- Video went viral over the weekend showing two Florida sheriff’s deputies pepper-spraying a teenager, tackling him to the ground, slamming his head against the concrete, and punching him.
- Social media users, celebrities, and Broward County’s Mayor were outraged by the incident, calling for an investigation, firings, and potential prosecution of the deputies involved.
A Florida police deputy has been placed on restrictive duty after cellphone video went viral showing him and another officer using excessive force on a black teenager.
The incident happened Thursday afternoon near J.P. Taravella High School in Coral Springs, Florida. Social media users shared clips of the incident online over the weekend using #justiceforlucca.
The footage shows two Broward County sheriff’s deputies jumping on a teen to hold him down. One officer slams his head against the pavement and punches him while another teen in handcuffs lays nearby.
One post that gathered over 8 million views was shared on Twitter by activist and Church of God in Christ Bishop Talbert Swan. In the post, Swan wrote that the teen, identified only as Lucca, “picked up a cell phone that fell out of the pocket of a Black boy who was being arrested.”
“In response @browardsheriff officers Christopher Krickovich & Greg LaCerra pepper sprayed, brutally beat, and arrested him,” the post continued.
In another angle of the incident, one deputy is seen pepper-spraying Lucca in the face before slamming him to the ground.
Here’s another angle that shows @browardsheriff’s deputy pepper spraying unarmed Black boy, Lucca, who posed no threat. He then slammed his head into the concrete, arrested him & charged him with ASSAULTING the cops.— Bishop Talbert Swan (@TalbertSwan) April 20, 2019
This is brutality.#JusticeForLucca pic.twitter.com/SYMjfdkNKZ
Deputy Says Teen Had “Aggressive Stance”
In an arrest report, officer Christopher Krickovich said that he and his partner Sgt. Greg LaCerra responded to a call from a McDonald’s in Tamarac at 3 p.m. on Thursday. They were called to the scene by employees who reported a large group of teenagers gathering for a fight outside the restaurant.
Krickovich said the McDonald’s is a popular after-school gathering place for students from the school nearby, which is also known for frequent fights. In fact, a fight at the location occurred just a day before and caused damage to a bystander’s car.
According to the arrest report, Krickovich and LaCerra arrived and ordered the crowd of teens to disperse. During this time, they identified one of the perpetrators from Wednesday’s fight who had been warned not to trespass in the area again and took him into custody.
“While I was dealing with the male on the ground, I observed his phone slide to the right of me and then behind me. I observed a male wearing a red tank top reach down and attempt to grab the male student’s phone,” Krickovich wrote.
He went on to say that LaCerra ordered the teen to stay back, but he “took an aggressive stance” toward the officer and “bladed his body and began clenching his fists.”
LaCerra then pepper-sprayed the teen in the face and forced him to the ground, Krickovich wrote. The affidavit goes on to say that the officers feared for their safety during the arrests because they were surrounded by around 200 students.
Krickovich said he worried someone would try to grab one of the weapons off his belt or vest after he had pushed the boy to the ground.
“At one point, his left arm was free and next to him, while he placed his arm under his face,” Krickovich 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.”
“This technique was successful and I was able to place him into handcuffs without further incident.”
The video sparked massive outrage, with many calling this another instance of police brutality against a black teen.
Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr called the incident “demoralizing,” while NBA star LeBron James said, “to think that could be my sons.”
Broward County Mayor Mark Bogen also released a statement calling the incident “outrageous and unacceptable.” He suggested that the deputy who initially made contact with the teen be fired and potentially prosecuted.
Broward County Sheriff Gregory Tony said in a statement Friday that the department would conduct a “thorough investigation” into the matter. He added that Deputy Christopher Krickovich had been placed on restrictive administrative duty. The status of LaCerra is unclear.
In a pre-scheduled meeting with black leaders Saturday, Tony said that he was taking the investigation into the incident seriously. However, he also emphasized the importance of following the appropriate procedures.
“There’s been a large cry of ‘just go out and fire them and get rid of them,’ and all these other things. Folks it don’t work that way. You all understand that. There has to be an investigative process and due process elements and so it’s going to be done the right way. “
The police report indicated that the teen at the center of the viral video didn’t suffer any serious injuries. However, the 15-year-old appeared in court Friday morning, where he was formally charged with assault, resisting arrest, and trespassing.
