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Man who filmed Rodney King video dies of COVID in Los Angeles

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Man who filmed Rodney King video dies of COVID in Los Angeles

In this March 28, 1991, file photo, George Holliday, the man who videotaped the beating of Black motorist Rodney King by four Los Angeles Police Department officers, holds his camera after a news conference, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Craig Fujii, File)

(AP) – George Holliday, the Los Angeles plumber who shot grainy video of four white police officers beating Black motorist Rodney King in 1991, has died of complications of COVID-19, a friend said Monday.

Holliday, 61, died Sunday at a Los Angeles hospital, where he had been for more than a month, according to Robert Wollenweber, a longtime friend and former coworker. Holliday was not vaccinated and was on a ventilator in recent days after contracting pneumonia, Wollenweber said.

Holliday was awakened by a traffic stop outside his San Fernando Valley home on the night of March 3, 1991. He went outside to film it with his new video camera, catching the Los Angeles officers punching, kicking, and using a stun gun on King, even after he was on the ground.

A year later, Holliday’s out-of-focus footage — about 9 minutes worth — was a key piece of evidence at the four officers’ criminal trial for assault and excessive use of force.

When a jury acquitted all the officers on April 29, 1992, the city erupted in widespread violence. Hundreds of businesses were looted and destroyed over several days. Entire blocks of homes and stores went up in flames. More than 60 people died by shootings or other violence, mostly in South Los Angeles.

The uprising seemed to catch the rest of the nation by surprise, but longtime residents said tensions were building in South LA for years and the King verdict was just the tipping point.

On the third day of the riots, King went on TV to plead for calm, asking in a trembling voice, “Can we all get along?”

King sued Los Angeles over the beating and was awarded $3.8 million in 1994, but he told The Associated Press in 2012 that he lost most of that money to bad investments. King drowned in his backyard swimming pool on June 17, 2012, at age 47.

Holliday’s death was first reported by TMZ.com.

Holliday put the Sony camcorder he used to record the beating up for auction last July, with bidding starting at $225,000. It was unclear if it ever sold.

Holliday told the New York Times last year that he was still working as a plumber and never profited from the video.

He said he had purchased the camera about a month earlier and he grabbed it instinctively when he was awakened by a noise outside his window.

“You know how it is when you have a new piece of technology,” he told the Times. “You film anything and everything.”

Holliday said in 2017 that he was working on a documentary about his role in the King case, but it was unclear if anything became of that project.

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COVID boosters: Who’s eligible to receive additional Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines

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Boosters, employer mandates drive increase in U.S. COVID vaccines

Coloradans who received COVID-19 vaccines produced by Moderna or Johnson & Johnson have been approved by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to get booster shots under certain conditions, greatly expanding the pool of who can get additional doses.

In August, the CDC approved boosters for people who have suppressed immune systems. A month later came approval for certain people who’d received the Pfizer vaccine.

In addition to approval for Moderna and Johnson & Johnson boosters, the CDC authorized a “mix and match” approach to the shots, noting people may get a different type of vaccine for their booster than their original shot.

The authorization kicks in immediately for anyone eligible to receive boosters.

“For many Coloradans, a booster dose is an important part of maintaining the greatest protection against COVID-19,” said Dr. Eric France, the state’s chief medical officer, in a news release. “People who are eligible should get their booster dose as soon as possible, especially as we approach the holidays and look forward to safely celebrating with our families and friends.”

The state health department said Colorado has “ample inventory” to provide booster shots to those who are eligible while still administering first and second doses to people completing their initial vaccine series.

Eligible Coloradans can receive free COVID-19 vaccines or boosters at any of the more than 1,700 vaccine providers across the state or at one of the state’s mobile vaccination clinics, officials said. No insurance, identification, proof of residency, or proof of medical history is required.

Here’s who is eligible to receive COVID-19 vaccination booster shots:

Immunocompromised people

Late this summer, the CDC approved booster shots for people who had been inoculated with Pfizer or Moderna vaccines and have suppressed immune systems. But the agency declined to authorize the additional doses for the full population.

People qualify for additional doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines because they’re immunocompromised if they:

  • Had an organ transplant at any time, or a recent stem cell transplant
  • Are being treated for cancer
  • Were born with a compromised immune system
  • Have uncontrolled HIV
  • Are being treated with high doses of immune-suppressing drugs
  • Have another condition that can severely affect the immune system, like chronic kidney disease

The CDC’s authorization of additional doses for people who are immunocompromised did not include Johnson & Johnson, but boosters of that vaccine are now allowed for anyone above the age of 18 regardless of health condition.

Pfizer and Moderna vaccine recipients

This week’s CDC approval of Moderna vaccines comes with the same qualifications as the authorization of third doses of Pfizer.

People who are fully vaccinated with Pfizer or Moderna vaccines can get a third shot if they are 65 or older, or if they’re 18 or older and have qualifying health conditions, live in long-term care settings, or work or live in places that put them at higher risk of contracting the virus.

People who meet those conditions are eligible for a booster six months after completing their original vaccination series.

