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Rayshard Brooks: Felony Murder

Abled.ISSUES: Police mug shots of Atlanta Police Department Officers Garret Rolfe and Devin Brosnan.

The Atlanta Police Officer who shot Rayshard Brooks twice in the back has been charged with felony murder, while the second of three officers on the scene has been charged with aggravated assault and has agreed to be a State’s witness.

11 Charges Against Rolfe

Former Atlanta Police Department Officer Garrett Rolfe is now facing a total of 11 charges, including felony murder, in the death of Rayshard Brooks at a Wendy’s parking lot in the city last week.

“I got him.”

Officer Devin Brosnan, who was also on scene, faces three charges. The decision comes just five days after Mr. Brooks was hit twice in the back after then-Officer Rolfe fired three shots as the suspect attempted to flee after firing a taser gun grabbed from one of the officers at them after he resisted arrest following a failed DUI test.

Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard said that after shooting Mr. Brooks, “Officer Rolfe said “I got him” and kicked him, and Officer Brosnan then stood on Brooks’ shoulder. The officers did not provide medical aid to Brooks for more than two minutes after he was shot.”

Rolfe was fired and Brosnan was placed on administrative duty in the wake of the shooting.

Three of the counts against Rolfe are for aggravated assault related to a bullet he fired that hit an occupied vehicle nearby in the Wendy’s lot. Brosnan’s three charges include two counts of violations of oath of office.

Brosnan turns State’s witness.

D.A. Howard said, “I don’t remember a circumstance where we had an officer, particularly in a case this important, to step forward and say that they would cooperate with the state.”

Arrest warrants have been issued for the two and they were asked to surrender by Thursday. With the felony murder charge, Rolfe could face the death penalty if convicted.

 

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TOP ISSUE

8:46

It has become a global mantra for people around the world in both protests and in silence.

For 8 minutes and 46 seconds, former Minneapolis Police officer Derek Chauvin held George Floyd on the street pavement in what’s called a “carotid restraint hold”.

Although video logs and the time stamps in the formal charging documents against Chauvin add up closer to 7:46, it doesn’t change the fact that the hold proved fatal for George Floyd and ignited a global firestorm of protests against systemic racism and police brutality.

Although fentanyl and methamphetamine were found in the system of George Floyd during an autopsy, and revelations of his past drug use and his role in an armed home invasion, it also doesn’t change the fact that he has become a global martyr for every black person who has been racially profiled, discriminated against, or become the victim of excessive force by police.

In the words of his 6 year-old daughter Gianna (Gigi) Floyd, “Daddy changed the world”.

Social Introspection:

As the aftershocks of this ‘social earthquake’ reverberate around this world, the introspection many people discovered during the COVID-19 lockdowns has now evolved into a social introspection that won’t tolerate any tone-deaf postings by celebrities or politicians.

It also won’t tolerate amplified police or military tactics that ramped-up as peaceful daytime protests degenerated into arson, looting and violence at night, calling out both the opportunistic anarchists and looters who have tried to hijack a movement, and the police forces that have responded with excessive force against peaceful protestors.

The wave of outrage simply becomes larger and the voices louder as they fill the streets in pursuit of change.

Social Discourse Hub:

We have curated a number of videos below as this social and physical discourse evolves to consolidate the many events and issues together in a hub that provides additional and important context to these events.

It will be an ongoing and organic collection of data, ideas, and potentially challenging views and we’ll be delving into the societal parallels of generationally handed-down systemic racism, discrimination, inequality and marginalization that has not only held back African American people, but also indigenous Americans, and many other minorities – not the least of whom are people with disabilities.

A good place to delve into how racism and ableism intertwine and interact to generate unique forms of inequality and resistance would be in an article by Angela Frederick and Dara Shifrer published at ResearchGate.net.

If “a change gonna come” it has to be an elevation of our communal respect for, and value of, each other – especially those whose voices have fallen on deaf ears.

As Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said in one of the videos we’ve curated below,”riots are the language of the unheard”, not as a justification of them but, rather, as a way of saying to us that we all have to improve our ability to listen, to learn, and to effect positive change.

We hope our small contribution can be a stepping stone in that process.

 

 

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Racism: George Floyd

Abled.Issues: Human Rights: Composite photo of protestor holding up a printed image of George Floyd with the text "Rest in power - George Floyd", while an additional photo shows protestors 'taking a knee in front of a line of police officers dressed in riot gear.

Systemic racism, human rights, and police brutality are issues that have now been catapulted to the top of social dialogue and action around the world in the wake of George Floyd’s death while in police custody. Is “a change gonna come“?

Transcript of Timeline

As like many other traditional news broadcasters and other content outlets, the following video contains only background music for the video and text seen onscreen, rendering it inaccessible for blind and low vision people.

Here is a transcript we’ve compiled of this video timeline of the events following the death of George Floyd in police custody in Minneapolis.

May 25, 8:24 pm:

George Floyd appears unconscious. Split-screen video shows Minneapolis Police officer Derek Chauvin kneeling on Floyd’s neck at the right rear side of a police SUV.

May 25, 9:25 pm:

After telling the officers at least 16 times that he can’t breathe, George Floyd is pronounced dead. Close-up video shows the officer’s knee on Mr. Floyd’s neck as he pleads “I can’t breathe”. Later that night a video emerges on social media showing the police officer Derek Chauvin, pinning Floyd to the ground while he pleads for his life.

May 26:

The four officers involved in Floyd’s death are fired. Demonstrators gather at the site of Floyd’s arrest. The first night of protests in Minneapolis begins. Police fire bean-bag rounds and tear gas at protestors.

May 27:

Protests spread to other cities. A police cruiser is seen driving through a crowd of protestors on a freeway. Peaceful demonstrations in Minneapolis turn violent. Protestors set Minneapolis Police station on fire.

May 28:

Minnesota Governor signs an executive order activating the National Guard. Police attack journalists covering protests across the country, with multiple arrests and injuries reported.

May 29:

Officer seen in the video kneeling on Floyd’s neck charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. Cities begin to impose curfews. President Donald Trump sparks controversy with a tweet saying “When the looting starts, the shooting starts”.

May 30:

Protests reach the doorsteps of the White House. Nightime photo shows protestors and police outside the front gates of the White House in Washington, D.C. Police use tear gas, rubber bullets to disperse protestors.

May 31:

Attacks on journalists covering the protests continue. Video of  officer armed with rubber bullet gun approaches media video camera pointing downward.

June 1:

Two autopsy results show George Floyd’s death was a homicide. Photo shows urban protestors just before dusk carrying sides reading ” Who will protect us from racist cops; Police don’t have authority to kill minorities”. Both carry the hashtag Black Live Matter. A third sign reads “Jail for all killer cops”. Trump threatens to send in the military to quell the protests.

Protests for George Floyd go global. Split-screen photos show people marching in different cities, including protestors raising their fists in a black power salute. A cartoon of Donald Trump says “End White Supremacy”. A line drawing of George Floyd says “Rest in Power, Say His Name”, while a sign during a night time protest reads “White silence is violence”.

June 2:

Civil rights charge filed against Minneapolis Police. Police crack down on protestors using pepper spray, tear gas and stun grenades. Mass arrests of protestors defying curfew.

June 3:

Three more officers involved in George Floyd’s death are charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder. Chauvin charge upgraded to second-degree murder. tens of thousands attend a memorial for George Floyd in his hometown of Houston, including his wife and daughter.

Death toll from protests in the US reaches 11. Arrests at protests for George Floyd reach 10,000. People in countries around the world march in memory of George Floyd.

June 4:

George Floyd Memorial service held in Minneapolis. Photo shows the Reverend Al Sharpton delivering a eulogy at the church pulpit and emphasizing a point with his index finger while wearing a black glove.

Protests over George Floyd’s death continue.

End of video shows the logo of TRT World. TRT is a Turkish public broadcast service.

