12-01-2021  3:55 pm   •   PDX and SEA Weather
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NORTHWEST NEWS

Sen. Manning on the Year Ahead and the Year That Was

Prominent BIPOC Caucus member concerned with gun regulation, access to Covid-19 testing

Dozens of Oregon Workers Fired for Not Getting COVID Shot

Officials in Oregon say at least 99 state workers have been fired for failing to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

Attorney General Rosenblum Says She Won’t Run for Governor

Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum on Monday put to rest rumors and officially said she will not enter Oregon’s crowded race for governor.

Portland’s Black Population Grew in the Last Decade, but That’s Not the Whole Story

The Black population in North and Northeast Portland declined by 13.5% over the last 10 years as more than 3,000 Black residents moved away, new numbers from the 2020 census show.

NEWS BRIEFS

Oregon's Cannabis Industry Could Be More Vulnerable Than Ever

Portland is the first in the country to allocate cannabis tax revenue to relieve the industry's impacts of...

Open Enrollment Deadline Is Dec. 15 for Health Insurance Coverage Starting Jan. 1, 2022

Help applying and financial assistance is available through the Oregon Health Insurance Marketplace ...

Commissioners From Three Counties Select Lawrence-Spence to Fill Senate District 18 Vacancy

District 18 includes portions of west Portland and Tigard. ...

Congressional Black Caucus Issues a Statement on the Passing of Former Congresswoman Carrie P. Meek

Meek, the first Black person to represent Florida in Congress since the post-Civil War Reconstruction, died Sunday, Nov. 28 at her...

Vsp Global Partners With Black EyeCare Perspective to Eliminate Inequities and Increase Representation of People of Color in the Eye Care Industry

Partnership includes scholarships, leadership development, and outreach to prospective optometrists ...

COVID vaccines becoming tougher to find in some places

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Vaccines have suddenly become scarce in some parts of Oregon after months of vaccine surplus in the state and across that nation, officials said. The situation is a dramatic shift from the late spring, summer and early fall, when Oregon tossed out over...

Kentucky author and 'Merry Prankster' Ed McClanahan dies

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) — Ed McClanahan, a Kentucky author, teacher and friend of counterculture icon Ken Kesey, died Saturday at his home in Lexington, according to his wife. He was 89. McClanahan lived in Lexington with his wife Hilda, who remembered him as a “great man.” ...

No. 25 Arkansas beats Missouri, caps best season since 2011

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (AP) — Sam Pittman grinned for almost the entirety of his postgame press conference Friday night. The Arkansas coach and his team had done something no others ever had. The No. 25 Razorbacks capped their regular season with a 34-17 victory over Missouri,...

Mizzou's Drinkwitz returning to Arkansas for rivalry game

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (AP) — Just 45 miles of interstate highway separate Eli Drinkwitz from where he started and where he is now as Missouri's head football coach. Raised in the small Arkansas town of Alma, Drinkwitz will come full circle Friday when his Tigers visit No. 25...

OPINION

State is Painting Lipstick on Its One-of-a-kind, Long-term-care Law

Starting in January, the unpopular law imposes a stiff new tax of 58 cents per 0 earned for every worker in the state ...

Giving Thanks

Just by being alive we can be sure of having moments of sadness as well as happiness. When you’re active in politics, you experience both wins and losses. Sometimes it can be hard to feel grateful. ...

Acting on Climate will Require an Emphasis on Environmental Justice

Climate change affects us all, but its effects aren’t distributed equally. ...

Small Businesses Cannot Survive With Current Level of Postal Service

At The Skanner News office we received an important piece of correspondence that was postmarked June 12, 2021, and delivered to us on November 4, 2021. ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Study: WNBA again earns A-plus grades in diversity hiring

A diversity report has awarded the WNBA high grades again when it comes to racial- and gender-hiring practices. The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport (TIDES) at the University of Central Florida Wednesday issued an A-plus to the WNBA for the league’s overall, racial...

