A New York man has been sentenced to three years in federal prison on hate crime charges in connection with making anti-Semitic death threats to a Stratford resident, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Connecticut.
Christopher Rascoll, 49, of Blauvelt, was also sentenced Wednesday to three years of supervised release following the prison term, officials announced. Rascoll was arrested in June 2020 following an investigation by the FBI with assistance from the Stratford Police Department.
Authorities said that in November 2019, Rascoll began to threaten a woman, who is Jewish, through numerous text messages, voicemails and Facebook posts. In several text messages and voicemails, which continued until June 2020, Rascoll threatened to kill or seriously injure the victim, according to authorities.
He also threatened to blow up the victim’s house and car, authorities said.
“Some of Rascoll’s threatening text messages contained anti-Semitic references to the Holocaust,” officials wrote in the news release. “On December 23, 2019, the first day of Hannukah, Rascoll sent the victim a message that included the words ‘Suns about to go down. It would be a shame if your house were used to light the menorah. Or turned in a gas chamber.’ On April 8, 2020, the first day of Passover, Rascoll wrote ‘I’m going to kill you. You better be gone because if you’re in [the victim’s housing community] Easter weekend I’m going to stick you in an oven. Or I’m going to shoot you . . . . I should send you to a concentration camp.’
“On June 26, 2020, only a few hours before he was located and arrested by the FBI, Rascoll left the victim a voicemail message stating, ‘The police are not going to help you. The courts are not going to help you. . . . I will kill you.'”
A Salinas student said she’s heard racial slurs on campus since elementary school. As a freshman, she fears walking down the hallways of Alisal High School.
Parents, students, educators, and community members attended Tuesday’s Salinas Union High School District (SUHSD) board meeting to voice their concern regarding a group of students who allegedly defaced a Black doll during Salinas High School’s jamboree event last week.
An Instagram account was created for the doll that students named “Shaniqua.” Photos show markings on the doll that appear to be an ankle monitor bracelet drawn around the doll’s ankle and scribble marks on the face. In a video posted on TikTok, several students are seen stomping on the doll.
Since the video was posted, students have come forward to share their experience with racism on SUHSD campuses.
“It’s not just the Friday jamboree, it’s Monday when I go to school and I hear the ‘N’ word in the hallways,” said an Alisal High School senior, who introduced herself as Belinda. “… in my math class when they won’t listen to my opinion because apparently Latinas don’t know math.”
Many residents have asked whether the students who appeared in the video would face repercussions.
“I don’t want this to be minimized as just a joke or silly kids,” said Jordana Henry, a parent, teacher, and leader in the school’s Black Girl Magic Club. “This is white supremacy.”
SUHSD Superintendent Dan Burns said the consequences for those involved include suspension, removal from extracurricular activities, and mandatory attendance in restorative justice and healing sessions.
Several students claim that the Salinas High School principal and other faculty members have made racially insensitive remarks in the past. Additionally, one Alisal student said that some Salinas High School staff knew about the doll but didn’t act until the social media post.
District administrators are investigating the incident and will request a third party investigator to look into accusations made against to the high school principal and staff, Burns said.
Source: USA Today
Bonnie Chapman, the daughter of Duane “Dog the Bounty Hunter” Chapman and his late wife Beth Chapman, is speaking out against her father.
After Bonnie, 22, and her half-sister Cecily, 28, told TMZ this week that they were not invited to Dog’s Sep. 2 wedding to his fiancée Francie Frane, Bonnie shared a lengthy statement on social media accusing Dog, 68, of racism, homophobia and infidelity.
Bonnie claimed Frane, 52, told her the reason she was not invited to the wedding is her participation in and support of Black Lives Matter protests with The System, a show apparently available via a “streaming platform” called UnleashedTV. According to Bonnie, Dog was fired by UnleashedTV. PEOPLE has reached out to the platform for comment.
