Bay Area United Against War Newsletter, May 1, 2021


A Tribute to the Life, Activism, and Legacy of Ernie Tate

May 30, 2021, 2:00-4:00 PM (EDT)

About this Event

We warmly welcome you to join us for a tribute to the life, activism and legacy of Ernie Tate (1934-2021).

Ernie Tate believed capitalism is a cruel and unjust system that has to be changed. Ernie was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland in 1934 and emigrated to Canada in 1955. As a Marxist, union activist and revolutionary, Ernie spent his life working to achieve that in organizing against the war in Vietnam, in union struggles at Toronto Hydro, for protecting universal healthcare and living wages, and much else. Ernie, along with Tariq Ali, was a leading organizer of the Vietnam Solidarity Campaign in Britain, worked for Bertrand Russell’s International War Crimes Tribunal and was a founding member of the International Marxist Group in Britain. In 2014, Ernie published a memoir of his life on the far left in Canada and Great Britain called Revolutionary Activism in the 1950s and 1960s. This two-volume memoir is an important resource for anyone interested in a gritty account of mid-20th century revolutionary movements. It has been a source of information for the 2020-2021 Undercover Policing Inquiry hearings, taking place in England, in which the illegal and immoral activities of police agents in infiltrating the left have been laid bare.

Ernie died on February 5th this year. Please join us to reflect upon and celebrate Ernie’s life, activism and legacy with many of his comrades and friends from around the world, including: Tariq Ali and Phil Hearse (England), Riche Venton (Scotland), Barry Sheppard and Suzanne Weiss (USA), Pam Frache, Judy Rebick, Caroline Egan, Sam Gindin, Bryan Palmer, Rob Fairley, and John Riddell (Canada), and Patrick Bond (South Africa).

The event will be online, on ZOOM. Please register for your free ticket on Eventbrite. A link to the ZOOM room will be sent to you.


Hosted by Socialist Project, Centre for Social Justice, Spring, Resistance, Green Left Weekly, Socialist Viewpoint





Update: Mumia Abu-Jamal is Recovering from Heart Surgery!

Mumia's wife, Wadiya, has spoken to Mumia and reports that he sounded strong. He still needs to be free to get the medical care he needs for his weakened physical condition and, because he's innocent! 



Demand Mumia's Freedom:

Governor Tom Wolf -1(717) 787-2500  Fax 1 (717) 772-8284
Office of the Governor
508 Main Capitol Building
HarrisburgPA  17120    
After calling the governor, send an online communication about our concerns.   https://www.governor.pa.gov/contact/#PhoneNumber
Let us know what there response was, Thank you.  Mobilization4Mumia@gmail.com


Questions and comments may be sent to: info@freedomarchives.org






Jeff Bezos has at least $131 Billion!



The Washington State Supreme Court just ruled to allow the right-wing Recall Campaign against Councilmember Kshama Sawant to move forward.


In response, Councilmember Sawant said “This ruling is completely unjust, but we are not surprised. Working people and oppressed communities cannot rely on the capitalist courts for justice anymore than they can on the police.”


“Last summer, all across the country, ordinary people who peacefully protested in multi-racial solidarity against racism and police brutality themselves faced brutal police violence. The police and the political establishment have yet to be held accountable, while in stark contrast, more than 14,000 protestors were arrested.”


“In October, the Washington State Supreme Court unanimously threw out the grassroots recall campaign launched in response to Amazon-backed Mayor Jenny Durkan’s overseeing a violent police crackdown against Seattle protests. Now, this same Supreme Court has unanimously approved the recall against an elected socialist, working-class representative who has unambiguously stood with the Black Lives Matter movement.”


“The recall law in Washington State is inherently undemocratic and well-suited for politicized use against working people’s representatives, because there is no requirement that the charges even be proven true. In effect, the courts have enormous leeway to use recall elections as a mechanism to defend the ruling class and capitalist system. It is no accident that Seattle’s last elected socialist, Anna Louise Strong, was driven out of office by a recall campaign for her links to the labor movement and opposition to World War I.”


The recall effort against Councilmember Sawant explicitly cited her role in Black Lives Matter protests and the Amazon Tax campaign in their articles of recall. In 2019, Kshama was elected for the third time despite a record-breaking influx of corporate money in Seattle elections, including $1.5 million in corporate PAC spending from Amazon, as well as donations from top Amazon executives and numerous wealthy Republican donors directly to Kshama’s opponent. 


The Recall Campaign is backed by a host of corporate executives and developers, including billionaire landlord and Trump donor Martin Selig; Jeannie Nordstrom of the billionaire union-busting, retail giant Nordstrom dynasty; Airbnb Chief Financial Officer and former Amazon Vice President Dave Stephenson; Merrill Lynch Senior Vice President Matt Westphal; wealthy Trump donors like Dennis Weibling, Vidur Luthra and Greg Eneil; and plethora of major real-estate players, such as John Stephanus, whose asset management company, Epic, has ranked amongst Seattle’s top 10 landlords for evictions.


Now, because of the Supreme Court’s ruling, the Recall Campaign is able to begin collecting signatures to get a recall election on an upcoming ballot. With the financial backing of the corporate elite, we know the Recall Campaign will have unlimited resources to collect their signatures.


That’s why we need your support to massively expand our Decline-to-Sign campaign and defeat this attack on all working people. The Recall Campaign has already raised $300,000. Can you make a contribution to the Kshama Solidarity Campaign today so that we have the necessary resources to fight back?


In solidarity,

Hannah Swoboda

Fundraising Director

Kshama Solidarity Campaign


Copyright © 2021 Kshama Solidarity Campaign, All rights reserved

PLEDGE: Stand with Kshama Sawant Against the Right-Wing Recall! 

The right wing and big business are going after Councilmember Sawant because she’s been such a powerful voice for working people – for leading the way on the Amazon Tax, on the $15 minimum wage, and for her role in the Black Lives Matter movement. 

Amazon spent millions trying to unseat Kshama last year and failed. Now the Recall Campaign is raising money from corporate executives and rich Republicans to try to overturn that election and all our victories. Their campaign is saying Kshama’s support for Black Lives Matter was promoting “lawlessness” – this is a racist attack on the movement. The right wing will be collecting signatures to get the recall on the ballot; we’re building a Decline-to-Sign movement to keep our voice on the City Council and win COVID relief for working people.

Sign the pledge at:



Paid for by Kshama Solidarity Campaign

PO Box 20611, Seattle, WA 98102



  9 minutes 29 seconds

I've been hearing over and over again on the news—on TV and in print—the figure of "almost eight minutes." Even in Charles M. Blow's Opinion Piece this morning in the New York Times, "On Hallowed Ground," he reported "almost nine minutes" that Derik Chauvin kneeled on George Floyd's neck. But that was not true. It was nine minutes and twenty-nine seconds—not until the paramedics brought the gurney beside George's body did Chauvin finally get up. All the while the other cops stood by and threatened bystanders, including a first responder, to keep away from Chauvin—to let him continue to murder George Floyd. 

I wrote a comment to Blow's column this morning as follows:

"CORRECTION: It wasn't "nearly nine minutes." It was nine minutes and twenty-nine seconds! Let that sink in! Nine minutes and twenty-nine seconds. Not until the paramedics arrived, felt for George Floyd's non-existent pulse at his neck, Chauvin still kneeling on his neck, that finally, with the gurney beside his body, did Chauvin finally get up. By then George was dead. Chauvin made sure of that, and the other cops stood by and did NOTHING except threaten the people standing by in horror." —Bonnie Weinstein




This beautiful and powerful exhibit is ongoing 

and can be viewed online at:



Pass COVID Protection and Debt Relief


Stop the Eviction Cliff! 

Forgive Rent and Mortgage Debt!

