After months of back and forth discussion on the fate of the Illinois teenager Kyle Rittenhouse, accused of killing two protesters and wounding another during protests in Kenosha after the police shooting of Jacob Blake, a Wisconsin court has set a $2 million bond for him.
What We Know:
- Rittenhouse was detained at his Antioch, Illinois home only a day after the August 25th shooting of two men, 36-year-old Joseph Rosenbaum and 26-year-old Anthony Huber, who were fatally shot that night of demonstrations. A third man, Gaige Grosskreutz, was also injured.
- After he was extradited back to Wisconsin on Friday, the 17-year-old appeared in a Kenosha County court via video on Monday. According to court records, he faces two felony homicide charges, attempted homicide, underage possession of a dangerous weapon, and reckless endangerment.
- The bond came about when Assistant District Attorney Thomas Binger imposed to Court Commissioner Loren Keating to have the bond at $2 million due to the severity of the charges and because the court believes Rittenhouse is a “flight risk”.
“There is a certainty that if the defendant is convicted, he will be sent to prison and a strong likelihood that he will serve most, if not the remainder of his life, in prison if he is convicted of these charges,” Binger stated in the hearing.
- Binger also made a point that the shooter did not reside in Wisconsin and that his attorneys fought extradition. “I take that all to mean that the defendant doesn’t want to be here and if released, won’t come back,” he said.
- The shootings happened during a night of protests where unrest erupted after a viral video of Jacob Blake’s shooting went public. The officers involved have since been put on administrative leave, and a Wisconsin Department of Justice has an ongoing investigation of the incident.
- Back to the viral video of Rittenhouse, he fled the scene of the shooting and walked towards the police. There was a distinct moment when Rittenhouse stated, “I just killed somebody.” In retaliation, others attacked him and from the crowd, one could hear people yelling “Beat him up!” and “Get him,” according to complaints filed by prosecutors
Before the $2M bond was set, Rittenhouse’s attorney Mark Richards, stated during Monday’s hearing that his client was attacked and acted in self-defense. He explained how Rittenhouse seemingly tried to turn himself in after the shooting but police ignored his approach. Richards later requested for the bond to be set to $750,000, but to no avail.
Classes canceled at Howard University as US Government investigates ransomware cyberattack
Howard University officials along with leading cyber experts are trying to assess what has been compromised in an active ransomware, cyberattack on the HBCU campus. Officials have deemed the attack criminal.
What We Know:
- Monday, the university issued a statement to faculty and students that “the service disruption was caused by a ransomware cyberattack against the university.”
- Classes have been canceled for Tuesday and Wednesday. Students have been notified that online and hybrid classes will remain canceled and only essential staff will be allowed on campus. All in-person undergraduate, graduate, professional, and clinical experiential courses will resume as scheduled on Wednesday.
- A ransomware attack can be triggered by simple, everyday activity. Opening a unintended link inside of can lead to a cyberattack. Computer, tablet and phone users are encouraged to change their passwords and security questions regularly.
Howard University is home to several notable high profile Black alumni such as Chadwick Boseman and Phylicia Rashad.
New Orleans 911 Operator Wanted After Allegedly Disconnecting Calls on Purpose
A New Orleans 911 operator deliberately disconnected emergency calls without obtaining necessary information or relaying the callers’ emergencies to other dispatchers, and she is now facing arrest, according to authorities.
What We Know:
- Precious Stephens, 25, is wanted on a count of malfeasance in office, and she remained at large Thursday, police said. She has been fired from her job as a 911 operator, officials said.
“(The district) has and will continue to cooperate with the … investigation into this matter and dedicated to providing any and all assistance to aid in (the) efforts.”
- Stephens worked for the Orleans Parish Communication District, which dispatches first responders to 911 calls. On Aug. 24, the district reported to police that Stephens had deliberately disconnected 911 calls without obtaining vital information or informing other dispatchers about the callers who were in need of help. The district conducted an investigation into the quality of a random set of calls when they detected the problems with Stephens during her shifts Aug. 20 and Aug. 21, officials said. A statement from the district highlighted how its own internal protocols identified the issues with Stephens, who was immediately turned over to police and dismissed from her post.
Police asked anyone who knows where Stephens is to call Crimestoppers at (504) 822-1111. Tipsters may be eligible for a cash reward.
Louisiana law defines malfeasance in office as unlawfully performing a job in public service. It can carry up to five years in prison.
R&B Star R. Kelly Jurors Summoned for Sex Trafficking Trial
The first phase of R. Kelly‘s trial began on Aug. 9 with a jury selection after several delays.
What We Know:
- U.S. District Judge Ann Donnelly asked potential jurors if they could keep an open mind about Kelly as he faces charges for abusing women and girls for nearly two decades. Donnelly also reminded jurors that Kelly was presumed innocent, so they should not feel influenced by any bad publicity the singer experienced because of the accusations.
- Due to pandemic restrictions, the event took place online. Because of this, Kelly and the jurors faced difficulty popping up on the screen and the audio cut off at times.
- During the trial, jurors will expect to hear testimonies from several of Kelly’s accusers. In addition, a judge ruled that officials may only use the women’s first names. Currently, Kelly faces sex trafficking charges. Scrutiny around Kelly’s sexual behavior has followed him for decades. These include charges for child pornography. Alongside the sex-trafficking case in New York, Kelly also faces sex-related charges against him in Illinois and Minnesota.
- In addition, prosecutors might provide evidence that Kelly schemed with others to buy a fake ID for late R&B singer Aaliyah. In 1994, when Aaliyah was only 15, Kelly married and began a sexual relationship with her; it is also speculated he impregnated her. Prosecutors believe he married her so that she could not testify against him.
- In regards to his sex-trafficking trial, Kelly denies any wrongdoing; he has pleaded not guilty to leading a criminal enterprise of managers, bodyguards, and other employees who recruited women and girls for sex. Concerning the criminal enterprise, federal prosecutors reported the group found victims at concerts and other venues. After recruiting the women and children, they would make travel arrangements so they could meet with Kelly. Kelly’s lawyers claimed the victims were “groupies” who showed up at his concerts and “were dying to be with” Kelly.
The case is scheduled to officially begin on Aug. 18 with opening statements.