court that he wanted to ask Mr. Hall a range of questions, including about whether he had given Mr. Floyd drugs, about the fake $20 bill that a convenience store clerk said Mr. Floyd used, and about why Mr. Hall left Minnesota after Mr. Floyd had died.

Ms. Cousins said that all of those questions could incriminate her client, and Judge Cahill largely seemed to agree. But the judge said there may be a narrow range of questions — possibly on how Mr. Floyd appeared to be acting in the car before the police arrived — that Mr. Hall might be able to answer without incriminating himself. Ms. Cousins strenuously disagreed, saying that even acknowledging that Mr. Hall was in the car with Mr. Floyd on May 25 could be used against him if he were to be charged with a crime based on his actions that day.

For their part, prosecutors seemed most worried about the prospect that Mr. Hall would take the stand and invoke his Fifth Amendment right in front of the jury, perhaps making them further question Mr. Floyd’s actions that day or making them concerned about what is being withheld.

The Hennepin County Government Center, where on Monday the prosecution began laying out the evidence that Derek Chauvin’s kneeling on George Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes violated department policy.
Credit…Joshua Rashaad McFadden for The New York Times

The first week of the former police officer Derek Chauvin’s trial was emotional, marked by gut-wrenching eyewitness accounts, combative exchanges and vivid videos. But according to Justin Hansford, a law professor at Howard University, Monday marked the start of a more critical part of the trial.

The prosecution began laying out the evidence that Mr. Chauvin’s decision to kneel on George Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes violated department policy and that his actions led directly to Mr. Floyd’s death on May 25. That’s the “meat” of the prosecution’s case and is the only evidence that the jury can use to reach a verdict, said Mr. Hansford, who has been watching the trial daily.

Prosecutors should have started with “a more substantive argument early on, rather than an emotional one” because that is what the jurors are asked to consider in their decision, Mr. Hansford said. “We should be watching the expert testimony closely because that will be grounds” for the verdict, he said.

On Monday, the jurors heard none of the harrowing accounts of Mr. Floyd’s arrest. Instead, the prosecution guided the Minneapolis police chief, Medaria Arrodondo, through more than two hours of questions about the law, police training and standards. Prosecutors followed that with questions to the Police Department’s former training director about how often Mr. Chauvin would have received guidance on tactics such as restraining suspects, use of force and medical aid.

Chief Arrodondo testified that Mr. Chauvin violated the department’s policy when he pinned Mr. Floyd for more than nine minutes and failed to render aid.

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Minneapolis Police Chief Says Chauvin Violated Policy

Chief Medaria Arradondo testified Monday that the former officer Derek Chauvin should have halted his use of force to restrain George Floyd after Mr. Floyd had stopped resisting.

“Is what you see in Exhibit 17, in your opinion, within the Minneapolis Police departmental policy 5-300, authorizing the use of reasonable force?” “It is not.” “Do you have a belief as to when this restraint, the restraint on the ground that you viewed should have stopped?” “Once Mr. Floyd, and this is based on my viewing of the videos, once Mr. Floyd had stopped resisting and certainly once he was in distress and trying to verbalize that, that — that should have stopped. And clearly, when Mr. Floyd was no longer responsive, and even motionless, to continue to apply that level of force to a person proned out, handcuffed behind their back, that, that in no way, shape or form is anything that is by policy, it is not part of our training and it is certainly not part of our ethics or our values.” “And based these observations, do you have an opinion as to whether the defendant violated M.P.D. departmental policy 7-350 by failing to render aid to Mr. Floyd?” “I agree that the defendant violated our policy in terms of rendering aid.”

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Chief Medaria Arradondo testified Monday that the former officer Derek Chauvin should have halted his use of force to restrain George Floyd after Mr. Floyd had stopped resisting.CreditCredit…Still image, via Court TV

Unequivocal condemnation from the chief of the Minneapolis Police Department has pushed the trial of Derek Chauvin, the former officer charged in the death of George Floyd, into new territory.

