Black Lives Matter-Ugliness of Racism.

Serryah

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spaminator

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Sister of Montreal man who died while illegally jailed wants video footage released
Author of the article:Canadian Press
Canadian Press
Morgan Lowrie
Published Jan 31, 2023 • 3 minute read

MONTREAL — More than a month after her younger brother died, Sarafina Dennie says she still has trouble eating or sleeping.


She says she struggles to understand how her brother Nicous D’Andre Spring — a quiet person who loved boxing, music and playing with her young children — died at Montreal’s Bordeaux jail after an altercation with guards on Christmas Eve, a day after he was supposed to be released.


“It breaks my heart,” she said in a phone interview.

“It’s been over a month now, and we’re not really getting any answers at all. And we would love to get answers for why they did this to him. He did not deserve what they did.”

Spring, 21, was illegally detained at Montreal’s Bordeaux jail on Dec. 24 when guards fitted his head with a spit hood and pepper-sprayed him twice. He died in hospital.

Quebec’s Public Security Department has described Spring’s detention as “illegal” because he was ordered by a judge to be released on Dec. 23 but was still behind bars the next day when he suffered injuries leading to his death.


Dennie said the family has received little information from investigators about what happened inside the jail; she said much of what the family has learned has come from the news. She said they had neither heard from Spring nor known that his release had been ordered, adding that they didn’t know how close he had come to making it home for Christmas.

Now, she is calling on authorities to release any relevant video footage of the incident to her family — and to the public.

“I would like to have answers for what happened exactly to my brother, and to know what they did and why they did it,” she said. “We need justice.”

Dennie said Spring was well-loved, both in his Montreal community and within his family, who came from the Caribbean country of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines seeking a better life.


One of her last memories, she said, was of him showing up to help carry an oven into her home, a moment she remembers because of how much he loved Caribbean food.

Previous family statements have said Spring struggled with mental health issues, but his sister said Monday he was not “dangerous, aggressive, or harmful.”

“He was very loving, very kind, very quiet,” she said. “Not a rowdy person. You won’t even know he’s in the room unless you see him, that’s how quiet he is.”

The Canadian Civil Liberties Association says video footage exists, and that it should be released to the family.

“We do know that it has been reviewed and we do know that it is very disturbing,” executive director Noa Mendelsohn Aviv said in a phone interview.


Mendelsohn Aviv said there are many questions that need to be answered, including why Spring was still in detention when a judge had ordered him released, and why guards seemingly used the potentially dangerous combination of a spit hood and pepper spray.

Calls to release the Montreal jail video have come after authorities in the United States released video footage Friday showing Tyre Nichols being beaten by five Memphis police officers. The footage emerged one day after the officers were charged with murder in Nichols’s death.

Mendelsohn Aviv said the question of whether to publicly release violent footage to the public is not straightforward.

“On the one hand, you have a real need for sensitivity and considerate treatment of the footage of a person being treated violently by those in power, and on the other hand, the need for public transparency and accountability and a reckoning with what happened,” she said.


Speaking at a news conference on Tuesday, Mendelsohn Aviv said there is precedent in Canada for releasing videos from detention centres. She said prison videos of Ashley Smith, who choked herself to death on Oct. 19, 2007, in Grand Valley Institution, in Kitchener, Ont., were eventually released despite the objections of Correctional Service Canada.

Mendelsohn Aviv said she was hard-pressed to think of a compelling legal reason for authorities to refuse to release Spring’s video, “especially since the family is demanding it.”

Dennie, for her part, said she wants the public to see to footage to help ensure what happened to her brother doesn’t happen to anyone else.

“The public needs to see what they did,” she said of the authorities at the jail.
 

spaminator

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Canada Post honours Chloe Cooley with stamp ahead of Black History Month
Author of the article:Kevin Connor
Published Jan 31, 2023 • 1 minute read
Canada Post has unveiled a new Black History Month stamp honouring Chloe Cooley.
Canada Post has unveiled a new Black History Month stamp honouring Chloe Cooley. PHOTO BY HANDOUT /CANADA POST
Canada Post has unveiled a new Black History Month stamp honouring Chloe Cooley.


Canada Post says Cooley had a strong impact on the history of enslavement in Canada as her act of resistance in 1793, brought in legislation that would lead to the end of enslavement in Upper Canada.


Cooley was a Black woman slave who lived in Queenston, Upper Canada at a time when enslavement was on the rise.

