Showing posts with label U.S. Show all posts
Showing posts with label U.S. Show all posts

Friday, 9 June 2017

Judge overturns conviction of former Ohio model jailed for plotting to kill husband’s ex-wife

Leave a Comment
Judge overturns conviction of former Ohio model jailed for plotting to kill husband’s ex-wife
 The ex-model jailed for plotting to throw the mother of her stepchildren into a wood chipper is walking free because of a “fatally flawed” indictment.

The prosecution of Tara Lambert, of Columbus, Ohio, shouldn’t have moved forward because of an error in the language used to charge her, the Fourth Division Court of Appeals ruled this week.

Lambert, who is serving a seven-year sentence, could be released from an Ohio correctional facility as soon as Friday, her attorney, Sam Shamansky, told the Columbus Dispatch.

An Ohio jury found Lambert guilty of plotting to kill her husband’s ex-wife, Kellie Cooke, who had custody of his teenage daughters.

Prosecutors said Lambert paid $125 to a would-be assassin — actually an undercover detective — to throw Cooke into a wood chipper.

Lambert and her since-divorced husband, Brandon, were in a custody battle with Cooke and her husband, Shawn. Lambert was previously acquitted of a charge that she wanted Shawn dead, too.

She met the detective at a KFC parking lot, prosecutors said, where she gave him the money, personal information and a photo of Cooke.

“I need her away. Gone. Just put her in a chopper, you know like one of those lumberjack chopper things,” Lambert is recorded saying in one tape, the newspaper reported.

Shamansky, who represented Lambert during the appeals process, said prosecutors didn’t specifically lay out her plot.

“Did she buy a gun, for example? The prosecutor had to spell out exactly what that underlying overt act was that contributed here,” he told the newspaper. “The state did not do that.”

Prosecutors were not immediately available for comment.

Judge Peter B. Abele also faulted her trial attorney, James Kingsley, for not spotting the error and trying to get the case dismissed.

Cooke told the Columbus Dispatch she wants Lambert’s departure from prison to be short-lived.

“She’s not innocent. She’s getting off on a technicality,” she said. “We’re not going to let this go. We’re going to fight until she’s back where she needs to be: in prison.”
Read More

Texas deputy sheriff, husband charged with choking death of 24-year-old man outside Denny’s

Leave a Comment
Texas deputy sheriff, husband charged with choking death of 24-year-old man outside Denny’s
 A Texas deputy sheriff and her husband have been indicted for the choking death of a 24-year-old man outside of a Denny’s last week.

A grand jury indicted Deputy Chauana Thompson and husband Terry Thompson with the death of John Hernandez.

The husband and wife, who face life in prison, turned themselves in on Thursday night and by early Friday posted bail, which was set at $100,000 each.

Hernandez died last week after he was taken off life support. He’d been unconscious since May 28 when he got into an altercation with Terry Thompson outside of the Denny’s in suburban Houston.

Chauna Thompson turned herself in Thursday night after a grand jury indicted her for Hernandez's death.

Witnesses, including Hernandez’s widow, testified to the grand jury for almost full day about the incident.

Reports indicate that Hernandez was with his wife and daughter at the Denny’s, and had been drinking.

Hernandez was captured on surveillance video going outside to urinate by his car.

That’s when Thompson, who was with his children, engaged with Hernandez, according to reports.

Chauna Thompson and her husband, Terry Thompson, right, face life in prison if convicted.

Chauna Thompson was off duty at the time, arrived in a separate car and called police, the Houston Chronicle reported.

She was charged with accessory to murder, according to the newspaper.

Eyewitnesses told local media they begged Terry Thompson to release Hernandez from a chokehold.

"The man was turning purple," Denny’s worker Melissa Trammell told the Houston Chronicle. "We begged him to get off the man and he wouldn't."

Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez last week asked the Department of Justice and the Texas Rangers to assist in the investigation.

Terry Thompson’s lawyer, Scot Courtney, expressed dismay that his client was charged with intentionally killing Hernandez.

“I’m extremely disappointed the grand jury chose to indict,” he told the Houston Chronicle. “I don't believe the evidence shows that.”

The indictment came a day after over 150 people rallied in downtown Houston for Hernandez. They chanted “Justice for John Hernandez,” “Brown lives matter” and “No estan solos,” which is Spanish for “you are not alone, according to the Houston Chronicle.
Read More

Officer Jeronimo Yanez says he saw Philando Castile's hand on gun before fatally shooting him

Leave a Comment
Officer Jeronimo Yanez says he saw Philando Castile's hand on gun before fatally shooting him
 The Minnesota police officer who shot and killed Philando Castile says he was afraid for his own life and saw the motorist's hand on a gun before opening fire.

Jeronimo Yanez, 29, took the stand in his manslaughter trial on Friday, saying that Castile, whose death sparked nationwide protests, did not obey his orders.

The 32-year-old was shot and killed at a traffic stop in the Twin Cities’ St. Anthony last July, with much of the country viewing the aftermath when his girlfriend Diamond Reynolds began streaming on Facebook Live.

The elementary school cafeteria worker, who told the officer that he had and was licensed to carry a firearm, had been reaching for his ID or seatbelt when Yanez opened fire, Reynolds said.

Whether the officer saw Castile's gun has become a key issue in his trial.

