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Unofficial Ballot Drop Box Appears In Front Of Baptist Church in Castaic

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Picture of unofficial ballot box outside of Freedom’s Way Baptist Church. (Image via KCAL9)
Picture of unofficial ballot box outside of Freedom’s Way Baptist Church. (Image via KCAL9)

Mail-in ballot voting is the main go-to way of voting this year, but many criticize its “inefficient” way of electing people into office due to ways it can be manipulated. Social media users have spotted examples of said misleading acts, such as an unofficial ballot box posted outside a church in southern California.

What We Know:

  • Pastor Jerry Cook posted the photo on Facebook with the caption “Our church has a voting drop box in front of our complex — if you are voting early, drop your ballot on by”. The image showed a grey metal container with a sheet of paper on it saying “Official Ballot Drop Box” outside of Freedom’s Way Baptist Church.
  • It was reported that many residents have contacted the L.A. County Recorder/Registrar’s office over the matter. A recent social media post responding to the circling image warned, “This is not an official vote by mail dropbox and does not comply with [state] regulations for drop boxes”. Official California ballot boxes can be found in their most recent tweet below.

  • According to told KCAL9, the registrar’s office stated they attempted to reach Pastor Cook and to issue a cease and desist letter, but the dropbox disappeared since then. Other posts on the church’s website show content such as a forum hosted for local Republican candidates and criticism over the Black Lives Matter movement (BLM). Other locals were also skeptical of the church’s intentions with the unofficial ballot box.
  • The incident at this church isn’t the first time unofficial boxes have popped up in the region. State officials are now hunting down fake ballot boxes allegedly placed by Republicans in LA, Orange, and Fresno counties. Cease-and-desist letters are also being sent out to the California Republican Party and other local GOP groups to order their removal, according to Secretary of State Alex Padilla.

“These boxes are not the same as county election drop boxes that are required to meet state security standards as well as other regulations,” Padilla stated in a press conference on Monday.

  • “Unauthorized, unofficial drop boxes are not permitted by state law and to misrepresent these boxes further misleads voters and erodes the public trust,” he continued.
  • A spokesman for the California Republican Party cited a “2016 state law” where anyone can collect ballots with containers such as the metal filing cabinet found at the church. California Attorney General Xavier Becerra disproved that claim and explained that anyone who does this “are subject to prosecution for engaging in activities that are against the law in the state of California”.

There are roughly 400 mail ballot drop boxes around LA County and they can be found at LAvote.net. These fraudulent boxes come at a time where nearly 21 million Californians have received mail-in ballots and skepticism about postal service reliability is at an all-time high. With the election drawing close, the proper procedure is now more important than ever.

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Javier Garay is Media & News SVCS Intern at UnmutedCo. He is currently enrolled in the University of North Georgia seeking a bachelor's degree in Film/Digital Media with a concentration in Media Studies. Javier writes for Black News Alerts (BNA) along with social media management for both BNA and BossFM, and is a part of the BNA Daily Podcast Team.

Crime

Florida Woman Used Tire Iron to Beat 3-Year-Old Boy to Death

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Te'Lea JeffersonLeon County Detention Facility

Police in north Florida have arrested a woman accused of repeatedly beating a 3-year-old boy with a tire iron before he died.

What We Know:

  • Tallahassee police state 23-year-old Te’Lea Jefferson is charged with murder and aggravated battery for the toddler’s death.
  • As stated by Tallahassee Democrat, Jefferson took the non-responsive boy to the emergency room located at Tallahassee Memorial Hospital, according to records at 6:58 p.m., with critical injury to his head and face. Two minutes later, he was pronounced dead.
  • WCTV reported that Jefferson told officers the little boy was standing on the sink while brushing his teeth when he fell. She insisted he hit his head on the toilet, and broken pieces of porcelain produced cuts on the boy’s body.
  • The arrest affidavit states the toddler’s damages were not compatible with a fall due to the child having severe cuts on his face and hands, along with bruises on his arms and legs. There were also signs of older wounds on his torso and shoulder.
  • After police said the events stated by Jefferson didn’t add up, she reportedly confessed she beat the boy because he wouldn’t stop standing on the sink.
  • The arrest report mentions she threw the tire iron at him and confessed to using it to hit the child numerous times, including after he tried to run away. She then informed the police she hid the tire iron outside of the home.
  • Investigators said Jefferson also revealed that she physically punished the boy before, telling officers he was stubborn. The majority of the time required more strikes or blows than his older sibling, the arrest report mentions. Police state she also assumed that the little boy was possibly already dead before driving him to the hospital.
  • Reports state that Jefferson lived with the victim and his 6-year-old brother, both of whom endured abuse in the past.

