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6 days ago · by · Comments Off on Chrissy Teigen Buys Teachers’ Amazon Wishlists, Inspires Others To Help

Chrissy Teigen Buys Teachers’ Amazon Wishlists, Inspires Others To Help

As school is starting for many across the country, Chrissy Teigen has generously bought entire school supply wish lists for many teachers. Chrissy Teigen, who is home schooling her daughter Luna, called on teachers to send her their wish lists so she buy them. “If you are a teacher in need of supplies for the upcoming school year, please drop your amazon wishlist here, I will do as many as I can!” she tweeted. Teigen’s tweet received over 5,000 replies, with many of her followers also chipping in to fund supplies.

The response was overwhelming. Teachers, as well as their friends and family, all reached out to take Teigen up on her generous offer. “Today I cleared 50 entire lists and countless extra items were purchased from lovely people just passing through,” Teigen subsequently posted. “Will do more this week and would love to focus on struggling districts and special needs. Please keep posting in this thread!”

While teachers have traditionally purchased classroom supplies that school budgets don’t cover, COVID-19 has totally changed the landscape of education. Virtual classrooms or hybrid learning that combines at-home and onsite classes have become the new normal. Although the fundamental educational supplies and equipment needed to meet these changes continue to evolve as we feel our way through the pandemic by trial and error, teachers are still the ones who must often pick up the slack.

The generousness, while wonderful to see, highlights that teachers are regularly forced to resort to crowdfunding their basic classroom needs or more likely, paying out of their own pockets, a fact that Teigen herself alluded to. As teachers head back to their classrooms, their shopping lists are stocked with items that aren’t just for arts and crafts. They now need hand sanitizer, cleaning wipes and air purifiers—just to keep themselves and their students safe in what is sure to be one of the most challenging school years any of them have ever experience.

These last few months have given so many a window into how hard teaching is. It’s certainly not going to get any easier now that so many teachers will be facing tasks like keeping their kids socially distanced, helping with masks and hand washing, or teaching a class where some students are in the room and others are joining remotely. Many people were inspired by Teigen’s post and also began purchasing items from Amazon Wishlists posted. Making sure they have everything they need is the least we can do— and if you have the means to help, there are plenty more wish-lists to be found in the thread.

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1 week ago · by · Comments Off on Kansas Mother Fights For Change After Daughter Stalked by 4th Grade Teacher

Kansas Mother Fights For Change After Daughter Stalked by 4th Grade Teacher

The mother of a 10 year old Kansas girl who prosecutors say was stalked by a former Olathe teacher is speaking out about the trauma her family is going through. Her daughter, who attends Meadow Lane Elementary School, is at the center of a stalking case where a former 4th grade teacher, 58-year-old James Loganbill, took hundreds of photos and videos of the child. “You send your kids to school every day thinking they are safe and in great hands. To know that wasn’t the case, I just felt sick,” the local mom said. She quickly made it her mission to push for stricter laws, teaming up with local bipartisan legislators and creating the foundation #NotYourDaughter.


According to court documents, he told leaders at the school he was attracted to the 10-year-old student. “He had admitted to school officials of having an obsession and fixation on my daughter,” the metro mother said. “A few of her friends came up to her and let her know they had been speaking with the counselors and principals the past couple of days. They had seen their 4th grade teacher taking inappropriate pictures and videos of my daughter.”


Loganbill is charged with reckless stalking, which is a Class A misdemeanor with a maximum sentence of one year behind bars. According to the criminal complaint, between August 1, 2019 and March 10, 2020, Loganbill targeted the child in a way that would make a reasonable person fear for their safety.. Investigators say they found 210 photos and 31 videos of the same young girl on Loganbill’s phone and Apple iPad, with all the images taken at the school. The complaint also says the act was sexually motivated since Loganbill admitted to school administrators that the photos and videos were used for pornographic reasons. He also allegedly conducted online searches on the girl’s name 39 times, including searching her extra-curricular activities, the report said.Loganbill had taught in the school district for 31 years but resigned in March 2020 shortly after the allegations came to light.


