Whitmer Kidnapping Trial Delayed After COVID Contraction

Gretchen Whitmer

The trial of the four men accused of plotting to kidnap Gov. Gretchen Whitmer in 2020 has been delayed after an “essential trial participant” tested positive for COVID-19.

A court document filed Sunday by Chief U.S. District Judge Robert J. Jonker says the court hopes to reconvene Thursday. The trial kicked off on March 8 in Grand Rapids.

“Assuming no other complications, the court hopes to re-convene trial Thursday,” Jonker wrote.

Read More

Minneapolis Pauses No-Knock Raids after 22-Year Old Killed

bodycam shot

Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey paused no-knock warrants after a pre-dawn raid led to the killing of 22-year-old Amir Locke.

“No matter what information comes to light, it won’t change the fact that Amir Locke’s life was cut short,” Frey said in a statement. “To ensure safety of both the public and officers until a new policy is crafted, I’m issuing a moratorium on both the request and execution of such warrants in Minneapolis.”

Body camera footage shows a SWAT team using a key to open a downtown Minneapolis apartment at 6:48 a.m. Wednesday. Police entered and shouted: “Police, search warrant! Hands! Get on the ground!” and kicked a couch, where Locke stirred from under a blanket with a gun. Then an officer shot Locke three times. Nine seconds passed from officers entering the apartment to firing. Locke died 13 minutes later.

Read More

Minnesota Lawmakers Kick Off 2022 Session with $7B, Priorities

The Minnesota Legislature kicked off its first day of the 2022 session with plans to crack down on violent crime and spend down $7.7 billion of taxpayer surplus.

Senate Republicans are targeting tax cuts, reducing crime, and empowering parents in education, Senate Majority Leader Jeremy Miller, R-Winona, said in a press conference last week.

“We are hearing from folks across the state and people are concerned. Crime is up, kids are falling behind, and record inflation is eating away at family budgets. Things are moving in the wrong direction and Senate Republicans are focused on solutions to get Minnesota back on the Right Track,” Miller, said in a statement. “We will fund more police officers and hold criminals accountable to reduce crime. We’ll empower parents to be partners in their kids’ education so they can catch up and meet expectations after nearly two years of disrupted learning. We will provide permanent, ongoing tax relief so people have more money in their pockets after every paycheck.”

Read More

Two Black Men Made Self-Defense Claims Against Police This Year and Won

Kyle Rittenhouse was acquitted in the deaths of Joseph Rosenbaum and Anthony Huber (both white men) because of white supremacy, according to left-wing politicians and journalists.

Rittenhouse shot three people (all white), killing two, in a claimed self-defense incident after he was charged by left-wing rioters during unrest in Kenosha last year. A jury cleared him of all charges on Friday.

According to people like Rep. Cori Bush, Rittenhouse’s acquittal was “white supremacy in action.”

“This system isn’t built to hold white supremacists accountable. It’s why Black and brown folks are brutalized and put in cages while white supremacist murderers walk free,” she said on Twitter.

Read More

Colorado Considers Dropping the Term ‘Sex Offender’ Because of ‘Negative Effects’

Seminar of "inappropriate sexual fantasy for sexual offenders"

Colorado officials are set to vote Friday on whether to drop the term “sex offender” to describe people who engaged in “sexually abusive behavior,” due to “negative effects,” the Denver Post reported.

“I think the biggest thing is research really shows us that assigning a label has the potential for negative effects in rehabilitation,” said Kimberly Kline, chair of the Sex Offender Management Board (SOMB), according to the Denver Post. The board is considering a number of other possible terms for offending individuals, including adults “who commit sexual offenses” and “who engage in sexually abusive behavior.”

“The term ‘sex offender’ will continue to be used in Colorado statute and the criminal justice system, including courts, law enforcement and the Colorado Sex Offender Registry,” a SOMB spokesperson told the Daily Caller News Foundation. “The change being considered is limited in scope and applies only to the language used in the standards and guidelines for treatment providers who assess, evaluate and treat people convicted of sexual offenses.”

