‘This is murder’

Australian dollars in Sydney, Friday, Jan. 15, 2016. (AAP Image/Joel Carrett) NO ARCHIVING

Minneapolis is a city on edge. Protests and outrage are growing after police said the officer who fired a fatal bullet at a 20-year-old Black man meant to fire a Taser instead. Just several miles away, George Floyd’s brother took the stand in Derek Chauvin’s murder trial. And it’s time to cast those worldly desires aside — Ramadan is here.

👋 It’s Laura and Alex. With our powers combined, here’s Monday’s news.

But first, meet Prancer – if you dare. He’s a 2-year-old Chihuahua that sounds like a straight-up nightmare — a “haunted Victorian child in the body of a small dog that hates men and children” — but for some reason, everyone wants him after reading this brutally honest Facebook post.

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Outrage builds over death of Daunte Wright

Daunte Wright, a 20-year-old Black man, died after being shot by police during a traffic stop in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, on Sunday. His death comes as Minneapolis, 10 miles south, holds the murder trial of former police officer Derek Chauvin in the death of George Floyd last May. Here’s what we know: Footage from the incident shows two other officers approaching Wright’s car and the officer who fired the shot standing behind them. As the officer on the driver’s side of the vehicle begins to handcuff Wright, a struggle ensues and Wright appears to reenter the driver’s side of the car. The officer is heard shouting “Taser” before shooting Wright. Anger broke out at a news conference when Brooklyn Center’s police chief said the officer may have meant to fire a Taser instead of a gun. “This is murder. This is white supremacy. Who’s going to stand up for our ancestors who built this land but are still kept down?” said Jonathan Mason, a community activist.

  • Biden calls for “peace and calm” after Daunte Wright shooting sparks protests.

A vehicle is towed away from the scene where Daunte Wright was killed on April 11, 2021 in Brooklyn Center, Minn. (Photo: Stephen Maturen, Getty Images)

George Floyd’s brother, Philonise, takes the stand in Chauvin trial

A photograph of George Floyd and his mother brought Philonise Floyd to tears on the witness stand Monday as he told stories about growing up with his brother. Serving as a “spark of life” witness during the murder trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, Philonise Floyd’s words humanized the man who was killed last year. The prosecution was expected to rest its case Monday or Tuesday. 

In court Monday:

  • Seth Stoughton, a law professor and former police officer.
  • Philonise Floyd, George Floyd’s brother. “People would attend church just because he was there,” Philonise said. “He was just like a person that everybody loved in the community. He just knew how to make people feel better.”
  • Dr. Jonathan Rich, a cardiologist at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago, testified that he reviewed documents and videos and concluded Floyd died when his heart and lungs stopped working due to low oxygen levels caused by law enforcement restraint.

Last week in court: Experts and police officials testified for the prosecution about proper use of force, and medical professionals testified about how Floyd died. Prosecutors also asked experts to testify about the role of drugs found in Floyd’s system, trying to head off the defense’s argument that drugs played a key role in his death.

  • The judge in the Derek Chauvin case is orchestrating one of the nation’s most widely watched murder trials. Meet Peter Cahill.

George Floyd's younger brother, Philonise, broke down in tears after seeing a photo of his brother and mother during the Derek Chauvin trial. (Photo: COURT TV)

What everyone’s talking about

  • Roads, bridges … and caregivers? Inside Biden’s ‘radical shift’ to transform care for the elderly and disabled while redefining infrastructure. 
  • ‘Really unbelievable’: Severe storms rip through the South, leaving at least 3 dead, thousands without power in Florida.
  • The good, the bad and the ‘brother’: Ex-speaker John Boehner rates the presidents he’s known, from Nixon to Trump. 
  • Major Biden’s in the doghouse: After two biting incidents at the White House, the president’s pooch is getting additional training.

Regeneron says its cocktail helps protect against COVID infection

Regeneron’s cocktail, a combination of two drugs, offered strong protection against COVID-19 for people living with someone infected with the coronavirus per its Phase 3 trial. The treatment lessens the likelihood of infection and improves outcomes for those who do become infected, Regeneron Pharmaceuticals said in a statement. In addition, the treatment appears to be potent against emerging variants, the company said. The cocktail was given to former President Donald Trump when he became ill with the virus. The company said it will share data with the FDA and request emergency use authorization expansion to include COVID prevention for appropriate populations.

  • Look up your county’s vaccination rate: See how many people have been vaccinated for COVID-19 near you.

Real quick

  • Transgender advocates warn about risks as more states consider banning gender-affirming care for kids: ‘Children will die.’
  • A Virginia police officer accused of pepper-spraying a Black and Latino military officer during a traffic stop in December has been fired.
  • Prosecutors allege 13-year-old Adam Toledo had a gun when he was fatally shot by police as the city prepares for the release of ‘troubling video footage.’
  • A newly signed Kentucky law limits no-knock warrants more than a year after Breonna Taylor’s death.

New moon marks start of Ramadan

Casting your worldly desires aside during a pandemic has its challenges, and as the new moon rises over Mecca — Islam’s holiest city — Muslims around the world begin to officially observe the holy month of Ramadan, welcoming a retreat from human desires to focus on renewing their Iman – or faith. Ramadan is celebrated by abstaining from food, drink and sexual activity from sunrise to sunset, and typically joining in communal prayer and post-sunset feasting. After last year’s Ramadan with its pandemic-altered observances, where mosques were shuttered and community gatherings were eliminated, Muslims this year are planning another holiday of modified celebrations as COVID-19 continues to spread, even as vaccines are distributed. The month of Ramadan is dedicated to worship, charity and community, and runs from April 13 until May 12 this year.

April 11, 2021: Palestinian youths swing homemade fireworks sparklers, as people celebrate on the night ahead of the Muslim holy fasting month of Ramadan, in the Rafah camp for Palestinian refugees in the southern Gaza Strip. (Photo: MAHMUD HAMS, AFP via Getty Images)

A break from the news

  • Can’t take this pup anywhere: Meet Atlas! He’s a Great Dane from Florida who might be the world’s tallest living dog.
  • If you didn’t claim your unemployment tax break, you could be getting an automatic refund.
  • And here are 5 ways to squeeze every last penny out of your 401(k).

This is a compilation of stories from across the USA TODAY Network. Want this news roundup in your inbox every night? Sign up for The Short List newsletter here.

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