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Showing posts with label News – Black America Web. Show all posts
Showing posts with label News – Black America Web. Show all posts

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Homicide Charge Filed In Shooting Death Of Off-Duty Officer

(Pittsburgh Post-Gazette via AP)

PITTSBURGH (AP) — A man suspected of fatally shooting an off-duty Pittsburgh police officer more than a week ago has been charged with criminal homicide, police announced Monday.

The indictment against Christian Bey, 30, in the death of Officer Calvin Hall, 35, is sealed, so further details will not be provided, said Cmdr. Victor Joseph. Officials said earlier that Bey was arrested last week on a parole violation.

“The arresting detectives took great satisfaction in placing Calvin’s handcuffs on the actor,” Joseph said. He thanked the victim’s family for its “patience and understanding” and thanked the community for providing “critical information.”

Hall died Wednesday at a hospital after he was shot three times in the back early July 14 during a street dispute in the Homewood neighborhood as a party was going on. Officials have said that there was a “strong possibility” that Hall, although off duty, “was in fact acting under the color of the law when he was fatally shot.”

It was unclear whether Bey had an attorney to speak for him; a number listed for him was out of service Monday.

Family members told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that Hall was visiting cousins but decided to leave because a party across the street was getting rowdy. He then returned to make sure everyone was safe after his cousin was threatened by someone with a gun.

His cousin, Darnell Coates, said an argument among a small group of people in the street, including Hall, escalated. He and Hall tried to leave, and shots rang out, hitting Hall, he said.

Mayor Bill Peduto ordered flags to fly at half-staff through Hall’s funeral Tuesday, calling the officer “a man who was deeply committed” to public service. A viewing for the slain officer was taking place Monday afternoon as the charges were announced.

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Hundreds Of Black Deaths In Red Summer Ignored Century Later

(Chicago History Museum/The Jun Fujita negatives collection via AP)

America in the summer of 1919 ran red with blood from racial violence, and yet today, 100 years later, not many people know it even happened.

It flowed in small towns like Elaine, Arkansas, in medium-size places such as Annapolis, Maryland, and Syracuse, New York, and in big cities like Washington and Chicago. Hundreds of African American men, women and children were burned alive, shot, lynched or beaten to death by white mobs. Thousands saw their homes and businesses burned to the ground and were driven out, many never to return.

It was branded “Red Summer” because of the bloodshed and amounted to some of the worst white-on-black violence in U.S. history.

Beyond the lives and family fortunes lost, it had far-reaching repercussions, contributing to generations of black distrust of white authority. But it also galvanized blacks to defend themselves and their neighborhoods with fists and guns; reinvigorated civil rights organizations like the NAACP and led to a new era of activism; gave rise to courageous reporting by black journalists; and influenced the generation of leaders who would take up the fight for racial equality decades later.

“The people who were the icons of the civil rights movement were raised by the people who survived Red Summer,” said Saje Mathieu, a history professor at the University of Minnesota.

For all that, there are no national observances marking Red Summer. History textbooks ignore it, and most museums don’t acknowledge it. The reason: Red Summer contradicts the post-World War I-era notion that America was making the world safe for democracy, historians say.

“It doesn’t fit into the neat stories we tell ourselves,” said David Krugler, author of “1919, The Year of Racial Violence: How African Americans Fought Back.”

That could change. A monument has been proposed in Arkansas. Several authors have written about the bloody summer. A Brooklyn choral group performed Red Summer-theme songs like “And They Lynched Him on a Tree” in March to commemorate the centennial. At the National World War I Museum and Memorial in Kansas City, Mathieu and author Cameroon McWhirter plan to present some of their findings July 30 .

Researchers believe that in a span of 10 months, more than 250 African Americans were killed in at least 25 riots across the U.S. by white mobs that never faced punishment. Historian John Hope Franklin called it “the greatest period of interracial strife the nation has ever witnessed.”

The bloodshed was the product of a collision of social forces: Black men were returning from World War I expecting the same rights they had fought and bled for in Europe, and African Americans were moving north to escape the brutal Jim Crow laws of the South. Whites saw blacks as competition for jobs, homes and political power.

“Ethnic cleansing was the goal of the white rioters,” said William Tuttle, a retired professor of American studies at the University of Kansas and author of “Race Riot: Chicago in the Red Summer of 1919.” ”They wanted to kill as many black people as possible and to terrorize the rest until they were willing to leave and live someplace else.”

The violence didn’t start or end in 1919. Some count the era of Red Summer as beginning with the deaths of more than two dozen African Americans in East Saint Louis, Missouri, in 1917 and extending through the Rosewood Massacre of 1923, when a black town in Florida was destroyed. All told, at least 1,122 Americans were killed in racial violence over those six years, by Tuttle’s count.

In 1919 alone, violence erupted in such places as New York; Memphis, Tennessee; Philadelphia; Charleston, South Carolina; Baltimore; New Orleans; Wilmington, Delaware; Omaha, Nebraska; New London, Connecticut; Bisbee, Arizona; Longview, Texas; Knoxville, Tennessee; Norfolk, Virginia; and Putnam County, Georgia.

In the nation’s capital, white mobs — many made up of members of the military — rampaged over the weekend of July 19-22, beating any black they could find after false rumors of a white woman being assaulted by black men spread.

“In front of the Riggs Bank the rioters beat a Negro with clubs and stones wrapped in handkerchiefs; the bleeding figure lay in the street for over twenty minutes before being taken to the hospital,” Lloyd M. Abernethy wrote in the Maryland Historical Magazine in 1963. “Sensing the failure of the police, the mob became even more contemptuous of authority — two Negroes were attacked and beaten directly in front of the White House.”

Carter G. Woodson, the historian who founded Black History Month in 1926, saw the violence up close.

“They had caught a Negro and deliberately held him as one would a beef for slaughter, and when they had conveniently adjusted him for lynching, they shot him,” Woodson wrote. “I heard him groaning in his struggle as I hurried away as fast as I could without running, expecting every moment to be lynched myself.”

In Elaine, Arkansas, poor black sharecroppers who had dared to join a union were attacked, and at least 200 African Americans were killed.

Ida B. Wells, a pioneering black journalist and one of the few reporters to interview victims, noted a woman named Lula Black was dragged from her farm by a white mob after saying she would join the union.

“They knocked her down, beat her over the head with their pistols, kicked her all over the body, almost killed her, then took her to jail,” Wells wrote in her report “The Arkansas Race Riot.” “The same mob went to Frank Hall’s house and killed Frances Hall, a crazy old woman housekeeper, tied her clothes over her head, threw her body in the public road where it lay thus exposed till the soldiers came Thursday evening and took it up.”

Black journalists like Wells played an important role in getting the story out.

“Black newspapers like the Chicago Defender were instrumental in providing an alternate voice that represented why African Americans deserved to be here, deserved equal rights and were, in some cases, justified in fighting,” said Kevin Strait, a curator at the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture.

Red Summer also marked a new era of black resistance to white injustice, with African Americans standing up in unprecedented numbers and killing some of their tormentors. Returning black soldiers from World War I led the charge, using skills they refined in Europe.

“The Germans weren’t the enemy — the enemy was right here at home,” said Harry Haywood in his autobiography, “A Black Communist in the Freedom Struggle: The Life of Harry Haywood.”

In Washington, Carrie Johnson, 17, became a hero for shooting at white invaders in her neighborhood. She fatally shot a white policeman who broke into her second-story bedroom. She claimed self-defense, and her manslaughter conviction was overturned.