The Olathe mom learned that Loganbill had been transferred to three different schools within the district during his 31 year teaching career for questionable conduct with students. If it weren’t for her daughter’s classmates reporting his behavior, no one would have known it was happening a fourth time. The district received countless complaints from teachers, students and parents for inappropriate conduct such as asking students for massages, taking female students to private rooms in the classroom alone, making sexually charged comments on the appearance of students, taking students pictures without consent, ranking students by who looked “hottest” and writing inappropriate notes to female students.


He had been under several investigations throughout his career and was simple transferred to a new school each time while parents and students believed he had been fired. Despite the trauma this family is going through they are determined to change Kansas laws that are protecting predators in the classroom. They want an outside audit of all teacher’s in the district with special attention to teacher’s who have been found to have shown sexually charged tendencies. They also want policy on how district employees use their personal electronics, a checks and balances on photos taken of students and a zero tolerance policy on teachers, like Loganbill, who have been found guilty of exhibiting inappropriate relations or sexual intent of children resulting in immediate termination.


While this Olathe mother worries about how the horrifying details and actions of this man will shape her young daughter she added “There’s still more work to be done, starting with Olathe Public Schools. We don’t want any other kid in the district to have to go through these things,” she said. “We need an answer as far as how we are going to keep these kids safe, more than ever.”

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4 weeks ago · by · Comments Off on Campuses in US Switch to Virtual Learning Amid Outbreaks

Campuses in US Switch to Virtual Learning Amid Outbreaks

 

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The U.S. reported another 43,000 coronavirus cases and more than 1,300 deaths from COVID-19 on, bringing the official U.S. death toll to nearly 172,000.  Public health officials are expressing alarm as the number of daily COVID-19 tests across the country has dropped 17% since mid-July, making it harder for states to track the outbreak. The Centers for Disease Control is warning infection rates are “steadily increasing” in children as millions of students have started or are preparing to return to school.

As global confirmed coronavirus cases topped 22 million, the World Health Organization warned Tuesday that young adults and children are increasingly driving the spread of COVID-19. WHO officials said recent outbreaks in Australia and the Philippines were sparked mostly by people younger than 40, while WHO epidemiologist Maria Van Kerkhove warned younger people are not immune to the worst effects of the virus.

A surge in coronavirus cases at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has forced the school to switch to remote learning, after 177 students tested positive for COVID-19 during the first week of in-person classes.  The school said in a statement that the Covid-19 “positivity” rate jumped to 13.6% from 2.8% just a week before.  At the time of the announcement, the school had tested 954 students, with 177 in isolation and 349 in quarantine, both on and off campus.

In Indiana, the University of Notre Dame canceled all in-person classes and said it would move to online-only instruction. The university’s sole testing site has been inundated since students returned in early August, identifying a total of 336 coronavirus cases.  Notre Dame contends that most infections stem from two off-campus parties thrown by seniors but cases have surged as students introduce the virus to new social groups, straining the school’s resources.

Michigan State University announced it would require undergraduates to study remotely (graduate students and students who take part in athletics are exempt from the mandate). According to NPR, the directive was issued before many students returned to campus, as classes don’t resume until early September. The university released a statement on Tuesday saying, “Given the current status of the virus … it is unlikely we can prevent widespread transmission of COVID-19 between students if our undergraduates return to campus.”

According to recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), non-Hispanic American Indian or Alaska Native people had an age-adjusted COVID-19 hospitalization rate about 5.3 times that of non-Hispanic white people. COVID-19 hospitalization rates among non-Hispanic Black people and Hispanic or Latino people were both about 4.7 times the rate of non-Hispanic white people.  While there’s no evidence that people of color have genetic or other biological factors that make them more likely to be affected by COVID-19, they are more likely to have underlying health conditions. Having certain conditions, such as type 2 diabetes, increases your risk of severe illness with COVID-19. But experts also know that where people live and work affects their health. Over time, these factors lead to different health risks among racial and ethnic minority groups.

A summer of waning social distancing restrictions has caused a surge in Covid cases among those under 35.  Maria Van Kerkhove, PhD, WHO’s COVID-19 technical lead and an infectious disease epidemiologist warns “We are seeing people, even young people, who are ending up with severe disease. We are seeing young people who are ending up in ICU. And we are seeing young people who are dying from this virus.”

