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3 weeks ago · by · Comments Off on Mavericks and Owner Mark Cuban Sanctioned Over Handling of Sexual Harassment

Mavericks and Owner Mark Cuban Sanctioned Over Handling of Sexual Harassment

 

 

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The Dallas Mavericks and the basketball team’s owner Mark Cuban were sanctioned by the NBA after an independent investigation substantiated a number of allegations against men within the organization. The findings include improper conduct in the workplace and domestic violence. Mark Cuban publicly apologized and said he will pay $10 million to women’s organizations as part of an agreement with the NBA.  Cuban agreed to the $10 million payment as well as staffing and leadership changes.

The sanction came after a months-long investigation into accusations against several employees, including the former team president and chief executive, Terdema Ussery.  The investigation arose from an article in Sports Illustrated in February that exposed a workplace filled with problems for female employees.  The article said Ussery had engaged in “various acts of inappropriate conduct toward women,” and that Earl Sneed, a former writer for the team’s official website, had faced numerous allegations of domestic violence.

Although Cuban did not face accusations of misconduct, the employees who were mistreated suggested the harassment had gone on for years and that he must have known about it and had done little to prevent it.  The investigation included information gathered from more than 200 interviews with current and former Mavericks employees. Ussery was found to have engaged in improper workplace conduct toward 15 female employees, including touching them and making inappropriate comments.  Sneed had committed two acts of domestic violence, including one against a co-worker. Cuban was made aware of the episode but did not fire him.  Ussery had already resigned from the team in 2015 to take a position with Under Amour.  Shortly after the Sports Illustrated article, Sneed announced he would be leaving the team and then deleted his Twitter account.

The investigation also found that Chris Hyde, a longtime senior account executive, had made inappropriate comments toward women, viewed pornography on his workplace computer and made unsolicited sexual advances toward co-workers. Even after Cuban warned Hyde about looking at pornography at the office, Hyde’s inappropriate behavior continued for years.

In a statement, the league announced that the money from Cuban would be donated to a variety of organizations chosen by an advisory council of Mavericks executives, including Cuban, as well as several N.B.A. officials. The inquiry, conducted by independent investigators overseen by the league, also recommended that the Mavericks hire more women, including in leadership positions, and create a formal process for employees to report misconduct.  The N.B.A. ordered the Mavericks to file quarterly reports on its progress in those areas, and to begin workplace training for all staff members, including Cuban, 60, who acquired a majority stake of the Mavericks in 2000.

“The findings of the independent investigation are disturbing and heartbreaking,” Commissioner Adam Silver said in a statement, “and no employee in the N.B.A., or any workplace for that matter, should be subject to the type of working environment described in the report.”

 

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1 month ago · by · Comments Off on Former Officer Sentenced To 15 Years In Jordan Edwards Shooting

Former Officer Sentenced To 15 Years In Jordan Edwards Shooting

 

 

 

 

 

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Former Balch Springs, TX police officer Roy Oliver, 38, was found guilty of murder in the shooting of Jordan Edwards, an unarmed teen who was a passenger in a car that had left a party.  Oliver was fired by the Balch Springs Police Department just days after the shooting for violating several departmental policies.  A Texas jury sentenced Oliver to 15 years in prison and imposed a $10,000 fine for the murder of the 15-year-old honor student.  The jury found Oliver not guilty on two counts of aggravated assault.

During the trial Oliver claimed that he fired at the car after seeing it move toward his partner, Officer Tyler Gross, and thought Gross’s life was in danger.  Officer Gross testified that he did not fear for his life and didn’t feel the need to fire his own weapon.  Oliver faced up to life in prison on the murder conviction.  Prosecutors were pushing for at least 60 years in prison, while defense argued for 20 years or less.  Oliver’s mother and wife asked for a lenient prison sentence.  His wife, Ingrid Llerena, testified that she’s concerned about their 3-year-old son, who is autistic, and the boy’s future without his father at home.

