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  • In wake of Gardner's suicide, special prosecutor offers new details about events leading up to James Scurlock shooting news

    One day before Jake Gardner fatally shot James Scurlock outside his bar in downtown Omaha, President Trump threatened to send the military to Minneapolis in response to violent clashes between police and protesters following the death of George Floyd in police custody, tweeting “when the looting starts, the shooting starts.”

    Wed, 23 Sep 2020 18:39:54 -0400
  • ‘I’m very ashamed’: Argentine lawmaker suspended after kissing woman’s breast during virtual session of congress news

    Juan Emilio Ameri faces potential expulsion following the ‘serious offence’ on Zoom

    Fri, 25 Sep 2020 07:29:42 -0400
  • Venezuela's Maduro blasts US in speech to world leaders news

    Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro blasted United States sanctions in his address to the U.N. General Assembly on Wednesday, while avoiding any mention of a report accusing his government of crimes against humanity. In a lengthy, prerecorded speech that ran more than twice the allotted time, the socialist leader denounced what he called a “criminal, inhuman aggression” by the U.S. aimed at ousting him from power, and said Venezuela would resist. The U.S., which doesn't recognize him as Venezuela’s legitimate president, has indicted him on drug charges.

    Wed, 23 Sep 2020 19:34:16 -0400
  • CDC: A salmonella outbreak tracks to ramen and a restaurant food recalled in 32 states news

    An imported brand of wood ear mushrooms — also called dried fungus, black fungus or kikurage — got recalled after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention traced a 10-state salmonella outbreak to them.

    Thu, 24 Sep 2020 19:41:58 -0400
  • GOP Sen. Cory Gardner stayed mum on meatpacking coronavirus outbreaks as he received industry donations news

    Some of the biggest and most deadly COVID-19 outbreaks in the U.S. stemmed from the meatpacking industry. But Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) was reluctant to call for accountability, including when it came to a Colorado-based plant Gardner received donations from, Business Insider reports.Early in the pandemic, meatpacking factories' close quarters became home to massive COVID-19 outbreaks throughout the country. An outbreak at the JBS meatpacking plant in Greeley, Colorado led to at least 291 confirmed cases and six deaths — the biggest localized outbreak in the state. Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) explicitly called for an investigation at the facility, as did a JBS employee union, which called out Gardner for failing to provide promised coronavirus tests for workers. But Gardner wouldn't discuss the situation with Business Insider, and similarly avoided questions about JBS in a local radio interview.Throughout his Senate career, Gardner has been one of the top recipients of donations from JBS; He has received $24,000 from the company over the years. This election cycle, he received the second most money from JBS of any senator, as well as the second largest contribution total from the meatpacking industry as a whole. Gardner is considered one of the most vulnerable senators this fall as he faces former Gov. John Hickenlooper (D).More stories from America needs to hear the bad news first A mild defense of Republican hypocrisy on the Supreme Court Trump is the only one being honest about the Supreme Court fight

    Thu, 24 Sep 2020 17:14:00 -0400
  • Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny mocked Putin for suggesting that he poisoned himself news

    Putin's critics and opponents have routinely been poisoned and some have been killed. Navalny is seemingly the latest victim.

    Wed, 23 Sep 2020 14:08:26 -0400
  • Man who drove into California protesters used vineyard as 'tactical training camp,' officials say news

    Benjamin Hung, 28, is accused of possessing a machete, a Glock and other weapons in his truck and driving into a crowd of racial justice protesters in Pasadena.

    Thu, 24 Sep 2020 00:16:00 -0400
  • US military increasingly using drone missile with flying blades in Syria news

