08-18-2022  12:59 pm   •   PDX and SEA Weather
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NORTHWEST NEWS

‘Wake of Vanport’ to Be Screened August 28

Register for this free event to be held at Open Signal in Northeast Portland

Heat Returns to Pacific Northwest Wednesday, Thursday

Multnomah County, which includes Portland, will offer people places to stay cool Wednesday as temperatures potentially reach 100 degrees Fahrenheit

Basic Guaranteed Income Program to Launch for Black Portlanders

Brown Hope’s Black Resilience Fund argues the impact of direct cash payments. 

Oregon Justice Fires Panel Due to Lack of Public Defenders

Criminal defendants in Oregon who have gone without legal representation due to a shortage of public defenders filed a lawsuit in May that alleges the state is violating their constitutional right to legal counsel and a speedy trial.

NEWS BRIEFS

Reduced Costs for Parks Programs

Portland Parks & Recreation announces new Parks Levy-funded Access Pass to reduce cost as a barrier for Recreation and...

Measure on Portland Government to Appear as-Is on Ballot

Politicians, business leaders and civic activists have called for reshaping Portland’s form of government, which they say...

The Regional Arts & Culture Council Rolls Out New Grant Program

The Arts3C grant program is designed to be fully responsive to what artists and art makers in the community need funding to support ...

OHA Introduces New Monkeypox (hMPXV) Website

As of Aug. 10, 95 people have tested positive for monkeypox in Oregon ...

Wyden, Colleagues Renew Request for FDA to Address Concerns about Dangerous Pulse Oximeter Inaccuracies Affecting Communities of Color

“There are decades of research showing inaccurate results when pulse oximeters are used to monitor people of color” ...

Head of Oregon’s troubled public defense system is fired

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Even as hundreds of people charged with crimes in Oregon remain deprived of legal representation, a commission tasked with fixing the problem fired the leader of the effort on Thursday. The action by the Public Defense Services Commission capped an extraordinary...

Ex-judge gets 15 months for sex assault against co-workers

ASOTIN, Wash. (AP) — A former judge in southeastern Washington state who pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting two former court employees over several years was sentenced to 15 months in prison. Spokane County Judge Michael Price sentenced Scott Gallina last month, the Lewiston...

Mizzou full of optimism with new QB, defensive coordinator

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — Missouri coach Eli Drinkwitz is on his third defensive coordinator in three years at Missouri, and the Tigers are about to start their fifth different quarterback in the season opener in the last five years. Sounds like a program that should be on shaky ground. ...

Hoosiers looking for a turnaround after dismal 2021 season

Indiana linebacker Cam Jones and quarterback Jack Tuttle took matters into their own hands this offseason. They called their teammates together to discuss the goals and aspirations of the program, the need to always play with an edge and to break down precisely why things went wrong...

OPINION

No One Ever Told You About Black August?

Black America lives in a series of deserts. Many of us live in food deserts, financial deserts, employment deserts, and most of us live in information deserts. ...

Betsy Johnson Fails to Condemn Confederate Flags at Her Rally

The majority of Oregonians, including our rural communities, value inclusion and unity, not racism and bigotry. ...

Monkeypox, Covid, and Your Vote

We must start a voter registration drive right here where we live. This effort must become as important to us as putting food on the table and a roof over our heads. ...

Speaking of Reparations

To many Americans, “reparations” is a dirty word when applied to Black folks. ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Head of Oregon’s troubled public defense system is fired

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Even as hundreds of people charged with crimes in Oregon remain deprived of legal representation, a commission tasked with fixing the problem fired the leader of the effort on Thursday. The action by the Public Defense Services Commission capped an extraordinary...

WVa deputy charged with violating suspect's civil rights

CLARKSBURG, W.Va. (AP) — A West Virginia sheriff's deputy was charged with a federal civil rights violation after he allegedly punched and pepper sprayed a suspect, the U.S. Justice Department said Thursday. Monongalia County Deputy Lance Kuretza, who was arrested Thursday, also is...

Trio of suits target Florida 'woke' law pushed by DeSantis

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — A trio of lawsuits target a Florida law championed by Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis that restricts race-based conversation and analysis in business and education, the latest filed Thursday by college professors and students claiming it is blatantly unconstitutional. ...

ENTERTAINMENT

A$AP Rocky pleads not guilty to firearm assault charges

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Rapper A$AP Rocky has pleaded not guilty to felony assault with a firearm charges stemming from a 2021 confrontation in Hollywood. He is accused of drawing a gun and firing it twice in the direction of a former friend during an argument in Hollywood in November...

Rock mag Creem attempts comeback after more than 30 years

NEW YORK (AP) — Creem, which billed itself as “America's only rock ‘n’ roll magazine” during two decades of existence that ended in 1989, is being revived next month. The return is a remarkable story of persistence by J.J. Kramer, who was bequeathed the magazine at age 4...

Attack on Rushdie shows divisions among Lebanese Shiites

BEIRUT (AP) — The stabbing of author Salman Rushdie has laid bare divisions in Lebanon's Shiite Muslim community, pitting a few denouncing the violence against fervent followers of the Iran-backed Shiite militant Hezbollah group who have praised the attack. One Rushdie defender received death...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

Climate bill's unlikely beneficiary: US oil and gas industry

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — The U.S. oil industry hit a legal roadblock in January when a judge struck down a 2...

Post-Roe differences surface in GOP over new abortion rules

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — When the U.S. Supreme Court repealed in June a woman's constitutional right to an abortion,...

Disqualified for disabilities, railroad workers fight back

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — After Terrence Hersey had a stroke on the way home from his railroad job in 2015, he...

Vatican shelves assault probe into Canadian cardinal claims

ROME (AP) — The Vatican said Thursday that a preliminary church investigation into sexual assault allegations by...

