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News Roundup

A United States Capitol Police Officer, William “Billy” F. Evans, died this week after he and another officer seemingly were deliberately hit by a car as it was driven into a barricade at the Capitol Building by a man who then threatened other officers with a knife before being shot and killed.  Evans had served with the Capitol Police since 2003.  News reports have emerged suggesting that the perpetrator, 25-year-old Noah Green who was living in Virginia, had been experiencing increasingly delusional thoughts and declining mental health, perhaps attributable in part to drug abuse.  The Associated Press says that investigators believe the attack was an isolated incident.  Keep reading for more news.

Facial Recognition.  The News & Observer reported this week that an analysis from BuzzFeed News indicates that dozens of law enforcement agencies in North Carolina likely used facial recognition technology from Clearview AI that was built using photos collected from social media without users’ consent.  Last year, WRAL raised questions about the use of Clearview software by the Raleigh Police Department and whether that use was consistent with department policy.  The department halted use of the software but the WRAL story suggested the possibility that it was still in use by other agencies in the state.

The N&O says that the BuzzFeed analysis indicates that 64 law enforcement agencies in the state have used Clearview, but notes that the accuracy of that count is difficult to verify because in some instances the company offered its service directly to officers as a free trial without the involvement of their agency.  The Fayetteville Police Department, which the data show is a top user of the software, said in a statement that Clearview “has been a strong asset in [their] toolbox” and reduced chances of human error when searching open-source records.

Sheriff Sued.  Last year the News Roundup noted that former Wake County deputy Richard L. Johnson had filed a civil suit alleging that Sheriff Gerald baker fired him in retaliation for his part in demoting Deputy Teddy Patrick in 2017 for making homophobic and racist comments during a workplace training session.  The Associated Press reported this week that two other former deputies now have filed civil suits alleging that they were fired in retaliation for reporting Patrick’s comments to Johnson, who was the department’s Chief of Operations at the time.

Drugs Burned.  WNCT 9 reports that if you don’t like their fire then you shouldn’t have come around the Onslow County Sheriff’s Office this week because they burned one down – on orders from a judge.  Sheriff’s Office officials said that they incinerated nearly 500 pounds of drugs and paraphernalia that had been held as evidence in cases that have now been resolved.

Rock Hill.  The Charlotte Observer reports that the killing of a prominent Rock Hill doctor, Robert Lesslie, and four other people, including Lesslie’s wife, two grandchildren, and an air conditioning contractor who was working at the Lesslie home, has stunned the local community.  Rock Hill native and former NFL player Phillip Adams is believed to be the perpetrator and committed suicide at his nearby family home as it was surrounded by police.  York County Sheriff Kevin Tolson said that the motive behind the shooting remained unclear on Thursday.

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