Sign the Petition:




Millions of Californians have been prevented from working and will not have the income to pay back rent or mortgage debts owed from this pandemic. For renters, on Feb 1st, landlords will be able to start evicting and a month later, they will be able to sue for unpaid rent. Urge your legislator and Gov Newsom to stop all evictions and forgive COVID debts!


The COVID-19 pandemic continues to rock our state, with over 500 people dying from this terrible disease every day. The pandemic is not only ravaging the health of poor, black and brown communities the hardest - it is also disrupting our ability to make ends meet and stay in our homes. Shockingly, homelessness is set to double in California by 2023 due the economic crisis unleashed by COVID-19. [1]


Housing is healthcare: Without shelter, our very lives are on the line. Until enough of us have been vaccinated, our best weapon against this virus will remain our ability to stay at home.


Will you join me by urging your state senator, assembly member and Governor Gavin Newsom to pass both prevent evictions AND forgive rent debt?


This click-to-call tool makes it simple and easy.




Renters and small landlords know that much more needs to be done to prevent this pandemic from becoming a catastrophic eviction crisis. So far, our elected officials at the state and local level have put together a patchwork of protections that have stopped a bad crisis from getting much worse. But many of these protections expire soon, putting millions of people in danger. We face a tidal wave of evictions unless we act before the end of January.


We can take action to keep families in their homes while guaranteeing relief for small landlords by supporting an extension of eviction protections (AB 15) and providing rent debt relief paired with assistance for struggling landlords (AB 16). Assembly Member David Chiu of San Francisco is leading the charge with these bills as vehicles to get the job done.  Again, the needed elements are:  


Improve and extend existing protections so that tenants who can’t pay the rent due to COVID-19 do not face eviction


Provide rent forgiveness to lay the groundwork for a just recovery


Help struggling small and non-profit landlords with financial support


Ten months since the country was plunged into its first lockdown, tenants still can’t pay their rent and debt is piling up. This is hurting tenants and small landlords alike. We need a holistic approach that protects Californians in the short-run while forgiving unsustainable debts over the long term. That’s why we’re joining the Housing Now! coalition and Tenants Together on a statewide phone zap to tell our elected leaders to act now.


Will you join me by urging your state senator, assembly member and Governor Gavin Newsom to pass both prevent evictions AND forgive rent debt?


Time is running out. California’s statewide protections will start expiring by the end of this month. Millions face eviction. We have to pass AB 15 before the end of January. And we will not solve the long-term repercussions on the economic health of our communities without passing AB 16.




Let’s do our part in turning the corner on this pandemic. Our fight now will help protect millions of people in California. And when we fight, we win!


In solidarity,


Sasha Graham

[1] https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2021-01-12/new-report-foresees-tens-of-thousands-losing-homes-by-2023

ACCE Action




Tell the New U.S. Administration - End 

Economic Sanctions in the Face of the Global

 COVID-19 Pandemic

Take action and sign the petition - click here!



To: President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris and all Members of the U.S. Congress:  


We write to you because we are deeply concerned about the impact of U.S. sanctions on many countries that are suffering the dire consequences of COVID-19.


The global COVID-19 pandemic and global economic crash challenge all humanity. Scientific and technological cooperation and global solidarity are desperate needs. Instead, the Trump Administration escalated economic warfare (“sanctions”) against many countries around the globe.


We ask you to begin a new era in U.S. relations with the world by lifting all U.S. economic sanctions.


U.S. economic sanctions impact one-third of the world’s population in 39 countries.


These sanctions block shipments and purchases of essential medicines, testing equipment, PPE, vaccines and even basic food.  Sanctions also cause chronic shortages of basic necessities, economic dislocation, chaotic hyperinflation, artificial famines, disease, and poverty, leading to tens of thousands of deaths. It is always the poorest and the weakest – infants, children, the chronically ill and the elderly – who suffer the worst impact of sanctions.  


Sanctions are illegal. They are a violation of international law and the United Nations Charter. They are a crime against humanity used, like military intervention, to topple popular governments and movements.


The United States uses its military and economic dominance to pressure governments, institutions and corporations to end all normal trade relations with targeted nations, lest they risk asset seizures and even military action.


The first step toward change must be an end to the U.S.’ policies of economic war. We urge you to end these illegal sanctions on all countries immediately and to reset the U.S.’ relations with the world.

Add your name - Click here to sign the petition:




A Plea for the Compassionate Release of 

Leonard Peltier

Video at:


Screen shot from video.




Resources for Resisting Federal Repression

Since June of 2020, activists have been subjected to an increasingly aggressive crackdown on protests by federal law enforcement. The federal response to the movement for Black Lives has included federal criminal charges for activists, door knocks by federal law enforcement agents, and increased use of federal troops to violently police protests. 

The NLG National Office is releasing this resource page for activists who are resisting federal repression. It includes a link to our emergency hotline numbers, as well as our library of Know-Your-Rights materials, our recent federal repression webinar, and a list of some of our recommended resources for activists. We will continue to update this page. 

Please visit the NLG Mass Defense Program page for general protest-related legal support hotlines run by NLG chapters.

Emergency Hotlines

If you are contacted by federal law enforcement you should exercise all of your rights. It is always advisable to speak to an attorney before responding to federal authorities. 

State and Local Hotlines

If you have been contacted by the FBI or other federal law enforcement, in one of the following areas, you may be able to get help or information from one of these local NLG hotlines for: 

National Hotline

If you are located in an area with no hotline, you can call the following number:

Know Your Rights Materials

The NLG maintains a library of basic Know-Your-Rights guides. 

WEBINAR: Federal Repression of Activists & Their Lawyers: Legal & Ethical Strategies to Defend Our Movements: presented by NLG-NYC and NLG National Office

We also recommend the following resources: 

Center for Constitutional Rights

Civil Liberties Defense Center

Grand Jury Resistance Project

Katya Komisaruk

Movement for Black Lives Legal Resources

Tilted Scales Collective






1) California Man Dies After Officers Pin Him to Ground for 5 Minutes

The death of Mario Arenales Gonzalez came one day before a former Minneapolis officer was convicted of murdering George Floyd. Body camera footage was released on Tuesday.

By Will Wright, Published April 27, 2021 Updated April 28, 2021


A screenshot from body camera footage of Mario Arenales Gonzalez, who died in police custody in Alameda, Calif., last week.

A screenshot from body camera footage of Mario Arenales Gonzalez, who died in police custody in Alameda, Calif., last week. Credit...Alameda Police Department

Body camera footage was released on Tuesday of a 26-year-old man who died in police custody after officers in Alameda County, Calif., pinned him facedown on the ground for five minutes.


The footage from the Alameda Police Department shows the man, Mario Arenales Gonzalez, becoming unresponsive while in handcuffs and police officers quickly beginning chest compressions.


Mr. Gonzalez died on April 19, one day before Derek Chauvin, a former Minneapolis police officer, was convicted of murdering George Floyd by restraining him for nine minutes and 29 seconds, holding him to the pavement with his knee long after Mr. Floyd had become unresponsive.


An initial police report from Alameda, south of Oakland, said that “a physical altercation ensued” when officers tried to detain Mr. Gonzalez and that “at that time, the man had a medical emergency.” The report said Mr. Gonzalez had died in a hospital later that day.


Julia Sherwin, a lawyer representing Mr. Gonzalez’s family, called the explanation “misinformation,” comparing it to the initial police report after Mr. Floyd’s death. Mr. Gonzalez’s family was also concerned with why the police used force in the first place, Ms. Sherwin said.


“His death was completely avoidable and unnecessary,” she said, adding, “Drunk guy in a park doesn’t equal a capital sentence.”


At a news conference on Tuesday, Gerardo Gonzalez said his brother had not been posing any threat when he died.


