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Opioid Dealers to Face Death Penalty Under New Trump Plan, According to Report

Trump has a history of calling for a "fast trial and death penalty" — even for innocent people.

REUTERS

As early as next week, the White House may unveil a plan that will allow people who sell opioids to face the death penalty, according to a report from Politico.


Trump called for the death penalty for drug dealers recently at a Pennsylvania rally but did not specify sellers of opioids would be targeted.

The plan "includes a mix of prevention and treatment measures that advocates have long endorsed, as well as beefed-up enforcement in line with the president's frequent calls for a harsh crackdown on drug traffickers and dealers," according to Politico, which reviewed two versions of the plan.

The plan does not sound like it would make any punishment for users of the drug:

"Public health advocates say the nation's opioid epidemic should be treated as a disease, with emphasis on boosting underfunded treatment and prevention programs. But some law enforcement officials back tougher punishments as a deterrent, especially for drug dealers."

The opioid crisis disproportionately impacts white Americans: in 2015, 82 percent of the people who died from opioid overdoses were white.

The death penalty has undoubtedly put innocent people to death. Since 1977, 1,469 people have been executed in the United States. According to the Death Penalty Information Center, 161 people on death row have been exonerated since 1973. On average, people spend 11.3 years behind bars between being sentenced to death and their exoneration. There are also defendants whose sentences are commuted or their convictions are reduced because there is reasonable doubt that they are guilty.

A study published in 2014 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) estimates that 4.1 percent of people — or about 1 in every 25 — sentenced to death are actually innocent. The authors call the number "a conservative estimate."

The authors believe that the number of innocent people who have been executed is likely not very high — but innocent people who were sentenced to death may just be serving life sentences instead:

"Our data and the experience of practitioners in the field both indicate that the criminal justice system goes to far greater lengths to avoid executing innocent defendants than to prevent them from remaining in prison indefinitely. One way to do so is to disproportionately reverse death sentences in capital cases in which the accuracy of the defendants' convictions is in doubt and to resentence them to life imprisonment, a practice that makes our estimate of the rate of error conservative. However, no process of removing potentially innocent defendants from the execution queue can be foolproof. With an error rate at trial over 4%, it is all but certain that several of the 1,320 defendants executed since 1977 were innocent."

Trump strongly favors the death penalty. In 1989 he publicly called for the death of five Black and Latino teens who were wrongly accused of raping a white woman. The teens, dubbed the Central Park Five, were the subject of four full-page ads Trump placed in New York City's daily newspapers. He spent $85,000 on the ads and wrote, "Muggers and murderers should be forced to suffer and, when they kill, they should be executed for their crimes."

The boys, now men, say they were coerced by detectives into confessing to the rape. DNA has never tied them to the crime

Matias Reyes, a serial rapist and killer, confessed to the crime in 2002. His DNA connected him to the assault.

Decades later, while on the campaign trail, Trump suggested that he still is not convinced the men are innocent.

"They admitted they were guilty," he said in a statement to CNN's Miguel Marquez. "The police doing the original investigation say they were guilty. The fact that that case was settled with so much evidence against them is outrageous. And the woman, so badly injured, will never be the same."

He makes numerous mentions of the death penalty on Twitter. An archive of his tweets shows he has mentioned it at least 20 times since 2012. He often calls for "fast trial and death penalty."

The racial implications of Trump's focus on the opioid epidemic also cannot be ignored. As DiversityInc previously reported:

"The opioid epidemic is eerily similar to the cocaine/crack outbreak that victimized the United States three decades ago — but the response could not be more different. The stark contrast from then to now is twofold: approach and demographic.

 "Back in the 1980s the 'war on drugs' became a household term, under then President Ronald Reagan's firm, zero tolerance handling of the crisis that primarily affected the inner cities and lower income areas throughout the nation. 

"Fast forward 30 years, and we are facing another drug that threatens to similarly tear at the moral and social fabric of the American population. That may be where the similarities end, however. 

'The opioid crisis that faces us today infiltrates the suburbs instead of the inner cities, and rehabilitation and treatment has replaced arrests and jail time. Trump and his commission portray addicts as victims who need help and support — not as criminals who should be placed in prison with maximum sentences, as was (and remains) the case with the 'war on drugs.'"

