Missouri State Highway Patrol Trooper Charged With Four Felony Counts of Sexual Exploitation of a Minor


WEST PLAINS, Mo. – A Missouri State Highway Patrol trooper has been placed on unpaid leave, after being charged with four felony counts of sexual exploitation of a minor.

Justin Watson, 46, also umpires high school baseball games for the Mountain View-Birch Tree School District. He faces an additional felony charge of sexual contact with a student. Police arrested him Wednesday night.

According to the probable cause statement used to charge Watson, a Highway Patrol trooper was assigned to investigate accusations that Watson was in a sexual relationship with a male high school student from Mountain View. The trooper says the student told him sexual contact with Watson began after he was 17-years-old. The victim says Watson used the boy’s phone to take pornographic images, then sent them to his own phone. Court documents say that a forensic examination found the pictures were taken at Watson’s home in Mountain View.

A spokesman for the Missouri Highway Patrol in Jefferson City confirms that Watson is a trooper with Troop G based in Willow Springs. He did not immediately know how long Watson had been with the Patrol.

Online court records say a warrant has a been issued for Watson’s arrest.

Source: http://www.ky3.com/content/news/High-school-umpire-charged-with-sexual-exploitation-involving-a-student-450310533.html

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Georgia Police Sergeant Nathan VanBuren Convicted of Bribery and Fraud


A jury has convicted a former Cumming Police Sergeant of accepting bribes and computer fraud.

Nathan VanBuren, 35, responded to a 911 call to a home where he arrested a citizen. In July and August of 2015, it was discovered that VanBuren had additional communications with the citizen he arrested.

During those communications, VanBuren asked the citizen for a loan under the lie that his wages were being garnished and he had incurred financial debt due to his son’s medical and surgical expenses when in fact none of those things were true.

While cooperating with law enforcement, the citizen provided VanBuren with $5,000 in response to his repeated requests for money. VanBuren also used $1,000 in order to unlawfully access a law enforcement database and provided the results of a search for that citizen, according to the court.

VanBuren resigned before he was terminated.

“VanBuren broke the very laws he swore to uphold and enforce,” said U.S. Attorney Byung J. “BJay” Pak.

“Police officers are afforded respect, and are expected to model integrity and honesty. This former officer undermined the hard work of other officers who serve, as well as the community’s trust and respect for the police.”

“The FBI is charged with the unfortunate but necessary task of investigating police misconduct, to include corruption. That was the case with the allegations received involving then Cumming Police Sgt. VanBuren, which resulted in his federal indictment and today’s convictions via jury trial. The FBI continues to ask the public to do its part by reporting all allegations of public corruption, to include those involving law enforcement, to their nearest FBI field office for prompt action,” said David J. LeValley, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Atlanta Field Office.

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Sheriff Behind Invasive School Drug Search Burst Into Interrogation Room of Son’s Weed Arrest


ATLANTA — A Georgia sheriff accused of violating the civil rights of hundreds of high school students when he ordered a massive school drug search is now accused of interfering with a Georgia Bureau of Investigation probe into his son’s recent drug arrest.

In April, Worth County Sheriff Jeff Hobby drew ire from scores of parents who accused him and his deputies of violating the civil rights of their children. Hobby ordered a search that resulted in his deputies locking down the Worth County High School for four hours as they searched students’ pockets, waistbands and underwear. Some students said they felt sexually violated.

A grand jury indicted the sheriff and two deputies Oct. 3 in a case involving allegations of false imprisonment, violation of oath of office and sexual battery.

The sheriff now stands accused by the local prosecutor of interfering with the criminal investigation into his teenage son, Zachary Lewis Hobby. The younger Hobby was arrested Oct. 9 and charged with felony possession of marijuana with intent to distribute and criminal trespass.

The sheriff and his wife burst into an interview room at the jail where a Georgia Bureau of Investigation agent was questioning their son after the arrest, according to a letter sent to Gov. Nathan Deal by Tifton Judicial Circuit District Attorney Paul Bowden.

“Sheriff Hobby and his wife, who is also an employee of the Worth County Sheriff’s Office, barged into the room ostensibly to invoke the seventeen (17) year old’s Fifth Amendment Rights for him,” according to Bowden.

