News Roundup

WRAL reports that the family of Andrew Brown Jr. has filed a federal wrongful death lawsuit against Pasquotank County Sheriff Tommy Wooten, Dare County Sheriff Doug Doughtie, and several deputies.  Brown was killed in April as he attempted to flee in his car from deputies who were executing search warrants for his home and vehicle.  In May, District Attorney Andrew Womble determined that officers were justified in using deadly force against Brown because he used his vehicle as a weapon while trying to escape.  Brown’s family is seeking $31 million in compensatory and punitive damages.

Prison Without a Fence.  The Charlotte Observer recently had a story about the Center for Women, a thirty-bed residential facility for women who are serving the final years of prison sentences that focuses on preparing the women to transition back into the community.  In addition to offering a less restrictive environment than a typical prison, the nonprofit center has an employment program that teaches job skills and program that focuses on family emotional and social wellness.

Plea Tracker.  The Charlotte Obersver reports that the Durham District Attorney’s Office will participate in a project with Duke University to track decisions about plea bargains.  As part of the Wilson Center for Science and Justice’s “Plea Tracker Project,” prosecutors will report on factors that go into their plea bargain decisions.  The project will last for one year.

Duck Abuse.  The Statesville Record & Landmark reports that 43 ducks were removed from Martin Luther King Jr. Park in Statesville last week because the animals had been subjected to a pattern of abuse during their time in the park.  Some ducks had been shot, another was beaten over the head, and another recently was discovered with its feet cut off.  Carolina Waterfowl has taken custody of the ducks.

Deputy Shot.  The Hickory Daily Record reports that a Caldwell County Sheriff’s Deputy was shot early Thursday morning after responding to a domestic disturbance call in Granite Falls.  The Daily Record story says that a child told a neighbor that his mother was being assaulted by Christopher Owen Payne and that deputies entered the home when nobody would answer the door.  Payne allegedly opened fire when the deputies came inside and one deputy was hit in the leg.  He was evacuated from the scene and treated at the hospital.  Payne eventually surrendered and is facing multiple charges including assault on a law enforcement officer with a firearm.

Capital Gazette.  NPR reports that a Maryland jury has found Jarrod Ramos criminally responsible for murdering five employees of the Capital Gazette newspaper in 2018.  Ramos harbored a longstanding grudge against the newspaper for its 2011 coverage of his guilty plea to a criminal harassment offense and had tried unsuccessfully to sue the paper.  In July 2018, Ramos stormed the paper’s newsroom with a shotgun, killing five people and wounding several others.  Ramos previously pleaded guilty to all charges related to the attack but asserted that he was insane at the time.

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