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8 months ago · by · Comments Off on Daily HI4E.org Trivia Contest Winners For The Week Ending: Sunday, November 17th, 2019.

Daily HI4E.org Trivia Contest Winners For The Week Ending: Sunday, November 17th, 2019.

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Daily HI4E.org Trivia Contest Winners For The Week Ending: Sunday, November 17th, 2019.

In an effort to broaden the company’s “social interaction” with our clients and FaceBook fans, Daily Trivia Questions are posted on both of our business pages. Here are the weekly standings for this past week, and the winner of the Sunday night Weekly Drawing for an AmEx/VISA gift card!     

Congratulations  – To this past week’s Trivia Contest Winner!!   Our latest contest winner for the weekly FaceBook HealthInsurance4Everyone/Health & Life Solutions, LLC Trivia Contest, drawn randomly by computer late Sunday evening, November 17th, 2019 was:

         

TINA  MIMICK

Lincoln, NE

Winner Of A $25.00 AmEX/VISA Gift Card

 

Each day, fans who have “liked” either of our company FaceBook pages (HealthInsurance4Everyone  or Health & Life Solutions LLC) are able to test their skills with our Daily TRIVIA QUESTION.  The first 20 winners who post the correct answer to the TRIVIA QUESTION, will then get entered into the weekly drawing held late on Sunday evenings for a $25.00 Am Ex/Visa Gift Card.


Weekly Gift Card winners will be posted in our blog at this site.  Remember to become a FaceBook fan and “Like and Follow” either of our company pages to enter and post your answers. 

 

 

Trivia Last Weeks Winner

 

 

Trivia Winners & Drawing Entries 11/11/19 thru 11/19/19 were as follows:

 

 

 

11/11/19

 

MarcyLynn Coull

 

Angela Janisse

 

Lauren Bradley

 

Barbara Carter

 

Rosanne Clark

 

Andrea Ayala

 

Becky VanGinkel

 

Amber Chandler

 

Becca Neuenschwander Long

 

Amy L Sass

 

Debbie Gremlin

 

Holly Cajigas

 

Meg Marshall

 

Christy Hawkes

 

Melinda Dreier

 

Cheryl Ralley-Messick

 

Sheila Carvell

 

Jean Simmons Homfeld

 

Thomas Ticknor

 

Vickie Gipson

 

Jennifer Ramlet

 

Tammy Lee Stookey

 

Terri Llexxes

 

 

 

11/12/19

 

 

Jodi Stevens

 

Edward John

 

Kacie Rogers

 

Lena Perry

 

Nicole Blaha

 

LaKishia Wager

 

Kiki Roberson

 

Thomas Ryan Gan

 

Kristina Rosson

 

Sunney Michelle Johnson

 

Nitasha Shank

 

Amy Marie Wilkinson

 

Amber Chandler

 

Karen Brunet Moore

 

Misty Shallcross

 

April Ashcraft

 

Lisa A Mazola

 

Holly Cajigas

 

Yolanda Ortega-Hackett

 

Haley Babineau

 

 

 

11/13/19

 

 

Becky VanGinkel

 

Amy Marie Wilkinson

 

Rhonda Grisham

 

Brittany Light

 

Derek Jennings

 

Robin Griffitts Pratt

 

Sandy Nevels

 

Dawn Raasch

 

LaKishia Wagers

 

Jennifer Vega

 

Vickie Gipson

 

Lesa Moats

 

Amanda Rosario

 

Alisa Jones

 

Kim Avery

 

Kristina Rosson

 

Wayne Gallas

 

Shannon Scott

 

Jennifer Ramlet

 

Kelsey Brooke Vinson

 

 

 

 

11/14/19

 

 

Kathy Stevens Ring

 

Tony L Smoaks

 

Andrea Somers

 

Annette Broxton

 

Jodi Stevens

 

Amber Chandler

 

Shannon Rush

 

Sheila Carvell

 

LaKishia Wagers

 

Mya Murphy

 

Ruthie Helen Boilard

 

Jenny Merritt

 

Gricelda Castro

 

Tracy Heyer

 

Maria Bouchard

 

Marilyn Wall

 

Chandra Beckwith

 

Nitasha Shank

 

Joann Tompkins-Winborn

 

Melissa Ann Stura-Bassett

 

MarTez Rodgers

 

Sarah Frank

 

Chrissy Kim

 

