Moore's efforts at a cover-up took a little different approach from Stockman's. And they even included comedic moments. that almost made me laugh out loud. But the results were the same -- he got the law wrong and referred me to someone else up the ladder.
The main difference with Moore was that he claimed the roadside sign McGarity used to strike me in the back -- near my spine and just inches below my neck -- was neither a "deadly weapon" nor a "dangerous instrument." To make our conversation even more enlightening, Moore kept mixing up those two terms -- as if they are interchangeable and mean the same thing.
But McGarity's offense did involve a "dangerous instrument," based on how it was used (swung with two hands, as hard as he could, right at my spine), and it resulted in "physical injury." That makes it a second-degree assault, which is a Class C felony, punishable by one to 10 years in prison and a fine up to $15,000.
Let's take a look at portions of my conversation with Sgt. Moore. (A video, with the full conversation, is embedded at the end of this post.):
Jayme Moore (JM): To qualify for felony assault, it has to be a serious physical injury by means of a deadly instrument, and it's not going to fall into either one of those provisions. A for-sale sign does not qualify as a dangerous instrument.
Roger Shuler (RS): It was swung like a baseball bat, with two hands.
From the outset, Moore mixed up the terms "deadly instrument" (it's actually "deadly weapon") and "dangerous instrument" -- a sure sign he had no clue what he was talking about. But that didn't keep him from talking:
RS: Before I did anything, I went to the law library and read the entire section on assault. I've got a copy of it. The clear authority is . . . assault second degree, under item No. 2.
JM: On assault 2nd, if it causes physical injury, it has to be by means of a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument, and a for-sale sign is not going to qualify.
RS: Yes, it is. I've got case law that says something as small as a pencil, depending on how it's used . . . He swung it like a baseball bat and hit me in the middle of the back with it. This is a sign that is 3 ft x 2 ft, made of wood and plastic. The law says any substance can be a dangerous instrument, depending on how it's used. This was used to hit me in the middle of my back, swung like a baseball bat by a grown man, using the term 'man' loosely.
I've got case law in Shelby County, Burger v. State, where a Pelham police officer was kicked in the shins by a woman and it was classified as second degree.
One problem here: Everybody agrees it's assault, everybody agrees it's not first-degree assault. But it's also not third, because No. 3 under that, if it involves a dangerous instrument, you must have criminal negligence. And this is not a case of him swinging a sign around crazily, and I happen to run into it. It wasn't negligence.
At this point, the conversation with Sgt. Moore started going off the rails, with things turning in a nutty, goofy direction:
JM: Under assault second, that is intended if you use any kind of deadly instrument -- knife, gun -- but don't cause serious physical injury. Like if somebody is trying to stab you, and they wind up cutting your finger. That's what that statute is used for. [I have no idea where he got this; my research indicates it is pure fantasy.]
RS: This sign was five times bigger than a pencil, and he swung it and hit me in the back. . . .
JM: If he had rammed it in your eye socket, that would qualify.
RS: No kidding. That would be first, not second.
JM: Depending on the injuries.
RS: If somebody jams something in my eye socket, I think it's going to be pretty serious. [Moore seemed to be undecided if having something jammed in your eye socket would cause a serious injury.]
JM: I don't believe it will qualify, based on my experience with the DA's office.
RS: I don't want special treatment; I just want it applied the way it's written.
JM: I don't believe it would qualify as a deadly instrument.
RS: It doesn't have to be a deadly instrument. You're mixing up the words.
JM: If you disagree with me, you can call my supervisor.
RS: [Guffaws] How many people am I going to have to talk to?
Moore's supervisor turned out to be Lt. Howard Brogdon, so he became stop No. 3 on my runaround train.
The Republican National Committee's bulk purchase of Donald Trump Jr.'s new book apparently is the primary reason the author occupies the No. 1 spot on The New York Times' prestigious best-sellers list. It also points to possible fund-raising fraud and campaign-finance violations, both of which could have criminal implications -- and it suggests members of the Trump family are incapable of achieving anything in a straightforward, honest fashion. In other words, Trump Jr.'s book probably is a total piece of crap, but his cronies can help buy him the designation "best-selling author."
After strenuously denying for the past two weeks it didn't do so, the Republican National Committee (RNC) has admitted to buying thousands upon thousands of copies of Triggered: How the Left Thrives on Hate and Wants to Silence Us, written by Donald Trump Jr., and released November 5.
That's bulk sales by any standard and confirms the wisdom of The New York Times in attaching a dagger (†) to the book's title. As the Times explained, the dagger indicates its belief Don Jr.'s book made its way onto its bestseller list in a way that seems “suspicious." In this case, many of Triggered's sales appear to come from bulk purchases and not individual sales.
Triggered is the top-selling hardcover on the Times' nonfiction list this week for the second straight week. It debuted on the nonfiction list last week at number one.
What does the campaign-finance filing reveal, what about the content of Trump Jr.'s book, and is the RNC's bulk purchase really fooling anyone in the book community? From a report at Business Insider:
Trump Jr.'s book Triggered, released on November 5, is partly a memoir and partly a scathing list of grievances against the left and the Democratic Party, which Trump Jr. casts as victimizing his father's presidency and his family.
Triggered debuted at the top of the next week's New York Times best-seller list for nonfiction, with an important caveat: a dagger symbol indicating a large percentage of the book's sales came from "institutional, special interest, group, or bulk purchases."
"It's known in the industry as the 'deadly dagger,'" a source told Page Six. "A rare penalty that is only called for flagrant fouls."
In a new filing with the Federal Election Commission, the RNC revealed it spent $94,800 at Books-A-Million just a few days before Triggered was released. The RNC told The New York Times' Nick Confessore that they "haven't made a large bulk purchase, but are ordering copies to keep up with demand" of Triggered.
Did RNC donors intend for their funds to be used for propping up Donald Trump Jr. on the best-sellers list? The answer probably is no, and that's how criminal charges could enter the picture.
The Kander Memo provides insight about such schemes, which are based on inside knowledge about the book-publishing industry.
In 2014, when the Kanders embarked on this scheme, they calculated that if the wife of a U.S. Senate candidate was a "New York Times Bestselling Author," then this prestige could boost her husband's political campaign and help him win a U.S. Senate seat. It is a "dirty little secret" in the U.S. book-publishing industry that a new author can buy his or her way onto America's most prestigious bestseller lists. It is a scheme that costs between $150,000 and $300,000, depending on certain circumstances. The money is used to buy the author's new book in strategic, large-bulk units -- bulk purchases timed shortly after the new book is officially released.
Some people think if you spend your own money to buy your way onto a bestseller list, then it is not illegal. That's incorrect, but it's beside the point. By seeking to fund their scheme by soliciting online public donations via their "crowd-sourcing" campaign, the Kanders scheme of 2014 clearly crosses the criminal line -- in fact, several criminal lines.
