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Anti-Vaxxer Cited for Assaulting CA Vaccine Lawmaker on Facebook Live

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  • An anti-vaxxer was cited for suspicion of assault after live-streaming himself pushing California state Senator Richard Pan, an author of prominent vaccination bills in the state.
  • Pan and other legislators condemned the move, saying that disagreeing on legislation is not a reason to resort to violence.
  • Kenneth Austin Bennett, the man who pushed Pan, has 4,500 followers on Facebook, where he often posts anti-vax rhetoric. He attempted to run for Pan’s seat in 2018 but failed to appear on the ballot. 

Bennett Pushes Senator Pan

An anti-vaccine supporter live-streamed himself shoving California state Sen. Richard Pan, who authored influential vaccine legislation.

According to the Los Angeles Times, Kenneth Austin Bennett was cited with suspicion of assault on Wednesday. Bennett live-streamed the incident on his Facebook page, where he frequently posts anti-vax rhetoric along with other conspiracy theories to his 4,500 followers.

Bennett’s video opens with him walking around Sacramento near the California State Capitol. He talks to his followers about religion, conspiracy theories, and “Lucifer establishing his kingdom” in Sacramento for the first nine minutes of the video. He then runs into Pan.

“Oh my goodness you guys, what are the chances of this?” Bennett asks. “Right here, Right here…What are the chances of this, Senator Pan?”

Bennett then follows Pan down the street and asks him about remarks he made in 2015 about water being the most dangerous ingredient in vaccines. He continues to press the senator on other vaccine-related topics, to which Pan minimally responds. Eventually, Pan laughs and says, “Oh boy” after Bennett asks him a question about water being a toxin. 

Bennett then pushes Pan and says, “Yeah, I pushed you. I pushed you. I pushed you.”

He walks away from the scene and says, “I probably should not have done that.” He returns to Pan, who appears to be calling the police with his colleagues. They eventually walk into a building, and Bennett continues to address his camera outside. 

He claims he pushed the senator for “lying” about vaccine information.

“If he got what he deserved he would be hanging for treason,” he later says about Pan.  

Responses to Incident

Bennett acknowledged the situation on his Facebook page during a second live stream on Wednesday. In the hour-long stream, he further condemned Sen. Pan, and also spoke on other conspiracy theories about Facebook and the 2018 wildfires in Paradise, California.

“I was charged with assaulting Richard Pan, but also had the chance to further expose the corrupt politician,” he captioned the video.

He also told local news outlet KCRA that he did not regret pushing Pan.

In a statement on Thursday, Pan said the incident was a result of rhetoric spread by anti-vaccine extremists.

“Bullying, threats, and violence should not be acceptable in civil discourse and policy making,” he said. “Yesterday’s assault was incited by violent rhetoric and imagery employed by anti-vaccine extremists.  Anti-vaxxers have attempted to dehumanize me and other public health advocates on social media while making death threats.”

“Mr. Bennett is not a lone actor, but a person who accepted the violent rhetoric of the anti-vax movement and acted upon it by assaulting me on a public street while live streaming the attack on Facebook,” Pan added. “Social media companies also need to accept responsibility for giving a platform for this violence and hate.”

Others also supported Pan, including California Senate President pro Tempore Toni G. Atkins, who said that disagreeing on legislation is “no reason to resort to aggressive and harmful behavior.”

My colleagues and I will do all we can to aid those investigating this matter and protect the elected leaders, staff, and visitors who work at and tour our Capitol each day,” she added in a statement.  

History Between Bennett and Pan

Sen. Pan was a pediatrician prior to becoming a state lawmaker. He authored a bill that passed in 2015 that removed religious and personal beliefs as exemptions for school children receiving vaccines. He is currently working on legislation that aims to combat illegitimate medical exemptions.

In 2018, Bennett ran to unseat him as the senator for California’s sixth district. He was unable to appear on the ballot and ran as a write-in.

On his campaigns website, he claimed that the bills Pan had worked on were “reckless and destructive to our children’s future.”

He also said one of his campaign promises was to “protect children from forced vaccinations.”

See what others are saying: (Los Angeles Times) (KCRA) (The Daily Beast)

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Orlando Officer Fired After Arresting 6 and 8-Year-Olds

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  • A school resource officer in Orlando, Florida arrested two students in one day, an 8-year-old and a 6-year-old.
  • The youngest child had a tantrum as a result of her sleep apnea and kicked someone.
  • She and was arrested, charged with battery, and taken to a juvenile detention center but not processed.
  • Officer Dennis Turner broke department policy by arresting the two, as he needed approval from a superior to arrest minors under 12 and did not obtain it.
  • The Orlando Police Department released a statement Monday saying Turner has been fired.

Students Arrested

An Orlando officer has been fired after arresting a 6-year-old and 8-year-old at school on the same day.

The Orlando Police Department put out a statement on Monday apologizing to the children and their families.

The two students were arrested by Lucious and Emma Nixon Academy’s school Resource Officer Dennis Turner on Thursday. The 8-year-old was sent to a juvenile center on misdemeanor charges before being released to their parents. 

