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What we know about Elijah McClain’s killing

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Elijah McClain's

Last August, 23-year-old Elijah McClain was stopped by police in Aurora, Colorado as he was returning from a convenience store. The Aurora Police Department later claimed that a 911 caller identified “suspects” to the ski mask, when he was approached with a McClain — who was not army and had committed no crime — he “resisted arrest.” In the intervening 15 minutes, the police tackled McClain on the ground, held him in a carotid array and called first respondents who injected him with ketamine. On his way to the hospital, he suffered a heart attack, and died days later, after his brain suffered been pronounced dead.

McClain ‘s family argues that the use of unnecessary force by the law enforcement officers resulted in his death. Nevertheless, the officers were eventually released from their crimes on the basis of questionable body-camera video and a supposedly unreliable autopsy. The case of McClain has drawn more attention through nationwide demonstrations against racial injustice and the brutal methods frequently used by the police against Black citizens.

That is what we know about Elijah McClain.

McClain was stopped on his way home from getting his brother’s iced tea.

Just after 10:30 p.m. Aurora Police received a call on 24 August 2019 about a ‘suspect’ wearing a mask and shaking his hands. Three officers were dispatched — Nathan Woodyard, Jason Rosenblatt and Randy Roedema — who later said McClain “resisted” contact and proceeded on the block.

McClain ‘s family said that the 23-year-old had made a short visit to the grocery store to take his brother an iced tea. His sister later claimed to an ABC news affiliate, Denver7, that McClain wore an open face ski mask, “he had anemia and sometimes he was cold.” And while he was unarmed, he only walked back home, and, his sister said, listening to the radio, the police said, “A fight erupted.” “Because of the physical force used in the restraint of the subject and its emotional agitation, officers called Aurora First Responder who, according to a local NBC affiliate, implemented life-saving measures. Paramedics shot McClain with the “therapeutic” amount to sedate him as police held him down.

During the way to the hospital, McClain suffered a cardiac arrest and was taken away from life during 30 August. His family said he was brain dead and riddled in bruises at the time.

Arrest body camera video hasn’t been released for months.

The ADP did not report the indictment until the end of November, months after the death of McClain, to the press. The video shows an officer admitting that McClain had not done anything wrong before his arrest; another accuses McClain of hitting his weapons. In the meantime, McClain can be heard telling the police officers to pause, to justify why they decided to arrest him, because he “stopped [his] listening music.” He tells them his name, says he has no identification card, but no arms, and says that his house ‘is right there.’ He sobs, vomits, and excuses: ‘I haven’t tried to do that,’ he says. “I just can’t breathe properly.” One of those officers could also be heard asking McClain if he was “messing” around, pretending to display excessive strength as officers attempted to hold his arms down.

However, none of the protocol of the officers can be seen, as all their body cams apparently fell during their arrest. But if you replay the video about 15 minutes later (warning: the video includes strong and unsettling contents), you will see someone taking the body camera and pointing it to McClain and one of the officers before tossing it back into the grass. One of the officers appears to say at about 15:34, “Leave your phone.”

Initially, an autopsy identified McClain’s cause of death as “undetermined.”

The autopsy of McClain also posed concerns. At the beginning of November, the Adams County Coroner reported that it wasn’t clear if his death was an accident, carotid-related suicide, or a result of natural causes. McClain’s cause of death was identified by the coroner as ‘undetermined,’ but he pointed to bleeding and abrasions in various parts of his body. The report’s wording appeared to take McClain ‘s obligations and suggest that “an idiosyncratic drug reaction (an unpredictable drug reaction even at a therapeutic level) can not be ruled out” in relation to ketamine dose.

“The decedent clashed violently with police who attempted to arrest him,” it was said according to Denver 7 ABC. “The physical activity of the decedent most certainly led to death. It is uncertain if the conduct of the officer has also led.

As McClain ‘s lawyer Mari Newman said, “If the police had not targeted Elijah McClain, it would be alive today, whatever the news reports.”

And all the officers involved were cleared of misconduct.

The APD put Woodyard, Rosenblatt and Roedema immediately following the incident on a paid administrative leave. On 22 November the prosecutors of Adams County announced that they would not indict the trio who then returned to their regular duties. According to Sentinel, District Attorney Dave Young told Aurora Chief Police Officer Nick Metz in a letter that “Based on the investigation and the existing statute in Colorado, the possibility of any state crimes being proven beyond the scope of reasonable doubt in the proceedings is not fair. As a result of this incident no state criminal charges will be filed.

Metz subsequently called McClain ‘s actions “unprofessional,” and said the statement “was addressed to the officer through written redress.” Newman told Sentinel, meanwhile: “If Aurora feels that it’s acceptable, the city will be petrified. They are fooled but not shocked that, again, the law enforcement officers aren’t convicted criminally of murdering an innocent Black man.

