TIME Companies

Tylenol Maker Admits to Selling Liquid Medicine Contaminated with Metal

Recalled over-the-counter medicines distributed by the McNeil Consumer Healthcare division of Johnson & Johnson including St. Joseph's Aspirin tablets, lot AMM365, Motrin Junior Strength tablets, lot APM303, Tylenol Extra Strength caplets, lot AMA008, and Rolaids Freshmint tablets, lot AFA293, are displayed for a photograph in New York, U.S., on Friday, Jan. 15, 2010. Johnson & Johnson expanded its recall of products possibly tainted with a wood chemical to include Rolaids, Motrin, Children's Tylenol and St. Joseph's Aspirin along with some lots of Benadryl allergy tablets and Tylenol caplets as a "precautionary action" after consumer reports of moldy, musty and mildew-like odors in some of the pills. Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Daniel Acker—Bloomberg via Getty Images

A Johnson & Johnson subsidiary will pay $25 million after pleading guilty to a federal crime

The maker of Tylenol pleaded guilty in a Federal Court on Tuesday to selling liquid medicine contaminated with metal.

McNeil Consumer Healthcare, a Johnson & Johnson subsidiary, pleaded guilty in a Federal District Court in Philadelphia to a criminal charge of manufacture and process of adulterated over-the-counter medicines. The company agreed to a $25 million settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice.

The company launched wide-ranging recalls in 2010 of over-the-counter medicines including Infants’ Tylenol and Children’s Motrin.

Those recalls came on the heels of others from 2008 to 2010 that involved hundreds of millions of bottles of Tylenol, Motrin, Benadryl and other consumer products. Metal particles contaminated the liquid medicines, which also suffered from moldy odors and labeling problems.

A spokeswoman for McNeil Consumer Healthcare said the plea agreement “closes a chapter” and that the company has “been implementing enhanced quality and oversight standards across its entire business,” Reuters reports.

Read next: 8 Things You Don’t Know About Supplements

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TIME White House

Loretta Lynch’s Long Wait May Soon Be Over

President Barack Obama listens at right as US Attorney Loretta Lynch speaks in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington on Nov. 8, 2014.
Carolyn Kaster—AP President Barack Obama listens at right as US Attorney Loretta Lynch speaks in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington on Nov. 8, 2014.

Her nomination process has been one of the longest in recent history

The long-stalled confirmation of Attorney General nominee Loretta Lynch will soon be over. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Tuesday that the Senate will hold a vote on whether to confirm Lynch next week, ending the over 100-day delay.

In February, the Senate Judiciary Committee approved the Brooklyn prosecutor’s nomination in a 12-8 vote. Three Republicans—Sens. Orrin Hatch of Utah, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Jeff Flake of Arizona—joined all of the committee’s Democrats in supporting her then.

The vote came nearly a month after Lynch’s generally seamless confirmation hearing, which was peppered with questions about President Obama’s immigration executive action. And though Senators found little fault with her overall qualifications, her refusal to denounce the order that would allow millions of undocumented immigrants to stay in the country temporarily without risk of deportation gave many Republican Senators pause.

Democrats and some Republicans, however, have argued that the role of Attorney General is too important to get caught up in the brouhaha over immigration. “We hope we won’t see a replay on Loretta Lynch because [Republicans] care about repealing the president on immigration,” Sen. Chuck Schumer said Tuesday.

“No one has objected to anything about Loretta Lynch, her character, her history, what she’s done as U.S. Attorney,” he added.

President Obama nominated Lynch to replace retiring Attorney General Eric Holder over 121 days ago. If confirmed, she would become the first African-American woman to hold the position in our nation’s history, a fact that wasn’t overlooked during the celebration this weekend of the 50th anniversary of Bloody Sunday in Selma, Ala., where civil rights activist Rev. Al Sharpton and Director of the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund Sherrilyn Ifill called for her swift confirmation.