The NAACP gained about 100,000 members that year, said McWhirter, author of “Red Summer: The Summer of 1919 and the Awakening of Black America.” Soon, blacks were “going to Congress, they’re pressing congressmen and senators to pass anti-lynching legislation. At the same time, they’re fighting back in the courts, they’re filing lawsuits when people are being mistreated or railroaded.”

The lessons of Red Summer would reverberate after World War II.

“You have a similar situation where African Americans had done their part to make the world safe for democracy, and black veterans came home, and many of them were alive or had heard the stories of what happened in 1919,” Krugler said. “And they said, ‘Never again.'”

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Monday, July 22, 2019

Trump Expands Fast-Track Deportation Authority Across US

SAN DIEGO (AP) — The Trump administration announced Monday that it will vastly extend the authority of immigration officers to deport migrants without allowing them to appear before judges, its second major policy shift on immigration in eight days.

Starting Tuesday, fast-track deportations can apply to anyone in the country illegally for less than two years. Previously, those deportations were largely limited to people arrested almost immediately after crossing the Mexican border.

Kevin McAleenan, the acting Homeland Security secretary, portrayed the nationwide extension of “expedited removal” authority as another Trump administration effort to address an “ongoing crisis on the southern border” by freeing up beds in detention facilities and reducing a backlog of more than 900,000 cases in immigration courts.

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U.S. authorities do not have space to detain “the vast majority” of people arrested on the Mexican border, leading to the release of hundreds of thousands with notices to appear in court, McAleenan said in the policy directive to be published Tuesday in the Federal Register. He said Homeland Security officials with the new deportation power will deport migrants in the country illegally more quickly than the Justice Department’s immigration courts, where cases can take years to resolve.

The agency “expects that the full use of expedited removal statutory authority will strengthen national security, diminish the number of illegal entries, and otherwise ensure the prompt removal of aliens apprehended in the United States,” McAleenan said.

The American Civil Liberties Union and American Immigration Council said they would sue to block the policy.

“Under this unlawful plan, immigrants who have lived here for years would be deported with less due process than people get in traffic court,” said Omar Jawdat, director of the ACLU’s Immigrants’ Rights Project.

“Expedited removal” gives enforcement agencies broad authority to deport people without allowing them to appear before an immigration judge with limited exceptions, including if they express fear of returning home and pass an initial screening interview for asylum.

The powers were created under a 1996 law but went largely unnoticed until 2004, when Homeland Security said it would be enforced for people who are arrested within two weeks of entering the U.S. by land and caught within 100 miles (160 kilometers) of the border.

The fast-track deportations have become a major piece of U.S. immigration enforcement over the last decade. Critics have said it grants too much power to immigration agents and U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials.

The potential impact of the new measure is difficult to predict. McAleenan said 20,570 people arrested in the nation’s interior from October 2017 through September 2018 year had been in the U.S. less than two years, which would make them eligible for fast-track deportation under the new rule. Critics said the new measure’s impact could be more far-reaching because many in the U.S for longer than two years may be unable to prove they have been in the country for so long.

“Expanding the fast-track procedure to apply anywhere in the U.S. is a recipe for ripping thousands more families apart and devastating communities,” said Grace Meng, Human Rights Watch’s U.S. program acting deputy director. “This is a massive and dangerous change.”

The administration said the expanded authority will likely mean less time for migrants in detention while cases wind their way through immigration court. The average stay in immigration detention for people in fast-track removal was 11.4 days from October 2017 through September 2018, compared to 51.5 days for people arrested in the nation’s interior.

The announcement was the second major policy shift in eight days following an unprecedented surge of families from Central America’s Northern Triangle of Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador.

Last week, the administration said it will deny asylum to anyone who passes through other countries en route to the U.S. without seeking protection in at least one of those countries. Two lawsuits were filed challenging the move. A judge in Washington, D.C., heard arguments Monday on whether to block the policy. Judge Timothy Kelly said he would “endeavor to rule on this as quickly as I can.”

A judge in San Francisco has set a hearing for Wednesday in a similar lawsuit.

Also Monday, a three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a decision by a federal judge in Seattle that blocked a policy to indefinitely detain asylum seekers without a chance to be released on bond. The policy to deny bond hearings had been set to take effect July 15.

The White House issued a statement Monday night saying, “We strongly disagree with that decision and expect to prevail on the merits of the appeal and to see the law upheld.”

___

Associated Press Writer Colleen Long contributed to this report from Washington.


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Administration Pauses Enforcement Of Abortion Restriction

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Trump administration is giving taxpayer-funded family planning clinics more time to comply with its new rule that says they no longer can refer women for abortions.

But the clinics reacted warily to the administration’s enforcement pause, and the widening rift could eventually affect basic health services for many low-income women.

A notice sent Saturday night to representatives of the clinics by the Department of Health and Human Services said the government “does not intend to bring enforcement actions” against clinics that are making “good-faith efforts to comply.” A copy of the notice, which includes a new timetable for the clinics, was provided to The Associated Press.

RELATED: Trump Abortion Rule Seen As Blow Against Planned Parenthood

The department had said last Monday that it would require immediate compliance. That caught clinics off guard and led Planned Parenthood and other providers to say they would defy the order.

In a statement Sunday, the National Family Planning & Reproductive Health Association called the administration’s action “wholly insufficient.” The umbrella group, which represents the clinics, is suing in federal court to block the abortion restrictions.

Clare Coleman, president of the group, said the administration’s latest notice amounts to “a few bullet points.”

“Failure (by HHS) to provide detailed implementation guidance may be the start of a game of ‘gotcha’ as it assesses compliance with the rule,” the statement added.

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The latest timetable from the administration says clinics must submit a compliance plan next month, and by mid-September must show they are carrying out most of the new requirements. Clinics have until next March to separate their office space and examination rooms from the physical facilities of providers that offer abortions.

By law, federal family planning money cannot be used to pay for abortions. But until now women who want to end their pregnancies could be referred by clinics to an abortion provider. Planned Parenthood, whose affiliates operate 400 clinics, provides both family planning and abortion services.

Under the administration rule, clinics also will be restricted in how they can discuss abortion as an option with pregnant women. Only physicians and advance practice clinicians will be able to have such discussions with patients. Counseling about abortion will be optional, instead of standard practice.

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Known as Title X, the federal family planning program serves about 4 million women a year, and many low-income women also get basic health care from the clinics. The department distributes about $260 million a year in grants to keep the program running.

The rule barring abortion referrals is part of a series of administration efforts to remake government policy on reproductive health to please conservatives who are a key part of President Donald Trump’s political base. Religious conservatives see the family planning program as providing an indirect subsidy to Planned Parenthood, and they have long sought to deny the organization any federal money.

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Thursday, July 18, 2019

Kamala Harris And Joe Biden Set To Square Off In Next Dem Debate

ATLANTA (AP) — The second set of summer Democratic presidential debates will feature a rematch with a twist, plus the first showdown of leading progressives as the party wrestles with its philosophical identity and looks ahead to a 2020 fight against President Donald Trump.

Former Vice President Joe Biden and California Sen. Kamala Harris will take center stage in Detroit on July 31, barely a month after Harris used the first debates to propel herself into the top tier with an aggressive takedown of the 76-year-old Biden’s long record on race.

CNN, which is broadcasting the debates, assigned candidates randomly with a drawing Thursday night, with 20 candidates spread evenly over two nights, July 30-31.

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This time, Harris, the lone black woman in the field, will be joined by another top black candidate, New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, who also has been an outspoken critic of Biden. Booker had denounced Biden for his recollections of the “civility” of working in a Senate that included white supremacists and for his leadership on a 1994 crime bill that the New Jersey senator assailed as a mass incarceration agent in the black community.