According to The Kander Memo, the book effort likely violated solicitation-registration and felony anti-fraud statutes in every U.S. jurisdiction -- federal and state. It also likely violated statutes in all 50 states that make it a crime to commit, or attempt to commit, theft by deceit. From the memo: [This] is not only an audacious and shameless scheme, it is a patently criminal scheme . . . a "50-state crime spree."
Word that Donald Trump Jr. is a best-selling author might best be placed under one of his father's favorite categories -- "Fake News!" From the UK Guardian:
The book is believed to have sold more than 115,000 copies, according to NPD BookScan, which tracks physical print sales in the US. The RNC said $500,000 had been raised from sales of the book. When it debuted in the bestseller list, Trump Jr tweeted: “Thanks Deplorables! You’re the best.”
This is not the first time claims have been made about sales of Trump Jr’s book being inflated. The New York Times bestseller list marks books with a dagger if retailers report there have been bulk sales, which it did for Triggered. When it topped the chart, it was the only book in the top 10 list to feature the dagger.
The Hachette imprint Center Street, which published the book, has previously said that it did not “have knowledge of third-party book purchases”. The book’s launch was marred when Trump Jr was heckled at one of his own events for refusing to take part in a Q and A session.
In Triggered: How the Left Thrives on Hate and Wants to Silence US, the eldest son of the US president blasts a high-pitched rant against American liberals who he accuses of turning the country into a socialist monument to political correctness.
The US government has been infected with antisemitism, Donald Trump Jr writes in the 294-page book . . . “Angry mobs” are now in charge of major media outlets, political correctness has taken hold and “we have completely ceded control of what we can and cannot say in public to the left”.
The author dedicates Triggered to “the Deplorables”, a reference to Hillary Clinton’s ill-fated portrayal of Trump supporters during the 2016 presidential election. “I am proudly one of you,” he writes.
But a more accurate description of the book, a copy of which has been obtained ahead of publication by the Guardian, might be that it reveals its author to be every bit as devoted to partisan trolling, childish insults and grudge-holding as his father in the Oval Office. Even the title, Triggered, is designed to make the veins on the foreheads of liberals pulsate.
No one should be surprised that Trump Jr., like his father, has problems with facts, but he fires insults left and right. Write the Guardian reviewers:
Trump Jr tells readers he did not set out in writing Triggered to offend anyone. Which is surprising, as he does such a good job at precisely that. Special counsel Robert Mueller is a “feeble old fool” at the head of a “crooked investigation”; conservative commentator Bill Kristol is a rat; the Squad of four left-wing congresswomen that includes Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, should be renamed “Hamas caucus”; George W Bush is a loser like Romney. As for CNN, the news channel that the US president has made his media whipping boy, its newscasters are nothing less than “full of shit”.
Historians of the Trump era are unlikely to find much solid material to mine within Triggered. Though the author follows his father’s protocol in attacking the former FBI director James Comey, he barely mentions what he calls “the infamous Trump Tower meeting … which supposedly exposed me as a Russian spy”.
In that meeting, on 9 June 2016, Trump Jr, his brother-in-law Jared Kushner and the campaign chair, Paul Manafort, met a Russian lawyer with links to the Kremlin who said she could offer dirt on Hillary Clinton. Nor does Trump Jr discuss his infamous reply to an email setting up the meeting: “If it’s what you say I love it especially later in the summer.”
He also – like his father – appears to play a little fast and loose with the facts. Trump Jr accuses Comey of alerting the press to the supposed importance of the Steele dossier, a file of opposition research on links between Trump and Moscow, after briefing the president-elect about it. But in doing so, he misstates the date – by a year.
“All [Comey] had to do,” he writes, “was hand the phoney dossier to the president-elect during an official visit and then leak the visit to the press. Presto chango! In that moment on January 7, 2016, the dossier went from a pile of garbage to a document in an official intelligence briefing.”
In fact, the FBI came into possession of the Steele dossier on 9 December 2016, when the Republican senator John McCain handed it to Comey. Concerned about Russia’s untroubled response to sanctions imposed by Barack Obama, and knowing the media had copies of the dossier, Comey and other officials briefed the White House about it on 5 January 2017.
Comey then briefed Trump on 6 January 2017, an encounter that would stay out of the public sphere until it was described in Comey’s own book, A Higher Loyalty. Buzzfeed, which obtained the dossier from a McCain aide in December 2016, published it in full on 10 January.
Don Jr. is many things—a hunter, a lover of big fish, a failson, and now... a New York Times best-selling author. Triggered, his useless paean to uselessness, has wiggled its way to the top of the much-vaunted Times bestseller list, but there’s a big ole caveat—according to the Times, a lot of the book’s sales were from bulk orders, which indicates that “the author or someone associated with the author bought a substantial number of copies.” Color me extremely shocked that a man from an extremely scam-happy, corrupt family is in all likelihood gaming an easily gamed system! As Electric Literature wrote in 2018, the Times is well aware that authors often find ways to juice their sales, and in particular, authors of books with a more conservative bent. And a book that’s made it to the Times list largely through bulk sales is marked with a dagger, what one book industry source told Page Six is called the “the deadly dagger” and a “rare penalty that is only called for flagrant fouls.”
Alabama's Drummond Company and Balch Bingham law firm allegedly conspired in schemes to launder money and conceal payments designed to lobby the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) against designating an area in North Birmingham as a Superfund site, according to a third amended complaint in a lawsuit filed by a former Drummond executive.
Using a coat drive for poor black children to launder money headed for the pocket of a corrupt politician? Can the stench of corruption get any more hideous than that? This is directly from the amended complaint in the Roberson lawsuit:
As part of its public relations campaign to defeat the EPA in North Birmingham and at the request of Joel Gilbert of Balch Bingham, David Roberson, on behalf of Drummond Company, wrote a $5,000.00 check to be used to purchase 100 fifty-dollar gift cards to Burlington Coat Factory to be used to purchase winter coats for kids in North Birmingham.
Unbeknownst to Plaintiff Roberson as Joel Gilbert concealed this information from the Plaintiff, Balch and Oliver Robinson had agreed for Oliver to keep $2,500.00 out of the $5,000.00. Plaintiff did not learn of this hidden fact until his criminal trial in July of 2018. Plaintiff suffered damages as a result of Balch’s concealment of it allowing Oliver to keep half of the $5,000.00 as the prosecution in Roberson’s criminal trial used this $2,500.00 payment to Oliver Robinson as damaging evidence against Roberson in his criminal trial to help it obtain a conviction against him.
If that scam doesn't make you want to puke, try this one on for size, as reported by banbalch.com:
But worse than that, are the revelations tied to Balch Bingham’s stooges Trey Glenn and Scott Phillips currently facing a criminal ethics trial in Jefferson County.
