Showing posts with label Florida. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Florida. Show all posts

March 31, 2020

Mega Churches in Louisiana,Ohio,Fl. Can't Afford To Stop Services They Continue Along COVID

                                In Pictures: America's 10 Biggest Megachurches
Congregants of megachurches in Louisiana, Ohio and Florida attended services in defiance of social distancing orders on Sunday morning, even as politicians and doctors took to weekly news shows to warn of coronavirus’s spread in the U.S.

In Louisiana, which has seen a spike in cases and has a shelter-in-place order, the Life Tabernacle Church in the town of Central held services at 10 a.m. More than 550 parishioners attended, about half as many as the week before, pastor Tony Spell told a local news reporter. 

His state’s governor raised alarms Sunday that hospitals in nearby New Orleans could run out of capacity for breathing machines within a week as the state’s coronavirus death toll has climbed to the fourth-highest in the country. “We’re on a trajectory right now where we’ll not be able to deliver the care that people need when they need it,” Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards said on CBS’s “Face the Nation.” Edwards, who has limited public gatherings to 50 or under, last week urged “all faith leaders to heed this directive”

On CNN’s “State of the Union,” National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Anthony Fauci warned that the U.S. could see 100,000 to 200,000 deaths from the virus, a stark counterpoint to discussions about whether to restart parts of the U.S. economy that have been on shutdown.

Pastor Spell told local news outlet NBC15 earlier this month that he didn’t believe his congregation was in danger of infection. “It’s not a concern,” he said. “The virus, we believe, is politically motivated. We hold our religious rights dear and we are going to assemble no matter what someone says.” The church did not respond to request for comment.

The River Church in Tampa, Florida, also held services this Sunday. Pastor Rodney Howard-Browne posted a livestream of the services on YouTube, showing the sizable crowd. Howard-Browne said attendees were practicing “social distancing, or whatever” though the crowd appeared to be dense.

“We are not a non-essential service,” Howard-Browne said during the service. “You’re probably going to get infected at some other place, not here.”

The pastor condemned scientific reports about the virus and said that the pandemic was of less concern than the flu, a view that medical experts have disputed. The church did not respond to a request for comment.

Solid Rock Church in Lebanon, Ohio, with 3,500 members by one recent count, held services Sunday in defiance of a letter from the local health department urging it not to meet, according to a local news report. The church, in a statement, cited its first amendment right to religious assembly.

Some megachurches have opted out of in-person services and turned to live streaming entirely. The Church at Rock Creek, a mega church in Little Rock, Arkansas, not only held online services—it also digitized tithing and children’s activities. Likewise, Joel Osteen, the nation’s best known mega church pastor, held services online, streaming on social media and through his own app.

September 4, 2018

Man In Florida Gets to be Executed for the Killing of Gay Men

Image: Peter Avesenew
 Peter AvesenewPolk County Sheriff
  by Brooke Sopelsa                                       
 A Florida man has been sentenced to death for the “cold, calculated and premeditated” murder of a married gay couple in South Florida.
Peter Avsenew, 33, was found guilty last November on two counts of first-degree murder for the 2010 deaths of Kevin Powell, 52, and Stephen Adams, 47. A jury voted unanimously in January for the death penalty, and a judge earlier this week granted their recommendation. 
Avsenew bludgeoned and shot Powell and Adams on Dec. 23, 2010.
“Nothing about Defendant’s age, physical condition, background or mental status, suggests that the ultimate sentence of death for such conduct is disproportionate," Circuit Judge Ilona M. Holmes wrote in her Aug. 28 sentencing order.
Avsenew is the first defendant in Broward, the state’s second-most populous county, to receive a death sentence since a state law was passed last year requiring juries to be unanimous in deciding an execution is warranted.
In her sentencing order, the judge gave weight to a number of “aggravating circumstances,” including finding that the murders were “especially heinous, atrocious or cruel” and were “committed in a cold, calculated and premeditated manner.”
According to court documents, both victims had cuts on their heads and had been shot several times. Adams, who is thought to have died while trying to stop the murder of Powell, his partner of nearly 30 years, was shot eight times. 
The judge found that Avsenew, who was allegedly staying with the couple after meeting them through a solicitation ad on Craigslist, showed no remorse during the court proceedings. After the verdicts were read, he gave the victims’ families the middle finger in front of the jurors, and prior to his sentencing he sent a chilling letter to the judge. “What ever you decide to do with me, just remember that you will never be able to stop me. It is my duty as a white man to cull the weak and timid from existence,” he wrote in the letter, which was received by the judge in March of this year. “Homosexuals are a disease to mankind and must be put down.”
He went on to say he "regret[s] nothing" and hinted that he’s responsible for a number of other murders.
“These weren’t the first and won’t be the last,” he said of the 2010 killings. “If you only knew how many there really are you would faint.” 

