Archive for August, 2018


 

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Michigan’s state health director Nick Lyons is facing trial for involuntary manslaughter over the deaths of two men amid an outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease in Flint after the city switched its water supply to the Flint River in an attempt to save money.  The Flint region’s 2014-2015 Legionnaires’ disease outbreak that killed 12 people and sickened another 79 people.  Michigan has admitted 12 people died in the outbreak, but a recent report by PBS “Frontline” has found the death toll from the water crisis in Flint may be higher than Michigan officials have acknowledged.

Judge David Goggins issued a ruling sending Nick Lyon’s criminal case to a full trial, meaning the judge believes there is enough valid evidence for a jury to consider.  The ruling came at the end of a 10-month preliminary hearing that started in September and wrapped up in early July after more than 25 days of testimony.  Lyons is the highest-ranking state official to face charges so far over Flint’s water-poisoning crisis.  He’s also being charged with willful neglect of duty and misconduct in office for the deaths of John Snyder and Robert Skidmore.  The involuntary manslaughter charge is a felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison. Lyon’s felony misconduct in office charge is for allegedly obstructing academic researchers from studying the outbreak, which carries a sentence of up to five years in prison.

Both men allegedly died from Legionnaires’ disease caused by Flint switching its drinking water source to the Flint River in 2014.  They did not ensure that the water was properly treated to prevent corrosion in old plumbing. This caused lead and other metals to leach into the water, exposing residents and risking permanent neurological damage to local children.  The improper water treatment also interfered with disinfectants and caused the release of iron and other bacterial nutrients into the water, which can spur the spread and growth of Legionella bacteria. When those germs are aerosolized and inhaled from sources such as hot showers, humidifiers, and water coolers, they can cause a deadly form of pneumonia called Legionnaire’s disease.

Flint experienced a surge in Legionnaire’s disease after the water switch, with cases totaling around 100 and leading to at least 12 deaths, including Skidmore and Snyder’s. Researchers with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention genetically linked the bacteria infecting patients to those found in the city’s water.  Prosecutors argued Lyon, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services director, waited too long to alert the public to an outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease in Flint during the water crisis. He allegedly knew about the outbreak in early 2015 but waited nearly a full year before alerting the public.  Both men were said to be healthy and active prior to their hospitalizations.   Lyon’s defense attorneys argued he was not negligent in the men’s deaths and that prosecuting a public official who did his best amid a wide-ranging crisis would have a chilling effect on other public employees doing their duties.  They pointed out Skidmore and Snyder “would have received the same medical treatment” even if Lyon had made an announcement sooner.

In a statement issued after the ruling, Governor Rick Snyder praised Lyon’s work during the Flint water crisis and said Lyon would remain on the job as Michigan Department of Health and Human Services director during the trial.  An additional 14 current or former state and local officials have been criminally charged in connection with the water issues.

State officials now say that the city’s water meets federal standards for lead and other contaminants but the water can still pick up toxic ingredients from contaminated pipes. For now, residents need to continue drinking bottled or filtered water until the city’s plumbing is replaced, which the city is working to do by 2020.

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A Ku Klux Klan leader from Maryland, Richard Preston Jr. was sentenced to four years in prison after he pleaded no contest to a charge of firing a pistol into a crowd of anti-racist protesters during last August’s “Unite the Right” rally.  Charlottesville, Virginia Circuit Court records show Richard Preston was sentenced to eight years, with four of those years suspended.  He also will serve three years of supervised probation. His charge of discharging a firearm within 1,000 feet of a school, carried a penalty of between two and 10 years in prison.

Preston, 53 has said he was at the white nationalist rally as a member of a militia — but he is also Imperial Wizard of a Ku Klux Klan chapter in Maryland.   Video of the incident shows Preston, who was wearing a bulletproof vest, yelling the n-word before he walked up to an African-American man at close range and fired a shot at the ground right in front of him. Preston then turned around and walked past a line of state troopers, who witnessed the shooting but did not move.  He argued that he acted in self-defense.

Prosecutors said Preston fired a handgun once toward the ground while standing on a sidewalk crowded with rally-goers and counter-protesters after initially pointing the gun at a black man with an improvised flamethrower during the 2017 “Unite the Right” rally in the Charlottesville’s downtown.  No one was struck.  Preston maintained that he only the shot the gun because he was trying to protect people coming down some stairs where the protestor was wielding a blowtorch.

