Thursday, June 4, 2020
► From the News Tribune — ‘Can’t breathe:’ Tacoma police restraint of Manuel Ellis caused his death, ME reports — Manuel Ellis died in handcuffs while being restrained on the ground by Tacoma police. At the time of his March 3 death, police officials said the 33-year-old appeared to be suffering from excited delirium, which often includes attempts at violence, unexpected strength and very high body temperature. The Pierce County Medical Examiner’s Office has determined Ellis died of respiratory arrest due to hypoxia due to physical restraint. Hypoxia is a deficiency in the amount of oxygen reaching body tissues… “The harshest of realities is George Floyd is right here in Tacoma, and his name is Manny,” said attorney James Bible, who is representing Ellis’ family. The Medical Examiner ruled Ellis’ death a homicide, which legally means he was killed by another person. It is up to prosecutors to decide if police acted lawfully and if the homicide was justifiable or a criminal act was committed… All four officers involved were placed on paid administrative leave after the incident. They since have returned to duty.
► From the NY Times — Another man who said ‘I can’t breathe’ died in custody. An autopsy calls it homicide. — A police spokesman said he did not know all the details of the restraint the officers used — they were not wearing body cameras — but said he did not believe they used a chokehold or a knee on Ellis’s neck.
► UPDATE from the News Tribune — Tacoma officers who restrained Manuel Ellis on night of death put on leave Wednesday — Tacoma Mayor Victoria Woodards: “I know you have a lot of questions, and so do I. I know you want answers, and so do I.”
► From the News Tribune– Death of Manuel Ellis in Tacoma will get full investigation, governor says
► From the News Tribune — Tacoma’s Manuel Ellis, like so many before him, didn’t have to die (by Matt Driscoll) — “People in America, they care more about how a dog is treated than a black man,” said Ellis’ younger sister, Monet Carter-Mixon. “I can guarantee you right now that if what happened to my brother happened to an animal, there would be an uproar.” There should be an uproar for Manuel Ellis. He was not an animal. There should also be the truth of who he really was. That’s the least we can do.
► From the Minneapolis Star-Tribune — Four fired Minneapolis officers booked, charged in killing of George Floyd — Attorney General Keith Ellison’s office on Wednesday upgraded charges against the former Minneapolis police officer who knelt on George Floyd’s neck and charged the other three officers at the scene with aiding and abetting murder.
► From Reuters — Three white men to face Georgia judge in death of black jogger — Three white men charged with the murder of Ahmaud Arbery, an unarmed Black man in Georgia, will face a judge Thursday morning in a case that caused a national outcry after cellphone video of the shooting was leaked on social media.
► LIVE from the Seattle Times — Seattle-area protests: Protesters remain in Capitol Hill on seventh day of action after George Floyd’s killing — On Wednesday, Seattle rescinded its curfew when the mayor acknowledged the city’s peaceful protest. As Wednesday night stretched into Thursday morning, the protest scene in Capitol Hill remained peaceful for hours. A noticeable space separated the crowd and the line of law enforcement officials — seen by some protesters as a de-escalating technique.
Meanwhile, paranoia in Moses Lake.
► From the Tri-City Herald — 240 Tri-Citians show up to patrol parking lots to thwart vandals. Some worry it goes too far
► From the (Everett) Herald — Protests continue as Inslee backs review of police actions — Governor says armed citizens in front of stores, like in Snohomish, makes a volatile situation worse.
► From the Seattle Times — Don’t buy the ‘outside agitator’ trope: Arrest records suggest Seattle’s riot was more likely homegrown (by Danny Westneat) — A couple of Republican candidates for governor suggested the riots were even financed from elsewhere. Joshua Freed called them “paid rioters,” while Tim Eyman dubbed them “Soros’ brownshirts,” referring to a conspiracy theory that this is all the work of liberal philanthropist George Soros… My plea in all this is: Don’t fall for the imposed narratives. Seattle’s protest was a homegrown movement, and yes, it was our riot, too. The easy theories are designed more to disown or to distract than to enlighten.
► From The Atlantic — James Mattis denounces President Trump, describes him as a threat to the Constitution — In an extraordinary condemnation, the former defense secretary backs protesters and says the president is trying to turn Americans against one another. Mattis writes:
“Donald Trump is the first president in my lifetime who does not try to unite the American people—does not even pretend to try. Instead, he tries to divide us. We are witnessing the consequences of three years of this deliberate effort. We are witnessing the consequences of three years without mature leadership. We can unite without him, drawing on the strengths inherent in our civil society. This will not be easy, as the past few days have shown, but we owe it to our fellow citizens; to past generations that bled to defend our promise; and to our children.”
