BBC: Two New York ex-policemen walk free after sex with handcuffed suspect

Former NYPD officers Eddie Martins (L) and Richard HallFormer NYPD officers Eddie Martins (L) and Richard Hall

Two former New York detectives have walked free after admitting to having sex with a handcuffed 18-year-old woman after arresting her.

Eddie Martins and Richard Hall arrested the woman for possession of marijuana before having sex with her in the back of a van in exchange for her release.

They will serve five years probation but escaped the prosecutor’s request for one to three years in prison.

The men were initially accused of rape but the charges were later dropped.

On Thursday the former police officers, both in their mid to late thirties, pleaded guilty to official misconduct and other charges linked to the incident.

The police officers pulled the woman over in September 2017 as she was driving with friends and found her to be in possession of marijuana.

They then took turns to have sex with her in the back of the police vehicle, the court heard. The police officers did not report the arrest.

Afterwards, the woman went to hospital, where tests identified DNA matching both detectives.

The rape charges were dropped because the victim’s credibility was “seriously, seriously questionable” and the charges could not be proved beyond reasonable doubt, said Justice Danny Chun.

The woman’s attorney, Michael N. David, said it was a “complete injustice” that the ex-police officers escaped a jail sentence.

A NYPD van pictured in New YorkThis New York police van has the slogan “Courtesy, Professionalism, Respect” painted on the side

As a result of the case, a loophole was closed that previously allowed New York police officers to have sex with those in custody as long as it was consensual.

Martins and Hall, who resigned from the New York police department in 2017, “engaged in a shocking abuse of power”, said Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez, adding that he “would have preferred to see them serve prison time”.

“We could not apply the new law retroactively, and serious credibility issues in this case precluded us from proceeding on additional charges,” said Mr Gonzalez, “yet we remained committed to holding these defendants accountable”.

Facebook Hired Hundreds to Listen In on Users’ Audio Messages (I know you don’t care, or u don’t get it.)

H5 facebook contractors transcribe audio private messages artificial intelligence data privacy

Facebook secretly paid hundreds of contractors to transcribe audio clips shared by users in private messages. That’s according to Bloomberg News, which reports the practice rattled the contract workers, who were often subjected to vulgar and intrusive recordings and were not told whose conversations they were transcribing or why. In a statement, Facebook said the practice was aimed at improving its artificial intelligence transcription service, but that the company had “paused human review of audio more than a week ago.” An Irish data privacy commission said Wednesday it’s investigating whether Facebook violated European Union privacy laws. Bloomberg reported earlier this year that Amazon, Apple and Google similarly hired thousands of workers to listen to users’ recorded audio.

Moveon.org: Take action – Enough anti-immigrant violence

Immigration should be a safe and empowering choice. 

Everyone should have the freedom to move and freedom to stay based on what is best for them to thrive. But from El Paso, TX, to towns across Mississippi, immigrant and Latino communities have been relentlessly attacked by Trump’s administration and right-wing assailants. Here’s how you can take action.

Text ENOUGH to 668366

Want to join the movement against white supremacist violence? Text ENOUGH to 668366 to sign on to denouncing white supremacist violence and demand action to curb guns. Msg & data rates may apply.

Call your member of Congress

Call your senators at 833-487-4445 and demand they pass H.R.8, a gun violence reform package passed by the House this year. Live in D.C. or Puerto Rico and don’t have a Senator? Call Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and demand he bring H.R.8 up for a vote.

Sign the petition: Tell Congress to Defund Hate

Sign the petition to tell Congress: Stop adding millions of dollars to Trump’s mass deportation machine which attacks immigrant families. Demand cuts in the budgets for detention beds, ICE and CBP agents, and border militarization.

Add your name

Watch and share a video of the #ElPasoFirme vigils

Just days after the horrific attack in El Paso, MoveOn members joined dozens of vigils across the country to speak out against white supremacy and be in solidarity with immigrant and Latino communities. Will you watch and share this video to amplify the message of these powerful community events?

