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San Francisco Police Raid Home of Journalist Who Declined to Reveal His Source

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  • In February 2019, San Francisco’s elected Public Defender Jeff Adachi died of an accidental overdose.
  • When the incident report related to his death came out, police in San Francisco said it was leaked and began conducting an investigation on the “unauthorized release.”
  • Freelance videographer Bryan Carmody, who sold the leaked police report to news outlets, said authorities came to his home about two weeks ago and asked for his source’s name, but he refused to tell them.
  • Last Friday, police raided his home in an attempt to find out who gave him the report.

Raiding the Journalist’s Home

Bryan Carmody, a freelance videographer based in San Francisco, was handcuffed and detained for over six hours at his home on Friday when his house was raided by police and FBI officials.

The tension between Carmody and the police started in February of 2019 when the then public defender of San Franciso, Jeff Adachi, died of an accidental overdose. Officials said no foul play was involved but the cause of death was still being investigated. Within in days of him dying, two major new sites began reporting on details surrounding Adachi’s death, saying they were based off a police report, which was leaked and not authorized to be released. An anonymous source had obtained the police documents and gave them to Carmody, who then sold it other outlets. The name of his source was the cause of the raid.

Carmody says he was woken Friday morning by the sound of someone trying to break the gate surrounding his home. When he went to check out the noise, the reporter found ten police officers trying to force their way in with a sledgehammer. Carmody voluntarily opened the gate to the officers and was immediately placed in handcuffs and detained until cops left his home nearly seven hours later.

Prior to Friday’s raid, two inspectors from the Police Department’s Internal Affairs Bureau came to Carmody’s home just weeks before and politely asked for his source’s name, but he refused to tell them. Officers were later granted a search warrant in order to look for stolen or embezzled property that the freelancer may have possessed, which they believe would include the name of the source who provided the leaked police reports to Carmody.

The Leaked Documents and Jeff Adachi’s Death

When the media first began reporting on the details surrounding Adachi’s death, police immediately released a statement saying the report was leaked.

“The department is concerned with the unauthorized release of the police report and is investigating allegations of improper conduct and release,” a San Franciso Police Department spokesman said. “The department understands and respects the sensitivity and privacy of investigations of this nature.”

ABC7, one of the first new sites to obtain the leaked report, said the documents showed that while the first 911 call involving Adachi was made at 5:41 pm, the police didn’t arrive on the scene until almost three hours later at 8:37 pm. The news outlet also stated the report showed that Adachi had been dining with a woman who was not his wife, and she was left alone in what police say was a potential crime scene.

Carmody said from the beginning he felt that the reports and investigations into Adachi’s death were sketchy and wanted to confirm the details himself, especially considering the relationship the public defender had with police. Since 2003 when Adachi was first elected, he had been seen as a police watchdog, cracking down on misconduct and justice reform. There were also reports that just three weeks before his death, Adachi was in the process of firing the Medical Examiner’s Director of Operations for lying in a homicide case. Instead, he became the lead investigator in his death.

Responses

As a result of yesterday’s raid, Carmody says all of his equipment, his notebooks, computers, and phones have been confiscated, adding that even his fiancee’s iPod from college was taken.

The Society of Professional Journalists released a statement condemning the search. Carmody himself has tweeted out that he has received support and messages from all over the world, including Pakistan, India, and Bangladesh.

Adachi’s successor and current San Francisco public defender, however, praised the police for their actions.

“All of our criminal justice and City Hall leaders agree that the release of police reports in this fashion is wrong,” he said in a statement. “I am pleased that Chief Scott and others (are) keeping their word and working to get to the bottom of it.”

Friends of Carmody have started a GoFundMe to help with the cost of replacing his equipment. The fundraiser started on Saturday and has already surpassed its goal of $10,000.

See what others are saying: (LA Times) (NPR) (NBC)

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New COVID-19 Variant Could Become Dominant in the U.S. by March, CDC Warns

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  • The CDC warned Friday that a new highly transmissible COVID-19 variant could become the predominant variant in the United States by March.
  • The strain was first reported in the United Kingdom in December and is now in at least 10 states.
  • The CDC used a modeled trajectory to discover how quickly the variant could spread in the U.S. and said that this could threaten the country’s already overwhelmed healthcare system.

CDC Issues Warning

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned Friday that the new COVID-19 variant could become the predominant variant in the United States by March.

While it is not known to be more deadly, it does spread at a higher rate, which is troubling considering the condition the U.S. is already in. Cases and deaths are already on the rise in nearly every state and globally, 2 million lives have been lost to the coronavirus. 

The variant was first reported in the United Kingdom in mid-December. It is now in 30 countries, including the U.S., where cases have been located in at least ten states. Right now, only 76 cases of this variant have been confirmed in the U.S., but experts believe that number is likely much higher and said it will increase significantly in the coming weeks. It is already a dominant strain in parts of the U.K.

Modeled trajectory shows that growth in the U.S. could be so fast that it dominates U.S. cases just three months into the new year. This could pose a huge threat to our already strained healthcare system.

Mitigating Spread of Variant

“I want to stress that we are deeply concerned that this strain is more transmissible and can accelerate outbreaks in the U.S. in the coming weeks,” said Dr. Jay Butler, deputy director for infectious diseases at the CDC told the New York Times. “We’re sounding the alarm and urging people to realize the pandemic is not over and in no way is it time to throw in the towel.”

The CDC advises that health officials use this time to limit spread and increase vaccination as much as possible in order to mitigate the impact this variant will have. Experts believe that current vaccines will protect against this strain.

“Effective public health measures, including vaccination, physical distancing, use of masks, hand hygiene, and isolation and quarantine, will be essential,” the CDC said in their report.

