Posts tagged with "FBI"

LFREAQ x Lissyelle single artwork by Anna Azarov from Leigh Greaney, Big Hassle Media for use by 360 Magazine

L’FREAQ shreds her puppet strings – Gimmick

“Fans of FKA Twigs and Banks would be remiss not to check out synth-pop enchantress L’Freaq” -Billboard

L’FREAQ’s blend of gothic sensibilities and sultry soulfulness manages to continually hit the marks of bona de pop bangers.” -Nylon

L’FREAQ has a sexy, neo-goth, synth pop sound.” -Bust

“world-building music… colossal” -Refinery29

Today, LA-based dark-synth pop artist, L’FREAQ, shares a music video for her latest single “Gimmick,” the debut single from the forthcoming release and sophomore EP, Showgirl, due out on August 27, 2021 via Position Music. The first visual from the upcoming release is absolutely stacked with metaphor, all-star fashion, witchy vibes and an important message about the role media plays with children – especially young women. From puppet to powerhouse, L’FREAQ breaks free of the monotony and shreds through the brainwashed stereotypes, as she literally shreds on a guitar.

Describing the video, L’FREAQ says, “While the song is about my experience on a singing show and the judge who made me doubt myself, I wanted the video to have a bit of a darker message. My director and I, Shepherd Flashman Lowrey, came up with the idea to have a little girl watching me on a growing TV screen, a symbol for how the media consumes and controls us. I came up with the puppet master idea to go along with it, showing that what we see on our screens is not always what is happening in reality.”

The new track embodies the theme of resiliency in a time of self-doubt. “Gimmick” combines heart-pounding beats with passionate lyrics about believing in the power that everyone inherently owns and nobody else can take away, while and emphasizing L’FREAQ’s expansive “robust range” (Refinery29).

Describing the song L’FREAQ says, “After a grueling audition for a singing show in late 2019, I felt incredibly disempowered. One of the judges called me “gimmicky” and I felt as if my career had ended. What I didn’t realize was that this one person, one show, and one opportunity just wasn’t the right fit for me. After months struggling with mental health, I wrote this song as a way for me to empower myself and others, and a tongue in cheek diss to the judge that made me doubt my power.”

Having recently performed for Backline’s “Set Break” live stream alongside Alanis Morissette, Tom Morello, Ben Folds, Sara Bareilles and more to raise funds and awareness for mental health services to be distributed to music industry for free, L’FREAQ has been a champion for her community. This song is another chapter of that consistent commitment to rise up and bring people with her.

L’FREAQ, continues to remain an open book of emotions for fans as she lays out her own experience with rejection and struggles with mental health. L’FREAQ belts, “Got the courage to be vulnerable, got the guts to wear the crown, cause I dare to bare it all, I refuse to water down,” as a testament of truthfulness and self-confidence even when it’s hard. Intimacy on this level allows L’FREAQ to push the storyline forward when it comes to believing in dreams as a reality, especially in the face of adversity. NYLON says, “Look at L’FREAQ, draped in jewels and Cleopatra-esque eye makeup; then look a little harder. Behind the artifice, integrity abounds.”

L’FREAQ is all about being inclusive, and she is outspoken when it comes to defending the underdog. As an ally of everyone on the spectrum of gender and sexuality, bullies, racists and sexists are not allowed in L’FREAQ’s kingdom. She also shows her love for those closest to her, by highlighting their work: namely her fashion photographer mom, Kelly Cappelli (as seen in Vogue), who does all the photography and artwork for L’FREAQ.

The new release follows L’FREAQ’s debut EP, Weird Awakenings, which played with themes of self-discovery, as well as her 2021 single “Make Me Move.” Armed with a full book of poetry, L’FREAQ took pieces of her work and composed songs with Mike Irish, who also produced and mixed the EP at Shifted Recording Studios. The EP was mastered by Stuart Hawkes at Metropolis London Music. They took their time in discovering a sound that felt genuine, one that explored all the raw places she had been longing to find. Together, they created a modern amalgamation of L’FREAQ’s dark, thoughtful poetry and her raw musical instincts, which inevitably alchemized into songs that are all at once aggressive, sensual and moving.

Having shared a stage with ABBA, India.Arie and Jakob Dylan, it’s important to note her live performance prowess, even without tour dates on the books (speaking of longing). L’FREAQ played a packed NYC performance debut at SoHo House, and channeled Britney Spears (especially during her ferocious “Toxic” cover”), Nick Cave and Beats Antique vibes. The Deli Magazine later dubbed her “NYC’s Favorite Emerging Artist.”

With over 500k streams, 240K plays on YouTube, and songs featured in “Riverdale,” Playboy, Netflix’s “Dating Around, “Good Trouble,” “FBI,” “The Voice,” “City on a Hill” and more – all born from her 5-song debut EP, it’s safe to say this follow-up EP is highly anticipated. Stay tuned for more visual components to follow, along with brand new singles. Showgirl is on the way.

Track listing: SHOWGIRL EP

  1. Gimmick
  2. Showgirl
  3. Take You Down
  4. LOUD
  5. Nothing on Me

Previous Releases By L’FREAQ:

Listen To “Make Me Move”: Here

Watch “New Skin”: Here

Listen To Weird Awakenings Ep: Here

Watch “Weird Awakenings” Video: Here

Watch “Moonlight” Video: Here

About L’FREAQ:

L’FREAQ is the alias of Brooklyn and LA-based singer/songwriter Lea Cappelli, who crafts songs inspired by pop and R&B but with a biting edge. Some highlights of her career include performing privately for Muhammad Ali, sharing the stage with Jakob Dylan, and performing with Grammy-winning artist India.Arie.