Soon, attitudes toward slavery were shifting and the abolitionist movement was growing.

Slave owners afraid of losing their investment and property started selling their slaves.

Sergeant Adam Vrooman, who enslaved Chloe Cooley, did just that.

With the help of two men, Vrooman abducted Cooley and tied her up and dragged her to the shores of the Niagara River.

But Cooley was defiant but was overpowered and taken across the river to New York State and sold.

It’s not clear what happened to her after that.

Witnesses told what they saw to Lieutenant-Governor John Graves Simcoe, an avowed abolitionist.

He used their accounts to introduce new legislation.

On July 9, 1793, the Act to Limit Slavery in Upper Canada was passed.

Cooley herself did not benefit from the legislation.

In 1833, enslavement was officially abolished.
Black-History-Chloe-Cooley-Stamp-400P[1].jpg
 

spaminator

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D.C. arrests city employee over shooting death of 13-year-old
Author of the article:Associated Press
Associated Press
Ashraf Khalil.
Published Jan 31, 2023 • 2 minute read

WASHINGTON — Police arrested a D.C. city employee Tuesday over the fatal shooting of a 13-year old that has roiled community passions.


Jason Lewis, a longtime Parks and Recreation Department employee, turned himself in Tuesday morning to face charges of second-degree murder while armed. Lewis shot Karon Blake on Jan. 7, around 4 a.m., across the street from the middle school Blake attended.


The shooting prompted a fierce community response, with Metropolitan Police Department chief Robert Contee facing intense public pressure to either arrest the shooter or reveal their identity. Lewis. 41, was ordered held without bond until a Feb. 13 court appearance.

“The investigation took the amount of time that it needed to take,” Contee said Tuesday. “There was somewhat of a self-defense claim that needed to be overcome.”

The charges don’t hinge directly on the shots that killed Blake, but rather to an earlier gunshot that Lewis didn’t mention in his initial statement to police. The arrest warrant acknowledges that Blake was part of a group of youths apparently robbing parked cars, and that Blake apparently ran straight at Lewis before he opened fire from his property.


But it charges Lewis with setting off the violent chain of events with an earlier shot that he fired — one which Contee said “was not part of the initial discussion that we had,” when Lewis made his original statement to police.

Contee said multiple residents on the block came forward with video evidence from their own security cameras. The arrest warrant delves into a chilling level of detail from that footage, including Blake pleading after he was shot.

“The decedent (Blake) can then be heard yelling, ‘I am sorry’ numerous times, followed by ‘Please don’t’ and ‘No’ numerous times. The decedent yells, ‘I am a kid’ and ‘I am only 12′ numerous times,” it states.

That footage, which hasn’t been publicly released, showed Blake and his companions emerging from what turned out to be a stolen car and breaking into parked cars in Lewis’ Brookland neighborhood, the warrant claims. “They had flashlights, they were peering into cars and they were going into the cars,” Contee said.


Lewis is charged with firing first at the young man who remained seated in the stolen car. In the confusion after that first shot, Blake apparently ran directly at Lewis and was fatally wounded.

“The first shot was fired … at someone sitting in a vehicle who wasn’t an immediate threat,” Contee said Tuesday. This original shot, when Lewis had no claim of being personally under threat, was “where things really unraveled” and “put the chain of events into place” that resulted in Blake’s death, Contee said.

“I don’t know if (Blake) knew that Mr. Lewis was standing where he was standing,” he said.

The police chief encouraged the youths who were with Blake that night to come forward to police with their own testimony. But he stopped short Tuesday of promising any sort of amnesty from criminal charges.

“My assessment is that these young men obviously need some sort of intervention,” he said. “I want to make sure they get what they need.”

A statement from Lewis’ attorney, Lee Smith, maintained his innocence and said, “While this is certainly a tragedy, once all the facts are heard, I believe that a jury will find that there was no crime here.”
 

spaminator

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Mentally ill unarmed husband shot by police, wife's lawsuit alleges
Author of the article:Associated Press
Associated Press
Brian Melley
Published Jan 31, 2023 • 2 minute read

LOS ANGELES — A California widow whose husband was suffering from a mental health crisis when she called a non-emergency number for help last year sued Culver City police Tuesday, alleging they shot her unarmed husband in the back as he was running from officers.