Read More

Flags to be Lowered, Condolences Offered Following Waukesha Christmas Parade Attack

Tony Evers

The flag at the Wisconsin Capitol – as well as flags across the rest of the state – will be lowered to remember the people killed in the tragedy at Waukesha’s Christmas Parade.

Gov. Tony Evers issued an order to lower the flags after five people were killed and dozens more were hurt Sunday afternoon. The official count is 40-plus injured, including 12 children.

The governor on Sunday said his thoughts and prayers are with everyone impacted.

Read More

Commentary: Terror in the Capitol Tunnel

In 2018, after a local news crew filmed Ryan Nichols rescuing dogs abandoned by their owners after Hurricane Florence, the former Marine appeared on the “Ellen DeGeneres Show.” Not only did DeGeneres commend Nichols’ longtime work as a search-and-rescue volunteer, she donated $25,000 to the Humane Society in his name and gave Ryan and his wife, Bonnie, a $10,000 check to pay for the honeymoon they had missed the year before so Ryan could assist rescue efforts in the wake of Hurricane Harvey.

But instead of heading to Hawaii, the Nicholses used the generous donation to buy a rescue boat. With his Marine buddy and best friend, Alex Harkrider, at his side, the pair has participated in “dozens of hurricane rescues and disaster relief efforts,” according to Joseph McBride, Nichols’ attorney.

Three years after his appearance on the DeGeneres show, Nichols was featured on another program, but this time, Nichols spoke from the fetid confines of a political prison in the nation’s capital. And instead of telling a heroic story of saving dogs drowning in rising flood waters, Nichols told Newsmax host Greg Kelly a harrowing tale of what he saw at the U.S. Capitol on January 6.

Read More

October Southern Border Encounters See 129 Percent Increase over Last Year

Crowd of immigrants

Border Patrol agents encountered 129.7% more people at the southern border this year than last, according to new data published by U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

The greatest number of encounters was in the Rio Grande Valley in Texas and the greatest percentage increase was in Yuma, Arizona.

Illegal border crossings have skyrocketed since President Joe Biden took office in January.

Read More

COVID Mandates Oust Police Officers Nationwide, Police Leaders Warn of Fallout

Back of Police officers uniform

COVID-19 vaccine mandates have sparked nationwide controversy and led to firings and resignations around the country. Police officers have been hit hard by the requirements, and their exodus may leave many cities understaffed even on the heels of a spike in violent crime.

In New York City, officers passed the mayor’s deadline for vaccination Friday. The city announced that there are 26,000 unvaccinated municipal workers, including 17% of police officers. Those who refuse to comply will be placed on unpaid leave beginning Monday.

But New York City is far from the only local government to take that route. Several municipalities have instituted vaccine mandates for police officers only to see a significant drop-off in staffing.

Read More

Minneapolis City Council President Filed Ethics Complaint over Arradondo’s News Conference

Minneapolis Police Chief Arradondo giving remarks at a press conference

Outgoing Minneapolis City Council President Lisa Bender has filed an ethics complaint over a press conference Police Chief Medaria Arradondo held on Wednesday.

Arradondo warned residents of the consequences of approving a ballot Question 2, which, if passed, would replace the police department. The warning was made while he was standing in front of the Minneapolis Police Department (MPD) logo.

Bender’s complaint says the press conference violates ethics code section 15.110, which states: “A local official, employee or candidate for elective office shall not use city facilities, property, funds, personnel, the city logo, the city seal or other city resources to engage in political activity.”

Read More

Civil Forfeiture Lawsuit Against Arizona Moving Forward

Arizona State Trooper SUV

A federal appeals court has ruled a Washington state couple’s lawsuit against the state of Arizona over what they say was an unconstitutional seizure of their property can continue.

Terry and Ria Platt loaned their vehicle in 2016 to their son to use on vacation when Arizona state troopers stopped him on Interstate 40 in Navajo County for having tinted windows. A K-9 search discovered a small amount of marijuana in the 2012 Volkswagen Jetta, and police also found $31,000 in cash.

Police seized the car and money, although neither the Platts nor their son was ever charged with a crime.

