Chauvin murder trial enters fourth day following bodycam footage viewing
The Derek Chauvin murder trial enters its fourth day Thursday, a day after jurors watched four police body-cam videos. In the videos, George Floyd, a Black man, could be heard pleading for his life and saying “I can’t breathe.” The videos also revealed Chauvin defended his tactics after an ambulance left the scene, remarking to a bystander that Floyd was “a sizable guy” and “probably on something.” Jurors also heard from Cup Foods employee Christopher Martin, 19, who took the counterfeit $20 from Floyd — the incident that led to the call to police that brought Chauvin and the other officers to the scene. Martin said he “saw Derek with his knee on George’s neck on the ground” during his testimony. “If had just not taken the ($20) bill, this could have been avoided,” Martin added. Other witnesses Wednesday included:
- Cup Foods customer Christopher Belfrey, 45, said he was “startled” by what he saw and began recording on his phone.
- Charles McMillian, a 61-year-old man who lives near Cup Foods, broke down on the witness stand at one point as he recounted his memories.
- Minneapolis firefighter and trained EMT Genevieve Hansen, 27, returned to the stand, saying she thought Floyd “needed medical attention” and “officers didn’t let” her into the scene.
Chauvin has been charged with second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in the May 2020 death of Floyd.
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April Fools Day is here: Will other companies follow Volkswagen’s lead?
April Fools’ Day, the annual tradition every April 1 where people and brands become pranksters, returns Thursday. The origins of the day probably date back hundreds of years, author Alex Boese said last year. In the 21st century, corporations began using the day as an opportunity to make joke advertisements go viral, Boese added. Due to the severity of the coronavirus pandemic in 2020, some companies, including Google, reconsidered their gags. But if Volkswagen’s recent stunt is any indication, companies may be less shy with pranks in 2021. The automaker said Monday that it was changing its U.S. name to “Voltswagen” in a nod toward the company’s heightened commitment to electric vehicles. Major news outlets, including USA TODAY, reported on the decision. The company then admitted it was an April Fools’ joke. Volkswagen is not changing its name. A spokesman acknowledged the stunt upset some people in a statement Wednesday and apologized.
MLB opening day – a national holiday
The 2021 baseball season gets underway Thursday, with all 30 teams scheduled to start on the same day for the first time since 1968. The Los Angeles Dodgers won the World Series in 2020 after an abbreviated 60-game season, but the league is on track to play a full 162-game slate in 2021. Thursday’s matchups include the New York Yankees and Toronto Blue Jays in a battle of AL East contenders and the Washington Nationals facing the New York Mets with Cy Young winners Max Scherzer and Jacob deGrom set to pitch.
Millions in the US face severe weather
About 30 million people were in the risk areas for severe weather as of Wednesday, according to the National Weather Service’s Storm Prediction Center. Damaging winds and tornadoes were main threats from Mississippi and the Carolina, but heavy rain could also trigger additional flooding in Tennessee. The Weather Service also issued a flash flood watch for parts of Tennessee and surrounding states. In the eastern U.S., temperatures will be 15 to 25 degrees below average, the weather service said, and even colder wind chill values will enter the Southeast, Appalachians, and interior sections of the Northeast on Thursday. Freeze warnings and frost advisories are also in effect across portions of the Midwest and South for both Thursday and Friday mornings. And further north, in some parts of upstate New York, there could be as much as a foot of snow Thursday and into Friday.
Chuck Lorre’s controversial new sitcom set to debut
Writer/producer Chuck Lorre’s new CBS sitcom “The United States of Al,” which faced a backlash even before its first episode, premieres Thursday night (8:30 ET/7:30 CT). “Al” centers on the friendship between Riley (Parker Young), an ex-Marine trying to adjust to life outside the service, and his unit’s Afghan interpreter, Awalmir, aka Al (Adhir Kalyan). Earlier this month, many on social media took issue with the fact that Kalyan is not Afghan; others worried the show would whitewash and stereotype relations between U.S. military members and Afghans. Executive producer Reza Aslan urged critics to wait until they see the show before weighing in.