Apr 16, 2014 fbook icon twitter icon rss icon


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11Oklahoma Inmate's Death No Longer Considered A Homicide (Video)

Earlier this year, Opposing Views reported on the mysterious death of an inmate at Lawton Correctional Facility in Oklahoma. Many suspected foul play after it was discovered that the inmate, 33-year-old Christopher Glass, had called 911 six different times prior to being found dead in his jail cell.

Reports claimed that Glass’s voice had never actually been heard in any of the calls, but in one, an unidentified voice could be heard saying, “Whether or not you’re a dead man. Just hang up.”

Now, police have determined that the cause of Glass’s death was an overdose of methamphetamines. Glass was found unresponsive in his cell on January 20, and police have finally concluded their investigation in conjunction with the state medical examiner’s office.

Authorities say that there isn’t enough evidence to conclude that the inmate’s death was a homicide and that the methamphetamine overdose in addition to a preexisting condition are what killed the man.

Still, reports do say that police are willing to reopen the investigation if they receive new information that points to a homicide.

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11Death Of Man Who Died From Struggle With Police Ruled A Homicide

On Wednesday, the Oklahoma State Medical Examiner’s Office released its report on Luis Rodriguez’s death. In case you aren’t familiar, Rodriguez died on Feb. 15 after being restrained by Moore, Okla. police following a domestic dispute complaint.

The report says Rodriguez’s death was the result of two things: his enlarged heart with an irregular beat and his physical struggle with police. The examiner believes the struggle Rodriguez endured with police was too much for his heart to handle.

What’s especially noteworthy is that the examiner believes Rodriguez’s death should be ruled a homicide. “The manner of death is best certified as a homicide due to the death occurring in association with a physical struggle and during attempted restraint by law enforcement," the report reads.

The report adds the followinf qualifier: “The certifying of the death as a homicide does not imply wrongdoing or criminal intent.”

The officers who restrained Rodriguez during the incident are all on paid administrative leave. The Rodriguez’s attorney views the examiner's ruling as a positive step in the family’s quest to see justice for Rodriguez’s death.

“We were confident all along that this was a homicide,” attorney Michael Brooks-Jimenez said. “We are relieved that the medical examiner has confirmed this. We are researching the medical terminology and will have additional statements after our review, likely early next week. Please allow the family the opportunity to accept this news in peace.”

In case you missed it before, here is footage of the restraint that led to Rodriguez’s death:

Source: KFOR, Examiner's Report

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11Catholic Organization, Ascension Health, To Limit Contraception Prescriptions

Women in Bartlesville, Okla., will be denied access to birth control now that the town’s medical center has been acquired by the Catholic healthcare organization Ascension Health Alliance. The Bartlesville Examiner-Enterprise reports that doctors affiliated with the Jane Phillips Medical Center (JPMC) have been issued a directive prohibiting them from prescribing contraceptives.

According to the JPMC website, the St. Louis based Ascension Health Alliance, will take control of the medical center April 1. 

“Ascension Health is the largest Catholic and largest nonprofit health system in the nation,” the announcement read. 

“This affiliation links St. John and the two other health systems joining Ascension Health to an innovative organization with a like-minded commitment to our mission, a culture of safety, as well as a focus on providing person-centered care,” said president of JPMC’s parent company, St. John Health System. 

A number of women told the Examiner-Enterprise they were not sure the change would be positive. All of the women quoted in the story were concerned about the new directive regarding contraception. The directive would allow women to be prescribed oral contraceptives for reasons other than birth control; headaches, cramps and excessive bleeding among them. 

“I was given the impression that birth control for those reasons would be overlooked, but I have no desire to stretch the truth or fabricate a reason,” said one woman who asked to remain anonymous. “This is between me and my physician. This is about my health care. Why should we have to commit borderline insurance fraud because I want to maintain my health care?”

Intrauterine devices, another form of contraception, will also be disallowed.

“I personally find it infuriating that restrictions on birth control, and especially IUDs, are being forced upon our doctors,” said another woman. “My health care decisions should be up to me and not based on the religious beliefs of others. Those decisions should be made based upon what is best for me and my family.”

Cheena Pazzo, director of St. John Health System Community and Physician Relations, issued a statement via email that offered a reason for the new directive.

“Consistent with all Catholic health care organizations, St. John Health System operates in accordance with the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Facilities,” the statement read.