Adriana Medina filed her civil rights and wrongful death lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the fatal shooting of Guillermo Medina on Dec. 18 in the Los Angeles suburb.


Medina was suffering from paranoid schizophrenia and hadn’t taken his medication in a couple of weeks when he showed up at his home and pounded on the windows, his wife said at a news conference.

She purposely avoided calling 911 and dialed the main number of the police station in hopes of having a mental health intervention. She told police she did not believe her husband was going to hurt anyone, according to the lawsuit.

“That cry for help became a death sentence,” attorney V. James DeSimone said.

A police spokesperson would not comment on pending litigation but a press release issued after the shooting said officers responded to a domestic violence call involving a husband threatening his wife with a handgun.


“There was no report of domestic violence,” DeSimone said. “There was no report that he was threatening her with a handgun. She never saw a gun.”

The conflicting statements from both police and Medina’s wife, along with grainy video of the shooting, make it too difficult to determine if the shooting was justified, said Ed Obayashi, a deputy sheriff and adviser to the Plumas County sheriff who investigates use of force incidents for police in California and nationwide.

Recordings of the call to police and what dispatchers relayed to officers will be crucial in determining the threat they may have perceived, he said.

“The most important factor is whether there was an immediate threat posed to the officers,” Obayashi said. “Assuming officers have been advised that there is a gun is a very relevant factor in determining if deadly force is justified.”


Guillermo Medina fled in a car when police arrived and then ran on foot after crashing into a median, police said in press release.

DeSimone presented a surveillance video from a building that showed Medina loping up to a utility pole and then dropping to his knees and rolling onto his back. Officers approached slowly and one appeared to handcuff him.

It appeared to take several minutes before first aid was rendered.

The coroner’s office determined the cause of death was homicide, DeSimone said.

The shooting is being investigated by the state attorney general’s office.

Adriana Medina said her husband was a good father who cooked for their children and coached them in youth soccer.

“The sudden loss of my husband has completely devastated my family and turned our life upside down,” she said. “I can’t believe he was taken away from us when what he really needed was help.”
 

The_Foxer

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but a press release issued after the shooting said officers responded to a domestic violence call involving a husband threatening his wife with a handgun.
I think the dispatchers are just saying that now with everything to protect officer's butts if there's a shooting.

"Adam-12, Adam-12, report of person urinating in public ... reported to be violent with a handgun.

"...report of lost child at 45th and bloor... reported to be violent with a handgun".

"Violent cat caught in tree... with a handgun. "

"accident on Crosby St, please attend and direct traffic while crews remove vehicle. Traffic is to be considered violent and armed... with a handgun".

This way if anything happens they can claim they thought there was a handgun involved.
 

Tecumsehsbones

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Heck, if you're gonna make up threats, go big!

"Suspect is a Black man, approximately six feet two, one hundred ninety pounds, carrying an atomic bomb in his waistband."
 

The_Foxer

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Heck, if you're gonna make up threats, go big!

"Suspect is a Black man, approximately six feet two, one hundred ninety pounds, carrying an atomic bomb in his waistband."
Just ONE atomic bomb? Pfffft.. let me finish my donut first.

And of course there's the 'embellished' after-action report.

"as we approached the suspect he was observed reaching into his back pocket and pulling out hitler, whom the threatened to throw at a small jewish child. He then charged us holding out a rabit pitt bull in an aggressive fashion and we fired several warning shots which he stood in front of, fatally injuring himself. Hitler fled the scene
 

Tecumsehsbones

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Just ONE atomic bomb? Pfffft.. let me finish my donut first.

And of course there's the 'embellished' after-action report.

"as we approached the suspect he was observed reaching into his back pocket and pulling out hitler, whom the threatened to throw at a small jewish child. He then charged us holding out a rabit pitt bull in an aggressive fashion and we fired several warning shots which he stood in front of, fatally injuring himself. Hitler fled the scene
Rookie.

Gotta throw in "Ah wuz AFEARED of mah LAF!"
 

spaminator

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Family of woman decapitated in Utah park awarded $10.5M
Esther Nakajjigo was a renowned Ugandan women's rights activist

Author of the article:Associated Press
Associated Press
Sam Metz
Published Feb 03, 2023 • 2 minute read

SALT LAKE CITY — The United States will pay family members of a Ugandan human rights activist killed in an accident at Arches National Park more than $10 million in damages, a federal judge ruled this week.


