Police Reform, Peru, Bob Dylan: Your Friday Evening Briefing

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Good evening. Here’s the latest.

1. The sweeping calls for policing reforms are inching toward policy.

In New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed an expansive package of bills aimed, in the wake of George Floyd’s death, at combating police misconduct. The measures included a ban on the use of chokeholds and a repeal of a decades-old statute that has allowed the police to keep disciplinary records of officers secret. Above, police in Brooklyn last week.

In Minnesota, where Mr. Floyd died after an officer pressed his knee into Mr. Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes, state lawmakers convened a special session to consider Democratic-backed bills that would create community alternatives to policing and restore voting rights for paroled prisoners. Republicans said they would oppose some of the measures.

3. And in Peru, the coronavirus toll is quickly turning tragic.

The crisis has exposed deep-rooted inequality and corruption that have thwarted pandemic response, making Peru one of the world’s worst coronavirus hot spots. The country has about 6,000 confirmed Covid-19 deaths and more than 200,000 infections, and experts say those numbers understate the true extent of the pandemic.

Poverty forced many to continue working; one in three Peruvians lacks access to running water, and only half of Peruvian homes have refrigerators, forcing many families to return daily to crowded markets. Above, a cemetery on the southern outskirts of Lima last month.


4. The Trump administration finalized a rule to erase Obama-era protections for transgender people facing discrimination in health care. The move was announced on the fourth anniversary of the Pulse nightclub massacre in Orlando, Fla., and in the middle of Pride Month.

The rule is part of a broad Trump administration push to narrow the legal definition of sex discrimination so that it does not include protections for transgender people. Above, a rally last August.

Separately, the White House is moving to solidify “emergency” restrictive immigration policies put in place for the coronavirus. Officials proposed a rule this week that would raise the standard of proof for migrants hoping to obtain asylum. Officials also plan to examine restrictions on skilled-worker H-1B visas.


5. The rubber bullets used on protesters in marches around the country, like those above, have been deemed “nonlethal weapons” by officials. But their impact can be devastating.

The common crowd-dispersal methods, including tear gas, flash bangs and beanbag rounds, have caused brain damage and other disabilities, prompting growing calls to ban them.

“Instead of calling them nonlethal, we now call these weapons ‘less lethal,’ and that is in comparison to a standard bullet,” said one doctor.

Early demographic data shows a significant presence of white protesters, a striking difference from years past. Why now? Among the factors: a shift in attitudes on race, anger toward President Trump, and the pandemic, according to researchers.


6. There’s one thing voters can agree on: The future isn’t looking so good.

Battered by a health crisis and an economic downturn, and boiled over with fury about racial injustice, many Americans are mourning the past, worried about the present and fearful of what comes next. We spoke with more than two dozen voters in key political battleground states.

“It’s all screwed,” a construction worker in Milwaukee said. “It seems to me that we’re pretty close to a fall.”

In the days since George Floyd’s killing, Democratic politicians have taken to calling out the problem of “systemic racism” in America. But many people say their policy solutions seem to leave the system intact. Above, a memorial for Mr. Floyd in Minneapolis.


7. Do police officers make schools safer or more dangerous?

School resource officers were supposed to prevent mass shootings and juvenile crime. But some schools in Minneapolis, Seattle and Portland, Ore., are eliminating them amid a clamor from students after George Floyd’s death. More school districts are considering the move. Teachers’ unions in Los Angeles, above, and Chicago are pushing to get the police out.

New graduates from around the nation, some still in their caps and gowns, have gone to protests after their online ceremonies to make a statement: that they should not inherit the same discrimination that previous generations faced.


8. Robert Frank crossed America by car in search of broader horizons. What he found fascinated and disturbed him.

“That trip I got to like black people so much more than white people,” he told The Times Magazine in 2015.

He selected the image above for the cover of his eye-opening book of 83 photographs, “The Americans,” published in 1959. “Trolley — New Orleans” is all about divisions, and each portrait within the composition tells its own story. We broke it down frame by frame.

We also spoke to Bob Dylan in a rare interview. The musician talks about mortality, George Floyd, the gospel music of Little Richard and his new album.


9. You’ve probably played a few games while in lockdown. So what draws us to them?

“Games give us the power to transform our living rooms, backyards, and Zoom calls into different playful realities,” writes Sam Von Ehren, the resident Game Maker for The Times. (Yes, we have a Game Maker!)

10. And finally, about those funky pandemic dreams.

Our Opinion section expected a few head scratchers when it asked readers earlier this year to share their dreams. Dreams, after all, tend not to be good stories — they lack a beginning, middle and end. But going through more than 500 responses, there were some pleasant surprises. Here are 20 favorites.

“A few nights ago I dreamed that I got to meet Oprah, but I could only ask her one question,” one reader wrote in. “My question was, ‘Is thread count really a thing? Like, when you are a guest at someone’s house, does it really matter what the thread count of the sheets is?’”

Have a well-rested weekend.



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