On 15 October, the first NFT trophy for the UEFA EURO 2020 goal of the tournament was awarded. The award was initiated by Gazprom, an official partner of the tournament, and was handed to the Czech national football team forward Patrik Schick. Russian calligrafuturism artist Pokras Lampas was invited to design the award.
“Gazprom is a modern and technological company. By combining sports, high technology and art, and creating the first sports trophy of this kind, we have drawn a clear parallel with our unique production technology,” Gazprom Department Head and Press Secretary of the Gazprom Management Committee Chairman Sergey Kupriyanov said.
“I found my inspiration in the idea of the project, with the common nine values we share with Gazprom and the “Football for Friendship” Programme. These values, as well as football itself, unite people all over the world”, said the artist Pokras Lampas.
During the award ceremony, the central fragment of the NFT trophy was presented – a black and gold soccer ball with orbits containing the name of Gazprom’s International Children’s Social Programme “Football for Friendship” and its nine values: friendship, equality, justice, health, peace, loyalty, victory, tradition, and honour. Its hologram is located at the UEFA headquarters in Nyon, Switzerland.
“We welcomed the initiative shown by Gazprom, our long-standing UEFA partner, to bring a fresh outlook on such kinds of awards. Gazprom’s Goal of the Tournament trophy is a unique event in the history of world sports. We look forward to even closer cooperation with Gazprom and realization of new initiatives supporting and developing world football,” – emphasized Guy-Laurent Epstein, UEFA Marketing Director.
“I am very proud to be the first in the history of football to receive this kind of trophy. To be honest, I have never seen something like this before” – said Patrik Schick, the footballer who scored the EURO 2020 goal of the tournament.
Following the news of the passing of longtime People For board member, LGBTQ+ advocate, and the first openly gay U.S. Ambassador, James Hormel, People For the American Way President Ben Jealous and People For the American Way Founder Norman Lear released the following statements:
“Jim was a true hero, so full of courage, humor and generosity,” said People For President Ben Jealous. “As a longtime board member of People For the American Way, he understood that building power among young people was critical to the future of our democracy. Jim was a truly kind and lovely soul, and his loss will be felt deeply. Our hearts and prayers are with his husband Michael and their extended family.”
“I loved Jim Hormel deeply,” said People For founder Norman Lear. “Through the years he was an incredible asset to People For the American Way, a provider of ideas and insights and deep understanding. He was also a fighter, passionate about so many issues we hold dear, from voting rights to free expression and the fight against censorship. I will miss him tremendously.”
About People For the American Way
People For the American Way is a progressive advocacy organization founded to fight right-wing extremism and build a democratic society that implements the ideals of freedom, equality, opportunity and justice for all. We encourage civic participation, defend fundamental rights, and fight to dismantle systemic barriers to equitable opportunity. Learn more: People For the American Way.
Justin Bieber and Pollen Presents will be heading to Las Vegas this October for a very special experience, Justin Bieber & Friends, The Vegas Weekender from October 7-10th. This one of a kind intimate get-away will be completely curated by Justin. He’ll handpick his favorite musical guests to join him while also creating a bespoke itinerary of activities based around his own personal passions.
Justin Bieber is one of the world’s biggest stars, an arena selling, chart-topping singer, who earlier this year released his acclaimed sixth album Justice. Justin Bieber & Friends, The Vegas Weekender will be his first ever curated travel experience and a unique opportunity to really get to know one of pop music’s most visible stars.
The weekend will be anchored by a headlining performance by Justin Bieber, giving fans the chance to see him perform up close in an intimate space. But The Vegas Weekender is much more than just a concert as you’ll get to share in some of Bieber’s favorite activities. There will be a skate session and skate park takeover, pop-ups of his favorite food items, and plenty of chances for poolside and late-night performances from some of his favorite musical collaborators and artists. More information on the lineup coming soon.
Justin Bieber & Friends, The Vegas Weekender is brought to you by Pollen Presents. Pollen Presents creates the best travel experiences around people’s tastes and preferences you can only find on pollen.co. These experiences allow fans and the biggest stars in music, sports, wellness and beyond to come together and connect around one-of-a-kind itineraries in some of the world’s most exciting destinations and resorts.
Pollen is a technology company building, curating, and delivering the best experiences for members all over the world. Members enjoy these experiences together with the people they love, creating stronger relationships and unforgettable memories. Members immerse themselves in multi-day itineraries that combine live entertainment, parties, and relaxation time in more than 50 popular destinations. Members can discover and book these experiences exclusively on pollen.co and the Pollen app. Pollen has already launched experiences with mega stars like J Balvin, Marshawn Lynch and Ozuna.
About Justin Bieber
Global superstar Justin Bieber’s certified-platinum smash hit “Peaches” debuted at #1 on Billboard Hot 100 and hit #1 on both the Top 40 and Rhythmic Airplay charts. “Peaches” – with over 1.5 billion streams worldwide – is the latest single from Justin’s global #1 album Justice, his eighth album to debut at #1 on the Billboard 200. Bieber made history as the first male solo artist to debut at #1 on both the Billboard 200 album chart and Billboard Hot 100 singles chart. Justice opened at #1 streaming in 117 countries worldwide and has accumulated over 6 billion streams to date. With over 75 billion career streams and over 70 million albums sold worldwide, Justin reigns as one of the biggest artists in the world. Bieber is the #1 artist on YouTube with over 60 million subscribers worldwide and is the #1 artist on Spotify global with over 75 million monthly listeners. Tickets for Justin Bieber’s Justice World Tour 2022 are on sale now via Justin Bieber Music and Ticketmaster.
Reebok and Iconic Ballroom ‘House of Ninja’ Show That “Fierceness Isn’t Born. It’s Made” to Celebrate Pride 2021
Today, Reebok releases their 2021 Pride campaign film, “Fierceness Isn’t Born. It’s Made,” starring Iconic Ballroom House of Ninja in tandem with the launch of this year’s All Types of Love Pride collection. The collection was designed by Reebok’s LGBTQIA+ employee community, Colorful Soles, who partnered with House of Ninja to amplify the collection through their own legendary ballroom perspective and history.