Though the amount was substantially less than pursued, attorneys representing the family of Esther Nakajjigo celebrated the judgement, saying it was the largest federal wrongful death verdict in Utah history.


“By his verdict, Judge Bruce Jenkins has shown the world how the American justice system works to hold its own government accountable and greatly values all lives, including that of Esther Nakajjigo, a remarkable young woman from Uganda,” Randi McGinn, the family’s attorney said in a statement.

Nakajjigo and her husband Ludovic Michaud were vacationing in eastern Utah, visiting the region’s national parks months after their wedding. Recreation areas had recently opened after pandemic-era closures and, on the edge of Arches, a metal gate normally secured with a lock was left untethered.


As the couple was leaving the park, gusts of wind swung the gate around rapidly, enough to slice through the passenger side door of the couple’s car, decapitating Nakajjigo as her husband sat feet away in the driver’s seat.

The gruesome nature of Nakajjigo’s death and the fact that she was a renowned Ugandan women’s rights activist drew widespread attention to the case.

Nakajjigo, who was 25, lived with her husband in Denver, where she moved to attend a leadership course on a full scholarship. She rose from poverty to become the host of a solutions-oriented reality television series in Uganda focused on empowering women on issues such as education and healthcare, and had successfully raised funds to build health care facilities in her hometown.


Because neither the U.S. nor Nakajjigo’s family disputed the facts of the case, the civil suit focused largely on the amount of damages merited. Attorneys representing Michaud and Nakajjigo’s parents asked for $140 million in damages, while the government said an appropriate award would be roughly $3.5 million.

Jenkins awarded Michaud $9.5 million; Nakajjigo’s mother, Christine Namagembe, $700,000; and her father, John Bosco Kateregga, $350,000.

Throughout the trial, attorneys debated estimates of Nakajjigo’s earnings potential. McGinn, representing Nakajjigo’s family, likened her to a nonprofit CEO for an American charity and said she would have likely made millions throughout her life. Attorneys representing the U.S. commended her work, yet noted her most recent job was working at a restaurant making $15 per hour.

In his judgement, Jenkins said the government had provided “a more reasonable projection” of Nakajjigo’s earnings potential.
 

spaminator

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School district apologizes for calling muddy snowman 'diverse'
Author of the article:Washington Post
Washington Post
Jonathan Edwards, The Washington Post
Published Feb 03, 2023 • 3 minute read

J.D. Fielding wasn’t bothered by the picture that his son’s school district posted to Facebook this week. It was sweet, he said – three boys smiling next to the dirt-encrusted snowman they’d made during recess at their elementary school in New York.


Then he saw the caption: “This snowman is just as diverse as our students!”


Fielding’s perspective shifted: Now the 48-year-old was looking at a dirty, brown snowman on the eve of Black History Month.

“I was a little shocked by what I saw,” he told The Washington Post.

Fielding, whose 11-year-old son attends fifth grade in Coxsackie-Athens Central School District in Coxsackie, N.Y., was upset and thought the post was racially insensitive. He was not alone. Several other parents criticized the post, which led the school district to take it down and apologize. Superintendent Randall Squier said the employee who wrote it didn’t mean to hurt anyone. Still, Squier promised a review of how district employees use social media.



“The word ‘diverse’ was used to describe how every kid can make a snowman differently and this variety of creativity should be celebrated. When it was commented that this post could be interpreted about race the post was taken down. We want to apologize and reiterate it was never intended to be hurtful,” Squier wrote Tuesday in a statement posted to the district’s website.

On Thursday, Squier told The Post that the employee who posted the photo and caption never meant for it to be about race and is “horrified” by the fallout. He declined to say whether the employee had been disciplined but said he was “giving that person grace.”

Fielding, who for three years has driven school buses for a company that contracts with the district, said he noticed the Facebook post a few minutes after it went up. Although the photo was benign, he was immediately floored by what he described as the racial insensitivity of the caption. Unsure of his reaction, he sent it to a few friends and fellow parents to get their opinions. Word came back quickly: They were equally if not more enraged, he said.


“A lot of people that saw it were like, ‘This is unbelievable,'” said Fielding, whose son is not in the photo.

The district took down the post nine minutes after publishing it, he added, but Pandora’s box had been opened. Screenshots of it swirled online, some ending up in comments on the district’s Facebook page. Local media coverage followed a few hours later.

“And so the outrage and the questions really came super fast,” he said.