On July 3, only one officer was dismissed but did not engage in the death of McClain personally (see below); the APD reassigned Woodyard and Rosenblatt quietly to “non-executions assignments” on June 13, followed by Roedema on June 20. The APD did not respond to the comment request of the Cut, but a spokesman told Fox 31 Denver that the concern for the safety of the officers was the reason for the decision. Department workers and city leaders recently received death threats, a spokesman told CNN.

In recent weeks, McClain ‘s case has drawn scrutiny.

Notwithstanding local media reporting and some modest demonstrations, McClain ‘s death was not widely covered in the press until the killing of George Floyd triggered mass protests against racially motivated police brutality. Since then, a petition from Change.org asking for “Justice for Elijah McClain” has gained almost 2 million signatures. A increase in popularity since McClain ‘s name is posted in the social media and has converted thousands of emails and calls to D.A at protests. Young ‘s office, and hundreds of police reports lodged. All seems to produce a immediate improvement.

While Young said he did not plan to reopen the case last week, on 9 June, City Manager Jim Twombly agreed to conduct an independent investigation into McClain ‘s death on Aurora ‘s request. The council members Allison Hiltz, Curtis Gardner, and Angela Lawson said in an email to Twombly, “We’ve been following the events over the last few days and it is now clear that public confidence has been undermined.” “We know that the status quo of our criminal justice system is no longer reasonable. Our society has suffered and it is our duty as leaders to take the first step towards restoring public confidence.

Initially, Twombly appointed Eric Daigle, a former police officer, to lead the study, a decision which prompted the city council to fight back.

The council said in a statement, “Unfortunately, an attorney with a extensive law enforcement background, specializing in defending local police forces from liability lawsuits does not, in our opinion, qualify as a neutral study.” Mayor Mike Coffman of Aurora then announced the termination of Daigle ‘s contract and the appointment of a replacement by himself and the Council.

Aurora Interim Chief of Police Vanessa Wilson announced on June 9 that officers will be prohibited to use carothy grips and allowed to interfere when another officer sees the use of excessive force. They must also state their intention to shoot before they fire their weapons. In fact , two members of the Council of Aurora are moving to prohibit chokeholds, and carotids are part of the city ‘s control.

And now, the General Prosecutor investigates the case.

On June 25, Colorado governor Jared Polis signed an executive order naming State Attorney General Phil Weiser to review the case and “penally prosecute individuals whose conduct resulted in the death of Elijah McClain, if the evidence warrant the proceedings.”

“I was moved to talk to the mother of Elijah and her portrayal of her son as a caring and peculiar boy … who could inspire the darkest soul,” said Polis in a statement. “They should be alive today, Elijah McClain, and we owe it to his family to take this action and bring justice on his behalf to the police.”

“For the McClain family, my heart breaks as a parent,” Polis said. “All Coloradans should walk away from the grocery store, or only listen to the headphones in their own neighbourhoods. Sadly, I know that’s not how many people today – particularly vibrant young people – feel about our state, because I have heard it directly from them. We have to do a better job and they deserve an in-depth review of the case at least.
On 24 June, Coffman announced that the City Council would meet on 6 July, after Daigle had been dropped, for a vote naming a new independent enquirer.
Less than a month later, 11 August, A.G. Weiser also announced that his agency is carrying out a “few weeks now” investigation into the Police Department of Aurora and its “patterns and procedures” beyond McClain ‘s death.

One of the officers involved was shot — with an unsuitable photo.

On July 3, Chief Interim Police Officer Wilson confirmed that she had shot photographs taken for a McClain memorial last October from Rosenblatt and two other officers. Jaron Jones, another soldier, resigned on Tuesday.

In the photos Jones shows a teasing imitation of McClain ‘s grip with his arm wrapped around the neck of Officer Kyle Dittrich. Both officers smile while Erica Marrero sits on her back. Rosenblatt did not take part in the shot, although, according to the New York Times, he did text back “haha” when somebody sent it to him. On 3 July, Wilson said Rosenblatt “was shot for his… complete inability here to do what was right.” Wilson noted that Woodyard had viewed the photos, felt ‘extraordinarily upset’ and deleted them.

As for Marrero and Dittrich, Wilson added: “It’s not acceptable, to even talk about doing such a thing, and it’s reprehensible. It shows a lack of moral standards and dignity.

“We know there are ethics of police. You recognize the responsibility and honor. Just four don’t, “said Wilson. “We no longer deserve to wear badges.”

Speaking at the news conference, Newman, a McClain family lawyer, drew a comparison with “The South Jim Crow, where white supremacists found it funny to take photos of themselves with lynched men.”

“That’s exactly what we saw today,” said Newman. “So, it is not acceptable, now it is not acceptable.”

During McClain ‘s arrest, the Colorado Department of Health investigates the use of ketamine.