How ugly are the details? From the amended Roberson complaint:
Balch Bingham, LLP contracted with Trey Glenn (who invoiced Balch under the company name of Southeast Engineering Consulting, LLC and directed the payments to Scott Phillips) to lobby the Alabama Department of Environmental Management (or “ADEM”) to oppose the EPA in listing the North Birmingham site on the National Priorities List. The Balch invoices to Drummond seeking reimbursement for the payments to Trey Glenn and Scott Phillips were paid by Drummond General Counsel Blake Andrews and approved by Drummond CEO Mike Tracy. At the time that Scott Phillips and Trey Glenn were receiving money from Balch via Drummond to lobby ADEM on a policy matter involving the listing of North Birmingham as a Superfund site, Scott Phillips was on the Alabama Environmental Management Commission (or “AEMC”). The AEMC is the entity that oversees ADEM.
Neither Glenn nor Phillips, while they were lobbying ADEM about it opposing the EPA’s listing of North Birmingham as a Superfund site, disclosed to ADEM the existence of their contract with Balch Bingham or that they were indirectly being paid by Drummond Company.
Balch and Drummond Company concealed from Roberson that Drummond was paying Phillips (who was on the AEMC), pursuant to a contract with Balch, to lobby the entity in which the AEMC supervises (ADEM). Roberson suffered damages as a result of Balch and Drummond’s concealment of their payments to Glenn and Phillips as their testimony that Drummond was paying Phillips to lobby ADEM when he was on the commission that supervises ADEM was very damaging to Roberson at his criminal trial and was used in part by the prosecution to convict Roberson even though he had no knowledge of this scheme and even though Glenn’s and Phillips’ invoices were being paid by Balch and reimbursed by Blake Andrews and Mike Tracy.
If that sounds gross to you, it's probably because you have integrity -- something that is in short supply throughout Alabama's corporate/legal/political industrial complex. We give the last word to banbalch.com:
The concealment is now out in the open.
Shockingly, Drummond Company allegedly hid the money laundering and hid the secret greasing of Balch stooges from their then-Vice President of Government Affairs, David Roberson. Are the allegations potent enough to spur more probes from law enforcement and regulatory agencies of Drummond Company, retired Drummond CEO Mike Tracy and Drummond Company’s General Counsel Blake Andrews? Richard Mullen, the new CEO at Drummond, may have to mop up this mess before it floods the basement.
Donald Trump, with a public impeachment inquiry closing in on his presidency, is showing signs of a "hypomanic episode," according to an academic psychologist who has led an effort to alert the public about Trump's apparently unstable mental status.
Donald Trump is not acting like late-stage Richard Nixon — yet. The latter raged and wandered about the White House in a drunken state during the climax of the Watergate impeachment scandal. But as the impeachment process moves forward, there are indications that Trump is spiraling out of control and his closest aides are apparently unable to control him.
Trump has lived almost his entire adult life without restraints on his behavior. The stress of the impeachment process, along with the growing sense that the 2020 election will be a referendum on a deeply unpopular presidency, are forcing a man who has already shown himself to be mentally unwell into a steep decline, perhaps into psychotic behavior.
What about Gartner's credentials? DeVega lays them out:
Dr. John Gartner is a psychologist, psychoanalyst and former professor at the Johns Hopkins University Medical School. Gartner is also the founder of the Duty to Warn PAC, an organization working to raise awareness about the danger to the United States and the world posed by Donald Trump. Gartner was a contributor to the 2017 bestseller “The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump: 27 Psychiatrists and Mental Health Experts Assess a President.” Along with two other mental health professionals, he wrote the recent USA Today op-ed proclaiming that “Trump’s rash Syria move looked like a ‘hypomanic episode.'”
I recently spoke with Gartner about Donald Trump’s mental state and the likelihood that impeachment will force the president to act out in even more dangerous and unpredictable ways. Gartner also explains the ways that Trump’s malignant narcissism manifests itself through sadistic pleasure, which may even be sexual in nature. Gartner also considers what will happen to Trump’s followers and their “fascist fever” when Trump is eventually no longer president of the United States.
First, Gartner notes that Trump's behavior appears to go beyond any form of mania to something potentially more dangerous -- malignant narcissism:
Q: If Donald Trump were your patient, how would you evaluate his behavior over the last year or so? Is Donald Trump’s behavior devolving, as predicted by the medical literature?
A: Yes, but in ways that I think are even more ominous than when we spoke almost a year ago. Trump is a malignant narcissist. Erich Fromm, the noted psychoanalyst who studied Nazi Germany — and the person who introduced the diagnosis of “narcissism” — explained that in such personalities their grandiosity, their narcissism, their paranoia, conspiracy theories, sociopathy, criminal behavior and sadism all go into overdrive when they get power. Those traits are also inflamed when a narcissist is challenged or attacked.
And there is a feedback loop as well, where because they’re gaining power — which inflames their narcissism and their paranoia and their freedom to act on their criminal impulses — of course that means there will be opposition and resistance to them. Narcissists like Donald Trump then demonize and try to brutalize and invalidate anyone who does not kiss his ring. Trump has systematically eliminated every single guardrail on his power and behavior in the White House.
There is literally nobody, not one person, who can tell him “no” right now, intervene against him. But there is another element to Trump’s dangerous behavior that we should be paying very close attention to. I believe that Donald Trump is having a hypomanic episode.
Dr. John Gartner
Many reporters and journalists have described Trump’s recent behavior as manic. Concerned observers highlight Trump’s tweets, which have greatly increased in number.
A hypomanic episode is not the same as a manic episode. “Manic” is only partially accurate in describing Donald Trump because when somebody is manic, they think they’re Jesus Christ, which means they are psychotic and usually end up in the psychiatric hospital. But when someone’s hypomanic, they become more agitated, more energized, more impulsive. They act out more aggressively with poorer judgment. A hypomanic person does not listen to anybody. They do not delay their activity. They do not accept feedback from anybody else.
This means that a hypomanic person can act quickly, impulsively and urgently, with poor judgment, in ways that will have predictably catastrophic consequences. A person with that temperament can, in moments of stress, devolve into something that is a psychiatric disorder. Essentially, everything gets accelerated for the worst. This is what we are now seeing with Donald Trump. When this will really become an even greater crisis — a crescendo in his dangerous behavior — is when Donald Trump starts making catastrophic moves internationally. He could start a war.
Q: Trump’s speech after the Delta Force commandos killed al-Baghdadi, the ISIS leader, was utterly unpresidential. It was crass and disturbing. He was truly in his element.
A: Note Trump’s lies and grandiosity. Of course, he claims that he destroyed ISIS. He has said things such as “I’m the chosen one.” It is malignant narcissism and grandiosity, which has become more extreme.
It is very alarming that Trump’s dysfunctional behavior is getting worse — even by earlier standards, which were very alarming. For example, Trump made a catastrophic decision to impulsively withdraw the U.S. military from Syria which leaves the Kurds to face genocide. He literally picked up the phone, talked to the president of Turkey, and without consulting or informing even one human being in his own administration, literally at 3:00 a.m. and called the military and said, “Start withdrawing from Syria.” That is a manic style of decision-making. It did start a war. There is always that narrative about a president’s leadership and the 3 a.m. phone call about a global crisis as the test of his leadership. Well, in this case Donald Trump is the crisis. He is the 3 a.m. phone call.
