Ohio Police Officer Kills Black Man Without Body Camera & Global News

by Debra Brown

Ohio Police shooting

Each Wednesday, we recap the most important headlines from our global community to keep you up to speed on world news.


Ohio Police Officer Kills Black Man Without Body Camera On

A Columbus, Ohio, police officer was relieved of duty following the fatal shooting of a 47-year-old Black man during which he did not activate his body camera, Mayor Andrew Ginther (D) announced.

The officer has been suspended pending an investigation, Ginther said at a news conference.

Police said in a statement officers were called out to a non-emergency disturbance at 1:37 a.m. about a man in an SUV that had been turned on and off multiple times. 

The officer opened fire when the man approached them with a phone in his left hand and his right hand in his pocket, per the statement. “A weapon was not recovered from the scene,” the statement said.

Columbus has invested more than $5 million to outfit its officers with body cameras, according to the mayor.

Three discrimination lawsuits have also been filed in Columbus in recent months by current or former Black officers. The City Council last month voted to approve a $475,000 payment in a fourth brought by an officer who said he faced retaliation after reporting racist behavior and misconduct of a White police sergeant.


Number of Journalists Killed for Their Reporting Doubled in 2020

The number of journalists killed as a result of their work more than doubled in 2020, an international media watchdog group said, with armed conflict and gang violence making Mexico and Afghanistan among the deadliest countries for reporters globally.

At least 30 journalists were killed worldwide this year, according to the watchdog group, the Committee to Protect Journalists, with 21 of those killings carried out as a direct response to the reporters’ work, compared to 10 in 2019.

Mexico had the most journalists killed in retaliation for their work in 2020, followed by Afghanistan and the Philippines. 


Trump Pardons 15 Including Blackwater Contractors Jailed for Massacre 

Among the high-profile pardons are three former Republican members of Congress, including Rep. Duncan Hunter, who pleaded guilty to misusing campaign funds; George Papadopoulos, a former campaign adviser who was charged in connection with special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation; four Blackwater mercenaries who were convicted for killing civilians in Iraq; and two Border Patrol agents who attempted to cover up their shooting of a Mexican national fleeing arrest.

The four Blackwater security guards were given lengthy prison sentences for killing 14 civilians in Baghdad in 2007, a massacre that caused international uproar over the use of private contractors in war zones.

In 2014, Paul Slough, Evan Liberty and Dustin Heard were found guilty of 13 charges of voluntary manslaughter and 17 charges of attempted manslaughter, while Nicholas Slatten, the team’s sniper who was the first to open fire, was convicted of first-degree murder. 

FBI investigators who visited the scene in the following days described it as the “My Lai massacre of Iraq”, a reference to the infamous slaughter of civilian villagers by US troops during the Vietnam war, in which only one soldier was convicted.


Department of Justice Sues Walmart Over Opioid Crisis

The Justice Department is suing Walmart, alleging the country’s largest retailer, Fueled U.S. Opioid Crisis, unlawfully dispensed controlled substances through its pharmacies and helped fuel the nation’s opioid crisis.

In a civil complaint, the federal government alleges that Walmart pressured its pharmacists to fill opioid prescriptions quickly, denying them the ability to refuse invalid prescriptions.

The government also charges Walmart with failing to detect and report suspicious prescriptions to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, as the law requires it to do.

Walmart filed its own preemptive suit against the Justice Department, Attorney General William Barr and the Drug Enforcement Administration. In that lawsuit, Walmart said the Justice Department’s investigation, launched in 2016, had identified hundreds of doctors who wrote problematic prescriptions that Walmart’s pharmacists should not have filled. But the Walmart lawsuit charged that nearly 70% of the doctors still have active registrations with the DEA. 


Biden Picks Miguel A. Cordona as Education Secretary

President-elect Joe Biden has chosen another cabinet appointment, Miguel A. Cordona will be the next education secretary. In 2019, Cordona was appointed Connecticut’s first Latino commissioner of education. 

Cordona comes with two decades of experience as a public school educator and is opposite the current education secretary Betsey DeVos who strongly private education and a partisan agenda. 

Dr. Cardona would be tasked with bringing the elementary, secondary and higher-education systems back from the pandemic’s disruption and repairing the considerable damage done, a high-stakes process that will most likely require years of work and billions of dollars.


Covid-19 Updates from Around the World

Countries around the world are imposing bans and restrictions on travel from the United Kingdom and South Africa to stem the transmission of a coronavirus variant that health authorities say can spread faster than others.

Since the UK lockdown was announced, over 40 countries in Europe, Asia, South America, the Caribbean and the Middle East have restricted travel from the UK and in some cases, also travel from other countries that have documented cases with the variant.

The variant has also been detected in Denmark, the Netherlands and Australia, according to the World Health Organization. In South Africa, a different coronavirus variant has been reported, the WHO’s technical lead for Covid-19, Maria van Kerkhove said.

South Africa is facing increasing isolation as more countries ban travel over the discovery of a new variant of the coronavirus. The new strain, different from the one in the United Kingdom, appears to be more infectious than the original virus.

Israel, Turkey, Germany, Saudi Arabia and Switzerland are among countries that have halted air travel to and from South Africa following the announcement that a new variant of the COVID-19 virus is driving South Africa’s resurgence of the disease, with higher numbers of confirmed cases, hospitalisations and deaths.


Far-Right Protesters Opposing to Public Health Measures Storm Oregon State Capitol

In Oregon, a group of far-right protesters stormed the statehouse Monday to disrupt a special legislative session. Some of the protesters forced their way into the statehouse, which was closed to the public due to the pandemic. They attacked security officers with chemical sprays and assaulted a number of journalists. Four people were arrested. The demonstrators were calling for an end to public health restrictions aimed to slow the spread of COVID. Participants included members of the far-right group Patriot Prayer.


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