In April 2017, the police were responding to a call about a house party when they encountered Jordan, his brothers and his friends in their car, attempting to leave. The officers first claimed that the boys were “backing down the street toward officers in an aggressive manner,” before later retracting that statement and acknowledging that the teens had been driving away.

Police body cam video shows Oliver fired his assault rifle into the car carrying the five teenagers as they drove away from the officer, hitting Jordan in the head.  One of the car’s passengers says the officer never even ordered the boys to stop driving before opening fire. Edwards, was shot in the head as he was sitting in the front passenger seat of the car, along with his two brothers and two friends.

Jordan’s father Odell, said that his son Vidal, continued driving away so that no one else would be shot.  He stopped the car two blocks from the party and called his father while his two friends in the back seat called their parents.  “All I could hear was screaming and crying and the boys saying that police had just shot and killed Jordan.   Jordan Edwards was a freshman at Mesquite High School and a straight A student with a 4.0 GPA who played quarterback and receiver on the football team.  He lived in an upper middle class neighborhood in Balch Springs with his parents, two older brothers and younger sister.

Dallas County District Attorney Faith Johnson described Oliver as a “killer in blue” who violated his oath to protect citizens. Johnson said she wished Oliver’s sentence was much longer, but she respected the jury’s decision and realizes a guilty verdict for an officer is rare in police shootings. Charmaine Edwards said she would have preferred a sentence of 25 to 30 years for the killer of the stepson she raised.  “That was my exact thought: They gave a year for his age,” Edwards, said outside a Dallas County courtroom after the sentence was handed down.  “He can actually see life again after 15 years, and that’s not enough because Jordan can’t see life again.”

 

 

 

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3 months ago · by · 0 comments

Three Year Old Refugee Girl Killed At Birthday Party

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A 3-year-old child refugee from Ethiopia attacked at her birthday party by a knife-wielding man has died of her injuries. Ruya Kadir died at a trauma center in Salt Lake City, Utah, where she was flown for treatment.  Police said five other children and three adults were wounded in the stabbing attack.  Police have arrested a 30-year-old man from Los Angeles who had been staying in the same apartment building.  Seven of the other eight victims remain in the hospital, many with serious or critical injuries, and one child was treated and released. The wounded children ranged in age from 4 to 12 years old.

The suspect, Timothy Kinner, 30, was initially charged with nine counts of aggravated battery, and six counts of injury to a child.  Kinner was arraigned in Ada County Court in Boise when a judge informed him that the charges had been amended and that he’s now facing one count of first-degree murder.  Kinner has an extensive criminal record spanning multiple states and has spent time in prison for previous violent offenses.  If convicted, Kinner could be eligible for the death penalty under Idaho law. Ada County Prosecutor Jan Bennetts said her office has not yet decided whether to seek the death penalty, saying those “high-level decisions” are made only after all the facts are in.

Boise Police Chief Bill Bones said during an emotional news conference that the suspect’s motive was “vengeance” for being asked to leave an apartment in the complex due to his behavior.  Bones said Kinner had been invited to stay for a few days at the apartment of a renter who had shown him compassion but was asked to leave on Friday due to his disruptive behavior.  According to Police Chief Bones, Kinner returned to the apartment where he had been a guest on Saturday and found nobody home.  Around 8:45 p.m. Kinner went a few doors down to where the party was going on and allegedly stormed the apartment, stabbing the people with a folding knife.

Zine Mutlack, the 8 year old boy who was treated and released from the hospital said he first saw Kinner hiding near the party.  “Then he popped up and I was in front of my aunt,” Zine said. “He just came to me and stabbed me in my belly. Then he went to her, made her fall on the ground, then he stabbed her lots of times and I heard her yelling.”  In the chaos that followed, Zine said his mother was stabbed in the neck and his father told him to run home and call the police.  “I said, ‘Somebody is stabbing people in the apartment,'” Zine said. “They said they were already on their way.”

