MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Former Officer Derek Chauvin’s lawyer suggested Tuesday that George Floyd may have suffered from “excited delirium” — or what a witness described as a potentially lethal state of agitation and even superhuman strength that can be triggered by drug use, heart disease or mental problems.
Defense attorney Eric Nelson — seeking to plant doubt in jurors’ minds that Floyd died because of Chauvin’s knee on his neck for 9 1/2 minutes — called to the stand Nicole Mackenzie, a Minneapolis police training officer, to expound on the condition.
While Floyd was pinned to the ground, a relatively new officer at the scene had mentioned that the 46-year-old Black man might be suffering from excited delirium.
Mackenzie testified that incoming officers are told how to recognize the signs of excited delirium: Suspects may be incoherent, exhibit extraordinary strength, be sweaty or suffering from abnormally low body temperature, or seem like they suddenly snapped. Officers are told that cardiovascular disease, illegal drug use or mental problems can trigger excited delirium, she said.
She said officers are also trained to put a suspect in a recovery position and to call paramedics, because a person can rapidly go into cardiac arrest.
Chauvin's lawyer also elicited testimony Tuesday from another witness that Floyd panicked and cried over and over, "Please, please, don’t kill me!" when officers first approached his SUV at gunpoint on the day of his death. And the defense attorney brought out a 2019 arrest in which Floyd suffered from dangerously high blood pressure and confessed to heavy use of opioids.
Chauvin, a 45-year-old white man, is on trial on charges of murder and manslaughter in Floyd's death last May after his arrest of suspicion of passing a counterfeit $20 at a neighborhood market.
Nelson has argued that Floyd died because of his illegal drug use and underlying health problems, including high blood pressure and heart disease. Fentanyl and methamphetamine were discovered in his system.
Mackenzie testified that she provides training on excited delirium only to new recruits. And Judge Peter Cahill cautioned jurors that there is no evidence that Chauvin had the training.
On cross-examination by prosecutors, Mackenzie said officers are obligated to perform CPR when someone's pulse stops or the person becomes nonresponsive. She also said she would defer to an emergency room doctor in diagnosing excited delirium.
An expert in forensic medicine previously dismissed Nelson's excited-delirium suggestion during the prosecution's case. Dr. Bill Smock, a police surgeon for the Louisville, Kentucky, department, said Floyd met none of the 10 criteria developed by the American College of Emergency Physicians.
The defense opened its case Tuesday after the prosecution rested following 11 days of testimony and a mountain of video evidence.
Nelson's first witnesses, a now-retired Minneapolis police officer and paramedic, testified about a May 6, 2019, incident in which Floyd was arrested. That was a year before his fatal encounter with Chauvin.
Former Officer Scott Creighton said he drew his gun and pulled Floyd from a car after Floyd did not comply with orders to show his hands. Nelson twice asked questions aimed at getting the jury thinking about Floyd swallowing drugs, but Creighton said he did not see Floyd take anything.
Another witness who responded to that call, now-retired paramedic Michelle Moseng, testified that Floyd told her he had been taking multiple opioids about every 20 minutes.
“I asked him why and he said it was because he was addicted,” said Moseng, who described Floyd’s behavior as “elevated and agitated” before the judge struck that remark from the record.
Moseng also said she recommended taking Floyd to the hospital based on his high blood pressure, which she measured at 216 over 160.
On cross-examination, prosecutor Erin Eldridge got Moseng to testify that Floyd’s respiratory output, pulse, heart rate, EKG and heart rhythms were normal. Eldridge said Floyd was taken to the hospital and released two hours later.
Medical experts for the prosecution testified previously that Floyd died of lack of oxygen because his breathing was constricted as police held him down on his stomach, his hands cuffed behind his back, with Chauvin's knee on his neck.
The prosecution experts rejected the notion that Floyd's drug use or underlying health problems caused his death. In fact, a cardiology expert on Monday said that Floyd appeared to have “an exceptionally strong heart.”
Another defense witness Tuesday was Shawanda Hill, who was in the SUV with Floyd before his ill-fated encounter with Chauvin. She said that Floyd fell asleep at some point and seemed startled when he realized police were there.
When he saw an officer at the window with a gun, Floyd “instantly grabbed the wheel and he was like, ‘Please, please, don’t kill me. Please, please, don’t shoot me. Don’t shoot me. What did I do? Just tell me what I did. Please, don’t kill. Please, don’t shoot me,’" Hill testified.
Nelson also sought to bolster previous suggestions that the officers' actions were influenced by what they perceived as hostile bystanders shouting at Chauvin to get off Floyd's neck.
Minneapolis Park Police Officer Peter Chang, who helped at the scene that day, testified that he saw a “crowd” growing across the street that "was becoming more loud and aggressive, a lot of yelling across the street.”