L’FREAQ released her EP, Weird Awakenings, to critical acclaim in October 2018 and was voted one of NYLON’s 20 Best Releases. The EP has also garnered radio play and enthusiastic reviews in the US, UK, Europe, and Australia. Her second music video was premiered by Billboard while her most recent music video, “New Skin,” was released exclusively through NYLON which noted “integrity abounds” throughout.

Playboy recently used the title track “Weird Awakenings” in its groundbreaking video of actor Ezra Miller, while another song from the EP, “I’ve Become a Thief” has been featured in the trailer for the CW’s hit show “Riverdale.” L’FREAQ was recently voted “NYC’s Favorite Emerging Artist” in an open poll sponsored by The Deli Magazine, and can be seen this fall on her upcoming west coast tour in support of the Weird Awakenings EP.

Stay Connected with L’FREAQ:

Website | Instagram | Facebook | Twitter | SoundCloud | Spotify

Tech Illustration by Rita Azar for use by 360 Magazine

Most Cybercrime by State

According to Atlas VPN analysis, the top 10 US states by losses to cybercrime are California, New York, Texas, Florida, Ohio, Illinois, Missouri, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Colorado.

Last year, citizens in these states lost $2.39 billion to various types of internet crime. In the earliest reporting period – 2013, losses reached $327.89 million. Meaning, accumulated monetary damages in these states jumped by 629% over an eight-year period.

The data is compiled from the last eight annual Internet Crime Reports published by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). The FBI shares data provided by victims from all over the country to alert US citizens to the ever-increasing rates of internet crime.

To no surprise, California experienced the largest damages in 2020. Californians lost over $621 million in 2020 and a staggering $2.55 billion since 2013.  

The average annual loss growth (AAGR) of cybercrime damages reaches 33% in sunny California. On a similar note, financial losses jumped by 491% when comparing 2013 to 2020.

The second place goes to the largest city in the US – New York. Here, people lost nearly $416 million in 2020. The total losses from cybercrime amount to $1.15 billion, counting from 2013.

The average annual growth rate of losses to cybercrime exceeds that of California and stands at 50%. In 2013, New Yorkers lost $38 million to internet crime, which means that in the eight-year span, damages grew by 993%.

Texas takes third place, with close to $314 million in capital loss last year. Through the last eight years, fraudsters swindled over $1.01 billion from unsuspecting citizens.

Texans lost $56 million in 2013. Meaning, cybercrime damages in Texas jumped by 455% from 2013 to 2020. Here, AAGR stands at 30%, which is the lowest of the top 10 states.

Fourth is Florida, with $295 million in losses to various types of internet crime. From 2013 until 2020, citizens in Florida lost a whopping $1.16 billion of their hard-earned money.

To read the full article, head over to: https://atlasvpn.com/blog/an-analysis-of-the-top-10-most-cybercrime-ridden-states

Nicole Salazar Breaking News Illustration

Weekly News Roundup: Week of May 10

Biden’s Spending Plan for Education

President Biden is planning to enact higher taxes on the wealthy to go towards free preschool, two years of free community college for young adults, and national paid leave. The 1.8 trillion spending and tax plan is aimed to expand education, while increasing the US’ social safety net, supporting women in the workplace, and decreasing the cost of child care. The New York Times recognized Biden’s tax plan as “ the biggest expansion in federal support for higher education in at least half a century.”

Increasing Vaccination Numbers in the EU

The pace of people being administered the COVID vaccine in the European Union is steadily rising. Just last week, nearly three million doses of the vaccine were being administered daily according to Our World in Data, a University of Oxford database. The EU is primarily utilizing the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. The New York Times reports that in a rate adjusted for population, the amount of people being administered the vaccine daily in the EU is now roughly equivalent to the US. Usula von der Leyen, the European Commision president, announced her goal of vaccination 70 percent of adults in the EU by the end of the summer. Due to an early shipment of doses from Pfizer last month, and the company’s partnership with BioNTech, it is predicted that this goal will be reached.

DarkSide Ransomware Attack

On Monday, President Biden announced that the United States will “disrupt and prosecute” the criminal gang of hackers, DarkSide. The hackers have been the culprit of a huge ransomware attach that effected the flow of gasoline and jet fuel supplies to the country’s East Coast. Federal investigators believe that the attackers aimed at uncovering corporate data and back-office operations, rather than taking control of the pipelines. After taking note of the ransomware attack that which locked Colonial Pipelines–up a major pipeline in Texas that transported gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel from Texas’ Gulf Coast to New York Harbor– the F.B.I. sent out an emergency alert to other pipeline operators and electric utility and gas suppliers. Colonial Pipelines has remained closed since the attack and hopes to restore operations by the end of this week. The city governments of Atlanta, New Orleans, and the Washington D.C. Police Department have also been victim to DarkSide’s attacks.

Violent Clash Between Palestinian Protesters and Israeli Police in Jerusalem

Recent escalations between Palestinians and Israeli Jews regarding control over a single neighborhood in Jerusalem has exploded into major conflict. Israeli efforts to eradicate Palestinians from parts of the city have incited upset between the two groups. While Israeli Jews attempt to ensure Jewish landownership and control over East Jerusalem, Palestinians argue that their attempts are illegal and a form of ethnic cleansing. On Monday, right-wing Israeli protestors and the police erupted into military conflict with Palestinian protesters. As a result of a raid on the Israeli police on the Al Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, Gaza militants retaliated with rocket fire. Countering, Israeli airstrikes were fired back. Due to the violent conflict, at least twenty Palestinians have been killed, including nine children.