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1 month ago · by · Comments Off on Portland Violence Continues As Judge Extends Order Against Federal Marshals

Portland Violence Continues As Judge Extends Order Against Federal Marshals

 

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A U.S. district judge in Oregon has extended a restraining order against the U.S. Marshals Service and agents with the Department of Homeland Security, ordering them to stop attacking journalists and legal observers at Black Lives Matter protests in Portland. The ruling came over the objections of the federal government, who argued that the restraining order issued against the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. Marshals Service was now irrelevant.
That order barred federal officers from using physical force, arresting, or dispersing anyone they should “reasonably know” was at the protests as a journalist or observer. Attorneys for the federal agencies argued the circumstances had changed with the federal presence in Portland supposed to wind down — and that the order should therefore be allowed to lapse.
Judge Michael Simon sided with attorneys working with the American Civil Liberties Union of Oregon, who argued that the threat of violence remained even as the federal officers became less visible. The ruling comes as part of a lawsuit filed by the ACLU of Oregon, alleging local and federal law enforcement have been targeting and attacking journalists during more than two months of nightly protests against racism and police brutality. Two weeks ago, Simon issued an initial restraining order on the federal officers, following mounting accounts of officers injuring journalists and observers on the ground.
Protests in Portland continue for the 11th straight week as the city’s mayor pleaded for protesters to stay off the streets, saying those who barricaded the doors to a police precinct the night before and tried to set it ablaze were not demonstrators, but criminals. The majority of sit-ins and marches have been peaceful with no police interaction. A smaller element continues to violently clash with police after most of the several hundred peaceful demonstrators have cleared the streets.
Within a week of the restraining order being extended, police declared riots as a march turned violent. Police repeatedly blocked marchers as they made their through neighborhoods. The tactics prevented people from gathering outside local police buildings, which have been the recent focus of raucous demonstrations. Portland police pushed people, shot them with impact munitions and set off smoke devices after people threw water bottles and paint toward officers. As protestors left the area to make their way down another street they were repeatedly met by police blocking the march.
Each time protestors marched a different street another standoff with police ensued. Videos have circulated of the confrontations showing objects being thrown at officers from a crowd and others of officers advancing on protestors, knocking people to the ground as they walk down the street. The incident drew immediate criticism, including from Portland Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty, the council’s leading advocate for police reform.

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1 month ago · by · Comments Off on Sexual Assault Advocate Daisy Coleman Commits Suicide

Sexual Assault Advocate Daisy Coleman Commits Suicide

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Daisy Coleman, a high school sexual assault survivor who was featured in the documentary “Audrie & Daisy,” has died at the age of 23 by suicide. After announcing her death, Daisy’s mother Melinda wrote, “She never recovered from what those boys did to her and it’s just not fair. My baby girl is gone.” Daisy’s sexual assault prompted her to become an advocate for sexual assault victims and she co-founded the non-profit organization SafeBAE, which was aimed at preventing sexual assault in schools.
The Coleman family have suffered tremendous loss over the years far beyond Daisy’s sexual assault at a party in 2012. Melinda’s husband and father to her four children, Dr. Michael Coleman, was killed in a car crash in 2009, then Daisy’s younger brother Tristan died in a car accident at the age of 19 in June 2018 and now the loss of Daisy. The family had originally moved to the small town of Maryville from Albany, Missouri in 2009 after Michael Coleman’s death in hopes of making new and better memories than those the town of Albany held. Instead, they found themselves at the center of a sexual assault case that shocked the nation. Daisy and her friend were invited to a party in January 2012 where they became heavily intoxicated and both were sexually assaulted.
After the assault, Daisy was left intoxicated on her porch in 22-degree weather with no shoes or socks; when her mother found her she had frostbite. Sheriff’s deputies arrested two teens within hours and charged them with felonies. Matthew Barnett, a 17 year old high school senior and the grandson of former state representative Rex Barnett, was arrested for the rape and sexual assault of Coleman, who was 14 at the time. A 15-year-old boy was accused of doing the same to the girl’s 13-year-old friend Paige, and a third boy admitted to recording Barnett’s alleged assault on a cellphone. The video which was never retrieved by law enforcement, was deleted after reportedly being passed around the school.
The identities of alleged sex assault victims are generally not published, but Coleman’s family decided to go public with her identity and accusations. According to the Coleman’s, the torrents of hatred came only days after the case went public and the case divided the community. All four children experienced intense bullying and threats. Melinda Coleman, a veterinarian, lost her job because the case had become too contentious for the local veterinary clinic that was also the subject of threats. Mrs. Coleman says her three sons – Daisy’s brothers – were threatened at school and booed on the field – often by boys they had counted as friends’ just weeks earlier. Daisy became the target of daily bullying in school and was suspended from the cheerleading squad. She was hounded on social media, called a skank and a liar, and urged to kill herself, which she tried to do multiple times.
The relentless bullying prompted the family to move from Maryville back to Albany, Missouri. Shortly after moving, the family’s house in Maryville that they were trying to sell mysteriously burned to the ground 8 months after the moved. The case caught national media attention in October 2013 when the Kansas City Star reported that prosecutor, Robert Rice, dropped the rape charges – citing insufficient evidence. The state at the time appointed a special prosecutor to re-investigate the case, which ended in Barnett pleading guilty to the misdemeanor of charge child endangerment on Jan. 9, 2014. Barnett and his attorney maintain that the sexual encounter was consensual and the fact that two independent investigations have cleared him proves that he didn’t do anything wrong that night except for leaving Coleman outside in the cold. Daisy’s friend Paige’s rapist confessed and was convicted in juvenile court, after Barnett was convicted in adult court on the lesser charge of child endangerment during the 2nd investigation.