Squad car video shows that Yanez said immediately after the shooting he did not know where the gun was, but also claimed that he told Castile to get his hand off of the weapon.

The officer contended Friday that he fired after seeing parts of Castile’s weapon.

“I told him not to reach for it,” a visibly agitated Yanez is heard saying on Reynolds’s video, where he continues to point his gun at the driver as he lie in his seat bleeding.

Video from a police squad car includes Castile saying “I’m not pulling it out,” as Yanez shot seven times.

The bullets nearly struck Reynolds and her 4-year-old daughter in the back seat, forensic scientist Lindsey Garfield testified Wednesday.

Prosecutors have said that Yanez should have taken steps to keep the situation from rapidly escalating into a shooting, such as asking the driver where his gun was.

Witnesses said that the gun was in Castile’s pocket when he was taken out of the car.

However, the defense contends that Yanez only had split seconds to react, with the officer himself saying “I didn’t want to shoot Mr. Castile at all” as he became emotional on the stand Friday.

His lawyers have also pointed to the presence of THC in the driver’s system as possible evidence that his reaction time may have been slowed.

Yanez’s testimony came as his team began calling witnesses for their defense, which is expected to stretch into next week.

He faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted of second-degree manslaughter.
Read More

NOT REAL NEWS: A look at what didn’t happen this week

Leave a Comment
NOT REAL NEWS: A look at what didn’t happen this week
 A roundup of some of the most popular, but completely untrue, headlines of the week. None of these stories are legit, even though they were shared widely on social media. The Associated Press checked these out; here are the real facts:

THE FACTS: The story shared widely by correctly quotes the White House press secretary as saying President Donald Trump “and a small group of people” knew the meaning of a word widely believed to be a typo in a tweet. The satire site then attributed several other quotes to Spicer that he did not say, including assertions that Trump was legally permitted to decide how English words are spelled, as “one of the perks of being president.”

THE FACTS: The story shared by numerous websites claims Muslims criticized Trump during a flag burning in late May outside a New York City mosque. Some versions include an AP photo of a crowd of people burning a U.S. flag. The photo was taken in 2012 in Bangladesh, where Muslims protested the release of a film they felt was anti-Islam. Another photo depicting the supposed leader of the mosque is actually a picture of British Muslim activist Anjem Choudary.

THE FACTS: Numerous false stories of Walmart bananas being tainted with HIV blood have circulated online in recent weeks, some with attached photos of bananas with reddish streaks. Walmart spokeswoman Molly Blakeman tells the AP the retail giant doesn’t know of any illnesses such as HIV linked to bananas purchased there. Walmart says the red streaks seen in some bananas come from a naturally occurring, harmless bacterial growth known as mokillo.

THE FACTS: The story posted by a website named Universe of Nature claimed what would have been an extraordinary birth took place at Riley Children’s Hospital in Indianapolis. Hospital spokeswoman Whitney Ertel tells the AP the hospital has never delivered 11 babies during a single birth, and doesn’t employ a doctor named in the story on its labor and delivery team. Similar false stories have been circulating online for several years, including one about a woman in India delivering 11 babies at once.

THE FACTS: A worker was in fact killed when he got trapped in a massive pressure cooker at a Bumble Bee facility in California in October 2012; two workers pleaded guilty to charges related to the death and the seafood giant paid $6 million to settle charges. The death didn’t cause any recalls of the tuna, however, despite claims in stories shared recently by numerous websites. ——— This new weekly fixture is part of The Associated Press’ ongoing efforts to fact-check claims in suspected false news stories.
Read More

Terrifying moment woman on cellphone falls into open sidewalk cellar

Leave a Comment
Terrifying moment woman on cellphone falls into open sidewalk cellar
 A 67-year-old woman walking down a New Jersey street glanced down at her phone only a moment before she plunged down a sidewalk opening and into a cellar.

The woman’s son, who was not named, told CBS2 he was grateful his mother survived the fall, but emphasized that it wasn’t just the distraction of her cellphone that caused the spill. She’s legally blind and diabetic and was checking the time because she was feeling a bit nauseous, he said.

“When I first saw the video, my heart dropped,” he told the news station. “It was painful to watch.”

Surveillance video sees the woman making her way down the street Thursday afternoon right in front of Acme Windows in Plainfield. Just before she reaches the cellar doors, flung wide open, she pulls out her cellphone and then flips over the door head first and into the basement six feet below.

Emergency crews responded a little after noon and pulled the woman, who was not identified, out of the basement on a stretcher. Police said she was seriously hurt in the fall, but is now in stable condition.

She had been in town from Florida to visit her son when the tumble occurred, according to CBS2.

Police said the doors were open for gas line repairs.

The woman’s son added she has difficulty seeing “blended colors” and wished the workers had put up cones or some sort of sign.

Martin Delgadillo was standing outside his barbershop on Somerset St. when the woman plunged into the cellar.

“She was looking at her phone — last minute — she hit the door and fell right in,” he told NBC New York. “I thought texting and driving was a bad thing — now it’s texting and walking.”
Read More

Abandoned newborn in Jonas Brothers backpack found in Arizona parking lot

Leave a Comment
Abandoned newborn in Jonas Brothers backpack found in Arizona parking lot
 A newborn baby was found abandoned inside a Jonas Brothers backpack in an Arizona grocery store parking lot, and 911 audio shows the girl had been born just hours before she was discovered.