“Alameda police officers murdered my brother,” he said.


Three police officers have been placed on administrative leave, and the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office and the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office are both conducting independent investigations. The city of Alameda has also hired Louise Renne, the former city attorney for San Francisco and a former president of the San Francisco Police Commission, to conduct its own investigation.


In addition to the body camera footage, the city released two audio recordings from people who had called 911 to report a Hispanic man later identified as Mr. Gonzalez.


One man says Mr. Gonzalez has been loitering for about a half-hour and appears to be breaking store security tags off alcohol bottles. Another man says Mr. Gonzalez is talking to himself at a fence near the caller’s backyard. “He seems like he’s tweaking, but he’s not doing anything wrong,” he says. “He’s just scaring my wife.”


In the body camera footage, the first officer at the scene asks on his radio whether a nearby store has reported any recent thefts, describing Mr. Gonzalez, who has two Walgreens shopping baskets.


The officer, who identifies himself as Officer McKinley, then continues to speak with Mr. Gonzalez, asking whether he knows Alameda and whether he is thinking of hurting himself or others. Mr. Gonzalez struggles to maintain the conversation or provide his name.


Another officer arrives about seven minutes after the first officer.


“Here’s the plan,” the first officer says. “I’ve got to identify you, so I know who I’m talking to — make sure you don’t have any warrants or anything like that. You come up with a plan, let me know you’re not going to be drinking in our parks over here. And then we can be on our merry way.”


“Merry-go-round?” Mr. Gonzalez replies.


The two officers then ask Mr. Gonzalez for identification and tell him to keep his hands out of his pockets before they begin trying to detain him.


“Can you please put your hand behind your back and stop resisting us?” the second officer says after several minutes.


The officers eventually push Mr. Gonzalez to the ground facedown and handcuff him. “What are we going to do?” the first officer asks. “Just keep him pinned down?”


“It’s OK, Mario,” the officer later says. “We’re going to take care of you.”


The first officer asks for Mr. Gonzalez’s last name and his birthday and tells him to keep talking. He answers in whimpered bursts and later begins grunting. At one point, he seems to say, “Please don’t do it.”


After about four and a half minutes of body camera footage showing Mr. Gonzalez pinned to the ground, a third officer is seen on his legs. When one officer asks if they should roll him on his side, another replies, “I don’t want to lose what I got.”


“We have no weight on his chest, nothing,” the second officer observes, pointing to Mr. Gonzalez’s back. As the first officer tries to adjust his position, the second says: “No, no, no. No weight, no weight, no weight.”


Seconds later, the officers notice that Mr. Gonzalez has become unresponsive. They roll him onto his side and then push him onto his back and begin chest compressions after checking for a pulse.


After emergency medical workers respond, the first officer explains that they administered Narcan, which can reverse overdoses. “He went from combative to nonresponsive almost immediately,” he says.


Several experts testified during Mr. Chauvin’s trial that the prone position was dangerous because it could impair breathing and that officers should put people they are detaining onto their sides as quickly as possible.


The three officers put on leave were Eric McKinley, Cameron Leahy and James Fisher, a city spokeswoman said on Tuesday. When asked for more details about the death of Mr. Gonzalez, she pointed to the Police Department’s previous news releases about the encounter.



2) Private Autopsy Shows Deputies Shot Andrew Brown Jr. 5 Times

The fatal shot was to the back of the head, lawyers for Mr. Brown’s family said. Cries are growing for the authorities in Elizabeth City, N.C., to release body camera footage.

By Richard Fausset, Published April 27, 2021, Updated April 28, 2021


Demonstrators gathered in support of Mr. Brown in Elizabeth City on Monday.

Demonstrators gathered in support of Mr. Brown in Elizabeth City on Monday.Credit...Carlos Bernate for The New York Times

ELIZABETH CITY, N.C. — Lawyers for the family of Andrew Brown Jr., who was shot and killed by sheriff’s deputies in coastal North Carolina last week, said on Tuesday that a private autopsy paid for by Mr. Brown’s family showed that he was hit by five bullets and killed by a shot to the back of the head.


The results of the autopsy, which the lawyers described in a news conference, came as the F.B.I. announced that it was opening a civil rights investigation into the April 21 shooting, and as Gov. Roy Cooper called for a special prosecutor to take over a case that currently rests with the local district attorney.


It also came amid simmering tension in Elizabeth City, a majority-Black city of about 18,000 people. Residents have been peacefully protesting in the streets since the death of Mr. Brown, who was Black, demanding that body camera footage from the shooting be released to the public. On Tuesday, the city and surrounding Pasquotank County, both already under self-imposed states of emergency, established curfews from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m.


A hearing on whether to release the body camera footage was scheduled for Wednesday morning. The judge hearing the petition, filed by the sheriff’s office, was also expected to consider a separate petition requesting the release of the videos filed by a group of news media outlets, including The New York Times.


Members of Mr. Brown’s family, plus one of the family’s lawyers, were shown 20 seconds of footage on Monday. On Tuesday, lawyers for the family, including Ben Crump, who has represented the families of George Floyd and several other people killed by the police, continued to express anger that they were shown only a snippet of what must have transpired, saying that Mr. Brown had been subject to an “execution.”


Mr. Crump also on Tuesday used the shooting to argue that the culture of American policing remains deeply flawed. He tweeted video footage of a Pasquotank County Sheriff’s Office truck driving down a residential street with deputies sitting in the back, dressed in tactical gear. Mr. Crump referred to it as “the militarized police force rushing to kill Andrew Brown,” adding, “This has become a constant sight across America, the evolution of policing that’s now terrorizing communities of color!”


The video was obtained by WAVY, a Virginia-based television station, through a public records request and shows the truck arriving at a home, followed by shouting and orders to “Get your hands up.”


Deputies from the Pasquotank County Sheriff’s Office fired several times at Mr. Brown after arriving at his house to serve drug warrants. Seven deputies were placed on administrative leave after the killing. Chantel Cherry-Lassiter, a lawyer for the family who watched the 20-second video with them on Monday, said the footage showed Mr. Brown sitting inside his car, hands “firmly on the wheel,” when deputies began shooting.


The shooting continued, she said, as Mr. Brown drove away from the deputies. Lawyers for the family have asserted that Mr. Brown, 42, was unarmed at the time.


The Sheriff’s Office filed a petition in state court late Monday asking that the footage be released to Mr. Brown’s adult son, Khalil Ferebee, after mounting pressure from a range of officials, including Mr. Cooper and the Elizabeth City Council, that it be made public. Under state law, only a judge can authorize the release of body camera footage.


Sheriff Tommy Wooten II, who has faced calls to resign from the local N.A.A.C.P., has said that he supports the release of the footage as long as it would not jeopardize the investigation into the shooting by the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation.


The findings of an official government autopsy have also not been publicly released. But during the news conference on Tuesday, Wayne Kendall, one of the lawyers for the family, said the independent pathologist’s finding that Mr. Brown was shot in the back of the head supported the lawyers’ contention that Mr. Brown had been shot while fleeing the scene.


“This, in fact, was a fatal wound to the back of Mr. Brown’s head as he was leaving the site, trying to evade being shot at by these particular law enforcement officers who we believe did nothing but a straight-up execution,” Mr. Kendall said.


The F.B.I.’s civil rights investigation was opened by the agency’s Charlotte field office, which will work with federal prosecutors and the civil rights division of the Justice Department, according to a statement.


Mr. Cooper, in a tweet, said the appointment of a special prosecutor would “help assure the community and Mr. Brown’s family that a decision on pursuing criminal charges is conducted without bias.”


Mr. Cooper said his position reflected the recommendation, made in a recent task force report on criminal justice reform, to appoint a special prosecutor to handle all police use-of-force cases.