“I’m sorry, but I can’t defend my Dad’s racism,” Bonnie wrote. “When it comes to ‘The System’ on UnleashedTV, my father was fired by the platform for using racial and homophobic epithets toward my fellow cast members on the show, which is about social justice advocacy and protesting violence and racial bias by police. I have expressed time and time again my ever-growing disappointment in my father’s progression into his old racist ways.”
In a statement issued via their rep, Dog and Frane tell PEOPLE, “Bonnie’s allegations are false and a misguided attempt to derail our wedding.” The statement claims Bonnie and Cecily, who is Beth’s daughter with her first husband Keith Barmore, have been “groomed by disgruntled former associates” of Dog “who want revenge at any cost and are attempting to tarnish [his] reputation.”
The statement continues: “Please pray for Bonnie and Cecily to be released from whatever hold these people have on them. We love them and pray for them everyday. We are grateful to the rest of our family for helping us to set the record straight. Despite the sadness we feel at this rift in our family, Francie and I are looking forward to celebrating our wedding next week with the rest of our family and close friends.”
A federal judge in Nevada has struck down a law that targets some immigrants who come to the country illegally.
Section 1326 in U.S. law says if you were denied entry to the U.S. or were deported at some point, simply entering the country becomes a crime.
Nevada district court judge Miranda Du struck it down, saying it violates the Constitution because of its racist, anti-Mexican origins in the late 1920’s, even though the law was reenacted under a different name in 1952.
“Moreover, the government fails to demonstrate how any subsequent amending Congress addressed either the racism that initially motivated the Act of 1929 or the discriminatory intent that was contemporaneous with the 1952 reenactment,” she wrote.
Du ruled that the government didn’t prove it would have passed the law without its original “discriminatory intent”, so it violates the Fifth Amendment.
Historians like Kelly Lytle Hernandez have found that racism played a significant role in the law’s creation.
“(The law was created) in 1929 by a eugenicist and white supremacist with the clear intention of targeting Mexican immigrants in particular, Latinx immigrants in general,” said Hernandez, a UCLA history professor and author who gave testimony in the Nevada case.
“It’s time to go back and reckon with that history and address it and redress it. And that’s what this judge has done,” Hernandez said.
Ahilan Arulanantham, a law professor at UCLA, said this was a “extraordinarily important decision. It is the first decision striking down the illegal reentry statute as unconstitutional.”
Arulanantham said this law – and another penalizing initial illegal entry into the U.S. – are by far the most prosecuted federal crimes.
“There are whole prisons in the southwest where almost everybody in the prison is just serving time for this offense,” he said. “And overwhelmingly, 98 or 99% of the people prosecuted for this crime are Latino.”
Source: Boise State Public Radio
Former Miami Heat center Meyers Leonard broke a five-month Instagram silence recently to give an update on his attempt to educate himself on the Jewish community.
Leonard was traded from the Heat to the Oklahoma City Thunder (who immidately released him) for Trevor Ariza and and a 2027 second-round pick back in March after he made a tasteless anti-simetic remark during a Twitch live stream. Leonard was fined $50,000 by NBA Commissioner Adam Silver for using the slur. The league also mandated that Leonard participate in a cultural diversity program.
The former Heat player wrote a lengthy caption below a photo of him alongside a young Jewish boy on an outdoor basketball court,stating that he has spent time learning from rabbis and other members of the Jewish community, discussing challenges that the community faces.
He started 49 games for the Heat back in 2019-20, averaging 6.1 points, 5.1 rebounds and shooting 41.4% from three, though he was essentially cut from the rotation during his team’s run to the NBA Finals during their time in the Orlando bubble. Back in February, prior to being traded to Oklahoma City, he underwent season-ending shoulder surgery.
Leonard has remained unsigned as the 2021-22 NBA season approaches.
Nearly 75% of white parents rarely or never discuss race with their children, according to a 2019 report. And if they’re not talking about race, they’re almost surely not talking about racism. That’s a problem, because “if we don’t talk about racism, we’re going to perpetuate it,” says Riana Elyse Anderson, Ph.D., an assistant professor at the University of Michigan’s School of Public Health.
