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D.C. Police Official Reportedly Says Teens Should "Stay Home" To Not Become A Victim Of Human Trafficking

The law enforcement official says that no evidence has become apparent to support notions of human trafficking.

Earlier this month, Washington D.C.'s police department beefed up their efforts to help find a bevy of missing black and latinx teenagers by sharing their images and information on social media. According to NBC Washington, out of the 20 missing people whose images were posted online since March 19, 10 of them are adolescents. The site adds that six of those missing children were found and investigations into locating the other four people are still ongoing.

The concerning news of those absent kids -- majority are girls -- sparked a call for action across the nation, igniting town hall meetings on what should be done to return these teens to their homes. According to the Associated Press, members of the Congressional Black Caucus called upon the Justice Department to act swiftly and effectively on the matter, and to "devote the resources necessary to determine whether these developments are an anomaly or whether they are indicative of an underlying trend that must be addressed." AP adds that missing child cases dropped from 2,433 in 2015 to 2,242 in 2016 within D.C.

Radio host Joe Clair recently spoke with Chanel Dickerson, a leader of the D.C. Police Youth and Family Services Division, on the situation. During the morning show program, Clair asked the official for background information on why the number of missing children drastically increased in a short amount of time. Dickerson stated that most of these cases involve children who run away from home, but their reasoning for doing so is still unknown.

"I have no idea, I'm just trying to get to the bottom of it," Dickerson said. "I'm trying to solicit help from communities and faith-based organizations to find out the root cause why so many young people in our city are voluntarily leaving home."

Dickerson was then asked what are a few precautionary solutions that could help keep a child from becoming a victim of human trafficking. "Stay home, it's as simple as that," Dickerson said. "If they stay home, it reduces the risk. I'm not saying that's the fix-all but that's where we have to start. We have to start small, this is a problem and it'll take a community effort, but we have to start small."

The statement garnered puzzled responses from social media users, including D.C. rapper Wale.

Concerns of a human trafficking epidemic brewing in the nation's capital became a topic of conversation and consideration when the news of the missing teens surfaced. According to police spokeswoman Karimah Bilal, that is not the case. "Because of the number of releases, there have been concerns that young girls in the District of Columbia are victims of human trafficking or have been kidnapped," Bilal said. "We look at every case closely to make sure that doesn't happen, but to my knowledge, that hasn't been a factor in any of our missing person cases." Dickerson adds that law enforcement officials have "no evidence in any of these cases that anyone was kidnapped or is the victim of sex trafficking."

A mixture of pleas for help to separating false information from the facts appeared on social media websites, showcasing that this issue must be approached with caution and action.

I've had Metropolitan Police (aka DC police) officers in my texts and emails all day. Here's what's been explained to me by FOUR different officers: Earlier this year, the new police chief (acting since September 2016, appointed officially at the end of Feb.) started an initiative to share information about missing PEOPLE of all colors and sexes on social media as it's the quickest way to spread photos and information about missing persons. The change has brought greater awareness about missing PEOPLE in DC, black girls being among that group. Yes. There are black girls missing. And even ONE child missing is cause for great concern. But there is no sudden spike in the numbers. And for 2017, all of the missing teens, boys and girls, that have been found -- most of the reported missing have been-- left voluntarily. The police force does not fear there is increased organ harvesting, human trafficking, kidnapping, serial killer, etc. in the area. Again, there is no spike in the numbers of missing PEOPLE, including black girls. And yes, I know this runs contrary to most of what you've been seeing on social media. And there is no compelling reason to take the word of a writer with anonymous sources (officers can't give interviews on record without going thru substantial red tape). But I'm not the only one researching and talking to folk on the ground. NBC Washington has a break down of the story and says the EXACT same thing the officers have been telling me all day. Check it out in my profile. The article also explains the lack of Amber alerts, which I know was a compelling concern for many. READ THE ARTICLE. Let me know your thoughts. #bringbackourgirls #bringbackourboys • Also, The Wire character is "Slim Charles". Long before the show, he was forever (and will forever be) known as "Big G" in DC. My bad for combining the names. The other stuff still stands.

