UPDATE, FRI 1 MAY: Six Baltimore police officers were charged on Friday in the death of Freddie Gray. The charges cover crimes including murder and manslaughter. CNN reports:
“The findings of our comprehensive, thorough and independent investigation coupled with the medical examiner’s determination that Mr. Gray’s death was a homicide … has led us to believe that we have probable cause to file criminal charges,” State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby told reporters from the broad steps of the downtown War Memorial.
* Full coverage from the Baltimore Sun is here
(image: Philadelphia Times-Union/AP – Protesters gathered in Philadelphia on Thursday in solidarity with Freddie Gray and the people of Baltimore)
As Baltimore entered its third night of a mandatory curfew, more details – but few conclusions – had emerged regarding the arrest and detention of Freddie Gray, the young man whose death prompted the unrest.
WBAL reports that the other man who was in the police transport van carrying Gray spoke out for the first time.
The local police department handed their initial investigation of the incident over to state prosecutors, but the force’s subsequent refusal to make further specific comment frustrated protesters who remained gathered on the streets after the 10pm deadline.
As demands for answers increase, the state’s attorney must now decide whether to bring charges against six officers involved in Mr Gray’s arrest.
Another insightful analysis by Ta-Nehisi Coates is published at The Atlantic – ‘The Clock Didn’t Start With The Riots’ in which he says:
..The fact of the matter is that the lives of black people in this city, the lives of black people in this country have been violent for a long time. Violence is how enslavement actually happened. People will think of enslavement as like a summer camp, where you just have to work, where you just go and someone gives you food and lodging, but enslavement is violence, it is torture. Torture is how it was made possible. You can’t imagine enslavement without stripping away people’s kids and putting them up for sale. And the way you did that was, you threatened people with violence. Jim Crow was enforced through violence. That was the way things that got done. You didn’t politely ask somebody not to show up and vote. You stood in front of voting booths with guns, that’s what you did. And the state backed this; it was state-backed violence.
* POLITICS * House Republicans passed the first joint House-Senate budget plan in six years. The Senate is expected to pass the non-binding resolution, which targets Obamacare, next week. Time reports:
This year, Republicans are focused mostly on finally delivering legislation to President Barack Obama that would repeal the bulk of his signature health care law. Successful action on Thursday’s budget plan would permit a health care repeal to advance through the Senate without threat of a Democratic filibuster. Obama is sure to veto the measure, which is scheduled to advance by late July.
Meanwhile, a potential nuclear deal with Iran could face another procedural hurdle after two GOP junior senators forced the scheduling of a vote on an amendment requiring Iran to recognize Israel’s right to exist as part of any agreement.
As trailed yesterday, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders declared that he would seek the Democratic nomination for President. NPR reports why Hillary Clinton is just fine with that.
Sanders’ brother Larry is also running for office this year – as a candidate for the Green Party in one of Oxford’s constituencies in Britain’s general election.
* BRITISH ELECTION *
(Daily Mail/Tomorrow’s Papers Today)
The final TV appearance by the three main party leaders before next week’s election – it wasn’t really a “debate” as they appeared on the BBC’s Question Time separately – saw some spirited questioning from the audience in Leeds. The Yorkshire Post reports:
Mr Cameron denied an audience member’s claim that he was not talking about the “moral dimension” of the issues and giving all his answers in terms of economics.
“To me, helping someone to get a job has a moral dimension. It gives them the dignity and pride that comes with work.
“Getting someone an apprenticeship, that has a moral dimension; it gives someone the chance of a career and success.
“Building a house that a young family can afford to buy and own, that has a moral dimension because it gives them a stake in the country they live in.
Both the Financial Times and The Economist both endorsed Mr Cameron, albeit with some reservations. The FT cites a “compelling case for continuity” while The Economist says:
In 2010 we endorsed David Cameron, the Tory leader, seeing in him a willingness to tackle a yawning budget deficit and an ever-expanding state. Five years on, the choice has become harder. The Tories’ Europhobia, which we regretted last time, could now do grave damage. A British exit from the EU would be a disaster, for both Britain and Europe. Labour and the Liberal Democrats are better on this score. But such is the suspicion many Britons feel towards Brussels that a referendum on Britain’s membership of the EU is probably inevitable at some point. And we believe that the argument can be won on its merits.
* MEDIA * The Pew Research Center’s latest report on the State of the News Media makes for interesting reading as always, if not being particularly shocking in its trends – smartphones up, newspapers down. The Nieman Lab writes:
“While desktop visits are still valuable to publishers — especially when it comes to time spent on the site — the number of mobile visits now outpaces desktop visits for the majority of the top 50 sites and associated apps,” the report says. That time-on-site difference is real: Visitors to 25 of the top 50 news sites spent at least 10% more time per visit than readers coming in through mobile or apps. There were just 10 sites where mobile users spent more time per visit than their desktop counterparts.
Jon Stewart interviewed New York Times reporter Judith Miller on her recent book. He exercised great restraint.
* SPORTS * In Thursday night’s NFL Draft, two quarterbacks went as the top two picks as expected. Florida State’s Jameis Winston was drafted by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers while Oregon’s Marcus Mariota went to the Tennessee Titans, despite NFL commissioner Roger Goodell’s Adele Dazeem moment.
The second round of the NHL playoffs are under way, with a dramatic last-second goal by Joel Ward giving the visiting Washington Capitals a 2-1 victory over the New York Rangers and stunning Madison Square Garden.