On Sunday at Brown A.M.E. Church, where nonviolent protesters sought refuge after being bludgeoned bloody by Alabama state troopers en route to Montgomery some 50 years ago, Sharpton said racism was partly to blame for the delay on Lynch’s confirmation, which is among the longest in history. “You don’t think we notice that?” he asked the gathered crowd.

Under the Obama administration the office of Attorney General has been the cause of much contention between the Congress and the White House. Republicans have accused Attorney General Holder of politicizing the role of the nation’s top cop. His decisions not to enforce marijuana laws in states where the drug has been legalized and urging states attorneys general not to defend same-sex marriage bans drew the ire of many on the right. Holder is also the only sitting Attorney General to be held in contempt of Congress, a result of the investigation into a gun running scheme by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

“In some ways it’s surprising that Republicans don’t want Holder out sooner,” says Michelle Schwartz of the Alliance for Justice.

Blocking the President’s immigration action, so it seems, is more important. But, Gregory Wawro, a political science professor at Columbia University says the consequences of blocking the first African-American woman to the post of Attorney General could be great. Republicans already have a strained relationship with black voters, having garnered less than 10% of the black vote during the 2012 election. Since that time, the GOP has been working to improve relationships with the community.

“She represents constituencies Republicans have problematic relationships with,” Wawro says. “Republicans have painted themselves into a corner.”

With reporting by Alex Rogers

TIME technology

Wikipedia Sues NSA Over Mass Surveillance Program

The National Security Agency (NSA) headquarters in Fort Meade, Md.
Getty Images The National Security Agency (NSA) headquarters in Fort Meade, Md.

Wikimedia Foundation files suit against the National Security Agency and DoJ

The Wikimedia Foundation, which runs the web-based encyclopedia Wikipedia, has joined forces with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) in a legal challenge to a government mass surveillance program it says strains the “backbone of democracy.”

In a lawsuit filed in a Maryland federal court on Tuesday, Wikimedia and eight other organizations accuse the National Security Agency and the Department of Justice of violating the First and Fourth Amendments through a practice known as “upstream surveillance,” which was disclosed in leaks by former NSA agent Edward Snowden.

Through upstream surveillance, the NSA is authorized to collect data on Internet users who communicate with “non U.S. persons” if it any way relates to national security or foreign affairs. Wikimedia says such data might include communications by its staff and users.

“Wikipedia is founded on the freedoms of expression, inquiry, and information. By violating our users’ privacy, the NSA is threatening the intellectual freedom that is central to people’s ability to create and understand knowledge,” Wikimedia Foundation Executive Director Lila Tretikov said in a blog post.

The Supreme Court dismissed a previous challenge to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which permits the NSA to collect data on the web, because the plaintiffs did not have legal standing to bring the case. Wikimedia says it has legal grounds to present the case because a classified NSA presentation included a reference to Wikipedia and used their trademark.

“Because these disclosures revealed that the government specifically targeted Wikipedia and its users, we believe we have more than sufficient evidence to establish standing,” a blog post reads.

Read next: Meet the New Female Artists of Wikipedia

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TIME Crime

Madison Police Urge ‘Calm’ After Shooting of Black Teen

The Friday police shooting of a 19-year-old black man has sparked protests

Police in Madison, Wisc., are urging locals to “exercise restraint” after the fatal police shooting of a 19-year-old black man on Friday sparked multiple protests, including a sit-in at city hall.

“In light of so much things that have happened not just across the country, but in our own community, it’s understandable that the reaction at the scene and of some of our citizens is extremely volatile, emotional and upsetting,” Police Chief Mike Koval said Saturday, the Detroit Free Press reports. “That’s absolutely appropriate under these circumstances. We would urge, obviously, that everyone exercise restraint, calm and allow the Division of Criminal Investigation to conduct their affairs.”

