Rand Paul of Kentucky: Strong words about Floyd’s death

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Referring to George Floyd’s death as a murder, Sen. Rand Paul spoke out Tuesday against no-knock search warrants and the militarization of police departments during a conversation with activists seeking answers for the shooting death of a black woman by Louisville police.

During the discussion, Paul lamented that police officers sometimes follow bad policies. And in cases of police abuse, the bar for firing offending officers should be low, he said.

The Kentucky lawmaker, who has worked with Democrats in pressing for criminal-justice reform, said he’s likely to support some form of federal legislation aimed at overhauling police procedures.

Paul spoke with an aunt of Breonna Taylor, who was killed in her home in March. The 26-year-old EMT was shot eight times by narcotics detectives who knocked down her front door while attempting to enforce a search warrant. No drugs were found in the home.

“I want to make sure that we don’t forget Breonna,” he said. “That we try to make it better, so this doesn’t happen again.”

Taylor’s aunt, Bianca Austin, said her niece didn’t have “one bad bone in her body” and the family “is going to fight this to the end.”

Paul had strong words about Floyd’s death, which sparked protests nationwide. Floyd, a black man, died after a white Minneapolis police officer put his knee on the handcuffed man’s neck for several minutes, even after he stopped moving and pleaded for air.

“With the Floyd murder … we need to have policies saying we shouldn’t have a knee on someone’s neck,” he said. “And then it’s the individual doing that for eight minutes. So there’s the individual problem but there’s the policy problem.”

A former Minneapolis police officer is charged with second-degree murder in Floyd’s death.

Paul reiterated his criticism of no-knock search warrants, which allow officers to enter a home without announcing their presence.

“I think it’s crazy that we’re breaking down people’s doors in the middle of the night,” he said. “People are frightened. They don’t know what to do. They don’t know if it’s burglars.”

During the discussion with the Kentucky activists, Paul also spoke out against selling military equipment to police departments — something he’s tried to block for years.

“I don’t think we need bayonets and tanks in our streets,” he said. “I think it sends a wrong message and it’s not really what our country’s about.”

It’s not a new issue for Paul, who spoke about “a systemic problem” with law enforcement after a white police officer fatally shot Michael Brown, a black teenager, in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri, in 2014. Since protests erupted over recent deaths of black people by white police officers, Paul has continued to call for widespread changes in criminal justice polices.

The Republican lawmaker was pressed Tuesday for his reason in holding up a widely backed bill to designate lynching as a federal hate crime. Paul called lynchings a “horror” of American history and said he supports the bill but contended that bill’s language was too broad and could apply to minor assaults. He has noted that murdering someone because of their race is already a hate crime.

Meanwhile, people should resist broad generalizations about police, he said.

“I don’t want to be out there just saying police are bad,” Paul said. “There are many, many good people on the Louisville police force. I’ve met them. It’s sometimes sort of like our soldiers, put into a bad position by bad policy.”

But when officers are found to have committed abuse, he added: “The bar for firing should be very low if you abuse or use excessive force, even if someone is not killed.”

Taylor’s family wants the officers involved her in her death fired and prosecuted, Austin said.

The discussion was organized by Christopher 2X, an anti-violence activist and executive director of the group Game Changers, after Paul’s office reached out to him.

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Cubans Among the 50 Most Beautiful People in Spanish

The popular magazine People en Español released its annual list of the 50 cutest celebrities. And in the ranking there are three Cuban artists!

The special 2020 edition was titled “Beauties for a better world” and in it the celebrities that make up the ranking also shared how their routines have changed since the coronavirus pandemic began, how they are living the quarantine and what their next projects are.

At number 6 on the list is the Cuban actress Ana de Armas . From her appearances in the popular Spanish series El internado , to more recent films such as Blade Runner 2049 (2017) and Knives out (2019), Ana de Armas is at the best moment of her career and has managed to conquer Hollywood, being one of their most requested new faces.

The Cuban-born model and singer, Jencarlos Canela , is ranked 10th. The artist, who began his musical career at age 12 in the Miami Boom Boom Pop band and in 2013 already had an exclusive contract with the Universal label. Music Latino, these days surprised with provocative photos on social networks.