The girl was found wrapped in a blanket inside a backpack and left in a shopping cart, Azcentral reported.

A pedestrian reported her to a Food City store manager, who called police.

“Hi, um, I just found a newborn baby,” the store manager can be heard saying while the baby screams in the background. “And she’s beautiful.”

The store manager, whose name is redacted from the recording, told the fire department, also on the line, that he believed the baby had just been born. He reported that her umbilical cord had been cut but remained attached to her body.

A newborn baby was found stuffed inside a Jonas Brothers backpack and left in a shopping cart in a grocery store parking lot in Arizona, police said.

“I’ve never dealt with anything like this before,” he said.

The girl’s mother was nowhere to be found, and the customer who first reported the baby was also long gone, the store manager said.

A fire department officer helped the Good Samaritan check the baby’s vital signs.

He reported that she was breathing and appeared to be in good health.

“This is so sad,” he said.

Police responded to the scene and took the girl to a nearby hospital, where she is doing fine.

The Arizona Department of Child Services has been notified, police said.
Read More

Thursday, 8 June 2017

Lawyer Gloria Allred ejected from Bill Cosby's sex assault trial after her cellphone rings in court

Leave a Comment
Lawyer Gloria Allred ejected from Bill Cosby's sex assault trial after her cellphone rings in court
 Civil rights lawyer Gloria Allred grabbed some spotlight during Bill Cosby's sex assault trial Wednesday — but not for a reason she intended.

The famed attorney, who represents a small army of Cosby accusers, including one who testified as a “prior bad acts” witness Monday, got bounced from the comedian's proceeding after her cell phone started ringing.

She was picked out by courtroom staff and directed to the hallway.

Allred told the Daily News she dutifully switched her phone off before entering the gallery and has no idea how it sprang back to life.

“It was so off. They had trouble getting it back on,” she said. “I don't understand how a phone rings when it's off.”

Allred said she won't be too disappointed if she's not allowed back in for further testimony.

Her client Kelly Johnson finished telling jurors Monday about the time Cosby allegedly drugged and groped her at the Hotel Bel-Air in 1996.

Allred praised chief accuser Andrea Constand for calmly handling a harsh cross-examination Wednesday.

“She did very well,” Allred said. “The defense scored no points.”

Cosby's lawyer Angela Agrusa failed to prove Constand was lying, according to Allred.

“I mean, all they're doing is talking about phone calls,” Allred said. “Well, what was said in those calls? It's nothing. She said the calls were work related.”
Read More

SEE IT: Woman throws racist tantrum inside Sears in New Brunswick, NJ WARNING: GRAPHIC LANGUAGE

Leave a Comment
SEE IT: Woman throws racist tantrum inside Sears in New Brunswick, NJ WARNING: GRAPHIC LANGUAGE
 Someone had trouble finding the class department.

An unidentified woman was recorded by a fellow Sears customer as she delivered a racist rant aimed at a minority family and store worker.

Disturbed by her behavior, Simoni Lovano, 27, used his cellphone to capture the furious shopper at the New Brunswick, N.J., location saying such disgusting remarks as, "Send 'em back to their own f---ing country."

A man reportedly with her can be heard nonsensically shouting a Trump-inspired slogan in support, stating, "Let's drain the swamp! Hurry up!"

"This is something that is happening right here in New Brunswick, New Jersey, a very diverse area," Lovano told

"This is not in the backwaters of Tennessee."

The woman was apparently upset that the people ahead of her who were checking out were taking too long because they were using multiple coupons.

"They shouldn't be here if they don't know how to work online," the woman says in the edited video, her bigoted anger seemingly turning on the cashier.

"You got an Indian waiting on an Indian, that's what it is."

When someone tries to correct her and tell her she's not even insulting the right ethnicity, the intolerant yet lazy patron says, "I don't know what the hell they are."

Sears failed to respond to a request for comment.
Read More

Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Jersey City cops caught on kicking and beating innocent bystander near scene of fiery crash

Leave a Comment
Jersey City cops caught on kicking and beating innocent bystander near scene of fiery crash
 A group of New Jersey cops was caught on cell phone video kicking and beating an innocent bystander who had been burnt by a car that crashed while trying to flee police.

The video shows the 28-year-old man rolling out of a car engulfed in flames. Several officers, some drawing their weapons, surround the man and one of them begins kicking him. The rest join in, and can be seen dragging him away from the fire and onto the street. The incident occurred at 11 p.m. Sunday in Jersey City.

The victim, who has not been identified, suffered severe burns and is fighting for his life at the hospital, a friend of the victim told

The officers in the video haven’t been named, but Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop said they will be fired and potentially prosecuted for their actions.

"This is unacceptable,” Fulop tweeted. “We're IDing officers. We'll pursue termination + criminal charges as appropriate.”

The officers had been pursuing another man, Leo Pinkston, who drove off during a traffic stop on Ocean and Cator Aves., police said. The 48-year-old man drove erratically up Tonnelle Ave. and got into a minor collision as he tried to drive between two lanes, prompting the pursuing officers to fire shots.

Pinkston then crashed his car into a utility pole and it burst into flames, police said.