“Did that cause you any concern?” asked Nelson, who played footage from Chang’s body camera in which bystanders can be heard yelling and becoming increasingly frantic.
“Concern for the officers’ safety, yes," Chang replied.
Under cross-examination from the prosecution, Chang said he assumed the officers were OK because he knew there were four of them and they never radioed for help.
Nelson hasn't said whether Chauvin will take the stand. Testifying could open him up to devastating cross-examination but could also give the jury the opportunity to see any remorse or sympathy on the officer's part.
Find AP’s full coverage of the death of George Floyd at: https://apnews.com/hub/death-of-george-floyd
Webber reported from Fenton, Michigan.
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Pilot error probably caused the 2019 crash of a World War II-era bomber in Connecticut that killed seven people and wounded six others, the National Transportation Safety Board said in a report released Tuesday. It also cited inadequate maintenance as a contributing factor.
The four-engine, propeller-driven B-17G Flying Fortress bomber with 13 people aboard crashed at Bradley International Airport, north of Hartford, during a traveling vintage aircraft show on Oct. 2, 2019.
The pilot, Ernest “Mac” McCauley, reported a problem with one of the engines shortly after takeoff, and the plane crashed into a maintenance building and burst into flames after striking the runway lights during a landing attempt.
The NTSB said the flight data indicated that the landing gear was extended too early, adding drag that slowed the plane, and it was traveling too slow on its return to the airport.
“The B-17 could likely have overflown the approach lights and landed on the runway had the pilot kept the landing gear retracted and accelerated to 120 mph until it was evident the airplane would reach the runway,” the NTSB said.
In the report, there was also a call on the Federal Aviation Administration to adopt tighter regulations on vintage aircraft flights offered to the public.
McCauley, 75, of Long Beach, California, was a veteran pilot who colleagues said had great skills flying the B-17G. He and co-pilot Michael Foster, 71, of Jacksonville, Florida, were killed in the crash, along with five of the 10 passengers. The plane's mechanic, Mitchell Melton, of Hawkins, Texas, was the only crew member to survive.
The NTSB said there was a power loss in two of the four engines during the flight, a problem it blamed on McCauley's “inadequate maintenance." McCauley also served as the maintenance director of the plane's owner, the Collings Foundation, based in Stow, Massachusetts.
The NTSB also said the Collings Foundation had an ineffective safety management system that failed to identify hazards, including the inadequate maintenance of the plane. Investigators said the system, as well as the FAA's ineffective oversight of the system, also contributed to the accident.
The Collings Foundation said in a statement Tuesday that it is reviewing the NTSB's findings. It did not directly address the NTSB's findings.
“We knew Ernest “Mac” McCauley to be the most experienced B-17 pilot in the world who was passionate about the care and condition of all aircraft,” the foundation said. “Responsible flight and maintenance operations have always been a top priority of the Collings Foundation, reflected by over thirty years’ worth of a safe operating record, and always will be.”
Melton, the mechanic, from Hawkins, Texas, told investigators the No. 4 engine began losing power after takeoff and McCauley shut it off, despite Melton telling him there was no need to shut if off, according to NTSB documents.
Lawyers for relatives of people killed in the crash and survivors said in a statement that the NTSB report will help the families get some closure and prevent similar tragedies. The families and survivors are suing the Collings Foundation over the deaths and injuries. The foundation has denied wrongdoing.
“Unfortunately, our clients’ lives were forever changed when the Collings Foundation’s B-17 crashed at Bradley International Airport,” the lawyers said. “At the appropriate time ... we will present evidence to a Connecticut jury that the Collings Foundation’s failures as detailed in the NTSB report, caused the horrific injuries and deaths suffered by our clients.”
The passengers killed in the crash, who paid $450 apiece for the flight, included Gary Mazzone, of East Windsor, Connecticut; Robert Riddell, of East Granby, Connecticut, James Roberts, of Ludlow, Massachusetts; David Broderick, of West Springfield, Massachusetts; and Robert Rubner, of Tolland, Connecticut.
After the crash, the foundation suspended its flights and tour for the rest of the year. In March 2020, the FAA revoked the Collings Foundation’s permission to carry passengers aboard its World War II-era planes because of safety concerns stemming from the Bradley accident.
The FAA said in a statement Tuesday that it has a number of initiatives under way to improve the safety of vintage aircraft flights offered to the public. It has issued new guidance to safety inspectors, required them to inspect all operators of such flights by Sept. 30 and will be issuing new rules for operators' safety management systems.
U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, a Connecticut Democrat, called on the FAA to immediately implement the NTSB's recommendations.
