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Former California police chief seeks to defend himself in Jan 6 riot case

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WASHINGTON, Oct 14 (Reuters) – A former California police chief linked to a right-wing militia who faces felony charges related to the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol riot on Thursday asked a federal judge hearing his case to allow him to represent himself.

U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth, hearing the request from Alan Hostetter, 56, former police chief in La Habra, CA, said he believed that if defendants represent themselves, “they have a fool for a client.”

But the judge said he was “not going to deny” Hostetter the right to represent himself. Lamberth indicated he would grant the motion via written order after receiving an affidavit from Hostetter.

Hostetter told the judge he wanted to expose what he described as “the corruption of this investigation” by the FBI into the Jan. 6 riot. He noted that conservative website “Revolver News” had alleged that FBI informants were embedded in militia groups alleged to have been involved in organizing the riot.

Hostetter is one of six California men associated with the Three Percenters militia charged in June with conspiracy related to the Capitol violence that left five dead.

Founded in 2008, the loosely organized Three Percenters take their name from the idea that only 3% of American colonists took up arms against the British in the 18th century American Revolution.

More than 650 people have been charged with taking part in the attack, an unsuccessful attempt to stop Congress from certifying Democratic President Joe Biden’s election victory, which Trump falsely claimed was the result of widespread fraud.

Prosecutors alleged in an indictment that Hostetter founded a group in 2020 called the American Phoenix Project that protested restrictions on public gatherings imposed as a public health measure during the COVID-19 pandemic.

That group became a platform to advocate violence against government leaders, the indictment alleges.

Reporting by Mark Hosenball; Editing by Nick Macfie

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.


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Harley Quinn #16 review | Batman News

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You know, I enjoyed the first issue of G. Willow Wilson’s Poison Ivy so much as a great return to Poison Ivy’s roots (no pun intended). It really disappoints me going from that to the current Harley Quinn run where the character is so poorly written and so far away from her origins that she’s unrecognizable. The last issue of Harley Quinn, I said, was the worst issue I had read so far in the entire run. However, I’ve sort of had my eye on Harley Quinn #16 for a while, since Stephanie Phillips proclaimed it to be the “most favorite issue she’s written yet.” That’s gotta mean something, right?

Well, it’s interesting, because Harley Quinn #16 barely focuses on Harley at all, and it is dedicated to Verdict (A.K.A Sam) explaining Verdict’s backstory.

So we’re meant to believe, based on the beginnings of this issue, that Verdict isn’t all bad despite her actions. She’s revealed to be an ex-cop who was once tasked with transporting Harley to Arkham Asylum after Harley was found to be too annoying in prison (I’m not joking, more on that later). Apparently, Joker pays off some of the other police officers to free Harley, and her violent escape causes Sam to be injured and her partner to be killed.

I don’t have a problem with Sam’s writing during this sequence. After struggling to complete the last issue, I was actually invested in this one, curious as to what would be revealed. But, unfortunately, Harley’s writing is still really terrible. First of all, I can’t believe how far down Harley’s dialogue keeps falling. I complained about it just being nonsensical, unfunny, random chatter in the last issue, and that continues here. We’re meant to believe that Harley was just SO annoying (that she wouldn’t stop singing and talking) that it caused the higher-ups to want her transferred to an insane asylum. I thought that there was going to be some sort of narrative purpose for this, like Harley would be revealed to be acting like this all on purpose to orchestrate a crazy escape, and show she’s smarter than people estimate her to be, but no. She really doesn’t have a thought in her head during any of this, and Joker is the one who pays off the cops to let her escape.

I’d like to point out also that I really don’t like the way Rossmo draws Harley in the Jester suit. It looks weird with Harley’s domino mask seeming to be like a rim around Harley’s eyes. The jester suit should never look ugly like that. 

On a side note, I don’t have a problem with Joker being the one to give Harley an escape. I think that their relationship works best when writers allow for it to have nuance rather than just be a one note “Joker just doesn’t give a thought to Harley, ever.” The problem though, is that that’s exactly how their relationship was made out to be in the last issue. How can you have one comic where Harley claims her relationship with Joker was just abuse and neglect 24/7 and then have the following comic claim Joker would go through the trouble of buying out corrupt police officers to set her free? The problem isn’t just the writing in this comic, it’s just the inconsistency of the story as a whole.