See what others are saying:(CBS Miami) (Sun-Sentinel) (Complex)
Luxury Homes, Cars and Yachts?! How Medicare Fraud Is Paying For Them
In April, the FBI and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Inspector General uncovered a massive $1.2 billion Medicare scam that peddled unneeded orthopedic braces to hundreds of thousands of seniors through international call centers. The Justice Department announced charges against 24 people. The indictment says that the money benefited through the scam was laundered through international shell corporations, then used to purchase things like luxury homes, cars and yachts.
As it stands, Medicare fraud and inaccurate billing cost the federal government health care program as much as $60 billion annually. Fraud schemes that involve Medicare only impact the federal budget, but also affect beneficiaries and the program. In most cases, these schemes include things like enrolling beneficiaries who are not eligible for care, billing for services never provided, identifying care providers who aren’t actually caregivers, and offering kickbacks to patient recruiters in return for the referral of Medicare beneficiaries, many of whom didn’t need or qualify for home health services.
Medicare fraud is particularly egregious because it preys on families who are looking for the best way to care for aging loved ones. And finding a nursing home, an assisted living facility, or a home health agency that not only meets the needs of your loved ones but also meets national standards can be rather difficult. Check out today’s Rogue Rocket video for the full story and to know what to watch out for.
Thousands of Facebook Users Pledge to Storm Area 51
- Over 470,000 people have pledged to attend a Facebook event called “Storm Area 51, They Can’t Stop All of Us,” as part of a quest to “see them aliens.”
- The event lays out a plan of attack for how the attendees will take over the infamous Air Force base that is home to numerous extra-terrestrial conspiracy theories.
- However, the user who wrote the plan has clarified that this is only a joke, and says he does not expect responders to actually go to Area 51.
Users Respond to Facebook Event
Over 470,000 people have responded to an event on Facebook pledging to storm Area 51 in Nevada to “see them aliens.”
The event, called “Storm Area 51, They Can’t Stop All of Us” is now a gathering of both the extra-terrestrial and meme-obsessed users of the Internet. In addition to those who have said they will be going, another 480,000 have claimed they are “interested.” Calendars worldwide have marked September 20 as the date to head to the conspiracy-embroiled Air Force base.
For those less familiar with the world of martian mysteries, Area 51 is the subject of several conspiracy theories, largely due to its secretive nature and the lack of information the U.S. government releases about it. Some claim it is the site of U.F.O.’s and home to alien ship crashes. Others even believe time travel is being developed at the site.
The details on the event page suggest that everyone will gather for a mass meet-up before storming the base.
“We will all meet up at the Area 51 Alien Center tourist attraction and coordinate our entry,” the event says. “If we naruto run, we can move faster than their bullets. Lets see them aliens.”
The Naruto run is likely in reference to the popular Manga character known for his high-speed run with his hands behind his back.
Plan of Attack Established
A pinned post on the page, written by Jackson Barnes, outlines a thorough but ambitious plan of attack. The first stage involves the “Kyles,” represented by black rectangles, storming the front line. The “Kyles” appears to refer to an online meme that, according to Know Your Meme, characterizes someone named Kyle as “an angry white male teenager.” One that might toss back a few cans of Monster, punch through drywall and spray his room with copious amounts of Axe bodyspray. Their job is to “go beserk and become an impenetrable wall.”
The next step involves “Rock Throwers,” which are represented in the graphic as blue rectangles. Their job is pretty self-explanatory, but they claim to have safe intentions.
“We dont want to hurt them, we just want to annoy them enough to not shoot the kyles as often,” Barnes writes.
And the last element of the plan involves the aforementioned Naruto runners, marked in green.
“The two naruto runner battallions will run full speed around the north and south flank, and shadow clone jutsu, effectively trippling our numbers, and overwhelm the base,” Barnes explains.
It Was All in the Name of Memes
Even though he mapped out a detailed scheme, Barnes does not actually have any intentions of seeing his plan come to fruition. His goal behind the post was just to get a few good old fashioned “likes” online.
“P.S. Hello US government, this is a joke and I do not actually intend to go ahead with this plan,” Barnes wrote at the bottom of the post. “I just thought it would be funny and get me some thumbsy uppies on the internet. I’m not responsible if people decide to actually storm area 51.”
It seems most people involved are in on the joke, too. The page is filled with users making jokes about fighting off guards all in the name of finding aliens. The story also made its way to Twitter, where people had their own hilarious meme fest.