A post shared by Demetria Lucas D'Oyley (@demetrialucasdoyley) on

Here's the FACTS about these 'Missing DC girls' ##SwipeForFacts

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Detroit Bus Driver Dies From COVID-19 After Posting About Passenger Coughing

A Detroit bus driver died from coronavirus two weeks after making a Facebook Live post calling out a passenger for coughing several times on the bus without covering her mouth. The death of Jason Hargrove, a Transportation Equipment Operator for the Detroit Department of Transportation, was announced by Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan on Thursday (April 2).

“He knew his life was being put in jeopardy -- even though he was going to work for the citizens of Detroit every day -- by somebody who just didn’t care and now he’s gone,” Duggan said.

The Amalgamated Transit Union also tweeted a message confirming Hargrove’s death. Hargrove belonged to the Union since 2016 and was one of two AUT members to die from COVID-19. The second victim, Joseph Madore, was a paratransit operator for First Transit, Greater Hartford Transit District.

#1u #Solidarity #COVID19 #Frontlines pic.twitter.com/OGeW5AsL1m

— ATU, Transit Union (@ATUComm) April 3, 2020

Hargrove vented about his safety being at risk in an 8-minute video posted on March 21. “This coronavirus s**t is for real and we out here as public workers, doing our job, trying to make an honest living to take care of our families, but for you to get on the bus and stand on the bus and cough several times without covering up your mouth and you know we in the middle of a pandemic…that lets me know that some folks don’t care. Utterly don’t give a f**k, excuse my language but that’s how I feel right about now.”

Hargrove said that the woman was in her late 50s or early 60s and coughed four to five times. There were around nine passengers were on the bus at the time.

“I ain’t blaming nobody but that woman that did that s**t,” he continued. “For us to get through this ya’ll need to take this s**t serious. It’s folks dying out here [because] of this s**t. I’m mad right now because that s**t was uncalled for. I’m trying to be the professional that they want me to be, so I kept my mouth closed. But at some point..you gotta' draw the line and say 'enough is enough.' That s**t was uncalled for. I feel violated. I feel violated for the folks that were on the bus when this happened.”

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer declared a state of emergency and a state of disaster over the spread of COVID-19. Since reporting its first two cases on March 10, more than 12,000 people in Michigan have tested positive for the disease, and nearly 500 people have died. Many of the cases have been centered in Detroit and Oakland County.

Watch Hargrove's video below.

 

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Michael Loccisano

CNN Anchor Chris Cuomo Has Tested Positive For COVID-19

The 49-year-old brother of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Chris Cuomo announced in a tweet today (March 31) that he tested positive for COVID-19 after being exposed to people who are infected. Cuomo has extensively covered the coronavirus pandemic on the cable news network during his show titled, Cuomo Prime Time.

"Sooooo in these difficult times that seem to get more difficult and complicated by the day, I just found out that I am positive for coronavirus. I have been exposed to people in recent days who have subsequently tested positive and I had fever, chills and shortness of breath," Cuomo wrote in aTweet.

pic.twitter.com/e9Ym9jeT2R

— Christopher C. Cuomo (@ChrisCuomo) March 31, 2020

The New York governor said in a press conference Tuesday (March 31) that his brother "is going to be fine."

"Even for essential workers, people have to be careful. Again, I've been trying to communicate that everyone – everyone – is subject to this virus," the governor said. "This virus is the great equalizer. My brother, Chris, is positive for coronavirus. Found out this morning. Now, he is going to be fine. He's young, in good shape, strong – not as strong as he thinks – he will be fine. But there's a lesson in this. He's an essential worker, a member of the press, so he's been out there. If you go out there, the chance that you'll get infected is very high."

Cuomo says his brother “is going to be fine.”

He said he’s young and strong, but jokes not as much as he thinks.

Chris will be quarantined in his basement and worried about his kids.

“He’s my best friend,” the governor said. pic.twitter.com/gmsIi9Qao8

— Joseph Spector (@GannettAlbany) March 31, 2020

"He's just worried about his daughter and his kids and he hopes he didn't get them infected," the governor continued. "You don't really know Chris – you see Chris on his show at night … but you just see one dimension," Gov. Cuomo added.