CBS Denver announced on Tuesday 28 July that the Colorada Department of Public Health and the Environment reopened an investigation into the way a paramedic injected McClain in his violent arrest and his eventual death with 500 milligrams of ketamine. The Department has also published additional information about how the medication was administered.

“The Department received several concerns, starting 24 June 2020 and providing additional details on administration of ketamine in August 2019,” Peter Myers, CDPHE’s Speaker for Health Facility Education and Safety Directorate, told Complex.

And his father has sued Aurora, Colorado for civil rights.

According to CNN, McClains family filed a complaint against Aurora on 11 August alleging that “the city’s illegal conduct on the night of 24 August 2019 is part of a broader tradition, policy and practice of racism and violence expressed both in its actions before and after the murder of a young Blackman Elijah McClain.”

The complaint names defendant members of the police department including the officers involved in the accidental death of McClain, and Aurora Fire Rescue. It suggests that McClain, who had not been accused of crimes as violently as police had, should not be detained and that he should not be injected with a “huge dose of ketamine.” This implies that McClain ‘s arrest is a result of racial discrimination, which is reflected in the inability by the town to “discipline” the parties responsible for his death. In addition, the prosecutions point to a recent, violent police response to peaceful protesters.

The lawyer representing the victims, Mari Newman, said she was planning to bring the case ‘to keep Aurora cops, police and paramedics accountable representing [McClain’s] assassination and compel Aurora to alter its long-standing violent and discriminatory culture of policing.’

The family and friends of McClain described him as very gentle and polite.

McClain worked as a music therapist, teaching himself both the guitar and the violin. According to the Sentinel, he also spent his lunch breaks at local animal shelters, playing cats and dogs shows, because he felt that music would help to ease their worries. He was characterized by those who knew him as being gentle: “I don’t even think he would trap the mouse, if a rodent problem existed,” his friend Eric Behrens told the Sentinel.

He also had interactions with his massage customers, including April Young, who told Sentinel, “He had a childlike nature …. He’s never put in, like. He was who he was. “He was who he was.”
“He was the sweetest and purest guy I’ve ever known,” said Marna Arnett, another of his friends and former customers. “He was always a light in a lot of darkness.” Arnett claims that wearing a mask helped him control his social anxiety in addition to helping him handle a constant depression that McClain attributed to his anaemia. “He ‘d hide behind the mask,” said Arnett. “Protection was always for him. This made him in the outside world more relaxed.

His mother, Sheneen McClain, described her son as extremely dedicated while speaking to CBSN Denver. “I thank God that he was my son because he was just born, you know what I said when he brought life into my heart. “She said. She said. “I know that he always gave life to others.”

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Pedestrian from Aurora hit, killed on interstate in Louisiana

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Pedestrian from Aurora hit, killed on interstate in Louisiana

SULPHUR, La. — A Colorado man walking across Interstate 10 at night in southwest Louisiana was hit and killed by an SUV, Louisiana State Police said Monday.

David Joseph Williams, 48, of Aurora, was hit about 7:45 p.m. Sunday — about a half-hour after sunset — according to a news release.

Trooper First Class Derek Senegal said Williams tried to cross the interstate after he and another person had pulled over their 2014 Jeep about 7 miles west of the exit for the town of Sulphur.

The statement did not say why the Jeep was pulled over or why Williams was crossing the highway’s westbound lanes.

He was pronounced dead at the scene.

The driver of the 2020 Lexus SUV was not injured and impairment is not suspected, state police said.

The crash remains under investigation.

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What Is Evergrande and Why Are US Investors Panicked Over Its Meltdown?

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What Is Evergrande and Why Are US Investors Panicked Over Its Meltdown?
Evergrande is best known for its residential property projects across China. STR/AFP via Getty Images

Chinese real estate giant Evergrande Group is having a Lehman Brothers moment this week. Its imminent financial meltdown is infuriating lenders and its own employees while sending shockwaves through global markets.

Hong Kong’s Heng Seng Index dropped more than 800 points, or 3.3 percent, on Monday, as investors panicked over Evergrande’s prospect of defaulting on its more than $300 billion of debt without a Beijing bailout.

The Dow Jones and S&P 500 indexes also nosedived Monday on China fears.

What is Evergrande?

Evergrande is one of China’s largest real estate developers. Headquartered in China’s tech hub, Shenzhen, the company employs 200,000 people and sustains 3.8 million jobs in related industries, according to its website.

The Hong Kong-listed conglomerate is best known for its residential property projects across China, owning more than 1,300 projects in more than 280 cities. In recent years, Evergrande’s business portfolio has also extended to include theme parks, sports teams, electric vehicles and consumer goods.

Evergrande’s founder, Xu Jiayin (Hui Ka Yan in Cantonese), was once China’s richest man. Forbes estimates he’s worth $13 billion as of 2021.

What Is the Trouble About?

