Some journalists covering protests over a police shooting in suburban Minneapolis say police have harassed them despite a federal order to leave them aloneByThe Associated PressApril 17, 2021, 5:16 PM• 3 min readShare to FacebookShare to TwitterEmail this articleBROOKLYN CENTER, Minn. — Some journalists covering protests over a police shooting in suburban Minneapolis say officers have harassed and assaulted them despite a federal order to leave them alone.U.S. District Judge Wilhelmina Wright issued a temporary restraining order Friday prohibiting police at the protests in Brooklyn Center from arresting journalists or using force against them, including flash-bang grenades, nonlethal projectiles, pepper spray and batons, unless they know the person committed a crime.The order also prohibits police from forcing reporters to disperse along with the rest of the crowd and from seizing their equipment.The protests began Sunday after Brooklyn Center Police Officer Kim Potter shot a 20-year-old Black man, Daunte Wright, during a traffic stop. The police chief said Potter, who is white, meant to use her stun gun but somehow drew her pistol instead. The chief and Potter resigned soon after, and Potter has been charged with second-degree manslaughter.Demonstrators have gathered outside the Brooklyn Center police station every night since the shooting, frequently throwing water bottles and other objects at police behind a protective fence. Officers have responded with tear gas, rubber bullets and other projectiles at times, and have usually marched in lines to clear the area after curfew or after some protesters approached or sought to damage the fence. Their tactics have drawn criticism from Brooklyn Center Mayor Mike Elliott, who is Black, and other elected officials around the Twin Cities.Several journalists posted photos and videos online from the protests Friday evening showing police detaining them while checking their credentials, and in at least one case spraying chemical irritant at two journalists. A freelance photographer tweeted that an officer pepper-sprayed him, punched him in the face and tore off his credentials before another officer smashed his head into the ground.“We are extremely troubled by how the media is being treated and have repeatedly shared those concerns with the authorities,” said Suki Dardarian, senior managing editor and vice president at the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.The freelance photographer didn’t immediately respond to a message from The Associated Press.Scott Wasserman, a spokesman for the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, said 136 people were arrested during Friday night’s protests. None were journalists, he said.He didn’t respond to a follow-up message asking if officers harassed or assaulted any reporters.———Find AP’s full coverage of the death of Daunte Wright at: https://apnews.com/hub/death-of-daunte-wright
With the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine still on pause in the U.S. after reports of a rare but severe blood clotting disorder in a small number of the roughly 7 million people who’ve received the shot, health experts now are focusing on what could be behind those uncommon adverse events.Doctors, scientists and public health experts are turning to Europe for clues, where a similar vaccine made by AstraZeneca — not yet authorized in the U.S. — also has been linked to a number of rare blood clots.”The AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are made in a similar way,” said Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease physician at Vanderbilt University with expertise in preventive medicine and health policy. “But the carriers are different kinds of adenoviruses … that’s part of the background information, why indeed there is a pause now.”Boxes of Johnson & Johnson’s coronavirus disease vaccine are seen at Northwell Health’s South Shore University Hospital in Bay Shore, N.Y., March 3, 2021.”It’s hard to say if it’s the same problem,” said Dr. Richard Kuhn, Ph.D., a virology expert at Purdue University, “but it does seem the vaccine triggers an antibody response that activates platelets, leading to clots.”While many experts have hesitated to say for sure if there is a link, Schaffner said there’s a growing consensus in the scientific community after none of these rare clots have been linked to the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, which use mRNA, a different technology.”I think we shouldn’t be coy about that any longer,” Schaffner said, adding that it may be time to “accept the fact that these are vaccine-induced but very rare events.”But experts cautioned that even if there is a link, current evidence suggests the risk of developing a blood clot after getting the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is exceedingly low — lower, in fact, than being struck by lightning.Responding to a report on one of the six clot cases published in the New England Journal of Medicine, Johnson & Johnson penned a response Friday, insisting a clear link has not yet been established.”At this time, evidence is insufficient to establish a causal relationship between these events and the [Johnson & Johnson] vaccine,” Janssen scientists said, adding that the vectors used in their vaccine and AstraZeneca’s are “substantially different” and that those differences could lead to “quite different biological effects.” The researchers added that “more evidence is