The Associated Press has the latest from Seattle, where one of two people hit by a car which drove into protesters early on Saturday morning has died:
“Summer Taylor, 24, of Seattle died in the evening at Harborview Medical Center, spokesperson Susan Gregg said.
Taylor and Diaz Love, 32, of Portland, Oregon, were hit by the car that barreled through a panicked crowd of protesters on Interstate 5, officials said. Love is in serious condition in the intensive care unit, Harborview, Gregg said.
Dawit Kelete of Seattle drove the car around vehicles that were blocking I-5 and sped into the crowd about 1.40am, according to a police report. Video taken at the scene by protesters showed people shouting “Car! Car!” before fleeing the roadway.
Love was filming the protest in a nearly two-hour-long Facebook livestream captioned “Black Femme March takes I-5” when the video ended abruptly. With about 15 seconds left, shouts of “Car!” can be heard as the camera starts to shake before screeching tires and the sound of impact are heard.
A graphic video posted on social media showed the white Jaguar racing toward a group of protesters who were standing behind several parked cars, set up for protection. The car swerved around the other vehicles and slammed into the two protesters, sending them flying into the air.
The driver, who was alone, fled the scene, Trooper Chase Van Cleave said. One of the other protesters got in a car and chased the driver for about a mile. He was able to stop him by pulling his car in front of the Jaguar, Van Cleave said. Troopers arrived, and the driver was put in custody.
Kelete was described by offices as reserved and sullen, according to court documents. He also asked if the pedestrians were OK. Kelete was booked into the King County Correctional Facility on Saturday morning on two counts of vehicular assault. Bail was denied. He faces a second court hearing on Monday.
Officials were trying to determine motive as well as where Kelete got on to the interstate, which had been closed by the state patrol for more than an hour. Authorities said they suspect Kelete drove the wrong way on a ramp and went through a barrier that closed the freeway.
Troopers did not know whether it was a targeted attack, but impairment was not considered a factor.
Seattle has been the site of prolonged unrest following the 25 May police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, which sparked nationwide protests. Dozens of people were arrested this week after authorities cleared the “Capitol Hill Occupied Protest” zone Wednesday morning.
The Washington state patrol said that it will no longer allow protesters to enter I-5 and will arrest pedestrians on the freeway, which protesters had shut down 19 days in a row.”
Donald Trump is very exercised about statues and their place in US life, and wants a “National Garden of American Heroes” to be erected by executive order, a slightly Blofeldian project if ever there was one.
There are all sorts of reasons why the project may never see the light of day, including Trump losing the White House in November and/or Congress refusing to pay for it. In the meantime, the president’s selection of such heroes – no Native Americans, Latinos or Asian Americans among them – is causing the expected fuss.
The Washington Post reports that Karen Cox, a history professor at University of North Carolina at Charlotte, “struggled for several minutes to describe the order outlining the proposed monument”.
“It’s just so random. It’s like they threw a bunch of stuff on the wall and just went with whatever stuck,” she said. “Nothing about this suggests it’s thoughtful.”
Precedent would suggest Professor Cox might be on to something, there.
Here’s our Washington bureau chief, David Smith, on how the capital is dealing with attempts to bring down statues of presidents and others:
More on the coronavirus count in the US, which Johns Hopkins University says dipped below 50,000 a day on Saturday for the first time in four days. As the AP puts it, “the lower figure does not mean the situation is improving: it could be due to reduced reporting on a national holiday”.
More from the AP:
The US leads the world in coronavirus infections (2.8m) and deaths (130,000), though the true toll is likely higher, given undetected cases. It is also on a steep upward curve.
US authorities were reporting fewer than 20,000 new infections a day as recently as 15 June. On Saturday, Florida and Texas reported more record daily increases in confirmed cases and virus-related deaths have begun to rise.
Donald Trump spoke in South Dakota on Friday and Washington on Saturday, but elsewhere communities canceled Fourth of July parades and fireworks and cautioned against large gatherings.
Texas, which reported a record daily increase of 8,258 confirmed coronavirus cases Saturday, is retreating from one of the country’s swiftest re-openings. Much of the state began mandating face coverings Friday, with a $250 fine. In Florida, which reported 11,445 confirmed infections on Saturday, bars are shut down and some regional attractions, such as Zoo Miami and Jungle Island, have closed. Officials in South Florida including in Miami-Dade county and the Florida Keys closed beaches through the weekend. Other beaches remained open.
California governor Gavin Newsom has ordered a three-week closure of bars and many indoor establishments.
Here’s Maanvi Singh’s report from Oakland on what went wrong in California:
…and welcome to another day of politics, protest and public health crisis in the US.
Donald Trump spoke at the White House on Saturday night, at a Fourth of July celebration, duly blaming China for the coronavirus outbreak and claiming “we’ve learned how to put out the flame”.
As the New York Times put it, “After delivering a divisive speech at Mount Rushmore on Friday night, President Trump … again waved away objections from some officials and public health experts who were worried the virus could spread through the events’ crowds.” Masks were optional, social-distancing not exclusively observed.
According to Johns Hopkins University, Saturday was the first day in four in which fewer than 50,000 new cases were discovered across the US. The figure was still 45,300, though, and the same source puts total US cases at 2.8m and deaths at nearly 130,000.
White House task force member Dr Anthony Fauci told the Senate this week “it’s pretty obvious that we are not going in the right direction”, and said 100,000 cases a day could be on the way as states which reopened too soon, Texas and Florida prominent among them, bear the brunt of the resurgence.
Trump, however, continues to insist more cases are only being found because more tests are being done.
“Now we have tested almost 40m people,” he said. “By so doing, we show cases, 99% of which are totally harmless. Results that no other country can show because no other country has the testing that we have, not in terms of the numbers or in terms of quality.”
And so it goes on, as the Fourth of July weekend continues and many worry about the effects of gatherings for fireworks and cookouts in a land where wearing a mask has become a partisan issue. Here’s Robert Reich’s take:
Elsewhere, Kanye West has declared a run for president (it’s less clear if he’s actually filed anything or will be on any ballot) and as Trump’s attack on “far-left fascists” continues to reverberate – the Washington Post: For Trump, the threat now isn’t immigrants or other nations. It’s other Americans – protests over racism and police brutality continue. In Seattle, one of two women hit by a car that drove into a crowd early on Saturday has died.
More to come.