    ‘Ninja bomb’, which uses 100lb of dense material and six attached blades, has been deployed in targeted assassinations The US military is making increasing use in Syria of a gruesome and secretive non-explosive drone missile that deploys flying blades to kill its targets.Described as less likely to kill non-combatants, the so-called ninja bomb – whose development was first disclosed last year – has been used a number of times in the last year to kill militants in Syria, including those linked to aal-Qaida, most recently earlier this month.Officially designated as the Hellfire AGM-114R9X – usually shortened to R9X and sometimes know as the “Flying Ginsu” – the weapon has been increasingly deployed in targeted assassinations by the US Joint Special Operations Command.The missile, believed to have been first used in 2017 to kill al-Qaida’s then No 2 leader, Abu Khayr al Masri, in Idlib province, first came to wider attention when its existence was disclosed by an article in the Wall Street Journal last year.The weapon uses a combination of the force of 100lb of dense material flying at high speed and six attached blades which deploy before impact to crush and slice its victims.Video that emerged in June this year, posted by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, appeared to show the remains of one of the missiles used in a strike on a vehicle, also in Syria’s Idlib that killed a Jordanian and Yemen, both reportedly members of Hurras al-Din, a group affiliated with aal-Qaida.The weapon is believed to have been developed during the administration of Barack Obama at a time when the US policy of targeted drone assassinations attracted considerable criticism for the number of civilian casualties caused by the strikes.Since its deployment it has been used sparingly, apparently most often in Syria.According to the New York Times the most recent use of the missile was on 14 September, when it was reportedly used to kill Sayyaf al-Tunsi, a Tunisian.Observers have speculated that the increasing use of the weapon in Syria – which increasingly has targeted leadership members of al-Qaida’s affiliates – has been driven by the complexities of operations in Syria where the US is required to work around a large Russian engagement.The bladed, non-explosive version of the Hellfire missile is the latest iteration of a weapon that has undergone several variations since it was used to weaponize previously unarmed Predator drones in around 2000.The first Hellfires were designed as tank busters with a powerful shaped charge, used in Afghanistan for which they were regarded as not entirely suitable.A later version was developed that carried a heavier explosive warhead , but which led in turn to issues with civilian casualties, leading to the development of the R9X.Up until May last year, it is believed that the weapon had been used no more than half a dozen times. But since then it appears to have been used increasingly more often.The new missile appears designed for use in circumstances where a more conventional explosive missile might not be considered for fears of killing non-combatants.While conceding that the weapon appeared to be less dangerous to civilians, Iain Overton of Action on Armed Violence warned against the impression that it was a “more humanitarian weapon”.“This weapon, whilst only used only a handful of times, does appear to have less wide-area effects than other air-dropped explosive weapons.“However, the vast majority of the US explosive arsenal does, all too often, cause terrible collateral damage. Given Trump’s administration also authorised the use of the largest non-nuclear explosion in the history of the world in Afghanistan, it’s important to be wary of the PR optics that the US military is now using ‘humanitarian’ weapons.”Overton also underlined issues with a targeted assassination campaign – using any weapons – that had little oversight.“This new weapon, framed as an alternative to larger bombs, might be sold as almost ethical, but if it side-steps due judicial process, and is as susceptible to wrong targeting as other strikes, it is no more than an assassin’s blade wielded by a state rarely held to account for its actions.”

    Fri, 25 Sep 2020 10:52:03 -0400
  • Anwar Ibrahim: A long-held dream to lead Malaysia news

    After a decades-long quest to become premier, Mr Anwar may finally rise to the top job.

    Fri, 25 Sep 2020 02:58:18 -0400
  • Feds air FBI agent’s gripes about Flynn probe news

    The official public release of such candid assessments from inside a federal investigative team is extraordinarily rare.

    Fri, 25 Sep 2020 07:30:10 -0400
  • Trump advisor diagnosed with head cancer following leave of absence news

    Michael Caputo has been diagnosed with metastatic head and neck cancer, spokesperson says

    Thu, 24 Sep 2020 18:06:26 -0400
  • Police: Violence at Portland protest escalates to firebombs news

    Protesters in Portland hurled several firebombs at officers in Oregon’s largest city during a demonstration over a Kentucky grand jury’s decision to not indict officers in the fatal shooting of Breonna Taylor, police said, escalating tensions in a city that's already seen nearly four months of nightly protests over racial injustice and police brutality. Deputy Police Chief Chris Davis said Wednesday night's demonstrations were the most violent that Portland has seen thus far in four months of nearly nightly unrest since the death of George Floyd, a Black man who died in Minnesota after a white officer held a knee to his neck.

    Thu, 24 Sep 2020 09:22:08 -0400
  • Falling highway sign crushes passing pickup truck, kills driver, Ohio police say news

    A dump truck with its bed raised caused the sign to tumble, police say.