Zachary Hobby had already been advised of his rights and had chosen to speak to the GBI agent, Bowden wrote. The sheriff’s intrusion into the GBI interview helped protect his son from additional questioning.

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Alabama Police Use Asset Forfeiture to Ruin an Innocent Small Business Owner


A news report from Alabama offers two textbook cases of how sweeping powers of civil asset forfeiture allow police to seize people’s property with near impunity.

Under civil asset forfeiture laws, police can take property suspected of being connected to criminal activity, even if the owner is not charged with a crime. Law enforcement and prosecutors say the practice is a vital tool to disrupt drug trafficking and other organized crime by targeting ill-gotten gains. But in state after state, horror stories have emerged of regular people having their possessions expropriated and their lives turned upside down.

In the Alabama case, around 20 heavily armed officers raided Frank Ranelli’s computer repair shop in Ensley in 2010, on a tip that Ranelli was selling stolen goods. Police seized roughly 130 computers from the shop, most of them belonging to customers.

The Alabama news outlet Al.com reports what happened next:

Nothing ever came of the case. The single charge of receiving stolen goods was dismissed after Ranelli demonstrated that he had followed proper protocol in purchasing the sole laptop computer he was accused of receiving illegally.

Yet none of the property seized by police that summer morning more than seven years ago has been returned to him.

“Here I was, a man, owned this business, been coming to work every day like a good old guy for 23 years, and I show up at work that morning—I was in here doing my books from the day before—and the police just f***ed my life,” he said.

Ranelli has been fighting ever since to get his property back. But at least he got to keep his house. The same story documents the case of Cherie Marceaux, whose boyfriend was arrested in 2005 for selling marijuana to an undercover police officer. A subsequent search of their house turned up more pot. Marceaux pled guilty to possession and received probation, but police weren’t done with her:

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[WATCH] FBI Documents Reveal New Details About Inmate’s Death at Macomb County Jail


MACOMB COUNTY, Mich. – The Justice Department is releasing hundreds of documents for the first time in the death of an inmate inside the Macomb County Jail.

David Stojcevski’s death sparked a national debate on the treatment of inmates after the Local 4 Defenders aired video of his final days, which included agonizing suffering due to withdrawal from doctor-prescribed medications.

Now, more than three years later, his family is getting some answers and raising new questions.

It was classified information until now, as information comes out about what the FBI discovered while investigating Stojcevski’s death.

“He didn’t need to die,” said Stephanie Stojcevski, David Stojcevski’s mother. “There was no reason for it. No, the hospital is five minutes away. … My David died on the floor, and he lost 50 pounds, and I’ll never have my David back.”

Stephanie Stojcevski said she cries for the loss of her son and fights for justice in his death.

Video showed David Stojcevski shaking, naked on a jail floor, twitching and seizing for days until he died.

He was in jail for failure to pay $700 in fines. He died as guards watched on camera.

“They watched my son die for 13-14 days,” Stephanie Stojcevski said. “I don’t know why they don’t respond. Do they have a heart? How do they sleep at night? Do they have kids?”

The FBI found that David Stojcevski had no food his last five days of life. He lay on the jail floor twitching for his last 48 hours without any visits from the jail medical staff.

Multiple guards said they were worried and asked the medical staff to help David Stojcevski, but were repeatedly told he was fine and that it was normal for a person detoxing from opioid addiction.

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The Real Reason Police Push Debunked ‘Drug-laced Candy’ Myth on Halloween

CANDYCANDY

Law enforcement across the country have taken to social media and to local news outlets to once again to “warn parents of the dangers of drug-laced Halloween candy.”

For decades, every year at this time, police and their irresponsible echo chambers in the media set out to sound the alarm that evil people will attempt to drug your kids. Over the past several years, as marijuana has become more legal throughout the country, these warnings have intensified.

The sheer lack of critical thought in blindly accepting the wholeheartedly asinine idea of people giving away expensive drugs to somehow taint the innocence of children is shocking.