 

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RELATED STORIES

Again . . . :  Rayshard Brooks

Abled.Issues: Composite photo showing a police photo of Atlanta Police Department officer Garrett Rolfe who is white, beside a video frame of two white police officers attempting to restrain black suspect Rayshard Brooks on the ground in a Wendy's parking lot in Atlanta.

A Wendy’s restaurant in Atlanta is torched after a Black man named Rayshard Brooks was shot and killed by a White police officer for resisting arrest and shooting a taser at them. It’s added fuel to the fire as debate rages on about police use of deadly force.

Black Lives Matter: Seattle

Abled.Issues: Video frame of protestors taking part in Seattle's March of Silence on a rainy day. People at the front carry a banner that reads "March of Silence. Louder than ever. Black lives matter."

Thousands of people joined the March of Silence in Seattle to show their support for racial justice, while the city’s Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone becomes a political flashpoint between local officials and U.S. President Donald Trump. Learn more below.

Silent In Seattle

Two and a half weeks on from the death of George Floyd in police custody in Minneapolis, protest marches against police brutality and systemic racism don’t show any signs of slowing down.

In Seattle, local Black Lives Matter organizers figure about 60 thousand people participated in the March of Silence on Friday, June 12, as people walked almost two miles between two local parks.

The organizers had called for a statewide action, and said thousands more marched in cities throughout Washington State.

 

“Let our silence speak volumes”

Ebony Miranda is the chair of Black Lives Matter Seattle-King County, and told participants, “The world is watching. Let our silence speak volumes.”

The organization has failed a lawsuit against Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkin and Chief Carmen Best of the Seattle Police Department accusing police of using excessive force on protestors since the first demonstrations erupted in Seattle two weeks ago.

They have also demanded that $100 million dollars be cut from the Police Department’s budget, the closure of a new youth detention center, ending cash bail statewide and the declaration that racism is a public health crisis.

 

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Policing: Breonna’s Law Passes

Abled.Issues: Family photo of Breonna Taylor in uniform and holding a bouquet of flowers as the EMT first responder receives an award with the seal of the city of Louisville, Kentucky and the U.S., state and city flags behind her.

Breonna Taylor lived for saving lives as an EMT first responder in Louisville, Kentucky. Her mother now hopes that a new law named for her daughter will continue her legacy of saving lives, even in death. Learn more about “Breonna’s Law” below.

What Is "Breonna's Law"?

Members of the Louisville, Kentucky gave themselves a standing ovation on the night of Thursday, June 11, after they voted unanimously to pass what has come to be known as “Breonna’s Law”.

It’s an ordinance that bans the issuing of so-called “no-knock” search warrants in the city. It’s named for Breonna because she was shot eight times in what is widely seen as a botched police raid at her apartment.

 

Why would police shoot a 26 year-old award-winning EMT first responder?

It wasn’t Breonna they were after.

Three Louisville police officers, Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly and officers Brett Hankison and Myles Cosgrove, were attempting to serve a no-knock search warrant just before 1 a.m. on March 13 this year as part of a drug investigation. They believed the address was where an arrested suspect picked up drugs. None were found in the home.

The officers involved claim they knocked repeatedly and declared their presence, Crime scene photos show police used a battering ram to enter the apartment.

Breonna was in bed, sleeping. Her boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, who was a registered gun owner, thought a robbery was in progress and called 9-1-1 because the officers were dressed in plainclothes. He fired one shot, hitting officer Mattingly in the thigh.

The officers returned fire, allegedly shooting as many as 20 shots that scattered throughout the apartment and a neighboring unit where it’s reported a pregnant mother lived with her 5 year-old child.

At least eight of the bullets struck Breonna.

 

Mostly empty Incident Report

A police Incident Report filed the day of the shooting sparked additional outrage in the community for being mostly blank, and listed “None” under Breonna’s injuries, as well as other innaccuracies or omissions. It was only released yesterday, three months after her death.