► From the Tri-City Herald (Mattis’ hometown newspaper) — ‘Extraordinary condemnation.’ James Mattis calls Trump a threat to the Constitution
► From the Washington Post — Pentagon chief balks at Trump’s call for active-duty military force on U.S. citizens, and Mattis rips president — Defense Secretary Mark Esper distanced himself from Trump on Wednesday, saying the use of active-duty forces to quash unrest across the nation is unnecessary at this stage, hours before his predecessor, Jim Mattis, excoriated the president for working to divide the country.
► From the Washington Post — ‘Begging’ to be heard: Young protesters implore police to acknowledge them and their cause — “One fist,” Adam Lenssa, an African American 18-year-old, shouted at a black Secret Service member in D.C.’s Lafayette Square, raising his hand and asking the officer to do the same. “Is that too much to ask for? Do you have no heart? One fist! Please, one fist!” The teen sank to the ground, tears streaming down his face. “Please, I’m on my knees,” he begged. “Please, one fist, bro. Just one.” But the officer didn’t move… Across the United States, the protests have filled parks and squares, led to curfews and looting and thousands of arrests, and reignited debate about systemic racism in America. It has also produced a drama that unfolds again and again as protesters — often young people of color — urge officers to lower their shields and show their understanding. In a country more divided than ever, these heated conversations — held inches apart across police lines and barricades — have led to remarkable moments of reconciliation. More often, however, the protesters’ passionate, sometimes profane pleas are met with stony-faced silence.
► LIVE from the Seattle Times — Coronavirus daily news update, June 4 — The latest count of COVID-19 cases in Washington totals 22,484 infections (7-day average of new infections per day: 297) and 1,135 deaths (7-day average of deaths per day: 6)
► From the Yakima H-R — Fruit packing house workers roll through Yakima in protest after man’s death — Fruit packing house workers organized protests Tuesday in Yakima to honor the memory of a colleague. A farmworkers union official said he died of COVID-19. David Cruz worked at the Allan Bros. fruit warehouse in Naches for 12 years, according to a news release from Familias Unidas por la Justicia, a union in Skagit County that has been assisting workers striking at six Yakima Valley warehouses.
The Stand (June 3) — Yakima striker from Allan Bros. dies from COVID-19
► From the Seattle Times — Ferndale’s smelter workers deserve federal aid (editorial) — The U.S. Department of Labor should grant the Ferndale Alcoa workers’ petition for federal Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) benefits. Their plight is the epitome of why the program was created in 1974 — to help U.S. workers hurt by foreign trade. It would guide the workers toward pathways into productive new careers: skills assessments and training for available jobs, benefits checks to extend unemployment payments, and job-search assistance, among other help. For the Alcoa workers facing the end of their careers, the TAA program can offer meaningful help finding a way forward.
The Stand (May 21) — IAM, WSLC seek federal help for Alcoa’s Intalco workers
► From the Seattle Times — As furloughs for 5,500 UW Medicine workers begin, patients, staff worry about care — UW Medicine administrators say they’ve designed the temporary cuts, needed because COVID-19 has devastated the hospital system’s budget, to ensure safe patient care and minimal impacts. But some staffers are skeptical reductions of some 5,500 employees won’t strain a workforce already reeling in the pandemic’s clutch. And the furloughs foreshadow more difficult financial decisions, as administrators try to balance patient care with suddenly-reduced finances… UW Medicine reached agreements over reductions with three labor unions: SEIU 1199NW, WSNA and WFSE. Negotiations with SEIU 925 broke down.
The Stand (May 15) — UW unions stand strong, united for safety
► From the Seattle Times — Sound Transit leaders warn projects must be canceled or delayed to keep cash from running dry — The current economic collapse will dry up Sound Transit’s tax money to build more train and bus lines by 2028, unless elected leaders delay or cancel some projects they’ve promised to voters.
► From Crosscut — Without visitors, Woodland Park Zoo animals entertain themselves — With the pandemic threatening to close zoos worldwide, Woodland Park Zoo employees (Teamsters 117) focus on maintaining peak animal care until the zoo can welcome back the public. As it reorganizes and creates contingency plans to keep its animals and staff safe and supplied, the zoo is also finding ways to keep the community involved in its animals’ lives. In the process, its staff is discovering new sides to the animals under their watch, and learning how they can be a beacon of resilience in overwhelming times.
