Saturday News: Corporate death-trap


SALISBURY NURSING HOME FACING LAWSUIT OVER PANDEMIC MISMANAGEMENT: The Citadel’s managers, according to the nurses’ affidavits, failed for weeks to respond effectively to signs of the emerging pandemic. As the virus spread, managers ordered nurses not to wear masks while failing to provide protective clothing or test the workers on site. When nurses and other employees got sick, they were pressured to come to work anyway, the affidavits say. Those who could work frequently found themselves placed in impossible positions of being forced to treat dozens of elderly and sometimes dangerously ill patients by themselves. As more staff got sick or stayed home last month, one nurse left to handle an entire residence hall by herself threatened to call 911 if her bosses didn’t get her help, her affidavit says. The nurses say they also witnessed nursing home managers lying to residents and their families about the results of tests.

NC BUSINESSES PUSH BACK ON COVID 19 WORKERS COMP BILL: A fight is brewing over workers compensation rules tied to COVID-19, with business groups that lobby the General Assembly pushing back against changes that would make it easier for employees to win claims. House Bill 1057 would create a "rebuttable presumption" that first responders, health care workers and other essential workers infected with the coronavirus got it at work, qualifying them for compensation unless the employer could prove otherwise. The bill has nearly 60 sponsors, almost enough to pass the House. But business groups came out against the measure this week, sending lawmakers a white paper that labeled the proposal "a fundamental threat to the continued viability of the workers compensation system in our state." Jackson, D-Wake, noted Friday that the legislature's first round of COVID-19 bills included liability protections for businesses, limiting lawsuits from people who contract the virus. The final bills also dropped a Senate-proposed increase in weekly unemployment benefits, something the N.C. Chamber opposed. "Now we need the second round of COVID-19 bills to include protections for workers on the front lines," Jackson said in an email. "Every night, I see commercials talking about and thanking our heroes. It's time to make sure they are protected."

U.S. UNEMPLOYMENT RATE HITS 14.7%, BUT IS ACTUALLY MUCH HIGHER: The coronavirus crisis has sent U.S. unemployment surging to 14.7%, a level last seen when the country was in the throes of the Depression and President Franklin D. Roosevelt was assuring Americans that the only thing to fear was fear itself. And because of government errors and the particular way the Labor Department measures the job market, the true picture is even worse. By some calculations, the unemployment rate stands at 23.6%, not far from the Depression peak of nearly 25%. The Labor Department said Friday that 20.5 million jobs vanished in April in the worst monthly loss on record, triggered by coast-to-coast shutdowns of factories, stores, offices and other businesses. The breathtaking collapse is certain to intensify the push-pull across the U.S. over how and when to ease stay-at-home restrictions. And it robs President Donald Trump of the ability to point to a strong economy as he runs for reelection. “The jobs report from hell is here,” said Sal Guatieri, senior economist at BMO Capital Markets, “one never seen before and unlikely to be seen again barring another pandemic or meteor hitting the Earth.”

TWO WHITE HOUSE STAFFERS TEST POSITIVE, TRUMP STILL NOT WEARING MASK OR SOCIAL DISTANCING: “I don’t worry about things. I do what I have to do,” said Trump, who this week resumed traveling with a visit to a manufacturing facility in Phoenix. “We’re dealing with an invisible situation. Nobody knows. All you can do is take precaution and do the best that you can.” The discovery of the virus within the heavily fortified White House complex this week sent shock waves through the staff and prompted renewed scrutiny of the safety measures around a commander in chief who has flouted social distancing policies and other best practices recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention during the pandemic. Like Trump, most of his aides, including Pence and White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, have not worn face masks, and the president has huddled with guests at the White House for photo-ops that undermine the efforts at social distancing that do take place, such as seats placed more than six feet apart. “This is a show of bravado. This is a show of ‘I got this. I’m in control,’ ” said one former security official familiar with White House security planning during past administrations. “He’s tried to minimize this threat from day one. It’s the only way he can laugh in the face of this disease,” said this person, who like others spoke on the condition of anonymity to frankly address sensitive security matters. “If he backtracks now, and starts wearing a mask, it will contradict the red meat he’s feeding to his base constantly. This is the first health crisis that has been politicized.”