3) Three Indicted on Federal Hate Crime Charges in Ahmaud Arbery Shooting

The Justice Department’s announcement of the charges was the latest in a string of moves to make civil rights protections a priority.

By Katie Benner and Will Wright, Published April 28, 2021, Updated April 29, 2021


The shooting death of Ahmaud Arbery helped prompt last year’s widespread racial justice protests.

The shooting death of Ahmaud Arbery helped prompt last year’s widespread racial justice protests. Credit...Sean Rayford/Getty Images

WASHINGTON — Three Georgia men were indicted on federal hate crime charges in connection with the death of Ahmaud Arbery, a 25-year-old Black man who was shot to death while jogging through a South Georgia neighborhood last year, the Justice Department announced on Wednesday.


The deadly encounter helped fuel nationwide racial justice demonstrations last year, and the charges are the most significant hate crimes prosecution so far by the Biden administration, which has made civil rights protections a major priority.


The suspects — Travis McMichael, 35; his father, Gregory McMichael, 65; and William Bryan, 51, all of whom are white — were each charged with one count of interference with Mr. Arbery’s right to use a public street because of his race. They were also charged with one count of attempted kidnapping.


Travis and Gregory McMichael were also charged with one count each of using, carrying and brandishing a firearm. Travis McMichael is accused of shooting Mr. Arbery.


The men intimidated Mr. Arbery “because of Arbery’s race and color,” the eight-page indictment said.


“As Arbery was running on a public street in the Satilla Shores neighborhood of Brunswick, Ga., Travis McMichael and Gregory McMichael armed themselves with firearms, got into a truck and chased Arbery through the public streets of the neighborhood while yelling at Arbery, using their truck to cut off his route and threatening him with firearms,” the Justice Department said in a statement.


Mr. Bryan, known as Roddie, joined the chase and used his truck to cut off Mr. Arbery, the department said. The three men were accused of chasing after Mr. Arbery in their trucks in an attempt to detain him against his will.


The federal indictment in the Arbery case marks the third time in a week that the Justice Department has taken a significant step to address allegations of policing abuses or of a high-profile civil rights violation around the country. The department also announced broad investigations into the Minneapolis and the Louisville police departments, which both fired officers last year who had been involved in two of the highest-profile deaths of Black people that spurred widespread protests.


Those investigations were revealed shortly after a former Minneapolis police officer, Derek Chauvin, was convicted of murdering George Floyd, a Black man who died last May. A state investigation in Kentucky into the death of a Black medical worker named Breonna Taylor who was shot by Louisville police during a botched raid of her home ended in no charges in her death, only an indictment on a lesser count against one officer.


Taken together, the Justice Department actions indicate that Attorney General Merrick B. Garland is carrying out his vows to aggressively pursue civil rights matters.


In a meeting this month with civil rights leaders, Mr. Garland quoted the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and pledged that the Justice Department would “once again deploy all of its considerable resources to ensure, in the words of Dr. King, ‘justice for all people.’”


Wanda Cooper-Jones, Mr. Arbery’s mother, said she and her family were grateful to see the indictments. Although the length of time it took to secure the indictment was discouraging, she said, “we never gave up hope.”


“He was killed because of hate. It was initiated by hate,” Ms. Cooper-Jones said of her son. “We look at this as one step closer to justice for Ahmaud.”


The killing of Mr. Arbery in February 2020 prompted an outcry after news reports and video footage indicated a local prosecutor had wrongly determined that the pursuers had acted within the bounds of Georgia’s citizen’s arrest statute, and that Mr. McMichael had shot Mr. Arbery in self-defense.


Months after the shooting, video surfaced that seemed to undercut the idea that Mr. McMichael acted in self-defense. The video showed Mr. Arbery jogging, then coming upon a man standing beside a truck and another man in the pickup bed. After Mr. Arbery runs around the truck, shouting is heard and then he reappears, tussling with the man outside the truck. Three shotgun blasts are then fired.


George E. Barnhill, the district attorney for Georgia’s Waycross Judicial Circuit, later recused himself from the case, and the state took over the investigation.


Jason Sheffield, a lawyer representing Travis McMichael, said the federal indictment “ignored the totality of the evidence” that his team has presented in defense of his client.


“We all want restorative justice in this country, especially in cases like this that highlight the space in between tragedies and laws, and practices that are problematic,” Mr. Sheffield said. “Forcing a case into a narrative that simplifies the problem and creates only two choices is fundamentally unfair and wrong.”


Kevin Gough, a lawyer for Mr. Bryan, said that his client had “committed no crime,” and that they were disappointed with the federal indictment. “We look forward to a fair and speedy trial, and to the day when Mr. Bryan is released and reunited with his family,” Mr. Gough said.


A lawyer for Gregory McMichael did not immediately respond to a request for comment.


All three suspects also face state charges of malice murder, felony murder, aggravated assault, false imprisonment and criminal attempt to commit a felony.


No date has been set for the state trial. State and federal prosecutors work together to determine when they will try their cases. State prosecutors, who often can bring a broader array of charges, typically go to trial first.


Kimberly Isaza, a spokeswoman for the Cobb County District Attorney’s Office, declined to comment on any effect the federal charges might have on the state’s case.


Mr. Garland made clear in a March 30 memo to all employees that prosecuting hate crimes was among the Justice Department’s top priorities, as law enforcement data showed a rise in such episodes.


“We will persist in our efforts to investigate and appropriately prosecute those who attack members of our communities, set fire to places of worship or use the internet to threaten bodily injury to other persons because of their real or perceived protected characteristics,” Mr. Garland wrote.


He called for more community outreach and data collection so the department could better understand the nature and extent of hate-based crimes, and he said the department had begun a 30-day review to determine how it could best use its tools to more forcefully combat hate crimes.



4) Inside the Chauvin Jury Room: 11 of 12 Jurors Were Ready to Convict Right Away

One juror described the seven hours of closed-door deliberations that led to Derek Chauvin’s murder conviction.

By Nicholas Bogel-Burroughs, April 29, 2021


“It was important for me as a Black man to be in the room,” said Brandon Mitchell, one of the 12 jurors who decided Derek Chauvin was guilty of murdering George Floyd.

“It was important for me as a Black man to be in the room,” said Brandon Mitchell, one of the 12 jurors who decided Derek Chauvin was guilty of murdering George Floyd. Credit...Caroline Yang for The New York Times

Seated at tables six feet apart in a hotel conference room, 12 jurors scribbled letters on slips of paper to indicate how they were leaning on a murder charge against Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer on trial for killing George Floyd.


When the jury foreman tallied the votes that morning, one of the jurors recalled, there were 11 papers with a “G” written on them — guilty. One paper said “U,” for unsure.


The seven women and five men spent the next few hours poring over the evidence in one of the most closely watched trials in a generation, according to Brandon Mitchell, who has been the only juror to publicly describe the deliberations last week near Minneapolis. Mr. Mitchell said the jurors watched the graphic videos of Mr. Floyd’s death, discussed the testimony of many of the witnesses and experts, and created their own timeline using markers and a whiteboard. By lunchtime, Mr. Mitchell said, the juror who had been unsure, a white woman, had made up her mind: Mr. Chauvin was guilty of all charges.


Mr. Mitchell, 31, a high school basketball coach in Minneapolis, described the deliberations in an interview on Thursday, shedding light on what had happened inside the jury room before the jurors convicted Mr. Chauvin on two murder charges and a manslaughter charge.


Mr. Mitchell said he was excited when he was chosen for the jury and glad to see that the jury was diverse; there were four Black jurors, including Mr. Mitchell, as well as six white jurors and two multiracial jurors. They ranged in age from their 20s to their 60s.