The health conditions that qualify for the Pfizer or Moderna boosters include:

  • Cancer
  • Chronic kidney disease
  • Chronic lung disease, including moderate or severe asthma
  • Dementia
  • Diabetes
  • Down syndrome
  • Heart conditions
  • HIV
  • Weakened immune system
  • Liver disease
  • Overweight or obesity
  • Pregnancy
  • Sickle cell disease or thalassemia
  • Current or former smoking
  • Organ or stem cell transplants
  • Stroke or cerebrovascular disease
  • Substance use disorder (addiction)

Johnson & Johnson vaccine recipients

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A triangular block in RiNo slated to become 49-unit, income-restricted condo complex

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A triangular block in RiNo slated to become 49-unit, income-restricted condo complex

A narrow, triangular block in RiNo is slated to be the site of a new 49-unit, income-restricted condominium complex.

The Chestnut Place Condos are planned to have 14 one-bedroom units, 27 two-bedroom units and eight three-bedroom units, as well as one commercial space.

All units will be sold to buyers making at or below 80 percent of the area median income, which is about $55,000 for a single-person household and $64,000 for a two-person household.

According to city documents, Elevation Community Land Trust has promised to buy the land and building when the project is completed. The trust will then sell the units. The 80 percent area median income requirement will last for 99 years.

The land includes two parcels that total 7,010 square feet, or 0.16 acres, that makes up a block formed by Chestnut Place, Arkins Court and 36th Avenue. There is currently one house on the site, which is kitty-corner from Ironton Distillery and across Chestnut Place from Number 38 beer hall.

Lauren DeBell, the chief strategy officer with Elevation Community Land Trust, told BusinessDen that planned amenities at the Chestnut Place Condos include a rooftop deck, bike shop and bike storage, as well as close access to the riverfront promenade Denver is constructing.

DeBell said the immediate area has an “extremely low” 18 percent homeownership rate.

“It is our hope that residents who have been displaced from the Five Points neighborhood will be able to return as homeowners,” she said, “and that current residents who desire to stay long-term but never dreamed they could own a home will have a new opportunity to purchase a beautiful condo where they can gain stability, wealth and a place to call home.”

Provided by the city of Denver

A rendering shows the north and south view of the proposed Chestnut Place Condos.

As BusinessDen previously reported, the land was sold in November to Chestnut Lofts LLC, which has ties to the Urban Land Conservancy, and 3501 Chestnut Land LLC, which has ties to Shanahan Development, the contractor for the project.

The entities paid $1.13 million across two deals for 3501 and 3563 Chestnut Place, according to public records, with the Urban Land Conservancy retaining about a 70 percent interest and the Shanahan Development entity retaining about 30 percent.

“The biggest challenge this development has faced is the site itself,” according to a briefing on the project from the city. “The very narrow, triangular site, currently comprised of two parcels, required an increasingly challenging building form.”

Developers sought a zoning variance to raise the building height for more units, but the Board of Adjustment for Zoning offered only a “partial variance,” the briefing stated. The land is currently zoned for a five-story building, but it’s within a zoning overlay district that lets developers build higher if certain conditions are met.

“Additionally, the existing structure on the site requires asbestos and lead-based paint mitigation during demolition, increasing overall site preparation expenses,” the briefing stated.

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Colorado unemployment rate drops to 5.6% in September, but job gains lag

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Colorado unemployment rate drops to 5.6% in September, but job gains lag

Colorado’s unemployment rate continued to fall in September despite another month of below-average job gains tied to weaker-than-expected hiring in the public sector, according to an update Friday from the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment.

The state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell from 5.9% in August to 5.6% in September, which equates to 10,100 fewer unemployed workers. Colorado ranks 35th for its unemployment rate, which remains stubbornly above the U.S. seasonally-adjusted rate of 4.8%.

Employers in the state added a net 5,100 nonfarm jobs on a seasonally adjusted basis between the middle of August and the middle of September. Before the pandemic, that would be a solid gain, but it is only 42% of the monthly gains averaged earlier this year.

“While that represents a decent number of jobs added, it does fall short of the average from February to July which was 12,000 jobs a month,” said Ryan Gedney, a senior labor economist with the CDLE. In August, the state added a revised 5,000 jobs over July and September wasn’t much better at 5,100.

Gedney declined to attribute the end of enhanced federal unemployment benefits in early September to the drop in the state’s unemployment rate. One of the conditions of receiving unemployment benefits is that recipients must certify they are actively looking for work.

If the state economy keeps adding jobs around last month’s pace, Colorado won’t reach pre-pandemic employment counts until January 2023, said Chris Brown, vice president of policy and research at the Common Sense Institute, in a research note Thursday.

Accounting for population gains, Colorado employers need to add 9,884 jobs a month to get back to pre-pandemic levels by 2023.

“This recovery is like a bad cold, it just seems like it takes forever to get over it,” said Gary Horvath, a Broomfield economist who closely tracks the monthly employment reports.

Gedney said the past two months of weaker employment gains coincide with the rise in COVID-19 cases tied to the delta variant. But for months now, employers have complained they can’t fill openings and that could also be holding back hiring.

Horvath said when he recently tried to schedule a furnace tune-up to get ahead of falling temperatures, he was told the earliest appointment slot was Jan. 25, a sign that technicians are in short supply.

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