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Stab Wounds Found Despite Examiner’s “Natural Death” Ruling

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A Georgia medical examiner has resigned after a funeral home later discovered stab wounds on victim Ray Anthony Neal.

What We Know:

  • The 61-year-old was found dead in his home last Saturday by his sister, Michelle Smalls. According to the Washington Post, she had seen Neal the night before in a drunken state and told him to stay home. When she went to his apartment in Lawrenceville, Georgia she found him unconscious on his bedroom floor. Initially, she thought he was passed out — until she saw the pool of blood around him and all around the apartment as well. 
  • Investigator Shannon Byers examined the body once it arrived at the Gwinnett County Medical Examiner’s Office and took ONLY TEN MINUTES to examine and rule that Neal died of natural causes.
  • She told Smalls that her brother’s “arteries burst and come through,” but despite Neal’s preexisting conditions (including formerly abusing crack as well as alcohol, high blood pressure, liver problems and Hepatitis C), this ruling did not explain the large amounts of blood.
  • When the body was taken to the funeral home, a worker discovered the stab wounds on Neal’s neck and the family was contacted.
  • “The gentleman noticed he had a hole,” Smalls said, “and I’m like, are you kidding me? You had one job to do and you failed at that.”
  • The medical examiner’s office did a formal autopsy on Monday and Neal’s death was ruled a homicide. According to the Washington Post, officials said that because the investigator was told that Neal had medical conditions, she had chosen to “minimize exposure to pathogens that were potentially present at the scene.” As a result, she hadn’t noticed his injuries.
  • Bynes has resigned and an investigation into the death has begun. Smalls believes that her brother knew his killer. “There were no signs of forced entry, no broken windows, everything was intact,” Smalls said. “So he knew who did this to him.”

Justice for Neal needs to come sooner rather than later.

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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel Ousted After 12 Years

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(Gali Tibbon / AFP / Getty Images file)

In a 60-59 vote, Naftali Bennett took over as Prime Minister after a two-year cycle of political standstill.

What We Know:

  • Benjamin Netanyahu was viewed as a political magician for his ability to remain in office for 12 consecutive years. Recently, he came into critique for his polarizing and autocratic tendencies. He used divide and rule tactics to aggravate rifts in Israeli society such as the ongoing tensions between Jewish and Arabic citizens.
  • Netanyahu was indicted in 2019 for fraud, breach of trust, and accepting bribes. He used his concession speech as an opportunity to berate his political opponents and assured the people he would be back.

“I will lead you in the daily struggle against this evil and dangerous leftist government in order to topple it. God willing, it will happen a lot faster than you think.”

  • Three out of Israel’s eight political parties are headed by former Netanyahu allies that share his beliefs, but developed personal issues with him. Yair Lapid, head of the centrist Yesh Atid party, took it upon himself to create cross-party arrangements to push Netanyahu out of power. Bennett’s victory now places him at the head of a coalition made up of the most diverse members the country has seen.
  • The coalition included right-wing, left-wing, and Arab parties all united under the desire to vote out Netanyahu. This makes it the first coalition in Israel’s history with the involvement of Arab parties. While the coalition was united for this purpose, they are deeply divided when it comes to key issues.
  • Bennett, 49, is a former chief of staff for Netanyahu. He also served as defense minister, economy minister, and education minister amongst other roles under Netanyahu’s regime. He will spend two years as Prime Minister, focusing on domestic issues because of the ideological disparities amongst his coalition. Yair Lapid will then take over for the next two years, as per the coalition’s agreement.
  • President Biden congratulated his victory. The two have agreed to consult on national security and Biden hopes to advance further peace and security for Israelis and Palestinians.

“Twice in history, we have lost our national home precisely because the leaders of the generation were not able to sit with one and another and compromise. Each was right, yet with all their being right, they burnt the house down on top of us,” Bennett said in his speech.

  • Bennett’s regime may have no choice to address larger issues despite their best efforts. While he is choosing to focus on issues such as the relationship of religion and state, cost of living, and quality of life, Israel hasn’t passed a budget since March of 2018. On top of this, the eviction of Palestinian families in the neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah is still awaiting a High Court decision after being delayed in hopes of easing tensions.

Because of the fragile bonds that hold his coalition together, Bennett’s success as Prime Minister hinges on his ability to create compromise. “Citizens of Israel are all looking to us now, and the burden of proof is upon us,” he stated.