Dee Washington

 

Katie Harris

 

 

 

11/15/19

 

 

Vickie Gipson

 

Christy Hawkes

 

Kelsey Polacek

 

Thomas Ryan Gan

 

Yolanda Ortega-Hackett

 

Debbie Gremlin

 

Wendi Black

 

Tina Mimick

 

Amy Conyers

 

Kathi Taylor

 

Deidra Dees

 

Lauren Bradley

 

Annette French

 

Carole Jacobs

 

Marilyn Wall

 

Nancy Pfirrman Schools

 

Andrew W Sauer

 

Sheila Carvell

 

Eric Sander

 

Tracy Heyer

 

Deborah Farris

 

Becky VanGinkel

 

April Ashcraft

 

 

 

 

11/16/19

 

 

Andrea Somers

 

Traci Anderson

 

Anna Nichols

 

Paula Gillespie

 

Brandi K Chaney

 

Madeline Lonergan

 

Shannon Rush

 

Debbie Bloxom

 

Jodi Stevens

 

Jennifer Vega

 

Lisa Puckett

 

Kizzy Alvarez DeSantis

 

Karen Rimiller Presley

 

Yolanda Ortega-Hackett

 

Holly Jarczynski-mcdowell

 

Alana Dimambro

 

Debbie Garretson

 

Sherry Barnes

 

Jessica Steiner

 

Nicole Blaha

 

 

 

11/17/19

 

 

Derek Jennings

 

Vickie Gipson

 

Kathleen Hickman

 

Rhonda Grisham

 

Amanda Rosario

 

Karen Rimiller Presley

 

Amber Chandler

 

Derek Michelle Polk

 

Karyn Koehler

 

Alisa Jones

 

Angela Hendricks

 

Alyssa DiFazio

 

Eleazar Ruiz

 

MarcyLynn Coull

 

Eric Sanders

 

Alexis Maureen

 

Cheryl Stoker Hall

 

Theresa Sigourney

 

Jane Peterson

 

Nai Merri

 

 

HI4E On Billboard

 

 


Be sure to watch both of our FaceBook pages for your chance to win and enter again next week, with questions posted daily on HealthInsurance4Everyone or at Health & Life Solutions, LLC!!

Remember that if you try your hand at answering the Trivia Question several days each week, your odds of winning the Sunday weekly drawing are much better. 

Also note that a number of the posted answers each day are from contestants who have forgotten to “Like” one of our pages, so their names WILL NOT be entered at the end week drawing for the gift card, giving our fans a better chance!

You may also find that if you “Like” BOTH of the business pages, you will receive faster notifications of the other players as they post their answers to compete with you!     Template Header Logo 2

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At Health Insurance 4 Everyone, we not only want to improve our customer service but also interact with our customers on a social media level that wasn’t available before. Interested in connecting with us?  Look us up on….

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Twitter: Healthinsurane4  (Follow Us On Twitter To Receive Faster Notifications When Daily Trivia Questions Posted, & To Be Immediately Notified When Weekly AmEX Gift Card Winners Are Announced!!)

 

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Like us on facebook: HealthInsurance4Everyone or Health & Life Solutions, LLC

 

Over 54,000 Combined Fans/Followers To Our Social Media Sites, & We’re Growing Daily!

 

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Follow our word press blog and read about everything from health insurance and reform news to healthy living and current events!

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10 months ago · by · Comments Off on Thirty-Four Killed in Labor Day Boat Fire

Thirty-Four Killed in Labor Day Boat Fire

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The U.S. Coast Guard has recovered all but one body after a commercial diving boat named the Conception, caught fire in the early hours of Monday morning off the coast of Santa Cruz Island in Southern California. The only survivors were five crew members of the 75-foot vessel who were sleeping on or above deck.  All 33 passengers and one crew member sleeping below deck at the time of the fire were killed in horrific disaster.  Authorities have yet to determine the cause of the fire.

The boat and company, Truth Aquatics Inc., are well-known in the tight-knit Southern California diving community, which is now reeling from the horrific maritime tragedy that killed teenagers, families, veteran divers, and one crew member, who were wrapping up a three-day scuba diving trip.  Divers were inspecting the ship’s wreckage with plans to raise it from the ocean floor, but that process may be complicated by forecast high winds in the coming days.

