First Thing: Chauvin’s former police chief condemns unjustified force against Floyd

Good morning.

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Photograph: Jane Rosenberg/Reuters

Minneapolis’ police chief said that there was no justification for the amount of force used by former officer Derek Chauvin in restraining George Floyd, as he testified at Chauvin’s murder trial yesterday. It is extremely rare for a police chief to give evidence against one of his own officers.

Medaria Arradondo said that he “vehemently disagrees” that there was justification for Chauvin to keep his knee on Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes. The restraint should have ended when Floyd stopped resisting and was distressed, Arradondo said, adding that Chauvin had breached force regulations and showed a “disregard for life”.

  • The doctor who tried to save Floyd said he likely died of asphyxiation and that he saw no evidence Floyd died of a heart attack or overdose, as Chauvin’s defence is attempting to prove. Dr Bradford Wankhede Langenfeld treated Floyd in an emergency room after the arrest.

  • Chauvin faces up to 40 years in prison if convicted of murder, in what is widely seen as a landmark case for police brutality and accountability in the US. Chauvin denies all charges.

Mitch McConnell told business executives to back out of the political arena

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The Senate minority leader, Mitch McConnell, speaks during a news conference in his home state of Kentucky, Monday 5 April 2021. Photograph: Timothy D Easley/AP

The Senate minority leader, Mitch McConnell, hit back at business CEOs who have been critical of voting restrictions, telling them to “stay out of politics”.

It comes after executives of companies including Coca-Cola, Delta and Microsoft condemned a new election law in Georgia which makes it more difficult to vote. He also said the Georgia law had been wrongly portrayed, criticising a “coordinated campaign by powerful and wealthy people to mislead and bully the American people”.

I found it completely discouraging to find a bunch of corporate CEOs getting in the middle of politics,” McConnell told a press conference on Monday. “My advice to the corporate CEOs of America is to stay out of politics. Don’t pick sides in these big fights.”

  • But Georgia isn’t the only one: Texas and Arizona are moving forward with legislation to limit voting access, and nationally, 361 bills have been introduced to limit access to the ballot in some way.

  • Amazon illegally fired workers who called for better conditions during the pandemic, according to the National Labor Relations board. Emily Cunningham and Maren Costa publicly protested against the firms environmental and labor policies.

How a far-right group is threatening to harass its political opponents

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The group has attracted disillusioned QAnon supporters. Photograph: Win McNamee/Getty Images

The founder of the Oath Enforcers, a national network of rightwing individuals, insists the group is not violent. But internal chats reveal some members are planning confrontations with their political enemies and law enforcement, a Guardian investigation reveals.

The group has targeted disillusioned supporters of Donald Trump and QAnon, and exposed them to a range of conspiracy theories and white nationalist material. Jason Wilson explores who the Oath Enforcers are, and what they might be planning.

  • The supreme court has dismissed a case over Trump’s Twitter account that examined whether the former president could block individuals from seeing his tweets from the @realDonaldTrump account. The court said the case was moot now his presidency is over.

In other news…

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Governor Asa Hutchinson signed a law banning transgender women and girls from competing in school sports teams consistent with their gender identity in March. Photograph: Staton Breidenthal/AP

  • Arkansas governor vetoed a bill preventing trans kids from accessing hormone medication following pleas from social workers, paediatricians and parents of transgender children to axe the bill. Arkansas was posed to become the first state to make the move, but its Republican-controlled legislature could still override the governor’s veto.

  • Iran and the US are holding indirect talks to get the nuclear deal back on track in Vienna on Tuesday. The talks aim to bring both countries back on board with the 2015 deal that Washington abandoned three years ago, as Iran increasingly oversteps the rules of the deal.

  • A man in the Philippines has died after allegedly being forced to squat 300 times for breaching Covid rules, his family have said. Darren Manaog Peñaredondo was caught buying drinking water after 6pm.

© Photograph: Jane Rosenberg/Reuters
Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo answers questions on the sixth day of the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin for second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota, 5 April 2021.

Stat of the day: the snow accumulation in parts of California is 40% below average, as the state prepares for another drought

In California, another drought is looming, as snow accumulation in the Sierra Nevada mountains and the Cascades at the end of the wet season is still 40% below average levels. Just four years ago, droughts triggered major water restrictions, megafires, and left some communities without well water. Local experts have warned they are “simply not prepared” to cope with the droughts again.


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Don’t miss this: Esther Perel on relationships, AI and the impact of working from home on our lives and identities

With the pandemic putting strain on many relationships, Esther Perel, the world’s most famous couples therapist, has been as busy as ever trying to save them. In this interview, she discusses why “disasters and crises often function like relationship accelerators”, what drew her to psychology and why working from home redefines our whole lives.

Last Thing: five people were forced to ditch their planes and ski to safety in a snowstorm

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The individuals were stuck on Denali, the highest peak in North America Photograph: Becky Bohrer/AP

Five people were forced to ski through a heavy snowstorm in Alaska after abandoning their airplanes on a glacier. The five individuals landed on North America’s tallest peak, only to find that a fast-moving storm would prevent them from flying back off again. They spent Friday night in their planes, but on Saturday feared they would run out of resources and skied more than three miles to seek refuge at a chalet.

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