Vanessa Romo

Vanessa Romo is a reporter for NPR's News Desk. She covers breaking news on a wide range of topics, weighing in daily on everything from immigration and the treatment of migrant children, to a war-crimes trial where a witness claimed he was the actual killer, to an alleged sex cult. She has also covered the occasional cat-clinging-to-the-hood-of-a-car story.

Before her stint on the News Desk, Romo spent the early months of the Trump Administration on the Washington Desk covering stories about culture and politics – the voting habits of the post-millennial generation, the rise of Maxine Waters as a septuagenarian pop culture icon and DACA quinceañeras as Trump protests.

In 2016, she was at the core of the team that launched and produced The New York Times' first political podcast, The Run-Up with Michael Barbaro. Prior to that, Romo was a Spencer Education Fellow at Columbia University's School of Journalism where she began working on a radio documentary about a pilot program in Los Angeles teaching black and Latino students to code switch.

Romo has also traveled extensively through the Member station world in California and Washington. As the education reporter at Southern California Public Radio, she covered the region's K-12 school districts and higher education institutions and won the Education Writers Association first place award as well as a Regional Edward R. Murrow for Hard News Reporting.

Before that, she covered business and labor for Member station KNKX, keeping an eye on global companies including Amazon, Boeing, Starbucks and Microsoft.

A Los Angeles native, she is a graduate of Loyola Marymount University, where she received a degree in history. She also earned a master's degree in Journalism from NYU. She loves all things camaron-based.

The Minneapolis City Council on Friday unanimously approved a proposal to eliminate the city's police department, marking the first step toward establishing a new "holistic" approach to public safety.

The move follows more than a month of national outrage and protests against police brutality in the wake of the killing of George Floyd, a Black man who died after an officer pressed his knee into his neck for more than eight minutes.

Three former staff members of a Michigan youth home have been charged in the death of a 16-year-old Black boy. He died last month after employees sat on his chest, abdomen and legs in an effort to restrain him.

The Trump administration is defending plans to close 13 federally run coronavirus testing sites in five states at the end of the month.

The testing sites are located in Colorado, Pennsylvania, Illinois, New Jersey and Texas. They are the last of 41 federally operated testing sites.

Federal officials say the sites have been closing or transferring to state or local control because it's more efficient to run testing that way. In other instances they argue there are readily available testing sites nearby.

NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace was not the target of a hate crime, according to the FBI.

A day-long investigation by 15 special agents into the discovery of a noose in Wallace's garage at the Talledega Superspeedway revealed that the rope had been in the stall since at least October.

The mystery near and around Stonehenge keeps growing.

The latest revelation is the discovery of a ring of at least 20 prehistoric shafts about 2 miles from the famous Neolithic site of immense upright stones, according to an announcement from the University of Bradford.

Phoenix has joined several cities across Arizona requiring residents to wear masks in public spaces as the state contends with an aggressive spike in coronavirus cases.

The City Council voted Friday to implement the mandatory face covering rule, which will go into effect on Saturday at 6 a.m.

Updated at 8:39 p.m. ET

Californians are required to wear face coverings in high-risk settings as the state continues to reopen amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Gov. Gavin Newsom issued the statewide order on Thursday. It follows new guidance from the California Department of Public Health that asymptomatic or presymptomatic people can still spread the disease.

Pacific Gas & Electric pleaded guilty on Tuesday to 84 separate counts of involuntary manslaughter and one felony count of unlawfully starting a fire in a case stemming from a horrific 2018 blaze that destroyed much of the town of Paradise in Northern California.

PG&E CEO and President Bill Johnson entered the guilty pleas in Butte County Superior Court one at a time as he watched photographs of each of the victims flash on a screen.

Updated at 10:10 p.m. ET

NASCAR has banned the Confederate battle flag at all of its events and properties.

In a Wednesday tweet, the stock car racing organization said the presence of the flag "runs contrary to our commitment to providing a welcoming and inclusive environment for all fans, our competitors and industry."

"Bringing people together around the love of racing and the community that it creates is what makes our fans and sports special," the statement said.

The American Civil Liberties Union says a federal judge has temporarily blocked the deportation of a 16-year-old Honduran boy in a case that challenges the Trump administration's recently enacted policy, based on federal health statutes, of expelling unaccompanied minors without due process.

The ACLU says the boy entered the United States alone last week and was scheduled to be deported Wednesday. According to the ACLU, Judge Emmet Sullivan of the D.C. Circuit blocked the deportation late Tuesday.

Darrell "Bubba" Wallace, the first full-time African-American driver on NASCAR's top circuit in more than 45 years, wasn't always offended by the Confederate flag.

But now he wants them banned from all races.

Thousands of protesters who have been arrested in Los Angeles for violating curfew or failing to disperse will not be prosecuted, county and city officials announced Monday.

Texas reported a record-breaking number of COVID-19 hospitalizations Monday as the governor plans to reopen more businesses and double capacity.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said Friday the NFL admits that "we were wrong for not listening to NFL players earlier and encourage all to speak out and peacefully protest."

