We mentioned Gatesgate yesterday in Non-Sequiturs. Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr., a prominent African-American studies scholar, was arrested on Thursday after a neighbor called police to report that Gates was trying to break into his own home.
The New York Times says Gates was returning from a trip to China, and that his door was jammed. He forced the door open with the help of a cab driver.
According to the police report [pdf], this led a woman passing by to call the police because she saw “two black males with backpacks… trying to force entry” into Gates’s home. At least the woman was a vigilant neighbor, even if she can’t recognize Henry Louis Gates.
When a police officer arrived, said he was investigating a break-in, and asked Gates to step outside, Gates was understandably offended. From the NYT:
Gates accused the investigating officer of being a racist and told him he had “no idea who he was messing with,” the report said.
Gates told the officer that he was being targeted because “I’m a black man in America.”
Frustrated, Gates initially refused to hand over his ID, but eventually relented, providing his Massachusetts driver’s license and his Harvard identification card. Gates had a few choice comments for the officers, including a yo’ mama joke.
As was widely reported in yesterday’s coverage of Hurricane Gustav, quick thinking and brute manpower relieved the pressure on a private levee in Plaquemines Parish. The levee protected a subdivision of a couple of hundred homes.
Nearly 400 people participated in saving the levee. Their ranks included residents, first responders, the Army Corps of Engineers… and an unconfirmed number of prison inmates who were pressed into service.
Most of the prisoners from New Orleans and surrounding areas were evacuated well ahead of Gustav’s landfall. In Orleans Parish, about 300 municipal prisoners were simply delivered out of bondage. Only violent municipal offenders were kept in custody and moved with the 2500 inmates held on more serious charges.
Yet there were still enough prisoners on hand to help out when the Plaquemines Parish levee weakened.
We spoke with Pam Laborde, a spokeswomen for the Louisiana Department of Corrections. She could not tell us which parish’s prisoners were involved in the levee saving efforts. However she was not surprised that there was extra muscle on hand.
It’s not unusual in those types of emergencies to hold a few people on a work crew back so that they are able to help perform certain functions keeping the city government working. Whether they run the kitchen or as a work crew for cleaning the roads or that type of thing.
It’s one thing to scrub a latrine, but prisoners who helped to save a levee that protected homes — and potentially saved lives — should merit a “get out of jail free” card.
Laborde did not know the specifics involving efforts of these particular inmates (or their crimes), but she said that generally no such special consideration is given for state prisoners who stay behind and in harm’s way. She did say that if they were municipal prisoners, any time off would be given at the discretion of the individual Sheriffs’ departments.
Not surprisingly, Plaquemines Parish Sheriff “Jiff” Hingle could not be reached for comment.
Lawlessness can be a common occurrence during natural disasters, but apparently not all of it is bad. Concerns about New Orleans-area levee ease [CNN]
Here’s a fact pattern: teen steals liquor, teen gets hammered, adult is called to help, adult drives teen home, teen dies, adult gets charged with… negligent homicide?
That’s the reality facing Candice Collard. The 24-year-old woman is being charged with homicide in Utah for failing to help Jess “Micade” Horrocks, 14, who died of alcohol poisoning this past April.
The charge seems especially harsh given that Utah has a criminal statute for failure to render aid. Uintah County Deputy Attorney Greg Lamb said that the homicide charge was warranted because Collard “failed miserably in several areas that could have prevented [Horrocks's] death.” Lamb admits that his office is taking a “novel” approach to this case, which should make Collard feel swell.
Collard drove the teen 13 miles to Collard’s home instead of 2 miles to the hospital. Horrocks did not receive medical attention until the next day
In retrospect, obviously, Collard’s choice was unwise. But Collard neither procured the alcohol nor sat there and poured it down Horrocks’s throat.
This charge puts the perverse in legal incentives. When ineffective help puts you in danger of a homicide conviction, wouldn’t you rather roll the dice with a failure-to-render-aid charge?
The “go screw yourself, kid” attitude is something we’d expect out of the Bronx, but Utah? Woman charged in boy’s alcohol-poisoning death [Salt Lake Tribune via Fark]
Authorities are investigating whether men threatened to kill Senator Barack Obama, or if they were just trying to get a date with Jodie Foster. Either way, U.S. Attorney Troy Eid is certain that the potentially meth-addled gunmen posed no credible threat to Obama or the Democratic National Convention.
We have explored the colossal idiocy of making threats against the President before. However, in a news flash to, you know, Germans, Obama is not the president yet. He is not even the nominee of a major party.
What he is, is a “major candidate” and 18 U.S.C. § 3056, authorizes the Secretary of the Treasury to grant him Secret Service protection and all the other trappings of “dude, not to be messed with.”
Obama has received protection for well over a year, earlier than any other presidential candidate in history.
So, here’s an important safety tip: don’t threaten to harm Obama or McCain or Bob Barr or whomever. Register your displeasure in the traditional way, anonymous comments on various blogs that showcase your cutting wit and deep respect for democracy. The Secret Service doesn’t have a sense of humor. U.S. attorney ‘confident’ Obama not threatened [Rocky Mountain News]
[Ed. note: This post is by FROLIC & DETOUR, one of the finalists in ATL Idol, the "reality blogging" competition that will determine ATL's next editor. It is marked with Frolic & Detour's avatar (at right).]
A man claiming to be a police detective entered a Longmont, Colo. adult store and demanded to see the X-rated videos for free.