Also, there is no video available of the incident despite a lawsuit by Breonna’s family claiming that some of the officers involved were previously issued body cameras.

This, and the fact that the officers involved have not been suspended, fired or charged, triggered local protests. They have been placed on “administrative reassignment”.

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer tweeted this reaction to the released report: “This is unacceptable. Full stop. It’s issues like these that erode public confidence in @LMPD’s ability to do its job, and that’s why I’ve ordered an external top-to-bottom review of the department.”

The Mayor says he can’t legally fire the officers involved until the investigation is completed.

 

“Breonna’s Law”

As a result of the growing outrage over the incident, especially in the wake of George Floyd’s death in police custody, the Louisville Metro Council passed an ordinance banning no-knock search warrants.

The ordinance also requires that any officer serving a search warrant must wear a body camera and must activate the cameras at least five minutes before the warrant is actioned and they must not turn it off until at least five minutes after it has concluded.

Before the vote, Breonna’s mother, Tamika Palmer, told the council that “all her daughter wanted to do was save lives. So it’s important this law passes, because with that, she’ll get to continue to do that, even in her death.”

And so it did. And so she does.

 

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Apology: Politicizing The Military

Abled.Issues: Photo of the Chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Miller wearing his Army uniform while holding a virtual conference.

Top U.S. Military official walks back decision to wear combat fatigues during President Trump’s infamous bible photo-op walk in Lafayette Park. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Mark Milley apologizes in a virtual Commencement address.

Politics: De-Militarized Zone

The reflection and remorse that has been spreading throughout the world in response to the global George Floyd protests has now reached the top of the U.S. Armed Forces.

General Mark Milley, Chairman of the Join Chiefs of Staff has apologized for his decision to wear combat fatigues and accompany the Presidential entourage as Donald Trump and his aides walked through Lafayette Park in Washington for the Commander-In-Chief’s infamous photo-op holding a bible in front of St. John’s Church.

Peaceful protestors had been forcibly removed from the area prior to the walk. General Milley’s remarks came after substantial blowback from the public and former top military officials, including former Defense Secretary General  John Mattis who warned against politicizing the military.

Wrong perception:

In a virtual Commencement Address to graduating military and civilian students at the National Defense University, General Milley admitted he shouldn’t have been part of the occasion, saying: “My presence in that moment and in that environment created an impression of the military involved in domestic politics.”

The General added: “As a commissioned uniformed officer, it was a mistake that I have learned from and I sincerely hope we can all learn from it.”

 

“Long shadow of original sin”:

The Joint Chiefs Chairman also addressed the events of the past two weeks as “an intense and trying time for America”: “I am outraged by the senseless and brutal killing of George Floyd. His death amplified the pain, the frustration, and the fear that so many of our fellow Americans live with day in, day out. The protests that have ensued not only speak to his killing but also to the centuries of injustice towards African Americans.

What we are seeing is the long shadow of our original sin in Jamestown 401 yeras ago, liberated by the Civil War but not equal in the eyes of the law until 100 years later until 1965. We are still struggling with racism. We have much work to do.”

 

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RIGHTS ISSUES

Rights: The Right To Live

Alabama residents (above) Susan Ellis and her son Matthew Foster, who has Down syndrome, worry he could be last in line for a ventilator if he gets severe COVID-19 infection. Advocates say half of states have policies that are discriminatory, including “do not resuscitate” orders for some patients.

No Ventilators For Disabled?

With hospitals across the U.S. running low or running out of available ventilators, as well as last-resort drug supplies, the prospect of making hard choices about who gets treated for COVID-19 infection and who doesn’t is raising real fears among disability rights groups.

So much so, that several have filed civil rights complaints with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office for Civil Rights. They claim that plans or proposals to ration ventilator access in Alabama and Washington State will discriminate against disabled Americans, violating their rights and putting their lives at risk.

Ivanova Smith, who has an intellectual disability, is one of the people making a complaint. She told NPR, “There’s been a long history of people with intellectual, development mental disabilities having our medical care denied.”

