Paris — Anti-government protesters hurled rocks and paving slabs at police, looted boutiques, smashed up a luxury restaurant on Paris’s famed Champs-Elysées and set a bank on fire on Saturday.
A mother and her baby trapped on the second floor of the building, as flames surged up from the bank branch on the ground floor, were rescued by firefighters. The bank offices were gutted and 11 people were slightly injured, including two police officers.
Smoke and tear gas shrouded the Champs-Elysées and at least 109 people were arrested in the worst outbreak of violence on the fringes of a “yellow vest” demonstration in Paris for several weeks.
President Emmanuel Macron has cut short his skiing holiday to return to Paris to chair an emergency meeting over what the authorities are describing as “intolerable violence and damage”.
Christophe Castaner, the interior minister, tweeted that those who set the bank on fire “are neither demonstrators nor troublemakers: they are killers.”
Grinning “yellow vest” protesters posed for photographs in front of the shattered facade of Le Fouquet’s, a restaurant that earned Nicolas Sarkozy the nickname of “President Bling-bling” when he celebrated his 2007 election victory there.
A Yellow Vest protester destroys a shop window during clashes with riot police forces on the Champs-Elysees Credit: AFP
Much of the violence on the 18th consecutive Saturday of protests against President Macron’s economic reforms was blamed on anarchists, far-Right and ultra-leftist agitators rather than the “yellow vests” themselves.
Police estimated the number of demonstrators at about 32,000 across France. About 5,000 police officers were deployed in Paris alone. The numbers of protesters have dwindled since the “yellow vest” movement began in November, amid growing anger over income inequality and a lack of public services in rural areas and small towns.
More took to the streets on Saturday compared with recent weeks, following social media calls for a strong turnout to mark the four-month anniversary of the movement’s launch.
President Macron wrapped up a “great debate” consultation exercise on Friday to allow people to vent their grievances, which has helped him to regain some of the popularity lost since his election. Some “yellow vests” have dismissed the exercise as a campaign ploy ahead of European elections in May.
WHAT SPARKED THE YELLOW VEST PROTESTS?
Yellow vest protesters march from Arc de Triomphe as smoke rises in back from battles in the streets. Getty Images
As part of his environmental policy strategy, French President Emmanuel Macron announced a green tax on fuel last month to go into effect Jan. 1. The move set off nearly a month of protests around France. The French Interior Ministry estimates 136,000 protesters turned out across the country after Jan. 1, in addition to 280,000 in previous weeks.
Nicknamed for the safety vests worn by protesters, known as gilets jaunes, the yellow vest movement has sparked a political crisis for the French government. The protests started in the French provinces but spread to Paris, where demonstrations turned into riots over the weekend and scenes of violent civil unrest played out along the city’s famous Avenue des Champs Élysées.
Who are the members of the yellow vest movement and how did it emerge?
Originally, the yellow vest protesters were people from rural areas who have to drive long distances as part of their daily life. They said they couldn’t afford the hike in fuel prices. Protests appeared in pockets around France to denounce Macron’s green tax and then quickly grew into a larger movement that includes members of the working and middle classes who are expressing their frustration about slipping standards of living.
They say their incomes are too high to qualify for social welfare benefits but too low to make ends meet. The movement has no official leadership and was organized initially through social media groups.
The protesters focus on Macron as the source of their problems. Along with his early reforms to loosen labor laws and slash France’s famous wealth tax, the fuel tax reinforces protesters’ image of him as a president of the rich.
Most yellow vests at blockades around France are peaceful protesters. Violent protests erupted over the weekend in Paris, where rioters defaced the Arc de Triomphe and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, looted shops, vandalized buildings and even attacked police. French authorities note that most of the violence and vandalism were incited by anarchists known as “casseurs” — rioters, thugs from the ultraleft and ultraright. Paris police held 380 people in custody after Saturday’s riots. The city estimates total damages at $3.4 million.
Michigan Gov.. Gretchen Whitmer announced plans for a 45 cent increase in the state’s gas tax to fund repair of roads. Perhaps she had better think again.
What do the protesters want?
Their initial demand was to repeal the green tax on diesel. Now, others want the current minimum wage (about $1,350 per month after taxes) to be raised. There have also been calls to dissolve the National Assembly and hold new elections. There have even been chants of “Macron resign!”
Why do they wear yellow vests?
All French motorists are required by law to carry yellow roadside safety vests in their vehicles. Protesting drivers donned their obligatory yellow vests and created roadblocks around France. Now anyone joining the protests wears the yellow vest, regardless of whether they are motorists.
The “yellow vest” protests began last month. Large demonstrations turned violent in Paris over the weekend.
What’s the public reaction?
According to a poll conducted Sunday by Harris Interactive for French media, 72 percent of French people support the yellow vests, even after Saturday’s riots. But 85 percent responded they are against the violence. Four people have now died since the protests began three weeks ago. Three were killed in separate traffic accidents caused by roadblocks set up by yellow vests, and an 80-year-old woman in Marseille died from injuries she received when a tear gas grenade hit her in the face as she closed her apartment windows to protests below.
Political leaders such as Marine Le Pen, the leader of the far-right National Rally (formerly the National Front), and Jean-Luc Mélenchon of the far-left France Unbowed have tried without success to latch on to the yellow vests. The inability of these two parties, which usually do well with groups who feel marginalized, signals that the yellow vest protesters are fed up with all figures of the political establishment.
How is the government responding?
Macron was in Buenos Aires for the G-20 summit over the weekend when protests turned into riots. He denounced the violence from Argentina and said those responsible for the chaos would be found and punished. After he returned to Paris Sunday morning, he went straight to the Arc de Triomphe and then held a crisis meeting with top ministers. The interior minister has said the government is considering declaring a state of emergency.
Prime Minister Edouard Philippe met today with leaders of political parties holding seats in France’s Parliament to discuss possible solutions to the crisis.
Philippe was scheduled to meet with a delegation of yellow vests on Tuesday, but the representatives canceled, G-20 Summit Argentina; Macron at Trump’s right personal security concerns after receiving anonymous death threats. The government had already invited yellow vest protesters to talks last week, before Saturday’s riots, but the delegation abandoned the meeting when they learned the discussions wouldn’t be filmed or broadcast.
The government will also hold debates in Parliament on reforms and possible solutions but will not not necessarily hold a vote on proposals. The prime minister said he would announce new measures later this week in response to the crisis.
What are the implications of this crisis for Macron?
