US politics: Mike Pence to lead first public coronavirus task force briefing for months – live updates

LIVEUpdated Vice President Mike Pence speaks at the launch of the electric Endurance pick-up truck in Lordstown, Ohio, yesterdayPhotograph: Tony Dejak/AP Key events Show Live feed Show

Robin DiAngelo's bestselling book White Fragility has provoked an uncomfortable but vital conversation about what it means to be white in 2020. As protests organised by the Black Lives Matter movement continue across the world, in this video for us she explains why white people should stop avoiding conversations about race because of their own discomfort, and how 'white fragility' plays a key role in upholding systemic racism in the US and beyond.

Play Video 5:17 How 'white fragility' obstructs the fight against racism - video explainer

You may have seen that this week the Guardian has been running a series on the challenges many in the US face getting access to safe, clean, affordable water: America's water crisis

Water is essential to life. Yet running water is becoming unaffordable across the US, in cities large and small. Water bills weigh heavily on many Americans as utilities hike up prices to pay for environmental clean-ups, infrastructure upgrades and climate emergency defenses to deal with floods and droughts.

Federal funding for America's ageing water system has plummeted, and as a result a growing number of households are unable to afford to pay their bills; millions of homes are being disconnected or put into foreclosure every year.

This morning Nina Lakhani and Juweek Adolphe have published 12 key findings from our investigations into the affordability of water in 12 cities across 10 states. You can read the results here:

Richard Winton over at the Los Angeles Times was reporting last night on legal attempts to restrain the Los Angeles Police Department from using baton strikes and rubber bullets to control crowds.

They are arguing that such a use of force violates demonstrators' constitutional rights as well as causes injury. Attorney Paul Hoffman, acting for Black Lives Matter-Los Angeles, says that "The LAPD has used so-called rubber bullets and batons indiscriminately to disrupt and disperse protesters with many serious injuries resulting. The images of baton-wielding LAPD officers and protesters' injuries unacceptably increase the cost of public participation in these important exercises of First Amendment rights."

You can read more about it here: Los Angeles Time - Black Lives Matter seeks restraining order to prevent LAPD use of batons, 'rubber' bullets on marchers

The Minneapolis City Council will vote today on a proposal to change the city charter to allow elimination of the city's police department. It is a move supported by a majority of the council after George Floyd's death but far from assured, reports Amy Forliti for the Associated Press

The vote is just one step in a process that faces significant bureaucratic obstacles to make the November ballot, where the city's voters would have the final say The Minneapolis force has come under heavy pressure since Floyd was killed on 25 May, sparking a global wave of Black Lives Matter anti-racism protests. Local activists had long accused the department of being unable to change a racist and brutal culture, and earlier this month, a majority of the council proclaimed support for dismantling the department.

Doing so would first require amending the city charter. Draft language of the amendment posted online would replace the department with a Department of Community Safety and Violence Prevention, "which will have responsibility for public safety services prioritising a holistic, public health-oriented approach."
"It is time to make structural change," Council Member Steve Fletcher told AP. "It is time to start from scratch and reinvent what public safety looks like."

Fletcher said under the new agency when someone calls 911, there will always be a response that's appropriate, including the option for a response by employees authorised to use force. But he said the vast majority of calls that police officers currently take will be answered by employees with different expertise. The proposed amendment is expected to be approved Friday, but that's just a first step.

It goes then to a policy committee and to the city's Charter Commission for formal review. The commission's recommendation doesn't bind the council, but it takes time.
Barry Clegg, chairman of the Charter Commission, said the process feels rushed.

"As I understand it, they are saying, 'We are going to have this new department. We don't know what it's going to look like yet. We won't implement this for a year, we'll figure it out,"' Clegg said. "For myself anyway, I would prefer that we figured it out first, and then voted on it."

For his part, Mayor Jacob Frey doesn't support abolishing the department, a stance that got him booed off the street by activists who demonstrated outside his house following Floyd's death and demanded to know where he stood.
Frey expressed concerns about the proposed amendment as currently drafted, including whether the change would eliminate police altogether or allow for a police presence going forward. "There is a significant lack of clarity.

