The idiot should be charged with attempted obstruction of justice and contempt of Congress!
Excerpts from the Article:
An attorney for former president Donald Trump, in a letter reviewed by The Washington Post, instructed former advisers, including Mark Meadows, Kash Patel, Dan Scavino and Stephen K. Bannon, not to comply with congressional investigators who have requested information about their activities related to the Jan. 6 insurrection.
The group of former White House aides were subpoenaed last month by the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 insurrection, seeking records and testimony by midnight Thursday. The bipartisan panel is investigating the storming of the Capitol by a pro-Trump mob trying to stop the certification of Biden’s electoral college win, an attack that resulted in five deaths and left some 140 members of law enforcement injured.
Trump’s legal team argued in the letter, which was first reported by Politico, that records and testimony related to Jan. 6 are protected “from disclosure by the executive and other privileges, including among others the presidential communications, deliberative process, and attorney-client privileges.”
It remains to be seen whether Scavino, Bannon and Meadows, who did not respond to requests for comment, ultimately cooperate with the committee.
In a statement provided to The Post, Patel suggested that he will not cooperate with the committee, referencing his website — “Paid for by Kash Patel Legal Offense Trust” — where he’s raising $250,000 “to fund a top-notch legal team.”
“I will continue to tell the American people the truth about January 6, and I am putting our country and freedoms first through my Fight with Kash initiative,” Patel said in the statement.
Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.), a member of the House select committee, threatened possible contempt charges for Trump’s former advisers if they do not comply with their subpoenas, saying it ultimately would be up to Rep. Bennie G. Thompson (D-Miss.), the chairman of the Jan. 6 committee.
“I believe this is a matter of the utmost seriousness and we need to consider the full panoply of enforcement sanctions available to us, and that means criminal contempt citations, civil contempt citations and the use of Congress’s own inherent contempt powers,” Raskin said Thursday.
Trump spokesperson Taylor Budowich claimed in a statement that the “outrageously broad records request … lacks both legal precedent and legislative merit.”
“Executive privilege will be defended, not just on behalf of President Trump and his administration, but also on behalf of the Office of the President of the United States and the future of our nation,” Budowich added.
The letter was a continuation of Trump’s efforts to use “executive privilege” to resist any cooperation with the House select committee investigating Jan. 6, banking on a legal theory that has successfully allowed presidents and their aides to avoid or delay congressional scrutiny for decades.
As a former president, Trump would need the Biden administration to assert executive privilege. President Biden, however, has indicated he will probably share with Congress information about Trump’s activities on Jan. 6 if asked.
For nearly a year, Trump has baselessly claimed that the 2020 presidential election was stolen from him, and the former president has continued to push Republican-led audits of election results and sow doubt in the integrity of elections in the country.
The Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday issued a report detailing some of Trump’s and his allies’ earliest efforts to pressure the Justice Department to overturn the 2020 election results. Among the report’s many findings was confirmation that Meadows asked then-acting attorney general Jeffrey Rosen multiple times to initiate election fraud investigations, and that Meadows asked Rosen to meet with Trump’s then-personal lawyer, Rudolph W. Giuliani.
“Meadows asked Rosen to have DOJ investigate at least four categories of false election fraud claims that Trump and his allies were pushing,” the report stated, noting that the conversations violated “longstanding restrictions on White House-DOJ communications about specific law enforcement matters.”
“We were a half-step away from a constitutional crisis the likes of which this nation has never seen,” Sen. Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.), the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said Thursday on CNN’s “The Lead with Jake Tapper.”
Also on Thursday, the House select committee issued another round of subpoenas for organizers of the “Stop the Steal” rally that preceded the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol. The committee is now seeking information from right-wing provocateur Ali Alexander, the leader of Stop the Steal, and Nathan Martin, who worked with Alexander and is listed as the representative for “One Nation Under God” on a permit application to rally on Capitol grounds.
Weeks before the Jan. 6 insurrection, Alexander said in a since-deleted video on Periscope that he had planned to put “maximum pressure on Congress” during the vote to certify the electoral college votes, claiming he had help from three GOP lawmakers, Reps. Andy Biggs (Ariz.), Mo Brooks (Ala.) and Paul A. Gosar (Ariz.).
In a statement posted to Telegram on Thursday, Alexander accused the House select committee of having “weaponized” the accusations against him.
Police face a ‘crisis of trust’ with Black motorists. One state’s surprising policy may help. VA is the first state to ban low level traffic stops.
This is what happens when the police are so racist and out of control.
Excerpts from the Article:
In the months after the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, public defenders in Virginia saw an opportunity to overhaul policing in the state. Among their key priorities to address racial disparities: a ban on traffic stops for such infractions as broken taillights, tinted windows and the aroma of marijuana.