The bystander, who has not been identified, was driving along Tonnelle Ave. at that time and was badly injured by the flames, NBCNewYork reported. Cops were seen on the video kicking the man, who was on fire, after he rolled out of his car.

"Our investigators have reviewed the video and we believe with certainty that this man is the bystander from West New York who suffered burns, not Leo Pinkston, the individual pursued by police," Hudson County Prosecutor Esther Suarez told

Carmine Disbrow, president of the Jersey City Police Officers Benevolent Association, told the officers were simply trying to save the man by putting out the flames.

Pinkston faces charges of aggravated assault and eluding police, prosecutors said.
Read More

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Two Maryland honor roll students found dead hours before high school graduation

Leave a Comment
Two Maryland honor roll students found dead hours before high school graduation
 Two Maryland teens were found fatally shot inside a car Monday night, hours before they were slated to graduate from high school, police said.

The honor roll students, 18-year-old Artem Ziberov and 17-year-old Shadi Najjar, were supposed to graduate from Northwest High School in Germantown, Md., school officials said.

Police officers responded to a report of shots fired in Montgomery Village shortly before 11 p.m., where they found the teens’ bodies inside a parked car.

The teens suffered gunshot wounds and died at the scene, police said. No arrests have been made, and a motive for the shooting wasn’t known.

The school remembered the students at a heartfelt ceremony.

Northwest High School Principal Jimmy D’Andrea issued a statement to all students Tuesday, saying: “For those of you who knew Artem and Shadi, we ask that you remember and celebrate them. They were both excellent students who had a positive impact on those around them, and they will be greatly missed.”
High school seniors Artem Ziberov (l.) and Shadi Najjar (r.) were killed in a shooting in Montgomery Village on Monday night.

D’Andrea described Najjar, who took AP courses, as “a natural learner who had a genuine interest in knowing and understanding," according to ABC News.

Ziberov, a longtime Boy Scout, was a member of the National Honor Society and had plans to attend the University of Maryland, D’Andrea said.

The principal said he would deliver the students’ diplomas to their parents.

“May God punish who did this to my son. I'm sure the police will find who killed my boy," Najjar's father, Adi, told WRC-TV while clutching his son's cap and gown.

Ziberov's stepfather, who didn’t want to be named, told FOX5 he had no idea why his step-son was in Montgomery Village Monday.

Friends of the teens couldn’t believe they were gone.

Samyukda Babu, 17, told the Washington Post that Ziberov always made her laugh as she wept while wearing her cap and gown.

“None of this was meant to be,” Babu told the Post. “He was supposed to be here with us today.”

Merien Abou Ghazaleh, 17, told the newspaper she met Najjar at a mosque five years ago.

“He always stood up for me when someone said something about me. He was like an older brother who cared for me,” Ghazaleh told the Post. “The way he passed is a way no one should. His friends and I will never give up until he gets the justice he deserves. He was truly an angel.”
Read More

National Intelligence chief Daniel Coats said Trump asked him to intervene with Comey: report

Leave a Comment
National Intelligence chief Daniel Coats said Trump asked him to intervene with Comey: report
 One of the country’s top intelligence leaders, Director of National Intelligence Daniel Coats, said that President Trump asked him to intervene with James Comey and his investigation into his disgraced adviser, according to a report.

Coats told associates at a later meeting that he and CIA Director Mike Pompeo had a private conversation with the commander-in-chief on March 22 where he asked them to help back the FBI investigation away from former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, the Washington Post reported Tuesday.

A reported memo from Comey, set to testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Thursday, said that Trump had previously discussed the investigation into Flynn, who was forced to resign in February after questions about his contacts with Russian ambassador Sergei Kislyak.

“I hope you can let this go,” Trump supposedly said during a meeting days after the Flynn firing, according to the memo first reported by the NY Times.

The paper reported Tuesday that Comey, who was fired last month, asked Attorney General Jeff Sessions to keep him from being left alone with Trump after the conversation.

Many legal experts have suggested that the conversation, as well as the firing, could be evidence of obstruction of justice by the president.

Though Comey’s much-anticipated testimony is expected be the centerpiece of the Senate’s investigation into alleged Russian election meddling this week, news of his private conversation with Trump is likely to surface during Coats’s testimony on Wednesday.

A DNI spokesman told the Post that Coats did not feel pressured by Trump to influence intelligence matters, but that he “does not discuss his private conversations with the President.”

Coats made the same claim when asked by the Senate Armed Services Committee last month about reports that Trump had pressured him and other intelligence leaders to deny that there was evidence of collusion between his campaign and the Kremlin.

However, he appeared to remain open to sharing information with other committees, such as the one where he will testify Wednesday.

“On the other hand, if I'm called before an investigative committee, I certainly will provide them with what I know and what I don't know,” he said.

The Senate Intelligence Committee is currently the most public of the concurrent inquiries into the alleged Moscow meddling. The House Intelligence Committee, FBI and Special Counsel Robert Mueller also are looking into it.

Flynn has been a focus of the investigations in their early stages. An Associated Press source last week said that the general, who had previously pled his Fifth Amendment right to not self-incriminate, will provide at least some documents to a second request.

