Emily’s Weekly Political Scoop: Derek Chauvin’s Trial, New Steps to fight against the Anti-Asian Violence and Discirmination, and Biden’s Threat of Tariffs on UK Goods


Emily Landolfi, Staff Writer

Happy Spring Break everyone! I hope you are all enjoying your time off; however, politics and societal issues never stop. Today, we will be discussing updates on Derek Chauvin’s, the police officer accused of murdering Geroge Floydd trial and the next steps to handle the Asian-American hate crimes surging throughout the country. Afterwards, we will venture into uncharted territory: taxes and tariffs. 


The New York Times reported the vital events that took place on the second of Derek Chavin’s trail. Six witnesses of George Floyd’s death, four under the age of 18, testified. They all emotionally stated what they saw last May, walking through the event with prosecutors. Each expressed the anger and grief that was felt through everyone last year, tears falling as they recalled the trauma of seeing someone die, unable to do anything to stop it. As they told their stories, they collectively agreed that they knew something incredibly wrong was going on. Genieve Hansen, one of the witnesses and a 27-year-old Minneapolis firefighter and emergency medical technician, was wiping tears from her eyes as she gave her testimony. She recalled how she called 911 and encouraged the police officers to take Mr. Floyd’s pulse (Martínez).


Additionally, NPR explained one of the testimony by 17-year-old high school senior Kaylynn. Even as she was off camera, it seemed as if she was on the verge of tears via the audio. She relayed similar points as the previous testimonies, primarily arguing against the defense’s main point of how the crowd surrounding the scene distracted the police officers from effectively taking care of the situation. She focused on how those around them were being ignored as they were pleading for Mr. Chauvin to get off of Mr. Floyd as he lost consciousness (Romo).  


Further, she stated that Tou Thao, the officer who was interacting with the crowd, got really angry and pushed someone onto the sidewalk. When asked to clarify whether the crowd was violent, she made a point to highlight that they were only using their voices. She further reported that Mr. Chauvin himself got really angry and shook his Mace towards the crowd in order to keep them from socially engaging with officers. He is told to have bee digging his knee deep into Mr. Floyd’s neck and only taking it off when the ambulance arrived. Kaylynn described Mr. Floyd was purple and limp, and she focused on how none of the other officers offered any aid or medical help to him (Romo).       


Out of them all, Darnella Frazier, the one who took the video, gave the most emotionally devastating testimony. She expressed her regret for not doing more, stating, “It’s been nights I stayed up apologizing and apologizing to George Floyd for not doing more and not physically interacting and not saving his life” (Martínez). 


Eric Nelson, Chauvin’s attorney, had an interesting exchange with Donald Williams II, a mixed martial arts fighter who testified on Monday and Tuesday. Mr. Williams stated that the knee placement of Mr. Chauvin’s could have caused Mr. Floyd to suffocate, getting Nelson to argue that he did not have enough medical or police training experience to accurately analyze Mr. Floyd’s cause of death. Further, Mr. Nelson stated that the crowd that formed on the sidewalk was loud and was yelling at the police officers during the arrest, prompting a response from Mr. Williams. He stated, “You can’t paint me out to be angry” (Martínez).


Prosecutors primarily focused on the how long Mr. Chauvin’s knee was on Mr. Floyd. If the defense effectively argues that the use of force was necessary, prosecutors will have to convince the jury of two things. One, the amount of time his knee was pinning Mr. Floyd to the street was unreasonable and unlawful, and two, he was kept pinned after he lost consciousness (Martínez).


NPR reports that on Tuesday, President Biden has responded to the attacks and harassment that Asian American and Pacific Islander communities have had to face throughout this year with new steps to fight the issue. Mr. Biden will appoint a director to lead coordination policies across the federal government, and his announcement included six new actions and directives. The first is to reestablish the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders by emphasizing ending the bias and violence that are anti-Asian. The second is to increase the funding for AAPI domestic violence and sexual assault survivors. The third is to create a task force to deal with xenophobia against Assian Americansdue to the coronavirus head on (Wise).


The fourth is to create a cross-agency Justice Department initiative to investigate the racially driven violence, including increasing the number of languages translated on the agency’s hate crime website and training state and local law enforcement on the proper way to report hate crimes. The fifth being to celebrate contributions Asian Americans have given to the United States by launching federal projects. The sixth and final directive is to fund the National Science Foundation in order to research discirmination and xenophobia. However, a reporter on Tuesday pointed out the lack of recognizing the demand for more representation at the leadership level within the new actions. Press Security Jen Psaki stated, “In the coming weeks the administration will meet with AAPI leaders to hear their input on how we can play the most constructive role possible in the community” (Wise).


BBC has reported that the Biden Administration has threatened tariffs up to 25% on UK goods in response to a UK tax on tech firms. The US Section 301 action applies domestic political pressure on the UK over the introduction of these taxes. A list published by the administration has listed some exports that could be affected including ceramics, make-up, overcoats, game consoles, and furniture. The duties are created to raise $325 million, or £235.8 million, which is the estimated amount that the UK will raise from US tech firms. A UK spokesperson has stated that they wanted to ensure that the tech firms would pay their share of tax and that if the US enacted these measures, every option to protect the interest and industries of the United Kingdom would be considered. The person also said, “It’s also temporary. We’re working positively with the US and other international partners to find a global solution to this problem and will remove the DST when that is in place” (Islam).


However, the United States is continuing with these actions, started by the Trump Administration, and has officially scheduled hearings on the list. Their argument is that the tech tax, which taxes tech firms on their revenue, is unreasonable, unnecessary, and discriminatory. Further, the US and UK have discussed the taxes on December 4th, and the UK  stated how the tariff list is being seen as a more official way of handling the situation rather than an escalation technique (Islam).


Hopefully, you have been sufficiently updated this week with the United States political and societal news, with the United Kingdom making an appearance. Enjoy the rest of your spring break!