Louisiana health officials deserve a Darwin Award for catastrophic stupidity

October 31, 2014

Friday, October 31, 2014

Good morning:

I nominate Louisiana health officials for a Darwin Award. In what has to be one of the most insanely stupid, anti-science and fear driven decisions ever made, Louisiana health officials have decided to sabotage the world’s best hope for the discovery of a cure for Ebola and other hemorrhagic and tropical diseases as well as the development and implementation of practical and effective policies for dealing with outbreaks of those diseases.

Yes, I kid you not. The American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene is scheduled to have its annual conference at the Sheraton New Orleans this weekend, but the researchers who have spent time in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone studying the outbreak recently will not be attending the conference because, if they do, the Louisiana health officials are going to quarantine them in their rooms for 21 days.

NPR reports,

Dr. Piero Olliaro had big plans for the conference.

“This is the place to be,” says Olliaro, a researcher at Oxford University who specializes in setting up clinical trials to test drugs in the developing world. “It’s once a year. This is where you get to meet all the others.”

Olliaro was going to present several papers on his recent work involving treatments for malaria and river blindness. But two weeks ago he was in Guinea for the World Health Organization scouting a site to test an experimental Ebola medication.

Yesterday Olliaro got a letter from the Louisiana health department saying that anyone who’d been in Sierra Leone, Liberia or Guinea in the past 21 days would be quarantined.

The letter goes on to say, “We see no utility in you traveling to New Orleans simply to be confined to your room.”

Fear is the mind killer.

We will never know, but the inspiration for a cure to Ebola that might have come from the cross-fertilization of ideas that occurs at meetings like this one will not happen for another year.

Meanwhile, the catastrophic suffering and loss of life will continue to increase exponentially.

Kendrick Johnson’s autopsy photographs posted by internet troll UPDATED

October 30, 2014

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Good morning:

Autopsy photographs of Kendrick Johnson were posted on a website named renewsit-dot-com, which is owned and operated by an internet troll named Vicki Pate. She is a malevolent right wing racist who believes the First Amendment gives her a license to lie, harass and stalk people.

Here is an example of how classy she is:

KJ’s mother, Jackie Johnson, who had already blocked her on twitter for harassment, told WCTV News,

“My sister was going online to look for the shoe; what KJ was alledgedly looking for, and she scrolled over and there was a picture of Kendrick’s autopsy on the page”, says Jackie Johnson, Kendrick’s Mother.

Johnson says she blocked the website’s host on Twitter after constant harassment, and doesn’t know why the webmaster is attacking her family. She adds, “It’s hurtful, because that’s still my child at the end of the day, and who that has a heart could do something like that?”

Pate and the person who gave her the photograph(s) could be in legal trouble because autopsy photographs are exempt from disclosure under Georgia’s open records act pursuant to Ga.Stat. 45-16-27(d) and she and the person who leaked them to her can be sued for the tort of Outrage or intentional infliction of emotional distress and potentially obtain up to $250,000 in punitive damages pursuant to Ga.Stat. 51-12-5.1(g).

I hope KJ’s family sues Pate because a substantial punitive damages award is probably the only way to silence her.


I updated this post at 12:51 pm on 10/30/2014 to add the two statutory references in the next to the last paragraph and deleted references to the state and federal investigations. These sentences appeared in the original draft:

However, the Georgia authorities seem about as interested in pursuing the matter as they were in investigating his death and God only knows what the FBI is doing. The US Attorney’s investigation appears to have stalled out, so I do not have much hope that they will interrupt their busy schedule trimming their nails and keeping us safe from terrorists.


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Ferguson News That’s Not Expected Until Next Week

October 29, 2014

by Crane-Station

Yesterday, CNN reported that police Chief  Thomas Jackson will step down “as part of the effort by city officials to reform the police department.” In a move that CNN reports may not happen until next week, Jackson will step down, and the St. Louis County police chief will assume the management position.

Today, Chief Jackson is publicly denying that the CNN story is true. The St. Louis Dispatch reports:

“It’s absolutely not true. Nobody has asked me to resign, nor have I been fired,” Jackson said.

He added: “If I do resign, it will be my own choice.”

CNN’s report cited unnamed “government officials familiar with the discussions ongoing between local, state and federal officials” as saying Jackson is expected to step down.