“The pressure, I was ready to embrace it,” Mr. Mitchell said. “Whichever way the verdict went — guilty or not guilty — it was important for me as a Black man to be in the room.”


He said he had expected, before the trial, that he would struggle to come to the right decision in the case, but that after three weeks of testimony, he found the evidence overwhelming.


“I had no doubt in my mind,” Mr. Mitchell said of his decision about Mr. Chauvin’s guilt. Jurors discussed the case for about seven hours over two days before reaching a verdict on the afternoon of April 20, Mr. Mitchell said. They spent much of the first evening of deliberations getting to know one another rather than talking about the case, he said.


Mr. Chauvin, the white officer who was videotaped kneeling on the neck of Mr. Floyd, a Black security guard, for more than nine minutes last May, is scheduled to be sentenced in June and could face decades in prison.


Immediately following closing arguments in the trial on April 19, jurors gathered in a conference room at the hotel where they were sequestered and surrendered their phones for deliberations, Mr. Mitchell said. They took a vote on whether to keep their masks on during deliberations (they chose, unanimously, to take them off), and soon moved to discussing the evidence and the law.


They first considered second-degree manslaughter, the least serious of the charges Mr. Chauvin was facing, and the juror who would later indicate uncertainty about murder said she was unsure about the manslaughter charge, Mr. Mitchell said. Sitting at individual tables that were placed in a U-shape, the jurors took turns describing their thoughts. The jurors decided to wait until the second day of deliberations to discuss the murder charges, but dinner did not arrive for several more hours, so they made small talk instead, chatting about their jobs and children.


At 6:45 the next morning, deputies knocked on each of their hotel doors to wake them up for breakfast and a second day of deliberations, Mr. Mitchell said.


As the jurors considered the murder charges, Mr. Mitchell said, they focused at one point on the exact cause of Mr. Floyd’s death. Many jurors said they believed the prosecutors’ version of what had happened — that Mr. Chauvin’s knee had caused Mr. Floyd’s death — but at least one juror who supported a conviction said she could not be sure that Mr. Chauvin’s knee had been the cause. Still, Mr. Mitchell recalled, the juror said she believed that the former officer was nonetheless responsible because he had continued to pin Mr. Floyd down even after he lost consciousness and never provided medical aid.


After several hours of discussions over a third-degree murder charge, all of the jurors said they favored a conviction, Mr. Mitchell said, and after another half an hour, they had agreed on a second-degree murder conviction as well.


Jurors decided to wait until after lunch to fill out the forms that would make their decision official, Mr. Mitchell said.


“We didn’t want to rush,” he said. “We took a pause to soak it in and say, ‘This is what we’re about to do.’”


Shortly before 2 p.m., they alerted deputies that they had reached a verdict and were rushed from the hotel to the courtroom, where Judge Peter A. Cahill read the verdict.


Mr. Mitchell said that for many of the jurors, including himself, the most powerful witness testimony had come from Dr. Martin J. Tobin, a lung expert who pinpointed what he said was the exact moment that Mr. Floyd took his final breath.


“He just had all of our attention 100 percent,” Mr. Mitchell said of Dr. Tobin, who testified for the prosecution. “I don’t know if there is any other witness that captured us like that.”


Mr. Mitchell said he found the defense team’s case to be weak, lacking in revelatory testimony that might poke holes in the prosecution’s case.


“I was waiting for a moment that was going to be climactic like ‘Wow!’ — a ‘Boom! Aha!’ moment — and it just never happened,” Mr. Mitchell said. “Nothing ever hit. It was kind of deflating. It made the case easy.”


Judge Cahill has said that the jurors’ identities will be kept secret until at least October, though they are free to speak publicly if they choose to. One of the two alternate jurors, who attended the trial but was excused before deliberations began, has spoken publicly, saying she never doubted that Mr. Chauvin was guilty.


Throughout the trial, the jurors referred to one another only by their juror numbers — Mr. Mitchell was No. 52 — until they began deliberations and shared their names. Mr. Mitchell said he and the other jurors made tentative plans to get together for drinks in the summer or the fall, when the case is no longer drawing as much attention.


Mr. Mitchell said that in the weeks after Mr. Floyd’s death, he had been determined not to watch the video of Mr. Chauvin kneeling on Mr. Floyd’s neck, but had seen some of it when it began playing automatically on a social media feed.


As protests engulfed Minneapolis following Mr. Floyd’s death, Mr. Mitchell, who lived downtown, said he had frequently discussed the killing with high school students on the teams he coached to help them express the anger and sadness they felt. He said that he found the protests warranted and necessary, and that he hoped they would lead to change.


“I just want to see police be more compassionate when it comes to Black men, instead of moving with such aggression,” he said.


Kitty Bennett contributed research.



5) A third of Basecamp’s workers resign after a ban on talking politics.

By Sarah Kessler, April 30, 2021

“Every discussion remotely related to politics, advocacy or society at large quickly spins away from pleasant,” Jason Fried, Basecamp’s chief executive, wrote in a blog post.

“Every discussion remotely related to politics, advocacy or society at large quickly spins away from pleasant,” Jason Fried, Basecamp’s chief executive, wrote in a blog post. Credit...Nicholas Hunt/Getty Images

About a third of Basecamp’s employees have said they are resigning after the company, which makes productivity software, announced new policies banning workplace conversations about politics.


Jason Fried, Basecamp’s chief executive, detailed the policies in a blog post on Monday, calling “societal and political discussions” on company messaging tools “a major distraction.” He wrote that the company would also ban committees, cut benefits such as a fitness allowance (with employees receiving the equivalent cash value) and stop “lingering and dwelling on past decisions.”


Basecamp had 57 employees, including Mr. Fried, when the announcement was made, according to a staff list on its website. Since then, at least 20 of them have posted publicly that they intend to resign or have already resigned, according to a tally by The New York Times. Basecamp did not immediately respond to a request for comment.


Mr. Fried and David Hansson, two of Basecamp’s founders, have published several books about workplace culture, and news of their latest management philosophy was met with a mix of applause and criticism on social media.


After the newsletter Platformer published details of a dispute within the company that contributed to the decision to ban political talk, Mr. Hansson wrote in another blog post that Basecamp had offered severance of up to six months of salary to employees who disagreed with the founders’ choice.


“We’ve committed to a deeply controversial stance,” Mr. Hansson, Basecamp’s chief technology officer, wrote. “Some employees are relieved, others are infuriated, and that pretty well describes much of the public debate around this too.”


Coinbase, a start-up that allows people to buy and sell cryptocurrencies, announced a similar ban last year, with a similar offer to give severance to employees who disagreed. The company said 60 of its employees had resigned, about 5 percent of its work force.



6) Hundreds Reported Abnormal Menstruation After Exposure to Tear Gas, Study Finds

A scientific paper expands on social media reports of sudden onset of periods, spotting and other menstrual peculiarities during last summer’s protests in Portland, Ore.

By Heather Murphy, May 1, 2021

Protesters facing tear gas outside the U.S. District Court building in Portland, Ore., in July. A scientist asked if their menstrual cycles had changed after they were exposed to tear gas. Nearly 50 percent said yes.

Protesters facing tear gas outside the U.S. District Court building in Portland, Ore., in July. A scientist asked if their menstrual cycles had changed after they were exposed to tear gas. Nearly 50 percent said yes. Credit...Mason Trinca for The New York Times

At some point last summer, there were just too many reports of protesters who had experienced abnormal menstrual cycles after being exposed to tear gas for Britta Torgrimson-Ojerio, a nurse researcher at the Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research in Portland, to dismiss them as coincidence.


A preschool teacher told Oregon Public Broadasting that if she inhaled a significant amount of gas at night, she’d get her period the next morning. Other Portland residents shared stories of periods that lasted for weeks and of unusual spotting. Transgender men described sudden periods that defied hormones that had kept menstruation at bay for months or years.


