05-17-2022  12:48 am   •   PDX and SEA Weather
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NORTHWEST NEWS

2022 Midterms: What to Watch as 5 States Hold Primaries

Tuesday, May 17, 2022 is the last day for voters to return ballots. Ballots that are mailed must be postmarked by election day. Ballots deposited in an official drop box must be received by 8 p.m. on election day.

No Sea Serpents, Mobsters but Tahoe Trash Divers Strike Gold

Scuba divers who spent a year cleaning up Lake Tahoe’s entire 72-mile shoreline have come away with what they hope will prove a valuable incentive

House Passes Bipartisan Update to Anti-Poverty Program Led by Bonamici, Thompson

The Community Services Block Grant (CSBG) program has not been updated since 1998.

Portland Unrest Drives Interest in 2 Congressional Primaries

The problems have given Republicans a megaphone and raised the stakes for Democrats as a crowded field of candidates vies to advance to November in a historically blue state

NEWS BRIEFS

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 ...

Attorney General Rosenblum Warns Against Price Gouging of Baby Formula

This declaration will allow the Oregon Attorney General to take action against any business, or online vendor, who upsells the price...

WA High Court: Drivers Can Get DUIs for Driving While High

A decision that upholds the state’s decade-old law regulating marijuana use behind the wheel of a car. ...

Community Basketball Game and Discussion Events Work to Reduce Gun Violence

Basketball game features Black youth and police officers playing together ...

5-term Idaho attorney general in tough GOP primary battle

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Idaho’s five-term Republican attorney general has handled his duties in the deeply conservative state for 20 years with a strategy he describes as calling legal “balls and strikes.” He's facing two challengers who see a more activist role for the office. ...

Idaho governor faces Trump-backed candidate in GOP primary

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Republican Gov. Brad Little is fighting back a primary challenge on Tuesday from his lieutenant governor, Janice McGeachin, a Donald Trump-backed candidate who twice attempted a power grab last year when Little was out of state on business. The intraparty contest...

OPINION

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? ...

Burying Black Cemeteries: Off the Record

It is a tragedy when we lose a loved one. That tragedy is compounded when are unable to visit their final resting place to honor and remember them. ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

New Zealand shooting survivor says violence achieved nothing

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — If the Buffalo supermarket shooter had learned anything from the massacre in New Zealand that apparently inspired him, it should have been that the violence didn't achieve any of the gunman's aims, a survivor said Tuesday. Temel Atacocugu was shot nine...

'Like every other day:' 10 lives lost on a trip to the store

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — They were caregivers and protectors and helpers, running an errand or doing a favor or finishing out a shift, when their paths crossed with a young man driven by racism and hatred and inane theories. In a flash, the ordinariness of their day was broken at Tops...

Tensions over racial justice shadow Louisville mayor's race

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — On Valentine's Day, a man appeared in the doorway of a Louisville campaign office and fired shots at mayoral candidate Craig Greenberg. He wasn't hit — a bullet grazed his sweater — but some of the tensions still lingering over this city flared once again. ...

ENTERTAINMENT

Brandi Carlile, Yola, Allison Russell lead Americana noms

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Brandi Carlile, Allison Russell and Yola are the leading nominees for the 2022 Americana Honors and Awards, with each one up for album of the year, artist of the year and song of the year. The nominees were announced Monday in Nashville, Tennessee, at the...

Review: 'Team America' plumbs enduring impact of 4 generals

“Team America: Patton, MacArthur, Marshall, Eisenhower, and the World They Forged” by Robert L. O’Connell (Harper) Insightful and informative, military historian Robert L. O’Connell’s latest book carries a title that might evoke in today’s readers a group of superheroes...

Yiyun Li wins PEN/Malamud Award for short stories

NEW YORK (AP) — Author Yiyun Li has received one of the top honors for short story writers, the PEN/Malamud Award for “exceptional achievement.” Li, 49, has published the collections “Gold Boy” and “A Thousand Years of Good Prayers,” along with five novels and two...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

New US hospitals face fiscal crisis over COVID relief money

THOMASVILLE, Ala. (AP) — A whole town celebrated in 2020 when, early in the coronavirus pandemic, Thomasville...

North Korea reports another fever surge amid COVID-19 crisis

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — North Korea on Tuesday reported another large jump in illnesses believed to be...

Conspiracy theorists flock to bird flu, spreading falsehoods

Brad Moline, a fourth-generation Iowa turkey farmer, saw this happen before. In 2015, a virulent avian flu...

