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AP News Summary at 9:46 a.m. EDT | National News



Raised with trauma, Sandy Hook survivors send hope to Uvalde

NEWTOWN, Conn. (AP) — The survivors who were able to walk out of Sandy Hook Elementary school nearly a decade ago want to share a message of hope with the children of Uvalde, Texas: You will learn how to live with your trauma, pain and grief. And it will get better. They know it will be hard to say they are from Uvalde. That well-meaning adults will sometimes make the wrong decisions to protect you. That grief can be unpredictable, and different for everyone. Now on the cusp of adulthood, some survivors of the Sandy Hook shooting spoke with The Associated Press about how they grew up with trauma and share the advice they have for students in Uvalde, Texas.

Elected officials, police chiefs on leaked Oath Keepers list

A new report says that the names of hundreds of U.S. law enforcement officers, elected officials and military members appear on the leaked membership rolls of a far-right extremist group that’s accused of playing a key role in the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the U.S. Capitol. The Anti-Defamation League Center on Extremism pored over more than 38,000 names on leaked Oath Keepers membership lists to find more than 370 people it believes are currently working in law enforcement agencies. Several people told The Associated Press they were briefly members years ago and are no longer affiliated with the group.

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Shelling resumes near Ukraine nuclear plant, despite risks

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — A Ukrainian official says Russia has resumed shelling in the area of Ukraine’s huge nuclear power plant. The attack Wednesday comes a day after the U.N. atomic watchdog agency pressed for the warring sides to carve out a safe zone there to protect against a possible catastrophe. A Ukrainian regional governor said a city on the opposite bank of the Dnieper River from Europe’s largest nuclear power plant was fired on with rockets and heavy artillery. The report couldn’t be independently verified. The fighting near the plant has caused international alarm amid fears of a nuclear catastrophe.

Steve Bannon expects to face new criminal charge in NY

NEW YORK (AP) — Steve Bannon, a longtime ally of former President Donald Trump, said Tuesday that he expects to be charged soon in a state criminal case in New York. Bannon, 68, plans to turn himself in on Thursday, according to a person familiar with the matter. The person insisted on anonymity to discuss an ongoing investigation. The Washington Post, citing anonymous sources, reported that Bannon will face charges that he duped donors who gave money to fund a wall on the U.S. southern border — allegations that also resulted in federal charges against Bannon until Trump pardoned him. The Manhattan district attorney’s office declined comment late Tuesday.

Putin and Xi to meet in Uzbekistan next week, official says

A Russian official says Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping plan to meet next week in Uzbekistan. The meeting could signal another step in warming ties between two powers that are increasingly facing off against the West. The meeting at the Shanghai Cooperation Organization comes at delicate times for both leaders. Putin is dealing with the economic and political fallout of his war in Ukraine that has left Russia more isolated. Xi is also facing a slowing economy as he seeks a third five-year term as Communist Party leader. While he’s expected to secure it, that would represent a break with precedent. Both have seen their countries’ relations with the West deteriorate.

Suspect in deadly Canada stabbings has long criminal record

JAMES SMITH CREE NATION, Saskatchewan (AP) — As a Canadian Indigenous community comes to grips with a deadly stabbing rampage by two of its own, many blame rampant drug and alcohol use on the reserve. Parole documents show that still-fugitive suspect Myles Sanderson has 59 criminal convictions and had acknowledged that drug and alcohol use made him out of his mind. Many of his past crimes happened when he was in a state of intoxication. He had been sought for a parole violation since May, and it’s not clear why he had not been apprehended. The other suspect is his brother Damien, who was found dead on Monday.

Abortion floor debate splits South Carolina Republicans

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — The South Carolina Senate has scheduled a lengthy floor debate on an abortion ban that no longer includes exceptions for pregnancies’ caused by rape and incest. Wednesday’s debate is likely to feature Republicans facing off against each other. On one side are absolutists who say any abortion ends a life. On the other are conservatives who have been watching developments in other states since Roe v. Wade was overturned. They don’t want to force 14-year-old rape victims to give birth, or have mothers risk death by carrying fetuses that can’t survive outside the womb. Democrats say they won’t help Republicans change an awful bill into a very bad bill.

