The nation has been gripped by protests this week following the death of George Floyd while he was in police custody in Minneapolis. As the News Roundup noted last week, former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin pinned Floyd’s neck to the ground with his knee for nearly nine minutes while Floyd, who was handcuffed, pleaded that he could not breathe and bystanders repeatedly told Chauvin and other officers at the scene that Floyd appeared to be in great distress. A memorial service for Floyd, who had family in North Carolina and was born in Fayetteville, is scheduled to be held on Saturday in Raeford, where his sister lives. Keep reading for more on this story and other news.
Carolina Public Press reports that last week three current and former employees of the Cherokee County Department of Social Services were indicted on a range of charges arising from an alleged “yearslong Cherokee County DSS practice that separated children from their parents without the oversight of a judge.” Former Cherokee DSS director Cindy Palmer (who now is the department’s business officer), former Child Protective Unit supervisor David Hughes, and the department’s former attorney, Scott Lindsay, were charged with various felonies and misdemeanors arising from the practice. Keep reading for more on this story and other news.
This week several North Carolina news outlets jointly reported that a nurse at Caswell Correctional Center, Barbara Anne Stewart, died earlier this month after testing positive for the coronavirus. Stewart, who fell ill in late March, had worked for the Department of Public Safety for more than 25 years according to the report. The North Carolina Department of Labor now is investigating her death, including examining whether any violations of health and safety standards contributed to her illness. Keep reading for more news.
The Los Angeles Times reported late Wednesday night that federal law enforcement agents seized North Carolina Senator Richard Burr’s cellphone while serving a search warrant at Burr’s Washington, D.C., residence. The LA Times report also says that agents served a warrant on Apple in recent days to obtain information from Burr’s iCloud account. The search warrants come as an investigation intensifies into whether Burr profited off of nonpublic information about the coronavirus in the early days of the pandemic by selling significant investment holdings prior to the downturn in the stock market. On Thursday morning, Burr announced that he would step down as Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee. Keep reading for more news.
Yesterday afternoon United States Attorney Timothy Shea filed a motion to dismiss criminal charges that the Department of Justice brought against Michael Flynn, the retired Army General who briefly served as President Donald Trump’s national security advisor in early 2017, as part of the special counsel inquiry into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. The charges were based on allegations that Flynn misled FBI investigators about conversations he had with a Russian diplomat soon after the election regarding sanctions. As the New York Times reports, the motion says that the interview where Flynn misled investigators was not “conducted with a legitimate investigative basis” and, for that reason, the government would be unable to prove that Flynn’s false statements were material to an investigation. Flynn had previously pleaded guilty to the charges. Keep reading for more news.
As the Charlotte Observer reports, yesterday UNC Charlotte marked the one-year anniversary of the campus shooting that claimed the lives of two students on the last day of spring classes. In a ceremony that was conducted virtually because of the coronavirus, yesterday morning campus police officers placed two wreaths in front of the Kennedy Building, the site of the tragedy, to honor the two students who were killed, Reed Parlier and Riley Howell. Later, at 5:10pm, the Niner Nation streamed a live event with remarks from the chancellor and other members of the UNCC community. Keep reading for more news.
The Charlotte Observer reported this week that a majority of the inmates at Neuse Correctional Institution in Goldsboro and at least eight staff members at the facility have tested positive for the novel coronavirus. With more than 450 inmates testing positive, the Observer report says that the outbreak at Neuse is among the largest of any prison in the nation. Keep reading for more on this story and other news.
As ABC 11 reports, four inmates at Butner Correctional Institution have died in recent days from COVID-19. Over last weekend, Charles Richard Rootes, Gary Edward Nixon, and Andre Williams died from complications caused by the virus. On Monday, another inmate died but his name had not been released publicly at the time of writing. All of the Butner inmates were being treated in hospitals when they passed away. On Thursday, the Federal Bureau of Prisons reported that 66 inmates and 25 staff members at the prison had tested positive for the virus.
Because of the state holiday on Friday, there will not be a News Roundup this week but we have a job announcement that may interest blog readers.
The School of Government’s Criminal Justice Innovation Lab, led by Jessica Smith, is hiring a Project Manager. The CJIL Project Manager will be responsible for managing a variety of CJIL programs and projects for judicial system stakeholders including educational events, projects to support stakeholders as they develop and implement criminal justice solutions, and empirical evaluations. In addition to identifying funding opportunities and assisting with grant proposals and grant management, this position also will manage the CJIL’s internal and external communications, including on the web, through social media, and through newsletters and annual reports.
Have a safe weekend, we’ll be back to blogging next week.