Lawsuit: Racism, talk of Trump-inspired ‘fence’ at Mt. Healthy police department
A federal lawsuit filed this week alleging a culture of racism within Mount Healthy’s police department is the third in recent years involving one of its African-American officers.
The previous two lawsuits, filed in 2016 and 2017, involved part-time officers. The newest lawsuit was filed by a current full-time officer, Paul Scott, who documents say was the first African-American hired by the small department.
The lawsuit includes allegations that Police Chief Vince Demasi talked with officers about “Demasi’s fence.” The fence was being put up, the lawsuit says, to stop residents of a predominantly African-American apartment complex in Springfield Township from walking through an area that separates the complex from a Mount Healthy shopping center.
During that March 2016 discussion, according to the lawsuit, officers talked about building a wall between the communities – after first discussing then-presidential candidate Donald Trump’s proposed wall at the Mexican border.
“The conversation became even more offensive and racist,” the lawsuit says. An officer suggested they build a moat, where the apartment complex’s residents would “drop into and drown.”
According to the lawsuit, someone then suggested a sign that warned of prosecution:
“Officers said they would need to define the word ‘prosecution,’ implying the African-American residents were not intelligent enough to read or comprehend the sign.”
A day later, on March 18, 2016, Officer Scott filed a complaint with his supervisor about the discussion surrounding the fence.
The lawsuit says Scott complained that Demasi “encouraged the conversation.”
Mount Healthy City Manager Bill Kocher declined to comment. Demasi said he could not talk about pending litigation.
Demasi did say his department does not “condone, accept or allow any type of racial activity to occur.”
He said an outside law firm was hired by the city to investigate Scott’s allegations.
“They found no evidence of any racial discrimination or any issues,” Demasi said.
In 2017, Japan woke up to the issue of discrimination
As is tradition, here is JBC’s annual countdown of the top 10 human rights events as they affected non-Japanese (NJ) residents of Japan over the past year. In ascending order:
10) As Japan’s population falls, NJ residents hit record
Figures released in 2017 indicated that Japan’s society is not just continuing to age and depopulate, but that the trends are accelerating. Annual births fell under 1 million — a record low — while deaths reached a record high. The segment of the population aged 65 or older also accounted for a record 27 percent of the total.
In contrast, after four years (2010-2013) of net outflow, the NJ resident influx set new records. A registered 2.38 million now make up 1.86 percent of Japan’s total population, somewhat offsetting the overall decline.
Alas, that didn’t matter. Japanese media as usual tended to report “Japan’s population” not in terms of people living in Japan, but rather Nihonjin (Japanese citizens), indicating once again that NJ residents simply don’t count.
9) ‘Hair police’ issue attracts attention with lawsuit
Japan’s secondary schools have a degree of uniformity that stifles diversity. And this trend reached its logical conclusion with the news that one school was forcing children with natural hair color that’s anything but black to dye and straighten their locks.
We talked about dyeing a decade ago (“Schools single out foreign roots,” July 17, 2007), noting its adverse effects on children’s physical and mental health. Yet the Asahi Shimbun reported in May that 57 percent of surveyed Tokyo metropolitan high schools still require “proof of real hair color.” In Osaka, it’s more like 80 percent.
Last October a student filed suit against Osaka Prefecture for mental anguish. Kaifukan High School in the city of Habikino had forced her to dye her naturally brown hair every four days, regardless of the rashes and scalp irritation. When even that proved insufficiently black, she was barred from a school festival and then summarily deleted from the school register.
Lawsuit: Sam’s Club discriminated against transgender worker
A transgender woman said in a lawsuit Wednesday that she was called “it” and “thing” by co-workers and then wrongfully fired from a North Carolina Sam’s Club store after repeatedly complaining about harassment.
The federal lawsuit by Charlene Bost seeks unspecified monetary damages and asks the court to order the big box retailer to train employees to prevent future harassment of transgender workers. It says Bost was wrongfully fired in 2015 from the Kannapolis store in retaliation for her complaints.
Transgender people around the country are increasingly taking employers or schools to court to demand that their rights be protected, and North Carolina has been the site of a protracted legal battle over state laws governing which restrooms transgender people can use.
