The Trumpazoids continue their campaign of terror….
Police have linked three package bombings that have killed two residents in Austin, Texas, over the last 10 days, raising fears that a serial bomber is targeting the city as hundreds of thousands of festival-goers flock to town for South by Southwest.
Two of the bombings happened in residential areas in the eastern half of the city on Monday morning, not at the festival, and police have not identified a suspect or given a possible motive as federal officials joined the investigation.
“We are not ruling anything out at this point,” Police Chief Brian Manley said at a televised news conference. “We’re imploring the community, if you know anything about these attacks, it is imperative that you come forward and let us know. We have innocent people getting hurt across this community.”
Before 7 a.m. Monday, residents at one home in east Austin found a mysterious package on their doorstep and brought it inside, Manley said.
When they began opening the package in their kitchen, the package exploded, killing a 17-year-old boy and injuring a woman who was taken the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries, Manley said.
Several hours later, shortly before noon and about five miles to the south, a 75-year-old woman found a similar mysterious package on her porch. “She picked up the package, and at that point, the explosion, the box detonated,” Manley said.
The day’s second bombing happened so soon after the morning’s first explosion that some officials went directly from one bombing site to another, Manley said. The elderly woman remained in critical condition Monday afternoon with life-threatening injuries.
The two bombings came a little over a week after a northeast Austin resident, Anthony Stephan House, 39, was killed in a “very similar” package bombing early in the morning, Manley said.
Police had initially deemed House’s death “suspicious” — saying it couldn’t be ruled out that he had assembled the package himself — but on Monday reclassified his death as a homicide.
The “average-sized” packages don’t appear to have been sent through traditional delivery services such as the U.S. Postal Service or UPS, and were left without ringing the bell, said Manley, who declined to give details about the devices but suggested they came in cardboard boxes.
“These devices can explode in many ways, either by being moved or being opened,” Manley said, also cautioning that the bombs “can be hidden in many different ways. … There is a certain level of skill required to put a device like this together successfully.”
Manley suggested that residents call 911 if they find a suspicious package and to leave their homes or wait in the rear until officials arrive.
“We will respond,” Manley said. “It make take a little while to get there because we are getting several calls.”
The victims of the first two bombings were black, raising fears early Monday that the Austinites were targeted because of their race, but a Latina was the victim of the third bombing, after which police declined to speculate on a possible pattern.
“We have no specific ideology or victimology behind this, and it will remain an ongoing investigation while we pursue any and every lead,” Manley said.
“We do not know yet whether the victims are the intended targets,” Manley said, adding that some homes had multiple residents and the bomber may have also targeted the wrong addresses.
Something somewhat extraordinary happened last month at Billy Earl Dade Middle School in Dallas.
The school — with a student population of nearly 900, about 90 percent from low-income families — planned to host its first “Breakfast with Dads,” according to the Dallas Morning News. About 150 male students, ages 11 to 13, signed up. But event organizers were concerned that some would attend without a male figure at their side, so they put out a call for volunteers who could serve as mentors.
“When a young person sees someone other than their teacher take interest in them, it inspires them. That’s what we want to see happen,” the Rev. Donald Parish Jr., pastor of True Lee Missionary Baptist Church and the event organizer, told the Morning News.
A call for volunteers by children’s advocate Kristina Chäadé Dove — who has served on what is called a site-based decision-making team for the middle school — was published on social media in early December
When the day came for the event, nearly 600 men showed up to help and mentor the boys, some of them volunteering for the first time.
Stephanie Drenka, a Dallas photographer and blogger who works with Dove at Big Thought, a nonprofit organization that works with partners across the city to provide creative learning programs for young people, chronicled the event here in words and photos. She wrote:
Back in December, the team ran into some difficulty when planning their annual “Breakfast with Dads” event. Dade’s community liaison Ellyn Favors mentioned that student participation was low due to young men not having a father/father-figure available to attend the event. Kristina decided to post a call for volunteers on Facebook in the hope of finding 50 male mentors to accompany the middle schoolers…
The unexpected influx of interest led the team to move the event from the cafeteria into the gymnasium so they could house more guests. Kristina engaged the community again in getting volunteers to help with setup and check-in. Team members from Big Thought, the Office of Cultural Affairs, and even Kristina’s personal friends showed up alongside the male mentors to make the event possible…
I will never forget witnessing the young students surrounded by supportive community members. There were so many volunteers, that at times I saw young men huddled in the center of 4-5 mentors. The look of awe- even disbelief- in students’ eyes as they made their way through the crowd of “Dads” was astonishing.
