Posts tagged with "breaking news"

ILLUSTRATION BY NICOLE SALAZAR FOR USE BY 360 MAGAZINE

Fentanyl Petition

Families Against Fentanyl announced it had surpassed 25,000 signers of its petition asking the United States government to declare illicit fentanyl a Weapon of Mass Destruction (WMD). They join a who’s who of bipartisan leaders who are calling for the WMD designation.

The milestone was achieved in the aftermath of CDC data released in 2021 projecting that more than 100,000 people died of drug-related causes in the previous calendar year, and following data unearthed by Families Against Fentanyl in December that found illicit fentanyl to be the #1 cause of death for Americans between the ages of 18 and 45—data that have been independently verified.  The announcement also comes on the heels of three Connecticut middle school students being hospitalized for fentanyl overdose after being exposed at their school. One of those students, a 13-year-old, has died.

Even more alarming: fentanyl’s extreme potency gives it the dark potential to be used by terrorists in a chemical attack on American citizens. Declaring illicit fentanyl a WMD would trigger an all-of-government response to this national threat, activating new resources and manpower to tackle this unprecedented danger.

“Fentanyl deaths doubled in just two years and it’s now the number one cause of death of Americans 18-45. Bold action is needed to reverse this trend,” Families Against Fentanyl founder James Rauh stated. “With more than 25,000 people adding their names to our petition, it’s now crystal clear: Americans are fed up with the status quo. They also see the potential a WMD designation would have to stop this poison from flooding our country and killing our loved ones. Declaring illicit fentanyl a WMD is the innovative answer to this crisis—it would allow us to root out the international manufacturers and traffickers of this poison before it reaches our streets. It would cut the smuggling of illicit fentanyl into the United States, enhance penalties for the cartels trafficking in this poison, and provide new protections to the American people from this threat.

“Almost all illicit fentanyl is manufactured outside of the United States. Designating illegal fentanyl as a Weapon of Mass Destruction will empower the U.S. to shift from a policy of mass incarceration of Americans to an all-of-government approach to cut off the supply chain at its source, effectively stopping the flow of this poison into our country. Meanwhile, we can provide compassionate care to those struggling with addiction by investing in harm reduction, expanding access to affordable rehabilitation programs, mental health counseling, and holistic care options.”

The Families Against Fentanyl petition will ultimately be presented to the Biden Administration and the U.S. Congress.

About Families Against Fentanyl

Families Against Fentanyl was founded in 2019 by Akron, Ohio resident James Rauh and his wife Valorie following the untimely death of their son Tom from fentanyl poisoning.

Heather Skovlund for use by 360 Magazine

Top Stories This Month

We’re nearly one month into 2022, and the year has already packed a significant punch. From devastating natural disasters to tragedy in the wake of 2021, let’s recap the most major events of 2022 thus far.

Tongatapu Underwater Volcano Triggers Overwhelming Tsunami

On Saturday, January 15, an underwater volcano in the Pacific Ocean erupted, causing a tsunami. The underwater volcano is located off the coast of the western island of Tongatapu, near American Samoa and Fiji. After the volcano eruption occurred, satellite image depicted large clouds of ash, gas and steam that reached up to 20 kilometers (12.4 mils) into the atmosphere.

A statement released by the New Zealand High Commission on Monday, January 17 illustrated the long-lasting impacts of the underwater eruption, stating that, “A thick layer of ash remains across Tongatapu.” Both Australia and New Zealand have responded rapidly to aid the island, but efforts have been halted due to the continuing ash that descends from the volcano.

The volcanic eruption triggered a tsunami that devastated the island of Tongatapu. The effects of the tsunami have been fatal, with the UN confirming 4 deaths so far as of Tuesday, January 18. The tsunami sent enormous waves, forcing the people of Tonga to escape to higher ground. The tsunami ultimately cut off internet connection to the island, sending the rest of the world into a frenzy.

Another complication surrounding aid efforts for the island surrounds the COVID-19 pandemic. Tonga has withstood any outbreaks of COVID-19 during the duration of the pandemic, and want to keep it this way. All military staff from New Zealand that were sent to assist the island were fully vaccinated and able to follow all protocols determined by Tonga.

Fires Swarm New York City

In what seems to be a series of devastation for the Bronx in New York City, there has been an alarming number of fires in the area. The first damaging and lethal fire occurred on Sunday, January 9, and left 17 people dead. The major fire struck a 19-story building at 333 East 181st Street and was the deadliest the city has seen since the 1990 Happy Land Social Club fire.

The unprecedented fire resulted in 32 people hospitalized with life-threatening injuries. Of the 17 victims left dead, nine were children. The source of this fire was a “malfunctioning electric space heater,” NYC Major Eric Adams declared at a press conference. In the 19-story building, the fire began upon the 2nd and 3rd floors of the building. The fire resulted due to complications with the heater, and the blaze consumed the bedroom it was in, and then spread to the entire apartment. The apartment’s door was open, and the thick smoke spread throughout the whole building complex.

