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Stephon Clark killing becomes test in Sacramento DA election



For activists like Bond, whose agendas typically align with Democratic policies, the Sacramento district attorney race is an ideal venue to press their agenda. Hillary Clinton won 57 percent of the county’s vote in 2016, and registered Democrats outnumber registered Republicans by more than 100,000. They see untapped potential in the many voters in highly policed neighborhoods who haven’t cast ballots in prior elections. Criminal justice reform is already underway in the city of Sacramento, the county seat and state capital,driven by a 2016 police killing of a man armed with a pocket knife.


“The culture shift that people in the community want to see comes down to voting,” said Gabby Trejo, executive director of Sacramento ACT, a faith-based community-organizing group that tries to improve the relationship between the public and law enforcement. But, she said, “many people don’t even know they get to elect their local DA.”

Sacramento ACT is partnering with the American Civil Liberties Union to change that through voter-education efforts, including public forums and door-to-door canvassing. The two groups do not endorse candidates, but encourage voters to support those who align with a reform agenda.

“In the case of Mr. Clark, people are ready to see a fair and just investigation and charges pressed,” Trejo said. “That’s something that has to happen.”

That sentiment stems from lingering anger over the 2016 case, in which Schubert declined to prosecute two officers who shot to death Joseph Mann, 50.

 Sacramento County prosecutor Noah Phillips makes his closing statement as Orville Fleming sits in Sacramento Superior Court on June 22, 2015 in Sacramento, California. Hector Amezcua / The Sacramento Bee via ZUMA

Phillips said he would reopen the Mann case if elected, part of his pledge to “hold law enforcement transparent, which my opponent does not believe in.” He was less clear about the Clark case, saying he would visit Clark’s family, give the public “an opportunity to be heard,” and hold officers accountable for any “criminal wrongdoing.”

Schubert, in an interview, defended her decision on Mann, which she explained in a January 2017 public report. “The review process was completed in a fair and independent manner,” she said.

She declined to comment on the Clark case beyond calling it a “tremendous tragedy” and promising to “conduct a full, fair and independent review” when police investigators hand the case to her. She also said she welcomed a move by the state attorney general this week to oversee the investigation.

Schubert said she has worked to improve her office’s relationship with the public, through youth law enforcement academies and literacy programs. She also said she enjoys support of the county’s top Democrats and Republicans.

Critics, including Phillips, Bond and their backers, note that Schubert campaigned for a state ballot question in 2016 that sped up the capital appeals process so that people sentenced to death actually get executed. She is also a leading voice in favor of a proposed state ballot question that would roll back laws aimed at reducing the state’s prison population. The proposal includes an expanded list of violent crimes for which offenders cannot be released early from prison and lower thresholds for the amount of stolen goods counted under the crime of serial theft.

An ACLU of California website aimed at helping people find out more about their local district attorney notes that Schubert was out of step with a majority of Sacramento voters on ballot initiatives aimed at reducing prison populations.

Schubert said the characterization of her as resisting reform was false.

“This is a very measured approach, not designed to put more people in prison,” she said.

She said she has prosecuted officers for other serious offenses, including rape. And she said she supports changing state law so that people who participate in a crime that leads to someone getting killed would not face as much prison time as those who did the killing.

She called Phillips “an opportunist” who has wrongly tried to link her to President Donald Trump; Schubert said she did not vote for the president.

On Thursday, as the Sacramento chapter of Black Lives Matter planned a third consecutive day of protests outside her office — with signs that implored her to “do your job” and “don’t be an accomplice” — Schubert said she recognized that Sacramento is going through “difficult times.”

But she said she was confident in the process, and her role in it.

“We want the community to trust whatever outcome there is,” she said.

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Proud Boys formed smaller group for Jan. 6, prosecutors say



WASHINGTON — The far-right Proud Boys designated a small group of members to plan and carry out their activities at the Capitol on Jan. 6, according to newly filed court documents that provide additional information about the group’s inner workings.

But investigators have yet to establish who formulated the plan to storm the Capitol grounds and enter the building.