A student opened fire on officers responding to a report of a possible gunman at a Tennessee high school Monday, and police shot back and killed him, authorities said. The shooting wounded an officer and comes as the community reels from off-campus gun violence that has left three other students dead this year.
Police found the student in a bathroom at Austin-East Magnet High School in Knoxville, a city about 180 miles (290 kilometers) east of Nashville, Tennessee Bureau of Investigation Director David B. Rausch said at a news conference. They ordered the student to come out, but he wouldn't comply, and that's when he reportedly opened fire, Rausch said. Police fired back.
The student died at the school, and the officer was taken into surgery after being shot at least once in the upper leg, authorities said. The officer was expected to recover, and no one else was hurt. It wasn't yet clear why the student brought a gun to school or why he fired at officers.
“It’s a sad day for Knoxville, and it’s tough for Austin-East,” Rausch said.
Asked about the overwhelming police response to a call that came in just before afternoon dismissal, Knoxville Police Chief Eve Thomas said, “We have a student, a school incident. It’s our worst fear, an active shooter in a school.”
The shooting comes as more classrooms are reopening to students after months of remote learning during the coronavirus pandemic, which cut down the number of mass killings in the U.S. The nation has seen series of mass shootings in recent weeks, including eight people killed at three Atlanta-area massage businesses on March 16 and 10 people killed at Colorado supermarket on March 22.
Knox County Schools restarted in-person learning in August, but Austin-East Magnet High School went back to virtual instruction briefly in February after the spate of shooting deaths of students. The school will be closed again Tuesday and Wednesday.
Speaking outside a hospital, Knoxville Mayor Indya Kincannon told news station WATE-TV that she spoke with the wounded officer and he was conscious and in good spirits.
Kincannon, a former Knox County Schools board president, spoke at a February press conference about the gun violence that took the lives of three Austin-East students less than three weeks apart this year. Two of the victims were 15, and the other was 16.
“I know that school is a safe place,” Kincannon said at that time, according to the Knoxville News Sentinel. “It’s a place where people are learning. ... The issues with violence are happening in the community, and it’s affecting kids when they’re outside of the school. That’s why we are focusing our efforts to protect the innocent, protect the school, protect the children and students and staff.”
The newspaper reported that the school was adding three school resource officers and stepping up patrols around dismissal time.
State Rep. Sam McKenzie, who represents the district and went to the school, said in a statement: “I am at a loss to describe my sadness as yet another horrific act of gun violence has happened in my community," urging people to “reclaim the sanctity of our beloved neighborhood."
“This is the fourth unnecessary shooting involving the Austin East community this year and we must make sure we take every step and make every effort to prevent these tragedies from continuing to occur,” McKenzie's statement said.
Gov. Bill Lee mentioned the shooting at a Monday news conference but said he had little information.
“I just wanted to make reference to that and ask, for those who are watching, online or otherwise, to pray for that situation and for the families and the victims that might be affected by that in our state," he said.
Last week, the Republican governor signed legislation that will make Tennessee the latest state to allow most adults 21 and older to carry handguns — openly or concealed — without first clearing a background check and training. Lee backed the legislation over objections from law enforcement groups, who argued that the state’s existing permit system provided an important safeguard for knowing who should or shouldn’t be carrying a gun.
When asked earlier this year whether recent mass shootings in Georgia, Colorado and others gave him any concern about timing, Lee said the increased penalties mean that “we in fact will be strengthening laws that would help prevent gun crimes in the future.”
This story was first published on April 12, 2021. It was updated on April 13, 2021 to correct the date that Knox County returned to in-person schooling. In-person classes began last August.
LOS ANGELES (AP) — The “prime suspect” was arrested Tuesday in the 25-year-old disappearance of a California college student and the San Luis Obispo sheriff planned to announce “major developments” in the case.
Paul Flores, 44, who was the last person seen with Kristin Smart before she vanished in 1996, was taken into custody in the Los Angeles area. His father, Ruben Flores, 80, was arrested as an accessory at his Arroyo Grande home, where sheriff’s investigators conducted another search.
Defense attorney Robert Sanger confirmed Paul Flores was arrested in the Smart case, though no details were immediately available on the charges he faces. Sanger declined further comment.
Ruben Flores was booked on suspicion of accessory after a felony, according to San Luis Obispo County jail records.
Smart, 19, of Stockton, vanished in May 1996 while returning to a dorm at California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo after a party. She was seen with Flores, who was a student at the time.
Sheriff Ian Parkinson scheduled a news conference at 2 p.m. at the Cal Poly campus to discuss “major developments in the investigation” into Smart's disappearance.
A spokesman for the Smart family said “this is an extremely emotional day" and they would issue a statement later in the afternoon.