Police shooting raises questions over Black man's gun rights

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (AP) — Leaders in the Black community of Virginia Beach called Wednesday for a federal investigation into the fatal police shooting of a Black man, saying his right to carry a gun for protection was ignored during a night of violence earlier this year on the city's oceanfront....

Death of bullied Utah girl draws anger over suicides, racism

DRAPER, Utah (AP) — When her 10-year-old daughter tried spraying air freshener on herself before school one morning, Brittany Tichenor-Cox suspected something was wrong with the sweet little girl whose beaming smile had gone dormant after she started the fifth grade. She...

ENTERTAINMENT

Review: Leaving the Children of God 'sex cult'

NEW YORK (AP) — “Sex Cult Nun” by Faith Jones (William Morrow) Faith Jones’ vivid memoir “Sex Cult Nun” chronicles her 23 years in the infamous Children of God cult and her slow journey to leave. Born into the cult in 1977 in Hong Kong, Jones was cult royalty, the...

Review: Animated doc 'Flee' tells young refugee’s journey

Filmmaker Jonas Poher Rasmussen was 15 when he encountered a new face on a local train in his sleepy Danish town. It was the kind of place where immigrants couldn’t help but stand out, but Rasmussen noticed this kid’s style first. He had some and most people there didn’t. ...

Parton, Oh, Biles and teachers named 'People of the Year'

NEW YORK (AP) — People magazine has named Olympic gymnast Simone Biles, actor Sandra Oh, country icon Dolly Parton and the nation's teachers as its “2021 People of the Year.” “This year has been a transformative one, pushing us all to create something new and hopefully...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

Vaccine champions Spain, Portugal focus on the reluctant few

MADRID (AP) — Juan Esteban Mariño, a healthy 29-year-old, has been part of the rare cohort in Spain who have...

Death of bullied Utah girl draws anger over suicides, racism

DRAPER, Utah (AP) — When her 10-year-old daughter tried spraying air freshener on herself before school one...

Baldwin to ABC about shooting: 'I didn't pull the trigger'

NEW YORK (AP) — Alec Baldwin told ABC's George Stephanopoulos in an interview airing Thursday that he did not...

South Korea confirms first five cases of omicron variant

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — South Korea on Wednesday confirmed its first five cases of the new omicron coronavirus...

UK police investigating antisemitic hate crime in London

LONDON (AP) — British police said Wednesday they are investigating a video which appeared to show a group of men...

WHO nations launch steps toward deal to fight pandemics

GENEVA (AP) — The head of the World Health Organization hailing a key step by its member states on Wednesday to...

Curt Anderson AP Legal Affairs Writer



28-year-old George Zimmerman

MIAMI (AP) -- Florida is among 21 states with a "Stand Your Ground Law," which gives people wide latitude to use deadly force rather than retreat during a fight. The self-defense law helps explain why a neighborhood watch captain has not been arrested in the shooting death of an unarmed teenager.

The Florida law lets police on the scene decide whether they believe the self-defense claim. In many cases, the officers make an arrest and leave it to the courts to work out whether the deadly force is justified. In this case, however, police have said they are confident they did the right thing by not charging 28-year-old George Zimmerman.

The teenager was black. Police say Zimmerman is white; his family says he's Hispanic. The shooting's racial overtones have sparked a national outcry and debate over whether the shooting was warranted. And like in many self-defense cases, two sides of the story have emerged.

Zimmerman told police he was attacked by 17-year-old Trayvon Martin after he had given up chasing the boy and he was returning to his truck. He had a bloody nose and blood on the back of his head, according to police. Martin's family questions Zimmerman's story, and believes if their races were reversed, there is no doubt a black shooter would be jailed, even if he claimed self-defense.

"They are making it look like Zimmerman is the victim and their son is in the grave," said Benjamin Crump, attorney for Martin's parents. "It's about equal justice."

The Justice Department and FBI have opened a civil rights investigation, and the local prosecutor has convened a grand jury April 10 to determine whether to charge Zimmerman.