► From Fox Business — AFL-CIO’s Trumka: U.S. tax codes, trade agreements incentivize overseas production, must change — “Right now, the tax code rewards people for taking jobs offshore,” said AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka. “Many of the trade agreements reward people for taking jobs offshore. It is going to have to be a combination of a number of rule changes, a number of changes in government, to be able to bring those jobs back. … The American labor movement has advocated for that for years.”
► From The Hill — GOP shifting on unemployment benefits as jobless numbers swell — Faced with staggering unemployment numbers that are likely to remain elevated through the election, Senate Republicans are reversing their positions on ending a federal increase of state unemployment benefits after July… GOP senators fear that the wave of protests, riots and other forms of social unrest that has rocked major cities around the country is linked to the bleak economic picture and that their majority is on the line.
► From the Washington Post — U.S. spends twice as much on law and order as it does on social welfare, data show — It didn’t used to be this way, and current tensions over the funding differential is at the heart of many calls for police reform.
► From Politico — ‘It would be irresponsible for us to wait’ — The House Democratic Caucus — the most diverse group of lawmakers ever assembled in Congress — is in the midst of a complex and emotional debate over how to confront decades of systemic racism that led to police killings like the death of George Floyd last week. Bringing any reforms to the floor will require careful maneuvering by Speaker Nancy Pelosi — with both generational and ideological conflicts in play — to unite 233 Democrats behind a package of contentious structural changes to law enforcement. There’s also ongoing outreach to some Republicans, a move that could bolster the chances for bipartisan legislation, but also complicate agreement on how far the House can go.
► From the NY Times — No more lynching! (by Charles Blow) — Legislation won’t fix white supremacy. But a government response can ensure that cruelty is punished.
► From the Washington Post — Rep. Steve King lost his House seat, but his hard-right views live on inside the GOP (by Mike DeBonis) — The resounding defeat of Rep. Steve King at the hands of Iowa Republican voters Tuesday signaled the political demise of one of the GOP’s most polarizing figures, an archconservative culture warrior who frequently veered into outright bigotry that tarred his entire party. The ideas King promoted, however, stand to live on inside the GOP — adopted by Trump and his followers, who have enthusiastically embraced and pushed forward elements of King’s agenda, none more so than sharp restrictions on legal and illegal immigration.
► From the NY Times — The Supreme Court, too, is on the brink (by Linda Greenhouse) — As an astonished country witnessed on Monday night, as he held a Bible in front of a church near the White House after demonstrators were violently cleared from his path, Donald Trump is using religion as a cultural wedge to deflect attention from the consequences of his own ineptitude. The recognition that the four most conservative Supreme Court justices — Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh — would have invoked the court’s power to undermine fact-based public policy in the name of a misbegotten claim of religious discrimination was beyond depressing. It was terrifying.
► From the NY Times — Workers fearful of the coronavirus are getting fired and losing their benefits — As people across the United States are told to return to work, employees who balk at the health risks say they are being confronted with painful reprisals: Some are losing their jobs if they try to stay home, and thousands more are being reported to the state to have their unemployment benefits cut off. Businesses want to bring back customers and profits. But workers now worry about contracting the coronavirus once they return to cramped restaurant kitchens, dental offices or conference rooms where few colleagues are wearing masks… Labor advocates and unions say the push to recall workers and kick reluctant employees off unemployment benefits carries grave risks in an age of coronavirus, when infections have rampaged through meatpacking plants, call centers, factories and other confined spaces where co-workers spend hours touching the same surfaces and breathing the same air.
► From the NY Times — Black workers, already lagging, face big economic risks — Black employment rates are plummeting, and the evolving wealth and income hit could fall on the shoulders of those ill-equipped to bear it.
► From The Hill — Florida sees largest daily number of new COVID-19 cases since mid-April — On Wednesday, Florida saw its largest number of new cases of the coronavirus since mid-April as the state works to reopen its economy.
RACISM ON FOX
► Watch Fox News white supremacist (and Freedom Foundation fundraiser) Laura Ingraham tell Lebron James to “shut up and dribble” and then defend Drew Brees’ right to political speech.
Laura Ingraham’s comments on LeBron James Vs. Laura Ingraham’s defense of Drew Brees pic.twitter.com/Ki3uvK02o2
— Acyn Torabi (@Acyn) June 4, 2020
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.