Alabama police department allegedly planted evidence on black men, resulting in 'almost 1,000' wrongful convictions
Leaked documents obtained by the Alabama Justice Project reveal that, since the mid-1990s, members of the Dothan, Alabama police department's narcotics investigation team have been planting drugs and weapons on young black men. The revelation came to light when a group of anonymous officers from the Dothan Police Department handed over documents from an internal investigation that had not been reported to federal or state officials, and that was later "covered up by the district attorney," according to the Henry County Report.
Black defendants began issuing complaints of evidence planting as early as 1996, and when the incidents were finally addressed within the department two years later, most of the officers asked about the incidents reportedly failed a polygraph test. The officers responsible for leaking the documents told the Henry County Report they believe that the evidence planting has likely resulted in "nearly a thousand wrongful convictions."
The narcotics officers involved in targeting young black men were reportedly part of a "a Neoconfederate organization" that has "advocated for blacks to return to Africa [and] published that the civil rights movement is really a Jewish conspiracy and that blacks have lower IQ's," Henry County Report reveals. Two of the three officers supervising the team, Lt. Steve Parrish, current Dothan police, and Sgt. Andy Hughes, the assistant director of Homeland Security for the State of Alabama, were reportedly in leadership positions in the Neoconfederate group.
The group of officers that leaked the documents have informed the federal authorities and the U.S. Attorney.
Former Vice President Joe Biden still has regrets over the way Anita Hill was treated by the Senate Judiciary Committee.
While speaking to Today on Friday, Biden addressed Christine Ford's sexual assault allegation against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, saying that Ford "should not have to go through what Anita Hill went through." Hill accused then-Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas of sexual harassment in 1991 and was questioned by the Senate Judiciary Committee. Biden was the chairman of the committee at the time, and he has been criticized by his fellow Democrats for not putting a stop to questions that impugned Hill's character, as well as for not bringing in witnesses who could have backed Hill's claims, Politico reports.
"What the devil have we learned [from the Hill hearings]?" Biden asked rhetorically. He pointed to "some of the questions [Hill] was asked" and the way her integrity was questioned as mistakes not to be repeated in the Senate's handling of Ford's allegations.
Biden didn't totally let himself off the hook for his handling of the Hill hearings, either, saying, "I wish I could've done more to prevent" senators from engaging in "character assassination" when Hill came forward. "I hope my colleagues learn from that," Biden said. "[Ford] deserves to be treated with dignity."
Watch Biden's full appearance on Today below. Brendan Morrow
Watch @craigmelvin’s full interview with @JoeBiden and @DrBiden about their cancer initiative, the possibility of a presidential run and Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court nomination. pic.twitter.com/KhvnWTukyc
— TODAY (@TODAYshow) September 21, 2018
Christine Blasey Ford stepped forward Sunday afternoon to describe in The Washington Post what she described as Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh attempting to rape her at a high school party in the 1980s. By Tuesday morning, several Twitter accounts had posted her address, a different Christine Ford had been harassed after being fingered by a conservative news site, and by Tuesday evening, Ford's lawyers wrote to Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley that Ford had been the target of "vicious harassment and even death threats," her email had been hacked, and she was being impersonated online.
Ford and her family "moved out of their home as a security precaution, and she and her husband are staying apart from their two children," The San Jose Mercury News reported Tuesday. "Judge Kavanaugh’s wife, Ashley Estes Kavanaugh, also has faced threats, which are being investigated by the U.S. Marshals Service," The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday, citing a senior administration official. "She has received two profane notes on her work email account in recent days" from the same account, one of which suggested Kavanaugh tell her husband he should "put a bullet in his ... skull." CNN also saw some abusive emails to Ashley Kavanaugh.
At least two Senate Judiciary Committee members, Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine), have also reported getting vulgar and threatening messages, including sexual violence against staffers. "In one case — and we are going to turn this over to the police, but unfortunately, of course, the person didn’t leave a name or number — but they actually threatened to rape one of my young female staffers," Collins told the Journal. Feinstein reported similar threats against specific staff members. Peter Weber
Trump says that if Christine Ford's sexual assault allegations were 'as bad as she says,' she should have reported it immediately
President Trump has broken his streak of restrained, on-message commentary regarding the sexual assault allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.
Whereas Trump has previously chosen to merely praise Kavanaugh's "unblemished record" and feign confidence that the whole controversy will blow over, he switched gears Friday to instead call the matter an attempt to "destroy and delay" Kavanaugh's confirmation. The process has been upended by allegations from Christine Blasey Ford, who says Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her while they were in high school.
Trump alleged a different kind of "assault" — one from "radical left-wing politicians" who want to baselessly attack Kavanaugh's "impeccable reputation." Ironically, Trump said that for those politicians, "facts don't matter."
"If the attack on Dr. Ford was as bad as she says," continued Trump, "charges would have been immediately filed." He said she should "bring those filings forward." Kavanaugh and Ford are set to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee next week. Summer Meza
Judge Brett Kavanaugh is a fine man, with an impeccable reputation, who is under assault by radical left wing politicians who don’t want to know the answers, they just want to destroy and delay. Facts don’t matter. I go through this with them every single day in D.C.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 21, 2018
I have no doubt that, if the attack on Dr. Ford was as bad as she says, charges would have been immediately filed with local Law Enforcement Authorities by either her or her loving parents. I ask that she bring those filings forward so that we can learn date, time, and place!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 21, 2018
When Attorney General Jeff Sessions meets with state attorneys general next week to discuss whether tech companies are suppressing free speech, it seems he'll now have one more thing to talk about.