With this year’s collection, Colorful Soles wanted to pay homage to ballroom culture and what it has brought to not only the LGBTQIA+ community, but humanity on a global scale. The culture has inspired so many trends of colloquialisms, fashion, art, music, and most importantly advocacy, which is why Willi Ninja created House of Ninja in the 1980’s to be a safe-house for members of the LGBTQIA+ community.
In the campaign film, House of Ninja’s Archie Burnett, Javier Madrid, Aisha Murray, and Elizabeth Rivera illustrate the craft of movement that makes up ballroom culture which continues to be a safe haven for many of the LGBTQIA+ community. “It is easy to walk on the dark side, you have to fight for the light. And that takes work. Fierceness isn’t born, it’s made,” said Archie Burnett.
This unisex sized collection includes Pride flag inspired design details as well as a Progress Pride Flag product tag. Each of the shoes in the range includes the All Types of Love manifesto on the tongue or sock liner. The footwear collection features: Classic Leather ($85), Club-C ($85), InstaPump Fury OG ($170), Zig Kinetica II ($120), Nano X1 ($130), and Floatride Energy 3.0 ($100). The Pride flag inspired apparel collection includes: Oversized Tee with reactive UV color changing ink ($35), Crop workout Tank ($35), Bike shorts ($40), and Hoodie ($55) all featuring the Progress Pride Flag and All Types of Love manifesto on the product label.
As part of its ongoing mission to create an inclusive community of acceptance, Reebok continues to support the LGBTQIA+ community both internally and externally and recognizes that it must start with the youth. So, in addition to a full unisex adult size range, this year’s collection also includes unisex kids Pride Classic Leather for two size ranges: Children ($55) and Infant ($40)!
And, to honor, uplift, and affirm the TGNCI community, Reebok is donating $75,000 to the Sylvia Rivera Law Project, an organization working to guarantee that all people are free to self-determine their gender identity and expression, regardless of income or race, and without facing harassment, discrimination, or violence.
The full collection is now available to purchase on Reebok’s website.
About House of Ninja:
House of Ninja is a collective of movement artists known for their stellar contributions to the creation of Vogue Dance. The collective was created in the 1980s by Willi Ninja as a safe-house for members of the LGBTQIA+ community. To see more from House of Ninja follow on Instagram IconicHouseOfNinja.
Reebok International Ltd., headquartered in Boston, MA, USA, is a leading worldwide designer, marketer and distributor of fitness and lifestyle footwear, apparel and equipment. An American-inspired global brand, Reebok is a pioneer in the sporting goods industry with a rich and storied fitness heritage. Reebok develops products, technologies and programming that enable movement so people can fulfill their potential. Reebok connects with the fitness consumer wherever they are and however they choose to stay fit – whether it’s functional training, running, combat training, walking, dance, yoga or aerobics. Reebok Classics leverages the brand’s fitness heritage and represents the roots of the brand in the sports lifestyle market. For more information, visit Reebok at their website, or, for the latest news, visit here.
About Sylvia Rivera Law Project:
The Sylvia Rivera Law Project (SRLP) works to guarantee that all people are free to self-determine their gender identity and expression, regardless of income or race, and without facing harassment, discrimination, or violence. SRLP is a collective organization founded on the understanding that gender self-determination is inextricably intertwined with racial, social and economic justice. Therefore, we seek to increase the political voice and visibility of low-income people and people of color who are transgender, intersex, or gender non-conforming. SRLP works to improve access to respectful and affirming social, health, and legal services for our communities. We believe that in order to create meaningful political participation and leadership, we must have access to basic means of survival and safety from violence.
Derek Chauvin sentenced to 22.5 years in death of George Floyd
Derek Chauvin, the former police officer who killed George Floyd on a Minneapolis Street last year, was sentenced Friday to 22 and half years in prison. Under Minnesota law, Chauvin will have to serve two-thirds of his sentence or 15 years — and he will be eligible for supervised release for the remaining seven and a half years. Minnesota’s sentencing guideline range is ten years and eight months to fifteen years for this crime; however, Chauvin’s sentence exceeds that.
According to CNN, a 22-page memorandum noted that there were two aggravating factors that warranted a harsher sentence for Chauvin: 1) He abused his position of trust or authority and 2) he treated Floyd with particular cruelty. Judge Cahill noted that Chauvin remained indifferent to Mr. Floyd’s pleas even as he was begging for his life and terrified by the knowledge that he was likely to die.
“Mr. Chauvin’s prolonged restraint of Mr. Floyd was also much longer and more painful than the typical scenario in a second-degree or third-degree murder or second-degree manslaughter case” – Judge Peter Cahill
Engaging, insightful, informative, and often on-the-scene, Monique Pressley is an important voice with a unique vantage point. Pressley has been closely following the Chauvin trial and sentencing throughout its duration and has provided insightful legal analysis and POV for numerous media outlets, including NPR, BET.com, Black News Channel, #RolandMartinUnfiltered and more. More than a source for general legal and political analysis, Pressley is also in the fight for social justice alongside legal activists such as renowned civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump, lending her expertise and aid to families and victims of police misconduct and fatal interactions.
In addition to her current work as a crisis manager for political and entertainment figures, this multi-faceted champion for important causes has served as a former congressional staffer to the legendary U.S. Rep. Charlie Wilson (D-TX); has advocated on both sides of the courtroom as a former assistant attorney general specializing in defense of police misconduct civil suits and as a criminal defense attorney; and cultivating the next generation of trial lawyers as a professor and coach at her alma mater, the esteemed Howard University School of Law.
A rare combination of insider access, cultural currency/influence, a wealth of knowledge, and an uncanny ability to interpret complex legal or political issues for audiences makes Pressley an ideal choice for coverage or inclusion as a third-party expert.
As she is currently providing ongoing consult to Attorney Crump in the Floyd matter and a member of a core team meeting with members of Congress and the White House, Pressley is available to speak today’s developments in the Chauvin sentencing decision, as well as discuss updates in the ongoing effort to pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act.
The case regarding the former police officer involved in the death of George Floyd, Derek Chauvin, has been unfolding. Chauvin has now been charged with both second- and third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter. He was found guilty on all accounts. The case can be viewed live on CNN’s website here.