August 14, 2018

Fl Sheriff Would not File Charges, on "State Your Ground Law" State Prosecutor Disagreed and Charged Him with Manslaughter

Prosecutors charged a white man with manslaughter Monday in the death of an unarmed black man whose video-recorded shooting in a store parking lot has revived debate over Florida's "stand your ground" law.
Michael Drejka, 47, has been charged with the July 19 death of Markeis McGlockton outside a Clearwater convenience store, Pinellas County State Attorney Bernie McCabe said. Drejka was being held at the county jail on $100,000 bail. It was unknown if he had an attorney. At a news conference Monday afternoon, relatives of McGlockton said they were pleased with the charge. "I know this is going to be a long road," said Michael McGlockton, the victim's father. "We are up for the task. I just hope for a good outcome." Family attorney Michele Rayner said "the ultimate goal is conviction," and that she believed manslaughter was the correct charge. She also noted that Monday was bittersweet. 

"It's little Markeis' first day at school," she said, referring to McGlockton's 5-year-old son.
McGlockton's girlfriend, Britany Jacobs, who was seated in the couple's car with two of their children, ages 3 years and 4 months, said Drejka confronted her for being parked in a handicapped-accessible space. McGlockton, 28, had gone into the store with young Markeis.
Video shows McGlockton leaving the store and shoving Drejka to the ground. Seconds later, Drejka pulls a handgun and shoots McGlockton as he backs away.

July 6, 2018

GOP Fl. Gov. Scott Most Get Something by Denying 1.5 The Right To Vote

At Florida's Capitol in Tallahassee, four times a year, dozens of anxious people gather to hear a decision that will affect the rest of their lives. Felons whose sentences and probation are complete stand before the governor and other Cabinet members to ask for clemency and the restoration of their right to vote.
After waiting for years, Joanne Calvarese made her case to the clemency board in June.
"I feel that I have paid my consequences," Calvarese said. "I know I don't deserve your mercy, but I beg you for it."
The panel congratulated Calvarese on turning her life around and gave her back the right to vote. Most of the 100 others making the same request that day were not as lucky.
Across the U.S., most states restore voting rights to felons after they've completed their sentences. Some wait for probation and parole to be complete. In recent years, many states have updated and streamlined the process.
Florida, however, has gone in the other direction. When Gov. Rick Scott took office seven years ago, he rolled back reforms put in place by his predecessor, Charlie Crist. More than 150,000 Floridians had their voting rights restored during Crist's four years in office. In the seven years since then, Rick Scott has approved restoring voting rights to just over 3,000 people.

