Rochester police chief out in fallout over Prude death
ROCHESTER, N.Y. — Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren fired the police chief and suspended her top lawyer and communications director Monday in the continuing upheaval over the suffocation death of Daniel Prude.
Chief Le’Ron Singletary announced his retirement last week as part of a major shakeup of the city’s police leadership but said he would stay on through the end of the month.
Instead, Warren said at a news conference that she had permanently relieved him while suspending Corporation Counsel Tim Curtin and Communications Director Justin Roj without pay for 30 days following a cursory management review of the city’s role in Prude’s death.
“This initial look has shown what so many have suspected, that we have a pervasive problem in the Rochester Police Department,” Warren said. “One that views everything through the eyes of the badge and not the citizens we serve. It shows that Mr. Prude’s death was not taken as seriously as it should have been by those who reviewd the case throughout city government at every level.”
Officers found Prude running naked down the street in March, handcuffed him and put a hood over his head to stop him from spitting, then held him down for about two minutes until he stopped breathing. He died a week later after he was taken off life support.
Biden assembles legal team ahead of divisive 2020 election
WASHINGTON — Democrat Joe Biden is assembling a team of top lawyers in anticipation of court challenges to the election process that could ultimately determine who wins the race for the White House.
Biden’s presidential campaign says the legal war room will work to ensure that elections are properly administered and votes correctly counted. It will also seek to combat voter suppression at the polls, identify foreign interference and misinformation, and educate voters on the different methods available for casting ballots.
The effort, which the Biden campaign described as the largest election protection program in presidential campaign history, reflects the extent of the preparation underway for an already divisive presidential contest in November that could produce significant, perhaps even decisive, court cases over voter access and the legitimacy of mail ballots.
Democrats and Republicans are locked in legal fights on election rules that could help shape the outcome of the vote, and President Donald Trump’s campaign and the Republican National Committee have their own attorneys handling cases on a variety of issues.
Trump in recent months has sought to preemptively cast doubt on the election, warning that the expected surge in mail ballots because of the coronavirus pandemic will lead to massive fraud and could open the door to foreign countries to print their own fraudulent ballots.
South Dakota agency: AG reported hitting deer, but hit man
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — South Dakota Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg reported hitting a deer with his car on Saturday night but actually killed a pedestrian whose body was not found until the next day, state investigators said Monday.
Ravnsborg’s office has said he immediately called 911 after the crash on a rural stretch of U.S. Highway 14 and did not realize he had hit a man until his body was found. The Department of Public Safety issued a statement Monday that said only that Ravnsborg told the Hyde County Sheriff’s Office that he had hit a deer. Tony Mangan, a spokesman for the department, would not confirm whether Ravnsborg called 911, saying it is part of the ongoing investigation.
The pedestrian, who was identified as 55-year-old Joseph Boever, was not found until Sunday morning, according to the department. He had crashed his truck in that area earlier, according to relatives, and was apparently walking near the road toward it.
Republican Gov. Kristi Noem had revealed Sunday that Ravnsborg was involved in a fatal crash and tasked the Department of Public Safety with investigating, but neither she nor the agency had provided any details.
The North Dakota Bureau of Criminal Investigation is also participating in the investigation. The South Dakota Division of Criminal Investigation, which would normally be involved, is part of the attorney general’s office. It is standard practice to request an outside agency to conduct an investigation when there may be a conflict of interest.
Netflix’s ‘Cuties’ becomes target of politicized backlash
The backlash to the French independent film “Mignonnes,” or “Cuties,” started before it had even been released because of a poster that went viral for its provocative depiction of its young female actors. But the spotlight has only intensified since the film became available on Netflix last week and it has become the target of heightened politicized outrage from members of Congress, including U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, and others online calling for subscribers to #CancelNetflix.
At the heart of the backlash is the idea that “Cuties” is dangerously and irresponsibly sexualizing pre-teen girls, which, ironically, is what the movie itself is criticizing too. The campaign against the film, which includes calls for the Department of Justice to investigate it and hundreds of thousands calling for subscribers to cancel their Netflix accounts, is riddled with inaccuracies due in part to the fact that some critics have not seen the film (one claims that there is child nudity when there is not).
Netflix said in a statement that it is a, “social commentary against the sexualization of young children.”
Written and directed by Maïmouna Doucouré, “Cuties” is about an 11-year-old Senegalese immigrant named Amy (Fathia Youssouf) who is living in an impoverished Paris suburb with her observant Muslim family. She becomes fascinated with a clique of rebellious girls at her middle school who choreograph dance routines and wear crop tops and heels. They talk about Kim Kardashian and diets, practice “twerking” and giggle about boys and sex-related things that they don’t yet understand.
Netflix acquired “Cuties” out of the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year where it was favorably reviewed and won an award for its direction. It is the kind of film (foreign-language and with no stars from a first-time director) that would otherwise have gone under the radar. But because Netflix’s promotional materials caught the attention of the internet and even led to an apology from the streaming giant and the removal of the posters, “Cuties” was thrust onto the national stage.