George Floyd’s death was recorded via cellphone footage from a nearby bystander, Darnella Frazier. Frazier, then seventeen at the time, has brought critical attention to Floyd’s death as a result of her footage, a major piece of evidence in bringing light to the case. Frazier has revealed that she only observed violence from the police officers at the scene of Floyd’s death, which contradicts the defense’s illustration of the bystanders as a “angry mob that was striking fear into the police.” Earlier this month on Facebook, Frazier had posed a query to her followers, asking what would have happened if no one recorded Floyd’s arrest and death, posing an important question surrounding the relationship between the police and the community members that the force governs. Frazier ended her testimony with an emotional statement: “When I look at George Floyd, I look at my dad. I look at my brothers. I look at my cousins, my uncles because they are all Black. I have a Black father. I have a Black brother. I have Black friends. And I look at that, and I look at how that could have been one of them.”
Frazier had witnessed the distressful scene alongside her nine-year-old cousin. The witness said that the officer on the scene had his knee on Floyd’s neck, even after the EMT personnel asked “him nicely to get off of him.” She continues, explaining that the ambulance personnel had to get the officer off of Floyd. “I was sad and kind of mad”, she remarks, “because it felt like he was stopping his breathing, and it was kind of like hurting him.”
Another witness to Floyd’s death, mixed-martial artist Donald Williams II, has taken to the stand to account what he observed at the scene of Floyd’s arrest. Williams had called the police on the police after seeing Floyd transported from the gruesome scene via ambulance. Williams claims, “I believed I witnessed a murder.”
Williams has faced speculation and discreditation from the defense attorney of Officer Chauvin, Eric J. Nelson. Nelson spent much of the morning on the second day of the trial questioning William’s knowledge of martial arts defense. Nelson also attempted to portray Williams as angry, to which Williams clarified his reaction was out of desperation because of the harrowing situation at hand. Nelson also attempted to portray the crowd of bystanders as mad at and violent towards the police officers present at the scene. As earlier stated, this claim contradicts Frazier’s assertion that the police were the source of violence at the scene. Nelson averted the attention from the video footage, asserting that there are 50,000 items in evidence and this case is “is clearly more than about 9 minutes and 29 seconds.”
On the other hand, the prosecution said it would bring in seven medical experts and the Hennepin County medical examiner who performed the autopsy on Floyd (who classified the case as homicide) to bring further clarity to the case. Chauvin’s attorney is arguing that Floyd died due to a drug overdose and heart condition, though the nine minutes and twenty-nine second video also clearly shows Chauvin kneeling on Floyd’s neck, restricting his ability to breathe. Prosecuting attorney, Jerry W. Blackwell, spoke about the video footage: “You can believe your eyes, that it’s homicide–it’s murder.”
Another witness to the scene, paramedic Seth Zachary Bravinder, testified that when he arrived on scene, he could tell that Floyd already wasn’t breathing. When lifting Floyd into the ambulance, the paramedic recalls Floyd’s state: “I guess limp would be the best description. He wasn’t — he was unresponsive and wasn’t holding his head up or anything like that,” Bravinder said. He continues, explaining that Floyd flatlined while on the way to the hospital. Once realizing his patient had flatlined, Bravinder and his partner stopped the ambulance to give medical aid to Floyd. Bravinder elaborated on the condition of Floyd, explaining that the term “flatlining” refers to “not a good sign…basically just because your heart isn’t doing anything at that moment. There’s not — it’s not pumping blood. So it’s not — it’s not a good sign for a good outcome.”
Another paramedic who delivered medical assistance to George Floyd, Derek Smith, also delivered a testimony in the trial of Chauvin. Upon arriving on scene, Smith reports that he saw Floyd on the ground with three officers on top of him. He continues detailing the scene: “I walked up to the individual, noticed he wasn’t moving. I didn’t see any chest rise or fall on this individual.” Smith reported that he thought Floyd was dead, and upon checking the victim, he says that Floyd’s pupils were “large” and “dilated” and that he couldn’t detect his pulse. Still, Smith says he did all that he could in an attempt to revive Floyd: “”[H]e’s a human being and I was trying to give him a second chance at life.”
A doctor who provided emergency care to Floyd at Hennepin County Medical Center, Dr. Bradford Wankhede Langenfeld, also took to the stand. Dr. Langenfeld had pronounced Floyd dead on May 25, 2020. Langenfeld attested that the emergency responders who responded to the event were originally called upon for a “lower type of acute event of facial trauma,” but the call was later upgraded to call for “an individual under distress.” When Floyd arrived at the hospital, Langefeld explains that the paramedics attempted to resuscitate Floyd for “approximately 30 minutes,” by inserting a tube down his throat to ventilate his lungs, as well as attempted to administer CPR and medication. The report did not mention that the police officers on scene nor any of the bystanders attempted to give Floyd CPR. Langenfeld, who provided medical treatment to Floyd, testified that hypoxia was likely a cause of Floyd’s cardiac arrest. He says, “Based on the history that was available to me, I felt that hypoxia was one of the more likely possibilities.” Langenfeld clarified to prosecutor Jerry Blackwell that hypoxia refers to “cardiac arrest meaning oxygen insufficiency.” Langenfeld continues describing the condition of his patient: “There was no obvious, significant external trauma that would have suggested he suffered anything that could produce bleeding to lead to a cardiac arrest.” Jerry Blackwell asked if Langenfeld theorized oxygen deficiency as the leading cause of Floyd’s death, to which Langenfeld replied: “That was one of the more likely possibilities. I felt at the time based on information I had, it was more likely than the other possibilities.”
Capt. Jeremy Norton of the Minneapolis Fire Department had also been in the ambulance which escorted Floyd to the hospital. In his testimony, he recalled the scene when he entered the ambulance: “He was an unresponsive body on a cot.” Norton continues, attesting that after Floyd was delivered to the hospital, he filed a report with his supervisors regarding the incident. Norton says, “”I was aware that a man had been killed in police custody, and I wanted to notify my supervisors to notify the appropriate people above us in the city, in the fire department and whomever else, and then I also wanted to inform my deputy that there was an off-duty firefighter, who was a witness at the scene.”
