A lawsuit alleges that administrators at a Missouri school district that is the subject of a federal civil rights investigation failed to protect a Black teen from repeated racial taunts that culminated with him being threatened with a lynching. The suit filed this month in state court described what happened as “outrageous” and sought unspecified damages against the 3,500-student Kearney school district, which is just north of Kansas City. The district said in a statement that it doesn't respond to pending litigation but is committed to “fully to ensuring that every student can learn in an environment free of discrimination in any form.”
The girlfriend of a man arrested in a shooting in Dallas’ Koreatown that wounded three women in a hair salon told police that he has delusions that Asian Americans are trying to harm him. That's according to an arrest warrant affidavit. Police say Jeremy Smith, who is Black, was arrested Tuesday in the shooting. He faces three charges of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. The FBI said Tuesday that it has opened a federal hate crime investigation into the shooting. Police say they are still investigating whether Smith was involved in two previous drive-by shootings at businesses run by Asian Americans. Police had said there could be a connection between those shootings and the one at the salon because the description of the suspect vehicle was similar.
A judge has suspended Michigan’s dormant ban on abortion, saying it likely violates the state constitution. The law makes it a crime to assist in an abortion. It has been on the books since 1931. But it has had no practical effect since the U.S. Supreme Court legalized abortion in 1973. The Supreme Court could overturn that decision by summer, leaving abortion issues to each state. Judge Elizabeth Gleicher granted a preliminary injunction sought by Planned Parenthood of Michigan. The judge says there's “no doubt” that a right to “bodily integrity” in Michigan includes a right to end a pregnancy.
An investigation into the January death of a Connecticut firefighter has led to the discovery of drug use among others, including supervisors in his department. Mayor Erin Stewart says one New Britain fire official has been fired and seven others, including four with the rank of lieutenant or above, have been demoted as a result of the investigation into the apparent drug-related death of a 36-year-old off-duty firefighter in his home on Jan. 26. Six other firefighters have resigned since that death. A criminal investigation is ongoing, but no charges have been filed.
Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas says authorities are prepared for an expected increase in migrants along the U.S.-Mexico border amid plans to lift a public health order that has been used to turn away migrants nearly 2 million times without a chance to seek asylum. Mayorkas spoke Tuesday on a visit to South Texas, where he saw a new processing center for about 1,200 people. The department has surged personnel and equipment to the border and erected temporary facilities to prepare for next week's end of pandemic-related limits on seeking asylum at the border.
President Joe Biden mourned with Buffalo’s grieving families on Tuesday, then exhorted the nation to reject what he angrily labeled the poison of white supremacy. He said the nation must “reject the lie” of the racist “replacement theory” espoused by the shooter who killed 10 Black people at a supermarket. Biden declared that “evil will not win” in America. “Replacement theory” is the idea that white people are being intentionally replaced by people of color. It's another manifestation of the bigotry Biden vowed to confront while running for president. Biden says it was the 2017 white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, and President Donald Trump's ambivalent reaction that drove him to run.
Classmates and neighbors of the Buffalo shooting suspect say they never saw the violent and angry side that allegedly fueled his racist massacre over the weekend that killed 10 Black people. Payton Gendron was described as quiet, socially awkward and isolated in his high school senior year. But there was one troubling sign. Gendron threatened “murder-suicide” in an economics class a year ago, and had a mental health evaluation. He was released after a day and a half and fell off the radar of investigators. He is now jailed on a murder charge under suicide watch.
Prosecutors have charged the suspect in the California church shooting with one count of first-degree murder and five counts of attempted murder. Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer also announced Tuesday that 68-year-old David Chou of Las Vegas faces four counts of possessing destructive devices with intent to kill or harm. Arraignment is expected later Tuesday. Authorities have said Chou is a U.S. citizen who grew up in Taiwan and was motivated by hatred of Taiwanese people. Chou is accused of opening fire during a Sunday luncheon for members of a Taiwanese Presbyterian church in the city of Laguna Woods. A doctor who heroically charged the gunman was killed and five other people were wounded.