Depending on what measures the government announces this week, the French government’s top priority is preventing more riots and making sure proper security is in place in the event of more protests. Macron has previously said he won’t back down on the fuel tax. Since he took office 18 months ago, the French president has seen public pushback on almost every one of his reforms, especially liberalizing the labor market. However, this is the biggest political crisis he has faced so far, and it could determine the rest of his presidency.
In December 2008, after continuous efforts to get the Youth Deterrent Program up and running, officials at the Michigan Department of Corrections would finally give a group of prisoners approval and the green light to move forward with their initiative to deter at-risk youth from going down the path of destruction, death or prison.
The YDP proposal went to the governor’s office in early 2007 for consideration. Former Governor Jennifer Granholm sought the expert opinion and evaluation of Dr. Carl Taylor, a Criminologist and Professor of Sociology at Michigan State University, who visited the Ryan Correctional Facility in Detroit to get a first-hand look at the proposed Youth Deterrent Program and its facilitators.
Immediately after seeing what the YDP Committee was proposing he (Prof. Taylor) forwarded his conclusions and report to Gov. Granholm which included rave reviews and a recommendation to move forward with the program. Gov. Granholm soon after gave her approval and forwarded the report to MDOC director Patricia Caruso.
In the meantime all 12 prisoner facilitators were receiving specialized training from Bishop Mbiyu Chui, the Pastor at the Shrine of the Black Madonna. They were learning effective communication and active listening skills, including a year-long extensive training in Reality Therapy and Choice Theory. The Detroit Free Press ran a story covering the program finally being approved by the department.
The excitement and enthusiasm shared among the Youth Deterrent Program Committee, especially, that of Darryl Woods Sr., who actually initiated the original proposal to get the program started, was evident by how hard we all continued working to see the program become a success. Learning that the program would soon be starting was like a dream come true because we all knew our efforts had finally paid off and we would soon be working to save the lives of youth and young adults who struggle to find their way out of a maze inclusive of dysfunction, disadvantage and disenfranchisement, which often leads to bad choices, poor decision-making and a path toward criminality.
Pastor Mbiya Chui
The first group consisted of teens ages 14-18 from Detroit, Saginaw and Port Huron. Most, if not all, already had experienced brushes with the juvenile justice system, in that, they were either facing charges ranging from theft, selling drugs, carrying guns, or attempted murder; some had been adjudicated and were on probation.
Since its inception, the Youth Deterrent Program has taken in at-risk youth from as far away as the State of Ohio, although there was a pause in allowing teens to come to the Detroit facility due to the misinterpretation of a current law in Ohio. The office of Gov. John Kasich got involved as did other Ohio officials.
Former Detroit Free Press columnist Jeff Gerritt, who had covered the Youth Deterrent Program from the beginning wrote a piece in the Toledo Blade Newspaper where he currently writes. He gave credence to the program’s legitimacy and clarified the misconstrued notion that the Ohio teens were being exposed within the Ryan facility. That wasn’t accurate because NO YOUTH has ever been allowed inside the actual facility where adult prisoners are housed, they are ONLY are allowed in the visiting room.
Over the past ten years the Youth Deterrent Program has helped hundreds, if not well over a thousand troubled at-risk teens avoid the pitfalls associated with indulging in criminal thinking and/or activities. We took on the motto of No Youth Left Behind and vigorously worked on saving the lives of so-called at-risk youth by providing them with viable alternatives rather than the indulgence in criminality.
The Youth Deterrent Program has had the backing and support of a plethora of individuals, such as, Gov. Granholm; Gov. Snyder; Gov. Kasich; MDOC directors Caruso, Heyns and Washington; Former Mayors of Detroit and City Officials; Chief Judge Faye Harrison; Judge Frank Szymanski; a Michigan Supreme Court Justice; numerous Church Leaders; Bishop Mbiyu Chui; Warden Raymond Booker; Warden Anthony Stewart; YDP Facilitator Jeffrey Allison; the Detroit Free Press; Saginaw News; Toledo Blade; Rochelle Riley; Felicia Tyson; Alan Sedghi; John Wisely; and a host of others.
The men who have participated month after month and year after year over the last decade in this remarkable life changing program for today’s youth need to continuously be recognized and commended for their efforts in making a difference in the lives of our kids. The Youth Deterrent Committee vows to keep being our brother’s keeper by deterring teens from destructive paths and lifestyles.
President Donald Trump’s 2020 budget breaks one of his biggest campaign promises to voters: that he would leave Medicaid, Social Security, and Medicare untouched.
“I’m not going to cut Social Security like every other Republican and I’m not going to cut Medicare or Medicaid,” Trump told the Daily Signal, a conservative publication affiliated with the Heritage Foundation, in 2015.
Republican candidate Donald Trump focused June 19, 2016 in Arizona on his economic platform: Cut taxes and regulations across the board while also saving Social Security, Medicare, and other government safety-net programs. Breitbart said: “Trump rolls out winning program.”
Over the next 10 years, Trump’s 2020 budget proposal aims to spend $1.5 trillion less on Medicaid — instead allocating $1.2 trillion in a block-grant program to states — $25 billion less on Social Security, and $845 billion less on Medicare (some of that is reclassified to a different department). Their intentions are to cut benefits under Medicaid and Social Security. The impact on Medicare is more complicated, which I’ll get into a bit later.
Over time, the Trump administration tried to whittle down the president’s promise to just Social Security and Medicare. Office of Management and Budget Deputy Director Russ Vought said Monday, March 11, that Trump is “keeping his commitment to Americans by not making changes to Medicare and Social Security.” But even that is not true.
Like “every other Republican,” Trump has repeatedly proposed and supported cutting these programs. The White House did not respond to a request for comment.
How Trump is proposing changing Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security
When it comes to Medicare, the White House has been very clear: “He’s not cutting Medicare in this budget,” Vought said. “What we are doing is putting forward reforms that lower drug prices. Because Medicare pays a very large [share] of drug prices in this country, [that] has the impact of finding savings. We are also finding waste, fraud, and abuse.”
Rally demands “Medicare for All,” not cuts.
Here’s what’s actually happening: This budget proposes finding $845 billion in savings over 10 years from Medicare as we know it. But $269 billion of that figure is reclassified under the Department of Health and Human Services, bringing the Medicare cuts to $575 billion. As Vox explained, the administration says it will achieve these cost reductions by targeting wasteful spending and provider payments and lowering prescription drug costs.
The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, which advocates for fiscal responsibility, estimates that 85 percent of these cuts will come from reductions in provider payments, 5 percent would come from policies around medical malpractice, and 11 percent would come from reducing drug costs through the Medicare Part D program. Medicare Part D is the only area of these reforms that could raise out-of-pocket drug prices for some while lowering it for others. Otherwise, premiums, deductibles, and copays would largely be left unaffected.
