As the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports, Robert Aaron Long pleaded guilty this week to four counts of murder arising from a series of shootings he committed earlier this year in the Atlanta area. The plea deal covered four killings in Woodstock, Georgia, which is north of Atlanta, and spared Long from the potential of being sentenced to death at a capital trial. Long is accused of killing eight people, many of them Asian women, and additional murder charges still are pending against him in Fulton County, where part of the shooting rampage took place. Keep reading for more news.
As NPR reports, a coalition of state attorneys general announced this week that they had reached a $26 billion settlement agreement with drug distributors and Johnson & Johnson for their role in the opioid epidemic. The agreement, which still requires approval from state and local governments, would resolve various lawsuits brought against Johnson & Johnson, AmerisourceBergen, Cardinal Health, and McKesson that allege that the companies turned a blind eye to orders for large quantities of opioid drugs in the interest of making money. Keep reading for more news. Continue reading →
WRAL reports that the family of Andrew Brown Jr. has filed a federal wrongful death lawsuit against Pasquotank County Sheriff Tommy Wooten, Dare County Sheriff Doug Doughtie, and several deputies. Brown was killed in April as he attempted to flee in his car from deputies who were executing search warrants for his home and vehicle. In May, District Attorney Andrew Womble determined that officers were justified in using deadly force against Brown because he used his vehicle as a weapon while trying to escape. Brown’s family is seeking $31 million in compensatory and punitive damages. Continue reading →
WRAL reports that the owner of a venomous zebra cobra has been charged with dozens of misdemeanors after the snake, which is capable of spitting blinding venom with tremendous accuracy, was roaming loose in a north Raleigh neighborhood in recent weeks. Keep reading for more on this story and other news.
Bill Cosby was released from prison this week after the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled that his 2018 prosecution for sexually assaulting Andrea Constand violated due process. In 2018, Cosby was convicted by a jury and received a prison sentence of three to ten years. Keep reading for more on this story and other news.
On Wednesday, President Joe Biden announced a “comprehensive strategy to combat gun violence and other violent crime” ahead of the summer months when major cities often experience increased gun violence. Among other things, the administration’s press release says that local governments will be able to use American Rescue Plan funds to hire law enforcement officers, prosecute gun traffickers, and invest in new law enforcement equipment and technology. Keep reading for more on this story and other news.
ABC News reports that approximately 50 police officers resigned en masse from the Portland Police Bureau’s Rapid Response Team this week after a member of the team was indicted by a grand jury for excessive use of force during an August 2020 protest in the city. Officer Corey Budsworth was indicted Tuesday on an assault charge for allegedly striking a woman in the head with a baton during the protest. The resignations represent the entire membership of the Rapid Response Team, which is a voluntary assignment that mostly involves crowd control duties. The team has been on duty frequently in recent months because of the extensive demonstrations in Portland following the murder of George Floyd. Keep reading for more news.
The Asheville Citizen-Times reports that there has been recent controversy in Madison County following the sheriff’s office hiring a former Asheville police officer and the adoption of a politically charged resolution by county commissioners expressing support for law enforcement. Keep reading for more on this story and other news.
On Tuesday, President Joe Biden spoke at an event in Tulsa, Oklahoma, marking the 100th anniversary of a 1921 racist mob attack that left hundreds dead and the Black community of Greenwood destroyed but that was not widely known by the general public until recently. NPR notes that several documentary projects focusing on what is now known as the Tulsa Race Massacre are being released this month, including films from PBS and the History Channel. Keep reading for more news.