needed” to further clarify the cause of this clotting, combined with low platelet count in those receiving the COVID-19 vaccine.Next week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s independent advisory committee will review all evidence and make a recommendation about whether to resume using J&J vaccines.A health worker prepares a dose of the AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine at a coronavirus vaccination center at the Fazl Mosque in southwest London on March 23, 2021.Different theoriesStill with more questions than answers, scientists are exploring different theories about why this type of shot — called a viral vector vaccine — might cause rare clotting problems.Vaccines work by prompting our immune systems to develop antibodies against a virus, and a prevailing theory is that viral vector vaccines somehow trigger an abnormal immune response, leading to the blood clots.Scientists in Germany identified a specific antibody in many people who developed clots after receiving the AstraZeneca vaccine — and U.S. researchers subsequently identified the same antibody in individuals who developed similar clots after getting a J&J vaccine. In these subjects, the body’s immune system has formed antibodies that attach to platelets, the specialized blood cells that join together to form clots.”It’s not the vaccine that’s causing it — it’s the body’s immune response to the vaccine,” said Dr. Alex Spyropoulos, a blood clot specialist and professor at the Feinstein Institutes for Medical Research.Experts say the condition, cerebral venous sinus thrombosis, or CVST, is exceedingly rare.The Food and Drug Administration and CDC said that in the six women who experienced a clot, the problem manifested six to 13 days after receiving the shot, a time frame that tracks with an immune response, Spyropoulos said.It’s still not clear why a vaccine would trigger this cascade of events, but researchers said it mimics another well-documented reaction to heparin, a common blood thinner. For this reason, the CDC and FDA have warned against using heparin to treat anyone recently vaccinated with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.Existing evidence from the United States and Europe hints that women may be at greater risk – perhaps in part because women are already more likely than men to develop CVST, based on previous data.”We have to be careful about the assumptions we make,” Spryopoulos cautioned, “especially given how infrequent these events have been.”It’s possible similar cases will develop in men, but if the CDC advisory panel concludes that the risk is higher in women, the FDA could move toward a black box warning — a label for drugs and medical devices with potentially serious side effects – on the Johnson & Johnson vaccine for certain women.Though the abrupt halt to an already authorized vaccine may instill concerns and foment hesitancy around the vaccine, experts said it’s a good sign drugs are being properly vetted for safety.”I really want to stress to the public that they need to remain confident in our concepts and the times regarding vaccines in general,” said Dr. Jason Goldman, an internal medicine doctor representing the American College of Physicians on the expert panel said, adding that members of the general public should “not to let this sour your decision on getting vaccinated in general.””We do have confidence in the process,” Goldman added. “And we will make the right decision regarding public safety.”Amanda Benarroch, M.D., a psychiatry resident at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, is a contributor to the ABC News Medical Unit. ABC News’ Sasha Pezenik and Sony Salzman contributed to this report.
When Kristi Escobar was offered an appointment to get the Johnson & Johnson vaccine last Monday, she wondered if she should wait for another option.J&J was the newest of the three vaccines available. And there had been a recent report of contamination issues at a supply plant in Baltimore that prevented the company from shipping doses using that facility.But Escobar, a 38-year-old teacher at a community college who had tested positive for COVID-19 in January, knew that aggressive new variants of the virus still posed a threat, and that health experts recommended that people with prior infections still get the vaccine.”I trusted in what they said as far as, ‘Take the vaccine you can get,'” she said.On Tuesday, the day following her shot, Escobar was stunned to learn that federal regulators had recommended a nationwide suspension of all J&J injections following reports of rare, but serious blood clots.The cases were extraordinarily rare — 6 out of nearly 7 million people who had gotten the vaccine suffered blood clots in the brain and low platelets. A person is twice as likely to get hit by lightning than to have such a serious a reaction to the J&J vaccine. What’s more is that blood clotting can be a serious complication of COVID-19 too, which has already killed more than 566,000 Americans.In fact, the complications were so limited that several governors and health experts heatedly criticized the decision to continue a “pause” in injections, arguing it could put even more lives at risk due to COVID.Still, the reports of complications felt personal to Escobar, and many other women who recently received J&J shots. Each of the six cases in the U.S. were women of childbearing age, between 18 and 48. One of the women, a 45-year-old, also from