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Police Wrongfully Arrest Young Black Man in Oregon

The department and the city of Ashland "recognize this as a police department failure."

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A 20-year-old Black man from Ashland, Ore., was wrongfully arrested after officers responded to a call about physical harassment at a store in the town.


"The complainant described the suspect as an African American male wearing a dark colored hooded sweatshirt," reads the statement from APD Chief Tighe O'Meara. "A few minutes later, police officers stopped a person matching that general description a short distance away from the incident, arrested him, and took him to Jackson County Jail."

Interesting. There were no other discerning features such as complexion or hairstyle given to the officers other than a Black man wearing a hoodie.

The arrest happened around 8 p.m. Monday and the unidentified man was not released from custody until 8 a.m. the next morning.

A follow-up investigation into the incident concluded and it was proven that the man arrested was not involved. Later that day, O'Meara spoke with the man and his father at their home, and acknowledged and apologized for the department's wrongful arrest.

The store in question where the harassment was said to to have taken place had surveillance video of the incident. It was seen quickly that the man taken into custody didn't look like the suspect captured on store surveillance video.

That didn't stop officers from arresting the young man who was walking near the location at the time.

The arresting officer, Officer Brett Bibby, a backup officer and a shift supervisor were involved in the detainment to varying degrees.

"We're taking it very seriously," O'Meara said of the false arrest.

"I think there was a failure to conduct some basic follow-up police work. A conclusion was derived much too quickly. He should never have seen the inside of a police car."

The department has decided to perform a secondary investigation into why the wrong man was arrested in the first place.

The population of Ashland City, Ore., is 91.5 percent white and 1.7 percent Black. A 2017 report from the National Registry of Exonerations found that across the country, Black men are disproportionately victims of police misconduct and wrongful convictions.

This isn't the first time that a police department wrongfully arrested someone in Oregon. A white man, Adam Horstman, was wrongfully arrested in another city in Oregon after getting a prescription filled at a local pharmacy, which had been robbed several weeks prior. Unlike the young man in this case, he had been identified by the store manager as the man who'd robbed the store previously. He was awarded $550,000 for his wrongful arrest.

An apology is fair but it does not absolve the Ashland Police Department of their accountability in arresting someone because the officers didn't do their due diligence. The department saw to it that all charges would be dropped and there would be no record of the arrest. However, a monetary compensation would be in order for this young man's pain and suffering.

Reader Question: Given the circumstances behind this young man's arrest, do you think he should be compensated financially?

The Conversation (4)
Antonio Rollins05 Dec, 2018

He should be compensated in the same way the white was, with acceptation of the amount. He spent a night in jail when it was easily determined that he was NOT the perpetrator.

votetocorrect30 Nov, 2018

Two words: Law Suit!

30 Nov, 2018

Yes! Due to his mental anguish from the ordeal.

30 Nov, 2018

Due negligence is condoned where there is no consequence to counter it.

Laquan McDonald Reduced to 'Second Class Citizen,' Says Family

The light sentence given to the officer who killed McDonald, "suggests to us that there are no laws on the books for a Black man that a white man is bound to honor," said his great-uncle.

Hours of testimony at Jason Van Dyke's sentencing on Friday ended in shock for one family, and relief and happiness for the other.

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Two Students Leave University of Oklahoma After Blackface Video Surfaces

"Obviously we've had a second incident in several years," University of Oklahoma President James Gallogly said. "It shows that there must be something systemic. We have work to do."

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Another video of a student in blackface has surfaced at the University of Oklahoma (OU).

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Senator Holds Airlines Accountable When Servicing Customers With Disabilities

U.S. Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) is working to stop wheelchairs from getting damaged during air travel.

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U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) is leading the charge for better airline management of customers' motorized wheelchairs. Duckworth has been confined to a wheelchair since her helicopter was shot down in Iraq and she lost both of her legs.

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California Defies Trump's Order NOT to Pay Furloughed Workers Unemployment

Over 55 percent of civil service employees in the state are people of color.

Screenshot from ABC 7

President Donald Trump signed legislation on Wednesday that said all furloughed workers would receive back pay once the government reopens. However, the Trump administration has ordered states not to provide unemployment coverage to federal workers who have been required to work without pay during the partial government shutdown.

California Governor Gavin Newsom said on Thursday the U.S. Department of Labor sent states a letter with that mandate, according to NPR. The Department of Labor said the roughly 420,000 federal employees who are "essential" cannot file for unemployment as they are "generally ineligible."

It also reported 10,454 initial claims by federal workers for the week that ended Jan. 5, doubling the previous week's figure. Thousands more have applied since, state officials said.

Newsom said the decision by the Department of Labor's decision was "jaw-dropping."

"So, the good news is, we're going to do it, and shame on them," he said.

"From a moral perspective, there is no debate on this issue and we will blow back aggressively on the Department of Labor."

The California Employment Development Department (EDD) reports unemployment claims for one week during the shutdown are up 600 percent from the same time last year. The state has over 245,000 federal employees.

Over 55 percent of civil service employees in the state are people of color, and they are over 35 percent of the country's federal workforce.

Newsom encouraged people to continue to apply while the state figured out how to get the money. He estimated benefits that would last up to 26 weeks and provided a few hundred extra dollars a month. He said he knows it doesn't fix everything, but hopefully it helps.

His message to Trump: "Let us states do the job you can't seem to do yourself."

Some state officials said they had asked utilities and other companies to extend mercy to federal employees, and the federal Office of Personnel Management published sample letters that furloughed employees could send to creditors to ask for patience.

Texas has received more than 2,900 claims from federal workers since the shutdown began on Dec. 22, while Ohio is approaching 700. Kansas reported 445 filings, and Alabama was closing in on 500. Montana said it had logged almost 1,500.

Trump tweeted on Friday that he would be making a "major announcement" on Saturday about the government shutdown.

A senior administration official told CNN that Trump plans to offer Democrats another proposal to end the shutdown.

Reader Question: How are people you know that are furloughed workers surviving?

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Camille Sturdivant has filed a racial discrimination lawsuit against the Blue Valley School District for the abuse she was subjected to as a member of the high school dance team.

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A Black toddler was subjected to having her hair pulled and being pushed by the employee.

My Little Playhouse Learning Center

In a video that has now gone viral on Instagram and Facebook, a woman is shown pushing and pulling the hair of a toddler at a daycare center.

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