“Strategic testing of persons without symptoms but at higher risk of infection, such as those exposed to SARS-CoV-2 or who have frequent unavoidable contact with the public, provides another opportunity to limit ongoing spread.”

See what others are saying: (Wall Street Journal) (New York Times) (NBC News)

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Former Michigan Gov. and 8 Others Charged Over Flint Water Crisis

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Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder. (Al Goldis/AP)

  • Ex-Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder was charged with two counts of willful neglect of duty Wednesday for his role in the Flint water crisis
  • By Thursday, eight more former state and city officials were charged with crimes ranging from involuntary manslaughter to extortion.
  • Flint residents have long awaited this news. In 2019, prosecutors dropped all criminal charges against 15 officials and said they would start the investigation from scratch, citing concerns about how the special counsel had conducted its probe.

Rick Snyder Charges

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel’s office said Thursday that it had filed 41 charges against nine former state and city officials for their role in the Flint water crisis.

The most high-profile figure to be charged was former Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder. On Wednesday, he was hit with two counts of willful neglect of duty.

He was the state’s top executive when local officials decided to switch the city’s drinking water source to the Flint River in 2014.

The switch was supposed to be a temporary cost-saving measure while a pipeline was being built to Lake Huron. However, the water wasn’t treated properly for corrosion, so lead-contaminated water was released into the homes of people all over the city. Because of that, 12 people died and at least 90 were sickened with Legionnaires’ disease.

Snyder appeared in court this morning via Zoom, pleading not guilty to the two misdemeanor charges. If convicted he could face up to a year in prison and as much as a $1,000 fine.

His charges alone are significant because they make him the first governor or former governor in the state to ever be charged with a crime for alleged conduct while in office.

8 Others Charged

Along with Snyder, eight others were charged, including a former state health director Nick Lyon. Lyon received nine charges of involuntary manslaughter, among others.

Richard Baird, one of Snyder’s closes advisors was changed for extortion, perjury, and obstructions of justice. Others who were charged include:

  • Jarrod Agen, Snyder’s former chief of staff and Vice President Mike Pence’s former communications director.
  • Dr. Eden Wells, a former chief medical executive for the state Department of Health and Human Services. 
  • Darnell Earley, former Flint finance director and state-appointed emergency manager.
  • Gerald Ambrose, former state-appointed emergency manager.
  • Howard Croft, former Flint Public Works Director.
  • Nancy Peeler, the state’s director of maternal, infant and early childhood home visiting for the health department.

Flint residents have waited a long time for justice over the water contamination issue. Prosecutors previously dropped all 15 criminal charges tied to the Flint case in 2019 and said the investigation would begin again from scratch.

At the time, they cited concerns about how the special counsel had conducted its probe.

It also wasn’t until last year that the state reached a $600 million settlement with victims, establishing a fund from which residents can file for compensation.

See what others are saying: (NPR) (The Detroit News) (Detroit Free Press)

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Three Lawmakers Test Positive for COVID-19 Following Capitol Attack

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  • At least three Congressmembers have tested positive for COVID-19 following Wednesday’s pro-Trump attack on the Capitol. 
  • Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ), Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), and Rep. Brad Schneider (D-Ill.) believe they contracted the virus after locking down in close quarters with numerous Republican lawmakers who refused to wear masks.
  • Jayapal and Schneider are calling for those who did not wear a mask to face consequences.

Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman Tests Positive

At least three members of Congress have tested positive for COVID-19 after locking down in close quarters with other House members during Wednesday’s pro-Trump attack on the Capitol. 

Congress’ attending physician, Brian Monahan, warned that members may have been exposed during the lockdown. He recommended that everyone who was isolated inside should get tested for the virus. 

On Monday Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ) became the first to announce that she tested positive. Watson Coleman believes she was exposed while in the Capitol lockdown. In her statement, she cited the multiple Republicans who refused to wear masks while inside. Video footage from Punchbowl News shows a Democratic lawmaker handing out masks and a handful of Republicans declining to take one. 

Watson Coleman is a 75-year-old lung cancer survivor. While she said she is only experiencing cold-like symptoms, she tweeted that per a doctor’s suggestion, she headed to a local hospital for antibody treatment. She also encouraged those who sheltered in place to get tested. 

More Cases Follow

Later on Monday, Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) said she too had tested positive, also blaming a lack of mask-wearing in the Capitol. In a lengthy Twitter thread, she said Republicans created a superspreader event and demanded consequences for their actions. 

Many Republicans still refused to take the bare minimum COVID-19 precaution and simply wear a damn mask in a crowded room during a pandemic—creating a superspreader event ON TOP of a domestic terrorist attack,” she wrote. 

“Any Member who refuses to wear a mask should be fully held accountable,” Jayapal added. 

“I’m calling for every single Member who refuses to wear a mask in the Capitol to be fined and removed from the floor by the Sergeant at Arms.”

Rep. Brad Schneider (D-Ill.) echoed her frustrations on Tuesday after releasing a statement saying he has become the third House member to have tested positive following the lockdown. 

“Today, I am now in strict isolation, worried that I have risked my wife’s health and angry at the selfishness and arrogance of the anti-maskers who put their own contempt and disregard for decency ahead of the health and safety of their colleagues and our staff,” he wrote.

Like Jayapal, he is calling for sanctions against those who opted to not wear masks. 

Many health officials feared that this lockdown could lead to a surge in cases. They also worry that the mob itself could lead to a superspreader event as most of those who attacked the Capitol were not wearing masks and were crowding together both inside and outside of the building.

See what others are saying: (The Washington Post) (NPR) (NBC Chicago)

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