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Saul Loeb-Pool

Sen. Kamala Harris Announces Her Run For Presidency

2020 is shaping up to be an interesting political year, no?

Sen. Kamala Harris has announced she's running for president in 2020.

The announcement is somewhat expected from the California Democratic senator who has not-so coyly led up to Monday's announcement (Jan. 21) by way of the press run she's conducted earlier this month as part of her book tour.

In a video clip posted to her social media prior to an appearance on ABC's Good Morning America, Sen. Harris called on her supporters to "claim their future."

"Justice. Decency. Equality. Freedom. Democracy. These aren't just words. They're the values we as Americans cherish. And they're all on the line now."

"The future of our country depends on you and millions of others lifting our voices to fight for our American values," Harris continued. "That's why I'm running for president of the United States. "I'm running to lift those voices, to bring our voices together."

Harris is the first black woman to throw her hat in the 2020 presidential ring. Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Kirsten Gillibrand of New York have announced exploratory committees. Harris, however, has bypassed that.

Harris gained national attention (and favor) during the Brett Kavanaugh hearing when she grilled the future Supreme Court justice about sexual assault allegations leveled against him by Dr. Betty Ford.

 

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BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI

Maryland Judge Overturns Jury's Decision To Award Korryn Gaines Family $37 Million

A Maryland judge has overturned a jury's decision to award the surviving family of Korryn Gaines $37 million. The 23-year-old was shot twice, along with her 5-year-old son Kodi, during an hour-long standoff in August 2016. The child survived Gaines did not.

According to CNN, Baltimore County Circuit Court Associate Judge Mickey J. Norman stated in an opinion Cpl Royce Ruby's conduct was "entitled to qualified immunity," which translates as Ruby was well within his rights as a member of law enforcement and is "shielded from liability for civil damages."

Norman's opinion states Ruby acted within the margins of the law. "This court has found that Corporal Ruby is entitled to qualified immunity and therefore, his shooting of Gaines was not unlawful."

However, Norman states the damages Gaines' surviving family was seeking were "excessive and shocks the conscience."

The jury awarded $32.85 million to Gaines' son Kodi, $23, 542 for his medical bills and $4.53 million to Gaines' daughter Karsyn Courtney. The jury also found it fit to award Gaines' mother Rhanda Dormeus $307,000 and $300,000 to her father Ryan Gaines.

Judge Norman said the court would grant a new civil trial on account of this new opinion.

J. Wyndal Gordon, Gaines' family lawyer said the family is disappointed but not "defeated nor deterred from doing what must be done now."

"We have great appellate issues and an excellent opportunity to have reviewed not just the recent decision but some of the earlier decisions in the case that were disfavorable," Gordon said. "Nobody told us the road would be easy. I don't believe God brought us this far to leave us. This case is by no means over. We will fight to the finish to preserve the jury's verdict and restore justice to the family."

Baltimore County police spokesperson confirmed that Cpl Royce Ruby is still a member of the department.

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Broward's Sheriff's office

Rising Florida Rapper YNW Melly Charged With Killing His Two Friends

Rising Florida rapper YNW Melly has been charged with two counts of first-degree murder in the shooting deaths of his friends and roommates.

According to reports, Melly, real name Jamell Demons, is being held without bail in connection to the October 2018 shooting of fellow rappers Anthony Williams, 21, and Christopher Thomas Jr., 19. Both were shot multiple times at about 4:30 AM October 26 and later pronounced dead at Memorial Hospital Miramar.

Melly was the second person arrested in connection with the double-homicide, according to Miramar police. Cortlen Henry, 20, was arrested and charged with two counts of first-degree murder. In January, Henry was arrested in Houston and extradited to Fort Lauderdale where he was taken into police custody.

Wednesday evening (Feb. 13) it was revealed via Melly's Instagram account he turned himself into police.

Per a Miramar new release, Henry and Demons attempted to cover up the murder as a drive-by shooting. However, after investigators spoke to Henry, they noticed his recollection of events didn't match up with the preliminary evidence. Demons, Thomas and Henry were all roommates and shared a two-story home in Miramar.

Henry was reportedly the driver while Demons shot both men. Demons was promoting his album, We All Shine, which features the certified gold track “Murder on my Mind.”

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Antonio Perez

Jason Van Dyke Reportedly Attacked In Federal Prison

Jason Van Dyke, the former Chicago police officer who shot Laquan McDonald 16 times in October 2014, was reportedly attacked shortly after being transferred to a Connecticut facility. According to the Chicago Tribune, Van Dyke was beaten inside his prison cell.

“We are petrified and very worried about Jason’s safety,” Van Dyke's wife Tiffany said in an emailed statement to reporters. “Jason wants to serve his time and does not want any trouble. We are hoping prison officials will take quick action to rectify this situation.”

Tiffany Van Dyke and her attorney allege they didn't know Jason was being transferred from Illinois to the Danbury Federal Correctional Institution. Van Dyke was found guilty of second-degree murder and 16 counts of aggravated battery and was sentenced to seven years in prison. Reportedly, he could be released in as little as three.

The state attorney general and special prosecutors on Monday announced they filed a petition with the Illinois Supreme Court to challenge Van Dyke's sentence, which was handed down by Cook County Judge Vincent Gaughan.

Despite being found guilty of 16 counts of aggravated battery--one count for each time Van Dyke shot the teen--he wasn't charged for it. Each count carries a minimum of six years in jail. When combined Van Dyke could've faced 96 years in prison.

After Van Dyke's conviction but prior to his sentencing, he was held in isolation at a Quad Cities-area jail. The decision was part of a Cook County arrangement for high-profile, dangerous or inmates cooperating with authorities in cases.

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