The protestor, Corey Long, who was 23 at the time of the rally, was convicted in June of disorderly conduct for brandishing a home-made flamethrower.  Long claims he used a light and a can of aerosol hairspray that was thrown at him by another protestor, to protect others since the police were not doing anything.  He was sentenced to nearly one year in jail, but with all but 20 days suspended. Long was also given 100 hours of community service and two years of good-behavior probation.  He is appealing the conviction.

Before Preston’s sentencing, an R&B musician named Daryl Davis stood up for him in court, paid his bail, and made an offer to the judge: he wanted to take Preston to the National African American History Museum in an effort to re-educate him.  Davis has a long history of befriending members of the KKK who, as a result of their contact, go on to leave the organization.

The judge agreed and the two men visited the museum together.  Daryl Davis testified about what happened between the two men in the museum and afterward to the judge before Preston’s sentencing.  “The judge took everything into account. He commended me for my work and Richard for going to the museum but said Richard broke the law and had to be punished,” “But what we did end up mitigating Richard’s sentence.”  Davis told CNN.  During sentencing, Judge Richard Moore said Preston acted out of anger not fear when he fired the gun. Preston was taken into custody immediately after the sentencing.

 

 

 

 

 

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A New York Times report revealed that Italian actress Asia Argento recently quietly paid former co-star Jimmy Bennett $380,000 after he accused her of sexually assaulting him in 2013, when Bennett was 17 and Argento was 37. The age of consent in the state of California is 18.  Argento emerged as a leader in the #MeToo movement after she was one of the first of more than 100 women to accuse disgraced Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein of rape and sexual harassment.   The Times reports that she paid off Bennett months after she spoke out publicly against Weinstein and that it has seen the legal documents that lay out Bennett’s assault claims and the payments arranged between his lawyers and Argento’s.

Bennett’s lawyers sent a notice of intent to sue Argento to her lawyers in November, claiming that the sexual assault was so traumatic that it affected his mental health and stymied his acting career.  In the documents, Bennett claims that he arrived at the Ritz-Carlton in Marina del Rey to meet Argento in her hotel room on May 10, 2013, with a family member. Argento asked to be alone with Bennett and the family member left. Bennett claims Argento gave him alcohol and also showed him notes she had made on hotel stationery. She then proceeded to kiss him and perform oral sex before having intercourse with him.

The documents say that Argento then asked to take a number of photos with him. Photos of Argento and Bennett semi-clothed in bed, as well as an Instagram post of their faces taken on that day, were included in the notice of intent to sue.  Bennett’s lawyers claim that Argento presenting herself as a victim of sexual assault as well as taking a prominent role in the #MeToo movement triggered memories of his own assault, according to the legal documents.

Argento and Bennett worked together on the 2004 film The Heart Is Deceitful Above All Things, which Argento also wrote and directed. Bennett, a 7-year-old at the time, played Argento’s son in the movie.  The two seemingly kept in touch on Twitter up until August 2012 and Instagram until May 2013, though Bennett’s Twitter account is no longer active.  Argento and Bennett referred to each other on social media as mother and son, a reference to their The Heart Is Deceitful Above All Things characters, and he claims she was a mentor in the legal documents.

Bennett, now 22, had roles in the Star Trek reboot, Poseidon, Evan Almighty and Firewall. His lawyers claim that the assault affected him emotionally and was detrimental to his career. Since the incident, Bennett only has a few film and TV credits to his name. Bennett’s attorney, Gordon K. Sattro, issued a statement on Monday, saying, “Jimmy is going to take the next 24 hours, or longer, to prepare his response. We ask that you respect our client’s privacy during this time.”

Argento has denied the assault allegation in a statement saying that Bennett tried to extort her and that her then-boyfriend, the late Anthony Bourdain, offered the payoff to make the situation disappear. “I am deeply shocked and hurt having read the news that is absolutely false,” she said, in part. “I have never had any sexual relationship with Bennet.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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In Genoa, Italy, 43 people were killed when a bridge collapsed, sending dozens of vehicles tumbling 150 feet. A 656 foot section of the Morandi Bridge suddenly fell, along with dozens of vehicles in busy traffic.  The cause of the collapse is not yet known, but many residents are calling on the head of the company that operated the bridge to resign.