Minneapolis police inspector, Katie Blackwell, also testified in Chauvin’s trial. She detailed that she had worked with Chauvin for over 20 years, and had selected him as a field training officer. Blackwell documented that Chauvin had been regularly instructed in defensive tactics and the proper use of force as taught by the Minneapolis Police Department. She continued testifying, adding that officers are also trained in their medical unit about the dangers of possible asphyxiation and the cruciality of positioning people up right or on their side to recover from such. She added that once a person is under control, officers should position them in a recovery position “as soon as possible.” Further, Blackwell said that Chauvin participated in a 40-hour Crisis Intervention Training in 2016, and another seven hour refresher course in 2018– which included de-escalation training as part of the program. In viewing an image of Chauvin kneeling on Floyd’s neck, Blackwell said: “I don’t know what kind of improvised position that is,” she said. “It’s not what we train.”
Another witness, Christopher Martin, continues to fill in more details to the harrowing day of Floyd’s death. Christopher Martin was the cashier at Cup Noodles, a convenience store in south Minneapolis. He explains that Floyd came in to buy cigarettes with a friend on May 25, and describes Floyd’s condition as “very friendly” and “talkative.” Martin testified that Floyd appeared to be under the influence of drugs. Martin continues, explaining that Floyd had paid with a counterfeit $20 bill. After realizing the counterfeit payment, Martin reported it to his manager, as the store had a policy of deducting the amount of counterfeit payment from its employee’s paychecks. Martin’s boss instructed the worker to approach Floyd and ask him to come back into the store, and Martin was met with refusal. He returned to the store and told his manager that he would accept the pay deduction, but Martin’s manager encouraged him to again approach Floyd. After Floyd refused for the second time, Martin’s manager told another store worker to call 911. Minutes later, Martin says that he recalls a large crowd of people gathering outside, “yelling” and “screaming.” Martin joined the crowd outside, observing as bystanders demanded for the police to take Floyd’s pulse as Chauvin continued to kneel on the victim’s neck. Reflecting on the scene, Martin says he felt “disbelief and guilt.” Elaborating on that statement, Martin explains: “If I would have just not taken the bill, this could have been avoided.” Martin has also added that “the one thing I would say to Derek Chauvin is justice will be served.”
The man who had been in the car alongside Floyd, Morries Hall, refuses to testify in the trial of Derek Chauvin and has asserted that he will invoke his Fifth Amendment if called to the stand. Hall had fled Minnesota shortly after Floyd died, and was soon after arrested in Texas on account of outstanding felony warrants that had been issues to him prior to Floyd’s death. One of the charges includes being a felon in possession of a firearm. Regarding the day of Floyd’s death, Hall has been accused of trying to get rid of evidence related to the case. A court document filed by the defense reports: “Surveillance video from the nearby Dragon Wok restaurant shows that Mr. Hall appeared to use Mr. Floyd’s resistance as a distraction to destroy evidence…The video demonstrates that Mr. Hall watched through the windows of Mr. Floyd’s vehicle to ensure that he was not being observed by police, then…. Mr. Hall furtively dropped something into the sewer drain on the street.”
Courteney Batya Ross, Floyd’s girlfriend since August 2017, took to the stand and revealed that both herself and Floyd had struggled with opioid addiction. She explains their opioid use: “Both Floyd and I, our story — it’s a classic story of how many people get addicted to opioids. We both suffered from chronic pain. Mine was in my neck and his was in his back. We both have prescriptions. But after prescriptions that were filled, and we got addicted, and tried really hard to break that addiction many times.” Elaborating on Floyd’s opioid usage, Ross disclosed that Floyd had been hospitalized for overdose in March of 2020.
The prosecution presented this information regarding Floyd’s usage to light not to paint him in a negative light, but to show the full truth of the situation. CNN legal analyst Laura Coates explains the prosecution’s strategy: “’It’s because as the prosecutor, you want to present and address and resolve these bad facts. You don’t want to have the defense be able to say, ‘Hey, jury, why didn’t they tell you about this? Here are the things they don’t want you to know.’ Sprinkling seeds of doubt’….Coates added that the prosecution is addressing it so they can “package it essentially” to say, “‘So what? He has an opioid addiction.’ And of course in America, we view opioid abuse very differently than we did even decades ago. How does this actually impact Chauvin’s decision to act?’”
Retired Sgt. David Pleoger of the Minneapolis Police Department took to the stand to describe a phone call that had taken place between Chuavin and himself on May 25, 2020, after Chauvin had kneeled on Floyd’s neck. He recalls: “I believe he told me that they had — tried to put Mr. Floyd — I didn’t know his name at the time, Mr. Floyd into the car. He had become combative,” adding that “I think he mentioned that he had injured — either his nose or his mouth, a bloody lip, I think, and eventually after struggling with him, he suffered a medical emergency and an ambulance was called and they headed out of the scene.” Pleoger also detailed that he has known Chauvin since 2008.
Another member of the force, Jon Curtis Edwards, a sergeant with the Minneapolis Police Department, took to the stand to discuss details about the crime scene and body camera footage. Edwards reports that he arrived at the scene of 38th and Chicago around 9:35 p.m. ET. Upon arrival, Edwards says there were only two officers still present– J. Alexander Kueng and Thomas Lane– and not many other people around. While Edwards attests that he arrived on scene with his body camera turned on, he says that the two officers who had been at the scene did not have their cameras on. Edwards asked them to turn their body cameras on. Then, after the two officers detailed to Edwards where the scene had occurred, Edwards told them to place crime scene tape around the area “so that we could preserve any potential evidence that was there.”
The most senior officer on the Minneapolis police department and head of the Minneapolis Police’s homicide unit, Lt. Richard Zimmerman, also took to the stand. He clarified that the actions of Chauvin are not compliant with the training that police officers receive, adding that “if your knee is on a person’s neck, that could kill them.” As the most long-standing member of the police force, and having been trained every year in the appropriate use of force, he says that he has never received instruction to deliver force via kneeling on the back or neck of someone, as Chauvin demonstrated. “Pulling him down to the ground face down, and putting your knee on a neck for that amount of time is just uncalled for. I saw no reason why the officers felt they were in danger — if that’s what they felt — and that’s what they would have to feel to be able to use that kind of force,” Zimmerman stated. He says that Chauvin’s use of force would only be used in a “top-tier, deadly force” situation and in case of Floyd was “totally unnecessary.” There are varying degrees of how officers can work to restrain someone. Zimmerman explains, “Once a person is cuffed, the threat level goes down all the way. They are cuffed, how can they really hurt you,” he said. “You getting injured is way down. You could have some guy try to kick you or something, but you can move out of the way. That person is handcuffed, you know, so the threat level is just not there.” Upon arriving at the crime scene around 10 p.m., Zimmerman recalls walking up to officers J. Alexander Kueng and Thomas Lane. Determining the two as “involved officers,” Zimmerman says he instructed them to go to city hall to be interviewed. Zimmerman explains that the state Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) took over the handling of the case when the hospital determined Floyd had passed. Lt. Richard Zimmerman, head of the Minneapolis Police’s homicide unit, said the use of force by former officer Derek Chauvin against George Floyd was “totally unnecessary.”
