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Illinois’ financial crisis could bring the state to a halt

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Louisiana police trooper kicked and dragged Black man who died in custody, records show


A Louisiana state police trooper has been suspended without pay for kicking and dragging a handcuffed Black man whose in-custody death remains unexplained and the subject of a federal civil rights investigation.

Body camera footage shows Kory York dragging Ronald Greene “on his stomach by the leg shackles” following a violent arrest and high-speed pursuit, according to internal state police records obtained by the Associated Press.

The records are the first public acknowledgement by state police that Greene was mistreated. They confirm details provided last year by an attorney for Greene’s family who viewed graphic body camera footage of the May 2019 arrest and likened it to the police killing of George Floyd, whose death last year triggered widespread protests and a national reckoning with police brutality and systemic racism.

The video shows troopers choking and beating the man, repeatedly jolting him with stun guns and dragging him face-down across the pavement, the attorney told AP.

State police have repeatedly refused to publicly release the body camera footage. The agency has been tight-lipped about Greene’s death and initially blamed the man’s fatal injuries on a car crash outside Monroe, Louisiana.

York, who turned his own body camera off on his way to the scene, is seen on other body-cam footage yanking Greene’s shackles and repeatedly using profanity toward Greene before he died in custody.

York was suspended without pay for 50 hours following an internal investigation that also led to the termination of another trooper, Chris Hollingsworth, who died in a single-car crash after learning he had been fired over his role in the incident.

The AP last year published a 27-second audio clip from Hollingsworth’s body camera in which he can be heard telling a colleague: “I beat the ever-living fuck out of” Greene before he “all of a sudden he just went limp”.

“It is now undisputed that Trooper York participated in the brutal assault that took Ronald Greene’s life,” said Mark Maguire, a Philadelphia civil rights attorney who represents Greene’s family. “This suspension is a start but it does not come close to the full transparency and accountability the family continues to seek.”

Lamar Davis, who took over as state police superintendent last year, wrote York that his suspension had been decided by his predecessor, Kevin Reeves, adding he “would have imposed more severe discipline” had it been up to him.

York told investigators he turned his own body-worn camera off because it was beeping loudly and that his “mind was on other things” after arriving at the scene.

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Texas college apologises after undocumented migrants refused vaccine


A university in Texas has apologised after undocumented immigrants were refused a Covid-19 vaccine, saying it had made “critical mistakes” in turning people away.

The Washington Post reported that a pre-diabetic man, Jesús Díaz, 61, was denied the vaccine after failing to provide a social security number. It said Diaz was among at least 14 people refused a vaccine because of residency or immigration status by the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley.

“I felt so much shame and anger at the same time,” Díaz told the newspaper. “I felt discriminated against, but I didn’t want to keep insisting.

In a statement, the university said: “It has come to our attention that we have made some critical mistakes. Most regrettable among these errors is the improper denial of eligible patients at our vaccination sites.

“This misstep resulted from incorrect instructions being provided to our staff, based on an understanding of guidance from state-level advisers, that only Texas residents were eligible for vaccination.”

The Texas state health agency does not require proof of residency from anyone in order to administer the Covid vaccine. The university’s blunder highlights the disparity between different communities, especially those who are undocumented, when it comes to testing and vaccine access.

Latinos in America are dying at higher rate from Covid-19 than their white or Asian counterparts, but they are one of the least likely groups to be vaccinated against the virus, according to an AMP Research Lab analysis.

In Texas, only 3.9% of Latinos have been vaccinated compared to 9% of whites and 11.4% of Asians. In January, Texas state officials threatened to cut Dallas county’s vaccine supply after it announced plans to prioritize vaccinating communities of color.

Testing for the virus in Texas has also been inequitable. In May, NPR found there were more Covid testing sites in whiter neighborhoods in four out of the six largest cities in the state.

In the same statement, the university said it is identifying all patients who were turned away and contacting them to reschedule their appointment.

But Díaz told the Post: “I really don’t want to go there. I’m ashamed to go back. I want to look for another option where the same thing won’t happen to me again.”