The attack took place at an apartment complex that is home to refugee families. Kinner is not a refugee but he temporarily lived at the complex until he was asked to leave the day before his attack.  The chief said the victims were all refugees from Syria, Iraq and Ethiopia who had escaped violence in their homelands only to be confronted with it in America. The victims were placed in Boise as part of the refugee resettlement program.  International Rescue Committee CEO David Miliband said his group settled Ruya and her mother in Boise from Ethiopia in December 2015. Her father is in Turkey.

Monday evening, around 1,500 people turned out at a vigil honoring members of refugee families targeted in the stabbing.  People wept, sang and shouted their support for the refugee community, and many brought bouquets of white flowers intended to symbolize peace. By the end of the rally, hundreds of bouquets filled dozens of baskets on the steps of Boise’s City Hall.

A 3-year-old child refugee from Ethiopia attacked at her birthday party by a knife-wielding man has died of her injuries. Ruya Kadir died at a trauma center in Salt Lake City, Utah, where she was flown for treatment.  Police said five other children and three adults were wounded in the stabbing attack.  Police have arrested a 30-year-old man from Los Angeles who had been staying in the same apartment building.  Seven of the other eight victims remain in the hospital, many with serious or critical injuries, and one child was treated and released. The wounded children ranged in age from 4 to 12 years old.

The suspect, Timothy Kinner, 30, was initially charged with nine counts of aggravated battery, and six counts of injury to a child.  Kinner was arraigned in Ada County Court in Boise when a judge informed him that the charges had been amended and that he’s now facing one count of first-degree murder.  Kinner has an extensive criminal record spanning multiple states and has spent time in prison for previous violent offenses.  If convicted, Kinner could be eligible for the death penalty under Idaho law. Ada County Prosecutor Jan Bennetts said her office has not yet decided whether to seek the death penalty, saying those “high-level decisions” are made only after all the facts are in.

Boise Police Chief Bill Bones said during an emotional news conference that the suspect’s motive was “vengeance” for being asked to leave an apartment in the complex due to his behavior.  Bones said Kinner had been invited to stay for a few days at the apartment of a renter who had shown him compassion but was asked to leave on Friday due to his disruptive behavior.  According to Police Chief Bones, Kinner returned to the apartment where he had been a guest on Saturday and found nobody home.  Around 8:45 p.m. Kinner went a few doors down to where the party was going on and allegedly stormed the apartment, stabbing the people with a folding knife.

Zine Mutlack, the 8 year old boy who was treated and released from the hospital said he first saw Kinner hiding near the party.  “Then he popped up and I was in front of my aunt,” Zine said. “He just came to me and stabbed me in my belly. Then he went to her, made her fall on the ground, then he stabbed her lots of times and I heard her yelling.”  In the chaos that followed, Zine said his mother was stabbed in the neck and his father told him to run home and call the police.  “I said, ‘Somebody is stabbing people in the apartment,'” Zine said. “They said they were already on their way.”

The attack took place at an apartment complex that is home to refugee families. Kinner is not a refugee but he temporarily lived at the complex until he was asked to leave the day before his attack.  The chief said the victims were all refugees from Syria, Iraq and Ethiopia who had escaped violence in their homelands only to be confronted with it in America. The victims were placed in Boise as part of the refugee resettlement program.  International Rescue Committee CEO David Miliband said his group settled Ruya and her mother in Boise from Ethiopia in December 2015. Her father is in Turkey.

Monday evening, around 1,500 people turned out at a vigil honoring members of refugee families targeted in the stabbing.  People wept, sang and shouted their support for the refugee community, and many brought bouquets of white flowers intended to symbolize peace. By the end of the rally, hundreds of bouquets filled dozens of baskets on the steps of Boise’s City Hall.

