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Seattle To Vacate Marijuana Convictions Stating It Unfairly Targeted People Of Color

Of the more than 500 convictions, 46 percent of those behind bars are African-Americans.

For six years, marijuana has been legal in Seattle and now the state is taking measures to overturn convictions of those sent to prison on misdemeanor charges, which disproportionately affect people of color.

According to CNN, all seven judges on the city's municipal court agreed to vacate convictions from 1996 to 2010. Of the more than 500 cases during that time period, 46 percent involve African-Americans. The racial demographic of the other convictions include 46 percent white, three percent Asian, three percent Native American, and two percent unknown.

The convictions will be cleared by mid-November after the courts mail notifications giving the individual an opportunity to object or inquire about an individualized finding. Anyone who doesn't respond will automatically have their conviction vacated.

Mayor Jenny Durken said the vacated convictions are a step in the right direction.

"We've taken another important step to right the wrongs of the failed war on drugs, and to build true economic opportunity for all," she said. "While we cannot reverse all the harm that was done, we will continue to act to give Seattle residents -- including immigrants and refugees -- a clean slate."

The motion to vacate misdemeanor marijuana charges was filed in April by city attorney Pete Holmes, who argued that black men and women were three times more likely to be arrested for possession than white people.

"Dismissing this charge reflects Seattle's values and recognizes the negative collateral consequences of a drug conviction, including difficulty in finding employment or getting into college or the military, obtaining student loans or government subsidized housing qualifying for food stamps or other government assistance, being allowed entry into some foreign countries and obtaining child custody or adoption," the motion stated.

READ MORE: Oakland Gives Weed Convicts Opportunity To Open Marijuana Businesses As Reparations

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Stephen Maturen

A Florida Deputy Was Reassigned, Not Fired, After Video Shows Him Punching A Teen

A Florida deputy was reassigned, not fired after cellphone footage showed him throwing a teen to the ground and punching him in the head.

Broward County Sheriff's deputies were responding to a fight that occurred between a large group of students in the Tamarac shopping plaza. According to reports, after the group was told to leave, one male teen wearing a tank top was trespassing and arrested.

The violent interaction between the black minor and white officer was caught on cellphone footage and showed Deputy Christopher Krickovich pepper spraying the boy before he was shoved to the ground and punched in the head.

Krickovich said in his statement that he saw the teen in the tank pick up the cellphone of the teen arrested and take an "aggressive stance" toward another member of law enforcement. He claimed he feared the boy would grab one of his weapons from his belt or vest after he was pushed to the ground.

“At this point, his left arm was free and next to him, while he placed his arm under his face," Krickovich's report said. "I struck the male in the right side of his head with a closed fist as a distractionary technique to free his right hand."

Since the video went viral, Krickovich was placed on administrative assignment. Many after seeing the violent encounter took to social media demanding the officer be terminated.

This is police brutality. https://t.co/ldG7rnTVA3

— Keith Boykin (@keithboykin) April 20, 2019

https://twitter.com/itsgabrielleu/status/1119721327466668032

Broward County Mayor Mark Bogen released a statement condemning the actions and calling for his termination.

"After being sprayed, the teen held his face and walked away," Bogen said. "If the deputy wanted to arrest the student, he could have easily done so without throwing him to the ground."

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Spencer Weiner-Pool

South Carolina Baby Dies In Burning Car After Father Abandons Car In Police Chase

A South Carolina man has been charged with homicide by child abuse after police say he fled his vehicle that burst into flames killing his year old daughter.

Wearing an orange jumpsuit, Imhotep Osiris Norman reportedly broke down in tears during his bond hearing Saturday. (April 13)

According to law enforcement at about 10:20 PM Friday, a state trooper with the South Carolina Highway Patrol attempted to pull Norman over on Highway 14 near the Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport.

Norman was doing 67 mph in a 45-mph zone.

When the car didn't stop. Seventh Circuit Solicitor Barry Barnette said Norman's vehicle began to spark and smoke during the pursuit.

As the car approached the 58-mile marker on Interstate 85, troopers say they saw a large bag be thrown from the window. A few minutes later, the car was totally engulfed in flames. The car reportedly slowed down and troopers attempted to block the road before Norman escaped.

After the fire extinguished investigators found Norman's 1-year-old daughter, Xena Rah’Lah Norman dead in the backseat.

In court, Norman alleges he didn't know the car was on fire.  “I would never leave my daughter,” Norman said. “I would have gotten my daughter out of that car.”

Norman's mother Sharon Mathesis said she doesn't believe the cops version of events. “My son loved his daughter and would have never let this happen,” Mathis said. “He loved her so much. He loved her so much.”

If convicted, Norman faces 20 years in prison.

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FLINT, MI - FEBRUARY 7: The Flint River with downtown behind is shown on February 7, 2016 in Flint, Michigan. Months ago the city told citizens they could use tap water if they boiled it first, but now say it must be filtered to remove lead. (Photo by Sarah Rice/Getty Images)
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Flint Receives Remaining $77.7 Million Of Federal Funds To Improve Water Infrastructure

As the city of Flint, Mich. marks the five-year anniversary of the Flint Water Crisis, the city is set to receive $77.7 million in federal funding.

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality announced the funding Monday (April 15),  as part of a $140 million loan to be allocated to Flint, East Lansing and Monroe County.  The funds for Flint are the remaining portion of a $120 million loan granted to the city in 2017, Mlive reports.

“While we are grateful for this funding it’s important to understand it's not new funding,” said Flint’s Director of Public Works Rob Bincsik. “The federal government awarded this funding and is utilizing the MDEQ’s Drinking Water Revolving Fund as the mechanism to disperse it to the City of Flint.”

Flint won’t have to pay back the funding as the loan is being offered at a “zero percent interest rate with 100-percent principal loan forgiveness.” The funds, which are aimed at improving infrastructure needs and ensuring long-term water quality,” will cover “the completion of a secondary water source pipeline,” in addition to improvements of reservoir and pump stations, construction of a chemical feed building, and replacement of water mains and meters.

East Lansing will receive a $51.7 million loan that includes $2.1 million in “principal forgiveness funds” for collection system improvements, a new pump station, and upgrades to the Water Resource Recovery Facility. Monroe County will get $10.2 million to upgrade and repair the Bedford Township Wastewater Treatment Plant. The funds will also support rehabbing lineal sewer pipes.

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