News Roundup

On Tuesday, an officer-involved shooting in Raleigh set off protests in the city that were fueled in part by social media postings in the immediate hours after the event.  A Raleigh police officer shot Javier Torres after responding to a 911 call reporting that a man was displaying a gun at a local strip mall.  Soon after the shooting, rumors posted on Facebook motivated protests in downtown Raleigh, at the police chief’s home, and at the governor’s mansion.  Keep reading for more on this story and other news.

Torres Shooting.  As WUNC reports, around 6:40pm on Tuesday, a person called 911 to report that a man was walking back and forth between a gas station and an Italian restaurant in southeast Raleigh flashing a gun on his waist.  Police camera footage shows that officers responding to the call encountered Javier Torres, who appeared to have a gun in his waistband, and a foot chase ensued.  An officer involved in the chase shot Torres as Torres rounded the corner of a building while running towards the officer, seemingly holding the gun in his hand.  Torres survived a single gunshot wound to his abdomen, and Raleigh police reported finding a gun near where Torres fell after being shot.  He was later charged with going armed to the terror of the people, RDO, and a firearm serial number offense.

Soon after the incident, rumors began circulating on Facebook that the shooting involved a black, unarmed teen who was shot in the back after stealing a pizza.  As mentioned, those rumors fueled protests around the city, including at the governor’s mansion and at the home of Chief Cassandra Deck-Brown.  The News & Observer reports that at a press conference Wednesday, Deck-Brown said that the protests were based on “reckless and false information . . . spread on social media.”  The N&O report says that Raleigh-Apex NAACP President Gerald Givens attributed the rapid spread of the rumors to community tension arising from two other officer-involved shootings in Raleigh in the past year.

Buncombe Jail Drug Treatment.  WLOS reports that the Buncombe County Detention Facility is making major changes to its approach to providing drug treatment to inmates by becoming one of the few facilities in the nation that uses medication assisted treatment (MAT).  The facility now will provide Naloxone kits to people who identify as opioid users when they are released, and also will allow people who already are using medication to treat addiction to continue using that medication while detained.  Buncombe County Sheriff Quentin Miller said that about one-third of the county’s inmates suffer from drug abuse or mental illness.  The new MAT program is financed through a grant from the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services.

Judicial Branch Corona Response.  Chief Justice Cheri Beasley is scheduled to hold a press conference today at 11:00am to announce Judicial Branch changes due to health concerns caused by the novel coronavirus pandemic.  Because of concerns about the potential for the virus to spread at large gatherings, in-person attendance of the press conference is being restricted.  The event will be livestreamed on the Judicial Branch Facebook page.

Wooten.  Speaking of announcements from the Chief Justice, last week Beasley appointed McKinley Wooten Jr. as director of the North Carolina Administrative Office of the Courts.  Wooten has served as interim director of NCAOC since early last year.

Weinstein.  Harvey Weinstein was sentenced to 23 years in New York state prison on Wednesday.  As the News Roundup noted last week, Weinstein was being housed prior to sentencing in an infirmary unit at Riker’s Island after undergoing a heart procedure immediately following his conviction last month.  Soon after he was sentenced, he was hospitalized for chest pains.

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