    Thu, 24 Sep 2020 14:13:21 -0400
  • Hotel Rwanda 'hero' admits forming armed group behind deadly attacks news

    Paul Rusesabagina, the polarising hero of the "Hotel Rwanda" film, admitted to a Kigali court on Friday that he had formed an armed group but denied any role in their crimes. Mr. Rusesabagina is famed for his depiction in the movie in which he is shown to have saved hundreds of lives during the 1994 genocide, which left some 800,000 dead. After years in exile, where he has become a fierce government critic, he appeared under arrest in Rwanda last month, after apparently being lured into a private jet under false pretences. In recent years Mr Rusesabagina co-founded the Rwandan Movement for Democratic Change (MRCD), an opposition party based abroad. While he has previously expressed support for the National Liberation Front (FLN), which has claimed responsibility for a series of attacks in Nyungwe, near the border with Burundi, his exact role has been unclear. "We formed the FLN (National Liberation Front) as an armed wing, not as a terrorist group as the prosecution keeps saying. I do not deny that the FLN committed crimes but my role was diplomacy," he said. "The agreement we signed to form MRCD as a political platform included the formation of an armed wing called FLN. But my work was under the political platform and I was in charge of diplomacy." This is a breaking news story. More to follow.

    Fri, 25 Sep 2020 05:28:20 -0400
  • Trump unveils his America First Healthcare Plan news

    In a speech delivered in North Carolina on Thursday, President Trump outlined his "vision" for affordable, high-quality health care called the America First Healthcare Plan.

    Thu, 24 Sep 2020 18:08:50 -0400
  • Low tide reveals WWII-era bomb on beach near resort town in UK news

    The World War II era explosive was found on a beach north of Weston-Super-Mare, a popular seaside vacation town in the Bristol Channel.

    Thu, 24 Sep 2020 14:11:28 -0400
  • LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman and his billions are disrupting the Democratic Party news

    LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman is one of the Democratic Party's most prominent donors — but what does it mean to disrupt an election?

    Thu, 24 Sep 2020 13:57:50 -0400
  • Pablo Escobar: Money hidden in wall found in drug lord's house news

    A plastic bag with money worth $18m (£14m) is found in a wall by one of the drug lord's nephews.

    Thu, 24 Sep 2020 08:49:36 -0400
  • Camp Lejeune Marines Warned to Stop Running in the Dark After 4 Coyote Attacks news

    Three Marines and a sailor have been bitten by a coyote on the loose at Camp Lejeune.

    Thu, 24 Sep 2020 10:15:54 -0400
  • ‘Unlike anything we’ve seen in modern history’: Attacks against journalists soar during Black Lives Matter protests news

    Arrests of US journalists halfway through 2020 outnumber number of jailed reporters in China in 2019

    Thu, 24 Sep 2020 09:15:40 -0400
  • Kentucky governor says attorney general should make evidence from Breonna Taylor case public news

    Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear (D) and Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer (D) are both calling on the state attorney general's office to make evidence from the Breonna Taylor case public.Taylor, 26, was shot and killed in March when police entered her Louisville apartment on a no-knock warrant. Her boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, said he believed the officers were intruders and fired at them; as gunfire was exchanged between Walker and all three officers, Taylor was shot by officers multiple times. The officers were there as part of a narcotics investigation involving Taylor's ex-boyfriend; no drugs were found in the apartment.On Wednesday afternoon, a Kentucky grand jury announced the indictment of one of the officers, former detective Brett Hankison, on felony charges of wanton endangerment, after shooting into the apartment next door to Taylor's. Attorney General Daniel Cameron said the other two officers involved in the shooting, Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly and Detective Myles Cosgrove, were justified in their use of force.Cameron said he will not release the full grand jury report or provide details about the gender and racial makeup of the grand jury, saying it was to protect them. During a press conference, Beshear said Cameron "talked about information, facts, evidence that neither I nor the general public have seen. I believe that the public deserves this information." Beshear suggested posting evidence, like ballistics reports, online, and said it would not impact the charges in the indictment."Everyone can and should be informed," Beshear said. "And those that are currently feeling frustration, feeling hurt — they deserve to know more." He also thinks Cameron should should answer the "legitimate question" about the racial and demographic makeup of the grand jury. "I don't think it will give out anybody's identity or compromise who they are," Beshear said. "And provided that it is sufficiently diverse, it may give people just another piece of information that they can process."Fischer told reporters he knows "there are people in our community who feel that these charges fall short of achieving justice," and said if evidence is made public, it will help people see the reasoning behind the grand jury's decision. The Department of Justice is still investigating the shooting, and Fischer said the case is "far from over."More stories from America needs to hear the bad news first A mild defense of Republican hypocrisy on the Supreme Court Trump is the only one being honest about the Supreme Court fight

