- MMA fighters, pro-wrestlers, and NFL players tweeted their support for an autistic boy in Oklahoma who was physically attacked by other students in two viral videos.
- The school district and police said they have identified the students who attacked 12-year-old Rayden Overbay.
- Authorities are considering charges of bullying, as well as assault and battery.
- Overbay’s parents spoke on the issue, saying they forgive the students who attacked their son and asking adults to not bully his attackers in return.
Video of Autistic Boy Being Bullied Goes Viral
After two videos of multiple middle schoolers physically bullying their autistic classmate went viral, a handful of athletes have offered their support to the victim.
The videos, which originally went viral in September, picked up even more attention on Oct. 23 after MMA fighter Dillon Danis tweeted a compilation of both videos and said he wanted to contact the victim, Rayden Overbay.
“This is very sad,” Danis said. “We are all here for you brotha, please tag anyone that knows him or his parents i would like to reach out!”
The first incident in the video shows Overbay being attacked in the boys’ restroom at Yukon Middle School on Sep. 13. The day prior, another video surfaced online showing multiple children punching and kicking Overbay at a mobile home park.
On Sep. 16, Yukon superintendent Jason Simeroth told media outlets that both the school and police were investigating the videos.
Police then confirmed that all of the kids in both videos had been identified as students at Yukon Middle School and explained that the school had already taken disciplinary action against them. Notably, police also said they were working to determine whether or not to file charges, including bullying, as well as assault and battery.
Since the students are minors, however, it is unlikely that any full extent of their repercussions will be made publically available.
Rayden’s Parents Speak Out
Just days after these videos went viral, professional MMA fighter Justin Wren reached out to Overbay’s family, offering to help them. Wren heads an anti-bullying charity called Fight for the Forgotten.
At a news conference with Wren, Overbay’s parents explained their son has high-functioning autism and that they decided to not to enroll him in a special education curriculum. Later, when discussing the bullying, Overbay’s father fought tears.
“It’s gotta stop, no matter what,” he said. “Whether it’s my son somebody else’s son or daughter… it’s gotta stop.”
“A few people decided to record it on video because they thought it was funny,” he said. “It is the only reason I am sitting in front of you today. Some of those kids claim to be my son’s friend, and that’s hard as a dad.”
Overbay’s parents, however, said incidents have been happening for years, with his mother saying she’s seen kids walk up to him and punch him “square in the stomach” since he was eight or nine.
Despite struggling with their son’s bullying, both parents said they forgive the kids who attacked him. The Overbay’s also asked adults to stop bullying the other children after those children received death threats and their addresses were posted online.
“We forgive the kids for what they did,” Overbay’s father said. “They made a mistake, they’re 12 they’re 13 they got a life to live.”
“We want to stand here and say stop bullying and stand against, stop bullying, you can’t turn around and say now let’s get a group and go beat these kids up,” Overbay’s mother said. “That’s not how fixing bullying works.”
Athletes Offer Support
Shortly after Danis’ tweet, #StandWithRayden began trending on Twitter, with more athletes supporting Overbay. Oakland Raiders offensive lineman Trent Brown tweeted that he wants to bring Overbay and his family to an NFL game.
Taeler Hendrix of the National Pro Wrestling League also said she wanted to send him gifts and dedicate her next match to him.
Notably, Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield issued a message to Overbay and shamed the parents of the children who had bullied him.
“Unbelievable that kids could actually be this mean and spiteful,” he said. “Shame on the parents of the ones picking on Rayden… these videos are hard to watch, and that’s only what has been caught on video.”
“I don’t know if he or his family will ever even see this… but hang in there,” the NFL quarterback continued. “Y’all have lots of love and support coming your way. Stay strong and believe there are brighter days ahead!!!”
I don’t know if he or his family will ever even see this… but hang in there ❤️. Y’all have lots of love and support coming your way. Stay strong and believe there are brighter days ahead!!!— Baker Mayfield (@bakermayfield) October 24, 2019
After taking notice of the growing trend, Wren said he would share some of the most supportive tweets with Overbay and his family.