Macron names Elisabeth Borne as France's new prime minister

PARIS (AP) — Centrist politician Elisabeth Borne was appointed France’s new prime minister on Monday, becoming...

US vice president, top officials visit UAE to pay respects

ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Vice President Kamala Harris led a high-powered American delegation to...

Iraqi merchants struggle on amid series of strong sandstorms

BAGHDAD (AP) — The thick layer of dust blanketing the sky did not deter Muhammed Ghalib from walking to work in...

Curt Anderson AP Legal Affairs Writer

MIAMI (AP) -- The news media are taking on an increasingly police-like role in the Trayvon Martin slaying by using modern forensic techniques to analyze evidence, an approach some legal experts say can lead to a distorted view of the case because a lot of the key evidence is still under wraps.

The public has been whipsawed back and forth as new revelations emerge, appearing to support one version or the other.

Most recently, the Orlando Sentinel had a voice analysis expert examine a 911 call in which a person is heard screaming for help before the fatal gunshot. The shooter, neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman, told police he was yelling, but the expert told the newspaper the voice most likely was not Zimmerman.

"It would be nice to know who was doing the calling for help, but identifying the caller is not necessarily going to definitively identify the wrongdoer," said University of Florida law professor Bob Dekle, a former state prosecutor and public defender. "Situations sometimes arise where it is the wrongdoer calling for help."

ABC News on Monday aired what it said was an enhanced version of a police video taken the night of the shooting that appeared to show wounds or welts on the back of Zimmerman's head. The initial, grainier video aired last week seemed to show no wounds or blood, which led Martin's family and supporters to proclaim that it undercut Zimmerman's story.

Legal and forensic experts cautioned that none of the media-led investigations, which are done in many high-profile cases, has been conclusive.

"The public needs to know that this is a very complex case," said Ron Martinelli, a forensics consultant in Temecula, Calif. "There are many issues that come into play and sometimes come into conflict."

Zimmerman told police that he was attacked by Martin on Feb. 26 and believed he had no choice but to fire his gun at Martin in self-defense. The teenager's family believes Zimmerman, 28, singled Martin out as suspicious because he was black. Zimmerman's father is white and his mother is Hispanic.

The family also said Zimmerman should've listened to a police dispatcher who told him not to follow Martin.

The 911 call analysis compared the screams of "Help" to other recordings of Zimmerman's voice using a computerized matching technique. The consultant, Tom Owen, told the Sentinel that the comparison showed a 48 percent match between the two samples. A positive match should be above 90 percent, he said. Owen did not respond to an email Monday seeking additional comment.

If Zimmerman is charged and the case goes to court, the defense would likely hire experts to punch holes in any conclusions about the 911 tape or the police video.

"The other side will have experts saying `you can't make anything out of this, it's all garbled, look how much they had to enhance it,'" said Robert Jarvis, a law professor at Nova Southeastern University. "What has been done with the tape? Has anybody tampered with it?"

News organizations also used audio technology to enhance a 911 call in which some reported that Zimmerman muttered a racial epithet under his breath. Other media organizations, including The Associated Press, said the raw recording was not clear enough to determine what Zimmerman actually said.

Experts have also said that photos initially released of Martin and Zimmerman could have skewed initial public perceptions.

Most of the photos of Martin show a baby-faced boy in a red T-shirt or football uniform, much younger than the tall teenager he was the night of the shooting. And Zimmerman no longer resembles the beefy-looking figure pictured in a mug shot from several years ago.

Special prosecutor Angela Corey has been appointed by Gov. Rick Scott to lead the investigation after Sanford officials declined to make an arrest. The Justice Department and FBI are also investigating.

Much still is not known about the evidence being weighed by prosecutors, including:

-The autopsy on Martin's body, which could show signs of a fight and whether the bullet entry wound supports Zimmerman's claims.

-Medical records of treatment Zimmerman received on the scene that night by paramedics, which again could back up or disprove his self-defense assertion.

-Police photographs, notes and other physical evidence probably collected at the scene.

-Videotaped interviews police conducted with Zimmerman.

-Whether there is other surveillance video of Martin or Zimmerman at any point during the evening, including the youth's visit to a convenience store shortly before the confrontation.

-Whether any witnesses saw the actual shooting and the circumstances leading up to it, including the alleged fight.

Many of these unanswered questions, especially the forensic results, will provide a more complete picture of how Zimmerman came to shoot Martin that night, Martinelli said.

"The decedent gets to have a voice only through forensics," he said. "That's how people speak from the dead."

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

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