As its business empire grew, Evergrande also became China’s most indebted developer in recent years as a result of aggressive borrowing. Over time it has accumulated $305 billion in liabilities to Chinese banks, foreign investors and its own employees. (Lehman Brothers had $617 billion in debt when it filed for bankruptcy in 2008.)

This month, Evergrande has a few major interest payments coming up. On Thursday, it’s due to pay $83.5 million in interest on its March 2022 dollar bond. It has another $47.5 million payment due on September 29 relating to a batch of March 2024 notes.

But Evergrande doesn’t seem to have the cash to pay its bills. Both bonds would default if the company fails to settle the interest within 30 days of the scheduled payment dates.

Evergrande has been scrambling to raise funds to ease the cash crunch by putting some of its assets up for sale and even borrowing money from its employees. According to the New York Times, earlier this year it told employees that they would lose their bonuses unless they gave the company a “short-term loan,” which were packaged as high-interest investment products.

Why Is Everyone Panicked?

This month, Evergrande suddenly stopped paying back thousands of employees who had loaned money to the company, prompting protests at its Shenzhen headquarters last week.

In a regulatory filing on September 14, the company said it was having trouble finding buyers for some of its assets and had brought on financial advisers to help assess the situation. Meanwhile, Bloomberg reported that Chinese authorities had told major banks that hold Evergrande bonds that they wouldn’t receive their September interest payments.

Evergrande’s Hong Kong shares have tumbled more than 80 percent year to date. As liquidation risk Wall Street analysts fear that a collapse of this size could send a seismic effect through the entire Chinese economy and the global financial market.

In a note last week, Goldman Sachs analysts said it’s difficult to predict a recovery path for Evergrande due to “the complexity” of its business structure “and the lack of sufficient information on the company’s assets and liabilities.”

Optimists expect the Chinese government to intervene soon and offer some sort of a financial bailout. Yet Beijing has so far stayed quiet.

Earlier this month, ratings agencies Fitch and Moody’s both downgraded Evergrande, citing its liquidity issues. “We view a default of some kind as probable,” Fitch wrote in a note.

What Is Evergrande and Why Are US Investors Panicked Over Its Meltdown?

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Tourists claim their alleged attack on Asian hostess was instigated by use of the N-word, lawyer says

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Asian hostess attacked

A lawyer representing a woman who was part of group of Black female tourists who allegedly physically attacked an Asian restaurant hostess in New York City has claimed the employee instigated the physical altercation by using a racial slur.

The initial report: The scuffle broke out in the Upper West Side after the Asian hostess asked the three diners from Texas to show proof of vaccination before entering Carmine’s Italian restaurant in Upper West Side on Thursday, Sept. 16, NBC News New York reported.

  • Kaeita Nkeenge Rankin, 44, her 21-year-old niece Tyonnie Keshay Rankin — both from Humble, Texas — and 49-year-old assistant Sally Rechelle Lewis of Houston presented their vaccination card to the hostess when they entered the restaurant.
  • Moments later, three of Rankin’s male companions arrived at the restaurant, but only one was allowed to enter after two of the men failed to show ID that matched their vaccination cards. A scuffle then broke out between the women and the hostess after the women learned the men were denied entry. The hostess was allegedly punched and slapped in addition to having her necklace torn off her body.
  • Carmine’s staff and other bystanders stepped in to help physically separate the women, and the female tourists were later taken to the police station. In a statement, the restaurant said it was a “shocking and tragic situation when one of our valued employees is assaulted for doing their job — as required by city policies — and trying to make a living.”
  • Manhattan borough president Gale Brewer said what happened was “completely unacceptable,” adding in another tweet, “There’s no place for this kind of violence to be perpetrated against our essential workers.”
  • New York reportedly became the first major U.S. city to require vaccination proof for indoor dining, gyms, concerts and performances, U.S. News reported in August. Under the new mandate, customers 12 years and older must present vaccination proof before entering any establishments.

New alleged details: Justin Moore, a representative for Kaeita Rankin — a businesswoman with a doctorate in education — claimed in an interview with the New York Times on Saturday that the 24-year-old Asian hostess used the N-word during her confrontation with Rankin’s party.

  • Moore alleged that after Rankin’s group joined the men who were denied entry outside, the hostess was condescending and that she suggested to Rankin’s party’s that their vaccination cards were fake. He also alleges she used derogatory comments and the N-word during the argument outside of the restaurant before telling Moore’s client, “Yeah, you guys can leave my restaurant,” and eventually lunging at them. He further said that the hostess sustained her injuries from being restrained by her coworkers and not from the group of women, New York Daily News reported.
  • Hawk Newsome, the co-founder and chairman of Black Lives Matter Greater New York, said they plan to organize a protest outside Carmine’s on Monday and alleged, “Restaurants are using vaccine mandates to enforce their racist beliefs and excluding Black patrons.”
  • The three women were reportedly charged with assault and criminal mischief following the incident. They are expected to appear in Manhattan Criminal Court on Oct. 1.