However, we will have to wait until September 20 to see if anyone actually takes the risk of storming the curious landmark.
Louisiana Declares State of Emergency as Residents Brace for Tropical Storm Barry
- A state of emergency has been declared in Louisana and thousands have been evacuated as the state gets ready for Tropical Storm Barry.
- Forecasters have said the storm could be upgraded to a hurricane when it makes landfall late Friday or early Saturday, but most officials and residents are more worried about the flooding the storm could cause than wind damage.
- One of the biggest threats is the Mississippi River, which is typically at 6 to 8 feet in New Orleans this time of the year, but is now at 16 feet due to record flooding.
- New Orleans already experienced massive flash floods earlier this week, and many view Barry as the first real test to the levees which broke during Hurrican Katrina in 2005, destroying the city.
Flooding in New Orleans
Louisiana has declared a state of emergency as residents prepare for Tropical Storm Barry which has already caused flash floods and inclement weather throughout the state.
The storm is expected to make landfall late Friday or early Saturday, and forecasters anticipate that it could be upgraded to a hurricane before then.
The National Weather Service issued a hurricane warning Thursday for the areas between Intracoastal City and Grand Isle, about 50 miles south of New Orleans.
Thousands of people are already under mandatory evacuations, while others have been told to prepare for an intense rainfall, strong winds, and enormous storm surges. Around 3,000 National Gaurd members have been deployed for search and rescue efforts.
If Barry does become a hurricane, it would likely be a fairly weak one in terms of wind speeds.
As of Friday afternoon, wind speeds had reached 65 miles per hour, with forecasters predicting it will make landfall just above 74 miles per hour, the speed required to be categorized as a hurricane.
As Louisiana prepares for the incoming storm, many are far more concerned about the flood risks and storm surges from Barry’s heavy rains than the damage its winds could create.
“This is going to be a major weather event for a huge portion of the state of Louisiana,” Gov. John Bel Edwards said Thursday. “The more information we get, the more concerned we are it’s going to be an extreme rain event for large portions of the state.”
“There are three ways that Louisiana can flood; storm surge, high rivers, and rain. We’re going to have all three,” Edwards continued.
Forecasters have predicted that the storm could bring a three-to-six-foot storm surge to coastal areas. The Mississippi River represents one of the biggest risks to the state at large.
Between 10 to 20 inches of rain are expected across Louisiana, posing a dangerous threat of flooding from the Mississippi River, which is already inundated with unusual amounts rainwater.
The Mississippi River, which is usually at 6 to 8 feet in midsummer in New Orleans, is now at 16 feet because of record flooding along the waterway.
“This is the first time we’ve had a tropical system with water levels on the river this high,” Jeffrey Graschel, a hydrologist with the weather service’s Lower Mississippi River Forecast Center told CNN.
Low-lying parts of New Orleans have already flooded earlier this week in the wake of heavy storms ahead of Barry. It was reported that 10 inches of rain had fallen in parts of the city by noon on Wednesday.
Many streets were covered with dangerous amounts of water, and power outages were also reported.
On Friday, the National Weather Service of New Orleans issued an alert on Twitter warning that the city was “looking at potential for life-threatening flooding in some areas.”
A Test for New Orleans
Regardless of Barry’s strength, many view the storm as the first real test of the storm system improvements put in place after Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
Specifically, many New Orleans officials and residents are concerned about the levees that protect the city, and that infamously broke during Katrina, causing massive flooding and damages that New Orleans has still not fully recovered from.
Experts expect rainwaters to push the Mississippi River to swell to 19 feet, just a foot below the tops of the shortest levees.
The Army Corps of Engineers has said that the Mississippi River will likely be contained by levees that protect New Orleans, and many of the floodgates near the river have already been closed.
However, officials still warned that the system of levees and drainage pumps have limited capacity. New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell said Thursday that the city’s pumps were operating at “optimal capacity,” but also added that Barry’s downpour could outpace the pumps ability to move the water.
Still, Cantrell stopped short of mandatory evacuations in the city. On Friday, Cantrell announced a voluntary evacuation for the areas outside of the protection of the levees, noting on Twitter that certain areas could expect “a surge between three to six feet.”
Cantrell has also asked New Orleans residents to shelter in place starting at 8 p.m. local time.