According the New York Times, Cuomo plans to continue shooting his show, Cuomo Prime Time, from his basement, where he is quarantining himself.

 

 

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Here’s How New Orleans Is Being Affected By Coronavirus

New Orleans has twice as many COVID-19 cases per capita than any other county or parish in the country. This time last month, the Big Easy welcomed over a million visitors for Mardi Gras, which likely contributed to the diseases spreading rapidly around the city.

New Orleans registered its first case of COVID-19 on March 9. As of Friday (March 27), the city reported more than 20 additional coronavirus-related deaths, bringing the total to 119. The death tole increased by 19% in one day, according to the Times-Picayune. That said, the number of those who have contracted the disease could vary due to a lack of testing in Louisiana, and around the country. The state reported 441 new cases as of Friday.

Male patients account for 43% of the COVID-19 cases in the state, while women make up 57%. The largest number of cases by age group are adults between the ages of 50-59. Orleans Parish, which is Louisiana’s third most populous parish behind East Baton Rouge and Jefferson Parish, reported 57 of the 87 coronavirus-related deaths.

At least 24% percent of New Orleans residents are living below the poverty line, and 1 in 5 households are without a vehicle, further limiting access to testing and treatment, USA Today reports. The poverty stats, compounded with lack of access to proper health care and those with underlying medical conditions, contribute to the spike in cases.

“New Orleans is preparing to mobilize in a way we hope we will never see again in our lifetimes,” New Orleans Homeland Security Director Collin Arnold said, per USA Today. “This disaster will define us for generations.”

The city is running out of hospital beds, and ventilators could be next on the list. Of the more the 773 reported patients hospitalized over COVID-19, 270 of them require ventilators. Louisiana has close to 2,800 ventilators statewide. While the city works to gain access to necessary medical supplies, others are stepping forward to help feed NOLA residents.

Earlier in the week, New Orleans Saints player Drew Brees and his wife, Brittany, announced that they are donating $5 million to various charities including Second Harvest Food Bank, Ochsner Health, Jimmy Johns, and Waitr, to prepare and deliver over 10,000 meals per day throughout Louisiana.

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Brittany and I are committing $5,000,000 to the State of Louisiana in 2020. The priority now is helping our communities get through this tough time. After considerable research and conversations with local organizations, we will be mobilizing our partnerships with Second Harvest Food Bank, Ochsner Health Systems, Walk-Ons, Jimmy Johns, Smalls Sliders and Waitr to prepare and deliver over 10,000 meals per day throughout Louisiana for as long as it takes to children on meal programs, seniors, and families in need. Let’s all do our part, maintain hope, and get through this together.

A post shared by Drew Brees (@drewbrees) on Mar 26, 2020 at 8:31am PDT

In neighboring Mississippi, there are 570 confirmed COVID-19 cases and eight deaths out of 3,139 tests administered. Mississippi also has more women battling the disease (59%) than men (41%).

According to the U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams, New Orleans, Detroit, Chicago and other “hot spots” will have a worse week next week than they had this week.

In Milwaukee, the city’s Black community is being hit harder than any other group in the state. All of the eight deaths (five men and three women) in Milwaukee County were Black people, and seven of the eight were Milwaukee residents.

Philadelphia has at least 475 cases of the disease with over 2,200 confirmed cases statewide. On a positive note, more than 21,000 people  have tested negative for coronavirus in Pennsylvania.

With over 42,246 people testing positive for the disease, New York tops the list of coronavirus cases around the country and has been receiving the brunt of nationwide press around the pandemic, while states like Michigan, which falls fifth on the nationwide list, aren't generating the same amount of national headlines. The Midwestern state has been considered an epicenter  for the disease, and cities such as Detroit and Flint, where residents have been without clean water for years, are among the most vulnerable.

As of Thursday (March 28), the U.S. confirmed more cases of COVID-19 than any other country in the world. Over 100,000 people tested positive for the disease and while hospitals are still in need of critical supplies and testing kits, there is one small glimmer of hope: the fatality rate in the U.S. remains at less than 10% (1607 confirmed deaths), and over 2,000 people in the country have been reported as recovered from COVID-19.

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