A Black man is suing two Wisconsin police officers after he was mistaken for a burglar and handcuffed in his home, according to a lawsuit filed this week.
Keonte Furdge had been living with a friend in Monona and on June 2, Monona Police Department officers Jared Wedig and Luke Wunsch pointed their guns and went inside the home without knocking or getting permission, according to the lawsuit filed on Monday. Furdge was handcuffed and released when officers realized it was a “misunderstanding,” the suit said.
Furdge is suing the city of Monona and officers Wedig and Wunsch, alleging unlawful entry, false arrest, excessive force, and failure to intervene.
A neighbor had called 911 and said it was “suspicious” when she saw an “African American wearing sweatpants, flip flops and a white shirt” sitting on the front steps of the home, the lawsuit read.
The neighbor told the police that the former owner of the house died and the house had been empty, according to a police department news release. She “did identify the individual sitting in front of the home as African American, however that was not conveyed to the responding officers.”
According to the police release, the officers announced their presence and knocked on the door before entering, but the lawsuit said they didn’t ring the doorbell or knock. They didn’t have a search warrant, according to the suit.
Furdge was handcuffed by Wedig and was told he was being detained because he “did not live here, that the person who previously lived here passed away, and the person who called the police was concerned that the house got broken into.”
The officers released Furdge when they spoke to the neighbor and said it “was a misunderstanding,” the lawsuit said. According to the police release, they contacted the homeowner’s son, who said he knew Furdge.
Wunsch told Furdge that he and his friend “are both big black guys, so, neighbors over here can be…,” according to the lawsuit.
“I understand they have their protocol and they have to keep everyone safe, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that their protocols are appropriate. And I think that that situation wasn’t handled appropriately … It could have easily led to another death of an unarmed black man,” Toren Young, Furdge’s friend, told Madison365.
Furdge said in the lawsuit that he experienced “bodily injury, pain, suffering, mental distress, humiliation, loss of liberty, and has incurred expenses” as a result of the incident.
The city of Monona issued an apology on June 3, writing on the police department’s Facebook:
“We sincerely apologize for the distress this situation caused the resident, and we take it seriously. We cannot begin to understand the frustration caused by this situation but know that it is our responsibility as elected officials to put in the work to do so.”
Trump claims first presidential debate will be ‘unfair’
Donald Trump has claimed the first presidential debate next week will be “unfair.”
Mr Trump said in a radio interview that veteran moderator Chris Wallace was “controlled by the radical left” and would not ask Joe Biden tough questions.
“Chris is good, but I would be willing to bet that he won’t ask Biden tough questions,” the president told Brian Kilmeade on Fox News Radio.
“He will ask tough questions of me and it will be unfair, I have no doubt about it. He will be controlled by the radical left.”
Trump insisted he had “a lot of respect” for Wallace and a good relationship with his father, Mike Wallace.
Mr Kilmeade was quick to push back against Mr Trump’s accusations about his Fox News colleague.
“Mr President, I will tell you for sure, he is not controlled by anyone,” said Mr Kilmeade.
“We’ll see. Then he’s got to ask tough questions of Biden,” Trump said.
Mr Wallace will moderate the first presidential debate in Cleveland, Ohio, on Tuesday.
Both candidates will be asked questions on their records, the coronavirus, the Supreme Court, the economy, race and violence in US cities, and election integrity.
Trump appeared to try and lower expectations of his performance, insisting that Mr Biden had a significant advantage.
“No, I think I am the one without experience. I have just been doing this for a few years. He has been doing this for 47 years plus,” said Mr Trump.
“I mean, he has a tremendous advantageous really, if you think about it, but I have a much better record than he does.”
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Getting Real About Electric Cars, Batteries and Hype
(Bloomberg Opinion) — In the world of cars, investors seem to love news of partnerships, synergies and cost-savings as expensive tech upends long-held rules of the road. They may need a reality check.
Auto companies across the globe are looking for their next green partner, even if they have their own grand plans for electric vehicles. But cautionary tales are emerging of why the best way into this brave new world – compelled by a regulatory push and sky-high Tesla Inc.-like valuations – may be to seize the wheel on their own.
A quick check of how some hyped-up partnerships have fared couldn’t make things clearer.
General Motors Co., which has made an aggressive push into electric vehicles, decided it was time to take an 11% equity stake worth about $2 billion in upstart Nikola Corp. Going by the risks in Nikola’s prospectus, this was a tie-up too far. Per the release, GM is giving “the in-kind services and access to General Motors’ global safety-tested and validated parts and components” — basically, most of the things Nikola needs to make trucks.