Virginia, died.Escobar said she immediately began to cry when she heard the news.”My fear is probably not rationale,” she said. “But I can’t help it. It’s just how I feel.”Escobar is now among the estimated 3 million Americans who got the J&J vaccine recently enough that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are urging them to be on the lookout for severe headaches, chest or leg pain or difficulty breathing.Timing of a person’s symptoms matter. Among the six cases under investigation, the symptoms emerged six to 18 days following the injection.People who got the J&J shot more than three weeks ago are not considered at risk, and experts say it’s normal to experience mild flu-like symptoms in the 24-48 hours following a vaccine. The rare blood clotting has not been associated with the Moderna or Pfizer vaccines.Angie Willson, a 45-year-old mom and nurse anesthetist in Detroit, said she relates to the anxiety. Willson had purposefully sought out the J&J vaccine, believing it was a “more traditional choice” among the COVID vaccines and driving an hour-and-a-half out of state to get it almost two weeks before the nationwide suspension.As a health care worker, Willson could have gotten vaccinated sooner, but didn’t pull the trigger until the recent surge in COVID-19 cases flooded her Michigan hospital with younger patients whose lungs were ravaged by the virus.Now, she said, her feelings are mixed.”I’m glad I’m building antibodies, but I’m sweating it. … It’s very emotional,” Willson said.With the nationwide suspension in place, regulators are now watching to see if more cases might emerge in the coming days that will help solve what has become a frustrating medical mystery: Is the J&J vaccine to blame for these very rare, but very serious blood clots? Are young, healthy women most at risk? Is this type of vaccine still safe for other people?One primary concern is how health care providers can treat any complications, even if they are rare. So far, officials say doctors should avoid heparin in these cases because the blood thinner appeared to make the complications worse.In a statement, J&J said it believes “in the positive benefit-risk profile of our vaccine.” But the company also agreed to delay its rollout of the vaccine in Europe and pause its clinical trials until more data comes in.”The safety and well-being of the people who use our products is our number one priority, and we strongly support awareness of the signs and symptoms of this extremely rare event to ensure the correct diagnosis, appropriate treatment and expedited reporting by health care professionals,” Paul Stoffels, a vice chairman and chief scientific officer at J&J, said in a statement.Top government officials insisted this week that they expected the matter to resolved in a matter of “days.” But answers don’t seem to be coming any time soon.An independent government advisory panel decided on Wednesday that it needs more data before it can recommend a next step. The panel’s next meeting is scheduled for April 23, and will be livestreamed to the public.”We want this to be a pause long enough to get the answer to come to a conclusion that is reasonably, scientifically based. But not long enough so that we can erode confidence in this vaccine,” said Dr. Jose Romero, who chairs the panel, which advises the CDC.In the meantime, Escobar said she is searching the internet several times a day in the hopes that there is an update. She also is marking the days on her calendar until she gets past the estimated 18 days after her shot when experts say her risk level of complications will drop.”I’ve calmed down since Tuesday, for sure,” she said. “But I am wishing these days go faster.”Willson estimates she only has a couple more days until she is in the clear.”So now I sit, and hope, and wait,” Willson said.
A flash flood watch is in effect Saturday from Louisiana to Alabama.April 17, 2021, 12:18 PM• 3 min readShare to FacebookShare to TwitterEmail this articleStrong storms are expected this weekend in the South, with flooding rain, large hail and gusty winds in the forecast from southern Texas to the Florida panhandle.A stationary front will stall along the South Saturday and over 6 million people will be impacted by strong thunderstorms.A flash flood watch is in effect through Saturday afternoon from Louisiana to Alabama.A stationary front will stall along the South Saturday and over 6 million people will be impacted by strong thunderstorms.After receiving up to 6 inches of rain from Friday’s storms, another 2-4 inches are possible Saturday in Mississippi. Higher amounts of rain are expected, locally, across parts of Louisiana, Alabama and Mississippi.A flash flood watch is in effect through Saturday afternoon from Louisiana to Alabama.Meanwhile in the Northeast, behind this spring Nor’easter, there is much cooler air. Temperatures in the 20s-40s across the Northeast Saturday morning.Meanwhile in the Northeast, behind this spring Nor’easter, there is much cooler air.High temperatures will be in the 50s/60s Saturday with a warmer trend Sunday through Tuesday.Watch for another frontal system to bring heavy rain, gusty winds and snow banding in the higher elevations by Wednesday.Friday’s spring snow brought over a foot of snow in the Northeast and central Rockies.Multiple rounds of heavy snow hit areas from Montana to Kansas Friday. Conditions dry out Saturday, with more snow expected early next week across the central Rockies.
