THE MEIDAS MINUTE | WEEK IN REVIEW (4/19 - 4/23)
Written by Jacob Weaver & Patrick Hamilton (Meidas University)
Derek Chauvin Found Guilty on all Three Charges After nearly a year, the case of George Floyd’s wrongful death that inspired marches and protests all across the country finally came to conclusion as the jury returned on Tuesday with a unanimous decision: guilty on all three murder charges. Former Minneapolis police officer, Derek Chauvin, was finally held accountable after a recorded video surfaced from the May 2020 incident showing all 9 minutes and 27 seconds of his knee on Floyd’s neck. The guilty charges include second- and third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter. Chauvin and his legal team waived the option for jury sentencing, meaning the judge will be responsible for calculating the total time to be served at a later date.
Justice Department Investigating Minneapolis Police Department Attorney General Merrick Garland announced on Wednesday he will be investigating the Minneapolis Police Department to determine whether they have “engaged in a pattern or practice of unconstitutional or unlawful policing.” The Justice Department waited until Derek Chauvin’s muder trial concluded before making the announcement. The investigation is an example of the Biden administration's effort to return the Justice Department to the business of upholding justice and investigating civil rights violations. Formerly, the Trump administration aggressively resisted opening investigations into systemic police abuses. The announcement comes after Mr. Garland told the press he would be re-instituting the use of consent decrees, a practice that was discontinued by the Trump administration. Consent decrees are a powerful federal tool that allow an administration to bring accountability and policy change to police departments acting unlawfully. Mr. Garland’s investigation demonstrates the extraordinary difference voting in a new administration and new Congress can make.
Senate Passes Asian-American Hate Crimes Bill The Senate passed the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act on Thursday, a measure to address the sharp increase in anti-Asian hate crimes during the Coronavirus pandemic. The bill was introduced by Democratic Sen. Mazi Hirono, one of only two Asian-American Senators. The legislation creates a new position in the Department of Justice to review COVID-related hate crimes, expands public education campaigns on hate crimes and collection of data and reporting of hate crimes, and issues new guidelines for law enforcement to increase awareness, training, and public accountability for anti-Asian hate crimes. The legislation received overwhelming bipartisan support, 94 - 1, with only one objection and five absent members. The single objection came from Missouri Repbulican Josh Hawley, who also objected to President Biden’s electoral college certification and has voted against all the administration's executive nominees. Republican Senators Mike Lee, Rand Paul, and Marsha Blackburn were not present for the vote and have not yet offered an explanation for their absence. Democratic Senators Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith were unable to vote as they were attending the funeral of Daunte Wright, a twenty-year-old Black man, killed by Police less than ten miles from the court house where Derek Chauvin was on trial for the murder of another unarmed Black man. The bill is off to the House of Representatives where Speaker Pelosi has promised a quick passage.
Hope Remains for D.C. Statehood as House Passes Bill In a 216-208 vote, the bill for Washington D.C. statehood passed the House and will now make its way to the Senate floor. However, President Biden and fellow Democrats will likely have to find an additional ten votes to keep the legislation from being filibustered. Notably, D.C. has a population larger than over 75 of the current congressional districts. Despite Republican arguments, the country was founded on the belief of ‘No Taxation Without Representation’, meaning that all 700,000+ constituents in the District of Columbia go wrongfully unrepresented in Congress.
Biden Promises to Cut US Greenhouse Gas Emissions by 50% President Biden announced last month his administration would be hosting a two day Virtual Climate Summit April 22-23, aiming to restore America’s global credibility and commitment to combat the climate crisis. The virtual summit is addressing 40 world leaders regarding the United States returning to the Paris Climate Accord. President Biden is setting an ambitious goal to cut US greenhouse gas emissions by 50 percent before the end of the decade. The administration wants to re-energize the global commitment to fight the climate crisis by encouraging other countries to take more aggressive action, several countries have already pledged to make greater cuts to their emissions, including Canada, Japan, Britain, and the European Union.
Six Shootings this Week This week there have been six mass shootings across our nation. In Kenosha, Wisconsin, three people were injured and three were killed. In Shreveport, Louisiana, six people were injured, marking the town's third mass shooting this year. In Detroit, Michigan, 5 people were injured and one was killed. In Montgomery, Alabama, four people were injured and one was killed. Houston, Texas, four people were injured and 2 were killed. In Atlanta, Georgia, five people were injured.
Texas, Arizona Look to Follow Georgia in Keeping People from Voting After the state of Georgia made headlines for their inexplicable new anti-voter laws, Texas and Arizona are now set to follow in the same tracks despite the financial impact it could have one each state. Seeing their numbers dwindle and in fear of losing power permanently, Republicans have pushed all three states, and eventually many more, to install new voting regulations that will keep nearly all non-retired, full-time employees from voting. In Georgia, the bill included banning the handing out of water to voters in line. Many companies have already spoken out over these proposed new regulations in Texas, including the state’s own American Airlines. In Georgia, the Republican party lost the state hundreds of millions of dollars in potential revenue with the same policies when the MLB All-Star game was moved out of Atlanta. Additionally, a number of movies also moved filming from the state, including Will Smith’s new movie titled “Emancipation.” If you are a citizen of either state and enjoy your constitutional right to vote, contact the government officials in your area that need to be held responsible.