Sheriff Sent Cops Violent Video Game Premised On Shooting Mexican Children, Pregnant Women, DOJ Says
Federal prosecutors say a North Carolina sheriff accused of illegally targeting Latino drivers also shared a bloody video game with employees where players shot Mexican children, pregnant women, and other “wetbacks” who attempted to cross the border.
After a year-long investigation, the Department of Justice found that Alamance County Sheriff Terry S. Johnson sent his subordinates a link to a game “premised on shooting stereotypical Mexican figures, including pregnant women and children, as they attempt to cross the U.S. border.”
“Blood splatters on the screen as the figures are shot, and the final screen of the game shows how many ‘wetbacks’ one has killed,” the government motion said.
Johnson and his staff are accused of a long list of racist policies including ticketing, arresting and searching Latinos for more often than others.
“After a stop is made, Latinos are 250 percent more likely to receive a citation, 50 percent more likely to face arrest, and 20 percent more likely to be searched than comparable drivers from other ethnic backgrounds. Infra at 12. And Latinos comprise 37 percent of drivers stopped at ACSO’s checkpoints despite making up less than 9 percent of the driving population,” the motion stated.
The DOJ says several deputies and supervisors shared the link to the violent game along with racist jokes.
“Sergeant Darryl Myers and Lieutenant Wesley Anderson each forwarded an email joking that when Davey Crockett saw ‘hordes of Mexicans’ approaching the Alamo, he asked ‘are we having landscaping done today?’” the court filing said.
In another email training officer Richard Longamore complained about temporary visas being given to foreign nationals when they are victims of violent crimes like rape, incest and torture.
Johnson is not charged with a crime and the federal court has no way to remove an elected official from office.
Johnson is currently seeking re-election to another four-year term this November.
American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina staff attorney Raul Pinto says Johnson should settle the federal suit and take any recommended sanctions.
“The abhorrent and unconstitutional practices outlined in this motion should not be tolerated in our state and cannot be allowed to continue,” Pinto said. “All residents of Alamance County deserve fair and equal treatment from their law enforcement officers.”
Alamance County Sheriff's Department deputies in North Carolina shared a racist video game called Border Patrol via email, claims the U.S. Justice Department.
The U.S. Justice Department says the video game is part of an ongoing pattern of racism by Sheriff Terry S. Johnson's department, which has allegedly been detaining and arresting Hispanic drivers without probable cause, noted WMFY News 2 (video below).
The game encourages players shoot Mexican people entering the United States illegally, including children and pregnant women.
“Captain Mario Wiley emailed several other ACSO employees a link to a game premised on shooting stereotypical Mexican figures, including pregnant women and children, as they attempt to cross the U.S. border," the Associated Press reports that the U.S. Justice Department stated. "Blood splatters on the screen as the figures are shot, and the final screen of the game shows how many ‘wetbacks’ one has killed.”
The U.S. Justice Department also claims Johnson failed to discipline Wiley in an example of "a total lack of discipline for expressing anti-Latino sentiment."
In December 2013, the U.S. Justice Department filed a lawsuit against Johnson after two studies found that Hispanic drivers were six times more likely to be stopped by law enforcement in Alamance County.
The feds also state that deputies told each other racist jokes via email while discussing the video game.
A child abuse case so shocking that it changed North Carolina law books is coming to a close. On Wednesday, closing arguments for the Joshua Houser – Kilah Davenport case took place in North Carolina court.
Houser is accused of slamming the young Davenport’s head into a wall “like a battering ram” in a May 2012 attack. Davenport was just three years old at the time. She is left with permanent brain damage. Her brain was so swollen following the alleged attack that doctors had to remove large portions of her skull.
Houser was Kilah’s step-father at the time of the incident. According to prosecutors, the 24-year-old man lost his temper after Kilah soiled herself. They claim he picked Kilah up and rammed her head into a sheetrock wall. Kilah nearly died from the incident and remains severely impaired to this day. She is confined to a wheelchair and cannot speak.
But according to Houser and defense attorney Miles Helms, Houser never smashed the girl’s head into a wall. Helms claims Kilah accidentally fell down the stairs. When he called 911 after her fall, Houser says the operator couldn’t understand the address he was giving them so he punched the wall in frustration.
