Daunte Wright killing: Biden calls for ‘peace and calm’ as Minneapolis sets curfew – live | US news
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A close friend of the alleged sex trafficker and Trump ally Matt Gaetz scrambled to cover his tracks as officials closed in on him in an investigation into sex trafficking last year, a chat thread shared with Politico shows.
Joel Greenberg, a close friend of Republican representative Gaetz, has been accused of sex trafficking relating to a 17-year-old girl (now 20 years old). Gaetz is also facing charges relating to the same minor. Messages shared with Politico show that Greenberg in 2020 entered a panic when he learned he was facing an indictment for sex trafficking over his involvement with the girl.
The messages showed Greenberg reached out to mutual friends of his and the representative to try to rally them in his defense, including pressuring Gaetz to use his influence with Trump for a pardon, Politico reports. Greenberg said he was paying legal fees for the woman, the messages showed. From the report:
He fumed that the prosecutor should be fired. He suspected that a political consultant “was the rat here.” He fretted that investigators had combed through his Venmo cash app history, fearing it led them to the former teen at the center of the case.
The WhatsApp messages shed light on key aspects of the scandal consuming the Florida Republican congressman and close ally of President Donald Trump — and on the state of mind of the man Gaetz once called his “wingman” as he sought to manage the fallout.
Gaetz did not confirm nor deny to Politico the existence of these messages, but did say he never asked Trump to pardon Greenberg. The House ethics committee has launched an investigation into Gaetz as he also faces more than 30 federal sex-trafficking charges.
Hello all, Kari Paul here in Oakland, California taking over the blog for the next few hours. Stay tuned for updates.
That’s it from me today. My west coast colleague, Kari Paul, will take over the blog for the next few hours.
Here’s where the day stands so far:
Kari will have more coming up, so stay tuned.
Joe Biden said he was ready to negotiate with Republicans over his $2tn infrastructure proposal, echoing earlier comments from the White House press secretary.
“I’m prepared to negotiate as to the extent of my infrastructure project, as well as how we pay for it,” the president said at the start of his Oval Office meeting with a bipartisan group of lawmakers.
Biden added, “I think everyone acknowledges we need a significant increase in infrastructure, and it’s going to get down to what we call infrastructure.”
The president noted some Republicans have strongly pushed back against Biden’s proposal to include clean water initiatives and broadband expansion in an infrastructure bill, instead calling for a simpler plan focused on improving America’s roads and bridges.
Although the president has signaled he is open to compromise on the size and scope of the infrastructure bill, he has remained adamant that Congress must act on this issue.
“We will not be open to doing nothing,” Biden said last week. “Inaction simply is not an option.”
The Guardian’s Joanna Walters and Victoria Bekiempis report:
George Floyd’s younger brother, Philonise Floyd, took the stand on Monday in the trial of the former police officer accused of murdering him and told the jury how George Floyd was “a person that everybody loved around the community”.
Philonise Floyd broke down in tears when shown a picture of his late mother and a young George Floyd, saying: “I miss both of them.”
He testified as part of an effort by prosecutors to humanize his brother in front of the jury and make him more than a crime statistic. Minnesota is a rarity as a state in allowing what is known as “spark of life” testimony during the trial stage.
Earlier, a heart specialist said that George Floyd’s death was “absolutely preventable” and he would have lived if now-ex police officer Derek Chauvin had not pinned him to the street.
Chauvin, who is white, denies murdering George Floyd, a 46-year-old Black man, last May, when he knelt on his neck for more than nine minutes during an arrest.
Jonathan Rich, a cardiologist at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago, took the stand as the last medical expert called by the prosecution. He told the jury he was certain Floyd did not die of a heart attack, heart disease or a drug overdose.
The Minnesota Twins have delayed their baseball game against the Boston Red Sox today out of respect for the family of Daunte Wright, the 20-year-old Black man who was fatally shot by a police officer yesterday.
“Out of respect for the tragic events that occurred yesterday in Brooklyn Center, and following the additional details in this evolving situation, the Minnesota Twins have decided it is in the best interests of our fans, staff, players and community to not play today’s game,” the team said in a statement.
“The Minnesota Twins organization extends its sympathies to the family of Daunte Wright.”
The mayor of Minneapolis, Jacob Frey, has announced a curfew after the police killing of Daunte Wright in the nearby suburb of Brooklyn Center.
The curfew will be in effect from 7 pm to 6 am local time.
“We must seek peace tonight,” Frey said at a press conference with the governor of Minnesota.
“And as of this afternoon, I have declared a state of emergency in the city of Minneapolis, and we are following that up with a curfew that will begin at 7 pm tonight.”
Frey referred to the fatal shooting of Wright, which has sparked protests in Minneapolis, as “a careless and tragic mistake”. Body-camera footage of the shooting indicated the officer involved was attempting to deploy her taser and instead accidentally fired her gun, killing Wright.
The Guardian’s Oliver Laughland, Amudalat Ajasa and Tom McCarthy report:
Mourners and outraged community members made their way to the site where Daunte Wright was killed by a police officer in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota. On a grey, damp morning, Ben Witz and his sister came to the site to lay balloons.
“This is more difficult because there was another, there was another unarmed shooting,” Witz said, explaining that family members lived in the area and that the community was still traumatized from George Floyd’s killing and the unrest that followed.
“It seems like it’s a common occurrence now with the police,” Witz said. “It’s crazy what’s happening. It really is.”
As the body-camera footage was released, a small group of activists in the police headquarters waiting area demanded the officer, who has not been identified, be fired immediately.
“Seeing the video just confirms what we already knew,” said Toshira Garraway, the founder of Families Supporting Families Against Police Violence. “It’s just killing after killing after killing.”
She added: “They will always say, ‘I was afraid, or it was an accident.’ But the fact of the matter is: this was a murder. If she is not fired, this is only going to escalate.”
Joe Biden said he has viewed the body-camera footage showing a police officer fatally shooting Daunte Wright, a 20-year-old black man, in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota.
Speaking to reporters in the Oval Office before his infrastructure meeting, the president said he has not yet spoken to Wright’s family. Biden encouraged Americans to “wait and see” what the investigation into the shooting reveals.
The president said, “The question is: Was it an accident? Was it intentional? That remains to be determined by a full-blown investigation. But in the meantime, there is absolutely no justification, none, for looting. No justification for violence. Peaceful protest? Understandable.”
Biden suggested Americans should “listen to Daunte’s mom, who is calling for peace and calm”.
The Brooklyn Center police chief shared the body-camera footage earlier this afternoon, and it appeared to show an officer attempting to deploy a taser and instead firing her gun, killing Wright.
Prominent civil rights attorney Ben Crump will represent the family of Daunte Wright, the 20-year-old Black man killed by a police officer yesterday in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota.
“Daunte Wright is yet another young Black man killed at the hands of those who have sworn to protect and serve all of us – not just the whitest among us,” Crump said in a statement announcing his work with the Wright family.
“As Minneapolis and the rest of the country continue to deal with the tragic killing of George Floyd, now we must also mourn the loss of this young man and father. This level of lethal force was entirely preventable and inhumane. What will it take for law enforcement to stop killing people of color?
“The growing number of Black men and women who have been killed or harmed by police is far too hefty a price for the equality we are seeking. We join Daunte’s family in demanding justice for him, and holding those responsible for his death accountable.”
Earlier this afternoon, the Brooklyn Center police chief shared body-camera footage indicating the officer involved was attempting to use her taser on Wright and instead accidentally discharged her gun, killing the young man.
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