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New York City brings internal charges against officer in chokehold death of Eric Garner

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New York City began disciplinary proceedings on Thursday against the police officer who applied a fatal chokehold to Eric Garner, an unarmed black man, in 2014, the Civilian Complaint Review Board said.

Officer Daniel Pantaleo could face termination from the police force. His charging comes after the New York Police Department gave the U.S. Department of Justice an ultimatum earlier this week, saying it could no longer wait for a federal civil rights investigation to conclude.

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On Thursday the Civilian Complaint Review Board, the city agency that acts as the prosecutor in police administrative trials, said the Justice Department had released its “hold” that put the disciplinary proceedings against Pantaleo on ice.

The police department said in its letter to the Justice Department on Monday that it would begin the disciplinary proceedings on Sept. 1 if federal investigators had not announced whether they would prosecute Pantaleo by then.

Cellphone video footage of Garner repeatedly saying “I can’t breathe!” to Pantaleo, whose arm is around his neck, helped focus national attention on police killings of unarmed black men and fueled the burgeoning Black Lives Matter movement.

Police had approached Garner on a Staten Island sidewalk on July 17, 2014 for peddling loose cigarettes, which escalated into an argument before Pantaleo began trying to restrain Garner. The police department has long banned its officers from using chokeholds.

Garner’s family earlier this week welcomed the promise of action against Pantaleo, saying he should be fired.

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Pantaleo’s labor union, the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, criticized the police department for what it said was a “rush” to a pre-determined conclusion and said Pantaleo would be vindicated.

The New York Police Department and U.S. Department of Justice did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Reporting by Jonathan Allen; Editing by Dan Grebler

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Georgia GOP governor orders several beaches to reopen days after acknowledging he’s woefully uneducated on coronavirus spread

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The Atlanta Journal Constitution reported today that Kemp is reopening Tybee Island and other beaches along the Georgia coast.

Local officials in several of Georgia’s coastal communities reacted with fury on Saturday after Gov. Brian Kemp’s shelter-in-place order simultaneously reopened several of the state’s most popular beaches.

The stupidity and lack of regard of human life on display in Republican-run states is beyond criminal and inhumane. In fact, there are no words to describe this. Because the longer these so-called “leaders” make decisions that are in the best interests of, I don’t know who, the longer it will take to come out of this pandemic that is claiming so many thousands of lives.

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Health care insurers expected to jack up premiums as much as 40 percent to recoup coronavirus losses

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Private health insurers are expected to raise premiums by as much as 40% to recoup the costs of coronavirus testing and treatment, according to a new analysis from Covered California, the state's health care marketplace.

This article first appeared in Salon.

Though it remains unclear how much the coronavirus crisis will ultimately cost in health care expenditures, insurers will be submitting their 2021 rates to state regulators next month. Analyzing a wide range of models, Covered California expects that this year's care associated with the virus will cost between $34 billion and $251 billion, or between 2% of premiums and 21% of premiums. The analysis estimates that insurers would price the costs at double the rate into their 2021 premiums, projecting increases that range from as little as 4% to more than 40% for the 170 million workers and individuals who have private plans.

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‘That would be a false statement’: Dr. Fauci knocks down claim virus is ‘under control’

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Dr. Anthony Fauci, the U.S. government's top infectious disease expert, warned on Sunday that states without stay at home orders are putting themselves at risk for COVID-19 outbreaks.

"This is going to be a bad week," Fauci explained to CBS News host Margarett Brennan. "We're going to continue to see an escalation. We should also hope that within a week, maybe a little bit more, we should start to see a flattening out of the curve."

The doctor predicted that the death toll would be "shocking to some."

"I will not say we have it under control," he said. "That would be a false statement. We are struggling to get it under control."

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