Offshore Wind Plan to Create Thousands of Jobs

On Monday, the Biden Administration announced their plan to use offshore wind power along the East Coast. Through utilization of off-shore wind turbines in coastal waters nationwide, the plan is aiming to deliver 30,000 megawatts of wind power to power 10,000 homes by 2030, reports the New York Times. To start, the eco-conscious project will begin in the nation’s first large-scale offshore wind farm off the coast of Martha’s Vineyard. It is predicted that offshore wind deployment projects will create 44,000 new jobs in the offshore window sector and 33,000 other new, indirect job positions. According to the American Clean Power Association, “States along the East Coast are driving demand for offshore wind. Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, and Virginia have established targets to procure a total of 25,400 MW of offshore wind by at least 2035 and have selected over 6,000 MW of projects as of February 2020 to help meet these goals.”

CDC Announces Vaccinated People Rarely Need Masks

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced this week that fully vaccinated people don’t need to wear mask in most situations. Whereas it is still encouraged for vaccinated people to wear a mask inside to contribute to the culture of mask wearing, they are at virtually no risk of disease and minuscule risk of transmitting the virus to others. The New York Times talked to Dr. Paul Offit, the director of the Vaccine Education Center at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia: “The Moderna and Pfizer vaccines are ‘essentially 100 percent effective against serious disease.’”

Furthermore, it has been announced that there have been few, if any, instances of COVID-19 transmission occurring from brief outdoor interactions. The risk of exposure from outdoor contact is too small to lead to infection.  However, unvaccinated people are still advised to wear masks when in close conversation with people both outdoors and indoors, when not at home.

However, with the child population of Americans unvaccinated, it raises questions about how families will be able to return to normalcy. While children under 16 haven’t been eligible to receive the vaccination, their demographic poses a low risk to fatal coronavirus cases. For children, it is believed that COVID-19 presents no greater risk than the average flu season. As America looks towards the rest of 2021, it can be hoped that a return to normalcy will soon come. To read the current CDC COVID-19 guidelines, you may visit this website.

Gun Violence illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

Indianapolis FedEx Mass Shooting

EIGHT KILLED IN INDIANAPOLIS FEDEX FACILITY SHOOTING

What we know so far

  • Brandon Hole, the shooting suspect, opened fire outside and inside of a FedEx facility in Indianapolis, Indiana on Thursday evening.
  • Eight people were shot and killed, while several others were wounded in addition to the gunman.
  • Police believe the gunman killed himself as officers encountered him.
  • The motive for the shooting known at this time.

Law enforcement were notified of a mass casualty situation at the Indianapolis FedEx location late Thursday evening. Timothy Boillat, a FedEx employee, was inside of the building when the gunshots began, according to CNN. He was on break when he heard “two loud metal clangs,” not realizing that it was gun shots. Boillat said his friend saw someone grabbing a gun out of the trunk of their car. It was at that moment that Boillat saw a body on the ground. Levi Miller was interviewed this morning by the Today Show and stated “I saw a man, a hooded figure. The man did have an AR in his hand, and he started shouting and then he started firing. I thought he saw me, so I immediately ducked for cover.”

Deputy Chief of Criminal Investigations for Indianapolis Police, Craig McCartt, stated that four of the victims were found inside of the FedEx facility and four were found outside. The suspect was found deceased, in addition to eight other people. The Indianapolis Police Department said they have an idea of who the suspect was, however, have not formally identified him. The Department believes that the shooter was using a rifle, but they do not yet have any specifics on the weapon. The police are being assisted by the FBI in searching the suspect’s house. Special agent Paul Keenan is in charge.

During a news conference McCartt stated, “This suspect came to the facility. He got out of his car and pretty quickly started some random shooting outside the facility. There was no confrontation with anyone. That began in the parking lot and then he did go into the building.”

Alfarena McGinty, the Chief Deputy Coroner at the Marion County Coroner’s Office, said that the Department is conducting an investigation, but cannot yet enter the crime scene to confirm the victims’ identity until all evidence has been collected. “We are still a number of hours out before we are able to go on to the scene to conduct our investigation, and then after that, we’ll work with the families. Following that process, what we have to do is we will perform our examinations,” she said, adding that extra staff will be called in to complete those examinations in the next 48 to 72 hours, reports CNN.

According to data from the Gun Violence Archive, there have been at least 147 mass shootings incidents in 2021 in the United States. The Gun Violence Archive is an online archive of gun violence incidents collected from various law enforcement, media, government and commercial sources daily in order to provide near-real time data about the results of gun violence. GVA is a non-profit corporation based out of Washington DC, as stated on their website.

UPDATE:

Indianapolis Police has released the names of the deceased victims from Thursday night’s shooting. 

The victims are: 

  • 32-year-old Matthew R Alexander 
  • 19-year-old Samaria Blackwell
  • 66-year-old Amarjeet Johal
  • 64-year-old Jaswinder Kaur
  • 68-year-old Jaswinder Singh
  • 48-year-old Amarjit Sekhon
  • 19-year-old Karlie Smith
  • 74-year-old John Weisert

A statement by IMPD says the next of kin has been notified by the Marion County Coroner’s Office.

The cause of death will be determined after autopsies are complete, according to the statement. 

IMPD said the names of those injured are not being released. 

Explosion illustration by Kaelen Felix for 360 Magazine

Nashville Christmas Bombing

By Hannah DiPilato

Christmas morning had a horrific start for Nashville, Tennessee when a bomb went off at 6 a.m. Friday morning. 

Planted in an RV that was parked on the street, the bomb left excessive damage for the city; over 40 buildings were impacted. The most bizarre part was the fifteen-minute evacuation warning that played before the bomb erupted. This gave the surrounding area time to evacuate in order to prevent death and injury.

