this is awful
October 30, 2020

During recent protests over the police killing of Walter Wallace Jr. in Philadelphia, the U.S.'s largest police union posted what looked like a sympathetic photo. A Philadelphia police office held a Black toddler, with a caption purporting he was found "walking around barefoot in an area that was experiencing complete lawlessness," the National Fraternal Order of Police's Facebook post said.

But lawyer's for the boy's family say that's not what happened. Rickia Young was driving with her toddler son to pick up her 16-year-old nephew when she accidentally drove into an area where police and protesters were facing off. She tried to turn around, but police surrounded the car, smashed its windows, and threw Young and her nephew onto the street, her lawyers tell The Washington Post. The officers then pulled the toddler from the seat, video of the incident shows.

Police soon detained Young, but she had to be taken to the hospital before she could be processed because she was bleeding from her head after police threw her to the ground. Young's nephew was also injured, and the toddler was hit in the head. Young was split from her son for hours before she was released without charges. Her family found the boy in his car seat in the back of a police car, broken glass from the car's windows still in the seat, the Post describes.

The whole scene was caught on video by AApril Rice, who told the Philadelphia Inquirer watching what happened was "surreal" and "traumatic." The National Fraternal Order of Police has since deleted the post. Philadelphia police still haven't told the Young family where to find the car, along with her son's hearing aids and other belongings inside. Kathryn Krawczyk

September 21, 2020

Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), one of the first Muslim women elected to Congress, has faced constant threats of violence since her election in 2018. They include public threats from Republicans set to join her in the House in January — and absolutely no condemnation from congressmembers on the other side of the aisle, she tells the The New York Times Magazine.

In an interview with the Times, Omar discussed "hateful" attacks against her from Fox News' Tucker Carlson, as well as the rise of Marjorie Taylor Greene, a Republican House candidate in a far-right Georgia district who held a gun next to a photo of Omar's "Squad" in a campaign video. Greene's video is just one of many "dangerous" people spouting "bizarre, ill-informed conspiracies" about Omar and other Democrats and "terrorizing so many of us," Omar said.

But despite receiving "a few death threats that have been very publicized where people have been arrested and are incarcerated for it," Omar said she has received no support or condemnation from Republicans. "I can't remember a public statement or private comment of support," she continued.

Despite being "discouraged" by this lack of unity "sometimes," Omar said she has "hope" that "the lived reality of what exists in American cities and towns" isn't the same as what's online. Read more at The New York Times Magazine. Kathryn Krawczyk

May 26, 2020

Multiple authorities are investigating the death of a black man in Minneapolis police custody after a disturbing video showed an officer kneeling on the man's neck as he protested "I can't breathe."

Around 8 p.m. Monday, police were called to a report of a forgery in progress at a business in Minneapolis, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports. When officers found a suspect matching the report's description, they ordered him out of his car and said he complied with their commands, police spokesman John Elder said. But the man later "physically resisted," Elder continued.

As bystander video shows, a white police officer ended up kneeling on the man's neck as he said "I can't breathe" and "everything hurts" over and over. One bystander noted the man's nose was bleeding, and another kept telling the officers "you're stopping his breathing right there" and "you could have put him in the car by now." "He's not responsive right now," one bystander later notes, and after an ambulance arrives for the man, another bystander tells the officer "You just really killed that man, bro." The man was taken to a hospital and later died.

The officers in the incident were wearing body cameras, and the footage has been turned over to Minnesota's Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey said. "Being black in America should not be a death sentence," Frey said Tuesday, adding that "this officer failed in the most basic, human sense."

You can find the disturbing video at Fox 9, and read more at the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Kathryn Krawczyk

April 10, 2020

As COVID-19 spreads throughout the city, New York has seen ridership on its MTA system drop by more than 90 percent. But trains and buses are still running, and that's led to 50 MTA workers contracting and dying from the new coronavirus so far, MTA Chairman Pat Foye said Friday.

So far, nearly 1,900 MTA workers have tested positive for the new coronavirus, and the number of quarantined workers recently hit a peak of 6,000. A total of 50 MTA employees have died of the disease; they're dying at a much higher rate than the rest of the city. Most of those workers who'd died had worked on the city's buses and subways.

To combat disease spread, the MTA is now taking the temperature of everyone who reports to work and sending those with a fever back home. About 1,800 MTA workers who'd self-quarantined after potential exposure to the virus have since returned to work, Foye added. But staffing shortages have still caused over 800 subway delays and led to 40 percent of trips being canceled in a single day, per The New York Times.

Ridership is dramatically down across the entire MTA system, Foye also said. Subway ridership has fallen 93 percent since the coronavirus crisis began, Long Island Railroad traffic has plunged 97 percent, and Metro-North commuter rail has seen ridership drop 95 percent. That resulting deep dive in revenue will surely be a problem for the aging transit system that was struggling to stay afloat even before a global pandemic hit. Kathryn Krawczyk

August 16, 2019

A bad situation just keeps getting worse.

