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The Minneapolis Charter Commission said they need more time to review the proposal

The controversial proposal to disband the Minneapolis Police Department will be left off the ballot in November, meaning voters won’t get to decide on the issue until after the 2020 presidential election.

In a 10-5 vote on Wednesday, the Minneapolis Charter Commission decided they need more time to review the proposal to prevent what some believe to be dangerously vague language from heading to voters, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported.

“This is an issue that involves the lives, the well-being, the safety of Minneapolis residents,” Charter Commissioner Jill Garcia said. “This isn’t a bumper-sticker slogan, sound-bite debate. This is something that the city has begun looking at in various times throughout the past several years. The ground is fertile to continue to look at that work and to look at something that prevents the loss of lives.”

Given the momentum seen during protests in the wake of the death of George Floyd, the Minneapolis City Council argued a decision to replace a department that allegedly disproportionately uses force on people of color cannot wait — and that public safety must be in the hands of the people.

The proposed amendment would have replaced the police department with a “Department of Community Safety and Violence Prevention” that backers said would take a more “holistic” approach, which wasn’t fully defined. The proposal did allow for armed officers — creating a division of licensed peace officers, who would have answered to the new department’s director.

In a last-ditch attempt to get the amendment on the ballot before 2021, the city council argued in a letter to charter commissioners on Wednesday that the proposal would not abolish the police, but would create a “transformed system to include law enforcement as part of a multifaceted approach to public safety.”

“The Minneapolis City Council is not asking you to put police abolition on the ballot, nor does the amendment propose this,” the letter said. “We are asking you to let Minneapolis vote on a new framework for public safety that aligns with the State of Minnesota’s Department of Public Safety.”

George Floyd died May 25 after an encounter with four Minneapolis police officers. The Daily Mail released two videos of his arrest taken from the body cameras of two officers charged in connection with his death.

The process has unfolded during a violent summer in Minneapolis after Floyd’s death, with shootings dramatically higher than last year. Many residents are worried about a proposal to “abolish” police.

While several commissioners said changing the Minneapolis Police Department was necessary, they said the amendment before them was flawed. Several said it faced legal barriers, was created without input from key community members who oppose it, and that it gave too much power to the city council.

The 15-member commission, made up of volunteers appointed by a judge, voted 10-5 to take another 90 days to review the proposed amendment. Most of those who voted against taking the extra time said they would recommend rejecting the amendment.

The five city council members who authored the proposed charter amendment released a statement criticizing the decision but said they will continue to work toward transforming the way the city provides public safety. They said they plan to put an amendment before voters in November 2021.

“We’ve had an unprecedented outpouring of demand for change, demand for justice, unprecedented involvement from folks who are getting engaged in city government for the first time and I don’t want people to feel too discouraged,” City Council President Lisa Bender said in her own statement. “I’m disappointed and I share the disappointment that I’m sure people are feeling, but we have more ways to move forward as we continue to build this work.”

Commissioner Andrew Kozak said many people who have fought for years for equality and racial justice have come forward to say the amendment wasn’t ready, and that they were never consulted.

“They are the people most affected by police misconduct, and I think I’m going to listen to them,” Kozak said.

Mayor Jacob Frey, who was opposed to abolishing the department, and Chief Medaria Arradondo have moved ahead with their own changes since Floyd’s death, including requiring officers to document attempts to de-escalate situations whether or not force is used. They also have expanded requirements for reporting use-of-force incidents, ordering officers to provide more detail.

Arradondo also pulled the department out of negotiations for a union contract, saying he wanted a review designed to change the grievance and arbitration process.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Author: Danielle Wallace

Source: Fox News: Controversial proposal to replace Minneapolis police blocked from November ballot

‘If I have to go to the ER, if I have to go to the hospital, I’m not going to wait to get the approval to go,’ Elizabeth Linscott said.

A Kentucky couple was fitted with ankle monitors and placed on house arrest after the wife tested positive for coronavirus but refused to sign self-quarantine documents, according to reports.

Elizabeth Linscott said she got tested for COVID-19 as a precaution because she was planning to visit her parents in Michigan. She received a positive test result but showed no symptoms.

She said the Hardin County Health Department asked her to sign documents agreeing to call them any time she left her house. The young mother claims she never refused to self-quarantine but said she would not sign the documents because of how they were worded, WAVE reported.