Unsurprisingly, the Federation of American Hospitals is not a fan of this part of Trump’s budget proposal. In a statement, they called the reforms “devastating for seniors.” More surprisingly, as Axios’ Sam Baker points out, these reforms are pretty similar to policies Barack Obama proposed in 2012 that Republicans panned.
SAN FRANCISCO, CA – SEPTEMBER 21: Protestors carry signs as they demonstrate against proposed cuts to Medical and Medicare outside San Francisco city hall on September 21, 2011 in San Francisco, California. Dozens of disabled people staged a protest against proposed cuts to Medical, Medicare and Medicaid programs. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
But when it comes to Trump’s proposed changes to Medicaid and Social Security, the intent is unambiguous: These are cuts to benefits.
The 2020 budget’s Medicaid reforms include adding work requirements and repealing Medicaid expansion and one of the most successful policies within the Affordable Care Act. Medicaid expansion reduced the uninsured rate by more than 6 percent in states that enacted the policy; it continues to show better health outcomes and is popular in conservative states.
But Trump is envisioning changing Medicaid altogether; his budget proposes transforming the current pay-as-needed system to a block grant, where states are given a capped lump-sum fund that doesn’t grow with increased need or rising costs. The budget proposes a $1.2 trillion “Market-Based Health Care Grant.”
In isolation, the Medicaid budget cuts amount to $1.5 trillion over 10 years, but looked at in the context of the new block grant as well the work requirements and ACA cuts, the cuts round out to about $777 billion — which could leave millions more uninsured.
The budget also continues an attack on Social Security, including to a program which gives assistance to those who have disabilities that prevent them from being in the workforce. In all, the cuts to Social Security amount to $25 billion over the next 10 years, cutting roughly $10 billion from the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program, which the administration says will be found through cutting down on fraud — a common conservative talking point.
Trump broke this promise from the beginning. See Tweet below.
Donald J. Trump
I was the first & only potential GOP candidate to state there will be no cuts to Social Security, Medicare & Medicaid. Huckabee copied me.
Trump’s budgets — and the policies he has supported around health care — and government spending in Congress reflect the opposite. Some of this can be attributed to Trump’s appointed budget chief Mick Mulvaney; the former congressman who was part of the ultraconservative Freedom Caucus has long rallied for cutting Medicare, Social Security, and Medicaid.
In fact, Mulvaney once bragged to a Politico reporter that he tricked Trump into accepting a proposal to cut Social Security by calling SSDI just disability insurance — spinning it to the president as general welfare reform. The idea has been in every single one of Trump’s budget proposals to Congress since the president came to office.
Schoolchildren celebrate 75th anniversary of Social Security in U.S.
Republican lawmakers have long argued that spending around mandatory programs that make up 70 percent of the federal budget — like Medicare and Social Security — needs to be reined in in order to tackle the national debt. Trump drew red tape around those programs, as well as Medicaid, on the campaign trail in 2015 because they are extremely popular federal programs.
Now, his policy positions around those programs break from that promise.
Occupy Oakland marches in California; cancel the debt, don’t cut programs for the people.
Charles ‘K.K.’ Lewis during court hearing Sept. 28, 2018. He was subsequently transferred to the Re-Entry Program at Macomb Correctional Facility, where counselors prepared him for release. The prosecution, which suggested a “term of years” sentence to Judge Lillard during the Sept. 28 hearing, flipped their script with a Jan. 10 motion for the certification of a “facsimile” of his lost court records.
Lewis one of Michigan’s 363 juvenile lifers; prosecutors recommended new LWOP sentences for 2/3 of them, violating U.S. Supreme Court rulings
“I don’t believe a single court of appeals panel will agree with your decision; I’m willing to bet my life on it”—Lewis at hearing Feb. 15
“An admittedly inaccurate and incomplete file”—Lewis in Feb. 22 pleading
“FOR THE FIRST TIME IN MY ADULT LIFE, I ACTUALLY BELIEVED THAT I WAS FINALLY GETTING OUT OF PRISON.” Lewis on recemt transfer to Macomb Re-Entry Program
By Diane Bukowski
March 5, 2019
DETROIT – Charles Lewis, a leader in the battle against “death by incarceration” sentences meted out to Michigan’s juvenile lifers, is demanding his right to appeal a judge’s certification of a “facsimile” of his lost court file, and other issues, prior to holding a “mitigation hearing” on his case to determine terms of his re-sentencing.
Judge Qiana Lillard at Lewis’ court hearing Sept. 28, 2018. AP Tom Dawson suggested she could give Lewis a “term of years” to address loss of his court file.
Lewis’ official pleading will be addressed Friday, March 8 at 10 a.m. in front of Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Qiana Lillard, in Room 502 of the Frank Murphy courthouse at Gratiot and St. Antoine. Lewis, who is currently part of the Re-Entry Program at Macomb Correctional Facility, will be heard on video.
This will be the FORTY-SECOND hearing on Lewis’ re-sentencing, ordered by the U.S. Supreme Court for all juvenile lifers in two decisions in 2012 and 2016. Most of Lewis’ hearings have addressed the loss of 43 years of his official court records, and the even more egregious elimination of entries on his Register of Actions (ROA) from 1976 through 1999.
His ROA currently says that he was convicted of first-degree murder by a jury in front of Judge Gershwin Drain on April 3, 2000. The original entry said Judge Drain dismissed his conviction and sentence on that date.
“ . . . I will be asking my lawyer Sanford Schulman to appeal your February 15, 2019 decision to CERTIFY THE FILE, an admittedly inaccurate and incomplete file . . .,” Lewis wrote Lillard Feb. 22. “It is my sincere hope that you will hold this matter in abeyance until the Michigan Court of Appeals addresses the unresolved legal questions.”
Lewis says that he is not the only Michigan juvenile lifer facing the same issue, which could adversely impact the outcome of others’ re-sentencing hearings.
He is also not the only juvenile lifer with an innocence claim, which he raised in one of five motions filed earlier in front of Lillard, who promptly denied them all Jan. 10.
“You . . . refused to address my claim of ACTUAL INNOCENCE,” he said. “And, my claim of Ineffective Assistance of Counsel. Refusing to address those issues denied me access to the Court. And effectively denied me the right to present mitigating evidence at a mitigation hearing. The Michigan Court of Appeals needs to address this issue before we move forward.”
Denial of claims of actual innocence and ineffective assistance of counsel are recognized grounds for federal habeas corpus appeals, say legal experts.