Marijuana-infused candy is not cheap. The idea that a pot user would want to spend their hard earned money on the small chance that their suspiciously wrapped candy may be eaten by a child is laughable. However, the urban myth—in spite of the fact that there has never been a documented case of a child receiving tainted candy from a stranger on Halloween—continues to be rammed down society’s throat year after year.

This is no accident either.

Moral panic of this kind bubbles up every year in mid-October, and the legalization of marijuana across the country – which can take the form of edibles that resemble brownies, cookies, or candy – has added a new flavor to that familiar witches’ brew. However, as MTV News reported, “we’ve been to this dance before. The myth of poisoned or drugged Halloween candy has been going around at this time of year since at least the ‘60s. Before marijuana candies, Americans have been scared of everything from heroin to metal shards in their kids’ sugary loot.”

Despite this annual outbreak of alarm, “there’s never been a proven case of some random madman intentionally poisoning random trick-or-treaters. In fact, children are more likely to be poisoned by a family member than a stranger around Halloween.”

“I have always been skeptical of claims that maniacs try to poison kids’ treats,” observes Joel Best, a professor of sociology and criminology at the University of Delaware. “Why would they do that?”

The implicit answer, as TFTP’s William Grigg writes, from the perspective of those promoting the panic, is that drug fiends are motivated by a sadistic desire to defile childhood innocence. Just as “war on terror” propaganda cultivates a directionless fear of swarthy, savagely bearded foreigners who “hate us for our freedom,” agitprop conducted in the “war on drugs” endlessly recapitulates similar themes put into circulation decades ago by the arch-prohibitionist Harry Anslinger.

In testimony under oath before Congress in 1937, Anslinger insisted: “Marijuana is the most violence-causing drug in the history of mankind.” As head of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs, Anslinger maintained a “gore file” replete with lurid stories — many of them entirely fictitious — of marijuana-crazed people committing hideous crimes, including rape, murder, and “miscegenation.” Anslinger was endlessly preoccupied with the idea that black people are particularly susceptible to marijuana, and that one particularly acute danger posed by the demon weed was its role in breaking down the barriers against “race-mixing.”

The most important reason to outlaw marijuana, Anslinger insisted, “is its effect on the degenerate races.” Marijuana was nothing less than the drug used to seal the bloody covenants sworn by members of the ancient Order of Assassins, Ansligner tremulously informed a credulous public, and even today it plays a central role in the never-ending plot by dark and devious men who seek to steal the innocence of “Our Children.”

“There are 100,000 total marijuana smokers in the US, and most are Negroes, Hispanics, Filipinos, and entertainers,” Anslinger reportedly said on one occasion. “Their Satanic music, jazz, and swing, result from marijuana use. This marijuana causes white women to seek sexual relations with Negroes, entertainers, and any others.”

Following World War II, after it was documented that marijuana did not promote outbursts of violent, aggressive behavior, Anslinger reversed field entirely. By 1948, he insisted that the same drug that turned men into paranoid, predatory criminals and white women into aggressive sluts would somehow turn young people into weak-willed pacifists unwilling and unable to obey the muster call to take up arms against the Communist Menace. Sadly, the public followed in lockstep.

It is important to note that while there has never been a single case of a random child being poisoned by a stranger’s Halloween candy, the ones pushing this ridiculous myth have killed thousands—including innocent children. Police in America kill over 1,000 people a year, many of them are unarmed and innocent. But we are supposed to fear candy.

Parents whose children participate in trick-or-treating should exercise discretion and supervise them carefully, but they shouldn’t fall prey to officially-promoted urban myths. Practicing adults should know better than to be spooked by the ghost of Harry Anslinger.

Source Article from http://thefreethoughtproject.com/police-myth-halloween-poisoned-candy/

People Are Officially Done With John Kelly After His 'Absurd' Civil War Comments

John Kelly, chief of staff to President Donald Trump, angered many on Monday when he told Fox News’ Laura Ingraham that the Civil War was caused by a “lack of ability to compromise.” 

Kelly had been seen by some as a voice of reason in the White House. But his latest comments may have burned up whatever goodwill he had among the president’s critics:

  • This article originally appeared on HuffPost.

