05-24-2022  4:19 am   •   PDX and SEA Weather
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NORTHWEST NEWS

Salinas, Erickson, Win Primaries in New Oregon 6th District

Salinas, who has maintained her lead as more ballots have been counted from Tuesday's primary, would be Oregon’s first Hispanic congresswoman

As Registration Opens Portland Parks Needs Staff for Summer Programs

Indoor and outdoor pools will open with jobs and free training available for swimmers

State Representative Janelle Bynum Calls for Legislative Inquiry into Clackamas County Election Debacle

Bynum says Elections Clerk Sherry Hall must answer questions and deliver a clear plan along with assurances the count will be fair

Here's How Abortion Clinics Are Preparing for Roe to Fall

In March, Oregon lawmakers approved million to pay for abortions and support services such as travel and lodging for in-state or out-of-state patients who travel long distances, and to expand abortion availability.

NEWS BRIEFS

'Twitter Philanthropy' Reveals Chasms in Social Safety Net

The California-based chip maker said Thursday the new “mega lab” will investigate ways to make data centers operate more...

Local Podcast Wins Awards at Home and Abroad

Let’s Talk About Race is a production of Grassroot News NW and KBOO Community Radio. ...

Multnomah County Planning Commission Seeks New Member

Multnomah County’s Land Use Planning Division is looking for a Multnomah County resident to serve as a volunteer member on the...

2 Pleasure Boats Catch Fire on Columbia River

Two pleasure boats caught fire on the Columbia River between Vancouver and Caterpillar Island Sunday afternoon. One boat sank,...

WA Childhood Immunization Rates Decline During Pandemic

Immunization rates have decreased by 13% in 2021 when compared to pre-pandemic level ...

Presumptive case of monkeypox reported in Seattle area

SEATTLE (AP) — A “presumptive” case of monkeypox is being investigated in the Seattle area, local health officials said Monday. Dr. Jeff Duchin, health officer at Public Health – Seattle & King County, said at a news conference Monday afternoon the case was in an adult...

US releases environmental study about new Idaho test reactor

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — U.S. officials have released an environmental study for a proposed nuclear test reactor to be built in eastern Idaho that backers say is needed to revamp the nation’s fading nuclear power industry by developing safer fuel and power plants. The U.S. Department...

OPINION

Costly Auto Repairs Driving Consumers Into a Financial Ditch

Research documents new, growing form of predatory lending ...

Can Federal Lynching Law Help Heal America?

Despite decades of senseless delays, this new law pushes America to finally acknowledge that racism often correlates to a level of violence and terror woven into the very fabric of this country. ...

The Skanner News Endorsements: May Primary 2022

Primary election day is May 17, 2022. Read The Skanner's endorsements for this important election. ...

Men’s Voices Urgently Needed to Defend Reproductive Rights

For decades, men in increasing numbers have followed women’s lead in challenging gender-based violence and promoting gender equality, so why are we stuck when it comes to abortion? ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Amidst threats, Kadri scores 3 in Avs' 6-3 win over Blues

Nazem Kadri had a powerful response to quiet all the haters. Refusing to buckle in the face of death threats, racial slurs, a booing St. Louis crowd and a few post-whistle hits, the Avalanche forward scored three times — including the game-winner — in a 6-3 victory over the Blues...

Stacey Abrams aims to recapture energy of first campaign

ATLANTA (AP) — For Stacey Abrams, everything is different this time. Unlike her first campaign for Georgia governor in 2018, she enters Tuesday's primary election as the presumptive Democratic nominee, facing no competition. She's not the relatively unknown former state...

Are police consent decrees an asset? Depends on who you ask

ST. LOUIS (AP) — The Minneapolis Police Department will face the intense scrutiny of a federal program after a state investigation spurred by the killing of George Floyd concluded that the city's officers stop and arrest Black people more than white people, use force more often on people of color...

ENTERTAINMENT

Review: 'Either/Or' is Elif Batuman’s sequel to 'The Idiot'

“Either/Or,” by Elif Batuman (Penguin Press) Do you remember what it felt like to be a college sophomore? The Jell-O shots, cookie dough and moments of abject humiliation and terror as you tried, oh so self-importantly, to figure out how to live? Elif Batuman brings...

New this week: Dinosaurs, Def Leppard and 'The Responder'

Here’s a collection curated by The Associated Press’ entertainment journalists of what’s arriving on TV, streaming services and music platforms this week. MOVIES — In the satirical comedy “Emergency,” college seniors Kunle (Donald Elise Watkins) and Sean (RJ...

Review: A fun summer mystery with the ‘Bob’s Burgers’ crew

Fans of “Bob’s Burgers” will find a lot to savor in the long-awaited big screen adaptation of the Fox comedy about the oddball Belcher family. “ The Bob’s Burgers Movie ” feels very much like the quirky show — just on a supersized scale, which is all it needed to be. ...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

South Asia's intense heat wave a 'sign of things to come'

NEW DELHI (AP) — The devastating heat wave that has baked India and Pakistan in recent months was made more...

Kemp, Perdue duel could end with Georgia's GOP primary

ATLANTA (AP) — Georgia's Republican gubernatorial primary Tuesday could spell an end to the faceoff between...

Search for Supreme Court leaker falls to former Army colonel

WASHINGTON (AP) — When Gail Curley began her job as Marshal of the U.S. Supreme Court less than a year ago, she...

Expert: Monkeypox likely spread by sex at 2 raves in Europe

LONDON (AP) — A leading adviser to the World Health Organization described the unprecedented outbreak of...

China's bet on homegrown mRNA vaccines holds back nation

TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) — China is trying to navigate its biggest coronavirus outbreak without a tool it could have...

UK lawmakers criticize 'absence' of Afghan evacuation plan

LONDON (AP) — Britain’s withdrawal from Afghanistan was a “disaster and betrayal” hampered by a lack of...

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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