    Wed, 23 Sep 2020 19:18:14 -0400
  • Protesters threaten to ‘knock out’ diners in Florida amid unrest news

    Peter Kirsanow, member of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, reacts on ‘Fox & Friends.’

    Fri, 25 Sep 2020 08:58:20 -0400
  • Democrats alert inspector general that GOP's Biden probe “directly implicated” Perry in corruption news

    Republicans tried to smear Biden, but instead "succeeded in implicating former Secretary Perry in a corrupt scheme"

    Thu, 24 Sep 2020 12:54:19 -0400
  • Bank manager finds 9.07-carat diamond in Arkansas state park news

    A bank manager discovered a 9.07-carat diamond at a state park in southwestern Arkansas after thinking the precious gem was a piece of glass. Kevin Kinard of Maumelle found the second-largest diamond in the 48-year history of Crater of Diamonds State Park on Labor Day, according to a news release from Arkansas State Parks. Kinard said he and his friends hauled sifting equipment to the state park in Murfreesboro.

    Thu, 24 Sep 2020 16:38:36 -0400
  • Possible virus vulnerability discovered; about 20% of people with COVID-19 remain asymptomatic news

    The spike protein on the novel coronavirus that helps it break into healthy cells has a tiny "pocket" that could make it vulnerable to antiviral drugs, researchers have discovered. In a paper published on Monday in Science, researchers note that common-cold-causing rhinoviruses have a similar pocket, and drugs that fit into the pocket by mimicking fatty acids like LA have lessened symptoms in human clinical trials. This suggests, they say, that drugs developed to target the pocket on the coronavirus spike protein might help eliminate COVID-19.

    Wed, 23 Sep 2020 15:30:25 -0400
  • FBI Docs: Primary Sub-Source for Steele Was Suspected Russian Agent and ‘Threat to National Security’ news

    The "primary sub-source" for the Steele dossier was suspected of being a possible Russian agent and a "threat to national security," according to newly declassified FBI documents.Senator Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.) announced the revelations on Thursday after the Justice Department declassified a footnote of the DOJ Inspector General Report on FISA abuse by the FBI. That report focused on efforts by FBI agents to obtain FISA warrants to surveil Trump-campaign adviser Carter Page, and concluded that two applications to renew such warrants were not valid because of "material misstatements and omission" of evidence.FBI agents on the Crossfire Hurricane probe, who investigated alleged contacts between the Trump-campaign and Russian intelligence, were aware that the Primary Sub-Source was a suspected Russian spy by December 2016. However, the FBI did not share this information with the FISA court in their applications for warrants against Page.According to footnote 334 of the Inspector General Report, the "Primary Sub-Source was the subject of an FBI counterintelligence investigation from 2009 to 2011 that assessed his/her documented contacts with suspected Russian intelligence officers."At the request of Attorney General William Barr, the FBI made available a declassified summary of that counterintelligence investigation."[T]he FBI commenced this investigation based on information by the FBI indicating that the Primary Sub-Source may be a threat to national security," the summary states. The Primary Sub-Source was an employee at a "prominent U.S. think tank," and "in December 2016, the FBI’s Crossfire Hurricane investigation identified the employee as Christopher Steele’s Primary Sub-Source."The documents are the latest disclosures in an ongoing investigation by the Senate Judiciary Committee, which is chaired by Senator Graham, into the FBI's probe of the Trump-campaign. In a statement, Graham characterized the newest documents as "the most stunning and damning revelation the committee has uncovered.""It’s stunning to be told that the single individual who provided information to Christopher Steele for the Russian dossier used by the FBI on four occasions to obtain a warrant on Carter Page, an American citizen, was a suspected Russian agent years before the preparation of the dossier," Graham said. "The committee will press on and get to the bottom of what happened, and we will try to work together to make sure this never happens again."