When the New York City Fire Department responded to the fire, they were faced with dense smoke and fire that devoured the hallways of the apartment complex. Individuals were found throughout stairways on each floor of the complex in cardiac arrest. Daniel Nigro, commissioner of the FDNY, said that the injuries of victims were primarily from smoke inhalation.

Wednesday, January 19, the Bronx rapper Cardi B announced that she would cover the funeral costs for all 17 victims. She issued a statement that read, “I cannot begin to imagine the pain and anguish that the families of the victims are experiencing, but I hope that not having to worry about the costs associated with burying their loved ones will help as they move forward and heal. I send my prayers and condolences to everyone affected by this horrific tragedy.”

Fat Joe, fellow native to the Bronx, hosted a fundraiser Saturday, January 22, at New York’s HOT 197 and 107.5 WLBS over the radio to raise money for the families of the 17 victims. “This is my village, this is my tribe,” he said, “It’s 14 degrees outside right now. People are homeless, people are displaced, we gotta help them as much as we can.” Fat Joe has already successfully raise $1M for the families of the Bronx fire victims.

Devastatingly, another fire struck the Bronx only a little over a week after and three miles south of this first catastrophic fire. Tuesday, January 18, another Bronx apartment building had a fire start, leading to a partial building collapse. This fire was not as extreme as the last, but still left at least one woman dead, with two injured in stable condition.

The exact reasoning for the fire has yet to be confirmed – it was first regarded as a gas-related explosion, but Con Ed, an electric and gas service, deemed that there has been no evidence that the fire was gas-related. The FDNY searched through debris for some type of indication of a main start point for the fire, but nothing has been pinpointed.

Bystanders told News 4 that “they heard at least two explosions, followed by flames. Onlookers at first thought it was snowing, until they realized it was ash from the fire coming down instead.”

Train Robberies hit Los Angeles

Shredded boxes and packages pile up in a section of the Union Pacific (UP) train tracks in downtown Los Angeles. The mounds of litter are from recent train robberies of train cargo containers. Packages from retailers like Amazon and REI have been ransacked. The robbers have stolen from nearly 90 train containers each day, estimates PC, the country’s major rail freight company.

UP sent a letter to Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascon highlighting the affects of the train robberies in his jurisdiction. In total, train robberies have climbed by 356% from October 2020 to October 2021. The estimated total of stolen goods amounts to $5 million from the railroad alone.

UP communicates that they have begun discussions about discontinuing traffic through Los Angeles County. The letter also states that FedEx and UPS are contemplating deflecting shipping from the area.

“We do not take this effort lightly, particularly during the supply chain crisis, as this drastic change to our operations will create significant impacts and strains throughout the local, state, and national supply chain systems,” the letter to Gascon read out.

UP senior director of public affairs, Lupe Valdez, revealed that, “we are making arrests, but what our officers are seeing on the ground is that people are basically being arrested, there is no bail, they come out the next day and come back to rob our trains.”

The UP company criticizes the district attorney’s office in their letter for not properly punishing the criminals that are stealing from the cargo containers. The letter states, “without any judicial deterrence or consequence, it is no surprise that over the past year UP has witnessed the significant increase in criminal rail theft described above.”

Fashion Legend André Leon Talley Dead at 73

Tuesday, January 19, André Leon Talley passed away. Talley is a true icon in the fashion world, having been a former renowned creative director and editor for Vogue for a multitude of years. It was reported that Talley was struggling with an unknown illness, of which he lost his fight against. His remembered by colleagues and admirers worldwide. 

Racist MLK TikTok Video Gets Taken Down

TikTok user @trevon_sellers posted a shocking video, with a caption that read “HAPPY MLK DAY.” In the video, a poster board sign sits propped up against what seems to be an empty road near some farmland. The poster reads “SLAVE 4 SALE” with two confederate flags around the text. In the video, the popular song “Watch Me (Whip / Nae Nae)” by Silentó plays, as the chorus sings “Watch me whip,” a young boy dressed up in a white tee with khaki pants physically whips an African American man with a belt. The original TikTok can still be accessed through the stitched videos of other creators.

The video has since been taken down by TikTok and has gained attention, appalling that this type of racist, insensitive video would be posted on Martin Luther King Day, the holiday set to commemorate the life and work of the civil rights movement leader Dr. King. 

Regina King’s son Dies by Suicide

Friday, January 21, Oscar-winner Regina King’s son Ian Alexander Jr. died by suicide. King verified the heartbreaking news with a statement to PEOPLE on Friday. “Our family is devastated at the deepest level by the loss of Ian. He is such a bright light who cared so deeply about the happiness of others. Our family asks for respectful consideration during this private time. Thank you.”