Police Chief Medaria Arradondo from the Minneapolis Police Department also took to the stand to discuss the use of force and de-escalation techniques. He has held his position as chief for three years, and has been involved with the department since 1989. At the beginning of his testifying, he was asked to identify Derek Chauvin, whom he successfully pointed out. He discussed de-escalation tactics and the use of force in the Minneapolis Police Department. Reading the department’s policy, Arradondo states: “As an alternative and/or the precursor to the actual use of force MPD officers shall consider verbally announcing their intent to use force including displaying an authorized weapon as a threat of force when reasonable under the circumstances.” He continues, “The goal is to resolve the situation as safely as possible. So you want to always have de-escalation layered into those actions of using force.”
When asked about Chauvin’s use of force unto Floyd, Arradondo said “The conscious neck restraint by policy mentions light to moderate pressure. When I look at exhibit 17 and when I look at the facial expression of Mr. Floyd, that does not appear in any way, shape or form that that is light to moderate pressure.” Arradondo comments on the use of restraint by Chauvin: “I absolutely agree that violates our policy,” detailing that the Department’s core values include treating everyone with “dignity and respect.” Arradondo continues, “Once Mr. Floyd had stopped resisting. And certainly once he was in distress and trying to verbalize that, that should have stopped. There is an initial reasonableness in trying to just get him under control in the first few seconds. But once there was no longer any resistance, 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, in no way, shape or form is anything that is by policy. It is not a part of our training. And it is certainly not part of our ethics or our values.”
Arradondo also commented on the first amendment right of protesters to record officers with their cellphones, even if the officers find the recording “irritating.” This “absolute first amendment right” is granted to all people, “with the exception that they cannot obstruct the activity of the officers but they absolutely have the right, barring that, to record us performing our duties,” he added. In the case of Floyd, the recording of officers was deemed by Arradondo as non-obstructive.
In his own viewing of the footage surrounding Floyd’s death, Arradondo commented that the city-owned video camera footage he originally saw didn’t show as much detail as community member footage. Arradondo recalls learning of the bystander video recording: “Probably close to midnight a community member had contacted me and said, chief, almost verbatim, but said, chief, have you seen the video of your officer choking and killing that man at 38th and Chicago? And so once I heard that statement, I just knew it wasn’t the same milestone camera video that I had saw. And eventually within minutes after that, I saw for the first time what is now known as the bystander video.”
In reviewing the footage, which showed Chauvin’s use of force on Floyd’s neck, Arradondo commented on whether the officer followed the department’s de-escalation policy: “”I absolutely don’t agree with that”…”that action is not de-escalation. And when we talk about the framework of our sanctity of life and when we talk about the principles and values we have, that action goes contrary to what we’re taught.”
George Floyd’s brother, Philonise Floyd, also was present in the court room alongside the Floyd family attorney, Ben Crump. Having to relive his brother’s death through re-watching the traumatic video footage, Philonise commented that it was an “emotional day watching his brother being tortured to death, screaming for his mom, talking about his kids… it was a tragedy that should have never happened.” While Chauvin and his defense are attempting to pin Floyd’s death on other factors, including drug use and health issues, Crump refocuses the case on Chauvin’s defense’s allegations: “That’s their playbook. That’s what they’ve done to so many people of color who have been unjustifiably killed by police. [They] assassinate their character so it can be a distraction from their excessive use of force.” As Chauvin’s defense looks to explain the cause of Floyd’s death as due to factors outside of the police force, Crump declares “The reason Derek Chauvin kept his knee on George Floyd’s neck is because he lacks humanity.”
When it came time for Chauvin to take the stand, he plead his Fifth Amendment right to stay silent, choosing not testify in his own defense. On Thursday, Chauvin’s attorneys rested their case shortly after his invocation. The prosecution had rested its case on Tuesday, after hearing from 38 witnesses over 11 days of the murder trial. Chauvin has plead not guilty to second-degree unintentional manslaughter, second-degree manslaughter, and third-degree murder charges.
Chauvin’s defense attorney, Eric Nelson, said during his closing argument that “that Derek Chauvin’s own use of force trainer at the Minneapolis Police Department testified that placing the knee on the neck of a suspect “is not an unauthorized move,” according to CNN. Nelson is referring to the earlier testimony of Minneapolis Police Lt. Johnny Mercil, who conducts the training for the Department. Mercil had testified that using a knee on someone’s neck “can be justified in certain circumstances,” perhaps as a means of “using body weight to control.” However, Mercil had also remarked “however, I will add that we don’t — we tell officers to stay away from the neck when possible and if you’re going to use body weight to pin, to put it on their shoulder and be mindful of position.” Keeping all this in mind, during his closing argument Nelson urged the jury to consider the circumstances Chauvin had arrived at on-scene, including meeting “active resistance” and “potentially active aggression” from Floyd. Nelson stated to the jury, “The state has really focused on the 9 minutes and 29 seconds, 9 minutes and 29 seconds, 9 minutes and 29 seconds. It’s not the proper analysis because the 9 minutes and 29 seconds ignores the previous 15 minutes and 59 seconds. Completely disregards.” Nelson reminded that jury that his client, Chauvin, has a “presumption of innocent,” until possibly being proven guilty beyond a reasonable guilt by the state.
The case’s prosecuting attorney, Steve Schleicher, reminded the jury that “George Floyd is not on trial here,”…”For 9 minutes and 29 seconds. He begged, George Floyd begged until he could speak no more, and the defendant continued. This assault. When he was unable to speak, the defendant continued. When he was unable to breathe the defendant continued. Beyond the point that he had a pulse. Beyond the point that he had a pulse, the defendant continued this assault. Nine minutes and 29 seconds.” During Schleicher’s closing statement, he asserted that Chauvin’s actions were not in line with the motto of the Minneapolis Police Department, “to protect with courage.”