Derek Chauvin and 3 Others Ex-Officers Indicted on Civil Rights Charges Over George Floyd’s Death
- The Justice Department filed federal criminal charges Friday against Derek Chauvin and three other former Minneapolis police officers after a grand jury indicted them for violating the civil rights of George Floyd.
- The indictment charges Chauvin, J. Alexander Kueng, and Tou Thao for violating Floyd’s right to be free from unreasonable seizure and unreasonable force. All three, as well as Thomas Lane, were also charged with failing to provide medical care to Floyd.
- Chauvin was additionally hit with two counts in a separate indictment, which claims he violated the civil rights of a 14-year-old boy who he allegedly held by the neck and repeatedly beat with a flashlight during a 2017 arrest.
- Chauvin was already convicted last month of murder and manslaughter over Floyd’s death, which Kueng, Lane, and Thao were previously charged for allegedly aiding and abetting.
Former Minneapolis Officers Hit With Federal Charges
A federal grand jury indicted Derek Chauvin and three other former Minneapolis police officers for violating George Floyd’s civil rights during the arrest that lead to his death last summer, the Justice Department announced Friday.
Chauvin, specifically, was charged with violating Floyd’s right to be free from unreasonable seizure and unreasonable force by a police officer. Ex-officers J. Alexander Kueng and Tou Thao were indicted for willfully failing to intervene in Chauvin’s unreasonable use of force.
All three men, as well as former officer Thomas Lane, face charges for failing to provide medical care to Floyd, “thereby acting with deliberate indifference to a substantial risk of harm to Floyd,” according to the indictment.
In a second, separate indictment, Chauvin was hit with two counts of civil rights violations related to the arrest of a 14-year-old boy in September 2017. During that incident, Chauvin allegedly held the boy by the neck and hit him with a flashlight repeatedly.
The announcement, which follows a months-long investigation by the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, comes just over two weeks after Chauvin was found guilty of three state charges of murder and manslaughter in Floyd’s death.
He is currently awaiting his June 25 sentencing in a maximum-security prison.
Kueng, Lane, and Thao all face state charges of aiding and abetting second-degree murder and manslaughter.
Kueng and Lane were the first officers to responded to a call from a convenience store employee who claimed that Floyd used a counterfeit $20 bill. Body camera footage showed Floyd sitting in the car and Lane drawing his gun as the officers ordered him out and handcuffed him.
Floyd can be heard pleading with the officers not to shoot him.
Shortly after, Chauvin and Thao arrived, and the footage shows Chauvin joining the other officers in their attempt to put Floyd into the back of a police car. In the struggle, the officers forced Floyd to the ground, with Chauvin kneeling on his neck while Kueng and Lane held his back and legs.
Meanwhile, in cellphone footage taken at the scene, Thao can be seen ordering bystanders to stay away, and later preventing a Minneapolis firefighter from giving Floyd medical aid.
Their trial is set to begin in late August, and all three are free on bond. The new federal charges, however, will likely be more difficult to prove.
According to legal experts, prosecutors will have to show beyond reasonable doubt that the officers knew that they were depriving Floyd of his constitutional rights but continued to do so anyway.
The high legal standard is also hard to establish, as officers can easily claim they acted out of fear or even poor judgment.
See what others are saying: (The Washington Post) (The New York Times) (The Associated Press)
Caitlyn Jenner Says Her Friends Are Fleeing California Because of the Homeless Population
- California gubernatorial candidate Caitlyn Jenner sparked outrage after an interview with Sean Hannity on Wednesday that was filmed from her Malibu airplane hangar.
- “My friends are leaving California,” she said. “My hangar, the guy right across, he was packing up his hangar and I said, ‘Where are you going?’ And he says, ‘I’m moving to Sedona, Arizona. I can’t take it anymore. I can’t walk down the streets and see the homeless.’”
- Many criticized Jenner for sounding out of touch and unsympathetic to real issues in California and suggested that she prioritize helping the homeless population rather than incredibly wealthy state residents.
Caitlyn Jenner’s Remarks
California gubernatorial candidate Caitlyn Jenner sparked outrage on Wednesday after suggesting that wealthy people are fleeing the state because of its homeless population.
