Late last week, Justice Department special counsel Robert S. Mueller indicted 12 Russian intelligence officers for allegedly meddling in the 2016 presidential election. This week, as a result of an FBI investigation separate from the special counsel, the Justice Department indicted Russian national Maria Butina for illegally acting as an agent of the Russian government in an effort to influence American politics. Butina allegedly posed as a graduate student at American University while working covertly to develop contacts within political groups in an effort to advance policies favorable to Russia. Keep reading for more news.
Fletcher Shooting. WLOS reports that on Wednesday police officers in Fletcher shot and killed a man at a CVS who was armed with a gun and behaving in a threatening manner. Around noon, a man entered the CVS and brandished a gun in the pharmacy section of the store. A store manager was able to get employees and customers to safety, and two civilians then guarded the front and back doors with their own guns to prevent the man from leaving and new customers from entering. When officers arrived, the man confronted them and was shot dead; his name had not been released at the time of writing.
Crime Lab. The Wilmington Star-News reports that state grants which fund the Wilmington Police Department’s crime lab are scheduled to expire or phase out in the relatively near future. The report says that funding is guaranteed through the end of September and likely will be extended through September of next year, but that area officials are looking for a source of permanent funding for the lab.
Opioid Screening. WRAL reports that Cary officials recently announced a “potential game-changer” in addressing the opioid crisis, saying that the town will screen sewage in order to measure its concentration of opioids. The theory behind the plan is that data generated from sewage screening will provide a gauge of the extent of opioid use in a community that doesn’t depend solely on overdose statistics; it also will identify the prevalence of different types of opioid drugs.
Cruiser Contest. The American Association of State Troopers is asking people to vote for the best looking cruiser in the country on their Facebook page. The North Carolina Highway Patrol has a pretty strong entry featuring Pilot Mountain in the background.
Almost Impeachment, West Virginia. It’s not a good time to be a justice on the West Virginia Supreme Court. As the Charleston Gazette-Mail reports, the state legislature currently is investigating whether to impeach “one or all of the sitting justices” on the court. Currently-suspended Justice Allen Loughry appears to be in the most precarious position, as he has been charged with almost two dozen crimes based on alleged misuse of state resources for his personal benefit. Justice Menis Ketchum can’t be impeached because he abruptly resigned just prior to the commencement of the legislature’s investigation. Three justices remain on the bench.
ABA Theft. The American Bar Association reported this week that a former staff member had diverted roughly $1.3 million from the organization over an eight-year period between 2010 and 2017. The ABA’s public acknowledgement of the incident seemingly was prompted by a lawyer discovering that the ABA had noted the theft in its 2016 tax filings. According to the report, the amount diverted is roughly equal to the 2016 compensation of ABA Executive Director Jack Rives.
Land of the Wind Chill Factor. Sometimes the right message on a campaign website can launch a lagging candidate into the public eye. As formerly “least-known” candidate for St. Paul City Council David Martinez recently demonstrated, the same goes for the wrong message. In a political maneuver described as “disturbing,” “unhinged,” and a violation of “deeply-held values about basic human respect,” Martinez posted to his campaign website a semi-nude photograph of his estranged wife along with an image of a restraining order she filed against him. His most recent newspaper interview was conducted at the county jail where he was being detained.