Based on what's publicly known about the case, Michael Siegel, a former federal prosecutor who now directs the Criminal Justice Center and Clinics at the University of Florida law school, said it appears Sanford police were too quick to decide whether Zimmerman should be charged. If the evidence is murky, he said the usual practice is to make the arrest and let the court system sort it out.

"The law has definitely shifted and given a signal to law enforcement to be more careful," he said. "But in a case where the self-defense claim is weak, you would think they would do their job."

In a statement released Wednesday, Sanford Police Chief Bill Lee insisted his officers were "prohibited from making an arrest based on the facts and circumstances they had at the time," including physical evidence that supported Zimmerman's self-defense claim.

"The Sanford Police Department has conducted a complete and fair investigation of this incident," Lee said, adding that it's now up to prosecutors to determine whether to bring charges.

Late Wednesday, commissioners in Sanford, a city of 53,000 people outside Orlando that is 57 percent white and 30 percent black, voted 3-2 to express "no confidence" in the police chief.

Under the National Rifle Association-backed Florida law passed in 2005, Florida, unlike most other states, grants immunity from prosecution or arrest to suspects who successfully invoke the "stand your ground" claim. And if a suspect is arrested and charged, a judge can throw out the case well before trial based on a self-defense claim.

That happened Wednesday in an unrelated case. A Miami judge dismissed a second-degree murder case, citing the Stand Your Ground law and ruling that 25-year-old Greyston Garcia's testimony about self-defense was credible. The Miami Herald reported that Garcia was charged after chasing down and stabbing to death a 26-year-old suspected burglar in January.

Still, it's not enough for Zimmerman or anyone involved in a confrontation to simply claim innocence based on no duty to retreat, said Fordham University law professor Nicholas Johnson.

"By the Florida law, he is not relieved of the traditional and basic requirement of showing that he fairly perceived an imminent deadly threat," Johnson said.

Crump, the Martin family attorney, said the teenager weighed about 140 pounds and was carrying a bag of Skittles and a can of ice tea he had bought at a nearby convenience store when Zimmerman began following him in his sport utility vehicle. Zimmerman, meanwhile, weighs around 200 pounds and was armed with a 9mm semiautomatic handgun, which he had a permit to legally carry.

"So the facts that have come out that I have become aware of, would tend to indicate he should not be granted immunity," Roger Weeden, an Orlando defense attorney closely following the case, said of Zimmerman.

State figures indicate that justified use of deadly force by private citizens is on the upswing.

Florida Department of Law Enforcement statistics show that before the law was enacted in 2005, there were about 13 justified killings each year by citizens from 2000 to 2005. Between 2006 and 2010, the average has risen to 36 justified killings each year.

Some state lawmakers are already questioning whether the law should be revisited.

State Sen. Chris Smith, a Fort Lauderdale Democrat, said he is preparing a bill that would not allow a self-defense claim in cases where the shooter appeared to provoke the victim. That could have be a factor in the Martin case, where 911 calls and other evidence shows that Zimmerman was following the teenager in his vehicle and approached him aggressively despite specific instructions from police to back off.

"Stand your ground appears to be giving suspects better protections from arrest and prosecution than increased security measures for the citizens the law was originally intended to protect," said Smith, whose bill would also limit legal use of lethal force to places such as a person's home, car or workplace.

Lee, the police chief, said in a statement that the police dispatcher's "suggestion" to Zimmerman that he did not need to follow Martin "is not a lawful order that Mr. Zimmermann would be required to follow."

"Mr. Zimmerman's statement was that he had lost sight of Trayvon and was returning to his truck to meet the police officer when he says he was attacked by Trayvon," Lee said.

Republican Gov. Rick Scott, who was elected after the law's passage, said he's open to suggestions if the Martin case illustrates problems with it.

"If there's something wrong with the law that's in place, I think it's important we address it," Scott said Tuesday. "If what's happening is it's being abused, that's not right."

Justice for Trayvon Rally in Portland set for Saturday March 24

Follow Curt Anderson on Twitter: http://twitter.com/Miamicurt

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