America reacts to a jury finding Derek Chauvin found guilty of George Floyd’s murder
Americans reacted to the news of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin being found guilty of all charges in the murder of George Floyd Tuesday with levels of joy, determination and fatigue. A sense of relief mixed with jubilation was palpable among Floyd’s relatives Tuesday after the verdicts were read. The family thanked the legions of advocates and protesters who pursued justice since Floyd was killed in May 2020. The joy and happiness certainly won’t subside in one night, but many know the battle for equality still looms and those in that fight will likely get back to work Wednesday. Congressional Black Caucus Chair Joyce Beatty, D-Ohio, who was surrounded by members of her caucus, said she and her colleagues agreed with the verdict, “But we want our message to be very clear that this is just the first step.” Chauvin was convicted of second- and third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter, but he is expected to appeal the verdict.
More information expected in the Ohio police shooting of a 16-year-old girl
In an unprecedented move, police in Columbus, Ohio, showed some body camera footage of the shooting Tuesday of 16-year-old Ma’Khia Bryant, who was Black, as she appeared to attempt to stab two people with a knife. The shooting, which happened about 20 minutes before a guilty verdict was announced in the trial of Derek Chauvin for the murder of George Floyd, prompted hundreds to protest at the shooting site and outside Columbus police headquarters Tuesday night. Interim Columbus Police Chief Michael Woods said the investigation still needs to be completed to determine if the actions of the officers were justified. Woods added the department has to follow the Ohio law on public records before it can share the full video. That process should be completed and the video is expected to be released Wednesday. Officials will also release other details of the shooting and the officers involved, Woods said.
Senate to vote on anti-Asian hate crimes bill
The Senate is scheduled to vote on the COVID-19 Hates Crimes Act, which aims to combat hate crimes against Asian Americans and strengthen hate crime reporting. Last week, the Senate voted 92-6 to open debate on the bill, which was introduced by Sen. Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii. On Monday, Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-New York, noted that two bipartisan amendments were added that will “strengthen the bill.” The amendments Schumer alluded follow comments from Hirono last week saying that about 20 amendments had been filed at that point, with some from Republicans that “have absolutely nothing to do with the bill.”
About 135 million people in the US are breathing polluted air, new report says
More than four out of 10 Americans, or about 135 million people, live where the air is polluted, according to a report released Wednesday by the American Lung Association. The organization’s 22nd annual “State of the Air” report also found that people of color were more than 61% more likely to live in a county with unhealthy air than white people. More generally, the report’s findings show that climate change is contributing to the worsening air quality. This year’s report covers data from the years 2017-2019, so any pollution decreases in the past year stemming from COVID-19 lockdowns were not included.
Lyrid meteor shower streaks across the sky
The Lyrid meteor shower is coming to a sky near you the next few nights – and the peak will be in the predawn hours Thursday, Earth Day. A few shooting stars may be seen streaking across the sky early in the night, but like many meteor showers, the best time to watch the event will be during the second half of the night as the frequency of meteors slowly increases, AccuWeather said. The Lyrids have been observed for more than 2,700 years, making them one of the oldest known showers.