Bangui judicial authorities lose French journalist’s murder file

first_img May 13, 2020 Find out more Central African RepublicAfrica April 6, 2021 Find out more Receive email alerts CAR policeman who shot reporter must be punished, RSF says December 13, 2019 Find out more Four years after the young French photojournalist Camille Lepage was shot dead in an ambush in the Central African Republic’s western Bouar region on 12 May 2014, judicial problems in Bangui continue to hold up the investigation into her murder. Organisation Central African RepublicAfrica News Six years on, same unanswered questions about French journalist’s death in CAR Newscenter_img Help by sharing this information “Closing this case is out the question until we are satisfied that everything that could be done has been done,” said Vincent Fillola, the Lepage family’s legal adviser, who has just returned from a visit to Bangui. Aged 26, Lepage was murdered while travelling with one of the “anti-balaka” militias that fought the Séléka rebels during the 2012-2014 civil war in the CAR. Her killers have still not been identified and much remains to be done to advance the investigation.According to the information obtained by RSF, Fillola encountered an unexpected problem in Bangui: the Lepage murder case file has disappeared. Continuing political instability in the CAR, which has resulted in many judges being moved from one position to another, could be to blame. The judicial authorities insist they are doing everything possible to find the file, but its disappearance forced the judges to postpone the trial that was initially scheduled for January 2018.Several hypotheses have been developed about the circumstances of the ambush and possible suspects have been named, but no investigation has been carried out at the scene of the murder and no crime reenactment has been conducted, although this is obligatory in murder cases. Carrying out an investigation at the place where the murder took place would have been very difficult four years ago because of the security situation prevailing at the time, but it would be possible now, Fillola said in an interview for Reporters Without Borders (RSF). “Police investigators and investigating judges say that current conditions would allow a visit to the location, with the support of MINUSCA [the UN peacekeeping mission in the CAR] and the French judicial services,” he said. “Everyone is calling for a field investigation.”“We count on the judicial authorities to do every possible to locate the Camille Lepage murder file,” RSF secretary-general Christophe Deloire said. “And since the security situation now allows it, it is incomprehensible that the investigators have not yet been able to carry out their investigation in the field, including a reenactment of the crime using forensic methods, which is essential. It is high time to complete this investigation, which has dragged on for too long. The responsibility and credibility of the CAR authorities is at stake. Everything must be done to ensure that this murder is not left unpunished.”Despite the problems in Bangui, Camille Lepage’s mother, Maryvonne Lepage, is determined to press on to the end. “Even if we cannot put a name to the person whose finger was on the trigger, it is essential that we at least identify the group that carried out the attack.” As well as establishing the truth about her daughter’s death, she is also aware of the need to press on for the sake of all the other reporters and photojournalists killed or missing in the field. “If we pursue this to the end, it can help all the other families to press on with their own investigations, or it can help to put other forgotten cases back on the agenda.”The Lepage murder is far from being the only one of a French journalist that is still unresolved after years. The investigation into the murders of Radio France Internationale journalists Ghislaine Dupont and Claude Verlon in northeastern Mali in 2013 has yet to be concluded. And the disappearance of Guy-André Kieffer, a journalist with French and Canadian dual nationality who disappeared in Côte d’Ivoire in 2004 while investigating shady practices in the cocoa trade, is unsolved after 14 years. According to the latest RSF tally, 1,035 journalists have been killed in connection with their work in the past 15 years, 65 of them in 2017. RSF decries arbitrary blocking of two CAR news websites News Follow the news on Central African Republic RSF_en May 11, 2018 Bangui judicial authorities lose French journalist’s murder file to go further French journalist Camille Lepage, 26, has been killed while on a reporting assignment in Central African Republic ©Fred Dufour / AFP Newslast_img read more

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Miami Officer Charged After Video Shows His Knee on Woman’s Neck

