The Los Angeles program received $38 million from the city. A small portion of the money comes from private funds.

According to city data, one-third of adults in Los Angeles are unable to support their families on income from full-time work alone.

“When you provide resources to families that are struggling, it can give them the breathing room to realize goals that many of us are fortunate enough to take for granted,” Mayor Eric Garcetti said when the program began.

That breathing room came at an opportune time for Ms. Barajas. After graduating from high school in 2017, she pushed aside dreams of college and began working a string of retail gigs — Claire’s, Old Navy, Walmart. She set aside $300 from her paycheck each month to help cover her family’s rent.

“I had to work,” she said. “We had no foundation, no money in our pockets.”

Last year, Ms. Barajas, 22, received funds from an extension of the child tax credit. She used some of the money for essentials like clothes and food.

On a recent afternoon in Chatsworth, a Los Angeles neighborhood, Ms. Barajas reflected on how the money from the guaranteed income program was helping her stay afloat. She moved out of her mother’s apartment in April, after an argument. Since then, she and her daughter, now 15 months old, have slept on friends’ couches and sometimes stayed at pay-by-the-week motels.

For now, they are living at a 90-day shelter for women and children. Ms. Barajas hopes to attend community college this fall, but is focused first on finding a job. Many mornings, she scrolls her iPhone looking at postings before her daughter wakes up.

Most of the money from the guaranteed-income payments goes toward food, diapers and clothing, but she’s trying to save several hundred dollars, enough for a security deposit for an apartment she hopes to move into with a friend.

“I’m one emergency away from having to spend money and then live on the streets and become homeless,” she said. “A lot of people are just hanging on with the smallest amount of wiggle room financially.”

Zohna Everett, who was part of the Stockton program, knows how it feels to live within that razor-thin margin.

Before the program began in 2019, she was driving for DoorDash five days a week, bringing in about $100 a day. Her husband at the time worked as a truck driver, and the rent for their two-bedroom apartment was $1,000. To help earn gas money, Ms. Everett sometimes collected recyclables and turned them in for cash.

“The money was a godsend,” Ms. Everett said of the Stockton program, adding that while enrolled in it, she got a contract job at the Tesla factory in Fremont, Calif., on a production line.

Until then, Ms. Everett, 51, had been in a perpetual state of hustle, never stopping long enough to realize her exhaustion. After the payments started, she noticed she was sleeping better than she had in years.

“A weight truly was lifted from me,” she said.

The payments stopped during the pandemic, but she then received stimulus money from the federal government. She had started to save some money, but after a case of Covid left her with persistent fatigue and breathing problems, she recently took a leave from her Tesla job.

“With this pandemic, there is a lot of struggling,” she said. “There needs to be a permanent solution to help people.”

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Police Video Of Fatal Encounter Shows Lack Of De-Escalation

Activists are asking why an unarmed person wound up dead, and are accusing police of using disproportionate force.

A caller to 911 in Salt Lake City said a man had come into a brewery in his underwear, tried to steal beer and was running around in the street, posing a danger to himself and to drivers. Police tried to detain the man. Soon, Nykon Brandon was dead.

After the Salt Lake City Police Department on Friday released body-camera footage of the Aug. 14 fatal encounter and the 911 recording, activists on Saturday were asking why an unarmed person wound up dead and were accusing police of using disproportionate force.

“Stealing a beer does not equate to the death penalty,” said Lex Scott, founder of Black Lives Matter-Utah. “I don’t care if this man robbed 10 banks in one day. He didn’t deserve to die. He deserved to make it to court.”

The death of Brandon, who was 35, comes as the United States is still seeing uncounted numbers of police killings of unarmed people, many of whom were suffering a mental health crisis. Activists have called for reforms, saying rather than armed police who can often escalate situations, a better solution would be for special mental health crisis teams to respond.

Brandon’s Facebook page says he’d attended Southwestern Indian Polytechnic Institute, in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and worked for a firm that sells appliances, plumbing and hardware. Many people who posted on his page expressed shock and grief over his death.