Amidst the tragic revelation, fans searched the internet for some type of sign, and found some truly poignant messages. A series of disturbing tweets were the last messages that Ian posted were his last messages to the world. “You know that episode of SpongeBob where they go inside his brain and it’s a bunch of mini spongebobs just losing their s–t…..yea that one really hits home,” he tweeted only five days prior to his death. A separate tweet after this one read, “I don’t think instagram is heatlhy for me.”

Allison Christensen for use by 360 Magazine

Hundreds Stranded on I-95

By: Skyler Johnson

A major bottleneck left hundreds of drivers stranded on the I-95 near Fredericksburg, Virginia due to a crash involving six tractor-trailers during a severe winter storm. With 5 to 11 inches of snow, it became difficult to clear debris and highway wreckage. Drivers were left cold, dehydrated, and hungry while waiting for rescue. As temperatures continued to decline, government workers were sought after to facilitate movement.

One of those stranded was Senator Tim Kaine. Kaine was on a 2-hour drive to the Capitol but ended up waiting more than 20 hours, canceling negotiations for voter rights legislation.

The I-95 runs along the east coast from Miami to Canada. The whole event delayed families and commuters on one of the busiest highways during one of the busiest periods of the year.

Fortunately, the Good Samaritans distributed oranges, bottled water, and provisions to those who had not eaten for hours. As the roads became frozen, many drivers were unable to leave their vehicles until they could be saved by the Virginia Department of Transportation.

Allison Christensen for use by 360 Magazine

LISTERIA OUTBREAK

If you are a frequent buyer of bagged salad or vegetable greens items, you will want to proceed with caution during consumption for the next few weeks.

Dole Fresh Vegetables announced on December 23, 2021, that there would be a recall of 180 different packaged salads due to probable contamination with Listeria monocytogenes. The recall affects nine different brands, including Dole-branded salads, Ahold, Lidl, Kroger, Little Salad Bar, Marketside, Naturally Better, Nature’s Promise and Simply Nature. 180 products were spread through 25 states in total.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued an announcement stating there is an investigation underway to examine the listeria outbreak that connects to two separate packaged salads produced by Dole. Research is ongoing to determine if more products may be affected.

The recall is directly linked to Dole’s Bessemer City, North Carolina, and Yuma, Arizona, production facilities. Listeria monocytogenes were discovered in a Dole-branded Garden Salad package at the site in North Carolina, as well as a package of shredded iceberg lettuce from the Yuma location, via the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Operations at both spots have been halted to ensure cleaning and sanitation procedures are followed through.

Products in the recall lot

  • Packaged products consisting of mixed greens, garden salads, Caesar kits and varying types of salads in bags or clamshells
  • “Best if used by” dates from November 30, 2021, to January 8, 2022
  • Product lot code begins with the letter “N” or “Y” found in the upper-right corner of packages

A full list of recalled products can be found HERE.

To stay safe…

Dispose of recalled packaged salads and follow cleaning procedures to ensure your space is clean.

Call your healthcare provider if you experience any of the following symptoms following the consumption of packaged salads:

  • Pregnant individuals encountering fever, fatigue and muscle aches. Listeria can result in pregnancy loss or premature birth, as well as serious illness or death in newborns.
  • Non-pregnant individuals may suffer headache, stiff neck, confusion, loss of balance and convulsions, paired with fever and muscle aches.
Allison Christensen for use by 360 Magazine

CosenSys Rollups

ConsenSys, the leading Ethereum software company, announced the launch of ConsenSys Rollups, to provide enterprise-grade scalability to leading financial organizations, addressing the key use case of scalable applications on the Ethereum blockchain. ConsenSys leveraged the expertise of Mastercard’s engineering team to design the ConsenSys Rollups solution. 

The creativity of projects on Ethereum is exploding in areas such as decentralized finance (DeFi), non-fungible tokens (NFT), gaming, Web 3.0 and the metaverse. Ethereum’s usage is at an all-time-high, with the number of Ethereum addresses exceeding 177 million and tens of thousands more added each day. While high network usage indicates strong adoption, it also establishes a need for scalability and privacy-enhancing solutions. 

With this in mind, ConsenSys engaged Mastercard to co-develop key building blocks to make blockchain technology scalable on the Ethereum Mainnet or for private use, providing benefits for all stakeholders in the ecosystem. 