Cuban Camila Cabello appears in position 14 on the People en Español list . The singer, who lived her childhood in Habana del Este, conquered the world with the single “Havana” and will soon be the new Cinderella of Hollywood.

In addition, it stars in one of the four covers that the popular magazine made for its special edition of the “50 most beautiful”. The former girl Harmony in exclusive statements to People en Español offered details of how meditation has helped her cope with the quarantine.

Portland police chief quits and makes black cop her replacement

Portland’s white police chief quit suddenly on Monday — and tapped a black police lieutenant to replace her, saying “he’s the exact right person at the exact right moment” for the job, according to a report.

Jami Resch, who had been top cop in the Oregon city for less than six months, made the announcement in the wake of widespread criticism of the department’s handling of massive protests over the Memorial Day death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, The Oregonian reported.

“I have asked Chuck Lovell to step into the role as chief of the police bureau,” Resch said at a press conference Monday. “He’s the exact right person at the exact right moment.”

Lovell, a Portland police officer since 2002, has long been active in the community, serving as a high resource officer and a mentor in the local “Boys to Men” program, the outlet said. He also served as executive assistant to former Police Chief Danielle Outlaw, the first African-American woman to hold the post.

“I’m humbled,” he said. “I’m going to show up every day with a servant’s heart. I’m going to listen. I’m going to care about the community and care about people in the organization. All I can do is be me.”

He said he was disturbed by the videos of Floyd pleading for air for nearly nine minutes while being pinned down by Minneapolis police.

“That’s what stuck with me — the thought that that’s an idea that could exist,” Lovell said. “The fight is not with each other. The fight is against that idea — that people, institutions, the agencies that can harbor that feeling in their heart.”

Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler said he was surprised by Resch’s decision, but he was “100 percent confident” that Lovell “is the right person for this job.”

“Together we will work on meaningful, bold reforms,” Wheeler said.

Resch was named chief last year after Outlaw left to become Philadelphia’s police commissioner.

She said she made her decision to step down after considering the needs of the city and deciding that a change was needed.

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WH says Trump ‘appalled’ by movement to defund police, slams proponents

White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said Monday that President Trump is “appalled” by a movement to defund police, slamming New York Mayor Bill de Blasio and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez for their support for the proposal.

“The president is appalled by the defund the police movement,” McEnany said at a White House press briefing.

Trump tweeted Monday that he supports “LAW & ORDER” and opposes defunding police, as momentum builds among Democrats to defund or abolish police departments.

“The fact that you have sitting congresswomen wanting to defund the police, notably Rashida Tlaib [D-Mich.], notably Biden adviser AOC, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez [D-NY], a former Clinton and Eric Holder spokesperson Brian Fallon, wanting to defund our police across this country, it is extraordinary,” McEnany said.

“The mayor of LA wants to defund police, take money away from police. Mayor de Blasio, the mayor of New York, wants to take money away from police. That means cutting off police, that means reducing police departments, that means defunding police departments, if not getting rid of them entirely. No, he does not agree with that, and the rest of America does not agree with that,” she added.

De Blasio said Sunday he supported reducing NYPD funding. “We will be moving funding from the NYPD to youth initiatives and social services,” the mayor said.

AOC tweeted Sunday it was “unethical” to give the NYPD more funding than various social services.

In a Friday TV interview, AOC said she is “actively engaged in advocacy” for “reduction of our NYPD budget and defunding a $6 billion NYPD budget that costs us books in the hands of our children and costs us very badly needed investment in [the New York City Housing Authority] and public housing.”

After McEnany’s remarks, the 30-year-old socialist tweeted: “@PressSec wouldn’t be the first person to mistake a women of color for having a lower position or title than she does, but Kayleigh – in case you haven’t picked up a newspaper in two years, I’m a Congresswoman.”

A majority of the Minneapolis City Council over the weekend vowed to abolish the local force. In DC, activists were irked when Mayor Muriel Bowser, who proposed increased police funding, painted “Black Lives Matter” on a street outside the White House. They painted “Defund the Police” alongside it.

At the White House press conference, McEnany slammed the Black Lives Matter DC chapter, which advocates for defunding police.

