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Amid budget boost, Jacksonville-area Medical Examiner raises  concern

Amid budget boost, Jacksonville-area Medical Examiner raises concern

Amid budget boost, Jacksonville-area Medical Examiner raises  concern
Photo Credit: News | WFOX

Amid budget boost, Jacksonville-area Medical Examiner raises concern

The District Four Medical Examiner’s Office is one of the departments in Mayor Lenny Curry’s $1.2 billion City budget proposal that got everything they asked for, according to the Administration. 

But, despite that, the Medical Examiner is warning that the office will lose its full accreditation and move down to provisional status. That is a concern that the accrediting body itself tells WOKV may be a little premature. 

Accreditation history

District Medical Examiner Dr. Valerie Rao says the office has been here before. In order to first gain accreditation, they had to improve their facilities, which Rao says her staff did through their own muscle- painting, decorating, and more. She says they then spent a couple of years improving standard operating procedures, before finally getting fully accredited through the National Association of Medical Examiners. She says the accreditation went down to provisional, though, when the MEO faced a critical space problem, largely fueled by a spike in drug-related deaths. 

“That broke my heart, but that’s why I came to the City and said ‘Please, please we have to get that accreditation back’, and we did, once the facility was updated,” Rao told the City Council Finance Committee, as part of her office’s recent budget hearing. 

The City Council ultimately approved $206,000 for modular office space, an outdoor walk-in morgue cooler, and morgue equipment to deal with the space concerns, and Rao says they got their full accreditation back. 

Finding an interim ME

Now, Rao is preparing to resign. Initially, she was planning to leave in July, but then agreed to stay on until the end of the year. 

“The only reason I wanted to stay until the end of December was hoping that we would get the Chief, and I would walk away knowing that the office was going to be accredited,” she says. 

Rao’s resignation letter to Governor Rick Scott says she is looking forward to “family time”, leading her to leave office. Citing the will of her family, Rao has gained permission to leave at the end of this month, instead of December. As it stands, there is no interim ME that has been identified. 

“That immediately brings us back down to provisional,” Rao says. 

The District Four Medical Examiner’s Office serves Clay, Duval, and Nassau counties, as well as Columbia and Hamilton. As such, Fourth Circuit State Attorney Melissa Nelson and Third Circuit State Attorney Jeff Siegmeister have been designated to name an interim. Nelson’s Office tells WOKV that process is ongoing, but not subject to Sunshine Law, meaning it is not required to be done in the public eye. We have requested insight on a timeline for their decision, but none has been provided at this point. 

National Association of Medical Examiners Inspection and Accreditation Committee Chair Dr. Barbara Wolf tells WOKV she expects an interim will be named in close correspondence with Rao’s departure. She says NAME would not look to demote the office, as long as a board certified forensic pathologist takes over in a short period of time. If the timeline is prolonged, however, like lasting several months, then she says they would consider demotion to provisional accreditation. 

Even if the status goes to provisional, though, Wolf says that would not affect the work the MEO does or the service they’re able to provide. NAME’s Policies and Procedures Manual says provisional status can be maintained for up to a year, or potentially longer if an extension is requested, as long as certain conditions are met, including showing a good faith effort to seat a new ME. Conversion to full accreditation can be requested at any time, but there must be documentation that the deficiencies- in this case the loss of an ME and lack of an interim- have been remedied. 

NAME says accreditation with them vouches for the “quality, integrity, and credibility” of the MEO. They say it further increases credibility of courtroom testimony, networking and information exchanges, enhanced attraction to retain professional staff in a competitive market, and more. 

Permanent ME search

While the discussions on an interim take place, Nelson and Siegmeister have also assembled a Search Committee, to come up with recommendations for a new permanent Medical Examiner. That Search Committee consists of various legal, law enforcement, political, medical, and funeral home parties from across the MEO’s area of responsibility, and it meets in public. 

The Search Committee has had two meetings so far, during which they’ve discussed the challenges they expect to face with this search, according to meeting minutes posted online. Search Committee participants have discussed that there are dozens of open positions in various jurisdictions, a declining number of practicing forensic pathologists, and an increased workload because of the opioid epidemic. 

“There is not a single day we don’t get a drug-related death,” Rao says. 

To try to make the Fourth District MEO more competitive, the Search Committee boosted the ceiling on the salary range, which was initially proposed as $210,000-$300,713. According to the meeting minutes, the City has budgeted $280,000 for the position, but the Search Committee has now increased the ceiling to $343,000. 