In response to the state’s claims, Houser said “I didn’t do it. I won’t admit to something I know I didn’t do.”
Helms asked prosecutors why, if Houser did slam the child into the wall, there was there no drywall residue in her hair. He also asked why no hand marks were found on the girl following the attack.
“It’s impossible this occurred the way the state said it occurred,” Helms argued.
Prosecutor Anne Reeves called Houser’s story far-fetched at best.
“You all are not fools,” she told the jury. “His story is ridiculous.”
Prosecutors pointed out that two strands of Kilah’s hair were found in the wall she was allegedly slammed into. Doctors examining Kilah’s injuries say they closely resemble those a child would suffer after being ejected from a car.
After Houser’s arrest, Kilah’s family and supporters pushed legislators for what is now known as “Kilah’s law.” The law, signed by North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory last April, increases punishments for people convicted of felony child abuse in the state. Prior to Kilah’s law, felony child abuse was punishable with 44-123 months in prison. Now, the offense is punished with a 125-201 month prison sentence.
“This is no doubt probably the most emotional bill I’ll sign as governor,” McCrory said at the signing. “Kilah, you’re beautiful. Thanks for helping us out.”
In the Bible, Jesus states in Matthew 25: 35-36, "For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me."
However, a sculpture outside St. Alban’s Episcopal Church in Davidson, N.C. depicting a "Homeless Jesus" sleeping on a bench has offended some local Christians (video below).
The sculpture was created by Timothy P. Schmalz and was blessed by the Pope Francis in November 2013, reported CTV.
The sculpture shows Jesus wrapped in a blanket, with his wounded feet from the crucifixion showing.
"It's Jesus representing the most marginalized of society," Rev. Doctor David E. Buck, the rector at St. Alban's, told WCNC. "We're reminded of what our ultimate calling is as Christians, as people of faith, to do what we can individually and systematically to eliminate homelessness. Part of a faith commitment is to care or the needy."
However, local resident Cindy Castano Swannack is offended by the sculpture and called the police because she thought it was a real homeless person.
"Jesus is not a vagrant, Jesus is not a helpless person who needs our help," Swannack told WCNC. "We need someone who is capable of meeting our needs, not someone who is also needy."
Rev. Buck has no plans to move it and told DavidsonNews.net, “It’s here because it’s wonderful art that reminds, with this beautiful [church] here, that our faith is expressed through our concern and care for the homeless. We think it’s the perfect place for it.”
While North Carolina deals with unprecedented winter storms that have already caused a huge amount of problems (most notably the cancellation of the Duke vs. UNC basketball game), a group of high school students in the state are struggling with a different issue.
Teens of varying class levels at Pisgah High School in Waynesville, N.C., wanted to form a group for secular students. When they approached the school administration with the idea, however, assistant principal Connie Weeks responded that she was unable to find a faculty sponsor for the group. She also claimed that the group wouldn’t “fit in” with the rest of the clubs at the school.
Although the students were denied the opportunity to form their group at the local level, they do have support from national non-profit organizations. The Secular Student Alliance (SSA) exists in order to provide support for non-religious students, encouraging them to form communities at their local schools.
When the students discovered that they would not be allowed to form the group, they contacted the SSA. The organization, along with other groups like the American Civil Liberties Union and the Freedom From Religion Foundation, has publicly voiced support for the students. Despite sending letters to the school district, neither the students nor the organization has heard any news regarding their ability or right to start the group.
SSA representative August E. Brunsman IV explained that the organization would consider taking legal action if the school district does not respond.
“We always attempt to resolve situations like this by amicably informing the administrators of the rights of their secular students,” Brunsman said, according to Raw Story. "However, in this case, the administrators were entirely unresponsive. We have reached out to our partners at the Freedom From Religion Foundation to get the aid of their legal team in making sure secular students at Pisgah High School don’t face unequal treatment and discrimination."
Cash Wilson, the father of one of the students attempting to found the group, also claimed that he stood by his child’s efforts.
