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Feds agree to pay ex-Richmond cop accused of corruption, turn over records

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SAN FRANCISCO — The U.S. Department of Justice has agreed to pay roughly $6,500 in legal fees and provide FBI files to a former Richmond police sergeant who was fired and criminally investigated after several drug dealers accused him of accepting bribes.

The settlement, filed in court records this week, ends the 2019 lawsuit by ex-Richmond police Sgt. Mike Wang, who sought more than 5,000 pages related to the FBI investigation against him. Wang was fired in 2015 for “multiple policy violations,” but the police department has yet to specify why or provide documents about his firing, citing Wang’s appeal to get his job back that’s now in its sixth year.

As part of the agreement, the Department of Justice will pay $6,513.95 for Wang’s legal representation by the law firm of Rains, Lucia, Stern, St. Phalle, and Silver, court records show.

Wang was a veteran officer and investigator who worked alongside the Drug Enforcement Administration in the early 2000s. In 2012, Sergio Vega-Robles, a Richmond-area gang member who trafficked cocaine and methamphetamine with the Sinaloa Cartel, accused Wang of accepting tens of thousands in bribes. Vega-Robles made the accusations after agreeing to testify in a murder trial in exchange for a favorable plea deal to settle two murder conspiracy counts against him.

Vega-Robles’ accusations were later backed up by his former cellmate, as well as a well-known Richmond onetime cocaine kingpin named Anthony “Peanut” Hollingsworth, who testified Wang “had me selling cocaine” and gave him a pass to sell drugs in Richmond. Federal and state authorities investigated Wang for possible criminal wrongdoing and interviewed dozens of people, but never filed criminal charges, court records show.

In the 2013 trial for one of Vega-Robles’ co-defendants, Coby Phillips, Wang was subpoenaed to testify but invoked his Fifth Amendment right to avoid self-incrimination. When questioned by internal affairs, he explained that he was trying to aid the prosecution against Phillips and hide his affair with Vega-Robles’ babysitter, but didn’t actually have concerns about incriminating himself, records show.


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Thousands of Iraqis in Baghdad protest against corruption

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Baghdad – Scuffles broke out between protesters and security forces injuring dozens as thousands gathered Saturday in Iraq’s capital to mark three years since nationwide demonstrations erupted against endemic corruption.

The latest protests in Baghdad come as Iraq has been mired in political paralysis since elections in October last year that have failed to bring in a new president, prime minister or government.

Thousands of people, brandishing portraits of the “martyrs” killed in the wave of rallies three years ago, gathered in Baghdad’s iconic Tahrir Square, the epicentre of the protest movement, an AFP correspondent said.

“Today, it is essential to confront power,” activist Ali al-Habib said.

“All the bridges and roads are blocked because the authorities are afraid of the protesters,” he added, condemning “infighting within the political class, which completely ignores the will of the people”.

The demonstrations seek to revive the unprecedented protests of October 2019 that condemned rampant unemployment and the country’s decaying infrastructure.

Those protests raged for months before winding down under the shadow of coronavirus restrictions and a harsh crackdown that saw at least 600 demonstrators killed and tens of thousands more wounded.

The protesters on Saturday gathered at Al-Jumhuriya Bridge, where they attempted to overcome a series of barriers set up by security forces to block access to the fortified Green Zone that houses government buildings and diplomatic missions.

Protesters threw the iron barriers into the river, according to an interior ministry official who reported 18 minor injuries among riot police resulting from stones and glass bottles being thrown at them.

Police retaliated by throwing smoke grenades at the crowd to disperse them, the AFP correspondent said.

At least 28 protesters suffered from breathing difficulties as a result, according to an interior ministry official.

Rival Shiite factions in parliament have for months vied for power and the right to select a new prime minister and government.

The impasse pits the powerful cleric Moqtada Sadr against his rivals the Iran-backed Coordination Framework, which includes lawmakers from the party of his longtime foe, ex-prime minister Nuri al-Maliki.

Sadr wants snap elections and the dissolution of parliament but the Coordination Framework wants a new head of government appointed before any new polls are held.

Tensions boiled over into clashes on August 29 between the Sadrists, rival Iran-backed factions and the army in which more than 30 Sadr supporters were killed, after their leader said he was quitting politics.

On Wednesday, three unclaimed rockets were fired at Baghdad’s Green Zone, wounding seven security force personnel, as parliament held its first session in two months, Iraq’s security forces said.


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Rain delays Rahul’s Bharat Jodo Yatra on day 24; Bengaluru likely to see rains today

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Techie, friend let off in drunk driving case after Bengaluru police failed to follow procedure

A software engineer and his associate, who were accused by the Bengaluru traffic police of allegedly hitting a policeman and booked for drunken driving in the city in April 2017, were let off by the Karnataka high court as the police failed to follow the prescribed norms for registering drunken driving cases and collecting fines. The court order came on September 6.

The duo was let off after the court found that the police had collected a traffic fine for drunken driving on the spot and had not recorded the whole incident on video, which is in contravention of a 2015 circular of the police department. (File)

Techie Priyamshu Kumar and Alok Kumar, both residents of Bihar, were booked for preventing a public servant from discharging his duty and a case was registered by the Mahadevapura police in the Whitefield region of Bengaluru.

On the night of April 9, 2017, Alok Kumar, who was on a motorcycle, was stopped by the police for a breath analyser test. According to the police, the youth did not cooperate and did not want to go to the police station but instead called his friend Priyamshu Kumar, a software engineer, who allegedly slapped a policeman. (Read more)




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Corruption watchdog to look into 83 reports of possible political promotion violations – Baltic News Network

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Latvia’s Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau (KNAB) has commenced 83 examinations of possible political promotion violations, as confirmed by the bureau.

KNAB has 12 administrative violation proceedings in the works. Seven of them are related to publication of political promotion materials, two involve possible hidden promotion, another two involve use of municipal resources on political promotion, and one more involves collection of donations in breach of Law on Financing of Political Organisations (Parties).

On Saturday, 14th Saeima elections, no political promotion is allowed in Latvia. Prohibition to distribute political materials came to force on Friday, 30 September.

This means no political promotion is allowed in the press, around the environment or electronic mass media.

It is also prohibited to publish paid promotion on social media and other internet websites.

KNAB suggests printed press that come out every week should pay special attention to this prohibition. If magazines and newspapers publish political advertisements, they are not allowed to be released on Election Day and the day prior.

Free political promotion on social networks is not limited across the entire pre-election political promotion period. This means the law does not prohibit publication and sharing of free content or make political views known on social networks and elsewhere on the internet on Election Day and the day prior.

Also read: 14th Saeima elections: 23.26% of Latvian citizens have voted so far

Political promotion materials are varied – advertisements, interviews, entries on social networks, etc. If residents find disallowed political promotion on days when no political promotion is permitted, they should report it to State Police or KNAB.


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