Koval said one officer was responding to reports of a man jumping into traffic and assaulting a pedestrian. The officer followed the man, whose mother identified him as Tony Robinson, to his apartment and forced his entry after allegedly overhearing a disturbance inside. The officer opened fire after Robinson allegedly assaulted him. Koval said preliminary evidence “did not reflect a gun or anything of that nature that would have been used by the subject.”

More than 100 people showed up at the crime scene chanting “black lives matter” before breaking up early Saturday morning. The Wisconsin Department of Justice will investigate the confrontation.

[Detroit Free Press]

TIME Ferguson

Holder ‘Prepared’ to Dismantle the Ferguson Police Department

Attorney General Eric Holder talks with media as he arrives on Air Force One in Andrews Air Force Base, Md. on March 6, 2015, with President Barack Obama, from Columbia, S.C.
Carolyn Kaster—AP Attorney General Eric Holder talks with media as he arrives on Air Force One in Andrews Air Force Base, Md. on March 6, 2015, with President Barack Obama, from Columbia, S.C.

'We are prepared to use all the powers that we have,' the Attorney General said Friday

Attorney General Eric Holder said Friday that he’s “prepared” to dismantle the Ferguson, Mo., police department after a Wednesday Department of Justice report revealed numerous instances of racial discrimination and constitutional violations within the force.

“We are prepared to use all the powers that we have, all the power that we have, to ensure that the situation changes there,” Holder said. “That means everything from working with them to coming up with an entirely new structure … If [dismantling is] what’s necessary, we’re prepared to do that.”

Holder called Ferguson an “anomoly” but hopes other departments around the country are paying close attention to the contents of the Wednesday report, which stated that the Ferguson police valued “revenue rather than public safety needs.”

“The notion that you would use a law enforcement agency or law enforcement generally to generate revenue, and then the callous way in which that was done and the impact that it had on the lives of the ordinary citizens of that municipality, was just appalling,” Holder told reporters at Andrews Air Force Base. “And that is not something that we’re going to tolerate.”

[Washington Post]

TIME justice

Attorney General Says Report on Ferguson Police Is ‘Searing’

Attorney General Eric Holder delivers remarks about the Justice DepartmentÕs findings related to two investigations in Ferguson, Missouri, at the Robert F. Kennedy Department of Justice Building March 4, 2015 in Washington, DC. Holder delivered the remarks for an audience of department employees who worked on the investigations after a white police officer shot and killed an unarmed black teenager, sparking weeks of demonstrations and violent clashes.
Chip Somodevilla—2015 Getty Images Attorney General Eric Holder delivers remarks about the Justice Department's findings related to two investigations in Ferguson, Missouri, at the Robert F. Kennedy Department of Justice Building March 4, 2015 in Washington, DC.

"Some of those protesters were right"

Attorney General Eric Holder said Wednesday that even though the Justice Department will not charge a Ferguson, Mo., police officer with civil rights violations in last year’s shooting death of Michael Brown, it will guarantee the city takes “immediate, wholesale and structural corrective action” after a report found a pattern of racial bias.

Earlier in the day, the Justice Department released a report Holder described as “searing” that detailed that bias, noting instances of bigoted emails, unjustified arrests and excessive force. In a separate report, investigators found officer Darren Wilson was not at fault for Brown’s death, which set off sometimes violent protests in Ferguson and across the country.

“Michael Brown’s death though tragic did not involve prosecutable conduct by Officer Wilson,” Holder said. “These findings may not be consistent with some people’s expectations.”

Holder cited several damning statistics about how the police routinely discriminated against black residents: almost 90% of unnecessary force was directed at African Americans; the use of police dogs was exclusively reserved for African Americans; and 90% of stops and arrests for “manner of walking in roadway” involved African Americans.

“Members of the community may not have been responding to a single isolated confrontation but also to a pervasive, coercive and deep lack of trust,” he said. “Some of those protesters were right.”

Holder recommended several concrete changes and said the Justice Department reserves the right to “force compliance and implement basic change.”

