MR Daily Review
1. Federal charges sought against four officers connected with Breonna Taylor raid.
Over two years ago Louisville, Kentucky police officers instigated a no-knock raid on Breonna Taylor’s home, killing her and sparking nation wide protests. Police officers were allegedly investigating Breonna Taylor’s former boyfriend for selling drugs, which eventually led to the search warrant and no-knock raid. The federal charges faced by three officers stem from claims that they fabricated information in the affidavit in order to get the warrant. Another officer was charged for blindly firing into the apartment. To set the stage as to what happened that night, here is the New York Times, “the police used a battering ram to force their way through the door of the apartment shortly after midnight on March 13, 2020. Ms. Taylor’s boyfriend, who feared they were intruders, fired a shot that struck one of the officers in the leg. Three officers returned fire, spraying the apartment with more than 30 bullets, six of which struck Ms. Taylor. She was pronounced dead at the scene.” These charges will never make up for the injustice and depravity of Breonna Taylor’s murder, but they are at least some small step toward accountability for people who are almost never held accountable.
2.U.S. declares health emergency as monkeypox spreads.
Today the Biden administration officially declared monkeypox a public health emergency as the virus continues to spread. This move comes as cases rise drastically in a number of cities around the country, just as schools are set to reopen. The move also gives increased funding and resources from the federal government to fight the outbreak. There are nearly 7,000 people infected in the United States and the Biden administration hopes an official state of emergency will help get a handle on those numbers before they get any worse. If numbers do get worse some fault lays on Biden as the White House failed to act and let over 20 million doses of a potential vaccine expire just before the outbreak began. Vaccines, testing, tracking and tracing, all are just wishful thinking just as they were in the early days of the coronavirus pandemic. So, uh, not great, and hopefully things don’t get worse.
3. Brittney Griner sentenced to nine and a half years for drug trafficking by Russian court.
Today in Russian court Brittney Griner was sentenced to 9 years in a Russian penal colony for alleged drug trafficking when Russian officials found THC vape cartridges in her bag. The sentence opens the door for more full throated negotiations as a previous offer for a prisoner exchange trading Griner and another American Paul Whelan for a Russian arms dealer was shot down as premature by Russian officials. The sentence is particularly harsh and Griner has already reported she is not doing well in custody, so pressure to secure her release will only grow. Biden received some criticism for the offer already with many conservative voices calling for an end to negotiations given the current situation in Ukraine. Voices in support of Griner point out she is obviously a political pawn in a much broader geopolitical moment with Russia under pressure from the West on basically every front. At MR we support the negotiations and hopefully the harsh sentence is matched by a strong commitment from Biden to get Griner home.
4. Jury decides Alex Jones must pay Sandy Hook families $4.1 million dollars.
A jury ordered Alex Jones to pay $4.1 million in “actual damages” for defamation flowing from Jones’s statements regarding Sandy Hook. Lawyers for the Sandy Hook families had asked for $150 million in damages. On Friday the case continues and the jury will weigh in on whether to award further punitive damages. The Sandy Hook families asked for $150 million in damages because they wanted $1 for each of the 75 million Americans “whom surveys indicate believe that the Sandy Hook shooting was a hoax” and $75 million for direct damages stemming from Jones’s rhetoric, such as death threats. Punitive damages could dwarf the direct damages though indications from the jury seem to point towards something less than total destruction of the Alex Jones media empire.
5. Workers die in the sweltering heat with little to no protections.
In Jacobin Nick French writes about the sweltering heat and the toll it is taking on workers all around the country. Particularly delivery workers with companies like UPS and USPS who are often forced to do back breaking physical labor, running house to house, in vans without fans or air conditioning. This has a real human toll, to quote the Jacobin article, “on July 6, Esteban Chavez Jr, a twenty-four-year-old UPS delivery driver in Southern California, collapsed and died while delivering packages in the Pasadena area. Although the coroner had not declared a cause of death at the time Chavez’s story made the news, Chavez’s family believes that his death was related to heatstroke.” This is an issue for workers in all sorts of industries from delivery jobs, to agriculture, to food service, and these workers and their struggles are definitely worth your read.