Anyway, there’s actually not a whole lot to talk about for the rest of the story. Sam/Verdict explains that she was spurred to go on her killing spree after discovering the corruption in the GCPD. She murdered a corrupt cop and went on to kill anyone she thought deserved it. She rails against the Gotham City system as so many others have done for decades with how it is for releasing the criminals of Arkham, and allowing someone like Harley Quinn to run amuck calling herself a hero.

On the one hand, Sam kind of has a point. We get to see Harley, or Stephanie Phillips depiction of Harley, back in her days of villainy in this story, and she’s not a whole lot different than she is in current day. She was and is still a looney toon who did things for fun and completely lacked self awareness and consideration of the people she was hurting. The only difference is Harley seems to have some understanding that she should be trying to be good now, but it’s in the sort of shallow way where she’s trying to be good because the adults told her she should be, but still doesn’t really have much connection to reality or the real gravity of her wrong doing.

But Sam, on the other hand, really isn’t a character I can root for either. She doesn’t come across as evil, but she’s too much of a murderer for me to be on her side. So the result is I’m a bit apathetic over this whole situation. This comic isn’t terrible. It kept me invested enough to see the background of the story filled out and bring the arc up to its final issue. But it’s sort of a merry-go-round of everything we’ve seen so far. Harley tries to be a hero. Someone doubts Harley or gets Harley to doubt herself. Harley proves them wrong and continues being a hero. On and on.

I know I’ve kind of ripped apart this issue, but I was more engaged with it than the last chapter, at least. However, I’ve got to be honest about poor execution if I see it. There’s not a whole lot I think a person would get out of this run at this point, that they wouldn’t have already gotten from the first 4 issues of the series.

I realize I haven’t talked much about the artwork at all in this issue. That’s because I feel I’ve exhausted everything that could be be said about Rossmo’s art in relation to Harley in previous reviews. Some of the early pages in the book look like quickly drawn adult cartoons where the characters don’t have joints on their knees and their legs kind of bend in an arc. It reminds me of adult comic strips where things are made to look lazy and ugly on purpose. If you want to read more of my thoughts on why Riley Rossmo is a terrible fit for a Harley comic, check out my review for the first 12 issues here. The good news is, issue #17 is Rossmo’s last issue in this book (woo hoo!) I hope he finds a more suitable book for his artwork somewhere (Plastic Man, perhaps?).

Recommended if…

  • For whatever reason, you HAVE connected with Stephanie Phillips version of Harley.
  • You’re reading this story for Kevin, and he’s still the most likable character in this run.
  • You’ve been reading this comic and want to get answers for the Verdict storyline.
  • Riley Rossmo’s art is your style, and this is his second to last issue.

Overall

I didn’t hate this issue like I did the last one, but a lot of problems still persist in this book, and in the general writing of Harley Quinn at DC Comics. I swear, I’m not saying any of this to attack Stephanie Phillips. I also swear I’m not some Harley Quinn hater who secretly posed as a fan to get this review gig. I just have to call it as I see it, and if you’re looking for a quality book to follow, I’m afraid this isn’t the one right now.

Score: 4.5/10


Disclaimer: DC Comics provided Batman News a free copy of this comic for the purpose of this review.



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Navalny appeal rejected; another Kremlin critic jailed

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Updated 1 hour, 26 minutes ago

MOSCOW (AP) — A Russian court has rejected an appeal by imprisoned opposition leader Alexei Navalny, who contended that prison authorities illegally prevented his lawyers from bringing necessary equipment including voice recorders and laptop computers to a court session held in a prison.

Navalny testified at the Tuesday session by video, the first time he has been seen since being moved to a maximum-security prison. A lower court had previously rejected his complaint about the recording devices ban.

Close associates of Navalny have faced criminal charges and many have left Russia. Authorities shut down his group’s political infrastructure — an anti-corruption foundation and a nationwide network of offices — by labeling it extremist.

On Tuesday, prominent opposition politician Ilya Yashin was sentenced to 15 days in jail on charges of failing to obey police. He was detained late Monday while walking in a park, and police said he had grabbed one officer by the uniform and vulgarly insulted them.

However, Yashin claimed that police approached him while he was sitting on a bench with a friend and demanded he go with them without explanation.

“I am not crazy, to get in a fight with three policemen,” he said on the Telegram messaging app.

Yashin has criticized Russia’s military actions in Ukraine and in May was ordered to pay 90,000 rubles ($1700) on charges of discrediting the Russian military.

He faces 15 days in jail if convicted of disobeying police.