Read More

Georgia Psychologist Indicted for Medicaid Fraud

Doctor with arms folded, holding stethescope

A Georgia man is facing a fraud charge after law enforcement officials said he stole more than $99,000 from the state’s Medicaid program.

The Georgia attorney general’s office said Gainesville psychologist Dr. Guy Jordan filed claims for therapy sessions that never happened. Jordan was indicted on Medicaid fraud and false statements charges by a Hall County Grand Jury.

“We will not stop protecting taxpayer dollars, and we thank the Hall County Grand Jury for their work on this case,” Attorney General Chris Carr said in a statement. “We hope this indictment sends a clear message that tax dollars will not be abused.”

Read More

Commentary: Jacob Chansley Pleads Guilty to Obstruction, Remains in Jail

Jacob Chansley, arguably the most iconic figure of the January 6 protest at the U.S. Capitol, today pleaded guilty to one count of obstruction of an official proceeding.

Chansley, 33, turned himself in to law enforcement and was arrested on January 9. A grand jury indicted Chansley two days later on six nonviolent counts including obstruction, civil disorder, and “parading, demonstrating, or picketing in a Capitol building.” The remaining counts will be dropped.

Judge Royce Lamberth accepted Chansely’s plea agreement with Joe Biden’s Justice Department, which continues to arrest and charge Americans for even minor involvement in the Capitol protest. Nearly 200 defendants face the obstruction charge, a felony added to mostly misdemeanor cases. (I explained the charge here in March.)

Read More

Advocacy Group Urges Northam to Generously Use Pardon Power

Ralph Northam

A criminal justice reform advocacy group is urging Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam to use his pardon power generously before leaving office at the end of his term in January.

Families Against Mandatory Minimums, which works to repeal mandatory minimum sentencing laws nationally, wrote a letter to Northam and asked him to grant full or partial clemency to deserving inmates who have reformed while in prison and for those who were given excessive sentences for their crimes.

A Virginia law from the 1990s prohibiting discretionary parole limits options for felons who received harsh penalties, leaving a pardon as one of the only options remaining. The state also has various mandatory minimum sentences on the books, which require a certain length of incarcerated time for specific crimes.

Read More

Man Sentenced to Six Years in Prison for Whitmer Kidnapping Plot

A man upset over Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s COVID-19 policies plead guilty to one count of a kidnapping conspiracy and accepted a plea deal to serve six years and three months in prison.

Ty Garbin, 25, is the only known member of the Michigan militia group “Wolverine Watchmen” to plead guilty to the alleged plot.

Federal prosecutors suggested he serve a nine-year sentence, citing his cooperation with authorities and plans to testify against other alleged kidnappers.

Read More

Minneapolis Is ‘a City Run by Gangs,’ Downtown Restaurant Owner Says

Caption of photo says: Around 2:15 p.m., police were dispatched to a report of a person "down" near Lowry and Penn Ave N. Other reports indicated it was a "domestic." As police were arriving, witnesses told police that a male had gotten the female up and dragged her into a residence at 31xx Oliver Ave N. Police arrived and had to force entry to the residence and EMS was cleared in for the victim. If/when we can get info about any arrested party we'll update

Minneapolis is “run by gangs,” an owner of a Minneapolis restaurant and bar remarked in a recent interview, saying he has stopped trying to contact the city about it.

“I don’t talk to the city. I don’t talk to the politicians. I’ve given up. There’s no point,” Ken Sherman, owner of Seven Steakhouse, told WCCO last week.

Seven is a rooftop restaurant, bar, and nightclub located on Seventh and Hennepin in downtown Minneapolis. Sherman, who has owned the business since 2017, now operates his own security team nightly, according to a story in the August/September 2021 issue of Twin Cities Business.

Read More

Fifth Circuit Upholds Texas Abortion Ban

Woman holding an infant in her arms

The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a 2017 Texas law outlawing a second trimester abortion procedure called D&E (dilation and evacuation), or dismemberment.

In 2017, the Texas legislature passed the Texas Dismemberment Abortion Ban with bipartisan support, making D&Es a felony and banning them from being performed except in the case of an emergency. After the law passed and before it went into effect, Whole Women’s Health, several Planned Parenthood groups, several doctors, and others, sued in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas.

