TIME Crime

Missouri National Guard Called Ferguson Protesters ‘Enemy Forces’

Police and Missouri National Guard attempt to control demonstrators protesting the killing of teenager Michael Brown on Aug. 18, 2014 in Ferguson, Mo.
Scott Olson—Getty Images Police and Missouri National Guard attempt to control demonstrators protesting the killing of teenager Michael Brown on Aug. 18, 2014 in Ferguson, Mo.

Internal documents bolster claims of military-style approach

The Missouri National Guard referred to protesters in Ferguson last summer as “enemy forces,” according to documents obtained by CNN, bolstering claims the police adopted military tactics to react to protests over the death of unarmed teenager Michael Brown.

In August, the state’s National Guard was called into aid local police agencies who were attempting to control demonstrators protesting the death of Brown, a black unarmed teenager, by Darren Wilson, a white police officer.

The protests began as a demonstration against police use of force. But the response by law enforcement agencies, which mobilized armored vehicles and utilized tear gas and M4 rifles, spurred a national conversation over the militarization of police and prompted Congress to hold hearings over the flow of military gear to local police agencies.

The documents obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request appears to support those who claim authorities used a excessively military-style approach in its response.

“It’s disturbing when you have what amounts to American soldiers viewing American citizens somehow as the enemy,” Antonio French, a prominent alderman in St. Louis, told the network.

[CNN]

TIME Crime

Boston Bombing Victim’s Parents Say Tsarnaev Shouldn’t Get Death Penalty

The family of Boston Marathon bombing victim Martin Richard joins Boston Mayor Marty Walsh (R) at a ceremony at the site of the second bomb blast on the second anniversary of the bombings in Boston on April 15, 2015.
Brian Snyder—Reuters The family of Boston Marathon bombing victim Martin Richard joins Boston Mayor Marty Walsh (R) at a ceremony at the site of the second bomb blast on the second anniversary of the bombings in Boston on April 15, 2015.

Martin Richard was one of three people killed by the April 2013 explosions

(BOSTON) — The parents of the youngest victim of the Boston Marathon bombing are urging federal authorities to consider taking the death penalty off the table for the man convicted in the case.

Bill and Denise Richard, whose 8-year-old son, Martin, was one of three people killed by the April 2013 explosions at the marathon’s finish line, say in a front-page piece in Friday’s Boston Globe that sentencing Dzhokhar Tsarnaev to death “could bring years of appeals and prolong reliving the most painful day of our lives.”

“We are in favor of and would support the Department of Justice in taking the death penalty off the table in exchange for the defendant spending the rest of his life in prison without any possibility of release and waiving all of his rights to appeal,” they wrote.

The Richards’ daughter, Jane, lost a leg in one of the explosions, and they both suffered injuries.

“We understand all too well the heinousness and brutality of the crimes committed. We were there. We lived it. The defendant murdered our 8-year-old son, maimed our 7-year-old daughter, and stole part of our soul. We know that the government has its reasons for seeking the death penalty, but the continued pursuit of that punishment could bring years of appeals and prolong reliving the most painful day of our lives,” they said.

They wrote that when Tsarnaev fades from the media spotlight and public view they can start “rebuilding our lives and family.”

The Richards never mention Tsarnaev by name, simply calling him “the defendant,” and stressed that they are speaking only for themselves.

U.S. Attorney for Boston Carmen Ortiz says she is aware of the Richards’ view but cannot comment on the specifics.

“But as I have previously assured both Bill and Denise, I care deeply about their views and the views of the other victims and survivors,” Ortiz said.

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, a friend of the Richard family, tells WBZ-AM he respects their point of view.

Jennifer Lemmerman, the sister of Massachusetts Institute of Technology police officer Sean Collier who was killed by Tsarnaev and his older brother days after the explosions, has also spoken out against the death penalty on her Facebook page, in posts that have since been removed.

Relatives of other victims have expressed support of the death penalty.

The penalty phase of Tsarnaev’s trial starts Tuesday, the day after this year’s marathon.

Read next: Boston Marks 2 Years Since Marathon Bombing

Listen to the most important stories of the day.