    Thu, 24 Sep 2020 20:27:03 -0400
  • Man who allegedly told Korean-American entrepreneur to 'go back to Wuhan' fired from job

    No description related. Click here to go to original article.

    Thu, 24 Sep 2020 17:03:00 -0400
  • Kodak Black wants out of his hellacious Kentucky prison, stat, new lawsuit says news

    Being behind bars is certainly no fun, but for Kodak Black it’s hell, a new suit claims.

    Thu, 24 Sep 2020 11:10:03 -0400
  • ‘They cover my shrapnel wounds’: Veteran Senate candidate responds to critics using photo of her tattoos news

    After a Republican super PAC in Texas posted a photo of Senate candidate MJ Hegar featuring her tattoos and calling her a “radical,” Hegar had a quick response on Twitter: the tattoos covered shrapnel wounds she received as an Air Force helicopter pilot in Afghanistan. A pro-Cornyn Super PAC is using a photo of my tattoos to make me seem "radical."

    Thu, 24 Sep 2020 16:36:19 -0400
  • Breonna Taylor: What happened on the night of her death? news

    The 26-year-old was killed by police in her Louisville home, sparking protests and calls for justice.

    Thu, 24 Sep 2020 17:23:43 -0400
  • United to become 1st U.S. airline to offer passengers COVID-19 tests news

    United Airlines has announced plans to start offering COVID-19 tests to certain passengers, becoming the first U.S. airline to do so, CNN reports. The airline on Thursday said that beginning on Oct. 15, passengers traveling from San Francisco International Airport to Hawaii will be able to take either a rapid COVID-19 test at the airport or a test that they can administer at home prior to the trip.At the airport, United will offering Abbott's COVID-19 test that provides results in 15 minutes. For the mail-in test from Color, passengers will be able to return it through mail or a drop box and get the results back in between 24 and 48 hours. According to CBS News, the rapid testing at the airport "takes about 20 minutes from arrival to result and initially will cost $250," while the at-home testing "will be $80 plus shipping and go to a San Francisco lab for processing."This program, United said, will help ensure that these passengers who test negative for COVID-19 will not be subject to Hawaii's 14-day quarantine requirements. As CNN notes, Hawaii says that those who "are tested no earlier than 72 hours before their flight arrives with an FDA-approved nucleic acid amplification test" can avoid the 14-day quarantine. United Chief Customer Officer Toby Enqvist says the company will "look to quickly expand customer testing to other destinations and U.S. airports later this year." More stories from America needs to hear the bad news first A mild defense of Republican hypocrisy on the Supreme Court Trump is the only one being honest about the Supreme Court fight

    Thu, 24 Sep 2020 10:40:59 -0400
  • Matt Gaetz accuses GOP’s Kelly Loeffler of bribing Trump with $50 million to push out her rival news

    The special Senate race in Georgia is a jungle primary, with Democrats and Republicans running on the same ballot

    Thu, 24 Sep 2020 12:54:51 -0400
  • Powerful Vatican Cardinal Becciu resigns amid scandal news

    The powerful head of the Vatican's saint-making office, Cardinal Angelo Becciu, resigned suddenly Thursday from the post and renounced his rights as a cardinal amid a financial scandal that has reportedly implicated him indirectly. The Vatican provided no details on why Pope Francis accepted Becciu's resignation in a statement late Thursday. In the one-sentence announcement, the Holy See said only that Francis had accepted Becciu's resignation as prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints “and his rights connected to the cardinalate."

    Thu, 24 Sep 2020 14:27:39 -0400
  • Bryan Callen sues husband of woman who claims the comedian raped her news

    Bryan Callen is suing the husband of a woman who claims the comedian raped her in 1999, arguing that her spouse is out to ruin his career.

    Thu, 24 Sep 2020 08:57:51 -0400
  • Democrats, not Republicans, are hypocrites on filling SCOTUS seat news

    Democrats accuse Republicans of being hypocrites in the issue of the vacant seat on the Supreme Court, but it is Democrats are are full of hypocrisy.