Another prosecuting attorney, Jerry Blackwell, took to the stand again to deliver his closing statement. He reminded the jury that while “”when he [Eric Nelson] was talking about causation, he talks about fentanyl, heart failure, hypertension. He says that we have to show beyond a reasonable doubt that none of these other factors played a role”…but “”what we need to prove is that the defendant’s actions were a substantial causal factor in his death. It does not have to be the only causal factor. It doesn’t have to be the biggest substantial factor. It just has to be one of them.” Further, he asserted the power that Chauvin held over Floyd while kneeling on the victim’s neck: “He had the bullets, the guns, the mace that he threatened the bystanders with. He had backup. He had the badge. He had all of it. And what was there to be afraid of, here particularly, at this scene?”
Blackwell also urged the jury to consider what he called the case’s 46th witness– common sense. He cited the eyewitness account of the nine-year-old bystander, claiming that the case is “so simple a child could understand… [t]he 9-year-old girl said, ‘get off of him.’ That’s how simple it was. Get off of him. Common sense.”
As the closing arguments of the case are being released today, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi released her statement: “Today is a solemn day as the closing arguments are presented in the George Floyd murder trial. I commend the Floyd family for their dignified calls for justice, which were heard around the world”…”As outraged as we are by his death, let us be prayerful that the truth will prevail and will honor George Floyd’s memory.”
Chauvin is on trial for three different charges, in which the jury must deliberate whether or not the prosecution “proved beyond a reasonable doubt.” The first charge Chauvin could be convicted of is second-degree unintentional murder. The prosecution must prove that Chauvin caused George Floyd’s death while committing an underlying felony. Futher, prosectors must also prove that Chauvin acted with no intent to kill, just intent to act. If convicted, Chauvin could face up to 40 years in prison. Secondly, Chauvin faces a possible charge for third-degree murder. In order to be convicted, prosecutors must prove Chauvin committed a reckless act that is “eminently dangerous” to others with “depraved mind.” If Chauvin is convicted of third-degree murder, he could face up to 25 years in prison. Finally, Chauvin faces a third conviction for second-degree Manslaughter. In order to be charged, the prosecution must prove Chauvin was “culpably negligent” and disregarded awareness of substantial risk of great bodily injury or death of Floyd. If convicted of second-degree manslaughter, Chauvin could face up to 10 years in prison. All of the charges are seperate, so Chauvin could end up being charged for a combination of charges, being found guilty on all accounts, or be found completely non-guilty.
While the world waits to heart the outcome of Derek Chauvin’s trial, the NYPD is bracing for the reaction to the case’s verdict. In a statement, the. NYPD said that the department has been preparing for months and has provided the necessary training for its officers to “protect and facilitate the constitutional right to peace protest.” In DC, the Army has positioned 250 members of the National Guard in preparation for potential protest, riots, and civil unrest. Around the country, police departments are preparing to face the reaction to the outcome of the trial.
The jury panel working to determine the outcome of the trial consists of six white jurors and six Black or multi-racial people. Of the jurors, seven are women and five are men. The panel consists of a grandmother, nurse, chemist, and auditor, among others. The jury’s verdict must be unanimous, and must prove the charges beyond a reasonable doubt.
Shortly after the juror deliberations had begun, several of Minnesota’s most prominent politicians spoke about to urge for calm, regardless of the trial’s outcome.
Gov. Tim Waltz spoke to Minnesota residents: ““We must acknowledge two truths: We cannot allow civil unrest to descend into chaos, we must protect life and property,” the governor continued. “We also must understand very clearly, if we don’t listen to those communities in pain, and those people on the streets, many of whom were arrested for speaking a fundamental truth, that we must change, or we will be right back here again.”
Minneapolis’ mayor, Jacob Frey, echoed similar peaceful sentiments: ““There’s been pain and anguish, anger and frustration that is undoubtedly acutely felt by our Black and Brown communities,” Frey said. “Regardless of the outcome of this trial, regardless of the decision made by the jury, there is one true reality, which is that George Floyd was killed at the hands of police.” Similarly, Saint Paul’s mayor cautioned against violence.
Gov. Melvin Center spoke out about the jury deliberations on Monday afternoon: ““Whatever the jury decides, we know that in this age of insurrection and extremism that we must be ready for the possibility of those who would exploit this moment and drown out the powerful voices of constructive protests across our nation with violence and destruction.'”
Even President Biden spoke out about the trial, sharing similar thoughts. The President said he hopes the right outcome of the trial will prevail, and commented on the “overwhelming” evidence of the case. Biden also had a private conversation to discuss familial loss with George Floyd’s brother, Philonise.
The verdict of the case has been decided and publicly announced, as reported by CNN: “Former Minneapolis Police officer Derek Chauvin has been convicted on all charges by a jury in the Hennepin County court. The jury found Chauvin guilty of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in George Floyd’s death in May 2020.”
As seen in media from Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II, co-chair of the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival and president and senior lecturer of Repairers of the Breach:
“Today’s three guilty verdicts in the trial of Derek Chauvin are an important public act of accountability. But any verdict on a charge of less than first-degree murder — a charge that Chauvin did not face — is a sign that we still have work to do. Before the entire nation, fellow officers took the stand in this trial and testified that their colleague did not protect and serve but abused power and killed George Floyd. We must meet this public act of justice and accountability with federal legislation that will hold officers of the law accountable in every state, and we must continue to work in every community to shift public investment from over-policing poor, Black and brown communities to ensuring restorative justice and equity for all people.”
“While previous Republican administrations tried to break government, Donald Trump tried to break democracy. He did this boldly and brazenly, by attacking elections, and he did it less boldly but no less brazenly, by working alongside Mitch McConnell to take over the unelected branch of government that sets the rules for all the others: the federal judiciary. That branch is now stuffed with conservative ideologues masquerading as jurists.”
Making the case that there is no progressive future without a serious fight to reclaim the judiciary from the grips of conservative judges, Mystal evaluates whether Biden can fix the courts that Trump broke: Happily, there is a solution, and that solution is to expand the lower courts.