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New York district attorney reportedly obtains Trump’s financial records – live


At the House hearing on the Capitol insurrection, Democratic congresswoman Rose DeLauro pressed the acting chief of the US Capitol Police, Yogananda Pittman, on how many USCP officers are under investigation for their actions on January 6.

Pittman told her, “Right now we have 35 officers that are under investigation, and we do have six police officers that have been suspended with their police powers being revoked, so those investigations are ongoing at this time.”


Rep. @rosadelauro: “How many officers are under investigation?”

Acting U.S. Capitol Police Chief Yogananda Pittman: “Right now we have 35 officers that are under investigation and we do have six police officers that have been suspended with their police powers being revoked.”

February 25, 2021

The investigations come after footage circulated of law enforcement officers posing for photos with some of the insurrectionists on January 6.

Pittman said she expected the investigations to take between 60 and 90 days, and she committed to making the findings of the investigations public once they become available.

House speaker Nancy Pelosi briefly misidentified Republican Senator Ron Johnson as Don Johnson, as in the actor who starred in “Miami Vice”.

The Recount

House Speaker Pelosi accidentally calls Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) “Don Johnson” of Miami Vice.

Pelosi says Johnson “seems to be taking the lead” on Republican response to January 6 insurrection.

February 25, 2021

Pelosi said Johnson, who amplified a baseless conspiracy theory about the Capitol insurrection during a Senate hearing earlier this week, “seems to be taking the lead” on the Republican response to the January 6 attack.

House speaker Nancy Pelosi voiced confidence that the Senate parliamentarian would allow the $15 minimum wage proposal to stay in the coronavirus relief bill.

“We will pass a minimum wage bill,” Pelosi said. “We must pass a minimum wage bill.”

House majority leader Steny Hoyer has said the chamber will vote on a standalone minimum wage bill if it is stripped out of the relief package, but it’s unclear whether such a bill could make it through the Senate.

House speaker Nancy Pelosi said she was disappointed by Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell’s remarks criticizing Democrats’ proposal for a 9/11 commission-style panel to review the Capitol insurrection.

In a Senate floor speech yesterday, McConnell said the draft proposal for the commission was “partisan by design” because the panel would favor Democrats.

Pelosi said she was open to negotiating the exact party breakdown of the commission, and she emphasized the important thing was the scope of the panel’s investigation.

“That’s not the point though. That’s easily negotiated,” Pelosi said. “The point is the scope.”

House speaker Nancy Pelosi is now holding her weekly press conference, a day before the chamber is expected to pass Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package.

The Democratic speaker noted that the Senate parliamentarian could issue a ruling at any moment on whether the $15 minimum wage meets the requirements to be included in the reconciliation bill.

“If you hear before I do, let me know,” Pelosi told reporters, adding that Democrats have a “very, very strong argument” for including the provision.

House holds hearing on security failures on January 6

A House appropriations subcommittee is now holding a hearing on the security failures that occurred during the Capitol insurrection on January 6.

The acting chief of the the US Capitol Police, Yogananda Pittman, and the acting House sergeant at arms, Timothy Blodgett, are testifying at the hearing.

The predecessors of Pittman and Blodgett both resigned in the days after January 6, amid criticism of their handling of the Capitol attack. They testified at a joint Senate hearing earlier this week.

In her opening statement, Pittman described some of the failures among the USCP force during the insurrection.

For example, Pittman said, some officers were not sure when to use lethal force as the violent insurrectionists stormed the Capitol.

The insurrection resulted in five deaths, including one USCP officer.

The Guardian’s Nina Lakhani reports:

Latino and Black Americans continue to be vaccinated against Covid at the lowest rate despite political promises to redress inequalities, new analysis reveals.

Only 4.6% of Latinos and 5.7% of Black Americans have so far received a vaccine dose, compared with 11.3% of white Americans and 10.5% of Asian Americans, according to analysis by APM Research Lab shared exclusively with the Guardian.

Pacific Islanders have the highest inoculation rate, according to the limited data available, with 16.3% (about one in six) already having received at least one dose. Maryland has vaccinated 43.4% of this population – the highest reported proportion of any community in any state.

