Friday already, CivMixers. And already the tenth day of July. This month has flown by so far, but that may be because every day that we stay out of lockdown is packed. I am hopeful I am wrong in feeling that we are going to be back in quarantine due to the ever-increasing cases of COVID-19 throughout the country.
Though we are still doing well at flattening and maintaining the curve here in New York, that is not the case elsewhere. I hope we maintain our numbers and don’t have to be punished because others did not learn from watching states like ours, California, and Washington struggle at the start of the pandemic.
The jury remains out on that.
Well, shall we see what headlines are going to usher us into the weekend? Let’s do it.
1) Utah Gov. Gary Herbert declared a state of emergency after authorities cleared officers from the Salt Lake City Police Department in a fatal shooting that occurred back on May 23.
SLCPD officers Neil Iverson and Kevin Fortuna were cleared of any abuse of power or wrongdoing in the incident that resulted in the death of Bernardo Palacios-Carbajal. An internal affairs investigation corroborated the account given on that night by the two officers in question.
Salt Lake County DA Sam Gill confirmed that due to the results of that investigation, no criminal charges will be filed against either officer.
According to Gill’s report, Officer Iversen and his partner (not Fortuna) were sent to respond to a 911 call made from a hotel regarding a Hispanic male who allegedly had entered the caller’s room and robbed that person with a gun. A subsequent call came in from a different hotel guest who said their door had been kicked in by two men at around the same time.
Spotting Palacios-Carbajal, the officers ordered him to raise his hands. When he ran, Iverson gave chase. Iverson said that the suspect fell three separate times, and then got up – dropping and picking up an object each time. Iverson stated that the third time this happened, he identified the object as a gun and fired his own weapon.
Fortuna was on the scene by then, and both the and Iverson old the investigators that Palacios-Carbajal had rolled onto his back and was pointing the gun at them. They both said they fired until they believed him to no longer be a threat. According to Gill’s report, body cameras footage showed the officers telling the victim several times to drop his weapon.
According to the medical examiner’s report, Palacios-Carbajal was shot approximately 13 to 15 times – all in the back and right side. The report stated the officers’ acted within the confines of Utah law that justifies an officer’s right to use deadly force for self-preservation.
When the announcement of no charges was made yesterday, groups of protestors gathered in front of the SLC DA’s officer for weeks reacted with outcries of protest. They marched on a major downtown street known as 500 S, leading to traffic interruptions, property damages, and assaults on officers.
There are reports that demonstrators threw bottles at police, hit them with pepper spray, and poured red paint on the street in front of the DA’s office. Officers responded by pushing protestors down, and one police vehicle rammed into a car being used as a barricade during the demonstration.
SLCPD reported that there were at least one injured officer and two people arrested.
The governor’s order for a state of emergency will be in effect until midnight on Monday, July 13. It shuts the state Capitol to all but employees and officers.
2) For years, Ghislain Maxwell, 58, was associated with the lavish and playboy life of financier Jeffrey Epstein. Now she is denying that she had anything to do with luring underage girls into their lives for him to abuse sexually.
She is also requesting bail, stating that she is at risk of contracting the novel coronavirus if she is in jail.
The case is pending in the Southern District of New York, known as the US vs. Maxwell (20-cr-00330). That is where Maxwell filed her request today, eight days after her arrest in New Hampshire. Officials say she has been hiding there on a piece of property she bought under a shielded identity. Maxwell and her attorney’s maintain she was simply removing herself from the public view.
Since her arrest, Maxwell has been in a Brooklyn facility known as the Metropolitan Detention Center. Part of her argument is that since the jail has seen 55 people between inmates and staff contract COVID-19, she is being put at a higher possible risk to contract the illness.
She is facing six criminal charges. Four involve transporting minors for illegal sexual acts, and two are regarding her alleged perjury during depositions relating to her role in the abuse perpetrated by Epstein. In today’s filing, Maxwell stated she “vigorously denies the charges” against her, and she intends to fight them.
She is scheduled for arraignment on July 14, and US prosecutors do not want her released before then.
Epstein, 66, was found dead by hanging in his jail cell on the tenth of August 2019. The cause of death was determined to be suicide.
According to documents, Maxwell’s bail proposal would include home detention with electronic monitoring, stringent restrictions in regards to all travel, surrounding of her passports, and a $5 million bond. Maxwell also says she will need bodyguards for her safety. She also claims she is not a flight risk, and pointed out she has stayed in the states since Epstein was arrested.
In the filing for release on bail, Maxwell also raised issues against some of the charges regarding her, including pointing out that in his agreement with the US government in 2007, Epstein made a non-prosecution agreement with them that protected potential co-conspirators.
Prosecutors are seeking to have Maxwell’s request denied, saying she has multiple citizenship, passports, and extreme wealth. All of this, along with her having no ties to make her stay and face a lengthy prison term, have led prosecutors to deem Maxwell the very definition of an extreme flight risk.
3) Today, Monroe County authorities continued the search for a missing male swimmer, 63, in Lake Ontario. The elderly male went missing yesterday evening when he jumped off his boat in an area about a mile and a half north of the Irondequoit Bay outlet.
Two other people in the boat say that after he jumped in to go swimming, he struggled and then went underwater. They say they threw him a life ring, but he was underwater before he could get close enough to grab it.
Amy You, the spokeswoman for the Monroe County Sheriff’s Department, confirmed that they searched last night, arriving on scene at approximately 5:30 p.m. The search went on until after midnight. The Coast Guards of both the U.S. and Canada, the New York State Police, the Rochester Police Department, and the West Webster Fire Department are all assisting and were back on the hunt this morning at 10 a.m.
At this point, Saeargent Matthew Bottone stated that they would search until they are no longer able to, and though they are still looking, at this point, the search is considered to be a search and recovery mission.
Lieutenant Dean Tuthill said there are significant challenges for the searchers, as the boat was in almost 100 feet of water and was drifting in the area.
4) Nauman Hussein is the operator of the limo company responsible for the limousine crash in Schoharie back in 2018, who is charged with 20 counts of criminally negligent homicide. Eighteen of those victims were inside the limo, and two were struck by the vehicle.
Today, Thomas Mortati, the attorney that is representing the estate of Savannah Burmese, stated that they have learned about the possibility of a plea bargain in the pending criminal case against Hussein that will be heard in the NYS supreme court. The families of those victims have the right to face Hussein in court – be it in person or virtually due to COVID regulations.
The Schoharie County DA and Lee Kindlon, who is the attorney representing Hussein, have stated there is no such plea on the table at this time. Mortati also said that Hussain has been dodging service of civil action against him, and wants to know precisely where he is so he can be served these papers.
5) Beginning today in Cohoes, Remsen Street will be shut down to traffic on Friday nights for an expansion to their “Eat in the Street” program. This is a program the City of Cohoes is helping to put on to have restaurants get more access to clientele during restrictions due to COVID.
Debbie Jacques is the Cohoes Local Development Corporation Executive Director and is hosting “Eat in the Street” with the city. The goal is to provide a safe and enjoyable environment for those restaurants to get more customers.
Today through Friday, Oct. 2, Remsen Street will be closed to traffic starting at 3:30 PM. Restaurants will have from then until 4 PM to set up their dining outside, and the dining portion will last from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m.
After that, they will have an hour to strike, and Remsen Street will re-open for vehicles at 10 p.m. All cross streets are going to remain open, and there will be marked parking. The dining out will be dependent on the weather.
That is all for today. Stay steady, stay strong, stay safe.
Photo credit: George Fazio.