The ponytailed man claimed he was an officer in the “age verification unit,” and he had to ensure that the performers in the porn videos weren’t underage. “It was inventive on his part, I’ll give him that,” said the real police officer investigating the case.
Somehow, the video clerks weren’t convinced by the man’s business card, which had no name on it. Since the scheme didn’t work the first time, the man tried it a second and then a third time…at the same store. Unfortunately, Randal wasn’t there that day, and the clerks called the cops.
The man may drive a red Dodge neon, which explains why he isn’t getting laid.
Dan Slater at the WSJ Law Blog posted on an interesting First Amendment case about a state trooper’s involvement with the KKK. The trooper was subsequently fired, and now he’s arguing for his job back:
In 2004, Robert Henderson, then a state trooper in Nebraska, joined an organization called the Knights Party after his wife left him for a hispanic man. The Knights Party is an affiliate of the Ku Klux Klan. In 2006, following a state patrol disciplinary hearing in which Henderson told the investigator he joined the Knights Party to vent his frustration, he was fired from the force. An arbitrator then overturned Henderson’s firing, saying that it violated his First Amednment rights. Nebraska’s Attorney General, John Bruning, then appealed that decision and won in a lower Nebraska State Court. Yesterday, Henderson and his lawyer, Vincent Valentino, appealed to Nebraska’s Supreme Court to have Henderson reinstated.
At the link, Slater delivers a great summary of the relevant law, courtesy of Stanford con law Professor Derek Shaffer.
* New accounting rules for M&A. [DealBook]
* Lilly contemplates $1 billion payment to settle civil and criminal investigations relating to its marketing of Zyprexa. [New York Times]
* NYPD officer accused of pimping child. [MSNBC]
* Ex-priest jailed for murder via exorcism. [CNN]
* Indiana man arrested for making his own crosswalk. [The Indy Channel]
* Nader takes steps toward another run for the presidency in 2008. [Bloomberg]
Obesity isn’t just a problem for Biglaw lawyers who don’t get to the gym enough. From the New York Post:
He weighs more than 500 pounds, but that wasn’t enough to tip the scales of justice for ex-cop Paul Soto.
The rotund retiree lost his legal argument that it was a line-of-duty fall outside a doctor’s office that cost him his NYPD career. A judge says it was actually his “morbid obesity.”
“There’s no dispute that [Soto] is physically incapable of performing his duties as a police officer. He is morbidly obese, suffers from narcolepsy and is hypertensive,” Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Judith Gische wrote in her decision made public yesterday.
Apparently the physical vigor of being a cop doesn’t always keep off the pounds:
When Soto joined the force in 1993, Gische found, he weighed approximately 250 pounds. He is now 40, 5-foot-7 and over 500 pounds.
A former colleague at the 6th Precinct said Soto’s gun belt was an incredible 6 feet long, and his bosses would order him to take walks around the stationhouse for his own good. They would also have other officers shadow him to make sure he didn’t pick up food along the way, he said.
It’s a good thing Soto doesn’t work at a law firm, where office-wide emails about extra sandwiches left in conference rooms make the rounds daily. He’s Biiig Blue [New York Post via Drudge]
The headlines say it all, over at the Drudge Report:
We previously wrote about the incident here. The report exonerating the officers is not flattering to the tased bro, Andrew Meyer:
In the 17-page summary of the report, FDLE said it spoke with several witnesses who said that days before the event Meyer vowed to put on ”a show” at the Kerry event.
According to the report, during a Sept. 11 Gators for Rudy [Giuliani] rally, Meyer got into an argument with another student and told a friend that “if he liked what he had seen that he should go to the Kerry speech and he would really see a show.”
In addition, the report said that after his arrest, when Meyer was out of view of the cameras, he told officers that they did not do anything wrong and then asked “if cameras will be at the jail.”
It seems that the family of this woman may have a stronger cause of action than Andrew Meyer:
A Clay County woman’s family said it’s seeking justice after their loved one died shortly after being shocked 10 times with Taser guns during a confrontation with police.
The family of 56-year-old Emily Delafield said it would take the Green Cove Springs Police Department to court, according to a WJXT-TV report….
Family attorney Rick Alexander said Delafield’s death could have been prevented and that there are four things that jump out at him about the case.
“One, she’s in a wheelchair. Two, she’s schizophrenic. Three, they’re using a Taser on a person that’s in a wheelchair, and then four is that they tasered her 10 times for a period of like two minutes,” Alexander said.
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The last time I flapped my wings your way, I tried to make at least enough noise about your mobile phone to make you more than a little bit uncomfortable. I hope I did. If enough of us become anxious enough about the known and unknown unknowns and knowns in our mobile phones, then we can start making wise decisions about how to manage that information and its resultant investigations.
Today, I’d like to put a finer point on the last installment’s topic by asking a question that seemed to catch most attendees off-guard at a conference panel that I moderated last week: is there discoverable personal information in a mobile app? Our panelists’ answer was a uniform “yes” with one stating that, if he had to choose only one type of data that he could discover from a mobile phone, he’d choose app data. Why? Because there’s simply so much of it and because almost all of it is objective – not just user-created like an email – but machine-tracked like GPS, usage duration, log in and log out times, browsed web addresses, browsed actual addresses. Also, most of us seem to have the idea that data doesn’t actually “stick” to our mobile devices the way it “sticks” to our hard drives. Maybe there’s a disconnect based on the fact that our phones are mobile so we assume the data is mobile to?
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