National Roundup

Sheriff official resigns over offensive emails

LOS ANGELES (AP) - The chief of staff to Los Angeles County Sheriff Jim McDonnell stepped down days after it was revealed he forwarded emails containing jokes mocking minorities, Muslims and women when he worked for the police department in Burbank.

McDonnell said in a statement Sunday he accepted Tom Angel's resignation, calling the emails "deeply troubling." The sheriff previously said he had no immediate plans to discipline Angel.

The Los Angeles Times reported last week that Angel sent the emails between 2012 and 2013 when he was second-in-command at the Burbank Police Department. The Times obtained the emails through public records law.

One email joked about black people and Mexicans filling jail cells. Another listed "towels for hats" for why "Muslim terrorists are so quick to commit suicide." It also said, "You can't wash off the smell of donkey."

Angel told the newspaper he was sorry if he offended anyone and never intended for the emails to become public.

McDonnell said he plans to turn the controversy into a learning opportunity for all LASD personnel.

He said he would introduce random audits of department email accounts. He also said he would meet with various community groups to share ideas about deepening the department's understanding and appreciation of the "many ethnicities and religions that are part of the vibrant fabric of the population we serve."

The department also will examine its training and existing policies for "ensuring accountability and enhancing cultural and ethnic sensitivity and professionalism among our personnel," he said.

Jail didn't save video footage showing cell of man who died

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - An attorney representing the family of a mentally ill inmate who died at a Virginia jail is criticizing officials' decision not to save video footage captured outside the man's cell in the days leading up to his death.

Lt. Col. Eugene Taylor III, an assistant superintendent at the jail, told the Richmond Times Dis­patch ( earlier this month that video images outside Jamycheal Mitchell's cell showed him receiving food through a slot in a door.

But when the newspaper sought a copy of the video, it was told it no longer exists.

Taylor said the system automatically records over existing video every 18 days. The video wasn't saved because it didn't show any type of criminality or negligence, Taylor said.

Mark Krudys, an attorney representing Mitchell's family, said it's inappropriate for jail officials to make that decision on their own.

Mitchell was found dead in his Portsmouth jail cell in August after losing so much weight his heart stopped. State investigators said Mitchell's name wasn't on a waiting list for a bed at a state mental hospital, even though a judge had ordered him to be sent there. He had been arrested for stealing $5 worth of snack food.

Taylor said he saw on the video that Mitchell received food through the door and empty trays were returned. The cameras didn't show whether or not Mitchell actually ate the food, Taylor said.

He said the jail only saves video when there's "something significant we need to review."

"If there's nothing on the video that's going to show any type of criminality or negligence, we're not going to maintain it," Taylor said.

Krudys said he had asked the jail in a letter 14 days after Mitchell's death to preserve all records, documents and videos regarding Mitchell. He said the video would presumably show how often Mitchell was checked on by medical staff and guards and how often his cell was cleaned.

"Were medical rounds being undertaken?" he said. "Were any medical staff going in to see him to take vital signs? Were social workers going in to see him? All of those types of things. How is he being treated?"

Taylor and the jail's internal investigators were the only ones who viewed the video. It was not seen by outside agencies.

Suit: Starbucks overfills cold drinks with ice

CHICAGO (AP) - A federal lawsuit claims Starbucks regularly overfills its cold drinks with ice instead of using the advertised amount of coffee or other liquid in its plastic cups.

The lawsuit was filed last week in Chicago on behalf of Stacy Pincus, a local woman who accuses Starbucks of misleading consumers. The lawsuit alleges that an iced beverage advertised at 24 ounces contains about 14 ounces of fluid, and that ice isn't a fluid or beverage.

"A Starbucks customer who orders and pays for a cold drink receives much less than advertised - often nearly half as many fluid ounces," the lawsuit states, adding that the practice is "by design and corporate practice and procedure."

Starbucks said the lawsuit is without merit.

"Our customers understand and expect that ice is an essential component of any 'iced' beverage," Starbucks spokesperson Jaime Riley said Monday. "If a customer is not satisfied with their beverage preparation, we will gladly remake it."

The lawsuit seeks class-action status, which could allow it to cover customers for the last decade. Among other things, the lawsuit seeks damages, restitution and attorneys' fees.

West Virginia
Outside groups outspend 5 high court hopefuls

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - In a crowded West Virginia Supreme Court contest, third-party groups are outspending the five candidates.

Campaign finance reports show that outside groups have spent $1.8 million, while candidates have spent $1.6 million combined through late April.

The Republican State Leadership Committee has bought $1.4 million in ads attacking Darrell McGraw and Bill Wooton, and supporting Beth Walker.

Just Courts for West Virginia PAC, a trial lawyers group, has spent $229,000 in ads attacking Walker.

Walker has spent $530,400 after receiving $500,000 in loans from her husband and raising $200,000.

Incumbent Justice Brent Benjamin has spent $481,300 and Wooton has spent $530,000. Both are using public campaign financing.

McGraw has spent $8,100 after raising $72,200. Wayne King has spent about $15,000.

The race is nonpartisan and will be decided on May 10.

Published: Tue, May 03, 2016