National Roundup

New Hampshire
Man pleads guilty to running over girlfriend with car twice

HAVERHILL, N.H. (AP) — A man has pleaded guilty to running over a woman he was dating and then backing up over her again. She survived the attack.

Christopher Bourque, 37, pleaded guilty on Tuesday via Zoom from the Middleton jail to assault and battery with a dangerous weapon and assault and battery on a household member, the Eagle Tribune reported.

Bourque, of Manchester, was sentenced to 2 1/2 years in jail. He will serve 18 months and the rest will be suspended for three years. He was also found guilty of intimidating a witness, and sentenced to three years' probation. The judge in Haverhill District Court also ordered him to abstain from using drugs or alcohol and to take drug tests when asked.

A police report said a 30-year-old Manchester woman told authorities that Bourque had slapped her while they were driving on Jan. 22 around midnight. She got out of the car at a gas station and walked way, the report said. Surveillance video captured Bourque driving out of the gas station, onto the sidewalk, hitting the
woman and then reversing back over her.

Bourque's actions were the result of alcohol, an attorney representing him, Timothy Connors, told the newspaper, adding that "that Mr. Bourque will strive hard moving forward to maintain his sobriety and remain out of the court system."

Mistrial in trial of suspect in officer's stabbing

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — The trial of a man charged with stabbing a Lincoln police officer ended in a mistrial Tuesday after one of the attorneys reported being exposed to COVID-19.

Opening statements had begun when District Judge Teresa Luther told the jury one of the attorneys in the trial of Christopher Brennauer had been exposed to someone who later tested positive for COVID-19, The Lincoln Journal Star reported.

Brennauer, 45, was charged with first-degree assault on an officer, attempted first-degree assault on an officer, terroristic threats and three weapons-related crimes.

Prosecutors allege he stabbed Officer Kyle Russell on Dec. 29, 2018. Russell fired three shots, hitting Brennauer twice and accidentally wounding Officer Josh Atkinson.

Brennauer's public defenders said they would be raising an insanity defense.

On Tuesday, Luther told the jurors that health department officials had said jurors did not have to quarantine at this point. The attorneys were getting tested
Tuesday and informing the judge if there may have been a direct exposure, which would prompt the need to quarantine.

A new jury for the case will be called in May.

Lawsuit accuses 2 officers of excessive force

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Two Kansas City police officers already charged with felony assault in a 2019 arrest have been sued by a community activist claiming they used excessive force against him while arresting him in a separate incident.

Troy Robertson alleges in a lawsuit filed Tuesday that Officers Charles Prichard and Matthew Brummett threw him on a car hood, handcuffed, hit him several times and knelt on him while arresting him in August 2019.

Robertson, who has staged protests for peace in east Kansas City for years, said he not breaking any laws and was asking officers to honk to support his cause when the confrontation began.

He is seeking $5 million in damages, The Kansas City Star reported.

Police spokeswoman Donna Drake said the department does not comment on pending lawsuits.

Officers Prichard and Brummett pleaded not guilty last year to felony assault in the arrest of Breona Hill  in 2019. Court records say a video of Hill's arrest showed officers pushing her face into the sidewalk and kneeling on her.

Two other lawsuits pertaining to Hill's arrest have been filed against the officers. They are on hold pending the outcome of the criminal case.

Lawsuit seeks COVID-19 vaccines for state inmates

SEATTLE (AP) — A legal-aid group in Washington state has sued the state Department of Corrections, demanding that all state prison inmates immediately receive COVID-19 vaccines.

Columbia Legal Services filed the class-action lawsuit on Tuesday in Thurston County Superior Court, The Seattle Times reported. The lawsuit also seeks an order banning direct contact with inmates by employees and contractors who refuse to be inoculated.

The lawsuit claims the state’s refusal to promptly vaccinate about 15,000 inmates violates the U.S. Constitution’s ban on cruel and unusual punishment. The coronavirus infection rate in prisons is more than eight times higher than in the general population, the lawsuit said.

Since the pandemic began in March 2020, more than 6,000 inmates have tested positive for COVID-19 and 14 people have died, department officials said. More than 1,000 workers have tested positive and two have died.

Department of Corrections spokesperson Jacque Coe said the agency will continue to follow the state Department of Health’s published vaccine phase schedule.

Coe said the schedule would allow for vaccinations for “all incarcerated individuals and staff in corrections facilities, based upon supply of the vaccine received” as of March 31.

“We will be working with the Office of the Attorney General to assess and respond to the lawsuit by Columbia Legal Services,” Coe said.

The lawsuit names plaintiffs Washington Corrections Center for Women in Gig Harbor inmate Candis Rush, Clallam Bay Corrections Center inmate Gregory Steen and Monroe Corrections Center inmate Justin Autrey. They claimed that prison employees do not follow social distancing guidelines and have refused vaccinations.

Columbia Legal attorney Tony Gonzalez said the Department of Corrections should work with “authentic, respected voices in the community to help spread accurate information and build trust around the vaccine.”

The agency has administered at least one vaccine dose to about 9,500 people at state prison facilities, according to its website. It is unclear how many were given to staff compared to inmates.