ConsenSys Rollups is an innovative modular software solution for permissioned blockchain applications focused on providing scalability and privacy capabilities that can be connected to any Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM)-compatible blockchain. It can be used on the Ethereum Mainnet, or on private ConsenSys Quorum networks. ConsenSys Rollups leverage zero-knowledge (ZK) proofs to protect specific transaction elements, such as account balances, sender, recipient, and amount, to prevent this important transaction data from being shared publicly across the network – significantly enhancing the privacy and confidentiality of transactions. Zero-knowledge proof technologies enable one party to verify their knowledge of something to another party without having to convey the information itself. ZK proofs can then be used to verify and certify batches of transactions without having to execute them directly on the blockchain network. Solutions built with ConsenSys Rollups can currently achieve a throughput of up to 10,000 transactions per second (TPS) on a private chain while only 300 TPS can be achieved on private chains and 15 on the Ethereum Mainnet.

Programmability on zero-knowledge rollups is designed to enable additional functionalities in the future. Even higher transaction throughputs are expected to be possible through reliance on trusted parties for data availability.

“ConsenSys Rollups enables vastly more scalability in addition to strong privacy protections to both enhance solutions for existing use-cases and enable new use-cases. This innovative solution will help accelerate the building of the future of finance”, said Madeline Murray, Global Lead of Protocol Engineering at ConsenSys. 

ConsenSys Rollups will enable more types of blockchain use cases. By increasing scalability and confidentiality for asset transfers, ConsenSys Rollups enables the implementation of new, innovative use-cases including:

  • Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDCs): CBDCs issuance on top of a ConsenSys Rollups powered Quorum network can provide scalability and privacy capabilities for digital currency transfers among central banks, commercial banks, and retail users. 
  • Decentralized Exchanges (DEXs): DEXs built with Rollups will bring scalability to Decentralized Finance (DeFi) and NFTs, and more use cases on Ethereum that need faster settlement but the security guarantees of Ethereum.
  • Micropayments: Micro payment applications that see users pay, for example, on a per-stream or per-view basis will require high throughput to properly function as large numbers of users interact with platforms and decentralized applications (dapps). Rollups on mainnet will allow Ethereum to scale to meet the demand of new Web3 economic paradigms without network congestion, high fees, or finality challenges.
  • Private transfer and taxes: ConsenSys Rollups open a new pattern for confidentiality on the Ethereum Mainnet, or on Quorum powered networks. With partially anonymous rollups, users can transfer or swap tokens and transact with partial anonymity. Use-cases that require auditability and transparency but also maintain user confidentiality will be enabled with rollup solutions. This could remove the next barrier to entry for more DeFi or cryptocurrency users on new services.

Raj Dhamodharan, Executive Vice President of Digital Assets and Blockchain Products and Partnerships at Mastercard says,We believe there is real potential in blockchain technology helping to solve real-world problems. We’re in the early stages but are starting to see efficiencies in how permissioned and private chain product constructs use open-source technologies. Our work with partners like ConsenSys will continue to advance this space.”

ConsenSys Rollups is compatible with all tokens that follow the ERC20 standard.

About Consensys

ConsenSys is the leading Ethereum software company. We enable developers, enterprises, and people worldwide to build next-generation applications, launch modern financial infrastructure, and access the decentralized web. Our product suite, composed of Infura, Quorum, Codefi, MetaMask, Truffle, Diligence and our NFT platform, serves millions of users, supports billions of blockchain-based queries for our clients, and has handled billions of dollars in digital assets. Ethereum is the largest programmable blockchain in the world, leading in business adoption, developer community, and DeFi activity. On this trusted, open-source foundation, we are building the digital economy of tomorrow. To explore our products and solutions, click HERE.

Allison Christensen for use by 360 Magazine

Tornadoes Devastate Central and Southern United States

A devastating stream of tornadoes unleased late Friday December 10 and early Saturday December 11 across sections of the central and southern United States. In accordance with information from the Storm Prediction Center, there were at least 50 tornado reports. The states affected include Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio and Tennessee.

Click HERE to see how you can assist and support the victims of these destructive tornadoes.

The most substantial damage arose as Tornadoes and strong winds broke down a nursing home in Arkansas, an Amazon warehouse in western Illinois and an inhabited candle factory in Kentucky. People were killed in all separate incidents and responders have been struggling to rescue survivors.

At least one death out of an anticipated two in Arkansas has been credited to the collapsing of a nursing home. Several were trapped in the nursing home before being saved. Around 20 people were injured at the nursing home, and eventually all were taken out of the home and accounted for. Another individual in Arkansas was reported dead after being trapped in a Dollar General when the storm hit, as reported by Mississippi County Sheriff Dale Cook.

One of the tornadoes fell upon an Amazon warehouse in Edwardsville, Illinois on the night of Friday December 10. Authorities were unable to recount the exact number of workers in the Amazon warehouse because “the warehouse does not employ a ‘set staff.’” It has been verified, however, that at least two individuals died when the warehouse collapsed. Edwardsville police chief Michael Fillback validated this report on Saturday December 11 and stated that an additional person was hospitalized.