Beyond his contacts with Kislyak during the presidential transition, Flynn is under investigation for allegedly not informing the government about receiving money from Kremlin-backed broadcaster RT, and failing to register as a foreign agent for work with a business linked to the Turkish regime.
Read More

Monday, 5 June 2017

One dead after reports of shooting at Indiana beauty college

Leave a Comment
One dead after reports of shooting at Indiana beauty college
 At least one person is dead after a shooting at a beauty college in Indiana Monday evening, police said.

Police responded to a report of an active shooter at Ravenscroft Beauty College in Fort Wayne at around 6:45 p.m., WANE reported.

One man was found dead and a woman was taken to a hospital in serious condition. She was later downgraded to critical, according to the TV station.

It was not immediately clear if there were other injuries. A motive for the incident was unknown.

Family of autistic man in shooting of caretaker files lawsuit

Witnesses told the TV station that the two people involved in the incident knew each other and appeared to have engaged in a domestic dispute.

Others said people were screaming and crying as they ran out of the building, WANE reported. 

There was a heavy law enforcement presence, including members of the FBI task force assisting on the scene.
Read More

War Machine, former MMA fighter Jonathan Koppenhaver, sentenced to life in prison for kidnapping, sexual assault of porn star ex

Leave a Comment
War Machine, former MMA fighter Jonathan Koppenhaver, sentenced to life in prison for kidnapping, sexual assault of porn star ex
 War Machine could spend the rest of his life in prison.

The MMA fighter, whose real name is Jonathan Koppenhaver, was sentenced Monday to life in prison, according to the Las Vegas NBC affiliate.

He could be granted parole after 36 years.

In March, the 35-year-old ex-fighter was convicted of 29 charges, including kidnapping and sexual assault.

Koppenhaver was accused of attacking his porn star ex-girlfriend Christy Mack and her friend Corey Thomas in August 2014.

Mack claimed that the fighter repeatedly hit her in the ear with the handle of a kitchen knife, “sawed off” her mohawk and beat her to the point of blacking out during the two-hour attack.

In court in March, she said the next thing she remembered after the attack was waking up in the shower without clothes on.

She said Monday that she knew he would try to kill her if and when he gets out of prison.

After his conviction in March, Koppenhaver said he was happy about his possible life in prison.

“Would you believe me, though, if I said that I have nothing but joy inside, even now as I am sure to receive some type of life sentence? It's true. Often times I have heard men in neighboring cells go to their cells and cry after receiving such news, but how can I? How can I cry tears of sorrow over the circumstances responsible for saving my soul?” he wrote on Twitter.

“These circumstances are what has transformed me into a real man, how can I disrespect god by weeping over them? How much is a soul worth? Is a life sentence too high a price? Not at all, I gladly trade this false life in for the real one to come; I have been nothing but blessed by all of this.”
read more
Read More

KING: Flint-area government employee resigns after he's recorded calling black residents the N-word

Leave a Comment
KING: Flint-area government employee resigns after he's recorded calling black residents the N-word
 For years now, the City of Flint, Michigan, has struggled through the crisis of the toxic water flowing through its pipes and into the homes, schools, and businesses of its residents. The problem remains. All over the city, people are still cooking and bathing with cases of bottled water. The simple filtration systems that have been installed in most homes fail to properly reduce the toxins, so people are forced to crack open bottle after bottle and jug after jug just to safely get through the day.

And through it all, both race and racism have been cited as a root cause for why the people of Flint have experienced this crisis. While the population of Flint is predominantly black and Latino, white officials in other districts outside of the city were often the ones making the flippant and destructive decisions that ultimately destroyed the pipes and ruined the water.

But in America, where we've boiled racism down to whether or not someone used the N-word or is an undercover member of the KKK, many have refused to accept that racism played a role in Flint. It has, of course, but absent a smoking gun of an official actually being recorded being a flat-out bigot, the narrative hasn't quite stuck the way it should.

Except now a journalist allegedly recorded a white county official there, Phil Stair, openly and flippantly calling black residents the N-word.

"Flint has the same problems as Detroit-fucking n-----s don't pay their bills, believe me, I deal with them," said Stair to independent journalist Chelsea Lyons in a video released by Jordan Chariton on his news platform Truth Against The Machine.

And there we have it.

I don't know why I continue to be surprised to hear people talk like this. Less than I think I am surprised to hear it, it's just disgusting. Just hours ago, Phil Stair resigned from his position at the Genesee County Land Bank, which maintains, redevelops and sells properties in the area. How has this man's bigotry and blatant racism affected the work he's done not only as a county official, but in any position he's ever served? I think we could guess how, but it's ridiculous that we basically have to catch and record a man like Phil Stair actually using the N-word before people believe just how prevalent bigotry like his truly is.

Are we actually expected to believe that this is the first time he's ever spoken like that? Are we supposed to assume that he waited until he was middle-aged to start casually referring to African-Americans this way? All over the country, from San Francisco to Ferguson to Baton Rouge, when investigations into the emails and text messages of police officers have been searched, they repeatedly show cops, including long-time captains and lieutenants and commanders, referring to African-Americans as monkeys and apes. Other messages from white officers have actually shown them openly texting about lynching black people.

A full investigation into Phil Stair should be launched. Every decision he ever made in Flint should revisited. Every email and text message he ever sent should be searched — as should those of every single person who has touched anything related to Flint.

