Archive for June 26th, 2020

Supporters express anger and disappointment at verdict in Dafonte Miller case – CityNews Toronto

June 26th, 2020

Disappointment among supporters of Dafonte Miller outside an Oshawa courthouse after Const. Michael Theriault was found guilty of assault but cleared of the more serious charge of aggravated assault in the 2016 beating that left him with a ruptured eye and other serious injuries.

The verdict, delivered amid ongoing protests against systemic racism and calls to defund the police, sparked outrage among many who called it further proof of discrimination in law enforcement and the justice system.

“I’m very upset, very angry. I thought our country was based on fair laws that treated all human beings equally,” said Walied Khogali, co-founder of the Coalition Against White Supremacists and Islamophobia.

“This takes a toll on you mentally, to see poeople getting brutalized without repercussions,” added Ashleigh-Rae Thomas, one of the protest organizers.

Miller, who was arrested as he lay bleeding on the ground and only saw the charges against him dropped months later, said the ruling does not feel like a loss.

“I remember the night it happened to me and I ended up getting charged. Now we’re in the situation where an officer has been held accountable to some extent,” Miller, now 22, said Friday afternoon.

“There’s a lot of people in my position who don’t get the same backing I got and don’t get to have their day to have any vindication for what they’re going through.”

Miller’s lawyer, Julian Falconer, said “important progress” had been made in the ongoing battle to hold authorities accountable.

“The force used that night by the Theriault brothers was found to have been more than likely intended to exact vigilante justice,” he said in a statement.

“The events of that night raise questions about the entire approach of the Toronto Police Service and the Durham (Regional) Police service in attempting to shield the Theriault brothers from being held to account for their actions. We have to put an end to this type of brutality and inevitable cover up.”

The assault conviction comes with a maximum sentence of five years. Aggravated assault would have carried a 10-year-maximum.

Still, Miller said he was grateful, thanking his supporters.

“I could have easily been convicted of one of those charges they put on me that night,” said Miller. “But instead I’m here today. So I don’t feel I took a loss. I feel like there is a long way to go and we just took a step forward.”

Falconer says the incident highlights a larger trend in policing, saying this was not a one-off but indicative of a systemic problem.

“As a lawyer at it for 30 years in the area of police accountability I can tell you with absolute certitude that the one hallmark of police abuse cases in every situation is that the victim of police brutality is the subject of the charge.”

He also called for a federal commission of inquiry to bring out the truth about beatings and killings of racialized and Indigenous peoples in police custody.

Falconer also questioned what role the father of the Theriault brothers – a Toronto police detective – played in the initial investigation and what he calls a cover-up by the two police forces in their failure to notify the Special Investigations Unit. The pair were found not guilty of obstruction of justice even though the provincial watchdog is supposed to take over cases where an interaction with police ends in death or serious injury.

“As chief I can’t deny that this matter will have an increased strain on a relationship between police and the community, specifically the Black community,” said Toronto police chief Mark Saunders.

Saunders says now that the criminal proceedings are over, three more investigations will continue including an OIPRD investigation being conducted by Waterloo Regional Police Service.

“We must acknowledge and respect the deep anger this event caused for many in our community. Sadly, we cannot undo events of the past, nor erase the suffering this incident inflicted on a young man and his family,” said Durham police chief Paul Martin. “We didn’t need a trial in this case to tell us something was broken in the system and we didn’t wait for a final court judgement to begin correcting those problems.”

He added that next month they will begin collecting race-based data and adding “duty to intervene” training to ensure officers call out bad behaviour.

“This is not an isolated incident, this is not about one bad apple. The ongoing victimization of racialized and Indigenous people as a result of police abuse and police violence is a systemic, chronic problem,” said Falconer.

The lawyer for the Theriault brothers did not comment on the verdict, saying the matter was still before the courts. He has 30 days to appeal the verdict.

Files from The Canadian Press were used in this report

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Lenox Square, Perimeter Mall Among Stores Microsoft Will Permanently Close – What Now Atlanta

June 26th, 2020

iOS 14 preview: We got an early look at the changes coming to your iPhone this fall – CNET

June 26th, 2020

Younger people coming to ER for other reasons, then testing positive for COVID-19 – WPLG Local 10

June 26th, 2020

PLANTATION, Fla. – In a period of ten days, Jackson Health System in Miami has doubled the number of patients they have seen coming through their doors.

Carlos A. Migoya, president and CEO of Jackson Health System, says there are some challenges.