The police are currently investigating the situation and believe it was a suicide bombing. Human remains have been recovered from the scene of the incident, but no fatalities have been confirmed yet. So far, three injuries have been recorded due to the blast, but all are in stable condition. 

A tip released to law enforcement about the vehicle involved in the bombing has led agents to Antioch, a town just southeast of Nashville, to search a home. According to FBI spokesman, Jason Pack, they are conducting “court-authorized activity,” but have not reported who resides in the home. Law enforcement has received 500 leads and tips that are now being investigated. 

Douglas Korneski, FBI special agent in charge of the Memphis Field Office, was unable to identify any potential suspects at a press conference held on Saturday afternoon. However, as of now, police have identified one person of interest. 

One possible motive of the attack could be the destruction of the nearby AT&T building which caused major problems for cell service in many southern states. Korneski said the FBI is, “looking at every possible motive that could be involved,” when asked about the AT&T building being a possible target.

Mayor John Cooper has enforced a curfew in the downtown area until Sunday as a preventative measure until investigators can learn more about what occurred. The downtown area, and heart of Nashville tourism, was shut down so investigators could comb through the remains from the explosion.

Many residents of the area reported hearing gunshots at approximately 5:30 a.m. on Christmas morning. The white RV responsible for the explosion was parked directly in front of 166 Second Ave. North, which is the AT&T transmission building. 

The eerie message projecting from the van said, “This vehicle will explode in 15 minutes,” according to Betsy Williams, a resident that lived nearby the scene. The message repeated for a minute and then proceeded to count down from 15 minutes. At approximately 6:30 a.m. the recording changed as the time inched closer to the threat of an eruption. “If you can hear this message, evacuate now,” the voice boomed, minutes from when the street was blown up. 

Six police officers that were on the scene immediately began evacuating homes after hearing the message. No officials suffered serious injuries, one officer was knocked over by the force of the blast and another officer suffered from hearing loss. 

The investigation for answers continues into Saturday night and law enforcement is working hard to keep Nashville safe in the coming days. Korneski said the investigation will take time because “the investigative team is turning over every stone.” 

Maria Soloman illustration for 360 MAGAZINE journalism article.

The War on Journalism

by Justin Lyons

What a time it is to be a journalist.

During an era in which news is a divisive, politicized topic, one man seems to have been spearheading the charge against modern media. That’s what a brand new documentary from Juan Passarelli aims to cover, at least in part.

“The War on Journalism – the case of Julian Assange” takes the case of the controversial WikiLeaks founder. Assange now faces 175 years after his site published leaked documents with information sensitive to the United States government. Now we face the never-ending battle of journalistic principles versus legality.

The thing that sticks out to me at first thought is the idea that leaks have existed as long as governments and corruption have existed, which dates back to the beginning of time. As a journalist myself, I think we consider our job as watchdogs one of the most important jobs in a functioning society. If journalists aren’t delivering news telling consumers what they need to know and why they need to know it, we’d be missing a huge opportunity to hold powerful figures accountable.

Theodore Roosevelt once called journalists “muckrakers” because they, well, rake through the muck. They dig through the dirt to find that key that might be even dirtier than the dirt itself. While it doesn’t sound like an endearing term, journalists seem to take it as a compliment.

This documentary looks at the realities of being a reporter in the middle of the action, and it seems to no longer be safe to gather information about government action. It opens with what looks like a reporter being pepper sprayed by police and proceeds to show government officials claim they will not agree to refrain from prosecuting journalists for doing their jobs.

Assange was indicted under the Espionage Act with 17 counts. The Espionage Act is a United States law published in 1917 that aims to prevent interference in foreign relations.

While it might seem that the First Amendment could guarantee freedom for press to publish information with the public good in mind, John Kiriakou, described as a CIA torture whistleblower, brought up a really interesting point.

Kiriakou was charged in the Eastern District of Virginia and hired the lawyer who won cases for O.J. Simpson and George Zimmerman. That lawyer decided that Kiriakou’s case was impossible to win in the Eastern District of Virginia. His jury would have comprised of members of the CIA, the FBI, the Pentagon, intelligence community contractors and the Department of Homeland Security.

The same applies to Julian Assange. He was charged in the Eastern District of Virginia, where Kiriakou said no national security defendant had ever won a case.

Journalists aren’t seeking more freedom than the average U.S. citizen, but they should be protected with clearly defined rights. When the Sixth Amendment guarantees the right to an impartial jury, it can make you wonder how Kiriakou’s story is possible in the first place. It seems that seeking protection for the government has overwhelmed the protection of journalistic freedoms.

Overall, the documentary is definitely an interesting looking glass into what it’s like to be a journalist right now. I also think it’s an interesting look at journalistic protections. When thinking about people like Assange or Edward Snowen, who also appears in the documentary, I wonder where their protections start and end and how those protections are recognized if we consider them journalists.

In 2020, anyone can be a journalist, and using that freedom of press for information of public interest is something that is quite clearly protected by the Constitution.

Now that Assange is appearing in court for his extradition case, I look forward to the outcome, as it could become another landmark case for journalism in the United States.

If you’re interested in seeing “The War on Journalism – the case of Julian Assange” for yourself, you can check it out right here.

Jake Paul illustration done by Mina Tocalini of 360 MAGAZINE.

Jake Paul FBI Raid

By Mina Tocalini

ABC News released footage of the FBI raid in YouTuber Jake Paul’s Calabasas mansion on Wednesday morning. The footage revealed several firearms being carried by deputies from the home, Paul was out of the state at the time. 

Details regarding the investigation cannot be disclosed yet, but it is believed to be linked to the Scottsdale looting charges faced by Jake Paul and fellow YouTuber, Arman Izadi this past May. Paul has dismissed the charges on social media claiming to be “strictly documenting, not engaging” in the Fashion Square Mall protest.  