Fielding said that, although he believes the employee who published the post meant no harm, it was “racially insensitive.” He plans to attend the school board’s meeting scheduled for next week and said he may bring it up there. If so, he suspects he won’t be alone, adding that it’s probably good that parents will have more than a week to cool off because a lot of them are really upset.


The “district has to be more responsible, and stop placing blame outside of themselves,” Fielding said, adding officials should “not blame the irresponsible post on a misinterpretation.”

Fielding said that, while he’s White, he has an adult son who is part Native American who suffered racism while he was going through school. Fielding said he endured a few indirect hits along the way.

“When you’re the parent of a biracial child … there’s some stigmas that go along with that,” he said. “Sometimes you’re not good enough, or you’re not enough or you’re too much of. And so there’s a stigma there.”

Those memories popped into his head on Tuesday, and he felt the stigma’s old familiar sting, he said.

“When I saw this image and being referred to as a dirty snowman, that was the way that I took it.”
 

spaminator

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Food vendor under fire for serving chicken, watermelon for Black History Month
Author of the article:Liz Braun
Published Feb 06, 2023 • 1 minute read

Food vendor Aramark has embarrassed itself — yet again — with a culturally tone-deaf meal served to middle school students for Black History Month.


People Magazine reports that on Feb. 1, students at a Nyack, N.Y. school were served chicken, waffles and watermelon for lunch, a meal that was served after the district’s food vendor changed the original lunch menu without notice.


School principal David Johnson told parents in a letter sent last week, “We are extremely disappointed by this regrettable situation and apologize to the entire Nyack community for the cultural insensitivity displayed by our food service provider.

“I am disappointed that Aramark would serve items that differed from the published monthly menu. Especially items that reinforce negative stereotypes concerning the African-American Community.”

Aramark apologized, calling the menu incident a mistake in a formal statement that included their intent, “to deepen understanding on the impact of systemic biases and negative stereotypes concerning the African-American Community.


Aramark has done this before.

In 2018, the company served NYU students a “Black History Month Menu” with ribs, collard greens, cornbread, smashed yams, mac and cheese, red Kool-Aid and watermelon-flavoured water. There were complaints.

In 2011, the food-service company offered students at the University of California Irvine a “MLK Holiday Special: Chicken and Waffles,” according to the Los Angeles Times.

There were complaints then, too.

At the time, officials with Aramark Corp said they would conduct cultural sensitivity training for all managers and chefs.
 

spaminator

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Suspect in power grid plot embraced racist ideology, family says
Author of the article:Associated Press
Associated Press
Lea Skene
Published Feb 09, 2023 • 5 minute read

NORTH EAST, Md. — A woman accused of plotting an attack on Baltimore’s power grid wanted to draw attention to the white supremacist ideology she embraced during years spent in prison, where she acquired a Swastika tattoo and increasingly radical, racist views, family said.

Sarah Beth Clendaniel, who believed her days were numbered because of serious health conditions, allegedly conspired with a Florida-based neo-Nazi leader, planning to shoot out several electrical substations around Baltimore and create chaos in the majority-Black city.


“She’s going out with a bang,” her nephew Daniel Clites told The Associated Press.

Clendaniel’s recent arrest thwarted the planned attack, but the case has garnered national attention as authorities say the American power grid could become a vulnerable target for domestic terrorists.

In announcing charges against Clendaniel and her co-defendant earlier this week, federal authorities referenced “hate-fueled violence” but declined to specify how the suspects sought to fulfill a racist motive. Recent comments from Clendaniel’s relatives provide more insight.

“She would have no problem saying she’s racist,” Clites said. “She wanted to bring attention to her cause.”

Clites said he disagreed with her extremist views, as did her mother, Lanette Clendaniel. They said her descent into neo-Naziism occurred against a backdrop of mental health issues and drug addiction that sometimes landed her in prison.

“I knew what she believed, and she knew what I believed,” said Lanette, who’s raising two of Clendaniel’s children. “There was nothing I could do.”

She said arguing with her daughter was useless. “But my philosophy is that we all live on this planet, so we better get along,” she added.

Clendaniel befriended other white supremacists over the years — including her co-defendant Brandon Russell, who helped establish Atomwaffen Division, an obscure neo-Nazi group based in Florida. The group’s mission is civilizational collapse, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Together, they were planning to target five electrical substations situated in a ring around Baltimore, according to prosecutors. Both have been charged with conspiracy to destroy an energy facility.

