BREAKING: Family Awarded $36 Million After Cops Kill Mom, Shoot Her 5yo Son Over Traffic Ticket


Baltimore, MD – The jury in the high profile police killing of Korryn Gaines has just reached their verdict in the wrongful death civil suit in Baltimore County. The Gaines family has been awarded a precedent-setting $36 million.

According to WBAL, after deliberating for about three hours, jurors ruled in favor of the Gaines family. Jurors ruled that Baltimore County police Officer Royce Ruby did not act reasonably in the fatal shooting of Gaines and the wounding of her son, Kodi, in August 2016.

“I don’t know how anyone can just extinguish a life, then hide behind a badge,” Korryn Gaines’ mother said.

“This is a great day … (the verdict) sends a great message on behalf of many who are victimized by police,” said Ken Ravenell, attorney for Kodi Gaines.

“Korryn is smiling today. She got her day in court,” said J. Wyndal Gordon, the attorney for the Gaines family.

On Monday, August 1, 2016, at 9:30 am, police arrived at the Carriage Hill Apartments to serve a warrant on Korryn Gaines, 23, for failing to appear on charges stemming from a traffic stop in March, which Gaines recorded.

Shortly after arriving on scene police learned that there was a firearm in the house, so they brought in a SWAT team to deal with the situation. Officers initially knocked on the door, identified themselves as police officers, and after 10 minutes with no response obtained a key to the apartment from the landlord, according to police.

Upon entry to the residence, Gaines was found sitting in on the floor with her son and pointing a shotgun at the entering officers and informed them that she would shoot them if they did not leave the premises. Officers then retreated to a hallway and called for backup.

The video below appears to show officers dressed in tactical gear near the entrance to Gaines home, but it isn’t clear at what point during the standoff this video was recorded.

A standoff then began which lasted throughout most of the day until the police decided to raid the home with guns blazing, killing Gaines and injuring her 5-year-old child. Police spokeswoman, Elise Armacost claimed that Gaines repeatedly pointed her gun at officers and made threatening remarks.

“If you don’t leave, I’m going to kill you,” Gaines allegedly said at 3 p.m., according to Armacost.

It was at this point that one officer opened fire, to which Gaines then returned fire, with police then opening fire again, striking her several times and killing her as she cradled her 5-year-old son. The boy was injured in the exchange but was reportedly in stable condition.

This Incident Stemmed from a Traffic Stop That Led to Gaines’ Arrest in March, Which She Recorded — She Had Previously Complained About ‘Police Harassment’ & Had Only a Single Misdemeanor on Her Criminal Record

The entire incident began with a “failure to appear” bench warrant, police said, stemming from a March 2016 traffic stop. According to a police press release, Gaines did not appear in court on an “array of traffic charges” stemming from the March 2016 traffic stop.

Gaines was initially pulled over for having a cardboard placard in place of where a license plate should have been on a Toyota Camry she was driving. She was charged with several traffic violations, including operating an unregistered motor vehicle, driving without current tags, driving an uninsured vehicle, failure to display registration card on demand and driving a vehicle on a highway with a suspended registration. She was also charged with resisting/interfering with arrest, disorderly conduct, disturbing the peace and littering, all misdemeanors.

Police said the officer reported that the cardboard on the back of the car said, “Any government official who compromises this pursuit to happiness and right to travel, will be held criminally responsible and fined, as this is a natural right and freedom.” The piece of cardboard on the front of Gaines’ car had “Free traveler” written on it, police said.

Much of her argument revolved around the fact that anything she was alleged to be engaging in “illegally” would be a victimless crime and that she had a right to travel unimpeded without government interference. Both signs on her car give hints that she had a strong libertarian perspective of individualism and self-ownership, with some likening her verbiage to that of a Sovereign Citizen, or someone who believes that all local, state and federal laws, are illegitimate – especially regarding the right to travel without interference from the government.

While not a popularized sentiment in the U.S. – the United Nations has recognized the right to travel as a fundamental human right.

The right to freedom of movement is enshrined in Article 13 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, as well as being enshrined in Article 12 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and has been argued as a basis for licensing & registration being an illegitimate constraint on an individual’s basic human rights:

1. Everyone lawfully within the territory of a State shall, within that territory, have the right to liberty of movement and freedom to choose his residence.

