April 14, 2021

Kim Potter, the white Minnesota police officer who shot and killed 20-year-old Daunte Wright, has reportedly been arrested and will be charged with second-degree manslaughter.

The Bureau of Criminal Apprehension confirmed to the The New York Times that Potter was taken into custody on Wednesday morning, and Washington County prosecutor Pete Orput told the Times the complaint will be filed later in the day.

This comes after Potter resigned on Tuesday after she fatally shot Wright, a Black man, during a traffic stop in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota. Tim Gannon, the Brooklyn Center Police chief who has since announced his resignation, said that Potter appeared to have had the "intention to deploy" her Taser, but "instead shot Mr. Wright with a single bullet."

Police also released video of the incident, which showed Potter shouting "Taser" and saying, "Holy s---. I just shot him." Wright's killing has sparked three nights of protests around police headquarters in Brooklyn Center.

According to the Star Tribune, the charge Potter is facing carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison. Brendan Morrow

3:05 p.m.

The Grammy-winning rapper J. Cole is expected to play for the Rwanda Patriots BBC in the newly-formed Basketball Africa League, ESPN reports.

Cole, 36, starred for his high school team in North Carolina before walking on at St. John's University. He never appeared in a game, instead focusing his energy on a career in music. In 2019, he showcased his passing skills at the highest level — tossing a seated alley-oop to the New York Knicks' Dennis Smith Jr. during the All-Star Weekend Slam Dunk Contest. Unfortunately, Cole followed that with his own less-than stellar dunk attempt.

Last year, Master P — another rapper who once harbored hopes of playing professional basketball — claimed that Cole was training to play in the NBA. "I said [to Cole] to get one of these NBA jerseys, it's not gonna be easy," he told TMZ. "So, you're gonna have to go somewhere where the team really believe[s] in you and the players believe in you." That, apparently, is Africa. The BAL will feature 12 teams from across the continent, with the new season beginning on May 16 — two days after the release of Cole's latest album, The Off-Season. Jacob Lambert

3:03 p.m.

The 2020 presidential election saw historic voter turnout, especially among communities of color, but "there are still major gains to be made in voter turnout writ large," the data firm Catalist concluded in an extensive report on the electorate published Monday.

The number of votes cast by Latinos, for example, shot up 31 percent since 2016. At the same time, there were still a high amount of non-voters in the demographic, especially in key states like Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Nevada, North Carolina, and Texas. In those states, Catalist estimates, non-voting Latino citizens actually outnumbered Latino citizens who did cast a ballot. And when factoring all eligible voters of color in those states, 13 million people voted compared to 11 million who did not, suggesting the electorate could shape up quite differently, or at least become harder to predict, if turnout continues to increase in the coming years. Read the full breakdown of Catalist's report here. Tim O'Donnell

1:21 p.m.

The Biden administration announced Monday the U.S. will once again ban health-care providers from discriminating against LGBTQ and transgender people on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.

The move comes as a sharp rebuke of Trump-era policies that narrowed the scope of anti-discrimination provisions in the Affordable Care Act by defining "sex" to mean gender assigned at birth, reports PBS News. Biden's Department of Health and Human Services now restores the Obama-era definition — "one's internal sense of gender, which may be male, female, neither, or a combination of male and female." The new interpretation applies to any healthcare organization that receives federal funding.

"It is the position of the Department of Health and Human Services that everyone — including L.G.B.T.Q. people — should be able to access health care, free from discrimination or interference, period," said Health Secretary Xavier Becerra in a statement, per The New York Times.

The new policy brings the Biden administration in line with last year's landmark Supreme Court decision that ruled to protect gay and transgender people against sex discrimination at work, and is the latest effort from President Biden to strengthen LGBTQ protections in areas like the military, housing and employment. In addition to sharing their support, some members of Congress have used the news as an opportunity to promote the Senate passage of the Equality Act. Brigid Kennedy

1:07 p.m.

The United States is "turning the corner" on COVID-19, Jeff Zients, President Biden's pandemic coordinator, said on CNN Sunday. Case and death rates are way down as vaccines become increasingly accessible. Rules are relaxing — but what about mask mandates?

As of this writing, 25 states, Puerto Rico, the District of Columbia, and some cities and counties within the other 25 states still mandate public mask use. Many of those mandates are open-ended, but five states — Michigan, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, Vermont, and West Virginia — have hit upon a metric that could be the political sweet spot.

