December 20, 2012

By LOLITA C. BALDOR Associated Press

 

Reported sexual assaults at the nation’s three military academies jumped by 23 percent overall this year, but the data signaled a continued reluctance by victims to seek criminal investigations.

According to a report obtained by The Associated Press, the number of assaults rose from 65 in the 2011 academic year to 80 in 2012. However, nearly half the assaults involved victims who sought confidential medical or other care and did not trigger an investigation. There were 41 assaults reported in 2010.

Reported sexual assaults have climbed steadily since the 2009 academic year. The Defense Department has urged the academies to take steps to encourage cadets and midshipmen at the Army, Navy and Air Force academies to report sexual harassment and assaults in order to get care to everyone and hold aggressors accountable. The number of assaults reported by the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y., and the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo., increased, while reports at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md., declined.

In addition to the sexual assault report, the military also is releasing the results of its biannual anonymous survey of academy students, which showed that 12 percent of the women said they experienced “unwanted sexual contact” and 51 percent said they were sexually harassed. Of the men, 2 percent experienced unwanted contact and 10 percent said they were sexually harassed.

Officials are concerned whenever the number of reported sexual assaults goes down while the anonymous survey suggests that unwanted sexual contact goes up or stays the same. That's because military officials want victims to feel comfortable going to their superiors to report incidents.

The report divides the assaults into two categories, restricted and unrestricted. Unrestricted reports rose slightly from 38 last year to 42 this year, and those are provided to either law enforcement or military commanders for an investigation. Restrict­ed reports jumped from 27 last year to 38 this year, and in those cases victims sought medical care and advocacy services but did not seek an official investigation.

According to the report, all three academies are now meeting department policies and requirements for training and the appointment of sexual assault response coordinators.

Parent Category: ROOT
Category: News

December 20, 2012

By Brian W. Carter

LAWT Staff Writer

 

The Los Angeles County district attorney’s office has ruled in favor of Pasadena police officers, Jeffrey Newlen and Mathew Griffin, in the shooting of 19-year old Kendrec McDade. It has been determined that the police officers responded with necessary force when they fatally shot the unarmed teenager.

A letter, received Monday, from the district attorney's Justice System Integrity Division stated an investigation concluded the officers acted in lawful self-defense and in defense of others.

On March 24, McDade was shot after a false 911 call from Oscar Carillo who claimed assailants had robbed him at gunpoint. It was stated that McDade was seen reaching for his waistband during a pursuit. Prosecutors stated that McDade was shot twice, one officer having wounded him, the second from the other officer believing Mcdade had opened fire.

Carillo, an undocumented worker, stated in the 911 call eight times that the men who robbed him were armed. It was later revealed that he admitted to having lied about the suspects being armed to garner a quicker response. Carillo was arrested on manslaughter charges but prosecutors declined to charge him.

Caree Harper, attorney for McDade’s father Kenneth McDade, has stated she didn’t agree with the D.A.’s ruling, especially concerning Carillo.

“You can’t have both, either (Carrillo) is responsible or he’s not, you can’t have it both ways,” said Harper.

“You can’t slice the story, cut and splice it the way you like it; you argue out of both sides of your mouth. Either he is responsible for making a false report and he should be held accountable and officers should have responded code three with cameras activated, or they didn’t believe the false report.”

The McDade shooting happened after the controversial Trayvon Martin shooting, which raised even more ire earlier this year.

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Category: News

December 13, 2012

By Jennifer Bihm

Assistant Editor

 

“The recent decision by the U.S. Supreme Court to consider marriage equality takes our nation one step closer to realizing the American ideal of equal protection under the law for all people,” said Attorney General Kamala Harris, part of a growing number of elected officials and community leaders lauding the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision last week to review a California gay marriage case and the validity of Proposition 8.

“For justice to prevail, Proposition 8 must be invalidated so that gay and lesbian families are finally treated with equality and dignity.”