The 6-year-old was arrested and charged with battery. Authorities have not identified the children, but a report from WKMG identified the youngest of the two as Kaia Rolle. Rolle had been sent to the school’s office after acting out in class. While at the office, someone tried to grab her wrists and she kicked them back.

Her grandmother, Meralyn Kirkland, spoke to the outlet about the incident. She said that Rolle has sleep apnea and as a result, did not get enough sleep the night before. Kirkland said that her granddaughter was handcuffed, taken in the back of a police car, fingerprinted and had a mugshot taken. She was taken to a juvenile center but was not processed. 

Kirkland claimed that when Turner learned of Rolle’s medical situation, he was not sympathetic. When she told him she had sleep apnea, she claims he responded, “Well I have sleep apnea and I don’t behave like that.” 

Story Sparks Outrage

Over the weekend, the story made national headlines and sparked outrage. Many took to Twitter to call for Turner to be fired. 

Politicians also spoke about the incident. Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ) said, “We need to stop criminalizing children.”

Florida State Rep. Carlos G. Smith said he was “completely speechless.”

Turner Under Investigation

Turner was fired following a reported investigation into the two arrests. It is department policy to receive approval from a superior before arresting children under the age of 12. Turner did not receive such permission.

Turner retired as an Orlando Police Officer in 2018 after serving in the department for 23 years. He is currently part of the Officer Reserve Program, which consists of retired officers. According to the Orlando Sentinel, in 2015 he was given a written reprimand for using excessive force after continuing to tase a suspect who was on the floor and not resisting. 

See what others are saying: (WKMG) (Washington Post) (TIME)

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Football Fan Raises Over $1 Million for Children’s Hospital With Viral Beer Money Sign

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  • Carson King picked up national attention when he was seen on ESPN’s “College GameDay” holding a sign that asked for beer money. 
  • The football fan was surprised when floods of donations began to pour in, and he later announced plans to donate the money to the University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital. 
  • Busch Beer and Venmo promised to match his donation. By Sunday, funds from King and the two companies had collectively reached over $1 million.

King on “College GameDay” 

A college football fan who held up a sign asking for beer money on television has now raised more than $1 million that he plans to donate to a children’s hospital. 

On September 14, ESPN broadcasted “College GameDay” from Ames, Iowa during the game between the Iowa Hawkeyes and the Iowa State Cyclones. Carson King appeared in the crowd behind the sports analysts holding a sign that said “Busch Light Supply Needs Replenished,” along with his Venmo username.

Source: Good Morning America

His phone was then swarmed with notifications from the money transferring app. King told CNN that within 30 mins he had raised $400. “I thought it would just be a joke,” King told Good Morning America on Friday. “I didn’t think anyone would actually see it.”

Source: Mix 99.9

Plans to Donate 

His sign picked up even more attention as people discussed it and shared photos of it online. After talking it over with his family, King realized he had a chance to do something special with this attention. He soon tweeted that he would be donating “all but enough for a case of Busch Light,” to the University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital. 

“There’s a better purpose for it,” King said of the money in an interview with The Washington Post “The kids deserve everything they can get. If I can give it to them, I’m going to give it to them.”

Support 

When word of his plans to donate the funds spread, Busch Beer and Venmo promised to match his contribution.

People liked the cans so much that over 26,000 signed a petition asking the company to stock them in stores throughout Iowa. 

$1 Million Raised

By Sunday morning, the contributions — including Busch Beer and Venmo’s matches — had reached over $1 million. 

King plans to keep his Venmo account open for donations until the end of the month. Once collecting the total amount, he will write a check and present it to the hospital in person. King told GMA that when he donates the money, he will also go on a tour of the hospital facilities and get to meet some of the kids who will benefit from the funds. 

Stead Family Children’s Hospital responded to King’s tweet about the size of his donation, saying “We can’t think– our minds are blown by all of this!”

See what others are saying: (CNN) (Fox News) (ABC News)

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How Safe Injections Sites in the U.S. Are Fighting Back Against The Opioid Crisis & Do They Work?

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America has been hit with a historical opioid crisis. In 2018, more than 31,000 people died from opioid overdoses, which is more than any previous year recorded in American history. Healthcare professionals and public health experts are offering alternatives to the status quo treatments, which leads us to today’s topic: supervised injection facilities (SIF). 

Also known as overdose prevention sites and medically supervised injection centers, SIF’s have been proposed as a solution to combat America’s opioid problem. In these centers, no drugs are supplied to the users—they bring their own and are given clean syringes to prevent bloodborne diseases. Advocates or these sites are saying that they would stop countless fatal overdoses because there would be medical staff on site. Countries like Switzerland, Canada, and Australia have implemented versions of these facilities and so far there has not been any reported fatal overdoses at a SIF in the world. 

While cities like Seattle, San Francisco, New York City, and Philadelphia have all proposed plans to make sites, they have been met with heavy opposition. The federal government opposed these sites because they claim it breaks federal laws and some residents in these cities are against them due to concerns over attracting more crime. In this video, we’ll be focusing on Philadelphia, as it might become the first U.S. city to legally open a supervised injection facility, along with the court case between the non-profit who is trying to establish the SIF and the federal government.

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