The district court ruled in their favor, blocking the law from going into effect. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s office appealed, and a three-judge panel on the Fifth Circuit upheld the lower court’s ruling last October.

Read More

Officer Who Shot Ashli Babbitt Will Not Face Any Disciplinary Action, Conduct Was ‘Lawful’ U.S. Capitol Police Announce

The U.S. Capitol Police said Monday that it would not take any action against the officer who shot and killed rioter Ashli Babbitt on Jan 6.

“USCP’s Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) determined the officer’s conduct was lawful and within Department policy, which says an officer may use deadly force only when the officer reasonably believes that action is in the defense of human life, including the officer’s own life, or in the defense of any person in immediate danger of serious physical injury,” the department said in a statement. The officer’s identity was not disclosed due to safety concerns.

“This officer and the officer’s family have been the subject of numerous credible and specific threats for actions that were taken as part of the job of all our officers: defending the Congress, Members, staff and the democratic process,” the department said.

Read More

Ex-Cuomo Aide Boylan to Sue New York Governor for Allegedly Retaliating Against Her after Coming Forward

Andrew Cuomo and Lindsey Boylan

Ex-New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo aide Lindsey Boylan plans to sue the Democratic governor for allegedly retaliating against her for publicly accusing him of sexual harassment.

Boylan said last year in a series of tweets that she had been sexual harassed by the governor for years, allegations that led to other woman coming forward with similar stories and a state probe into the matter.

“Our plan is to sue the governor and his and his coconspirators,” Boylan’s attorney, Jill Basinger, said Friday on ABC’s “Good Morning America” show.

Read More

Lawyer for Ashli Babbitt’s Family Says Fatal Shot at Client Was ‘Ambush,’ with No Command to Halt

Ashli Babbitt Memorial

An attorney for the family of Ashli Babbett, a protester killed in the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, says the police officer who fatally shot Babbitt failed to warn her before firing and in fact ambushed her.

The attorney, Terry Roberts, made the allegation in an interview with RealClearInvestigations, and in opposition to the attorney of the alleged officer who shot Babbitt, saying his client issued a clear and loud command.

“It’s not debatable,” Roberts said. “There was no warning. … I would call what he did an ambush.”

Read More

Interim Chief: Austin Police Department in ‘Dire Crisis’ after Defunding

The city of Austin faces a crisis of rising violent crime after the City Council voted last year to drastically reduce the police department’s budget, interim Police Chief Joseph Chacon says.

Last summer, the Austin City Council voted to defund the police department by $150 million, which resulted in canceling multiple cadet classes and disbanding multiple units responsible for responding to DWIs, domestic violence calls, stalking, and criminal interdiction.

Instead, the council redistributed the money to other city programs and suggested that community organizers respond to 911 calls, instead of the police department.

Read More

Tennessee Spends Nearly $4M Annually to Educate Unaccompanied Minors

Tennessee has spent nearly $60 million over 15 years educating children who entered the state as unaccompanied minors, according to the state’s Fiscal Review Committee estimates.

Krista Lee Carsner, executive director of the Tennessee General Assembly’s Fiscal Review Committee, presented her cost estimate research to the state’s Study Committee on Refugee Issues, saying 8,800 unaccompanied minors have come to live in the state since fiscal year 2015.

Carsner estimated Tennessee spent an average of $3.9 million annually on education for those minors and the highest estimated year was a cost of $13.9 million. The state also spent nearly $85,000 annually on TennCare health care costs for those minors, Carsner said.

Read More

Commentary: The Capitol Cover Up

United States Capitol at night

Judge G. Michael Harvey sounded floored.

During a detention hearing this week for Robert Morss, arrested last month for his involvement in the Capitol protest, a federal prosecutor told Harvey she needed permission from the government before she could turn over to him a slice of video related to Morss’ case. Joe Biden’s Justice Department continues to seek pre-trial detention for people who protested Biden’s election on January 6; prosecutors want to keep Morss, an Army ranger and high school history teacher with no criminal record, behind bars until his trial can begin next year.

But assistant U.S. Attorney Melissa Jackson hesitated when Judge Harvey asked to see the footage captured by the U.S. Capitol Police surveillance system cited as evidence in government charging documents.