If you’re a white family, know that it’s truly never too late to have these talks with your kids, though the earlier the better. The American Academy of Pediatrics notes that by ages 2 to 4, children can already internalize racial bias.
“Think about it like this: If Black children are old enough to experience racism, then white children are old enough to learn about it,” says Anderson. Not sure what to say, or how to start? Here’s what to know.
1. Assess yourself first.
It’s 100% true that you don’t need to be an expert on race and racism to start a conversation with your child. What’s also true: “You’re going to be ineffective if you haven’t assessed how aware you are about racism and what knowledge you have,” says Anderson, noting that doing your own reading and reflecting is your first priority.
Start with exploring the history of racism in the U.S. and your own personal biases. “It’s important to think about your own journey growing up in a racist society,” says Aisha White, Ph.D., director of the Positive Racial Identity Development in Early Education program at the University of Pittsburgh. “Take a look at your own decisions that may have contributed to—or ignored—racism.”
For example, have you ever made assumptions about a so-called “bad” part of town? Have you ever stayed silent when someone told a racist joke?
An Iowa woman who attacked two children, a 12-year-old Black boy and a 14-year-old Latina girl, with her car in 2019 was sentenced Thursday to 25 years in federal prison.
Nicole Poole Franklin, 43, had pleaded guilty to both federal hate crime charges and state attempted murder charges.
On Dec. 9, 2019, the 12-year-old boy was walking with his older sibling when Franklin hopped the curb in her car and tried to run him over. The boy suffered minor injuries.
Franklin said she thought the child was an ISIS terrorist out to get her.
Less than an hour later, Franklin launched another attack, this time on the 14-year-old girl, who was walking to a basketball game. The girl suffered serious injuries, including a concussion, according to police.
Franklin said she thought the girl was a Mexican who “wasn’t supposed to be in the country,” and was taking “our homes, our jobs.”
Police said Franklin fled both scenes and went to a convenience store, where she launched into a racist tirade against two Black men. She was not charged with a crime for the tirade.
Franklin admitted to both attacks and was sentenced in May on the state charges, getting at least 17½ years in prison, the Associated Press reported.. She’ll serve her 25-year federal sentence concurrently, and she will not be eligible for parole.
Source: NY Daily News
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Two former officers with the Torrance Police Department were charged Thursday with vandalism for allegedly spray-painting an impounded vehicle with a swastika, authorities said.
In addition, Torrance Police Chief Jeremiah Hart said that he has relieved 13 other officers of their duty because of an ongoing investigation into messages that he characterized as “racism and hatred.”
Former officers Christopher Tomsic, 29, and Cody Weldin, 28, were charged with one felony count each of vandalism and conspiracy to commit vandalism, according to a statement from the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office. Both men pleaded not guilty to the charges, it said.
On January 27, 2020, Tomsic and Weldin were allegedly among a group of officers responding to a police call regarding stolen mail, the DA’s office said. The former officers were led to a vehicle and allegedly ordered for it to be impounded to a tow yard, according to the D.A.’s office. When the owner of the vehicle arrived to pick up the car, he found a happy face spray-painted on the front passenger seat, a swastika symbol spray-painted on the rear seat, and other items strewn throughout the vehicle, the statement said.
The two men were terminated in March 2020, the police chief said.
At a joint news conference with the police chief, District Attorney George Gascón said the other Torrance officers who were suspended were “exchanging racist, discriminatory, homophobic and anti-Semitic messages.”
The District Attorney’s office has identified hundreds of cases in which the officers were involved, he said, and they will be reviewed that no other misconduct occurred.
“We have seen an increase in hate crimes, not only in our own home town but around the country. And it’s unacceptable,” Gascón said. “But it becomes doubly unacceptable when we have the people that are sworn to protect all of us who engage in this behavior.”