In Florida, more than 10 percent of the adult population is prohibited from voting because they've had felony convictions. Under a law that dates back to the Reconstruction era, Florida bars felons from voting, unless officials approve a request to have those rights restored. That means nearly 1.5 million people in Florida can't vote, even though their sentences are complete.  
At a hearing in 2016, Scott tried to explain to one man why he was denying his request to have his rights restored.
"Clemency is — there's no standard," Scott said. "We can do whatever we want. But it's ... tied to remorse. And ... understanding that we all want to live in a law-abiding society."
Jon Sherman, with the Fair Elections Legal Network, says that's the problem with Florida's system.
"There's no rule, no standard, no criteria governing their decision-making," he said. "Sometimes, the governor simply says, 'I don't feel comfortable at this point.'"
Sherman believes the inconsistent way in which Florida restores voting rights violates the U.S. Constitution. He represents a group of former felons that's suing the state.
"A lot of people have seen how unfair and arbitrary the process is, how delayed," Sherman said. "I mean, we've met people who are waiting for up to 10 years for a hearing on their application. And they see that and they decide, 'You know, it's not worth it to even apply.'"
One of those suing Florida is Yraida Guanipa. She served 11 years on a drug trafficking conviction before being released in 2007. Since then, she's gone back to college, earned a bachelor's and a master's degree, and started a business in Miami. Her probation ended in 2012, but Florida's law requires her to wait an additional seven years before applying to have her rights restored.
"The seven years is not up until next year," Guanipa said. "And after that, I have to get into the line of the backlog, or maybe 10 years. I probably would be dead."
Part of the reason Florida withholds the right to vote from felons, Guanipa says, is political. She believes it's aimed at suppressing the vote in minority communities.
"It's not only punishing me," she says, "but it punishes my family and my community because it's blocking us [from having] a voice."
In Florida, more than 20 percent of otherwise eligible African-American adults are unable to vote because of the law.
Earlier this year, a federal judge said Florida's process for clemency and restoring voting rights was unconstitutional. The state appealed and arguments in the case are scheduled in a few weeks. But before there's a final decision on that, Florida voters will weigh in.
Another group that has been working to restore voting rights for felons, the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition, gathered more than a million signatures for a constitutional amendment that will be on the November ballot. It would restore voting eligibility to most felons once they'd completed their sentences.
"This is an issue that transcends rural-urban-suburban divide. It transcends the partisan divide," said Neil Volz, with the coalition. "And it really is something that impacts all communities and all walks of life."
Many believe the referendum may offer the best chance of overturning Florida's ban on felon voting. Recent polls show it's supported by more than two-thirds of state voters.

April 21, 2018

Two Florida Deputies Shot Through The Window While They Ate-Shooter Found Shot to Death

Sgt. Noel Ramirez, left, and Deputy Sheriff Taylor Lindsey were shot and killed after sitting down to eat at a Chinese restaurant in Gilchrist County, Fla.
Gilchrist County Sheriff's Office
A gunman shot and killed two sheriff's deputies in a restaurant in Gilchrist County, Fla., on Thursday, in an attack that seems to have come with no warning.
Sgt. Noel Ramirez, 30, and Deputy Sheriff Taylor Lindsey, 25. were shot through the window. The gunman was later found dead nearby.
Sheriff Bobby Schultz called the two deputies "the best of the best," adding, "They're men of integrity, they're men of loyalty. They're God-fearing, and they loved what they did. And we're very proud of them."
The deputies were on duty and had sat down to eat at the Ace China restaurant in Trenton around 3 p.m. when a gunman started firing at them from outside, the Gilchrist County Sheriff's Office said.
"Both our heroes had simply sat down to eat while on duty," the sheriff's office said. "There was no crime in progress, no disturbance. The suspect appears to have walked to the front of the business and shot both men without warning. Two holes in the window are visible tonight."
Deputies and other who responded to an emergency call about the shooting found the gunman nearby, dead from a gunshot wound. He was identified as 59-year-old John Hubert Highnote, 59, of Bell, Fla. — a nearby town in the northern Florida county.

When a reporter asked Schultz to confirm whether Highnote had committed suicide in his car near the restaurant, the sheriff declined to comment, citing both an ongoing state investigation into the killings and his own perspective.
"I want this to be about those deputy sheriffs, I think that you can respect that," Schultz said at a media gathering late Thursday afternoon. He added, "The world's full of cowards, and the world's full of heroes. We need to highlight those heroes, and what they gave."
Ramirez was a 7-year veteran of law enforcement who had a wife and two young children. Lindsey had worked with the force for a total of more than three years; he had recently returned to working at the sheriff's office.
"It was just surreal" to get the call about the attack on the deputies, Schultz said.
He added, "Whether you're a large agency or a small agency, it hits you like a ton of bricks."
A possible motive for the shooting has not been released. Twice during his media briefing on Thursday, Sheriff Schultz mentioned negative public attitudes about law enforcement officers.
"What do you expect happens when you demonize law enforcement to the extent that it's been demonized?" he asked at one point.
Schultz added, "The only thing these men were guilty of was wanting to protect you and me. They just wanted to go get something to eat. And they just wanted to do their job."
The department has received numerous condolences and messages of support, including from President Trump, who said, "My thoughts, prayers and condolences are with the families, friends and colleagues" of the slain deputies.
Florida Gov. Rick Scott said, "My wife, Ann, and I are heartbroken by the loss of two law enforcement officers in Trenton," adding that he has committed state resources to help the Gilchrist County Sheriff's Office.
Scott added, "It is true evil for anyone to hurt a law enforcement officer, and in Florida, we have zero tolerance for violence, especially against the police."
Eventually all the stories will be for subscribers. It's free and no spam, but it will be more secured for you and us in this complicated world. any questions just ask on the comment section ofthis story.🦊