Meanwhile, Sens. Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts lead the July 30 lineup, allowing the two progressive icons to compete directly for the affections of the party’s left flank. They will be joined by several more moderate candidates who are likely to question the senators’ sweeping proposals for single-payer health insurance and tuition-free college, among other plans.

Biden vs. Harris has quickly become the defining candidate-on-candidate juxtaposition in the early months of the contest.

Although of different sexes, races and generations, the two rivals share the same broad path to the nomination, particularly the broad coalition of white and black voters necessary to win the Southern primaries that dominate the early months of the nominating calendar.

Harris’ June attacks on Biden’s 1970s opposition to federal busing orders as a way to desegregate public schools was a way for her to stand out to liberal whites and to try to cut into Biden’s strength in the black community, where he is lauded as the loyal vice president to Barack Obama, the nation’s first black president.

To be clear, Biden aides say Harris’ broadsides sparked a new aggressiveness and determination for the former vice president, and he’s gone on a policy offensive in recent weeks, most notably on health care.

A proponent of adding a public option to the Affordable Care Act insurance exchanges, Biden almost certainly will try to pin down Harris on her support for Sanders’ “Medicare for All” proposal. Harris, though, has stopped short of Sanders’ explicit call for abolishing private insurance, and she insists that the plan can be paid for without any tax hikes on the middle class.

Biden and Harris will be joined on the stage July 31 by Booker; New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio; Colorado Gov. Michael Bennet; former Obama Cabinet member Julián Castro; New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand; Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard; Washington Gov. Jay Inslee; and entrepreneur Andrew Yang.

Flanking Sanders and Warren on the stage July 30 will be Montana Gov. Steve Bullock; Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Indiana; former Maryland Rep. John Delaney; former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper; Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar; former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke; Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan; and author Marianne Williamson.

Delaney and Hickenlooper have been among the most outspoken moderates warning Democrats against a leftward lurch. Klobuchar, Bullock and Buttigieg also position themselves as more centrist than Warren and Sanders.

A generational split also will be on display: Buttigieg, 37, and O’Rourke, 46, each have called for the party to pass the torch, while Sanders, at 77, is more than twice the young mayor’s age. Warren, meanwhile, recently turned 70.

It will be the first debate opportunity for Bullock, who takes the spot that California Rep. Eric Swalwell had in June before dropping out in recent weeks. Another late entry to the race, billionaire activist Tom Steyer, did not meet the polling or fundraising thresholds required for the July debate.

For several of the longshot candidates, the July debates are critical. The Democratic National Committee is doubling the polling and fundraising requirements to make the stage in the next round of debates, scheduled for September in Houston and October in a city yet to be announced.

As of now, it’s likely those higher standards would mean many of the 20 candidates on stage in Detroit won’t have a place in Houston.

PHOTO: AP


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33 Employees At Japanese Anime Studio Burned Alive By Arsonist Screaming “You Die!”

JAPAN-FIRE

Source: JIJI PRESS / Getty

This is so sad, and the deadliest fire in two decades for Japan.

According to AP News, a man screaming “You die!” burst into an animation studio in Kyoto, Tokyo, doused it with a flammable liquid and set it on fire Thursday, killing 33 people. The attack has shocked the country and brought an outpouring of grief from anime fans.\

Most of the victims were employees of Kyoto Animation, which does work on movies and TV. The fire sent people scrambling up the stairs toward the roof of the three-story building in a desperate attempt to escape. Unfortunately, they died. Thirty-six people in counting have been injured in the blaze, some critically and thirty-three died on site.

Reportedly, the suspect is described as a 41-year-old man who did not work for the studio. He was injured and taken to a hospital. Police gave no details on the motive, but a witness told Japanese TV that the attacker angrily complained that something of his had been stolen, possibly by the company.

This story is still developing…

 


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Morehouse Employee On Leave After Students Allege Sexual Misconduct

Atlanta Cityscapes And City Views

Source: Raymond Boyd / Getty

Morehouse College administrators placed an employee on unpaid administrative leave after students voiced several instances of sexual assault.

While the college has not identified the employee, on Tuesday a Twitter user by the name of @GrindAlways___ shared that he experienced several inappropriate moments with DeMarcus Crews, who served as Assistant director of Student Services. Crews’ LinkedIn profile lists his title as the Interim Director of Department Housing and Residential Education.

“It got to the point where I went through really bad depression,” he said, “(Crews) was trying to force me to come out about my sexuality.”

“He would make advances towards me,” he continued.

The student said that due to his experiences he became depressed and developed a substance abuse addiction. He also said that he reported Crews to the Title IX official on campus and another administrator, who both ended up leaving their positions. Title IX is a federal civil rights law passed in 1972 which states the following: “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.”

To date the student said there several emails left unanswered by Morehouse officials.

Followers and commentators expressed support over his bravery and also acknowledged that there were other students who suffered the same fate.

A second former student released a note saying that he also was a victim of sexual harassment by an administrator.

“The unforeseen event in my life put a pause on my life put a pause on my life!,” Twitter user @keepinupwitRIMM wrote. “I battled with desperation, my sexuality, trust, doubt, ready to fight on sight, suicidal thoughts to the point I was ready to take my own life and my close friends had to come to save me before it could play out.”

A third student named @brysonkarter on Twitter shared a video saying that he was also harassed by Crews.

“He would always make references to my sexuality,” said Bryson, “at one point it was kind of a joke and then it got to the point where he just took it too far.”

To date none of the students have filed a police report, according to 11 Alive.

Morehouse released a statement on the current state of what has transpired.

“Maintaining a safe and secure campus for students, faculty, staff, and visitors is a priority at Morehouse College,” the statement reads.”We will take appropriate and immediate action against anyone involved in compromising the safety of our community. We have demonstrated that in our urgent response to these allegations. Our support goes out to anyone who feels that they are a victim of sexual misconduct.”

The school’s president Dr. David Thomas released a three-prong statement on how they would deal with the accusations.


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Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Nationwide Heat Wave May Be Brief, But Dangerous [VIDEO]

DETROIT (AP) — The heat wave that has been roasting much of the U.S. in recent days is just getting warmed up, with temperatures expected to soar to dangerous levels through the weekend.

Communities are preparing by offering buildings as cooling centers and asking residents to check in on relatives and neighbors. Officials also are concerned about smog, which is exacerbated by the heat and makes it more difficult for certain people to breathe, including the very young, the elderly and people with asthma or lung diseases.

More than 100 local heat records are expected to fall Saturday, according to the National Weather Service. Most won’t be record-daily highs but record-high nighttime lows, and that lack of cooling can be dangerous, meteorologists say. Temperatures in parts of the East won’t drop below the mid- to upper-70s or even 80 degrees (26.7 Celsius) at night, he said.

The heat wave will likely be “short and searing,” said Greg Carbin, forecast branch chief for the weather service’s Weather Prediction Center.

A high pressure system stretching from coast-to-coast is keeping the heat turned on. The heat and humidity are made to feel worse by the large amount of moisture in the air coming from the Gulf of Mexico, much of it left over from Hurricane Barry.

The heat index, which is what the temperature feels like, should hit 110 (43.3 Celsius) in Washington, D.C., on Saturday and 109 (42.8 Celsius) in Chicago and Detroit on Friday, said Jeff Masters, meteorology director of Weather Underground. Wednesday marked Washington’s seventh straight day with temperatures of at least 90 degrees (32.2 Celsius), and that streak was expected to last for another five days.