The news comes about a month after the sheriff named Flores as the “prime suspect” in the case and investigators searched his father’s home and property using ground-penetrating radar and cadaver dogs.
Investigators served another search warrant Tuesday at the home of Ruben Flores about 15 miles (24 kilometers) south of the university on California’s Central Coast, KSBY-TV reported. They appeared to be disassembling a deck outside the home and the sound of power saws and drills could be heard whining in the background.
Search warrants were served last year on Paul Flores’ home in the San Pedro area of Los Angeles and at other locations in California and Washington state. Investigators conducted digs on the campus in 2016.
Paul Flores has remained mum through the years, invoking his Fifth Amendment right to not answer questions before a grand jury and in a deposition for a lawsuit that was brought against him.
He was arrested in February on a weapons charge and released on bond.
LOS ANGELES (AP) — 'Prime suspect' in 1996 disappearance of California college student Kristin Smart arrested; suspect's dad also arrested.
CHICAGO (AP) — Now that prosecutors have wrapped up their case against a former Minneapolis police officer in George Floyd’s death, Derek Chauvin and his legal team must make a decision about whether he'll testify.
Doing so could help humanize Chauvin to jurors who haven't heard from him directly at trial, but it also would open him to what could be devastating cross-examination.
Chauvin is charged with second- and third-degree murder and manslaughter. Here's a look at some of the perils — and possible benefits — in Chauvin taking the stand:
WHY MIGHT CHAUVIN WANT TO TESTIFY?
Images from bystander video of Chauvin pinning Floyd to the pavement, his face impassive, have been played nearly every day at trial and are likely seared into the minds of many jurors.
The face mask Chauvin has been required to wear in court because of the pandemic has hidden any possible display of emotion by him during testimony. Taking the stand might be the only way for him to explain the video and show another side of himself.
“He has nothing to lose, given that that video is so damaging,” said Phil Turner, a former federal prosecutor in Chicago. “You’ve got to get up there and give an explanation. It’s a no-brainer. You have to.”
Multiple witnesses and video evidence have shown Chauvin pinning Floyd for almost 9 1/2 minutes, well beyond the time Floyd stopped moving and a fellow officer said he could not find a pulse.
Turner said Chauvin has to “change the narrative” any way he can, even if the goal is not to secure outright acquittal on all counts but to stave off convictions on the most serious charges.
“What you are playing for is to get out of the murder charge,” he said. “If you do, you’ve won.”
COULD TESTIFYING HURT CHAUVIN'S CASE?
Definitely. Answering sympathetic questions from his own lawyer shouldn't be a problem. But cross-examination could be treacherous.
“They would be salivating to get him on the stand,” Minnesota defense attorney Mike Brandt said of prosecutors. “They’d have a field day with Chauvin.”
Brandt said prosecutors would likely play the bystander video of Chauvin, who is white, pinning Floyd — a Black man — and pausing it every few seconds to ask why he stayed on Floyd.
“They could ask Chauvin over and over, ‘Now is Floyd a threat here? OK, his eyes are closed. His body went limp. Is he a threat there?‘” said Brandt. He added: “Can you imagine how powerful that will be?”
If Chauvin can't offer plausible answers or insults jurors' intelligence, he could increase his chances of conviction on all counts, Brandt said.
IS CHAUVIN LIKABLE ENOUGH TO TESTIFY?
Most lawyers want to be sure jurors will like their clients before putting them on the stand, Brandt said, adding that nothing he has seen from Chauvin suggests he would come off as sympathetic.
“Chauvin doesn’t come across as a warm and pleasant person. And jurors want to see a caring and empathetic person. That is the one big liability: If jurors don’t like Chauvin, his fate is sealed.”
Chicago-based attorney Steve Greenberg agreed. If Chauvin rubs jurors the wrong way, it could backfire, said Greenberg.
“You run the risk of jurors hating him even more if he testifies, and him going down on murder charges,” he said.
WHAT MIGHT CHAUVIN SAY IN HIS DEFENSE?
The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that officers' actions that lead to a suspect’s death can be legal if the officers believed their lives were at risk — even if, in hindsight, they were wrong. And only Chauvin can speak to what he was thinking that day, making it all the more imperative that he testify, Turner said.
Chauvin might tell jurors he's not a doctor and couldn't have known Floyd was dying, said Turner. He could say he kept his knee on Floyd because, from his experience, he knew larger suspects were capable of breaking free and posing a threat.
His lawyers could try to get Chauvin to testify that he was worried about Floyd’s well-being that day. That could include highlighting the call for an ambulance. He also might claim he wasn't pressing hard, despite expert testimony that calculated half his body weight plus gear was on Floyd at least part of the time.
WHAT ARE THE ODDS HE WILL TESTIFY?
