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Mark Makela

72 Philadelphia Cops Moved To Desk Duty After Racist Facebook Posts

“We are equally disgusted by many of the posts that you saw, and that in many cases the rest of the nation saw"

Several dozen Philadelphia cops were taken off the streets and moved to desk duty after an investigation unearthed racist and offensive Facebook post made by the officers in question.

The Philadelphia Inquirer reports advocates published a database that cataloged the posts in late May. Although all 72 officers haven't been disciplined yet, Philadelphia Police Commissioner, Richard Ross expects the officers will face internal consequences and several to be fired.

“Of all the things we have to contend with in this police department, of all the issues that we have to deal with, this is one we certainly could have done without,” Ross said during the press conference Tuesday (June. 18).

Ross' comments were made after a violent Fathers Day weekend that resulted in 28 people shot and five people dying.

With 3,100 posts tracing back to the Philadelphia cops, the investigation is being conducted by the department's Internal Affairs division and Ballard Spahr law firm. The racist posts were brought to light thanks to the Plain View Project. Founded in 2017 by a team of Philadelphia attorneys, they created a research database of social media posts made by officers in the community that displays violence, racism, and bigotry.

While the investigation will be extensive as it is going through a list of stages, Ross adds that "We are trying to deal with some of the worst postings first."

Each post is being analyzed closely as they have to consider if they are protected by the First Amendment. If protected, there will be no further actions. If not, the next steps will be discussed.

Philadelphia Police Departments social media policy states that their employees "are prohibited from using ethnic slurs, profanity, personal insults; material that is harassing, defamatory, fraudulent, or discriminatory.”

It has not been announced how long the investigation will take.

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Scott Olson

Remains Found In Alabama Landfill Believed To Be Missing Toddler

The search for missing toddler Kamille “Cupcake” McKinney has come to a tragic end. The 3-year-old girl’s remains were found in Alabama on Tuesday (Oct. 22) evening, more than a week after she was reported missing.

The Birmingham Police Department, along with the FBI, located her remains in a landfill, BPD Chief Patrick Smith confirmed in a press conference. “Our investigators have worked tirelessly 24 hours a day to look at this young child and bring her back, and to hold those accountable who are involved in her disappearance, her kidnapping, and ultimately, her demise,” said Smith.

Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall shared footage of the press conference on Twitter.

Tonight, I join all of Alabama in feeling deep sadness over the passing of little Kamille “Cupcake” McKinney, and in praying for her family in this terrible time of loss. The BPD has worked this case tirelessly—and continues to do so. Those responsible will be brought to justice. pic.twitter.com/p58WWxCwQQ

— AG Steve Marshall (@AGSteveMarshall) October 23, 2019

Birmingham Mayor Randal Woodfin released a statement offering his “heartfelt condolences” to the child’s family, and thanking law enforcement. “Our prayers remain with Kamille’s family and all who have been touched by this nightmare.”

News of the gruesome discovery sparked the hashtag, #RipCupcake across social media. Kamille's story made national headlines after she went missing during a birthday party on Oct. 12. Two suspects, Derrick Brown and Patrick Stallworth, are in custody on suspicion of murder.

The child's body was reportedly found near a home where Brown and Stallworth were arrested. The motive is unclear, and the men appear to have no connection to Kamille’s family.

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Tom Fox

Amber Guyger Takes Step To Appeal Murder Conviction: Report

Amber Guyger is taking preliminary steps to appeal her conviction in the murder of Botham Jean.

An attorney for the former Dallas police officer filed an intent to appeal her first-degree murder conviction and 10-year prison sentence, nearly two weeks after the verdict was handed down. Though the filing was publicized on Tuesday (Oct. 22), Guyger’s lawyer, Michael Mowla, reportedly filed on Oct. 16.

It’s unclear what Guyger will use as grounds for a potential appeal.

Earlier in the month, a Texas jury convicted Guyger of first-degree murder and sentenced to 10 years in prison.

Guyger shot and killed Jean, her 26-year-old neighbor, in his home last year. Guyger maintained that she walked into Jean’s apartment thinking it was her unit, and subsequently killed the unarmed accountant out of fear that he was an introducer.

Her reported notice of appeal comes amid legal strife involving Dallas County District Attorney John Creuzot, and trial Judge Tammy Kemp. Creuzot, who is facing contempt charges for doing an interview that aired the night before Guyger's trial began, requested that Kemp be removed from  his case. Meanwhile, Kemp has come under fire after she hugged Guyger in court, and handed her a Bible. Kemp defended her actions, noting that Guyger asked for a hug after the sentencing phase was over. Kemp wasn’t alone in embracing Guyger, Jean’s brother hugged her as well.

A hearing in the contempt case is scheduled for Oct. 31.

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Florida Judge Clears Record Of Man Who Overslept And Missed Jury Duty

A Florida judge made headlines last week when he sentenced a man to 10 days in jail for oversleeping and missing jury duty. Now, CNN reports the judge has cleared the young man's record.

Judge John Kastrenakes found 21-year-old Deandre Somerville in contempt of court for not showing up to jury duty during a civil trial. Kastrenakes vacated the contempt of court charge and cleared Somerville's record.

The West Palm Beach resident was originally sentenced to 10 days, 150 hours of community service, a written apology of no less than 100 words and $233 in fines. Judge Kastrenakes' decision prompted swift outrage on social media as Sommerville does not have a criminal record.

The judge reportedly reduced the sentence Friday when Sommerville appeared before the court to read the letter. "Before my hearing, I walked into the courtroom a free man with no criminal record. I left a criminal in handcuffs. This was an immature decision that I made, and I paid the price for my freedom," Somerville said while reading his letter.

On Saturday the Judge said Somerville's letter was 'moving, sincere and heartfelt " and noted that he "has been totally rehabilitated."

Kastrenakes said he ordered probation because he wanted to send a message that jury duty is "is serious business deserving of attention, respect, and adherence to their oaths." However, he said Somerville is "a thoughtful and respectful young man."

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