Newsletter: Trump ignores the police reform call

President Trump walks from the White House through Lafayette Park to visit St. John’s Church on Monday.
(Patrick Semansky / Associated Press)

Here are the stories you shouldn’t miss today:


Trump Ignores the Police Reform Call

When George Floyd died last week after a Minneapolis police officer pinned him down with a knee on his neck, President Trump reacted much as he had in the past when a black person’s fatal encounter with law enforcement was caught on video.

Apart from declaring himself disturbed by the “terrible thing” that he saw and supporting a federal civil rights investigation into Floyd’s death, the president has offered no policy proposals for changing how police use force, train new officers or interact with their communities.


Instead, Trump has pledged to crack down on the looting and rioting that has occasionally accompanied peaceful demonstrations and threatened to deploy the U.S. military. That, along with using gas to clear nonviolent protesters for a staged photo in front of a church, has created a deep rift between the White House and the Pentagon.

Trump has also transformed parts of the nation’s capital into a garrison, with an ever-expanding security perimeter around the White House and armed troops at many intersections and national landmarks.

After his former secretary of Defense, James N. Mattis, accused Trump of making a “mockery of our Constitution,” Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski said she was “struggling” with whether she could support him in the November election.

Seldom in his three and a half years in the Oval Office has Trump appeared so alienated from so many as he has this week, as Times Washington bureau chief David Lauter writes in his analysis.

A Striking Reversal for the LAPD

It has been an article of faith in L.A. politics for more than a quarter-century for Republican and Democratic mayors: Build the Los Angeles Police Department and its budget, and you will build a stronger, safer city.

But city leaders now appear ready to slow and perhaps reverse that longtime trend amid demands that the city provide poor and minority communities with more than a police presence.

Mayor Eric Garcetti said he will direct $250 million to youth jobs, health initiatives and “peace centers” to heal trauma and will allow those who have suffered discrimination to collect damages. The money will have to be cut from other city operations; Garcetti, backed by City Council President Nury Martinez and his new Police Commission president, said as much as $150 million would come from the Los Angeles Police Department.


That is a striking reversal from the budget Garcetti put forward in April, which proposed a 7% spending increase for the LAPD, including a previously agreed-upon package of raises and bonuses for rank-and-file officers.

More About the Protests

— At a memorial for George Floyd in downtown Minneapolis, relatives and friends — and the civil rights activists, politicians and celebrities the family had invited — remembered him and called for justice.

— The Supreme Court is facing pressure to reconsider the legal immunity that often shields officers from being sued for using excessive force, including brutal arrests and the shooting of innocent people in their homes.

— A nightly curfew will no longer be in place in Los Angeles County as protests over police brutality and the death of Floyd continue across Southern California.

— After looting accompanied some protests in Los Angeles, Latinos are keeping watch to protect their businesses. But they say it’s not the same as backlash in the white suburbs: “For us, it’s like: ‘This is all we have, but we’re proud of it. Don’t mess with it.’”

— What motivates the looters? Some are pure opportunists, but others say they are frustrated about systemic racism, citing issues ranging from Trump to the racial privilege exposed in the college admissions scandal.

How Many People in L.A. Were Infected?

One of the most pressing questions public health officials are trying to answer about the coronavirus is how many people actually have been infected by it.

Have a relatively significant portion of Californians been infected with the virus but survived without much problem? Or has the virus touched only a tiny sliver, suggesting the chances of serious illness are greater if you’re infected?

In April, studies out of Stanford University and USC suggested the coronavirus had circulated much more widely than previously thought in the Silicon Valley and Los Angeles County. Almost immediately, there have been questions from other epidemiologists around the country about whether those estimates were too high.

More Top Coronavirus Headlines

— L.A. coronavirus test sites were closed during the protests. It’s not clear how the closures may have impacted testing, but experts warn any reduction will hurt the region’s response to the virus.

— Using tear gas or pepper spray to subdue protesters will only help spread the coronavirus, infectious disease experts warn, urging law enforcement to abandon the practice for public health reasons.

— In Mexico, authorities sought to calm an anxious public after the nation’s coronavirus death toll grew by 1,092 on Wednesday — more than doubling the daily record and for the first time exceeding the single-day U.S. total.

1968 All Over Again?

“In the broad sweep of American history, certain years stand like grim mileposts. The year 1968, bathed in blood and drenched in sorrow, is one. The year 2020 may be another,” writes Mark Z. Barbarak in a news analysis piece.

“The nation is convulsed today in a way it has not been in more than half a century: stalked by a mysterious virus, burdened by soaring joblessness, wrestling — once again — with the twin plagues of racism and inequality that have poisoned the country from its outset.”

In short: “So much has changed in 52 years. So much remains the same.”