The statement, made in a video over Twitter, comes a day after nearly 20 players called on the NFL to take a stronger stance amid a nationwide protest of police brutality against black people.

Manhattan's district attorney will not prosecute protesters arrested for breaking the city's curfew during the ongoing demonstrations against police brutality and the killing of George Floyd.

District Attorney Cyrus Vance made the announcement Friday, saying the previous policy allowed people to have the low-level offenses dismissed within six months.

Civil rights groups, including the American Civil Liberties Union and Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, filed a lawsuit Thursday against the Trump administration and federal law enforcement agencies, saying they violated the constitutional rights of demonstrators who were violently evacuated out of a park Monday to clear the path for a photo op by President Trump.

Updated at 11:44 a.m. ET

One week after the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis Police custody, demonstrations against police brutality and systemic racism continued across the United States. Many cities imposed curfews, and President Trump again warned he would order active duty military forces to restore order if state and local governments, in his judgement, failed to do so.

Here are details of some protests around the country.

St. Louis

Updated 7:37 p.m. ET

The Hennepin County Medical Examiner released a new autopsy report Monday, ruling George Floyd's death was a homicide. The office said Floyd's heart and lungs stopped functioning "while being restrained" by law enforcement officers.

Floyd died due to "cardiopulmonary arrest complicating law enforcement subdual, restrain, and neck compression," according to the report.

Planned Parenthood scored a victory in Missouri on Friday in a ruling that allowed the state's only abortion provider to keep its doors open.

In a 97-page decision, a state administrative commission said the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services wrongfully denied the reproductive health organization a license renewal for a St. Louis clinic in 2019.

Outrage, frustration and grief are driving hundreds of protesters into the streets of Minneapolis, Los Angeles and St. Paul, Minn., after the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man whose arresting officer was recorded kneeling on his neck for minutes on end.

Over the past few days demonstrations in Minnesota have evolved from peaceful cries for justice into violence and destruction.

California churches, mosques, synagogues and other places of worship can reopen, the California Department of Public Health announced on Monday. Additionally, in-store retailers are allowed to resume business throughout the state.

The changes are part of Gov. Gavin Newsom's latest round of modifications to the state's stay-at-home order that is intended to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

Former Vice President Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic nominee for president, made an unannounced visit to Veterans Memorial Park in New Castle, Del., on Monday.

It's the first time Biden has left the area around his home in Wilmington since mid-March, when he began self-isolation amid the coronavirus pandemic.

He and his wife, Jill Biden, both wearing black masks, placed a wreath before a memorial wall commemorating war veterans from Delaware and New Jersey.

The Trump administration is supporting a lawsuit challenging the Illinois governor's stay-at-home order. The legal maneuver marks the first time the U.S. Department of Justice has weighed in on state level COVID-19 policies that are unrelated to religious matters.

The department on Friday filed a statement of interest in the case against Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker, saying the protective coronavirus measures in place exceed the limits of his office.

Johnson & Johnson will stop selling talcum-based baby powder in the United States and Canada after being ordered to pay out billions of dollars related to lost legal battles over claims the product causes cancer.

The company made the announcement Tuesday. It denied allegations that the powder is responsible for health problems.

Before they became world-famous mop-top icons, the Beatles looked like a bunch of greasers. And photographer Astrid Kirchherr is often credited as the first to capture the band's fashion evolution as well as influencing their new direction.

After days of public demands for access, the Houston Police Department announced it will not release video of the deadly shooting of a black man.

Adrian Medearis, a 48-year-old gospel singer and choir director, was shot multiple times by a police officer in what started off as a speeding traffic stop last Friday. The routine violation turned into a suspected drunken driving offense before quickly escalating into a deadly scuffle, according to Houston Police Department Chief Art Acevedo.

Aimee Stephens, the transgender woman at the center of a major employment rights case pending in the U.S. Supreme Court, died in Detroit on Tuesday at age 59.

Stephens was the first transgender person whose civil rights case was heard by the Supreme Court, according to the American Civil Liberties Union, which represented her. Her case concerns the question of whether federal law prohibiting employment discrimination applies to transgender employees.

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem says she will follow through on her threat to take legal action against two Native American tribes that have defied orders to remove highway checkpoints onto tribal land in an effort to prevent the spread of the coronavirus on their reservations.

Coronavirus fatalities in long-term care facilities have surpassed a grim threshold in much of the country, accounting for at least a third of the deaths in 26 states and more than half in 14 of those.

The data, which was published by the Kaiser Family Foundation, reports tallies from a variety of care facilities, including nursing homes, adult care residences, and other skilled nursing care settings. However, it does not break out those categories separately.

There's a call Laura Jean Truman is dreading, and she's convinced it's just a matter of time before it comes.

Truman, who's a server at Manuel's Tavern in Atlanta, says the source of her angst is the fear that sometime in the next few weeks her boss is going to call and say it's time to go back to work, putting her in the position of having to make a choice between her safety and being able to pay the bills that continue to arrive despite the coronavirus.

"Right now, everyone who is not working at restaurants is able to be on unemployment," she told NPR.

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