Read More

15 States Reach Agreement, Pave Way for $4.5 Billion Settlement over Opioid Crisis

Spilled pill bottle with lid beside bottle

A coalition of 15 states agreed to a deal with drug maker Purdue Pharma, which could soon lead to a $4.5 billion settlement over the company’s role in the U.S. opioid epidemic.

The states agreed to no longer oppose Purdue Pharma’s bankruptcy plan while the pharmaceutical company agreed to publicly release a trove of millions of documents, according to a court filing late Wednesday night. The Sackler family, which owns the company, would pay an additional $50 million under the settlement.

The agreement will be tacked onto a broader proposal that is set to be voted on by more than 3,000 plaintiffs, The New York Times reported. In addition to the states, plaintiffs include cities, counties and tribes that sued the company over its role in boosting its painkiller OxyContin, the cause of thousands of opioid deaths.

Read More

Commentary: Secure Law and Order in America

Over July Fourth weekend, according to CNN, at least 233 people were killed and 618 others were injured in more than 500 shootings across the country. Unbelievably, those tragic statistics actually represent a 26 percent decrease from July Fourth weekend in 2020. But overall, violent crime in 2021 across the nation—and especially in major urban corridors—has only increased over 2020’s horrific baseline. Nationwide murder rates in 2021 to date show a roughly 25 percent annual increase over 2020, and that number spikes to roughly 30 percent in our large cities. In New York City, there has been a 32 percent year-to-date increase in rape and a 42 percent increase in grand larceny.

Increasingly, Americans do not need to look very far to experience the horrific violence in an up-close and personal manner. Last week, for instance, a 22-year-old University of Chicago student was senselessly killed by what appeared to be a stray bullet while riding the subway system near the university’s Hyde Park campus. As a University of Chicago alum and former Hyde Park resident, that could have very easily been me. But such heartbreaks are not limited to the city of Chicago, America’s murder capital. All across the nation, “could have easily been me” is becoming commonplace, as Americans survey the carnage and destruction all around them.

The extended escalation in violent crime in America began in earnest in the aftermath of George Floyd’s unfortunate death. Black Lives Matter, an avowedly Marxist organization despite its anodyne-sounding name, immediately latched onto the post-Floyd national racial reckoning and instrumentalized it for its own agenda. Together with Antifa and various left-wing anarchist groups, BLM helped orchestrate a summer of riotous mayhem and bloodshed like the country had not seen in decades. Major cities were hit the worst, but even distant suburbs such as Kenosha, Wisconsin, were not spared the BLM-antifa warpath.

Read More

Supreme Court Hands Union Loss in California Trespass Case

The Supreme Court has ruled that a California regulation allowing union organizers to trespass on private property to recruit agricultural workers violated private property rights.

In Cedar Point Nursery v. Hassid released Wednesday, California agriculture businesses Cedar Point Nursery and Fowler Packing Company challenged a state law allowing labor unions a “right to take access” to an agricultural employer’s private property three hours per day, 120 days per year to recruit new union members. The court held that this constitutes a “per se” taking. They reversed and remanded prior rulings on California’s access regulation with a 6-3 vote, the dissenting votes belonging to the court’s three left-leaning justices. 

In 2015, union organizers entered Cedar Point Nursery at 5 a.m., disrupting work during harvest season with bullhorns to convince the farm employees to join the United Farm Workers (UFW) union. Mike Fahner, the owner of the strawberry farm, did not grant the union workers permission to enter his property, nor was he given notice of their arrival. He was not legally allowed to ask the union organizers to leave his property. 

Read More

Ohio Court: 700-Plus Training Hours to Arm a Teacher

An Ohio lawmaker believes it’s now more important to make it easier for teachers to have guns in the classroom following an Ohio Supreme Court ruling Wednesday that school districts must require police-level training for employees to be armed.

Rep. Thomas Hall, R-Madison Township, introduced legislation in April that requires school employees to complete only concealed carry weapon training to carry a gun on campus. 