Dr. Torgrimson-Ojerio decided she would try to figure out whether these anecdotes were outliers or representative of a more common phenomenon. She surveyed around 2,200 adults who said they had been exposed to tear gas in Portland last summer. In a study published this week in the journal BMC Public Health, she reported that 899 of them — more than 54 percent of the respondents who potentially menstruate — said they had experienced abnormal menstrual cycles.


“Even though we cannot say anything scientifically definitive about these chemical agents and a causal relationship to menstrual irregularities,” Dr. Torgrimson-Ojerio said, “we can definitively say that in our study most people who had menstrual cycles or a uterus reported menstrual irregularities after reporting exposure to tear gas.”


Downstream effects, like the impact on fertility, are not known, but “this is our call to action to ask our scientific community to turn their eye to this issue,” she said.


Dr. Torgrimson-Ojerio was also interested in whether people had experienced other problems more than a few hours after being exposed to tear gas. She found that 80 percent of survey participants had, with difficulty breathing being among the most prevalent complaints.


Kira Taylor, a professor of epidemiology and population health at the University of Louisville School of Public Health and Information Sciences who is conducting a similar study, said that Dr. Torgrimson-Ojerio’s study provided “some of the first solid evidence” that tear gas might be linked to menstrual abnormalities. It is also “the first study to document the longer-term effects of tear gas exposure in a large population,” she said.


Sven-Eric Jordt, a professor of anesthesiology, pharmacology and cancer biology at the Duke University School of Medicine, who was not involved in the study, applauded the work.


Most of the research that police agencies and the government rely on to inform them about tear gas safety “are outdated, often 50 to 70 years old, and don’t measure up to modern toxicological approaches,” he said. “Most of these studies were conducted in young healthy men at the time, either police or military, and not in women, or in a general civilian population representing protesters.”


Dr. Torgrimson-Ojerio and her colleagues recruited survey participants through social media and links on the websites of The Oregonian and the Oregon Health Authority in July and August.


The researchers asked participants to explain precisely how their periods had been affected after exposure to tear gas. Increased cramps, unusual spotting and uncharacteristically intense or long bleeding were the most common reactions. A number of people who don’t usually have periods because of hormone therapy or age reported unexpected bleeding and spotting, Dr. Torgrimson-Ojerio said.


This study has limitations. It is not a random sample.


“It is possible that people who feel that their health was damaged by tear gas might have been more likely to respond than people who were also exposed, yet did not feel such harmful effects,” Dr. Taylor said. “This means that some of the numbers might be exaggerated.”


Given that subjects were permitted to participate anonymously, researchers could not verify their accounts.


Nor can the study answer how or why tear gas might be contributing to menstrual irregularities or to what extent other factors are also involved. The authors acknowledge that the high levels of stress and anxiety among protesters, for example, could also have contributed to the physical response.


“It is possible that pain, stress, dehydration and exertion play a role,” Dr. Jordt said. Alternatively, tear gas may act as an “endocrine disrupter,” interfering with normal hormonal function.


“The tear gas agent CS, sometimes used by police, is a chlorinated chemical compound and produces additional chlorinated byproducts when burned in the canisters used by the police,” he said. “Exposure to chlorinated chemicals can affect menstrual health.”


Alexander Samuel, a molecular biologist in France, has been investigating similar questions since French protesters began reporting menstrual irregularities.


He mentioned two additional areas for exploration: whether tear gas is metabolized into cyanide, which may cause heavy menstrual bleeding, and the role a traumatic event may play in altering menstrual cycles.


Suspicions about tear gas and menstruation first came up more than a decade ago, during the Arab Spring protests, Dr. Jordt noted.


In 2011, Chile also banned the use of tear gas after a study suggested that CS gas could cause miscarriages and harm young children. Three days later, the Chilean police lifted the ban, insisting that the type of tear gas they used was perfectly safe.



7) Psychiatry Confronts Its Racist Past, and Tries to Make Amends

But there is a lot to apologize for — from Reconstruction to today.

By Judith Warner, Published April 30, 2021Updated May 1, 2021

Dr. Cheryl Wills chaired a yearlong task force exploring structural racism in psychiatry. “In psychiatry, just like any other profession, it needs to start at the top,” she said.
Dr. Cheryl Wills chaired a yearlong task force exploring structural racism in psychiatry. “In psychiatry, just like any other profession, it needs to start at the top,” she said. Credit...Amber Ford for The New York Times

Dr. Benjamin Rush, the 18th-century doctor who is often called the “father” of American psychiatry, held the racist belief that Black skin was the result of a mild form of leprosy. He called the condition “negritude.”


His onetime apprentice, Dr. Samuel Cartwright, spread the falsehood throughout the antebellum South that enslaved people who experienced an unyielding desire to be free were in the grip of a mental illness he called “drapetomania,” or “the disease causing Negroes to run away.”


In the late 20th century, psychiatry’s rank and file became a receptive audience for drug makers who were willing to tap into racist fears about urban crime and social unrest. (“Assaultive and belligerent?” read an ad that featured a Black man with a raised fist that appeared in the “Archives of General Psychiatry” in 1974. “Cooperation often begins with Haldol.”)


Now the American Psychiatric Association, which featured Rush’s image on its logo until 2015, is confronting that painful history and trying to make amends.


In January, the 176-year-old group issued its first-ever apology for its racist past. Acknowledging “appalling past actions” on the part of the profession, its governing board committed the association to “identifying, understanding, and rectifying our past injustices,” and pledged to institute “anti-racist practices” aimed at ending the inequities of the past in care, research, education and leadership.


This weekend, the A.P.A. is devoting its annual meeting to the theme of equity. Over the course of the three-day virtual gathering of as many as 10,000 participants, the group will present the results of its yearlong effort to educate its 37,000 mostly white members about the psychologically toxic effects of racism, both in their profession and in the lives of their patients.


Dr. Jeffrey Geller, the A.P.A.’s outgoing president, made that effort the signature project of his one-year term of office.


“This is really historic,” he said in a recent interview. “We’ve laid a foundation for what should be long-term efforts and long-term change.”


Dr. Cheryl Wills, a psychiatrist who chaired a task force exploring structural racism in psychiatry, said the group’s work could prove life-changing for a new generation of Black psychiatrists who will enter the profession with a much greater chance of knowing that they are valued and seen. She recalled the isolation she experienced in her own early years in medicine, and the difficulty she has had in finding other Black psychiatrists to whom she can refer patients.


“It’s an opportunity of a lifetime,” she said. “In psychiatry, just like any other profession, it needs to start at the top,” she said of her hope for change. “Looking at our own backyard before we can look elsewhere.”


For critics, however, the A.P.A.’s apology and task force amount to a long-overdue, but still insufficient, attempt at playing catch-up. They point out that the American Medical Association issued an apology in 2008 for its more than 100-year history of having “actively reinforced or passively accepted racial inequalities and the exclusion of African-American physicians.”


“They’re taking these tiny, superficial, palatable steps,” said Dr. Danielle Hairston, a task force member who is also president of the A.P.A.’s Black caucus and the psychiatry residency training director at Howard University College of Medicine.


“People will be OK with saying that we need more mentors; people will be OK with saying that we’re going to do these town halls,” she continued. “That’s an initial step, but as far as real work, the A.P.A. has a long way to go.”


The question for the organization — with its layers of bureaucracy, widely varied constituencies and heavy institutional tradition — is how to get there.


Critics operating both inside and outside the A.P.A. say that it still must overcome high hurdles to truly address its issues around racial equity — including its diagnostic biases, the enduring lack of Black psychiatrists and a payment structure that tends to exclude people who can’t afford to pay out of pocket for services.