GEORGIA POLICE DEPARTMENT THAT FUMBLED ARBERY MURDER HAS HISTORY OF CORRUPTION: Over the years, Glynn County police officers have been accused of covering up allegations of misconduct, tampering with a crime scene, interfering in an investigation of a police shooting and retaliating against fellow officers who cooperated with outside investigators. The police chief was indicted days after Mr. Arbery’s killing on charges related to an alleged cover-up of an officer’s sexual relationship with an informant. The chief, John Powell, had been hired to clean up the department, which the Glynn County manager described last fall as suffering from poor training, outdated policies and “a culture of cronyism.” The Glynn County force was the sort of department where disciplinary records went missing and where evidence room standards were not maintained, leading the state to strip it of its accreditation. Mr. Arbery was killed after the McMichaels confronted him while he was running in the Satilla Shores neighborhood just outside of Brunswick, the Glynn County seat. But neither of the McMichaels was arrested immediately after the slaying, which occurred on Feb. 23 at about 1 p.m. Wanda Cooper, the mother of the 25-year-old victim, Ahmaud Arbery, received a call from a police investigator. She recounted later that the investigator said her son had been involved in a burglary and was killed by “the homeowner,” an inaccurate version of what had happened. More than two months after that fatal confrontation, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, which took over the case this week, arrested the former officer, Gregory McMichael, and his son, Travis McMichael, on charges of murder and aggravated assault.



And this just happened in NC

A lynch mob led by a local deputy tried to grab a black teenager from his home in Eastern NC:

When Dameon answered the door, Lea says the group demanded to know information about a young missing girl. The group was apparently looking for an individual named Josiah, who lived next door to the Shepards but left that neighborhood a month earlier.

Lea says Dameon identified himself by name several times, but the group continued to press for information that he did not have.

Among the people on the Shepard’s porch demanding answers was a person carrying an assault weapon and another with a shotgun, Lea wrote in the letter.

Also part of the group was an off-duty member of the New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office. Lea says Deputy J.T. Kita, who works in the detention division, was in uniform and armed.

When Dameon attempted to shut the door after telling the group who he was, Lea says the New Hanover County deputy stuck his foot in the door and demanded to come inside.

And that little move with his foot violated state law and police procedure. But so far nothing has been done. The deputy was actually outside his jurisdiction anyway, since this incident occurred in Pender County. But it looks like Pender County won't do a damn thing about it either, because it's "really hard" to prosecute an LEO.

Just like in Georgia, the state Bureau of Investigation needs to step in and protect these citizens.

Justice is being served...

The deputy has been fired, and is facing charges:

District Attorney Ben David announced that deputy Jordan Kita (an employee at the New Hanover County detention facility) has been charged with forcible trespass, breaking and entering, and a willful failure to discharge his duties as an officer of the law

David said he directed the Pender County Sheriff’s Office to file the criminal charges after a case review earlier Friday with approximately 10 prosecutors in his office.

Kita was fired due to the third charge of a willful failure to discharge his duties as a law enforcement officer.

Reading from the state statute regarding this violation, David said that Kita “willfully and corruptly [violated] an oath of office” and “committed offenses of misdemeanor breaking and entering and forcible trespass while armed and in uniform in a county that he was not duly sworn in, and in furtherance of personal, not law enforcement, purposes.”

And there's a semi-automatic cherry on top of this justice pie:

Additionally, Pender County resident Austin Wood, who also took part in the incident, is charged with “going armed to the terror of the public,” according to David, a Class 1 misdemeanor under common law.

How that could be a fricking misdemeanor I'll never understand, but I'll take it.

I have a sneaking hunch

that Trump has already been infected, but it may have been back in March. He shook hands with hundreds during photo-ops at Mar-A-Lago, including the Brazilian press secretary who had COVID 19. But that would be kept secret on the level on the nuclear launch codes, so we'll probably never know.