Today's Headlines and Commentary

Today’s Headlines and Commentary

By Tia Sewell
Monday, March 15, 2021, 5:16 PM

Today, the Justice Department charged two suspects who allegedly worked together to spray multiple Capitol Police officers with an unidentified chemical agent on Jan. 6, according to Reuters. One of the officers, Brian Sicknick, was later rushed to a hospital and died the following day. The suspects—Julian Elie Khater and George Pierre Tanios—face multiple counts, including assaulting police with a deadly weapon and conspiracy to injure an officer. They are not facing charges directly related to the death of Officer Sicknick.

As of yesterday morning, U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) was holding more than 4,200 unaccompanied migrant children in overcrowded short-term facilities at the southern border, marking a significant new challenge for the Biden administration, writes CBS News. Nearly 3,000 of these children had been in CBP custody for more than 72 hours—though CBP is legally obligated to transfer most unaccompanied minors to the Office of Refugee Resettlement within three days of their arrival at the border. The sharp increase in arrivals of migrant children over the past week—averaging 565 minors taken into CBP custody per day—point to an emerging humanitarian crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border, where there is a lack of sufficient shelter space to house the children.

To mitigate the growing crisis at the border, the Biden administration announced on Saturday that it is deploying the Federal Emergency Management Agency to help care for the thousands of children in CBP custody, reports the Washington Post. Early into his presidency, Biden said that the U.S. would no longer turn back unaccompanied minors at the border—effectively reversing a Trump-era policy which was enacted in 2020 using an emergency health order. Republicans claim that the unprecedented surge is the result of the Biden administration's policy change, while Democrats assert that Biden inherited the crisis from the Trump administration.

As the murder trial over George Floyd’s death continues today, defense lawyers for Derek Chauvin requested that court proceedings be paused and the trial relocated, reports the Hill. The request follows news that the city of Minneapolis reached a record $27 million civil settlement with the Floyd family—a development that the defense claims will inhibit the jury’s ability to be impartial. Chauvin, a former police officer, faces counts of second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter after kneeling on Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes, even after he was unconscious.

The boyfriend of Breonna Taylor has filed a federal lawsuit against the Louisville government and the police officers involved in the botched nighttime raid that killed Taylor, according to the Washington Post. “The 38-page lawsuit by Kenneth Walker casts Taylor’s death as preventable and alleges broad, problematic practices of the Louisville Metro Police Department: nighttime raids and a failure by officers to clearly identify themselves,” writes the Post’s Justice Department correspondent Matt Zapotosky.

Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny has confirmed that he is being held in a prison camp in a region northeast of Moscow, writes Retuers. “I have to admit that the Russian prison system has managed to surprise me. I never imagined that it was possible to build a real concentration camp 100 kilometers from Moscow,” Navalny posted on Instagram, along with a picture of himself frowning into a camera with close-cropped hair.

At least 38 people were killed in Myanmar as security forces shot into crowds of protesters in several cities, marking the deadliest weekend since the country’s military seized power in a coup on Feb. 1, reports the Wall Street Journal. As tensions flared over the weekend, several Chinese-owned garment factories were vandalized and set on fire—the first instance in which foreign businesses have been directly impacted by the violence in Myanmar. To date, at least 126 people have been killed as protesters continue to express their opposition to the military takeover.

Beijing has asked Alibaba, a large online Chinese retailer, to ditch its media assets, writes the Wall Street Journal. Alibaba, which was co-founded by prominent billionaire Jack Ma, has assembled a portfolio of media holdings with stakes in a wide range of platforms, from print and broadcast media to digital spaces. The move comes as Chinese Communist Party officials grow increasingly weary of Alibaba’s sway over public opinion in the country. And it marks Beijing’s latest confrontation with Ma, who has previously faced backlash from Beijing for his criticisms of China’s efforts to strengthen financial oversight.

ICYMI: Yesterday on Lawfare

Daniel Koehler argued that as the threat of domestic violent extremism continues to present a significant threat in the U.S., policymakers should look to learn from Germany’s lessons on fighting radicalization and the far-right.

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