Jamil “The Tie Man” Tucker led the auditorium in a hands-on icebreaker activity. He spoke of learning how to tie a tie as a rite of passage some young men never experience. Mentors handed out ties to the eager students and helped them perfect their half-Windsor knot.
The sight of a necktie may forever bring a tear to my eye.
Black man in Dallas shoots and kills cops… It’s news 24 x 7.
Black Man in Louisiana shoots and kills cop…It’s NEWS 24×7, including lots of attempts to blame BLM.
Whait alt-right racist shoots 4 Cops, killing one…And hardly a mumble.
Welcome to Jim Crow American News.
The Chumph’s white supremacy and making America white again….Driving While Black, long a method to harass and intimidate the American born black population, is used as an excuse to forcibly deport supposedly “illegal aliens” who are black, under a system of trumped up laws and regulations designed to rid the country of it’s immigrant black population.
Although only 7 percent of non-citizens in the U.S. are black, they make up 20 percent of those facing deportation on criminal grounds.
If it were not for the Canadian leaf tattoo on his wrist, Chris Gustave may not be behind bars.
In October, 24 year old Gustave was staying at a weekly motel in Phoenix when police arrived searching for his friend, who had violated parole. At first, “all the attention was on him,” Gustave told me in a phone interview last month. But then, Gustave claimed, an officer noticed the tattoo. “The dude just asked if I was Canadian, the next thing I knew I was in here”—“here” being the remote and sprawling Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention center in Eloy, Arizona.
Gustave is one of more than half a million black unauthorized immigrants in the United States—about 575,000 as of 2013. Last week, The New York Times reported that the presence of immigrants from Haiti and Nigeria, who together represent roughly 20 percent of the foreign-born black population, vexed president Trump. The Haitians “all have AIDS,” Trump said in a June meeting with his top advisors according to the Times, while the Nigerians would not “go back to their huts” after seeing America, he said. (The White House denied the comments.)
Research suggests that because black people in the United States are more likely to be stopped, arrested, and incarcerated, black immigrants may be disproportionately vulnerable to deportation. The criminal-justice system acts like a “funnel” into the immigration system, said César Cuauhtémoc García Hernández, a University of Denver law professor who studies the nexus of policing and immigration law. New York University law professor Alina Das said black immigrants are “targeted by criminalization.”
While the Obama administration prioritized immigrants with felony convictions for deportation, President Trump’s executive orders effectively made anyone in the country illegally a target for removal. Arrests of non-criminals more than doubled, and among those who have been charged with a crime, the top three categories are “traffic offenses – DUI,” “dangerous drugs,” and “immigration,” which means illegal entry, illegal reentry, false claim to US citizenship, and trafficking, according to ICE. In fiscal year 2017, almost 74 percent of people arrested by ICE had a criminal conviction—arrests the agency uses to argue “that its officers know how to prioritize enforcement without overly prescriptive mandates.”
But Hernández sees something different in the large number of criminal convictions among ICE detainees. “Racial bias present in the criminal-justice system plays itself out in the immigration context,” he said. “There are so many entry points” to deportation, said Das, “when you are a person of color who is also an immigrant, you face a double punishment.”
A 2016 report by the NYU Immigrant Rights Clinic, where Das is the co-director, and the Black Alliance for Just Immigration found that although black immigrants represent about 7 percent of the non-citizen population, they make up more than 10 percent of immigrants in removal proceedings. Criminal convictions amplify the disparity: Twenty percent of immigrants facing deportation on criminal grounds are black.
Today, almost 10 percent of the black population in the United States is foreign-born, up from about 3 percent in 1980. As the number of black immigrants has grown, so, too, have the linkages between cops, courts, and the immigration system.
