News Roundup

As the Charlotte Observer reports, a hacker attacked Mecklenburg County’s computer systems this week, locking the county out of its electronic files and demanding a ransom of two bitcoins to provide an encryption key.  At the time of writing, two bitcoins were worth roughly $30,000.  On Wednesday, Mecklenburg County Manager Dena Diorio said that the county will not pay the ransom and, instead, will fix the situation itself.  The sensational story has become national news.

Bertie.  The Charlotte Observer published a report this week that provides detail about the murder of Sgt. Meghan Callahan at Bertie Correctional Institution earlier this year.  The report describes the circumstances of inmate Craig Wissink’s fatal attack on Callahan, and says that on the day she was killed Callahan expressed concern to a supervisor that her staff lacked proper training.

The report goes on to say that the prison was understaffed at the time of the attack, and suggests that understaffing is a problem at prisons across the state.  Understaffing is caused in part by the rural locations of many prisons and officer pay that is below the national average, according to the report.

Pasquotank.  WAVY-TV reports that prosecutors will seek the death penalty in capital murder cases against four inmates arising from the violent escape attempt at Pasquotank Correctional Institution in October.  Four prison workers were killed during the escape attempt and several others were injured.

Flynn.  Late last week, Michael Flynn, a retired Army general and President Donald Trump’s former national security advisor, pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about conversations he had with a Russian ambassador last year.  The charge carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison, though it is widely expected that Flynn will not spend significant time, if any at all, in prison.

Slager.  The Charleston Post and Courier reports that former North Charleston police officer Michael Slager was sentenced yesterday to 20 years in prison for killing Walter Scott in 2015.  During a traffic stop for a broken brake light, Slager and Scott engaged in a scuffle that ended with Slager shooting Scott in the back as he ran from the scene.  The incident was recorded by a passerby and was one of a series of officer-involved shootings that received widespread national attention at the time.

Dogwood Award.  The State Port Pilot reports that Brunswick County Senior Resident Superior Court Judge Ola Lewis received the state’s Dogwood Award last month.  Lewis received the award for her work combatting the ongoing opioid crisis.

Season’s Greetings.  It’s the season of giving, and Eric Hull knew just the thing that would lift the spirits of a friend who was detained in the Davidson County Jail on drug charges – a greeting card containing methamphetamine.  Inexplicably, jail staff were unwilling to look beyond the contraband to see Hull’s generous spirit, he now also is detained at the Davidson County Jail.

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