Liberty University has filed a $10 million lawsuit against former president Jerry Falwell Jr., citing claims that he withheld damaging information from the university’s board of trustees, including concerns over his alleged excessive drinking, which Falwell’s wife is alleged to have privately discussed with select members of the university’s board of trustees.The lawsuit also alleges that Falwell negotiated a new contract for himself, with an increased severance provision, without disclosing to the board that he was the recipient of alleged extortion threats over the public exposure of his wife’s admitted affair, according to court documents.Falwell, who resigned last August in the aftermath of a sex scandal involving his wife Becki and a former Miami pool attendant, called the suit “another attempt to defame me and discredit my record” in a statement to ABC News. Giancarlo Granda, the one-time pool attendant, denied to ABC News in a previous interview that he had ever tried to extort the couple.”This lawsuit is full of lies and half truths, and I assure you that I will defend myself against it with conviction,” Falwell said. News of the lawsuit was first reported by the New York Times.Jerry Falwell Jr., right, answers a student’s question accompanied by his wife, Becki, during after a town hall on the opioid crisis at a convocation at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va., Nov. 28, 2018.Included in the suit are claims that Falwell smelled of alcohol during his work interactions.The lawsuit seeks $10 million in compensatory damages, claiming that Falwell’s actions injured the evangelical university’s enrollment and donor base.Meanwhile, in the months since Falwell’s departure from the school, relics from his 13-year tenure at the university have been slowly disappearing from the 7,000-acre campus in rural Lynchburg, Virginia, according to sources.For nearly a decade, a photo of a young Jerry Falwell Jr. standing next to his father, Jerry Falwell Sr., hung in the Presidential Suite of the university’s Williams Football Stadium. The picture captured a moment in 1974, when the father and son duo attended a football game, watching from the sidelines — but today, that photo is gone.And Becki Falwell, who last summer publicly admitted to the extramarital affair, is also quietly being erased. A life size photo of Liberty’s former first lady posing with the football team, which hung in an athletic operation center, has now been replaced — with Mrs. Falwell cropped out.Liberty University’s Williams Stadium is seen on July 19, 2019 in Lynchburg, Va.A source close to the Falwell family, speaking to ABC News, characterized the moves as “excessive and punitive.”The lawsuit brought by the school claims that Falwell’s actions “induced injury to Liberty’s enrollment, impacted its donor base, disrupted its faculty … and damaged Liberty’s reputation.”It was a risqué photo posted on social media last summer that led to Falwell’s temporary suspension from the presidency. That was followed by a tell-all interview from Granda, who said that, after meeting the Falwells at a Miami hotel, he’d had a yearslong sexual relationship with Becki Falwell and that her husband Jerry had watched them.A day after the interview went public, Falwell abruptly resigned from the university he led for 13 years following the death of his father, Jerry Falwell Sr., who had founded the school in 1971. The younger Falwell has repeatedly denied that he was involved in the affair, saying that Granda attempted to extort money from him by threatening to reveal his wife’s affair to the public. Becki Falwell publicly apologized for the affair and lamented that she wished “Christians, and people, would be as forgiving as Christ was.”But despite the Falwells’ pleas for forgiveness, recent interviews and new documents obtained by ABC News appear to indicate a concerted effort by Liberty University officials to sever all ties with the former evangelical power couple.In a letter sent from Liberty University’s outside counsel on April 8 and obtained by ABC News, the Falwells were advised that they did not have permission to enter any property owned or controlled by the university and were subject to arrest if they violated that order. Falwell’s parents are both buried on university property.Separately, in an email sent to university employees the following day from Acting President Jerry Prevo and university executives, employees were told that any communication with the Falwells was forbidden, unless the matter involved a health or safety emergency concerning their youngest daughter, who is still a junior at the university.Both documents cited the ongoing forensic investigation into the operations of the university under Falwell’s tenure as basis for their actions. The policies were implemented less than a month after Falwell posted a photo on social media of him attending a Liberty Flames lacrosse game with his wife and daughter.Students at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va., congregate while walking around on the campus, March 31, 2020.Regarding the removal of Falwell family photographs from the school’s facilities, Channa Lloyd, a personal injury and civil rights attorney for the Cochran Law Firm, told ABC News that, “In this case, the photos and mementos do not necessarily have any forensic or evidentiary value.””Instead,” said Lloyd, who has reviewed the university’s lawsuit, “it appears the school is simply taking them down to avoid any moral fallout or complications.””I have serious questions about why the LU Executive Committee has acted with haste and hostility towards me since last August despite the fact that I never violated any University