Aside from ICE’s splashier arrests within so-called “sanctuary cities,” most apprehensions nationwide happen inside jails once an immigrant has had contact with local police. This collaboration is a result of decades of legislation and executive action by both Democrats and Republicans. Two years after the passage of his controversial crime bill, former President Bill Clinton signed the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act in 1996. Known as IIRIRA (pronounced “ira-ira”), the law expanded mandatory detention and the number of deportable crimes. As the federal inmate population doubled, prison-like immigrant-detention centers rose up in tandem. In the early 1990s, there were around 5,000 immigrants detained each day; by 2001, the populationquadrupled. And the Trump administration wants to keep that number growing: The president’s 2018 budget called for increasing the daily detainee population to 51,000, a 25 percent bump over last year.
“Additional detention space does make Americans safer,”argued Jessica Vaughan of the Center for Immigration Studies, a group that advocates for stricter enforcement. Detention also ensures that undocumented immigrants don’t “disappear into the woodwork,” Vaughan said. “The benefit of keeping illegal aliens in custody,” she said, is that “it prevents the release of criminal aliens back into the community to have the opportunity to re-offend.”
While the prison population has begun to dwindle in recent years—the incarceration rate fell 13 percent between 2007 and 2015—immigration detention remains “one of the fastest-growing sectors of the carceral state,” said Kelly Lytle Hernandez, a University of California, Los Angeles, historian who studies the origins of U.S. immigration control.
ICE’s Secure Communities program—which began under former President George W. Bush; was expanded, then killed, under his successor Barack Obama; then reinstated by Trump—provides local police with a national fingerprint database to check suspects for immigration violations. ICE can also deputize local law enforcement to make immigration arrests, a power authorized by IIRIRA. Some 60 law-enforcement agencies across 18 states participate in that program.
“Local police are some of the biggest feeders into the immigration-enforcement system,” said Will Gaona, the policy director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Arizona. “And that’s more true in Arizona”—where Gustave was picked up—“because of S.B. 1070.” That 2010 state law, which has since been emulated in dozens of states, requires police to ask about immigration status if they suspect someone is in the country illegally….
Nice move, Memphis!
In a rapidly emerging war between municipalities, the Trump administration and white-wing, neo fascist Republican dominated legislators opposed to local rule…
Another mile marker.
The city of Memphis engaged in a “massive operation” on Wednesday to take down two controversial Confederate statues before the morning light, the Commercial Appealreports.
The Memphis City Council first unanimously voted to sell two public parks to a private entity. Within minutes, Memphis Police Department officers had deployed to the sites of statues honoring Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest and Confederate President Jefferson Davis. Within one hour of the vote, Mayor Jim Strickland had signed the ordinance.
The sale of the parks was a legal mechanism to circumvent a decision by the Tennessee Historical Commission intended to prevent local governments from taking down the statues.
“Health Sciences Park and Memphis Park have been sold. Operations on those sites tonight are being conducted by a private entity and are compliant with state law,” Mayor Strickland explained. “We will have further updates later tonight.”
Black folks have been the most reliable voters for the Democrat Party the last 50 years. But the Party has delivered very little in return for that loyalty. That lack of delivery has led to voter apathy, and is the leading culprit in Hillary losing to the Chumph.
We, as a people are now under existential threat from Trump and his white wing followers – but the Party and it’s policies are being driven by the interests of white women.
Black voters just delivered two major victories for the Democrats in Virginia and Alabama. That vote wasn’t as much for Democrat candidates, as against the Chumph white supremacists.
If elected Democrats don’t find a way to head off the Chumph…They are going to lose again in 2018 and 2020.
I realize now that the love has been one-sided.
Dear Democratic Party:
You were the love of my life. I fell in love early and hard. I have been the kind of party loyalist ― the kind of sappy, soapbox-y, clichéd devotee ― that makes Fox News moonwalk with glee.
The first vote I ever cast, at 18, was for Bill Clinton. The last vote I cast was for his wife, Hillary. My adoration for Hillary bordered on mania. In college, I named my ficus plant after her. Twenty years later, I canvassed, held fundraisers, dragged my 8-year-old daughter door to door, proudly wore HRC’s face on T-shirts and housed campaign volunteers in my home.
I loved you so much that I cried each time I voted. Thinking about the women who died fighting for my right to vote did it every time. I cried when I voted for Bill. For Barack Obama. I wept when I voted for Hillary. You’ve been that kind of mad love to me.
And now I want to break up.
