09-18-2020  6:56 pm   •   PDX and SEA Weather
Don't Call the Police for domestic disturbances
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4

NORTHWEST NEWS

US Judge Blocks Postal Service Changes That Slowed Mail

The Yakima, Washington judge called the changes “a politically motivated attack on the efficiency of the Postal Service” before the November election.

Black and Jewish Community Join to Revive Historic Partnership

United in Spirit Oregon brings together members of the NAACP, Jewish Federation of Greater Portland, others to serve as peacemakers 

Feds Explored Possibly Charging Portland Officials in Unrest

Federal officials were told that Portland police officers were explicitly told not to respond to the federal courthouse

Latest: Report: Downed Power Lines Sparked 13 Oregon Fires

As wildfires continue to burn in Oregon and the west, here are today's updates.

NEWS BRIEFS

Free Masks and Gloves Now Available for Small Businesses

Businesses with fewer than 50 employees that are headquartered in Oregon with principal operations in Oregon are eligible. ...

Forest Service Explains 'Containment'

US Forest Service, Riverside Fire provides a special update to explain how they achieve wildfire containment. ...

Oregon Receives Approval of Federal Disaster Declaration for Wildfires

Decision will enable federal aid to begin flowing, as unprecedented wildfires ravage state and force evacuation of thousands ...

National Black Farmers' Association President Calls for Boycott of John Deere

Year after year, John Deere has declined NBFA's invitation to display its equipment at the 116,000-member organization's annual...

City of Vancouver Welcomes New Fire Chief

Brennan Blue is replacing Vancouver Fire Chief Joe Molina, who is retiring after 28 years. ...

COVID-19 testing decrease due wildfires and poor air quality

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — The availability of coronavirus testing in Oregon decreased this week due to the massive wildfires and the hazardous air quality that stretched across the state. Despite this, officials said Friday that data continues to show a decline in the rate of COVID-19 transmission...

2-year-old accidentally run over, killed in Prineville

Prineville, Ore. (AP) — A toddler was killed Thursday when run over by a vehicle at a property in Prineville, according to the Crook County Sheriff’s Office.Sheriff’s office deputies, Crook County Fire and Rescue crew and Oregon State Police troopers responded at 5:58 p.m. and...

AP Top 25 Reality Check: When streaks end, but not really

For the first time since the end of the 2011 season, Ohio State is not ranked in the AP Top 25.The Buckeyes' streak of 132 straight poll appearances is the second-longest active streak in the country, behind Alabama's 198.Of course, in this strange season of COVID-19, Ohio State's streak was...

Potential impact transfers this season aren't limited to QBs

While most of the offseason chatter surrounding college football transfers inevitably focuses on quarterbacks, plenty of notable players at other positions also switched teams and could make major impacts for their new schools this fall.Miami may offer the clearest example of this.Quarterback...

OPINION

The Extraordinary BIPOC Coalition Support Measure 110

Coming together to change the systemic racism of the failed approach to drugs and addiction ...

One Huge Lie Crystallized

The Democrats have cast the President as a failed leader, but Trump’s supporters painted him as a success and the last line of defense against radical socialism. ...

“Losers”???!!!

I am hoping that millions of us will teach Trump what it means to be a loser on November 3rd. ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Homeland Security whistleblower not yet ready to testify

WASHINGTON (AP) — A whistleblower from the Department of Homeland Security who says he was pressured to suppress facts in intelligence reports says he won’t be able to testify before a House panel until the department gives him more access to “relevant information,”...

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dies at 87

WASHINGTON (AP) — Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a diminutive yet towering women’s rights champion who became the court’s second female justice, died Friday at her home in Washington. She was 87.Ginsburg died of complications from metastatic pancreatic cancer, the...

Princeton faces federal inquiry after acknowledging racism

The Trump administration has opened an investigation into racial bias at Princeton University, saying that the school's recent acknowledgment of racism on campus amounts to a “shocking” and “serious” admission of discrimination.In a letter to the university on Wednesday,...

ENTERTAINMENT

With picnic baskets, Christian Siriano puts on backyard show

WESTPORT, Conn. (AP) — Christian Siriano, who turned his atelier into a mask-making machine, took to his Connecticut backyard Thursday for a cozy fashion show complete with picnic baskets for his small in-person crowd, masks on the faces of his models and a dip in his pool for pregnant muse...

Emmys, live and virtual: 'What could possibly go wrong?'

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Emmy host Jimmy Kimmel and an alpaca sharing the spotlight. Winners accepting at home in designer pajamas or maybe yoga pants. More than 100 chances for a balky internet connection to bring Sunday’s ceremony to a crashing halt.Come for the awards, stay for the...

DJ Jazzy Jeff talks 'Fresh Prince' reunion, mansion rental

LOS ANGELES (AP) — DJ Jazzy Jeff knew “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” made a mark in television history after filming six seasons during the mid-'90s, but he thought the show’s popularity would eventually fizzle out at some point.So far, that hasn’t happened. The...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

US bans WeChat, TikTok from app stores, threatens shutdowns

The U.S. Commerce Department said Friday it will ban Chinese-owned TikTok and WeChat from U.S. app stores on...

Hundreds of thousands still without power in Sally cleanup

LOXLEY, Ala. (AP) — Hundreds of thousands of people were still without power Friday along the Alabama coast...

Firefighters battle exhaustion along with wildfire flames

BEAVERCREEK, Ore. (AP) — They work 50 hours at a stretch and sleep on gymnasium floors. Exploding trees...

Russian military says US flights near Crimea fuel tensions

MOSCOW (AP) — The Russian military on Friday accused the U.S. and its allies of provoking tensions in the...

Dutch bars to close early to rein in spread of coronavirus

THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — Bars and cafes in the most densely populated regions of the Netherlands will...

'This is a big moment:' UK virus restrictions escalating

LONDON (AP) — Fresh nationwide lockdown restrictions in England appear to be on the cards soon as the...

Don't Call the Police for domestic disturbances
McMenamins
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

© 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Learn more about our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.

Multnomah County Breastfeeding
Oregon Wildfires hub
Calendar

Photo Gallery

Photos and slide shows of local events

Kevin Saddler