Ascension Health operates 113,000 facilities nationwide. According to the Examiner-Enterprise the company has published literature indicating that it is decidedly against health practices that would cause the death of a fetus.

Sources: Bartlesville Examiner-Enterprise, JPMC




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11Oklahoma Fox Cuts Evolution Segment Out Of Neil deGrasse Tyson’s ‘Cosmos’ (Video)

During the premiere of Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey, the Fox channel in Oklahoma cut out a segment of the show during which host Neil deGrasse Tyson talks about evolution.

A local news promo runs in the middle of the show, cutting out the evolution segment, and then cuts back to the "Cosmos" after the scene has passed.

KOKH Fox 25 says the mistake was just a coincidence. 

"Sunday, during @COSMOSonTV, a local news promo was aired over a portion of COSMOS content. This was an operator error & we regret the error," @OKCFOX tweeted Tuesday.

See the “edited” Oklahoma version below:) Compared to the uninterrupted version :

Sources: Mediaite, Liveleak

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11Oklahoma Man Chases $20 Down Storm Drain, Gets Stuck For Two Days

An Oklahoma man who dropped $20 in a storm drain got stuck in the sewer for two days when he crawled inside to retrieve it.

A group of kids walking home from school heard a strange noise coming from a manhole cover and called 911.

"We could hear a man yelling for help," Lawton Police Sergeant John Chelenza told KWSO.

"That's the first time in going on 28 years that we have found somebody down in a storm drain," he added.

The unidentified man was 12 to 15 feet below street level in a dark wet sewer.

"I was amazed. I was confused how he had gotten down there and amazed that he was still okay," said officer in training Alicia Redding.

A ladder was used to get him out. He was not in “great” condition, KWSO reported.

"He did not remember what day it was. He wasn't sure how long he had been down there. He was pretty dehydrated and not really sure the time the date," said Redding.

"He had a bump on his head, he may have hit his head against a wall down there because it obviously pretty dark unless he is next to a storm drain where light could get into," Chelenza said.

It is unclear how the man got from the street drain to the water system, but authorities believe he was disoriented in the dark.

The man never recovered the $20 bill he was searching for.

Sources: Fox 4 KC, KWSO

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11Deputy Shoots Self in Foot Trying to Stop Dog Attack

An Oklahoma County Sheriff's deputyaccidentally shot himself in the foot while trying to stop a dog that was attacking him Tuesday morning.

According to the Sheriff's office, the incident happened at about 9:30 a.m. in Spencer, which is part of the Oklahoma City metropolitan area. A deputy responded to the report of a loose, vicious animal in the area of 3500 Hicks Avenue.

Authorities say a large Pit Bull had already attacked two people, including a young girl who was transported to the hospital to receive stitches.

When the deputy arrived at the scene, the dog attacked him, according to the Sheriff's office. The Pit Bull grabbed hold of the deputy's leg and then began biting his foot. In an effort to protect himself and others in the area, the deputy attempted to shoot the dog.

However, as the deputy pulled the trigger, the dog moved, according to the Sheriff’s office. Instead of shooting the dog, the deputy accidentally shot himself in the foot.

The dog was captured by the Midwest City Animal Control. The deputy was taken to a local hospital for treatment of his injuries.

Source: News on 6

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11Oklahoma Lawmakers Moving Forward With ‘Merry Christmas’ Bill

The Oklahoma House of Representatives approved legislation Tuesday that allows public school students, teachers, and staff to say "Merry Christmas" without fear of reprimand.

The house voted 73-10, sending the bill to the Senate.

Bill author Rep. Bobby Cleveland, R-Norman, says the measure protects people who use the greetings “merry Christmas,” “happy Chanukah” and “happy holidays.”

A proposal to include Kwanzaa was tabled.

Opponents of the bill think it’s a waste of time because these greetings are already allowed.

Sources: San Francisco Chronicle, KOCO

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11Oklahoma House Passes Abortion Restriction Bill, Vote In Senate Coming

The Oklahoma House of Representatives has approved a bill that would require doctors performing abortions to have hospital admitting privileges. House Bill 2418 passed Thursday with a 73-9 vote reports the Tulsa World. The Senate is considering a similar bill.

Opponents of the bill say it is an attempt to shut down abortion clinics in the state. Many of Oklahoma’s abortion clinics do not see enough patients to be granted admitting privileges. Many are also in rural areas and would not meet the bill’s requirement that clinics be within 30 miles of a hospital. 

