The Daily Moth 2-20-18

February 21, 2018

7th Grade Student Shoots Himself at Ohio Middle School; President Trump Wants to Ban Bump Stocks; Special Counsel Mueller Indicts Dutch Lawyer for Lying to FBI; NCAA Strips Louisville’s 2013 National Championship; UberEats Driver Turns Himself in Police for Murdering Customer; Family Who Took In Nikolas Cruz Gives Interview; Deaf Oklahoma Man Pearl Pearson Wins $195,000 in Settlements: Police Used Excessive Force During 2014 Arrest

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




Today at a middle school near Cleveland, Ohio — a 7th grade student apparently shot himself in a bathroom before 8 a.m. 


It caused the school to lock down with many people fearful of what was going on. 


Police later reported that the boy’s parents were notified and that all the other students are safe and unharmed. News videos showed hundreds of parents emotionally embracing their children in relief. 


There is little information on if the boy intentionally shot himself or not, and what his injuries are. He is in the hospital. 


Even though this is not a “shooting,” it is very concerning that this is another incident of a student in a school with a gun.




President Trump announced today he would direct his attorney general to propose regulations that would ban bump stocks, which is a device that makes semi-automatic rifles fire like a “machine gun.” 


The Las Vegas shooter used bump stocks when he shot and killed 58 people and injured over 400 people with gunshot wounds. He fired over 1,000 rounds in around 10 minutes. 


Trump said he expects the new regulations to be finalized very soon. He said we can do more to protect our children, we must do more to protect our children — saying school safety is now a top priority of his administration. 


The White House said there might be discussion on raising the federal age limit for military-style weapons like the AR-15. 


Currently, most state laws say you have to be 21 for handgun purchases, but only 18 for AR-15.




Special Counsel Mueller has indicted another person for lying to the FBI in an interview in November — a Dutch lawyer, Alex Van Der Zwaan — who worked with a former aide to Donald Trump, Richard Gates. 


If you remember Gates — he was one of the two first people indicted — the other former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort. Both were charged in October of money laundering and working for the Ukraine government without registration. Both pled not guilty. 


But now there are news reports that Mueller has secured a guilty plea deal with Gates — with the possibility of him testifying against Manafort in exchange for a reduced sentence. 


We’ll see if this happens and what role the lawyer’s Zwaan’s indictment had in this. He was accused of lying about his the last time he talked with Gates and of deleting emails that the FBI wanted to see. Their last contact was in September 2016, two months before the election. 


One analysis by Vox said it is Mueller’s way of using leverage against Gates to get to Manafort, who is the “big fish.” 


Manafort’s case is ongoing. He is required to stay at his home in south Florida, is permitted to go to DC for court appearances, and has to ask a judge for permission if he wants to travel elsewhere. 


Manafort has sued Mueller in January saying he didn’t have the authority to indict him. 


Another update with the investigation: on Friday, a California man pled guilty to selling bank account numbers using stolen identities — that a Russian organization, who was indicted by Muller on Friday, used to set up their social media business of supporting Donald Trump’s presidential campaign.




The NCAA announced they will strip the University of Louisville’s 2013 NCAA national championship and remove 123 of their victories under former coach Rick Pitino.


This is a punishment for a scandal started in 2015 when it was revealed that a former team staff paid women thousands of dollars and gave them game tickets in exchange for them to dance and have sex with players and recruits. 


Louisville’s interim president Postel said he thinks the NCAA’s decision is wrong because they have already admitted to it, apologized, and did self-imposed penalties. He said the university would still remember those teams and their achievements. 


This adds to many negative stories that has afflicted the Louisville program. Their former coach Pitino resigned last fall due to a FBI investigation of fraud and corruption




Here is an update on the UberEats driver who shot and killed a customer in Atlanta on Saturday. 


The driver/gunman is Robert Bivines. He turned himself in to police yesterday (Monday) afternoon after police issued a warrant for him for felony murder. 


The shooting was caught on surveillance video. 


A police report said the customer, Ryan Thornton, walked out of his condo to meet the driver and pick up his food and as he walked away, the two exchanged words, with Ryan walking back to the car. 


That’s when Robert shot four times through the passenger window with bullets hitting Ryan’s torso. He then drove away. 


Ryan was able to call his girlfriend, who came to help him. When he got to the hospital, he was pronounced dead. 


Robert’s lawyer defended him saying he was threatened by Ryan, who was upset about the late delivery and threatened him and reached into his pockets, so the shooting was in self-defense. 


The Atlanta Journal Constitution newspaper said Robert was arrested on aggravated assault charges in 2009 and pled guilty to battery. 


This was not flagged in Uber’s background check for drivers because it only goes back 7 years. He worked for Uber for only a week before the shooting. 


Uber said he is no longer able to access the app.




The family who took in the Florida high school shooter, Nikolas Cruz, after his mother died in the fall, just did an interview with CBS News. 