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9 Mass Shootings This Weekend Brings Total to 272 This Year

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From Friday afternoon to Sunday, nine mass shootings occurred in six states. This brings the total of mass shootings for 2021 to 272.

What We Know:

  • A mass shooting is defined by the Gun Violence Archive as an incident in which four or more people are shot, regardless of fatalities. Initial reporting from ABC News detailed four mass shootings in the span of six hours this weekend. Further coverage from CNN revealed the number to be nine.
  • In Savannah, Georgia on Friday evening one person was killed and eight others were injured. The youngest victim was 18 months old. Police are still working to identify a suspect or suspects who pulled up to a residential home and opened fire. The same house had been targeted the Tuesday before and the events are believed to be linked.
  • 4 hours later in Austin, Texas, gunfire was reported in the entertainment district. One was reported dead, 13 wounded, and one in critical condition. Police arrested one suspect but another is being sought out.
  • Shots were also fired in Dallas, Texas earlier in the day. Five people were wounded including a four-year-old and four adult victims. Police said the incident occurred when two groups became involved in some sort of disturbance.
  • On Friday afternoon in Washington state, just south of Seattle, officers responded to reports of a shooting. Two people were found dead at the scene and two others were hospitalized with injuries.
  • In North Carolina on Friday night, numerous shots were fired. There were four victims total, one was pronounced dead when responders arrived. Police recovered two guns from the scene and other evidence.
  • In the early morning hours on Saturday in Chicago, Illinois, one woman was fatally shot and nine others injured. Two suspects reportedly approached a crowd in the Chatham neighborhood and opened fire.
  • Two Ohio cities experienced incidences this weekend as well. In Cleveland, three people were killed outside of a gas station Saturday morning. Three other victims were hospitalized. In Cincinnati, at least four people were wounded that same day. Two of the victims aged 6 and 8 are in critical condition.
  • The non-stop incidents that have occurred so far have officials concerned as COVID-19 restrictions lift nationally. Chuck Wexler, executive director of the Police Research Forum, stated, “There was a hope this might simply be a statistical blip that would start to come down. That hasn’t happened. And that’s what really makes chiefs worry that we may be entering a new period where we see a reversal of 20 years of declines in these crimes.”

The Gun Violence Archive reports that the total number of mass shootings so far this year is 40% higher than that of this time in 2020 and 65% higher than in 2019. With gun control legislation continuing to be a hot topic, and with decisions like that of Judge Roger Benitez overturning preexisting legislation, it is unclear what the rest of the year may bring.

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California Awards $15 Million To Victims For Destroyed Embryos

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(Owen Thomas/The Chronicle 2018)

A jury awarded around $15 million to five victims who lost their eggs or embryos in a storage malfunction at Pacific Fertility Center on March 4, 2018.

What We Know:

  • A failure in a cryogenic storage tank destroyed 3,500 eggs and embryos at the Pacific Fertility Center in San Francisco. The case is the first of its kind to award damages to individuals who lost the chance to have biological children. Three of the victims were women who lost eggs and the other two were a married couple whose embryos were compromised.
  • Both the clinic and Chart Industries Inc, the company that manufactured the storage tank, were cited in the lawsuit. A manufacturing defect in the controller arm that read the levels of liquid nitrogen in the tank was at fault. Chart Industries was aware of this defect after the tank was sold but did not recall the equipment.
  • The jury ruled that Chart Industries was 90% responsible and negligent. The remaining 10% of fault was placed on Pacific Fertility Center. Damages awarded were to cover the pain, suffering, and emotional distress the victims suffered as well as the cost of the genetic material.
  • Victims described the emotional turmoil during the trial. Chloe Poynton, 39, testified, “It’s really painful to be at a baby shower celebrating someone else’s family being built and knowing inside you’ll never get that.”
  • A similar failure on the same day occurred in a Cleveland suburb and ruined over 4,000 eggs and embryos. Following both of these catastrophic events, clinics around the nation meticulously reviewed their procedures in hopes of preventing the same result. Other lawsuits have been filed in hopes of receiving compensation for the tragedies.

Adam Wolf, an attorney who specializes in cases like this concerning genetic material, applauded the decision. “These families have suffered an unspeakable loss and still struggle every day with the tragedy that took place more than 3 years ago at Pacific Fertility Clinic,” he said.

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