The surviving crew members told a harrowing story of their frantic attempts to save the passengers trapped below deck in a bunk room already engulfed in flames.  One member of the crew told of hearing a noise from his bunk on the wheelhouse deck of the Conception and that when he opened the door of the wheelhouse, he saw flames erupting from the galley area but never heard smoke alarms.  He told investigators he tried to get down a ladder but flames had engulfed the ladder.

Scrambling, the other crew members jumped from the bridge of the boat to the main deck. One person broke their leg doing so. They then rushed to the galley’s double doors to try and reach the passengers below, but the fire was already too intense.

At around 3:15 a.m., the captain made a frantic mayday call to authorities, telling them that the boat was engulfed, 33 people couldn’t escape, and “there’s no escape hatch for any of the people on board.”  At that point, due to heat, flames, and smoke, the crew had to jump from the boat.  Two crew members swam to the back of the Conception to get the inflatable skiff, then collected the others and made it to a nearby fishing boat, the Grape Escape.

Shirley Hansen, owner of the Grape Escape, said that she and her husband awoke at 3:30 a.m. to “horrific pounding” and a group of distraught, wet men, some injured and just in their underwear.  Once on the Hansen’s boat, the men tried to call 911 for rescue and two crew members then took the dinghy boat back to the Conception to try and rescue any survivors but there were none.  The Hansen’s said you could hear explosions from the engulfed diving boat every couple of minutes.

Officials have been looking at the dive boat’s maintenance and inspection records, which the Coast Guard said were up to date, and trying to understand if the 34 victims who had been sleeping in rows of narrow bunks even had a chance to escape.  Officials are using advanced DNA technology to identify the victims.  None of the names of the dead, who ranged in age from 17 to 60, have been publicly released by authorities but friends and family have confirmed who was on the boat.  Among the victims were a family of five, a teacher and his daughter, and a diving instructor and marine biologist.

 

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1 year ago · by · Comments Off on Body Of Missing Utah 5 Year Old Found, Uncle Charged

Body Of Missing Utah 5 Year Old Found, Uncle Charged

 

 

 

 

Utah police believe they have found the body of missing 5 year old Elizabeth Shelley just days after her uncle Alex Whipple was charged with aggravated murder.  Elizabeth Shelley’s body was found in a wooded area a quarter mile away from her home in Logan.  Court documents state Whipple, 21, has been charged with aggravated murder, child kidnapping, two counts of obstruction of justice and abuse or desecration of a human body.

Elizabeth’s mother reported her missing from her home on the west side of Logan on Saturday at approximately 10 a.m.  Her mother, Jessica, said she and her live-in boyfriend, Detrich Black, last saw Shelley sleeping in her bed at approximately 1 a.m. when they checked on her before going to bed.  Jessica stated that she had been drinking alcohol with Whipple and Detrich on Friday at approximately 10 p.m. She had invited her brother over via Facebook messenger. Elizabeth and her sister were already in bed when Whipple arrived at the residence. Jessica went to sleep around midnight and told Whipple that he could stay on the couch, court documents state.

At approximately 9:30 a.m., Jessica woke up and found the front door wide open. She recalled both Elizabeth and her brother, Whipple, were missing from the home.  Court documents state Whipple left his cellphone and skateboard at the residence.  The couple briefly looked for Whipple and Elizabeth outside before calling the police.  The couple described her as wearing a red tank top and teal skirt to police and volunteers who began searching the area.

At approximately 3 p.m., Whipple was located in a remote area near the home.  In his possession, police found a baseball bat, a pipe commonly used for narcotics, personal items and a Pabst Blue Ribbon 24-ounce beer can. He was transported to the Logan City Police Department for questioning.  At the station, handcuffs were removed from Whipple and he was left alone in the room.  Officers said he started licking his hands to try and wipe them clean.  Police placed the handcuffs back on him to preserve evidence that may be on Whipple’s hands.

During an interview with police, Whipple initially denied going over to Jessica’s house on Friday night and changed his story several times.  Court documents state Whipple said he drank beer at Jessica’s house and later left the residence to go on a walk because he could tell his sister and her boyfriend were “horny.” He told police he didn’t want to hear anything, so he went on a walk to enjoy the scenery just before sunrise. He claimed he had not seen Elizabeth while he was at her house.  While he initially did not admit to any involvement in his niece’s disappearance, he told officers that when he drinks he sometimes blacks out and does “criminal things”.

