News Roundup

Yesterday afternoon, federal and state officials announced that 13 men had been arrested and charged with various criminal offenses arising from plots to kidnap Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, kill law enforcement officers, and attack the Michigan State Capitol in Lansing.  Many of those arrested were affiliated with a group known as the Wolverine Watchmen that has been described as an extremist private militia.  Six men are facing federal kidnapping conspiracy charges and six others have been charged with a Michigan state terrorism offense.  The federal criminal complaint is available here.  Keep reading for more news.

Asheville.  Last month the News Roundup noted an Asheville Citizen-Times report that about 13% of the Asheville Police Department had resigned since June.  WLOS has a pair of stories this week that provide more context for the departures.  In one, former Asheville Police Sergeant James French attributed the resignations to community members viewing officers in a negative light after recent protests against disparate policing in the city and around the country.  French also said that officers did not feel supported by elected city leaders.

In the other story, City Manager Debra Campbell said that the city is concerned and dismayed by the number of departures but noted that it is a trend that other communities across the country are seeing.  Campbell said that Asheville officers are appreciated and respected, and said that efforts to reimagine how the city responds to certain emergency or public safety situations shouldn’t be viewed as a withdrawal of support for police.

Santifort.  Several years ago, the News Roundup noted that former Kenly police officer Jesse Santifort had been indicted for involuntary manslaughter in connection with the death of Alexander Warren Thompson in March of 2016.  Santifort and Thompson were involved in a high speed chase which ended when Thompson’s truck crashed into a fire hydrant.  According to witnesses, Santifort then tased Thompson four times despite the fact that Thompson appeared to be surrendering with his hands up prior to being tased.  This week, Santifort pleaded guilty to the lesser offense of misdemeanor assault.  He was sentenced to unsupervised probation and surrendered his law enforcement certification.

Chauvin.  On Wednesday, the former Minneapolis police officer who killed George Floyd by kneeling on his neck for several minutes while arresting him for allegedly using a counterfeit $20 bill at a convenience station was released from pretrial detention after posting bail.  CBS Minnesota reports that a surety posted Derek Chauvin’s $1 million bond and that his conditions of release include that he cannot leave the state without court approval and must have no contact with Floyd’s family.  More than 50 people were arrested Wednesday night into Thursday morning during protests near a police station in south Minneapolis that were described as largely peaceful.

Breast Cancer Awareness.  The Dunn Daily Record reports that deputies with the Harnett County Sheriff’s Office will wear a special badge with pink detailing during the month of October to mark Breast Cancer Awareness Month.  Sheriff Wayne Coats’s wife Dale has survived three episodes of breast cancer and he said that the badges are meant to show the office’s support to people in the community affected by the disease.

Bradsher.  Readers may have noticed in yesterday’s case summaries from Phil that the Court of Appeals vacated two of Wallace Bradsher’s criminal convictions arising from his participation with Craig Blitzer in a scheme to improperly hire each other’s wives for state jobs when the two were serving as elected district attorneys.  The court found insufficient evidence of obtaining property by false pretenses under an acting in concert theory and insufficient evidence of felony obstruction of justice.

911.  The Charlotte Observer reported this week that CMPD Chief Johnny Jennings has announced that responses to some 911 calls in the city will be diverted from the police to non-law enforcement responders. Some calls involving mental health issues will be directed to social workers and other trained clinicians, and some non-urgent calls and noise complaints will be directed to civilian city personnel.

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