2. Everyone shall be free to leave any country, including his own.

3. The above-mentioned rights shall not be subject to any restrictions except those which are provided by law, are necessary to protect national security, public order (ordre public), public health or morals or the rights and freedoms of others, and are consistent with the other rights recognized in the present Covenant.

4. No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of the right to enter his own country.

Watch the video of her being pulled over and arrested below.

Prior to the arrest in the above video, Gaines had one misdemeanor criminal charge. She was cited in June 2015 for confining an unattended child, a misdemeanor violation, according to Heavy. She pleaded guilty in September 2015 and was fined $42.50, along with court costs, and put on unsupervised probation for one day. A person is charged with that violation when a child under the age of 8 is locked or confined in a home or motor vehicle while the parent is absent and out of sight without any supervision, according to Maryland law.

Friends claimed on social media that she had been the target of repeated law enforcement harassment and Gaines claimed that she had a lawsuit pending against the department. The police did not comment on either allegation.

Facebook Deactivated Gaines’ Instagram and Facebook Accounts at Police Request as She Livestreamed & Posted Video During the Standoff

Police acknowledged on Tuesday, that Facebook deactivated the Facebook and Instagram accounts of Korryn Gaines, at the request of law enforcement officials. Law enforcement officials had Facebook take down Gaines’ social media pages in the midst of the standoff, as she was posting videos during the standoff with police to communicate messages regarding what was transpiring. Although early reports on social media suggested her posts had been deleted, the photos, videos and other information on the accounts were not deleted, police said, but were preserved as evidence.

She posted videos to her Instagram account and was live streaming on Facebook prior to being killed, with one of the videos showing a SWAT officer outside her door, and another show some of her final moments with her 5-year-old son, who was also shot and wounded during the incident.

Below is a heartbreaking Instagram post in which Gaines attempts to let the public know that her son is not a hostage within the home during some of the final moments of the standoff with police:

My son is not a hostage. He wants to be here in his home with his mother.

A post shared by RoyalKay💋 (@shesyourmajesty) on Aug 1, 2016 at 9:57am PDT

Facebook never commented on their shutdown of Gaines’ social media accounts – but the fact that an individual can lose the ability to transmit an accurate record of what is transpiring to the world so easily during a rapidly escalating situation is dangerous for transparency and accountability. It inevitably leads to situations whereby the public is forced to rely on those that have killed someone to give a proper accounting of the events leading up to their death – an almost certain exercise in futility.

The real question is why should Facebook simply acquiesce to the demands of law enforcement so easily to shut down an individual’s most vital lifeline in a deadly situation such as this?

Officers Claim They Had NO Working Bodycams During the Encounter – Thus No Objective Record of the Encounter

The officers were not wearing body cameras, police initially said after the shooting, claiming that the program was new and officers had not yet been trained to operate them.

“BCPD’s camera program is weeks old, and few officers have been assigned cameras at this early stage of the program,” police said in a press release.

While still unclear, police have seemingly revised their stance on whether any police cam footage of the shooting exists, as spokeswoman Armacost stated that it is “not clear” if footage of the incident would become available from the police – this after law enforcement initially claimed that none of the officers were equipped with body cameras.

A SWAT officer appears to be wearing a helmet cam in footage taken by Gaines during the incident but could be potentially some type of night vision device.


Court Documents Reveal Gaines Suffered from Lead Poisoning

The many social media clips of Gaines, taken as a whole, reveal a woman who felt so strongly about her rights as an individual that she was willing to die in a violent altercation with police, as she states in her March 2016 video. Rather than get out of the vehicle and allow it to be towed, due to her perceived illegitimacy of the legal system, she stood her ground.

One possible explanation for her sometimes seemingly erratic behavior could be the result of lead poisoning, which left her with “neurodevelopmental disability and brain damage,” according to a doctor cited in a lawsuit she filed against several landlords in the Baltimore area. They also wrote that “Korryn was exposed to a sea of lead when she lived in lead-contaminated houses.”

In fact, this isn’t some isolated case, as there are thousands of young adults, mostly black and poor, who also have lead poisoning in the city of Baltimore, according to a Washington Post investigative report.

According to that report from the Washington Post:

Decades ago, city health officials tested for blood lead levels that were higher than 20 micrograms of lead per deciliter of blood. Now, it is believed that anything higher than 5 micrograms can cripple a child’s cognitive development.