TIME Crime

Oklahoma Deputy Robert Bates Says He Had ‘No Desire to Take Anyone’s Life’

Robert Bates. The 73-year-old Oklahoma reserve sheriff's deputy, who authorities said fatally shot a suspect after confusing his stun gun and handgun, was booked into the county jail on a manslaughter charge in Tulsa, Okla. on April 14, 2015.
Tulsa County, Oklahoma, Sheriff's Office /AP Robert Bates. The 73-year-old Oklahoma reserve sheriff's deputy, who authorities said fatally shot a suspect after confusing his stun gun and handgun, was booked into the county jail on a manslaughter charge in Tulsa, Okla. on April 14, 2015.

Bates has been charged with second-degree manslaughter in the shooting death of Eric Harris

The Oklahoma reserve sheriff’s deputy who says he mistook his gun for a Taser offered an apology on Friday to the family of the unarmed man he shot and killed last week.

“I rate this as No. 1 on my list of things in my life that I regret,” the reserve deputy, Robert Bates, told TODAY in his first public remarks since the deadly encounter April 2.

Bates has been charged with second-degree manslaughter in the shooting death of Eric Harris, who bolted from a car after he allegedly tried to sell a semiautomatic pistol to an undercover cop during a sting…

Read the rest of the story from our partners at NBC News

TIME viral

Watch an ESPN Reporter Freak Out at a Car Impound Attendant

"Lose some weight, baby girl"

ESPN’s Britt McHenry has been suspended after a video of her cursing at a worker at a car impound went viral.

“I’m in the news, sweetheart, I will f***ing sue this place,” McHenry says to the attendant at Advance Towing in Arlington, Virginia. She goes on to berate the attendant for her appearance and job, saying, “Maybe if I was missing some teeth they would hire me, huh? Cause they look so stunning … Cause I’m on television and you’re in a f***ing trailer, honey.”

ESPN suspend McHenry after the rant, and McHenry took to Twitter to apologize:

TIME Military

Less Than Half of America’s Troops Are ‘Satisfied With Work’

Soldier
Chris Anderson—Getty Images/Aurora

Morale in the armed forces is low

At least half of America’s 770,000 troops are unhappy at work and report pessimistic feelings about their career. That’s according to mandatory online questionnaires soldiers fill out each year seen by USA Today.

Job satisfaction remains low, USA Today reports, with 48% of service personnel not feeling committed or satisfied with work. And 52% of troops marked yes to statements like “I rarely count on good things happening to me.”

Physical health did not score well either, with 86% of soldiers saying they are not receiving proper rest or nutrition.

Read more at USA Today

TIME Environment

North America May Have to Live With Bird Flu For a ‘Few Years,’ Says Top USDA Vet

A flock of turkeys at a Minnesota poultry farm
Bethany Hahn—AP A flock of turkeys at a Minnesota poultry farm

No quick end to the outbreak

A leading agriculture official has forecast that North America’s bird flu outbreak could last for some time.

“It’s something in North America that we may have to live with for a few years,” the USDA’s chief veterinary officer John Clifford told lawmakers in Minnesota.

The state is the area of the U.S. hardest hit by the disease, detecting bird flu on 26 turkey farms. Bird flu has also been found in Wisconsin, South Dakota and others.

A Minnesota House committee voted unanimously Thursday to allocate nearly $900,000 to help combat bird flu, which has afflicted 1.6 million turkeys in the state and become an economic blight for its almost $1 billion turkey industry.

No cases of human infections have been reported so far.

TIME Crime

Support for the Death Penalty in America Has Hit a 40-year Low

Anti-Death Penalty Activists Hold Fast And Vigil Outside Supreme Court
Chip Somodevilla—Getty Images Abolitionist Action Committee member Bo Chamberlin of Columbus, Ohio, fasts with other death penalty opponents in front of the U.S. Supreme Court June 29, 2009 in Washington, DC.

Only a slim majority of Americans agree with it

Public backing for capital punishment in the U.S. has dipped to its lowest in 40 years, according to a new report, although a small majority of Americans still believe in it.

According to a study released by the Pew Research Center, just 56% of U.S. citizens support the death penalty — a decline of 6% since 2011. During the 1980s and 1990s, in comparison, that number often crossed 70%.

The study, which surveyed 1,500 adults across the U.S., found that the decline has come mainly among Democrats — 40% of Democrats support the death penalty while 56% oppose it, a sharp contrast from the 1996 survey that showed 71% of them for and just 25% against.

Overall, 71% of Americans say the risk of an innocent person being put to death is high, and 61% say the death penalty does not deter individuals from committing serious crimes.