What happened next stunned police officials across Virginia. In just three months, the ban the public defenders pitched to Democratic legislators sailed to the governor’s desk and was signed into law. With Covid-19 shutting down the state Capitol and forcing the legislative sessions to take place via Zoom, the law enforcement officials who objected to the bill had failed to galvanize the opposition.
In March, Virginia became the first state to prohibit the kind of low-level traffic stops that disproportionately affect people of color and are often used as pretexts to search for drugs and weapons. An NBC News analysis of the early data shows that the measure is having an impact on the percentage of Black motorists searched by police during traffic stops.
“As public defenders, we aren’t exactly used to winning, let alone winning big,” said Brad Haywood, the chief public defender for Arlington County and executive director of Justice Forward, a criminal justice reform organization made up of public defenders across the state. “This will dramatically reduce race-based policing and impact so many lives.”
Long a cornerstone of American law enforcement, the traffic stop has emerged as a flashpoint in the debate over police reform.
Over the last 20 months, district attorneys in California and Minnesota have ordered prosecutors to drop cases in which officers found guns or drugs during traffic stops for minor infractions. Other states, including Washington and Massachusetts, are considering restrictions similar to Virginia’s.
Dozens of states have tried to end qualified immunity. Police officers and unions helped beat nearly every bill.
Bad news indeed. I have written many articles about the power of police officers’ and prison guards’ unions!
Excerpts from the Article:
In the months after George Floyd’s murder, state legislators across the country tried to undo a legal doctrine that makes it virtually impossible to sue police officers for violating a person’s civil rights.
Fueled by outrage over the actions of former Minnesota officer Derek Chauvin, the efforts to eliminate “qualified immunity” seemed poised to usher in a new era empowering citizens who felt wronged by police.
But then, in state after state, the bills withered, were withdrawn, or were altered beyond recognition. At least 35 state qualified-immunity bills have died in the past 18 months, according to an analysis by The Washington Post of legislative records and data from the National Conference of State Legislatures.
The efforts failed amid multifaceted lobbying campaigns by police officers and their unions targeting legislators, many of whom feared public backlash if the dire predictions by police came true. Officers said they would go bankrupt and lose their homes. They said their colleagues would leave the profession in droves.
While advocates argued that qualified immunity allows rogue officers to brutalize citizens without paying a personal price, law enforcement officials countered that it protects police from being financially destroyed for the rapid life-or-death decisions they must make on the job.
So far, police are winning the argument nearly everywhere.
Among at least four bills that are still alive, three initially called for a complete ban on qualified immunity. One of these, in Michigan, has since been amended to allow use of the legal defense in many instances. And among the seven qualified-immunity bills that have become law since last year, only Colorado has completely barred the legal defense for officers. Iowa actually strengthened qualified-immunity rights of its officers and Arkansas did so for its college and university police officers.
In New Mexico, changes were made so quietly that many advocates didn’t know that the ability to sue individual officers had been taken out as they testified for the bill.
Stephanie Maez, a former state legislator, tearfully told lawmakers earlier this year in an online hearing how a court granted qualified immunity to an Albuquerque homicide detective she accuses of framing her 18-year-old son for murder.
“He was released and vindicated and the real murderers were caught and are serving time,” the 41-year-old said of her son, “[but] there has been no accountability.”
But Maez didn’t know at the time that the bill she was supporting, the New Mexico Civil Rights Act, had been fundamentally altered days before to drop a provision allowing people to sue officers in state court. And new language was inserted that explicitly prohibited an accuser from naming an officer in a state civil rights lawsuit.
Now, she has little doubt why the Democratically controlled legislature — facing heavy pressure from police unions — assented to changing the bill, which was signed into law by Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) in April.
THIS IS A LONG BUT EXCELLENT ARTICLE … IF YOU ARE CONCERNED ABOUT OUT OF CONTROL POLICE, OPEN “The Whole Story”!
Although Maez can’t use New Mexico’s new law to file a second lawsuit in state courts — since the incident predates the law’s passage — she believed when she testified that the bill would help future victims by eliminating qualified immunity.
Now, she said she has little doubt that lawmakers caved to police opposition.
“It’s really disappointing and frustrating. For me it was less about the money and more about a means to hold individual officers accountable,” she said. “If there are no consequences for them, how can we expect change?”
Body camera video shows Minneapolis police discuss ‘hunting’ suspects, celebrate shooting protesters during George Floyd unrest
This is really scary, and the DOJ should educate some of these cops by locking up a few of them.
Watch the chilling video!
The attorney for Jaleel Stallings, who was found not guilty on all charges of shooting at Minneapolis police officers during the unrest that followed George Floyd’s killing last year, released additional body camera footage from the night of the incident which shows officers discussing “hunting” people on the streets and mocking journalists and the mayor.