An experimental weather service forecast projects that nearly 100 local records will be broken Thursday and Friday in Texas, Oklahoma, parts of the Midwest and a large swath of the East Coast. On Saturday, 101 records could fall in an area stretching from Texas to Iowa and east to Maine and Florida, according to projections.

Deloris Knight said she will keep the heat out of her eastside Detroit home by keeping her doors and curtains closed while running the small window air conditioner in her living room.

“We have a couple of big fans. We have ceiling fans,” Knight, 63, said Wednesday while enjoying temperatures in the mid-80s (about 29 degrees Celsius) from her front porch. “I keep lemonade and gallons of frozen water in the refrigerator. At night, we’re in the house.”

Even that may not provide enough relief for some, especially for young children, the elderly or people with certain chronic illnesses.

The Environmental Protection Agency’s live air quality tracker reported that the air was “unhealthy” Wednesday for sensitive groups in a stretch of the East Coast from Baltimore to Bridgeport, Connecticut, including Philadelphia and New York City.

Such heat can be deadly. Over three days in July 1995, more than 700 people died during a heat wave in Chicago as temperatures rose above 97 degrees (36.1 Celsius). Many of the dead were poor, elderly and lived alone.

“Daytime hours when the sun is out is clearly our highest risk periods,” said Dr. Michael Kaufmann, EMS medical director with the Indiana Department of Homeland Security. “We’re not expecting the drops in temperature at night — or the humidity — that we often realize when the sun goes down.”

Roger Axe, who heads the emergency management agency in Indiana’s Greene County, said he has asked churches and other organizations to open their doors as “possible lifesaving cooling centers.”

Officials in the Detroit suburb of Westland will keep the police station lobby and one of its fire stations open around the clock. The Chicago suburb of Orland Park also opened its police station as its primary 24-hour cooling center.

Kelly Boeckman, 31, and Taylor Knoll, 28, met Wednesday morning — when the heat was still bearable — to chat at a patio table in downtown Jefferson City, Missouri. Both have young children and said they are careful to keep them hydrated and protected from the heat.

“We definitely aren’t doing outside activities for the afternoon and evening, even though they want to sometimes,” said Boeckman, who has 6-year-old twins and a 3 year old. They’re “playing early, (getting) lots of water and hydration, (and) staying in the shade when we are outside.”

Steve Owen, a 54-year-old bus driver from Roeland Park, Kansas, dumped water on his head to stay cool Wednesday while waiting to pick up a day care group from the local pool.

“I’m usually revived and feeling much better,” he said after drenching himself. “That usually gets me through.”

The heat also can take a toll on pets and other animals. Officials at the Brookfield Zoo near Chicago have spent the past few days preparing.

Blocks of ice weighing about 300 pounds (136 kilograms) were being trucked in for the polar and grizzly bears, and the zoo planned to give ice cubes to the reindeer. Additional animals were being given access to indoor quarters starting Thursday.

“The welfare of the animals is our top priority,” said zoo spokeswoman Sondra Katzen.

The same is true at the Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago, where some animals have cooling stations in their enclosures and space off-exhibit where they can go to cool down, said general curator Dave Bernier.

“I don’t expect it to be much change in attendance,” he said. “Once they decide they want to go to the zoo on the weekend, that’s usually where they go.”

___

Science Writer Seth Borenstein reported from Washington. Associated Press writers Summer Ballentine in Jefferson City, Missouri, and Heather Hollingsworth in Roeland Park, Kansas, contributed to this report.

PHOTO: AP


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Mississippi State House Candidate Shot Himself And Wife In Brutal Murder-Suicide

Carl Robinson, 43, was seeking election to the Mississippi House of Representatives. However, shortly after being served divorce papers, he reportedly shot his wife, 34-year-old Latoya Thompson, and then himself.

According to The Daily Journal, on Tuesday, Robinson went Williams Medical Clinic in Potts Camp, Mississippi where Thompson worked as a receptionist. He reportedly shot her with .38-caliber hammerless Smith & Wesson pistol.

Marshall County Sheriff Kenny Dickerson said, “We found the shooter dead from what appeared to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound to his head. He and his wife were in the process of a divorce. His wife was lying on the floor near his body.”

According to Fox 13, nurse Tammy Wiseman was in the clinic when the shooting occurred and she tried to help Latoya Thompson,  “When we got to her she never did respond to us. We were doing what we could do, CPR, and when the ambulance got here she did leave with rhythm and hope.”

Dr. Kenneth Williams, runs the clinic, explained, “We did try to resuscitate her, and she was gone, but she did get her rhythm back. We got her rhythm back and got her loaded up and taken to the field for the helicopter. While she was over there, her rhythm went out twice and she didn’t make it.”

He added, “I tell people this is the closest thing to Mayberry that I have ever seen. I never expected anything like it, and we have a lot of hurt people. We have lost someone who is part of our family, and we will take it day to day.”

A neighbor of Thompson said, “She was a real nice girl, friendly and would help you do anything.”

Robinson, who was seeking the District 5 seat in the Mississippi House of Representatives, was preparing for the Democratic primary on Aug. 6.


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House Votes No To Trump Impeachment…For Now

WASHINGTON (AP) — The House easily killed a maverick Democrat’s effort Wednesday to impeach President Donald Trump for his recent racial insults against lawmakers of color , a vote that provided an early snapshot of just how divided Democrats are over ousting him as the 2020 presidential and congressional campaigns rev up.

Democrats leaned against the resolution by Texas Rep. Al Green by 137-95. That showed that so far, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has successfully prevented a Democratic stampede toward impeachment before additional evidence is developed that could win over a public that’s so far skeptical about ousting Trump.

Even so, the roll call underscored that the number of liberal Democrats open to impeachment remains substantial and may be growing. About two dozen more conversions would split the party’s 235-member caucus in half over an issue that could potentially dominate next year’s elections. Until now, just over 80 Democrats had publicly said they were open to starting an inquiry over removing Trump.

“There’s a lot of grief, from a lot of different quarters,” Green, speaking to reporters after the vote, said of the reaction he received from colleagues. “But sometimes you just have to take a stand.”

Democrats voting in favor of the impeachment resolution included some of the party’s most outspoken freshmen, like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, but were mostly veteran liberals, including leaders of House Democrats’ black, Hispanic and progressive caucuses. With party leaders looking to give the effort as little oxygen as possible, there was no debate.

As some Democrats feared, the measure’s lopsided 332-95 defeat — the House’s first vote on removing Trump since Democrats took control of the chamber this year — opened the door for him to claim vindication.

“You see the overwhelming vote against impeachment and that’s the end of it,” Trump told reporters as he arrived in North Carolina for a campaign rally. He called the effort the “most ridiculous project I’ve ever been involved in.”

Green’s resolution didn’t mention special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into whether Trump’s 2016 campaign conspired with Russia to influence that year’s congressional election or whether the president obstructed Mueller’s probe. That inquiry and the questions it raised over Trump’s actions have been the main reasons some Democrats have backed impeachment.

Pelosi, D-Calif., told reporters that six House committees are investigating Trump, adding, “That is the serious path we’re on.”

Mueller is scheduled to testify next week to two House committees.

Democrats rejected Trump’s claim that the vote showed he’d been absolved of anything.

“It’s not vindication,” said Rep. Donna Shalala, D-Fla. “It’s that we believe in an orderly process. We’re putting our faith in the Judiciary Committee and the hearing they’re going to hold.”

Every voting Republican favored derailing Green’s measure.

