News Round-Up: April 15, 2021

Nick Vallejo
Nick Vallejo
Nick Vallejo (image via Instagram)

Some news items you might have missed:

Outsports: A gay surfer started an OnlyFans page to feel sexy, and apparently it’s working. Nick Vallejo (above) finds inner-peace in the ocean and confidence in front of the camera.

Pink News: Arizona Republicans have passed an anti-LGBT+ bill that would allow parents to stop their kids from learning about queer people. The bill would also prohibit schools from providing sex-ed classes which include information about AIDS and HIV without parent’s permission.

Instagram: Ivanka Trump celebrated getting her coronavirus vaccine shot on social media, and Republicans lost their minds leaving ugly comments. I’m still surprised they oppose the vaccines so much considering their lord and savior the Donald says he created them with his own two, itty-bitty hands.

New York Times: While it is rare for the police to mistake their sidearms for their stun guns, it is even rarer for charges to be brought against them in such cases. A Times review of 15 other cases of so-called weapon confusion showed that only five of the officers were indicted. Just three received guilty verdicts.

WIS News10: Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott confirms Sergeant First Class Jonathan Pentland had been arrested and charged with third-degree assault and battery after viral video footage showed him assaulting a young Black man on a public sidewalk. The charge carries a maximum penalty of a $500 fine or 30 days in jail.

The Hill: A Minnesota man was arrested Wednesday for assault after he allegedly drove away while a police officer’s arm was trapped in his truck window. An officer was standing on the truck’s running board when Oeltjenbruns is accused of rolling up the window on his arm. The suspect then allegedly drove away at speeds of up to 40 miles per hour, leaving the officer hanging off the vehicle. Note: the accused was neither tased nor shot.

Officer Charged With 2nd Degree Manslaughter In Shooting Of Unarmed Black Man

Kim Potter, who shot and killed Duante Wright, has been charged with second-degree manslaughter
Kim Potter, who shot and killed Daunte Wright, has been charged with second-degree manslaughter
L-R Kim Potter, Daunte Wright

CBS News reports that Kim Potter, the former Brooklyn Center police officer who shot and killed 20-year-old Daunte Wright, will be charged with second-degree manslaughter.

Potter, a 26-year veteran who killed Wright, 20, resigned on Tuesday, along with the city’s police chief, officials said.

Wright’s killing has sparked nights of protests and more than 60 arrests were made overnight following clashes with law enforcement, CBS Minnesota reported.

On Monday, Police Chief Tim Gannon said Potter meant to use her Taser but instead grabbed her gun. The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension is investigating the fatal shooting.

Potter was reportedly taken into custody this morning at 11:30 a.m.

The charge of second-degree manslaughter has a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $20,000 fine.

Many have questioned how a 26-year veteran police officer could confuse a gun and a taser which, according to reports, feel, look, and weigh very differently.

“Tasers are often produced in bright colors, or with neon accents, to distinguish them from pistols,” reports the New York Times. “The Brooklyn Center Police Department manual cites the Glock 17, 19 and 26 as standard-issue for the department. All three pistol models weigh significantly more than a typical Taser.”

Police Officer & Chief Both Resign After Deadly Shooting Of Unarmed Black Man

Brooklyn Center Mayor Mike Elliott

Brooklyn Center Mayor Mike Elliott
Brooklyn Center police officer Kim Potter, the officer who shot 20-year-old Daunte Wright, resigned from her position Tuesday, effective immediately.

The police chief, Tim Gannon, also tendered his resignation.

From the local NBC News affiliate KARE11:

In a letter to Brooklyn Center Mayor Mike Elliott, Acting City Manager Reggie Edwards and Police Chief Tim Gannon, Potter wrote:

“I am tendering my resignation from the Brooklyn Center Police Department immediately. I have loved every minute of being a police officer and serving this community to the best of my ability, but I believe it is in the best interest of the community, the department and my fellow officers if I resign immediately.”

Elliott said the city did not ask Potter to resign, and that it was a decision she made herself. The mayor said he hasn’t officially accepted Potter’s resignation, and that the city is completing its internal process “to make sure we’re being accountable to the step that we need to take.”

Elliott would not comment on whether Gannon gave a reasoning behind his resignation.

Kim Potter, who shot and killed a 20-year-old Black man, resigned from the Brooklyn Center Police Dept
No word on if Potter will be arrested for the homicide of Daunte Wright any time soon.

It also came to light today that none of the 49 members of the Brooklyn Center Police Department live in Brooklyn Center.

Police On Latest Killing Of Black Man: Officer Meant To Fire Taser, Not Gun

Stock photo of a crime scene

Stock photo of a crime scene

In the aftermath of a Black man being fatally shot on Sunday during a traffic stop in a Minneapolis suburb, the police chief told reporters the officer meant to fire a Taser – not her handgun.

I kid you not.

From APNews:

Brooklyn Center Police Chief Tim Gannon described the shooting death Sunday of 20-year-old Daunte Wright as “an accidental discharge.” It happened as police were trying to arrest Wright on an outstanding warrant.