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3 months ago · by · 0 comments

Thailand Soccer Team Rescued From Cave

 

 

 

In Thailand, rescuers raced to free 12 members of a youth soccer team and a coach who had been trapped in a flooded cave for nearly three weeks.  Divers found the teammates and coach alive, but had been unable to rescue them.  In the last 18 days, a local search for the missing 13 turned into a complex rescue operation, involving hundreds of experts who flew in from around the world to help in the rescue efforts.  The rescue has been a race to extract the boys and their coach ahead of monsoon rains that could haved flooded the cave completely.  Cave experts grappled with the problem of how to free the young, malnourished boys, some of whom couldn’t swim, from a flooded cavern as monsoon rains threatened to raise water levels even further.  The boys received a crash course in swimming and the use of SCUBA gear.

The final boy and his coach rescued Tuesday are still being treated at an on-site medical center, while three other boys have been transported to a nearby hospital where eight of their teammates are recuperating after being rescued Sunday and Monday.  Nineteen divers entered the cave at 10 a.m. local time Tuesday (11 p.m. Monday ET), many on their third mission in three days, with the aim of bringing everyone inside the cave out.  Tuesday’s rescue efforts took nine hours from the time the divers entered the cave to bringing out the boys and their coach.

Divers involved in the rescue described dangerous conditions involving fast-moving shallow water passing through very narrow passages. Poor visibility, razor sharp rocks and narrow passages made the rescue very tricky.  As rain threatened to hamper what was already a complicated rescue mission it became clear the boys were going to have to dive out  Officials scrambled to find full-face oxygen masks small enough to fit the boys and experts were sent in to teach them how to use scuba gear.

Two days before the first four boys were rescued, officials warned that oxygen levels within the cave had fallen to 15%.  The “optimal range” of oxygen needed in the air a person breathes in order to maintain normal function is between 19.5% and 23.5%.  Such low levels creates the risk of hypoxia, a condition that causes altitude sickness.

During the hours-long trip out of the cave, each boy was accompanied underwater by two divers helping them navigate the dark, murky water. The most dangerous part required the divers and boys to squeeze through a narrow, flooded channel. Rescuers had to hold the boys’ oxygen tanks in front of them and swim pencil-like through submerged holes. Once they completed this section, the boys were then handed over to separate, specialist rescue teams, who helped assist them through the remainder of the cave, much of which they can wade through.

All the boys rescued are being treated in an isolation ward in a Chiang Rai hospital. Medical officials told reporters that they’re healthy, fever-free, mentally fit and “seem to be in high spirits.”  They will remain in insolation until the risk of infection has passed.  Parents of the boys have been able to see their children through a glass window and talk to them on the phone. They’ll be allowed to enter the room if tests show the boys are free of infection.

The permanent secretary of the Thai Health Ministry, said the first group of boys taken out on Sunday were aged 14 to 16. Their body temperatures were very low when they emerged, and two are suspected of having lung inflammation.  The second group freed on Monday were aged 12 to 14.  Authorities will look for signs of Histoplasmosis, also known as “cave disease,” an infection caused by breathing in spores of a fungus often found in bird and bat droppings.  They are all likely to stay in hospital for seven days due to their weakened immune systems.

 

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3 months ago · by · Comments Off on New Charges For Harvey Weinstein

New Charges For Harvey Weinstein

 

 

 

 

 

 

Media mogul Harvey Weinstein is seen leaving the NYPD 1st Precinct after surrendering himself in New York, NY on May 25, 2018. (Photo by Albin Lohr-Jones)(Sipa via AP Images)

The Manhattan district attorney has announced new criminal charges against 66 year old film producer Harvey Weinstein that could have the disgraced Hollywood mogul spending the rest of his life in prison.  In May, Weinstein was arrested on charges related to sexually assaulting two women. The new allegations involve a forcible sex act on a third woman that occurred in 2006.  Experts believe he could take a plea bargain to avoid facing 25 years in a criminal case that may hinge on actresses providing “prior bad acts” testimony, a key contributor to the Bill Cosby guilty verdict.