Not true: In a statement to New York Daily News, Carmine’s lawyer, Carolyn Richmond, denied all the allegations and said the claim of racial profiling was a “complete fabrication, disingenuous and outright irresponsible.”

  • The idea that anyone would become violent as an employee performs this necessary function is anathema to New York, the hospitality industry and New Yorkers in general,” Richmond told the New York Times in a different statement. “As all of the women showed proof of vaccination they were all permitted to enter and were in fact seated inside.”

Featured Image via CBS New York

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US easing virus restrictions for foreign flights to America

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US easing virus restrictions for foreign flights to America

By ZEKE MILLER

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. said Monday it will ease airline restrictions this fall on travel to the country for people who have vaccination proof and a negative COVID-19 test, replacing a hodgepodge of rules that had kept out many non-citizens and irritated allies in Europe and beyond where virus cases are far lower.

The changes, to take effect in November, will allow families and others who have been separated by the travel restrictions for 18 months to plan for long-awaited reunifications and allow foreigners with work permits to get back to their jobs in the U.S.

Airlines, business groups and travelers cheered.

“It’s a happy day. Big Apple, here I come!” said French entrepreneur Stephane Le Breton, 45, finally able to book a trip to New York City that had been put on hold over the virus restrictions.

The new policy will replace a patchwork of travel bans first instituted by President Donald Trump last year and tightened by President Joe Biden that restrict travel by non-citizens who have in the prior 14 days been in the United Kingdom, European Union, China, India, Iran, Republic of Ireland, Brazil or South Africa.

White House COVID-19 coordinator Jeff Zients announced the new policies, which still will require all foreign travelers flying to the U.S. to demonstrate proof of vaccination before boarding, as well as proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken within three days of flight. Biden will also tighten testing rules for unvaccinated American citizens, who will need to be tested within a day before returning to the U.S., as well as after they arrive home.

The tougher rules for unvaccinated Americans come as the White House has moved to impose sweeping vaccination-or-testing requirements affecting as many as 100 million people in an effort to encourage holdouts to get shots.

Fully vaccinated passengers will not be required to quarantine, Zients said.

There will be no immediate change to U.S. land border policies, which restrict much cross-border travel with Mexico and Canada.

The travel bans had become the source of growing geopolitical frustration, particularly among allies in the UK and EU. The easing comes ahead of Biden meeting with some European leaders on the margins of the United Nations General Assembly this week.

“This is based on individuals rather than a country-based approach, so it’s a stronger system,” Zients said.

The EU and UK had previously moved to allow vaccinated U.S. travelers in without quarantines, in an effort to boost business and tourism. But the EU recommended last month that some travel restrictions be reimposed on U.S. travelers to the bloc because of the rampant spread of the delta variant of the coronavirus in America.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will require airlines to collect contact information from international travelers to facilitate tracing, Zients said.

It was not immediately clear which vaccines would be acceptable under the U.S. system and whether those unapproved in the U.S. could be used. Zients said that decision would be up to the CDC.

Monday’s announcement was met with applause by the air travel industry, which has lost significant revenue from declines in international travel.

Delta Air Lines spokesman Morgan Durrant said, “Science tells us that vaccinations coupled with testing is the safest way to re-open travel, and we are optimistic this important decision will allow for the continued economic recovery both in the U.S. and abroad and the reunification of families who have been separated for more than 18 months.”

Worldwide, air travel is still down more than half from pre-pandemic levels, and the decline is much sharper for cross-border flying. By July, domestic travel had recovered to 84% of 2019 numbers, but international travel was just 26% of the same month two years ago, according to figures this month from the airline industry’s main global trade group, the International Air Transport Association.

The numbers are similar but not quite as stark for the U.S., where international travel in August was 46% of that in August 2019, according to Airlines for America. Arrivals by non-U.S. citizens were only 36% of the 2019 level.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson tweeted that he was “delighted” by the news. He said: “It’s a fantastic boost for business and trade, and great that family and friends on both sides of the pond can be reunited once again.”

Airlines hailed the U.S. decision as a lifeline for the struggling industry. Tim Alderslade, chief executive of industry body Airlines U.K. said it was “a major breakthrough.”

Shai Weiss, chief executive of Virgin Atlantic, said it was “a major milestone. … The U.K. will now be able to strengthen ties with our most important economic partner, the U.S., boosting trade and tourism as well as reuniting friends, families and business colleagues.”

The changes also drew praise from business groups, who have been contending with labor shortages as the economy bounces back with unexpected strength from last year’s coronavirus recession. U.S. employers have been posting job openings — a record 10.9 million in July — faster than applicants can fill them.

Myron Brilliant, head of international affairs for the U..S. Chamber of Commerce, said in a statement, “Allowing vaccinated foreign nationals to travel freely to the United States will help foster a robust and durable recovery for the American economy.”