Additionally, the Michigan Supreme Court added “actual innocence” claims to MCR 6.502 on Jan. 1, 2019, on a retroactive basis. The amendment allowed such claims to be raised as valid successive motions for relief from judgment under state law.
Michigan had been one of only four states whose court rules did not recognize innocence claims.
Lewis has been incarcerated for 43 years, since the age of 17, for the 1976 murder of an off-duty Detroit police officer. The officer’s partner and numerous eyewitnesses testified at his trials that they saw another man commit the crime.
Lewis and his family and supporters have always maintained his “actual innocence.” In a 2006 opinion, Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Deborah Thomas concurred. She called the state’s case against Lewis a “scientific impossibility,” and said the unexplained dismissal of the jury in his first trial in March, 1977 should have meant his acquittal.
Judge Lillard peremptorily denied five motions to dismiss the case against Lewis Jan. 1o, 2019, which cited the loss of his records, his innocence claim, and ineffective assistance of counsel among other matters. She did not say she ever certified his replacement file. Asst. Prosecutor Thomas Dawson promptly filed a motion and proposed order for her to do so Jan. 10, based on MCR 3.607.
(L to r) Defense attorney Sanford Schulman, prosecutor Tom Dawson, judge Qiana Lillard at hearing on Charles Lewis Aug. 3, 2018. “It looks like you are part of a judicial conspiracy to keep me illegally locked up,” Lewis told Judge Lillard in his Feb. 22 pleading. Schulman and Dawson appear now to be on the same page re: Lewis’ re-sentencing, with Schulman angry at his client for pushing for interlocutory appeal.
Lewis’ previous attorney Victoria Burton-Harris raised that court rule as a means to reconstruct his file, but with the understanding that Judge Lillard would have to certify each document individually. Judge Lillard refused to do so.
“This is the best facsimile of a court file that we will have,” Lillard said Feb. 15. Lewis said he told his attorney Sanford Schulman that an adequate mitigation hearing could not be held without the complete court record, and did not want any witnesses called for such a hearing.
“I just want to get this over with,” Lewis added. “If there is some way you can re-sentence me to life without parole today, you should do that. I can’t keep putting my family through this.”
Such a sentence would open the way for Lewis’ appeal of right, and subsequent actions by higher courts including the federal courts, releasing him from Lillard’s three-year stranglehold. Instead, during the Feb. 15 hearing, attorneys Dawson and Schulman sought to delay things once again. Dawson suggested to Schulman that he could contact the polygraph examiner and mitigation expert Schulman claims to have hired for the hearing and see how long it would take them to complete their reports, then report back March 8. Schulman agreed.
Schulman told VOD that Lewis must first be subject to a lie detector test before proceeding with a mitigation hearing, an unheard of requirement for such hearings.
Lewis challenges Lillard’s jurisdiction over his case in his pleading. He notes that she worked as an assistant prosecutor in the Wayne County Prosecutor’s office for eight years while his appeals were ongoing, then went straight to the bench, appointed by former Michigan Governor Rick Snyder.
“You can’t work for the prosecution while the case is pending then ascend to the bench and declare yourself judge over this matter,” Lewis says. “That is a serious conflict of interest. The Michigan Court of Appeals needs to address this issue before we move forward.”
Valerie Newman talks with Charles Lewis at court hearing Oct. 28, 2016. She withdrew from his case later, without appealing Judge Lillard’s denial of her motion to sentence Lewis to 40-60 years in light of the loss of his files.
In Nov. 2o16, Lillard ordered Lewis’ previous defense attorney Valerie Newman, now also employed in the Prosecutor’s Office in another evident conflict of interest, to turn over the defense’s records to the prosecution, at the time represented by Lewis’ current AP, Thomas Dawson.
Lillard then ordered all parties (except defendant Lewis, the only one alive during most of the 42 years covered by his record) to meet with the Wayne County Clerk’s office to recreate the record. She cited an ancient ruling in a civil divorce case, Newton v Newton, 166 Mich. 421, as grounds for her order.
Lewis objected strenuously at the time, on the record, that this was a violation of his attorney-client privilege. Newman took records Lewis had given his previous attorneys, which included numerous privileged documents, and put them on a flash drive which she gave to the prosecution, and later to Lewis’ subsequent defense attorneys.
She then lied about the matter during a court hearing, claiming the flash drive, which VOD later obtained, contained only publicly accessible documents.
Charles Lewis’ mother Rosie Lewis with some of his friends and supporters after a hearing Oct. 6, 2017.
During the recent Feb. 15 hearing, Lewis told Lillard she had already denied his attorney’s request for a term of years and thus he had no faith that she would give him anything other than life without parole, even after a mitigation hearing. A recent Michigan Supreme Court ruling in Hyatt/Skinner held that a judge does not have to give any reasons for re-sentencing a juvenile lifer to life without parole.
In it, Lillard denied two motions filed by Newman and Lewis himself, which cited numerous U.S. and Michigan Supreme Court precedents indicating that a case must be dismissed when court records are even partially missing. Newman asked for Lewis to be re-sentenced to a term of 40-60 years, while Lewis asked for dismissal. The only motion remaining on the table was the prosecution’s motion for life without parole.
During a hearing Sept. 28, 2018, AP Dawson suggested three times to Judge Lillard that Lewis be re-sentenced to a “term of years” in light of the loss of his files.
Charles Lewis, now 59, on guitar, Bill Lemons, now 74, on keyboard, both noted musicians, play in prison band. Lewis has honed his musical skills and organized concerts throughout MDOC. He still plays at Sunday services at Macomb.
Lewis told Lillard in his pleading that he had been transferred to the Re-Entry Program at the Macomb Correctional Facility afterwards.
“When I first got here, I was called out by the institutional parole agent, Ms. Shields,” Lewis wrote. “She told me that she was instructed by her boss to place me in the institutional parole re-entry program because I was being sentenced to 40 to 60 years at my next court date . . . and would be discharging the day I got sentenced. “
Overjoyed, his mother Rosie Lewis and sister Wendy Lewis came to visit him. Mrs. Lewis earlier told the media that she “could live again” if her son was finally released.
“From there I probably met with an additional twenty people,” Lewis continued. “One lady in particular came to the prison specifically to meet with me. She was going to get my Medicaid turned on and she was going to help me get state ID and a doctor’s appointment. she was also going to get me a job through Michigan Works.”
“FOR THE FIRST TIME IN MY ADULT LIFE, I ACTUALLY BELIEVED THAT I WAS FINALLY GETTING OUT OF PRISON.”
For well over a generation Colombia has seen political corruption in government and mass murder undertaken by its army and by pro-government “death squads” – violence on a far greater scale than is recently purported to exist in Venezuela. There were, however, no US calls for the overthrow of successive Colombian governments. On the contrary, the US supported the Colombians with armaments, finance and goodwill.
