The Daily Moth 4-20-17

April 21, 2017

 

 

Terrorist Shooting in Paris, Missing Tennessee Pair Found in California, Russian Supreme Court Bans Jehovah’s Witness, Massive Protests in Venezuela, NAD CEO Warns of Threats Against ADA, and Deaf Woman Sues Jacksonville Sheriffs Office

 

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Hello, welcome to the Daily Moth! It is Thursday, April 20. Ready for news? 

 

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There was a possible terrorist shooting today in Paris — at the Champs-Elysees area. 

 

A gunman driving a car stopped next to police officers, got out holding an automatic rifle, and shot at the police. One officer died and either one or two officers were seriously wounded. Other officers returned fire and the gunman was killed. It caused a massive police presence with helicopters flying above.

Terrible to see more violence in Paris. The country will have their elections this weekend.

Just earlier this week French police arrested two men on suspicion of plotting a terrorist attack — and now this happened. 

Update: ISIS has claimed responsibility for the attack. 

 

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Remember the missing 15-year old girl from Tennessee — who was kidnapped by a former teacher, Tad Cummins? Today they have been found in northern California. Tad has been arrested. The girl is safe. It ends a large national manhunt that lasted for several weeks.

 

The two was found at a cabin in a remote area in Cecilville, California. The area was remote, snow-covered, and two hours away from a sheriff’s office. Someone let the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation TBI about a Nissan Rogue — owned by Tad — that was parked outside the cabin, with two people inside. 

 

Tad will be extradited to Tennessee to face various charges. Tad’s now-separated wife, Jill, said she was very emotional when she found out both were found and that both are safe. Jill has since filed for divorce from Tad — she said she felt betrayed. 

 

A lawyer for the girl’s family said they are celebrating this — but that it starts a difficult chapter. 

 

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The Russian Supreme Court just banned Jehovah’s Witnesses — calling it an extremist organization. The court ordered all of its property to be seized. It has 395 local chapters — all will be seized. Their literature will be banned. 

 

The Russian court says JWs are a threat to Russians — they threat the rights of Russians and threatens public order and security. 

 

Some analysts say the Russian government usually supports the Russian Orthodox Church and three traditional religions — Judaism, Buddhism, and Islam — and does discriminate against other, smaller religions. 

 

A JW spokesperson said they are disappointed and concerned how this will impact their religious activity. They will appeal. There are around 175,000 JW members in Russia and many of them are afraid that they will be persecuted and be targeted, as there has been a history of persecution and violence against JW members. 

 

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There is serious chaos in Venezuela — there are thousands of protesters who are angry with the country’s president Nicolas Maduro. He took over the country in 2013 after the death of former longtime president Hugo Chavez — Maduro is in the same political party as Chavez and is a similar leader. 

 

In recent years, there have been serious food shortages and a big economic crisis, causing frustration to many Venezuelans — who blame the problems on Maduro. 

 

A big factor that’s impacted Venezuela’s economy is the drop in oil prices — as Venezuela has large oil reserves and it is 95% of the country’s export revenues. The loss of revenue has caused a ripple effect in the country — causing an increase in crime, worse healthcare, and more poverty. 

 

There are also concerns that the government is turning into a dictatorship — because recently the Venezuelan Supreme Court tried to take away the legislative powers of a key opposition party who is against Maduro — but changed their mind after mass objections. It’s caused many people to not trust the courts and think they are biased in favor of Maduro. A key leader who was opposed to Maduro was recently banned from having any kind of government position for 15 years — causing even more tensions. 

 

Many people have taken to the streets and clashed with police — images show opposing sides throwing bricks, tear gas, fires, and rubber bullets. At least three people died after they were shot. The country is split — both sides (those who support Maduro and those who are opposed to him) accuse each other of trying to seize power in the country — stage a coup.

 

There is a GM General Motors factory in Venezuela and it was unexpectedly seized by Venezuelan authorities today. The factory has stopped operating and laid off all of its 2,700 employees. GM said they would stop operating in the country.

 

U.S. Sec. of State Tillerson said the Venezuelan government is violating its own constitution and not allowing the (other) party to express their voices. 

 

Very concerning situation over there. 

 

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NAD’s CEO Howard Rosenblum released a video two days ago about a new bill in the House that wants to change the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) — to make it weaker.

 

Howard says there are now two different bills that basically wants to prevent Deaf or other disabled people from immediately making an complaint or filing a lawsuit if they are denied access. Instead, they have to send a letter first to the business — and allow the business to make changes — and if they do not comply, then the affected person can file a lawsuit. 

 

Howard said this does not make sense because the ADA was passed in 1990 — 27 years ago — and that everybody should already know how to follow the ADA. He said a similar bill was proposed last year, but it failed — but now it’s appeared again in two different bills. So he is asking Deaf people to contact our representatives to let them know to not vote for this bill, to “protect ADA.” 