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2 months ago · by · Comments Off on Minneapolis Investigating Unnamed Umbrella Man

Minneapolis Investigating Unnamed Umbrella Man

 

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Minneapolis police have issued an arrest warrant for a suspect known as “Umbrella Man” who was filmed smashing the windows of an auto parts dealership on May 27, two days after the police killing of George Floyd.  Video of the “Umbrella Man” went viral after protesters in Minneapolis confronted and filmed him while he was in the act of smashing several windows of an AutoZone store.  Investigators say the man is a white supremacist who sought to provoke violence against protesters.  The term “Umbrella Man” was coined on social media as people guessed at his identity, with some protesters speculating he was actually a member of the police force.

According to a search warrant, the man is associated with the “Aryan Cowboys,” which the Anti-Defamation League lists as a White supremacist prison and street gang. The warrant does not label them as a White supremacist group, but describes them as a “known prison gang out of Minnesota and Kentucky.”  A Minneapolis arson investigator wrote in the search warrant affidavit that the man also spray painted the words “free sh*t for everyone zone” on the doors of the AutoZone. Not long after he smashed in the windows, looting began, and a bit later the AutoZone was set on fire, the affidavit said.

“This was the first fire that set off a string of fires and looting throughout the precinct and the rest of the city,” Sgt. Erika Christensen, wrote in the affidavit.  “Until the actions of the person your affiant has been calling ‘Umbrella Man,’ the protests had been relatively peaceful. The actions of this person created an atmosphere of hostility and tension. Your affiant believes that this individual’s sole aim was to incite violence.”

Police identified the 32-year-old suspect through a tip last week but the suspect has not been named. Minneapolis police spokesman John Elder told the Associated Press he could not confirm the name of the person involved, but said the investigation remains open and active.  The tipster told the investigator that the man was a member of the Hells Angels biker gang who “wanted to sow discord and racial unrest by breaking out the windows and writing what he did on the double red doors.”  Police matched him to photos a Muslim woman took when she was harassed during an encounter with the Aryan Cowboy Brotherhood, while eating burgers with her young daughter in Stillwater in June.

The riots spread to other parts of Minneapolis and led to Minneapolis’ 3rd Precinct burning down, and according to Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz, resulted in $500 million in property damage.  At least two people died — one a man who was fatally shot at a Minneapolis pawnshop and another man whose burned body was found in the ruins of another pawnshop.

Protests against police brutality and systemic racism continue in cities across the country in the wake of Floyd’s death.  The Black Lives Matter movement has drawn tens of millions into the streets to participate in protests taking place every day since May.  The protests have been plagued with violence from the start.  They continue to push for police reform and an end to systemic inequalities around race.  It has led to radical reform in recent months in many states and the faces of those they continue to seek justice for continue to change as more police shootings occur.