“As both a parent and secular activist, I am inspired by the tenacity of these teenagers who didn’t cower in their corners but instead contacted their friends and advocates at the SSA," Wilson said. "A secular club is a welcome addition to any school, but especially a school here in the zealous mountains of North Carolina. It will help secular students no longer feel alone and ostracized. My full respect and admiration to the student activists, the fine folks at SSA, the FFRF legal team, and the North Carolina ACLU."
The North Carolina students have eerily similar counterparts across the pond, as a group of British students was recently blocked by its university from displaying an image of the Flying Spaghetti Monster at a school fair.
A 17-month-old North Carolina girl is expected to recover after being shot by her 3-year-old brother on Thursday morning.
The weapon used was a .9-millimeter handgun, which belongs the children’s father, Justin Carper, who writes a parenting column for the Shelby Star.
Renovations were being made to the family’s home and the gun was sitting on a dresser. The 3-year-old allegedly climbed the dresser to retrieve the gun and shot his sister.
Their mother called 911 around 11:30 a.m., but when first responders arrived they found she had already rushed the child to Cleveland Regional Medical Center in Shelby.
The girl was hit in the arm, and no major bones or organs were injured.
“She’s a tough little girl,” Carper told the Gaston Gazette. “My mind is pretty much blown.”
Carper was not arrested or charged with any crime on Thursday night, WSOC-TV reported.
The incident is still under investigation by the Cleveland County Sheriff’s Office. Deputies said they will contact the district attorney.
“We’re compiling the case and will present the case to the D.A. to determine if any charges will be filed for failure to secure a firearm,” said Cleveland County Sheriff’s Capt. Joel Shores.
“Regardless of the outcome, the parents have been punished more than any criminal justice system can do to them by this happening,” Shores added.
Carper says his daughter was already using the injured arm to feed herself in the hospital.
“It went through the top of her shoulder,” he said. “She was feeding herself using that shoulder, using that arm. The bullet went straight through. You wouldn’t even know. Doctor after doctor have told us that there’s nowhere else the bullet could have gone that would have ended up with this story.”
The family expects her to be released from the hospital Friday.
A North Carolina police officer was indicted on manslaughter charges Monday for shooting and killing a mentally ill teen just 70 seconds after arriving on the scene.
Southport Police Officer Bryon Vassey allegedly told two other officers at the Brunswick county home “we don’t have time for this” when he Tasered and fatally shot 18-year-old Keith Vidal in front of his family on Jan. 5.
Three officers, all from different precincts, responded to a mental health call made by Vidal’s family. His stepfather, Mark Wilsey, can be heard on the 911 call stating that Vidal was trying to fight his mother and was carrying a screwdriver.
"We wanted him to put the screwdriver down because he does have schizophrenia and we didn't know if he was gonna hurt himself," said his mother, Mary Wilsey.
The family says two other officers arrived before Vassey and had restrained the 90-pound teen and calmed him down.
Anthony Owens, a spokesman for the family, said Vidal was “becoming more rational.”
Then Vassey arrived at 12:48 pm, and 70 seconds later a Brunswick County EMS unit standing by advised that shot were fired.
"An officer from another town (Vassey) entered the residence and instructed the officers to stop talking and tase Vidal," Owens said in a statement. "As Vidal tried to flee into the bathroom adjacent to where he was standing, the two officers simultaneously shot him with their Tasers."
His stepfather says the teen was reaching for the screwdriver when the other two cops, Boiling Spring Lakes Officer John Thomas and Brunswick County Sheriff’s Deputy Samantha Lewis, leapt on top of him.
Then Vassey shot into the pile, fatally wounding Vidal in the chest.
The Brunswick County grand jury indicted Vassey Monday. His bond is set at $50,000.
Southport Police Chieg Jerry Dove said the nine-year veteran had no prior disciplinary actions taken again him. He’s been on paid administrative leave since the incident.
He has until Wednesday to surrender, according to a press released from District Attorney Jon David’s office.
Eric Ferguson, 54, of Mooresville, N.C. felt the sting of his hospital bill after being treated for a snake bite at nearby Lake Norman Regional Medical Center. Ferguson and his wife, who are insured, received a bill totaling over $89,000 for his brief stay at the facility.
Ferguson was taking trash out last August when he felt what he thought was a bee sting on his foot. He was shocked when looked down and saw the fang marks from a snake bite. He drove himself to the nearby hospital, some 15 miles away.