In a 4-3 ruling, the court sided with a group of Madison Local Schools parents who sued the district in September 2018 to stop teachers from being armed without extensive training, including more than 700 hours of peace officer training. Madison Local Schools adopted a policy that required only 24 hours of training before staff could carry a concealed weapon.

Read More

Commentary: The Inevitable Fruits of Critical Race Theory

Captured in a metropolitan Atlanta, Georgia primary school, seated amongst his classmates, this photograph depicts a young Asian-American school boy, who was in the process of creating a drawing, and was choosing from a box of crayons, the colors he’d use in order to bring his ideas to life. It is important to know that these objects are known as fomites, and can act as transmitters of illnesses.

A black man went on a multistate shooting spree recently. The suspected gunman, Justin Tyran Williams, said he specifically targeted white men in his rampage that left five wounded. “Basically, [Williams] explained throughout his life, specifically white males had taken from him, and also what he described as military-looking white males had taken from him,” Columbus (Georgia) Police detective Brandon Lockhart testified Monday.

A racially motivated mass shooting would be the number one news story on CNN . . . were the races reversed. But a black man intentionally shooting white men is just not that interesting to those outside of conservative media.

Read More

Biden Bureau of Land Management Nominee Tracy Stone-Manning Was Involved in ‘Eco-Terrorism’ Case, Resulted in College Roommate’s Conviction, Prison Sentence, Court Records Show

Tracy Stone-Manning

President Joe Biden’s nominee to lead the Bureau of Land Management, Tracy Stone-Manning, received legal immunity to testify in a 1993 criminal trial, court documents obtained by the Daily Caller News Foundation show. The trial resulted in a 17 month prison sentence for tree spiking, a violent tactic used to prevent logging.

Stone-Manning testified that she sent an anonymous and threatening letter to the Forest Service in 1989 on behalf of John P. Blount, who she identified as her former roommate and a member of her circle of friends, court documents show. The letter warned that a local forest in Idaho set to be logged had been sabotaged with tree spikes, according to the documents.

“P.S. You bastards go in there anyway and a lot of people could get hurt,” the letter stated.

Read More

Chauvin Trial Overtime Cost Nearly $3 million

Derek Chauvin

Ramped-up security during the three weeks of Derek Chauvin’s trial cost taxpayers nearly $3 million, the Minneapolis Police Department said Thursday.

Citing unexpected costs, Police Chief Medaria Arradondo asked the Minneapolis City Council for an additional $5 million.

The MPD has 632 sworn officers, down from 845 one year ago — a 25% drop — to protect the 425,000-person city that’s fighting spiking violent crime.

Read More

Metro Atlanta Leaders to Use Federal Money to Address Crime

Keisha Lance Bottoms

Leaders in the metro Atlanta area said they plan to use American Rescue Plan funding to address public safety issues.

Officials in Fulton and DeKalb counties and the city of Atlanta have announced plans to use a portion of the federal aid to increase public safety or address criminal justice backlogs.

According to several reports, Atlanta and adjacent cities have seen a spike in crime over the past year. State lawmakers have launched a study to look at ways to curb the issue. Gov. Brian Kemp directed $5 million last month from his emergency fund to address the crisis.

Read More

Michigan State Health Director Backs COVID-19 Nursing Home Death Numbers Despite Undercounting Allegations

The Michigan House Oversight Committee on Thursday heard opposing testimony related to whether Michigan is undercounting COVID-19 nursing home deaths.

For over a year, Republicans have alleged Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s Executive Order to place COVID-19 infected patients into nursing homes with non-infected seniors contributed to an excess number of deaths than otherwise would have happened. In March, more than 50 lawmakers asked the federal government to investigate Whitmer’s policy. The death data from Michigan’s nursing homes could be compared to states with similar senior populations that didn’t pursue similar nursing home policy. 

Steve Delie, an attorney for the Mackinac Center For Public Policy, sued the Michigan Department for Health and Human Services (MDHHS) on behalf of reporter Charlie LeDuff, testified before the committee on Thursday. Delie argued the nursing home and long-term care COVID-19 death count in Michigan isn’t accurate, saying MDHHS enacted an accountability check between March 1 and June 30 of 2020, where it located 648 deaths out of a pool of 1,468 vital records deaths that could be traced back to a nursing home facility.