March 19, 2018

Experienced 38 Yrs Old Cirque Du Soleil Performer Falls To His Death in Florida

Cirque du Soleil performer Yann Arnaud died after falling during a show in Florida on Saturday.
Arnaud was an experienced performer and had been with Cirque for 15 years.
He posted on Instagram about the new aerial straps routine before the show, saying “it’s time to go for it.” 

An experienced Cirque du Soleil performer has died after plunging onto a stage during an aerial straps routine at a weekend show in Tampa, Florida, the company said Sunday. 
The incident occurred Saturday night when Yann Arnaud, 38, fell during a performance of the show "Volta," according to Cirque du Soleil Entertainment Group. The French performance artist died of his injuries at Tampa General Hospital. 

Image: Yann Arnaud

Yann Arnaud, left, and GoelOuisse perform at a rehearsal for Cirque du Soleil's 'Totem' in New York in March 2013. John Lamparski / WireImage file

Arnaud had been performing in Cirque shows for 15 years and was considered one of the company's most experienced entertainers, President and Chief Executive Daniel Lamarre told Reuters in a telephone interview. 
"We were very surprised, considering his experience, that something like that happened," said Lamarre, speaking from Tampa, where he had flown to be w ith the show's cast. "I cannot describe to you how the people feel. It's terrible." 
The death is the third involving a Cirque performer in the company's 34 years, Lamarre said, adding that the aerial strap act was seen as a relatively safe number. 
Julian Martinez, a spectator who witnessed the accident, told NBC affiliate WFLA: "It was awful. You heard all the cries of the audience. There were children there, and they were freaking out." 
Lamarre said he couldn't share details about the incident involving Arnaud, a husband and father of two young children. 
"We are offering our full and transparent collaboration to the authorities as they look into the circumstances of this accident," the company said in a statement, adding that the last two shows of Volta planned for Tampa on Sunday had been canceled.
Police said Arnaud was performing on the double rings when one of his hands slipped and he fell about 20 feet. An autopsy was scheduled for Monday. 
Tampa police said the incident was under investigation by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration. 
Just a few hours before he fell, Arnaud posted a photo to Instagram to announce that the strap duo act would finally appear in the show.

Cirque du Soleil
8 hours ago

It is with immense sadness that Cirque du Soleil Entertainment Group reports that a tragic accident occurred last night, March 17, during a performance of its show VOLTA, in Tampa, Florida. While he was performing the aerial straps number, long-time aerialist, Yann Arnaud, fell onto the stage. Emergency procedures were immediately activated and Yann was transported to the nearest hospital, where he later passed away from his injuries.
"The entire Cirque du Soleil family is in shock and devastated by this tragedy. Yann had been with us for over 15 years and was loved by all who had the chance to...

It is adamfoxie's 10th🦊Anniversay. 10 years witnessing the world and bringing you a pieace whcih is ussually not getting its due coverage.