Tuchel fired by Chelsea in ruthless call by US ownership

Thomas Tuchel has been fired by Chelsea only one month into the season. The decision by Chelsea’s new American ownership comes a day after the team lost to Dinamo Zagreb 1-0 in its first group match of the Champions League. Chelsea has lost two of its first six games in the Premier League. Chelsea was the highest-spending team in Europe during the transfer window with an outlay of nearly $300 million. Tuchel was in charge for a year and a half. He won the Champions League in his first season.

Fat Leonard’s escape as stunning as his Navy bribery case

SAN DIEGO (AP) — The escape of the Malaysian defense contractor at the center of one of the Navy’s biggest corruption scandals is as stunning and brazen as the case itself. U-Haul trucks were seen at his home in a tony San Diego neighborhood before Leonard Glenn Francis, known as “Fat Leonard,” snipped off his ankle monitor and disappeared. Nearly a dozen US federal, state and local agencies were searching for Francis on Tuesday. But officials acknowledged he may already be in Mexico with the border only a 40-minute drive from the home he escaped.

Lainey Wilson leads CMA Awards nominations in her 1st year

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Louisiana-native Lainey Wilson is having a breakout year as she tops the Country Music Association nominations in her first year as a nominee, earning nods in six categories. Wilson earned critical success with her song “Things a Man Oughta Know,” leading her to nominations in album of the year, female vocalist and song of the year. Wilson is only the fourth artist in the history of the CMAs to earn six nominations in her first year. Other leading nominees include Ashley McBryde, Carly Pearce, Chris Stapleton and writer-producer Shane McAnally. The CMA Awards, hosted by Luke Bryan and Peyton Manning, will air Nov. 9 on ABC.

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Boston Police Turn Blind Eye to Drug Use Outside Government ‘Harm Reduction’ Facility




Violence and crime rampant outside clinic that provides free syringes, crack pipes

Police outside AHOPE harm reduction facility in Boston

• October 1, 2022 4:59 am

BOSTON—The sidewalk surrounding the city government’s so-called harm reduction facility in South Boston, which exists to make drug use safe, has devolved into a lawless safe haven for addicts who are free to inject dangerous drugs in plain sight of the city’s police force.

The city’s drug users congregate outside Access, Harm Reduction, Overdose Prevention, and Education (AHOPE), the Boston Public Health Commission’s harm reduction facility, to pick up free drug paraphernalia such as syringes and crack pipes. The Washington Free Beacon saw several users inject in front of the building, where an officer sat inside a parked police car. Remnants of pipes, syringes, and drug capsules filled the cracks in the sidewalk. Security guards at a next-door homeless shelter said police monitor the area to counter violence—which erupts daily between addicts—but otherwise overlook public drug use.

“All the time—violence,” one security guard told the Free Beacon.

So far this year, Boston police have made 29 arrests for aggravated assault on the one-mile street outside the AHOPE facility, which neighbors the Boston University Medical Campus and Boston Medical Center, according to police data. Police have also made arrests for 12 robberies, 5 auto thefts, 23 warrant arrests, and 32 “sick assists”—8 of which for “drug-related illness.” While Boston police also made 44 arrests for “drug possession/sale manufacturing/use,” it is unclear which specific charge was the cause for each arrest. Police officers declined to speak with a Free Beacon reporter on site, and the Boston Police Department did not respond to a request for comment.

The disorder outside AHOPE provides a case study in how the Biden administration’s controversial harm reduction approach to drug policy—which aims to make drug use safer for addicts rather than prevent it—can facilitate crime and dangerous drug abuse. The Department of Health and Human Services launched the nation’s first federal harm reduction program in May, doling out $30 million in grants to organizations to distribute drug paraphernalia such as syringes and “smoking kits,” which often include crack pipes. The White House claimed these funds would not go toward pipes, but several grant recipients distribute the drug supplies, according to a Free Beacon investigation.

