On New Year’s Day, Detective Rod Simpkins of the Newark Police Department fatally shoots Black, 39-year-old Carl Dorsey III. Witnesses say Dorsey had his hands up and was backing away from the officer and complied with orders when Simpkins fired. The incident is caught on surveillance video and State Attorney General Gurbir Grewal calls for an investigation. The COVID-19 pandemic continues; the United States surpases 20 million cases. New York becomes the fourth state to surpass 1 million cases. Infections surge after the busy holiday season.

Credit: Photos by Maatla Kebs from Pexels, cottonbro from Pexels, cottonbro from Pexels and Bill Moore

Social distancing rules, mask mandates and capacity limits remain in place. As the COVID-19 vaccine becomes available, vulnerable populations, such as the elderly and health care workers, receive the vaccine first. The Washington Post publishes an audio recording of President Donald Trump urging Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to change the state’s 2020 presidential election results in his favor. Amid anger over false claims over the results of the 2021 election, thousands of supporters of President Donald Trump storm the U.S. Capitol while Congress certifies the election. Five people die and at least 56 police officers and five civilians are injured. Congressional members are forced to evacuate. The rioters cause over $30 million in damage to the Capitol building. Nearly 700 people are charged. The event is classified as an act of domestic terrorism.

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Dominion Voting Systems sues former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani, accusing him of defamation during the 2020 presidential election. Joe Biden is certified as the next U.S. president. Black Democrat and pastor Raphael Warnock wins a runoff election to become the junior U.S. senator from Georgia. He is the first African American to represent the state in the Senate. Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. celebrates its 110th anniversary. Gov. Andrew Cuomo signs an executive order requiring New York State municipalities to put forward police reform plans. Families of loved ones killed by the NYPD, advocates, and legal experts testify at a city council oversight hearing of the Committee on Public Safety when the order is signed. Dr. Lester W. Young Jr. is elected the first Black New York State Board of Regents chancellor. Following the Capitol insurrection, Donald Trump becomes the first U.S. president to be impeached for a second time by Congress. Jazz tubist and baritone saxophonist Howard Johnson dies at age 79. The family of Black, 14-year-old Keyon Harrold Jr. calls for a boycott of Quantum Hospitality LLC after the boy is falsely accused and attacked by white 22-year-old Miya Ponsetto for stealing her cell phone at the Arlo Hotel in SoHo. Ponsetto is arrested in California and charged. Harrold is the son of famed jazz trumpet player Keyon Harrold. Martin Luther King Jr. Day is celebrated with the theme “The Urgency of Creating the Beloved Community!” New York State Attorney General Letitia James sues the NYPD for using excessive force and making false arrests during protests in 2020 during Black Lives Matter and anti-police brutality protests, which many believed to be peaceful, in which violence was allegedly instigated by law enforcement. Mayor Bill de Blasio releases the first NYPD Discipline Matrix, a major police discipline reform. The Second Circuit Court of Appeals hears arguments in a case brought by New York City police unions to stop the city from releasing officer misconduct and discipline records to the public following the repeal of the police secrecy law 50-a, by the New York State Legislature. New York City Winter Restaurant Week takes place. Baseball legend Hank Aaron dies at age 86. Joe Biden is sworn in as the 46th president of the United States. Kamala Harris becomes the first woman and first African American to become vice president of the United States. Donald Trump boycotts the inauguration. To minimize the spread of COVID-19, restaurants must adhere to social distancing rules, capacity limits and outdoor dining. New Jersey First Lady Tammy Murphy unveils the Nurture NJ Maternal and Infant Health Plan. The strategy aims to reduce the state’s high rates of maternal and infant mortality and eliminate the racial disparities responsible for these deaths. Jacqueline Jackson is appointed chief operating officer of the New York Urban League. The world marks one year since the death of NBA great Kobe Bryant, who died in a helicopter crash with his daughter Gianna in California.

Actress Cicely Tyson dies at age 96 two days after her memoir, “Just as I Am,” is published. A snowstorm dumps 18 to 24 inches of snow. Some parts of the city see snowfall up to an inch an hour. The brutal arrest and pepper-spraying of a 9-year-old Black girl by the Rochester Police Department caught on police bodycam video causes outrage. COVID-19 cases exceed 100 million worldwide. As the COVID-19 vaccine continues being distributed, the city’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene reveals that Blacks make up 11% of people who have received the vaccine compared to 48% of whites.

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