November 30, 2017

Newly Arrived Puerto Ricans to Florida Might Just Upset Local Politics

MIAMI — Grisel Robles arrived in Miami in late September, after Hurricane Maria flooded her house and wiped out the life she and her family had. Starting a new job and rebuilding her life, along with her husband and 6-month-old daughter, has left little time to focus on politics. But she is taking note of one aspect of the political landscape.
"I have noticed who is defending our rights as Puerto Ricans," she said.
While Robles expressed disdain for President Donald Trump because of the administration’s response to storm-ravaged Puerto Rico, she praised Gov. Rick Scott of Florida, a Republican, for his efforts in helping settle Puerto Ricans displaced by the storm. But she also likes Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla. She met him and called him "a humble and accessible man."
Scott is expected to enter the 2018 Senate race against Nelson, and early polls have them in a dead heat.
It could very well be that Puerto Ricans like Robles is the deciding factor in that race and a number of other key races. Since they may not be as familiar with local and state political parties — Puerto Ricans who live on the island vote in elections where — they are becoming a potential group of swing voters who can have a real impact on upcoming elections, according to some experts.
As American citizens living on the island, Puerto Ricans cannot vote in presidential elections and can send only nonvoting representatives to Congress. But once they make the move and are living on the mainland, they only need to register to be eligible to vote.
Politicians from both parties are taking note.
“Puerto Ricans in Florida, just like the state, is a swing population. By that, I mean they are issue-oriented,” said Edwin Melendez, director of the Center for Puerto Rican Studies at New York’s Hunter College.
So far, over 189,000 Puerto Ricans have migrated to the state after the hurricane left unimaginable destruction throughout the island. Planes arriving from Puerto Rico remain full and some estimate as many as half a million people will eventually make their way to Florida. Although some, particularly the older generations, will eventually return to the island, experts believe most will remain here. Central Florida is their preferred destination, but areas like South Florida and Tampa are also seeing an influx of Puerto Ricans.
They are joining over 1 million who already live in the state, many of them coming in recent years fleeing the economic crisis on the island. At the rapid pace, the population is growing, Puerto Ricans will soon displace Cubans as the largest Latino group in Florida.
Puerto Ricans are an attractive group of voters because of their high participation rates and their ability to group together as a voting bloc like they did during the 2016 elections. Melendez calls them “a swing voting bloc,” similar to how Cuban-Americans once were.
But Melendez thinks Puerto Ricans voted overwhelmingly for Hillary Clinton in 2016 because of the negative comments Trump made about Mexicans during his campaign and the fact he was seen by many as anti-Latino. Trump went on to win the state by a mere 112,000 votes.
In 2016, Rep. Darren Soto, a Democrat, became the first Puerto Rican from Florida elected to Congress.
He calculates that Florida Puerto Ricans have been about 50 percent Democratic, 25 percent Republican, and 25 percent independent.
“We’re definitely a constituency that you have to earn," said Soto.
The freshman congressman doesn’t take any votes for granted. “We are specifically making sure to help the new arrivals with all these new constituent issues, from enrolling kids in school to housing to healthcare and food assistance,” he said.
Because political parties in Puerto Rico differ from the ones on the mainland, it takes for newcomers to figure out the ideologies and decide on whether to join a party. When registering to vote, many check off the box that says NPA, or No Party Affiliation, and then change it once they get a grasp on the politics here. 
Republican state Rep. Bob Cortes, who is Puerto Rican, said the same thing happened to him when he moved stateside with his wife and their child 32 years ago.
“These are the same voters that will not vote straight party lines," he said. "They are the voters that usually will vote for the candidate that appeals to them.”
But not everyone thinks the new wave of Puerto Ricans voters will be up for grabs. Angelo Falcón at the National Institute for Latino Policy says the pattern among Puerto Ricans in Florida is to vote Democratic. He believes Trump has further alienated Puerto Ricans from the Republican Party with the administration’s slow response to hurricane relief. Many Puerto Ricans have expressed anger at comments Trump made when he blamed the beleaguered island for a financial crisis “largely of their own making” as well as critical tweets saying Puerto Rican leaders “want everything to be done for them.”
“People have been very angry at Trump and at the Republicans and the way Puerto Rico has been treated with the hurricane disaster, so I think that’s going to be an important factor,” Falcón said.
That hasn’t kept political figures like Scott from courting Puerto Rican voters.
In October, Scott set up disaster relief centers in Miami and Orlando to help to arrive Puerto Ricans get settled. He made it easier to enroll kids in public schools by waiving the documents normally required and he also asked colleges and universities to offer in-state tuition to Puerto Rican students.
Groups like Mi Familia Vota are planning to register Puerto Ricans and other Latinos to vote in January.
"Mi Familia Vota Florida plans to register upwards to 25,000 Latinos to vote in 2018 and expects at least half of those registered to be of Puerto Rican descent," state director Esteban Garces said. The 2018 Florida elections include the governor, U.S. Senate, and Congress.
For Robles, rebuilding her life in Miami is a priority at the moment. It will still be awhile before she learns to navigate the political sphere.
“Right now, I don’t know who I would vote for,” she said. 
by Carmen Sesin  NBC News