Aside from clean pipes and syringes, harm reduction groups such as AHOPE also distribute fentanyl test strips, Narcan, and disease testing, which are intended to mitigate the health risks of drug abuse. Outside the Boston harm reduction facility, however, roughly a dozen drug users each day are rushed to the Massachusetts General Hospital for treatment after they show signs of an overdose, the security guards said.

While the area outside the facility is a de facto harbor for illicit drug use—one drug user said addicts naturally migrate there because of the free drug paraphernalia—formalized injection sites are illegal under federal law. The Biden administration is preparing to declare such injection sites legal, the New York Times reported in July, which would allow people to use drugs with oversight from medical professionals to help prevent overdose deaths. The Trump administration struck down an attempt to open an injection site in Philadelphia, but that decision is set to be overturned by the Justice Department. Injection sites currently operate in New York City.

Two trash cans mark the area in front of the homeless shelter where drug use is prohibited. A woman is passed out next to the further trash can.

During one visit to the harm reduction facility, police officers cleared all drug users off the street after declining to speak to a Free Beacon reporter. One of the security guards said that he had only seen police remove everyone from the area “a couple times” since he began working there this year.

“[Police] allow them to shoot up,” he said. “But not in front of buildings.”

Police returned to remove drug users in front of the city-run harm reduction building.

“The good thing is we give them sleep and hope,” the security guard added. “The bad thing is you keep the addiction prolonged.”

The Boston Public Health Commission and Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program, which treats addicts after they overdose on public streets, did not respond to requests for comment.

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‘You can’t have cops watching cops’ — NYPD officer, ex-cop lawyer sue NYC — Queens Daily Eagle




Lee’s  complaint claims that the named defendants — NYPD brass, including former Commissioner Bill Bratton, and several allegedly crooked cops — “have engaged in retaliatory action, consisting of a persistent campaign to harass, defame, threaten, intimidate, extort, and endanger [Lee’s] life.” The NYPD has denied him “hundreds and hundreds” of hours of overtime and fair compensation for his undercover workload, when he would clock out at the station house so as not to tip off his colleagues, he said.

Meanwhile, Internal Affairs has swept his allegations under the rug in order to protect high-ranking and well connected cops — a routine exercise in the NYPD, Lee and Murray said.

“It’s everyone. This is job-wide,” Lee said. “You have a good cops who are there trying to do a good job. Trying to do their work, then you have other people who have other agendas saying, ‘No, don’t do that.”

Lee said the notion that the NYPD can police itself is the root of the problem.

“Let’s say the feds come in and say, ‘Hey, we want to investigate the Latin Kings and the Latin Kings say, ‘OK. We’ll investigate ourselves and we’ll let you know what’s going on.’”

Murray said the NYPD is desperate to protect top officials.

“They will crush the low-level cops,” Murray said. “It’s the bosses protecting the bosses, because they’re looking out for each other.”

A spokesperson for the New York City Law Department declined to comment on the lawsuit.

“We don’t try cases in the press,” the spokesperson said. “We’ll respond to the complaint in due course.”

The NYPD declined to comment on pending litigation and referred questions to the city Law Department.

A nightmarish ‘dream job’

The 109th Precinct in Flushing was a “dream job” for Lee, who is Chinese-American and speaks Mandarin.

“I finally got to help my people, to help my own community,” he said, recalling an instance when a Chinese woman who didn’t speak English came into the station house and described a sex trafficking operation. Since he understands Mandarin, he was able to translate for her and led cops to the home of a man who allegedly kidnapped the woman and forced to perform sex work at night.

Nevertheless, the 109th was marred by controlling cliques and low morale, he said.

Things should have changed for the better when the NYPD brought in a “straight cop,” Capt. Thomas Conforti, to take over the precinct. But several of the cops bristled at Conforti’s arrival.