When police asked why he left his cellphone and skateboard and why he left the door open, Whipple claimed he didn’t know and that he didn’t need his personal items.  During the interview, investigators noticed dark colored stains on Whipple’s pants that were consistent with dried blood and several cuts on his dirty fingers.  While Whipple was being questioned, investigators found a bloody knife that matched one missing from the Shelley home in a nearby parking lot, a PVC pipe with a red substance on it and a partial palm print, along with a teal skirt that was hastily buried under dirt and bark.

Court documents show that blood found on the knife, Whipple’s watch and a hooded sweatshirt all had positive matches to Elizabeth’s DNA profile. The beer can tested positive for Whipple’s DNA and the palm print on the PVC pipe was determined to be Whipple’s.  When confronted with this evidence, Whipple admitted to the killing and drew a map for police to located her body in exchange for taking the death penalty off the table.

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1 year ago · by · Comments Off on Conditions At Brooklyn Detention Center Spark Protests

Conditions At Brooklyn Detention Center Spark Protests

 

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Protesters in New York City rallied throughout the weekend at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn, where more than 1,600 prisoners were forced to endure freezing temperatures during last week’s polar vortex, with no heat, no light and no hot water.   For several days, crowds gathered outside the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn to protest reports of freezing and dark conditions inside the jail after it partially lost power nearly a week ago.

Staff members and current and former prisoners at Brooklyn’s Metropolitan Detention Center testified at a hearing that the heat at the federal detention facility started to fail as early as mid-January.  The hearing came following reports that quickly spread over social media that over 1,600 prisoners were being held without heat, hot meals or electricity, including during last week’s polar vortex.  Many inmates had been on lockdown in cells without electricity or heat during days of bitter cold temperatures.

After the hearing, Judge Analisa Torres visited the MDC herself to inspect conditions at the jail.  After more than a week without heat and power, conditions at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn showed signs of improvement.  Emergency generators were on and heat had been restored to parts of the federal jail, but public officials and lawyers who toured the facility on Sunday February 3rd, told reporters that many cells still did not have heat and some inmates were going without their medication.

Congressman Jerrold Nadler said after touring several floors on Sunday, “It is very apparent that there is a massive failure of caring here, a massive failure of proper supervision, a massive failure of planning.”  Nadler said there was heat in several parts of the building, but many cells remained frigid. He said the warden told him 600 blankets from the city had been distributed.  But council member Lander, who was also on the tour, said he didn’t see any blankets in any of the cells they visited.  It was later revealed that the blankets were never distributed to the inmates.

Nadler said he spoke with the acting director of the Bureau of Prisons, who seemed to be acting with more urgency after the protests began.  The NYCLU is calling on the Bureau of Prisons to allow family and legal visits immediately.  Executive director Donna Lieberman said in a statement “The confrontation between the Bureau of Prisons and family members of inmates at MDC highlights the desperate need to address the dangerous, inhumane and unlawful conditions inside the facility,” “This has gone on for far too long.

The Department of Justice has said it would work with the Bureau of Prisons to prevent future issues.  “The electrical power at the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) facility at MDC Brooklyn was restored at approximately 6:30 pm this evening. With the heat and hot water operational, and the restoration of electrical power, the facility can now begin to return to regular operations. In the coming days, the Department will work with the Bureau of Prisons to examine what happened and ensure the facility has the power, heat and backup systems in place to prevent the problem from reoccurring.”

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is also calling for a full investigation into what is happening at the facility.  Cuomo wrote in a statement “I am calling on the U.S. Department of Justice to immediately investigate the circumstances at the Metropolitan Detention Center. New York State stands ready to provide any support necessary to keep the heat, hot water and electricity running at the Center and augment the investigation into those responsible for this mess.”brooklynprotest.jpg

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2 years ago · by · Comments Off on TN Woman Granted Clemency In Murder Conviction As Teen

TN Woman Granted Clemency In Murder Conviction As Teen

 

 

 

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A Tennessee woman who was convicted as a teenager for killing a man while she said she was a sex trafficking victim, was granted clemency.  Cyntoia Brown, now 30, was granted a full commutation to parole by Governor Bill Haslam and will be eligible for release Aug. 7 after serving 15 years in prison.  She will remain on parole for 10 years.  Brown was tried as an adult and convicted of first-degree murder and aggravated robbery.  In 2006, she was sentenced to life for the death of Johnny Mitchell Allen, who paid Brown for sex.