August 20, 2017

Chris King Candidate for Governor Supports Gays From A Special Place

 Chris King Florida's Candidate for Governor See gays as Special just like his gay brother

The leading Democrats running for Florida governor met with gay and lesbian party members Saturday in an event that at times was touching and personal, and served as a reminder that Florida is a place where people can still be discriminated against because of who they love.

Perhaps the most chilling moment was when Orlando-area businessman Chris King described his brother as a brilliant, handsome man who would light up a room as soon as he walked in. But his brother was gay, and Florida wasn't a tolerant place when they were growing up in the 1970s and 1980s. He struggled with depression.

"Growing up was incredibly hard and he dealt with tremendous insecurity based on who he was," King said, before describing a call he got from his parents during his freshman year in college.
His brother killed himself.

There was an audible gasp in the room as he shared the story and painful looks on the faces of those listening to the LGBTA Democrats' annual latest news videos.

"Growing up was incredibly hard and he dealt with tremendous insecurity based on who he was," King said, before describing a call he got from his parents during his freshman year in college.
His brother killed himself.

There was an audible gasp in the room as he shared the story and painful looks on the faces of those listening at the LGBTA Democrats' annual conference. And while King's story tugged at hearts, he wasn't the only candidate who explained why they feel Florida must do more to protect gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender residents.

Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum said he too has a gay brother, and growing up in Florida in a religious family wasn't easy.

"He probably heard some terms and words that struck at his core, feeling at different times not all the way comfortable," Gillum said. "The first thing that he did when he had the opportunity was getting on the first bus that he could afford, to go all the way across the country to California, with not so much as a job or a house, just so that he could be himself."

"It was intense," he said. "It tore me up because he was the closest thing to me."
Former U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham was scheduled to address the group during dinner, and in her prepared remarks, she chastised Republicans, including Gov. Rick Scott, for not taking steps to ensure equal rights for gays and lesbians. She said that in the aftermath of the Pulse gay nightclub shootings that killed 49, Scott and other Republicans made false promises to protect the LGBT community.

"After the cameras went away, they went back to their old politics," she said. "In the year since Pulse, they have not lifted a finger to protect the LGBTQ community or prevent another tragedy. It's heartbreaking."

All three candidates said it will be their priority to pass a law to give gays and lesbians civil rights protections in housing and employment. A bill to do so has been filed for years and gone nowhere in a Legislature dominated by the Republican Party, which has controlled the governor's mansion since 1999.

Terry Fleming, the president of the LGBTA Democrats (the A is for Allies), also said that Florida's government has done little for the gay and lesbian community.

"Legislation here hasn't been gay-friendly," he said. "There's definitely some challenges in Florida."
Because the LGBT community is concerned about discrimination under President Donald Trump's administration, it's even more important that Florida protect them, he said.

"I am so angry at what's happening in Washington that I want to work doubly hard to make sure that we get protections in place in Florida, by electing Democratic candidates that support LGBT equality," he said.


June 23, 2017

While Volusia County Fl. Looks For Gay Men to Arrest in Toilets,Germany Voted to Annul Gay Men Convictions

June 9, 2017

RE: Sheriff's Office Out of Control in Toilets at Volusia County, Florida

 There are places in this country of the USA that are no different in Sex hypocrite morality than the worse places you can  imagine in Africa and the Far-East

German lawmakers on Thursday approved a plan to annul the convictions of thousands of gay men under a law criminalizing homosexuality that was enforced enthusiastically in post-World War II West Germany.

Parliament's lower house voted unanimously for the bill to cancel convictions under Paragraph 175. Justice Minister Heiko Maas described the annulment as "a late act of justice."

Volker Beck, a lawmaker with the opposition Greens and a longtime campaigner for gay rights, said Thursday was a "historic day."

