Committee to analyze reports of rare blood clots in some who received J&J vaccine
A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advisory committee will meet Wednesday to analyze reports of blood clots in a few individuals who received the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine, findings that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will also be monitoring. The health agencies released a statement Tuesday morning recommending a pause in use of the vaccine “out of an abundance of caution,” saying blood clots appear to be “extremely rare.” So far, the CDC and FDA are reviewing six reported U.S. cases out of nearly 7 million Johnson & Johnson vaccines administered in the U.S. All six were in women ages 18 to 48, and symptoms occurred six to 13 days after vaccination, according to the agencies. One woman died, and one was hospitalized in critical condition. Johnson & Johnson is also reviewing the cases with European health authorities and has decided to delay the rollout of its vaccine in Europe.
Prosecutors consider whether to charge Kim Potter, ex-officer who killed Daunte Wright
Prosecutors could decide as soon as Wednesday whether to charge Kim Potter, the white former police officer who fatally shot Daunte Wright during a traffic stop in a Minneapolis suburb Sunday. The death of the Wright – a 20-year-old Black man – has shaken Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, and sparked several nights of protests, raising tensions amid the nearby murder trial of Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer charged with killing George Floyd in May 2020. Potter, a 26-year veteran of the Brooklyn Center police force, submitted her letter of resignation Tuesday, Mayor Mike Elliott said in a news conference. He said the city did not ask her to resign but had been moving toward firing her. Police Chief Tim Gannon also resigned. Gannon said he believed Potter mistook her firearm for her Taser when she shot Wright. In an emotional news conference with attorney Ben Crump Tuesday, Wright’s family called for the officer to be held accountable.
Biden to announce plan to pull US military out of Afghanistan
President Joe Biden will on Wednesday announce his plans to move all U.S. military forces out of Afghanistan. All military presence will be pulled by Sept. 11 – the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks that spurred America’s longest war – and more than four months longer than the May 1 withdrawal date negotiated by former President Donald Trump. Biden sees “no military solution” for the problems in Afghanistan, a senior administration official said. The U.S. will instead focus efforts on putting the “full weight” of the U.S. government behind diplomatic efforts to reach a peace agreement between the Taliban and the Afghan government, said the official, who agreed to brief reporters on the plans Tuesday on the condition of anonymity. Biden’s withdrawal announcement will also detail “the way forward in Afghanistan,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said. The drawdown of the more than 3,000 U.S. troops who remain in Afghanistan will begin before May 1 in coordination with NATO allies. The Biden administration warned the Taliban that any attacks on the U.S. during the withdrawal will be met with a forceful response, the White House said.
Senate to vote on future of anti-Asian American hate bill
The Senate will vote on whether to open up debate on an anti-Asian American hate bill drafted by Democratic lawmakers Wednesday. The bill, named the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act, would expedite the Department of Justice’s review of hate crimes as the Asian American community has seen an uptick in incidents during the coronavirus pandemic. Specifically it would task the DOJ with coordinating with local law enforcement groups and community-based organizations to facilitate and raise awareness about hate crime reporting. However, Democrats may be facing an uphill battle, with 60 votes required to bring the bill to a full vote for passage in the Senate. Democrats hold a slim 50-seat majority, and might be facing a filibuster if not enough Republicans back the legislation.
Biden’s pick for DOJ civil rights chief will take part in confirmation hearing
Kristen Clarke, President Joe Biden’s nominee to be the Justice Department’s civil rights chief, faces a confirmation hearing Wednesday. If confirmed, Clarke would be the first Black woman to fill the post. She is expected to play a pivotal role in the Biden administration’s efforts to reinvigorate the Justice Department’s investigations of police departments, as well as the prosecution of hate crimes and enforcement of voting rights laws. Clarke, who is currently the president of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, has previously said that the Biden administration needs to undo “extensive damage” in enforcing civil rights laws.