    Fri, 25 Sep 2020 04:00:09 -0400
  • Rep. Clyburn: President Trump cannot win fairly in November news

    House Majority Whip James Clyburn discusses Trump's comments about peaceful transfer of power on 'Your World'

    Thu, 24 Sep 2020 17:01:34 -0400
  • 'Never-ending nightmare': Violence returns to Paris street where Charlie Hebdo was attacked news

    The stabbing of two people in Paris's rue Nicolas-Appert on Friday brought violence back to the street where, five years ago, Islamist militants killed 12 people in the offices of satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo. Two journalists were wounded in Friday's attack in what Prime Minister Jean Castex said was a symbolic place, outside Charlie Hebdo's former offices. Bullet-holes in railings along the short street lined with apartments and offices bear the scars of the earlier attack, in which the assailants stormed Charlie Hebdo's offices on Jan. 7, 2015.

    Fri, 25 Sep 2020 11:45:01 -0400
  • American consumers are paying the price for Wall Street’s profiteering in China | Opinion news

    China was America’s whipping boy again this week. President Trump used his United Nations General Assembly speech to accuse and to threaten Beijing for its role in covering up the early stages of the pandemic. He said that the U.N. “must hold China accountable for their actions.”

    Thu, 24 Sep 2020 21:09:48 -0400
  • 'Ashamed of this decision': Backlash toward Kentucky AG piles on after no charges are filed in Breonna Taylor's death news

    "People are not happy at this point. There's a lot of anger and frustration and sadness," a political science professor said.

    Wed, 23 Sep 2020 20:39:00 -0400
  • Pregnant woman rescues husband from shark attack in Florida news

    Margot Dukes-Eddy dived into the water to save her husband "without hesitation", police say.

    Thu, 24 Sep 2020 14:24:20 -0400
  • Pelosi doubles down on saying Biden should not debate Trump ahead of 2020 election: 'He doesn’t tell the truth' news

    The Democratic leader weighed into the race this week after having already previously said she was against the former vice president debating Mr Trump. The House speaker has been an outspoken critic of the president, warning Americans to “ignore the lies” and “insist on the truth” as he began leading White House coronavirus press briefings earlier this year.

    Fri, 25 Sep 2020 08:49:20 -0400
  • Too much candy: Man dies from eating bags of black licorice news

    “Even a small amount of licorice you eat can increase your blood pressure a little bit,” said Dr. Neel Butala, a cardiologist at Massachusetts General Hospital who described the case in the New England Journal of Medicine. The problem is glycyrrhizic acid, found in black licorice and in many other foods and dietary supplements containing licorice root extract. It can cause dangerously low potassium and imbalances in other minerals called electrolytes.

    Wed, 23 Sep 2020 17:02:28 -0400
  • Exclusive: GOP Sen. Thom Tillis embraced QAnon conspiracy about COVID-19 death count in town hall news

    "When the final accounting is done," the actual death COVID-19 count will be lower, Tillis claims

    Thu, 24 Sep 2020 13:54:08 -0400
  • A voting advocacy group recorded over 40,000 new voter registrations in the 2 days after the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg news saw a 68% increase in voter registration the Saturday and Sunday following Ginsburg's death compared to the prior Saturday and Sunday.

    Thu, 24 Sep 2020 23:27:43 -0400
  • The Pentagon is eyeing a 500-ship Navy, documents reveal news

    The Pentagon is weighing a dramatically different fleet that relies heavily on unmanned ships and submarines.

    Thu, 24 Sep 2020 21:49:06 -0400
  • 'Smoke with freedom': Mexicans get high in marijuana garden outside Senate news

    A cannabis 'garden' sprouting next to Mexico's Senate building has become a smoker's paradise, with Mexican stoners lighting up joints without fear of arrest. The cannabis seeds sowed in a plaza by Mexico's Senate by pro-marijuana activists in February have mushroomed into strikingly large plants, and become symbolic of a drive to legalize marijuana in a nation riven by drugs-related violence. "Being able to smoke here (in the garden) in freedom is very important to me," said Marco Flores, a barista sitting on a bench overlooking the Congress building.