Q: What do we do in a moment where it is the president of the United States who is the greatest danger to the nation and the world?
A: It’s not that Donald Trump is the greatest danger to the world, but that he is so much more erratic and desperate, and more driven now to act out in destructive ways to feel powerful.
Q: Donald Trump was booed during the World Series. The same thing happened when he went to Madison Square Garden to attend a UFC event. During the baseball game Trump looked like a man about to explode in rage and tears. In such a moment, how does a malignant narcissist such as Donald Trump resolve the obvious public scorn, when he imagines himself as being universally loved?
A: Reality has always been fluid for Donald Trump. Erich Fromm said that malignant narcissists live on the boundary between sanity and insanity. This is a state almost akin to being in the middle between psychosis and neurosis. Because Donald Trump is such an inveterate liar and con man, the American people and the world do not know if Trump is just trying to con everybody or if he actually believes the crazy conspiracy theories that he touts, or crazy grandiose things such as the claim that he won the popular vote, or that he is cheered instead of being booed at public events.
I believe that Donald Trump may just be lying and at other times he may be delusional. It shifts back and forth. People who have this level of severe personality disorder must psychologically project everything bad outward. They can never be to blame. They’re always the victim. Someone else is always to blame. They can’t own up to the bad things that they’re doing, so they must externalize the blame. People like Trump end up accusing other people of the very thing within themselves that they cannot tolerate or acknowledge.
Q: At his rallies and other events Trump often claims that the Democrats don’t respect the Constitution: “They’re traitors, they’re treasonous. The Democrats have conducted a coup.” Does Trump actually believe that, or is that all outward projection of his own internalized guilt?
A: Donald Trump is incapable of feeling guilt, shame or remorse. But Trump does project externally onto others what he knows is within himself. Sometimes it’s unconscious, though, so Trump is not aware that he’s projecting. Donald Trump does not feel any compunction about lying. Donald Trump cannot tolerate anything negative about himself, therefore he needs to experience it as coming from the outside where he is the innocent victim.
Q: Several weeks ago, Trump publicly said that his wife, Melania, would not be willing to take a bullet for him. Was that a moment of honesty about their relationship?
A: Donald Trump is a person who really is incapable of thinking of relationships as being anything but transactional. I don’t believe that Trump has a single human being in the world who actually feels affection for him or likes him and where he in turn returns the favor. There’s no human being that Donald Trump likes, unless they are helping Trump or doing something useful for him at a given moment. But the minute that person stops being useful, they cease to exist to Donald Trump.
If you look at malignant narcissistic leaders such as Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Saddam Hussein and others, they all act in that way. Unless you are a slavish toady, such personalities will eventually see you as an enemy. This is what we’ve seen with Trump’s systematic purging of people in the White House. Anyone who does not put the Great Leader above all other things — in this case, above American democracy — is purged. And that is how you get a totalitarian state.
Q: Trump has really normalized deviance. At one of his recent rallies he even pretended to have an orgasm on stage while re-enacting a sex act. There is a deeply libidinal connection between Donald Trump and his cult members. This is an aspect of fascism which is little understood by the general public and most in the news media.
Trump experiences great pleasure from sadism. One of the four components of narcissism is sadism, getting pleasure — maybe even sexual pleasure — from degrading, humiliating and harming your enemies.
Q: What about Trump’s threats of both explicit and implied lethal violence against the Democrats, the whistleblower and other people who dare to oppose him?
What would Trump be like if he didn’t have the restraints from the remnants of the United States Constitution or the Democrats in the House of Representatives? We have to wonder how many immigrants would be in concentration camps right now. How many FBI agents and Democrats and journalists would be in jail?
A: Donald Trump would not mind seeing some journalists killed. I don’t think Trump sees the deaths of journalists as a bad thing. In totalitarian states like Russia, journalists are killed and the opposition is jailed. The courts are used to put people in jail for “corruption” when they dare to challenge the real corruption of the state. Donald Trump would be as bad as any of the other totalitarian leaders throughout history if he had the chance and the unrestricted power.
Q: The New York Times has analyzed approximately 11,000 of Trump’s tweets. Reading them as a mental health professional, what do Trump’s tweets reveal?
A: The most frequent use of Trump’s tweets is to attack people. There’s almost a manic level to Trump’s rage. The other most common category was self-praise. Trump is a malignant narcissist. He’s shamelessly grandiose. Trump’s paranoia is inflamed and all these behaviors and traits are getting dramatically worse because he’s destabilized.
Two correctional officers responsible for guarding Jeffrey Epstein when he took his own life are expected to face criminal charges this week for falsifying prison records, two people familiar with the matter told The Associated Press.
The federal charges could come as soon as Tuesday and are the first in connection with Epstein’s death. The wealthy financier died at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in New York while awaiting trial on charges of sexually abusing teenage girls. The officers on Epstein’s unit at the federal jail in New York City are suspected of failing to check on him every half-hour, as required, and of fabricating log entries to claim they had. Federal prosecutors offered the guards a plea bargain, but the AP reported Friday that the officers declined the deal.
The Epstein case already has shown the federal correctional system is manned by overworked staffers, who often cut corners and fail to follow proper procedures. From AP:
Both guards were working overtime because of staffing shortages. They have been placed on administrative leave while the FBI and the Justice Department’s inspector general investigate the circumstances surrounding Epstein’s death. The 66-year-old had been awaiting trial on charges of sexually abusing teenage girls.
Epstein was placed on suicide watch after he was found on his cell floor July 23 with bruises on his neck. Multiple people familiar with operations at the jail have said Epstein was then taken off suicide watch about a week before his death, meaning he was less closely monitored but still supposed to be checked on every 30 minutes. Epstein’s death exposed mounting evidence that the chronically understaffed Metropolitan Correctional Center may have bungled its responsibility to keep him alive. Guards often work overtime day after day, and other employees are pressed into service as correctional officers.
Falsification of records might prove to be the central issue in a criminal case against the guards:
Falsification of records has been a problem throughout the federal prison system. Kathleen Hawk Sawyer, who was named director of the Bureau of Prisons after Epstein’s death, disclosed in a Nov. 4 internal memo that a review of operations across the agency found some staff members failed to perform required rounds and inmate counts but logged that they had done so anyway. “Falsification of information in government systems and documents is also a violation of policy, and may be subject to criminal prosecution as well,” Hawk Sawyer wrote in the memo to top prison officials, a copy of which was obtained by the AP. The memo also noted that staff members who are indicted by a grand jury will be placed on an indefinite, unpaid suspension until the resolution of the criminal case. Epstein’s ability to take his own life while incarcerated at one of the most secure jails in America ended the possibility of a trial that would have involved prominent figures. And it sparked widespread anger that he wouldn’t have to answer for the allegations. He had pleaded not guilty and was preparing to argue that he could not be charged because of a 2008 deal he made to avoid federal prosecution on similar allegations.