The Wall Street Journal is reporting that in the wake of President Trump's 2017 travel ban, Google employees discussed tweaking the company's "search-related functions" to direct users towards pro-immigration groups to which they could donate money, as well as to tell them how to get in touch with lawmakers.
This report is based on a series of leaked emails obtained by the Journal, which also show that Google discussed ways to "leverage" search results in order to counter "islamophobic, algorithmically biased results" for certain words, such as "Islam" and "Muslim."
Google says none of these concepts ever went into effect and that the emails simply show a "brainstorm of ideas." The company added that it has "never manipulated its search results or modified any of its products to promote a particular political ideology." Even in the email exchanges themselves, one executive warned that "we need to remain fair and balanced" and said that if they were to do this, it must also promote organizations that support the ban, suggesting the plan received some internal pushback before ultimately being discarded.
Nevertheless, Trump supporters, some of whom have argued without evidence that Google manipulates its algorithm to damage the president, seized on the report, with Donald Trump Jr. tweeting it out to his followers on Friday. Brendan Morrow
Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh's fellow defenders have not embraced Ed Whelan's elaborate multi-tweet theory that Christine Blasey Ford is accusing the wrong specific man of holding her down, groping her, and stifling her screams as he tried to remove her clothes at a high school house party in the early 1980s. Ford said there was "zero chance" she would confuse Kavanaugh with the other man, now a middle school teacher whom Ford said she "socialized" with in high school and has since visited in the hospital.
Republicans on Capitol Hill and in the White House distanced themselves from Whelan's doppelgänger theory. But Whelan "had told people around him that he had spent several days putting together the theory and thought it was more convincing than her story," The Washington Post reports, citing "two friends who had talked to him." And he wasn't the only one considering the idea, the Post says. "Kavanaugh and his allies have been privately discussing a defense that would not question whether an incident involving Ford happened, but instead would raise doubts that the attacker was Kavanaugh, according to a person familiar with the discussions."
Whelan, a former clerk for the late Justice Antonin Scalia and former White House colleague of Kavanaugh's, has been an adviser on Kavanaugh's confirmation push along with his friend Leonard Leo, the head of the Federalist Society. His mistaken-identity theory was not well-received on Twitter, but if he really believes it to be true, Whelan probably has enough clout to get President Trump to order an FBI investigation. Peter Weber
Congressional Republicans planned to run for re-election on their biggest legislative accomplishment, the $1.5 trillion tax overhaul they passed in December with zero Democratic votes. Taxes are the top issue in GOP ads, mentioned in a third of those that ran Aug. 29 to Sept. 12, USA Today reports, but more than two-thirds of those ads attacked Democrats rather than defending the GOP tax cuts. An internal survey commissioned by the Republican National Committee suggests why: By a 2-to-1 margin, voters believe the tax cuts benefit "large corporations and rich Americans" over "middle-class families," according to Bloomberg News, which obtained the poll.
The survey, completed Sept. 2, found that 61 percent of voters said the tax overhaul helps the rich while 30 percent picked the middle class. Independents agreed about the wealthy benefiting by 36 percentage points. Overall, 44 percent of voters approved of the law, 45 percent opposed it. "Voters are evenly divided on the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act," the report said. "But, we've lost the messaging battle on the issue." (According to the Tax Policy Center, 25 percent of the law's gains will accrue to the top 1 percent by 2025, rising to 83 percent for the top 1 percent by 2027.)
Internal GOP poll finds voters overwhelmingly believe the tax law benefits the rich rather than the middle class. "We've lost the messaging battle on the issue." https://t.co/VS3k3s17U2 pic.twitter.com/9aeZXRcvtH
— Joe Light (@joelight) September 20, 2018
"Most voters believe that the GOP wants to cut back on" programs like Social Security and Medicare "to provide tax breaks for corporations and the wealthy," the RNC survey concludes, attributing this to "a fairly disciplined Democrat attack against the recent tax cuts." Clearly, Democrats running on ObamaCare and Republicans shying from touting tax cuts was not how Republicans thought this would play out. "If we can't sell this to the American people," Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said after the Senate passed the tax bill, "we ought to go into another line of work." Peter Weber
Stephen Colbert turned Trump's 'disturbingly inappropriate' Hurricane Florence comments into a children's book
President Trump visited North Carolina on Wednesday, after the waters of Hurricane Florence had subsided in some communities, and he had a lot of things to say about boats, telling the owner of one destroyed home that at least he "got a nice boat out of the deal," Stephen Colbert noted on Thursday's Late Show. "His comments are so disturbingly inappropriate relative to this tragedy, the only way we could make them remotely palatable is to turn them into a children's book. So gather round, kids, it's time to read a little book we at The Late Show put together called Whose Boat Is This Boat? Comments That Don't Help in the Aftermath of a Hurricane. Just a quick reminder, these are all actual things that he said to the storm-ravaged people." Also, the illustrations are actually pretty great. Watch below. Peter Weber