 

Go to town hall meetings and raise your voice

Go to town hall meetings while members of Congress are home for the August congressional recess to demand they condemn Trump’s hate and take action. You can find a list of public events hosted by senators via the Town Hall Project and Moms Demand Actionand you can find toolkits from the Giffords Legal Center and the Brady Campaign to help you prepare for events.

Register to vote

Elections are key moments to hold our elected officials accountable—and when those officials don’t pass legislation like mandatory background checks supported by 97% of Americans, they must be held accountable. Get yourself, your friends, your family, and your entire community ready to use our power in 2020 to vote for our vision of an America where everyone can thrive. Visit Vote.org to check, update, or submit your voter registration.

Show solidarity with the Latinx community

Join a local immigrants’ rights group, sign up to accompany immigrants to ICE check-ins, donate to United We Dream’s DACA renewal fund or local groups like RAICES and theTexas Civil Rights ProjectAnd stay involved—because the attacks against immigrants are escalating, and we can’t back down. Here is a list of some organizations advocating for immigrants’ rights to consider getting involved with in your area:

Jeffrey Epstein: How conspiracy theories spread after financier’s death

 


US financier Jeffrey EpsteinImage copyrightGETTY IMAGES
Image captionJeffrey Epstein, pictured here in 2004, was found dead in his jail cell on Saturday aged 66

Just hours after the high-profile financier Jeffrey Epstein was found dead on Saturday, unsubstantiated theories about his death began to gain traction online.

Epstein, who was set to stand trial on sex trafficking and conspiracy charges, killed himself in his jail cell in New York. He was accused of running a “vast network” of underage girls for sex, and pleaded not guilty to the charges last month.

The 66-year-old was known to court famous friends and acquaintances. President Donald Trump, former President Bill Clinton, and the UK’s Prince Andrew all had ties to him. Some of his powerful associates have been embroiled in the allegations against him, which has only served to fuel the conspiracy theories and misinformation.

Many rumours have centred on what politicians may have known about Epstein’s alleged crimes and whether some may have wanted him dead. There is absolutely no evidence to suggest this was the case. And yet, the hashtag #EpsteinMurder trended worldwide on Saturday.

Joke images and memes – suggesting everything from a faked suicide to an orchestrated hit-job – were shared thousands of times throughout the day. Facebook, Twitter and YouTube were rife with unfounded theories about what may have happened to the financier.

This wild speculation was not confined to a fringe minority – far from it. Politicians and high-profile journalists also stoked rampant speculation at a time when little information was publicly available. MSNBC host Joe Scarborough tweeted:

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said it was “way too convenient” that Epstein could no longer incriminate others.

“What a lot of us want to know is, what did he know?” he told reporters. “How many other millionaires and billionaires were part of the illegal activities that he was engaged in?”

Questions like these alluded, without evidence, to a malevolent conspiracy and fed the feverish speculation on social media.

Further rumours centred on how a man who was found semi-conscious and with injuries to his neck just weeks earlier was able to take his own life. Initial reports said Epstein was placed on suicide watch after that incident in July, which led many people to ask how he could have died while being so closely monitored.

“What does the word watch mean in the phrase suicide watch?” tweeted President Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giulani. “Who was watching?” He then said it was “inconceivable” Epstein could have taken his own life under those circumstances.

But prison officials later said Epstein had actually been taken off suicide watch prior to his death. Conspiracy theories then began to focus on why this decision was made, rather than how he was able to take his own life.

The speculation, as was the case throughout Saturday, appeared to shift and change with the few concrete details that were released.

Jeffrey Epstein (left) pictured with US President Donald Trump in 1997Image copyrightGETTY IMAGES
Image captionJeffrey Epstein pictured with US President Donald Trump in 1997

Perhaps the most far-fetched conspiracy theories were pegged to the hashtags #ClintonBodyCount and #TrumpBodyCount, which both trended on Twitter over the weekend.