“My part was if I have to go to the ER, if I have to go to the hospital, I’m not going to wait to get the approval to go,” Linscott told the station.

After opting not to sign the health department papers, Linscott said she received a text message informing her that the situation would be escalated and law enforcement would be involved, KABC-TV reported. Her husband, Isaiah, said he was greeted by officers at their front door later that week.

“I open up the door, and there’s like eight different people, five different cars, and I’m like ‘what the heck’s going on?’ This guy’s in a suit with a mask. It’s the health department guy, and they have three papers for us. For me, her and my daughter,” Isaiah Linscott said.

“We didn’t rob a store. We didn’t steal something. We didn’t hit and run. We didn’t do anything wrong,” Elizabeth Linscott added.

The couple said they were fitted with ankle monitors that go off if they stray more than 200 feet from their home.

Elizabeth Linscott said that although she never refused to self-quarantine, “that’s exactly what the director of the public health department told the judge.”

“I’m like, ‘that’s not the case at all. I never said that,” she said.

If she did need to go to the hospital, Linscott said she planned to take necessary precautions like informing healthcare workers that she recently tested positive. The couple now plans to hire an attorney.

Author: Danielle Wallace

Source: Fox News: Kentucky couple fit with ankle monitors, placed on house arrest, for refusing to sign quarantine documents: reports

Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best said both victims were African-American

A 16-year-old boy has died and a 14-year-old boy has been hospitalized in critical condition Monday following the latest shooting at the Seattle area known as the Capitol Hill Organized Protest, or CHOP, police revealed.

Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best said it marked the second death of an African-American victim in the area. The first death associated with the CHOP came June 20 when 19-year-old Horace Lorenzo Anderson was shot and killed.

Monday marked the fourth shooting linked to the CHOP zone.

“It’s very unfortunate that we have another murder in this area identified as the CHOP,” Best said Monday. She elaborated that they were African-American victims “at a place where they claim to be working for Black Lives Matter but they’re gone. They’re dead now. And, we’ve had multiple other incidents — assaults, rapes, robbery, shootings — so this is something that’s going to need to change.”

Officials initially said the victims of the latest shooting were “men” before clarifying their ages.

Best said multiple 911 callers reported that two males had been shot in a vehicle on 12th Avenue between Pike and Pine early Monday morning, but by the time officers arrived at the scene both were gone.

The younger wounded teen arrived at Harborview Medical Center’s Emergency Department at about 3:15 a.m. by private vehicle, Susan Gregg, a hospital spokeswoman, told Fox News. He remained in critical condition in the intensive care unit.

The second victim was brought to a Seattle Fire Department staging area outside the CHOP and arrived at the hospital via ambulance at 3:30 a.m. He later died at the hospital, Gregg said.

Best said investigators “found a white Jeep Cherokee riddled with bullet holes on 12th Avenue between Pike and Pine,” KOMO reported.

She explained the crime scene had been tampered with by the time law enforcement arrived and that police investigations into the shootings in the Capitol Hill area, which normally would involve interviews with witnesses, have been hindered as “people are not being cooperative with our requests for help.”

“Our homicide detectives searched the Jeep for evidence but there wasn’t much we could find,” Best said. “The typical things we search for in a shooting like this weren’t there and it’s abundantly clear to our detectives that people had been in and out of the car after the shooting.”

The corner of 12 Avenue and Pike Street is about two blocks away from Cal Anderson Park, where protesters initially camped out in tents to occupy the area first referred to as the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone, or CHAZ. The encampment has become more difficult to manage, drawing violence and a large homeless population since the onset of the occupation three weeks ago.

Organizers on Sunday said they’re seeking to move into the abandoned East Precinct, where most protest leadership have already taken up shelter, as part of an effort to secure their best bargaining chip in convincing city officials to act on police reform and other demands, the Seattle Times reported.

City efforts to dismantle the CHOP were thwarted Friday when protesters laid down in the street to block Seattle Department of Transportation crews and heavy machinery from removing barricades around the occupied zone. Crews left after two hours without removing the barricades.

Negotiations between city leadership and organizers over the weekend did not prove fruitful, as hundreds of protesters have reportedly refused to leave the Capitol Hill area.