“In 1993, we found that 13,000 kids in Baltimore had been poisoned with lead, but we weren’t collecting at the levels that we are today,” said Ruth Ann Norton, the executive director of the Coalition to End Childhood Lead Poisoning. “If we had, we would have found 30,000 poisoned kids.”

Overall, more than 93,000 children with lead poisoning have been added to the state’s Department of the Environment lead registries over the past two decades.

A month after the killing, in September 2016, Baltimore County State’s Attorney Scott Shellenberger said no criminal charges would be filed against the officers involved.


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‘Worst case scenario’: Underwater magma chamber ‘could kill 100 million people’

Experts from the Kobe University Ocean Bottom Exploration Center (KOBEC) have confirmed that a giant caldera or large crater exists in the Japanese Archipelago. The crater, measuring 32 cubic kilometers, is said to be the largest of its kind and the result of an explosive underwater eruption 7,300 years ago, according to their latest study.

Sitting between the Pacific and Philippine Sea Oceanic plates, Japan is a hotbed for seismic activity, which is why scientists are keen on updating methods of predicting natural disasters. The KOBEC team has been carrying out detailed surveys of the area and published their findings in Scientific Reports.  

READ MORE: ‘This is crazy’: Antarctic supervolcano melting ice sheet from within

Located to the south of Kyushu, the Kikai caldera has very small chance of erupting over the next 100 years, reports KOBEC. However, the lead scientist studying the volcanic formation has given an ominous warning about the bubbling caldera’s destructive potential.

“Although the probability of a gigantic caldera eruption hitting the Japanese archipelago is 1 percent in the next 100 years, it is estimated that the death toll could rise to approximately 100 million in the worst case scenario,” professor Yoshiyuki Tatsumi, head of KOBEC, told The Mainichi.

Super eruptions are rare, with Yellowstone Volcano Observatory scientist Michael Poland telling that the odds of civilization-ending explosion is “astronomically small.” However, scientists researching the Kikai caldera believe that a giant magma reservoir may lay hidden below the crust – and an eruption could be deadly.

“An eruption like this would see over 40 cubic kilometers of magma released in one burst, causing enormous damage,” a KOBEC statement reads. “The mechanism behind this and how to predict this event are urgent questions.”

A team of scientists armed with underwater robots plan to return to the crater in March to determine whether the magma build up exists. It’s hoped that KOBEC and the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology will be able to use the research to pioneer a way to predict caldera eruptions.

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Crypto exchange claims $200 million stolen, but all may not be as it seems

The company reported that around 17 million nano coins belonging to investors had been stolen through unauthorised transactions. Trading above $11 a token at the time, the stolen amount totaled about $200 million. It is ranked as the number 24 cryptocurrency by value, according to Coinmarketcap.

“We extend our sincerest apologies to our customers and to all those involved in the illegal transfer of Nano on our platform,” BitGrail wrote.

“Today a charge about those fraudulent activities has been submitted to the competent authorities and now is under police investigation.”

The announcement was greeted with suspicion fueled by the company’s recent moves. In January BitGrail halted all withdrawals and deposits of nano, as well as the lisk and cryptoforecast tokens. The exchange said it would introduce obligatory identity verification and anti-money laundering protocols for its clients, in spite of claiming that it doesn’t work with governments or banks. Some users accused the exchange of planning a so-called “exit scam”, prompting the price of nano to drop 20 percent at the time.

This is not the first major heist from cryptocurrency exchanges in recent years:

COINCHECK: Last month the Japanese crypto exchange saw over $500 million stolen in NEM cryptocurrency.

BITFINEX: The Hong Kong exchange claimed about $72 million worth of bitcoin was stolen in 2016

MT. GOX: The Tokyo-based exchange filed for bankruptcy in 2014 after claiming hackers stole nearly half a billion US dollars’ worth of bitcoin.

CRYPTSY: Last July, a US federal judge ordered the defunct exchange to pay $8.2 million to customers after it failed to respond to a class-action lawsuit. The court ruled that 11,325 bitcoin were stolen in 2014 and the thief was not found.

Reuters cites other notable heists including Bter which lost 7,170 bitcoins in 2015; (18,788 bitcoins lost in 2012); Bitfloor (24,000 bitcoins lost in 2012) and Bitcoinica, which lost a total of 102,101 bitcoins in three hacks during 2012.