There is no puzzle to this blatant hypocrisy; oil, of which Venezuela has the world’s largest reserves, while the greatest oil consumer is the United States.
Dr Kevin BannonLondon
UN Special Rapporteur Idris Jazairy with Venezulan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza Dec. 2018
A number of independent experts including UN human rights adviser Idriss Jazairy and Alfred de Zayas, who last year became the first UN rapporteur to visit Venezuela for 21 years, have explicitly said the US is using sanctions as a method of economic warfare against Venezuela and that this is the reason for the economic and humanitarian crisis facing the country.
Earlier this month Mr de Zayas said “this is deliberate homicide, this is murder, this is a crime against humanity, and could be examined under article 7 of the Statute of the ICC”.
However, it is worth noting that despite the devastating impact of US sanctions on Venezuelan society, the most recent (2018) UNDP human development index – which combines measurements of life expectancy at birth, years of schooling and gross national income per capita – ranked Venezuela higher than Brazil and Colombia.
Martin QuinnTavistock, Devon
Mass rally on Venezuelan side of border Sun. Feb. 24 against U.S. intervention in Venezuela. CNN and other pro-U.S. media showed only the handful of agitators trying to break through from Colombia, to deliver alleged “aid” which was nowhere in evidence.
UPDATE: Charles Lewis’ juvenile lifer hearing scheduled for Friday, Feb. 1 was adjourned with conflicting reasons provided to the parties, until Friday, Feb. 15 at 10:30 am. NOTE: Before going, call court Fri. a.m. to find out whether hearing will happen, in light of numerous prior cancellations.
Some of Charles ‘K.K.’ Lewis supporters rally outside courthouse.
FEB. 1 hearing unexpectedly adjourned until Friday, Feb. 15 at 10:30 a.m.
Lewis may be first of “Michigan 200” juvenile lifers recommended for LWOP to face mitigation hearing
Chief issue at hearing: whether Judge Lillard will certify grossly incomplete court file, and then hold a mitigation hearing and re-sentencing
View Michigan Supreme Court oral arguments on Harold Walker case heard by Judge Lillard; shocking details of his trial are discussed
By Diane Bukowski
Charles K.K. Lewis
UPDATE: Friday, Feb. 1–The juvenile lifer hearing scheduled for today was adjourned with conficting reasons provided to the parties, until Friday, Feb. 15 at 10:30 am.
Judge Qiana Lillard told VOD that attorney Schulman asked for the adjournment because he had trials scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday when the court was shut down during the freezing cold snap.
She said the hearing would be set for Thursday, Feb. 14. Attorney Schulman told Lewis in an email that it will be held Fri. Feb. 15, which is the date now listed on Lewis’ Register of Actions.
Lewis reports that Macomb CF personnel told him that the hearing was adjourned because the court was still closed. His lawyer Sanford Schulman did not notify him of the change.
DETROIT – Charles Lewis may be one of the first of 200 Michigan juvenile lifers, if not the first, to undergo the ill-defined process of a “mitigation hearing” before Third Judicial Circuit Court Judge Qiana Lillard, according to his attorney Sanford Schulman. The juvenile lifers still behind bars, two-thirds of the total, are those for whom county prosecutors recommended renewed “life without parole” sentences.
Lewis waited in the video room at Macomb Correctional Facility for five hours Jan. 24 for a hearing on his case which did not happen because the judge’s chief assistant had fallen on the ice outside the Frank Murphy courthouse the day before. Evidently no one else knew how to operate the equipment for Lillard’s “video courtroom.” He received no notification from Atty. Schulman
Judge Qiana Lillard at hearing Sept. 28, 2018.
His hearing is now set for Friday, Feb. 1, at 10:30 a.m. (Note update above showing hearing that day was once again adjourned and moved t0 Fri. Feb. 15 at 10:30 AM.)
The utter confusion of the last weeks is likely a precursor to what is to come. A chief issue is Judge Lillard’s certification of a hastily-thrown together file meant to replace five boxes of Lewis’ official court files mysteriously “lost” around 2012. The official computerized record of his case has likewise been wiped out for all years between 1976 and 1999. It currently shows that he was convicted April 3, 2000 in front of Judge Gershwin Drain.
Judge Lillard is to rule on a motion filed by Assistant Prosecutor Thomas Dawson ro certify a re-constructed file, before proceeding further with Lewis’ re-sentencing, which has been going on since March, 2016. Dawson based his motion on a court rule, MCR 3.607.
Lewis wrote Schulman regarding the motion, “I studied MCR 3.607 and researched it upside down. There is not a single reported criminal case that cites to MCR 3.607 regarding lost files, transcripts, and records. That Court Rule is a Civil Court Rule that was designed to deal with lost civil documents.”
Some of many Charles K.K. Lewis supporters who gathered after court cancellation March 6, 2018. (Bottom row l to r) Vivian Kincaid, mother Rosie Lewis, Geri Jones; (Top row l to r) Stephan, Jelekeco Whitaker, Pancho, Man Vaughn. Elena Herrada
He said further that the judge’s certification of his file means, among other issues, that she is certifying:
·That the first trial transcript is incomplete and does not have a record that explains why the first jury was dismissed. Judge Deborah Thomas said in a 2006 opinion that this meant Lewis should have been considered acquitted and subject to double jeopardy.
·That there is no transcript of proceedings held before Judge Ollie Bivins, on May 23, 1977.
·That there is no voir dire transcript of proceedings held on July 5, 1977 (where Lewis was allegedly finally convicted).
·That there is no record of an appeal of right, or the appointment of appellate counsel, or an appellate brief or a Court of Appeals disposition.
·That there is a transcript in the file of a 1980 Pearson evidentiary hearing, but there is nothing in the file leading up to the Pearson evidentiary hearing. There is no record of any prior brief, motions, or court opinions that lead to the Pearson evidentiary hearing. And, there is no judicial resolution of the Pearson issues.
Atty. Rosemary Robinson went on to become a state representative.
With regard to the Pearson hearing issue, state law dictates that such hearings, which supplement necessary evidence left out at trial, are to be held within 30 days after the request by the defense.
Atty. Rosemary Robinson successfully appealed Judge Edward Thomas’ original denial of the hearing, but Judge Thomas then removed her as attorney in the case. The hearing was still was not held until five months later, meaning Lewis’s case should have been dismissed in 1981.
But now Lewis, who arguably should have had his case dismissed twice while he was still a teen-ager, faces re-sentencing by Judge Lillard decades later, in the wake of a Michigan Supreme Court ruling in Hyatt/Skinner (2018), despite lack of proof of his original conviction and sentence.