The Justice Department has vowed to aggressively investigate and bring charges against anyone who may have helped Epstein. Federal prosecutors investigating the financier’s death subpoenaed up to 20 staff members at the jail in August.
Attorney General William Barr — who has said investigators found “serious irregularities” at the jail — said the FBI’s investigation had been slowed because some witnesses had been uncooperative. In addition to the shakeup at the top of the Bureau of Prisons, the warden at the Metropolitan Correctional Center had also been reassigned to a desk post at a regional office.
Many of our readers probably have felt they have been on the receiving end of a runaround at some point in their lives -- maybe from a retail store, a utility company, a bank, an auto mechanic's shop. I've certainly had such experiences, but I'm not sure I ever had truly been put through "the wash cycle" until I received a runaround from law enforcement.
That experience left my head spinning and made me think I had been in the presence of runaround "greatness."
Here is key element, under the law, to this incident. The bleeding abrasion -- I've called it a welt -- that McGarity left on my back was about 2-3 inches from my spine and 6 inches or so below my neck. What kind of damage could such a blow cause if my spine or neck -- any neurological center -- had taken the full force? I'm not qualified to make an assessment like that, but I feel safe in saying that severe blows to the spine and neck have been known to be life altering.
McGarity committed a felony, under Alabama law, for two reasons: (1) He caused physical injury; (2) He used a "dangerous instrument" to do it. That is second-degree assault, a felony. Here is how a "dangerous instrument" is defined by statute, at Code of Alabama 13A-1-2
(5) DANGEROUS INSTRUMENT. Any instrument, article, or substance which, under the circumstances in which it is used, attempted to be used, or threatened to be used, is highly capable of causing death or serious physical injury. The term includes a "vehicle," as that term is defined in subdivision (15).
Note the key phrase "highly capable of causing death of serious physical injury." Here is the statutory definition of "serious physical injury":
(14) SERIOUS PHYSICAL INJURY. Physical injury which creates a substantial risk of death, or which causes serious and protracted disfigurement, protracted impairment of health, or protracted loss or impairment of the function of any bodily organ.
Could McGarity's roadside sign -- made of wood and hard plastic and swung with two hands like a baseball bat by a "grown man" (using that term loosely), at my spine and near my neck -- have caused "protracted impairment of health." I don't think there is any question the answer is yes. The whole scenario still causes me to have visions of at least partial paralysis, with wheelchairs, crutches, and similar devices becoming a regular feature of my life.
As we show below, Alabama case law has come to define "dangerous instrument" in a fairly broad way, with dozens of objects receiving that classification in cases where people were injured.
For now, let's return to the runaround. It started when I tried to get "law officials" in Shelby County to properly classify the offense as a felony. I spoke with an assistant district attorney, a magistrate, and three sheriff's officials (a patrol deputy, a sergeant, and a lieutenant). No matter how clearly Alabama law said otherwise, each one insisted McGarity's offense was a misdemeanor.
The whole circus began with Dept. Lee Stockman, who came to our house to take a report. When I obtained a copy of the report a few days later, I noticed that he had classified it as a misdemeanor, so I called him.
Stockman stated that he classified it as a misdemeanor in his original report -- and everybody up the line was unwilling to change it, no matter how wrong it was. (Video of my conversation with Dept. Stockman is embedded at the end of this post.) In other words, the least experienced and qualified person in the whole process -- a patrol officer -- made the misdemeanor determination, and all of his superiors took a "hear no evil, see no evil" approach when questioned about it.
In essence, the assault wasn't against them, so they didn't care how it was treated. They just wanted what was easiest for the court system to deal with -- and a misdemeanor case goes to a bench trial before a district judge, and that is easy compared to a felony, which goes before a circuit judge and likely involves a jury.
Here is a portion of my conversation with Stockman about his designation of a third-degree assault, which is a misdemeanor:
Roger Shuler (RS): I don't understand how it was listed as third degree.
Deputy Stockman (DS): You have to have intent to cause serious physical injury, and you have to cause serious physical injury.
(RS): No, you called it an abrasion in your report, and it was bleeding. I've got case law that says someone kicked in the shins, with a split lip, with a skin on the nose are all physical injury. DS: I based it on my experience in law enforcement.
With that last line, we are getting at the truth. Stockman probably didn't even consult the law. He just put down what he had seen done in other Shelby County assault cases, never considering whether those designations were correct, under the law. I call it law enforcement by "folk lore." A department designates a classification of a case a certain way for several years, and it becomes departmental folk lore. That's how all such cases are classified, regardless of what the written law says.
Also, I showed Stockman the abrasion on my back when he came to our home, but he apparently never considered that it was right next to my spine and just below my neck. Under the law, the damage that a "dangerous instrument" is capable of causing, depending on how it is used, is critical to proper classification of the offense. McGarity used his sign to hit me, at full force, near two areas that can cause life-changing injuries. Stockman apparently didn't know the law or didn't care to take note of where I had been hit.
Speaking of written law, let's look at that. The controlling law on the McGarity incident is Code of Alabama 13-A-6-21 (a) (2), which reads:
(a) A person commits the crime of assault in the second degree if the person does any of the following:
(2) With intent to cause physical injury to another person, he or she causes physical injury to any person by means of a deadly weapon or a dangerous instrument.
That is assault-second degree, and it's a Class C felony. That is the correct designation for McGarity's offense.
Assault-first degree is a Class B felony (Code of Alabama 13A-6-20), and it requires "serious physical injury." Serious physical injury has been defined as "Serious physical injury means physical injury that creates a substantial risk of death, or that causes serious and protracted disfigurement, protracted impairment of health, or protracted loss or impairment of the function of any bodily organ." The abrasion on my back did not qualify, so it could not be first-degree assault.
Assault-third degree is a Class A misdemeanor (Code of Alabama 13A-6-22). That's how Stockman and his superiors insisted on classifying the McGarity offense, but that could not be right because here is how the statute reads in pertinent part:
(a) A person commits the crime of assault in the third degree if:
(1) With intent to cause physical injury to another person, he causes physical injury to any person; or
(2) He recklessly causes physical injury to another person; or (3) With criminal negligence he causes physical injury to another person by means of a deadly weapon or a dangerous instrument;
As you can see, third-degree assault generally applies in cases that do not involve use of a "deadly weapon" or "dangerous instrument" -- and do involve recklessness or criminal negligence. If McGarity and I had been in a crowded place, and he started swinging his arms around, and happened to strike me in the face (causing a bruise), that would have been assault-third degree.
But nothing like that occurred in this case. McGarity did use a dangerous instrument (a road sign), under Alabama law, and he grabbed it with both hands and swung it intentionally at me -- with no one else in the vicinity, and having a history of attempting to trample my rights. There was nothing reckless, negligent, or accidental about it; he meant to hit me, and he did hit me.
As noted above, McGarity's offense was a felony for two key reasons: (1) He used a "dangerous instrument," under Alabama law; (2) He caused "physical injury," under Alabama law.