The Morandi Bridge is a main road in and out of Genoa, linking it to the A10 motorway and the road to France.  Shortly before noon on August 14th, the section collapsed amid extremely heavy rainfall.  The bridge was having work done to shore up its foundations at the time.  Video of the moment the stretch of a bridge collapsed has been released by officials.  It shows large chunks of debris crashing down onto traffic, falling about 150 feet below to the ground. A person is seen scrambling from the rubble seconds after the

The Morandi Bridge was the fifth bridge to collapse in Italy in five years.  The government has set up a commission to examine the causes of the disaster.  The company that operated the bridge has set up a fund for victims’ families.  Giovanni Castelluci, the boss of operating company Autostrade per l’Italia, said millions of euros for victims’ families would be available.  He also said the firm would provide funding to help relocate hundreds of people who had to be moved out of their homes after the bridge collapsed.  He added that reports carried out ahead of the disaster had described the bridge as being in good condition, but a full inquiry was “the first priority”.

Controversy is swirling over the deadly incident, with reports that there had been warnings about the bridge’s structure.  The engineer who designed the bridge warned four decades ago that it would require constant maintenance to remove rust.  Italian news outlets have reported that engineering experts warned in February that corrosion of the metal cables supporting the Genoa highway bridge had reduced the bridge’s strength by 20 per cent.  Italian news outlet, Espresso wrote that “neither the ministry, nor the highway company, ever considered it necessary to limit traffic, divert heavy trucks, reduce the roadway from two to one lane or reduce the speed” of vehicles on the key artery for the northern port city.

The bridge, named for its designer, Riccardo Morandi, is a cable-stayed type, in which sections of roadway are cantilevered from towers like diving boards and supported by stays. This type of design, more common now than it was 50 years ago, is often used when the gap to be spanned is too long for the structure to be supported at both ends, but not so long that a suspension bridge would be a better solution.  The stays are critical elements of this kind of design because without them, the cantilevered sections would have to be so massive as to make the bridge too costly or otherwise impractical.  The stays are constructed of concrete with steel rods, called tendons, inside them, which enables the concrete to handle the pull of the roadway. More modern cable-stayed bridges use steel cables instead.

A fact investigators are sure to analyze is that the Morandi Bridge only had two stays — one on each side — for each cantilevered roadway section.  Most modern bridges are built with far more stays.  The new replacement for the Tappan Zee Bridge across the Hudson River north of New York City, for example, has 24 cables for each section, 12 on each side.

 

 

 

 

 

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A Pennsylvania a grand jury report revealed how more than 300 Catholic priests sexually abused over 1,000 children and possibly thousands more over seven decades and that the church leadership covered up the abuse. The report chronicles how the church used an array of tactics to conceal the abuse, including lying to the community about why a priest was removed from the parish, transferring pedophile priests rather than firing them, and locking abuse complaints away in a “secret archive.”

The report also details how priests raped young girls and boys, including one priest who raped a young girl in the hospital after she had her tonsils out. Another priest impregnated a young girl and then arranged for her to have an abortion. One priest who had been repeatedly accused of child abuse asked for—and received—a letter of recommendation to work at Disneyland.

Attorney General Josh Shapiro said “Today, the most comprehensive report on child sexual abuse within the church ever produced in our country was released,” Attorney General Josh Shapiro said. “Pennsylvanians can finally learn the extent of sexual abuse in these dioceses. For the first time, we can all begin to understand the systematic cover up by church leaders that followed. The abuse scarred every diocese. The cover up was sophisticated. The church protected the institution at all costs.”  “The term ‘secret archives’ is not my term. It is how the church officials themselves refer to the troves of documents sitting in filing cabinets, just feet from the bishops’ desks. In each diocese, the bishops had the key to the secret archives, which contained both allegations and admissions of the abuse and the cover-up.”

The 884-page document, two years in the making, exposed the predators and the efforts of their bishops to protect them.  Several clergy abuse victims who had testified before the grand jury attended Shapiro’s news conference and at least one of them could be seen breaking down in tears.