As much as many conservatives want to say that racism is dead and gone in America, it isn't. It's clearly alive and well. And it isn't just skinheads and Neo-Nazis who are the perpetrators of racism and bigotry in America — it's government employees, cops, and businessmen who seem to get away with a lifetime of bigotry because they don't attend Klan rallies on the weekends.

It's not simply enough to address some of the symptoms of racism in America — like fixing the pipes in Flint — we must address the symptoms while simultaneously going hard after the people who keep it alive. Because here's what I know: as long as men like Phil Stair are allowed to be decision-makers in our society, the symptoms of racism will continue to endure. Likewise, and I say this as I travel and speak all over the country, until white people own the burden and costs of racism and bigotry as a problem they've created and maintained, the change will be far too slow.

In America, we have a bad habit of forcing victims of discrimination, be it racism or sexism or Islamophobia, to also be the primary, sometimes exclusive, advocates against that discrimination. And it hardly seems to work. Men must step up to fight sexism, Christians must stand up to fight Islamophobia, and white people must step up to fight against racism as if their own lives depended on it.
read more
Read More

Portland cops arrest 14 during free speech rally clash with counter-protesters

Leave a Comment
Portland cops arrest 14 during free speech rally clash with counter-protesters
 Cops in Portland detained scores of protesters facing off with right-wing demonstrators during a contentious free speech rally hailing President Trump on the heels of a deadly train attack.

Anti-fascist protesters in black outnumbered the so-called alt-right crowd brandishing banners celebrating Trump and white nationalism on Sunday afternoon.

The “Trump Free Speech Rally” was organized before suspected white supremacist Jeremy Christian knifed two men to death after hurling an anti-Muslim tirade at two young women.

Christian faces multiple murder charges for the May 26 attack.

Police said 14 people were arrested on disorderly conduct, concealed weapon and harassment charges and nearly 100 more were rounded up near the city’s Chapman Square.

The rally turned physical as demonstrators hurled bricks at police, prompting authorities to fire back with tear gas. A slew of weapons fashioned out of red bricks, sticks and tools were confiscated during the protest.

Journalists and protesters walking north of Chapman Park were detained for about an hour as cops photographed their IDs, according to Willamette Week editor Aaron Mesh. Four members of that corralled group were arrested and police said additional arrests are a possibility.

Meanwhile, as police sorted through scores of those detained, demonstrators affiliated with the free speech rally made their escape.

Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler called on authorities to revoke a permit for the free speech rally, prompting an outcry from the American Civil Liberties Union’s Oregon chapter.

The law nonprofit chastised Wheeler for attempting to “revoke or deny a permit based on the viewpoint of the demonstrators.”
read more
Read More

Saturday, 3 June 2017

Texas man dies after swimming with new tattoo

Leave a Comment
 A 31-year-old Texas man died after he ignored warnings not to swim with a brand-new tattoo.
Texas man dies after swimming with new tattoo
The patient, identified only as a Latino man living in Texas, had recently acquired a large leg tattoo showing hands in prayer with the words “Jesus is my life,” when he went swimming in the Gulf of Mexico, a British Medical Journal report said.

Tattoo artists typically warn customers to avoid exposing fresh ink in the days after they are tattooed — and to definitely avoid swimming as it can lead to bacterial infection.

“The number one thing we advise people when they get tattoos is we always tell them no sun, no swimming for at least 10 days,” Michelle Myles, owner of DareDevil Tattoo in Manhattan, told the Daily News.

Five days after getting the tattoo, the man who died went for a swim in the Gulf of Mexico, the BMJ report shows. Three days later, he was admitted to Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas complaining of pain in his legs and feet, chills, a fever and redness around his tattoo.

A doctor at the facility described him as “among the sicker of the patients” he’d ever seen.

“Within a few hours, things had progressed pretty quickly,” Dr. Nicholas Hendren told CNN. “There’s darkening skin changes, more bruising, more discoloration, what we call bullae — or mounds of fluid that were starting to collect in his legs — which, of course, is very alarming to anyone, as it was to us.”

The patient suffered from chronic liver disease after drinking six 12-ounce beers a day, the report said.

He entered into septic shock and was placed on a ventilator.

He tested positive for Vibrio vulnificus, a bacterium found in coastal ocean water that causes vibriosis infection.

Patients with liver disease are among the most susceptible to infection.

The patient was kept sedated for weeks before dying of septic shock about two months after he was first admitted to the hospital.

Experts suspect the patient might have been inked by an amateur tattoo artist.

“I’ve never heard of anything like that ever,” Myles said. “When I saw the pictures, it was pretty horrifying. It’s definitely something way outside of what’s normal,” she said.

“If it’s done in a professional, proper, environment, it is a very minimally invasive procedure. It is just like a surface scratch and is really not something most people have problems with. There is a very good chance that guy might not have gotten a very good tattoo to begin with and the skin could have gotten chewed up and it might have been more deep than your normal tattoo.”
read more
Read More

Tennessee teen accidentally kills girlfriend with gun he received as graduation present

Leave a Comment
                                A Tennessee teen’s graduation gift turned fatal for his girlfriend.
Tennessee teen accidentally kills girlfriend with gun he received as graduation present
Brennan Fields accidentally shot girlfriend Lucinda Luna as he fiddled with a gun that her dad gave him as a present, authorities told local media.

Luna, 19, was rushed to a hospital Thursday night where she was later pronounced dead.