I realize now that the love has been one-sided, unrequited. You’ve never recognized me, as a brown woman. You’ve taken my love, my money, my tokenism, with nary anything in return. You married the white woman and hooked up with me on the side.
Black Lives Matter is a second ― or third ― thought. Where is your outrage over the national epidemic of police brutality against black people? You continue to call angry white men who commit mass murder “lone wolves.” But if someone who looks like me screams “Allah” and fires a gun, it’s “terrorism.” And you wonder why angry white men are gunning down innocent brown men at bars, in their yards, on the street.
For all your talk about Dreamers, there’s been little action. You don’t seem to give a crap about kids of color who will be kicked out of this country, the only country they know. What if all those Dreamers were white? I suspect there’d be a very different outcome.
You spend a lot of time and energy wooing white voters, while giving short shrift to voters of colors and assuming we’ll always show up for you.
To be fair, there’s no reason for you to assume otherwise. We always show up for you. Take, for example, the special election in Alabama on Tuesday. Had black people not shown up, an accused child molester would be our newest senator.
What will Doug Jones do for the black folks who put him in the Senate? If history is any indication, very little.
This past year, I held and attended numerous fundraisers for your candidates. I donated money every time I was asked. I marched: for women, for children, for reproductive rights, for science. I traveled across the country for the March for Women in Washington, D.C. It was there that I got the first hint that you weren’t that into me. The giveaway? The sea of white women in pink hats with brown and black women dotting the waves like debris. I let it slide but I kept my eyes and ears open.
My fellow brown and black sisters started to notice, too — and the chatter began, in whispered hushes at first, then loud and clear. You are a party of white feminists. Of white feminism, the kind of feminism that focuses on the struggles of white women. It was the first time I’d heard the term, most likely because self-awareness is hard and I was a brown woman trapped in a white feminist’s world.
But then I woke up. I saw you with clear eyes for the first time.
For every Kamala Harris and Pramila Jayapal sticking their brown and black necks out for me, there are dozens of white female Democrats who want me to shut my trap.
Your advocacy for reproductive rights zeros in on wealthy white women. Women of color and other marginalized women get sidelined. The gender pay gap is worse for black and Latina women than it is for white women. Women of color make up 64 percent of women in U.S. jails. Why isn’t the Democratic Party talking about this and trying to fix it?
My own “liberal” white congresswoman in Colorado has given me a hint as to why.
At the congresswoman’s town hall in February, Neeti Pawar, the brown female founder of the South Asian Bar Association of Colorado, was one of the only people of color in a room of nearly a thousand. She asked about immigration and DACA protections. The congresswoman scoffed. When Pawar pressed on, she was told to remain silent or she’d be asked to leave. During a follow-up, staffers told Pawar that civil rights weren’t the representative’s “issue.” Brown and black people don’t have the luxury of sidelining civil rights. It’s life and death for us.
And it didn’t stop there.
I was organizing a fundraiser for a U.S. senator earlier this month, and had planned to use the opportunity to highlight women of color by having black women introduce him. The congresswoman’s staff caught wind of the event and asked if she could introduce the senator. I explained my position but invited her to come as a guest. No response. When pressed on her stance on racial inclusion, her staff didn’t respond to me directly but tattled on me to the white women co-hosting the event.
I know there are some good ones among you. But for every Kamala Harris, Maxine Waters and Pramila Jayapal sticking their brown and black necks out for me, there are dozens of white female Democrats who want me to shut my trap, and say please and thank you. I should be grateful for scraps while white women enjoy a proper marriage with you.
I’m done with all that. And if you don’t want to lose more women like me, there are a few basic things you can do.
Pay attention to the reproductive health of women of color and other marginalized women. Do something, anything, to protect Dreamers. Or, if you’re really feeling bold, move forward on some form of reparations for black people.
Finally, mentor young people of color to run for office. Campaign for brown and black folks. Raise money for them. Show up for them. I’d come running back to you with open arms if you did even a few of these things.
In the meantime, I’ll be on the sidelines waiting, watching, hoping, praying. You broke my heart.
Considering what happened to Gawker a few months back, Faux News may want to put a muzzle on their “house negroes”. That “First Amendment defense got thrown out the first day.