AP writers Jill Lawless in London, Thomas Adamson-Koumbouzis in Paris and David Koenig in Dallas contributed.

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Arden Hills man caught with over 50 images of child porn, charges say

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Arden Hills man caught with over 50 images of child porn, charges say

An Arden Hills man is accused of downloading over 50 images of child pornography.

Brennan Bailey Johnson, 22, was charged Monday in Ramsey County District Court with three counts of possessing child pornography.

Brennan Bailey Johnson, 22, of Arden Hills. (Courtesy of the Ramsey County Sheriff’s Office)

According to the criminal complaint, in October 2020, authorities were tipped off by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. The center said it had received its tip from Twitter that reported one of its users had uploaded several images of child pornography.

Police traced the account to Johnson and used a warrant to search his apartment Feb. 25. During the search, police found a cell phone, a laptop and two external hard drives containing 46 images and five videos of illicit acts performed on a minor, the complaint states.

Of the files, several contained images of a child victim previously identified by law enforcement.

Johnson was taken into custody Sept. 17. His next court appearance is Oct. 20. No attorney was listed for him.

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Ford Mustang towed away during FBI, police search of Brian Laundrie’s family home

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Ford Mustang towed away during FBI, police search of Brian Laundrie’s family home

NORTH PORT, Fla. (WFLA) — Law enforcement agencies swarmed the home of Brian Laundrie’s family on Monday as the fiancé of Gabby Petito, who was identified by police as a person of interest in her disappearance, remains missing.

WFLA’s Christine McLarty was outside the Laundrie family home in North Port Monday morning and reported seeing about 15 FBI and North Port police units swarm and tape off the home around 10 a.m. ET.

“The FBI is executing a court-authorized search warrant [Monday] at the Laundrie residence in North Port, FL relevant to the Gabrielle ‘Gabby’ Petito investigation,” the FBI said in a statement. “No further details can be provided since this is an active and ongoing investigation.”

Agents were seen going inside the Laundrie’s house carrying suitcases and documents. As WFLA’s Eagle 8 news helicopter flew over the scene, photojournalist Paul Lamison witnessed agents come out of the home to walk the perimeter of and photograph a shed in the backyard.

Around 2:30 p.m., a tow truck was seen arriving at the Laundrie home, towing away a Ford Mustang from the location.

Hours after the search began the family’s North Port home, an attorney for the Laundries announced a news conferenced scheduled to take place at 1 p.m. on Tuesday in New York.

Earlier in the day Monday, North Port police announced they were no longer searching Carlton Reserve for Brian Laundrie, who was reported missing by his family on Friday. According to police, family members last saw him leave home Tuesday wearing hiking gear.

“At this time, we currently believe we have exhausted all avenues in searching of the grounds there,” North Port police PIO Josh Taylor said in a statement. “Law enforcement agencies continue to search for Brian Laundrie.”

Laundrie is the fiancé of Gabby Petito, who disappeared during a cross-country trip the two went on together this summer. Police say Laundrie returned home to North Port alone on Sept. 1 and was later named a person of interest in the missing person case involving 22-year-old Petito.

body found in Wyoming on Sunday matches Petito’s description, according to FBI agents. However, a full forensic identification has not been completed to “confirm 100% that we found Gabby.”

Please check back for updates on the investigation involving Gabby Petito and Brian Laundrie. You can also download the WFLA app for breaking news push alerts and sign up for breaking news email alerts.

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Judge denies motion to dismiss mask mandate lawsuit in St. Louis County

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Judge denies motion to dismiss mask mandate lawsuit in St. Louis County

ST. LOUIS– A St. Louis County Circuit Court judge denied a motion by St. Louis County to dismiss a lawsuit over its mask mandate. Judge Nellie Ribaudo also denied the motion to dissolve the preliminary injunction and a motion to stay discovery.

The Missouri Attorney General’s office filed a lawsuit against St. Louis County earlier this year over its mask mandate.

“The people of St. Louis County scored another win as the Court denied the County’s motions to dismiss our case and dissolve the Preliminary Injunction, which remains in place,” said Attorney General Eric Schmitt in a press release. “There is no mask mandate in St. Louis County, and I will continue to lead this important fight on behalf of the people of Missouri.”

In the latest court order, Judge Nellie Rubiado says had the St. Louis County Council had issued a new public health order with the approval of the Council perhaps the issues might have been moot but as the Council chose to extend the July 26 Face Covering Order instead the issue is not moot.

Here is a timeline of events for the mask mandate:

  • St. Louis County Executive Dr. Sam Page issued a mask mandate on July 26. It required anyone five and older to wear masks in indoor public places and on public transportation.
  • On July 27, the county council voted five to two to revoke that mask mandate saying Page should have come to them first and that state law gives them the power to override public health orders.
  • Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt sued the county calling the mask mandate unconstitutional. Judge Ribaudo sided with Schmitt stopping the order from being enforced.
  • St. Louis County asked the judge to lift her order and throw out Schmitt’s lawsuit after the county council expressed support for the mask mandate on Aug. 27.
  • On Sept. 20, Judge denies St. Louis County motion to dismiss lawsuit over mask mandate as well as motion to dissolve the preliminary injunction.