Mayor James Knowles III confirmed that Jackson has not resigned. “He’s stayed strong with us till this point,” Knowles said by text. “Don’t see that changing.”

Which version is true? CNN says that it relied on government officials who are familiar with ongoing discussions. Perhaps it is a matter of semantics. If the chief decides to spend more time with the family, it will be his choice to do so. If he leaves to explore other options, he will not have been fired or forced out or run out on a rail or anything of the sort. No. It will most definitely be his “own choice.” Either way, he likely won’t choose to make a choice to not stay, until next week. Next week is a big week though, because after the elections on Tuesday, the grand jury (which has been leaking like a sieve) will likely announce its decision, not to indict Officer Darren Wilson for killing Michael Brown.

This is posted at Anonymous Operation Ferguson: Grand Jury Leak:

Monday – October 27, 2014 3:00 PM ET USA

Last night we announced that we have received over the past several days a series of leaks from two separate and unrelated sources regarding the long awaited Grand Jury decision regarding the murder of Mike Brown by Ferguson PD Officer Darren Wilson. In our opinion after careful analysis the sources are reliable, and the information we are about to reveal is true. Both sources are government employees with access to both internal government as well as confidential police communications. For reasons of safety we will not be revealing anything further on either our sources or the material leaked to us. The following is a synopses of the leaked information:

On or about November 10, 2014 the Grand Jury decision will be announced. Darren Wilson will NOT be indicted on ANY charges related to the murder of Mike Brown. All local police Chiefs and jail commanders have been notified to begin preparing for major civil unrest. Governor Nixon has been notified of the impending announcement and has ordered the Missouri National Guard to begin preparations for a possible re-enstatement of the martial law that was declared at the beginning of the Ferguson protests.



As more information is leaked to us we will update this document. Please follow us on Twitter @OpFerguson and visit our website athttp://www.OperationFerguson.cf where this leak and other valuable information related to the Ferguson Movement is posted and regularly updated.


Does this surprise you, or not? Just now on television news, MSNBC is also saying that there will likely be a big “shake-up” in the Ferguson Police Department that will include a transition of management to St. Louis County. The one disturbing development though, is the build-up for “civil unrest” that will follow the likely non-indictment. In other words, it appears that there is some not-really secret preparation for even more killing, in the streets. They are expecting all hell to break loose, and they are afraid to announce the decision before the election. It appears that an anticipatory disbanding of the police department is the trade-off for Darren Wilson’s anticipated non-indictment next week.

I hope I am wrong.

A Mother’s Mission: The Shooting of Milton Hall (NSFW)

October 29, 2014

posted by Crane-Station


Police officers in Saginaw, MI fired more than 45 shots at Jewel Hall’s son Milton. Even after Milton Hall fell to the ground and was dying, the police continued firing. Despite abundant evidence that officers showed a reckless disregard for Milton’s life, the U.S. Justice Department did not charge any of the officers responsible for the killing.

In Washington D.C., the ACLU of Michigan is playing Jewel Hall’s testimony at a hearing before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights on “Reports of Racism in the Justice System of the United States.” Learn more at http://www.aclumich.org/MiltonHall.

Unedited dashcam footage:

In March 2014, the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice declined to file federal charges against the Saginaw police officers who shot and killed Milton Hall because they claimed “this tragic event does not present sufficient evidence of willful misconduct to lead to a federal criminal prosecution.” To prosecute the officers, it is necessary to prove not only that Hall’s Fourth Amendment rights were violated by the use of excessive force, but also that the officers “willfully” set out to deprive him of those rights.

“As a civilian, Mr. Hall had every right to expect that the police would protect his life, but instead, he was the target of what resembled in many ways a firing squad,” says ACLU of Michigan Racial Justice Project attorney Mark Fancher, who testified today at the IACHR hearing on “Reports of Racism in the Justice System of the United States. “The government cannot act as if the life of a homeless black man has no value. Saginaw deserves justice not only for Milton Hall, but for the entire community that has been devastated by this inexplicable act of police violence.”


