Extra Extra : First Amendment & FOIA

Sources: Supervisors told to falsify reserve deputy's training records

Sources speaking on condition of anonymity told the Tulsa World that supervisors in the Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office were ordered to falsify training records for a reserve deputy charged with second-degree manslaughter in the shooting death of Eric Harris.

Supervisors gave Robert Bates credit for field training he never took and firearms certifications he should not have received. Three officials who would not agree to sign-off on the training were transferred, sources told the paper.

An attorney for the Sheriff’s Office denied the World’s request for records showing the names of supervisors who signed off on Bates ...

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Middle school principal resigns amid misconduct allegations

The San Marcos Daily Record obtained records showing that a middle school principal placed on administrative had been linked to allegations of misconduct.

According to the documents, teachers accused Ricardo Soliz of “threatening to transfer a teacher if he wouldn’t help him build a case to fire other teachers at the school, pressuring teachers into using a teaching tool he preferred and sending unsolicited personal messages to teachers outside of work hours.”

Soliz submitted a letter of resignation in December.

Money stolen in the U.S. flowed to Cuba through criminal pipeline

U.S. policy created for humanitarian reasons 50 years ago has fueled a criminal pipeline from Cuba to Florida, enabling crooks from the island to rob American businesses and taxpayers of more than $2 billion over two decades.

A yearlong Sun Sentinel investigation found money stolen in the United States streaming back to Cuba, and a revolving door that allows thieves to come here, make a quick buck and return.

The Sun Sentinel traveled to Cuba, examined hundreds of court documents, and obtained federal data never before made public to provide the first comprehensive look at a criminal network facilitated ...

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Wounded soldiers allege mistreatment in the Army’s Warrior Transition Units

Hundreds of current and former soldiers based in Texas have filed complaints over the last five years about the Army’s Warrior Transition Units, which were set up to serve soldiers with physical and psychological wounds.

The Dallas Morning News and KXAS-TV used the records, obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, to describe and examine "an often challenging regimen of medical treatment and a military culture of order and discipline."

Many of the complaints involve soldiers describing harassment and mistreatment at the WTUs.

College disciplinary boards impose slight penalties for serious crimes

Secretive college judicial systems make it easy for students responsible for violent offenses – including sexual assault – to transfer between schools.

The Columbus Dispatch and Student Press Law Center used disciplinary records from 25 public universities to identify students who had transferred despite university punishment. Some of the students were reprimanded for more than one serious offense at the same school. Sanctions for such offenses are often minor – placing a student on probation, issuing a written reprimand, or ordering the accused to write a paper.

The investigation also found that most schools don’t understand or refuse to follow state and ...

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Extra Extra Monday: Injury-leave program, secret service fumbles, the cost of rape

Blacks disproportionately arrested for marijuana possession in Pinellas, Hillsborough counties | Tampa Bay Times

Black people in Pinellas and Hillsborough are at least six times as likely to be arrested for marijuana possession as white people. It's not because of who smokes pot and who doesn’t.

Racial disparities in pot possession arrests is not a new topic. But the disparities are particularly pronounced in Pinellas and Hillsborough counties, a Tampa Bay Times analysis found.

 

L.A. pays millions as police and firefighter claims rise | L.A. Times

An injury-leave program for Los Angeles police and firefighters has cost taxpayers ...

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Extra Extra Monday: Florida law allows troubled charter operators to keep running schools

Shuttered: Florida’s Failed Charter Schools | Naples Daily News

As charter schools have boomed in Florida — 622 operated in 2013-14, up from 257 in 2003-04 — many have also busted. Since charter schools were first permitted in 1996, 269 out of nearly 900 opened charter schools have closed, a failure rate of about 30 percent. That tally includes six schools closed in Lee County and two closed in Collier County.

To better understand Florida’s charter school failings, the Daily News undertook a first-of-its-kind task, examining all charter schools that have closed since 2008. The newspaper reviewed hundreds of closure documents ...

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Extra Extra Monday: Peace Corps medical care, homeless students in the suburbs, license plate cameras

Trail of medical missteps in a Peace Corps death | The New York Times

A Peace Corps spokeswoman called Nick Castle’s death, from a gastrointestinal illness, “a tragic experience.” To examine its own conduct, the agency took the unusual step of engaging an outside American expert, whose report concluded that despite medical missteps by a Peace Corps doctor who missed signs of serious illness, Mr. Castle’s death could not have been prevented.

But the story of his death — pieced together from interviews and confidential reports and documents, including his autopsy — raises serious questions about Peace Corps medical care and ...

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Reports reveal safety violations at many bioterror labs

Recent glaring safety lapses involving anthrax, smallpox and a dangerous strain of bird flu are the latest violations at a half-dozen laboratories run by federal health agencies, 11 labs run by universities and eight more operated by state, local or private entities, according to government reports stamped "restricted" obtained by USA TODAY under the Freedom of Information Act.

The reports by the Office of Inspector General at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services cited inadequate security procedures, lax inventory records for germs that could be used as bioterror agents and training concerns. Auditors warned in reports issued ...

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North Carolina State University wants exemption from public records law

North Caroline State University says an open records law has caused the school to lose out on dozens of contracts with private companies and, in turn, millions of dollars in funding, reports WRAL. However, school officials were not able to offer an exact number of dollars lost or the number of companies that have declined to work the university.

Now, NCSU is hoping for an open records law exception that will protect the information shared during private businesses' research.