With Democrats preparing to defend their House majority in next year’s elections, Green’s measure forced those in tight districts to choose between upsetting liberals eager to remove Trump and moderates leery of that. Democrats owe their House majority to 39 challengers who won in 2018 in what had been GOP-held districts, places where centrist constituents often predominate.

“It’s not ideal for a lot of people to have to take that vote right now,” one of them, Rep. Katie Hill, D-Calif., said of impeachment. She said “if and when” the House votes on impeaching Trump, it should happen when “we can make sure our constituents understand and can get behind” the move.

Recent polling has shown solid majorities of the public oppose impeachment. Even if the Democratic-run House would vote to impeach Trump, the equivalent of filing formal charges, a trial by the Republican-led Senate would all but certainly acquit him, keeping him in office.

Trump is “unfit to be President, unfit to represent the American values of decency and morality, respectability and civility, honesty and propriety, reputability and integrity, is unfit to defend the ideals that have made America great, unfit to defend liberty and justice for all,” Green’s resolution said.

The measure cites Trump’s recent “racist” comments imploring Democratic congresswomen of color to go back to their native countries. The House voted Tuesday largely along party lines to condemn those statements . His targets were Ocasio-Cortez and Reps. Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan.

All are American and all but Omar were born in the U.S. They’ve also been among the party’s most outspoken advocates of impeachment, and all backed Green’s measure.

Mueller’s 448-page report detailed episodes in which Trump tried to influence his investigation. Mueller said he could not exonerate Trump on obstruction and indicated in a May news conference that it was up to Congress to decide what to do.

Some Democrats are frustrated with the slow pace of their party’s investigations of the president, and impeachment supporters say it would accelerate House probes and bolster their arguments in court. The White House has blocked several witnesses from answering questions.

Efforts by party leaders to dissuade Green from forcing the divisive roll call fell flat, as they did when he forced votes on similar impeachment resolutions in 2017 and 2018.

___

Associated Press writer Deb Reichmann contributed from Greenville, North Carolina.


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Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Former Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens Dead At 99

WASHINGTON (AP) — John Paul Stevens, the bow-tied, independent-thinking, Republican-nominated justice who unexpectedly emerged as the Supreme Court’s leading liberal, died Tuesday in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, after suffering a stroke Monday. He was 99.

During nearly 35 years on the court, Stevens stood for the freedom and dignity of individuals, be they students or immigrants or prisoners. He acted to limit the death penalty, squelch official prayer in schools, establish gay rights, promote racial equality and preserve legal abortion. He protected the rights of crime suspects and illegal immigrants facing deportation.

He influenced fellow justices to give foreign terrorism suspects held for years at the Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, naval base the right to plead for their release in U.S. courts.

Stevens served more than twice the average tenure for a justice, and was only the second to mark his 90th birthday on the high court. From his appointment by President Gerald Ford in 1975 through his retirement in June 2010, he shaped decisions that touched countless aspects of American life.

“He brought to our bench an inimitable blend of kindness, humility, wisdom and independence. His unrelenting commitment to justice has left us a better nation,” Chief Justice John Roberts said in a statement.

He remained an active writer and speaker into his late 90s, surprising some when he came out against Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation following Kavanaugh’s angry denial of sexual assault allegations. Stevens wrote an autobiography, “The Making of a Justice: My First 94 Years,” that was released just after his 99th birthday in April 2019.

At first considered a centrist, Stevens came to be seen as a lion of liberalism. But he rejected that characterization.

“I don’t think of myself as a liberal at all,” Stevens told The New York Times in 2007. “I think as part of my general politics, I’m pretty darn conservative.”

The way Stevens saw it, he held to the same ground, but the court had shifted steadily to the right over the decades, creating the illusion that he was moving leftward.

He did change his views on some issues, however. He morphed from a critic of affirmative action to a supporter, and came to believe the death penalty was wrong.

His legal reasoning was often described as unpredictable or idiosyncratic, especially in his early years on the court. He was a prolific writer of separate opinions laying out his own thinking, whether he agreed or disagreed with the majority’s ruling. Yet Stevens didn’t consider his methods novel. He tended toward a case-by-case approach, avoided sweeping judicial philosophies, and stayed mindful of precedent.

The white-haired Stevens, eyes often twinkling behind owlish glasses, was the picture of old-fashioned geniality on the court and off. He took an unusually courteous tone with lawyers arguing their cases, but he was no pushover. After his fellow justices fired off questions, Stevens would politely weigh in. “May I ask a question?” he’d ask gently, then quickly slice to the weakest point of a lawyer’s argument.

Stevens was especially concerned with the plight of ordinary citizens up against the government or other powerful interests — a type of struggle he witnessed as a boy.

When he was 14, his father, owner of a grand but failing Chicago hotel, was wrongly convicted of embezzlement. Ernest Stevens was vindicated on appeal, but decades later his son would say the family’s ordeal taught him that justice can misfire.

More often, however, Stevens credited his sensitivity to abuses of power by police and prosecutors to what he learned while representing criminal defendants in pro bono cases as a young Chicago lawyer.

He voiced only one regret about his Supreme Court career: that he had supported reinstating the death penalty in 1976. More than three decades later, Stevens publicly declared his opposition to capital punishment, saying that years of bad court decisions had overlooked racial bias, favored prosecutors and otherwise undermined his expectation that death sentences could be handed down fairly.

One of his harshest dissents came when the court lifted restrictions on spending by corporations and unions to sway elections. He called the 2010 ruling “a rejection of the common sense of the American people” and a threat to democracy.

As he read parts of that opinion aloud, Stevens’ voice wavered uncharacteristically and he repeatedly stumbled over words. For the 90-year-old who’d worried he wouldn’t know when to bow out, it was a signal. “That was the day I decided to resign,” Stevens said later. He also disclosed in his autobiography that he had suffered a mini-stroke. Justice Elena Kagan took Stevens’ seat on the court.

The retirement of Stevens, known as a defender of strict separation of church and state, notably left the high court without a single Protestant member for the first time.

“I guess I’m the last WASP,” he joked, saying the issue was irrelevant to the justices’ work. Justice Neil Gorsuch, who joined the court in 2017, was raised Catholic, but attends a Protestant church.

A great-grandfather, Stevens eased into an active retirement of writing and speaking, still fit for swimming and tennis in Fort Lauderdale, where he and his second wife, Maryan, kept a home away from Washington.

He is survived by two daughters, Elizabeth and Susan, who were with him when he died. Other survivors include nine grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren. Stevens’ first wife, Elizabeth, second wife, Maryan, and two children died before him. Funeral arrangements are pending, the Supreme Court said in a statement announcing his death. But he is expected to be buried in Arlington National Cemetery, next to Maryan.

Born in 1920, Stevens was a privileged child of a bygone era: He met Amelia Earhart and Charles Lindbergh at the family hotel and was at the ballpark when Babe Ruth hit his famous “called-shot” home run in the 1932 World Series.

He joined the Navy the day before the attack on Pearl Harbor, and was awarded the Bronze Star for his service with a Japanese code-breaking team. The code breakers’ work enabled the U.S. to shoot down a plane carrying the commander of the Japanese Navy, and that targeted wartime killing later contributed to his misgivings about the death penalty.

After World War II, Stevens graduated first in his class at Northwestern University’s law school and clerked for Supreme Court Justice Wiley Rutledge. As a lawyer he became an antitrust expert, experience he brought to Supreme Court rulings such as one ending the NCAA’s control over televised college football games.

President Richard Nixon appointed Stevens, a lifelong Republican, to the federal appeals court in Chicago. Judge Stevens was considered a moderate conservative when Ford — whose nominee would need the approval of a Democratic-controlled Senate — chose him for the Supreme Court.