The court set the next Preliminary Injunction Hearing for October 18 at 10 A.M.

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Colorado’s gold medalist volleyball players aim to inspire state’s next generation

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Colorado’s gold medalist volleyball players aim to inspire state’s next generation

The first indoor volleyball Olympic gold medal in U.S history was a Colorado accomplishment.

Last month, in the championship round from Tokyo, two-of-six Americans on the floor to clinch the final match point over Brazil were in-state products: setter Jordyn Poulter (Eaglecrest ‘14) and outside hitter Haleigh Washington (Doherty ‘13).

Both gold medalists returned to Colorado in recent weeks to celebrate at their home schools in hopes of inspiring the state’s next generation of volleyball players.

“Haleigh and I are both so grateful we get to come from a state that isn’t necessarily as big volleyball-wise comparatively to some of the midwestern states,” Poulter said. “To have two of us out of the 12 on a roster for an entire country, to represent Colorado, that’s extremely special. We’re really proud to come from the Rocky Mountain region community for girls’ indoor volleyball.”

Washington, as told to CHSAANow.com, added: “Often in life, especially after everything with COVID, people get really anxious and really nervous. That whole idea of being present really resonated with me so I wanted to say to that to the girls.”

Their success comes as little surprise to Jim Miret, the longtime head coach at Front Range Volleyball Club based in Englewood where Poulter is an alum.  Miret said that Colorado — unlike California or Texas — might not be considered a traditional hotbed for youth volleyball development. But plenty of in-state products have gone on to do big things.

“We definitely have a pretty good number of Division-I players coming out of Colorado depending on the year,” Miret said. “We’ve always got between two and five top kids going to really good Division-I programs.”

The stars were on display in last year’s Class 5A final between Grandview and Rampart with at least three major Division I signees: Addison O’Grady (Iowa basketball), Riley Simpson (Baylor volleyball) and Anjelina Starck (Penn State volleyball). Colorado’s elite club programs have also gained widespread recognition. Poulter played for Front Range 18 Black in 2014 when it was ranked No. 11 in the nation.

“Maybe at first glance people might not think of (Colorado) as a hotbed, but there is actually a lot of really great activity in the world of volleyball,” U.S. women’s indoor volleyball coach Karch Kiraly told The Denver Post. “It’s not that much of a surprise.”

The sport’s popularity across the country has soared in the past decade, according to the annual NFHS participation survey, with volleyball surpassing basketball as the second-most played sport among high school girls.

Aspiring volleyball Olympians from Colorado now have an example to follow.

“Haleigh and I were exactly where a lot of those girls were. We were in those shoes,” Poulter said. “I hope that it’s in inspiration and a little bit more within your grasp to see that someone from a situation very similar can achieve their dreams of going to the Olympics and winning a gold medal.”


10 to watch

Haleigh Washington (Doherty) and Jordyn Poulter (Eaglecrest) are the latest elite volleyball talents to come out of Colorado. Here is a breakdown of the top players in the state this year with CHSAA’s fall season now underway.

5A

Carter Booth — Cherry Creek
Senior / 6-7 / MH
Notable: Committed to the University of Minnesota and considered the top recruit in Colorado.

Katie Gallery — Pueblo West
Senior / 6-1 / S
Notable: Earned Class 5A second-team All-State honors as a junior.

Emerson Reinke — Ralston Valley
Senior / 5-9 / S
Notable: Ranked inside the Top 10 for Class 5A in kills, assists and blocks last season.

Izzy Starck — Rampart
Sophomore / 6-0 / S
Notable: Won the Class 5A state volleyball championship last season.

4A

Quincey Coyle — Mead
Senior / 6-0 / OH
Notable: Finished second in Class 4A last season with 209 kills.

Kinley Lindhardt — Frederick
Senior / 5-7 / OH, RS
Notable: Committed to play beach volleyball at Cal State Northridge.

Karlee Pinell — Cheyenne Mountain
Senior / 5-11 / OH
Notable: A University of Rhode Island volleyball commit.

Allison Waller — Berthoud
Senior / 5-11 / L, DS
Notable: Led Class 4A with 55 aces last season.

3A

Sydney Dunning — Lamar
Junior / 6-0 / OH, MH
Notable: Earned Class 3A first-time All-State honors as a sophomore.

Rylee Martin — Eaton
Junior / 5-8 / S, OPP
Notable: Ranked atop Class 3A for assists last season with 595.