Brandt initially thought Chauvin would testify, but as the trial has progressed, he said he thinks defense attorney Eric Nelson will avoid calling him because of the risk. And he said Nelson likely believes he can raise enough reasonable doubt without putting his client on the stand.
Greenberg said lawyers at murder trials typically don’t want their clients to testify. In more than 100 murder trials at which he represented clients, fewer than 10 took the stand.
“When defendants do testify, it is usually a Hail Mary pass” by a desperate defense that believes it has slim chance of acquittal on any charges, Greenberg said.
WOULD JURORS WANT TO HEAR FROM CHAUVIN?
They probably would.
The judge will instruct them before they start deliberations that defendants have a right not to testify and that they shouldn’t consider any decision not to as proof of guilt.
But legal experts widely agree that many jurors, despite those standard instructions, interpret a defendant’s silence as evidence of guilt.
“They're human,” said Brandt. “Even if they know Chauvin doesn’t have to testify, in their minds they think, ’But yeah, we wanted to hear from him.'”
Follow Michael Tarm on Twitter at http://twitter.com/mtarm
Find AP’s full coverage of the death of George Floyd at: https://apnews.com/hub/death-of-george-floyd
BROOKLYN CENTER, Minn. (AP) — White Minnesota police officer who fatally shot Black motorist Daunte Wright during traffic stop resigns.
TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) — A Tucson man has been sentenced to 6 ½ years in federal prison for smuggling firearms and ammunition into Mexico.
Prosecutors said 31-year-old Ruben Arnulfo Chavarin also was fined more than $10,000.
On 14 occasions between December 2010 and February 2011, prosecutors said Chavarin purchased eight firearms and over 21,000 rounds of ammunition in Tucson.
They said he provided the firearms and more than 12,500 rounds of ammunition to co-conspirators to be smuggled out of the U.S. and into Mexico.
In February 2011, authorities said Chavarin attempted to personally smuggle 8,700 rounds of ammunition into Mexico, but was arrested at the Port of Entry in Douglas, Arizona.
Subsequent investigation revealed that shortly before his arrest, Chavarin had ordered 16 AK-47 style rifles and 10,000 rounds of ammunition, which he also intended to smuggle into Mexico.
While under indictment for seven weapons trafficking offenses, Chavarin fled to Mexico.
He remained a fugitive for nine years until his arrest in 2020.
HONOLULU (AP) — The Honolulu Medical Examiner's office on Monday identified the U.S. Navy sailor who shot and killed himself at a luxury resort after a standoff with police over the weekend.
Russell Cruz, 40, of Kailua, Hawaii, died of a gunshot wound to the head, the medical examiner's office said. The Navy was still notifying relatives Monday and hadn't released his identity, said Cmdr. Cindy Fields, a spokesperson for the U.S. Pacific Fleet submarine force.
She said in a statement Sunday: “We can confirm that a Sailor assigned to the Pacific Submarine Force is deceased. We are deeply saddened by the loss of a shipmate. Our thoughts and condolences go out to the Sailor’s family and friends.”
Tommy Aiu, a former federal law enforcement officer, had a 5:45 p.m. Saturday reservation for Kahala Hotel & Resort's seafood buffet when police on the beach side of the property started clearing people from the pool and other areas.
Police ushered people into a ballroom, where resort workers provided blankets and food including prime rib and sashimi to about 100 people, Aiu said. “They lived up to their five-star rating,” he said. “They took very good care of us.”
Police told him there was a possible suicidal person in a room on the fourth-floor that they had brought in a negotiator. A family member also tried to help, Aiu said.
Honolulu police spokeswoman Sarah Yoro didn't release additional details Monday, only saying police gave an initial statement at the scene.
A SWAT team entered the fourth-floor room at 3:30 a.m. Sunday and found the man dead, local television stations and a newspaper reported, citing unnamed police officials.
Shots were fired at around 6 p.m., Saturday according to police. Hotel security staff went up to the room where the man was located and knocked on the door. He then fired through the door multiple times, police said.
No one outside the door was hurt, Honolulu police Capt. Brian Lynch told news outlets.
Corey Funai had just parked at the hotel to meet up with friends when an officer began yelling from a balcony to get inside Saturday. Funai feared a mass shooting. “With everything in the news on the mainland, I thought it might be something like that,” he said. “But that doesn't happen in Hawaii very often.”
People were mostly calm, even when they saw SWAT teams, Funai said.
He dozed off on a sofa until hotel workers allowed people to leave 10 at a time at about midnight.
“It was so pleasant, you almost forgot someone was in trauma,” Funai said. “To find out the next morning the guy killed himself — that was so heavy.”
This version corrects Fields' title and adds her rank.