“Because we’re not seen as valuable,” she said. “We’re not seen as productive or needed. When that’s not true.”

Alabama’s Emergency Operations Plan , also a subject of a complaint, focuses on managing access to ventilators during an event that the governor deems a public health crisis.

The protocol lists several health conditions for which providers should “not offer mechanical ventilator support,” including heart failure, respiratory failure and metastatic cancer. It also says “persons with severe mental retardation, advanced dementia or severe traumatic brain injury may be poor candidates for ventilator support.”

The complaint by the Alabama Disabilities Advocacy Program and The ARC of the United States claims this policy discriminates against people with intellectual and cognitive disabilities in violation of federal laws, including the Americans with Disabilities Act.

James Tucker, director of the Alabama Disabilities Advocacy Program, said in a press release, “In this time of crisis, we cannot devalue the lives of others in our community based on their disabilities. It’s morally wrong, and it violates the law.”

Health officials say the trigger for rationing care, or invoking what are known as “crisis standards,” will be when there are more COVID-19 patients than ventilators.

The Center for Public Integrity has taken an in-depth look at these issues, published in partnership with the Daily Beast.

Reporter Liz Essley Whyte points out that “policies in 25 states would ration care in ways disability advocates have denounced. The remaining 20 states either have not established rationing policies or did not release them.

Doctors and medical ethics experts say these states need to have policies in place now, before coronavirus cases peak, and should not cloak them in secrecy.

Expecting doctors to make heart-rending decisions on who lives and who dies, experts say, runs the risk that they will lean on personal biases and stereotypes, even unwittingly.”

Dr. Tia Powell, a physician and bioethicist, helped to write a 255 page document of voluntary guidelines for hospitals in 2015 as part of New York State’s Task Force on Life and Law. In the 6th video below, she tells Vice News that she agrees that the decision of who gets a ventilator and who doesn’t shouldn’t be left to doctors.

UPDATE:

In response to the complaints, the State of Alabama is withdrawing its ventilator rationing policy and instructing hospitals that they cannot discriminate against people with disabilities in accessing treatment.

 

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Rights: Safety On The Frontline

Frontline doctors, nurses and other health care staff are being disciplined, suspended or fired for refusing to treat COVID-19 patients unless they are given proper PPE (Personal Protective Equipment). Should they even have to choose between duty to their patients and their own personal safety?

Protecting Our Heroes

How many frontline healthcare workers across the United States have died because of exposure to the SARS-CoV2 coronavirus while treating COVID-19 patients?

Nobody knows. At least not in an accurate way.

Last week, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) put the number at 27, out of an estimated 9,200 healthcare workers who’ve tested positive for infection.

But the numbers come from a small collection of test results, and health officials admit they have no centralized, coordinated way to track healthcare fatalities from the pandemic.

The best they can do is give an estimate based on more comprehensive tracking by some states of the occupations of people who test positive, and about 11% of those are healthcare workers.

More and more doctors and nurses on the frontlines are speaking out about their fears and frustrations of being vulnerable to potentially fatal infection because of the dwindling or non-existent amounts of PPE (Personal Protective Equipment).

Some are being reprimanded, suspended, and in some cases – fired for refusing to treat COVID-19 patients if they don’t have access to proper PPE, especially N95 respirator masks which are said to block about 95% of the small virus particles that become airborne when a patient coughs or sneezes.

The nurses say they are being forced to use surgical masks which won’t provide the same level of protection, or nothing at all. And in both cases, there are no guarantees they will prevent viral infection.

Much of this is based on guidance from the CDC. Janelle Griffith of NBC News reports on what that guidance is, and how it’s forcing more nurses across the country to protest what they call unsafe working conditions.

And The Guardian newspaper in London is collaborating with Kaiser Health News on a special series “Lost On The Frontline” as it chronicles the tragic cases of America’s healthcare workers who are dying on the frontlines.

The project aims to document the life of every health care worker in America who dies from COVID-19. If you have a colleague or loved one you think they should include, please share their story.