Fillback also communicated that rescue operations were not at ease due to misplaced power lines, concrete and extra water everywhere from the fire suppression system. An OSHA investigation was opened on Monday December 13 to dig deeper into the collapse of the Amazon warehouse.

On the night of December 10, another tornado hit the Mayfield Consumer Products candle factory in the Mayfield, Kentucky. Inside, around 110 people were working, and dozens were anticipated to be dead there. At least 40 people were rescued from the candle factory, but piles of metal and corrosive chemicals that toppled the factory limit the number of anticipated survivors that could be found alive.

Kyanna Parsons-Perez, survivor of the catastrophe that struck the candle factory, recounted the events of that night. She explained that workers had been hurried into a safety area before the storm officially hit. Parsons-Perez recounts seeing “a little dust of wind. My ears start popping. And it was like the building, we all just rocked back and forth, and then boom — everything fell on us,” Parasons-Perez told CNN’s Boris Sanchez.

During the devasting storm, Parsons-Perez broadcasted the tragedy on Facebook Live and made phone calls to 911 and other family members. She recounts realizing that rescuers were there when she felt pressure from people walking on the debris above her. “I was screaming like, ‘Sir, can you please just get this so I can move my leg?’ He said, ‘Ma’am, there’s about 5 feet worth of debris on top of you,'” Parsons-Perez recounts.

As of Monday December 13, Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear (D) said that there is a confirmed number of 64 deaths across Kentucky, and that it could take some time to account for the full number of fatalities and damage that fully hit the state. Beshear noted that at least 105 individuals were unaccounted for as of that Monday morning. At least 13 people in the other varying states have been confirmed dead.

Emergency workers consisting of 300 members of the National Guard have been searching for survivors, searching through wreckage and remains and delivering water and generators to residents of Western Kentucky. Beshear talked of the damage during a press conference, stating “I’m not doing so well today and I’m not sure how many of us are. The people of Western Kentucky have gone through an unspeakable trauma. The devastation is unlike anything I have seen in my life,” Beshear stated.

President Biden is scheduled to travel to Kentucky on Wednesday, December 14 to assess damages and aid in the recovery processes. “We’re going to get this done. We’re going to be there as long as it takes to help,” Biden stated during a briefing on Monday December 13 regarding federal reaction to the destructive tornadoes. Biden ensures that he does not want to get in the way of rescue efforts, but to just provide aid to the community that truly needs it in these trying times.

By: McKinley Franklin

Mel Quagrainie for use by 360 Magazine

Justice For Ahmaud Arbery

On November 24, 2021, three white men were found guilty of murdering 25-year-old unarmed Black man Ahmaud Arbery. The murder was committed by the three white men after unfounded suspicions that Mr. Arbery had been committing break-ins in their neighborhood in South Georgia.

The three defendants were Travis McMichael, 35, his father, Gregory McMicheal, 65, and William Bryan, 52, their neighbor.

Mr. Arbery lived outside of the small town of Brunswick, Georgia with his mother. He enjoyed staying in good shape and was a jogger who was often seen running in and around his neighborhood. Mr. Arbery was shot dead in a suburban neighborhood known as Satilla Shores through which he was jogging.

On Sunday, February 23, 2020, Arbery was murdered after being provoked by a white man and his son. Gregory McMichael saw Mr. Arbery running in Satilla Shores from his front porch and believed Mr. Arbery looked like a suspected man involved in numerous break-ins in the area. He then called to his son, Travis McMichael.

The police reports state that “the men grabbed a .357 Magnum handgun and shotgun, got into a pickup truck and chased Mr. Arbery, trying unsuccessfully to cut him off. A third man was also [William Bryan] involved in the pursuit.” In a recording of a 911 call that was made before the chase began, a neighbor reported a Black man was inside a house still under construction.

A video shot by William Bryan shows a struggle that preceded three shotgun blasts. The video is about a half-minute long and shows Mr. Arbery running along the two-laned suburban road when he comes upon a white truck. Travis opens the driver’s side door with a shotgun, and Greg, his father, is in the bed of the pickup truck with a handgun.

Mr. Arbery then runs out of frame, and muffled shouting is heard before Mr. Arbery appears back in the video’s view. Mr. Arbery and Travis enter view of the camera recording, fighting outside of the truck as three shotgun shots echo.

Mr. Arbery then tries to run but stumbles and falls after a few steps.

There was another video published that depicted a man walking into a house that was under construction in the same neighborhood, with him eventually running out. S. Lee Merritt, one of Mr. Arbery’s family’s lawyers, released a statement that the video does not reveal anything that was not already understood evidence. Merritt continues by explaining that Mr. Arbery was not engaging in illegal activity and did not take anything from the site.

Gregory McMichael is a former Glynn County police officer and past investigator with the local district attorney’s office.