The 911 caller said a man had come to Fisher Brewing, attacked a person at the door and was “running around crazy. Very erratic. He just jumped in and out of the road.”

“Definitely mental health issues,” the caller said. “So if you’ve got mental health resources, send them out.”

Instead, bodycam footage shows a police officer get out of his patrol car and order Brandon to stop. When he resists and puts up a fist and appears to reach for the officer’s holstered pistol, another officer pushes Brandon to the ground and the two officers try to pin him down. “Stop,” one of the officers says repeatedly as Brandon is on a gravel bed between the road and the sidewalk and continuing to push against the officers.

No de-escalation attempts by the police are visible or audible in the footage from nine body-worn cameras, even though an executive order signed by Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall two years ago requires all Salt Lake City Police Department officers to use de-escalation techniques before using force.

“De-escalation tactics are no longer suggested or preferred — they are mandatory prior to using force to effect an arrest unless it would be unreasonable to do so,” Mendenhall said in announcing the police reforms, which were prompted in part by the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police in 2020.

Salt Lake City Police Department spokesperson Brent Weisberg said of the Aug. 14 incident: “As the body-worn camera video shows, this is a situation that rapidly unfolded. It was a chaotic situation and our officers were required to make very fast decisions to get a situation under control that was very tense.”

Before Brandon walked into Fisher Brewing, he had been taken by South Salt Lake Police to a detox facility after they received a report of a man acting confused and scared at a park just after 1 p.m. on Aug. 14, KUTV reported.

Officers determined he was intoxicated, took him to the facility and cited him for public intoxication. But the facility is not a detention center and patients can leave at their will, KUTV reported.

The Salt Lake City Police Department officers encountered Brandon at 3:22 p.m. In the videos, he’s not heard speaking during his struggles with the officers, except for maybe a couple of words that are unclear.

A minute later, a third officer arrives. Video shows Brandon grabbing onto his holster and gun. They finally manage to cuff Brandon’s hands behind his back as he lies on the gravel belly down.

“We want to help you,” an officer says. “You’ve got to stop fighting with us.”

After a few seconds, Brandon stops moving. An officer taps Brandon on the shoulder with his gloved hand and asks “Can you hear me?” three times. Brandon does not respond.

“Get him in recovery,” an officer commands, and the others roll Brandon onto his side.

“Come on man,” an officer says. All the camera footage released by the police goes dark at that point.

Salt Lake City Police said in a press release that officers began to perform medical aid at 3:27 p.m. A minute later, they administered the first of multiple doses of Narcan and started performing chest compressions.

“At 4:16 p.m. SLCPD is notified that Mr. Brandon died. The exact time of death is unknown,” the news release said.

The police department said a thorough investigation was being conducted by an outside agency and that the department’s own internal affairs unit would conduct a separate investigation.

Rae Duckworth, operating chairperson for Black Lives Matter’s Utah chapters, wants to know why the released footage doesn’t show the officers trying to help Brandon.

“We don’t even have proof they actually administered aid. We don’t have proof that they actually administered Narcan,” Duckworth said.

Weisberg, the police spokesperson, said footage of the resuscitation efforts was not released out of consideration for Brandon’s family.

Additional reporting by the Associated Press.

Source: newsy.com

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Officers Won’t Face Any Charges In Rayshard Brooks Shooting

A special prosecutor will not charge two White Atlanta police officers after the fatal shooting of Rayshard Brooks.

Two White Atlanta police officers who clashed with Rayshard Brooks acted reasonably during the 2020 encounter that ended with the 27-year-old Black man’s fatal shooting, a specially appointed prosecutor said Tuesday in announcing his decision not to pursue charges against them.

Officer Garrett Rolfe, who shot and killed Brooks in June 2020, and Officer Devin Brosnan faced a “quickly evolving” situation when Brooks lunged and grabbed one of their Tasers during an arrest attempt, said Pete Skandalakis, executive director of the Prosecuting Attorneys’ Council of Georgia.