“All these procedural structures that are in place are helping to perpetuate the system and keep the system functioning the way it was designed to function,” said Dr. Ruth Shim, the director of cultural psychiatry and professor of clinical psychiatry at the University of California, Davis, who left the A.P.A. in frustration last summer.


They all add up, she said, to “an existential crisis in psychiatry.”


A racist history


White psychiatrists have pathologized Black behavior for hundreds of years, wrapping up racist beliefs in the mantle of scientific certainty and even big data. The A.P.A. was first called the Association of Medical Superintendents of American Institutions for the Insane, according to Dr. Geller, who last summer published an account of psychiatry’s history of structural racism. The group came into being in the wake of the 1840 federal census, which included a new demographic category, “insane and idiotic.”


The results were interpreted by pro-slavery politicians and sympathetic social scientists to find a considerably higher rate of mental illness among Black people in the Northern states than among those in the South.


In the decades following Reconstruction, prominent psychiatrists used words like “primitive” and “savage” to make the cruelly racist claim that Black Americans were unfit for the challenges of life as independent, fully enfranchised citizens.


T.O. Powell, superintendent of the infamous State Lunatic Asylum in Milledgeville, Ga., and president of the American Medico-Psychological Association (the precursor to the A.P.A.), went so far as to outrageously state in 1897 that before the Civil War, “there were comparatively speaking, few Negro lunatics. Following their sudden emancipation their number of insane began to multiply.”


Psychiatry continued to pathologize — and sometimes demonize — African-Americans, with the result that, by the 1970s, the diagnosis of psychosis was handed out so often that the profession was essentially “turning schizophrenia into a Black man’s disorder of aggression and agitation,” said Dr. Hairston, a contributor to the 2019 book, “Racism and Psychiatry.”


Since then, numerous studies have shown that an almost all-white profession’s lack of attunement to Black expressions of emotion — and its frequent conflation of distress with anger — has led to an under-diagnosis of major depression, particularly in Black men, and an overreliance upon the use of antipsychotic medications. Black patients are less likely than white patients to receive appropriate medication for their depression, according to a 2008 report published in “Psychiatric Services.”


Fixing the problem


To change course, and serve Black patients better, organized psychiatry is going to need to make a higher priority of training doctors to really listen, said Dr. Dionne Hart, a Minneapolis psychiatrist and addiction medicine specialist and an adjunct assistant professor of psychiatry at the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and Science.


“We checked a lot of boxes publicly,” she said in an interview. “Now we have to do the work. We have to show we’re committed to undoing the harm and working with all of our colleagues from all over the country to recognize trauma and acknowledge trauma where it exists and get people appropriate treatment.”


Psychiatrists lean liberal, and many say that people with mental illness are a marginalized and underserved group. In 1973, the A.P.A. made history by removing “homosexuality” as a psychiatric diagnosis from the second edition of its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. But the kind of soul searching that occurred around that decision has taken much longer with race.


Psychiatry today remains a strikingly white field where only 10.4 percent of practitioners come from historically underrepresented minority groups, who now make up nearly 33 percent of the U.S. population, according to a 2020 study published in “Academic Psychiatry.” That study found that in 2013, Black Americans were only 4.4 percent of practicing psychiatrists.


The discipline’s history of pathologizing Black people — to “regard Black communities as seething cauldrons of psychopathology,” as three reform-minded authors put it in 1970 in the American Journal of Psychiatry — has deterred some Black medical students from entering the profession.


“Some people in my family, even now won’t say that I’m a psychiatrist,” Dr. Hairston noted. “A family member told me on my match day that she was disappointed that I had matched to psychiatry and not another specialty — it seemed like I was letting the family down.”


The difficulty in finding a Black psychiatrist can put a damper on the willingness of Black patients to seek treatment. And psychiatric help is also strikingly inaccessible for patients without money.


Psychiatry is an outlier among other medical specialties for the extent to which its practitioners choose not to participate in public or private health insurance programs.


In 2019, a study by the Medicaid and CHIP Payment and Access Commission found that psychiatrists were the least likely medical providers to accept any type of health insurance: Just 62 percent were accepting new patients with either commercial plans or Medicare, while an even more anemic 36 percent were accepting new patients using Medicaid. In contrast, across all providers, 90 percent reported accepting new patients with private insurance, 85 percent said they accepted those with Medicare and 71 percent were willing to see Medicaid patients.


Many psychiatrists say they do not participate in health insurance because the reimbursement rates are too low. A 2019 study showed that, nationwide, reimbursement rates for primary care physicians were almost 24 percent higher than for mental health practitioners — including psychiatrists. In 11 states, that gap widened to more than 50 percent.


The A.P.A.’s advocacy in this particular area of equity has focused on pushing for full insurer compliance with the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act, a 2008 law that requires health insurance plans that provide mental health care coverage to do so at a level comparable to what they provide for physical health care.


While the profession hopes for higher reimbursement rates, the gap that affects patients, in the short term, is inequitable access to treatment. “The thing that’s always bothered me the most in the practice of psychiatry is, you can talk about your commitment to things like equity, but if you have a system where a lot of people can’t get access, so many patients are cut off from access to quality care,” said Dr. Damon Tweedy, an associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Duke University and the author of “Black Man in a White Coat: A Doctor’s Reflections on Race and Medicine.”


“What are our values?” said Dr. Tweedy, who sees patients at the Durham Veterans Affairs Health Care System. “We might say one thing, but our actions suggest another.”



8) Three Colorado Officers Resign After Arrest of Woman With Dementia

Body-camera footage of the arrest of Karen Garner has drawn widespread outrage, as has another video that showed officers laughing at the footage.

By Michael Levenson, April 30, 2021

Karen Garner asking for help from her painful injuries.
Karen Garner asking for help from her painful injuries. Credit...Loveland Police, via The Life & Liberty Law Office

Three members of a Colorado police department have resigned after they arrested and booked a 73-year-old woman with dementia who was thrown to the ground and handcuffed after she was suspected of shoplifting, officials said on Friday.


The woman, Karen Garner, was pinned against a squad car, and her arm was twisted behind her back, breaking a bone and dislocating her shoulder during the roadside arrest in Loveland, Colo., last June, a lawsuit says.


Body-camera footage of the arrest and footage from Walmart security cameras that was released by Ms. Garner’s lawyer this month prompted widespread outrage, as did another video that showed three police officers laughing at a station as they watched the footage.


The district attorney for Larimer County, Gordon P. McLaughlin, has said that, after seeing the body-camera footage, he requested a criminal investigation, to be assisted by the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Colorado and the F.B.I.


On Friday, Loveland’s police chief, Robert L. Ticer, said that two police officers who had arrested Ms. Garner — Austin Hopp and Daria Jalali — as well as a community service officer, Tyler Blackett, who had booked Ms. Garner, were “no longer employed” by the Loveland Police Department.


A city spokesman later clarified that the officers had resigned.


Master Sgt. Philip Metzler, who was supervising Mr. Hopp and Ms. Jalali, has been placed on administrative leave, the chief said.


All four officers were named as defendants in a federal lawsuit filed by Ms. Garner, which claims violations of the Americans With Disabilities Act and alleges use of excessive force and failure to provide medical care.


A fifth officer named in the lawsuit, Sgt. Antolina Hill, is still assigned to her duties at the Police Department, Chief Ticer said. The lawsuit contends that Sergeant Hill and Mr. Blackett “were both aware of Ms. Garner’s injuries and need for medical treatment and personally complicit in the continued denial of that critical care.”


At a news conference on Friday, Chief Ticer acknowledged that Ms. Garner’s arrest had stirred anger locally, nationally and internationally.


“Our goal at the Loveland Police Department has always been to make our community proud,” he said. “We failed, and we are very sorry for that.”