Questions about whether Mr. Chauvin violated department policy by keeping his knee on Mr. Floyd for nine and a half minutes will remain important as the trial moves forward on Tuesday. The judge, Peter A. Cahill, said he would limit the number of police officers who could testify about use of force, though one more officer is expected to answer questions on the crucial topic.

On Monday, Chief Medaria Arradondo rebuked Mr. Chauvin — saying he pinned Mr. Floyd for too long and failed to render aid — in a rare example of a police chief testifying against a police officer. Though Mr. Chauvin’s restraints may have been justified at first, “Once Mr. Floyd had stopped resisting, and certainly once he was in distress and trying to verbalize that, that should have stopped,” the chief said.

Other witnesses included an emergency room doctor and veteran officer.

Dr. Bradford T. Wankhede Langenfeld, who attempted to save Mr. Floyd’s life at a hospital for about 30 minutes before declaring his death, said he believed that asphyxia, or the deprivation of oxygen, was one of the more likely causes of death. The prosecution has sought to validate that claim, while the defense has pointed to complications from drug use and a heart condition.

Inspector Katie Blackwell, a veteran police officer in Minneapolis, told jurors that officers should move suspects who are facedown and handcuffed “as soon as possible” because the position can make it difficult to breathe. Mr. Floyd was kept on his stomach even after he lost consciousness.

Mr. Chauvin’s lawyer, Eric J. Nelson, argued that officers sometimes have to juggle multiple things when applying force, such as possible threats from bystanders. Regarding Mr. Floyd’s cause of death, Mr. Nelson got Dr. Wankhede Langenfeld to confirm that drug use could cause asphyxia.

Ultimately, Monday’s testimony may prove problematic for the defense. The criticism by Chief Arradondo, in particular, could encourage the jury to break from the norm of giving police officers the benefit of the doubt when it comes to split-second decisions on when, and how, to apply force.

Nekima Levy Armstrong, a civil rights lawyer, speaking at a rally in Minneapolis in November.
Credit…Joshua Rashaad McFadden for The New York Times

During his testimony on Monday, Medaria Arradondo, the Minneapolis police chief, said that he learned about the widely seen bystander video when a community member called him close to midnight after George Floyd’s death and said, “Chief, have you seen the video of your officer choking and killing that man at 38th and Chicago?”

Nekima Levy Armstrong, a civil rights lawyer, said in an interview on Monday that she was the community member who had that conversation with the chief about 10 months ago. She watched his testimony in the case of Derek Chauvin, the former officer accused of murder in Mr. Floyd’s death, and said she was pleased.

“He set a powerful example that police chiefs across the nation should follow when they know that their officers have violated people’s human rights and constitutional rights,” Ms. Armstrong said.

Residents and political leaders have been intensely debating the future of the city’s police department, with some activists and City Council members advocating the dismantling of the department and creating a new public safety agency that would oversee law enforcement. Some have said that the head of the new agency should not be a police officer, but Ms. Armstrong said that Chief Arradondo’s testimony instilled confidence in her that he should continue to lead law enforcement in Minneapolis.

“I think the fact that Chief Arradondo — not once, but twice — has been willing to break that blue wall of silence is incredibly important,” she said.

Other activists were not as impressed with the chief. D.A. Bullock is a local activist and filmmaker who said he favored defunding and dismantling the Police Department, and eventually abolishing it all together. He said he was disturbed that Chief Arradondo suggested that there were times when it was appropriate for officers to place their knees on the necks of suspects to get them under control.

That, Mr. Bullock said, “means to me that they are going to continue the practice of putting their knees on Black men’s necks.”

Like other supporters of efforts to defund the police, Mr. Bullock said he thought that Chief Arradondo was well intentioned. But he argued that the problems within the department were so systemic that there was little the police chief could do to make policing better.

“I encourage people again to look at the policy and not look at his performance,” Mr. Bullock said. “I don’t feel very confident in that testimony about actual changes in the Police Department.”