“We did not look at this with 20/20 hindsight. Given the quickly changing circumstances, was it objectively reasonable that he used deadly force? And we conclude it was,” Skandalakis said of Rolfe.

The shooting happened against the backdrop of heightened tensions and protests nationwide after the death of George Floyd under the knee of a Minneapolis police officer less than three weeks earlier. Sometimes-violent protests over Floyd’s death had largely subsided in Atlanta, but Brooks’ killing set off a new round of demonstrations against police brutality and racial injustice.

Skandalakis said he believes that context is important and acknowledged that encounters between police and the African American community are sometimes “very volatile,” but he said he doesn’t believe race played a role in this instance.

“This isn’t one of those cases,” he said. “This is a case in which the officers were willing to give Mr. Brooks every benefit of the doubt and, you know, unfortunately, by his actions, this is what happened.”

On June 12, 2020, police responded to complaints of a man sleeping in a car in the drive-thru lane of a Wendy’s restaurant. Police body camera video shows the two officers having a calm conversation with Brooks for roughly 40 minutes.

Then, when the officers told Brooks he’d had too much to drink to be driving and tried to arrest him, Brooks resisted in a struggle caught on dash camera video. Brooks grabbed a Taser from one of the officers and fled, firing it at Rolfe as he ran. Rolfe fired his gun, and an autopsy found that Brooks was shot twice in the back.

Police Chief Erika Shields resigned less than 24 hours after Brooks died, and protesters set fire to the Wendy’s, which was later demolished.

L. Chris Stewart, a lawyer for Brooks’ family, said Tuesday that Brooks should not have fought with the officers and that if they had used deadly force during that fight, they would have been completely justified.

“But they did not. They did not. They chose not to when they were justified. But they decided to use lethal force as a man was running away — 19 feet away,” he said.

He and his law partner, Justin Miller, noted that the prosecutors said they had to hire experts and break down the encounter video frame by video frame to reach a decision. Something that complicated should have been left to a jury of Fulton County citizens to decide at trial, the family’s lawyers said.

Stewart said the family will continue its fight for justice in civil court, where they have a lawsuit pending.

The two officers’ lawyers have said their actions were justified.

“This was the proper and only decision that could be reached based upon the evidence and Georgia law,” Brosnan attorneys Don Samuel and Amanda Clark Palmer said in an emailed statement.

Lawyers Noah H. Pines, Bill Thomas and Lance LoRusso said Rolfe will not be making a statement at this point.

Skandalakis and former Gwinnett County District Attorney Danny Porter, who was co-counsel in the case, spent about an hour during the news conference walking through the details of the encounter between Brooks and the two officers. Porter showed still images taken from videos to break down what happened once things turned violent.

Skandalakis called it “a peaceful encounter that all of a sudden becomes a violent encounter,” saying that once Brooks took the Taser from Brosnan, he assumed an offensive position.

Porter said Brooks proceeded to “beat the crap” out of the two officers after Rolfe’s lawful attempt to arrest him. Rolfe acted in accordance with Georgia law and Atlanta Police Department policy given the facts of the situation, he said.

“The police didn’t come into this encounter hot,” he said. “There was no hostility.”

Rolfe was fired a day after the shooting, but his dismissal was overturned in May 2021 by the Atlanta Civil Service Board. The board found that the city failed to follow its own procedures for disciplinary actions.

Five days after Brooks was killed, then-Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard held a dramatic news conference to announce warrants had been taken out against Rolfe and Brosnan. Rolfe’s charges included felony murder, aggravated assault and violation of his oath. Brosnan was charged with aggravated assault and violating his oath.

Skandalakis said Tuesday that he would file paperwork to dismiss those warrants. He declined to comment when asked whether Howard had rushed charges.

