News Roundup

Late last week U.S. Attorney General William Barr publicly released a redacted copy of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report of his investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.  The full report is more than 400 pages long and is divided into two volumes.  Keep reading for further discussion of the report and for more news.

Volume I.  Volume I of the Special Counsel report focuses on Russian efforts to interfere with the 2016 election and finds that Russia did interfere through two operations – “a social media campaign that favored presidential candidate Donald J. Trump and disparaged presidential candidate Hillary Clinton” and a computer hacking effort that targeted the Clinton Campaign. The executive summary for that portion of the report says that there “was not sufficient evidence to charge that any member of the Trump Campaign conspired with representatives of the Russian government to interfere in the 2016 election.”

Volume II.  Volume II of the report focuses on whether President Trump obstructed justice in connection with the Russia investigation.  The executive summary for that portion of the report says that if the Special Counsel team had confidence that the President clearly did not commit obstruction of justice then they would state that conclusion but that the evidence “presents difficult issues that prevent us from conclusively determining that no criminal conduct occurred.”

CMPD Shooting.  An officer-involved shooting in Charlotte that occurred late last month was in the national news this week following the release of body camera footage of the incident.  On the morning of March 25, Wende Kerl and other CMPD officers responded to a 911 call reporting that a man with a gun was threatening people at a Burger King.  The video shows that upon arriving in the parking lot, the officers saw Danquirs Franklin crouched at the passenger side of a vehicle and began ordering him to drop his gun, which was not immediately visible in the footage.  Over the course of about 40 seconds, Kerl and another officer ordered Franklin to drop his gun more than 15 times.  Eventually, Franklin reaches inside his jacket and begins pulling a gun from it, at which point Kerl fires two fatal shots.  After being shot, Franklin turns to Kerl and appears to say “you told me to . . .” before slumping to the ground.  Kerl then recovers a gun from underneath Franklin.

Release of Footage.  The release of the body camera footage occurred in two phases over the course of several weeks.  Earlier this month Mecklenburg Superior Court Judge Donnie Hoover ordered CMPD to release the video and in response the department released a version that was about two minutes in duration.  Several peaceful rallies and community gatherings followed that release.

The footage that was released this week is more than eleven minutes long and comes as the result of an order from Superior Court Judge Lisa Bell that was entered after the Charlotte Observer reported that the Charlotte City Council was shown a version of the video that was longer than the one initially released to the public pursuant to Hoover’s order.  Bell said that she is considering whether to hold CMPD in contempt for not releasing the longer version of the video in the first place.

McCrory Limb Incident.  WSOC TV reports that former Governor Pat McCrory was the victim of an unusual assault this week.  McCrory was sitting in traffic at an intersection in south Charlotte when a pedestrian attacked his car with a large tree limb.  The details of the incident are somewhat unclear, but for some reason a man became upset with McCrory while he was at the intersection.  The man approached McCrory’s car and said that he recognized the former Governor before slamming the limb onto the roof of his car.  No arrests had been made at the time of writing.

Peterson Interview.  As WRAL reports, Michael Peterson was interviewed on two episodes of the Dr. Phil show this week.  In the interview, Peterson denied killing his wife Kathleen and discussed the circumstances surrounding her death.

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