Facebook reportedly had evidence that its algorithms were dividing people, but top executives killed or weakened proposed solutions
Once again, I say that FB needs more government regulation!
Excerpts from the Article:
Facebook had evidence that its algorithms encourage polarization and “exploit the human brain’s attraction to divisiveness,” but top executives including CEO Mark Zuckerberg killed or weakened proposed solutions, The Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday.
The effort to better understand Facebook’s effect on users’ behavior was a response to the Cambridge Analytica scandal, and its internal researchers determined that, contrary to the company’s mission of connecting the world, its products were having the opposite effect, according to the newspaper.
One 2016 report found that “64% of all extremist group joins are due to our recommendation tools,” with most people joining at the suggestion of Facebook’s “Groups You Should Join” and “Discover” algorithms. “Our recommendation systems grow the problem,” the researchers said, according to The Journal.
The Journal reported that Facebook teams pitched multiple fixes, including limiting the spread of information from groups’ most hyperactive and hyperpartisan users, suggesting a wider variety of groups than users might normally encounter, and creating subgroups for heated debates to prevent them from derailing entire groups.
But these proposals were often dismissed or significantly diluted by Zuckerberg and Facebook’s policy chief, Joel Kaplan, according to the newspaper, which reported that Zuckerberg eventually lost interest in trying to address the polarization problem and was concerned about the potential to limit user growth.
In response to the pitch about limiting the spread of hyperactive users’ posts, Zuckerberg agreed to a diluted version and asked the team to not bring something like that to him again, The Journal said.
The company’s researchers also determined that because of a larger presence of far-right accounts and pages publishing content on Facebook, any changes — including apolitical tweaks, like reducing clickbait — would have disproportionately affected conservatives.
That worried Kaplan, who previously halted a project called “Common Ground” that aimed to encourage healthier political discourse on the platform.
Ultimately, many of the efforts weren’t incorporated into Facebook’s products, with managers telling employees in September 2018 that the company was pivoting “away from societal good to individual value,” according to The Journal.
“We’ve learned a lot since 2016 and are not the same company today,” a Facebook spokeswoman told Business Insider. “We’ve built a robust integrity team, strengthened our policies and practices to limit harmful content, and used research to understand our platform’s impact on society so we continue to improve.”
Guy Rosen, Facebook’s vice president of integrity, also responded to the The Wall Street Journal’s reporting in a blog post Wednesday. Rosen said that Facebook has taken a number of steps to fight polarization, such as prioritizing content from family and friends in users’ newsfeeds, not recommending groups that violate its terms, prohibiting hate speech and content that could cause real-world harm, and partnering with fact check groups.
Facebook has repeatedly been scrutinized by critics who say the company hasn’t done enough to limit the spread of harmful content on its platform. That topic has come into sharper focus as coronavirus-related misinformation has run rampant on social media and as the 2020 presidential election approaches.
The Whole Story
FBI raids NYPD sergeants’ union office and home of controversial leader Ed Mullins regarding ‘ongoing investigation’
The only thing worse than bad cops is bad prosecutors!
Excerpts from the Article:
Authorities descended on the lower Manhattan offices of the country’s fifth-largest police union, whose membership consists of about 13,000 active and retired police sergeants, on Tuesday morning, FBI spokesman Martin Feely confirmed. Eight agents were seen leaving the Worth Street building, two carrying open boxes whose contents included documents, a jacket and a backpack, according to the New York Post. The public corruption unit of the US Attorney’s office in Manhattan was also involved in the probe, according to sources who spoke to the New York Times.
The agency confirmed it was “carrying out a law enforcement action in connection with an ongoing investigation” into the SBA. The probe is related to accusations of mail and wire fraud, according to the Post, which also revealed that the FBI raided union chief Ed Mullins’ home in Port Washington, Long Island around 6am Tuesday morning. They reportedly took away computer gear.
Mullins, who collects salaries as both union head and NYPD sergeant, faced trial last month on three departmental charges. He was accused of one count of abuse of authority for posting the arrest report of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s daughter Chiara on social media after she was picked up during the George Floyd riots last summer. There were also two counts of offensive language related to verbal attacks on the city health commissioner Oxiris Barbot (whom he termed a “b**ch” for not providing his officers with sufficient PPE) and Representative Richie Torres (dubbed a “first class whore” for supposedly “passing laws to defund police”).
However, his trial was cut short when one of his lawyers suffered a medical emergency. Mullins’ defense had pointed out de Blasio’s arrest record was already posted in unredacted form by a Daily Mail reporter, arguing he was instead doing his union duties by lobbying for a more forceful police response to the riots and that his tweet was protected speech under the First Amendment. It’s not known when the trial will resume, or if the FBI investigation is at all related to the charges.