More than 100 women have accused him of sexual misconduct spanning decades.  Weinstein denied all allegations of nonconsensual sexual activity.  In early June, he pled not guilty on two counts of rape and one first-degree criminal sex act charge.  He remained free after he turned in his passport, paid $1 million bail and agreed to wear a monitoring device while under house arrest. Those charges stem from allegations from two women — one involving an incident in 2004, and one in 2013 — according to the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office.

As more women came forward with allegations against Weinstein, the New York Police Department and the Manhattan DA’s Office launched a joint investigation culminating in the charges. A grand jury indicted Weinstein on three felony counts on May 30.

Weinstein surrendered to authorities, seven months after The New Yorker and The New York Times published accounts from several women accusing him of various forms of sexual misconduct.  The New Yorker article contained on-the-record accounts from 13 actresses who reported Weinstein forcibly received or performed sexual acts on the women.  The accounts unleashed a flood of accusations of sexual harassment, assault and rape against Weinstein.

Among his accusers are some of Hollywood’s most well-known actresses including Ashley Judd, Gwyneth Paltrow, Angelina Jolie, Rosanna Arquette, Kate Beckinsale, Daryl Hanna, Salma Hayek, Lena Headey, Lauren Holly, Natasha Henstridge, and Heather Graham.  He was also accused of retaliating against women who refused his advances by discouraging studios from working with them.  Harvey Weinstein’s wife of a decade, Georgina Chapman, announced in a statement that she was leaving him.  Chapman received primary custody of their two children in their divorce.

The scandal emboldened women around the world to accuse powerful men of sexual harassment as part of the #MeToo movement and led to the ousting of many of them from their positions. It also led a great number of women to share their own experiences of sexual assault, harassment, or rape on social media under the hashtag #MeToo. The scandal’s impact on powerful men in various industries came to be called the “Weinstein effect”.  The Times and the New Yorker jointly won the 2018 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service for their reporting on Weinstein.

 

 

 

 

 

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3 months ago · by · 0 comments

Reality Winner Pleads Guilty

 

 

Accused NSA whistleblower Reality Winner has pled guilty to retaining and transmitting a document to a news organization after reaching a deal with the U.S. government to serve a 5-year prison sentence. Winner had faced up to 10 years in prison on charges she violated the Espionage Act by leaking a top-secret document to The Intercept about Russian interference in the 2016 election.  She’s been imprisoned for the last year at the Lincoln County Jail in Georgia.

Winner, a former Air Force linguist, was arrested last June and accused of sharing a classified report about Russian interference in the 2016 election with the news media.  Ms. Winner, who was honorably discharged from the Air Force in 2016, was working as a contractor for the National Security Agency when she obtained a copy of a report that described hacks by a Russian intelligence service against local election officials and a company that sold software related to voter registration.

The Intercept, an online news outlet that a prosecutor said Ms. Winner admired, published a copy of the top secret report shortly before Ms. Winner’s arrest was made public. The report described two cyberattacks by Russia’s military intelligence unit, the G.R.U. — one in August against a company that sells voter-registration-related software and another, a few days before the election, against 122 local election officials.

An F.B.I. affidavit made public after her arrest last year said there was a visible crease mark on the file, a scan of which The Intercept had provided to the government while trying to authenticate it. That prompted investigators to surmise it was a printout.  Audit trails showed six people had printed copies, but only one — Ms. Winner — had used a work computer to send emails to The Intercept.

A search warrant application said she had found the report by plugging keywords into the N.S.A.’s system that fell outside her normal work duties.  Computer security experts noted that the printer appeared to leave barely visible microdots on the printout identifying the serial number of the printer and the date and time of the printing: 6:20 a.m. on May 9, 2017.

The Justice Department prosecuted Ms. Winner under the Espionage Act, a World War I-era law that criminalizes the unauthorized disclosure of national-security secrets that could be used to harm the United States or aid a foreign adversary.  Her decision to plead guilty to one felony count allows the government to avoid a complex trial that had been scheduled for October.