Navalny was arrested in January 2021 upon returning from Germany, where he had been recuperating from nerve-agent poisoning he blamed on the Kremlin. He received a 2½-year sentence for allegedly violating the conditions of his parole while outside Russia.

In March, Navalny was sentenced to nine years in prison on charges of fraud and contempt of court, allegations he rejected as a politically motivated attempt by Russian authorities to keep him behind bars for as long as possible.




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Who looks after what? 11 law enforcement units in charge of Padma Bridge

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A day after Padma Bridge was opened, two young men died in a motorcycle accident on the bridge on Sunday (June 26, 2022).

In addition to being branded as one of the many “firsts” in regards to the long-cherished Padma Bridge, the accident brought with it a baffling challenge – which law enforcement unit will be investigating this?

Turns out there are as many are 11 law enforcement units in charge of the 6.15km long Padma Bridge.

Starting from the structure’s concrete, the water below it, the land below the water, the roads and highways on either side, the rail line running across, to the activities surrounding the mega structure – Padma Bridge has been carved up like a fish into several jurisdictions.

After Sunday’s accident, The Daily Star called the newly-opened Padma Bridge (North) police station. When the police station was unreachable, the reporter contacted Munshiganj police.

Additional superintendent of police in Munshiganj, Sumon Deb, told The Daily Star that they learnt the accident happened between the 26th and 27th pillars, and therefore the accident does not fall within their jurisdiction. It’s supposed to be overseen by the Padma Bridge (South) police station. Deb helpfully recommended that they be contacted instead.

The newly opened Padma Bridge (South) police station falls in Shariatpur district. So, when that station too was unreachable, just like its northern counterpart, our reporter called Shariatpur police.

SM Mizanur Rahman, additional superintendent of police of Shariatpur district’s Naria circle, said that the site of the accident is such that it does not fall within the boundaries of Shariatput. It is under the jurisdiction of Madaripur district’s Shibchar police station.

He too helpfully suggested that Madaripur police be contacted.

And so, Madaripur’s Shibchar highway police station’s officer-in-charge Gazi Md Sakhawat Hossain was contacted. He was quick to point out that since the accident happened on top of the bridge and not on land, it has to be investigated by Padma Bridge (South) police station.

Pillar number 1 to 16 straddle Munshiganj district and are supposedly under the Padma Bridge (North) police station.

Pillar number 17 to 31 fall under Madaripur’s Shibchar. From pillar number 32 to 42, the land belongs to Shariatpur district. However, the span of the bridge between pillars 17 and 42 are supposed to be overseen by the Padma Bridge (South) police station, The Daily Star was told.

However, their responsibility ends at the edge of Padma Bridge – everything below the concrete is part of the river and therefore under the jurisdiction of the River Police.

As Shariatpur district’s Majhirghat River Police’s officer-in-charge confirmed, if anything happens underneath the section of the bridge between pillars 17 and 42, it is indeed their responsibility.

For them, however, the river begins at pillar number 17 – the air and water below pillars 1 to 16 need to be supervised by Munshiganj’s Mawa River Police.

This super-complex math problem does not end here. If any accident happens at the point where the Padma Bridge meets the highway, it is under the jurisdiction of the highway police. For such incidents, the case will be lodged with the district police, while the Criminal Investigation Department will investigate the crime scene.

For the Padma Bridge project, Bangladesh Army is in charge of providing all forms of technical and security support.

On the other hand, as an elite force, if Rab gets any information about crime happening there – on, over, under, or around the bridge, they will be able to conduct drives they deem necessary.

In that case, part of the responsibility falls with Rab-11. Rab-11 oversees Narayanganj, Munshiganj, Narsingdi, Lakshmipur, Noakhali, Chandpur and Dhaka district’s Nababganj and Dohar.

However, pillar number 17 onwards, they have to hand over the baton to Rab-8, which oversees Barishal, Barguna, Patuakhali, Rajbari, Pirojpur, Jhalakathi, Bhola, Faridpur, Gopalganj, Shariatpur and Madaripur.

The Padma Bridge railway is supposed to be operational between March and June next year. In that case, if there is any accident concerning the rail line, that will be overseen by the railway police.

Dhaka Railway police station’s officer-in-charge Mazharul Haque confirmed as much. He told our reporters that the rail line itself and 10 feet of space on either side of the rail line will be under the jurisdiction of railway police.

Up until the time when a new railway police station can be established, Dhaka railway police will be in charge.

Now all that are left to consider are the air and sky above Padma Bridge.




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