Izadi’s ‘Graffiti Mansion’ in Las Vegas also underwent a similar raid the same day. Staff member Richard Ochoa commented to FOX 5 News that, “They did a search of the property, looking for a certain person that resides in Southern California (referring to Paul)”. Izadi seemed unconcerned with the raid as he continued to spend the day painting his house pink with a group of models for his ‘Barbie’ shoot.

Rita Azar illustrates US Federal officer story in 360 MAGAZINE.

Federal Agents Move into Multiple US Cities

By Emmet McGeown

On June 29, 4-year old LeGend Taliferro was killed by gunfire in Kansas City, Missouri. He had fallen asleep inside his pillow fort and at around 2am he was murdered in a targeted shooting of his apartment, according to the Kansas City Police Department.

Having been diagnosed with a heart defect shortly after birth, LeGend received his first open-heart surgery at just 4 months old. His mother, Charron Powell, said that her only child “has the heart of a lion” and was always excited to create awareness for conditions similar to his.

As a result of this horrific murder and spiking crime rates in St. Louis Attorney General, William Barr, announced “Operation LeGend” on July 8. This Justice Department initiative has directed agents from the FBI, DEA, ATF, and US Marshals Service to supplement local law enforcement agencies with the aim of cracking down on illegal gun trafficking and aiding ongoing homicide investigations.

In total, 225 federal agents were sent to Kansas City to help the 400 federal agents already located in the metro area. US Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, Tim Garrison, announced on July 31 that 97 arrests have been made by federal and local law enforcement since the launch of Operation LeGend. Five arrests were made for homicide, but other offenses cited were drug trafficking, robbery, and child molestation.

However, this has not been the extent of federal intervention in US cities. In a Fox News phone interview, the President stated “We’ll go into all of the cities, any of them. We’re ready.” Such a statement is emblematic of the President’s desire to make federal policing a key part of his Nixonian “law and order” campaign strategy. Undoubtedly, he is hoping to appeal to suburban voters worried about crime spilling into their neighborhoods from urban centers. The President also claimed that he was prepared to dispatch “50,000, 60,000 people” into American cities.

Trump has presented increasing crime rates in cities as a partisan issue whereby Democrat-run cities are the most dangerous places in the country largely due to their leadership’s political affiliation. Overall, out of the 50 largest cities in the US the homicide rate has increased by 25% in cities with Democratic mayors and by 15% in Republican-run cities revealing a decidedly bipartisan issue despite the President’s best efforts.

Operation LeGend’s coordinated law enforcement plan has now expanded into Chicago, Albuquerque, Cleveland, Detroit and Milwaukee. Reasons for this move include a 54% increase in homicides in Chicago from last year, a 7% increase in Detroit’s violent crime compared to the previous year while each of Cleveland’s 5 police districts are coping with an increase in shootings of around 20%.

Such statistics reveal a problem in many US cities, yet the question remains as to whether this problem can or should be solved through federal intervention or whether this, being a local issue, should be remedied via local resources.

Minority Report

A comprehensive report of the continuation and influx of unjustified treatment towards minorities during the COVID-19 pandemic.

February 23: 25-year-old Georgia resident Ahmaud Arbery was fatally shot while running unarmed. No arrests were made immediately, but Gregory and Travis McMichael, who claim to have been making a citizen’s arrest, have since been apprehended more than 2 months after the shooting and charged with murder and aggravated assault. The murder and its delayed action have sparked nationwide protests and calls for justice. The lawyer, hired by Ahmaud’s family, was also hired by another African American victim – Breonna Taylor.

March 13Breonna Taylor was shot and killed in her Louisville home after police entered the house on a search warrant. Taylor and her boyfriend believed they were burglars and began firing at the police. The shootout left 26-year-old Taylor dead and her boyfriend, 27, arrested and charged with assault and attempted murder of a police officer. Neither Taylor nor her boyfriend Walker had a criminal record, but Walker had a firearm license.

March 23: A newly released video shows a 68-year-old black Missouri woman by the name of Marvia Gray and her son Derek being forcefully arrested on the floor of a department store on March 23rd. The two were accused falsely of trying to steal a television and were injured when thrown on the floor by police, according to Gray. They were however, arrested for assault on a police officer and resisting arrest.

April 11Daunte Wright, a 20-year-old Black man, was fatally shot on Sunday afternoon during a traffic stop. When Wright was pulled over, officers were attempting to handcuff him when the subject broke free and jumped into the driver’s seat. Officer Kim Potter threatened to tase him, yelling “Taser!” three times before shooting Wright. Brooklyn Center Police Chief Tim Gannon said, “It is my belief that the officer had the intention to deploy their Taser but instead shot Mr. Wright with a single bullet.” On Monday evening, the Hennepin County Medical Examiner reported that Wright died due to a gunshot wound to his chest. Potter resigned from the police department on Tuesday, and has now been arrested and charged with second-degree manslaughter.

April 18Steven Taylor, 33, was shot to death by police in a California Walmart while attempting to steal from the store and threatening violent acts with a baseball bat. Taylor was fatally shot, however, after becoming a non-threat, it prompted the family to call for charges against the officers. Taylor was also allegedly in a mental health crisis and has a history of disorders such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Taylor leaves behind three children and three siblings.

April 21: A 42-year-old Black man, Andrew Brown Jr., was shot by North Carolina sheriff’s deputies in Elizabethtown just before 8:30 am. A private autopsy conducted by Brown’s family has revealed that he was shot five times, and was killed by a bullet blow to his head. The Pasquotank County sheriff claims that the deputies were conducting an arrest warrant on drug charges when Brown was shot. A local prosecutor claims Brown was trying to escape and had hit deputies with his car. The Brown family lawyer claims that Brown’s hands were on the wheel when he was shot, and says that Brown had no drugs or weapons in his vehicle. The family has not yet seen a search warrant from the Department, and the F.B.I. is opening a civil rights investigation into the case.

