May 28, 2020

Axios PM

By Mike Allen
Mike Allen

Good afternoon: Today's PM — edited by Justin Green — is 597 words, a 2-minute read.

⚡️ Breaking: President Trump signed an executive order this afternoon that's designed to limit the legal protections that shield social media companies from liability for the content users post on their platforms.

Situational awareness: 👟Mayor Marty Walsh cancels the Boston Marathon, which had been pushed from April to September — "not feasible" this year. (Boston Globe)

1 big thing: Justice for George Floyd

A portrait of George Floyd hangs on a street light pole in Minneapolis. Photo: Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

George Floyd, 46, moved to Minnesota to improve his life and become his "best self," but instead, he is dead because of Minneapolis police.

  • “They executed my brother in broad daylight,” his brother Philonise Floyd told CNN today. “I'm tired of seeing black men die.”

Why it matters: "It’s both necessary and, at this point, pedestrian to observe that policing in this country is mediated by race," Jelani Cobb writes for The New Yorker.

The tale of the tapes:

  • The Minneapolis police didn't tell the truth in their initial press release, claiming Floyd, a black man, resisted arrest. They also omitted that an officer pinned him to the ground by the neck. (He was originally stopped for a nonviolent offense.)
  • Two subsequent tapes put an end to those lies. Floyd could be heard on one video saying that his neck hurt and that he couldn't breathe: "They're going to kill me."
  • The police then treated protesters like insurgents instead of citizens, using flashbangs, tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse protests — which became riots.
  • Those riots destroyed property and resulted in another death, but at the beginning of that story is the murder of a black man by police officers.
  • "I’ve wrestled with, more than anything else over the last 36 hours," said Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey, "Why is the man who killed George Floyd not in jail?"

The big picture: Floyd is one of far too many black men who die every year at the hands of police officers.

  • The only reliable statistics that exist are because of years of hard work by activists and reporters, not police departments.
  • And those are just the statistics of killings, leaving out the incidents that don't end in death but nevertheless destroy relations and leave individuals with mental and physical scars.
  • The cops who are fired for bad behavior are often rehired because of their unions or move to other police departments in other towns. Few are prosecuted, frustrating activists and victims alike.

What's next: The Justice Department said today that the case is a "top priority," and President Trump wants "justice to be served," White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said this afternoon.

  • The four Minneapolis officers — Derek Chauvin, Thomas Lane, Tou Thao and J. Alexander Kueng — have been fired.
  • “I would like for those officers to be charged with murder because that’s exactly what they did,” his sister Bridgett Floyd told the "Today" show.

The bottom line: Floyd, who worked security at a restaurant, "was loved by all my employees and my customers," owner Jovanni Thunstrom told CNN.

  • "He was my friend."
2. Robot prescription deliveries

A self-driving Nuro vehicle in Scottsdale, Arizona, 2018. Photo: Ross D. Franklin/AP

CVS Health will try delivering prescriptions with self-driving vehicles in a test that begins next month in Houston, AP reports.

  • Customers will have to confirm their identity in order to unlock their delivery after the vehicle arrives.
3. Catch up quick
  1. States: New York to allow private businesses to deny entry to customers without masks.
  2. Public health: Louisiana Sen. Bill Cassidy wants more frequent testing of nursing home workers.
  3. Congress: Pelosi slams McConnell on stimulus delay — Sen. Tim Kaine and wife test positive for coronavirus antibodies.
  4. Tech: Twitter fact-checks Chinese official's claims that coronavirus originated in U.S.
4. 1 sci-fi thing

A stunt promoted the apocalyptic Amazon Prime series by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett, "Good Omens,” at South by Southwest in Austin last year. Photo: Suzanne Cordeiro/AFP via Getty Images

Top science fiction writers, who all explore alternate worlds and realities for their day jobs, tell “Axios on HBO” how they see the pandemic.

  • Neil Gaiman, author of "Coraline": "I think this period of time is going to be a fertile time for storytellers for decades and, I hope, centuries to come.
  • Lois Lowry, author of "The Giver": "We're at the part of the book where the reader is feeling a terrible sense of suspense."
  • Nnedi Okorafor, author of "The Shadow Speaker": "One thing I've felt since all of this has happened, is this idea of ... oh my gosh, it's finally happening."
  • Max Brooks, author of "World War Z": "Those big crises that affect us all have to be solved by all of us ... it may not be some alpha male with a big gun or some clairvoyant wizard or someone with magical powers."

Video here (also available on all HBO platforms.)

Mike Allen