- The Supreme Court said on Monday that it would not take up the case of Michelle Carter, who was convicted of involuntary manslaughter for her part in her boyfriend’s suicide.
- In 2014, after 18-year-old Conrad Roy III killed himself, investigators found texts exchanged between him and Carter leading up to his death in which she convinced him to end his life. She was 17 at the time.
- When Carter received her 15-month sentence in 2017, her lawyers appealed it, but the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court upheld the conviction in February 2019.
- The Supreme Court’s denial to review the case leaves Carter’s conviction intact and she will remain behind bars until Jan. 23 to finish her sentence.
Supreme Court Won’t See Case
The Supreme Court said on Monday that it would not hear the appeal of Michelle Carter, the Massachusetts woman currently serving time behind bars for her role in her boyfriend’s suicide.
The 23-year-old was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter in 2017 after she sent a series of texts to Conrad Roy III, convincing him to carry out his plans to kill himself. Judge Lawrence Moniz of Bristol County ruled that Carter’s “virtual presence” made her responsible for Roy’s death and she received a 15-month sentence.
Carter’s legal team filed a petition last July, arguing that it was against her First Amendment rights to free speech to convict her “based on [her] words alone.” Her lawyers also questioned whether the conviction was constitutional in regard to the Fifth Amendment’s due process clause.
The Supreme Court’s refusal to see Carter’s case leaves her conviction intact.
Joe Cataldo, one of Carter’s defense attorneys, told CNN on Monday that the Supreme Court’s decision was “unfortunate.”
“We’ll be weighing our next steps in correcting this injustice,” he said.
Carter’s conviction was also upheld in February 2019 by Massachusetts’ highest court following an appeal. She did not begin serving her sentence until after this appeal was denied.
The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court said it “rejected the defendant’s claim that her words to the victim, without any physical act on her part and even without her physical presence at the scene, could not constitute wanton or reckless conduct sufficient to support a charge of manslaughter.”
The Bristol County Sheriff’s Department said Monday that Carter will be released on Jan. 23, earlier than she was supposed to be, on behalf of her good behavior.
Carter’s Involuntary Manslaughter
In 2014, after 18-year-old Roy poisoned himself by filling his car with carbon monoxide, investigators discovered texts and phone calls from then 17-year-old Carter encouraging his self-harm as he considered and then successfully attempted suicide.
“I thought you wanted to do this,” one of Carter’s texts to Roy read. “The time is right and you’re ready, you just need to do it! You can’t keep living this way.”
Among other things, Carter suggested ways for Roy to end his life. At one point, when Roy was having second thoughts, she pushed him to return to his car and see the act through.
Carter’s case gained international attention and even became the subject for the 2019 HBO documentary “I Love You, Now Die: The Commonwealth V. Michelle Carter.”
Bodycam Footage Shows Officer Arresting Six-Year-Old At School
- Attorneys for the family of a 6-year-old girl released bodycam footage of an Orlando school resource officer arresting the young child.
- The video shows the girl getting handcuffed with zip ties and sobbing as she pleads with the officers to let her go.
- The officer made national headlines in September when he arrested that child as well as another 6-year-old in a separate incident that same day.
- He was fired a week later because he failed to get the necessary permission from his department to arrest children under the age of 12.
Bodycam footage of a 6-year-old girl being arrested by a former Orlando police officer was recently released to the public by the attorney of the child’s family.
The incident took place in September 2019 and led to the termination of the officer, Dennis Turner, a week later. The newly-released video shows Kaia Rolle reading a book with a school employee when two officers enter the room.
“Okay, she’s going to have to come with us now,” Dennis Turner can be heard saying.
“What are those for?” the little girl asked when she saw the zip ties.
“It’s for you,” Turner responded, as the other officer put them around Rolle’s wrists. She immediately started crying and pleading for help, even begging the men for “a second chance.”
Rolle’s sobbing continued as the officers led her outside toward the police car.
“I don’t want to go to the police car,” she said through tears.
“You don’t want to?” the officer who handcuffed her said. “You have to.”
After Rolle is put into the back of the vehicle to be taken to the Juvenile Assessment Center, the footage shows Turner back in the school. An employee asked him if the restraints on the child were necessary.
“Yes,” Turner replied. “And if she was bigger she would’ve been wearing regular handcuffs.”
The officer then added that the youngest person he’s ever arrested was seven-years-old. He continued with details and said that he’s arrested 6,000 people over the course of his career.
“She’s six?” Turner said when one of the school staff members told him Rolle’s age. “Now she has broken the record.”
The police report states that the officers were responding to a complaint that Rolle had “battered three staff members by kicking and punching them” at her charter school, Lucious and Emma Nixon Academy.
The child’s grandmother, Meralyn Kirkland, told WKMG in September that Rolle suffers from a sleep disorder, sleep apnea, and had acted out as a result of not enough rest the previous night.
Rolle was not the only child Turner arrested that day last September. In a separate incident, he also arrested another 6-year-old from the same school.