Read More

Kemp Suspends Embattled Mayor After Fraud, Identity Theft Charges

Gregory Carswell Jr.

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp has suspended Waynesboro Mayor Gregory Carswell Jr. from office after the mayor’s indictment on felony fraud, forgery and theft charges.

Carswell, an evangelical pastor, was elected mayor of the city outside of Augusta in 2017. He was indicted in December on one count of identity fraud, one count of theft by taking, one count of theft by deception and one count of forgery in the second degree. Carswell announced May 17 he was taking a leave of absence as mayor because of his legal troubles and personal issues.

“Of course, you know we have legal issues that are going on, and we want to deal with those, and we want the citizens to have the full confidence and trust and knowing the people they elected are going to do the best things for them,” Carswell said at the May 17 city council meeting.

Read More

Georgia Lawmakers to Study Crime in Atlanta

Police line do not cross tape

Georgia lawmakers will study the rise in crime in Atlanta this summer.

The House Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee plans to hold a series of hearings to look at the causes and solutions for the increase in crime in the state’s capital city.

“We want to have productive hearings that can get down to exactly what’s going on because, as you all know, the success of the city of Atlanta is directly impacted by the success of Georgia and vice versa,” Committee Chair J. Collins, R-Villa Rica, said.

Read More

Texas State Border Officials Fear Large Spikes in Overdose Deaths with Drug Traffic Increases

Texas Department of Public Safety SUV

Texas officials said Thursday they’re worried about dramatic spikes in drug overdose deaths in some areas of the state as illegal border crossings and drug trafficking have picked up since President Joe Biden took office.

Gov. Greg Abbott joined Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) Director Steve McCraw and Tarrant County Sheriff Bill Waybourn on Thursday in Fort Worthto provide an update on the border crisis.

“We’re heading for a 50 percent increase in overdose deaths in Tarrant County alone,” Waybourn warned, noting that the amount of drugs flooding into Tarrant County has skyrocketed even with DPS intervention.

Read More

Virginia Directs Nearly $136 Million for State and Local Criminal Justice Programs

Arlington Police motorcycles

Virginia awarded $135.8 million worth of grants to support state and local criminal justice programs, primarily to support those who have been the victims of a crime, Gov. Ralph Northam announced late Thursday afternoon.

Nearly 63% of the funding, $85.5 million, will be used to provide services for victims. Many organizations receiving money provide direct services for traditionally underserved populations and for victims of child abuse, domestic violence and sexual assault.

“Each of these grant recipients play an important role in keeping our communities safe and supporting victims and survivors of crime,” Northam said in a statement. “This funding will sustain the operations of a variety of critical programs and help expand the reach of services to underserved areas of the Commonwealth.”

Read More

Minneapolis First-Responder Settlements Could Top $35 Million, Attorney Says

Protest in street with sign that reads"I CAN'T BREATHE. SAY HIS NAME! George Floyd"

The true cost of the riots after the death of George Floyd in police custody is starting to pile up on taxpayers.

This fallout could leave the Minneapolis Police Department short-staffed.

Minneapolis city leaders have begun signing large workers’ compensation packages for dozens of departing police officers, Fox 9 reports.

Read More

Lee Signs Slew of Bills, Including Tax Deals for Titans, Smokies

Nissan International Stadium

Tax deals for the NFL’s Tennessee Titans and minor league baseball’s Tennessee Smokies were signed into law this week by Gov. Bill Lee.

The governor also signed two bills that are key cogs in his criminal justice reform initiative. They aim to reduce recidivism and keep lower level offenders related to substance abuse and mental health out of jail and in community-based alternative programs.

The Titans deal is estimated to have a $10 million annual sales tax impact on the state. It will allow the team to retain sales tax revenue from all events at Nissan Stadium and keep half of the tax revenue from a planned mixed-use development around the stadium to use toward future stadium upgrades.

Read More

Four Former Minneapolis Officers Indicted on Federal Civil Rights Charges in Floyd’s Death

George Floyd protest in Minneapolis with "I can't breathe" cardboard sign

 A federal grand jury has indicted four ex-Minneapolis police officers on federal civil rights charges related to the death of George Floyd.

