Jun 7, 2020

Axios AM

By Mike Allen
Mike Allen

Good Sunday morning.

🚨 Bulletin: Trump tweets that he has ordered the National Guard to begin withdrawing from D.C.

🎬 On tomorrow's episode of "Axios on HBO," Rep. Val Demings (D-Fla.) gives a surprisingly blunt answer when Alexi McCammond asks whether she'd accept an offer to be Joe Biden's running mate. Watch.

  • See the full episode tomorrow on HBO at 11 p.m. ET/PT.
1 big thing: America's broken system for training cops

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

The structural failings in American policing begin with officers' training, which largely focuses more on using force than reducing the need for it, Margaret Harding McGill and Erica Pandey write.

  • Why it matters: While holding officers accountable is most important in stopping excessive force, law-enforcement experts say training that focuses on empathy and de-escalation could lead to fewer violent conflicts.

There are more than 18,000 police departments in the U.S., but no federal standard on how their officers should be trained.

  • The training that officers do receive has little to no emphasis on empathy, says University of South Carolina criminology professor Geoffrey Alpert.
  • "The real issue is not how to use force, it's when to use it," Alpert told Axios.

Rashawn Ray of the Brookings Institute and the University of Maryland, who leads implicit-bias trainings for police departments and the military, notes that police departments "don’t do a lot of training that is focused on social interaction."

  • "But nine out of 10 times, or even more, their job is simply having a conversation," Ray said.

Franklin Zimring, a University of California-Berkeley professor and author of "When Police Kill," says it would be possible to cut the number of fatal shootings by police in half by creating "don't shoot and stop shooting rules."

  • "It means a lot of confrontations will last longer, will involve more police officers, and will be very frustrating," Zimring said.

The bottom line: "The data is there telling departments what to do," Ray said. "But until police departments are mandated to do it, they won’t do it.

⚡The latest: On Friday, the Minneapolis P.D. agreed to ban the use of chokeholds.

2. America protests
Photo: Rosem Morton/Reuters

In Baltimore yesterday, Tursheila Willmer joins people protesting the killing of George Floyd.

Photo/Alex Brandon/AP

"More than 10,000 people poured into the nation’s capital on the ninth day of protests over police brutality," the WashPost reports.

Photo: Scott Heins/Getty Images

Brooklyn last night.

How it's playing ...

3. The globe protests
Photo: Antonio Masiello/Getty Images

Rome today.

Photo: Alberto Pezzali/AP

A woman climbs the Abraham Lincoln statue in Parliament Square in London yesterday.

Photo: Emilio Morenatti/AP

Barcelona, Spain, today.

4. Pic du jour: Black Lives Matter, as seen from space
Photo: Maxar Technologies via Reuters

Maxar Technologies captured this satellite image of the yellow "Black Lives Matter" lettering that D.C. Mayor Bowser had painted Friday on 16th Street NW, on blocks leading to the White House — a deliberate taunt to President Trump.

  • A day later, protesters painted their own message — "Defund the Police" — after Black Lives Matter D.C. accused Bowser of using the mural as a "performative distraction from real policy changes."
5. 😒 Four fiascos for mainstream media
Via Twitter

Four strikes for mainstream media in the week that changed America.

  • Why it matters: The protests are raising not just assaults on journalism from outside, but also longstanding problems about the lack of diversity from within the ranks of journalists and power structure dominated by white men. 

1. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette is accused of barring two African American journalists from covering protests in the city because of "apparent bias":

  • Photojournalist Michael Santiago, part of a team that won a Pulitzer for the paper in 2019 for covering the Tree of Life synagogue massacre, tweeted that the P-G is silencing two of its most prominent black journalists "during one of the most important civil rights stories that is happening across our country!"
  • "The controversy publicly kicked off Friday," the WashPost reports, "when Alexis Johnson, another black Pittsburgh Post-Gazette journalist, reported that the newspaper’s management had barred her from covering local protests Monday after a tweet from her went viral." See the tweet above.
  • Colleagues — including Santiago, who took the photos — have repeatedly reposted it with: "I stand with @alexisjreports."
  • P-G Managing Editor Karen Kane told AP that the paper can't comment on personnel matters.

2. The headline on the New York Times op-ed by Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) that ignited a newsroom revolt ("Send In the Troops") was written by ... The New York Times.

  • I know that because I read it in The New York Times. His op-ed wasn't published in the Sunday paper, as had been planned. But a 300-word editors' note has been added: "[T]he tone of the essay in places is needlessly harsh .... Editors should have offered suggestions to address those problems. The headline — which was written by The Times, not Senator Cotton — was incendiary and should not have been used."
  • Cotton's Senate campaign yesterday blasted out a fundraising email boasting: "I’ve caused a total meltdown from the media."

3. Stan Wischnowski, 58, executive editor of The Philadelphia Inquirer, resigned yesterday "after discontent among the newspaper’s staff erupted over a headline on a column about the impact of the civil unrest following the police killing of George Floyd," The Inquirer reports.

  • Tuesday's print paper carried the idiotic headline "Buildings Matter, Too" on a column by Pulitzer-winning architecture critic Inga Saffron.
  • With the grace and deftness that only legacy media can muster, that headline was replaced with: "Damaging buildings disproportionately hurts the people protesters are trying to uplift."
  • Wischnowski had apologized to readers and staff.

4. Fox News apologized for a graphic Friday that tried to correlate the performance of the S&P 500 with the deaths of George Floyd, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Michael Brown in Ferguson.

6. Confederate statue, 1891-2020
Photo: Alexa Welch Edlund/Richmond Times-Dispatch via AP

A statue of Confederate Gen. Williams Carter Wickham, which had stood on a pedestal in Monroe Park in Richmond since 1891, was toppled by a small group of demonstrators yesterday.

  • A rope had been tied around the Confederate statue, the Richmond Times-Dispatch (my alma mater!) reported.
  • Someone urinated on the statue after it was pulled down.
7. 🍿 The Pentagon's side of the St. John's photo op
President Trump walks to St. John's Church with SecDef Mark Esper (Trump's left shoulder) and Gen. Mark Milley (camouflage). Photo: Brendan Smialowski / AFP via Getty Images

Defense Secretary Mark Esper was three blocks from the FBI's Washington field office in late afternoon Monday, the day of the St. John's Church photo op.

  • Esper was headed to a security command center when he got a call to divert immediately, longtime AP Pentagon correspondent Bob Burns writes.

President Trump wanted a briefing from Esper and Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, on how the military was handling the protests.

  • Esper's driver pulled a U-turn, flipped on flashing lights and rushed to 1600 Pennsylvania.

At an Oval Office meeting Monday morning, tempers had flared:

  • A senior defense official said Trump wanted 10,000 troops immediately on the streets.
  • Esper and Milley argued against calling out active-duty forces.
  • A senior White House official recalled that Trump urged Esper and Milley to get as many troops as needed to secure the city.

Milley, figuring he'd seen the last of the White House for the day, made a decision he later regretted:

  • He changed from his dress uniform, standard for a White House visit, to battle fatigues — everyday wear at the Pentagon.
  • Milley figured he would have a long night, including time with troops on the street.
8. 1 smile to go
Photo: Jacquelyn Martin/AP

Rylie Rose, 7, protests yesterday near the White House.

Mike Allen

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