Hyatt/Skinner said essentially that a judge does not have to find that the defendant is a “truly rare” and incorrigible juvenile, with less culpability than an adult, as defined by the U.S. Supreme Court in Miller v. Alabama (2012) and Montgomery v. Louisiana (2016). It says the sentencing judge does not have to cite any mitigating factors other than those considered by the jury at trial.
The re-sentencing of Lewis and his fellow 200 juvenile lifers was deliberately held up for the Michigan Supreme Court ruling, written by conservative Justice Stephen Markman. Judge Bridget McCormack, formerly of the Michigan Innocence Clinic, and Justice Richard Bernstein, issued a dissenting opinion. Both cases are awaiting certiorari at the U.S. Supreme Court requested by the defense.
Atty/Prof. Kimberly Thomas
In her 2017 treatise, “Random if not ‘Rare’? The Eighth Amendment Weaknesses of Post-Miller Legislation,” Attorney Kimberly Thomas, of the University of Michigan Law Clinic, critiques state legislation across the U.S. that arose in response to the Miller and Montgomery rulings. She is the attorney of record for both Kenya Ali Hyatt and Tia Marie Mitchell Skinner.
“While state legislative responses to Miller have eliminated the automatic imposition of life without parole on juveniles, they have largely failed to provide for any guidance or limitations on the sentencer. In other words, it remains to be seen whether or not states will make life without parole ‘rare,’ as the sentencing laws established in its wake set up systems in which the sentence of life without parole could certainly be imposed arbitrarily and inconsistently.
She adds, “A look at the state legislation passed post-Miller suggests, when viewed against a backdrop of Eighth Amendment capital punishment law, that many of these statutes make a broader group of offenses eligible for LWOP for youth than for the death penalty for adults.
“Further, the legislation does not narrow the categories of youth eligible for LWOP or provide clear or objective limitations to reduce the potential for arbitrary or discriminatory imposition of LWOP, and does not provide for heightened appellate review or privileged access to appellate courts for youth sentenced to life without parole.”
Sofia Nelson at recent juvenile lifer hearing.
Additionally, Lewis’ attorney Schulman has failed to respond to an inquiry from VOD regarding what experts are being hired in Lewis’ case, or even if and when a mitigation hearing will be held. One was originally scheduled for May 15, but has since been canceled by Judge Lillard.
In a Michigan Bar Journal article by Sofia Nelson, Justice Delayed? What’s Next for Michigan’s Juvenile Lifers, the author detailed the complexities involved in mitigation hearings.
“Because many of these cases are decades old, developing mitigating evidence is both challenging and labor intensive,” Nelson says. “The Michigan Supreme Court has highlighted the unique nature of Miller hearings and has recognized the need for adequate resources: ‘[J]uvenile defendants must be afforded the opportunity and the financial resources to present evidence of mitigating factors relevant to the offender and the offense, [and] psychological and other evaluations relevant to the youthfulness and maturity of the defendants must be allowed[.]
“The Court has repeatedly compared the imposition of life without parole on a juvenile to the death penalty. . . In addition to time, these cases will cost money. As the Michigan Supreme Court made clear in People v Kennedy, due process requires the appointment of experts at the government’s expense for indigent criminal defendants when it is demonstrated that it is reasonably probable that the expert will be of assistance, and the denial of that assistance will render the proceedings fundamentally unfair.
Michigan COA Judge Elizabeth Gleicher
“The Michigan Court of Appeals is currently considering a juvenile lifer case in which the defense asked for $42,650 for a mitigation specialist and the court approved only $2,500.
Concurring in the grant of leave to appeal, Judge Gleicher wrote: ‘The hearings for juvenile offenders seeking parole sentences involve complicated legal and factual issues, and potentially, volumes of legal, psychological, educational, vocational, and disciplinary information. The defendant and his counsel likely lack the skills and training to adequately evaluate and analyze this evidence. A meaningful hearing depends on meaningful input from experts. While $42,650 represents a considerable sum, it may be closer to being realistic than the $2,500 approved.
‘Necessary budgets will be case specific. For example, I have found Michigan trial court orders approving funding requests for more than $52,000 in one case, more than $15,000 for a mitigation investigation alone, and in excess of $15,000 for a single necessary expert.'”
Below are Michigan Supreme Court oral arguments held in the case of Harold Walker, which was before Judge Qiana Lillard at trial. Discussion relates to her shocking handling of his trial.
For documents cited in article, go to:
Prof. Kimberly Thomas’ article on weaknesses of JLWOP state legislation nationally:
Darrell Ewing, mother LaSonya Dodson to his right, and sisters.
Hearing granted due to introduction of gang-related social media and internet research in jury deliberations
Panel calls new trial granted to Detroit killer cop Larry Nevers in similar jury deliberation issue an exception
Ewing: “I’m the ‘super- predator’ who has to go the extra mile, but either way it’s a win, win.”
Judge Cynthia Gray Hathaway would hold hearing at trial level; allowed Facebook evidence at Joseph Weekley trial for death of Aiyana Jones, 7
By Diane Bukowski
February 13, 2019
Cincinnati, Ohio – A divided Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals panel ruled Feb. 5 that Detroiter Darrell Ewing, now 30, convicted in Dec. 2010 of the first-degree murder of J.B. Watson, must be granted an evidentiary hearing originally denied by the trial court.The purpose of the hearing is to determine whether Ewing’s jury was adversely influenced by gang-related social media and other internet research two members introduced into the deliberations.
The Sixth Circuit reversed a Nov. 2017 ruling by U.S. District Court Judge Denise Page Hood granting Ewing a new trial instead, or that he be released within 90 days if the state did not act to do so. At issue was the length of time since the jury deliberations in 2010, and the balancing of state vs. federal authority in the case. The majority called a previous Sixth Circuit ruling ordering the release of Nevers an exception to the rule that an evidentiary hearing is the proper solution to extraneous influences on the jury
“. . .We reverse and remand to the district court with instructions to issue an amended order conditionally granting habeas relief unless the State takes steps to conduct a proper evidentiary hearing on Ewing’s claim of juror misconduct within a reasonable period set by the district court’s order,” wrote Judge John Rogers, joined by Judge Eugene Siler. “We leave it for the district court to determine whether the two additional claims presented in Ewing’s petition should be resolved before ordering relief on this claim.”