Several families of migrant children are filing lawsuits claiming the U.S. government failed to protect their children from sexual, physical and emotional abuse in federally funded foster homes.

Some migrant children who were separated from their families at the border were placed in foster care while officials determined how to proceed with asylum claims or placed the adults in detention centers that were sometimes far away from the foster homes. At least 38 lawsuits say that children were harmed while in government custody, reports The Associated Press.

The Trump administration's "zero-tolerance" policy led to thousands of family separations at the border, and several nonprofit groups and U.S. law firms are working with migrants who want to sue the government over alleged wrongdoing that resulted. The Office of Refugee Resettlement opted to place some children in foster programs, but new allegations raise questions about how well some foster care facilities are vetted, says AP. "How is it possible that my son was suffering these things?" said the father of one boy who says he was repeatedly sexually molested in a foster home after being separated at the border at age 7.

The government hasn't settled any of these claims, and the Department of Justice didn't comment on AP's story outlining the allegations. "We may never know the extent to which children suffered particular abuses in foster homes," said Michelle Lapointe, a senior supervising attorney with the Southern Poverty Law Center. Parents of migrant children who were in government custody describe lasting emotional trauma and say their children remain fearful when recalling their time in foster care. "It's the tip of the iceberg," said Erik Walsh, an attorney at Arnold & Porter, which has represented some families in suing the government.

A Health and Human Services spokesman said "We treat the children in our care with dignity and respect." Read more at The Associated Press. Summer Meza

June 24, 2019

Four people have been found dead along the Rio Grande Hidalgo County Sheriff Eddie Guerra said Sunday.

Two of the people found were infants, one was a toddler, and one was a 20-year-old woman, Guera continued in a Sunday tweet. They all appear to be undocumented immigrants, an FBI official told NPR.

Right now, it looks as if the four people died of dehydration and heat overexposure, and foul play is not currently suspected, the FBI said. Still, the agency will be continuing an investigation into the deaths, with a spokesperson calling it "an incredibly heartbreaking situation, which seems to happen far too often." The bodies were found close to where a section of President Trump's proposed border wall is being built, seeing as the Rio Grande is the most heavily trafficked area of the border, Customs and Border Protection told The Associated Press.

The news comes as reports reveal that migrant children are living in unsanitary, overcrowded detention facilities along the border. A recent lawsuit alleged that more than 300 children in a Clint, Texas facility — some as young as 2 1/2 years old — were living in conditions that "could be compared to torture facilities," a local physician who visited the facility said in a report. All but 30 of those children have since been taken out of the facility, Rep. Veronica Escobar (D-Texas) told The Associated Press on Monday. The children were reportedly moved to a tent detention center, a Homeland Security official told NBC News. Kathryn Krawczyk

October 22, 2018

You probably haven't heard about one of the worst American oil spills ever. That's because the company responsible has reportedly kept the ongoing spill secret for years, and has no apparent plans to stop it.

After a mudslide triggered by Hurricane Ivan sunk one of Taylor Energy's oil platforms in 2004, anywhere from 300 to 700 barrels of oil have poured into the Gulf of Mexico every day, The Washington Post reported Sunday. Millions of gallons and 14 years later, and the leak looks like it'll surpass BP's Deepwater Horizon spill to become the largest in American history.

This ongoing spill likely would have flown under the radar if it weren't for Deepwater Horizon — the 2010 environmental disaster that happened just a few miles from this one. Taylor Energy reportedly hid the spill for six years until a watchdog group investigating BP's spill found it. And even after a Justice Department analysis revealed the spill was bigger than initial Coast Guard estimates, Taylor Energy has maintained that there is "no evidence to prove any of the wells are leaking," the Post writes.

Taylor Energy's leak makes up just a slice of the 330,000 gallons that gush into Louisiana's waters every year, according to the state's oil spill coordinator's office. Yet even as Gulf leaks continue, the Trump administration has approved further offshore drilling with little federal regulation, the Post says. Many of the proposed rigs are in the Atlantic, where hurricanes are far more frequent, especially as climate change warms ocean waters.

Taylor Energy has declined to comment on the apparent spill, which you can read about more at The Washington Post. Kathryn Krawczyk

September 30, 2018

The death toll from the earthquake and tsunami that hit the Indonesian island of Sulawesi on Friday grew by Sunday to 832 people, with hundreds of additional injuries. Rescuers have struggled to reach remote areas as communication services remain down.

Dozens of people are thought to still be trapped inside two hotels and a mall that collapsed in the city of Palu. "We are trying our best," said rescue chief Muhammad Syaugi. "Time is so important here to save people. Heavy equipment is on the way."

While initial reports estimated the tsunami at 10 feet tall, updated estimates say waves were up to twice that large. The death toll is expected to continue to rise. Bonnie Kristian

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