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Amber Guyger Hugged by Judge and Victim’s Brother

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  • Amber Guyger was sentenced to 10 years after being found guilty of murdering Botham Jean.
  • Guyger thought she was entering her own apartment in 2018 when she shot and killed Jean, whom she believed to be an intruder. She was actually entering Jean’s apartment, which was on the floor above.
  • Jean’s brother, Brandt, spoke at her sentencing and said he forgives her and wishes no ill towards her. He then got up and hugged her. 
  • The judge in the case, Tammy Kemp, also hugged Guyger and gave her a Bible. 

Guyger Sentenced

Amber Guyger was convicted of murdering Brandt Jean’s brother, Botham Jean. During her sentencing, he asked to give Guyger a hug, igniting an online debate about the criminal justice system and forgiveness. 

Guyger, an ex-Dallas Police Officer, was sentenced on Wednesday to ten years with a possibility of parole after five for killing Botham Jean in 2018. Guyger thought she was entering her own apartment, believing Jean to be an intruder when she shot him. She was actually at the apartment above, which belonged to Jean. He was sitting on his couch eating ice cream at the time. 

Judge Kemp and Brandt Jean Hug Guyger

The maximum sentencing Guyger could have faced was 99 years behind bars, so many thought 10 years was lenient. On Wednesday night, some even protested in downtown Dallas. Brandt Jean, however, said he does not want Guyger to go to jail at all.

“I forgive you,” Botham Jean’s 18-year-old brother said at the sentencing, “and I know if you go to God and ask him, he will forgive you.”

“I personally want the best for you,” he added. “And I wasn’t going to ever say this in front of my family or anyone, but I don’t even want you to go to jail.”

He then requested to hug Guyger, who met him with open arms. Brandt Jean was not the only one to hug her during her sentencing. Judge Tammy Kemp, who oversaw the case, also hugged Guyger and gave her a bible. 

People Praise Hug

These actions of radical sympathy generated a massive online conversation. “Forgiveness” trended on Twitter, and many were impressed by Brandt Jean’s words and actions. 

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) called it a “powerful example of Christian love.”

Former Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley said, “grace prevailed.” 

The Dallas Police Department said it showed “a spirit of forgiveness, faith and trust.”

Others Criticize the Moment

There were others, however, who thought that Brandt Jean requesting a hug was okay, but Judge Kemp giving one was more shocking. 

“This family is amazing,” reporter Brooke Thomas said about Brandt Jean, before switching topics to the judge. “This part made my jaw drop…None of this has been the ending I expected after a racist killer was convicted and sentenced to prison.”

Thomas also mentioned text messages that prosecutors brought up during Guyger’s sentencing. In the messages, Guyger made a joke about the death of Martin Luther King Jr. and other disrespectful comments about black police officers. 

Reporter Jemele Hill said that Brandt Jean can choose to grieve on his terms, but said the judge’s hug was “unacceptable.” 

While others thought the whole situation sent a troubling message about the way people of color are treated in comparison to white people. 

CNN commentator and author Keith Boykin said it sent the idea that “white women’s lives are valuable. Black men’s lives are not.”

Activist Deray Mckesson said he would not want his family to “forgive or hug anyone in these circumstances.” 

Others questioned if the criminal justice system would have treated Bothman Jean differently if the tables were turned. 

See what others are saying: (Dallas Morning Star) (NPR) (NBC Dallas-Fort Worth)

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Katie Couric Says She Edited Ruth Bader Ginsburg Quote About Athletes Kneeling During National Anthem

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Couric said she omitted part of a 2016 interview in order to “protect” the justice.


Kate Couric Edited Quote From Justice Ginsburg

In her upcoming book, journalist Katie Couric admitted to editing a quote from Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg in 2016 in order to “protect” Ginsberg from potential criticism. 

Couric interviewed the late justice for an article in Yahoo News. During their discussion, she asked Ginsburg about her thoughts on athletes like Colin Kaepernick kneeling for the national anthem to protest racial inequality.

“I think it’s really dumb of them,” Ginsburg is quoted saying in the piece. “Would I arrest them for doing it? No. I think it’s dumb and disrespectful. I would have the same answer if you asked me about flag burning. I think it’s a terrible thing to do, but I wouldn’t lock a person up for doing it. I would point out how ridiculous it seems to me to do such an act.”

According to The Daily Mail and The New York Post, which obtained advance copies of Couric’s book “Going There,” there was more to Ginsburg’s response. Couric wrote that she omitted a portion where Ginsburg said the form of protest showed a “contempt for a government that has made it possible for their parents and grandparents to live a decent life…Which they probably could not have lived in the places they came from.

Couric Says She Lost Sleep Making Choice

“As they became older they realize that this was youthful folly,” Ginsberg reportedly continued. “And that’s why education is important.

According to The Daily Mail, Couric wrote that the Supreme Court’s head of public affairs sent an email asking to remove comments about kneeling because Ginsburg had misspoken. Couric reportedly added that she felt a need to “protect” the justice, thinking she may not have understood the question. Couric reached out to her friend, New York Times reporter David Brooks, regarding the matter and he allegedly likewise believed she may have been confused by the subject. 