U.S. District Court Judge Denise Page Hood
Judge Page Hood had declared moot two other issues raised by Ewing. They were detailed confessions by Tyree Washington to the murder, and allegedly improper jury instructions by the trial judge. The jury had told the court it was deadlocked but was told to go back and continue deliberations. Judge Page Hood said it was evident that the extrinsic information brought into jury deliberations, which included citations from Facebook and from internet research on gang “pecking orders,” likely broke the deadlock and resulted in a guilty verdict days later.
“We are in a great position where victory is certain, as the truth is the truth all day long, and a hearing is what we been asking for from the gate,” Ewing said in a JPay email to VOD. “The crazy thing is the Sixth Circuit was supposed to uphold Judge Hood’s ruling completely, ordering a new trial under the clearly established precedent of Nevers v. Killinger, [one of two Detroit police officers who beat Detroiter Malice Green to death in 1992].
Ewing continued, “But [the Sixth Circuit] candidly said, ‘They were one, either outliers who skated by or two, an exception to the rule.’ The only exception is that they [Larry Nevers and Walter Budzyn] were officers of the court, [who] they got through and saved, as opposed to me. I’m the ‘super- predator’ or deplorable one who has to go the extra mile,but either way it’s a win, win.”
Painting of Malice Green by Bennie White Israel at site of his beating death by Nevers and Budzyn in 1992.
The Sixth Circuit Court ordered the release of Larry Nevers based in part on extraneous information provided to the sequestered jury by the prosecution, including the showing of the movie “X” on the life of Malcolm X to them. The movie begins with a depiction of the beating of Rodney King by Los Angeles police officers, also in 1992.
In Nevers v. Killinger, the Sixth Circuit Court delineated the extraneous influences on the the jury:
(1) the jury’s exposure to the film Malcolm X, (2) the jury’s exposure to information that the City of Detroit was bracing for a riot, specifically, mobilization of the National Guard and the closing of freeways, in the event of an acquittal, and (3) the jurors consideration of extrinsic evidence regarding Petitioner’s prior participation in the police unit STRESS, even though there was no evidence concerning this produced at trial. People v. Budzyn, 456 Mich. 77, 90, 566 N.W.2d 229, 235 (1997).
Walter Budzyn and Larry Nevers in 1992, known in community as “Starsky and Hutch.”
The Sixth Circuit ordered Nevers’ release in this opinion. He and Budzyn were later convicted of involuntary manslaughter in new trials, instead of second-degree murder, the original charge brought by the Wayne County Prosecutor.
The State of Michigan agreed at Ewing’s trial level that an evidentiary hearing would be an appropriate resolution of the jury misconduct issue, but trial Judge Carole Youngblood held that such a hearing was not necessary because the information the jury discussed had already been presented at trial.
The Sixth Circuit noted that an affidavit juror Karen Byrnes provided post-trial, “states that the jury learned of and discussed outside information about the defendant, the murder victim, and the activities and internal power-dynamics of gangs. Such information had a clear potential for tainting the jury.” (See affidavit at http://voiceofdetroit.net/wp-content/uploads/Byrnes-affidavit.compressed-2.pdf )
Dissenting Sixth Circuit Judge Karen Nelson Moore strongly disagreed with the majority, upholding Judge Hood’s ruling that Ewing should be granted a new trial because of the jury issue.
“This is a case about a district court’s discretion to fashion an equitable remedy,” Judge Moore wrote. “The facts are not complicated: Michigan violated Ewing’s due process rights when it denied him a Remmer [evidentiary] hearing. As to this all agree. The only question that remains is whether the district court’s chosen remedy—a new trial—was proper. The standard of review is abuse of discretion. The district court’s chosen remedy was within its discretion, and so I respectfully dissent.”
Atty. Phillip Komorski with client Michael Powels, after Judge Kelly Ramsey exonerated Powels, dismissing 2nd-degree murder charges Jan. 19, 2019 Photo: Clarence Tabb, Detroit News
She wrote later, “In this case, the district court decided that what law and justice required was a new trial. This is not beyond the pale, nor is it an unnecessary intrusion on state sovereignty. Due process requires a “sound” and “adequate” hearing, and it is entirely appropriate for the district court to have concluded that an evidentiary hearing on highly fact-specific issues conducted seven years later would have been neither sound nor adequate—assuming the necessary parties were available at all.”
Defense Attorney Phillip Comorski, who along with Attorney Byron Pitts appealed Ewing’s case to the U.S. District Court, agreed with Judge Moore’s assessment.
“It would have been better to hold a new trial,” Comorski told VOD. “How in the world can we gather all 12 jurors back together after nine years and expect them to remember what exactly happened during deliberations? In addition to memory issues with the jurors, there is the problem with locating them, and whether they are all still alive.”
He added that the hearing would be about how what the two jurors did affected the entire jury, “the point being even if it had an effect on one juror, that cuts into whether a proper unanimous verdict was given.”
Former Michigan AG Bill Schuette
Ewing’s attorneys had hoped former state Attorney General Bill Schuette would not appeal Judge Page Hood’s decision to the Sixth Circuit, but he did so. Schuette was defeated in the 2018 election by Democratic candidate Dana Nessel.
Comorski said he estimates the case will go back to Judge Page Hood in about 30 days. From there, he said, it would be referred to the state trial level for the evidentiary hearing.
Judge Carole Youngblood died unexpectedly of an aneurysm after the trial and post-conviction hearings were held. Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Cynthia Gray Hathaway was appointed to take her place.
Judge Gray-Hathaway may have a conflict in handling Ewing’s case. She allowed the defense to introduce Facebook evidence in the trial of Detroit Police Officer Joseph Weekley, accused of involuntary manslaughter in the death of Aiyana Jones, 7, during a horrific 2011 Special Response Team raid on her home.
Judge Cynthia Gray Hathaway (l) dismissed all charges against killer cop Joseph Weekley (r) for shooting Aiyana Jones, 7, to death with an MP5 submachine gun in 2010.
That Facebook evidence included undated, unsourced and unrelated Facebook photos of some of Aiyana’s older relatives allegedly brandishing guns and giving gang signs. The defense even contemplated introducing a Facebook photo of Aiyana and her two little brothers giving alleged “gang signs” which signified only “east side,” as opposed to “west side.”
Although Prosecutor Robert Moran objected out of the presence of the jury, Judge Gray Hathaway allowed defense attorney Steve Fishman not only to introduce the photos, but to distribute them to the jurors for their direct viewing.
Weekley walked free after Judge Gray Hathaway granted three mis-trials.
