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Florida Prosecutors Drop 119 Cases After Proof Deputy Planted Evidence

Florida's finest, you say?

More than 250 cases are being reviewed after Florida prosecutors learned a deputy was responsible for planting evidence, which subsequently sent innocent men and women to jail. According to ABC 10, the charges filed included everything from misdemeanors, criminal traffic offenses, and felonies such as methamphetamine possession.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement is investigating the cases involving Deputy Zachary Wester, who was fired on September 10.

"We have completed the work we know about," State Attorney Glenn Hess. "If additional information is received, we will follow that up. I have not received the FDLE report so I cannot say for sure that we are finished."

Hess said he "lost confidence" in Wester after viewing body cam footage of him arresting a woman in Jackson County and planting drugs, which subsequently led to her being charged with possession of meth.

For seven minutes Jackson County Judge Wayne Mercer read the names of the 49 men and women who were wrongfully placed in jail because of Wester's corruption. Assistant Public Defender Derek Blount asked that some 40 pleas be dismissed and sentences vacated. After Mercer agreed, Assistant State Attorney Laura Parish stated the state was dropping the charges.

READ MORE: 37-Year-Old Federal Prosecutor Found Dead On A Beach

 

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Father And Son Who Brutally Murdered Ahmaud Arbery Denied Bail

Travis and Gregory McMichael, the father-son duo charged for the brutal murder of Ahmaud Arbery, were denied bail and must remain behind bars, a judge ruled on Friday (Nov. 13). Arbery’s mother, Wanda Cooper-Jones, urged the judge to keep Travis, 34, and Gregory, 64, in custody.

“These men are proud of what they've done,” she said according to NBC News. “In their selfish minds, they think they're good guys.”

William “Roddie” Bryan, a neighbor to the McMichales', was denied bail over the summer.

Bryan recorded Arbery’s murder. All three men have been indicted on suspicion of malice murder, felony murder, aggravated assault, false imprisonment and criminal attempt to commit false imprisonment.

Investigators found racist text messages and social media posts from Travis McMichael,  Cobb County prosecutors noted in court on Thursday. Bryan also told authorities that he heard Travis use the n-word after fatally shooting Arbery.

Arbery, 25, was out for a jog in late February when the men, approached, cornered, and shot him to death. The incident was recorded on Bryan’s cell phone.

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Activist Cori Bush Becomes Missouri’s First Black Congresswoman

Ferguson activist Cori Bush is making history as the first Black woman to represent Missouri in Congress. Bush, a Democrat, beat out Republican Anthony Rogers and Libertarian Alex Furman in Tuesday’s (Nov. 3) election.

“Mike Brown was murdered 2,278 days ago. We took to the streets for more than 400 days in protest,” Bush tweeted on election night. “Today, we take this fight for Black Lives from the streets of Ferguson to the halls of Congress. We will get justice.”

The historic victory came 52 years after Shirley Chisholm became the first Black woman elected to Congress. “I shouldn’t be the first,” noted Bush in another tweet. “But I am honored to carry this responsibility.”

The First. pic.twitter.com/h3o0GxeFLR

— Cori Bush (@CoriBush) November 4, 2020

A nurse, pastor, single mother and “lifelong St. Louisan,” 44-year-old Bush, who will be sworn in at the top of the year, previously ran for a Senate seat in 2016 and 2018. Her Congressional journey was chronicled in the Netflix documentary Knock Down the House.

And she's not alone in making political history during this year's election. Aside from Baltimore electing its youngest mayor ever, a record 298 women ran for seats in the U.S. House of Representatives. Of the nearly 300 candidates, 115 identified as Black, Latina, or Native American.

Other pioneering political wins included Ritchie Torres and Mondaire Jones becoming the first openly gay and openly gay Afro-Latino members of Congress, and Sarah McBride, who became the first trans U.S. Senator.

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Former Minneapolis Officers Who Killed George Floyd Will Be Tried Together, Judge Rules

Four former Minneapolis officers on trial for killing George Floyd, will not be allowed to move the case out of state and will be tried together, a judge ruled on Thursday (Nov. 5).

Attorneys for the officers argued that their safety would be jeopardized and they would not receive a fair trial if the case moved forward in Minneapolis, but Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill rejected the notion citing that all four of the former officers will be tried together to “allow this community, this State, and the nation to absorb the verdicts for the four defendants at once.”

Floyd, 46, was killed in May after being arrested outside of a Minneapolis grocery store over an alleged fraudulent $20 bill. The fatal arrest was captured on cell phone footage and showed former Minneapolis officer Derek Chauvin with his knee in Floyd’s neck while three other cops held him down.

Chauvin is charged with unintentional second-degree murder, and second-degree murder. Tou Thao, Thomas Lane and J. Kueng are charged with aiding an abetting intentional homicide, and second-degree murder. All four men were fired from the Minneapolis Police Department, and are currently free on bail.

In his decision, Judge Cahill ruled that the trial can be televised and live streamed online. He agreed to revisit the idea of moving the trial if necessary but noted, “No corner of the State of Minnesota has been shielded from pretrial publicity regarding the death of George Floyd. Because of that pervasive media coverage, a change of venue is unlikely to cure the taint of potential prejudicial pretrial publicity.”

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