For more stories on economy & finance visit RT’s business section

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The DoD Just Admitted to Handing Over $80 Million in US Tanks to Terrorists


Washington, D.C. — (ZH) The Lead Inspector General has released a report to the United States Congress on Operation Inherent Resolve (OIR), the overseas contingency operation (OCO) to combat ISIS. The report covers the status of foreign operations from the period of Oct. 01, 2017, to Dec. 31, 2017.

According to the bombshell audit, the Department of State (DoS) finally acknowledged that “U.S.-provided military equipment” made its way into the hands of “of non-authorized end-users.”

The audit specified as many as nine M1 Abrams main battle tanks worth just over $80 million in inflation-adjusted dollars provided to Iraq’s military for the fight against the Islamic State (IS) ended up in the hands of Iranian-backed terrorist groups. The audit details that Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) obtained the tanks, which ultimately were seized by ISIS after the fall of Mosul and the second battle of Tikrit.

This quarter, the Department of State (DoS) acknowledged that some U.S.-provided military equipment sent to support the mission, including as many as nine M1 Abrams tanks, had fallen into the hands of Iranian-backed militias that fought against ISIS in Iraq. The DoS pressed the Iraqi government to prioritize the return of defense articles provided by the United States as designated in the sale agreements.

Further, the audit highlights that the DoS and Department of Defense (DoD) have many “challenges” when it comes to accountability of arms and equipment transferred to the Iraqi Army, which has ended up in the hands of terrorist organizations.

The challenges for the DoS and DoD to account for the whereabouts of arms and equipment transferred to the ISF have grown since the fight to drive ISIS from Iraq.248 During the past quarter, the DoS reported that it continued to stress to the Iraqi government that it had an obligation to maintain U.S.-origin equipment under the operational control of the end-user designated in the sale agreement. Further, the DoS pressed Iraq to act as quickly as possible to return these articles to their intended recipients.

The audit’s findings add validity to a news report by Baghdad-based al-Ghad news agency, which said American defense company General Dynamics, producer of Abrams tanks, had suspended maintenance support for 160 of its tanks in December amid allegations that Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) broke an agreement on the terms of use.

“The US tank company [General Dynamics] withdrew from its base in Baghdad’s al-Muthanna airport after finding out that Iraq violated the terms of the contract which only authorized the Iraqi army to use the US provided tanks,” the report stated.

According to Kurdistan 24, General Dynamics removed its staff from Iraq once it learned that the Iraqi Army gave Abrams tanks to illegitimate armed groups.

According to the report, the US company had previously informed the Iraqi government about the provision of Abrams tanks to armed groups that do not belong to the Iraqi army. After the company’s compliance, the Iraqi government retrieved one of the tanks from the Hashd al-Shaabi during an anti-Islamic State (IS) operation in Anbar Province, the report added.

General Dynamics’ staff in Iraq left the country for the Christmas holidays and had not returned yet as the Iraqi government promised it would return the tank to the company’s maintenance site by the beginning of February, al-Ghad Press explained.

Al-Ghad Press also noted the company had threatened “a final withdrawal” from Iraq if it was proven that Iran, which backs the Hashd al-Shaabi, had reproduced the tank.

If the DoS and the DoD transferred M1 Abrams tanks to Iraq’s Defense Ministry despite the understanding that it could be given to PMF or other terrorist organizations, then the DoD could have violated the Leahy Law – which prohibits the United States military industrial complex and the DoS from selling defense products to security forces guilty of abusing human rights.

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Hidden Mayan City of 10 Million People Discovered By Researchers In Guatemala

The Earth is so vast, archaeologists are still finding remnants of lost civilizations. Most recently, researchers discovered a Mayan city, hidden in the Guatemalan jungle, which is estimated to have been home to approximately 10 million citizens.

The Guardian reports that the researchers used a high-tech aerial mapping technique to find tens of thousands of hidden structures. They include Mayan houses, buildings, defense works, pyramids, an industrial-sized agricultural field and irrigation canals. At least four major Mayan ceremonial centers with plazas were also detected by the mapping technique.

News of the lost city, which was hidden in the jungle of Guatemala’s Peten region, was announced on Thursday by an alliance of US, European and Guatemalan archaeologists who have been working in conjunction with Guatemala’s Mayan Heritage and Nature Foundation.