Among the recommendations, Holder continued, are the implementation of a “robust system of true community policing”; a review and analysis of the Ferguson police department’s stop, search, ticketing and arrest practices; more civilian involvement in law-enforcement’s decisionmaking; as well as new ways to more effectively respond to claims of officer misconduct.

The report also suggests changes to the municipal court system, which include modifying bond amounts and procedures for detention, an end to the practice of using arrest warrants to collect owed dues, among others.

Read more: U.S. Faults Ferguson Police for Racial Bias

TIME Civil Rights

Feds Clear Ferguson Cop Darren Wilson of Civil Rights Violations

Prosecutors cannot disprove that the officer who shot Michael Brown "feared for his safety”

The Department of Justice has cleared Darren Wilson, the police officer who shot and killed teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., of committing civil rights violations in the August confrontation that sparked sometimes violent local and national protests.

A separate report from the Justice Department did find, however, that the Ferguson Police Department was in frequent violation of several provisions of the Constitution.

The report, one of two released on Wednesday, broadly corroborates Wilson’s account of what happened in the St. Louis suburb on Aug.9. The officer said he spotted Brown and a friend walking in the middle of the street. Wilson told prosecutors and investigators he suspected the pair in the theft of cigarillos from a nearby convenience store, and called for backup before pulling to a stop near them.

The officer and some witnesses said Brown reached into Wilson’s police car to punch and grab him. Even though other witnesses stated that Wilson had reached out of his vehicle to grab Brown by the neck, prosecutors said their accounts were “inconsistent with physical and forensic evidence.”

Wilson said he took out his weapon while still in his vehicle and shot Brown in the hand as the teenager attempted to gain control of the gun. The report found “no credible evidence to disprove Wilson’s account” of what happened inside the vehicle.

Brown then ran away and Wilson gave chase, the report said. Autopsy results found that Brown had not been shot in the back as he was running away, as some witnesses reported. Instead, the report found, Brown was approaching Wilson in a manner that “appeared to pose a physical threat” when he was shot. The shooting death led to weeks of often-violent protests in the city.

Witnesses said that “Wilson fired at Brown in what appeared to be self-defense and stopped firing once Brown fell to the ground.” Though a number of witnesses claimed Brown held his hands up in a surrender position before Wilson fired, the report found that they were not credible.

“Some of those accounts are inaccurate because they are inconsistent with the physical and forensic evidence; some of those accounts are materially inconsistent with that witnesses’ own prior statements with no explanation,” the Wilson report concluded. A state grand jury declined to indict Wilson in November; he resigned from the Ferguson Police Department that same month.

A separate Justice Department investigation opened after Brown’s shooting has found routine patterns and practices of racism in Ferguson, including the excessive use of force and unjustified arrests.

“Our investigation showed that Ferguson police officers routinely violate the Fourth Amendment in stopping people without reasonable suspicion, arresting them without probable cause, and using unreasonable force against them,” Attorney General Eric Holder said in a statement accompanying the release of the reports. “Now that our investigation has reached its conclusion, it is time for Ferguson’s leaders to take immediate, wholesale and structural corrective action.”

Brown’s parents said they were “saddened” by the decision to clear Wilson, but said they were encouraged by the DOJ’s findings about the Ferguson police. “It is our hope that through this action, true change will come not only in Ferguson, but around the country,” Lesley McSpadden and Michael Brown, Sr. said in a statement. “If that change happens, our son’s death will not have been in vain.”

