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Top homicide lieutenant: Chauvin's use of force on George Floyd was "totally unnecessary"

A Minneapolis homicide lieutenant with over 40 years of experience said Friday that Derek Chauvin's use of force on George Floyd was "totally unnecessary," testifying that "if your knee is on a person's neck, that can kill him."

Why it matters: Though his role is in investigation and not on patrol — something the defense emphasized — media commentators called it the most compelling testimony yet from law enforcement who have taken the stand at former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin's murder trial.

Driving the news: The night of the incident, Richard Zimmerman was called to the scene where George Floyd died after Chauvin kneeled on his neck for over nine minutes. Having reviewed footage, he testified that Chauvin's use of force — which he considered "the top tier, the deadly force" — was "uncalled for."

  • Once a person is handcuffed, the threat level goes down "all the way" and officers are trained to use restraint, Zimmerman said.
  • The goal is to get people out of the prone position as soon as possible because it's dangerous, he added, noting that the handcuffs constrict a person's breathing because they "stretch the muscles through your chest."
  • If someone becomes less combative, an officer should try to calm them down, Zimmerman said. That person, their wellbeing and their safety become "your responsibility," he emphasized.

What they're saying: "Pulling him down to the ground face down, and putting your knee on a neck for that amount of time is just uncalled for," Zimmerman testified. "I saw no reason why the officers felt they were in danger if that's what they felt. And that's what they would have to have felt to be able to use that kind of force."

Between the lines: Several jurors started taking notes — more so than usual — during the line of questioning, NBC News reports.

The big picture: Zimmerman's testimony closed out the first week of what is expected to be a monthlong trial. Prosecutors are seeking Chauvin's conviction on murder and manslaughter charges.

  • A paramedic told the jury Thursday that when he arrived at the scene, he assumed "there was potentially some struggle still because [multiple officers] were still on top of him."

Recap of the week:

Big European soccer teams announce breakaway league

12 of world soccer's biggest and richest clubs announced Sunday they've formed a breakaway European "Super League" — with clubs Manchester United, Liverpool, Barcelona Real Madrid, Juventus and A.C. Milan among those to sign up.

Details: So far the breakaway league that's due to start in August consists of six clubs from England, three from Spain and three from Italy.

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Senate Democrats settling on 25% corporate tax rate

The universe of Democratic senators concerned about raising the corporate tax rate to 28% is broader than Sen. Joe Manchin, and the rate will likely land at 25%, parties close to the discussion tell Axios.

Why it matters: While increasing the rate from 21% to 25% would raise about $600 billion over 15 years, it would leave President Biden well short of paying for his proposed $2.25 trillion, eight-year infrastructure package.

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Republican leaders raked in sizable donations from grassroots supporters

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CDC: Half of US adults have received one COVID-19 vaccine dose

Data: CDC; Chart: Axios Visuals

Half of US adults have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine and about a third are fully vaccinated, according to new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Why it matters: COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations are still on the rise, CDC director Rochelle Walensky said during Friday's White House COVID-19 briefing. With cases in many states being driven by variants, public health officials have emphasized the need to ramp up vaccinations.

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Israeli intel agencies believe Vienna talks will lead to U.S. return to Iran nuclear deal

Israeli military intelligence and senior officials in the Mossad briefed a meeting of the nation's security cabinet that talks in Vienna between Iran and other world powers will lead to the U.S. returning to the 2015 nuclear deal, two officials who attended the meeting told me.

Why it matters: The Israeli government is very concerned about a U.S. return to the nuclear deal and is trying to convince the Biden administration not to take the pressure off the Iranian regime.

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"It hurts": Latino community of 13-year-old killed by police in Chicago reels after shooting

Residents of Little Village, a well-known and predominantly Latino neighborhood in Chicago, are grieving the death of Adam Toledo, a 13-year-old Mexican American boy from the neighborhood who was shot and killed by a police officer on March 29, NBC News reports.

Why it matters: Adam Toledo's killing shines a spotlight on police shootings of Latinos, who are killed by law enforcement at the second-highest rate after Black Americans, according to data from the Washington Post.

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Biden adviser warns "there will be consequences" for Russia if Navalny dies

The Biden administration warned the Russian government "that there will be consequences" if jailed Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny dies, National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan told CNN on Sunday.

The big picture: Sullivan also defended President Biden for not mentionining Navalny in a Thursday speech about Russia or in a Tuesday call with Russian President Vladimir Putin,saying the White House aims to deal with the issue "privately and through diplomatic channels."

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Prosecutor on leave for failing to "fully present the facts" after shooting of 13-year-old boy

Cook County prosecutor James Murphy was placed on administrative leave Friday after he implied in court that 13-year-old Adam Toledo, who was shot and killed by a police officer in March, was armed when he was shot, the Chicago Tribune and Chicago Sun-Times report.

Why it matters: Videos of the shooting show that Toledo dropped what appears to be a weapon and put his hands in the air a moment before before he was fatally shot. A lawyer for the Toledo family said Thursday that if the teen "had a gun, he tossed it."

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