Two months passed after the shooting, and still, no one had been arrested for the murder of Ahmaud Arbery. The prosecutor for the Brunswick Judicial Circuit, Jackie Johnson, recused herself from the case because of a potential conflict of interest. Gregory, one of the men involved in the shooting, had previously worked in her office.

The case was sent to George E. Barnhill, the district attorney in Waycross, Georgia, who also later recused himself from the case. This came following Mr. Arbery’s mother arguing the point that Barnhill had a point of conflict as well because his son also worked for the Brunswick district attorney. Before he was released from the case, Mr. Barnhill did write a letter to the Glynn County Police Department arguing there was not adequate probable cause to arrest the pursuers of Ahmaud Arbery.

In December, the Atlanta news station WSB attained police body camera footage from when officers arrived on February 23, including the conversations that took place immediately following the shooting. These recorded conversations show that the officers on the scene knew of Gregory’s background.

Ms. Johnson, who was voted out of her job as chief prosecutor for the area, was indicted with a charge of violating her oath. This came about from her demonstration of “favor and affection” to Gregory. There was also a charge of obstruction due to her instructions to two police officers on February 23 to not arrest Travis.

During the eventual lead prosecutor in the case, Linda Dunikoski’s, closing statement, she argued that the defendants began a pursuit after and an attack on Mr. Arbery, “because he was a Black man running down the street.” This raised her question of whether race was a leading issue in the attack. The prosecution continued to argue to the jury that Mr. Arbery posed no imminent threat to the men and that they had no reason to believe he had caused such suspected crimes, a tactic that proved effectual due to the guilty verdict by the jury.

The case and trial have been carefully followed in the United States since the earlier April conviction of white officer Derek Chauvin for the second-degree murder of George Floyd. Video from the scene depicted Chauvin kneeling on the neck of unarmed Black man George Floyd for nearly nine minutes. This video generated an international uproar, placing an emphasis on questions about the unfair treatment that minorities endure at the hands of the police in America.

The three defendants face sentences of up to life in prison for the state crimes that were committed. They had each separately been indicted on federal charges that include hate crimes and attempted kidnapping. They are expected to stand trial for those charges in February.

Mel Quargrainie for use by 360 Magazine

Rittenhouse Murder Trial Reaches The End

By: McKinley Franklin

After 24 hours of deliberations, Kyle Rittenhouse has been found not guilty on all charges. Read more about the case and Rittenhouse’s shooting on the night of August 25, 2020 at a Black Lives Matter protest HERE.

Let’s analyze the trial and how the jury came to their decision.

The Rittenhouse trial resumed once again on November 11, as the closing arguments of the case have commenced. At the top of the day, the case progressed, and Judge Bruce Schroeder dropped the sixth count that Rittenhouse faced. This sixth count accused Rittenhouse of possession of a dangerous weapon by a person under 18. Although the prosecution objected this, Schroeder ultimately ended up dropping the charge.

Rittenhouse’s attorneys also filed for a mistrial shortly after the charge was dropped. Schroeder conveyed this news, announcing that Rittenhouse’s team had filed an official motion for mistrial, which read “The state has repeatedly violated instructions from the Court, acted in bad faith and intentionally provided technological evidence which was different from theirs. For those reasons, the defendant respectfully requests the Court find ‘prosecutorial overreaching’ existed, that overreaching was intentional and in bad faith and thereby grant the defendant’s motion for a mistrial with prejudice.”

The prosecution started their closing arguments first, having head prosecutor on the case Thomas Binger speak about Rittenhouse’s intentions of being in Kenosha. Binger urged the jury to question the intention that Rittenhouse had in Kenosha on the night of the shooting. Binger continued his argument for the prosecution by debunking the rumor that Joseph Rosenbaum, one of Rittenhouse’s two victims, threatened to kill him earlier on the night of the shooting. The prosecution highlights this to communicate to the jury that they believe Rosenbaum posed no real threat to Rittenhouse when the shooting occurred.

As the closing argument resumed, businesses in Kenosha started boarding up their storefronts amidst the final verdict of the case. 500 Wisconsin National Guard troops are reportedly on standby in Kenosha as well.

The prosecution wrapped up their final closing arguments with Binger arguing that Rittenhouse was not acting in self-defense. Binger points out that Rittenhouse killed two unarmed men and wounded another with a firearm that did not belong to him. While Binger has used several videos from the shooting as evidence to the jury, he urged the jury that Rittenhouse is guilty of all the counts against him.

Binger closes, “He committed first-degree reckless homicide against Joseph Rosenbaum. He put Richie McGinniss’s life in jeopardy. He put jump-kick-man’s life in jeopardy. He intended to kill Anthony Huber and he attempted to kill Gaige Grosskreutz. The question is whether or not you believe that his actions were legally justified, and I submit to you that no reasonable person would have done what the defendant did. And that makes your decision easy.”