The bill was introduced by Republican Rep. Mike Ritze, a physician, who says the proposed law is meant to protect women who may suffer complications from abortion procedures.

"Life is one of the most precious things," Ritze said. "This bill adds another protection not only for unborn but for women.”

Apart from being a veiled attempt to force closure of abortion clinics many opponents argue it is foolhardy to pursue legislation that has already been struck down by courts in other states. 

"This bill has been struck down in at least four states," said Rep. Kay Floyd, a Democrat. "At the very least, we ought to change the effective date to 2015 instead of 2014 until we see how those cases are resolved."

According to the San Antonio Express-News, U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel struck down the hospital admittance requirement in a similar law in Texas last year. Abortion-rights groups said that decision averted a “catastrophic health crisis for women across the state of Texas.” 

In a Reuters story The Texas Hospital Association weighed-in on the admittance provision, saying it was unnecessary because women who experience post-abortion complications can easily be treated at an emergency room.

That seemed to be good enough for Democratic Rep. Anastasia Pittman of Oklahoma City, who expressed concern that legislators need not get involved in such medical matters.

"Are we as legislators qualified to make this decision?” she asked. "Am I overstepping my boundaries?

The debate will continue. The Senate version of the bill, SB 1848, was voted out of committee on Wednesday and is awaiting a full vote.

Sources: Tulsa World, San Antonio Express-News, Reuters


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11Luis Rodriguez Dies After Being Pinned Down By Oklahoma Police Officers

A father died on February 15 after being pinned on the ground by five Oklahoma police officers. 

The deceased father, identified as Luis Rodriguez, was confronted by police after restraining his wife while she was trying to hit their 19-year-old daughter.

Rodriguez’s wife, Nair Rodriguez, recorded much of the incident on her cell phone. The video starts after Luis Rodriguez is already pinned on the ground.

At the :04 second mark of the video, it sounds like Rodriguez tries to say “I can’t breathe.” He struggles under the weight of the officers to say something else at the :07 mark.

An officer quickly approaches Nair Rodriguez and asks her what happened between her and her husband. She explains the situation to the officer while keeping an eye on her restrained husband. When Nair asks if her husband is alright, the officer says medical help is on the way.

After several minutes, Rodriguez is propped up on the ground against an officer’s legs. He doesn’t appear to be moving. When medical crews arrive, Rodriguez’s limp body is lifted onto a stretcher. That’s when Nair started to fear the worst.

“Papa! Is he OK?” she fearfully asked. “He doesn't move. He doesn't move! You kill him! You kill him! You killed my husband! Please somebody tell me that he's alive!”

Police insisted Rodriguez was alive. Despite this claim, Rodriguez was pronounced dead after arriving at a local hospital. Here is video footage of the incident:

Moore, Oklahoma Police Chief Jerry Stillings refused to answer a question this week asking whether Rodriguez was still breathing when he was handcuffed by officers. Stillings said three of the officers involved in the incident have been placed on administrative leave.

The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation has picked up the case.

Rodriguez family attorney Michael Brooks-Jimenez told reporters during a press conference last week that Luis Rodriguez was known as a peaceful member of his community.

“Luis committed no crime,” he said. “He wasn't armed. No gun. No knife. No weapon of any kind. But Luis was the one who lost his life that night.”

Nair Rodriguez described her husband as a “grizzly bear with a teddy bear’s heart.”

She told reporters she is “screaming for justice” for her fallen husband.

Sources: Mail Online, YouTube

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11Two Oklahoma Dogs Take Joyride, Crash Truck Into Riverbed

Two dogs took their owner's car for a joyride recently when one of the dogs accidentally knocked the gear into drive.

Scott, the dogs’ owner, said he had left the dogs inside his truck for about 15 minutes while he went inside his Tulsa home. When he returned, the truck had disappeared.

"I got around to the front of the house where the truck was, and it's like not there," Scott said. "And I was like 'did I get towed?”’

The dogs had been parked at the top of a hill on 25th Street, but barreled down the hill in a matter of minutes. The truck narrowly missed drivers at an intersection, runners and the Arkansas River.

Tulsa Firefighter Clay Ayers reported that the dogs traveled three blocks until landing in a river bed. Luckily, no one was hurt and the dogs are in good condition.

Scott did not receive a ticket for the mishap, as police noted that the repair costs are punishment enough.

Sources: Fox, ABC

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