Rules governing the Florida Medical Examiners Commission say interview packages from the candidate interview process must be assembled by the Search Committee, and submitted to the Commission within 90 days of the Search Committee being appointed. More time can be requested for this process. Then, within six months of the vacancy opening- which is September 1st in this case- the Commission must nominate one or more candidates, which could include candidates who were not put forward by the Search Committee. The Governor then makes the final decision and appointment of a District Medical Examiner. 

Other budget boosts

While those efforts are ongoing, the City is also looking at some long-term solutions for the operational and infrastructure challenges the MEO has faced. 

“There was nothing that was denied the Medical Examiner for her budget request,” says Curry’s Chief Administrative Officer Sam Mousa. 

The budget proposal, which the Finance Committee appeared to support, adds two positions and funds another that was previously unfunded. There is also more than $150,000 for a new Case Management System, and an additional 2,080 part-time hours. Additionally, the City is budgeting $153,700 for a consultant to provide services until the new ME is appointed. 

The budget additionally lays the groundwork for a new facility, in funding $500,000 in the proposed Capital Improvement Program to start programming and site selection. The current facility was built in 1968, and has since had a second story added and undergone a renovation. Even with those changes, the City says the MEO has outgrown the space- and the population only continues to grow. 

“During the past six months, the MEO has been at capacity several times for normal/workload/processing space,” says the CIP. 

The total project cost is estimated at $24.5 million. The CIP proposes borrowing $500,000 in the upcoming fiscal year for land acquisition and site prep, and more funding in the years to follow. 

“We’ve enhanced, tremendously, the Medical Examiner’s Office,” Mousa says. 

The Finance Committee has yet to closely consider the CIP projects- that comes at a later hearing. 

The City also continues to try to combat the opioid crisis through a special pilot program. While organizers say there has been success among those enrolled in the program, City Councilman Bill Gulliford pointed out that the relatively small scale means the impact isn’t on the broader community yet. The City Council is considering an expansion of that pilot program, as part of the overall City budget proposal. 

WOKV continues to work through the Mayor’s budget proposal, to see how your tax dollars are being spent. Stay with us as we learn more.