The defense began their closing argument critiquing the arguments of the prosecution. Rittenhouse’s defense attorney Mark Richards argues that Rosenbaum was intentionally trying to attack the defendant and that he even had his hand on the gun. Richards asked the jury to “use your common sense and judgment” when contemplating if Rosenbaum was a real danger to Rittenhouse when the shooting occurred.

As the closing argument continued, defense attorney Richards argued that there has been a “rush to judgment” in the case. Richards pointed out that after the shooting on August 25, 2020, there were rumors circulating about the shooting and Rittenhouse’s intentions. There was talk about the fact that Rittenhouse crossed state lines to attend the protests and brought his AR-15 with him.

Richards then stated that Gaige Grosskreutz should have not provoked Kyle Rittenhouse. The defense attorney says that Grosskreutz should have “let him be and go give aid and comfort” to Rosenbaum who was just previously shot by Rittenhouse. Richards also argues that Grosskreutz was proceeding on Rittenhouse when he was shot, and this was part of the reason for him shooting.

Richards goes on with his point that Rittenhouse was not searching for trouble when he went to Kenosha despite what the prosecution argued. The defense states that Rittenhouse “feels for this community,” and that he was not trying to start conflict.” The defense soon after wrapped up their closing arguments, and the court went on break.

After returning from the break, the prosecution began their rebuttal. Attorney James Kraus argued that it was unnecessary for Rittenhouse to react to threats by using deadly force. The prosecution says that Rittenhouse should have used all other methods of self-defense before turning to shooting.

Deliberations for the Rittenhouse trial began on November 16, 2021. The panel of 18 potential jurors was narrowed down to 12, with those who were not chosen to serve as alternates. The jury consists of five men and seven women. During the first day of deliberations, the jurors made two requests for more copies of the jury instructions. The jury was dismissed on November 15 after a little over eight hours.

The second day of deliberations continued for the Rittenhouse trial again on November 17, 2021. Judge Schroeder did receive a question from the jury during the morning of November 17, asking about the reviewal process of video evidence in the case. The question was essentially if the jurors would be able to view videos in private or in the courtroom.

Schroeder also addressed the fact that he had not had a chance to read the defense’s motion for mistrial with prejudice. He explains that only one day prior to November 17 he received the motion. Schroeder continues, stating “And I really think before I rule on a motion, I should let the state respond. So why anyone would think, it is odd for the judge to sit on a motion to dismiss, I have no idea.”

Following the request of video evidence earlier during the day of November 17, this permission was granted to the jury. The jury requested a livestream video shot by Gaige Grosskreutz. The livestream was shot moments after Rittenhouse shot Joseph Rosenbaum.

Deliberations continued through November 19, and after 24 hours of deliberations, the jury found Kyle Rittenhouse not guilty on all charges he faced.

Judge Bruce Schroeder spoke to the jury and thanked them for their efforts, stating “”All of you – I couldn’t have asked for a better jury to work with, and it has truly been my pleasure. I think without commenting on your verdict… the verdict themselves, just in terms of your attentiveness and the cooperation that you gave to us justifies the confidence that the founders of our country placed in you.”

Allison Christensen for use by 360 Magazine

Kyle Rittenhouse Murder Trial

By: McKinley Franklin

18-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse is currently on trial for the killing of two men and wounding of another. Rittenhouse’s shooting occurred on the night of August 25, 2020, in Kenosha, Wisconsin at protests that occurred following the police shooting of Black man Jacob Blake. On the night of the shooting, Rittenhouse shot at a total of four people, resulting in two fatalities and one wounding. Joseph Rosenbaum and Anthony Huber were killed, and Gaige Grosskreutz was wounded.

Rittenhouse has pleaded not guilty to six charges, including first-degree intentional homicide, first-degree reckless homicide, and first-degree attempted homicide. The prosecution seeks out to show that Rittenhouse’s acts were uncontrolled and criminal, whereas the defense argues that he was acting in self-defense.

Let’s recount the night of August 25, 2020:

Prior to the night of Rittenhouse’s killings, Kenosha had endured two nights of protests concerning the shooting of a local Black man, Jacob Blake. The protests were referred to as chaotic, and police were using rubber bullets and tear gas to “control” crowds.

At around 10 pm on the night of the killings, Rittenhouse, 17 at the time, held an AR-15-style rifle outside of a used-car dealership with other armed men. While testifying, Rittenhouse said that he was asked to help guard the dealership to prevent looting and arson. He also testified that he had a medical kit with him and that his goal was to help anyone who may become injured that night.

During his testimony, Rittenhouse states that Rosenbaum threatened his life twice this night, and that he eventually ambushed him. Rittenhouse says that he tried to run from him, and that Rosenbaum threw a bag at him that he mistook for a chain. Then, Rittenhouse aimed the rifle at Rosenbaum, and Rosenbaum proceeded towards him, Rittenhouse also testifying that Rosenbaum grabbed his gun. Rittenhouse states that he then heard a gunshot behind him, and then fired four times at Rosenbaum, killing him.