He was at the hospital for 18 hours and he characterized his care as “beyond phenomenal.” It was the bill that upset him.
“It was just sticker shock,” he said.
The treatment was eventually paid for by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina. With the negotiated discounts the hospital extends to insurers, the total bill was settled for $20,227. The Fergusons paid about $5,400 of that to cover the deductible and co-pays.
What upset Mr. Ferguson’s wife, Laura Ferguson, was that she was able to find the vials of snake bite medicine on the Internet for retail prices ranging from $750 to $12,000. The hospital initially billed the Fergusons $20,000 per vial. Ferguson was administered four vials.
“What if it was someone that didn’t have the resources to research and didn’t have insurance?” Laura Ferguson said. “What is fair and equitable here?”
Lake Norman Regional Medical Center is owned by Health Management Associates. HMA is currently under investigation by state and federal officials for fraud allegations. Emergency room doctors have accused the hospital of offering kickbacks to doctors for ordering unnecessary tests to increase corporate revenues.
HMA has denied those allegations.
In a written statement they have also justified the bill sent to the Fergusons, saying “list prices” on invoices are always negotiated with insurers before payment. It added that Medicare and Medicaid patients pay according to another set of discounts. They also asserted that “self-pay” patients are typically only required to pay 35 to 38 percent of the amount they see on their initial bill.
One of the most divisive subjects in politics that shouldn’t be divisive at all is education policy. No one believes that investing in the education of young citizens is a “bad” thing for a country to do. Sadly, the U.S. continues to slide down the scale in terms of our academic effectiveness, but rather than figuring out how to fix that, elected officials divide the issue along partisan lines to the detriment of their constituencies.
At the center of this argument are two groups of people, neither of which are students. There are school administrators (and by extension the elected officials who determine education policy) and teachers (and by extension the unions that represent them). For the teachers, they want to earn a good living and have job-security, often through tenure. The story of an adjunct professor from Pittsburgh, PA last fall who died in poverty highlighted how bad it can be for career educators without that security.
On the other hand, with budgets for every agency a concern and the “results” unsatisfactory, administrators seek ways to save money. One such example is in North Carolina, where teachers are being advised to forgo tenure and enter into an “Apprentice, Master, or Career” teaching track, limiting them to a career of only 20 years.
Opponents argue that this leads to an increased turnover rate for teachers that is both unfair and simply bad policy. The argument against tenure suggests that it demotivates teachers, inspiring them to be lazy and care little about their students’ progress. This is a patently flawed understanding of tenure.
While the specifics of tenure agreements vary from institution to institution, the fundamental idea is that teachers should have protection from the administrators (in this case, those who finance the school) ensuring that their only worry is educate and, in some cases, spearhead some kind of academic innovation or research.
This limited view of the problem of education also completely absolves students of any responsibility. Rather than worrying about how to motivate educators, administrators might better spend their time motivating the students themselves. Only no solution will ever present itself as long as the education debate is framed as Government against Teachers’ Unions.
A North Carolina church has run a controversial, politically-invested invitation in its church bulletin. The invitation describes a luncheon to be held in honor of Brenden Jones, Republican candidate for North Carolina House of Representatives.
Jones is currently a deacon at the Tabor City Baptist Church in North Carolina, which issued the publication featuring the questionable ad.
Churches are able to claim tax-exempt status on the grounds that they abstain from involvement in party politics. This invitation, with its decidedly Republican slant, violates the terms of the tax-exempt status.
Notably, the church is not hosting or funding the luncheon – it simply advertised the luncheon. With tickets to the luncheon going for anywhere from $25 to $4,000, it appears that the luncheon is actually a fundraiser for the Republican candidate.
The invitation promises an appearance from Republican Lt. Governor Dan Forest, who endorses Jones.
Bruce Schmidt, the pastor of Tabor City Baptist, has stated that the advertisement is in no way politically inclined. “We are honored to pray for and acknowledge our leaders, Democrat or Republican,” he has said.
“We are not giving an endorsement as a church,” he continued, noting that the church is legally prohibited from doing so.
Photo Source: http://www.isidewith.com