TIME justice

U.S. Faults Ferguson Police for Racial Bias

Protesters drop a mirrored casket in front of a line of police officers in front of the Ferguson Police Department in Ferguson, Mo. on Oct. 10, 2014.
Robert Cohen—St. Louis Post-Dispatch/Getty Images Protesters drop a mirrored casket in front of a line of police officers in front of the Ferguson Police Department in Ferguson, Mo., on Oct. 10, 2014

The report is scathing, but the big question is what comes next

The violent protests in Ferguson last August were driven by the indelible image of an unarmed black teenager, Michael Brown, lying in the street after a white police officer, Darren Wilson, shot him dead. But the outrage in Ferguson, and the national debate that accompanied it, were also about something harder to see: racism, and the allegation that Ferguson’s largely white cops were deeply, systematically and violently prejudiced against black residents.

Now, as one of his last acts as U.S. Attorney General, Eric Holder has painted a picture of Ferguson’s entrenched racism that is clear and unmistakable. A Justice Department investigation opened after Brown’s shooting has found routine patterns and practices of racism in Ferguson, including the excessive use of force and unjustified arrests, officials said Tuesday. The findings are scathing in their detail:

In 88 percent of the cases in which the department used force, it was against African Americans. In all of the 14 canine-bite incidents for which racial information was available, the person bitten was African American.

In Ferguson court cases, African Americans are 68 percent less likely than others to have their cases dismissed by a municipal judge, according to the Justice review. In 2013, African Americans accounted for 92 percent of cases in which an arrest warrant was issued.

The investigation also turned up bigoted emails, like one from November 2008 that reportedly said President Obama wouldn’t complete his first term as President because “what black man holds a steady job for four years.” The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported another racist message, from May 2011, reading: “An African-American woman in New Orleans was admitted into the hospital for a pregnancy termination. Two weeks later she received a check for $5,000. She phoned the hospital to ask who it was from. The hospital said, ‘Crimestoppers.'”

The Justice Department spent 100 days in Ferguson collecting such details, and the report is an end in itself, putting an official stamp on the town’s problems that some had found easy to dismiss. But when it comes to fixing the harsh reality of racism in Ferguson, it’s not clear transparency will be enough.

The question now is whether the report will deliver reform in the beleaguered St. Louis suburb. The Justice Department under Holder has significantly increased the number of pattern or practice investigations, and some past settlements with police departments have led to dramatic improvements. But others say the department’s lack of enforcement powers mean reform depends on local politicians, and worry Ferguson’s leaders won’t bring change.

Under the 1994 law authorizing such “pattern or practice” investigations, the Justice Department has little enforcement power to fix the problems it finds. As a rule, it enters into contracts with the offending force, which agrees to increase transparency and data collection and to provide better training and supervision.

Police officials and their unions often resist reform, several studies have shown. The Justice Department has “very few sticks they can use,” to get past such obstacles, says Elliot Harvey Schatmeier, a lawyer at the New York City office of Kirkland & Ellis and the author of one such study.

Others say that in many cases, the attention brought by the investigations is enough. In Pittsburgh, New Jersey and Los Angeles, Justice Department investigations led to successful reforms, says Chris Stone, president of the Open Society Foundations and a criminal-justice scholar. More important, Stone says, “They’ve established a national standard for what good policing looks like.”

Holder’s Ferguson findings, Stone says, have the potential to lead to a similar blueprint for smaller, suburban police forces around the country, which have typically been hard to reform.

By the same token, though, a failure in the high-profile Ferguson case could set back the effort to reform small police departments. Holder has established with clarity the problem in Ferguson. But without local political buy-in, the town that came to symbolize 21st century police racism in America could end up symbolizing its resistance to reform too.

TIME

L.A. Police Say Homeless Man Tried to Grab Gun Before Fatal Shooting

Charlie Beck
Damian Dovarganes—AP Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck comments on the shooting of a homeless man on Skid Row of Los Angeles, at a news conference at police headquarters on March 2, 2015.

But a bystander who caught the incident on video says otherwise

Los Angeles’ police chief said Monday there was evidence that a homeless man shot and killed by officers on Sunday had struggled over one of their guns, but a bystander who captured a viral video of the deadly incident says he never saw the man reach for a weapon.

