Trial began this week for Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer who killed George Floyd by kneeling on his neck for several minutes while arresting him for allegedly using a counterfeit bill at a convenience store. Chauvin is facing Minnesota state murder and manslaughter charges. The trial is drawing significant media attention, with some outlets publishing live updates and planning to livestream the proceedings after jury selection is completed. USA Today reported Thursday that six jurors have been seated and that the state has raised two Batson challenges to defense strikes of Hispanic potential jurors, neither of which have been sustained. Keep reading for more news.
George Floyd Policing Legislation. As the New York Times reports, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act last week, legislation that among other things modifies the law of qualified immunity and places restrictions on the use of deadly force and chokeholds. The bill, which did not have bipartisan support, is not expected to pass the Senate.
ICE. The Charlotte Observer reports that the North Carolina House passed legislation along party lines this week that would require sheriffs to cooperate with federal Immigrations and Customs Enforcement when the agency has issued an ICE detainer for a person in custody. The bill, S 101, is similar to a 2019 bill that Governor Roy Cooper vetoed.
Hepatitis Testing. North Carolina Health News reports that a federal class-action lawsuit by state inmates against the North Carolina Department of Public Safety which alleged that inmates were denied treatment for hepatitis C was formally settled this week. As part of the settlement, DPS will increase screenings for the virus, use new medicines as part of treatment, and boost hepatitis C education and awareness programs. The suit was brought by the ACLU of North Carolina and NC Prisoner Legal Services.
COVID Releases. Many questions emerged following the announcement late last month of a settlement in a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the conditions of confinement in North Carolina Prisons that provided for the early release of 3,500 people over the next three months. Carolina Public Press recently published a FAQ about the settlement that address common questions.
Cuomo. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo recently has come under intense political pressure in light of allegations of sexual harassment and other inappropriate behavior. This week the situation took a criminal turn when the state referred an allegation that Cuomo reached under a female aide’s shirt to the Albany Police Department. A majority of New York state legislators have called for Cuomo to resign and an impeachment investigation has been launched.
Jango. There was sad news recently from the New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office where a long-serving K9 officer, Jango, has passed away. Jango was diagnosed with cancer in December but continued working until February. Jango had a history of exemplary performance at regional and national certification events, earning regional “Top Dog” six times and placing in the top 10 nationally five times. The sheriff’s office will livestream a memorial service for Jango on its Facebook page Monday at 3pm.