The first was primarily used by conservatives to suggest that former “first couple” Bill and Hillary Clinton were linked to Epstein’s death. The latter, perhaps predictably, was used by liberals who speculated that Mr Trump was somehow involved. Neither side had any evidence to work with.

The baseless theory of the Clinton’s involvement harks back to a long-running conspiracy that originated in the 1990s and claims the couple secretly kill their enemies. This was roundly and methodically debunked at the time by the fact-checking website Snopes.

“There is no evidence whatsoever to suggest an outside person ordered Epstein’s death, and certainly no evidence whatsoever that Bill Clinton was that person,” Dylan Matthews wrote in Vox this week.

“[Mr Clinton] knows nothing about the terrible crimes Jeffrey Epstein pleaded guilty to in Florida some years ago, or those with which he has been recently charged in New York,” his spokesman, Angel Ureña, said.

But Mr Trump was quick to pour fuel on the flames. He shared a tweet from Terrence Williams, a comedian and Trump supporter, that alleged Epstein “had information on Bill Clinton & now he’s dead”. There is no evidence to support this, but the tweet has since been shared more than 55,000 times.

Prince Andrew, left, and Jeffrey Epstein in New York's Central ParkImage copyrightNEWS SYNDICATION
Image captionPrince Andrew, left, seen with Jeffrey Epstein in New York

Other theories and tidbits of misinformation have been easier to disprove.

For example, a photo that appeared to show Mr Trump kissing the head of his daughter, Ivanka, while standing next to Epstein has been exposed as a fake. “The 1993 photograph… has been manipulated to include Epstein,” the Associated Press reported last month.

Similarly, after Epstein’s arrest on 6 July, some social media users shared a false claim that prosecutors had struck a secret plea deal with the financier under the administration of President Barack Obama in order to protect his fellow Democrat Mr Clinton. That theory resurfaced on Saturday.

But the deal, which allowed Epstein to plead guilty to lesser charges, was actually finalised before Mr Obama took office under the administration of President George W, Bush. Labour Secretary Alex Acosta resigned over his role in the deal last month.

Meanwhile, some politicians and journalists have urged people to exercise caution given the sheer quantity of misinformation online.

“The immediate rush to spread conspiracy theories about someone on the ‘other side’ of [the] partisan divide illustrates why our society is so vulnerable to foreign disinformation,” tweeted Republican Senator Marco Rubio.

CNN presenter Jim Sciutto, reflecting on his time working in the Middle East, said: “Remember this is about… partisan politics. When I was [there]… folks didn’t trust authorities so assumed a plot behind every event.”

Free Sticker – Moveon.org

Over the weekend we saw two massacres in the United States in less than 12 hours. The white supremacist killer in El Paso parroted Donald Trump’s racist language in his manifesto. These mass shootings were the second and third mass shootings in the country in less than a week, and the 250th and 251st this year, along with daily gun violence that takes the lives of more than 36,000 Americans every year.1

And yet Trump continues to shift the blame away from his own incitements of racist violence. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell continues to refuse to do his job and bring gun violence prevention bills to a vote, while Republicans in Congress refuse to stand up against racist attacks, violence against immigrants, and the epidemic of gun violence.

Enough is enough. We must spread the message that all of these callous, racist obstructionists must be voted out of office in 2020—which is why MoveOn just printed a big batch of “Disarm Hate” stickers and is giving them away for free while supplies last.

Click here or on the image below to order yours now.

As Mitch McConnell, Martha McSally, Cory Gardner, Susan Collins, and even Trump himself hit the road to campaign for their re-elections, they must see a barrage of messages reminding them that we are their constituents and they have failed us.

Imagine Republican politicians constantly spotting “Disarm Hate” on cars, in shop windows, on bike helmets and more as they drive through their districts—a reminder that voters will hold them accountable next November.