Jenner sat down for an interview in her Malibu airplane hangar with Fox News’ Sean Hannity. Jenner is one of the handful of Republicans aiming to unseat current Governor Gavin Newsom in a recall election in the fall. While polls show that most Californians do not support recalling Newsom, the conservative-led movement to do so gained enough signatures to land on the ballot.
“My friends are leaving California,” Jenner claimed during the interview. “My hangar, the guy right across, he was packing up his hangar and I said, ‘where are you going?’ And he says, ‘I’m moving to Sedona, Arizona, I can’t take it anymore. I can’t walk down the streets and see the homeless.’”
“I don’t want to leave,” she continued. “Either I stay and fight, or I get out of here.”
Jenner’s Remarks Prompt Backlash
Her remarks were criticized online by people who thought Jenner sounded unsympathetic and out of touch to the real issues in the state. Many found it hypocritical that Jenner has slammed Newsom for being elite but was so concerned for wealthy people who don’t like having to see unhoused residents on the street.
Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Ca.) called Jenner out on Twitter for seemingly fighting for a small percentage of Californians.
“Unlike you, Dems are focused on the 99% of people who don’t own planes or hangars,” he wrote. “And you know what’s going to help reduce homelessness? The #AmericanRescuePlan, which your party opposed.”
Others suggested she prioritize directly addressing the homeless situation.
“If you don’t like the homeless situation, instead of hiding in your PRIVATE PLANE HANGAR, your campaign should be about helping them,” actress Merrin Dungey said. “They don’t like their situation either. Your lifelong privilege is showing. It’s not a good color.”
Jenner, an Olympic gold medalist and reality star, is one of the most prominent transgender Americans. Because homelessness is such a common issue within the trans community, some were frustrated she was not using her campaign to fix the situation, and rather used it to complain about how it impacted her wealthy friends.
See what others are saying: (The Hill) (Politico) (Washington Post)
Derek Chauvin Seeks New Trial In George Floyd Murder Case
- A lawyer for Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer who was convicted of murdering George Floyd, filed a motion Tuesday for a new trial.
- Among other complaints about Chauvin’s conviction, the attorney cited “prosecutorial and jury misconduct; errors of law at trial; and a verdict that is contrary to law.”
- He also claimed the court “abused its discretion” by not granting a change of venue or sequestering the jury for the duration of the trial, arguing that publicity before and during it threatened its fairness.
- John Stiles, deputy chief of staff for Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison, told CNN, “The court has already rejected many of these arguments and the State will vigorously oppose them.”
Derek Chauvin’s Attorney Files Motion for New Trial
Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin is officially asking for a new trial, hoping to overturn his conviction for the murder of George Floyd.
His attorney, Eric Nelson, filed court paperwork Tuesday laying out a number of errors he believes were made during Chauvin’s legal proceedings that violated his constitutional rights to due process and a fair trial. Nelson cited alleged issues, including, “prosecutorial and jury misconduct; errors of law at trial; and a verdict that is contrary to law.”
The filing did not cite any specific examples of jury misconduct, but Nelson also argued that the court “abused its discretion” by not granting a change of venue or sequestering the jury for the duration of the trial.
The court proceedings took place in the same city where Floyd was killed and where protesters drew national attention by calling for justice in his name. As a result, Nelson claimed that publicity before and during the trial threatened its fairness. He also argued that a defense expert witness was intimidated after he testified, but before the jury deliberated.
His filing asks for a hearing to impeach the guilty verdict, in part, on the grounds that the 12 jurors “felt threatened or intimidated, felt race-based pressure during the proceedings, and/or failed to adhere to instructions during deliberations.”
It’s unclear exactly what will come of this request, but John Stiles, deputy chief of staff for Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison, told CNN, “The court has already rejected many of these arguments and the State will vigorously oppose them.”
For instance, a judge previously denied Chauvin’s request to move the trial in March, saying, “I don’t think there’s any place in the state of Minnesota that has not been subjected to extreme amounts of publicity on this case.”