In Davis, the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals found that a stick, a tree limb, and a shoe were "deadly weapons or dangerous instruments" sufficient for a felony assault. The appellate court has made similar findings in other cases. In Austin v. State, 555 So. 2d 324 (Ala. Crim. App., 1989), the court found a piece of lumber (2 X 4) was a dangerous instrument. In Helton v. State, 372 So. 2d 390 (Ala. Crim. App., 1979), the court cited cases where a large stone, a Coke bottle, a boot, and an aluminum chair were considered deadly weapons or dangerous instruments.
What constitutes a physical injury. The Burger case makes it clear, and the bar is pretty low:
Here, the testimony of the two officers was sufficient to establish that Officer Walker had suffered "physical injury." This court has held that the definition of physical injury includes a "black eye,"South v. City of Mountain Brook, 688 So. 2d 292, 297 (Ala.Crim.App.1996); a "busted lip" and "skint nose,"Eubanks v. State, 611 So. 2d 448, 450(Ala.Crim.App.1992); and several kicks in the groin that "hurt for a second,"Striplin v. City of Dothan, 607 So. 2d 1285, 1287 (Ala.Crim.App.1992).
Did the bleeding abrasion on my back match the examples of "physical injury" outlined above in Burger? Yes. Did McGarity's roadside sign match the examples of "dangerous instruments" outlined in Davis, Austin, and Helton? Yes.
Therefore, we are talking about a second-degree assault, which is a Class C felony.
As for Deputy Stockman, he said he could tell that I was not going to be satisfied with his answers -- and he was right -- so he referred me to his supervisor, Sgt. Jayme Moore. That's where the runaround took on new dimensions.
That is five Republicans -- who engaged in or allowed -- alleged activities that were criminal, dishonest, unlawful, despicable, or some combination of all those. We can put all of these acts under the broad category of "corruption," and they were committed by individuals who were elected or appointed to represent the State of Alabama.
With Hubbard, Moore, and Bentley having already hit the exits, we are left with this question: Should Miller be fired or forced to resign from his current position as a policy adviser to President Donald Trump -- and should Sessions be pressured to back out of the 2020 GOP race for his old U.S. Senate seat, currently held by Democrat Doug Jones?
The worst might be yet to come for Miller and Sessions. Wednesday's report about Miller's emails being leaked to the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) is just the first of an expected series of revelations based on roughly 900 emails. Upcoming installments might include much more damaging revelations than we've seen already, and they could answer this question: Did Miller act on his own or did he trade in white nationalist talking points with Sessions' knowledge and support? This is from an article at the Philadelphia Inquirer:
The report is the first installment in a series that draws on more than 900 leaked emails that Miller sent to a Breitbart writer over a 15-month period between 2015 and 2016. The report describes Miller's emails as overwhelmingly focused on race and immigration and characterizes him as obsessed with ideas like "white genocide" (a conspiracy theory associated with white supremacists) and sharply curbing immigration by nonwhites.
Among the more damming email exchanges highlighted in the SPLC report is one that shows Miller directing a Breitbart reporter (Katie McHugh) to aggregate stories from the white supremacist journal American Renaissance, or "AmRen," for stories that emphasize crimes committed by immigrants and nonwhites. In another, Miller is apparently upset that Amazon removed Confederate flag merchandise from its marketplace in the wake of the 2015 Charleston church massacre. (Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos also owns The Washington Post.) Others reportedly show him promoting The Camp of Saints, a racist French novel popular among white nationalists.
Are even more damning revelations likely coming in future installments from the SPLC? Our guess is yes; we doubt the organization fired its strongest shots in the first article. While the public now probably associates Miller with Donald Trump, most of these actions happened on Jeff Sessions' watch, as driven home in this report from New York magazine:
Nobody would mistake Stephen Miller for a humanitarian. The White House speechwriter is widely known to be the force shaping President Trump’s anti-immigration rhetoric and policies. Remember Trump’s Oval Office address in January, with its hyperbolic references to rapes, murders, and even dismemberment? That was all Miller, as McKay Coppins reported for The Atlantic at the time. Or the speech the president gave in Poland back in 2017? “The fundamental question of our time is whether the West has the will to survive,” Trump told a crowd in Warsaw. “Do we have the confidence in our values to defend them at any cost? Do we have enough respect for our citizens to protect our borders? Do we have the desire and the courage to preserve our civilization in the face of those who would subvert and destroy it?” If that sounds too eloquent for Trump, you’re right. The words belonged to Miller. So, too, did many of Trump’s most outrageous immigration policies, like family separation, and his ongoing quest to end temporary protected status for thousands of refugees.
None of this suggests that Trump is fully Miller’s puppet. Trump was a racist long before he became president and he campaigned on nationalist sentiments that Miller appears to share. But it is true that Miller has used the Trump White House to amplify his own, more developed notions about immigrants and race. A new report from the Southern Poverty Law Center clarifies the source of Miller’s views. He isn’t just an immigration skeptic. He’s immersed in the white-nationalist movement, and has been at least since he worked for Jeff Sessions. . . .
Miller’s white-nationalist sympathies aren’t limited to immigration. After Dylann Roof murdered black churchgoers in Charleston, South Carolina, Miller was troubled by the prospect that Confederate monuments might disappear. In one message to McHugh, he wrote, “What do the [Confederate monument] vandals say to the people fighting and dying overseas in uniform right now who are carrying on a seventh or eighth generation of military service in their families, stretching back to our founding?” (The military might have its own white-nationalist problem, but as a matter of fact, it is not an all-white institution.) In a subsequent email, Miller wondered if the Spanish should thus be asked to stop displaying the country’s flag since it is, after all, a symbol of colonialism.
On their own, the emails are incontrovertible proof that Miller is not only racist, but is conversant in and influenced by white-nationalist thought.
Does the same hold true for Miller's boss at the time, former U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL)? Future reporting from SPLC likely will make that clear.
What will it take for Alabama voters to finally grasp that former U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) is a racist who surrounds himself with like-minded staffers. That question comes to mind after revelations yesterday that Donald Trump adviser Stephen Miller, whose rise to power included a stint working for Sessions, engaged in extensive email exchanges with right-wing Breitbart News editorsthat reflectracist and white-nationalist views.
Leaked emails from White House senior policy adviser Stephen Miller from 2015-2016 reveal an obsession with white nationalism, the Confederacy and the denigration of black and Hispanic communities.
More than 900 private emails between Miller and Breitbart News were examined by the Southern Poverty Law Center's Hatewatch section, revealing that 80 percent of the messages pertained to race or immigration. The emails sent between March 2015 and June 2016 straddle Miller's time as an aide to then-Alabama Republican Senator Jeff Sessions and his later role on as a senior adviser for then-presidential candidate Donald Trump's campaign. Miller's emails tout eugenics and white nationalist conspiracy theories and offer news tips to Breitbart on how to cover immigration and amplify stories about black and Hispanic crime.