The Atlanta Police Department said in a statement that both officers are on administrative duty and will undergo training and recertification.

Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens, who was a City Council member when the shooting happened, said in a statement his “heart continues to ache” for Brooks’ family, but he respects the “independent role” that the special prosecutor played.

Two months after he announced the charges, Howard lost the Democratic primary in his bid for reelection. Just weeks after taking office in January 2021, his successor, Fani Willis, asked Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr to reassign the case, citing concerns about Howard’s actions.

Willis has since gained national attention for her ongoing investigation into whether former President Donald Trump and others illegally tried to influence the outcome of the 2020 election in Georgia.

Carr initially refused to reassign the case, but in July 2021 appointed Skandalakis to take it over after a judge excused Willis and her office.

Additional reporting by The Associated Press.

Source: newsy.com

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Inflation Cooled in July, Welcome News for White House and Fed

Inflation cooled notably in July as gas prices and airfares fell, a welcome reprieve for consumers and a positive development for economic policymakers in Washington — though not yet a conclusive sign that price increases have turned a corner.

The Consumer Price Index climbed 8.5 percent in the year through July, a slower pace than economists had expected and considerably less than the 9.1 percent increase in the year through June. After food and fuel costs are stripped out to better understand underlying cost pressures, prices climbed 5.9 percent, matching the previous reading.

The marked deceleration in overall inflation — on a monthly basis, prices barely moved — is another sign of economic improvement that could boost President Biden at a time when rapid price increases have been burdening consumers and eroding voter confidence. The new data came on the heels of an unexpectedly strong jobs report last week that underscored the economy’s momentum.

job market stays strong, Americans may begin to feel better about their personal financial situations.

“It underscores the kind of economy we’ve been building,” Mr. Biden said on Wednesday. “We’re seeing a stronger labor market where jobs are booming and Americans are working, and we’re seeing some signs that inflation may be beginning to moderate.”

loss of purchasing power over time, meaning your dollar will not go as far tomorrow as it did today. It is typically expressed as the annual change in prices for everyday goods and services such as food, furniture, apparel, transportation and toys.

Fed officials remain committed to wrestling America’s rapid inflation lower, and they have raised interest rates at the quickest pace since the 1980s to try to slow the economy and bring supply and demand into balance — making supersize rate moves of three-quarters of a percentage point at each of their past two meetings. Another big adjustment will be up for debate at their next meeting in September, policymakers have said.

But investors interpreted July’s unexpectedly pronounced inflation slowdown as a sign that policymakers could take a gentler route, raising rates a half-point next month. Stocks soared more than 2 percent on Wednesday, as Wall Street bet that the Fed might become less aggressive, which would decrease the chances that it would plunge the economy into a recession.

“It was as good as the markets and the Fed could have hoped for from this report,” said Aneta Markowska, chief financial economist at Jefferies. “I do think it removes the urgency for the Fed.”

Still, officials who spoke on Wednesday remained cautious about inflation. Neel Kashkari, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, called the report the “first hint” of a move in the right direction, while Charles Evans, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, said that it was “positive” but that price increases remained “unacceptably high.”

Policymakers have been hoping for more than a year that price increases will begin to cool, only to have those expectations repeatedly dashed. Supply chain issues have made goods more expensive, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine sent commodity prices soaring, a shortage of workers pushed wages and service prices higher and a dearth of housing has fueled rising rents.

toward $4 in July after peaking at $5 in June, based on data from AAA. That decline helped overall inflation to cool last month. The trend has continued into August, which should help inflation to continue to moderate.

But it is unclear what will happen next. The U.S. Energy Information Administration expects that fuel costs will continue to come down, but geopolitical instability and the speed of U.S. oil and gas production during hurricane season, which can take refineries offline, are wild cards in that outlook.

declined in July, perhaps in part because borrowing costs rose. Mortgage rates have increased this year and appear to be weighing on the housing market, which could be helping to drive down prices for appliances.

slow hiring. Wages are still rising rapidly, and, as that happens, so are prices on many services. Rents, which make up a chunk of overall inflation and are closely linked to wage growth, continue to climb rapidly — which is concerning, because they tend to change course only slowly.

