Baltimore cop quits after video shows him punching man who didn’t fight back  

By Kristine Phillips

The Baltimore police officer who resigned Sunday after a video showed him repeatedly pummeling a man on the street is under criminal investigation and, if charged, could face a charge of second-degree assault, officials said Monday.

Police officials have revealed little else about the incident in East Baltimore on Saturday, when the officer was captured in a now-viral video repeatedly punching Dashawn McGrier, 26. It remains unclear why the confrontation occurred or what, if anything, provoked the officer. Interim Baltimore Police Commissioner Gary Tuggle said the incident could be proof that police training may be lacking, citing the need for more “scenario-based” training and fewer “pen-and-pencil” lectures.

“Neither of us can say why this happened,” Tuggle said at a news conference Monday. “If it were born out of emotion, we’re trained — we should be trained to never act in an emotional way, particularly when it comes to engaging with citizens. … The situation shows us another deficiency in our training that we can learn from.”

Lt. Gene Ryan, president of the Baltimore police union, said that at first look, the video leaves a “very bad perception” of officers.

“A lot of people forget that we’re human beings too. I don’t know what was going through his mind; only he can testify to that,” Ryan said. “The facts still remain that whether he was having a bad day at home or at work, you still have to maintain control of yourself at all times.”

The incident occurred Saturday morning when two officers encountered McGrier, who was identified by his lawyer. The video shows one of the officers and McGrier talking at first. McGrier is heard telling the officer, “Don’t touch me,” before the officer begins punching him. McGrier falls onto some nearby steps as the officer continues to punch him.

Tuggle quickly denounced the …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Nation, World


A horse was neglected by its owner. Now the horse is suing.

By Karin Brulliard

ESTACADA, Ore. — Justice is an 8-year-old American quarter horse who used to be named Shadow. And when he was named Shadow, he suffered. At a veterinarian’s exam last year, he was 300 pounds underweight, his black coat lice-ridden, his skin scabbed and his genitals so frostbitten that they might still require amputation.

The horse had been left outside and underfed by his previous owner, who last summer pleaded guilty to criminal neglect. And now Justice, who today resides with other rescued equines on a quiet wooded farm within view of Oregon’s Cascade mountains, is suing his former owner for negligence. In a lawsuit filed in his new name in a county court, the horse seeks at least $100,000 for veterinary care, as well as damages “for pain and suffering,” to fund a trust that would stay with him no matter who is his caretaker.

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The complaint is the latest bid in a quixotic quest to get courts to recognize animals as plaintiffs, something supporters and critics alike say would be revolutionary. The few previous attempts — including a recent high-profile case over whether a monkey can own a copyright — have failed, with judges ruling in various ways that the nonhumans lacked legal standing to sue. But Justice’s case, the animal rights lawyers behind it contend, is built on court decisions and statutes that give it a stronger chance, particularly in a state with some of the nation’s most progressive animal protection laws.

“There have been a lot of efforts to try to get animals not only to be protected but to have the right to go to court when their rights are violated,” said Matthew …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Nation, World


General urges Saudis to investigate deadly Yemen airstrike

By Missy Ryan | Washington Post

A senior general urged Saudi officials to conduct a thorough investigation into an airstrike that killed at least 40 children in Yemen, the Pentagon said Monday, an indication of U.S. concern about allied nations’ air operations against Houthi militants.

The discussions took place in the Saudi capital on Sunday as the United States seeks information about the attack, the latest incident resulting in civilian casualties in Yemen’s prolonged conflict.

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Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said Sunday that he had “dispatched a three-star general into Riyadh to look into what happened” in the strike, which hit a bus filled with children in Yemen’s northern Saada province Thursday.

The Saudi-led coalition called the strike a “legitimate military action” aimed at forces responsible for a recent missile attack on Saudi Arabia but authorized an investigation.

Defense officials described the U.S. general’s visit as a fact-finding mission and said the United States would not conduct a separate investigation.

Lt. Cmdr. Rebecca Rebarich, a Pentagon spokeswoman, said the general “adjusted his already scheduled visit to Saudi Arabia to discuss the incident with the Saudis and look into the situation.”

“He pressed the Saudis to devote the resources and oversight required to do a thorough and complete investigation and release the results to the public,” Rebarich said in a statement. She did not identify the officer.

The strike has drawn renewed attention to the war in Yemen, which since 2015 has pitted Saudi Arabia and a coalition of mainly Arab countries against Yemeni Houthi rebels who Western officials say receive support from Iran.

The coalition has faced widespread criticism from civil society groups and, increasingly, U.S. lawmakers who have decried repeated strikes on civilian targets. Critics …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Nation, World


Prosecutors charge Florida man in ‘stand your ground’ shooting

By Alex Horton and Cleve R. Wootson Jr. | Washington Post

Prosecutors have charged Michael Drejka – who shot and killed a man over a parking spot in July – in a reversal of the sheriff’s decision not to bring charges in the incident that prompted debate over “stand your ground” laws.

Drejka, 47, was arrested and charged with manslaughter Monday by the district attorney for Pinellas County in western Florida, authorities said. He is being held on $100,000 bond in the killing of Markeis McGlockton, 28, in Clearwater, Florida.

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The July 19 shooting was the culmination of a heated but brief exchange between the two men. Drejka confronted McGlockton’s girlfriend about her vehicle parked in a handicap spot at a convenience store while McGlockton was inside with their 5-year-old son.

McGlockton rushed to defend Britany Jacobs, his girlfriend, and shoved Drejka to the ground, surveillance video shows. Drejka pulled out a pistol and shot McGlockton in the chest. McGlockton staggered inside and collapsed. His girlfriend applied pressure to his wound. Their other children were in the car as the shooting unfolded. McGlockton died less than an hour later.

The next day, in a lengthy defense of his decision not to pursue an arrest, Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri said in a 30-minute news conference that Drejka acted within his right to defend himself with deadly force.

But prosecutors have since diverged from the sheriff’s assessment. State Attorney Bernie McCabe said his office reviewed Gualtieri’s investigation and conducted their own probe.

“We reached the conclusion that this is a charge we can prove,” McCabe told The Washington Post on Monday. Drejka will appear in court Tuesday as he faces charges that could bring …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Nation, World


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