GetUsPPE is a grassroots coalition of volunteers mobilized to address the PPE shortage and get healthcare heroes the protection they need.

Click here if you need PPE. Click here if you have PPE to donate.
 

 

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Rights: Food Workers’ Safety

Abled.Issues: Photos of workers standing side by side on processing lines in a poultry plant.

Meat processing plants have become bigger hotspots than nursing homes for COVID-19 infection because of close-quarters working conditions. And with U.S. President Donald Trump invoking a Korean War – era law to re-open closed plants, will workers return and will protections be enough?

Worker Safety vs Food Supply

COVID-19 infection is forcing a poultry processing plant in Delaware to kill up to 2 million chickens on farms because too many workers are off sick. The Allen Harim plant is down to 50% capacity.

It says it is forced to “depopulate” chicken flocks in the field, which is industry-speak for killing birds without sending them to market. The company has also reduced the number of eggs and chicks placed with its growers on the farms.

The company’s Director of Live Operations, Michele V. Minton, said in a letter to Growers, “We are no longer able to harvest the amount of birds needed daily or weekly to maintain target weights and ages.”

The news comes as other meat processing plants close, dairy farmers are forced to dump milk, vegetable farms are forced to plow crops under, all because of a combination of reduced demand from restaurant closures and reduced staffing because of coronavirus infection.

Journalist Jessica Lussenhop has just done an in-depth report for BBC News that’s worth a read: Coronavirus at Smithfield pork plant: The untold story of America’s biggest outbreak.

**UPDATE:

And this week comes a special report from USA Today and the Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting that finds over 150 of the largest meat packing plants in the U.S. are operating in counties with C19 infection rates 75% higher than other counties in the country.

The result? At least 2,200 workers at 48 plants have tested positive for COVID-19 infection. 17 have died, forcing the closure of at least 17 plants.

This angers, but doesn’t surprise workers, unions and managers who have long complained about poor working conditions and lax safety standards along overcrowded assembly lines that are allowed to run too fast.

All this has already impacted output – beef production is down 19% from this time last year, although some industry analysts say that the typical 2.5 billion pounds of meat and poultry housed tin commercial freezers as they move along the supply chain provides enough flexibility and redundancy to avoid mass shortages, others point out that’s only about one week’s supply of meat.

 

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PRIVACY ISSUES

Privacy: Contact Tracing Concerns

Abled.Issues: Illustration shows Apple and Google logo icons flanking a smartphone with an electron microscope image of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus.

Tech giants Apple and Google have partnered on developing a track and trace app to halt the spread of the SARS-CoVid-2 coronavirus. It and the traditional method are raising privacy concerns. More below and in a video from the Washington Post

Privacy Vs. Public Safety

One of the buzz phrases bandied about with increasing frequency during the evolving C19 pandemic is “contact tracing”, also called “track and trace”.

Merriam-Webster defines it as “the practice of identifying and monitoring individuals who may have had contact with an infectious person as a means of controlling the spread of a communicable disease.”

The phrase first appeared in the dictionary in 1931, and the process comes down to basic gumshoe work: find (or track) the people who are sick, get a list of people they’ve had contact with and then trace them to let them know they might be infected.

And in the case of COVID-19, ask them to quarantine for 14 days. Such an approach is supposed to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

But the scale of over 2 million cases of coronavirus infection world-wide, obliterates traditional approaches that have no hope of keeping up.

Enter modern-day technology.

While health authorities around the world have been working to build or acquire third-party apps that can achieve this, tech giants Apple and Google, whose operating systems run on the majority of smartphones, have announced they have been working together to accomplish this at global scale. 

Apple, the developer of the iOS operating system for its iPhones and iPads, and Google, the developer of the Android Operating System are looking to release an API (Application Programming Interface) by mid-May which would allow apps to run on either OS.

Phase two would see the functionality built into each OS platform so that no app would need to be downloaded by the user.