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A sheriff's deputy who lost his eye in a shootout outside the Salt Lake City area's jail has been released from the hospital, officials said Monday.
Deputy Leland Grossett underwent surgery Saturday after being shot in the eye and was released from the hospital Monday afternoon, the Salt Lake County Sheriff’s Office said.
“After a devastating injury, I am so relieved that Deputy Grossett is being released from the hospital,” Sheriff Rosie Rivera said in a news release on Monday. “He has a long recovery ahead and our Office will be there to support him.”
A second deputy, Joshua Buerke, was shot in the cheek and was released from the hospital Saturday, the office said.
A man, identified as 31-year-old Joshua Michael Johnson, was carrying a weapon and opened fire on the two deputies as they approached him outside the jail around 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, according to Rivera. Johnson was killed but Rivera said Saturday she did not know if one or both deputies returned fire, or how many shots were fired.
Grossett and Buerke are partners and worked as part of security for the property, she said. At the time, she said the suspect was not known to the department and appeared to be a transient.
DOVER, Del. (AP) — Attorneys for the Boy Scouts of America told a Delaware bankruptcy judge Monday that they plan to file a new reorganization plan after gaining little support for a previous proposal that has been roundly criticized by attorneys for child sex abuse victims.
Jessica Lauria, an attorney for the BSA, told Judge Laurie Selber Silverstein that an amended plan would be filed Tuesday “unless the stars align” and the Boy Scouts reach a meaningful resolution with one or more other parties Monday night.
Lauria said the new plan is designed to continue momentum from a three-day mediation session that ended April 1 in Miami. She acknowledged, however, that differences remain among attorneys representing abuse victims, insurers and other parties.
“There are some issues that will have to be litigated in connection with the plan,” Lauria said.
The revised proposal will include a default plan, or “Plan A,” similar to what the BSA proposed in March. It calls for a global resolution of abuse claims that includes a “substantial contribution” to a victims trust fund by the BSA’s local councils in return for a release from further liability. Local sponsoring organizations of Boy Scout troops that contribute to the victims trust also would be released from further liability under the amended plan, which, like the previous plan, also would provide a framework for settlements with BSA insurers.
Unlike the previous plan, however, the new plan will include an estimation of the Boy Scouts’ abuse liabilities, something that attorneys for abuse victims have said is critical in determining whether any reorganization plan adequately compensates victims.
“We’ve heard the parties loud and clear,” Lauria said, referring to court filings by victims’ attorneys seeking an estimation proceeding in federal district court in Delaware. The BSA, which argues that the estimation process should be overseen by the bankruptcy court, plans to object to those filings by Thursday’s deadline, Lauria said.
The Boy Scouts of America, based in Irving, Texas, sought bankruptcy protection last February in an effort to halt hundreds of lawsuits and create a compensation fund for men who were molested as youngsters decades ago by scoutmasters or other leaders.
Attorneys for abuse victims made clear from the onset that they would go after campsites and other properties and assets owned by local councils to contribute to a settlement fund. The local councils, which run day-to-day operations for local troops, are not debtors in the bankruptcy and are considered by the Boy Scouts to be legally separate entities, even though they share insurance policies and are considered “related parties” in the bankruptcy case.
The bankruptcy case has been bogged down by disputes over the provision of information by local councils about their financial assets, claims by the BSA that hundreds of millions of dollars worth of its own assets are restricted and unavailable to abuse victims, and concerns by BSA insurers that attorneys for abuse victims have submitted tens of thousands of claims without ensuring their validity.
The BSA’s previous plan proposed a $300 million contribution by local councils to a victims trust, about $115 million in cash and noninsurance assets from the BSA, and the assignment of BSA and local council insurance policies. In return, the 253 local councils and thousands of sponsoring organizations would be released from further liability.
The official tort claimants committee, or TCC, which is charged with acting as a fiduciary for all abuse victims in bankruptcy, has estimated the value of the roughly 84,000 sexual abuse claims at about $103 billion, describing those estimates were “extremely conservative.”
Richard Mason, an attorney for an ad hoc committee representing local Boy Scouts councils, said Monday that if the case proceeds to finalizing financial contributions from local councils, the committee needs to be “much more involved than what we recently have been asked to be.”
Mason also said that, while the councils are willing to contribute cash, property and insurance rights to a victims trust, “the amount and other terms, in our view, need to be realistic.”
Meanwhile, in the event that “Plan A” fails to win support from abuse victims, the BSA is also proposing a “Plan B” that would not involve contributions from, or liability releases for, local councils and sponsoring organizations. Lauria said such a plan would be “suboptimal” and would complicate any insurance settlements, given that BSA and its local councils have shared policies.