    Fri, 25 Sep 2020 00:27:35 -0400
  • Drivers Keep Running Over Protesters—and Getting Away With It news

    When a blue Jeep sped down an Aurora, Colorado, roadway in July, narrowly missing protesters, some witnesses swore the driver had put their lives at risk.“I saw him look straight at the crowd and hit the gas,” Rebecca Wolff, a protester who spoke to police about the incident, told the Denver Post. Another protester broke a leg jumping off the raised highway to avoid the driver.But in an hour-long press conference on Wednesday, District Attorney George Brauchler announced that he would not press charges against the driver unless presented with more evidence against him. Also Wednesday, in neighboring Denver, a different man drove a car into a crowd that was protesting Kentucky prosecutors declining to charge any officers for fatally shooting Black 26-year-old EMT Breonna Taylor in March.As of Thursday evening, no charges had been filed in the Denver incident, either.Since the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police in May, Americans have spent months in the streets protesting racism and police brutality. Those same streets have also become the site of a disturbing pattern of vehicle attacks, with drivers speeding toward and sometimes striking protesters. Complicating matters are calls by lawmakers to impose harsh penalties on those who block traffic—and even to grant immunity to drivers who hit protesters under certain circumstances.As The Daily Beast recently reported, such calls have been percolating in legislative chambers for years, their language sometimes curiously similar, like a right-wing fever dream playing on repeat. But drivers don’t always need those immunity laws. A pattern of dropped or languishing cases across the country has already seen drivers duck charges for speeding at—and sometimes ramming into—protesters.Meanwhile, the attacks keep coming.Ari Weil, a PhD student studying terrorism at the University of Chicago, has been monitoring car attacks since racial justice protests swept the country in late May. Between those first days of protests and Sept. 5, he’d recorded 104 incidents of people driving into protesters: 96 of them civilians and eight of them law enforcement. Of those civilian drivers, 39 had been charged, Weil found.In other words, well under half of people who drove vehicles at protesters this year had been charged, he estimated.Not all of those cases are necessarily malicious, Weil stressed. Five of the 96 civilian cases appear to have stemmed from someone taking a wrong turn, or encountering a protest by accident. In 48 of those cases, Weil found, the driver’s intent was not immediately apparent.But he estimated 43 of them to be overtly malicious acts based on the driver either having known extremist associations, yelling slurs at protesters, or deliberately swerving or turning to run people down.Other monitors of car attacks have offered slightly different figures. A protest-tracker by the Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project, a conflict-mapping non-profit, has logged 69 malicious ramming attacks from May 28 to Sept. 15. More recent incidents not captured in the Weil or ACLED dataset included collisions following Wednesday’s announcement of no charges over Breonna Taylor’s death. In addition to the Denver incident, a driver in Buffalo, New York, was filmed hitting protesters. Both cases were under investigation as of Thursday.The discrepancies in such tallies reflect the difficulty of determining whether a vehicle attack was attempted murder, an honest mistake, or something in-between. When Brauchler declined to press charges against the Aurora Jeep driver on Wednesday, he said the driver was trying to get away from protesters. He noted, correctly, that a protester has been charged with attempted murder for firing a gun at the Jeep, although, again, the details vary according to individual accounts. The protester fired the gun after the Jeep driver started moving through the crowd, accelerating toward a “wall of moms,” two of those women told CBS4, accusing the driver of nearly killing them.It’s the kind of murky situation that has plagued the George Floyd protests—by many accounts the largest American mass-mobilization in history.Car attacks “in prior years have been a lot more cut-and-dry,” Weil said, noting the past use of car attacks by jihadists and the far right—most notoriously the murder of Heather Heyer at the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville in 2017. During the more recent protests, however, “there are many more opportunities for motorist-protester interactions, some of which are motivated by racism and some of which are not,” he added.The threat of vehicular homicide often has protesters looking over their shoulders, according to Maggie Ellinger-Locke, a lawyer with the National Lawyers Guild, which monitors protests.