Stevens won unanimous confirmation after uneventful hearings nothing like today’s partisan shows. Stevens’ liberal bent once on the high court was “different than I envisioned,” Ford acknowledged decades later, but he still supported and praised him as “a very good legal scholar.”

Stevens’ influence reached its height after other liberals retired in the early 1990s, leaving him the senior associate justice and the court’s leader on the left. For a dozen years after, he proved adept at drawing swing votes from Republican appointees Sandra Day O’Connor and Anthony Kennedy, often frustrating conservative Chief Justice William Rehnquist.

Stevens’ clout diminished after Roberts arrived in 2005 and O’Connor was replaced by the more conservative Samuel Alito. But he didn’t lose spirit. Throughout his career, Stevens unleashed some of his most memorable language in defeat.

He wrote a scathing dissent in Bush v. Gore, the 2000 case that ended Florida’s presidential recount and anointed George W. Bush: “Although we may never know with complete certainty the identity of the winner of this year’s presidential election, the identity of the loser is perfectly clear. It is the nation’s confidence in the judge as an impartial guardian of the rule of law.”

PHOTO: AP


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Barack Obama Congratulates Woman He Granted Clemency To After She Made The Dean’s List

 

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Source: NICHOLAS KAMM / Getty

Former POTUS Barack Obama has kept a pretty low profile this year, as it marks two years since he officially left office.

But a recent follow-up revealed Obama still has his hand on the pulse of what’s going on after it was discovered that he wrote a congratulatory letter to Danielle Metz, a woman he granted clemency to during his second term in office.

Metz was offered clemency in 2016 after being sentenced to three consecutive life sentences, plus 20 additional years, once she was convicted of drug trafficking. Metz had served 23 years of her sentence and had obtained her GED during her time in prison.\

Metz made national headlines last week after she spoke to The Hechinger Report, recalling her past history and how she was able to find her calling by enrolling in Southern University where she studies social work. During the interview she revealed she made the Dean’s List, by maintaining a 3.75 GPA.

Metz, a resident of New Orleans, also appeared at EssenceFest 2019 where she shared her story. A few days after revealing her academic achievements, she received a letter from Obama congratulating her on making the Dean’s list.

“I am so proud of you, and am confident that your example will have a positive impact for others who are looking for a second chance,” Obama wrote. “Tell your children I say hello, and know that I’m rooting for all of you.”


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WNBA Suspends Riquna Williams 10 Games For Domestic Violence

\NEW YORK (AP) — Los Angeles Sparks guard Riquna Williams was suspended without pay by the WNBA on Tuesday for 10 games — nearly a third of the season — for a domestic violence incident.

Williams was arrested on April 29 and charged with two felony counts, one involving the assault of an individual with whom she was in a relationship and the other involving a threat to another person with a firearm. Her criminal case is ongoing.

The WNBA conducted its own investigation and consulted with a panel of experts in the field of domestic violence. Among other factors, the league said it took into account the nature and seriousness of the allegations, including the involvement of a gun. The WNBA also will require Williams to participate in counseling.

“As an organization, we abhor violence of any kind and specifically take domestic violence allegations very seriously,” the Sparks said in a statement. “We will provide whatever resources we are allowed to help Riquna learn and grow from this unfortunate situation.”

The union said they would file a grievance on Williams’ behalf.

“We are disappointed with the league’s actions. There is an ongoing criminal proceeding and in fairness to the player, the league could have and should have awaited its completion before taking any action,” said Terri Jackson, executive director of the union.

“Riquna has not had a fair opportunity to fully defend herself. We are immediately filing a grievance and will seek the arbitrator’s review.”

The suspension, which surpassed the seven games given to Brittney Griner and Glory Johnson in 2015 for their domestic violence arrests, will begin with Thursday’s game against the Dallas Wings.

It’s not the longest in league history: The WNBA dismissed Rhonda Mapp, who also played for Los Angeles, in 2003 for violating its drug policy. Mapp never returned after being suspended by the league for two years.

According to an arrest report, Williams forced her way inside a Florida home and repeatedly struck Alkeria Davis in the head and pulled her hair on Dec. 6. Two men told Palm Beach County sheriff’s deputies they spent 10 minutes trying to break up the fight. When they finally separated the women, the 28-year-old Williams grabbed a gun from her car, placed it on the trunk and pointed it at one man, saying “you’ll get all 18” before speeding off, authorities said.

Davis said she and Williams had been together on and off for five years and had broken up a month earlier. She told authorities she thought Williams was jealous but had never been violent in the past.

Williams was booked on burglary and aggravated assault charges.

The Sparks signed her on May 15. The seventh-year player has started six games this season and is averaging 11.5 points. She had 23 points in Los Angeles’ last game, an overtime win over Atlanta on Sunday.

Assuming she doesn’t appeal, Williams would return for the Sparks’ final eight games, starting against the Indiana Fever on Aug. 22.

 


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U.S. House Of Representatives Officially Condemns Trump Tweets As Racist [WATCH]

WASHINGTON (AP) — In a remarkable political repudiation, the Democratic-led U.S. House voted Tuesday night to condemn President Donald Trump’s “racist comments” against four congresswomen of color, despite protestations by Trump’s Republican congressional allies and his own insistence he hasn’t “a racist bone in my body.”

Two days after Trump tweeted that four Democratic freshmen should “go back ” to their home countries — though all are citizens and three were born in the U.S.A. — Democrats muscled the resolution through the chamber by 240-187 over near-solid GOP opposition. The rebuke was an embarrassing one for Trump even though it carries no legal repercussions, but the highly partisan roll calls suggests it is unlikely to cost him with his die-hard conservative base.

Despite a lobbying effort by Trump and party leaders for a unified GOP front, four Republicans voted to condemn his remarks: moderate Reps. Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania, Fred Upton of Michigan, Will Hurd of Texas and Susan Brooks of Indiana, who is retiring. Also backing the measure was Michigan’s independent Rep. Justin Amash, who left the GOP this month after becoming the party’s sole member of Congress to back a Trump impeachment inquiry.

Before the showdown roll call, Trump characteristically plunged forward with time-tested insults. He accused his four outspoken critics of “spewing some of the most vile, hateful and disgusting things ever said by a politician” and added, “If you hate our Country, or if you are not happy here, you can leave!” — echoing taunts long unleashed against political dissidents rather than opposing parties’ lawmakers.

The president was joined by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California and other top Republicans in trying to redirect the focus from Trump’s original tweets, which for three days have consumed Washington and drawn widespread condemnation. Instead, they tried playing offense by accusing the four congresswomen — among the Democrats’ most left-leaning members and ardent Trump critics — of socialism, an accusation that’s already a central theme of the GOP’s 2020 presidential and congressional campaigns.

Even after two-and-a-half years of Trump’s turbulent governing style, the spectacle of a president futilely laboring to head off a House vote essentially proclaiming him to be a racist was extraordinary.

Underscoring the stakes, Republicans formally objected after Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California said during a floor speech that Trump’s tweets were “racist.” Led by Rep. Doug Collins of Georgia, Republicans moved to have her words stricken from the record, a rare procedural rebuke.

After a delay exceeding 90 minutes, No. 2 House Democrat Steny Hoyer of Maryland said Pelosi had indeed violated a House rule against characterizing an action as racist. Hoyer was presiding after Rep. Emanuel Cleaver of Missouri stormed away from the presiding officer’s chair, lamenting, “We want to just fight,” apparently aimed at Republicans. Even so, Democrats flexed their muscle and the House voted afterward by party line to leave Pelosi’s words intact in the record.

