According to the DC-area news channel ABC-7, a medical examiner has determined that Freddie Gray’s “catastrophic injury was caused when he slammed into the back of the police transport van,” noting that the actual injury suggest he hit his head on a bolt. The news station cited a source who had been “briefed on the findings of a police report.” The report says that Gray’s severed spinal cord was not caused by his initial arrest by officers, but it does not indicate what caused him to be “slammed into the back of the police transport van.” The Baltimore police officer who actually drove the van two weeks ago has not yet made a statement to investigators.
The Washington Post obtained a police investigator’s document that quoted a prisoner—who was in a separate area of the van and couldn’t see Gray—and suggested that Gray “was intentionally trying to injure himself.” However, a day later, the prisoner told WJZ Baltimore that his quotes had been misconstrued by police: “All I did was go straight to the station, but I heard a little banging like he was banging his head. They trying to make it seem like I told them that, I made it like Freddie Gray did that to himself. Why the f*** would he do that to himself?" According to The New York Times, the city’s prosecutor has “probable cause to file homicide, manslaughter and misconduct charges” against the officers involved ... Discuss
Just days after reporting that 200 girls and 93 women were rescued from a Boko Haram camp in the forest of northern Nigeria, the country’s military announced that more than 100 other hostages have been rescued from the radical Islamic group. A military spokesperson told CNN, “We are still working to verify the actual number of the rescued hostages, but I can say they include around 60 women and 100 children,” though he added, “Many of those kidnapped have undergone psychological trauma and indoctrination.” It is still not known if any of the hostages rescued in the latest operation were from the more than 200 abducted from the Chibok school that sparked the #BringBackOurGirls campaign ... Discuss
According to a report from Reuters, Supreme Court “justices appeared badly split in a case challenging Oklahoma's lethal injection method as a breach of the Constitution's ban on cruel and unusual punishment.” Arguments this week were described as “testy,” with the court’s five conservative judges appearing to side with the state, and the court’s four liberal judges seemingly siding with the trio of death row inmates who brought the case. The case itself is centered on a single drug used during the lethal injections, which the inmates say is not an effective enough sedative, and amounts to a violation of the Constitution. There have been several botched executions by prison officials in recent months, as states experiment with new drug cocktails since traditional lethal injection drugs have become harder to obtain.
Some of the conservative justices seemed to suggest that the case was really about the death penalty in principle, with Justice Samuel Alito comparing the legal strategy of attempting to ban non-painless drugs as “a guerrilla war against the death penalty.” According to the report, the opposing justices mostly focused on the drug itself, but Justice Stephen Breyer did suggest that “if there is no method of executing a person that does not cause unacceptable pain, that … might show that the death penalty is not consistent with the Eighth Amendment." A ruling is due later this summer ... Discuss
Yesterday, police arrested more than 100 people in New York during a large demonstration march, protesting the way authorities have handled the death of Freddie Gray. Gray died of mysterious injuries while in police custody. His death is currently under investigation. According to the Wall Street Journal, New York police told the demonstrators not to march in the streets. Scuffles and confrontations with police broke out as law enforcement attempted to prevent protestors from moving down certain streets. The demonstration was one of many in several cities seeking justice for Gray, whose death sparked protests, and later riots in Baltimore, where his arrest occurred ... Discuss
The Nigerian military says that in an operation this week, they were able to rescue 200 girls and 93 women from the radical Islamic group Boko Haram. The rescue took place during a military offensive against the group in which troops overtook and destroyed four camps in a forest in northwestern Nigeria. A military source revealed to reporters that many of the victims were traumatized, and that Boko Haram militants used them as human shields during the fighting.
Nigerian Army spokesman Sani Usman told CNN, "We stumbled on the girls and may find more,” but added they are "not the Chibok girls,” referring to the group of more than 200 schoolgirls kidnapped last spring that sparked the #BringBackOurGirls campaign. Though, he did say it is possible some of the Chibok girls could be among captives recently freed from operations against Boko Haram. The radical Islamic group—which recently pledged allegiance to ISIS—is known for campaigns of mass murders, village raids, terrorist bombings and mass abductions. They have also been known to force captive girls and women into marriage, to sell them to human traffickers and use them as human shields ... Discuss
A new analysis of CDC data by the Urban Group shows that twentysomething women in the U.S. are having kids at the “slowest pace of any generation of young women in U.S. history.” In 2012, there were just 948 births per 1,000 women in their twenties, a drop of more than 15 percent from 2007. There are plenty of factors that have led to the decline, including the “Great Recession.” As the Wall Street Journal points out, large economic downturns tend to lead women to put off having children. Also, “the recession reduced immigration, which lowers fertility since recent immigrants tend to have higher birth rates. More women are putting off having children until their thirties, and Hispanic and African-American women have been having fewer children for a while.” While birth rates have bounced back after other economic downturns, researchers predict that birth rates for twentysomethings will stay low, because much of the decrease was due to lower marriage rates of women in their twenties and fewer unmarried women having kids. “If these low birth rates to women in their twenties continue ... the U.S. might eventually face the type of generational imbalance that currently characterizes Japan and some European countries,” Urban wrote in the report ... Discuss