That metric is 70 percent adult vaccination. It looks a little different in each state. In Michigan, the mask mandate will be lifted two weeks after 70 percent of residents age 16 and older are fully vaccinated. In Minnesota, the mandate ends at 70 percent of Minnesotans 16 and older or July 1, whichever comes first. (It will probably be the vaccination goal.) In Pennsylvania, it's 70 percent of residents 18 and up. In Vermont, it's at least one dose for 60 to 70 percent of all Vermonters and 70 to 85 percent of Vermonters 16 and up. And in West Virginia, it's partial vaccination for 70 percent of residents 16 and older.

This number is a little bit arbitrary from a public health perspective, because there's no firm scientific consensus on how much of the population needs to be vaccinated to reach herd immunity for COVID-19. However, 70 percent is about average for expert estimates on this, and of course it will be supplemented by natural immunity in the millions who already survived the virus.

But politically, the 70 percent metric (especially the single-dose version) is a great idea. It's not my first choice for an endgame, but it's good and should be acceptable even in more cautious blue states and cities. It should allay fears of recklessness while also encouraging vaccination among the casually vaccine hesitant. Polling recently reported by The New York Times showed the ability to go maskless is a strong incentive for vaccination for many Americans — and after last month's pause in distribution of the Johnson & Johnson shot apparently scared many fence-sitters away from vaccination, a strong incentive is what we need. Bonnie Kristian

12:32 p.m.

Medina Spirit is the latest victim of "cancel culture," the Kentucky Derby-winning horse's trainer argued Monday.

Churchill Downs, the site of the Derby, revealed Sunday that Medina Spirit had registered levels of an anti-inflammatory drug beyond Kentucky horse racing's legal limit in a post-race blood test. For now, Baffert, who holds the record for the most Derby wins in the sport's history, is suspended from entering horses at the track, and if the results are confirmed, he and Medina Spirit will be stripped of their victory.

Baffert thinks that would be unfair. During an interview on Fox News on Monday, he called Churchill Downs' statement "harsh," suggesting that they faced societal pressure to reach their decision. "We live in a different world now. This America is different ... it was like a cancel culture kind of a thing," Baffert said, without acknowledging that his horses have reportedly failed drug tests 29 other times over his four-decade career. Tim O'Donnell

12:19 p.m.

Is Tom Cruise trying to get himself horribly injured while making the Mission: Impossible franchise?

You'd be forgiven for wondering that as the actor continues to perform increasingly insane stunts for the action series, and he spoke with Empire about what the magazine described as "the single most dangerous thing he'd ever done": riding a motorcycle off a cliff for the upcoming Mission: Impossible 7.

"If the wind was too strong, it would blow me off the ramp,” Cruise told Empire. "The helicopter [filming the stunt] was a problem, because I didn't want to be hammering down that ramp at top speed and get hit by a stone. Or if I departed in a weird way, we didn't know what was going to happen with the bike. I had about six seconds once I departed the ramp to pull the chute and I don't want to get tangled in the bike. If I do, that's not going to end well."

Cruise also told Empire he had a sense of relief to actually be filming the stunt after production on the movie had to be delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

"All those emotions were going through my mind," he said. "I was thinking about the people I work with, and my industry. And for the whole crew to know that we'd started rolling on a movie was just a huge relief. It was very emotional, I gotta tell you."

Dubbing this Cruise's most dangerous stunt ever is no small claim given this is the same series for which he filmed a heart-stopping sequence on the tallest building in the world. Based on Cruise's leaked rant about pandemic protocols, though, trying to keep the Mission: Impossible set free of COVID-19 cases may have been the actor's most impossible mission of all. Brendan Morrow

10:58 a.m.

Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) said Monday that he tried and failed to warn his Republican colleagues about politically-inspired violence ahead of the Jan. 6 Capitol riot.

A few days before Jan. 6, Kinzinger tweeted, he told House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) during a conference call that Republican rhetoric, including McCarthy's own, about the presidential election and former President Donald Trump's baseless claims of fraud would have violent consequences. But McCarthy, Kinzinger, said, quickly dismissed his concerns and rushed to the next question, acknowledging Kinzinger's words with only a simple, "ok, Adam."

Kinzinger has criticized his colleagues for not reckoning with the Capitol riot, and on Sunday likened the GOP to the Titanic. Tim O'Donnell

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