Some rank-and-file GOP lawmakers have agreed that Trump’s words were racist, but on Tuesday party leaders insisted they were not and accused Democrats of using the resulting tumult to score political points. Among the few voices of restraint, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Trump wasn’t racist, but he also called on leaders “from the president to the speaker to the freshman members of the House” to attack ideas, not the people who espouse them.

“There’s been a consensus that political rhetoric has gotten way, way heated across the political spectrum,” said the Republican leader from Kentucky, breaking his own two days of silence on Trump’s attacks.

Hours earlier, Trump tweeted, “Those Tweets were NOT Racist. I don’t have a Racist bone in my body!” He wrote that House Republicans should “not show ‘weakness'” by agreeing to a resolution he labeled “a Democrat con game.”

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, one of Trump’s four targets, returned his fire.

“You’re right, Mr. President – you don’t have a racist bone in your body. You have a racist mind in your head and a racist heart in your chest,” she tweeted.

The four-page Democratic resolution said the House “strongly condemns President Donald Trump’s racist comments that have legitimized and increased fear and hatred of new Americans and people of color.” It said Trump’s slights “do not belong in Congress or in the United States of America.”

All but goading Republicans, the resolution included a full page of remarks by President Ronald Reagan, who is revered by the GOP. Reagan said in 1989 that if the U.S. shut its doors to newcomers, “our leadership in the world would soon be lost.”

Tuesday’s faceoff came after years of Democrats bristling over anti-immigrant and racially incendiary pronouncements by Trump. Those include his kicking off his presidential campaign by proclaiming many Mexican migrants to be criminals and asserting there were “fine people” on both sides at a 2017 neo-Nazi rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, that turned deadly.

And the strong words in Washington come as actions are underway elsewhere: The administration has begun coast-to-coast raids targeting migrants in the U.S. illegally and has newly restricted access to the U.S. by asylum seekers.

Trump’s criticism was aimed at four freshman Democrats who have garnered attention since their arrival in January for their outspoken liberal views and thinly veiled distaste for Trump: Ocasio-Cortez and Reps. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan. All were born in the U.S. except for Omar, who came to the U.S. as a child after fleeing Somalia with her family.

The four have been in an increasingly personal clash with Pelosi, too, over how assertively the House should be in trying to restrain Trump’s ability to curb immigration. But if anything, Trump’s tweets may have eased some of that tension, with Pelosi telling Democrats at a closed-door meeting Tuesday, “We are offended by what he said about our sisters,” according to an aide who described the private meeting on condition of anonymity.

That’s not to say that all internal Democratic strains are resolved.

The four rebellious freshmen joined Rep. Steven Cohen of Tennessee and a handful of others who wanted the House to vote on a harsher censure of Trump’s tweets. And Rep. Al Green of Texas was trying to force a House vote soon on whether to impeach Trump — a move he’s tried in the past but lost, earning opposition from most Democrats.

At the Senate Republicans’ weekly lunch Tuesday, Trump’s tweets came up and some lawmakers were finding the situation irksome, participants said. Many want the 2020 campaigns to focus on progressive Democrats’ demands for government-provided health care, abolishing the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency and other hard-left policies.

“Those ideas give us so much material to work with and it takes away from our time to talk about it,” Sen. Mike Braun of Indiana said of the Trump tweets.

___

AP reporters Jill Colvin, Zeke Miller and Jonathan Lemire and Congressional Correspondent Lisa Mascaro contributed.


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Monday, July 15, 2019

Ohio Security Guard Pulls Gun On Sheriff’s Deputy In Full Uniform [WATCH]

Annnnd the Barney Fife award goes to … the idiot white security guard in Ohio who was caught on surveillance video pulling a gun on a Black sheriff’s deputy in full uniform because he (deputy) was armed.

Yes, you read that right.  Alan Gaston, a Lucas County Sheriff’s deputy, was on duty when he stopped by an IRS office in Toledo on May 31 to ask about a letter he had received.

As you can see in photos and video in this post, the deputy was dressed in his full sheriff’s office uniform with his badge and gun clearly visible when he entered the office.

Seth Eklund, the security guard, told Lucas he could only enter the office if he put his gun in his car. Gaston’s response was that he couldn’t do that because he was still on duty so he decided to leave the office.

But that wasn’t the right answer as far as the Barney Fife wannabe is concerned. Check out the surveillance video obtained by 13ABC. It clearly shows Gaston walking out of the office before Eklund follows him with his gun pointed at the officer’s back.

With his gun drawn the whole time, the guard followed Gaston to the elevator.

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In any event, Gaston, who works as a defensive tactics instructor, said he thought the best way to defuse the situation was to try and walk away.  Wrong. Not with this nitwit.

“(I was) basically preparing myself to be shot at that moment. Bracing for a shot in my back,” Gaston said.

“There’s really no way to know how you’re going to act when there’s a gun pointed at you and when you think you’re going to lose your life.”

The bottom line is that fortunately, Gaston is still with us, but Eklund is now facing an aggravated menacing charge. Look for him in court this week to have to answer for his stupidity.

Gaston has also filed a lawsuit against Eklund and the security guard for compensation, saying he has suffered emotional and psychological distress from the incident.

The deputy has been on medical leave from the sheriff’s office since the ordeal.

 PHOTO: Getty

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Indiana Police Officer Who Fatally Shot Black Man Resigns

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) — A white Indiana police officer who fatally shot a black man, sparking protests and roiling the presidential campaign of South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, has resigned, the local police union announced Monday.

The Fraternal Order of Police said Sgt. Ryan O’Neill’s resignation from the South Bend Police Department was due to stress and media attention given to last month’s shooting of Eric Logan. The union also pointed to “hateful things said on social media.”

“Sgt. O’Neill did his job and was forced to defend his own life from a convicted felon who was armed with an eight-inch hunting knife,” FOP president Harvey Mills said in a release. “We’re confident that the investigation into the shooting will determine that the action he took was justified based on the law and his training.”

Police Chief Scott Ruszkowski confirmed he received O’Neill’s resignation letter and that his departure was effective immediately.

Authorities have said O’Neill was responding to a report of a person breaking into cars on June 16 and confronted the 54-year-old Logan, and that the officer said he shot Logan after he refused orders to drop a knife.

A judge has appointed a special prosecutor to investigate the shooting, which authorities said was not recorded by O’Neill’s body camera. Protesters, in the wake of the shooting, have called for police reforms and questioned South Bend’s body camera and use of force policies.

The shooting prompted Buttigieg, who’s seeking the Democratic presidential nomination, to leave the campaign trail for several days to answer questions about public safety and race.

In a statement Monday, Buttigieg said efforts to strengthen trust between law enforcement and community members continue.

“We will await results of the independent criminal investigation, and apply any lessons learned to our work on the future of the Police Department and the community,” he said in the statement.

Logan’s brother, Tyree Bonds, said the family still will pursue a federal lawsuit that alleges O’Neill used excessive deadly force. The city of South Bend is also named in the lawsuit.


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Photos Of Teen’s Corpse Posted Online By Her Alleged Killer

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — A 17-year-old girl with a small social media following in upstate New York was killed by a man she’d met recently on Instagram, who then posted photos of her corpse online, police said Monday.

The gory pictures were redistributed widely, including by online posters who made light of or celebrated the teen’s death.

Others urged people to stop circulating the images, which had appeared in online chat sites including 4chan and Discord.

