10 things you need to know today: June 9, 2020

Mourners pay tribute to George Floyd in his hometown, Democrats unveil their police reform bill, and more

Democrats kneel
(Image credit: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

1. Mourners pay respects to George Floyd ahead of funeral

Thousands of mourners gathered on Monday to pay their respects to George Floyd in Houston, where he grew up. American flags lined the route of a procession to the Fountain of Praise church, where people filed by Floyd's casket. A funeral will be held Tuesday for Floyd, an African-American man who died in police custody after a white Minneapolis police officer kneeled on his neck for nearly nine minutes. His death sparked worldwide protests against police brutality. "I'm glad he got the send-off he deserved," said Marcus Williams, a 46-year-old black Houston resident. "I want the police killings to stop. I want them to reform the process to achieve justice, and stop the killing."

Reuters The Associated Press

2. Democrats unveil police reform bill

House Democrats on Monday unveiled their police reform proposal as protests continued nationwide over police brutality against African Americans. The bill, the Justice in Policing Act, seeks to ban no-knock warrants in drug investigations, as well as chokeholds, which can be fatal. "True justice can only be achieved with full, comprehensive action," House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said. "That's what we are doing today. This is a first step. There is more to come." Before the press conference where they announced the legislation, leading Democrats kneeled in silence for 8 minutes and 46 seconds, the amount of time a white Minneapolis police officer kneeled on the neck of an unarmed black man, George Floyd, killing him two weeks ago.

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NBC News ABC News

3. Biden rejects calls to defund police

A spokesman for former Vice President Joe Biden's presidential campaign said Monday that the presumptive Democratic nominee does not support calls to defund police departments as part of a reform effort. The spokesman, Andrew Bates, said Biden "hears and shares the deep grief and frustration of those calling out for change" following the death of an unarmed and handcuffed black man, George Floyd, in Minneapolis police custody. But Biden backs reforms such as increased funding and "community policing programs that improve relationships between officers and residents," Bates said. The position puts Biden at odds with activists calling for slashing funding and making more radical police reforms. Biden traveled to Houston on Monday and met with Floyd's relatives, whose attorney said Biden's compassion "meant the world to this grieving family."

The New York Times The Washington Post

4. U.S. economy officially entered recession as pandemic hit

The U.S. economy in February slipped into a recession for the first time since 2009, the National Bureau of Economic Research's Business Cycle Dating Committee announced Monday. The news snapped a record 128-month expansion that started at the end of the Great Recession and ended when the coronavirus crisis reached the U.S., forcing non-essential businesses across the country to shut down to help slow the spread of COVID-19. Economists typically define a recession as starting with two consecutive quarters of economic contraction, but the NBER takes into account domestic production, employment, and other factors. Under those criteria, the group said the economy, which peaked in February, entered a downturn so severe when the coronavirus pandemic hit that it warrants being classified as a recession.

The Guardian The New York Times

5. Chauvin's bail set at $1.25 million

A Minnesota judge on Monday set bail at $1.25 million for Derek Chauvin, the white Minneapolis police officer who was fired and charged with second-degree murder for George Floyd's death. Chauvin pressed his knee onto Floyd's neck for nearly nine minutes. Judge Jeannice Reding offered Chauvin the option of a lower bail, $1 million, if he agrees to several conditions, including not working in security or law enforcement, surrendering any firearms, and avoiding contact with Floyd's family. Three other officers have been charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder for their role in Floyd's arrest and restraint. The death of Floyd, who was black, touched off ongoing protests over police brutality against African Americans.

The New York Times CNN

6. Study: Lockdowns prevented 60 million U.S. coronavirus infections

Coronavirus stay-at-home orders prevented about 60 million infections across the United States, according to a study published Monday in the journal Nature. About 285 million infections were averted in China. A separate study from epidemiologists at Imperial College London estimated that stay-at-home orders prevented about 3.1 million deaths in 11 European countries, and reduced infection rates by 82 percent. "Without these policies employed, we would have lived through a very different April and May," said Solomon Hsiang, director of the Global Policy Laboratory at the University of California at Berkeley, and leader of the team that researched responses in China, the United States, France, Italy, Iran, and South Korea. As U.S. businesses reopen, 20 states are reporting rising numbers of new cases.

The Washington Post Newsweek

7. Bon Appétit editor steps down after brownface photo surfaces

Bon Appétit editor-in-chief Adam Rapoport resigned on Monday after a photo emerged showing him in brown face, dressed to reflect a Puerto Rican stereotype on Halloween in 2013. Several of the magazine's staffers, contributors, and YouTube personalities objected to the image. Assistant food editor Sohla El-Waylly called for Rapoport's resignation, saying via Instagram that the Halloween photo was "just a symptom of the systemic racism that runs rampant within Condé Nast as a whole." Rapoport, who became editor-in-chief in 2010, announced on Instagram that he was stepping down "to reflect on the work that I need to do as a human being and allow Bon Appétit to get to a better place."


8. Judge blocks Northam order to remove Robert E. Lee statue

A Virginia judge on Monday temporarily blocked Gov. Ralph Northam's (D) administration from removing a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee from Richmond's Monument Avenue. Richmond Circuit Court judge Bradley B. Cavedo granted a 10-day injunction in response to a challenge from a man claiming to be a descendant of a benefactor of the fund that paid for the monument. The judge said Northam's plan to put the statue in storage would violate an 1890 deed stating that the commonwealth "guaranteed" that it would "faithfully guard" the 12-ton statue and 40-foot pedestal in its existing location. Northam's press secretary, Alena Yarmosky, said the governor "remains committed to removing this divisive symbol from Virginia's capital city, and we're confident in his authority to do so."

The Progress-Index

9. World Bank: Pandemic could push 100 million into poverty

The World Bank estimates that the economic slowdown will push 70 million to 100 million people into poverty, up from a previous estimate of 40 million to 60 million people. The novel coronavirus pandemic and the lockdowns imposed to slow its spread this year will drag the global economy into its deepest recession in 80 years, causing worldwide output to contract by 5.2 percent in 2020, the World Bank says. Emerging and developing economies, including Russia, Brazil, and India, are expected to shrink for the first time in 60 years. The World Bank expects nations in Latin America and the Caribbean to suffer the hardest blow, forecasting that the region will experience a 7.2 percent GDP decline.

CNN Financial Times

10. The Pointer Sisters' Bonnie Pointer dies at 69

Bonnie Pointer, one of the founding members of the Pointer Sisters, died Monday. She was 69. Her sister Anita Pointer broke the news to admirers. "It is with great sadness that I have to announce to the fans of the Pointer Sisters that my sister Bonnie died this morning," Anita Pointer said. "Our family is devastated. On behalf of my siblings and I and the entire Pointer family, we ask for your prayers at this time." Bonnie sang on early Pointer Sisters songs including "Yes We Can Can" before leaving the group in the mid-1970s to launch a solo career. A few months ago, Anita and Bonnie Pointer released a tribute song called "Feels Like June" dedicated to their youngest sister, June, who died in 2006. It was Bonnie Pointer's final recording.


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Harold Maass

Harold Maass is a contributing editor at TheWeek.com. He has been writing for The Week since the 2001 launch of the U.S. print edition. Harold has worked for a variety of news outlets, including The Miami Herald, Fox News, and ABC News. For several years, he wrote a daily round-up of financial news for The Week and Yahoo Finance. He lives in North Carolina with his wife and two sons.