Tag Archive: alex shuster


 

 

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Jury selection is underway in the murder trial of Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke, who’s charged in the killing of 17-year-old in October 2014. The killing was captured on a police dash cam video released under court order, which contradicted police claims about the shooting. The video shows the teenager posing no threat and walking away from the officers before Van Dyke opened fire 16 times.

On October 20, 2014, just before 10pm, police responded to reports of someone breaking into vehicles in a trucking yard at 41st and Kildare Avenue.  Initial reports said McDonald had been behaving erratically while walking down the street while holding a folding knife with a three-inch blade. When officers confronted McDonald, he used a knife with a 3-inch blade to slice the tire on a patrol vehicle and damage its windshield.  McDonald walked away from police after numerous verbal instructions from officers to drop the knife, at which point responding officers requested Taser backup.

Video of the shooting shows that Officer Van Dyke was advancing on McDonald, while McDonald was walking away from him when the first shot was fired. The first shot hit McDonald, who spun and fell to the ground.  As McDonald lay on the ground, still holding the knife, Van Dyke fired more shots into him from about 10 feet away, expending the maximum capacity of his 9mm semi-automatic firearm. Van Dyke was on scene for less than 30 seconds before opening fire and the first shot he fired was 6 seconds after he exited his patrol car.  McDonald was shot 16 times in 14–15 seconds and 9 of those shots hit his back as he lay on the ground.  Toxicology reports later revealed that McDonald had PCP in his blood and urine.

The first responding officer said that he did not see the need to use force and none of the at least eight other officers on the scene fired their weapons.  Even though McDonald’s death was ruled a homicide due to multiple gunshot wounds, initial police statements of the incident prompted police supervisors to rule the case a justifiable homicide and within the bounds of the department’s use of force guidelines.  The reports did not say how many times McDonald was shot and said McDonald was acting “crazed” and lunged at officers after refusing to drop his knife.  After the shooting a police union representative told reporters that Van Dyke had acted in self-defense after McDonald lunged at him and his partner.

On November 24, 2015, shortly after dashcam video of the incident was released to the public, Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez announced that Van Dyke was charged with first-degree murder and he turned himself in to authorities.  He was initially held without bail at Cook County Jail for six days.  On November 30, he was granted bail, set at $1,500,000. He posted $150,000—ten percent of the bail—and was released from jail.  On December 16, Van Dyke was indicted by a grand jury on six counts of first-degree murder and one count of official misconduct.  On December 29, 2015, Van Dyke pled not guilty to the charges.  If convicted of first-degree murder, Van Dyke faces a prison sentence of 20 years to life.

On June 27, 2017, three Chicago police officers were indicted for charges of conspiracy, obstruction of justice, and official misconduct for allegedly attempting to cover up the events surrounding the shooting.

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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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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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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.”

 

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Minneapolis prosecutors have announced there will be no charges filed against Ryan Kelly and Justin Schmidt, the two Minneapolis police officers who fatally shot 31-year-old Thurman Blevins as he was running away.  His death on June 23 led to protests across the city as activists decried the killing of yet another black man at the hands of white police officers.  The incident was captured in body-camera footage released by the city of Minneapolis a little over a month after Blevins was killed.

The officers were responding to a 911 call of a man who looked intoxicated, firing a gun in the air and at the ground.  The description given in the call was of a black male with a black backpack and a bottle of gin. Six feet tall, 180 pounds, tapered hair, wearing a white-and-gray tank top.  One video begins as Officers Kelly and Schmidt drive through a neighborhood in northern Minneapolis looking for the suspect.  “That’s kind of a really good description for that to be an actual legitimate call,” Schmidt says in the video. “But . . . then again.”

A few blocks from where the caller reported seeing the man, they spot Blevins sitting on the curb with a gray dog.  “He’s got a bottle of gin,” Schmidt says. “Is he . . . black tank top, tapered hair . . . yeah.” Then, with considerably more urgency in his voice, Schmidt says, “He’s got a gun.”  The car comes to an abrupt stop and both officers jump out.  Blevins springs from the curb and starts running, dropping the dog’s leash and nearly knocking over a woman with a stroller.   “Put your hands up! I will f—ing shoot you!” Schmidt yells.

