Connecting state and local government leaders
STATE AND LOCAL ROUNDUP | No raises for city workers in D.C. … Shutdown Colorado restaurant sues governor … Illinois moves toward allowing Chicago casino.
The city of Minneapolis on Tuesday fired four Minneapolis police officers after a video surfaced Monday night that showed a white officer kneeling on the neck of an African American man who later died. The man, identified by his family as George Floyd, can be heard pleading with officers, saying he can’t breathe. “This abusive, excessive and inhumane use of force cost the life of a man who was being detained by the police for questioning about a nonviolent charge,” said Benjamin Crump, an attorney representing Floyd’s family. On Tuesday night, protesters marched on a police precinct, trying to keep socially distant in the street, while a smaller group vandalized the building, reports said. Officers in riot gear released tear gas into the crowd. Earlier in the day, Police Chief Medaria Arradondo said he asked for the FBI to investigate possible civil rights charges. Mayor Jacob Frey said that just looking at the video shows that race played a role in Floyd’s death. “Being black in America should not be a death sentence. For five minutes, we watched a white officer press his knee into a black man’s neck. Five minutes. When you hear someone calling for help, you’re supposed to help,” he said. The officers had detained and handcuffed Floyd as they investigated a report of somebody trying to pay with a counterfeit bill at a restaurant. Along with the federal probe, the case will be looked at by local prosecutors, said Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman. Floyd’s boss said he worked as a security guard for five years at his restaurant, describing him as a “good person” and “family,” adding that “his co-workers and friends loved him.” [Minneapolis Star Tribune; New York Times; WCCO]
DEATH BENEFITS | The families of any frontline public worker who died from the coronavirus will receive death benefits from state and local governments, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Monday, while calling on the federal government to provide hazard pay for hospital staff. "There's not a transit worker who drove a bus or conducted a train or a nurse who didn't walk into an emergency room who wasn't scared to death. They knew what we were talking about. It was enough to shut down society," he said. [Times Union]
NO RAISES UNTIL 2024 | Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser presented a budget that will prevent any layoffs of city employees, but, in exchange, the city will offer workers no raises until 2024. Barry Carey, the president of a union that represents many essential city workers said that he was disappointed, but would rather have no layoffs than work to ensure workers get raises. [WJLA]
RESTAURANT LAWSUIT | The owners of a restaurant in Colorado that reopened for dine-in services on Mother’s Day in defiance of the state’s shutdown order are now suing Gov. Jared Polis for indefinitely suspending the restaurant’s license, a move the restaurant owners call “unlawful.” The suit also takes aim at the state and local health departments for denying the owners “their livelihood and ability to operate their business.” [The Hill]
CASINO | The Illinois legislature passed a bill changing the tax structure for gambling operations in the state, potentially allowing casinos to open in Chicago. Mayor Lori Lightfoot said that the bill “makes the possibility of a financially viable Chicago casino a reality” and that a casino could be “a critical step toward shoring up our city’s pension obligations, as well as driving huge levels of infrastructure funding and fueling thousands of new jobs.” [CBS Chicago]
Laura Maggi is the managing editor of Route Fifty and Emma Coleman is the assistant editor.