The executive director of the Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund, which represents Bost, said legal battles over transgender employee rights are becoming more common.
“Given the increase in the number of transgender people who are coming out, particularly at earlier and earlier ages, I think we’re going to see many more claims in the future for discrimination against transgender people,” said Jillian Weiss, the fund’s executive director, in an interview. Weiss added that it’s important for “employers to recognize that prejudice still exists among their employees.”
Bost hadn’t yet transitioned to life as a woman when she began working in 2004 at a Sam’s Club location about 25 miles (40 kilometers) northeast of Charlotte. Bost said she received praise and was promoted to supervisor before she began to express her feminine identity at work in 2008.
The lawsuit said the harassment by co-workers and multiple managers began around that time and escalated as Bost began wearing her hair longer and adding makeup to her appearance. In 2014, one co-worker told a customer as Bost walked by: “Here comes that thing with an attitude,” the lawsuit says.
Trump too busy and important to face defamation lawsuit, president’s lawyers claim
Can you sue the president? The finer points of this question were subject to much legal sparring on Tuesday when a lawyer for Donald Trump argued for the dismissal of a lawsuit that threatens to reignite one of dozens of accusations of sexual assault facing the president.
The lawsuit was brought by a former contestant on The Apprentice, Summer Zervos, who claims Trump kissed her and groped her breast during a 2007 meeting to discuss business opportunities at the Beverly Hills Hotel.
Trump thunderously denied her accusations, along with those of other women he called politically motivated liars. Zervos is suing Trump for defamation.
Or rather, she’s trying. In a hearing before a New York judge, Jennifer Schechter, to determine the case’s future, Trump’s attorney Marc Kasowitz argued that Zervos shouldn’t be allowed to proceed with her suit.
Trump’s denials were political speech, he said, protected from legal action, and a lawsuit would prevent the president, who holds a singular office, from performing his job.
“The president is the person who runs the executive branch,” Kasowitz said. “He needs to be available 24/7.”
The potential impact of Zervos’s lawsuit, if she is allowed to proceed, is immeasurable. It would almost certainly link Trump’s name more permanently to the scores of powerful men recently accused of sexual misconduct.
There is a chance Trump could be compelled to testify, something that led to Bill Clinton’s impeachment proceedings when he was revealed to have lied under oath.
Her lawsuit could also expose Trump, who faced roughly 75 lawsuits when he assumed the presidency, to a flood of litigation.
For political observers, the case brings a wave of deja vu. In 1997, the US supreme court ruled a president could be sued for private conduct that took place before he assumed office. The lawsuit in question was brought against Clinton by Paula Jones, on claims that he sexually harassed her.
Gaslamp Killer Files $5 Million Defamation Lawsuit Over Rape Accusation
William Bensussen, the electronic music producer and longtime Low End Theory resident known as The Gaslamp Killer, has filed a $5 million defamation lawsuit against two women who accused him last month on social media of drugging and raping them in 2013. The suit, filed in Los Angeles Superior Court on Nov. 13, names the two women, Chelsea Tadros and RaeAn Medina, along with Tadros’ boyfriend, Jack Wagner.
The 26-page suit, a copy of which was obtained by L.A. Weekly, seeks damages on seven counts, including defamation by libel, false light, interference with contractual relations and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
“These false and despicable allegations have sabotaged Mr. Bensussen’s career, upended his personal life, and led to the cancellation of his shows,” Bensussen’s attorney, Parag Amin, said via a written statement. “Mr. Bensussen is seeking to restore his good name the right way — through a court of law, where people must testify under oath and there is accountability for false statements.”
Tadros, Medina and Wagner did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Through a representative, Bensussen also declined to comment, instead referring to a press release that included statements from his attorney, Amin.
“False stories like the ones perpetrated by these two women further victimize real victims of assault,” Amin said.Bensussen was first accused of rape on Oct. 12, by a woman then identified only as Chelsea, who posted a screenshot on Twitter of a lengthy statement in which she “falsely [claimed] that she and Medina were raped by Bensussen on July 5, 2013 after being drugged at The Standard hotel in Downtown Los Angeles,” as described in the suit, which reprints the original accusation in full. In her statement, Tadros claimed after she and her friend, Medina, returned from the bathroom, Bensussen gave them drinks that had been spiked with some kind of drug.