Investors seemed to love the idea. Think: Traditional car company shows it has accessories for the future – electric and hydrogen. GM’s share price rose as much as 8% on the day. Nikola’s surged almost 40%. The Phoenix-based company would save $4 billion on battery and powertrain costs, the core of its business. GM would receive that much in benefits, between the equity value, electric vehicle credits, contract manufacturing, and supply of batteries and fuel cells.It doesn’t look like there’s that much value in it now, with Nikola under investigation and its executive chairman resigning. The stock has dropped almost 80% from its June peak, when it went public via a special purpose acquisition company. In fact, GM – like other car companies – is the one that likely needs the cost savings. Investors should wonder why. Sure, the Detroit giant was keeping promises. GM has said it has allocated $20 billion to electric cars and autonomous vehicles from this year to 2025. Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Mary Barra has laid out green ambitions in clear terms: “We want to put everyone in an EV, and we believe we have what it takes to do it.” It isn’t clear what additional value Nikola would have brought. Besides, of course, the innovation hype. Barra has said GM conducted “appropriate diligence” before entering the deal. Carmakers have been setting unrealistic targets for a while. In 2017, Volkswagen AG put out a plan to make higher-density batteries in three years, according to HSBC Holdings Plc analysts. Part of the program was to bring the cost down to $120 per kilowatt hour. Today, the price remains well above $140 per kilowatt hour, and the density is still lower.
Even if banding together theoretically lowers costs, what happens to competitive advantage? Bottom lines? Cheaper batteries are great, but carmakers count on high margins from expensive cars. The facts are that the pressure to make better, safer batteries is rising, and they’re in short supply.
Consider the volatile relationship between Tesla and Panasonic Corp. The latter (and its stock price) has had a rocky ride with Elon Musk’s whims. For all the hope the partnership has generated, the Japanese consumer products icon hasn’t made much money from it. After a few ups and downs, the companies penned a new three-year agreement in June in which Tesla buys a certain number of batteries and makes future investments. But, here’s the thing: Tesla is looking elsewhere, too.On Tuesday, Musk tweeted that he would also purchase batteries from several best-in-class manufacturers, like South Korea’s LG Chem Ltd. and China’s Contemporary Amperex Technology Co., the world’s largest producer. Tesla has been looking for ways to jump-start its own battery manufacturing, reflected in the acquisition of Maxwell Technologies Inc. The biggest takeaway from Tesla’s much-watched battery day was Musk’s promise of a (much cheaper) $25,000 electric car and what that would do to reduce the price of its most important component.
A number of other ventures exist in various forms: Volkswagen with NorthVolt AB, and with Guoxuan High-Tech Co.; Geely Automobile Holdings Ltd. and LG Chem; Daimler AG and Farasis Energy Gan Zhou Co., LG Chem and GM. The list goes on. It’s unclear whether any will produce what the market needs anytime soon: an affordable and safe electric car with efficient batteries (ignoring all the other costs of ownership, such as charging infrastructure and resale price).
What additional value, then, is there from partnerships? For whatever thoughts car companies may have of going it alone, battery makers are increasingly taking pole position. Some are beginning to break even. The top six account for more than 80% of the market and are pushing for pricing power. Whoever produces cars needs batteries. It’s still simpler for automakers to outsource them than go it alone. If partnerships are done right – with capital, manufacturing prowess and real, tangible results – they can succeed. Toyota Motor Corp. has been working with Panasonic for years. It recently set up a joint-venture company that could work well enough to seem boring.
For now, investors shouldn’t be wowed by glitzy tie-ups and promises. Keeping an eye on where the real returns are — like actual cars on the road and batteries that take us further, and the companies making them — may serve better.
(An earlier version misidentified Nikola Executive Chairman Trevor Milton as CEO and incorrectly stated that GM had sunk $2 billion into an 11% equity stake in the company. )
This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.
Anjani Trivedi is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering industrial companies in Asia. She previously worked for the Wall Street Journal.
For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion
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©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
Who Invited the Far-Right Oath Keepers to Downtown Louisville?
LOUISVILLE—On Wednesday night, at least 20 members of the Oath Keepers, a far-right militia group, were observed guarding storefronts in downtown Louisville amid sometimes violent unrest over the lack of charges in the police killing of Breonna Taylor. The businesses included Bader’s Food Mart—which is also a Shell gas station—Stewart’s Pawn Shop, and Hampton Inn Downtown Louisville, all at or near the intersection of Jefferson and South 1st Street. All of the businesses, besides the hotel, appeared to be closed at the time.
The heavily armed men—many bearing rifles, night-vision goggles, and wearing camouflage—were seen on the roof of Stewart’s Pawn Shop, the perimeter of the Shell station, and in the Hampton Inn parking lot. When asked why they were present, one militia member, who gave his name only as Angry Spongebob, said the owner of the Shell had received threats against the business.