A clergy march in Elizabeth honoring Brown will take place on Saturday, May 8 at 11am. The march will be led by Bishop William J. Barber (President of Repairers of the Breach, co-chair of the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival former moderator with the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)) II and Rev. Dr. T. Anthony Spearman (an elder with the AME Zion Church and former president of the N.C. Council of Churches), both of whom will lead a march of interfaith and interdenominational clergy. A public rally and news conference will follow the clergy march and begin at 11:30am. Clergy members are to meet at 10:30 am at 299 US Highway 158 N., in front of the old Elizabeth City Middle School. The clergy march is set to lead to the Pasquotank County Courthouse, where the public rally will be held. For more info, please visit this website.

April 24: Austin Police murdered 42-year old Michael Ramos after a nearby 911 call about a possible drug deal. The police shot Ramos when he was out of his car, with his hands above his head. When Ramos re-entered his vehicle and began driving away, he was shot again and soon after, died. A later investigation found no sign of a firearm in the car.

April 28: A shootout with police in Florida killed 26-year-old Jonas Joseph after his car was pulled over. Joseph began firing at police, who returned fire and killed the young man.

May 6: 21-year-old Sean Reed was killed by police following a vehicle pursuit on the evening of May 6, 2020. The police pursued Reed after being seen driving erratically on the highway. The pursuit terminated, but when Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Assistant Chief Chris Bailey spotted the car parked, he approached. Reed tried to flee, but the confrontation left the young man dead. A crowd of protestors at the scene demanded the reasoning for the officer’s use of force.

May 8: The four officers involved with George Floyd’s shooting have been indicted by a federal grand jury. The four officers–Derek Chauvin, Tou Thao, J. Alexander Kueng, and Thomas Lane– all faces charges for failure to administer aid to Floyd. Tou and Kueng were also charged for their failure to intervene in Chuavin’s unreasonable use of force on Floyd. Chauvin, who was found guilty of murder last month, is also cited to have used “unreasonable seizure, which includes the right to be free from unreasonable force by a police officer,” as stated in the indictment. In addition to these new federal charges, there is also an ongoing civil investigation into Minneapolis policing practices currently underway.

May 9: 48-year-old Adrian Medearis was killed after being pulled over under suspicion of driving while intoxicated in Houston. The officer conducted a sobriety test, and attempted to arrest Medearis, a well-known local Gospel singer and choir director, but he resisted arrest and was fatally shot  in the ensuing altercation. His family and community are demanding the release of the video.

May 18: A Sarasota police officer was filmed using excessive force and kneeling on Patrick Carroll’s neck during an arrest. The video was put on social media and the officer in question has been put on administrative leave weeks after the event.

May 25: A woman named Amy Cooper called the cops on Christian Cooper, a Harvard alumnus and former Marvel Comics editor. The 57-year-old man was bird watching in Central Park when she approached him without her dog on the leash. After he asked her to put the dog on a leash, she called the police and claimed to be threatened. The altercation went viral after Christian Cooper posted a video of the event on social media, recording the woman aggressively restraining her dog and her saying, “I’m going to tell them [the police] there’s an African American man threatening my life.” Amy Cooper has since publicly apologized. But, Cooper has faced repercussions beyond negative comments on Twitter. She has been fired from her job at Franklin Templeton Investments, where she was vice president, and her dog has been rescued by a pet shelter.

May 25th: a Minneapolis man named George Floyd was murdered by police after an officer knelt on his neck despite his cries for help. Floyd was taken to a hospital where he died, and four officers were fired soon after the incident. A police statement says that Floyd was being investigated for a “forgery in progress” and resisted arrest. But, surveillance video of the arrest shows Floyd complying with the officers. On May 29th, former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was charged with murder and manslaughter, four days after George Floyd’s death. On June 3rd, the other three officers involved in George Floyd’s murder, J.A. Keung, Thomas Lane, and Tou Thao, were arrested and charged with Aiding and Abetting Second Degree Murder and Aiding and Abetting Second Degree Manslaughter. Floyd’s murder sparked protests around the country with citizens looting and setting fire to buildings. The protestors have been met with tear gas and rubber bullets from police officers.

Allison Christensen, 360 Magazine, Vaughn Lowery

May 28: At a protest in Minneapolis, 43-year-old Calvin L. Horton Jr. was fatally shot and a suspect is in custody.

A Mississippi cop is on leave after a video is released of him choking a young suspect.

May 29: CNN reporter Omar Jimenez and his crew were arrested while reporting on the protest in Minneapolis. Meanwhile, another CNN reporter, Josh Campbell, says he was treated very differently by police and allowed to stay and report. Jimenez is black and Latino whereas Campbell is white. All three CNN workers were released from custody an hour later.

21-year-old Javar Harrell was not protesting but was fatally shot near protests in Detroit. It is unclear if his death is tied to protests.

May 30: The “Rally To End Modern Day Lynching” took place in Harlem in honor of George Floyd. The rally emphasizes that participants should still practice social distancing and wear a mask. Also on May 30th, participants will honor Floyd at the site of Eric Garner‘s murder in 2014. These New York protests became progressively more violent into the evening. Governor Brian Kemp issued a state of emergency and curfew for Atlanta in preparation for planned protests on May 31st. After four days of protests, Governor Newsom declares a state of emergency in Los Angeles. The courthouse and city hall were set on fire in Nashville.