Winner is the second person known to have reached a plea agreement in a leak prosecution case under the current administration.  Former F.B.I. agent, Terry J. Albury, pled guilty in April, but prosecutors in that case have hinted that they will ask that he serve 46 to 57 months in prison.  The Justice Department has recently filed charges in at least two other leak-related cases.  James Wolfe, a former Senate Intelligence Committee staff member, was arrested and charged with lying to the F.B.I. about his contacts with reporters, including a Times reporter with whom he had a personal relationship and whose phone records the department secretly seized, during a leak investigation.  In another case, Joshua A. Schulte, a former C.I.A. software engineer, was charged with violating the Espionage Act and other laws based on accusations that he sent a stolen archive of documents and electronic tools related to the agency’s hacking operations to WikiLeaks, which called them the Vault 7 leak.

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3 months ago · by · 0 comments

Maryland Newsroom Shooting

 

 

 

In Annapolis, Maryland, five people were left dead and two others injured after a gunman armed with a shotgun and smoke grenades stormed the newsroom of the Capital Gazette newspaper on the afternoon of June 28th.   The suspect, Jarrod W. Ramos, 38, was taken into custody at the scene and was charged on Friday morning with five counts of first-degree murder.  Police say Ramos refused to cooperate with the authorities or provide his name and was identified using facial recognition technology.

The attack was covered in real time by some of the journalists who found themselves under siege. A message saying “please help us” with the address of the office building was tweeted from the account of Anthony Messenger, a summer intern. A crime reporter, Phil Davis, described how the gunman “shot through the glass door to the office” before opening fire on employees.  “There is nothing more terrifying than hearing multiple people get shot while you’re under your desk and then hear the gunman reload,” Mr. Davis wrote.

Davis said during a phone interview that the gunman was silent as he stalked the newsroom, stopping once to reload as journalists huddled in fear under their desks.  Once the police arrived, staff members put their hands in the air and shouted, “We’re not him,” Mr. Davis recalled. The gunman was hiding under a desk as the police moved in. He did not exchange gunfire with officers when he was taken in.

Police say Ramos had a long history of conflict with the Capital Gazette, which produces a number of local newspapers along Maryland’s shore, suing journalists there for defamation and waging a social media campaign against them.  “This was a targeted attack on the Capital Gazette,” said William Krampf, acting chief of the Anne Arundel County Police Department. “This person was prepared to shoot people. His intent was to cause harm.”

In July 2012, Mr. Ramos filed a defamation lawsuit in Maryland’s Prince George’s County Circuit Court against Capital Gazette Communications, its then editor and publisher and a former reporter, claiming that his reputation had been damaged after the newspaper published a story in 2011 about Mr. Ramos’s guilty plea in a harassment case. Three months later, he filed a fuller complaint alleging invasion of privacy.  The lawsuit was later dismissed by Judge Maureen M. Lamasney after a March 2013 hearing, in which Mr. Ramos, who represented himself, was unable to identify anything that was falsely reported in the July 2011 article nor could he cite examples about how he had been harmed. According to the appellate decision that later affirmed the dismissal, Ramos showed no understanding of defamation law.

During a press conference, Acting Deputy Chief William Krampf told reportrs that the suspect had made violent threats against the paper and the paper had been threatened the day of the shooting.  Krampf could not specifically confirm what the threats entailed or if the shooter targeted anyone specifically but did say the shooting was a targeted attack.  Those killed in the shooting were identified as longtime editor and columnist Rob Hiaasen, editorial page editor Gerald Fischman, columnist and editor John McNamara, sales assistant Rebecca Smith and editor and community reporter Wendi Winters.

