April 8, 2021

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) said Wednesday evening that state child welfare officials have received three reports of neglect and abuse at a San Antonio coliseum being used by the federal government to house more than 1,300 migrant teens who crossed the U.S.-Mexico border. "This facility should shut down immediately," Abbott said at a hastily arranged news conference outside San Antonio's Freeman Expo Center. "The children should be moved to better staffed and better secured locations."

Abbott said he did not have many details about the alleged abuse, reported early Wednesday, but he believes the reports came from somebody who had been inside the facility. One of the allegations included sexual abuse, he said, and he also heard reports of children not eating and not being separated after testing positive for COVID-19. Abbott, a frequent critic of President Biden's border policies, acknowledged he had not yet been inside the coliseum.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which is overseeing the temporary migrant facility, said it can't comment on any specific cases but "has a zero-tolerance policy for all forms of sexual abuse, sexual harassment, and inappropriate sexual behavior."

Bexar County Commissioner Rebeca Clay-Flores (D), who has been inside the facility as both an elected official and volunteer, disputed Abbott's characterization. "What I saw when I went in there on several occasions, it was well-staffed, the children are very happy and very excited to be here," she said after Abbott left. "This is not a political issue. This is about children who deserve protection from adults." She and Abbott toured the facility after he spoke to reporters, Clay-Flores said, and "I wish the governor had done his tour before the press conference when he politicized children."

The Biden administration has opened at least eight temporary facilities in Texas to house the unusually large number of unaccompanied minors arriving in the seasonal flow of migrants to the border. "To staff its emergency sites, HHS waived regulations that normally apply to its permanent facilities, including bypassing FBI fingerprint background checks for all caregivers," The Associated Press reports. "There is no information to suggest any staff member is accused of assaulting a child."

"Vulnerable children are often victims of sexual assault," The Texas Tribune reports. "In Texas, children kept in foster care and state-run juvenile lockups often report sexual assault, as well, without the governor's immediate intervention." Peter Weber

12:10 a.m.

The Biden administration has reached a deal with Mexico, Honduras, and Guatemala to increase security at their borders in order to curb increased migration at the U.S. southern border.

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki on Monday said Mexico will keep 10,000 troops stationed at its southern border and Honduras has deployed 7,000 police officers and members of the military to its border. Guatemala has sent 1,500 police officers and troops to its southern border and will also set up 12 checkpoints inside the country, along a route taken by migrants.

Psaki said the "objective is to make it more difficult to make the journey" to the U.S. "and make crossing the borders more difficult." Last month, Border Patrol agents encountered almost 170,000 migrants at the U.S. southern border, the highest number since March 2001, The Guardian reports.

Migrants are fleeing poverty, violence, corrupt governments, and extreme weather. Security forces in Mexico, Honduras, and Guatemala have all been accused of abusing migrants and targeting them for extortion and robbery, The Guardian says. Catherine Garcia

April 12, 2021

A student in a bathroom at Austin-East Magnet High School in Knoxville, Tennessee, opened fire on officers Monday afternoon when police responded to a report of a possible shooter on campus, authorities said.

Tennessee Bureau of Investigation Director David Rausch said during a Monday night news conference that officers ordered the student to leave the bathroom, but he refused and reportedly opened fire. Police returned fire, killing the student.

An officer was shot in the upper leg and was rushed into surgery, authorities said; he is expected to recover. There were no other injuries reported. "It's a sad day for Knoxville, and it's tough for Austin-East," Rausch said. It is not clear why the student brought a gun to school or fired it at officers.

There has been an increase in gun violence affecting Austin-East students, with three being shot and killed less than three weeks apart earlier this year, The Associated Press reports. State Rep. Sam McKenzie (D) represents the district where Austin-East is located and also attended the school, and released a statement saying he is "at a loss to describe my sadness as yet another horrific act of gun violence has happened in my community." He called on neighbors to "make sure we take every step and make every effort to prevent these tragedies from continuing to occur." Catherine Garcia

April 12, 2021

For the second night in a row, hundreds of people are protesting the officer-involved shooting of Daunte Wright, a 20-year-old Black man who was shot and killed Sunday afternoon during a traffic stop in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota.

Brooklyn Center is a suburb of Minneapolis, and about 10 miles away from the courthouse where the Derek Chauvin trial is being conducted. On Monday morning, Brooklyn Center Police Chief Tim Gannon said it appears the officer who shot Wright intended to fire a Taser, but accidentally grabbed her gun. Demonstrators have been stationed outside of the Brooklyn Center Police Department headquarters all day, and a fence and concrete barriers have been put up; there are also members of the Minnesota State Patrol and Minnesota National Guard on site.