“This is a really dangerous trend that appears to be on the rise, where we’re seeing far-right actors using vehicles as weapons, driving into protesters,” she said, noting that, although anecdotal, car attacks do appear to be on the rise. “Protesters are aware of this. Legal support organizations like the National Lawyers Guild are aware of this, and they’re very alarmed by it.”Some car attacks have resulted in arrests. A driver who plowed through a Bloomington, Indiana, protest, striking at least two people, was arrested two days after the incident and charged with criminal recklessness and leaving the scene of an accident resulting in serious bodily injury. A self-proclaimed Ku Klux Klan member was convicted last month for an attack on Black Lives Matter protesters outside Richmond, Virginia. A Seattle man accused of driving onto a closed section of highway and striking two protesters (one fatally) has been arrested and pleaded not guilty to vehicular homicide and reckless driving. A Long Island man accused of hospitalizing two protesters with his car was arrested in July, as was an alleged Iowa City car attacker who, during his arrest, told police that protesters needed an “attitude adjustment.”But several high-profile cases have passed without charges. In Tampa, Florida, on June 21, the driver of a pickup truck was filmed cursing at protesters before driving over a median and onto the wrong side of the road to hit Jae Passmore, a prominent local activist. The driver has not been charged, although according to Passmore’s attorney Ben Crump, police know the driver’s identity.When Passmore held an event six days later, a second car ran into the group and drove away with an injured protester on the car’s hood, the Tampa Bay Times reported. Police stopped the driver, but did not arrest them. Instead, the protester was with four counts, including felony criminal mischief.A spokesperson for the State’s Attorney Office in the 13th Judicial Circuit on Thursday said the pickup incident was still under investigation. They added that the charges against the protester in the second incident were being dropped—but also that driver who struck them was off the hook.“There is no evidence that either person intended to cause harm, and therefore charges are not appropriate,” the spokesperson for prosecutors said in a statement. “Both people made decisions that escalated the situation, and basic courtesy by either person could have minimized or avoided this conflict.”A slew of these incidents remain in a bizarre state of investigative limbo. When a car full of pro-police demonstrators drove through a crowd of Black Lives Matter activists in Manhattan’s Times Square earlier this month, the news site Gothamist was quick to name the car’s likely driver, who has posted the vehicle on pro-police pages. (A passenger also spoke to the media under her own name.) Several witnesses have gone to police about the incident. Nearly a month later, the incident remains under investigation, a spokesperson for the Manhattan District Attorney told The Daily Beast.“Oftentimes there's been a big delay by prosecutors deciding whether to charge people,” Weil said.Prosecuting car attacks might become even more difficult under proposed legislation that would criminalize protesters blocking traffic or offer immunity to people who hit those protesters with cars. The most recent of those proposals, announced Monday by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, would remove liability for people who strike or kill protesters with cars if the driver is “fleeing for safety from a mob.” It’s a claim made by many such drivers, including the neo-Nazi who killed Heyer in Charlottesville.Those proposals haven’t passed yet, and have been rejected in states like Kentucky and North Carolina. But Ellinger-Locke said even the suggestion of such laws—and the legitimacy they offer attackers—can heighten the risk of further harm.“I think they suggest to people engaging in that kind of dangerous, harmful, potentially murderous conduct, that it’s something law enforcement supports,” she said. “I think people are seeing the introduction of these bills and feeling emboldened to take action because of them. Not only does that chill the speech of demonstrators seeking to advance their message, but I think sends a clear message that that sort of conduct is okay.”Would-be attackers are sometimes aware of such proposals, Weil said, pointing to a Discord messaging group that planned 2017’s deadly Charlottesville rally. Some users, including the killer, James Fields Jr., spoke gleefully of the possibility of hitting anti-racist protesters, with another user writing, “I know NC law is on the books that driving over protesters blocking roadways isn’t an offense.” (The law was not, in fact, on the books, although that didn’t prevent Fields’ deadly attack.)Weil warned that language about hitting protesters is an active part of the far-right’s meme vocabulary.It’s also spread to conservative talk radio hosts.When a Denver woman was filmed in May driving through a crowd of protesters and making a U-turn, allegedly with the intent to hit another, the host of a morning show on Denver’s 710 KNUS radio station reportedly said on air that the driver “ran your monkey rear-end down… You’ve got that coming.”The apparent target of his comments, the man whom the driver allegedly made a U-turn to hit, was Black. On July 20, the driver was charged—nearly two months after the incident.Brauchler, the district attorney who on Wednesday declined to charge the driver of the Jeep in Aurora, hosts a different show on the same station.Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.

    Fri, 25 Sep 2020 04:14:32 -0400
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