To alleviate privacy concerns, the tech giants say digital ID’s would be stored on remote servers, but could not be unmasked, with the contract-matching being de-centralized on the phones themselves.

That means someone who’s been in contact with an infected person could be advised to go into self-isolation without anyone else being notified. That’s in contrast to the traditional methods employed by public health agencies via telephone as outline in the previous video.

Still, it raises concerns about cybersecurity, and given China’s attempt to cover any tracks that point to their potential responsibility or liability in the outbreak, there’s no doubt that it’s conceivable to worry about possible government-backed hackers trying to infiltrate and disrupt the system.

BBC News has done-up a great infographic on digital contact tracing. Click on the image below to see an enlarged version.

Abled.Tech: BBC Infographic on digital contact tracing in six panels. 1. Jane and John do not know each other but chat for 10 minutes in a park. 2. Their smartphones automatically exchange an anonymous key code. 3.A few days later, John tests positive for COVID-19 and declares his status in an app. 4. With consent, John's phone sends his anonymous key code to a central database. 5. Jane's phone downloads the central database and checks for matching key codes. 6. Jane's phone alerts her that somebody she has met has tested positive.

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CURATED VIDEOS

Workers' Rights

As more states ease restrictions and allow businesses to reopen, it raises questions about what rights workers have during the coronavirus pandemic.

CBSN legal contributor Keir Dougall, a former Assistant U.S. Attorney for New York’s Eastern District, joins Anne-Marie Green and Vladimir Duthiers of CBSN to discuss the options for concerned workers.

C19 vs The Constitution

On Wednesday, April 8, Georgetown Law’s Project on State and Local Government Policy and Law (SALPAL) presented a live panel discussion – followed by Q&A – on: “COVID-19 vs. the Constitution: How Far Can Governors Go to Fight the Virus?

The race to beat back the COVID-19 pandemic has been likened to a war, and as in wartime, the powers of both the federal executive and the governors in a public health emergency are very broad.

During these early days, leaders and the general public have had little time to think about how far government can go in ignoring federalism principles and constitutional protections of individual rights.

Governors have threatened to shut their borders and sent National Guard troops to meet domestic flights at airports. Roadblocks have been set up. The president briefly floated the idea of banning travel out of the New York area.

And governors and mayors are competing with each other and FEMA to purchase vital medical and personal protective equipment.

With decisions made now setting precedent for a later date, expert panelists will review the scanty relevant case law; discuss the federal public health laws governing quarantine and travel limits; consider what powers governors have to limit individual rights and to keep nonresidents out; and explore how constitutional principles on the right to travel; privileges and immunities; and due process could be invoked.

PANELISTS:

Meryl Chertoff (moderator) – Executive Director, Georgetown Law’s Project on State and Local Government Policy and Law (SALPAL) at Georgetown

Law Esha Bhandari – Staff Attorney, ACLU Speech Privacy & Technology Project

Lawrence O. Gostin – University Professor, Faculty Director, O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law at Georgetown Law

Juliette Kayyem – Senior Belfer Lecturer in International Security, Harvard Kennedy School; former Assistant Secretary for Intergovernmental Affairs, U.S. Department of Homeland Security;

CNN National Security Analyst Jeffrey Locke – Homeland Security and Public Safety Program Director, National Governors’ Association (NGA)

Job Rights in Canada

Employment Lawyer Lior Samfiru explains what your employee rights are as businesses start to reopen across Canada during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Do employees have to return to work if their employer asks them to? What rights does an employee have if a workplace isn’t safe from COVID-19?

Can I be forced back to work if I don’t have childcare? Can my employer force me to return to a modified job? Can my employer force me to undergo a temperature check at work to determine if I have COVID-19?

What are my employment rights if I can’t work because I have come into contact with somebody who has the coronavirus?

Samfiru, an employment lawyer and partner at Samfiru Tumarkin LLP, joined Antony Robart on Global News, where he discussed various aspects of an employee’s return to work as Canada seeks to restart the economy.

 

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