Prosecutors quizzed Medaria Arradondo, the Minneapolis police chief, on Monday about his department’s standards and training during the trial of former officer Derek Chauvin.
Credit…Still image, via Court TV

In testimony that often seemed more like he was teaching a criminal law class, the Minneapolis police chief, Medaria Arradondo, spent more than two hours on Monday detailing the training his officers must complete and the standards they must comply with. Navigating jargon and statutes, his testimony in former officer Derek Chauvin’s trial is crucial in determining whether Mr. Chauvin is criminally responsible for George Floyd’s death.

The prosecution must show that Mr. Chauvin “acted unreasonably and out of the bounds” of his training and the standards set by Minnesota, said David Schultz, a law professor at the University of Minnesota. Prosecutors need to show he “went rogue.” If the defense can prove that Mr. Chauvin followed all protocols, then “the case is all over” for the prosecution, Mr. Schulz said.

Mr. Arradondo fired Mr. Chauvin and backed an F.B.I. investigation shortly after Mr. Floyd’s death, calling it a “murder.” His prior comments will very likely face scrutiny when Mr. Chauvin’s lawyer, Eric J. Nelson, cross-examines him.

Proving that Mr. Chauvin broke policy is one of the two most important tasks for prosecutors, Mr. Schultz said. The other is proving that Mr. Floyd died as a direct result of Mr. Chauvin kneeling on his neck and restraining him. The defense has argued instead that Mr. Floyd died of a combination of factors, including an overdose, and that Mr. Chauvin was following Minnesota policing standards.

Minnesota has fairly clear and high standards for police officers, and unlike other states, it licenses and regulates its police officers, Mr. Schultz said. The defense will remind the jury that police officers across the country have statutory authorization to use force by way of a Supreme Court decision on qualified immunity, Mr. Schultz said.

“What Arradondo and the other police officers last week are doing is saying that Chauvin wasn’t a responsible police officer” based on the standards and training he had received, Mr. Schultz said. “This is what they have to do to show he engaged in criminal activity” and therefore lost his qualified immunity, he said.

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Aged care CCTV trial begins in South Australia




The program is being piloted after the findings of the Royal Commission into Aged Care and Quality. Rhett Burnie reports.

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Travellers on edge ahead of Easter after new COVID cases reported in QueenslandSupermarkets impose product limits amid Brisbane panic buyingGreater Brisbane enters snap lockdown amid growing clusterSA tightens border restrictions amid Brisbane outbreakStates slam borders shut as Queensland’s COVID-19 outbreak worsensWA introduces 'soft border' restrictions with QueenslandNew case of community transmission in Queensland Travellers on edge ahead of Easter after new COVID cases reported in QueenslandConcerns for footy fixture amid new COVID caseQueenslanders to isolate upon arrival in WAOne new coronavirus case in QueenslandConcern Australia vaccination rollout is falling behind other countriesAlerts after Queensland COVID-19 case linked to UK variantWorld-first trial of anti-cancer treatment



Travellers on edge ahead of Easter after new COVID cases reported in QueenslandSupermarkets impose product limits amid Brisbane panic buyingGreater Brisbane enters snap lockdown amid growing clusterSA tightens border restrictions amid Brisbane outbreakStates slam borders shut as Queensland’s COVID-19 outbreak worsensWA introduces 'soft border' restrictions with QueenslandNew case of community transmission in Queensland Travellers on edge ahead of Easter after new COVID cases reported in QueenslandConcerns for footy fixture amid new COVID caseQueenslanders to isolate upon arrival in WAOne new coronavirus case in QueenslandConcern Australia vaccination rollout is falling behind other countriesAlerts after Queensland COVID-19 case linked to UK variantWorld-first trial of anti-cancer treatment

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‘We need a conviction’: George Floyd’s family demands justice as murder trial is set to begin


George Floyd must receive justice, his family says ahead of opening arguments on Monday in the trial of the white police officer accused of killing the black man, whose agonising death ignited protests against racism and police brutality across the United States and around the world.