Proposition 8, a descendent of California’s 2000 Proposition 22, was the “California Marriage Protection Act,” later titled “Eliminates Rights of Same Sex Couples to Marry” on the November 2008 ballot. The prop added to the “Declaration of Rights” portion of the state’s constitution, providing that “only a marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.” The ban on gay marriage went into effect the day after Prop 8 passed and was in direct opposition to the Supreme Court’s earlier ruling that it was unconstitutional.

The next year, same sex couple Kristin Perry and Sandra Steir, applied for a marriage license in Alameda County, which was denied, as was one for Paul Katami and Jeffrey Zarrillo. The couples filed a suit against state officials including then Governor Arnold Schwarz­enegger and Attorney General Jerry Brown. Brown agreed that the ruling violated the 14th Amendment to the United State’s Constitution and did not participate in the defense; neither did Schwarz­enegger although he did agree that the courts should hear the case.

ProtectMarriage.com organizer Dennis Hollingsworth a staunch supporter of Prop 8, was allowed to step in as a defendant. Now governor, Brown continues his refusal to defend the lawsuit as does Harris who promised as much during her campaign for attorney general. Other elected officials are also weighing in, looking forward, they said, to the ban being overturned.

“I sincerely hope that the Supreme Court finds Proposition 8 violates the promise of equal protection guaranteed by the Constitution,” Senator Barbara Boxer said in a statement released shortly after the December 7 decision.

“I believe support for marriage equality keeps growing stronger.”

“Today’s announcement that the Supreme Court will take up Hollingsworth v. Perry and the challenges to the Defense of Marriage Act is a reminder that the pathway to justice is long and difficult,” said Speaker John A. Perez, who also released a statement last week.

“I am very confident that the Supreme Court will rule in favor of our community in Hollingsworth v. Perry, as it is now known, and affirm that Proposition 8 is unconstitutional. But until that outcome is secured, our community must continue to fight for justice on every front, from working to secure the Employment Non-Discrimination Act to addressing the issues of homelessness among LGBT Youth.”

LGBT activist Jasmyne Cannick agrees. While attitudes about same-sex marriage are changing—with about 48 percent of Americans in favor of it, the community should stay “focused on the real issues facing all of us—gay, lesbian, and heterosexual--jobs, affordable housing, education, and access to healthcare,” she said.

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa called the Supreme Court’s decision an ‘opportunity.’ 

“Today, the U.S. Supreme Court faces the opportunity to rectify the injustices caused by denying gay and lesbian Americans the right to follow their hearts and marry the person they love,” he said.

“I am confident that the highest court in our land will follow the wisdom of the 9th Circuit and grant all couples — regardless of sexual orientation — the freedom to marry.”

“We understand that our nation has to be a nation of laws and that there is one class of people, and the law has to apply equally to all of us regardless of race, gender, class or sexual orientation,” Black AIDS Institute Executive Director Phil Wilson.

“We are hopeful that the Supreme Court will affirm that Prop 8 is unconstitutional.”

The Court is expected to make the final decision in June 2013.

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Category: News

 December 20, 2012

By Shannen Hill

LAWT Intern

 

Police have found security video footage of the alleged gunman who killed Brandon Woodard, the Los Angeles man who was shot in Manhattan last week.

Police believe that the alleged killer is a professional hit man because of his calm demeanor during the shooting. Providing more evidence for their claim, cameras showed the gunman arriving to the scene at least 30 minutes before the shooting.

“The man could be seen exiting – and carefully pulling the hood of his jacket over his head – the passenger side of the parked Lincoln sedan and pacing as he waited,” according to an NYPD officer.

Detectives are tying the shooting to Queens. Cameras captured the get away car speeding through the Midtown Tunnel to Queens, where it was found, parked on Wednesday December 19. After a license plate reading, police found that the Lincoln Sedan was rented from Avis Car Rental, in Huntington Station. Avis was already investigating that particular site after noticing their employees renting cars on behalf of unidentified third parties.

Police have also searched Woodard’s California condo, but were unable to find any drugs, weapons or evidence.  Detectives are examining three phones carried by Woodard when he flew to New York as well. The gunman has not been found and NYPD continues to investigate.

Parent Category: ROOT
Category: News

December 13, 2012

By LAWT News Service

 

Dentist. Doctor. Surgeon. In a country where dreams are like wings, a new cadre of students is soaring to become the next generation of promising health professionals.