The second-highest rate is among Indigenous Americans, with 12.8% (one in eight) already having received at least one jab.

Despite some progress, the available state health data clearly suggests that access to the Covid vaccines – just like testing and economic aid – is disproportionately low for Latino and Black Americans, the two largest minority communities in the US.

The website for DC residents to book vaccine appointments crashed this morning, as the service was flooded with appointment requests.

As of today, city residents with certain pre-existing conditions are eligible to receive the vaccine, but it appears the website was not updated to reflect that.

From a local WAMU reporter:

Martin Austermuhle

Loads of D.C. residents aged 16-64 with pre-existing medical conditions who were told they could register for COVID-19 vaccine appointments now are facing busy phone lines and a website that crashes and also wasn’t updated to reflect the new categories of people who are eligible.

February 25, 2021

As the DC vaccine website was crashing, Vice-President Kamala Harris was visiting a pharmacy in the city where residents can receive the vaccine.

Joe Biden and Harris are also holding an event later today to mark 50 million vaccine doses being administered in the US.

The Guardian’s Washington bureau chief, David Smith, wrote earlier this week that Donald Trump’s failure to keep his financial documents away from the Manhattan district attorney may be his most consequential loss yet:

The DA has said little about why he wants Trump’s records but, in a court filing last year, prosecutors said they were justified in seeking them because of public reports of ‘possibly extensive and protracted criminal conduct at the Trump Organization’ – Trump’s family business empire – thought to include bank, tax and insurance fraud.

Now that investigation is gathering momentum. Vance, who earlier this month hired a lawyer with extensive experience in white-collar and organised crime cases, will be able to find out whether the public reports were accurate by studying actual financial records, spreadsheets and email correspondence between the Trump Organization and accounting firm Mazars USA.

If wrongdoing is established, it raises the spectre of Trump some day in the future standing in the dock in a New York courtroom and even facing a potential prison term. No wonder he fought so hard to cling to power and the immunity from prosecution that it conferred.

CNN has more details on the financial records that the Manhattan district attorney’s office has received from Donald Trump’s accounting firm:

Prosecutors obtained the records on Monday, according to a source, just hours after the US Supreme Court denied Trump’s last-ditch effort to keep the records private.

The millions of pages of documents, sources say, contain Trump’s tax returns spanning from January 2011 to August 2019, as well as financial statements, engagement agreements, documents relating to the preparation and review of tax returns, and work papers and communications related to the tax returns.

Manhattan DA receives millions of pages of Trump’s financial records – report

The Manhattan district attorney’s office has reportedly received Donald Trump’s financial records as part of their investigation into his business dealings.

According to CNN, the records include millions of pages of documents.

Shimon Prokupecz

The Manhattan District Attorney’s office has obtained former President Donald Trump’s tax returns and related records, according to sources familiar with the matter.


The records include millions of pages of documents, the sources say.

February 25, 2021

The report comes three days after the supreme court rejected Trump’s request to block Cy Vance’s office from obtaining the records.

The president has attempted for years to keep his financial records, particularly his tax returns, out of public view.

The financial records will be made available to a grand jury, so they will not be publicly released, but Trump launched a series of legal challenges to try to prevent Vance from gaining access to them.

This is Joan Greve in Washington, taking over for Martin Belam.

Joe Biden and Kamala Harris will hold an event today to celebrate 50 million coronavirus vaccine doses being administered in the US.

This morning, the vice-president visited a pharmacy in Washington where city residents can receive vaccine shots.

Sabrina Singh

.@VP stops by @GiantFood pharmacy in Southeast DC to highlight one of the pharmacies where local residents can get vaccinated.

Mask up and when it’s your turn, get vaccinated.

February 25, 2021

Biden initially pledged to distribute 100 million vaccine doses in his first 100 days in office, but his administration has been outpacing that goal in recent weeks.

The White House coronavirus response team said yesterday that an average of 1.4 million doses were administrated per day last week.

That was slightly down from 1.7 million average doses per day the week before, likely due to the winter storm that disrupted vaccine deliveries and distribution across the central US.

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