The shooting sparked violent protests in a metropolitan area already on edge because of the trial of the first of four police officers charged in George Floyd’s death.

“I’ll Tase you! I’ll Tase you! Taser! Taser! Taser!” the officer is heard shouting on her body cam footage released at a news conference. She draws her weapon after the man breaks free from police outside his car and gets back behind the wheel.

After firing a single shot from her handgun, the car speeds away, and the officer is heard saying, “Holy (expletive)! I shot him.”

Read the full article.

On The Anniversary Of The Shooting Death Of Breonna Taylor

Breonna Taylor
Breonna Taylor
Breonna Taylor

It was exactly one year ago today that an innocent young Black woman lost her life in a late-night police raid gone wrong as police gunfire rained through her apartment in Louisville, Kentucky.

From the New York Times:

For months, her death went largely unrecognized. Once more people took notice, though, the city was shaken to its core. Protests rocked the downtown area during the summer and fall as demonstrators demanded justice through tears and megaphones and erected a memorial in a prominent square. They prayed together and sang together, chanting, “Say her name!”

Breonna Taylor became a rallying cry, and when no officers were charged in connection with her death, which occurred during a botched drug raid, protesters returned to the streets. Activists are optimistic that the first anniversary of her death, on Saturday, will further fuel a promising surge of civic engagement, particularly from Black residents.

“What happened to Breonna Taylor has shaped every aspect of our lives,” said Charles Booker, a former state representative for Louisville. “Her door being kicked in was our door being kicked in. It really has transformed everything.”

For those who aren’t aware, the police got a tip Taylor’s apartment was being used to traffic drugs. They got the address wrong.

According to reports, the police burst through the door in the middle of the night under the use of what’s known as a ‘no-knock warrant’ which means they didn’t announce who they were before entering. Taylor was shot dead in her bed.

Over the course of a year, none of the officers who fired into the apartment that night has been charged for the death of Taylor.
Read the full article.

Breonna Taylor Grand Jury Member: We Weren’t Given Opportunity To Consider Homicide Charges

Deceased ER tech Breonna Taylor (AFP/Getty Images/Fair Use)

A ruling from a Kentucky judge has allowed an anonymous grand juror in the Breonna Taylor case to come forward and speak publicly about court proceedings.

The juror shares the grand jury was never given an option to even consider homicide charges regarding the police officers who shot Taylor bed in the middle of the night.

From ABC News:

“Being one of the jurors on the Breonna Taylor case was a learning experience. The three weeks of service leading up to that presentation showed how the grand jury normally operates. The Breonna Taylor case was quite different.

“After hearing the Attorney General Daniel Cameron’s press conference, and with my duty as a grand juror being over, my duty as a citizen compelled action,” the statement said. “The grand jury did not have homicide offenses explained to them. The grand jury never heard anything about those laws. Self defense or justification was never explained either.”

They said “questions were asked about additional charges,” but the grand jury was told there would be none because the prosecutors didn’t feel they could make them stick.

“The grand jury was not given the opportunity to deliberate on those charges and deliberated only on what was presented to them. I cannot speak for other jurors but I can help the truth be told.”

Former Louisville Detective Charged But Not For Killing Breonna Taylor

Deceased ER tech Breonna Taylor (AFP/Getty Images/Fair Use)

A former Louisville police detective has been indicted by a grand jury in connection with the late-night police shooting which led to the death of 26-year-old Breonna Taylor.

But the officer wasn’t charged with killing Taylor.

From the New York Times:

A grand jury indicted a former Louisville police detective on Wednesday for endangering Breonna Taylor’s neighbors by recklessly firing his gun during a raid on her apartment in March. No officer was charged with killing Ms. Taylor.

Grand jurors indicted Brett Hankison, the former detective, on three counts of “wanton endangerment,” saying he had threatened three people’s lives by firing bullets that traveled through Ms. Taylor’s apartment and into theirs. A pregnant woman, her husband and their 5-year-old child were asleep in that apartment, and the bullets shattered a glass door but did not harm the couple and their child.

Mr. Hankison had fired into the sliding glass patio door and window of Ms. Taylor’s apartment building, both of which were covered with blinds, in violation of a department policy that requires officers to have a line of sight.

He is the only one of the three officers who was dismissed from the force, with a termination letter stating that he showed “an extreme indifference to the value of human life.”

The Times notes that several legal experts had theorized the officers wouldn’t be indicted for Taylor’s death since it was her boyfriend who fired his gun first when the cops entered the apartment without apparently announcing who they were under a ‘no-knock’ warrant.

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer announced a 72-hour countywide curfew beginning at 9 pm in anticipation of protests.

Taylor’s family agreed to a $12 million settlement last week.

Louisville Officials Agree To $12 Million Settlement With Family Of Breonna Taylor

Deceased emergency room tech Breonna Taylor (AFP/Getty Images/Fair Use)

City officials in Louisville, Kentucky, have agreed to a $12 million settlement with the family of Breonna Taylor,  a young Black woman who was killed by white police officers during a botched drug raid.