The first indictment charges Derek Chauvin, 45; Tou Thao, 35; J. Alexander Kueng, 27; and Thomas Lane, 38. The three-count indictment alleges that all four defendants willfully deprived Floyd of his constitutional rights, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 242.

Count one of the indictment alleges that on May 25, 2020, Chauvin pressed his left knee on Floyd’s neck, and his right knee on Floyd’s back and arm, as Floyd lay on the ground, handcuffed and unresisting, and kept his knees on Floyd’s neck and body even after Mr. Floyd became unresponsive.

Read More

Ohio Attorney General Pleads for Patience Around Bryant Shooting Investigation

Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost

Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost has spent a lot of time pleading for patience and talking of the dangers of rushing to judgement in reaction to the shooting death of a 16-year-old girl by Columbus police officers.

Community organizers, however, are calling for a U.S. Justice Department investigation of the Columbus Police Department, and Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther said there is lack of trust between the community and police.

Yost consistently has said half-facts lead to half-truths, tweeting two days after the death of Ma’Khia Bryant, “Let’s get all the facts and find the whole truth.”

Read More

Jury Finds Derek Chauvin Guilty on All Counts in the Death of George Floyd

Derek Chauvin

Less than a year after the death of George Floyd in police custody, a jury found former Minneapolis Police officer Derek Chauvin guilty on charges of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter.

Anger from the tragic death in police custody  on May 25, 2020, was fueled by a bystander filming part of the arrest, showing Floyd pinned under Chauvin’s knee for 9 minutes and 45 seconds, while he pleaded “I can’t breathe.” Floyd was declared dead later that day.

The video caused protests worldwide and pushed discussion of police accountability and proper levels of force for minor crimes, as Floyd was arrested for allegedly attempting to spend a fake $20 bill.

Read More

Abbott Calls for Biden to Label Mexican Cartels as Terrorist Organizations as Texas Ranchers Fend off Criminals

Greg Abbott

Gov. Greg Abbott on Thursday sent a letter to President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris asking them to designate Mexican drug cartels as foreign terrorist organizations.

The cartels are bringing terror into Texas communities, Abbott said in his fourth letter to the administration about the border crisis.

The cartels “smuggle narcotics and weapons into the United States to fund their illegal enterprises,” Abbott writes. “They force women and children into human and sex trafficking – enriching themselves on the misery and enslavement of immigrants. They murder innocent people, including women and children. These Mexican drug cartels are foreign terrorist organizations, and it is time for the federal government to designate them as such.”

Read More

Defund the Police Movement Contributed to Rise in Violence, Experts Say

Group of protestors

Calls to defund the police have once again been thrust into the national spotlight after a string of high profile police shootings, but data show the rallying cry for police reformers may not hold water.

After the death of Daunte Wright at the hands of police in Minnesota, U.S. Rep. Rashida Talib, D-Mich., made headlines this week for posting on Twitter: “No more policing, incarceration, and militarization. It can’t be reformed.”

Later in the week, Senate lawmakers blasted President Joe Biden’s Justice Department Civil Rights Division nominee Kristen Clarke after reports that she wrote an op-ed calling for defunding the police. Clarke pushed back, arguing that was not the point of her writing.

Read More

Minneapolis to Pay Record $27 Million in George Floyd’s Wrongful Death Settlement

The Minneapolis City Council voted unanimously to settle George Floyd’s wrongful death lawsuit for a record $27 million. 

The settlement was announced on Friday.

In a viral May 2020 video, former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin kneeled on Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes, causing police brutality protests worldwide. Floyd died later that night. By the end of the week, the three officers involved were fired. 

Read More

Constitution Series: The Seventh Amendment

The Jury by John Morgan

    This is the fourteenth of twenty-five weekly articles in The Tennessee Star’s Constitution Series. Students in grades 8 through 12 can sign up here to participate in The Tennessee Star’s Constitution Bee, which will be held on September 23. The Seventh Amendment is one of those steady but unspectacular amendments that does not feature prominently…

Read More