"It is good that, for many homosexuals, the stigma of being criminal is finally being removed," he told parliament. "It is less good that this won't reach many because they have died in the meantime."

The legislation criminalizing homosexuality was introduced in the 19th century, toughened under Nazi rule and retained in that form even by democratic West Germany, which convicted some 50,000 men between 1949 and 1969. Homosexuality was decriminalized in 1969 but the legislation wasn't taken off the books entirely until 1994.

The new bill foresees compensation of 3,000 euros ($3,340) for each conviction, plus 1,500 euros for every year of jail time that convicted men started. It says at most 5,000 applications for compensation are expected.
In 2000, parliament approved a resolution regretting the fact that Paragraph 175 was retained after the war. Two years later, it annulled the convictions of gay men under Nazi rule but not post-war convictions.

The planned legal rehabilitation will be automatic. It will also apply to men convicted in communist East Germany, which had a milder version of Paragraph 175 and decriminalized homosexuality in 1968. 

About 4,300 men are believed to have been convicted there. In all, some 68,300 people were convicted under various forms of Paragraph 175 in both German states before it was scrapped in 1994.

Parliament's upper house still has to clear the legislation.

In addition to individual compensation, the government plans to give an annual 500,000 euros ($557,500) in funding to a foundation that is documenting the stories of men convicted under Paragraph 175.

In October, the British government announced that thousands of men convicted under now-abolished laws outlawing homosexuality would receive posthumous pardons, while those still alive will be eligible to have their criminal records wiped clean.

AP(Source for Germany story)

June 9, 2017

Sheriff's Office Out of Control in Toilets at Volusia County, Florida

 Tittle, editorial, leading pic by adamfoxie
Can you believe that in the 21st century you would have plain clothes cops patrolling toilets in any part of this country? Florida, a state that was known as a backward state for its intolerance, some crazy laws and uneducated "crackers" would want to get that tittle again after so many communities have made strides in changing the attitudes of badly educated cops of what it takes to protect a community. There are drug pushers, theft, shootings, traffic enforcement, school safety and anti gang programs to enforce. Going into a men's bathroom and to wait to be proposed or proposing another man in an enclosed public toilet makes no sense. 

After getting some men of the community (which are usually married but closeted) to bite on the vice penis show and then proudly released their names to the media tells you is not the activity they are after but the men because of what they are. They are not liked because of sex...we have been in that toilet before and it smells. After all, the activity does not hurt anyone and we do not need cops to enforce sex laws, this is for Saudi Arabia, Iran and Afghanistan to do these things. Even then they don't use cops but religion enforcers. Is that what this ignorant sheriff is? Who cares if in a public toilet some guy makes an "eye' pass at another? Believe me if the other party is not interested the looking party is going to know in no uncertain way they screwed big time! 

I don't agree with this activity but I respect the privacy of these men and since they are not harming anyone, I stand by their civil rights. These are guys the sheriff knows are unlikely to ask for a trial with a jury of their peers. They are too shame for that. If they would ask for a jury trial very quickly the county would see how much it costs in dollars and sense but the truth is the men would probably plea down and be fined. The cops take advantage of that fact. They can make easy money, shame the sinners, make headlines they keep an eye on the toilets, etc. Meanwhile lives and families are destroyed for the married men.

To both the Sheriff and the men, grow up already!

News as reported by media:

A four-day sting operation at several parks in Florida’s Volusia County resulted in the arrest of 17 men for lewd activity and one for battery. But some, including LGBTQ civil rights group Lambda Legal, are raising concerns over how police and local media have handled the arrests. 
In a released statement on the sting, which was dubbed “Operation Park Hopper,” the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office said their actions came in response to complaints about lewd activity in local parks. 
The information released by police also included the first and last names of the arrested men, their ages, their home addresses, a video of one man’s arrest and an account of a 75-year-old man’s interaction with an undercover deputy. 