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4 months ago · by · 0 comments

Officer Charged in Antwon Rose Shooting

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hundreds of mourners attended the funeral of Antwon Rose, a 17-year-old unarmed African-American high school senior who was shot and killed on June 19th by an East Pittsburgh police officer.  Rose was shot in the back as he was trying to flee a traffic stop by Police Officer Michael Rosfeld.  Officer Rosfeld came upon Antwon and another teenager, Zaijuan Hester, when he stopped a car they were riding in that had been seen leaving a drive-by shooting in the nearby town of North Braddock.  Zaijuan, 17, was charged in connection with that shooting.

Prosecutors in Pennsylvania have charged Officer Michael Rosfeld with criminal homicide for the fatal shooting.  The charge against Officer Rosfeld capped days of protests in the Pittsburgh area, and came two days after the funeral for Antwon at Woodland Hills Intermediate School, in Swissvale, Pa., where he was a rising senior.  Allegheny County district attorney Stephen A. Zappala Jr., said that Officer Rosfeld had failed basic police procedures in the moments before Antwon was shot, gave statements to investigators that were contradicted by witnesses and had a troubling employment history with other police departments.  Zappala said he’d ask a jury to consider first-degree murder charges against Rosfeld, though the charge of criminal homicide opens the door for a possible conviction on lesser charges—including involuntary manslaughter. Rosfeld surrendered to authorities and was released after posting $250,000 bail.

Officer Rosfeld pulled over the Chevrolet Cruze that matched the description of a vehicle seen near an earlier drive-by shooting in North Braddock, in which a 22-year-old man was struck in the abdomen.  Without waiting for backup, Officer Rosfeld approached the driver’s side of the car and had the driver step out. As he was placing the driver in handcuffs, Antwon, who was sitting in the front passenger seat, and Zaijuan, who was in the back seat, jumped out.  Witnesses said Antwon flashed his hands in the air, showing that they were empty, and then turned to run away.

A video of the encounter posted on Facebook shows the teenagers running from police vehicles as three shots are fired, and Antwon falling to the ground.  Witnesses told the police that they heard Officer Rosfeld fire three shots — all of which hit Antwon. One struck the right side of his face, another hit his right elbow and a third, which was the fatal wound, hit his back and then struck a lung and his heart, an autopsy found.

Officer Rosfeld initially told investigators that Antwon had turned his hand toward him and was holding “something dark,” and that he thought it was a gun.  Yet when he was asked again about what had transpired, Officer Rosfeld said he did not see a gun.  According to the criminal complaint, “When confronted with this inconsistency, Rosfeld stated he saw something in the passenger’s hand but was not sure what it was.” “Officer Rosfeld stated that he was not certain if the individual who had his arm pointed at him was still pointing at him when he fired.”

An empty 9 millimeter magazine, which fit into a 9 millimeter pistol recovered under the car’s front passenger seat, was found in Antwon’s front right pocket. The pistol had been reported missing in Monroeville, Pa., that same day.

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4 months ago · by · 0 comments

Nationwide Outrage Over Family Separations Grows

 

 

 

Nationwide outrage and protests has grown over the practice of forcibly separating immigrant children from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border, in violation of international human rights law. At least 3,700 immigrant children have been separated from their parents since October and Border Patrol says it has separated more than 2,300 kids since Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced a “zero tolerance” policy in April.  The separated children have been sent to detention facilities in at least 17 states.

It had long been a misdemeanor federal offense to be caught illegally entering the US, punishable by up to six months in prison.  However, the administration didn’t always refer everyone caught for prosecution. Those apprehended were swiftly put into immigration proceedings and unless they met the threshold to pursue a valid asylum claim, were quickly deported from the country.  The “zero tolerance” policy plan makes no special arrangements for those who claim asylum when apprehended and refers all apprehended for prosecution-thus the increase in family separations.  While they will be allowed to pursue their claims and could eventually be found to have a legitimate right to live in the US, they could still already have a conviction for illegal entry.