Source Article from https://www.yahoo.com/news/people-officially-done-john-kelly-091449841.html

Trump decries 'evil politics' of Mueller's Russia probe

President Trump says that the federal investigation into the 2016 election and his campaign’s ties to Russia is “bad for the country” and a “Witch Hunt for evil politics,” but he also insists Republicans are united in drawing Hillary Clinton into the ongoing probe.

“Never seen such Republican ANGER & UNITY as I have concerning the lack of investigation on Clinton made Fake Dossier (now $12,000,000?), the Uranium to Russia deal, the 33,000 plus deleted Emails, the Comey fix and so much more,” Trump wrote in a series of tweets on Sunday morning. “Instead they look at phony Trump/Russia ‘collusion,’ which doesn’t exist. The Dems are using this terrible (and bad for our country) Witch Hunt for evil politics, but the R’s are now fighting back like never before. There is so much GUILT by Democrats/Clinton, and now the facts are pouring out. DO SOMETHING!”

“All of this ‘Russia’ talk right when the Republicans are making their big push for historic Tax Cuts & Reform,” the president added. “Is this coincidental? NOT!”

The tweets come amid reports that a federal grand jury has approved the first charges in the investigation led by special counsel Robert Mueller and that arrests could come as soon as Monday. According to CNN, the charges, which were approved Friday, remain sealed.

The White House and Trump have long sought to deflect attention from investigations — by a Justice Department special counsel and multiple congressional committees — into whether Trump campaign associates colluded with Russia to influence the 2016 election.

Last week, Trump and top aides seized on a Washington Post report that the Clinton campaign and Democratic National Committee helped pay for the controversial dossier that made salacious but unverified claims about Trump.

“The real Russia scandal?” White House press secretary Sarah Sanders tweeted on Tuesday night, shortly after the Post’s story was published online. “Clinton campaign paid for the fake Russia dossier, then lied about it & covered it up.”

On Wednesday morning, Trump reacted to the Post’s report himself, relaying an apparent quote from a Fox News segment about the article on Wednesday morning. “The victim here is the President,” Trump wrote.

Speaking to reporters outside the White House on Wednesday afternoon, Trump described the dossier as “fake” and “made-up.”

“I understand they paid a tremendous amount of money,” he said. “And Hillary Clinton always denied it. The Democrats always denied it, and now only because it’s going to come out in a court case did they say, yes, they did it, they admitted it, and they’re embarrassed by it. But I think it’s a disgrace. It’s a very sad commentary on politics in this country.”

On Wednesday night, the Wall Street Journal’s editorial board accused Clinton and the DNC of “collusion” with Russia, and called for Mueller’s resignation.

“It turns out that Russia has sown distrust in the U.S. political system — aided and abetted by the Democratic Party, and perhaps the FBI,” the board said. “This is an about-face from the dominant media narrative of the last year, and it requires a full investigation.”

In recent days, Trump supporters have gone on Fox News to urge investigators to turn their attention to Clinton.

On Thursday, former White House senior adviser Sebastian Gorka told Fox’s Sean Hannity that Clinton ought to be tried for treason.

“When will @HillaryClinton be indicted?” Hannity tweeted on Friday night.

On Saturday, host Jeanine Pirro reiterated a phrase made popular by the Trump campaign.

“Lock her up,” Pirro said. “That’s what I said. I actually said it: Lock her up.”

On Sunday, Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, told NBC’s “Meet the Press” that Trump’s comments on the Russia investigation were “too defensive” — and that the president should allow Mueller to complete his work.

“We support this investigation that the Department of Justice has now appointed this special prosecutor,” Portman said. “Let’s let him get to the bottom of it.”

White House lawyer Ty Cobb says Trump’s tweets had nothing to do with Mueller’s probe.

“His tweets today are not, as some have asked, a reaction to anything involving the special counsel, with whom the White House continues to cooperate,” Cobb told NBC News.

According to the Washington Post’s reporting, Marc E. Elias — a lawyer representing the Clinton campaign and the DNC — retained Fusion GPS, a Washington firm, in April 2016 to produce the dossier.

The document was prepared by Christopher Steele, a former British intelligence officer, who had been looking into the Trump campaign’s ties to the Kremlin for Fusion on behalf of an undisclosed Republican client during the GOP primary.