A 21-year old unnamed man was fatally shot at a protest in Detroit.

In Dallas, a machete-yielding storeowner confronted protesters and was then violently beaten by the crowd; the man is now in stable condition.

Chris Beaty, 38, was killed from multiple gunshot wounds and was pronounced dead at the scene in Indianapolis.

May 31: After setting fires and looting in Santa Monica, the city declared a curfew. Curfews have since been set all around the country.

Italia Kelly, 22, and another victim were fatally shot while leaving a protest in Davenport, Iowa.

In Victorville, CA, Malcolm Harsch, 38, was found hanging from a tree and authorities are investigating the event as a potential homicide. Harsch’s family says they are very skeptical of his death being by suicide.

June 1: In Minneapolis, a group of men attacked Iyanna Dior, a black transgender woman; Dior is okay and in stable condition now.

53-year-old David McAtee was shot as national Guard troops and Louisville police broke up a protest; some footage shows McAtee shooting at police but it is unclear who fired their guns first because the officers involved did not activate their body cameras. The Louisville Metro Police Chief, Steve Conrad, was immediately fired because of the officers’ unactivated cameras.

16-year-old Jahmel Leach was tased in the face by NYPD and could be permanently disfigured from the attack. It is unclear why the police officers used force to arrest Leach.

June 2: Six Atlanta police officers have been fired and arrested for using excessive force towards Messiah Young and Taniyah Pilgrim, two young black people leaving the protests.

77-year-old David Dorn, a retired St. Louis police captain, was fatally shot by looters of a pawnshop after responding to an alarm.

June 4: At 3:45pm, NAACP holds a moment of silence for 8 minutes and 46 seconds in honor of George Floyd live on their Twitter.

June 5: All 57 members of the Buffalo Police Department’s emergency response team resigned in protest for police brutality – particularly seen in a video of Buffalo police pushing an unarmed man.

Reddit Co-founder Alexis Ohanian resigns from the company’s board and urges the company to replace his spot with a black candidate.

In a YouTube video, Robert L. Johnson, the first black American billionaire and co-founder of BET, talks to The Breakfast Club about racism and reparations.

20-year-old Dounya Zayer was violently shoved by a police officer at a protest in Brooklyn, NY. 

June 6: Michael Jordan and Jordan Brand pledge $100 million donation over the next 10 years to organizations promoting social justice and racial equality.

A video shows protestors creating a human shield to protect NYPD officers fro rioters throwing objects at the policemen. 

June 7: Virginia governor plans to remove Robert E. Lee statue later this week.

CEO of CrossFit Greg Glassman’s insensitive tweet about George Floyd has caused Glassman to face serious backlash. Partners of CrossFit, like Reebok or Rogue Fitness, and athletes, including Brooke Wells and Richard Froning, released statements that they will cut ties with CrossFit.

BLM protestors in Bristol pull down statue of Edward Colton, a slave trader who transported nearly 100,000 slaves in the 17th century. 

Harry H. Rogers drove into a group of protestors near Richmond, Virginia. Rogers identifies as the leader of the Ku Klux Klan and prosecutors are investigating the assault as a potential hate crime.

June 8: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announces police reform legislation called The Justice in Policing Act of 2020 which would ban chokeholds, establish a national database to track police misconduct, and more.

Minneapolis City Council announce plans to defund the Minneapolis police department.

GoFundMe suspends Candace Owens’ account saying that Owens, “spread hate, discrimination, intolerance and falsehoods against the black community.”

June 9: Greg Glassman, the CEO and founder of CrossFit, retires after his inappropriate tweet about George Floyd’s murder.

New York Police Chief Mike O’Meara shames the press for vilifying police officers in a video here.

June 10: In Palmdale, CA, 24-year-old black man named Robert Fuller,  was found hanging from a tree in what was originally described as an apparent suicide. Citizens are demanding that Fuller’s death is investigated as a homicide.

June 11:  After Trump’s comments about Seattle protestors being “domestic terrorists” and that law enforcement must “dominate the streets” to “take back Seattle,” Seattle mayor Jenny Durkan clarifies that the protestors are not threatening and that the president’s claims are unconstitutional.

June 12: Atlanta police fatally shot Rayshard Brooks, 27, at a Wendy’s drive-thru. Brooks’ murder caused Atlanta police chief Erika Shields to resign.

The officer who shot Brooks was Garrett Rolfe. Rolfe was terminated from his job one day after the shooting, but as of Wednesday, he was reinstated to his position. Atlanta’s Civil Service Board reinstated the officer because they found that Rolfe’s firing violated his due process rights. It is not being argued whether the shooting was justified, but rather if the proper firing procedures had been followed regarding the officer’s dismissal. At a board hearing on April 22, lawyer Allegra Lawrence-Hardy argues that “immediate dismal” of an employee “impairs the effectiveness of others.” However, despite being reinstated, Rolfe will remain on administrative leave until his murder and aggravated assault charges regarding the June 12 shooting are resolved.

June 13: Patrick Hutchinson, a black personal trainer from London, rescued ‘far-right’ protester who was badly beaten during protest clashes in London.

A young, black FedEx driver named Brandon Brackins turned to social media to tell his followers how he was called racial slurs while working. 

June 16: A story resurfaces from 2006 when black, Buffalo, NY cop Cariol Horne was fired for stopping her white colleague from choking a handcuffed suspect.

Philadelphia court supervisor Michael Henkel is fired after video shows him tearing down BLM signs.

June 17: Quaker Oats plans to retire their Aunt Jemima branding and logo after acknowledging the racial stereotyping.

June 18: A Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department deputy fatally shot 18-year-old Andres Guardado.

June 20: Rioters storm the streets of Tulsa, Oklahoma during President Trump’s rally. 

