News Roundup, Article by UNC School of Government
Sadly, the mass shooting at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando early Sunday morning is the major criminal law news story this week. Forty-nine victims were killed, fifty-three others were wounded, and the gunman died in a shootout with police. The shooting is being characterized as a terror attack and a hate crime. The shooter reportedly pledged allegiance to ISIS and the group has taken credit for the attack. The attack is one of the deadliest criminal homicides in American history, but is not a unique example of hate-fueled violence in our country. Keep reading for more news.
Complicated Profile of Shooter. In the days following the attack, a complicated profile of the shooter, Omar Mateen, has emerged. Mateen was an American who worked as a security guard and had been on the terrorist watchlist. There are reports that as a child he was a bully and was bullied himself. People who knew him have described him as violent and have questioned his mental stability.
Gun Control Filibuster. It has been reported that Mateen, like many others who recently have committed mass shootings, used an assault rifle with high capacity magazines. This prompted Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut, the state where the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting occurred in 2012, to filibuster along with other Democrats in an effort to get a vote on certain gun control measures. The measures involve background checks and a ban on selling guns to people on the terrorism watch list, but reportedly are unlikely to pass.
Fayetteville Man Threatens Mosque. The Fayetteville Observer reports that Thomas Langford, a major in the Army Reserve, faces charges of ethnic intimidation, assault with a deadly weapon, and other counts as a result of an incident late last week. Langford allegedly made threats against a Fayetteville mosque, “brandished a pistol during an encounter with a retired Fort Bragg chaplain who attends the mosque,” and referred to a child there as “a little piglet.”
General Assembly Considers Naloxone Availability. The Winston-Salem Journal reports that the House Judiciary Committee unanimously recommended the approval of legislation that would make the opioid-reversal drug naloxone available statewide without a prescription. The Senate has already passed the bill,Senate Bill 734. According to the report, there were more overdose reversals than overdose deaths in North Carolina in 2015.
IDS Seeks Assistant Director. The Office of Indigent Defense Services is taking applications for “a qualified IDS Assistant Director to provide primary staff support to the statewide Commission on Indigent Defense Services and the IDS Executive Director.” The job posting is available here.
Jurors Refuse to Serve in Cases Tried by Beleaguered Judge. The Marshall Project has a story that says that some prospective jurors who have been called for duty in cases set to be tried by Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Aaron Persky, the judge who sentenced Brock Turner in the Stanford sexual assault case, are refusing to serve. According to the report, legal experts say that such a situation is nearly unprecedented.
Cowboy Lassos Thief; Cop Does the Nae Nae. If you’re a vigilante cowboy or a cop that is willing to dance to build relationships with the community, there’s a pretty good chance you’ll make the News Roundup. This week we’ve got a twofer. An Oregon rancher was buying dog food at Walmart earlier this week when he heard a woman screaming that her bicycle was being stolen. He did what anybody would do in that situation: mounted his horse, gave chase, lassoed the cycle rustler, and called the police.
The other story comes from Durham. Officer Sawyer Crossan was on patrol at an apartment complex where he was talking to a group of kids when some music started playing. Naturally, Crossan and the kids started doing the Nae Nae and a resident rolled tape. WRAL has the video here.