rules that applied to staff,” Falwell said in a written statement provided to ABC. “The record, including the financial audit, will show that throughout my presidency I always acted with integrity, always in full compliance with University and SACS requirements, and always under the full oversight of the Executive Committee, including the real estate and construction transactions.”The Falwells’ eldest son, Jerry “Trey” Falwell III, who served as Vice President for University Operations for nearly a decade, was also fired this week, according to a source with direct knowledge of the incident.A separate source with direct knowledge said that Trey’s firing was “in part due to his association with his dad. It was hard to have him in a leadership position with everything going on with his father.”Falwell Jr. told ABC he does not understand why his son was fired.”To abruptly terminate an excellent employee with a young family because he carries the last name Falwell and without explanation is an egregious act by the Executive Committee that abandons the Christian principles upon which Liberty University was founded,” he said in a written statement. “You can’t preach about fulfilling the founder’s mission while treating the founder’s grandson with such unwarranted disregard.”In response to a request for comment from ABC News, a Liberty University spokesperson said, “The university’s only word on the subject is the lawsuit itself.”Editor’s note: This story has been updated with a correction to a quote by Jerry Falwell Jr.
There were zero protesters arrested the night before in Brooklyn Center. April 17, 2021, 11:01 AM• 6 min readShare to FacebookShare to TwitterEmail this articleNearly 100 people were arrested Friday night in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, following the protests of the death of Daunte Wright, according to local authorities.Following a relatively peaceful protest Thursday where there were zero arrests, officials were hoping for the same Friday. However, as crowds began trying to break into the fence surrounding the Brooklyn Center Police Department and throwing objects at law enforcement, dispersal orders were given and arrests were made.John Harrington, commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, said during a press conference around midnight Friday that a peaceful protest of about 250 people in the afternoon grew to about 500 people by the evening.Protesters gather in front of the Brooklyn Center Police Department, as protests continue after former police officer Kim Potter fatally shot Daunte Wright, in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, U.S. April 16, 2021. Picture taken April 16, 2021.By around 8 p.m., officials said they saw small groups of people start to bring plywood, shields, umbrellas and liquid bottles to the protest.Harrington said by 8:47 p.m., some in the crowd started shaking the fence and throwing glass bottles. Deputies and officers, due to the successful approach of not engaging with protesters Thursday, tried the same tactic Friday, but the “response was very different,” he said.People with masks and helmets started to arrive and then an exterior fence surrounding the police station was breached. Officials said they gave three dispersal orders to the crowd and then arrested those remaining or who had brought weapons to the area.Protesters gather in front of the Brooklyn Center Police Department, as protests continue after former police officer Kim Potter fatally shot Daunte Wright, in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, U.S. April 16, 2021. Picture taken April 16, 2021.”I’m saddened by what happened,” Hennepin County Sheriff David Hutchinson said during a press conference Friday night. “Trying to cut down the fence to get into a safe area, their intentions are to cause harm to either the building or the police officers and deputies inside the fence. We need to grieve; we don’t need to have more problems with destruction and deputies hurt, officers hurt.”Officials said while most protesters and community organizations did their part to help keep the peace Friday, more needs to be done so that small groups of people don’t ruin mostly peaceful protests.”This is a night that should have been about Daunte Wright; should have been folks there, recognizing his death and the tragedy that that is,” Harrington said. “Tearing down a fence, coming armed to a protest, is not, in my mind, befitting a peaceful protest.”Gabriel ‘Black’ Elk holds up a fist while protesters march near the Brooklyn Center Police Department, as protests continue after former police officer Kim Potter fatally shot Daunte Wright, in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, U.S. April 16, 2021. Picture taken April 16, 2021.Wright, a 20-year-old Black man, was fatally shot Sunday by a white Minnesota police officer during a traffic stop.Kim Potter, 48, and an officer she was training pulled Wright over for an expired registration tag on his car. The officers then determined Wright had an outstanding gross misdemeanor warrant, according to then-Brooklyn Center Police Chief Tim Gannon. As the officers tried to take Wright into custody, he got back into his car, police said. Potter then announced that she would use the Taser on Wright.Potter meant to deploy her Taser instead of her gun when she fatally shot Wright in his car, Gannon said. Two days after the incident, both she and Gannon resigned, and Potter has since been charged with second-degree manslaughter.Wright’s death has sparked days of protests around not just Minnesota but also across the U.S.Information about the exact number of those arrested Friday, and their charges, has not been released.