“I have a big hole right now in my heart. It can’t be patched up … I need justice for George. We need a conviction,” Mr Floyd’s brother Philonise told reporters in Minneapolis on Sunday. 

Derek Chauvin, a veteran of the Minneapolis Police Department, faces murder and manslaughter charges for his role in the 25 May 2020 death of Mr Floyd, 46.

Mr Chauvin, 44, who was fired from the police force along with three other officers, could be sentenced to up to 40 years in prison if convicted of the most serious charge – second-degree murder.

“I have faith that he will get convicted,” Philonise Floyd said on Sunday.

 

The Minneapolis-based StarTribune newspaper called the trial “a defining moment in America’s racial history”.

Mr Floyd’s cause of death is expected to be the central issue in the case, and a key piece of evidence is likely to be the bystander-filmed video of his death that went viral and triggered a summer of anti-racism protests.

Mr Chauvin was seen in the video kneeling on Mr Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes while arresting him for allegedly passing a counterfeit $US20 bill.

While lying with his face in the street, the handcuffed Mr Floyd complains that he cannot breathe and calls out for his mother.

Mr Chauvin’s lawyer, Eric Nelson, is expected to argue that the officer was following police procedure and claim that Mr Floyd’s death was due to an overdose of the drug fentanyl and underlying health conditions.

Derek Chauvin faces murder and manslaughter charges for his role in the death of George Floyd.

Supplied

Ben Crump, a lawyer for the Floyd family, said on Sunday that the defence would attack Mr Floyd’s character in hope that “you forget what you saw on that video”.

Opening arguments are to begin at 9am Central time (1am AEDT) in a heavily guarded Minneapolis courtroom for a trial being closely watched around the world.

Proceedings are expected to last about a month.

Fifteen jurors have been selected, though Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill is expected to drop one juror on Monday and proceed with 12 and two alternates.

The panel seated after two weeks of jury selection is racially mixed: six white women, three Black men, three white men, two mixed-race women and one black woman.

Police officers are rarely convicted in the United States when charges are brought against them.

A conviction on any of the charges – second-degree murder, third-degree murder or manslaughter – will require the jury to return a unanimous verdict.

George Floyd must receive justice, his family said ahead of the trial of the white police officer accused of killing the black man.

George Floyd must receive justice, his family said ahead of the trial of the white police officer accused of killing the black man.

AP

‘Extreme amounts of publicity’

The public has been banned from attending the trial because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but it is being live-streamed.

The identities of the jurors will not be revealed until after the trial but some details are known.

They range in age from their 20s to their 60s and include a chemist, a social worker, an accountant and a nurse. Two are immigrants to the United States.

One is a grandmother, one is recently married and one is a single mother of two teenage boys.

The jury selection process was complicated by the intensive pre-trial publicity surrounding the case and all but one of the jurors said they had seen at least some of the arrest video.

Several potential jurors were excused after telling the judge they could not be fair or impartial or presume Mr Chauvin to be innocent as the law requires them to do.

Others expressed concern for their safety.

Mr Nelson, Mr Chauvin’s lawyer, asked to have the trial delayed and moved out of Minneapolis because of the 12 March announcement that the city had reached a $US27 million ($A35 million) “wrongful death” settlement with the Floyd family.

Judge Cahill rejected the demand, saying: “I don’t think that there’s any place in the state of Minnesota that has not been subjected to extreme amounts of publicity on this case.”

Three other former police officers – Tou Thao, Thomas Lane and J Alexander Kueng – also face charges in connection with Mr Floyd’s death.

They are to be tried separately later in the year.

With Reuters

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Three Teenage Refugees Await Trial in Malta: “How Are We Supposed to Be Terrorists?”