A man who alleged he was sexually abused when he was 12 years old by a defrocked priest will receive $1.2 million as part of a settlement with the Archdiocese of Chicago. The latest settlement announced on Tuesday by the man's attorney brings to well over $12 million the Archdiocese of Chicago has paid to men who alleged they were sexually abused by Daniel McCormack. McCormack pleaded guilty in 2007 to sexually abusing five children when he was a priest in Chicago. He was released from an Illinois prison late last year.
Minneapolis has agreed to pay $1.5 million to a man who said police used excessive force when he was arrested during the protests that followed George Floyd’s death in 2020. Jaleel Stallings also alleged in his federal lawsuit that several of his constitutional rights were violated. The judgment accepted by the 29-year-old Stallings states that the city and police do not admit liability and deny the validity of his claims. The Star Tribune reports that Stallings, of St. Paul, says the judgment “validates the harm” he faced but he doesn't feel he received “justice and accountability.” A city attorney says the resolution allows “all parties to move forward.”
A West Virginia city has been ordered to stop reciting The Lord’s Prayer at its council meetings. A federal judge in Charleston ruled that Parkersburg City Council’s practice of opening its meetings with the New Testament prayer violates the establishment clause of the First Amendment. The clause prohibits government from favoring one religion over others. The judge issued a permanent injunction against the prayer recital and awarded $1 in damages to each plaintiff. Copenhaver ruled in a lawsuit filed by the Freedom from Religion Foundation. The Madison, Wisconsin-based group and two of its members sued the city in 2018.
A state lawmaker’s attempt to set restrictions on what public schools in Louisiana can teach about race has been rejected by a House committee. Some panel members said the legislation needlessly encroached on state and local education officials’ duties. Other critics said the legislation was so broadly written it could squelch classroom debate. Rep. Ray Garofalo, a St. Bernard Parish Republican, said the bills were needed to prevent attempts at “indoctrinating” students with political opinions. One of the measures would forbid teaching that anyone of any race bears “collective guilt” for past actions by members of the same race or that the United States is “systemically racist.”
A federal judge has struck down Tennessee’s first-of-its-kind law requiring businesses to post special signs if they allow transgender people to use the bathroom of their choice. The ruling by U.S. District Judge Aleta Trauger on Tuesday makes permanent her previous decision from July 2021 that blocked enforcement of the law just days after it took effect. Businesses sued, arguing the signs would violate their First Amendment rights by compelling them to communicate language they find offensive. The law threatened a misdemeanor offense, punishable by up to six months in jail and up to a $500 fine. Officials had conveyed unclear messages about how the measure would be enforced.
A warning about possible violence last year involving the 18-year-old now being held in the Buffalo, New York, supermarket shooting is turning attention to New York's “red flag” law. Such laws are designed to keep firearms away from people who could harm themselves or others. Payton Gendron was still able to legally buy an AR-15-style rifle even though police had investigated a report of concerning behavior. State police say no request was made to remove any firearms. In many cases, family members or law enforcement must petition the court for an order. In New York, educators can also start the process.
South Carolina’s Republican governor has quietly signed into law a bill that would ban transgender students from playing girls’ or women’s sports in public schools and colleges. Gov. Henry McMaster's signature Monday means South Carolina joins about a dozen other states that have passed similar laws requiring transgender students to compete with the biological sex listed on their birth certificates. McMaster posted on Twitter the day after that he was proud to enact the proposal to protect young men and women. Opponents of the law say it singles out students who aren’t elite athletes but are just looking for a way to be a regular student.
A half-dozen mainstream Republican Senate candidates are drawing on the white “replacement" conspiracy theory to court voters this campaign season. Those Republicans promote the baseless notion there's a plot to diminish the influence of white people in America. Such comments in recent weeks have gone largely ignored given the hard-line immigration rhetoric that's become commonplace among conservatives during the Trump era. But a Buffalo, New York, shooting that may have been inspired by the racist theory is drawing new attention to the GOP’s growing embrace of white nationalist talking points. Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel has declined through a spokesperson to answer questions about replacement theory.