Rents of primary residences climbed 0.7 percent in July from the prior month, and are up 6.3 percent over the past year. Before the pandemic, that measure typically climbed about 3.5 percent annually.

Those forces could keep inflation undesirably rapid even if supply chains unsnarl and fuel prices continue to fall. The Fed aims for 2 percent inflation over time, based on a different but related inflation measure.

“The Covid reopening and revenge travel pressures have eased — and are probably going to continue easing,” said Laura Rosner-Warburton, senior U.S. economist at MacroPolicy Perspectives. But she also struck a note of caution, adding: “Under the hood, we’re still seeing pressures in rent. There’s still sticky inflation here.”

And given how high inflation has been for more than a year now, Fed policymakers will avoid reading too much into a single report. Inflation slowed last summer only to speed up again in fall.

“We might see goods inflation and commodity inflation come down, but at the same time see the services side of the economy stay up — and that’s what we’ve got to keep watching for,” Loretta Mester, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, said during a recent appearance. “It can’t just be a one month. Oil prices went down in July; that’ll feed through to the July inflation report, but there’s a lot of risk that oil prices will go up in the fall.”

Ms. Mester said that she “welcomes” a slowdown in some types of prices, but that it would be a mistake to “cry victory too early” and allow inflation to continue without taking necessary action.

For many Americans who are struggling to adjust their lifestyles to rapidly climbing costs at the grocery store and dry cleaners, an annual inflation rate that is still more than four times its normal speed is unlikely to feel like a big improvement, even as lower gas prices and rising pay rates do offer some relief.

Stephanie Bailey, 54, has a solid family income in Waco, Texas. Even so, she has been cutting back on meals at local Tex-Mex restaurants and new clothes because of the climbing prices, which she sees “everywhere.” At Starbucks, she opts for cold, noncoffee drinks, which in some cases are cheaper.

Her son, who is in his 20s, has moved back in with his parents. Rent had become out of reach on his salary working at a vitamin manufacturer. He is now teaching at a local high school.

“It’s just so expensive, with housing,” Ms. Bailey said. “He was having a hard time making ends meet.”

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Voters In 4 States Head To The Polls For Primary Elections

Wisconsin, Minnesota, Vermont and Connecticut are holding primary elections Tuesday to decide who’s on the ballot for the November midterms.

The Republican matchup in the Wisconsin governor’s race on Tuesday features competing candidates endorsed by former President Donald Trump and his estranged vice president, Mike Pence. Democrats are picking a candidate to face two-term GOP Sen. Ron Johnson for control of the closely divided chamber.

Meanwhile, voters in Vermont are choosing a replacement for U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy as the chamber’s longest-serving member retires. In Minnesota, U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar faces a Democratic primary challenger who helped defeat a voter referendum to replace the Minneapolis Police Department with a new Department of Public Safety.

What to watch in Tuesday’s primary elections in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Vermont and Connecticut:

WISCONSIN

Construction company co-owner Tim Michels has Trump’s endorsement in the governor’s race and has been spending millions of his own money, touting both the former president’s backing and his years working to build his family’s business into Wisconsin’s largest construction company. Michels casts himself as an outsider, although he previously lost a campaign to oust then-U.S. Sen. Russ Feingold in 2004 and has long been a prominent GOP donor.

Establishment Republicans including Pence and former Gov. Scott Walker have endorsed former Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch, who along with Walker, survived a 2012 recall effort. She argues she has the experience and knowledge to pursue conservative priorities, including dismantling the bipartisan commission that runs elections.

With Senate control at stake, Democrats will also make their pick to take on Johnson. Democratic support coalesced around Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes late in the race, when his three top rivals dropped out and threw their support to him. He would become the state’s first Black senator if elected.