Prosecution has completed its summary of the evidence against Jodi Arias

October 29, 2014

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Good morning:

The prosecution has completed its presentation of a summary of the evidence against Jodi Arias who was previously convicted by a jury of the premeditated murder of Travis Alexander, her former boyfriend, in a cruel, heinous, or depraved manner.

Arias is back in court for a new penalty phase hearing because that jury was unable to unanimously agree that she should be sentenced to death. The prosecution was unwilling to settle for a life-without-parole sentence, even though four jurors voted for it. Instead, they decided to try and convince another jury to sentence her to death.

Court is in recess today. Tomorrow, the defense will begin to present its mitigation case.

There is no television or livestream coverage of the retrial.

For particulars on the lurid details of this case, go here.

Frankly, I think this retrial is an aggravated waste of time and money. Arias will not be a danger to anyone in prison. Executing her is ridiculous.

DISCLOSURE: I am opposed to the death penalty in all cases, regardless of the circumstances.

Slimed and forced to flee for our lives

October 28, 2014

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Good afternoon:

Today, I read a post at Gawker by Max Read, titled How We Got Rolled by the Dishonest Fascists of Gamergate.

On one occasion, according to deadspin.com, several gamers discussed how good it would be to drive one woman to commit suicide, but they decided not to do it because it would be the wrong PR play. On another, they persuaded Intel to stop advertising on Gamasutra, a gaming site that has criticized them and their tactics.

Now they are attempting to do the same thing to Gawker for criticizing them.

As I read the article, I realized that Crane and I have been hounded and slimed with similar tactics used by the dishonest fascists of Gamergate. They specialize in threatening women with rape and murder and carrying out coordinated attacks against them by intentionally disseminating false information calculated to destroy their reputations and ability to earn a living.

At the end of August, Nikko, Crane and I were forced to flee for our lives. We abandoned most of our stuff because we did not have the time or money to pack it up and move it. For approximately a month, we were out of touch living in motels, limited to occasionally blogging from various WiFi hotspots. We are settling into a new place with new secure computers and far from Kentucky.

We left because our locked apartment was repeatedly burglarized by people familiar with our comings and goings who somehow had obtained a set of keys. They even intercepted our mail. Over a lengthy period of time, they gradually stole all of Crane’s legal files, her Frog Gravy manuscript, and my law school teaching files. They stole photographs and letters from family members. They stole property and vandalized property they did not steal, including , three microwaves, six computers, and all of our books. We had several valuable first editions that they ruined, opening and pouring coffee on the pages.

They hacked into our computers, monitored everything we did, and infected them with viruses, malware and root kits rendering the computers inoperable. They stole hard drives and memory cards. They stole wallets, and hacked into our bank account.

All of this happened gradually over a period of time, so gradual that we scarcely noticed anything and when we did, we usually blamed each other. When a computer ceased to function, we assumed something had broken and replaced it.

The malicious behavior spiked during the summer after Crane and I published articles exposing her lawyer’s cooperation with the prosecuting attorney to rig the outcome of her trial, and I stated we were going to write about the Kentucky State Crime Laboratory next.

Several days later, Crane was threatened with rape and murder. We started connecting dots and searched our apartment discovering most of the thefts and vandalism that I have described. During that search we found some evidence that the Paducah Police Department and Kentucky State Police had been in our apartment, however, we could not determine when or whether the property we found had been left by someone not in law enforcement. The intruders left brown paper bags, disposable gloves and hair nets, as if they had been collecting ‘evidence’ to submit for testing. At one point, even a hairbrush was taken.

We are whistleblowers and whistleblowers are public enemy number one. Corruption is rampant in the legal system in Paducah, so much so, that we suspect it is institutional and multigenerational. We decided not to go to the police because we suspect they are involved or were involved.

A few days before we left, I noticed that a picture on the wall next to Crane’s side of the bed was hanging crookedly. When I attempted to straighten it out, I discovered a large hole in the wall that appeared to have been made with a sledgehammer.

The bed also was a little out of position and when I looked at it more closely I discovered that the mattress and the carpet beneath my side of the bed had been slashed, repeatedly.

We left town as soon as possible leaving no forwarding address.

While all of this stuff was going on, we were being subjected online to a campaign of unceasing vicious personal attacks by people calling us crack heads. Crane was called a whore and prostitute. I was called a failed lawyer who had been disbarred. I also was blamed for the demise of the law school even though I blew the whistle on the wrongdoers. Our address and telephone number was posted on line.