“By all indications, there was no intent for this to happen,” Shelby County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Earle Farrell told local NBC affiliate WMC.
read more
Read More

With Microsoft’s Face Swap, search with Bing for your next morphing muse

Leave a Comment
Face-swapping — taking your image and adjusting it to fit on to a different body, creature or object — has taken the photo app world by storm, as millions of people look for new and novel things to do with their selfies. Microsoft is the latest company to enter the fray. The company’s in-house app studio Microsoft Garage has quietly launched a new app — the aptly called Face Swap.

With Microsoft’s Face Swap, search with Bing for your next morphing muse
The Android app is now live in the U.S., Australia and Canada, with plans to expand to India and iOS in the coming weeks, a spokesperson tells us.

Part image search engine, and part photo editing toolkit, you take a pic of yourself, adjust it a little, and then use keywords to find an image where you can replace the face with yours either from your camera roll, from the catalog in the app, from the wider world of images as indexed by Bing. Microsoft automatically adjusts your skin tone to the surroundings and textures, and you can make other edits with lighting and tilting and resizing your face, before sharing it on other social channels.

Microsoft notes some of the more practical applications: trying out a new hairstyle or seeing how an article of clothes looks with your face (although not your actual body, yet). You can swap out multiple pics in a group photo, too.

For those who may be keeping tabs on Microsoft, the name ‘Face Swap’ may sound a little familiar. That’s because Microsoft, by way of Microsoft Research, actually released another app back in 2011 that was also called Face Swap. That earlier Face Swap was just for Windows devices, and it never really caught on.

Or maybe it was just a little too ahead of its time.

Today, face-editing tools are everywhere. Apps like Snapchat let you morph into different creatures.

And FaceApp had its 15 minutes of fame for letting you take a pic of yourself or someone else and view that same picture in a foursquare as a younger person, an older person, and with changed gender (yes, sometimes controversially).

Facebook has snapped up Msqrd, Apple acquired Faceshift, and we’ve heard others are also on the hunt for their own tech and talent in computer vision and neural network processing (two cornerstones behind how a lot of these apps work), to built out virtual reality and augmented reality applications, expand their video services, and keep consumers entertained.

Microsoft also wants to be in on the action, and it’s actually starting with a very substantial trove of its own assets. A spokesperson confirmed to us that the new Face Swap app was built using 3D face modelling from the computer vision team at Microsoft Research (that is, the tech that went into the old Face Swap app). The team also “we made several algorithmic improvements to build a highly scalable face-swap service on Azure.”

While the Garage develops a number of different services (like this app to enhance colors for color-blind people) Face Swap was created by a team of people in the Garage called the “Bingcubator” — which, as its name implies, is focused on figuring out innovative ways to use the Bing search algorithms to create funky new services. “The power of Bing search and our intelligent face swapping tech makes every swipe a delight,” engineer Phil Rogan notes.

But while Bing — like all search engines — is predicated on audiences, advertising, and people clicking on lines for its business model, the same does not go for the Bing-powered Face Swap.

“Search & transport yourself into fun & inspirational scenes,” Microsoft notes on its YouTube video (embedded below) showing off the wonders of Face Swap. “No Ads, just swaps.”

Time will tell if the no-ad rule remains, and indeed if the app takes off at all. There is a lot of heated competition. Maybe the little twist here, of being able to search across a huge range of images to swap your face, will give this the unique selling point it needs to get some buzz.

And I’m guessing Microsoft hopes that buzz is positive rather than iffy. As we’ve seen before, image swapping apps can sometimes backfire in awful ways.
read more
Read More

Friday, 2 June 2017

Mueller's Trump-Russia investigation will include Manafort criminal probe

Leave a Comment
Mueller's Trump-Russia investigation will include Manafort criminal probe
 WASHINGTON — The special counsel investigating possible ties between President Donald Trump's campaign and Russia's government has taken over a separate criminal probe involving former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, and may expand his inquiry to investigate the roles of the attorney general and deputy attorney general in the firing of FBI Director James Comey, The Associated Press has learned.

The Justice Department's criminal investigation into Manafort, who was forced to resign as Trump campaign chairman in August amid questions over his business dealings years ago in Ukraine, predated the 2016 election and the counterintelligence probe that in July began investigating possible collusion between Moscow and associates of Trump.

The move to consolidate the matters, involving allegations of kleptocracy of Ukrainian government funds, indicates that Special Counsel Robert Mueller is assuming a broad mandate in his new role running the sensational investigation.

The expansiveness of Mueller's investigation was described to the AP. No one familiar with the matter has been willing to discuss the scope of his investigation on the record because it is just getting underway and because revealing details could complicate its progress.

In an interview separately Friday with the AP, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein acknowledged that Mueller could expand his inquiry to include Attorney General Jeff Sessions' and Rosenstein's own roles in the decision to fire Comey, who was investigating the Trump campaign. Rosenstein, who appointed Mueller as special counsel to take over the investigation, wrote the memorandum intended to justify Trump's decision to fire Comey.

Sessions met with Trump and Rosenstein to discuss Trump's decision to fire him despite Sessions' pledge not to become involved in the Russia case.

The AP asked Rosenstein specifically whether Mueller's investigation could expand to include examining Sessions' role.