On this day in 1968, Sen. Robert F. Kennedy was shot in Los Angeles. The shooting came hours after he won the California Democratic presidential primary and moments after he finished his victory speech before a crowd at the Ambassador Hotel. He had been shaking the hand of a teenage busboy, Juan Romero, when he was struck by gunfire. Kennedy died the next day at age 42, almost five years after his brother President John F. Kennedy was killed.

Times photographer Boris Yaro had been at the event and captured what became a defining photo of the event. In an account he gave to The Times in 2010, he described being drawn into the chaos before taking a handful of photos.

“I took a quick look at the photos and the whole incident began to take over my feelings,” Yaro wrote. “I went back into my darkroom. And I wept.”

Boris Yaro
May 2, 2018: Boris Yaro, who was a Los Angeles Times staffer in 1968, was at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles the night Robert F. Kennedy was shot. He photographed the stricken senator who died the next day.
(Myung J. Chun / Los Angeles Times)


— Order takeout, sweets, snacks and drinks from black-owned businesses.

— Avoid another trip to the store with this recipe for homemade energy bars.

— Most of California’s 11 national parks and recreation areas are now at least partly open.


— Former presidential candidate Bernie Sanders threw his support behind former San Francisco Dist. Atty. George Gascón in his bid to unseat Jackie Lacey as Los Angeles County’s top prosecutor.

— Gov. Gavin Newsom met with Stockton Mayor Michael Tubbs and the Central Valley city’s black community leaders, continuing a listening tour in cities across the state as more Californians demand action and accountability for police brutality.

— In Ventura, many of the Vagabond Inn’s employees refused to return to work when the hotel reopened to house the homeless during the coronavirus pandemic. Victoria Galindo Lopez was one of the few who stepped up. Now, she’s facing deportation after ICE rejected her application to stay without explanation.

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— After being held in an Iranian prison for nearly two years, Michael White, a U.S. Navy veteran from San Diego who contracted COVID-19 while in custody, has been released and has left the Islamic Republic, his family and officials said.

— What was supposed to be a banned event commemorating the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre became one of Hong Kong’s most unifying vigils in 31 years, as the old themes of accountability for massacre victims merged with new demands for democracy and autonomy in the territory.

— As nations around the world locked down this spring to help contain the coronavirus, Nicaragua’s president assured his country there was nothing to worry about. Activist Erlinton Flores Ortiz reached a different conclusion: The government was purposely undercounting infections and deaths in a COVID-19 cover-up.

Las Vegas gambling is back, with all the bright lights and ringing bells. And now, sneeze guards at blackjack tables, mandatory empty barstools and a dancing bartender in a bikini and face mask.


The Emmys will go on this year. They just may look different than past festivities. Here’s what to expect.

— Hulu’s “Ramy” has premiered a new season amid a national conversation about diversity and racism. Stars Ramy Youssef and Mahershala Ali reflect on faith and barriers that still need breaking.

Cable news is no match for the George Floyd moment. It’s failing viewers, writes TV critic Robert Lloyd.

— Spain’s Guggenheim Bilbao reopened with temperature checks, self-guided tours and closed coatrooms. Could it provide a template for U.S. museums?

— “Glee” alum Lea Michele apologized to her former costars after actress Samantha Marie Ware accused Michele of subjecting her to verbal abuse and “other traumatic microaggressions” on set. But that apology backfired as more cast and crew waded into the fray.


— Nearly 1.9 million people applied for U.S. unemployment benefits last week. But the numbers also represent the ninth straight decline since applications spiked in mid-March, a sign that job loss has slowed.

— For night-shift workers, curfews can be costly: shorter hours, difficulties getting to and from work, and feeling subject to police harassment.


— The NBA will attempt to relaunch its suspended season with 22 teams vying for a championship after the league’s board of governors voted 29 to 1 to approve the plan.

— The NHL is allowing teams to open training facilities for players next week. Full training camps aren’t expected to begin before July 10,

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— It’s not surprising that a lot of people are wondering if things are ever going to go “back to normal.” But “normal” isn’t good enough, writes columnist Mary McNamara.

— When the coronavirus shut down L.A., there were few in the food community more affected than street vendors. And yet, they’re being left out of the city’s reopening plans, writes columnist Lucas Kwan Peterson.


— California Rep. Maxine Waters has fought police violence since her first term as a state assemblywoman. She reflects on what it means to protest in 2020. (The Cut)

— How the plague gave rise to British pub culture. (Atlas Obscura)


John Wooden died 10 years ago, but his memory lives on — in everyone he touched. Players recall his devotion to winning at life, all those UCLA national championships in basketball in the 1960s and 1970s a function of his dedication to doing things the right way. Those who met him or have read his books or have heard him speak continue to delight in the universal truths of what he said. But one group remembers him uniquely. He was their father, grandfather, great-grandfather. They all called him Papa.

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