Officers were allegedly paid off in a scheme to protect a number of Flushing karaoke bars that contracted with an ex-cop’s security firm. They didn’t like the change in command, Lee said.

The bars doubled as drug dens and brothels connected with organized crime figures from the local Chinese community, he said.

When one fellow cop told Lee about a plan to get one of the sex workers, known as a “PR girl” to “get rid of” Conforti by accusing him of rape, Lee decided to alert Conforti. A few days later, Internal Affairs asked Lee to record the cops discussing the “rape frame-up” plan, the suit claims.

Lee said he had no choice but to accept the role. He quickly realized that he had just scratched the surface of the corruption.

The cop who proposed the frame-up job was involved in the wider scheme to enable drug-dealing and sex work in the karaokes, Lee said.

“Something fishy’s going on. You sure you want to do this? Because it seems like you’re opening a whole can of worms,” Lee said he told his Internal Affairs handlers. They encouraged him to continue working undercover and recording what happened at the karaoke bar.

“During this time, [Lee] learned of a far greater scheme of corruption, involving a huge network of police-protected karaoke bars, in exchange for free alcohol and free prostitutes,” the suit states. “In addition to free alcohol and free prostitutes, [Lee] learned that high-ranking police personnel were also receiving large regular stipends, of thousands of dollars per month.”

On one occasion, Lee and other officers arrived at a bar to conduct a routine inspection — one that the bar owner was already alerted to by other officers. “I’m supposed to find nothing,” Lee said.

This time, though, Lee and two other officers found a handful of people sniffing cocaine in one of the private rooms, he said. They moved to arrest the suspects who were in possession of a large quantity of drugs, but Lee’s Internal Affairs handlers told him to tell the other two cops to let the suspects go. Arresting them could have jeopardized the investigation, he said the handlers told him.

After 18 months of taping and documenting illegal operations and the officer-backed protection scheme, the NYPD refused to pursue charges against any of the people involved, however, Lee said.

Instead, he said, they used the two low-level cops who released the drug dealers as “sacrificial lambs,” forcing them out of the department.

Lee persisted and tried to rally Internal Affairs to pursue additional charges, but they declined. Soon, he said, he began to experience a pattern of harassment by supervisors and administrators.

Flashbacks for Murray

Lee’s experience hit home for Murray, a former cop in the 115th Precinct.

Murray first got on the brass’ bad side after a confrontation with another cop who had allegedly roughed up his friend. The rival cop shoved Murray and Murray threw a punch broke that the man’s jaw, he said. Murray beat the departmental charges against him but said he became persona non grata.

“I took the side of the perp [his friend] and the department hung me out to dry,” he said.

The ill will intensified when Murray questioned a new policy that replaced experienced, trained officers on the DWI Unit with rookie cops because of overtime concerns.

“They figured they were going to take all these rookies, put them on the midnight shifts and assign them arrests for DWI, and do it on straight time,” he said. “But they gave them barely any training and they’re telling them to stick their head in the cars and take a whiff.

“They were just looking for numbers and the rookies are pups. They’ll do what they’re told,” he continued.

Murray said some directives endangered cops and others, like going after drivers who seemed to deliberately avoid checkpoints, violated the law.

‘The commanding officer of the unit got very upset with me because I kept trying to fight back,” he said. “It’s so hard for the rookies to stand up for themselves and so I locked horns with him.”

The commanding officer sent Murray back to the 115th, where he saw a colleague get suspended by the Civilian Complaint Review Board over what he considered a bogus charge. He wrote a letter to the police commissioner.

“So now I get known as a letter-writer,” he said. “The new [Commanding Officer] comes in, calls me into his office and says, ‘I got the story on you. You’re not allowed to write any letters unless you come to me first.’”

Eventually, Murray retired from the force and pursued his law degree.

Lee said he has no such plans just yet.

“If I quit now, I’d be throwing away 14 years of my life. I wouldn’t get a pension,” he said. “I’d be letting them win … This has to stop.”