Her case gained national attention and awareness about the toll of human trafficking.  At the time, Brown had run away from home and was living with her 24-year-old boyfriend, a pimp known as “Kut Throat,” who Brown said raped her and forced her into prostitution.    According to Brown, on the night of August 6, 2004, Brown, then 16-years-old, met Johnny Mitchell Allen, a 43-year-old real estate broker and US Army veteran, in the parking lot of a Sonic Drive-In in Nashville.  Brown agreed to have sex with Allen for $150.  The two then ordered dinner and Allen drove them to his home.

At some point during the evening, Brown shot Allen in the back of the head with a .40-caliber handgun.  Brown said she feared for her life and shot Allen, 43, while in bed with him because she believed he was reaching for a gun.  She then stole $172 in cash, several firearms, and a vehicle, a Ford F150.  She drove the stolen truck to InTowne Suites where she was living with her pimp.

During her trial, prosecutors argued the motive was robbery and say Allen was shot as he slept. Brown’s supporters and lawyer have argued her sentence was too extreme, given her age and circumstances.  Nashville police detective Charles Robinson testified that she told investigators she shot Allen because she feared for her life.  In a letter dated Dec. 12, 2017, Robinson urged Haslam not to grant clemency to Brown.  “First and foremost, Cyntoia Brown did not commit this murder because she was a child sex slave as her advocates would like you to believe. Cyntoia Brown’s motive for murdering Johnny Allen in his sleep was robbery.”  Among the evidence cited by Robinson, was how Allen’s “arms were folded underneath his head and his fingers were interlocked together,” which was inconsistent with Brown telling investigators he was reaching for a gun.

Haslam said in a statement that the decision comes after careful consideration of “what is a tragic and complex case. Cyntoia Brown committed, by her own admission, a horrific crime at the age of 16.  Yet, imposing a life sentence on a juvenile that would require her to serve at least 51 years before even being eligible for parole consideration is too harsh, especially in light of the extraordinary steps Ms. Brown has taken to rebuild her life.”

While in prison, Brown has earned a GED and an associate degree in 2015 through the Lipscomb Initiative for Education Program with a 4.0 GPA, Haslam said. Brown said she is scheduled to earn her bachelor’s degree in May.  Brown said she is committed to live the rest of her life helping others, especially young people.  “My hope is to help other young girls avoid ending up where I have been,” she said.

Brown thanked the governor and her supporters in a statement released by her attorneys.  “Thank you, Governor Haslam, for your act of mercy in giving me a second chance,” Brown said. “I will do everything I can to justify your faith in me.”  Brown said she is grateful for the support, prayers, and encouragement she has received, including from Tennessee Department of Corrections officials.

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2 years ago · by · Comments Off on Massive Migrant Caravan Continues Toward U.S.

Massive Migrant Caravan Continues Toward U.S.

 

 

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Thousands of Central American undocumented migrants are heading toward the United States as they flee rampant violence and economic deprivation.  The caravan of about 4,000 Honduran migrants has reportedly grown to around 7,000 as their journey continues toward the U.S. border.  The US President has threatened to cut foreign aid to Central American countries, nullify the U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade deal if Mexico doesn’t stop the migrants, and even deploy troops to “close” the border.

The Mexican government had ordered the migrants to submit to processing by the immigration authorities at a legal border crossing but many said they feared being deported and the group kept moving north.  The Mexican authorities warned as the migrants approached that only travelers with valid documents and visas, or with claims for asylum or other forms of protection, would be allowed into Mexico. They threatened deportation for those who tried to enter illegally and said they would process the migrants one by one.

Mexican officials said they received more than 1,000 asylum requests from caravan members at the border. Some migrants were taken to a local fairground that had been converted into a temporary government shelter. Many others remained on a bridge spanning the Suchiate River, waiting to be processed by Mexican officials.  The vast majority of the caravan’s members have refused to apply for refuge in Mexico, worried that the process could lead to their detention or deportation.

Mexican officials have said migrants seeking asylum are under no legal obligation to apply in Mexico.  Under a proposed bilateral agreement, United States border officials would be able to legally turn back asylum seekers who first pass through Mexico, forcing them to seek protection south of the border.  Mexican officials encouraged the migrants to apply for asylum but made little effort to halt the massive group that stretched along this city’s main highway for more than a half-mile.  Federal police officers were present on the road, monitoring the procession, and a police helicopter circled overhead, but the authorities allowed the procession to carry on unimpeded.