The union boss is somewhat notorious for his foul-mouthed Twitter tirades, which he conducts via the official SBA account. He regularly tears into politicians and celebrities who speak ill of the police or whom he perceives as defending “criminals,” including by reminding them of their civil rights. Mullins is also a vocal enemy of Mayor de Blasio, whom he has “declared war” on via social media repeatedly for not being pro-police enough.
The mayor refrained from expressing public schadenfreude over Mullins’ misfortune, acknowledging that while the sergeant had been “a divisive voice” when “we’re trying to unify and we’re trying to get people through together,” he didn’t “know what was happening” in the current situation and wanted to “hear the details” before making any public statement about the case.
The Whole Story:
It is in the news a lot, with right wing racists citing it regularly, so you should know what it is!
Excerpts from the Article:
Is “critical race theory” a way of understanding how American racism has shaped public policy, or a divisive discourse that pits people of color against white people? Liberals and conservatives are in sharp disagreement.
The topic has exploded in the public arena this spring—especially in K-12, where numerous state legislatures are debating bills seeking to ban its use in the classroom.
In truth, the divides are not nearly as neat as they may seem. The events of the last decade have increased public awareness about things like housing segregation, the impacts of criminal justice policy in the 1990s, and the legacy of enslavement on Black Americans. But there is much less consensus on what the government’s role should be in righting these past wrongs. Add children and schooling into the mix and the debate becomes especially volatile.
School boards, superintendents, even principals and teachers are already facing questions about critical race theory, and there are significant disagreements even among experts about its precise definition as well as how its tenets should inform K-12 policy and practice. This explainer is meant only as a starting point to help educators grasp core aspects of the current debate.
Just what is critical race theory anyway?
Critical race theory is an academic concept that is more than 40 years old. The core idea is that race is a social construct, and that racism is not merely the product of individual bias or prejudice, but also something embedded in legal systems and policies.
The basic tenets of critical race theory, or CRT, emerged out of a framework for legal analysis in the late 1970s and early 1980s created by legal scholars Derrick Bell, Kimberlé Crenshaw, and Richard Delgado, among others.
A good example is when, in the 1930s, government officials literally drew lines around areas deemed poor financial risks, often explicitly due to the racial composition of inhabitants. Banks subsequently refused to offer mortgages to Black people in those areas.
Today, those same patterns of discrimination live on through facially race-blind policies, like single-family zoning that prevents the building of affordable housing in advantaged, majority-white neighborhoods and, thus, stymies racial desegregation efforts.
CRT also has ties to other intellectual currents, including the work of sociologists and literary theorists who studied links between political power, social organization, and language. And its ideas have since informed other fields, like the humanities, the social sciences, and teacher education.
This academic understanding of critical race theory differs from representation in recent popular books and, especially, from its portrayal by critics—often, though not exclusively, conservative Republicans. Critics charge that the theory leads to negative dynamics, such as a focus on group identity over universal, shared traits; divides people into “oppressed” and “oppressor” groups; and urges intolerance.
Thus, there is a good deal of confusion over what CRT means, as well as its relationship to other terms, like “anti-racism” and “social justice,” with which it is often conflated.
To an extent, the term “critical race theory” is now cited as the basis of all diversity and inclusion efforts regardless of how much it’s actually informed those programs.
One conservative organization, the Heritage Foundation, recently attributed a whole host of issues to CRT, including the 2020 Black Lives Matter protests, LGBTQ clubs in schools, diversity training in federal agencies and organizations, California’s recent ethnic studies model curriculum, the free-speech debate on college campuses, and alternatives to exclusionary discipline—such as the Promise program in Broward County, Fla., that some parents blame for the Parkland school shootings. “When followed to its logical conclusion, CRT is destructive and rejects the fundamental ideas on which our constitutional republic is based,” the organization claimed.
(A good parallel here is how popular ideas of the common core learning standards grew to encompass far more than what those standards said on paper.)
Does critical race theory say all white people are racist? Isn’t that racist, too?
The theory says that racism is part of everyday life, so people—white or nonwhite—who don’t intend to be racist can nevertheless make choices that fuel racism.
Some critics claim that the theory advocates discriminating against white people in order to achieve equity. They mainly aim those accusations at theorists who advocate for policies that explicitly take race into account. (The writer Ibram X. Kendi, whose recent popular book How to Be An Antiracist suggests that discrimination that creates equity can be considered anti-racist, is often cited in this context.)
Fundamentally, though, the disagreement springs from different conceptions of racism. CRT puts an emphasis on outcomes, not merely on individuals’ own beliefs, and it calls on these outcomes to be examined and rectified. Among lawyers, teachers, policymakers, and the general public, there are many disagreements about how precisely to do those things, and to what extent race should be explicitly appealed to or referred to in the process.