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Warnock Fundraises With Tom Steyer After Voting for Legislation That Poured Billions Into Green Energy




Events come amid global surge in energy prices as Democrats vilify fossil fuels

• September 30, 2022 4:30 pm

Sen. Raphael Warnock (D., Ga.) raked in cash from wealthy green energy moguls at a series of San Francisco fundraisers last weekend, a month after voting to pass legislation that steered billions to climate initiatives and the green energy industry.

During his West Coast fundraising swing, the senator partied with billionaire investor Tom Steyer, biofuels CEO Wade Randlett, and “Defund the Police” advocate Meena Harris, the niece of Vice President Kamala Harris, according to photos. Steyer cohosted an event for Warnock in San Francisco on Saturday, along with NextGen America board member Andrea Evans, according to an invitation for the fundraiser. Randlett cohosted an event for Warnock on Friday.

The parties came weeks after Warnock voted for the Biden administration’s budget reconciliation bill—officially dubbed the Inflation Reduction Act—and highlight the cozy relationship between Democratic political leaders and the lucrative green tech industry. The legislation poured billions into green energy initiatives and is expected to benefit industries in which Steyer is an investor, according to analysts. The fundraisers also come amid a global surge in energy prices, with many Americans struggling to pay utility bills, and as Democratic lawmakers continue to vilify the fossil fuel industry.

Steyer, a Democratic donor who ran a short-lived campaign for president in 2020, launched a “climate investment fund” called Galvanize in 2021 with a goal of investing “billions” into decarbonization companies. The fund’s reported investments include Regrow Ag, a startup that “aims to help accelerate the shift to climate-friendly farming” and Arable, which seeks to “create a more sustainable food supply.”

Both Regrow Ag and Arable were named as companies that are likely to benefit from a $20 billion earmark in the federal spending bill, according to an analysis published by the clean energy investment firm G2 Venture Partners on Aug. 17, the day after the bill was signed by President Joe Biden.

The bill “has earmarked $20B to (1) target methane and nitrous oxide emission reduction (e.g. Arable, Trace Genomics), (2) improve soil carbon and nitrogen content (e.g. Pivot Bio), and (3) avoiding / sequestering GHG emission (e.g. ProducePay, Regrow, Cloud Agronomics),” wrote G2 Venture Partners.

Steyer praised the passage of the bill as the “culmination of a decade of advocacy and persistence.” Earlier this month, he attended a party at the White House celebrating the legislation.

The Friday fundraiser was cosponsored by Randlett, a biofuels mogul and CEO of the transportation fuels division at General Biofuels. The spending bill extended the biodiesel tax credit and was praised by leaders in the biofuels industry.

“This bill represents the most significant federal commitment to low-carbon biofuels since the Renewable Fuel Standard was expanded by Congress in 2007,” said Renewable Fuels Association president Geoff Cooper in a statement applauding the bill.

Andrea Evans, a board member at Steyer’s nonprofit group NextGen, also cohosted the Saturday Warnock fundraising event.

The Inflation Reduction Act has faced some criticism, with Republicans arguing that it will raise taxes while steering federal funds to Democratic constituencies. Warnock praised the bill, saying it will “help lower costs for families in every corner of our state—all without raising taxes for hardworking Georgia families. That’s a win-win.”

Photos from Warnock’s California fundraising trip also show him posing with his arm around Meena Harris, an Instagram lifestyle influencer and the niece of Kamala Harris. Meena Harris is a vocal advocate for the “defund the police” movement.

“Defund the police and reallocate funds to mental health and social services. This shouldn’t be controversial,” wrote Harris in one Twitter post.

She later expanded on this by adding: “To everyone in my mentions policing my language, let me clarify: Defund the police. Defund the police. Defund the police. Defund the police. Defund the police. Defund the police. Defund the police. Defund the police. Defund the police. Defund the police. Defund the police.”

The senator is the party’s top fundraiser for the midterm cycle, pulling in a whopping $17 million last quarter in his competitive faceoff against Republican challenger Herschel Walker.

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