In a statement issued Thursday—two days after the grand jury delivered its report—Vatican spokesperson Greg Burke described the abuses as criminal and morally reprehensible.  “There are two words that can express the feelings faced with these horrible crimes: shame and sorrow. The Holy See treats very seriously the work of the grand jury and the report it has produced. The Holy See condemns unequivocally the sexual abuse of minors. The abuses described in the report are criminal and morally reprehensible. The acts were betrayals of trust that robbed survivors of their dignity and, in many cases, also their faith. The church must learn hard lessons from the past, and there should be accountability for both abusers and those who permitted abuse to occur.”

The Vatican told victims Pope Francis “is on their side” and promised action to “root out this tragic horror.” The statement came just months after the pope said he mishandled a Vatican investigation into widespread sexual abuses by clergy in Chile, and less than two months after a Vatican court sentenced the church’s former ambassador to Washington, D.C., to five years in prison on a child pornography charge.

 

 

 

 

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The airline industry is re-examining security protocols after an airport worker at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport stole a plane on Friday night, took off without permission, then flew it for about an hour before crashing the plane into an island on Puget Sound.  Richard Russell, a ground service agent, was the only person on board when he crashed the 76-seat Horizon Air plane.

Russell took off around 7:30 p.m. on August 10th, according to the authorities. He chatted with air traffic controllers who tried to guide him to a safe landing, as jets from the Air National Guards of Washington and Oregon flew alongside him, ready to take action. In recordings of Mr. Russell’s conversation with air traffic controllers, he speaks admiringly of the Olympic Mountains at sunset, complains of lightheadedness and muses about potential prison time if he were to land the plane safely.

At one point, an air traffic controller asked if Mr. Russell felt comfortable flying.  “It’s blast, man,” Mr. Russell replied. “I played video games before so, you know, I know what I’m doing a little bit.”  At times, Mr. Russell was contrite.  “Man, I’m sorry about this. I hope this doesn’t ruin your day,” he said to the controller, adding that he was grateful to be kept away from other aircraft. “I’m glad you’re not, you know, screwing up everyone else’s day on account of me.”  He said he hoped to have a “moment of serenity” in the air but lamented that the sights “went by so fast.”

“I got a lot of people that care about me, and it’s going to disappoint them to hear that I did this,” Mr. Russell could be heard saying. “I would like to apologize to each and every one of them. Just a broken guy, got a few screws loose, I guess. Never really knew it until now.”  Videos taken by onlookers during Mr. Russell’s flight showed the plane doing deep dives, broad loops and at least one upside-down roll.  The plane came down in a fiery crash on Ketron Island, about 30 miles from the airport and Russell was killed in the crash.

Russell had worked for Horizon Air, a subsidiary of Alaska Air Group, for three and a half years and was responsible for handling luggage and cargo and for towing aircraft.  At a news conference the following day, the chief executive of Horizon Air Industries, Gary Beck, said Mr. Russell had cleared all the necessary background checks and was meant to be “on the secure side” of the airport, where the plane was.  Beck said that Richard Russell did not have a pilot’s license “Commercial aircrafts are complex machines,” Mr. Beck added. “I don’t know how he achieved the experience he did.”

The plane was not scheduled for a flight when Mr. Russell commandeered it.  Alaska Airlines officials said it was not clear how Russell had managed to take off in the plane. Debra Eckrote, the chief of the northwest regional office of the National Transportation Safety Board, said that it was conceivable that a ground service agent would be able to start an airplane.   “They don’t necessarily use a key, so there’s switches that they use to start the aircraft,” she said. “So if the person has basic understanding — from what I understand he was support personnel, ground personnel — they probably do have at least a basic understanding on how to start the aircraft.”

At a news conference, Mike Mathews, a family friend, read a statement on behalf of Mr. Russell’s family. “We are stunned and heartbroken,” according to the statement, which described Mr. Russell as a faithful husband, a loving son and a good friend.  “He was right in saying that there are so many people who have loved him.”  Tim Orr, who also works at the Seattle-Tacoma airport said he had known Mr. Russell since they were both 12.  He described Russell as the funniest and nicest person in the room.  Mr. Orr added that Russell and his wife were active church members “so he doesn’t really fit the bill of someone who would steal an airplane.”