Anderson’s death came as a result of the first shooting on June 20 that rung out around 2:30 a.m. near Cal Anderson Park on 10th Avenue and East Pine Street inside the CHOP. Another man was wounded in the incident.

“Officers attempted to locate a shooting victim but were met by a violent crowd that prevented officers’ safe access to the victims,” Seattle Police Department said in a press release at the time.

“Officers were later informed that the victims, both males, had been transported to Harborview Medical Center by CHOP ‘medics,’” it continued. “Officers responded to Harborview and were informed that one of the victims, a 19-year-old male, had died from injuries.”

Anderson’s death prompted Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan to announce last week the city would begin efforts to dismantle CHOP, asking organizers to convince protesters to disperse to avoid police intervention.

A 17-year-old was shot in the arm around 10 p.m. on June 21 near Cal Anderson Park.

“To ensure the safety of medical personnel, police staged with Seattle Fire at the edge of the CHOP area and were gathering information about where the shooting victim was located when they learned he had been transported in a private vehicle to Harborview Medical Center,” a police press release said.

He has since been released from the hospital and declined to speak with detectives.

A man in his 30s was shot early June 23. Police received multiple 911 calls around 4:30 a.m. to report someone had been shot in the 1100 block of East Denny Way.

“Officers and Seattle Fire Department medics staged nearby and met the victim outside the area known as the Capitol Hill Occupied Protest (CHOP),” a police press release said.

“The victim refused to provide any information about the circumstances surrounding the shooting or a suspect description to officers. Medics transported the victim to Harborview Medical Center for treatment of a gunshot wound to the calf.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Author: Danielle Wallace

Source: Fox News: Latest Seattle CHOP shooting kills 16-year-old boy, critically wounds 14-year-old boy

Catherine Pugh, a former mayor of Baltimore, was sentenced to three years in prison Thursday following her conviction on federal tax evasion and conspiracy charges related to the sale of her “Healthy Holly” books to help fund a political career, the Baltimore Sun reported.

Addressing the courtroom, Maryland’s U.S. District Court Judge Deborah K. Chasanow slammed material–including a 13-minute video released Wednesday–that touts Pugh’s past accomplishments and was submitted to the court before sentencing.

Chasanow described praising Pugh’s past good work as “ironic,” as “it was precisely that reputation for good work that allowed her to commit these offenses and continue the fraud for as long as she did,” the Baltimore Sun reported.

“It is astounding and I have yet frankly to hear any explanation that makes sense. This was not a tiny mistake, lapse of judgment. This became a very large fraud. The nature and circumstances of this offense clearly I think are extremely, extremely serious,” the judge said.

Pugh was ordered to pay restitution of $400,000 to the University of Maryland Medical System and nearly $12,000 to the Maryland Auto Insurance Fund, which also purchased her books, the Baltimore Sun reported. The former mayor also must forfeit nearly $670,000 and $17,800 in her campaign account. All copies of “Healthy Holly” books in government custody will be destroyed.

Pugh, 69, pleaded guilty in November to federal conspiracy and tax evasion charges in a deal with prosecutors, who asked the judge to impose a prison term of nearly five years. Attorneys for Pugh, who was elected mayor in 2016, had suggested a sentence of 366 days.

In the Wednesday video, Pugh apologizes for her crimes.

“I messed up. I really messed up,” the former mayor says in the video. “I accept total responsibility. I pled guilty and I’m sorry. I don’t know any other words that could be strong. I am so sorry.”

The video also includes biographical details about Pugh, as well as statements from others who defend Pugh’s character. Among them are the late U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings, who made his remarks at Pugh’s mayoral inauguration. (Cummings died last October at age 68.) Other materials submitted to the court included a poem written by Pugh 15 years ago.

In a 2005 self-published collection of poetry, one verse called out elected officials who think “they can play you and even forget … / A promise they made or a commitment unkept … / They can disappear at the blink of an eye … / And all that was said … considered a lie …,” the Associated Press reported.

The former mayor, who will turn 70 on March 10, resigned in May after taking an indefinite leave of absence a month earlier, claiming health problems. Pressure on her mounted, following allegations that she profited from questionable sales of large quantities of the “Healthy Holly” children’s books she authored.