 

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2 months ago · by · Comments Off on US Surpasses 3 Million Coronavirus Cases

US Surpasses 3 Million Coronavirus Cases

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The U.S. coronavirus outbreak continues with over 3 million confirmed cases as more states reported record numbers of new infections, and Florida faced an impending shortage of intensive care unit hospital beds. Additional hospitalizations could strain healthcare systems in many areas, leading to an uptick in deaths from the respiratory illness that has killed more than 131,000 Americans since the pandemic began and many survivors are grappling with long-term complications. Authorities have reported alarming increases of daily caseloads in roughly two dozen states over the past two weeks, a sign that efforts to control transmission of the novel coronavirus have failed in large swaths of the country.
Last week, the country averaged just under 50,000 new cases daily — the highest rate recorded, and twice as high as a month ago. An influential coronavirus model has increased its projections for US deaths and it’s now forecasting more than 208,000 deaths by November. Experts say that face masks could save as many as 45,000 US lives by November if 95% of the population wears a covering in public, according to the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington, which built the model.
California, Hawaii, Missouri, Montana, Oklahoma and Texas shattered their previous daily record highs for new cases. California reported more than 10,000 coronavirus cases in one day, a record rise for a single day that also surpassed the number of contact tracers recently trained by the state to detect and prevent potential outbreaks. About 24 states have also reported disturbingly high infection rates as a percentage of diagnostic tests conducted over the past week. New COVID-19 infections have risen in 42 states in the past two weeks. Only three other U.S. states have reported more than 10,000 cases in a day. Florida reported 11,458 new cases on July 4 and Texas reported 10,028 on July 7.
At least 56 intensive care units in Florida hospitals had reached capacity on July 7, state officials said. Another 35 hospitals show ICU bed availability of 10% or less, according to the Agency for Health Care Administration in that state. Georgia surpassed 100,000 reported coronavirus cases, becoming the ninth state to pass the mark. In California, the number of hospitalizations across the state were at an all-time high and the virus positivity rate jumped more than 2% in Los Angeles.
New York recorded 12,847 new infections on April 10, three weeks after the state implemented a strict lockdown that closed most businesses. Once the epicenter of the U.S. epidemic, New York saw cases rise by about 6% in June – the lowest rate in the entire country. In Texas, the number of hospitalized patients has more than doubled in just two weeks. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services said it was adding short-term “surge” testing sites in three metropolitan areas in Florida, Louisiana and Texas.

Affecting nearly one of every 100 Americans, the surge has forced authorities to backpedal on moves to reopen businesses, such as restaurants and bars, after mandatory lockdowns in March and April reduced economic activity to a virtual standstill and put millions of Americans out of work.
Governors and mayors in many states have ordered people in hotspot counties to wear face coverings in public. Recently published research found that on average, the time from exposure to symptom onset (known as the incubation period) is about five to six days. However, studies have shown that symptoms could appear as soon as three days after exposure to as long as 13 days later. That is why contact tracing is so important in controlling the spread of the coronavirus although in parts of the south and southwest, cases are now rising so quickly that experts are warning contact tracing isn’t possible any more.

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2 months ago · by · Comments Off on Incidents of BLM Protesters Being Run Over Across the US

Incidents of BLM Protesters Being Run Over Across the US

 