The caravan is part of a tradition of mass migrations, often organized by advocacy groups, meant to provide safety in numbers to migrants, who face many threats to their safety along the perilous migrant trail.  These caravans usually number in the hundreds, passing through unnoticed, but the current caravan, which continues to grow, is by far the largest on record.

Many of the migrants have previously lived in the United States, for years or even decades, before being deported.  Many say they joined the caravan to reunite with their children, or to resume old jobs and seem undeterred by the American authorities who had apprehended them and promised to keep them out.  Some say they returned to their home countries voluntarily when their visas expired but have longed for a better life.  Some members of the caravan plan to apply for political asylum, citing the threats they’ve received from gangs in Honduras or, in Nicaragua, the government’s assaults on the political opposition.

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2 years ago · by · 0 comments

Four White Supremacists Charged With Rioting At Unite The Right Rally

 

 

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Federal prosecutors in Virginia have charged four white supremacists from California with conspiracy and inciting rioting at the deadly Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville in August of 2017.   Last year’s protest left activist Heather Heyer dead after white supremacist James Alex Fields Jr. plowed his car into a crowd of peaceful counter-protesters.

Benjamin Daley, Thomas Gillen, Michael Miselis and Cole White are all members of a militant white supremacist group from California known as the Rise Above Movement, which espouses anti-Semitic views and meets regularly in public parks to train in boxing and other fighting techniques, according to an affidavit written by an FBI agent.  According to The Anti-Defamation League, the Rise Above Movement members believe they are fighting against a “modern world” corrupted by the “destructive cultural influences” of liberals, Jews, Muslims and non-white immigrants. Members refer to themselves as the mixed martial arts club of the “alt-right” fringe movement, a loose mix of neo-Nazis, white nationalists and other far-right extremists.

U.S. Attorney Thomas Cullen said each defendant faces a maximum of 10 years in prison if convicted on the two counts they each face: traveling to incite riots and conspiracy to riot.  The affidavit alleges the four men were “among the most violent individuals present in Charlottesville” in August of last year during a torch-lit march on the University of Virginia campus and a larger rally in downtown the following day. It says photos and video footage shows they attacked counter-protesters, “which in some cases resulted in serious injuries.”  The men have also taken part in “acts of violence” at political rallies in Huntington Beach and Berkeley, California, and other places, the affidavit alleges.

Cullen said that the men also engaged in acts of violence in their home state of California at a series of political rallies, dubbing them “serial rioters.”  At a news briefing, Cullen said “This is a group that essentially subscribes to an anti-Semitic, racist ideology, and then organizes, trains, and deploys to various political rallies, not only to espouse this particular ideology but also to engage in acts of violence against folks who are taking a contrary point of view.”

A Los Angeles judge denied bail for Michael Miselis, finding that he posed a risk to the community.  Miselis’ attorney argued for his release, detailing how his client got his master’s at UCLA and worked as an engineer at Northrop Grumman for five years before being dismissed after his connection to Charlottesville became public.  Prosecutor David Ryan argued against bail for Miselis, saying agents found smoke bombs, flares, and thousands of rounds of ammunition, mostly for assault weapons, in his home, where he had a wall hanging that said “88,” a common abbreviation for “Heil Hitler.”  Ryan also said said Miselis, Daley and other members of their group also traveled to Germany and the Ukraine earlier this year and met with members of well-known violent white supremacy groups.

Cullen said investigators sifted through “an incredible volume” of video and still photographs to review the movements of the four men and determine whether they could claim they were only defending themselves after being attacked by others at the rally. He said prosecutors believe there was “no provocation” for them to engage in violence that day.  The four men, he said, made their way to the rally with their hands taped, “ready to do street battle.”  Then they engaged in punching, kicking, head-butting and pushing, assaulting an African-American man, two women and a minister who was wearing a clerical collar, Cullen said.  Cullen also said a significant aspect of the case was that the four men had “extensive and robust” social media profiles and used social media to further their purposes.

We’d love to know what you think of this story.  Let us know your thoughts in the comments section!

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2 years ago · by · Comments Off on Bill Cosby Sentenced

Bill Cosby Sentenced

 

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Comedian Bill Cosby was sentenced to three to 10 years in a state prison for drugging and sexually assaulting Andrea Constand at his home 14 years ago.  Cosby, 81, will be eligible for parole in three years and could be released from prison and allowed to serve out the rest of his 10-year sentence under supervision in the community.