To supply the 10 million Mayan residents, massive food production would have been essential. Marcello A Canuto, a professor of anthropology at Tulane University, commented on this when he said, “That is two to three times more [inhabitants] than people were saying there were.”

The mapping technique is called Lidar, which stands for light detection and ranging. Contours hidden by dense foliage are found as the technology bounces pulsed laser light off the ground. The resulting images revealed that the Mayans altered the landscape in a drastic way. In some areas, 95 percent of the land was cultivated.

Said Francisco Estrada-Belli, a research assistant professor at Tulane University, “Their agriculture is much more intensive and therefore sustainable than we thought, and they were cultivating every inch of the land.” Estrada-Belli added that the ancient Mayas partly drained swampy road that hasn’t been farmed since.

Researchers suggest the civilization had a highly organized workforce. They predicted this based on the extensive defensive fences, ditch-and-rampart systems, and the constructed irrigation canals.

This unprocessed image of the jungle reveals the groundworks and buildings beneath the dense foliage. Credit: Depositphotos

As The Guardian reports, the mapping — which revealed 810 square miles (or 2,100 square kilometers) of hidden civilization — expands the area that was intensively occupied by the Maya. The culture flourished between roughly 1,000 BC and 900 AD. Many descendants still inhabit the region.

Thomas Garrison, assistant professor of anthropology at Ithaca College in New York, used the Lidar data to look for one of the roads.

“I found it, but if I had not had the Lidar and known that that’s what it was, I would have walked right over it, because of how dense the jungle is.”

Tikal. The ancient ruins are located in the rainforests of Guatemala.

Garrison noted that the jungle grew over the abandoned Maya field and structures, rather than destroyed them. This is unlike some other ancient cities, whose fields, roads and outbuildings have been all but destroyed by the elements.

“The jungle, which has hindered us in our discovery efforts for so long, has actually worked as this great preservative tool of the impact the culture had across the landscape,” noted Garrison. The assistant professor says the finding “can’t be called anything other than a Maya fortress.”

To the researchers’ surprise, the structures were hiding in plain sight. “As soon as we saw this we all felt a little sheepish,” said Canuto, “because these were things that we had been walking over all the time.” 

What else might be discovered with the Lidar technology? Only time will tell!

h/t The Guardian

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Chile creates 10 million acres of protected parkland

Rainforests, grasslands, and other wild terrains are now safe, thanks to the creation of five new national parks.

I always thought that if I won the lottery, I would buy as much rainforest as I could afford to keep it safe from harm. As it turns out, Kristine Tompkins and her late husband Doug beat me to it. The American philanthropists, CEO of the clothing company Patagonia, and founder of The North Face and Esprit clothing companies, respectively, completed the world’s largest donation of privately held land when they handed over more than one million acres to the government. The Chilean government added nine million acres of their own to create five new and three expanded national parks. In total, the new parklands are more than three times the size of Yosemite and Yellowstone combined.

“With these beautiful lands, their forests, their rich ecosystems, we … expand the network of parks to more than 10 million acres,” Chilean president Michelle Bachelet said in a statement announcing the signing of decrees. “Thus, national parks in Chile will increase by 38.5% to account for 81.1% of Chile’s protected areas.”

“This is a day we’ve been working toward for twenty-some years,” said Tompkins. “It’s like watching your chicks fledge.”

The outdoors-loving Tompkins husband and wife spent more than two decades collecting land in the southern part of the country and coaxing it back into wilderness. It was often a tough row to hoe, or unhoe, as the case may be. Michael Greshko from National Geographic writes:

Initially, locals bristled at what they considered a foreign land grab and at the couple’s successful opposition to a massive hydropower scheme. Some castigated the Tompkins for taking land out of production—logging and sheep and cattle ranching—and eliminating the jobs those industries produced in favor of restoring what the Tompkins considered degraded grasslands and forests. As puma populations in the region have crept upward, so have complaints from ranchers who have lost sheep.

But with the problems came progress as the Tompkins foundation learned to work with the communities in planning and working to create more jobs. Greshko notes that the parks bring employment and cash to local communities, as well as ensuring long-term conservation of biodiversity, “including iconic South American species such as the endangered huemul deer, Darwin’s rhea, and pumas, all of which Tompkins Conservation is working to reestablish.”

In the end, an expanded park system brings with it an earnings potential of $270 million in revenue a year and the employment of 43,000 people, according to a study commissioned by Tompkins Conservation.