Their names are Kimberly and James Snead. Cruz lived with them for three months. 


They said they knew Nikolas was depressed, but had no idea how deep it was. They thought it was about his mother’s death. 


James said Cruz had five or six guns, he was aware of it — that he also had guns. He said he respects guns as long as they are handled properly. He required Cruz to have a gun safe before he moved in. 


He knew Cruz had an “assault rifle” — but said he used it to go hunting. He said it was his right to own a gun, even if he’s 19. He said he doesn’t feel different about that. 


Kimberly said what Cruz did floored them — that he ruined his future, ruined 17 other people’s futures. 


James said it was very selfish. He said he has very heartfelt sorrow for the families — but the two didn’t feel responsible for it, there was nothing else or differently they would have done.




A Deaf Oklahoma man, Pearl Pearson (68), has won $195,000 in two settlements from a lawsuit he filed against Oklahoma Highway Patrol for excessive force when he was arrested in January 2014. 


I reported about the arrest last January. He was pulled over because police was looking for him after a minor bump with another car. When they arrested him, three officers, not knowing he was deaf, gave verbal commands and fought/struggled with him for more than 5 minutes. 


Pearl had serious injuries to his face, with his eyes swollen shut. He was transported to the hospital, then placed in jail and charged with misdemeanor resisting arrest. 


The District Attorney, David Prater, did not charge the three officers. There was a trial planned for last year for Pearl’s revisiting arrest charge, but the charges was dropped due to the cost of sign language interpreters. 


That’s when Pearl and his family sued the police, and they have won. On Pearl’s Facebook page (, a statement states that almost 90% of the money has already been spent to cover legal and medical expenses.


I will show you an interview with Pearl.




Pearl: My name is Pearl Pearson, Jr. I live in Edmond, Oklahoma. 


Alex: This happened four years ago. When you drive around, do you feel afraid of the police? 


Pearl: No, I don’t think about that. I feel normal driving around. My son is a police officer, so I’m used to them. 


Alex: Your son is an officer? 


Pearl: Yes. And my son-in-law, too.


Alex: How did you son react when he found out about your arrest? 


Pearl: He was disgusted about it. He knew he was raised right by his parents. What happened on that night — I went to get coffee. There was someone who moved their car very close to the rear of my car. I reversed a bit to his car. The man was angry, honked and flashed his headlights. I’m deaf so I didn’t hear the honk, but I saw the lights. I moved my car. But he wouldn’t stop, and after the fourth time, I decided to drive away. Around 7 miles later, police officers were behind me, flashing their lights. I motioned that I was deaf and as I gave them my ID, they punched me in the face, grabbed my arm, pulled it… They broke my shoulder, put me on the ground and swarmed on my back. One black officer, around 300 pounds, was on me, along with another officer. It went on for under 10 mins. I felt like I would die, so I screamed and when they found out I was deaf, they backed off. 


My eyes were swollen. I asked them for an ambulance. But they said they would take me there by themselves. I just hoped I wouldn’t die. They went on to check the scene and after my car was towed away, they got me into a police car and went to the hospital. The officers used their voice with me, I couldn’t hear anything, there was no interpreter. 


At the hospital, they wanted to draw my blood to check for substances. There was nothing, but they said my blood sugar levels were high at 600. My eyes were even more swollen at this point. Then they said I had to go to jail. I got my photo taken, and I sat there for 13 hours in extreme pain. I was screaming. 


Then the OHP called my son to let him know I was in jail. My son was shocked in what happened. He then got $1,000 to get me out of jail. I went to the hospital again. I had surgeries on my shoulders and my eyes treated.


Alex: Wow. Are you all okay now? Recovered? 


Pearl: Yes, I am okay. Today I had my eyes checked — everything is fine. 


Alex: The DA Prater didn’t seem to give the officers any consequences. 


Pearl: The DA Prater said the officers didn’t do anything wrong. Didn’t they see my face and how it was beaten up? 


Alex: You could have died by a gunshot. 


Pearl: A man from the OHP said they almost shot me (Pearl). I was just resting my hands on the steering wheel, confused at who the offices were. They thought I was reaching for something. A big misunderstanding. 


[End Interview] 


Thank you for your time, Pearl. 


The two settlement are $175,000 from the Oklahoma Dept. of Public Safety and $20,000 from Oklahoma County. 


His family said this money is the maximum amount allowed by state law and hopes law enforcement agencies going forward will take steps to educate and train their officers on how to interact with deaf people. 


A statement on Pearl’s Facebook page quoted the DA Prater — who said two officers who were involved demonstrated restraint and judgment and only used minimal necessary force. 


The DA Prater is the same DA that did not charge the Oklahoma City officer who shot and killed Deaf man Magdiel Sanchez.


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That is all for today. See you tomorrow and stay with the light! 

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