Websites containing my name were created to divert web traffic and warn people that I was an evil fraud. Unspeakably vile things were said about me. I have been falsely accused of everything from a child molester to a serial killer. I have even been accused of falsely pretending to be me. People masquerading as me posted idiotic, racist and sexist slurs at sites like the Huffington Post. I don’t know the half of it because I naively ignored what was going on.

Although the damage our haters and stalkers have caused is incalculable, we do not believe it is irreparable. The experience has made us stronger.
Crane and I are not feeling like victims or looking for sympathy. We are in a much better place today and delighted to be safely out of Paducah.

The Degree of Civilization in a Society

October 27, 2014

by Crane-Station

On March 17, 2013, Christopher Lopez took his last breath at 9:10 AM, stripped and shackled, face down on a cement floor, while his jailers joked and made chit-chat. During Mr.Lopez’s videotaped death, which began at 3:30 AM, guards subjected him to a forceful ‘cell extraction’ even though he was unresponsive. When they placed the spit hood over his head and shackled him in the disciplinary chair, he slumped to one side and had a seizure. Without performing any assessment whatsoever, they returned Mr. Lopez to his cell, placed him face down on the cement next to the toilet, and injected him with two psychotropic drugs.

“Is it lunch already?” the guard asks, followed by inaudible conversation.

“He could swallow his teeth, I don’t care…”

A guard proclaims, “He didn’t even piss on himself, so he’s not seizing.” “What’s he doing now?” a female supervisor asks. “Smells like he peed all over the place,” a man replies. “Is he still on the floor?” “Yeah.” “He likes it on the floor.” “I like him on the floor.” “Yeah, he likes it alright when he’s on the floor.” Laughter ensues. “Isn’t that terrible?”

While the staff makes fun of him, Mr. Lopez’s breathing changes to that of a fish out of water. When his breathing stops and he dies, a guard talks to his body from outside the cell door, saying to the window, “I can see you breathing.” She also tells the corpse to “Open your eyes,” and then she says, “Good.”

The only thing missing from Mr. Lopez’s horrible and lonely death is the pepper spray, but that was not really an oversight. He would have been pepper sprayed prior to the forceful extraction procedure, but the staff was short that day, the lawsuit describes:

“He actually wants to respond, but he can’t,” Gutierrez-Gonzalez told someone, then called out, “I understand you have some medical condition, but you have to work with me so I can help you.”

Gutierrez-Gonzalez then told Lopez if he didn’t cooperate, there would be a forced cell entrance, during which he would be pepper sprayed.
More than an hour after they noticed Lopez on the floor, a six-member team assembled to mount a forced cell entrance. Before going to the cell, they were told that because of a lack of personnel, gas wouldn’t be used.

The guards entered the cell dressed in riot gear and dragged him out. They told him to stop resisting, though he appeared limp.
They stripped him, then chained and cuffed him to a wheeled transport chair, and pulled a black spit mask over his head.”

Prior to Mr. Lopez’s death, he lived in solitary confinement for more than nine months, but since he suffered from schizophrenia, he could not act as his own advocate, speak up, file a grievance, or call his family to raise outside help.

“I went to Walmart this morning,” said one of the guards, as Mr. Lopez lay next to the toilet, dying.

Mr. Lopez’s situation is not unique.

In Michigan, mentally ill inmates at Huron Valley were “denied water and food, ‘hog tied’ naked for many hours, left to stand, sit, or lie naked in their own feces and urine, denied showers for days, and tasered,” according to witness letters to the ACLU of Michigan.

Who is in charge of health care for the mentally ill? One private contractor is Corizon. According to its website, Corizon is:

Clinically-focused. Patient-centered. Evidence-based.

As the correctional healthcare pioneer and leader for 35+ years, Corizon Health provides client partners with high quality healthcare and reentry services that will improve the health and safety of our patients, reduce recidivism and better the communities where we live and work.”

Corizon has landed a 100 million dollar contract in California,  with Fresno County jail, the latest contract in a long list. Corizon Health, “the nation’s leader in correctional healthcare solutions” invites us to browse the website to see their “Our people, practices and commitment to success.