Added to that is the incredible losing streak by the Faux Lawyers – if they aren’t making multi-million payouts due to Faux News rapists and gropers, they are making multi-million dollar payouts due to Faux News racists and bigots.
Add this one to the list. If you follow the link to DeRay’s page and watch the video, the defamation case is pretty straightforward.
Payday! Biiiiiiiiig Payday.
At some point Faux is going to have to reign in theif clowns.
A Black Lives Matter activist is suing Fox News host Jeanine Pirro for defamation after she claimed during an appearance on Fox & Friends that he directed someone to throw a rock at a police officer’s face.
Early this week DeRay McKesson—who was himself sued along with the Black Lives Matter movement by a police officer who was seriously injured in the incident at a Baton Rouge protest in 2016— filed the suit against Pirro.
The officer’s case was dismissed in September by a federal judge in Louisiana who ruled McKesson couldn’t be held liable for the officer’s injuries and that there was no evidence that he gave specific instructions to the unidentified protester who threw the rock.
A day after the ruling, Pirro—who hosts the show Justice with Judge Jeanine—appeared as a commentator on Fox & Friends and said “McKesson, the organizer, actually was directing people, directing the violence.”
@JudgeJeanine, I was found not guilty & I didn’t direct any violence. In fact, I was protesting the violence of the police. Stop lying.
During the segment Pirro points out that the judge who dismissed the suit was appointed by former President Barack Obama, an African American. She claimed the ruling was motivated by politics and made by an activist judge.
McKesson claims that Pirro defamed him by making the statements while discussing the lawsuit after it had been dismissed.
“Defendant Pirro, a lawyer for over 40 years discussing a well-publicized matter, was aware that these outrageous statements were false and made them with the specific intention of harming Mr. McKesson,” his suit claims.
“Falsely stating that Mr. McKesson assaults police officers has seriously endangered Mr. McKesson’s physical safety,” it continued.
In September Pirro responded to McKesson’s concerns and questions about her statement from The Washington Post. “Based on 32 years in law enforcement, you can only be found not guilty after a trial. McKesson was not tried. I was quoting paragraph 17 and 19 from court documents,” she said.
Fox News claims that Pirro’s statements are protected First Amendment speech. “We informed Mr. McKesson’s counsel that our commentary was fully protected under the First Amendment and the privilege for reports of judicial proceedings. We will defend this case vigorously,” the network said.
Every once in a while in America, bad cops who disgrace the uniform actually go down for their crimes.
Kinda gives a little hope that traitors like the Chumph will go down, despite being supported by Republicans who countenance child rape and treason.
Former South Carolina police officer Michael Slager has been sentenced to at least 19 years in jail over the killing of Walter Scott, a black man whom Slager had shot in the back as he was trying to flee.
ABC News reports that U.S. District Judge David Norton ruled on Thursday that Slager must serve a prison sentence of between 19 to 24 years for both committing second-degree murder and obstructing justice.
Slager fatally shot Scott in 2015 while he was an officer at the North Charleston Police Department. Shortly after the shooting occurred, an eyewitness video emerged showing that Scott had turned around to flee from Slager during a confrontation the two men had — at which point, Slager took out his firearm and shot Scott in the back.
The video directly contradicted Slager’s assertion that he only shot Scott because he felt his life was in danger. After the video emerged, Slager was fired from his job at the North Charleston Police Department.
Despite this clear video evidence, however, a jury late last year was unable to reach a verdict on Slager’s guilt, and the judge in the case eventually declared a mistrial.
“The state retrial and federal trial were expected to take place this year, but instead, in May Slager pleaded guilty to violating Scott’s civil rights in federal court, ending the federal case against him and also resolving the state charges that were pending after the mistrial,” reports ABC News.
Wow! The White Supremacist Right is whimpering in outrage that a brown guy escaped their planned lynching.
As to Faux News and other racist white right outlets…Major meltdown. Even the Chumph had a few more racist comments to add.
And of course Michelle Malkin, the white wing’s favorite brown meat hole.
The confirmation hearings on Clarence Thomas’ ascension to the Supreme Court featured what was probably the first nationwide coverage of sexual harassment in the workplace.
Uncle Tommie got a walk.