Dennis Turner had been working as the school’s resource officer. He retired from the Orlando Police Department in 2018 and was assigned to the Officer Reserve Program, which is made up of retired officers, according to the Orlando Sentinel.
It is department policy that officers must get approval from a superior before arresting anyone under the age of 12. Turner did not get that approval before he proceeded with the arrest of both the children.
The officer’s arrest of the six-year-olds made national headlines and sparked outrage from many across the country. An investigation into the incidents was opened and Turner was terminated from his job. The department told WKMG that the other officer, who is seen putting the zip ties on Rolle, was not aware that protocol was not followed. State Attorney Aramis Ayala said at a news conference in September that she would not be pursuing the charges against either child.
“I refuse to knowingly play any role in the school-to-prison pipeline at any age,” Ayala said. “These very young children are to be protected, nurtured and disciplined in a manner that does not rely on the criminal justice system to do it.”
The School-To-Prison Pipeline Debate: SROs & Why Student Arrests Are Increasing…
The existence of the school-to-prison pipeline has been debated for decades. The term is pretty self-explanatory, but it describes how children are funneled from schools to prisons through multiple school discipline and safety initiatives like zero-tolerance policies and school resource officers. The issue isn’t black and white because while there appears to be evidence, like the decrease in juvenile arrest rates, that suggest it isn’t a problem, there’s more to the story.
Tik Tok “Skull Breaker” Challenge Leading to Severe Injuries
- Tik Tok has seen a new viral challenge that involves a person getting tricked into jumping into the air while two others kick their legs out from under them, causing them to fall onto the ground.
- Multiple young people have suffered injuries as a result of the challenge, and it has been reported that one Brazilian teenager died.
- Concerned parents are striving to raise awareness of the dangers of the trend, and one student even started a non-profit organization to combat pranking and bullying after falling victim to the challenge herself.
Dangerous Online Trend
A new trend is making its rounds on the popular app Tik Tok— one that has led to serious injuries and received backlash from concerned parents.
The “skull breaker” challenge involves three people standing in a line, shoulder to shoulder, under the pretense that all of them will jump into the air at the same time. But instead, only the middle person jumps while the two people flanking them kick their legs out from under them, causing them to slam into the ground. In most cases it appears that the middle person is tricked into the challenge, unaware that they will be knocked over.
The danger of the “skull breaker” challenge can be found in its name, as it quite literally has the potential to crack people’s heads open. Doctors are warning that it can result in broken bones, concussions, and brain bleeding, among other injuries.
Tik Tok has expressed their disapproval of the challenge. The app told ABC News that the safety of their users is a top priority and they “do not allow content that encourages or replicates dangerous challenges that might lead to injury.”
This new online fad is the latest dangerous trend among young people, akin to the Tide Pod challenge and the viral Tik Tok “outlet challenge” that prompted warnings from fire officials. A Brazilian teenager reportedly died from the “skull breaker” challenge, and more youth around the world have been seriously hurt.
The recent virtual trend raised eyebrows in Daytona Beach, Florida in January, when two students convinced an unsuspecting third female student to perform the challenge for Tik Tok content.
According to the Daytona Beach News Journal, the video has since been deleted. The News Journal reported that the victim’s parents were originally going to let the school handle it but ultimately decided to press charges. The Daytona Beach Police Department told TODAY that two students are facing misdemeanor charges of battery and cyberbullying as a result of the prank.
On Feb. 8, an Arizona woman posted images of her injured son to Facebook, reporting a head injury as well as stitches and cuts to his face that stemmed from the skull breaker challenge.
“My son was asked to do a jumping contest with his 2 ‘friends,’ when he jumped up, the 2 boys kicked him, as hard as they could, so his legs flew out in front of him,” Valerie Hodson wrote. “He landed hard flat on his back and head, as he struggled to get up he lost consciousness, he fell forward landing on his face.”
“I really contemplated posting this, but I feel there needs to be awareness of this malicious cruel viral prank,” Hodson said.
Hodson’s son is not the only child to be hospitalized due to the skull breaker challenge. Teri Smith, a woman located in Alabama, also took to Facebook to discuss her son’s broken bones after falling victim to the prank.
“Prayers needed… Parker was unknowingly tiktok pranked which caused him to fall,” Smith wrote.
Similar pushes for awareness have been seen as impacts of the challenge have been felt by others around the country. In Portland, Oregon, 14-year-old Olivia Ross said she hit her head hard on the ground after she was tricked into the challenge by two seniors at her high school.
“They just told me we were going to jump for a video. Of course I was excited since they were upperclassmen and they were asking me to be in their video,” Ross told KOIN 6. “But I didn’t know what was going to happen.”
Ross and her mother, Lindsay Zobrist, decided the best course of action was to spread awareness of these types of viral pranks because they expect that many kids don’t know how dangerous they can be. They created a non-profit organization called Teaching Kindness Matters and are working to get school districts to include “pranking” in their definition of bullying.