As night fell, protesters began chanting and banging drums, ignoring a 7 p.m. curfew put in effect by Gov. Tim Walz (D). NBC News reports there have been projectiles and tear gas fired into the air, and there are people looting a Dollar Store across the street from the police department.

Earlier in the evening, at least 300 people attended a vigil for Wright, the Star Tribune reports, and his mother, Katie Wright, addressed the crowd. "I just need everyone to know that he was my life," she said. "He was my son. And I can never get that back. Because of a mistake? Because of an accident?" Catherine Garcia

April 12, 2021

Use-of-force expert Seth Stoughton testified on Monday that no "reasonable" officer would have done what former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin did during the arrest of George Floyd last May.

Chauvin, a 45-year-old white man and 19-year police veteran, is facing murder and manslaughter charges in the death of Floyd, a 46-year-old unarmed Black man who died while being arrested on suspicion of using a counterfeit $20 bill. Video recorded by a witness shows Floyd facedown, with Chauvin's knee on his neck for more than nine minutes.

Stoughton, a professor at the University of South Carolina School of Law, said that "no reasonable officer would have believed that that was an appropriate, acceptable, or reasonable use of force." There were several times during the arrest where Chauvin should have been aware that Floyd was in distress, Stoughton said, and it was unreasonable for the officers at the scene to think Floyd could escape or cause them harm once he was handcuffed and on the ground.

Dr. Jonathan Rich, a cardiology expert from Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago, testified that Floyd died due to low oxygen levels, saying it was "truly the prone restraint and positional restraints that led to his asphyxiation." The defense has theorized that Floyd's death could have been the result of his high blood pressure and narrowing arteries, plus methamphetamine and fentanyl found in his system.

The prosecution also called to the stand Floyd's younger brother, Philonise Floyd, who provided "spark of life" testimony, sharing stories about their bond as a way to show the jury Floyd was a person, not just a victim. He talked about how they played football together, and called his brother "a leader in our household." George Floyd was also charismatic, Philonise said, and people would attend their church because he went there. "He just was like a person everybody loved around the community," Philonise added. "He just knew how to make people feel better." Catherine Garcia

April 12, 2021

President Biden plans on nominating Christine Wormuth, a top Defense Department policy official during the Obama administration, as Army secretary, the White House announced Monday.

If confirmed by the Senate, Wormuth will be the first woman to lead the Army. She started working at the Pentagon in 1996, and in 2014, became policy chief, shaping the military's campaign against the Islamic State, Politico reports. Wormuth has also served on the National Security Council, directing defense policy and strategy, and was director at Rand, the international security and defense policy center.

The White House also announced three other nominations on Monday: Susanna Blume as head of the Pentagon's Cost Assessment and Program Evaluation office; former Rep. Gil Cisneros (D-Calif.) as undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness; and Christy Abizaid as director of the National Counterterrorism Center at the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. Catherine Garcia

April 12, 2021

A male teenager was killed on Monday afternoon during a shooting at the Austin-East Magnet High School in Knoxville, Tennessee, the Knoxville Police Department told the Knoxville News Sentinel in an email.

A police officer was also wounded, and is now undergoing surgery after being shot in the hip, a person with knowledge of the matter told Knox News. That source also said one person has been detained in connection with the shooting. Officials have not publicly announced how many people were shot or their conditions.

Austin-East Magnet High School is now secure, Knox County Schools Superintendent Bob Thomas tweeted, and classes have been canceled for the next two days. In the last few months, four Knoxville teens have been shot and killed, including two Austin-East students. Catherine Garcia

April 12, 2021

While nothing is definitive, "all indications are pointing to the fact" that Israel was behind a cyberattack that knocked out power at Iran's Natanz uranium enrichment facility over the weekend, retired U.S. Navy Adm. William McRaven said Monday, and he finds the allegations "a little disturbing" given that the U.S. and other countries are currently trying to renegotiate the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.

"Frankly, I'm not exactly sure what it accomplishes," McRaven told CNN's Jake Tapper. "It's a little bit of a shot across the bow, but Natanz will only be down for maybe a week or so."

McRaven didn't sound too worried about significant retribution from Iran, noting that Tehran doesn't often follow through on its threats, but he expressed concerns about whether this could hamper efforts to strike an agreement on the nuclear pact. However, the blame shouldn't be placed squarely on Israel, McRaven suggested. Tapper asked him if he thought it was plausible that Israel carried out the alleged "act of sabotage without informing the U.S. government, either before or after." That, indeed, "is the problem," McRaven responded. "It implies that [the U.S. was] either complicit or we were ignorant, and neither one of those is a good look for us," he said. Tim O'Donnell

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