With the number of folks now losing their jobs and positions for acts like those of Thomas…Perhaps the ultimate test of whether the current flurry of sexual harassment punishments is a “fad” or something we will take seriously going forward is whether Thomas receives the same treatment. Whether he is punished or not has some rather serious implications relative to the Supreme Court’s already badly battered credibility.
Utah Republican Orrin Hatch called “bullcrap” on Ohio Democrat Sherrod Brown last week. The Senate Finance Committee lion tore into Brown for “spewing” that the Republican tax plan to transfer a trillion dollars to the rich was in reality a Republican tax plan to transfer a trillion dollars to the rich.
I got my first dose of Hatch during the wall-to-wall coverage of the confirmation of Clarence Thomas, George H.W. Bush’s Supreme Court nominee. Hatch was the Republicans’ designated questioner of Anita Hill. She was called to testify because she’d told the FBI that Thomas had sexually harassed her 10 years earlier, when he was her boss at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Department of Education.
Sitting behind her were her mother, Erma (“who is going to be celebrating her 80th birthday”); her father, Albert; her sisters, Elreathea, Jo Ann, Coleen and Joyce; and her brother, Ray. No way she was going to lie to the committee, or to us, in front of them.
Hill testified that Thomas had repeatedly asked her out, and that she repeatedly refused. So he demeaned her. He told her someone had once “put a pubic hair” on his Coke can. He said porn star Long Dong Silver had nothing on him in the endowment department.
Hatch called her charges “contrived” and “sick.” He claimed she’d stolen them. The pubic hair, she’d taken from page 70 of “The Exorcist.” Long Dong Silver, she’d lifted from a Kansas sexual harassment case.
Hill agreed to a polygraph test, and passed. Thomas refused. He called the hearings a “high-tech lynching for uppity blacks.”
It was painful to watch Hatch slime Hill. Women who’d also been sexually harassed found in the hearings no reason to be less fearful of telling their stories. Nor, later, could they take comfort in how Bill Clinton’s accusers were reviled. Or Bill O’Reilly’s. Or Roger Ailes’s.
But something changed. The tipping point may have been Donald Trump bragging to Billy Bush about assaulting women. Sixteen of his victims had the courage to say he’d harassed or groped them.
I wouldn’t be surprised if Trump’s escape from accountability for that predation contributed to the decisions by Harvey Weinstein’s victims to talk on the record to Jodi Kantor and her New York Times colleagues and to Ronan Farrow at the New Yorker. Before long, more than 80 women attested to Weinstein’s assaults as far back as 1990.
Then nine women gave the Washington Post detailed accounts of Alabama Republican senatorial candidate Roy Moore’s history of pedophilia and abuse. They knew the blowback would be brutal. They did it anyway.
Still, Moore won’t quit. Why would he? Kay Ivey, Alabama’s Republican governor, says she’ll vote for him even though she believes his accusers. Better to elect a pedophile than a Democrat who’d vote against a Supreme Court nominee who’d overturn Roe v Wade.
Now Senator Al Franken is in the crosshairs. The Minnesota Democrat offered an apology to Leann Tweeden for “completely inappropriate” behavior in 2006, which she accepted, and he asked for an ethics investigation of the incident. Calls for his resignation illustrate the fallacy of false equivalence; they’re the witch-hunt Trump claimed had victimized him.
Hill was a thoroughly credible witness. Thomas has no stronger case for his innocence than do Trump, Moore or Weinstein. Pressed to defend Trump’s sexual improprieties, his press secretary said the American people “spoke very loud and clear when they elected this president.” No to put too fine a point on it, but she’s spewing bullcrap. Elections don’t decide culpability.
In the wake of the Hill/Thomas hearings, a record-breaking 117 women made it onto the federal ticket in the 1992 election. The 24 women elected to the House that year was the largest number in any single House election, and the three elected to the Senate tripled the number of women senators.
That sharp uptick didn’t persist. If you think that today’s 80% male Congress isn’t good enough, check out Project 100, which is working to elect 100 progressive women to Congress by 2020, the 100th anniversary of women’s right to vote. Full disclosure: my daughter is a co-founder. As her dad, and as the onetime speechwriter for the first presidential candidate to pick a woman as his running mate, you can imagine how proud of her I am. And how hopeful she and her young teammates make me feel.