“A lot of these people are younger and about 40 percent of them are coming in to Jackson for other reasons,” Migoya said. “They’ve ended up in a car accident or other things, and as we test every patient that comes in, we have found them to be (COVID-19) positive. So they are not necessarily as sick as some of the other ones and many of them are asymptomatic.”

Migoya said it is concerning because the group is unaware they are infected with the disease and only discover they are positive when they come into the emergency room for another ailment.

With 30,196 coronavirus cases in Miami-Dade County and 13,320 cases in Broward County as of June 26, local hospitals are expressing concern.

From June 25 through June 26, Broward residents hospitalized were 1,920, which is 15 percent of all people testing positive for COVID-19 in the county, according to the Florida Department of Health.

In Miami-Dade County, hospitalizations in the same time period were 3,887, which is 13 percent of all cases of people testing positive for the coronavirus.

There’s now a closer focus on areas that are considered hot zones including Allapatah, Little Havana and Brownsville, all in Miami-Dade County.

“We are working on some specific zip codes in Miami-Dade County,” Migoya said.

The rate of hospitalization for people who test positive for the coronavirus in their 20s is under 4%, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. For those over 60, the rates go up, to more than 20%. The fatality rate for people in their 20s and 30s without underlying health conditions is about 0.1%.

At Jackson Health System, the intensive care unit has not seen much of an increase and they have been able to balance that while keeping a close eye on those numbers. However, the hospital has had five straight days where they have hovered at the peak number of patients.

Gov. Ron DeSantis has consistently highlighted that the median age of patients being diagnosed with COVID-19 in the state of Florida is dropping.

In short, younger people are testing positive and showing less severe symptoms.

“I think the folks that are going into the hospital now, fortunately, are skewing younger with less acuity,” DeSantis said, noting that the median age of people diagnosed with the virus in the state has dropped to 37. “And obviously we want to keep as many people out [of the hospital] as we can.”

Dr. Aileen Marty, infectious disease expert at Florida International University, says that because the median age is skewing younger, we should not take it lightly.

“Since we’re seeing a higher percentage of individuals who are younger and younger individuals do not tend to get as ill, although we are seeing an increased number of people coming to the hospital and we have been filling up more hospital beds and ICU beds, the bulk of positives are in people who do not require hospitalizations. That’s a misleading way of presenting it,” said Marty.

“It is important that those people with milder symptoms still have tremendously high viral loads and can infect those among us who are more likely to end up in the hospital. It’s just a matter of time when we see increase in hospitalizations from those younger individuals that are positive.”

Speaking at FIU last Friday, Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez stressed that while the younger people being diagnosed with COVID-19 are believed to be at a lesser risk for major complications, it’s critical for them to be just as vigilant in following safety measures because they can spread the disease to more vulnerable people.

On Friday, Miami Mayor Francis Suarez made wearing a face mask in public mandatory in Miami. Not wearing one will cost you.

“The first instance, it is a warning,” the mayor said. “The second instance, “it’s a $50 fine. The third instance, It’s a $150 fine, and a fourth, it’s a $500 fine.” He said ultimately, not wearing a mask could be an offense that could lead to an arrest.


The Coronavirus Was Detected In Sewage In March Of 2019, Far From Wuhan, China – Forbes

June 26th, 2020

As new cases of Covid-19 reach record levels in the United States, there’s new evidence the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 that causes the disease has been with us much longer than previously thought.

Researchers from the University of Barcelona say they detected the virus in sewage samples were collected in the Spanish city on March 12, 2019. That’s several months before the first cases that would lead to the current pandemic were officially identified in Wuhan, China in early December.

It’s previously been reported sewage samples suggested the coronavirus was present in Spain in mid-January of this year, over a month before the first case was confirmed there.

The team analyzed frozen waster water samples from nine different dates between January 2018 and December 2019. All the samples came back negative for the presence of SARS-CoV-2 genetic material, except for low levels that were found in the March 12, 2019 sample.

It’s a little odd, to say the least, that the coronavirus popped up only once in Barcelona’s wastewater nearly a year before Spain reported its first cases.

“When it’s just one result, you always want more data, more studies, more samples to confirm it and rule out a laboratory error or a methodological problem,” Dr Joan Ramon Villalbi of the Spanish Society for Public Health and Sanitary Administration told Reuters. “It’s definitely interesting, it’s suggestive.”

In their summary of their findings, the team makes a point to note the oft-repeated theory that some particularly rough influenza cases that were reported in the months prior to the new coronavirus emerging may have actually been Covid-19 cases.