Judge Steven O’Neill said the evidence that Cosby planned the drugging and sexual assault of his victim was “overwhelming,” based on Cosby’s own words in a civil deposition.  In the deposition, provided the year after the alleged assault, as Constand pursued a civil suit against him, Cosby admitted that he procured Quaaludes for women he wanted to have sex.  Cosby also admitted that he asked a modeling agent to connect him with young women who were new in town and “financially not doing well.  Judge Steven O’Neill ruled that the 2005 testimony could be presented to the jury in his criminal trial.

Months after his depositions, Cosby settled the case with Constand and the accusations quickly faded. In October 2014, a Philadelphia magazine reporter at a Hannibal Buress show uploaded a clip of the comedian calling Bill Cosby a rapist and commenting on his Teflon image.  The clip went viral and soon after many accusers stepped forward.  More than 60 women have accused Cosby of sexual assault or harassment, stretching back to the 1960’s but Constand’s case was the only one that led to criminal charges against the comedian.  During interviews, all of the women gave similar accounts of blacking out after having a drink supplied by Cosby and later waking up during or after a sexual assault.  Most said they stayed quiet because they never thought anyone would believe them since Cosby was wealthy and at the height of his career.

On April 26, he was found guilty of three counts of aggravated indecent assault for the 2004 drugging and sexual assault of Andrea Constand. Each charge carries a maximum of 10 years in prison but Judge Steven O’Neill said that the charges had been merged into one because they all stem from the same event.  Constand, a 31-year-old Temple women’s basketball official he was mentoring at the time of the assault.  She testified in detail at the trial about losing control of her limbs after taking pills given to her by Cosby, who served on Temple’s board of trustees and was the public face of the university. The pills, Constand said, left her unable to stop him from violating her at his suburban Philadelphia estate.

At the sentencing hearing, O’Neill aid, “No one is above the law, and no one should be treated differently or disproportionally.”  “This was a serious crime,” O’Neill added. “Mr. Cosby, this has all circled back to you. The day has come, the time has come.”  Cosby was also ordered to pay a fine of $25,000 plus the costs of prosecution — a total of $43,611 — as part of the sentence.  Cosby’s attorneys have repeatedly said they plan to file an appeal in the criminal case.

Let us know what you think in the comments!

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2 years ago · by · Comments Off on BodyCam Footage of Harith Augustus Shooting Released

BodyCam Footage of Harith Augustus Shooting Released

 

 

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Violent protests erupted in Chicago after police officers shot and killed a 37-year-old African-American man on the South Side of Chicago. Harith Augustus was a well-known barber and the father of a 5-year-old daughter. Hundreds took to the streets to protest his killing.  Protesters and police clashed with protestors throwing rocks and bottles, some filled with urine at officers.  Four people were arrested, several officers were treated for minor injuries and two patrol cars were damaged.

The day after the protests, police released a 30 second clip with no sound of an officer’s body-cam footage.  Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson said it was the quickest he had ever ordered such video released and that he hoped to dispel rumors Harith Augustus, 37, was unarmed.  He also said he hoped making the 30-second clip public would prevent another violent confrontation between residents and officers.  “The community needs some answers and they need them now, we can’t have another night like last night.”  Mr Johnson told reporters.  He said Mr Augustus’s family was in favor of releasing the video for the same reason.

The edited clip of body camera video shows at least three officers approaching Augustus as he is talking to another officer outside a store in the city’s South Shore neighborhood.  The first officer points at his waistband and Augustus backs away while reaching into his back pocket.  As Augustus pulls his wallet from his pocket, three officers try to grab his arms.  Augustus tries to get away, backing into a police cruiser as his shirt flies up, showing the gun.  The footage pauses and zooms in on the weapon, which police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said was done to ensure a semi-automatic handgun in its holster and two bullet magazines tucked into Mr Augustus’s waist could be seen clearly.

Augustus then runs into the street as a police SUV drives up. He spins away from the SUV and darts between the SUV and the police cruiser as he reaches towards his waist.  At that point, an officer opens fire, hitting Augustus multiple times.  Augustus did not fire his weapon and the footage does not show him pulling the gun out of its holster.  Police also released a 50-second, slow-motion clip showing Augustus reaching towards his waist. It was not clear if he was going for the weapon but it does appear he was grabbing for something at his waist.