Corizon has been sued 660 times for malpractice over the last half-decade. The ACLU adds that “As long as Corizon is motivated by its bottom line, there will always be a perverse incentive not to provide treatment. And Corizon is doing very well. The company makes $1.4 billion dollars a year off sick prisoners. Just last week, Corizon inked a new five-year, $1.2 billion contract with the state of Florida. This means that Corizon is now getting taxpayer money in 29 states. And they’re vying for more.”

Corizon is being investigated in Arizona, for taking taxpayer money designated to provide inmate healthcare and doing nothing or being so egregiously negligent that mentally ill inmates are dying.

New York City has contracted Corizon to provide health care for its inmates for more than a decade, previously under the name Prison Health Services, according to a report. In spite of a contract with New York City that pays $280 million for medical care and a $128 million for administrative support, fifteen have died at Rikers Island jail including:

• A 36-year-old man with a severe seizure disorder who died two days after he was placed in solitary confinement and denied his medication. Witnesses said they heard him screaming for his medication.

• A 59-year-old drug addict who wasn’t properly assessed for a common side effect of methadone — constipation — and died of complications from an infected bowel.

• A 32-year-old man who died of a bacterial infection in his stomach and intestines after days of bloody stools. He received treatment only after fellow inmates staged a protest.

• A 20-year-old man who died after an artery in his heart ruptured. A fellow inmate said that he heard the man complain countless times over two days of chest pains and difficulty breathing

In Florida, where Darren Rainey was scalded to death at the hands of guards at Dade CI, George Mallinckrodt, a psychotherapist who was working for Corizon, blew the whistle on the behalf of Mr. Rainey and others. At our site, he commented:

I’m George Mallinckrodt, the only former staffer at Dade CI to come forward publicly about the egregious behavior of guards in the psych unit called the Transitional Care Unit. As a result of the stories broken by the Miami Herald’s Julie Brown, it is comforting to know I’m not alone anymore in bringing the abuse, beating, torture, and murder of inmates to the attention of the public. Almost two years ago, after I answered my phone with a typical “Hello,” my former coworker blurted out, “They killed him!” Ever since, I’ve been trying to get people to pay attention to the murder of Darren Rainey. I contacted the FDLE, FBI, Miami Metro Homicide, and the ME’s office to no avail. When Julie broke the story Sunday, May 18, 2014, there was no doubt in my mind that I would come forward. I may not have been able to change much when I was working in prison, but now it appears I have been more successful on the outside. I’ve got to give the inmate, Harold Hempstead, a massive amount of credit in coming forward as he did. As we all know now, really bad things happen to men in prison.

The complaint I lodged with the Dept. of Justice in DC may now receive the attention it deserves. No doubt one of thousands of complaints filed every year, perhaps as a result of recent publicity, it may move up a bit in the line. Of course, I’d like to see it go straight to the top.

We need a change of heart in this country. When Russian Novelist Fyodor Dostoevsky said, “The degree of civilization in a society can be judged by entering its prisons,” he aptly described the treatment of America’s incarcerated mentally ill in tandem with complete disregard for the Eighth Amendment and basic human decency.


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Should the prosecution appeal Judge Masipa’s decision acquitting Pistorius of murder

October 27, 2014

Monday, October 27, 2014

Good morning:

Defense and prosecution in the Oscar Pistorius case have 14 days to file a notice of appeal. I do not believe he is likely to appeal since he got off lightly, but the prosecution might.

The prosecution is unhappy with Judge Masips’a decision finding Pistorius not guilty of murder on the ground that they did not prove beyond a reasonable doubt that he intended to kill the person in the toilet cubicle when he fired 4 shots through the door. She reached this conclusion after deciding that the prosecution did not prove beyond a reasonable doubt that he intended to kill Reeva Steenkamp, and instead, that he mistakenly believed that an intruder was in the cubicle when he fired the shots.

Many people, myself included, disagree with her conclusion. We ask how could he not have intended to kill the person behind the door when he fired not one, but 4 shots, with Black Talon ammunition through the door into a confined space with no place to hide. People generally intend the natural and probable consequences of their acts and the death of the person behind the door should have been foreseeable to Pistorius.