The collapse of Pugh’s mayoralty was another black eye for Baltimore, a crime- and poverty-plagued city that saw a previous mayor, Sheila Dixon, resign in 2010 after her conviction on embezzling gift cards intended for poor people. Dixon later tried to regain the mayor’s office after completing her probation, but was defeated by Pugh in the city’s 2016 Democratic primary.

The mayor who served between Dixon and Pugh – Stephanie Rawlings-Blake – decided not to seek re-election in 2016, following a tumultuous term. She had been heavily criticized for her handling of riots after the death of Freddie Gray, a black man who died while in police custody.

According to authorities, Pugh received $500,000 from the University of Maryland Medical System, where she was a board member, for 100,000 copies of her books, but there was no contract, and the system described some of the purchases as “grants” in federal filings. She returned her most recent $100,000 payment and described the deal as a “regrettable mistake.”

Health care provider Kaiser Permanente also disclosed that it had paid Pugh’s Healthy Holly LLC about $114,000 between 2015 and 2018 for about 20,000 copies of her books. Pugh oversaw Baltimore’s spending board in 2017, when the city awarded a $48 million contract to the Kaiser Foundation Health Plan for the Mid-Atlantic States Inc.

Fox News’ Barnini Chakraborty, Dom Calicchio and The Associated Press contributed to this story.

Author: Danielle Wallace

Source: Fox News: Ex-Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh sentenced for book sales scheme

A large painting of former President Bill Clinton wearing a blue dress similar to that of Monica Lewinsky’s and red heels was found hanging in the New York City mansion of disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein, who recently died in an apparent suicide, according to several reports.

A woman who visited Epstein’s mansion before his July arrest on sex-trafficking charges told the New York Post the large painting was inside the home in Manhattan, a block away from Central Park. She also recalled seeing a mannequin of a woman wearing a wedding dress hanging from the ceiling above the staircase inside the residence.

“It was hanging up there prominently — as soon as you walked in — in a room to the right,” the unidentified source told the Post. “Everybody who saw it laughed and smirked.”

“It was hanging up there prominently — as soon as you walked in — in a room to the right. Everybody who saw it laughed and smirked.”

— Source who visited Epstein mansion

The portrait, dubbed “Sparring Clinton,” was created seven years ago by an Australian satirical artist based in New York City as part of her master’s thesis at the New York Academy of Art.

Petrina Ryan-Kleid told the Post her school sold the painting of Clinton at a fundraiser at the Tribecca Ball in 2012 to one of the attendees. She said she never found out who purchased it.

It remained unclear if Epstein attended the fundraiser and how he acquired the piece of art.

“As with most of my paintings, I had completely lost track of this piece when it was sold seven years ago. So it was a complete surprise to me to learn yesterday that it wound up in Epstein’s home,” Ryan-Kleid said in a statement to the Post.

Epstein was found hanging inside his Manhattan jail cell, officials confirmed Saturday. He reportedly had been taken off suicide watch and was on “special observation” when he was found unresponsive and later pronounced dead at a hospital.

Federal investigators raided Epstein’s Manhattan mansion to search for evidence that could corroborate claims the financier ran a prostitution ring of underage girls from the residence located a block away from Central Park.

Another unnamed source, reportedly a hedge fund manager, told the Post he had visited Epstein’s mansion to pitch investment strategies to the multimillionaire.

A $5.9 million painting was hung on the wall of the mansion’s home office. A taxidermied tiger and a poodle where also in the room, according to the source, who snapped photos of the home office when he was admitted by house staff.

Both Bill Clinton and Donald Trump were photographed partying with Epstein in the 1990s. Recently released private flight logs show Clinton, who was Epstein’s friend, rode on Epstein’s private jet, the Post reported.

The FBI continues to investigate Epstein’s death. The Manhattan jail’s warden was replaced pending the results of the investigation after it was found jailers failed to carry out rigorous protocols put in place to monitor inmates on special watch.

Conspiracy theories have circulated online surrounding Epstein’s apparent suicide, including some that imply former President Bill Clinton was linked to Epstein’s death.

Fox News’ Paulina Dedaj and Sam Dorman contributed to this report.

Author: Danielle Wallace

Source: Fox News: Painting of Bill Clinton in blue dress and heels was inside Jeffrey Epstein’s NYC mansion: report

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