 

 

 

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In Pennsylvania, South Whitehall Township Police Officer Jonathan Roselle has been charged with manslaughter for fatally shooting 44-year-old Joseph Santos.  The shooting happened July 28 along a busy highway near Dorney Park in South Whitehall Township.  Officer Roselle was investigating reports of a Latino man interfering with traffic when he encountered Santos.

Officer Roselle was initially monitoring traffic when a woman came to him about a man who had approached and tried to enter her vehicle.  At least one other driver told the officer that a Latino man was jumping on cars and interfering with traffic.  When Roselle encountered Santos, the officer found him bleeding.  Roselle notified dispatchers of a man with possible mental issues and requested more units at the scene.

According to several videos captured by bystanders, Santos went on to hit and jump on the officer’s car.  Santos is seen walking away from Roselle and his vehicle. At some point, Santos struck the driver side of the officer’s SUV and jumped on the hood of the vehicle. Once off the hood, Santos continued to hit the side of the vehicle, eventually leaning on the SUV.  Roselle ordered Santos during this time to back away from the SUV.  Some of the bystander videos of the encounter captured this.

They also show Santos walking away from the Roselle’s vehicle and then turning back around to walk toward the officer. Roselle is heard yelling for Santos to “get on the ground,” but Santos does not comply. Shortly after, Roselle shot Santos five times and Santos is seen falling to the ground.

While announcing the charges at a press conference, Lehigh County District Attorney Jim Martin told reporters that “in this case, there is no evidence that Mr. Santos was armed with any weapon and no evidence that he had committed or attempted a forcible felony.”  Officer Roselle, 33, who was on patrol by himself for fewer than five months, “killed under an unreasonable, mistaken belief that he was justified” in fatally shooting Santos, Martin added.

Officials said Roselle remains on administrative leave, while the investigation into the shooting continues.  The rookie cop previously served in the U.S. Army and did a tour in Afghanistan.  Roselle graduated from the Allentown Police Academy last year and completed about 13 weeks of field training before being allowed to patrol by himself, the district attorney said.  Martin acknowledged Santos’ bizarre behavior but added that when Santos walked toward the officer again, “he was not running or rushing toward the officer. He did not have anything visible in his hands. He was not clenching his fists. He did not present a threatening posture. He was plainly not armed with any type of weapon.”  Martin also said Santos was heard saying “Don’t do it” before Roselle shot him.

Though Santos failed to comply with the officer’s “legitimate” demands to get on the ground, Martin said, there is nothing objective that shows Roselle “was in danger of imminent serious, bodily injury or death.”  Martin added that Roselle told the first responding officer immediately after the shooting that he thought he “f****d up,” and that he didn’t know what to do because Santos kept advancing toward him. He repeated his “f****d up” comment to his shift supervisor at the scene.

After Santos’ death, family members and community leaders asked why the officer didn’t first use non-lethal force to subdue him. Martin confirmed that Roselle was equipped with a baton, pepper spray and a Taser.  All items were examined and found to be functional.

 

 

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The father of a missing 3-year-old who was arrested at a New Mexico compound linked to “extremist Muslims” was training children to commit school shootings.  Prosecutors allege Siraj Ibn Wahhaj, 39, was conducting weapons training on the compound, where 11 children were found hungry and living in squalor.  Wahhaj, who is being held without bail, is the son of a Brooklyn imam, also named Siraj Wahhaj, who was named by prosecutors as an unindicted co-conspirator in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.   His father, who heads Masjid At-Taqwa mosque, was also a character witness in the trial for Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman, the notorious “blind sheikh” who was convicted in 1995 of plotting terror attacks in the U.S.

Authorities raided the compound after a months-long investigating into the disappearance of Abdul-ghani Wahhaj, a boy with severe medical issues who went missing from Georgia in December.  Wahhaj told the missing boy’s mother that he wanted to perform an “exorcism” on his then-3-year-old son because he was “possessed by the devil.” The child reportedly suffered from seizures and couldn’t walk.  The child’s remains were found on the property but authorities have not confirmed a cause of death.