“I would just take at their own words Black Lives Matter DC. And Black Lives Matter DC said Black Lives Matter means defund the police. So if that’s what the movement means, of course, the president stands against defunding the police. All black lives matter, including the life of [retired St. Louis police captain] David Dorn, who perished in the last week and a half, including [Federal Protective Service officer] Patrick Underwood, who also lost his life. This week, all black lives matter. But in terms of the movement Black Lives Matter, they define themselves as ‘defund the police,’ and that’s something this president stands against,” she said.

McEnany also broadly described the Democratic Party as tainted by the movement, though presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) distanced themselves Monday from efforts to defund police.

“When you think the left has gone far and they couldn’t possibly go farther — because we all remember the defund ICE movement, they want to defund Immigration and Customs Enforcement — and now they wanted to fund the police. This is extraordinary. This is rolling back the protective layers that protect Americans in their homes and in their places of business. He’s appalled by it and it’s remarkable to hear this coming from today’s Democratic Party,” McEnany said.

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Cuban Americans condemn new US sanctions

Washington, June 8 (Prensa Latina) The Donald Trump government´s decision to once anew extend the list of Cuban entities restricted to US citizens is strongly rejected by Cuban Americans.

The financial institution Fincimex, Marques de Cardenas de Montehermoso, Regis and Playa Paraiso Hotels, Varadero Diving Center, and Gaviota Las Molas International Diving Center and Cayo Naranjo Dolphinarium will be included -with more than 200 entities and sub-entities- in the controversial list.

In a statement released by the US State Department, the inclusion of Fincimex in the list was highlighted, which would further affect the remittances to Cuba, as it is the Western Union’s counterpart in Cuba.

Every worthy Cuban who loves his homeland must strongly condemn the latest sanctions announced by the US government, said Elena Freyre, president of the Foundation for the Normalization of United States / Cuba Relations (FORNORM), referring to this new movement of the Trump administration.

Speaking to Prensa Latina News Agency, Freyre stated that the inclusion of Fincimex in the list puts the possibility of remittances to Cuban family members in jeopardy, since this is the financial means used by Western Union and other shipping cards to Cuba.

Freyre said it was a cruelty and violation of human rights to deny the Cuban people to receive what is necessary, amind a pandemic situation.

‘It is another proof that the United States government is not interested in the well-being of my people,’ Freyre said.

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Army Considering Renaming Bases Named After Confederate Leaders

The Army previously said that it had no plans to rename the nearly dozen major bases and facilities named in honor of Confederate leaders.

Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy on Monday reversed his stance on renaming U.S. Army bases currently named for Confederate leaders and is now reportedly “open” to renaming them.

“The Secretary of the Army is open to a bipartisan discussion on the topic,” Army spokesperson Colonel Sunset Belinsky told Politico.

The reversal comes on the heels of the U.S. Marines’ decision to ban the display of the Confederate flag on its military bases, including on bumper stickers, clothing, and coffee mugs. The ban was made official on Friday.

“The Confederate battle flag has all too often been co-opted by violent extremist and racist groups whose divisive beliefs have no place in our Corps,” the Marines said in a statement. “Our history as a nation, and events like the violence in Charlottesville in 2017, highlight the divisiveness the use of the Confederate battle flag has had on our society.”

Some of the white supremacist protesters who demonstrated in Charlottesville, Virginia during the summer of 2017 sported Confederate flag paraphernalia as they protested the removal of a statue of General Robert E. Lee. The protests turned violent, and one white supremacist protester purposefully rammed his car into a crowd of counter-protesters, killing one woman.

The Army previously said in February that it had no plans to rename the nearly dozen major bases and facilities named in honor of Confederate leaders. However, the service branch has faced pressure more recently to rename some of its military installations, including Fort Bragg in North Carolina, Fort Hood in Texas, Fort A.P. Hill in Virginia, and Fort Benning in Georgia.

The reversal comes amid national protests and riots over the death of George Floyd, a black man who died in police custody after a white Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for close to nine minutes until after Floyd passed out. Both peaceful protests against police brutality as well as riots and looting have broken out in metropolitan areas around the country in the wake of Floyd’s death.

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