Records show Augustus had a legal permit to carry a firearm and no recent arrest history. Augustus was known in the Grand Crossing neighborhood as “Snoop” — worked at a barbershop and had a five-year-old daughter.  A police spokesman said more videos will be released within 60 days but declined to say how many different angles exist or whether any of the officers’ cameras captured audio.

While the snippet of video released seems to have calmed some tensions, some pointed out that Augustus, a quiet man with only a few minor arrests from years ago, appeared to be trying to show the officers some sort of identification during the street stop, possible his firearm permit.  Experts on use of force have focused on how Augustus tried to evade arrest, twisting away from officers and fleeing into the street with his right hand hovering near his holstered gun.  The Civilian Office of Police Accountability, the city agency that investigates police-involved shootings, will try to determine if the officers followed policy and if any training issues need to be addressed.

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2 years ago · by · Comments Off on 17 Dead After Duck Boat Capsizes in Branson MO

17 Dead After Duck Boat Capsizes in Branson MO

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On July 19th, seventeen people died after a Missouri duck boat capsized and sunk on Table Rock Lake in Branson, Missouri.  The boat, with 31 people aboard, sank around 7pm Thursday evening after it left for a ride on the lake that was hit by a thunderstorm generating near-hurricane strength winds.  Witnesses captured video of two of the Ride the Ducks vessels being tossed around by waves as they struggled to make it back to land, only one made it back safely.  One video shows water from the waves entering the craft before it capsized (rolled over onto its side) and then sank below the waves.  It is believed the boat sunk in 40 feet of water, rolling as it sank, before landing on its wheels in 80-feet-deep lake water.

Duck boats are amphibious vehicles equipped with wheels and propellers that can be driven on roadways or on water. With a push of a lever, the vehicle can switch from being wheel-driven to relying instead on the rear-mounted propeller. Originally built to transport troops during WWII, they are now popular in many tourist areas with large bodies of water.  The 17 victims in the tragedy ranged in age from 1 to 76 years with nine victims from the same family.  None of the victims were wearing life jackets when found.  There were life jackets on the boat but passengers weren’t required to wear them.

The National Transportation Safety Board recorded wind readings of 73 mph which were estimated to cause waves that rose to around 4 feet, with a possibility of 6-foot crests.  An investigation into the cause of the tragedy and why the Ride the Ducks boat entered the lake despite severe thunderstorm warnings for the area.  Branson is about 200 miles from Kansas City, and is considered a major family vacation destination.  The town was under a severe thunderstorm warning issued about half an hour before the boat capsized.

Tia Coleman and 10 of her relatives were on a family vacation from Indiana.  Her husband, her three children and five other members of her family died in the accident. Their names were: Angela, 45; Arya, 1; Belinda, 69; Ervin, 76; Evan, 7; Glenn, 40; Horace, 70; Maxwell, 2; and Reece, 9. Only Tia and her 13 year old nephew Donovan survived when the boat sank.  The other victims included the driver of the duck boat, Robert Williams, 73; Steve Smith, a retired teacher from Osceola, Arkansas, and his teenage son, Lance; William and Janice Bright, a married couple from Higginsville, Missouri; William Asher and his partner, Rosemarie Hamann from Missouri; and Leslie Dennison from Illinois.

Tia Coleman, one of the 14 survivors, said passengers were told there was a storm coming before the trip and that they would alter their route to tour the lake before the storm hit.  During an emotional interview from her hospital bed she said that the captain mentioned the life jackets before they went on the lake but said, “you won’t need them so we didn’t grab them, nobody did.”

She described the amphibious vessel being hit by waves and taking on some water.  She said that immediately after a large wave went over the vessel, they were plunged under water where she couldn’t see or hear anything but felt her head hitting the top of the craft.  Passengers were unable to make an immediate escape as the craft sank because the sides of the craft are windows with a canopy top.  Once the canopy top gave way, some were able to swim to the surface as the craft continued to sink in the murky later water.

Vacationers and employees of a nearby dining showboat immediately began throwing life preservers, and life rafts into the water.  Others jumped in and pulled people out of the water.  Several people nearby with medical training tried unsuccessfully to revive unresponsive victims.  Rescuers searched late into the night for survivors before calling it off due to poor visibility.  The searching resumed the next morning until the remaining victims were found.

 

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