Several lesser-known candidates remain in the primary, but Johnson and Republicans have treated Barnes as the nominee, casting him as too liberal for Wisconsin, a state Trump won in 2016 but lost in 2020.

Four Democrats are also running in Wisconsin’s 3rd Congressional District, a seat that opened up with the retirement of veteran Democratic U.S. Rep. Ron Kind. The district has been trending Republican, and Derrick Van Orden — who narrowly lost to Kind in 2020 and has Trump’s endorsement — is running unopposed.

MINNESOTA

Democratic Gov. Tim Walz faces a little-known opponent as he seeks a second term. His likely challenger is Republican Scott Jensen, a physician and former state lawmaker who has made vaccine skepticism a centerpiece of his campaign and faces token opposition.

Both men have been waging a virtual campaign for months, with Jensen attacking Walz for his management of the pandemic and hammering the governor for rising crime around Minneapolis. Walz has highlighted his own support of abortion rights and suggested that Jensen would be a threat to chip away at the procedure’s legality in Minnesota.

Crime has emerged as the biggest issue in Rep. Omar’s Democratic primary. She faces a challenge from former Minneapolis City Council member Don Samuels, who opposes the movement to defund the police and last year helped defeat efforts to replace the city’s police department. Omar, who supported the referendum, has a substantial money advantage and is expected to benefit from a strong grassroots operation.

The most confusing part of Tuesday’s ballot was for the 1st Congressional District seat that was held by U.S. Rep. Jim Hagedorn, who died earlier this year from cancer. Republican former state Rep. Brad Finstad and Democrat Jeff Ettinger, a former Hormel CEO, are simultaneously competing in primaries to determine the November matchup for the next two-year term representing the southern Minnesota district, as well as a special election to finish the last few months of Hagedorn’s term.

CONNECTICUT

It’s been roughly three decades since Connecticut had a Republican in the U.S. Senate, but the party isn’t giving up.

In the GOP primary to take on Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal, the party has endorsed former state House Minority Leader Themis Klarides. She’s a social moderate who supports abortion rights and certain gun control measures and says she did not vote for Trump in 2020. Klarides contends her experience and positions can persuade voters to oppose Blumenthal, a two-term senator who in May registered a 45% job approval rating, his lowest in a Quinnipiac poll since taking office.

Klarides is being challenged by conservative attorney Peter Lumaj and Republican National Committee member Leora Levy, whom Trump endorsed last week. Both candidates oppose abortion rights and further gun restrictions, and they back Trump’s policies.

VERMONT

Leahy’s upcoming retirement has opened up two seats in Vermont’s tiny three-person congressional delegation — and the opportunity for the state to send a woman to represent it in Washington for the first time.

Democratic U.S. Rep. Peter Welch, the state’s at-large congressman, quickly launched his Senate bid after Leahy revealed he was stepping down. Leahy, who is president pro tempore of the Senate, has been hospitalized a couple of times over the last two years, including after breaking his hip this summer.

Welch has been endorsed by Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and is the odds-on favorite to win the seat in November. He faces two other Democrats in the primary: Isaac Evans-Frantz, an activist, and Dr. Niki Thran, an emergency physician.

On the Republican side, former U.S. Attorney Christina Nolan, retired U.S. Army officer Gerald Malloy and investment banker Myers Mermel are competing for the nomination.

The race to replace Welch has yielded Vermont’s first wide-open U.S. House campaign since 2006.

Two women, including Lt. Gov. Molly Gray and state Senate President Pro Tempore Becca Balint, are the top Democratic candidates in the race. Gray, elected in 2020 in her first political bid, is a lawyer and a former assistant state attorney general.

The winner of the Democratic primary will be the heavy favorite to win the general election in the liberal state. In 2018, Vermont became the last state without female representation in Congress when Mississippi Republican Cindy Hyde-Smith was appointed to the Senate.

Additional reporting by The Associated Press.

Source: newsy.com

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