It’s hard not to note the contrast of this ambitious and integral work with what’s going on in the United States, where the administration is moving in the opposite direction: downsizing parks and opening up wilderness to energy exploration. “Right now, leadership in the United States is turning its back on the country’s [natural] and cultural masterpieces,” says Tompkins. “You have to come to terms with the fact that not all nature can be exposed and utilized for man. It’s a mathematical fact, it’s an ecological fact, it’s a social fact.”

And in Chile, now it’s an actual fact, thanks to an enlightened government that understands the value of wilderness.

See more in the video below:

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Study Shows One State Has Robbed Its Citizens of $42 Million Just to Cover Up Police Crimes


The results have been released in a two-year investigation into police conduct in the state of New Jersey, and it has revealed a system of rampant corruption that has cost taxpayers more than $42 million to cover up the actions of killer cops in the last decade.

The money was used to settle lawsuits from more than 200 citizens over things such as wrongful deaths, physical abuses, sexual misconduct and harassment. According to the investigation, which was conducted the Asbury Park Press, not only did the majority of the officers never face charges for their actions—they often kept their jobs and were later promoted.

Nearly 65,000 internal affairs complaints have been filed since 2011, and only 226—which is less than 1 percent—resulted in the officers being charged with a crime.

The officers who resigned often received compensation, even when it was their deadly or corrupt actions that led to their resignation in the first place. The report claimed that taxpayers shelled out more than $700,000 to 68 officers as compensation for their quiet resignations. Three of those officers went on to become “gypsy cops,” a phenomenon documented by The Free Thought Project that occurs when officers commit heinous offenses, and then simply transfer to a new department.

The investigation is notable because the majority of the corruption has gone on behind closed doors. As the Asbury Park Press reported, “the damage is concealed by government officials who use a veil of secret settlements and nondisclosure agreements to silence victims.” 

“Investigations of rogue cops are routinely hidden from the public by police, elected officials and even the courts. The secretive payouts that keep abuses quiet are a vital part of a system that enables bad cops to do their worst. The secrecy starts at the police department and rises through the highest levels of government. Some of the state’s largest cities and insurance carriers refused to release government documents that are at the core of the rogue cop problem. But the tens of millions of dollars paid to settle hundreds of legal claims are not the worst part. Many of the bad cops remain on the street.”

One of the officers highlighted in the investigation was MD Kahn. He was involved in a police chase on June 4, 2017, when the car officers were pursuing crashed into another car, causing it to catch on fire. Miguel Feliz, an innocent father who was in the wrong place at the wrong time, caught on fire along with his car after he was the victim in the crash.

When a bystander, who was filming the scene, saw Feliz scrambling to take off his burning clothes, he called out to the officers to help him. As TFTP reported, they did the opposite, and “after police rapidly approached the man, with guns drawn, they began kicking him in the ribs and head, apparently mistaking him for Pinkston. It was only after kicking and beating him that they then decided to drag him away from the flames of the burning vehicle.”

The investigation noted that Khan’s actions on that day could have been avoided if he had actually faced consequences for the incident that landed him in jail in February 2016. Khan was arrested for threatening to shoot his brother-in-law and punching him in the face so hard that he caused “serious facial injuries and a possible fractured” eye socket and jaw.

Khan has now been charged with 13 counts, including attempted murder, aggravated assault, official misconduct and possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose. Feliz has filed a lawsuit for $25 million for excessive force after the incident left his body permanently damaged.

New Jersey is one of six states that does not require a license for its police officers, and that also does not have an official method to ban officers for breaking the law. The Park Press noted that the state is made up of 466 municipal police departments and each one has “a unique political culture and an internal affairs system that is rarely overseen by outsiders.”

In 2014, a study found that police officers in New Jersey were more likely to file lawsuits against police departments than the average citizen, and the lawsuits filed by officers were noticeably more expensive for taxpayers.

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Albuquerque Family Settles With City For $5 Million After Fatal 2014 Shooting

The city of Albuquerque has reached a $5 million settlement with the family of Mary Hawkes, a 19-year-old woman who was shot and killed by police during a foot chase in 2014.

The settlement resolves the lawsuit filed by her family against both the city and then-officer Jeremy Dear, and concludes a case that was controversial from the start.