Here’s a helpful illustration to keep in mind in understanding this complex idea. In a 2007 U.S. Supreme Court school-assignment case on whether race could be a factor in maintaining diversity in K-12 schools, Chief Justice John Roberts’ opinion famously concluded: “The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race.” But during oral arguments, then-justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said: “It’s very hard for me to see how you can have a racial objective but a nonracial means to get there.”
All these different ideas grow out of longstanding, tenacious intellectual debates. Critical race theory emerged out of postmodernist thought, which tends to be skeptical of the idea of universal values, objective knowledge, individual merit, Enlightenment rationalism, and liberalism—tenets that conservatives tend to hold dear.
What does any of this have to do with K-12 education?
Scholars who study critical race theory in education look at how policies and practices in K-12 education contribute to persistent racial inequalities in education, and advocate for ways to change them. Among the topics they’ve studied: racially segregated schools, the underfunding of majority-Black and Latino school districts, disproportionate disciplining of Black students, barriers to gifted programs and selective-admission high schools, and curricula that reinforce racist ideas.
Critical race theory is not a synonym for culturally relevant teaching, which emerged in the 1990s. This teaching approach seeks to affirm students’ ethnic and racial backgrounds and is intellectually rigorous. But it’s related in that one of its aims is to help students identify and critique the causes of social inequality in their own lives.
Many educators support, to one degree or another, culturally relevant teaching and other strategies to make schools feel safe and supportive for Black students and other underserved populations. (Students of color make up the majority of school-aged children.) But they don’t necessarily identify these activities as CRT-related.
As one teacher-educator put it: “The way we usually see any of this in a classroom is: ‘Have I thought about how my Black kids feel? And made a space for them, so that they can be successful?’ That is the level I think it stays at, for most teachers.” Like others interviewed for this explainer, the teacher-educator did not want to be named out of fear of online harassment.
An emerging subtext among some critics is that curricular excellence can’t coexist alongside culturally responsive teaching or anti-racist work. Their argument goes that efforts to change grading practices or make the curriculum less Eurocentric will ultimately harm Black students, or hold them to a less high standard.
As with CRT in general, its popular representation in schools has been far less nuanced. A recent poll by the advocacy group Parents Defending Education claimed some schools were teaching that “white people are inherently privileged, while Black and other people of color are inherently oppressed and victimized”; that “achieving racial justice and equality between racial groups requires discriminating against people based on their whiteness”; and that “the United States was founded on racism.”
Thus much of the current debate appears to spring not from the academic texts, but from fear among critics that students—especially white students—will be exposed to supposedly damaging or self-demoralizing ideas.
While some district officials have issued mission statements, resolutions, or spoken about changes in their policies using some of the discourse of CRT, it’s not clear to what degree educators are explicitly teaching the concepts, or even using curriculum materials or other methods that implicitly draw on them. For one thing, scholars say, much scholarship on CRT is written in academic language or published in journals not easily accessible to K-12 teachers.
Veteran pathologist’s victims’ lawsuits headed for trial, attorney says – One Dangerous Doctor – kra
Wow, doctor drunk at work can only lead to disaster!
Excerpts from the Article:
The U.S. Justice Department is arguing in court documents that the Veterans Health Care System of the Ozarks wasn’t negligent for employing a pathologist who worked while intoxicated. The same Justice Department successfully prosecuted the pathologist for involuntary manslaughter last year.
The department is responding to lawsuits filed against the health care system and U.S. government that are related to the missed diagnoses by Robert Morris Levy, court records show. Levy served as chief pathologist at the Veterans Health Care System of the Ozarks in Fayetteville until he was suspended after a March 1, 2018, arrest in Fayetteville for driving under the influence. He was later fired before being indicted after a U.S. Veterans Department investigation concluded Levy had worked while intoxicated for years.
Levy pleaded guilty in June of last year to one count of manslaughter for missed diagnoses. He was sentenced in January to 20 years in federal prison.
The Justice Department has responded since August to four of the eight pending lawsuits brought by survivors of five veterans who died and three surviving veterans. Each filed suit after Levy missed the diagnosis in his case.
Deadlines for government responses in four remaining cases are pending, court records show. The Justice Department, which routinely does not comment on pending litigation, declined comment Monday. A ninth case was settled out of court in April, records show.
Levy’s DUI arrest triggered a yearlong review of 33,902 pathology results by him, which found 30 missed diagnoses posing serious health risks to patients from 2005 to 2017.
The review by outside pathologists discovered 3,029 errors, but concluded few of those mistakes carried lasting, serious consequences. Those 3,029 errors out of 33,902 cases made for an error rate of 8.9% compared to a pathology practice average of 0.7%, the review found.