Rich white kid attacks woman with Claw Hammer…
It all goes away and he becomes a Republican Party Official.
You got money, and are white…
Stuff that would wind up locking a poor(er) kid away for 20 years to life…Just magically goes away, and you a free to join the white wing criminal cartel.
The Republicans of Broward County, Fla., knew little about Rupert Tarsey when he ran for an open slot on the local party’s executive committee. But the young man had some decent political cred.
Before the 2016 presidential election, he told them, he knocked on thousands of doors and got 50 Republicans in the liberal enclave to register to vote to support Donald Trump’s presidential campaign. He worshiped at the same church as the committee’s vice chair and headed a local chapter of the Catholic fraternal group Knights of Columbus. He came from a wealthy California family and followed four generations into a real estate career.
Within months of joining the local party, the 28-year-old was elected secretary in May, defeating two challengers who’d been around longer.
But something felt off about Tarsey for Bob Sutton, chairman of the committee. After a few months, Tarsey went after Sutton’s position, members said, by working to persuade the committee to unseat him. That’s when Sutton started getting phone calls warning him that Tarsey was not quite who he seemed.
“Houston, we’ve got a problem,” he said one caller told him.
It wasn’t long before the story of Tarsey’s past unfolded.
It began a decade ago, some 2,700 miles away at the exclusive Harvard-Westlake High School, a private college preparatory academy where tuition this year is $37,100 and which is a magnet for the children of Los Angeles’ elite.
Rupert Ditsworth, a 17-year-old from Beverly Hills, was a senior. One day in May, he finished an Advanced Placement exam and was waiting for a friend when he saw another schoolmate, Elizabeth Barcay. He invited her to lunch in his Jaguar.
They’d known each other for two years and eaten together before. She accepted.
They took the Jaguar to a Jamba Juice and sipped smoothies. After lunch, Ditsworth asked Barcay if she would go with him to mail something on the way back to school. She agreed.
Soon after, according to court records, he drove past a mailbox and detoured to a quiet residential street, parking at a dead-end with the passenger door up against a wall. There, he told Barcay he had thoughts of suicide. She suggested he drive back to school and see a counselor.
Instead, according to court records, he reached inside his backpack, pulled out a claw hammer and started swinging. Ditsworth delivered dozens of crushing blows, smashing Barcay’s nose and leg, splitting her scalp and giving her two black eyes, the records say. Her family said they counted at least 40 visible wounds.
During a struggle, the weapon broke. So Ditsworth grabbed Barcay’s throat and tried to strangle her, she testified during a preliminary hearing.
Barcay said she bit down on his finger to stop the attack. He let go.
“I’m done,” he screamed.
Bloody and wounded, Barcay managed to escape from the car before collapsing in front of a nearby home.
She survived the attack, emerging with fierce resolve. Five days later, she went to prom — in a wheelchair — and was crowned queen, the high school’s student newspaper reported at the time. Barcay could not be reached for comment for this article.
Prosecutors filed three felony charges against her attacker: one count of attempted murder and two counts of assault with a deadly weapon. If convicted of those charges, Ditsworth was facing the rest of his life behind bars.
But he never spent a day in jail.
What followed instead was a series of moves that gave the teenager a near-clean criminal slate, allowing him to reinvent himself in Florida.
“When you have a lot of money, you can kind of get away with stuff,” said Celeste Ellich, vice chair of the Broward County Republican Party, who had supported Tarsey’s secretary bid before she knew about his past. “They thought they had it buried.”
Deputy Dist. Atty. Ed Nison, who prosecuted the case in California, told The Times that because Ditsworth was relatively young, had no prior record and suffered from psychiatric issues, putting him in jail “would not serve the purpose that it’s supposed to serve.”
“The goal was to avoid a reoccurrence of this kind of behavior,” Nison said. “And simply locking him up wouldn’t have done anything to prevent future behavior under these circumstances.”
But at the time, others saw the situation differently.
“You should have gone to prison,” David Barcay, the victim’s father, told Ditsworth at a dramatic court hearing in 2010. “Instead, you’re going to school and making friends and enjoying the outdoors and posing for pictures with your fraternity brothers with paintball guns in army fatigues …. You have moved to Florida and created a life that has allowed you to forget.”… The Rest Here…