Cop Charged with 35 Felony Counts Including Rape and Sexual Assault

Originally published on November 21, 2014, at NationofChange.org

An Oklahoma City police officer has been charged with 35 felony counts including rape, sexual battery, forcible oral sodomy, indecent exposure, and burglary. Since his arrest, 13 women have come forward accusing Officer Daniel Holtzclaw of abusing his authority to sexually assault them including a 17-year-old girl whose DNA was found inside the fly of Holtzclaw’s police uniform pants.

According to investigators, Officer Holtzclaw targeted low-income women with criminal records while on duty. But around 2am on June 18, Holtzclaw pulled over a 57-year-old middle class grandmother with no criminal history and forced her to perform oral sex.

After turning off his patrol car computer and without notifying his station, Holtzclaw pulled over the 57-year-old grandmother referred to in court documents as J.L. Because J.L. could not roll down her broken driver’s side window, Holtzclaw ordered her into the backseat of his patrol car. Instead of requesting a female officer to search J.L., Holtzclaw allegedly forced her to expose her breasts and pull down her pants. As Holtzclaw exposed his penis, J.L. pleaded, “Please don’t do this. You’re not supposed to do this!”

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DuPont Chemical Leak Kills Four After Plant Cited for Dozens of Safety Violations

Originally published on November 19, 2014, at NationofChange.org

A chemical leak killed four employees and left a fifth hospitalized at a DuPont plant in Texas this weekend. Since 2007, the Texas chemical plant has been cited dozens of times for violating state and federal laws. According to the U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB), a gas leak and an explosion at separate DuPont facilities in 2010 resulted in two more fatalities.

Around 4am on Saturday, approximately 100 pounds of methyl mercaptan leaked from the DuPont plant in La Porte, Texas. Methyl mercaptan is a toxic chemical used in DuPont’s insecticide manufacturing process. Company representatives claim a faulty valve caused the exposure resulting in four fatalities and a fifth employee hospitalized.

While working an overtime shift, Robert “Bobby” Tisnado ran into the facility to help another employee inside when the chemical leak occurred. After Bobby did not return, his older brother Gilbert “Gibby” Tisnado ran inside to help him. When Gibby found his brother on the floor, he placed his facemask on his little brother. Neither survived.

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Dog Fighting Organizer and Co-Conspirators Sentenced to Prison

Originally published on November 16, 2014, at NationofChange.org

A federal judge concluded sentencing this week for eight people arrested in the second largest dog fighting raid in U.S. history. Responsible for the deaths and injuries of hundreds of dogs, most of the defendants pleaded guilty to conspiracy along with dog fighting and gun charges. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) and The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) have been providing food, shelter, and medical care for the animals seized during the raid.

On August 23, 2013, the ASPCA and HSUS assisted the FBI in seizing hundreds of canines from dog fighting rings in Alabama, Georgia, and Mississippi. Wounded, malnourished, riddled with parasites, and chained to car axles buried in the ground, roughly half of the seized dogs died or were euthanized. Federal and local law enforcement also seized drugs, firearms, and over $500,000 in cash from illicit gambling activities.

After organizing and hosting at least 80 dog fights, 50-year-old Donnie Anderson was arrested when investigators raided his Auburn home and wooded property in Waverly, Alabama. Cooperating witnesses testified that Anderson’s fights regularly had between 100 and 300 people in attendance who paid $100 to $150 for admission. With bets averaging $100,000 per fight, many participants were armed and sold illegal drugs at the venue.

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Corrupt Deputy Sentenced to 92 Years for Aggravated Identity Theft and Civil Rights Violations

Originally published on November 13, 2014, at NationofChange.org

A former sheriff’s deputy has been sentenced to 92 years in prison for committing fraud, civil rights violations, and stealing the identity of a Louisiana man who has been missing since 2007. Although Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Deputy Mark Hebert has not been formally charged with murder, U.S. District Judge Jane Milazzo found him responsible for the death and disappearance of his victim.

