Devin-Patrick-Kelley
Houston Chronicle

Air Force Error Allowed Texas Shooter To Purchase Firearms With Ease

In 2012, Devin P. Kelley was convicted of domestic abuse, a factor that would've prohibited him from purchasing military-style weapons. 

Devin P. Kelley's domestic abuse conviction went unnoticed when he purchased four military-style weapons because it was never plugged into the federal database. The human error made by the Air Force has drawn concerns about loopholes and oversights when it comes purchasing guns.

The New York Times reports the Air Force confessed to the blunder on Monday (Nov. 6) after the gunman's relationship with his in-laws came to light. Kelley was discharged from the Air Force in 2014 after serving in New Mexico from 2010. During that time, he was court-martialed for assault on his wife and using his hands to crack his stepson's skull. The conviction was never put on Kelly's record.

The same year, Kelly purchased one of the four weapons used in the Houston church shooting that resulted in the deaths of 26 people. Two of the other guns purchased during that time were found in his car.

"Initial information indicates that Kelley's domestic violence offense was not entered into the National Criminal Information Center database by the Holloman Air Force Base Office of Special Investigations," an Air Force statement said. “The Air Force has launched a review of how the service handled the criminal records of former Airman Devin P. Kelley following his 2012 domestic violence conviction."

"Somebody ... really dropped the ball in this case and there's 26 dead people now," Don Christensen, the former Air Force chief prosecutor when Kelley was sentenced told CNN Monday.

The Air Force also plans to pull back the curtain to inquire if other convictions were left unreported. Kelly was rejected from obtaining a license to carry a handgun in Texas, but licenses aren't required to buy a firearm in a gun shop. If an individual passes the background check, they can still buy a gun.

The Associated Press adds the Lautenberg Amendment was installed by Congress in 1996 to prevent those guilty of domestic violence from buying  firearm. Other criteria include felonies punishable up to five years, an active drug-related record, a visa or green card holder and renounced citizenship. Despite these reasons, people like Dylann Roof were still able to purchase firearms.

"This is exactly the guy the Lautenberg Amendment is supposed to prevent from possessing a firearm," Rachel Van Landingham, a professor at Southwestern Law School told AP. "Of course, the law only works if folks are abiding by the law."

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Former Chicago Cop Jason Van Dyke Sentenced For Killing Laquan McDonald

Former Chicago police officer, Jason Van Dyke, could end up serving just over three years in prison for killing 17-year-old Laquan McDonald. Van Dyke was sentenced to 81 months Friday (Jan. 18), and according to the Chicago Tribune , the former officer is eligible to receive credit for good behavior.

Cook County Judge Vincent Gaughan had to decide between sentencing Van Dyke for second-degree murder or aggravated battery, the latter of which carried a mandatory minimum of six years in prison, the Tribune reports. Gaughan decided that it made more sense to sentence Van Dyke for murder, which makes him eligible for early release.

McDonald was shot to death in 2014. At the time, authorities claimed that the teen was behaving erratically while carrying a small knife. The police department waited 13 months to release video of the shooting. In the footage, McDonald is seen walking away from the cops as Van Dyke opens fire, shooting him 16 times. Van Dyke, a 14-year veteran of the CPD, was arrested and quickly released on bond the day that the video was made public. He was found guilty of second-degree murder and more than a dozen charges of aggravated battery last October.

Darren O'Brien, Van Dyke’s lawyer, pushed for sentencing “leniency,” due in part to his client’s clean criminal record. Depicting O’Brien as the victim, Van Dyke stated that his client feared for his life when he killed McDonald.

“He didn’t start the confrontation,” O’Brien said. “He reacted to what Mr. McDonald did..Everything that happened was set in motion by Mr. McDonald.”

Gaughan called the court case a tragedy for families from both parties. “It’s just so senseless that these acts occur because you can see the pain on both sides. This is a tragedy for both sides."

Van Dyke's sentence came a day after a Cook County judge acquitted three CPD officers charged with covering up the shooting.

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Rep. Maxine Waters meets with CBS Vice President of News and Executive Director of Staff Development and Diversity, Kim Goodwin, and CBS Vice President and Washington Bureau Chief, Christopher Isham, on Capitol Hill. (Photo courtesy of Rep. Waters Office)

Maxine Waters Meets With CBS To Discuss Media Diversity And Inclusion

California Rep. Maxine Waters met with CBS' Vice President of News and Executive Director of Staff Development and Diversity to discuss the lack of media diversity and inclusion within the media empire.

Their meeting steemed from the network's recent release of their predominately clear  team for the coverage of the 2020 presidential election. Comprised of 4 white producers, 5 white-passing reporters and 3 journalists of color, though the 2020 campaigns reporting staff does not have any black anchors.

It's Official: The @CBSNews 2020 Election Team has assembled! https://t.co/0GBCw4mj7s pic.twitter.com/E0rUDAkzf7

— Ben Mitchell (@bfmitchell) January 11, 2019

Waters, like other prominent speakers in the black community, have discussed their reluctance to embrace the staff citing issues with who will tackle the roles that racism will play in elections and the role racism has been playing in the United States. Taking the issues directly to the source, the congresswomen had a discussion with the higher up's to talk redirection.

“The CBS representatives accepted full responsibility and understood the troubling optics-- and subsequent public backlash -- that occurred as a result of the rollout of their 2020 presidential election team. CBS admitted that the initial 2020 campaign team did not reflect the diversity that the company had committed to; assured me that it will not happen again; and revealed that in the coming months they will unveil a more diverse and inclusive slate of African American journalists and journalists from a wide range of backgrounds and experiences,"  Waters said in a press statement.

"They also identified key individuals in Washington, D.C. and New York City, NY whom they have brought onto their team to fulfill this mission and ensure their news organization reflects the diversity of the country and the communities who will most certainly be engaged in the 2020 elections."

The 43rd district representative has vowed to hold CBS accountable for their diversity issues and is dedicated to working alongside her colleagues in the Congressional Black Caucus.

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Woman Alleges R. Kelly Sexually Abused Her At 16 In 'Dateline' Interview

Tracy Sampson, a woman who interned with Epic Records at 16, revealed she endured sexual relations with R. Kelly that summer of 1999.

Featured on Dateline NBC's "Accused: The R. Kelly Story," the now 36-year-old appears in her first on-camera interview where she details the relationship that began during her formative years.

Sampson said the singer asked her, "'Can I kiss you?' and I was like, 'No,'" to which he responded, "'Well, give me a hug.' And then, like, when I gave him a hug he just started kissing me."

"I was in love with him," she continued. "I just didn't know what to do. Like, I didn't know if this was normal. I didn't know if this is how adults acted."

Following the incident, Sampson filed a lawsuit against Kelly in 2002. Her suit was settled to the tune of $250,000.

Steven Greenberg, Kelly's current attorney, told NBC that he was not part of the artist's legal team when the alleged abuse took place but maintains that his client is innocent.

According to Greenberg, there is no evidence that proves Kelly, 52, engaged in sexual relations with underage girls "because it didn't happen." However, Surviving R. Kelly calls that statement into question with a six-episode program detailing the sexual and mental abuse endured by some women who met Kelly while underage. Lisa Van Allen, for instance, met the "Sex Me" singer at the age of 17.

NBC's take on the groundbreaking series comes just two weeks after the explosive Lifetime production. The special will air Friday (Jan. 18) at 10 pm EST.

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