RIO DE JANEIRO — The global death toll from the coronavirus topped a staggering 3 million people Saturday amid repeated setbacks in the worldwide vaccination campaign and a deepening crisis in places such as Brazil, India and France.The number of lives lost, as compiled by Johns Hopkins University, is about equal to the population of Kyiv, Ukraine; Caracas, Venezuela; or metropolitan Lisbon, Portugal. It is bigger than Chicago (2.7 million) and equivalent to Philadelphia and Dallas combined.And the true number is believed to be significantly higher because of possible government concealment and the many cases overlooked in the early stages of the outbreak that began in Wuhan, China, at the end of 2019.When the world back in January passed the bleak threshold of 2 million deaths, immunization drives had just started in Europe and the United States. Today, they are underway in more than 190 countries, though progress in bringing the virus under control varies widely.While the campaigns in the U.S. and Britain have hit their stride and people and businesses there are beginning to contemplate life after the pandemic, other places, mostly poorer countries but some rich ones as well, are lagging behind in putting shots in arms and have imposed new lockdowns and other restrictions as virus cases soar.Worldwide, deaths are on the rise again, running at around 12,000 per day on average, and new cases are climbing too, eclipsing 700,000 a day.“This is not the situation we want to be in 16 months into a pandemic, where we have proven control measures,” said Maria Van Kerkhove, one of the World Health Organization’s leaders on COVID-19.In Brazil, where deaths are running at about 3,000 per day, accounting for one-quarter of the lives lost worldwide in recent weeks, the crisis has been likened to a “raging inferno” by one WHO official. A more contagious variant of the virus has been rampaging across the country.As cases surge, hospitals are running out of critical sedatives. As a result, there have been reports of some doctors diluting what supplies remain and even tying patients to their beds while breathing tubes are pushed down their throats.The slow vaccine rollout has crushed Brazilians’ pride in their own history of carrying out huge immunization campaigns that were the envy of the developing world.Taking cues from President Jair Bolsonaro, who has likened the virus to little more than a flu, his Health Ministry for months bet big on a single vaccine, ignoring other producers. When bottlenecks emerged, it was too late to get large quantities in time.Watching so many patients suffer and die alone at her Rio de Janeiro hospital impelled nurse Lidiane Melo to take desperate measures.In the early days of the pandemic, as sufferers were calling out for comfort that she was too busy to provide, Melo filled two rubber gloves with warm water, knotted them shut, and sandwiched them around a patient’s hand to simulate a loving touch.Some have christened the practice the “hand of God,” and it is now the searing image of a nation roiled by a medical emergency with no end in sight.“Patients can’t receive visitors. Sadly, there’s no way. So it’s a way to provide psychological support, to be there together with the patient holding their hand,” Melo said. She added: “And this year it’s worse, the seriousness of patients is 1,000 times greater.”This situation is similarly dire in India, where cases spiked in February after weeks of steady decline, taking authorities by surprise. In a surge driven by variants of the virus, India saw over 180,000 new infections in one 24-hour span during the past week, bringing the total number of cases to over 13.9 million.Problems that India had overcome last year are coming back to haunt health officials. Only 178 ventilators were free Wednesday afternoon in New Delhi, a city of 29 million, where 13,000 new infections were reported the previous day.The challenges facing India reverberate beyond its borders since the country is the biggest supplier of shots to COVAX, the U.N.-sponsored program to distribute vaccines to poorer parts of the world. Last month, India said it would suspend vaccine exports until the virus’s spread inside the country slows.The WHO recently described the supply situation as precarious. Up to 60 countries might not receive any more shots until June, by one estimate. To date, COVAX has delivered about 40 million doses to more than 100 countries, enough to cover barely 0.25% of the world’s population.Globally, about 87% of the 700 million doses dispensed have been given out in rich countries. While 1 in 4 people in wealthy nations have received a vaccine, in poor countries the figure is 1 in more than 500.In recent days, the U.S. and some European countries put the use of Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine on hold while authorities investigate extremely rare but dangerous blood clots. AstraZeneca’s vaccine has likewise been hit with delays and restrictions because of a clotting scare.Another concern: Poorer countries are relying on vaccines made by China and Russia, which some