"The order is pretty clear," Rosenstein responded. "It gives him authority for the investigation and anything arising out of that investigation, and so Director Mueller will be responsible in the first instance for determining what he believes falls into that mandate."

Rosenstein told the AP that if he were to become a subject of Mueller's investigation, he would recuse himself from any oversight of Mueller. Under Justice Department rules, Mueller is required to seek permission from Rosenstein to investigate additional matters other than ones already specified in the paperwork formally appointing Mueller.

"I've talked with Director Mueller about this," Rosenstein said. "He's going to make the appropriate decisions, and if anything that I did winds up being relevant to his investigation then, as Director Mueller and I discussed, if there's a need from me to recuse I will."

Peter Carr, a spokesman for Mueller, declined to comment on the scope of the investigation.

Mueller, who spent 12 years as FBI director and served under Republican and Democratic presidents, was appointed as special counsel following the May 9 firing of Comey, who is expected to testify for the first time next week before the Senate.

Mueller's assignment, detailed in a one-page order signed by Rosenstein, covers the federal investigation into possible links or coordination between Russia and associates of the Trump campaign but also "any matters that arose or may arise directly" from the probe. It would also extend to any allegations of perjury, witness intimidation or obstruction of justice uncovered during the course of the investigation.

As Mueller's investigation begins, members of Congress are intensely interested in its direction and scope.

Last month, House Democrats called for congressional investigations into whether Sessions violated his pledge to recuse himself from matters related to investigations into Trump associates. They also asked the Justice Department to investigate Sessions' role in Comey's firing and to lay out how that investigation would proceed.

A Democratic aide said Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., asked Rosenstein about the matter during a briefing before House members. Rosenstein said he would get back to Cummings, but he has yet to respond, said the aide, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the private interactions.

The Justice Department began looking at Manafort's work in Ukraine around the beginning of 2014, as Ukraine's president, Viktor Yanukovych, was toppled amid protests of alleged corruption and Russian influence. Business records obtained by the AP show Manafort's political consulting firm began working as early as 2004 for clients that variously included a political boss in Yanukovych's party, a Ukrainian oligarch and Oleg Deripaska, a Russian businessman and longtime ally of Russian president Vladimir Putin.

A special counsel, by design, is constrained by the terms of his appointment to avoid boundless and perpetually open-ended investigations. In this case, though, Mueller's mandate appears fairly broad, said Samuel Buell, a former federal prosecutor and criminal law professor at Duke University.

"That investigation that's named in the appointment is already one that has, as far as we can tell, a number of tentacles and offshoots that involves conduct over a fairly lengthy period of time involving a lot of people," Buell said.

He said he did not expect Mueller to seek Rosenstein's approval each time he wants to subpoena another new witness or pursue a new Russia-related investigative thread. The more difficult question would involve any allegations separate and apart from Russia, he said.

"This gives him the authority to pull on all kinds of string and see where they lead him," Buell said. "As long as you're following a string that's connected to the string of Russian influence on the election — however that may have occurred, whoever that may have involved — would seem to fall within that appointment."

Manafort's work in Ukraine continued at least through the beginning of 2014, when Yanukovych's government was ousted amid protests of widespread corruption and his rejection of a European trade deal in favor of one with Moscow. As the AP reported last year, that work included covertly directing a lobbying campaign on behalf of Ukraine's pro-Russian Party of Regions in Washington. Following the AP's reporting on emails in which Manafort deputy Rick Gates was overseeing the work, two lobbying firms involved in the project registered as foreign agents. Manafort has not done so, and a spokesman for him has declined to say if he will.
read more
Read More

Ala. teen opens up about allegations she was raped at house party

Leave a Comment
       An Alabama teenager has spoken out about her alleged rape by a football player at her high school.

Ala. teen opens up about allegations she was raped at house party

Savannah, a 17-year-old former student at Spanish Fort High School outside of Mobile, said that she was raped at a party in October 2015 by one of her classmates, Cameron Harrison.

Harrison was arrested for raping the teen, then 16, when she was unconscious from drinking.

Though the case gripped the small town's attention, its exact outcome is likely to remain unknown.

Local reports say that the 19-year-old was given a youthful offender status in April that keeps details of his plea deal from the public.

Savannah, who says she has no recollection of what happened, spoke to 20/20 in an interview to air Friday night, saying she wants to help other victims.

“It's like I wasn’t even in my body. It’s like my head was telling me like something’s not right, but I feel myself kind of fading out, like you know, from having control of myself,” she said.

The teen recalled how she did not originally think what happened had been rape, but then later broke down when a teacher overheard her and her friends conversations and she spoke with a guidance counselor.

Savannah now writes online about her allegations, and told ABC, “I feel strong that I can put that out there. I wanted to have a voice.”

“I used to think that I was you know, weak, dramatic, too emotional, you know, couldn’t handle anything, and then going through this, I’ve realized how strong I really am and that I underestimated myself the whole time,” she added.

Harrison, who ABC said cannot legally comment on the case, reportedly began taking classes online after he was charged.

Savannah’s interview is airing on the one-year anniversary of the Brock Turner sentencing.

Turner, a Stanford freshman, was convicted of sexually assaulting a woman behind a dumpster in January 2015.

Though Turner faced a maximum of 14 years in prison and prosecutors suggested six years, he was sentenced to six months.
read more
Read More