first_img“The two videos you are about to see show a number of different facts and circumstances, which call into question the truthfulness of the filed affidavit that was used to criminally charge Safiya Satchell,” Katherine Fernandez Rundel, Miami-Dade State Attorney said, at a press conference Thursday.Matel stated that he was working the off-duty detail at the business when he was approached by management in reference to someone trespassing. He added that he was wearing a police uniform displaying “conspicuous police markings.”The 33-year-old Satchell was being “disorderly and disrespectful toward the members of the staff,” according to the police report. It added that the manager wanted her to leave.According to the police report, Martel said the woman, “…purposely and maliciously…struck me on the right part of my lower lip with a closed fist ..(she) continued to fight officers by kicking and punching…”He also stated that he had given Satchell multiple verbal commands to step out of her black Mercedes SUV or “she would be arrested.” The report states that she refused to comply.When she exited the vehicle, the officer said he redirected her to the ground using a ”leg sweep technique.”She allegedly continue to kick and punch.At that point, Martel told Satchell to comply or she would be tased. “The defendant still refused to comply causing me to retrieve my department issued taser at which point I drive stunned her at least 2 times seeking compliance,” according to the report.Following a short struggle, he was able to put Satchell in handcuffs with help from another officer.#NEW #INFO: Former @MGPDFL #police officer Jordy Yanes Martel will likely be charged w battery and official misconduct. We confirmed he turned himself in at TGK & State Attoney @KathyFndzRundle will show video of alleged misconduct in her press conference at 230pm. @WPLGLocal10 pic.twitter.com/utBK9YxFe2— Hatzel Vela (@HatzelVelaWPLG) June 25, 2020 The FDLE says the woman suffered numerous cuts and bruises, in addition to abrasions on her stomach from the taser.“It is so important that allegations of excessive use of force in law enforcement are fully investigated, not only for the betterment of the community, but also for those law enforcement officers dedicated to public service and helping others,” said FDLE Miami Special Agent in Charge Troy Walker. “We appreciate our partnership with State Attorney Kathleen Fernandez Rundle and Miami Gardens PD.”“Yanes Martel took Ms. Satchell to the ground and once on the ground, Martel allegedly used excessive force by putting his knee on Ms. Satchell’s neck,” Rundle said.The charges against Satchell have since been dropped.“We are pleased to have been notified that FDLE and the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Public Corruption Unit have taken action against this former officer. It is long overdue for civilian oversight of our cities’ police departments to ensure our officers are not just serving but protecting our community,” according to a statement from Satchell’s attorney, Jonathan Jordan.“If you’re an officer that has broken policy or acted under color of law with a belief that Black Lives don’t Matter, you ought to be looking over your shoulder because the chickens have finally come home to roost. My client deserves to witness justice be served in this prosecution against this former officer where so many others in her position have not been as fortunate,” Jordan continued.The investigation will be prosecuted by the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office.Martel is being represented by the South Florida Benevolent Association, who stated that their concern over “recent nationwide events surrounding law enforcement played into today’s actions… Law enforcement officers are not above the law, but they deserve the same rights as any other citizen and, that is innocence until proven guilty.”He was fired from the police department on June 18 for “egregious behavior,” according to Miami Gardens Police Chief Delma Noel Pratt. A former Miami Gardens police officer is facing charges, after a video shows him with his knee on a woman’s neck.The officer, 30-year-old Yanes Martel, was charged Thursday with two counts of official misconduct and four counts of battery.He is being held at the Turner Guilford Knight Correctional Center on $6,000 bond.The charges result from a January incident in which Martel was working off-duty security at an adult club in Miami.The manager of the club told agents that he asked Martel to give a woman, who was later identified as Safiya Satchell, a trespass warning, after she reoprtedly harassed the wait staff and then threw money at a waitress.The Florida Department of Law Enforcement concluded after an investigation that Martel had “no legal authority to detain the victim,” that he forcibly removed her from her vehicle, and that he took the victim to the ground and subsequently knelt on her neck.FDLE agents say that Satchell, who is Black, was in her vehicle trying to leave the club, when she was stopped by Martel.According to the FDLE, Martel told Satchell that she was being trespassed and told her to get out of her car and to walk to his police car.The report states, “The victim refused to walk to the police car and instead offered to drive over. “#BREAKING: @SouthFloridaPBA confirms to @WPLGLocal10 former @MGPDFL police officer Jordy Yanes Martel has turned himself in, now facing charges over use of force from January incident at @Tootsiescabaret. State Attorney @KathyFndzRundle will not confirm until 230 press conf. pic.twitter.com/19sna6WXSR— Hatzel Vela (@HatzelVelaWPLG) June 25, 2020last_img read more