DER SPIEGEL 13/2021











SPIEGEL International







The "Hiblu 3" reading their mail



The “Hiblu 3” reading their mail


Foto: Joanna Demarco / DER SPIEGEL





Migrants and security personnel onboard the El Hiblu 1.



Migrants and security personnel onboard the El Hiblu 1.


Foto: R. Rossignaud / picture alliance / AP










Foto: Joanna Demarco / DER SPIEGEL





Letters from supporters



Letters from supporters


Foto: Joanna Demarco / Der Spiegel





The trio walking down a street in Fgura after their football match.



The trio walking down a street in Fgura after their football match.


Foto: Joanna Demarco / DER SPIEGEL





Lamin's mobile phone with a reminder to check in at the police station.



Lamin’s mobile phone with a reminder to check in at the police station.


Foto: Joanna Demarco / Der Spiegel





Abdalla and Lamin playing soccer



Abdalla and Lamin playing soccer


Foto: Joanna Demarco / Der Spiegel

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Temporary pause lifted on Cashless Debit Card trial, nearly 4,000 people to be put on welfare card in weeks


The Social Services Minister has declared she wants to return to “business as usual” after ending a temporary pause on new participants for the federal government’s controversial cashless welfare card trial.

Under the Cashless Debit Card (CDC) program, 80 per cent of an individual’s welfare payments are quarantined on a card that cannot be used to purchase alcohol or gambling products.

The temporary pause was put in place in March last year as record numbers of Australians were placed on welfare during the coronavirus pandemic.

Social Services Minister Anne Ruston has confirmed nearly 4,000 people will be added to trials which are currently underway in four sites across Australia.

“We are now in a situation where we have a much lower number of people coming onto social security,” Senator Ruston told the ABC.

“But we’re only starting the process, we will do it slowly over the next few weeks to make sure we give people plenty of time to be able to transition over and give them the support they need.”

Senator Ruston said community leaders in the trial sites wanted the year-long pause lifted.

The federal government has been trialling the Cashless Debit Card in four sites across Australia.(

ABC Wide Bay: Nicole Hegarty

)

Thousands more to go on welfare card

The biggest trial site is Bundaberg and Hervey Bay in Queensland, with 5,472 people currently on the card.

The Minister confirmed another 2,438 will be added in coming weeks.

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South Australia’s only trial site at Ceduna will see another 165 people added to the 922 participants already on the card.

In Western Australia, the trials will also be significantly expanded in the East Kimberley and Goldfields regions.

The Goldfields trial will grow from 3,223 participants with another 903 people to be brought onto the card.

A further 271 people in the East Kimberley will be added to the existing 1,592 participants.

People protesting in the street holding placards about a government welfare system.
Protestors in 2018 during the early days of the Goldfields trial outside the office of Liberal MP Rick Wilson’s Kalgoorlie office.(

ABC Goldfields: Jarrod Lucas

)

Temporary pause lifted as Jobkeeper ends

The decision comes just weeks after the release of a University of Adelaide report which found the card contributes to feelings of stigma, shame and embarrassment, but has contributed to some reductions in alcohol use and gambling.

Western Australian Greens Senator Rachel Siewert has been one of the harshest critics of the card trial and suggested “the government is flogging a dead horse”.

She criticised the decision to resume normal business in the same week that JobKeeper payments are due to end.

“I’m concerned about the card per se, everyone knows that, and I just think it’s adding insult to injury to put people, that have lost their job due to COVID and haven’t been able to find a new one, onto the card,” Senator Siewert told the ABC.

“With JobKeeper ending at the end of this week, I am very concerned that people will lose their work and have to go on JobSeeker and will then be put on the card.

“I don’t think that’s fair; I don’t think the card’s at all fair and they’re adding insult to injury by extending the card.”

The federal government’s trial is due to run until the end of 2022.

Thank you for checking this post about the latest SA news items called “Temporary pause lifted on Cashless Debit Card trial, nearly 4,000 people to be put on welfare card in weeks”. This news update was shared by My Local Pages as part of our news aggregator services.

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