Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Aiyana Jones’ Family Prepares For Funeral, Lawsuits

Less than a week after Detroit police allegedly burned, shot, and killed 7-year-old Aiyana Jones during a raid on her family’s home, the slain child’s family is taking legal action.

In an hour long press conference held yesterday, prominent local attorney Geoffrey Fieger announced that he had filed lawsuits on the family’s behalf in both federal and state courts. The $75,000 federal suit argues that police violated the girl’s constitutional rights and alleges what Fieger called a “conspiracy to cover up the violation of civil rights”, while the state suit seeks damages of more than $25,000.

“This type of police activity is unacceptable in America,” Fieger said at the press conference. “What is equally unacceptable is the cover up that has occurred since the time of Aiyana’s passing.”

It was initially reported that the shooting happened as the result of an altercation between Mertilla Jones, Aiyana’s grandmother, and an armed police officer. Fieger and the family vehemently deny that any altercation happened and claim there’s a three minute video to prove their side of the story.

While Fieger wouldn’t disclose the source of the video, it’s been acknowledged that a crew from the A&E series “First 48” had been shadowing officers involved in the raid. The video reportedly shows that officers, who entered the home in search a homicide suspect, lobbed a flash grenade through a first floor window and then shot into the house from the porch, hitting the 7-year-old in the neck. Community members and the Jones family have questioned what effect the presence of the film crew may have had on decisions by police to use excessive force.

Just hours after the shooting, the victim's father Charles Jones told CNN affiliate WDIV, "[Aiyana] was sleeping and they came in the door shooting and throwing flash grenades ... burned my baby up and shot her, killed her."

Assistant police chief Ralph Godbee is sticking to his story that a fight did happen, and is urging Fieger to share any video evidence with Detroit police investigators.

There are also more lawsuits on the horizon. Fieger also announced yesterday his plans to file another suit on behalf of Mertilla Jones, seen visibly sobbing in the video above, for false imprisonment and conspiracy by Detroit police officers to cover up the shooting. The elder Jones was arrested after her grandaughter's shooting, presumably for interfering with a police investigation.

Meanwhile, the 7-year-old's family has prepared funeral arrangements and set up a memorial fund in the girl's honor.

Obama and Calderon Trash Arizona

Posted by Mark Impomeni (Profile)

At the White House today, during the welcome ceremony for Mexican President Filipe Calderon - a welcoming to an official state visit wherein Calderon is to be celebrated - President Obama stood by as Calderon trashed the state of Arizona and its citizens over Arizona’s immigration control law:

At the start of Wednesday’s White House visit, Calderon said the law discriminated against Mexicans and called for the two countries to work together to develop an immigration policy that did not force people to live in the shadows “with such laws as the Arizona law, which is forcing our people to face discrimination.” [emphasis added]

Obama did not defend Arizona, as one might expect a President of the United States to do, especially at the White House. No, that’s not what change looks like. Obama instead joined in with a foreign head of state in bashing US citizens on US soil.

Obama claimed to understand the frustrations of the people of Arizona in passing the law, which exactly mirrors the requirements in a seventy year old federal statute. But he again characterized the law as “misdirected,” and outright lied about the law’s intention.

“We’re examining any implications especially for civil rights because in the United States of America, no law abiding person — be they an American citizen, illegal immigrant, or a visitor or tourist from Mexico — should ever be subject to suspicion simply because of what they look like.”

It is well known by now that the Arizona law authorizes no such thing. In fact, racial profiling is specifically outlawed in the law as a means of enforcement. But Obama nevertheless took the opportunity to make cause with a foreign government at the expense of America.

And with that, the apology tour comes home. No need for Obama to grovel in far flung world capitals any longer. Now, foreign heads of state can come to the White House and trash America and her citizens with impunity.

Pretty soon President Obama is going to have to make a decision. Either he is President of these United States, warts - as he sees them - and all, or he is some kind of post-national leader: a kind of president-in-exile within his own country.

A man cannot serve two masters. He will love the one and despise the other. The question for Obama is whose servant is he?

Flyers Shutout Habs In Game Two

The Philadelphia Flyers defeated the Montreal Canadiens 3-0 to take a 2-0 lead in the Eastern Conference Finals.

…Man, everyone was saying that Montreal was the Cinderella story but its starting to look like it could be the Fly guys instead. Of course, this stinks as Ranger fans but from a hockey point of view its compelling.

Montreal was the better team early on and blitzed Michael Leighton but he kept coming up with save after save. Maybe he is the new Halak, maybe his run ends in Montreal on Thursday. That is the real key, heading back to Montreal, the Canadiens need to regroup but continue to play the way they are. They will score, most likely and when they do it could open the floodgates for them. They just need one to start.

Tonight was also a difference of Special Teams, the Flyers converted, Montreal didn’t. Montreal did perform an oscar winning performance of “2009-10 The New York Rangers Powerplay” but if they want to win, they will need to perform something else

Wife of RFK Jr. charged in NY with drunken driving

BEDFORD, N.Y. (AP) — The wife of Robert F. Kennedy Jr. was charged with drunken driving after a police officer saw her run over a curb outside a suburban school, authorities said Tuesday.

Police had responded to the Kennedy home twice in the week before the arrest but said no crimes had been committed there.

Mary Richardson Kennedy, 50, was arrested Saturday with a blood-alcohol level of 0.11 percent, Sgt. Matt Dunn said. The legal limit is 0.08 percent.

Kennedy told police she was at the school in Bedford, about 45 miles north of New York City, to pick up people from a carnival, authorities said.

Officers had visited the Kennedy home twice in the last week, on May 10 and May 13, but Lt. Jeff Dickan said those visits were unrelated to the arrest.

In one call, Kennedy reported a dispute between children, Dickan said. The other visit resulted in a state domestic incident report, but there were “no crimes committed, no report of assault, no arrests and no need for follow-up,” Dickan said. He declined to elaborate.

Police would not say whether anyone else was in the car when Kennedy was arrested or if she had a lawyer. There was no phone listing for the Kennedy home.

Robert Kennedy Jr. is the son of former Sen. Robert Kennedy and nephew of President John F. Kennedy. He did not immediately return a call to his White Plains office, where he works as an environmental attorney.

Specter loses, Paul wins

NY Times

Senator Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, who bolted the Republican Party more than a year ago in a bid to salvage his Senate career as a Democrat, was defeated in a primary for his new party’s nomination on Tuesday, as Democratic primary voters turned against him and selected Rep. Joe Sestak for the nomination.

Mr. Specter, 80, lost his bid for a sixth term despite the backing of a wide swath of the Democratic political establishment – starting with President Obama in the White House and continuing with Ed Rendell, the governor of Pennsylvania.

“It’s been a great privilege to serve the people of Pennsylvania,” said Mr. Specter, looking drawn and downcast as he delivered a brief concession speech. “And I’ll be working hard for the people of Pennsylvania very hard for the coming months.”

In another election that sent waves of anxiety through political leaders here in Washington, Rand Paul, one of the early leaders of the Tea Party movement, won the Republican Senate primary in Kentucky on Tuesday night, delivering a powerful blow to the party’s establishment and offering the clearest evidence yet of the strength of the anti-government sentiment simmering at the grass-roots level.

I think Sestek will have a difficult time defending his liberalism against Toomay this fall. He will actually be an easier target for conservatives. When you consider the enthusiasm gap, Toomay should be favored.

By Merv Benson