Evidence and witness testimony the Justice Department gathered or used against Levy is cited extensively in each of the wrongful death lawsuits. The evidence includes a U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Office of the Inspector General’s report that said investigators found a culture at the health care center in which staff did not report serious concerns about Levy, in part because of a perception that others had reported or they were concerned about reprisal.
“Any one of these breakdowns could cause harmful results,” the report reads. “Occurring together and over an extended period of time, the consequences were devastating, tragic and deadly.”
Levy was in charge of the quality management program of his own department, the inspector general found. This situation went on for 12 years, the report noted.
A sentencing conference in federal court anticipates a mid-October 2022 trial start for the case of the estate of Donald R. McGuire vs. the United States, said Alan L. Lane of Fayetteville. Lane is attorney for McGuire’s estate along with seven other plaintiffs in related cases. This suit and others related to Levy seek unspecified monetary damages. Trial dates for other cases have not been discussed, Lane said.
McGuire was a Bella Vista resident whose primary care doctor ordered a biopsy of McGuire’s prostate in January 2009, according to his estate’s lawsuit.
Levy reviewed McGuire’s pathology materials and found the biopsy negative for prostate cancer, the lawsuit says. Levy then falsified McGuire’s medical records by stating a second pathologist at the Fayetteville hospital had concurred with him, according to the suit.
McGuire went without treatment for cancer for five years and seven months because of the missed diagnosis, according to the lawsuit. He died April 28, 2016, age 84.
The estate of John Ray Gibbs of Gravette filed suit in June. Levy pleaded guilty to manslaughter for causing Gibbs’ 2014 death. “On or about November 2013, Mr. Gibbs’ primary care physician became concerned when Mr. Gibbs presented with a knot on the right side of his neck,” the lawsuit in that case says. The doctor ordered a biopsy.
Levy reviewed Mr. Gibbs’ pathology materials and entered an incorrect diagnosis in February 2014, the lawsuit says. He later changed his diagnosis and falsely claimed to have notified a member of Gibbs’ surgical team of the change, but did not document notifying the hospital’s chief of staff as required by the policy, the lawsuit says.
Dr. Mark Worley, the hospital’s chief of staff,, met with Levy about reports his breath smelled of alcohol while at work, the lawsuit says, citing the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs investigation conducted after Levy’s arrest. “Dr. Levy claimed that the smell was from a juice mixture he drank to lose weight, and the explanation was accepted by Dr. Worley who took no further investigative actions.”
“Mr. Gibbs did not have either of the two cancers with which Dr. Levy erroneously diagnosed him,” the lawsuit says. Doctors ordered aggressive chemotherapy treatments based on Levy’s last conclusion. Gibbs, 61, died at the Fayetteville hospital July 26, 2014.
Jerry R. Kolpek, 83, of Bella Vista also had his prostate cancer diagnosis missed, according to his estate’s lawsuit.
Levy reviewed the pathology materials and incorrectly found the prostatic tissues to be benign, the lawsuit states.
“As a result, there was a six-year and four-month period of delay between when Mr. Kolpek’s cancer had been present and diagnoseable and when he was made clinically aware that the biopsy examined by Dr. Levy on January 30, 2012, was positive for cancer,” the lawsuit says.
Kolpek died of prostate cancer on Dec. 31, 2020.
Family members of deceased Army veteran Boyd Gipson of Greenwood have also sued. Gipson was treated for a form of cancer he didn’t have after Levy’s incorrect diagnosis, according to the review of Levy’s work. Gipson died Dec. 15, 2017.
The estate of David Phillips of Huntsville also filed suit. Phillips was also a U.S. Army veteran. A September 2013 scan showed signs of lymphatic cancer, according to that lawsuit. Phillips never received cancer treatment after Levy pronounced the biopsy of the tumor was benign, the suit says. Phillips died Dec. 5, 2014.
The lawsuit brought by the estate of John D. Quick of Greenwood was settled in April for an undisclosed amount, court records show. Quick went to the veterans hospital Sept. 22, 2014, the suit says. He died Sept. 13, 2015, after Levy both missed Quick’s diagnosis — he named the wrong disease — and falsely put in Quick’s medical records that another pathologist agreed with his finding, according to the suit.
Three survivors of a missed diagnosis by Levy also filed lawsuits. Robert Long of Johnson County had part of his esophagus removed in 2018 because of a missed cancer diagnosis from 2013, his lawsuit says.
Army veteran George Parker of Sebastian County filed a medical malpractice suit over a missed diagnosis that delayed proper treatment for his prostate cancer for more than nine years, according to one of the suits.
Parker’s biopsy for the cancer was declared negative by Levy on March 24, 2009, the suit says. The error was discovered by a review of Levy’s cases in 2018. Parker received a correct diagnosis in September of that year. His subsequent surgery left him hospitalized for nine days.