Since her arrest last week, Clendaniel, 34, expects to die behind bars because her health is failing, according to her mother and nephew.

She allegedly told an FBI informant she wanted to “accomplish something worthwhile” before her death. In a document investigators compared to a manifesto, which mentioned Hitler and other terrorists, Clendaniel wrote she would give up “everything” to create “a chance for our cause to succeed,” according to a criminal complaint unsealed earlier this week.

“It would probably permanently completely lay this city to waste,” she told the informant, according to prosecutors.

A Maryland public defender assigned to her case didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment Thursday.

Before her latest arrest, Clendaniel was living in suburban Baltimore County, where she remained under parole supervision from a 2016 robbery case. She recently visited her mother and other relatives, including her children.

Lanette and Clites spoke during an interview Wednesday at their home in Cecil County where Clendenial grew up.

An overwhelmingly white, conservative enclave in the northeast corner of Maryland bordering both Delaware and Pennsylvania, Cecil County sits about an hour outside Baltimore. The area has a history of Ku Klux Klan activity, even in recent decades.

In 2013, local officials allowed a local KKK group to meet inside a county administration building, according to an AP report. And in 1992, local Klan members were met with angry protesters when they held a Fourth of July recruitment drive at a nearby coastal city.

Clites said Clendaniel would mock KKK members for being “dumb racists.”

After losing her father, a railroad worker who died in a car crash in 1999, Clendaniel struggled with trauma and spent much of her adolescence in institutions, including psychiatric placements and alternative schools, Lanette said.

As a teenager, Clendaniel was arrested for robbing a Cecil County convenience store with a butcher knife. Arresting officers noted “track marks, cuts and infections” on both her arms. She was pregnant at the time, and her attorney said she was receiving methadone treatment, according to The Cecil Whig.

She gave birth to her first child behind bars.

“The prison system is just a revolving door, just another fallen system,” Lanette said. “There’s no real help” for people facing addiction.

Sometime after her release in 2008, Clendaniel moved to Iowa. There, she dated a man with substance abuse issues and white supremacist connections, court records show. He later landed in federal prison and Clendaniel returned to Maryland.

In 2016, she was arrested at the same convenience store in her hometown, this time for brandishing a machete and demanding cash. Police said she had a crack pipe, hypodermic needles and various pills in her possession. She later pleaded guilty to robbery and was sentenced to nine years in prison.

Meanwhile, Russell was arrested in 2017 after Florida law enforcement officers responded to a double homicide involving his roommates and discovered bomb-making materials in the garage. A third roommate confessed to the killings, saying he wanted to prevent a planned terrorist attack targeting U.S. infrastructure. He said Russell, who was then serving in the Florida National Guard, knew nothing about the killings. Russell pleaded guilty to explosives charges.

An attorney representing Russell didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment Thursday.

Sometime in 2018, while Clendaniel and Russell were incarcerated in separate prisons, they struck up a correspondence, according to federal investigators.

Officials declined to define the relationship or detail how they got in touch, but the criminal complaint says they discussed having kids together. Text messages linked to Russell included a statement that “going to prison was worth it because I might not have met you otherwise.”

Clendaniel had recently mentioned Russell, but gave no indication they were plotting an attack, her mother said. She also mentioned recent power grid attacks in other states.

Lanette said she’s been too busy raising her grandchildren to worry much about her daughter’s personal life and increasingly radical views.

Despite their contrasting ideologies, they found common ground in supporting Donald Trump and his anti-establishment politics.

Since her daughter’s arrest last week, Lanette said she’s leaned heavily into her Christian faith.

“The Lord has a plan for each and every one of us,” she said. “I’m just taking one day at a time.”
 

spaminator

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Toronto cop charged with manslaughter, aggravated assault in teen's death
Two off-duty officers interacted with Facey in Brampton on April 26, 2021

Author of the article:Canadian Press
Canadian Press
Tyler Griffin
Published Feb 10, 2023 • 4 minute read

A Toronto Police officer who allegedly confronted a teen after being sold a fake Apple Watch has been charged with manslaughter and aggravated assault in his death — a development the young man’s family called an important step in understanding what happened.


The Special Investigations Unit said Friday it had reasonable grounds to believe Const. Calvin Au, who was off-duty at the time, committed criminal offences in the death of 19-year-old Chadd Facey. The teen died hours after interacting with the officer, the SIU said.