DPD Chief Craig has not released name of homeowner, claims department is investigating evidence found
Discovery recalls previous revelations about the existence of DPD “miscellaneous files” with evidence kept from prosecution, defense
Detroit Police Commissioner for District #7 William Davis to raise the issue at next Commission meeting Thurs. Feb. 14 @6:30 pm at 15491 Maddelein
“In my experience, given the many years I was with the department, certain homicide officers screw around with evidence; it’s more of a pattern and practice.” — Atty. David A. Robinson
By Diane Bukowski
February 11, 2019
DETROIT – Detroit Police Department Chief James Craig has announced that the department will launch an investigation into the Feb. 7 discovery of a locker full of evidence from old homicide cases, in the home of a retired DPD homicide detective.
He has not released the detective’s name, but research by VOD shows it is likely that he is retired Detroit police officer Olie McMillian, Jr.
“They were evicting him, and the moving company and bailiff were tossing items away when they came across a locker with evidence in it,” Craig told the Detroit News. “The evidence was still sealed or boxed up. They notified us, and it appears to be evidence from old homicide cases.”
DPD described the homeowner as a detective who spent six years in the homicide division until 2009, then retired in 2012. Since he left the homicide division in 2009, the files are likely at least 10 years old.
VOD research of property tax and deed records, along with social media, shows the home in question, at 9159 Northlawn, belonged to Olie McMillion, Jr. He is identified as a retired Detroit police officer on “Linked In” and in a YouTube video done by the Police Athletic League. VOD has asked the Department to confirm or deny if this is the case, and is filing a Freedom of Information Act request for all information contained in the locker full of evidence.
Detroit Police Commissioner for District #7 William Davis said he will raise the issue at the next Board of Police Commissioners meeting Feb. 14, 2019 at 6:30 PM at 15491 Maddelein, Detroit, north of E. Seven Mile Rd, east of Hayes St. (See map below.)
Attorney David A. Robinson is a former Detroit police officer who has been an attorney for decades, specializing in police brutality cases among other matters. He is currently a member of the National Police Accountability Project.
“I fail to reconcile first of all why department evidence related to a crime would be in the personal possession of any officer,” Atty. Robinson told VOD. “That breaks the chain of custody and compromises the case of whoever is being investigated. You have to question the officer’s motive. It goes beyond sloppiness since officers certainly are trained in the significance of the integrity of evidence. And it begs the question of motive. There have been many cases where Brady violations have occurred where officers have hidden evidence in favor of a suspect’s claim of innocence.”
Robinson said he wouldn’t want to say it is necessarily an isolated incident.
“In my experience, given the many years I was with the department, certain homicide officers screw around with evidence; it’s more of a pattern and practice,” he said. “I think perhaps this officer may simply have been following what had been a long established way to operate in homicide to make cases.”
The late Arnetta Grable, Sr. with Atty. David Robinson after jury awarded her family $4M in the shooting death of her son Lamar by Detroit cop Eugene Brown.
Robinson represented noted exoneree Eddie Joe Lloyd in a civil suit against the City and the DPD. Lloyd was framed up for the rape and murder of a Detroit teen by officers who knew his propensity for confessing to anything, and fed him the facts of the case.
Atty. Barry Scheck of New York City and the original Innocence Clinic investigated his case and won his exoneration in 2002, after Lloyd had spent 17 years in prison.
“An example of these blatantly unconstitutional customs, policies, patterns and practices is that in murder investigations, poticc officers kept as a matter of course, separate files containing exculpatory evidence, labeled ‘miscellaneous files,’ for the specific purpose of concealing exculpatory evidence from the prosecutors and the suspects,” Robinson wrote in the civil suit.
Earlier, in 1996, Attorney Sarah E. Hunter, representing defendant Dwight Love described her 1994 meeting with an FBI agent and Ritchie Harrsion, a Detroit police officer on leave. During the meeting the three discussed the widespread use of “miscellaneous files,” and the deliberate frame-ups of suspects by officers including Police Commander Gerald Stewart. (See affidavit at https://truthout.org/wp-content/uploads/legacy/documents/Sarah.Hunter.Affidavit.pdf .)
Detroit cops Michael Parish and Michael Osman, who allegedly initiated policy of “Stop and rape” Black men
More recently, many witnesses testified during a 2004 federal trial about the “Ramparts”-style frame-ups of southwest Detroit residents by a group of 18 Detroit officers led by William “Robocop” Melendez, involved later as an Inkster cop in nearly beating motorist Floyd Dent to death.
Despite the unprecedented testimony of 17 Black Detroit officers against Robocop’s crew, they were acquitted. The jury evidently responded to aspersions by Melendez’ defense attorney David Lee against those who were victimized.
Later, in 2006, cops known as “The Booty Boys,” Michael Osman and Michael Parish, were accused by numerous southwest side male residents of rape—public anal cavity searches. Those who did not comply such as Byron Ogletree were framed up by the two, but after extensive publicity about the rapes, judges threw out charges against many.
DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) — A 10-year-old boy who took a knee during the Pledge of Allegiance at Monday’s city council meeting in Durham, North Carolina, apparently won over the mayor. But not everybody was happy about it.
Liam Holmes dropped down on his knee at the start of Monday night’s meeting. Holmes is part of Cub Scout Pack 451, which was invited to lead the pledge.
“What I did was took a knee against racial discrimination, which is basically when people are mean to other people of different colors,” he told told WNCN.
His dad, Scott Holmes, said he talked to Liam about it beforehand, but he wasn’t sure if he’d follow through.
“When he did it I was really surprised and also really proud of him,” Holmes said.
“No one saw it except the people who were watching. And the mayor noticed and he thanked me,” Liam said.
“Thank you, councilman, and thank you, scouts. To the scout that expressed his conscience by kneeling, we will say we endorse and appreciate all expressions of conscience in Durham City Council,” Mayor Steve Schewel said.
Not everyone shared that opinion.
SANTA CLARA, CA – OCTOBER 23: Eli Harold #58, Colin Kaepernick #7 and Eric Reid #35 of the San Francisco 49ers kneel for the anthem prior to the game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. (Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco49ers/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Eli Harold;Colin Kaepernick;Eric Reid
“It just blew my mind that this was Cub Scouts and politics,” said Brandon LaRoque, a lifelong scout and veteran.
“Part of the scout oath is to God and your country, and I understand people have the right to freedom of speech. I just don’t understand why it has to be during the Pledge of Allegiance,” LaRoque said.
Liam was asked what he’d say to people who didn’t approve of what he did.
“Well, those people just don’t listen,” he said.
Liam says he plans to take a knee again in the future, hoping that people will eventually listen and be a little nicer to one another.
#TAKETHEKNEE! FRI. OCT. 6; FREE CHARLES LEWIS, INNOCENT, IN PRISON 41 YEARS; COURT FILES DESTROYED
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