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Researchers at the University of Chicago have documented 50 incidents of Black Lives Matter protestors being hit by cars from May 27 to June 17 across the country. The rash of attacks where they say right wing extremists have used their vehicles as weapons against Black Lives Matter protestors. Of those, five were by law enforcement and 45 by civilians. At least 18 are categorized as deliberate attacks; another two dozen are unclear as to motivation or are still under investigation, according to a count released Friday by Ari Weil, a terrorism researcher at the University of Chicago’s Chicago Project on Security and Threats. Weil has tracked vehicle-ramming attacks, or VRAs, since protests began.
Four were ruled accidental, including the viral incident when a tanker barreled down a highway in Minneapolis, sending terrified protesters running for their lives. Authorities later released the driver without charges, saying he had acted foolishly but did not deliberately target protesters.
The 20 people facing prosecution in the incidents include a state leader of the Virginia Ku Klux Klan, as well as a California man who was charged with attempted murder after antagonizing protesters and then driving into them, striking a teenage girl. Video footage of some attacks shows drivers yelling at or threatening Black Lives Matter protesters before hitting the gas.
In New York, an SUV driver sped through a peaceful protest march in Times Square, narrowly missing several people. In Bloomington, Indiana, two people were injured when a driver rammed a peaceful march demanding justice for a Black activist who survived an attempted lynching. In Long Island, New York, police arrested a man after he allegedly plowed his SUV into a crowd of Black Lives Matter protesters, injuring two people. One ramming in Boston unfolded live on the local TV news, with the reporter at the scene saying, “Several people just got hit! Several people just got run over!”
A 27-year-old man, Dawit Kelete was charged with vehicular homicide, vehicular assault and reckless driving after barreling into a Black Lives Matter protest on a closed Seattle freeway, killing protester Summer Taylor, 24, and seriously injuring nother protester, Diaz Love, 32. Kelete allegedly drove his white Jaguar onto a closed section of the interstate where ongoing demonstrations have been occurring, and slammed into Taylor and Diaz.
Surveillance video captured the 2013 Jaguar apparently speeding down the freeway, swerving around cars supporting the protest that were blocking the lanes, and striking Taylor and Love, who were walking on the shoulder. The blow knocked them into the air, over the roof of the vehicle, and onto the pavement. According to the charging documents, Kelete allegedly did not slow down as he drove on the shoulder, aiming for the two.
The last rash of vehicle rammings occurred in 2015 and 2016, Weil said, when the “Run Them Over” meme was popularized in far-right circles in response to Black Lives Matter protests and demonstrations against the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline. The most high-profile attack occurred a year later, during the 2017 Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. James Alex Fields previously espoused neo-Nazi and white supremacist beliefs. He was convicted of hit and run and first degree murder after he plowed his car into a crowd, killing 32-year-old Heather Heyer and wounding dozens of others.
“To see dozens of these incidents occur over two weekends was surprisingly high. I want to caution that this isn’t just a far-right, neo-Nazi thing, but it’s becoming something that’s encouraged broadly, and I think that should worry everyone,” Weil said.

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3 months ago · by · Comments Off on More Police Reforms Passed As Civil Unrest Continues

More Police Reforms Passed As Civil Unrest Continues

 

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With mass uprising over police brutality showing no signs of abating, more policy changes are taking shape around the country.  San Francisco announced last week that trained, unarmed professionals will respond to noncriminal calls instead of police. Colorado lawmakers passed a bill to introduce sweeping police changes, including banning choke holds and requiring officers to intervene if they see excessive force being used. Boston Mayor Marty Walsh said he will reallocate $3 million from the police department’s budget toward public health initiatives. The Minneapolis City Council unanimously passed a resolution to replace the police department with a community-led public safety system.  Minneapolis Councilmember Alondra Cano said, “We acknowledge that the current system is not reformable, that we would like to end the current policing system as we know it.”

Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont imposed a series of reforms on the Connecticut State Police, including a ban on choke holds, a mandate that officers use body cameras and dashboard cameras, and restrictions on a program that funnels military equipment to local law enforcement.  Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds signed a police reform bill into law, prohibiting the use of a choke hold in an arrest “except when a person cannot be captured any other way or has used or threatened deadly force” and preventing an officer from being hired in Iowa if they have a previous felony conviction, were fired for misconduct, or left before they could be fired for misconduct.  The bill also requires annual anti-bias and deescalation training for law enforcement and allows the Iowa Attorney General to prosecute officers for a criminal offense resulting in the death of a human being.

Michigan State Senator Jeff Irwin introduced Senate Bill 945 which would require the addition of “implicit bias, deescalation techniques, and mental health screening” as part of the Michigan Commission on Law Enforcement Standards certification process for new law enforcement officers.  The bill was drafted before the death of George Floyd in response to the broader problem of police brutality and passed the State Senate unanimously on June 4. Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas announced a series of police reforms, including whistle blower protections, independent review of officer-involved shootings, and use of body cameras by police officers.  New Jersey has banned police departments from using choke holds and similar neck and carotid restraints.  According to Attorney General Grewal’s order, “Because these tactics create a substantial risk of death or serious bodily harm, officers who cause a subject’s death or injury while performing them face potential criminal liability” except when “deadly force is necessary to address an imminent threat to life”.