Couric also wrote that she was a “big RBG fan” and felt her comments were “unworthy of a crusader for equality.” Because she knew the remarks could land Ginsburg in hot water, she said she “lost a lot of sleep” and felt “conflicted” about whether or not to edit them out. 

Couric was trending on Twitter Wednesday and Thursday as people questioned the ethics behind her choice to ultimately cut part of the quote. Some thought the move showed a lack of journalistic integrity while others thought revealing the story now harmed Ginsburg’s legacy.

See what others are saying: (New York Post) (The Daily Mail) (Insider)

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Biden Administration Orders ICE To Halt Workplace Raids

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The Department of Homeland Security will now focus on targeting employers who exploit undocumented workers, instead of carrying out raids that dissuade those workers from reporting labor violations.


DHS Reverses Worksite Raid Policy

The Biden administration announced Tuesday that it was ordering Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to stop workplace raids.

The move marks a reversal from Trump administration policies that have been strongly criticized by immigration activists who argue the efforts created fear in immigrant communities and dissuaded them from reporting labor violations or exploitative employment practices.

In addition to stopping the raids, Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said in a memo that the administration will refocus enforcement efforts to instead target “employers who exploit unauthorized workers, conduct illegal activities or impose unsafe working conditions.” 

Mayorkas added that the immigration agencies housed in DHS will have the next 60 days to identify harmful existing policies and come up with new ones that provide better deportation protections for workers who report their employers.

In the Tuesday memo, the secretary argued that shift of focus will “reduce the demand for illegal employment by delivering more severe consequences to exploitative employers” and “increase the willingness of workers to report violations of law by exploitative employers and cooperate in employment and labor standards investigation.”

Labor Market Implications

The new policy comes at a time when the U.S. is experiencing a critical labor shortage, including in many sectors that rely on immigrant labor.

Some companies that use undocumented workers pay them wages that are far below the market rate, which is not only exploitative but also undercuts competitors.

According to Mayorkas, the pivot to employer-based enforcement will help protect American businesses.

“By exploiting undocumented workers and paying them substandard wages, the unscrupulous employers create an unfair labor market,” he said in the memo. “They also unfairly drive down their costs and disadvantage their business competitors who abide by the law.”

It is currently unclear how effective the new efforts will be, but historical precedent does not paint an optimistic picture.

The Biden administration’s efforts closely mirror a similar move by the Obama administration, which attempted to reverse workplace raids authorized under President George W. Bush by targetting those who employ undocumented workers rather than the workers themselves.

That effort, however, still led to thousands of undocumented workers being fired.

See what others are saying: (The Washington Post) (The New York Times) (ABC News)

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Mom Charged for Hosting Secret Teen Parties, Pressuring Kids To Drink and Engage in Sex Acts

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Investigators said some of the sex acts between teens were non-consensual and at times took place while the mother stood by laughing.


Mother Hit With Dozens of Charges

A California mother is facing 39 criminal charges after hosting a series of illegal parties for her teenage son and his mostly 14- and 15-year-old friends that regularly led to dangerous accidents and sexual assaults.

The mother, 47-year-old Shannon O’Connor, also known as Shannon Bruga, is currently awaiting extradition to Santa Clara County. According to The Mercury News, she was arrested Saturday in Ada County, Idaho, where she has a home in addition to her property in Los Gatos that is currently on the market.

Her criminal charges include 12 felony counts and 10 misdemeanor counts of child endangerment, one count of misdemeanor sexual battery, three counts of misdemeanor child molestation, and 13 misdemeanor counts of providing alcohol to minors.

“It took a lot of brave children to come forward and to untangle this deeply disturbing case,” Santa Clara County District Attorney Jeff Rosen said in a press release regarding the case. “As a parent, I’m shocked. As the DA, I’m determined to hold those adults who endanger children fully accountable to the law and our community.”

What Happened During the Parties?

Investigators claim O’Connor organized the functions, attended by as many as 20 teens, via text message and Snapchat. She would then allegedly supply the teens with alcohol and push them to binge drink, often to the point of illness or unconsciousness.

The harm that resulted from their intoxication included one teen breaking a finger and another almost drowning in a hot tub, among other serious situations.

In another instance, O’Connor let an unlicensed drunk teen drive her car. Her son and another one of his friends then hung off the back while it was moving, which caused the friend to fall, hit his head, and become unconscious for 30 seconds. He was later diagnosed with a concussion after spending the night vomiting.

O’Connor is additionally accused of manipulating and encouraging drunk teens to participate in sex acts with one another, which were sometimes non-consensual or carried out while she watched. In some cases, she allegedly laughed while the sexual acts happened or when assault victims asked her why she didn’t step in to help.

Investigators added that O’Connor required teens who attended her parties to keep them a secret. She’s even accused of helping them sneak out of their homes so she could drive them to her events. Authorities said she was found to have bullied at least one teen who she suspected of breaking the secret.

“Everyone should feel relieved this woman’s not on the street,” the parents of one assault victim told The Mercury News. “She was grooming these kids, setting them up for sexual acts, and she’s a mother and doing this to her own child. … I’ve been racking my brain trying to think what was in it for her.

See what others are saying: (The Mercury News) (ABC 7) (CBS San Francisco)

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