However, despite the circumstantial evidence that he intended to kill when he fired the shots, he denied that he did and Judge Masipa specifically found that the circumstantial evidence of his intent did not overcome the presumption of innocence that he did not. She went on to decide that his failure to realize that firing those four shots would kill the person behind the door was grossly negligent and found him guilty of culpable homicide.

The prosecution is deciding whether to appeal her decision that they failed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that he intended to kill the person behind the door.

This gives me an opportunity to discuss an important difference between our legal system and South Africa’s.

The Double Jeopardy Clause in the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution provides, “[N]or shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb . . . .”

The Double Jeopardy Clause has been interpreted to prohibit retrying a defendant who has been acquitted of a crime. Therefore, under our law the prosecution could not appeal from what is, in effect, a judgment of acquittal on the murder charge.

Apparently, South Africa does not prohibit a retrial or the prosecution would not be considering an appeal.

If they appeal, I think they will argue that she did not actually decide whether she believed him. Instead, they will argue that her decision that they failed to overcome the presumption of innocence by proof beyond a reasonable doubt was wrong as a matter of law.

That is a different issue.

Nevertheless, I think the wiser course of action would be to decide to move on to avoid appearing to be sore losers.

They have another week to decide.

If you appreciate what we do, please consider a donation. Due to efforts to intimidate and silence our voices that involved death threats, multiple burglaries, thefts, property destruction and hacking into our computers, we had to move far away from Kentucky. Moving is expensive and we have incurred substantial costs.

Thank you.

Policy should never be determined by fear

October 26, 2014

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Good morning:

Policy should never be determined by fear.

For example, on Friday, Governor Cuomo of New York and Governor Christie of New Jersey imposed a mandatory 21-day quarantine on people arriving from West Africa who have had contact with Ebola patients. They acted without consulting infectious disease experts or giving much, if any thought to how or by whom the quarantine should be implemented.

They also failed to give due respect and consideration to our returning medical volunteers whose heroic and selfless efforts to comfort and save those afflicted with Ebola deserve recognition and our heartfelt thanks.

Instead, read what happened to Kaci Hickox, a nurse who has basically been jailed in mandatory quarantine in a New Jersey hospital for 21 days after returning from Sierra Leone on Friday, despite testing negative for Ebola.

In her letter to the Dallas News, she describes “a frenzy of disorganization, fear and, most frightening, quarantine.” Her letter begins,

I arrived at the Newark Liberty International Airport around 1 p.m. on Friday, after a grueling two-day journey from Sierra Leone. I walked up to the immigration official at the airport and was greeted with a big smile and a “hello.”

I told him that I have traveled from Sierra Leone and he replied, a little less enthusiastically: “No problem. They are probably going to ask you a few questions.”

He put on gloves and a mask and called someone. Then he escorted me to the quarantine office a few yards away. I was told to sit down. Everyone that came out of the offices was hurrying from room to room in white protective coveralls, gloves, masks, and a disposable face shield.

One after another, people asked me questions. Some introduced themselves, some didn’t. One man who must have been an immigration officer because he was wearing a weapon belt that I could see protruding from his white coveralls barked questions at me as if I was a criminal.

To read the rest of her letter, go here.

This policy is ill informed and wrong on so many levels that I hardly know where to begin. Not only does it violate civil liberties and disrespect people who have risked their lives without financial compensation to save lives, but it also discourages others from volunteering at a time when medical assistance is desperately needed to prevent Ebola from spreading.

A Man Calls the Suicide Hotline and a SWAT Team Shows Up, and Kills Him

October 26, 2014

posted by Crane-Station


Jay Syrmopoulos, writing for thefreethoughtproject notes:


The first tragic mistake in this case was made when the Weber County Consolidated Dispatch Center sent officers to the residence rather than some type of crisis response team trained to deal with suicidal individuals.

From previous cases, such as that of Jason Turk, who was shot twice in the face after a suicide call to 9-1-1 by his wife, or that of Christian Alberto Sierra, who was suffering from depression and had attempted suicide when police showed up and shot him four times, killing him, most know all too well what happens when you send officers to “assist” people threatening suicide.

Subsequently, a SWAT team came to the residence and “negotiated” with Calzada for more than seven hours before taking his life.

So much for the suicide prevention hotline. You’re apt to get killed.



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