Hawkes was killed just days after the Department of Justice announced the city’s police department had a pattern of using excessive – and deadly – force, and the Hawkes family alleged that the police department’s “structural and systemic deficiencies” led to her killing.

Shannon Kennedy, the family’s attorney, confirmed Wednesday that the case had settled, though documents have not yet been finalized or filed with the court.

Gilbert Gallegos, APD spokesman, said that the city “reached a preliminary settlement agreement of $5 million to settle all claims related to the Hawkes case.” Gallegos said the city was glad to see a resolution to the longstanding claim.

Dear’s attorney, David Roman, did not respond to a request for comment. In a statement, the Hawkes family said the shooting left them to wonder whether they could have done anything to save their daughter and sister.

“The family is very grateful that the city also recognizes that burden and is moving forward in the same spirit of accountability,” the statement said. “In the Hawkes family’s quest for answers about Dear’s killing of Mary on April 21, 2014, they have sought the truth and to ensure no family suffer a similar loss.”

They said they are confident that the new administration will work to improve APD’s culture in order to prevent similar tragedies in the future.

“To facilitate overdue change, the Hawkes are committed to donating a significant percentage of the settlement to organizations that prioritize crisis intervention training for law enforcement and that support the transition of foster children into adulthood,” the statement said. Organizations that they plan to donate to include El Ranchito de Los Ninos, Casa Hermosa, All Faiths Advocacy Center and the Crisis Intervention Team.

Dear has said he fired his gun after Hawkes pointed a gun at him while he was chasing her through Southeast Albuquerque, but his lapel camera was unplugged during the encounter and did not record. Dear fired five times, hitting Hawkes with three rounds.

The Hawkes family argued in their lawsuit that scientific evidence did not support Dear’s version of events. The bullet trajectories, they said, showed the “impossibility of his account” and Hawkes’ fingerprints and DNA were not present on the gun found at the scene.

City officials, the family alleged, “readily accepted former Officer Dear’s wholly implausible explanation of the killing, leaving only the bereft Hawkes family to search for the truth.”

The settlement comes months after 2nd Judicial District Judge Nan Nash granted the family’s request seeking sanctions against the city for failing to preserve vital evidence surrounding the shooting. Nash also said the jury would be instructed that the shooting was unreasonable as a matter of law.

Dear was fired from APD in December 2014 for failing to follow orders to video record all citizen interactions. APD says he was ordered to do so after the department received several citizen complaints about him. Last week, a judge ruled that Dear would not get his job with APD back, finding that termination was appropriate because Dear had been insubordinate.


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Flu epidemic set to hit UK as 8.3 million now suffering symptoms

England Britain flu cold


A flu epidemic will hit England within a fortnight, if current trends continue, according to latest figures showing more than eight million people now suffering symptoms.

The new data shows a “significant excess” of deaths among over 65s in England, and among those in all age groups in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Across England, flu levels are currently approaching high levels, the statistics from Public Health England show, with a 2.5 fold rise in cases in the last two weeks.

If current trends continue, it means England will reach epidemic levels within a fortinght.

The latest report estimates that more than 15 per cent of people have been left suffering influenza like-illness in the past week – equating to more than 8.3 million people.

flu versus cold


Health officials said levels were highest among those aged 45 to 64.

Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chairman of the Royal College of GPs, said: “General practice continues to face huge winter pressures with a significant increase in patients presenting with influenza, and high numbers of patients continuing to present with other common winter illnesses.

“Wintertime always brings challenges for the health service, and GP practices have prepared well in order to deliver the best possible care for patients. But patients can also help in keeping themselves safe and well during the cold weather.

“The best prevention for flu, other than observing good hygienic practices, such as regular hand washing, is for people, particularly those in at-risk groups, including patients with long-term conditions and pregnant women, to get their flu jab. It is not too late to receive some benefit from vaccination.

“If someone does have the flu, unfortunately there is no cure, but patients can assist their own recovery through taking plenty of rest and drinking lots of fluids as it is easy to become dehydrated. Fevers and muscle ache, which are often symptoms of flu can also be improved with paracetamol or ibuprofen, if appropriate.

“We do encourage patients who are ill to think hard about whether they do need to see a GP – not just in terms of reducing pressures on the NHS, but to minimise the possibility of passing viruses, such as flu, to other people, particularly in at-risk groups, such as those with long-term conditions or pregnant women.”

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