Image: Volusia County's Operation Park Hopper

Volusia County's Operation Park Hopper Volusia County Sheriff's Office / via Facebook

“Evidently, [the man] thought he was safe because he was on the east side of the county, in Ormond Beach,” the statement said of the 75-year-old. “He was wrong. Moments after he walked to a picnic shelter at the park with the stranger, pulled out his penis and started masturbating in plain view, [he] found himself in handcuffs and on the way to jail—charged with indecent exposure and committing an unnatural and lascivious act.” 
The statement then elaborated upon the arrests, saying the men would “approach undercover deputies, strike up a conversation, steer the talk to sex and then start doing more than just talking about it.” 
An indecent exposure conviction is considered a first-degree misdemeanor in Florida and punishable by up to one year in prison, a fine of $1,000 or both. A conviction of an “unnatural and lascivious act” is considered a second-degree misdemeanor and is punishable by up to 60 days in jail and a $500 fine. 
While discussing the circumstances surrounding the Operation Park Hopper arrests laid out in the statement, Lambda Legal Director of Constitutional Litigation Susan Sommer told NBC Out “entrapment is definitely a law enforcement tool used against gay men.” 
“You’d need more information on the setup and the circumstances in this particular instance, but it’s completely common to learn that law enforcement have entrapped men into alleged violations of sexual misconduct laws,” Sommer explained. 
She pointed to a sting operation in New York that she said had “eerie similarities” to the Volusia County arrests. 
“They round up gay men and then do this really horrendous public shaming where they print their mug shots and their names and their ages and the towns where they live,” Sommer said. “And they use the same kind of rhetoric that I saw quoted [in the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office statement].” 
Sommer also pointed out that publishing the names, mug shots and addresses of men arrested in sting operations like these can have dire consequences. 
“Men have employers who suddenly suspend or fire them, places where they live try to drum them out, news cameras and vans are staked outside their homes and they’re shunned,” Sommer said. “It causes people to be suicidal. It far exceeds any kind of police response to any other alleged nuisance activity.” 
“The government can certainly outlaw public sex, but it must take care to enforce such bans within constitutional limits,” said Slate’s Mark Joseph Stern, a gay journalist who has written on gay sex stings in the past. “When law enforcement officers target gay men for no apparent reason other than their sexual orientation, they run the risk of running afoul of basic equal protection principles.” 
Stern pointed to a previous case in Long Beach, Calif., where a court threw out the conviction of a gay man who had been arrested for cruising, because it was ruled that the police department had acted on unconstitutional “animus toward homosexuals.” 
“Put simply, it is not at all clear that the Volusia County Sheriff remained within constitutional boundaries in his zeal to arrest, imprison and humiliate these men,” Stern added. 
Most of the men arrested in Operation Park Hopper were middle-aged or older, which Sommer speculated could be indicative of generational differences between older and younger gay men. 
“Older men were more closeted, because they grew up and came of age in an era that was even more oppressive, when sodomy laws were still enforced,” she said. “This wasn’t a community that could be open or flourish in the light of day. There were no gathering places, so men would have to find each other in these kinds of venues. The internet and Facebook and apps have made it much easier for people who are tapped into that to meet each other.” 
After being provided with an information packet by the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office, several local news outlets published the names, home addresses, arrest locations and mug shots of the 18 men charged in the sting operation. One of the men can be seen crying in his photo. 
“Because of the significance of the operation and the number of arrests, the decision was made to announce the results at a news conference,” Gary Davidson, a spokesman for the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office, told NBC Out via email. “When we have a news conference, we always compile an information packet for the media with all of the relevant information.” 
Davidson also pointed out that the information his department provided to the media, including the defendants’ home addresses, is a matter of public record and contained in the charging affidavits. He said his office compiled and distributed the information “for the convenience of media outlets covering the news conference.” 
Sommer said media outlets ought to exercise caution before publishing personal and possibly sensitive information. 
“I think the media needs to act responsibly and not publish pictures and names and not participate in something that could fuel vigilante behavior,” Sommer said. “The harm you could do to someone’s life far outweighs any public interest or value in doing so.” 
During the Operation Park Hopper news conference, Volusia County Sheriff Mike Chitwood said the arrests were meant to send a message. 
“These types of activities impact the quality of life of our citizens,” he said. “It’s important that we set the tone that our parks and trails are safe for families and children.

Featured Posts

The Food Delivery/Ride Companies Wont Allow Drivers to be Employees But California is Changing That

                               Hamilton Nolan Senior Writer. After a monumental...