TIME georgia

Georgia Governor Signs Medical Marijuana Bill Into Law

Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal, center, signs a medical marijuana bill into law as the bill's sponsor, Rep. Allen Peake, R-Macon, left, watches on along with Sen. Butch Miller, R-Gainesville, right, April 16, 2015, in Atlanta.
David Goldman—AP Georgia Governor Nathan Deal signs a medical-marijuana bill into law in Atlanta on April 16, 2015

Georgia Governor Nathan Deal signed legislation that immediately legalizes medical marijuana

An emotional Gov. Nathan Deal signed legislation Thursday that immediately legalizes the use of medical marijuana in Georgia to treat eight serious medical conditions.

Sponsored by state Rep. Allen Peake, a Republican from Macon, the new law makes it legal for people to possess up to 20 ounces of fluid cannabis oil. The cannabis oil can contain no more than 5 percent tetrahydrocannabinoil, or THC, the psychoactive agent.

With the stroke of a pen, Georgia became the 36th state, plus Washington, D.C., to legalize marijuana extracts to treat illnesses. Georgia’s law makes cannabis oil legal to treat people with epilepsy and other seizure disorders, Lou Gehrig’s Disease, cancer, multiple sclerosis, Crohn’s disease, mitochondrial disease, Parkinson’s disease and sickle cell anemia.

“For the families enduring separation and patients suffering pain, the wait is finally over,” said Deal, his voice cracking. “Now, Georgia children and their families may return home, while continuing to receive much-needed care. Patients such as Haleigh Cox, for whom this bill is named, and others suffering from debilitating conditions can now receive the treatment they need, in the place where they belong — Georgia.”

He hugged Haleigh, 5, who has intractable epilepsy, and her mother, Janea Cox, who have been living in Colorado for months while husband Brian, a Johns Creek firefighter, stayed in Georgia.

While possession of marijuana is illegal under federal law, the U.S. Justice Department has said it will not stand in the way of states that want to legalize marijuana as long as effective controls are in place. Joseph Moses, a special agent in Atlanta for the federal Drug Enforcement Administration, said the DEA will “hold to those guidelines” but added that marijuana remains illegal under federal law.

Asked if people who need cannabis oil will run the risk of arrest in states between Georgia and Colorado or from federal Transportation Security Administration agents at airports, he said he couldn’t “get into the hypotheticals.”

That’s what scares people like Mike Hopkins, 53, of Covington, who came home from Colorado for the ceremony. He said he’s not willing to take a chance that his daughter, Michala, might not be able to be treated with cannabis oil. Two of his children have died.

He said the 17-year-old has been “helped tremendously” by the extract but “we’re going to stay in Colorado for a while. We just can’t take the chance.”

Peake and other advocates contend the state should legalize and regulate the in-state cultivation of cannabis oil to remove any risk.

TIME poverty

Homelessness Costs Los Angeles $100 Million a Year, Report Finds

Report finds there is a lack of coordination and guidelines among city departments

Los Angeles spends at least $100 million every year to manage the city’s homeless population, according to a new report, which finds that departments diverting a large portion of their resources to related issues may not be using the best approaches.

The 21-page report, dated April 16, takes a deep look at how much the thousands of homeless people and the services to provide for them—from librarians to paramedics to park rangers—cost the city. Many city departments don’t respond to issues with the broad intention of ending the city’s homelessness problem, but instead focus on a certain dilemma.

City Administrative Officer Miguel Santana recommended changes including more collaboration between city departments, better use of tools to track and manage data related to homelessness and an increase in funding for homelessness response and case management.

Read the full report at the Los Angeles Times.

TIME Crime

Police: 5 Adults Found Dead Inside Phoenix Home

A woman called 911 before leaving the home and said it was a family dispute gone wrong

(PHOENIX) — Authorities say three men and two women have been found dead inside a Phoenix home after a shooting.

Phoenix police say officers arrived at the home Thursday and SWAT team members used a megaphone to communicate with a person inside.

Witnesses say they heard the sound of muted gunshots about an hour later.

Police say a woman called 911 before leaving the home and told officers it was a family dispute gone wrong.

It wasn’t immediately clear how many people fired shots, but police say they aren’t looking for any outstanding suspects.

The names of the five dead people and their ages weren’t immediately released.

Police spokesman Sgt. Trent Crump says a robot was used to search the house before officers were sent in and the bodies were then discovered.

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