The compound was located near the Colorado border shielded by old tires, wooden pallets and other debris. Upon authorities’ arrival, Wahhaj was “heavily armed with an AR15 rifle, five loaded 30 round magazines, and four loaded pistols, including one in his pocket when he was taken down,” Taos County Sheriff Jerry Hogrefe said.  Lucas Morton, Jany Leveille, 35, Hujrah Wahhaj, 38, and Subhannah Wahhaj, 35, were also arrested on the property and all face child abuse charges.

The search at the compound came amid a two-month investigation that included the FBI. Hogrefe said federal agents surveilled the area a few weeks ago but did not find probable cause to search the property.  That changed when Georgia detectives forwarded a message to the sheriff that he said initially had been sent to a third party, saying: “We are starving and need food and water.”

The sheriff said the children, ages 1 to 15, “looked like third world country refugees not only with no food or fresh water, but with no shoes, personal hygiene and basically dirty rags for clothing.”  Jason Badger, who owned the property where the compound was built, said he and his wife had pressed authorities to remove the group after becoming concerned about the children.  The group had built the compound on their acreage instead of a neighboring tract owned by Lucas Morton, one of the men arrested during the raid.

Documents filed in 8th District Court in Taos County quoted the foster parent of one of the 11 children as having told investigators that Siraj Ibn Wahhaj, was conducting weapons training at the squalid compound.  According to the document, Wahhaj “had trained the foster parent’s child in the use of an assault rifle in preparation for future school shootings.”   The foster parent’s accusations have not been verified and are still under investigation.

 

 

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An advocacy group, JOCO United- has recently launched by friends and supporters of the parents of a suicidal teen killed by police during a welfare check.  On Jan. 20, 2018, police were dispatched to the home of 17 year old John Albers at about 5:35 p.m. on a report that he was home alone and suicidal.  Albers had no criminal history but a history of mental health issues, was shot as he was backing the family’s minivan down the driveway by one of the first Overland Park officers to arrive at the home, Clayton Jenison.  Jenison resigned shortly after the shooting for personal reasons.  A month later, after a multi-jurisdictional investigation, Johnson County District Attorney Steve Howe concluded the officer reasonably feared for his life, deeming the shooting justified.  Dashcam footage was released and shown at the press conference when Howe announced that no charges would be filed.

Howe and Overland Park Police Chief Frank Donchez said they thought the officer’s actions were not unreasonable and that investigators could not determine if Albers was killed by the first two shots or the subsequent shots.  The release of the video touched off intense debate among the public, especially parents wondering whether calling the police for help with mental health issues was even a safe option.  The video shows two different dashcam recordings of the shooting and begins with the view of a police vehicle as it drives toward the Albers home.  The Albers home comes into view and the family minivan is backing out of the garage into the driveway with Albers at the wheel.  Overland Park Police Officer Clayton Jenison stands to the rear of the van and shouts “Stop!” As the van continues, Jenison fires two shots at it.  The van pauses and then continues backing down the driveway past the police officer, making a U-turn in reverse back toward the house.  The officer shouts “Stop the car!” as another police vehicle pulls up to the entrance of the driveway.  Officer Jenison shoots at the van 11 more times and another officer runs toward the driveway. One of the officers shouts “Shots fired! Shots fired! ”  The van rolls forward into the street and one of the officers shouts “Stop! Stop, John, stop the car!” The van rolls across the street into a neighbor’s front yard as other officers run to the van.  One officer calls for medical assistance “Shots fired, He’s down, we need medical ASAP.”  An officer talks to Albers. “John, John, John, John. God damn it! Glove up, glove up!”  The officer continues talking to Albers. “John, are you all right? Ah, (expletive).

Another video, taken from a dash cam in a vehicle parked on the opposite side of the Albers home, begins before the shooting.  It shows the first two officers arrive first and walk up to the house.  One officer walks back down the driveway while Officer Jenison stays at the front of the house.  Jenison walks into the driveway as the garage door opens.  The van starts backing out of the garage toward the officer.  The officer shouts “Stop!” three times while stepping backward down the driveway and into the grass.  Officer Jenison pulls his gun, firing twice and the van briefly stops in the driveway.  The van continues backing down the driveway and the officer steps to his right to avoid the van. The van makes a U-Turn in reverse into the yard as another police vehicle pulls into the driveway.  Officer Jenison shouts “Stop the car!” and fires 11 more times at the van as it backs up through the yard toward the house.  As other officers run toward the van two officers walk away.  “Hey, deep breaths, man,” one officer says to Officer Jenison. “Deep breaths.  “Come here, buddy, come over here,” one officer says.  Jenison, who sounds obviously shaken says “I thought he was going to run me over, man.” Another officer answers, “I know.”