In late December, prosecutors said, Proud Boys Chairman Enrique Tarrio announced the creation of a special chapter within the organization, calling it the Ministry of Self Defense. Its members included Tarrio and four men since charged with conspiracy in the Capitol siege — Ethan Nordean of Washington state, Joseph Biggs of Florida, Zachary Rehl of Pennsylvania, and Charles Donohoe of North Carolina.

The Ministry of Self-Defense subgroup “was not to have any interaction with other Proud Boys” coming to Washington on Jan. 6, prosecutors said.

The FBI previously said Biggs messaged, “We have a plan,” the night before the riot, but court documents have not said what that plan was.

Biggs was accused of leading Proud Boys members on Jan. 6 from the Washington Monument to the Capitol, where one of their followers was accused of breaking a window, allowing hundreds more people to stream in.

The new information comes from material the FBI said it found on Nordean’s cellphone, including thousands of encrypted messages exchanged through the Signal, WhatsApp and Telegram platforms, the court documents said.

In the latest filing, prosecutors said messages exchanged around the time of the riot “revealed a plan to storm the Capitol and to let the crowd loose.”

However, the messages offered in support of that allegation are more general and do not refer to a specific plan. One person texted, “I want to see thousands of normies burn that city to ash today.” Another said, “I will settle with seeing them smash some pigs to dust.”

Donohoe texted, “I’m leaving with a crew of about 15 at 0830 to hoof it to the monument no colors,” an apparent reference to the Washington Monument and an earlier agreement that Proud Boys members would not wear their usual distinctive clothing.

Two weeks after the Capitol riot, the messages said, Nordean had lost his devotion to Donald Trump. The court documents said he sent a series of messages that read, “F— you trump you left us on the battle field bloody and alone.”

Lawyers for Nordean and Biggs have asked a federal appeals court to reverse a lower court ruling that ordered the two men held in jail pending trial.

“They are not accused of assaulting or harming anyone that day,” the appeal said. “They did not threaten or bully anyone. They carried no weapons. They did not steal.”

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BBC cuts off Covid briefing as Boris Johnson warns of new variant 'What the hell!'



BBC One viewers were furious as the Downing Street press conference which discussed the new variants of concerns and potential roadmap delays were abruptly stopped for adverts.

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Democrat Rep. Cicilline moves to censure GOP lawmakers he says are downplaying Capitol attack



Rep. David Cicilline, D-R.I., is seeking support for a resolution to censure several Republican lawmakers who he said made misleading comments this week about the deadly Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol.

Cicilline’s resolution names Republican Reps. Andrew Clyde of Georgia, Jody Hice of Georgia and Paul Gosar of Arizona. The text is forthcoming, but Cicilline sent a memo to his Democratic colleagues asking for support by close of business on Monday.

“These members cannot be allowed to rewrite history at their convenience by disrespecting the sacrifices made by Capitol police officers and downplaying the violent, destructive intent that rioters carried into this sacred building,” Cicilline wrote to his colleagues. The Jan. 6 riot “was an attack on our democracy that we must continue to defend against today,” the letter said.

More than 440 people have been charged so far in the Jan. 6 violence, which left five people dead.

The resolution comes after Wednesday’s House Oversight Committee hearing on the Capitol attack during which former acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen testified. During that hearing, Clyde said it was “not an insurrection” and likened it to a “normal tourist visit.”

“There was an undisciplined mob. There were some rioters, and some who committed acts of vandalism,” Clyde said. “But let me be clear, there was no insurrection and to call it an insurrection in my opinion, is a bold-faced lie. Watching the TV footage of those who entered the Capitol, and walk through Statuary Hall, showed people in an orderly fashion staying between the stanchions and ropes taking videos and pictures, you know.”

Gosar called the death of Ashli Babbitt, a pro-Trump rioter who was fatally shot by a Capitol Police officer while trying to enter the House chamber, “an execution.” Gosar also said federal law enforcement was “harassing peaceful patriots” as it searched through photographic evidence of those who might have committed crimes on that day. Hice appeared to sympathize with the mob.

“It was Trump supporters who lost their lives that day, not Trump supporters who were taking the lives of others,” Hice said.

The offices of Clyde, Hice and Gosar did not respond to a request for comment.

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