Over the weekend, the New York Times reported that the unnamed client was the Washington Free Beacon, a conservative website funded by New York hedge fund billionaire Paul Singer, a major Republican donor. According to the Times, the Free Beacon told Fusion GPS to stop doing research on Trump in May 2016. The Clinton campaign and the DNC reportedly paid for Fusion GPS’s research of Trump from April through the end of October 2016.

Brian Fallon, a former spokesman for the Clinton campaign, told the Washington Post he was unaware of the research that was being conducted — but would have nonetheless supported it.

“The first I learned of Christopher Steele or saw any dossier was after the election,” Fallon said. “But if I had gotten handed it last fall, I would have had no problem passing it along and urging reporters to look into it. Opposition research happens on every campaign, and here you had probably the most shadowy guy ever running for president, and the FBI certainly has seen fit to look into it. I probably would have volunteered to go to Europe myself to try and verify if it would have helped get more of this out there before the election.”

A spokeswoman for the DNC said that the committee’s new leadership, including chairman Tom Perez, was likewise unaware Elias had retained Fusion to produce the dossier.

On ABC’s “This Week With George Stephanopoulos,” Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif. — the ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, which is doing its own probe of Russian election meddling — said questions about who funded the dossier miss the point.

“It doesn’t answer the ultimate question, which is: How much of the work is accurate?” Schiff said. “How much of it is true?”

Read more from Yahoo News:

Source Article from https://www.yahoo.com/news/trump-decries-evil-politics-muellers-russia-probe-153526216.html

Celebrities React With Fury Over Kevin Spacey's Apology To Anthony Rapp

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Celebrities and others were swift and blistering in their condemnation of actor Kevin Spacey’s Twitter apology to fellow actor Anthony Rapp early Monday.

Spacey, 58, issued the statement after a BuzzFeed News report alleged that the “House of Cards” star had sexually harassed Rapp when he was just 14. In his statement, Spacey did not deny the incident but said he could “not remember the encounter.”

“If I did behave then as [Rapp] describes, I owe him the sincerest apology for what would have been deeply inappropriate drunken behavior,” Spacey wrote.

The Oscar-winning actor then came out as gay, saying Rapp’s story had “encouraged me to address other things about my life.”

Spacey’s statement was met with fury online, with many accusing him of coming out as a “PR smokescreen.” Others lambasted Spacey for using drunkenness as an apparent excuse for his alleged behavior. Here’s a sampling of the online censure:

In his account to BuzzFeed, Rapp said he was at a party in 1986 when Spacey, then 26, picked him up, “placed him on his bed and climbed on top of him, making a sexual advance.”

Rapp, who did not file a police report at the time, said he chose to share his story publicly now in the hopes of making a difference.

“I came forward with my story, standing on the shoulders of the many courageous women and men who have been speaking out to shine a light and hopefully make a difference, as they have done for me,” the “Rent” and “Star Trek: Discovery” actor wrote on Twitter.

  • This article originally appeared on HuffPost.

Source Article from https://www.yahoo.com/news/celebrities-react-fury-over-kevin-093354137.html

Terrifying 'haunted' restaurant camera shows furniture moving on its own

This viral footage may prove ghost skeptics wrong. 

One local spot in California is making headlines for some spooky incidents — and it was all caught on camera. 

Cronies Bar and Restaurant uploaded two separate videos to Facebook to verify the creepy encounters. One shows the rocking of a chair during business hours, which had some of its customers spooked. The other video shows the toppling of a barstool after the business had closed its doors for the night. 

Related: These images go way back

“For this to happen it’s pretty creepy,” said Dave Foldes, one of the bar’s co-owners, to a local news station. He continued, “It’s just really weird. We’ve been here 27 years, nothing weird like this has ever happened.” 

Though they don’t know what caused the movements, they’re quick to blame it on the spot’s two originals, Ralph and Don. 

“Ralph and Don. They were our first originals. They actually introduced me to my wife. And they died 25 years ago.Whenever something funny happens, we blame it on them,” he said. 

Related: Tour these infamous haunted spots

Source Article from https://www.yahoo.com/news/terrifying-apos-haunted-apos-restaurant-142249793.html