Today’s Headlines and Commentary

Tia Sewell
Monday, April 12, 2021, 2:23 PM

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Police shot and killed a 20-year-old Black man named Daunte Wright just before 2 p.m. in a Minneapolis suburb on Sunday, reports the Washington Post. After stopping Wright for a traffic violation—an air freshener was allegedly blocking his rearview mirror—the police found that Wright had an outstanding warrant. As police tried to arrest him, Wright got back into the car and an officer fired at him. The victim’s family identified Wright; so far, authorities have not identified the officer who fired on the victim. The shooting has sparked clashes between protesters and law enforcement as hundreds have taken to the streets in Minneapolis, where the murder trial of Derek Chauvin is ongoing.

On the 11th day of the Chauvin trial, the defense asked to re-interview each juror about their knowledge of the shooting that occurred on Sunday, in addition to sequestration of the jury, writes the New York Times. The judge denied the motions, stating that “this is a totally different case.” This morning, lawyers argued without the jury present about whether the state can call Seth Stoughton, who has published empirical academic research on police use of force. The judge said he will allow Stoughton to appear, though his testimony will be limited to national standards about use of force and misconduct. Closing arguments in the trial are expected to begin a week from today.

A federal grand jury indictment alleges that four members of a right-wing group linked to the “boogaloo” movement tried to destroy evidence to protect another group member who allegedly shot two Federal Protective Service officers, killing one, in Oakland last May, according to the Washington Post. Prosecutors said that the men belonged to a Facebook group named “/K/alifornia Kommando.” They are accused of deleting chat histories to conceal evidence, including a message that read, “Dudes i offed a fed.”

This morning, Iranian officials attributed a power failure on Sunday at the Natanz uranium enrichment site to Israeli sabotage and vowed retribution, reports the Times. American and Israeli officials confirmed separately to the Times that Israel had played a role in the blackout, and Israeli news outlets reported that the Mossad, Israel’s spy agency, was responsible. Officials told the Times that the blackout was caused by an explosion targeting the power supply for the thousands of underground centrifuges at Natanz.

Twenty-five Chinese aircraft, including fighters and nuclear-capable bombers, entered Taiwan’s airspace today in the largest reported incursion to date, writes Reuters. The move follows new State Department guidelines enabling U.S. officials to have more freedom in their diplomatic engagements with Taiwanese officials. Secretary of State Antony Blinken warned that it would be a “serious mistake” to use force in the Western Pacific in order to change the status quo.

Russian prison staff are threatening to force feed opposition leader Alexei Navalny, who has reportedly lost 15 kilograms since arriving at the jail last month, according to Reuters. After being denied proper medical care, Navalny announced a hunger strike at the end of March in protest.

The Biden administration is planning to nominate former National Security Agency (NSA) deputy director John C. “Chris” Inglis to head the Department of Homeland Security’s cybersecurity agency, reports the Post. President Biden also plans to nominate Jen Easterly, former NSA intelligence officer, to head the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency.

Biden today nominated Tucson Police Chief Chris Magnus to lead Customs and Border Protection. He also nominated former Obama administration counsel for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Ur Jaddou to head USCIS, writes the Hill. The two nominees have been vocal critics of Trump administration policies.

After the April 3 arrest of several notable tribal figures in what Jordanian officials characterize as a plot to destabilize the country, some Jordanians from traditional tribes have since taken to the street to protest the treatment of their members, according to the Journal. Officials initially accused Prince Hamzah bin Hussein of putting Jordan at risk through his alleged involvement in the plot. Hamzah, who is popular with the tribes, denied wrongdoing. On Sunday, he participated in a royal event marking the monarchy’s 100th anniversary—though the Journal notes that despite this apparent detente, the upheaval of the past week could have consequences in tribal support for the kingdom’s rulers.

ICYMI: Yesterday on Lawfare

Tore Refslund Hamming argued that even if al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri is dead, the organization maintains strong leadership and remains a resilient threat.

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Tia Sewell is a former associate editor of Lawfare. She studied international relations and economics at Stanford University and is now a master’s student in international security at Sciences Po in Paris.

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