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The Latest News Headlines

  • More than 5.5 million people worldwide – including more than 1.6 million in the United States – have been infected with the new coronavirus, and the number of deaths from the outbreak continues to rise. While efforts to contain the COVID-19 outbreak continue, states have begun to shift their focus toward reopening their economies. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is tracking cases in the U.S. here. Live updates for Tuesday, May 26, continue below:  Delaware to allow for outdoor weddings, graduation ceremonies with up to 250 guests Update 1:40 p.m. EDT May 26: Gov. John Carney of Delaware announced Tuesday that he’s lifting restrictions that barred people from holding outdoor gatherings as the state looks to reopen businesses shuttered by the coronavirus pandemic. Beginning June 1, outdoor weddings, graduation ceremonies and other events with as many as 250 people attending will be allowed, Carney said. People who attend such events will be required to wear cloth face coverings and maintain social distancing of at least 6 feet. As of Monday, the most recent date for which data was available, officials in Delaware had recorded 9,055 cases of COVID-19 statewide. At least 335 people have died of coronavirus infections, according to state health officials. “We are where we are because Delawareans listened and stayed home,” Carney said Tuesday in a statement. “While we are slowly reopening our economy, it’s critical that Delawareans not rush out and undo all the hard work they’ve done to get us to this point. Let’s continue to be cautious and responsible as we ease our way into this new normal.” More than 38,000 coronavirus cases reported in Louisiana Update 1:25 p.m. EDT May 26: Officials in Louisiana reported 245 new coronavirus infections Tuesday, raising the state’s total number of infections to 38,054. Statewide, at least 2,596 people have died of COVID-19 and at least 28,700 people have recovered from the viral infection, officials said. Officials urge people who crowded Missouri’s Lake of the Ozarks to self-quarantine Update 12:55 p.m. EDT May 26: Leaders in Kansas City and St. Louis are urging people who partied close together at Lake of the Ozarks over the Memorial Day weekend to self-quarantine for two weeks. Big crowds were reported at swimming pools, bars and restaurants at the popular central Missouri lake. Postings showed people without masks partying and swimming together, seemingly ignoring guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and from the state, to keep at least 6 feet apart. St. Louis County Executive Sam Page called it “reckless behavior.” He asked the county’s health department to issue a travel advisory, citing concerns raised by residents and employers just as the county was beginning to reopen after weeks of shutdown caused by the virus. St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson and Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas, both Democrats, took to Twitter to express their disappointment with the crowds at the lake, which draws from the metropolitan areas on both sides of the state, along with neighboring Arkansas, Illinois, Kansas and Iowa. “If you were part of a group that didn’t socially distance or wear masks, please, for the health of your family, coworkers and friends, stay home for the next 14 days,” Krewson said in a tweet. Kansas City Health Director Rex Archer echoed the call for a 14-day self-quarantine. 703 new cases of COVID-19 reported in New Jersey Update 12:45 p.m. EDT May 26: Gov. Phil Murphy of New Jersey said Tuesday that 703 new coronavirus infections have been reported, raising the total number of COVID-19 cases in the state to 155,764. Murphy noted that reports of new cases, which fell Tuesday below the more than 900 new cases reported one day earlier, might be delayed due to the long holiday weekend. “The key metrics from our hospitals continue to move in the right direction,” he said in a Twitter post. “We continue to see many positive signs that we can keep moving forward. We’re seeing many more good days than bad.' Officials also reported 54 more deaths associated with the coronavirus pandemic. As of Tuesday, 11,191 people have died statewide of COVID-19. Pence’s press secretary returns to work after recovering from COVID-19 Update 12:40 p.m. EDT May 26: Vice President Mike Pence’s press secretary, Katie Miller, said Tuesday that she’s returned to work after recovering from a coronavirus infection. President Donald Trump said May 8 that Miller was diagnosed with COVID-19 “all of a sudden.” Miller said Tuesday that she tested negative three times for COVID-19 before returning to work. “Thank you to all my amazing doctors and everyone who reached out with support,” Miller wrote Tuesday in a tweet. “I couldn’t have done it without my amazing husband who took great care of his pregnant wife.” Miller is married to Stephen Miller, the president’s senior adviser. New Jersey allows professional sports teams return to training, competition Update 12:25 p.m. EDT May 26: Gov. Phil Murphy of New Jersey announced Tuesday that professional sports teams are now allowed to resume training and competition in the state. “While leagues make their own decisions about operations, I am confident that teams are equipped to practice and eventually play in a responsible manner, protecting the health and safety of players, coaches, and team personnel,” the governor said, according to NBC News. New York Gov. Cuomo to meet with President Trump on Wednesday Update 12:10 p.m. EDT May 26: Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York said he will meet Wednesday with President Donald Trump in Washington, D.C. Cuomo said at a news conference Tuesday that he plans “to talk about a number of things” with the president, including the possibility of ramping up infrastructure projects to boost the economy. “There is no better time to build than right now,” Cuomo said. “You need to create jobs and you need to renew and repair this country’s economy and it’s infrastructure. Now is the time to do it. It’s