Wayne Goins of Mount Vernon, Mo., also filed suit. The Army veteran’s suit says Levy diagnosed the wrong kind of lung cancer in June of 2017 even though another pathologist at the time disputed the finding and diagnosed the cancer correctly. Goins received treatment for the wrong cancer for nine months, his lawsuit says.
“Mr. Goins was first made aware of the change in diagnosis when the U.S. Attorney’s Office contacted him concerning Dr. Levy’s sentencing hearing,” his lawsuit says.
An all too familiar story!
Excerpts from the Article:
A California prison guard killed himself after reporting corruption and harassment to authorities and cooperating with attorneys suing the state, a newspaper reported Wednesday.
Sgt. Kevin Steele, 56, wrote memos to top prison officials early this year in which he said fellow correctional officers in his California State Prison, Sacramento, investigations unit had faked documents and planted drugs and weapons on inmates.
Two lawyers told The Sacramento Bee that Steele had also been working with them on cases where he alleged evidence had been falsified or covered up.
He was found dead Aug. 20, in Miller County, Missouri, where he had gone after being barred from prison grounds during what prison officials say was a misconduct investigation. The county coroner ruled his death a suicide.
A second member of the same investigations unit who also complained of harassment and retaliation, 30-year-old Valentino Rodriguez, died of an accidental fentanyl overdose at his home in West Sacramento a year ago.
The entire unit — tasked with investigating crimes committed inside the prison — has been replaced, and 10 of its officers are facing discipline relating to Rodriguez’s death, corrections department spokeswoman Dana Simas told the newspaper.
Prison employees are facing investigations by both the FBI and the corrections department.
“We do take every allegation of misconduct by staff very seriously, and work hard to ensure there is accountability when allegations are sustained,” Simas said in an email to The Bee.
John Balazs, an attorney for a white supremacist prison gang member facing federal charges, said Steele was his confidential source for statements in court documents he filed alleging his client may be killed in the maximum security prison commonly called New Folsom.
The source he now identifies as Steele advised that “rogue” guards planted weapons and drugs in inmates’ cells to obtain more overtime, spread false rumors and relayed private information from inmates’ files to other inmates in violation of department policy, “and on at least two occasions have been directly involved in the killing of a CSP-Sacramento inmate,” Balazs said in his court filing.
He alleged that guards allowed inmates to conduct a “practice run” a week before two inmates killed a fellow prisoner who was handcuffed to a chair, citing a source he now says was Steele.
In a January memo to prison Warden Jeffrey Lynch obtained by The Bee, Steele said he alerted his supervisors to “inconsistencies” regarding that slaying, backed up with recorded interviews.
The newspaper earlier reported that prosecutors said the confidential source was interviewed by the FBI and did not have direct knowledge of wrongdoing but was relying on a report and other evidence including a video.
Steele alleged in a February memo to Corrections Secretary Kathleen Allison that prison officials had responded with “indifference” to his reports of wrongdoing and to the “victimization” of Rodriguez.
“I am NOT a disgruntled employee seeking vengeance,” Steele wrote to Allison. “Instead, I was a witness to an ISU (Investigative Services Unit) which became engulfed in corruption and watched as integrity was forced to cower in terror and fear of retaliation!”
Balazs said Steele also told him that allegations are false that his client, Aryan Brotherhood member Brant Daniel, planned to kill a correctional officer with a homemade knife that was found in his cell.
A second lawyer, Steve Glickman, told The Bee that Steele informed him that evidence had been suppressed in the death of a 29-year-old inmate found dead in his cell.
Corrections officials said he hanged himself alone in his cell in 2016, leaving behind a suicide note, and Glickman filed a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of the inmate’s family.
But Steele said another inmate had confessed on video and in writing to the slaying, but that the confessions had disappeared. Glickman said Steele immediately informed the prison warden and had been set to testify publicly when he died.
“At every single juncture where I discovered something that resembled corruption, wrongdoing, exploitation, fraudulency and/or breeches of trust, I ALWAYS alerted supervisory staff and institutional leadership, as that is what I thought was the desire of both the administrative staff and the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation,” Steele said in his January memo to the prison’s warden. “However, it would appear that is NOT the desire of either entity.”
He said in the memo that Rodriguez told him some of their fellow officers were planting drugs and weapons on inmates late in the afternoons “in an effort to have to work overtime hours to finish the reports.”
A year ago, federal prosecutors charged two former correctional officers with faking reports in the death of a 65-year-old New Folsom inmate.
Ashley Marie Aurich pleaded guilty in January to lying in her account of how another correctional officer yanked the legs from under the handcuffed inmate in 2016. The two guards were escorting the prisoner, who struck his head on the concrete and died at a hospital two days later.
Both were dismissed from their jobs in 2018.
The second former officer, Arturo Pacheco, faces two federal charges of deprivation of rights under color of law and two counts of falsification of records in a federal investigation.