Outrage grew as images of immigrant children housed in chain-linked cages covered with foil blankets circulated through social media and news outlets.  Investigative news source ProPublica obtained audio of children desperately crying for their parents at an immigrant detention facility.   ProPublica: “The desperate sobbing of 10 Central American children, separated from their parents one day last week by immigration authorities at the border, makes for excruciating listening. Many of them sound like they’re crying so hard, they can barely breathe. They scream ‘Mami’ and ‘Papá’ over and over again, as if those are the only words they know.”  The audio can be hard to listen to for many and sparked mass outrage from both sides of the political parties.

Governors of eight states—Maryland, Massachusetts, Virginia, Rhode Island, Colorado, New York, North Carolina and Connecticut—said they would either withhold or recall their National Guard troops from the border, in protest of the practice of separating children.  The resources in question from each state are relatively small, so the actions a more of a strong symbolic political gesture.

American Airlines and United Airlines have asked the administration to stop transporting immigrant children who have been separated from their families aboard their companies’ planes. American Airlines said in a statement, “We have no desire to be associated with separating families, or worse, to profit from it.”   United Airlines CEO Oscar Munoz said, “Our Company’s shared purpose is to connect people and unite the world. This policy and its impact on thousands of children is in deep conflict with that mission and we want no part of it.”

On Wednesday, the US President signed an executive order claiming to end the separation of children from their parents at the border, by detaining them together while their legal cases go through the courts. The order does not say where the families will be detained or whether children will continue to be separated from their parents until the facilities are ready.  Critics warn the order will lead to the indefinite detention of entire families.  The order has not outlined any plans for reuniting children already separated from their families.

 

 

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4 months ago · by · 0 comments

Massachusetts Files Suit Against Oxycontin Makers

 

 

 

 

Massachusetts has filed a lawsuit against 16 top executives of Purdue Pharma, the maker of the popular drug OxyContin, claiming they misled doctors, patients and the public about the dangers posed by the opioid-based painkiller.  Attorney General Maura Healey said “Their strategy was simple: The more drugs they sold, the more money they made—and the more people died. We found that Purdue engaged in a multibillion-dollar enterprise to mislead us about their drugs. Purdue pushed prescribers to give higher doses to keep patients on drugs for longer periods of time, without regard to the very real increased risk of addiction, overdose and death.”  Texas, Florida, Nevada, North Carolina, North Dakota and Tennessee have filed similar lawsuits in state courts against the drug maker, whose headquarters are in Stamford, Connecticut.

The Texas’ lawsuit accuses Purdue Pharma, the privately held manufacterer of OxyContin, of violating the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act by aggressively selling its products “when it knew their drugs were potentially dangerous and that its use had a high likelihood of leading to addiction,” state Attorney General Ken Paxton said.  “As Purdue got rich from sales of its opioids, Texans and others across the nation were swept up in a public health crisis that led to tens of thousands of deaths each year due to opioid overdoses,” Paxton said.

State officials in Arizona, Alabama, Delaware, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina and West Virginia,  — sued various pain-killer manufacturers and distributors for their roles in helping the opioid epidemic grow.  In 2007, Purdue Pharma did not admit wrongdoing when it paid $19.5 million to settle lawsuits with 26 states and the District of Columbia after being accused of aggressively marketing OxyContin to doctors while downplaying the risk of addiction.  Nevada, North Carolina, Tennessee and Texas were part of that agreement while Florida and North Dakota were not.

Opioids were the cause of nearly 42,250 deaths in 2016, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.   Research suggests that since heroin and opioid painkillers, (including prescription ones) act similarly in the brain.  Opioid painkillers are often referred to by some doctors as “heroin lite” and taking one (even “as directed”) can increase one’s susceptibility to becoming hooked on the other.  Drug overdoses are now the leading cause of death for Americans under the age of 50, with opioids as the number-one driver.

Deaths from opioids (including fentynals) have been rising sharply for years with an estimated 100 drug overdoses a day across the country.  Experts say the epidemic could kill nearly half a million people across America over the next decade as the crisis of addiction and overdose accelerates.

 

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