Emily’s Weekly Political Scoop: Derek Chauvin’s Trial, Arkansas Becoming the First State to Ban Gender-Confirming Treatments for Transgender Youth, and the COVID-19 Vaccine Elgibility


Emily Landolfi, Staff Writer

Spring Break just ended and I hope you had a wonderful break, but we have got to catch up on what’s been going on. New information about Derek Chauvin’s trial has been released, Arkansas has passed a bill banning gender-confirming medical care for trasnegeder adolescents, and I’ve got a brief update on the COVID-19 vaccine age eligibility. Let’s get right into all of this, shall we?  


On Tuesday, Derek Chauvin’s trial continued into its second week, confirming that he was never trained to use his knee on the neck for restraint. BBC reports that 20 witnesses have testified and four police training experts have been heard from. Crisis intervention training coordinator Sergeant Ker Yang stated that Mr. Chauvin completed the 40-hour practical training course via the department; therefore, he should have primarily focused on Mr. Floyd’s medical condition during the arrest (“George Floyd Death: Chauvin ‘Trained to Stay Away from Neck’.”).  


Mr. Mercil, Minneapolis Police Department training coordinator, said to the court that officers are trained to use force dependent on the level of the suspect’s resistance but to always be careful with said person, adding that they clarify to always stay away from the neck when they can. He further testified that Mr. Chauvin should only have used neck restraint if there was active aggression, stating that Mr. Floyd could not resist or be aggressive as he became face down on the ground; therefore, Mr. Chauvin should have known to decrease his level of force and move him into another position to avoid suffocation, otherwise known as asphyxiation which Prosecutors suggest was the cause of death. However, this contrasts with the medical examiner who claimed he died of cardiopulmonary arrest, meaning the heart and lungs have stooped (“George Floyd Death: Chauvin ‘Trained to Stay Away from Neck’.”).


The defence team has argued that drug use and underlying heart condition contributed to the death of Mr. Floyd. Nicole Mackenzie, a Minneaplois police officer and medical first aid trainer to officers, sided with defense and stated that if the environment of the situation seems unsafe, officers are not obligated to start CPR right away (“George Floyd Death: Chauvin ‘Trained to Stay Away from Neck’.”).


Sergeant Jody Stinger, a force expert for the Los Angeles Police Department, stated that at first, the officers’ actions were justified because when Mr. Floyd was being placed in the car, he was resisting, but as soon as he stopped resisting on the ground, Chauvin should have stopped their force (“George Floyd Death: Chauvin ‘Trained to Stay Away from Neck’.”). 


Arkansas has become the first state to ban gender-affirming medical care to transgender minors via a bill, accoridng to NBC News. The state legislature has overridden Governor Asa Hutchinson’s veto of the bill on Tuesday, with the House voting 72-25 in favor and the Senate voting 25-8 in favor. The bill prohibits doctors from providing medical care like puberty blockers and hormone therapy to trasngedner youth, as well as referencing them to other professional providers (Yurcaba). 


NPR reports that on Monday, the Governor vetoed the bill, otherwise known as the SAFE Act or the Save Adolescentes From Experimentation Act, that was passed by the House and Senate last month. Mr. Hutchinson stated that it would cause standards of legislative interference with medical workers and parents as they navigate sensitive and complex experiences for adolescents However, due to the majority vote on Tuesday, the SAFE Act is now passed (Romo).        


The American Medical Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, other major medical associations, and transgender advocates have opposed the bill, stating it could have detrimental, negative effects on trasngedner youths. Chase Strangio, the deputy director for transgender justice of the Americna Liberties Unions LGBTQ & HIV Project, has stated, “This bill will drive families, doctors and businesses out of the state and send a terrible and heartbreaking message to the transgender young people who are watching in fear” (Yurcaba). However, those defending the bill, such as Representative Robin Lundstrum, claim that they must be 18 before making those types of decisions. The actions and effects of the bill will be put into place by late July the earliest (Yurcaba). 


If you are looking for a quick update on the COVID-19 vaccine, this is the spot for you. NPR reports that President Joe Biden has just announced that the eligible time for adults will be April 19th. Overall, the country is averaging 3.1 million shots per day over a week-long period (Treisman), and 18.8% of the US population is fully vaccinated with 32.4% having at least one dose (Carlsen). 


I will be keeping you updated with more news of Mr. Cahuvin’s Trial, the responses and ramifications of Arkansas’ new bill, the COVID-19 vaccine, and more. Make sure to stay on top of the weekly news!

Works Cited


Carlsen, Audrey, et al. “How Is The COVID-19 Vaccination Campaign Going In Your State?” NPR, NPR, 5 Apr. 2021, www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2021/01/28/960901166/how-is-the-covid-19-vaccination-campaign-going-in-your-state.

“George Floyd Death: Chauvin ‘Trained to Stay Away from Neck’.” BBC News, BBC, 6 Apr. 2021, www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-56653065.

Romo, Vanessa. “Arkansas Governor Vetoes Ban On Gender-Affirming Care For Trans Youth.” NPR, NPR, 5 Apr. 2021, www.npr.org/2021/04/05/984555637/arkansas-governor-vetoes-anti-transgender-treatment-ban-for-minors.

Treisman, Rachel. “Biden To Say All Adults Should Be Vaccine Eligible By April 19.” NPR, NPR, 6 Apr. 2021, www.npr.org/sections/coronavirus-live-updates/2021/04/06/984745020/biden-will-direct-states-to-make-all-adults-vaccine-eligible-by-april-19.

Yurcaba, Jo, and The Associated Press. “Arkansas Legislators Override Veto, Enact Transgender Youth Treatment Ban.” NBCNews.com, NBCUniversal News Group, 6 Apr. 2021, www.nbcnews.com/feature/nbc-out/arkansas-lawmakers-enact-transgender-youth-treatment-ban-n1263197.