Today's Headlines and Commentary

Today’s Headlines and Commentary

By Katherine Pompilio
Tuesday, May 24, 2022, 2:39 PM

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A new Justice Department policy requires federal agents to intervene if they witness other law enforcement officials using “excessive force,” writes the Washington Post. The update to the department’s use-of-force policy comes after years of public protests over police killings in which law enforcement officers allegedly used excessive force. In the memorandum announcing the policy update, Attorney General Merrick Garland wrote that federal officers must be trained to recognize and act upon “the affirmative duty to intervene to prevent or stop any officer from engaging in excessive force” or any other use of force that violates federal laws and policies on the established “reasonable” use of force. The memorandum marks the first time the Justice Department has updated its use-of-force policy in over 18 years. 

President Biden is expected to issue an executive order to reform federal policing on the two-year anniversary of the police killing of George Floyd, reports the New York Times. Floyd was killed in 2020 after being handcuffed and held to the ground by police officers in Minneapolis. According to the Times, the order, which is expected to be issued on Wednesday, will require federal law enforcement agencies to alter their use-of-force policies, establish a national registry to keep track of law enforcement officers fired for misconduct and restrict the transfer of military equipment to law enforcement agencies. The order will also reportedly issue grants to urge local and state police to increase restrictions on the use of chokeholds and no-knock warrants. 

Active shooter incidents in the United States increased by more than 50 percent in 2021, writes the Hill. According to data released by the FBI, there were 61 active shooter incidents in 2021, a 53 percent increase from the previous year. The shootings in 2021 were predominantly executed by men—with only one female shooter out of the total 61. The FBI data indicates a steady increase in active shooter situations in the United States, as incidents also rose more than 30 percent from 2019 to 2020. 

Twenty countries have agreed to send new weapons to Ukraine to use against Russian forces, according to the New York Times. According to Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, the new weapons sent to Ukraine include U.S.-made Harpoon anti-ship missiles and a missile launcher sent by Denmark as well as attack helicopters, tanks and rocket systems sent by the Czech Republic. Austin also reported that new munitions given to Ukraine will also include howitzer and artillery ammunition sent by Italy, Greece, Norway and Poland, among others. 

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said he no longer recognizes Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, reports BBC. Erdogan told reporters, “There's no longer anyone called Mitsotakis in my book,” and refused to meet with the Greek prime minister at a planned summit. Erdogan said he refuses to recognize Mitsotakis because he allegedly attempted to block the sale of American-made F-16 fighter jets to Turkey while on a visit to the United States.

Health officials worldwide are urging countries to assess vaccine stockpiles amid multiple outbreaks of the monkeypox virus, writes the New York Times. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. emergency vaccine reserve holds two Food and Drug Administration-approved vaccines that could be used to contain the spread of the virus. The U.S. stockpile holds more than 100 million doses of the original smallpox vaccine, and more than 1,000 doses of a newer vaccine called Jynneos—both of which are approved to prevent monkeypox. The United States has one confirmed case of monkeypox, while larger clusters of the virus have been confirmed in Europe and Africa.

Meteorologists are predicting an above-average hurricane season in 2022, according to CNN. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Climate Prediction Center forecasts that the 2022 season will bring 14 to 21 named storms, six to 10 hurricanes and three to six major hurricanes that are category 3 strength or more. 

ICYMI: Yesterday on Lawfare

Jen Patja Howell shared an episode of the Lawfare Podcast in which Scott R. Anderson sat down with Kristen Eichensehr to talk about whether Russian cyber capabilities and the role of cyber in the future of warfare more generally might have been exaggerated.

George Croner explained the continuing decline in the use of national surveillance authorities over the past two years. 

Carrie Cordero and Asha M. George explained how Congress can strengthen the Department of Homeland Security’s ability to manage its biodefense responsibilities.

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