After fleeing the scene of the Rosenbaum shooting, a crowd followed him, and he began to get hit with a skateboard by Huber and had rocks thrown at him. This caused him to fall to the ground, and Huber hit him with the skateboard again. Again, Rittenhouse states that Huber grabbed his gun and even “felt the strap coming off [his] body,” and he proceeded to fire a shot, killing Huber.

Grosskreutz, also armed, then ran up to Rittenhouse, with his hands raised in a “surrender” position. Grosskreutz continued to proceed towards Rittenhouse, and he fired a shot towards him, hitting him in the arm. Rittenhouse testifies that Grosskreutz was pointing the pistol towards his head before he shot.

After the shootings, Rittenhouse testified that he approached police with his hands up, but they ordered him to get out of the way and go home. Rittenhouse then turned himself in at the Antioch Police Department an hour after these events.

The murder trial has drawn in a great amount of attention, for numerous reasons. Most recently Judge Bruce Schroeder, who is overseeing the case, made an inappropriate joke regarding Asian food. As the court was prepping to take a lunch break on November 11, 2021, the judge stated, “I hope the Asian food isn’t coming… isn’t on one of those boats from Long Beach Harbor.” Schroeder’s comment seems to refer to the supply chain backlogs that have stemmed from overcrowding problems in California ports. John Yang, president, and executive director of AAJC says that the judge’s comment “harms our community and puts us in the crosshairs of micro aggressions as well as physical violence.” Schroeder’s insensitive comment comes only a week after a juror in this trial was dismissed over another inconsiderate joke. This time, the juror made a joke concerning the police shooting of Jacob Blake, the shooting that ultimately has direct correlation to the Rittenhouse trial. Schroeder summarizes “what he remembers” about the comment the juror made, stating that, “He was telling a joke … he made a reference about telling a joke about ‘Why did it take seven shots to shoot Jacob Blake,’ something to that effect.” Prosecutors argued that the comment alludes to racial bias, and both the defense and prosecution agreed to dismiss the juror. In response to the dismissal of the juror, Schroeder stated that, “It is clear that the appearance to bias is present and it would seriously undermine the outcome of the case.”

The jury of eight men and 10 women will be reduced to 12 by a drawing of names earlier next week, when they expect to finish the case. More on the current status of the case HERE.

For use by 360 Magazine

Al Sharpton Responds

Today, November 11, through the trial of the killing of Ahmaud Arbery, William Bryan’s lawyer Kevin Gough shared some objections and concerns to the judge. Gough’s objection came from the presence of civil rights leader Reverend Al Sharpton being in the courtroom. He expressed to the judge, Judge Timothy Walmsley, that the presence of such civil rights leaders is “intimidation.” Reverend Al Sharpton was in attendance of the trial for the killing of Ahmaud Arbery on Wednesday, November 10, 2021. While in attendance at the trial, Reverend Al Sharpton organized a prayer vigil with his parents outside of the courthouse in Brunswick, Georgia. Reverend Al Sharpton has since released this statement following the accusations of his presence being used for intimidation:

“The arrogant insensitivity of attorney Kevin Gough in asking a judge to bar me or any minister of the family’s choice underscores the disregard for the value of the human life lost and the grieving of a family in need spiritual and community support.

My attendance yesterday and in the days to come is not disruptive in any way and was at the invitation of the family of Ahmaud Arbery who have stated that publicly.

The only way I could have been identified as a member of the ministry is if I was recognized for my public position and leadership. How else would the defense attorney know who was a “black pastor” or not?

This objection was clearly pointed at me and a disregard to the fact that a mother father sitting in a courtroom with 3 men that murdered their son do not deserve the right to have someone present to give spiritual strength to bear this pain. This is pouring salt into their wounds.

I respect the defense attorney doing his job but this is beyond defending your client, it is insulting the family of the victim.”

Judge Timothy Walmsley who is overseeing the case indicated that he would not make blanket rules over attendance of the public and acknowledged that the company of Reverend Sharpton would not be a distraction.

Background on the Case

Sunday, February 23, 2020, the unarmed, Black twenty-five year old Ahmaud Arbery was chased and killed by three armed white men in a neighborhood in South Georgia and was killed. The National Action Network has continuously stood by the family of the victim in their quest for justice and continues to criticize the range of the jury for the case. The jury consists of eleven white women, three white men and one Black man in a county that is predominately Black. Though Judge Timothy Walmsley acknowledges the presence of “intentional discrimination” in the range of the jury, he states that the trial over the killing of Arbery will proceed.

*Additional coverage from USA today