EU-mediated Serbia-Kosovo meeting ends without agreement

BRUSSELS (AP) — The leaders of Serbia and Kosovo failed Thursday to reach an agreement on longstanding border...

US senator urges Kenyan president to aid peaceful transition

NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — A visiting U.S. senator says he has encouraged Kenya’s outgoing president to participate...

Chris Hawley the Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) -- Pentagon officials say they have transferred eight soldiers to another base amid allegations that they mistreated one of their comrades shortly before he committed suicide in a guardhouse in Afghanistan.

The soldiers face charges ranging from dereliction of duty to involuntary manslaughter in the death of 19-year-old Army Pvt. Daniel Chen of New York City. Chen's relatives say he endured weeks of racial teasing and name calling while in training, then was subjected to hazing after he was deployed to Afghanistan.

A Pentagon spokesman, Navy Capt. John Kirby, said Wednesday the military was taking a zero-tolerance attitude toward soldiers who mistreat their comrades.

"That's what this uniform requires. And when we don't, there's a justice system in place to deal with it," Kirby said. "Hazing's not tolerated in the military. If it's found and it's proven, it's dealt with."

The eight soldiers are part of an infantry regiment based in Fort Wainright, Alaska. The soldiers are still in Afghanistan but have been relieved of their duties and confined to a different base, the military said. The next step is a hearing to determine if there is enough evidence for a court martial. The proceedings are expected to be held in Afghanistan.

The two most serious charges, involuntary manslaughter and negligent homicide, carry prison sentences of up to 10 years and three years, respectively, under military law.

At a news conference in New York's Chinatown, Elizabeth OuYang, a community activist who is representing his parents, said Chen had complained about the teasing in Facebook and email messages, discussions with cousins and in his journal. The Army has released excerpts of the journal to his parents.

Fellow soldiers at a base in Georgia teased him about his Chinese name, crying out "Chen!" in an exaggerated Asian accent, OuYang said. They called him "Jackie Chen," a reference to the Hollywood action star Jackie Chan. People would ask him repeatedly if he was Chinese, even though he was a native New Yorker.

At one point Chen wrote in his diary that he was running out of jokes to respond with.

Then he was sent overseas, and the hazing began: Soldiers dragged him across a floor, pelted him with stones and forced him to hold liquid in his mouth while hanging upside down, OuYang said.

On Oct. 3, Chen was found dead in a guardhouse in Afghanistan with what the Army said was apparently a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

"Whether suicide or homicide, those responsible for mistreating Danny are responsible for his death," OuYang said.

Attorneys for the defendants could not immediately be located.

Eugene Fidell, an expert on military law and former president of the National Institute of Military Justice, said bullying has been a recurring problem for the military.

"If there was brutality within the unit, that's a betrayal of the bond of brotherhood," he said. "That is, in theory, the underpinning of what holds a military command together."

In 2010, three Army sergeants were punished after Pvt. Keiffer Wilhelm of Willard, Ohio, killed himself 10 days after arriving in Iraq with a platoon based in Fort Bliss, Texas. Wilhelm's family said he was being bullied and forced to run for miles with rocks in his pockets.

Two sergeants were imprisoned for six months and three months, respectively, on charges of cruelty and maltreatment. The third was convicted of obstructing justice and given a one-grade reduction in pay.

Activists said Chen's case has raised questions about the military's treatment of its tiny Asian-American minority.

"We love our country and we want to serve our country, but it's not worth it if we can't be protected from people who are supposed to be on our side," OuYang said.

In 2008 people of Asian descent made up only 1.8 percent of new military recruits, even though they represent 4.15 percent of the total population of American 18-to-24-year-olds, a Pentagon report said. The percentages of whites, blacks and Hispanics reflected the wider population more closely.

On Wednesday Chen's relatives said they were encouraged by the Pentagon's action against the eight soldiers.

"We realize that Danny will never return, but it gives us some hope," Yen Tao Chen, his father, said through a translator.

Chen was assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 21st Infantry Regiment, 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, based in Fort Wainwright, Alaska.

The Army identified the soldiers charged as 1st Lt. Daniel J. Schwartz, 25, of Maryland (no hometown was given); Staff Sgt. Blaine G. Dugas, 35, of Port Arthur, Texas; Staff Sgt. Andrew J. Van Bockel, 26, of Aberdeen, S.D.; Sgt. Adam M. Holcomb, 29, of Youngstown, Ohio; Sgt. Jeffrey T. Hurst, 26, of Brooklyn, Iowa; Spc. Thomas P. Curtis, 25, of Hendersonville, Tenn; Spc. Ryan J. Offutt, 32, of Greenville, Pa.; and Sgt. Travis F. Carden, 24, of Fowler, Ind.

VanBockel, Holcomb, Hurst, Curtis and Offutt were charged with the most serious offenses, including involuntary manslaughter, negligent homicide, and assault and battery.

Offutt's mother, Carol Tate of Sharon, Pa., told The (Sharon) Herald that she has known about the charges for a while and has talked to her son.

"I think there's a lot of things that really haven't been brought up," she said, but declined further comment.

Schwartz, the only officer among the accused, was charged with dereliction of duty.

The two most serious charges, involuntary manslaughter and negligent homicide, carry prison sentences of up to 10 years and three years, respectively, under military law.

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Associated Press writers Lolita Baldor at the Pentagon; Meghan Barr, Deepti Hajela and Verena Dobnik in New York; Patrick Quinn in Kabul, Afghanistan; Linda Ball in Dallas; and researchers Monika Mathur, Jennifer Farrar, Barbara Sambriski, Rhonda Shafner and Judith Ausuebel contributed to this story.

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