An SIU investigation found that two off-duty Toronto Police officers met and interacted with Facey in Brampton, Ont., on April 26, 2021, the SIU said.

“Later that day, Mr. Facey was transported to hospital by ambulance where he was subsequently pronounced deceased,” the SIU wrote in a statement.

Au is charged with one count of manslaughter and one count of aggravated assault. He is set to appear before the Ontario court of justice in Brampton on March 2.


Toronto Police said Au, 33, has been with the force for eight and a half years and was most recently assigned to its 55 Division. He will be immediately suspended as a result of the charges per the Police Services Act, it said.


Toronto Police disciplinary documents show that Au and fellow Const. Gurmakh Benning are both facing separate misconduct charges related to the their conduct during and after the interaction with Facey, as well as their failure to report their involvement.

Those disciplinary charges have not yet been tested at the police tribunal and police said that investigation will resume once criminal proceedings end. Benning has not been criminally charged.

According to the disciplinary documents, Au and Benning met with Facey in Brampton to buy an Apple Watch the teen had advertised on Kijiji. After the transaction, Au realized the watch was a fake and Benning drove to catch up with Facey, confronted him and demanded his money back, the documents allege.


They allege Au got out of the car and pursued Facey, who was running away, on foot. Benning allegedly told Facey to give him the money back and when Benning reached for it, Au allegedlytook the teen to the ground.

The documents allege Au “engaged in a struggle with the male on the ground” and “continued to try to maintain physical control of the male as the male continued to try to get up off the ground.”

When another man approached the area, Au and Benning allegedly ran to their car and drove away.

Documents related to Benning’s conduct allege he called 911 to report a “Kijiji deal that had gone bad” but did not identify himself as a police officer and later told the operator the matter had been resolved.


After Facey’s death at Brampton Civic Hospital, Peel police began an investigation and reviewed the teen’s phone records, which identified that Benning had interacted with him on the day of his death. Benning later told Peel police that Au had also been present when the incident took place.

“Neither you nor PC Benning notified anyone with the Toronto Police Service about your involvement in the incident in Brampton,” the documents state. “Your actions were discovered as a result of another Police Service’s investigation.”

Toronto police said it immediately notified the SIU once it learned about the off-duty incident in August 2021 — four months after it allegedly took place — and it will continue to fully co-operate through the court proceedings.


The internal investigation has been suspended while the criminal proceedings are ongoing, police said.

Toronto police will also conduct an administrative investigation by the police chief, as required by provincial legislation whenever the SIU investigates a case involving death.

“Any recommendations from these investigations with respect to procedures, governance and conduct will be carefully considered,” said Social Media Relations Officer Victor Kwong.

“As the matter is before the court, the service will have no further comment at this time.”

Au’s lawyer, Peter Brauti, said he and his client “are obviously disappointed that the SIU laid these charges.”

Lawyers representing Facey’s family said the Brampton teen suffered serious injuries, including to his head, as the result of the alleged assault by Au.

In a statement, Falconers LLP wrote that Facey’s mother, Fay Fagan, said her family has been waiting a long time to find out what happened.

“It has been clear to our family that there was some kind of misconduct that had occurred in respect of Chadd’s death,” she said. “We are happy to finally see that the officer is being held accountable for his actions.”

Asha James, the lawyer representing Facey’s family, said the charges represent an important first step for the family’s understanding of what happened.

“It is a clear message that whether on duty or off-duty, police are not immune from being held accountable for their wrongful conduct,” she wrote in a statement.

“This family has been suffering endlessly for two years, trying to understand what happened to Chadd and we are content that today, those responsible will be held to account for his death.”

When asked about the charges against Au, Toronto Police Association President Jon Reid said “any death is tragic and impacts everyone involved.”

“We will continue to ensure our member is treated fairly throughout the process,” he wrote in a statement.
 

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Man pleads guilty to racial harassment of neighbors
Author of the article:Associated Press
Associated Press
Published Feb 10, 2023 • 1 minute read

LEXINGTON, Mass. — A Massachusetts man has pleaded guilty to repeatedly tossing banana peels onto his neighbors’ property in what prosecutors said was a case of racial harassment, and to having more than 70 guns in his home that he was not legally allowed to possess.