A judge has ordered Jefferson to be held without bond. Jefferson is expected to appear in court again on Thursday.

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Crime

Makers of Oxycontin to Plead Guilty to 3 Charges as Part of $8 Billion Lawsuit

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(AP Photo/Toby Talbot, File)

Purdue Pharma, the creator of OxyContin, has agreed to plead guilty to three federal criminal charges for its part in creating the nation’s opioid crisis and will pay more than $8 billion and shut down the company.

What We Know:

  • The charges involve conspiracy to defraud the United States and violating federal anti-kickback laws. The money will be used for opioid treatment and abatement programs. The privately held company has accepted to pay a $3.5 billion fine and relinquish an extra $2 billion in past profits, in addition to the $2.8 billion it agreed to pay in civil liability.
  • The company does not have $8 billion in cash handy to pay the fines. So Purdue will be terminated as part of the settlement, and its assets will be used to create a new “public benefit company” controlled by a trust or similar item designed for the benefit of the American public.

  • The Justice Department said it would perform entirely in the public interest rather than to maximize profits. Its projected earnings will go to paying the fines and penalties, which in turn will be used to battle the opioid crisis.
  • That new company will keep producing painkillers such as OxyContin and drugs to deal with opioid overdose. Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen, who published the settlement, defended the new company’s plans to continue to sell that drug, stating there are authorized uses for painkillers such as OxyContin.
  • The idea is for the company to make life-saving overdose rescue drugs and medically assisted treatment medications available at steep discounts to communities dealing with the opioid crisis.
  • The company that had filed for bankruptcy in 2019 pleaded guilty to violating federal anti-kickback laws, as it paid doctors apparently to write more opioid prescriptions.
  • The Justice Department also reached a separate $225 million civil settlement with the former owners of Purdue Pharma, the Sackler family. Although, the Sackler family, as well as other current and former employees and owners of the company, face the chance that federal criminal charges will be filed against them.
  • Purdue Chairman Steve Miller, who joined Purdue in 2018, stated:

“Purdue deeply regrets and accepts responsibility for the misconduct detailed by the Department of Justice.” “Purdue today is a very different company. We have made significant changes to our leadership, operations, governance, and oversight.”

This proposal will be executed as quickly as possible to help address the needs of people who suffer from opioid addiction and abuse.

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Crime

Racial Tensions Rise in South Africa Over Farm Killing

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Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) supporters standoff with farmers supporting United Against Farm Murders AfriForum during the bail application for two men accused of murdering young farmer manager, Brendin Horner, Senekal, South Africa, 16 October 2020. (EPA Photo)

A tense standstill between white farmers and Black activists took over the South African town of Senekal on Friday as two men accused of killing a white farm manager were to appear in court.

What We Know:

  • More than 100 police watched the area in front of the courthouse in the Free State province and applied barbed wire to separate the rival groups.

  • Sekwetjie Mahlamba and Sekola Matlaletsa made an appearance in the justice court on charges of murdering Brendin Horner, 21, on Oct. 1. Their bail petition was delayed until Oct. 20.
  • About 250 white farmers rallied to protest the killing, stating that police do not appropriately protect white farmers. At an earlier court trial last week, a group of white farmers attacked the court and burned a police car.
  • The country’s leftist opposite party, the Economic Freedom Fighters, assembled about 1,000 of its supporters to confront the white farmers in front of the court. They sang songs and shouted catchwords calling for South Africa’s land to be returned to Black residents. Some supporters were dressed in the EFF party’s red uniforms and berets.
  • Although most white farmers and organizations representing them have called for farm killings to be made a top crime, the government contends that white farmers are not being attacked, stating the violence is a consequence of South Africa’s relatively high crime rate. South Africa has one of the essential crime statistics in the world, with a murder frequency of just over 58 deaths a day.
  • White farmers owned a great deal of South Africa’s best farmland due to the eviction of Black farmers when a white minority governed the country. Although South Africa now has majority rule, land ownership remains a contentious issue, with parties like the EFF prompting the government to take white-owned land without compensation and return it to Black families.

The Senekal murder has also raised the debatable issue of land ownership in the country.

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