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Students call for impeachment of USG president

first_imgTijani wrote that she felt “vehemently uncomfortable” with Fritz and USG Vice President Rose Ritch, retaining their posts and that stepping down would be more beneficial than attempting to ‘make amends’ with the Black student body. “I have seen you insert yourself into spaces on campus that are working to dismantle the deeply-rooted racism that seeps into every corner of our campus, and I have also witnessed USG release cosmetic, almost farcical statements of allyship and commitments to do better,” Tijani wrote. “You are the face of USG and it is your duty to uphold the mission and values of the organization even — and perhaps especially — when you are ‘off-duty.’” This article was updated June 26 at 10:20 p.m. to identify the creator of the petition. USG senators are deliberating whether impeachment proceedings will take place, a statement published on USG’s Instagram story read. Students were encouraged to contact Chief Diversity Officer Vivian Ren to share experiences or concerns regarding the student government.  In the Instagram statement, Fritz asked for students to call him out and educate him by sharing their experiences, stating that he will listen to them.  This article was updated June 27 at 4:15 p.m. to include the petition creator’s response to the president’s statement, add further context to the current president’s term and reflect the current signature count. “I would argue in saying I’m really not trying to defend myself, I’m not trying to make excuses for my actions,” said Fritz in an interview with the Daily Trojan. “I’m not trying to redirect the blame of the burden that I have to bear. And I’m trying to find the solution too — I’m not just saying, ‘OK, forget the past, it’s over.’ I’m really focused on finding an amicable resolution to this entire thing and again I really want to be part of the solution that we find, not only as a student government, as a presidency, but also as an entire community to everything that our students of color face.” This article was updated June 26 at 9:45 p.m. to include a statement from the Undergraduate Student Government. Tijani criticized Fritz’s establishment of an educational program and book club within the USG Executive Cabinet, as she wrote she feels he is not equipped to lead anti-racism initiatives. Tijani added that Fritz’s calls for students of color to educate him further burden them, and he should have the tools and resources to research social justice issues himself.  In the interview, Fritz acknowledged he has to hold himself accountable for his actions, whether or not he can recall them, as they negatively impacted the campus community and student body.  Following Fritz’s Instagram statement, Tijani posted screenshots of a second email addressed to him, writing that the president deliberately ignored her email and instead opted for a vague PR statement that lacked concrete acknowledgement of the issues raised by Black students and students of color. “I know I am part of the system,” he wrote. “I know it will be a heavy lift, but I am driven to be better. I will make mistakes because I am not perfect. I am calling on everyone, including myself, to keep me accountable. I have always tried to be intentional in how I engage in allyship, and I ask for others to help as I educate myself.” In a statement on Instagram, Fritz did not address calls for his impeachment but instead wrote that he recognized he is a “person of privilege.” Fritz added it is “not the time for white people to defend themselves” and apologized to the people who came forward with allegations of his racist acts.  As of publication, two posts allege that Fritz tried to garner more votes from Black students by asking them to talk to “their people.” Two more posts outlined how Fritz’s jokes about students of color and his grouping of them into a monolith has made people uncomfortable. One of these posts stated that the president joked about the “pains of being white.” A petition calling for Undergraduate Student Government President Truman Fritz’s impeachment began circulating Friday following the publication of several posts on Instagram account @black_at_usc claiming that he engaged in racial misconduct and microaggressive behavior toward Black students. The petition has accrued 994 signatures to date. According to USG bylaws, an undergraduate student may file a complaint against the president with the Speaker of the Senate, Gabe Savage. The complaint must outline specific violations of the USG constitution, bylaws or code of ethics.  