And if I'm seeing a lack of clarity, so are our constituents," said Frey, who has said he supports deep structural change in the existing department.

Amber Phillips is writing in the Washington Post this morning about what she identifies as one of the key factors in the country's struggle against Covid-19: Republicans are choosing rosy assessments of coronavirus that do not match reality

Key members of the Trump administration, including the president and vice president, are holding up data in a way that allows them to publicly argue it's not all that bad. The full picture suggests the opposite of a rosy one: On the same day that Pence urged senators to focus on "encouraging signs," the United States had its highest single day of reported coronavirus cases.

Some of their comments risk underplaying the risk the country faces.

She singles out the approach of Sen. Marco Rubio as an example. Last night he was urging people to take precautions, while accompanying this message with upbeat statistics.

As Phillips puts it

Presenting a message of caution with caveats of hopeful news still a risky strategy, with so many things unknown about the virus.

You can read her analysis in full here (assuming you have access to subscription of course): The Washington Post - Republicans are choosing rosy assessments of coronavirus that do not match reality If you missed it yesterday, my colleague Maanvi Singh had this video analysis of how the US president has long been contradicting and defying science during the coronavirus outbreak, and the impact that this has had on the country's handling of the pandemic.

Play Video 5:28 From miracle cures to slowing testing: how Trump has defied science on coronavirus - video explainer

My colleague Amanda Holpuch in New York has been speaking to executive director of the National Immigration Law Center Marielena Hincapie about what to expect from the Trump administration as November's election draws near.

Hincapie says she expects to see anti-immigrant talk ramped up:

Every time that [Trump]'s under attack or he feels he's been cornered or may be blamed for something, we can expect that he's going to default to attacking immigrants

She says that it is important to focus on what Trump is trying to achieve with his legislation, not just listen to what he says about it:

Trump's rhetoric is almost exclusively about undocumented immigrants - he calls undocumented immigrants everything from murderers and rapists to gang members, etc. But in fact, the policy changes he has put in place, almost all are chipping away at the legal immigration system.

You can read the full piece here: 'A matter of life and death': a top immigrant advocate on the US election

Coronavirus cases confirmed by ICE among detained migrant families with children

CBS News have reported overnight the confirmation by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) that for the first time families with children in detention centres have been confirmed with the coronavirus. According to the reports, 11 family members at the Karnes County Residential Center in south Texas have tested positive for the virus.

The agency has additionally reported four cases of coronavirus among employees at a family detention centre in Dilley, Texas. An ICE statement said that the family members who tested positive were new arrivals, and that they have not come into contact with other families at the Karnes facility. More than 2,500 adult immigrants have tested positive for Covid-10 while in ICE custody, with the agency reporting two deaths.

Read the full report here: CBS News - ICE reports first coronavirus cases among detained migrant families with children

Good morning and welcome to our live coverage of US politics and Black Lives Matter protests as we head into the weekend. Here's a quick catch-up of where we are and what we can expect today

  • Coronavirus cases continue to rise at an alarming rate - Mike Pence will give his first address as part of the coronavirus "task force" for two months today.

    CDC experts say that more than 20m Americans could have contracted Covid-19. Pence was criticised yesterday for not wearing a mask when visiting an automobile facility in Ohio

  • Colorado has appointed a special prosecutor to investigate the 2019 police killing of Elijah McClain
  • The House will vote on the DC Statehood Act, which is expected to pass for the first time
  • Yesterday the House Democrats' sweeping police reform bill was passed - and three Republicans broke ranks and voted for it. But it will inevitably stall in the Republican-controlled Senate
  • Joe Biden, who now has a comfortable lead in the latest polls, with be taking part in a virtual Biden for President finance event.

    Yesterday he criticised the president for his "self-pity" over the coronavirus

  • Donald Trump will deliver remarks at the American Workforce Policy Advisory Board Meeting, and will then travel to Bedminster, New Jersey

I'm Martin Belam and I'll be here for the next couple of hours - you can get in touch with me at [email protected]


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