National Roundup

Police: Couple jailed for refusing to quarantine

MIAMI (AP) — Two residents of the Florida Keys have been jailed for failing to quarantine after testing positive for the new coronavirus.

Jose Interian, 24, and Yohana Gonzalez, 26, are facing charges of violating isolation rules for a quarantine and violating emergency management disaster preparedness rules, according to jail records. They were arrested Wednesday in Key West, officials said.

The Miami Herald reports Interian and Gonzalez had been ordered by the health department to quarantine after testing positive for COVID-19, but neighbors said they were ignoring the order.

Someone videotaped the couple and gave it to Key West police, according to Greg Veliz, Key West’s city manager.

“There were complaints from the neighborhood of them continuing to be outside, going about normal life functions,” Veliz said.

There were no court records in an online docket for the Monroe County court system, so it was not immediately clear whether Interian or Gonzalez had an attorney who could comment.

The Florida Keys island chain was closed to nonresidents for two months in the spring to keep outsiders from spreading the new coronavirus. It reopened to visitors in June.

Congressman decries mailer accusing him of doing abortion

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A super PAC supporting conservative Kris Kobach’s campaign for an open U.S. Senate seat from Kansas has sent out a mailer accusing his chief rival in the Republican primary of performing abortions.

The claim against Rep. Roger Marshall, an OB-GYN endorsed by major anti-abortion groups, is based on a tweet by a Kansas woman whose social media posts have often accused the congressman of hypocrisy on abortion rights, the Kansas City Star reported.

Free Forever PAC, a group almost entirely funded by California billionaire Peter Thiel, paid for the mailer sent out just days before the Aug. 4 primary in Kansas. Thiel is a longtime Kobach ally who has steered $850,000 to the PAC.

Marshall’s campaign and Kansans for Life, the state’s leading anti-abortion group, decried the mailer as a smear. The medical procedure that Shonita Swank of Hoisington claims she underwent to remove an ectopic pregnancy does not constitute an abortion, they said.

An ectopic pregnancy, which occurs when a fertilized egg implants outside the uterus, can be life-threatening to the woman if not treated. Many anti-abortion groups, including National Right to Life and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, draw a distinction between the procedure and abortion.

“This is, without question, the most pathetic and low political lie we have ever seen. This patient, by her own public admission, had a tragic ectopic pregnancy, and Dr. Marshall literally saved her life. Dr. Marshall has never participated in an abortion,” said Eric Pahls, Marshall’s campaign manager.

Kobach’s campaign said it had no involvement with the mailers, but it called Swank’s claims in the tweet a “troubling accusation against Roger Marshall that needs to be answered.”

Swank said she doesn’t like the super PAC using her tweet in the mailer, but she doesn’t feel there is anything she can do about it. Swank said her criticism stems from frustration about her treatment and what she views as Marshall’s hypocrisy on abortion.

The mailers attacking Marshall follow ads from Plains PAC that attacked Kobach for his support of abortion rights in 2000 when he was a candidate for the Legislature. Kobach has said he changed his position after becoming a father.

The Plains PAC is run by C.J. Grover, a former staffer of Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt. The group has also launched attack ads targeting Kobach’s campaign for paying a white nationalist last year.

The GOP hasn’t lost a Senate race in Kansas since 1932, but Republicans are worried that could change if Kobach wins the nomination because it could turn off party moderates and independents. The Democratic nominee likely will be state Sen. Barbara Bollier, a retired Kansas City anesthesiologist and former moderate Republican who switched parties at the end of 2018.

New York
Appeal blocks release of police discipline records

NEW YORK (AP) — A federal appeals court has halted a civil rights organization’s plan to publish a database of New York City police disciplinary records, the latest twist in a lawsuit by public safety unions seeking to block their disclosure.

The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals interceded Wednesday after the unions appealed a district court judge’s ruling that had cleared the way for the New York chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union to make the records public under a new state transparency reform.

A temporary stay will remain in effect at least until Aug. 18, when the appeals court said it will hear arguments. A district court hearing on other aspects of the case is scheduled for the same day.

A temporary restraining order barring the city’s police watchdog agency, the Civilian Complaint Review Board, as well as the police department and other entities from releasing disciplinary records remain in effect.

A message seeking comment was left with the NYCLU. A spokesperson for the unions, which represents city police officers, firefighters and jail guards, said they were fighting to protect public employees’ due process rights.

The unions sued the city July 15 to block Mayor Bill de Blasio from taking advantage of last month’s repeal of a decades-old state law, which had kept disciplinary records secret, to start posting misconduct complaints on a government website.

“The release of these records containing unproven allegations would damage the careers and lives of hard-working civil servants,” union spokesperson Hank Sheinkopf said. “ The case should be decided on its merits.”

U.S. District Judge Katherine Polk Failla initially sided with the unions last week, pausing the release of disciplinary records last week and barring the NYCLU from publicly releasing records it obtained from CCRB.

Failla reversed herself on the NYCLU on Tuesday, saying it was impossible for her to reach back and prevent the release of records that the organization received before the unions filed their lawsuit. Her ruling would have allowed the NYCLU to publish the information Thursday, had the unions not appealed.

Scores of disciplinary records have already reached public view since the repeal last month of a law that had kept them secret for decades.

ProPublica on Sunday published a database containing complaint information for thousands of officers, while news outlets including The Associated Press have published numerous stories based on newly public disciplinary documents.