Read more news @ DiversityInc.com

The Conversation

Voting Rights Protections for Minorities in Danger: Report

Citizens "continue to suffer significant, and profoundly unequal, limitations on their ability to vote," said Catherine E. Lhamon, chair of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights.

REUTERS

The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights warns that voting rights for minorities around the country are in danger. The federal government isn't doing anything to counteract it, especially since Republicans have most to lose in key midterm elections.

A report, released on Wednesday, cited strict voter ID laws; closing polling places; cutting early voting; and voting roll purges and challenges to eligibility are all impacting minority-voting rights.

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What Makes This Angry White Sportscaster Think He Can Criticize LeBron James​?

Ken Harrelson said James should keep his "nose out of politics and just play."

Ken "Hawk" Harrelson, a longtime Chicago White Sox broadcaster in his final season in the booth, attempted to slam NBA superstar LeBron James, and other athletes, who voice their opinion on politics.

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Neo-Nazis Hear Ron 'Monkey This Up' DeSantis' Dog Whistle, Respond with Racist Robocalls Targeting Andrew Gillum

The call going out to Florida voters is narrated by a man using a minstrel dialect with jungle noises in the background.

REUTERS

The first Black nominee from a major party for Florida governor is now the target of racist robocalls, which come after the GOP nominee's dog whistling comment.

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Nathan's Hot Dogs Faces Backlash After Executive Chairman Hosts Trump Fundraiser

"I'm a vegetarian but that won't stop me from telling EVERYONE I know, including my 50K followers, to never buy Nathan's Hot Dogs ever again!"

YOUTUBE

Howard Lorber, executive chairman of Nathan's Famous Inc., and said to be one of Donald Trump's best friends, hosted a fundraiser for the president at his home in the Hamptons. As a result, social media users are threatening to boycott the hot dog brand.

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TWITTER

Jeffery Epstein, a Lakeland, Fla. doctor, started yelling at airline employees in Orlando International Airport, and police arrived on the scene to stop the disturbance. Officers had to detain him because he started acting unruly and refused to calm down.

Epstein, a white man and Donald Trump supporter, felt betrayed by the white police officers.

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Trump Slanders Another Black Woman Politician

Trump blames D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser's leadership for his military parade being cancelled. She gives him a dose of reality.

REUTERS

President Trump took to Twitter on Friday to announce that the large-scale military parade he wanted this year has been cancelled. Trump blamed local officials who "poorly" run Washington, D.C., for inflating the costs. The city is led Mayor Muriel E. Bowser, a Black woman, and she called Trump out on his inaccuracies.

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Sarah Huckabee Sanders Admits to False Statement on Obama and Black Employment

Trump's administration, again, attempts to downplay the accomplishments of the first Black president.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders admitted Tuesday evening on Twitter that she gave false information when attempting to tout President Trump's record on job creation for Black Americans.

Sanders told reporters, Tuesday, during a White House press briefing:

"This president, since he took office, created 700,000 new jobs for African-Americans. After eight years of President Obama in office, he only created 195,000 jobs for African-Americans. President Trump, in his first year and a half, has already tripled what President Obama did in eight years."

She greatly undercounted the number of jobs created under Obama.

According to the official count from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, since the Great Recession, most of the employment gains for Black people took place during the Obama administration.

From January 2009 to January 2017, Obama increased employment for Black Americans by about 3 million jobs.

"Sanders' error dramatically alters the comparison between the two presidents," according to PolitiFact.

"Rather than Trump tripling Obama's increase in African-American employment, it is actually Obama who in eight years quadrupled the increase Trump oversaw in a year and a half. And Obama had to deal with the fall-out from the Great Recession during that period."

After the backlash from Sanders' statement, the White House's Council of Economic Advisers (CEA) said in a tweet: "Apologies for @WhiteHouseCEA's earlier miscommunication to @PressSec."

Sanders then re-tweeted the CEA, adding her own message:

Trump with "Bikers for Trump" members at his golf club in Bedminister, N.J.

Pro-Trump motorcyclists say there is nothing better than American made products. However, Chris Cox, founder of "Bikers for Trump," has his merchandise produced abroad.

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