Bill O’Reilly Files #MeToo Defamation Lawsuit Against Former Politician
Former Fox News host Bill O’Reilly has filed a $5 million dollar defamation lawsuit against a former New Jersey politician that accuses him of “making defamatory and false” statements about him in a #MeToo Facebook post. According to the suit, Michael Panter falsely posted on Facebook that O’Reilly had sexually harassed an ex-partner and then attempted to ask her for help in digging up dirt on one of his multiple accusers. In response to the accusation, O’Reilly stated, “Panter’s post is completely contrived, false and defamatory, aimed at hurting Bill O’Reilly and his family. Mr. O’Reilly will be commencing legal action against Mr. Panter, and the ex-partner he quotes, for all damages he and his family have suffered from this improper conduct.”
According to the Facebook post, O’Reilly not only hit on Panter’s ex-girlfriend, but repeatedly subjected her to late-night phone calls and asked her for help in uncovering personal information about a new woman accusing O’Reilly of sexual harassment in an attempt to discredit her, asking Panter’s ex-partner if she knew anything about possible drug use or the new accuser’s financial situation.
O’Reilly filed the suit in New York in a response to Panter’s purportedly “intentional, malicious, and bad faith actions in making defamatory and false statements in a publicly-available social post.” In response to O’Reilly’s claims of defamation, Panter issued a follow-up statement that defended his claims against O’Reilly and raised the possibility of bringing counter defamation claims against him in the future.
Social media is a relatively uncharted legal territory, and the question of what constitutes defamation over platforms like Facebook and Twitter remains murky. In American defamation law, any communication, even through social media, can be considered libelous if it is found to be false and damaging to an individual or corporation. The success of a defamation claim can also hinge on whether the subject is a public figure. In order to be found liable for defamation against a person who is famous or well known, a person must have acted with “actual malice,” meaning that he or she was aware that the statement in question was false, or acted with reckless disregard for the truth.
Lawsuit: Effects of ‘bathroom bill’ linger in North Carolina
The law that replaced North Carolina’s notorious “bathroom bill” sports a new look but maintains LGBT discrimination and prevents transgender people from using restrooms matching their gender identity, according to a lawsuit Friday.
The lawsuit renews a high-profile legal battle that has thrust North Carolina into the center of the national debate over LGBT rights. The state took the “bathroom bill” off the books in late March after a yearlong backlash that hurt North Carolina’s reputation and caused businesses and sports leagues to back out of lucrative events and projects.
But lawyers from the American Civil Liberties Union and Lambda Legal said the replacement law, known as H.B. 142, continues the harms of its predecessor.
“Legislators were forced to rewrite the law,” ACLU lawyer Chris Brook told reporters Friday. “But make no mistake … H.B. 142 is a wolf in sheep’s clothing crafted to keep discrimination intact but sporting a new look.”
The compromise earlier this year between Republican legislative leaders and Democrats led by Gov. Roy Cooper eliminated the “bathroom bill” requirement that transgender people use restrooms in many public buildings corresponding to the sex on their birth certificates.
The law that replaced North Carolina’s notorious “bathroom bill” sports a new look but maintains LGBT discrimination and prevents transgender people from using restrooms matching their gender identity, according to a lawsuit Friday. The lawsuit renews a high-profile legal battle that has thrust North Carolina into the center of the national debate over LGBT rights. The state took the “bathroom bill” off the books in late March after a yearlong backlash that hurt North Carolina’s reputation and caused businesses and sports leagues to back out of lucrative events and projects. But lawyers from the American Civil Liberties Union and Lambda Legal said the replacement law, known as H.B. 142, continues the harms of its predecessor.
Auto Racing’s NASCAR Accused of Racial Discrimination in Lawsuit
Black-owned teams and drivers say they’ve been blocked from competing.
NASCAR was hit with a $500 million lawsuit accusing the auto racing body of racial discrimination for preventing black-owned teams and drivers from competing, including in the Sprint Cup Series.
Terrance Cox and his company, Diversity Motorsports Racing, filed a lawsuit late on Friday in U.S. district court in Manhattan against NASCAR, its parent company, International Speedway Corp, and 18 teams, according to court records.
