Louisville, Kentucky, is under a state of emergency as prosecutors are expected to announce if police officers who killed a black woman in her home during a drug raid will be charged.
Mayor Greg Fischer said he had declared the measure “due to the potential for civil unrest”.
Breonna Taylor, 26, a hospital emergency room technician, was shot multiple times on 13 March.
Her name has become a rallying cry for anti-police brutality protesters.
Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron is expected to announce any day whether his office will bring charges.
How is the city preparing?
Mayor Fischer’s emergency declaration on Tuesday noted that protests have been held for over 100 consecutive days in Louisville.
The city leader, a Democrat, is authorising police to close traffic on certain streets where protests have been prevalent.
The mayor said he did not know what the attorney general would say.
He added: “Our goal is ensuring space and opportunity for potential protesters to gather and express their First Amendment rights after the announcement.
“At the same time, we are preparing for any eventuality to keep everyone safe.”
Barricades are being erected around the city centre to reduce access to the area and the federal courthouse will be closed. The police department has cancelled leave requests.
Officers will be required to work 12-hour shifts, the Louisville Courier-Journal reported, citing an internal memo.
Interim police chief Robert Schroeder told reporters on Tuesday that an announcement in the case was expected this week.
“In the community, we have all heard the rumours,” Chief Schroeder said. “We all know something is coming. We don’t know what it is.”
Governor Andy Beshear has said he is ready to deploy National Guard units in the event of violent protests.
What happened to Ms Taylor?
Shortly after midnight on Friday 13 March, she was in bed with her boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, watching a film when they heard a banging on the door.
Plainclothes Louisville police officers were carrying out a narcotics raid, and they used a battering ram to enter the property.
A judge had granted a warrant to search Ms Taylor’s home because investigators suspected a convicted drug dealer – her ex-boyfriend, Jamarcus Glover – was using the address to receive packages. She had no criminal record.
Mr Walker, a licensed gun owner, later told police he thought the late-night intruder was Glover, according to the New York Times.
Mr Walker fired one round with his pistol, hitting one of the officers in the thigh. The officers returned fire, discharging more than 20 rounds.
Ms Taylor, who had also got out of bed amid the commotion, died on the hallway floor. Her death certificate records five bullet wounds.
The Louisville police officers were executing a “no-knock” warrant that allowed them to enter the property without announcing themselves.
Mr Walker and nearly a dozen local residents told local media that the officers had not identified themselves. But one neighbour said he heard one or more officers shout: “Police.”
No drugs were found at the property, though Jefferson County prosecutor Thomas Wine has said the search was cancelled after the shooting.
What happened to the officers?
One of the three involved in Ms Taylor’s death – Brett Hankinson – was fired from the force in June after investigators found he had “wantonly and blindly fired 10 rounds” into the apartment, according to his termination letter.
The other two officers who discharged their weapons that night, Sgt Mattingly and Myles Cosgrove, have been reassigned to administrative duties.
The Courier-Journal has reported that six officers are under internal police review for their role in the shooting.
Sgt Mattingly wrote an email on Saturday to more than 1,000 colleagues encouraging them and criticising their city leaders and protesters.
“Regardless of the outcome today or Wednesday, I know we did the legal, moral and ethical thing that night,” he wrote in the message, which was published by media outlets on Tuesday.
“It’s sad how the good guys are demonised, and the criminals are canonised.”
“Your civil rights mean nothing,” he added, “but the criminal has total autonomy.”
What has happened since Ms Taylor’s death?
Glover, who was arrested on the same night of her death for drug possession, has said prosecutors pressed him to name her as a “co-defendant” in the case against him.
In May, Ms Taylor’s family filed a wrongful death lawsuit. It concluded in September with a $12m (£9.3m) pay out from the city.
The use of no-knock warrants has since been banned by Louisville’s city council.
In the wake of her death, demonstrators have chanted “say her name” to raise awareness of her death, in addition to police killings of other African Americans, like George Floyd.
Celebrities and athletes have joined calls for the policemen to be charged. A magazine founded by US talk show host Oprah Winfrey has funded billboards around Louisville calling for the officers to be arrested.
Ms Taylor’s case has been invoked in the presidential race ahead of the 3 November election. Democratic White House candidate Joe Biden has also called for the officers to be charged.
President Donald Trump, a Republican, has not referred directly to the case, but he has made a call for law and order a central plank of his re-election platform.
Joe Biden: Covid vaccination in US will not be mandatory
Mr Biden, and state governors who would be on the front lines of any such mandate, might prefer to target only certain segments of the population more at risk of contracting or spreading Covid-19. For instance, employers could be encouraged to require healthcare and nursing home workers to be immunised, and most children already must have up-to-date shot records before attending public or private schools.
India’s Ranjitsinh Disale wins 2020 Global Teacher Prize and splits it with runners-up
Ranjitsinh Disale, a teacher at Zilla Parishad Primary School, in the village of Paritewadi in the western Indian state of Maharashtra, was chosen as winner from more than 12,000 nominations and applications, from over 140 countries around the world.
The award recognized his efforts to promote girls’ education at the school, whose pupils are mostly from tribal communities.
The Global Teacher Prize said he learned the local language of the village in order to translate class textbooks into his pupils’ mother tongue.
He also created unique QR codes on the textbooks to give students access to audio poems, video lectures, stories and assignments, greatly improving school attendance. His QR technology is now being rolled out more widely across India.