She noted that the BSA-only plan is similar to what has been proposed by the tort claimants committee. The committee has called for a plan that allows BSA to emerge from bankruptcy and continue its operations while leaving liability releases for local councils and sponsoring organizations to be negotiated later by the committee or the settlement trust, “but not for the relatively paltry sum offered by the local councils.”
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Authorities have identified the three young children who were killed in a gruesome slaying in Los Angeles over the weekend. Their mother is the suspect in their deaths and in custody Monday.
The autopsies of 3-year-old Joanna Denton Carrillo, her 2-year-old brother, Terry, and 6-month-old sister, Sierra, were pending on Monday, coroner's records said. Their mother, Liliana Carrillo, was held in Kern County on Monday afternoon on carjacking-related charges as Los Angeles authorities planned to seek her extradition.
A memorial of photographs, candles, flowers and balloons grew outside the apartment complex Monday, days after the children’s grandmother returned home from work Saturday morning and found their bodies in their apartment in the San Fernando Valley neighborhood of Reseda.
A GoFundMe fundraiser for the father had garnered more than $30,000 in donations by Monday afternoon.
Police have not disclosed a motive or how the children were killed. The Los Angeles Times reported that the children’s father, Erik Denton, said he’d been in a custody battle with Carrillo after she began acting mentally unstable. He had sought custody on March 1 and petitioned the court for a mental health evaluation of Carrillo. Another hearing in the case was scheduled for Wednesday.
Denton said he tried to get local authorities to intervene, but “in L.A. they wouldn’t help. The LAPD would not get involved,” he told the newspaper.
He said Carrillo was supposed to turn over the kids to him on Sunday.
Attorneys who represent Denton and Carrillo in the family court case did not immediately respond to requests for comment Monday.
Carrillo was arrested Saturday in the Ponderosa area of Tulare County, about 200 miles (320 kilometers) north of Los Angeles, according to the LAPD. She had been held in Tulare County jail on $60,000 bail before being transferred to the custody of Kern County officials on Monday.
Authorities said police initially received reports that Carrillo was driving her car and heading north on Interstate 5 when she got in an altercation in the Bakersfield area in Kern County. She abandoned her car and carjacked another vehicle, police said.
This story has been updated to correct the spelling of the father's first name to Erik Denton, not Eric.
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A lawyer for of the two people arrested on charges of possessing a stolen Confederate monument that was taken from an Alabama cemetery said the pair had nothing to do with the theft of the artifact, calling it a misunderstanding.
The chair-shaped monument was recovered in New Orleans after it was r emoved from a cemetery in Selma, Alabama. Someone later sent an email signed “White Lies Matter” claiming responsibility, and then sent fake photos pretending the chair had been turned into a toilet.
New Orleans police said last week that Jason Warnick and Kathryn Diionno were arrested on charges of having stolen property in their possession. Authorities said they are also searching for another man in connection with the case.
“This is just a big mistake. It really is,” said attorney Michael Kennedy, who represents Warnick. “They had no role in stealing the chair. They have no ties to White Lies Matter."
The strange saga began March 20 when a representative of the United Daughters of the Confederacy reported to police that the “Jefferson Davis Memorial Chair” had gone missing from the Alabama cemetery. The chair has no direct connection to Davis, the president of the Confederacy, but it is a monument to him that sits with other Confederate monuments in a private section of the cemetery.
Someone sent an email signed “White Lies Matter” to news outlets earlier claiming responsibility and saying the chair would be returned only if the United Daughters of the Confederacy agreed to display a banner at their Virginia headquarters bearing a quote from a Black Liberation Army activist. “Jefferson Davis doesn’t need it anymore. He’s long dead," the email read. The United Daughters of the Confederacy local representative told police for the initial theft report that the chair was worth $500,000 although it was not known how the value was determined.
A later email included photos of someone wearing Confederate garb posing on a chair, that looked like the missing one, with a hole cut out. And then finally an email said the chair was fake and the real chair was being returned unscathed.
The Times-Picayune / The New Orleans Advocate reported that investigators received a tip that the monument was being held inside a storage room at a tattoo shop. Police obtained a search warrant and did not find it. But surveillance video showed a masked woman with a unique tattoo on her right forearm helping five people take the hulking monument out of the shop and load it into the back of a U-Haul van, cops said. Police said they determined Diionno has the same tattoo — of a candlestick — on her right forearm.
Michael Jackson, the district attorney in Selma, said he anticipates that Warnick and Diionno will face additional charges in the chair's theft. Kennedy said that would be a mistake because the two had nothing to do with the theft.
“If that is the way they are going, they are very off base,” Kennedy said.
