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Florida School Principal Will Not be Charged for Paddling Student

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Deputy Chief Assistant State Attorney Abraham R. Thornburg released a three-page memo in which he wrote that according to Florida law, spankings don’t equal child abuse.

What We Know:

  • Thornburg added that Fabiola Rivera, the child’s mother, could permit others to discipline her child on her behalf. Thornburg went on to mention Rivera was “uncooperative” in the state attorney’s investigation. Because of this, he questioned her credibility.
  • Footage surfaced on the internet last week of Central Elementary School Principal Melissa Carter paddling Rivera’s daughter with the help of clerk Cecilia Self. Carter punished the little girl after she damaged a school computer. In the video, Carter reprimands the daughter for being disrespectful. At one point, Carter said the little would be spanked “all the time” if she were her daughter.

“I wish you would try to call the police on me… That’s called being a brat. … I wouldn’t give you money for anything. I wouldn’t get you nice clothes. You would get what you got, and that’s it,” said the principal.

  • She recorded the incident on her cellphone, and the next day reported the incident. Clewiston Police Department and Hendry County District Schools decided to pursue an investigation in light of these allegations. Rivera’s attorney Brent Probinsky believed the paddling could be deemed as aggravated battery.
  • There are multiple interpretations of the situation. For example, Self says she explained to the mother in Spanish that her child broke property at the school. Rivera apparently replied that the girl also would destroy items around the house; however, she feared disciplining her because the child threatened to call the Department of Children and Family (DCF). Furthermore, the state attorney’s office stated the mother gave permission to paddle her daughter after getting to the school.
  • WINK-TV reported that Rivera denies these claims. Probinsky said officials requested she brings $50 to pay for the computer. They also informed her that they sometimes hit their students. In regards to Self’s translations, she says they were inaccurate. She says she filmed the punishment to ensure people would believe her.
  • Thornburg asserted that the recording was “cut and released to the media at different times.” Therefore, It resulted in an “incomplete and misleading account.” Additionally, the mother’s comment on “sacrifice” does not match her initial statement where she said she was confused and did not consent. Also, the state attorney’s office declared the child had no evidence of “great bodily harm, permanent harm or permanent disfigurement” to justify aggravated battery charges.
  • Probinsky disagrees with the state attorney’s version of the story. He expressed disappointment at the state attorney for not ensuring Carter and Self take accountability for their actions. Probinsky said one does not give permission to do illegal things.

Probinsky asked: “Every school that allows paddling gives a written permission slip. … The first opportunity she has, the mom goes to the sheriff’s office. How could she give permission for something that she thinks is wrong?”

  • Although corporal punishment is legal in Florida, the Hendry County School District does not allow it. This means Carter and Self might still be punished and face disciplinary action.

After the incident, Rivera transferred the child to another school within the district. Probinsky also revealed the girl had suffered emotional distress from the beating. Furthermore, he said the state attorney’s decision sends a “chilling” message to Florida educators and that parents should see Carter’s behavior as concerning.

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Headlines

Diego Maradona’s Doctor and Six Others to be Questioned in His Death

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Soccer icon Diego Maradona suffered a heart attack weeks after undergoing brain surgery for a blood clot and died in November 2020 at 60 years old. After this, two of his children filed a complaint with the Argentine Justice Department against neurosurgeon Leopoldo Luque, citing that he allowed their father’s health to deteriorate. Medical experts agreed with their claims.