 

 

 

 

 

Many people were disturbed by the shooting and by the district attorney’s findings, said Mark Schmid of Overland Park, who helped found JOCO United.  “We want to bridge the divide standing between us and the city’s police and political leaders so we can work together.”  One goal is to improve how officers respond to people with mental illness or are in mental distress.  Steve and Sheila Albers told news outlets “People from all walks of life were devastated and shaken by such a senseless act and the exceedingly poor response.” Sheila Albers filed a lawsuit in April, suing the officer who shot her son and the city of Overland Park.  The court documents state that the officer “acted recklessly and deliberately” when he shot and killed Albers, who may not have known police were at his home and was “simply backing his mom’s minivan out of the family garage, Aavehicle passing a police officer does not give that officer an ongoing license to kill an unthreatening citizen.”   The lawsuit is pending.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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CBS’ CEO Leslie Moonves will remain in his position at the media company as the board of directors launches an investigation into allegations that he sexually assaulted several women over decades.  According to CBS, there have been no misconduct claims or settlements against Moonves during his twenty-four years at the network. The investigation began after the New Yorker published a detailed report that included the accounts of six women who claim Moonves thwarted their acting careers after rejecting his verbal or physical advances.  Some of the alleged assaults date back to the 1980s through the 2000s.  Four described forcible touching or kissing during business meetings, in what they said appeared to be a practiced routine. Two said Moonves physically intimidated them or threatened to derail their careers. All six accusers said that he became cold or hostile after they rejected his advances, and that they believed their careers suffered as a result.

One of his accusers, writer Janet Jones alleges that in the spring of 1985, she had to shove Moonves off her after he forcibly kissed her at a work meeting.  Producer Mike Marvin had helped broker a meeting between her and Moonves, who at the time was a vice-president at Twentieth Century Fox. The late afternoon appointment was Jones’s first pitch meeting in Hollywood.  Producer Mike Marvin said that he confronted Moonves about what happened at the meeting at a gathering, saying, “Whatever happened, that girl was upset.”   Marvin said Moonves became furious and the two had a screaming match over it.  Not long afterward, Jones received a call from Moonves, who began shouting at her and threatening her career.

Another one of his accusers, Emmy Award-winning actress and writer Illeana Douglas, said Moonves forcibly held her down and violently kissed her.  Douglas was introduced to Moonves in 1996 while she was meeting with networks, looking for a deal to write and perform for television.  Moonves, who was then the president of CBS Entertainment, seemed to take a personal interest in her.  “What happened to me was a sexual assault, and then I was fired for not participating.” lleana Douglas said of the incident.

Emmy-award winning writer and television producer Dinah Kirgo described meeting Moonves to discuss a potential television deal before he joined CBS.  Kirgo said the meeting “went really well” but was surprised when Moonves, who was married to Nancy Wiesenfeld at the time, asked to meet her privately over dinner.  “I’m not actually sure what I said in response, but he said, ‘Look, you’re really expensive and I need to know you’re worth it,’ ” she recalled.  Kirgo said she made an allusion to Moonves’ wife, and her feelings about a one-on-one dinner between the two. “And the conversation ended, and he went from being very friendly to being really cold.”  That was the last Kirgo heard from Moonves.

In a statement, Moonves said, “Throughout my time at CBS, we have promoted a culture of respect and opportunity for all employees, and have consistently found success elevating women to top executive positions across our company. I recognize that there were times decades ago when I may have made some women uncomfortable by making advances. Those were mistakes, and I regret them immensely. But I always understood and respected—and abided by the principle—that ‘no’ means ‘no,’ and I have never misused my position to harm or hinder anyone’s career. This is a time when we all are appropriately focused on how we help improve our society, and we at CBS are committed to being part of the solution.”