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Three men who targeted, robbed over 70 Asian women in the Bay Area have been charged

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Bay Area robberies suspects caught

On Friday, the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office filed charges against three men connected to a series of robberies that targeted over 70 Asian women across the Bay Area.

The details: Derje Blanks, 23, and Anthony Robinson, 24, were arrested on Sept. 8, according to CBS San Francisco. While attempting to flee the authorities, Robinson reportedly injured a 2-year-old child and the child’s father in a car collision.

  • The third suspect, Cameron Moody, 27, was arrested in Union City on Friday. The arrest concluded a multi-jurisdictional investigation that was launched in late 2020.
  • Robinson allegedly told police after his arrest that the “age of the people [he] was taking things from did not matter as long as they were Asian,” NBC Bay Area reported.
  • The third suspect, Cameron Moody, 27, was arrested in Union City on Friday. Their arrest concluded a multi-jurisdictional investigation that was launched in late 2020.
  • The crime spree, which included robberies and purse snatching, was committed throughout San Jose, San Pablo, Hayward, East Palo Alto, Newark, San Leandro, Fremont, Campbell, Dublin and Milpitas.
  • Evidence collected showed that the defendants targeted the victims based on their race as they “believed that Asian women don’t use banks” and only carried cash, with Robinson allegedly telling police, “Asian people do not use banks, all I’m gonna say.” They also allegedly used derogatory slurs while referring to their targets, SF Gate reported.
  • The Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office charged the suspects with over 70 counts of felony robbery with additional hate crime enhancements. Robinson is being held without bail, while Blank’s bail was set to $500,000. Moody is set to appear in court this week.

Their M.O.: The suspects would allegedly followed the same method during their crime spree, where they would wait for their female victims to get inside their vehicle, open the car’s door or smash the windows, and then take their purses.

  • Security footage released by the SJPD showed the suspects snatching a purse from a woman’s car. 
  • The DA’s office said some of the victims suffered injuries from the incidents as the suspects “pulled or wrestled to the ground” the women. 

Those with information are asked to contact the SJPD at (408) 277-4166.

Featured Image SJPD via @NBCian

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FBI searches Florida home of Gabby Petito’s boyfriend

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FBI searches Florida home of Gabby Petito’s boyfriend

By CURT ANDERSON

NORTH PORT, Fla. (AP) — FBI agents and police Monday swarmed the home of the boyfriend wanted for questioning in the disappearance of 22-year-old Gabby Petito, whose body was apparently discovered over the weekend at a Wyoming national park months after the couple set out in a van on a cross-country trek.

The FBI’s Tampa office said in a tweet that it was serving a search warrant, and local media reported that 23-year-old Brian Laundrie’s parents were seen getting into a police vehicle outside the home. Agents would not comment further.

Video showed at least a dozen law enforcement officers pulling up to the Laundries’ house in North Port and rushing in. Later, a police officer could be seen taking a stack of cardboard boxes inside. Brian Laundrie and Petito had been living with his parents before making the trek on which she died.

Petito and Laundrie hit the road in July in a converted van to visit national parks in the West. They got into a fight along the way, and Laundrie was alone when he returned in the van to his parents’ home on Sept. 1, police said.

Laundrie has been named a person of interest in the case, but his whereabouts in recent days were unknown.

In Wyoming, the FBI announced on Sunday that agents had discovered a body while searching campsites on the edge of Grand Teton National Park, which the couple had visited. No details on the cause of death were released. An autopsy was set for Tuesday.

“Full forensic identification has not been completed to confirm 100% that we found Gabby, but her family has been notified,” FBI agent Charles Jones said. “This is an incredibly difficult time for (Petito’s) family and friends.”

Petito’s father, Joseph, posted on social media an image of a broken heart above a picture of his daughter, with the message: “She touched the world.”

An attorney who has been acting as a spokesman for Petito’s family asked in a statement that the family be given room to grieve.

Jones said investigators were seeking information from anyone who may have seen Petito or Laundrie around Grand Teton.

A weekend search of a Florida nature preserve failed to find Laundrie, North Port police said. They said in a statement that they “exhausted all avenues in searching the grounds” of the 24,000-acre (9,700-hectare) Carlton Reserve in Sarasota County.

Investigators had focused intently on the area after Laundrie’s parents told police he may have gone there.

Petito and Laundrie were childhood sweethearts who met while growing up on New York’s Long Island. His parents later moved to North Port, about 35 miles (55 kilometers) south of Sarasota.

Police video released by the Moab, Utah, department showed that an officer pulled the couple’s van over on Aug. 12 after it was seen speeding and hitting a curb near the entrance to Arches National Park. The body-camera footage showed an upset Petito.

Laundrie said on the video that the couple had gotten into a scuffle after he climbed into the van with dirty feet. He said he did not want to pursue a domestic violence charge against Petito, who officers decided was the aggressor.

Moab police separated the couple for the night, with Laundrie checking into a motel and Petito remaining with the van.

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