“She was told that people wanted to burn it down to the ground,” he told The Daily Beast. “We know her and so we came out to help protect it, because if it goes up, then it takes a significant portion of this block with it.”
He didn’t clarify who “she” referred to, but records filed with the Kentucky Secretary of State’s office list Paula T. Bader as the president, secretary, and treasurer of Bader’s Food Mart, and she has been identified as the owner in local media reports. In a telephone conversation Thursday, a purported leader of the Oath Keepers on the ground in Louisville, who gave his name as Mike Whipp, said they had been invited by Bader to keep tabs on her business, as well as the pawn shop.
According to Whipp, “[Bader] told us she was targeted by activists.”
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Bader could not immediately be reached for comment, but the food mart does have a history of violence—and of drawing activist ire.
In July, an employee was reportedly shot during an armed robbery attempt. And early this month, an employee reportedly shot a customer after a verbal altercation, according to local police. The individual was fired and later charged with assault.
On Sept. 4, a day after the employee allegedly shot a customer, activists with megaphones entered the store, leading Bader to close the place for several days.
“He was wrong,” she told local outlet WDRB of her fired employee. But she also seemed to take umbrage at the prospect of being targeted by local activists.
“They were waiting on customers,” she said. “The next thing they know, the store is full of people with the megaphones.”
That day, an account listed under Bader’s name posted on Facebook, “This is the damage, looting and peaceful protesting that occurred at my store. Bader’s Food Mart last night. Do you notice the small children. SMH.”
When asked Thursday about the presence of a far-right militia group, a man who identified himself as the manager of Stewart’s Pawn Shop and gave only the first name Jeremy told The Daily Beast, “I just work during the day from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and have no idea if our owners made a deal with those guys.”
When asked about the Shell station, he added, “I do know if it burns, it will harm a lot of people in the city.” Shell corporate did n0t immediately respond to a request for comment.
Reached for comment Thursday, Stuart Stein, who is listed in state records as an incorporator of the pawn shop, confirmed he was an owner, but told The Daily Beast, “No comment, talk to someone at the store.” Attempts to reach other individuals listed on incorporation paperwork were unsuccessful.
For her part, Mindy Wilson, general manager of Hampton Inn Downtown, told The Daily Beast of the militia, “We don’t know anything about them, so you can stop calling.” Hilton Corporate did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Oath Keepers are a virulently anti-government group founded in 2009 by Stewart Rhodes, a former Ron Paul aide. They have been a fixture at protests and political hot spots in recent years, from Ferguson to Trump rallies, and have been banned from Twitter after peddling conspiracy theories expressing thirst for Civil War.
Followers have also been implicated in a slew of violent crimes in recent years, from bomb scares to threats against the government to rape, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.
Members of the Oath Keepers group in Louisville claimed they were made up of patriots, Kentuckians, Louisville residents, former and retired members of the military, firefighters, and law enforcement who were merely trying to protect their community. The member who identified himself as Angry Spongebob expressed condolences to the family of Taylor, a 26-year-old emergency medical technician who was fatally shot during a botched attempt to serve a warrant on her home.
Spongebob said burning the city down was misguided and unfair to the public. There was no evidence of this taking place, despite sporadic small fires in garbage cans on Wednesday.
“Go to Frankfort, go to City Hall, don’t take out frustrations on private business owners,” Spongebob told The Daily Beast, blaming the lawlessness on elected officials like Attorney General Daniel Cameron, who declined to charge any cop for killing Taylor.
As they often have at protests in recent weeks, the militiamen seemed to operate without harassment from local law enforcement, at least in the hours The Daily Beast observed them after the 9 p.m. curfew on Wednesday. Louisville Metro Police and the Kentucky National Guard did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Meanwhile, police said they made 123 arrests, mostly for unlawful assembly and curfew violations, on Wednesday. At least three journalists were reported to be among them. At least two officers were also shot during the chaos.
Whipp, the Oath Keeper spokesperson, suggested there was no reason for his group to catch flak for being out past curfew. This despite increased scrutiny of the seemingly cozy ties between armed vigilantes and police after 17-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse—who allegedly shot and killed two protesters in Kenosha, Wisconsin, in August—walked by cops unbothered shortly afterward. On the streets that night, Rittenhouse had attached himself to what amounted to an armed gang of militiamen.
“We generally don’t have trouble from the police,” Whipp told The Daily Beast. “Police did perceive one of our members as a threat, but we calmed them down, and stated our purpose.”
Read more at The Daily Beast.
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