Rather than keeping all his winnings, Disale told Fry in an interview that he would share the prize with the other nine finalists, giving them $55,000 each — the first time anyone has done so in the award’s six-year history.
He told Fry: “I believe that if I share this prize money with nine teachers it means I can scale up their work. Their incredible work is still worthy… If I share the prize money with the rest of the teachers they will get a chance to continue their work… and we can reach out and lighten the lives of as many students as we can.”
“Educating young children, especially from poor and needy backgrounds is perhaps the best way to help them as individuals, and actively contributes to creating a better world,” he said.
The award’s nine runners-up are teachers working in the United States, Britain, Vietnam, Nigeria, South Africa, Italy, South Korea, Malaysia and Brazil.
Pelosi eyes combining Covid aid with mammoth spending deal
Pelosi said the $908 billion proposal released this week by a centrist group of Senate and House members helped restart the stimulus talks, which fell apart just before the election after months of dragging on with little real movement.
“There is momentum — there is momentum with the action that the senators and House members in a bipartisan way have taken,” Pelosi said Friday, in the latest sign that negotiators are closing in on a deal. “The tone of our conversations is one that is indicative of the decision to get the job done.”
President-elect Joe Biden on Friday said he’s “encouraged” by the $908 billion proposal, framing it as the type of bipartisan work that he hopes to foster as president. He cautioned that “any package passed in the lame duck session is not going to be enough overall.”
But hurdles remain. Government funding runs out in just one week, and there are still a sizable number of issues impeding an agreement on a massive spending package that would increase agency budgets for the rest of the fiscal year.
The sheer number of outstanding items at such a late stage makes it increasingly likely that congressional negotiators will require a brief stopgap spending bill to complete their work before leaving for the holidays. Such a decision could be made early next week if lawmakers fail to make significant progress over the weekend.
Pelosi demurred when asked about the possibility of a short-term stopgap to buy more time for talks, and dismissed the need for a longer term continuing resolution that would extend current government funding into early next year.
“We will take the time that we need,” Pelosi said, while acknowledging that a number of issues remain, including some outside of appropriators’ jurisdiction.
“Don’t worry about a date,” she added.
While appropriators in both chambers remain optimistic that they’ll finish their work before the holidays, Republicans and Democrats are still swapping offers and arguing over details, kicking some of the most difficult items up to congressional leaders.
For example, a House Democratic aide close to the talks said Republicans want to scrub any mentions of Covid-19 from the omnibus package entirely. Earlier this year, House Democrats added coronavirus relief to their slate of fiscal 2021 appropriations bills, while Senate Republicans have insisted that pandemic aid remain totally separate from annual appropriations measures.
Republicans are also objecting to funding for research on reducing racial and ethnic inequalities in the justice system, in addition to language that would require the Capitol Police to report on policies and procedures on eliminating unconscious bias and racial profiling during training, the Democratic aide said.
Republicans, meanwhile, are accusing Democrats of holding up omnibus talks by insisting on the removal of two Interior-Environment policy riders that have been included in annual spending bills for years. The provisions involve protections for the greater sage-grouse, in addition to a provision related to the carbon neutrality of forest biomass.
“Dredging these up right now is beyond counterproductive,” a GOP aide familiar with the talks said Thursday night.
Funding for President Donald Trump’s border wall also remains a perennial sticking point — Senate Republicans have proposed $2 billion for fiscal 2021, which began on Oct. 1. House Democrats have proposed no extra cash.
Lawmakers have also disagreed on detention beds for detained migrants in recent days, although Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) — the top Senate Democrat who oversees funding for the Department of Homeland Security — said Thursday that issue may get solved without the help of leadership.
Also in question is whether the White House will ultimately support a package that classifies billions of dollars in veterans’ health care spending as “emergency” spending outside of strict budget limits. Both House Appropriations Chair Nita Lowey and Senate Appropriations Chair Richard Shelby are moving forward with their negotiations assuming that’s the case, since the White House has previously signed off on such an arrangement.
Pelosi on Friday also said that whatever coronavirus relief they include in the government funding bill will not be the last time Congress addresses the ongoing pandemic, which continues to devastate the U.S., killing more than 275,000 Americans and causing a sharp downturn in the economy. The U.S. saw the deadliest day ever on Thursday, with Covid-19 fatalities exceeding 2,700.
“President-elect Biden has said that this package would be, just at best, just a start. And that’s how we see it as well,” Pelosi said.
The speaker also defended her decision to hold out for months, demanding a larger deal in the ballpark of $2 trillion or more, only to agree to negotiate this smaller package now. McConnell, similarly, refused to come off his much smaller baseline over the summer — pushing a $500 billion package — resulting in a standoff between congressional leaders.
“That was not a mistake, it was a decision,” Pelosi told reporters, saying the dynamics have significantly shifted since the election of Biden and the quicker than expected vaccine development. “That is a total game changer — a new president and a vaccine.”
With cautious optimism about the prospect of passing some fiscal stimulus to buoy the American economy during a bleak pandemic winter, lawmakers remain hopeful that Congress will pull it together before leaving Washington, despite lingering omnibus headaches.
“You know this place — turns on a dime,” said Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.), who was elected by the Democratic caucus on Thursday as the next Appropriations chair.
Sarah Ferris contributed to this story.
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