Police Chief Charlie Beck said during a news conference that the slide of the weapon had been “partially engaged,” which is “indicative of a struggle over a weapon,” according to the Los Angeles Times, which has reviewed a second video of the deadly altercation.

Police were responding to a suspected robbery call and pursued a man known by some as “Africa” in the Skid Row area, home to one of the largest populations of homeless people in the country. After officers made contact, the department said in a statement, the man apparently began to fight back and resist being taken into custody.

“The officers attempted to use a Taser to subdue him but the suspect continued to fight and resist the officers and fell to the ground,” the statement continues. “While on the ground, the suspect and officers struggled over one of the officer’s handguns and then an officer-involved shooting occurred.”

Sunday’s encounter was recorded by at least one officer’s body camera and caught on a video that was circulated widely on Facebook. The bystander who recorded the footage, Anthony Blackburn, told CNN on Monday that he hadn’t seen the man reach for a weapon.

Beck said the officers involved in the shooting had received training about working with mentally ill people. The man reportedly spent the past few months living in a tent after previously residing at a mental-health facility.

Police said the shooting is being investigated by a number of law-enforcement offices, including the Office of Inspector General and Los Angeles Country District Attorney’s Justice System, to determine if the man’s death was another case of excessive force by police, as some witnesses and local activists claim.

TIME justice

White House Task Force Calls for Better Data on Police Shootings

Barack Obama
Jacquelyn Martin—AP President Barack Obama, flanked by former Assistant Attorney General Laurie Robinson, left, and Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey, speaks during a meeting with members of the Task Force on 21st Century Policing

Group calls for minimizing the use of military level equipment during demonstrations, but shies away from suggesting more body cameras

A task force established by President Obama after high-profile shootings of black men by police is calling for the federal government to keep better records on officer-involved shootings.

After 90 days of hearings and meetings with a wide range of civil rights groups and local police agencies, the Task Force on 21st Century Policing included the recommendation in its first report Monday.

It notes that a 1994 law requires the Department of Justice to gather data about excessive force by police officers and publish an annual summary but notes that has never been done in a “serious and sustained” way.

The report also suggests that local agencies adopt more of a community policing approach, minimize the use of military equipment at protests and rallies and have outside investigators look into police shootings. But it stopped short of endorsing widespread adoption of body cameras, an idea which first came up after a shooting in Ferguson, Mo.

Task force members said that body cameras could be helpful but that privacy concerns need to be considered first.

“Any technology we apply, we need to understand its usefulness,” said Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey, the co-chair of the task force, on a call with reporters Monday. “But we also need to make sure we’re working within a constitutional framework.”

“Today we’re talking about body cameras, but tomorrow it will be something else,” Ramsey added.

Marc Morial, president of the civil rights organization National Urban League, which called for more body cameras in testimony to the task force, praised the recommendations for independent investigators, but said that not coming down hard in favor of body and dashboard cameras a “missed opportunity.”

“Privacy concerns that might be there are not enough to put the breaks on an idea whose time has come,” Morial tells TIME.

Aside from the specific recommendations, the report stresses the need for police to establish trust and demonstrate transparency to the communities they serve.

The task force makes some evergreen calls to action like engaging with community members and better addressing prejudice, while also calling on the federal government to take a hard look at criminal justice policies such as sentencing and reentry and societal issues like poverty and education that can further exacerbate police distrust.

Many of the federal task force’s recommendations align with similar calls made by the U.S. Conference of Mayors, which released a report on community-police relations in January. Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson of Gary, Ind., says that the report rightfully acknowledges that the federal government’s role in improving police-community relations is limited.

“It acknowledges that while there can be guidance and training and technical assistance that can be provided at the federal level, there really has to be a local approach and a local commitment to addressing those concerns,” she said.

Gene Voegtlin, a spokesman for the International Association of Chiefs of Police says, “This is more than just a police issue,” says “It’s a criminal justice system issue, and honestly probably a societal issue.”

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