The plaintiffs are also seeking an injunction requiring the defendants to “fully integrate the African-American community.”
In a statement, NASCAR said the lawsuit has no merit.
“Diversity both on and off the track continues to be a top priority for NASCAR and its stakeholders,” the organization said. “We stand behind our actions, and will not let a publicity-seeking legal action deter us from our mission.”
The plaintiffs said they sued after NASCAR refused to let them field a team or join its Drive for Diversity program, and last year told them to cease contact.
Citing NASCAR‘s website, the plaintiffs said none of the 48 drivers in the Sprint Cup, NASCAR‘s top racing series, is black, and only one of the 18 teams has partial African-American ownership. They also said only one driver in NASCAR‘s Xfinity Series circuit is black.
“Motorsports remain the most racially segregated sport in the United States,” the complaint said. “NASCAR and ISC have been complicit in, and supportive of, the racially discriminatory environment that virtually excludes African-Americans from meaningful participation.”
The lawsuit seeks $75 million in compensatory damages and $425 million in punitive damages.
Katie Couric Faces $12 Million Defamation Lawsuit For ‘Misleading’ Edits In Gun Control Film
Virginians Citizens Defense League (VCDL) has filed a $12 million defamation lawsuit against Katie Couric and director Stephanie Soechtig for their role in the “misleading” edits that made VCDL members appear stumped by Couric’s gun control questions in her documentary Under the Gun.
Breitbart News previously reported that an eight-second pause was inserted in the film between the end of Couric’s question about gun control and the responses offered by VCDL members. The pause made the VCDL members look like Couric had baffled them with her gun control insight. In truth, the VCDL members had answered Couric immediately.
Raw audio obtained by the Washington Free Beacon proved the immediacy of the VCDL’s answers, but once the edits were made, the film portrayed the members as speechless:
Couric later apologized for the “misleading” edits.
CBS 6 now reports that the VCDL has filed a defamation suit. VCDL president Philip Van Cleave said:
“We were horrified to see how Couric and her team manipulated us and the video footage to make us look like fools who didn’t stand up for the Second Amendment. We want to set the record straight and hold them accountable for what they’ve done. You shouldn’t intentionally misrepresent someone’s views just because you disagree with them.”
Austin Children’s Dentistry suing forensic dentist for defamation
AUSTIN (KXAN) – After the death of a 14-month-old girl following a visit to an Austin Children’s Dentistry location earlier this year, the company is now suing the author of a critical report and stating that new reviews show the girl’s treatment was “dentally necessary.”
The autopsy report, released by the Travis County Medical Examiner’s Office in July, ruled that anesthesia caused the death of Daisy Lynn Torres. There was an anesthesiologist on-site during Daisy Lynn’s appointment, according to a 911 recording and a spokesperson from Austin Children’s Dentistry. However, what as at issue in the lawsuit is a portion of the autopsy including a report from a forensic dental examiner, Dr. Robert Williams. The report questioned why 14-month-old Daisy Lynn Torres was having a dental procedure before she died. The report prompted Austin Children’s Dentistry to suspend the child’s dentist.
Now, the dental office is questioning the forensic report and accusing the forensic dentist of libel, defamation, and business disparagement in lawsuit filed this week in Travis County District Court.
The lawsuit also provides a look into the actions of Austin Children’s Dentistry after the release of the report. The lawsuit states that the dental office launched an internal review finding that the treatment for Daisy Lynn Torres was “dentally necessary, was appropriate and was provided in response to the initiating concerns that were appropriately raised by the minor patients parents.” It also states that dental records and x-rays should never have lead to the statements in Dr. Williams’ report.
“ln addition to internal reviews, ACD sponsored independent expert reviews by national experts to review the patient records and radiographs taken of [dentist Dr. Michael Melanson’s] treatment of the patient and to assess the concerns expressed in Dr. Williams’ odontology report,” the lawsuit states. “The expert reviews concluded that the clear dental necessity for Dr. Melanson’s treatment was obvious and supported in the record entries and radiographs that were not even noted or referred to by Dr. Williams in the short and brief conclusions contained in his report.”