Katie McHugh, the former Breitbart editor who leaked the emails to Hatewatch, told the SPLC that "what Stephen Miller sent to me in those emails has become policy at the Trump administration." McHugh, who publicly renounced her alt-right ties and beliefs in an interview with Buzzfeed News, was fired from Breitbart in 2017 for an anti-Muslim tweet.
Miller's conversations with McHugh and the Breitbart editors show him suggesting story ideas as well as directing the right-wing publication on how to report anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim news narratives. The now-senior Trump administration adviser who has been instrumental in crafting the president's immigration policies delves into topics ranging from Central American refugees to Nazi literature.
In the run-up to the 2016 election, White House senior policy adviser Stephen Miller promoted white nationalist literature, pushed racist immigration stories and obsessed over the loss of Confederate symbols after Dylann Roof’s murderous rampage, according to leaked emails reviewed by Hatewatch.
The emails, which Miller sent to the conservative website Breitbart News in 2015 and 2016, showcase the extremist, anti-immigrant ideology that undergirds the policies he has helped create as an architect of Donald Trump’s presidency. These policies include reportedly setting arrest quotas for undocumented immigrants, an executive order effectively banning immigration from five Muslim-majority countries and a policy of family separation at refugee resettlement facilities that the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Inspector General said is causing “intense trauma” in children.
In this, the first of what will be a series about those emails, Hatewatch exposes the racist source material that has influenced Miller’s visions of policy. That source material, as laid out in his emails to Breitbart, includes white nationalist websites, a “white genocide”-themed novel in which Indian men rape white women, xenophobic conspiracy theories and eugenics-era immigration laws that Adolf Hitler lauded in Mein Kampf.
Issues beyond race, immigration, and crime seem to hold little interest for Miller:
Hatewatch reviewed more than 900 previously private emails Miller sent to Breitbart editors from March 4, 2015, to June 27, 2016. Miller does not converse along a wide range of topics in the emails. His focus is strikingly narrow – more than 80 percent of the emails Hatewatch reviewed relate to or appear on threads relating to the subjects of race or immigration. Hatewatch made multiple attempts to reach the White House for a comment from Miller about the content of his emails but did not receive any reply.
Miller’s perspective on race and immigration across the emails is repetitious. When discussing crime, which he does scores of times, Miller focuses on offenses committed by nonwhites. On immigration, he touches solely on the perspective of severely limiting or ending nonwhite immigration to the United States. Hatewatch was unable to find any examples of Miller writing sympathetically or even in neutral tones about any person who is nonwhite or foreign-born.
Most of Miller's missives were sent with taxpayer-funded resources, while he worked for Jeff Sessions:
Miller used his government email address as an aide to then-Sen. Jeff Sessions in the emails Hatewatch reviewed. He sent the majority of the emails Hatewatch examined before he joined Trump’s campaign in January 2016 and while he was still working for Sessions. Miller also used a personal Hotmail.com address in the emails and did so both before and after he started working for Trump. Hatewatch confirmed the authenticity of Miller’s Hotmail.com address through an email sent from his government address in which he lists it as his future point of contact:
“I am excited to announce that I am beginning a new job as Senior Policy Advisor to presidential candidate Donald J. Trump,” Miller wrote from his government email on Jan. 26, 2016, to an undisclosed group of recipients. “Should you need to reach me, my personal email address is [redacted].”
How ugly was some of the material Miller shared via public resources? SPLC provides examples:
Miller sent a story from the white nationalist website VDARE to McHugh on Oct. 23, 2015, the emails show. White nationalist Peter Brimelow founded VDARE in 1999. The website traffics in the “white genocide” or “great replacement” myth, which suggests that nonwhite people are systematically and deliberately wiping white people off the planet.
McHugh started the email conversation by asking if Hurricane Patricia could drive refugees into the United States. The hurricane battered parts of Central America, Mexico and Texas, and the media heavily covered the storm. Miller replied to her by underscoring the possibility that Mexican survivors of the storm could be given temporary protected status (TPS), a George H.W. Bush-era policy that would enable them to live and work in the United States for a limited stay.
The VDARE story by Steve Sailer, an anti-immigration activist who traffics in discredited race science, focused on instances in which the United States offered refugees temporary protected status. The article was posted the same day Miller shared it with McHugh.
Here is another example of Miller's reading material:
Miller recommended in a Sept. 6, 2015, email that Breitbart write about The Camp of the Saints, a racist French novel by Jean Raspail. Notably, The Camp of the Saints is popular among white nationalists and neo-Nazis because of the degree to which it fictionalizes the “white genocide” or “great replacement” myth into a violent and sexualized story about refugees. The novel’s apocalyptic plot centers on a flotilla of Indian people who invade France, led by a nonwhite Indian-born antagonist referred to as the “turd eater” – a character who literally eats human feces. In one section, a white woman is raped to death by brown-skinned refugees. In another, a nationalist character shoots and kills a pro-refugee leftist over his support of race mixing. The white nationalist Social Contract Press plucked the 1973 book from relative obscurity and distributed it in the United States.
The emails reveal Miller's fascination with Calvin Coolidge, who perhaps was America's most racist president, pre-Trump. Right-wing icon Ronald Reagan frequently cited Coolidge as his favorite president:
Miller refers to President Calvin Coolidge multiple times in emails to Breitbart. Coolidge signed the Immigration Act of 1924. The legislation was based on eugenics and severely limited immigration from certain parts of the world into the United States. White nationalists lionize Coolidge, in part for his remarks condemning race mixing. “There are racial considerations too grave to be brushed aside for any sentimental reasons,” Coolidge wrote in a 1921 magazine article, as quoted on American Renaissance. “Biological laws tell us that certain divergent people will not mix or blend. … Quality of mind and body suggests that observance of ethnic law is as great a necessity to a nation as immigration law.” In Mein Kampf, Hitler portrayed the U.S. law as a potential model for the Nazis in Germany. James Q. Whitman, the Ford Foundation professor of comparative and foreign law at Yale Law School, noted this detail in his book Hitler’s American Model: The United States and the Making of Nazi Race Law.
“Absolutely, Hitler talks about the law in Mein Kampf,” Whitman told Hatewatch. “He suggests that the U.S. was the only country making the type of progress the Nazis were trying to establish.”
Miller brings up Coolidge on Aug. 4, 2015, in the context of halting all immigration to America. Garrett Murch, who also was an aide to Sessions, starts the conversation by emailing McHugh, Miller and three other Breitbart employees, including Hahn, to note something he heard on a right-wing talk radio show . . .
Another example of Miller mentioning Coolidge happens Sept. 13, 2015, when he criticizes Republican Sens. John McCain and Lindsey Graham for appearing too sympathetic to refugees.
The "Death by Chicken Sandwich" story is one of those nutty postmodern news items that leave you not sure if you should laugh or cry. We predict the story will get even nuttier when creative lawyers start filing lawsuits for torts like premises liability, wrongful death, negligence,"failure to protect against hungry hordes," and "failure to provide security for customers seeking fast-food delicacy."