On August 2, 2007, Albert Bloch lost control of his car and crashed into some shrubs after suffering a seizure. Deputy Hebert responded to the accident. Sustaining minor cuts and bruises, Bloch was transported to University Hospital in New Orleans for treatment while Hebert ended up stealing his debit card, Personal Identification Number (PIN), Chase Bank checks, account number, driver’s license, and social security number. As Bloch received treatment in the hospital, Hebert immediately began making purchases with the stolen debit card.

“His position afforded him the opportunity to take advantage of other individuals,” admitted Col. John Fortunato, spokesman for the Sheriff’s Office.

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Former Employees Accuse Takata of Ignoring Exploding Airbags for 10 Years

Originally published on November 11, 2014, at NationofChange.org

As federal agencies launch investigations into Takata Corporation’s exploding airbag malfunction, two former employees are accusing Takata executives of possessing prior knowledge of the defective airbags and covering up the evidence back in 2004. The faulty airbags have been responsible for at least four deaths and 139 injuries. Although Takata executives blame degrading propellants in humid regions for these fatalities, Takata’s lax quality control standards and corporate greed also play major factors.

After an airbag exploded in Alabama in May 2004 firing metal shards into the ’02 Honda Accord’s driver, Takata conducted a series of secret tests to determine the cause of the explosion. Under the supervision of Al Bernat, then Takata’s vice president for engineering, 50 airbags were discreetly tested after work hours and on weekends and holidays during the summer of 2004 at Takata’s American headquarters in Auburn Hills, Michigan. Although lab technicians found two cracked steel inflators during three months of clandestine testing, Bernat disregarded their results and ordered the technicians to stop the tests, destroy all of their data, and dispose of the evidence in the trash.

Takata reported to Honda that they were unable to find a cause for the exploding airbag. Honda accepted Takata’s assertion that the explosion was an anomaly and settled a claim with the injured driver. Honda also filed an early warning report with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). According to regulatory findings, Takata claims they did not perform diagnostic tests on the defective airbags until 2008.

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Police Arrest 90-Year-Old and Two Pastors for Feeding Homeless People

Originally published on November 9, 2014, at NationofChange.org

In an act of compassion and civil disobedience, a 90-year-old man and two pastors in Fort Lauderdale openly defied a new city ordinance barring anyone from feeding homeless people in public. After police intervened and charged them with a crime, 90-year-old Arnold Abbott and Pastor Dwayne Black returned several days later to break the draconian law again. Although Abbott received another citation, police decided not to place him in custody.

Last Sunday, Arnold Abbott, Pastor Dwayne Black of The Sanctuary Church in Fort Lauderdale, and Mark Sims of St. Mary Magdalene Episcopal Church in Coral Springs fed homeless people in a public park in South Florida two days after the city passed a new ordinance outlawing the provision of food to vagrants in public. After getting arrested, the two pastors and elderly homeless advocate each face a $500 fine and up to 60 days in jail.

“One of the police officers said, ‘Drop that plate right now,’ as if I were carrying a weapon,” recalled Abbott. “It’s man’s inhumanity to man is all it is.”

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2 More Nuclear Commanders Fired Amidst Disciplinary Scandals

Originally published on November 7, 2014, at NationofChange.org

Following a recent series of scandals and misconduct, the U.S. Air Force has fired two more nuclear commanders and disciplined a third. Since June of last year, at least 16 senior nuclear officers have been fired, resigned, or had disciplinary action taken against them. As President Obama upgrades and revamps America’s nuclear stockpile, he continues to place these weapons into the hands of officers afflicted by low morale and poor leadership.

On Monday, the U.S. Air Force fired Col. Carl Jones and Lt. Col. Jimmy Brown due to a loss of trust and confidence in their leadership abilities. Second in command of the 90th Missile Wing at Warren Air Force Base in Wyoming, Col. Jones was responsible for 150 of the air force’s 450 Minuteman III nuclear intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs). Although Lt. Col. Brown was relieved of command at the 91st Missile Wing at Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota on the same day, the air force asserts the timing of these firings is merely a coincidence.

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