Meanwhile, counties and cities across the country, including Cleveland, Denver and Indianapolis, are declaring racism a public health crisis. Seattle City Council member Kshama Sawant is calling for a section of downtown known as the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone to remain permanently in community control. Protesters took over several city blocks last week after the Seattle Police Department abandoned its Capitol Hill precinct and stopped trying to violently disperse marches.  The Seattle City Council voted unanimously to ban police use of tear gas and choke holds.

The New York Police Department announced it is dismantling its plainclothes anti-crime unit and the 600 officers in the unit will be reassigned. In 2018, news outlets reported plainclothes anti-crime officers had been involved in 31% of fatal police shootings in New York since 2000. Meanwhile, Albuquerque, New Mexico, has announced plans to create a new civilian department made up of social workers and others to respond to non-emergency 911 calls. In Georgia, the state Legislature reopened with a call to pass a hate crimes bill. Georgia is one of four states with no hate crime laws.

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3 months ago · by · Comments Off on Many Cities Announce Reforms As BLM Protests Continue

Many Cities Announce Reforms As BLM Protests Continue

 

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As historic protests continue to sweep the country two weeks after the death of George Floyd, the Minneapolis City Council announced it would move to disband the city’s police department. Nine members of the council — a veto-proof majority — made the vow during a community rally. The vow to disband the police came just days after the Minneapolis City Council voted to ban chokeholds and neck restraints. Congress is slated to introduce reforms that include a chokehold ban, a limit on qualified immunity for officers and a restriction on military weapons. While news reporting may be bias, social media videos of police brutality toward peaceful protestors has sparked many local governments to take action as the protests continue. Although many of these reforms will be subjected to a long debate among local officials, some activists say it is a good start.
In Louisville, KY, the City Council unanimously passed “Breonna’s Law” Thursday night that banned the use of “no-knock” warrants. The legislation was named after Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old EMT, who was killed in her home while in bed in March by Louisville police officers while executing a no-knock warrant. Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer, who suspended the use of no-knock warrants last month, said he will sign the bill. “This is one of many critical steps on police reform that we’ve taken to create a more peaceful, just, compassionate and equitable community.” The officers involved in Taylor’s death are under investigation and have been placed on administrative leave.
New York’s state legislature voted to repeal parts of a provision that shielded police disciplinary records from the public. The repeal of 50-A means that police officers across the state must disclose personnel records used to evaluate performance. Criminal justice advocates have been pushing for the repeal for years. The legislation also bans officers from using chokeholds, prohibits false race-based 911 calls and appoints the state attorney general to be an independent prosecutor in any case where an officer shoots an unarmed person. The state Senate approved the bill and the state Assembly approved it with later in the day. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio also announced a sweeping set of reforms that would shift funding from the NYPD to other sectors of the city’s budget. De Blasio said he will work with the city council to hammer out the details over the next three weeks, but told reporters Monday that the amount would be “something substantial.”
Washington DC Mayor Muriel Bowser announced she will sign the emergency legislation passed by the City Council that bans the police from using neck restraints on suspects. The bill also bans the use of tear gas, pepper spray, rubber bullets and stun grenades to disperse protesters. The Council also passed a bill that requires the mayor to release police body camera video from any police-involved death or serious use of force within three days of the incident. The family members of the person involved in the incident will be the first to see the video, according to the bill’s language.
Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan announced short- and long-term changes to the city’s police force to address the concerns about police from residents. She said she will review the Seattle Police Department’s budget with a “special focus on listening community voices throughout the process.” Durkan has also called for an independent prosecutor at the state level to investigate and prosecute any police officers as well as updating the department’s procedures for mass protests.
New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal announced that the state will ban police departments from using chokeholds, carotid artery neck restraints or similar tactics. Grewal said their use has led to several incidents where a suspect suffered asphyxiation. The order provides an exemption “in the very limited situations when deadly force is necessary to address an imminent threat to life.”

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