“It has been suggested that some uncharacterized influenza cases may have masked COVID-19 cases in the 2019-2020 season,” the Barcelona researchers write.

“Those infected with COVID-19 could have been diagnosed with flu in primary care by mistake, contributing to the community transmission before the public health took measures,” adds co-author Albert Bosch in a statement. Bosch is also president of the Spanish Society of Virology.

It’s important also to note that this research has not yet been peer reviewed, which is a key part of the scientific vetting process prior to publication in a journal. However, given the need for information on the origin and spread of the pandemic, many scientists are publicly sharing and promoting their data prior to publication, but it should still be treated as preliminary and taken with a grain of salt.

A preprint draft of the research is available on the medRXiv server.


Samsung Galaxy S20 in Korea updated with July OTA, brings camera improvements – news –

June 26th, 2020

Toronto officer guilty of assault after blinding black man – BBC News

June 26th, 2020
Dafonte MillerImage copyright Getty Images

An off-duty Toronto police officer has been convicted of assault after blinding a black man in an attack with a metal pipe four years ago.

Dafonte Miller, 19, was chased and attacked by officer Michael Theriault and his brother Christian.

The brawl ended with Mr Miller badly injured and in handcuffs.

The victim, whose injuries were so severe his left eye had to be removed, said the officer should have been convicted of a more serious charge.

On Friday, Michael Theriault was convicted of assault, a lesser offence than his initial charge of aggravated assault. His brother Christian was found not guilty of aggravated assault.

Both brothers were also found not guilty of attempting to obstruct justice.

Cries of “Shame!” were heard outside the courthouse, where the verdict was delivered on a loudspeaker to a crowd of Mr Miller’s supporters, according to local media.

“While I am disappointed that both Michael and Christian Theriault were not convicted of all charges, I am grateful that Justice Di Luca found Michael Theriault guilty of assaulting me,” Mr Miller said in a press conference after the verdict.

He and his lawyer Julian Falconer are calling on a wider inquiry into police accountability, and why it took local authorities to report the incident to the police watchdog the Special Investigations Unit, which is supposed to investigate incidents where civilians are injured by police – on duty or off.

The four-hour ruling was broadcast on YouTube, where it had more than 20,000 views.

Ontario Superior Court Justice Joseph Di Luca said he was aware of the case’s high profile, but could not let that influence his verdict.

“I want to make one thing very clear: I am not saying that race has nothing to do with this case. Indeed, I am mindful of the need to carefully consider the racialised context from which this case arises,” he said.

What happened to Dafonte Miller?

Michael Theriault, who was then 24, saw Mr Miller and friends getting into his lorry parked outside his parents’ home in Oshawa, Ontario, on 28 December 2016.

The court heard how Michael ran out in late December in just his socks, chasing Mr Miller in one direction while his 21-year-old brother Christian chased another young man in another direction.

Mr Miller has repeatedly denied wrongdoing, although Justice Di Luca found his innocence “not credible”.

All charges related to the alleged car-hopping – a term describing petty thefts from unlocked vehicles – have been dropped.

Michael Theriault says he chased Mr Miller because he wanted to apprehend and arrest him, but by his own admission, at no point during the chase did he identify himself as a police officer, or tell Mr Miller he was under arrest.

Justice Di Luca said during his ruling: “To be blunt, I would have expected the first thing out of Michael Theriault’s mouth as he was chasing Mr Miller while wearing only socks would have been: ‘Stop, you are under arrest. I’m a police officer.'”

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Michael Theriault (left) and his brother Christian

What is more likely, Justice Di Luca said, was that the Theriaults wanted to administer “street justice” and had little intention of conducting an arrest.

On a 911 call made by Christian Theriault after beating Mr Miller, the younger brother can be heard saying: “You picked the wrong cars.”

After catching up with Mr Miller, the two struggled, with Christian eventually joining the fray. That is when the brawl turned into a “one-sided” fight, the judge found.

Mr Miller says the brothers punched, kicked and hit him with an object that was likely a 4ft (1.3m) metal pipe found at the scene.

An expert pathologist says it was likely a punch, and not the pipe, that blinded him.

Bleeding, Mr Miller rang a neighbour’s doorbell and asked them to call 911. That is when Michael Theriault hit Mr Miller in the face with a pipe, the court heard.

When police arrived, Mr Miller was restrained on the ground, with Michael Theriault’s knee on his back. Officers gave Michael Theriault a set of handcuffs to restrain Mr Miller.