June 21: A NYPD officer is on unpaid suspension after a chokehold incident in Queens.

June 22: Department of Justice is investigating a noose found in Bubba Wallace‘s NASCAR garage. Wallace is the only black driver in NASCAR’s top circuit. On June 23, the FBI determines that Wallace was not the target of a hate crime.

August 23: Jacob Blake is shot by Kenosha police officers after breaking up a nearby fight that two other women were having. Blake was unarmed and shot seven times in the back. He is currently hospitalized for his injuries.

December 5: Lt. Caron Nazario, a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army, is suing two of the Town of Windsor police officers who conducted his traffic stop. Nazario is a Black and Latino man who was pulled over whilst wearing his uniform. He is requesting at least $1 million in damage costs and is looking for the court to rule that the officers violated his human rights, especially regarding the Fourth Amendment. He was pulled over by Officer Daniel Crocker and Joe Gutierrez, who exercised knee-strikes, deployed OC spray, and took the Nazario’s gun in what his attorney, Jonathan Arthur, classifies as an illegal search. In body camera footage, Gutierrez can be overheard telling Nazario that if he had just complied, he would have “been gone by now” and threatened that the charges against Nazario could impact his career in the army, if Nazario complained about the incident. By threatening Nazario’s career, his attorney says that Crocker and Gutierrez violated the subject’s First Amendment Rights.

 

Looking for ways to help? Here are some places to donate to:

George Floyd Memorial Fund

Minnesota Freedom Fund

Louisville Community Bail Fund

National Bail Out

Transgender Law Center In Memory of Tony McDade

Brooklyn Community Bail Fund

Dream Defenders

North Star Health Collective

The Louisville Community Bail Fund

The Freedom Fund

Northwest Community Bail Fund


Week in Tech + Press Freedom

The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press and 115 media and press freedom organizations sent a letter last week to officials in Minnesota, demanding that law enforcement officers immediately stop attacks against credentialed, clearly identifiable journalists covering nationwide protests in response to a white Minneapolis police officer killing George Floyd, a Black man, on May 25. The Reporters Committee also sent a letter to officials in New York, and will be contacting officials in other states in the coming days.

The Reporters Committee is also tracking curfew orders imposed by cities, counties and states in response to the protests — and whether they include exemptions for members of the news media.

Here’s what the staff of the Technology and Press Freedom Project at the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press is tracking this week.

Two developments this week point to the potential use of technology to automate how government documents are processed internally and in response to public records requests. As access to government records are a mainstay of a journalist’s toolbox, how these advances play out will be critical to the profession.

At the federal level, the Public Interest Declassification Board issued recommendations largely focused around transitioning the classification system from the “analog age” to digital. The report was decidedly pro-transparency; it opens by acknowledging the “bipartisan recognition that the Government classifies too much information for too long.” Specific goals include implementing “Big Data, Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, and Cloud storage and retrieval” to automate classification and declassification decisions and potentially streamlining the classification categories by adopting a two-tiered system.

A California Supreme Court judge, Justice Mariano-Florentino Cuéllar, commented on similar technological improvements in the context of public records requests. The case, National Lawyers Guild v. City of Hayward, involved a public records request that included police body camera footage with audio and visual material exempt from disclosure.

The court ruled that the requesters would not have to pay a fee for redactions from electronic records under the California public records law. (The Reporters Committee filed a friend-of-the-court brief in support of the NLG, which had submitted the public records request.) Cuéllar wrote separately from the majority, noting that implementation of artificial intelligence or other advanced software to collect and redact records en masse will “merit nuanced application of statutory provisions.” He suggested that because a better, more efficient records system might be more expensive, it would at times be “prudent” to interpret the law such that certain requests will fall under the fee-bearing provisions.

Enhanced technology in records systems has the potential to unlock far more records, permitting journalists, in particular, to obtain and disseminate that information to the public. And as technological advances are applied to the management of government records, courts and legislators should be wary of undermining government transparency by overburdening the individuals and organizations — particularly in media — who function as critical watchdogs.

The Center for Democracy and Technology on Tuesday filed a lawsuit against President Trump in his official capacity, arguing that the recently signed “Executive Order on Preventing Online Censorship” violates the First Amendment. The organization notes that the order is “plainly retaliatory” against Twitter, and that it “seeks to curtail and chill the constitutionally protected speech of all online platforms and individuals — by demonstrating the willingness to use government authority to retaliate against those who criticize the government.” On May 28, the Reporters Committee issued a statement raising constitutional concerns about the executive order.

On Tuesday, the Reporters Committee joined a friend-of-the-court brief, drafted by the Harvard Cyberlaw Clinic, in Everytown for Gun Safety v. ATF. The Second Circuit case arose out of a Freedom of Information Act request Everytown made for records from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives regarding firearms recovered from the scenes of suicides. ATF denied the request, claiming that retrieval of aggregate data from a database requires the creation of a new record. The amicus brief argues that there is no legal distinction between searching data in a database and retrieving aggregate data. Privacy and civil liberties advocates are raising concerns about government efforts to conduct surveillance on protesters using facial recognition software, license plate readers, body cameras, drones, and other tools. Additionally, BuzzFeed News reported on Tuesday that the Justice Department signed off on new authority for the Drug Enforcement Administration to “conduct covert surveillance” and collect intelligence on protesters, which some note could require the use of “stingray” devices that simulate cell sites.

On Monday, the FBI announced on Twitter that it is soliciting information, photos, and videos that show violent encounters during demonstrations. In a press release, the FBI stated that it was collecting this information as part of what it dubbed a commitment “to apprehending and charging violent instigators who are exploiting legitimate, peaceful protests.”