A new report finds far fewer Americans said “I do” during the first year of the pandemic when wedding plans were upended. There were 1.7 million weddings in 2020, a drop of 17% from the year before. The number of U.S. marriages in 2020 was the lowest recorded since 1963. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released an analysis of the data Tuesday. The pandemic threw many marriage plans into disarray with stay-at-home orders and restrictions on large gatherings. The CDC has not yet released data on marriages in 2021.
A Catholic elementary school that primarily serves Black and Hispanic families in the Mississippi Delta is closing after more than 70 years, following a sex abuse scandal, declining enrollment and a steep decrease in donations. St. Francis of Assisi School in Greenwood has notified teachers and families that it will close at the end of this week. It joins more than 200 other Catholic schools in the U.S. that have closed permanently during the COVID-19 pandemic. The school in Greenwood has been tarnished by a clergy sex abuse scandal dating back to the 1990s. A former friar who was a teacher and principal was convicted in April of abusing a former student.
When desperate people can’t obtain abortions near home -- when they need plane tickets, bus fare, babysitters -- they reach out to groups like the Midwest Access Coalition. The demand has become staggering. And is expected to grow exponentially if the U.S., Supreme Court guts Roe v. Wade. Already, state after state has tightened restrictions, pushing pregnant people further from home, for some hundreds of miles away. Helpless to prevent the coming crisis, the groups' goal is to assist abortion seekers one by one, either legally by helping them travel, or illegally if that’s what it eventually comes down to.
Legal advocates in a lawsuit against the federal government say a Canadian diabetes researcher scheduled to start a two-year fellowship at Harvard Medical School was wrongfully denied entry to the U.S. and discriminated against based on her Iranian heritage. Harvard Law School’s Immigration and Refugee Clinical Program said Tuesday that it has also filed a complaint with the Department of Homeland Security’s civil rights office on behalf of the researcher and her family. The suit asks the government to issue the scholar a visa as soon as possible so she can begin the fellowship by June 6, more than a year late. Federal officials declined comment.
The three known living survivors of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre are receiving a $1 million donation from a New York philanthropic organization. Business for Good co-founders Ed and Lisa Mitzen say 108-year-old Viola Ford Fletcher, 107-year-old Lessie Benningfield Randle and 101-year-old Hughes Van Ellis will share the donation. The three previously received $100,000 each from the Tulsa-based non-profit The Justice for Greenwood Foundation. The three and descendants of victims are currently suing the City of Tulsa and other entities for reparations for the destruction and lost wealth as a result of the massacre in which a white mob that killed hundreds of Black residents and destroyed what had been the nation’s most prosperous Black business district.
Workers at a public library system based in Columbia are voting this week on whether to join a union. If the union is ratified, employees at the Daniel Boone Regional Library would become the only active public library union in Missouri. They also would join a growing nationwide movement toward unionizing, sparked in part by the coronavirus pandemic. About 160 of the system's employees are casting votes Wednesday through Saturday, with results expected on Monday. Union organizers cite pay, benefits and safety for pushing the union. Library Executive Director Margaret Conroy says the system offers competitive pay and benefits to its employees in Columbia, Fulton, Ashland and Holts Summit.
Two Congressional races are getting attention in Oregon's primary election Tuesday. The newly created 6th District is one of the most expensive Democratic House primaries in the U.S. and features a political newcomer backed by a cryptocurrency billionaire against a longtime Hispanic state lawmaker. In the 5th District, Democratic incumbent Rep. Kurt Schrader faces a stiff challenge from the progressive wing of his party as he seeks an eighth term in a dramatically redrawn district. Voter turnout in the vote-by-mail state is low and problems with ballots in a county that includes many 5th District voters could delay election results.
Britain’s Conservative Party says it has asked one of its lawmakers to stay away from Parliament while he is under police investigation on suspicion of rape and sexual assault offenses. London’s Metropolitan Police said the suspect, who was not identified, was also detained on suspicion of indecent assault, abuse of position of trust and misconduct in public office. The force said it received a report in January 2020 relating to the alleged offenses, which were said to have been committed in London between 2002 and 2009. The man remains in custody, police said. The Conservative whips office said it would not comment further. The news was the latest in a string of sexual misconduct claims against British lawmakers.
District attorney: California church shooting suspect charged with murder, attempted murder.