scientists believe provide less protection that those by Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca.Last week, the director of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention acknowledged the country’s vaccines offer low protection and said officials are considering mixing them with other shots to improve their effectiveness.In the U.S., where over 560,000 lives have been lost, accounting for more than 1 in 6 of the world’s COVID-19 deaths, hospitalizations and deaths have dropped, businesses are reopening, and life is beginning to return to something approaching normalcy in several states. The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits tumbled last week to 576,000, a post-COVID-19 low.But progress has been patchy, and new hot spots — most notably Michigan — have flared up in recent weeks. Still, deaths in the U.S. are down to about 700 per day on average, plummeting from a mid-January peak of about 3,400.In Europe, countries are feeling the brunt of a more contagious variant that first ravaged Britain and has pushed the continent’s COVID-19-related death toll beyond 1 million.Close to 6,000 gravely ill patients are being treated in French critical care units, numbers not seen since the first wave a year ago.Dr. Marc Leone, head of intensive care at the North Hospital in Marseille, said exhausted front-line staff members who were feted as heroes at the start of the pandemic now feel alone and are clinging to hope that renewed school closings and other restrictions will help curb the virus in the coming weeks.“There’s exhaustion, more bad tempers. You have to tread carefully because there are a lot of conflicts,” he said. “We’ll give everything we have to get through these 15 days as best we can.”———Goodman reported from Miami and Cheng reported from London. AP Writers John Leicester in Paris and Aniruddha Ghosal in New Delhi contributed to this report.
CHICAGO — Newly released video that shows a Chicago police officer fatally shoot a 13-year-old will be key evidence when prosecutors consider a case against the officer and are confronted with both the emotions surrounding the chilling footage and legal precedent that makes it difficult to bring charges against law enforcement.Video of last month’s encounter was released Thursday and provoked an outpouring of grief and outrage. It shows Officer Eric Stillman shooting Adam Toledo less than a second after the boy drops a handgun, turns toward Stillman and begins raising his hands.Some viewers have called for Stillman to be charged or fired. But for others, the video shows how difficult such decisions might be for prosecutors and police higher-ups, with an officer making a quick decision to shoot after chasing a suspect down a dark alley while responding to a report about gunshots.Whether Stillman is charged will be up to the Cook County state’s attorney’s office, which will get the Civilian Office of Police Accountability’s report after the independent board completes its investigation.Several legal experts said Friday that they don’t think Stillman could be charged under criteria established by a landmark 1989 Supreme Court ruling on the use of force by police, though another said prosecutors might see enough evidence to justify an involuntary manslaughter charge and let a jury decide guilt or innocence.The killing of Toledo, who was Latino, by Stillman, who is white, adds to already-heightened tension over policing in Chicago and elsewhere in the U.S., particularly in Black and Latino communities. The videos and other investigative materials were released against the backdrop of the trial in Minneapolis of former Officer Derek Chauvin in the death of George Floyd and the recent police killing of another Black man, Daunte Wright, in one of that city’s suburbs.Around a thousand people gathered Friday evening in a park on Chicago’s northwest side, some holding signs that read, “stop killing kids” and “CPD can’t be re-formed.” A brass band played music as the crowd chanted, “no justice, no peace”.Dulce Rodriguez, 34, held a sign that read, “We are Adam Toledo”. Her 5-year-old daughter, Vida waved a large Mexican flag.“That could’ve been anybody’s kid,” said Rodriquez, who lost a cousin to gun violence last June. She said police entice gun violence in under-resourced neighborhoods like where she lives.“We do better when they’re not there,” she said.Although Mayor Lori Lightfoot implored the public to keep the peace and allow the police review board to complete its investigation, some had already made up their minds about what happened to Toledo, whose mother described him as a curious and goofy seventh grader who loved animals, riding his bike and junk food.Speaking Friday on the floor of the Illinois House, state Rep. Edgar Gonzalez, who lives four blocks from where Toledo died, called the killing a “murder” and expressed frustration at what he described as a too-familiar pattern of police abuse.