What they don’t tell you in these articles is that every year many jail suicides go unreported, because the prisons cover them up and even lie about cause of death – “natural causes”! I remind you that I have SEEN what goes on.
I also I can tell you that I have seen many promises like this go ignored! They never do it.: “We are even more grateful that the board has publicly announced its intention to dedicate the resources necessary to ensure that our jails live up to their obligation to safeguard those placed into the custody and care of the sheriff,” he said.
Also, being on “suicide watch” probably would not have saved him. Guards are supposed to check on each one every 15 or 20 minutes, but they just sleep through their 8 hour shift and awaken to check off the boxes saying they did – when they did NOT. Again, I have SEEN it.
Excerpts from the Article:
San Diego County officials agreed Wednesday to pay nearly $3 million to the family of Heron Moriarty, an East County man who killed himself in jail despite dozens of phone calls from his frantic wife warning sheriff’s deputies that he was suicidal.
The $2,950,000 settlement is the largest payment approved by the San Diego County Board of Supervisors in a wrongful death case involving a jail suicide, a lawyer in the case said.
Attorney Christopher Morris, who represented the Moriarty family, said he was grateful that the county supervisors recognized the historical problem of people dying in the county jail system and agreed to resolve the case.
“We are even more grateful that the board has publicly announced its intention to dedicate the resources necessary to ensure that our jails live up to their obligation to safeguard those placed into the custody and care of the sheriff,” he said.
The multimillion-dollar award was approved during a closed-door meeting of the Board of Supervisors. The decision resolves a lawsuit that has languished in U.S. District Court in San Diego for more than four years.
The agreement pushes the total amount of money paid by taxpayers to resolve injury and wrongful-death lawsuits against the Sheriff’s Department past $20 million in recent years.
Moriarty, who was 43 when he died, was an electrical contractor when he suffered a psychotic break in 2016. He was hospitalized multiple times and diagnosed with psychosis, bipolar disorder and mania.
Deputies were summoned after Moriarty threw a table through a sliding-glass door to his brother’s home in Jamul. He ended up at the Vista jail, where his wife, Michelle, called at least 30 times over the next few days warning that her husband was suicidal.
“I would sit on the phone for half an hour,” she told The San Diego Union-Tribune in a previous interview. “But they’re like, ‘Don’t worry, we’re taking care of him.’ They said he’s in good hands.”
But Moriarty was able to wrap a T-shirt around his neck and stuff another shirt inside his mouth, court records showed. He suffocated and was found unresponsive in his cell on May 31, 2016.
Moriarty was not placed on suicide watch or treated for his mental illness, according to the civil lawsuit Morris filed.
Weeks before his arrest and incarceration, Moriarty had been a mentally fit business owner and devout family man.
When he died, he left his wife and three young children behind.
The case was upended a year ago when a Sheriff’s Department records clerk came forward to say she urged a jail sergeant to place Moriarty on suicide watch but her pleas were ignored.
The witness, records clerk Jeanette Werner, also said she was threatened with retaliation if she spoke about her experience. She had approached Morris in July 2020 about the sheriff’s handling of COVID-19 inside county jails, and the Moriarty case came up by happenstance.
“During Mr. Moriarty’s detainment, Mr. Moriarty could be heard howling throughout the department for at least two days,” Werner said in sworn testimony. “He sounded like a wounded animal crying for help.”
Court records also include screenshots of a text-message conversation between a nurse practitioner and a deputy who were part of the jail’s psychiatric team indicating that the sergeant had overruled medical staff’s recommendations.
“Moriarty just killed himself,” the deputy texted close to midnight on May 31. “I heard you had recommended safety cell but we’re [sic] overruled.”
“Yes,” the nurse responded. “I asked but sergeant said no.”
“This was Nishimoto all over again,” a text read, referring to the 2015 suicide death of Jason Nishimoto, whose family sued and was awarded a $595,000 settlement by the county in 2019.
“Yea, this one is gonna cost the county,” the deputy wrote.
The cost of legal complaints against Sheriff’s Department employees has been escalating since 2009. .
Earlier this year, the California Supreme Court upheld a $6.4 million award to David Collins, who suffered a brain bleed after falling twice inside the Vista jail. Collins had been arrested on suspicion of being under the influence but was actually suffering from a viral infection and a near-lethal sodium deficiency.
Last year, the Board of Supervisors agreed to pay $3.5 million to the family of Paul Silva, who also died in sheriff’s custody after being arrested. Silva’s mother had called 911 for help with a psychotic break, but he was booked into jail instead of being treated for mental illness.
And this past June, the county paid $1 million to the family of 26-year-old Ivan Ortiz, who suffocated himself with a plastic bag after being left unmonitored in a cell in the Central Jail’s psychiatric security unit.