especially the time to do it when some of the volume is lower.” Jacksonville, Florida mayor says city ‘would be honored’ to host RNC Update 12 p.m. EDT May 26: The mayor of Jacksonville, Florida said Tuesday that the city “would be honored to host the Republican National Convention” after President Donald Trump threatened to pull the convention from North Carolina due to the state’s response to the coronavirus outbreak. >> Read more on WFTV.com In a series of Twitter posts, Mayor Lenny Curry said his administration and Gov. Ron DeSantis “have created a regulatory framework that operates in (a) way that is attractive to significant events like these.” He offered up the city’s partnership with the UFC, which led to several fan-free shows at the VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena earlier this month, as evidence that the city “has strongly demonstrated the ability to host large events in a safe (and) responsible way.' Earlier Tuesday, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp said his state would be willing and able to safely host the RNC, which is scheduled to take place Aug. 24 to Aug. 27 at the Spectrum Center and Charlotte Convention Center. As of Tuesday morning, 50,916 people have been diagnosed with coronavirus infections in Florida and 2,259 people have died the viral infection. Officials with the Georgia Department of Public Health said 43,586 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed statewide as of Tuesday morning with 1,853 people killed by the viral infection. In North Carolina, officials said that as of Tuesday morning, 24,140 people had been diagnosed with coronavirus infections and 766 people have died statewide. 73 new fatal coronavirus cases reported in New York Update 11:35 a.m. EDT May 26: Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York said Tuesday that 73 more people have died of COVID-19 statewide. The number was slightly less than the 95 new fatal cases reported one day earlier. Georgia offers to host RNC after Trump threatens to pull convention from North Carolina Update 11:10 a.m. EDT May 26: Gov. Brian Kemp of Georgia on Tuesday offered his state up as host of the Republican National Convention after President Donald Trump threatened to pull the RNC from it’s planned setting in North Carolina over the state’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic. “With world-class facilities, restaurants, hotels, and workforce, Georgia would be honored to safely host the Republican National Convention,' Kemp wrote in a post on Twitter. Trump said in a series of tweets published Monday that North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper must immediately tell organizers whether or not they’ll be able to host the convention as expected from Aug. 24 to Aug. 27 at the Spectrum Center and Charlotte Convention Center. “Plans are being made by thousands of enthusiastic Republicans and others to head to beautiful North Carolina in August,” the president wrote. “They must be immediately given an answer by the governor as to whether or not the space will be allowed to be fully occupied.” Cooper said Monday that state health officials are working with the Republican National Committee and reviewing their plans for holding the convention, WSOC-TV reported. “North Carolina is relying on data and science to protect our state’s public health and safety,” Cooper said, according to WSOC-TV. As of Tuesday morning, 24,140 people have been diagnosed with coronavirus infections in North Carolina and 766 people have died, according to the state Department of Health and Human Services. Officials with the Georgia Department of Public Health said 43,586 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed statewide as of Tuesday morning with 1,853 people killed by the viral infection. New Jersey to allow for socially distanced graduation ceremonies Update 10:45 a.m. EDT May 26: Gov. Phil Murphy of New Jersey announced Tuesday that schools will be allowed to begin holding outdoor graduation ceremonies in July provided they comply with social distancing measures. Murphy said the ceremonies will be allowed beginning July 6. The date is about two weeks later than graduations are typically held, according to North Jersey.com. 4,043 new coronavirus infections reported in the UK Update 10:35 a.m. EDT May 26: Officials in the United Kingdom reported 4,043 new coronavirus infections Tuesday morning, raising the country’s total number of infections to 265,227. Officials said that as of 5 p.m. local time Monday, the most recent date for which data was available, 37,048 people had died nationwide of COVID-19. Wall Street up as recovery hopes overshadow virus worries Update 9:50 a.m. EDT May 26: Wall Street opened sharply higher Tuesday as hopes for economic recovery overshadow worries over the coronavirus pandemic. The S&P 500 jumped to nearly a 3-month high, recovering much of its post-pandemic losses. Investors are shifting their focus to how various nations are adapting to getting back to business, while striving to keep new COVID-19 cases in check. Reassuring comments by the head of China’s central bank also helped spur buying. Benchmarks in Paris, London and Tokyo also gained on Tuesday. Brooklyn Nets allowed to begin voluntary player workouts, reopen training facility Update 9:05 a.m. EDT May 26: Officials with the Brooklyn Nets said the NBA team plans to reopen its practice training facility Tuesday, two days after New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said professional sports teams in the state would be allowed to begin spring training statewide. In a statement obtained by CNN, team officials said they plan to reopen the HSS Training Center for voluntary player workouts beginning Tuesday. “The organization will strictly follow the protocols outlined by the NBA and infectious disease experts to ensure that all precautions are taken in order to maintain a safe and healthy environment for players and staff,” the statement said, according to CNN. Several Nets players, including Kevin Durant, tested positive for coronavirus infections in March. Global deaths near 347K, total cases soar past 5.5M Update 7:44 a.m. EDT May 26: The global death toll attributed to the novel coronavirus reached 346,700 early Tuesday, according to a Johns Hopkins University tally. In the four months since the virus was first identified in Wuhan, China, it has infected at least 5,518,905 people worldwide. Meanwhile, 13 nations now have total infection counts higher than China’s 84,102.  