Both officers chase after Blevins, shouting at him to stop and put his hands up.  “Come on, man. Come on, man. I didn’t do nothing, bro,” Blevins says as he runs.  “You’ve got a gun,” Schmidt responds.  “I don’t,” Blevins calls back.  “Yes, you do,” Schmidt replies “Put it down.”  Sprinting past a white picket fence, Blevins rounds a corner and turns down an alleyway.  “Homie, please,” he pants. “Please, don’t shoot me. Leave me alone.”  About 45 seconds into the chase, Schmidt starts firing and Blevins collapses. When the officers get closer, what appears to be a small handgun is lying on the ground near Blevins’s right hand.

In addition to the two officers’ body-camera videos, the city also released an “enhanced” version of the footage in which the gun police say he was carrying has been circled. The object is visible in Blevins’s pocket when the officers arrive at the scene, then in his hands when Schmidt opens fire.  Reactions to the video were mixed. Some argued that the officers had been justified in shooting Blevins, because he appeared to have a gun and had refused to drop it despite multiple warnings. Others argued that police should have done more to de-escalate the situation when they arrived at the scene.

Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman announced the decision at a news conference that was interrupted by protests.  In Freeman’s prepared remarks, which were released by his office, the prosecutor said there was “no basis to issue criminal charges against either officer,” because Blevins “fled from the officers with a loaded handgun, refused to follow their commands for him to stop and show his hands, and then took the gun out of his pocket and turned toward the officers.”  Freeman’s office also released a 21-page report further explaining the decision and concluding that Blevins “posed an immediate threat to the officers’ safety.”

The report outlined the findings of a state investigation, which included analyzing the body-worn cameras, forensic analysis of the gun and interviews with officers involved, along with witnesses. The findings were sent to Freeman, who reviewed it with three senior prosecutors to make the decision not to charge the officers.

 

 

 

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Aid groups say the toll from the collapse of a billion-dollar hydroelectric dam in Lao’s is far higher than the official figure of 27 dead and 131 missing. Despite a government ban on foreign media covering the disaster, the BBC reports the death toll could be closer to 300. Another 3,000 people are still stranded in homes surrounded by floodwaters and over 6,000 people have been displaced.  The dam collapse occurred around 8 p.m. on July 23rd and caused immediate flash flooding through the villages of Yai Thae, Hinlad, Ban Mai, Thasengchan, Tha Hin, and Samong, all in Sanamxay district.  Homes, roads and bridges were swept away.

The disaster has revived the debate about plans by the Laos government to boost the economy by building dozens of dams to export hydroelectricity to neighboring countries.  The South Korean company that is the main builder of the hydroelectric project has admitted that it knew the dam was deteriorating a day before it failed but the reason for the collapse remains unclear.  There are conflicting reports on when damages to the dam were first noticed, raising more questions on whether the order to evacuate villagers from their homes should have been issued earlier.  The portion of the dam that collapsed was reported to be a saddle dam—its official name was “Saddle ‘D’, an auxiliary structure used to hold water beyond what is held by the main dam”.

Emergency teams in southern Laos are continuing to search for survivors following the collapse of a dam, which released five billion cubic meters of water.  As floodwaters in began to recede, official sources said eight bodies had been recovered, while an official has suggested more than 1,100 people may still be unaccounted for.  Homes were swept away and farmland submerged when an auxiliary dam at the Xe Pian Xe Namnoy hydroelectric project collapsed.

An overwhelming amount of mud left behind is hampering search operations.  Some areas are inaccessible by boat, with helicopter flights being the only way to reach some communities.  Rescue efforts are further complicated by the fact that the area is densely forested with no mobile-phone coverage.  Roads that previously existed were washed away in the floods and thousands of people who fled their homes are packed into makeshift shelters.

Officials in northern Cambodia have ordered the evacuation of 25,000 people downriver of the collapsed dam, due to heavy flooding and rising water levels.  The Prime Minister of Laos, Thongloun Sisoulith, suspended his immediate meetings and travelled in person to the site.  Sisoulith also called in both the police and the army, declaring the area a disaster zone.  The local government requested emergency aid from neighboring communities.  The neighboring countries of China, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam have offered to provide any assistance needed by Laos.

 

 

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A disturbing report by the Associated Press reveals that Algeria has abandoned more than 13,000 migrants in the Sahara Desert over the past 14 months, including pregnant women and children.  The expelled migrants have been rounded up, sometimes at gunpoint, and forced to walk in the blistering heat with no food or water.  Survivors interviewed by the Associated Press say they were rounded up, crammed into trucks, driven into the desert and then dropped off and forced at gunpoint to walk into neighboring Niger without food or water. An unknown number of migrants have died during the journey.