Robert Ivarson, 55, of Lexington was sentenced to up to nine years in prison earlier this month after pleading guilty in Middlesex Superior Court to criminal harassment, a criminal civil rights violation and more than 100 weapons charges, District Attorney Marian Ryan said in a statement Thursday. He was also ordered to have no contact with the victims and undergo a mental health evaluation and any recommended treatment.


A message seeking comment was left with Ivarson’s attorney.

Ivarson was arrested in December 2016 after a Black family from Haiti in his neighborhood reported finding banana peels on their property on 30 to 40 occasions over several months, authorities said. Police even saw him throw the peels in the days prior to his arrest.


Investigators during two court-athorized searches of Iverson’s home in January and October 2017 found 73 guns, including handguns, assault rifles, an Uzi, large-capacity magazines and tens of thousands of rounds of ammunition, the district attorney said. Authorities also found Confederate, KKK and Nazi paraphernalia in the home, authorities said.

Ivarson has been prohibited from possessing firearms since the 1990s because of various criminal convictions, prosecutors said.

“Mr. Ivarson targeted his neighbors because of their race,” Ryan said in a statement. “His repeated throwing of banana peels into their driveway was terrorizing and caused them to feel unsafe in their own home.”
 

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Suit seeks arrest of white woman in 1955 Emmett Till kidnapping
Author of the article:Associated Press
Associated Press
Emily Wagster Pettus
Published Feb 10, 2023 • 3 minute read

JACKSON, Miss. — A relative of Emmett Till is suing to try to make a Mississippi sheriff serve a 1955 arrest warrant on a white woman in the kidnapping that led to the brutal lynching of the Black teenager.


The torture and killing of Till that summer in the Mississippi Delta became a catalyst for the civil rights movement after his mother insisted on an open-casket funeral in Chicago and Jet magazine published photos of his mutilated body.


Last June, a team doing research at the courthouse in Leflore County, Mississippi, found an unserved 1955 arrest warrant for Carolyn Bryant, listed on that document as “Mrs. Roy Bryant.”

Till’s cousin Patricia Sterling of Jackson, Mississippi, filed a federal lawsuit Tuesday against the current Leflore County sheriff, Ricky Banks. The suit seeks to compel Banks to serve the warrant on Carolyn Bryant, who has since remarried and is named Carolyn Bryant Donham.

“We are using the available means at our disposal to try to achieve justice on behalf of the Till family,” Sterling’s attorney Trent Walker told The Associated Press on Friday.


The AP left a phone message for Banks on Friday, seeking comment. The sheriff did not immediately respond. Court records showed that the lawsuit had not been served on him by Friday.

Till, who was 14, had traveled south from Chicago to visit relatives in Mississippi in August 1955. Donham accused him of making improper advances on her at a grocery store in the small community of Money. A cousin of Till who was there has said Till whistled at the woman, an act that flew in the face of Mississippi’s racist social codes of the era.

Evidence indicates a woman, possibly Donham, identified Till to the men who later killed him. The arrest warrant against Donham was publicized in 1955, but the Leflore County sheriff at the time told reporters that he did not want to “bother” the woman since she was raising two young children.


Weeks after Till’s body was found in a river, her husband Roy Bryant and his half-brother J.W. Milam were tried for murder and acquitted by an all-white jury. Months later, the men confessed in a paid interview with Look magazine.

Now in her late 80s, Donham has lived in North Carolina in recent years. She has not commented publicly on calls for her prosecution.

The U.S. Justice Department announced in December 2021 that it had ended its latest investigation into the lynching of Till, without bringing charges against anyone.

After researchers found the arrest warrant last June, the office of Mississippi Attorney General Lynn Fitch said in July there was no new evidence to try to pursue a criminal case against Donham. In August, a district attorney said a Leflore County grand jury had declined to indict Donham.


Walker, the attorney for Till’s cousin, said Friday that the South has a history of cases of violence that were not brought to justice until decades later — including the 1963 assassination of Mississippi NAACP leader Medgar Evers, for which white supremacist Byron de la Beckwith was convicted of murder in 1994.

“But for Carolyn Bryant falsely claiming to her husband that Emmett Till assaulted her Emmett would not have been murdered,” Sterling’s lawsuit says. “It was Carolyn Bryant’s lie that sent Roy Bryant and J.W. Milam into a rage, which resulted in the mutilation of Emmett Till’s body into (an) unrecognizable condition.”