“So if you put your hands up, they shoot. If you put your hands down, they shoot. If you walk, you run, you hide, you sleep, you do exactly as they say, they still shoot,” Gonzalez said. “So I ask the members of this chamber, what are we supposed to do?”When asked about the video Friday, White House press secretary Jen Psaki called it “chilling” and a reminder that across the country, “law enforcement uses unnecessary force too often, resulting in the death of Black and brown Americans.” She said she didn’t know if President Joe Biden had watched it.Stillman was responding with other officers to reports of shots fired in Little Village, a predominantly Hispanic, working class neighborhood of the city’s southwest side, at around 3 a.m. on March 29. Nineteen seconds elapsed from when Stillman got out of his squad car to when he shot Toledo. His jumpy, nighttime bodycam footage shows him chasing Toledo on foot down an alley for several seconds and yelling “Police! Stop! Stop right (expletive) now!”As the teen slows down, Stillman yells “Hands! Hands! Show me your (expletive) hands!”Toledo then turns toward the camera, Stillman yells “Drop it!” and midway through repeating that command, he opens fire and Toledo falls down. While approaching the wounded boy, Stillman radios in for an ambulance. He can be heard imploring Toledo to “stay awake,” and as other officers arrive, an officer says he can’t feel a heartbeat and begins administering CPR.Other video footage released Thursday shows that Toledo had a gun in his right hand just before he was shot, and Stillman’s bodycam footage shows him shining a light on a handgun on the ground near Toledo after he shot him.In its 1989 ruling, the Supreme Court said officers’ use of force may be legal if they truly believed their lives were at risk in the moment — even though, in hindsight, it becomes clear they weren’t actually in danger.The legality of a deadly shooting, the high court said, “must be judged from the perspective of a reasonable officer on the scene, rather than with the 20/20 vision of hindsight.” Similar wording is incorporated into Illinois law and the Chicago Police Department’s use-of-force guidelines.Stillman knew Toledo had a gun within a second or two of shooting him, and the officer knew shots had been fired in the area minutes earlier, said Phil Turner, a former federal prosecutor in Chicago.“I don’t think there is any question that any other reasonable officer would have acted in the same way that officer acted,” Turner said. “It was such a split-second decision. I don’t think the officer will be charged.”Stillman’s attorney, Tim Grace, said the officer “was faced with a life-threatening and deadly force situation” and that “all prior attempts to deescalate and gain compliance with all of the officer’s lawful orders had failed.”But Adeena Weiss-Ortiz, an attorney for Toledo’s family, told reporters it’s irrelevant whether Toledo was holding a gun before he turned toward the officer.“If he had a gun, he tossed it,” she said. “The officer said, ‘Show me your hands.’ He complied. He turned around.”Stillman, who served in Afghanistan with the Marines and is a staff sergeant in the Selected Marine Corps Reserve, joined the police department in 2015, according to an incident report from the shooting.During his six years with the department, Stillman has been named in at least four use-of-force reports, according to data collected by the Invisible Institute, a Chicago-based group that tracks police misconduct. In each report, the subjects were listed as Black men in their late 20s or older. The reports include a takedown/emergency handcuffing in 2017, and wristlocks, takedowns/emergency handcuffings and strikes with an open hand in 2018 and 2019.Alison Flowers, who heads the institute’s investigations, called the number of reports “concerning,” adding, “Usually, we see that level of activity more over the course of a long career, not in a matter of just six years.”In addition to posting Stillman’s bodycam footage, the review board released footage from other bodycams, four third-party videos, two audio recordings of 911 calls, and six audio recordings from ShotSpotter, the technology that led police to respond to the sound of gunshots that morning.Toledo and a 21-year-old man fled on foot when confronted by police. The man, Ruben Roman, was arrested on a misdemeanor charge of resisting arrest but was later charged with felonies including the reckless discharge of a firearm, illegal use of a weapon by a felon and child endangerment. He was ordered held on $150,000 bond.Right after the shooting, people in the community started calling on the review board to release any bodycam footage of it. The Chicago Police Department has a long history of brutality and racism that has fomented mistrust among the city’s many Black and Latino residents. And the city has a history of suppressing damning police videos, including its efforts to prevent the release of footage of the 2014 killing of Laquan McDonald by a white officer who was eventually convicted of murder.———Associated Press writers John O’Connor in Springfield, Illinois, Don Babwin, Kathleen Foody and Sophia Tareen in Chicago, and Corey Williams in West Bloomfield, Michigan, contributed to this report.