It was not immediately clear if the officers who resigned had lawyers. Eric Ziporin, a lawyer who is representing the city in the lawsuit, did not immediately respond to an email.


Sarah Schielke, a lawyer for Ms. Garner and her family, said the resignations were not enough.


“They were not fired. They resigned,” she said in a statement. “Despite what the world has seen they did on not one but two horrifying videos, they will still receive benefits paid by Loveland.”


Chief Ticer, asked about footage of Ms. Garner’s arrest, said at the news conference: “I share the community’s concerns on this. It hurt to see that.”


Asked about the officers who were seen laughing at the footage, Chief Ticer said: “That is not the Loveland Police Department. The Loveland Police Department is comprised of men and women that are out there taking calls for service right now, that are working very hard and honoring our community.”


Ms. Schielke criticized those comments and said Chief Ticer should resign.


“He is wrong,” she said in an interview. “It not only is the Loveland Police Department, but it’s his Loveland Police Department. He’s responsible for what happens in it.”



9) People of Color Breathe More Hazardous Air. The Sources Are Everywhere.

Researchers uncovered stark disparities between white people and minorities across thousands of categories of pollution, including trucks, industry, agriculture and even restaurants

“‘If you go to communities of color across this country and ask them, ‘What’s the source of the environmental problems?’ they can point you to every one: the highway, the chemical plants, the refineries, the legacy pollution left over from decades ago, in the houses, in the air, in the water, in the playgrounds,’ he said. ‘Empirical research is now catching up with the reality: that America is segregated and so is pollution.’”

By Hiroko Tabuchi and Nadja Popovich, April 28, 2021


A home near the Marathon Petroleum Company refinery in River Rouge, near Detroit.

A home near the Marathon Petroleum Company refinery in River Rouge, near Detroit. Credit...Emily Rose Bennett for The New York Times

Over the years, a mountain of evidence has brought to light a stark injustice: Compared with white Americans, people of color in the United States suffer disproportionately from exposure to pollution.


Now, a new study on a particularly harmful type of air pollution shows just how broadly those disparities hold true. Black Americans are exposed to more pollution from every type of source, including industry, agriculture, all manner of vehicles, construction, residential sources and even emissions from restaurants. People of color more broadly, including Black and Hispanic people and Asian-Americans, are exposed to more pollution from nearly every source.


The findings came as a surprise to the study’s researchers, who had not anticipated that the inequalities spanned so many types of pollution.


“We expected to find that just a couple of different sources were important for the disparate exposure among racial ethnic groups,” said Christopher W. Tessum, an assistant professor in environmental engineering and science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, who led the study. “But what we found instead was that almost all of the source types that we looked at contributed to this disparity.”


The study builds on a wealth of research that has shown that people of color in America live with more pollution than their white neighbors. Fine particulate matter air pollution, known as PM 2.5, is harmful to human health and is responsible for 85,000 to 200,000 excess deaths a year in the United States.


Racial and socioeconomic disparities in exposure to PM 2.5 have been well documented and have persisted despite an overall decline in particulate pollution. But the researchers sought to get a better grasp of whether these disparities came from just a handful of sources, or whether the inequalities could be seen more widely.


They used an air quality model to analyze data from the Environmental Protection Agency on more than 5,000 emission sources collected as part of a 2014 nationwide emissions survey. Then they identified differences in exposure to each by broad race-ethnicity and income groups, based on United States census data.


They found that nearly all emissions sources caused disproportionate exposures for people of color, on average, as well as separately for Black, Hispanic and Asian people. Black people were exposed to higher-than-average concentrations from all major emissions groups, while white people were exposed to lower-than-average concentrations from almost all categories. The disparities were seen nationally, as well as at the state level, across income levels and across the urban-rural divide.


These findings were consistent with the experiences of communities on the ground, said Robert D. Bullard, a professor at Texas Southern University who has written for more than 30 years about the need to redress environmental racism, and who was not involved in the study.


“If you go to communities of color across this country and ask them, ‘What’s the source of the environmental problems?’ they can point you to every one: the highway, the chemical plants, the refineries, the legacy pollution left over from decades ago, in the houses, in the air, in the water, in the playgrounds,” he said. “Empirical research is now catching up with the reality: that America is segregated and so is pollution.”


On Wednesday, the Environmental Integrity Project, a nonprofit group founded by former officials from the E.P.A., released a separate report that found that 13 refineries across the United States had released elevated levels of benzene, another harmful pollutant, into mostly minority and lower income neighborhoods in 2020.


These disparities have roots in historical practices, like redlining, under which the federal government marked certain neighborhoods as risky for real estate investments because their residents were Black. For decades, residents of redlined areas were denied access to federally backed mortgages and other credit, fueling a cycle of disinvestment and environmental problems in those neighborhoods.


“Communities of color, especially Black communities, have been concentrated in areas adjacent to industrial facilities and industrial zones, and that goes back decades and decades, to redlining,” said Justin Onwenu, a Detroit-based organizer for the Sierra Club. “And a lot of our current infrastructure, our highways, were built on — built through — Black communities, so we’re breathing in diesel emissions and other pollution just because we’re located right next to these highways,” Mr. Onwenu said.


The latest research, published Wednesday in the journal Science Advances, shows how that legacy continues to cast a shadow. Emissions from industry, construction and both light- and heavy-duty vehicles were among the sources that caused the largest absolute disparities for Black, Hispanic and Asian-Americans.


Particulate pollution from coal-fired power plants, meanwhile, was one of the only sources that substantially affected white Americans more than average. That was explained, Dr. Tessum said, by the predominantly white demographics of many coal towns. Coal power plants also tend to have smoke stacks that are many hundreds of feet high, scattering fine particles more evenly across larger areas.


Likely for the same geographic reason, white Americans were slightly more exposed to particulate pollution from agriculture, including from soil tilling and wind erosion. But in California, which produces more than a third of the country’s vegetables and two-thirds of its fruits and nuts, Hispanic people were disproportionately exposed.


Newer industries can perpetuate these inequalities. A large Latino population in the Inland Empire region of Southern California, for example, near one of the nation’s largest concentration of Amazon warehouses, has suffered from the heavy diesel traffic that feeds the sprawling e-commerce hub.


“These warehouses are being built within feet of existing homes, within feet of schools,” said Cesunica E. Ivey, an assistant professor in chemical and environmental engineering at the University of California, Riverside, who was not involved in the study. “Local voices in those neighborhoods are often drowned out,” she said. “And they can’t just move. You need resources to relocate.”


The coronavirus pandemic, which has taken a disproportionate toll on Black, Latino and other communities, added to the burdens.


“A lot of families have kids with asthma. There’s high rates of respiratory illness. Many people have died from cancer and other types of diseases,” said Vivian Huang, a director at the Asian Pacific Environmental Network, which works with communities that live at the fence line of refineries and other polluting facilities in California. “The Covid pandemic has just exacerbated these immense inequalities.”


One surprising source of pollution that disproportionately affects communities of color, though a smaller source of emissions over all, were restaurants. A recent study that looked at Oakland, Calif., and Pittsburgh found that emissions from commercial kitchens — mostly from their use of cooking oils — were a surprisingly large fraction of particulate air pollution in those cities. More people of color tended to live nearby, and so were more exposed.


Getting a clearer picture of how different sources of air pollution affect different groups of people is important, because history has shown that simply reducing overall emissions does not address racial and other disparities, said Joshua Apte, an assistant professor at the University of California, Berkeley, and a co-author of both the PM 2.5 and commercial kitchen studies.


“When nearly every major source category in the U.S. disparately impacts people of color, reducing sources alone is really insufficient to solve this problem,” he said. “We have to think about where the sources are as well.”