On Monday, police identified the slain girl as Bianca Devins, of Utica, New York, and said that her alleged assailant, Brandon Clark, was being held on a second-degree murder charge. It was unclear whether Clark, who lived in Bridgewater, New York, had a lawyer who could comment on his behalf.

Discord users who saw the photos Sunday morning alerted police. Officers were trying to find the teen when the 21-year-old Clark called 9-1-1 himself to report what he’d done, Utica’s public safety department said in a statement.

Officers who tracked the call found Clark stabbing himself in the neck, causing injuries that required hospital treatment. Devins’ body was beneath a tarp nearby, police said.

 

Devins and Clark met on Instagram about two months ago, police said.

Initially, they were online acquaintances only, but the “relationship progressed into a personally intimate one,” police said. “They had spent time together, and were acquainted with each other’s families.”

The two attended a concert together Saturday night in New York City, where they got into an argument. They arrived back in Utica early Sunday and went to a spot on a dead-end street, according to the police statement.

There, they argued until Clark used a large knife to kill the teenager, police said. Authorities began receiving calls around 7:20 a.m. Sunday, reporting that a man posted on a social media site that he had killed a person.

After police encountered Clark stabbing himself, he laid down on a green tarp and took selfies lying across the dead teenager before officers took him into custody, police said. The case is being investigated as a murder and attempted suicide, Utica police Lt. Bryan Coromato said.

Devins’ family said in a written statement that the teen was “a talented artist” and “a wonderful young girl, taken from us all too soon.”

“Bianca’s smile brightened our lives,” the family wrote. “She will always be remembered as our Princess.”

The family statement said Devins graduated from high school last month and looked forward to attending a community college in the fall.

Utica police said they are working to address the sharing of the images with various social media platforms.

The Utica City School District issued a statement saying they “share our deepest heartfelt condolences with her family and loved ones.”

___

Ryan Tarinelli is a corps member for Report for America , a nonprofit organization that supports local news coverage in a partnership with The Associated Press for New York. The AP is solely responsible for all content.

PHOTO: Getty


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Harris Blasts, And Takes Money From, Epstein’s Law Firm

WASHINGTON (AP) — Kamala Harris bemoaned the influence of the powerful and connected elite last Tuesday when she called on top Justice Department officials to recuse themselves from any matter related to Jeffrey Epstein. She said work done by their former law firm, which represented the financier accused of sexual abuse, “calls into question the integrity of our legal system.”

Yet the same day, Harris’ husband headlined a Chicago fundraiser for her presidential campaign that was hosted by six partners of that firm — Kirkland and Ellis, according to an invitation obtained by The Associated Press.

Harris, a California senator and Democratic presidential candidate, was one of several White House hopefuls to blast the handling of Epstein’s case in Florida a decade ago, when his lawyers negotiated a deal with federal prosecutors that allowed him to avoid the possibility of years in prison. But her decision to move ahead with the fundraiser hosted by Kirkland and Ellis partners while criticizing the firm underscores the tension that can arise when a politician’s rhetoric collides with their need to raise money to sustain a presidential campaign.

“If any connection with Kirkland and Ellis is a stain on (senior Justice Department officials), why isn’t a connection with the law firm for the receipt of campaign contributions a stain on her own campaign?” said Paul S. Ryan, an attorney for the good government group Common Cause.

Ian Sams, a Harris spokesman, said there wasn’t a problem with accepting the campaign contributions because the firm is big and the partners who hosted the fundraiser didn’t work on Epstein’s plea agreement.

“The people involved in that case have not supported her campaign, and she wouldn’t want that support anyway,” Sams said.

The firm and the six partners named on the event invitation did not respond to requests for comment.

The Epstein case has roiled Washington this month after federal prosecutors announced fresh charges against the financier, who is accused of paying underage girls for massages and then molesting them at his homes in Palm Beach, Florida, and New York during the 2000s. President Donald Trump’s labor secretary, Alex Acosta, resigned on Friday over his handling of the case. As a U.S. attorney in Miami, Acosta met with Kirkland and Ellis lawyers and agreed to a deal that allowed Epstein to avoid federal trial by pleading guilty to state charges and serving 13 months in jail.

The new attention being paid to the case has also drawn attention to Attorney General William Barr and Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen, who both worked for Kirkland and Ellis. Harris, who is a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said it’s necessary that they recuse themselves from involvement in the matter to avoid even the “appearance of impropriety.”

“In our democracy, no one — no matter how powerful or well-connected — is above the law. Yet Epstein’s deal, secured by his lawyers at Kirkland and Ellis, calls into question the integrity of our legal system and undermines the public’s confidence that justice will be served,” Harris said in a statement released hours after the Chicago fundraiser.

Barr is recused from any review of a 2008 plea deal, but has said that he doesn’t need to do so with the current case.

Before her election to the Senate, Harris was the attorney general of California and was elected to two terms as San Francisco’s district attorney. Her husband Doug Emhoff is also a high powered attorney who works in corporate law. So it is perhaps little surprise that law firms have been one of the top industries that have donated to her presidential bid, with Kirkland and Ellis being no exception.

Her campaign declined to say how much was raised at last week’s event and the sum won’t have to be reported to the Federal Election Commission until October. Records show that a handful of employees and partners of the firm donated about $6,000 to Harris during the first quarter of the year — a drop when compared to the $12 million she raised during that time.

“It’s an international law firm with thousands of employees, many of whom probably support Kamala Harris because she’s a tough prosecutor who actually knows how to put away predators, unlike the Trump lackeys who protect them,” Sams said.

PHOTO: AP


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Weakened Barry Still Poses Flood, Tornado Risks

(The Shreveport Times via AP)

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Even though Tropical Depression Barry did not unleash catastrophic flooding in Louisiana, many across the Gulf Coast were urged to take heed of tornado and flash-flood warnings Monday as the storm moved north.

Barry was downgraded from a tropical storm on Sunday afternoon but continued to pose a threat. Much of Louisiana and Mississippi were under flash-flood watches, as were parts of Arkansas, eastern Texas, western Tennessee and southeastern Missouri.

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards urged residents to be cautious as they ventured outside after a weekend in which many had sheltered indoors.

He said he was “extremely grateful” that the storm had not caused the disastrous floods that had earlier been forecast. More than 90 people had been rescued in 11 parishes, but there were no reports of weather-related fatalities, Edwards said.

“This was a storm that obviously could have played out very, very differently,” he said. “We’re thankful that the worst-case scenario did not happen.”

Forecasters warned of a continued threat of heavy rains into Monday as the center of the storm trudged inland. The U.S. National Hurricane Center said Sunday parts of south-central Louisiana could still have rainfall totals of up to 12 inches (30 centimeters), with isolated pockets of 15 inches (38 centimeters).

In Mississippi, forecasters said 8 inches (20 centimeters) of rain had fallen in parts of Jasper and Jones counties, with several more inches possible.

Barry’s center was moving from northern Louisiana into Arkansas.

New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell said Sunday the city was “beyond lucky” that rainfall there fell well short of early predictions of a deluge that could overwhelm the city’s pumping systems.

“We were spared,” she said at a news conference, while noting the city was ready to help nearby parishes hit harder.

About 51,000 customers in Louisiana, 1,800 customers in Mississippi and another 1,700 customers in Arkansas were without power Sunday night, according to poweroutage.us.

Edwards thanked the public for taking officials’ warnings seriously over the weekend, but he also reminded residents that it is still relatively early in the Atlantic’s hurricane season.

“Based on what we’ve experienced, I think (we will be) even better prepared for next time — and we do know that there will be a next time,” Edwards said.

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