What’s the distinction between assault and aggravated assault?

In Canadian law, aggravated assault is an assault that “wounds, maims, disfigures or endangers the life of the complainant”.

Justice Di Luca said that because it was not clear who had the pipe during the brawl where Mr Miller was blinded, he cannot say without a reasonable doubt that the two brothers did not act in self-defence.

Mr Miller denies ever striking anyone with the pipe. DNA evidence shows only his blood on the pipe. Michael Theriault had no significant injuries, and his brother suffered a mild concussion.

“By that stage, they were probably just beating on Mr Miller. Probability, however, is not the test for a criminal case,” the judge said.

The judge found this “razor-thin” justification for self-defence evaporated when Michael Theriault hit Mr Miller after he asked the neighbour to call 911.

As to why he acquitted the brothers – who failed to mention the pipe to police – of obstruction of justice, Justice Di Luca said that while he was “troubled” by their omissions, the trauma of the situation could have affected their memory.

He also said that when giving additional testimony to police two weeks after the incident, police failed to directly ask Christian Theriault if he or his brother ever hit Mr Miller with the pipe.

At that point, police were still investigating Mr Miller as the suspect.

What happens next?

Toronto police Chief Mark Saunders said his “heart goes out” to Mr Miller and his family.

In 2017, he asked Waterloo police to investigate the circumstances surrounding the assault, and why neither Oshawa nor Toronto police reported Mr Miller’s injuries to the SIU immediately.

That investigation was paused during the criminal proceedings, but can resume, he says.

Michael Theriault, who is currently suspended with pay, will also face a professional disciplinary board.

The Toronto Police Association, the union representing police officers, declined to comment as Michael Theriault has yet to be sentenced.

He will be back in court on 15 July, to determine future plans for his sentencing hearing. He remains on bail.

The verdict has fuelled calls to defund the police. Toronto city council is currently debating a 10% budget cut to police. The move is not supported by the city’s mayor, John Tory, who is proposing a number of reforms.

As for Mr Miller, who wears a prosthetic eye and says he still suffers from chronic pain because of his injuries, he thinks the verdict is not the end of the matter.

“I don’t feel like I took a loss. I feel like there’s a long way to go and we just took a step forward,” he said.

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‘Mulan’ Moves Release Date To August 21 With NY, LA & China Theaters Still Not Open – Deadline

June 26th, 2020

It’s official — at least for the time being: Disney said Friday it is moving Niki Caro’s Mulan release date from July 25 to August 21, the weekend after Tenet‘s five-day opening from August 12-16.

We were hearing noise about this earlier this week, as we told you, with COVID-19 cases surging nationwide and theaters reopening in New York, Los Angeles and China up in the air. Even though California has provided guidelines for cinemas to reopen, Los Angeles County hasn’t given the go-ahead yet.

The good news here for exhibition is that Disney has a plan to open Mulan in the near future, close to Tenet and not during the holidays or 2021 (or even on Disney+, for that matter). Mulan‘s moola will be greatly appreciated.

“While the pandemic has changed our release plans for Mulan and we will continue to be flexible as conditions require, it has not changed our belief in the power of this film and its message of hope and perseverance,” said Alan Horn, co-chairman and chief creative officer, and Alan Bergman, co-chairman, The Walt Disney Studios. “Director Niki Caro and our cast and crew have created a beautiful, epic, and moving film that is everything the cinematic experience should be, and that’s where we believe it belongs – on the world stage and the big screen for audiences around the globe to enjoy together.”

What happens now is we’ll likely see the cinemas, such as AMC, shift their reopening schedule. What was July 10 for the No. 1 circuit’s reopening will likely become July 31, with tiered reopenings occurring August 7 and August 12. I hear Cinemark is reopening 75 theaters next weekend and will rely, natch, on catalog product; that’s from a source, not one of the chain’s insiders. For the most part, the majority of the nation’s exhibitors will be near a 4 1/2-month shutdown come July 31 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

We’ll hammer out a revised summer (what is now turning into fall) release schedule after we see where Solstice Studios puts Unhinged, Sony puts Broken Hearts Gallery, and where STX places Greenland. MGM just moved Bill & Ted Face the Music from August 14 to August 28 after Tenet plopped on its release date.


Ubisoft places multiple employees on leave following allegations of misconduct – The Verge

June 26th, 2020

Dr DisRespect banned from Twitch for reasons unknown – CNET

June 26th, 2020