A person responding from the “White Lies Matter” address last week said he, or she, couldn't disclose why the chair was taken to New Orleans but said police were told they could recover it at a certain intersection. The person wrote that those involved in the theft wanted to make a point about residual racism and used what the writer called a bit of “comedy” to garner attention.
“The chair is back now. But the racial caste system is also alive and thriving,” the person wrote.
Chandler reported from Montgomery, Alabama.
LIBERTY, Mo. (AP) — A weekend shooting at a southern Missouri convenience store killed a truck driver from California and critically injured three other people, authorities said Monday.
A suspect, Christopher Lindley, 28, of Thayer, Missouri, was arraigned Monday in Oregon County on charges of first-degree murder and armed criminal action.
The court entered a not guilty plea for him and instructed Lindley on how to apply for a public defender. A hearing was scheduled for Wednesday to review his counsel and bond, according to online court records.
A clerk at the Snappy Mart in Koshkonong, in Oregon County, called authorities about 5 a.m. Saturday to report a shooting at the store, according to a probable cause statement released Monday.
A deputy who responded found Paul Chavis suffering from a gunshot wound and lying on the ground outside the store near his truck. The deputy went inside the store and found the truck driver, Carlos Moreno, lying dead against a wall with a gunshot wound to the head, according to the document.
Melissa Rae Blaskiewicz was shot in the head while sitting at a table and Jonah Bivens was sitting on the floor with a gunshot wound to the face.
Oregon County Chief Deputy Rich Mateson said in the statement he had a medic remove Blaskiewicz and Bivens from the store. He said Bivens was unable to talk but wrote down that Lindley shot him.
The probable cause statement did not say where the victims were from and the Oregon County prosecutor's office declined to provide any information beyond the statement.
Oregon County Sheriff Eric King said Saturday that Lindley apparently knew at least one of the victims but no information about a possible motive has been released.
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Authorities: One person dead, officer wounded in shooting confrontation at a Tennessee high school.
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Official says scene has been secured at Tennessee high school where multiple people were shot.
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (AP) — A North Carolina man who survived a shooting in front of his house was shot to death two weeks later while he sat on his porch, police said.
Winston-Salem police said Demar Marquis Floyd, 27, was sitting on his porch Saturday night when the suspects drove by his house and opened fire, the Winston-Salem Journal reported Monday. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
Police said several children were inside the house but were not hurt, and added that bullets also struck two other homes, but no one else was injured.
On March 26, someone drove past Floyd’s house and opened fire, hitting him in the torso, according to police, who said Floyd couldn't provide investigators with any additional information and no witnesses could describe the vehicle.
Winston-Salem police are investigating, but so far, no arrests have been made. Police said the two shootings are connected but provided no other information about the possible connection.
A Black football player at a northwest Illinois high school is seen on video sitting down in a locker littered with banana peels after a teammate threatens to break his knees if he doesn't comply.
Moline Police Chief Darren Gault called the incident at Moline High School a “disturbing racist scene.” Detectives interviewed student athletes, coaches and staff members over the weekend and turned their findings over to prosecutors, Gault said.
The investigation centers on an 11-second video clip in which another player, whose hand can be seen but face doesn't appear, threatens the Black player to sit in the locker “or I'll break both your knees.” When the player sits down, others can be heard shouting, “Yeah!”
Gault said the investigation determined the people involved were teammates “of both different and similar races to the victim.” He also said all players involved have been identified.
“Regardless of these facts, we all agree that this is a disgusting way to treat a fellow teammate, a fellow human being and most certainly a friend,” Gault said.
According to published reports, the video was shot Thursday and authorities learned of it after it was posted on social media and widely viewed in the community Friday night. Teams around the state had their season delayed until the spring because of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the Moline team played an away game Friday night. When the players arrived back at the school shortly before midnight, detectives were there to speak to them.
The Moline-Coal Valley School District said it would conduct its own investigation of the incident to determine if there were any school code violations or violations of district polices.
“The vile behavior depicted in the video does not represent our core values and has no place in our learning community,” school district spokeswoman Candace Sountris said in a statement. “Clearly, we have work to do. Decisive action will be taken upon the conclusion of both the law enforcement and the school district’s internal investigation.”
Moline Mayor-elect Sangeetha Rayapati, who is also the school board chair, said in a statement that adults have “a responsibility to hold individuals involved in this incident accountable.”
“I speak from the heart when I say we have a responsibility to teach them a better way. It’s awful to know a child was treated that way. It’s awful to know that that child will be marked forever by the incident and the disrespect they received. And it’s awful to know other children would see this as a joke,” she said.
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — George Floyd's brother sheds tears on the stand as he is shown a picture of a young Floyd and his mother.
BROOKLYN CENTER, Minn. (AP) — Minnesota police chief says officer who fired single shot that killed a Black man intended to discharge a Taser.