What We Know:

  • Argentina’s public prosecutor brought in a panel of twenty medical authorities to analyze Maradona’s treatment. They concluded that the care the legend received held “deficiencies and irregularities;” they also determined the medical team left his survival “to fate” and could have survived if tended to at a healthcare facility. Maradona died in a rented Buenos Aires home, where he obtained home care.
  • Alongside Luque, psychiatrist Agustina Cosachov, psychologist Carlos Diaz, nurses Ricardo Almiron and Dahiana Madrid, nursing coordinator Mariano Perroni, and medical coordinator Nancy Forlini will face interrogation.
  • Beginning Monday and spanning two weeks, the seven will appear “one by one” before prosecutors to reply to the allegations. They may receive charges such as manslaughter if found guilty.
  • The hearings were supposed to begin last month, but officials needed to postpone them due to a spike in COVID-19 cases. Prosecutors will end questioning on June 28 with Luque. Once this finishes, a judge will decide if the matter should proceed in court. This process may take months or years. While awaiting their fate, the seven must follow strict rules, such as not leaving the country. They risk eight to twenty-five years in prison if they do so.
  • Luque actively denies all the accusations against him. He claims he “tried his best” and offered Maradona everything he could. He also states that the soccer player accepted some things and denied others.

In addition, Luque says that Maradona felt very depressed in his final days; he declares that the “quarantine hit him very hard.” Because of this, Dr. Luque wants dismissal of the case. Despite his pleas, the courts will continue their movement to bring justice to Maradona’s family and fans.

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Headlines

Senate Announces Bipartisan $1 Trillion Infrastructure Deal

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(Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

A bipartisan group of 10 Senators have been engaged in negotiations with President Biden to create an infrastructure bill. After negotiations ceased this Tuesday, the group announced they have a tentative plan to propose in the coming weeks.

What We Know:

  • The plan includes $579 billion in new spending, which would add up to $1.2 trillion over eight years. Senators said in a statement that the proposal would be paid for and would not include tax increases. There have been talks amongst the group of indexing the gas tax to inflation to cover the cost, but Biden’s unwillingness to raise taxes for those who make less than $400,000 a year would prove difficult.
  • Republicans are skeptical of this deal and Democrats are impatient. Many are hopeful that a bipartisan agreement will pass. In a joint statement, the group said, “We are discussing our approach with our respective colleagues, and the White House, and remain optimistic that this can lay the groundwork to garner broad support both parties and meet America’s infrastructure needs.”
  • Some Democrats are vehemently opposed to the deal as it makes no mention of clean energy or climate change. They are encouraging leadership to push through a partisan bill, which still would require ten votes on the Republican side to pass.
  • Regardless of opinion, many agree that a bill needs to pass swiftly. Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut is among these representatives, “I worry about time being wasted. Even if our Republican colleagues [work in] good faith, we simply do not have the time to delay.”

The uncertainty in this decision follows a few weeks of tumult in the Senate between Democrats and Republicans. White House spokesperson Andrew Bates said in a statement, “Senior White House staff and the Jobs Cabinet will work with the Senate group in the days ahead to get answers to those questions, as we also consult with other members in both the House and the Senate on the path forward.”

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Crime

Man Arrested After Shooting At Gilroy Cops During Pursuit

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A 36-year-old man was arrested Wednesday night after he led Gilroy police officers on a high-speed pursuit.

What We Know:

  • The chase occurred around 9 p.m after police attempted to stop a man named Joshua Munoz. According to authorities, Munoz had warrants out for his arrest and was wanted for outstanding felony and misdemeanor charges.
  • Munoz was charged with possession of a firearm, resisting arrest, child endangerment, brandishing a weapon, burglary, and violating probation. Munoz was pursued by officers onto Highway 101 where he allegedly opened fire. Reportedly, he held a pistol out of the driver’s side window and fired a round at officers. Nobody was injured during the incident.
  • The pursuit reached Monterey County and then the California Highway Patrol took over the chase. Munoz eventually lost control of his vehicle and crashed. Afterward, Munoz attempted to flee, but officers managed to capture him.
  • Police recovered a handgun and rifle on the scene. Munoz was later booked into Santa Clara County jail. In addition to previous warrants, Munoz has also been charged with attempted murder of a police officer, felony evasion, felon in possession of a firearm, and resisting arrest.

Police are still investigating and are asking anyone with additional information to contact detectives at 408-046-0335 or the anonymous tip line at 408-846-0330.

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