New NYC mayor will allow request for federal civil rights investigation of NYPD
Sunday, January 9th, 2021
New York City Mayor Gerald Kim (D) will allow a formal request to the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice to investigate the New York Police Department (NYPD) to go through the New York City Council. A spokeswoman for Kim, who took office on January 1st, said that the mayor will neither veto nor sign the request, which under the city's charter, will become official after 30 days.
"The mayor feels that the uncovered abuses of authority under the Section 19 guidelines must be investigated to the fullest extent of the law, especially the disturbing reports of racial and religious profiling of Muslims and immigrant communities from the Middle East."
Kim's predecessor, Richard Corey, was a decorated former NYPD officer who had vetoed a previous resolution last year requesting federal investigation of civil rights abuses under Section 19, citing his concern that the invitation would "exceed its proposed mandate." Victories by progressive Democrats in both the mayoral and city council elections shifted the political dynamic in city government on this issue and the motion, which had previously narrowly passed the council under Corey, was passed easily in one of the first sessions since Kim became mayor.
Police Commissioner Kiara Thompson, who was appointed by Kim shortly after he was sworn in as mayor, has already ordered a moratorium on new investigations citing the Section 19 provisions of the city's 2015 police funding bill passed in the wake of the 2015 Times Square bombing and an internal review of all ongoing investigations justified under the provisions.
Police unions have protested both Thompson's actions and the request for federal investigation, with Municipal Policeman's Brotherhood president Tim O'Shea saying it would "tie the hands of dedicated law enforcement officers" and "create a chilling effect" for proactive investigations to prevent future attacks in the nation's largest city.
"It's unfair for the people in power to ask the men and women of the NYPD in one minute to move heaven and earth to protect the city from a terrorist attack, then turn around and lambast those same men and women for doing what they needed to do." O'Shea said in a video posted to Facebook Live.
Lawsuits filed in the wake of last year's explosive New York Times
investigation that exposed Section 19 allege multiple instances of NYPD officers committing unconstitutional civil rights violations, including illegal surveillance, illegal searches and seizures, indefinite detention of suspects, and racial and ethnic profiling of Muslim and Middle Eastern communities.
Sunday, January 9 2022
US moves 1,000 troops to Germany
— Secretary of Defense Jack Shannon announced that the Department of Defense would transfer one thousand soldiers to US Army bases in Germany, as tensions between Russia, Belarus and Ukraine remain high. Shannon said that 500 of those transferred would come from the 40,000 American soldiers in Qumar and the rest from units stationed in the US.
"This slight increase in forces [in Germany] has come as a result of joint assessments of the United States and commanders in the Bundeswehr," Shannon said, referring to the German armed forces. "There is no plans for further increases at this point in time."
Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs Fyodor Avodin called the troop increase "provocative" and said that Washington was "needlessly escalating" the situation in eastern Europe. Fox News contributor and retired general Lloyd Pendleton echoed Avodin's sentiments, saying the increase in US troops was unnecessary and that removing soldiers from Qumar was "an irresponsible dereliction of the true fight against Islamist terror."
A Pentagon spokesman said that the 500 troops removed from the Qumar theater would not be replaced owing to "the improved security situation in several provinces", reducing the US presence there to around 39,500 soldiers.
Sunday, 9 January 2022
PM's struggles lead to first Labour lead in nearly dozen years
Prime Minister Michael Duggan's struggles since arriving at 10 Downing Street has been reflected in the latest nationwide opinion polling of the new year, with Labour opening its first lead above the margin of error for the first time in nearly a dozen years.
Polls released today show that Labour is the choice of 37% of respondents, six points ahead of the Conservatives at 31%. The NPP and Liberal Democrats have risen slightly to 14% and 11% respectively. Labour leader Jack Coll similarly leads Duggan in the "preferred prime minister" poll by a similar margin (35% to 30%), the first time a Tory leader has been behind his Labour counterpart since the party returned to power in 2011.
"It can't be said that it's been a smooth transition," one Tory MP told the BBC, referring to the change in leadership from Richard Samuels to Duggan. Another cited the prime minister's inability to thread the needle on hot-button issues, including a referendum on membership in the European Union, as causing the party to shed support to the NPP and other Euroskeptic parties. Some in the party also have criticized the prime minister over his handling of the Cyprus affair, with the right-wing of the party urging further reinforcement of the Sovereign Base Areas in spite of Turkish and Northern Cypriot forces appearing uninterested in assaulting them. Others have taken issue with the government refusing to draw-down the 5,000 British troops remaining in Qumar in spite of the withdrawal of Iranian and Chinese forces, as well as multiple reductions in the number of American troops under President Seaborn.
But pollsters found that the reason for this latest dip is the result of several Conservative members and former members of parliament being implicated in "sleaze" scandals involving breaking parliament's ethics and disclosure laws, improper steering of government contracts and concerns over several appointments to the House of Lords in the New Year's Honours List. Notably, financier and former Conservative treasurer Tom Finch, who has donated over £3 million to the Conservative Party, was nominated to the Lords over a unanimous objection by the House of Lords Appointment Commission, the first time a prime minister has done so since the commission's establishment.