The 10 nations with the highest number of infections recorded to date are as follows: • The United States has reported 1,662,768 cases, resulting in 98,223 deaths. • Brazil has recorded 374,898 cases, resulting in 23,473 deaths. • Russia has confirmed 362,342 cases, resulting in 3,807 deaths. • The United Kingdom has reported 262,547 cases, resulting in 36,996 deaths. • Spain has confirmed 235,400 cases, resulting in 26,834 deaths. • Italy has reported 230,158 cases, resulting in 32,877 deaths. • France has confirmed 183,067 cases, resulting in 28,460 deaths. • Germany has reported 180,802 cases, resulting in 8,323 deaths. • Turkey has recorded 157,814 cases, resulting in 4,369 deaths • India has recorded 146,371 cases, resulting in 4,187 deaths. Colorado restaurant owners sue state over Mother’s Day license suspension Update 7:08 a.m. EDT May 26: The owners of a Colorado restaurant who defied statewide shutdown orders by allowing throngs of customers to dine on Mother’s Day have field suit against the state for having their license suspended. The suit was filed Friday by the owners of C&C Coffee & Kitchen in Castle Rock against Gov. Jared Polis; the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment and its director; and the local tri-county health department in Douglas County District Court, The Washington Post reported. The suit alleges owners Jesse and April Arellano were denied their “livelihood and ability to operate their business after they simply allowed customers onto their premises to serve food and beverages.” More specifically, it claims that Polis’ statewide restrictions lack empirical evidence to accurately quantify the novel coronavirus pandemic’s toll because they are based on “fluctuating, often inaccurate projections,” the Post reported. Meanwhile, Polis announced Monday that Colorado restaurants will be allowed to reopen dining rooms beginning Wednesday but with strict capacity measures enforced, The Denver Post reported. Global coronavirus cases top 5.5 million Update 5:53 a.m. EDT May 26: The worldwide total of novel coronavirus cases eclipsed 5.5 million early Tuesday. According to a Johns Hopkins University tally, a total of 5,508,904 cases have now been diagnosed globally, resulting in at least 346,508 deaths. South Korea links nearly 250 coronavirus cases to popular Seoul entertainment district Published 4:41 a.m. EDT May 26: A popular nightlife district in South Korean capital Seoul has been linked officially to 247 novel coronavirus cases since social distancing restrictions were eased. According to the Korean Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, roughly 83,000 tests have been performed specific to the Itaweon district outbreak, and about 30% of those who tested positive have remained asymptomatic. D.C. officials confident they can contain coronavirus by July Published 3:33 a.m. EDT May 26: The greater Washington, D.C., area could have enough testing equipment, laboratory capacity and contact tracers to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus, but only if the public remains vigilant, The Washington Post reported. According to public health officials in the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia, the region is expected to reach peak capacity for testing and tracing by June or early July, the Post reported. Read more here. Largest Latin American airline files for bankruptcy amid coronavirus disruptions Update 2:14 a.m. EDT May 26: LATAM Airlines Group has filed for bankruptcy, and the largest Latin American airline cites the novel coronavirus pandemic as the primary cause. In a statement posted to its website, the company said it will reorganize operations under Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the United States. Specifically, CEO Roberto Alvo said LATAM will refocus “on transforming our group to adapt to a new and evolving way of flying, with the health and safety of our passengers and employees being paramount.' No immediate impact is expected to affect reservations, employee pay, flight vouchers or passenger and cargo operations, according to the statement. US coronavirus cases approach 1.7M, deaths surpass 98K Update 1:08 a.m. EDT May 26: The number of novel coronavirus cases in the United States surged toward 1.7 million early Tuesday across all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands. According to a Johns Hopkins University tally, there are at least 1,662,302 confirmed U.S. cases of the virus, which have resulted in at least 98,223 deaths.  The hardest-hit states remain New York with 362,764 cases and 29,229 deaths and New Jersey with 155,092 cases and 11,147 deaths. Massachusetts, with 93,271 cases, has the third-highest number of deaths with 6,416, while Illinois has the third-highest number of cases with 112,017. Only 16 states and territories have confirmed fewer than 6,000 cases each. Five other states have now confirmed at least 51,000 novel coronavirus cases each, including: • California: 96,400 cases, resulting in 3,769 deaths • Pennsylvania: 71,925 cases, resulting in 5,146 deaths • Texas: 56,409 cases, resulting in 1,533 deaths • Michigan: 54,881 cases, resulting in 5,241 deaths • Florida: 51,746 cases, resulting in 2,252 deaths Meanwhile, Maryland, Georgia and Connecticut each has confirmed at least 40,000 cases; Louisiana, Virginia, Ohio and Indiana each has confirmed at least 31,000 cases; Colorado, North Carolina, Minnesota, Tennessee and Washington each has confirmed at least 20,000 cases; Iowa, Arizona and Wisconsin each has confirmed at least 15,000 cases; Alabama and Rhode Island each has confirmed at least 14,000 cases, followed by Mississippi with 13,458; Missouri and Nebraska each has confirmed at least 12,000 cases, followed by South Carolina with 10,178 and Kansas with 9,125; Delaware, Kentucky, Utah and the District of Columbia each has confirmed at least 8,000 cases; Nevada and New Mexico each has confirmed at least 7,000 cases; Oklahoma and Arkansas each has confirmed at least 6,000 cases. Click here to see CNN’s state-by-state breakdown. The Associated Press contributed to this report.
