BALTIMORE (AP) — Baltimore officials on Wednesday authorized their largest settlement in a case involving alleged police misconduct: a $9 million award to a man who spent 21 years in prison for a wrongful murder and rape conviction.
In contrast to this settlement with James Owens, the city reached a $6.4 million settlement with the family of Freddie Gray, a young man who suffered a critical spinal injury in the back of a police van in 2015, triggering major protests and the city’s worst riots in decades.
In a statement via his lawyers, Owens said a settlement could never amount to true compensation, saying “no amount of money can make up for the years” he lost in prison. His legal team said the 57-year-old man, who will receive a series of payments over years, did not wish to speak directly to reporters.
Defense lawyer Charles Curlett Jr. said the authorized settlement concludes a period of “prolonged litigation and uncertainty” for Owens, who was cleared by DNA evidence of a young woman’s 1987 rape and slaying after a state court granted his request for post-conviction testing. He was freed in 2008.
“We are gratified to have reached an agreement in an amount that is appropriate given the facts of this case,” Curlett said in a phone interview.
In a statement to the five-member Board of Estimates, the city’s law office recommended approval of the settlement even though the Baltimore police force and the detectives who were sued “dispute virtually all of the material facts alleged by Mr. Owens.”
The messy case involved three members of Baltimore’s 1980s-era squad of detectives who were the basis of the TV crime drama “Homicide: Life on the Street,” a 1990s series based on a book by a former Baltimore Sun reporter.
Owen had filed a lawsuit against the city that was set to go to court in the coming weeks. In making its recommendation to settle, the law office cited the unpredictability of a jury trial and the “current legal environment surrounding the Baltimore City Police Department.”
Baltimore recently concluded its first year under a federal oversight program requiring expansive police reforms. The police force also made headlines earlier this year due to an explosive racketeering trial involving a corrupt unit of detectives.
The 1987 case was focused on the robbery, rape and killing of 24-year-old Colleen Williar, a college student and phone company employee. Police found no physical evidence linking Owens to the crime, but charged him on the basis of allegations made by one of Williar’s neighbors.
Joe Biden “The Lemon Lot”!
Is the deeply flawed and dementia impaired Joe Biden the best the Democrats have to offer?
The Democratic establishment has wholeheartedly gotten behind the former vice president of the United States Joseph Robinette Biden, as the Democratic nominee for President of The United States in 2020. Did they give it a test drive, kick the tires, check the engine or even look up the blue book value? The answer is a resounding NO! Joe Biden was the best of a bad socialist lot. There was a plethora of manufactured cookie cutter candidates. Bernie Sanders seemed the logical choice…..but! Bernie was an Independent who caucused with the Democrats. Bernie openly and proudly professed his affinity for socialism, at least coherently. The painful truth for the Bernie Bros was the Democrat establishment would never let an Independent/ Socialist drive the party off of the electoral cliff of a 2020 national election.
The party turned to Joe Biden to save the day. The best of a bad lot. The former VP with a solid connection to the first Black President of the United States and the all important Black vote. This may be death by a thousand cuts. We already know Joe is a walking, talking, stuttering gaffe machine. His son, brother, son-in-law and others have all profited handsomely from his position and name in big time national politics. He has the Tara Reade debacle. There is the firing of the Ukraine prosecutor who was investigating the corrupt Ukrainian gas company his son Hunter was working for. His team seems to be wisely trying to let Joe out in public view only when absolutely necessary. He has more skeletons in his closet than a thriller video! They say when life gives you lemons, make lemonade. Cheers to the left.
By Michael Ameer
FISA Warrant For Carter Page Exposes Weak Basis
The Saturday release of the FBI’s heavily redacted FISA warrant application for Carter Page reveals that the Obama administration, eager to make a case to spy on a US citizen (and arguably the Trump campaign) cobbled together a combination of facts and innuendo from Page’s business dealings in Russia, several press reports of varying reliability, and of course, the infamous Clinton-funded “Steele Dossier,” which the FBI went to great lengths to justify despite being largely unable to verify its claims.
Perhaps the most concerning takeaway, however, is the stark disconnect between the FBI’s multiple allegations against Page versus the fact that he hasn’t been charged with a single crime after nearly two years of DOJ/FBI investigations.
Once issued, the FISA warrant and its subsequent renewals allowed the Obama administration to better spy on the Trump campaign using a wide investigatory net. As such, the October, 2016 application painted Page in the most criminal light possible, as intended, in order to convince the FISA judge to grant the warrant. It flat out accuses Page of being a Russian spy who was recruited by the Kremlin, which sought to “undermine and influence the outcome of the 2016 U.S. presidential election in violation of U.S. criminal law,” the application reads.
In order to reinforce their argument, the FBI presented various claims from the dossier as facts, such as “The FBI learned that Page met with at least two Russian officials” – when in fact that was simply another unverified claim from the dossier.
‘Pirate Attacks’ More Common In Caribbean
Modern-day pirate attacks in the Caribbean and Latin America are out of control, according to a Wednesday report which found a 163% spike in pirate activity that led to the loss of $948,690 in stolen goods. The report, produced by nonprofit group Oceans Beyond Piracy, found that 59% of the attacks involved robberies on yachts.
“We have observed a significant increase in violent incidents and anchorage crime, particularly in the anchorages of Venezuela and the recent violent incidents off Suriname in the first part of this year,” says Maise Pigeon, the report’s lead author. “Pirate activity in 2017 clearly demonstrates that pirate groups retain their ability to organize and implement attacks against ships transiting the region.”
Pirates have hit waters off the coast of Suriname hard.
In April, at least a dozen fishermen from Guyana went missing or were feared dead following a pirate attack in the area.
Guyana President David Granger called the attack a “massacre.”
And a fishing boat captain was shot dead after his ship was attacked in May. The rest of his crew survived.
The buccaneers also attacked anchorages in Venezuela, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Colombia and St. Lucia. -Marketwatch