As immigrant groups hold vigils today and constituents bring concerns about gun violence to town halls during this recess, we can all show our support for confronting attacks on immigrants, tackling gun violence, and ending white supremacy. 

Click here to get your “Disarm Hate” sticker now.

Thanks for all you do.

–Kelly, Schuyler, Michael, Emma, and the rest of the team

Wal-Mart: America’s #1 gun salesman.

After the recent tragic shootings in El Paso, it’s absolutely unthinkable that Walmart would continue to profit from gun sales. They must stop the sale of guns in their stores now!

Walmart must prioritize community safety over profits made from gun sales. They must stop the sale of guns in their stores now!Sign Matthew’s petition

Companies like Dick’s Sporting Goods have already taken actions to use their economic leverage to curb gun violence.1

Walmart is one of America’s largest gun sellers and must be part of the movement to end gun violence. The company has taken some steps in recent years—but the stores are still selling weapons of destruction and selling bullet-proof backpacks at the same time. Walmart has the power to make a real difference, not just cosmetic changes.

Please join with us and ask Doug McMillon, the Chief Executive of Walmart, to stop the sale of guns in his stores now.

Click here to add your name to this petition, and then pass it along to your friends.

Thank you.

—Matthew Hildreth, Rural Organizing

Stop Mass Shootings (MoveOn Gun Control Team)

On Sunday, a gunman with a military assault-style weapon killed three people, including a 6-year-old boy, and injured 12 at a garlic festival in California. It was the 42nd mass shooting in July alone and the 246th in America this year.1

These shootings need to stop. At festivals. At schools. At places of worship. At night clubs. At movie theaters.

There are so many simple, clear steps that lawmakers can take to reduce the epidemic of gun violence in America—by passing into law policies that are supported by an overwhelming majority of Americans and even most gun owners.2,3

Universal background checks. Closing the gun show loophole. Banning assault weapons such as AR-15s. Banning bump stocks.

Indeed, the Democratic U.S. House passed two bills that would accomplish many of these goals earlier this year, but Mitch McConnell and the GOP—at the bidding of the National Rifle Association (NRA) and gun manufacturers—won’t even allow the bills to come up for a vote in the Senate.4 They won’t even allow federal funding for research into gun violence.5 It’s outrageous. And it’s heartbreaking.

That’s why we’re going to hold McConnell and other vulnerable GOP senators accountable and defeat them in 2020, starting with putting up billboards in central, high-traffic locations in their home states that highlight their role in America’s gun violence epidemic. Will you pitch in $3 to help us pay for the billboards?

Yes, I’ll chip in now to help hold GOP lawmakers accountable, fight the NRA, and end the epidemic of gun violence in America.

The horrific massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School nearly seven years ago should have been a tipping point on gun violence in America, but since then:

  • There have been approximately 2,185 mass shootings.6
  • Congress has passed into law zero measures to make our children and communities safer.
  • The NRA and gun manufacturers continue to write big checks to Republican politicians.

According to polls, Mitch McConnell and other GOP senators who are up in for re-election in 2020 are increasingly vulnerable.7 But to defeat them in 2020—which is the only way we can finally pass legislation to address America’s gun violence crisis—we need to make sure their constituents know that they’re standing with the NRA and blocking commonsense reforms to address America’s gun violence epidemic.

We didn’t budget for the billboards, which is why we’re asking you to chip in now, so we can quickly purchase them. We can only do it if we raise the money now. Can you chip in $3—or whatever you can afford—right now?

Yes, I’ll chip in to help hold McConnell and other NRA-funded politicians accountable.

We can never forget that the GOP is culpable in these heartbreaking and avoidable gun deaths, as a result of their obedience to the NRA’s dangerous agenda. Let’s make sure that the voters in their states know it, too.

Thanks for all you do.

–Emily, Emma, Stephen, Manny, and the rest of the team