  • The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office is asking for victims to come forward after they made an arrest of a man on May 8. Tyler De La Cruz, 30, was arrested on four counts of extortion and three counts of sexual battery.  According to the arrest report, JSO was notified by St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office on May 7 that Cruz was extorting and sexually battering a suspect over the course of five years. The victim told police that she and Cruz talked on social media in 2015 and she sent nude photos to Cruz and they did have one consensual sexual encounter. However, she did not want to continue the relationship. The victim told police that Cruz then demanded $1,000 from her or else he would send the photos to her family. She paid him and didn’t hear from him again until this past February. Cruz then contacted the victim and between February and May 4, 2020, he demanded an additional $4,500. The arrest report shows he also demanded oral sex in addition to the money or else he would expose the photos.  On May 4, the report states Cruz demanded $1,500 from the victim. She only gave him $200 because that’s all she had. On May 6, she notified St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office. On May 8, Cruz allegedly contacted the victim saying that she needed to bring the rest of the money if she “wanted to avoid people getting hurt or heartbroken”. He gave a location where she could meet him, and he was instead met by police and was subsequently arrested. Police say that they believe there may be other victims. Anyone with any information is asked to contact JSO at 904-630-0500.
  • Commissioners from St. Johns County voted this morning to officially ask Elon Musk and the Tesla Company to move to St. Johns County. Earlier this month, Elon Musk was tweeting about how the stay-at home restrictions in Alameda County, California were “facist” and robbed people from their freedom of going back to work. Since then, several cities and states have reached out to Tesla saying they are more than welcome to relocate the car-making plant. That now includes St. Johns County. 'Tesla, Inc., is hereby respectfully and enthusiastically invited to consider St. Johns County, Florida, as a potential destination in the relocation of its headquarters or any future programs,' the resolution states. The resolution also states several facts about St. Johns County, listing why it would be a good place to relocate the headquarters. “St. Johns County, while we have experienced a devastating virus, we are still open for business and we have got to employ our residents so they can put food on the table,” Commissioner James Johns said. This vote was a followup to a discussion by the commissioners on May 19. 
  • The FBI is investigating after video surfaced early Tuesday that appeared to show a police officer holding a knee against a man’s neck as he struggled to breathe shortly before he was pronounced dead at a hospital. The 10-minute video was caught by Darnella Frazier, who was on her way to meet with friends Monday night when she saw a man on the ground near a police cruiser and began to record, The Washington Post reported. In the video, later posted on Facebook, the man on the ground can be heard shouting that he can't breathe. “Don’t kill me!” he said, according to the Post. In a news briefing early Tuesday with police Chief Medaria Arradondo, Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey said the officer seen in the video with his knee to the man’s neck “failed in the most basic human sense,” according to KARE. 'For five minutes we watched as a white officer pressed his knee to the neck of a black man,' he said. 'For five minutes.' Police said they were called around 8 p.m. Monday to a report of a forgery in progress on the 3700 block of Chicago Avenue South. Officers who responded found a man in his 40s who was believed to have been under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Police said officers ordered him to step away from his car and that afterward he “physically resisted officers.” 'Officers were able to get the suspect into handcuffs and noted he appeared to be suffering medical distress,' police said in a statement released after the incident. 'Officers called for an ambulance. He was transported to Hennepin County Medical Center by ambulance where he died a short time later.' In video of the incident, bystanders can be heard questioning officers’ treatment of the man. “He’s not even resisting arrest right now, bro,” a bystander tells one of the two responding officers in the video, according to WCCO. “You’re (expletive) stopping his breathing right now, you think that’s cool?” The video shows when the man on the ground appears to lose consciousness. “Whatever the investigation reveals, it does not change the simple truth … that he should be with us this morning,” Frey said Tuesday, according to KARE. The two officers who responded to the incident have been placed on paid administrative leave as authorities investigate, according to WCCO. Neither the officers nor the man who died were identified.
  • Washington Insider Jamie Dupree first reported over the weekend that the President had raised the possibility of moving the GOP convention from North Carolina. Then Vice President Mike Pence floated Florida, Georgia and Texas as possible second choices.  And Politico reports that Jacksonville could make a pitch to serve as host.  Mayor Lenny Curry told Playbook that he’s interested in the convention and that his city has already shown it is ready, according to reporters Gary Fineout and Matt Dixon.  Meantime, Jamie Dupree reports that Democrats still haven’t figured out what they’re doing in Milwaukee in August. 

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