The majority head to Niger, across a 10 mile trek through no-man’s-land in temperatures as high as 118 degrees. Some survive while others wander for days before a UN rescue squad can find them. Untold numbers perish; nearly all of the more than two dozen survivors interviewed by The Associated Press told of people in their groups who simply vanished into the Sahara.

Algeria’s mass expulsions have picked up since October 2017, as the European Union renewed pressure on North African countries to head off migrants going north to Europe via the Mediterranean Sea or the barrier fences with Spain.  Algeria provides no figures for its involuntary expulsions but the number of people crossing on foot to Niger has been increasing since the International Organization for Migration (IOM) started counting in May 2017.  An estimated total of 11,276 men, women and children survived the march.  At least another 2,500 were forced on a similar trek into neighboring Mali, with an unknown number succumbing along the way.

The migrants’ accounts are confirmed by videos collected by the Associated Press over several months, show hundreds of people stumbling away from lines of trucks and buses, spreading wider and wider through the desert.  They travel in crammed trucks for six to eight hours before being dropped in the desert and pointed in the direction of Niger.

In early June, 217 men, women and children were dropped off well before reaching the usual drop-off stop, dubbed Point Zero.  “There were people who couldn’t take it. They sat down and we left them. They were suffering too much,” said 18-year-old Aliou Kande from Senegal.  Kande said nearly a dozen people simply gave up, collapsing in the sand. His group of 1,000 also got lost and wandered for 11 hours in the heat of the desert. He never saw the missing people again.

Despite the threat of violence and expulsion, for many migrants, Algeria is a necessary transit point to recover their strength and to save enough money before attempting to continue their journey towards Europe. Algerian authorities have refused to comment on the AP’s revelations but has denied criticism that it is committing rights abuses by abandoning migrants in the desert in the past, calling the allegations a “malicious campaign” intended to inflame neighboring countries.

 

 

 

 

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A Denver man is recovering after he was shot when an off-duty FBI agent dropped his gun while doing a backflip in the middle of the dance floor at a downtown Denver bar.  Twenty-four year old Tom Reddington, was shot in the leg by the single round of gun fire.  The Denver Police Department is facing criticism because no charges have been filed.  They say they’re still waiting for pending lab results before deciding if the off-duty agent, Chase Bishop, will face charges in connection with the accidental shooting.

Reddington’s lawyer told news outlets that his client could have died if it weren’t for a quick thinking security guard who removed his belt and used it as a tourniquet.  He said the off-duty agent offered no help to Reddington immediately after the shooting and that his client will have to undergo vascular surgery to repair a major artery in his leg.

Bishop, 29, a Washington D.C.-based FBI agent, was visiting Denver for training.  While there he visited Mile High Spirits where he before accidentally fired his handgun after it fell from his holster when he executed a backflip trying to impress a crowd of onlookers.  Video of the incident shows the agent, Chase Bishop, dancing on the outdoor dance floor and then doing a back-flip.  While doing the flip, his gun falls from his holster.  He picks up his gun, which discharged a single round as he picked it up-and puts it back into his holster.

According to military records, Chase is a decorated war veteran who served in the army from November 2011 to February 2017.  He was deployed to Afghanistan in February 2013. He was an Army Intelligence Officer and achieved the rank of captain in October 2016.  Bishop was also twice awarded the Army Commendation Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, a Meritorious Unit Commendation and a Global War of Terrorism Service Medal, among others.

Legal experts are outraged that the Denver police and District Attorney have not filed charges in the incident even with video evidence of what transpired.  Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper also weighed it on the situation.  “Those instances where someone puts the public at risk, should have consequences.  Sources in the FBI have said that the agent will be held accountable and that his stupid actions should not tarnish the reputation of the agency.

Mile High Spirits released a statement in regards to the shooting.   It is shocking that the only shooting to ever occur at our establishment came about as a result of an FBI agent entering our distillery tasting room carrying a loaded firearm without our knowledge, in violation of our rules.”

While it is not illegal for off-duty agents of law enforcement branches to have concealed weapons in establishments that serve alcohol or that do not allow firearms- it is illegal for them to consume alcohol while carrying a weapon.