They meet protégés where they are — on campuses of Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Hispanic Serving Institutions, and in high schools largely based in medically underserved communities.

Earlier this fall, physicians Alden M. Landry, 31, and Kameron Leigh Matthews, 33, launched their ‘get on the bus’ style Tour for Diversity in Medicine to promote health professions to underrepresented students throughout the country.

A pledge to “give back” has fueled the passions of the two former medical students, who have translated their commitment to mentoring into opportunity on wheels. The branded motor bus is literally on a roll, traveling to sometimes unlikely places to reach, teach and inspire.

“We recognize that many of the students we reach may not have the resources or inclination to come to recruitment fairs,” confides Matthews, who has earned both JD and MD degrees. The goal is to reach people in their comfort zone to explain that dreams beyond their immediate reach are attainable.

Tour for Diversity (T4D) is a project of Hip Hop Health, Inc., a nonprofit organization that Landry launched to blend social media and health education to reach and inspire the Hip Hop generation. The bus tour was the brainchild of Matthews and Landry, both leaders of the Student National Medical Association (SNMA). SNMA is the student branch of the National Medical Association, the largest and oldest professional society of African American physicians.

Landry is also a 2000 alumnus of the Summer Medical and Dental Education Program (SMDEP) (formerly the Minority Medical Education Program), a free enrichment program sponsored by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The six-week academic initiative provides rising college freshman and sophomores from disadvantaged backgrounds with a timely introduction to the rigorous preparation required to pursue careers in medicine or dentistry. The program operates at 12 university sites with each accepting up to 80 students per summer session.

“The program jumpstarted my commitment to becoming a physician by showing me what it takes to get into medical school early – so I could get on track to realize my dreams,” Landry recalls. 

The recruitment drive for SMDEP summer 2013 participants is now open and will continue to accept applications through March 1, 2013. For more information, visit www.smdep.org .

SMDEP 12 site locations include:

• Case Western Reserve Univer­sity (Cleveland, Ohio)

• Columbia University (New York, N.Y.)

• Duke University (Durham, N.C.)

• Howard University (Washington, D.C.)

• University of California-Los Angeles (Los Angeles, Calif.)

• UMDNJ-New Jersey Medical and New Jersey Dental (Newark, N.J.)

• University of Louisville (Louis­ville, Ky.)

• University of Nebraska (Omaha, Neb.)

• University of Virginia (Char­lottesville, Va.)

• University of Washington (Seattle, Wash.)

• University of Texas-Houston (Houston, Texas)

• Yale University (New Haven, Conn.)

Insufficient financial resources coupled with an uncertainty on how to prepare for a medical future are two major barriers for prospective students. SMDEP helps to fill gaps and inspire success by working to increase diversity in the health care workforce.

“Diverse perspectives reflected in our dental and medical professions are necessary for a better patient experience,” explains SMDEP National Program Officer Norma Poll-Hunter, PhD, co-deputy director for the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC). “SMDEP brings talent that’s not traditionally represented in our medical and dental school applicant pools.”

Landry, an emergency medicine physician at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, agrees. “Without a more diverse workforce, the current health disparities will persist, if not worsen.”

Current trends in the health care workforce point to the need for sustained recruitment to yield a more diverse pool of candidates in medical and dental schools. While minorities represent 26 percent of the U.S. population, less than 6 percent of American Indians, Blacks and Hispanics collectively are physicians or dentists, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges.

The Tour for Diversity fall outreach (September 24-29, 2012) included six universities between Atlanta and Dearborn, Mich. The next tour in February 2013 will take them to several Texas college campuses. Landry, Matthews and other physician mentors share personal insights and advice on what prospective candidates can expect to help debunk fears of “I’m not smart enough.”

“Our purpose is to emphasize to students the importance of early exposure, advising and mentorship,” says Matthews.

For more on Tour for Diversity in Medicine, visit http://tour4diversity. org/. You can read updates on their Voices of Diversity blog at http:// tour4diversity.org/category/blog/. Join them on Facebook and Twitter.

 

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