Congress has used its constitutional authority throughout history to expand the federal judiciary. Historically, these lower court expansions were bipartisan: As the country grows in population, so does the number of lawsuits. Adding judges is just a thing we used to do to keep the judiciary running smoothly. But since 1990, when the last judgeship bill was passed, the US population has grown by a third; the number of district court cases has grown by 38 percent; and the number of cases involving a felony defendant has grown by 60 percent. The number of judges has not changed.
“I absolutely believe that if Trump had won reelection and McConnell had hung onto the Senate, Republicans would be working on court expansion right now,” writes Mystal. “There just aren’t a lot of vacancies left in the federal judiciary. Republicans can always find some casus belli for stacking the courts with conservative judges. The only question is whether Democrats will ever realize there’s a war, and they’re losing it.”
“To balance out decades of inequity, Biden’s judicial appointments shouldn’t ‘look like America;’ they should overrepresent the kinds of Americans routinely excluded by Republican administrations,” he continues. “You can’t balance a seesaw by standing in the middle when an elephant is sitting on one side.”
Read the full cover story here. Mystal, who covers the courts, the criminal justice system, and politics for The Nation, has also recently reported:
For one of the first times in memory, police are testifying against one of their own. But will it lead to an actual conviction?
ABOUT Elie Mystal
Elie Mystal is The Nation’s justice correspondent—covering the courts, the criminal justice system, and politics—and the force behind the magazine’s monthly column, “Objection!” He is also an Alfred Knobler Fellow at the Type Media Center. A graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School, Mystal was previously the executive editor of Above the Law and a former associate at Debevoise & Plimpton. He’s a frequent guest on MSNBC and Sirius XM.
Founded by abolitionists in 1865, The Nation has chronicled the breadth and depth of political and cultural life from the debut of the telegraph to the rise of Twitter, serving as a critical, independent, and progressive voice in American journalism.
Vevo, the world’s leading music video network, announces the release of Justin Bieber’s Official Live Performance of “Holy,” from his new album Justice. “Anyone” follows Justin Bieber’s previous Official Live Performances of “Hold On,” “Anyone,” and “Lonely.” Vevo’s Official Live Performances are the result of close creative collaboration with artists and their teams, resulting in a series of immense performances.
“We are so excited to release these exclusive performances to Justin’s fans all around the world,” says JP Evangelista, SVP, Content, Programming & Marketing. “Since “Baby” was first released in 2010 we have worked closely with Justin on his numerous video releases, and watched him grow and develop into one of the world’s biggest artists–he has honed his craft and his maturity and evolved sound as a musician is evident as he taped these performances for us. We are so pleased with what we captured, as being able to work so closely and creatively with an artist is key in the final product.”
Justin was one of Vevo’s Top 10 Worldwide Most Watched Artists of 2020, with his track “Yummy” coming in at 2020’s #2 in Vevo’s most-watched global video chart. 2021 saw Justin release Justice, his sixth studio album, which includes the chart-topping global smashes “Holy” feat. Chance The Rapper, “Lonely” feat. Benny Blanco, “Anyone,” and “Hold On,” garnering over two billion streams worldwide. Most recently, Justin dropped the music video for “Peaches,” which racked up more than five million views in less than 24 hours.
“I loved working with Vevo to create these Official Live Performances,” says Justin, “Vevo has been part of all of my video releases since the beginning, and I feel so blessed to have them championing me for over a decade.”
Previously, Justin partnered with Vevo to take fans behind the scenes of his recent releases with Vevo Footnotes videos for “Holy,” “Lonely” and “Anyone.” With over 75 billion career streams and over 70 million albums sold worldwide, Justin Bieber continues to reign as one of the biggest artists in the world.
Keep up with exclusive content from artists all over the world on Vevo’s Youtube channel
Vevo is the world’s leading music video network, connecting an ever-growing global audience to high-quality music video content for more than a decade. Founded by Universal Music Group and Sony Music Entertainment in 2009, Vevo offers fans worldwide a vast array of premium content to choose from, showcasing official music videos alongside a constantly developing lineup of live performances and innovative original programming. From top superstars to rising new talents, Vevo brings incomparable cross-promotional support to artists across the musical spectrum, at every stage of their careers.
Vevo has consistently evolved over the past decade to lead within today’s ever-changing media landscape, embracing partnerships with a number of leading distribution platforms to deliver extraordinary content within ad-supported environments. With more than 26B views across television, desktop and mobile devices each month, Vevo brings music videos to the world when, where, and how fans want them.
Vevo is available on YouTube, Samsung, Samsung TV Plus, Amazon Fire TV, Amazon Echo Show, PlutoTV, Apple TV, Roku, Comcast (Xfinity X1 and Xfinity Flex), VIZIO, Sky (NowTV and SkyQ), Foxxum, XITE, NetRange, Redbox, T-Mobile Play, Virgin Media, Xumo, Telstra and Vewd.
ABOUT JUSTIN BIEBER
Justin Bieber’s new album JUSTICE has broken streaming records on Spotify and topped Apple Music charts in over 117 countries. JUSTICE includes the chart-topping global smashes “Holy,” “Lonely,” “Anyone,” “Hold On,” and the new track and video “Peaches,” which combined have garnered over two billion streams worldwide, dominating radio airplay to the tune of over 215 million in US audience. Headed into release, the tracks alone have amassed an equivalent of 400,000 albums in the U.S. and over 1.3 million albums worldwide. With over 75 billion career streams and over 70 million albums sold worldwide, Justin Bieber continues to reign as one of the biggest artists in the world. Bieber is the #1 artist on YouTube with over 60 million subscribers worldwide and broke global records at Spotify with over 65 million monthly listeners.
Justice World Tour
The tour was to kick off this summer but due to COVID-19 restrictions varying by state, the tour is being moved to 2022. The Justice World Tour 2022, presented by T-Mobile, is adding 7 new arena shows to total 52-dates. Tickets for new shows go on sale later this month. For more information, please visit Justin’s website.
DeMarcus Walker. Say his name. Say his name along with the other victims of the hate crimes that fill our society. Just over a year ago, Demarcus was going about his Saturday morning shopping just like many others. On March 7, 2020, at approximately 10:25 in the morning, Walker was run down with a Chevy Impala and then brutally beaten with a baseball bat.