From there, the speaker notifies the president, and the Senate must vote within 10 academic days whether to proceed with disciplinary action by a two-thirds majority. If Fritz is voted to be impeached, the Senate will then vote to remove him from office by a five-sixths majority. center_img This article was updated June 27 at 2:05 p.m. to reflect the current signature count. “To me, this means that you have chosen to protect your privilege under the guise of flowery diction and conciliatory promises to ‘do better,’ … your statement fails to demonstrate that you even know, let alone understand, which of your past actions have caused the damage that you are now so desperately trying to triage,” Tijani wrote. The email also stated that no Black student worked on Fritz’s presidential campaign and that the president chose not to amplify the voices of Black students before the resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement and nationwide protests, indicating that anti-racism advocacy is not a priority for him. Tijani stated she contacted the USG Senate to accelerate the impeachment process. The Black Student Assembly will not be making any statements or calls of action without speaking with the Black undergraduate student community, BSA Co-director Jaya Hinton said in a message to the Daily Trojan. “The three directors believe that because Truman has been working very closely with us and providing the resources we’ve needed in our recent advocacy efforts, that we have the chance to educate him and help him grow rather than dismiss him immediately,” the message read. “However, we will consult with our community and ultimately decide on what is best and most aligns with our majority.” “I do take responsibility for the fact that these people did feel like they needed to voice up and they feel like they needed to make sure that their experience was heard and acknowledged and that I responded to it, and I really do apologize that they went through something like that and that I helped perpetuate the microaggressions and systemic racism that we see every day,” Fritz said. “I don’t want to be part of that.” “You are not our gatekeeper, and we are not asking for your permission to speak our minds,” Tijani wrote. “Further, we are not accepting your ‘invitation’ to educate you on how you might become a more empathetic, morally upright leader and human being. Again, all the resources and information are out there … they just have not been laid conveniently at your feet in a way that is digestible for you.” In her second email, Tijani listed several potential bylaw violations that she believes USG should examine, including requirements that the president and the vice president maintain a strong relationship with the student body, citing the increasing traction on her petition as reasoning that the relationship is tenuous.  Since the beginning of their election, Fritz and Ritch have faced various allegations against their presidency, including violating USG’s Election’s Code by mass and spam messaging potential voters. In mid-April, they also amended bylaws that would have eliminated stipends of assistant directors of funding, communications and programming branches departments while increasing the salary of higher USG officials including the president and vice president. The bylaws have since been amended to reinstate annual stipends for assistant directors. “My eyes, and the eyes of the entire student body, are on you Truman,” she wrote. Shaylee Navarro and Raymond Rapada contributed to this report. Abeer Tijani, a rising senior majoring in global health who created the petition, posted screenshots of her email to Fritz calling for him to step down from his position, contending that a true commitment to dismantling racism on campus would lead him to look within himself and acknowledge the need for new USG leadership. Fritz also stated that he is reavowing his commitment to equity at USC, announcing a series of conversations with cultural organizations about what Black and Indigenous students and students of color need to succeed, an internal educational program and book club with the USG Executive Cabinet and the creation of a broader coalition of student organizations to support diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives. “In this instance, anti-racism requires taking the first step in dismantling the system that you actively benefit from and help to maintain,” Tijani wrote. “Ask yourself: if I choose to keep this post, am I doing it with a commitment to anti-racism in mind? Or is it for the prestige, the privilege, or your pride?”last_img read more

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