(Full disclosure: I've had the spicy version of the Popeyes sandwich on three occasions, and my verdict is that it is, in fact, a fine and tasty concoction. Is it worth all the fuss? Well, I wouldn't kill anybody over it . . . I don't think.)
This is only one of several reports about violence at Popeyes locations since the company started serving such a damned good sandwich back in the summer. TMZ has video of a drive-thru beat down and a scuffle among workers. Business Insider reports that restaurant employees have received threats from customers after running out of the sandwiches, and one customer even pulled a gun in such a situation. In another incident, armed robbers stormed a Popeyes in Houston and demanded employees make them chicken sandwiches.
About three dozen people packed into the busy Popeyes in Oxon Hill, Md., on Monday night, with many of them waiting to order one of the fast-food restaurant’s popular chicken sandwiches.
One man entered the store before 7 p.m., and over 15 minutes “methodically” cut ahead of people in line until reaching the front counter, Prince George’s County Police Chief Hank Stawinski said Tuesday. But before he could buy the meal he intended to get, an argument broke out between him and a man who confronted him about skipping the line, Stawinski said. Within 15 seconds after words were exchanged, police said, a fight spilled out into the parking lot of the restaurant, leaving the man who had been line-jumping fatally stabbed.
The killing of the man, who police identified Tuesday as Kevin Tyrell Davis, 28, of Oxon Hill, left authorities stunned over the “pointless” violence as they continued to search for the assailant.
Friends and family members describe Davis as . . . well, just an impossibly swell guy. From The Post:
Outside of Davis’s home Tuesday evening, family members gathered in mourning. They declined to give their names or speak to the specifics of what occurred Monday night but said they did not think the altercation was over a sandwich.
“He was awesome,” a cousin said. “It surely wasn’t over no chicken sandwich. It was senseless.” “He was a great young guy trying to get his life together like all young people,” said a woman who identified herself as an aunt. “He was a great kid.”
My thoughts? If Davis was so "great" and "awesome," why did he think it was a good idea to cut in line ... anywhere, much less at Popeyes, where they serve damned fine sandwiches? Having been the victim of line-cutters a time or two in life, I consider them to be among the most thoughtless and boorish cretins on the planet. If Davis had anything besides chickpeas between his ears, he should have known that in any public situation -- in the era of Trump, the NRA, and "Moscow Mitch" -- several somebodies are likely to be armed with military-grade weaponry. That almost makes cutting in line an act of suicide.
Would I kill somebody for cutting in line? Well, I haven't yet. In the future, it probably will depend on how good a sandwich I'm waiting for.
Suspect in the Popeyes stabbing
Maryland authorities have released a clear photo of the alleged assailant, so the criminal side of the Popeyes story should be resolved fairly quickly. As for the civil side, I can envision attorneys batting out complaints that allege Popeyes should have seen this coming and provided security for customers daring to order a chicken sandwich. I also can foresee lawyers breaking out that old legal chestnut, premises liability, which essentially holds that a property owner can be held accountable for injuries sustained on his property -- even if he had nothing to do with hurting anyone.
My wife, Carol, and I know firsthand about the challenges of premises liability. It's the No. 1 reason we resisted when our criminally inclined neighbor (and Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Alabama employee) Mike McGarity -- and a revolving cast of dozens of kids, most unknown to us -- sought to turn our yard into their playground. It didn't help that McGarity had placed his fence on our yard, essentially stealing roughly 400 square feet of our property, and he showed no sign initially of giving it back -- and he never has paid us for the expenses we incurred because of his "mistake." Here's what I wrote in a previous post on the subject:
Why did such issues confront us? We had the misfortune of having a man named Mike McGarity move in next door to us in late 1998. McGarity has the trappings of a standard-issue suburban dad -- a wife, two kids, a job at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama. But his belligerent and threatening tone, which we encountered regularly, hinted that something dark was going on. We eventually learned that McGarity, in fact, has at least eight criminal convictions in his background.
And yet, this menacing fellow decided he, his kids, his kids' friends, other adults, and a veritable cast of thousands (other neighborhood kids, many of whom we didn't know, didn't know their parents) should be able to turn our yard into a playground -- without bothering to ask for our permission. When I instructed McGarity to keep himself and his minions off our property, I was greeted with "I'm going to sue you for harassment" and "We're going to keep on coming."
Why was that a concern, aside from the fact McGarity had proven he's an ass, the kind of person we didn't want to deal with? (When asked to control the ear-splitting barking of his coonhound dog, McGarity's reply: "You just need to get ear plugs."). Well, it involved . . . legal issues . . .
One such issue is called "premises liability." Here is how findlaw.com defines it:
When someone enters your property, they have a reasonable expectation of not getting injured. This means that you, as a property owner (or non-owner resident), are responsible for maintaining a relatively safe environment. This is known as "premises liability." For example, a courier delivering a package may sue you for injuries if he slips and falls on an oil slick in the driveway.
Is this a legitimate legal concern? One could argue that it shouldn't be because it seems patently unfair, but yes, it is real. And it sure as hell was a concern to us:
What if McGarity, or another adult or child from his yard, had slipped and fallen on our property? The injured party likely would have sued us, even if we had maintained a safe environment. (Note: McGarity had already hinted that he was a litigious sort, threatening to sue us for harassment because we tried to exercise our right to keep him off our yard. This just added to the mountain of reasons we did not want him, or anyone affiliated with him, coming on our yard.) What if a child had fallen on our concrete driveway and sustained serious head trauma? Our insurance rates likely would have skyrocketed, and we might have been dropped as an insured altogether. Premises liability cases, under Alabama law, involve numerous variables, so its hard to predict the outcome of a particular case. But even if the homeowner prevails in court, the defense of such a lawsuit is likely to be expensive and might still count as a mark against you with an insurance company. The best idea is to try to prevent injuries on your property, and that's exactly what we tried to do.
Popeyes' wildly popular chicken sandwich will remain on menus nationwide, despite the chaos it's causing at several locations ... including a fatal stabbing.
A rep for the fried chicken fast-food chain tells TMZ the sandwich is still available ... meaning it's not being pulled in the wake of scattered mayhem erupting across the country since its return to the menu this week. . . .
The chicken chain says the safety of its employees and customers is always a priority, and franchisees have worked to boost staffing during this craze to be ready to serve guests quickly and safely. It adds that most Popeyes restaurants are franchised and "additional onsite security matters are handled by the franchisees."
Ah, so franchisees are the responsible parties? I'm sure they will be delighted the company shared this information with . . . oh, everybody on the Web. As for Popeyes itself, that defense is known -- in the trade -- as "Dear God, please sue the other guy!"
We will strive to keep track of how well that works. If I were working for Popeyes' insurance company, I would prepare to start writing out checks.
That reminds me . . . all of this journalism stuff is making me hungry. Think I need a spicy chicken sandwich -- and nobody had better get in my way.
Check out this video of people fighting at Popeyes: