Tuesday, July 18

I'll Bet America Pays Attention To This One!!

I think now, finally, a large part of the American population is going to sit up and demand answers, and not just about this case, but now they're going to start asking about all the cases; they're going to start looking at what we've been seeing (and talking about) for years: the nationwide problem of police officers who are too quick on the trigger, who are of the mindset that that gun on their hip gives them the right to do whatever to whomever they like with impunity, and in a lot of cases, who should never have been on the force period because of their stereotypical notions about 'class' (caste?). Yes, I said class; not race, although that can play a role, but IMO class is the trigger that set off this avalanche of needless deaths.  They put on these blue uniforms, and they become a class unto themselves, one which many of them feel is above and better than everyone else. They feel that as the 'superior class', it is up to them to contain and correct the lower classes, and this is why you'll find all races, genders, and age groups represented in the complete picture, if you don't put any filters on your Search. You'll even find the mentally ill and the physically-challenged! (Of course the numbers are still going to be way skewed, with more blacks being killed than any other group.)

Here's the story that started my rant though:

           Questions Remain Surrounding Fatal Minnesota Police Shooting

An Australian woman who called 911 to report what she believed to be an active sexual assault was shot and killed by a Minneapolis police officer in a case that has left many relatives and neighbors searching for answers.

Justine Damond, aka  Justine Ruszczyk,  seen in 2015 photo
released by Stephen Govel Photography of New York, 6/17/17
There were no known witnesses other than the two officers in the squad car. A newspaper report said Damond was shot while standing alongside the car in her pajamas.

The Hennepin County Medical Examiner's office on Monday night said Damond died of a gunshot wound to the abdomen, and classified her death as a homicide. The report identified her as Justine Ruszczyk, but she had begun using her fiance's last name professionally ahead of their planned August wedding.
Her fianc?, {sic} Don Damond, said the family has been given almost no additional information.
Justine, her fiance Don, and
her stepson Zach

Friends & neighbors leave msgs of love

"We've lost the dearest of people, and we're desperate for information," he said. "Piecing together Justine's last moments before the homicide would be a small comfort as we grieve this tragedy."
Damond's family in Sydney issued a statement Monday saying they were trying to come to terms with the tragedy and understand why it happened. On Tuesday, her father spoke out publicly for the first time.
"We thought yesterday was our worst nightmare, but we awoke to the ugly truth and it hurt even more," John Ruszczyk told reporters. "Justine was a beacon to all of us. We only ask that the light of justice shine down on the circumstances of her death."
Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges said early Tuesday that she too wants answers.
"I have the same questions everybody has: 'What happened?'" Hodges said in an interview on ABC's "Good Morning America."
Minnesota's Bureau of Criminal Apprehension is investigating the shooting. In a statement Monday, the BCA said more information would be provided once the officers have been interviewed.
The BCA said no weapons were found at the scene.
The officer who shot Damond was identified by his attorney as Mohamed Noor, a Somali-American. A city newsletter said he joined the police department in March 2015.
The attorney, Tom Plunkett, released a statement saying Noor offered his condolences to the family "and keeps them in his daily thoughts and prayers."
"Officer Noor is a caring person with a family he loves, and he empathizes with the loss others are experiencing," the statement said.
Noor was sued earlier this year after a May 25 incident in which he and other officers took a woman to the hospital for an apparent mental health crisis. The lawsuit claims Noor and the other officers violated the woman's rights when they entered her home without permission and Noor grabbed her wrist and upper arm. Noor relaxed his grip when the woman said she had a previous shoulder injury, the lawsuit says.
KSTP-TV reported that city records show Noor had three complaints on file. The station did not provide details on the nature of the complaints, but said one was dismissed with no disciplinary action and the other two are pending.
The Star Tribune, citing three people with knowledge of the shooting, said the officers pulled into the alley in a single squad car, and Damond talked to the driver. The newspaper's sources, which it did not name, said the officer in the passenger seat shot Damond through the driver's-side door. A BCA spokeswoman did not return messages seeking to confirm that account.
Neighbor Joan Hargrave called the killing "an execution."
"This is a tragedy — that someone who's asking for help would call the police and get shot by the police," Hargrave said.
Officials said the officers' body cameras were not turned on and a squad car camera did not capture the shooting. Investigators were still trying to determine whether other video exists.
It's not clear why the officers' body cameras were not on. The department has phased in body cameras for all of its officers over the last year. Department policy allows for a range of situations in which officers are supposed to turn cameras on, including "any contact involving criminal activity" and before use of force. If a body camera is not running before use of force, it's supposed to be turned on as soon as it's safe to do so.
Once the investigation is complete, Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman would decide whether to charge the officer. Freeman would not comment on the broader case Monday, but said both officers likely should have turned on their body cameras as they were approached by Damond in an alley.
Officials said the officers' body cameras were not turned on and a squad car camera did not capture the shooting. Investigators were still trying to determine whether other video exists.
It's not clear why the officers' body cameras were not on. The department has phased in body cameras for all of its officers over the last year. Department policy allows for a range of situations in which officers are supposed to turn cameras on, including "any contact involving criminal activity" and before use of force. If a body camera is not running before use of force, it's supposed to be turned on as soon as it's safe to do so.
Once the investigation is complete, Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman would decide whether to charge the officer. Freeman would not comment on the broader case Monday, but said both officers likely should have turned on their body cameras as they were approached by Damond in an alley.
Damond's business website indicates she relocated to Minneapolis and worked as a yoga instructor, meditation teacher and personal health and life coach.
Originally trained as a veterinarian, Damond indicated on the site that she was "most passionate about supporting individuals and organizations to discover the power and potential within their own brains and hearts."
Nancy Coune, administrator at the Lake Harriet Spiritual Community in Minneapolis, said Damond came to Minneapolis about three years ago to be with her fianc?, {sic} and she had been teaching and speaking at the center for more than two years.
Damond's mother was Australian, and she spent her formative years there, but also spent some of her early childhood in the Buffalo, New York, area, said Peter Suffoletto, a cousin of Damond's father.
DISCLAIMER: The opinions expressed in this blog are strictly those of the blog's owner, and in no way express the views of Blogger or Google. 

Thursday, July 13

So, Now They Are Getting Paid Off For It....Update on Philando Castile Shooting Death

Paid off, bought out, whatever way you want to put it, it still means the same thing. He was paid for taking the life of someone's son, someone's husband (I don't care if they had papers or not), someone's father. It's bad enough when they acquit or don't bring charges at all on someone who is clearly guilty of having taken a life that should not have been taken, but when they pay that person off? I don't know if I want to cry, scream, or just puke.

When are these juries going to get some backbone and do what's right? The officers who have been involved in these shootings can't  ALL not be guilty!!  I heard it said about the numbers of black men who are incarcerated and claim to be innocent, "Well, why were they arrested and charged and jailed if they're so innocent?" So why is that same standard not being held to these officers? Most don't even come to trial, and the reason is usually 'not enough evidence to get a conviction'. When there IS a case brought to trial though, the prosecutors are telling you " Look, here's the evidence, this guy committed a crime, let's put this criminal away where he belongs!"  And every time, you fools let them go! What the hell are you all so afraid of? Just like back in the slave days (and later), when everyone would see horrific crimes being committed against blacks, but when it came to standing up for that person it was 'Aw nah suh, Ah dint see nuffin suh' because everyone was so scared of  something happening to them. Well, one day it might be  YOU, or your child, or your brother, or your husband, and you're going to wish that someone would stand up for you and yours. This is what Philando Castile's mom has to look forward to:

The grave of Philando Castile at Calvary Cemetery in St. Louis on the one-year anniversary of his 
death on  Thursday, July 6, 2017. 
David Carson/St. Louis Post-Dispatch/TNS via Getty Images

Minnesota officer who killed Philando Castile formally leaves police department, given $48,500 buyout

The Minnesota police officer who fatally shot Philando Castile during a July 2016 traffic stop and was acquitted last month left his department not long after the criminal trial concluded, officials said this week, departing from the force shortly before the first anniversary of the shooting.
While it had been previously announced that Jeronimo Yanez — who was a St. Anthony, Minn., police officer when he shot Castile in another Twin Cities suburb — would leave his department, few details were available until this week about his exit from the force.
Former St. Anthony police officer Jeronimo Yanez (David Joles/Star Tribune via AP) 
Yanez pulled over Castile in Falcon Heights, Minn., on July 6, 2016, for a traffic stop that began calmly and escalated to bloodshed in moments. After Castile told Yanez he had a gun, Yanez began telling him not to pull it out and Castile responded he was not; seconds later, Yanez fired into the car, mortally wounding Castile.

After the shooting, Yanez said he feared for his life and thought Castile was grabbing a gun. Castile and his girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds, both said he was not reaching for his gun. The shooting’s aftermath unfolded in an emotional Facebook Live video filmed by Reynolds from the car’s front seat that soon spread around the world, becoming the second deadly police shooting of a black man in as many days to spark intense protests due to a viral video.
Yanez, who was charged last year, was acquitted last month on charges of manslaughter and endangering Reynolds and her 4-year-old daughter, who was in the car’s back seat.
On the day of his acquittal, officials in St. Anthony released a statement saying Yanez would not return to the police force because “the public will be best served if Officer Yanez is no longer a police officer in our city.” In a statement at the time, the city said it would offer him “a voluntary separation agreement” to be negotiated in the near future.
On Monday, St. Anthony officials announced that Yanez and the city had reached that agreement ending his employment there. The city did not immediately say when Yanez left the force or whether he received any severance payment, but instead explained why they sought the agreement instead of firing him.
“Since Officer Yanez was not convicted of a crime, as a public employee, he would have appeal and grievance rights if terminated,” the city said in a statement. “A reasonable voluntary separation agreement brings to a close one part of this horrible tragedy. The city concluded this was the most thoughtful way to move forward and help the community-wide healing process proceed.”
Under the terms of the confidential separation agreement, Yanez agreed to leave the department on June 30 with a payment of $48,500 and a payout for up to 600 hours of unused personal leave, according to the five-page document, a copy of which was released to The Washington Post on Tuesday. (Documents previously released by the city have pegged his annual salary at more than $72,600.)
This agreement also says it settles any claims Yanez may have against St. Anthony. The agreement — which was signed on Monday by Yanez and Mark Casey, the St. Anthony city manager — was first reported by the Associated Press.
An attorney for Yanez did not respond to a request for comment Tuesday.
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Tuesday, July 11

Remember Your Mother/Grandmother Saying "Everything Comes Clean In the Wash!"?

I always thought it was funny, but when I became an adult I began to understand what she meant. When you pour water on a dirty shirt, the dirt loosens. When the shirt is covered with water, the more vigorously you agitate the water, and the hotter you make it, the more of the dirt is dislodged, and eventually all of the material underneath is revealed.

The 'material' underneath isn't always going to be the clean, glistening, shiny white you may be expecting to see though. Sometimes, so much mud and muck has been ground in for so long, that the material is heavily stained, and will not come completely clean.

#Notmypresident Trump has a long history of throwing dirt, not just trying to 'stain' his opponents with it but also trying to cover himself up so that no one will try to dig too deeply. Evidently, in his desire to 'muddy the waters', he splashed some of his own people along the way.....

The Trump campaign’s attempted collusion

Donald Trump Jr. (Stephanie Keith/Reuters)

FOR MONTHS, the Donald Trump campaign and then the Trump administration not only have cast doubt on the facts of Russian interference in the 2016 election but also have denied there was contact between Russian agents and Trump surrogates. We now know that this insistence was at best highly misleading. Top Trump officials met with a Kremlin-allied Russian lawyer in June 2016 — and they did so with the express hope of receiving compromising information about their Democratic rival. This represents a grave new set of facts in the ongoing investigation into possible Russian-Trump collusion.
The meeting, as first reported by the New York Times, took place after Mr. Trump had clinched the Republican presidential nomination but before the convention. Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya, who has campaigned against Western-imposed sanctions on Russia, met with Mr. Trump’s closest advisers: his eldest son, Donald Trump Jr.; his son-in-law, Jared Kushner; and the Trump campaign chairman at the time, Paul Manafort. The meeting was suggested, as The Post reported Monday, by a Russian pop star whose family has business ties both to the Russian government and to Mr. Trump.
For months, officials failed to disclose this meeting. When the record was corrected, they then mischaracterized its purpose. Mr. Trump Jr. and Reince Priebus, the White House chief of staff, passed it off as “a nothing meeting,” as Mr. Priebus said Sunday, that was “apparently about Russian adoption” — meaning about a controversy over whether foreigners could adopt Russian orphans. But hours later, after further reporting by the Times, the younger Mr. Trump admitted that he attended because he had been promised damaging material about the Hillary Clinton campaign. The Times further reported Monday night that he was informed that any such material “was part of a Russian government effort to aid his father’s candidacy.”
It will be up to federal prosecutors to determine whether federal conspiracy laws or election laws barring campaigns from soliciting help from foreigners have been implicated. What we already can say is that the plausibility of the Trump camp’s narrative, in which any underhanded Russian assistance came without the campaign’s witting participation, is eroding. The president’s associates must now explain interactions with Russians that they previously insisted never took place.
Mr. Trump Jr. claimed that he did not know the name of the person he would be meeting. His statement on the matter also indicated that, upon learning with whom he was meeting, he ended the encounter after it “became clear that she had no meaningful information.” If he had the proper concern about foreign influence on the election system, not to mention election law, he would have immediately ended any meeting premised on the offer of campaign help when learning the other party was a Russian national.
The latest revelations only intensify the questions surrounding Mr. Trump’s firing of FBI Director James B. Comey after Mr. Comey, according to his own testimony, declined to pledge personal loyalty to the president. They also intensify the urgency of a careful Senate vetting of Mr. Trump’s nominee to replace Mr. Comey, Christopher Wray, who will testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday. Mr. Wray must commit to the independence of the FBI by detailing any conversations he had with Mr. Trump, and in particular whether the president asked him for his loyalty. He must be able to say that he made no such commitment. And he must promise that he will do everything to cooperate with, and nothing to impede, the special counsel’s Russia investigation.
Disclaimer: All opinions contained in this blog are those of the author, and no one else. 

Monday, July 3


 I am still trying to fix the issue here on Bikini Bottom. I've had to strip away the custom domain and revert to the original Blogspot designation to access it, but for some reason that's not always working either! Anyway, I'll keep working on the issue, and I hope you all will keep coming and reading. Thanks for your loyalty and patience!

             Mgmt @ Live In Bikini Bottom