News Roundup

This week, yet again, America mourns a mass shooting after a young white man attacked the Tops Food Market in Buffalo, New York, killing thirteen people, eleven of them Black, in what appears to be premeditated murder motivated by racism.  Along with the fact, toll, and motivation of the shooting, accomplished as others with a legally purchased assault rifle, is an additional hallmark of our time – the suspect plotted and broadcast the attack on the internet.  Keep reading for more on this story and other news.

Buffalo.  An 18-year-old man, Payton Gendron, faces first-degree murder charges in Erie County, New York, as authorities allege that he travelled hundreds of miles from his home last Saturday to attack a Tops Food Market, which he claims to have purposefully targeted because of its location in a predominantly Black neighborhood.

Gendron, who previously made violent comments while in high school, appears to have been influenced by what is known as the “great replacement” theory, a white supremacist conspiratorial belief that various groups intend to diminish the white population in the United States through immigration and other means.

As the Verge notes, a portion of the attack was live-streamed to Twitch, a video streaming service commonly used to broadcast sessions of videogame play.  While fewer than 30 accounts are estimated to have watched the stream in real-time, the footage quickly went viral and spread throughout the internet.  Twitch claims to have shut down the stream within about two minutes, a response time that media platform watchers considered to be quite good, aside from the fact that the footage quickly leaked to and spread from other platforms.

Early Release.  CBS 17 reports that the Mecklenburg County Sheriff’s Office is attempting to locate Quay Davis, who was mistakenly released from the local jail while still serving a prison sentence that was scheduled to end in 2025.  The CBS 17 report says that Davis was transferred to the Mecklenburg County Jail on a writ related to a weapons possession charge which ultimately was dismissed.  Because of an apparent recordkeeping oversight, Davis, a habitual felon, was released when those charges were dismissed, despite the fact that he still was subject to a prison sentence.  Sheriff Garry McFadden said that while he was accountable for the mistake as Sheriff, he expected better from his staff and there would be an investigation into how the mistake occurred.

Floyd Plea.  The Associated Press reports that former Minneapolis police officer Thomas Lane pleaded guilty this week to a Minnesota state criminal charge of aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter for his participation in the incident where Derek Chauvin killed George Floyd while arresting him for allegedly passing a counterfeit bill at a gas station.  Under the plea agreement, Lane will be able to serve a three-year prison sentence at the same time as he serves any federal sentence he may receive in connection with his conviction on associated federal charges earlier this year.