DeMarcus Walker suffered life-threatening injuries and, unfortunately, was not able to pull through. He passed away April 11, 2020, from tracheal narrowing and cerebral edema and hemorrhage due to complications from blunt injuries of the head, which was noted in his autopsy. His death was ruled a homicide.
Zai’quaria Walker, DeMarcus Walker’s daughter, stated to NBC News Anchor Tom Powell “When it’s your family it’s a different kind of pain.” She desperately asked “Why that day? What was going through your head to do that then and there?”
Houston Walker, DeMarcus Walker’s father, commented during a news conference “I feel like it was a hate crime. It had to be. The way I understand in the paper, he was walking around Walmart with a ski mask on looking for people to beat up. That’s how I feel about it.”
Vaughn Lowery, President of 360 Magazine, states “Senseless violence has afflicted America throughout the weeks, and it seems that there is no end in sight. As a nation, we must unite and abandon this malevolent behavior. Once we recognize why the BIPOC and LGBTQ communities are under constant attack because they are intrinsically different, then we will begin to heal. At the end of the day, our legal system is not designed to protect them. In the case of DeMarcus Walker, justice must be served and the person who attempted to kill him must be held accountable according to the highest standards of the law. We can no longer allow malicious intent to pass unnoticed in our judicial system.”.
Police arrested 21-year-old Levi Arnold, who has recently pleaded guilty but mentally ill to charges of murder and resisting law enforcement for the cold-blooded crime he committed last year outside of the Apple Glen Walmart in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Arnold will be sentenced on April 16, 2021, and is facing 51 years in prison.
Christine Englehardt: Marathon runner. Nursing student. An animal lover. Manager of Jules Thin Crust. A daughter and a friend with a laugh that lit up a room. Much like many other young people, Christine traveled to Miami Beach for Spring Break, looking forward to a relaxing vacation. Unfortunately, she traveled alone to The Magic City and was met with an unforgivable turn of events.
Christine was just 24 years old when Dorian Taylor and Evoire Collier drugged and brutally raped her on March 18, 2021. Miami Harold stated Christine was left for dead while her rapists stole her phone and credit cards before heading out to continue their night of partying. Christine was later found dead inside of her hotel room. Miami-Dade Medical Examiner is determining her cause of death.
Taylor and Collier continued to make purchases with Christine’s credit cards while Taylor was found with her phone days later. Miami Beach Detectives were able to track the men down with help from the hotel’s surveillance footage.
Vigil for Christine Englehardt
Please join us in honor of Christine Englehardtwho tragically lost her life this week. Residents of Miami Beach stand with the family of Christine Englehardt and vow for justice and these crimes to come to an end.
National Trust Partners’ Advocacy Leads to Roberts Temple: Emmett Till and Mamie Till Mobley Senate Bill
Sen. Tammy Duckworthintroduced a bill with Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), and Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS) as co-sponsors to establish Chicago’s Roberts Temple Church of God in Christ as a National Monument. The move would offer the highest level of federal support for the church and would ensure that the National Park Service will preserve, protect, and interpret its powerful impact on American civil rights history for generations to come. Civil rights activist Mamie Till Mobley was a member of Roberts Temple Church of God in Christ, and the church played a historic role in the funeral of Emmett Till, her fourteen-year-old son killed on August 28, 1955, during a visit with relatives in Money, Mississippi.
Rather than cover up the brutality of the murder, Mobley bravely decided to hold an open casket funeral at Roberts Temple Church of God in Christ so people could witness the bitter consequences of racism. When tens of thousands of people came to view young Till’s mangled body from September 3-6, 1955, and photographs of his mangled face were published in journals around the country, it ignited the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 60s, similar to the way George Floyd’s death has impacted movements today. TIME magazine named a photo of the Till funeral one of the 100 most influential images of all time.
“The Roberts Temple Church is both extraordinarily and heartbreakingly important to Chicago, our state, and to our country’s history,” Sen. Tammy Duckworth said. “It’s time we recognize how historic sites can not only teach us about our history – but provoke us to build a more just future. By designating this church a historic site, we will help ensure that this awful chapter is not erased and that generations of Americans to come can show respect to Mamie and Emmett’s stories.”
The National Trust’s Chief Preservation Officer Katherine Malone-France said, “Our nation will benefit tremendously when Roberts Temple is designated a National Monument, lifting up its profoundly important role in American history. It is imperative that our country appropriately honors the site of Emmett Till’s funeral and of Mamie Till Mobley’s remarkable courage. We are honored to support the Roberts Temple congregation, the Till family, and the local community as they advance this designation and determine how to carry forward the legacies of this powerful place, as a unit of the National Park system.”
Reverend Wheeler Parker, who witnessed his cousin Emmett’s abduction in 1955, and his wife, Dr. Marvel McCain Parker, said, “We are grateful for the introduction of legislation to preserve the legacy of Emmett Till and Mamie Till Mobley by making Roberts Temple a National Monument, which will help to fulfill Mamie’s request for my wife and I to continue her work to ensure her son’s death was not in vain.”
Roberts Temple Church of God in Christ was founded in 1916 and is known as the “mother of all of the Churches of God in Christ in Illinois.” With its founding, it became a central place of worship and political organizing for many who migrated to Chicago from the South during the early 20th Century.
Today, the building remains in use by the Church of God in Christ denomination, now led by Elder Cleven Wardlow who said, “On behalf of the congregants of Roberts Temple and members of the Roberts Family, we strongly support this endeavor as well as the ongoing efforts by racial justice and preservation organizations to obtain federal protection for Roberts Temple.”
Patrick Weems, Executive Director of the Emmett Till Interpretive Center stated, “What took place at Roberts Temple changed the world. We commend the Roberts Temple congregation, the Roberts and Till families, especially Rev. Wheeler Parker, Jr., Dr. Marvel McCain Parker, and Ollie Gordon for their commitment to telling the truth, and we want to thank Senator Duckworth for her leadership in bringing forth this legislation.”
“The time for turning away from this painful chapter in American history is long over” stated Alan Spears, Senior Director for Cultural Resources. “The National Parks Conservation Association applauds Senator Duckworth for introducing this very significant piece of legislation commemorating the legacies of Emmett Till and Mamie Till Mobley.” For more information on the campaign to designate the Roberts Temple Church of God in Christ National Monument visit their website.
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