The officers were barged through the front door of Taylor’s apartment while executing a ‘no-knock’ warrant in the middle of the night as Taylor and her boyfriend were in bed.  No drugs were found on the premises.

The city has also announced plans to

From the New York Times:

The settlement of a wrongful-death lawsuit brought by relatives of Ms. Taylor, a young Black woman killed by white officers in a botched drug raid six months ago, is expected to be announced Tuesday by the family’s legal team and city officials, according to those briefed on the agreement.

Besides the multimillion-dollar settlement, among the highest to be awarded in a police killing in recent years, the city has also agreed to institute a number of changes in policing. They will impose more scrutiny on officers during the execution of search warrants, like the one that precipitated the death of Ms. Taylor, a 26-year-old emergency room technician, and make mandatory safeguards that were common practice in the department but were not followed the night of the March 13 raid.

Ms. Taylor died after her boyfriend said he mistook police officers for an intruder, as they rammed in the door of her apartment after midnight to execute a search warrant. He fired his handgun, striking one of the officers, setting off a response in which a torrent of bullets sliced through Ms. Taylor’s apartment and two adjoining ones, leaving her bleeding in her hallway.

There was no effort to render her aid, as the officers outside scrambled to get an ambulance for the wounded officer.

Video: Kenosha Police Shoot Black Man 7 Times In The Back

Stock photo of a crime scene

Multiple reports this morning that Jacob Blake, a 29-year-old Black man, was shot in the back 7 times by police after he broke up a fight between two women.

In a video clip shot from across the street, you can see Blake walking away from police and attempting to get in his SUV where his three small children were when the officer grabs Blake’s t-shirt and begins shooting.

From CBS News:

A large crowd of protesters gathered following the police shooting of a Black man in Kenosha, Wisconsin, on Sunday. He was identified by Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers as Jacob Blake. The county declared a state of emergency overnight curfew, according to CBS Milwaukee affiliate WDJT-TV.

The man was transported to the hospital in serious condition, according to police. His father said on Facebook that his son is alive and in stable condition. Family friend Daniel Poneman tweeted that Blake is out of surgery, in the ICU and is “expected to make it.”

Graphic video that purportedly shows the shooting began circulating on social media. The video, which appears to have been taken from across the street, shows the man walking around an SUV as police yell at him with weapons drawn, with one officer closely following him.

As the man opens the driver-side door of the vehicle, the officer grabs the back of the man’s shirt and appears to fire several shots into the man’s back. At least seven shots are heard in the video, but it was unclear how many officers fired.

News Round-Up: July 13, 2020

Jwan Yosef (via Instagram)

Some news items you might have missed:

ManCrush Monday: That time when Ricky Martin’s other half, Jwan Yosef (above), showed off his ‘baby lifting arms.’ #dang

Gold Derby: Openly gay former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg has been entered for Emmy consideration in the category of Best Comedy Guest Actor for his guest-hosting stint on “Jimmy Kimmel Live!”

CNN: The body of former GLEE actress Naya Rivera, 33, who was missing since Wednesday, has been found floating in a Southern California lake. Rivera’s role on GLEE gave queer Puerto Rican representation to millions. She is the third original GLEE cast member to die. In 2013, Cory Monteith died of a drug overdose and Mark Stalling committed suicide in 2018 after being found guilty of possessing child porn.

TheaterMania: Hamilton has become the first cast recording to reach the top two on the Billboard 200 albums chart since 1969 thanks to the musical’s premiere on Disney+. In 1969, the original cast recording of Hair spent 13 weeks in the no. 1 slot. Hamilton had previously peaked in the no. 3 position back in 2016, tying with The Book of Mormon.

Miami Herald: Florida resident Joseph Fucheck is facing criminal charges for waving a pistol at a Black homeowner in North Miami-Dade while claiming to be a 35-year Navy SEAL veteran. Except – it was a decades-old lie perpetrated by Fucheck. The Navy SEAL Museum in Fort Pierce, which maintains paperwork for all SEALs since World War II, has no record of him.

CBS17: An Arkansas police officer told a colleague he would ‘shoot any protesters’ who might come to his door. But Calvin Salyers, 33, has now been charged with manslaughter after shooting through his door on June 3 killing a fellow police officer who dropped by to pick up a patrol car.

Podcast of the Day: A podcast about gay TV,  Gayest Episode Ever, explores LGBT+ themed one-off episodes that classic sitcoms (like The Golden Girls, Frasier, and Cheers) would do back in the day when it was rare to see queer characters represented on broadcast television.

The podcast – hosted by Drew Mackie, a journalist, and Glen Lakin, a screenwriter – offers insight into the evolution of queer visibility, gay rights, and how culture can both affect — and BE affected by — what we see on TV.

The episode below dissects a 1977 episode of Maude when Bea Arthur’s title character argued with her neighbor Arthur over the opening of a gay bar in town.