 

I read the HR 1463 bill — and it states that if a person experiences a “physical barrier” to a public place — the person cannot start civil action until the person writes a notice to the owner — and there must be 60 days for the owner to reply, and for the barrier to be fixed within 120 days. 

 

The bill appears to focus on physical barriers, perhaps for wheelchair users, so I asked Howard on how this applies to Deaf people. 

 

He replied that while the current language might focus on physical barriers, but that during the legislative process and debates, it could be revised and amended — and NAD do not want to take any chances with any weakening of the ADA. He also said courts could misapply this bill — make “physical barriers” to also apply to communication barriers. 

 

Thank you for clarifying, Howard — and its clear that any kind of weakening of the ADA threatens all Deaf and disabled people. 

 

The NAD has linked a letter template and a tool to help you find your local representative. Links are in the transcript below. 

 

NAD Video and Tools: https://www.nad.org/2017/04/18/ask-howard-anything-april-2017/

 

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A Deaf woman from Jacksonville, FL — Cassandra Kinney — is suing the Jacksonville Sheriffs Office (JSO) for violations of ADA — specifically that JSO did not provide interpreters, failed to provide effective communication, and discriminated, degraded, and humiliated Kinney based on her disability. 

 

[Video clip of Cassandra Kinney (Plaintiff) with her lawyer, Sharon Caserta]. 

 

KINNEY: The officers usually handcuff me behind my back. I can’t speak, there is no communication. I didn’t know where I was going. To a mental health facility again? It’s ridiculous.

 

Alex: What happened in a nutshell — Kinney lived in a home with several roommates and they had several issues with each other. From August 2015 to February 2016: JSO Officers were called to Kinney’s home a total of six times to “solve” the issues. Both Kinney and her roommates called the JSO. 

 

Each time JSO officers came, Kinney’s roommates were able to speak with voice with the officers. Kinney does not speak, only signs.

 

KINNEY: The officers preferred to listen to those who spoke. They depended on voice. This is wrong. 

 

Alex: Kinney asked for an interpreter multiple times, and each time JSO officers did not bring an interpreter.

 

Each time (six times), the JSO officers put Kinney in custody — handcuffing her behind her back, depriving her of her communication abilities — and took her to a mental health facility without explaining her why (no interpreters). She had to stay at the mental health facility overnight (they provided interpreters there), but was released the next day each time, until the sixth time — she stayed there for two days. Again, this was between August 2015 and February 2016.  

 

The issue between Kinney and the roommates continued to get worse. A roommate got a restraining order (RO) issued against her. Kinney said she did not understand fully what the RO meant. She thought the RO only applied to the roommate — and when she contacted a “third party” — a person related to the roommate — it was considered a violation of the RO, and JSO arrested her (the seventh encounter). 

 

She was transported to jail where she was booked and jailed for 12 days. She never had her Miranda rights read to her. 

 

CASERTA: There were no interpreters for the Miranda warnings. None. 

 

KINNEY: There were no interpreters for the booking process. They relied on inmates to facilitate communication with me. It was very “unprofessional.” I have medical issues with my asthma. I had tried to inform the corrections officers for four days. They didn’t pay attention to me. They pointed to a pen and paper. I tried my best to write down in very basic English. They didn’t understand it. I started to cough loudly and other inmates were concerned about me. The inmates called an emergency and I finally had the help I needed. I have to thank the inmates and I’m disappointed with the officers — where is my access? I had none. 

 

After 12 days, Kinney finally was able to speak with a judge about her charges — and explained that she struggled with communication (no interpreters) — the judge released her from jail and eventually dropped all charges against her. 

 

Kinney then worked with a lawyer, Sharon Caserta — who is fluent in ASL — from Morgan & Morgan’s Deaf/Disability Rights Office. They have filed a federal lawsuit, claiming JSO violated the ADA. 

 

They hope this lawsuit will change the system and make it better for Deaf people all over the U.S. — and for police officers to understand the importance of interpreters — for them to be equipped with VRI technology and be aware of how to bring in a “live” interpreter. Kinney also wants to see jails use videophone technology, not TTYs. 

 

Wow, what a harrowing situation Kinney went through. I will keep in touch with Kinney and Caserta and update you on how the lawsuit proceeds. It might go to a jury or might be settled out of court. The process could take as long as 18 months. 

 

KINNEY: I want Deaf people from all over to know — if they feel in their instinct that police have done them wrong — I encourage and support them to stand their ground. Stay in solidarity with others in the U.S., you can face it. And be sure you’re getting the access you need. That’s my goal. 

 

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That is all the news for this week. Be sure to watch the Deaf Business Spotlight tomorrow. You can donate to support The Daily Moth on www.dailymoth.com. Have a wonderful weekend and stay with the light! 

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